Knowing the Propositions

Last night, I wrote about reality and propositions and how some propositions are false and we need to realize the true propositions. I suggested that a good place to go would be Scripture. As I went about my day though since writing that, I had the thought in my mind that sadly, maybe we don’t know enough Scripture to get the true propositions.

I have often worked with several other young apologists. Most of them tend to be younger. One thing I have stressed is a problem I see in many. They are reading many books and that is excellent. I think we should all be well-read. However, THE BOOK is the one that has not been read.

Friends. We need those true propositions in our lives. We need to be in the Scripture absorbing it so we can be thinking God’s thoughts after him. If you consider what Jesus said in his ministry, we fall short. He would go to the Pharisees and say “Have you not read?” Of course they had! These guys knew the OT as we call it backwards and forwards. Do we even treat that text as seriously? Many of us have read the NT, but few have read the NT and the OT.

In Islamic nations, it is not uncommon to meet Muslims who have memorized the Qu’ran. There are even blind men who have the whole text memorized. Think about that. Men who have to read it in braille or have someone read it to them have the whole text memorized. Those of us who can see often aren’t even reading our text.

Is it any wonder we’re also unprepared when the JWs and Mormons come by? These groups are wrong, no doubt, but they are very well-read in the text! It is a shame when those outside of our faith are treating their texts and sometimes our texts more seriously than we are.

Friends. We need truth. The only way to get that though is to seek it. The Scriptures should always be in the mind of the Christian. Learn them well.

Thoughts on Reality and Propositions

If you enjoy philosophy, going to bed can be a dangerous time. Why? Your mind will start racing with an idea wanting to find a conclusion to it and you’ll toss and turn just hoping that that solution will reveal itself. There are many times also when you’ll get that great idea but unfortunately when you wake up, it’s gone.

Last night, I was thinking about reality and truth and falsehood and propositions. Now this is still in the making. I’m just writing out my thoughts so you can have them also as well as with the realization that writing out one’s thoughts can often times be a great aid in coming to further understanding of them.

Christian theologians have held for some time in many cases, and I agree with them, that evil has no real existence. Evil is simply the absence of that which is good. Evil is thus not the presence of something that is real but the lack of that which is supposed to be there, the presence of good.

I thought about this some after reading Plato’s Sophist on how the Sophist speaks of that which is not and came to thinking about propositions. Do false propositions have any real substance? I began debating back and forth in my mind the idea of reality and contingent truths and necessary truths.

Contingent truths is the toughest one as I think about it. It seems like nonsense in many ways. What I simply mean is that for any possible world that could have been, God knows what all propositions would have been true in that world. I got out of the pool at my apartment complex today at 8:15 for instance. Thus, God knew true the proposition that I would get out of the pool at 8:30. However, if I had chosen to get out at 8:30, God would have known that as a true proposition as well. In another possible world, that could be one.

Such a statement is contingent It could have been X and Y. There are some truths that I think are necessary truths in that they are true in every possible world. The laws of logic are necessary truths. Statements about the nature of God are necessary truths. This would also include moral statements such as “murder is wrong.” Even in a possible world where there were no human beings, these would all be true statements.

Of course, this gets interesting in fact we can speak truth about that which is not real as far as we know. For instance, I could say that it is true that unicorns only have one horn on their head. That is a true proposition, but it only refers to an idea as far as we know. I have yet to see evidence that such a creature as a unicorn exists. (For the record, I do believe there are more things in Heaven and Earth than are dreamt of in my philosophy and for all I know, we could find a place someday where such creatures exist. I don’t consider it likely, but I am not one like our skeptical friends who wants to rule out the existence of something simply because I’ve never seen it.)

So the proposition in this case is true, but the referent is not real. However, this only means as far as we know, real to the external world. It still does match our idea of the unicorn and propositions can be spoken of about ideas as much as they can about anything else. Why else would we tell someone they have good ideas and stupid ideas?

But let us suppose something else. Let us suppose that someone made a proposition about the 52 states of the U.S. at the end of 2006. That proposition is different because it speaks of a referent that contradicts reality. The proposition would be considered false, but not meaningless. Thus, the proposition would have no real substance in the world as there is nothing it corresponds to.

Now there is such a thing as a meaningless proposition. We could say for instance, “My colorless green dreams sleep furiously.” That would be meaningless. Speaking of a married bachelor or a square circle would be just as meaningless for such statements contradict reality. A square by definition cannot be circular and a bachelor by definition cannot be married.

For this reason, I believe God could affirm the proposition that a unicorn only has one horn. However, he could not affirm the proposition that at the end of the year 2006, the U.S. only had 52 states. This is a statement that does contradict the reality about the nature of the United States while the statement about the unicorn doesn’t. Supposing unicorns are just mythological, God could affirm “The unicorn, a creature that exists only in myth, has one horn.”

Now is there any implication of this to our lives? YES!

What about the propositions we tell ourselves often? Do they correspond to reality? For instance, an obvious one would be, “The writer of this blog is not a diehard Smallville fan.” That is a false proposition and it is not one God affirms. Now if God does not affirm a proposition, is there any reason you should?

Let’s take another situation. Let’s suppose that we have a psychotic personality who comes up with the idea, “Murder is good and fun.” Does God know about this proposition as well? Certainly. You cannot think of the proposition God does not know about beforehand. However, God does not affirm this proposition even if he knew about its existence long before the person uttered it.

Now let’s suppose we took harder propositions about ourselves though. Suppose you uttered the proposition “I am utterly worthless and no one could ever love me.” Does God know about that proposition? Yes. Of course he does. Does God affirm it though? Not at all. However, if that is the case, then it is because that proposition contradicts reality. Thus, there is a true proposition in the mind of God that needs to be affirmed instead.

Such a proposition could be one based on Scripture passages. For instance, you could go to Psalm 8 and read “What is man that you are mindful of him, the Son of man that you care for him? You have made him a little lower than the angels and crowned him with glory and honor,” as well as going to John 3:16 and saying “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believes on him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” From those, you could get the true proposition of “I have great value and am loved by God”, and that would be a proposition that he affirms.

The point is that for every false proposition you have about yourself, there is a true one out there to counter it. Now some propositions about you could be true and you don’t like them. For instance, “I have a problem with pride” could be a proposition that is affirmed about you at this time. If such is the case, then it is best to work on it so that the proposition “I am a humble person” will be one that can be affirmed someday.

Ultimately, we need to start getting our thoughts in agreement with God’s. In a way, we need to be thinking God’s thoughts after him. If God does not think proposition A is true, then why should I? If God does not think I am a loser, for instance, why should I even bother entertaining such a thought? Do I think I know more than the God of all truth?

Finally, when that proposition comes that is false, I need to think about the defeater. The defeater would be that which contradicts that proposition and ask which one is the one that God affirms. In such, I can start fulfilling the Philippians 4 command about the things that I am to think about. What could be better to think about than the truth of God after all?

Josiah Rips

In the book of 2 Kings, good king Josiah orders that the temple be repaired with the funds that have been received. While the temple is being repaired, one of the men finds a scroll and brings it to Josiah. It is the Law of the Lord (What portion it is, I am not discussing now. Some say part of the Deuteronomy. Others say the whole Torah.) The words are read in the king’s presence and he rips his clothes because he realizes how much the people have done against YHWH.

I read that recently and really thought about it. I wonder how many times I have ever got to that point in reading the Law. We usually read the OT so calmly. Do we not realize that the God of the OT is still the God of the NT? Do we not see the strong requirements he has of holiness?

I wonder how often we realize that. Now I know we’re not to beat ourselves up for our sins. That’s definitely true. I wonder though how often we realize just how great those sins we’ve been forgiven of are. Can we truly appreciate the depths of his grace if we do not realize the depths of our sin?

Those standards in the OT are tough and the same God applies them to us. Is it not he who said “Be perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect?” Do we not realize that if we are going to be in the presence of God, we must be a perfect reflection of him? Now I am not advocating Christian perfectionism here, but I am wanting us to see the gravity of the requirements God has.

Yes. It is time we read the Law seriously. No. I’m not saying we’re under the Law either. God has revealed himself in the Law though and his nature is there. We need to read those passages and see in them not just rules we don’t often see the purpose of, but clear revelation on who God is and how seriously he takes holiness.

The Israelites requested that God not speak to them for fear that they would die. Today, we tend to treat God like he’s buddy-buddy with us. Yes. I do believe that we have friendship with God, but you don’t treat God the same way you treat all your other friends. He is absolutely holy and you must revere that.

I would even suggest that we look at his reason for our being holy. Is it so we can live long? No. Is it so we will walk lives of virtue? No. Is it because he wants to see who will be good and who won’t? No. It is quite simple. He says throughout Leviticus, “Be holy, because I am holy.”

Friends. I will confess that as I read the Scriptures, I realize I do not take the concept seriously enough. This is concerning because if we do not take sin seriously, we will not take grace seriously. Martin Luther’s account of his conversion and how he acted should be revealing to all of us. He spent hours in confessing before God. This was someone who knew how serious sin was.

How did Josiah respond? Rightfully! He cleaned up his kingdom. In fact, the valley that he trashed was the same valley that Jesus used as an example of Hell. Josiah trashed it so much and put all the garbage from everywhere there that it became the town garbage dump.

Yes. We need another Josiah revolution today.

R.I.P. Memorial Day?

Rest assured first off everyone, I am not against Memorial Day nor am I saying we should abolish it. I post this today because I fear that while we would not officially abolish it, in our society we might as well have. As I thought about the day some today, I thought that most of us just enjoy another day off or in my case, holiday pay.

That’s truly saddening, and not just for others. I didn’t think much about our armed forces today either. Our company had been playing patriotic songs all weekend and we played some today. However, I heard several songs that had nothing to do with patriotism and wondered why we’d play patriotic music on the weekend but not on the day.

It has been said that our society can remember what happened in the past 60 minutes, but not in the past 60 years or past 60 centuries for that matter. We are people of the NOW who live for the moment. We don’t really have any idea where we came from and without that, we won’t have any idea where we’re going.

Students today don’t really read history. I’ve even got a friend who wants to teach history and yet hates to read. I’ve told him that he’ll never become a history teacher then if he hates to read. His reply is that he sees it on the History Channel. The History Channel might be a good thing in many ways, but I’m sure they don’t want it to take the place of a book and even if they do, they’re wrong.

Christian political speaker Hugh Hewitt says in his book “In, But Not Of”, that Christians need to have at least a basic grasp of the history of the Jews, the Greeks, the Romans, and the English. Such concepts were usually required reading in school, but the education system has sadly changed. I have bought Plutarch and Tacitus and since read them to fill in the gap in my idea of history.

Today though, we were to honor an important part of history. We were to honor those who had died to defend this land. However, their sacrifice often means nothing to us today. The tragedy of 9/11 was sadly lost quickly. Why should we be surprised? We murder 4,000 a day in abortion clinics. VTech happened and for a week, it was all you would hear about, and then even that disappeared. Tragedies don’t stay with us long enough for us to realize what is important.

In some ways, it’s good to get past the past. What that refers to though is personal hardships that you can’t change and that you shouldn’t live in. The Jews were to remember their slavery in Egypt not as a past they wished to change, but a reminder of what God had redeemed them from. He is the one who says he will remember our sins no more. Unfortunately, we often think we need to remember them. Why? God doesn’t.

Many a soldier has lost his or her life though in defense of this nation. I don’t love everything that goes on here, but I am thankful I live in America. I honor those who died and need to keep them more in mind. Maybe this year, we didn’t do as much, but hopefully when Memorial Day rolls around next year, we might appreciate our fine soldiers some more.

What does this world have?

Tonight at my church’s service, we had a band perform of several from my Sunday School class along with our minister of music. I like them really. They’re a good band. Music’s not my thing really, but I can enjoy it. However, I listen closely to lyrics in songs and watch to see if there’s anything I think is a bit off.

We were listening to a song they were doing about Jesus coming to one’s rescue. I do agree with that concept. Jesus is the deliverer of our souls. However, I was a bit concerned when I got to the passage with them saying “This world has nothing for me. I will follow you.” I understand the sentiment, but I think it’s wrong.

I think it’s a far difference from songs like “I’d rather have Jesus than silver and gold.” I would hope that we’d all agree with those. I would also say that I would hope that I would. For the record, I do think we can have too much bravado in our devotion to Christ and then fall like Simon Peter did.

Does this world really have nothing for us? This seems to be more of a gnostic idea that there’s nothing good in the material world. In fact, passages like 1 Tim. 6:17 indicate quite clearly that God does create a lot of good in this world and the verse specifically says they’re for our enjoyment, and the context is on worldly wealth.

I get more concerned over this seeing as I’m now reading a book by Os Guinness. “Fit Bodies, Fat Minds: Why Evangelicals Don’t Think And What To Do About It.” Guinness mentions many things that are good in themselves, but they have sadly produced an anti-intellectual climate.

This seems common in our era when we can replace devotion with truth. If someone is so devoted in their walk, then their views must be true. Not so. There are devoted Christians on each side of many issues. This kind of thinking can lead to what Greg Koukl says from Francis Beckwith. When you argue with other Christians, if they can’t win with logic, they’ll trump you with spirituality.

The truth is that this world does have a lot of good things. In fact, these good things speak of the nature of God. It is his creation and it is all meant to reveal him. If we walk outside our doors and do not see God, we need to adjust our vision. Nay. If we look at anything and do not see God, we need to adjust our vision. I even remember an IM conversation with someone a long time ago where the nature of an IM was used to explain why God gave us his message in Scripture. God is there if we will only look for him.

This is also the reverse to the problem of evil. G.K. Chesterton said that he’d explain the problem of evil to his opponents as soon as they explained the problem of pleasure. Atheologians seem to enjoy having Christians explain all the evil if there is an all-good and all-powerful God. How come they’re not asked to explain all the good if all is just from random chaos?

Do I need Jesus to come to my rescue? Yep. Would I rather have him than silver or gold? I hope so. However, I will not deny the good things that he created and I intend to honor him in this world by enjoying them.

Answering Loftus

John Loftus of Debunking Chrisitanity has written what it would take for him to believe. Now I’m not going to go into all of it. I certainly won’t go into all of it tonight. It’s late in the evening and I need to rest and I want to read before bed, but I would like to touch some highlights and maybe I will do so tomorrow night. There are some areas I won’t touch such as the scientific areas. I might dabble in them some, but I prefer to leave science to the scientists.

Loftus’s account can be found here.

I find it interesting that he says Christianity must be revised because God is too barbaric and cruel in events like the OT slaughter and the existence of Hell. This is simply an argument from emotion. How much justice is too much for instance? It seems that people want God to punish evil but when he does, they complain about how he did it.

Indeed, if we are talking about the Christian God, then we are talking about the most moral being of all and the omniscient one who knows the best way and the most righteous way to act in every situation. In essence, it is denying that that God is really God and wanting another one. If one is arguing in that case, then the argument goes out the window. Alvin Plantinga has done much work in showing that the deductive problem of evil is not valid any more and it’s usually the probabilistic problem of evil that must be dealt with.

However, what I suspect gets to people the most is the personal problem of evil. People die every day. We know this happens. However, your loved one dies and suddenly, the problem of evil hits home. Why did God let this happen? Unfortunately, in such cases, we’re thinking with our emotions and that’s not the best time to make a life decision.

I have told several friends with an interest in apologetics advice along the same lines. When a lady comes into your office and her son has died in a car wreck or some event of that sort and she asks “Why did this happen?”, they had better not be philosophers or theologians or apologists at that moment. At that time, that lady needs a friend, a minister, and a counselor.  Now in a few weeks or so, she might want to talk about it from a rational perspective, but while she’s suffering, you don’t answer her with knowledge. You answer her with presence.

And this is also the biblical promise. The promise of God is that all things work together for good to those that love the Lord. ALL THINGS! Note that he doesn’t say all things are good. God knows they aren’t. He says all things work together for good. He also doesn’t say they work together for good for everyone. They work together for good to those that love the Lord. If you are in that camp, then you simply trust him.

Loftus also makes the request that God appear in every generation and do miracles for the people. But the question is “Why would God want to do such a thing?” The atheist will say “So he can show me that he does exist.” However, why would God want to do such a thing? Is God merely interested in showing the atheist that he exists, or does he want something more?

In the Christian paradigm, God is looking for people who will seek him. He is not looking for those who come to him merely because they feel that they have to because of force of some kind. He is looking for those who come because they want to. For those who want to, it is promised that they will find him.

For instance, Loftus ends this article saying that he’d believe in God if he revealed himself like this, but he wouldn’t worship him. If that is the case, why should God want to do such a thing again? God is wanting those who will come out of the desire to know him and worship him in Spirit and in Truth. If God is God, it is he who sets the requirements and not me. Why should God be subject to the atheistic criterion for belief?

One can think of a parallel to what the skeptic wants. Imagine a girl who says “I am looking for a man to love me.” Now this girl is exceptionally beautiful with a great form, so she walks into a gentleman’s club and strips naked and announces that she is open for love. There will be several offers there to give her that love no doubt. However, are they really wanting to love her or is their mind elsewhere?

How does the girl find true love? It is not by revealing herself. It is by finding the one who is seeking or in the case of most relationships, letting him find her. It is when the girl is found that the extent of her love is shown.

Now could miracles be done today? Of course. I believe they could be being done in some places right now. Why should this be God’s goal though? God does a miracle just to show off? In biblical times, miracles were connected with the plan of salvation or to announce God’s endorsement on a new revelation. Even with that, the Israelites were told to be cautious because just because someone does miracles, it doesn’t mean they’re of God. See Deuteronomy 13 for the passage.

What about prayer? What is being asked for in prayer is that God specifically answer prayers so that all will want to find a Christian to pray for them. Again though, why should God do this? Why should God set himself in such a way. To do so would turn God into a wishing machine that people will come to merely for their desires and not to know him.

I do believe in making our requests known to God, but there are other kinds of prayer. We can pray to intercede for someone. We can pray a prayer of thanksgiving. We can pray a simple prayer that we will know God better and walk in a Christlike manner more, and we should pray that more. How will that be tested scientifically?

I am not surprised about scientific studies on prayer. We are dealing with a person after all and we cannot treat a person like a lab rat. Now would I object to someone wanting to study my brain while I pray or know what I’m praying for? Generally no. There are some private matters I may not share but if someone is curious and wants to study, be my guest. However, I would tell them the best way is to pray on their own.

Ultimately though, the evidence has been more than enough for those who have wanted it. Why? Is it because they were smarter than anyone else? No. I do not believe it’s a matter of intelligence. There are intelligent people on both sides. What is the reason? I believe ultimately, some people just don’t want to bend the knee.

We all want to hold on to our deity. Since the Garden of Eden, we have been trying to be the God of God. Every sin we commit is saying that God is not God and we are to be the God. We are to determine right and wrong for ourselves. Coming to Christ requires a huge sacrifice on our part. We must admit that he is God and we are not. We must be willing to relinquish our claim to the throne and allow him to sit on it.

It’s a hard sacrifice. It’s a sacrifice I don’t often like to make either. There is something in all of us that resists that, but such is the path to greater happiness. If Augustine is correct and God has made us restless until we find our peace in him, then all other searching is vain. Only the Christian answer will truly provide lasting happiness. The non-Christian can have happiness this side of eternity, but will it truly last?

No. The Christian is the one who has said that God will be God and he will approach God on God’s terms and not his own.

However, Loftus has one thing we should keep in mind. He does say Christians should act more like Christians. To this, we may all say amen. I say it even of myself. We should all be praying that the love of Christ will be more manifest in our lives. I believe in the arguments for the faith and the weaknesses of those outside, but remember one of the first things said about the Christians was “See how they love one another!”

Now that’s one type of early Christianity we do need to be restored to.

Celebrity Craze

I know you’ve seen them several times. You go through the check-out line at the store and there are all those celebrity magazines. Guess who’s dumping who! Guess who is having whose baby! Guess who is now getting married for the fourth time and who they are getting married to!

I had a friend in an IM this morning tell me something about Paris Hilton. They said they saw it only because it was on the news. I had to say I couldn’t care less. I have no interest in the world of Hollywood. I do enjoy some movies and I have some people I can like, but I don’t really care about what’s going on in their personal lives.

When Anna Nicole Smith was found dead, it really didn’t concern me. Yeah. I do get concerned about the spiritual implications but we spent a week or so in trial proceedings and that was all that we heard about. I don’t think we spent as much time when Mother Teresa passed away.

I am concerned mainly for a culture that lives vicariously through celebrities. I fear it means that we have been made utterly shallow. We have no lives of our own so often that we have to live vicariously through others. It is a phenomenon that J.P. Moreland refers to as our having empty selves.

Yet whose life is to be in us? It is to be the life of Christ! Now there’s someone to learn about! If only we spent as much time studying the Scriptures that have been handed down where every word is true instead of running off after every speculation of gossip that comes out of Hollywood.

If only we also realized that our lives are just as interesting as those in Hollywood. You may think you work a typical 9-5 job, but you are living out the life of Christ. You are effecting people around you, and you’d better hope you’re doing so in a good way. I ponder how it could be at the judgment if God shows us our lives and we see how much he was involved and we didn’t know it.

Let’s also remember something. The world of Hollywood doesn’t tend to embrace Christian values. I think we can get something out of it though. I think there’s much to learn about people chasing after happiness everywhere except in Jesus Christ. Maybe we should when we see these magazines, instead of brushing aside entirely, we could make a note to pray for them and those around them witnessing to them.

Go out though now and live your life. In the eyes of God, you are a celebrity after all.

The Villain Comes

Readers of my blog know that I’m a diehard Smallville fan. Last night, I watched Season 1, Episode 11, Hug. I won’t really tell what the episode is about in case some haven’t seen it and because it’s my favorite episode in Season 1. I think those not familiar with the series can still see the beginning of this episode and discern some of what is going on. YouTube, fortunately, has the beginning.

This beginning always strikes me as interesting. Naturally, after the words “I’m going to Smallville”, the scene goes into the opening with the theme song of “Somebody Save Me.” I kind of like the way the villain is so nonchalant in what he’s doing. He knows what’s going to happen and when it does, he’s ready with his plans.

There’s something else I consider though. There’s one thing I really like about this theme song in conjunction with this episode. I like it in every episode, but it seems most poignant in this one. What we end is with this tycoon thinking that he’s going to go and have his way in this town and increase his business empire.

Fans though know what the villain doesn’t. Clark Kent is there. I can rest easy at the start of the show because I know that Clark will show up and the story might seem grim at times and maybe there will even be casualties, but I’m not afraid ultimately. I can get anxious and wonder what’s going on and wonder if the writers know what they’re doing, but I know the truth. Clark wins in the end.

This is something the villain definitely doesn’t. He may have a unique power, but he doesn’t realize that there’s a greater power working there. He doesn’t realize that he can’t go around doing what he’s doing and expecting that no one’s going to stop him. That power is there and it does stop him of course. The story ends happily. (And if you watch the episode, the last scene is quite humorous for Superman fans.)

Some of you have already drawn out the parallel by now and it’s one you and I need to learn in our own lives. I can sit down and watch my favorite show and while I get tense, no matter what happens, I know that in the end, the good guy is going to win. I may see suffering and casualties and losses, but it doesn’t bother me entirely. Sure. I grieved when Jonathan Kent died and still miss him, but I know even that has been used for good.

So easy to do for a TV show. So hard to do for real life.

And yet, it should be easier! Our God is bigger than Superman is. Our God is a better writer of a story than the Smallville writers are. Certainly, our God has far more capability than anyone does. Also, no other villain can begin to even have a chance in a fight against God. He has no kryptonite.

Why don’t I?

Because I’m me. I don’t think God’s got it all under control a lot of times. It’s easy to look at my world and get confused, especially in our day when we’re all jumbles of feelings. We’re so centered on ourselves that if the world isn’t going great for us, well God isn’t doing his job.

Newsflash: God’s job is not to make you happy. Your temporary happiness is not God’s concern. Oh you will have eternal happiness if you follow him, but he’s willing to allow some temporary misery if it will get you to that point. Why should this surprise us? Even Clark Kent has suffering and we don’t look and say “Ha! The writers are fools!” No. We see in this and any other show that the writers allow suffering for a good purpose.

What do I recommend then? We simply need to trust. We’re told to do so and we’re admonished when we don’t show proper faith in Christ. Trust in God is not an option for the Christian life. It’s a necessity. If I can trust my favorite show to turn out well when I don’t even know the authors, how much more can I trust reality to the best author of all?

The Day of Salvation

I was chatting with a friend last night just discussing his plans for the future and getting to know him a bit. I consider some of the younger guys I meet in my life the little brothers I never had. I always want to be there for them as someone they can come to who will help them along the path and I’ve found an unusual respect from people I really don’t usually understand.

We got to discussing salvation and for all intents and purposes, I was thinking this guy already had everything taken care of there until he says “Well I’m not saved yet.”

I was stunned and I had to ask why. He said that he believed it all and that he’d prayed and that it just hadn’t happened yet, but that it would on God’s time.

I wanted to know how he knew he hadn’t been saved yet and he said that he would know it. When I asked how, he told me he just would. Eventually, he said the word “feel” at one point. He told me though to drop it around that point. I told him I would for tonight, but that that door was always open.

This really concerns me as I think about it. Our salvation is not determined by our feelings. If it was, I would have been in trouble a long time ago. I remember strong feelings when I got saved, but they didn’t last. You give things some time and they just go away. Feelings are like that. Good and bad ones both, a lesson I still need to realize, especially for bad ones.

Greg Koukl has said that people who are really emotional in their Christian lives are often really emotional in every other area as well. I’m not really an emotional person, unless it’s usually negative emotions. I would say my Christian walk is not filled with overwhelming desire often. I just do what I do.

Chances are, many of us are like that. We love Jesus, but our hearts are not often overwhelming as if we’re in some sort of love story. I actually think it’s quite possible to have a deep love for Jesus and not feel it simply because feelings move up and down. Our deep love should come before our feelings and if we get feelings, great. If not, oh well.

In fact, too often, I fear we have been chasing after feelings. I know I’m guilty of this when in a slump. I want it to end. I won’t leave you guessing on that. I want to be happy again. Instead, what one should do is merely experience. Realize that this is a part of life and as the ancient stoics would say “This too will pass.”

It will and it does and we look back on the experience and think “How silly I was then.” Of course, after that, we have the more insane thought of “I’m glad that’s over. I’ll never make that mistake again.” Heh. Give it a couple of months or so and you’ll be back in the exact same place.

I hope my friend comes around and he did tell me to pray for him. That I will definitely do. Of course, I should pray that I also learn the lesson I hope my friend does. I’d ask you to pray it for me also and maybe I need to pray it for you.

Today is the day of salvation, and it might not just be from sins.

Tossed By Every Wind

I’m not sure how many of you out there might be like me, but I can relate to the idea in James about being tossed around by every wind. It’s not by doctrine for me. I doubt it’s what James had in mind, but for myself, it deals with feelings. We approach the idea of feelings differently than the ancients did. Our value system shifted from our society to ourselves sometime and now we judge things by how we feel.

I was talking about this with some friends last night. I had signed off, but then I signed back on because I thought something needed to be done. I needed to say something to someone and I wouldn’t rest until I did so, and so I signed on and after discussing with some friends, I did what I had to do.

I discussed some personal issues though that made me feel inadequate for the task. I’m one of those people that when I’m in a really good mood, I’m in a really good mood and I’m unstoppable. When I’m in a down one though, I’m lower than low. Everything that’s right will suddenly be wrong.

I was told today that we need to learn to simply experience feelings and not analyze them. It’s a good idea, but it is definitely hard in practice. Those of us with my personality type are very analytical and that analysis can just kill us. Usually when it’s self-analyzing, it’s never good.

Yet this is where our whole society seems to be going. A man will divorce his wife because he doesn’t feel love any more. A person will not hesitate to do wrong because they do not feel like it’s wrong. To quote the song that so epitomizes what is going on “It can’t be wrong when it feels so right.”

Yes. This can happen in the church also. This happens when we start giving our feelings divine authority from God. Unfortunately, Scripture has nothing in it about God revealing his will for us through our feelings. Isn’t that part of our individualized culture as well though? What is God’s will for MY life? We spend so much time asking about ourselves that we don’t ask about God.

It’s easy for us to become locked inside of ourselves today. Iron bars do not a prison make. This can happen with our feelings or with reliving the past. We can also become enchained to what other people tell us. Now we need to have encouragement from other people, but it doesn’t need to be total dependence. It needs to be interdependence.

And as you can guess, I’m just as guilty as anyone. I believe we have lost a key part of life due to the effects of secularism on our culture. We removed the image from King God and as Peter Kreeft says, replaced it with the image of King Kong. We need to get back to that. We need to get to who we are and who he is.

Then ultimately, we have to get to who we are in him. Only in him can we see who we really are and only in him can we be free.