Christian Spirituality – Chapter 1.2

9/5/2013

From time to time, we will post sections from Osofo Mante’s book entitled An Outline of Some Basic Principles of Christian Spirituality.

Chapter 1

What Christian Spirituality is Not

2. It Is Not Just Being Nice To Other People

Being nice to other people is a good and wonderful (Christian) thing to do.  But being nice and being spiritual (in the Christian sense of spiritual) are not the same.  Unbelievers can also be nice and some of them are nicer than most of us who call ourselves Christians.  Therefore, we cannot measure Christian spirituality by looking at how nice a person is to other people.  Of course, a Christian would (or ought to) be nice to other people, but the two should not be confused.

There are groups today who have adopted some fundamental principles that I think are out of touch with reality.  Some of them hold the fundamental belief that all of life is energy and it is only by chance and circumstances that we have objects such as trees or animals or humans.  Hence (i.e., because all reality is a flow of energy), we are all in one another as energy in reality, and what we see as individual bodies are unreal.  It is suggested therefore by this group that all that spirituality calls for is that we see the other as us and so be nice to every one for every one is us.  Sometimes the teaching of scripture: “Love your neighbor as yourself” is quoted in support of this doctrine.  Some forms of the New Age Movement hold this position ([2]).

Now, whereas the effect of this doctrine has Christian overtones, its basis is far fetched.  For even if it is true that we are all energy, it is just not true that therefore individual bodies are unreal.  From the position that I am a lump of energy to the position that therefore the whole universe is one lump of energy is bad logic, and one will need more evidence to make that logical move.

But it is very important, in this world, that we see humans as humans (as persons with passions, creativity, love, hate, the propensity to do good and evil) and not put us all together as one lump of energy.  The reason is that if one puts all things that exist together as one lump of energy, one could as well make the unethical move that we should not care for starving people because they are mere energy and their substantial existence is not real, anyway.  Thus there is no real ethical motivation for the view which emphasises the fact that we are all just a lump of energy.

In Christianity, humans are treated as humans and we are exhorted to be nice to one another on the basis that the God we worship is love rather than on the basis that we are all one lump of energy.  Actually, there are times in human existence when we may not have to be nice to a person.  An example is in Hitler’s Germany where the most Christian thing to do was not to be nice to Hitler.  Hence, being nice to everybody at every time, though a good ideal, is not the best Christian ethic in every actual existence.

Be that as it may, a Christian cannot base his/her spirituality on a theory which has no basis in Christ.  Actually, given the loss of identity in most Christian circles, I believe it is very crucial, in this generation, to put an emphasis on the biblical Christ in all our theological constructions.


[2] See J. Gordon Melton’s article, “The New Age Movement,” in Encyclopaedic Handbook of Cults in America, Garland Pub. Inc., New York, 1986, pp. 112-116.

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Christian Spirituality – Chapter 1.1

6/30/2013

From time to time, we will post sections from Osofo Mante’s book entitled An Outline of Some Basic Principles of Christian Spirituality.

Chapter 1

What Christian Spirituality is Not

1. It is Not Spiritism

First, Christian spirituality is not spiritism and should be immediately distinguished from it.  By spiritism I mean the worship, adoration, or veneration of other spiritual beings other than the Holy Trinity.  These beings could be humans, angels, ancestors, or some other forces or spirits.

The basic clue in this regard is taken from Rev. 22:8-9.  In these verses, after the revelation of St. John on the Isle of Patmos, John fell down to worship the angel who brought him the revelations.  But the angel forbade him and said, “You must not do that!  I am a fellow servant with you… Worship God.” (Rev. 22:9).

Also in Lev. 19:31, sorcery and witchcraft, which are high forms of spiritism, are condemned by God, and they are said to defile the people of God.  “Do not turn to mediums or wizards; do not seek them out, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God.”  Sorcery ([1]) and witchcraft, therefore, imply getting involved with other spirits outside of Jesus Christ – these acts are demonic and are part of the kingdom of Satan.  Today, some so-called intellectuals are beginning to revive witchcraft wither as an academic discipline or as a form of liberation.  According to them, they practise these things out of a pure academic interest.  But in the spiritual realm there is no such thing as practising evil out of a pure academic interest.  One must already belong to the devil’s camp before one could actually practise witchcraft.

Some of these people operate from the wrong premise that evil consists only in harming another person.  Thus where there is no physical harm done to another person, it is said that there is no evil.  But a broader and better description of evil (at least from a Christian, biblical perspective) is the desire to, and act of contributing to or enhancing the kingdom of Satan.  This could be either spiritual or physical.  In fact, it is the case that in the spiritual realm usually what turns out to be physical evil already started out as a spiritual evil.  Hence in the book of Ephesians we are exhorted to understand that in our Christian existence we do not just contend with flesh and blood (i.e. the physical) but with “principalities and power” (Eph. 6:12).  It is important to point out that the doctrine that there is no personal devil is only a bias among some intellectuals and there does not seem to be any properly studied empirical evidence showing that there is no such thing as a devil.  In fact, if most of us were not just biased, it seems that there is so much evidence all over the world to show that there is a personal devil than the contrary belief.  However, the converse doctrine that looks for and blames a personal devil for every evil with no human responsibility is also a bias of ignorance.

I believe that it is rather more true to say that the devil usually uses human beings to act.  The devil acts on our free will. We can always say yes or no to the devil, just that our ability to say no to the devil has a lot to do with our yieldedness to the Holy Spirit.  (But this is not a book on demonology and so I will leave the rest of this subject for that discipline).

Spiritism is diametrically opposed to the Spirit of Jesus Christ.  It is against the first commandment (Thou shall have no other gods before me), and the way to deal with it is to renounce it.  The last thing anyone wants to do with the devil is to play games with him.  Just get out of any form of spiritism!  It is spiritually dangerous.  We have not yet heard of anyone involved in spiritism whose life has been made better.  Almost always, as far as we know, the lives of spiritists are destroyed in the last analysis, though initially they thought it was a great experience.  I plead with any reader who is involved in any form or aspect of spiritism to please get out before it is too late.


[1] Sorcery is by definition the use of supernatural power over others through the assistance of evil spirits.  In this sense witchcraft is a form of sorcery with the addition of an elaborate cultus.

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Christian Spirituality – Introduction and Acknowledgements

6/30/2013

From time to time, we will post sections from Osofo Mante’s book entitled An Outline of Some Basic Principles of Christian Spirituality.  Here is the Introduction to the book.

Introduction and Acknowledgements

This book on Christian Spirituality is not meant to be an exhaustive piece on the subject.  Rather, as the title indicates, it is only an outline of some basic principles of Christian Spirituality.  Each chapter could itself be a book on its own.  However, each theme which is lifted up here is very important and has not only been well thought out but also put in practice by many spiritual giants.

There is so much confusion about the spiritual life these days and this book has been written to give some basic ideas of what should constitute, at least, proper spirituality for the various Christian communities for which Jesus Christ is the fulcrum and center of gravity.  The book is thus not for everybody but for Christian believers who love their Lord and are eager to grow in Him.

The book is outlined in such a way that it can be easily used by adult Christian groups for discussions.  Hopefully, adult Christians who love the Lord will make good use of this book.

So many people have helped me in bringing this book into shape.  I cannot mention the names of all of them but I am very grateful to them all.  However, I should mention the adult group of the Fontana Presbyterian Church who were the first group to whom the content of this material was taught.  Their interaction helped me a lot in finishing this material.  I hope that others will find it helpful too.

If after reading this material you wish to write to me, please do not hesitate to do so by writing to me.

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Welcome!

6/28/2013

Welcome to the Adom Partnership International blog.  We plan to use this blog to give updates on what is happening with Adom, as well as to post spiritually edifying insight from Rev. Dr. Joseph Mante, Adom board member and founder of the Amazing Grace school.

First post coming soon!