Thus Saith the Lord?

From Kenny: This is another guest post from Tim Price. Tim’s a student at Belmont University and will be writing on my blog for the next few month as a part of his senior internship. Do us a favor and leave your comments below so that Tim can learn how to deal with a real, live internet fire storm.

thus saith the lordThe other day I got upset. I don’t usually get upset. Even before I was a Christian, I didn’t have much of a temper and always tried to look at the positive side of things. Sometimes to the point where it got unhealthily optimistic, like…

“Hey Tim your arm is on fire!”
….
“Oh Haha, I should probably put that out huh?”

I tried not to take life so seriously. It couldn’t hurt you as much that way.

So, this whole “getting angry” thing doesn’t happen often. But here I was, at a concert. It was great. I was with close friends. Music was good. All was well. At the end of the concert though, a man got up on stage and began to pray for everyone. The first thing he said was something about praying in the Spirit and “Spirit languages.” I used to be judgemental of this, but have since gained a better appreciation for the different veins of Christianity.

I prepared myself to listen and be healthily optimistic about this situation….

A lot of what he said was wonderful. He rebuked things such as depression, anxiety, addiction, and encouraged people to be honest about their struggles. Somewhere in the middle of this twenty minute prayer, however, he said something that lit me on fire in a bad way.

He said, “Tonight there is a girl in here who is struggling with depression.” This was not about someone he had just spoken to, it was a “prophetic word” about someone in the room. He went on to say, “The Lord says tonight you will no longer struggle with depression!”

At the words, “The Lord said,” my stomach turned. It took me awhile to figure out why I was so upset. As I calmed down I began to think of what I thought was wrong with what he said.

Here’s what I came up with.

That room was full of girls. What are the odds that many of them struggle with depression? So, even if what he said came true for that one girl, what do you think that does to all the girls that go home, still depressed, and realize that this guy’s “word” must not have been for them?

There are many conclusions they can come to.

  • I wasn’t lucky enough to be “chosen” to be set free tonight, maybe next time.
  • I’m not special enough.
  • I didn’t DO enough.

When speaking from a microphone, to shout something like that and tag it with a “Thus saith the Lord” without grounding any of it in Scripture is a great way to make yourself God. The problem is, God may never have said that girl wouldn’t struggle with depression anymore. In the Bible, He says many wonderful things about depression and what we should believe about it.

We need His Word, not ours.

I think the words this guy spoke can be incredibly harmful to those young girls who don’t understand much about how God works in us, with us, against us, and through us in our times of struggle. Do you agree?

 

  • jarofclay77

    I agree with your frustration. Two thoughts on this. If I hear people say “I really feel like “…. vs “The Lord is saying”…. then we can all live happily. Giving hope isn’t a bad thing, but saying “Lord says”, especially if he hasn’t, isn’t. You only pull that out when it’s the real deal.

    The other thought is the reminder of the man by the pool of Bethsada for 38 years. He was healed and we don’t know if the others were healed or not. There is some selection happening here. Our human sense of justice guffaws at the idea of selective healing (or even the doctrine of election), but I think scripture reflects this is in God’s nature to choose some and not others. Cheers.

    • Tim Price

      Hey thanks for posting! Yes, that is definitely something I thought of as I’ve gone through this. Using “I think” to preface what “you think” God says is always wise. Without confirmation from the word we can never be 100% sure of what God is saying. Otherwise our authority is just our human feelings and experience. A pastor of mine always says “Poor theology is often a cruel task-master.” It’s upsetting because people miss out on the gospel and get hurt.

      That is a very good and difficult question. Why doesn’t the Lord just heal everyone? I mean he certainly can. You can’t get too far into the “Why’s” of doctrine’s like election without getting roughed up a bit. In my experience it has always been worth it to wrestle with them even if I don’t come out with a clear cut answer. But yes I agree that scripture reflects this idea clearly.

  • Jason Piland

    Good stuff, Tim. When I hear “thus saith the Lord” attached to anybody’s proclamation, I get really queasy. They use that moniker to make their statement authoritative when it should never be. It’s maddening. It comes in various forms: “I need to work on my relationship with God; I need to break up with you.” “Jesus told me today that he has wonderful things in store for you.” “God said I should quit my job because he has something better in store for me; I’m just waiting for him.”

    I think you’re right in saying it’s wrong, but my question is how do we respond to it as Christians? I’ve heard the story of a man who got up in front of his church one Sunday and began saying, “The Lord gave me a word to share with you.” The pastor interrupts him there and says, “Well, sir, here’s a Bible. Show us where that word is there or else you can just sit down.” Is that the correct response? I think our level of authority over the speaker will determine what we should do, but even if we have no control over the speaker, how do we respond? Should we try to do damage control on those we know in the audience? Is anger ok? Just some questions I’m mulling on myself . . .

    • Tim Price

      That is a good question. And the whole time I was listening to the man speak, I was asking myself that question, “What do I do?” I thought about approaching him afterward and confronting him, or trying to engage in conversation about it. I believe anger is an appropriate response to people misinterpreting God’s word.

      Most of the book of 2 Peter is all about warning against false teachers. In acts Paul warns one of his churches that “the wolves are coming,” and to be on guard. When speaking of the teaching of Christ as Lord John says not to let false teachers into your house, not to take part in their wickedness. (2 John 1:10-11)

      I think many of our responses in these kinds of situations are in fact very situational. I wouldn’t say how to respond exactly every time we’re confronted with false teaching because I’m not sure where the bible says so. I think the bible says a lot about wisdom, and that we are given it through the holy spirit. I don’t think that means we don’t make mistakes either. So sometimes I think it is very appropriate to pull someone aside and attempt to confront them lovingly. We just always should be careful with whether or not we care more about loving them with the truth about Christ, or just throwing our self-righteous theological bombs at people.

  • Wy Woods Harris

    Since one of my gifts is encouragement , I say keep working! You might encourage more input if you ask for input instead of Do You Agree? Blessings in your forward move! Wy