Further Thoughts on Jesus Ministry's Key Problems.
Jesus Ministry - Core Issue.
The biblical picture of mankind in the light of the Gospel is binary - Unregenerate (unsaved) or Regenerate (born again).
Biblically the regenerate man is always seen as struggling between two states:
- The old man, otherwise called the flesh, and
- The new creation
This old man is the lingering after-effect from the salvific process and cannot be changed, fixed or otherwise made fit for heaven as he is corrupted at his core (Rom 7:18). The flesh cannot be healed.
The new creation is a sovereign work of God in salvation (Eph 2:8). The bible calls this being born again (Joh 3:3). This new creation is already perfect (Heb 10:14) in every way and we have no part in its being so.
JM proposes that there is an original design for each of us and that the ministry’s purpose is to a) discover this original design and then b) to assist the believer in striving towards it.
Whilst I acknowledge that we are indeed created in God’s image and likeness (Gen 1:27), this applies to all humanity, in as much as God breathed life into Adam. There is no biblical support to corroborate the supposition that God designed each of us to be someone other than who we are.
In the supposed effort to assist the believer to reach it, JM is either suggesting that the “Old Man” can indeed be fixed. Or that they in some way have a part to play in the perfecting of this new creation.
The confusion, I believe, is a misunderstanding of the sanctification process.
Firstly we must understand that this process is one of transformation, not into a perfected version of ourselves but rather into the image of Christ. (2 Cor 3:18 & Rom 8:29)
Secondly we must acknowledge that although we are obviously “involved” in this process it is nothing of ourselves but again, is a sovereign work of The Father (Joh 17:17), The Son (Eph 5:26) & The Holy Spirit.(Rom 15:16)
Thirdly, and importantly, we must acknowledge and expect that, during this process of becoming more Christ-like we will continue to be hindered by our old man. Our flesh will never cease to war against the new creation (Rom 7:23), we will not be free of his effects until that glorious day when corruption will put on incorruption. (1 Cor 15:53)
JM contends that their methodology can make us free. Whereas the bible teaches us a much simpler truth.
Firstly, in salvation the new creation is completely set free from ALL the effects of corruption, sinfulness and guilt that the old man had. All our debts are cancelled and all accusations against us are nullified. (Col 2:15) We are already free (Joh 8:36), we have peace with God, are already reconciled to God. (Rom 5:1-11)
Secondly, the plain teaching of scripture of how to deal with this “old man” is to put him to death (Rom 6:6-7), to crucify the flesh (Gal 5:24). We are told to pick up our cross daily (Luk 9:23) and in FAITH to walk in the Spirit in this newness of life (Rom 6:4). Simply to BELIEVE in our saviour and acknowledge the miracle that He has worked in us at the cross. The sanctification process is one of a daily walk of faith. It cannot be fast-tracked or short-cut as Paul says: “I die daily” (1 Cor 15:31)
In Regards to JM Methodology
My second contention is actually somewhat superfluous in the light of the main issue.
The methodology employed by JM - of a prayer team seeking insight into, what I have already established is an unscriptural assumption, our “original design” and subsequently in the “living free” prayer sessions - Is neither witnessed or taught in scripture. There is no suggestion that this is how believers are supposed to pray for each other.
The practice of sitting in silence to wait for an image or a word to appear in the prayers mind and then the subsequent interpretation of it, is not seen in the new testament scriptures. It does however appear in a number of false religious beliefs, such as Quakerism, eastern transcendentalism, new age meditation, Roman Catholic contemplative prayer, etc.
Additionally the notion that only those who have “had the training” can successfully practice this method is not in line with the new testament models of prayer.
In Regards to Deliverance
There is no need to repeat my lengthy commentary of deliverance ministries (in all its forms) other than to say that its assertions of how curses, generational sins and soul ties might affect believers is extra-biblical. There is no scriptural justification for the conclusion that Satan can have a spiritual stronghold in a believer's life. The more biblical explanation for repetitive sin is, as I've highlighted, the effects of the old nature and unrepentance.
- JM has a confused view of the flesh and of the new creation.
- It has an explanation of the sanctification process that does not appear in scripture.
- It downplays walking by faith and over-emphasises faith in the process.
- It employs an extra biblical player methodology
- It presents an unbiblical view of the authority of Satan.