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As described in my last post, there are many great uses for transcripts, and I’ve started creating them for video and audio I’d like to have in text format.

This first transcript is of a documentary interview with Jordan Peterson conducted by David Fuller for Rebel Wisdom.

Copyright © 2017 Rebel Wisdom, Jordan Peterson

I recommend this documentary as a starting point for Peterson’s material. David Fuller does a masterful job of capturing and distilling many of Peterson’s key insights.

The transcript is 21 pages. The excerpts, below, are two of many exchanges between David and Jordan worth watching (and reading.)
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The Principle at the Heart of Western Civilization

JP is Jordan B. Petersen

RW is Rebel Wisdom (David Fuller Interviewing Jordan & Narration)

RW: Peterson thinks we have to discover these timeless truths, but most of all, the idea of transcendental truth itself: the logos.

JP: There’s a principle at the heart of western civilization and it’s older than Christianity and it’s older than Judaism, although both Judaism and Christianity developed it to a great degree. It’s the idea of the logos, and logos is also the root word of logic, but it means something like coherent interpersonal communication of the truth. And from an archetypal interpretation, it’s the action of the logos that extracts order from chaos. It’s the fundamental proposition and we’ve lost it. And, we will not survive without it.

JP: The West will die without the rebirth of the logos because the West is that. So, with that gone, it’s gone and we’ve seen what’s arisen to replace it. There’s fascism, there’s communism, and then there’s the New Age mess, because it’s a mess, and most of it is wish fulfillment and fantasy and inability to, there’s creativity in it, but there’s no capacity to edit, whatsoever. There’s no coherence and so that stuff is so weak that anyone with any commitment can just push it aside. And there’s no justification for the Marxism and or for the fascism. It’s like, we already had that experiment.

Archetypes vis-a-vis Human Biology, Mythology, Psychology, Morality, Religion, and Science

RW: Peterson is reviving Jung and grounding his discoveries in the latest neuroscience, explaining how these mythological archetypes are encoded in our brains and bodies, tying together mythology, psychology, morality, and religion, with science.

JP: You’re adrift without it. You have to you have to have a conscious relationship with the archetypes. There’s no way if you don’t then you’re susceptible to possession, that’s basically, or to despair so and no wonder.

RW: Well, you’ve got to have axioms so the right axioms are the archetypes?

JP: Yes, that’s why they exist.

RW: You see archetypes as biological structures?

JP: They are at least that, yeah. They’re preexisting. They’re pre-existing categories of perception in the Kantian sense, that’s a good way of thinking about it, is that, you know, that the pure empiricist thinks that you get all your information from the outside world. But that’s not true because you bring on a priori interpretive framework to the world and that’s instantiated biologically but then it’s also enculturated. So, separating the archetype from the underlying biological reality isn’t easy. So you have the snake, you have the propensity to perceive reptilian predators, the manner in which those things are represented in the culture fill those holes essentially and so that can summarize…

RW: It’s the same thing for language instinct so yeah …

JP: That’s right, exactly. It’s the same thing, it’s the same thing. Like, the archetypes are manifestations of the universal grammar of emotion and motivation, that’s a good way of thinking about it. Now, they may be more than that …

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In a world of information overload, whoever appears to be the most reasonable can influence or control the overloaded.

There’s no historical precedent for the amount of information the average person has at their fingertips, today. Anyone with a phone can bring libraries of information to bear on each and every decision.

But information is not knowledge. And knowledge is not wisdom. Without wisdom, it’s hard to tell what information applies to which decision.

This challenge, to the average person, is an opportunity for:

  1. Those who would seek to influence.
  2. Those who would seek to control.

Influence vs. Control

Whether influence is good or bad can only be determined by context and discernment. For now, I’ll confine “influence” to that with no destructive intent.

Control, on the other hand, is the desire to obtain consent for the purpose of domination. I’ll explain why consent is necessary, later in this article.

How can you tell whether someone is seeking benevolent influence or destructive control?

Those Seeking Influence …

… behave like vendors in a marketplace. They present the pros and cons of an idea or product and leave you to decide for yourself.

Those Seeking Control …

… bully, rather than inform or persuade. For example, any one of Schopenhauer’s 38 stratagems might be used to give the appearance of being right; with little or no interest in actually being right:

  1. The Extension (Dana’s Law)
  2. The Homonymy
  3. Generalize Your Opponent’s Specific Statements
  4. Conceal Your Game
  5. False Propositions
  6. Postulate What Has to Be Proved
  7. Yield Admissions Through Questions
  8. Make Your Opponent Angry
  9. Questions in Detouring Order
  10. Take Advantage of the Nay-Sayer
  11. Generalize Admissions of Specific Cases
  12. Choose Metaphors Favourable to Your Proposition
  13. Agree to Reject the Counter-Proposition
  14. Claim Victory Despite Defeat
  15. Use Seemingly Absurd Propositions
  16. Arguments Ad Hominem
  17. Defense Through Subtle Distinction
  18. Interrupt, Break, Divert the Dispute
  19. Generalize the Matter, Then Argue Against it
  20. Draw Conclusions Yourself
  21. Meet Him With a Counter-Argument as Bad as His
  22. Petitio principii
  23. Make Him Exaggerate His Statement
  24. State a False Syllogism
  25. Find One Instance to the Contrary
  26. Turn the Tables
  27. Anger Indicates a Weak Point
  28. Persuade the Audience, Not the Opponent
  29. Diversion
  30. Appeal to Authority Rather Than Reason
  31. This Is Beyond Me
  32. Put His Thesis into Some Odious Category
  33. It Applies in Theory, but Not in Practice
  34. Don’t Let Him Off the Hook
  35. Will Is More Effective Than Insight
  36. Bewilder Your opponent by Mere Bombast
  37. A Faulty Proof Refutes His Whole Position
  38. Become Personal, Insulting, Rude (argumentum ad personam)

Personal Favorites

  1. Declaring as “over”, debates that have hardly begun.
  2. Declaring as “debunked”, valid concerns yet to be addressed.
  3. Declaring as “discredited”, persons of integrity.
  4. Declaring as “concluded”, discussions that have hardly begun.
  5. Threats in lieu of persuasion.
  6. Imposing artificial deadlines for a decision.
  7. Declaring that “everybody does it” while providing no specific examples.

All of the above are attempts to deceive, rather than inform or persuade.

The Debate is Over!

Whenever I hear someone say, “The debate is over”, I know an end has been pronounced by someone desperate to avoid a beginning. I also know that the one making the pronouncement has made an investment, either monetary or emotional, that debate would put in jeopardy.

Global/Climate (Cooling | Warming | Change)

The first time I heard the phrase “Global Cooling” was in a sentence declaring the debate about it to be over. The phrase was then changed to “Global Warming” in the  same sentence declaring that debate to be over, as well.

Finally, the phrase was changed to something for which no debate is necessary: “Climate Change”. Indeed, climate is 100% guaranteed to change, forever!

The debate is over on a lot of things: ocean waves, morning dew, childish innocence. If the debate about something is declared to be over before it’s even begun, the one making the declaration has something to hide.

The Information Advantage

Due to the amount of information available, those who seek control must compete in the “marketplace” of ideas. They must not only to appear reasonable, but the most reasonable among competing alternatives. This “most reasonable” appearance must persist for as long as it takes to obtain a lasting form of control. The best of these is a binding contract, either signed or opted into.

Consent is Required for Lasting Control

Without consent, control is temporary. It lasts only as long as you remain fooled.

With consent, however, control lasts for the length of the contract.

The Jurisdiction of Reasonableness

Mere opinions, and the bullying tactics used to get them accepted, don’t matter unless there’s a valuable jurisdiction to be gained, and a judge to decide who gains them.

Those who don’t seek control rarely think about things like jurisdictions and judges. Those who do seek control, however, think about little else. They spend most of their time campaigning for appointment, by you, to be a judge in one of the most important jurisdictions of all: your mind.

Your mind is not only a jurisdiction, but the deciding jurisdiction of all others.

Agreement Types

Contractual opt-ins are becoming more and more subtle. For example, the mere breaking of a plastic seal on the box for a TV or appliance, is the opt-in for many EULAs (End-User License Agreements).

Still, an actual signature “on the dotted line” of a contract is the best legal mechanism of control.

The Debt-Contract Example

Only a handful of contracts, spread across the 7 Matters of Life, are needed to control most aspects of life. Three debt-contracts illustrate the point:

  1. Student loans — 10 Years.
  2. Car Loan — 5 Years.
  3. Mortgage — 30 Years.

One of these three contracts enslaves a large percentage of the world. To avoid that fate, consider two questions, before signing one of them:

  1. Are you fully aware of the educational, transportation, or housing alternatives that would fill these needs without going into debt?
  2. Do you not know that, if you present yourselves to anyone as an obedient slave, you are a slave of the one whom you obey? (Romans 6:16)

Some Legal Terms

Contracts are as good, or bad, as the words they contain.

Most liberties are not “lost” or “stolen”. They are surrendered, voluntarily, through legal contracts. It’s worth understanding some legal terms around such contracts.

To bear witness v. — To solemnly assert something, offering firsthand authentication of the fact; often concerning grave or important matters.

Truth (quality) n. — Conformity to reality or actuality; often with the implication of dependability.

Message — truth n. — A message that conforms to reality or actuality; whether historical (in space and time) or supernatural.

The Usual Campaign Sequence

The campaign to become an appointed judge in the jurisdiction of your mind follows a usual sequence. Think of it as a sales pitch, because that’s what it is.

  1. I am the most reasonable and provide the best options.
  2. You are less reasonable with limited options.
  3. “Those who love the truth hear my voice”1, and sign my contract.

Conclusion

Your mind is the deciding jurisdiction of all others, and you are its primary judge. The cost of retaining this position is choosing the highest source of truth, exploring all options available, and solving problems with a commitment to remain debt-free.

Pay whatever cost necessary to remain the primary judge of the jurisdiction of your mind. If you forfeit that position, all that isn’t immediately lost, is exposed to loss.

In a world of information overload, whoever appears to be the most reasonable can influence or control the overloaded.


  1. John 18:37 (ESV) 

After more than two months of prayer, council, and “counting the cost” over on the FaithLife forum, the DivineCouncil.org website and forum is up and running!

We hope DC will be the first, and a role model sister-site, around the territory mapped out by Michael Heiser in his recent book, the Unseen Realm.

Facebook is fun, but if you’re tired of conversations scrolling off the screen (and other FB pitfalls) the forum part of the site is built on a wonderful platform that enables the best means of discussions, fellowship, resource sharing, and live chat, available, today.

We love the new forum, and yet DC is a full-blown website, blog, etc. It’s a multi-author website (with three contributing writers, so far). If there are any believing writers, artists, photographers, small group leaders, etc. looking for a place to share, DivineCouncil.org could serve as an outlet for you.

We pray it may fill a need for the Kingdom, empower small groups, and be a worthy site for the Church.

Over 50 people have already signed on to the forum in the first week!

See you there!

DivineCouncil.org Website
DivineCouncil.org Forum

A few months ago, there was a 60-day preview of Unseen Realm on LOGOS and Michael Heiser asked some of his more veteran readers to help shepherd newcomers to the material on the FaithLife Forum.

Growing out of those discussions has been what I hope to be the first sister website and forum for writers, artists, and those looking to interact with others on the material: DivineCouncil.org.

What is it?

It’s a full website & forum with three writers contributing to the front page blog. I hope the site may also serve as an outlet for others. So, if there are any believing writers, artists, photographers etc. Looking to contribute, this might be a good fit for you.

The forum part of the site is structured around the Unseen Realm in terms of the overarching missions of Jesus.

So What?

There’s a special resource manager setup to disseminate materials to small groups and make it easier to find things to bring to your church. Each resource can be reviewed, and have discussions formed around them, so people know how they can be used, the ideal audience, attributions, etc.

There’s also a live chat area, so you might be able to catch fellow listeners online for a brief chat while you’re on the forum.

Better than Facebook!

Facebook is fun, but if you’re tired of conversations scrolling off the screen (and other FB pitfalls) the private forum environment is more conducive to organized and focused discussions that can be searched later by yourself and others.

So, if you’re looking for a more private and trusted environment for discussions around this material you have another option available in which to do that.

What Next?

Over 50 people have signed-up to the forum in the first week, and the platform will scale up to as large as it needs to be.

Nathan, Terence, and Zechariah hope DivineCoucil.org will fill a need for the Kingdom, empower small groups, and be a worthy site for the Church.

Over 50 people have already signed on to the forum in the first week!

See you there!

DivineCouncil.org Website
DivineCouncil.org Forum

Now, it seems to me, that if evolution did occur, then it would’ve had to have been a miracle. In other words, evolution is literally evidence for the existence of God.

An excerpt of the debate between Frank Zindler and Dr. William Lane Craig:

The debate, before nearly 8000 people, took place on June 27, 1993 in Buffalo Grove, Illinois and aired live on radio in the greater Chicago area.

Transcription of William Lane Craig

“Now, what about the question of evolution? Let me submit to you that is a complete red herring. The theory of evolution is irrelevant to the truth of the Christian faith. Genesis 1 permits all manner of different interpretations and Christians are not necessarily committed to special creationism.
Howard Van Till of Calvin College, a Christian school, asks, “Is the concept of special creation required of all persons who trust in the creator God of Scripture?”

An Unnecessary Component of Christian Belief

“Most Christians in my acquaintance, who are engaged in either scientific or biblical scholarship, have concluded that the special creationist picture of the world’s formation is not a necessary component of Christian belief.”

“And, I want to emphasize, this is not a retreat caused by modern science. St. Augustine, in the 300s in his commentary on Genesis, argued that the days needn’t be taken literally nor need the creation be a few thousand years ago. He didn’t even envisage special acts of creation. He said the world could have been made by God with certain potencies that unfolded in the progress of time. This interpretation was enunciated 1500 years prior to Darwin and, therefore, this is a position consistent with being a Christian.”

Scientific Doubts

“Any doubts that I might have about the theory of evolution really are not biblical, but scientific. Namely, what the scenario envisages is just so fantastically improbable. In their book, “The Anthropic Cosmological Principle”, Barrow and Tipler lay out 10 steps necessary to the course of human evolution, each of which is so improbable that before it would occur the sun would have ceased to be a main sequence star and would’ve burned up the earth.”

“Now, it seems to me, that if evolution did occur, then it would’ve had to have been a miracle. In other words, evolution is literally evidence for the existence of God.

The Only Game in Town

“In fact, the Christian has an advantage over the atheist, here. We can be open to what the evidence shows us. But, as Alvin Plantinga points out, for the atheist, evolution is the only game in town. So, he’s stuck with it no matter how fantastic the odds, no matter how poor the evidence. He’s got no choice. but the Christian can be open to follow the evidence where it leads and, therefore, I think, can be more objective.”

20 Years Later

While answering a student’s question at the Veritas Forum, Craig makes a layman’s comparison between the theory of common ancestry and theories of evolution.

The Metaphysically Modest Role of Science

After deciding on the title, “The Miracle of Evolution”, for this article, I found another of the same title, by Stephen M. Barr. As a theoretical physicist at the Bartol Research Institute of the University of Delaware, Stephen writes

The proper ”and ultimately most effective” response is (as I have written before) to distinguish sharply the actual hypotheses of legitimate science from the philosophical errors often mistakenly thought to follow from them. We must draw as clear a line as possible between science and philosophy, not to elevate science above philosophy, but to restore science to its proper “metaphysically modest” role, to use the fine phrase Cardinal Schönborn employed in First Things last month, replying to criticisms I had made of his earlier writing on evolution.

This metaphysical modesty means not allowing philosophical systems to masquerade as science.

My favorite book of 2014 was The Supernatural Worldview: Examining Paranormal, Psi, and the Apocalyptic, by Cris Putnam.

The reason the book is important is summed up by Chuck Missler in his foreword:

How will you deal with empirical validations of extrasensory perceptions? Of near-death experiences? Non-biblical spirits? Evidence that the mind goes far beyond the organ we know as the brain?1

the current trends toward a “Supernatural Worldview” will prove to be a critical challenge to those who take their personal destiny seriously, and we can certainly anticipate that our adversaries will exploit these challenges to advance their own agendas.1

Cris Putnam And Derek Gilbert On “The Supernatural Worldview”, Parts 1 & 2

Cris Putnam And Gary Stearman On “The Supernatural Worldview”

Table of Contents

— Foreword by Chuck Missler

Chapters:
1. Paranormal Witness to Gospel Witness
2. The Supernatural Worldview of REALITY
3. The Paranormal Paradigm Shift
4. The Ethos of Demythologization and the Excluded Middle
5. Near-Death-Experience Science Drives the Paradigm Shift
6. Telepathy, Dreams, and Remote Viewing
7. Precognition, Theology, and Watchman’s Warning
8. Apparitions, Hauntings, and Poltergeists
9. Mediums, Ghosts, Familiar Spirits, and the Supernatural Worldview
10. Satan, Demons, and the Ghost Hypothesis
11. Spiritual Warfare, Juvenile Prophets of Baal, and the Zombie Apocalypse
12. The Supernatural Worldview of the Bible

SkyWatchTV 3/7/17: Tribute to Cris Putnam

I was shocked to learn that Cris died, last week. Here’s a tribute to a tenacious researcher, talented author, believer, and husband, by the folks at SkyWatch:


  1. Chuck Missler, Foreword to The Supernatural Worldview: Examining Paranormal, Psi, and the Apocalyptic, Defense Publishing. 

It’s a shame to see people, who believe (or might believe) in the supernatural, engage in pointless arguments. Even more pointless is talking about it, at all, with those whose beliefs are confined to the limits of the five senses.

For the skeptic, new inventions must bring the invisible within range of the five senses. Only then are they  “free to believe” in anything invisible. Prior to the microscope, the skeptic would have reported you to the looney bin for your “outrageous” belief in the microscopic. After the microscope, the skeptic thinks it was your sanity that was restored by the invention, not theirs!

Separating Skeptics from Cynics

This is the sort of “progress” the skeptic is limited to unless they take a “leap of faith”. Fortunately, for the skeptic, that leap is possible. If presented with sufficient evidence, skeptics can be jarred into a reluctant admission that invisible things exist. The cynic, on the other hand, will remain unfazed by any evidence put in front of them.

Miracles, Defined

A miracle is a natural event with a supernatural cause.1

In other words, miracles look, sound, feel, smell, taste … normal. Their appearance is natural, their cause is invisible. So, where does that leave us with separating skeptics and cynics?

It leaves us where C.S. Lewis arrived a long time ago:

C.S. Lewis on Cynics

the question whether miracles occur can never be answered simply by experience. Every event which might claim to be a miracle is, in the last resort, something presented to our senses, something seen, heard, touched, smelled, or tasted. And our senses are not infallible. If anything extraordinary seems to have happened, we can always say that we have been the victims of an illusion. If we hold a philosophy which excludes the supernatural, this is what we always shall say. What we learn from experience depends on the kind of philosophy we bring to experience. It is therefore useless to appeal to experience before we have settled, as well as we can, the philosophical question.2

The skeptics “philosophy” is, “I’ll believe it when I see it”. The cynic’s “settled philosophy” is the supernatural does not exist, regardless of what is seen.

Skeptics are worth your time; cynics are not.

Prisoners of Time

Both skeptics, and cynics, are limited by the detection devices of their day. To them, everything discovered is obvious, and that which is yet to be discovered, is fantasy. Bring evidence in front of their senses and you’re being “reasonable”. Otherwise, the matter is closed to all but the “unreasonable”.

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.3

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

The price of such “reasonableness” is imprisonment within the limits of their era. They are, for the same reasons, prisoners of science.

Prisoners of Science

Much of what’s left for mankind to discover is beyond the range of the five senses. Without access to an electron microscope, for example, you won’t be able to “see” much of anything in such areas of discovery. So, what do you do?

You’ll need a mediator between the known and the newly discovered; between what’s true or false, and the newly discovered to be true or false. What do you call someone who functions as a mediator between visible and invisible things?

They’re called priests. But the skeptic will use a different word for the same role: scientist.

Those who won’t contemplate the supernatural need no priest to interpret scripture. They do, however, need a mediator between themselves and nature.

As the frontiers of human knowledge push beyond the ability of the five senses to perceive, skeptics and cynics need their “priests” to be told what’s real, and what’s not real, more than ever.

The Secular Priesthood

And so, scientists have been promoted into a secular priesthood. They are the “reasonable”, and therefore trusted, mediators between what exists and what doesn’t; between what is true and false; and what is, therefore, deemed reasonable and unreasonable.

Who cares what scientists do as long as the remote control (invisible infrared beam) changes the channel of the TV?!

If that were as far as it went, there’d be reason only to celebrate. When mankind is working hard, and using the fruits of their labor to serve mankind, then everything is just dandy!

Unfortunately, Reality is not as simple, nor as benevolent, as all that.

And their ‘church’

Scientists, like priests, are not in charge. They serve their parishes, and report to their bishops, cardinals, and pope. The scientists know them as customers, labs, foundation administrators and benefactors. Can we depend on the good-spirited benevolence of this organization?

Unfortunately, we can barely trust the formal clergy, who’ve taken public vows to be Holy and good, pledging  loyalty to only their Creator.

Whether we like it or not, scientists are becoming more widely-accepted as mediators between the seen and unseen realms, than priests. And though science has no purview on philosophical or theological matters, scientists and priests are two kinds of priesthoods, pitted against one another.

Priests Travel Faster

The frontiers of human discovery have pushed out of pandora’s visible box and into invisible realms. Because of this, scientists may feel like they’ve finally arrived at the big game.

But, wherever a scientist may go, his arrival will always be preceded by either a priest or a poet. These travel faster than light; at the speed of thought. They do that by combining story with imagination. And while scientists may work on practical discoveries beyond the visible (finally!), priests and poets have been contemplating “the beyond” since the dawn of humanity.

Conflict? What Conflict?

Personally, I see no conflict, whatsoever, between science and faith. Science explores and quantifies the world as the Creator has turned it over for exploration. I thank God for every discovery and invention! So far, every source I’ve investigated, claiming a conflict between science and faith, has been one side, or the other, arguing past one another. Those who’ve thought through the roles of science and faith are left with nothing but the progress of each to celebrate!

Headline News of Devils, Demons, Witches, Robots, ETs, Exorcists, AI & Terror Threats

… And that’s just in one day! Here’s a snapshot of the drudge report headlines on the night of March 2, 2017, ~8 pm.

DrudgeHeadline 3-2-17

7 Questions for Mommy & Daddy

I have an 8-year-old son who reads well, now. I know the following questions could easily be put to a parent whose child is looking over their shoulder and reading the news headlines, above:

  1. What’s an exorcist?
  2. Do witches really cast spells?
  3. Is the devil real?
  4. What’s the difference between Satan and the Devil?
  5. Why did they murder someone for a demon?
  6. Do people come from God or are they grown in a lab?
  7. Are there really ETs or was that just a movie?

What are the answers to those questions, mommy and daddy?

If you’re a skeptic or cynic about the supernatural, that’s fine. Coming from your child, then, what’s your answer to this question:

If the supernatural does not exist, why is it all over the news?

Hollywood, Game Developers, or You?

A worldview without a handle on Realities beyond the limits of the five senses, is so incomplete it leaves one  unable to even discuss the news. I would prefer to lead such conversations with my children, not merely keep up, or react to the news.

When introducing a book called “The Unseen Realm”, and its more easily read version “Supernatural”, to friends, I say that, if we (parents) don’t teach our children about the supernatural then 20-something game programmers, and Hollywood screenwriters, will gladly fill in the gaps.

I would prefer to teach my children what I believe to be the truth about the supernatural aspects of the world. I don’t want it to come from the imagination of a screenwriter or game developer. And, I don’t want it to come from the imagination of a paperback writer who’s decided that vampires or demons are “Hot” subjects, right now.

My 8-year-old has me gasping for breadth (pun intended) with his questions. It’s astounding how discerning, and naturally oriented towards the supernatural, children are.  If you have kids, you already know this. If you don’t, just watch one for 5 minutes. Your world may be limited by what you can see. But, their world isn’t.

More than Child’s Play

Discussing the supernatural is more than child’s play.

“In the contemporary world where there is a strong current of postmodern relativism…many people are far more interested in their own feelings, or what “works for them”, than in the question of what is actually true. But there is a price to be paid for rejecting the truth.”4

End of Part 1
Attributions

Main Article Photo by Felipe Posada, The Invisible Realm, Toy Boat
Creative Commons “Attribution-NonCommercial”


  1. David Pawson 
  2. C. S. Lewis, Miracles, A Preliminary Study, Pg. 1 
  3. George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman (1903) “Maxims for Revolutionists” 
  4. John Lennox (from, Against the Flow: The Inspiration of Daniel in an Age of Relativism) 

The expectation that your job & spiritual calling must be identical is false. Fortunately, the mysteries of the relationship between the two are revealed with delightful clarity through a careful reading of the Bible. Even non-Christians can gain insights into their own work and aspirations by considering what the Bible has to say about them.

After clarifying the biblical meanings of words like talents, spiritual gifts, natural abilities, job, and spiritual calling, this article will describe 7 ways to integrate your job and spiritual calling.

Total Integration in Perspective

Large overlaps between job and spiritual calling have been more the exception, than the rule, throughout church history. Typically, those who’ve found their calling (At last!) are already making a living with natural abilities. Current jobs then become a platform from which to direct that calling.

However improbable, total integration is a possibility. Apart from traditional clergy and dedicated pastors and worship leaders, the luxuries of a sophisticated division of labor and access to investment capital have made the total integration of job and spiritual calling more possible than ever. However, utmost care must be taken so that believer’s expectations are set with respect to all the factors involved. Where your job and spiritual calling fit on the continuum between “Total Integration” and “No overlap” is a reflection of divine design.

Talents vs. Spiritual Gifts

Talents are the natural abilities you have prior to conversion.

“Talents have to do with techniques and methods; gifts have to do with spiritual abilities. Talents depend on natural power, gifts on spiritual endowment.1

A spiritual gift is …

… a God-given special ability, given to every believer at conversion by the Holy Spirit, to share his love and strengthen the body of Christ.2

Believers Have Both

A believer has both the natural talents they were born with and the spiritual gifts received at conversion. Both are at their disposal in everything they do. The spiritual gifts, however, are a special empowerment for the fulfillment of your calling.

Job vs. Spiritual Calling

A job is whatever you do to make a living. Prior to conversion, you have only your natural talents to perform this work. A job may provide the platform from which to direct your calling. However, it does not define your calling nor is it the same as your calling.3

A spiritual calling is a …

… commissioning from God to make a significant difference on this earth. It’s the banner of your life that you carry and wave for God’s glory.3

Spiritual gifts empower the fulfillment of this calling. What God has called you to do, he has empowered you to do.

7 Ways to Integrate Your Job & Spiritual Calling

The relationship between your job and spiritual calling will fall on a continuum between “no overlap” and “identical”.

Working out this relationship can only begin when you …

1 — Answer the Call, Obedience Precedes Results

The first way to integrate your job and spiritual calling is to answer the call. Obedience precedes, and is more important than, results (which are for God to judge). Feelings about not being ready are irrelevant. If you’ve been called, you’re ready to start.

The way to answer the call is probably the same way you found your calling in the first place:

Move forward with confirmation and stay with your holy passion.4

Let external circumstances sharpen, but never stop, the answer to your calling. A sobering view on one consequence of this obedience comes from John Bevere in “Driven by Eternity”:

One believer’s effectiveness may be limited by another’s obedience.

We’re all parts of the body. When one part is not working, the whole body is affected.

Deployable vs. Employable

All gifts and callings are deployable. Not all are employable. Deploy anyway. Even the Apostle Paul continued his trade of tent-making while pursuing his calling of preaching the Gospel.5
Deployment, with no expectation of remuneration or employment, is the best way to discover what the relationship between your job and calling is meant to be.

2 — Connect with an Existing Ministry of Your Church

If your calling fits naturally into an existing ministry of your church then BINGO! Figure out where best to plug in and you’re off to the races!

  • Do you have a list of all the ministries of your church?
  • Does your calling fit naturally into one of them?
  • Are you the missing piece to helping that ministry to continue, grow or thrive?
  • Are they stuck, or not exploring the possibilities, in the area of your spiritual gifts because someone just like you hasn’t shown up, yet?
  • Could your calling be part of a ministry your church has been wanting to move forward on but nobody like you has showed up?

The only way to get these answers is to ask. Depending on the size of your church you might have to ask leaders at multiple levels. Even the lead pastor may not be the person with the answer. Keep asking until you know for sure.

Your church is the ideal platform from which to answer your spiritual calling. So ideal, in fact, that it’s best not to move on to other ways until you’ve thoroughly explored this option.

3— Partnering

… when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit.
— Philippians 4:14–17 (ESV)

The Philippians partnered with Paul sending help for his needs. In return, Paul “seeks the fruit that increases to their credit”.

Working with another church is the next best thing to working from within your church. The relationship between the churches will be naturally strengthened through your work. It may even inspire your church to join in. That shouldn’t be your motivation, of course; just a possible outcome to keep in mind.

4 — Donations

Many callings, and the goals of some large charities and non-profits, are fueled largely (or solely) through donations. This could be as simple as putting a donate button on a website or just saying, “Yes”, when asked if you could use some funding.

Don’t be afraid to ask. Be a squeaky wheel for a divine purpose!

5 — Attract (And ask for) Sponsorships

Think of getting sponsorships as making sales for God. You must become lucid on your goals and mission. You’ll also need to list the benefits of success to your sponsor.

  1. What is the specific mission you’re asking to be sponsored?
  2. Who are you going to help?
  3. How are you going to help them?
  4. What will helping them look like? What impact will it have on them and the community where you live?
  5. What will be the benefits to the sponsor if you succeed in your mission?
  6. Is anyone else partnering with you, already? Who else are you working with?

Don’t underestimate the value of your sponsor’s logo on the T-shirts or hats of people performing excellent work in the local community. Seen from your sponsors point of view, your work may be the best representation of their core values apart from the product or service they provide.

6 — Start a Non-Profit

I’ve been watching this process unfold with Dr. Michael Heiser. After many years, and with great  reluctance, Mike’s enlisted help from readers to form a non-profit named after a retreat as named in one of his books. It’s called Miqlat. They’re already doing great work that wouldn’t be as effective, or possible, if performed through a different entity.

Even with all the material and talents available to Mike starting your own non-profit is a daunting prospect. As you’d see from following Miqlat’s’ journey, nobody has all the skills necessary to accomplish all the many tasks and projects required to get one of these off the ground. If this option is for you, let providence enable it to unfold as it should.

7 — Identical or Bust!

The total integration of your job & spiritual calling is the exception, rather than the rule. Still, I can’t leave this option out because it is possible. It’s the defining relationship for traditional clergy, some pastors, some worship and ministry leaders, and many who are called as missionaries.

Now that you understand the difference between jobs and spiritual callings you know that one of them may suffer terribly if the roles are forced, in any way. You are seeking to discover the divine design of the relationship rather than imposing it.

Non-Clergy Example

A better example for those reading this article, however, is probably the example of Dr. Michael Heiser described in the previous way. He has kept his income going through teaching, being a “scholar in residence” at Logos Software (FaithLife Corp.) and is now, slowly, trying to get donations to his new Miqlat non-profit to cover his expenses. This may, at last, free him up to work solely on creating the content that he’s been called to create.

Another example are the many individual employees of FaithLife Corp. I’m sure many of their jobs and spiritual callings are exactly in line with each other.

That’s not to say that one must be as prepared as Mike, or a happy employee of FaithLife, to achieve total integration of job and spiritual calling. In fact, such integration may not be possible or meant to happen, at all. And, if it doesn’t, it’s by no means an indication of failure. It’s more likely an indication of divine design.

This total integration option is best taken to prayer and balanced with the providence of where you live, what your talents and gifts are, and the particulars of your calling.

If You Insist …

The reason for this stubborn belief is the sophisticated division of labor and availability of capital often present in developed countries. For those who absolutely insist that their job and spiritual calling can be identical you’ll need to take on the burdens of understanding all the factors involved. You’ll also need to read up, or take some courses, on entrepreneurship.

More is Expected and Required

Though beyond the scope of this article here’s some great advice from Gary North on taking a run at the possibility of total integration between your job and spiritual calling.

Gary starts with an expanded definition of calling. He defines it as whatever your answer is to this question …

What is the most important thing you can do in which you would be most difficult to replace?

With your answer to that question firmly in mind, Gary recommends asking yourself these followup questions with respect to the marketplace in which you’ll be working:

  1. Where do you have a clear-cut advantage over your competitors?
  2. Is this advantage visible to others?
  3. Can you leverage this outside your present job?
  4. Can this leverage extend beyond your retirement?
  5. Can this leverage extend beyond your death?
  6. What are the technical tools of your leverage?
  7. Are you skilled in the use of these tools?
  8. Are your competitors equally skilled?

As you can see by the questions, you’re now faced with, not only the work of your calling, but interfacing directly with all the forces of the marketplace. Unless entrepreneurship is part of your calling these requirements will degrade your effectiveness.

In good faith, I can only recommend this option for believer’s whose gifts are designed for it. Frankly, any option that would completely stop you subverts Way #1: “Answer the Call, Obedience Precedes Results”.

Conclusion

Large overlaps between your job and spiritual calling are the exception, not the rule. The expectation that they must be identical (Or forced to be identical) is a myth. If that prevents you from answering your calling then myth has spawned tragedy.

In partial summary:

  • Let nothing discourage you (Including this article)!
  • What you’ve been called to do, you’ve been empowered to do.
  • Obedience is more important than results.
  • Every calling is deployable. Not every calling is employable.
  • The relationship between a deployable and employable is not completely in your control.
  • Even the Apostle Paul continued his trade of tent-making while engaged in his calling of preaching the Gospel.5
  • Your calling will almost certainly involve the participation of others in order to be brought to fruition.
  • Your calling will present different challenges depending on the economic realities of where you live.
  • The relationship between deployable and employable will be greatly affected by the location in which you pursue your calling.

Like a brilliant diamond, your calling will need the 5 C’s applied to be made into the masterpiece it was intended to be. It will need to be expertly cut, clarified, colored, carat weighted, and confidence added.

What you’ve been called to do, you’ve been empowered to do!

Check Out My Online Course, “Your Life, On Purpose”

In my upcoming course, “Your Life, on Purpose” I explore and remove the biggest obstacles to discovering and living on purpose. The most prevalent worldviews are compared, word puzzles resolved, and terms further clarified and integrated into a coherent understanding. Upon completing the course terms like purpose, career, meaning, vocation, avocation, success, mission, goal, values, worldview, destiny, gifts, spiritual gifts, spiritual calling, etc. will inform, rather than confuse.

For a free sample module of “Your Life, On Purpose“, and to stay updated on the release of the full course, please sign up for e-mail updates, below. As an added bonus you’ll receive the password for McGillespie’s Free-Resource Library.


  1. Leslie B. Flynn, 19 Gifts of the Spirit. Colorado Springs: Cook Communications, 1974, 1994, 17 – 18. 
  2. Rees, Erik; Rees, Erik. S.H.A.P.E.: Finding and Fulfilling Your Unique Purpose for Life (p. 34). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. 
  3. Rees, Erik; Rees, Erik. S.H.A.P.E.: Finding and Fulfilling Your Unique Purpose for Life (p. 22). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. 
  4. Dave Patterson, Sermon #3 of “The Big 4” at The Father’s House, January 29, 2017 
  5. “…and because he was of the same trade he stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade. 4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and tried to persuade Jews and Greeks. Acts 18:3 (ESV). 

… that life can be optimized with respect to a minimum of seven areas. Delete any one of them from the equations of your awareness and your life will degrade, sooner or later. Since these areas are irreducible I call them the Seven Matters of Life.

I believe …

… that words are how the truth comes to us. They’re also how it can be taken away. Seen only as symbols and grammar, truth and lies are made from the same raw material. Your only hope is discernment. Your life depends on it.

I believe …

there’s something wrong with every body and finding out what it is could be one way we can save our own lives.

I believe …

… as long as mankind is walking the planet, words are here to stay. They’re the hardest ingredient to delete with any hope of communicating fully. Take away someone’s words and you rob them of the dearest part of their humanity.

I believe …

that almost everything against us, and for us, has an invisible origin. Master this unseen realm, and what obstacles remain of the visible world are child’s play to contend with, in comparison.

I believe …

… that life is optimized around these variables in approximately this relationship:

Your Optimal Equation

 I believe …

… that Christianity is not a religion. It’s a relationship with God centered around His presence in our actual lives. Without transformation of character and supernatural power there will be no great works. But, with them? The world is yours!

I believe …

… in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all that is unseen. I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, one in Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered, died, and was buried. On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.

Amen.

“Everything should be as simple as it can be, but not simpler.”

— Albert Einstein

I’ve found that life can be optimized with respect to a minimum of seven areas. Delete any one of them from the equations of your awareness and your life will degrade, sooner or later. Since these areas are irreducible I call them the Seven Matters of Life. They are: Personal, Health, Spiritual, Business, Family, Law, & Government.

The Seven Matters exert an inevitable, if not invisible, influence on our lives. As with natural laws describing gravity, time, the speed of light, etc. they persist whether we ignore them or not. We “escape” them only through acknowledgement and mastery.

My writing is an informational vortex swirling around the Seven Matters. Ideally, it serves as a generational boost to reduce the time needed to put your own life on optimal track.

A Portrait of the Seven Matters

To portray the seven matters I’ll use a pattern-type at the core of natural design: Fractals. Before fractals were discovered, Hollywood was unable to reproduce mountain landscapes without using artist renderings or real pictures of mountains. Now, they use triangles, a computer, and a dash of randomness to create breathtaking landscapes.

The point of using a fractal to portray the seven matters of life is this:

Fractals prove that stupefying complexity can emerge from utter simplicity. The reverse is not true.

Also, I want to make a point, graphically, about the nature of optimizing one’s life:

Even when a complex solution is needed it will inevitably be constructed with simple (not simplistic) components.

The Metatron Cube

One of my favorite fractals is the metatron cube, sometimes referred to as “the flower of life”. It’s formed with 13 spheres set in relation to each other, like this:

Wire Metatron Cube
Within the metatron cube are many other shapes. For example, it contains all five platonic solids.

metatron platonic

In this revolving view the cubic relationships of the same fractal are emphasized.

Metatron in Motion

Fractals can represent infinity by putting the same fractal within itself. Here’s what a metatron cube looks like with each sphere filled with its own metatron cube:

Metatron Infinity

Working Portrait

Please don’t mistake the colorful portrait, below, as “New Age” philosophy with its nauseating relativism. To the contrary, it’s a working portrait of the seven matters  at the core of each person. Though we’re all unique, and at differing levels of development, our design is specific and persistent.

Self Portrait 1
Notice these aspects of the portrait:

  1. The seven inner-spheres of the core correspond closely to the seven matters of life.
  2. The “matter” at the center is Spirit; a reference to the spirit inside you and to God.
  3. Each sphere is a fractal identical to the others, and to the whole.
  4. The outer spheres represent personal interactions with the external world. They are the natural outward reach stemming from the inner core.
  5. To the extent the inner-core is balanced, so is the person, and so are interactions with the external world.

Everyone has these “matters” in their life, in one formation or another. My choice of their positions is, therefore, a kind of self-portrait. Change the position of the “matters”, especially the one in the core, and the resulting life of the person will be quite different.

On Idolizing the Bible

Commentary on “How the Bible Became an Idol” by Paul Rosenberg

I’ll refer to the author as Rosenberg to distinguish him from the apostle Paul.

“Again I am raising a difficult subject, but again, it’s something that needs to be said. And my title is true. The Bible – the holy book of more or less all Christians – has become an idol. And yes, I do mean idol as in “false god.”

A book, no matter how good, remains a book and should be treated as a book. A deity is something far different.

Not every Christian uses the Bible as an idol of course, but many millions do – probably a majority in North America – including nearly all of the TV preachers.

The Bible is 66 books with ~40 authors written over ~1500 years put between one cover and referred to as “a book”. None of the books are deities nor are they above, or outside of, Reality.

A Christian may hold the Bible to be the most important “book” in the world but it’s not a substitute for God unless He’s absent from their lives (which is probably the crux of the matter, here).

What is an Idol?

An idol is something you hold above reality.

The Bible uses the word “idol” to refer to that which a man holds above, or in place of, God. Since only that which created Reality could be above (outside, beyond) it, Rosenberg’s use of the word is roughly the same.

A true God – a creator of the universe, for example – should be held above reality, since he created reality. If, however, we hold something else above reality, we make it an idol. A created thing should be considered a part of reality, not held above it.

So, when I say the Bible has become an idol, I mean people hold it above reality, putting it into the position of a god.”

The Bible refers to the gods being worshipped in the OT and NT (represented in stone, wood, or gold idols) as real and created by God.1 These created gods, as well as the Bible, “should be considered to be part of reality, not held above it”.

Not a Book-Based Religion?

As long as the relationships between people and their Creator are replaced (avoided) with rituals we’ll be stuck with the word, “religion”.

“Christianity very clearly did not start as book-based. When Jesus “preached the good news,” he quoted just a small number of scriptures and usually as a necessity, answering people who questioned him. And several of those were of the “you’ve heard it said… but I say” variety. He read a few lines from Isaiah in his hometown synagogue once, but we see very little more than that.

Even the very literate Paul uses Greek poets in his sermons almost as much as Old Testament passages. (He uses some scriptures in his writings.)”

The New Testament refers to the Old Testament 2,572 times including allusions, echoes, citations, and quotations.2 Here’s the total breakout as well as that for Jesus and Paul.

nt_ot

Jesus’ use of the OT is consistent with, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” (Mt 5:17) One astounding aspect of that fulfillment was His abiding by the laws while supplanting them with grace.4 His scripture was the Septuagint (A Greek translation of the Hebrew canon made in 250 BC.).

While Jesus fulfilled the laws, Paul documented much of that fulfillment in canonical extension, later to become known as the New Testament. Paul’s use of the Septuagint is consistent with writing eight to thirteen of the 27 books of the NT.

Stating the Obvious, Extrapolating the Unnecessary5

Those writing, copying, and assembling books of the New Testament did not, themselves, have access to completed copies. To therefore conclude, somehow, that books not yet written were unimportant to those writing them is to extrapolate the unnecessary after stating the obvious.

In that sense, neither is Judaism a book-based religion. The Old Testament was written and assembled into canon over a period of ~1000 years. It was then translated into Greek to make it accessible to Jews who had been in exile so long they’d lost touch with their own language. Does a project requiring 33 generations to complete imply apathy?

The first Christians valued Christ over everything. Their first independent actions were to spread the word about Him and what He’d just done. They weren’t apathetic about writing things down. A remarkable aspect of the NT is how little time had passed from the actual events to the time the 27 books were written and then assembled into canon. They were documenting what they’d witnessed while simultaneously risking their lives to spread a faith that would become the largest in the world.

I do agree with Rosenberg that the apostles and first Christians weren’t risking their lives for a book (or books) but for what they’d just seen. Also, even without completed copies of what has become the New Testament the early Christians were, no doubt, more effective and consistent than most modern Christians.

Facing the Bible

Those of us who’ve read the book know the laws in the Old Testament that no one follows anymore. We know how the apostles disagreed. But – and this is where idolatry comes in – millions of us pretend that we saw nothing and move on. Or if we’re trying to be very religious, we come up with creative interpretations to resolve the flaws.

Conjuring up “creative interpretations to resolve the flaws” is worse than a waste of time. It degrades integrity and faith. It also avoids some of the best opportunities for spiritual growth.

Do the “Bible is the word of God people” think the Author needs their help in deflecting attention away from weak parts of an otherwise stellar attempt to reach mankind?

The Laws that No One Follows Anymore

I’m no expert on Judaism. Still, I doubt that anyone, other than Jesus and a few prophets and priests, managed to abide by all 613 commandments of the law.

There are orthodox Jews who still believe they must abide by most of the laws. They claim to be excused from the sacrificial laws (159 of the 613) because the temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. But, how were they released from the remaining 454? If they don’t recognize Jesus as their messiah how (and when) did these laws become inactive?

The Apostles Disagreed

The most famous disagreement among the apostles arose when Paul publicly admonished Peter for observing Judaic laws after Jesus had fulfilled them. Bob Deffinbaugh’s exposition of the disagreement, and Peter’s capitulation, is excellent.

Using the Bible to Prove Everything

And let me be clear on this: Trying to prove everything by the Bible is a deviation from actual growth. If you’ve done this for any length of time, you’ve hindered yourself.

Rosenberg may be referring to the often lazy habit of quoting Biblical text as self-proving. To a non-believer this is recursive reasoning. It’s much more effective to quote applicable verses and explain why you think they’re true in the context of the discussion.

A larger point to understand is that the Bible doesn’t contain all knowledge. Such would be like a map with a scale of 1-to-1: accurate but useless. There are no microwaves, jet planes, toasters, CAD design programs, or even hidden codes in every 70th (or whatever) letter predicting the third Reich. Neither does Ezekiel contain the design plans for an alien spacecraft. The sooner a Christian is disabused of the notion that everything is in the Bible, the better.

The Bible is what God deemed sufficient for the realms it covers. It was not intended to be exhaustive. Exhaustive knowledge is a utopian myth. Humans have to work for knowledge just as they have to work to get food from the ground.

Doing, Or Not Doing?

Readers of the book really should know these things. The core of the New Testament – the recorded words of Jesus – require people to do the things he taught. The “Bible as word of God” people, on the other hand, spend endless hours arguing about who Jesus was, comparing scriptures, finding hidden meanings, proving their interpretations right, and proving the interpretations of others wrong. And so they bypass doing.

Though admonished by one commenter to “stick to subjects he knows about”, Rosenberg could just as well be paraphrasing Paul in 1 Timothy 1:3–7:

“As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.”6

The Sad Part

“The central requirement for any follower of Jesus is to love. Everything else comes second. Jesus not only taught this again and again; he exhibited it in his life. Christians, however, consistently push it aside in favor of other things. (I could tell you stories, but you probably have your own.)”

Indeed, “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Ga 5:14)

“The really sad part of this is that the Bible idolaters – or at least a great number of them – do have experience with the divine impulse, of contact or at least innate yearning for a transcendent ultimate. But they never develop these things, because they’re busy idolizing a mere book, following the traditions and commandments of men.

Jesus condemned the Pharisees for treating the OT in exactly this way. How much worse for a Christian to do the same with the completed Bible?

What’s Rosenberg Getting At?

Rosenberg sees the Bible as a valuable resource. He greatly appreciates the impact that Judeo-Christian ethics have had on western civilization. He believes there’s a creator of the universe distinct from the created. He has a “divine impulse” and “innate yearning for a transcendent ultimate”. So, why would someone so philosophically, though not theologically, aligned with Christianity be frustrated enough to write about Christians using the Bible as an idol?

At the risk of being presumptuous I’ll put into my own words what I think are some of Rosenberg’s points. If doing so would make fellow Christians consider them then it will have been worth the effort:

  • Because of the enormous, yet squandered, human potential of a third of humanity. If a small fraction of that number patterned their thoughts, will, abilities, beliefs, and expectations on the full range of Jesus’ teachings the world would be so dramatically transformed it might be mistaken for heaven.
  • Because millions of Christians who claim Jesus as their role-model either don’t take him seriously enough, or are afraid to discover, let alone implement, the full breadth of His teachings.
  • Because the Book of Acts describes the behaviors and experiences of Christians before there was a Book of Acts. And yet, the first Christians were more Christ-like, with limited access to fragments of text, than modern Christians are with a completed New Testament.

The Christian Difference

Voltaire is credited with saying, “Show me your redeemed life, and I’ll believe in your Redeemer”. And then there’s the rhetorical question that, “If you were jailed for being a Christian would there be enough evidence to convict you?”.

There’s nothing different about people living inconsistently with their own stated beliefs. You can find them in every house and on every street-corner in the world. Christians are supposed to stand out in such a way as there’s no doubt that something is different about them. Why else would anyone care to learn more about their beliefs?

Can we blame non-believers for concluding that a redemption without fruit is no redemption, at all?

The Christian difference occurs in believers who call Jesus a role model and have the courage to act consistency with the goal of becoming more like Him.

That means diving into his teachings and exposing yourself to the full-spectrum of what you find. No picking and choosing what you, or those around you, might be comfortable with. No strip-mining the supernatural out of the events. No arrogant presumptions that God needs your protection of His Bible because someone sent you a list of “flaws” on Facebook.

Set a goal of nothing short of putting on the mind of Christ. “Aim at Heaven and you will get Earth ‘thrown in’: aim at Earth and you will get neither.”7

Faith without Works

Faith without works is trust without transformation. It’s an attempt to be oriented towards the Creator without “power according to his glorious might”. (Col 1:11) In daily life, it’s hope without joy.

Transformation of Character and Supernatural Power

Dallas Willard, speaking on “Being Church” said:

“When the kingdom of God is present, power flows. And what characterize the people of Christ throughout the ages is transformation of character and supernatural power. Those two things always follow. When Jesus brought the kingdom he brought manifestation.”

That’s what the early Christians had and what many of today’s Christians don’t have. That’s what’s at the core of Judeo-Christian ethics that have transformed the world.

The early Christians weren’t risking their lives for unfinished scrolls on parchment or papyrus. And they weren’t risking their lives because Jesus was a smart guy who’d just laid some awesome philosophy on them. They risked their lives to remain true to what they’d just witnessed: Jesus performing miracles all over the place, raising people from the dead and then rising, himself, from being dead. And if that wasn’t enough, walking around and eating meals with them while detailing how He’d just fulfilled their scriptures. It was the resurrected Jesus that told them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”8

In that sense, I agree with Rosenberg, that Christianity is not a book-based religion. It’s a relationship with God centered around His presence in our actual lives. Without transformation of character and supernatural power there will be no great works. But, with them?

The world is yours!9


  1. “My contention is that, if our theology really derives from the biblical text, we must reconsider our selective supernaturalism and recover a biblical theology of the unseen world. This is not to suggest that the best interpretation of a passage is always the most supernatural one. But the biblical writers and those to whom they wrote were predisposed to supernaturalism. To ignore that outlook or marginalize it will produce Bible interpretation that reflects our mind-set more than that of the biblical writers.” Heiser, M. S. (2015). The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible (First Edition, p. 18). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press. 
  2. Jackson, J. G. (Ed.). (2015). New Testament Use of the Old Testament. Bellingham, WA: Faithlife. 
  3. There are four relationships that are used: Citation, Quotation, Allusion, and Echo. These terms are understood as:
    Citation: An explicit reference to scripture with a citation formula (e.g. “It is written,” or “the Lord says,” or “the prophet says”).
    Quotation: A direct reference to scripture, largely matching the verbatim wording of the source but without a quotation formula
    Allusion: An indirect but intentional reference to scripture, likely intended to invoke memory of the scripture.
    Echo: A verbal parallel evokes or recalls a scripture (or series of scriptures) to the reader, but likely without authorial intention to reproduce exact words.
  4. “For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.” The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ro 6:14). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society. 
  5. “Yes – as I have said many times in classes: Scholars have a habit of embracing the obvious (redaction) and then extrapolating to the unnecessary (XYZ “universally accepted” critical theory that actually has significant weaknesses – as though there were no other options).” http://drmsh.com/does-higher-criticism-attempt-to-destroy-the-bible/ 
  6. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (1 Ti 1:3–7). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society. 
  7. C.S. Lewis, The Joyful Christian 
  8. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 28:18–20). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society. 
  9. “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ge 1:28). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.”