“Supernatural”? I never use the term? Why? Well first off, I am a Bible believing Christian and I can’t find the word in the Bible. If the inspired scripture writers didn’t need the word, why should I? The other reason I don’t use the word, “supernatural,” is that I feel it conjures up visions of ghost and goblins, seances and other weird ideas from the occult. I like being on solid ground.
Dictionaries give several different definitions of the word just like they do with most words. One of my dictionaries says, “existing or occurring outside the normal experience or knowledge of man; not explainable by the known forces or laws of nature...” If we use “supernatural” in that sense and our readers or hearers understand it that way it will be fine, but I have always been afraid they would conjure up things from the occult. I have never strongly objected to the use of the word for I assumed that Christian writers who use the word were using it in the sense that it is defined above. It turns out that that isn’t the case however.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us that, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” That is plain enough, but then I find that I am being informed that this was an inspiration which means, “God breathed” and that sort of inspiration is not available to us but only to the scripture writers. Further I am supposed to believe that 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says that. I thought I understood plain English; it does not say that, but only says that scripture is divinely inspired and is profitable etc.
Multitudes of preachers claim to be Bible believers and believe that is what they preach; but what they preach is their theology which may or may not be scriptural. For instance, the dispensationalists preach that when the book of Revelation speaks of the “seven churches which are in Asia,” it means 7 church ages, and then they preach it that way. But the scripture says nothing of 7 church ages it only speaks of 7 churches. If you preach of seven church ages you are not preaching Bible, you are preaching theology, more properly, eschatology. I am not saying that the seven church ages don’t exist, I am only saying that the Bible doesn’t say that. Most are so deeply mixed up in some form of theology that they don’t recognize simple Bible truth when it is staring them in the face.
There is nothing in scripture that indicates that divine inspiration such as the scripture writers had is no longer available. In fact the Bible says just the opposite, for “he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some pastors and teachers.” We are quite willing to allow for evangelists, pastors and teachers today, but If I claim that one is an apostle or a prophet and mean it literally then I will be branded as a heretic and an extremists. But the gifts of the Spirit are available today but only to the Spirit led.
The scripture says that, “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” Romans 8:14. And right there is where the problem starts: your view (interpretation?) of that verse of scripture. “Bible believing theologians” make some room for the idea of Spirit leadership in their theology, but always they say “leadings” must be subjected to what the scripture says. The problem: What does scripture say? The answer: What they say it says. Instead of subjecting our understanding of scripture to the leadings of the Spirit we are told we must subject our leadings to scripture. And as to what the scripture says depends on, to what school of theology you subscribe. Confusion reigns! Now I do not have a “system” that will eliminate confusion: that comes from the mind and heart of men. Only God’s grace can eliminate that.
But the truth is the truth and the truth will stand when the world is on fire. If you are afraid that the truth invites, or will lead to error, the truth is still the truth. It takes some backbone to serve God. Calling the Bible the “word of God” and claiming to go by it does not eliminate error. I dare say you can find people who use the same Bible version as you do, yet they do not believe as you do.
Do you know anyone who preaches “thus saith the Lord.” Probably not. But the man of God today can and must preach “thus said the Lord.” Anything else is just opinion, and we are buried in opinions. Confusion reigns!
John Fitch was a preacher who ran the supermarket in Wilmore, Kentucky a few decades back. It seems there was an Oriental fellow in the hospital with terminal cancer. God told John Fitch to go pray for him so God could heal him. John hesitated; was this really God talking to him? He would look pretty stupid if he went to the hospital and told this fellow that God was going to heal him and then it didn’t happen. Dr. Stanger was president of Asbury Theological Seminary and specialized in divine healing, so John thought he would go to Dr. Stanger and ask him to go with him. God told John, “I didn’t tell Dr. Stanger to go, I told you.” Finally John took two other fellows with him, went to the hospital, laid hands on the sick man, prayed for him and God healed him and raised him up. What is the difference in that and the healings recorded in scripture? None!
The same divine Spirit that led men of old is available to lead us today. That may be called mysticism but what it is, is true Christianity, the faith taught in the Bible. It may be supernaturalism but as far as I can see the sun rising in the morning is supernatural. Just because it happens regularly doesn’t mean it doesn’t require the power of God.
Matthew tells us that when Jesus gave up the ghost on the cross, “the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.” That opened the way to God for every believer without the need for a priest, the temple, the church, or the Bible. What we have today is idolatry or more properly, bibliolatry. The theologians of “Bible believing Christianity” have unwittingly it seems, made the Bible, their God. But my “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” John 4:24. Adam walked with God in the cool of the day and then he fell: sinned. The purpose of salvation is to restore us to the relationship with God that Adam had before he fell. I recall reading years ago that tithing was God’s condescension to man’s weakness. Actually Jesus coming to earth was God’s condescension to man’s weakness. Virtually everything God has done for fallen man has been God’s condescension to man. The Bible is God’s condescension to fallen man. And there lies the danger. The Hebrews were not allowed idols, not even pictures. Why? Because of man’s tendency to worship what he can see and handle. Adam, before the fall had no Bible, and didn’t need one for he had the Holy Spirit; he worshiped an invisible God. We are called to do the same.