Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Does faith in Christ mean you don't read anything but The Bible ?

 Thanks to John Smith for this response
 "With respect to Smith Wigglesworth's claim that he read only the bible, I cannot judge if his peculiar calling from God included his attitude re books, or was just his "narrow" view. I do know that view is at odds with the beliefs & practices of the hundreds of transformational great leaders of faith over thousands of years that I have read & researched. The leaders from St Paul to St Augustine to Calvin, Luther, etc Etc etc, were usually those whose disciplines & truth seeking was enhanced by much reading. Does S W's statement mean no-one should read his own writings or biography etc? How would we know of his ministry & teaching if we only read the bible? I would rather follow Jesus, who has provided much for us to read, including material showing he certainly had studied the interpretive writings of the Jewish scholars of his day. 
St Paul's request to Timothy, even when in jail awaiting execution late in life, was to have literature sent to him so he could read the "books & the parchments". John Wesley said to his once illiterate preachers "if you will not read you shall not preach." He provided a list I recall of about 70 volumes for his ministry preaching team to read, including books on history, theology, language etc etc. One of the impacts of this that a major historian claimed transformed England was was his promotion of good literature. Indian philosopher Vishal Mangalwadi notes Wesley trained every preacher to be a distributer of books after they had mastered the content of the books they were to distribute. He also says that the Encyclopedia Britannica records of Wesley, "no man in the 18th century did so much to create a taste for good reading & to supply it with books at the lowest prices." Wesley's book "Thoughts on Slavery", published when Wilberforce was about 13 years old, though Wesley's contribution is not fairly recognised, was a major force in bringing Evangelical Christians to the anti-slavery cause. Why have we a bible with so many documents from so many times & cultural settings if reading is not significant? Paul to the Athenians (Acts 17) shows considerable knowledge of not only scriptures but of Greek philosophy. He spent years in Ephesus daily debating in a Philosophy school & according to the biblical account by such earnest debate the gospel was spread throughout the region. 
The bible records that one of the significant aspects of the extraordinary wisdom & goodness of the Prophet Daniel was his mastery of the non-Jewish literature of his Babylonian captors. Paul's Athenian quote in Acts 17 concerning "all God's children" includes a line from a pagan love poem to a pagan God. It would be culturally like my frequent use of Henry Lawson quotes in gospel messages to people unfamiliar with the bible. Linking familiar secular literature with biblical concepts, when appropriate I have found is a great segway in caring communication. Without a wider reading experience this is not possible."

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