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Gamaliel's Desk
Friday, November 08, 2002
 
Christian Confidence
This will come as a surprise to many of you, but some have accused me of arrogance. I am sure these are well meaning and respected Christians but they have missed an essential component of gospel preaching and that is boldness. Paul preached with boldness (2 Corinthians 7:4). Peter preached with boldness (Acts 2:14). It only stands to reason that we should preach with the same boldness.
Boldness is a sign of Christian confidence. We should behave in a way that reflects the confidence and certainty of our position. I have no respect for the “on the one hand this, on the other hand that” school of thinking which gives rise to a wishy-washy faith in nothing of substance. A Christian should be characterized by a sense of certainty.
I have no sympathy for those who are “looking for God’s will.” Any Christian with an ounce of faith can boldly declare the will of God because they know it for sure. A proper reading of the Bible leaves us with no doubts or ambiguities. This is the source of our boldness and confidence. Some try to say the Bible has gray areas. These are undiscerning Christians who lack the courage to define black as black and white as white.

We know that we are right because we have confidence in our ability to spiritually discern the Truth of God’s Word. We have the skills for rightly dividing the Word of God and we have the right intellectual equipment for making wise decisions. If God had not so equipped us with a powerful ability to insightfully divine the text (unlike so many others who hold the truth in error) then we would have no right to our confidence and boldness. But God has not left us so unprepared. We are above being deceived by the blindness of our own intellectual ability. After all, that is part of the discerning ability that God has given us – the ability to discern truth and falsehood in our own lives.

Others have accused me of believing so strongly in what I hold to be true that I would never admit the possibility that I could be wrong. While this may be true in practice, I do hold to the principle that I am a fallible human being. The Lord Himself tells us that there is none perfect but God. For me to make the claim of perfection would be an exercise of hubris which would be a sin, and of course pride is a sin of which I would never be guilty.

On the other hand, if anyone could ever show me to be in error about anything, I would appreciate them pointing it out to me. Some have tried to show me my “errors” but I have to confess that none has been successful. In all my years of ministry I cannot recall a single instance where any major Truth that I have held to has been undermined by the attempts of others to convince me of the validity of their erroneous position.

However, if I were ever approached by anyone who held a belief or opinion different from my own and they had the Truth and I was in error, then rest assured that I would join them in subscribing to the Truth. To be perfectly honest, though, I cannot think of a single instance where someone else held to the Truth on a position where I was in error.

Gamaliel/RJP

Knowledge puffs up but love builds up. The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know.
I Corinthians 8:1b-2 (NIV)

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