Saturday, March 4, 2017

"What is Truth?" Part II (Slain in the Spirit)

The Constitution of the United States is a wonderful document. It is a concise instruction concerning the structure and application of practice allotted to the governing body of our nation. It has served us well for more than two centuries. The greatest weakness is not in the document itself, but in those of whom it governs.

President John Adams points to this weakness when he stated, "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." ~ John Adams

There are two major opposing views of understanding the meaning and purpose of the Constitution. One is a strict view that tends to hold to and try to attain the original meaning and its application. The other is sometimes referred to as a living Constitutional view and tends to focus on cultural trends. One argues that the needs of our nation change over time and cultural views evolve, therefore the constitution must also change to remain relevant in our society. Therefore when interpreting the meaning or governing practice of any article in the Constitution it must be interpreted with the weight of the cultural changes in view.

Depending on which view or approach you hold to, determines the meaning you derive from the text.

President Thomas Jefferson stated, "On every question of construction (of the Constitution) let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit of the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.” ~ Thomas Jefferson.    

It is my opinion to agree with Jefferson, but the point here to be made is that there are two different views of interpretation looking at the same document, each view obtaining different results and therefore governing in a different fashion.

Now to the subject of this post. If you are a new Christian, you will begin a process of learning what it means to be a Christian. You will have a desire to learn what pleases God and ways to express your worship of Him. It will be your desire to express your faith and practice in a way that pleases Him. Hopefully you will be instructed to read your Bible and listen to the word preached so that you may grow and increase in the knowledge of how to do this.

What may not have occurred to you, is depending on how those who are instructing you and how you are approaching the scripture, will drastically affect how this works itself out in you life.

As in the example of the Constitution above, so with scripture there are opposing views, which leads us down different roads of interpretation. You may have noticed that all Christians are looking at the same book, but they are coming away with different views. There are many contributing factors which lends themselves to this troubling issue. Two of the heavier ones are something called the regulative principle of worship and the normative principle of worship.

As a new Christian you have to decide which of these principles will govern your approach. Basically, the simple distinction between the two is the regulative principle stresses the fact that scripture alone is our guide in our practice of worship, we are only allowed to practice in our worship what is specifically stated in scripture. The normative principles will stress the fact that scripture is our guide in the practice of worship, but elements that are not specifically restricted are allowed as practices of worship. 

 I'm sure you can now begin to see how various churches can all be looking at the same book and yet come away with very different views of worship. One example would be the practice of being slain in the spirit. This is a practice in some churches where the minister lays his hand on you and you are supposedly slain in the spirit. The person falls to the floor (usually caught by a catcher) and is in a trance or ministered to by the Spirit.  

This would not be a practice under the regulative principle, for there are no instructions concerning this practice nor any example of this practice anywhere in scripture. Therefore it would not be considered a biblical form of Worship under the regulative principle. It is however accepted under the normative principle as scripture does not specifically forbid this practice.

As a new Christian or even one of many years who perhaps just 
never considered these things, you will need to decide how you are going to approach your practice of worship. If you stay with me as we work our way through this series of post, you will discover my leaning to the regulative principle. In my Christian walk I have moved from the normative view to the regulative. If I want to worship in a way that truly pleases God, it's seems logical to me that the way He has prescribed in His Word is the safest way to achieve this.

There are those promoters of this practice of being slain in the spirit, though they cannot defend the practice with scripture, will do so sighting some wonderful experience they had as a result of it. My advice would be to be very cautious with experiences, they do not and must not ever be given supremacy over scriptural instruction. This being slain in the spirit is also a practice in pagan religions around the world today, and they too give testimony of having wonderful experiences of peaceful feelings and emotions of love as a result. Never assume just because an experience has been had, the God of the scripture has been experienced.

"the moment we go beyond the bounds of the word we are out of the course, in darkness, and must every now and then stumble, go astray, and fall." ~ John Calvin.

If you are already in a church that practices being slain in the spirit, I would encourage you to study the scripture. Let the scripture be your guide for worship and practice. Let it be the sufficient source of instruction. You may have wonderful friends and family who would encourage you in this practice of being slain, but I would encourage you to search the scripture, especially the new Testament, see if it encourages you in this practice. Remember, your purpose is to please God in your worship, not necessarily you wonderful friends and family. Gal 1:10  For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.  

Gal 1:9  As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. 

2Pe 1:20  Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
2Pe 1:21  For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

May the Grace of God be upon each of you,


No comments:

Post a Comment