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Back To The Bible>>The Reliable Guide
by Bro. Clifford Hurst

1101 North Union Road
Dayton, Ohio 45417

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Young people question. It is part of the passage into adulthood that should be expected and embraced by the adults in their lives. However, the how and the why of their questioning is another matter. I often have spoken in defense of the youth's questioning partly because of my own experience. In my mid-teens I sat in a Sunday School class where the teacher was sharing the story of how God was going to destroy His people for their rebellion and sin, but at Moses' intersession, He, God, "repented of the evil" (judgment) He had determined to do. Then, the teacher noted that to repent means to change one's mind. He was correct. At this, I raised my hand. When acknowledged, I asked, "We are taught that God never changes. How then could He change His mind?" There was a slight pause and then the teacher retorted, "Clifford, you are just trying to be a smart aleck." Then, with somewhat of an angry face he went on with the lesson with no attempt to answer my question. I was crushed. In defense of the teacher, many times I was a smart aleck as a teenager. But, not this time. I was serious. I questioned to seek reconciliation of what I knew to be true about God and with what the verse seemed to be saying. A young person's questioning in search for the truth, in search of knowing for himself is a healthy thing. But, there is another kind of questioning. To illustrate, I will construct a composite young person from several experiences. This young lady has been raised in church all her life and exposed to the very evident presence of God. Suddenly, she questions if God exists, if the Bible is true, if there is any reality to the Christian experience, etc. However, if you really listen to her, her questioning does not reveal an inquiring mind but a rebellious heart. From where are the questions coming? Do they come from a real effort to reconcile various truths? From a search for the truth? From an inquisitive reading of the Bible? From listening to godly people? Or, are they coming from godless teachings? Or from exposure to godless media? Or from godless peers? Or from godless admired adults? Or even from one's own deceitful, unreliable heart? One thing that bothers me is when a young person wants to posture as an intellectual--she would insist she questions because she is an intellectual. In the multitude of atheists, there are few truly intellectual atheists. This is not reference to any's intelligence. It is a reference to motive. Most atheists, whether they would concede it or not, choose to deny God for a plethora of other reasons which hardly are intellectual. Chief among those reasons is simply a rebellion of heart. To concede the truth of God is to concede that one is accountable to God. Thus, it seems to me, that much questioning arises from a desire to justify rebellion not to discover truth. Question. By all means. But when questioning, also ask, "Am I really wanting to know the Truth, or am I seeking to do what I want to do, be what I want to be?" "Do I want to know the Way or have my way?" And that's not smart aleck.

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