I would like to take this opportunity to share helpful reminder to all, including myself.
We have a brief FAQ on commenting guidelines. Perhaps some clarification might be helpful. We have come from an organization in which men love to Lord it over other men, and punish those who disagree. Such must not be the way with us if we are to be different and truly follow the pattern of our Lord.
We are emerging from organized religion into the wonderful light of our Lord Jesus. May no one enslave us again.
Sometimes we might read a comment from a very sincere and well-meaning brother (or sister) explaining his point of view on a subject, claiming that this was revealed to him by the Holy Spirit. That may well be. But to make the claim in print publicly is to set oneself up as a channel of God. For indeed if the Holy Spirit has revealed something to you, and then you reveal it to me, I am in a difficult position. How do I know the Holy Spirit has revealed it to you and it is not just your imagination? If I disagree, I am either going against the Holy Spirit, or I’m tacitly stating that the Holy Spirit is not working through you after all. It becomes a lose/lose scenario. And what if I should come to an alternate point of view, claiming that I too had this revealed to me by Holy Spirit, what then? Are we to set the Spirit against itself. Never may that happen!
Additionally we should be very cautious about offering advice. Stating something like, “this is one option you might consider…” is very different from saying, “this is what you should do…”
Likewise, when offering an interpretation of Scripture we must be very, very careful. When drawing uncharted areas on old maps, some cartographers put the caption, “Here be dragons”. There are indeed dragons hidden in uncharted areas—the dragons of pride, presumptuousness, and self-importance.
There are some things in the Bible we cannot know for certain. This is because God intended it to be so. We have been given truth, but not all the truth. We have the truth we need. As we need more, more will be revealed. We have been given glimmers of some things and because we are sincere Bible students, we may yearn to know them; but that yearning, if unchecked, could turn us into demagogues. To claim certain knowledge when such is not revealed by Scripture is the trap that all organized religion has fallen prey to. The Bible must interpret itself. If we begin to offer our own interpretation as doctrine, if we turn personal speculation into the word of God, we will not end well.
So by all means, offer speculation when you think it beneficial, but label it well, and never take offense if someone else disagrees. Remember, it’s just speculation.