When a subject comes to me from a couple of different directions or origins I begin to get the idea that the Lord wants to speak to me on that subject. So when it does, I usually end up writing about it on Cracked Pot Pieces. It’s how I mull things through, and hopefully reach the conclusion God has in mind for me to reach. It happened this week.
Biblical Interpretation. My first thought when I hear that term is, blech. It’s a booger, really. It’s also one of the courses my husband has been asked to teach this term at Highland’s College. He thinks it’s a booger, too. He didn’t actually call it that, but that’s my interpretation of his thoughts on the subject
So my husband teaching the subject was the first time that biblical interpretation came up on my radar. The second time was from a close friend who attends church with me. (Note: Dear Close Friends, subjects you bring up to my attention may find their way here.) She texted me about some finer points of, you guessed it, biblical interpretation, or church doctrine.
She has a friend interested in coming to our church. Hers is a bit of a far drive, and she had heard good things about ours, but there was a little matter or two she needed to have cleared up. Matters of… yes, biblical interpretation. Since my husband is on staff at our church, my friend wanted to clear up her friend’s questions by posing them to me. What was our church’s position on this thing and that thing.
I answered her questions, but then it hit me. God was trying to speak some truth to me in all this biblical interpretation mumbo jumbo. He reminded me that we can get so caught up in whether or not we are supposed to baptize babies, if we are supposed to have a prayer language or not, or raise our hands in worship, that we miss out on the main thing. (For those of you taking notes, the “main thing” is Jesus.)
Denominational differences were never Jesus’ idea. Denominational differences are a result of…. Biblical Interpretation. Denominational differences have resulted in the carving up Christ’s church, and dividing us from one another. How happy our Enemy must be over the subject of biblical interpretation.
I heard a joke once about biblical interpretation. There are three ways to interpret any Bible scripture. Your way, my way, and the right way. Cute, right?
Matthew and I have had the privilege of serving in ministry for over twenty years. In that time we have served in Southern Baptist churches, Presbyterian churches, Nondenominational churches, one Christian Missionary Alliance church, and most recently, a church that most would likely be considered Charismatic.
One thing I have found to be true of all of these different churches: While I never agreed fully, one hundred percent, with all of their Biblical Interpretation, I did find, in all of those churches, folks who held so tightly to their own biblical interpretation, that they could have worn it on their lapels like a badge of honor. They held so tightly to what they saw as correct doctrine they were unwilling to open their eyes to what God wanted to do with them and through them. (Insert gleeful dancing of the Enemy here.)
After twenty-three years of ministry, I have found this to be true. I don’t care what your denomination is. I don’t much care for what your personal doctrine is either. If God is doing something miraculous somewhere, that’s where you want to be. Matthew and I spent a lot of years trying to get God on board with what we were trying to do, so much so, that we often failed to get on board with what He was doing.
God once used a donkey to speak truth to a prophet (check it out in Numbers 22), he can well do what he wants to do in the way he wants to do it, seeing that he is God and all. The prophet Balaam probably didn’t expect his donkey to start talking to him. After all, as far as we know an angel of God had never spoken through a donkey before.
Will you really allow your personal or denominational biblical interpretation or doctrine keep you from joining God in what he is doing? Does he have to behave in predictable ways before you’re willing to climb on board?
In all honesty, I am still trying to comprehend and assimilate all of the biblical interpretation that is a part of the doctrine of my church. But here’s the thing for me. 1,400 people came to know Jesus in January of this year at my church. 1,500 people came to the first service at our Fultondale location last week to hear the Gospel of Jesus. Most Christian churches would love to be reaching that many people period. God is doing something at my church, and I want to be a part of it. He can decide to speak through the pastor’s dog for all I care.
I believe we must make sure that the church we decide to be a part of is a Bible believing church. Trust me, I’ve been a part of one for a brief time that played fast and loose with Bible truths. But if you find yourself drawn to a church that keeps the main thing the main thing (Again, Jesus) and God is working in miraculous ways there, then don’t be so hung up on their every minor point of biblical interpretation. God isn’t going to bless something that isn’t right in His biblical interpretation, now is he?
I think that’s all I have to say on the subject.