Do Evangelical Christians “Know” the Mind of God?

Do Evangelical Christians “Know” the Mind of God? November 11, 2019

Editor’s Note: Now seems like a good time, right before the Trump impeachment hearings go public, to suggest to his most ardent followers, Evangelical Christians, that they may be over-estimating their own worth.  Perhaps it will start them thinking that they have way over-estimated the worth of the current occupant of the Oval Office. No one can make the case more strongly than a former Evangelical pastor turned atheist. /Linda LaScola, Editor

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By Bruce Gerencser

According to the Bible, God, in the person of the Holy Ghost, lives inside of every Christian. How the Holy Ghost pulls off being in millions and billions of places at the same time is unknown, but the Bible says that God is omnipresent, so it must be true, right? The Bible also teaches that the indwelling Spirit is the teacher, guide and restrainer of every believer. Ponder that statement for a moment. Think of the Christians you know, and ask yourself:

Do they live in ways that are consistent with God living inside of them? Do their choices, decisions, and behaviors reflect that the God who promised never to leave or forsake them is an ever-present, active presence in their lives?

Or, are your Christian friends and acquaintances pretty much like you and the other unwashed, uncircumcised Philistines of the “world?” That’s a rhetorical question.

People are people. On any given day, each of us has the potential to do good and bad things.  Each of us can bless others or cause great harm. Regardless of our religious beliefs, we are frail, feeble mortals. Getting Evangelicals to understand these facts, however, is a tall task. Everything they read in the Bible, hear from the pulpit, and read in Christian books tells them a completely different story: that they are special, unique people, who have been gloriously saved from “sin” by a virgin-born, resurrected-from-the-dead man named Jesus.

It’s hard, then, for Evangelicals to see themselves as mere equals to non-Christians. Oh, they will tell you that they are just lowly, humble “sinners saved by grace,”

but when you believe that the Creator of the universe is your BFF, lover and closest confidant, it’s hard not to think you are superior to people you consider to be hell-bound sinners, followers of Satan and enemies of Jesus.

Not only do Evangelicals have the Holy Ghost living inside of them, they also have the mind of Christ. In 1 Corinthians 2:14-16, the Apostle Paul wrote:

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

Paul tells the Church at Corinth, that the natural man (unbelievers) does not receive, know, or understand the things of the Spirit of God. In fact, they can’t understand them because they don’t have the Holy Ghost living inside of them. Paul goes on to ask,

“Who has known the mind of the Lord?”

Answer? We (followers of Jesus) have. Why? We have the mind of Christ.

Nineteenth-century Presbyterian theologian Albert Barnes writes:

There is a difference between Christians and other people. One is enlightened by the Holy Spirit, the other is not; one sees a beauty in religion, to the other it is folly; the one has the mind of Christ, the other has the spirit of the world; the one discerns the excellency of the plan of salvation, to the other all is darkness and folly. How could beings differ more in their moral feelings and views than do Christians and the people of this world? (E-Sword Bible, iOS Version)

Methodist theologian Adam Clarke writes:

[God] has endowed [Christians] with the same dispositions [as Christ], being born again by his Spirit; therefore we are capable of knowing his mind and receiving the teachings of the Spirit. These teachings we do receive, and therefore are well qualified to convey them to others. (E-Sword Bible, iOS Version)

“Well qualified to convey [the things of God] to others.”

Doesn’t this describe many Evangelicals:

  • Those who frequent this blog and social media
  • Those who believe it is their duty to spread their peculiar version of the Christian gospel wherever they go
  • Those who believe it is their responsibility to expose heresy and promote sound doctrine those who believe Christianity = truth and the Bible and its teachings should not only be taught in churches, but in public schools?

Currently, I follow and read almost two hundred Evangelical blogs and websites. Not all of them publish every day, but many of them do. And without fail, day after day, dozens of these sites write posts detailing what the will of God is for believers and unbelievers alike. You see, when you believe that you have an intimate relationship with the one, true God and you talk to him daily, it’s not surprising that you begin to think you are God’s mouthpiece, that your words and God’s words are one and the same.

Evangelical pastors believe that they are uniquely chosen, qualified, and empowered “men of God.” In some Evangelical circles, you have people who believe they are “prayer warriors” or have been given a special “anointing” from God. As a pastor, I pleaded with God to endow me with “power from on high.” I begged him to use me, as did the great men of God from days of old. I wanted a life that literally oozed God and his Word. Alas, I never achieved such greatness. That did not keep me, however, from telling people what God wanted them to do. How could I do otherwise? I had a God-given duty to lead, shepherd, teach, challenge and rebuke congregants.

If Evangelicals are saved by and through Jesus, indwelt by the Holy Ghost, have the mind of Christ, daily converse with God in prayer and have at their fingertips the very words of God — the Bible, why is there dissension and internecine warfare among God’s chosen ones? Based on my daily reading of Evangelical blogs, websites, and social media posts, I can safely conclude that the elect are a contentious lot, willing to go to war over the silliest and slightest of disagreements. If Evangelicals have the “mind of Christ,” Jesus sure is an argumentative, judgmental, violent asshole (which, shouldn’t shock us, knowing the kind of Father he had — read the Old Testament).

Perhaps, there is another way to look at Evangelicals: that all their talk about God living inside of them and having the mind of Christ is poppycock. Maybe, just maybe, despite all their God-talk, Evangelicals are just like the rest of us. I know, my Christian friend, it’s humbling to think that you are just like me and billions of other people:

  • You are not chosen, anointed, or special
  • Your supposed superiority is a myth.

Reality can be a bitch.

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Bio: Bruce Gerencser lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 40 years. He and his wife have 6 grown children and 12 grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for 25 years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. He left the ministry in 2005 and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. He is also one of the original members of The Clergy Project, which began in 2011. He blogs at The Life and Times of Bruce Gerencser, where  the above post originally appears.  It is reposted here with permission.

>>>>>Photo Credits:  By Gian Lorenzo Bernini – Istorija umetnosti, Gianlorenzo Bernini, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4848708 ; “Creation of the Sun and Moon face detail” by Michelangelo https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Creation_of_the_Sun_and_Moon_face_detail.jpg#/media/File:Creation_of_the_Sun_and_Moon_face_detail.jpg


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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Tawreos

    If every christian had the holy spirit living inside of them then wouldn’t they all act and think in much the same way? Would christianity have splintered into over 40,000 different sects? Would they even need leaders since the direct line to the purest christianity would reside within each one? This is one of those claims that makes them feel good, but leads to a million questions for anyone that doesn’t immediately swallow the kool-aid.

  • jerry oprisko

    How can you tell if you have a white pigeon living in your head?

  • Tawreos

    White chunky fluid leaking out of your ears? =)

  • Jim Jones

    > And without fail, day after day, dozens of these sites write posts detailing what the will of God is for believers and unbelievers alike.

    “God is the ego projection of the self styled believer in the supposed being . . . with added super powers.”

    And that’s how they ‘know’.

  • Jim Jones

    You can’t even tell if you have a tapeworm living in your head.

  • I guess the Holy Spirit suffers from multiple personality disorder

  • Lord Backwater

    If only there were some criteria by which we could figure out which people truly are talking to God and which are not.

    Mark 16
    17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
    18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

  • Linda LaScola

    This only applies to people who believe it’s possible to talk to God.

  • Keo Capestany

    We do not even know the size of the universe. The observable universe is huge, there are galaxies millions of light years away. There are billions of galaxies. To say that Heaven and god are somewhere in the universe is probably a heresy, therefore god and his angels are beyond the end of the universe. How could anyone say that they know the mind of god?
    There are about 40,000 different versions of Christianity plus probably an equal number of believers in different gods. Who can tell which one is correct?
    I do not know, I do not think anyone does. But I do not care.

  • koseighty

    40,000+ denominations of Christianity and each and every one them inspired by the Holy Spirit.

    The Holy Spirit is the trickster god of the Trinity.

  • mason

    Humanity is like a rather ubiquitous culture of theism in a petri dish that is slowly being mutated into a secular culture. Evolution takes time.

  • Alitheia

    FACT: All the verses from Mark 16:9-20, do not appear in the most ancient and authentic Greek manuscripts. In effect, these are spurious which is why they’re excluded from rigorous translations of the Bible.

  • How does one decide a certain passage of Scripture is spurious? Who decides? You? Me? The scholars who translated the KJV? Who decides what is “rigorous” or “authentic?”

  • Alitheia

    Were you aware that there are literally thousands upon thousands of ancient Bible manuscripts – in the original Hebrew, Aramaic and Koine – available today in museums the world over? In fact, no other ancient writings are as well attested to as the Bible’s. When you compare these manuscripts to modern Bibles it’s unmistakable how accurately these render the ancient texts. As such, any fears of tampering or errata are unwarranted.

  • Raging Bee

    Which “rigorous translations” are you talking about?
    And which English translations of the Bible are as perfect, clear, consistent and inerrant as you claimed in other threads? And how, exactly, do you “know” which versions are inerrant?

  • Raging Bee

    Your failure to answer Bruce’s question is noted.

  • Two words: Bart Ehrman

  • Lord Backwater

    Yes, which “rigorous translation”? And shouldn’t you be concerned with editions and compilations, not translation? Translation involves translating a text from one language into another, not deciding which manuscript is more “genuine”.

    Can you (Alitheia) tell us which modern churches have discarded Mark 16:9-20? The Holy Roman Catholic Church? Any major Protestant sect? Orthodox? Also, let me know when any major sect discards the Pericope Adulterae (John 7:53 – 8:11) rather than merely footnotes it.

  • Alitheia

    And?

  • Read

  • Alitheia

    I did. Try again.

  • Lord Backwater

    Not speaking rhetorically. If you have an answer, please share it.

  • Sure.

    How does one decide a certain passage of Scripture is spurious? Who decides? You? Me? The scholars who translated the KJV? Who decides what is “rigorous” or “authentic?”

  • Alitheia

    I already addressed this at length about a week ago here: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/rationaldoubt/2019/11/do-evangelical-christians-know-the-mind-of-god/#comment-4687834672

    Read it and if you require any additional clarifications just ask. I’ll be more than happy to help 🙂

  • You didn’t answer my questions, and that’s fine.

    Bruce

  • Alitheia

    How so?