Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Power of Crying Out (things that trouble me about Gothard's view) part 9

There are a few other things in this book that aren't directly related to his thesis, but are nevertheless a little troublesome. For example, on p. 30, he says that the early Christians were known as people who "call upon the name of the Lord" (1 Corinthians 1:2). Throughout the book, "calling" refers to using ones voice, so apparently, if we do not use our voices to call on the name of the Lord, then we're not really Christians.

Another thing that bothers me about his book is how on p. 84 he recommends that group prayer should involve everybody speaking out loud at the same time rather than one person leading the prayer. But this is contrary to the advice Paul gives in 1 Corinthians 14. Those who speak in tongues are to do so one at a time, and those who prophesy are to do so one at a time. Paul says to "let all things be done properly and in an orderly manner" (v. 40) for "God is not a God of confusion" (v. 33). If you're in a room full of people, and you're all speaking at the same time, that's not group prayer; that's individual prayer done in the midst of a crowd. Everybody's praying their own prayer, and you can't say 'amen' to what the others are saying since it's impossible to follow what they are all saying.

[Here I'm skipping part of the review, because it's not at all relevant.]

If you think about it, Bill Gothard's teaching about the advantages of vocal prayer over silent prayer could lead to some hairy-eyeballed consequences. In most of the stories, both Biblical and anecdotal, the purpose of crying out is for deliverance from some catastrophe. One of the potential catastrophes was when Mike tried to rob and kill Sherman (p. 14-18) and Sherman was delivered by crying out to God while Mike was in the car. Now imagine a scenario where an intruder breaks into the house of a woman living by herself. She hears him come in and becomes very afraid, so she hides herself in the closet and waits. Eventually, she hears him coming into her room and looking around. Terribly afraid that he's going to open the closet, find her in there, and either rape her or kill her, she debates with herself, "Should I pray silently, or should I cry out? Which would be more effective?" She may consider the fact that crying out would give her away, but she has to decide where her faith lies. If she believes that crying out is more effective than silent prayer, then she may believe God will deliver her if she cries out and trust that over silent prayer. The results could be disastrous. God doesn't promise anybody deliverance from every evil that might befall them in this life. On the contrary, Jesus said, "In this life, you will have trouble" (John 16:33).

to be continued...
Part 10

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