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"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)

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  • « Justification by Faith, Out of Date? by Benjamin B. Warfield (1851-1921) | Main | Can a True Christian Fall from Grace? »

    Eros Spirituality Vs. Agape Faith by David F. Wells

    The following are excerpts from David Wells’ excellent book,
    Above All Earthly Pow’rs: Christ in a Postmodern World, (Pg. 158-175)

    The casual embrace of what is postmodern has increasingly led to an embrace of its spiritual yearning without noticing that this embrace carries within it the seeds of destruction for evangelical faith. The contrast between biblical faith and this contemporary spirituality is that between two entirely different ways of looking at life and at God. Nygren, some years ago, used the Greek words for two different kinds of love, Eros and Agape, to characterize these worldviews, and his elucidation is still helpful. In one worldview, which he calls Eros, it is the self which is at the center. In the other, which he calls Agape, it is God who is at the center…if [eros] is a preparation [for the gospel], it is one which carries within itself and understanding about God and salvation which is diametrically opposed to what we have in biblical faith. In this sense, it is less a preparation and more a wrong turn. Why is this so?

    The movement of Eros spirituality is upward. Its essence, its drive, is the sinner finding God. The movement of Agape, by contrast, is downward. It is all about God finding the sinner. Eros spirituality is the kind of spirituality which arises from human nature and it builds on the presumption that it can forge its own salvation. Agape arises in God, was incarnate in Christ, and reaches us through the work of the Holy Spirit opening lives to receive the gospel of Christ’s saving death. In this understanding, salvation is given and never forged or manufactured. Eros is the projection of the human spirit into eternity, the immortalizing of its own impulses. Agape is the intrusion of eternity into life coming, not from below, but from above. Eros is human love. Agape is divine love. Human love of this kind, because it has need and want at its center, because it is always wanting to have its needs and wants satisfied, will always seek to control the object of its desires. That is why in these new spiritualities it is the spiritual person who makes up his or her beliefs and practices, mixing and matching and experimenting to see what works best, and assuming the prerogative to discard at will. The sacred is therefore loved for what can be had from loving it. The sacred is pursued because it has value to the pursuer and that value is measured in terms of the therapeutic payoff. There is, therefore, always a profit-and-loss mentality to these spiritualities.

    By contrast, in Agape faith, God is not loved simply for the benefits that flow from that loving such as the forgiveness of sins. He is loved for what he is in himself. If Eros loves the sacred because it is worth doing, Agape, by contrast, loves God without ulterior motives. Agape surrenders; Eros grasps. Agape loves simply and only because it should, because God is most lovable. This Agape faith loves God because it is the consequence of his Agape and in his love there is no calculation. It is a completely free and spontaneous love. He is to be worshipped even if there are no returns. Furthermore, he is sovereign and cannot be controlled or manipulated within the human spirit. Indeed, he is not even found naturally in the human spirit. His salvation is not by mystical technique or psychological understanding, but by grace, grace alone, grace coming from the outside, and grace that will not tolerate any human contribution. In Eros spirituality there is always a sense of self-sufficiency, on which is also suffused with pride; in Agape faith, it is precisely the recognition of the self’s spiritual
    insufficiency that is the condition for the coming of grace The one tries to storm eternity borne up on its own mortal wings; the other receives eternity as the pauper does the help which kindness extends.

    Contemporary spiritualities must be recognized as a form of temptation. The question they raise…is whether the Church is able to take its own revelation seriously…Christian faith, constituted by the Word of God and the Spirit of God, is not just an outcropping of human beings’ internal spirituality but something which, in its supernatural construction, in its uniqueness, stands apart from all other spiritualities. It is by the Word of God, given to the Church, that all religions and all spiritualities are to be judged. The “faith” of the spiritual seeker and the faith of the Christian believer may, in some way, look alike but, in fact, they are radically different. The one is the upward questing of the human spirit which speaks of human emptiness and uncertainty; the other is a work of God which speaks of His grace and judgment. As authentic as the human questing may be, it is still in biblical terms, unbelief. For the searching is not a search of the one locus in which God has spoken and decisively acted; it is a searching for its own sake, a searching for its own rewards. In religion of a Christian kind, we listen; in spirituality of a contemporary kind, we talk. In religion of a Christian kind, we accept a gift; in spirituality of a contemporary kind, we try to seize God. In the one, we are justified by the righteousness of Christ; in the other, we strive to justify ourselves. It is thus that spirituality is an enemy of faith.

    Many in the new seeker-sensitive movement in "doing church" have seen only the surface habits of this postmodern world and have not really understood its Eros spirituality ... And what is emerging, as the evangelical Church continues to empty itself of theology, is that it now finds that it is tapping, wittingly or not, into this broad cultural yearning for spirituality, and capitalizing on that disposition's inclination not to be religious. Evangelical spirituality without theology, that even sometimes despises theology, parallels almost exactly the broader cultural spirituality that is without religion. Evangelical faith without theology, without the structure and discipline of truth, is not Agape faith but it is much closer to Eros spirituality.

    This, however, is not understood. Church talk about "reaching" the culture turns, almost inevitably, into a discussion about tactics and methodology, not about worldviews. It is only about tactics and not about strategy. It is about seduction and not about truth, about success and not about confrontation. However, without strategy, the tactics inevitably fail; without truth, all the arts of seduction which the churches are practicing sooner or later are seen to be the empty charade that they are; and because the emerging worldview is not being engaged, the Church has little it can really say. Indeed, one has to ask how much it actually wants to say. biblical truth contradicts this cultural spirituality, and that contradiction is hard to bear. Biblical truth displaces it, refuses to allow its operating assumptions, declares to it its bankruptcy. Here, indeed, is an anti-god, dressed up in the garb of authenticity, but whose world is a world of fiction. In the evangelical Church faithful enough to explode the worldview of this new spiritual search? Is it brave enough to contradict what has wide cultural approval? The verdict may not be finally in but it seems quite apparent that while the culture is burning, the evangelical Church is fiddling precisely because it has decided it must be so much like the culture to be successful.

    ...The premise beneath all these spiritualities is that sin has not intruded upon the relation between the sacred and human nature, that human nature offers instant access - indeed, we assume unblemished access- to God, that human nature itself mediates the divine. Gone are the days when people understood than an avalanche has fallen between God and human beings, that human nature retains its shape as made in the image of God but has lost its relationship to God and stands in pained alienation from God...how can we be so knowledgeable about evil in the world and so innocent about sin in ourselves?..The reason of course, is that we have lost the moral world in which sin is alone understood...The consequence is that we have come to believe that the self retains its access to the sacred, and access not ruptured by sin.

    ... 52% of evangelicals agree with the statement "when people are born they are neither good nor evil-they make a choice between the two as they mature. Here is raw American individualism, the kind that places the burden of one's own deepest self-definitions on one's own individual choice," to use Bellah's words, and here is the heresy of Pelagianism which asserts that people are born innocent of sin, that sin is a set of bad practices which is caught later on in life rather like a disease. Sin, however, is not some small aberration, some violation of inconsequential Church rules; it is the clenched fist raised up against God. It is this rebellion which is now native to all human nature from its inception. IN America today, though, only 17% define sin in relation to God. The sense that God stands over against us, that there are any habits, practices, or beliefs of which he disapproves, has left us and so has our understanding of sin. Indeed even some prominent Christians, such as Robert Schuller, have come to think that we ought not to speak of sin because this kind of thing hurts people's feelings and assaults their self-esteem. It is our lost moral compass that produces this fallacious understanding of human nature, and it is this fallacious understanding which fuels and drives Eros spirituality. Our presumed innocence leads us to the assumption that the sacred is naturally, easily, and conveniently available to us, when we want it, and how we want it. The sacred is as available, as accessible, as the artifacts of capitalism which are displayed with such allure in the mall. It is there for the taking and we can have it in an unmediated way. [that makes Him] accessible on our own terms. In this understanding there is evil in the world but no sin. Sin is the breach of the divine order, the fist of rebellion shaken at God. Evil, on this postmodern understanding is simply something lacking between ourselves and the sacred and it is something which can be overcome. The gap can be closed.

    ...The reality...is that God stands over against us. To know him is not the same thing as knowing ourselves. This is the fatal principle of all paganism, that the divine and human are part and parcel of each other, that there is no absolute barrier between God and the creature, that the sacred is found in the self. ...[but] Grace is known only as God acts to make himself known through his Word and Spirit. It is only as the self-revealing God speaks again his ancient Word into the contemporary world that it is heard, only as the illuminating work of the Holy Spirit enters the recesses of a hearer's being that God's address as address is heard. Yet this hearing does not happen ... disconnected from the redemptive acts of Israel's history but, rather, it happens through and in connection with the acts within this narrative.

    Revelation, then, is public, not private. It is public in the sense that God's primary locus of communication is not within the self nor are his intentions accessed by intuition. He has spoken, and he continues to speak, through the words of Scripture which constitute the Word of God... since God brooks no rivals, he respects no self constructed sacred spaces. These are spaces in which the sinner declares his or her own sovereignty and, in projecting human want and need into eternity, is, in that very act, seeking to control eternity, to have it on his or her own terms. Eros spirituality, however, dies in the presence of God's Word because biblical truth destroys the sinner's sovereignty which is at the heart of this kind of spirituality.

    Agape spirituality and Eros spirituality, therefore, are not variations on a common theme but stark alternatives. In the one, God reaches down in his grace; in the other, the sinner reaches up in self-sufficiency. Not only are they entirely different in their structures and motivations but God's reaching down into someone's life actually excludes the possibility of that person reaching up. There is no possibility of a synergism here, of God's grace in Agape cooperating with the human desire of Eros. These spiritualities belong in two entirely different worlds. God's sovereignty exercised in the one excludes the humanly seized sovereignty exercised in the other. His grace is grace only when it does what no human effort or desire can do.

    Above All Earthly Pow’rs: Christ in a Postmodern World, (Pg. 158-175)

    Posted by John on May 8, 2006 11:12 AM

    Comments

    John, great post.

    I have some questions. Perhaps it's in the post and I missed it. Do Christians automatically gain the Agape world view at regeneration? My experience is that they don't. Does it then come via spiritual maturity as Christ-likeness grows in us? Does it come only to those believers who have surrendered to the complete Sovereignty of God?

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

    Brother Mike:

    That is a great question. One that is not easily answered. It seems to be different for different people.

    I think perhaps it has a lot to do with those who influence us as well as little "sprinkling" of Providence. :) For example, you go on a mission field to an unreached people group. You are the first this group has even heard of Christianity. As soon as God opens their ears to believe the gospel you preach you follow up by discipling them both individually and corporately as a church plant. Right away you ascribe salvation to God alone, that He came, sovereignly opened their eyes and hearts to the gospel by His Holy Spirit apart from their cooperation. "Not him who wills or runs but God who has mercy" (Rom 9:16) You show them from Scripture authority that this is indeed the Word of God. The likihood of those people embracing this is probably very high.

    The reason persons rebel against Agape is often related to what they have been taught previously (and pride). In the USA so many are grounded in churches with error filled theology that when they encounter the real thing they resist and become angry ... and it hurts because this part of their pride was not touched when taught the synergistic Eros gospel. Try teaching a new believer, even here in the states, who has never been to church in his life. His response is likely to be more positive.

    It might come by "spiritual maturity" but then again, people can believe this it at the time of salvation. It would be very difficult to try to define how or when it happens. I would say, that if the leaders of the church boldly taught this, then there is a high liklihood the lay folk would follow. So church leadership has a great deal to do with whether this is embraced or not. The Bible simply tells us to preach the truth, but it does not make clear at what stage people will embrace this. I would say, this should be one of the first things we teach new believers so there is no mistake that all glory goes to God.

    What do you think brother?

    Mike,

    You wrote: “Do Christians automatically gain the Agape world view at regeneration? My experience is that they don't.” The problem I have with your Q & A is the implication that a born-again one either has a 100% Agape worldview or he has none. But, do you know any Christian of any age that doesn’t have at least some traces of an Eros worldview? Each born-again one must receive some degree of an Agape worldview at regeneration for that is the essence of the beginning of conversion. Each person is who he is at each point in his life according to God’s sovereign decree. Contrast the Gaza road experience of the Ethiopian with the Damascus road experience of Saul. Neither began his trip with an Agape worldview, but both ended the trip with an Agape worldview to some degree. Knowing what we do about Paul’s background I think it not unreasonable to speculate that at the time of his regeneration his intellectual acumen and his knowledge of the Hebrew Scriptures exceeded those of the Ethiopian at the time of his regeneration. Paul with his knowledge of the book of Isaiah possibly saw Jesus throughout the book in a moment of illumination by the Holy Spirit, while the Ethiopian may have spent years of study to receive the similar illumination. Nevertheless, both would spent their remaining time on earth being sanctified by God, that is having their Agape worldview increased and their Eros worldview decreased, until God conformed them to the image of his Son.

    As to “spiritual maturity,” I really dislike that phrase. It is so subjective, “other-worldly.” R.C. Sproul has said something to the effect that many people had asked him about how to grow spiritually, but no one has asked about growing in righteousness. One’s righteous maturity can be objectively measured by Scripture, while spiritual maturity is anyone’s guess.

    Now as to “surrendered to the complete Sovereignty of God,” since all are always, at all times, subject to God’s sovereignty, even when one is in cosmic rebellion to God, there’s nothing to surrender, unless one means by surrender acknowledging the reality of God’s sovereignty. “(C)omplete Sovereignty of God” is a redundancy since God’s sovereignty is only a complete sovereignty. Some make think they can fence off some part of their life from God, but that is a delusion and such thinking is in and of itself a result of God’s sovereign decree.

    Gordon

    No wonder you loved your time in China. That sounds like a wonderful experience.

    I agree with you John. It is a mixed bag. We are all different. I think that we do a horrible job of discipling new believers. That contributes a lot to the uneveness in maturity we see in our churches.

    For me the Agape world view came home when God woke me up to the reality of His sovereignty. What I write about is not popular with the unhungry (is that a word?) If a believer is stuck in the Eros World view, he or she treats what I write about (spiritual growth) as if they are reading the unedited version of Dante's Inferno or something. It is Greek to them. However, when that one in ten person with a hungry heart starts down the path of pursuing God then they latch on to these truths and consume them ravenously.

    So, yes, it depends on where a person is in their walk. I have to believe that God wants all of His people on the path of Agape World view though.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

    Gordon,

    I agree that none of us are 100% Agape, no matter how mature we become. Spiritual Maturity and how righteous we become are talking about the same thing. When I say someone is more mature than I am or not that is what I am talking about. However, along with that Spiritual Maturity is not really measuring anything. I refer to it as how a believer has been granted repentance by God to overcome besetting sins and actually grows in grace enough to become more righteous.

    I used the surrender to the comeplete Soverignty of God to express something that I have a hard time putting into words. I am attempting to describe the believer who has matured to the point they are no longer synergistic in their approach to their circumstances, but rather are in "surrender" mode to the will of God in all things. That "surrender" is more monergistic in nature in that the believer knows that God is sovereign and has surrendered to His will in all things.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

    Mike

    Thanks for all of your comments....you said, "So, yes, it depends on where a person is in their walk."

    I am not sure what you mean by "in their walk". The Lord converted me when I read Romans 9:16. The Spirit immediately showed me, contrary to my new age mysticism at the time, that I was not God, that He alone was God, and He had mercy on whom he had mercy and He hardened whom he would harden. In other words, it was totally unrelated to any kind of "spiritual maturity" since I was just a babe. The Lord was just at the beginning of His work of sanctification in me. You said in your experience that people do not gain this worldview until later ... But of course, the degree of understanding this may grow over time.

    again I do not think it has only to do with maturity, but God's illumination. To some it is unveiled at conversion, to some God shows along the way. It is entirely up to Him. For if we consider my previous comment that many are under bad teaching ...well this too, is the sovereign hand of God for He has a purpose in taking them through it, just as he had in taking me through New Age and Occult before showing me His kingdom. It is a mystery which I must simply fall before Him in awe of.


    John,

    I agree with you. I, and a lot of other believers I know, use the terms, "in their walk" or "spiritual maturity" very loosely. I think we, me foremost, should rethink how we use terms like that.

    I was the opposite of you. I was a believer for nearly 20 years before God started waking me up to these things.

    The thing I see coming through this discussion is God's illumnation. It is all up to Him and how He brings circumstances and understanding into our lives to change us unto the image of His Son. Yes, it is a mystery why so many of our brothers and sisters are in hands of bad leaders. God is sovereign over it all.

    I asked those questions because it is such a mystery. It sure isn't up to us. We are held accountable to how we respond to His truth, but He controls the circumstances.

    When I refer to spiritual maturity I am not referring to bible knowledge or how long a person has been a believer, but to what degree a believer is Spirit-led rather than self-focused. When I say Spirit-led I am really referring to Tenderheartedness towards God. The opposite would be self-focused, self-absorbed or whatever. When we are like that our hearts are relatively hard towards God. God, in his timing and sovereignty can and will smash our hard hearts and recreate them according to His will. That is what happened to me in August of 2004. In fact, the difference before and after was so severe that I have often wondered if my real salavation happend then.

    Being an extremely detail oriented person (God made me this way) who has to figure out how everything works then I do spend a lot of time trying to understand this.I deeply hunger for that illumnation from God. I have an overwhelming desire to know the deep things of God and teach them to all who will listen. But, it is still all up to Him and I too fall before Him in awe.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff


    Mike,

    You don't need to approve this for inclusion in the comments. I just wanted to say 'Thank You' for sharing this excerpt from your book. It hit me right where I have been struggling - with ever increasing intensely - for a number of years. Your comments cleared up and also verified much of what I had been thinking about and struggling with in my walk.

    I praise God for leading me to this site and directly to this article - via the email I received this evening about the www.TheTruthAboutDaVinci.com web site!

    My deepest and most sincere apologies, John, for not paying attention and calling you Mike.

    At the moment of conversion, when suddenly you have been filled by the Holy Spirit, you instantly know for the first time in your life that God is real, that somehow He has just come near to you and touched you, and you are overwhelmed emotionally and physically by this experience. Any concept of God or faith or hope in His love you had before this experience, this moment in time, is swept away in complete irrelevance.You now know the sovereignty of God. And it is as if you are a newborn babe. Internally you are stirred as a pot of soup on the stove. Every emotion and opinion you thought you had about life and people is completely turned around. The Holy Spirit inside you now begins to show you how God thinks. You see life through His eyes and it is startling and upsetting. So you move forward in your understanding, with not a shred of active participation, simply as a helpless babe in the crib. You start to learn. Your emotions are raw. You cry alot. You realize people around you do not see what you now see with your spiritual eyes, and they do not feel as you do with your tender heart of flesh. You realize you are alone in this journey, alone except for the Spirit which is in you, which never leaves you. You also now have the Scriptures. They enter you as hammer blows, at first. As shocking as they are, your soul is frantic for more and more information. It is as the starving baby desperate for food.

    Thank you, John, for bringing up this important topic! I'm going through something right now that speaks to this very issue, it's wonderful how God takes care of me through others like you!

    I really enjoyed thinking about the ideas and questions posed, and wanted to address the issue of the Ethiopian to Gordon... recently I've been learning much about Ethiopian Jews, it is a sect that goes back to the time of King Solomon, so I'm not so certain that this Ethiopian did not have a very strong history of scriptural learning behind him, just no Holy Spirit to explain it all to him.

    Anyway, just another possibility regarding this comparison between the Ethiopian and the Apostle Paul's conversions.

    Thank you John, for this website, a wealth of information!

    Susan

    I am 2 years out from these comments, but am re-reading some of Wells'books. As a Lutheran we are both sinner and saint until death. We cannot achieve "agape"standing in this life. Sin is not something we do, it is what we are. Yet in his mercy, God saves us through Christ's death. Beautiful.

    Hi!

    RE: Eros Spirituality Vs. Agape Faith by David F. Wells
    - AND -
    Above All Earthly Powers: Christ in a Postmodern World, (Pg. 158-175)
    Posted by John on May 8, 2006 11:12 AM

    Thank you VERY much John (whatever is your last name) Ha! - for posting this article and excerpt on the web. WOW! - this guy David F. Wells, sure has an amazing insight!!! Having lived through the personal experience that was analogous to the injured Samaritan along the roadside, I can tell you this article is "spot on!" as they say in England! (Smiles here!)

    Even though my name is David Wells, I am NOT David F. Wells, ha! However, I share the same first and last name, so maybe that may have some unknown fateful meaning, I dunno! Additionally, I "stumbled" across this website, by doing, another Google search for something entirely different, and it had nothing to do with Christianity or spirituality or God or anything resembling that type of search: THEREFORE, I do feel that the "hand of God" was guiding me to this particular website and webpage, because I believe "chance" seldom happens, if ever.

    Thus, I shall tell my experiential story involving the present day "luke warm" Laodicea so-called "Christian" church.

    BACKGROUND MATERIAL IN THIS TRUE STORY.

    I was biking on a pathway along the roadside on a Friday night (without lights and without wearing my helmet, unfortunately), as it was a warm summer's night and stupidly, I didn't think either was necessary. After all, I had ridden thousand of days and/or nights with a helmet, and hadn't needed it in the least, or even come close to needing it, or so I thought. Yup, you can see the rest of the storyline coming can't you? Ha!

    Well, I was coming home from a church single's group gathering at the church, so maybe I was feeling "religiously high" or something, I dunno!!!

    Anyway, the church was (and still is) in a denomination that was (is) named: "Baptist General Conference" and it was (is) located in Fresno, Calif.. It was one of the few largest churches of that denomination and it also is one of the few largest churches in the city of Fresno.

    There were two of the Baptist General Churches located in Fresno and this one sprung from the other, however, I think the "parent" church that was running around 5,000 people on an average Sunday, has now become a "community" "independent" church (I suppose because it thinks it's more spiritual, now that two of its pastors have been publicized in the local city newspaper as having had adulterous affairs). Thus, the church that I was coming from was also a so-called "evangelical fundamental" church, according to most people's definition of that phrase.

    I had been a member of that denomination for over 30 years, most of which were years spent in those two churches located in Fresno. Having come from the "parent sister" church across town in northwest Fresno, I merely went to this church without transferring my membership; because, I already knew the pastor fairly well, as he had been the assistant pastor at the "parent sister" church on the other side of the city. I also knew the single's pastor fairly well from my attending there for at least 9 months or more. It's named: New Covenant Community Church - http://www.newcov.com/

    Anyway, I had the unfortunate situation of being involved in a head-on collision with another bicycle and bicyclist at approximately 30 miles per hour, if one considers us each going approximately 15 mile per hour each. Thus, I went down and struck my head against the pavement and was knocked out cold for over ten minutes, or at least until the ambulance got there and the attendants started picking me up. I still don't know if they gave me "smelling salts" to "awake" me or not. Thus, they carted me off to the emergency unit of the closest hospital. There I was finally seen by a doctor about 9 hours later, and given a used T shirt to replace my bloody long sleeved dress shirt and 4 steel staples "stapled" into my head (scalp). (Great Service!) Ha! At least I didn't set off the magnetic door alarm on my way out! Hmmnnn, there's a thought to ponder!

    Sooooooooo, about a half an hour after I was discharged and went to the bathroom, I called the single's pastor, from the waiting room section of the hospital's emergency room area. I asked him if he could come and get me and/or knew of anyone that could, and put me up for a night or two in his or other's home, so that I could shower and also placidly recover from my wounds and bad experience. I was homeless at the time, and thus it was a little tough to find a shower and a bed in my condition, and the rescue mission was 4 miles down towards the center of town! Besides, I never did like trying to sleep with all the other guys' snoring!

    Since I'm a college grad, and never been drunk, nor never taken illegal drugs, clean shaven, was a LONGTIME member of this particular denomination, and knew this pastor for a reasonable amount of time, - I figured it was a reasonable request. He seemed to think so too, I think??????? However, looking back now, he could have dished me off to the "assistant pastor" because he felt I was a political hot potato, I dunno??? Anyway, ----- he said he'd try to help me, but was on his way out to another appointment and couldn't, but would have "someone" get in touch with me as soon as possible. Thus, I presumed, that he would find someone, like a deacon, and that my reasonable request would be resolved.

    WELLLLLLLLLLL, yes-er-reeeeeee, he found someone all right! The assistant pastor called me back, via my pager number!!! - and quite quickly I might add, only about 10 or fifteen minutes later.

    He and I talked a little, and I explained my circumstances, and told him what my "humble and prayerful" desires were and he promptly told me "I can't do that. I'd like to help you, but I don't know you well enough!" I responded, "Well, I can understand that, but what if I furnished you with names and phone numbers of references, I've lived in the Fresno area for over 35 years and have some good professional people as references, I'm just in a financial bind and low point in my life now." "Nope, I still can't do that.", he said. "But, I'll pray for you!!!", he said, as if his hope and prayers would solve my problem like giving someone a stone when they ask for bread. And --- I said: "I'll pray for you too!", and, "Thank you for you time. I appreciate it very much." and then I softly and sadly said, "Good-bye" and hung up the phone.

    The story doesn't end there regarding so called "Christians" and their "help" in that incident, but I've written enough for now, that any reader can get the main point among MANY points of the story. I wouldn't give you a cow's pie in a pasture for 99.9% of the people that call themselves "Christian", and I've been one for over 50 years now, so I've had a lot of experience, in addition to the above single incident.

    I love God and Jesus the Messiah (Christ) with all my heart and all my soul. But I am constantly humbled by how much they loved me first and also love me back in return for my love by blessing me each day. I am NOW convinced they (the trinity) do it DIRECTLY, and not through some professing idiot who calls him or her self a
    "Christian".

    May all who read this story, understand, being a Christian by faith and profession is not enough, it's "works" that seal their profession and faith like the binding of "glue" in the "envelope and letter" of life; and, "faith without works is DEAD!" as the book of James in the Bible declares.

    We are clearly eros in nature, and when the agape comes into our heart the natural tendency is to adopt the agape by the eros. Or in biblical terms to accomplish the results of the Spirit by the works of the flesh. However, when we accept the Rest of the Lord that He gives us, we stop trying to do anything on our own except that which the Spirit leads us to do. The Church as a system can not exist as a system unless it continues to encourage the works of the flesh, or the eros, to help the Spirit. For if we can add nothing to salvation, and we can not, then why do we keep trying to help God? Because we are a people who need purpose, and the businesses we call "church" need to have a purpose, therefore they continue to encourage the eros.

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