Be very careful when you say God told you to do something. Surely, you do not want to use God’s name in vain, do you?
Here is an example (an extremely typical American evangelical example) from a pastor I know. He said: “When we began [our church] we were certain that God wanted us to begin this work with a service at 5 PM on Sundays.”
With the risk of sounding like the devil, did God really say that? “Well, I don’t mean that God spoke audibly to us.” Then what do you mean? And why don’t people say what they actually mean?
Plus, you say that “God wanted” you to have 5pm services. Does this mean that if you had service at 4:30pm, you would be sinning? If you say yes, then you have put a moral category on something that God never does in the Scriptures (time of service). If you say no, then in what reasonable sense do you mean “God wanted” you to do it.
“No, what I mean is God speaks to us through circumstances! That’s how He spoke to us!” Does He “speak” through circumstances? Be very careful about mishandling the Word of God or about misapplying key pieces of revealed redemptive history before you answer that question. And doesn’t God “speak” through His Word, either through Scripture or audible prophecy or visible visions (those are the only clear examples of God speaking I can think of)?
And if you tell me nature declares the glory of God, I say ‘amen’, but that has nothing to do with a specific time of service! I really am willing to converse about this with people who can show real Scriptural examples of God “speaking” in any other way, besides speaking. Because God is a God who speaks, and His speaking is the only way we know Him and His redemptive work in Christ, and the only way we know how to please our Father in Heaven, I would be very careful to say God told me to do something in a way that was unlike any example we find in the one Book we know God SPOKE.
Mr. Jillette may not have Martin Luther reflected perfectly, but I so respect this man for his train of thought. It is sad when atheists are more intellectually honest than professing Christians. And on another note, this is a good introduction to the differences between Catholics and Protestants. It is also sad when an atheist knows more about how to converse with Catholics than Christians do.
HT: First Thoughts
I was recently asked, “How do you know your translation of the Bible is better than mine?” There is no other way to say it nicely: questions like this are naive. I used to ask the same questions. But contrary to a common belief: the English translations are not inspired! But that’s ok, because as one great preacher has said, the meaning of the Scripture is the Scripture. As long as we understand the meaning rightly, we are hearing from God!
All I know is that no one translation is perfect. And if you do not ever care to dig into the original languages (of which none of our Greek and Hebrew Bibles are inspired either; it’s only the original autographs that are inspired, but that’s for another day, maybe even another blogsite), reading multiple translations is the best way for you to get to the meaning of the original text.
One example should illustrate: Philemon 6 says “I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ.” (ESV) That’s a great verse! Evangelism can help us know more of what belongs to us in Christ! Right? Wrong.
First, context could have helped anyone feel that was off to begin with. Secondly, NASB says “I pray that the fellowshipping of your faith…” Fellowship=sharing. This verse is about talking with Christians! Not that evangelism to unbelievers is bad, but of course you’re going to know more of what you have in Christ by fellowshipping, sharing in the faith.
Sometimes just reading multiple translations will help you see God’s Word from another angle that will even make the other translations make more sense, and ultimately, allow you to hear from God in your own language.*
*(if English is not your first language, I’m very sorry; I don’t know how relevant this discussion is for you. If your language does not have multiple translations, I do encourage diving into Greek and Hebrew, or at least reading lots of good Christian books)