i feel the point has been lost.

i read this today, and it made me want to throw something against the wall.  what has become of us?

if you’re interested, go read it, and read what i’ll type up shortly.  it’s a book review of Jesus Calling, a little devotional written by a woman who took time to sit and listen to God, expecting Him to speak.  she recorded what He said — to her, mind you — and published it in hopes of encouraging people in the discipline of seeking, waiting upon, and listening to the LORD.

reading the comments didn’t really help my emotional upheaval.  perhaps i wouldn’t have reacted such if i hadn’t been currently enjoying the little book.  but even if i wasn’t, i still think i would’ve been turned away by the voice of the review.  here are my thoughts:

  • i don’t really care to associate myself with evangelicalism any longer.  this thought has been brewing for a while — this may seem harsh or separative, but i think i’ve had quite enough of the black-and-white, “we must protect our faith” mentality that seems prevalent to it.
  • i think the thought that we discern God’s will exclusively through the Bible is bogus.  and it inhibits the body from being full and united — we are each a unique part of a whole, and that includes how we intimate, enjoy, and hear from our Creator.
  • what is up with all the seriousness?  can’t we just be okay with the fact that this woman heard from God, and was so delighted and changed by what she heard, that she desired to share it with others, for their benefit and encouragement?  and if it doesn’t benefit or encourage, then stop reading it.  i read a part in the book just the other day that was about finances or something, and thought, “she must’ve been struggling in that particular way, and that totally doesn’t apply to me.” where have common sense and reason fled to?
  • the reviewer states that “Sarah is claiming some kind of new revelation from God” in that she is sharing words He spoke to her, and to an evangelical, this thought is, of course, abhorrent.  is this really what she’s claiming?  and is scripture — God’s very word — so vulnerable that we must call listening devotionals ‘dangerous’ because they might supplant it?
  • what does scripture say about the ‘sufficiency of scripture’? is not the point of scripture to draw near to God and know Him? this may sound trite, but i think some evangelicals would be fine to shun and leave God for love of His word.  it would still be idolatry to put even a most precious thing as scripture on a pedestal elevated above our very much Alive and Omni-present God, who speaks to us as He wishes.  who are we to put Him in box?
  • we have forgotten the simplicity of knowing and loving God, which is the heart of what Scripture begs us to do.  we can do away with a great many rules and theological debates within these confines.

5 thoughts on “i feel the point has been lost.

  1. I have no substantial comment on the review or the content of the book, as I’ve (just now) only read the former. I did think this was interesting though.

    “is scripture — God’s very word — so vulnerable that we must call listening devotionals ‘dangerous’ because they might supplant it?”

    This book doesn’t seem at all dangerous to me if you know that God’s word is eminent. I don’t think it’s the Bible’s vulnerability that the reviewer is (or should be, at any rate) concerned about, but rather, human vulnerability. We’re weak, and usually far too willing to supplant what God’s word explicitly states with the things we want God to be: with other things we find personally comforting. This isn’t to say that the Bible and personal revelation are always mutually exclusive– otherwise, what would we do with prayer?–but that if the latter isn’t perceived through the former, they can be at odds. If the book leads to personal application and prayerfulness and reflection on God, as Trinity, Father, the biblical Son, and the Spirit, then wonderful– if it leads to an elevation of the self and self’s inclinations as (unquestioningly) God’s own, then I think Our Reviewer would be right to be concerned.

    I totally agree that it’s myopic to think that the physical text of the Bible is the only way that God’s will is communicated to us (see Holy Spirit, nature, common grace, etc.), instead of being its physical instantiation.

  2. I agree with Marc’s comments (what a smart one he is 🙂 ). I think that you have to take Challies’ stuff with a grain of salt, if you take it at all; he is, after all, one of those who blasted Ann Voskamp for her final chapter in her book, One Thousand Gifts–ignoring that what she was saying has largely been said by other saints before her: Charles Spurgeon, John Calvin, John Piper…and, oh, yeah, St. Paul IN THE BIBLE.

  3. hey hon, this book was suggested to me just two days ago! though unfamiliar with this book, from how you described it and the review, it sounds to me that the reviewer did not write as a representative of evangelicalism, but from a subset of evangelicalism called cessationism. as an evangelical who believes in the inerrancy of the Scriptures and loves the gospel of Jesus for our eternal and present salvation, cessationism does not describe my understanding of how God wants us to relate with Him on a day to day basis. interestingly enough though, unknowingly, cessationism did describe how i walked with Him for the first 18 years of my relationship with Christ because the churches i attended believed in this theology. i wonder if error is not far when things are taken to an extreme, even a love for the Bible itself. now let me qualify that–because i LOVE the Bible. there is a way in which we can approach the Scriptures unbiblically, though. it was Jesus Himself who highlighted the error of looking to the Scriptures for Life. the Bible is always to lead us to Himself, the very real Person of God.

    now, i’m enjoying living with the God Who is near…nearer than my breath…who indwells me and wants me to know His thoughts and offers guidance for my life in real-time through the Holy Spirit. the God Who expresses to me in tangible ways all day that He loves me. He’s gone from being a high and lofty God who deserves all glory and adoration and my whole life…to the God who is still ALL that, AND right here loving little ol’ me. john 7:37-39 is a good indicator of what God wants for His people…and also an indicator of whether we as His people live in “correct theological terms” but have yet to enter into them, experience them, taste and see them, be characterized by them. when we lived in Tokyo, S Fiorino gave me this book that God used in my hubby’s life and mine, Surprised by the Voice of God, by Jack Deere. He was a cessationist seminary prof at DTS who God began, through the Scriptures, to deconstruct his theology of the Holy Spirit and reteach him, through the Bible, that He is more alive today and wants to play a more active role in our lives than he had previously known. Roc Bottomly wrote a book called The Promised Power, inviting people from both camps, the Word and the Spirit camps, to embrace one another and learn from one another. Sam Storms is one of our most favorite teachers who wrote a book called Convergence–about the divorce within His Bride over the Word and the Spirit and the need for us to be united and embrace both. He has a message about 1 cor 14:39 which i appreciated.

    for me to write what you did would have taken risk. i don’t know if it was risky for you to write it… but i just wanted to say thanks for speaking out. xoxoxo, ka

  4. such thoughtful comments from you all, thank you 🙂
    an excellent point, marc, on our human vulnerability, which i hadn’t been thinking of. yes, the Word should always inform our personal experience of God.
    ka, i’d like to read more about cessationism.. you’ve mentioned that book by deere a few times, i’d be interested to read it sometime..

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