On his blog TitusOneNine, Kendall Harmon very kindly plugged my recent posting about Bibliolatry versus Trust in God. For some time now I've had TitusOneNine as a regular "channel" in FeedDemon, the blog-reading software I use. I usually have profound differences of opinion with the postings there, but they're always well-written, as well as provocative in the good sense.
Separately, Kendall corrected my misreading of his blog's title -- which intrigued me for its choice of verses. TItus 1:9 is an interesting choice for a blog title, especially in context of the vituperative verses 10-16 immediately following (not to mention the book's disputed authorship). Hence this posting.
My own choice of verses would probably be Deut. 18:18-22:
I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account. But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death."
You may say to yourselves, "How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD ?" If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him."
(Emphasis added.) To me, this passage suggests that:
1. Some people are chosen by God to articulate his word for the rest of us. But assuming you're one of those people can be hazardous to your health. Even if we think we're indeed commanded to speak for God, the best approach is one of caution, humility, and a recognition that we could be wrong.
2. God's true word is to be found, not only in the utterances of genuine prophets (whoever they might be), but also in the on-going occurrences of the world God created. Cf. Rom. 1:20: "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse."
3. When someone does claim to speak for God, the rest of us are obligated to test that claim against those real-world occurrences -- and, unafraid, to make our own individual judgments about the claim. I strongly suspect that this is an individual, non-delegable obligation that each of us has to God. (I hope we can ignore the part about putting false prophets to death.)