Ostensibly, the biblical message prompts us to trust in Jesus for our spiritual well-being. After all, he is designated as the “Savior of the world” (I John 4:14). In fact, however, what the church teaches is that we must trust in our adherence to right theology as the means to personal salvation. This, of course, causes a woeful dilemma because my ability and my understanding, even if enhanced by the church, is always suspect. Given the many varied opinions and theologies to choose from, how can I possibly be sure that mine is correct? Most assuredly, much that I “believe” is merely an inherited faith. Few would dare to claim to have made an unbiased evaluation of all the available theological positions.
The question is, then, how did the need to trust in Jesus evolve into a requirement to trust in the church’s theology? Who or what is the savior of all mankind? Too many of us for too long have tried to stake a claim to Jesus through the means of religious practice and affiliation. This is decidedly not a faith in Jesus alone. It is a Jesus plus me and my church type salvation which denigrates the work of Christ and glorifies personal achievement. Any part of my salvation, that is separate and apart from what Jesus has done, demands that I trust in something or someone other than Christ.
In the final analysis, who or what do I trust? Is it Jesus alone, or is it someone or something else which filters His message and administers His blessing? If anyone chooses to trust in Jesus alone without the benefit of church theology and affiliation, then they are usually condemned as unbelievers. Maybe these “unbelievers” just find Jesus to be more trustworthy than their own ability to pick the right church and the correct theology.