Faith Refined: Holding On When Life is Falling Apart (Growing Faith Book 1)

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The 1 lie she is constantly bringing back to Jesus to restore the truth. Why she's become passionate about helping women get the right tools and information to pursue their own creative business dreams. You're welcome! I'm delighted to bring you Crystal Stine on my podcast today! Crystal is a true gem and knows the difficulties between hustling for Jesus and resting in His presence. Crystal's passion is encouraging, equipping and inspiring women of all ages to embrace a work hard, rest well lifestyle that honors God - so they can work without shame and rest without guilt.

In the heart of this episode, we dig deeply into this topic and unveil the lies you may be believing in about this issue. Crystal lives in Pennsylvania with her husband Matt and their daughter Madison. In this episode, we chat about: Overcoming the challenge between being a mom and working inside or outside the home. What the Bible actually says about women working in business or pursuing her creative passions, while stewarding her family well. How we can rest well AND work hard for God. Examples of ways you can truly rest your mind hint: it's not what you think.

You can connect with Crystal online at learn more about her book at holyhustlebook. Tune in to listen to this episode! Happy Post Fourth of July! I hope you had a good one. Our plans were pretty low key as we are still getting used to the sun that never sets here in Idaho. What the heck? In California where we used to live for the majority of my life fireworks always started at 9 pm because by pm it was dark friends!

Oh well. But through the realization of this one truth and dwelling on this reminder , it has enabled me to keep going when it feels easier to not. In fact, it's helped create 5 transformational inner changes in me and therefore I want to unpack this truth with you so that you can experience it, too. So in this episode, I chat about: 5 transformational inner changes that occurred in me once I realized this one truth and let it soak in.

How this one truth relates to God in the Bible. Apparently there are a few diaper innuendos sorry! What to do when you are feeling stuck with zero inspiration, zero clarity, zero hope, and zero confidence in something you're wrestling with. Ready to dig into this episode? Let's go! If you want to read a blog post version of this episode, I decided to write out most of the episode for my readers on the blog! Click here to read it now.

Click here to listen to this episode! What if I told you that if you took on three simple but radical perspectives and started to truly BELIEVE in this way and view of thinking, it would become life-changing? In episode 36 of the Refine and Restore Podcast I want to challenge to common perspectives of culture and discuss why they are damaging you and preventing you from living a fuller, more joy-filled life. Whenever I get in conversations with others about these three mind-shifts and ways I've changed my view and thinking about things, everyone is blown away by the power of it.

So I wanted to give you these tools I've put in my personal growth tool-belt for you to adhere to as well. In this episode, I chat about: How this mentality shift came to fruition. Why these three perspectives are so important to adopt into your life. How to actually work these shifts into your thinking. What these shifts have done for me in my own life. This is a quick, power-packed episode where I get straight to the point about three perspectives that I believe will have life-altering effects in your life, as they have done for mine.

Listen to this episode today! We live in one of the busiest cultures in the world. Fast paced, cram packed lives typically define our days. But what if we are missing out on what we truly want more of? What if we need to schedule less to gain 3 things we want the most?

What are those 3 things? You will need to tune in to find out! In this episode, I chat about: What 3 things you are missing out on that are crucial to living well. Why scheduling less into our jam-packed schedule will open our lives to more of what we truly want. How to stop the cycle of "well, everyone else is doing it! When this realization hit me and how I've worked to lessen over-scheduling by saying "no" to a lot of good things. What you can do, today, to lessen the stress, overwhelm, and busy in your life to gain what you are missing out on most.

You truly are missing out when you pack your schedule to the brim. There really are other ways you can cultivate these 3 things which you want MORE of, trust me! Listen to this episode, today! What would it be like preparing to go overseas for the next 20 years serving in the rural and dangerous parts of an island, learning a whole new language and eventually sharing with them the gospel message? Could you do this if God called you to this life? Today, I chatted with my good real-life friends and missionaries we support, Michael and Morgan Leblanc, about what it's been like preparing to go overseas and the stigmas people often think when they hear missionary.

They are authentic and share their honest struggles, while also expressing their deepest hopes and passion as they enter this call into the wilderness with Jesus. In this episode, we chat about: How God birthed this desire to serve overseas. If you'd like to support Michael and Morgan, please visit their website and consider supporting them!

Or follow along with their newsletters so you can hear more about their exciting adventures moving forward! There are healthy ways to resolve conflict with others and then there are unhealthy ways. Often we get caught up in what the world says is best to resolve conflict, but is that really what's best? In today's podcast, Ep. Recently, we dug into this more as we worked to resolve our own areas of conflict with friends and relationships around us, and found some surprising information and instruction in the Bible we hadn't understood before about how to best navigate this for the most positive response.

In this episode we talk about: Some of our own areas of conflict that you can probably relate to. The steps the Bible teaches about how best to navigate conflict issues with those around us. How to approach the situation first, and what not to do when you first become irritated with someone. I hope they help! In today's episode, I'm diving headlong into another topic of spiritual growth with my guest and husband, Jeff Swanson.

I hope you don't mind our deep dive into a topic that we have found revolutionary in our understanding. I hope it revolutionizes yours as well. Listen to this episode, now! We are going deep on this episode today 31 and I say WE because for this episode and the following two episodes my husband Jeff Swanson joins me on the podcast!

Perhaps you know someone who is going through depression or burnout? Or maybe you're the one experiencing it yourself? Or maybe it's your significant other? Regardless of where you're at with this issue, I believe you will learn a few valuable tools, things we ended up learning the hard way.

In this episode we cover: Our separate journey's through depression and burnout. We don't sugarcoat it in this episode. We are real, honest, vulnerable, and it is our hope that this will help someone not feel quite so alone on their journey with this as well. I have to start and say that my guest, Erin Weidemann is the real deal you guys.

She is authentic and has her head on straight when it comes to a mindset of Kingdom impact rather than self-led rewards. As a certified teacher, coach, and nationally recognized speaker, she founded Truth Becomes Her, a community that equips women of all ages to let go of fear and step into the unique leadership roles for which they were designed.

In this episode we cover: behind-the-scenes difficulties Erin had with starting her own business why she decided to self-publish instead of pursue traditional publishing with her books why she decided to quit her beloved teaching job that she had no interest in quitting to pursue entrepreneurship which is more challenging, unsteady, and no guarantee of a successful outcome why success isn't the most important thing, and what IS more important instead what our ultimate "calling" truly is how this journey taught her to have more courage than she felt at the moment of decision Also, if you have any interest in becoming an author and publishing a book, I'd love nothing more than to help you out with this process.

Check out my aspiring author programs here and I look forward to coaching you through this process! It's Episode 29 in the Refine and Restore Podcast and today I'm revealing behind-the-scenes of what they don't tell you about how to become an author. I share the parts that make it worth it, but also the challenges I faced and the honest questions I had to ask myself just before I started to take my writing more seriously. In this episode I cover: one of the hardest things I believe all authors face what writing really looks like behind-the-scenes, especially when you're first getting started to become an author multiple mindset shifts over the past few years as I've journeyed on this somewhat hush-hush industry Why you probably shouldn't quit your day job although making money as an author is more important to me now that I'm the main income earner of the family, it is definitely NOT my primary goal Check out my Aspiring Author coaching programs here to learn more!

Listen to this episode! What if incorporating 3 daily, simple disciplines in 5 minutes or less could revive your heart and revitalize your life? It's Episode 28 in the Refine and Restore Podcast and in this short episode, I'm doing a mini-spiritual growth coaching session with you to help you get from a place of stagnancy, or distance from God to ecstatic for life and sense His presence, again! These three simple principles are tools I used to help me get unstuck in seasons of hardship, and are principles I still implement in my life, today.

In this episode I cover: how these disciplines aren't what you think it's not reading your Bible, even though that's a super awesome principle too! It's about small, intentional actions that you can start right now. Today's topic has been on my heart for a while. However, it finally felt relevant to share due to Mother's Day being just around the corner. Do you have a strong-willed daughter or two? I know how difficult this can be. In this episode I cover: my authentic thoughts and hurtful reactions about how I struggled with my strong-willed daughter the 1 thing I knew I couldn't do to her and didn't the ways God changed my perspective about her strong characteristics How similar I am to her and why we need each other as mother and daughter more than I initially believed My letter to my strong-willed daughter it might make you cry!

I pray this is a heart-felt episode that you share with your other mommy friends and even your daughter as you learn, as I did, what a beautiful addition their strong-willed gifts and talents are to this world. Tune in to this episode! Welcome back!!! It's the kick-off of Season 3 of the Refine and Restore Podcast and what an honor it's been to show up in this digital space with you as we discuss relevant topics about faith, family, relationships, personal and spiritual growth, and other important topics. It's all about refining away the lies, false perspectives, negative cycles, and restoring your heart and mind back to what is true, healthy, and positive.

Josh and Christi Straub lead the Straub Co. Josh and Christi have two fun and feisty kids, Landon and Kennedy. In this episode we cover: why understanding AND expressing our emotions is important how to do that well with our kids and others what to do when you end up exploding onto others in frustration and messing up big time in front of your kids, spouse or others close to you.

This is definitely an episode you don't want to miss! I'm delighted to bring you my guest today, Emily P. She also has a podcast called The Next Right Thing podcast, creating space for the soul to breathe. Her writing offers a fresh perspective on the sacredness of our inner life with God. Emily and her husband live in North Carolina with their three children one happens to be a set of twins, just like me! In this episode 25 we unpack: How to become a more decisive person. What being led by the Holy Spirit in decision-making looks like.

What to do when wrestling with any decision--big or small. Emily's special technique and response about list-taking. What God has to say in the Bible about making decisions. Pre-order it here today and get access to all her pre-order goodies here! So much of the time, we shove away the thoughts. We don't want to engage or wrestle with them. But friend, it's okay to wrestle In this episode 24 I unpack: The current areas of my life that I'm wrestling with: my faith, emotions, and roles. Why it's good and healthy to wrestle with these things.

What the Bible has to say about wrestling with God. How to response to people who are wrestling with issues in their faith, relationships, etc. I think we need to be more authentic with one another and share what we're wrestling with, as well as respond to others who are wrestling with more grace, love, and compassion. What do you think? Sometimes, I feel like giving up: on relationships, my kids, my career, and even my faith. But what if there's a pivot God is inviting you to see with Him? The Bible says, the working people ought to be generous and give on their own, and the government needs to stay out of it.

Life can be difficult, but we are to walk carefully through life in order to keep rejoicing. There is a reason to keep pressing on; God thinks our lives matter enough that He does not want us to quit. We must understand that Paul said this because there are days we will think there is no point in doing all that we do. Defining weary is important. Tired is not weary ; tired is physical, weary is mental. Weary is when one gets to the point at which he does not care. One can grow weary of a spouse, a job, or even children.

Sometimes it may seem as if there is no rest and that every pressured moment rushes into the next "must do" situation. To labor is okay; to grow weary is not okay. Continuing to do good, honoring God with our days, and loving people is very important. We will not get it all done, but we can love God and men.

Proverbs works for all people. In 1 Kings , we read about Solomon being influenced to stray from God by the woman he loved. As Moses led Israel in the wilderness, Korah, Dathan, and others led the people astray. Sometimes people of good reputation get off base, and if we do not pay attention, we will follow the wrong people. Here is the solution in that situation. Korah and those men had nothing but complaints and slander toward Moses.

This same scenario plays out again at Kadish. The people of Israel waited for forty days as one chosen man from each tribe investigated the Promised Land. Moses, the time-tested leader, along with Joshua and Caleb, all agreed that the land was theirs as a gift from God. Sadly, the poor choice of influence caused several million Israelites to turn back to the wilderness and stay there until all of the adults died. God cared for them; God provided food, water, and clothing, but they never enjoyed the victory and blessings that were prepared for them.

Listening to the wrong people is costly. This complaining group was made up of the Egyptian people who left with Israel believing that God was real. Wrong associations moved them to foolish talk which cost many lives. After the Lord rose from the dead, Peter went back to fishing, and others joined him in returning to their former lives. The friends and associates we have do make a difference, and today this influence certainly includes media. Who do we listen to? Who do we watch? Whose twitter feed do we follow? The truth remains firm; we must be guarded about who influences us.

She is saying that a distracted child will not catch all she wants him to hear and learn. We all understand that, but what about the rest of life? In the average church or public meeting, people walk in and out randomly and without concern. Whoever is in charge of those meetings must not be very concerned about what is going on because every time someone looks away, that distraction takes their mind off of the subject at hand. When we are distracted, we lose our focus; we might lose the train of thought of the teacher, preacher, or boss who is instructing us.

Could it be that a text or a note from a friend could hinder these things from happening? In grade school, I remember when notes being passed around class were matters to be dealt with harshly. Sometimes a teacher would read the note out loud and embarrass those who were involved. Those teachers thought paying attention mattered.


Perhaps, those teachers thought their lessons were important. Of course, much has changed since those days. Who cares if we are in class or church, or with a boss in a meeting. On a date, the last thing a guy wants is for the girl he is with to be constantly glancing at texts, Facebook, or what her friends just posted on Instagram. If I am with a lady I care about, I want her focus on me.

If I am running a meeting with my staff, I expect staff to be paying attention to what I am saying. I want us all thinking and contributing ideas. If a staff member has nothing to contribute, or if there is nothing of interest to the staff member in that meeting, then perhaps that staff member needs a different job. For that reason, I ask for phones to be off and out of sight when we meet. Let me apply this to a wedding, which most often is only a brief fifteen or twenty minutes long perhaps a longer wedding of thirty or forty minutes.

If the preacher is of any value at all, or he has any love for the couple and is at all interested in the sacredness of the vows and the marriage commitment, he wants to be focused on that wedding. The last thing I want in the wedding or in a sermon is for the pastor to be distracted. People often say that it does not bother them if someone walks in or out of a church service or wedding. Personally, I do not believe that. I believe the distraction causes the person leaving and the one who was distracted to miss something.

If there is nothing worth getting at the church or wedding, why attend? Out of hours in a week, we give God a few brief minutes for preaching, but most often that time gets broken up by phones, crying children, people walking in and out, or someone near us reading texts or looking at social media. People do not consider that those around them are wondering what they are looking at. The lost man is now paying attention to you, not the message. The height of selfishness is to distract a lost person from the sermon by your phone being out.

This is why the Bible is better than a tablet. The tablet can have pop up messages, reminders, texts, or countless distractions hindering us or the person near us from gaining the truth that will salvage their next difficulty. Now, what most people do not consider is the distracted leader.

I like things right. I want the sermon to be right; the message must be applied properly to children, to teenagers, to young married couples, and to grandparents. Someone in that room needs just the right words or just the right humor. I remember my wife and I traveling and visiting a church, a good church. We sat near the front as we usually do because distractions keep us from getting all we could get from the preaching. While we sat at the front, suddenly, during the sermon, cameramen wandered back-and-forth around the room getting the best angle of the platform and preaching.

I can tell you all about the cameramen, but I cannot tell you much about the sermon. Yes, the televised service needed quality for the audience, but it was a distraction to us. Do not get distracted. Then I noticed a photographer picking up a camera. Now, if a pastor does not think his words are that important, it may not matter to him; but if my words do not matter, why am I there?

Let someone else do the wedding. If my thoughts focused on this couple are unimportant, let someone else do the ceremony. A distracted leader is a problem, that is if their words matter any at all. For this reason, once the ceremony begins, I ask photographers to sit and wait until the end for any more pictures. Some photographers even listen; but not most, they think what they are doing is more important than the pastor or the vows or the sacredness of the hour.

In a church service, if I see someone standing in back looking around, there is no telling where my mind will go: a terrorist, a parent looking for their teen, a trouble maker seeking to distract the service, or someone just needing a seat. My mind strays far from my message, and that thirty minutes is all some folks will get of the Bible for the entire week. Then there is the child, the one being trained about life. Dad tells the child to hush during the ball game or movie but allows distractions during preaching.

By his actions, the dad is telling the child that a ball game or movie is more important than preaching. Distractions matter much more than most people think. Consider the people around you and the leader; who knows, maybe something that you hear in church may help you. Good Morning, One of the grave dangers of enjoying God's blessings is forgetting Who gave us the blessings. Wealth usually comes from hard work and Heavenly blessings.

The danger comes when the work hours grow long, time with God grows short, and personal confidence increases. Men begin to think they know how to perform, and they add more to their plates seeking more ways to succeed. The appetite for material possessions or simply more success increases, and the danger of running with a different crowd of friends comes along.

The business brings us into the company of people who might be saved but not set apart for the Lord. Their social lives or daily living may reflect little of Christ, and due to business associations, these become our companions. God does not send messages without purpose.

Success is often deadly and prosperity a curse if we are not terribly careful. I love the stories of humble men who, though rich, would never miss a mid-week service or weekly soul winning. These men kept their priorities, no matter how successful they became; but these kind of men are also few and hard to find. Jeremiah warned that success could get us to forget the poor and needy yet tolerate the shame of the wicked.

In our church, I remember the days when Saturday soul winning was frequented by common men, men who worked for little and just kept their bills paid. Over the decades, some of those men have become prosperous yet, because of long hours and business pressure, are not seen out soul winning or teaching any more. Others have fought the temptation to drift; and though their time is drawn on more than anyone knows, they are still faithful to the work of God.

The choice is ours, but the danger that follows success is real and ought to scare everyone. Time after time, the warning is given; may we be on our guard. Good Morning, I remember the year we planned to have a big day and to hold preaching services all across our valley: Mark "And they went forth, and preached every where the Lord working with them That morning — it snowed! Right here in Wildomar! In fact, it snowed all over Southern California! It actually snowed! We thought God had really messed up our plans.

On another big day, we arranged a special outdoor service on our own property. We had worked extra hard, visited, prayed, and labored for a giant outdoor service. Our property had no room big enough for our regular crowd, let alone for a big day. Saturday night we set up chairs in the parking lot and had a prayer meeting —then it began to mist. The air became damp enough that we decided to spread plastic over the chairs to be sure they would not be wet in the morning.

As we readied for the crowds, the rain began to fall, not heavy like the Mid-west rains, but rain. While one of our ladies sang a special, umbrellas began to open. Most of the nation would not understand, but it simply does not rain in our area, perhaps only twelve inches a year — total. I remember having Sunday school classes outside for a year and never once having to move them due to rain.

Rain simply does not fall, especially on a big day! Yet it did, and I did not have a good attitude. In spite of my sorry spirit and who-cares-I-give-up attitude, we had a record attendance in drizzling rain. Yet, as our Lord taught us in the Garden, it is not about our will but the Father's. Paul had a desire to preach and help churches, but he accepted that it might not be the Lord's will and said so in his letters to the people he so loved. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

When I make a decision, I rarely see it for all it means at that very moment, but God sees the results a hundred years in the future and infinitely farther. We are exhorted to rest in His Sovereign will and trust the results to Him. I am not saying I do this all the time, but this philosophy is correct and worthy of our attention. Why does God take a dearly loved man and leave a grieving widow?

Why does cancer take a little child and break the hearts of the parents? Why do good, godly couples long for a child to be conceived, yet a drug-user conceives and delivers multiple children only to have them neglected or taken away by the state? We know that God is greater and His motives are nobler; His actions come with a purpose and His eternal agenda is glorious. We also know that we do not see life as God sees it. I urge you today to trust in Him, not trust in what He does, but in Him. May we all seek to know Him well enough to lean on His strong arms and rest there when we do not understand.

Admitting that I may not have the right idea, but acknowledging that this situation is within the plan of the Divine Eternal Master, I will face life with more peace. After a while, the Bible became my constant companion, and I would read several hours a day. I was assaulted early on by someone who said they believed the New Testament but not the old. I went to my room and, several hours later, without a concordance or computer recorded dozens of places in the New Testament that quoted the Old Testament.

If you believe one, you must believe the other. The Bible has answers; find them. How could someone be saved and attend a Bible-preaching church for years and not have his faith locked down?

Faith Refinement, Mind Renewal, Transformation and Maturity

Another verse to find. Studying is natural to the child of God. To read, to compare spiritual things with spiritual another verse , and to look at a verse and see how it relates to another verse is natural. Forget about the internet; forget the commentaries and study Bible. The Holy Spirit is sent to remind us another verse not to point us to some writer about whom we know nothing. Go to God and ask Him. In reading sermons by Charles Spurgeon, I noticed that he quotes dozens of verses, but he rarely mentions where the verses are found.

I assume his audience knows their Bible. Without social media popping up at every stoplight and every break in their schedules, they probably had much time to think and reflect on the things of the Good Book. If you have not read your Bible yet today, stop reading my words and pick up the eternal Book. There is a time to go to bed and a time to get up, and how you feel does not matter. There is food to eat and food not to eat; it does not matter how you feel. There is a school to attend, and it does not matter how you feel.

There is homework to be done, and it does not matter how you feel. Divorce courts are filled with people who do what they feel like doing instead of what they ought to do. Prisons are full of people who did what they wanted to do instead of what they should have done. Bankruptcy courts are crowded with people who spent like they wanted to spend instead of spending like they ought to have spent. In a country with the incredible liberty that we enjoy and the wonderful opportunities to spread our philosophical values on the Internet, Twitter, Facebook, and media of all sorts, rioting is simply an out-of-control, immature, child-like action.

The little boy said he did it because he wanted to or because he felt like it. That mentality is what will turn that young man into a wife-beater and a child-abuser. Maturity could be described as someone getting to the point in life at which he is capable of doing what he should do and restraining himself from doing what he should not do. The person who breaks out a bank window or a window of a business simply because he does not like who America elected as president is proving himself untrustworthy and immature, and by his out-of-control actions, he renders any message he might have to be invalid.

People worthy of being heard do not randomly break out store windows of innocent people or break car windows and burn automobiles of innocent bystanders. To harm the innocent and to destroy that which belongs to the unprotected is the byproduct of a criminal mind and a childish, out-of-control temperament not to mention… a bully, a self-centered criminal, and in recent days, political liberals. Out of control means having something or someone else control your actions.

Whether it be drugs or anger, booze or the desire for vengeance that motivates us, maturity controls one's actions. The baby that screams when it does not get its way is no different than the violent protesters screaming and destroying property. That is part of liberty, voting, and the roots of a constitutional republic. Our founders developed the popular vote to protect the rights of all, and the electoral college to protect the votes of rural and unpopulated areas of our nation. The system is amazing! In every election, you will find unhappy people; but there is no need to have people out of control.

Study the life of Joab and Abishai; you will see one in control and following orders, while the other rebelled and did what he felt was best. Joab had no ability to control his own view or his own opinion, and he vented his anger even though it was against his king's wishes. To peacefully protest is a guaranteed protection in America. To block the path of others is criminal. We can hand out tracts on the street, but we cannot prevent people from passing until they receive a tract.

Blocking the path of another is wrong; we do not control other citizens. Every rioter who broke something should be forced to pay for it, both with jail time and finances. Every person who hurt another should receive punishment appropriate for his actions, and no one should get away with it, whether it be a hundred people or a thousand people. When parents discipline their children, they are more often under control, but not always.

If parents or society do not stop the person from shameful deeds, he will become a lawless anarchist who is a menace to society. A lack of self-control is deadly to the individual as well as a society. One of my children went to college with someone who could not take bad-tasting medicine. That person should not be living on their own, should not date, and should never parent a child.

Consider the pastors who ruined their ministries; in every case, the loss was a matter of self-control. When one has little self-control, the easiest areas in which to fall are money and morals. That scenario is the definition of anarchy and slavery rather than liberty and respect. America voted and followed the democratic process of generations. Good Morning, We all wrestle with the flesh; we all stumble into sins we should avoid, and we all say things we regret. Of course, at times, we suffer the result of our frail flesh and carnal nature.

Though a new man lives within, he cohabitates with the old man who is so very prone to wander. Micah wrote of those frustrating days when we stumble and suffer for it, yet, he writes with hope and promise. We are not forsaken when we fail. We are not forgotten when we choose the flesh. I feel sorry for the religious people who feel their daily sin causes them to lose their salvation. Many so-called Christian groups tell their members that once they are saved they are supposed to stop sinning, and if they sin, they are really lost; the people are also told that if they sin, they have lost their salvation and have to get it back usually they are told that this time, they earn it back by being good!

What nonsense! Salvation is by faith not works. The child of God is still living in the flesh and still suffers the curse of Adam. Righteousness brings us close to the Lord. Righteousness makes us useful to the Lord; but no work of righteousness can care for one sin, let alone a lifetime of sins. Paul wrestled with the flesh; he struggled daily. We also know the familiar story of Paul and Barnabas having a contention so sharp that they split up and never worked together again.

We sin! God loves us! God draws us back, protects us in our folly, and promises that the just man will fall seven times and rise again. Good Morning, Faith is not defined as sitting and doing nothing while asking God to do everything. God gives us the responsibility to obey in many areas.

For example, we ought to pray for our children, but the Bible is full of specific instructions about training a child. Faith is actually obedience to God. Faith is believing God to be true and right, and as a result of that belief, we obey Him and leave the results of our actions to Him. The people had returned from Babylon and started to build homes and care for crops, animals, and basically tried to survive in a ruined city after seventy years of bondage.

They had started work on the temple, but there were so many distractions and other jobs that needed to be done that the construction of the church simply fell by the wayside. Now, the preacher came along and said that they had better get back to their spiritual priorities. What is the point of having homes and jobs if our children are not brought up close to the Lord? Who cares about a nice house when we are not honoring God in our church, through preaching and service to the Lord.

They had to get their act together and work. It was not up to God to get them a church. If they did not care enough to build it, they could do without. Work, be strong, and build for God, and then trust God to guide you. Whether it be the care of our church, the development of our Christian school, the success of the bus ministry, or soul winning, the burden rests on the people of God. We are to plan, work, prioritize, and do all within our power, and then leave the rest up to God. God assures us that He will go with us and that we have nothing to fear, but we are to work.

We need not fear construction of buildings, developing an educational system to train our children, or going out to the community to preach and win souls. We are to do the work, and God will go with us, protect us, and provide for us. Good Morning, While driving to visit people, I occasionally listen to the radio, and I regularly hear about the problem of homeless people in San Diego.

Of course, the homeless problem is present in every city. There is a proper course to follow to help the broken lives on the street. With burdened hearts, kind and thoughtful community leaders are always looking for a solution for a problem that God solved many years ago.

Humanity has a great need, and the only solutions are Christ and salvation. The vast majority of the people on the streets are there because of drugs and alcohol. No matter what anyone would like to say to excuse the homeless situation, the issue is basically a drugs and liquor issue. One man, who runs a homeless program in San Diego, offers beds, food, and care, but he said the homeless do not want to use his facility because he demands they not drink or use drugs. He said they would rather stay on the street than give up their booze and drugs.

If any hope is offered, it should be offered through the church. We recently had someone begin faithfully attending our church who was a serious alcoholic and had basically lost everything of value. Salvation and then separation from worldly friends and environment gave him the victory. The root cause is a heart problem, and that problem is sin. The only solution is a personal relationship with the person Jesus Christ. We need not offer a paint job when an entirely new car is needed. Certainly, some believers have yielded their bodies to sinful control; they, too, need God to help and give spiritual renewal, not a bed and a free meal.

Government has no business trying to get people off drugs — drug abuse is a spiritual battle that the church should be addressing. Leave the government to protect life, liberty, and property — nothing else. Let God's people work on the souls of mankind. Government provision trains people to depend on government and to neglect the soul of man that needs desperately to be born again.

If government were to back off, people would turn to the church for help. Christ is always the answer; submission to the Bible is always the solution; and a yielded heart in the individual, as well as a willing heart in the church, is the one answer for the homeless and broken lives, whether they be on the street or in beautiful homes in our own community. Good Morning, As Israel was approaching the Promised Land, God planned to give them serious instructions about their future.

One of the first things God said to do was to get rid of the worldly influences in the land. They would live in houses they did not build, reap harvests from fields they did not plant, and drink from wells they did not dig. There would be many personal and religious items left by the previous occupants. God said these items would cause trouble and should be destroyed. Would God have approved of the children of Israel giving their children to heathen teachers and coaches? School teachers teach children how to look at sin, how to view sexuality, marriage, family, marriage roles, and philosophy of government.

Whether we like it or not, the school teacher shapes the view of religion in the heart of the child. Would an American elect a socialist to the White House? Only if Americans had been educated at the feet of socialists for years in school. Would a person be concerned about climate change a fraudulent theory at best while being unconcerned about teachers providing condoms and birth control pills to teenagers? Only if their teachers had for decades twisted student's minds and outlawed the Bible from the classroom.

Many Christians are focused on finding a school that produces the highest scores in math and science while inviting a heathen world to shape the moral, spiritual, and political values of their children. When we focus on the minds of our children and forget about their hearts, souls, and spirits, we are being foolish parents. Some parents might say that their children attend church regularly to care for the spiritual matters; but honestly, compare the number of hours we give our children to the world and how many hours we give them to God?

I would say the world gets our children about 10 to 1 over God — and that is if you are a very active Christian. For most families the ratio is closer to 30 to 1. The old world from which most of us were saved is no friend to our children. In fact, the world is a sociopathic seducer of children, enticing them into wrong thinking, wrong living, and wrong beliefs. In fact, schools mock and attack the very parents who trust the teachers with their children. We are not to go back to that world from which the Lord saved us; and certainly, we should not toss our children into the clutches of the godless, worldly, educational institutions.

Good Morning, Perhaps the most common characteristic found in religion in the world is idol worship. Regardless of the nation, the education, the advancement or primitive nature of people, religious idols are everywhere. With the exceptions of the Jews, Islamics, and conservative Christians, every religion has some statue.

Catholics, in the most advanced cultures on earth, still bow before the statues and make crosses, pray to saints, and perform all sorts of veneration. The primitive folks of the ancient days and modern days all place great trust in idols. One of the troubles ancient Israel had was its drifting into following the idols of the nations around them. Although regularly rebuked by God, the sin of idolatry was still common. Verse eight says that those who make the idols and those that use the idols are just like the idols.

A person who bows before an idol is without knowledge or understanding, yet the statues of Mary and countless other dead people or imaginary deities can be found in almost every city in the world. An idol is not an innocent item, but an abomination. The Ten Commandments tell us not to make any graven image of anything in Heaven or on earth — definitely not to bow down before them.

And all the people shall answer and say, Amen. The fact that millions do something does not make it right. Millions of anti-Constitution citizens exist in America, but I am not going to follow their ideas just because there are many of them. The New Testament reinforces the same instruction, starting where we did in Habakkuk with calling idols "dumb" all the way to Paul's writings. Promoters of this philosophy mirror the thinking of the mainstream media: people who are against the truth, stand for nothing, and choose unity over right and wrong.

The child of God needs to understand the feelings God has toward life and stand with and for God. As believers, we are to worship God in spirit and in truth John and abstain from all forms of statues and idols. God wants His people to listen and pay attention. Our public schools and universities, wretched temples of darkness, are deadly for the future of our homes, our morals, our churches, and our nation. Did you ever wonder how some people have become so stupid?

Usually, the reason is because those people spent tens of thousands of dollars to hire professional liars university professors to teach them, and in HEARING lies, they turned from God and right. The media collects hundreds of millions of dollars to bring words and images into the minds of consumers — advertising! We all doubt it, but the money proves that advertising works; what we see and HEAR has an effect on our actions. We are told to listen, to hear, and to pay attention because what we hear will determine what we believe and will set our moral compass. What we hear will determine our philosophical and political values.

What we hear will determine what kind of parent we are, how we respond to rebellion, morality, communism, welfare, or gun rights; everything is determined by what we hear. Remember the mess Lot got into because he saw the well-watered plains of Jordan? The reason bus routes, Sunday schools, and the Christian school are so important is because each one brings a different message to the ears of young people - a message contrary to the one they receive out in the world.

In our Christian school, on our bus routes, and in our Sunday school, young people hear a message of freedom, of honor, of integrity, of moral propriety, of patriotism, and of self-discipline. Every child in a godly, private school has a better chance of honoring God and living a blessed life than they did before. Pray God moves our leaders to allow more choices in the education of our children. The command of God is that Christians bring the Gospel to the world. We are to go and to tell the world in order that people will HEAR and have the chance to believe. In going to Matthew 28, we find that it is not just the saving grace of Jesus Christ we are to tell them, but we are also to teach them to observe all things that Christ commanded.

What young people HEAR will determine much of what they become. May we keep our buses running everywhere, our Sunday schools thriving, and our Christian schools ever-expanding. We have all heard advertisements proclaiming the best pillow, the most comfortable mattress, etc. I am in favor of air conditioning and for driving cars rather than riding crowded city buses, but we can really get carried away with the necessity of personal comfort. We are here to serve God, not to be comfortable. In marriage, college years, and in a career, countless times arise when we are uncomfortable.

The world does not revolve around us, and life is not functioning so we can have our way and be within our comfort zones. Jesus was not real comfortable knowing his friend was about to deny Him. Was Hudson Taylor comfortable with the fact that he buried two daughters and his wife in China? I like comfort when it is easily attained, but we are ruining the work of the Gospel by bringing up children who feel they have to be comfortable. A life that is useful is not focused on comfort. No one who makes a difference in the world does so by staying comfortable. When my wife and I started our church, we lived in some very meager conditions that were definitely NOT comfortable.

Holding church services in a tent for nearly ten years as we did was certainly not comfortable. Starting a church without any support was not comfortable. Being in the military is not comfortable. Giving birth is not comfortable. Driving long hours to and from work each week is not comfortable.

Is it wrong to want a little comfort? No, of course not; but comfort will ruin us if it becomes our main objective. The necessity of personal comfort will keep our children from doing anything great with their lives. Guard yourself against always trying to make life comfortable or easy for your children. Doing hard, uncomfortable, and frustrating things are not only good for young people but great for their future career and spiritual life.

Let us guard against making life too comfortable. It is unrealistic and limits the work of God. The simple day-in, day-out tasks done the right way.

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Whether it be the secular world or the spiritual world, the continual doing of right leads down the pathway of success. They also decried the proclivities to gnosticism and elitism found in the religious culture whence the religious myths developed. None of these philosophers, however, was particularly interested in the issue of willed assent to or faith in these religious beliefs as such.

Both Plato and Aristotle found a principle of intellectual organization in religious thinking that could function metaphysically as a halt to the regress of explanation. In Plato, this is found in the Forms, particularly the Form of the Good. The Form of Good is that by which all things gain their intelligibility. Aristotle rejected the Form of the Good as unable to account for the variety of good things, appealing instead to the unmoved mover as an unchangeable cosmic entity. This primary substance also has intelligence as nous : it is "thought thinking itself. Both thinkers also developed versions of natural theology by showing how religious beliefs emerge from rational reflections on concrete reality as such.

An early form of religious apologetics - demonstrating the existence of the gods -- can be found in Plato's Laws. Aristotle's Physics gave arguments demonstrating the existence of an unmoved mover as a timeless self-thinker from the evidence of motion in the world. Both of these schools of thought derived certain theological kinds of thinking from physics and cosmology.

The Stoics generally held a cosmological view of an eternal cycle of identical world-revolutions and world-destructions by a universal conflagration. Absolute necessity governs the cyclic process and is identified with divine reason logos and providence. This provident and benevolent God is immanent in the physical world. God orders the universe, though without an explicit purpose.

Humans are microcosms; their souls are emanations of the fiery soul of the universe. The Epicureans, on the other hand, were skeptical, materialistic, and anti-dogmatic. It is not clear they were theists at all, though at some points they seem to be. They did speak of the gods as living in a blissful state in intermundial regions, without any interest in the affairs of humans. There is no relation between the evils of human life and a divine guidance of the universe.

At death all human perception ceases. Plotinus , in the Enneads , held that all modes of being and value originate in an overflow of procession from a single ineffable power that he identified with the radical simplicity of the One of Parmenides or the Good of Plato's Republic. Nous , the second hypostasis after the One, resembles Aristotle's unmoved mover. The orders of the world soul and nature follow after Nous in a linear procession. Humans contain the potentialities of these creative principles, and can choose to make their lives an ascent towards and then a union with the intuitive intelligence.

The One is not a being, but infinite being. It is the cause of beings. Thus Christian and Jewish philosophers who held to a creator God could affirm such a conception. Plotinus might have been the first negative theologian, arguing that God, as simple, is know more from what he is not, than from what he is. Christianity, emerging from Judaism, imposed a set of revealed truths and practices on its adherents. Many of these beliefs and practices differed significantly from what the Greek religions and Judaism had held.

For example, Christians held that God created the world ex nihilo , that God is three persons, and that Jesus Christ was the ultimate revelation of God. Nonetheless, from the earliest of times, Christians held to a significant degree of compatibility between faith and reason. The writings attributed to St. Paul in the Christian Scriptures provide diverse interpretations of the relation between faith and reason.

First, in the Acts of the Apostles , Paul himself engages in discussion with "certain Epicurean and Stoic philosophers" at the Aeropagus in Athens Acts Here he champions the unity of the Christian God as the creator of all. God is "not far from any one of us. It reflects a sympathy with pagan customs, handles the subject of idol worship gently, and appeals for a new examination of divinity not from the standpoint of creation, but from practical engagement with the world.

However, he claims that this same God will one day come to judge all mankind. But in his famous passage from Romans , Paul is less obliging to non-Christians. Here he champions a natural theology against those pagans who would claim that, even on Christian grounds, their previous lack of access to the Christian God would absolve them from guilt for their nonbelief. Paul argues that in fact anyone can attain to the truth of God's existence merely from using his or her reason to reflect on the natural world. Thus this strong compatibilist interpretation entailed a reduced tolerance for atheists and agnostics.

Yet in 1 Corinthians , Paul suggests a kind of incompatibilism, claiming that Christian revelation is folly the Gentiles meaning Greeks. He points out that the world did not come to know God through wisdom; God chose to reveal Himself fully to those of simple faith. These diverse Pauline interpretations of the relation between faith and reason were to continue to manifest themselves in various ways through the centuries that followed.

The early apologists were both compatibilists and incompatibilists. Tertullian took up the ideas of Paul in 1 Corinthians, proclaiming that Christianity is not merely incompatible with but offensive to natural reason. Jerusalem has nothing to do with Athens. He boldly claimed credo quia absurdum est "I believe because it is absurd". He claims that religious faith is both against and above reason. In his De Praescriptione Haereticorum , he proclaims, "when we believe, we desire to believe nothing further.

On the other hand, Justin Martyr converted to Christianity, but continued to hold Greek philosophy in high esteem. In his Dialogue with Trypho he finds Christianity "the only sure and profitable philosophy. In a similar vein, Clement of Alexandria in his Stromata called the Gospel "the true philosophy. But he maintained that Greek philosophy is unnecessary for a defense of the faith, though it helps to disarm sophistry.

He also worked to demonstrate in a rational way what is found in faith. He claimed that "I believe in order that I may know" credo ut intelligam. This set Christianity on firmer intellectual foundations. Clement also worked to clarify the early creeds of Christianity, using philosophical notions of substance, being, and person, in order to combat heresies.

Augustine emerged in the late fourth century as a rigorous defender of the Christian faith. He responded forcefully to pagans' allegations that Christian beliefs were not only superstitious but also barbaric. But he was, for the most part, a strong compatibilist. He felt that intellectual inquiry into the faith was to be understood as faith seeking understanding fides quaerens intellectum. To believe is "to think with assent" credere est assensione cogitare.

It is an act of the intellect determined not by the reason, but by the will. Faith involves a commitment "to believe in a God," "to believe God," and "to believe in God. In On Christian Doctrine Augustine makes it clear that Christian teachers not only may, but ought, to use pagan thinking when interpreting Scripture.

He points out that if a pagan science studies what is eternal and unchanging, it can be used to clarify and illuminate the Christian faith. Thus logic, history, and the natural sciences are extremely helpful in matters of interpreting ambiguous or unknown symbols in the Scriptures. However, Augustine is equally interested to avoid any pagan learning, such as that of crafts and superstition that is not targeted at unchangeable knowledge.

Augustine believed that Platonists were the best of philosophers, since they concentrated not merely on the causes of things and the method of acquiring knowledge, but also on the cause of the organized universe as such. One does not, then, have to be a Christian to have a conception of God.

Yet, only a Christian can attain to this kind of knowledge without having to have recourse to philosophy. Augustine argued further that the final authority for the determination of the use of reason in faith lies not with the individual, but with the Church itself.

His battle with the Manichean heresy prompted him to realize that the Church is indeed the final arbiter of what cannot be demonstrated--or can be demonstrated but cannot be understood by all believers. Yet despite this appeal to ecclesiastical authority, he believe that one cannot genuinely understand God until one loves Him.

Pseudo Dionysius was heavily influenced by neo-Platonism. In letter IX of his Corpus Dionysiacum , he claimed that our language about God provides no information about God but only a way of protecting God's otherness. His analysis gave rise to the unique form negative theology. It entailed a severe restriction in our access to and understanding of the nature of God. In his "Mystical Theology" Pseudo-Dionysius describes how the soul's destiny is to be fully united with the ineffable and absolutely transcendent God. Much of the importance of this period stems from its retrieval of Greek thinking, particularly that of Aristotle.

At the beginning of the period Arab translators set to work translating and distributing many works of Greek philosophy, making them available to Jewish, Islamic, and Christian philosophers and theologians alike. For the most part, medieval theologians adopted an epistemological distinction the Greeks had developed: between scienta episteme , propositions established on the basis of principles, and opinio , propositions established on the basis of appeals to authority. An established claim in theology, confirmed by either scienta or opinio , demanded the believer's assent.

Yet despite this possibility of scientia in matters of faith, medieval philosophers and theologians believed that it could be realized only in a limited sense. They were all too aware of St. Paul's caveat that faith is a matter of "seeing in a mirror dimly" 1 Cor Like Augustine, Anselm held that one must love God in order to have knowledge of Him. In the Proslogion , he argues that "the smoke of our wrongdoing" will prohibit us from this knowledge. Anselm is most noted, however, for his ontological argument, presented in his Proslogion. He claimed that it is possible for reason to affirm that God exists from inferences made from what the understanding can conceive within its own confines.

As such he was a gifted natural theologian. Like Augustine, Anselm held that the natural theologian seeks not to understand in order to believe, but to believe in order to understand. This is the basis for his principle intellectus fidei. Under this conception, reason is not asked to pass judgment on the content of faith, but to find its meaning and to discover explanations that enable others to understand its content.

But when reason confronts what is incomprehensible, it remains unshaken since it is guided by faith's affirmation of the truth of its own incomprehensible claims. Lombard was an important precursor to Aquinas. Following Augustine, he argued that pagans can know about much about truths of the one God simply by their possession of reason e. But in addition, pagans can affirm basic truths about the Trinity from these same affirmations, inasmuch as all things mirror three attributes associated with the Trinity: unity the Father , form or beauty the Son , and a position or order the Holy Spirit.

Islamic philosophers in the tenth and eleventh centuries were also heavily influenced by the reintroduction of Aristotle into their intellectual culture. Avicenna Ibn Sina held that as long as religion is properly construed it comprises an area of truth no different than that of philosophy. He built this theory of strong compatibilism on the basis of his philosophical study of Aristotle and Plotinus and his theological study of his native Islam.

He held that philosophy reveals that Islam is the highest form of life. He defended the Islamic belief in the immortality of individual souls on the grounds that, although as Aristotle taught the agent intellect was one in all persons, the unique potential intellect of each person, illuminated by the agent intellect, survives death. Averroes Ibn Rushd , though also a scholar of Aristotle's works, was less sympathetic to compatibilism than his predecessor Avicenna.

But in his Incoherence of Incoherence , he attacked Algazel's criticisms of rationalism in theology. For example, he developed a form of natural theology in which the task of proving the existence of God is possible. He held, however, that it could be proven only from the physical fact of motion. Nonetheless Averroes did not think that philosophy could prove all Islamic beliefs, such as that of individual immortality.

Following Aristotle in De Anima , Averroes argued for a separation between the active and passive intellects, even though they enter into a temporary connection with individual humans. This position entails the conclusion that no individuated intellect survives death. Yet Averroes held firmly to the contrary opinion by faith alone.

Moses Maimonides, a Jewish philosopher, allowed for a significant role of reason in critically interpreting the Scriptures. But he is probably best known for his development of negative theology. Following Avicenna's affirmation of a real distinction between essence and existence, Maimonides concluded that no positive essential attributes may be predicated of God. God does not possess anything superadded to his essence, and his essence includes all his perfections.

The attributes we do have are derived from the Pentateuch and the Prophets. Yet even these positive attributes, such as wisdom and power, would imply defects in God if applied to Him in the same sense they are applied to us. Since God is simple, it is impossible that we should know one part, or predication, of Him and not another. He argues that when one proves the negation of a thing believed to exist in God, one becomes more perfect and closer to knowledge of God.

He quotes Psalm 's approval of an attitude of silence towards God. Those who do otherwise commit profanity and blasphemy. It is not certain, however, whether Maimonides rejected the possibility of positive knowledge of the accidental attributes of God's action. Unlike Augustine, who made little distinction between explaining the meaning of a theological proposition and giving an argument for it, Aquinas worked out a highly articulated theory of theological reasoning. Bonaventure, an immediate precursor to Aquinas, had argued that no one could attain to truth unless he philosophizes in the light of faith.

Thomas held that our faith in eternal salvation shows that we have theological truths that exceed human reason. But he also claimed that one could attain truths about religious claims without faith, though such truths are incomplete. In the Summa Contra Gentiles he called this a "a two fold truth" about religious claims, "one to which the inquiry of reason can reach, the other which surpasses the whole ability of the human reason. However, something can be true for faith and false or inconclusive in philosophy, though not the other way around.

This entails that a non-believer can attain to truth, though not to the higher truths of faith. A puzzling question naturally arises: why are two truths needed? Isn't one truth enough? Moreover, if God were indeed the object of rational inquiry in this supernatural way, why would faith be required at all? In De Veritate 14,9 Thomas responds to this question by claiming that one cannot believe by faith and know by rational demonstration the very same truth since this would make one or the other kind of knowledge superfluous. On the basis of this two-fold theory of truth, Aquinas thus distinguished between revealed dogmatic theology and rational philosophical theology.

The former is a genuine science, even though it is not based on natural experience and reason. Revealed theology is a single speculative science concerned with knowledge of God. Because of its greater certitude and higher dignity of subject matter, it is nobler than any other science. Philosophical theology, though, can make demonstrations using the articles of faith as its principles. Moreover, it can apologetically refute objections raised against the faith even if no articles of faith are presupposed.

But unlike revealed theology, it can err. Aquinas claimed that the act of faith consists essentially in knowledge. Faith is an intellectual act whose object is truth. Thus it has both a subjective and objective aspect. From the side of the subject, it is the mind's assent to what is not seen: "Faith is the evidence of things that appear not" Hebrews Moreover, this assent, as an act of will, can be meritorious for the believer, even though it also always involves the assistance of God's grace. Moreover, faith can be a virtue, since it is a good habit, productive of good works. However, when we assent to truth in faith, we do so on the accepted testimony of another.

From the side of what is believed, the objective aspect, Aquinas clearly distinguished between "preambles of faith," which can be established by philosophical principles, and "articles of faith" that rest on divine testimony alone. A proof of God's existence is an example of a preamble of faith. Faith alone can grasp, on the other hand, the article of faith that the world was created in time Summa Theologiae I, q.

Aquinas argued that the world considered in itself offers no grounds for demonstrating that it was once all new. Demonstration is always about definitions, and definitions, as universal, abstract from "the here and now. Of course this would extend to any argument about origination of the first of any species in a chain of efficient causes.

Here Thomas sounds a lot like Kant will in his antinomies. Yet by faith we believe the world had a beginning. However, one rational consideration that suggests, though not definitively, a beginning to the world is that the passage from one term to another includes only a limited number of intermediate points between them. Aquinas thus characterizes the articles of faith as first truths that stand in a "mean between science and opinion.

Though he agrees with Augustine that no created intellect can comprehend God as an object, the intellect can grasp his existence indirectly. The more a cause is grasped, the more of its effects can be seen in it; and since God is the ultimate cause of all other reality, the more perfectly an intellect understands God, the greater will be its knowledge of the things God does or can do.

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So although we cannot know the divine essence as an object, we can know whether He exists and on the basis of analogical knowledge what must necessarily belong to Him. Aquinas maintains, however, that some objects of faith, such as the Trinity or the Incarnation, lie entirely beyond our capacity to understand them in this life.

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Aquinas also elucidates the relationship between faith and reason on the basis of a distinction between higher and lower orders of creation. Aquinas criticizes the form of naturalism that holds that the goodness of any reality "is whatever belongs to it in keeping with its own nature" without need for faith II-IIae, q. Yet, from reason itself we know that every ordered pattern of nature has two factors that concur in its full development: one on the basis of its own operation; the other, on the basis of the operation of a higher nature.

The example is water: in a lower pattern, it naturally flows toward the centre, but in virtue of a higher pattern, such as the pull of the moon, it flows around the center. In the realm of our concrete knowledge of things, a lower pattern grasps only particulars, while a higher pattern grasps universals. Given this distinction of orders, Thomas shows how the lower can indeed point to the higher. His arguments for God's existence indicate this possibility. From this conviction he develops a highly nuanced natural theology regarding the proofs of God's existence.

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The first of his famous five ways is the argument from motion. Borrowing from Aristotle, Aquinas holds to the claim that, since every physical mover is a moved mover, the experience of any physical motion indicates a first unmoved mover. Otherwise one would have to affirm an infinite chain of movers, which he shows is not rationally possible. Aquinas then proceeds to arguments from the lower orders of efficient causation, contingency, imperfection, and teleology to affirm the existence of a unitary all-powerful being.

He concludes that these conclusions compel belief in the Judeo-Christian God. Conversely, it is also possible to move from the higher to the lower orders. Rational beings can know "the meaning of the good as such" since goodness has an immediate order to the higher pattern of the universal source of being II-IIae q.

The final good considered by the theologian differs from that considered by the philosopher: the former is the bonum ultimum grasped only with the assistance of revelation; the latter is the beatific vision graspable in its possibility by reason. Both forms of the ultimate good have important ramifications, since they ground not only the moral distinction between natural and supernatural virtues, but also the political distinction between ecclesial and secular power.

Aquinas concludes that we come to know completely the truths of faith only through the virtue of wisdom sapientia. Moreover, faith and charity are prerequisites for the achievement of this wisdom. Thomas's two-fold theory of truth develops a strong compatibilism between faith and reason. But it can be argued that after his time what was intended as a mutual autonomy soon became an expanding separation.

Duns Scotus, like his successor William of Ockham, reacted in a characteristic Franciscan way to Thomas's Dominican views. While the Dominicans tended to affirm the possibility of rational demonstrability of certain preambles of faith, the Franciscans tended more toward a more restricted theological science, based solely on empirical and logical analysis of beliefs. Scotus first restricts the scope of Aquinas's rational theology by refuting its ability to provide arguments that stop infinite regresses. In fact he is wary of the attempts of natural theology to prove anything about higher orders from lower orders.

On this basis, he rejects the argument from motion to prove God's existence. He admits that lower beings move and as such they require a first mover; but he maintains that one cannot prove something definitive about higher beings from even the most noble of lower beings.

Instead, Scotus thinks that reason can be employed only to elucidate a concept. In the realm of theology, the key concept to elucidate is that of infinite being. So in his discussion of God's existence, he takes a metaphysical view of efficiency, arguing that there must be not a first mover, but an actually self-existent being which makes all possibles possible. In moving towards this restricted form of conceptualist analysis, he thus gives renewed emphasis to negative theology. Ockham then radicalized Scotus's restrictions of our knowledge of God.

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  8. He claimed that the Greek metaphysics of the 13 th century, holding to the necessity of causal connections, contaminated the purity of the Christian faith. He argued instead that we cannot know God as a deduction from necessary principles. In fact, he rejected the possibility that any science can verify any necessity, since nothing in the world is necessary: if A and B are distinct, God could cause one to exist without the other. So science can demonstrate only the implications of terms, premises, and definitions.

    It keeps within the purely conceptual sphere. Like Scotus he argued held that any necessity in an empirical proposition comes from the divine order. He concluded that we know the existence of God, his attributes, the immortality of the soul, and freedom only by faith. His desire to preserve divine freedom and omnipotence thus led in the direction of a voluntaristic form of fideism.

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    Ockham's denial of the necessity in the scope of scientific findings perhaps surprisingly heralded the beginnings of a significant movement towards the autonomy of empirical science. But with this increased autonomy came also a growing incompatibility between the claims of science and those of religious authorities.

    Thus the tension between faith and reason now became set squarely for the first time in the conflict between science and religion. This influx of scientific thinking undermined the hitherto reign of Scholasticism. By the seventeenth century, what had begun as a criticism of the authority of the Church evolved into a full-blown skepticism regarding the possibility of any rational defense of fundamental Christian beliefs.

    The Protestant Reformers shifted their emphasis from the medieval conception of faith as a fides belief that to fiducia faith in. Thus attitude and commitment of the believer took on more importance. The Reformation brought in its wake a remarkable new focus on the importance of the study of Scripture as a warrant for one's personal beliefs.

    The Renaissance also witnessed the development of a renewed emphasis on Greek humanism. In the early part of this period, Nicholas of Cusa and others took a renewed interest in Platonism. In the seventeenth century, Galileo understood "reason" as scientific inference based and experiment and demonstration. Moreover, experimentation was not a matter simply of observation, it also involved measurement, quantification, and formulization of the properties of the objects observed.

    Though he was not the first to do attempt this systematization -- Archimedes had done the same centuries before - Galileo developed it to such an extent that he overthrew the foundations of Aristotelian physics. He rejected, for example, Aristotle's claim that every moving had a mover whose force had to be continually applied.

    In fact it was possible to have more than one force operating on the same body at the same time. Without the principle of a singular moved mover, it was also conceivable that God could have "started" the world, then left it to move on its own. The finding of his that sparked the great controversy with the Catholic Church was, however, Galileo's defense of Copernicus's rejection of the Ptolemaic geocentric universe. Galileo used a telescope he had designed to confirm the hypothesis of the heliocentric system. He also hypothesized that the universe might be indefinitely large.

    Realizing that such conclusions were at variance with Church teaching, he followed Augustine's rule than an interpretation of Scripture should be revised when it confronts properly scientific knowledge. The officials of the Catholic Church - with some exceptions -- strongly resisted these conclusions and continued to champion a pre-Copernican conception of the cosmos. The Church formally condemned Galileo's findings for on several grounds. First, the Church tended to hold to a rather literal interpretation of Scripture, particularly of the account of creation in the book of Genesis. Such interpretations did not square with the new scientific views of the cosmos such as the claim that the universe is infinitely large.

    Second, the Church was wary of those aspects of the "new science" Galileo represented that still mixed with magic and astrology. Third, these scientific findings upset much of the hitherto view of the cosmos that had undergirded the socio-political order the Church endorsed. Moreover, the new scientific views supported Calvinist views of determinism against the Catholic notion of free will.

    It took centuries before the Church officially rescinded its condemnation of Galileo. Inspired by Greek humanism, Desiderius Erasmus placed a strong emphasis on the autonomy of human reason and the importance of moral precepts. As a Christian, he distinguished among three forms of law: laws of nature, thoroughly engraved in the minds of all men as St.

    Paul had argued, laws of works, and laws of faith. He was convinced that philosophers, who study laws of nature, could also produce moral precepts akin to those in Christianity. But Christian justification still comes ultimately only from the grace that can reveal and give a person the ability to follow the law of faith. As such, "faith cures reason, which has been wounded by sin. Martin Luther restricted the power of reason to illuminate faith.

    Like many reformers, he considered the human being alone unable to free itself from sin. In The Bondage of the Will , he makes a strict separation between what man has dominion over his dealings with the lower creatures and what God has dominion over the affairs of His kingdom and thus of salvation.

    Reason is often very foolish: it immediately jumps to conclusions when it sees a thing happen once or twice. But by its reflections on the nature of words and our use of language, it can help us to grasp our own spiritual impotence. Luther thus rejected the doctrine of analogy, developed by Aquinas and others, as an example of the false power of reason. In his Heidelberg Disputation Luther claims that a theologian must look only "on the visible rearward parts of God as seen in suffering and the cross.

    Thus faith is primarily an act of trust in God's grace. Luther thus stresses the gratuitousness of salvation. In a traditional sense, Roman Catholics generally held that faith is meritorious, and thus that salvation involves good works. Protestant reformers like Luther, on the other hand, held that indeed faith is pure gift. He thus tended to make the hitherto Catholic emphasis on works look voluntaristic. Like Luther, John Calvin appealed to the radical necessity of grace for salvation.

    This was embodied in his doctrine of election. But unlike Luther, Calvin gave a more measured response to the power of human reason to illuminate faith. In his Institutes of the Christian Religion , he argued that the human mind possesses, by natural instinct, an "awareness of divinity. Even idolatry can contain as aspect of this. So religion is not merely arbitrary superstition. And yet, the law of creation makes necessary that we direct every thought and action to this goal of knowing God.

    Despite this fundamental divine orientation, Calvin denied that a believer could build up a firm faith in Scripture through argument and disputation. He appealed instead to the testimony of Spirit embodied gained through a life of religious piety. Only through this testimony is certainty about one's beliefs obtained. We attain a conviction without reasons, but only through "nothing other than what each believer experiences within himself--though my words fall far beneath a just explanation of the matter.

    Calvin is thus an incompatibilist of the transrational type: faith is not against, but is beyond human reason. But he expanded the power of reason to grasp firmly the preambles of faith. In his Meditations , he claimed to have provided what amounted to be the most certain proofs of God possible. God becomes explicated by means of the foundation of subjective self-certainty. His proofs hinged upon his conviction that God cannot be a deceiver.

    Little room is left for faith. Descartes's thinking prepared Gottfried Leibniz to develop his doctrine of sufficient reason. Leibniz first argued that all truths are reducible to identities. From this it follows that a complete or perfect concept of an individual substance involves all its predicates, whether past, present, or future. From this he constructed his principle of sufficient reason: there is no event without a reason and no effect without a cause.

    He uses this not only to provide a rigorous cosmological proof for God's existence from the fact of motion, but also to defend the cogency of both the ontological argument and the argument from design. In his Theodicy Leibniz responded to Pierre Bayle, a French philosophe , who gave a skeptical critique of rationalism and support of fideism.