A Way Back to Soul – Part 13

How intelligent does a person have to be to experience the transforming power of the Spirit of God?
How intelligent does a person have to be to respond to Truth?
  • Must a person be able to read?
  • Must a person be able to understand the arguments for and against the literal existence of Adam and Eve?
  • Must a person be able to explain why the details in the Gospels differ, sometimes profoundly?
  • Must a person be able to discuss how the decisions of Constantine determined what most Christians today consider to be “true?”
  • Must a person have some idea of who Constantine is?
  • Must a person be able to explain why dinosaurs are not mentioned in the Bible?
  • Must a person have an opinion on “the perpetual virginity of Mary?” (My nephew Levi recently encountered this one in seminary.)
  • Must a person have an IQ of at least 40? 60? 100?
  • Must a person be born into a circumstances where the story of Jesus has been told by the time he or she reaches the age of, say, 22?
  • Must a person insist that God actually told Abraham to kill Issac in order to prove his faithfulness?
  • Must a person be able to explain why Darwin is a heretic?
  • Must a person have an opinion on whether or not the miracles in the Bible actually happened the way they are described in the Bible?
  • Must a person understand the difference between Aramaic and Greek?

Think carefully about these questions.

They all speak to the question of authority.

Who have you decided to trust when it comes to the question, “What is true?”


About Wes Eades

I've been a pastoral counselor, marital therapist, and overall listening ear since about 1989 or so.
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4 Responses to A Way Back to Soul – Part 13

  1. Melinda Riley says:

    Ahhhh, Wes…. you do have a way with questions. I have to admit I’ve been a bad reader of your blogs of late… I often read them quickly or just put them in a folder so that I can come back to them later. Today, things are different. I have been working on Melinda of late, through a step study – in Al Anon…. pick your mouth up off the floor…. yes you suggested something like this years ago. Anyway…. you questions provoked an interesting reaction in me. I think that to experience the transforming power of God, one just needs to be able to sit and observe the wonders of the world. I don’t think that intelligence, what ever the “number” is the determining factor. God is present to everyone and every living thing. It seems to me that often times we as “intelligent beings”…. try to put him in a box…. or book and then try to explain the meaning through that filter.

    Hope you and your family are well. I love being a grandmother. Hayden will be 5 in November and Adalynn turns 2 on July the 4th. 🙂

    Thanks for being a part of my support system. 🙂

  2. Matilda says:

    Seems to me the minute you start putting qualifiers on who can experience the transforming power of God, what you are really doing is putting limitations on God. I can read, but if I couldn’t that wouldn’t make me less connected to God. I was told the story of Jesus from a young age, but I can’t imagine that makes me much different to Him than someone who never has. I have no idea what my IQ is, and I probably can’t speak with authority on much of anything else on your list, but I believe I have experienced God’s presence in my life… I hope in a transformative way.

    Who do I trust when it comes to what is true? I suppose I trust those folks who don’t claim to have definitive answers, those who have struggled with imperfect lives or pain of their own and still strive to be open to the Spirit of God. Ultimately the only one to trust is God himself, and my own sense of what rings true in my soul. As I strive for a clearer understanding of what it means to be in relationship to Him, I find I look to those who have a humility and openness that comes from life experiences… Education and degrees and IQ are all good and wonderful things, but I think transformation is about the heart and soul… not so much about the intellect.

    Thanks for the blog. I’m enjoying the posts.

  3. Doug says:

    mostly no’s with a few yes’s I suppose…The Bible says those who believe on Christ will be saved. I don’t really think the Gospels differ very much however…and though Constanine had a great role in forming institutional Christianity he pretty much just rubber stamped what the Church already believed so lots of the questions are red herrings. Anyway…that’s my thoughts.

  4. I’m not sure we can say with any degree of certainty how much of a role Constantine had at Nicaea. But I think that Wes’ point here has more to do with whether or not a person needs to understand the Nicene creed (or any creed for that matter) in order to experience the transforming power of the Spirit.

    I, for one, am intrigued by this question as it pertains to Baptists. (of which I am one.) I think that this question gets to one of the strengths of infant baptism. Paedobaptism churches baptize any infant who is brought forward by believing parents, whether they are intelligent or sick or mentally challenged or whatever.

    Meanwhile, those of us who practice adult baptism require that a person make a voluntary assent to the Christian faith before being initiated into the tradition. But can all mentally challenged persons understand the Gospel message and mentally assent? If not, then how do we include them in the church? Do we just claim that they never reached an “age of accountability,” whatever that is?

    I am not suggesting that we ditch our Baptist heritage over this question, but I do think it is a more difficult question that deserves further examination. Even though I have been in Baptist churches with mentally challenged congregants, I cannot remember this question being addressed.

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