Thanks for sharing. There are a lot of good thoughts there, and probably not enough to digest in one sitting. I feel a little called out, because MacDonald gives voice to the common question that I’d probably join in asking:
“But is not this dangerous doctrine? Will not a man be taught thus to believe the things he likes best, even to pray for that which he likes best? And will he not grow arrogant in his confidence?”
It seems to me that many (including me) feel a lot more comfortable with the idea of spiritual revelation never departing or going beyond anything written in the Bible, because if it does, it becomes much less straightforward to test, or to see who’s right and who’s wrong, and some of us are quite adept at trying to sort out right from wrong in every area.
Still, I think his description of the “dull disciple” is also a little too close to home, as well as the response that does seem to sum up what many believe or hear from others:
“God has said nothing about that in his word, therefore we have no right to believe anything about it. It is better not to speculate on such matters. However desirable it may seem to us, we have nothing to do with it. It is not revealed.”
(Or in other situations, in our desperation for an answer, we will take out a magnifying glass to try to torture out the smallest hint of anything related to the topic and then declare that the “final word” on the matter.)
And I think he’s right that truly seeking will bring less arrogance, because you’ll have a better idea of how much you don’t know. It’s when you’re entirely enclosed in the law that you think you know it all.
But ultimately, MacDonald reaffirms what I have been trying to re-learn, which is the difference between having faith in a book and having faith in a being.
We know in whom we have believed, and we look for that which it hath not entered into the heart of man to conceive.
There are many quotable areas here but that might be my favorite. I can’t remember if the word “curiosity” is used anywhere in the sermon, but that really seems to be what he is going for. Even though, as a good Baptist , the idea of listening to the Spirit tends to make me a bit nervous depending on how it’s presented and by whom.