It has taken me a while to come to the realization that I'm a contrarian by nature, and when you add "Christian" to that identity, it has led me on an interesting path in my faith life. So you know where I'm coming from, let me define "contrarian" as it pertains to me -- and I'm pretty sure to a growing number of my Christian brethren. I'm a person who is not afraid to question or look deeper into conventional beliefs, opinions, views, or philosophies. I do not "go along with the crowd" for the sake of needing to belong with the majority. I guess the simplest way to describe it would be to say I'm a seeker of truth, not a blind endorser of conventional or prevailing philosophies. That doesn't mean that I reject traditional or mainstream thinking. I am simply not a mindless follower. I'm sure many of you identity with me.
When it comes to my faith, I am a believer that attempts to be as Biblically correct as possible [in my understanding], even when my views and opinions are unpopular or do not follow the status quo of accepted Church doctrine. Again, my goal is not to willfully and purposely reject established teachings, but to correctly discern God's message. I just want to be as close to God's perspective as it is possible for me to be. That has often resulted in finding myself outside accepted interpretations, but rewarded with a richer understanding of God's original purpose for inspiring the Scripture. As you can imagine, that doesn't always mean I'm welcomed with open arms in religious circles, but I'm okay with that. I have a greater fear [as in awe and reverence] of my Lord, than I have a fear of man.
You see, I often hear that my understandings of Scripture are not "biblically correct" because they can't be found in chapter and verse in any of the various translations. They are often purported to be false or misconceptions; even myths made up by men. So I guess that would put me in company with C.S. Lewis, who is quoted as saying, "All myth is an attempt to shine light on truth. True Myth is the ultimate Light shining on the ultimate Truth". As an example of C.S. Lewis's thoughts on this subject of divining God's Truth from myth, consider this example he gave ... Now the story of Christ is simply a true myth: a myth working on us in the same way as the others, but with a tremendous difference that it really happened: and one must be content with accepting it in the same way, remembering that it is God's myth where the other's are men's myths. In other words, the pagan stories are God expressing Himself through the minds of poets, using such images as He found there, while Christianity is God expressing Himself through what we call 'real things'."
Are you with me so far? All the stories and myths and fables [many of them written down and preserved] from antiquity that mirror the "God stories", including a death and resurrection component, are often dismissed by modern Christians as "pagan" because they can't be found written in whatever version of the Bible they believe is the best one. And they are often relegated to the genre of "mythology" and dismissed as having any veracity. But the pride in which we view our twenty-first century knowledge of Scripture misses the possibility that those ancient myths still exist because it was God speaking to those writers in their time, and in their languages and images that their faculties could understand; that He was choosing to give "a description of Himself" in a way that fit their experience and ability to comprehend. Does it occur to anyone today that our "doctrines" are simply how our faculties and minds have translated the concepts and ideas that God revealed to later "poets" and "writers" that resulted in our Bible? And please know that I recognize the divinity of our Bible and do not mean to say that all writings throughout antiquity have been God-inspired, and therefore deserve equal status with the Bible. I merely want to present the idea that some "myths" may actually carry the seed of God's Truth and are worthy of consideration as we study to filter through the prejudices against them.
All that being said, as a Christian contrarian, I firmly believe it is not my duty nor responsibility to persuade or convince someone of the "rightness" of my own reasoning in spiritual or Biblical matters. In fact, I am more interested in sharing what I've discovered in the hopes that it will encourage others to do their own research and reap the joy and blessings of receiving more of God. Make no mistake, I'm not afraid to present a different view from mainstream Christian thinking or well-established doctrinal positions. But I don't do it out of rebellion or a desire to confuse or cause skepticism [about the Bible] among the faithful. In other words, I'm not out to disagree for the sake of disagreement, but rather to search out the real truth of God's heart on a specific matter instead of simply accepting man's interpretation. In that sense, I am convicted about researching the literal meaning of words, the cultural context in which Scripture was written, letting Scripture interpret Scripture, and listening to what Holy Spirit counsels. And that sometimes puts me at odds with conventional Church understanding. So be it.
To be honest, I welcome more contrarians like myself. I do not want to see our faith and beliefs become subject to a method of interpreting Scripture according to what is agreed upon by a majority. That comes dangerously close to what is called "groupthink", and I hope we can agree that our society, our culture, and yes, even our churches have fallen prey to this psychological phenomenon. Groupthink occurs within a group of people in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome. Cohesiveness, or the desire for cohesiveness, in a group may produce a tendency among its members to agree at all costs. The Word of God deserves greater consideration!
I fear that as history takes us further down the road toward the persecution of Believers [that Jesus prophecies in Matthew 24], we will see the "go along to get along" attitude of the Church that has resulted in compromised denominations. As the pressure increases upon the Body of Christ to conform to accepted practices and ideologies, the need for more Christian contrarian voices will be vitally important. We must be diligent to resist calling them heretical, New Age, or some other derogatory epithet just because they refer to an ancient or pagan myth in clarifying some point of Scripture.
For instance, I'd like to share this opinion from Apologetics Press and Dr. Caleb Colley: "Many times in Scripture, inspired writers use other sources of information; sometimes these sources are inspired, and sometimes they are not. For an example, one occasion when an inspired writer used an uninspired source is in 1 Corinthians 10:4, where [the Apostle] Paul apparently made a reference to Jewish legend to support his own inspired interpretation of Israel’s wilderness wanderings (Lenski, 1937, pp. 392-393). On other occasions (Acts 17:28; Titus 1:12-13), Paul quoted from pagan poets to support his own assertions, and even told his audiences that the specific portions of the pagan writings he referenced were accurate. Did Paul claim that these extrabiblical materials were inspired? Certainly not. Paul used supporting materials that would have been meaningful to his audiences. The noncanonical works that were cited by New Testament authors were highly respected. The fact that Paul used noncanonical sources to add an extra dimension to his message should not motivate us to regard any of Paul’s writings as inferior, or to totally disregard them."
Now, you may or may not agree with this opinion, but can you see that this additional information about the sources of Paul's writings adds another dimension to the understanding of them? For me, I am able to discern that God inspired Paul to use those sources, and in no way does it disparage the Truth of the Bible. It stands as it does today, sufficient for the spiritual needs of Christians. But I also believe that God can and will use contrarians such as Paul, and writers and believers like C.S. Lewis and Dr. Colley [and in some small way, even myself] to broaden and expand revelation and understanding in order to shine His ultimate Light on His ultimate Truth. I stand convicted ... I am a Christian Contrarian, and subject to the divine inspiration of my God as I search for more of that ultimate Truth!
Acts 17:28 For in Him we live and move and exist [that is, in Him we actually have our being], as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’