Thursday, June 23, 2011

Living in the Future Backwards

Hebrews 11.

Part of faith is embracing a picture of what life could or will be, but isn't at the moment. That is not to say that what could be is relegated to the distant future, but just to say that it isn't in this instant. In this regard faith is sort of like living currently by rules and reality that don't exist now. Living in the moment as if what isn't in the moment is.

Now that could seem a disingenuous mantra, but I take it (at least in part) to be something of what it means to be in the world, but not of it. Without faith, all one has it what is: with faith, one embraces the sovereignty of God and the possibilities entailed therein. I do not believe Christians are meant to go about spouting positive confessions, that in truth are just false confessions (e.g. one who has a fever who says his temperature is normal is lying, not positively confessing), but neither do I believe that we should sit back and take it as if God isn't in charge and hasn't made promises to those who trust him.

We have been redeemed and translated into a kingdom where there is no sickness or death, no class or gender divisions, no racial divides and no sin. Where the light is the Lord himself and there is no cause for sorrow. Part of being God's people in the here and now is appropriating the earnest of our inheritance in the there and then. In that respect, faith is not just about slugging through the now while looking forward to a better future, but also living in the future, backwards.


  1. I too have problems with the "positive confession" issue, mainly because of the inconsistency of its advocates. Often, these advocates also believe in demon oppression and demon possession, and in the necessity of casting those demons out. However, I have never heard of any of the advocates of "positive confession" take on a "positive confession" posture when confronted with a recalcitrant demon. I've never heard one say "thank you Lord, this demon is gone!" when the demon puts up an initial fight. I think there is an unstated agreement that a "positive confession" posture toward demons would be counter productive, encouraging them to put up a fight. To say that demons don't put up a fight is to ignore that they *tried* to resist Jesus and the disciples: do the "positive confession" advocates truly believe they are better than Jesus and the disciples?

    Standard policy toward demons is one of zero tolerance and taking a position of pursing a persistent, unrelenting offense.

    The inconsistency is that sickness and poverty are also works of the Devil, merely in a different form. Why be supine in the face of these when resistance is initially met? Observers of Smith Wigglesworth's ministry have remarked that he treated disease as if it was a demonic infestation/oppression, and I wonder if a similar posture should be adopted today.

  2. Gerald,
    Interesting point about the inconsistency in demonology. Certainly, no one would claim something was so regarding such a condition until it was so. The continuing presence of the demon would make a mockery out of such a position.

    I see no distinction in how the gospels relate healing to demonization and sickness, so SW's approach makes at least some sense. Whether or not that is sufficient to adopt it as the default approach to sickness would be much more debatable.

  3. Whether or not that is sufficient to adopt it as the default approach to sickness would be much more debatable.

    What is sufficent? Why must it be debated instead of demonstrated? The fact that mine is a unique view is due to the fact that nobody ever considered using a "positive confession" approach to exorcism because the "Take no Prisoners" approach has been so uniformly successful that alternatives were never even considered, much less ones so patently ludicrous as the "positive confession" approach. This despite the fact that the purpose of exorcism is to evict demons that afflict the flesh, and we do so because we know that the affliction of that flesh will not cease until the demons are gone. Embedded in this belief is the unstated conviction that Spirit is more powerful than the flesh, transcending mere matter. Yet, in contradiction to that fact, we concsistently yield to the power of sickness in the flesh as if it was the master and the Spirit of God within us was the pauper. What is this, that we believe we can prevail against the gates of hell, yet are stumped by the spiritual equivalent of a cardboard doghouse?

    I belive that The Spirit of God loves someone who loves the truth, but cannot work through someone who sincerely, but mistakenly, believes a falsehood. I believe that He loves the "positive confessionist", but He will work more effectively with that person when they "take no prisoners" when they cast out demons than sickness by the "positive confession" method, because the former is true and the latter is false. Perhaps we are scared of the possibility that the he fact that it worked for Wigglesworth and not for us is that sickness is saying to us, as the demon said to the Sons of Sceva, "Jesus I know and Wigglesworth I know, but who are you?"

  4. Gerald,
    That first paragraph in your last comment--masterful!

    SW was a man of faith. I take faith and fear to be opposites. So if we're afraid, there's no way we'll act in faith.


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