December 28, 2010

Every wind of teaching... by Phil Liszewski


Every wind of teaching... Just some personal observations on this verse: 

"Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming."

When I was a fundamentalist...this verse was used early and often to keep me in line. Every time I would question a doctrine, this was used to keep me within the orthodox position.

But I found out their orthodox position about one thing was wrong, and it just made me all the more determined to make sure I was in the truth. If they could be wrong about one thing, who's to say what was right or what was wrong? Then I met Mike Stallings, an ex-southern baptist and ex-weslyan preacher. He showed me that my understanding in Romans 14 was 180 degrees wrong, and I was off and riding the waves. One by one, I have been calming those waves. The first wave, the most overwhelming one, was law versus grace. Law was so ingrained in my being that it took years to get the ship to sail with the current. The cursed hell doctrine fell, and the idea that I had to subject myself to the teachings in those church buildings went to the wayside, satan lost his grip and evaporated.

I had a real battle with faith. I think I took moving mountains too literally :) With no Christians that I knew outside of orthodox understandings, I needed someone to discuss belief in God with. Atheists worked wonders there. The idea that the bible was inerrant, after devoting so much of my life to learning it, went to the wayside. I started looking at the early history of it. I started wondering what it was exactly I was putting my faith in? The atheists gave me a reality check in that regard. But they can't speak above the whisper of the Holy Spirit, when you've been listening for that voice for 20 years, and the Spirit wants you to know something. You can't prove that voice is His. You can't even prove it's real...psychology would suggest it's a voice from within your subconscious. Well, that's where the Holy Spirit works from, so it takes faith to recognize and differentiate it. What do you do when your faith takes a hit?

All the proof I needed was in my life. He helped me to see it. I can't make anyone else see what is proof for me, I can only assume God makes himself known in ways that are this subtle for everyone. All these issues we face, these waves that we calm down in faith one by one, by God's grace, are overwhelming at first. The apostles in the boat were in panic mode when the storm hit, the waves threatening to topple the boat. Christ slept. Later in the apostles journeys, those same waves were rebuffed by them.

"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind."

As young christians, we're going to get tossed about by the waves. Turn to God, and sort through all those doctrines and beliefs with him. He may guide you to a teacher, someone to guide you until you can discern his voice for yourself. Don't assume your teacher is infallible, but go ahead and submit to him if that is the case. If God has you there, it's for a reason. I had to go through fundamentalism to burn off the junk I had accumulated previous to that, but he led me out. He led me 800 miles away to Mike Stallings who pretty much taught me to search for myself.

The waves of future second comings and rapture, those waves were calmed early, but no understanding of eschatology came, just an understanding that all was finished and heaven was here within man now. I have held the doctrine that men who don't get saved perish, for three decades, and now believe most if not all men are going to be saved in the end. I now believe much of the preterist point of view of fulfilled eschatology, and am sure enough of it to have calmed another wave. People watching a 30 year christian change doctrinal stances like that would likely say I'm being tossed by waves, and in fact I have been accused of that several times.

The truth is: those waves have been buffeting my ship for 30 years, I've not worried at all about them, and they are now being calmed. When I cried out, "Lord save me, the boats going to sink!" He showed me the truth of his grace, and the storm calmed down enough for me not to care anymore about the rest of it. I let it rain and blow. I wasn't worried, I knew he would show me when the time was right. I knew I needed to be grounded in grace, because the law had been so deeply imprinted. Once grounded in grace though, every other storm I have faced has been done without fear.

You know, when I look at it this way, I can say I dwelled in his rest during the storms:) lol


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