By Daniel Beck

Note: This book is a work in progress and is subject to change.



When I was younger, I was afraid to not know something. I felt an urgency to nail down a doctrinal position so I knew what lens to use for interpreting everything else. I would encounter a preacher or author who seemed confident, articulate, persuasive, and scholarly, and think to myself, “He seems trustworthy. I’ll take his view.” Then a year or two later I would encounter another preacher or author who seemed even more confident, articulate, persuasive, and scholarly, so I’d switch to his view.


I think switching doctrinal positions can be a good thing if accomplished by prayerfully searching God’s word. In fact, I think within certain boundaries the process of working out one’s own doctrinal positions can be more important and valuable than what doctrines we land on. But in my case, the switches were based primarily on whatever the last persuasive teacher espoused. My doctrines were received, not discovered. They were taught, not researched. They were handed down, not hunted down. I was a passive listener, not a vigilant investigator.


Losing confidence in a doctrinal position sometimes felt traumatic because it was taught to me by someone I put great trust in. When I concluded he or she was wrong about one important thing, I began to question whether I could trust anything they taught me. It felt disorientating.


As I got older, I gradually realized nobody has all the right answers. In fact, whenever someone confidently asserts all their views are flawless, I consider it a red flag. I remember listening to a pastor who held a very strong, vocal position on the timing of the rapture in relation to other end times events. From the pulpit, he explained that one parishioner suggested the church hold a panel discussion with different rapture-timing viewpoints represented so the members could hear their arguments and evidence. However, the pastor told us he quickly rejected the idea and said, “What do you think, I just came up with this yesterday? I’ve been studying this for years!” When I heard this, I sarcastically thought to myself: “In other words, you don’t need to hear from anybody else or come to your own conclusions – just trust me! I’ll tell you everything you need to know!”


Like countless other middle-aged Christians, I’ve listened to thousands of sermons and read hundreds of Christian books. And if there is one thing I know for sure, it’s that there are godly, scholarly men and women occupying positions at just about every point along every doctrinal spectrum in Christendom. Cessationist versus charismatic, Calvinist versus Arminian, Preterist versus Futurist, pre-Tribulation Rapture versus post-Tribulation Rapture, Once-Saved-Always-Saved versus Salvation-Can-Be-Lost, Partially Open Future versus Exhaustively Settled Future, and on and on.



I’ve come to especially appreciate Bible teachers who support their positions well, yet still things say things like “this is my opinion,” “I could be wrong,” or “here are some opposing arguments to consider.” I’ve begun to develop a level of comfort with not knowing. It’s ok to be unsure. It’s ok to take time and pray and be on a journey with the Lord. I don’t need to be in a rush to find all the answers. I’m never going to know all the answers, at least in this life. In fact, I’ve learned it is a sign of immaturity to feel overly urgent or pressured to nail down a position. It shows I’m finding my security more in doctrines or head knowledge than in really knowing and trusting the Lord. 


The doctrinal positions I advocate in this book may change in the future, and I’m fine with that. In fact, I’ll be surprised if some don’t change. But whether they change or remain the same, I’m more concerned with being able to say they’re my doctrines because I considered and researched the best arguments I heard, I studied scripture, I prayed, and here’s where I landed… at least for now.