Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Healing Crisis of the Soul

Those of you who are avid health aficionados and who are familiar with the detoxing process of the body have inevitably faced a healing crisis. What is meant by the "crisis" is a temporary worsening of a persons health condition in order to bring about a cleansing effect and a healthier you. The crisis begins as the body rids itself of negative and toxic substances. These substances are released into the body which were once pent up and they begin their journey out of the body. In this process the toxins can actually manifest several symptoms such as fatigue, irritability, slight malaise, sleeplessness, flu like symptoms, nausea and so on. The symptoms are short lived however and are a welcome change to the toxic state the body had been operating under. Most recognize this temporary set back as a positive step in the right direction and deal with the discomfort for they know the condition the body is heading for and they embrace this process of healing.

So what exactly does this have to do with spiritual health?

The same theory can be applied to the state of the soul and spirit. As we take in more of the toxic environment and social context surrounding our spirit bodies we come face to face with a spiritual life in need of a resetting or a recharging. This realization is a healthy step for our spirits but it will not come without a short-lived worsening of our spiritual state. As you begin to allow God to work in your spirit to cleanse it from all unrighteousness (1 Jn. 1:9) you may be reminded of a particular lingering sin or pattern of behavior. As this sin is cleansed from your spirit and as your pattern of behavior is transformed a period of grief may come over you. You may feel convicted of your sin and this may cause you to feel defeated. What is important here is that you do not just throw in the towel and cease the healing process that has begun. You must press through this healing crisis of the soul and put your trust and process in the hands of God. If you confess your sins to God you have nothing to fear for He is faithful and just to forgive your sins and as referenced above He will cleanse you from all unrighteousness (1 Jn. 1:9). This cleansing process is what theologians refer to as sanctification. This process is the life-long journey of the believer in which God draws you closer to Him and further away from sin and corruption. This setting apart of the Christian is completed in full at the second coming of Christ or the at the death of the believer (whichever occurs first). At this point the believer is glorified and takes part in the inheritance that was prepared for them before the foundations of this world (Matt. 25:34).

Application:
So is your soul in need of a detox? Have you been faltering in your devotion to Christlikeness? Do you feel ashamed of a pattern of behavior in your life? Are you feeling more removed from God? Is your prayer time non-existent or non-effective? Are you feeling readers block when you spend time reading God's Word?

If you answered yes it may be time for a spiritual detox.

I want to suggest a great read for you on this topic as you begin your journey to a renewed spirit. Dallas Willard has written a classic of the spiritual life entitled Renovation of the Heart and I highly recommend using this as a guide to spiritual health and renewing.

Whatever resource you choose make sure you allow yourself grace and a time of spiritual rest. Just like with a physical detox it may cause you to become fatigued or weary, but be gentle on your soul and put its health in the trust of the Savior. He knows what you need and will guide you through the healing crisis to the spiritual health you have always desired and were designed for.

Be Blessed!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Baptism?

It is interesting to view the debate in Christian circles between padeo-baptists (infant baptism) and those affirming believer-baptism. On the one hand infant baptists refer to church history (not including the earliest part of church history) as evidence for this practice while believers baptist refer to the non-inclusion of children being baptized as a evidence for believers baptism. I would point you to one key verse initially to look at. It is not my interest to persuade you in any direction on your belief here but mainly to offer a suggestion for you to ponder.

The great commission passage in Matthew 28:19-20 says:
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you..."

What is interesting is that Jesus command was not to make converts, nor was his command to make seekers, his command was to make disciples. The very word presupposes a person who is a student of the teacher. If you are making a disciple then it is most likely this person is a believer. It would seem from this passage that believers are the focus of this baptism and not that the act saves but that it follows from a person devoted to the teaching of the teacher. In this case the person would have to buy in or believe in the teacher in order to follow his command to be baptized. Here is the example then I think of how baptism should be administered, to a person who has come to believe, trust and have faith in the Savior because the disciples were taking the message and "all that I (Jesus) had commanded" to these who became their disciples linking them to Jesus. So faith precedes baptism, and if a person is a disciple then they have the ability to know and understand the message which seems to indicate that infants and the mentally disabled for that matter are excluded here because they lack the mental development to understand the message.

Again it is not my aim to change your mind on your view I only want to lay out an option and ask that you consider this text when you think about how you view baptism. If this provides clarity then I would have done my part.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Quick thought on God and Evil


"Some things are necessarily true"

In reading God, Freedom and Evil by Alvin Plantinga I came across an explanation that opened my eyes to logic and necessity a little further.

Atheist or Atheologians as Plantinga puts it are essentially saying of God that:

(1)  God is omnipotent
(2)  God is wholly good
and
(3)  Evil exists

Their claim is of course that this is logically inconsistent with a God existing. But in terms of inconsistencies, where this argument currently stands, there is no inconsistency with this set of propositions.

The atheologian must adopt certain additional premises which John Mackie lays out:

(4)  A good thing always eliminates things as far as it can
and
(5)  There are no limits to what an omnipotent being can do

If in fact these premises are true then in it would follow that

            (6) Therefore, God does not exist

I think when you properly examine these additional premises; you discover they are false in their assumptions. On (5) for example, is it possible for this all-powerful being to create, say a round-triangle? How about a married-bachelor? Can God bring it about that He both exists and does not exist? I think we can see from these quick examples that even a being that is all-powerful cannot create/do things in logical contradiction to themselves. Neither is this evidence against God nor is it evidence against God being less than omnipotent. If we eliminate the validity of these hidden premises the argument that God does not exist as a result of evil is defeated. I think we can show that (5) is false which would result in the conclusion (6) being false: