Awakening to a Past that still holds Hope.

Some call the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution racist and a product of slave holders.  Even so one finds that they contain the seeds for future improvement  They offered such hope, when they were written.  There were people then who recognized that reality and wrote of it.  Even the American Revolution was promoted by some who were Christians, believers in Sovereign Grace,  and  such believed that freedom from slavery was involved.  Samuel Adams was one of those revolutionary leaders.  Eventually, as we all know, the Christian Faith provided the enlightenment which enabled the West to abolish slavery.  In Great Britain they did it peacefully by abolition.  In America they did it by a war that result in over 600,000 deaths and the devastation of nearly half of the nation.  It took nearly a hundred years for the South to recover from its fascination with slavery, and it took nearly a hundred years for the effort to really get rolling that ended segregation.  Prejudice is still present, but it is difficulty, to say the least, to speak of White Grandparents’ Black Grandchildren in a negative sense.  Especially is this so, when they are your neighbors in community and church.

We still have the remains of that evil.  Daily we still struggle with such aberration in humanity which has been justified by so many in the past – even by those who have cited the Bible in justification.  It seems never to have occurred to them to read the literature left by the Christian Abolitionists in the period from 1750-1860.  Elitism is justified by many who read the idea of obeying those in authority over us without considering that the Bible also makes a case for not obeying such, when the officials are wrong.

We also have those who want to impose their views regarding eschatology or salvation on everyone else, never considering that the Bible calls for religious liberty and persuasion as the only means to true conversions.  Having had some difficulties in health recently, I must cease and, hopefully, return again soon to these issues. Deo Volente!

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     Great Awakenings should probably be titled, Great Awakenings To Come, for that is what we are to consider.  The past is past, and, while it has a huge influence on the future, that influence is often denigrated by other factors such as eschatology.  Quite frankly, our views of last things can cause us to overlook, misinterpret, fail to understand, and blunder in our representations of what the Bible is actually teaching concerning the future.

I shall never forget how one man’s question and a text in Jonah opened my eyes to the fact of the filters in my mind that prevented me from understanding and grasping what God was actually saying in some of His remarks in the Bible.  In this particular case, I always thought that if a verse stated something quite dogmatically, then it had to be that way, no ifs, ands, or buts about the matter.  Jonah’s message to the city of Nineveh is a case in point.  The prophet declared, “Forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown.”  However, it was not.

It had been very easy to assume that Jonah had added, “But if you repent, God will spare the city.”  That is precisely what he did not say, though I have heard ministers say so.  It is their theology and soteriology which demands that they add the clarifying qualification.  Jonah, however, did not say such a thing.  In fact, he did not want the city spared.  He wanted it destroyed, lock, stock, and barrel as the saying once was.

The truth is that to say that the prophet must have added, “But if you repent, God will spare the city,” is to add to God’s word.  The old King of Nineveh did not speak so presumptuously, only saying perhaps God would spare the city.  The prophecy, in any case, becomes unfulfilled, raising the question: “Could it be that the unconditional prophecy here stated was intended to shock the Ninevites into repentance so that God would have mercy?  And could such be the truth of other unconditional prophecies.  Counseling knows of methods of therapeutic paradoxes and shock therapies.  Surely, God might well have an even firmer handle on such techniques.  In any case, for the present, we will assume such to be the case.

The next matter we face is the innumerable host that will constitute the seed of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David.  Even greater hosts that cannot be counted or comprehended by any human are those that will make up the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The elect, our Savior said, are to be gathered by His Holy Angels from one end of the starry heaven to the other which betokens the possibilities of such numbers as utterly strains all credulity.  I can never forget coming across a statement in John Owen’s The Death of Death in the Death of Christ to the effect that the atonement was of such value that it could save the people of other planets (he did put it in a manner that simply raised the issue).  I hope to continue this later, deo volente!

 

 

 

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AWAKENING TO ANOTHER TREATMENT FOR PTSD

     In ’96 I received a book in the mail (I think it was in a list of counseling books as I was a member of some counseling book club then, being a professional counselor at one time and for a brief period a Licensed Professional Counselor) on the subject of EDM or Eye Desensitization Movement.  the author had been a Professor of English at some university and had come near to dying of cancer.  During the course of recovery, the was walking across the campus looking at the beautiful flowers on either side of the walk, while thinking about a particularly bothersome problem.  At the end of the walk, her problem was resolved, if my memory serves me correctly.  She thought that was unusual and associated the resolution with the eye movement.  As a result she went back to school and earned a Ph.D. in Psychology.  Then she published a book on the subject and within a few years her method became a number one treatment with the VA for veterans from the battlefield, suffering from PTSD.

I think I skim read about 30 pages of the book and it got stuck in a truck in storage for seven years.  Shortly before that period ended, our son who had begun pastoring sent me a client who need counseling.  I listened to her presentation of her problems, something that seemed to be quite traumatic, and the thought came to my mind that I should use the method to help her which I did.  The results were startling to say the least.  Later on, my son and I attended a continuing education class, where a professor from Canada poured cold water on the idea and the method.  So we thought it might well be wanting.

After seven years we moved closer to our children and I acquired a pretty good computer and found that the lady had established an institute and that there were trainers who provided guidance and training in the practice of EDM along with certification.  Shortly after, I referred a woman with a child who had been adopted from another country and who had suffered sexual abuse to look for a Christian woman counselor certified in EDM.  She did, and she was well-pleased with the result.

Then I told a friend about the matter, and he, a Cognitive Psychologist, teaching in a community college, began to get questions from some of his students about the method.  I know of others who have received the treatment and have found the results helpful.  I would not want anyone to think that I look on EDM as a panacea.  My training is in eclectic psychotherapy which advocates being acquainted with a plethora of schools, movements, therapies, and techniques which the counselor can weave into a personalized treatment for the individual client.  The point of the blog is to arouse interest to the point where the reader will google EDM or Eye Desensitization Movement, read the materials and see if it can be helpful to him or her or to a counselee in need of something more than talk, drug, or other therapies that might or might not be helpful.  The EDM seems to imply that trauma makes some kind of impression on the nervous system of the individual, and EDM apparently provides some sort of deprogramming or ease of the stress caused by such traumatic events.  I do know that it was quite startling to see how the pressure was taken off of my client.  However, in the interest of avoiding the panacea or placebo factor, I recommend the method in conjunction with other techniques which the counselor might find helpful in dealing with the presenting problem.

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AWAKENING TO ANOTHER TREATMENT FOR PTSD

     In ’96 I received a book in the mail (I think it was in a list of counseling books as I was a member of some counseling book club then, being a professional counselor at one time and for a brief period a Licensed Professional Counselor) on the subject of EDM or Eye Desensitization Movement.  the author had been a Professor of English at some university and had come near to dying of cancer.  During the course of recovery, the was walking across the campus looking at the beautiful flowers on either side of the walk, while thinking about a particularly bothersome problem.  At the end of the walk, her problem was resolved, if my memory serves me correctly.  She thought that was unusual and associated the resolution with the eye movement.  As a result she went back to school and earned a Ph.D. in Psychology.  Then she published a book on the subject and within a few years her method became a number one treatment with the VA for veterans from the battlefield, suffering from PTSD.

I think I skim read about 30 pages of the book and it got stuck in a truck in storage for seven years.  Shortly before that period ended, our son who had begun pastoring sent me a client who need counseling.  I listened to her presentation of her problems, something that seemed to be quite traumatic, and the thought came to my mind that I should use the method to help her which I did.  The results were startling to say the least.  Later on, my son and I attended a continuing education class, where a professor from Canada poured cold water on the idea and the method.  So we thought it might well be wanting.

After seven years we moved closer to our children and I acquired a pretty good computer and found that the lady had established an institute and that there were trainers who provided guidance and training in the practice of EDM along with certification.  Shortly after, I referred a woman with a child who had been adopted from another country and who had suffered sexual abuse to look for a Christian woman counselor certified in EDM.  She did, and she was well-pleased with the result.

Then I told a friend about the matter, and he, a Cognitive Psychologist, teaching in a community college, began to get questions from some of his students about the method.  I know of others who have received the treatment and have found the results helpful.  I would not want anyone to think that I look on EDM as a panacea.  My training is in eclectic psychotherapy which advocates being acquainted with a plethora of schools, movements, therapies, and techniques which the counselor can weave into a personalized treatment for the individual client.  The point of the blog is to arouse interest to the point where the reader will google EDM or Eye Desensitization Movement, read the materials and see if it can be helpful to him or her or to a counselee in need of something more than talk, drug, or other therapies that might or might not be helpful.  The EDM seems to imply that trauma makes some kind of impression on the nervous system of the individual, and EDM apparently provides some sort of deprogramming or ease of the stress caused by such traumatic events.  I do know that it was quite startling to see how the pressure was taken off of my client.  However, in the interest of avoiding the panacea or placebo factor, I recommend the method in conjunction with other techniques which the counselor might find helpful in dealing with the presenting problem.

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THE AWAKENING TO THE GOD-GIVEN FAITH

     The Third Great Awakening will involve the awakening to the fact and reality of the God-given faith.   In Mk.11:22 the KJV, ESV, and many other versions render the phrase as, “have faith in God.”  However, the form in the Greek is in the Genitive-Ablative case (if you use A.T. Roberson’s eight case declension of nouns and adjectives or the Genitive, if you don’t).  The Genitive, of course, refers to the source of faith, that is, a faith that is from God or a God-given faith.  Interestingly enough, I first encountered this in a center column reference in one of my KJV Bibles many years ago.  As I checked it out in the Greek, I became convinced that that is the best rendering, that it tells us the kind of faith we are supposed to have, the faith that comes from God.  A sermon which I have preached on the text bears the title, The Right Stuff.

This goes along with a number of other references in the Bible.  We find Philippians 1:29 clearly sets forth the idea that believing is a God-given trust  in Christ.  And in Ephs.2:8, about which there is much controversy, we find that there is reason for asserting that faith is the gift of God.  However, as a seminary president was once reported to have said, concrete nouns, the relative pronoun that is ordinarily feminine, whereas  the abstract nouns like faith use neuter in the pronoun..  However, even a feminine concrete noun can use a relative neuter.  Funny, thing is that even A.T. Robertson could have lapses,  He asserted the neuter demonstrative that in Eph.2:8 does not refer to the noun faith.  Dr. Gordon Clarke points out that in Robertson’s A Grammar of the Greek New Testament, p704 , lists six exceptions to the common rule that adjectives agree in gender with their nouns.  Interestingly enough,  I Peter 2:19 had demonstrative neuter pronouns with feminine nouns (twice), a parallel to Ephs.2:8.  (Biblical Predestination. Phillisburg, N.J.: Bible Presbyterian and Reformd Pub. co., 1969, p.103, fn.1).

In Mk.9:14-29 the father of the child admitted that he was unable to believe.  He even cried out, 9:24, “help my unbelief.”  In other words, help me over come my unbelief, my inability to believe.   It is the neglect of the fact that God requires the impossible as our Lord clearly demanded in Mk.10:17-27, when He called for the rich young ruler to sell all he had, give to the poor, and follow Him.  That that was impossible is plainly stated by our Lord to Peter in 9:27.  Our Lord plainly teaches the inability of man to produce what He requires, Jn.6:44, 65.  When I was a child in elementary school, the teacher pointed out to me that the difference between can and may is the difference between ability and permission.

Why this demand for the impossible?  It is to bring the sinner to the end of himself or herself so that the only thing left is to cast one’s self upon the mercy of God for help to do that which could not otherwise be done.  For 42 years I have been praying for a Third Great Awakening, and one of the prerequisites to such a visitation is the realization that mankind’s only hope is the mercy and grace of God – not some act or decision or choice he or she can or might make.  In other words, the sinner is brought to the feet of Christ begging for the mercy, the grace, to respond as the Lord desires and demands.   In short, we invite the sinner to do the impossible, when we invite such to believe and to trust, to repent and turn, to cast one’s self upon God’s great mercy and grace for salvation.  As Jonah said, “Salvation is of the Lord.”(Jonah 2:9).  As one evangelist put it, salvation is of the Lord in its inception, application, continuation, consummation.

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AWAKENING TO A NEW SCIENTIFIC METHOD

About nine years ago, I was engaged in a discussion with a woman who was the science educator for county school system.  At that time she was working on a Ph.D. in science education and the state’s leading university.  During the conversation I said to her, “You know there is a problem with the present scientific method, namely, the null hypothesis.  What does one do, when the null hypothesis is also true.”  She looked at me with a startled expression: “How did you know that?”  After all, I was a poor dumb preacher, and what is he supposed to known?  I went on to explain that I had stumbled across the problem, while writing a master’s thesis in American Social and Intellectual History some 35 years earlier. It had turned out that both my thesis and my null hypothesis were true.

The problem with the present method is that it is too analytical.  As one preacher declared some 8 years previous to my thesis, “We suffer from the paralysis of analysis.”  We are good at breaking things down into bits and pieces, and we can analyze a subject to death.  The big issue is how to deal with more than one thesis (the null hypothesis is one, especially, if it happens to be true).  What we need is a more synthetical method.  The Puritans use to have their lists of contrarieties.  However, the best summary I have seen from the early period was made by a theological educator, so I understand, who was a great influence on the Puritans.  He is reported to have said, “If the rule is true, and the exceptions are true, then the truth is both the rule and the exceptions.”

     I might add that two poles, negative and positive, constitute an electric field, and two poles of a two sided precept or idea or doctrine sets up a tension in the mind of the believer which enables one to be balanced, flexible, creative, constant, and magnetic or, in short, a mature believer, God’s best subliminal advertisement for the attractiveness of the Gospel.  It is regrettable that we have turned from the intellectual aspect of the Christian Faith, for we really need it now that we are on the verge of paradigm shifts the likes of which have never been seen or imagined.  An old Puritan is reported to have put the problem for us in these words with reference to the word, “Our difficulty with the word lies in its perspicuity.”   In other words, the clarity of the word is a real problem for us.  Being clear and simple and plain, we think we have to understand it.  The hard reality is that we have no depth perception in spiritual truths. 

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