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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
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His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
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[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
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There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
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Monday, October 22, 2007
New Post for Monday.
I was going to write about Fleecemongers again, but I couldn't remember if I actually posted those posts or left them in draft form. So I sort of lost interest half-way through the post - worried as I was I suppose that I might be repeating myself, and frankly too busy to go and check to see.

But I thought better of it, and will now attempt the nigh-impossible; that is, to state briefly how wrong I think it is to throw out a fleece.

You say - didn't Gideon throw out a fleece? Why yes, I say, yes he did. But Gideon did so before Pentecost - before the Spirit of Christ came to indwell every living believer. Yes, I say, in times past God spoke in many ways (c.f. Hebrews 1:1)- but now He doesn't speak through the Urim and Thummim, through fleeces, through the casting of lots, or to be blunt - through divination of any sort. Now God speaks through the word of God illuminated by the indwelling Spirit of Christ. Period.

That means that it is the mark of someone who is doctrinally fluffy (at best) to throw out a fleece. Look, if you don't know God's will, it is because you don't know the word of God. There is still wisdom in the multitude of counselors, find someone who knows the bible and ask them their opinion before you start giving God your ultimatums in the form of fleece tossing. God's will for you only seems like a riddle when you aren't willing to hear what God is already clearly saying. Tossing a fleece is an expression not of your great trust in God to answer you, but rather an expression of your great doubt that God is already in the process of leading you into truth.

Bottom line. Unless you are a faithful Jew living before Pentecost, your fleece tossing is not going to show you the will of God, it will only show you how far you are willing to go to sidestep God.

Labels: ,

posted by Daniel @ 9:53 AM  
25 Comments:
  • At 11:21 AM, October 22, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    No son, fleece is not the plural for floss. That would be floss.

     
  • At 1:14 PM, October 22, 2007, Blogger Brad Williams said…

    Daniel,

    I'd venture to say that even Gideon's fleece was a demonstration of a lack of faith. God graciously gave him a sign, twice, but that doesn't mean that Gideon did well in testing the Lord. He had already gotten the definitive word from the Lord, right?

     
  • At 1:55 PM, October 22, 2007, Blogger Bryan said…

    And what do you think about how Judas was replaced?

     
  • At 2:31 PM, October 22, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    Brad - I would agree wholeheartedly with your venture.

     
  • At 2:40 PM, October 22, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    Bryan, that happened before Pentecost, and my thoughts are that Peter (true to form) forced the issue out of turn. I think they should have waited until after Pentecost to make the decision, for had they done so the Holy Spirit would no doubt have separated one amongst them to the work, as He plainly did thereafter.

    But that is just my speculation - it really doesn't matter what I think of Peter's actions - what matters is that -after- Pentecost, such divination is unheard of.

     
  • At 2:51 PM, October 22, 2007, Blogger jazzycat said…

    Daniel,
    Good point. Let Scripture guide you in what is right by God and then run as fast and as hard after your goals until God providentially stops you, which he will do if he wants you somewhere else.

     
  • At 3:38 PM, October 22, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    Wayne, I am always troubled when Christians suddenly turn to divination for answers, however sanctified they portray that divination to be (such as fleece throwing).

    Gideon at least had the sense to ask God to do something entirely contrary to nature and absolutely inconsequential to his current situation to demonstrate the Lord's will. But in my experience those who practice throwing out fleeces typically give God some self serving ultimatum:

    Dear God, my wife is obese and refuses to repent of her gluttony. I do not find her physically attractive anymore. Please let me know if you want me to stay married to her by making her skinny by next Friday. If she weighs in at 110 lbs or less, I will know that you want me to stay in the marriage, but if she is 111 lbs or more, I will know that you want me to pursue divorce. Thank you, and amen.

    Sadly, my exaggeration is only slight.

     
  • At 9:42 PM, October 23, 2007, Blogger Susan said…

    Daniel,

    I presume you're still reading here on this post and will ask this question here since this is where it's relevant (even though you have a new post up).

    Do you have any thoughts about why OT believers did not have the indwelling Holy Spirit the way NT believers (excepting the special powers and authority of apostles) do? I'm thinking of just the "regular Joe" type of believer.

    Obviously (well, obvious to me now - only as of the past few weeks) the OT believers needed the regenerating work of the Spirit for faith by God's grace, but it didn't rest on everyone (with notable exceptions in the OT for specific purposes). I'm wondering why not.

    When I posed this question at a group Bible study tonight, the hostess somewhat remarked, "I think it has to do with the rewriting of the convenant."

    Covenant theology is an area of recent interest to me. I'm not well-versed in this area, but would like to understand it better.

     
  • At 6:09 AM, October 24, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    Hi Susan,

    I believe the OT believers did not have the indwelling Holy Spirit in the same way the NT believers do because God hadn't promised to sanctify believers in that way yet.

    The Holy Spirit was with them, that is certainly true, but His presence could leave them (the best example of course is Saul).

    As to why God did it this way, the most accurate answer I can give (and at first I suspect it may feel a bit insufficient - but I also suspect that as you meditate on it its sufficiency will magnify) is that it glorified God most to do it this way.

    I have never heard anyone ever talk about re-writing covenants. God wasn't revising old covenants, he was giving new ones. The new covenant is not a patch that is sewn into the old, but a new garment altogether - not new wine poured into an old wineskin, but new wine in a new wineskin. It is an error to think of the new covenant as revising, building upon, or correcting the old. Rather it was right for Christ to have greater glory than Moses... but again, I am sure if you spend time in prayer and meditation on this there will be much fruit from it.

    Recall God's words in the opening sentences of Isaiah - "come, let us reason together..." I have quoted that many times in prayerful meditation. ;-)

    I am reminded about how the Spirit "came upon" Samson to give him strength, and how Moses was told to speak to the rock, but struck it instead, to no avail. When Samson's strength failed why did it fail? What was the big deal with Moses and the rock? Did it really matter that he whacked it with a stick instead of speaking to it - wasn't the purpose simply that Israel could drink water - what did it matter how God was glorified?

    Let me know what you see.

     
  • At 7:43 AM, October 24, 2007, Blogger Susan said…

    Daniel,

    Yes, I'm quite sure that's the answer. It's the somewhat obvious answer to all things really, but in this case, I'm still thinking about "how" God is glorified by NT believers having the indwelling Spirit, while OT saints did not (with exception during certain periods).

    You ask good questions. And I appreciate the nudge to pray and study/meditate on it. I shall do so.

    With respect to covenants, I suspect the hostess was merely referring to moving from the old to the new, but I appreciate your point with respect to the semantics.

    But let me ask you this, in some respect was not the new covenant "building upon" the old? There were covenantal elements (shedding of blood in sacrifice, for example) that parlayed into the new, n'est-ce pas?

    If and when I am impressed upon regarding answers to those questions you posed, I shall let you know.

     
  • At 9:29 AM, October 24, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    Susan, "building upon" would not be my choice of words, as that would suggest an augmentation of an old promise rather than an entirely new one. I would prefer to use the words of the author of Hebrews - those things under the old promise were mere "shadows" of what was coming and had no substance in and of themselves.

    The redemption of mankind was not explained in its entirety to Adam, nor to Moses, but God chose to dispense that information over time, culminating in the full disclosure in the incarnation. Yet on the road to Emaus didn't the risen Lord explain to those who walked with him how the OT scriptures proclaimed Him?

    The key I think is to understand that the New Covenant is not about a new way to be justified, but a new way to be sanctified - and it is entirely alien to the OT way of sanctification. The only difference with regards to justification is that God removed the veil in Christ - no longer could you put your trust in God through shadows and placeholders - now God called men everywhere to the light that was given, and rejection of that light is a rejection of Him who grants that light. We must come to God according to his prescription as Nadab and Abihu remind us. Which is to say that now no one can come to the Father except through Christ. It was true in the OT too, but those who came to the Father came to him through a system that stood as the placeholder for Christ. In actuality they were coming to God through Christ, but that hadn't been revealed to them.

    Justification didn't change, but the veil was torn away - suddenly the OT system was revealed for what it was - a placeholder, a shadow cast backwards in time of a coming glory, to give context to that glory when it did come.

    So whatever covenantal elements we choose to identify, must be filtered through the certainty that they have been replaced in Christ, that they were at best shadows and placeholders and had no substance in themselves except as stand-ins waiting for the fulfillment of what they represented.

    Let me know if that isn't too soupy.

     
  • At 11:24 AM, October 24, 2007, Blogger Brad Williams said…

    Daniel,

    I've been thinking on this fleece-throwing thing a bit. I believe, for me personally, it is far more tempting to do this sort of thing when the choices involved are both good. For example, if someone moves into a new community and, lo and behold, there are two excellent churches with ample opportunity to serve to choose from. In such a case, it is a little more tempting to look for "signs". What do you think?

     
  • At 12:03 PM, October 24, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    Brad, I think that in that scenario you would go to the church wherein your talents and gifts would be best utilized, all things being equal. If one church were full of pastors, and the other had one overworked and highly stressed pastor - all things being equal, you would probably go where you are most needed - assuming the "you" in this scenario has matured beyond the "it's all about ~me~" state...

    What do you think. Do you think Christ builds the church through random choices, or by bringing the right people into the mix?

     
  • At 12:20 PM, October 24, 2007, Blogger Brad Williams said…

    Daniel,

    I definitely believe that Christ builds the Church by bringing the right people into the mix. That's what makes the decision so hard, even for a mature Christian.

    Each of the two churches would offer great opportunities for a mature believer, even as you have described them. In the church with the struggling, overworked pastor, someone to help carry the load would be a tremendous boon. But in an already healthy church, another mature believer might have the advantage of service to a greater number of people. (Through missionary endeavor, a group who is already ready to learn the Scriptures, etc.)

    In this scenario, I don't believe anyone could look in and say, "Boy, you chose church A? Big mistake!" In such a case, a believer has to weigh many things and be wise. They must bring it before the Lord and say, "Lord, I'm doing the best I can with what light I have. We're going to covenant with Church A because we believe we can be of the most kingdom service there."

    Certainly, if they made their decisions based on a purely carnal motive, they would err. But if the motive is truly service to Christ and his church, how can we blame them? With no "sign" forthcoming, they must ultimately choose what they believe to be the greater of two goods.

    How would you council someone in that scenario? They are willing to serve in either place, and in both places there are obvious and beneficial ministries for them to "get plugged into."

     
  • At 2:11 PM, October 24, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    Brad, if all things were as equal as you suggest, I would be hesitant to counsel anything but waiting, and seeking more counsel.

    I think we both recognize that we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for specific good works which God prepared beforehand for us to walk in; and that God has commanded us not to be unwise in not knowing his will for us, but to be filled with the Holy Spirit; that is, not to be like a horse or a mule that is without understanding which has to be led with a bit and bridle.

    The picture I get from scripture is that God's will does not remain a mystery to the Spirit filled believer. Seek and ye shall find, knock and it will be answered, if any of you lacks wisdom let Him ask and it will be given liberally, etc. Scripture paints the picture of the believer as never having to find himself in the situation you are describing - that is, being utterly clueless about what God's will for them is.

    Thus I would counsel waiting. Saul was an impatient man, and went ahead and offered a burnt sacrifice because Samuel hadn't appeared in the appointed time. It seemed the "good thing" to do at the time, but really it was an expression of Saul's lack of faith. He didn't trust God's schedule and took matters into his own hands. I think that if all things look equal, it might be time to sit and wait.

    But I come at this from the perspective that God's will is quite specific and was never meant to be the product of my "sanctified" whim or even a mystery. Scripture records God's will for us plain enough, and for all things that are not covered in the broad instructions we find in scripture, there is the indwelling Spirit who convicts us not only of sin, but of righteousness.

    George Mueller once remarked that knowing the Lord's will is pretty easy once you discover what the will of your flesh is and dismiss it. I think there is some wisdom in that.

    What are your thoughts Brad - do you really think a situation can arise where there is some good work ahead of you that God hasn't prepared and will not lead you into, or do you reason that maybe God leads us into good works by our own whim when all things otherwise seem equal. I am curious.

     
  • At 5:16 PM, October 24, 2007, Blogger Brad Williams said…

    Daniel,

    My thoughts are that, unless something is obviously sinful, we have to come to a decision that is often more subjective than we might like. I think that there are occasions in a faithful walk when we are denied the sort of certainty that we might desire. And the more subjective the decision making becomes, the more we will rely on "signs," whether they are demanded or not.

    For example, if you ask a Christian why he did X instead of Y, neither being an obvious sin, he may answer, "I had peace about doing it whereas in case Y I didn't." Is that sort of reasoning fundamentally wrong? And would waiting for peace be equivalent to fleece-throwing?

    You said that you would counsel someone who was, as of yet, uncertain to wait. What, exactly, are they waiting for?

    I do not think that our lives should be directed by our whims. But often a first impulse from the Spirit may appear to us as our own whim when our desire and God's desire line up. When someone is drawn to salvation, for example, he may be completely unaware of the little "providences" God brought into his life until long after the fact. At the time, he just thought he was making a decision.

     
  • At 10:43 PM, October 24, 2007, Blogger Susan said…

    Daniel,

    While I understand what you are saying here, I think you switched gears on me a bit. You write about the old "promise" versus an entirely new one, whereas I am speaking of covenants.

    A covenant is not a promise; I think there's a difference. A covenant is an agreement that requires participation (obedience or disobedience) on the party (man) receiving the divinely imposed terms (in this case, I am speaking of God's covenants, of course - not man to man).

    I'm reading up on a covenant being an unchangeable, divinely imposed legal agreement between God and man that stipulates the conditions of their relationship, whereas a promise is one-sided in participation.

    I understand that OT believers were saved (justified) in the same way as NT believers (by grace through faith), but I still am thinking on how God is glorified by not providing the OT believers with the indwelling Holy Spirit. That is what I am thinking on.

    I do understand that the law was but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of realities (Hebrews 10:1) and that the substance belongs to Christ (Colossians 2:17), but I’m still wondering about covenants overall – even preceding Mosaic Law. I’m wondering about all OT believers "in Christ" and why they weren’t given the indwelling Holy Spirit.

    What you wrote was not too soupy, but I’m still hungry for some meat.... ;-)

     
  • At 11:27 PM, October 24, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    Brad - we want to make sure we are not falling into the ditch of subjective mystical gibberish on the left, or falling into the ditch of "god's will can't be known so its roll your own" on the right.

    Somewhere in the middle we have immature believers, most of whom have a very inflated opinion about their own maturity, making decisions that are for the most part carnally motivated, and dressed up in spiritual clothes, praced around the church, and embraced regardless of what God has to say about it. The few who are genuine are seldom the ones who have any trouble knowing the Lord's will. At least in my experience. So it seems we are talking about ideals rather than real situations.

    What I tell people to wait for isn't "peace" since they ought to have peace already if they are walking in the Spirit. Waiting for peace is what popular psychology teaches people. I tell them to wait for God to close the door on one or the other, or to wait for strong, collaborative conviction, or even to wait for wisdom if they have had the good sense to pray for it. But I would not accept anyone's "peace" about a thing, and maybe this is just my own experience showing its face, but in my experience, I have seem people have "peace" about things to spirit filled person ought to be at peace with, and that seems to be the norm when the word "peace" is thrown about - so I am a little gunshy with that word I suppose.

    There is paralysis by analysis, but that isn't really something mature believers suffer with. Yet if we are talking to the ideal and not the practical, then I suppose in the ideal we would make provision, but in the little ministry I do have, I have yet to have to deal with it.

     
  • At 11:58 PM, October 24, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    Susan, I appreciate the difference between a promise and a covenant. My concern is that some theologians imply more by the term "covenant" than I think scripture allows. Surely God's covenant with Noah in no way required any obedience from Noah, nor would it be removed by any disobdience, and there were no terms applied to it. Yet God Himself calls it a covenant, but really it is just a promise. When my little ones read the text, they understand it - when we see a rainbow they remember that God has promised not to flood the whole earth again, and they don't have to worry about the covenant being broken, because it can't be broken since it has no stipulations.

    My point is not to justify my use, but to caution you against too rigid an understanding of the word covenant. Covenant theology often demands an arbitrary rigidity that the texts do not bear out (IMO), and if I have used the word promise instead of covenant it is because I believe that the distinction isn't quite as black and white as some would insist.

    I have to get some sleep, so I will leave you to figure out why the OT saints were not indwelt by the Holy Spirit. ;-)

     
  • At 12:56 PM, October 25, 2007, Blogger Brad Williams said…

    Daniel,

    I almost completely agree. I am gun shy about the entire, "I have a peace about it" thing b/c I've heard it used to justify just about everything under the sun. Basically, that kind of talk is meaningless, as you said, because a believer ought to always have peace anyway.

    The only caveat I'd have would be with this, "There is paralysis by analysis, but that isn't really something mature believers suffer with." I think that "mature" believers can suffer from just about anything at times. If you think of it, the more mature someone becomes, the more likely it is that the Lord has laid greater responsibility on them. That, in turn, means their decisions have greater repercussions on others. They may spend some time in the Valley of Indecision, not because they are necessarily immature but b/c the greater burden can be difficult at times. If you couple this with the fact that, as the responsibility and maturity increases, so do the counselors decrease who would have the insight to help.

    But we are sort of getting far away from a sort of "fleece-tossing" mentality and getting more into the "How, then, do I know God's will?" question. So I'll end by saying you are right.:) And that, if I may say so, I believe that the decision-making process is itself a process whereby God matures us. And that means it isn't always easy.

     
  • At 3:09 PM, October 25, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    I agree Brad. Thanks for fleshing that out.

     
  • At 4:15 PM, October 25, 2007, Blogger Susan said…

    Surely God's covenant with Noah in no way required any obedience from Noah, nor would it be removed by any disobdience, and there were no terms applied to it.

    "But I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons' wives with you. And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every sort into the ark and keep them alive with you. ... Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him to do." - Gen. 6:18-19, 21

    It appears Noah did have things he could have disobeyed to do. But he didn't disobey.

    I see God's promise of the rainbow as different from the covenant He established with Noah. God told Noah specific instructions regarding the boat, the keeping of the animals, and how many to take. I believe God sent the animals certainly to the boat, but he gave Noah specifics by which to abide. And so Noah did. He obeyed the "commands" of the covenant.

     
  • At 4:39 PM, October 25, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    The "thus noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did." is in verse 22 (not 21).

    I don't believe I was ever suggesting that God didn't give Noah instructions about how to build the ark and whatnot. God did. The narrative simply says that Noah obeyed those instructions.

    Check and see if God's covenant didn't actually came after the ark had already passed through the flood. We see in Genesis 6 God speaking of the covenant in the future tense (I will make a covenant), but the covenant itself isn't actually made until Genesis 9:9 (I myself do establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you).

    Perhaps I am missing something? I don't see in the ninth chapter (that is, in the chapter where the covenant is being made) any reference to Noah having to do anything.

    Am I simply blind here? Help me out.

     
  • At 8:51 PM, October 25, 2007, Blogger Susan said…

    You may be right with respect to covenants, as I see that God tells Noah about the covenant details in 9:9 forward, whereas He commands Noah to obey Him as early as chapter 6 and early in chapter 9. But it is not specifically tied to the covenant God made with Noah and every living creature of all flesh.

    Still doesn't answer my question about why OT saints didn't have the indwelling Holy Spirit.

     
  • At 7:06 AM, October 26, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    Susan, the short answer is, of course, because the indwelling of the Holy Spirit was the new covenant that had not come yet.

     
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