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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Science of Christian Thought 101

The Science of Christian Thought 101

You may have read our other articles regarding the Science of Christian Thought but this article begins to show the difference between true Christian Thinking and the false teachings of human psychology and or psychiatry. Does the Bible teach things that Carl Jung taught? What is the “personality”? Read and find out!

In this study we are going to look at some very basic understandings of what is called “The Science of Christian Thought”. This knowledge is outlined through the teachings of the true Worldwide Church of God and is taught by Mr. E.W.King and Mr. H.W.Armstrong. Basically The Science of Christian Thought [aka SOCT] is derived from the Bible. It is how the Holy Bible defines the human mind, human thinking, the body and condition. It offers the proper Christian Way to Think! The Bible teaches that thinking is a matter of SKILL and can be taught deliberately. God teaches His children how to think.

These teachings have become controversial amongst modern day psychologists. We ask that you take time out to thoroughly contemplate and study these teachings with prayer. It is important to get these basics that we call “SOCT 101” before you progress to more advanced principles. Thank you.

How the Bible Defines Thinking

Basically we find that there are only two ultimate choices found in the Bible. One way is to choose to listen to the revealed will of God and the other is to reject God and His word as the ultimate authority. It’s really that simple. In order to come to a fuller understanding of this man must first understand his position [condition]. When we talk about the human condition as Christians we mean the current overall mental and spiritual condition of mans mind. Physical conditions can also be affected by what we call sin and ultimately all sickness and disease was caused [is currently active] because of the choices of early mankind and modern mankind. Now what you have just read is extremely controversial to most in the scientific or medical fields but please continue to study this subject with us, you may be very surprised.

Currently, the human race is infected with sin.

What is sin? From a purely Christian perspective we understand sin to be the transgression of God’s holy LAW. We could give a basic understanding of God’s law by quoting the Ten Commandments found in the Bible. We could sum up these ten laws by stating that the motivating factor of all pure actions has to do with loving God first and loving others as you love you’re self. Having stated that, we need much more from God’s word to truly understand what this all means precisely.

Most people have come to realize that all thinking involves some sort of information. Thus, to truly know how to think the way God wants His true children to think we must have knowledge from God’s word. We could refer to information as knowledge. So to think about something we must first have some kind of knowledge about it. Without proper knowledge we cannot think properly.

Look what God tells us through His word: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” [Hosea 4:6]
Here God is warning of consequences to those who deliberately reject the knowledge that He wishes to give us. We notice in this verse that proper Christian knowledge has something to do with knowing the “law of God”. So we must understand that proper thinking is impossible without some information on the subject. God tells us to seek Him for answers. Answers to what? Humans may not realize it but in all their thinking they are searching for purpose in everything that they do. As Christians we define “thinking” the way that the Bible defines thinking. “Thinking” to the Christian is a deliberate exploration of experience for purpose.

Now when we look at the path of human psychology we find famous teachers like Carl Jung. Jung taught the idea of “archetypes”. Jung believed that all character traits stemmed from an actual original pattern, or prototype. Jung taught that all humans have the original patterns in what he called their unconscious mind. These character traits were then acted out in the conscious mind through the person’s ego. The idea becomes that every person has an inner-father, an inner-mother, an inner-wise man, an inner judge, an inner-child, add infinitum.
This teaching is found explained with slight variations throughout modern day psychology. Modern psychology believes that all humans have prearranged mental forms, or ideas, of a mother, a father, a child, etc. in their unconscious mind and that these characters or ideas in the mind are activated sometimes by other people who may begin to play these roles for the person. Psychology also teaches that the individual may display character traits from these patterns or ideas in their own personality which forms the person’s ego.

Modern psychology also teaches that material objects and sounds connected to specific memories can trigger behavioral patterns. Modern psychology has taken all of these ideas and has developed categories of behavior types and placed them under specific titles. They have developed a whole “psychiatric structure” [doctrine] which gives them a sense of control [survival] over their “science”.

Now to some these ideas may sound confusing but I am trying to explain what modern psychology basically teaches so we can see how it differs from what the Bible teaches about these subjects. God does teach that there is what is called “types” and “antitypes” in Biblical theology. For instance, we can look at certain characters in the Bible which typify future characters which were prophesied to come latter in history. Christians understand that the Elijah of the Old Testament foreshadowed a greater Elijah to come in the New Testament and even another to come in the Last Days.

We also find that God uses symbols in the Bible to teach “object lessons” about human life. Jesus taught using parables. Jesus used similes, metaphors, idioms, allegories, figures of speech and even hyperboles when teaching His message. We find that this was to get people to “think” when listening to Him. We find all throughout the Bible that God likes his people to THINK! By understanding How God gets us to think we are beginning to understand what we call the Science of Christian Thought.

Another very interesting Scripture we find is in Exodus 25:8-9. Here we find God instructing Moses to build a “sanctuary” after the “pattern” which God showed him. This is very interesting because when we get to the New Testament we find a “heavenly sanctuary” described in the NT Book of Revelation. So did God show Moses the “pattern” of the “heavenly sanctuary” as an example for him to build the earthly sanctuary? The Hebrew word [“pattern”] used in this verse is the Hebrew word tab-neeth which can mean “model” or “resemblance”. In this sense we could understand that God does have some original “archetypes”. As Christians we wish not to use the word “archetypes” when refereeing to character traits found in people. We wish to use the word “qualities” instead. What we mean by quality is a specific character trait. The Bible describes people as “personalities”. The Bible states that humans were created in the very “image of God”.

Christianity does NOT teach the idea of “ego. We hear so called Christians today throwing around psychological terms and ideas like the word “ego”. Most believe that the ego is the part of you that has “organized identity”. The New Agers will tell you that you are not really your ego. To them the ego is just how your mind has organized stuff and become a “one man” show.
To take this belief literally would mean that there is really no purpose to anything and that really all thought is just illusion, not real. Some pagans go as far to say that we are in a “dream world” and what ever we can conceive we can achieve. They also state that; “We create our own reality.” Then we move this concept into the realm of Chemistry and we have psychiatry.  Now people get into the argument that all amounts to chemistry. Again, no ultimate truth, no true organization or purpose to anything other than what humans can conceive. Their “god” becomes fate!

True Christianity does not teach “ego” it teaches individually gifted personality.

So what is the “true you” when it comes to the Bible? What does the Bible teach about YOU? The Bible basically teaches that you are a person. You were born with an original personality. Just as your DNA is original so your personality is original. Jesus says that we should love our “self”. Jesus instructs us; “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” [Matthew 19:19] Jesus referred to Himself as a “self”. Jesus stated; “I can of mine own self do nothing.” [John 5:30] So you are a person…a SELF. The Bible does NOT teach that the real you is an ‘ego’.

What is the personality?

Please understand, the Bible does not teach that we are born having a mind that is completely blank from which we decide what to put into it. The Bible teaches that personal experience is crucial and significant in character development but does NOT teach that character development happens inside an unstructured personality. True character development helps properly construct what is already in the personality. God did not create robots. We are each different with our own gifts, likes and dislikes. God created diversity. What God likes to see is proper character development within each personality.

We are all created with our own personalities, persons. This does not mean that we cannot all see One Truth in all the beautiful diversity. We all should come to the conclusion that cheating, lying, stealing, and murdering are wrong behaviors. By admitting this it does not change our diverse personalities. We can all grow into the character of Christ while at the same time maintaining individual personalities. This is what we are supposed to do as true Christians.
Christians believe that personality is bestowed by God Himself upon His children. All personalities have the potential to achieve spiritual maturity by becoming “begotten children” of God. Life is a gift from God and is a process which takes place between the personality, the environment, and God Himself. Through the human mind the personality and the environment establish meaningful contact.

Three parts of the Human Mind

We could say that there are three levels of reality. The first level could be the physical which includes the human body and the electrochemical realm. The next level of reality could be seen as the “mind”. This would include all levels of thinking and intellectual reality. These two realities are what most humans are running with. The final or third reality could be seen as that of the spiritual. This spiritual realm can also be confusing for man because all are in a spiritual battle. It is in this spiritual level that one must accept the Holy Spirit or he will be forever lost! To be “saved” one must be living in Christian Reality.

Electrochemical Mind: This would include all living souls, both human and animal. It would also include all life at the cellular level.

The Human Mind: This includes the fact that man has a ‘special element’ of mind called the Human Spirit. This is a gift of ‘deeper thought’, logic, human reason, and intellectualism. Involves a basic moral understanding.

The Human Spiritual Mind: This involves the fact that man has ‘spiritual dimension’. Humans have spiritual awareness and warfare.  At this level communication with non-physical entities is realized. The person begins his struggle for understanding of the spiritual realm. [As seen in religious behavior & superstitious activity] Christians have the “Mind of Christ” in this realm and thus have spiritual clarity.

Both the Human Mind and its Spiritual Element involve the human imagination. When imagination is controlled by Truth it can create constructively. When left by itself it can create chaos and confusion (both intellectual and spiritual confusion are the result of the unguided imagination being hijacked by uncontrolled emotion).

The Christian Mind

What makes the Christian Mind different from other humans who are not Christian?
In the book of Genesis we discover that God created all creatures according to their “kinds”. [Genesis 1:20-25] This simply means that plants produce plants, cattle produce cattle, and birds produce birds and humans produce humans. But humans were created after God’s own image! Mankind has intellectual mind capabilities that differ from animals in many ways. Mans physical body was created out of the “dust of the earth”. The mind of man, from a physical standpoint, is limited and fully functioning on physical chemicals. It is not the size of mans brain that makes him a better thinker. Some animals have much bigger brains than humans. The Bible defines man as a “living soul”. Souls are not immortal. [Ezekiel 18:20] Animals are called “living souls”. The soul can die according to the Scriptures. The word “soul” simply means “living creature”. Immortal life is a gift to God’s children but the “wages of sin” are death. [Please use COGSR Search Box to read further about these subjects or visit the online COGSR Library]

So what makes man different? The Bible states that there is a MORTAL spirit in man. This spirit is not immortal. It can be looked at as a special quality in man. Mans spirit is not “Holy Spirit”; it is distinguished from the Holy Spirit of God. [1 Corinthians 2:9-14] Also, this “spirit” is not the man. It is spirit-essence from God IN man. The essence joined with the physical brain of man makes mankind different from the animal kingdom. Please understand; this special spirit quality in man is not conscious in and by itself. It simply joins with the physical consciousness in man and gives it [human mind] a special quality. The Bible often uses the word “spirit” in reference to mans mind. When a person dies this spirit in man returns to God. 

[Ecclesiastes 12:7] Not only does this special gift help impart knowledge of God’s static truth to man but it acts as a recorder. [Psalm 40:7; Revelation 13:8] Like a “thumb drive” it can record and save things to be transferred into a new body. [1 Corinthians 15:42] It records the life experiences of the individual and his or her unique identity and personality. [Psalm 87:6]

This spirit in man has the potential to become impregnated with Holy Spirit. When this happens the person becomes a true Christian. Now, as an embryo, the new Christian life begins to grow until it can be “born again” and receive the gift of eternal life in God’s kingdom in a new body. [John 3:5-8; 1 Corinthians 15:44] True comprehension of God therefore can only begin when the human spirit is impregnated with the Holy Spirit. [1 Corinthians 2:14; Proverbs 3:5-6] [Use COGSR Topic Search Box to find more answers regarding this issue of “born again”]

Mankind without the Holy Spirit is mortal. According to 1st Timothy 6:15-16 only God has immortality inherently. Jesus stated that the gift of God is “immortal life” to those who accept Him but that the “wages of sin” is eternal death to those who do not. [Romans 6:23] The Bible states that man by himself is mortal. [Job 4:17] The whole purpose of the resurrection is to bring back to life those who were once dead! Those who reject God will be resurrected but they will face what the Bible calls “the second death”. [Revelation 20:14] They will be destroyed without the hope of peaceful eternal life. “They shall be as though they had not been.” [Obadiah 1:16]
So man has intellectual capabilities that exceed that of the animal kingdom. Mortal man also has a great potential through the gospel message of Jesus Christ to become immortal and to enter into His Kingdom!

How one thinks is what is important!

We have briefly stated how modern psychologists begin their understanding of how a human thinks. Most all psychologists believe in an “ego”. Most psychologists believe in some sort of idea of “archetypes”.  Please understand, psychology uses different names for the ‘ego’ and or the ‘archetypes’ but these ideas are found in almost all modern forms of psychology.  
Christians understand that personality defects are caused because of SIN not “ego”. Psychologists believe that personality defects are caused by “unhealthy egos”. What psychologists call “egocentricity” Christians call pride.

Does it make a difference? Indeed it does! How? Christians have God in the equation. Pride is the most often distorted human trait that gets one involved deeper in sin and further away from God. The Bible teaches us to “think first”, before “feeling” [emotion]. This is a developed skill. Again, please understand that the Bible teaches that true thinking is a developed skill.

While psychology and psychiatry is concerned with the many parts of the human mind and how it works the Bible teaches a very simple principle – think correctly and be well – think incorrectly and suffer. It all comes down to how a person thinks. How one thinks is what makes him WHO he is.

Jesus Christ begins to teach the Christian how to think through the study of God’s word. The Christian begins to generate thoughts and to link them together in a new coherent way. This of course involves thinking. The Christian begins to understand his or her true human condition and need of the Savoir, Jesus Christ.

Truly we are our thoughts. We all have personal experiences, a self image, a physical appearance, good and bad qualities and many emotions but OUR THOUGHTS are much more central to our personality. How we organize all that we experience or manifest comes down to our thoughts. This is how the Bible teaches the human condition. Mankind is born into a fallen human condition. This means that mans knowledge of God is perverted & distorted from the get go. His whole thinking process is corrupt.

Human Qualities & the need to be Right!

We have talked about “qualities”. Humans can develop what we call “quality traits”. We all gain quality traits from the company we allow to surround us. As Christians we understand sin. We begin to develop favorable qualities that develop Christ Like Character within our personalities. We avoid sin and sinful character traits. We have to think properly to do this. Thinking is a developed skill.

Most all humans struggle with pride at varying degrees. The need to be right all the time becomes a PERSONal struggle…remember, we are PERSONS with a PERSONALITY. To the Christian we know that God is RIGHT. We have the need to be on God’s side. This involves HUMILITY! We are mostly wrong…God is ALWAYS RIGHT! This is an ongoing lesson in the Christian life.

Those who do not have the Holy Spirit find it most difficult to go to the level of humility that is needed for the process of true conversion to begin. The sinner has a very difficult problem to overcome in the teaching of Christian Thinking. As far as “self-image” the Christian learns to judge “inwardly” instead of “outwardly”. The prideful self-image that most fallen humans struggle with is the need to be right all the time and this makes it impossible to develop true Christian Thought. Truly, one must accept the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit to begin the journey in true Christian Thinking.

How many “self’s” do you have?

Today’s psychology teaches that you have “many selves”. By doing this they create the idea that there is no “specific you”. You can choose to be multiple self’s. Some will say you have a “conscious self”, “an ego self”, and some sort of “higher self”. All of this is false. This string of thinking has permeated all psychology and New Age teachings.

As we have stated earlier, your true self is your “person”, your PERSONALITIY. The personality is the “true and only self”. Your personality is on the ride of life. You have gone through many phases in life and will continue to. You have developed personality qualities, both good and bad. Your personality traits are under constant construction. This is called CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT. Because man is searching for his or her true Christian identity the person experiences much confusion regarding identity throughout life experiences. Extreme personality character-manifestations confusing identity with creation rather than experiencing identity from God occur in the human experience.

We read the human condition described here: “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator – who is forever praised. Amen.” [Romans 1:25]

Again, we begin to see clearly the human dilemma in this verse: “Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.” [Romans 1:28] We have talked about the fact that thinking involves information [knowledge]. Because many people refuse to “retain the knowledge of God” their thinking is distorted and perverted.

Humans have the Gift to Think

The architect of your personality [how you manifest it] is your human mind and the special gift of HUMAN SPIRIT. We have talked in earlier studies about the fact that the “spirit of man endowment” is what helps you have a higher quality of “thinking mind” [intellectual mind] than other species of life. The true you, your person, transcends your gifts and qualities. Your mind and the special gift of spirit allows you to shape your character regardless of all other factors. When you gain the added gift of Holy Spirit and become a true Christian the process of clear thinking begins and true wholeness of being occurs.

Christians [those truly converted] stop feeling ‘identity transformations’. Instead they receive “Christian Identity Realizations”. In other words, they become stronger in their identity of being a true Christian, a “begotten” child of God. Identity that is grounded in Jesus Christ gives the true convert power and equilibrium. It gives the inner peace that the true Jesus Christ offers.  The true Jesus Christ offers stability in identity and stability in all areas of growth. Psychology, Paganism and the world of Occultism can never truly offer this. They have no point of ultimate reference which involves personality. The Christian God is personal and understands relationship.

So you have ONE SELF. This self [person] is on a journey. Distorted and perverted self is trying to gain true stability throughout life. It has been born into a “computer program” with a “virus” called SIN. If one is called and begins to download the Holy Spirit then quality of thinking begins.  True experience, static and true reality begins, Christian Reality!

Proper Knowledge

We have talked about the fact that thinking involves processing information or knowledge. Proper knowledge is thus needed for Christian Reality. This happens when the person begins to study God’s word and pray for the Holy Spirit. From this point guidance will occur and the person will find the true Church of God.

Through concentration of mind upon the Word of Jesus Christ one is able to begin the experience of Absolute Truth. Though we cannot, as created beings, completely understand Ultimate Knowledge we can begin to experience the reality of it and live out the will of God through and by the power of His Holy Spirit. No one can find a greater authority than God Himself. By hearing God one has the opportunity to become like God in character. This is the true purpose of man, become a realized child of God. To study God’s word and to read it is righteous activity. By acting on what God reveals to us we purify our souls and gain transcendental knowledge. Through Jesus Christ impurities of character are washed away. Clear thinking is developed and full potential of gifted personality is attained.

Thinking involves many things. Language is a code system through which man is able to express himself and communicate with others. Sometimes language can restrict communication and ideas of human thinking. Humans also use math and numbers to communicate thoughts, ideas. All of these processes involve THINKING.

Christianity creates a Healthy Life

True Christianity deals with the most important foundation from which all thinking stems. Christianity deals with the meaning and purpose of life. While doing this it also deals realistically with everyday decisions of life which create a better life. True Christianity involves the proper skill of thinking and creating healthy activities in your life.

Healthy thinking is important. How we view our daily routine and give meaning to life is found throughout the pages of God’s word. Bad thinking is usually based on some sort of pride issue. Thinking creates PERCEPTION. True egocentricity is to love the “self” and only the Self. It is partial perception. It eliminates God’s word and perspective on things. It is truly a selfish lifestyle to not seek what God thinks and says. Man wants to “be right” all the time. It is natural to want to feel “right”. The problem is the motive. As Christians we believe that GOD IS RIGHT and that we are wrong! The focus of the true Christian is not on him or herself but on God and God alone. Human reasoning is based on ‘self-esteem’ and being accepted amongst the fallen masses. The ‘magnitude’ for the Christian is on ONE GOD and on ONE TRUTH as revealed by and through God. It is not on manmade perceptions and ideas [which include science fiction and fantasy].

Arrogance and conceit reinforce distorted thinking. As Christians we are not always satisfied with the answers that God gives but we realize that this is part of the process of living in True Reality. To always have to “feel” right or have “satisfaction” in all our thinking is not REALITY.

Thank God for your Personality!

Personality is neither “ego”, body nor mind. Your Perosnality is the unchanging YOU, the person [Self] that makes you one original you! It is this unchanging reality of your self that is experiencing life. The personality learns to express itself through character transformations. Psychology does not teach this. The Bible teaches this. God’s Word teaches that you are created in the very “image of God”. You are unique. You have the potential to become a realized Child of God!

Please understand; the Perosnality does not change buts its perception of Reality does. It is seeking for True Reality and fullness of expression. Through Jesus Christ the “begotten child” of God begins his or her journey on the true path of true enlightenment.

All personalities are different. Personalities can be understood by “types” and “character traits” but they are all indeed original! Personality has self-consciousness and a relatively free-will. We all have the power to choose and make decisions, to THINK!

Renew Your Mind

Being in the Church of God and learning the TRUTH, studying the Word every day, taking walks and eating right, talking and communing with other true Christians, your mind begins to change. I have found that when bad thoughts come immediately Scriptures pop up with strength to obey. “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” [2 Corinthians 10:5] Knowing God's Word is what truly saves you and gives you clarity of thought. Following God's Word is also what protects you from evil.

We are instructed: “And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the RENEWING OF YOUR MIND, that ye may PROVE WHAT IS THAT GOOD, AND ACCEPTABLE, AND PERFECT, WILL OF GOD.” [Romans 12:2] Thinking like a child of God means that we change our old ways, even if it doesn't at first make sense. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” [Proverbs 3:5-6] What this means is that we have our eyes on the Kingdom of God. Jesus said; “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto to you.” [Matthew 6:33]

Where should we look for ALL instruction? “Seek ye out of the book of the Lord, and read...” [Isaiah 34:16] Why? “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” [2 Timothy 3:16-17] So, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are TRUE, whatsoever things are HONEST, whatsoever things are PURE, whatsoever things are LOVELY, whatsoever things are of GOOD REPORT; if there be any VIRTUE, and if there be any PRAISE, THINK ON THESE THINGS.” [Philippians 4:8]

Set your affections on things above, and not on things on the earth.” [Colossians 3:2] Read all of Colossians chapter three! Also, “Continue in prayer.” [Colossians 4:2] As you can see there are many Scriptures which instruct us how to think like Christ. To be a true Christian is a transforming experience. As you stay in the Word and continue to pray your life will change if you are truly called of God.

We hope that this information has helped you understand what the Bible teaches about human thinking. Please continue to study with us here at COGSR and email us any questions you might have and we will try and send you a response. Thank you for taking time out to read this short study of “The Science of Christian Thought”.

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