01-27-2020: Third Week after Epiphany

I almost decided against writing anything this morning. Usually something worth sharing comes to mind as soon as I sit down to start typing, but this time around, I stared at the screen for a few minutes. I thought I might write something in relation to 80s day here at Our Savior. We’re celebrating Lutheran Schools Week, and one of the theme days is the 1980s. I could go on forever about those years—and not to mention, Evelyn and Harrison are rocking the 1980s getup thanks to their mom.

Anyway, my conscience got the better of me, and as it did, I thought on something perhaps more worth passing along.

I had a conversation this past Thursday right after a presentation I gave in Battle Creek. The exchange arose from something I’d said that caught a few of the Christian listeners in the crowd by surprise. Essentially, I was asked during the Q and A how a guy like me goes about discerning the Holy Spirit’s voice (or something along those lines) when engaging in the Public Square. In one of my ruder moments, I interrupted the questioner mid petition and posed an alternate question—and it’s one that almost always draws out my favorite Facebook trolls whenever I post about it online.

“Where does the Holy Spirit actually speak to Christians?”

I let the question sit for a moment, hoping for a reply. But I didn’t get one. And by the way, I’m genuinely surprised when Christians can’t answer that simple question.

Pastors, do your jobs. Sheesh.

“The Bible,” I said, disturbing the silence resolutely. “God speaks to us by way of His Word. Be in God’s Word. Don’t waste your time hoping for a still small voice. In fact, I like to say if you’re hearing voices, don’t think of it as a God speaking to you, but rather as a medical condition. It may be time to schedule yourself an MRI.”

I went along a little further, adding that if anyone claims they’re hearing the voice of God telling them to do this or that, then they’re actually engaging in a long-established heresy born from a group called the “Enthusiasts” and he or she might not be all that trustworthy. I mentioned that even the crud-Christians who stick to the bottoms of our shoes—the Westboro Baptists—they claim divine messaging from God apart from His Word when they give license for their despicable hatred toward others. They’re proof of the lack of certainty such individual messaging from the supposed divine presents. In the end, if we’re being honest, people employ this method in order to affirm and then impose their own agenda rather than actually following the lead of Christ.

I said a little more in reply, but I don’t recall all of the specifics. Although, I hear a video of the presentation will be available on the public access channel in Battle Creek very soon.

My point in brief to this particular part of the story: Stick with the Word of God. There’s certainty there. Everything you need for faithful engagement in any situation is located between Genesis 1:1 and Revelation 22:21.

So, as I said, while I was ducking out, the person who referenced the surprisingly unequivocal nature of my response actually expressed an appreciation that I didn’t dance around the issue, but instead answered it unhesitatingly. He was glad I‘d answered the gent’s question with “yes” and “no” simplicity.

“Well, Jesus did kind of say, ‘Let what you say be simply yes or no; anything more than this comes from evil’ (Matthew 5:37). And besides, the question’s premise was faulty. That needed to be shored up before we could have a better conversation.”

I suppose this exchange comes to mind right now because it was recent, but also because I’m trying to type something of value on a Monday morning. Thankfully it has a wider embrace than what’s needed in this particular moment. It fits with something else I read on Saturday that was posted to the Facebook page of a Republican candidate running for U.S. Congress. Essentially, she was asked very simply if she was pro-life. In response, the candidate gave a rather lengthy answer that never really went anywhere. It seemed to be more of a loophole-searching attempt at avoiding a clear answer.

Why? The Republican platform is pro-life. You’re running for Congress as a Republican. A “yes” or “no” will suffice. If you want to enhance your yes or no with an explanation, then great. But at least give a clear answer when asked. It’s really not that hard. If you believe that human life begins at conception, and that all such life, no matter its stage or challenges has incomparable value and is worth protecting, then say, “Yes, I am pro-life.”

Tip-toeing around the question implies a concern for upsetting the audience and losing a potential voter because of what one’s truer answer might be. In fact, such a response is eerily reminiscent of Wynn Catlin’s words: “Diplomacy is the art of saying ‘Nice doggie’ till you can find a rock.”

I get the sense she’s a candidate who, once elected, will be found with a rock in her hand.

And so how does any of this apply to us?

Well, the Bible communicates clearly that God is pro-life. A Christian doesn’t need anything more than that for discerning a candidate’s position on the matter. Even further, and I suppose coming full circle, I dare say that the only kind of Christian who’d answer the question with an answer other than “yes” would be one capable of hearing a voice from beyond the borders of God’s perfect and holy Word.

And we can all guess who’s most likely behind a voice like that. I’ll give you a hint. It isn’t God