Bible Notes

Bible Notes

Refraining from Speaking with Authority is the Wrong Definition of Humility

Chris McCann
June 16, 2018
Chris McCann

A person commenting on phrases used in the note (Ishmael--A Great Nation) wrote:

""it means only one thing"?? "God is clearly indicating"?? I'm sorry but, by now one would think we have learned - Sinful man's mind continuing to speak of God's Word in absolute's - is dangerous (to say the least)."

My response:

Is the point of correction to somehow cause us to not speak with authority ever again? Where do you get that from the Bible? The point of correction is to correct. And once you've been corrected that means you then move on and CONTINUE to speak with authority (as is Christ's example for us: "And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes" Mark 1:22). The idea, that the world, and the apostate church, tries to impress upon God's elect is, "you were wrong about the date of May 21, 2011 (which is not true in itself) and therefore you must stop all such declarations". Well, it is those that err in practically every thing (the world) and those that err in practically every point of doctrine (the church) that try to shut the mouths of God's elect because we were incorrect about this or that. And yet, those in the world and in the churches do nothing whatsoever to correct their multitudes of errors. They take no steps to turn from their sins (in the world) or to repent from their false doctrines/gospels (in the church). While on the other hand, God's elect people are extremely troubled by the least error we make and search the Scriptures all the more whenever we do in order to find correction.

E Bible Fellowship, for example, has spent hundreds and hundreds of hours since May 21, 2011 going carefully through entire books of the Bible verse by verse. We've spent long hours looking over the Biblical calendar, the timeline of history, all doctrines that newly opened up during the Great Tribulation period, and so forth. In other words, we've not simply accepted any doctrine or teaching that we previously knew or understood; but we've gone over it again and again to make sure its correct (true).

E Bible Fellowship is open to correction if someone can show from the Bible where we've taught incorrectly. But what we're not open to, is the idea that you presented above. You don't like the wording of the note because its too definite. Too sure. Spoken with too much authority (by the way, the authority to speak dogmatically comes from the Bible, not man). Yet, you do not show where this is in error. You think the error is made by stating something too surely. To say something like "God is clearly indicating" is not a wrong or erroneous statement IF God is clearly indicating something. And after spending many hours, going through Genesis chapter 21, a chapter I've never worked through in that way before, I'll say it again, God IS clearly indicating that His plan included saving many sons of Ishmael during the 2nd part of the Great Tribulation period. I'm sorry if you don't like the confidence expressed. You're welcome to post any verse that shows it's an incorrect conclusion.

The person commenting continued to write:

"1 Corinthians 13:12 For NOW we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

You’re speaking in absolutes leave no room for humility or correction. You cannot get around the fact that as long as we live in these sinful bodies, we will inevitably include some error in our teaching (along with some truth). The problem is: Unless and until we declare a physical event that fails to occur, our sinful nature will not allow us to accept correction (no matter what we profess or how hard we protest otherwise.) You are allowed to be as authoritative as you like as long as you remind the reader that you're speaking from a position of TO THE BEST OF MY CURRENT UNDERSTANDING I BELIEVE... Just because people have given up bringing correction to your attention doesn't mean your right. I have learned one thing witnessing over the past 10 years is: Forcefulness only pushes people away and convinces people that you won't listen to correction. Humility earns respect and captures the audience's attention and creates real dialogue.

My response:

You're misapplying 1 Corinthians 13:12. The period in which we saw through a glass darkly was the Church Age. And the time period in view by "face to face" is the time of the end when the Lord opens the Scriptures to reveal things previously sealed up. Working through the verses in that chapter clearly shows this is how it must be understood. It seems you are making an absolute statement ("speaking in absolutes leave no room for humility or correction") which violates your own doctrine. Since when is humility defined as NOT speaking with authority? Was not Christ humble (Philippians 2:8)? And yet no man spoke like Him as He spoke with supreme authority in everything that He said. I think you're very confused about what God's elect can say, and in the manner in which they can say it. You would be much better off looking at things that are said with the question of: is this thing being said true to the Word of God or not true to the Word of God? Rather than finding fault with the level of confidence expressed in the teaching. I prefer not to frame every statement I make by your guidelines ("we're allowed to speak with authority as long as we remind the listener that we're speaking of the best of our understanding"). I think that's your guideline (doctrine) not God's. Which means you're trying to put a constraint upon God's elect people that God Himself does not put upon them.

I noticed you added a couple of things since I commented. You added, "Just because people have given up bringing correction to your attention doesn't mean your right." I think you're speaking for yourself and perhaps some others you may know who, frankly, many of them have gone backwards from the things we've learned from the Bible over the course of the Great Tribulation and Judgment Day. The truth is, that some of these people do not want to bring up an area like the 'end of the Church Age' or 'Christ's atonement at the foundation of the world' or the judgment which occurred on 'May 21, 2011' etc, etc. Because they do not want to receive correction about their erroneous point of view. They know they cannot defend their backward direction from the Bible in any way, and they also know that if they bring up whatever doctrine it is that they've retreated from in one of E Bible's groups, they will be faced with many Scriptures that will directly confront their return to church, or to former doctrine, and this they do not want. So, yes, many have given up discussing these things with me and others in E Bible Fellowship. But that's not a good thing for them at all.

You also added: "I have learned one thing witnessing over the past 10 years is: Forcefulness only pushes people away and convinces people that you won't listen to correction. Humility earns respect and captures the audience's attention and creates real dialogue." Once again you are wrongly defining humility as a trait that cannot live harmoniously with confidence in understanding and speaking with authority. And once again I'll bring up the example of the Lord Jesus Christ. Was Jesus Christ a humble man? Of course He was. He was truly most humble. Did Christ speak with authority? Of course He did. Everything He spoke was with authority. Therefore, the inescapable conclusion must be--that humility can indeed coexist with confident speech (speaking with authority on things the Bible teaches). Christ is our supreme example, but we could go to the Bible and find others. What about Moses? Was he a humble man? Of all men, the Bible says, most meek. Yet, it wouldn't take much effort to find passages wherein Moses spoke with authority. "Let my people go!" is one example. He (Moses) would then proceed to tell Pharaoh exactly what would happen if he did not let the people go. Before you jump to say I'm not Moses. Obviously not. But that's not the point. The point is your mistaken idea that humility cannot be in view when dogmatic statements are being made. Christ shows your idea false. Moses shows your idea false. I think Mr. Camping gave a fine example of how an elect child of God can speak with authority and yet, at the same time, be a very humble man. What I've learned over the course of my time sharing the Word of God, is that TRUTH is the thing that pushes the natural minded person away. They flee from it. Only those that are of His elect and were drawn by His power were attracted by it.

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