Disclaimer: About This Blog

THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Are Your Ears Itching?

A good friend of ours was recently telling us how he really appreciated a video he watched from a well known pastor.  Our friend knows we we have been turned off by other things this pastor has said in the past, but wanted us to know that this man does have some good things to say, and we shouldn't write him off completely.

2 Timothy 4:3-4 (NIRV)
The time will come when people won't put up with true teaching. Instead, they will try to satisfy their own longings. They will gather a large number of teachers around them. The teachers will say what the people want to hear. The people will turn their ears away from the truth. They will turn to stories that aren't completely true.
 I was reminded of this passage.  Other translations speak of people listening to things that their itching ears want to hear.

Is this passage speaking about me? Is this passage speaking about the reformed camp? Is this passage speaking about the emergent camp? Is this passage speaking about specific denominations or movements within Christianity.

I think the fact is we all like to listen to people that we agree with.

This happens outside of church as well.  Think about what news sources you choose.  You may think some news sources are biased in certain ways, so you avoid them.  But there are other people who think your news sources are biased in other ways.

The danger of course is that we write off people we think we disagree with, and don't allow them to influence us.  Over time people become very polarized in there thinking.

If you look at the church today, I fear this is happening.

For awhile I really enjoyed listening to The God Journey podcasts of Wayne Jacobsen and Brad Cummings. I heard them say many refreshing things.   I can't find an exact quote of one thing, but I believe they said something along these lines. That they believed something was wrong if someone was still listening to them for over a year. They believed they had a message to share, but they didn't want people simply switching from following some other people to later become dependent on following Wayne and Brad.

So what can be done?
  • I think we need to be careful of the sources we choose to influence us.
  • We need to be listening to the Holy Spirit who guides us.
  • Be prepared for growth. The Holy Spirit will likely nudge you at times to be influenced by ideas you are not comfortable with.
Maybe I need to watch this video my friend liked... 


Don G said...

I am a little confused by your point. I think this passage speaks to everyone. No matter what your theological preference, what is your motivation? Are you following someone because they stir your heart toward God, or do they just make you satisfied that God is okay with you?

I have no problem listening to someone who stirs my heart toward God, be it 10 minutes or 10 years. I have a problem listening to someone who I believe is errant, even though he may share a truth from time to time that I embrace.

I want to challenge myself, so I seek a variety of counselors. But I want to protect myself, lest I be one who is led astray.

I like your idea of listening to the Holy Spirit, but for some this can also be a means of self-justification. We need to make sure that our understanding of what God wants and where the Holy Spirit is leading us is in tune with the Word.

Jonathan said...

Thanks Don for the comment. My point here is I think each of us should consider how or if this verse applies to ourselves. It is easy to look at those other guys and say it applies to them. But I think everybody likes to listen to people they agree with and feel comfortable with.

I'm glad you like the idea of following the Holy Spirit. Jesus is the Word of God in the flesh, the Holy Spirit is the Word of God available for each of us today. We need to balance that with what we read about the Word of God (Jesus) in Scripture, and what the Word of God is speaking to others members of our body.

Jonathan said...

Sorry if that last bit of that comment seems strange. I got off topic when you mentioned "staying in tune with the Word". Which to me means the same as staying in tune with the Holy Spirit. I assume you were refering to the 66 books we call the Bible.

These posts may help clarify what I have been learning about the "Word of God":