If our understanding of who God is and how He works in the world doesn’t have a foundation in the Bible, it’s possible that we hold “sketchy views.”
A great many things work to pull us away from Jesus Christ. That’s not news. “The Scripture teaches us that the world, the flesh, and the devil are all going to be agents of temptation for us,” says Dr. Daniel DeWitt. The pull away from Christ can feel stronger if we’ve based our view of who God is on something other than Scripture.
“I think that often Christian young people will make their experience in the world the chief authority by which they think about God,” he says. “And I’m reminded of a line from a Christian rap artist who said, ‘God made you in His image, and He didn’t ask you to return the favor.’” He believes that the way we think about God is the most important thing about us. DeWitt says we develop poor theology, or what he calls “sketchy views,” if our faith is unexamined or unfounded. We also have “sketchy views” if our beliefs are true but neglect love, or if they contradict the Bible.
“We need to test everything by Scripture. And that means even the teachings of people we really might appreciate or enjoy. We always want to come back to Scripture as our ultimate authority.”
We all know people who are deconstructing their faith–pulling it apart and examining what they’ve believed. DeWitt says the process may help them jettison aspects of the faith that were not actually based on what God says about Himself in Scripture. “If they’re deconstructing an unfounded faith or an unbiblical faith, the deconstruction could be helpful to the degree that the goal is, in the end, to construct something new, and more reliable,” he says. “My prayer would be for young people that they’re working through these issues because, Lord willing, this is God’s way of refining what they truly do believe. And if on the back end there’s no belief at all, may the Gospel be demonstrated as the power of God to save them.”
Dr. Daniel DeWitt is a senior fellow at Missouri’s Southwest Baptist University and leads the Center for Worldview and Culture. His newest book is Sketchy Views: A Beginner’s Guide to Making Sense of God.Learn more about Dr. Daniel DeWitt and his writings here and here.