Do you remember writing on a slate board in school? Probably not unless you are an older adult who attended a small rural school. I learned about slate board writing from my grandmother who was a school teacher in the early part of the 20th century. She attended a small rural school at the end of the 19th century, so she was very familiar with slate writing. My mother also attended rural schools in the 1920s and used slates as well.
I started school in the early 1950s and we were using blackboards and writing paper by then. Remember the kind of paper with the big lines for learning how to form letters? I remember the teacher calling on me to come up to the front of the class and erase the big chalkboard for her. For some reason that was a big deal when we were kids.
My grandmother lived with us after she retired from teaching and still had an old slate board. First, we would wipe the slate clean with a chalk eraser or slightly damp cloth. That’s where we get the phrases “a clean slate” and “a blank slate.” Next, we would use a piece of chalk to write on the slate board (similar to a black board). If I made a mistake or wanted to start over again, we used the cloth or eraser to wipe away the error and begin again.
Blank Slate Christians
A blank slate Christian is someone who is brand new to Christianity. Their education in spiritual things is at the beginning. That’s how I was when I became a Christian. Even though I had been raised in a Christian home, my years as an atheist had made me an infant when it came to the truth about the Bible and Christianity.
Every Bible study, every sermon, every conversation with other Christians was like someone was writing on my blank slate as a new Christian. It wasn’t long before my slate was no longer blank. It had a lot of writing on it. Hopefully, what was written was correct and in the right order. If you are fortunate enough to have good teachers and mentors at the beginning of your Christian life, and you’re taking good notes, it should be right.
Good teaching is also called good doctrine. That’s what teaching is – doctrine. Your doctrinal beliefs are based on what you believe the Bible teaches. If the teaching is right, your doctrine is right. If the teaching is wrong, your doctrine is wrong.
If you are a new Christian, I want to encourage you to find a good teacher or mentor who can help you get started in a way that will put you on the right footing with God’s Word. Unfortunately, there are many teachers who want to lead new Christians down a bad path doctrinally. Jesus and His apostles warn us about those dangers in the New Testament.
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.”Matthew 7:15-16
“Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.”2 Timothy 2:2-4
“But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.”2 Peter 2:1-3
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.”1 John 4:1-3
If you are struggling to find someone who can help you, please let us know and we’ll do what we can to help. It’s one of the reasons we’ve written thousands of online articles and more than 300 free eBooks on a variety of doctrinal subjects. We want to help you in your walk with Jesus.
If you think you may have already been misled in your spiritual walk, we’ll be glad to help you with that as well. Which leads us to the next type of slate.
Scribble Slate Christians
A scribble slate Christian is someone who has not had the benefit of good teachers and mentors. If you look at their slate, it looks like someone scribbled all over it. The message is unclear and confusing. Their doctrine, their knowledge and understanding about the Bible and Christianity, is wrong at one or more points.
Unfortunately, that is what we find with far too many Christians today. Their understanding of biblical teaching is confused because of bad teaching, bad mentoring and other problems they’ve faced in their lives as God’s people. It happens. That’s why the Bible warns us to be careful about what we allow teachers and others to write on our slates –
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines.”Hebrews 13:8-9
“Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple.”Romans 16:17-18
“… that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ.”Ephesians 4:14-15
“As I urged you when I went into Macedonia—remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine, nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith.”1 Timothy 1:3-4
That leads us to the next type of slate.
Corrected Slate Christians
A corrected slate Christian is someone who has had the benefit of someone correcting them about the truth of the Bible and Christianity. It’s not unusual for a Christian, whether young or old, to need correction from time to time. We all get off the track doctrinally at some point because of being surrounded by so much bad theology today, plus our own fleshly desires that often pull us away from the truth of God’s Word.
If you find yourself with a scribbled slate and are fortunate enough to find a teacher, mentor or close Christian friend who will help correct your slate, you are fortunate indeed. How will you know if they’re getting it right? You’ll know by their love, their deeds, their humility and teachable spirit. You’ll know by how they handle the Word of God. They will be in the Word regularly and able to teach you with wisdom and understanding. They also won’t have a problem with your questioning them about what they teach. They will gladly go to the Word of God and study it with you. If they’re wrong about something they believe, they’ll quickly correct themselves. Good teachers and mentors want to get it right because their primary concern is the glory of God — not theirs.
God loves each of His children deeply and wants our knowledge and understanding about Him and His Word to be right. He will correct us if we will listen to His voice.
“My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor detest His correction; For whom the Lord loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights.”Proverbs 3:11-12
How does God correct us? One way is through His Word rightly divided (correctly taught).
“Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers. Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness.”2 Timothy 2:14-16
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”2 Timothy 3:16-17
My prayer for you, as well as for myself, is that our spiritual slates are correct. Take stock of your beliefs and practices often and compare them with the perfect Word of God. If you find a mistake on your slate, correct it. Don’t let wrong doctrine stay on your slate for long lest it become part of your permanent thoughts and beliefs. So much is at stake.
“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”Ephesians 3:14-19
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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