Having laid out some various schools of thought and critiqued some particulars of the closed (or “wisdom”) approach to divine guidance, I will now move on to presenting the “missing category”. As we have seen, it is necessary to avoid charismatic methodologies which stray from Sola Scriptura, as well as the more moderate but ambiguous practice of relying on feelings and circumstances. A proper approach must also avoid the weaknesses of the closed model, while providing a Biblical framework for the reality and means of personal guidance from God.
In the previous entry, I examined three common categories of thought regarding divine guidance, and posited the need for a fourth which is predominately “missing”. Before moving on to the propositions of this missing category, I would like to interact with some of the main arguments of the “closed” category, and give some clarity to why I believe it falls short. I will not examine the other categories in the same light, as I do believe that those defending the “closed” position establish sufficient arguments against the other views.
It’s likely that almost every Christian has sought for answers when it comes to knowing God’s will for their personal life decisions. Practically, we want to know who to marry, what vocation to pursue, what ministry is right for us, where we should live, and so on down the list of life’s important choices. Theologically, the Christian may wonder how, or perhaps if, God reveals His will to us in these matters. In the first of a series of articles I intend to write on this subject, I want to examine the common categories of thought on this subject and suggest another approach which seems to be largely missing from the discussion.
Over the course of at least the past 100 years, the American church as a whole has been entirely unprepared to give an answer to the reasoning, arguments, and objections raised by its enemies. Every Christian should be prepared to defend the faith against attacks (Col. 4:5-6; I Pet. 3:15; Jude 1:3-4). After all, we have been given all the answers (II Tim. 3:16-17; II Pet. 1:3)! Yet, with issues like evolution, abortion, and now homosexuality, Christians have been often malnourished in God’s Word, often to the point of affirming the arguments of Christ’s enemies.
Alice Cooper, noted heavy metal shock performer, is a Christian… or so Christians keep telling me. He has a Christian testimony. He’s written songs about God and salvation. He goes to a church that preaches the gospel. He’s gone to Bible conferences, and even played golf with R.C. Sproul. So why doubt him?
As I observe the ongoing uproar being made over the RFRA law, one thing is becoming more and more apparent. Some miraculous act of God notwithstanding, persecution of Christians is going to become a reality in this nation, and it is going to happen soon. I don’t mean verbal persecution, but state-organized, legalized persecution that will cost Christians more than just hurt feelings. Another truth that should be apparent, especially this week as Christians remember the death and resurrection of our Savior, is that any genuine persecution we suffer in His name is a tremendous reason to rejoice in Jesus Christ.
As I wrote a couple years ago, the LGBT movement is one of the definitive battlegrounds of our generation, and Christians must give an answer from a thoroughly Biblical perspective. This fact has been underscored once again by the firestorm erupting across the nation following the passing of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (or RFRA) legislation in Indiana. The narrative from the LGBT community and its supporters insists that this legislation is nothing more than an open door for discrimination against the gay community.
How often do you find yourself restlessly contemplating circumstances in life? Are you often bothered by present conditions or tense over an uncertain future? I’ve been there, and often find myself returning to this pitfall which plagues the mind and paralyzes the progress of sanctification. Although most are probably familiar with the exhortation to replace worry with prayer in Phil. 4:6-7, there is another passage of Scripture which exposes the ugly underbelly of this all-too-common sin.
What does it mean to “know Christ”? We speak of knowledge with multiplicity in our society, and we can often take for granted the depth of which the idea is fleshed out in Scripture. Sometimes we mean simply “do you know of such and such a person?”, as if to inquire about an elementary and impersonal head knowledge. We know all about celebrities and public figures. But on the same hand, we don’t really know them. However, in the gospel of John, Jesus gives us a comparison which can help us understand what it means, even as mature Christians, to truly “know Christ”.
The devastating shooting at Sandy Brook school in Newtown, Connecticut has once again given our nation pause. What was unheard of not so long ago is becoming nearly commonplace. As the nation grasps to understand and interpret a tragedy of this magnitude, ideologies are made evident by the conclusions and answers put forth. Do some of these conclusions have merit, or are the answers merely another trap of our own making?