Posts Tagged ‘Tim Challies’

Challies on Discernment

Monday, January 21st, 2008

Tim Challies, Christian blogger, recently came out with his first book, The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment. It received some strong endorsements–from Al Mohler, Nancy Pearcey, Mark Dever, and a foreword from John MacArthur. (My copy is on its way from Amazon, to find its place on my bookshelf among the many other wonderful books I should really get around to reading some day.)

He just completed a “blog tour“, in which he went around to a number of popular Christian blogs, answering questions about his book and the subject of discernment. There’s some good reading. (And I think I’ll have to add some of these blogs to my RSS reader.)

My favorite stop on the tour, I think, was the final one, at SharperIron. He answered the following challenging, meaty questions. (I’ll include excerpts from his answers, to tease you into going and reading the whole interview. 🙂 )

  • How does Scripture tell us to view discernment as a step of rational thought guided by the Holy Spirit, rather than a supra-rational sixth sense?
    • “The Bible, though, teaches that discernment is a skill and that it is a practice of the mind more than the “heart” or “spirit.” Hebrews 5:14 tells us that discernment is a skill that is developed by constant practice and Romans 12:2 says that, in order to be men and women of discernment, we must have our minds renewed. In these passages and others we see that discernment is more than intuition and more than new revelation.”
  • If I use my knowledge of Scripture to judge some action as evil, and this discernment seems clear, how should I view my brother who does not make the same discernment?
    • “So when you judge an action to be evil or wrong, you will first want to see just how important an issue it is. If it is an issue that strikes right to the heart of the faith, you will want to address the issue immediately and firmly, though always with love and humility. It may require church discipline or disassociation. But if you find it is a second or third-level issue, you will want to first affirm your common fellowship and from there seek to understand whether this disagreement must preclude you from close fellowship or if it is a disputable matter than should not inhibit close communion.”
  • In the same situation, how should I treat my discernment when no one around me agrees?
    • “It may be that God is using this issue to move you out of a dying church; of course it may also be that Satan is using the issue to use you to divide a God-honoring church. So proceed humbly, cautiously, prayerfully and with a heart saturated with Scripture.”
  • What about if I discern an action to clearly be good, how then should I view my brother who judges that to be evil?
    • “Assuming that this is not a first-level issue, this may well represent a time to express humility and a time to keep in mind the “weaker brother” principle. […] We do such things as an expression of love for our brothers and sisters in the Lord and as proof of a God-given desire to esteem others higher than ourselves. We build true Christian unity by humility.”

A Discussion on Inerrancy

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

I’ve been thinking about posting some entries on the inerrancy of Scripture. But recently, the blogger Tim Challies has started a fairly thorough series on the subject. It has three entries so far: Are there Errors in the Bible?, What Does “Inerrant” Mean?, and Errors and Contradictions in the Bible. So, I’m going to be lazy–er, I mean maximize my resources, and just recommend them to you.

Another blogger, Michael Spencer (from the Internet Monk), posted a reply to something Challies said. Spencer denies inerrancy–though I haven’t been able to make out quite how or why. He affirms inspiration, but thinks the term “inerrancy” requires so many qualifications and clarifications and exceptions, that it’s not a meaningful word. But it’s not clear to me whether it’s just the word he has a problem with, or the definition. Does he disagree with the doctrine itself, or just the term?

So, I posted some comments in his entry. The second one got long, so I split it up in half. But then I couldn’t post the second half–his server keeps rejecting the message. I emailed him, and we think it’s due to some technical weirdness with character encodings. So, I’ve decided to post my comment here, and then post a link to it in his comment section. I can’t guarantee how much sense it will make to you, unless you go read his entry.

Here goes!