Picking up on last weeks post if there’s one thing this generation doesn’t like it’s an authoritative word.
That was the temptation at the beginning, the enemy putting a doubt into Adam and Eve’s mind that questioned the authoritative word of God who had said “You shall not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”
Ever since then the spirit of rebellion has resided in the human heart, and as a result we don’t take kindly to authority and what it requires of us – we don’t like the authoritative word, it seems to give us no space, it seems to confine us, and all we want is to be free to think for ourselves, decide and do our own thing.
Now it seems that some evangelicals don’t like the authoritative word either, and as a result we find the Word being read through the filters of our age, preferences or feelings – I recently read of one minister who now says he is a post-evangelical, and believes that the Bible is to be taken with a pinch of salt, nevertheless he still claimed to listen to the Spirit and so hear and respond to God – one wonders who or what he is responding to with such an attitude.
In some churches/denominations its evidenced in the flawed confessional statement ‘we believe in the Word of God contained in the Bible as discerned by the Holy Spirit.’ That qualifier ‘as discerned by the Holy Spirit’ leaves an awful lot of room for manoeuvre, which really seems to boil down to our own personal feelings.
Yes, we must rightly divide the Word – that’s another matter, that is different to sitting in judgement on it.
The fact of the matter is when we start reading the Word through the filters of our own personal preferences and experiences we are in trouble. In fact it’s our ‘word’ that takes precedence, as we now have no solid basis for judging it, and then it’s your word against mine and the next persons.
One of the outcomes to such an approach is that preaching becomes more about dialogue, discussion and seminar rather than the expounding of the Word of God, and it leads to weak Christians and weak churches. History shows us that every time the church has gone liberal on the Word in so-called enlightenment it has emptied its buildings.
If we want to see strong Christians and strong vibrant churches we need the authoritative Word, that Word that strips away our facades, that convicts, that divides soul and spirit, and above all that converts and sanctifies through the power of the Spirit.