Christian books, Christianity, church, consistency, deeds, discerning the spirits, exhortation, experience, false spirits, Karl Barth, sacraments, Satan, sin, the old self, theology, Thomas F. Torrance, thought life
Some of you might wonder why I keep publishing about the dangers of clinging to the wrong spirits. However, I believe it is important to get rid of all negative influences that might be able to pull us away from a personal and intimate relationship with Christ risen. If we want to feed on Christ by seeking His presence daily, we should stay away from reading books, blogs, or the like that pollute our minds with an abundance of theological theories. Even though we might always find some truth in theological writings, a true Christian writer can solely be someone who knows God and is known by Him also. Actually, don’t we want to be introduced to all the truth instead of to some starters only? Dear reader, what this world thinks is recommendable is usually detestable in God’s eyes. The same applies to the religious world of Christianity where the average Christian has been raised to look up to charismatic high-profile figures. The book market is flooded with a diversity of Christian books that are not always helpful to lead us into the truth as it is revealed in Christ alone. Let me give you an example here the Lord has just made me aware of.
I was not sure whether I wanted to write another article or not as Thomas F. Torrance’s name popped up in my mind. I did not know much about him, yet I remembered having seen a good quote from him in a comment thread on my blog lately. As I was browsing the internet about more information, I stumbled over the detail that Torrance would take a doctoral degree under the supervision of Karl Barth (1886-1968) at the University of Basel [that] left an indelible impression on his theological method and style. Torrance went on to edit and translate the English version of Karl Barth’s magnum opus, Church Dogmatics, with G. W. Bromiley (Barth 1956-1976. (1) Well, reading the name Karl Barth, an alarm bell began to ring in my mind. Without telling you more than necessary, I want to emphasize the importance of integrity of a Christian figure that claims to write for, or at least, about God. Karl Barth, for instance, might have written wonderful essays about God and Christ, about the Trinity, and might have been an impressive defender of faith against liberalism, yet… he did not only fail and stumble over sin as it happens to all of us, it was even maintained that he would justify living in continued sin, i.e., adultery with his secretary. He even lived with this other woman in his and his wife’s home. (2) Although I do not want to dig deeper into Karl Barth’s obvious contradiction between word and deed, I offer you an excerpt of what Thomas Torrance thought about feeding on Christ daily. If you want to read more about the consistency of thought and deed, though, see Michael Clark’s and my joint article here.
“The whole focus of his [i.e. the individual Christian’s] vision and the whole perspective of his life in Christ’s name will be directed to the unveiling of that reality of his new being at the parousia, but meantime he lives day by day out of the Word and Sacraments. As one baptized into Christ he is told by God’s Word that his sins are already forgiven and forgotten by God, that he has been justified once for all, and that he does not belong to himself but to Christ who loved him and gave Himself for him. As one summoned to the Holy Table he is commanded by the Word of God to live only in such a way that he feeds upon Christ, not in such a way that he feeds upon his own activities or lives out of his own capital of alleged spirituality. He lives from week to week, by drawing his life and strength from the bread and wine of the Lord’s Supper, nourished by the body and blood of Christ, and in the strength of that communion he must live and work until Christ comes again. As often as he partakes of the Eucharist he partakes of the self-consecration of Jesus Christ who sanctified Himself for our sakes that we might be sanctified in reality and be presented to the Father as those whom He has redeemed and perfected (or consecrated) together with Himself in one. Here He is called to lift up his heart to the ascended Lord, and to look forward to the day when the full reality of his new being in Christ will be unveiled, making Scripture and Sacrament no longer necessary.”
― Thomas F. Torrance, Space, Time, And Resurrection
Hmm… If we are looking for God’s real presence, church tradition like taking the Eucharist where one confuses communion with God with some sensual thing, will be a big distraction if not an occult opening for other spirits to enter one’s very being. Dear brothers and sisters, we must be very cautious as to whom or what we let dwell in our minds. Whether it is about reading or listening to other people or, even worse, about the pictures we invite ‘into us’ as we watch what our old nature longs to dwell upon, I believe it is our job to choose wisely here.
“For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” (1 Cor 1:26-29 ESV)
Don’t we believe that we can master our own mind with our soul’s innate self-control. That only works on a superficial level as we might realize when we mull over our sometimes bizarre dreams, for example. Did we choose to have such dreams? 🙄 I guess rarely. Furthermore, I am inclined to believe that every picture we perceive is automatically saved in the subconscious mind and thus able to influence us on a subliminal level continually UNLESS we submit to God who alone can give us the victory over sin and death in all their hidden forms through which they approach us every day. We may not wonder when negativity befalls us at a progressive rate as we are drawn to delve into those subjects this world/TV/news have to offer us.
Indeed, if it’s not Jesus Christ on whom we feed, we are going to have many a need, and finally we eat the evil seed. Godspeed!
(1) Source: http://people.bu.edu/wwildman/bce/torrance.htm
(2) If you want to read more, see https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2017/october-web-only/what-to-make-of-karl-barths-steadfast-adultery.html
All images © 2017, 2018 Susanne Schuberth