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Renewing Our Minds

I want to return to a theme that has been core to the Spiritual Maturity Project from its inception. It is a point so crucial to vital Christian growth, yet so easily misunderstood. To grow spiritually necessitates growing in understanding. To grow in understanding requires time, patience, and sustained study. There are no shortcuts.

Immediately, a question comes to mind: "Grow in understanding what?" Here we must pay special attention. Two key parts of the answer always must stay together. We grow in understanding the doctrinal and ethical content of the Christian faith, but that content is not a bunch of disembodied abstractions. The content of the Christian faith flows from Jesus Christ himself, from his life and teaching. "You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me..." (Mt. 11:29).  "But we have the mind of Christ" (1  Cor. 2:16). Understanding the doctrinal and ethical content of the Christian...

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Sins and Infirmities

Spiritual Maturity Project
Sins and Infirmities

Isaiah 53:4-5 portrays two aspects of what the Suffering Servant - our Lord, Jesus Christ - has done to our great benefit.  He has "borne our infirmities" and "was wounded for our transgressions."  

Sins and infirmities.  These two categories of human experience pose questions that call for wisdom and discernment.  What counts, in God's eyes, as sin?  (This question has dimensions that resist easy answers.)  What does he regard as infirmities? What does God forgive and what does he heal?  

A first-step answer is pretty straightforward.  "Infirmities" obviously refers to diseases.  This Isaiah passage says, "He has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases."  Yes.  True.  Is this the end of the story for understanding infirmities?  No.

The Bible also describes sickness of soul, which overlaps with physical illness but also goes beyond it into thoughts, feelings, and resulting behaviors.  Infirmities...

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Overcoming Gaps in Christian Experience

The Spiritual Maturity Project aims at overcoming two gaps in the experience of many Christians.  These gaps stunt growth and steal joy because they blind us to God's actions.  

The first gap lies between Christian scholarship and so-called practical books, books on "Christian living." Scholarly writings in the Christian tradition are generally thought of as "theoretical," as virtually the opposite of practical, written in abstract, highly technical language that normal Christians can't understand, anyway, so why bother? Most Christians interested in growing spiritually therefore turn to books written at a popular level, found in the "Christian living" category. 

In spite of any number of good, edifying books written in non-technical language, the popular Christian book market is flooded with stuff that stays on the surface.  Sometimes such books become bestsellers and being a bestseller is the signal that they are meeting a need and helping...

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