Preconceived Notions

Several years ago, I had a friendly but intense conversation with a gentleman about the nature of God. He didn’t believe in the concept of the Trinity, that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all God. We spent some time discussing the most common scripture references that seem to have something to say on the subject. After our discussion had moved quickly through several of these scriptures, and the weight of the conversation was on him to explain his position, he made a comment that I have not forgotten, though most of the rest of the discussion has slipped from my mind. He said something like this, “You know, the idea that God is three persons always bothered me even before I became convinced of my view.”

More recently, I had another conversation with a young man who says he doesn’t believe that Christians should meet every Sunday as we do today. He indicated that the Christians in the Bible did not gather in church buildings or participate in many of the activities churches are involved in today. So, he concluded that Christians are not expected to “go to church.” We didn’t have much opportunity to discuss the issue, but I briefly told him that I both agreed and disagreed with what he was saying, that the early church did not have church buildings, but that they did meet everyday for fellowship and encouragement. A little later in the conversation he said something like this, “I’m not very good with people, so I am uncomfortable when I go to church.”

Both of these men have something in common: their convictions seem to be largely the product of preconceived notions. The first gentleman indicated that he already held his view before he came to the Bible to study it. The second gave a very similar statement, one that would indicate that his views of meeting with the church are more influenced by his personality and social inclinations than by unbiased Bible study.

These men seem to have another thing in common: they don’t realize or want to admit how strongly their preconceived notions influence their views.

Which makes me wonder…

What about my views? What about the convictions I hold so strongly? Are they a product of honest inquiry, or did I reach my conclusions before I ever started to explore them?

I am sure I have lots of assumptions and I don’t even realize what they are.

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2 thoughts on “Preconceived Notions

  1. Thanks Clint. Good article.

    We all bring biases to the text or to any situation. At this point, I don’t think its possible, or even desirable to remove those. They make up who we are. I think the best thing is to be aware as much as possible of our biases and loop that awareness back into our thinking.

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