Category Archives: Christian Epistemology

Christian Intelligence Is the Only Intelligence

Intelligence is not measured by what some boil down to an IQ test. For this to be proven, empiricism as an epistemology must be proven and induction must yield necessary conclusions. When has this happened? Or can one show in formal validity that the bible teaches an IQ test, or a mere narrow applied skill is how the Bible defines intelligence? Where is this proof?

If a Christian presupposes empiricism, like a spiritual adulteress, to understand what intelligence is, we are to rebuke and dismiss such a person. We know where they presuppose knowledge from. It is not God; it is not from the scripture. No. Their starting point for knowledge is human and sensual; it is from below; it is not from above. They are the pinnacle of what it means to be man-centered. They are spiritual perverts.

Below are a few quotes from Vincent Cheung, from his Systematic Theology. See actual reference for more Scriptural quotations.[1]

On the other hand, Scripture teaches, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding” (Psalm 111:10). Proverbs 9:10 says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Thus Christians have wisdom and understanding. They are intelligent people. But since the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, and the Bible acknowledges only the Christian God, this means that non-Christians have not even started to have wisdom. They do not have even a little of it. They are completely unintelligent and uneducated.

The biblical assessment of non-Christians is that they are both stupid and sinful. They are intellectually and ethically inferior. They demonstrate their lack of intellectual aptitude in failing to agree with the Christian faith. And in denying the Christian faith despite the innate knowledge that God has placed in their minds and despite the irrefutable arguments of biblical apologetics, they show that they are not only intellectual ostriches but that they actively suppress the truth about God….[2]

Supralapsarianism is the biblical and rational order. Infralapsarianism confuses logical conception with historical execution, so that not only is it contrary to fact, but it makes nonsense of some of the divine decrees. For any given decree, it leaves the purpose of the decree unspecified until the next decree. But then there is no reason for the present one, so that it becomes arbitrary. Thus infralapsarianism is blasphemous by implication, since it insults God’s intelligence and denies his rationality…[3]

The mind of man, his intelligence or rationality, is the image of God. It is impossible to deny this, but some people attempt to add other elements to it, such as morality and dominion. This is, in fact, consistent the biblical position (Ephesians 4:24); however, rationality remains the basic element in the definition of the image of God. Man’s moral nature distinguishes him from the animals, and so it seems that it is a part of the image of God. But what is the basis of this moral nature, and how does it operate? Even animals “obey” God’s commands, but instead of doing so on the basis of understanding and volition, they are compelled by instinct. On the other hand, man receives and understands a divine command, and then decides to obey it or defy it. He can comprehend the concepts of good and evil, and he can discuss them by the use of language. This means that man is moral precisely because he is rational. Morality is a function of intelligence or rationality. Therefore, although to have a moral nature is part of what it means to be a human person, it is not necessary to include it as part of the basic definition for the image of God…[4]

For more insight into this, Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 1 and 2, will give us some more knowledge.

For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  For it is written,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the intelligence of the intelligent I will confound.”

 Where is the wise person? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?  For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom did not know God, God was pleased through the foolishness of preaching to save those who believe. For indeed, Jews ask for sign miracles and Greeks seek wisdom,  but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a cause for stumbling, but to the Gentiles foolishness,  but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.  For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
(1 Corinthians 1:18-24 LEB

And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I decided not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.  And I came to you in weakness and in fear and with much trembling, and my speech and my preaching were not with the persuasiveness of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and power, in order that your faith would not be in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

Now we do speak wisdom among the mature, but wisdom not of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are perishing, but we speak the hidden wisdom of God in a mystery, which God predestined before the ages for our glory).
(1 Corinthians 2:1-7 LEB)

Paul is contrasting “HUMAN” wisdom and intelligence with “GOD’s” wisdom and intelligence. Depending on the translation you have, wisdom, understanding and intelligence being used. All are appropriate, because we get them defined in context of this passage.

Starting with the foundation, God’s “wisdom” is defined in His perfect understanding of Himself, and also His logical ordering of decrees. God’s Spirit knows Himself. Also, we are dealing with God’s predestination, which is a logical ordering of the world, from purpose to execution. This is God’s wisdom and understanding. God has an infinite amount of propositions and an infinite amount of connections between these propositions. When God thinks a specific thought about reality, it is a deduction (Rational) thought, because it is an application of His total knowledge.[5] That is, it is not an addition of information (outside of God’s mind) into the conclusion (i.e. application); rather, the specific knowledge in the conclusion is only pinpointing out knowledge already contained in God’s total knowledge. The order of the decrees is rational, because it goes from God’s purpose/goal to execution. This is God’s understanding and intelligence.

This is contrasted to HUMAN wisdom. Human wisdom and intelligence start with man’s observations, man’s feelings and man’s sensations. From this starting point, man irrationally formulates categorial and universal premises for reality. For the Greeks this was the Socratic method, and today a modified version of this is called Scientific Experimentation.

Paul specifically attacks two points of their human wisdom. First is the empty flowery sounding rhetoric, “persuasiveness of wisdom.” Paul did not rely on a super eloquent sounding speech to convince the Corinthians. The second is attacking how humans try to make “demonstrations” without God’s revelation. Paul attacks by a positive. He does this by saying his logical proof, using God as a foundation means the Corinthians faith is in God, not man. Paul uses philosophy words to further the contrast of human wisdom vs God, and to show were the presuppositional issue is.[6]

Aristotle is famous for defining a “sound” argument in two ways. First, universal truth premises come from human starting points, observations and induction. It has similarity to the Socratic method and scientific experimentation. Second, once this is established then we are to use deduction to apply these truths in specific applications/conclusions. Since the Bible presupposes and uses deductive logic almost nonstop, we also will use deduction.  However, the issue is how do you get your initial truth claims about reality. Paul, is starting with God’s revelation. Man starts with man’s observations (along with induction) to formulate them.

The LEB says “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the intelligence of the intelligent I will confound.” Thus, the intelligence of the Greeks was according to Paul’s own use of the term “moron” in this passage, were well, morons. That is, despite the fact some of the Greeks tried to used deduction (or tried to be rational, or tried to make “SOUND” arguments “demonstrations”), they ended up un-intelligent and morons. How is that that case? Because they started with a HUMAN starting point for knowledge rather than God’s revelation.

Paul is defining the Christian’s wisdom and intelligence as two things. One, starting with God’s revealed truth about reality. Then secondly from there, making rational or deductive applications of these truths. Aristotle and the Greeks were unintelligent morons, because the so-called truth premises about the world, were nothing more than human delusions and speculations.  No amount of deductions afterwards can compensate for this. In fact, to keep making deductions from false premises is how to be insane and delusional.

Example: “All humans do not exist. I am a human. Thus. I do not Exist.”

Or “All humans are clouds. You are a human. Thus, You are a cloud.”

So try jumping off a cliff next time you see one, because you will float like a cloud.

The logical application here is indeed deductive, but it is not sound. It is NOT intelligent to attempt to be rational while using make-believe delusions for your premises. Insane people are right at home with this: “All humans are dogs. I am a human. Thus, I am a dog. Ruff, Ruff, Ruff.”

This is how the Scripture would define intelligence and non-intelligence. The Scripture would define a person with a so-called high IQ or particular skill, but does not use correct premises to know the world as it truly is, as unintelligent and moronic. Because of the pragmatic usefulness of science, people are often blinded by the fact that its premises about reality are produced by induction and speculations. Thus, to use science to produce true conclusions about reality is just as insane and moronic as the above syllogisms. “ruff, ruff!”

Some do not like this, just as they do not like the rest of Scripture and God, but their rebellion will be fruitless. I can say, for sake of argument, “let us only consider intelligence in regard to understanding math, or and IQ test, or how much computer code one can apply without mistakes,” but that is the issue. The “for sake of argument” here is to pretend the rest of reality out of the equation. Life and reality does not work that way. God does not work that way. You cannot pretend the majority of God out. Or you cannot pretend major presuppositions out of the consideration and argument and still sanely think you have a “good” definition of something.  I can say, “for sake of argument if addition and subtraction did not exist,” then proceed to talk about math, but I am only pretending. It is a delusion, that has no application for truth. Let us leave pretending and delusions behind and reach for the truth.

Paul put an emphasis on how God has made us wise and intelligent, though His Spirit, by revealing the things that are freely given to us.

“(1) All those saved by Jesus are those with Abraham’s blessing. (2) Oshea is saved by Jesus. (3) Thus, Oshea has Abraham’s blessing.” When we define what Abraham’s blessing means, by the definition of Paul gives in Galatians, such as the “Spirit and miracles,” then we can conclude, “Oshea gets the blessing of the Spirit and miracles”. Or “(1) All righteous persons are those whose prayers avails much. (2) All Christians are righteous persons. (3) Oshea is a Christian. (4) Thus, Oshea is a person whose prayers avails much.” Let us use Jesus’ modus ponens argument in John 15. “(P) (1) If My words abide in you and you abide in Me, (Q)then YOU will ask whatever YOU want and YOU will get it. (2) Christ’s words do abide in YOU and YOU abide in Him. (3) Thus YOU ask for whatever YOU wish and get it.” (Etc.).

Wait? Your experience does not line up with this? Who is the liar here, Jesus or what you humanly conclude off your experience in prayer? You must choose. Jesus has drawn a line in the sand. Will you pick intelligence or insanity? You pick a side. You must decide if you will choose a HUMAN OR GOD’s starting point for knowledge. You will be judged if you truly take your stand on God’s revelation and make a biblical and sound application of it for your life, or if you are a spiritual pervert and begin knowledge with your sensations and superstitions.

This is how the Spirit defines wisdom and intelligence, anything else is moronic, insanity and unintelligent. In Jesus we truly have the “Mind of Christ.” The Biblical worldview only defines Christians as intelligent, or as least those with the ability to be intelligent to some degree. The Christian is so superior and privileged by God as their Father, that only they are intelligent, wise and full of understanding. The rest of the world, no matter how accomplished they are, are nothing more than morons. They are nothing more than an insane person in an insane asylum, who bark at doors, eat their own poop, try to eat their mom because they think she is fish, think they are clouds (etc) and who have accomplished the skill of stacking 2 blocks on top of each other. Such people are to be mocked and dismissed.

___________________________

END NOTES

[1] Even those I will quote Vincent much below (because he as help me on these topics), I am not affiliated with him in any way.

[2] Vincent Cheung. Systematic Theology. 2010. Pg. 50-51.

[3] Vincent Cheung. Systematic Theology. 2010. Pg.116

[4][4] Vincent Cheung. Systematic Theology. 2010. Pg. 120

[5] The deductive nature of God’s thinking about reality was pointed out to me by Vincent Cheung in a email correspondence about the essay, “Inductive Bible Study.” Once you consider it, it is rather obvious.

“I added that statement because someone said that I was wrong, since God does not perform deduction, but only direct intuition. In other contexts, I myself have taught that God knows all things directly but the focus here is induction vs. deduction in the context of theology. The person nitpicked at me because he wanted to sound clever and throw himself into the discussion. You know how people are. But it showed that he really didn’t know what deduction is. Would he say the same thing about a discussion on the order of the eternal decrees? When we talk about that, we sometimes qualify it by reminding people that the order is a logical order, not a chronological one, since there is no process of reasoning in God, as if he does not have in mind premise #3 when he is still on premise #1. No, he is directly aware of all premises at the same time, but it remains that he is aware of them, and of the logical relationships between premises. But whether we remind people of this or not, it is always assumed. This person did not understand deduction so he thought he had room to show off his knowledge. So I added this in case other people failed to assume the obvious. I was surprised, in fact, since it was so basic.

Deduction always produces correct conclusions, because the conclusions never produce information not already in the premises. Deduction is more like an application of knowledge, unlike induction, which is a fallacious attempt at arriving at more knowledge. So when applied to God in this context, deduction is the same as his intuition. Using the same example, when we talk about the eternal decrees, we are talking about God’s deduction. But if we, like the person who complained, cannot even talk about God in terms of deduction, then we cannot even discuss the topic of the eternal decrees, because it would all be just one “thing.” Take it to the extreme, we cannot even talk about God thinking, speaking, acting, or anything about God. Everything would just be one eternal “thing” in God’s mind. But of course we can talk about God’s deduction, thinking, speaking, acting, his before and after, and all that, just like the way he talks about himself. Several times I have pointed out that some Christians, after learning a little, makes what little they know the whole thing, and then try to police everyone else with it, including their expressions. Many Calvinists are like that. They become trapped in their own personal terminologies. It happens when they talk about justification, predestination, and many other things. This is a sign of ignorance, not knowledge or orthodoxy.”

[6] Vincent helped me immensely to understand this passage. To see his argument, Vincent Cheung, “Proof of the Spirit,” which is found the book, “Commentary on 1 and 2 Thessalonians.” 1 THESSALONIANS 1:5b. 2008. Pg 24-27.

“Paul deliberately slips into philosophical terms in verse 4, asserting that his preaching was shown true, not by speculative and fallacious arguments, but by the “demonstration” of the Spirit. The word indicates a logical proof, as in philosophy and geometry. The English translation is appropriate, since “demonstration” denotes a “logical proof in which a certain conclusion is shown to follow from certain premises.”

His point is that he insisted on presenting a message that was based on divine revelation instead of one that was based on human speculation.

Bullinger writes, “Here, it denotes the powerful gift of divine wisdom, in contrast with the weakness of human wisdom.” This is the issue at hand. Paul’s preaching differs from the orators both in method and content, but his arguments are nevertheless logical and persuasive. Unlike the fallacious “proof” of the sophists, the apostle provides sound “proof” for his message that is powerful to effect conversion in his hearers…” pg. 26

Timelessness:

[This is a first draft from a small section of my upcoming Systematic Theology book]

“Praise the Lord, the God of Israel,
who lives from everlasting to everlasting,”
Psalm 41:13 NLT

“there he worshiped the Lord, the Eternal God
Genesis 21:33 NLT

God is timeless, or exists in an “eternal state.” What does that mean?

God is Spirit, Power and intellectual. Thus, what is timeless is spiritual, intellectual force.

Time is a measure of change. Without any change, in any degree, there is nothing to measure, and if there is nothing to measure, then the concept of time is meaningless and nonsense.

Thus, all material existence is automatically ruled out in being attributed with timelessness, because all material things change. Even invisible things like the mind of man, changes as man learns new things; however, we will focus on the issue that matter is not timeless.

Vincent Cheung commenting on this says,

Matter cannot be eternal, in the sense of being timeless, for there is no before and after with that which is timeless. And if there is no before and after with matter, then it would be impossible for it to be one way before and another way after. Therefore, if matter changes at all, it cannot be eternal. And matter could not have existed forever, for if matter is bound to time but has existed forever, then it would have an infinite past. But if it has an infinite past, it could never have reached the present. If it has reached the present, the past cannot be infinite. Therefore, matter is not eternal, but bound to time, and it originated at some point in time.

God is uncreated. He is eternal, timeless, and immutable. And he created the universe out of nothing, that is, without the use of any existing materials, since there were no existing materials when he created. All linguistic and historical arguments that attempt to suggest an opposing view must be wrong. In fact, these kinds of arguments are irrelevant unless the logical arguments based on the very ideas of matter and creation are demonstrated to be inconclusive.[1]

To further explain this. By this we know that any naturalistic or evolutionary claim that matter has “always existed” is bottom of the barrel stupid. To always exist with change, would mean an “infinite” chronological measurable time/distance. Another way to say infinite in regard to time or distance, would be “an unreachable distance.” If it is reachable, then it is not infinite; matter’s history of change is not an unreachable distance, if the distance to the past is reachable. Evolution teaches matter has always been here; they say this because if it was not, then either matter was created, or “self-created,” which is a contradiction. Either is not acceptable for evolution. Thus, since timeless is out of the question, they make matter eternal. However, that is a contradiction, and as shown before, a contradiction does not exist in the mind or in reality. To say matter has an “unreachable” distance going into the past, yet, we have “reached” this “unreachable” distance by being here today, is Plus Ultra Stupid.

God, as the Scripture says, exists from “everlasting to everlasting,” and this is as the “I AM who I AM.” He is also said to be immutable. And so, the I AM who I AM, has always been that way, and will forever be that way. Thus, God’s existence is not eternal properties that might change; rather, God’s existence is an eternal state. For this reason, “emotions,” are not part of the Divine Nature. Emotions change, but God does not change. God is timeless; yet, emotions by definition are measurable, and thus, are not timeless.

Therefore, what is timeless is God’s mind, or what is timeless is God’s powerful thoughts about all things. There is nothing to measure in God’s eternal state, because there is no change. Thus, God’s thoughts are not learned. God’s thoughts are not in a linear progression like man is with his limitations. God has always self-existed as intuitively knowing all things in “one thought” (i.e. “eternal unchanging state”), without progression. God did not have to wait to create, to see (although this is wrong because God does not have eyes) images to associate certain thoughts with things to know them better. God has always known that He would create. Included in God’s thoughts about all things, as an intuitive and never changing thought, was creation. This is why after creation, God does not change. This is why God is not different between the Old Testament or the New Testament. The eternal state of God’s intuitive thought about all things, has not changed.

God is also said to be perfect. And thus, for God to change is not only a denial of His timelessness, but it would be a change for the worse; it would be to liberate from perfection; it would make Him less valuable; it would be a serious downgrade. If you have been following what has been said about God’s nature, for God to change it would mean God would have to exchange a truth for a lie.  This is an impossibility.

This does not mean there is no such thing as logic or order to God’s mind; rather, it means the logical order of God’s mind was not chronological in time, but always known intuitively as one thought. For example, the decrees of God. God ordered the history of the world, before it was created. But this ordering has always self-existed with God as one intuitive thought. For man, who is not timeless and has a limited about of thoughts they can think in any given moment needs time and a progression of thoughts to see this ordering. This will be discussed more later, but the same is for logic and God. Because God has already known all things, it means any thought applied to creation is a deduction[2] for God, because it is merely pinpointing specific information that was part of God’s original timeless intuitive thought. For God, any specific thought about creation, does not add more information to His conclusion. For my readers, this section is dealing with many abstract concepts, however, to help see this, consider it with Jesus. Starting with Jesus’ divine mind before creation and His timeless eternal intuitive thought about all things, then go down to the incarnated Jesus who limited His mind (but the Divine Mind did not stop or change), any thought He had is still just a deduction from His timeless intuitive thought about all things (Even what He would think and say as His time as incarnated Jesus).

End-notes————–

[1] Vincent Cheung. Sermonettes Vol 1. Chapter 2. “Creation: In the Beginning.” 2010.  Pg. 7

[2] Vincent Cheung in an email first brought this to my attention, when I was discussing logic with him. Once I thought about it, it was rather obvious God’s thoughts are deductive by plain definition.

Faith, The First Theology: “God did Say?”

The Lord God commanded the man,

You are free to eat from any tree in the garden;  but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman,

Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”[1]

What was the first school lecture, or first doctrine taught by God to humanity? Relative to how we read our Bible, the first might be said, to be ontology (referring to God creating) or to epistemology (God is “revealing” that He is created all things). However, what I am referring to is what is relative to humanity (represented by Adam and Eve). That is, when God stops and gives the first personal lecture to humanity, what is this about? Or, when God’ holds the first school class for all of mankind, what does God teach in this first class? God does not contradict Himself, for He is the Logic (Logos) itself. God cannot lie. God is super smart. He literally is the source of all knowledge and treasure of all understanding and wisdom. When the King of Ages gives the first lecture to man He created, what is this pivotal knowledge? What is the opening lecture that sets the stage for all other teachings afterwards?

The first lecture is agreeing to what God classifies as true; or that is, the first lecture is about faith. God creates all things. God even created categories that do not exist and from scratch, designs them, creates them and then places created things into His own created rules (or order) and categories. God even created the invisible mind of man, and the invisible thoughts and invisible knowledge of man (Romans 2:15). If only Plato could have turned from shadows dancing on a cave wall, to the King of Ages, then he would have found the source of all categories that he was looking for.

In one way, the Scripture is heaven’s dictionary or encyclopedia for mankind. After God creates all things, all categories and sustains them by His power, God then publicly gives descriptions or definitions to what He created.  God points to the thing He created and says, “this is its definition, engage with this created thing with the definition I give it.” God considers a particular point of reality and says, “this is its category, this its name, and this is the reason I created it.”

Normally, if I were to start with a systematic theology, I would begin with epistemology; however, for this topic we start with metaphysics because of the context.  The reason we normally start with epistemology is that if knowledge is not possible, then knowledge about creation, categories and the nature of faith does not exist.  Without knowledge, there is no point in teaching about the knowledge of metaphysics and the knowledge of ethics. There would be nothing to say and nothing to think about. Once knowledge is possible in a system-of-thinking, then we can move on to knowledge about reality and knowledge about ethics. For this essay, we will assume epistemology (for more see, Vincent Cheung, Systematic Theology and Ultimate Questions).

On one hand, “faith” just makes sense in the context of the Christian system in a pragmatic way of looking at it. If God created all things, then He gets to define the things He created as He so wishes. Thus, if we do not interact with God’s reality with His correct definitions, then our interaction with reality will be defective, unsuccessful and unreliable.

However, there is more to it than the ontological interaction, for there are moral definitions and consequences in this reality God created. For example, faith is itself an ethic, because God commands faith. Even with the gospel of Jesus Christ Paul says in Acts 17, God has commanded all to repent and believe in Jesus Christ. Ethics is what you ought to do. Faith is what you ought to do; thus, it is an ethic. All ethics are from God’s command.  Therefore, we need to quickly go over what is an ethic, and what is responsibility.

As with ontology, there is nothing more basic than God Himself. Thus, a doctrine of privation is a blasphemy to describe evil, because it makes something other than God more foundational in regards to existence and causality.  If evil results from the privation of God (and God is good), then God is not the most foundational ontology in existence.[2] The same is with responsibility. If God Himself is responsible, then God is not the final authority. It would mean if you take the Christian God away, there is another God behind God. God would not be God. Responsibility presupposes an “authority over you.” There is no one over God by definition and by revelation of Scripture. God is therefore not responsible for anything He does. Therefore, Moses says, “All God’s ways are just,” (Deut. 32:4). If God moves His pinky finger, then it is by definition a just and righteous action. God is said to be just because He is faithful to His promise and revelation. However, God is consistent in this way not because He is being held accountable under a higher authority; rather, God’s Nature itself makes it impossible for Him to lie (Hebrews 6:18). Its like saying God’s nature is a circle, and a lie is a square. A square-circle is a contradiction; it does not exist in the mind or in reality. It has no being. God is truth, and so, He cannot lie.

God created all things, even categories themselves. He upholds His own creation by His power, within the categories He created. He has revealed to man what He has created and why He did so. God cannot lie, and so, what He has revealed is a precise and correct explanation of reality. God will sometimes change things in His own creation; He might get rid of some types of categories and make new ones. However, He has promised that all things necessary for life and godliness has been revealed to us. Therefore, all important ultimate questions about reality, and their changes if so, God has revealed to man in the Scripture. For example, there were no seasons before the flood, then afterward God changed it. God did it by unstoppable force and power. He then pointed to this new aspect of reality, and He revealed to us precise definitions of it.  The same is with the old Mosaic covenant, and new covenant made in Christ’s blood. God points to this specific aspect of reality and says, “this is the correct definition for it.”

How painfully obvious is the pragmatic effectiveness, success and certainty if we interact with creation by God’s definition of it.

As for human ethics, God points to man and says, “this is your definition, act like it.” God does the same thing, for example with a fig tree; however, the fig tree has no mind, so there is no relative level ontology to describe here in relation to a mind. As for man, even though God controls directly and absolutely all things, even man’s mind, God interacts with man on the relative level. God tells man, “this is my definition for you, interact and move within this description.” As for the fig tree, it has bark and leaves and does (if the scientists are right) the process of photosynthesis because it is the definition God gave it. The tree does not think about its own definition, because it has no mind. It was not made in God’s image. This does not mean, such things as trees are not accountable. Jesus found a fig tree with no fruit and cursed it. The tree was accountable for the sole reason that it was not free, but under God’s authority. The same is for man. However, man made in God’s image is able to think about reality and the truth about it.

Because God has commanded faith in His revealed definitions, man is not merely to think about reality; rather, man ought to move and behave within the definition that God defined man with. Mankind will be held accountable to this, because man is not free relative to God’s authority and command over Him.[3] Even the concept of what is value, if it is something man ought to value or not ought to value is an ethic, because it is about what we ought to do. That is, it is about God giving us a definition about some aspect of reality and commanding us to interact with (x) as something valuable or not valuable. It is based in God’s commandments.

This leads to a point of caution. The category of ontology/metaphysics is not the same category of ethics. The category error, of equivocating these two distinct categories, is the favorite pastime of many theologians. A description about metaphysics cannot logically/validly deduce into a conclusion of ethics(ought). It would not logically follow. It would not be an application of knowledge. Now, there is some connections between these, but they are not the same, and there is a logical order to the structure when thinking about them. Christian ethics work within the order of God’s sovereignty over all things, His revelation to man, His definition of man, and finally His command to man. God’s command is not only a definition about aspects of reality, it is a definition about God’s creation called mankind, and that God will hold man accountable to operate within this definition.

The Garden of Christ

This was the first school lesson for mankind. God gave His correct and precise description about what mankind is, to Adam and Eve. God said they will be accountable by His authority to interact within this definition. Satan comes along and tempts them to not agree with God’s definition. Satan in essence says, “Even though God created and controls all reality, should you trust His definition of it?” “Did God really say that about (x)….?” Satan appealed to things like lusting for more of something and pride; however, those were the symptoms, or additives. The foundational issue was about faith in God’s definition about His reality.

Two points.

One. God’s definition was correct, and Satan’s a lie. Just because someone says something in a sentence does not mean it is intelligent. I can say, “Do you really have to exist, in order to deny your own existence?”  I could say that as a snake, your pastor or a Greek philosopher, but the result would still be the same self-refuting nonsense. Adam did not have the Scripture, but he did have innate knowledge (God’s laws), that was not suppressed by sin. In order to overcome man, Satan, attacked his enemy with deception and lies.

Second. The foundation of Satan’s lie used a starting point of empiricism rather than God’s revelation. Adam had self-awareness. He knew he was created as an adult, and preinstalled with all the knowledge, logic and understanding by God’s power, and not Adam’s.

And so, Satan first injected doubt about God as a starting point. “Did God really say.” This is a negative apologetic attack, against God as an epistemology. Then Satan does a positive apologetic for empiricism. “YOU, look at how attractive this fruit is to benefit you.” Satan encourages man to start knowledge with “man,” and “how man sees and observes such and such.” Or for a simple contrast, The kingdom of God, versus, the Kingdom of self.  It is God’s revelation, versus, man’s speculation.

Paul in contrast to what Satan said, says the opposite, “we live by faith, not by sight,” (2 Corn. 5:17).” Paul further says in 1 Corinthians 1 that man by his wisdom did not know God. Next in Chapter 2 verse 4 Paul says by the power of the Spirit He gave a deduction (“demonstration”) (obviously from Scripture), so that the Corinthian’s faith, is in God rather than man. Major premises started from God’s word. Next, the Corinthians applied themselves to God’s revelation. The Greeks, which according to Paul, “seek for (human) wisdom,” could not discover God. The Greek philosophers had two main epistemologies (3 if you include the self-refuting skeptics): Plato as a rationalist, and everyone else (From Socrates to Aristotle) where empiricists. All these Greek epistemologies had one thing in common, they all started with “man as a starting point”. The only honest one was Plato who admitted that by his rationalism, he could not get to the realm of the categories(forms/logos).

So, whether in the first days of the Garden or in a New Testament Church, God is constantly teaching and reteaching this subject. We are to start with God’s revelation and believe His words; we are to do this over all human starting points (or non-God starting points). Seeing this is the foundational attack of our greatest enemy against us, should we not take time to consider it and make preparations to withstand it? Should we not practice with our divine armor and weapons so as to defend and defeat our foe?

Yet, it seems even preachers take more time in a sermon to explain why Jesus did NOT REALLY SAY, “I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you receive it, and you will have it,” (Mark 11:24). Their exegesis is mostly about, “Jesus really did not say that.” It makes one think who side these preachers are on?

Here is the real issue. It is about deductions from the Scripture as our only epistemology. It is starting with God’s Revelation rather than man’s speculation. It is to say, “Yes, Jesus did say,” rather than to hiss out, “Did Jesus really say that”.

Those who question, “Did God really say that,” do not have a valid deduction from Scripture to say this. Instead they seek for a sign, or for human wisdom. But as Jesus says, an evil person seeks for a sign. They say, “physician heal yourself,” and proceed in informal fallacies of ad- hominem attacks. God is the foundation of theology, not man. God is the only first principle of Knowledge. There is no knowledge from observations. Wait?  Who was the fool that told you that knowledge comes from human observations?  Because God is the foundation of theology it is a non-relevant point if a person does not do what the Scripture says. If God says, then that is the only correct definition of reality.

They say, “Oshea heal thyself.” Or, “history for the past 1,500 years, “heal thyself.”” I have experienced some success in healing ( and I know others with better success), but that is not even relevant in a logical argument. It is an ad-hominem fallacy. What does God’s revelation say? They seek a sign that God’s word is true. They read in God’s book, “…God did say…,” but then they seek a sign for God to prove it. However, Jesus said even if someone from the dead comes back to preach to them, they still would not believe. Jesus did give these a sign. It is a book called the Scripture. Jesus stands before these sign seekers (reformed, traditionalist, non-faith-ers) and throws a book at their feet. Jesus points to it and says, “read and believe it and live. Disbelieve it and burn in hell fire.” Of course they hate this, because they want a sign to prove the book is true. And so, it is foolishness to them. Yet, the fact is, they have their sign. The issue is whether they will say, “yes, God did say,” or “this is what I observe and say.” Their sign seeking would make the Jewish leaders in Jesus’ day blush with envy.

They say, “I do not see this.” Or, in the past a bunch of pastors got together and said, “WE do not see these miracles or healings Jesus promised, and so WE come together to publicly say, ““God did not really say; He meant something different; this something different is what WE see and observe, and calculate.”” These are David Hume, empiricist sluts. They seek wisdom the same way the Greek philosophers Socrates and Aristotle did. Their starting point for knowledge is a human starting point. They produce major premises to deduce from, by what they observe or by what other men in history observed. It is a kingdom of men, a kingdom centered on self. Jesus’ wisdom to these, is the same for the sign seekers. Jesus stands before these human wisdom seekers and throws a book at their feet. Jesus points to it and says, “read and believe it and live. Disbelieve it and burn in hell fire.” This of course is foolishness to them, because they seek a human starting point, not a God starting point. God is not the foundation of their theology. And so it is madness to them.

The Garden of Eden was Great, But Yahweh’s Garden Is Better

In Jesus, our garden is the very Garden that is in Yahweh’s house. In this garden are all sorts of promises and fruits to partake. The golden apples in the Garden of Hesperides cannot compare. Let us sample some choice selections.

Jesus replied,  “Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned.  But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!  When you produce much fruit , you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.” (NLT). John 15:6-8.

Yes, Jesus did say.
Jesus did say you can pluck this fruit and partake of its sweetness. And in return it becomes fruit in your own life, that proves you are a disciple.

Psalm 103:2–5 (LEB)  “Bless Yahweh, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits: who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases,  who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with loyal love and mercies, who satisfies your life with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”

Yes, God did say.
God did say you can pluck this fruit and partake of its sweetness.

 “And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins ⌊he will be forgiven⌋.  Elijah was a human being with the same nature as us, and ⌊he prayed fervently⌋ for it not to rain, and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months.  And he prayed again, and the sky gave rain and the earth produced its fruit.” (James 5:15–18 LEB).

Yes, God did say.
God did say you can pluck this fruit and partake of its sweetness.

“Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit,” ( Acts 2:38 NLT).

Yes, God did say.
God did say you can pluck this fruit and partake of its sweetness.

“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, he will have what he says. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you receive it, and you will have it.” (Mark 11:22-24 NIV)

Yes, Jesus did say.
Jesus did say you can pluck this fruit and partake of its sweetness.

Will you partake, or will Satan continue to lead you to seek more signs and more human wisdom?

———–Endnotes———–

[1] Genesis 2:16-17, 3:1

[2] Vincent says this well and has taught me on this subject. He says, “… This exposes the dangerous implication of the idea that evil is the mere privation of good. That is, if evil is the mere privation of good, and God is good, it would mean that evil is ontologically more basic than God himself. Since evil is necessarily associated with an entity, it could even suggest that Satan is more basic than God. Therefore, those who use this principle as some kind of theodicy or to distance God from evil not only ends up with a version of dualism, but also ends up with Satan as the supreme entity instead of God. It ends in blasphemy.

God is ontologically the most basic entity, and he is good. He is always good and righteous, and therefore it must be “good” that there is evil (although evil itself is evil, and not good). …

Vincent Cheung. “Evil and Privation.” From, The Author of Sin, 2005, pg 45.

[3] Gordon Clark and Vincent Cheung first taught me about his subject. Here is Vincent saying “… If God says something is wrong, then it is wrong to do it, regardless of the context or choice, and regardless of freedom. In fact, the Bible says that the non-Christian is unable to obey God’s law. If sin presupposes the freedom or ability to obey God’s command, or to not sin, then all non-Christians are already sinless, since all of them are unable to obey God, and they would require no salvation. However, it is precisely because they are sinful and unable to change that they need Jesus Christ to save them…”

Vincent Cheung,  http://www.vincentcheung.com, “Homosexuality and the Wrath of God.” Emphasis added by author.  Sermonettes Vol.5 chapter 20.

God Rekindles Smoldering Wicks

QUEST.

 “ [Since you had to deal with your twin’s death, may I ask how you dealt with it? See, I have been through something recently, and] I’ve had some [issues] with anxiety, depression (etc).”

ANS.

[Disclaimer. This a testimony. Vincent’s advice helped me (which I will mentioned later); however, I do not represent him, and I am not affiliated with him in any manner.]

FIRST. A few years before my twin brother passed I was suffering from severe depression to the point of being suicidal. I did not even wash my clothes for a very long time, for I did not even care anymore about hardly anything. The depression dove me into an abyss of utter pain. At the end, the mental pain of the depression became a crippling physical type pain. It was like I had knives and swords stuck in my body and just moving would cause them to slice into me. I had suicidal thoughts. I was in a very dark place.

I received instruction from several people. A pastor I meet with, helped the depression to stop, but I was already at the bottom. Reading Martyn Lloyd Jones’ book on Spiritual Depression helped a little.  However, then my friend Vincent Cheung consoled me.[1] I was instructed to defeat it with standing on God’s promises and faith–particularly the right promises for victory. I was taught to be like David and Daniel in going over these promises and God’s Word night and day. I did this. This advice was the only counseling that helped me. That is, I did not need to read a long book on how to defeat depression. What I needed was my faith to be strong so as to overcome my trial and hardship. Jesus said that we would have trials, but to cheer up, because He has defeated the world. In the context of Jesus saying this in John 16, He commands us over and over, and over and then over again for us to pray for what we want, and prove we are His disciple by receiving the very thing we pray for. Thus, if the context defines Jesus words, and not your superstitions, then Jesus defeating the world for you, means asking in faith and receiving the exact type of victory over the trials you pray for.

The Invincible Word of God.

And so, since faith comes by hearing of the word of God (Romans 10), then what I needed was passages of Scripture that directly addressed facing hardships of life and defeating it. I remember reading some promise verses in Lloyd Jones’ book, but I need more than a few. I was like the disobedient Israelites looking over the promise land. I saw depression as a giant and I was like a grasshopper. The Jericho walls of pain were just too big. My mind was made defective by depression, and the fruit of it was the sin of unbelief in the promises of God.  It is never good to disbelieve God, because God has commanded us to believe every proposition He has revealed, even the magnificent promises of good and deliverance. Yes, promises of victory of sin and sickness, of physical and spiritual. This what Jesus did day and day out in His ministry.[2]

Did you know there is no limit to being Spiritually minded? There is no limit; there is no doing it too much. Colossians 3:2–3 (LEB), “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Therefore, those who are the most earthly good are the most Spiritually minded. David said he praised God 7 times a day (Psalm 119:164). Daniel, he prayed 3 times a day (Daniel 6:10). Looking at the unscalable wall of depression, was indeed unscalable for the old man. However, we are a new creation in Christ, and so things are different now. This new man is renewed in the knowledge of Christ (Colossians 3:10). This knowledge tells us that by faith in Christ, we can ask and receive what we ask for.

Thus, “with my God I can scale a wall,” (Psalm 18:29). In fact, I an run right through it, because God is able.

We are identified with Christ. If the wall is scalable for Him, then it is for us. We know the Father accepts Christ in perfect love, but we are now part of Christ! Is something to big for God, then it is not for us. Is making the sun stands still, too big for Jesus Christ?  Then it is not to big for Joshua, who was a mere mortal like you are. Of course, you are to measure yourself by Jesus’ power and righteousness. No, wait. You are to measure yourself as more, for Jesus said you would do greater things than He did. The table bearer Phillip was spiritually transported to a different physical location, but this is something not even recorded that Jesus did.

Vincent, in his initial email to me, sent a paragraph of promise verses directed for faith to not only endure with character, but also overcome it! Faith comes by the hearing of the word of God (Rom 10). I took this and expounded on it.[3]  I made this my food night and day.

[You may also listen to the audio version of these promise verses, or download them to listen to them again throughout the week: Download them here, or listen here,

.]

Jesus tells us there will be trouble, but to cheer up, because He has defeated the world for you (John 16:33). He tells us that if we ask anything in His name that He will do it so that the Father will be Glorified, Jesus also tells us it is the Father’s will that we bear much fruit, and in context this include asking and obtaining what we ask for,—it is a command, (John 14:13,14 and John 15:7, 8). Jesus says He has left us his peace (John 14:27). 

The Bible says God is for us, and no one can be against us, (Romans 8:31). We are told that Jesus –the author of our faith– is sanctifying us whom He has already Perfected, once and for all, (Hebrews 10:14 ). That, on the account of the blood of Jesus, the Father has declared us righteous in His sight, (Roman 5:1,9).  That where there is forgiveness of sin, there is no more sacrifice for sin, (Hebrews 10:18). That because we have been adopted and are sons of God, the Holy Spirit has been sent into our souls and makes us cry out, “Dear, Father,” (Galatians 4:6).  There is no fear in God’s perfect love for us through Christ, which gives us bold confidence in God’s throne room, in the day of Judgment, (1 John 4:17-18).

That because we are already sons, we are thus already heirs of God through Jesus, (Galatians 4:5-7).  That, we have been seated in the heavenly places, at the right hand of God with Christ, (Ephesians 2:6; Colossians 3:1). That we are coheirs with Jesus Christ, (Romans 8:17). That we are a new creation, and that all things have become new, (2 Corinthians 5:17). That we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, (2 Corinthians 5:21).  That by the one man, Jesus Christ, God has recreated us in new realities and ontologies, so that, by the free gift of righteousness and the gift of abundant grace, we have justification of life, we have victorious life and eternal life by the power of Spirit, (Romans 5:15-21).

God promises us to always provide a way of escape from every temptation, (1 Corinthians 10:13). That, Jesus author of our faith, is able to heal broken limbs, and rewrite besetting sins into stories of victory, (Hebrews 12:1-2). That in face of fighting sin, Jesus commands us, to not let our hearts be troubled, but rather, to believe in Him and the Father, and to remember that He is preparing a room for us in Yahweh’s house, (John 14:1-3). That, the law of the Spirit of Life, has freed me from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2). That the Father has delivered us from the power of darkness, and He has conveyed us into the Kingdom of the Son of His love, (Colossians 1:13). That greater is Jesus who is in you, than he who is in the world, (1 John 4:4).

 That when Satan says, “did God really say,” from any foreign epistemology, that with a single shield of faith, we are able to stop every arrow of temptation and every deception from Satan, (Ephesians 6:16). That we are able to destroy every thought, and every argument raised against the knowledge of God, (2 Corinthians 10:5).  That to think any ethic or ought, and or, to use any logic or intelligence, we must presuppose God’s written law on our hearts and His revelation; however, we cannot do this without dealing with the whole Scripture that says only it is true and all others are false, (Romans 2:15, and Romans 1:18, 1:20).[**]

When the fire has brunt away the works of straw, then, whatever silver, gold and precious stones remain, will endure with you for eternity (1 Corinthians 3:12). God is your Helper, so be courageous and never be afraid, ( Psalm 118:6, Hebrews 13:6).  That, God will not forsake you; He will be with you for victory, whether it is spiritual, mental, demonic or physical troubles, ( Deuteronomy 31:6, Hebrews 13:5). That, whoever is born again by God’s Spirit, so that they have faith, are those who overcome all things; indeed; they are victorious over the world, with all its troubles, (1 John 4:4-5).

That we receive the Holy Spirit, miracles and the endless fountain of blessings from Abraham, by faith in Jesus, (Galatians 3:2,5; 4:29). That if you will abide in him, and if his word abides in you, you will ask what you want, and whatever you ask will be done for you, (John 15:7). That if you have faith, you can command a mountain to throw itself into the sea, and it will obey you, (Matthew 21:21). That if you ask for anything in prayer, if you believe that you receive it, you will get it, (Mark 11:24). That we commanded to pray and never give up, because we will have what we as for, (Luke 18:1-6). That it is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom, (Luke 12:32). That if you ask, you will receive, and if you seek, you will find, (Matthew 7:7). That God is the rewarder of those who diligently seek him, (Hebrews 11:6). That, all things are yours through Jesus Christ, (1 Corinthians 3:22-23). That we can approach the throne of grace, for help in time of need, before our High Priest and our Father, (Hebrews 4:16). That Jesus is our Priest who already bore our stripes for our healing, and He has already bore our sickness and pain on the cross, so that the healing is already ours, (Matthew 8:17). That the Father has qualified us to be partakers of the rich inheritance of the saints, (Colossians 1:12). That when we ask for a fish we receive a fish, and not something else because God is our Good Father; and, when we ask for a son, we get son, and when we ask for healing, we get healing, and when we ask for the powers of God’s Spirit we receive God’s power and not something else, because God is our Good Father, ( Luke 11:11). That because God did not spare His Son in order to save us, the Father will much more freely give us all things through His Son, (Romans 8:31); and on and on and on. Look at all those extra baskets, left over!

Therefore, Maturity is not you giving to God, but rather, as sons, receiving from God all His endless, awesome blessings, (1 Corinthians 2:6-12). Maturity is having the strength of soul, to not merely leave the pig pin and go to ask forgiveness; but rather, by God’s Spirit, to have the power of mind to receive the signet ring, and receive the BEST robe, and receive the sandals from the Father, and then march into the house with joy, with your head held high, because you belong there like a son, like a prince (Luke 15:22-23).

That, we are commanded to cast all our cares upon our Father in heaven, because he cares for us so much, (1 Peter 5:7). Because our life is already hidden with Jesus Christ, who sits in God’s presence, at His right hand, therefore, our thoughts are to be constantly there, with Yahweh and our beloved Lord, (Colossians 3:2-3).  That, just as Jesus is at God’s mighty right hand, so are we now, hidden and seated with Him there, even while we are in this world, ( 1 John 4:17 ). That, we are commanded to use our reconciliation and our bold access to Yahweh’s throne room, by constantly opening the doors to our Father’s throne room and seeking His face for all the things and help we need, and by this, we fulfill the command to love God with all our souls, (Hebrews 10:19-22).

It is both a direct promise of God and a revealing of His Divine immutable nature that He forgives all our sins, He heals all your diseases, He delivers you, and He crowns you with kindness and goodness (Psalm 103 and James 5). Therefore, as many as are the promises of God, in Jesus they are “yes”; therefore, also through Him, is the “Amen,” to the glory of God through us. (2 Corinthians 1:20.)

In about 2 years I went from severe depressed to numb, to then ok and then to a more constant state of peace and joy.

What to Emphasis when Depressed?

The issue with a mental sickness, is that you already know how bad, sinful and pathetic you are. I surely knew it. At this point to over emphases your sin is both misplaced and could be a sign you do not really believe it. The emphasis is on God’s victory. If you read God’s word and walk away feeling ok where you are at in your depressed position, then you will stay there in your unbelief.

Watch your spiritual diet. Avoid teachings that tend to make people more depressed, often disguised as manifestos on God-centeredness, holiness, repentance, suffering “for the glory of God,” and so on. Avoid teachings that merely comfort you in your unbelief and defeat. They will not get you out of the pit. There are teachings that focus on repentance in a way and in a proportion that ironically make it into a meritorious thing. An improper emphasis on repentance is destructive, because it is in fact unbelief toward the blood of Christ. If you have repented, you are forgiven through Christ. You can march into the throne of grace without fear and without shame, not to beg like one without a covenant, but to talk and ask like one who belongs there – like a son, like a prince.

You already know that you are unworthy. This is an elementary doctrine of Christ, an entry point for this life. Now is the time to acknowledge the surpassing excellence of Christ — credited to your account by grace[4]

I was that bruised reed Jesus spoke about. I was that smoldering wick almost ready to go out. I am sure if the doctors would have looked at me, at my worse, they likely would have found some chemical imbalance in my head, or it could have been something else. I do not care. It does not matter. The Bible teaches the root cause is a non-relevant issue.  What is important is faith in God’s word that is victorious over demons, defective bodies and broken minds. God’s victory is a whole victory. He is the God of the hills and valleys.

God did not break me.

He healed me and strengthened me.

I say this to indicate when my only close friend, my twin brother passed, I was able to deal with it, with little to no anger/depression, because God had already renewed my mind (put on the new man) with faith in His promises. I know I will see Josh again –and as 1 Thess. 4 says—this is a comfort to me. Also, I do believe Josh passed too early in his life, partly due to bad teachings that influenced him—more than he knew I think: such things as “if its God’s will.”[5] I have decided to vindicate his honor by doubly going over such teachings to help others have the doctrine and faith to overcome the world, sickness, death, sin and all things.

Oh Boy, the View from up here is Awesome

SECOND I still go over the same verses almost every day. Sometimes I get irritated in that I don’t want to go over them again, but I press on anyway and I find God’s promises renew my thinking. In this, I put off the old man and put on the new, who is renewed in the knowledge of the one who created me. God’s Word destroys doubt and fear. It imparts a joyful courage for the future. Immediately after Jesus told Peter he would deny him 3 times, (people have forfeited their souls for less) Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions… I go and prepare a place for you.(NKJV John 14:1-3).”

Jesus commanded His disciple “not to be troubled” in his heart, right after telling him about his sin. Rather his focus should be on believing in the Father and Him.  But then goes on to say I am preparing a place for you in God’s valuable House. That is, not only is Peter commanded not to worry about his trail of sin, but he is commanded to look forward to victory over the trail. Yes, even commanded to think it is not too great for him to dwell in Yahweh’s house, who is the Lord of angel armies.

Jesus said after he experienced his own victory, that he should encourages others. Peter, on the day of Pentecost, was endowed with supernatural power. On that very day, he encouraged thousands of souls, into the Kingdom of God.

Smith Wigglesworth in a similar note of counsel says, “We have a Jesus that heals the broken-hearted, who lets the captives go free, who saves the very worst. Dare you, dare you, spurn this glorious Gospel of God for spirit, soul and body? Dare you spurn this grace? I realize that this full Gospel has in great measure been hid, this Gospel that brings liberty, this Gospel that brings souls out of bondage, this Gospel that brings perfect health to the body, this Gospel of entire salvation. Listen again to this word of Him who left the glory to bring us this great salvation, “Verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, . . . he shall have whatsoever he saith.” Whatsoever!” (Ever Increasing Faith)

Vincent addressing his own testimony about overcoming his depression says, “ I was trapped in a dark well, looking up through a tiny hole, but Jesus Christ dragged me up and placed me on the mountain of God, and displayed before me the whole panorama of divine promises and intentions. Then he told me to join in, and to be a co-worker with God. To me, this is what it means to have his words[6].”

Like the people in the Samaritan village in John 4, I know this now, not because I heard it from someone else, but because God’s Word has also dragged me up. His Word heals the physical and the mental and drags them both up into victory. Christ’s imputed righteousness is the bedrock to being a child of God, and an inheritor of Abraham’ blessing. It is the solid granite layer upon which the Mountain of God’s promises stand. God drags me up upon this mountain top and displays the vista of all that is available. He says, “if my Son died for you, then All things are now freely given to you.” His Spirit causes me to cry out, “Father.” It is now part of my own DNA, my own metaphysics. He throws His hands out and says, “look! do you see all that I have given in my promises? Is it now you understand why there were so much extra baskets left over from the feeding of the four and five thousand?” God teaches me to view everything differently through His Word. Christ sees the world from up top. Jesus sees the world from the right hand of God, in perfect love and blessing of the Father. The Father tells me the same power He used to raise Jesus from the dead, He uses to set me above the world. And oh boy, the view from up here is awesome! There is no panorama on earth as great as seeing realty from mount Zion, while sitting next to the Lord Jesus Christ. God opens endless opportunities through His mighty promises. While bound in the kingdom of self, it really was a dark well. But now I am a new creation, in a new location and in a new Kingdom of love.

Oh, Christian do you not know, that we see the world as Jesus does! Yet, Jesus sees the world from the right hand of God. “As Jesus is! so are we,” now in this world (1 John 4:17). Now we have the Mind of Christ.

God Thinks So, Point of View

God is the source of all knowledge. God controls all metaphysics and ontology. God is the only lawgiver. God is the only one who gives definitions to His own creation. The Logos continues to uphold His creation faithfully in His definitions of it. Thus, why is it a correct definition that all people, born after Adam, were born created with a sinful nature and death, when they did not do the sin themselves? Because God thinks so. Why is it a correct definition that sinful people are credited with Christ’s righteousness, life, health, wealth and inheritance, when they did not do it themselves? Because God thinks so. Why is it correct for God’s adopted children, to have the privilege to ask for anything and then get this anything they desire from Almighty God, from the LORD of Angel Armies? Because God thinks so. Why is it a correct definition that adopted children have bold access to the very throne room of heaven, to the only Immortal, Invisible King of Ages, to ask for help and ask for blessings? Because this Eternal Lord of Ages think so. Why is mercy defined as both a spiritual help, and as a natural help of “double health and wealth”? Because God thinks so. Why is it correct, that God’s children have all their sicknesses and diseases taken away? Because God thinks so, and He has written this definition in stripes upon the back of His only Son.

Think about it, why does a tree today still ontologically behave in the category of a tree? Because God thinks so. God is faithful with His revealed definitions about His creation. God has defined us in the category of co-heirs with Christ, as part of Christ’s body. This has irrevocable metaphysical properties. Set your mind on how God defines the world. Think how God defines you in Christ. This is the essence of faith. It is the essence of maturity and of a renewed mind. It is the essence of spiritual warfare. It is not about how you think or feel about such things; you simply agree with how God defines you and all things; think about this point of view day and night. See the world from the top of mount Zion with your Father. From up here above the clouds, it is total victory and triumph over the world. The Father as given you the world and all things in Christ.

God’s Word & Not Experience

THIRD. If I were to preach my experience I would not be a servant of Christ. If I were to truly preach out of my own strength I would be a reprobate. In fact, if you are a normal Christian from your own strength, then are not a Christian at all. You can only be a Christian, if you are so by God’s strength. “If I minister out of myself or if I preach myself, I would not be a servant of Christ. He saved me. Now I work for him. And he owns the whole world. So when I am doing the King’s business, I am bigger than any professor or president, any corporation or denomination. I will rebuke Satan himself.”[7] Christ is my knowledge. He is my righteousness. He is my strength. As my faith looks through the promises of God I see truth, strength, joy and endless triumphs. If I speak from of the imputed righteousness of Christ and His strength, then it is not too small a thing to think I can rebuke kingdoms and ask for the rain to stop for 3 years. If I speak from myself, then not only am I a reprobate, but I do not even have the authority to correct myself, let alone anyone else.

God heals broken reeds and He rekindles smoldering wicks. I know this NOT because of my own experiences tell me. Rather, because God’s word says so! I do not need experience to know promise x, or promise u, or promise h will hold, for All the promises are yes and “so be it,” in Christ. I do not see by my eyes, but by faith in God’s Word. Vincent Cheung, in his own faith in God’s word, encouraged me saying, “You can do this too. You need to talk to yourself, rebuke yourself, encourage yourself, with the word of God. He said, “In this world, you will have trouble,” and some perverts only preach this far. But he continued, “Cheer up! I have overcome the world!” He has given you his joy. You can be happy by the power of Christ, when you are facing trouble, and when you are not facing trouble. This is true piety.”[ibid]

As Jesus said to Peter, “And you, when* once you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.[8] You can do this to. You can rebuke yourself, correct and encourage yourself. And when you have been rekindled by God’s promises, you can help rekindle others. You do this by not preaching yourself or experience but by preaching Christ. That is, by pointing others to God’s Word. It is a revelation that is true and that will not fail. The preacher of Hebrews did not preach himself in his epistle; rather, when his audience needed a reason for how they will overcome covetousness and adultery, he preached the promises of God to them. He took promises (ch.13) given to Joshua and King David and gave(moralized) these same promises for the audience to place their faith in; that is, to obtain victory by faith in His promises.  You can do this too.

It is good to have a church to help you. It is good to have a pastor or deacon who can console you in the truth to overcome depression and anxiety. However, what happens if you must move? What if this person or persons who seem so important to your help are no longer there? Do not depend on a person. They will not always be there for you. What if you are like Peter in a prison, all by yourself? The secret to joy and peace, and the secret to endless ontological power is faith in God’s Word. You can take God’s revelation with you anywhere. God’s Word will not leave you, nor will it diminish. Because God does not change, His promises do not change. Rich or poor, black or white, smart or dumb it does not matter. Faith in God’s promises will always give you direct and instant access to God. This access is not that God will “give you an answer.” This bold access to the throne room of God means—as Jesus says in John 13-16, that God will give you (not an answer) but the very thing you ask for. This is what it means to be child of God, who is a co-heir with Christ, who have been raised with Christ and seated with Him at God’s right hand.

Do not appeal to human speculations of what God’s will is, by divining one’s current experiences. To do so, is logically invalid (i.e. superstitious).  It is not resting on Scripture as one’s epistemology. Elijah prayed for rain 7 times. During the failed 6th prayer could not Elijah have said, “because God has not answered me 6 times in a row, then it concludes that rain is not His will?” How many saints in the Bible, if they did that would have failed and never been recorded! To do so is a false form of humility. It tramples on God’s sovereignty as a cheap thing, by using it as a stepping stone to glory the kingdom of self, and its starting point, and its experience and its observations.  Also, to do so is to make one’s “own speculation” from inductive experience on equal grounds with Scripture–as a first principle for knowledge. This proceeds from a stupid mind and a heart of witchcraft. Why bother criticizing the Pope as a dual epistemology with Scripture if one makes their own speculative experience greater than God’s Word? Why even bother asking a witch to divine your life, or star charts, if you use own inductive speculations to find out God’s secret decrees?

 Crossing over Jordan with a Sword in Your Hand.

The first stage was liberation from their masters in Egypt. The second stage was eviction of their enemies from Canaan. They would not be escaping, but they would be attacking. Under Joshua’s leadership, the people would have to fight. It was not to liberate their friends, but to exterminate their enemies. They would not be fighting for survival, but for prosperity. In fact, this was the reason they were taken out of Egypt in the first place (Exodus 3:8). Freedom was never the final end. They would take possession of God’s promises, of the “milk and honey.”

The Christian experience mirrors Israel’s history. If crossing the Red Sea was like baptism into Christ for freedom (1 Corinthians 10:2), then the distinct and subsequent experience of crossing the Jordan could be taken as baptism with the Holy Spirit for power (Acts 8:14-16, 19:1-2). Centuries later, John the Baptist announced at the Jordan, “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 3:11, Acts 1:8). This is no longer about salvation in terms of the forgiveness of sin. The blood of the lamb was applied back in Egypt. And it is no longer about maintaining a self-sufficient life, or the sanctification of the individual. They lived in this sufficient condition for forty years in the wilderness. Salvation in this sense was never intended as the final end.[9]

As God delivered the Israelites from Egypt(baptized them in the red sea), God has delivered me from sin and death—all by Himself with no help from me. However, just as with Joshua and the Israelites I was also Baptized in the Jordan river; and upon doing so God placed a sword in my hand and told me to take the land–He told me to overcome depression, demonic strongholds, arguments raised against the knowledge of Christ, confusions, besetting sins, physical and mental defective areas, and all sorts of troubles by His mighty and invincible Word! Hebrews said Joshua entered because of faith. Only faith in God would overcome the insurmountable troubles ahead of him. That is, by faith Joshua would overcome; without it he would fail just like the millions of dead corpses of the Israelites laying in the desert proved. Joshua did not look at the high walls and strong people as a burden—the only real burden was dealing with 40 years of the unbelief that surrounded him—rather, with a shout of triumph in the promise of his God, he overcame all things.

NLT 1 Corinthians 10:13, “When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it.”

When I realize that I did not find the escape from sin today, the issue is my unbelief in the promise of God. “There is always a way to escape temptation. There is always a way to avoid sin. However, I would not say to a preacher, “If God promises to change us, and if he promises to always provide a way out when we are tempted, then why do you still sin sometimes? The doctrine must be false!””[10]

When I fall into temptation it is not that the promise of God failed; rather, it is my faith. It is not a burden for me to realize this! Some spiritually defective thinking might ask, “How then, is faith not a burden?”

Hebrews 12:1–2 (LEB), “Therefore, let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the originator and perfecter of faith.” My faith is not perfect; however, the Perfect One and the author of my faith, is with me to mature and strengthen my faith. I rebuke myself and in the promises of God—take my stand—knowing Jesus will improve and mature my faith. I do not see burdens; I see hope. I see many triumphs and victories through the imputed righteous of Jesus credited to my account by grace, even in healing, miracles overcoming depressions, and defeating temptations. I see a promise land–filled with enemies, that will fall by my sword of truth and shield of faith. I see joy in overcoming all things. When the battle seems to grind to a halt—when Moses’ hands fell—I see peace, knowing the Victory is still mine through faith, for the “Author of my faith” will strengthen the feeble hands that hang low.

Hannah a Hero of Faith.

FOURTH. Hannah knew what to do when she dealt with the pain of not having a child -(which God caused, ontologically it was “His Will”). She asked for a miracle and received one – a gift. She did not like the pain and wanted it to go away. God gave her a son, as a reward for her faith. The pain stopped. God has commanded us to believe in His promises. Christian ethics is obeying God’s commands. Christian ethics is not an inductive conclusion taken from some speculations of what one thinks God’s causality is doing at a given moment.

Hanna was a hero of faith and ethics. After speaking of God’s sovereignty (“God kills and makes alive“) she proclaims that for the humble who believe in Him: (1 Sam. 2:9,8) “For the foundations of the earth are the LORD’s; on them he has set the world. He will guard the feet of his faithful servants, but the wicked will be silenced in the place of darkness. It is not by strength that one prevails. He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor.”

Hannah, therefore, was a faithful steward of the promises of God by believing in them – and giving glory to God as a “GOOD” Father by receiving the very thing she asked from Him—a fish for a fish, bread for bread, an egg for an egg, and a son for a son.

Matthew 12:20 (NIV)

A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out,
till he has brought justice through to victory.

———ENDNOTES———–

[1] The email Vincent originally wrote me, he expanded on and published on his website (wwww.vincentcheung.com) as “Depression: P is for Pervert.”  Also, found in Sermonettes Vol. 8, chapter 7. 2015.

Some of the basic counsel I received there I put into practice, and now I encourage you to do the same. In fact, the basic scriptural promise list that Vincent wrote me to think over, I expounded it and have read these verses to myself almost every day for years.

Some other essays from Vincent that have helped me and to which some of his explanations bleed out in this testimony since I put them to daily practice for years are (1) The Edge of Glory, (2) “Energized by righteousness, peace, and joy…”, (3) Faith Override, (4) All Things are Yours

[2] I can use my headphones at work, and so, for years I have listened to the 4 gospels of Jesus Christ so many times that I cannot count. Not only was this the heart of Jesus’ ministry, but He commanded that we follow in this same ministry. Do people suppose to willfully disobey God’s commands and not expect to reap what they sew?

[3] See Vincent Cheung, “Depression: P is for Pervert,” for the original list.  Found in Sermonettes Vol. 8, chapter 7. 2015.

[**] The basis of this apologetic method I got from Vincent Cheung. See Vincent Cheung, Ultimate Questions.

[4] Vincent Cheung, Depression: P is for Pervert. Found in Sermonettes Vol. 8, chapter 7. 2015.
The Reformed might criticize the charismatics for over-emphasizing things like health and wealth, but they are not better than the people they criticize, for they over-emphasize sin and forgiveness while negating the other half of the core gospel.

[5] See my essay on the Logic and Scripture: Romans 9:11-18, Why Is Pharaoh Punished.

[6] Vincent Cheung. Two Views on God’s Word. (https://www.vincentcheung.com/2016/06/15/two-views-on-gods-word). Also found in Sermonettes Vol. 9. Chapter 18. 2016.

[7] Vincent Cheung, Depression: P is for Pervert. Found in Sermonettes Vol. 8, chapter 7. 2015.

[8] LEB Luke 22:31

[9] Vincent Cheung. The Edge of Glory. (www.vincentcheung.com)  2016. Also, Sermonettes Vol. 9. Chapter 19.

[10] Vincent Cheung. Where There is a Promise there is a Way. 2016. (https://www.vincentcheung.com/2016/06/15/where-there-is-a-promise-there-is-a-way)

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