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Jenny (17/08/2011 21:47)

This article needs a lot of thought, and I haven't got very far down yet, but I think I'd take issue with this:

"Certainly they were not led by the Holy Spirit in choosing Judas's successor; they drew lots - most spiritual!"

We're told "the lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord" (Prov 16 v33) so it must actually be a supremely reliable method of finding God's candidate.
I've often thought that if Rome really wanted to show her apostolic credentials, it would be the proper way to elect a pope (they could draw up a shortlist first as the eleven did).

Editor (18/08/2011 08:46)

The important point to note in the choosing of a replacement for Judas, is that this is the LAST TIME that this method (or others like it) were used to determine the will of God; and it was PRIOR to Pentecost. Once the Spirit came the leading was (and is) from him.
Acts 13:1-4 is an example of the post-Pentecost dynamic. (See also Acts 11:7; 19:21; 21:11 KJV/ASV/NASB)

Although guidance and determining the will of God is not always totally straightforward, there is only one Holy Spirit who speaks with one voice.

It is by the use of worldy mechanisms like voting that gets the churches into soooooooo much trouble.

Recent major incidents like the psalms/hymns debate (in the Free Church) and homosexuality (in the Church of Scotland) have clearly illustrated the point.

How can the Holy Spirit have two voices voting 51% to 49% or even 80% to 20%.

The calling and commission of Paul and Barnabus (Acts 13:1-4) did not happen in a committee meeting set up to look at evangelism. These men were meeting in worship and fasting. (The KJV translates it 'ministering to the Lord' - a most beautiful thought.) The Holy Spirit gave the call, the affirmation and the impetus.

The dynamic is a 'Holy Spirit consensus' (Acts 15:22; 25; 28). But this is not achieved by taking a vote.
In the worst example Satan might be in an assembly (consisting otherwise of God's people) with the casting vote.

While this might be an extreme example, there are church courts up and down the land and all over the world where unconverted people are (often via a voting mechanism) having a decisive input into the things of God.

The problem is that it takes time, spiritual maturity and sensitivity to hear from the Lord (invariably involving prayer and very often the need for fasting and 'waiting' in the Lord's prescence). But this process does not fit itself conveniently into General Assembly timetables or the agendas for parocial parish councils, kirk session meetings, etc. etc.

However, just a couple of points to finish -

1. On 'guidance' (aka decision-making) I will try and find time to summarise some notes and publish these (if it will help), but meanwhile I will start a new discussion on this very important subject.

2. The article written by Ray Borlase is on the spiritual gifts and 'Cessationsism'; and in the light of (1.) could we keep this present thread for this (spiritual gifts) topic please. Thanks.Editor (18/08/2011 20:46) Tartan Paint said (on another thread): "Yes, I have been the recipient of direct revelation on a number of occasions, and I know others who have too. The problem for many of us is that if something is not within our experience we can be dismissive of it. I cannot speak in tongues, by accept by faith that some Chistians can and do."

If, like TP, everyone was prepared to accept that their doctrine should be shaped by Scripture; rather than an interpretation of Scripture refracted through the lens of personal experience and systematic theologies, then we would have less problems than we do (and less denominations than we do) today.

At the height of the charismatic debate I remember hearing on world-famous preacher (I won't name him) accusing charismatics of having a "doctrine shaped by experience" whilst being totally unaware that he could stand accused of having a "doctrine shaped by non-experience".

One benefit that the 'global village' has brought is that regimes have been rendered powerless in preventing their constituencies from 'peering over the wall' into the rest of the world. This is as true of Christian denominations as anything else. ( Page 1 of 8. Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8)

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