Friday, September 25, 2015

Adventures in Peradventures

The inspiration for this article comes from E. M. Bounds, and specifically when he said (in reference to many forms or new phases of exercising “feeble, dry, and cold!” belief), that “they are, for the most part, adventures in the peradventures of the soul” (from “The Complete Works of E. M. Bounds on Prayer”).  
First, let’s define some words.  An “adventure” is defined as an “unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity,” and “peradventure”—an archaic word hardly used anymore—is defined as an “uncertainty or doubt as to whether something is the case” (both definitions from Oxford Dictionaries Online).

Bounds said that “Trust is faith become absolute, ratified, consummated.”  He also inferred that trust is full-flowered faith, and he claimed, in particular, that trust is “the feeling of the soul” that is “luminous, distinct, conscious, powerful, and Scriptural.”  In contrast to this “full-flowered faith” idea, however, is an enemy (inert faith) that Bounds described—and I reiterate—as “adventures in the peradventures of the soul.”  His point was that—as exciting as roller-coaster faith might be—it’s still nothing more than an exercise in futility.  “Adventures in peradventures” might also be described—but not as poetically—as “experiences of doubts” (which of course directly and specifically undermines the essence of what faith is).  And there is the rub!

It is written that the man who doubts ought not to expect to receive anything from the Lord (see James 1:5-8).  Also, two sorts of faith are mentioned in Scripture, the effectual kind leading to salvation, and the inert kind—that even demons subscribe to—and that is inanimate or dead.  Indeed, “faith, if it does not have works (deeds and actions of obedience to back it up), by itself is destitute of power (inoperative, dead).  But someone will say [to you then], ‘you [say you] have faith, and I have [good] works. Now you show me your [alleged] faith apart from any [good] works [if you can], and I by [good] works [of obedience] will show you my faith’” (James 2:17-18 AMPC).

In the end, adventures in peradventures is both tiresome and sinful.  Faith that does not evolve into utter trust is not faith enough to secure the heavenly things it reaches for.  Note how in the Classic Amplified version of the Bible how the apostle James (chapter 2:20-22) defines inert faith: “Are you willing to be shown [proof], you foolish (unproductive, spiritually deficient) fellow, that faith apart from [good] works is inactive and ineffective and worthless?  Was not our forefather Abraham [shown to be] justified (made acceptable to God) by [his] works when he brought to the altar as an offering his [own] son Isaac?  You see that [his] faith was cooperating with his works, and [his] faith was completed and reached its supreme expression [when he implemented it] by [good] works.”

As fun as roller-coasters are (adventures in peradventures), we must grow up and put away childish things.  We must complete our faith; we must mature into effectual ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Our trust must be, as Bounds put it, “absolute, ratified, consummated.”  The time for doubt is over; God has earned our trust by showing us mountains of evidence.  Therefore let us, like the apostle Paul, “press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward”; and also, “let those [of us] who are spiritually mature and full-grown have this mind and hold these convictions”—for the time is short (Philippians 3:14-15 AMPC).