The foolishness of man.


“I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him”  Ephesians 1:16,17

I have recently finished Listening to the Beliefs of Emerging Churches.  Enlightening.  Of the 5 authors, I resound with 2.6 of them.  I have sat down to blog regarding this book a few times, but wanted to wait until it was done. 

I think I get it.  In part.  The whole emerging church movement is so complicated.  They do not all agree with one another, except to agree to disagree, and have fun doing that.  Fine.  I love a good debate.  But, is God so very unknowable???  Yes.  And no.  As I have blogged in the past, He is so far beyond our understanding.  But, He has revealed Himself through His Word.

The irony is, that in the name of humilty, the EC claims the mystery of God.  The ironic arrogance of saying “Lord, You just quite simply did not give us enough to work with.  We know You will not share Your glory with mere Words, and so we look to the Holy Spirit to guide us.”   “We are learning to embrace the fact that we are all heretics and idolaters…. So we’ll enter into the dialectic of Christian dogmatics, but with a grain of salf…. we have decided to forgo contributing another espousal of another theory of atonement… You are invited into a mystery…. You are invited to lay down your theories and enter in….”  Listening to the Beliefs of EC, pg 164.  It is subtle, and I understand if you do not agree with me on the connection.  But I think there is a smug humility in saying we can not add to the theories dialogue, because we are all heretics at heart.  God is bigger than our hearts.  God has revealed Himself to us.

I love how Piper revealed my heart’s desire for some new word…

I  sat staring at nothing. My mind was full of the global glory of God. “I keep watch over the nations He had said this to me.”  It was not just that he had said it. Yes, that is glorious. But he had said this to me. The very words of God were in my head. They were there in my head just as much as the words that I am writing at this moment are in my head. They were heard as clearly as if at this moment I recalled that my wife said, “Come down for supper whenever you are ready.” I know those are the words of my wife. And I know these are the words of God.
Think of it. Marvel at this. Stand in awe of this. The God who keeps watch over the nations, like some people keep watch over cattle or stock markets or construction sites—this God still speaks in the twenty-first century. I heard his very words. He spoke personally to me.

What effect did this have on me? It filled me with a fresh sense of God’s reality. It assured me more deeply that he acts in history and in our time. It strengthened my faith that he is for me and cares about me and will use his global power to watch over me. Why else would he come and tell me these things?

It has increased my love for the Bible as God’s very word, because it was through the Bible that I heard these divine words, and through the Bible I have experiences like this almost every day. The very God of the universe speaks on every page into my mind—and your mind. We hear his very words. God himself has multiplied his wondrous deeds and thoughts toward us; none can compare with him! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told (Psalm 40:5).

And best of all, they are available to all. If you would like to hear the very same words I heard on the couch in northern Minnesota read Psalm 66:5-7. That is where I heard them. O how precious is the Bible. It is the very word of God. In it God speaks in the twenty-first century. This is the very voice of God. By this voice, he speaks with absolute truth and personal force. By this voice, he reveals his all-surpassing beauty. By this voice, he reveals the deepest secrets of our hearts. No voice anywhere anytime can reach as deep or lift as high or carry as far as the voice of God that we hear in the Bible…. The great need of our time is for people to experience the living reality of God by hearing his word personally and transformingly in Scripture. Something is incredibly wrong when the words we hear outside Scripture are more powerful and more affecting to us than the inspired word of God. Let us cry with the psalmist, “Incline my heart to your word” (Psalm 119:36). “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law” (Psalm 119:18). Grant that the eyes of our hearts would be enlightened to know our hope and our inheritance and the love of Christ that passes knowledge and be filled with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 1:18; 3:19). O God, don’t let us be so deaf to your word and so unaffected with its ineffable, evidential excellency that we celebrate lesser things as more thrilling…..

I know I have borrowed much of this blog from Piper – but as I see the church looking for an understanding of what the Spirit is saying, sometimes (often?) apart from what He has revealed in the Word, I feel heartbreak. (“Dan holds to an authority in the Bible that I believe is better placed in the Holy Spirit” Listening to the Beliefs of Emerging Churches – Pagitt PG.113)  I found myself repenting – as I read Piper’s blog, and realised that I too have neglected the Bible for some “fresh word” – when God’s Word is living and active in me, if I should just take the time to pray for His guidance through what He has already given us….

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. raquelamisto
    Nov 02, 2007 @ 15:55:33

    Please tell me that the quote, “Lord, You just quite simply did not give us enough to work with,” is a summarization of what you felt the author was saying… please tell me that he didn’t actually say that…


  2. jonathanbrink
    Nov 02, 2007 @ 16:13:32

    I wonder if the writers are just not comfortable with taking over for the Holy Spirit. This is one of the big historical problems I see in Christendom. The church has said they are the speakers for God. I’m just glad people like Luther didn’t believe it.


  3. Verity
    Nov 02, 2007 @ 18:42:21

    Raquel – it is not a direct quote. I do not think it too far off though – there is a consistent emphasis on the Holy Spirit, apart from the Bible…. Rob Bell, in Velvet Elvis, does ask “is the Bible the best God can do?” pg44

    Honestly Jonathan, from the reading I have done, it seems it is more like they feel God will not share His God-ness with the written word, and that He reveals Himself apart from it. I just wonder how one can know who God is, and where He is directing us, apart from what He has already told us…


  4. raquelamisto
    Nov 03, 2007 @ 19:08:29

    I know I posted this already, but I seriously want to challenge you guys (jonathan and verity ~ and I’ll hunt down jeromy) to read The Shack. And then let’s have a MEGA dialog about it. I think that it would be REALLY interesting to hear your thoughts…

    you down??


  5. raquelamisto
    Nov 05, 2007 @ 02:10:34

    Okay. This time I think that I’ve read all of the latest posts 😛

    Do you know how to maneuver facebook? I’m not knowing about that program but I could give it a try. Both Jeromy and Jonathon are in.


  6. Verity
    Nov 05, 2007 @ 08:38:30

    I got the group invite – you are going to have to find me on facebook, my name is Nicole Sagert… have you finished the book yet?


  7. raquelamisto
    Nov 05, 2007 @ 12:16:28

    NO! I haven’t finished the dang book yet! Seriously, the whole time change thing is really throwing me off. That sounds so lame. I’m going to try and finish it today during naptime – have you finished??


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