Saturday, May 26, 2012

Walking with God

We are invalids and wholly dependent upon God to bring us to our feet

“I know, O Lord, that a man's way is not in himself, nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps.  Correct me, O Lord, but with justice; not with Your anger, or You will bring me to nothing (Jeremiah -24).”
“You shall not do what is done in the land of Egypt where you lived, nor are you to do what is done in the land of Canaan where I am bringing you; you shall not walk in their statutes (Leviticus 18:3).”
“A man's heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps (Proverbs 16:9).”
“The Lord your God who goes before you will Himself fight on your behalf, just as He did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness where you saw how the Lord your God carried you, just as a man carries his son, in all the way which you have walked until you came to this place (Deuteronomy 1:30-31, and 32, partial).”
“He does not take pleasure in the legs of a man (Psalm 147:10, partial).”
Right from the outset it is imperative that we realize the magnitude of the concept of man and God walking together and the impossibility that it should occur without God actually doing it.  When the prophet Amos asked, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed (Amos 3:3)?” it was assumed that the parties to the agreement be equals and that the agreement reached be upon common or level ground.  God, of course, must always be the initiator and leader; and the follower and supplier of strength within us too.  Indeed, as Mark Chironna once said, “Dare to believe I am walking in your footsteps.”  In other words, unless He walks in our shoes we get nowhere.   God is humbler than His creatures, however, and actually obeys that simple maxim of needing to walk in another man’s shoes before criticizing him.  We criticize without perfect knowledge; God criticizes perfectly and for perfect reasons.  We need much instruction and correction if we are to walk with God.  Thankfully, He has supplied both the walk and the walker in Christ; we have only to retrace His steps in due course.  “For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps (1 Peter ).”  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them (Ephesians ).”

Crawling, poor walking, stumbles and falls always proceed walking erect
“I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk (Ezekiel 36:27, partial)…”
“Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed (Hebrews 12:12-13).”
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt so that you would not be their slaves, and I broke the bars of your yoke and made you walk erect (Leviticus 26:13).”
Just as a child is lauded for taking his first steps in the natural so a child of God ought to be lauded and encouraged after taking his first steps in the Spirit.  Perfection is not required and every performance is excellent at this stage of development.  God has placed His Spirit within the believer to cause healing along this erect and upright way.  His intent is to bring many sons to perfection.  Sadly, the Scriptures too often paint a dark picture: “God made men upright, but they have sought out many devices (Ecclesiastes , partial).”  The failings under the old covenant, however, are eradicated in the new when God writes His commands on our hearts and minds; even then, we often do not obey the dictates of our own regenerated natures.  We are like the man in James who –having just looked at his own face in the mirror and quickly forgetting what he looks like –nevertheless runs headlong into error and deception; we forget the law of liberty, the regenerated new creation we have been made into, and shrink back into the dictates of our natural man.  This ought not to be!  As Oswald Chambers once said (2000, p. 416):
Our right standing is proved by the fact that we can walk; if we are not rightly related to God in our thinking we cannot walk properly. Walk means character. If we have only our own energy and devotion and earnestness to go on we cannot walk at all; but if we are based on the revelation that if we receive Christ Jesus the Lord  we are complete (RV) in Him , then we can begin to walk according to the perfection we have in Him. When God brings us up against difficult circumstances that reveal the inability of our human nature it is not that we may sink back and say, “Oh dear, I thought I should have been all right by now”; it is that we may learn to draw on our union with Jesus Christ and claim that we have sufficient grace to do this particular thing according to God’s will. If we are vitally connected with God in our thinking we shall find we can walk; but if we have not been thinking rightly we will succumb—“I can’t do this.” If we are thinking along the line of God’s grace, that  He is able to make all grace abound unto us  (RV), we will not only stand, but walk as a son or daughter of God and prove that  His grace is sufficient.  To be weak in God’s strength is a crime.
God has to deal with us on the death side as well as on the life side. It is all very well to know in theory that there are things we must not trust in, but another thing to know it in fact. When God deals with us on the death side He puts  the sentence of death  on everything we should not trust in, and we have a miserable time until we learn never any more to trust in it, never any more to look anywhere else than to God. It sometimes happens that hardly a day passes without God saying, “Don’t trust there, that is dead.
Then He deals with us on the life side and reveals to us all that is ours in Christ Jesus, and there comes in the overflowing strength of God,  the unsearchable riches  in Christ Jesus. Whether God is dealing with us on the death side or the life side, it is all in order to teach us how to walk, how to try our standing in Christ Jesus. God is teaching us to try our steps in faith, and it is a very tottering business to begin with, we clutch hold of everything; God gives us any amount of encouragement, “ribbons” of blessings, of feelings and touches that makes us know His presence; then He withdraws them and slowly we get strengthened on our feet and learn how to walk in Him.
“For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them” (Galatians , 16 partial, NASB). We are not slaves anymore; He has set us free to walk erect without shackles and bars and yokes.  Healing ought to be as natural as breathing as we retrace the steps of our Deliverer –He is our marked out path and the enlargement under our feet –the lines have fallen to us in pleasant places indeed.  The realization that He has provided the impetus and the strength to walk with Him through the rule of the power of an endless life resident within our new creation selves is the primary and foundational realization.  The realization that we are seriously impaired –that are legs have been cut out from under us –was a proper initial realization; the fact that we have since been outfitted with a supernatural prostheses of bionic import is what we now need to realize.  We must get are eyes off of past sin and failures and place them upon present righteousness and future success.  David Wilkerson, in his daily devotional, remarking on the parable of the prodigal son, said: “In the father’s eyes, the old boy was dead. That son was out of his thoughts completely. Now, in the father’s eyes, this son who had returned home was a new man. And his past would never be brought up again. The father was saying, in essence: ‘As far as I’m concerned, the old you is dead. Now, walk with me as a new man. That is my estimation of you. There is no need for you to live under guilt. Don’t keep talking about your sin, your unworthiness. The sin problem is settled. Now, come boldly into my presence and partake of my mercy and grace. I delight in you!’”

 Walking with skinned knees
“In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.  Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil (Proverbs 3:6-7).”
  “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.  Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control… Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit (Galatians , 19-22, 23 partial, 24-25).”
“I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it.  Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? For when one says, ‘I am of Paul,’ and another, ‘I am of Apollos,’ are you not mere men (1 Corinthians 3:2-4)?”
There should be calluses on our knees from seeking direction to ensure we stay in those steps of our Lord, not scrapes of flesh or divots of proof that we were running headlong into trivial pursuits and idle fancies of our own.  Of course, we are now at the teenager stage of our development; we are strong and have overcome the evil one yet our wisdom far lags behind our strength.  When we are right we are often very right and when we are wrong we are often very wrong; such is the nature of too much strength without equal parts wisdom and it is the quintessential teenage experience.  To walk with God, who is a Spirit and must be worshipped in Spirit and in Truth, requires a lifelong dedication to Him and a willingness to be disciplined and changed by Him.  This, of course, presupposes a condition that needs correction; man is first made to be a “soul” and through regeneration he becomes one “spirit” with the Lord; in between, man is simply “flesh.”  “Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable (1 Corinthians ).”
So, what are we to do?  Just as God breathed His breath into dirt and formed the first Adam, Christ has breathed His breath into us and formed a deposit within our bosom that must now overtake and win back our souls.  The flesh and our natural man are separate entities and we must be able to distinguish between the two if we are going to be successful in walking this walk with God.  The deeds of the flesh are prohibited; our natural and normal inclinations are not prohibited, but they must be sacrificed in pursuit of higher and nobler states of being.  Our spirit’s, one with the Lord’s Spirit, must be the dominant and essential nature of our being; our soul is denied and forsook in this dispensation only because it has been polluted by touching the flesh.  God’s corrective agency through the Holy Spirit is to take every act of death to ourselves and transfigure it; losing our soul is only for the express purpose of gaining it forever in a proper and holy condition.  The process of the cross is the process of everlasting life.  The walk to the cross is heavy, burdensome, deeply sorrowful and life taking; the walk outside the tomb is light, easy, exceedingly joyful and life giving.  To walk in resurrection power is to not walk as mere men; men of this world that walk in their flesh are dead men walking, and so are we if we do not lose our lives to gain it.  A raised life is the only true life and cannot happen until it defeats death by passing through its horror.  The flesh and blood that could not inherit the kingdom of God could not inherit it because of inherent weakness; a new creature infused with eternal life that could endure the ravages of corruption is needed.  Life from the dead, like a phoenix arising from the ashes, is the essence of a true and enduring optimism that places people upon the path of life and encourages them to the end.  The soul having been tested by fire is the sure soul and is indelibly imprinted with a heavenly image; awaiting its spiritual body, this soul nonetheless walks unlike mere men and may even dare to walk upon some water.  Paul sheds some light upon this process here (1 Corinthians -49):
But someone will say, "How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?"  You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies; and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body just as He wished, and to each of the seeds a body of its own.  All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another flesh of birds, and another of fish.  There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another.  There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.  So also is the resurrection of the dead It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.  So also it is written, "The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.  However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual.  The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven.  As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly.  Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.
Instruction at this time in our life is critical; “For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ (Philippians 3:18).”  Correction to the degree needed to cause our steps to be straight is all that is needed; the one hundred and eighty degree correction needed, however, makes our heads spin and upsets our equilibrium.  Many allow the correction in the early stages of development but shrink back when they discover the extent of the correction and the duration of time needed to make the adjustment permanent.  Many bouts of disorientation and consequential conclusions filled with delusion are the normal states of being while in transition.  Many fall often before correction is complete and their equilibrium is reestablished and all delusions purged. 
The saddest thing about not allowing one’s self to endure God’s way and suffer the cross is how stupid we will become; delusions will become entrenched, believed upon, and will be the modus operandi of our pathetic lives.  Every soul is destined to be expressed; we are designed to flow and create within the stream of God.  If regeneration does not occur, or we remain in the flesh, we are in grave danger of expressing our own mind, heart and feelings devoid of their proper context within Christ.  The antichrist is little more than a man independently expressing himself; being designed to express ourselves in concert with God alone, we, by default, make ourselves god when we do so without Christ.  Satan is always looking for someone to express their fallen nature under the guise of a proper and legitimate expression; he knows the power of mankind’s soul and is always trying to get mankind to use it unlawfully.  Watchman Nee, in The Latent Power of the Soul, expresses deep concern about mankind’s latent potential and our unlawful use of it; he said:
The Babylonians, the Arabs, the Buddhists, the Taoists, and the Hindus all try in their respective way to release the power which Adam has left to our soul.  In any religion, using whatever means or ways of instruction, there stands a common principle behind all their apparent differences.  The common principle is to aim at overcoming the outward flesh so as to deliver the soul power from all kinds of bondage for freer expression.  Some lessons of instruction given in these religions are directed at destroying the obstruction of the body, some at uniting the body and the soul, while some are aimed at strengthening the soul through training and thus enabling it to overcome the body.  Whatever the ways may be, the principle behind them all is the same.  It is important to know this or else we will be deceived.    
Once the bulk of our instruction is complete we now begin a most enjoyable and rewarding period wherein full application of our instruction is now being manifested.  Mark Chironna recently sent a word to the body of Christ that said this: “When you have endured a long season of seeming ‘silence’ in your own personal walk, while the Lord has indeed been speaking in the larger arena, it is comforting to know that there is coming a time where, having trusted Him while HE remained silent, you can trust Him indeed when He once again begins to speak to the steps you are taking.”

Walking the walk and talking the talk
“Although the Lord has given you bread of privation and water of oppression, He, your Teacher will no longer hide Himself, but your eyes will behold your Teacher.  Your ears will hear a word behind you, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right or to the left (Isaiah 30:20-21).”
 “Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God (Genesis 6:9, partial).”
“The perverse in heart are an abomination to the Lord, but the blameless in their walk are His delight (Proverbs ).”
“Then Enoch walked with God three hundred years after he became the father of Methuselah, and he had other sons and daughters. So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years (Genesis -23).”
“Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them for the ways of the Lord are right, and the righteous will walk in them, but transgressors will stumble in them (Hosea 14:9).”
The heydays of correction and instruction are essentially over; the maturing process will not wait for us forever.  We are ever moving to a sealing –but not the kind that has skylights!  The days of youth gather information and instruction which are the engines of our old-age wisdom; if we fail to buy gold tried in the fire and white garments to cover our shame and nakedness –if we fail to transact with Christ –we are fools.  Either God will seal us as His servant (see Revelation 7:3) upon our forehead or an angel will stencil a “666” across it; either way, we are going to eventually be forever sealed, locked into a perpetual state of being.
Though not much is really known about Enoch, he especially speaks to a well rounded and full perfection in this walk and talk with God.  The amount of days he walked with God before he was translated is interesting, three hundred and sixty five being, of course, the number of days within a calendar year.  This may seem a loose and disingenuous assertion as many calendars do not subscribe to the 365 day count (and the fact that a normal year is really 365.24219879 days, equal to 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 49.98 seconds).  It is even speculated by some, that the 360 day calendar used from antiquity by the Babylonians and Persians was completely accurate before the catastrophic deluge known as “The Flood” occurred (and Enoch was taken away before this occurred).  Either way, 365 years went by before Enoch was translated and a symbolic relationship to walking with God “24/7, 365 days a year” seems ingenuous to me.  “By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; AND HE WAS NOT FOUND BECAUSE GOD TOOK HIM UP; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God.  And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him (Hebrews 11:5-6).”   In other words, Enoch had been paraded before God all the days of many years and situations and circumstances and had been tested and established as a faithful walker with God.  Indeed, Enoch means “dedicated” or “initiated;” from the root meaning “to dedicate, to train up, to catechise.”  Catechise is an interesting word and is a form of the Catholic usage, catechism, which means, “a summary of the principles of a Christian religion, in the form of questions and answers.”  Catechise/catechize means, “1. To instruct by asking questions, receiving answers, and offering explanations and corrections, –esp. in regard to points of religious faith.  2. To question or interrogate; to examine and try by questions; --sometimes with a view to reproof, by eliciting from a person answers which condemn his conduct.”  It seems reasonable to assume that Enoch walked deeply in the meaning of His name; dedicated to instruction, reproof and correction he asked questions and got answers straight from the Almighty.  Dedicated and determined to walk straight he also instructed others to do likewise.  Godliness became his heart cry and Jude records these immortal words especially decrying ungodliness:  “It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, ‘Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him (Jude 1:14-15).’”

Having mastered our walk with God it only leaves us to leave this earth
“Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, ‘I am God Almighty; walk before Me, and be blameless (Genesis 17:1).’”
“Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him (Genesis ).”
“For we walk by faith, not by sight—(2 Corinthians 5:7).”
When enough time had elapsed to ensure the deadness of both Abraham’s and Sarah’s natural abilities to procreate, God arrives on the scene and reminds Abraham that He is “God Almighty.”  For Abraham, that was enough to inspire him to walk before God and be blameless; the onus was on God to make it happen and his deadness was of no consequence in light of God’s Almightiness.  Abraham had only to believe this incredible statement for it to be true in actual practice.  Likewise, Enoch “was not” anymore; “he that loses his soul shall find it” is an eternal principle, and it would seem that Enoch found his soul in places where we can scarcely imagine.  He transcended his earthly life and was now enjoying a heavenly one; one day he was walking on the dusty trails of earth and the next day he was walking on streets of gold in heaven.  Could it have been, however, that he had already walked on streets of gold before he left this earth?  Does rest for our souls start here on earth or do we entirely wait till we get to heaven? “Thus says the Lord, ‘Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; and you will find rest for your souls (Jeremiah , partial).’”

Some closing thoughts and Scriptures
“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers (Psalm 1:1)!”
In closing, let us look at what some aspects of proper walking with God looks like.  As Oswald Chambers has previously said herein, “Walk means character.”  Throughout the Psalms and Proverbs there are tidbits of illumination regarding character; these are expressed as simple acts of walking.  These are:
1.     Walking in integrity:  (Ps. 15:2; 26: 1, 11; 101:2/ Prov. 2:7; 10:9; 19:1; 20:7; 28:6).
2.     Walking uprightly:  (Ps. 84:11/Prov. 14:2; ).
3.     Walking in shadows/darkness/among ghosts/as a vapor:  (Ps. 23:4; 39:6; 82:5; 89:15).
4.     Walking in truth:  (Ps. 1:1; 26:3; 86:11; 89:30).
5.     Walking in God’s ways:  (Ps: 81:13; 101:6).

Chambers, O. (2000).  The Complete Works of Oswald Chambers.  Grand Rapid,
          MI: Discovery House Publishers.
Nee, W. (2007).  The Latent Power of the Soul. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Light and Dark: Comparing/Contrasting Christianity with Postmodernism

Simply put, postmodernism is incompatible with Christianity, and therefore has nothing to say to Christianity (but Christianity has plenty to say to postmodernism).  Christianity in a postmodern world is light in a dark world; and light is a provable reality (with particles and waves) whereas darkness is simply the absence of light.  Thus, from the outset of trying to define a Christian worldview within the framework of a postmodernistic worldview, we are immediately confronted with a kind of helplessness.  Postmodernism has failed to define anything sufficiently (being nothing) and in many cases eliminates the medium through which a definition might be forthcoming—the rational human mind!  Confronted with this untenable position of the postmodernist, I am left to define my argument through the lens of a purely Christian point of view.  As light shining out of darkness makes a distinction and encompasses the whole spectrum of truth, so might we find definition by way of contrast.  Therefore, I place Christianity as the light against the black backdrop of postmodernism.  Is there really any compatibility between these two worldviews?  How do the concepts of objectivity and subjectivity interplay within these worldviews?  In the end, I will prove they are worldviews apart.
Compatibility Issues
I suppose that most people today would say that there is a common ground to be found concerning just about any matter of discussion and potential dispute.  We share humanness and are certainly not felines or giraffes or some kind of bird or fish (of course some think we were evolved from some of these).  Nevertheless, we are obviously not one of them now, and ought to be able to find some measure of compatibility between any two expressions of humanity.  Our humanity is, for sure, individualistic; but not so much so, that we do not find a commonality upon which to base meaningful interaction.  For instance, a genius might have little compatibility with an imbecile in intellectual terms, yet have much compatibility in emotional terms.  This does not, however, suggest a sufficiently deep enough compatibility to satisfy an inherent need for communion and meaningful dialogue. Ultimately, it is this superficiality that causes the compatibility issues.  The common ground we are seeking is upon bedrock for one worldview and shifting sand for the other. And we all know what happens to the home built upon sand!  It is interesting to note here, that the term “postmodernism” was first used to describe a kind of architecture; the irony in this first usage of the term, lies in what architecture represents: the structural design of a building.  Upon shifting sand they have erected an argument that cannot withstand even a cursory breath of rebuttal.  Building upon the foundation of their persons they ought to expect the inevitable implosion. Even Atlas shrugged, but these postmodernists never even flinch!  They can hold erect an entire house with both yours and my arguments tied behind their backs.  Even if they were reasonable, however, it is the superficial foundation upon which they build their arguments that is the real problem.  James Sire, in The Universe Next Door,” had this to say about foundation:
I take metaphysics (or ontology) to be the foundation of all worldviews.  Being is prior to knowing.  If nothing is there, then nothing can be known.  So, in defining theism, I began with God, defined as infinite and personal (triune), transcendent and immanent, omniscient, sovereign and good.  All else in theism stems from this commitment to a specific notion of what is fundamentally there. (pgs. 215-216)
But the postmodernist never digs deep enough to reach the bedrock of the spiritual dimension that supports the natural one.  They construct a worldview that does not consider all the facts of reality, thus the superficial premise of their argument inevitably leads to a wrong conclusion. 
Christianity teaches that our natures are grounded in God’s nature; postmodernism teaches that our natures are the ground.  Christianity sees man as made in God’s image; postmodernism sees God as made in man’s image.  The born again Christian, however, has a new nature with a restored image of God imprinted where once he had only a broken one; the postmodernist has only the broken one.  The God of Christianity ultimately supports only one creature; a new one born from a second Adam, Jesus Christ.  And Jesus Christ, because He is one hundred percent God and one hundred percent man, and the representative head of this new creature, becomes the sure foundation upon which a superstructure of a race of “supermen” can be built.  The unregenerate postmodernist, however, does not correctly interpret the facts, thus wrongly concludes that he/she can become a “supergod.”  They are correct in realizing the divine spark within, but wrong about how and what to do about it. Because they reject the fact of the fall they reject the remedy of Christ.  Having rejected the only solution to their problem (a problem that they no doubt have but will not acknowledge), the postmodernist ultimately concludes that they are both the creator and the creation; they become their own parents!  Of course, this absurd conclusion makes a caricature of reality as expressed in their description of god, themselves and the cosmos; since all life originates from them, and they are only as expansive as the limitations of their being, then the smallness of the world they create eventually tells on them.  They cannot break free from the gravity of their own worldview, and all the light of their understanding is bent inward and perverted by the self-absorbing force they have created.  Disguised as suns, these moons feign an emanation of light that is all moonshine and deception; suns alone generate light, not dead moons.  Of course, dead moons may be dead suns, and analogous to the spiritually dead postmodernist (which because there is yet a divine spark within them) believes that he/she can fuel his/her own life.  But, alas, their fuel is not sufficient for this divine spark to continue to flash; the day is coming when all shall be tested by fire and the postmodernist worldview will certainly be consumed, but their too-late-awakened eternal soul will forever be tormented in the conflagration. 
Compounding the problem is their confusion concerning the makeup or constitution of man.  Some postmodernists—and even some ignorant Christians—believe man to be comprised of two parts; most Christians, however, believe man to be comprised of three parts. One camp holds that man is dualistic (body and soul); the other, that man is tripartite (body, soul and spirit).  Since we are made in the image of God, and He is Triune, I believe man to be tripartite; and a reference from Scripture seems to support this position: “…and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved…” (1 Thessalonians 5:23).  Also, Watchman Nee, in his classic “The Spiritual Man” wrote:
The ordinary concept of the constitution of human beings is dualistic –soul and body.  According to this concept soul is the invisible inner spiritual part, while body is the visible outer corporal part.  Though there is some truth to this, it is nevertheless inaccurate.  Such an opinion comes from fallen man, not from God; apart from God’s revelation, no concept is dependable.  That the body is man’s outward sheath is undoubtedly correct, but the Bible never confuses spirit and soul as though they are the same.  Not only are they different in terms; their very natures differ from each other.  The Word of God does not divide man into the two parts of soul and body.  It treats man, rather, as tripartite –spirit, soul and body.  (Nee, 1968, pg.21)
Nee would go on to say that confusing the soul with the spirit and the spirit with the soul is to be expected by the average unregenerate  man, but for the average Christian to be just as confused is disturbing.  The spirit is the seat of “God-consciousness” (pg.26) consisting of these functions: conscience, intuition and communion.  The soul is the seat of “self-consciousness” (pg.26) consisting of mind, will and emotion.  When man first sinned he was suddenly self-conscious because God had disconnected from the organ of his spirit.  His God-consciousness died and he did too (immediately and over time).  He was now the center of his world and all he could rely upon emanated from him.  The mirror image of God within man had now been shattered and his nature, once spiritual, was now soulical.  His God consciousness faded and his self-consciousness grew.  He was now disfigured, out of all proportion to his original design by God.  Only God reconnecting to mankind could save them now, and with the introduction of Jesus Christ back into the stream of mankind, God did.  But many (and certainly the postmodernists) refuse the cure because the solution is outside of them.  Their self-consciousness has become flagrant selfishness without God (but that will be addressed in the next chapter).  Ultimately, any compatibility between postmodernism and Christianity that is built upon the soul of man without a true spiritual dimension becomes impossible when man is regenerated.  Once regenerated, he comes to life as God takes up residence within his spirit.  From his spirit he controls his body through the medium of his soul.  Now restored to his original design, darkness and light, postmodernism and Christianity, have no real ground for substantial compatibility.
The Interplay of Objective and Subjective Truth
God’s creation holds a vast store of wonder and truth that unfolds within the mind of the inquirer as he explores this cosmos.  But the microscopic view from which one scrutinizes the data found is clearer for some than others; preconceived bias colors and clouds resolution and affects the goal of objective interpretation. When our scientific probe yields no concrete answer it may be expedient and even enjoyable to speculate about non-results, however it is anti-scientific to do so.  Of course, this does not stop many from promoting their unfounded and unscientific theories, but their theories might better be classified as science fiction.  Francis A. Schaeffer, in A Christian Manifesto, was clearly appalled by what Carl Sagan masqueraded as scientific proof when he said this:
Then there was a shift into materialistic science based on a philosophic change to the materialistic concept of final reality.  This shift was based on no addition to the facts known.  It was a choice, in faith, to see things that way.  No clearer expression of this could be given than Carl Sagan’s arrogant statement on public television—made without any scientific proof for the statement—to 140 million viewers: “The cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be.”  He opened the series, Cosmos, with this essentially creedal declaration and went on to build every subsequent conclusion upon it.  (pg.4).
There is no doubt Carl Sagan had a tremendous influence upon the general public as his work helped to create an appetite for even more science fiction programming. About the time his series Cosmos aired, Star Trek, Lost in Space, and other programs had already been captivating many for years.   But the science fiction genre had not yet taken root; Sagan’s impact insured that it did.  It is plausible that the “last frontier” of space would have only captured the imagination of a few die-hard Star Trek fans had it not been for Carl Sagan.  His influence helped make shows like Star Trek and science fiction mainstream.
Having superficially defined man in naturalistic terms alone, the postmodernist embarks upon “the last frontier” of space and the cosmos presumptuously and with no ability to see anything objectively.  Establishing himself alone as the final authority in inquiry, he has elevated subjectivity to objective status. He thus nullifies any real scientific analysis because scientific analysis is intrinsically objective or it ceases to be scientific analysis.  The blinding nature of pride in holding stubbornly to one’s own view even in light of evidence to the contrary of that view is puzzling and illogical. Obviously, the selfishness they display is not grounded in logic alone, or they would change their mind when proof was given that demonstrated their error. In fairness to fallen man, they are correct in seeking more than a cerebral apprehension of the facts that constitute truth; they are wrong however in expecting to find it in nature and the cosmos from the naturalist standpoint. The unregenerate postmodern man feigns a search in what he deems to be the last frontier of space in the cosmos (but he lies to himself) because there remains within his own soul an enormous space that only the bigness of the real God can fill. Seems to me that the last frontier is not being explored by spaceships, but by the narcissistic postmodernist that believes the entire world is within his soul.  It used to be that selfishness was explained by having the external world revolve around one’s self; but the selfishness of today goes even further and will not acknowledge the external world at all!  Illusion to them is what they do not see; illusion to the Christian is what they do see. Consider for a moment a phenomenon that scientists know about, not by what they see, but what they do not see.  Black holes are theorized to occur when a planet or star implodes having exhausted its outgoing force.  Light itself cannot escape the gravity its own body produces.  Even what had once revolved around this planet or star is sucked irretrievably into the center of it, condensed beyond recognition, and lost forever.  The star of postmodernism is destined for this same destruction for the same reason.  Inverted light can never be revealed to an outside entity; thus, what we know about postmodernism is gleaned from those things we do not see.  Ironically, Sire titled his chapter on postmodernism “The Vanished Horizon.”  Sire also mentions postmodernism as “the last move of the modern,” (pg.212), and that sounds a lot like “check mate!” to me.
Ultimately, postmodernism and Christianity are not compatible in any substantial way because postmodernism insists on using what Christianity insists on discarding.  Like a snake that throws off its skin, so Christians are ever trying to shed their former outerwear and to express the mainspring of an inner life with God; the postmodernist inverts the process by shedding the mainspring of God and expresses their outerwear as though it were an inner life.  There is no way to get around the intrinsic human design that needs an eternal fuel to burn; in an attempt to “save their own skin” they refuse the booster rocket of Christ and are doomed to flame out and burn up upon reentry to earth.  Some postmodernists even intuitively know they are meant to soar and explore the heavens, but they often fail to realize the extent of their limitations in their present state.  They do not have the strength to break free from the gravity of their own overwhelming skin; because they refuse the meal of Christ’s flesh and blood, they are left to cannibalize themselves.  In the end, the shifting sand the postmodernist is building upon is fast becoming sifting sand in an hourglass that will no doubt be sucked downward into the bowels of hell if they do not look outside themselves for the answer.   But, alas, the postmodernist is like poor Jonah who tried to run from God; it took a near death experience in the belly of the great fish at the roots of the mountains to awaken him to this simple but profound revelation: “They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.”  (Jonah 2:8, KJV).    
  Sire, J. W. (2004).  The Universe Next Door.   Downers Grove, IL:  InterVarsity Press, USA.
  Nee, W. (1968). The Spiritual Man.  New York, NY:  Christian Fellowship Publishers, Inc.
  Schaeffer, F.A. (1981). A Christian Manifesto.  Westchester, IL:  Crossway Books

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Simple Christian

Who is as blind as the one God sends?
He has no agenda, no opinion;
He’s not ambitious, has no dominion;
Like an animal that cannot pretend,
A loner that follows no popular trend,
This, the man of God, the simple Christian,
Comes to you in varied loss of vision:
Light from darkness is hard to comprehend!

Forgive him, for he knows not what he does;
He hardly knows who he is, or who he was;
But it is truer in retrospection,
(Even further so upon reflection),
Within his spirit enlightenment flares,
Consuming inner darkness that impairs.