One Of The Fundamentalist’s Worst Nightmare (He Has Many), Or The Ambiguity Of Discernment

It’s a scary world out there for fundamentalists. Not because of their declining numbers, increasing attacks both from inside and out, and of course the continued descent of society into widespread, overt liberalism – but because each year that goes by takes them one more year away from Biblical times. And this means that it gets harder and harder to use the Bible as law for how things should be.

We are living in a very different world from the 1st century Christians – in too many ways to count. And as it turns out the Bible doesn’t cover everything. It would almost seem there are gaping holes in what it doesn’t cover (capitalism, computers and chemical warfare aren’t mentioned – and that’s just words that start with “c”!). What’s a religion to do?

Now more than ever we need discernment. It is increasingly more and more difficult to live by the letter of the law – and so we need to turn to the dreaded spirit of the law and duke it out amongst ourselves rather than easily turning to the Biblical authority that provided clear answers.

Discernment means disagreements, yes. It means hard work, too, as quick and simple answers are rarely had. It means we must be wise. It means we must have the utmost awareness of our own slants and biases and desires. It also means we are playing with something strong, powerful and beautiful.

Gotta go back to this...

It could seem like discernment is license to run a bit wild – when it could actually be the opposite. But there is little sense in debating this – as discernment is simply where we are. We’ve got to figure this stuff out with what we’ve got – which is to say, a lot.

What’s one thing you wish was made clear in the Bible? What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever heard someone twist Scripture to say was/was not permitted? Do you agree we are heavy into discernment times?

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15 Responses to One Of The Fundamentalist’s Worst Nightmare (He Has Many), Or The Ambiguity Of Discernment

  1. David says:

    You know, Charlie, what i love about God is that he speaks to me and the folks I fellowship with. I don’t think that anything has changed with human nature. Sin is sin, and the method of our lusts may now be digital, it hasn’t changed. All that I care about is doing God’s will, and through prayer, prophecy, words of knowledge, and some solid teaching, I am rarely at a loss for what to do next at work, at home, and for the Lord.

    That said there are principals that I believe the Bible lays out pretty plainly. Jesus’ social values were conservative in term so purity and sex etc. He said that we should obey Him more than sacrificing for Him. He said things like “the poor you will always have with you.” He meant for us to focus on him, not just run off and feed the poor. He said “the sheep know hi voice.” That means that he expects us to learn how to hear from Him. He gave us spiritual gifts and Paul encouraged us to use them in our lives and church services.

    If one is looking for where to live, or what job to take, I believe that God will make it clear. We just need to ask, to listen, and make sure our prophecies, words, and counsel line up with the Word of God.

    After all these years, I don’t find myself confused about any of this. World events don’e freak me out, and even the uncertainly of my own work future is nothing that shakes me. I most concerned about the choices my 20-somethings make, and I commit that to prayer every morning (along with asking for you to get a job.) So I am good, I am at peace, and I know that God will supply exactly what I need to know, the finances I need, and the power to serve him at just the right moment.

    That’s the life by the Spirit that Paul spoke of. We can’t have life by the chapter and verse, just by the Spirit.

    Good questions.

    • great response David. Maybe discernment isn’t what we need, but God’s input. I agree many of the things humans do remains the same as it ever was, but there have been lots of variable changes. So we still have to figure out how to navigate our new world, but of course we can use the old world examples as guides for principals. We certainly are not in the dark.

  2. One thing? Geez. I wish it was clear whether homosexuality was a sin or not, and I wish it was clear what happens after death for all people. If those two things get answered I would feel a lot better.

  3. Darius says:

    Good words, David.

  4. jeff says:

    Let me help Screaming Kettle. Homosexuality is not a sin although homosexuals can sin. When we die we all go the same place. where we go is not dependent on how we think.

  5. I understand some of the deeper questions asked here, but what I keep wondering is why we close our eyes when we pray.

  6. Pingback: I’m Not Gonna Rebuke Mark Driscoll, Or Reference Luke 27 For How To Deal With Famous Christians | Charlie's Church of Christ

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