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Doctrine of Spirituality, False Systems

July 23, 2010

False Systems of Spirituality:

The key here is, if the unbeliever can do it, then it is not spirituality.

1.        Morality: Morality was designed for the human race, not just for Christians. Morality is enforced by law and by social norms and standards and by social ostracism. Sometimes morality lines up with the norms and standards of the Bible and sometimes it does not. As a society, we have moved from a time when spanking was common and expected to a society where one can even be investigated for spanking (too hard, too often). However, even if one tries to live by 9 or 10 of the Ten Commandments or if one attempts to follow the morality that they get out of the Sermon on the Mount, the end result is a better person and a better life, but it is not spirituality. Society requires boundaries, limits and some sort of morality in order ot survive. Since we interact with people, we cannot function as just looking out for number one—there have to be rules of interaction. But, whatever laws, rules or standards are adhered to, they are not spirituality, as both believers and unbelievers must follow these rules.

Now, as an aside, let me deal with the half-witted statement you can’t legislate morality. We legislate morality all of the time. If a city chooses not to allow a pornography bookstore next door to an elementary school, that is legislating morality; if a community does not allow a house of prostitution to set up in the middle of a neighborhood, that is legislating morality. If we decide that murder is a bad thing and we pass laws against it, that is legislating morality. To me, prosecuting someone for what they think is the stupidest thing in the world, even if what they are thinking is sinful. However, our society has chosen to do so by passing ridiculous hate crimes legislation. And I will guarantee you that some of the people who parrot “You can’t legislate morality” support hate crimes legislation. The Bible clearly teaches that what you think can be sinful and 3 of the top 7 sins in the Bible are sins which occur in the mind; however, in my opinion, the law needs to concern itself with actions and not with thoughts, as did the societal laws of the Mosaic Law. It may be wrong to hate gays or African Americans, but legislating against that is foolish.

2.        Emotionalism: “I feel spiritual” or “I do things which make me feel spiritual” and therefore, I am spiritual. Your emotions are what allow you to appreciate life. Believers and unbelievers have emotions; believers and unbelievers feel happy, sad, ecstatic, down in the dumps, angry, etc. We go through life feeling a myriad of emotions and some of us even let our emotions guide us through life; but what we feel is not spirituality.

It is dangerous when a believer in Jesus Christ allows their emotions intermingled with their experiences to define for them spirituality. I know a lot of people in the tongues movement, some of whom are wonderful individuals, and many of whom live very good lives. However, we cannot allow spirituality to be defined by how we feel or be an experience which makes us feel spiritual, close to God, or whatever. The Bible lays out objective facts and clear mechanics. Going outside these mechanics is not Biblical.

As an aside, the entire tongues movement is built upon one verse and one verse only: 1Cor. 13:1. If you take this verse away, the entire charismatic movement collapses. The fundamental doctrines of your faith should never be based upon just one verse. Now, to cut the charismatics some slack, I have never heard this verse properly exegeted, apart from my own writings (I hope that Bobby gets it right when he comes to it). Paul in this verse is making a logical, progressive argument, and he is not saying that believers will speak with the tongues of angels.

In any case, the big problem with charismatic churches is, they have an experience gotten by mechanics not found in the Bible, and then they support this experience with a dozen verses, taken out of context. In all of the discussions I have had with charismatics, it often comes down to, “Well, if you would just allow yourself to experience what I have experience, then you would know it is from God.” And, what they experience is directly tied to their emotions. I have covered the Doctrine of Tongues in great detail already.

The experience of tongues occurs outside Christian religions as well as within most Christian denominations and sects. Similar experiences are found throughout religions which are steeped in emotionalism.

3.        Personality imitation: A church is sometimes led by a person with a very strong personality. This is not good or bad, it just is. However, we are not spiritual because we act like the pastor. I attended Berachah Church when Bob Thieme Jr. was the pastor, and he had a strong personality, to put it mildly—particularly during the first 25 or so years of his ministry. Despite his clear teaching against personality imitation, there were those who acted like little Thiemes, some of whom, from what I understand, taught in the prep school, running their classes as if they were drill sergeants. I attended one church where the women of the church clearly imitated the voice and vocal inflections of the pastor’s wife. Not only did they salt and pepper their conversation with praise the Lord (usaing way too much salt, in my opinion), but they sounded just like the pastor’s wife when they did it. You might be outgoing, you might be withdrawn; you may be happy and bouncing on your toes all the time and you might be somber and straight-faced; you may like to read books and you may bored to death with reading a book—you’re personality is unique, it is the result of a multitude of factors, and, aside from it being sinful in one way or another (e.g., you tend to hate everyone you meet), your personality is separate from your spiritual life. God uses all kinds of personalities and nowhere in the Bible are we told to change our personality or to copy someone else’s personality.

4.        Spirituality by feeling sorry for your sins: This seems like something which should be a good thing. If sin is bad then feeling bad about doing bad should be good. Again, these are your emotions. How you feel about your sins is inconsequential. Sometimes you are going to feel badly or guilty about committing sins and sometimes you won’t. You might even rationalize away the sins which you commit and don’t feel badly about. But how you feel is not the basis of spirituality.

There are two words found in the New Testament which help us out here: repentance and regrets. The Greek word is metamélomai.(μεταμέλομαι) [pronounced meh-tah-MEH-loh-my]. This is made up of two Greek words: metá (μετά) [pronounced meh-TAH], which means (among other things) to change. Strong’s #3326. The other half of the word is mélô (μέλω) [pronounced MEH-loh], which means to have concern, to regret. Strong’s #3199. Together, they mean to change one’s mind or purpose after having done something regrettable, to feel remorse; to desire to undo something you have done. If you are a believer who is confused about salvation, then right now, you are thinking to yourself what’d I say? Metamélomai is often translated to feel remorse, to regret. We do not find it in conjunction with passages dealing with salvation, Footnote but we do find Judas regretting his betrayal of our Lord (Matt. 27:3), recognizing that he had betrayed innocent blood. He was so upset over this, he committed suicide (Matt. 27:5). Furthermore, Judas was not saved (John 13:11–12). Strong’s #3338. When most believers use the word repent, what they actually mean is this word metamélomai. You sin and then you feel badly about having sinned—you feel remorse and regret. However, when the we find the word repent in the Bible, it is often the Greek word metanoéô (μετανοέω) [pronounced meh-tah-noh-EH-oh], and this word means to change one’s thinking, to change one’s mind. This is the word that we find repeatedly as a part of salvation. The key is whatever it is that we are to change our minds about, which is generally found in context. However, when we do not have an obvious target, then it means to either change one’s mind about Jesus Christ (we all had preconceived ideas as to Who He was; and we are to change those to recognizing Him as our Savior) or we are to change our minds about our dead works—that is, the things that we have accumulated in order to get us into heaven (Heb. 6:1; spoken of, in that context, as being one of the fundamentals of the faith). Do we find this word associated with sin? Not really; in the gospels, it usually stands alone. Footnote

These two words (actually, their cognates) are found in 2Cor. 7:7–10, and therein contrasted, but this is one passage that very few English translations get right. This is too much of a tangent for me to get into, but R. B. Thieme Jr. covers this contrast correctly and in reasonable detail in Rebound Revisited. However, if you check that passage, it literally reads μετανοιαν…αμεταμελητον, which means a change of mind…without regrets. The sorrow or grief referred to in that passage is a recognition of having sinned and being out of fellowship.

5.        Making Christ the Lord of your life: Of the false systems of spirituality, this sounds the most holy. Jesus was once just your Savior and now, presto, He is the Lord of your life. Now, recognize what is going on here: this is a believer who has decided to begin obeying Scripture more often than they used to. Is that a good decision? Of course it it! Anyone who more closely aligns himself with the Bible is going to be better off, believer or unbeliever. However, such a person will continue to sin, and when they sin, they need to rebound. And just in case you did not know it, Jesus has always been and will always be the Lord of your life, whether you believe that or not.

6.        Rededicating your life/walking down an aisle: These actions are close to the previous point. Generally, what happens is, we have stopped going to church, we have started to behave sinfully to a point where it begins to shock us. We go into a church or into an evangelistic meeting, we recognize that we are screwing our lives up, and so, we rededicate our lives or we walk forward or walk down an aisle. Now, there is nothing wrong with changing your mind about how you are living your life; but there is no substitute for rebound. Satan attacks people in two ways: (1) he attempts to blind their minds to the gospel and, after a person is saved, (2) Satan attempts to get them to swerve from the spiritual life. The result is, we have millions of believers who have their own methods when it comes to spirituality. They either ignore what is in the Bible or they distort what is in the Bible and they follow these other false forms of spirituality instead. The Christian life is not a do-it-yourself operation; it is not a matter of finding what works for you or what makes you feel good. It is a matter of following the Bible and the mechanics laid out in the Bible. How in the world can you call Christ the Lord of your life, or rededicate your life to God, and then ignore His clear mandates. If we acknowledge our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. It is clear and unambiguous. The context is being in fellowship or not; walking in the light or walking in darkness.

7.        Social activism: Becoming involved in some popular cause in some form or another. This could be legitimate, like helping in a city mission or illegitimate like marching in a demonstration about global warming. Some believers are called upon to interact with people, and to interact with those who have hit bottom. Missions in cities which provide food and shelter and the gospel are legitimate; however, all Christian service needs to be accomplished while being filled with the Spirit, which involves rebound.

 

The key is this: if you are spiritually dead—a believer who is out of fellowship through an act of sins or by committing a whole slew of sins—then there is nothing meritorious that you may do which will is going to undo what you have done. There is nothing you can feel, nothing you can think, nothing you can say and nothing that you can do which will fix being out of fellowship, except using God’s method, the mechanics clearly laid out in 1John 1:9 (and 1Cor. 11:31 and Psalm 51:4): you name your sins to God, and you are forgiven your sins. You acknowledge your sins and they are forgiven, and you are also cleansed from all unrighteousness.

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Doctrine of Spirituality
1. Definition and Description:
Spirituality is God the Holy Spirit controlling the soul of the believer.
Spirituality is the link between salvation adjustment to the Justice of
God and the maturity adjustment to the Justice of God.
Contradictions cannot exist in the Plan of God for us. Therefore the
grace of God has provided two blessing to eliminate these two
contradictions.
A. The filling of the Spirit
B. The mystery doctrine of the Church Age.
2. Every believer in the Church Age is indwelt by the Holy Spirit at the
moment of salvation in the body. 1 Cor. 2:16, 6:19, Rom 8:10, Col.
1:27.
3. The HS is the agent for the new birth: regeneration – Jn 3: 1-16; Titus
3:5
4. There are four additional ministries of the Holy Spirit which did not
occur in pervious dispensations.
A. Baptism of the Holy Spirit – Acts 1:5; 1 Cor 12:13; Eph 4:5
B. Indwelling of the Holy Spirit – 1 Cor. 2:16, 6:19
C. Sealing ministry of the Holy Spirit – Eph 1:13, 4:30; 1 Cor
1:22
D. Distribution of spiritual gifts – 1 Cor 12:11
5. Every believer is commanded to be FILLED (controlled) with the Holy
Spirit. Eph 5:18 “Keep on being filled”. A believer has volition. Rom
12:14, 1 John 2:27. Gal. 5:16, “Against such (filling of the Holy Spirit)
there is no l aw. ” Gal. 5:23.
6. Spirituality is the filling of the Spirit. Spirituality and carnality are
mutually exclusive and therefore absolutes. – 1 Jn 3:4-9
7. The believer filled with the Holy Spirit is IN FELLOWSHIP–spiritual. Rom
8:2. The believer not filled with the Holy Spirit is OUT OF FELLOWSHIP-
-carnal. 1 Cor. 3:1-3; 1 John 1:6.
2
8. The spiritual believer walks in the light – 1 Jn 1:7, 2:10; Eph 5:8-9.
9. The carnal believer walks in darkness – 1 Jn 1:6, 2:11
10. Carnal believers imitate the unbeliever under the control of the OSN – 1
Cor 3:3; Gal 5: 19-21; 1Jn 1:6, 2:11, 3:4, 15.
11. The believer filled with the Holy Spirit is not subject to a Mosaic
Law, Gal. 5:18, 23; Rom 10:4, 8:2. Under a higher law: The law of
spirituality.
12. The believer filled with the Holy Spirit accomplishes two general
objectives.
A. He glorifies Christ: John 7:39, 16:14, Gal, 4:19, 1 Cor. 6:19-
20; Phil. 1:20.
B. Fulfills the Law: Rom 8:2-4, 10:4, 13:8.
13. The believer filled with the Holy Spirit magnifies Christ in his
inner life. Eph. 3:16-17; 2 Cor. 3:3.
14. The believer filled with the Holy Spirit has the character of Christ
(incarnate) produced in him. Gal 4:19, 5:22-23; 1 Jn 2:5-6
15. The believer filled with the Holy Spirit produces bona fide works,
in contract to the carnal believer who produces human good. I Cor.
3:11-16.
A. Divine good: Gold, silver, precious stones produced by
the spiritual believer.
B. Human good: Wood, hay, stubble produced by the
carnal believer.
16. Imitation is the great issue in spirituality.
A. The believer in fellowship imitates God. Eph. 5:1,
the Greek says, “Become imitators of God, as beloved
children”
B. Believer out of fellowship imitates the unbeliever. 1 JN 1:5, 2
Cor 3:3.
17. Results of the filling of the Spirit:
A. Partnership with the Holy Spirit – 2 Pet 1:4; Eph 4:3-4; Phil
2:2
B. Understanding of Bible doctrine – Jn 14:26, 16:12-14; 1 Cor
2:9-16; 1 Jn 2:27
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C. Imitation of the humanity of Christ – Eph 5:1; Gal 4:19,
5:22-23
D. Glorification of Christ – Jn 7:39, 16:14; 1 Cor 6:19-20
E. Christ is magnified in the inner believer – 2 Cor 3:3; Eph
3:16-17; Phil 1: 20-21
F. Guidance and assurance – Rom 8:14-16
G. Worship in the body of Christ – Jn 4:24
H. Effective production of Good works: witnessing – Acts 1:8; 2
Cor 3.
I. Effective prayer – Gal 6:1
18. The Royal Family is in partnership with the Holy Spirit – Phil 2:2
19. Confidence regarding the filling of the Spirit comes from knowledge of
doctrine – 1 Jn 3: 20-21
20. The power and the means and results in the spiritual life.
A. Two powers – ministry of the Holy Spirit and the word of
God. – Acts 1:8
B. The means of restoration is the confession (1 Jn 1:9),
adjustment to the Justice of God.
C. Results: yieldness, guidance, production.
(Revised 8/07)