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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

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | Footnotes

[1] I recognise that this is a somewhat simplistic overview of the body of Christ. Nevertheless, it seems to me that there are two basic attitudes to the Bible which shape the way Christians view controversial biblical assertions.

[2] Dr. Lee Spetner, in his assault on the neo-Darwinian theory of evolution, points out that, just over half a century ago, the accepted scientific opinion was that the universe was infinitely old, having no beginning and thus requiring no cause. Spetner (a religious Jew) observes that this theory “denied the Torah concept of creation” and was rejected by Torah-scholars unanimously, despite the weighty scientific arguments that were being made at the time. However, science moved on, and the “Big-Bang” theory eventually replaced the infinite-age theory. Thus the basic position of the Torah scholars (and Bible-believers in general) was vindicated. Lee Spetner, Not by Chance: Shattering the Modern Theory of Evolution.

[3] The above is such an example. There are many others.

[4] C.S. Lewis, whom I have quoted in this essay, though in many ways a great defender of the faith against the liberalism and apostasy of his time, accepted evolution as fact and sought to integrate it into the Christian faith (see Mere Christianity, for example). I think the fatal flaw in his reasoning was the common supposition that the theory of evolution entails progress – that is, climbing some sort of ladder. In actuality, there is nothing purposive about it at all: Variations happen by chance. Those variations that happen to produce an organism better in tune with its local environment are preserved. But given a change in the local environment, the same alterations may become equally disadvantageous. No variation can be classified as ‘better’ in absolute terms, and the immergence of man or intelligent life is not inevitable.

[5] An example of this is the ‘NOMA’ philosophy proposed by the late Stephen Jay Gould. Gould, a famous evolutionist (and an atheist), claimed that religion and science are ‘non-overlapping magisteria’ (NOMA), which apparently means that they can both sit side by side. What it really seems to have meant is that science is about objective facts and religion is all in your head.

[6] See C.S. Lewis, Miracles, “The Cardinal Difficulty of Naturalism”

[7] Let me say from the outset that this is not intended to be a comprehensive, ‘balanced’ teaching on what the Bible has to say about the role of the mind in the life of the believer. When the apostle Paul wrote, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God-- not because of works…”, (Eph. 2:8-9) and the apostle James wrote, “You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone” (Jam. 2:24), they were both speaking into different situations with different audiences in mind. Likewise, this paper has been written to respond to a particular ‘need’ perceived in Charismatic/Pentecostal circles. I wrote it to encourage myself as much as anyone else! However, a different message with a different emphasis may be needed for some Christians who have reduced their Christian life to mere intellectualism. Such believers would do well to ponder Dr. Jack Deere’s “confessions” in Surprised by the Voice of God.

[8] See Ken Blue, Authority to Heal, chp. 12, pgs 139-143.

[9] Paul, in wishing that “your spirit and soul and body be preserved whole and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” deliberately uses the singular rather than the plural form of the verb tereo (be preserved) and the singular form of the adjective holokrolos (whole) (1Thess. 5:23). This does not imply a rejection of trichotomy or dichotomy as such, but it does confirm that Paul conceived of man as an integrated whole.

[10] I am not suggesting that the particular theory of trichotomy which locates the mind in the soul and distinguishes the soul from the spirit is necessarily unbiblical. A holistic trichotomy that emphasises unity is an adequate corrective for the anti-intellectual tendencies of this theory in its more primitive manifestations. Such a proposal exists in Man as Spirit, Soul and Body; Trichotomy in Exchanged Life Counselling, by John Woodward.

[11] Various arguments have been made to explain away the fact that spirit and soul are presented as separate in these verses. It is beyond the scope of this paper to address them here.

[12] John Cooper, Body, Soul & Life Everlasting: Biblical Anthropology and the Monism-Dualism Debate. As cited in Horton, Stanley (Editor), Systematic Theology (from a Pentecostal Perspective), chp. 15, Divine Healing

[13] I have often met the following basic formulation in Charismatic teaching: God’s thoughts flow from the mind of God to the Spirit of God, to the spirit of man, to the mind of man.

[14] Another false division has been made between ‘heart’ and ‘mind’. See for example Luke 5:22 and Mark 2:6,8.

[15] Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth

[16] Marvin R. Wilson, Our Father Abraham. As cited by Joe McIntyre, Healing in our Redemption

[17] Larry Taylor, Do Full-Gospel Ministers Need Theology?

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User Contributed Comments

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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