Monday, August 12, 2013

I'm Not 'Entitled' to My Opinion

The following was on my mind this morning.

Some argue that women can preach the gospel in the open-air if a woman's church or husband gives them permission. There is not a single verse of Scripture to support such a notion. Those who argue in favor of women preaching in the open-air, as I once did, has as the foundation of their argument the silence of Scripture.

I once thought to prohibit women preaching in the open-air was to argue from the silence of Scripture. Not so. After months of study, interviewing several respected pastors and Bible teachers, and engaging in conversations with apologists and theologians it has become abundantly clear to me that the Word of God is not silent about women preaching the gospel in the open-air.

There is not a singularly specific verse to which we can point to explain the Doctrine of the Trinity. And the word "trinity" is not found in Scripture. However, the Doctrine of the Trinity is expressed and magnified throughout the Word of God. The hermeneutic principle known as the "Analogy of Faith" (allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture), rightly employed, allows the open-eyed Christian see this precious and essential doctrine leap from the pages of Scripture, while the spiritually blinded (1 Corinthians 2:14) and dead (Ephesians 2:1-3) remains unable to understand essential, Trinitarian doctrine.

While carrying none of the essentialiity of the Doctrine of the Trinity, a biblical understanding of the important prohibition of women preaching the gospel and reading the Word of God in the open-air can also be clearly seen in Scripture through the hermeneutic application of the "Analogy of Faith." For years I lived as if I was blind to it. Frankly, I didn't want to see it. The implications and ramifications of a biblical understanding of the issue were too great, too costly, too inconvenient, too uncomfortable.

While I was sincere in my beliefs that women could open-air preach and engage in the public reading of Scripture in the open-air, I was sincerely wrong. My upcoming book, Should She Preach? - Biblical Evangelism for Women, is an admission of my exegetical and theological error and an effort to correct the myriad consequences of that error--namely: an effort to undo my mistake of equipping and encouraging hundreds of women to do something God would not have them do--preach in the open-air.

Recently, a brother in Christ who adamantly disagrees with my change of understanding and position regarding the issue said, "You are entitled to your opinion."

No I'm not! Neither I nor anyone else is "entitled" to an opinion about the Word of God. Opinions regarding the Word of God are utterly irrelevant. For a Christian to assert their opinions about the Word of God, apply their opinions to the Word of God, or impose their opinions upon the Word of God is to sit in judgment over the Word of God. It is to filter truth through the strainer of one's own fallible opinion. And who is it that entitled us to our own opinions about the Word of God? God? What verse is that?! No, it is man who arrogantly entitles himself to an opinion of God's Word. And that's as ridiculous as me entitling myself to the opinion that Prince Charles is not next in line for the British throne; I am.

Inevitably, when the standard of opinion is applied, poured over the Word of God, the material that slips through the strainer is the truth, while what remains inside the strainer is opinion, conjecture, and eisegetical conclusions about the Word of God. Frankly, to read and study the Word of God through the opaque lenses of opinion is to apply an atheistic hermeneutic to the Word of God. This is unconscionable for the Christian to do. It is unconscionable for the born-again follower of Jesus Christ (John 3:3-7) whom God has caused to be born-again (1 Peter 1:3), translating him from death to life (John 5:24; Ephesians 2:1-3),  removing the blinding veil from his eyes (2 Corinthians 4:3-6), and giving him the Holy Spirit-enabled ability to understand His Word (1 Corinthians 2:9-16) to then subject the Word of God to the force of his fallible opinion.

No, I'm not entitled to my opinion about the Word of God, and neither are you--whether atheist or Christian. The Christian making the assertion "you're entitled to your opinion" is akin to the neutralitarian, humanistic musings of the college student with one semester of philosophy under his belt who asserts there are no absolutes. "You have your truth and I have mine."

"By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, 'That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged'" (Romans 2:4). And, as both the psalmist and God the Son rightly and powerfully affirmed to the God the Father, "The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever" (Psalm 119:16). And, "Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth" (John 17:17).

There is only one interpretation of God's Word that matters, that is valid--God's. The challenge for every follower of Jesus Christ is not to rest on the laurels of his opinion of the Word of God, but rather to study and pray to come to a right understanding, God's meaning of Scripture. "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15).

Don't be lazy, Christian. Set aside your opinions of God's Word and do the integrity-challenging, rewarding, correcting, humbling, edifying work of studying God's Word. You're not entitled to your opinion.

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