Old Time Radio at OTRCat!

Monday, April 19, 2004

Instant Answers

I came to Christ in the '70s on the twin waves of "the Late Great Planet Earth" and the Charismatic Movement. Interesting that much in the two waves are doctrinally incompatible. Early on I began to view with interest the shortcuts people sought to fast track them to discipleship and spirituality. Ern Baxter spoke of people practicing "Bible Promise Card Ouija Board". You know those plastic loaves of bread with colored cards in the top with Bible verses printed on 'em. Grandma and hosts of maiden aunts had them on the kitchen table. You pick a card, and that is your inspiration of the day.

Some folks decided that it was a neat way to "get guidance", so they'd pick a card...any card, and Hey Presto, it's God's message to YOU today! One guy got a loaf with an out-of-the-ordinary selection of verses. He picked his verse for the day:

Matthew 27:5 And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.

Shaken, he decided a do-over was in order, and pulled

Luke 10:37 Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.
Hmmmmmmm...Instant guidance.

Now, I do not dispute that God can pin the tail on our donkey with a single verse, but by and large, proof-texting, the practice of pulling individual verses out to prove our particular opinion, is a dangerous and deceptive habit. The normative method is discipleship in the Word.

2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. ("Study" here being King James for "apply yourself") The book of Acts is a powerful narrative, but it is not the "three miracles before breakfast" story that many portray it to be.
When the disciples in Jerusalem met from house to house, it wasn't for the Thursday night Cough and Spew deliverance meeting, nor to determine their spiritual gifts by studying their personality types. The disciples "continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers." Acts 2:42 They were learning the Gospel, and practicing it day-to-day in the community of other believers. Not alone over the kitchen table pulling cards 'til they got the right answer.

Many believers today seem more intent on spiritual masturbation...solitary forays into spiritual self-gratification, rather than active, vital learning to live the faith with others. Fellowship offers a failsafe mechanism against error.

1 John 1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
1 John 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

Interestingly, our society militates against our getting together outside of "church-time" to encourage each other, by all the busy-ness we are forced to endure (much to feed the tax monster). I often work long, late hours at my shop. It is a JOY when a brother or sister comes by to say "Hi!", and we share a bit of the Word relevant to what's goin' on. I hunger for that. Here of late, Rush and Co. are being replaced by New Testament CDs as I print. Massive quantities of the Word are helpful inoculants against the predations of the world. Now, I am not becoming a monk or anything. I play games, watch movies, laugh with my wife and kids. But it is all empty without the Word of God.

I'm SO tired of empty.

No comments: