A Voice in the
For some time VW has been forwarding the monthly Berean Call articles to an e-list that was begun by another individual and then abandoned. While most people are able to 'read' the directions in the signature, to send reactions about the articles 'to' TBC via postal mail, a few e-mails still come periodically. Most of the time I reply, repeating the directive from the signature. But this month a person responded with comments requiring a generic commentary response.
These comments came from a person who speaks disparagingly of "Anabaptists" (that which True Believers became labeled in more recent centuries by "The Church") during a time when the church of Rome was split into the Catholic and Protestant factions and were squabbling amongst themselves. In briefly skimming his website, his current connetion to Charismania is obvious, and he also weighs in heavily, leaning towards Catholicism regarding things "mystical" of "Holy Communion". Also, to understand the disparity (or incongruity) of his comments, we should note this person's academic achievements towards a Ph.D.
The TBC article had stated something that, "The shallow, repetitive choruses which are fast replacing the majestic old hymns are inadequate to this challenge." The 'challenge' of contemplating Christ's redemptive work when He died on the cross to propitiate for sins. The TBC article is entitled, "What Have we Done to the Cross?"
The excerpt from the response we'd like to address...
First of all, we have addressed on numerous occasions the problems with CCM, "Worship music" and "worship bands", as well as all sorts of things about Charismania. Also (not included here) this person gave the old worn-out excuses we addressed not long ago about bringing the world into the "church" to entice unbelievers into the assembly of Christians; a place they do not belong.
But for a person with a PhD, to speak, essentially, of abandoning the "mind" was really quite amazing to see. In these comments we see a 1) root explanation by an adherent as to how Charismania works; and an 2) indication of the level of committment to God and in serving Him.
Back in the 70's when everybody was being -taught- 'how to' be "in the spirit", a popular chorus mantracized, "Empty yourself, forget about yourself, and praise the lord". In our Matthew series we considered the "Empty Heart" and what happens when a spirit finds an "empty house" with nobody living there. (Mt12:43) The demon gathers several other demons and they indwell that person. And this is precisely what charismania does. They "empty the mind", and as this person states, it becomes the "effect" of "meditation". That which TM, YOGA, etc. promotes. And this is how they "experience the presence of God"??
To be sure, it -is- a "spiritual" experience. And to be duped into thinking it is "God" may be understandable, because we know that "God is spirit". (Jn4:24) But when Jesus said that "the ones worshiping Him must worship in spirit and truth" He did not say to do so with an empty mind. Remember, again, that it is -demons- who enter the "empty house". And the person may be fooled into thinking it's 'God' because satan's messengers "..transform themselves as ministers of righteousness.." (2Cor11:15) But we should never forget, if this begins with an "empty mind", that spiritual experience is -DEMONIC-.
The "spirits of the prophets are subject [via the prophet's mental awareness] to the prophets". (1Cor14:32) The true Christian experience involves control. As the spiritual life of an individual grows in knowledge [with the mind], the next thing after knowledge is "self-control". (2Pt1:6) This is opposite of the empty-minded charismatic spiritual experiences.
As Paul speaks of the transformation that occurs to a Believer in Christ, he says to "put off the old man, as regards the former behavior" and we "put on the new man, which according to God was created in righteousness and true holiness." (Eph4:22,24) But notice, sandwiched in between the old and the new is vs23. "..and to be renewed in the spirit of your MIND." God did not create man with intelligence vastly superior to all other life on earth, only to have him cast it aside when worshipping Him. One reason we -can- worship God, and animals cannot, is because He gave us minds with which to -understand- Him. (Of course, also, animals do not have spirits. They were not made in God's "image". Gen1:27)
God -wants- us to understand Him. But we cannot do so with empty minds; turning them 'off'. He made the creation to "[be] understood" so that we might be aware of "His eternal power and Godhead.." (Rom1:20) How does a person 'understand' creation, if he does not "think"? One thinks and -reasons- with the mind.
Christians are exhorted to be "united in the same MIND.." (1Cor1:10) To be "striving together in the faith of the gospel" with "one mind". (Phil1:27)
One of Paul's primary arguments -against- charismania at Corinth was the -mind-. "What then is it? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the mind; I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the mind." (1Cor14:15)
To sing over and over, "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, etc." does not require any thought. Or, "Hallelujah, Hallelujah, etc." Jesus said, "..do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do." (Mt6:7 -nkjv) They, the heathen, think they are heard because of their repetitions. The more, the better. Jesus said, "DON'T do it." Like the old expression, "Yes, that's my name...don't wear it out!"
Then, we come to #2. The "complex hymn" which requires "a lot of thinking." You know, as I read those words, the thought that came to my mind was, "What a lazy slob!!" Here we are, talking about the Lord of the universe. God Most High. His Son, Jesus Christ, Who gave His life on the cross to pay the redemption for our sin. And a hymn, which describes God to the full details, is 'work' to HAVE TO "think" about?? Such comments illustrate a total lack of understanding of "O, the deep deep love of Jesus, Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free..." Such a person has obviously not "come to the...full knowledge of the Son of God, to a full-grown man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." (Eph4:13) When, all such a person wants to do is sit around and intone "Fill me Jesus, fill me now" as he waits for an -experience- to overflow him and make him meditatively contented. What self-serving, unmitigated UNTHANKFULNESS!! (2Tm3:2) Just like the babbling child who wants his toys to play with. And they are, certainly "infants, being blown and carried about by every wind of doctrine.." (Eph4:14)
Yes, in case you're noticing; this kind of uncaring about God does rile up my dander! (Ps139:21-22) Such thinking does not merit company with the likes of Paul who said, "But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss because of Christ. But, nay, rather I also count all things to be loss because of the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them to be trash, that I might gain Christ." (Phil3:7-8)
Peter wrote, "I now write to you this second epistle, in which by reminder I stir up your sincere mind to remember..." (2Pt3:1)
What are some of the things we should be remembering? The salvation the prophets foretold; "testifying beforehand of the sufferings belonging to Christ" and so "because of this, having girded up the loins of your -mind-, being sober.." to live holy lives. (~1Pt1:10-16)
The person complained about having to -think- about "words". Peter had responded to Jesus, "Lord, to whom shall we go? [besides You?] You have the -words- of everlasting life." (Jn6:68) And salvation is not possible, apart from the "Word of God." (Rom10:17) How do we understand words?
You see, our MINDS are very much a part of our Christian lives.
"But the end of all things has drawn near. Be of sound mind, then, and be sensible to prayers." (1Pt4:7)