It all started with this sister, a fervent Christian, whom I met one day. She was so elated that we had talked about God for more than an hour without seeing the time pass; and if it had not been for supper which was waiting only for us to be served, we would have stayed for a long time to exchange. Afterwards, or during supper – I do not remember well – we continued to speak of our flame for the Lord, until a false note interfered in our conversation. She said that one have to be baptized to get the gift of the Spirit of God, as said in Acts 2:38 » Peter said to them, Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. « I agreed, but I wanted to clarify this understanding of the order in which the gift of the Spirit is obtained, in accordance with the Holy Scriptures. I told her about the Old Testament prophets who had the gift of the Spirit without going through baptism. I told her about King Saul, who received the Spirit of God as soon as he was anointed by Samuel the prophet. I spoke to her about David, king and prophet, without counting the judges of Israel before the kingdom was. The most obvious example remains the conversion of Corneille. The whole of chapter 10 of the Acts of the Apostles speaks of it, but the verses which support my words are 44, 45, 46, 47, 48 : » As Peter still spoke these words, the Holy Spirit descended on all who heard the word. All the circumcised men who had come with Peter were amazed that the gift of the Holy Spirit was also widespread among the pagans. For they heard them speak in tongues and glorify God. Then Peter said: Can we refuse the water of baptism to those who have received the Holy Spirit as well as us? And he commanded that they should be baptized in the name of the Lord. Whereupon they begged him to stay with them for a few days. » Despite these arguments, the sister was still clinging to her design, that her pastors and church have always taught her.
Subsequently, our exchanges on the word of God have each time been marred by this latent disbelief; then, this sneaky way of objecting to what I put forward by pointing out one of my weaknesses: the lack of humility … I’ve always been criticized for it. And I admit that sometimes I am sorely lacking! But other times, I find that people play on this register to not admit that I am right in order to stay on their position. This is undoubtedly the case of this sister who feels very strong from the gospel that she has received to date, and who fears to be shaken by another evangelical approach. Jesus said: » It is by the fruit that we know whether the tree is good or bad. Here is how I understand this teaching: one first experiences the fruit, secondly one tests it; and if it is good, whatever the appearance of the tree, its physical imperfections, it is good. Take this example of Jonah who resisted going to Nineveh to preach the word because he feared being mistreated by the inhabitants of this city; when the Lord forced him and he went there in spite of himself, and he preached the death in the soul, and the people repented, and the Lord didn’t punish them, he was very angry. He had hoped that the Lord would have crack them down, even just a little, to be rewarded for the risk he had taken. Was he a bad person for having had this unhealthy urge?
This morning, Monday April 13, 2020, I was taking my lonely walk, disturbed by the words of this sister who still accused me of lack of humility for a message where I made the most effort that I could to be humble. I asked God if I should speak to Him or be quiet so that I could be taught. Here is what I received: » Truth is a river. The further you are from its source, the more likely you are to drink polluted water.” This is what happens with most of the gospel teachings of the Kingdom of God that we receive today. Suppose that the Truth is the St. Lawrence River; it rises in Lake Ontario and stretches almost 1197 km. Because of sediments and tributaries, this river is less pure in Montreal; even less in Quebec, and worse in Gaspésia. How many kilometers are we today from the source of Christianity after 2000 years? Is the water we drink today pure? If we believe it is, how can we be sure?
The first quote I received asked to get closer to the source to make sure I was drinking pure water. Today many believe that » The Source » is the paper Bible they have at home. I say yes, then no. Why? Most of the texts we have in our Bibles, even if they are translated from the original document, are no longer pure. How to explain it to you more down to earth? Imagine people discovering a source of pure water. After drinking it for a few generations, they decide that this water lacks phosphates. They add more. Then another generation finds that it lacks sulfates. They add more. Then others find that depending on the vocabulary trend, they can give a little coloring to the water. They add more. Then others say that the water thus provided is indigestible because over time and facilities organisms find it difficult to digest it. They make it more digestible, according to their view. And so on. Today we drink the most impure water there is, since the history of Evangelization, because in addition to having polluted the waters, we have stored them in tanks of cracked water; then they are served to us in molded glasses according to perceptions, according to human traditions, and according to theologies.
What am I talking about? All those who have approached the Bible with piety and thanksgiving know that this Holy Book has at least three dimensions of comprehension: the simple narrative dimension, the moral dimension, and the allegorical dimension. The meaning of these three dimensions can be completely changed if we decide to: modify a term according to our understanding, move punctuation, or reformulate content according to our interpretation. And then, sometimes the allegorical meaning is only supported by a word, or a group of words; I give an example: Psalm 78. Here is what the Jerusalem Bible says in its verse 2 » I open my mouth in parables, I evoke mysteries from the past « . The version of Louis Second says of the same passage: « I open my mouth by sentences, I publish the wisdom of ancient times. » The Bible of the sower, meanwhile, said this: » I will state instructive remarks, I will discuss the secrets of the past. » The rest of this Psalm speaks of the Exodus of the Jewish people, from their departure from Egypt until their arrival in the promised land … In all these versions, only the Jerusalem Bible attracts the attention to the fact that the following verses are the statement of a parable announced by verse 2, and that we must pay attention to this message; the Apostle Paul moreover corroborates this interpretation in 1 Corinthians 10, verses 1 to 11. So, we see here that those who stuck to the other two versions would have missed something great …
It is obvious today; nor most of the gospels we receive, nor the Bible handbook we posses are no more “The Source » of pure water that watered our fathers at the beginning of our era , because of all these councils where they developed new theologies to then “ guide ” the understanding of the Scriptures through translations of the Bible where they used the “ adequate ” terms according to their doctrine . There are also all these great schools of theology with staggering tuition fees that have transformed – and still transform – priests and pastors into financial predators, developing a doctrine based on the profitability of the money and the time invested in studying the Bible. I ask my question again: How many kilometers are we today from the source of Christianity after 2000 years? Is the water we drink today pure? If we believe it is, how can we be sure?
For me, there are at least three ways to find out. Before listing them, I would like to make it clear that I believe THE Bible remains the only credible water that really quenches our spiritual thirst. But how do we traditionally manage to consume water that has become impure? We pass it to the filter. Now, the three ways I know you’re drinking pure water are:
Confront the teachings we received in the light of the entire Scriptures; the strength of those who want to lie using the scriptures is that few people read the entire Bible. And confronting the teaching in this way is not a bad thing because the Apostle Paul in Acts 17:11 appreciates the Bereans to do so. If therefore a pastor or a priest is irritated that we do so with his teaching, he is probably not clean.
The second way is to be taught by someone who has PROVEN to be inspired by God , like a prophet; I speak and I come back to this episode in the Old Testament, in 2 Kings chapter 4, verses 38 to 41 : » Elisha returned to Gilgal, and there was a famine in the country. As the sons of the prophets were sitting before him, he said to his servant, Put the big pot, and cook a soup for the sons of the prophets. One of them went out into the fields to gather herbs; he found wild vines and gathered wild coloquints there, full of his clothes. When he returned, he cut them into pieces in the pot where the soup was, because they did not know them. These men were served food; but as soon as they had eaten soup, they cried out, Death is in the pot, man of God! And they couldn’t eat. Elisha says: Take flour. He threw it in the pot and said, « Help these people and let them eat. » And there was nothing bad left in the pot. » Yes, a person inspired by God is able to purify all these verses twisted by the uncertain handling people. Others are guided by the teaching of the early Christians, those who were direct disciples of the Apostles of Christ.
The third and by far the best way is to pray that the Lord will assist us with the Holy Spirit, as He says in John 14:26 » But the comforter, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things, and will remind you of all that I have told you. «
May the Grace of God be upon you!