I was once in a gathering many moons ago when the speaker (Sharon Stone… no not the actress) asked ‘how many of you have walked around a building or a block seven times, claiming it for the Lord?’. In my element I was one who enthusiastically put up my hand. She paused for a moment and then said, ‘You did that because you did not hear from God, you read it somewhere.’
Her point was made. We copy. We want to find out what was done before, so we quickly look for some mud and spittle (any spit will do) and carry it with us waiting for the miracle to happen. Joshua did not have a ‘Bible’, he heard God and acted. Jesus did not have a manual to refer to.
We like to know and then treat the Bible like a rule book, a manual to tell us what to do. I think it is more like fuel in the tank for OUR journey that a detailed map or instruction manual.
I like the big missing pieces in Scripture. Was Paul opinionated and difficult to get along with? Not really too relevant (might be interesting but so what?). More relevant is what about Martin? (I hope not now using it as an instruction manual) but we read of what is required of leaders in some of the ‘pastoral letters’: two quite good principles there – what happens in the home, and what do the neighbours think? Public and private… mind the gap.
I was shaped by a movement that I am deeply grateful for but in those early days we had / were on the journey of discovering what the shape of biblical church was. I think now not so smart, or might only get us so far… after all let’s assume we get the answer we are looking for, we could well be in danger of getting a ‘new wineskin’ but wineskins do not produce wine.
Paul, what did you do when you got were inside that vehicle, and inside it for days, and was informed that it had been dedicated to two demonic powers? That I am really interested in. I need to know cos then I will know what to do. And the BIBLE? Wonderfully silent. It is the wrong question. We can do the what… march around 7 times; pray and fast and ‘deal’ with the principalities; determine what and how ekklesia should be. All wrong questions. ‘WHY?’ I think ‘why’ is the question that we need to engage with. (More tomorrow.)