And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (Rom 5:3-6)

Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me, O Lord GOD of hosts; let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me, O God of Israel. (Psalm 69:6)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Discernment part 3

Are there any prohibitive commandments pertaining to the teaching at hand?
We need to know our Bible. People who have brought me such books like The Shack are often legitimately looking for answers, but fiction is a shortcut. I love the Chronicles of Narnia series, and Pilgrims Progress. Their allegorical tales help us to remember to be God focuses. But even these are not a substitute for scripture, especially when it comes to doctrine.

Are there any endorsements in the scriptures to this matter?
Again we need to know our bibles, and their contextual settings. If we do not know our bible, why should we look for meaning in other things? If a child can not do multiplication why set her about the work of calculus? Eve was tempted by Satan as he twisted what God had said. When Satan tempted Christ he again used scripture, but scripture in the wrong context. We must be aware of this pattern and flee.

What are the implications if you continue to follow this trail of reasoning?
When you read Why Bad Things Happen To Good People you get the idea that God can not do everything due to limitations. The implications then run that He is weak, therefore His promises are not but allegories, and thus they are not a true help or hope, then we are really on our own, and thus have no need of God. It further implies that God is not God by the fact that He can not keep what He has promised, it compromises holiness and righteousness. The whole of Christianity then falls.
So when we read, what the author says has greater impact than just the topic that may be at hand. A good book bases itself on the supremacy of God.

Are there any secondary or implied teachings in scripture as to this thought or teaching?
This can find a good example in the next question I ask. But let us also recon to understand this question but looking at Why would God kill Achan in the Old Testament, or Annanias and Saphariah in the New? The implication is that their situation taught much about interfering with the work of God. We do not have a direct black and white or red letter explanation of the text, but enough is there around the story to settle the issue. When a teacher teaches something that is not directly addressed, they must have a clear support for what they are stating. I once heard a sermon where the speaker said the storm against the disciples on the Sea of Galilee was caused by Satan. I questioned him on what scripture supports that, and all he could remark was that “If I knew as much as him about Satan I would understand”. The argument here fails not just on proof texts but on shifting blame. We must be aware of this same response or support in teachings that are not clearly proved.

Is there any scriptural precedent at all to this?
For example, I have been asked about the book 90 Minutes in Heaven. Here we have Don Piper giving us a revelation or interpretation of what he says he saw in Heaven. Now scripturally we find two persons who saw heaven, Paul and John. As you read the bible, you will see their not being allowed to speak of what they saw. Thus I ask the question, why should Don Piper be any different?

Does it properly identify God in spirit and in truth? Or is it man’s interpersonalization, making God in man’s image as described in the second commandment?

Is this a new teaching? Is it an old teaching that has been controversial or rebutted?
If it is it must be approached with caution. Two thousand years of church history has a precident for anything “New”. For that matter, if we hear a new teaching it behooves us to research similar teachings in the past and how it was treated doctrinally. This is precisely why we have things such as the Apostles Creed and the Westminster Catechism.

Is the teaching man centered or God centered?
To answer this we should ask “Who gets the glory”? Is God and man seen more equally or in greater contrast? Is man sharing God’s glory? Herein we may be able to save ourselves a lot of time and research on a teaching. If it is man centered we should disregard it, for it will never be gospel driven.

Does God seem limited or more humanistic? Or Is it fiction that takes an artistic license to stress an author’s point while negating others?
Here is my biggest problem with the shack. Mr. Young, tries to give his viewpoint while negating all precedent of God as represented in the scriptures. He tries to illustrate a point, but in his taking artistic license to the points as he does he fails miserably at upholding the redemptive nature of God. The very tenants of the Christian fait are held in question, God is presented and a doting mother rather than the Almighty Holy Holy Holy God. I found Michael Youseff’s article as noted in the appendix to answer this question with great justice.

Does the author have any other teachings that are controversial or biblical?
We should always consider the source. It also must be noted that many good authors will have a bad book, but they will overarchingly have good books the give them credibility above a bad one.

If you go back to the early church fathers and their teachings, is this an issue that is in contrast to the things they themselves taught?
As stated above, new teachings have already been handled, there is no new teaching. Take time to enrich yourself in church history before accepting anything new. Consider the teachings of Athanasis and Pelagius, their stories give a great background as to how the church ought to handle heresy.

No comments: