Spiritual Warfare Prep

Spiritual Warfare Prep
We Are In The Lord's Army

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Can A Christian Be A Deist?

Is is possible for a person who is a believer in Jesus Christ to also, at the same time, be a deist? Let's look at the definition of the word 'deist' to help us answer our question.

Definition of deism (www.dictionary.reference.com)
1. belief in the existence of a God on the evidence of reason and nature only, with rejection of supernatural revelation (distinguished from theism ).
2. belief in a God who created the world but has since remained indifferent to it.

The reason this is concerning is that God is a God of power and might. He has many names in the Bible to describe who He is. Some of our current beliefs indicate that we only believe some of those descriptions. Some have trouble trying to make some of God's character traits to harmonize with who He is. So we only present part of the picture when we present the Gospel to people or when we try to minister to those in the body of Christ.

  A couple of years ago, one of our pastors gave a message from the book of Acts on the Holy Spirit. A person who was there became angry at the message and accused the pastor of preaching an idolatrous type of god. From what I could tell from the writings of this person, it looks like he does not believe God shows His power today in any form. 

  There are those I respect as Bible teachers and ministers of the word, but, some of the things I have heard more recently have been somewhat disturbing, and relate to this concern about the possibility of Christians actually being deists. 

   Without trying to make fun of anyone or put anyone down, I will try to give some of the thinking of these Christians, mainly for us to evaluate whether we are leaning toward deism in our belief systems. 

   One person, who takes his expressions of his beliefs by using songs that Christian singers sing today, used this example: a song by Phillips, Craig, and Dean called, 'I am a friend of God'. This person disdained this song for a reason that I still do not understand. Even if PCD were not true believers in Jesus Christ, the song is still valid and has great truth for believers in Jesus. It is an honor to be called, 'friend' by God, and it is Scriptural as well. 

   Being called a 'friend of God' does not mean we can manipulate God or think of Him as some kind of Genie in a bottle. I we love God, we will keep His commands. If we keep His commands, He will call us His 'friend'. (See John 15:13-15) 

"Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you."

   Another example of what this person has said was from a song sung by Big Daddy Weave. Again, I am baffled and trying to understand why someone would have this difficulty with a song with these words and what they mean. 

"Every time I breathe You seem a little bit closer
I never want to leave
I want to stay in Your warm embrace
Oh basking in the glory shining from Your face
And every time I get another glimpse of Your heart
I realize it's true
That You are so marvelous God
And I am so in love with You

Are we to think that we shouldn't be close to God? But there are two aspects to this problem. One is that God is distant, even though we are good at reasoning from the Scriptures about God's existence and His creative attributes. The other is that God is powerless, or appears to be powerless. (I doubt that anyone would actually say that God is powerless, but in the way they express their understanding of God, that is what is revealed). 

   Both problems are probably a reaction to those who embrace the spiritual gifts but do not acknowledge the Giver in an honorable way. Many today are like the Corinthian church. How did Paul respond to the Corinthian church? He corrected them and told them what they were doing wrong, and why they needed to change. He didn't excommunicate the Corinthians, nor did he send a report out that they were false converts. They were genuine Christians who used the spiritual gifts in a selfish way. They were centered on the gifts and at the same time, they were not sensitive to see the sin in their own lives. So, we reason with ourselves that if they were truly Christians, the Holy Spirit would not only work in the gifts, but He would also work in the hearts of these people. Paul stood in faith for these people and treated them as disobedient Christians who needed to repent. Notice that Paul didn't throw away the spiritual gifts in this situation. He never threw the baby out with the bath water. 

   Did God's supernatural power end when the last original Apostle died, or when the words that were canonized were finally canonized? Was God only active during the early church years? 

   Go through the Old Testament, and you will find a supernatural God who is at work in the lives of everyday, average Joe people. We look at supernatural events, such as the Passover, the parting of the Red Sea, the raising up of the widow's son, the use of the prophetic words from the mouths of the prophets, and many other things that happened, and we spiritualize the person through whom God worked. We put them in a 'way out there' category and make them (in our minds) different from us. We put them on a high plane or pedestal and we distance ourselves from them because we categorize them as 'supernatural' and we categorize ourselves as 'natural'. But, they are more like us than they are like God. 

   God worked in miraculous ways all throughout the Old Testament. God worked miraculous ways throughout the New Testament. But then He stopped? Why would God operate in a supernatural way for 4,000  years or so, then stop? Does God change like that?

   Thomas Jefferson and many of the early American founders believed that God was indifferent to His world. Another aspect of this thinking is that God is distant from human beings. God is separated from human beings because of their rebellion and sin, but God sent His Son, to live a perfect life on earth, then die a horrific death, in order to pay for our sins. And not only to pay for our sins, but also for us to be reconciled back to God. God's intention all along was for people to be reconciled back to Himself. This automatically implies that God wants to have a relationship with His people. Relationships are not stoic, nor are they the result of attaining much true knowledge. We have to have some kind of knowledge of who God is before we can really get to know Him, but sometimes, all that knowledge actually gets in the way of our having a relationship with Him. We can have the right knowledge, and lots of knowledge, but we can have a mechanical relationship with God if we are not careful. 

   Some characteristics of God are love, justice, omnipotence (being all powerful), omnipresence (being everywhere at the same time), omniscience (knowing everything that has ever happened and everything that will happen in the future), without sin or flaws, and righteous. A deist cannot understand a God who is like this. Or they want to believe that God is like this, but He does not interact with human beings. 

Many would base their belief system on a faulty premise that believes that God is not good. Many do not understand why God allows war, sickness, famine, death, violence, etc. and blame God for these things. But in reality, this whole episode began in Genesis 3, when the devil, in the form of a serpent, came to Eve and lied to her about who God is, and tempted her to disobey God and eat the forbidden fruit. Eve believed the devil, but what was worse was that she encouraged Adam, who knew better, to eat the fruit. Adam took the fruit and ate it despite the fact that God came to visit him every day and talked with Adam. When Adam ate the fruit, he made a choice decision to end that relationship with God. He knew there would be consequences, but he didn't know how severe and far reaching the consequences would be. 

   Today, the disease of sin is still rampant and people destroy one another continually. Although Adam was the first to carry out rebellion against God, and there is nothing we can do in ourselves to remedy this, we are responsible, not for stopping our sin, but for turning to Christ, who not only took the punishment for our sins, but also will deliver us out of our sins. 

   It is like a vicious cycle. People see the badness of the world and say they reject God because He should stop people from hurting one another, yet, they refuse to come to Christ so they could be part of the solution of this dilemma. 

  Each person is either a contributor to the problem, or part of the answer to the problem, depending upon whether they have been reconciled back to God or not. 

   The problem is that we live in a bad world. Some interpret that as God not being responsible for His world. The bad world we live in has to do with the disease of sin, which we all have, and which came as a result of the fall. But some, and many professing Christians interpret the badness of the world as a result of a distant, indifferent God. Neither of those belief systems are true, but this is where deism comes from. It comes from a lack of understanding why there is so much bad in the world and unbelief in a supernatural God who still works wonders even to this day. 

   So, in conclusion, deism is simply unbelief in a God who is supernatural, or a God who works today in supernatural ways. It is a belief in a God who does not love His creation and is indifferent to His people. Both thoughts contradict Scripture though. 

   God is a God of love (to His children) and a God of power. He wants a healthy relationship with His children. He will demonstrate His power to us, even today if we turn to Him and trust in what He has done for us through the Cross. God wants us to walk with Him and hear His voice. He wants us to be Spirit filled believers who operate in the spiritual gifts and power of God in our lives. God's power can change us. God can and will work in us when we believe in Him and want to glorify His name. 

   So, can a true Christian be a deist? What do you think?

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