Spiritual Facts or Fiction, Truth or Twist? A Checklist
"When one man finds His way, many find their way;
When one man loses His way, many lose their way."
* * * * *
QUOTING AND CLAIMING IT MAKES IT SO?
Yesterday on TV, a popular, well-known evangelist-healer led his studio audience (numbering about one hundred), in a "repeat after me," group exercise.
"I am blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.
I was chosen in Him from before the foundation of the world.
I am holy and blameless before Him.
I have redemption through His blood, forgiveness for my sins.
I am adopted as His son.
I have all wisdom and insight, I know the mystery of His will.
I am sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise."
Taken from Ephesians 1
Another method of "repeat after me" gaining popularity among congregations is the "Little Sir Echo" phenomenon, the speaker force-feeding his words to the listeners.
"It is God's will that you receive healing today in this sanctuary.
Say, 'God's will!'
It is God's will, that today, you receive your healing.
('My God, I feel the anointing...')
Now turn to your neighbor and say, 'My God, I feel...'"
Is this really how it works -- say it, claim it, receive it?
"Suppose some angelic being who had since creation known the deep, still rapture of dwelling in the divine Presence would appear on earth and live awhile among us Christians. Don't you imagine he might be astonished at what he saw?
What if he sat in on the daily sessions of an average gathering and noted the extravagant claims Christians make as believers in Christ and compared them with our actual spiritual experiences? He would surely conclude that there was a serious contradiction between what we think we are and what we are in reality. The bold claims that we are sons of God, that we are risen with Christ and seated with Him in heavenly places, that we are indwelt by the Life-giving Spirit, that we are members of the body of Christ and children of the new creation, are negated by our attitudes, our behavior, and most of all, by our lack of fervor...
Perhaps if our heavenly visitor pointed out the great disparity between our doctrinal belief and our lives, he might be dismissed with a smiling explanation that it is but the normal difference between our sure standing and our variable state. Certainly then he would be appalled that as beings once made in the image of God we could allow ourselves thus to play with words and trifle with our souls.
Significant isn't it, that of all who hold the evangelical position, those Christians who lay the greatest store by Paul are often the least like Paul in spirit... The difference may be stated this way: Paul was a seeker and a finder and a seeker still. Most seek and find and seek no more. After 'accepting' Christ they tend to substitute logic for life and doctrine for experience. When Paul cries 'that I may know him', he uses the word 'know' not in its intellectual but in its experiential sense. All gain he counted loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, and if to know Him better meant suffering or death it was all one to Paul. He panted after God and calm reason had little to do with it.
'...you are accepted in the beloved, and blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. What more do you want? You have only to believe and to wait for the day of His triumph.' So Paul would be exhorted if he lived among us today... But knowing Paul as we do, it is safe to assume that he would ignore this low counsel of expedience and press onward toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. And we do well to follow him.
The present neat habit of quoting a text to prove we have arrived may be a dangerous one if in truth we have no inward experience of the text. Truth that is not experienced is no better than error..."
Christian Living Is More Than -- "reading and quoting Scripture; it is experiencing the Living Word in the depths of our being. The Word must become a part of us by a personal encounter in which we discover, recognize, perceive, comprehend, and then apprehend by making its reality our reality, a reality so developed in our mind and spirit, so clearly revealed to us that it become an everyday part of living."