On a related subject, the Internet Monk has been writing about rebaptism lately.
So, a couple more things:
1.) I want to re-iterate that I think the leading of the Spirit is tremendously difficult to articulate well. I haven’t reached a place where I can talk extensively about it, and then come away super-confident that I got it right. There are some things that I absolutely affirm, and some principles about discernment & testing that I think are very important. There are various bits and pieces where I can point to clear biblical teaching.
I’m hesitant about how people use the language “God told me”, but I’m not sure I want to deny it. I’m positive that the Spirit leads us, but I’m not sure how much “leading==intuition”.
But our minds are being renewed. We are growing in the mind of Christ, if we are maturing as God’s children. We are being transformed. We are being given a spirit of wisdom and revelation. I don’t know exactly how that works out, all the time. But I want to seek more of the Spirit’s work in my life, to grow me in Christ. I want to be led by & to be full of the Spirit of Christ. I want to be willing & responsive to his influence in my life, in every sense and every way.
2.) I went back and added a couple comments to my earlier entry on audible voices & Scripture.
3.) A Wise Individual has directed me to an article at Christianity Today. I appreciate these thoughts about God’s guidance. They describe a sort of freedom, one that every mature, Spirit-filled believer ought to be able to experience:
The Puritans had a way of assuming God’s guarding guidance by saying, “I will do thus unless providentially hindered.” In this view of divine guidance, God lays out before his people a veritable smorgasbord of opportunities, saying, “See what a wonderful table I have placed before you. Choose; enjoy. I am with you.”
To trust God’s guarding guidance is wonderfully freeing when it comes to geographic moves, marriage proposals, vocational choices, or even routes for horseback riding. Depending on the weight of the matter, we draw on common sense; the teachings of Scripture; the advice of wise, godly friends; the guidance of the church; and our own interests, abilities, and inclinations. We pray throughout this process—and then we choose. If that door is closed from the other side we can smile with relief, even if disappointed, because God our guarding guide has protected us. And so we move on under his continued care, continuing to graze on his smorgasbord of opportunities.
Yesterday I activated the Tags feature of WordPress blogs. I’ve actually been adding tags to my entries for quite a while, but I never added the display. Now, you can see the tags at the bottom of each entry. If you click on the tag, it will show you all the entries having that tag.
For example, all the entries that discuss the Holy Spirit will have the Holy Spirit tag. It’s like having multiple categories for every entry.
The other cool feature is the “tag cloud” on the right. It shows all the tags that I’ve used–and the size of each one depends on how many entries have that tag.
I recently talked about the difficulty of articulating how we are led by the Spirit–that it’s very easy to say too much or too little or to say things poorly. Well, I’m going to give it a shot.
(Incidentally, this was one of the first topics I posted about.)
This entry will mostly be copied from the same comment section as my recent entry on audible voices & scripture. (Both came from Dan Phillips’ post on general & special revelation. We also started talking about science & religion. The whole thread is good food for thought, even where I don’t quite agree.) After the copy-and-paste, I’ll add some further thoughts.
Carrie, a contributor to the Beggars All Reformation blog, said,
I was also reminded of most of the Evangelicals I know who walk around “feeling like God lead them…”. It seems to get to a point where all revelation becomes personal and extra-biblical and I’m just not sure how I feel about that.
And the word of the day is: Homoioteleuton (ho-mee-oh-te-loot’-on)
Roughly, “same ending”. A homoioteleuton is two lines of text in which the ending is the same. For example:
1 The very tall man was walking
2 down the well-lit city street
3 where the woman was talking
4 to a little girl.
During the copying of manuscripts, this can result in recognizable kind of copying error: Skipping a section of the text.
In this example, if you’re copying the text, it would be easy to skip lines 2 & 3. You copy line 1, and when your eyes go back to the page, you accidentally go back to the end of line 3 instead of the end of line 1. You end up with “The very tall man was walking to a little girl.”
This can be very useful to textual critics, trying to figure out which manuscript has the original reading. If you have two manuscripts (A and B), and A reads 1,4 while B reads 1,2,3,4, you can be pretty sure what happened. “Oh,” you say, “the scribe skipped those lines because of the
similar ending homoioteleuton.”
The leading of the Spirit seems to be a topic that’s inordinately difficult to articulate. It is very easy to say too much, or to say too little, or to say things poorly. And people have been hurt by poor guidance in this area.
Fortunately, the Holy Spirit is not an impersonal force, something we utilize by skill. He works in us and teaches us and leads us in the midst of the immaturity from which he lifts us to wisdom. Learning better from Scripture how to seek his help is vital. But it’s comforting to know that he comes to where we are and helps us in our weakness.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (James 1:5)
“I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might”. (Eph. 1:16-19)
“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8)
People talk about “hearing the voice of God,” in a personal, subjective sense. I definitely believe there’s a reality to that. The Holy Spirit definitely ministers in various ways, and I think people are often having real experiences. But I’m not sure about using those terms.
I have some concerns about when we can say that we “heard God”. I can articulate some of them… And I may post about them more in the near future. For now, I want to share a question that someone asked over at TeamPyro, and my response.
There have been two instances in my (still relatively new) Christian walk where I have had what seemed like direction to specific scriptural passages come into my head. As an especially baby Christian, one time I had been praying at length about a particular concern (hardheadedness, hard places in my heart) and then I finally began to settle in for the night. My head no sooner hit the pillow than I heard in my head, “Turn your light back on and get your Bible.”
There are lots of words used in theology that are somewhat obscure but very fun. I would like to share one:
“Prolegomenon” — Roughly, “first things”
It’s pronounced like it’s spelled. Which will take you a second to figure out. Pro-leh-gah-meh-non. (The plural is prolegomena.)
The prolegomona of a topic are the things you have to talk about first, before you get into anything else. For instance, “This systematic theology text will begin with the prolegomena of theology: How we come to know anything, where we should get our theology, and how we can go about learning theology from the Scripture.” Your initial training for a new job could be called the prolegomenon, too.
It’s a great word. I’m sure you’ll start using it in every-day conversation.