Conversation Over

“It’s time to go to bed, sweetheart,” I say with an optimism that forgets I am raising a sinner. In my mind the little munchkin will say with a refined British accent, “Why, yes, good sir, you are correct. The dawn is upon us and I must head to my quarters.” And with that she’ll march her little tail into bed, close her precious eyes and go to sleep.

I’m shocked that my kind request is met with rebellion. “No! I don’t want to go to bed! I want to play with my dolls more!”

I change my tone a bit to let this little princess know who bought those little dolls. I’m still calm and kind but at this point she ought to know that the authority in her life has spoken.

At this point my little girl calls upon her inner Melvin Tolson and decides that this would be a great time to have a conversation. “Let’s talk about this, daddy!” She tries every tactic in her three-year old repertoire. She even tries to bribe me with two dollars to let her stay up. “Just five more minutes, daddy”.

—-

“Do all things without grumbling or disputing…” says the Lord to this seasoned sinner. He knows that the right and fitting response would be a simple, “yes, Lord,” that is accompanied by a desperate prayer for the grace to have a heart that doesn’t grumble.

He also knows what he’ll get. A conversation.

“But Lord…you don’t understand the day that I’ve had.” On and on I go having my conversation with the Lord trying to convince him that I’m the exception to his rule. “Come on, Lord, just this once let me grumble. It will feel so good. It is what I need. After I grumble, I’ll feel better, I’ll repent, and all will be good. Just let me grumble for five more minutes. Puuhhhhllllleeassse!”

He’s unmoving. You see when he speaks the conversation is over. There’s no sense in playing the devils game of, “Did God really say?” No, he has spoken and he has spoken clearly. Conversation over. Every moment of grumbling after this declaration is outright rebellion.

Because I love my daughter, I make it clear to her that this conversation is over. I know that if I vacillate on this (and I wish I could say I was consistent on this) that there will be a time when some young punk is trying to get her to do things that ought not be done, and in that moment she’ll be tempted to have a “conversation” about God’s Word and wonder whether or not God really said what he clearly said. My hope is that she’ll have learned the lesson when she was three that God has spoken and it isn’t time for a conversation.

I hear a good deal in our culture about having conversations about certain things to which God has clearly spoken. And I know from raising my own children that these conversations will continue until they get their way or they submit to my authority and stop trying to have a conversation.

That’s why I question whether or not what we really need are more conversations. I’m not saying that there isn’t a place for teaching and reasoning and pleading and such. Yes, there is a time for that. But really the issue that people have is ultimately with God and His Word. Are we going to rebel and just keep talking and having a conversation in the hopes that somehow God’s Eternal Word will change or will we submit to God’s Word even if it feels like a sword piercing our heart?

God has spoken. Conversation over.

Comments

  1. says

    The desire to extend the conversation is just a civilized way of rebelling. I did it masterfully(to my regret) as a child and adult and my son tries it often on me. He has yet to understand that I am well-versed in his playbook.
    The idea between extended conversation and negotiation sounds innocuous enough. Should we not want to understand the other side(s) point of view? Yet the goal is not extending knowledge but changing minds or at times just one mind. It is a tactic seeking ultimate victory. With the World Cup coming up, probably not a big topic of conversation at the SBC, we can relate extended conversations as a team playing for a draw while hoping to win it with penalty kicks.

    A related story I read this morning: http://www.albertmohler.com/2014/06/02/there-is-no-third-way-southern-baptists-face-a-moment-of-decision-and-so-will-you/

    • Bennett Willis says

      Just out of curiosity, do you think that it changes the number of homosexuals (individuals or relationships) if you either preach/teach for or against it?

      Having asked the question, I feel obligated to offer my opinion on the subject. It does not matter. But you will need to organize your priorities.

      • says

        Bennett
        To be very honest, no probably not. That is basically what I was saying below. However, while it may not change the situation we are still obligated to preach what the Word says on the subject. The fact that people may not listen is not the issue, faithfulness in preaching the word is an issue and a priority.

        • John Wylie says

          Actually I guess it would depend on what you define as homosexuality. If you are referring to same sex attraction ( what I would simply call temptation) then the answer is no. However, if you are speaking of homosexual activity (people actually acting on that temptation) I would say demonstrably yes.

          1 Cor 6:9-11 “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! Neither sexually immoral people, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor passive homosexual partners, nor dominant homosexual partners, (10) nor thieves, nor greedy persons, not drunkards, not abusive persons, not swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (11) And some of you were these things, but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” (LEB)

          • says

            John
            Yes I see your point and agree. I was thinking more in terms of the acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle by society, not individual acts. I think we have lost the societal debate. It is becoming more prevalent regardless of how much we argue against it. My point is even tho we lost the debate we must still proclaim the Biblical teachings regarding it.

  2. says

    I do not have statistics but it seems true that Christians will always lose a dialogue with the world. We have had many conversations with the way the nation thinks and we are not winning. The thinking of the nation is becoming more and more ungodly with each passing day.

    It is time to say” let CONVERSATION be over; let PROCLAMATION BEGIN”. We will lose when we try to reason with the world. The task of the people of God is to PROCLAIM the truth of God’s word. The battle cry against sin must be “thus saith the Lord”, not “what do you feel about what the Lord says”.

    Mike, a very timely post.

    • Chris Roberts says

      Closing the door to dialog has the added bonus of reducing the likelihood that someone will prove us wrong on this or that issue.

      • says

        No one will prove us wrong on the issue of whether homosexuality is a sin. The Bible is perfectly crystal clear that it is always sinful, 100% of the time, without any exception whatsoever.

        • Chris Roberts says

          I agree that the Bible is clear on the subject. But there are other things we might be wrong about.

          • says

            Chris
            Yes we might be wrong about other things. However, the case in point is not “other things”. I am a realist. We have lost the debate regarding homosexuality same sex marriage etc. If the issue comes before our city or state legislative body should we speak our convictions, Yes. However, realism tells me that my voice will be more of a proclamation than a persuading oration.

          • Chris Roberts says

            D.L.,

            But what if those other things have direct bearing to this thing? Ie, the Bible clearly states that homosexuality is sin, but that in itself doesn’t mean homosexuality is wrong. The Bible has to be true and carry divine authority for its claims to carry any weight.

            That’s part of the dialog still worth having, but a dialog that is far too often ruled out before it can even begin.

            And with that, I come very close to plainly answering John Wylie’s question.

          • John Wylie says

            Wouldn’t natural selection rule out homosexuality as well? I mean it definitely makes no sense from a survival standpoint.

          • Chris Roberts says

            John,

            The ins and outs of natural selection aren’t really part of this discussion.

          • John Wylie says

            My point is simply there is more than one reason to believe that homosexuality is wrong or out of kilter with the natural order of things.

        • says

          Chris
          You are placing two arguments in juxtaposition to each other that are illogical and without foundation. If the Bible says homosexuality is sin then it is wrong.

          The only conversation that might be possible is the origin of homosexuality. That in and of itself however is is not relevant because that is not the issue that is plaguing society. The issue is acting on the desire and where that leads us. Perhaps if we could curb abnormal sexual lifestyles then a conservation on origin might be helpful. But until them it has no pragmatic value.

          • Chris Roberts says

            D.L.,

            But as I mentioned earlier: “The Bible has to be true and carry divine authority for its claims to carry any weight.” That’s the conversation I suggest. I’m not particularly interested in the origins of homosexuality; that’s what John was addressing.

          • John Wylie says

            Chris,

            Actually I was not really addressing origins as much as I was addressing the idea that homosexuality is obviously out of kilter with the natural order of things. Even if the Bible were to be removed from the equation, and the issue to be looked at from a strictly social and naturalistic paradigm, homosexuality still could not be considered normal behavior.

          • says

            Chris
            First let me say “Thank you” for this interaction, I am enjoying it. I admire you strength in analytical thinking.

            Would you please elaborate a little more on your comment June 3 @ 1:13 am. I am not sure I am understanding correctly.

          • Chris Roberts says

            D.L.,

            I’ll keep my response shortish and limit myself to this comment because I rather doubt this is the sort of discussion Dave would want to encourage here, but what I meant is that while I believe the Bible is clear about homosexuality, that fact alone is irrelevant if the Bible is just a book like any other. If it is not divinely inspired and does not have the weight of sovereign authority then it doesn’t really matter what moral pronouncements it makes.

            We should never close the door to dialog about any subject, no matter how obvious it may seem to us. But I’m less interested in dialog about homosexuality and more interested in dialog about whether or not the Bible is what it claims to be. Christianity has in place many, many mechanisms to help keep people “in the fold” and one of those mechanisms involves rooting out any serious possibility of entertaining the idea that it all might be untrue. Many Christians will be quite happy to defend what they see as the validity of their beliefs, but how often do we seriously entertain the idea that we might be wrong? But that’s how learning and growth and wisdom happen – through an openness to being shown where we are wrong and a willingness to correct that which is in error.

            You, along with the original post, say that conversation needs to end and proclamation needs to begin. That’s all well and good, but it carries a huge gotcha: if all we’re doing is telling people what they should believe, what happens if we’re wrong but have closed the door to any means of finding out that we’re wrong? I.e., I imagine one immediate response some would have to this comment is, “But we’re not wrong, so it doesn’t matter.” With the door closed from the start, there’s nowhere to go.

          • says

            Chris
            Thank you so much for the comment. Yes theBible is true and our authority. Yes I can be wrong. But I am not wrong about this because the Bible is true and authoritative. So I agree we have no where to go in conversation.

            Blessings my brother.

  3. Jess says

    Mike Leake,

    Outstanding post, you’re a little like Abe Lincoln. A man once said that Abe could say the most in the fewest words than anyone he had ever known.

    • Tarheel says

      VolFan, you’re about nine ours late with that Al Mohler article link….it was linked at 10:25 this am in the first comment to the OP.

      ;-)

      I understand though…your being from Tennessee earns you a lot of deference. ;-)

  4. says

    It was worth posting twice.

    i think we need to grab reality by the horns. The Christian USA we once knew is no longer the Christian USA we now live in. So while wish to measure success by baptisms and growth, and we work hard and harder to achieve our goal, it is VERY possible that instead of growing, our faithfulness to God and His Word may cause us to SHRINK.

    The SBC tree will get pruned by remaining faithful. How many other churches will split or leave because of homosexual issues? Hopefully none, but realistically -many.

    And as a C, i would rather go to a T church than a H church.
    So let us quit squabbling over whether the SBC will be run by a different-than-my-exact-belief Christian and work together so that whether C or T or in between, we are are all a Gospel preaching, Word believing, sin shunning people.

    Otherwise, while we are slapping each other in one place, our enemy will be foreclosing on us in the place we should have been anyhow but weren’t.

    -mike

    • volfan007 says

      Mike,

      I’m really starting to think that persecution is coming our way, as Christians, over this homosexual issue. I don’t know for sure, but it’s sure looking that way to me.

      David

  5. says

    volfan,
    yep, I think you are right.
    And back when I was a young man, the world moved slower, no computers, no internet.
    But now everything just flashes around the world lickety-split.
    That train is coming, and its going to shake up a lot of things.
    Hebrews 12 ends:

    See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven. And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.” This expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.

    Everything that can be shaken, will be shaken.

  6. Jess says

    I think with everything that has been said in these comments, I hold, even stronger than before that the true church started in the homes, and the true church will end back up in the homes.

    I don’t think we are very far away from two Bible students opening up their Queen James Version of the Bible to search out answers.