Discerning Manifestations: A Quick Transitional Note

Discerning Manifestations: A Quick Transitional Note

In a previous post I discussed how I see the question of whether a doctrine or behavior is Christ-centered and whether it acknowledges Jesus as Lord can determine whether such action is right or wrong for the Christian.

I also noted that I suspected my answer was going to be unsatisfying to many. The reason is similar to problems with the slogan “What would Jesus do?”. If you can imagine Jesus wiping out a nest of your enemies with high explosives, possibly because he drove out the money changers, then you might easily be able to justify your own very violent behavior. Is that an accurate assessment of what Jesus would actually do?

I have rarely encountered someone who believed that practice in worship, or a “manifestation of the Spirit” was something that would anger God. No, they believe, or claim to believe, these are good things.

As I start to discuss this, I simply want to note that there are examples of very bizarre behavior commanded or condoned by God in scripture. Ezekiel, for example, would likely be less than welcome in our modern churches. At the same time I think it is relevant to ask if God would be likely to call someone to do the things Ezekiel did in our modern context.

I will not produce a checklist. I don’t believe one exists. I believe one has to look beyond the external to see whether God is at work. I would also suggest that we all need to be very careful about judging things that might seem odd to us. The problem is that “odd” can be defined by culture and age among many other things.

Physical manifestations are also easy to fake. I would suggest care, and a great deal of withholding judgment. I think Matthew 7:15-20 is a key passage. We’ll know by the fruit. A key to this test is that we may have to wait some time before we can actually inspect the fruit.

Oh, and look up post hoc ergo propter hoc among the logical fallacies when discussing fruit!

(Featured image by J F from Pixabay)

One thought on “Discerning Manifestations: A Quick Transitional Note

  1. Didn’t know you “did Latin” also. My five years of Latin in Canada helped minimally in medical transcription and in general reading and proofreading. Spanish would be more useful than French in the U.S. It is hard to live with ambiguity because certainty is “black and white” and easier to define/defend. However, I believe only the truths about God and salvation are certain. Like you I shun “news” that passes for facts (admittedly not 100% knowable) and, worse, gives a forum to those who have strong opinions. Carry on!

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