Re: Thomas and Gideon (was Re: Abraham)

James Turner (
13 Apr 96 06:39:28 EDT

On Fri, Apr 12, 1996 Bill Hamilton wrote

<<Christians sometimes get criticized for "putting out a fleece" -- and that
criticism implies criticism of Gideon, who put a fleece out to determine if
the person who spoke to him was really God. I've always thought that
criticism of Gideon was misdirected. Most people today when they talk of
"putting out a fleece" mean they resolved that if a given event occurred,
they would take that as a message from God to proceed with some plan. I
agree that that's dangerous, but that's not what Gideon did. He had
already been spoken to by God and he wanted to authenticate that it was
indeed God who spoke to him. So he put the fleece out on two successive
nights and did what any good scientist would do. He asked that the fleece
be dry while the surrounding ground be wet one night, and asked for the
reverse the other night. He didn't want to be tricked by a natural
phenomenon that might bias the fleece to have more or less condensation
than the surrounding ground. That's just good science. And God honored
his request.>>

The topic of "fleeces" is one I've found most interesting of late. Recently I
read a book by Kenneth Hagin entitled "How you can be led by the Spirit of God"
(Faith Library). In it he argues that Jesus' resurrection began a new era in
how God communicates to us via His Spirit. He first claims that only three types
of people were anointed with the Holy Spirit in the OT: kings, the priesthood,
and the prophets. I have not been able to fully confirm this claim, but it does
explain Gideon's actions. He was not in any of these categories so he did not
have the Spirit confirming he was hearing from God (even though the Spirit
initially communicated the message), thus alternative verification was needed
i.e. the fleece experiment.

Hagin goes on to say that before Jesus went to the cross he told his disciples

John 16
13 "However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all
truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will
speak; and He will tell you things to come.
14 "He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.
15 "All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take
of Mine and declare it to you.

He then says that this is now availlable to all believers, which he confirms by

Romans 8
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received
the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father."
16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God

He concludes by saying that today believers have a way of knowing the truth
through God's abiding Spirit.

Now lest one concludes that he (or I for that matter) are suggesting to abandon
all other means of truth seeking outside of the bible, no, quite the contrary.
Hagin (and I) believe that Christians have a complementary means to find truth
along with our scientific (or whatever) approach, as long as we remain open to
God's leading. In fact I would argue that it takes just as much faith to pursue
science, with all its methods intact, while following God's leading, and with
the expectation that the events of the bible will fit in due course, as it does
to take the bible at face value and abandon crucial scientific methods. I
believe this because 1. the Spirit of God will lead us into all truth (John
16:13) and 2. God cannot tell a lie (Titus 1:2). I guess that's why I have no
problem with Glenn's theory, it fits the facts and is faithful to God. It might
be wrong, but I think it is in the right spirit (and even Spirit). (BTW Glenn do
you have a name for your theory; the term "concordism" seems a bit broad.)

Bill also wrote:

<<BTW, it's not known whether Thomas actually saw or touched Jesus' wounds. I
find it hard to believe that he did, because I imagine he recognizedJesus as
soon as he saw him. But Thomas had a point. If Jesus was trulyresurrected,
this was the most significant event in all history, and Thomas wanted to be sure
it was really true.>>

So are you saying that in John 20:27 when Jesus directed Thomas to touch his
wounds, Thomas didn't follow up because Jesus presence was enough? It makes
sense as many actions in the gospels were always explicitly stated rather than
implied. Unfortunately it discredits Thomas as a good scientist. :-)

In Christ,
Jim Turner