I have been in vocational ministry now for 23 years now and here is something I have observed. All it takes for many ministers to change what they believe is for them to experience a failure. If their church would have exploded they would possess a completely different outlook than they do now. When their ministry venture doesn't turn out as they dreamed, they get angry, critical and cynical and find every fault possible with the church world. On the other hand, if their ministry would have exploded...more than likely they'd still be in the same location doing, believing and being all the same things they were before! At some point we all experience failure, and it's then that our our doctrine is either stronger and more resolute or we start to morph into an armchair psychologist on all that's wrong with Christendom. I could point out quite a few blogs of folks who have taken this route, but I'll abstain since they are doing a good enough job of leading lots of teeter tottering folks (those in the balance) down the wrong path and I don't want to help them out by giving out their address. A few of them used to be on my blog roll and aren't anymore for obvious reasons.
For some it's not ministry failure, it's family. All it takes for some people to have a belief tweak is for their kids to make sinful decisions. I'm talking about things that are clearly spelled out in the Word, not matters of preference or culture. And when their children take those unfortunate paths in life, they begin to alter their values because their heart is so torn up. Sometimes the response to pain is a belief tweak instead of just getting on their faces before God to intercede for the souls of their children because they know the reality of scripture.
Emotions are terrible leaders.
Doctrine is designed to be environmentally clueless. It could care less about the atmosphere and that's the way it's supposed to be.
What is the whole book of Job about? The crux of it basically is that Job stayed true and never changed his tune no matter what happened to him. He didn't start re-examining everything because his last gig didn't work out. His friends, even his wife egged him on to curse God and die. But he would have none of it. What was happening to him had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH WHAT HE WAS GOING TO BELIEVE OR NOT BELIEVE. The dude was like a broken record in all the right ways. We can learn so much from him.
How much do you have to lose for you to start changing everything you believe? What's your limit?
When we go through stuff, people in the world should be lining up to say, "HOW IN THE WORLD ARE YOU GOING THROUGH THIS AND MAINTAINING YOUR FAITH??!!" It should be puzzling to them. This is part of what is attractive about true Christ followers -- they are rock solid through the storms because of the power of God at work within them. Not that storms aren't difficult, not that they don't feel them, but they cling to the solid rock and maintain stability. Mature believers who are solid in their faith develop a faith that is victorious and even shines in adversity.
Do you know how easily this compromise can happen? Spiritual giants fall every day. None of us are perfect and all of us are susceptible!!! There but the grace of God go any of us. We are all just one failure away from compromise, excepting the Holy Spirit's power to stand. What is my limit? What will it take for my faith to be shaken? What tragedy will have to occur for me to change my theology to accomodate it? How much do I have to lose before I start to compromise? What do my kids have to go out and do before I start tweaking the word to bring me peace to sleep at night?
I have come to the point in the past few months where I've prayed a scary prayer...and that is, letting the Lord know that I could lose everything and still resolutely stand for what I believe and not water it down. Not that I've attained all that, but whatever meager things I have attained - if I lost them all, I would still stand for the same things I stand for now.
I don't want to be Job. Not at all. Dear God just thinking about it makes me tremble. I don't want hardship, I don't want tragedy. I've had my share of failures and I sure don't want any more to have to deal with. But we all must pray through and ask ourselves, just how much disappointment or failure would it take for us to start changing our tune?
Does the foundation of our faith and the Word of God stand in every atmosphere and environment possible? How much does the devil have to throw at us before we start negotiating values?