The Mind of Christ: The mind of man

I had a recent dialogue, through the mail, with a long time friend whose interview was published in our local newspaper. A local weekly columnist, whose mission in life it appears is to ridicule Christians and conservatives, conducted the interview. It had little to do with information about a retired university professor’s career, but rather about views concerning his “Christian” beliefs.

My retired professor friend has been active in his denomination as long as I have known him. He has a big heart for helping folks and works tirelessly with church and other community programs. He is well known and admired for his generous, giving spirit. I have known for many years, in general, of his liberal theological leaning that fits well with his denomination, however, I was totally unaware of his specific beliefs until the published interview. Our friendship has not been a real “hanging out” personal one, but of past professional and social associations.

I will sum up some of his beliefs as he was quoted in the interview: “The virgin birth is not one of my postulates;” “I don’t believe in a physical resurrection;” “The Bible was written by men who thought they were inspired;” Some people “may find better companionship in gay relationships;” “Your concept of God is based on your culture. Man created God in his own image…” And finally, “If just a small element of Christ’s teachings live in me, my life has been a success.” Again, he works in multiple programs apparently with the blessing of his church.

This is not an unusual occurrence of wearing the “Christian” label and yet not believing essential doctrines of the Bible to qualify, if you will, being a Christian. To be or not to be (a Christian) has been debated endlessly over the issue of believing whether or not the Bible is in fact the authoritative and inerrant Word of God. If it is, and I believe it to be, then the above quotes of my friend would render him disqualified. When asked by one of his students if he was a Christian, he replied that he was a “follower of Christ.” Avoiding the designation of Christian, he (unaware, I believe) joins the Emergent movement who use the same identification and wish to follow Christ in good deeds, but not believe in Christ for salvation simply because, as also in my friend’s case, they do not accept the Bible as the Word of God.

My journey of faith, similar to many, has been in part a study to “show myself approved,” to answer all of my questions along the way. These have been settled by Bible study but also include history, archeology, science, scholarly discovery (not mine), and other information sources whenever and wherever they might be found. And as testified to by many “truth seekers,” I believe that the plethora of objective evidence shows that there is something very supernatural about the whole story of Yahweh and His dealing with His creation. But, that is not enough. The final answer is found in the revelation given by the Holy Spirit who takes the paper and ink and turns into it the living truth in the human heart. Then, and only then, can I believe that the Bible is the Word of God not only because it so declares, but also because God has told me it is so. The beginning of that journey can only happen in a real encounter with the living Christ Who declares that we must be born again.

Data shows that church attendance and membership exists for many without having had that spiritual transformation. Many have had years of membership, service, attendance and giving while not holding to the Bible as being the true Word of God. Of course that is only possible when the pulpit is silent about matters of sin, repentance, being saved, heaven, hell, the second coming and all of the settled doctrines of the Christian faith as taught in the Bible and experienced in spiritual regeneration.

Without God, people can easily fall into worship of the mind. They build their own theology around unbelief or partial belief depending on whether or not it seems reasonable or logical to them. One of the characteristics of the “mind of man,” is denying miracles. Whatever in the Bible is supernatural, they tend to reject as myth, error, fantasy or whatever fits with the Biblical writers who “thought they were inspired.” The Emergent movement, liberal churches and an increasing number of other “Christian” groups continue to call themselves “Christian,” or more recently, “followers of Christ,” in spite of their unbelief. It is puzzling why they stay with a faith in which they have no faith. Many of these are intelligent, educated people who, in their unregenerate state, have the “mind of man” which places them at enmity with God (Romans 8: 5-8).

The Christian, however, is to be “transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12: 2b). There are mental giants of history and present time who have experienced this transformation and have “the mind of Christ” (I Cor. 2: 14-16). In fact, all who are born again have the mind of Christ through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, because, “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he does not understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (v. 14). The remarkable thing is that the genius and the peasant can stand together as equals in agreement when they both have the “mind of Christ.” Both are humbled by the reality of God’s revelation and the completeness it brings to their lives now and forever in understanding the spiritual truths of God in His Word.

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5). Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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