Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Signs and wonders, Jesus on a wardrobe...

...and whatever happened to discernment?

Darren Marlar and I ignited a firestorm of controversy on the air this morning, when we talked about a man in Romania who claims to see Jesus, Peter and Paul on a wooden wardrobe.

I'll admit, we joked about it. It seems every other week we get a story about someone seeing a picture of Jesus on a grilled cheese sandwich or the image of the Virgin Mary under an overpass.

I had what I feel is a legitimate question: How do these people KNOW these are images of Jesus, Peter, Paul, Mary or whoever, when we don't actually know what these people looked like? There were no cameras around in Bible days, so whatever visual image we have of Jesus or anyone else in the Bible can only be an artist's depiction.

Well, a listener called in, and in a very nice way, let us have it. She decried what she called our mocking, our hard-heartededness, skepticism and lack of faith. She believes we should be open-minded about such things. If this man thinks that's a picture of Jesus on his wardrobe, why not? Why couldn't God have revealed himself to the man in this way? And if people want to flock to it, why not? They're just having faith.

With all due respect, I disagree with this lady. I believe we as Christians are to use discernment. I don't think there's anything wrong with a good, healthy dose of skepticism. I John 4:1 says, "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world."

I'm not ashamed to say I believe in miracles. I've seen many wonderful, amazing things happen that can only be explained by God's power--so I truly don't believe my heart is hardened to the miraculous.

However, another thing that concerns me about the Romanian wardrobe "miracle" is that the priest is urging people to "fast and pray to these holy images."

Uh, no. The Bible calls that "idolatry." We should be fasting and praying to the Lord, not a block of wood.

I'm a little cynical about this business of being "open-minded" when it comes to spiritual things. If you leave your mind TOO wide open, any crazy thing can fly right into it.

I leave you with this quote about discernment from John MacArthur:

"Discernment flourishes only in an environment of intense faithful Bible study. Say it again...discernment flourishes only...only in an environment of intense faithful Bible study. That's why in Acts 20 when Paul was so worried about the Ephesian elders, he says, 'I know that after I leave wolves are going to come in here, perverse wolves are going to rip you up... the enemy is going to infiltrate, you're going to buy in to some error, of your own men perverse ones will rise, they'll lead you astray, you're going to have doctrinal chaos, doctrinal confusion here, and so I commend you to the Word of His grace, which is able to build you up.' The Word, the Word."--John MacArthur

...and on a completely different note...

I just want to say congratulations to Rodney Olsen of The Journey, on his second "bloggiversary." Rodney is a fellow radio person, and lives in Australia...a place I've always wanted to go. Bless you, Rodney!

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