3 things: Yesterday I attended a seminar led by Dr. John Best, who is connected with the exchanged life gang. Good stuff. I was encouraged to hear him promote one of my favorite rules of Bible interpretation, even though he said it differently. He said, “Always understand an unclear teaching in light of a clear one.” I usually say, “Always step from what you know to what you don’t know.” Same idea. There are many challenging areas of Scripture. Some we can understand through careful interpretation. Some we may never understand to our satisfaction. It is very important that we hold on to what we know to be true. If you believe that the Lord loves you, then see the rest of Scripture in that light. If you believe that He is the initiator and provider in your relationship with Him, that He has reached out to you and has given all that you need to be His, then let that be your perspective as you approach those troublesome verses.
Also, I have been studying the change in thinking promoted by one of our more popular grace teachers. There are some serious concerns and I have offered my help in working through the problems. For many years I held a position where I had to dissect the theology of young men entering the ministry. I also looked carefully into the teaching of established pastors who were accused of error. The work had its excitement, but it also had a downside. It became very easy to think that I had the only right perspective and that almost all others were wrong, whether their error was discovered yet or not. The Lord dealt with me on those attitudes and I believe I am much more able to allow different perspectives among believers. There are significant differences of doctrine that will not be all that important in the final analysis. To think that I may have some kind of special insight or ability of discernment is not only arrogant, it is dangerous for me and for those who are taught by me.
So, I want to be wise and gentle in this. It may be that the Lord prevents me from doing anything and that would be fine. It may be that I step into something unpleasant. This man has had a wonderful ministry and many have drawn nearer to the Lord through his teaching. If I can help him, I want to. I know that there is a risk for any of us to become enamored with some aspect of a new idea and then step over the boundaries of what is right. And, yes, I do think those boundaries exist. It is possible to teach error and do damage. I do not believe that someone will lose his salvation because of it or that God will somehow reject him. But we can be misled and we can mislead others.
I would appreciate your prayers as you think of this.
One more: next week I will be traveling, but I have set up a series of posts on the subject of the Judgment Seat of Christ in answer to a question. I should be available to read your thoughts. But listen, I know that some will be tempted to “set me straight” on my ideas. I will say very bluntly here that I will not argue for any particular order of events of the end times. I would much rather explain the purpose and tone of the judgment, than try to tell anyone how things will play out. So, if you disagree with me, that’s just fine. I may be wrong about some things. I am also not wrong about some things.
Have a blessed weekend!