Friday, February 22, 2008

Guarantees Conclusion

For the past twelve postings I have written about some common beliefs that many Christians, at least the ones in my circle of friends, hold to. They even claim them as promises saying that the Bible guarantees that God will do that certain thing for them. They even, very often aggressively, insist on saying they know what's best and claim promises for others.

I wrote my posts hoping to encourage the many who have been hurt and disillusioned by such teachings. It's difficult to make the case for the fact that there are no guarantees in scripture except the ones expressly stated. In my reading I can only find two that are stated clearly and repeated often in the New Testament, meaning in the new covenant under which we now live. Those two are simply that God loves us and God will never leave us.

Some people I've shared these truths with are adamantly opposed to my interpretations. Others are a little shocked since it's so different from what they're hearing from TV evangelists and from most pulpits. A few others are greatly encouraged. For the first time they are able to believe that what's happened to them is not because God is punishing them or because they're not one of God's favorites.

I'm currently reading The Shack by William P. Young and the author has this same premise. I'm going to finish reading this book and then go back and highlight the great one-liners I've read. I think this might be the subject of my writing on the next few posts, using the one-liners that are so good and that provoke my own thoughts and ruminations. We'll see.
MB

5 comments:

Chuck Andrews said...

Mary

I’ll guarantee you one thing, the guarantees you have identified as false guarantees are guaranteed to leave people disillusioned and the ones that can’t admit their false beliefs usually end up angry and bitter at God. All the time the false guarantees are being clung to and claimed the real guarantees you identified are guaranteeing the disillusioned, hurt, angry, and bitter the reality of His real guarantees. As you so aptly guaranteed, the real guarantees are relentless whether they are believed or not. And the false guarantees are not reliant whether they are believed or not. Guarantees are only as trustworthy as the contract that guarantees them.

Great Series,

Chuck

Deborah Felts said...

I'm reading "The Shack" too, suggested by Bro. Paul. I look forward to your take on it. I'm finding it fascinating and (like you) with lots of powerful quotes. It will be fun to share. - Deb

greg.w.h said...

My personal experience is that Christians sometimes use these "guarantees" to immunize themselves from the responsibility of empathizing with and caring for people who are hurting. The guarantees turn into trite phrases that leave those who are hurting wondering if God feels the same way that the Christian who just uttered the phrase feels.

Instead I believe we ought to behave this way:

God has made us part of his plan. When we know that there is Scripture that makes promises on God's behalf, we ought to be looking for how he will use us in fulfilling those promises in meeting the needs of both the saved and the unsaved.

I see that thought process--not taking over the fulfillment of God's promises but looking to be part of his plan to fulfill them--as not only healthy but consistent with Matthew 25 ("if you've done it unto the least of these...", John 17 (Jesus's High Priestly prayer especially his prayer for unity which we know from John 15 comes through love for each other), and Matthew 28 (The Great Commission).

Thank you Mrs. Burleson for your thoughts and taking the time to share them. You really tugged on my heart with your practical look at the Bible and God's "promises". I find encouragement in what you wrote to ever more heavily depend on God directly and not to construct other crutches that are less reliable than He is.

Greg Harvey

Rebel4Reality said...

Chuck,
When I first read your comment quickly, I was reminded of the little saying, "How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood." ;-) That was because of your fun use of the word guarantee. When I reread your comment, I realized how good it was, especially your last sentence. Very true!

Debbie,
I'll be interested to know what you think of the book, The Shack. Thought provoking, isn't it?

Greg,
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and opinion. I always hesitate to discuss this area of scriptural guarantees with people because of the varied responses. My biggest concern is that I don't want to prematurely present this to believers who, for some reason or other, are not ready. But then, that again is a matter of believing that God is guiding them as well as He is me. That trust factor thing! ;-) Thanks for your comments. (And, please, feel free to address me as Mary.)
MB

DT Boy said...

Mary,

Thanks for your encouraging words and wonderful insights. I look forward to reading more and yes even learning more from you! :)