Tuesday, February 03, 2015

More thoughts on cursing and the WOF movement

‘Like a sparrow in its flitting, like a swallow in its flying, an undeserved curse goes nowhere’. The ‘curse’, ‏קִלְלַת, described here is the curse of a mortal because it’s ineffectiveness contrasts sharply with the timely efficaciousness of a divine imprecation. What piques the imagination is the obvious implication that maledictions by human beings could also enjoy a certain level of individualized existence. The two similes inform us that curses behaved in a manner analogous to birds. They fly. Likewise the term ‏חִנָּם ‘without cause’, ‘undeserved’ is key. It submits that another superior authority must come into play to establish the merit of the malediction. If it is warranted, then the judgment will apparently give the curse supplementary energy and direction. It will find its target. It will have an impact. Because we have already found that the inaugurating influence behind all effective curses finds its origin in the supernatural, then we can infer that this power is indeed divine and that a deity is functioning as a judge in the matter. As Prov 26:2 implies, should the divine realm decree that a curse uttered by a human being is not deserved, then it literally “goes nowhere.” Although it may continue to exist, it flies about aimlessly.— Cursed Are You!, pages 159–60

<idle musing>
And so, we see the difference between a monotheistic environment and a polytheistic one. In the monotheistic one, it is only YHWH who can give the curse substance. In a polytheistic one, it can be any deity—and there are lots of them willing to do so!

So, let's return to our Word of Faith musings from the other day...

By saying that a "word of faith" will happen automatically, we are saying that we are gods (as Nick pointed out in a comment). But even more, by saying that a curse directed against us needs to be broken off, we are saying that God is not our defender! WE are our defender. In order for God to act, we need to move him by faith...

And that leads to a lot of introspection and works and beating oneself up and... Well, you get the idea. Far from resulting in a victorious life, most WOF people I know of are living in constant fear and worry that their faith isn't measuring up and that the devil is going to get them—or God is going to.

I know there is a measure of truth to the necessity of exercising faith! I do it all the time. But, what I am pushing back against is the mechanistic, reflex reaction of blaming the devil or lack of faith for every setback we encounter. What was that song that the recently graduated Andráe Crouch sang? "If I never had a problem, I wouldn't know that God could solve them. I wouldn't know what faith in His name could do."

So, yes, faith is important. But...we must learn to listen to the Holy Spirit and we must submit it all to the judgment of scripture, with a healthy dose of humility and respect for the other three legs of the Wesleyan quadrilateral: tradition, reason, and experience.
</idle musing>

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