Is This the Normal Christian Life? Part 10

In this series, I have surveyed a range of factors, some cultural, historical, philosophical, and even theological, that I think have shaped our expectations of what the normal Christian life should be like. I have tried to show that biblically, the normal Christian life is to be a supernatural one, one that is to be marked richly by the presence and power of the risen Lord. Yet, these various factors have been tools the enemy has used to lower our expectations and even sow unbelief that God really would manifest Himself intimately and in power today.

However, God and Scripture have not changed. Instead, we westernized Christians have changed away from what Scripture teaches, in terms of our outlook on, and expectations of, the Christian life, and those mindsets reflect sin in our attitudes and actions. We have been deeply naturalized, or de-supernaturalized. The result is that the body of Christ in the west (and particularly my home country, the U.S.) is anemic and divided, which cannot stand. This condition, and the factors that have precipitated it, are things from which believers in the U.S. must repent urgently, before it is too late. Jesus clearly told us the intention of our enemy; he does not come to toy with us, or just marginalize us, but to steal, kill, and destroy us and all that God is doing (John 10:10). 

Moreover, if am right about the spiritual gifts, then it seems Satan has divided and withered the body by sowing discord and distrust over them. Moreover, he has been very successful in dividing our hearts and minds from the Lord through the other factors we have surveyed too. Yet, God wants us to live in the fullness of Christ, and that requires both the fullness of truth and the fullness of Spirit, just as Jesus lived. If we do not live in the fullness of the Spirit, then we likely will not have fullness of truth, either, for we’d be tending to rely on our own understanding. Alternatively, if we don’t have fullness of truth, then we likely won’t have the fullness of the Spirit, for we’d tend to follow our hearts’ desires. However, the Spirit is the Spirit of truth, and we must worship Him in Spirit and truth.

Further, we need to live in deep unity with God’s heart and His mind, all in the life and power of the Spirit, just as Jesus did. This is to be like how we are to live in marriage too – in deep unity of heart and mind with our spouses. 

In light of these shaping influences, I suggested in an earlier blog that we place a great emphasis upon the mind. But, I am afraid that to far too great an extent, many evangelical leaders have been trained to place such stress upon the mind that they nearly disregard the importance of being in deep heart-unity with the Lord, as well as listening to the Spirit’s voice (1 Kings 3:9, AMPC). But, if so, we thereby will tend to worship our flesh – and that is sin, which God cannot bless. Such thinking can lead subtly to thinking we are okay positionally because we are justified by faith in Christ; however, we will lack His promised power and intimate presence.

While there clearly are many problems facing the body of Christ in the west, I think this might be the most crucial one, for it reflects that we have left our first love, thereby becoming lukewarm, weak, and all-too-fleshly. Yet, God has not given up on the U.S. or the west; but we believers need to repent, so that revival may come by the outpouring of His Spirit. 

Scott Smith is keenly interested in our abilities to have knowledge of reality, particularly in the areas of ethics and religion. He also is very interested in the needed ontology to have knowledge. He addresses “constructivism,” the fact-value split, and issues with our being able to have knowledge on the basis of naturalism, postmodernism and nominalism. He also has written on the emergent church, as well as a knowledge argument and the moral argument for God’s existence. Currently, he is working on exposing and addressing the many, even subtle, influences of naturalism on western churches. He also serves as secretary-treasurer for the Evangelical Philosophical Society. Scott Smith has earned a Ph.D. from University of Southern California, M.A., University of Southern California, M.A., Talbot Theological Seminary and a B.A. from California State University, Hayward.

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