Wednesday, February 3, 2010
God's Final Word?
A couple of days before Christmas I read an article over at the Team Pyro/ Pyromaniacs blog. This particular article was written by Dan Phillips, which I know only by that blog. The more notable contributor is Phil Johnson, who is pretty tight with John Macarthur, whom I have never seen a controversial post from (yet). I have been hesitant to post this blog, not out of fear of the mighty pyro, but out of respect. I do respect the guys over there and I do agree with 99% of what they have to say. That being said, I can not get this post off of my mind and the only way will is to post it. Not that it will get the thousands of hits and traffic that the teamPyro blog does, but just to know it is out there in cyberville so the Lord can use it as He see's fit.
Phillips blog is titled “God’s Final Word” It did catch my eye, because admittedly, I very rarely read his posts. This one did elicit a response though. I invite anyone here over to read the blog post for yourself, along with all of the comments given, of which I have posted a couple. A dear brother in Christ has also asked some questions with few answers from Phillips and actually instead has been pretty much ridiculed for his questions. I have been silent since J.T. has been questioning over there, not so much out of fear of the same for me, but out of awe as the poster and those commenting seem to really have a disdain towards anyone that has a different view than they.
So what’s this little “difference”? Actually it is not really that little after all. As Dan Phillips blog title states “God’s Final Word” it is a post that says that God no longer interacts with His followers, other than through the reading of the Bible. I tend to disagree which finds me in hot water with Phillips and others at teampyro. Phillips asserts that at the closing of the cannon that God then became silent, except for through His scriptures. I questioned that by stating that how could someone be saved if God did not personally speak to that person, not with a thunderous voice, a whisper in the ear or a burning bush, but by a personal revelation if you will. The Spirit made contact with the man’s spirit and the man could do nothing but submit. So began a “discussion” that now includes J.T. and me in one corner and the rest of the posters throughout the rest of the ring.
I have been sitting on a comment that I typed up to post over there, but it has grown so long that I am sure it would go either unread or deleted by Phillips. Out of respect I chose not to post it over there because of its length, oh and J.T. almost said word for word what I was going to say on a few things. I will be posting a link there to my posting here on my meek blog over on the pyro comment section. But then again that is opening a can of worms for Phillips to tear apart any past posts I have written. I am definitely not the caliber writer that Phillips is, have not had anywhere near the formal training and have never pastored a church. But I do stand qualified in my relationship with Christ as a spokesperson for what He has done to me, through me and for me. Some of which has been by Him speaking directly to me.
Let me make a few things clear before I go any further: I am not what some would call a charismatic. I do not speak in tongues, never have been slain in the spirit, never seen an angel (that I know of), never had Christ standing in my room and never had a vision. I have however been led by God to do certain things not possible in and of myself, most notably repenting and trusting in Him as my Savior. Other than that I have had Him give me comfort in times of despair, have felt His leadership in decisions in my life, have been led by Him through prayer and other things that I can’t go into now. I have most recently seen His healing hands at work in my wife through a major surgery that had some head scratching healings unexplainable by the medical staffs. So, yes I know God is active in my life and no I am not ashamed to say He is. I would actually say that if you cannot see God active in your life then you have the issue, not me. Jesus said that His sheep hear His voice and follow Him. Maybe those that are not hearing Christ are either not listening, are too intellectual and self-reliant or not of His flock. I see no other options. Actually the first two of the options would suggest that you were ignoring Gods Word, which would be a tough task for a child of God.
Those commenting at the pyro blog have said that when God “illuminates” His Word that people get saved. Could the word “illuminate” also be God speaking to someone? How about calling it revealing Himself to someone? Or another term could be giving ears to hear, which Phillips himself asks for at the end of his post, but denies in his meta of the blog. J.T. asked Phillips if John Macarthur was blasphemous when he stated at the beginning of one of his sermons that “God impressed on me to change my message to….” This was shot down with a “Leave Macarthur out of this” type of comment. Macarthur has been a voice of caution to Christians against the “charismatic” sects, I never saw myself in one of these until Phillips lumped me in with the outlandish I mentioned earlier. I have also read and found great edification from Macarthur’s books “Charismatic Chaos” and “The Charismatics”.
Jesus said that His sheep hear His voice and follow Him. He did not say they read what is recorded. The paths of a good man are ordered by the Lord, lead us not into temptation, he that is of God hears His Words, everyone that has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me, the Spirit bears witness with our spirit, the Holy Ghost is a witness TO us, the Spirit teaches us, we have the mind of Christ, the Comforter dwells with me and in me, the Holy Spirit shows me things.(Psalm 37:23, Matt 6:13, John 8:47, John 6:45, Rom 8:16, Heb 10:15, 1 Cor. 2:13, 1 Cor. 2:16, John 14:16-17, John 16:13-15).
Many people know many things about God, but knowledge is not knowing, that is why Christ will tell many on judgment day to depart from Him, He never knew them. Head knowledge is great as long as it is preceded by spiritual knowledge. I could read every biography ever written on someone, know the finest details of their life, but never actually know that person. The same is with God. I could memorize the scriptures beginning to end and still not know God; until He illuminates/ opens my eyes/ calls my name and initiates a personal relationship. So many are deceived because they know a lot about God and the Bible, but are as lost as anyone could be. They think because they know a lot they must be a Christian.
I am sure I will make a part 2 to this blog; it is getting somewhat lengthy now. But will conclude now by saying that on one hand I agree with Phillips, Gods Word is closed. There will never be anything added to the bible. I will object though that God does not use things outlined in scripture to talk to His people and commune with our spirit by His Spirit. Call it illuminating, speaking to our hearts, revealing something, guidance or feeling His presence, it is all the same and semantics are getting in the way. I refuse to put limits on God and have yet to find anywhere in scripture that says God is silent, became silent or will be silent to His people. Steering the cart away from the ditch of overboard theatrics to the opposite ditch of God’s silence is just as bad and just as damaging.
Rats, I must make another paragraph. A question for the God is silent camp, if God is silent then why do you pray? Why do you ask for Him to guide you, to use you, to reveal to you? If all one has to do is read the bible to know God, why isn’t everyone that reads scripture converted? Wouldn’t saying that scripture will guide you totally without additional interaction from God in effect saying that a persons understanding as he reads the determining factor in their salvation? Why would we need preachers? Why do we need blogs like pyromaniacs or ministries like Grace To You, Desiring God or Real Truth Matters? If we are the body and Christ is the Head, then if He is not leading us aren’t we just stumbling around without leadership from Him? The last time I checked a body without a head was dead. Oh, it might flail around a bit and make a bunch of noise as it runs aimlessly into walls, but it will die eventually. I see the answers now “Christ is the head still, through the Bible”. But I will counter now as well by saying that I follow Christ through His Word, not the bible in and of itself, but Christ as revealed in scripture. If it doesn’t mesh with what the bible has already said, then it can’t be from God. It is true that scripture is the guide, all guidance can be found through scripture as revealed by God. Simply reading its words is reliance on me to comprehend, not reliance on God to guide me as I read.
Since writing this post, I was at odds with myself on rather I would post it or not. I have since seen several posts on Facebook and GTY from John Macarthur about this same topic and decided I would go ahead and post. My meager blog has nowhere near the readership that teampyro or Grace To You has, but I am confident that the Lord will lead those here that He wishes to read this. If you have read it, it is no mistake even if you disagree with me. I wish no ill will towards anyone that has a different opinion than mine. I will not say that you are an enemy and will not try to berate or belittle you in any way.