Too often when this type of question is asked, one of the results is that people can now put you in one camp or another. You are either “pro this” or “against that”; you believe “things should be this way or that way”; you believe someone or something is “right or wrong”. Unfortunately this way of approaching things can also put barriers up between people and cut off or hinder discussion and relationships. As I was thinking about this question, “What do I believe?” I began to work on the passage of scripture from Acts 10 for one of our services. This is the story of Cornelius being told to call Peter to come and preach to them and Peter being taught that he should not call something unclean that God has made clean. Peter had been brought up with a strict understanding of the Law and did not want to break that practice by eating something that was ‘unclean’. God was using this vision to stretch and expand Peter’s beliefs as he grew and became the apostle that God had called him to be.
This text is not just about what we eat or who we hang out with, but is more about growing in our beliefs and understandings as we grow closer in our relationship with God through Jesus. I don’t believe exactly what I believed when I was 5 or in high school or even in college and seminary. God has stretched my beliefs and understandings as I have matured and grown, as I have listened to others and experienced life and God’s presence in people different than I. If we stop growing in our beliefs and understanding of God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, church, ministry, life, etc. then I feel that we are missing out on a lot that God has to offer us and we are missing out on ways in which we can grow and minister to people that we had never thought of before.
So, yes, I could tell you specifics about what I believe and understand about things, but also understand that those beliefs are being stretched and they are growing all time.
May God continually stretch out beliefs as we grow deeper in our relationship.