“For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine . . . and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4 This week’s assault on Facebook is 2 Timothy 4:3-4, with assorted memes and photos (one is a shot of the verse, in situ, […]
It is an never-ending source of comfort to be me that I am so frequently wrong.
Never-ending, because on a daily basis I manage to miss the mark more than once, whether I’m talking about the weather or making a mental judgment of someone’s character: I’m wrong a lot.
This is not an admission easily made in the country in which I live, the United States, which is plagued by a population of celebrities, politicians, military “analysts,” talking heads and torsos, and media columnists who are constantly prognosticating, analyzing, pontificating “what if?”, and arranging the details in a simplistic enough format so that the rest of us idiots can readily reach the conclusions they mean for us to reach.
They talk big, confident, and full of expertise — we’ve all met people like that. More than one small, family business has faltered and failed because its owners and top managers, insecure in their own ability to look at facts and make decisions, abdicate power to the aggressive, slick speaking consultant or expert.
Real Prophets Are Never Wrong
And when success eludes, those affected rarely look back — just as rarely as we look back at the words of the news commentators and analysts — and see if the predications of the expert really came true. It’s easier, somehow, just to believe and not question. (To those who make fun of us who talk about faith in God, I might point out that it’s a better bet than faith in analysts. They’re not prophets, although most make little effort to remind us of this.)
With that in mind, let’s also observe that prophets, true prophets, are never wrong because their source of information — God — knows the future. He’s the only one who does.
“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father,” Jesus told His disciples in Matthew 24:36, after a long series of predictions about the future. To this day, we wonder, “Did all this stuff come true already? Or is it still come to pass? And when?”
Lots of Prophets
Good questions, and on the religious side of experts and analysts, there are plenty of pop-Christian TV personalities and mega-church moguls who will be happy to answer any that we have, completely and totally, fitting everything into a neat, and tidy, box. Those with enough money and resources launch book series or movies on the matters, disseminating their interpretation to a wider audience — the masses.
When the masses do not realize that they are composed of individual human beings, each precious in their Father’s sight, and each capable of reading Scripture, praying to God, and seeking wisdom for themselves, then we wind up with millions of people believing, and doing, unquestioningly what they’re told.
Such is the Christian church in America.
The Bible is not something that can be parsed and predicated, deciphered like a code, set out in segments and understood without any attendant inquiry, concerns, doubts, or sheer frustration at the number of unanswered questions. I am reminded of a book I read in 2014, published years earlier, which set out all the things that would happen in 2012, all in accordance with current events set in juxtaposition to Biblical truths. Amazingly, the writer is still writing, and selling, his books.
Humans Aren’t Inerrant
As humans, we like security, and predictability, and certainty, but we look for it in the wrong places. While those of us who are Christians worship a God who is all-knowing, all-wise, all-compassionate, and all-good (there is security and certainty in this, although not predictability), we rarely act as if we believe it, and can easily be led astray by a confident, assertive voice telling us:
“This is what God means. This is what He will do, and this is what He wants you to do.” even when the speaker’s interpretation results in the impression of a God who is NOT all good and compassionate. All the speaker needs to do is stand up straight, look us in the eye and say, “This is correct doctrine. I have a degree, and you do not. Believe what I say about current events, and the future.”
So we acquiesce, and accept, in much the same way we listen to the evening news.
But, “no man knows the future, who can tell him what is to come?” (Ecclesiastes 8:7), and
“The fool multiplies words. No one knows what is coming — who can tell him what will happen after him?” (10:14)
We can discuss, we can analyze, we can predict, we can draw what we think to be logical conclusions from the facts we are given, but ultimately, no human being can tie all those facts together in a handkerchief and say,
“Here. This is what will happen.”
This is why I am grateful that I am so frequently wrong: I am constantly reminded that I am not a prophet of God, but a daughter in His household, and my purpose is not to know the future, but obey my Father. Such is the purpose of all God’s children, and it is time that we sought the truth from the source: not the news analysis stations, not the pop-Christian equivalents, not the self-styled “leaders” who talk big, but give little — but God, and God alone.
Thank you for joining me a Commonsense Christianity, where my constant encouragement to my brothers and sisters in the household is that you read Scripture for yourself and gain enough confidence in God to believe that He will teach you what you need to know.
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