Never be wise in your own sight. Romans 12:16
There is a man named Thomas Oden who, for many years, was wise in his own sight, and then experienced a remarkable change of heart. The very honest confession of this brilliant man (who has published over 50 books and articles) can be found in his book, A Change of Heart.
His story is helpful because it shows how when a person is wise in his own eyes, it shapes his whole approach to Scripture. If you are wise in your own sight, you will evaluate the Bible in the light of your own wisdom. You will take what fits with what you already believe, and you will discard everything else. Instead of listening to the voice of God, you are actually listening to an echo of your own voice, and that leads to a profound alienation from God.
Thomas Oden was born in 1931 and had great influence during the massive cultural changes that took place in the 1960s. He was raised in rural Oklahoma and grew up in a Methodist church. From early on in life, he professed to have a Christian faith.
Oden had a passion for social justice, and describing his student years, he says, “I was a Marxist utopian dreamer for a decade before I learned the vulnerabilities of Marxist theories… I began to see the vision of a world where all weapons would be banned, opening the way for a world government that would seek social justice and where peace and sanity would prevail.”
Here is how he describes his relationship with Scripture: it was “a filtering process which permitted those sources to speak to me only insofar as they could meet my conditions, my worldview and my assumptions as a modern person.”
Are you aware of any ways in which you might be twisting or filtering Scripture to fit your own assumptions and worldview?