28 years ago, my wife Gaye gave birth to our second daughter. After a very long labour and a breach birth, Leah was born four weeks early. We suspected that something was wrong with her quite early on. She was misdiagnosed at 18 months with cerebral palsy, but Leah never seemed to be like other children with that condition. At the age of 15, Leah was correctly diagnosed with Angelman Syndrome, a fairly rare genetic condition where there’s a small deletion in the 15th chromosome. Having a 28-year-old severely disabled daughter who doesn’t speak and who has the understanding of a three-year-old has brought many difficulties, frustrations and disappointments. But she has also brought our family a tremendous amount of fun and laughter.
In the first part of this article (in our last Briefing), we looked at the pluses and minuses of pragmatism. We saw that ‘doing what works’ is a quite legitimate path to follow in one sense, because God has created an orderly world. Yet pragmatism has its limitations, as a result of the complex and flawed nature both of the world and of ourselves. We ultimately need a revelation, a word from outside, to guide us.
But how does the Word guide us? In our last article, we looked at one approach, the so-called ‘Hooker Principle’. Let us begin Part II, by looking at a related but much more recent way of using the Bible.
In Luke’s gospel, chapter 10, verse 20, we read ‘Howbeit in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject to you; but rejoice that your names are written in heaven’.
This verse comes at the end of a short passage reporting our Lord’s words to the seventy disciples on their return from the ministry on which he had sent them. They came back full of joy in the success of their ministry. (more…)