Sunday, July 22, 2007

Reason and Revelation: Range (Part 2)

Examine your range

We each have a range of what we both expect to be true and what we are willing to accept as being true. Each person's range may be different; some larger and some smaller. Different ranges can be thought of as concentric circles as pictured here. As the concentric circles increase in size, they correlate to a range that is larger and more inclusive than the encircled range. For example, when considering spiritual knowledge, these four ranges might be:

A: Knowledge and truth that can be ascertained and understood from the physical world.
B: Knowledge and truth that is directly taught by the scriptures.
C: Knowledge and truth that is not necessarily taught by the scriptures but neither is denied by the scriptures.
D: Knowledge and truth that is spiritual in nature, even if it is denied by the scriptures.

Much of science today operates in the "A" range. While not always the case in the past, much of science is involved in the pursuit of knowledge that does not require an acknowledgment of God. Science today seeks to describe the world without reference to God and, in many circles, the inclusion of God in the description of the world is considered "non-scientific". This is why many scientists and evolutionist summarily dismiss the idea of a creator God because it does not fit inside their range.

Many fundamentalist Christians operate with a "B" range. They are willing to receive truth that is (in their perception) clearly taught by the scriptures, but they are leery of experiences and revelation that cannot be traced back to a concrete scripture reference. Throughout history, revivals have often been accompanied by strange manifestations; manifestations not explicitly noted in the scriptures. Manifestations such as jerking, swaying, and falling out or, being "slain in the Spirit". People with a strict "B" range often have difficulty embracing revival because they are unable to relate the strange manifestations back to the scriptures.

My wife is a regional resource person for the Catch the Fire Ministries out of Toronto Canada. Over the past few years I have had the pleasure to meet many people associated with this ministry and the ongoing revival that is happening throughout the world. Many of the people I have met have been "C" range people. There is an openness to experiences and revelation that, while not directly taught by the scriptures, is not discounted or denied by the scriptures either. Sometimes, these experiences have lead to new and creative ministry styles that have proven to be effected, even if they are not directly demonstrated in the scriptures.

Finally, those whom we would title as "new agers" would be included with those who have a "D" range. People who have adopted a "D" range are willing to accept any spiritual truth, even truth that is directly denied by the scriptures. Such examples would include spiritualists, mediums, palm readers, fortunetellers, channelers, and the like. For them, the spirit realm is wide open and anything spiritual is to be embraced and accepted.

While there is nothing sacred about these four ranges, they are provided as an example to help us think about our range. While each of us may have a different range, it is important that we understand what our range is and to examine it before God to see if He might desire to change our range; to increase it or to decrease it.

As for me and my wife

My wife an I have different ranges. For me, I accept as truth everything taught by the scriptures ("B" range), I accept as possible those things not denied by the scriptures ("C" range), and I reject everything denounced and denied by the scriptures ("D" range). My wife, however, is more accepting of revelation and experiences that would fall in the "C" range. She is willing to accept as truth those teachings that have been effective in bearing good fruit in people's lives. While the lack of a strong biblical foundation may make me skeptical, for my wife the evidence of the power and fruitfulness of the teaching is a witness of the truth of that teaching.

So who is right and who is wrong? Neither, rather I believe that our differences are due to the different grace, anointing, and calling on our lives. One of my primary ministry callings is as a teacher. As such, I am very concerned about the precision of my teaching. On the other hand, my wife is called to a more personal ministry of the Kingdom of God to the lives of individual people. As such, she is highly concerned with the power and efficacy of the scriptures. To her, the power and capacity of the scriptures is more important that their precision. The point is, I believe that, in part, our different ranges are due to our different callings by God. One is not necessarily better than the other, nor is one to be judged by the other, they are simply different.

More to come... David Robison

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