God’s Will, Lost or Found – Part 2

(November 2005 – Volume 11, Issue 11)  In Dave Swavely’s helpful book, Decisions Decisions, he writes: Many Christians, who would say that they do not believe in new revelation, are essentially seeking new revelation in their decision making. They may have a theology of “cessationism” in their view of revelation, but in their everyday practice they contradict that theology by trying to hear God say something that is not in the Bible. And I would suggest that their theology is right, so they should let it shape their practical living. God is speaking today, but he is speaking through his Word. But can’t we have it both ways? Can’t we have the completed revelation of God in the Bible and extrabiblical revelations, which do not quite approach inspiration, on the side? O. Palmer Robinson suggests that we can’t: And why not both? Why not the illumination of Scripture coupled with...

God’s Will, Lost or Found – Part 1

(October 2005 – Volume 11, Issue 10)  A prestigious evangelical graduate school asked Professor X to accept a position as dean. In attempting to determine God’s will on the matter, Professor X writes, “While reading Acts 10 in Peterson’s The Message, I read the words, ‘If God said it is okay, it is okay.’ I felt the Lord applying this Scripture to my situation; I knew then that I had permission to go.” A well respected Christian author writes, “When we feel the Master’s hand and hear His voice in our inner chambers, we should follow Him” (emphasis mine). A writer of devotional classics in one of his books, heaped story upon story of the Lord leading through inner impressions and audible voices. He writes, “It is positively exhilarating, and at the same time very humbling, to be in the company of men so intimately acquainted with God that they...

Forgiveness – Part 2

(August 2003 – Volume 9, Issue 8)  WHAT TO DO IF FORGIVENESS IS NOT POSSIBLE Racing through our minds at this point may be all the situations in which forgiveness, in the sense described in our previous paper, is not possible. The first scenario concerns a believer, who, despite all of our efforts in compliance with Scripture, refuses to seek forgiveness. The biblical course of action, according to Matthew 18:15-20, would be church discipline. We cannot forgive this person because to do so is a promise to no longer recognize this sin as a barrier between us and them – when clearly the sin is still on the table. A person who has a heart filled with vengeance, bitterness, or resentment, isn’t ready for forgiveness because he is holding onto his sins refusing to confess and forsake them. For such a person the process of church discipline may be necessary....

Forgiveness – Part 1

(July 2003 – Volume 9, Issue 7)  There is no greater blessing than forgiveness. First and foremost, we need the forgiveness of God because we are sinners. God sent His Son to die on the cross in order that we might obtain this forgiveness. Secondly, many are in great need of giving and receiving forgiveness on a human level. It is this second subject that will be the object of this study. Many are confused concerning forgiveness largely because secular, humanistic ideas and theories, contrary to Scripture, have been widely accepted as truth. Even Christians often buy whatever the world is selling at the moment, attempt to commingle it with some biblical principles and sanctify it with a few out-of-context passages of Scripture. The result is a strange assortment of ideas and philosophies that fall far short of the truth. Christian literature abounds with such unbiblical concepts as forgiving ourselves...

Fear

(May 2003 – Volume 9, Issue 5)  A salesman driving on a lonely country road one dark and rainy night had a flat. He opened the trunk – no lug wrench. The light from a farmhouse could be seen dimly up the road. He set out on foot through the driving rain. Surely the farmer would have a lug wrench he could borrow, he thought. Of course, it was late at night – the farmer would be asleep in his warm, dry bed. Maybe he wouldn’t answer the door. And even if he did, he’d be angry at being awakened in the middle of the night. The salesman, picking his way blindly in the dark, stumbled on. By now his shoes and clothing were soaked. Even if the farmer did answer his knock, he would probably shout something like, “What’s the big idea waking me up at this hour!” This...

Experiencing God – Part 3

(August 1998 – Volume 4, Issue 7)  In a previous Think on These Things (Vol. 3, Issue 8, 9), we warned of certain errant views and teachings of Henry Blackaby and his book Experiencing God. We were recently surprised when David Hunt dismissed these concerns and threw his weight behind Blackaby. This greatly concerns us since on most issues we stand hand-in-hand with Hunt. More importantly, to many people Hunt’s word is law. Therefore, it is highly conceivable that many of Hunt’s 30,000 readers will uncritically read Experiencing God material and/or attend a seminar on the subject, whereby finding themselves taken in with Blackaby’s brand of mysticism and subjectivity. With all of this in mind, we have decided to write a response to Hunt. The following quote is the complete statement as found in The Berean Call, May 1998. Immediately following will be our response to what Hunt has written....

Experiencing God – Part 2

(November 1997 – Volume 3, Issue 9)  In our last paper we began dealing with the widely popular teachings of Henry Blackaby in his best selling book, Experiencing God. While we are in agreement with many things Blackaby teaches we have grave concerns about his approach and use of Scripture. We challenged him with distortion of Scripture along three fronts. Last time we highlighted his general misuse of the Word of God. In this paper we will examine Blackaby’s neo-orthodoxy and highly mystical view of Scripture. Neo-Orthodoxy The second front along which we want to challenge Blackaby is that of his neo-orthodox leanings. We need to carefully explain what we mean here. We are not saying that Blackaby is neo-orthodox, he would surely deny this handle and he may know very little about the system. However, this does not mean that he has not been influenced by neo-orthodox teachings. I...

Experiencing God – Part 1

(October 1997 – Volume 3, Issue 8)  A pastor who had read some of my writings encouraged me to read Henry Blackaby’s best selling book, Experiencing God. This pastor apparently either thought that Blackaby’s work would compliment my own, or correct my thinking. Either way, I am afraid that I have proven to be a disappointment to my friend. If he felt that I would appreciate and enjoy Experiencing God I have sadly mis-communicated to my readers. The thrust of this book is so foreign to my views of Scripture that I find it incredible that I could be so misunderstood. If so, I repent and vow to try harder to communicate plainly. On the other hand, if my pastor friend thinks that I would be persuaded by Blackaby’s brand of “story-theology” he is sadly mistaken. Blackaby’s book and seminars are representative of much that I detest in so-called evangelicalism...

Civil Disobedience and the Believer

(March 1996 – Volume 2, Issue 5)  In an increasingly secularized world it should surprise no one that the values, standards, and the very laws of God are regularly violated. Many things that are “legal” are nevertheless unbiblical — even sinful. In an effort to deal with such issues numerous organizations and movements (e.g. Operation Rescue; American Family Association; Eagle Forum; the Christian Coalition; and the now defunct Moral Majority) have been founded — most attempting to change our society into a more moral place to live. The issue that believers must address is our response to the legalized sins of society, and the demands of a secular government which often contradict Scripture. This study will attempt to provide a Biblical base in order for us to make wise and godly choices in this regard. WHEN IS THE CHRISTIAN OBLIGATED TO BREAK MAN’S LAW? We must first deal with the...

Biblical Guidance in Practice

(January 2007 – Volume 13, Issue 1)  A few months ago I wrote a series of papers on the will of God dealing with issues such as finding His will and whether or not He speaks to us today apart from the Scriptures. The position I have taken is one that I would call a full sola Scriptura understanding of the Christian life. This means that God speaks today exclusively through the authoritative, inspired Word which needs no supplementation from any other source. This is not to deny “general revelation” from God’s creation which tells us something of the power and glory of the Creator (Psalm 19:1-6; Romans 1:20). But when it comes to “specific revelation” we do not expect our Lord to speak to us apart from the Scriptures. His guidance is not to be sought in visions, dreams, angels or other supernatural manifestations. Nor are we to look...