The Two Trees: "Revelation" or "Interpretation"
Just What Are You Thinking?
I'm in the middle of a fast right now and having a great time in the Lord. I'm so hungry for the things of God sometimes I just can't stand it.
Just the other day while I was praying, I looked up a few messages by a fellow that is well known among other things for his Calvinistic leanings and the defense of those perspectives. I have heard of him more than once and had checked him out briefly a few times through the years. He had some good things to say. Nothing I wrote home to mom about...but good.
So I pulled up a few of his teachings to see if there was anything that I could "feed on". I wasn't looking necessarily for Calvinism verses Arminianism...or any "verses" or "ism" for that matter. I am long past watching people "fight things out" so to speak theologically. At this point in my relationship with Him and my ministry I would rather just pray in the Spirit and worship God. I have been at this a long time and it's not as if I haven't evaluated different perspectives from which the Word of God is interpreted.
This doesn't mean of course I will not listen to someone from another "camp" so to speak. I do this with the Word...with politics...other points of view are fun for me to listen to. I genuinely enjoy and make sure I take the time to consider other perspectives. I am convinced it's both healthy and necessary to do so.
I learned a long time ago you don't get far if it's always "My way or the highway!"...unless you're God! He is the only One that get's away with that one.
To quickly clarify...
In being "laid back" so to speak , I am not talking about ignoring heresy. The Church must always stand ready to ardently rebuke and correct blatant deception. The Jerusalem council in Acts 15 is a perfect example where the church leaders got together and discussed and argued very legitimate issues. Theological dilemmas are not new and are not even to be avoided. BUT...the conclusion of the matter was James perceived from God the RIGHT perspective "It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us..." Acts 15:28. The leaders came into agreement under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit...and sent out the decrees to the Churches to advise accordingly.
I am convinced there is a way to get to "what seems good to the Holy Spirit"....not just what seems good to our personal theological preferences. The result of His inspiration in the Book of Acts in the midst of debate was unity of the Body...and will be the same today. It was not half the leaders mumbling and going one way while the others went away in their angst as well. I don't see Paul taking his bacon lettuce and tomato sandwich storming out the door complaining that "Mr. Kosher"...Peter himself...was so unspiritual and a heretic and certainly God can never use someone so lacking in genuine revelation! May I contend that the fighting and griping against each other we see too often is an evidence of a lack of spiritual guidance rather than one of inspiration? Yes I know these things will continue until Christ returns. Yet since when does something being "real" make it right or we should not contend for something better?
Well I started listening to his message and I gotta tell you...within 15 minutes of watching and listening...and I really don't mean to be rude...
...I almost started getting a headache!
Now...please listen carefully. The things I'm about to write could be addressed to any perspective that is approached from the angles this gentleman was. This article can easily apply to an Arminian...Pre Trib...Post Trib...cessationist...Martian...any argumentor that has turned the great news of Jesus into a mental gymnastic exercise that has many of our messages known for proving how the "other guy" is wrong...not the simple message of the Gospel that the multitudes are meant to respond to.
I'm sure the people that really enjoy this brother and these particular theological pursuits would say "No...you have him wrong!"
And that's cool.
I'm confident this minister loves God...leads people to the Lord...and is actively pursuing God as he knows how. I'm sure his books and teachings are blessings to a number of people. And...it may very well be that these instances I am referring to may be the only messages out there he even broached the subject in the way he did!
I'm not trying to prove anyone wrong! It's not about that at all and would be the very thing I just wrote about while introducing this article. What I am ultimately tossing out there for consideration and maybe a few remedies is concerning a Church in general that has more "brains than brawn"...at least here in the West. In other words, "Theologies" and multiples of schools and seminaries to develop and teach them from myriads of perspectives has not been our problem through even the centuries. I'm simply contending that we at least consider that what has been lacking in conjunction with our deeply considered reasonings is the ability to get "the halt and the maimed and the lame and the blind..." Luke 14:21 healed by the power our gospel claims it is so full of!
This message was always meant to be proved...not simply discussed!
It's not about a personal disagreement over minutia in this instance as much as it just simply became a spring board for some thoughts that inspired me to write this particular article. He simply triggered deep seated convictions within me that are the result of over 35 years of personally participating and spectating in multi diverse denominations...movements...ministers with varying degrees of education and tradition and influence...and that around the world...in a constant quest to find what actually works to the glory of God and the integrity of His Word. If this article is turned into "He discounts or even hates my favorite minister or theological bent" you have totally missed the reason I am writing this.
The following is written as a reaction I had as I watched as people were listening intently on how wrong and illogical and inferior "the other guy was"...
And the dependence primarily on mental reason and calculation to prove it...
...with no reference (that I heard) to the living and active participation of the Holy Spirit to inspire and reveal what God's Word truly is speaking to the human heart. The term is called "revelation". It is from this perspective I am taking my liberty to "go off" on a few things...no offense please...
"If your interpretation of the Word of God...no matter you or your favorite exegetists...are not producing verifiable New Testament results...no matter how lofty said theology or proponent may be...the lack of evidences themselves show that interpretation is wrong...or at very best...incomplete."
Specifically, the New Testament was written in context with devastating miracles...mass conversions...and powers that opened jail cells as a result of angelic visitation and caused earthquakes in response to prayer.
No matter how "deep" the theological concept...we have to remember these guys did not write to be "deep"...they wrote to instruct how these great demonstrations of God's love were and how to continue them!!!
They wrote to free men, not to confuse them!
Do we actually think the end game of say the Ephesian letter...after so much power, miracles, and deliverances were granted to men through the writer himself...that Paul sat back and said...
"Hmmm...I wonder how deep I can get so that people will argue over these concepts...I'm going to create a maze of terms and theological treatises that I know is going to get these guys confused...and while they do...millions will never get to heaven or be touched by God because seminaries will train folks in the "isms"...rather than the "GO"!
The Apostle Paul earnestly desired "...that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him," Ephesians 1:7 The man of God prayed we would have a "spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him"...not go to seminary to learn how to criticize and argue and debate...ultimately developing our own interpretations that divide the Body of Christ rather than enjoy and cooperate within the union the Lord prayed we would have. "...that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you." John 17:21
Do you want to know why Paul prayed for us to have this encounter with the Spirit?
He prayed this because he was quite aware that there were some principles He wrote about that would not make sense without a definite revealing by the Same Spirit that prompted him to write these things! He continually appealed to the fact that what he was writing were revealed MYSTERIES! And you won't fully understand "mysteries" without the aid of the Instigator of them!
"When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come." John 16:13
The born again...new creation in Christ where "old things passed away and all things became new" ...was nowhere encouraged to ask God for a spirit of "interpretation"...but a spirit of REVELATION! A divine encounter with the Holy Spirit wherein He gently leads and guides us into all truth. The Holy Spirit is a Person Who will actively be involved in our instruction in the things of God. He is not another theological subject to fight over. How will you have "ears to hear what the Spirit is saying" when you have been taught to continually question His agency and means by which He instructs and imparts?
One very famous minister who has produced countless books and schools and Bible commentary is known for his publically mocking those who contend for a primitive faith as demonstrated by the First Century Church and the demonstrations of miracles and the Holy Spirit she was