From Chris Wakelin, Chaplaincy Treasurer:
This week’s Old Testament reading (Deuteronomy 18:15-20) reminds us of the dangers of being false prophets, perhaps allowing our own prejudices to affect how we represent God. At the same time it promises the people of Israel that there will come somebody who is able to speak authentically for God.
In the Gospel reading (Mark 1:21-8), Jesus does just that and we are told that the people were amazed by his teaching them “with authority” unlike the scribes. Later in the Gospels he criticises the scribes and the Pharisees for being certain of their own righteousness and of the sin of those who behaved differently to them.
I’ve always been rather suspicious of Christians (and others) who claim they “know” rather than “think” something to be true. This is especially so when opinion is sharply divided, as in the Creationist/Darwinian debate in the US or the ordination of women in the Anglican church. To me it is axiomatic that God never overides our freedom of choice – he doesn’t force us to be right, and as a result all our “knowledge” has to be provisional.
That isn’t to say we can’t be pretty sure about some things, such as God’s existence and his love for us, but perhaps we should always allow a little bit of room for ourselves to be wrong and God to reveal more of the truth to us.
As we’ve just come to the end of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, here’s a little bit of fun, with some truth in it alas: http://youtube/M0zIv2I37UU