Re: Nice sentiment
>Lovely sentiment, Ken, but there are practicalities, which I know about
>directly as someone of Pentecostal background (with appreciation and
>indebtedness, but also with some critical awareness of potential
>problems). Specifically, as old-time Pentecostals would say: "How do you
>tell the difference between the Holy Ghost and heartburn?" That is, when
>you consult the "Spirit" directly and ask "God" to tell you the meaning of
>the text, bypassing the efforts of careful exegesis and the witness of
>Christian tradition and scholarship, how do you know the answer you think
>you hear is really God, undeflected and undiluted by your own
Sentimentality aside, this is easy and quite practical--God will never
contradict by His Spirit anything He has placed in Scripture. If the
inner feeling contradicts Scripture, then it's heartburn. Careful
exegesis, the witness of Christian tradition and scholarship all
have their place--such as it is--but the direct witness of the Holy Spirit
within the human spirit as it correlates with the Holy Scripture
must take precedence. The hermeneutic of 1 Cor 2:13 rules: "...which
things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom
teaches, but which the Holy Ghost teaches; comparing spiritual
things with spiritual." I follow the hermeneutic that the Bible
explains itself, that the Bible is one book (albeit written and
redacted by many over the course of many years); yet 100%
inspired and directed by God.
> It's this kind of "Spirit-directed" interpretation of scripture
>that characterized "David Koresh" and the Waco bunch, right? So, let's
>beware of the dangers of spiritual hubris, and humbly learn from those who
>can benefit, check and profit our reading of scripture.
A great danger does exist in this kind of "'Spirit-directed' interpretation
of scripture", as Mr. Koresh and others have amply proven and
continue to prove (Benny Hinn comes to mind). I agree wholeheartedly
with you that we should and must "humbly learn from those who
can benefit, check and profit our reading of scripture". I speak more
of emphasis and final authority as they relate to good Biblical
scholarship. There must always be good Biblical scholarship.
The Scripture must be our final authority. And only the Holy
Spirit can exegete the text. I know what I say places a huge
responsibility on the Christian to know the difference between
the voice of the Holy Spirit within her or him and the voices
of personality, background, culture, neuroses, etc.. Yet, every
indication from Scripture gives ample proof that this is not
only possible, it's also the norm. For goodness sake, knowing
God and God's voice is a great part of salvation.
I think of 1 John 2:27--"The annointing which you have received of
Him abides in you, and you need not that any man teach you; but
as the same anointing teaches you of all things, and is truth, and is
no lie, and even as it has taught you, you shall abide in him".
I also think of Hebrew 4:12--"The Word of God is quick, and
powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even
to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and
marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart".
The Word of God separates and cuts between what comes from
God in our spirit by the Holy Spirit and what comes from the
realm of our soul, that is, those influences of personality,
background, culture, neuroses, etc..
Georgia Institute of Technology