By Akin Ojumu

It was during a Pentagon news briefing in February 2002, that Donald Rumsfeld, the then United States Secretary of Defense under the administration of President George W. Bush, coined his now famous “there are unknown unknowns” phrase. 

In response to a question about the lack of evidence linking the government of Iraq with the supply of weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups, Secretary Rumsfeld stated:

“There are Known Knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are Known Unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also Unknown Unknowns – the ones we don't know we don't know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tends to be the difficult ones.”

Unlike Secretary Rumsfeld, the Unknown Unknowns are less of a problem for me when it comes to my knowledge of the Word of God. As difficult as the Known Unknowns may be, they are equally not where my problem lies. 

Neither the things I know that I don’t know nor those I don’t know that I don’t know worry me that much. I could live with the Known Unknowns, and I certainly could cope with the Unknown Unknowns. 

What really trips me off are the Known Knowns. The Achilles’ heel of my journey of faith are the “I thought I know knowns.” Going around thinking I know something which, in reality, I don’t quite know, is where I find myself floundering. It’s the self-deception of knowing that leads to my undoing.

Every time I listen to another gifted teacher of God’s Word exegete Scripture, soundly & correctly, it feels as though a switch is flipped in my mind and the light of understanding floods my soul. And I’m left stunned at how little of the Bible I know and how infantile my understanding of God’s Word truly is.

After these many years that I’ve been a Christian, it’s quite embarrassing to suddenly realize that my knowledge of Scripture is so profoundly limited. All this time, I thought – secretly – that I was a connoisseur of some sort where the Bible was concerned. Then, I get to meet a truly gifted expositor of God’s Word, a real connoisseur, I’m brought down to planet earth. Suddenly, it dawns on me that I have been drinking too much of my own “Known Knowns” Kool Aid.

What this sobering experience does is to drive me back to the Bible. The ego shattering realization propels me to want to know more of God by studying His Word. I re-immerse myself in the Scriptures, to begin the process of knowing. 

First thing I do is to unknow – i.e., unlearn – the Known Knowns. Taking a high dose of spiritual Dulcolax, I purge myself of all the bad theology I had stuffed myself with over the years. Using a spiritual enema, I flush all the unsound doctrine down the drain of my mind.

Thereafter, I commence on a proper spiritual diet, feeding myself with the pure milk of God’s Word that’s untainted by man’s wisdom and uncorrupted by human philosophy. Training myself on the principles of Biblical hermeneutics and sound exegesis, I study to show myself approved unto God, diligently handling the Word of God, one verse at a time, contextually, grammatically, and historically.

It’s not until then that I stop being a prey of intergalactic crawlers of the heavenly realms who boast about their ability to travel from dimension to dimension and brag about having powers to perform supernatural wonders. Their ceaseless claims of hearing from God are pure lies. These are enemies of my faith, I cease to give them a foothold in my life.

Enough already of theology built on the shaky foundation of mystic experiences. It’s way past time to quit doctrines propped up on rickety pillars of esoteric occurrences. Whatever belief that’s not explicitly taught in Scripture is unscriptural, junk it. Any teaching not substantiated contextually in the Bible is unbiblical, dump it. 

For the sake of your precious soul, run from anyone who pushes a theology that’s contrary to God’s Word. It doesn’t matter how esteemed or exalted in your eyes a person is, if he promotes a doctrine unsupported by Scripture, flee for your life.


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