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Why is the inspiration of scripture over?

Re: Why is the inspiration of scripture over?

Postby dwight92070 » Sun Jan 21, 2018 1:29 am

robbyyoung wrote:Hi Dwight,

Thanks for joining the discussion. The truth is the truth, to include its interpretation. We know for a fact (biblically) that the church is equipped with the Holy Spirit of God, therefore, if teachers, preachers, prophets, etc… (1 Cor 12:28) are led by the Spirit of God to expound on what "thus says the Lord", isn’t it in fact ancillary, at the very least, to the foundational tenets of scripture?

Dwight: I've heard many teachers, preachers, and probably even some prophets, whose teaching is obviously wrong, when you compare it to the Bible. Even though they thought they were speaking by and led by the Spirit of God, they were not. Obviously, some of them were false teachers, false preachers, and false prophets, but some were true brothers in the Lord, but simply misled or deceived in their teaching. Can't you see that?

Unless you are contending that the spiritual gifts of various utterances are mute, how can you defend this position by the Word of God?

Dwight: I really don't know what you mean by "the spiritual gifts of various utterances are mute".

Dwight, my inquiry is not based on the history of defiling Christ’s foundational tenets, but by expounding on them. But to expound on the truth, you must be in the truth, to elaborate on what “thus says the Lord”; but, isn't spiritual gifts the modem to do just that?

Dwight: Yes, I believe it is, but none of us perfectly or flawlessly follows the leading of the Spirit.

Nevertheless, your concerns are valid, because anything that contradicts foundational doctrines should be dismissed as a lie. But, the 1st Century believers were no stranger to this deception, and neither are post Apostolic believers. If the Holy Spirit sustains us, the gifts of The Spirit will always provide further clarification, hence, teachers, preachers, and prophets.

Dwight: The 1st century believers, as I understand it, debated much about what books should be considered inspired and which ones should not. Their were many books that probably were very edifying to the church, but were still rejected from the canon. The true believers among them (we know their were false brethren among them too, as there always is) were very concerned and careful about labeling any book inspired. For example, everything Paul said was not inspired but could be authoritative, we read in 1 Cor 7:12 that Paul gives his own judgement on marriage issues. However, do we read his judgement as inspired?

Dwight: Actually I believe even his opinions were inspired. Remember he said something to the effect of "and I think that I also have the Spirit of God," right after he gave his opinion. 1 Corinthians 7:40

No, we don’t, but could they be authoritative, absolutely. Then why can’t inspiration and authoritative processes of this sort be ongoing to this very day, especially in the multitude of writings?

Dwight: There is authority and being led of the Spirit today, but nothing that equals the authority and inspiration of the original apostles, much less Jesus Himself. They were hand-picked by Jesus Himself, chosen to be with Him for 3 1/2 years, and in Paul's case, personally given great revelations by Jesus Himself. 2 Corinthians 12:7 and Galatians 1:12 No believer today lived with Jesus 3 1/2 years and I don't know any who have received great and many revelations, as Paul did. Those apostles are in a category of their own.

Dwight, you keep eluding to “the bible” as if it existed as we know it today. The Apostles only knew of one form of scripture, The Law and the Prophets and Jesus’ interpretation of the latter.

Dwight: I know that.

Their teachings and instructions were inspired, by God, to equip the church to sustain themselves in Israel’s last days and beyond--through teachers, preachers, and apostles.

Dwight: I believe the apostles teachings were inspired. There is no indication that those who were New Testament teachers and preachers or even prophets had equal authority or inspiration that the apostles had. In fact, not even all of the original apostles were chosen by God to leave inspired writings in the Bible.

Are you saying this is over?

Dwight: Yes, I think so. There was no equivalent inspiration or authority given after the original apostles. And I do believe that there are apostles today, but not with that same authority.

If not, then inspiration which clarifies the truth must still be active and on par with the same sound judgement Paul and others exercised.

Dwight: Clarification of the truth still today? Of course. On par with the same sound judgment of Paul? No, I don't believe so. Steve often mentions Luke 24:45 where Jesus "opened their minds to understand the scriptures." They had special wisdom and revelation that apparently most do not have.

You mentioned Deut 4 & 12, but by your own mandate, Paul was guilty of adding his “two-cents” to the Word of God in 1 Cor 7:12!

Dwight: Even Peter called Paul's letters "scripture", so yes, even Paul's opinions were inspired.

But if you say, no—Paul clearly distinguished his comments from The Lord’s, well I hope you don’t consider his comments “as scripture”.

Dwight: Peter did, so I do too.

But if they’re not scripture, then what are they? Whatever your answer is, all subsequent Christians writings, consistent with Jesus’ teachings, are on par with Paul’s comments!

Dwight: Going by your OPINION, even that statement is INSPIRED BY GOD, but, and this clearly demonstrates what I am saying, I believe you are greatly mistaken.

As for Rev 22, this is a non-sequitur to the biblical reality of Christians building upon Christ’s sure foundation outside this lone prophecy addressed to the seven churches in Asia. Additionally, “this book” is clearly referencing the prophecy therein, not any ongoing teachings and instructions relating to God’s eternal truths.

Dwight: I believe it is very relevant. It clearly tells us God's attitude toward any who dare tamper with the word of God, assuming that they have the authority to add to it or take away from it. Moses says the same thing. Are you willing to risk your eternal salvation, by saying that the warning in Revelation is only for the book of Revelation, especially when the same warning is given by Moses in the Old Testament? Do you thing that it's just a coincidence that the warning in Revelation just happens to be in the last few verses in the whole Bible?

Dwight: Our words will never be equal in authority or inspiration to Jesus' words, nor IMO to any Biblical author.


The Word of God says, "For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (1 Cor 3:11). Therefore, whatever is said can only further clarify the truth. But if there is only one truth, proclaimed through, preacher, teachers, etc... why wouldn't their words be on par in authority or inspiration as Jesus' and the NT Writers?

Dwight: The 12 apostles argued over which of them was the greatest. If you were there, you could tell them, "My words are equal in authority and inspiration as the Lord's Himself".

For we read, "Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw—each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward" (1 Cor 3:12-14). Dwight, our words and deeds must be equal in authority and inspiration as Jesus in order to receive a reward.

Dwight: I sincerely believe that is a deception.

Anything less will in fact suffer loss! Thus, teachers are specifically on notice; "Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness" (James 3:1). I think your judgement is not entirely aligned with scripture, especially if The Spirit is still at work today.

Dwight: How could I be wrong, since, going by your OPINION, my words are equal in authority to those of Christ Himself? On the contrary, it is your judgment on this particular subject that does not square with scripture. In this OPINION that you are expressing, you yourself display that you are not speaking with the same authority as Christ.

Our words, especially speaking on God's behalf, matter greatly.

Dwight: I couldn't agree more.

Blessings.
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Re: Why is the inspiration of scripture over?

Postby robbyyoung » Sun Jan 21, 2018 11:00 am

Hi Homer & Dwight,

Thanks for the ongoing discussion. I think I need to clarify my terminologies going forward. Here’s my pithy definitions of the terms: authoritative & inspired. When I say “authoritative”, I mean Christians having a mandate from God to exercise their freedom of decision making, as well as, having the power to complete an action. I am reminded that every Christian has the authority to obey God rather than man, but having discretion to suffer loss for the sake of righteousness is a personal choice, sometimes we make bad decisions in our authoritative capacity, and human error is possible. It’s also apparent that not all Christians have the authority to be an apostle, teacher, preacher, prophet, etc. Lastly, when I say “inspired”, I mean God-breathed and without human error or interference to the truth. Thus, inspiration definitely requires the work of The Holy Spirit through the various gifts.

I do not equate or conflate truth with being equal to one’s authoritative office when declaring aspects of the truth, i.e., Jesus, the original Apostles, and all others must rightly take their place within the hierarchy of dispensing the truth. I said numerous times that Jesus and the Apostles already fixed a foundation of truth that cannot be altered. Therefore, anything inspired, thereafter, must unequivocally be on par with truth. This doesn’t mean teachers, preachers, etc. are usurping the Apostles office, via The Holy Spirit, while providing further guidance and understanding to the body of Christ.

Opinions can be authoritative but not necessarily inspired. This is why Paul chose to carefully distinguish his words from God’s. The veracity of Paul’s statements, which clearly delineates God’s words from his very own, stand on their own merit. Homer, expositors in the faith can be synonymous with what we call the gifts of the Spirit. By the Spirit you have words of wisdom and knowledge, preaching and teaching, and prophesying, these have the properties of inspiration and authority. Again, not on par with any Apostolic office but in the messaging to the overall truth regarding the kingdom of God. Although God’s revelation is complete, I believe The Holy Spirit is active in helping us discern the truth of scripture.

Claiming to have a word from God is a serious matter. For you would be declaring inspiration. But, authoritative judgements are made all the time, and they are not the same. Our discussion is a product of our authoritative prerogative to discern the truth. But what about inspiration regarding the gifts of "utterances", as well as, "teaching and preaching"?

1 Cor. 12:8 For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit,


Eph. 4:11-12 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ


Are these gifts (which would be God-beathed) still applicable, post the Apostolic Era?

Blessings.
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Re: Why is the inspiration of scripture over?

Postby Singalphile » Sun Jan 21, 2018 11:40 pm

robbyyoung wrote:Is it accurate to say inspired scripture ended at the close of the Apostolic Era? If so, how can this be defended biblically? Here are some critical questions I have:

Does God not provide additional truths in the now “age to come”, which began 2000 years ago?

Does God not provide a means to help us clarify doctrine, with face-to-face modern prophets? If not by prophets, then how? And, wouldn't this still be inspired scripture?

What are your personal thoughts on the matter? As for me, I believe Christians can provide inspired words from God. For example, some believe that the 66 books are God ordained, but how so? Additionally, who ultimately gets to decide "no more"?


"The Bible" as we know it is not really biblical, I suppose, so it's hard to say much about it. And also kind of pointless, possibly? Even if "we" decide that there could be additional inspired scripture, we'll never agree what that should be.

But when you say "doctrine", if you mean it in the biblical sense - teaching/instruction - then I would think that God would provide us with leaders who can continue to teach/instruct us how to live holy and for Christ in ever changing times. We have the well-preserved teaching of the prophets and Jesus and the apostles, but they didn't have much to say about the stock market, genetic-engineering, voting, and sex robots. We have the Holy Spirit and Spirit of Christ. Is that all we need? Then what exactly is the point in having shepherds and teachers? Hmm.

So I guess one could become Roman Catholic or something. I can understand the appeal of that, I think. Unfortunately, no particular organization seems to have gotten things right over the centuries, so ....
... that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. John 5:23
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Re: Why is the inspiration of scripture over?

Postby robbyyoung » Mon Jan 22, 2018 9:56 am

Singalphile wrote:We have the well-preserved teaching of the prophets and Jesus and the apostles, but they didn't have much to say about the stock market, genetic-engineering, voting, and sex robots. We have the Holy Spirit and Spirit of Christ. Is that all we need? Then what exactly is the point in having shepherds and teachers? Hmm.


Hi Singalphile, and welcome to the discussion. It seems as if you are proposing an audience relevance case.

We have the Holy Spirit and Spirit of Christ. Is that all we need?


In the futurist's system, you are right. I think they believe the new heavens and earth will nullify the need for such gifts of The Spirit (1 Cor 13:8-12). Do you believe "The Perfect" has already come? If not, is inspiration still viable through dreams, visions, teachers, preachers, prophets, knowledge, and wisdom?

Homer and I agree that expositors are indeed valid, but what I'm asking is, are the expositors, some or all of the above mentioned? If so, aren't their conclusions, by default, inspired or authoritative at the very least? If not, why not?

Blessings.
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Re: Why is the inspiration of scripture over?

Postby steve » Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:58 am

Paidion,

You ask some good questions, and I will tell you how I would answer them, and how I imagine the early church might do so.

Consider the Protestant Old Testament "canon," which is also the Bible of Judaism. Among the Hebrew writings were two that told of the heroic deeds of a woman who saved the Hebrew people from slaughter. One is the book of Esther, and the other is the book of Judith. Why was Esther chosen to be part of the "canon" whereas Judith was rejected.


To my mind, Esther and Judith might be equally accurate in their historical narration. I have no need for a theory about the inspiration of one or the other, because the important question regarding historical narration is not whether the author was in a trance, but whether the record is, or isn't, accurate.

Even the Jews seemed to have questions about the inclusion of Esther, but they seem to have given it the benefit of the doubt—not necessarily that they had an opinion about its "inspiration" (a concept, as you suggested, that may be more important to Protestants than to the Jews, in determining their canon).

If Josephus is right in attributing the authorship of Esther to Mordecai, then we do not know if it was inspired, because we don't know if Mordecai was a prophet (i.e., and inspired man) or not. He might have been, and this might have been more obvious to the Jews of his time than it is to us.

The value of the Book of Esther was that it was regarded to be telling an important and true story. There is no "word from the Lord" anywhere in the book. Even the establishment of Purim is not represented as being ordered by God. In other words, I don't have to read this book (as I do some other books) wondering, "Is this a command from the Lord?" There is nothing in the nature of such a command in it.

All I have to ask myself when reading is, "Did this really happen?"—since the book is simply a narration of events. If Mordecai wrote it, then I have reason to believe he had the knowledge of the facts sufficient to record an accurate history. Those who add to the book an additional layer called "inspiration" add nothing of value over the basic consideration of accuracy—which can be trusted with or without this additional factor. The same can actually be said about the four canonical Gospels—none of which claim to be written under supernatural inspiration—but all of which claim to be true—a claim very worthy of our acceptance, given the traditional, and probable, authorship of the books.

In general, I would like to know if there is any basis for believing the books of the Protestant Bible and no others to be inspired by God?...How do the choices of the Jews and the Church determine which books are inspired?


To my mind, the matter of the existence, or non-existence, of other inspired writings is not a question specifically relevant to the canon of scripture. The books of the New Testament (apart from the Book of Revelation) were not written by prophets, and make no specific claim to having been written under inspiration. They might have been, but we have no scriptural authority for insisting upon it, and some places may seem specifically to deny it (e.g., 1 Cor.1:16; 7:25).

We know of other inspired utterances (and, possibly, writings) besides those of the apostles. The prophecies of Agabus, and those given by prophets in Corinth (1 Cor.14) were presumably inspired. The Didache also makes it clear that prophets moved about through the churches in the days after the apostles' deaths—apparently giving inspired utterances. We don't know if any of them wrote books or letters, but, even if they did, they would not have been included in the canon.

The accepted New Testament books were not accepted for their inspiration but for their apostolic authority. At least, this is what I believe the early church was thinking—and it is what I am looking for, myself, in terms of determining the authority of New Testament writings.

The hundreds of books on my bookshelves (many of them excellent!) do not make any pretense of being written under inspiration, nor by an apostle (except, of course, some of those in my "cult" section). Some of these non-canonical authors, for all I know, may have experienced more in the way of spiritual inspiration than they claimed or realized, but that, in itself, would not render them canonical, to my mind.

I accept the New Testament books as authoritative because of their apostolic authority. It may seem that Clement should be given as much apostolic authority as, say, Mark, Luke, Jude or James—all of whom were friends of the apostles, as Clement seemingly was. However, not every acquaintance of the apostles (there must have been hundreds who could claim this status) could write with the authority of the apostles.

Also, there remains some legitimate question whether Paul's friend Clement, whose presence in Philippi is all that we know about him (Phil.4:3), was or was not the same Clement who later wrote from Rome. For the sake of argument, I will assume these two to be the same man.

Mark and Luke seem to have written with the approval of Peter and Paul, respectively, because they accompanied them in ministry for years. Depending upon the degree of this supervision, these books could plausibly be seen as, essentially, issued by these apostles.

Also, unlike Clement, Mark and Luke did not write instructions to the churches. They only recorded historical events. It is not the inspiration, but the reliability of their record (as confirmed by their apostolic overseers), that gave their writings authority.

Clement, like Paul (but unlike Luke and Mark), wrote instructions and commands to the church of Corinth—but there is no reason to assume his authority to do so was equal to that of an apostle.

Clement may not have spent much time nor traveled with the apostles, and does not seem to have written under their supervision. His book was seemingly written after Paul's death. It may be that Paul would have agreed with every word in it (as Paul may have agreed with every word in A.W. Tozer's The Pursuit of God), but it cannot be said that Paul supervised or gave his approval to its publication.

James and Jude were a special case. As brothers of the Lord, they seem to have been granted something like apostolic status (Gal.1:19; 1 Cor.9:5)—perhaps because of something Christ communicated when He appeared, post-resurrection, to James (1 Cor.15:7). James, at least, was recognized as an apostle among the other apostles. We know very little about Jude's status—and his book, on principles of apostolicity, would seem to have the least claim of the bunch to canonical status.

I have read that someone has said that the contents of the books themselves indicate their inspiration. If that is the case, what is there about the book of Esther that indicates its inspiration that is lacking in the book of Judith?


I think this claim that you have heard only works subjectively for the individual reader, and is of little value as a general principle. After all, many readers would de-authorize Paul's epistles on the basis that what he said about women and slaves does not seem (to them) self-validating.

I think you make a valid point about Esther and Judith. One difference, though, is that Esther arose during a time when prophets (e.g. Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi) were still being sent to Israel—allowing the possibility (though not the certainty) that Esther's author may have been a prophet. Judith arose in the intertestamental period, during which time, it is believed, God was not sending prophets to Israel. If this assumption is true, then the Book of Judith would not be written by a prophet, and thus not by an inspired writer.

In any case, the value of Esther and that of Judith are admittedly similar, and I cannot imagine one doctrine or duty that would be adversely affected by accepting or rejecting the "inspiration" of either book.

I think Richard Wurmbrand was quite correct (though not necessarily inspired) when he wrote, "God is the Truth; the Bible is the truth about the Truth; theology is the truth about the truth about the Truth." I hope no one will question my total devotion to the authority of scripture. My entire ministry has always been based upon that proposition. However, the canon of scripture rests not on the abstract question of how the books were written, but on whether they tell the truth about the Truth. I think the Jews and the Christian Church, who formed what we call the canon, correctly judged in the matter on this question.
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Re: Why is the inspiration of scripture over?

Postby Paidion » Mon Jan 22, 2018 12:43 pm

Thank you Steve for your thoughts on the matter. They are the best that I have so far encountered and make a lot of sense to me. They don't presume that every part of the Protestant Bible is exclusively God's word to mankind, nor do you attempt any justification for that view.
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Re: Why is the inspiration of scripture over?

Postby robbyyoung » Mon Jan 22, 2018 5:28 pm

Hi Steve,

Great work in your dialogue towards Paidion’s inquiry. If you have the time, I have a couple questions regarding this statement:

I think Richard Wurmbrand was quite correct (though not necessarily inspired) when he wrote, "God is the Truth; the Bible is the truth about the Truth; theology is the truth about the truth about the Truth." I hope no one will question my total devotion to the authority of scripture. My entire ministry has always been based upon that proposition.

Through this model, if theology is the “third” tier of recognizing the truth, and the Holy Spirit is still active in the church (especially regarding the gifts which affect knowing the truth) to mete out “the truth” via teachers (for example), how should this level of inspiration and authoritativeness (if that’s what it is) be recognized in the post Apostolic church? Additionally, if the spiritual gifts are still active, wouldn’t the recipients of these gifts know they have them? If one has the gift of teaching, preaching, knowledge, or wisdom, is it theologically correct to say “it’s possible the recipients don’t know it?

I ask these questions because in our search for the truth, there may be a wealth of (inspired) information available from Godly men and women, who may or may not know that their words hold great spiritual value.

Blessings.
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Richard Wurmbrand's Statement

Postby Paidion » Mon Jan 22, 2018 7:09 pm

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Re: Why is the inspiration of scripture over?

Postby steve » Mon Jan 22, 2018 10:37 pm

Through this model, if theology is the “third” tier of recognizing the truth, and the Holy Spirit is still active in the church (especially regarding the gifts which affect knowing the truth) to mete out “the truth” via teachers (for example), how should this level of inspiration and authoritativeness (if that’s what it is) be recognized in the post Apostolic church?


I think I hear you asking how we can know the correct teaching in the presence of differing interpretations of the Bible, and whether there are gifts of the Spirit that enable us to do so. If I am missing your main question, feel free to clarify further.

There are certainly prophetic gifts in the church, but there is no evidence that prophets—either in the Old testament or in the New—functioned as interpreters of scripture. We have, in the New Testament, no samples of the prophets' messages, other than those of Agabus. We have two samples of his messages, and they seem to be restricted to predictive prophecies, not scriptural exposition.

It seems that the apostles were the inspired interpreters of Old Testament scripture—which was the only Bible the first century Christians had (see Luke 24:45). However, today, even the meanings of the apostles' words are subject to multiple interpretations. I am thinking it is the task of every Christian to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit in matters unclear in scripture (1 John 2:27).

The obvious rejoinder to this would be, "But I thought all Christians have the Holy Spirit! Yet all Christians do not understand the scriptures alike! How are ambiguous matters to be finally decided?"

The Catholic answer is the papacy and apostolic succession. As long as there are living apostles, they can decide for the rest of us what the apostles meant. Right? Protestants do not universally recognize any modern apostles. So what is the solution for us?

I think the Protestant alternative is to recognize that many things in scripture are not clear—and may never become clear. Those things obviously are not the things about which all christians can be required to agree. Those who study the matters most, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit may reach views that are correct, but they will have to recognize the ambiguity of those topics and tolerate charitably those who reach different views.

I believe that the believers' love for each other, demonstrated in such tolerance of non-essentials, is more pleasing to God than would be complete unanimity.

Some things that are quite important are not as clear as we might wish they were. The biblical teaching on divorce and remarriage comes to mind as an example. Being wrong on this matter can be devastating, but not all Christians read the few relevant texts in the same way. Such things must be, in my opinion, studied with great care and humility. Christians should not proceed in any such controversial choice as to divorce or remarry unless they have studied and prayed over the biblical testimony to the point of certainty about the rightness of their views. In this particular case, granting oneself liberties that may be later recognized as sinful can lead to horrendous dilemmas in the future.

The above paragraph may seem to make the Catholic solution ("let the pope decide") the safest approach. However, those who have taken that approach have been led into as many error as have plagued Protestants in their liberty of interpretation.

The bottom line is that the Bible does not identify any specific gift of the Spirit that guarantees perfect biblical interpretation (that gift would have to be called "the gift of omniscience"). I believe that the Spiritual gift of a teacher may equip its possessor with a greater grasp of the meanings of scriptures that others find difficult. This would not be automatic, however. The teacher may receive insights from the Holy Spirit, but the ability to "rightly divide the word of truth" comes as the result of being "diligent to present [ones]self approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed" (2 Tim.2:15). In other words, in addition to spiritual illumination, one who interprets scripture for the church must also put in the hard work of study and meditation.

Since teachers are those who have studied more than the average believer, they are often trusted by those who have not had opportunity to do as much study and meditation as themselves. This is why teachers are in the more tenuous position and "receive the stricter judgment" (James 3:1).

Additionally, if the spiritual gifts are still active, wouldn’t the recipients of these gifts know they have them? If one has the gift of teaching, preaching, knowledge, or wisdom, is it theologically correct to say “it’s possible the recipients don’t know it?


I am not sure. Paul told Timothy to "stir up" the gift that was in him (2 Tim.1:6). This assumes that Timothy knew what his gift was, but Paul suggests that his receiving it was accompanied by church recognition and by confirming prophetic utterances (1 Tim.4:14). I suppose it would be difficult for Timothy NOT to know what his gift was, under those circumstances.

Yet, not everyone today has had a presbytery or prophets clearly identify to them what their gifts are. One's gifts, in such cases, may need to be "discovered." This discovery would come through several possible means (perhaps a combination of them):

1) God may place a burden on one's heart, as Hudson Taylor felt he had a clear "call" to go to China.

2) Such a calling would be accompanied by an anointing of the Holy Spirit. What this would look like is the noticeable spiritual impact of this person's activities upon the souls of others.

3) Another confirmation would be divinely-opened "doors" to minister in a certain gifting—and recognition of that gifting by spiritual Christians, including Christian leaders (some of the latter might come belatedly—like after you're dead).

It is most encouraging if the doors open before you knock, and if others recognize and affirm your gifting even before you are sure of it yourself. I will give my own case, since it is the one with which I am most familiar:

When I started out, at age 16, I thought I was going to be an evangelist—and I was, somewhat. However, the doors that opened for me were to teach—a gifting I admired in others, but had no suspicion of having myself. I was first asked to teach a group of students at my high school, during lunchtime—which I did, daily, through my senior year.

After graduation (1971), I was asked to come on staff to answer Bible questions for new converts in a ministry that was seeing many converts in the Jesus Movement.

I drew my comic books, originally, in 1972. They might never have been published if not for a friend who saw what I was doing and took the initiative of making an appointment for me to show them to Dan Malachuk, the head of Logos International—who published them.

Then (1972), I was invited to come and teach young Christians in Germany, night and day, for five weeks (I was then 19).

After retuning, I was asked, by a group of college students, to teach a weekly home study in one of their houses, which began with seven people and within three weeks had fifty. I taught there, eventually twice weekly, for two years.

In 1974, I was invited to move to Santa Cruz and to teach in the Jesus People church in that town.

While living in Santa Cruz, I was also asked to teach a three-month discipleship school, which I did until 1978, while also teaching in a Jesus People church.

In 1980, while I was living in Santa Cruz, someone asked if I would teach daily studies in a restaurant at 6:30 each morning. Forty something people attended that meeting every morning. After two years of this, I was offered (to own) a school facility in Oregon, to run my own school (which I did for 16 years).

About this time (1982), I was asked if I would come to Australia to teach about creationism in public schools, under the auspices of Youth With A Mission, which I accepted. While I was there, YWAM decided I should also teach in their discipleship schools there.

Every year after that, YWAM invited me to teach in more and more of their discipleship schools around the world, while I also led and taught in my school in Oregon.

In 1990, a Christian radio talk show host named Ron Reed, in Albany Oregon, invited me repeatedly to be a guest on his daily program. Eventually, he asked if I would guest-host the show without him, every Monday, which I did for many years, while I was leading my school in Oregon and traveling, occasionally, for YWAM.

After seven years, Ron Reed said, "I think you could have your own show." I said, "I don't know anything about the radio business. I'm just a Bible teacher." He said he would handle all the business aspects, and he did. The Narrow Path was thus born in 1997.

The past 20 years, since then, have been spent in the same activities—broadcasting, itinerant teaching, and YWAM travels.

The point I am trying to bring out of this survey is that I never knocked on any door (The one exception being that I was the one to approach Thomas Nelson about publishing my Revelation book. After that, they approached me about writing three other books for them, the only one of which that I accepted was the "Hell" book). I always assumed that, if God was favoring my ministry, He would promote it. I only walked through each next door to open in front of me.

This fact, and the letters of appreciation that I get from people benefiting from the ministry are strong confirmations to me that I am doing something that God has blessed. But even this assurance does not translate into a sense of infallibility. I see the opportunities as a stewardship. To be faithful in the stewardship of teaching the people of God requires diligence in study and a teachable spirit. I recommend these to anyone who may suspect that he/she has a calling and a gifting to instruct others. Would to God that all the Lord's people were teachers (Her.5:12)! Yet, since not all are, one must be cautious about assuming the role—and very reluctant about receiving the title (Matt.23:10).
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Re: Why is the inspiration of scripture over?

Postby robbyyoung » Tue Jan 23, 2018 3:38 pm

Hi Steve,

Thanks for putting a fair amount of meat on the skeleton of this thread. I believe the readers will be blessed greatly. Additionally, thanks for adding your testimony regarding the ministry. It was both encouraging and uplifting. Thanks again my friend!

Blessings.
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