My recent posts about the “Alone’s” and the reality that all is solely for the Glory of our Lord, lead me to recount an experience of a few months ago. These experiences leave me not only with dismay at the events themselves, but with concern that what they represent is more common within our Christian circles than we might think.
Through some para-church activity I met a fairly senior clergyman from a mainline denomination, a denomination that variously professes a reformed belief set. With many years experience and solid credentials, I made what I considered reasonable assumptions about his beliefs (we could jump to a new thread about ASSumptions, but we won’t go there for now).
In the course of events and interactions, and because of my own reformed persuasion, I asked casually one day in conversation about a doctrinal difference that had arisen. Let me also add though I hold strong views on the subject, my way of approaching this is to ask for clarification, as in “I think such and such, but I am eager to hear alternate doctrine base upon scripture”.
What I expected was a discussion of scripture or doctrine or the like, possibly with alternate thoughts on interpretation or even translation. Call me naive if you will, but what occurred shocked me.
The one and only explanation he gave was that “God has common sense. God and scripture must be seen with common sense within our context”. No theology, no scriptural reference to the matter at hand or the situation, nada. Just belief above all else that interpretation must be based on God’s common sense in relation to the situation at hand today.
Now folks, common sense is nothing of God. It is absolutely of Man. With that in mind, it could be renamed Natural Sense, as in, coming from the natural man – “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.” (1 Cor 2:14).
So this fellow is basing his life, theology and ministry on beliefs relative to man’s common sense (presumably his common sense in most instance, but that is actually irrelevant). This is relativism in a both seductive and insideous form! There are no real precepts from the Lord that can not be conveniently re-thought in this mindset. Faith and the action based thereon is now in man.
We have been warned and admonished about this repeatedly in scripture: ” Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding” (Prov 3:5), “Do not be wise in your own eyes” (Prov 3:7), and that the ways of God are not the ways of man. There are many other instances, but the natural man’s common sense is demonstrate to in many case to be antithesis of the ways of the Lord. Sola Scriptura!
In the situation at hand, on the surface, it looked like a simple dissagreement over biblical interpretation, and the effect of that on the activities of church life. What it was in reality was the illumination of Spiritual Warfare, and the subtle inroads of Satan in the body of believers. Does that go too far? I don’t think so.
The effect is actually massive, for once that Relativistic view is taken, many tenants of obedience fall quickly away. It is the first domino falling in a long series. Scary indeed.
Does this imply that there is no room for family discussion within the body of believers? In the words of Paul “May it never be” (Rom 6:2a). But let us hold fast to the Word as the only source, interpreted by His grace alone.