Frederick Douglass: When neither persons nor property is safe
"The American people have this lesson to learn: That where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob, and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe."
– Frederick Douglass, "Southern Barbarism," speech on the occasion of the Twenty-Fourth Anniversary of Emancipation in the District of Columbia, Washington, D.C., April 16, 1886; "Frederick Douglass: Selected Speeches and Writings," (The Library of Black America series) edited by Philip S. Foner (1950) p. 696
(Part 1 | Part 2)
The first two posts of this series form an important foundation: we
must rely on the truth the Holy Spirit revealed to us through His Word,
lest we grow arrogant and embrace bold deception in the name of God. If
we lean on our own understanding of how God operates, we will fall. If
we grow unsatisfied with the Bible and seek words and visions, we
invite spiritual destruction.
Indeed, the light of Proverbs 30:6 dispels our confusion: Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.
In total, we said we must avoid Bethel because it is spiritually dangerous, and we said there are two reasons for that.
The first reason we examined in length last week, that it promotes false doctrine, and we looked at the heretical teachings streaming from
the pulpit to computers and MP3 players near you. If you have not read at least that post, please do so now, because we now turn to the
second of these reasons.
(Part 1 | Part 3)
In the previous post,
I argued that doctrine is not only unavoidable, the Holy Spirit wants us to grow in
our knowledge of biblical doctrine. Even so, I understand the many Christians who,
burned by those intellectuals whose convictions were buried in seminary,
believe avoiding deep theological study is the best salve for the
injured soul. They believe that you can feed only your intellect
or your spirit, seeking a moving experience that is not necessarily
meaningful, and missing the fact that God created both in union.
such, some of today's most popular teachers and preachers proceed with
that foundation; books and sermons promising bigger and better
experiences create many celebrity pastors. However, upon this
foundation a house of theology must reside, inside which a Christians
find a spiritually environment that is not up to biblical code. We will
see this with our case in point --- Bill Johnson --- as we examine what
(Part 2 | Part 3)
Doctrine and theology: sour words in the ears of many today, and with good reason. Knowledge can puff up (1 Cor 8:1), inflating otherwise well-meaning Christians with hot air. You probably even know someone seemingly more concerned with crossing the "t" in theology than showing the
love of the cross.
Yet, God designed our hearts and minds to grow in doctrine (instruction or teaching), and we can't go far in our Christian walk without it. Consider Jesus, who employed sound doctrine when His proper understanding and application of God's Word defeated Satan's temptation (Mt 4:1-11; Lk 4:1-13). He also chastised the poor
doctrine or teaching of the leaders of Israel, saying, "Have you not read" (Mt
12:3, 5, 19:4, 22:31; Mk 12:10, 26; Lk 6:3). He equated knowing
Scripture to knowing the power of God (Mt 22:29). His Great Commission includes
the directive to make disciples and to teach them (Mt 28:18-19). As such, if we attemp…