Modernity, Post-Modernity, and the Limits of Knowing

The question on the table is this:  How can we step outside of our own context fully enough to objectively assess the faith? This is the question post-modernity brings to the table.  Rather than decrying post-modernity for critiquing the arrogant declarations of certainty that have come from people of faith down through the centuries, I’d suggest at the outset, that there are things to learn from the post-modern problem:

1. They’ve pointed out the elephant in the room:  we don’t KNOW (in the same way we know that we’re reading a blog right now) the historicity of Jesus’ resurrection and the Bible.  There’s evidence; good evidence, but we don’t KNOW.

2. The reality is that our belief systems ARE shaped by our culture and upbringing in many ways.  That’s why more children grow up to become Muslims  in Iran than in Kansas.  What are we to make of this?  Do we simply declare that little kids growing up in Iran are running from the truth and those in Kansas are enlightened?  This seems a little arrogant, and a little small minded as well.  The reality is that we embrace the narrative of our culture more often than not, and this is formative in our faith declarations.

The crisis of “knowing” and the questions about objectivity and culture are valuable.  To be too quickly dismissive would be to miss some things of value.  Still, the post-modern dilemma remains:

1. Though, as the post-modern declares, I can never fully remove myself from my own context in order to objectively determine truth, I still need to believe something, and that creates a problem, because the post-modern is hesitant to believe anything at all.  However (how weird is this?), the reality is that even the claim:  “I can’t believe anything” is a belief system.  So in the end, the post-modern is faced with the dilemma of an unsustainable position because he/she, wanting to hold all belief systems at arms length, makes ‘holding-all-belief-systems-at-arms-length” their belief system.  In other words:  everybody needs to believe something!

2. If I must believe something, then the question once again becomes, “How will I decide what to believe” and it is here that I think we should embrace the humility of post-modernism by changing our language regarding truth claims from “I know” to “I believe”.  After all, this is historically how we declared our faith:  “I believe in God the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth…”   Recently though, it seems that in some circles the objective has been to provide bombproof evidence regarding our truth claims so that we don’t need to say “I believe” any more.  We can say, “I know”.    To become people obsessed with providing evidence at just the moment in history when the enlightenment’s certitude is taking it’s last breath is terribly misguided.  We should instead say, “Here’s the evidence I see… and based on it, I believe.”  That’s more honest, and even in keeping with the life to which we’re called.

And what of those whose faith story is different than our own, not because of overt rejection of Christ, but because of being raised in a different environment.  I completely believe that Jesus words are true:  “I am the way the truth and the life – no man comes to the Father but through me” – how does that apply to the little kid in Iran?  I’ll save that post for another time.

About Richard Dahlstrom

As Pastor of Bethany Community Church in Seattle, Richard teaches with vision of "making the invisible God visible" by calling people to acts of service and blessing. It's working, as a wilderness ministry, homeless shelter, and community meals that serve those living on the margins are all pieces of Bethany's life. "We're being the presence of Christ" he says, "and inviting everyone to join the adventure." Many have, making Bethany one of the fastest growing churches in America in 2009 according to Outreach Magazine.

  • http://gdargan.blogspot.com Geoff

    I actually wrote an entire essay on this topic a couple years ago that was slated to be published but never happened… I think it was because the truth of my statements was found to be entirely subjective ;-) (Actually, it was entirely unrelated to that – hehe)

    Geoff

  • http://drewackermann.wordpress.com/ Drew

    Great post. I like that idea of confidence, but not over-confidence/arrogance, in our faith. I think about the “little kid in Iran” often. Like, I wonder about the salvation of Muslim folks who were raised to love God in that context. I’d look forward to a post about this!

  • Kevin

    I think that the post-modern critique is one that allows us to move away from the objective assessment of faith and belief to one which is based more in an experiential understanding of God. After all, while there is much that has been said about post-modernism and its adherents that has cast them as nihilistic, epistemologically ambiguous, and even intellectual cowards, it seems that much that has fueled their fervor has come from the incidence wherein espoused facts don’t match up to their experience. One can tell the post-modernist about the factuality of the Christian faith all they want, but it’s all for not if that individual cannot experience–cannot taste and see–what it is that is being conveyed to them. This requires that we not only learn to savor and taste the experience of God, ourselves, it means that we need to learn to understand the particular tastes of others as well. In meeting the post-modernist it requires that we begin to understand their tastes and preferences in order to season our words and actions accordingly; for the Iranian child it means that we take time to understand why their particular expression of faith contains so much savor for them, why and how they taste God the way that they do. Jesus can be the way, truth, and life all he wants, but we in the West prepare that dish with very different tastes from those in the East.

  • Glenda

    I feel like the picture that you included is insulting to those who prescribe to post-modern thinking, making them seem shallow, uninformed, and immature. It’s entertaining, sure, but rather insulting.

    • Dan

      Ugh Glenda. Must we be so petty?

      • Glenda

        Dan, I don’t want to go to blows with you again, but I will say that you, likely having not been offended by the picture presented, would do well to not comment on the responses of those who were.

      • Dan

        That’s the problem with political correctness. Everyone is offended.

        If you could try to not be offended; or stop looking out for everyone else that might be offended, life would probably be a lot more pleasant.

      • Glenda

        Dan, this has nothing to do with political correctness, so stop looking for a fight. If needed, why not reference your own response to what you believed to be Richard’s slander against Calvinists*; perhaps you could try not to be offended about that.

        *http://raincitypastor.wordpress.com/2009/12/12/touching-graduation-night-in-austria-and-i-love-my-job/#comment-386

      • Dan

        Glenda,
        It does have to do with “correctness”, in your view. I’ve read no other person protesting the “offensive” picture.

        Richard, however, lumped all Calvinists, or Reformed thinkers, into the “Neo-Calvinist” mold, which I am not, nor are most main stream Calvinists. Tim Keller, whom he just quoted in his Great Divorce post, is a Calvinist. But to Richard he’s a neo-calvinist, because that appears to be the only kind there is in his opinion. I asked him to explain why he used the term, with no response. Other people agreed with me and Richard still didn’t respond.

        Calling names can be offensive. Showing an “inspirational” poster about post-modernism, in an obviously humorous bent, is funny. Big difference. I guess if you hold the ancient docrine of Post Modernism in life and soul-changing regard, you could be offended…but really, what is so sacred about it?

        I love that I’m picking a fight. Actually I suppose Richard picked the fight, because you’re offended by the picture, and you’re out here protecting the silent majority that must also be offended. (None of which have made their offense known).

      • Glenda

        Dan, please consider this in advance to be the last that I will devote to conversing with you on this subject. Your own admission of ignorance concerning what might be considered sacred in post-modernism excludes you from understanding how it is that one might be offended, how the “inspirational” poster might not be funny but insulting, and so I have no grievance with you in that regard. I am similarly ignorant as to why it is that you feel that this is a hill worth dying on, why you persist in continuing a debate over the moral bearing of my response to what I deem to be an offensive picture. If you don’t understand then why do you care (rhetorical–please do not answer)? Are you just here to be a bully? You assume that I am not a post-modernist and that I am only speaking up in defense of those whom you believe have not voiced their opinion, and for the indirect nature of my language I can see how this might be a casual assumption to make. Allow me to be succinct: that picture offended me in much the same way that you have offended me, considering my emotional response to be petty and trivial. In this regard I do have a grievance with you and it is for the sake of that grievance that I will discontinue my involvement with you in this thread.

        I am thrilled that you are in love with your ability to pick a fight, a position which–in your own words–is very Christ-like.*

        *http://raincitypastor.wordpress.com/2009/12/12/touching-graduation-night-in-austria-and-i-love-my-job/#comment-388

      • Dan

        Sorry Glenda.

  • Linda

    Nobody seeks after God, the Bible says so in Romans chapter 3:

    What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin.
    10 As it is written:

    “ There is none righteous, no, not one;
    11 There is none who understands;
    There is none who seeks after God.
    12 They have all turned aside;
    They have together become unprofitable;
    There is none who does good, no, not one.”[b]
    13 “ Their throat is an open tomb;
    With their tongues they have practiced deceit”;[c]

    “ The poison of asps is under their lips”;[d]
    14 “ Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.”[e]
    15 “ Their feet are swift to shed blood;
    16 Destruction and misery are in their ways;
    17 And the way of peace they have not known.”[f]
    18 “ There is no fear of God before their eyes.”[g]

    The only way a person will be saved is by God (Holy Spirit) seeking them. They will come to Christ only when regenerated.

    • Ken

      Linda,

      I struggled through the total depravity of man issue myself a few years ago and as I sought out God’s voice found myself squarely in the midst of what Richard earlier called the paradox problems of our faith. Yes Paul does indeed say all that. Here is another puzzling picture of Paul…

      As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ,” he said. Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas… Acts 17:2-4

      Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men. 2 Cor. 5:11

      …From morning till evening he explained and declared to them the kingdom of God and tried to convince them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets. Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe. Acts 28:23-24

      Why exactly would Paul knowing of man’s total depravity waste his time and energy in persuading men? And in fact he goes on to say that there were positive results in some being convinced while others would not believe. There in lies my greatest frustration with just a reading of the Romans passage you shared and others like it. There is more at work than simply man’s complete worthlessness and God’s saving grace in this equation. I found it impossible to avoid the multitude of scripture where God pleads for our belief, in fact dies for our belief. If it is indeed all God, than much of scripture becomes a shadowy tale of deceit by God to manipulate His puppet creation. I wish I could soften how that reads, but there is no other alternative. It’s not just an either/or situation. The reality more correctly approaches an and/all answer. Everything works together for our salvation and the conflicts that causes for our mortal minds is staggering. Probably why after thousands of years we’re still struggling to sort it out and create a formula. We love formulas and programs and diagrams in our age. We just don’t like mysteries beyond our comprehension.

      • Lamont

        Hi Ken

        I responded to one of Richards comments on paradox
        (Nov. 7th 4:00a.m.) rejecting and refuting his comments on 2 Peter 3:9, which “is not” a paradox at all! I pointed out a couple others that weren’t as well.

        Why preach the Gospel?
        Rom 10:14-17
        How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written,”How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 16But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

        The Gospel is the means that God uses to call his Elect!
        “Those “Chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world.” Eph 1:4.

        This involves Paul in Act’s (since you mentioned it.)
        Act’s 13:48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and “AS MANY AS WERE APPOINTED TO ETERNAL LIFE BELIEVED” (emphases mine).

        Q. Who appointed them to eternal life?
        Q. Did they believe on there own, or did they hear the Gospel?

        First Convert in Europe
        Acts 16:13-15
        14A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and “THE LORD OPENED LYDIA’S HEART”
        (emphases mine) to respond to the things spoken by Paul.
        15And when she and her household had been baptized, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.

        Ken given free will and all….
        Q. Why did the Lord have to open Lydia’s heart to recieve what Paul was preaching?
        Notice that paul was witnessing to them?

        Hope you’ll at least chew on these few verse’s?

        Linda is right on the money!
        More later!
        Bedtime!

        Soli Dei Gloria!

      • Dan

        I try to refrain from drawing inferences from scripture. The term “free will” I believe is an inference, which I do not believe is specifically talked about in the Bible. Free will, and the debate about it is more of a human construct, coming very much from Jacob Arminius. “Election”, “Predestination” “Chosen”, “Covenant People”, etc, on the other hand, is found everywhere in the Bible.

      • http://girlwithflathat.blogspot.com Juliet

        “Free will, and the debate about it is more of a human construct, coming very much from Jacob Arminius.”

        Really? I thought it came from Augustine.

      • Lamont

        Augustine vs. Pelagius.

        Century’s before the inception of the Octagon, men battled in the “Theological woodshed.”
        Augustine “The HIPPO” tapped out “Pelagius the Herus-ticcus” w/a “Biblicus-thumpus” in the 1st round of their OFC (Orthodox Fighting Championship tm) bout!

        By Nature, God is “Holy.” He cannot sin, he is “unable to sin.” Sin is… (to make an infinite understatement) distasteful to God!

        Jesus does talk about mans “inability” to come to Him, unless man has been enabled!

        Therefore, man does not have a free will in the libertarian sense!

        By Nature, man is “sinful. He is unable not to sin (apart from the grace of God). Holiness to man is distasteful to him, therefore, he “is not able” to come to Christ (Jn 6:44, 65), by his unaided will, “unless” his nature is change by God (the new birth Jn 3) and set free by the Son to believe Jn 10.

      • http://girlwithflathat.blogspot.com Juliet

        “Century’s before the inception of the Octagon, men battled in the “Theological woodshed.”
        Augustine “The HIPPO” tapped out “Pelagius the Herus-ticcus” w/a “Biblicus-thumpus” in the 1st round of their OFC (Orthodox Fighting Championship tm) bout!”

        ??? I don’t get you when you’re funny. Anyway, I wasn’t suggesting Augustine believed in free will in an Arminian sense, just that he talked about it. I don’t care to get into the Calvinist/Arminian debate everyone else wants to have; I was just pointing out that it began before Arminius.

      • Lamont

        No! You were were correct!
        I’d known that myself, but, it’d been so long since I learned that it was good to “fresh’n up” a lil.
        And, I am a very funny guy! It’s just that I’m the only one who knows it.

  • jpothen

    ” we don’t KNOW (in the same way we know that we’re reading a blog right now) the historicity of Jesus’ resurrection and the Bible. There’s evidence; good evidence, but we don’t KNOW.”

    Right on. Humility is something we need to hold onto.

    • Lamont

      When will we learn?
      A response to #1.
      “1. They’ve pointed out the elephant in the room: we don’t KNOW (in the same way we know that we’re reading a blog right now) the historicity of Jesus’ resurrection and the Bible. There’s evidence; good evidence, but we don’t KNOW.”

      I totally agree with the above statement!
      I don’t “know” in the same way, as I “know” that I am writting this statement this very moment!
      I have a “MORE SURE WORD” that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, then I “KNOW” that I’m writting on this blog post right now!
      Even the Apostle Peter declared that “Gods word” was more sure, then “his” (Peters) personal eyewitness of Christ’s Majesty!
      1 Peter 1:16-21
      16For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” 18we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. 19And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
      W/that said…
      Why would we let “any” unbeliever stand in judgement of Gods word?
      Where did the relativistic “po-mo” (post-modern) derive the moral standard to judge “anything?”
      Especially, why would we let them steal (*the moral law) from the Christian world view, then club us like harp seals with it? Because of their rebelious rejection and treason toward God, they’ve become a law unto themselves, therefore they have no jurisdiction over myself and my faith, and, are under Gods judgement!
      We have Gods truth! His Word!
      Talk about arrogance!
      The Po-mo has absolutely no foundation to stand on!
      Post-modernity has nothing to teach the Christian,
      and their bankrupt world-view should be exposed, cast-down, and destroyed, then, they should be told to repent, and given the Gospel! (in love of course!) :>)

      Also.
      We don’t assess the faith! It Assess’ us! And we don’t look so good! But, that’s why we need a Savior!

      *Although the po-mo has the moral law in them, they cannot account for the universal moral law that he/she uses to judge with, because they rejected/deny the Creator who has given it, and, that is the God of the Bible i.e. Christian.
      If they want to use the Bible to point a finger, then they need to remember that the Bible commands them to repent and believe in Christ! The Bible say’s a few other things they might want to “know” too, in case they want to use it!

      • Kevin

        Are you answering post-modern skepticism over the veracity of scripture by proof-texting out of the Bible? Doesn’t that seem a little antithetical? I don’t understand where your aggression seems to be coming from, so I won’t address the comments you made regarding the character of post-modern thinkers, but to say that they have no foundation and that the Church has nothing to learn from them seems rather absurd. Does not every child of God have a unique experience of the Divine and thus a unique story to tell? So their stories seem a little more alien and a little more ambiguous than ours–does that render their stories and experiences bankrupt?

    • Lamont

      jpothen said:
      “Right on. Humility is something we need to hold onto.”
      This in not humility. It is a capitulation to put mans word above Gods Word!
      This is dishonoring to Christ!
      If the Bible (God’s Word) say’s that Christ has risen from the dead, then that’s greater evidence then a personal eyewitness testimony!
      Peter say’s so himself, even after he personally witnessed Christ majesty. He states that the scripture is a better witness then his own senses etc…
      2 Peter 1:16-19 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” 18we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. 19And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention…

      Lets take God at His word! That’s Faith (trust).
      Soli Dei Gloria!

      • Donny

        I’m pretty sure that Peter was talking about the Spirit of God and not scripture; that’s what the prophetic word means; when Christ ascended he didn’t leave a bible, he left the paraclete. Peter didn’t mistrust his senses, he simply knew that there was no way that anyone could step into his shoes. The Spirit, on the other hand, flows through every living thing, convicting even those who do not believe in Christ (John 16:8-9). There’s nothing wrong with what Jpothen said, nor is it dishonoring to Christ.

      • Lamont

        Thank you for responding Donny.
        I appreciate the dialog.
        Here is where I think Richard, jpothen, and now you, are in error.
        (I could be wrong)
        jpothen thinks that it is an act of “humility” (by agreeing w/Richard) that we really don’t “KNOW” (which to me means) “KNOW FOR SURE” (how else can one interpret that?) that the resurrection actually happened.
        Since you are taking their side, you agree! Right?
        You don’t see anything wrong w/this?
        So none of you three agree that the bible is the inerrant, infallible Word of God?
        You may say it in lip service, but, not in action!
        Could you explain then, why not trusting in Gods inerrant and infallible Word is honoring to Christ?

        So even though the Bible (Gods Word) does say that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, you really can’t/don’t know that for sure?
        Then that is not faith, and anything that is not of faith is sin!
        Do you disagree?
        Therefore, this is really distrust of the bible, and not humiltiy at all!
        Also 2 Peter 1:16-ff
        YOU SAID: “I’m pretty sure that Peter was talking about the Spirit of God and not scripture;”
        Q. How do you come to that conclusion?
        Although the Spirit is mentioned at the end of verse 21, just prior to that Peter said: in vs 20, Above all, you must understand that no “prophecy of scripture” comes from someone’s own interpretation.
        Then of course in vs 21, that no prophecy was by the act of the human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
        Also in the N.I.V. verse 19 starts out…
        “And we have the word of the prophets…” not “we have the word of prophecy.”

        I maintain that Peter is talking about the scripture.

  • stephen papineau

    wow, lots of interesting discussion. Richard, i loved what you wrote above and found myself wishing you’d write about that kid in Iran sooner than later. Like NOW! But after thinking for a while, i realized that no matter what you wrote, i would probably appreciate it but be disappointed. It was me wanting a clean, crisp, black and white explanation of what happens to people who don’t ‘know’ Christ as we do.
    Reminds me of the CS Lewis / Hudson Taylor discussion last summer. Is the way we ‘experience’ or ‘know’ Christ the only way to interpret the Christ pathway to the Father?
    I accept that i will probably never know. I am okay with the mystery of it…

  • Kevin

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ILPnG3kjO1k&hl=en_US&fs=1&]

  • Lamont

    Kevin.
    I am more certain that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, then I am certain that I am writting a response to you on my computer right now. And yes, as a proof-text I have quoted 1 Peter 1:16-21.
    Why? Because the Bible is Gods Holy, infallible, and inerrant Rule of Faith, the Word of God! There is no authority higher then that!
    I do not go to Po-mo (post-modern) philosophy (or any other worldview) to critique the Bible, but the Bible to critique everything else! Even my life!
    The answer to your question is… Yes! I am useing the Bible to refute unbelieving post modern thought!
    Why would it be antithetical? Explain?
    If you believe that I am wrong, show me where this is the case?
    Your accusing me of aggression is fallacious, and a ploy!
    Would you care to point out the ad-hominem please?
    The relitivistic Post-Modern philosophy is (to borrow from Mark Siljanders) “utterly and Uncategoricaly false!”
    You Said: “but to say that they have no foundation and that the Church has nothing to learn from them seems rather absurd.”
    Q#1. What’s their foundation?
    (A man once said if a house is not built on THE ROCK, it’s built on sand!)

    Q#2. What does the church have to learn from Post moderns? Could I get a few examples?

    You said: “Does not every child of God have a unique experience of the Divine and thus a unique story to tell?”
    Q. What do you mean by Child of God? Only true believers of the Triune God of Christianity are children of God!
    If this is what you mean, I would say yes! I believe that! But their experiences would not contradict the Bible!
    And that “experiance of the Divine” thing bugs me.
    It’s to… “Depak Chopra” for me! (ya need to get rid of that!)
    Now, according to what Richard (who is a confessing Christian. And I believe that he is a Christian) said above (unless I misunderstood him) that because I claim certainty of my beliefs (and I do claim certainty), that: “this is an arrogant declaration of faith!”
    Right on! I’m in great company!
    Because Jesus alway’s “presupposed” the Word of God, to be “The Word Of God.” That makes (in Richards view) Jesus arrogant does it not?

    BTW
    Howard Thurman?
    He sure backed up what he said w/scripture didn’t he?
    He made as much sense as Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson!

    • Kevin

      My point, Lamont, is that if someone does not believe as you and I do in the infallibility of scripture, then why would a scriptural proof be in any way a convincing argument? I don’t think that your use of scripture is wrong or misguided, but in this instance it is somewhat impotent. The need, I believe, is to begin to formulate methods of discussing our experience of the Divine (sorry, it stays) in ways that engage the experiences of others. This is Paul using the language of Platonic dialog to engage Greek philosophs, stepping into the experience of the other to such an extent that he could articulate the reality of God in a wholly new and very particular fashion. This will likely require that we lower our defenses and learn to speak in different languages, learn different customs, different philosophies and theologies, in order to more fully love those sheep which have gone astray.

      As to your aggression, I may be assuming but I can’t think that naming someone as an unbeliever simply because of an espoused worldview is a sentiment which comes from a particularly passive place, let alone calling them rebellious or treasonous. In one swipe you completely excluded post-modernist thinkers from the faith, using your own understanding of scripture to draw a tight boundary around Christianity in much the same way that the Pharisees used the law to draw a line around Judaism. Perhaps you are simply gripped by a fiery disposition, but your words are indeed aggressive, as they have drawn me out of the faith entirely, even though I do not espouse a post-modern worldview.

      Finally, since I don’t have the time this morning to answer you point for point, I will say yes: Howard Thurman. If you truly want to know what Christianity can learn from post-modernists, and are not asking out of a sarcastic incredulity, then I’ve given you a good starting point. Based upon your comments I am going to assume that you know very little of the man and his work, but I would highly recommend it to you, nonetheless; it is deeply rich and steeped in the theology of Jesus.

      • Lamont

        Thank you Kevin.
        The convincing argument.
        I go to scripture, because that’s what I see Jesus and the Apostles doing. That’s why I quoted 1 Peter 1:16-21. When it came to evidence, Peter claimed that the Word of God was “more sure” evidence, then his personal eyewitness testimony of Christ’s majesty.
        So according to this, what evidence is greater? More sure? Better? Here Peter tells me that his “Sensory Perception” is not as sure as God’s word, and, since I trust (read “believe”) God’s Word, why would I use anything else, since (the way I see it) it’s more sure evidence?
        Can people deny it? Of course! And they do!
        Can they deny your arguments? Of course! And they do!
        The difference being, God promises that His word will not return void, and that’s why my arguments are not impotent. They’re not mine.

        Isa. 55:11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

        I’ve got all of the Josh McDowell; “Evidence that Demands a Verdict” “Case for Christ” & etc… They’re great! And I think Christians should read them, and, I use the materials at times, it’s great stuff, and there is a place for evidentialism. But only God’s Word (I believe) will bring a sinner to repentance. Check out the following verse(s).

        Paul say’s: 1 Cor. 2:4 …and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. (Read whole chapter)

        1 Cor. 1:17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

        You said: “As to your aggression, I may be assuming but I can’t think that naming someone as an unbeliever simply because of an espoused worldview is a sentiment which comes from a particularly passive place, let alone calling them rebellious or treasonous.”

        Post modernism isn’t a Christian worldview. Post Modernism is a worldview of unbelief. Nor is it neutral! (more below)
        What was the fall, other then rebellion, and treason against God Himself! Read Romans chapter 1.
        Psalm 1. Why do the nations rage
        and the peoples plot in vain?
        2The kings of the earth set themselves,
        and the rulers take counsel together,
        against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying,
        3″Let us burst their bonds apart
        and cast away their cords from us.”

        I was a treasonous rebel myself, until Christ regenerated me, and granted me the faith to believe! I was dead in sin and trespasses, but made alive in Christ!
        Jesus Himself said that one should make peace w/the KING while He is far off, lest when He comes, He cut them to pieces! The KING is coming to claim what is His! Remember the parable of the vineyard! They killed all the vineyard owners’ servants (Prophets), then He sent His Son, and they killed Him! What will the KING do to the rebellious, treasonous tenants when He comes to claim His vineyard back?
        Now it’s the Christians job to not only preach the gospel, but to defend it (using scripture Sword of the Spirit) as well as teach, reprove, correct, all from scripture!

        You said: “In one swipe you completely excluded post-modernist thinkers from the faith…”
        The term “Post Modernist Christian Thinker” would be an Oxy-moron.

        “using your own understanding of scripture to draw a tight boundary around Christianity in much the same way that the Pharisees used the law to draw a line around Judaism.”

        And your evidence that this is what I’ve done is….?

        You said: “Perhaps you are simply gripped by a fiery disposition, but your words are indeed aggressive…”

        I “know” what I believe Kevin! And in “Whom” I put the trust of my soul for safe keeping! And “because” I truly certain, and believe the Bible is Gods Word, Richards say’s that persons of faith like mine are nothing but “arrogant declarations of certainty…”
        I gave Biblical evidence that he is in error. (1 Peter 1:21ff).
        If you agree w/him on item #1 in his post… then the only thing you “know” for certain, is that you “don’t Know” for certain!” And I’m certain of that!
        If you leave scripture, you are stuck in relativism! That’s what post Modernism has to offer! Nothing!
        That’s why I am zealous for God’s Truth!

        Lastly, I will look at Howard Thurman. I did a little snooping around the night you posted it, but, I didn’t see anything that might help me get good look at what he believes about Christ, and who he thinks Christ is.
        I saw words like “Mystic” attached to his name, and to me it sends up a red flag!

        Oh, and I’ll get over the “divine” thing since you insist on using it.

        In a disposition of fiery aggressiveness!
        Lamont 

      • http://girlwithflathat.blogspot.com Juliet

        “I saw words like ‘Mystic’ attached to his name, and to me it sends up a red flag!”

        Why?

      • Dan

        This line is spot on Kevin:
        “My point, Lamont, is that if someone does not believe as you and I do in the infallibility of scripture, then why would a scriptural proof be in any way a convincing argument? “

      • Lamont

        Hi Dan.
        Why is Kevin “Spot on?”
        Of course they don’t believe the inerrancy of scripture!
        They wouldn’t believe even if someone rose from the dead either! And, since that “is” the case, what argument will you or Kevin give them, that is more authoritative then the testimony of scripture?
        There’s more to my argument then this but, I’d like to hear your response to this please.
        Sorry, Gotta go. Ran out of time!

      • Lamont

        Hi Juliet.
        The word “mystic” is not something I’m used to hearing concerning a christian.
        (Unless, they was from the “Oral Roberts Appalachian Snake Handlin Seminary!” Pass the strychnine!)

        Here’s a definition from the “Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms…
        (Gr. Mystikos, One initiated into mysteries) One who experiences direct apprehensions of the divine by immediate intuition, as well as a sense of spiritual ecstasy.

      • http://girlwithflathat.blogspot.com Juliet

        “One who experiences direct apprehensions of the divine by immediate intuition, as well as a sense of spiritual ecstasy.”

        That’s the definition I’d use, too. Funny, I don’t see how that has anything to do with snake handlers or Oral Roberts (or what they particularly have to do with each other), but that sounds a lot like what happened to Paul and John, doesn’t it?

        Also, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_mysticism.

        Not that you will consider all of this legitimate. But I find it hard to believe you haven’t heard the term “mystic” in connection with Christians, since mysticism has been such a huge aspect of Christian spirituality throughout the church’s history. A lot of it may seem wacky, but who are we to say how God can reveal Himself?

      • Lamont

        First of all I was joking! :)
        But, since you took it seriously, so will I!

        No, I don’t think that’s what John, or Paul experienced at all!
        I don’t think they had TBN back then?

        “Christian mysticism aspires to apprehend spiritual truths inaccessible through intellectual means, typically by learning how to think like Christ.”

        You said: “it seems a little whacky”
        Then you ask me why it signals a “Red Flag?

        It does sound whacky!
        Like the Oral Roberts institute of Appalachian Snake handlers whacky!

        “but who are we to say how God can reveal Himself?”

        That’s Easy!
        God!

        Deut 29:29 The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.
        1 Cor 4:6b …do not go beyond what is written…

        When I was in my twenty’s (before Christ) I worked w/a vietnam vet who brought in the pictures he took when he was choppered in to a little town down in south America!
        Seems that some “Mystic” had a word from “God”
        that told him that everbody should drink a little cool aid!
        The ones that didn’t drink it, were shot in the head!
        Jones town!
        I know Murph, and I saw the pictures!

        Yeah! A Big Red Flag!

        God speaks through His Word Alone!

      • http://girlwithflathat.blogspot.com Juliet

        Lamont, I don’t think we’re speaking the same language. By mysticism, I’m talking about 2 Corinthians 12:1-4. These are things that “cannot be told”; that’s why they’re not in the Bible. What word do you use for that experience?

      • Donny

        So, was the dove which descended upon Jesus carrying a Torah scroll? I don’t remember reading that part.

      • Lamont

        If you would recall, the whole issue was in regards to someone describing Howard Thurman as a “mystic.” Hence, my comment that it sent up a “red flag” to me.
        And no, I would not, nor have I ever heard (to my recollection), Christ, the Apostles, their experiances, in the N/T, or, even the O/T as “mystic” or, “mystical.”
        Not that it’s not, there? I don’t ever recall it?

      • http://girlwithflathat.blogspot.com Juliet

        We are using the word in completely different ways, then. I encourage you to read that Wiki article, if you haven’t already, if only to see how people commonly define mysticism. This articles gives biblical examples of mystical experiences, among them the Transfiguration and the passage in 2 Corinthians I mentioned above. (Once again, I am curious what you make of this–if what Paul describes is not a “direct apprehension of the divine,” what is it?) There’s not much point in using a word–or judging someone else based on a word used to describe them–if you don’t use it the way other people use it. I feel like I’m belaboring the point, but apparently my earlier efforts were not sufficiently clear.

        As for Howard Thurman–indeed, let’s get back to the original issue!–if you think mysticism is just about snake handling and poison Kool-Aid, and yet Howard Thurman does not endorse snake handling or group suicide, perhaps you shouldn’t dismiss him so summarily.

      • Lamont

        I read it!
        And, it also gave a fine list of christian mystics as well!
        Emanuel Swedenborg, Phineas Parkhurst Quimby, Jan Van Rijckenborgh, Gertrude the great, a couple popes….No cause for alarm there!
        Sure are a lot of Roman Catholics on that list?
        Seems Wacky?
        Their’s at least 10 or more names that “don’t” belong on that list, starting w/the 3 named apostles.

        I think I’ll just pass on this! I’m now convinced you’ve made my point!

        Lastly.
        I haven’t dismissed Howard Thurman, (those were your words) though I’ve stated that I see a red flag for the above reason “mystic” (real or imagined).
        I do know that he was into black liberation theology (that rings a bell? Rev. Wright, Obama).
        Hey! Another red flag!

      • http://girlwithflathat.blogspot.com Juliet

        Thank you, Lamont, you’ve also made my point. What puzzles me is that you so ardently claim belief in God’s word, and yet twice have ignored a passage from it I cited for you and asked you to explain, since I am obviously misunderstanding it. For the third time: 2 Corinthians 12:1-4. Please discuss.

      • Lamont

        Sorry Juliet.
        I don’t mean to be so petty, but, I have my reasons for rejecting certain terminology.
        Altough I don’t use that language (concerning 2 Cor 12), and I’ve probably heard it in that sense, I think it’s acceptable.
        Yet , I would be careful to ask you; “What do you mean by divine? Divine what? Essence? Mind? person? persons? Fair enough?

        Concerning “Mystic” or “Mystical,” Are Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, etc… Christian mystics in the same sense as Paul, Peter, John?

      • http://girlwithflathat.blogspot.com Juliet

        No, I don’t think they’re mystics at all, which is why I keep saying we’re using the word in different ways. I would describe Hinn, Copeland, snake handlers, Oral Roberts, etc. as charismatics or Pentecostals, not mystics. The definition you cited of mysticism included the phrase “direct intuitions of the divine” (and by “the divine” I mean God–fair enough?). Intuition is 1. individual and 2. not verbal (again, remember Paul speaks of things that “cannot be told,” because how can human language contain the fullness of God?). That’s why I don’t associate mysticism with televangelism, snake handling services, or other things that you do, since those are communal, shared experiences.

      • Lamont

        I really like what you’ve said there. so far I find your definition (God) fair and acceptable, as well as the TBN crowd as charismatics/Pentecostal.
        But, (here it comes) can we really put Paul, John, & Peter, in the same classification “Christian Mystics” w/the rest of the persons (or anyone for that matter) on the Wiki list? Are they not wholly other?
        I’d have to say yes! A Separate classification altogether!

        1 Cor 12:27-29
        Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues.
        29 Are all apostles?
        Are all prophets?
        Are all teachers?
        Do all work miracles?

        The “Wiki-ites” can define them (the apostles) anyway they want to!
        But God (in the Scriptures) separates them out in a way in which they are wholly exclusive. I don’t think you can have it both way’s.
        Agree?
        :)

      • http://girlwithflathat.blogspot.com Juliet

        Some apostles spoke in tongues, some were teachers, some healed people, but that doesn’t make every teacher or healer or speaker in tongues an apostle. So also some apostles were mystics, but that doesn’t make all mystics apostles.

      • Lamont

        Nor christain as well, correct?

      • Lamont

        Nor christain as well, correct? Because some of the “christian mystics” on the Wiki list weren’t christian.

      • http://girlwithflathat.blogspot.com Juliet

        You already know we disagree on who is Christian and who is not, so I don’t see any purpose in revisiting that discussion.

      • Lamont

        I’d have to say that according to 1 Cor 12:27-29 and the definition of the Wiki-ites…. that neither the apostles nor the prophets are “mystics” according this definition.
        The very first person on the list of Wiki “Christian Mystics” was Not Christian. Valentinus was a “Gnostic!” (btw heard a Thomas Merton quote yesterday that was totally gnostic).
        Also on the list Swedenborg, Quimby, and Rijckenborgh. The term Cult comes to mind.
        We need to be very careful not to lead others down a road that would lead them away from Christ.
        That’s probably why I never hear the Apostles/Prophets addressed as “mystics,” because of the words close proximity to things cultish & etc…
        You might want to think about that too!

        I appreciate the discourse though. You’ve been gracious!

      • http://girlwithflathat.blogspot.com Juliet

        I’m still confused about what 1 Cor. 12:27-29 has to do with the definition of word that does not appear in it, but I think if I am to remain gracious I had best bow out of this discussion. Thank you for making me think – I don’t know if I’ve explained my thoughts clearly, but it helps to write them down.

  • Robert

    Hi Richard, Thank you for the post – Informative. Morover, I’ll be at church this weekend for our study in Romans. I kind of dig this fella Paul, RL

  • Linda

    I want to thank Jesus for regenerating me, enabling me to believe and trust in Him, that He is indeed “the way, the truth and the life”, and that no man comes to the Father except through Him…

    May God be merciful and show many people the way back to Him.

  • Lamont

    From Ravi Zacharias:

    “I remember lecturing at Ohio State University, one of the largest universities in this country. I was minutes away from beginning my lecture, and my host was driving me past a new building called the Wexner Center for the Performing Arts.

    He said, “This is America’s first postmodern building.”

    I was startled for a moment and I said, “What is a postmodern building?”

    He said, “Well, the architect said that he designed this building with no design in mind. When the architect was asked, ‘Why?’ he said, ‘If life itself is capricious, why should our buildings have any design and any meaning?’ So he has pillars that have no purpose. He has stairways that go nowhere. He has a senseless building built and somebody has paid for it.”

    I said, “So his argument was that if life has no purpose and design, why should the building have any design?”

    He said, “That is correct.”

    I said, “Did he do the same with the foundation?”

    All of a sudden there was silence.

    You see, you and I can fool with the infrastructure as much as we would like, but we dare not fool with the foundation because it will call our bluff in a hurry.”

    (A friend sent this to me in an e-mail today, not knowing that I have been dealing with post modernism on this Blog.
    God in His Providence at work here!).

    Notice that the Post-Modernist borrows from the absolute, to deny it?

    Priceless!

    “Soli Dei Gloria!”

    • Glenda

      How is this evidential of post-modernisms lacking if it misunderstands the nature of the question?

      • Lamont

        Sorry, Maybe you can explain it a little more?
        Thank you.

      • Glenda

        The post-modern question is not one which neglects or abolishes foundation but one which takes into account the tacit connection between observer and observed, context and phenomenon, and seeks to understand the potential causal relationship between the two, wherein one is inextricable from the other. This is not to say that there is nothing absolute, but that the absolute is so total that it defies single observation. That the building would have a solid and even predictable foundation does not counter the post-modernist question, because the question does not necessarily seek to refute the foundation; it questions what grows out of the foundation, whether the foundation impacts the ensuing structure absolutely or allows for a certain unpredictable dynamism. That the building has staircases which lead nowhere does not mean that they lack purpose or meaning, but that the human individual who chooses to walk on that staircase is free to ask questions about the nature of staircases, about the nature of origination, destination, and transition. For Christianity–indeed all religions–to remove the idea of finality causes us to question our own path and purpose: if there were no heaven, would we still choose to walk the path towards it?

  • Lamont

    From Ravi Zacharias:

    “I remember lecturing at Ohio State University, one of the largest universities in this country. I was minutes away from beginning my lecture, and my host was driving me past a new building called the Wexner Center for the Performing Arts.

    He said, “This is America’s first postmodern building.”

    I was startled for a moment and I said, “What is a postmodern building?”

    He said, “Well, the architect said that he designed this building with no design in mind. When the architect was asked, ‘Why?’ he said, ‘If life itself is capricious, why should our buildings have any design and any meaning?’ So he has pillars that have no purpose. He has stairways that go nowhere. He has a senseless building built and somebody has paid for it.”

    I said, “So his argument was that if life has no purpose and design, why should the building have any design?”

    He said, “That is correct.”

    I said, “Did he do the same with the foundation?”

    All of a sudden there was silence.

    You see, you and I can fool with the infrastructure as much as we would like, but we dare not fool with the foundation because it will call our bluff in a hurry.”

    (A friend sent this to me in an e-mail today, not knowing that I have been dealing with post modernism on this Blog.
    God in His Providence at work here!).

    Notice that the Post-Modernist borrows from the absolute, to deny it?

    Priceless!

    “Soli Dei Gloria!”

  • Lamont

    Thank you Glenda!
    I was going to say I missed that by a mile….
    But I’d have to have been closer to having an answer then that! (my comment on absolutes).
    After I (at least some what) realized what you were saying, it was obvious that my last comment was not even on the radar screen!
    I’ve been listening to a lecture by D.A. Carson (2 outa 3 hrs) which helped me understand (at least a little) of what you were pointing out to me about Po-Mo. Also, an essay on Derrida and Van Til.
    I agree that your right, that Po-mo does not deny absolutes, but, it still has no foundation, because it is grounded in the finite, and not grounded in the infinite Christian God who alone is the source of all wisdom & knowledge. (Speaking of Christ; “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Col 2:3).
    Would you agree w/that?
    Also, the staircases that go nowhere would have no meaning (in any ultimate sense), either. Why would they?
    They are trying to build a foundation apart from Christ (idolatry).
    what do you think?
    Thanks for the push!
    Lamont.

    P.S.
    Unfortunately, I learn more by making mistakes, then
    knowing better in the first place.

  • Lamont
  • Lamont
  • Lamont

    Sorry, Maybe you can explain it a little more?
    Thank you.

  • Lamont

    Thank you Kevin.
    The convincing argument.
    I go to scripture, because that’s what I see Jesus and the Apostles doing. That’s why I quoted 1 Peter 1:16-21. When it came to evidence, Peter claimed that the Word of God was “more sure” evidence, then his personal eyewitness testimony of Christ’s majesty.
    So according to this, what evidence is greater? More sure? Better? Here Peter tells me that his “Sensory Perception” is not as sure as God’s word, and, since I trust (read “believe”) God’s Word, why would I use anything else, since (the way I see it) it’s more sure evidence?
    Can people deny it? Of course! And they do!
    Can they deny your arguments? Of course! And they do!
    The difference being, God promises that His word will not return void, and that’s why my arguments are not impotent. They’re not mine.

    Isa. 55:11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

    I’ve got all of the Josh McDowell; “Evidence that Demands a Verdict” “Case for Christ” & etc… They’re great! And I think Christians should read them, and, I use the materials at times, it’s great stuff, and there is a place for evidentialism. But only God’s Word (I believe) will bring a sinner to repentance. Check out the following verse(s).

    Paul say’s: 1 Cor. 2:4 …and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. (Read whole chapter)

    1 Cor. 1:17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

    You said: “As to your aggression, I may be assuming but I can’t think that naming someone as an unbeliever simply because of an espoused worldview is a sentiment which comes from a particularly passive place, let alone calling them rebellious or treasonous.”

    Post modernism isn’t a Christian worldview. Post Modernism is a worldview of unbelief. Nor is it neutral! (more below)
    What was the fall, other then rebellion, and treason against God Himself! Read Romans chapter 1.
    Psalm 1. Why do the nations rage
    and the peoples plot in vain?
    2The kings of the earth set themselves,
    and the rulers take counsel together,
    against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying,
    3″Let us burst their bonds apart
    and cast away their cords from us.”

    I was a treasonous rebel myself, until Christ regenerated me, and granted me the faith to believe! I was dead in sin and trespasses, but made alive in Christ!
    Jesus Himself said that one should make peace w/the KING while He is far off, lest when He comes, He cut them to pieces! The KING is coming to claim what is His! Remember the parable of the vineyard! They killed all the vineyard owners’ servants (Prophets), then He sent His Son, and they killed Him! What will the KING do to the rebellious, treasonous tenants when He comes to claim His vineyard back?
    Now it’s the Christians job to not only preach the gospel, but to defend it (using scripture Sword of the Spirit) as well as teach, reprove, correct, all from scripture!

    You said: “In one swipe you completely excluded post-modernist thinkers from the faith…”
    The term “Post Modernist Christian Thinker” would be an Oxy-moron.

    “using your own understanding of scripture to draw a tight boundary around Christianity in much the same way that the Pharisees used the law to draw a line around Judaism.”

    And your evidence that this is what I’ve done is….?

    You said: “Perhaps you are simply gripped by a fiery disposition, but your words are indeed aggressive…”

    I “know” what I believe Kevin! And in “Whom” I put the trust of my soul for safe keeping! And “because” I truly certain, and believe the Bible is Gods Word, Richards say’s that persons of faith like mine are nothing but “arrogant declarations of certainty…”
    I gave Biblical evidence that he is in error. (1 Peter 1:21ff).
    If you agree w/him on item #1 in his post… then the only thing you “know” for certain, is that you “don’t Know” for certain!” And I’m certain of that!
    If you leave scripture, you are stuck in relativism! That’s what post Modernism has to offer! Nothing!
    That’s why I am zealous for God’s Truth!

    Lastly, I will look at Howard Thurman. I did a little snooping around the night you posted it, but, I didn’t see anything that might help me get good look at what he believes about Christ, and who he thinks Christ is.
    I saw words like “Mystic” attached to his name, and to me it sends up a red flag!

    Oh, and I’ll get over the “divine” thing since you insist on using it.

    In a disposition of fiery aggressiveness!
    Lamont 

  • Dan

    This line is spot on Kevin:
    “My point, Lamont, is that if someone does not believe as you and I do in the infallibility of scripture, then why would a scriptural proof be in any way a convincing argument? “

  • Lamont

    Hi Dan.
    Why is Kevin “Spot on?”
    Of course they don’t believe the inerrancy of scripture!
    They wouldn’t believe even if someone rose from the dead either! And, since that “is” the case, what argument will you or Kevin give them, that is more authoritative then the testimony of scripture?
    There’s more to my argument then this but, I’d like to hear your response to this please.
    Sorry, Gotta go. Ran out of time!

  • Lamont

    Hi Juliet.
    The word “mystic” is not something I’m used to hearing concerning a christian.
    (Unless, they was from the “Oral Roberts Appalachian Snake Handlin Seminary!” Pass the strychnine!)

    Here’s a definition from the “Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms…
    (Gr. Mystikos, One initiated into mysteries) One who experiences direct apprehensions of the divine by immediate intuition, as well as a sense of spiritual ecstasy.

  • Donny

    So, was the dove which descended upon Jesus carrying a Torah scroll? I don’t remember reading that part.

  • Lamont

    If you would recall, the whole issue was in regards to someone describing Howard Thurman as a “mystic.” Hence, my comment that it sent up a “red flag” to me.
    And no, I would not, nor have I ever heard (to my recollection), Christ, the Apostles, their experiances, in the N/T, or, even the O/T as “mystic” or, “mystical.”
    Not that it’s not, there? I don’t ever recall it?

  • http://girlwithflathat.blogspot.com Juliet

    Thank you, Lamont, you’ve also made my point. What puzzles me is that you so ardently claim belief in God’s word, and yet twice have ignored a passage from it I cited for you and asked you to explain, since I am obviously misunderstanding it. For the third time: 2 Corinthians 12:1-4. Please discuss.

  • http://girlwithflathat.blogspot.com Juliet

    No, I don’t think they’re mystics at all, which is why I keep saying we’re using the word in different ways. I would describe Hinn, Copeland, snake handlers, Oral Roberts, etc. as charismatics or Pentecostals, not mystics. The definition you cited of mysticism included the phrase “direct intuitions of the divine” (and by “the divine” I mean God–fair enough?). Intuition is 1. individual and 2. not verbal (again, remember Paul speaks of things that “cannot be told,” because how can human language contain the fullness of God?). That’s why I don’t associate mysticism with televangelism, snake handling services, or other things that you do, since those are communal, shared experiences.

  • http://girlwithflathat.blogspot.com Juliet

    Some apostles spoke in tongues, some were teachers, some healed people, but that doesn’t make every teacher or healer or speaker in tongues an apostle. So also some apostles were mystics, but that doesn’t make all mystics apostles.

  • Lamont

    Nor christain as well, correct? Because some of the “christian mystics” on the Wiki list weren’t christian.

  • Lamont

    I’d have to say that according to 1 Cor 12:27-29 and the definition of the Wiki-ites…. that neither the apostles nor the prophets are “mystics” according this definition.
    The very first person on the list of Wiki “Christian Mystics” was Not Christian. Valentinus was a “Gnostic!” (btw heard a Thomas Merton quote yesterday that was totally gnostic).
    Also on the list Swedenborg, Quimby, and Rijckenborgh. The term Cult comes to mind.
    We need to be very careful not to lead others down a road that would lead them away from Christ.
    That’s probably why I never hear the Apostles/Prophets addressed as “mystics,” because of the words close proximity to things cultish & etc…
    You might want to think about that too!

    I appreciate the discourse though. You’ve been gracious!

  • Dan

    Ugh Glenda. Must we be so petty?

  • Dan

    That’s the problem with political correctness. Everyone is offended.

    If you could try to not be offended; or stop looking out for everyone else that might be offended, life would probably be a lot more pleasant.

  • Dan

    Glenda,
    It does have to do with “correctness”, in your view. I’ve read no other person protesting the “offensive” picture.

    Richard, however, lumped all Calvinists, or Reformed thinkers, into the “Neo-Calvinist” mold, which I am not, nor are most main stream Calvinists. Tim Keller, whom he just quoted in his Great Divorce post, is a Calvinist. But to Richard he’s a neo-calvinist, because that appears to be the only kind there is in his opinion. I asked him to explain why he used the term, with no response. Other people agreed with me and Richard still didn’t respond.

    Calling names can be offensive. Showing an “inspirational” poster about post-modernism, in an obviously humorous bent, is funny. Big difference. I guess if you hold the ancient docrine of Post Modernism in life and soul-changing regard, you could be offended…but really, what is so sacred about it?

    I love that I’m picking a fight. Actually I suppose Richard picked the fight, because you’re offended by the picture, and you’re out here protecting the silent majority that must also be offended. (None of which have made their offense known).

  • Dan

    Sorry Glenda.

  • Donny

    I’m pretty sure that Peter was talking about the Spirit of God and not scripture; that’s what the prophetic word means; when Christ ascended he didn’t leave a bible, he left the paraclete. Peter didn’t mistrust his senses, he simply knew that there was no way that anyone could step into his shoes. The Spirit, on the other hand, flows through every living thing, convicting even those who do not believe in Christ (John 16:8-9). There’s nothing wrong with what Jpothen said, nor is it dishonoring to Christ.

  • Lamont

    Augustine vs. Pelagius.

    Century’s before the inception of the Octagon, men battled in the “Theological woodshed.”
    Augustine “The HIPPO” tapped out “Pelagius the Herus-ticcus” w/a “Biblicus-thumpus” in the 1st round of their OFC (Orthodox Fighting Championship tm) bout!

    By Nature, God is “Holy.” He cannot sin, he is “unable to sin.” Sin is… (to make an infinite understatement) distasteful to God!

    Jesus does talk about mans “inability” to come to Him, unless man has been enabled!

    Therefore, man does not have a free will in the libertarian sense!

    By Nature, man is “sinful. He is unable not to sin (apart from the grace of God). Holiness to man is distasteful to him, therefore, he “is not able” to come to Christ (Jn 6:44, 65), by his unaided will, “unless” his nature is change by God (the new birth Jn 3) and set free by the Son to believe Jn 10.

  • http://girlwithflathat.blogspot.com Juliet

    “Century’s before the inception of the Octagon, men battled in the “Theological woodshed.”
    Augustine “The HIPPO” tapped out “Pelagius the Herus-ticcus” w/a “Biblicus-thumpus” in the 1st round of their OFC (Orthodox Fighting Championship tm) bout!”

    ??? I don’t get you when you’re funny. Anyway, I wasn’t suggesting Augustine believed in free will in an Arminian sense, just that he talked about it. I don’t care to get into the Calvinist/Arminian debate everyone else wants to have; I was just pointing out that it began before Arminius.


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