Last night I went to a Bible study. Most of the people I’d never talked to before. The topic was faith and works. Everyone agreed with me.
It wasn’t a dream.
I couldn’t believe it was happening. I’m somewhat scared to mention that they were all Baptists because maybe their church isn’t supposed to find out! I’d hate to expose them!
They were Bible believers, only they were reading and talking about the parts people really don’t want to discuss. Here’s some things they said:
- People get offended and don’t even want to discuss whether Genesis 1 might not be literal, but they’re constantly explaining Jesus’ words away by interpreting them figuratively. (“He really didn’t mean that.”)
- When Jesus said we need to cut things off if they cause us to sin, or when he said to forsake all our possessions, those are the places we need a more literal interpretation.
- “Faith alone” is the ultimate American doctrine, but as far as I can tell, the only place it occurs in the Bible is James 2:24, where it says “not by faith alone.”
At one point, I said to them, “So, you’ve already embraced the modern heresy that James meant what he said, and tonight we’re just working on reconciling all the things the Bible says about faith and works?”
They all nodded like that was a perfectly normal thing to hear at a Bible study, especially one consisting mostly of Baptists.
Now, keep in mind that my blood cell counts are half what they’re supposed to be. They’re so low that I’m going in to get two pints of blood at the hospital in 40 minutes. I can’t rule out the possibility that I hallucinated all this.
Gideon went along, though, and my wife seems to know I went to a Bible study.
By the way, beyond finding fellow heretics, I found men that deeply loved God, and in the midst of all the discussion of faith and works was a humble pursuit of how to better please God through faith and an exuberant praise for the mercy and power of the Lord Jesus.
It was so good that it’s just hard to believe it even happened.
The Impossible Part
I mentioned that my blood counts are low enough to need a transfusion. Sitting up for an hour and a half, unless I’m in a recliner, is exhausting. I walk around really, really slow so that I don’t get light-headed and my forearms and legs don’t burn from the effort.
Last night, though, I participated in robust, excited conversation for two hours, and when I was done I was full of energy. I had more energy than before I went in.
I’m the one living in this body. I can tell you that’s simply impossible. Mere enjoyment could never produce that.
Now impossible I don’t have any problems believing. Things just work right when God’s presence comes. I remember a diabetic missionary who used to remark that whenever we came to visit him he never needed insulin. He would check his sugar levels, and they were always good, even when we visited for several days.
I walked out of that Bible study wondering if I still really needed the transfusion.
(Um, this morning, it feels like I need a transfusion, though I still feel better than I did yesterday.)
Ok, gotta go.