In my efforts to keep it simple and get down to the Theory of Everything I seem to keep uncovering more complexity than anything else. I mean this in so many different areas and yet I just can't get away from the feeling that there is a common strand through everything.
OK, that sounds a bit nebulous so I'll try to narrow down on a few things.
Due to our personal circumstances, healing has been the primary focus of our lives at the moment. I have read so many books and scoured the bible on the subject and reached a few conclusions, but none that really "hit the spot", so to speak. Things I know for sure? Jesus healed everyone who came to him, we are instructed to do the same, he provided physical healing for all in his death and Resurrection, so we can heal and know that God wants to heal. But despite all our best efforts there is no guarantee, as yet, not everyone gets healed.
Then there is the whole prophetic thing. There's a huge "revival" in this area and amazingly accurate words have been spoken and God uses many prophets in powerful ways. But there are so many fruitloops and vain, money and power hungry ones around that you don't really want to trust any of it sometimes.
Then I think about the new Grace movement. It is the most freeing and wonderful move of the spirit on the earth at the moment. But there is a tendency to go too far and drift into Universalism. But God still uses it powerfully.
So many revivals, new revelations, new doctrines and all proclaiming they are the latest greatest (that is a generalisation of course). It is so easy to denounce other beliefs and doctrines and throw out the old in a rather ungracious manner. And then have the guardians of the old denounce the new as heresy!
Martin Luther was totally radical in his time with doctrines that changed the course of history. But Wesley came along and added a whole new dimension. If Luther had come across Wesley he would have thought him a heretic! And so the cycle goes on. Each new revelation of the wonders of God, opening up new understandings of His character and grace! And they build on scripture that was staring us in the face but just didn't see it before!
So looking at the current scene in Christendom it seems like we don't know what we don't know - yet. We say we have all we need to know in the scriptures. That the word is what it is and yet our eyes are always being opened to new things - personally and "globally". Until God opens up something new we don't know that we need something new!
Now I keep coming back to this (in some vain attempt to tie things together). We keep reading "scriptures" rather than reading "scripture". We keep looking at the words of Jesus and the apostles for individual instructions about specific things and how to "do" christianity. But all the bible was written in a totally foreign language and culture and the best of translators can only approximate what they think was originally meant. Now before you drag me off and have me flogged, you'll have to bear with me for a bit. We say that its the inspired word of God, but which words? The original Hebrew/Greek? The Greek translation of the Hebrew? And we have to remember that Jesus spoke Aramaic so the original gospels are a translation into Greek of what he spoke anyway. And then the KJV is claimed by many to be the truly inspired translation. And on it goes! So we can say God inspires all the translations over the years so they are all accurate. But there are so many internal contradictions that we just keep running headlong into - this is the very reason we have so many denominations and cults, all claiming to be truly inspired by scripture. But we all know that you can prove anything with scripture!
Are you still with me? As far as I can see God knew exactly what would happen with the bible (one would hope so!), and that's not just with translations but even how the original canon of the bible was put together. Now after all that, I'm most definitely NOT saying scripture is a mess and is uninspired by the Holy Spirit or not the written word of God!
Its possible that we have ALL been right about a lot of things, and ALL been wrong about equally as much. And here is another interesting thing, if I trust that God is drawing you into union with him by the same act of Jesus that allows me to be in union with him, then I have to trust that what he reveals to you is his heart for YOU - not me! So he could tell me one thing that I know is supported by scriptures and he could be telling you something else about the same scriptures! My only job is to encourage you to take full advantage of Jesus sacrifice, that enables you to embrace the Father with no sin (guilt, shame or otherwise), so you can become one with him and he with you - and bring all the treasures of the written word to life.
So back to the bible itself. We have to remember a few basics:
- The Old Testament was written without the redeeming sacrifice of Jesus - it only looked forward to it
- All that Jesus spoke was before he completed his sacrificial work so much must be read in that light
- Paul spoke mostly to churches that were battling with different problems, some even heretical, and to different audiences in different cultures
To be responsible for our own revelations, to take the time to embrace Father and listen to him, to walk in the incredible depth of the freedom of Jesus' death and resurrection is a huge undertaking. It most definitely is not abandoning the wonders of the written word for some wishy washy personal "God can be anything to anyone"! It is the most wonderful responsibility that he has given us, to take the gospel at face value, come to the Father and let him bring ALL the written words to life in our hearts so that we can be the life of Christ, NOT a people who just argue over a bunch of scriptures and laws and how to apply them and live by certain standards.
Did any of this make sense? I'll keep working on it...