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  1. Lewis did not believe in Purgatory in the RC sense and did not believe that it "purged" us from sin. Only the Blood of Jesus can do that as you rightly say. But he did believe that there is a sort of "correction" after death. Paul also seemed to have believed this as he spoke about appearing at the judgment seat of Christ (Rom 14:10, 2 Cor 5:10). Those who appear here are already saved but still need to be assessed by Christ. The word translated "judgment" is one used for the inspection of troops in an army, deciding upon reward or discipline.
  2. I should add that this post should also be read together with my earlier one, "A Way to Seek First the Kingdom". They both really go together. Many blessings.
  3. Not a false teacher I think, but some of his "followers" have gone far from his position.
  4. This was the expression used by evangelical mystic Norman Grubb. Upon conversion, Christ is in the believer, but to truly be able to say (with Paul) "Not I but Christ in me" we must accept that our sin nature ("sin in me") has been crucified with Christ and yield to the presence of Christ within. Then "Christ within" not "sin within" becomes the Source of our life - our true Self, so to speak. This doctrine has been misunderstood, even by some who see themselves as followers of Grubb. Grubb at no time suggested that we in any sense "become" Christ. Think of it this way. Imagine a glass filled with wine. A wine-judge holds up the glass to examine the color of the wine and, if the glass is transparent and clean, he will see the wine clearly but hardly notice the glass at all. Glass is glass and wine is wine and there is no possibility of the glass becoming the wine. It is simply the container of the wine, but the judge's attention will be so concentrated on the wine that he will hardly notice the glass at all. C.S. Lewis had his fictitious demon Screwtape complain that his Enemy (Christ) wanted to fill the world with little copies of Himself. I know what Lewis was saying, but, with Grubb in mind, I think that a better way of expressing this would be to use "images" rather than "copies". The latter suggests "spiritual clones" however imperfect, of Jesus. "Images" implies something different. Let me explain. Imagine a million telescopes all over the world all focused on the Moon. Each telescope forms an image of the Moon at its eyepiece but each observer sees the Moon by the same moonlight. There are not a million "copies" of the Moon, but a million images which each manifest the same Moon to a million different observers. It is by and through each image that every observer sees the one Moon. Needless to say, the observers do not see the telescope as they observe; only the Moon. In a sense, the telescope eyepiece act as (very broadly speaking) a "container" of the lunar image, but it would be too absurd for anyone to say that the telescope somehow becomes the image or, still less, the Moon! These analogies are not perfect of course (no analogy can be) but I think that they reflect the meaning of Grubb's teaching on this subject.
  5. Hi Joe, I doubt if there has ever been a Christian who has not experienced this. I once heard a visiting preacher tell the congregation of my former church that the best Christian he ever knew was an alcoholic who kept falling off the "wagon" but who, through the power of God in Jesus, picked himself up again and continued his walk with God. Read Romans 7 - 8 and you will see that even Paul was fighting a returning sin. He identifies it with coveting. I cannot imagine Paul coveting any material possessions, but he may have coveted the ability of people like Apollos to speak. This could have caused jealousy and problems for the young church. But Paul saw this as arising from sin within him and found the only way of dealing with it was not by making a determined effort to get rid of it, but by yielding to "Christ in me" and constantly turning from the sinful desires to those originating in the inner presence of Christ. In dealing with this problem myself, I found it helpful to talk and pray with a strong Christian friend (not of my congregation nor even of my denomination) and was surprised to find that he also encountered a similar problem in his life. I might also suggest that you read a little booklet by Norman Grubb called "It's as Simple as This". It can be printed off the Net for free. Grubb had a similar problem when he was a young missionary in Africa and prayed about how to solve it. The answer God gave him not only freed him but formed the basis of the rest of his ministry, until he passed into God's nearer presence at the grand old age of 98! The book should be "read on your knees" - prayerfully and carefully as it is not for the faint hearted, but it might speak to you. Many blessings.
  6. The following is a short article, versions of which I have published on other forums. Please take it seriously and, if you feel led, put it into practice wherever you can. I would like to do more, but I am not in a position to do other than place these ideas before as wide an audience as possible and pray for God's guidance. Over to you with God's blessing! To put the following into perspective, let me first state my position on eschatology, as this has to some degree influenced my views, although these do not completely depend upon eschatology. I am a post-millennialist. I believe that the rule of Christ (the Millennium) began when Jesus ascended to Heaven. He now rules in Heaven and from Heaven. He will rule until all things are placed under his feet, the last thing being death itself (1Cor. 15:25-26). During this time, his rule will become increasingly obvious (albeit with periods when the opposite might seem to be the case!). This is symbolised in the vision of Ezekiel (Ez. 47:1-12) as the spring which rises at the (heavenly) Temple and becomes a mighty river. Daniel saw a parallel vision of the stone not cut by human hands which grows to become a mountain filling the earth (Dan. 2:34, 45). As the rule of Christ becomes more apparent (the “river” deeper and the “stone” grows more mountainous) the time will come when human lifespans are greatly increased and human life becomes more harmonious with nature (Is.65:20-25). After this, even death will be completely conquered and Christ will give the Kingdom to the Father, as Paul stated. The “stone” has not yet become a mountain, but it has become a hill. We do not yet see the governments of the world submitted to God, but we do see a large portion of the world’s population to a greater or lesser degree following Christ. Some Christians argue that the governments should enforce the Law as given in the Old Testament (the moral law, without the special ceremonial requirements) and that Christians should actively work toward this end. This may be done by electing Christian politicians or even through the formation of Christian political parties. Unfortunately, the times when this has been tried (eg. Calvin’s Geneva, Cromwell’s England and, before these, the conversion of the Roman Empire to Christianity and the later Holy Roman Empire which was not really Roman and hardly “Holy”) it has not worked as theoretically hoped. In many instances (despite the sincerity of those who instigated it) fallen human nature proved too strong. The Law is good, but people are not. The (fallen) human factor gets in the way. The New Testament ideal is for the Law to be written on the hearts and minds of believers, not encoded in a set of rules enforceable through a government of human beings. When the Law is written on the hearts of Christians and when those Christians allow it to become their spontaneous way of life – when they allow it to be manifested through them – its enshrinement in government laws will naturally follow; at least, when sufficient numbers of people manifest the Law written on their hearts. This, I believe, is the next stage toward which History is moving. This approach might be called “spiritual reconstructionism” in contrast with the “theonomic reconstructionism” preached in some circles today. To have the “Law written on our hearts” simply means to have Christ within ruling our inner life and ruling though us. It is to have Christ’s presence in us through the Holy Spirit as the Fountain of our life. It is to spontaneously act in accordance with the will of God in Christ. What we like to call our “natural self” is simply like a windmill. It is either moved by the “wind” of sin (“sin in me” Romans 7:17) or the “wind” of Christ within through the Holy Spirit (“Christ in me” Romans 8:10). When the “windmill” is turned by Christ within, Christ truly rules IN us and we can then become the means whereby he can rule THROUGH us. Norman Grubb spoke of this as “Christ AS us” and, long ago Luis de Leon said of Christians in this condition “Christ looks out from their eyes, speaks from their tongues and works through their senses.” Christ then becomes, as it were, our deepest Self. If I turn from the desires arising from “sin in me” to those arising from “Christ in me” (that is to say, the desire to love God and obey his commandments) and if I make this habitual, I can say with Paul “not I but Christ in me”. If every member of a group of Christians can truthfully repeat these words of Paul, then that group is truly the (corporate) Body of Christ and will be acting from a single Self. As members a corporate body, all Christians within the group will be “united in heart and soul” (Acts 4:32) and this singleness of “heart and soul” will be displayed in action, whether this action is corporate worship if the group is gathering together for this purpose, or in decision making if it is gathered as a governing body. But how may this be put into practice? Let’s take an example about which I was told a few years ago. The example is that of a church council (somewhere in the South Pacific I think). This council would periodically meet to plan the upcoming activities of the church, prayerfully considering various suggestions. In most instances, everyone would agree on a certain plan of outreach or other suggestion, however, there were times when a minority of council members found that they could not agree with a proposal, even though it was supported by the majority of members. Now, in most organisations, when this situation occurs, a vote is taken and the will of the majority is carried. But not in this council! Instead of putting the matter to a vote, the council members would turn to prayer and waiting on the Lord until all of the council members were divinely guided to accept either the original majority opinion or that of the minority. Remarkably, in most instances it was the original majority who were led to accept the alternative (original minority) opinion! We could say that theocracy and not democracy – the will of God and not of the human majority – was the rule here. That is not to say that the majority opinion was not “good”, but it is to say that it was not “best” - and God always desires what is best. I believe that if this approach was the normal one (and surely it should be!) in church councils, the Church would be incomparably healthier than it is today. (Note that this approach relies upon God’s guidance coming through a group and not just one person. This checks the tendency of a self-styled “prophet” from taking charge and it reflects Paul’s teaching that the church is the Body of Christ - a corporate organism through which Christ acts). Not primarily aiming at “consensus opinion” but seeking God’s will through prayer, searching of the Scriptures and waiting in silence for the “still small voice” should be the natural way for groups of Christians to proceed. We must remember that, although (I believe) consensus democracy to be the best system of secular government during this present time, the Church is not a democracy. It is an absolute monarchy with Christ as King. It is also a theocracy with Christ as God. He rules, not primarily through a select group or person, but first of all within each Christian and through each Christian. But for his rule to truly function (in both individual and Church), each Christian must be able to state with Paul “not I, but Christ in me” - not as a doctrinal belief (which may not be true in practice in one’s life, except as a potential or ideal) but as an accurate expression of life experience. If I am correct in my opinions as to how History is moving, this model will eventually extend beyond church councils to local government councils, state and national governments and even the United Nations. Just ponder on that for a while. Imagine the General Assembly of the UN, composed entirely of Christians who are fervent believers in prayer and the inward guidance of the Holy Spirit, selling every international issue through prayer, prayerful searching of the Bible and “Quaker-like” meetings waiting in silence for the inward guidance of God. Imagine national governments following the same course. Imagine city councils doing the same. That would be, indeed, true theocratic government. Picture, also, a chemical business (for example) prayerfully seeking the way ahead for a new insecticide that could control mosquitoes and the diseases they carry as well as DDT, but without that chemical’s adverse environmental effects. In church, in business, in government … in every way, surely such an approach would see Christ ruling society in a visible and practical way! I believe that this is compatible with what the Bible teaches. More than “compatible” in fact, I believe that it is implied by the verses earlier referred to. However, you may not agree. But even if you do not, the type of meetings and “theocratic” approach spoken of here (as, for example, in the church council to which I referred) is surely an attainable ideal in at least a limited number of places. Church councils for one. Government prayer groups could be another. Industries where the Christian presence is strong are another. Surely every Christian can work toward these situations and, if I am correct in my eschatology, any move toward this approach will have truly historic implications in that it will add to the building of the Kingdom of God on Earth! Please prayerfully consider these words. If you disagree with my views of history, let us agree to disagree. Don’t fill this post with arguments for and against post-millenarianism and such. The important thing is the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the making of decisions. It is the yielding of our own plans and ideas to God. Even if this is never put into practice by the UN, it can be put into practice by your church council ! Please be free to copy this article and distribute it as widely as possible. The message is, I believe, important. Amen.
  7. Just a further point about the "rational" vs the "mystical" of the "two eyes" of the soul. Some decades ago, philosopher John Passmore criticized mysticism on the grounds that "mystical" visions gave no verifiable information. He pointed to some reported religious visions which, if taken literally, would have implied things like a flat Earth or a geocentric universe. This type of criticism is of little value in my opinion. For a start, visions are not of the essence of mystical experience. Moreover, they are usually symbolic rather than literal. It is also true that mystical experience is about relationship with God and not gaining knowledge through vision. Nevertheless, as against Passmore, there have been instances where mystics have had flashes of insight through which they gained knowledge well in advance of the science of their day. For instance, the 17th C Quaker Thomas Story had insight into the great age of Earth long before this was widely accepted by scientists. Also, decades before the publication of Newton's Principia, Jacob Boehme wrote of a "magnetism" holding material bodies to the earth. Newton himself saw this as a precursor to his own theory of gravity and acknowledged that it was this that gave him the impetus to develop his theory. It seems that this great scientist was more influenced by his reading of the Lutheran mystic than his observation of falling apples!
  8. Yes indeed, Willa, the rational mind is also a gift from God and is certainly needed. I think that was implied by Rous when he spoke about the two eyes of the spirit - both are needed, and if either is rejected we (almost literally) get a one-eyed view of Christianity!
  9. Many thanks for your warm welcomes. "Evangelical mysticism" is a term used by Tozer to describe the position of those broadly similar to himself. Like all evangelicals, EMs hold the Bible as the revealed Word of God and the sole authority for matters of theological belief and Christian practice but they also place great stress on the indwelling of he Holy Spirit. Tozer contrasts this position with what he called "evangelical rationalism". The evangelical rationalists also see the Bible as the Word of God, but approach it (in Tozer's opinion) as an ordinary book that can be adequately understood through human rationality. That he denied. He taught that the human spirit has faculties analogous to the bodily senses. Whereas the bodily senses perceive the material world, these spiritual faculties perceive spiritual truths - the truths set down in the Bible. At least, they would perceive these except that through Original Sin they have withered and become useless. Only through accepting Christ and becoming indwelt by the Holy Spirit can they be healed. Through meditating on the Bible, we can (via these spiritual "senses") perceive and appreciate the depth and truth of the spiritual facts revealed in the Word in a way that through reason alone we cannot. We "experience" the revealed truths. Tozer says that the Bible should be seen, not as a "road map" for Christian belief and living but as a window through which the Light of God shines into our spirits, enlightening us and helping to transform us increasingly into the likeness of Christ. This should NOT be understood as an attempt to find "hidden meanings" or allegorical interpretations of Scripture, but more as a sort of intuitive grasping of the plain meaning of the Word. A similar approach was taught by the 17th. C Puritan mystic Francis Rous. He spoke of the soul as having two eyes, one being reason (through which truth about the external world could be acquired) and the other being a higher faculty through which spiritual truth is discerned. The spiritual faculties spoken of by Rous and Tozer are, I believe, what Paul speaks about in Eph. 1:18, sometimes translated as "eyes of the heart". God bless.
  10. Hi brothers and sisters, this is my first post as a new arrival. I yielded to the Holy Spirit and accepted Jesus as Lord many years ago and am very interested in what has been broadly called "evangelical mysticism". My heroes of faith are A. W. Tozer, C. S. Lewis, Sundar Singh, Watchman Nee and (recently) Norman Grubb. God bless, Dafydd
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