June 28, 2016


On the religious landscape when believers feel they are being led by the Spirit to start a mission they consult with friends, family and church leaders. It’s almost as though we’re looking for blessing, approval or support from others…or that we feel inadequate and want others to help share the load. Embarrassingly, not many of us are as confident and obedient as the Apostle Paul, “But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went immediately into Arabia and later returned to Damascus” (Gal 1:15-17 NIV).

1 comment:

Steve Corey said...


-----When Paul was on the road to Damascus a great light shone around him, and he found himself being confronted face to face by Jesus Christ. He spoke with Jesus and was told were to go and whom to meet. And he went. And he met. And he was baptized into Christ. Then he went away into Arabia, some think for training. But Paul tells us himself that he did not consult men or seek out training from even the apostles. This is the contra-concept of that “but” introducing what he did instead: “…went immediately into Arabia…” So his going into Arabia was not for training. Some say that it must have then been for prayer and solitude. That’s a good start.
-----For more insight into what this little excursion into Arabia was all about, we must confer II Corinthians 12:2-4, “ I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. And I know that this man was caught up into Paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows—and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter.” Some want to place this excursion into heaven at his stoning by the Jews at Lystra, where he was thought to be dead. The idolatry of science teaches us to try to “naturalize” as much of God’s Word as possible. But two verses later Paul tells the Corinthians the thorn in his flesh was given to keep him “…from being too elated by the abundance of revelations.” (II Cor 12:7a) Abundance of revelations correlates far more with “…heard things which cannot be told, which man may not utter,” and “God…was pleased to reveal…” than it does with some hair-raising, near-death experience from the psychological effects of severe trauma. Besides, if he had not gotten this first-hand spiritual training in Arabia instead of in this stoning, then he had traveled all the way to Lystra preaching what he knew nothing about. Remember? He did not consult any man. Don’t naturalize the Word. We’ve either come to God, or we’ve come to a god.
-----Paul did not need to consult with anyone. God gave Paul the duty of articulating the community of believers by the meaning of His commandments. That task has been performed. The mind charged with that duty has performed. Our duties now are to be articulated by Paul’s instructions, “If any one thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that what I am writing to you is a command of the Lord,” Paul wrote. (I Cor 14:37) We are at least one link down the chain of “spiritual command” from Paul. God does not give any individual instructions to deliver to the church such that consulting others in the church is unwarranted. Christ’s church has become an organic body of individuals, each led individually by the Holy Spirit into the corporate workings of this body of His. Through us all the interconnection each of us has with Him is His being head of the church. For that “headship” to actualize amongst us, we each must work together, therefore we must consult. The leaders of XYZ church showed us the importance of consulting those with whom you are most closely connected rather than with the ink and paper of a now cold and dusty old book (and I’m not by that referring to the Bible.)

Love you all,
Steve Corey