How should a Christian view the intellect?
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Rom 12:1, 2)
Doctrines of grace that originate from God–that grace is God’s nature, faith is God’s gift and salvation is God’s to whom He wills–are altogether alien to the natural man (1 Cor 2:14).
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (Rom 8:5-8)
Because he is dead in sin the natural man cannot grasp divine truths. Can the sinner evoke faith to believe God? Faith in faith is idolatry. That faith resides in God alone, faith need come from God. Faith to believe and its measure thereof is the unmitigated gift of God to whom He wills.
Beginning at Abraham then who was once a pagan (Joshua 24:2, 3), his faith to believe God that accounted for righteousness was divinely-initiated, experiential and intellectual. His salvation (Gk sozo) of body, soul and spirit involved his mind which is the seat of his intellect–the soul’s identity. Likewise the Christian. Only the Spirit of God can lead the sinner to repent (Strong’s 3340 Gk. metanoia) that is to have a ‘change of mind’ that believes The Christ of God (Luke 9:20). Only the Spirit of God can regenerate the inner man to a saving faith in Christ (Eph 3:16; Pro 20:27). Only the regenerate can thereafter embrace the bizarre for absolutes such as the Virgin Birth, the hypostatic union, the vicarious atonement, the bodily resurrection, the Second Advent, etc.
Regarding the Church, it is urgently needful that she returns to reiterating the basic doctrines of Holy Scripture as handed down by the first apostles.
Generally speaking, charismania tend to shy away from biblical scholarship (study) in favor of the touchy-feely ‘move of the Spirit.’ What seems like an obsession with ‘miracles, signs and wonders’ also fails to appreciate the Holy Spirit as a (third) Person of the holy trinity, let alone His work that includes exalting Christ instead of Himself. So when experience usurps dogma, mysticism for spirituality, works for salvation, relativism for absolutes, what blights a believer’s psyche is a different gospel, a different spirit and another Jesus (2 Cor 11:4; Gal 1; Matt 13:25).
If there be anything biblical in this, it may affirm the strong delusion as God-sent (2 Thess 2:10-13) perhaps to those that desire novelty. This is exactly what the proponents of the Emergent Church (EC), the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) and the Word of Faith (WOF) have done for a generation or so of dabbling with New Age metaphysics and spirituality that flails the believer’s psyche yet passes it as Gospel truth. In some cases, a church inundated in the Third Wave Movement may pass for a circus!
(Rare then are decorated non-cessasionist [charismatic] scholars such as Gordon Fee and Wayne Grudem)
I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin. (Rom 7:25)
30 May 2014
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