August 16 – Don’t Take My Word For It

You are reasonable people. Decide for yourselves if what I am saying is true. (1 Corinthians 10:15)

Read: Nehemiah 11:1-12:26, 1 Corinthians 10:14-33, Psalm 34:11-22, Proverbs 21:14-16 

Relate: The greatest theologian of the twentieth century was Karl Barth. Some might argue this. Personally, my favorite was Dietrich Bonhoeffer, but that has more to do with his life and death than it does with his theology (which I also mostly do love). Some people might say the greatest theologian would be Paul Tillich or Rudolph Bultmann. Others who focus more on practics and less on theory might instead throw out names like AW Tozer or CS Lewis. Nope. These are worthy minds but Karl Barth was head and shoulders above them all. This is not my biased opinion. It is just the facts.

Near the end of his life, Barth wrote a book that comes fairly close to an autobiography. It isn’t a very known book because it isn’t truly an autobiography but at the same time, it isn’t theology like his Church Dogmatics or The Epistle to the Romans (His two most famous writings). This book was rather a summary of how what he believed changed over time. It was appropriately titled, How I Changed My Mind.

React: Can you imagine the humility it must have taken for someone who at that point was universally recognized as the most influential living theologian and one of the greatest ever to write a book about all the ways he was wrong? It makes me wonder: if twenty years from now I come back and read some of what I am writing today, how often will I just shake my head and say, “what was I thinking?”

What scares me, even more, is that I might look back twenty years from now and completely agree with everything I am writing. Why does that scare me? It will say that in twenty years I have not grown. I have not learned. I have not changed. I can guarantee that some of what I write is wrong. It is imperfect. It is flawed. Hopefully less now than when I first started writing devotionals back in those Myspace days. Hopefully less in twenty years than now. But still… don’t take my words as scripture. Only the word of God is authoritative. If you disagree with me, good. You’re probably right. I pray that you learn from me and grow closer to God because of my efforts, but I also pray that you follow Paul’s wisdom even more: “You are reasonable people. Decide for yourselves if what I say is true.” Don’t take my word for it.

Respond: 

Dear God,
I’m sorry. For all the things I have and said and written that are just plain wrong, I’m sorry. For all the ways I continue to think and speak and write things that are still wrong, I am sorry. Don’t let me stop learning. Don’t let me stop growing. Give me the humility to always continue to recognize the ways I have fallen short. Give me the strength and courage to acknowledge it and change. Let me ever walk closer to You and as I walk further and further from those errors and mistakes of my past I pray that You would continue to work through me, in spite of me.
Amen

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2 thoughts on “August 16 – Don’t Take My Word For It

  1. Well said. Thank you. I have often read about Barth and always felt he would be a kindred spirit. It is always hard to read stuff to intellectual or technical, but I will definitely have to check out your recommend.

  2. I appreciate your insight here. I think we all want to learn, but we don’t tend to think that includes being plain wrong sometimes in our journey! Thanks for shining a light on this for me!!

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