Hebrews 6:19 says "we have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure." The chapter is all about becoming mature Christians. The gist of this passage is that we, who are heirs of the promises God has made, must learn to trust in things that are eternal, secure, sure and solid. Wow, do we need these things now!
Over the past few weeks I have used the term "discernment" often. For we, as God's people, as ambassadors of Christ, and as the Church must enter the days ahead as those people who are not "blown away by every wind of doctrine (Ephesians 4:14)". We should be the people who show and live out the hope of Christ in the hopeless times we sometimes face. So, how do we do this?
John Wesley had two very Methodist ways of discerning. The first goes to the source of our knowledge about the nature of God ... Scripture. Wesley said that revelation from God (something that we currently hear people invoking) comes primarily through Scripture and that all other sources are a "handmaiden" (subservient to) God's Word. This is vital today as the internet is filled with claims of special knowledge (a Gnostic behavior), special revelation from God (a very dangerous path) and special insight. Wesley says don't go there! Jesus and God's word are the sources through which we sift the doctrines that are so readily offered by not-so-reliable sources!
The other Wesleyan method for discernment is based on the golden rule ... "Do to others what you would have them do to you (Matthew 7:12)." Wesley said there are 3 Methodist rules ... 1) do no harm, 2) do all the good that you can, and 3) stay in love with God! As I read lots of the things you are reading I get a spirit of revenge, feelings that justice is unfair, people saying "I am/we are victims," and lots of "they" statements about demonizing other folks. Maybe it is time to step back and try to do no harm, do good things and (especially) stay in love with God. You might ask, "how do we stay in love with God?" I think we follow Jesus in loving people, even the Samaritans, lepers and sinners of our day. And by the way ... those "loved" people include all of us! That's my take! Randy