神不是混乱的制造者

麦克阿瑟著/陈鸽译

几年前,我的一位好友在一国际知名的大教会(在那儿“大笑复兴”已经持续了好几个礼拜),参加了一场聚集。在一篇短短的、例行公事、很少引用经文、很多杂乱神学的讲论之后,敬拜领袖便招聚所有想要“经历神大能”的人全都到前头来。接下来的场景简直是翻天覆地、鬼哭狼嚎:几十个人在地上扭动、呻吟、尖叫、抽搐,而“服事人员”则在一旁指导他们如何应对每个阶段的各种现象。其他人皆群魔乱舞,有人颤抖、抽泣、哭号,还有的在原地奔跑。

 

全场一片乱糟糟,但笑声已经止息了。尽管这场“复兴”的主要特征应该是欢乐,但我的朋友留意到,几乎人人面无表情、一片苍白,没人再笑了,似乎个个都情感透支、精疲力竭了。他们不能一周接着一周,将这激情挑旺到炙热。如今,他们非但没有持久、真正的喜乐,反而陷入了一片喧嚣、狼藉,更全然违背了保罗的吩咐:“凡事都要规规矩矩的按著次序行。”(林前14:40

 

使徒保罗一针见血指出:“因为神不是叫人混乱。”(林前14:33

 

因此,我们可以肯定:混乱统治之地,上帝不在其中。

 

不幸的是,为了追求神秘经历中情感的高潮,这一节经文的真理常被置之脑后。在这同一场聚会当中,牧师劝勉会众,他们需要“更加释放”。他提醒大家,过分地关注纯正的教义,可能会阻碍神在他们的生命中所能做的事。他还告诉大家,不要害怕突破信仰传统的束缚,“就算挑战了你的神学体系,也要让神按他自己的旨意行事。”聚会时,教会的一位女执事带领会众祷告,说:“圣灵啊!我们准许你在我们当中随己意而行。”

 

这厚颜无耻的口吻,简直令人不寒而栗!岂不知圣灵是主宰万有的上帝吗?他不需要我们批准他去做什么!反之,他可以随己意运作万事,但他绝不会违背自己,他不会违背圣经所启示的圣洁之神,以另一种神秘的形式向我们显明自己。既然圣经告诉我们:“神不是叫人混乱”,尤其是不允许教会中的混乱,那么,我们可以确实地知道:神绝不是这一场运动背后的能力,因这运动主要的特征正是激情澎湃、热血沸腾、疯疯癫癫、一片混乱。

 

更重要的是,圣经启示他是“真理的圣灵”(约14:17);他来不是为要见证自己,乃是为基督作见证的(约15:26);他不是要说自己的话,乃是来引导我们进入一切的真理(约16:13);并用真理使我们成圣。我们从哪儿才能找到这使人成圣的真理呢?不是通过什么神秘的途径,乃是藉着神的真道,这道就是叫我们成圣的真理。(约17:17)这意味着圣灵主要的工作之一,就是将圣经的真理传递于我们的理性。圣经中没有任何教训说:他的工作是绕过我们大脑来挑动我们情感的。

 

其实,这就是哥林多前书14章所要表达的信息,因此,保罗看重预言胜于方言。“那说方言的,原不是对人说,乃是对神说,因为没有人听出来。然而,他在心灵里却是讲说各样的奥秘。但作先知讲道的,是对人说,要造就、安慰、劝勉人。”(林前14:2-3,重点后加)“弟兄们,我到你们那里去,若只说方言,不用启示,或知识,或预言,或教训,给你们讲解,我与你们有什麽益处呢?”(林前14:6)关键是要传达真理!因此,绕过理性、不经大脑的服事是毫无意义的。“若吹无定的号声,谁能预备打仗呢?”(林前14:8)所有的恩赐都是为要“造就人”(林前14:3),这是保罗用以表明通过“理性”服事的词汇,这也是保罗坚持要翻方言的原因。“你们也是如此,既是切慕属灵的恩赐,就当求多得造就教会的恩赐。”(林前14:12,粗体后添)

 

也正因为这个缘故,爱德华兹(Jonathan Edwards)把感情和激情区分开来对待。他认为:正当的情感必定涉及悟性(头脑)和意志的功能,而单纯的激情则往往压抑人的理性。[1] 在基督里的圣爱和喜乐就是这些敬虔情感的例证,圣经中这些都不是激情,因圣化的情感与人的理性总是分不开的。爱德华兹认为:纯粹情绪的宣泄(理智却保持中立)是没什么属灵价值的。[2]例如,论及彼得前书1:8,爱德华兹写道:

 

他们的喜乐“满有荣光”,即虽是说不出来(言语难以表达),但仍可以描绘,并且没有能比“满有荣光”这一词更贴切地表达它的美好,或用原文来说:它是一种“荣耀的欢乐”。当他们因此而喜乐时,他们的悟性也仿佛洋溢着一种荣耀的光芒,他们的性情也因此得到提升并得以完全,那是一种至尊贵又极高尚的喜乐,它不会像肉体的快乐一般地腐化并贬低人的思念,反之,它会大大地美化并升华人的心灵,它预尝了天堂的欢乐,它使他们的思想提升到某种程度上属天的福乐,使他们的意念之中充满了神荣耀的光辉,并使他们身上也彰显出一些荣耀的余辉。[3]  

 

爱德华兹(JonathanEdwards)不断地将高尚、真实的宗教情操与理性的运作联系在一起,因为在“大觉醒”结尾时,他目睹了太多失控的激情,难怪他心有余悸、退避三舍。

 

因此,爱德华兹会怎样看待二十世纪情感的狂热也应该是显而易见的。今天的“圣笑运动”就是这狂热主义的缩影,爱德华兹将“大觉醒”的消亡归咎于狂热主义,所以,他坚持理性必须积极参与所有正当的宗教情操。他不可能成为现代神秘主义的维护者。

 

在“圣笑复兴”的过程中,那些执迷于神秘主义的人不断地寻找下一个“大刺激”来产生下一波灵性的“大高潮”。然而,当一波又一波煽情的运动,无法重新点燃复兴的火焰时,人们的情绪就变得越来越淡漠。

 

那真正认识基督、爱基督的人必须回归他的话语,并且竭力地正确解经,来明白其中的真理。但可悲的是,成千上万陷于神秘主义激情当中的人,从来没有接触到充足的客观真理和纯正的教义,得以从圣经中认识基督而得救。这就是为什么以神秘经验为本的现代教会,其实是一个迫切需要福音的宣教工厂。    

圣经的诗人写道:“你的话是我脚前的灯,是我路上的光。”(诗119105)。那些离弃真光,跑到黑暗中去探索主观印象的人,就会向谎言敞开大门,因此经历失望、失败、和各种各样灵里的混乱,唯有那些将自己的心思意念专注在圣经之光上的人,才能真正成为明辨是非之人。

诚然,那最妙的忠告来自于圣经本身:“呼求明哲,扬声求聪明,寻找他,如寻找银子,搜求他,如搜求隐藏的珍宝,就明白敬畏耶和华,得以认识神。因为,耶和华赐人智慧;知识和聪明都由他口而出。”(箴2:3-6

 

 

(改编于:鲁莽的信心)

 

——————–

God Is Not the Author of Confusion

John MacArthur

Friday, November 16, 2018

 

Some years ago, a close friend of mine attended a serviceat a large church of international renown where the laughing revival had beengoing on for several weeks. After a brief, perfunctory sermon with a minimum ofreferences to Scripture and a lot of mangled theology, the worship leadercalled everyone to the front who wanted to experience the power of God. Thescene that followed was utter chaos—dozens of people writhing on the floor,moaning, screaming, and jerking, while “ministry team” members coached themthrough the stages of the various phenomena. Other people were dancing,jumping, quivering, sobbing, wailing, and running in place.

 

All the commotion was there, but the laughter hadsubsided. The revival’s chief characteristic was supposedly joy, but my friendnoticed that people’s faces were virtually devoid of expression. No one waslaughing anymore. It was as if they were emotionally exhausted, unable to fanthe fervor to the same intensity week after week. Instead of true, abiding joy,they had settled for sheer bedlam—in direct defiance of Paul’s instructions in 1 Corinthians14:40: “All things must be done properly and in an orderly manner.”

 

The apostle Paul was very clear in pointing out that “Godis not a God of confusion” (1 Corinthians14:33).

 

Where pandemonium rules, we can be certain God is not theauthor of it.

 

Unfortunately, the truth of Scripture is too often setaside in pursuit of the emotional high of a mystical experience. At this sameworship service, the pastor admonished people that they needed to be “morefree.” He suggested that too much concern with sound doctrine might inhibitwhat God could do in their lives. He told them they shouldn’t be afraid tobreak out of the constraints of their belief systems and “let God work in Hisown way, even if it challenges your theology.” At one point in the service awoman from the church staff led the congregation in prayer and said, “HolySpirit, we give You permission to be who You want to be in our midst.”

 

The effrontery of such an attitude is appalling. The HolySpirit is sovereign God! He certainly doesn’t need our permission to be who Heis. He can do whatever He wills. But He will not deny Himself. He will notmystically reveal Himself to us as someone different from the holy God theScriptures reveal. Since the Bible tells us He is not the author ofconfusion—and specifically that He does not approve of disorder in thechurches—we can know with absolute certainty that He is not the power behind amovement whose main features are hysteria, tumult, and frenzy.

 

More important, Scripture reveals Him as the Spirit oftruth (John14:17); who bears witness not of Himself but of Christ (John 15:26);who speaks not on His own initiative, but guides us into all truth (John 16:13);and sanctifies us in the truth. Where is this sanctifying truth found? Notthrough mystical means. God’s Word is the truth through which we are sanctified(John17:17). This means that one of the Holy Spirit’s primary ministries is toconvey the truth of Scripture to our understanding. Nothing in Scriptureindicates that He works stirring up our emotions while passing our minds.

 

That is, after all, the whole point of 1 Corinthians 14.It is why Paul valued prophecy more than tongues. “For one who speaks in atongue does not speak to men but to God; for no one understands. . . . But onewho prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation” (1Corinthians 14:2–3, emphasis added). “If I come to you speaking in tongues,what will I profit you unless I speak to you either way of revelation or ofknowledge or of prophecy or of teaching?” (1Corinthians 14:6). The point is to communicate truth. Ministry thatpasses the understanding is pointless: “If the bugle produces an indistinctsound, who will prepare himself for battle?” (1Corinthians 14:8). All the gifts are meant to edify, which is an expressionPaul uses to speak of ministering to the mind (1Corinthians 14:3). That is why Paul insisted that tongues be interpreted.“So also you, since you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek to abound for theedification of the church” (1Corinthians 14:12, emphasis added).

 

It is for this very reason that Jonathan Edwardsdistinguished between the affections and the passions. He argued that righteousaffections engage the faculties of the mind and will, whereas mere passionstend to overpower the mind. [1] Love toChrist and joy in Christ are biblical examples of godly affectionsthat are no mere passions—because they always involve the mind as well as theemotions. [2] Edwards saw little spiritualvalue in indulging in raw emotion while the intellect remained neutral. Inreference to 1 Peter 1:8, for example, Edwards wrote,

 

Their joy was “full of glory”: although the joy wasunspeakable, and no words sufficient to describe it; yet something might besaid of it, and no words more fit to represent its excellency, than these, thatit was “full of glory”; or as it is in the original, “glorified joy.” Inrejoicing with this joy, their minds were filled, as it were, with a gloriousbrightness, and their natures exalted and perfected: it was a most worthy,noble rejoicing, that did not corrupt and debase the mind, as many carnal joysdo; but did greatly beautify and dignify it: it was a prelibation of the joy ofheaven, that raised their minds to a degree of heavenly blessedness: it filledtheir minds with the light of God’s glory, and made themselves to shine withsome communication of that glory. [3]

 

Edwards continually tied the nobility of true religiousaffections to the working of the mind. Having witnessed so much of people’srunaway passions at the end of the Great Awakening, he wanted nothing to dowith that sort of thing.

 

So it should be quite clear what Jonathan Edwards wouldthink of twentieth-century emotionalism. “Holy laughter” epitomizes thefanaticism he blamed for the demise of the Great Awakening. He insisted thatthe mind must be active in all legitimate religious affections. There is no wayhe can be enlisted as an apologist for modern mysticism.

 

When the laughing revival ran its course, those committedto mysticism went in search of the next big thing to produce their nextspiritual high. But each succeeding movement stoked the heat of raw passionis unable to rekindle the flames when people’s emotions finally grow cold.

 

Those who really know Christ and love Him must come backto His Word with a passion for interpreting it correctly and understanding itstruths. The tragedy is that thousands swept up in the emotionalism of mysticalmovements have never been exposed to enough objective truth and sound doctrineto come to a saving knowledge of the Christ of Scripture. That is why themystical, experience-driven realm of modern churches is, in reality, a criticalmission field.

 

The psalmist wrote that “Your word is a lamp to my feetand a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105, emphasis added). Those who turn aside fromthe lamp and grope in the darkness after subjective impressions open themselvesup to deception, disappointment, spiritual failure, and all manner ofconfusion. But those who keep their hearts and minds fixed firmly on thelamplight of Scripture—they are the truly discerning ones.

 

Surely the best advice of all comes from Scriptureitself:

 

For if you cry for discernment, lift your voice forunderstanding; if you seek her as silver and search for her as for hiddentreasures; then you will discern the fear of the Lord and discover theknowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge andunderstanding. (Proverbs 2:3–6, emphasis added)

 

(Adapted from Reckless Faith) 

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