Bible Verses that are positively charged do empower and encourage. However there are those who warned about the emptiness and illusion of realities and truth when certain passages are quoted out of context.
Hence, we need to discern whether certain passages are
– promises from God
– precepts from the Scriptures
– proverbs which distills life’s experiences, generally true but not absolute truth
– prayers desiring God’s blessing and favor
– preferences that are personal and desirable
– positive thinking, as popularized by NV Peale,
– possibility thinking as popularized by R Schuller; introduced into the church
– presumptions that God has spoken to me and will fulfill His words
Ronald Dunn in his book ‘The Faith Crisis’ wrote:
“Many well-meaning Christians confuse the key of faith with counterfeit keys, keys that bear a remarkable similarity to faith but are actually look-alike replicas. Often what they judge to be faith is in fact presumption, or wishful thinking, or selfish desire, or some form of positive thinking. And when these bogus keys faith to open the doors of God’s promises, some conclude that they are not of the ‘chosen few’ and abandon any hope of living the life of faith.”
While proof texting has been leveled at most pentecostals and charismatics, the approach has indeed brought a fresh wind that God can be trusted and God cannot lie. It has propelled Christians into the realms of spiritual power, miracles and wonders and vibrant personal living. Many evangelicals would seek to deconstruct the WOF teachings. Personally what we need is reconstruct some of the earlier WOF teachings.
To quote Gordon Fee –
“One must ruefully admit that evangelical Christianity by and large does not expect much from God,” he notes. “Most Christians’ expectation level when it comes to the miraculous is somewhere between zero and minus five. Even though evangelicals often pray, ‘If it be Thy will, please heal so-and-so,’ they would probably … faint if God actually answered.”
(this is my first ‘cut’ posting on this subject. will edit and polish up on this as I shift through the subject and organise my thoughs)