Recovering Evangelicalism – Seeking a Justice-based peace in the Middle East –

The latest from my count-down blog on the Balfour Centenary. To return to ‘Malc’ and his comment. Of course it is possible that God can use heathen pagan’s to carry out his will.  That’s clearly the case in some of the Old Testament writings.  But who does what is not the point at issue, which is, how can we discern God’s will in these matters?

In many of the books I’ve read – pro and con – the writers, if Christian, tell of an incident or an experience pointing in a direction. Then, following prayer and Bible study they understand God to be calling them in a particular direction. That is my story. I didn’t choose to be spending my time fighting for justice for the Middle East. It was an entirely unexpected direction from God, ‘well he would say that, wouldn’t he?’, which is precisely the point. How can we tell when many apparently Godly men and women hold opposing views of what God is doing?

Both sides will assert, rightly, that Bible study and prayer are crucial. Are there other clues or hints that will point us in the right direction? I believe there are, for starters:

First, never assume that our understanding of ‘the Word’ is the right or only one. I may be wrong or only partly right, and I can often learn, even from people with whom I fundamentally disagree.

Second, look for the bigger picture, starting from the Bible. Many of our sectarian problems began when people, especially in Britain, gained access to God’s word in English and read it bit by bit and literally. Stand back, read whole chunks, then read them again, and again in a different version.

Third, and always, try to see what God has done, is doing and will do. What is the story of the Bible; the over-arching narrative that underpins all else.

Fourth, what are the things that contradict or get in the way of our Spirit-enabled mission to the ends of the earth?

Returning to ‘Malc’ and Balfour inspired, No, I don’t see how it fits. Given our Jewish Messiah and given the gospel and our ambassadorial mandate (Acts 2 following Matthew and Luke), if Balfour was inspired it was not from God.

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