Subscribe News Feed Subscribe Comments

The Gospel and Inner Transformation (Part 2)

431876990_b88b3bb845 I think Christianity has got to be one of the most confusing things on the planet. One group of people alludes towards the attainment of wealth and the manifestation of miracles, whilst one group emphasise living frugally and being content with what you have. It is often preached that we are righteous, having been made right with God, and yet, Christians are intimidated into not sinning on a weekly basis.

Since around 2005 I have become part of the growing trend amongst Christians who are part of the grace movement. My beliefs have changed dramatically since 2005, I used to be heavily into the Bible, something of a theologian. But now, I hardly ever read the Bible, as I am much more interested in living freely and developing my own convictions, in my own way and in my own time.

I am much more inclined towards accepting myself, life and other people, just as they are, than anything else. In fact, the most popular grace preacher today, Joseph Prince, often preaches that it is our very efforts to not sin that actually keeps us captive to sin. Knowing that we are loved by God and accepting ourselves as we are, is one of the greatest, most freeing things we can ever do.

As far as modalities to change the subconscious mind are concerned, I don't use prayer or affirmations any more. I use releasing through The Sedona Method. I also use another method, which I prefer to releasing, called The Work. The Work is a method of self-inquiry that asks four simple questions in response to an anxious thought:

1. Is it true?

2. Can you absolutely know that it's true?

3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?

4. Who would you be without the thought?

The four questions are followed by something called a "turnaround" - the opposite of the anxious thought. For instance, "I hate my job", becomes, "I don't hate my job." But rather than jumping too quickly to the turnaround, you take yourself through a gentle process so that the turnaround is not so harsh.

Rather than trying to answer the questions using logic - you allow the questions to be answered from the innermost part of your being, from the heart. A few years ago I'd reached a lull with my prayer life. But when I started using The Work, I found that the answers just flowed out from me - almost as if The Work was doing itself and I was an observer. I typically seem to spend about 20 minutes in one session, spending most of the time on question number 3. I always feel a profound sense of peace after doing The Work.

You can find out more about The Work at the official website:

Photo Transforming silk again courtesy of fdecomite.

The Gospel and Inner Transformation (Part 1)

431754663_1dcea3cdf5 I've struggled with depression and anxiety, to one degree or another, for most of my life. It was this struggle which motivated me to become a Christian. As soon as I got hold of Word of Faith teaching - I thought I'd hit the jackpot! Before I became a "serious" Christian, I had read The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Dr. Joseph Murphy - a classic book on the effect of your thoughts on your subconscious mind and how you can use affirmation to re-program your mind. Like many other Christians, Word of Faith became a Christian version of positive thinking and affirmations for me.

Just like me, many people become Christians because they have had emotional issues, have struggled with everyday life and needed something to change their life for the better. It's shocking what some Christians will do in order to try and get God to bless them. It’s unfortunate that all of those religious antics can become a massive distraction for some Christians, when all they probably need is professional, psychological help. I think maybe some regular deep relaxation would probably be more beneficial to them than what they do.

According to Psychology, internal change starts with the old subconscious, you move it to the old conscious, then the new conscious, then the new subconscious.

We have behaviours, thoughts, feelings in which we are not aware of as being destructive, let alone where they are sourced. This is the old subconscious. You discover/uncover these things. This is the old conscious. You deconstruct them and learn new truths/patterns. This is the new conscious. After repetition these things become the norm in you. This is the new subconscious.

Any means of establishing this change in the new subconscious could be called a modality. A modality is defined as a means of attaining an end; a method. As far as modalities to effect change of deep-seated beliefs are concerned - Christianity is certainly not one of the best. Christianity is not really designed for that purpose, but for salvation and relationship with God.

Unfortunately, you cannot develop a profound, close relationship with God when you are wracked with fear. In fact, religion exacerbates the situation because you start to believe that God is punishing you for your sin, or that you need to read your Bible more, give more in the offering, and so on. It’s as if as soon as a neurotic believes in the existence of God, it opens up a whole new world to them and a whole new way of thinking, in a way that is potentially very negative and damaging. Previously, a person might have wondered about the effects that his excessive drinking has on his health, but now, he also has to worry about whether God will punish him for it and so on.

I was baptised in the Holy Spirit in 1998 and it changed my life for the better, for all of two months. But during that time I felt like God was telling me, "You see, my love is all you need. See how all your wants melt away when you have my peace in you?" I suppose I have been trying to re-establish that amazing experience and peace of mind in my life ever since - without much success.

Regrettably, I have tried to establish happiness in all the typical ways that humans use: wealth, success and with Christianity, the pursuit of miracles. Wealth and success in themselves are not wrong, if that was the case, King Solomon would be the most evil person who ever existed. No, it is the desire for these things that corrupts. If I was to simply accept myself as I am, with all my faults, be content with what I have and quit worrying, I think that I’d find the happiness, freedom and even success and prosperity that I’ve been seeking all along.

Photo Möbius transformation courtesy of fdecomite.

The Scope of the Gospel – Grace, a Message of the Heart

4266283238_b908761e95 There is a desperate need for Christians to arrive at their own conclusions, to establish their own convictions, in their own way, through their own experiences and in their own time. It simply will not do to have people who assert their spiritual authority above others, to come along and dictate what is right or wrong to others.

The Gospel is not a matter of determining what is right or wrong: such a pursuit constitutes eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil – notice it is the knowledge of good and evil, not good and evil themselves. It becomes religious oppression when a minister forces their will and opinions on others, especially when their attitude is patronising and threatening. Even if universal morals are established which most people agree to – there is no way to enforce those morals other than through fear-mongering.

The Gospel is a message of the heart, not the mind. The Gospel must be known, in the heart, not logically reasoned and debated. If you don’t come to know the Gospel, the message of God’s love for you, in your own heart – you will be left intellectualising the Bible.

Word of Faith teaching drummed into me the importance of following the Spirit and The Word, “The Word” meaning the Bible. Bible teachers like Kenneth E. Hagin would emphasise the importance of finding back-up verses in scripture for everything that you do. But experience told me that you cannot live your life like that. If you do, you find yourself anxiously scouring the Bible for verses that you can creatively take out of context to mean what you want them to mean.

I believe that to the greatest extent, Christians really have to live their life from their heart, according to their own convictions. As soon as rules and standards are imposed, people live unnatural, restricted lives, becoming someone they are not. Rules suppress honesty and integrity, promoting dishonesty and repression. Rule keeping turns people into actors as they make a performance out of trying to behave like someone they are not. This way of life is unappealing to others as they think you have got something to hide and you can become rather weird.

James 5:16 in the NKJV begins with; “Confess your trespasses to one another.” We make this into some sort of stuffy, formal, religious practice. But I believe that The Living Bible translates this more accurately, “Admit your faults to one another.” I believe that instead of making a big fuss over sin, which has already been remitted, it would be better to simply be honest with other people about your faults – rather than trying to pretend to be someone you are not.

Sure, people are likely to make mistakes, but they have to be allowed to live their lives, without the constant pressure and fear that comes from constantly matching against the Bible. I believe that there is no replacement for love, self-acceptance, confidence and self-esteem – not even the Bible! It is for this reason that people in the world win hands-down when it comes to living life in freedom, love, happiness and fulfilment.

Grace allows people to be just as they are in that moment. Grace allows people to establish their own convictions, in their own way and in their own time, without external coercion. Grace does not seek to determine universal rights and wrongs, but lovingly welcomes people’s differences and shortcomings. People have to grow, mature and develop in their own method and timing. My Christian life turned around when I realised that simply establishing and holding onto a sentiment, was not enough for me to establish positive changes in my character and behaviour.

Photo Heart courtesy of seyed mostafa zamani.

The Scope of the Gospel – The Bible (Part 2)

4542432287_96a61d3213 We can learn a great deal from the Bible, especially the Epistles of Paul, which provide us with an account of what happened after the death of Jesus, together with a revelation of the redemptive work of Christ through the cross. But a lot of the Bible is actually history, such as the Book of Numbers.

The first five books of the Bible are known as the Pentateuch, this is the Mosaic Law. We can learn a lot about the Old Covenant established by God through Moses. From books such as Leviticus we can see how exacting the standards were; we can see how awkward and oppressive those rituals were as a means of knowing God and being accepted by Him.

We can clearly see when we contrast the Old and New Covenants, why the New is a better covenant. We can see just how much freedom we really do have in Christ. This freedom is conveyed in verses such as Romans 7:6 in The Message, “But now that we're no longer shackled to that domineering mate of sin, and out from under all those oppressive regulations and fine print, we're free to live a new life in the freedom of God.”

This understanding lends itself to an appreciation of the way the Gospel seems to be intended originally for the Jews. In fact, the Jews already had a covenant with God, but in a way that was not perfect and was actually oppressive. You would have thought that the Jews, who knew of a Messiah to come, would have embraced this Good News message wholeheartedly, but they rejected it. In fact, it was the Jews who demanded the crucifixion of Jesus. The rejection of Jesus as the Messiah was conveyed in the Parable of the Wicked Husbandmen in Matthew 21:33-44.

1 Cor. 1:23 states, “but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness”. Jesus was not easily accepted into the beliefs of the Jews or the Greeks (Gentiles), for various reasons.

For the Jews, it is suggested that:

(1) They were expecting a magnificent temporal prince. Their hopes were dashed when they heard that He was crucified.

(2) They had common feelings of pride, and self-righteousness, by which they rejected the doctrine that we are dependent for salvation on one who was crucified.

(3) They convinced themselves that He was the object of the divine dereliction and abhorrence.

For the Greeks, it is suggested that:

(1) They saw the whole account a fable.

(2) The message disagreed with their own views on the way of elevating the condition of man.

(3) They saw no truth in the doctrine that a man of humble birth was put to death in an cruel manner to make people better, or to receive pardon.

(4) They had the common feelings of unrenewed human nature; blind to the beauty of the character of Christ and blind to purpose of his death.

The Gospel is difficult to comprehend, as something relevant, practical, powerful and freeing in today’s society. Our reasons for rejecting the Gospel now might not be too dissimilar to those listed above. But I would say that the concepts of righteousness, sin and so forth, have very little meaning and application in modern life, it seems. Indeed, words such as righteousness and sin are never used in modern speech, and are only found in the Bible.

There is a legitimate, practical scope of the Gospel for today’s culture – but it must be understood by the heart, not just intellectualised in the mind. The Gospel must be responded to with honesty and integrity, in a way that is relevant to the person, according to his lifestyle, convictions and disposition.

Photo Open Bible with pen Antique Grayscale courtesy of ryk_neethling.

The Scope of the Gospel – The Bible (Part 1)

3517373312_2cc93a0861 I think we can determine the scope of the Gospel from studying the Bible to see how they spread the message and how they would have responded to it. I have come to the conclusion that the Gospel would have been the Good News that would have been conveyed by word-of-mouth.

The printing press was not even invented until the fifteenth century according to an article here. There would have been no Bible to speak of and up until the 60th century AD, only the Old Testament would have been written. A list of the books of the Bible and their approximate year they were written, can be found here.

The Old Testament would have been written on stone and clay tablets – you can read more in an article here. Access to the Old Testament would undoubtedly have been restricted to the Jewish scholarly elite.

As the Gospel would have been communicated via word-of-mouth, it would have been in a local language and dialect that people could relate to. The Bible as we know it is a medieval translation of ancient Greek and Hebrew texts, originating from ancient Middle Eastern culture. So it is little wonder that it is often difficult to understand and relate to against the backdrop of modern, western culture.

I understand the argument in favour of having a literal translation, such as the King James Version or the New American Standard. But I would say that in order to get the true essence of the Gospel message, it would be better to read a modern paraphrase version, such as The Message, or my personal favourite, the original 1971 The Living Bible.

Over the centuries, theologians have poured over the scriptures, analysing them in great depth, to such a degree that the original essence has been lost. The Bible as it has been written is very much open to interpretation and is often the subject of heated debate. Unfortunately, most people tend to be inflexible in their beliefs, only looking for and perceiving what they want to see and believe. The Bible seems to be full of contradictions, but I believe that the Bible must be read as a whole in order to gain the full picture.

Verses of scripture are often taken out of context and repeated like slogans in support of a person’s own personal beliefs and motives. Pro-prosperity Christians become fixated with verse such as 2 Cor. 8:9. Whilst the anti-prosperity crowd often quote Heb. 13:5. There is no doubt truth to each of the verses and arguments, but I believe that a balance can be found.

Photo Gutenberg Bible 02 courtesy of jmwk.

The Scope of the Gospel – The Church (Part 2)

people A key to understanding the Gospel is in the original meaning of the word, which from the Greek translates to “the nearly too good to be true news”. The Gospel is the Good News of salvation and redemption through belief in the New Covenant in Christ’s own precious blood.

The Gospel is not necessarily church meetings, neither is it the rituals we associate with it, such as sacraments, the rosary and so on. I believe that early Christians would not have had buildings whose primary purpose was for fellowship and worship – they would have gathered together in people’s homes around food and drink. Early Christians would have known each other, rather than sitting in an auditorium, surrounded by strangers, as they listen to a man on stage preaching.

The meaning of “church” is the body of Christ, the people – “church” is not a building, as it has become today. The church would have gathered in social settings to discuss the Gospel – it would have been a celebration. There would have been no intimidation from a pastor, desperate to instil discipline and elicit acts of servanthood. There would have been no paid staff and little in the way of formal rules – it would have been natural and spontaneous, truly as the Spirit leads.

When attending a church becomes mandatory, a religious obligation, it often becomes stifling, coerced and even boring. Church has got to be allowed to form through natural, organic relationships. When this happens, the relationships are primary and the Gospel becomes secondary. This sounds sacrilegious at first, but it is the only way it can work. Otherwise, what happens is that people end up following religious routines in a church meeting, developing false friendships.

I honestly see no evidence, Biblical or otherwise, to support the notion that Christians are meant to gather in organised religious settings every single Sunday, engage in corporate “worship”, listen to a sermon and engage in religious ceremonies. Neither do I see any evidence to support Christians talking about God and Jesus as much as they do, or even reading the Bible as much as they do. My experience and heart tell me that once you know the Good News message of the Gospel, to the greatest extent, you are supposed to get on with your normal life, in a way that is natural for you.

For more information on organic churches, check out the book, Reimagining Church, by Frank Viola.

If all the things that man has attributed to the Gospel, don’t actually work, it begs the question what response from man the Gospel was meant to elicit?

Photo Eröffnung Restaurant Rheinspitz (Altenrhein, 07. Mai 2009) courtesy of Poiseon Bild & Text.

The Scope of the Gospel – The Church (Part 1)

church Ever since I became a “serious” Christian in 1997, my journey into Christianity began with a fascination in Word of Faith, through Kenneth E. Hagin’s books. I’ll admit that my motives for becoming a Christian were born out of a desire to seek a better life: security, prosperity, success and happiness – the usual things.

But now as I look back on those years I’ll have to be honest and say that the Gospel does not seem to have been conducive to improving my life in any of the ways that I would have hoped. I’m not sure what my life would have been like had I not become a Christian, I suppose I’ll never really know; there must have been some benefits to becoming a Christian, but it just becomes hard to tell. It is certainly too early to tell what benefits my belief in Christ will yield in the afterlife.

One thing I can certain vouch for is the confusion and frustration that seems to have been perpetuated in my life through what seemed to be my pursuit of the Gospel and intimacy with God. I think many Christians tread a similar path in their quest to know God, many ending up confused and frustrated as I have become. Some Christians end-up leaving church, but still believing in Jesus, whilst others give up on believing in Him altogether.

My Christian life has led me to ponder the scope of the Gospel: what was it intended for? Who was it addressed to? How are we to respond to it and incorporate it into our lives? These might sound like fairly obvious questions, but many Christians don’t stop to ask themselves these questions.

I think the reason why we don’t stop to ask ourselves the scope of the Gospel, is because we have been spoon-fed other people’s Christian beliefs, rather than being permitted to formulate our own. We have become accustomed to sitting in church and shifting the responsibility to the pastor and ministry staff for our spiritual development and welfare.

Sure, the Bible talks about the “five-fold ministry”, consisting of pastors, teachers, evangelists and so on – but I’m certain that we have lost sight of what these roles entail. For instance, we have become acquainted with the role of Evangelist as a very charismatic, and typically well-renowned, Christian speaker who travels to churches to motivate people who are already Christian, whereas an Evangelist in the Bible would be someone who brings the Good News to the unsaved. I think an example of the latter would be someone like Reinhard Bonnke, who would preach the Gospel in crusades across Africa.

I would recommend the book, Pagan Christianity, by Frank Viola, which dares to question the way we do things in church and explores the often Pagan roots of the institutional church as we know it today.

Photo Church courtesy of Bruce Fingerhood.

The Anatomy of Fear

Just like many other spiritual people and Psychologists, I always find myself desperately searching for spiritual formulas that can cut through the haze of spiritual teaching, something that can simplify things, expose fallacies and re-focus my attention to what really counts. I believe I have made some progress towards understanding the anatomy of fear: ideals, taboos, fantasies/expectations and fears.


These are the "shoulds", the standards that people set for themselves and others. Ideals are used as challenges and platitudes, such as, "The Bible says that we should love one another, if you loved other people you would do this or that." The Bible is a veritable source-book of ideals - Christians often quote Bible verses as a universal, one-size-fits-all set of ideals to aspire to.

Ideals can move a person away from love by coaxing them to do things out of fear. There is often a sense of failure amongst Christians if they do not attain, or at least aspire towards, the standard, accepted ideals that have been set for all Christians.

Ideals are used to coax people to take action through the threat of guilt, shame and rejection. With ideals there is encouragement through striving towards a perceived reward, such as a blessing from God for following Biblical rules.


These are the things we have been conditioned to avoid based on what other people tell us. Taboos are established when someone tells us, "Don't do that! That's really bad. If you do that then this or that might happen!"

To an extent, taboos seem to serve us well. We have been told that being bitten by a rattlesnake is painful and that we might die - so people will do everything to avoid one when they see it or when they hear that distinctive rattle. But taboos only serve as a safeguard for people with a fearful disposition. Taboos become part-and-parcel of rule keeping, which does not bring freedom and empowerment.

Churches attempt to control the congregation through the application of taboos. But the truth is that just making a taboo out of something cannot change a person's disposition from fear to love - assuming that love also includes confidence, common sense, self-discipline and so forth.

Christianity seems to thrive on taboos, especially in the area of sex. Taboos involve a great deal of rejection - as evidenced in the churches stance towards homosexuals.

The truth is that taboos only serve to contribute towards a person's sense of fear and moves them further away from love. With taboos there is encouragement through avoidance of a perceived punishment, such as a curse from God for doing something that the Bible forbids.


Fantasies seem to be an aspect of the various self-defence mechanisms that the human mind creates when under duress. Fantasies seem to be a substitute for hope when there is no hope. The abused child uses fantasies, like the little girl who dreams that she is a fairy-tale princess in order to escape the abuses of her life, in her own mind.

I do believe in hope, which is an expectation of good. But hope is more often then not a vague sense that everything is going to be okay. Hope is conveyed in the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:25-34. I particualrly like the message about “the birds of the air” in Matthew 6:26 and not worrying about tommorow in Matthew 6:34. Hope has confidence in God and I would also add in self (to some extent) and in life (others and circumstances – seen and unseen). Hope does not need to have all the answers, but just happily goes with the flow of life.

When a neurotic becomes a Christian he inevitably hands God a "to-do list" of things that he expects God to provide him with. There is a place for genuine dreams and aspirations, but it seems that the neurotic confuses these with baseless fantasies. With fantasies there is a belief that if you had that thing - it would make you happy. This of course is not true because a person's happiness does not depend on a person, place or thing. Happiness is a state of being which only oneness with God and cooperation with Him can bring.

Apart from stark fantasies and the God aspect - many people still hold onto expectations, like the little boy who says that he is going to be a policeman when he grows up, but probably ends-up doing something entirely different. Christians often hold onto expectations in relation to God, such as, "God would never let that happen to me", or that favourite amongst the Ecclesiastical elite, "I'm against abortion and war - and so is God!"

Just like opinions, expectations become negative and harmful the more emphatic we are, to the point of being stubborn, and the more stress they induce in us.


I suppose fears are similar to expectations in that they are things that you expect to happen to some extent. But whilst expectations are for something good to happen, fears are an expectation of something bad happening.

Fears are the "what if" syndrome, "What if it starts raining today? What if she doesn't call me? What if I fail?" A lot of the time the sense of dreading something going wrong is worse than the actual thing happening. In fact, there can be a sense of relief sometimes when something bad does happen so that we no longer have to dread it. People often attribute seemingly related events to their fears, such as food and fuel price rises meaning that they won't be able to pay all their bills. Sometimes, our fears can be completely baseless.


So if we bear in mind the anatomy of fear, we can see straight away what is happening in churches across the world. If we begin to see fear in relation to these four categories - we can quickly identify spiritual abuses and move away from them. This also gives us an insight into what love is: perhaps love is simply the identification of where fear is manifesting in our lives? Fear exists only in our mind and if we can see it for what it is - it should help it to dissipate of its own accord.

The Divine Nature | TNB