You just know. For me I think it is a accumulation of experience than anything. that experience include Sunday school, conferences, listening to sermons over the years, reading books, studying the Bible, reading Christian literatures, being and discussing with other Christians, talking with pastors, taking courses, going to workshops and etc.
Accumulation of all these for over 20 years gives you a good sense of what’s sound theology and what’s off.
In my life, I have only found a few people my age who are as sensitive. One was Nat. He, like me, grew up at church his whole life and has just finished his master in theology at a seminary.
The level is different, much different in Hong Kong. At our church, most people did not grew up at church, at least, they did not grew up at church like us, who were at church starting primary school. We acquired a background of the Bible by the end of our primary school years. Come to think of it, Nat and I even went to private Christian school as well. That added to our Christian foundation.
The Christian perspective or narrative was already instilled in us by the time we hit our teens. We were in a Christian culture. We went to retreats and conferences in high school.
But I think the key is, we were taught. We were taught by different teachers at church, at school, seminary, conferences, retreats, books, literatures and etc. They all along with God and the Holy Spirit taught and shaped our Christian mind.
And probably the best and coolest thing was, at times in my life, I was surrounded by people who were also pursuing God with passion, like minded people. There wasn’t competition, it wasn’t like who was right or wrong, who has more knowledge and what’s not, we were all just pursuing together. We were comrades, helping one another, watching out for one another. And we were even comfortable and honest with our faults. We accepted who we are. I think that’s a big thing. We accepted who we are, we accepted one another despite of our faults.
That was a beauty.
What I find hard now and painful for me is that we don’t do that much right now. We don’t open up because we have a growing culture of being judging and criticizing one another. It is not healthy and I believe it is mainly geared towards some people, not all people.