If it's God's will, why go to the doctor?

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Brian30755, Aug 15, 2005.

  1. Brian30755

    Brian30755
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    I was asked not to post anymore in a "Baptist Only" area because I don't currently attend a Baptist church (though I was raised in a Southern Baptist Church), so I thought I would ask this question here.

    I had asked in the other forum, "What would you do / how would you pray" if you were diagnosed with terminal cancer?

    One person said this:
    I asked if this would be a Biblically-correct (sound doctrine) prayer: "Dear Lord, you know I have terminal cancer. They say I'm going to die. I don't want to die from this, Lord, I want to be healed. Please heal me, if it be your will. In Jesus' name, Amen.".....to which someone replied
    Now, I believe that just as I want the best for MY child (health, happiness, prosperity, etc.), God wants the best for me because I am HIS child. I have a hard time understanding that it could really be God's will that I have terminal cancer (I don't, by the way.)

    But, obviously, many people here DO believe that it could be God's will for them to be sick.

    Here's my question:

    If you have cancer (or any other sickness or disease), and you really believe that it could be God's will that you have this sickness.....then why would you dare go to the doctor and try to be cured? Aren't you taking a chance of angering God by doing something that is totally against His will?
     
  2. DHK

    DHK
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    1. Many words in the Bible have to be rightly defined to be properly understood. For example, as we define the word "anger" today, God cannot be angered or get anger. God does not lose his temper. He always has complete control of himself. If he didn't, he wouldn't be God. Man looks upon anger as losing self-control, that is, losing one's temper--raising your voice, speaking angrily, etc. You know the signs. God doesn't do this. Words such as anger are used in the Bible, but are only done so as anthropormorphisms. That is they are done so, so man is able to relate to God. A better example would be: "I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness." But God is spirit, and does not have a right hand. He uses this anthropormorphism so man can relate to God, and understand who God is, or more about the characteristics of God. God doesn't get angry in the sense that we think of anger.

    2. We are created in God's own image. Part of His image and likeness was that he gave us a free will to choose between good and evil, and also an intellect to use and to reason. The very reason that you are communicating via the internet is because man has used his mind to come up with this technology. Hopefully, through discussions such as this you learn, and/or it challenges you to learn.

    Luke, the beloved physician was a doctor at that time. Did Jesus or Paul (whom he traveled with) ever rebuke him for his practice? Paul said to Timothy: "Take a little wine for thy stomach's sake." Was he dispensing medical advice? Yes, he was. At that time the unsanitary water conditions would have just aggravated Timothy's stomach condition (probably dyssentery). In the OT, there is much medical advice that the Lord wrote down for the Israelites.
    A friemd of mine is awaiting a liver transplant. If he doesn't get one, his life will be considerably shortened. Is it wise to just ignore the doctor's advise and say "So what! If I die, I die. What does it matter about my wife and children a year from now?" (if he lives even that long).
    Diabetics depend on insulin.
    Epileptics depend on anti-convulsants.
    Those with Parkinson's also depend on medicine.
    Asthma patients depend on anti-histamine products.
    --So all believers should just throw away their medicines and "depend" on God? Should parapelegics and quadrapelegics throw away their wheel-chairs as well? :rolleyes:
    Do you wear glasses? Why doesn't the Lord heal you and your friends from failing eyesight? I can never figure out that one?
    If you really believe that the answer to your question is yes, we should not see doctors, then all the hospitals should close and all nurses and doctors, and pharmacies should be out of business, correct?
    Did Paul have a lapse of faith when he said:

    2 Timothy 4:20 Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick.

    So tell me what happened here? I really want to know from your perspective. Did Paul have a lapse of faith?
    Or perhaps, if their was a hsopital, Trophimus might have been able to receive some medicine, been made well, and then travel with Paul. Don't you think??
    DHK
     
  3. hamricba

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    God's will is stronger than any doctor's ability. The doctor is not correcting God's will by any stretch of the imagination.

    I don't think God takes any more offense at us going to doctors to deal with illness/disease as he does us helping little old ladies cross the street.
     
  4. Brian30755

    Brian30755
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    Thanks for your responses, but I don't think my question was answered.

    People on here are telling me that they believe that sometimes it IS God's will that they be sick ("to bring you closer to Him, or to bring someone in your family closer to Him").

    If someone truly believes that it may be God's will for them to have a disease or an illness, then why do they go to a doctor to get cured? Couldn't this possibly be going against something that God wants them to be going through?

    I'm NOT saying you shouldn't go to a doctor. Believe me, if I need a doctor, I go to a doctor. But then again, I don't believe God wants me to be sick.

    But some people on here are saying that sometimes God does want them to be sick. And I'm wondering why these people go try to get someone to help them get well, if they honestly believe God wants them to have this sickness or disease.
     
  5. dianetavegia

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    Brian, people went to Jesus for healing. One of my favorite portions of scripture is when Jesus asked 'Who touched me?' and yet He was surrounded by hundreds who were pressing against Him, touching Him. He felt the power go out from His spirit and the woman was healed because of her belief.

    Another time the disciples asked, 'Who sinned? This man or his parents?' and Jesus told them 'Neither but that the works of God should be revealed in him.'

    Loose translations all around but now consider this.... Concerning communion, the Bible says:

    1 Corinthians 11:28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. 30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.

    Some are sick. Some are weak and some are dead!

    My mother was quite angry when we didn't have insurance on me for 11 years. She claimed my husband was 'killing me'. I asked her... 'Do you have faith in God or Blue Cross/ Blue Shield? If God wants me to die, I'll die. If God wants me to remain healthy, I'll be healthy. Blue Cross can't do any of that for me' Now I'm very thankful we have insurance on me now but my faith is in Jesus Christ and not Blue Cross/ Blue Shield.
     
  6. DHK

    DHK
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    That is true. But one must know what the will of the Lord is:

    2 Corinthians 12:7-8 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.

    2 Corinthians 12:9-10 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
    --Paul was given the same answer three times: "My grace is sufficient for you." It was not God's will for him to be healed.
    Again, it is a matter of prayer, and knowing God's will.

    1 John 5:14-15 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:
    15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

    John teaches one of the most important principles of prayer in this passage. "Ask according to his will." One has to know the will of God in order to ask according to his will. Only then does the rest of the passage fall in place: "that whatsoever we ask we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him."

    He teaches that we can have confidence in knowing his will. The word confidence is much like faith. Faith is confidence in the Word of another, or in the promises of God, that they are true.

    Romans 4:20-21 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.
    --Abraham was fully persuaded; fully confident. In other words he had faith in God.

    Where do you get this belief from? Why wouldn't God want you sick? There were many people that God allowed sick in the Bible, for different reasons. He didn't heal everyone. He didn't heal Paul, Trophimus, Timothy. Why? Because it isn't his will to heal everyone. That is mistaken theology that cannot be backed up with Scripture.

    Romans 8:23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
    --We wait for the redemption of our body. It will endure sickness until the resurrection of our bodies takes place.

    God uses sickness. He did with the Apostle Paul. Paul said: "When I am weak then I am strong." There is no one in this world with a perfect body. All of us are prone to sickness. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't do our best to try and get well. God has allowed man to develop technology so that those who in previous years would have died from malaria, now have an effective cure for it. We would be foolish to allow ourselves to die when there is a cure available. That is the same as committing suicide. God has given us the means to get better, (our brains or intellect), then we had better use it. You use your intellect to "heal" your car when it breaks down. You take it to a mechanic. What is the difference between a doctor and a mechanic? Between praying for the healing of your car and the healing of your body?
    DHK
     
  7. Brian30755

    Brian30755
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    DHK,

    Thank you very, very much for your reply. Just a couple of things I wanted to discuss:

    1. Then if someone truly believes that God has a purpose for them being sick, that it IS HIS WILL that they be sick, then you agree that they should NOT go to the doctor, right?

    2. Since reading your post, I'm starting to think that maybe the real problem is that people don't pray and really seek God's will for their situation (whether it be a sickness or whatever). I mean, when most people get sick, they head to the doctor's office BEFORE they pray and ask God if it is His will for them to be healed. Or, we'll change jobs without seeking God's will and without having a peace about it, because this new job looks like a "better opportunity". Do you agree that this is a real problem, that people simply don't seek God's will for their situations?


    I get this belief from John 3:16--For God so loved me, that He gave His Son to die for me. And, from Romans 8:15, which says that I have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby I cry, Abba, Father.

    God is my Father. I am His child. I have a son, and no matter how far away from me he gets, I would never wish that he would have terminal cancer so that he would call on me to come be with him. I love him too much. God loves me even more.


    Are you saying that, if we find ourselves sick, we should try everything in our power to get well. Then, if we DON'T recover, that's how we know it is God's will for us to be sick?

    I'm not trying to be difficult here. Maybe I'm just dumb. But I'm just having a real hard time understanding people who say "It could be God's will that I have this cancer, or these migraines, or whatever." But then they take medicine, get treatments, go to the doctor, etc., when they have said themselves that it may be God's will for them to be sick.
     
  8. dianetavegia

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    Brian, you were raised Baptist so you know of Lottie Moon. Remember her death? Money was sent to her by different missionary supporting organizations and yet she took the money she was to have spent on herself and used it for those she was 'serving'. She died of starvation.

    Her self sacrifice and the self sacrifice of all our missionaries should be a shinning beacon to all of us! They take their families into harms way, where even a simple infection can kill, all because they live the great commission. Certainly God uses those illnesses and even deaths for HIS glory!

    Diane
     
  9. Brian30755

    Brian30755
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    Actually Diane, I do remember as a kid when they would take up a "Lottie Moon" offering (or maybe they had those little envelopes designated for Lottie Moon, I can't remember), but I never knew much about her. Maybe I'll try to learn more about her when I get time (I've got about 3 different books I'm reading right now). Thanks.
     
  10. dianetavegia

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    Lottie Moon

    A kingdom-focused life

    Today’s China is a world of rapid change. It’s home to 1.3 billion individuals—one-fifth of the world’s population. Village dwellers flock to trendy megacities with exploding populations. And China holds its own in the world’s economy. It’s very different from the vast farmland Lottie Moon entered in the 1800s. But one thing hasn’t changed: China’s need for a Savior.

    Lottie Moon—the namesake of the international missions offering—has become something of a legend to us. But in her time Lottie was anything but an untouchable hero. In fact, she was like today’s missionaries. She was a hard-working, deep-loving Southern Baptist who labored tirelessly so her people group could know Jesus.

    Her mission
    When she set sail for China, Lottie was 32 years old. She had turned down a marriage proposal and left her job, home and family to follow God’s lead. Her path wasn’t typical for an educated woman from a wealthy Southern family. But Lottie did not serve a typical God. He had gripped her with the Chinese peoples’ need for a Savior.

    For 39 years Lottie labored, chiefly in Tengchow and P’ingtu. People feared and rejected her, but she refused to leave. The aroma of fresh-baked cookies drew people to her house. She adopted traditional Chinese dress, and she learned China’s language and customs. Lottie didn’t just serve the people of China; she identified with them. Many eventually accepted her. And some accepted her Savior.

    Her vision

    Lottie’s vision wasn’t just for the people of China. It reached to her fellow Southern Baptists in the United States. Like today’s missionaries, she wrote letters home, detailing China’s hunger for truth and the struggle of so few missionaries sharing the gospel with so many people—472 million Chinese in her day. She shared another timely message, too: the urgent need for more workers and for Southern Baptists passionately supporting them through prayer and giving.

    In 1912, during a time of war and famine, Lottie silently starved, knowing that her beloved Chinese didn’t have enough food. Her fellow Christians saw the ultimate sign of love: giving her life for others. On Christmas Eve, Lottie died on a ship bound for the United States.

    But her legacy lives on. And today, when gifts aren’t growing as quickly as the number of workers God is calling to the field, her call for sacrificial giving rings with more urgency than ever.

    http://www.ime.imb.org/LottieMoon/bio.asp

    There are current stories of missionaries who can only depend on God the Father for their health needs, safety and daily needs. We should consider their cirucmstances before we complain. [​IMG] Certainly these people are doing God's work.
     
  11. Andre

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    I think it is highly presumptive for someone to say that they know for sure that its God's will that they be sick. Why should we believe that we can know the mind of God? Therefore, I think the best thing to do is take medical treatment whenever you are sick.
     
  12. Eric B

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    Many scriptures are taken way out of context regarding God's "will", and certain "bad" things being "good" for us. This extends especially to non-physical health. (emotional problems). Both a "physical health and wealth gospel" and an "emotional health and wealth gospel" are throving off of this. I have dealt with this here: http://members.aol.com/etb700/abundant.html
     
  13. Johnv

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    Huh? You mean God doesn't want us to be emotionally healthy? I disagree completely.

    Though, it's true that many confuse happiness with being free of problems. That's where people scripturally err. God does indeed want us to be happy. However, problems in life are no resons to not be happy. Lack of financial abundance is no reason to not be happy. Illness is no reason to be unhappy.
     
  14. Eric B

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    No, no no!
    Not that God doesn't want us to be emotionally healthy, but that when a Christian isn't emotionally healthy, it must be because he is sinning, or even "quenching the Spirit" as some teach. Just like the physical health gospel says that if you are physically sick or poor, and going to a doctor, you are sinning by not having enough "faith".
    The idea is that by doing certain things (praying, reading the Bible, etc) and having apoisitive attitude when things go wrong, then you "let God" heal you. (You know, "let go and let God", and all the other silly quips they have come up with). I explain all of this in the link.

    [ August 16, 2005, 02:41 PM: Message edited by: Eric B ]
     
  15. Johnv

    Johnv
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    Physical health and emotional health are dissimilar in numerous aspects.

    I think that being a slave to sin definitely has the result of emotional unhappiness. Carnal and material happiness, sure, but emotional happiness, no. Many who live this way have learned to mask their emotional unhappiness with earthly pleasures.
     
  16. Eric B

    Eric B
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    But that doesn't mean that everyone who is emotionally unhappy then must be living as a slave to sin. But that's what's assumed in this teaching, turning many Christian counselors into "Job's friends". That is why, as Dwight L. Carlson says, we "shoot our wounded".
     
  17. DHK

    DHK
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    Romans 7:25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

    2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

    Philippians 4:6-7 In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
    7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus. (ASV)

    2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
    5 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;

    I was under the impression that Brian was speaking mostly of physical illnesses. Emotional problems fall into a different category. I don't believe that there is any reason for a Christian to avail the use of a Psychiatrist.
    Phsychology as a whole is the study of the "phsyche" or the study of the soul. The soul in the Scripute is often used interchangeably with the heart or the seat of the emotions. The Great Physician of our emotions is Christ. He alone can heal your emotions. Emotional problems are a spritua problem usually resulting from guilt, unconfessed sin, lack of forgiveness, anger, ets. Some spiritual problem in your life that needs to be dealt with. Psychology doesn't have any authority in these matters, as the above verses indicate. Let us draw a line between emotional "sickness" (spiritual problems), and actual physical ailments, like broken bones, etc., where one would require the assistance the need of a doctor.
    DHK
     
  18. DHK

    DHK
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    Not necessarily.
    If a person has the peace of God that God has given him diabetes for a reason (perhaps to draw him closer to God), he still has to go to the doctor to get a prescription for insulin, and get regular check ups. He is still dependent on regular visits to the doctor to keep healthy. He is a diabetic. It may be God's will for him to be a diabetic, but it isn't God's will for him to suddenly terminate his life by avoiding the doctor and the medicine the doctor subscribes. That would be foolsih.
    Paul had a thorn in the flesh (most likely an eye disease which was incurable). Perhaps today they could have done some eye-surgery for him. But back then it was not so. The simple answer of God: "My grace is sufficient for you." God gave Paul an infirmity of the flesh--a sickness, and told him to live with it. And yet he is still a loving God.

    Generally speaking it is God's will for us to be well. We might assume that. Thus when we get sick we go to a doctor. Keep in mind that Luke was a physician. The Lord will reveal in time if it is God's will for any particular person to be healed or not. He will give peace to that person concerned about it. Every situation is different. Often it is our loved ones rushing us to a hospital. That is natural and the right thing to do. We do what we can for a person. Our obligation is to help. Remember the seoond great commandment: "Love thy neighbor as thyself."
    But once at the hospital we begin to seek God's will concerning a person's life--an operation, cancer, the consequence of an automobile accident, a coma, whatever the situation might be; we pray and intercede. "Let God's will be done." Christ prayed: "Nevertheless, not my will, but thy will be done."
    I know of a woman who came out of a series of operations that resulted in brain damage and paralysis to one side of her body. Although devastating to her family, her husband had peace about it. He had been praying throughout the night for her healing. And at sometime in the night the Lord gave him peace that she would not be totally healed (only in some small measure), for there could have been greater damage, and he began to thank God for her condition and accept this as God's will. She must continue to depend on doctors for medications and check-ups. She is confined to a wheel chair. It is difficult to care for her 24/7. Why do things like this happen? Reading the Book of Job and understanding it, helps to answer some of these questions. Her condition was the result of a criminal attack on her life. She has forgiven that man who inflicted such pain and suffering upon her. As a result of all of this she has been able to win many people to the Lord. God has been glorified through it all.

    Are we any better than the Apostle Paul? God afflicted him with sickness. Why not us?
    John 9. There was a man born blind. He had been blind all of his life. The disciples asked why: the fault of the parents? or some other reason? Jesus said no, but that the glory of God might be manifested, and then healed him.
    Why are some sick--that the glory of God might be made manifest through them.
    We don't live in a perfect world. When Adam sinned death, sickness, sin, and all of its effects entered into the world. You can't blame God for sickness. It is a result of the sin of manakind; not necessarily one specific sin, but sin entering into the world. It is the curse that God put on man and his environment. We wait for the redemption of our bodies. They will never be free of sickness until the resurrection takes place. If every one who got saved spiritually, also got saved physically, think of what a drawing card that would be to Christianity! People would be making professions of faith (falsely) just to get rid of their sicknesses. But that isn't the case. Our bodies don't change because we are saved. I still wear the same glasses, have the same fillings in my teeth, the same arthritis in my bones, etc. My body did not free itself of all diseases just because I got saved, and neither did yours. You don't have a perfect body do you?

    God inflicts sickness for different reasons, even death. What happened in Corinth when the believers started to abuse the Lord's Table?

    1 Corinthians 11:30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.
    --God brought judgement. Not only did he inflict sickness, but he brought death. He killed some of them because they were abusing the Lord's Table.

    What happened to Annanias and Sapphira because of the hypocrisy in Acts 5?
    --God killed them both!

    What does the Lord mean by this verse?
    1 John 5:16-17 If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.
    17 All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.

    There is a sin unto death. There is such a sin, that God will judge and take a man's life because of it. What is it? I don't believe it is any specific sin, but it could be any sin, or lifestyle that continues in sin, that continues to bring reproach upon the name of Christ. It is better in some cases that the Lord would take some believers home, before they sin even more on this earth and face even more judgment at the judgment seat of Christ. In that sense, God is being merciful.

    However, in the general oulook of life consider:

    Romans 5:1-5 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
    2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
    3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
    4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

    Tribulations (sickness, infirmities, as well as all kinds of other troubles) gives us patience, which in turn gives us experience, and then hope, which is not ashamed, and thus the love of God will be shed abroad.
    If you pray for patience beware. The Lord will send tribulation. And that just may be sickness. And he will still be a loving God.

    Not quite. It is only natural to try and get well. But God reveals in his own time whether or not it is God's will for you to be well. This may be soon or late, depending on the circumstance. Some people never accept their situation as God's will. Take two different individuals:
    Both were in accidents that confined them to wheel-chairs. One of them accepted this immediately as God's will for the rest of his life, and stopped praying immediaately to be healed, but started praying, "Lord what would you have me to do now, and how can I be used in this situation for you?"
    The other, still many years later, has not accepted this as God's will, is still praying for God to heal. It appears apparent that God is not going to heal that person. But he will not accpet his circumstance, and thus his ministry is limited. Wht is God's will? Will I accept God's will when he gives me the answer, even if the answer is one I don't like?

    If they take medication for a migraine and cannot get rid of it, perhaps God has a reason for it. We trust God to work things out for his purposes.

    Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

    God is in control. He knows our needs. We do what he can. Paul did what he could. He prayed. He didn't get the answer he wanted. He accepted the answer that God gave him. That doesn't mean that Paul wouldn't seek some relief for his infirmity in other ways. He knew he would never be totally healed of it.
    DHK
     
  19. Johnv

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    True. Living in sin results in emotional unhappiness, but emotional happiness does not automatically mean that you're living in sin.
    Tom Cruise might agree with you, but I couldn't disagree more. There are too many well meaning Christian folks who think that you can "pray away" valid psycological conditions such as clinical depression, multiple personality disorder (DID) and bipolar disorder.
     
  20. Eric B

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    This is typical of the emotional health gospel, and it is the same exact logic as the physical health gospel: Just blame the victim.
    Please go read the link as I explain all of this, and the scriptures used in detail. For now, here are some:
    This is pointing ultimately to freedom from being under the Law; which naturally had caused a lot of anxiety. (the Law is discussed a bit in the previous chapter, though in principle this does teach us patience. But it should not always be thrown to those in need). This is another passage leveled at sufferers, and it is taken to mean some sort of supernatural "serenity" that comes over you and makes your pains not matter. If they don't develop this "peace", then perhaps the person has not received Christ, or at least not been filled with the Spirit. You have to apply it and make it grow by constantly practicing a formula of certain (mechanical) responses, such as reciting a verse, singing, praying, repenting of the "sins" of certain emotions every time a thought comes up; even "rebuking" thoughts and feelings (among some). We are told by different teachers to tell yourself over and over that you can conquer it, "react the opposite way from your emotions", even to "Say you don't want it, and over time this will change your lustful 'need' for whatever it is you want (and then God will[may] give it to you)", etc. Or of course, there's the "thanksgiving" mentioned in the verse. Some will try to say "You're not thanking God for the problem; just thanking Him in it". They'll give a sample prayer like "Lord; I don't understand this, but I trust that You're doing this for my good; so I thank You for your care"; but that for all purpose &lt;i&gt;is&lt;/i&gt; thanking Him FOR the problem! Likewise, when a loved one dies, "meekness" another person (Kay Arthur) tells us, is "bowing the knee and saying 'Lord, You're sovereign. So if it pleases you; it pleases me'". (So of course, to not say this, is to fail to "bow" to God, "in humble submission and faith and acquiescence to His control"!) This takes it beyond mere "contentment". It is for all purposes telling you to positively confess liking what you don't like! This is how we are said to "conquer", and it brings a "return of peace". (But is this a "feeling"? Others tell us not to go by feelings! If the "peace" is just "by faith", or is something that develops over time, then we are being promised something that is really not what it sounds like). We are told not to "fight" or even "try to adjust" these "afflictions, trials, disappointments, oppressions, humbling situations" instead of "allowing" them to "accomplish what God wants to accomplish in your life", because "God is in control", and He "is in us" and "has us in training". This sounds like it is encouraging fatalism, but the teachers will all deny this, and then we will eventually get "serenity prayers" about accepting what we cannot change and changing what we can, and the wisdom to know the difference. That's a good thing to have, but all of this language can be confusing enough to make the head swim. Much similar double-talk abounds in this teaching. It is highly wrong to keep demanding people to put aside their "understanding" in order to react these ways, when the whole premise is based all on human speculation on how exactly God's "control" is being manifested in these situations, (all based on human misinterpretations of scripture) in the first place!
    And as teachers and counselors steeped in this way of thinking respond to their suffering bretheren, it ends up that this teaching puts a great emphasis on being "humble" towards God —at the expense of being cold and condescending towards each other! (The concept of "Humility" is thus only used to try to control another person's emotions). Do we really think this is what God wants from us?
    Passages like this, have in their context the persecution of the day. They have nothing to do with our hardships today.
    Much of this teaching is based on people's testimony" of praying to God "why did you allow this", and then "He answers" that it was for some good, like to build their character, etc. and of course, the "lesson" is "have a good attitude when things go wrong". But this accuses God of doing bad things, which is being denied here!
    I'm sorry, but all of these testimomnies are speculation of how we THINK God may have "used" these things. And then we go back and forth between "god does these things", and "god does not do these things; it is just life in the fallen world". All of this is so confusing. Is it any wonder people turn to psychology?

    The commonly used 2 Cor.12:10 involves a heavenly vision Paul was given, which might have caused self-exaltation. "grace" used there actually is the same "charis" meaning "unmerited favor", involving once again salvation from the curse of the Law. It is certainly not something worked up by trying to squelch one's feelings through "opposite reaction" or pretending the pain doesn't matter. Salvation is the invisible change in us that is believed by faith and not sight or feelings (as it is based completely on legal imputation, anyway) and is gradually worked out in growth. (not so-called "peace") Let us not overgeneralize something like this.

    While God did "allow Satan" to inflict the pain, this was a lesson for us; not an illustration of the cause of every Christian's pain today. So the overall message of Job is NOT "being man means you were made for pain, and to not like pain is to try to be God", but rather the contrary, as we see again in the Gospels where the Jews (including the disciples) tended to blame people born with affirmities, which they attributed to some "sin"; and Jesus corrected them. This type of cold judging must hurt God's heart! Perhaps the morale of the book of Job is compassion, as opposed to "tough love"!
    Chastisement is actually conviction., The "chastisement" of Hebrews 12, for instance, is to be "rebuked", meaning conviction (see Greek). Even "scourge" allows a figurative meaning, so this is spiritual, not physical or emotional torment! This is illustrated in 2 Cor.7:7-12, where several virtues of the sort often said to come from physical "trials" are wrought by the "godly sorrow" brought about from Paul's first epistle! (Beginning with "repentance", and ending even with showing themselves "approved". "fear" would be "of God", "indignation" would probably mean "indignation against sin", and "revenge" means "punishment", referring to church discipline). Only in one particular severe case—abuse of Holy Communion (and the one particular instance with Ananias and Sapphira); is it sickness or death as described in 1 Cor.11:30. We shall stand before the judgment Seat of Christ after this life to "that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he has done, whether it be good or bad" (2 Cor.5:10), if we yield to or ignore the conviction or "gentle treatment" now. An unsaved person faces judgment after this life if He doesn't repent, so they are not receiving "partial punishment" through life circumstances now either. Neither is the whole nation. We can see here where this line of reasoning leads evangelicals and fundamentalists alike to declare everything bad that happens to this country as some judgment from God for our "sins" of turning from our "Christian" roots, ignoring all of the sin (either different in nature from the issues of "morality" that get the attention of christians today; or even many of the same issues, but only covered up, and not broadcast over any media). This has brought much disrepute on evengelical Christianity; especially when many of the Christian leaders turn out to be scandal-ridden themselves. Likewise we all suffer the curse of the hardships of the fallen world as well. But this is not the same as God sending hardships to "test" people! In the Old Testament, God handed out earthly "blessings" and "curses" to the Israelites through manipulating the environment around them. So rival armies would be empowered or fall, giving Israel either victory, or defeat and captivity according to Israel's obedience. In this context, we have Deut. 32:39 and Isaiah 45:7, (and also Amos2:6); other passages that are used, by both this emotional health gospel, and Calvinism to teach that God causes evil, but for a good purpose, of course. Many people think this just continues on, but all of that was a shadow of spiritual blessings and lack thereof, not the everyday ups and downs of life. Part of our blessings is that God does not deal with us that way; or in all of the earthly analogies cited earlier about pain being good. Else, as Philip Yancey says, "our planet would sparkle nightly like a Christmas tree" (from all the lightning bolts and fire from Heaven; Disappointment With God p.84).
    And this is the primary fruit of this teaching: comparing and judging! (And 2 Cor.10:12 is often given to those envious of the possessions of others; but it is really talking more along the lines of comparing spiritual maturity, based on "outward appearance"-v.7!).
    This is why Christians have been known to be very cold! "I 'had victory' over my problems; others got over theirs; what's wrong with you; you're just wallowing in your sin?", is the whole attitude!
    the most frequently cited, 8:28, is discussing the "no condemnation" in Christ (v.1) which figures in our "adoption" (v.15) and "predestination" (v.29). It is not saying all our suffering is good because "God uses it for some hidden plan"--as if that is what gets us the inheritance being discussed throughout the book. Many other scriptures used also have a similar, particular context. Much of the Christian persecution referred in these verses was not just from the pagans, but also from the Jews, (see for example 2 Cor.10:24-26) whose Old Covenant system of law and condemnation, was passing. They either tried to bring Christians back under the Law; or opposed the cause of Christ altogether, and even got the Christians in trouble with the Romans by excluding them from the immunity to emperor worship the Jews were granted. It all hinged on the "Salvation" from the curse of the Law.

    [cont'd]
     

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