Someone asked why there are so many dissenting viewpoints about biblical doctrine. I see several reasons for this.
1. We espouse many viewpoints on various passages because we are at various stages of growth, of sanctification. For instance, Christians new to the faith, who do not yet know how to live by just trusting God, would tend to want plain rules for right living. But the mature in faith know that they are to be led by the Spirit and not mere laws and rules. (Read the book of Acts and you’ll see surrendered men moved by God and not rules and laws.)
2. We also see much debate because their experience trumps plain biblical teaching. Some will say, “Our church speaks in tongues, so we know tongues are for today.” Others will say, “Our church does not do tongues, so tongues are not for today.”
3. One will disagree on a point because she read a passage out of context and misunderstsood it. One will disagree on the point because he simply accepts a denomination’s position–which is accepted without question. Another has a dissenting view because she believes in a position endorsed by a famous Christian, even though others have pointed out flaws in the reasoning since then.
4. Some will take a passage literally; others, figuratively.
5. We may carry a doctrine too far and make false conclusions not in keeping with plain texts of Scripture. For instance, if we say, “Jesus loves me very much,” we may also conclude that there will be no judgment either, for “someone who loves me will not judge me.”
6. If we hold a strong conviction about a non-essential doctrine, it may color our views of other aspects of Scripture. If we believe in a Pre-tribulation or Mid-tribulation Rapture, we will interpret certain passages not related to the Rapture a certain way. If we believe that all Christians will rise in the Rapture, we will interpret non-Rapture passages differently than if we believe the Rapture is only for those Christians who are ready.
These are only a few ideas. What others can you share? Do any personal perspectives prevent you from examining passages related to getting ready for Christ’s return?