We are told I John 5:19 that “the whole earth lies in the power of the evil one.” Then again, we are told in Psalm 24:1 that “The earth is the Lord’s, and all that it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it.” So the earth is presently in the power of the evil one, but it belongs to the Lord. The earth is the Lord's dejure. The earth is the evil one's defacto
Friday, February 1, 2013
Thursday, December 27, 2012
Saturday, December 15, 2012
Originally, I was ordained a Baptist minister. Though I am now a liturgical/sacramental priest, I do like to look in on my Baptist friends. I wrote a post on the Baptists’ problem with speaking in tongues. It became my most read post. Meanwhile, the issue became hotter, so I decided to revise the article and print it again with some of the good comments added. Basically, the problem involves the intellect vs the spirit.
Two Christian writers can help shed light on Southern Baptists’ (as well as others’) problem with “tongues”. One is the Spanish mystic, St. John of the Cross, and the other, St. Paul. Both of these men recognize they possess two mental systems. Paul uses the word “understanding” (in Greek, the intellect) to describe one of the systems. He uses the word translated as “spirit” for the other system. We hear him describing how he works with his two systems in 1 Cor 14:15 “I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also...I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also”. In other words, he is fully aware that he is using two distinct “mental” systems in his spirituality.
St. John of the Cross, similarly describes two systems. He uses the word “sensual” (the understanding, will, and memory) for one system and “spirit” for the other.
Both men were conscious that the two systems had real problems with one another. For more on this. St. Paul describes the problem as follows: “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him.”1Co 2:14) St. John of the Cross describes this same problem as follows: "The sensual part of a man has no capacity for that which is pure spirit.” (Bk. 1 IX 4). . St John goes further: “For anything that the soul (the intellect) can do of its own accord at this time (i.e. when God has infused Himself), serves only, to hinder inward peace and the work which God is accomplishing in the spirit.” (Bk. 1 IX) The intellect is getting in God’s way.
For St. John, God communicates directly with the spirit mind, outside the intellect’s capabilities. God even deliberately “binds (the intellect's) inner faculties and allows it not to cling to the understanding, nor to have delight in the will, nor to reason with the memory. When once the soul (intellect) begins to enter therein (arrive at that state), its inability to reflect with the faculties grows ever greater.”Bk. (1 IX 4) At some point, the soul can go dark ( flat line). Thus, the title of St John’s book is: "Dark Night of the Soul”. Flat lining is a positive thing spiritually, but intolerable to the intellect.
St. Paul also wants to flatline the intellect, but unlike St. John of the Cross who lets God do it, St. Paul works on the experience himself: He tells us how he does it. 1Co 14:4 “He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself (in Greek: “is a house builder,”, i.e. “building up his house”). He describes then how this gets his intellect to “go dark.”. “For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding (intellect) is unfruitful (Greek: “barren,” not producing intellectual fruit”).(1 Co 14:14).
Today, if you read the attacks on “speaking in tongues”, you will quickly discern the resistance of the intellect to “go dark”, “to be unfruitful”, to enter “The Dark Night of the Soul”. Some attackers are appalled by an intellect becoming unfruitful. Others, only mock what they see or hear. In our present age of reason, most intellects struggle furiously to maintain domination over the consciousness. The word hegemony is useful. Hegemony is used to describe the dominance of one state over another. It is mostly used about political states, but it can be used with states of consciousness. The intellect demands hegemony in the modern mind. The idea of losing your mind temporally for the sake of making direct contact with God is unacceptable to most. See another take.
Which brings us back to the Southern Baptists. Baptists have two historical forces at work that give them problems with “tongues”. Fundamentalists among the Baptists get their title as the guardians of the fundamentals of the faith, i.e. correct theology. Guarding the fundamentals is a cerebral activity.
Secondly, Baptists got their name for their insistence upon reaching an age of accountability before being baptized -- believers baptism. Psychologists attribute this age of accountability which occurs around puberty, as resulting from the interconnections of the brain’s neurons reaching a level of maturity which makes rational thought possible. In other words, a core Baptist belief is the demand that you must be capable of understanding what you are doing. Spirituality as rational.
Following is a thoughtful comment received:
Fr Don has demonstrated something I have observed about the evangelical mind. Movie and TV often portrays evangelicals as emotional or simple-minded. In fact, behind some of the emotions of conversion is a tremendous rationality. Rather than conversion being a matter of emotion, Baptist theology tends to cast it as an act of the mind or will - the opposite of many of the images that are used to slam evangelicals like Southern Baptists.
I am wondering about the origins of this intellectual view of faith. The Baptist opposition to speaking in tongues seems rooted in their public embracing of dispensationalism. Rather than asking how to do the works of Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit, their rational theology reasons that the absence of those works today is proof that they were temporary gifts given to establish the Church until the canon of scripture was set. This position leads them to misinterpret Paul's state about spiritual gifts ceasing when that which is perfect is come (1 Corinthians 13). Clearly Paul is envisioning the coming of Christ and the life of the kingdom of God when partial revelation will give way to the fullness of God's presence and relationship with us.
In his books, "Surprised by the Power of God" and "Surprised by the Voice of God", former Baptist theologian Jack Deere shares a compelling account of his shift from dispensationalism to embracing the power and gifts and the Holy Spirit as described in the bible. I have come to a place where I cannot preach about a Jesus who cannot, or will not, do today all that the bible says he will do. This has not been a rational change and much as a change of heart. Speaking in tongues has become a wonderful means of prayer that helps me go beyond the limitations of my intellect. The child-like faith I exercise in praying from my born-again spirit through the power of the Holy Spirit helps me open up to God's ability to do beyond my wildest dreams. Like others, I constantly fall short of the fullness that is truly available - and is what I believe to be God's highest will for us. But I can't rationalize that reality away based on my short-fall because I have tasted enough of the real to know that there is gold in those hills that is worth the effort to mine it.
Thursday, December 13, 2012
I notice that at a recent convention, Southern Baptists are still fighting over speaking in tongues. Originally, I was ordained a Baptist minister. Though I am now a liturgical/sacramental priest, I do like to look in on my Baptist friends from time to time.
Two Christian writers can help shed light on Southern Baptists’ problem
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
It was that principle that led me into a debate with one of my favorite people, Rick Joyner of Morningstar Ministries. It happened as follows.
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
He writes: “And with respect to the praise which the soul offers to God in union, there are three kinds of brightness here:
First, the soul praises God as a duty, for it sees that He created it to offer Him praise, as He says through Isaiah: ‘I have formed this people for Myself, it shall sing my praises. (Is 43:21)’
The second kind of brightness of this praise comes from the blessings which the soul receives and the delight that it has in offering praise.
The third is that it praises God for that which He is in Himself; even if to do so caused the soul no delight at all, it would still praise Him for Who He is.”
Friday, June 29, 2012
The following is a rewrite of an earlier post of how, in 1980, I began to speak in tongues. Since writing that, I have looked at many blogs on the subject. Some are distressing because they ridicule this fastest growing group of Christians in the world. Because I am a Board Certified psychologist I feel it is important for people to know that Christians who speak in tongues are not nuts. Actually, research indicates that in many cases those speaking in tongues are more emotionally healthy than the general public.
Here is my story followed
Days followed my first experience of speaking in tongues with many thrilling events. We laid hands on a woman who had congenital heart disease from birth, and she was healed. A few sundays later, a group of us laid hands on a man with prostate cancer. He was healed and the healing was certified by his Urologist.
I began to notice changes in me. I could not get enough of reading the Bible. I would lock myself in my office and read for hours.
Like many people, I had suffered from what I called the Paranoia of
Right after my experiences of tongues began, I wrote down some ideas as a psychologist on the subject. The following is what I wrote at the time.
I wonder how surprised my printer would be if it could be aware that it is not creating these words on this page by itself. Perhaps it would be no more surprised than I was when words from an unexplained source came out of me.
As to my printer, if it could reflect on its own inner workings self-consciously as I can, it might try to explain to itself this unexpected discovery of words already formed somewhere in its circuitry. The words were there for a few moments before in some inner labyrinth. Deeper still, and even more impatient to get on with matters, are the ideas which I am now placing into the printer’s circuits. My printer would be quite humbled to learn that it is not creating these words. Rather, it has become an outlet for phrases and ideas already present.
Now, back to me. As I reflect inwardly, like the printer, I find a similar situation. As I focus, I soon discover words and phrases, already existing within me. To my fascination, language and thoughts are right there, waiting for my typing fingers, or for my vocal cords to give them an outlet. I sense that I possess a great deal more words and ideas than I can express. In addition, any problem of expression I have, lies merely in bringing to the surface already existing sounds, words, and phrases within me.
The whole process of speaking and writing, actually seems to be more an act of focusing awareness and then giving vent to what is already there. It is less of an act of self-consciously creating the thoughts I speak. The process is much like Plato’s metaphor of the bird cage full of birds. We reach in and release them. Thus the word “educe,” meaning to “pull out.” From educe, comes the word “education.”
One day, I discovered an entirely new language system within me that I did not know was there. That was the day, I spoke in tongues.
Pentecostals then informed me that what I was hearing within, was the Holy Spirit forming those words. The mind-blowing thought was that He had probably been carrying on that praying in me from the time, as 12-year-old youth, I had invited him to indwell me. HE HAD BEEN THERE ALL THE TIME JUST WAITING FOR ME TO DISCOVER HIM! When I finally did, He erupted like I had hit an oil well. He has been erupting ever since.
Thursday, June 28, 2012
INTRODUCTION TO DOING PRAXIS AS A PSYCHOTHERAPIST
“We need to turn the field of psychology upside down.” That was the rallying cry of the young revolutionary professors in my doctoral program. “We have studied the abnormal. Now is the time in psychology’s history to study the supernormal. Enough of what makes people sick. Let’s study those who function at high levels.”
I have always been grateful that God led me to that doctoral program. It was a good fit. From then on, I was searching for the vein of gold called the super-well. When I had the Charismatic experience, I knew I had hit the mother load!
Before that however, I went down many side shafts. In some there was gold. In others, rock. I will speak of this later.
I have already mentioned the experience that empowers my life, but now I have a specific purpose. First, I want to establish my credentials for writing this.
My psychological career has been dedicated to the study of the praxis of psychology. In psychology’s case, to do praxis is to practice the art of healing the psyche while simultaneously theorizing about what one is doing. Our great-grandfather Freud, started us in that direction from the beginning.
I was able to demonstrate my mastery of praxis to my colleagues and was granted Board Certification, a level only one other person in my department achieved. Later, my national professional organization awarded me the Life Time Contribution Award. Some of that award was based on how many students credited me with inspiring them, not only to pursue doctorates, but later to achieve Board status as well as positions of leadership in the profession.
Two audiences in particularly which I hope will find this part of my blog useful, include Christian psychology college professors who teach about their faith while avoiding proselytizing in the academy. The second group I hope will read this, are college students, especially psychology students, who don’t realize what a gold mine their Christian faith is. Some times their faith is damaged by the secularists who themselves, cheat on the “no proselytizing” convention.
PRAXIS OF SPIRITUAL PSYCHOLOGY INTRODUCTION CHAPTER 2
I promised I would describe some of the shafts I explored searching for super-wellness. Even before I entered my doctorate program, I was already on a search for super-health but did not know it. My first job out of undergraduate school was with the Dale Carnegie Schools in Washington, D.C. In our classes we had governors, congressmen, business men, etc., all working on improving themselves beyond where they were.
Another fortunate break before graduate school was that I had my first clinical training in a Freudian school. One of the beliefs of Freud was that before you psychoanalyzed others, you should be psychoanalyzed yourself. I had several years then of personal psychoanalysis. My analyst actually could say he had Apostolic succession to Freud himself, having had his own analysis from a direct early disciple of the master. I still believe that Freud was right and anyone who delves into another’s psyche should go into his or her own first. For me, that was a profitable vein in the mine of the psyche and many of my dreams revealed psychological empowerment.
During graduate school, I encountered the stories out of the East of people with exceptional abilities. So the search led Eastward and for a number of years, I assiduously practiced a form of Yoga–Kriya.Yoga. Again, that was a profitable mine as I learned that when you alter your consciousness, you live at higher levels of spiritual insights and abilities.
Then I had the Charismatic experience which I have discussed earlier in this blog. As I have told the readers, the Charismatic experience is the absolute most empowering experience I have had to date. Nothing before it, even compares. That does not mean I don’t want anything else if God has any more surprises up His sleeve.
INTRODUCTION TO THE PRAXIS OF CHRISTIAN PSYCHOLOGY CONTINUES CHAPTER 3
Because my expertise was the praxis of psychology, the task became, how to introduce a Christian health-giving theoretical model into the curriculum without violating rules against proselytizing in the university. How I answered that dilemma, I will now share.
My intellectual mentor was Joseph Rhylak PhD of Loyola University. To me his textbooks on personality were always the best in the field. Rhylak had taught me that those doing praxis needed to be able to answer the following seven questions: 1) How to describe the essential structure of personality (Freud’s id, ego, and superego are examples.) 2) How to describe what moves that structure? (Motivation). 3) Does the personality change over time, and if so, in what way? (Growth and Development.) 4) How does one account for the variety of differences among individuals? 5) What does it mean to be ill, and how does illness happen? 6) How does the personality get cured? 7) What unique procedures does the theorist utilize to create cures?
Praxis was my work.
Having taught Rhylak’s approach all my academic life, I immediately saw that Pentecostal/Charismatic healers were doing psychological praxis. They were healing the sick while simultaneously theorizing as they went along. So, all I had to do was to apply Rychlak’s seven requirements to the writings of the prominent schools of healing in the Charismatic/Pentecostal movements and the personality theory of praxis would be evident.
Three of these Charismatic/Pentecostal movements that had most satisfactorily addressed at least most of these seven essentials, were the Word of Faith movement, the Inner Healing movement and Jessie Penn Lewis of the great Welch revival. In extracting the praxis from these movements and then publishing the results in scholarly journals, I could then introduce these models legitimately into my classes. That is what I did.
That I did an acceptable job of describing the systems can be seen in the following: Kenneth Hagin the leading proponent of the Word of Faith Movement, after reading my manuscript, wrote giving me permission to use his material and called my work “interesting.” The Sandford’s of the Inner Healing Movement, wrote me a personal note that my work was one of the best analyses of their writings to date. The present minister who carries on the work of Jessie Penn-Lewis invited me to come to Wales where I stayed in his home for several days. Topping it off, after showing my work to his classes, my mentor Joseph Rychlak, came from Chicago to speak at my university in North Carolina. The day was one of those Carolina blue autumn days and we strolled about the campus. To my surprised joy, our conversation was mostly about the Lord.
PRAXIS CLASS METHOD CHAPTER 4
I go back for a minute and describe how I successfully introduced Christian psychotherapeutic praxis into my classes. I had always taught my class entitled Theories of Personality by allowing students to form groups and choose which theorist they wanted to study. Because I knew that some would go on to graduate school, in order to start them toward excellence, I actually used the format of the exam for psychotherapist excellence of the American Board of Professional Psychology. I hoped that some day they might all go for that highest standard in our field.
The Board exam was given in the following way. While being taped and watched through a one way mirror, the candidate conducted a session with a patient using his or her chosen theoretical approach. Afterwards, the psychologist met with four board certified psychologists, and explained what was done and why. Being able to do praxis, that is applying and explaining at an exceptional level, was the criteria of excellence.
In my classes, the students repeated the above format, role playing a simulated session before the class, then following with the class members grilling them on what they did and why. Just as in the Board exam, grades were given for their ability to articulate the theoretical position they had chosen.
Because my articles on Christian theorists followed the model of what makes a good theory, each term, there was always a group of Christian students who chose one or the other of the two Christian theorists I had written about. The only rule for them was that they were to follow the same model as the others in class, with no proselytizing allowed. The approach worked like a charm and over the years, many Christian psychology students were able to feel their Christian theory held its own with the other more well known theories of psychotherapy. Thus, their faith was not undermined by exposure to competing theories.
FIRST QUESTION: HOW DOES PRACTITIONER DESCRIBE THE STRUCTURE OF HUMAN PERSONALITY? CHAPTER 5
The Faith Teachers
The first article covers the Word of Faith Teachers who do praxis in much the same way as practitioners such as Sigmund Freud, Carl Rogers, and the like. That is, they heal personality dysfunction while self-consciously explaining their work. For those readers not familiar with the Word of Faith teaching, the best known is Kenneth E. Hagin (now deceased). Some of his ideas appear to come from the earlier works of E. W. Kenyon who wrote in the early part of this century. In a personal conversation with the James Buckingham, former Editor-at Large of Charisma magazine, he suggests that E.W. Kenyon was the grandfather and Kenneth E. Hagin Sr. the father of the Faith movement who popularized the teachings and then spawned others such as Charles Capps, Kenneth Copeland, Norvell Hayes, Fred Price, Jerry Savelle, John Osteen and others. Other famous names who, around the same time, arrived at similar conclusions about faith, but from different traditions were P. Cho, T. L. Osborne and Lester Sumrall. Today, there are many others all over the world who have their original roots in this school of thought, not to mention how much of these teachings have permeated throughout Christian practice.
In order to make the writings of the Faith Teachers parallel the major psychologist’s theories of personality, all I had to do was to answer Rychlak’s questions of a theory of personality.
FAITH TEACHING STRUCTURAL CONSTRUCTS
The first question required of a personality theory is to describe the structure of personality, i.e., “What theoretical analogies and metaphors are used in creating the outline of consistent behavior enabling us to speak of personality?” (Rychlak, 1981 p.31)
Again, most people know of Freud’s id, ego and superego. Just as Freud had his id, ego and superego, Kenyon (1970) describes a three part division. There are the spirit, the soul and the body. “Man is a spirit being. He has a soul, and he lives in a physical body.” The three different structures of the personality are further amplified by Hagin (1979) as serving three different functions: “With the body I contact the physical realm. With my spirit I contact the spiritual realm. (and) with my soul I contact the intellectual realm”
Hagin apparently became aware of this tri-partite division of his personality after an “out-of-body” experience in his youth. The experience left him with the distinct impression of these three structures to his personality. Later Hagin and others were influenced by Kenyon’s writings as they developed the concept of the spirt as a distinct structure. Kenyon (1966) taught that God is a spirit, angels and demons are spirits and humans are spirits. When the Holy Spirit infuses the human spirit, then the personality is returned to God’s class of Spirit. Now the individual’s spirit can make direct contact and communicate spirit to Spirit.
Although St. Paul was not careful in systematically using words for his own personality, in 1 Cor. Chapt 14:15 he reveals clearly that he was aware of two distinct structures to his personality, each with its own function. “ What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.”
Kenyon (1966) departed from the popular use of the word “soul,” the one my denomination used in the seminary at the time I attended, in describing this second structure of personality. In those days, I was just taught we had a soul and a body. Kenyon and Hagin’s use of the word “soul” is similar to Paul’s use of “understanding” in the Scripture above. For Kenyon, the soul is that which is derived through the senses: this then includes the cognitions, the will and the emotions. The term he preferred was “sense knowledge” which he used interchangeably with the term “soul.” Just as Paul taught in 1 Cor. 2, sense knowledge is incapable of knowing God.
The clearest teaching of this inability for sense knowledge to access God is found in the mediaeval mystic St. John of the Cross. In his classic “Dark Night of the Soul,” he describes how the sense knowledge, or soul, panics and goes dark (flat lines) when it suspects there is another part of the personality “the spirit” carrying out actions which cannot be accessed by its mental activity.
Kenyon points out that a central problem of sense knowledge is that it produces a form of faith in information obtained through the senses, which then claims hegemony over the entire system. He paraphrases Romans 8:5-7 “For they that are after the senses have the mind of the senses, but they that are after the spirit, have the mind of the spirit. . . . The mind of the flesh (that is, the thinking that derives its evidence from the senses) is enmity against God.”
Hagin equates the body with the senses. The body is the source of the information which is creating the soul’s experiences. It is also the outward man that is perishing, in contrast to the inward man, or spirit. The spirt is being renewed day by day. The body has to be brought under the control of the spirit eventually (not soul or mind control such as in Christian Science).