Sunday, January 3, 2010

What are Your Over-riding, Controlling Beliefs and Where Did You Get Them? Part I

A brief word at the beginning of each post will help keep the purpose of these posts in mind as this blog goes forward. If you haven’t read the introductory post, I suggest that you take the time to do it before reading on. I am keeping the posts short so that they can be quickly read and digested. It is my hope that you will reflect on these articles and put them to the test. When you encounter something that seems counter to everything you have been taught or know to be true…remember the assignment….smile…be a Berean. This is the most important thing to do; test it and see if what I am saying is true by scripture in context.

In the last post we looked at some questions about the strong delusion of 2Thess 2. It was suggested that the prophecy of the New Testament was already fulfilled and, that current Christianity as it has been practiced for 1,940 years, is in fact the strong delusion.  In order to establish this it would be necessary to show several circumstances, events, characters and, potential fulfillments that made this idea plausible. This could not be done to the satisfaction of a Berean without an in-depth journey.

Everyone comes to faith and practice with a particular over-riding or controlling belief. This controlling idea or belief is often called a lens. The reason for this metaphor is that like a pair of glasses that can make words on a page clearer or more distorted; a pair of lenses that are tinted and block out certain parts of the light spectrum, the lens forms your view and all that you see.

What about Christians?

All Christians that have any background in the faith at all are affected by and, under a controlling idea or paradigm. These controlling ideas come in the form of presuppositions. It would be appropriate to call these presuppositions controlling conditions. A faith statement is in reality a statement of presuppositions or controlling conditions. The thing I want to convey here is that these presuppositions affect and inform all of our beliefs.

How can there be such a variety of faith statements or creeds? The answer is that there are many controlling ideas or presuppositions and, quite often they are diametrically opposed to one another. Here again is the source of the divisions and denominations within Christianity.

What’s the difference?

Just to illustrate what I am talking about let’s look at a particular scripture passage from two points of view. The first point of view is the yet future fulfillment of the passage and, the other is that the passage was written to and intended for the hearers...readers in the first century and would therefore need to find fulfillment in the first century.

2Th 1:6-8  since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you,  (7)  and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels  (8)  in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

If you look at this with a view to the future, one would see that Paul is talking about some future generation when this could be fulfilled. The problem is that no one can see any real benefit because no one knows exactly when and who this future audience will be. The other point of view is that Paul was actually speaking to the first century Thessalonians. That would explain why he told them that God would afflict those who were afflicting them. Of course, in the plain sense of language Paul had to be writing to the saints of the first century and, it had to have prophetic meaning to them. The point of view makes all the difference.

I invite you to comment on what you read. I look forward to interaction and discussion. In the next post I will contrast two over-riding or controlling presuppositions; mine and the bulk of evangelical Christianity.

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