Posted by: Bro. Lawrence D. | July 27, 2008

Agonizing Over Eschatalogy Debates and Apologetics in General Part 2

Have you, as a believer, ever struggled with certain Doctrines of the Christian faith? Have you ever been confronted by someone with questions about what you believe that took you an hour to explain because there wasn’t “chapter and verse” just plainly stating it? For instance, have you ever wanted to turn to the verse that says “God’s sovereignty is completely compatible with man’s freedom!”? Or how about “The earth was created on January 1, 4000 b.c.”? Or how about my favorite verse “God is a Trinity, 1 God in 3 Divine persons, not 3 Gods, but 3 co-equal, co-eternal, and co-existing Divine Persons, all sharing the exact same nature and attributes”? You couldn’t find these verses could you? Well, that’s because they aren’t in the bible.

So much of what we as Christians believe is derived from applying “the whole counsel of God”. If we add to that the fact that normally an individual comes to faith in Christ totally ignorant of these things, perhaps we can be a little more patient with those who disagree or are ignorant. Perhaps we can began to trust more on the work of the Holy Spirit through illumination and less on our ability to argue. Perhaps we can also began to understand that the Holy Spirit does not work at the same pace with each individual. Just look at the testimony on my personal page. 

People are often times misjudged by other Christians as not being regenerate because of an inability to discern where that person is in the process. I’ve heard Apologist of every stripe go to I Corinthians 2:14 and use it to declare someone who is struggling to understand and agree with certain doctrines as “possibly unregenerate”. What bologna! I could be wrong but this doesn’t seem to apply to the wide range of things for which it is being used.

Let’s take a closer look at I Corinthians 2 and find out if these are reasonable applications. I’ll start at verse 6:

(NASB) Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; but just as it is written, “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him.” For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thougths with spiritual words. 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.”

Let’s make a few observations about this passage

1.  The context of the wisdom spoken of in verse 6 doesn’t seem to apply to the wide range of certain doctrines that they are applied to.

2. Verse 7 says that this is a wisdom that is predestined. So even if it did apply to every doctrine that an apologist wants to use it for, even he/she must admit that predestination of all kinds manifest at different times for each of us.

3.  Since the understanding of this wisdom would have prevented the “rulers” from crucifying our Lord, then it seems that it deals with understanding who and how valuable Christ is to man concerning salvation. I dare say that the fullness of this is not grasped by any Christian alive. Christ is infinitely valuable and we are ever increasing in our understanding of that fact!

4. Verse 9 speaks of things that God has prepared for those who love Him. What are these things? Again, it seems to be in the context of the value of Christ. We have a lot in Christ besides salvation. According to II Peter 1:3 we have been granted “everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.” Now does that apply to the difficult doctrines of the faith? Maybe. But in verse 10, Paul says that they have been revealed through the Spirit because “the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God”. How are they revealed? Through the Spirit! Do we control how the Spirit operates in another believers life? God forbid such presumption! It even seems to imply that searching is required. It’s not a case of you telling me and then me responding “Oh, I get it now!”. Remember those Bereans? Was that the case with them? You know, the noble ones who searched the scriptures daily. But I digress….

5. Verse 12 says that we have received the Spirit who is from God, “so that we may know the things freely given to us by God”. This is an important verse because this is what the “natural man” does not accept.

6. The natural man does not accept the free gift of God which is salvation. Why doesn’t he accept them? Because it is foolishness to him. Why is it foolishness? Because it comes through accepting a crucified God/man as Lord and Savior ( I Corinthians 1:18 ) which is being preached (another seemingly foolish endeavor depending on how you read I Corinthians 1:21) in simplicity.

My point here is that this verse or passage of scripture should not be used to beat down anyone who is struggling to understand that which is not explicitly stated in scripture. It definitely should not be used to call into question the salvation of one who is genuinely searching these things out. Every measure of grace, mercy and longsuffering should go into instructing one another in these areas. Why? Because God has extended this same grace, mercy and longsuffering to each and everyone of you reading this. And we yet stand in need of more!

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