The Scripture Communications Protocol
The first and most important protocol that I will discuss facilitates our being led by the Holy Spirit to all religious truth by way of the Scriptures. When I argued in "Really all Truth?" that the Holy Spirit would lead us unto all truth and not just only unto all religious truth, my purpose was to broaden our expectations of what the Holy Spirit can do for us, not to deny the importance of religious truth and the vital necessity of knowing it and obeying it. Certainly religious truth is the first kind of truth a new Christian must learn and the most important to get right, but moving it from "most important" to "the only thing that's important" to "the only thing we should expect" is not supported by scripture.
The need for being led to truth in all areas of life is enormous. Solomon himself notes that "there is a time for every purpose under the heaven" (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8), so the self-righteous pacifist (who believes war is never an answer) is as wrong as the rabid nationalist (who never saw a problem that couldn't be solved by killing people and breaking things) because there is a time for both war and peace (v8). Scripture mandates war in places and forbids it in others, and recommends peace in some cases and condemns it in others, so both pacifist and nationalist can claim scriptural warrant, with the discussion complicated by the fact that each side refusing to recognize that the other side does have scriptural warrant. This dilemma is repeated in many other areas of life because God, who caused those Scriptures to be written, was aware that life gets complicated because the right-ness of many actions is rarely visible on the surface, but must be discerned by a process of analysis that the Hebrews called "judgment". The atheist who declares that the Bible contains contradictions, and who seeks to prove it by focussing on the different ways that God acts over time is partly right in observing such differences, but is completely wrong because he ignores that God reacts differently because of differing circumstances. This is not the same as "situational ethics", where the principles are allowed to flex with the circumstances (and the whim of observers/participants/beneficiaries). If the speed limit is 35, Hebraic Judgment would ask "how fast were you going? Did you have a good reason for going 85 that is allowed by law?" Situational ethics would temporarily change the speed limit to 90 depending on who was speeding.
Still, the conscientious Christian has good cause to be concerned, for if the Scriptures were designed to be this flexible, then Thomas' question of "How shall we know the way?" that he asked at the Last Supper becomes our question as well. The answer Jesus gave him suffices as well: "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life". For us who live between His Ascension and His Return, this means learning how to interact with the Counselor that He asked His Father to send to us, having assured the disciples, and us through them, that this Counselor would do a better job of leading them to all truth than He could Himself.
The process of that leading is what I call here "Illumination", and the purpose of these essays in this section dealing with it is to describe my understanding of the ways that the Spirit uses to accomplish this leading. I call these "ways" Communications Protocols because it is my experience that the ability to be reliably led requires a level of rigor that is implied by the word "protocol" as it is understood in its technical sense. The ones I will document in detail will be the ones that I use on a daily or weekly basis, or from which I have personally experienced and derived fruit. At the same time, I beg your indulgence if I do not touch as deeply on others that are documented in Scripture but which I have not personally experienced or exercised, and be assured that if I ever start being reliably led or taught by the Spirit through dreams and/or visions, I will document it.
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