On Rejecting the Spirit of Prophecy


This, of course, answers a different question than the one I asked. But assuming “It is easy” applies to my question, all I have to say is that it sure is, to those who insist on believing it is. For my own part, I’ll continue to act based my own conviction, empathy, etc., rather than be preoccupied with undefinable abstractions that the “spiritually-minded” thrive on.

(Charles Scriven) #82

Scriven replies to commenters:

Thank you, commenters, for discussing what I wrote. I’ll chime in here just once, with a few thoughts for those of you who in one way or other disagree with me. There may be areas of agreement that I would overlook without you.

To any of you who edge toward dismissal of the relevance of the Hebrew prophets: provide us with arguments, not cries of disagreement. Show how NT Christianity marginalizes the message of justice for underdogs that epitomizes prophetic concern. Demonstrate why my interpretation of Jesus is mistaken, engaging the very apocalyptic and Gospel passages I appealed to.

To those of you who bridle at the phrase “social justice”:

First, dropping Marx’s name settles nothing; he advanced a heretical perspective on what was certainly true, biblical concern for the poor and critique of the rich; we can take note of his mistakes without also throwing out Hebrew prophecy (or Luke 1).

Second, no one, not even in Scripture, is calling for “leveling” of all income; what the Bible demands (in principle, if not literally) is a price-wages relationship such that human flourishing is affordable for the least well-paid. Adam Smith seemed comfortable with mere subsistence for the poor; he thought (overlooking entirely the urban poor) that the poor should be foraging for nettles and chestnuts, and roasting moles and seagulls. (As has been said: Yummy.) Such indifference cannot characterize a “peacemaking” people, or a people who claim to “love” neighbors and enemies alike, and who (see Ezek. 34) uphold the biblical ideal of shalom , or flourishing for all.

To those who identify “social justice” concern with cynical legislators conniving for political advantage:

First, some, or many, politicians are jerks, and it’s fine to denounce them. But if all are jerks, then we may Abraham Lincoln may belong to a category of people with whom he is not usually associated; at the very least, we will have to descend into sheer cynicism, and sheer cynicism can have to useful outcome.

Second, flawed politics is no excuse to thumb our noses at what the Bible thinks of as moral obligation. Or is all politics just social gospel nonsense? Then why did Herod bother with wanting (Luke 13:31f.) to kill Jesus? Why did the author of Revelation risk publicizing his (thinly veiled) contempt for the Roman empire?

To those who think “real social justice” is just individuals ministering to the needy: How would that have eliminated child labor or slavery or Jim Crow laws? But if one point here is that Christian individuals should clean up their own lives, that’s a point I would fully endorse.


(Matt) #83

Preferential treatment of people of color, huh? Ok, so you’re against affirmative action. Let’s set that aside for the moment, because that’s certainly not the only thing people are talking about when they say “racial justice.”

Ah. So if I read between the lines here it seems like you’re saying that when people use the term “racial justice” they are talking only about slavery reparations and affirmative action? That’s… really odd. I get the impression @roncarson shares this view too. Do you believe that right now all races are treated justly and fairly by society? Because that’s usually the central thing we’re talking about when we say “racial justice.” We’re not talking about the past, and we’re not necessarily talking about giving anyone any kind of privileged treatment.

People who talk about racial justice are saying, “Hey! Maybe not everyone experiences this, but a lot of us are treated unfairly in this society. The rules that apply to you don’t apply to me. If you forget to treat a cop with complete respect and annoyingly reach for your license after being pulled over, you probably won’t get shot! We are! That’s not justice.” But instead of listening to these experiences, some people seem to do what you appear to be doing, which is to imply or directly say that these injustices don’t exist.

The REASON we use specific modifiers like “racial” justice is to call attention to the fact that in our societies all races are not treated equally. It’s exactly the same move as responding to #BlackLivesMatter with #AllLivesMatter. Yes of course all lives matter, and yes of course there are many types of justice in the world. By being specific we are trying to call attention to specific problems in society.

Imagine sitting at the dinner table as a kid as your dad passes around the green beans. Before you get more than a small spoonful, your dad takes the bowl from you and keeps passing it around. “Hey dad,” you say, “I didn’t get as many green beans as everyone else, can I get some more?”

“We all want more green beans, son,” your dad responds.

“Right,” you say, “but just now you got more green beans than I did. You’re being unfair.”

“Everyone matters,” your dad says, “EVERYONE deserves a fair amount of green beans, why are you talking about yourself, don’t you have any respect for the family?”

“Yes, but you’re not listening to me dad.”

“Son, is this about that time your grandad beat you and locked you in your room? Come on, that was SO long ago. Aren’t we past that by now?”

“Well, no, actually, that experience has scared me in profound ways that you’ve never really understood or asked about. But that’s not what this is about. This is about the green beans that you have and I don’t, right now.”

“Green beans? You have plenty of green beans. What are you talking about?”

Surely you can see how that kind of minimization can imply to people that you aren’t acknowledging the real problem at all. Instead, it often seems like a way for people with power to be dismissive of the experiences of others, just because they don’t understand or share it. It’s literally a form of social gaslighting. Where you deny someone else’s experience completely by shifting the conversation elsewhere. Eventually, people start getting angry at the constant denials of their reality. If you were that kid at the dinner table, I imagine you’d be angry too.

EDIT: Oh, and as for affirmative action, you are correct that in a perfectly just world we certainly wouldn’t want or need such a thing. But put yourself once again in the shoes of this kid in my example above.

Suppose you leave the dinner table having only eaten half of the green beans that everyone else received. Maybe your mom notices this, but knows she is unable to fix all of your family’s injustice with a sweep of her hand. Instead, she might bring a cookie up to your room later to make sure you didn’t go hungry.

Did anyone else receive this cookie? Nope. Is that fair and just? Well, viewed in isolation, and without acknowledging the inequality of the green beans, then no! That is unfair and unjust! The older kid who is dad’s favorite might complain! He got no cookie!

Is he right to be mad? He is pointing out an inequality after all, but here’s the thing… he’s been eating those green beans every single meal just fine. Is it his fault that their father is treating one son unfairly? Nope, it’s not! Just like it’s not your fault that racism exists. The older son might not even realize that his little bro hasn’t been receiving the same green beans he takes for granted every day. Maybe because every time the kid says anything about it, he tells him to shut up and complains about the dang consolation cookie… BUT, complaining about our own perceived injustices without stepping back to examine the challenges facing our family members (or country members) is wrong. The underlying problem may not be our fault, but every time we minimize the problems or imply that they aren’t real or important, we are giving more power to the purveyors of injustice. You are free to do so, just like the older son is free to criticize the cookie and claim that he doesn’t think the green beans are a problem AT ALL. I mean, his brother is just always complaining about something, right? Entitled little jerk.

It’s admittedly an odd example, but if you don’t see how well it stands in for current American society I’m not sure what else I can tell ya. I am SO tired of explaining how injustice works to white men of a certain generation.

(Patrick Travis) #84

I have no problem and embrace laws that treat all of God’s human creation equally under law without regard race, sex,religion or national origin.

My problem comes in the areas of “redistributive” provision through taxation on earned income. That is an “economic system” decision and choice that does not inherently carry any “scriptural absolute” for moral measure.
I believe enlightened countries properly help those that are unable to provide for themselves. This is a gracious act, not I suggest a right. If it was a natural right poor countries could provide it to their poor.
Wealth must be generated before it can graciously be “shared.”
The land went back to the family every 50 in the OT. Earned income did not.
Christ and his disciples never spoke of “involuntary charity.” Nor am I aware of any calling on money from the state to fulfill their vision.
What I am simply saying is the state can’t confiscate and claim legitimately “moral” biblical superiority or authority. They have simply chosen an economic path of their choosing.

PS. Luther says this on Rom.2:2,3.
“Today may apply those words to rulers today who today inflict exorbitant taxes upon the people and or by changing or devaluing the currency, rob them, while at the same time they accuse their subjects of being greedy and avaricious.”
Nothing new under the sun!

(Harry Elliott) #85

I used to talk like that–about those on welfare. Today. it’s the inhabitants of “the swamp”.

(Thomas J Zwemer) #86

Unless I missed it no one seems to address the flagrant misuse of the text as the institutional support for Ellen White. A stretch at best and a flagrant misuse of Scripture for sure. One needs but follow the path of the Book on the Life Of Paul to have an early warning of what was exposed in the White Lie, and the work of Don McAdsms and others. The book Answers to Questions on Doctrine opened the flood gates. We are now on a vigil over Des Ford. Let us see if Ted Wilson comments.

(Patrick Travis) #87

Dems. & Reps. special interest folks alike!
More big WS money went to Hillary than Trump in '16. People lining up to be “paid” back for legislation or contracts.

(Kim Green) #88

William, there are those of us who don’t see a spiritual difference between working in the “world” or working in the “church”. I don’t see the difference between “changing the world” or “changing the people that are in it”…to me this means exactly the same thing.

I do understand your position on “Social Justice” but disagree. To me, all good that anyone does is “God-driven” whether or not they are atheists (or whatever) or not. Ultimately it comes from God who IS “goodness” and this is proof that we are doing His work.

Maybe you can illuminate why you feel that they (Social Justice) do “great damage to the cause of God, etc.”

(Kim Green) #89

LOL…then there are those of God who are hoping that we will never be “called” in a billion years! :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:


Like Jeremiah, I guess.:sunglasses:


Chuck’s subtext here, if I am inferring correctly, is that the appropriation of what the Book of Revelation calls the “spirit of prophecy” by the Seventh-day Adventist :registered: church is rejecting the spirit of prophecy.

If so, I agree.

(Patrick Travis) #92

“But if one point here is that Christian individuals should clean up their own lives, that’s a point I would fully endorse.” (What is the meaning regarding the subject?)

PS. Luther says this on Rom.2:2,3.
“Today may apply those words to rulers today who today inflict exorbitant taxes upon the people and or by changing or devaluing the currency, rob them, while at the same time they accuse their subjects of being greedy and avaricious.”
Nothing new under the sun!

(Ray Smith) #93

While we re-focus on Revelation 19:10, maybe we could re-focus on Revelation 14;6,7.

Psalm 146 “… How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
Whose hope is in the Lord his God,
Who made heaven and earth,
The sea and all that is in them;

Who keeps faith forever;
Who executes justice for the oppressed;
Who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets the prisoners free.
The Lord opens the eyes of the blind;
The Lord raises up those who are bowed down;
The Lord loves the righteous;
The Lord protects the strangers;
He supports the fatherless and the widow,
But he thwarts the way of the wicked.
The Lord will reign forever,
Your God, O Zion, to all generations.
Praise the Lord.”

Have we also gone to the wrong Old Testament link from the call to worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of water in Revelation 14:7? I believe so in the context of this article. When Jesus spoke in Nazareth to introduce His mission, both Isaiah and this Psalm take prominence. The thought even goes deeper in Revelation 5 where we have John’s description of worship in heaven.

Perhaps we also do well to keep in mind that Christ gave us a new commandment, to love one another as He loved us and that He gave Himself for us.

(Alice C ) #94

It’s easy to talk about “personal responsibility” if
Your mother had good medical care while pregnant with you,
As a child, you had access to good medical care, enough good food, and clean water,
Your mother wasn’t exposed to cocaine, lead, opiates, etc. during or before pregnancy,
You weren’t exposed to any of the above contaminates during your childhood,
You learned to read early and then to read to learn (two separate stages),
You had teachers who were able and willing to connect with you during your education,
You had a father and mother who modeled responsibility,
You were encouraged to do well in school by all the influential people in your life,
The well-to-do people in your life were well-educated and willing to mentor you, (and weren’t drug dealers)
There were no gangs in your neighborhood,
You lived in a house in good repair, with decent furniture,
You didn’t live in a neighborhood where violence was part of daily life, inside and outside the home,
You didn’t live in a society where the only way for a woman to have a more-or-less balanced budget was to have two children by the time she was 18,
You didn’t have friends who put you down for doing well in school.

Ben Carson’s mother insisted they read and report back to her, although she couldn’t read. That influence made a huge difference. And he was obviously more intelligent and/or diligent in his studies than his contemporaries. We don’t hear much about his sibling(s). And, at some point, he had the church, another significant influence on upward mobility.

Need I go on? Privilege is not a racial thing, but it is related to how and where you grew up and the influences on your life. It’s easy to point fingers when we don’t understand the circumstances of other people’s lives.

(William Noel) #95

No abstractions here because I’m speaking from many years of ministry experience following the guidance of the Holy Spirit and seeing Him work through my teammates and me with power that is beyond human ability. I’ve seen Him touch hearts with His great love so much that on a number of occasions they were certain we had to be angels because they couldn’t believe humans would do what we were doing to help them. We’ve even had a couple times where someone we did not know showed-up to help for a short period of time and afterward we realized we had been visited by an angel. No, I’m not some “spiritually-minded” person like you’re used to meeting. I’m an imperfect human who is letting God work through me to touch others with His great love.

The way to tell the difference between mere “social justice” efforts and doing the works the Holy Spirit wants us doing is answered by a simple question: Are you seeing hearts turned to God? Social justice causes are incapable of doing that.

(William Noel) #96

You ask good questions that I answer with simply this: Jesus didn’t come to give us an example of rising-up against injustice, He came to proclaim the Kingdom of God and teach His followers to minister as the Holy Spirit directed and empowered. I’ve seen a lot of “social justice” causes come and go in my lifetime and I’ve even been involved in a few. But none of them is marked by the obvious empowerment of the Holy Spirit and not one ever leads anyone to love God and look forward to His coming kingdom. Some in the church have taken that so literally that they exclude being involved in anything but what is overtly spiritually-focused. I vigorously disagree with that attitude because Jesus fed the hungry, comforted the mourning, healed the sick, cleansed the lepers and raised the dead. Three years before Pentecost Jesus began teaching the Disciples to minister in the power of the Holy Spirit. Just as happened with the Disciples, seeing the Holy Spirit guide and empower my ministry has been such a transforming experience that I wish others would be willing to trust God enough to let Him do the same for and through them. However, I have doubts about ever seeing that happen in the church because of our institutional mistrust of the Holy Spirit and the generalized misconception that ministering God’s love is failing to spread the Gospel. By the way, I’ve seen more people join the church because of my current Spirit-led ministry than in the 30 years of my ministry prior to discovering what the Holy Spirit wanted me to do.

(William Noel) #97

There’s a reason Jesus never got involved in such issues: because He knew it was impossible for human efforts to correct the real or merely perceived injustices of the past. The only solution is letting His love change us and prepare us to be part of His eternal kingdom where there will be no injustice.

(Patrick Travis) #98

Who’s pointing fingers? Responsibility and accountability are ultimately a rule of life that applies to all.

Yes, it is a blessing to be raised by responsible parents. Should one feel guilty. Are they responsible for those not as fortunate? I think not. The irresponsible parents are the problem.
This view of “privilege” should be praised because it us the result of an ordered society.
Charity and grace are in order.

(William Noel) #99

The answer is simple: it distract attention to human power and concepts instead of seeking the power and guidance God offers us. As a result I have seen several people who pursued “social justice” causes lose their faith in God.

(William Noel) #100

We can also use Marx to identify what is clearly anti-God and the foundation of the popular concept of “social justice” because the root of almost every such advocation is the imposition of communism, which is explicitly dedicated to the eradication of all faith in God from society.