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This paper was written by W.Simpson.

Mr. Simpson runs the LogosWord Website. He reminds his readers that he is not a theologian, 'just a layman with a laptop and a growing bookshelf'.

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Articles > Charismatic Theology > Maker of the Mind

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  In contradistinction with the subjective illumination of Gnosticism, Paul presented his gospel as ‘true and reasonable’ (Acts 26:25). It was the disciples minds which Jesus opened ‘to understand the scriptures’ (Luke 24:43), giving the lie to the ‘spirit not mind’ dichotomy which has led some to conclude that we shouldn’t expect God’s word to make sense to our intellects. The better-informed believer is correct to assert that, on the contrary, God’s word when accurately understood ‘brings relief to the mind as well as a prick or prod to the heart’[15]. God made them both. Anything approaching fideism (the belief that faith doesn’t need a rational basis) finds no support in scripture. The Bible is the message of the God of truth, a God of reason and logic and order (Is. 1:18) who created and governs both the spiritual and the material realms. Greek philosophy posited a dichotomy between the physical and the spiritual, but ‘To the Hebrew mind a human being was a dynamic body-soul unity, called to serve God his Creator passionately, with his whole being, within the physical world.’[16]

 

  That we live in a fallen world is plain to see. Suffering and the separation of body and soul at death is not ‘normal’* (1Cor. 15:26), as far as God’s original design is concerned. However, the Bible proclaims a unifying salvation through Christ that restores the integrated wholeness of creation. The ultimate goal of the redemption our Father effects through His Son is ‘to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth’ (Eph. 1:10). Everything God has made finds its ultimate peace, harmony and fulfilment in Christ, including the human intellect, for we were made to love and enjoy our Maker with all our minds, just as much as any other aspect of our being (Mk. 12:30). The God of the Bible is not the deity of Islam, inscrutable to believer’s minds, nor the god of the Buddhist, who teaches his followers to abandon them, but a God who actually calls us to reason (Is. 1:18), to think maturely about spiritual things (1Cor. 14:20), and effect our very spiritual transformation by the renewing of our intellects (Rom. 12:2). This ubiquitous desire to dissociate mind from spirit, faith from reason, and spiritual truth from ‘the real world’ is as incompatible with God’s holistic plan of redemption as the Hellenistic longing to escape life in the body!

 

* * *

 

  The Martin Luthers and John Wesleys of the past did not seek a separation between the realm of the spirit and the realm of the intellect, and it is well that they did not. These educated students of the Scriptures have been described as ‘men of expert learning, skilled at wielding the sword of truth against the attack of agnostic or heretical contemporaries’. They ‘never questioned the relationship between their faith and their capacity to reason, because they believed God embraces both.’[17] Had they ever entertained the idea that spiritual things could contradict reason, and by extrapolation decided that the Bible was a matter of private interpretation, they would have found no objective basis from which to ‘earnestly contend for the faith’ (Jude 3) against the false teachings and philosophies of their time. The common ground of reason would have been barred from them.

 

  And what about Paul and Barnabus, who were frequently on the debating floor challenging Jews and Greeks and defending the faith (Acts 17:2; 18:4,27-28,19)? If you cannot understand the scriptures with your mind, why waste time reasoning with people? Why indeed should Paul connect the Corinthians abuse of congregational tongues with childish thinking (1Cor. 14:20), if the mental and the spiritual have barely a nodding acquaintanceship? In actuality, these men met unhesitatingly the intellectual challenges of their day, refusing to give in for a moment, ‘that the truth of the gospel might remain with you’ (Gal. 2:5). This great effort is best captured in the words of the apostle Paul, who declared, ‘We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ’ (2Cor. 10:5).

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User Contributed Comments

Chuntyhamilton
Monday 16th of May 2005

Many of the arguments between secularists,scientists and 'fundementalist' christians seem to revolve around the Old Testament and are often carried out at the exclusion of delivering the Gospel of Christ. Surely our role as Christians is the delivery of the Gospel of Christ rather than entering into contention about the nature of Old testament writing which is quite often the preferred arena of the secular and the scientists.


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