Since nobody reads my blog I think I will just air my thoughts to myself on this topic.
Or those of you who are sincerely following God’s path and have such a passion for prayer and the best for everyone in your lives and are following this method please don’t take offense. And seriously, either pray for me to be enlightened, or consider drawing a circle around these articles and praying yourselves for the proper understanding of our historic reformed faith, based on God’s word, the Bible, and how it is clearly explained in our Confessions of Faith and Catechisms.
Since our pastor and our church are clearly going full throttle into the Circle, I may be forced to actually read the book itself to have a credible witness. But with all the popularity and publicity it has gathered, let me balance and preface my perspective with two articles that present the watchman’s concern.
Praying Circles 21 September 2015 Gary Gilley (Volume 21, Issue 5 Sep/Oct 2015)
As these articles are both a couple of years old in their warnings, one can surmise that they have not had much effect, and it is surprising that our church is 5 years behind the trend.
BTW if you don’t believe the extent that The Circle Maker has gone to, read this summary of 100 Battteresonism’s The Circle Maker Quotes …it’s interesting that although these are all positive, people are quoting not the Bible but Batterson.
Let me start with one very true fact that is in the book. When you read Gary’s article you will see it. “It all begins with me”…or “Let it begin with me”. This is both a true thought and desire of the heart to go the correct way in our faith. But it is missing one critical element….it actually all begins with God. You might see this if you read John 6 carefully. Jesus repeats himself to make this point:
John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
John 6:65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.
So whether you are a Circle Maker or not only God can draw you into the circle. We can’t do this on our own.
It is also true that many are in the fold of Christ and that none are lost. We can illustrate this with these words:
Joh 6:39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
Joh 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
Later we read:
Joh 10:14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
Joh 10:15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
Joh 10:16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
One other observation from the story of two men Jesus taught to certain people….
And note we all have to be careful of this whether we trust in our Circle Making or even if we are proud we are not one of those chalk holders. It is interesting this example is actually about praying…(maybe Batterson, used it, but I couldn’t confirm a reference where he did.)
Luk 18:9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
Luk 18:10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
Luk 18:11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
Luk 18:12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
Luk 18:13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
Luk 18:14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
BTW There is another example of a man who saw himself guilty and turned to Christ alone for mercy.
Luk 23:39 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.
Luk 23:40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?
Luk 23:41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.
Luk 23:42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.
Luk 23:43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.
So bottom line is whether you put yourself in the Circle or choose to stay out, the Bible tells us to have an attitude of repentance and to humbly see ourselves in light of God’s mercy.
It might be said that we have long forgotten to celebrate our unity which the founders of the Reformation rekindled, substituting whatever is new and exciting. But personally just reading and understanding the Bible and basic historic doctrines is enough to bring my to my knees.
I recently read this quote on a eulogy.
True ecumenical unity is clearly defined in the Scriptures. In the words of the Apostle Paul, “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” (Ephesians 4: 4-6) Thus followers of Christ who place their faith solely in the one triune God and His written Word, as did the Lord and the Apostles after Him (Sola Scriptura), are one in body, in Spirit, and in truth.
They are saved before the all-Holy God by grace alone (Sola Gratia), through faith alone (Sola Fide), and in Christ alone (Solo Christo), and all glory and praise is to God alone (Soli Deo Gloria). Through the centuries, these five biblical principles or “solas” have helped the persecuted church hold fast to the simplicity of the Gospel. True ecumenism is fellowship or working together in adherence to these “solas” which maintain the foundation of true unity in the Lord. To the degree to which these key basic biblical standards are embraced, true unity will be evident. Tribute Michael de Semylen
Perhaps I will draw a Circle and Pray, that we recover this old path, and step into the Circle and “let it begin with me”!
Jer 6:16 Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.
Jer 6:17 Also I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken.
BTW I put some quotes from the articles above into the first comment page.