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August 23, 2004

The Christian Duty of Skepticism: Galatians 1

One thing about Christianity is that it requires that its believers think independently. Paul said in Galatians 1:7-9,

I marvel that ye are so quickly removing from him that called you in the grace of Christ unto a different gospel; which is not another [gospel] only there are some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach unto you any gospel other than that which we preached unto you, let him be anathema. As we have said before, so say I now again, if any man preacheth unto you any gospel other than that which ye received, let him be anathema.

Who is to decide whether the leader is preaching the original gospel, or a new, perverted one? The believer must decide for himself. It is not that he gets to choose which gospel is correct; that is not up to him. Rather, he must figure out which gospel is correct, with woeful consequences if he gets it wrong.

This goes against a strong tendency in human nature, which is to pick someone as an authority and just trust him. That tendency is quite sensible-- it saves a lot of effort-- but it is dangerous, whether applied in religion or in personal finance.

Posted by erasmuse at August 23, 2004 12:02 AM

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