Monday, November 3, 2008

Scripture Twisters: Mark 11:22-23

So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.--Mark 11:22-23

This passage was given to me to defend the Word of Faith Movement. The basic premise is that if you REALLY TRULY believe something and you speak the words, God will be forced to follow through with your request. Let's apply my two favorite rules of Biblical interpretation here.

1. We must consider the verses in context.
In verse 14, Jesus had cursed a fig tree. Now we see Jesus and the disciples walking past that fig tree a second time. upon noticing the fig tree had whithered, the apostles ask Jesus about it. Jesus proceeds to make a point about faith rather than words.

2. We must interpret the unclear with the clear
This is the more compelling argument that this passage does not support the idea that we might force God's hand with our spoken word. A VERY clear teaching of the Bible is the omnipotence of God. (Mathew 10:29, Romans 8:28, Revelations 19:6) In other words, The Bible teaches that God is in control of all.
So if the implication that we get from the passage is a clear contradiction to biblical truth, it must not be the implication that was intended. Jesus was not teaching the disciples that they can force God's hand if they simply have enough faith and speak the words. Obviously, the whithering Fig tree was within God's will and if the mountain got up and hurled itself into the mountain, it would have been within God's will as well. God is in control, not you or I.