Sunday, December 07, 2008

Head vs. Heart

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints claim to have received revelation from God by the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is God's word like the Bible, that God calls prophets today, and that the LDS church is the only 100% true church on the Earth. Instead of respectfully disagreeing with us, some Evangelical Christians claim that the Bible does not teach or endorse the LDS testimony. Many Evangelical Christians claim that the Holy Ghost does not operated through the mechanism of what they consider subjective feelings but pure logic only. Therefore, it seems as though they believe that God operates though the mind over the heart. However, as I look through the Bible, I see something different taught. According to the Bible, there is no dichotomy. God who created the mind and the heart of man, can change, purify and operate through both.

Again, many Evangelical Christians reject the LDS testimony because: #1 it does not conform to their faith tradition which is the basis for their interpretation of the Bible. #2 they deny any bias in their Bible interpretation and understanding #3 they claim that the true understanding of the Bible is 100% self-evident based on pure logic alone #4 they claim that God's Spirit works through the operation of logic and the mind over any feelings of the heart.#5 they claim that much evil is done by those who claim to have been following their heart.
Now that we have stated our assumptions, lets see if the Bible supports them. Starting out, it seems the Evangelical basis for concluding that the heart of man is evil comes from the teaching of Jesus Christ. Christ says in Matthew, "For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts."
Matt. 15: 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:

However, later Jesus Christ teaches that we should love God with all our heart and mind. And you cannot love God with your heart if your heart is evil. So, God must transform and sanctify the heart as well as the mind of man.

Mark 12: 30 30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. (Heb. 8: 10, 1 Chr. 28: 9, Ps. 119: 2 2)

In fact, the mind has the same propensity to be corrupt as the heart, and hands do:

James 4: 8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

But God promises that through the atonement of Christ and the transformative power of the Holy Ghost, that God will make us new creatures in Christ and give us a new mind and a new heart.

Ezek. 36: 26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
Rom. 5: 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.

In fact there are some scriptures which say that the feelings of the heart can surpass logic. Isn't peace, love, faith, and a good or clear conscience something that is felt?

Philip. 4: 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
1 Tim. 1: 5 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:

In fact the Bible talks about the feelings of the heart and feeling after God, being "past feeling," and that Christ Himself felt our infirmities.

Acts 17: 27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:
Eph. 4: 19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
Heb. 4: 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

Those that don't know of follow God are oft times referred to as being hard or blind in their hearts. But you don't see with your heart, but feel suggests that God does work through the feelings of the heart. In fact, in many places in the Bible, it speaks of understanding with the heart suggesting again that heart may in certain situations be superior to logic.

John 12: 40 He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.
Matt. 13: 15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
Eph. 4: 18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:

Jesus Christ is also described as feeling great compassion and love as a motivating force for His many good works. If Jesus Christ felt compassion for the sick and the needy, shouldn't his followers feel compassion too. Isn't justice a principle of logic, while compassion inspires mercy?

Matt. 14: 14 And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.
Matt. 20: 34 So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received bsight, and they followed him.
Mark 1: 41 And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.

The Bible commands that the true followers of Christ exhibit Christ-like compassion for one another. And when it comes to the mind and logic, the Bible calls for unity and oneness of mind. Additionally, the phrase "bowels of mercy" or "my bowels are filled with mercy" illustrates the extent of the purifying power of the Holy Ghost comparing bowel urges to God's mercy.

1 Pet. 3: 8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:
1 Jn. 3: 17 But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?
Philip. 2: 1 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,
Col. 3: 12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
The truth is that the Holy Ghost purifies the head, heart, hands, and the entire being. The operation of Holy Ghost is likened in scripture to "the still small voice" in the mind and the "burning in the bosom" in the heart. Yes, there are many people who claim to do evil in the name of religion and because they were following their emotion. There are also many people who do evil and deny God in the name of logic and science. It is one of the most important skills one can develop to differentiate the peaceful feelings of the Spirit and of the conscience from the lustful desires, adrenaline rushes, and appetites of the flesh, the neuroticisms, doubt and paranoia of the mind, as well as the temptations of Satan.
How can peaceful feelings of the heart be evil? Are all the good stories we were taught as a child wrong; where the hero follows his gut instinct, his heart, or his conscience to do the right thing, even when logic told him to do otherwise? Would the quintessential Evangelical be a Vulcan from Star Trek who claims he can suppress emotion in favor of pure logic?
It has always puzzled me how an Evangelical can claim that proper belief and spiritual understanding is 100% logic based. How can this be? What is logical about the Red Sea parting, or people surviving being thrown into a fiery furnace, a virgin getting pregnant, and someone coming back from the dead after 3 days? These events surpass all logic and understanding. But I believe them because I feel that they are true in my heart, and that knowledge based on faith and the righteous feelings of the Holy Ghost has brought me great peace, comfort, happiness, and inspired direction.

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