“…. no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of the human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” -2 Pet. 1.20-21
Please hear this remarkable word from Nathaniel West:
In the hour of affliction we learn more of God’s word, and God’s way, than in a whole age of sunshine and prosperity, and it is well to remember that the prophecies were spoken first in that moment when Israel’s night was the darkest. Paradoxical indeed, it was then that the light was the brightest, the promise the sweetest, and the devotion the deepest. So will it be again. Israel will be able to say, when emerging from the last great tribulation, as when returning from Exile to build the Temple:
“The Lord hath chastened me sore,
But not abandoned me to death.
The Lord is God. He hath given us light;
Bind the sacrifice with cords,
Even to the horns of the altar!”
Affliction, Light, and Consecration, these are the best handmaids of a true interpretation.
(Nathaniel West, The Thousand Year Reign of Christ; Kregel Publications, p. XVI)
It is often said that we form our theologies and interpret the Scriptures based on the lens through which we look. Depending on the stream of our religious upbringing and our experiences in life, we often interpret passages with our own particular presumption and bias.
It is also said that we often interpret the Scriptures based on the level of willingness we possess to truly hear what they require and promise. In other words, we find in the Word what we want to find, and discard that which demands a higher call to the death of the self-life. We see what we want to see, and no more.
Nathaniel West wrote that “Affliction, Light, and Consecration” are the greatest and most necessary helpers for a true interpretation of the Scriptures.
What do we know of affliction? West is speaking of Israel’s affliction under judgment and exile, but is there an affliction that we willingly give ourselves to, and that would make way for a better interpretation of Scripture? I believe, in at least one aspect, that our self-made value systems, bumptiousness from familiarity, and “know-it-all” attitudes must be afflicted before the Light of interpretation can be opened. We’ve got to crucify our own wisdom, and lay our souls low before the same Spirit that moved the prophets. Are you reading the Scriptures categorically and robotically, or are you turning away from your own frozen knowledge and facing the burning bush that the Scriptures constitute?
Next, there is the element of light. When our own wisdom has been afflicted and set aside, then we are postured inwardly to receive the Light of God through the Scriptures. We must receive Light from the Spirit of God, or else the Bible is an impossible book to engage, enjoy, and receive from. If the same Spirit who rested on and moved the prophets does not rest on us, we will not gather from the Scriptures what the Lord has desired to give. We must ask the Spirit to come with His own Light, otherwise we will not be reading rightly. Therefore, dear saint, we ought to pant for the presence of the Spirit in the midst of our reading, so that Light may come, and our reading may itself become an act of Communion with God.
Lastly, the element of consecration. If we come to the Scriptures with no true intention of consecrating our lives to the Light that He gives us, we are not likely to come into a true interpretation. The Scriptures were not merely given for the formulation of eschatological ideas, the constructing of Doctrinal charts, or any such thing. They were given so that the Eternal God, and His great purpose, would be exposed to Israel and the nations, and that men would come into the reality of what He has always intended; namely, the revelation of Himself, and the glorification of His ways.
If we are unwilling to consecrate our lives to the Light that He gives, we will invariably miss what He is speaking. But if we come to the Scriptures in the same Spirit by which they were written, all the glories of His nature and will become intensely available to us.
“Affliction, Light, and Consecration, these are the best handmaids of a true interpretation.”
Posted in Scripture Tagged with: affliction, Christ, communion, consecration, God, judgment, Knowledge, Nathaniel West, prophecy, prophets, Reality, sacrifice, the bible
Harry Knox, Director of the Religion and Faith Program at the Human Rights Campaign (watch a debate between Dr. Brown and Harry Knox here), is in hot water after comments he made against the Catholic Church.
In 2007, Knox said in reference to an outspoken lesbian Wyoming couple being refused communion at a Catholic church (an act which is commendable Biblically, see 1 Cor 11:27-29):
“In this holy Lenten season, it is immoral and insulting to Jesus to use the body and blood of Christ the reconciler as a weapon to silence free speech and demean the love of a committed, legally married couple. The Human Rights Campaign grieves with the couple, Leah Vader and Lynne Huskinson, over this act of spiritual and emotional violence perpetrated against them.”
In 2009, Knox reacted to the Vatican’s opposition to an initiative to decriminalize homosexuality by stating:
“As faith leaders we were shocked by Vatican opposition to this proposed initiative. By refusing to sign a basic statement opposing inhumane treatment of LGBT people, the Vatican is sending a message that violence and human rights abuses against LGBT people are acceptable. Most Catholics, and indeed most Catholic teachings, tell us that all people are entitled to live with basic human dignity without the threat of violence. The Catholics we know believe that Scripture asks us to be our brother and our sister’s keeper. Many are speaking out against this immoral stance in the name of religion.”
A call has been made from Catholic leaders to have President Obama dismiss Mr. Knox from his Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Community Partnerships:
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20500-0003
Dear Mr. President,
On April 6, you named Harry Knox to your Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. You claim to have created this Council, among other things, to “bring everyone together – from both the secular and faith-based communities.”
Harry Knox is the hate-filled antithesis of this noble objective. Knox is a virulent anti-Catholic bigot, and has made numerous vile and dishonest attacks against the Church and the Holy Father. He has no business on any Council having to do with faith or religion.
We do not know if you or members of your Administration were aware of Knox’s deplorable, abusive attitude towards the Church and Pope Benedict XVI when you named him to the Council. We assume you were not. But since then, there have been numerous press reports on Knox’s loathsome, and clearly bigoted rhetoric, so there no longer is any excuse for your failure to act. We can remain silent no longer.
As Catholics, we call on you to remove Mr. Knox from his position and to formally disassociate yourself from his militant anti-Catholicism. Failure to do so will result in the tainting of your Faith-Based Council—and indeed, your entire administration—as anti-Catholic. We urge you to give this matter your immediate consideration.
House Republican Leader
Member of Congress
L. Brent Bozell, III
Founder and President
Media Research Center
Judie Brown, President,
American Life League, Inc.
Catholic Activist and Founder
National Association of Private Catholic and Independent Schools (NAPCIS)
Executive Vice President
Family Research Council
Deacon Keith A. Fournier
Editor in Chief, Catholic Online
Founder, Common Good
Deal W. Hudson
Philip F. Lawler
Catholic World News
National Catholic Prayer Breakfast
(Mr. Leo’s affiliation is listed for identification purposes only)
Vice President of Government Affairs
Family Research Council
Congressman Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI)
National Review Institute
American Papist Blog
The American Spectator
Patrick J. Reilly
The Cardinal Newman Society
Notre Dame Law School
Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM)
Founder and President
Fr. Robert Sirico
The Acton Institute
American Target Advertising
Instances of Harry Knox’s Bigotry
Posted in Culture, News Tagged with: Barack Obama, catholic, communion, debate, harry knox, homosexuality, Human Rights Campaign