Friday, March 20, 2009

From 'With" into "In"

One of the responses to our discussion of Papa’s touch goes as follows:

Hi Baxter,
I was wondering what do you base your statement ~"the Holy Spirit is in the little girl"? The little girl who has never heard of Jesus and this can be applied to adults who have do not believe/worship Jesus. Would it not be more accurate to state that the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of Jesus)is WITH the girl but not yet indwelling her? As I understand it, the Holy Spirit indwells believers and unites us to Christ. And the Holy Spirit is with everyone else drawing us all to Jesus. (This comes from Dr. Gary Deddo, your classmate)
We are connected to Jesus now in the same way we WERE connected to Adam. So that is why Jesus says that "whatever you do to the least of these, you do to me." I'd appreciate your comments. Thanks.


To my mind there are several critical issues here that need to be addressed, although who is competent to speak about such things. The first concerns the basis for saying that the Holy Spirit is ‘in’ not merely ‘with’ the abused little girl who allegedly has never heard of Jesus? Presumably there is an invisible line somewhere that the Holy Spirit cannot cross without our faith. The second has to do with the question, does the Holy Spirit unite us ‘to’ Christ? The third concerns the statement that ‘we are connected to Jesus now in the same way we were connected to Adam’?

The fundamental issue here is the identity of Jesus Christ, for his very identity is the light of the world, and as such speaks volumes about the Father and the Spirit and their relationship with us, among thousands of other things. While we cannot possibly begin to cover all that needs to be said here, I will give you what seems to me to be the three foundational realities about Jesus. First, Jesus is the Father’s one and only and eternal Son, who for us and for our salvation ‘came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man,’ as the Creed says. Second, Jesus is the only one who is anointed with the Holy Spirit as an abiding reality and without measure. Third, Jesus Christ is the Creator and sustainer of all things. As the apostles testify, he is the One in and through and by and for whom all things were created and are constantly upheld (John 1:1-3, Colossians 1:16ff; Hebrews 1:1-3, and see earlier blog). Contrary to what many of us have heard all our lives, we do not make Jesus part of our world; he has made us a part of his.

In the deistic West, however, if we ever think of Christ as the Creator (and I wonder how many of you have actually heard a sermon on Christ as the Creator) we think of Jesus as the ‘source’ of our existence, but not as the one who ‘constantly sustains’ us. It is as though Jesus created us and gave us something akin to a life-battery, then he stepped back leaving us to live like an Eveready Energizer Bunny. Creation, in this framework, is like a soap bubble blown into the wind by a child. We could say that the child created the soap bubble, but once the bubble detaches from the wand there is no ongoing relationship with the wand or the child. It is this disconnect, which seems to be etched into the Western mind, that is the problem. In such a scenario Jesus creates us, gives us the life-battery, and then steps back, and he could theoretically die and we would all keep on going and going until our life-battery runs out of power. What happens to Jesus after creation and the giving of the life-battery is of no necessary consequence to us or to creation. Such a notion is a far cry from the New Testament which contends that Jesus is not only the source of our existence by way of a past gift (the life-battery), but he is the ongoing source and sustainer of our continued existence, so much so that if he withdrew himself from us, the human race and indeed the cosmos would vanish in an instant.

Note carefully these words from John Calvin’s Commentary on the Gospel of John, as he comments on John 1:4 and the phrase, “in him was life.”

So far, he has taught us that all things were created by the Word of God. He now likewise attributes to Him the preservation of what had been created; as if he were saying that in the creation of the world His power did not simply suddenly appear only to pass away, but that it is visible in the permanence of the stable and settled order of nature–just as Heb. 1.3 says that He upholds all things by the Word or command of His power. Moreover, this life can either be referred at large to inanimate creatures, which do live in their own way though they lack feeling, or expounded only of the animate. It matters little which you choose, for the simple meaning is that the Word of God was not only the fount of life to all creation, so that those which had not yet existed began to be, but that His life-giving power makes them remain in their state. For did not His continued inspiration quicken the world, whatsoever flourishes would without doubt immediately decay or be reduced to nothing. In short, what Paul ascribes to God, that in Him we have our being and move and live (Acts 17.28), John declares to be accomplished by the blessing of the Word. It is God, therefore, who gives us life; but He does so by the eternal Word. (John Calvin, The Gospel According to John, translated by T. H. L. Parker, (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company), 1988, pp. 10-11).

Following the apostles, Calvin is at pains to point out that the creation and the continued existence of all things are completely dependent upon the Son of God. What then are we to make of the fact that it was this Son who became human? What happened to his relationship with his Father and the Spirit? Did he break ties with his Father and the Holy Spirit when he became a human being? Did he dissolve his relationship with the human race and all creation in his incarnation? Of course not.

This is a point of capital importance. For already in the very identity of Jesus Christ—the Father’s eternal Son, the One anointed in the Holy Spirit, and the Creator, in and through and by and for whom all things were created and are sustained—we are speaking of One in whom the Father, the Holy Spirit, the human race, and all creation are not only connected, but are together in relationship. For St. Athanasius, the deepest problem of the fall of Adam was the way it threatened this relationship, not the relationship between Jesus and his Father and the Holy Spirit, but the relationship between Jesus, the human race and all creation. As Athanasius said, creation was on the road to ruin and was lapsing back into non-being.

Into this perilous situation the Father’s Son became incarnate through the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary to do the very thing that was impossible for us—reestablish relationship. Through his incarnate life, death, resurrection and ascension Jesus lived out his own sonship as a human being inside the fallen world of Adam, therein reestablishing real relationship with fallen humanity. As he lived out his own sonship, and as he reestablished relationship with fallen humanity, he was at the same time including us in his own relationship with his Father and the Holy Spirit.

Astonishingly, Jesus intentionally used, as T. F. Torrance says, our sin against him as the way to establish deeper relationship with us. It was not the Father or the Holy Spirit who rejected, cursed and abandoned Jesus; it was the human race. We condemned and damned him. As we cursed Jesus and damned him, and as he deliberately accepted our condemnation and bore our scorn, he was entering into the deepest possible relationship with us in our sin and odious brokenness. In suffering from us, in bearing our bitter rejection, in dying in the arms of our judgment and condemnation, Jesus met us at our absolute worst.

Such a relationship, it seems to me, stretches any notion of ‘with’ into ‘in.’ Even on a purely human level it is difficult to imagine a person being ‘with’ another person and not being ‘in’ them in some sense. It is even more unimaginable when we are speaking of the One in and through and by and for whom all things were created and are sustained becoming a human being and being ‘with’ us to the degree that he became what we are, and deliberately, astonishingly and graciously bore our scorn and rejection.

What is left outside of this relationship? Did Jesus leave something of himself behind? Is there something of us, some particle of sin, some dimension of our brokenness that was withheld as we crucified him? The cross, or better yet, Jesus on the cross, accepting and bearing our bizarre judgment and its bitterness is nothing short of Jesus making contact with and overcoming the original sin, thus reestablishing or recreating his relationship with us and his rightful place as the One in and through and by and for whom all things were created and are sustained. Put another way, as Jesus allowed the human race to place our sin upon him, to reject and curse him, he was translating ‘with’ into ‘in.’

Now, it must be emphasized that as Jesus became what we are, and as he lived out his own sonship and anointing inside our fallen world, and as he deliberately accepted being condemned and damned by us, he was bringing into relationship everything that he is as the Father’s Son, and the anointed One, with everything that we are in our fallen brokenness. In Jesus Christ, the incarnate, crucified, resurrected and ascended Son of the Father and the anointed One, the very life of the Trinity has set up shop ‘in’ the very core of our fallen human existence. Adoption is not a theory. It is the real world—even if we cannot see it or believe it, yet. For when Jesus accepted us as we are and bore our bitter judgment, he was not alone—he brought his Father and the Holy Spirit with him. As St. Irenaeus said, in Jesus’ life and death the Holy Spirit “accustomed” himself “to dwell in the human race” (Irenaeus, Against the Heresies, in The Ante-Nicene Fathers, volume 1 (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Erdmann’s Publishing Company, reprinted 1987), III.17, 1, see also III.20.3).

Jesus is thus the One in whom his Father, the Holy Spirit, the fallen human race and all creation are not only related, but rightly related, and rightly related in the most profound way imaginable. “In that day you shall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you” (John 14:20)

Is the abused little girl, who has theoretically never heard of Jesus, included in Jesus? Of course. Is she included in Jesus’ relationship with his Father? Of course. Is she included in Jesus’ anointing in the Holy Spirit? Of course. What is the basis for saying that the Holy Spirit is ‘in’ not merely ‘with’ the abused little girl? Jesus Christ. For he has included her (and all of us), and Jesus never travels alone. So unless we are prepared to posit some kind of breach between Jesus and his Father and the Holy Spirit, or that some level of our humanity and its fallenness was absent as we damned Jesus, then he has included the fallen world in his relationship with his Father, and in his relationship with the Holy Spirit. 'With' simply does not have the depth to describe such a relationship.

Now, is it accurate to speak of the Holy Spirit as uniting us to Christ? My answer is ‘Yes,’ as long as we understand that this union happened in Jesus’ life and death. The Holy Spirit united us with Christ, or better, united Christ with us, or better yet, worked in and through Jesus to reestablish his union with us in Jesus’ own existence. To be sure, the union was the fruit of the Spirit, but it happened in Jesus, not at some subsequent stage in us and in our history, and certainly not by our faith. Where a given person is in his or her understanding Christ’s union with us is another matter, but our blindness or enlightenment has nothing to do with the fact of Christ’s relationship and union with us in the Spirit.

The baptism of the Holy Spirit is not an external event, for in Jesus, the Spirit has made his way into the living room of our blind souls. It is in the very center of our created and fallen being that the Holy Spirit witnesses to our innermost beings and begins to free us to live in the inconceivable world of our adoption in Christ. For while it is impossible for us to push the weeds of our fallen minds to the side, and thus to believe in anything other than what we perceive through our blindness, Jesus has penetrated our darkness and brought the Spirit of truth with him. The Holy Spirit is not a spectator, watching from the outside, giving abstract and external instructions that he hopes that we will apply to our lives. He meets us in the corridors of our fallen souls, bearing witness to the ‘unbelievable’ world of Jesus and his Father. He works within us to help us see through our own blindness to know who God is in Christ and who we are in him, and in this way to help us take baby steps against our own judgment and alienation.

Inside, at the core of our being, the Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirits (See Romans 8:16.) that it is true, that we are sons and daughters of the Father himself in Jesus, crying the exclusive words of Jesus, “Abba! Father!” within us. “And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’” (Galatians 4:4.).

On the basis of Jesus Christ, and in the truth of what he has done for and with and to the human race in his own incarnate life, death, resurrection and ascension, we proclaim to every person that they have been adopted, included in Jesus’ relationship with his Father and in his relationship with the Holy Spirit. And in Jesus’ name we call them to walk in the light of Jesus, promising joy and peace in believing, and warning of continued misery in unbelief. We pray to the Holy Spirit, who in Jesus, has accustomed himself to dwell in the fallen human race, to reveal Jesus ‘in’ every person so that they may know the truth and be set free by it.

The Holy Spirit united Jesus with us and us with Jesus in Jesus’ life, death, resurrection and ascension. And in Jesus’ life the Spirit accustomed himself to dwell in us. Both, I take to be living realities established in the grace of the Triune God prior to our faith and repentance. Within us the Spirit works to bring us to hear Jesus Christ, the living Word of God, to see and encounter Jesus himself within our own brokenness, so that we can begin to discern good from evil, light from darkness, life from death, and heaven from hell. In such encounters we are summoned and freed to take baby steps of faith in Jesus and his world, and to turn from our own darkness. Such baby steps give more room for the Spirit’s life and power to operate within us. It frees us to relate to and to participate in Jesus’ anointing in the Holy Spirit. It is all an ongoing relational reality, which began in Jesus’ incarnation and continues throughout our lives, and one would assume throughout eternity.

As to whether “we are connected to Jesus now in the same way we were connected to Adam” let me say that Jesus is the Father’s eternal son, not a creature like Adam, and Jesus is the one in and through and by and for whom all things were created, and are sustained and reconciled. According to Paul, Adam was a mere type, a foreshadowing of the One to come (see Romans 5:14). As a creature, not the creator and sustainer of all things, Adam’s connection with the human race, whatever it was, falls under the heading of this foreshadowing, and points ahead of itself to the real connection in Jesus Christ. So, no we are not connected to Jesus in the same way we were connected to Adam. Adam’s connection hinted at the real union coming in the incarnate and crucified Creator-Son and anointed One.


Please give Gary Deddo my regards. He is one of the most brilliant theologians I have had the priveledge of knowing.

For more on these issues see my essays, “Bearing Our Scorn: Jesus and the Way of Trinitarian Love” and “The Truth of All Truths” and “The Light of the Cosmos,” available at perichoresis.org, and T. F. Torrance’s books, The Mediation of Christ, and The Trinitarian Faith, and J. B. Torrance’s great book, Worship, Community and the Triune God of Grace.

27 comments:

John Geerlings said...

Thanks Baxter
I have nothing further to say, except “HALLELUIAH”

Timothy said...

OOOOOOOHHH! BANGIN'! KICKIN'! In another trinity of words WHOA! RIGHT ON! THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKIN ABOUT! And finally, in the name of the Father, Son and Spirit - AMEN! AMEN!! AMEN!!! :-)

Pastor Paul said...

Baxter, you are amazing. I love it when someone takes "pot-shots" at you or this theology thinking that they "actually KNOW something" and that they are going to catch you in a moment of ignorance and one up you. Dang, you are good. Your fabulous education is certainly paying priceless dividends.

This is truely an amazing post in describing Jesus' past, present, and ongoing INCARNATION. He really is FOR US and how nice to know He Loves us and has ALL POWER IN HEAVEN AND EARTH TO MAKE IT ALL HAPPEN HIS WAY. NOT OURS.

Keep the great blogs coming.

Love ya,

Paul

Captain Bedlam said...

Jesus, thank you for teaching me about you. Spirit, thank you for opening my eyes to see Jesus and to my Heavenly Dad, thank you for sending us your Son to bring us all into abiding fellowship of adoption.

Thank you that Baxter gets to participate in sharing WHO he knows so that we may know you more.

Shine into to our darkness Dad!

ak

RonCMorgan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim Noseworthy said...

Baxter:

What do we do with such verses as these:
 
Jude 1:19 These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do "not have the Spirit."
 
Luke 11:13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven "give the Holy Spirit
to those who ask him!"
 
1 Corinthians 2:14 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 cannot
understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.
 
Romans 8:9 You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the
Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.
 
And of course, a vary familiar passage:
 
Acts 2:38 Peter replied, "Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will "receive
the gift of the Holy Spirit."
There are other passages we could bring to bare on this subject as well.
 
Thanks all over the place.
 

Anonymous said...

He will not have an answer for those verses as most Perichoresis messages are taken from passages in the books of John, Ephesians, Colossians and a handful of other books. It seems the whole perichoresis message is built on a select few passages and many other 'difficult' passages are just never mentioned or ignored.

RonCMorgan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RonCMorgan said...

In reference to the above bible verses I must put my five dollars worth in. If we start out knowing we are in the Lord Jesus and He is in us, each of these verses make perfect sense and the Perichoresis message leads us to more of His light; but if we start from a perspective of being outside Him and logically trying to figure it out they don't match the Perichoresis message. These verses mean exactly what they say and the Perichoresis message in no way is contrary to these thoughts. God has done what He has done; it really is finished, and He lives in me. If I didn't know this to be true I would be like a man without the Spirit because these things are spiritually decerned; I won't know I have the Spirit until I begin to be like the man who has the Spirit as I begin to understand the good news that He has done what He unbelieveably has done. When we begin to believe God really is THAT unconditionally good.

Freder said...

I've just recently discovered this web site and have to say that the centrality of Christ and Dr. Kruger's desire to put full weight to Jesus' proper place of holding all of the universe together (Col. 1:17, Heb 1:3) is refreshing and worshipful. His emphasis on the Trinity and incarnation cause my heart to soar.

However, the question I hear behind the original post regarding "the Holy Spirit is in the little girl" was NOT addressed.

Here is the question I hear: What about those who do NOT take "small steps of faith"? What is the eternal destiny (and present state) of those who reject the light?

I have not yet read a clear statement of how Dr. Kruger views the present and future state of "those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus" (1 Thess. 2:8-10). Paul makes a sharp distinction between those and the ones who have "believed our testimony to you."

Yes, Jesus is "the true light that gives light to every man" (John 1:9)AND ALSO the one who sharply contrasted those who "did not receive him" from those who did receive him, calling only the latter "children of God" (John 1:11-12).

Yes, John is "the light of the world" AND ALSO the one who says "whoever follows me...will have the light of life" (John 8:12). In some sense, Jesus is the light for everyone (the lost and the redeemed), AND ALSO Jesus makes a sharp distinction with those who follow.

I appreciate the universal ministry of Jesus to the entire world. I would like to hear a clear distinction made, however, between those who embrace Jesus and live with Him forever and those who reject Him and are separated from Him forever.

Anonymous said...

Why does God still allow this world to continue in it's suffering. Especially after the Son united with the cosmos.
Wouldn't you think that out of the abundance of His love, he would end this world's madness ?
Just wondering, thanks for your help

Ron said...

There is an eight year old boy sitting here I just asked, "Why does God allow bad things to happen"? His answer is "He doesn't want it to but it happens". I heard a theologian answer the question saying he didn't know but maybe it is because God doesn't want to violate His law of freedom.

I tragically lost a nine year old sister when I was 15 and I spent the next ten to 15 years cursing God. Can you imagine a drunk, immature, stupid Marine showing off in front of other Marines looking up into the heavens, middle finger extended, daring God to come down and do something about my anger. God is amazing because He could have proved His existance then and there by incinerating me.

One of the first steps out of this for me was a basic understanding of the Genesis story of Adam and Eve. Then, realizing God is bigger than my religious beliefs. Maybe this life is not all there is. Maybe lost humanity will be more closely introduced to our creator and shown what He has done for them sometime in the future. Maybe when we get to heaven.

The question, 'why doesn't He end this madness now'? One answer is He sees the big picture and we don't. We suffer now, some worse than others, for example the abused little girl, but the reality of the hope, goodness, love, and promises Jesus gives and actually standing in the presence of the one Trinity then begins to bring life, real life into our lives and we love to know that is a forever event and that becomes most important.

In the abundance of His love He patiently waits and hurts throughout our lives. We get to die but He lives throughout and suffers patiently in us seeing all and knowing His plan will be completed. Then our small understanding we have now will look like pre-school when that day drips down like honey.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonomous of the quote, "He will not have an answer for those verses",

I realise this blogsite is fundamentally of a theological nature, but would like to put this out there anyway.

I don't know what you think of this, but wouldn't it be that as human beings, we all to some degree stick to what we know?

I wanted to ask that because I'm beginning to see the good in A Little Bit of knowledge that is explored and known, as opposed to the embracing of A Lot of knowledge for status' sake. 'A Lot' is impressive for its scope, but is not usaually intimately and confidently understood, and so thus basically a 'dud' in terms of genuine soul-growth.
As long as 'A Little Bit' is generating peace and vitality (not fear), and promoting growth (not soul-masks), I tend to think that a person is in a good place.

What I respect in Perichoresis (as well as a lot of individual people I've had the fortune of coming across), is the brave choice to LET THE INEXPLICABLE SIT SACRED, rather than to clumsily embrace it into seemingly 'grand', but usually immature capabilities.

I reckon we are all on a MASSIVE (& ongoing) learning curve as human beings. Like all persons before us, we are having the human Soul and Be-ing grown up before our very eyes. It IS your and my very life!! It seems the generations of late are having the pleasure and pain of realising the name of this process, and coming to grips with this reality.

Therefore, why don't be brave for eachother, and drop this 'I'm right, you're wrong' nonsense, especially in the arena of vibes given.

We're ALL involved in this education in some way or another, and it would be a massive gift to generations to come if we could learn and practice NOW the skill of holding onto ourselves & pausing together in these moments of I. Have. No. Idea.
At the moment, we're a frenzy of super-balls bouncing off the extremities of the cosmos, no?? :)

The story of humanity is far from over. Best wishes and safe travels to you as your story is woven in.

~A

Anonymous said...

Was God in Adolf Hitler?

RonCMorgan said...

Anonymous, I have printed out, read and reread your thoughts and comments and you are so right. I see why you question certain ways of thinking and you have uncovered for me a work needed area in my personal journey.

It is liberating to know there are some things I don't know. When you say: LET THE INEXPLICABLE SIT SACRED brings in a new way of thinking for me. And I like it and I want to grow in that. I love changing and growing in understanding our Lord.

Thanks again for taking on my thoughts because it has really helped me. I read what you said right before I fell asleep last night and woke up this morning and read it again and again.

I have only started learning this way that Baxter is teaching.

Ron

John Geerlings said...

Hi Baxter

A wonderful blog, had to send a few more thoughts. I believe that there is objective reality and subjective participation. In the objective it is the Holy Spirit who has been sent to convince the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. This is to convince them that they have been forgiven, made right and do not need to judge each other any more for Satan has been judged, for God does not condemn. This is not done at a distance but in us and becomes the HOPE of glory. It is the reality of His faith!
As we subjectively agree from the faith of Jesus, the Holy Spirit fills us so that we may come to see and share in what Jesus has already done and share in the living church or body. Why would the Holy Spirit fill us if we do not believe or reject Jesus? Objectively salvation has been given, it is a gift, and subjectively by His faith (our response) do we want to BE SAVED. Objectively God in Christ has reconciled the world to Himself; and subjectively by His faith do we want to BE RECONCILED. The scripture verses depend upon subjective response in order to come to see and hear reality that already is. He loves us enough so that we may come to see that the decision has already been made in Jesus when we stumble in our responses. So for me the receiving or not receiving of the Holy Spirit has nothing to do with the Spirit gifted to the entire world but our faith response in the response for me, who is the author and finisher. Anyway I am in constant mind renovation. John

Bill said...

"Was God in Adolf Hitler?"

Godwin's Law:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin's_law

Pastor Paul said...

I would like to respond to Bill. First, all humans' sins from Adam on re1quired the death of Jesus Christ for forgiveness. In the fall of Adam all humans are in their heart "desperately wicked" as Jeremiah says--whether you or anyone realizes it or not or admits to it or not.

Jesus came to save the lost sinners of this world. Hitler being one of most notable ones.

God lives in ALL humans in His creation thereby providing salvation, redemption, reconciliation and eternal life for all through Jesus.

Does Hitler know this? I don't think so. But He will. He will know that his life was a life of Jesus living in him and his living it in an extremely sinful fashion.

To not include Hitler or anyone else would negate what Jesus came to do. Connect man to God and to be the Saviour of the World. All of it.

We just have to deal with it.

Paul Kurts
www.pastorpaulsinteractiveblog.blogspot.com

Bill said...

Paul,

I think you are responding to the earlier anonymous poster who asked "Was God in Adolf Hitler?". I was just quoting that post and referencing Godwin's Law (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin's_law). It's fascinating how, the longer they go on, the more probable it is that a web discussion ends up at Hitler.

Bill

Pastor Paul said...

It makes no difference how we end up at Hitler. The point is that Jesus died for ALL sin and the sins of ALL humans from Adam on. Hitler being one of the descendents of Adam. However repulsive and reprehensible and evil Hitler was, his sins are also covered in the blood of Christ and he is reconciled and redeemed as well as all other humans who have ever lived. Will he believe it? I don't know. Maybe, maybe not.

God bless,

Paul

Anonymous said...

Quote from Wiki

"Godwin's Law applies especially to inappropriate, inordinate, or hyperbolic comparisons of other situations (or one's opponent) with Hitler or Nazis or their actions"

So, what is so inappropriate or inordinate to ask the question "Where was God while this murderer was destroying God's very sons and daughters? Was God in Hitler? (And if you don't like Hitler, try Stalin (33 million dead from starvation) Or was God in the victims? Or both?

We can holler Halleluiah's and Amen's all day long. But if we are to learn this theology and know it WELL we must ask the tough questions. Tough questions need to provoke a zeal for the understanding of the Triune God. We want to know our Papa better & better & better. We want to know our brother Jesus better & better & better. Hard questions are not "pot shots" Hard questions are hard questions nothing more nothing less. Again, if we are to understand this theology we should be posting tons of questions for Baxter. Really spin his head. And Baxter should post tons of answers and spin our heads right back.

We have our very own theologian ready to help us as we learn about our Father and His Son. I venture to say that anything less then a tough question to a brilliant theologian is just an insult.

So come on Baxter! Pour it on! Teach us as the Spirit inspires you. Help us grow in holy maturity.

And Spirit - thank you for opening our eyes and although we still see dimly help us to wash off the mud from our eyes and lead us to cleary see our Papa and His Son.

Bill said...

From Wikipedia:

"The rule does not make any statement about whether any particular reference or comparison to Adolf Hitler or the Nazis might be appropriate, but only asserts that one arising is increasingly probable."

So Godwin's Law speaks more to probability than appropriateness. All I was doing is pointing out how true this is as web based discussions go on. I just find it fascinating. Sorry if this distracted from the core of the discussion, but I always get intrigued when I see this "law" in action and couldn't help but mention it. So by all means, if anyone else wants to comment on the Hitler question, please go for it.

RonCMorgan said...

Okay Baxter. You speak of the deistic western mind; how we in the west think God is not upholding His creation; well, I am still stuck in it. Do you have any suggestions for becoming unstuck? I have read the bible verses and hear what they say, and want to believe what they say, but I am still stuck in the thinking: "God can reconcile humans without reconciling His creation".

I cannot imagine I am having trouble BELIEVING what the bible says as I interpret it. It isn't that I don't believe, because I do relize it is true, it just won't soak in. Is there another way of approaching this, maybe a book I can read or something? Ron

Ron said...

Baxter, since my asking the question about the creation being reconciled to the Father along with humanity I am beginning to understand the answer a little more clearly. It seems as we begin to understand humanity being reconciled, the creation just seems to be part of that reconciliation. It is an interesting truth though and I have been fascinated of the American Indian culture and their being closely tied to nature. So the question I asked really is more curiosity than anything I guess and just wanting to explore.

Also please forgive me for asking selfishly for the part of me that just wanted to ask a tough question for tough questions sake. In the future I will try to be more mature. Ron

Anonymous said...

Are humans capable of being demon possessed? Of course they can be, the bible is littered with examples of people being completely control by evil spirits. So my question is - When someone is demon possessed, how does the Holy Spirit "deal" with that situation? Is the Holy Spirit in that person also? Along with the demon? Any serious comments?

Pastor Paul said...

Anonymous: Good question and the answer is also inspiring.

My quesiton is , since I post my full name, why do you post as
"anonymous"?

Paul Kurts

www.pastorpaulsinteractiveblog.blogspot.com
www.newlifewcg.org

Ron said...

In regard to Anonymous:
(When someone is demon possessed, how does the Holy Spirit "deal" with that situation?)

It seems that Papa's son has decided to live in this fallen world just the way it is. For him to allow a demon to kick him around swallows most any reasoning my mind brings up. For the trinity to be working with this demon possessed person to bring him or her to Jesus while being tossed around goes beyond my understanding.

This reminds me of one of the questions I have and it is: "Does Papa interfere at all in the circumstances of our lives"? Does He change those circumstances or are our answered prayers realizing He is there? Ron