Brandon E’s Objections: #11 – He Thinks I Have No Way of Finding Out if I am Wrong

For an explanation of this series, of which this post is a part, see Brandon E’s Objections:  #1.

Read Acts 18:24-28.  I read every comment to this blog (and respond to every challenge I receive face to face) looking to see if I am hearing from a “Priscilla and Aquila.”  That is, I listen humbly to see if there is understanding I should add to my own, or use to replace  my own.  As Apollos heeded Priscilla and Aquila I seek to heed all those who might speak truth to me (Ephesians 4:25).

This, of course, in addition to the listening to the Holy Spirit each day continues to teach me  just as He has taught me and just as He teaches all who look to God for a pure heart.

11 Replies to “Brandon E’s Objections: #11 – He Thinks I Have No Way of Finding Out if I am Wrong”

  1. Fine words, but how much can you really mean this, Mike, if you confidently deny the possibility that any of your present conclusions (which you alone are known by us to have arrived at in combination through a personal reading of Scripture) could be mistaken, and that if they happened to be mistaken, you would not think you could know that Jesus is Lord or that the Bible is the word of God? You’ve already asserted that in your mind God revealed all these things to you (and who are you to call God a liar?), discounting the possibility of self-deception in spiritual matters.

    1. Which ones? The ones about there being no possibility that you are mistaken, or these other ones in this blog post?

      If by “listen humbly to see if there is understanding I should add to my own, or use to replace my own” you also meant that no understanding you could add to your own could even possibly contradict your own on any point you declare on your blogs, that is hardly responsive to my claim that if you were wrong/mistaken about these points, you would have no way of discovering it on your own terms. Rather, it proves my point.

    1. My point is that if you claim that it is not possible for you to be mistaken about anything you proclaim on your blog, then it you could never discover that you are mistaken on these matters on your own terms (which terms include your claim that it is not possible for you to be mistaken on these matters). Someone can’t say that it’s not possible that they are mistaken, and yet discover they are mistaken, without their terms (which include it not being possible that they are mistaken) being overturned. It’s a logical contradiction, unless you can somehow clarify your position as to in what sense you deny the possibility that you could be mistaken on anything you proclaim as the truth on your blog, and yet claim to be open to new understandings even “replacing” your own.

      If you say you “listen humbly to see if there is understanding I should add to my own, or use to replace my own” and yet you really mean that it is not possible that you could be mistaken your current understandings (the things you proclaim on your blog), then:
      1) Saying that you are open to understandings that could in no ways contradict you current understandings is not responsive to my point that you if you were mistaken about the your current understandings you would not be able to discover it on your own terms.
      2) If you deny that it is possible that your current understandings (the things you proclaim on your blog) could be mistaken, in what sense can you be really be open to having an understanding “replace” your own?

      I’m open to the possibility the statements in 1 and 2 aren’t make the point I believe they make, if you can make yourself more clear. But I’m still waiting for a substantive comment from you.

    1. 1) That’s manifestly not the case. In contrast to your claims, I said that if I were mistaken on any of these points of scriptural interpretation, I would still have the same assurance that Jesus was Lord and that the Bible is the Word of God.

      2) I have said that if I were in your position of being the only one I knew of who had arrived at my particular combination of in-themselves uncommon interpretations of Scripture concerning the nature of God, salvation, the kingdom, the second coming, the church, etc., I would at the very least remain open to the possibility that I am mistaken, recognizing that my capacity to discern what God has or hasn’t revealed to me isn’t infallible. So I am comparing two different approaches to truth, one with a more “knowing” attitude than the other.

      3) You’re not answering my questions substantively. How can you deny the very possibility of being mistaken on these points and yet present yourself as actually humbly being open to the possibility of having a new understanding “replace” your own? If you can clarify in what sense you mean these apparently contradictory assertions, here’s your chance.

  2. 1) Odd. I only proclaim truths that I am as sure about as I am that Jesus is Lord and the Bible is the word of God. You now say that you are not as sure about your position on these other issues as you are that Jesus is Lord and the Bible is the word of God. And yet you have invested enormous amounts of time trying to convince me on these other issues about which you are not as sure that either a) I am wrong, or b) I ought to be less sure that I am right. Why don’t you spend your arguing time on subjects about which you are more sure? It seems foolish to me to spend time arguing things about which one is not sure.

    2) You don’t seem to mind it when large groups of people know something. God is able to impart knowledge to one person or to billions. I live my life by what’s in the Scriptures, not by what other people think are in the Scriptures.

    3) I’m as sure about what I preach as a human being can be, but I am not God and therefore can never be as sure about things as He is.

    1. 1) I have my convictions, but yes, unlike you, if I were wrong on any point I would not therefore be any less sure that Jesus is Lord or the Bible is the Word of God. I’ve clearly indicated this to you already. I am more sure of these two points, but that doesn’t mean I am “unsure,” unconvicted, or completely agnostic about the matters we’re discussing, or that these things don’t matter. There are many things concerning which I’m pretty sure, and live my life accordingly, but concerning which I admit that it is possible that I could be mistaken. You said “I am expressing no more certitude in my truth claims than you are in yours,” which I think is manifestly false for the aforementioned reason, unless you can show otherwise.

      2) If the truth were actually already in the Scripture all along (and is not post-scriptural revelation that gives new doctrinal meaning to them, like some kind of unwritten third testament), and one man comes along 2,000 years later purporting with a “knowing” attitude that he is absolutely right in his conclusions, even though he is the only one we are aware of who has arrived at them in combination yet he insists upon all of them as the very revelation of God to be spoken in the name of God, and he contradicts some of the major points in which most believers across denominational lines are one despite their diversity on other matters, for what reason should he or anyone else think that it is not possible that he is the one who is mistaken? Simply because he thinks God revealed these things to him? Is his discernment about what is or is not God’s revelation infallible? Or if not infallible, more infallible than everyone else who would disagree with Him? Do not many others study the Scriptures on the same topics, prayerfully consider their views, and come to conclusions, even despite themselves, that he contradicts? Is God hiding the truth from all of them, but not the one standing alone? It’s possible that a billion persons are mistaken on one or all these points, but we would need to have an extremely good reason to think that it’s not possible that one man standing against them all should be wrong on any one of these points, that doesn’t include handing out special infallibility treatment.

      3) Well, can human beings deny that there is any possibility that they are mistaken, and at the same time be actually open to the possibility of other understandings “replacing” their own?

  3. 1) I’m happy to readers to survey all our interactions and see for themselves that you have pursued your claims as vigorously as I’ve pursued mine.

    2) You apparently don’t allow for the reality that a lot of us have experienced – that of seeing things in Scripture to which you previously had been blind, or perhaps short-sighted. Such truth was there all the time, but our eyes had not been opened to it. I remember when the reality of John 5:19 was opened up to me and I began to see the Scriptures in a much more Christ-centric way than I ever had before.

    3) It also doesn’t sound like you have had the experience of having your understanding purified by Scripture. For example, when I came to see that everyone was going to heaven and that the Second Coming had already occurred, it wiped out old understandings of those subjects but simultaneously strengthened my conviction that Jesus is Lord. I expect my understanding to continue to be purified as long as I continue to seek Him.

    1. 1) “Vigorously” is one thing, but my point given under 1) in my previous two comments still stands.

      2) I not only allow for it but I affirm it. One of my repeated points has been that many believers in Christ have testified to the same experiences but come to conclusions that you contradict. Unfortunately, it appears that you spend very little time considering this compared to your more common regard of those with whom you disagree as just blindly accepting tradition, as letter-learned academics or those who just accept what they say.

      3) I have had the experience of my understanding being purified by Scripture many times (more than I can count), and I’ve mentioned this with regard to God being triune and the Body of Christ.

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