February 2, 2010

Renew You Mind -not- Remove Your Mind

It is understood that you rarely argue a person into the Kingdom of Heaven. True. It doesn’t mean to mindlessly keep your hard won intelligence to yourself. You can try and reason with them and should. For those that say that they don’t or shouldn’t argue or reason with non-believers that Christ is The Way please read the following.

Acts 17:1-4
Now when they had traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. And according to Paul's custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, "This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ." And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large number of the God-fearing Greeks and a number of the leading women

Look very closely at the word “reasoned”. In Greek it is διαλέγομαι or dialegomai: dia = through + lego = to say, speak; to "think something through; to dialogue, discuss, argue or debate. This "talking through" is a mental comparison of views, possibilities or opinions in an attempt to reach a correct conclusion. "Dialegomai" can also mean an internal dialogue within ones own mind, or a discussion between two or more people.

The Bible clearly shows that we are to use our minds.

Romans 12:2 tells us to “renew our minds” not “remove our minds”. This can also apply to others. How do you get Christ into people? You do it by getting the world out of them or by getting the worldview out of them so the mind can be renewed. The mind is linear and can only think one thought at any given second. If you think of Christ you will find it hard to flip-off the person that just cut you off on Route 422. The more Christ you have in your head the less of the other garbage fits. It is called sanctification....or an act of making oneself more holy with the Lord's help.

Why intellectually reason to find renewal?

Romans 12:2 also “Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” which is the ultimate aim of any Christian. God has required this of us not because he wants to be an Ogre but because He wants what is best for us.

The other word to look at in Acts 17 is “persuaded”. In Greek it is or peiqw or peitho: (literally) persuasion; to induce one by words to believe. Solely through the power of the words from the scripture. To listen to, to obey, is so used with the meaning in the middle voice. The obedience suggested is not by submission to authority, but resulting from persuasion. Ironically, "peitho" and "pisteuo": "to trust" are closely related in meaning; the difference in meaning is that the former implies the obedience that is produced by the latter.

Conclusion: We are to use our reason and logic to our FULL capacity to carry across the message of the gospel in an effort to renew our minds (and others). The words of the Scripture carry their own power for us and for those that can hear them. Paul went into a Synagogue (Jewish) to convince them of the truth of the Gospel and some were converted as were the God-fearers (Gentile converts). He did it by using scripture AND reason. You should too.

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