Paul's Passing Thoughts

“Godly” Philosophy

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on September 24, 2018

Originally published March 14, 2015

andy-profile-1I used to be in the camp that views “philosophy” as “worldly”, “man-centered”, “evil”; all of those things as juxtaposed with “Biblical wisdom”, or “scriptural”, or “God’s Wisdom”.  After all, it seemed to be a reasonable conclusion when confronted with verses of scripture like:

“Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:” ~ 1 Corinthians 1:20-28

What you choose to believe is a philosophical statement about what you believe about reality. Everyone has a philosophy whether they realize it or not. You cannot escape it. So to say that “philosophy is evil” is really a philosophy itself. It therefore unwittingly becomes its own metaphysical statement about man. If philosophy is evil, then man is evil because man has no relevance apart from his beliefs about reality. It should come as no surprise then that reformed theology holds such a metaphysical view of man with regard to its doctrine of total depravity. But that’s another topic altogether.

It is ironic that I had to get out of the church before I finally began to better understand just what the apostle Paul was addressing here with the Corinthians. Religious despots don’t see themselves as having “worldly wisdom”, but yet they are the very ones that Paul is criticizing. Religious orthodoxy is the epitome of “man’s wisdom”; crafted by the scholars and academics and elites who spend their years in seminary and other institutes of religious training for the so-called “right” that they think they have purchased for themselves in order to rule over the unenlightened.

I have come to realize that the notion of philosophy being evil is nothing more that organized religion’s attempt to keep man beholden to it; to keep him enslaved; to keep him from thinking. Those of us who call ourselves “Christians” must begin to shed this false notion of philosophy. Philosophy deals with things such as reality and the nature of existence. To believe God and what He tells us in His word is our own philosophical statement. It stems from our rational, thinking mind; a mind that is part of a creature made in the very image of God, made for the purpose of thinking and reasoning and coming to rational conclusions. I implore believers everywhere to consider what God Himself has told us: “Come, let us reason together.”

Andy

“Godly” Philosophy

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on September 22, 2016

Originally published March 14, 2015

andy-profile-1I used to be in the camp that views “philosophy” as “worldly”, “man-centered”, “evil”; all of those things as juxtaposed with “Biblical wisdom”, or “scriptural”, or “God’s Wisdom”.  After all, it seemed to be a reasonable conclusion when confronted with verses of scripture like:

“Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:” ~ 1 Corinthians 1:20-28

What you choose to believe is a philosophical statement about what you believe about reality. Everyone has a philosophy whether they realize it or not. You cannot escape it. So to say that “philosophy is evil” is really a philosophy itself. It therefore unwittingly becomes its own metaphysical statement about man. If philosophy is evil, then man is evil because man has no relevance apart from his beliefs about reality. It should come as no surprise then that reformed theology holds such a metaphysical view of man with regard to its doctrine of total depravity. But that’s another topic altogether.

It is ironic that I had to get out of the church before I finally began to better understand just what the apostle Paul was addressing here with the Corinthians. Religious despots don’t see themselves as having “worldly wisdom”, but yet they are the very ones that Paul is criticizing. Religious orthodoxy is the epitome of “man’s wisdom”; crafted by the scholars and academics and elites who spend their years in seminary and other institutes of religious training for the so-called “right” that they think they have purchased for themselves in order to rule over the unenlightened.

I have come to realize that the notion of philosophy being evil is nothing more that organized religion’s attempt to keep man beholden to it; to keep him enslaved; to keep him from thinking. Those of us who call ourselves “Christians” must begin to shed this false notion of philosophy. Philosophy deals with things such as reality and the nature of existence. To believe God and what He tells us in His word is our own philosophical statement. It stems from our rational, thinking mind; a mind that is part of a creature made in the very image of God, made for the purpose of thinking and reasoning and coming to rational conclusions. I implore believers everywhere to consider what God Himself has told us: “Come, let us reason together.”

Andy

“Godly” Philosophy

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on March 14, 2015

andy-profile-1I used to be in the camp that views “philosophy” as “worldly”, “man-centered”, “evil”; all of those things as juxtaposed with “Biblical wisdom”, or “scriptural”, or “God’s Wisdom”.  After all, it seemed to be a reasonable conclusion when confronted with verses of scripture like:

“Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:” ~ 1 Corinthians 1:20-28

What you choose to believe is a philosophical statement about what you believe about reality. Everyone has a philosophy whether they realize it or not. You cannot escape it. So to say that “philosophy is evil” is really a philosophy itself. It therefore unwittingly becomes its own metaphysical statement about man. If philosophy is evil, then man is evil because man has no relevance apart from his beliefs about reality. It should come as no surprise then that reformed theology holds such a metaphysical view of man with regard to its doctrine of total depravity. But that’s another topic altogether.

It is ironic that I had to get out of the church before I finally began to better understand just what the apostle Paul was addressing here with the Corinthians. Religious despots don’t see themselves as having “worldly wisdom”, but yet they are the very ones that Paul is criticizing. Religious orthodoxy is the epitome of “man’s wisdom”; crafted by the scholars and academics and elites who spend their years in seminary and other institutes of religious training for the so-called “right” that they think they have purchased for themselves in order to rule over the unenlightened.

I have come to realize that the notion of philosophy being evil is nothing more that organized religion’s attempt to keep man beholden to it; to keep him enslaved; to keep him from thinking. Those of us who call ourselves “Christians” must begin to shed this false notion of philosophy. Philosophy deals with things such as reality and the nature of existence. To believe God and what He tells us in His word is our own philosophical statement. It stems from our rational, thinking mind; a mind that is part of a creature made in the very image of God, made for the purpose of thinking and reasoning and coming to rational conclusions. I implore believers everywhere to consider what God Himself has told us: “Come, let us reason together.”

Andy

The Church’s In-House Persecution for the Offence of Thinking

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on July 26, 2014

ppt-jpeg4We hear much ado in our day about Christians being persecuted overseas and in this country as well. However, an often-missed persecution going on in the evangelical church is against their own parishioners for free thinking and inductive thinking in general. Yours truly was ridiculed for years within the institutional church for expanding my religious vocabulary. Often said to me was, “Listen here brother, is this a Sunday school or a seminary?” “Brother, don’t give me big words, just give me Jesus.” These complaints are often lodged by Christians with post graduate degrees in the liberal arts. Why? This is because of the traditional dichotomy between faith and knowledge in Protestantism. “Why is there such a dichotomy?” That’s a great interpretive question that we will pursue, and the answer is not difficult, yet troubling.

Christians being excommunicated for asking too many questions and wanting answers to boot is a literal epidemic in this country. It starts with a simple question in regard to something heard in the teaching, and the non-answer given. This makes the inquisitor suspicious and uncomfortable—making them think something about their church isn’t exactly square. This leads to persistence as a matter of trust, and things escalate from there. From the viewpoint of this ministry, for whatever reason, it is primarily wives who won’t back down. And for whatever reason in our day, Christian women are at the forefront of discernment hands down. This results in men being threatened with church discipline if “you don’t get your wife under control.” Again, this is presently an epidemic in the evangelical church.

Be sure of this: the evangelical church is anti-intellectual, and this is often the valid argument launched against it by atheists. Since my interest in the connection between inductive reasoning and the Bible, many opportunities for dialogue with atheists have opened up to me. I am finding that many of these “atheists” believe that there is a God, but were raised in the church and taught that faith and reason are mutually exclusive; so, being unwilling to part with reason, they reject Christianity altogether.

Where does this belief that is akin to Eastern mysticism come from; the belief that reason and faith are mutually exclusive? It came from the founder and hero of our Protestant faith, Martin Luther. Luther believed that the material world is evil and only the invisible is good. Reason is alright for worldly matters, or matter itself, but reason and faith are mutually exclusive. Luther despised the application of reason to faith calling reason an “ugly whore who should have dung rubbed in her face to make her ugly.” So, rigorous learning regarding the liberal arts is admirable, but such learning applied to faith is spiritual whoredom, and my friends, that is exactly how evangelicals function in our day.

Point in case: some years ago, I knew a very educated Christian who would come unglued when someone used improper grammar. However, the same individual continually complained to the leadership of our church in regard to my teaching; i.e., the use of words like “justification” and “sanctification” that are specific words found in the Bible. To explain what was behind those words (that are in the Bible), was “deep theology” and “50-cent” theological words beyond the understanding of “hurting sheep” who need “relevant food” and “encouragement.”

And what is a Christian’s deepest need? Luther taught that there was only one thing that the material world was good for; its suffering. Man is unable to understand reality, or do any good, but if he increased faith by being a student of suffering, the goodness of the invisible world would be imputed to the material world. Faith can be expanded to an increased wellbeing through experiencing the invisible world regardless of circumstances on earth. For Luther, this necessarily meant a focus on the cross of Christ and His suffering.

Luther believed that this was the sole purpose for God sending His only Son to the cross; that the mysteries of the gospel would be revealed through its suffering. Hence, the cross is an avatar gate to the mysteries of the invisible world. Luther stated that “knowledge of God is hidden in suffering” symbolized by the cross. Christ was a sort of aviator that that set the example of suffering as a way to experience the wellbeing of the invisible. To “take up your cross and follow me” meant the pursuit of suffering for present wellbeing. This is why the cross is the dominate icon of Western religion, it symbolizes the suffering that we should live by.

As a result, inductive Bible study has been shunned for the most part in evangelicalism. The Reformers saw the Bible as God’s tool for a deeper understanding of Christ’s suffering, and suffering in general. This has often brought the charge from the world at large that Christianity is a “bloody religion.” In our usual cluelessness, we assume the complaint is against the onetime sacrifice of Christ on the cross, but it isn’t, the complaint is against suffering as a lifestyle.

This is so ingrained in the psyche of the Western church that church has become all about our guilt for not suffering, and glorying in suffering when it comes as “God’s will.” It even affects prayer life to the point where prayer is rarely about Christian living, but is an extensive laundry list of who is suffering. And, a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend who has some kind of problem is no wise excluded from the list. It’s bizarre, after praying for every suffering soul from coast to coast, many of whom we have never met, it’s time for singing joyful hymns, and the “worship” leader is perplexed about why people are down and not lifting their voices up in praise.

Christian counseling is a multi-million dollar para-church business, and why wouldn’t it be when Christians are taught en masse to live a death-centered life? At least secular psychologists live off of whatever the ebb and flow of society produces; Christian culture is in a unique position of producing its own depression. No wonder then that prophets of the positive like Joel Osteen are all the rage—it’s bound to be a cultural pushback against a religious culture of death. The Bible is clear: we are to “dwell” on what is honorable and “true.” Death, failure, and sin in and of themselves do not define a true assessment of life—a death-centered life is simply not true, and we are not called to lead a life defined by death.

Nevertheless this counseling will seem to work because it calls on Christians to view this present material life as worthless. Not only that, it insinuates that the material world is really a worthless illusion. Indifference to the reality of life is then interpreted as being unmoved by the challenges of life; right, because it is a philosophy that causes us to be unmoved by life in general, and that includes compassion.

The most popular method of Bible interpretation in our day is the Redemptive Historical hermeneutic which teaches that all reality should be interpreted through redemption, or the cross. It gets right back to interpreting the Bible via Luther’s Theology of the Cross. All life events are predetermined by God and serve to show us our worthlessness as set against God’s holiness which elevates our gratitude for salvation. Therefore, to draw wisdom from the pages of Scripture inductively supposedly circumvents the intended purpose of the Scriptures. Again, a dichotomy is made between wisdom that is suitable for worldly affairs and spiritual considerations, but such practical wisdom is no heavenly good for anything. Hence, using the Bible to obtain wisdom for living life is discouraged. Keep in mind that the following excerpt is taken from a sermon preached in a conservative Baptist church:

So as Paul is addressing them, he says, “Look, your concerns are worldly. You have a worldly vision. And so when you make decisions, what do you do? You make decisions that will help you to pursue this kind of worldly end.” And know what’s been happening in this church. There’s strife, there’s division, there’s quarrelling, all because they are pursuing an agenda of achieving their own ends. Now in this respect, for example, I would consider my father as a wise person. Now my father is not a believer, and he’s not particularly well educated. But when he gives me advice, he understands this is what you really need to do if you wanna accomplish these goals or these ends. And so he’s pretty good at stuff like that. But it’s not a vision of the good that would be considered necessarily a godly vision. But he’s wise in a worldly sense.

So, practical wisdom that is useful in the world is mutually exclusive from biblical wisdom which is the “vision of the good” (a Platonist term by the way). Therefore, the Bible is not to be studied in order to find wisdom, it is merely a tool for gospel contemplationism. Yet another anti-reason statement by an evangelical was sent to me just a couple of days ago by email:

As Americans, we believe in debate…………

In fact, many in the Christian community would do well to understand the risks of a debate structure in answering challenges.  Politics, work situations, community organizations, even families suffer certain risks from debate-structure discussions.

Ultimately a debate is an attempt to convince by reason.  Christian concepts are usually not learned or understood by reason, particularly reason alone.  An appeal to reason in the garden was what got us in this mess in the first place. The serpent simply questioned details of the truth until Eve’s reason took over and made a decision.  When faced with the details or logistics of miraculous events, for example, reason struggles.  We may debate the reality of a world-wide flood in the days of Noah, but when the details of feeding the animals or cleaning the ark, they become troubled.  The mind wants to be able to understand these simple things, rather than release them to the miracle.  Debates give the impression that truth can be rationally discerned, when the Scripture tells us otherwise.

Statements like this from mainline evangelicals should send cold chills running up and down our backs. Moreover, those who believe in utilizing reason to understand the Bible are persecuted outright in the church. The same people who bemoan persecution of Christians disdain those within the church who do not share their mysticism. Perhaps Dr. Robert Condon has best clarified the issue: to know definitively is to be accountable. Will people really stand before Christ and say…“I didn’t know, the only thing I ever knew was the cross and you crucified. I’m sorry, but I didn’t know, I didn’t want to be puffed up and unloving”?

Apparently, it’s likely that will be the case.

paul

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