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Conviction with Teachability

This is just a short note—I hope!—as I have an extremely heavy day and really shouldn’t be stopping to write.

I’ve been thinking of different ways to state my goal both in my own writing and teaching and in publishing, and I played with “conviction and …”. What about “conviction without arrogance”? Perhaps “conviction with gentleness”? I think both of those say something of my goals.

But I think “conviction with teachability” may come closest. In my post two days ago, My Own Custom Bible, I said that we need to try to overcome the various elements that make us customize our Bible, but we should also be aware that we won’t be fully successful. I resemble that remark! I’d like to say that “conviction with teachability” is a good description for me, but I know that I can get stubborn on things I should change. Like most of us at one time or another I’ve been “saming when I should have been a-changing” (apologies Nancy Sinatra).

But the realization of our own weaknesses can also lead to a lack of conviction and to inaction, because we cannot make a firm decision as to what we should do. This is not a weakness of just one particular branch of Christianity (or society, for that matter). I think it’s hard to truly combine these two aspects fully.

“Teachability” is often seen as lack of conviction. Firm convictions result in one being seen as unteachable. And that even beyond the failings we will doubtless have.

If I might illustrate from a question on which many of my friends disagree—evolution—I’d point out that I’ve been involved in studying the topic since I was around 10 or 11 years old. I started as a young earth creationist and am now a theistic evolutionist (though I don’t like the term). I recall someone asking me to read a web page of moderate length which he felt would immediately convert me back to the young earth creationist position. When I instead pointed out that there was nothing in the article that was any different from the material I read before I was a teenager, he accused me of being arrogant and unteachable. You see, those arguments were so forceful to him, that he couldn’t see how I could be unconvinced.

On the same topic, there are hundreds of articles that come out every year, and normally at least a dozen or so books on this subject, just considering the ones I wish I had time to read. So one has to present a good reason to take the time on a particular book or article. Quite frequently, simply the fact that we’re having a conversation and a participant would like me to try, will lead me to read a particular book.

My point here is that being teachable means willingness to examine evidence, but at the same time, when one has spent many years studying a particular topic and coming to their current convictions on it, failure to turn on a dime doesn’t mean they are unteachable. (For you grammar cops out there, that’s an example of the singular ‘they,’ an acceptable form of English usage. Acceptable by whom? By me!)

At the same time, I have to watch carefully to make sure that the fact that I have certain convictions doesn’t mean that I’ll never read something from other perspectives.

I think you can see that combining conviction (at least strong enough to lead to action) and teachability is not always going to be easy. But it’s something I strive for.

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  1. Henry, to be teachable is to be humble; to be humble does not necesitate the person be a “push over.” In Numbers 12:3, the Scripture states that Moses was the most humble man on the face of the earth; however, he, as humble or meek as he was, killed an Egyptian, lead hundreds of thousands of people out of Egypt, contended with the people for 40 years through the desert, etc. The word translated as “humble” comes from the Hebrew word “Anav” which can mean: humble, lowly, meek. The Lord told us to be “wise as serpents;” in our humility, it is still okay to question, to prove everything [1 John 4:1]. Remember that faith is having “a conviction…” while not seeing; unless you are from Missouri. It IS very possible to have strong convictions and not be arrogant, prideful.


    1. Meritorious works cannot save you.
    2. Works of the Law of Moses cannot save you.
    3. Works of righteousness (good deeds) cannot save you.

    Titus 3:5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, (NKJV)

    Titus 3:5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, (NASB)

    Titus 3:5 then he saved us—not because we were good enough to be saved, but because of his kindness and pity— by washing away our sins and giving us the new joy of the indwelling Holy Spirit(The Living Bible —Paraphrased)

    Ephesians 2:8-9….you have been saved…9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. (NKJV)

    Ephesians 2:8-9 …have been saved…9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. (NASB)

    Ephesians 2:8-9 …you have been saved…9 Salvation is not a reward for the good we have done, so none of us can take credit for it.(The Living Bible—Paraphrased)

    Galatians 2:16 “knowing that a man is not justified by works of the law….. (NKJV)

    Galatians 2:16 and yet we Jewish Christian know very well thatwe cannot become right with God by obeying our Jewish law,…(The Living Bible–Paraphrased)

    1.It is not a work of righteousness.
    2. It is not a good deed.
    3. Men are not baptized because they are good enough.
    4. Water baptism is not administered as a reward for good deeds.
    5. Baptism is not a work of the Law of Moses.

    Water baptism is so men can be saved. (Marl 16:16)
    Water baptism is so men can have their sins forgiven. (Acts 2:38)

    1. They are not works of righteousness.
    2. They are not good deeds.
    3. Men do not believe, repentant, and confess because they are good enough.
    4. Faith, repentance, and confession are not works of the Law of Moses.

    Faith, repentance, and confession are so men can have their sins forgiven and be saved. (Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38, Romans 10:9-10)

    SALVATION IS A FREE GIFT FROM GOD. But men have to accept that gift through faith, repentance, confession and water baptism.THERE IS NO WORK REQUIRED.

    Men can be saved in the time it takes to believe, repent, confess, and be immersed in water.

    (Note: Repentance in Acts 2:38 means to change from unbelief and to make the commitment to turn from sin and to turn toward God)

    YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY BLOG. http://steve-finnell.blogspot.com

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