October 31, 2018

Brought up a Baptist: To Question or Not, that is the Question

By Robin Mathis

I had already started writing this blog when I witnessed Josh Scott illustrate for our students how we get to know someone. He demonstrated with Jay Perkins as he began to ask him questions that prompted discussion about who Jay is as a young man? I enjoyed learning more about Jay and having a current story on the importance of asking questions.

My father adored his grandfather. Dad’s father passed away when he was 12, and his Grandad was a central male figure in his life. More importantly, he became a man with whom my father could discuss and explore the Word of God. They often talked about what they thought the Bible was trying to say. It also became a way to “challenge” what they heard espoused in church.

One day Dad expressed confusion about a controversial Baptist topic; so, naturally, he asked his Grandad, about what God thought about this “sin.”  Now, I won’t get into the details of the question in the hopes that everyone finishes my blog entry. However, he was surprised to hear that his grandfather didn’t agree with what Dad had been taught, and he used scripture to explain his answer. The beauty of this story is how questioning sermons and Sunday school lessons prompted discussion outside the building’s walls and fed the desire to learn the Word.

This story is one of many illustrating how our family (an extension of the big tree) still ask a LOT of questions. Though Church evolved into a place where we simply don’t question what we are taught, one of the most fundamental Baptist principles is to know, study, and discuss God’s word. The teacher in me knows that a discussion lacks depth if there aren’t critical questions. You may have heard of a “threaded discussion.” This is where a response to a question stimulates another question.

So, we continue to promote question asking in our family. We ask Patrick and Cecilia what they are learning, and we ask them what they think about it. If there is frustration, confusion or YES, disagreement, we look to God’s Word to answer our questions. In conclusion, despite the world having its idea about what it means to be Baptist, I know my foundation was to “look it up!” I can’t tell you how excited I am as I volunteer with the youth to hear Josh Scott ask, “what do you think about that?” and say, “get a Bible and look this up with me!”  Good teachers keep us questioning, and I am glad my children are in a children’s program that invites them to question and will move to a youth department that seeks answers too. I venture to say that questions and discussion will still happen around our dinner table, in the car, well just about everywhere.