Things I Think…

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27 Responses

  1. Alan Hawkins says:

    Yes, having abandoned inerrancy long ago it never threatened my conviction that what I am reading is holy writ and more true than my conscious mind can grasp. Once we learn that it is not a book we cling to but a living king then we know we are held securely and need not grasp so tightly.

  2. Michael says:

    Alan,

    Thank you for giving me better words than I had…nothing that I feared about this matter has come upon me…but my confidence and joy have increased dramatically.
    More true than my conscious mind can grasp, indeed.

  3. Reuben says:

    Inerrancy. Yeah. I am jiving with you guys on this one lately.

    There was so much I could not reconcile. Since then, looking for the Universalist God, it all has seemed to come into place.

    This past year was the worst of my life, yet I felt the hand of God, and did not even feel it justified to be called punishment. I felt the prayers of his people. The answers to those prayers have not been what people expected, but they were clear answers.

    None of what happened the last year has been “biblical”. If I tried to reconcile it, I would go mad.

  4. Michael says:

    Reuben,

    When I hear how people try to reconcile tragedy with the goodness of god it is in an attempt not to go mad.

    Things have to hold their own place…God is good, but what has happened to you is a tragedy of “biblical “proportions.

    If you come to make sense of it all in this life you will be a far more spiritual man than I am…I’m simply awaiting the day when all things will be made new and the sound of reunions will be as a waterfall of joy…

  5. Alan says:

    Christ is the only argument I know for the goodness of God. Not his preventative sovereignty but his restorative mercy. What Michael calls a waterfall of joy. His eschatology is ours. That is our faith, not our good fortunes in life which are more likely a spiritual liability.

  6. Michael says:

    ‘His eschatology is ours.”

    I’ll say the amen…

  7. LInn says:

    #4 and 5-It’s amazing how little we know Christian celebrities when we actually think we know them so well. I do appreciate Elisabeth Elliot, but I also know (I have one of the newer biographies) that there are more things about her I need to learn. I often think that we never “know” people as well as we think we do. I’ve learned to put my disappointment aside and recognize that we are all very human, after all.

  8. Michael says:

    Linn,

    Most of my heroes have been far worse than “flawed’…they have just been awful people at times.

    I find this makes them more relatable to me, because I have been an awful person at times.

    Dr. Packer comes closest to being a real saint…as far as I know.

    Elliot fascinates me…she was brilliant and very much an introvert.

    Her teachings on submission ended up with her in an abusive marriage that she died in.

    I think I would have enjoyed knowing Elizabeth Elliot the Anglican…and disliked Elizabeth Elliot the evangelical …unfortunately, she only revealed the evangelical to the public.

  9. Pineapple Head says:

    My wife just returned home after spending Christmas and New Year’s at her dying mom’s bedside. She learned how cruel a death by dementia can be. The decline from when she arrived on December 23 and January 6 when she passed was so dramatic. And, to your first and 2 points, she found her theology challenged. Not so much in regard to God’s goodness, but to her views on salvation. Her mom never expressed a relationship with Jesus, but over the 2 weeks of decline, God showed up in the form of a wise and gracious chaplain, and my wife being invited to pray over her mom. Around her mom’s deathbed, broken relationships among family were restored. They say that a person’s hearing is the last thing to go, and by God’s grace, the message of new life in Jesus was something that graced her mom’s ears several times over.

  10. Pineapple Head says:

    God showed up so much that, while I expected my wife to come home as a grieving basket case, she was actually blessed and energized by what she experienced. Not that she’s not shedding tears and missing her mom, but God showed up in a very dark, painful situation.

  11. Michael says:

    PH,

    All things are possible.My mother is not interested in the things of God at all…I don’t expect that to change in her current state.

  12. jtk says:

    Alan and Michael,

    I respect you both.

    You may have to use small words for me to follow you, but how did you abandon Biblical inerrancy?

    James T Kirk

  13. Michael says:

    jtk,

    Study.

    There are well known historical inaccuracies in the Bible…the Gospels don’t harmonize unless you contort them beyond recognition…and lots of other issues it’s too late for me to get into.

    How many authors were there for the Torah?
    Isaiah?

    All of this is to no account when you understand that it’s the narrative that counts, not each individual word that has been transcribed and interpreted over and over for 2000 years.

  14. filistine says:

    I quietly, gradually left the inerrancy position years ago, a process that began in Bible College, though my professors were teaching pro-inerrancy, I struggled from the outset buying the premise. I thought I was simply dull intellectually. I also wrestle with infallibility. Both positions require greatly flawed individuals to either produce or handle something sacred and perfect. One, we’re not capable, the other , we’re not worthy. I have a very solid view of scripture that actually makes it more accessible and powerful for me, but leaves those two hurdles beside the track instead of in my lane. The race is hard enough as it is.

  15. filistine says:

    Leaving those two theoretical positions does not relegate scripture to even par with other sacred writings. The difference is Jesus Christ–He is the one who elevates the Bible to special status, for it is the book that reveals the savior and his plan for redemption.

  16. Michael says:

    filistine,

    Well said…I think I’ll send that as my response to those who are saying that leaving inerrancy behind is simply the next logical step in my abandonment of the faith.

    My faith has never been stronger…nor has adopting an adult view of the Scriptures changed any cardinal doctrine I’ve ever held.

  17. filistine says:

    The warnings and threats that have been used over the years to reinforce those positions have proven manipulative, controlling, and rooted in insecurity. If people have left, it’s more likely they are driven away by the motives/attitudes held by adherents than the ‘slippery slope’ promised.

  18. filistine says:

    Modern evangelicalism is too Bibliocentric and not enough Jesus-centric. He came to give us life and abundant life at that; not a book that delivers a placebo.

  19. sarahmorgan says:

    #7 is so true. After many years (full of losses and health scares, including a hospital stay over New Years), I realize that I haven’t lost my faith, but it has transformed into something that just can’t tolerate churches that are ineffective, incompetent, fearful, self-oriented, toxic, and/or abusive. The area I live is one of those places where the dissatisfied are told, “You don’t like it? Then YOU fix it!” (or “Then go back where you came from!”), so no change for the better seems in the offing. I’m tired of walking into churches and feeling the huge unwelcome vibe that comes from being suspicious of strangers (or, worse, from someone who remembers the lies that were told about me years ago from the first toxic church). When I first found and started reading this blog, I was the music director/praise band leader of a group of enthusiastic musicians who fearlessly loved God and others and served our church in an ever-jubilant yet humble way, and now everything is different, there are no fearless, vibrant, loving Christian communities around anymore, it’s all one big sea of egos, and it’s hard to endure the persistent feelings of spiritual abandonment and isolation. I still sing hymns and praise songs at home and relish it when a non-church ensemble I sing or play in chooses ancient Christian music for their repertoire. Maybe the reason I’m still here lurking is because I feel that if anyone finds out where all of us who still follow Jesus can go, it will be you and this community.

  20. Michael says:

    I’ll just go ahead and say this…modern evangelicalism has to focus on a specific way of understanding and interpreting scripture because Jesus wrecks everything if you focus on Him.

  21. Michael says:

    sarahmorgan,

    I hope you’re on the mend …continual health scares have a way of refining our faith in ways that others can’t always understand.

    As long as I’m being bold (too tired to care) the fact that you can’t tolerate what the church has become in many places gives me hope.
    It shouldn’t be tolerated.
    It’s actually anti-Christ in the truest sense of the term.

    I have a theory…a hope, maybe.

    What happens to people when they reject the dirty trappings of what the church has become in some places, is that they discover Jesus.

    Once you really discover Jesus, you want to be around other people who have learned to discern between the sacred and profane and worship with them.

    My hope is that there are enough Christians discovering Jesus that maybe our numbers coalesce into new Christian expressions of “church”…which will look a lot like really old expressions of church…

    I think it will happen…not sure I’ll live to see it.

  22. DavidP says:

    I’m good with being Bibliocentric, it’s more the VERY post-dispensationalist,US-centric interpretation of it that gets me.

    Example: I grew up on the edge of Evangelicalism and mainline (Evangelicalish, but we liked Tony Campolo, didn’t distrust Catholics despite clear disagreements, no rapture talk). When I heard people ask where the US was in Revelation I was absolutely baffled. It was a question that made zero sense and even at a young age seemed to represent a seriously confused understanding of the Bible.

    Also: Is everyone okay with Inspired? Personally I’m good with that.

  23. Michael says:

    David P,

    I don’t know what to call the Scriptures…”inspired’ is ok with me.

    I just know that rightly understood they are “true” in ways that go beyond “factually accurate’…

  24. DavidP says:

    Also, I work with many people with dementia and traumatic brain injury. I seriously believe Jesus is with them in a way I cannot describe. That can feel like little comfort in the moment when someone cannot remember their name or is screaming in your ear because the words aren’t coming like they used to. I don’t want to over-spiritualize and certainly don’t need to romanticize this. But some days I just need to serve, listen, and trust God is still there. And then I let God know it hurts.

  25. Michael says:

    DavidP,

    I’m caring for my mother with dementia…while there is seemingly not even a whisper of the Spirit here I have seen Him with my severely developmentally disabled brother…I do not doubt your testimony in the least…

  26. DavidP says:

    Have you written about your brother on here? I’d love to read it.

    It may mean small things from a stranger online, but prayed for you and you mother this week.

  27. Michael says:

    DavidP,

    Receiving prayer is never a small thing to me…thank you.

    I don’t usually talk much about family…there are still those who despise me.

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