02 September 2010

One of these things is not like the others

by Dan Phillips

So, taking up where I left off, here's an exercise in thinking like a disciple. Read the root question carefully.

To which one of these questions can you not even begin to give a clear, plain, simple, definitive, directly-Biblical answer?
  1. What is God like?
  2. How did all things begin?
  3. How do we know God?
  4. What is man's spiritual state?
  5. Is Jesus truly man?
  6. Is Jesus truly God?
  7. What must I do to be saved?
  8. Does Jesus keep those He saves?
  9. Is it righteous to have sex with anyone other than one's spouse?
  10. Can I kill someone if he makes me mad?
  11. How do I tell which feelings are God's way of nudging me to do something, or God "talking" to me, and which are just my flesh, my imagination, or something else?
  12. Is the Bible God's Word?
  13. Does the Bible tell us everything we need to know, in order to know and serve God?
  14. What is a pastor's main job?
  15. Should I take things that belong to other people without their permission?
  16. If I'm saved by grace, may I just go on sinning?
  17. Did Jesus really die?
  18. What did Jesus' death accomplish?
  19. Did Jesus really rise bodily from the dead?
  20. Will Jesus really return bodily one day?
  21. Will Christians be raised bodily?
  22. Should I study the Bible?
Is the answer significant?

(Hint: starts with a "y.")

Dan Phillips's signature

154 comments:

NoLongerBlind said...

I feel a very strong prompting from the Lord that the answer is #23.








You must have left that one out!

Tom Chantry said...

Well, I had you up until the hint.

DJP said...

Chantry: huh?

Josh Gelatt said...

Is the answer 'yes' to all of them or just the last question? If yes to all, in the words of Veggie Tales, your a bad bunny. :o) If only to the last question, preach on, bro!

DJP said...

EVERYBODY, reminder: to quote me —

Read the root question carefully.



Thanks, NLB

DJP said...

Should I delete comments that don't in some way respond to the root-question? It may be the only way not to rabbit-trail.

witness said...

The answer is #11 and yes the answer is significant.

Mr. Fosi said...

I'm stumped. :|

CotnerMD said...

I think the hint only applies to the last question.

I think people are trying to make it apply to all the questions.

I think this is causing some confusion.

I think.

Joey Phillips said...

I believe the answer is #11, and that "y"es it is significant.

Tom Chantry said...

OK, so the hint was to the question at the end, not to the root question. I think I get it now. I read the post, said, "It's obviously 11," but then got to the hint (answer starts with a "y") and was lost. But that's a hint to the question at the end (Does the answer matter?) not to the root question. Sorry. I think I read the post too early in the morning.

Pta-herald said...
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Robert said...

I am going to go out on a limb and say one. There is one question that I can not answer biblically and that is because Jeremiah 17:9 sticks out in my mind for one of the questions.

Ed said...

(hesitantly raises hand)... Uh, the first question? You can learn a lot about God from the scriptures, but to quickly and definitively answer the question? Significant because, in my mind, it draws sharp contrast between the nature and relative position of the maker and the made...

Robert said...

Arrrrrrg! I totally blew past the word which...it is number 11 and for the same reason I put with my first answer. It seems I still haven't learned anything from all of the tests where I zoomed past the instructions at light speed!

DJP said...

There's a root question: "To which one of these questions can you not even begin to give a clear, plain, simple, definitive, directly-Biblical answer?"

You answer that question.

Then, of that answer, I ask, "Is the answer significant?"

And I give a hint to the answer of that second question.

Robert said...

OK...trying to play by the rules this time.

Question #11.

Yes, the answer is significant.

DJP said...

Scripture doesn't enable us to tell, pretty readily and directly, what God is like?

I understand the point that number one cannot be answered exhaustively. But it can be answered clearly, plainly, simply, definitively, and directly-Biblically, no? In other words, it is a Biblical category, and there is a directly-Biblical answer to it, right?

Gov98 said...

Okay, maybe some of the comments are confusing me, but the way I see the question is is there one question out of these 22 where you cannot begin to give a Biblical Answer.

But I believe every single one of those questions can be started in the Bible. Even #11 start from the premise that for example if I'm prompted to share the Gospel that is probably not the flesh motivating me, because the Spirit motivates me to share the good news.

I think the point is, the Bible answers every one of those questions well for those who will listen.

Robert said...

Dan,

I just read the previous posts in this series and wanted to thank you for working through this. I gained a lot by reading back through them and I think this will come in useful in future conversations with some people I know.

DJP said...

Thanks for taking the time, Robert; I appreciate it.

Daryl said...

Well clearly it's #11. But answering that makes me feel like one feels when your teacher says:

"Now class, do we all remember where Jesus was born?"

Too easy. But still helpful.

DJP said...

But Daryl, what is "too easy" for you is completely beyond the grasp of much of professing evangelical Christendom, to the extent that the bulk of their real emotion and energy is devoted in pursuit of the one thing you (correctly) rule out as being an un-Biblical category.

Moving one to reflect that this may be striking at THE central issue.

Everyday Mommy said...

11. Yes.

witness said...

It is significant because the message of the Bible is to rely upon the Word of God as all sufficient. So, it wouldn't speak to know how to follow feelings.

Rob said...

I vote for #14: "What is a pastor's main job?". Instead of defining a single pastor's role, the Bible (through Paul's pastoral books) gives a clear, plain, simple, definitive message in terms of plurality of elders.

Do I win?

Joey Phillips said...

I would just like to point out that, as a charismatic, I was the first to answer correctly :)

DJP said...

Fail.

:^P

DJP said...

My "fail," was for Rob... but it works.

(c;

witness said...

uhh... Joey maybe you should look higher up in comments to see who was first. Maybe your jumping to conclusions is a sign of your charismatic leanings.

;-)

Joey Phillips said...

Haha...Witness you are exactly right. If only I had the gift of reading.

John said...

Admiral Ackbar! Admiral Ackbar!

Mesa Mike said...

Like several others, I vote #11. It's a loaded question, which assumes as truth something that cannot be ascertained Biblically

TM said...

Looks like the start of the Phillips (Phillipian?) Catechism. Nice!

Tom

Mark Patton said...

#11 and yes.
I had a math prof. in college who used to say (in his broken english) "some open doors lead to empty elevator shafts." That was his way of helping us understand that some feelings may be coming from heartburn from last nights pizza.

NoLongerBlind said...

As far as who was first with the correct answer, I still feel - very strongly and clearly, mind you - that I was right.









And, I'm still waiting for DJP to post that #23!

~8^/

Paul D said...

I agree – number 11 and “yes”.

However, I’d like to attempt a “clear, plain, simple, definitive, directly-Biblical answer” anyway:

Mark 7:21 – evil comes out of the heart of man.
Mark 10:18 – only God is good.

So, if I have a good thought or feeling it is from God. It may not follow that God is speaking to me directly, but it is from God. Determining whether the thought or feeling is good – well, that’s another matter more directly related to questions 1 thru 10 and 12 thru 22.

David said...

I was thinking that Proverbs 3:5-6 provide a definitive beginning of an answer to number 11, esp. when coupled with II Tim 3:16.

Zaphon said...

Number 11 is the money answer, and yes it's significant because if Scripture which is SUFFICIENT cannot give a DIRECT answer then my feelings, promptings etc, are not necessary to know and do the will of God which is covered by the speaking of God in the Scriptures.

David Sheldon said...

So are we saying that # 11 is trying to "tea-leaf" God with our feelings instead of the tea-leaves?

"But what is the truth? There is the point. Is the truth that which I imagine to be revealed to me by some private communication? Am I to fancy that I enjoy some special revelation, and am I to order my life by voices, dreams, and impressions? Brethren, fall not into this common delusion. God's word to us is in Holy Scripture. All the truth that sanctifies men is in God's Word. If your imaginary revelation is not according to this Word, it has no weight with us; and if it is according to this Word, it is no new thing."
Charles Spurgeon
Sermon 1890, March 7, 1886

Mark | hereiblog said...

Yep, #11.

Or is it "yes"?

Wait! Does a burning in the bosom count?

Si Hollett said...

1 Thess 5:20-21 is another text that will help us get towards a biblical answer to #11. Feelings and so on are clearly part of 'everything', which you are meant to test and hold on to the good, abstaining from evil. Couple that with the Mark verses and you get a bit closer to a definitive answer.

OK, it may not do it for those who want certainty from God in every little thing they do before they do anything. "Is it good?" doesn't narrow it down enough for them.

The root question says "can you not even begin" - well, we've begun, which was all the question asked about! :P

Jugulum said...

Dan,

Simple, concise, incisive.

I feel led to give it two thumbs up.


Si Hollett,

You have a point, but not one that affects Dan's point. I agree with you--partially.

You're right that when we have feelings & inclinations, we should test them to the best of our ability, not dismiss them out of hand.

So, if you have a bad feeling about a decision you're considering, you should try to figure out why you're feeling that way. Think it through carefully, and see if you can articulate a good reason for that feeling. Try to identify the source.

But, 1 Thess 5:20-21 does not tell us that we should interpret feelings & inclinations as prophecy or instructions from God. It doesn't tell us to put Spiritual weight on free-floating feelings & inclinations.

Wayne Kent said...
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The Squirrel said...

The answer is "Pepperoni" the answer is always "Pepperoni" (except when the answer is #11 & "Yes" but I digress...)

Hm... I think I'll have leftover pizza for lunch...

btw, Dan, this is a truly excellent post. I like it!

Squirrel

Wayne Kent said...

I'm getting a strong sense impression here. Wait... wait... no. Yes, it's stronger now, something of a nudge, almost a prompting.... no... no. Waiting on the Lord now. (Still small voice where are you?)

Okay, I can now clearly say it's #11, for me. It may be something else for you.

: )

founderandperfecter said...

1. Jesus
2. The Word of God/Jesus
3. The word of God as previously spoken and written/Jesus
4. Dead, unless born again
5. Yes
6. Yes
7. Keep the commandments perfectly and never sin even once, or trust in Jesus with repentance.
8. Yes
9. No
10. No
11. If it agrees with scripture entirely
12. Yes
13. Yes
14. Preach the word
15. No
16. No
17. Yes
18. Actual salvation for the elect
19. Yes
20. Yes
21. Yes
22. Yes

Bob Johnson said...

#11 and yes

David Sheldon said...

Dan,
Sorry - I jumped the gun and didn't pay attention to the final question and how you worded your initial question. # 11 and yes. (I was in the middle of something else - excuses, excuses.)

founderandperfecter said...

I read it again... and I still don't get it...

Stefan said...

Dan:

Well, I read this post at 5:00 a.m. Pacific Time, and figured it was #11. Had I actually posted my answer, I could have claimed the brass ring. Alas. Such are the ebbs and flows of life in this transient, fallen world.

But I wasn't so sure. It sure stuck out like a sore thumb, but I didn't want to stick my neck out as the first comentor, and to merge the opening question and question #11 into a single statement, one gets:

"[There is no] clear, plain, simple, definitive, directly-Biblical answer...[to] tell[ing] which feelings are God's way of nudging me to do something, or God 'talking' to me, and which are just my flesh, my imagination, or something else."

The thing is, this opens up a couple of questions for me:

(1) I suspect that many Charismatics don't even make such a distinction...it certainly seems like many do not even try to discern between "nudgings" from God (assuming for the sake of argument that they were such) and flesh, imagination, or something else.

(2) The way that this is phrased seems to allow the possibility of the working of the Holy Spirit upon a person's heart or will or mind or conscience or desires, but providing that we can never be categorically sure that such nudgings are in fact from God, and not from some other source.

(3) I like Zaphon's take on this. The fact that there is no clear Biblical answer to this suggests that this whole question of nudgings, hunches, leanings, leadings, promptings, etc. is not vital to the life of a Christian, since if it were, it would be covered by Holy Writ (per 2 Timothy 3:16-17).

(4) All that being said, as others have pointed out, there are some instructions regarding discerning false teachers from true teachers, and false spirits (e.g., 1 Peter 1:19-2:1; 1 John 4:1-3; etc.).

RuTH.MarIA said...

I think that the answer is "Is the answer significant?'

Cathy M. said...

I think the answer is #11. The Bible can't be used to confirm a statement claiming something the Bible denies; that is, ongoing inspired revelation. (?)

Jim Pemberton said...

Obviously you're getting at "11" and "Yes". Given that the answer is not "13", it would seem to indicate that the answer couldn't be 11 (since where 13 is obviously true, then 11 appears clearly, plainly, simply, definitively and Biblically answerable). But sufficiency doesn't address most specific applications of scripture. I believe that's where the difficulty of the answer to 11 lies. I also believe that's why many ministers think relevance lies in corporate worship style rather than solidly teaching the scriptures and their applications.

2 Tim said...

Well, it's certainly possible that I'm missing something here...wouldn't be the first time, but I think the point is that a biblically-informed disciple of Christ should be able to give at least the beginnings of a simple, direct, biblical answer to all of these questions. Including # 11--we should be able to give a biblical position on this issue. We have no excuse for biblical illiteracy. Unless I'm missing something.

Robert said...

Not trying to speak for Dan, but I think the way that question #11 is worded keeps you from answering it. You can dismiss the question biblically, but you can not say how you are able to determine the difference in the lists he posted in the question.

The question/distinction itself is the problem because we can't define the difference.

Kat said...

OK, Dan - infrequent commenter, but I gotta get involved ;-)

I concur with several commenters that it is question #11 and that, yes, it is significant. I think in my case it's significant because I'm confused! I went through the previous three posts, and I think I got even more confused *sigh* (maybe I had too much caffeine this morning....)

If my feelings and internal urgings are not clearly aligned with Scriptural precepts and commands, then obviously they're wrong...

BUT, when I have used the phrase "God told me" (or its equivalent), IIRC it's been something I've found specifically in Scripture (e.g. I read Romans 12:2 and am convicted that I need to spend more time in God's Word so it can do its work in conforming me to the image of Christ). *OR* it's more on the order of a long-held conviction, which does not violate Scripture, of something I am supposed to do (e.g. for 13 years I knew that I would be speaking at my father's memorial, and for 13 years I knew the clear outline of what I would say - and it was a very definitive Gospel call that truly scared me half to death!).

To be clear, I would in no way equate the second instance to a revelation-from-God status, but I do consider it a clear leading and direction of something God wanted me to do.

Now, after reading parts 1-3 of your previous discussions, I am - as I said - confused. Really confused.

Are you saying that, as Christians, we receive no direction whatsoever - ever - when there is a choice, say, between two equally Scripturally acceptable options? Or are you disputing more with the problem that many people who get these "nudges" insist on elevating them to the authoritative voice of Scripture?

As I said, my puzzler is puzzed (yay, Grinch!), and I may need to go back and print everything out and highlight and underline to figure out what I've missed... [rolls eyes at poor, sore brain]

Kat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kat said...

(from previous...)

Now, after reading parts 1-3 of your previous discussions, I am - as I said - confused. Really confused.

Are you saying that, as Christians, we receive no direction whatsoever - ever - when there is a choice, say, between two equally Scripturally acceptable options? Or are you disputing more with the problem that many people who get these "nudges" insist on elevating them to the authoritative voice of Scripture?

As I said, my puzzler is puzzed (yay, Grinch!), and I may need to go back and print everything out and highlight and underline to figure out what I've missed... [rolls eyes at poor, sore brain]

Jeri Tanner said...

Re Q. #11: Priscilla Shirer (daughter of Tony Evans) is currently building a career around teaching women how to do just that. I'm holding a copy of Lifeway's "Journey" mag ("A Woman's Guide to Intimacy with God")featuring her article "The Umpire of Your Heart" (her mis-take on Col. 3:15). Some gems: "We need to pay close attention to see if peace reigns in our soul when we make decisions or act in a certain way... when we're being obedient to God's will, the Holy Spirit reassures us by giving us a sense of inner tranquility...When you feel a contest going on in your heart...the Holy Spirit is trying to make the call for you [as your personal Umpire, get it?]and lead you to make a correct decision."

Soon appearing with Beth Moore and Kay Arthur in Birmingham, AL, to the delight of thousands of Christian women.

DJP said...

Thanks, Jeri.

Tom Chantry said...

A quick bit of input on how important this issue is. Last night my son told me about someone he didn't know all that well at church. At first he thought he was a bad guy, but then he realized he was actually a good guy.

This interested me, both from the standpoint of theology and also from that of being a watchful parent. So I asked him, "How do you know that he's a good guy?" He didn't really have an answer; it was obviously a matter of mere intuition - he felt like that guy was good. But when I pressed him for an answer, he said, "God told me so."

Now that's fascinating! He never heard that sort of language from me, unless it was in a sermon and not in the first person. (e.g. "God said to Adam...") But somehow he just assumed that the intuitive urgings of his heart were nothing less than God talking to him.

Worse yet, that assumption provided him with a ready-made excuse to accept his impulsive intuition as truth without further reflection! His incipient continuationism instantly produced a reason to abandon discernment. As a parent, that scares me to death! Whatever my inherently foolish four-year-old feels is God talking? I see catastrophe in the immediate future.

Except that I am not confused at all by this issue, and I immediately said, "No, God didn't tell you. You did not hear his voice. God doesn't talk to us that way any more, because He already said everything He intends to say in the Bible." And that means that we're going to have to teach him to exercise discernment.

God's messages have always been limited; sometimes prophets could not be found, and at others God was silent even for them. When God spoke, His people were to believe and obey. At all other times they had to exercise discernment. So it is today; outside the clear teaching of Scripture we must exercise discernment.

The adoption of a quasi-continuationist "I feel led" approach to life's decisions will be the death of discernment. If every time I have an urge I think "God told me..." then I don't have to cultivate a discerning spirit.

David Sheldon said...

Dearest Kat,
If Dan was getting us to think - to maybe get some of us “confused” for a moment - to get us to think again and get some clarity - well - he succeeded.
So Dan if it is okay let me jump in and ask a question.

Do we know the difference between these two things:

1. trusting/believing God for His providential will/care which He evidently wishes to remain secret until it unfolds (Deut. 29:29) and can never be changed or thwarted ANYHOW (which some wish to say you need to “hear” so you can walk in it and obey it)

2. believing and obeying the whole/sufficient revealed mind and will of God in the Scripture. Which isn't a secret. But which we do have to believe/walk by faith and not by unfolding sensual sight. And actually study IT rather than our feelings and intuitions and "voices" to understand and apply. And when we do that we are most equipped and prepared to actually handle His providence (point 1) – which is going to happen ANYHOW – whether we “believe” Him or “hear His voice” or not?

And this is why this is one of the most significant questions that can be asked WITHIN THE CHURCH these days. Because - there is a difference between (1) hearing God speak in Holy Scripture and (2) divining/listening for voices - supposedly God's voice - in my current situation.

Unfortunately, our churches are filled with people either doing as example or even teaching point 1 AS IF it is point 2. Even evangelical churches are currently being immersed in this delusion. We have been taught in our churches to "listen for God's voice" SO THAT we won’t miss His will and not walk in it. We aren't to do that - but it sure is made to sound super-spiritual isn't it? That is not faith – it is sight/mysticism. God’s Providence is God’s Providence. He acts providentially in my life but when He speaks it is only what He has already spoken - His Word. And that is what I am “to hear and walk in” because there are some really tough things in there and if I listen to my internal “tea-leaf” of emotions and feelings and intuition I may hear my voice or some other voice AS IF IT IS GOD’S VOICE. Can any of you out there who know mythology say "siren"? Seducing spirits are currently leading us into the doctrines of demons via this method. Sorry. That is just how it is. And we should know this so we are prepared for the delusion ahead. The powers know the agenda even if we don’t (2 Thess. 2:8). Love for the truth will be what matters in the days ahead.

Paul said...

Does a verse like Psalm 32:4 have any bearing on this? When David wrote "day and night Your hand was heavy upon me" we see him diagnosing an emotional and physical pattern as the heavy hand of God bringing him to repentance.

Determining the "inspiredness" (ouch that's ugly-looking) of an internal feeling is problematic, but even your list of questions provides some guideline. I'd wager you'd eliminate 4/5 of "Things God told me" by making sure all such things were consistent with those things revealed in Scripture. You'd probably take out at least 3/5 just with the ones you listed in this post!

Does that mean the remainder ARE from God? Or is it possible that some of the remainder COULD be from God? Or are they "just" godly?

Robert said...

Jeri,

Does she say how you find that inner call from the Holy Spirit? I just feel that the guidance we need comes from reading and meditating upon Scripture. I understand having peace with God, but I look at Romans 7 and see that war between my flesh and the Holy Spirit...and that is an ongoing battle until I die. I guess I just don't trust my own self to provide that kind of peace...I find it in Scripture and try to stand by my convictions from Scripture...but I am far from perfect and definitely don't have all the answers.

Merrilee Stevenson said...

@ Tom Chantry, those last three paragraphs were like apples of gold!

@ Jeri, I spent a good quarter of a year going through "He Speaks To Me" by Priscilla Shirer in a women's bible study group. I was hoping for an opportunity to fellowship with ladies in my church and get to know some people (I'm relatively new there), and instead it was a theological workout dealing with all of the mishandling of Scripture that was in the book. I loved and hated it (the workout, not the book). In the end, I wished I could have my twelve dollars refunded. (sigh)

Rachael Starke said...

Don't have enough time to unpack why this post has been so incredibly helpful today, but it really, really has. When I'm suddenly surprised that something I thought I knew God was leading in now seems wrong, it's focussing on what I know for absolute certain that assures me that, in this, God is accomplishing His purposes, for His glory - they're just not the purposes I may have originally thought about when I made my decision.

And Jeri Tanner, that whole Beth Moore franchise thing is just getting worse and worse and it's making me madder and madder. Dan, you have such a heart for pastors and know the damage this stuff does from the pulpit; I have a similar heart for women and know the damage women teachers like this are doing from their own, um, pulpettes (?).

It's maddening. And it's probably a big can of worms that doesn't need to be opened today, but, well, I just felt led to say it anyway. :)

Tom said...

In regards to "feeling an inward peace":

I'm thinking of the fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians, which includes peace, gentleness, and self-control.

If you're about to make a major (though not urgent) decision but your heart is dominated by turmoil, rage, or some other attitude inconsistent with the fruit of the Spirit, wouldn't it be wise to conclude that you're not being "filled with the Spirit" (Eph. 5:18) and thus likely to be lacking in sound judgment? In that case I would postpone making the decision.

I'm just saying that it's not always irrational to delay a decision because of a lack of inward peace. But is the peace described in Galatians 5 even close to the "inner peace" that some of these teachers describe?

Kat said...

David, I wasn't sure whether your questions were directed at me or at Dan - and they are very good questions!

I think that your #2 pretty much reflect my Romans 12:2 example: it's something you have read in Scripture and that the Spirit kinda points to and applies directly to your life by conviction of sin - or perhaps of the love God has for you (Romans 8:38-39!), or something similar. I confess that I have no issues with a "God said" when it is Scripture that jumps out and shakes me up *grinz*

As for my second example, again, I'm not saying it's a "God said" in like manner... But I don't quite understand insisting that the God who leads us, directs us, and indwells us not ever giving us a nudge when we're diligently trying to discern what to do. Again, I am assuming a situation similar to a choice between two godly options - do we flip a coin? Does God leave it entirely up to us?

I'm not saying it's usual, and I'm not saying it's authoritative like Scripture - but like my eulogy for Daddy, it wasn't something I wanted to do so much as it was something I had to do...

If that makes any sense whatsoever... ;-)

WV: "bessest" - It will be "bessest" when we're in Heaven and can sort this all out without our sin nature getting in the way!

The Squirrel said...

I'm amazed that "A quick bit of input" from Tom Chantry is always more thoughtful and insightful than stuff I spend hours working on...

God gave the man a brain, no doubt!

Squirrel

caLAWadvice.bLAWg said...

Dan. My take is that the answer is "none of the above." The question you posit, if I've read it correctly, can be summarized as follows, "To which one of these questions can we not even begin to give a Biblical answer?"
Though #11 seems to be an obvious choice, the scripture reveals God's will on all matters of life and godliness. Therefore, if I feel that I should go to Asia to preach the gospel, I can go to the scripture and determine if that is withing God's will. The scripture also informs me how to live generally and therefore though I feel the urge to go, I should do so in a manner that glorifies God. The scripture requires us to go the scripture to inform all of our decision making. Therefore, even our feelings can "begin" to be answered by the scripture. Since feelings can be answered by the scripture, I fail to see any other choice on the list which cannot begin to be answered by scripture.

Answer = None of the Above.

Kat said...

Well, FWIW, at the very minimum, this whole discussion has reminded me that I have to be extremely careful to be diligent with God's Word and make sure I jettison - with extreme prejudice *grinz* - anything that does not agree with what God has written for us!

It can be very hard, because sometimes the latter part of Romans 7 really seems to be a mirror of my life (gee, and I bet no one here can commiserate with me on that, LOL). How often do I want to obey God when His Word tells me to renounce this or that sin, but then I just get lazy or stubborn or...

I'm sure glad He chose me according to His good pleasure - 'cause I think I'd've thrown me out with the bath water!

Thanks again for all this discussion; it is very helpful.

David Rudd said...

#11 is also the most complex question.

i wonder why?

David Sheldon said...

Kat,
Well - my questions are not always pointed to someone in particular. Thanks for reading them. I guess in response I would say that God "nudges" me by giving me His Word and I remind myself of it in a particular situation. This happens best if it is hidden in my heart - and I really don't know if "I" or the "Holy Spirit" nudges me. And hopefully I obey it. And then afterward I may or may not find out everything about the ramifications and sovereign plans that God had in mind when I obeyed Him. And I do believe that God sovereignly puts things before me - to see if I will obey Him/His Word. But at least I know that I walked in the revealed will of God - and so does He. We really can't be responsible for anything else I would guess. But we are responsible for that and the light we currently have from that Word. Thanks for responding.

Merrilee Stevenson said...

@ Rachael Starke,

I'm convinced that we live parallel lives. (NOT to be confused with being two places at once. Haha.) I always seem to agree with all your comments.

That can of worms you mentioned does need to be opened, I agree. I really need wisdom and discernment as to how to address it with the older women in my own church who seem to have bought in to it to some degree, and I still consider myself to be in the "younger woman" category. Gloves and tongs may be necessary.

David Sheldon said...

Did anybody notice the tag "sufficiency" that Dan put at the end of the post?

mikeb said...

Could it be so obvious as to be the longest question in the list? #11.

You should have added "Is homosexuality a sin?" Surprisingly that seems to be as hotly debated these days as evolution in Christian circles.

Matt said...
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Matt said...
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MSC said...

Tom,
Feelings of peace or lack thereof have no bearing on decision making whatsoever. There is no way to 'divine' the secret sovereign will of God, so let it go. You don't need to know. All you need to know is the preceptive/ revealed will of God in Scripture and do it. If after evaluating all the extenuating issues of a decision and you find that the Word of God has nothing to say about it, then make whatever choice you want and don't agonize over the consequences. As long as you are adhering to the preceptive/ revealed will of God you can do whatever you want.

Jim Pemberton said...

Kat,

I understand where you're coming from. I struggle with how to make a choice between two good options. For example, where I have limited vacation time, I can only travel to so many places to do mission work. This year it is between distributing Bibles to Muslims in London or teaching discipleship to Indians in Dubai. I honestly don't care which one I do as long as it's what God wants me to do. So by what criteria do I decide? It may be between two homebound projects - I could work up a class to offer at church or write some new music for the choir and orchestra. I can't do both at the same time. Which one do I do now?

This kind of detail simply isn't given in scripture. It's reasonable to consider that there is some mechanical reason for deciding. It doesn't matter to me which one I do as long as it's what God wants me to do. So either God "nudges" me or I toss a coin (which is essentially what I do since I can't trust that any "nudge" is truly the Holy Spirit). Otherwise I do nothing which is unacceptable.

Unfortunately, because of this I end up doing much less than I want to do which is very frustrating. I would love to see some Biblical teaching on this because I can't find anything from a strict cessationist understanding to lend itself to making these kinds of decisions.

Theoretically, from a Reformed perspective (and I'm Reformed) God is in control of even the means of our decisions and uses our decisions to sovereignly accomplish His purposes. Therefore, no matter how and what I decide, God planned it that way. That still doesn't make deciding an easy task because as Matt and David are hashing out, we still need to test the spirits, i.e. be discerning, in our decision-making.

Stefan said...
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Stefan said...

And another thing...

Why is "God told me" never accompanied by a feeling of holy fear and dread in the heart of the one who hears it?

Are we that inured to God's holiness and majesty that we think He speaks in faint whispers and nudges, when in the Bible, theophanies are terrific and terrifying manifestations that cause the beholder to quiver with fear?

DJP said...

Sorry everybody, Matt snuck in to play his one solitary note while I was unable to guard the meta.

Matt, you are going to have to learn to focus, discipline yourself, and read. It is sad that you see any post agreeing with God about the sufficiency of His word as containing no words beyond "Now, Matt! Do all that free-associating about Charismaticism that you're dying to do!"

I am really growing weary of having to tell you the same thing, and do the same thing, every time any post gets in the neighborhood of helping folks think Biblically about spirituality in general, and the work of the Spirit in particular.

You need to learn to read, think, identify the topic, engage the topic - or just leave it be. The consequence of keeping on as you are is I'm just going to have to ban you for constant violations of Rule 5.

Now, knock it off.

Sorry, everyone who took the bait.

Jacob said...

Reading through the first couple dozen comments after reading the blogpost, i feel like i must be super-smart to not have had any problem understanding DJP's writing and question(s). Either he reworded it after those comments were posted, or a lot of you are mentally struggle-icious tonight. :?

bp said...

I'll agree with you, Dan, that Scripture doesn't give a definitive answer as to how you can tell if it is God talking to a person or something else. And yes, I do think this is significant. Significant enough for me to say that I'm not 100% sure God spoke to me (though I'm fairly certain). But I'm glad that you seem to (at least) think that it's possible.

DJP said...

Never at any time have I said anything remotely like that, and that you would say as much is simple testimony to what an utter has you've made of this series, and every related post.

Tom said...
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jmb said...

Stefan -

EXCELLENT point!

Tom said...

To MSC:

I think that we're talking about different ideas. My point was that if someone is unrepentantly harboring fleshy attitudes then it's reasonable to assume that he might have poor judgment as well. (Not being filled with the Spirit, thus not trusting God, is bad judgment in itself.)

However, after thinking some more, I don't believe that a restlessness in someone's spirit means he necessarily lacks the "peace" described in Gal. 5: Look at 2 Cor. 2:12-13.

bp said...

Sorry Dan. The way you worded the question (How do I tell?) just led me to believe that. And I guess I just fail to see the big distinction between God's providence and God nudging someone to do something. They seem connected to me.

Don't know why you always have to be so sarcastically crass with me though.

MSC said...

Tom,
perhaps we are on different wavelengths. Certainly the peace that is the fruit of the Spirit is an important virtue in the Christian life. However, I happen to think the peace of Galatians 5 is not so much a inner tranquility of soul (w/out dismissing this altogether), but the manner in which one conducts him or herself with others. IOW, they promote peace where strife and discord abound.

My point is that subjective feelings or emotions should not interfere with sound judgment in decision making. However, one must of course evaluate motives. If someone feels good about a decision or it brings a feeling of peace, it may be because they are entertaining a decision based on motives that do not have at their core a desire to love God and bring Him glory. One the other hand, making the right decision may bring turmoil because you are wrestling with impure motives that may be seeking to pull you away from making the right choice. The fact is, emotions can be very complicated as well as motives. But obedience to the word of God from a pure heart should be our primary objective in making decesions, never confirmation of choices via some subjective sign like positive feelings or even circumstances that seem providential. These always have the potential of being misleading.

MSC said...

Tom,
As an addendum to my last comment note that in the passage you referenced (2 Cor. 2:12-13) Paul speaks of a door opened for him in the Lord at Troas. But because he was troubled, not finding Titus, he did not pursue that open door. Instead he headed on to Macedonia. Here Paul refused to take advantage of a providential opportunity, yet we get no impression that he sinned in passing that opportunity up. He had the freedom to take it or leave it. He knew God would open other doors. The point is, his decisions did not always depend on whether he thought a providential door opened for him or not. That never kept him from being obedient one way or the other.

Tom said...

MSC: I agree with what you said in your last two posts. Those are good points to keep in mind.


To everyone: What do you make of Neh. 7:5?

Susan said...

I get it! (And that's a rare thing!) :)

one busy mom said...

Like others have said - it's #11

The reason:

#11 is based on a false underlying premise: that God communicates His will to us by feelings,nudges,impulses, or directly talking to us.

God communicates His will to us through Scripture - period.

Since the underlying premise is false the questions based on that premise are irrelevant and absurd - thus those questions couldn't be answered by anything.

It would fall into the same category of logic as:

Since the moon is made of cheese, how do we determine whether it's Swiss or Cheddar?

I'm guessing it's important, because if we don't point out the false premises - our answers will unwittingly confirm them.

Stefan said...

JMB:

Thanks.

MSC:

I have to say the same for your 10:13 p.m. comment. That's an excellent (and very practical!) exegesis.

Verification word: "persific," from "purchase" plus "pacific": Jesus Christ purchased peace between God and sinners by His blood.

Stan McCullars said...

Tom, The fact that the writer is a prophet seems somewhat significant.

Zaphon said...

For some people who want to veer off topic course:

I have a little girl toddler who runs around the house. And what does she do? She will ALWAYS go to the place where she is not supposed to...tell her not to touch this, or not to go there...and she will just get into the next thing of trouble...constantly have to watch her.

Ok, now before I go too off course..
I think Admiral Akbar needs to watch the meta when DJP is gone.

Robert said...

Tom,

I'm with Stan. God worked with the prophets in ways that He does not with us today. We have the canon of Scripture...they didn't. So God had to talk to them directly and work in such ways. The moment we veer from letting Scripture guide us, we run the risk of getting outside the lines (which Scripture sets for us).

stratagem said...

Wow I am so late to the party.

For those of you interested in a Biblical answer to #11, in response to this blogpost I am offering, today only, a full set of urim and thummin for only $19.95

...and you get a free set of steak knives thrown in.

DJP said...

One Busy Mom is clearly not too busy to nail it. Well-done!

one busy mom said...

Thanks Dan! I've been learning a lot hanging arround here :-)

Kat said...

Hey, Dan - again, I want to thank you, because this has made me think through some assumptions I've had and try to evaluate them according to Scripture.

I've had a chance to sleep on it, and I think that while I am very much in agreement with you, I also think that you are neglecting the fact that we are in a relationship with God, and relationships are not solely based on "just the facts, ma'am."

God created us with emotions and the need for intimate relationship with Him. I do not see how the sufficiency and authority of Scripture negates that. So long as our feelings and needs line up with Scripture, so long as they are in accordance with His revealed will, they are certainly valid - though not equally valid as Scripture, of course!

Perhaps we are talking at cross-purposes and I am misreading you, but what you're presenting seems to ignore the fact that we have emotions as well as brains. It seems like you're saying we can have God's word but we can't have emotions. ;-)

God, from what I remember, does not ignore emotions in His Word, neither does He condemn them when they are aligned with His will.

Am I completely misunderstanding you and in need of correction, or are we in violent agreement and merely focusing on different aspects of the question?

Thanks for your time, and again for the discussion - it's been giving my brain a workout!

Connie Reagan said...

I take it your bible doesn't have a book of Acts in it.

By the way, the Bible also says that His sheep know His voice and will not follow the voice of a stranger. For those who have walked with the Lord, and have studied the Scriptures, it is easy for the Holy Spirit to guide and direct using Scripture as boundary and guide. It is false to say one does not find the Bible as all sufficient if one believes that the Holy Spirit directs us in this day for it is those very scriptures that teach His direction. (Remember when the Spirit forbade Paul to go to Asia?) That is in the Bible for a reason.
Just because a certain subset of Christianity misuses certain biblical teachings does not mean the teachings themselves are moot. We are to take the whole counsel of God as revealed inScripture-and all means ALL.

gymbrall said...

Connie,
What is your Scriptural basis for taking the words "having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia" to mean, that Paul just had a feeling that he shouldn't do so?

Thanks,
Charles

trogdor said...

Odd. I just read Acts, and I must've missed the part where it explains how to tell if my gut feeling is God or something else. Would you mind pointing me to the chapter? It sure would help simplify things for me (no need to spend all that time exegetin' and thinkin' like I been doin'), so please, help a brother out. Thanks in advance.

DJP said...

Kat, what in this post are you talking about?

stratagem said...

Reading through some of these comments, it sounds like there is a false dichotomy being set up.

God does direct people to do certain things. For instance, does anyone here doubt that God directed the earliest missionaries to India or Africa to go to those places specifically? But he never directs anyone to do things, or teach things, that are outside the clear boundaries of Scripture. If you "hear" him doing that, then you are "hearing" the wrong voice.

He also never gives general revelation anymore; how could he, since He's already finished doing that? He might call a missionary to go to Africa to evangelize, but he doesn't tell someone to say "God told me that Bob over there is to go to Africa to evangelize", or "God told me that a great number of people are being called to Africa to evangelize."

God directs specific people to do certain things, kind of like when he directs some people to believe the Gospel when they hear it. Exactly how he does that is a mystery. Also, how often He does it, who He gives these leadings, and so on are all mysteries to some extent.

The big problem today is preachers, pentecostals, teachers, authors, etc. all saying they've heard some kind of general revelation, that they then start spouting as though it were Scripture - and it is the furthest thing from Scripture.

So if someone tells me that he feels the Lord is leading them to do x, and x is not unscriptural, then I don't interfere. If it is something bizarre or unscriptural, then I try to (often without success, I admit, since these sincere folks are often pentecostal and therefore inclined to question nothing that they've "heard").

Kat said...

Grrr - Blogger appears to be having issues today. *sigh*

Dan, I apologize for not being clear. I did go to the posts you referenced in your first link and read them. You were quite clear in outline and support of the sufficiency of Scripture.

In those posts, you take Francis Chan and the Blackabys to task for using emotion in any way when trying to make godly decisions.And here the focus of this discussion appears to center, again, on feelings and emotion and their place or lack thereof in making God-honoring decisions.

Many of the comments here seem to be coming from an "emotions BAD" bias, and I was wanting to get a bit more clarity and understanding about whether everyone was actually saying what I thought I was hearing.

Again, I'm sorry I wasn't clear.

And, I apologize if I stepped on anyone's toes. That was not my intent at all.

As for confusing you, well, I've been married 24 years, and manage - still! - to confuse the heck out of my Beloved to this day! ;-)

So I'll just slink away now...

JS Allen said...

I don't get it. #11 is easy to answer Biblically.

stratagem said...

It's hard to blame people for thinking that emotions are bad, when they've been the basis for so much extraBiblical, so-called "revelation" that has entered into the Evangelical churches in recent years. Emotions are also the basis for most of our sins. So that probably accounts for the bulk of it, I would think.

DJP said...

Then go ahead, J. S. Allen. Give a clear, plain, simple, definitive, directly-Biblical answer to #11.

DJP said...

BTW, Jugulum, sincerely: I so appreciated your 9:58 AM, SEPTEMBER 02, 2010 comment that I almost could have been persuaded briefly to hug a tar baby.




Almost.

(c;

bou2010 said...

I think #11 can be answered:

What lines up with Scripture is from God, what contradicts is not.

And whether or not God wants you to eat Jack-In-The-Box for lunch and other questions of that type are addressed in Scripture along the lines up "Grow up."

=)

Robert said...

I don't feel like I can honestly tell when God has led me to do something until I see the fruits of it. Usually the fruit can tell you whether or not you're acting under God's guidance or under your own. And even that is partial because we're just not perfect. In the Bible, there were times when God clearly told people what to do and say. There were times when God gave people insight that only He had (i.e. Peter with Ananias and Saphira in Acts 5 - Connie must believe that we can do the same today?) Those were signs that were used to start and increase the church. God can still work miracles, but we don't have people that can go around doing them as they see fit. There was a specific purpose for that. Demons have powers, though...just making sure people haven't forgotten that.

stratagem said...

OK, in order to answer this whole #11 thing, I am offering, only for a short time, mind you, a Pentecostal Bible. The thing that makes it a Pentecostal Bible is that at the end of each New Testament Book there is a paragraph heading that says "The Great Omission" followed by a blank area where the glossalalially-inclined can write that general revelation that Bubba uttered after he'd been laid out on the floor by Benny Hinn.

DJP said...

Sorry, Bou. Fail. Doesn't address #11 as it stands.

Jugulum said...

He spoke to me! *faint* :) I'm glad you appreciated it, brother.


And fortunately, the "tar baby" label (fair or not) wouldn't be an issue here, since I wasn't disagreeing with you at all. With no clash, there'd have been no opportunity for past situations to repeat--the couple or few times where you've been inclined to end an interaction earlier than I was, for whatever reasons.

JS Allen said...

These are the three:
1 John 4:1-3
Matthew 7:15-23
Romans 7:14-20

Scripture, fruits, and who are you a slave to?

DJP said...

Alll good questions, all good Scriptures, and all off-target.

JS Allen said...

@DJP - So you say. Care to explain why you think so?

Stan McCullars said...

JS Allen: Like Dan said, all good Scriptures but definitely all off-target.

Look at #11 again: How do I tell which feelings are God's way of nudging me to do something, or God "talking" to me, and which are just my flesh, my imagination, or something else?

JS Allen said...

@Stan - I'm going to need a little more help than "Read #11 again". I've already read #11 several times, as well as all of the comments, and don't get it.

If this is some Yoda-esque test to prove how smart those who "get it" are, then mission accomplished.

If someone told me that she was having a feeling that she should do something, and wanted to discern whether it was from God or Satan, versus her hormones or imagination, those are the three verses I would give. I'm having a hard time imagining any possible real-world instances of question #11 that would not be sufficiently addressed by those scriptures.

JS Allen said...

Oh, I think I know. Is the word "feelings" the give-away?

Or do I need to keep trying?

DJP said...

You said you read all the comments? Several lay it right out for you. One Busy Mom's comment of 11:10 PM, SEPTEMBER 02, 2010, for instance, hands it to you on a platter with a crisp sprig of parsley on the side.

bp said...

JS, probably One Busy Mom's response is the closest thing you'll get to explaining their stance on this. Basically, since the Bible does not specifically address how we are to differentiate between whether it is God speaking/moving us to do something or our imagination, we are to, therefore conclude, that God simply does not speak to us/impress things upon us or nudge us/move us to do anything at all. Yet, at the same time, He providentially accomplishes His will through us.

The thing that gets me is that several people in other threads have stated that we can't "know" if it's God or our imagination, leaving a schizophrenic feel to this whole argument.

JS Allen said...

@DJP - Yikes, I did miss that one! So, I see your point and agree.

OTOH, isn't it easy to give a clear, plain, simple, definitive, and directly-Biblical response (if not an answer) to question #11?

The response is, "Nothing besides scripture matters; the question is irrelevant". And one could still cite those 3 verses to back up the response.

JS Allen said...

Wow, I would've figured it out if I had paid attention to the italics in the very first response, rather than fixating on his clever citation of #23, and thinking to myself, "No, you silly person, it wasn't a trick question; Dan actually meant one of the 22".

Well played, NoLongerBlind!

@bp - I think everyone agrees that people get impulses to do things, and some people even have visions or hear voices telling them to do things. But it seems completely broken to start analyzing all of our feelings and saying, "Is this a fresh and unique commandment from God for me today, or just hormones or schizophrenia?"

NoLongerBlind said...

Wow - it only took one hundred and twenty eight comments for someone to notice - or acknowledge - my play on words!

I feel my self-worth elevating!

Thanks, JS!


~8^)

Jim Pemberton said...

JS Allen,
It's not entirely broken to ask that. Inasmuch as we must take every thought captive, where thoughts interact with emotions we must so analyze their influence to discern right thinking from wrong. So many emotions can make us think wrongly. For example, I suffer from bouts of depression and depression causes some facts to be weighed as inordinately important such that it's too easy to draw wrong conclusions from them. I've learned to recognize the patterns in my own thoughts and have developed means of countering the effects of depression on my own ability to reason.

Then there's the matter of where God uses emotion to sovereignly move us. It's tempting for many to think that such emotion is tantamount to prophesy. But God uses his angelic host and it's spiritually unhealthy to always focus on their activity. Likewise, it's unhealthy to always focus on God's use of emotion. We all generate decisions from our emotions more than we think we do. (Even more, I've noticed, from "type A" people than most.)

So, we need to take every thought captive, but focus on God rather than his means.

bp said...

@bp - I think everyone agrees that people get impulses to do things, and some people even have visions or hear voices telling them to do things


Actually, JS, Dan and others do not agree and his point seems to be that people do not ever have visions or hear God telling them/nudging them to do things.

Mike Riccardi said...

The thing that gets me is that several people in other threads have stated that we can't "know" if it's God or our imagination, leaving a schizophrenic feel to this whole argument.

I think the point, bp (at least the one I was trying to make a while back), is not that you can't know if it's God, your imagination, or something else (and recognize, there is a third option, and it's not pretty). Rather, I was saying that I can't know whether it was your imagination or something else.

But the one thing that I think the "several people" do agree on, is that the phrase, "God told me..." should always and only be followed by a sentence in the Bible, and never our own inclinations or impressions.

JS Allen said...

[Actually, JS, Dan and others do not agree and his point seems to be that people do not ever have visions or hear God telling them/nudging them to do things.]

I didn't say that people hear God telling them to do things. I said people "hear voices". The fact that some people have "visions" or hear voices is an empirical matter that I can't imagine anyone disputing. The dispute appears to be over whether or not we're allowed to say that these are God communicating his will.

IMO, even asking the question could be crossing a line. Seriously entertaining even the possibility that God has given one some unique and fresh revelation or vision of His will, is very dangerous. What positive motivation could there be for the desire to entertain such a belief?

I remember reading St. Anthony's "Discourse on Demons" [Obligatory Disclaimer: I'm a Calvinistic Baptist and am in no position to endorse the theology of various historical characters]. Anthony had a really striking line where he talked about his visions that accurately predicted the future (and were proven to be true): "How often have they called me blessed and I have cursed them in
the name of the Lord! How often have they predicted the rising of the river, and I answered them, "What have you to do with it?""


I suspect that many Christians today would be tempted by such predictive visions, and would imagine a special connection to the Creator, or otherwise be puffed with pride.

Stefan said...

NoLongerBlind:

To use a non-biblical adage,

Good things come to those who wait for them!

Bob said...

Oh man. I don't really have the time to read every single one of these comments, but let me comment, perhaps to the dismay of my reformed brethren.
I think we are confusing "feelings" with spiritual intuition. Of course, I am a trichotomist, which makes it easier.
I believe the appropriate application of Heb 4:12 is that it is the Word of God which enables you to discern what is the leading of the Holy Spirit and what are mere feelings.
I do believe that this type of spiritual discernment comes by grace over many years of walking with the Lord.
of course the Holy Spirit never leads contrary to His Word. If you are not immersed in the Word and continually meditating on the Word, there will be no discernment.
You will only imagine that you have discernment.
I imagine that most of what is touted as discernment is not god's sheep hearing His voice, but simply goats pretending to.
So, yes, I believe that the answer to # 11 is an unequivocal...it all depends.

DJP said...

Though it is wise, it is not required that you read all the comments. Just the post. Read it carefully, please; then at least read One Busy Mom's comment at 11:10 PM, September 02, 2010, and see where that puts you.

bp said...

Mike, I think a distinction needs to be made. Are you saying that God does not move/nudge/impress upon people to do things, or that He does not allow them to know that it is Him moving/nudging/impressing upon them to do thing?

Mike Riccardi said...

Neither of those options is what I said. I'm saying that when someone else reports to me that God told them something, there's no way that I can personally say about that person's experience, "Oh, you imagined it," or "Oh, yikes, that was demonic influence," or anything else. But what I can say is that God did not tell them something He didn't tell everyone else in His Word.

I think JS says it pretty well when he says:

I didn't say that people hear God telling them to do things. I said people "hear voices". The fact that some people have "visions" or hear voices is an empirical matter that I can't imagine anyone disputing. The dispute appears to be over whether or not we're allowed to say that these are God communicating his will.

So, did you hear something? How could I possibly say? I wasn't there, or in your heart/mind. Was it God communicating His will? No. He's done that finally, decisively, and sufficiently in His Word.

bp said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Magister Stevenson said...

I'm not sure why some want to hold on to the notion that God directly moves them via notions, hunches, gut feelings, impression (etc) when the scriptures plainly state that he has once for all spoken to us through his son.
When I "feel" that God is telling me me to do/not do something, it is usually because I know a scripture or principle which applies to the situation (we read the Proverbs every month in our home, and I continually find them in use in my daily life). The rest of the time, it is the pizza.
This is why scripture (and being in it all the time) is so important. If I read that Spurgeon felt directed by God to do x or why, I immediately chalk it up to his absolute saturation in the word and seeing those spiritual principles at work all around him. He was moved by God only as he was aware of God's word.
Thoughts?

bp said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
bp said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
DJP said...

Rule 5, even for bp. Should have caught it sooner, should have expected it, sorry everyone.

NoLongerBlind said...

Perhaps this will clarify this discussion; then again, it may confuse things!

Psalm 37:4 "Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart."

John MacArthur, in a sermon about how to know God's will for your life, referenced this verse when speaking about the "gray areas" of life. He basically stated that, as a believer, it's really quite fundamental. If you are following God's revealed will for your life - i.e., obeying His Word - then, you can basically do whatever you want to do, as long as doing it doesn't cause you to disobey Scripture.

IOW, according to this verse, if you are indeed living obediently and delighting yourself in the Lord, the very desires of your heart will come from God.

That being said, I do think that there is an important distinction to note. I would think that DJP would endorse a statement like "I have peace with my decision to ____, since, upon self-examination (2 Corinthians 13:5), and after seeking wise counsel, finding my life to be in order - biblically-speaking - I am confident that this desire I have is from the Lord."

However, I believe that it's an entirely different - and unbiblical - way of thinking to look at the above scenario and think that "God is moving me to do _____" or "God told me to do ____".





What say you, Dan

bp said...

wow, dan, if that was off-topic then all my others should be deleted too, because I just re-worded what I've been trying to get at all along. Kinda bums me out too cuz I felt it was the best job I did yet at trying to convey my point. It's hard, sometimes, to find a way to articulate things clearly.

DJP said...

You've conveyed your poin, such as it is. Over and over and over, and regardless of post-content. Give it a rest.

bp said...

point taken.

Robert said...

Wow...I was just being curious checking back on this and noticed a lot more discussion. I still think people should take time to read through the previous posts of this series and give time to an intensive reading of 2 Timothy 3:14-16 and consider, as Dan said, that Paul wrote this to Timothy knowing that he was going to die soon. In fact, you might read through the whole epistle with that in mind.

Verily Times said...

very interesting list...thank you for sharing.

verilytimes

Bob said...

Well Dan,
I am not sure where that leaves me except in the minority I suppose.
I believe that the supposition of the question is that God moves in believers in a merely external way. It is to say that there is no internal confirmation by the Holy Spirit concerning His Word, and I disagree.
To categorically deny that being led by the Holy Spirit denotes anything internal whatsoever is....is...., well, I need to think more about what that is
thanks

DJP said...

Sounds as if you are completely missing the point, Bob.

Maybe this will help. It isn't rocket-science, so don't try too hard. Just read it, from the start to the finish.

Then you try, if you want, to answer question 11 as clearly, plainly, simply, definitively, and directly-Biblically as you can every one of the other questions.

WHEN YOU FAIL TO DO SO, as you absolutely certainly will, think about it.

Bob said...

OK, I give

Chad L. said...

Here is a relevant quote from Challies.com: "The Spirit never loosens where the Word binds; the Spirit never justifies where the Word condemns; the Spirit never approves where the Word disapproves; the Spirit never blesses where the Word curses." —Thomas Brooks