A guest post by Andy Wilson…
My wife, Michelle, and I began attending Exodus early in 2013 when we moved to Gastonia. The most significant area of spiritual growth I have seen since I have been here has been my understanding of theological clarity. Through our two years at Exodus I have come to realize the importance of a sound understanding of Bible doctrine, and the impact this can have on a believer’s life.
I have not always valued deeper understanding of doctrinal concepts. I grew up in a church that did not emphasize doctrinal understanding among its members, and I carried this with me for most of my life. When I left home for college, however, I had a roommate and circle of friends that believed doctrine to be very important; this was the beginning of my transition. At the time, though, I still did not quite grasp the value of doctrine, and inaccurately saw it as a tool believers used to debate with other believers, which did not seem very productive to me. Because of this incorrect understanding, it would still be quite some time before I began to pursue theological clarity.
Fast forward a few years to my time at Exodus, and it didn’t take me long to see that I was off base. After many conversations with people here at church, both members and leaders, I started to see that they pursued doctrine for different reasons. I learned that my definition of Bible doctrine was incorrect; it is simply a way of explaining overarching concepts found in scripture, taking into account what the entire Bible says about each of them. When it is defined in this way, the value of doctrine becomes much more apparent. With this new discovery in mind, I did a deep dive, trying to catch up on 25 years of missed time. I picked up a systematic theology textbook and incorporated it into my daily study.
Concepts like the process of salvation, God’s sovereignty, and the infallibility of scripture have an enormous impact on the Christian’s witness.
In the past two years, my confidence in my faith and reliance on God’s grace to sustain me have grown tremendously. The impact is real, and I have seen growth in the way I lead my family and engage others about the gospel. My decision-making is now more shaped around the gospel. The more I learn the more I want to learn.
If the thought of reading or studying more is overwhelming, please remember that the life of a believer is a marathon, not a sprint. There are many people at Exodus who have a lot to say about this topic, and if you are interested in what that study looks like for me and my family I, too, am happy to talk about it. I continue to be more grateful every day for my time here, and if you are here and are not yet involved I would ask you, “what are you waiting for?” You will only be blessed by giving of your time and energy in pursuit of Jesus Christ and the mission He has set before us.