I’m going to be speaking at a local church this Sunday, and I am thinking of a way to get people into the proper mindset for the message that will follow. So, here is what I’m thinking of saying:
Folks, I’m about to make a dangerous statement. But first, I’m going to use something to make a point, so please listen carefully.
Romans 10 says:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
The Greek word for hearing used in this last verse means to hear with your ear. In fact every instance of “hear, heard, hearing” clearly comes from the word meaning to “hear with the ear”. It says, how shall they hear without a preacher. It is clear that from both the Greek words and the context of the passage that the gospel is being audibly spoken, and it is received through our auditory organs; that is, our ears. This is consistent throughout the discourse of the passage, and never veers from it. Again, let me restate the obvious. Both the Greek words AND the context of the passage clearly indicate that this is an audible exchange.
Now the rules of Bible study set down by my seminary professors require that we adhere to the integrity of the Greek words, and that we must stay within the bounds of the consistent context of the passage. Do you believe the Greek words and the context are divinely inspired? Adhering strictly to these rules with no bending, let me pose a question to my hardline theology professors and those like them…The Scriptures say that faith comes by hearing, and that they cannot hear without a preacher…So, can a deaf person receive faith? If you bend the rules here, where will you stop?
Now, let me present a scenario to my charismatic/pentecostal friends of a certain persuasion. Can a blind person receive the Baptism of the Spirit and remain blind? Yes. Can a crippled person receive the Spirit and still remain crippled? Yes. Can a deaf and dumb, deaf-mute, or a person with a tracheotomy receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and remain unable to speak? Or does the person absolutely have to speak in tongues in order to give evidence of having received the Holy Spirit? (1 Cor. 12:29-30). I’ve seen a man whose countenance was filled with great joy and never utter a sound. He never did speak in tongues, but he sure was experiencing a wonderful vision.
Here’s my dangerous statement: You can hold on to your rules, another will hold on to their denomination’s dogma, and both will miss the Spirit’s message. Don’t lean on your own understanding. The rules are great but you should always inquire and yield to the Spirit first, and let Him teach you. You may call that dangerous, I believe it’s called seeking the Truth. Jesus said that the Scriptures were written, but He never said they were the Writer. Some theologians will use the created book to bind the Creator. The letter killeth, but the Spirit gives life. Others will swallow the biases of their leaders and never question their dogma. Let the Author speak. He is able to speak directly to us. Although He will not oppose the Bible, He may or may not use the Bible to speak to us. Let’s listen to what He has to say, and although we will not abandon good exegesis, let’s allow Him to interpret what is written. Now, let’s get into today’s message.