A depressed man once randomly opened the Bible for God’s will for his life. A verse caught his eye “And Judas hung himself…” Horrified, he again opened randomly, “Go and do likewise”. Dejected, he once more flopped it open, “What you must do, do quickly”.
Fictitious story, sure. However, people do these types of foolish activities every day – in fact it seems most of Christendom is infected. I find three silly “Christian” practices illuminated by this tale. Probably most of us have done all three before, including myself.
Doctrines in search for proof texts
Descriptions vs. prescriptions
Reading between the lines for private interpretation
How shall we then live?
(1) 2 Timothy 2:15 “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” And 2 Peter 3:16.
(2) Romans 15:4 “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” and 1 Corinthians 10:11 “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.”
(3) At the end of second Peter, Peter seems to give us two ideas. First, prophesies from the scriptures came from Spirit inspired writers. Second, it seems to say that we need to carefully read and exegesis the text.
2 Peter 1:19-21 “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
(4) This relativity new practice that stems back no later than one to two hundred years (mid 1800’s). Some assume it is from some form of Pietism, Evangelicalism, a holiness movement, a Methodist sect or Pentecostal movement. Now it is quite common in all Christendom. See J.I. Packer’s book “Hot Tub Religion”. Also this post was interesting: http://mcclare.blogspot.com/2004/08/gods-guidance-voice-from-past.html. Also see David Bercot’s audio CD on “Predestination and Free Will” where he recommends a book that completely covers this late belief called “Decision Making and the Will of God” by Gary Friesen.