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Old 02-20-2013, 11:37 AM   #1
UntoHim
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Default Setting the Mind on the Spirit - The Vanishing Verb

LSM’s Spurious Hermeneutics:
“Setting the Mind on the Spirit”--the Vanishing Verb

NIGEL TOMES


I. Introduction

A key teaching of LSM’s Local Church movement concerns “setting the mind on the spirit (not the flesh).” W. Lee states,1 “We should set our mind upon the spirit. This is the key. We must practice just one thing: setting our mind upon the spirit and walking according to the spirit.” Romans 8:6-7 is the crucial passage regarding this; LSM’s Recovery Version renders it, “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the spirit is life and peace. Because the mind set on the flesh is enmity against God…” (Rom. 8:6-7a, RcV). Some other translations are similar; but, for LSM, this verse is plays a more pivotal role since it justifies their distinctive practices. In LSM’s exposition the verb, “set” is crucial; they exhort believers to “set your mind on the spirit,” to “turn to your spirit”2 and (in the words of a 1970s song) “get out of your mind, get your spirit in gear.” This phrase is used to legitimize distinctive Local Church practices like “calling on the Lord,” “pray-reading,” and “PSRPing the Ministry.”3

Other Bible translations render Rom. 8:6 differently. The NKJV has “For to be carnally [fleshly] minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Rom. 8:6). The NIV renders it “The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.” These versions have no equivalent to “set,” and hence no immediate implications for spiritual exercise (calling, pray-reading, etc). This raises the issue--which translation better reflects the Greek original? More importantly, is LSM’s interpretation justified?

LSM interprets Rom. 8:6 within the paradigm of man’s 3-parts—body, soul (including mind) and spirit. The Recovery Version’s commentary states,4 “the crucial item is the mind. The mind is the leading part of the soul… between the regenerated mingled spirit and the fallen body, the flesh… The mind may have two different actions… it can cause us to be either in the spirit or in the flesh.” Hence Local Church believers are exhorted to take5 “care of our mind, always setting it in the right direction... If you set your mind on the spirit, you will walk according to the spirit. …By setting our mind on our spirit we put to death all the practices of the body. …It is a constant daily exercise. …turning our mind to the spirit and setting it on the spirit.” The operative word here is the verb, “set,” believers are exhorted to “set their mind on their spirit,” not their flesh. This paper asks: Is LSM’s interpretation of Romans 8:6-7 valid or is it spurious? Narrowing the topic allows us to focus on LSM’s key teaching regarding “setting the mind on the spirit.” Since the key Greek word— phronema —appears only four times in the entire New Testament, all of them in Romans 8 (vv 6-7, 27), this focus seems appropriate.

Vanishing Verb

Turning to the original Greek text of Romans 8:6-7 reveals a striking fact—it contains no verb, none whatsoever! A literal translation from Greek yields, “For the mind of the flesh [is] death, and the mind of the Spirit--life and peace.” [Rom. 8:6 Young’s Literal Translation]. Note that the verb “is” has been supplied by the translator; even this verb is absent in the original Greek text. Hence, a notable feature is that, moving from English translations back to the Greek original—the verb vanishes! This observation is important since LSM’s interpretation centers on the verb, “set”—“setting the mind on the spirit (not the flesh).” This “vanishing verb” ought to raise a “red flag.” We ask—how can LSM’s hermeneutic, centered on the verb, “set,” which is nonexistent in the Greek text, be valid? If the Apostle Paul really intended to charge believers to “set their minds on the spirit,” wouldn’t he explicitly exhort them to do so? In the following we first outline LSM’s teaching in more detail (section II) and then examine its validity (Section III).


II. LSM’s teaching about “Setting the Mind


A Major Focus

W. Lee maintains that “setting the mind on the spirit (or flesh)” is the focal point of Romans 8:6-7. He asks rhetorically,6 “What then is the major point in [Rom. 8] verse 6? The major point is the setting of the mind. …The major thing in verse 7 is a mind set on the flesh.” This emphasis produces a call to action, not in terms of outward activity, but in terms of interior orientation—believers are exhorted to “set their mind” on their innermost spirit, rather than their outer flesh. Hence, W. Lee says,7 “The mind should not be turned outward, but inward …on the spirit inwardly.” The correct inner orientation is presented as a prerequisite for Spirit-led living. W. Lee says,8 “To set our mind on our spirit is the first step …The second step is to walk according to spirit (Rom. 8:4). First, we must set our mind on the spirit. Then we must walk according to spirit.” The payoffs to this exercise include a changed relationship between mind and spirit; W. Lee states,9 “When your mind is set on the spirit, making your mind one with the spirit, then the spirit becomes the spirit of your mind. There would be no distinction between the mind and the spirit …no separation. The two would become one. Your mind would be the spirit, and your spirit would be the mind, because your mind would be on the spirit, and your spirit would be saturating your mind.”

Constant Daily Exercise

W. Lee admonished Local Church believers to constantly “set their mind on the spirit.” He exhorted them,10 “Day by day and even moment by moment, we need to set our mind, which represents our whole being, on the mingled spirit.” On another occasion he said,11 “All day long we need to set our mind on nothing but our spirit. …learn to practice setting our mind on our spirit all the time. This …produces the growth of life.”

W. Lee identifies the general neglect of “setting the mind on the spirit” as a major failing among believers. He asserts,12 “The Lord couldn't have the Body life for centuries because there were no Christians who were … walking according to spirit, setting the mind on the spirit… We must be such a person in such a living. Right away we will be in the Body of Christ in an actual way.” Moreover, he says,13 “until you live in this way—setting your mind upon the spirit and putting to death all the activities of your body—you are not adequate for the Body of Christ.”

“The Christian [is] a miniature Garden of Eden”—W. Lee

LSM reinforces the imperative for “setting the mind on the spirit” by appealing to Adam’s situation in the Garden of Eden. W. Lee states,14 “the Christian [is] a miniature garden of Eden. In the garden man faced the tree of life on the one hand and the tree of knowledge on the other. Now …we have the tree of life in our spirit and the tree of knowledge in our flesh. We need to decide whether we shall set our mind on the flesh and suffer death or whether we shall set our mind on the spirit and enjoy life and peace.” Hence the Christian’s choice regarding setting their mind on the flesh or spirit is equated with Adam’s momentous choice between the two trees in Eden.

“Universal Battle between God & Satan”—W. Lee

W. Lee also depicts the believer’s decision regarding setting their mind as part of the cosmic battle between Satan and God. He says,15 “We are a battlefield, and the universal battle between God and Satan is raging within us. The outcome of this battle is determined by where we set our mind. If we set our mind on the self and thereby are cut off from the spirit, Satan gains ground. But if we stay in the spirit and set our mind on the spirit, God gains the victory.”

Instantly Spiritual

W. Lee asserts that believers can become instantly spiritual by “setting the mind on the spirit”. In this context becoming “spiritual” is not the outcome of growth in the Christian life or passing through life-changing experiences. Instead it is a condition that can be attained instantly. W. Lee calls this “the secret to being spiritual,” he says,16 “For many years I have been trying to practice being spiritual and to find a way or a secret to be spiritual. …After many years of experience I would say that the way to be spiritual is to set your mind on the spirit, making your mind one with the spirit. This is to be spiritual.” He also states,17 “the way to be in the spirit is to set your mind on the spirit, making your mind one with the spirit. Then you are in the spirit. When you are in the spirit, you are spiritual. When you are in the flesh, you are fleshly, or even fleshy.” Note this also means a believer can switch from being “spiritual” to “fleshly,” and back again, in a moment. The Local Church charge, “turn to your spirit” also assumes the believer can “turn on a dime” to become spiritual. We ask: Doesn’t this teaching have the potential for generating schizophrenic Christians, exhibiting “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” oscillations between being “spiritual” and being “fleshly”?

“Your Mind is the Switch”—W. Lee

W. Lee employs the analogy of the mind as a “switch.” He says,18 “Electricity is an excellent illustration of the Spirit of life. Electricity is invisible… The Spirit of life is the same… It must be first installed in our home, and then we need to use a switch… The divine Spirit as the heavenly electricity has been installed in our spirit.” Applying this, he says,19 “It is easy to move from death to life or from life to death… to move from one realm to another…We can just as easily switch on an electric light as we can switch it off. It is the same with death and life. We can switch on to the spirit and be in life, or we can switch off and be in death.” The key, W. Lee asserts, is the mind,20 “Your mind is the switch. When you set your mind on the spirit, you switch on.” He expounds further, asking,21 “Why then do you have some problems? It is because your mind goes to the wrong place. Your mind takes the wrong way. Instead of being set upon the spirit, it is set upon the flesh. …For e.g., when you turn on the switch the entire building enjoys the electricity. But when you turn off the switch, the entire building loses the enjoyment of the electricity. In like manner, when your mind goes to the spirit, you get …the enjoyment of the divine Spirit. But when your mind comes to the flesh, you get into the fall, into hell. When your mind goes down to the flesh, you have to prepare yourself to get into hell.” Again the focus is “switching on,” instantly “turning to the spirit,” by setting the mind on the spirit. W. Lee says,22 “We need to cooperate by turning on the ‘switch.’ If we turn on the switch by setting our mind on the spirit …the saving law will operate to set us free from the bondage of sin. If we do not turn on the switch, the law of the Spirit of life will not work.”

Mechanical View


W. Lee’s metaphor is striking. Yet it produces a mechanical view the Christian’s inner life and the believer’s relationship with God. In this analogy the Holy Spirit is not a Person, but a “Force” or Power. Hence, W. Lee states,23 “The divine Spirit as the heavenly electricity has been installed in our spirit.” Plus, the believer’s mind has no role or function in and of itself; it is just a switch. The implicit depreciation of the believer’s mind was reflected in the words of a 1970s Local Church song “get out of your mind get your spirit in gear.” The author recalls being admonished, “Get out of your mind, brother!” Within this paradigm the believer’s mind is merely a “switch” or lever, oriented either to the flesh or spirit. Here, according to W. Lee, there are only two options24—connect with the “divine electricity from the throne in heaven” or “get into the fall, into hell.”

Basis for Local Church Practices—Calling & Pray-Reading

This teaching buttresses the Local Church practice of “calling on the Lord’s name.” That, W. Lee says, is how to “turn on the switch.” He says,25 “This divine electricity is rich to all who ‘switch on,’ and the way to ‘switch on’ is to call on the name of the Lord. By calling on the Lord we exercise our spirit. If we simply think about what the Lord is to us, we do not have any practical contact with Him. …[But] by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus we are …kept in the spirit.” He continues,26 “What we need today is not the objective teachings, but the practical contact with the Lord by turning on the switch. As we call upon the name of the Lord, we touch the Spirit…” W. Lee finds a basis for this27 “In [Rom. 8] verse 15 …in which we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ To cry is to switch on. Whenever you cry, ‘O Father! Abba, Father!’ that is to switch on. Learn to cry… O Lord Jesus! O Father! O Abba, Father! Today's Christians are dead because they are too silent. Learn to cry. Suppose I visited your home; could I hear a crying in your home? We all have to learn to cry. Have you ever considered that to cry is to switch on? Are you in darkness? Cry!”

Elsewhere W. Lee includes practices such as pray-reading and reading his Life-study messages, as means to “set the mind on the spirit.” He says,28 “We have the best help to set our mind upon the spirit, that is, the Bible. And the best means is to pray-read. Whenever you pray-read the Bible, your mind is set upon the spirit.” Likewise he says,29 “We are also charged to set our mind on the spirit (Rom. 8:6). This is mostly accomplished by reading and pray-reading the Word.” Elsewhere he says,30 “by these few practices of calling on the Lord's name, of pray-reading the Word …and of reading the life-study messages …[the] practice of the minding will become the setting of the mind.” No doubt LSM appeals to other Scriptures as the basis for ‘calling on the Lord, pray-reading, etc., but the exhortation to ‘set the mind on the spirit’ is used to augment these Scriptures; it is an important component of LSM’s theological system.


III. PHRONEMA [φρόνημα]—Mentality, Mind-set, ‘Frame of Mind’


Having examined LSM’s teaching regarding ‘setting the mind on the spirit,’ we turn to New Testament scholars’ analysis of the Greek text of Romans 8. The key Greek word here is Phronema [φρόνημα]. It occurs only four times in the New Testament, all of them in Romans 8; it is used twice with "τῆς σαρκός" (of the flesh) and twice with "τοῦ πνεύματος" (of the spirit/Spirit). The crucial passage reads: “for the mind [phronema] of the flesh [is] death, and the mind [phronema] of the Spirit–life and peace; because the mind [phronema] of the flesh [is] enmity to God ...and He who is searching the hearts knowns what [is] the mind [phronema] of the Spirit” (Rom. 8:6-7, 27). Theological dictionaries (e.g. DNTT) define Phronema as31 “way of thinking, mentality.”

Concerning Romans 8, Dr. Douglas J. Moo, NT Professor at Wheaton College, says,32 “The word for ‘mind’ in these verses is not nous …but phronema, perhaps better translated as ‘mindset,’ or ‘frame of mind.’ Paul is contrasting two kinds of consciousness and intentionality ([Rom. 8] verses 6-7, 27). Outside of the four times here in Romans 8, phronema is not found in the New Testament… Phronema which can be rendered ‘mind-set’ …denotes the basic direction of a person’s will.” He also says,33 “Phronema is our fundamental orientation, the convictions and heart attitude that steers the course of our life.” Reflecting this, the Holman Christian Standard Bible renders Rom. 8:6 as: “For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace.” (Rom. 8:6, HSCB, 2009). Similarly, the Lexham English Bible translation has, “For the mindset of the flesh [is] death, but the mindset of the Spirit [is] life and peace” (Rom. 8:6, LEB, 2010).

Prof. James D. G. Dunn renders Rom. 8:6 as, “For the flesh’s way of thinking is death, but the Spirit’s way of thinking is life and peace.” Expounding on the phrase, “way of thinking,” he states,34 “the modern composite ‘mindset’ probably comes closest to the sense, including both a fixed and resolute way of thinking…The mindset of the flesh is…under the rule of death and inexorably heading for death…” The understanding of these New Testament scholars contradicts W. Lee’s exposition regarding ‘setting the mind on the flesh or spirit.’

Description, Not Exhortation

A common thread among Bible scholars is that Phronema is a noun and not a verb; it describes a person’s settled way of thinking, mindset, mentality, or frame of mind. It is not a verb, indicating an action, such as “setting the mind.” Hence it does not provide the basis for a spiritual exercise or practice. I have not found one reputable Bible scholar who endorses LSM’s hermeneutic regarding ‘setting the mind on the spirit.’ Plus, scholars assert that this part of Romans 8 is a description, not an exhortation. Dr. Thomas R. Schreiner of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary says emphatically,35 “Romans 8:5-7 constitutes not an exhortation but a description of the mindset of those in the flesh and those in the Spirit. An exhortation to live according to the Spirit is not present in Rom. 8:5-8. Paul describes the actual mindset of those who are according to flesh and Spirit.” Hence, these scholars conclude that, contrary to LSM’s exposition, Paul is not exhorting the believers to ‘set their mind on the spirit.’

Dr. Douglas Moo concurs, saying,36 “[In] Romans 8 vv5-8 …Paul’s overall intention is clear: to show that sarx [flesh] brings death while the Spirit gives life (v. 6). Paul leads up to this key claim by tracing people’s manner of life to their underlying way of thinking. The lifestyle of the flesh flows from a mind oriented to the flesh, whereas the lifestyle of the Spirit comes from a mind oriented to the Spirit…” Thus phronema describes a person’s “underlying way of thinking,” which is oriented either towards the flesh or Spirit. It is a person’s fundamental orientation, their settled convictions and attitudes which steer the course of their life (Moo). Hence, contrary to LSM, it is not something which can be changed instantly, by “switching on or off.” Prof. James Dunn agrees, saying,37 “What Paul has in mind must be opposing patterns of mind-set and lifestyle—two alternative types …of humanity, the two basic levels on which individuals can operate.” Along the same lines, Byrne and Harrington write,38 “Paul spells out the contrast between two actual ways of living in terms of the outcome (death or life) to which each, respectively, leads. As a middle term …he introduces (vv. 5-6) the idea of the mind-set (phronema) characteristic of each. In Pauline use phronema goes beyond thought and aspiration to include actual achievement.” Thus two alternative mind-sets issue in two actual ways of living with differing results (life vs. death). Romans 8 does not describe an action or exercise, using the mind as a “switch” between flesh and spirit. Moreover this exposition is consistent with Romans 8:27 which says, “He who is searching the hearts [i.e., God] knowns what [is] the mind [phronema] of the Spirit.” This means God knows the Spirit’s way of thinking, His aims and orientation. In contrast LSM’s Recovery Version39 translates this phrase (8:27) differently than the earlier verses (8:6-7), despite their commonalities.

Phronema—the inclination of our inner being—Bill Freeman

A less academic exposition is offered by Bill Freeman, a former Local Church leader. He says:40

“To be carnally [fleshly] minded or spiritually minded is to be inwardly inclined. Many translations have attempted to capture this thought in different ways. The ASV says, ‘For the mind of the flesh is death; but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace.’ The Concordant Literal NT translates it, "For the disposition of the flesh is death, yet the disposition of the spirit is life and peace." The Emphasized Bible by Rotherham says, ‘For what is preferred by the flesh is death, whereas what is preferred by the spirit is life and peace.’ All of these translations attempt to capture the depth of the Greek word phronema used here by Paul.

This New Testament word phronema, according to the Greek lexicons, means the bent or direction of the mind, emotions, and will. In other words, it refers to the inclination of all the faculties of our inner being. Romans 8:6 tells us that the very source of the bent and inclination toward life and peace is the Spirit. It is the Spirit that produces a Spirit-inclined disposition in us that registers the consciousness of life and peace. In fact, this is one of the major things the Spirit accomplishes in us— inclining our inner being toward the things of God.” [Bill Freeman, The Supplied Life.]

It is significant that Bill Freeman’s exposition contains no echo of LSM’s teaching about ‘setting the mind.’ No doubt he is familiar with that exposition, yet Bill Freeman doesn’t mention ‘setting the mind on the spirit.’ Rather he states that phronema means the “the bent or direction …the inclination …of our inner being.” Moreover, in his exposition the causation runs from the Spirit to the mind/thinking, not vice-versa as in LSM’s exposition. He asserts that, “It is the Spirit that produces a Spirit-inclined disposition in us.” Thus Bill Freeman views the Holy Spirit as the source or cause of the believer’s mindset which inclines towards the things of God and, consequently, issues in life and peace. In support of this view, Brice L. Martin writes,41 “It is not my phronema [way of thinking, mindset] but the Spirit’s (cf. Rom. 8:27)….” This understanding is reflected in the NIV rendering “the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace” (Rom. 8:6b, NIV) and the TNIV translation, “the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.” (Rom. 8:6b, TNIV)

Conclusion

LSM offers a unique interpretation of the important passage in Romans 8. W. Lee emphasized the exercise of believers to “set their mind on their spirit, rather than their flesh.” Local Church members were exhorted to constantly use the “switch” of their mind, in order to turn from the flesh to the spirit, by calling on the Lord’s name or pray-reading. In this way they were assured of becoming instantly spiritual, of being qualified for the Body life, of defeating Satan and giving God the victory. Thus Romans 8:6-7 plays a pivotal role in LSM’s Local Churches’ teaching and practice. Often brothers and sisters, discouraged perhaps by personal health, job or relationship issues, were simply charged to “turn to your spirit”42 as the solution for every difficulty, the panacea for all ills.

When examined against the Biblical Greek text, LSM’s teaching about “setting the mind on the spirit” is built on “sinking sand.” It lacks a solid biblical basis. W. Lee’s teachings on this topic rely on English translations of Romans 8:6-7 which render the Greek noun, phronema in terms of the verb, “set.” There is in fact no verb whatsoever in the original Greek; going from English translations back to the original Greek, the verb vanishes. Rather than translating the crucial phrase, “the mind set on the spirit,” with the verb, “set,” Bible scholars suggest the Greek term phronema be rendered by nouns, such as, “mindset, mentality, frame of mind, or resolute way of thinking.” Moreover, they point out that this passage is a description, not an exhortation. This contradicts W. Lee’s teaching on this topic. Hence we conclude that LSM’s idiosyncratic interpretation of Romans 8:6-7 is not substantiated by this Scripture. Whether elements of LSM’s teaching regarding “setting the mind on the spirit,” can be sustained based upon other Scriptures is another question, which goes beyond the scope of this piece.

Nigel Tomes,

Toronto, CANADA,
February, 2013.

As always, the views and opinions expressed here are those of the author alone. They do not reflect the views of the believers, elders and/or churches with whom he is associated.

Notes:

1. W. Lee, Life-Study of Romans, Chapter 34, Section 4

2. The phrase “turn to your spirit” was used as a short-form for “turn your mind from the flesh to the spirit” and equivalent to “set your mind on the spirit.” W. Lee employs the phrase in this way when he says, “When your temper or any other negative thing rises up in you, do not attempt to suppress it. Instead, turn your mind, your being, to the mingled spirit and call on the name of the Lord Jesus.” [W. Lee, Life-Study of Romans, Chapter 40, Section 3, emphasis added.] Similarly he says, “Whenever we say, ‘O Lord,’ right away we turn our mind to the spirit. By continually calling on His name, we set our mind on the spirit, and that is life and peace. But when we turn our mind to the flesh, right away that is death.” [W. Lee, Fulfillment of God's Purpose by the Growth of Christ in Us, Chapter 10, Section 3, emphasis added]

3. PSRP stands for Pray-reading, Study, Reciting, and Prophesying. The object of this sequence is the writings of Witness Lee (published by Living Stream Ministry [LSM]). W. Lee endorsed this practice, saying, “I want to encourage us once again to get the points of these outlines into us by following the pattern of the saints in Taiwan. They pray-read the outlines, study them, recite the points of the outlines, and then they speak these points to one another, that is, they prophesy. [i.e. PSRP] The churches in Taiwan have been revived by taking this way. If we take this way, I believe that the churches in Southern California will have a big revival.” [W. Lee, Vital Groups, Chapter 14, Section 3]

4. Note 1, Rom. 8:6, LSM’s Recovery Version of the Bible [RcV]

5. W. Lee, Life-Study of Romans, Chapter 16, Section 5

6. W. Lee, Perfecting Training, Chapter 38, Section 1

7. W. Lee, Life-Study of Romans, Chapter 16, Section 5. We note here that W. Lee interprets “spirit” as the “mingled spirit,” combining the Holy Spirit with the human spirit. He says, “We have mentioned previously that spirit in this verse is not capitalized, indicating that it refers to the mingled spirit. It is not merely our human spirit nor merely the Holy Spirit, but the two spirits mingled together as one.” [W. Lee, Perfecting Training, Chapter 46, Section 1] That being the case, it is irrelevant (for our purposes) whether expositors capitalize the word “Spirit” or not (“spirit’), since both are involved.

8. W. Lee, Triune God to Be Life to the Tripartite Man, Chapter 6, Section 6. Along the same lines W. Lee says, “Probably the setting of the mind on the spirit comes first; firstly the mind is set upon the spirit, and then you walk according to the spirit.” [W. Lee, Perfecting Training, Chapter 46, Section 1, emphasis added]

9. W. Lee, Perfecting Training, Chapter 38, Section 3, emphasis added

10. W. Lee, Life-Study of Romans, Chapter 39, Section 3

11. W. Lee, Experience and Growth in Life, Chapter 6, Section 2 “Along the same lines, he says, “every minute in the day you set your mind upon the spirit” [W. Lee, Perfecting Training, Chapter 27, Section 2]

12. W. Lee, Perfecting Training, Chapter 31, Section 5, emphasis added

13. W. Lee, Perfecting Training, Chapter 27, Section 2, emphasis added

14. W. Lee, Life-Study of Romans, Chapter 39, Section 3, emphasis added

15. W. Lee, Life-Study of Romans, Chapter 38, Section 3, emphasis added

16. W. Lee, Perfecting Training, Chapter 38, Section 2, emphasis added

17. W. Lee, Perfecting Training, Chapter 38, Section 3, emphasis added. W. Lee also writes, “…to be spiritual means to be in the spirit. Likewise, to be carnal means to be in the flesh. When you act in the flesh, you are fleshly, but when you walk and act in the spirit, you are spiritual.” [W. Lee, How to Meet, Chapter 9, Section 1, emphasis added] Elsewhere he asks, “Do you know what it means to be spiritual? To be spiritual is to have the two spirits mingled together in your being. To be spiritual is to have your spirit, the regenerated human spirit, mingled with the Spirit of God to become one spirit. Spiritual persons live in this mingled spirit. Whenever you are in the mingled spirit, you are spiritual, and you have spiritual discernment, spiritual knowledge, and spiritual communication. You are able to discern spiritually both the things of man and the things of God.” [W. Lee, Life-Study of 1 Corinthians, Chapter 18, Section 3, emphasis added]

18. W. Lee, Life-Study of Romans, Chapter 38, Section 3, emphasis added

19. W. Lee, Life-Study of Romans, Chapter 39, Section 3, emphasis added

20. W. Lee, Perfecting Training, Chapter 37, Section 3

21. W. Lee, Perfecting Training, Chapter 39, Section 2, emphasis added

22. W. Lee, Triune God to Be Life to the Tripartite Man, Chapter 6, Section 6, emphasis added

23. W. Lee, Life-Study of Romans, Chapter 55, Section 3, emphasis added

24. Elsewhere W. Lee acknowledges the possibility of a “neutral mind.” He says,” In Romans 8 the mind is set either on the flesh or on the spirit. Where then is the neutral mind? The neutral mind is found in Romans 7:25. There Paul says, “With the mind I myself serve as a slave the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.” The mind in this verse is a kind of independent mind, subject neither to the flesh nor to the spirit. We may consider that independent mind as being in the color of gray. It is neutral. Many Christians have such a neutral mind. The neutral mind will just make you a wretched man. It will make you a miserable, pitiful man. The neutral mind in chapter seven is not bad; it serves the law. But the mind in 8:7 which is set on the flesh is against the law. In other words in 7:25 there is a gray mind, but in 8:7 there is a black mind. Now the question is: How to make your mind black? Or how to make your mind white? It all depends what you set your mind on. If you set your mind on the flesh, you make your mind black. If you set your mind on the spirit, you make your mind white. Not many can have a gray or a neutral mind. It is not so easy to keep your mind independent.” [W. Lee Perfecting Training, Chapter 38, Section 2, emphasis added.]

25. W. Lee, Life-Study of Romans, Chapter 55, Section 3

26. W. Lee, Life-Study of Romans, Chapter 55, Section 4, emphasis added

27. W. Lee, Perfecting Training, Chapter 31, Section 2

28. W. Lee, Perfecting Training, Chapter 31, Section 3

29. W. Lee, Messages to the Trainees in Fall 1990, Chapter 11, Section 2

30. W. Lee, Perfecting Training, Chapter 38, Section 3, emphasis added

31. Colin Brown (ed.), Dictionary of NT Theology, [DNTT], Vol. 2, p. 616

32. Douglas J. Moo, NIV Annotated Commentary: Romans, p. lxi

33. Douglas J. Moo, NIV Annotated Commentary: Romans, p. lxiii

34. James D. G. Dunn, Romans, Word Biblical Commentary, Vol. 38A, p. 426. Dunn also states regarding the suffix of phronema, that “As is usual with –ma suffixes, the resulting noun denotes the result of the action.” [Dunn, Romans, p. 426.] Thus, Dunn says, phronema is not an action or exercise, it is the result of an action. It will not do for LSM to simply assert that the underlying ‘action’ is “setting the mind on the spirit;” this illegitimately assumes the answer which ought to be derived from the text.

35. Thomas R. Schreiner, Romans, Baker Exegetical Commentary of NT, p. 411, emphasis added

36. Douglas J. Moo, Romans, NIV Application Commentary, p. 55

37. James D. G. Dunn, Romans, Word Biblical Commentary, Vol. 38A, p. 442

38. Brendan Byrne & Daniel J. Harrington, Romans, Liturgical Press, p. 239

39. LSM’s Recovery Version translates Rom. 8:27 as “He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is…” (Rom. 8:27a, RcV). However, the same Greek phrase in Rom. 8:6 is rendered “the mind set on the spirit is life and peace” (Rom. 8:6b, RcV). The difference in the RcV. English translation of Rom 8:27 & 8:6 reflects LSM’s theology, not any underlying difference in the Greek text. In contrast, other translations are able to achieve consistency here.

40. Bill Freeman, The Supplied Life.

41. Brice L. Martin, Christ and the Law in Paul, E. J. Brill (1989) p. 107. Certainly both Bill Freeman and Brice Martin would acknowledge that the Holy Spirit needs our cooperation. Nevertheless they emphasize that the ultimate source producing the “mind of the Spirit” with the believer is God’s Spirit. In contrast, LSM’s exposition places the entire emphasis on the believer’s role in “setting their mind on the spirit.”

42. See note 2 above.
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