Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What Does This Mean?

Acts 2:12 And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, "What does this mean?" 13 But others mocking said, "They are filled with new wine."

12 ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηπόρουν, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες· τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι; 13  ἕτεροι δὲ διαχλευάζοντες ἔλεγον ὅτι γλεύκους μεμεστωμένοι εἰσίν.

This precedes Peter's speech at Pentecost.  The apostles had just received the Holy Spirit.  They were able to speak in the language of the people.  I think of this a bit like standing in New York and speaking to the various people there.  The text lists several groups.  It was certainly an impressive work of the Spirit.

People today are still wondering what this means.  What are we to make of this event?  Is it descriptive for us or prescriptive?  This is where systematic theology becomes huge.  If your theology cannot stand the idea of the sign gifts of the Holy Spirit in operation today then you will be certain that this is merely descriptive.  However, I think a more accurate reading of some supporting texts (particularly 1 Cor 13) indicates that the "perfect" has not yet come back in the form of Christ's return.

This is a bit problematic, however.  I don't want to be like the folks who refuse to see someone as truly saved until that person speaks in tongues.  I also do not support the craziness that goes in some "churches" that include snake-handling and poison-drinking.  You don't even have to go that far.  Some places put a high emphasis on "a prophetic word."

I think it is a mistake to throw the baby out with the bathwater.  I don't want to limit how God works today based on a suspect reading of His Word.  However, I do want to make sure that everything is subjected to what is crystal-clear in His Word.  2 Peter 1:3 makes it very clear that we have everything we need in Scripture.  Therefore, we do not need to go beyond it.

It may seem like I am talking out of both sides of my mouth.  Personally, I just think that there is a tension that we need to live with.  As long as we keep God's Word on top we will be just fine.


Lloyd said...

Great post. May our Lord continue to work in you. God bless, Lloyd

Jason said...

Thanks for stopping by brother!