Wednesday, February 27, 2008

How Jesus did the miraculous

At first blush the answer is obvious... he is, er... Jesus! But the answer becomes more complex when we try to understand the nature of his incarnation. One side might argue that Jesus did his miracles out of his deity. This means that the miracles of Jesus would act as signs of his being deity in the flesh. of course, this is a fact that seems to escape most of the audiences that Jesus ministers to. While they do praise God and acknowledge the great miracles that Jesus is doing among them they see these signs less as a sign of Christ's uniqueness and more as a sign of God working through him. This brings us to the other possibility- that Jesus did his miracles through the same Holy Spirit that you and I have within us. Acts 10.38 seems to indicate that the" anointing of the Holy Spirit and power" is what allowed Jesus to heal and deliver. Jesus himself seems to indicate the same thing in Luke 4.18. This launching of his ministry seems to be linked to the anointing of the Spirit of God. My thinking is that these miracles are less linked with Christ's deity than they are with the deity of the Holy Spirit and the power of God working through him.

As Spirit-baptized believers we see this power as something expected by Jesus (Act 1.8) to come upon all of us. This enduement with power is not a sign of our uniqueness or holiness or spiritual maturity but of God working through us. We have no place for pride or haughtiness, rather we should be humbled that God would choose to use vessels like ourselves. We, as imperfect human vessels, are co-laborers with the Spirit in the anointed work that he has for us.

All the more reason for Spirit filled individuals to be refilled over and over, to make sure that they walk in the power of the Spirit and in the anointing that God has for each of us. There is work for us that powerless religion cannot accomplish!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Finding Truth in Science

I am all for the scientific pursuit of truth. As a Christian, I believe that Truth points to God in the universe. It is a little scary then when universities begin a systematic persecution of scientists who believe in Intelligent Design. Ben Stein's video was sent to me by a friend. I found it disturbing. (BTW- it is a must see!)

Since science is a methodology at arriving at truth it should be based on evidence that is credible. When the powers that be try to enforce darwinism as the new religion they tinker with forces that they are too ignorant to understand. Or perhaps they are too blinded by bigotry against the position of a creator. For instance, how likely is it that evolution happened? Would you play the lotto with those kinds of chances? No you wouldn't!

One has to wonder about the fear of differing ideas that the establishment scientists have. To lie about the reason for dismissal as in the case of published assitant professor of physics and astronomy at Iowa State, Guillermo Gonzalez adds to the mystery and the sense of conspiracy. Or consider Caroline Crocker who was released from George Mason University who was released for teaching Intellegent Design along side evolution. It seems that the idea of a creator is so threatening that there is a severe backlash against anyone who espouses the possibility of design.

There is great evidence for the creation of this world. We should not be snookered into trusting the bigoted and flawed system that calls evolution sacrosanct. While there is no demand that christians believe that God created the world in 6 literal days,or that the world is 6000 years old, the scripture clearly declares God as creator of all that is.

Knowing the creator is highest privilege of any human being.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Anti Intellectualism and Pentecost

One of the most bothersome things to hear as a Pentecostal (AG) Minister is the resounding anti-intellectualism that reverberates in our camp. There is a constant clamor from our pastors that we should by pass the intellect all together. While there are certainly elements of our faith that bypass our intellect (ie., praying in the spirit, etc) there is a biblical imperative to love God with all our mind. So why is there so much anti-intellectual noise?

Well, bias for one- we have seen recently that there are forces in the intellectual arena that are driven by bias. One need only read Indoctrination U or some such book to see that there are blatant slants in our univerisities that sque information to the left (usually). These are usually driven by some political, social, or economic agenda. I mean, come on, how many times do we have to be condescended to by some liberal politician who tells us that our faith shouldn't affect our politics (all the while campaigning in some church!). Or how many times do we have to have some ivory tower intellectual look over his glasses at us "pitifully ignorant evangelicals" and repeat the often quoted but unsubstantiated studies that reveal that there is some genetic link for homosexuality (there is, in fact, none proven yet).

Then there is liberal scholarship that exhibits a set of assumptions that undermine the scriptures they are pretending to study. For instance, the anti supernaturalism of some or the late date for the gospels; or the extremism of higher criticism...etc. It is easy to rail against the intellectuals that seem to poison the pool of our theology.

And what are we to make of the hundreds of graduates from our higher learning institutions who, after spending tens of thousands on seminary educations, are still il-equipped to do ministry? Obviously their massive intellects aren't helping us reach the lost and dying world around us.

But what we need in Pentecostal circles is not a lack of intellectualism but inflamed intellect. Inflamed with passion, creativity and surrendered to the service of the King. There are a few scholars who have begun to show us how to passionately follow God with our intellect. Can this passionate intellect drive the pastoral ministry? Can we return to "Thinking with the scholars and talking with the people" as Luther demanded? Will it translate into church growth? Or does ministry die on the altar of pragmatism?