Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Second-guessing God

What happens when some tenet of the Bible grates against our sensibilities? In those circumstances, we have a choice of faith: trust in God and go with the self-disclosure of his word, or tap into human intellect, get out an eraser, and blur the distinctive line drawn in the sand. Christians have faced this test over and over, and, IMHO, failed over and over again in that test of faith. We always come up with a reason to stay in Haran.

How so? You may ask. Let me list some of the areas of doctrine where I see the problem...

Perseverance of Salvation
The Baptism in the Holy Spirit
Infallibility of the Word
Inspiration of the Word
Social Gospel
Liberation Gospel

If you'd like me to expound, leave a comment (I probably will at some point even if you don't  ;-o ).


James Goetz said...

The Baptism in the Holy Spirit
Infallibility of the Word
Inspiration of the Word

SLW, you have a problem with the above? Just how much do we disagree? :)

And sorry that I have yet to go back to our previous conversation, but this caught my eye.

SLW said...

The question is with whose approaches to these things do I have the problem? ;-)

I'm Pentecostal in my understanding of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit (secondary, definite work of grace, evidenced by tongues) which represents a minority view contemporarily and historically. I don't know how people can read the Bible, apply it to their lives and living, and be cessationists or not see the connection in the Word between the experience of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and the experience of tongues.

I am a traditionalist when it comes to the infallibility of the Word, which, unfortunately, is under assault today in the Evangelical world. The divide between the fundamentalists and the modernists saw the liberal mainliners fall into a hole of irrelevance and the hollow of disbelief for abandoning the authority of the Word. Evangelicals will add to the great falling away if they jettison their commitment and submission to the authority and infallibility of the Word. Let the scholar kneel before the word rather than the word bend to his wishes.

I hold to verbal, plenary inspiration. That is what the scriptures teach about themselves. If one is uncertain of the source, how can one yield to the authority involved? It truly is a fundamental aspect of faith to me.

I think the old-time Pentecostals and Holiness movements made a mistake in understanding the nature of holiness (as does much of the rest of the church). Holiness is not a measure of behavior or the affect of ritual, but a communication of essence and an expression of attitude. Rites, rules and regulations can never get to the heart of the matter, which is the transformative power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, and the attitude of the believer which cherishes the intimacy with God entailed and walks where it is most easily experienced.

Deliverance is a sham, pure and simple. I believe in the casting out of demons, I don't believe in carnivals to accomplish such, nor spitting contests, nor in protracted wars of attrition. The playbook for deliverance and exorcism is not the Bible, and the results "achieved" don't look anything like the accounts in the Bible. It's easy enough to look and feel spiritually powerful when one's enemy is imaginary.