The admonition to “follow Jesus Christ” is an unsurprising staple in Christian writing. However, the extent to which many Christians assume that any current culturally popular belief must be aligned with our Savior’s character and teaching is surprising. The underlying assumption in most cases appears to be that if the writer believes something is good, then surely Christ must agree. Unfortunately, in other cases, people who should know better nevertheless attribute beliefs to Christ that are easily demonstrated to be at a minimum misleading, and, even false.
My point is that we too often project our own beliefs onto Jesus without actually doing the hard work of seeking and following Scripture’s actual testimony. Or, we allow someone who appears to have “moral authority” to lead us into conclusions that we never validate through our own study. The consequence isn’t necessarily that the things we have been told about Jesus are outright falsehoods. Rather, what we have been told is so incomplete that we are led into false conclusions. This happened in spades in the PCUSA discussion on same-gender marriage.
Regardless of the sources or reasons, many Bible believing Christians approach Scripture with preconceived ideas imprinted upon their minds. These imprints are firmly established and powerfully persistent. This situation often leads to a result called confirmation bias, which is the tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one’s preconceptions.
So, allow me to ask you a pointed question.
If it turned out that something you have believed about Jesus Christ is shown by Scripture to be untrue, will you change your view so as to become conformed to Scripture, or, will you ignore Scripture’s testimony in order to go on believing that which you prefer to be the truth?
It is upon this question that the future of the PCUSA depends. On ordination of practicing homosexuals and same-gender marriage, hundreds of thousands have already exited the denomination over this issue. The next instance of this discontinuity between elite leadership and parishioners could be over the issue of Christian pacifism.