Being Reasonable

The following is taken from C.S. Lewis’ essay called “Why I am not a pacifist” written in 1940 and found now in a book called “Compelling Reason” published by Harper Collins in 1996.

“….. Reason – by which I do not mean some separate faculty but ……, the whole man judging, …… about truth and falsehood.

Now any concrete train of reasoning involves three elements:

Firstly, there is the reception of facts to reason about. These facts are received either from our own senses, or from the report of other minds; that is, either experience or authority supplies us with our material. But each man’s experience is so limited that the second source is the more usual; of every hundred facts upon which to reason, ninety-nine depend on authority.

Secondly, there is the direct, simple act of the mind perceiving self-evident truth, as when we see that if A and B both equal C, then they equal each other. This act I call intuition.

Thirdly, there is an art or skill of arranging the facts so as to yield a series of such intuitions which linked together produce a proof of the truth or falsehood of the proposition we are considering. Thus in a geometrical proof each step is seen by intuition, and to fail to see it is to be not a bad geometrician but an idiot. The skill comes in arranging the material into a series of intuitable ‘steps’. Failure to do this does not mean idiocy, but only lack of ingenuity or invention. Failure to follow it need not mean idiocy, but either inattention or defect of memory which forbids us to hold all the intuitions together.

Now all correction of errors in reasoning is really correction of the first or the third element. The second, the intuitional element, cannot be corrected if it is wrong, nor supplied if it is lacking. You can give the man new facts. You can invent a simpler proof, that is, a simple concatenation of intuitable truths. But when you come to an absolute inability to see any one of the self-evident steps out of which the proof is built, then you can do nothing. No doubt this absolute inability is much rarer than we suppose. Every teacher knows that people are constantly protesting that they ‘can’t see’ some self-evident inference, but the supposed inability is usually a refusal to see, resulting either from some passion which wants not to see the truth in question or else from sloth which does not want to think at all. But when the inability is real, argument is at an end. You cannot produce rational intuition by argument, because argument depends upon rational intuition. Proof rests upon the unprovable which has to be just ‘seen’. Hence faulty intuition is incorrigible. It does not follow that it cannot be trained by practice in attention and in the mortification of disturbing passions, or corrupted by the opposite habits. But it is not amenable to correction by argument.

Before leaving the subject of Reason, I must point out that authority not only combines with experience to produce the raw material, the ‘facts’, but also has to be frequently used instead of reasoning itself as a method of getting conclusions. For example, few of us have followed the reasoning on which even 10 per cent of the truths we believe are based. We accept them on authority from the experts and are wise to do so, for though we are thereby sometimes deceived, yet we should have to live like savages if we did not.”

It is worth reading the whole article and, indeed, all of C.S. Lewis’ essays and writings are worth reading. From the above we can see that – according to C.S. Lewis – every judgement about truth and falsehood depends on three elements: Facts, intuition and reasoning. C.S. Lewis goes onto argue that intuition is in-built and has to be learnt from childhood and cannot be argued against. It is the framework from which you start. For me that intuition is the Word of God. I start with believing what God has said in His Word and assess every fact and line of reasoning from that base.

The reason I wanted to highlight and reproduce the passage from C.S. Lewis is because of something that seems self-evident to me and I think many others: There is a crisis occurring in many people’s minds when it comes to all three of the elements: Facts, intuition and reasoning. The Internet is awash with “Facts” on everything. People’s intuition is not normally based nowadays on the Scriptures and many people cannot or will not reason.

One example is the moon landing that happened 50 years ago yesterday. I was 9 years old at the time and remember it well. There were thousands of people directly involved in engineering and building the rockets over 10 years. 13 massive Saturn V rockets took off from Cape Canaveral. The blast was so enormous that you had to stay at least 3.5 miles from the launchpad to be safe. 1 million people turned up to see the Apollo 11 launch alone. Over 100 million people watched the live pictures from the moon and saw and heard the astronauts talking and putting up the flag, etc. More recently a satellite called Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has been sending back pictures of the places where the different moon missions landed. Despite all this evidence and facts, many people still believe that the moon landing was a faked Hollywood story.

Of course such scepticism is not unusual and considering the amount of falsehoods people have believed over the centuries en masse, it is wise to be sceptical. My first problem with unreasonable scepticism though is that it has its origin in a lie told by someone:

A false witness shall perish,
But the man who hears him will speak endlessly.

Proverbs 21:28 (NKJV)

If anyone causes one of these little ones–those who believe in me–to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.

Matthew 18:6 (NIV)

According to C.S. Lewis in the passage above, there are two main things that cause people to believe a lie about something: 1. they want to because of some passion or other; 2. they are too lazy to give the matter enough attention. In the second case people lazily accept the statements they read or hear without questioning the source, verifiability or motives behind the propagator of the statements.

But he also points out that probably fewer than 10% of the facts we believe have been reasoned out. Normally we just accept them on authority. Hence the joke that people make about “Well, if it is written on the Internet then it must be true.” The Internet becomes the authority usually for those who are not paying attention to why someone has said something. The initial lie, e.g. the flat earth hoax, gets picked up by thousands as truth. It is no wonder that the Scripture says:

Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death
19 is the man who deceives his neighbor
    and says, “I am only joking!”

Proverbs 26:18-19 (ESV)

Many people make the mistake of thinking they can deceive people and think that is harmless.

One of the complaints many people have about the Scripture is that God seems devoid of humour. If, by this, we mean that God doesn’t play tricks on people then, yes, He is devoid of that kind of humour. Practical jokes are not in His repertoire of ways of dealing with humans.

They shouldn’t be in ours either.

Communion

Few Christian doctrines have caused as much trouble and confusion down the centuries as has the doctrine of communion. On the one side you have those who take a very literal interpretation of the words of Jesus when He said: “This is My body” and on the other you have those that take an allegorical sense of those same words.

As is always the case with any Christian controversy, a true understanding can only come about by combining an understanding given by the Holy Spirit to the words of the inspired Bible. It is that combination of the Spirit and the written word that leads us to the Word of God or Christ Himself in whom dwells all the riches of knowledge and understanding (see Colossians).

If we are ignorant of either one of these – either the Holy Spirit or the Bible – things can get quite confusing. Take as an example Proverbs 9: 1-6 and compare it with the same chapter verses 13-18. In the first section Wisdom calls out to the “Simple” and those “without understanding” and in the second section a foolish woman (Folly) does the same. Both have houses and both offer food and drink. Wisdom offers bread and wine and Folly offers bread and water. Wisdoms food and drink is her own. Folly’s is stolen from somewhere else.

We know from Proverbs 8 that Wisdom is personified by Jesus. It is His own body and blood He offers us – not something stolen from someone else. He paid a high price to give us the spiritual food we so badly desire.

However Folly gives us far more insipid fare. Proverbs 20:17 tells us that her food will turn to gravel in our mouths. Those who try to be satisfied with anything other than the body and blood of Jesus will be disappointed.

But have you seen what I did there? Here is a spiritual truth revealed through physical simple elements. The reality is not in the bread and wine or the water for that matter. The reality is in what they represent.

Physical Realities

Methusalech was afraid. This was his normal emotion every time King Hezekiah called him in for a progress report on the tunnel. It was not that the King made him feel that way, it was just that he seemed to be continually bringing him bad news.

The King understood the difficulty of what he had asked. No one had done anything like this before. Even the Egyptians with all their building projects hadn’t attempted something as peculiar as this. Methusalech spent a lot of time before the LORD praying for guidance as a result.

God’s faithfulness was shown in the continual flow of the spring which was named “Bursting Forth” (Gihon). It was an ancient name. The first book of the Torah said that one of the 4 rivers of Paradise was called the same. The people of Jerusalem liked to think that their Bursting Forth was somehow the same river as the one that watered Paradise like the Tigris and Euphrates were also thought to be somehow related to their counterparts. Methusalech thought all this unlikely considering how much the great Flood had changed the face of the earth since then.

The great thing was that it never stopped flowing and producing enough water for all their needs.

Then the King had his dreams and revelations. One of them warned him that the Assyrians were going to come and take over the land. The second told him to not let the Bursting Forth waters be accessible to just anyone. He had a picture of the spring being like the city’s wife, she shouldn’t be available to any stranger but only to the city itself.

Then he had a dream of a tunnel with gently flowing waters (Shiloah) in it. And that’s when he called in Methusalech.

They had been digging for 6 months now and things were not going well. The original plan was to dig a straight line through the bedrock with two teams. One team was to start at the place where they were to collect the water (the Pool of Shiloah). The other was to start at the Gihon spring itself.

The problem was trying to dig in a straight line.

Methusalech realised early that they were going to have problems direction finding when deep underground. There were no stars or landmarks to go by, nothing but a general sense that they were going in the right direction.

The team that started from the pool end had already gone through several changes of direction. In some ways it wasn’t so difficult for them since they were not going under the mountain to the same extent. In theory they should be able to hear the men at the top thumping their big instruments. But the ground carried the sounds in all sorts of strange ways so they kept changing direction as they heard it change.

The Team that started from the Gihon spring had been led by Ahimoah. He was a good man. The original intention had been to bring the spring waters straight to the other side of the mountain of Ophel and then go down from there. However it was taking too long and the mountain rock was too hard. So they decided to change direction and head south instead. It would have helped if they could know what south meant under that much rock.

Psalm 139

O Lord, You have searched me and known.

You know my sitting down and my rising up.

You understand my thoughts afar off.

You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways.

For there is not a word on my tongue – behold O Lord, You know it altogether.

You have hedged me behind and before and laid Your hand upon me.

Knowledge too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot get it.

Hezekiah’s Tunnel – Vision

My friend Rory has written this fuller description of the word we believe God is giving to the church at this time through the Hezekiah’s Tunnel dreams and revelations.

We are in a spiritual war which has influence preventing the church of God, Body of Christ, on an individual and corporate level, from accomplishing Gods WILL on earth as it is in heaven.

God needs to work through his people, his vessels, by his Holy Spirit leading & guiding them into all truth for Gods purpose and will to be done.

Gihon Spring

The Assyrians – Spiritual parallel of the war against the church. Rob, kill & destroy – Anti-Christ in everything, deprive Gods children of every spiritual and material gift (John 10: 8-11). Beware of false people, doctrine, do not get distracted or fall away from God during tough times. Do not forget his promises.

The Gihon Spring (means “Bursting Forth”) is symbolic of the fivefold ministry gifts of God, there has been a silence and lull of the five-fold gifts in the body of Christ in general. The voice of God through the “various gifts” have been restricted, banned & does not flow for many reasons. They have been prevented from “bursting forth” into the body of Christ for many years, especially in Ireland. God wants to restore “ALL” his gifts to the body of Christ.

(Ephesians 4: 11-16) If God appoints, God anoints.

Who & basic job function – 5-Fold Ministry

  • Some as apostles (special messengers, representatives, church builders)
  • Some as prophets (who speak a new and relevant message from God to the people)
  • Some as evangelists (who spread the good news of salvation)
  • Some as pastors and teachers (to shepherd and guide and instruct)

Why these “SPECIFIC” gifts?

  • to fully equip and perfect the saints (God’s people) for works of service.
  • to build up the body of Christ (the church).
  • To supply, stabilise, sustain, secure, surround (the church).

For how long – to have these gifts?

  • until we all reach oneness in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God.
  • until we (growing spiritually) become a mature believer.
  • until we reach the measure of the fullness of Christ (manifesting His spiritual completeness and exercising our spiritual gifts in unity). 

Goal & purposes

  • So that we are no longer children (spiritually immature)
  • That we are not tossed back and forth (like ships on a stormy sea) and carried about by every wind of (shifting) doctrine.
  • So that we do not succumb to the cunning and trickery of (unscrupulous) men, by the deceitful scheming of people ready to do anything (for personal profit).

Final result & achievement

  • To enable us to speak the truth in love (in all things—both our speech and our lives expressing His truth).
  • To allow us to grow up in all things into Him (following His example) who is the Head—Christ. 

Corporate – Christ Achieved

  • From Him the whole body (the church, in all its various parts), will be joined and knitted firmly together by what every joint supply, when each part is working properly, causes the body to grow and mature, building itself up in (unselfish) love.

The Tunnel

Represents

  • The enabling of the 5-fold ministry & “ALL” other gifts of God, through the Holy Spirit to flow.
  • The tunnel is the “means” of re-connecting that has been lost, (All Gods gifts) restricted or removed, back into their rightful place in the church.

It takes tenacious, laborious, energetic & very hard work to build a tunnel, as it does require more than just human power to work for and with God as his vessels and temples. (Zechariah 4:6; Matthew 19:26)

  • God won’t do all the work, he expects us to meet him, to draw unto him, this is hard work.
  • The Word of God continuously reminds us how desperately we need spiritual spring water from God. (John 4:14)
  • Isaiah 55:6-7 admonish us, “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”

We do have to hunger and thirst for His way of life, as Jesus said in;

 (Matthew 5:6) Fulfilled & satisfied forever

Blessed (joyful, nourished by God’s goodness) are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (those who actively seek right standing with God), for they will be (completely) satisfied.

 (John 7:37-39). Jesus – living water

37 Now on the last and most important day of the feast, Jesus stood and called out (in a loud voice), “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink! 38 He who believes in Me (who adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Me), as the Scripture has said, ‘From his innermost being will flow continually rivers of living water.’” 39 But He was speaking of the (Holy) Spirit, whom those who believed in Him (as Saviour) were to receive afterward. The Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified (raised to honour).

Conclusion

The tunnel restores and links man, back to God by streams of living water bursting forth through the gifts of God and the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

The pool of Siloam

Because the water is believed to be of God, (not man-made – hidden source underground), it had spiritual powers. It was from the pool of Siloam that the water which was poured out at the altar during the feast of Tabernacles, was used because it was pure and originated from God.

  • The pool corresponds to the “water works” mentioned in 2 Kings 20:20.

Reasons for the pool

  • The pool qualified for the use of ritual Jewish bathing.
  • The Jewish “Mikvah” – (“collection – of water”), in Judaism, one bathes for ritual reasons (mentioned below)

NOTE: Once the water arrives and is gathered in the pool, (centre of the church) the body of Christ will experience the move of the Holy Spirit in a very defining way which will bring, anointing, deliverance, healing, restoration, purifying & cleansing. HOWEVER, the church will need a belief, trust & faith in God and the move of the Holy Spirit.

(Hebrews 11:6)

But without faith it is impossible to (walk with God and) please Him, for whoever comes (near) to God must (necessarily) believe that God exists and that He rewards those who (earnestly and diligently) seek Him.

The City – Church of God

The place where the pool gathers – in the City (OA / Body of Christ / Church), therefore becomes very important for the final key to God’s WILL… will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

The City – Church, is very symbolic today in as much it re-assures both believers and non-believers that there is refuge and strength in God.

The church will be a:

  • Place of security.
  • Place for society.
  • Place of trade & traffic, what one wants another supplies.
  • Place for unity and mutual fellowship.
  • Place of peace and common goals & values.
  • Place of freedom & liberty.
  • Place of freedom from guilt of sin.
  • Place of freedom from the wrath of God.
  • Place of freedom from the curse of the law.
  • Place of freedom from the present evil world.
  • Place of freedom from bondage of satan.
  • Place of order & regularity with constitutions and ordinances.
  • Place of rest and renewal.
  • Place of privileges (gifts etc)
  • Place of pomp & splendour because of the King.
  • Place of pleasure & beauty.

Conclusion for thought

By restoring the correct, proper & appropriate relationship, & connection between God & man, His plan, purpose, desire, heart & His will on earth for His Kingdom & His people…. Will be done.

  • Gihon spring = God bursting forth.
  • The Tunnel = Jesus death, burial, resurrection & salvation.
  • The Siloam Pool = Holy Spirit, FULL purpose & plan, plus “ALL” Gifts.
  • The City = Church of God.

(John 17:7)

But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counsellor, Strengthener, Standby) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him (the Holy Spirit) to you (to be in close fellowship with you).

(Mathew 6:33)

33 But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also.

The “foundation” scripture versus – “Gifts of the Spirit”

1 Corinthians 14:26-40 (Gifts of the Spirit)

The Doctrine of the Crucified

18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
And the cleverness of the clever I will set aside
.”

2Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, 24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

26 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; 27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 28 and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, 29 so that no man may boast before God. 30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, 31 so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

(1 Corinthians 1:18-31)

Watch out if you are not foolish, base or despised! God is not likely to use you much or for long.

The following is not a statement from some obscure man from long ago. It is a command from God that we would do well to heed:

“I must decrease, He must increase.” (John 3:30)

When Paul was following Christ around Asia and being used by the Holy Spirit to plant churches he was particularly foolish. If you want to build anything in this world apart from Christ you don’t just go along to a place for a few weeks, appoint some obscure people as elders and then go off and abandon them. But Paul didn’t see things that way. He was just doing what the Spirit of Jesus was telling him to do and leaving the rest of it to Him. Sure, he prayed and wrote letters, all significant. But we don’t know who the elders are that he appointed in most of the churches. The emphasis wasn’t on the pastors or any individuals. The Holy Spirit was in control.

Greater Things

Paul said to some members of the church at Corinth that in effect “some of you are boasting as if you had power when you do not. The Kingdom of God is not in word but in power.” (1 Cor. 4:18-20).

It should be a matter of concern to us that our churches are so lacking in power.

Jesus wants us to be like He was on the earth. The church should collectively be out in the streets and public places speaking like Jesus and doing the things that he did: healing the sick (a lot), raising the dead (on at least a couple of occasions) and addressing the powers and authorities, especially religious ones, and calling out their hypocrisy. This needs to be done fearlessly but also in the Spirit of overwhelming, reckless love that Jesus passionately poured forth as our example.

Paul’s whole work was to establish local churches that could prepare and bring about this. It was his inspired answer to how to “make disciples of every nation, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matt.28:20). It is a study in itself of how Paul understood this but just reading his letter to the Ephesians would give you enough to be excited about. In that letter Paul describes how the whole body is involved in church, each member doing its part in building it up until we all become like a mature Christ. He also describes there the role and authorities of what is commonly known as the five fold ministries, all of which should be operating: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. In 1 Corinthians 14: 26-40 he describes a format for a church meeting which enables these ministries to function in the church.

The goal of local churches should not be to reproduce themselves in some kind of pyramid scheme that in the end actually delivers nothing of any relevance to the nation they are in.

The goal of a church should be to ensure that Christ’s promise that “Greater things than these will you do.” (John 14:12) is fulfilled for all the disciples in their care.

(It is hard to imagine greater things than raising the dead but that only considers the word “greater” in the sense of “mightier”. I believe that at least one way Jesus intended the word “greater” to mean was in quantity and geographical spread. What Jesus did in Galilee and Judea, He wants His disciples to do all over the world.)

If all local churches produced disciples that were truly like Christ in every way (including with His power) then it is in this sense that “greater things” would be achieved. Being like Christ is to grow up in a local church and under its authority but eventually, at the right time, to be let loose on the world and behave like Christ did in the streets and villages of Galilee. This is not individuals being released one at a time to be devoured by the wolves of the world. This is flocks being released at once. This is sometimes called revival, or a move of God. In practice it should be an ongoing phenomenon.

And it is not as if this has not happened in the past. The Methodist movements of the late 18th century carried many of the signs of the church impacting the communities with Jesus manifest in all sorts of signs and wonders. The legacy was community changing and we feel its effects to this day. The reformation of the early 16th century showed similar Christ like people saying and doing similar things to Jesus in their communities. It arose spontaneously in at least 3 countries, affected thousands and changed the course of nations. The whole world is still benefitting from the reforms that the Spirit of God introduced at that time and under its influence through godly men and women into both churches and civil society. More recently Asian countries like Indonesia and China have seen Jesus move in power through His people. And those are only the ones we know about.

We are thinking in very small terms about our Almighty God if we think what we have seen in Ireland in the Evangelical / Pentecostal churches is all there is to being a disciple or to His Church “Awesome as an army with banners.” (Songs 6:4).

The best is yet to come.