2002-04-29 - Ex Cathedra
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
If you are in tune with what is going on in the world you will recall that last week the 12 Roman Catholic Cardinals from the United States were called to Rome to meet with the Pope. This meeting had to do with some moral issues going on in the United States among the Leaders of the Roman Catholic Church. The Pope did address the issue and when the Pope addresses issues of faith or morals his words are said to be, Ex Cathedra. The phrase really means, "from the chair," and it is considered the highest form of teaching in the Roman Catholic Church. It is thought that God is actually speaking through the Pope when these issues are addressed.
You might guess that I don't buy it. However, I think that Protestants are even more guilty of speaking from the chair than Roman Catholics. I don't agree with either. Protestants do it in a more subtle fashion. This, in my view, makes it even more dangerous and subversive. Protestants will say that the Lord told them something. They will say that they have, "a word of knowledge". They will say that the Lord has revealed something to them. My friends, this is nothing less than announcing that you are speaking from the chair and it is tantamount to making yourself a Protestant Pope.
We see in Scripture that the voice of God must be obeyed (Genesis 3:1-19). To disobey the voice of God is to incur the judgment of God (Jeremiah 42:5-22). In fact obedience to the voice of God is the heart of true faith (1 Samuel 15:19-24). To say, at any time, that the Lord told you something, or that He has revealed something to you is a very powerful thing to say. It should not be done lightly. Honestly, who can argue with you? If God told you something, well, there are not many arguments that can displace the word of the Lord. We need to be careful how we use such statements.
I'm not saying that the Lord can't reveal Himself to us today. However, I hear these terms floating about so often that I think we use them to justify our own beliefs or to grab attention. God has primarily revealed Himself in His Word, the Bible. Our proper response is to tremble at the Word of the Lord (Isaiah 66:2). It is that authoritative. It has that much significance upon our lives. When the Lord speaks we best listen and if He really is speaking to us we have been given something that even very few people in the Bible ever enjoyed. Let us be very careful before we give an ear to someone who claims to be speaking from the chair, or before we do it ourselves.
In general our principal should be to take that which we know is God's Word above that which someone claims is something they got from God. Thus we must know God's Word. For example, when someone says, "The Lord is going to return in this generation because He revealed this to me," we can know that this is not a true revelation to anyone. No one knows the time (Acts 1:7). But we must know God's Word in order to know this or we could be fooled into thinking that someone knows when Christ is returning. We could multiply examples like the sand on the sea shore. There is no end to what we can invent. This is why God's Word needs to be so integral in our lives and why we must know it backwards and forwards. It is our lifeline. You can have three lifelines on "Who Wants to be a Millionaire," but in life, Christians only have one: God's Holy Word.
Soli Deo Gloria,