Paul's Passing Thoughts

Some Clarification on Adams’ Assertion That the Mind Cannot be Sick

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on September 23, 2013

I have received some significant pushback for posting the following quote by Jay Adams:

Correction: The quotation is from Donn Arms, an associate of  Jay Adams at the Institute for Nouthetic Studies (INS).

Folks let’s get this straight. The mind is not a physical organ. It cannot have a disease or illness except in a metaphorical sense as in a sick economy or a sick joke.

Typhoid fever — disease

Spring fever — not a disease

Scarlet fever — disease

Bieber fever — not a disease

Most of the pushback pertains to a rejection of the idea that the brain is not an organ, but Adams isn’t saying that the brain isn’t an organ; he is saying that the mind isn’t an organ.

I haven’t done a lot of study in this area, but I have done enough to know that some solid conclusions can be drawn from such a study because the Bible, as well as medical professionals make a distinction between the mind and the brain.

Everyone agrees that the mind, unlike the brain, is not observable; hence, the field of Psychology. This is a whole different matter than brain malfunctions that are physical. The fact that there are at least 200 different Psychology theories should speak to the fact that this enters into the realm of theory. One may also note that the most popular theory, Freudian Depth Psychology, perceives the human conscience in a very negative way. And that is very dangerous.

Here we have yet another area of wisdom where Christians are far too ignorant. It is also another fusion debate; in this case, the fusion of medical science and psychology. In other words, the fusion of science and theory. Psychology is mostly theory; psychologists barely agree on anything.

I am not going to preach out of school here, but Christians need to think carefully in regard to the idea that the mind can be sick. Certainly, the mind can be hindered by the brain, but is the mind susceptible to sickness like physical organs? Can the mind catch a cold? The reason we need to think carefully about this is because the Bible explains the mind as that part of the Christian that is redeemed.

Not only is this an area that is biblically defined with many dots that can be connected, it is a paramount consideration with vast implications for the Christian. Another huge elephant in the sanctuary is whether or not the Christian mind is actually redeemed. Our Protestant fathers said, “no.” 90% of all biblical counseling in our day is predicated on the idea that the mind cannot be renewed. Therefore, actions that please God cannot flow from the inner self to outward action.* Many pastors, while not understanding these trends and issues, attempt to counsel parishioners from a contrary mindset. The pastor speaks, and the parishioner hears something totally different because of indoctrination by parachurch organizations like NANC and CCEF with secular psychology as science to boot.  Any pastor who doesn’t deem these issues worthy of focus and understanding is functioning in ineptness.

The Bible in fact states that the “mind” of the Christian is regenerated and is the engine behind new creaturehood. Christians are promised that with proper cooperation with the Holy Spirit, the mind can be “renewed.” This is not only a biblical promise; we are commanded to renew our minds with the study and application of Scripture.  If the medical model regarding the mind is true, all bets are off—every vestige of spiritual growth is now ambiguous. And look at the contemporary church if you want to see the results of biblical ambiguity.

Christians error woefully by letting the theories of “experts” inform their lives on this issue. And the church owes Adams an immense debt of gratitude for bringing this issue to the forefront.

paul

*The fundamental thesis is that faith can only look outward to goodness outside of us, resulting in experiencing the obedience of Christ imputed to us while not being a participant in goodness that pleases God. This formula enables the Christian to live by faith alone—the same faith that saved us. So, faith is like an eye, it can only look outward to what isn’t inside of us. Any inward look is the dreaded, “existentialism” that is the unpardonable sin in our day.

And the results? Consider the following quote by “Pastor” James MacDonald:

“Why spend your life doing something neither required by the Lord, nor welcomed by others? Frankly, I gave up the job a while back, but felt constrained to make my decision known to all who read this blog. Don’t be disappointed if you don’t see me at my post, I am really done this time. Yes, for me it’s over. No more fixing people—I resign ” (James MacDonald: My Resignation; April 30, 2013, The Vertical Church blog. Online source,  http://jamesmacdonald.com/blog/my-resignation/).

MacDonald then goes on to explain, in essence, that it is his job to primarily show forth more Jesus, and as folks gaze on that, Christ will either change them or not change them according to His sovereign will. Like the vast majority of pastors in our day, MacDonald has merely returned to Luther’s radical construct that often brought the charge of  antinomianism from his contemporaries (Martin Luther wrote down the following disturbing sentence in one of his letters to Melancthon in 1521: “Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ more strongly, who triumphed over sin, death, and the world; as long as we live here, we must sin.”).

TANC and PPT Statement on the Authority of the Bible

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on September 15, 2012

1. The Bible is God’s direct revelation to mankind in written form. It is His full statement on all wisdom that mankind needs to be informed for life and godliness. That is, all life issues, and how to live life according to the character of God. The Bible informs us on how to think like God in regard to life, and to respond to life in ways that are pleasing to Him.

2 Peter 1:3

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

John 17:17

Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.

2. God used man to write the Bible as they were born along by the Holy Spirit. Despite the use of man’s many faceted personalities, and individual uniqueness and ideas, the Holy Spirit superintended the final outcome of ideas to insure men who love God propagated the truth through their writings.

2 Peter 1:20,21

Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

3. The Bible contains its own hermeneutic and epistemology. In other words, the Bible informs man on how to interpret itself. All suggestions on methods of interpretation that come from outside of the Bible are suspect. For instance, the author of the book of Matthew states that the audience who heard Jesus preach the Sermon on the Mount were “taught” by Him (Matthew 5:2). This assumes that they had all the necessary tools within themselves at that time to receive the information and use it for the stated purpose: to have a life that is like a house built on a rock (Matthew 7:24). Therefore, any in-depth analysis of the Sermon on Mount that yields propositions that seem to contradict the plain sense of it should be immediately suspect.   

Other examples follow (emphasis by underline added):

1 Corinthians 10:6

Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.

1 Corinthians 10:11

These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come.

Nehemiah 13:26

Was it not because of marriages like these that Solomon king of Israel sinned? Among the many nations there was no king like him. He was loved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel, but even he was led into sin by foreign women.

Matthew 13:36

[The Parable of the Weeds Explained ] Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”

Matthew 15:15

Peter said, “Explain the parable to us.”

Galatians 4:24

Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar.

Revelation 1:20

The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

Revelation 17:7

Then the angel said to me: “Why are you astonished? I will explain to you the mystery of the woman and of the beast she rides, which has the seven heads and ten horns.

Daniel 2:28

but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. He has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come. Your dream and the visions that passed through your mind as you were lying in bed are these:

Daniel 2:45

This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands—a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces. “The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy.”

The Bible interprets itself through a variety of means.

4. God colabored with man to write the Scriptures, and He also colabores with man to preserve the intended meaning of Scripture. But the latter is assured because of God’s involvement. The preservation of meaning is superintended by God. Through built-in methods of transmitting the Bible that repeat meaning in different ways, cross referencing exposes accidental error in translation as well as ill intent.

Matthew 5:18

For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.

Matthew 4:4

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’ ”[It must therefore be assumed that it is preserved].

2 Peter 3:16

He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

5. The Bible is clearly the Christian’s guide for determining all truth.

Matthew 22:29

Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.

Acts 17:2

As was his custom, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures,

Romans 15:4

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.

1 Corinthians 15:3

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance : that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,

1 Corinthians 15:4

that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

1 Corinthians 4:6

Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.” Then you will not be puffed up in being a follower of one of us over against the other.

1 Corinthians 7:19

Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God’s commands is what counts.

Romans 4:3

For what saith the scripture?

6. The Bible does not necessarily concern itself with facts concerning every aspect and activity in life, but does address how a Christian should think and believe with the goal of glorifying God. The Bible doesn’t teach us how to fix a car, but it does teach us how to be God’s kind of auto mechanic, husband, school teacher, construction worker, etc.

Matthew 5:16

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

1 Corinthians 10:31

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

2 Timothy 2:15

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

7. The Bible is completely sufficient for all wisdom that the Christian needs to live a life pleasing to God, and the renewing of the mind.

Matthew 4:4

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”

2 Timothy 3:16, 17

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

8. Only biblical wisdom and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit can transform and renew the mind.

Ephesians 4:23

and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind,

Ephesians 4:17

So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind,

9. Worldly wisdom may be descriptive, but is not prescriptive for any matter of life, and particularly godliness. Worldly wisdom or the sciences of living so-called cannot aid the Christian because they are not spiritually discerning.

1Corintians 2:14

The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.

1 Corinthians 1:20

Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

10. Christians are to protect the Bible and contend against every thought in ourselves and others that lift themselves up against the knowledge of God. The word usually translated “observe” (tereo) in Matthew 28:20 (Christ’s mandate to the church) means to watch over or protect.

2 Corinthians 10:5

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.

11. The Bible calls itself “the mind of Christ.”  

1Corinthians 2:16

for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord

so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

12. In times past, and as God used man to build upon His word, other means were used to communicate His truth. But in these latter days, Scripture is the sole authority.

Hebrews 1:1, 2

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.

2 Peter 1:16-21

For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.  He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.

We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

13. The Bible is the paramount authority in the life of each believer.

1 Corinthians 11:1

Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

Galatians 1:8

But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!

Acts 17:11

Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

1 Peter 2:5

you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

14. A finished superintended canon is implied by biblical warnings to not add or take away from the Bible. Additions to the Bible throughout history were always qualified by special acts of God and confirmed by biblical prophecy from prior texts. God has always warned mankind to not add or take away from whatever was complete revelation for that time.

Revelation 22:18

I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll.

Deuteronomy 4:2

You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take anything from it.

Psalms 119:160

The entirety of Your word is truth.

Proverbs 30:6

Add thou not unto His words, lest He reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.

15. Trust in God and His written word are synonymous.

Proverbs 30:5,6

Every word of God is pure; he is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.

Matthew 4:4

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.

Luke 11:27,28

Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.” He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

16. Only scriptural truth sanctifies. 

John 17:17

Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.

17. God expects mankind, and especially Christians to colabor in understanding truth.

Matthew 7:7

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

Matthew 6:33

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

1 Peter 1:10

Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, 11 trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow. 12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.

18. Works of the law are written on the hearts of all and executed by the conscience. Christians are to use the Bible (specific revelation) to keep a clear conscience.

Romans 2:14,15

(Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.)

1 Timothy 1:5

The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

1 Timothy 1:19

holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith.

1 Timothy 3:9

They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience.

1 Timothy 4:2

Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.

2 Timothy 1:3

I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers.

19.  The Bible contains the only truth concerning hidden things of the heart or psychology of the mind. 

For example: Do people feign mental illness to escape bad situations?

1 Samuel 21: 12-15

David took these words to heart and was very much afraid of Achish king of Gath.  So he pretended to be insane in their presence; and while he was in their hands he acted like a madman, making marks on the doors of the gate and letting saliva run down his beard. Achish said to his servants, “Look at the man! He is insane! Why bring him to me? Am I so short of madmen that you have to bring this fellow here to carry on like this in front of me? Must this man come into my house?”

Another example is the fact that in the vast majority of cases where people are helped by psychology, they are simply taught to stop violating their consciences (see point #18). 

Another example would be,  how to have assurance of salvation. Worldy psychology can do nothing in regard to this subject as only one example among many: 

2 Peter 1:5-11

 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.  For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

20. God’s word is His full philosophical statement to man throughout the ages and revealed according to mans need at the time. Prior to the 6th century, the only alternative was mythology. Plato’s Academy was the first institution of supposed higher learning that created a philosophical statement for which man could attempt to live by. It has been the most formidable contention against God’s word since, and is the source for most pretensions that lift themselves up against the knowledge of God. Most psychological theory of our day can be traced back to the Sophists of ancient Greece.

21. All facts are not God’s truth.

There is a thinking crisis in our culture that is greatly compounded in the church because faith is often a license for subjectivity; an inability to think coupled with an attitude that pragmatism is the antithesis of spirituality. Especially in Reformed circles, knowing things and being solution oriented =’s “arrogance.”

Propositions are judged by how good they sound, or how logical they sound, or if the hearing thereof incites a stimulating chemical reaction in the brain that we seem to like.

All truth is God’s truth; is that true? No. However, the following is true: that truism has led many to destruction. Why? Because it assumes truth is the same as facts, and it doesn’t understand that all teaching is a process of propositions that lead to a conclusion. And, logic always yields the same results.

“Dr. John Doe has said many valid things here; I would only disagree with this point or that point.”

Facts and truth are two different things. Facts are usually passive and an elementary part of a larger schema. 2+2=4 is a fact, and a tree is a fact, but unlike truth, they are morally neutral and can rarely take you anyplace by themselves. Truth has a moral aspect, and usually has a purpose in mind. Jesus Christ is not merely a fact, though His existence is certainly factual—He is “The Truth.” He is the epitome of all that is good and gives life.

When the serpent deceived Eve in the garden, he used facts to take her to a rejection of the truth. The fact that Eve was not going to die on the spot after eating the apple was a fact. Satan presented many facts to Jesus when he tempted Him in the wilderness, but the goal wasn’t truth. Does that make the facts God’s truth? Hardly.

True facts that lead to untruth are not God’s truth, because God’s truth always equals life and has that end in mind. Sub truth, or facts, are only as true as what they yield whether life or death. When ill motives are attached to a fact, it is still fact, but it isn’t truth because the fact was used for ill intent. Truth has a moral qualification.

It is not a good idea to sit under the tutelage of Satan because he espouses facts that are undeniable—his facts never lead to truth, he is “the father of lies.”

“Satan has said many valid things here. I agree that Psalms 9:11,12 states that the angels will bear Jesus up. However, I disagree with his suggestion that Jesus should have jumped off the temple pinnacle.”

Really? That’s nice.

Secondly, each proposition that builds up to the conclusion needs to be evaluated. Sub points need to be true and they need to fit together logically to affirm the conclusion. When we have some disagreement on a point in a message or teaching, the possible application of it for another conclusion should be irrelevant. It needs to be judged according to its proposition and contribution to the conclusion at hand. Not all incorrect propositions on the way to a conclusion do irreparable damage to the conclusion, but it’s rare.

Thirdly, Philosophy forms logic which always leads to the same results. All “truth” teachers have a philosophy. All teaching seeks to lead you to a conclusion. Conclusions form logic and lead to action. Hence, “….the student will be like his teacher.”

Philosophy is metaphysics (what we believe about reality and being), epistemology (the theory of how we come to know what we know, or how we obtain knowledge), ethics (the moral application of what we know), and politics (how we use what we know to relate to others, or how we communicate it). The first two elements of philosophy always determine ethics and politics. Often, behavior reveals the philosophy: “….by their fruits you will know them.”

This is exactly why we categorize teachers and reject all that they say out of hand because once their philosophy is revealed, we know where the logic will always take us. Even if some of what they say is factual, the conclusions they want to take you to are based on the philosophy. Therefore, their factual stepping stones are only relevant to the truth or error that is the goal, and for all practical purposes, the same value is placed on the propositions leading to the conclusion. Hence, the biblical prescription for those who have errant philosophy: “AVOID THEM,” and, “Do not allow them into your home or bid them God’s speed.”

Therefore, facts that are part of a conclusion that is a lie have no moral value and are not truth, but part of a deception.

This is the folly of sitting under the teachings of people with errant philosophy, or even greeting them: even the facts that they present are intended to lead to untruthful conclusions. So no, all truth is not God’s truth. God’s truth always has a good ending. Scripture states plainly to completely avoid anyone with errant philosophy.

How you would then glean what is “good” from their teachings while “leaving what’s bad on the shelf,” or “eat the chicken and throw away the bones” is a mystery to me. God forbids that the chicken is even in our house and disallows the use of our shelves.

paul

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