Learn to Highly Regard the Silence of the Holy Spirit

John ArmstrongSpirituality

I am presently writing a book on the unity of the Church. I am impressed, again and again, at how often we turn on other Christians about issues that are not a part of "core orthodoxy." In reading John CalvinJc_photo
I came across this quote recently:

And in fact, while the Spirit ever teaches us to our profit, he either remains absolutely silent upon those things of little value for our edification, or only lightly and curiously touches upon them. It is also our duty  willingly to renounce those things which are unprofitable (The Institutes: I, XIV, 3).

If the Spirit is "silent" it would be a wise course for us to not pursue these things, especially in ways that rend the body of Christ further. Or, as Calvin adds, "[if the Holy Spirit] only lightly or curiously touches upon them." There are some things we read in Scripture that we think are very clear but many others, as godly as us or more so, do not see them this way. We should at least bother to listen to the larger community of the Church; i.e., to her collective, historical and present witness to that which is truly for our "profit." The problem comes, at least for me and maybe you, when we try to "willingly renounce those things which are unprofitable." This is admittedly hard to do and requires that we sacrifice our pride of learning and place. 

I find those Christians who have a huge amount of certitude about every thing that they believe will not "renounce" the importance of anything they believe since they are sure that every thing they hold to is the will of God and thus the whole Church ought to believe what they believe.

This reminds me of the man who was asked what he believed. He answered, "I believe what my church believes." The questioner pushed him further and said, "What does your church believe?" He answered, "My church believes what I believe."