Brace yourselves, dear readers…
A couple of days ago I got lambasted over a supportive and hopefully comforting reply that I made on another blog (The Extinction Protocol, which is a great blog that covers everything from earthquakes to financial messes to unrest and wars, and I highly recommend it) to a poor guy who has been very upset over a recurring prophetic dream that he’s been having. The person who singed my goose starting out by saying that I should “read my Bible” and then hit me with a couple of long quotations from Scripture for good measure. Whew! Enough said about that…
So naturally, being prone to self-doubts and second-guessing myself, I began doing some soul searching and even consulted a trusted friend as to whether or not I was being too obscure about my beliefs. We both came up with the same answer – no.
I have made it quite clear from the beginning what my core beliefs are, but I am going to take the plunge and commit it to writing for any and all to see (and I hope that my critic takes my advice and actually reads some of what I write here): I count myself as a Christian because I believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah, sent by our Creator to pay the ultimate price for the failings of every person who has ever lived, and that by believing in Him I will be able to live far beyond the end of this violent and virtually futile age. There, I’ve said it. Does that mean that I go around beating people over the head with my Bible? No. Does that mean that I am unable to have a normal conversation without turning it into a sermon? No. Does that mean that I am any less of a Christian? No. All it means is that I am glad that I have something to look forward too once this comedy of errors that I’ve called a life is over.
Now pay attention, folks, because I am about to do something that I usually only do when discussing certain prophecies: I am going to actually – briefly – quote some Scripture. In 1st Corinthians 12:4-11, the apostle Paul, who in my book was not only one of the greatest thinkers of his time but also one of the humblest, outlined the kind of spiritual gifts that Christians can receive from God. “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.” End quote. Now I am forced to admit that over the last 28 years since I came to the faith I have sought just about every one of these gifts, which was the wrong approach because they are given, not handed out in response to spiritual requisitions. I know what my gifts are, which is between me and God, and there is always the chance that some of you may figure them out if you keep reading my posts long enough.
Do I hold it against other believers because their gifts seem “second rate” somehow? No, because I believe that all of these gifts are valuable in their own right. Besides, I don’t want to judge lest I be judged! Do I think that some of these gifts are cooler than others? Not really; miraculous powers would be amazing but I believe that is probably the rarest of these gifts since it would take an extremely humble person to wield miraculous powers without growing proud.
The bottom line is, I may not have the gift of preaching the gospel at the drop of a hat, and after studying the Bible for almost three decades I know what it teaches but if you want me to pull up chapter and verse it’ll take me a few minutes to find a lot of things. But what I do have is a very particular view of the world around us and how it all fits together and meshes with what the Bible teaches. Some of my views may seem a bit far out, but over time as I present them just keep an open mind and keep reading and you’ll find that I can build a good case for each one. Because when I set out on this spiritual journey I asked God to make sure that I see the truth in everything, and although there have been times when it hurt and nearly drove me crazy, He’s been pretty diligent about it and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
So, now that I’ve gotten my little rant out of my system, I have something very specific that I can refer future critics to read to see just what I believe, because part of that belief is to avoid judging by appearances but instead make a right judgement. Those who know me know who and what I am, how I am, and those who don’t or are just starting to know me will figure it out pretty quickly if they just keep reading.
And if we still don’t agree, then like my dear departed mentor Walter Martin (and my friend) always said, we can just agree to disagree.