As I finished writing this I realized that this post goes along really well
with my conviction series I did last week. I did not intend for that at all.
I am one of those analytical people… at least I tend to think of myself as one. While I am alone, driving in my car, my mind often wanders. Much of what I write on my blog has to do what what I think about in my car (I drive an hour to work every day – and back). I even carry a pad of paper in my back pocket and a pen in my front pocket to write down any ideas that I think of. I started to do this because I realized that many of the things that I thought about, I also forgot about. I say all of this because over the past few months I have been thinking a lot about consistency. I guess for a long time I have believed that followers of Christ need to be consistent in what they believe or what they claim to believe. But a recent conversation with someone really sparked this idea in me and I have decided to write about it.
Now, consistency in belief, obviously encompasses how we act as Christians, that is, a follower of Jesus will seek to obey him. But this post is not so much about the obvious, but about those little things that we believe and do… but contradict in other areas. An example, the one that sparked this post, is about a recent conversation that I had with one of our brothers (I will call him Hugo).
Hugo and I were talking about the alcohol debate. I told him my position about alcohol not being a sin, and it not being a sin to drink alcohol. He agreed, but felt that it was important not to drink alcohol because it could lead other people to drink and become alcoholics. During our conversation he told me that the main reason why he decided not to drink was because of a scripture that the Holy Spirit laid on his heart. The scripture he was referring to was Luke 1:15 “For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb.” His justification was that John the Baptizer was set apart and so he was to drink no wine or liquor. Which convicted our brother to drink no wine or liquor.
Now, the Holy Spirit is perfectly capable of convicting whomever he wishes of whatever he wishes. But this raises some questions for me. First, John the Baptizer also ate no bread (Luke 7:33), should our brother also cease from eating bread? Second, was his use of this scripture and its justification a valid one? Third, as you read in Luke 7:33, Jesus compared his actions to John the Baptizers actions – John drank no wine and ate no bread, but Jesus did – of the two, which example would the Holy Spirit wish for us to follow most?
This all poses a larger problem for me. I believe that God convict whomever he wishes of whatever he wishes. He may tell me that it is perfectly OK to drink wine and our brother that it is not OK to drink wine. I am just not sure that God uses the Bible to do it. I know that seems extremely… well… extreme. But how can God approve of wine in scripture and then use scripture to convict a believer to abstain from wine? What happens when the believer reads the passages that say it is OK to drink wine? Does he think those passages are wrong? Does he reinterpret them to fit his convictions? It all seems a little fishy to me.
This is what I think happens. We have form beliefs based on what little we know about scripture and God. Then those beliefs lead us to interpret scripture in a certain light. We claim that God made us do it, when in reality, our lack of trust and seeking him made us do it. I am not saying that our brother is wrong for holding to his conviction – but if his conviction comes from the Holy Spirit pointing him to John the Baptizer, then it seems like he must also stop eating bread. If he wants to claim that the Holy Spirit laid it on his heart, apart from any specific scripture, than I am perfectly fine with that. Even if he says that his conviction has nothing to do with what the Holy Spirit has shown him, that is fine with me too.
I just feel that if we are going to claim that God told us to do something or act in a certain way AND we want to use scripture to prove it, then we need to be willing to use all of scripture. Not just a part of it.
What do you all think? Am I completely off the wall?