Sjolander Road Fellowship

Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

faith of our fathers




So many in the church today equate respect for the Bible and Jesus with close adherence to the "faith of the fathers", either the founding fathers of the nation or the earliest church fathers. The idea behind the expression is that in our past, we figured out the proper theology once and for all. Therefore, the religious understanding of that past defines the truth forever.  The more someone suggests that Bible study demands an ever evolving comprehension, the more these folks insist that, no, what has always been taught is what must be taught still.


How it is that the ancients were wiser than those of us today is never explained, only assumed. Of course, after a little reflection on church theology in general, we easily see why an evolving understanding of the Bible is not allowed. Salvation by right knowledge or understanding doesn't allow for change in knowledge or understanding. Change today implies we were wrong yesterday, and being wrong yesterday potentially dooms a lot of our forbearers. Plus, a church that claims to always be the mechanism for disseminating divine truth cannot be comfortable with change, even though the history of the church is replete with recorded changes in practice and theology, not to mention the competing interpretations of the Bible that always exist.


In reality the "faith of the fathers" is a colloquialism for something that never existed, except in the minds of those who honor religious tradition above all else. Yes, our fathers had a religious understanding which can serve as the starting point for our own spiritual journey. However, there was no largely universal biblical understanding at any point in church history, which can be shown as the measure of essential, inalterable divine truth.

It may be comforting to assume so, since re-establishing the past seems easier than figuring out the future. Nevertheless, as most all of us have experienced, life always moves on and changes. As much as we may relish the past, it never returns. Change, progress, transformation, and evolution are an integral part of God's plan. He couldn't be called The Creator if that were not so.