True Christian Consistency

Some people may misunderstand this Charles Finney quote and think it applies to the foundational doctrines of the Christian faith. It does not. Rather, it is an appeal for Christians to stay open to the Holy Spirit as He leads us into greater knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. We all need to humble ourselves and receive new light from Him. We haven’t yet arrived at a full grasp of His truth.

I have not yet been able to stereotype my theological views, and have ceased to expect ever to do so. The idea is preposterous. None but an omniscient mind can continue to maintain a precise identity of views and opinions. Finite minds, unless they are asleep or stultified by prejudice, must advance in knowledge. …

True Christian consistency does not consist in stereotyping our opinions and views, and in refusing to make any improvement lest we should be guilty of change, but it consists in holding our minds open to receive the rays of truth from every quarter and in changing our views and language and practice as often and as fast as we can obtain further information.

I call this Christian consistency, because this course alone accords with a Christian profession. A Christian profession implies the profession of candor and of a disposition to know and obey all truth. It must follow that Christian consistency implies continued investigation and change of views and practice in conformity with increasing knowledge. No Christian, therefore, and no theologian should be afraid to change his views, his language, or his practices in conformity with increasing light.

May we have such a heart.