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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : existentialism

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Flash_red
Member



Joined: 2006/9/19
Posts: 7
Moody Bible Institute

 Re:

While the church today is fighting the ravages of existentialism, I have found that true existentialism is not to be found, fortunately. There are small doses of all sorts of worldly philosophies found in the church today, such as materialism, humanism, modernism, post-modernism, secularism, naturalism, and, yes, existentialism. But the key to keeping away from the existential mindset has been (and will always be) remembering that God is the essence that precedes our existence as individuals. Does the majority believe in the eternal God? I think so, and for this reason, I hope that the church has steered clear of the biggest pitfall posed by existentialism. Am I too optimistic?


_________________
Eric

 2006/9/19 22:19Profile
joeSOC
Member



Joined: 2006/9/5
Posts: 94
Melbourne Australia

 Re:

Quote:

What about subjective experience of music – attributing God-like quality to it



Thanks for bring this up. Can you please for the sake of clarity expound on this more and if I may add (Anyone).

[note:- Please read carefully.]
the emphasis of Subjective experience of phenomena such as "Slain in the Spirit" or the Spiritual gifts over the word of God and Faith which is rooted in the Word of God. Can it be said that this is also a manifestation of existentialism.

If Yes, then is existentialism in such a context good or Bad ?




 2006/9/19 23:57Profile
Compton
Member



Joined: 2005/2/24
Posts: 2732


 Re:

Quote:
I think any of these thought systems can creep in under the umbrella of sound Biblical words and doctrinal systems



How true Diane. We non-academics might feel good that we don't really care about "isms", but more then likely we've picked up a virus or two from somewhere.

Regarding existentialism, there are some smart Christians who understand it's developmental history very well, as well as the major thinkers in the movement...but this does not immunize them from it's effects.

Our own existential burden to choose who we are and who we will be can hide out in the most 'spiritual' guises. For instance there may be a certain Christian man whose heart is filled with hopes of doing great spiritual works. Yet God may have put this man in a secular corporate job that seems to have no spiritual value at all. In fact, the Christian man's belief that he must find meaning for his life, albeit according to a Christian scheme, leaves the man in a quite unhappy and restless state. He feels that his lack of spiritual exploits is devaluing him before God, and is convinced that his life would have more meaning if he were a great preacher, prophet, or missionary. He spends his days, even as a Christian, in anguish over his struggle to find a higher purpose.

Now that Christian man may not be a self-proclaimed "Christian" existentialist...but he nonetheless is suffering from it's ethics. I would even go so far to say, that most of us have suffered from this common cold of trying to find meaning in our thoughts and actions. We remain restless, because even in the church, we feel the need to affirm and define who we are by doing meaningful things….if only for the consolation and gratification of feeling "meaningful."!

For 400 years the Hebrew individual was a slave in Egypt...yet all of those that lived and died never having known Moses or freedom, were still part of God's plan for Israel. Those 400 years were just as vital to God's plan as the conquering generation of Joshua was. Well, at least with the benifit of hind-sight we can see the meaning in their slave-lives because Moses and Joshua eventually came along and gave them meaning...oops... even that conclusion reveals the flaw in our hearts!

I suppose this is one reason I am not quick to dispose of 'Calvinism'...the pre-existence of God and his sovereign will is a blessed relief from the inevitable guilt that absolute free-will leads to. It is a gift of God that we are free in Him to be unremarkable and insignificant...His love for us does not spring up from what we do...his love for us existed in Christ from the foundations of Creation.

The most foundational doctrine of the Christian faith is stated in the first verse of the bible...

"In the beginning God..."

How miserable would be the lonely darkness that would swallow each of our individual souls if the bible began with the words, “In the beginning Man…”

Blessings all,

MC


_________________
Mike Compton

 2006/9/20 1:34Profile
CJaKfOrEsT
Member



Joined: 2004/3/31
Posts: 901
Melbourne, Australia

 Re:

Quote:

joeSOC wrote:
the emphasis of Subjective experience of phenomena such as "Slain in the Spirit" or the Spiritual gifts over the word of God and Faith which is rooted in the Word of God. Can it be said that this is also a manifestation of existentialism.

If Yes, then is existentialism in such a context good or Bad ?



May I offer in response to this the following sermon:
[url=http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/mydownloads/singlefile.php?lid=3324]Holiness or Blessing[/url] by Art Katz.

I choose this particular sermon, because it is quite unique. First, It was delivered in a conference in Melbourne back in 2001. I wasn't actually in the meeting, but have confirmed that this was he case.

I don't know if you were in Melbourne, or even a Christian back then, but this was at the peak "spiritual excess" in Australia. We were just beginning to become disillusioned with the whole "Pensacola phenomenon", into an increasing emphasis on "financial ministry" (which was a slight distortion on the "prosperity doctrine", where instead of ministers begging for money, they began to all get involved in "wealth creation schemes"). "Purpose Driven" ideology was gathering momentum, along with "Pyramid Scheme" style Cell Church concepts (where we were moving from being "churches with cells" to "cell based churches" - whatever that means). Even the "conservative" and Roman Catholic churches were getting caught up in the hype of it all.

Jacob Prasch came out the same year, proclaiming warnings against "Holy (sic) Laughter" manifestations, comparing it to the Israelites worshipping the Golden Calf, which they actually named, "Yahweh". Myself, I was neck deep in deception, a veritable "poster boy" of the whole "Purpose-Driven-Cell-Based-Charismatic-Mega-Church-Wannabe" movement. It was during this year that I was first alerted to the fact that something was wrong. Sadly, it fell upon deaf ears.

Last year, Art returned to Melbourne, and revealed that after coming in 2001, he hoped to never return to such a "God forsaken" land. Thankfully he did, and thankfully he found some who were on the same page this time, by the grace of God.

After you have heard this message, you will see why I have offered this background. Interestingly, Art is one who puts much emphasis on the teachings of Barth, however I find little, if any evidence of the things that people have been accusing Karl of, in Art's teaching (and I have listened to a ridiculous amount of it).

I first listened to Art as a "fault-finder" after reading a statement that I objected to. After a while I realised that it wasn't the statement that was wrong, but my objection. I won't go into what the comment was, at it is irrelevant, however I have noticed over the past few years that pure truth runs perilously close to error. And why should that surprise us? After all, if you alter the naked truth, by either addition or omission, you create a lie, however small the alteration.

It is all well and good to label such things as "existentialism" and deem it as evil, however often times when you trace the history of a statement, you find that the problem isn't the statement itself, but the gradual distortions of the meanings of the words by those who quote them. If this happens in the Theological area, why not in the Philosophical? Even the word "Theosophy", which is now used to describe the occultic movement founded by Helena Blavatsky, was originally penned by Jacob Boehme, who used it to described Divine Wisdom, as in "wisdom for God" who he knew to be the Tripartite Godhead, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, with exception to all others. And Boehme himself, who has inspired many New Agers, such as Blavatsky, Spangler, amongst othes, was required reading for Wesley's circuit riders, and a primary theological reference for the likes of Alexandr Whyte, Oswald Chambers and Norman Grubb. All you need to do is add a little meaning that wasn't there, and you can write it all off as heresy.

Anyway, That's my two cents (plus interest:-P)


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Aaron Ireland

 2006/9/20 6:45Profile
roadsign
Member



Joined: 2005/5/2
Posts: 3776


 Re: cutting between the ideal and the real

Lots to digest here:

Quote:
I have found that true existentialism is not to be found, fortunately. But the key to keeping away from the existential mindset has been (and will always be) remembering that God is the essence that precedes our existence as individuals.



contrasted to this:

Quote:
Our own existential burden to choose who we are and who we will be can hide out in the most 'spiritual' guises.



I admit, I am not an academic. I am, on the other hand, the type that dives past intellectual claims and searches the heart of the matter. That’s where I spot inconsistencies.

Quote:
and for this reason, I hope that the church has steered clear of the biggest pitfall posed by existentialism. Am I too optimistic?

Or perhaps I am too pessimistic. In my 20’s I believed that we the church had the right perception of God. But now, some 30 years later, I fear that we were trusting in illusions about our view of God. To a large extent we’ve been singing of his sovereignty and omnipotence, but we’ve been making life choices as if he’s rather impotent.

Quote:
Does the majority believe in the eternal God? I think so,

Of course, that’s what we readily confess, and what we believe intellectually; but as they say, “the proof’s in the pudding”. I believe that most DO indeed struggle to some extent with an existential burden. Again, I speak for myself. The following thought is not completely foreign to my own experience – even yet (I sense a Holy Spirit conviction moment):
Quote:
We remain restless, because even in the church, we feel the need to affirm and define who we are by doing meaningful things….if only for the consolation and gratification of feeling "meaningful."!



I fear that our educated leaders have not been in touch with the real heart. They have tended to see people through the academic ideals that they learned in universities and colleges. And in the pulpits, the clergy has continued to promote the illusion. So have we the parishioners. I know how easy it is to say what I know I’m supposed to say. It’s easy to get it all correct, but inside the heart is in a terrible turmoil – constantly striving for existential essence. Is that not why the Purpose-Driven culture has been flourishing, and the books on finding your spiritual gifts, etc?


Anyway…. Flash Red, It looks like this is your first post here. I’m afraid I have not given you a very cheerful welcome. Hopefully you are gifted in patiently bearing all things. I look forward to your valuable contributions.

Diane



_________________
Diane

 2006/9/20 7:46Profile









 Re: exisentitialism


Just a quick thought about the mention of vocation in God (by Compton and roadsign). I spent many years longing to be a missionary because it seemed like a 'spiritual' thing to do, but nagging at the back of my mind came a question.... How would I be living if everyone in the world was already a Christian?

In other words, the answer to this question reminded me that I'd still need a place to live, food to eat, clothes to wear - and people would still need help.... prayer and practical ministry when ill, comfort when bereaved, neighbours with whom to share work and rejoicings at marriages and birthdays.... There would be a Godly standard to keep, still....

(KJV) Romans 14:19
Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.

I realised there'd be plenty to do 'at home' and God could be pleased with my service there, just as much as abroad.

Sorry is this seems a bit off-topic. It is a genuine spark from the discussion....

 2006/9/20 7:58
crsschk
Member



Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Out of something comes nobody

wow saints ... making it rather difficult to keep this self imposed silence...

Quote:
Or perhaps I am too pessimistic. In my 20’s I believed that we the church had the right perception of God. But now, some 30 years later, I fear that we were trusting in illusions about our view of God. To a large extent we’ve been singing of his sovereignty and omnipotence, but we’ve been making life choices as if he’s rather impotent.



:-o

Quote:
How miserable would be the lonely darkness that would swallow each of our individual souls if the bible began with the words, “In the beginning Man…”


See reference above...
Quote:
For instance there may be a certain Christian man whose heart is filled with hopes of doing great spiritual works. Yet God may have put this man in a secular corporate job that seems to have no spiritual value at all. In fact, the Christian man's belief that he must find meaning for his life, albeit according to a Christian scheme, leaves the man in a quite unhappy and restless state. He feels that his lack of spiritual exploits is devaluing him before God, and is convinced that his life would have more meaning if he were a great preacher, prophet, or missionary. He spends his days, even as a Christian, in anguish over his struggle to find a higher purpose.


That is worth chewing on. Have mingled in this train of thought not unlike many I would imagine. Yet, also well recall that the Lord is full of surprises, challenging the saints by changing up circumstances ... 2 years ago, where was I? Where were each of us? I don't necessarily mean by occupation, but by disposition and that reflection upon our circumstances.

[i]And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being;[/i]
Quote:
I suppose this is one reason I am not quick to dispose of 'Calvinism'...the pre-existence of God and his sovereign will is a blessed relief from the inevitable guilt that absolute free-will leads to. It is a gift of God that we are free in Him to be unremarkable and insignificant...His love for us does not spring up from what we do...


That is so remarkably well said MC, an unshackled 'Calvinism', I very much like that. "[i]Thy will[/i]" very much in the forefront of the thoughts these days, in the very strictest sense.

And then their is Art ...

"[i]Precious saints[/i]"

Aaron, this man, such an enigma almost. How well you gave expression ... [i]Still[/i] don't know about his particular eschatology, but that is of such a small matter, I don't know about most and even less about whatever mine own might be, it still seems practically irrelevant, only;[i]He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.[/i]
Quote:
however I have noticed over the past few years that pure truth runs perilously close to error. And why should that surprise us? After all, if you alter the naked truth, by either addition or omission, you create a lie, however small the alteration.

That's a heady statement and to interject the random thought taken from MC ... Think it is of a different sort of academics and intelligca, that [i]singing theology[/i] that Philologos has tagged on his signature, ([i]Theology is meant to be sung[/i]).

Am jumping around here a bit, guess I found it only slightly odd that this morning had this Katz-ism running through; [i]To know God is everything[/i]

To the matter at hand ... ughhh, it is difficult to unravel something that seems so inherently muddy, especially after reading through this definition; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Existentialism

Quote:
It is all well and good to label such things as "existentialism" and deem it as evil, however often times when you trace the history of a statement, you find that the problem isn't the statement itself, but the gradual distortions of the meanings of the words by those who quote them. If this happens in the Theological area, why not in the Philosophical? Even the word "Theosophy", which is now used to describe the occultic movement founded by Helena Blavatsky, was originally penned by Jacob Boehme, who used it to described Divine Wisdom, as in "wisdom for God" who he knew to be the Tripartite Godhead, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, with exception to all others. And Boehme himself, who has inspired many New Agers, such as Blavatsky, Spangler, amongst othes, was required reading for Wesley's circuit riders, and a primary theological reference for the likes of Alexandr Whyte, Oswald Chambers and Norman Grubb. All you need to do is add a little meaning that wasn't there, and you can write it all off as heresy.



Oh my, how often are we caught up in this trap ...
If I am anywhere close to grasping this it seems it is either mans true attempt at understanding his existence or adamantly stating that he has it all figured out ... [i]without God[/i]. Or to repeat MC;

“In the beginning Man…”


_________________
Mike Balog

 2006/9/20 10:22Profile
mamaluk
Member



Joined: 2006/6/12
Posts: 524


 Re:

It's very interesting to read all of your words of experience.

We truly are creatures of experience. As for the isms, oh, how I loved them in my younger days, learning them alone made me 'feel' smart and spiritual, only thing was, all that time I spent in them, I could well have spent it studying the Bible closely and attentively instead.

When one's mind and spirit are consistently discerning matters through the light of Scripture, in time, all falsehood will come to surfacing, but to do that, surely one must familiarize him/herself with Scripture in it's entirety along with the aid of the Holy Spirit.

[b]2 Timothy 3:16
All scripture ([i]unlike things around IT[/i]) is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:[/b]

thanks y'all
sola Scriptura!

 2006/9/20 10:32Profile
roadsign
Member



Joined: 2005/5/2
Posts: 3776


 Re: the peril of isms

Quote:
As for the isms, oh, how I loved them in my younger days, learning them alone made me 'feel' smart and spiritual,


Mamaluk, your comment made me chuckle. I think our gathering instincts have caused us humans to gather up bunches of ideas and put them into “isms” – all neatly confined into self-contained boxes. Then we can safely say – that’s them, and this is me. I’m outside the boxes. I don’t adhere to any “isms”.

Aren’t isms creepy little things… they’re hard to confine…

Quote:
… the inevitable guilt that absolute free-will leads to.

Do we have a touch of existentialism in some of our revival philosophies? We erroneously conclude that revival depends on me (my will). My worth as a Christian depends on what I do about it. If it isn’t happening, it must be my fault – I’m not praying enough, I’m not evangelizing enough, I’m not trying hard enough, I’m too worldly... I’m... I’m... I’m...

Diane


_________________
Diane

 2006/9/20 11:30Profile
joeSOC
Member



Joined: 2006/9/5
Posts: 94
Melbourne Australia

 Re: Need more explanation

Since I feel that my question has not been adequately addressed and the dicussion has moved to a different tangent, I am now forced to answer my own question. I would appreciate if we could discuss this answer rather than getting carried away with philosphical worldviews. Thank you kindly
Luk 4:3 And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread.

v.4 I believe is one of the many answers the Lord Jesus Christ gives for the existential question


Luk 4:4 And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.

 2006/9/20 20:47Profile





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