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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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Old 02-20-2013, 12:08 PM   #2
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Default Setting the Mind on the Spirit - The Vanishing Verb

Though I have not had a chance to look at the PDF more closely, I am going to stick my neck out and prematurely protest the premise of this paper.

I base my objection on the sister verse to Romans 8.6 which is found in Isaiah 26.3 which says in the ASV ...
Quote:
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee ; because he trusteth in thee.
I'm not a Hebrew scholar, or even a novice, but the word "stayed" provides enough of a "verb" to justify the Apostle's thought here in Romans.

The KJV, Darby, and the ESV also use the verb "stayed."

The ISV uses a similar word "focused."

The NIV uses a more passive approach "whose mind is steadfast."
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Old 02-20-2013, 12:35 PM   #3
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Default Re: Setting the Mind on the Spirit - The Vanishing Verb

So they have no basis for dwelling on "set" here.

Strike 1

I also note that virtually all the translations acknowledge that the spirit that is referenced is the "Spirit," not the "spirit."

Strike 2

I haven't tried to find "strike 3" in this particular verse, but the vicinity is full of strikes.

Romans 8:6 has no verb but Lee supplied one. Look back at Romans 8:4. This verse is also about the spirit. It requires that you "walk" or "live" according to the Spirit. But Lee would turn us to our own spirit, and not allow us to actually walk. Just wait for it to flow out of us.

And let us not forget the beginning of the chapter in which Paul said that we were free from the law of sin and death, but Lee declared us free from the law. Period. No qualifier.

Nigel keeps pointing to really good "misses" on the part of Lee. I keep noting that each miss is picked-up from a ground cluttered with such "misses."

. . . .

And the fact that Isaiah makes reference to the mind "stayed" or "focused" on God does not dictate the meaning of Romans 8:6. Any assertion to "sister verse," though not without reasonable cause, is not a certainty. Paul does not hint that his writing is intended to mirror or rephrase Isaiah. (Nor does his possible different meaning change the impact of the verse in Isaiah.) Even if he had it in mind as he wrote, he is not restricted to mean what Isaiah meant in the precise same way. We may be able to argue that one amplifies or enhances the other. Or that they are related but not identical. It is not imperative that "stayed" in Isaiah rule the meaning of Romans 8:6.
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Old 02-20-2013, 12:50 PM   #4
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Default Re: Setting the Mind on the Spirit - The Vanishing Verb

Ohio, from my reading Tomes is saying that the correct rendering of Romans 8:6 does not directly lend support to the idea of "setting the mind on the Spirit." Rather, the verse supports the idea that the general mentality of someone controlled by the Spirit is one full of life and peace. So the emphasis is on the result, rather than on how to get there. LSM's emphasis is on the how ("setting").

Honestly, I've always been a little confused about "setting," so to hear it is not actually in the original is not entirely a shock to me. Somehow "walk in the Spirit" or "mind stayed on Thee" make sense, but "setting the mind on the Spirit" has always seemed a bit contrived. Now I know why.

I think what Tomes is saying is this is a case where LSM (Lee) injected their interpretation into the language under the guise of producing a very literal translation. But a very literal translation would not contain a verb, except perhaps the bracketed or italicized "is" indicating the word is not in the original, like the NKJV ("For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.")

Of course, the other shoe dropping is the question of just how one becomes someone with the mind of the Spirit. If pray-reading, calling on the Lord and even PSRPing "the Ministry" can help, then well....

But in his final sentence Tomes does not rule out that something like setting can be supported by Scripture, just that Romans 8:6 isn't the support.
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Old 02-20-2013, 01:10 PM   #5
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Default Re: Setting the Mind on the Spirit - The Vanishing Verb

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Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post
W. Lee identifies the general neglect of “setting the mind on the spirit” as a major failing among believers. He asserts, “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, “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.”
Here is classic WL hyperbole. Every time WL teaches something, he attempts to convince us that no Christian in history has ever realized these things. This is the leaven of the Pharisees which the Lord warned us about.

I personally found great value in the verb-less "action" of Rom 8.6. The tragedy occurs when WL gave us something of value, then puffed us (and himself) up with exclusive leaven to give us superior attitudes over all others. It's like one step forward, and two steps back.

I understand that Nigel Tomes is attempting to correct LC errors by going back to the source, but I have long been persuaded that the source of the error was the exclusive leaven sown into the Recovery, which bore the rotten fruits of pride, arrogance, and elitism.

Lee was not the only translator to interpret Rom 8.6 this way, the NASB also does, so it's hard to fault the Recovery Version.
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Old 02-20-2013, 01:12 PM   #6
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Default Re: Setting the Mind on the Spirit - The Vanishing Verb

New International Version (©1984)
The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;

New Living Translation (©2007)
So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.

English Standard Version (©2001)
For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.

New American Standard Bible (©1995)
For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,

Holman Christian Standard Bible (©2009)
For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace.

International Standard Version (©2012)
To focus our minds on the human nature leads to death, but to focus our minds on the Spirit leads to life and peace.

King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English (©2010)
For the mind of the flesh is death, and the mind of The Spirit is life and peace,

GOD'S WORD® Translation (©1995)
The corrupt nature's attitude leads to death. But the spiritual nature's attitude leads to life and peace.

King James 2000 Bible (©2003)
For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

American King James Version
For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

American Standard Version
For the mind of the flesh is death; but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace:

Douay-Rheims Bible
For the wisdom of the flesh is death; but the wisdom of the spirit is life and peace.

Darby Bible Translation
For the mind of the flesh is death; but the mind of the Spirit life and peace.

English Revised Version
For the mind of the flesh is death; but the mind of the spirit is life and peace:

Webster's Bible Translation
For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace:

Weymouth New Testament
Because for the mind to be given up to earthly things means death; but for it to be given up to spiritual things means Life and peace.

World English Bible
For the mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace;

Young's Literal Translation
for the mind of the flesh is death, and the mind of the Spirit -- life and peace;
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Old 02-20-2013, 01:23 PM   #7
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Default Re: Setting the Mind on the Spirit - The Vanishing Verb

Per Nigel Witness Lee says:

“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.”

This like of thing seems way too "spiritual" for me. If you're a doctor doing open heart surgery what does this kind of thing look like in application? Shouldn't you be setting your mind on the surgery?

Isn't real life more like before going in you might say a short prayer: "Lord I'm going in to do this surgery. Thank you for giving me a mind that could learn and practice medicine. I know I have the skill and knowledge to do it but I still want to ask you to be with me and give me wisdom. Give me patience with the nurses and other staff. Keep me humble under your guiding hand." And then you go in and focus 100% on the task at hand and give it everything you have to succeed?
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Old 02-20-2013, 01:23 PM   #8
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Default Re: Setting the Mind on the Spirit - The Vanishing Verb

I know that I already responded to this in my previous post, but this particular sentence seems unclear to me.
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I'm not a Hebrew scholar, or even a novice, but the word "stayed" provides enough of a "verb" to justify the Apostle's thought here in Romans.
When you say "justify the Apostle's thought" it seems that you are saying that there is a precedent for what he said. But I think that what you are actually saying is that Isaiah provides enough parallel that it would justify implying a verb on the part of the Apostle even though none is actually found.

To bring Isaiah along to reread Romans is an exercise in applying some kind of precedence or parallel structure to assert that something not said is actually said. To justify Paul's thought seems more like trying to find something that causes us to accept what he has said that otherwise seems unusual or not expected. In this case, it would seem that you actually do not expect what he said and think that it should be read as if he said something else. Not a bad something else, just not what he actually said.

But in any case, even if we think the parallel in Isaiah causes there to be the implication of "set," it surely cannot then become the primary point of the verse (which is what Nigel is saying Lee has asserted). Surely the primary point of the verse cannot be what was omitted.
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Old 02-20-2013, 01:29 PM   #9
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Default Re: Setting the Mind on the Spirit - The Vanishing Verb

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This like of thing seems way too "spiritual" for me. If you're a doctor doing open heart surgery what does this kind of thing look like in application? Shouldn't you be setting your mind on the surgery?
This is why "setting" has always seemed awkward to me. "Be conscious of the Spirit" seems a much more accurate expression of what we do. But "setting the mind on the Spirit" seems sort of like telling an ice skater to set her mind on her feet, which is probably the best way to get her to collide with a wall.
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Old 02-20-2013, 01:40 PM   #10
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I know that I already responded to this in my previous post, but this particular sentence seems unclear to me.

When you say "justify the Apostle's thought" it seems that you are saying that there is a precedent for what he said. But I think that what you are actually saying is that Isaiah provides enough parallel that it would justify implying a verb on the part of the Apostle even though none is actually found.

To bring Isaiah along to reread Romans is an exercise in applying some kind of precedence or parallel structure to assert that something not said is actually said. To justify Paul's thought seems more like trying to find something that causes us to accept what he has said that otherwise seems unusual or not expected. In this case, it would seem that you actually do not expect what he said and think that it should be read as if he said something else. Not a bad something else, just not what he actually said.

But in any case, even if we think the parallel in Isaiah causes there to be the implication of "set," it surely cannot then become the primary point of the verse (which is what Nigel is saying Lee has asserted). Surely the primary point of the verse cannot be what was omitted.
Your post is a little unclear to me.

I believe Paul quoted Isa. 26.3 in Romans 8.6. My question would be what is the verb in the original Hebrew language in Isaiah, or even in the Septuagint.

The goal here in both Isaiah and Paul is God's perfect peace.
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Old 02-20-2013, 02:04 PM   #11
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Default Re: Setting the Mind on the Spirit - The Vanishing Verb

Quote:
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Your post is a little unclear to me.

I believe Paul quoted Isa. 26.3 in Romans 8.6. My question would be what is the verb in the original Hebrew language in Isaiah, or even in the Septuagint.

The goal here in both Isaiah and Paul is God's perfect peace.
you-shall-preserve peace peace that in·you one-trusting
thtzr ------------- shlum shlum - ki -- b·k --- btuch

The Hebrew word is "btuch." (בָּ טוּח)

It means "one-trusting." It doesn't appear the words "mind" or "stayed" are in the original.
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Old 02-20-2013, 02:15 PM   #12
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Default Re: Setting the Mind on the Spirit - The Vanishing Verb

Quote:
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Your post is a little unclear to me.

I believe Paul quoted Isa. 26.3 in Romans 8.6. My question would be what is the verb in the original Hebrew language in Isaiah, or even in the Septuagint.

The goal here in both Isaiah and Paul is God's perfect peace.
But whatever it is, either it actually has the verb, and is therefore different in its text, or is missing and is potentially in error in translation. Either way, the actual text of Romans does not have the verb. So it is not there even if it is there in Isaiah. It might be a near quote. Or just a springboard of thought form which Paul leaped.

That was my point. Since it is not simply a quote (clear by the existence of different words, or the omission of words) I do not see how Isaiah can be said to "justify" Paul's words. When I see "justify," it would seem to say to me that Paul has uttered something that is either not clear or that we don't want to accept. Then another passage is found that supports what he has said. That would "justify" him. It might be asserted as the justification of translators inserting "set" in their translations. But if there is a difference in the underlying originals, that justification might be tenuous.

But in this case, Paul seems to have said something different from Isaiah and you are suggesting that Isaiah should be used to alter how we read Romans. Not justify what he wrote, but alter it.

In a different way, if that is a correct position, then the fact of the verse in Isaiah might "justify" the insertion of words into Paul's verse that he did not supply. That would not be to "justify the Apostle" but to alter him.

My real point is that a similarity does not a precedent make. And like so many other things, for example the existence of four gospels to tell the story different ways, the goal of finding a similar verse should not be to insist upon a rewrite of the present verse, but to find out more. Two people speaking differently on the same subject are not at odds just because they cover different things. They are only at odds if one declares something that makes the other to be contradictory or otherwise clearly wrong (of course it works both ways). These are not necessarily in contradiction. Neither must they be identical. They are just saying similar but different things.
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Old 02-20-2013, 02:21 PM   #13
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Default Re: Setting the Mind on the Spirit - The Vanishing Verb

Well, from my reading it seems neither Paul nor Isaiah said it. So that makes it fairly certain that Isaiah's not saying it cannot prove that Paul actually said what he didn't actually say.
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Old 02-20-2013, 04:13 PM   #14
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This is why "setting" has always seemed awkward to me. "Be conscious of the Spirit" seems a much more accurate expression of what we do. But "setting the mind on the Spirit" seems sort of like telling an ice skater to set her mind on her feet, which is probably the best way to get her to collide with a wall.
I never understood the teaching this way. Verse 6 is explaining what verse 5 means when it says "they mind the things of the flesh". Verse 5 is an explanation of verse 4 which says that we fulfill the righteousness of the law by walking according to the Spirit.

I always understood that Paul was saying was that when you see a great work of faith, say Peter opening the gospel to the Gentiles in the book of Acts. That this work of faith fulfills God's righteousness and that Peter did this because he was walking according to the Spirit (not his flesh, opinion, upbringing, natural man, etc). Now when you examine Peter you discover that he was "Minding the things of the Spirit" (he was in prayer when the Lord spoke to him). And, the reason he was "minding the things of the Spirit" was because he had a set time to pray.

To me, it is similar to what James says, only in reverse:

2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

Paul was looking at the work and pointing out the work was by faith. James was saying there is no point in even discussing this unless you first have the work. Show me the work, then I can see the faith.
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Old 02-20-2013, 05:59 PM   #15
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Default Re: Setting the Mind on the Spirit - The Vanishing Verb

ZNP, When Lee taught to set the mind on the spirit he meant focus your attention on what you are feeling in your spirit.
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Old 02-20-2013, 06:44 PM   #16
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ZNP, When Lee taught to set the mind on the spirit he meant focus your attention on what you are feeling in your spirit.
Really? Can you give me a reference on that?

I specifically recall being told that reading the Bible = setting the mind on the Spirit. Praying = setting the mind on the Spirit. Going to a meeting = setting the mind on the Spirit. Singing a hymn = setting the mind on the Spirit.

We were also taught that "Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God". In other words, spending time in the Bible, in fellowship, in prayer, in meetings increases the opportunity to "hear the word of God" and therefore increases the possible amount of faith you might receive.

So unlike your idea of the figure skater thinking about their feet, I felt that the teaching was the more time I spend "practicing" the better I will be in the game. Just like a piano player who practices until the music becomes part of his fingers (a concept that recent studies of the brain have proven).

Now that might be the Houston version, don't know. I was not in the LRC when the Roman's life studies were given. I do know that this is what I was taught in Houston and it does seem to match the word and my personal experience. It seems reasonable since this is how piano players, and basketball players, and even figure skaters learn their craft (see Perfecting Training, Chapter 38, Sect. 3, Practicing to be in the Spirit). So then, "Let us reason together".

Witness Lee: "To read the Bible, to recite the verses of the Bible, to fellowship with the Lord, to pray, and to fellowship with the saints around the Bible or about the spiritual things helps you to mind the things of the Spirit." (Perfecting Training, Chapter 37, Section 3).
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Old 02-20-2013, 07:36 PM   #17
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you-shall-preserve peace peace that in·you one-trusting
thtzr ------------- shlum shlum - ki -- b·k --- btuch

The Hebrew word is "btuch." (בָּ טוּח)

It means "one-trusting." It doesn't appear the words "mind" or "stayed" are in the original.
You have the Septuagint too?
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Old 02-20-2013, 07:43 PM   #18
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But whatever it is, either it actually has the verb, and is therefore different in its text, or is missing and is potentially in error in translation. Either way, the actual text of Romans does not have the verb. So it is not there even if it is there in Isaiah. It might be a near quote. Or just a springboard of thought form which Paul leaped.
Translation is more difficult than a word-for-word best guess transliteration. Because there is no verb in one language does not mean it is wrong to add a verb in another language.

Say what you might about how Rom 8.6 is translated, but WL has only done what many others before him have done. If you don't like the word "set" or any other verb substitution, then so be it.
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Old 02-20-2013, 07:50 PM   #19
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ZNP, When Lee taught to set the mind on the spirit he meant focus your attention on what you are feeling in your spirit.
That is from Lee's book The Knowledge of Life. It has these chapters ...
  1. What Is Life?
  2. What Is the Experience of Life?
  3. The First Experience of Life—Regeneration
  4. That Which Is Gained through Regeneration
  5. The Sense of Life
  6. The Fellowship of Life
  7. The Sense of the Spirit and Knowing the Spirit
  8. The Difference between Spirit and Soul
  9. Three Lives and Four Laws
  10. The Law of Life
  11. The Inward Knowledge
  12. What Is the Growth of Life?
  13. The Outlet of Life
  14. Light and Life
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Old 02-20-2013, 11:37 PM   #20
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That is from Lee's book The Knowledge of Life. It has these chapters ...
  1. What Is Life?
  2. What Is the Experience of Life?
  3. The First Experience of Life—Regeneration
  4. That Which Is Gained through Regeneration
  5. The Sense of Life
  6. The Fellowship of Life
  7. The Sense of the Spirit and Knowing the Spirit
  8. The Difference between Spirit and Soul
  9. Three Lives and Four Laws
  10. The Law of Life
  11. The Inward Knowledge
  12. What Is the Growth of Life?
  13. The Outlet of Life
  14. Light and Life
Boy oh boy. I remember attempting to read that book. I was such a babe in Christ. It was over my head. I will admit that the titles of those chapters indeed now resonate with my spirit.

The reason the list registers with me is that I spend a lot of time praying and speaking the Scriptures into me. So after many years, I have a much better understanding distinguishing the Spirit of the Lord, the Mingled S/spirit, and the soul. It is not a teaching one learns from reading messages, books or popcorn testimonies.

For me, it has come through prayer, studying the Word, being enlightened by the Holy Spirit and the Word coupled with my experiences...good, bad, even fear! Is it not true we were not given a spirit of fear? With all our knowledge, do we not have bouts of fear?

Are we not instructed not to be anxious? How is it we still are? Yet many strong believers experience lots of bouts of anxiety.

I Think Lee got so wrapped in the "vision" of the church from Genesis to Revelation, he lost sight of the basic fundamental Truths: Faith, Hope and LOVE..the Love of God for us, in us and through us.

I look at the title of the chapters and I think what excellent topics! Then I realize it came from Lee and I

Why???
I may not have known him as some of you here, but it seems to me he did NOTlive up to what he taught. He got too caught up with controlling the church through life study messages, training meetings, and then the FTT.

I do not think he could handle people walking in spirit, getting revelation from the Word Lee did not receive. What a test that had to be for him. Is it no wonder the LC crumbled from within?

He was not the only person on the face of the earth who knew we are made up of spirit, soul and body for example. It is in the bible. If each one of us truly read, studied and sought the LORD diligently for revelation, insight and understanding don't you all think He would reveal Himself to us as much as He opened Nee and Lee as well as many renowned preachers, teachers and evangelists?

Just thinking....just saying..

Blessings, Love and Shalom in Christ Jesus
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Old 02-21-2013, 07:13 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by ZNPaaneah View Post
I always understood that Paul was saying was that when you see a great work of faith, say Peter opening the gospel to the Gentiles in the book of Acts. That this work of faith fulfills God's righteousness and that Peter did this because he was walking according to the Spirit (not his flesh, opinion, upbringing, natural man, etc). Now when you examine Peter you discover that he was "Minding the things of the Spirit" (he was in prayer when the Lord spoke to him). And, the reason he was "minding the things of the Spirit" was because he had a set time to pray.
Maybe you didn't mean to make it sound like Paul was only talking about "high" kingdom things like opening the gospel to the Gentiles. But that is what you seem to have said.

I believe that this is talking about normal ordinary daily life. Fulfilling the righteousness of the law would include not becoming so irate at those other jerks on the road. And then it would also include not thinking of them as jerks rather than as neighbors.

Just an example. But the righteousness of the law is not "preaching the gospel" or "opening the word." It is in being righteous in all that we do. And for most of us, that is almost entirely daily living, not missionary work (used broadly to incorporate all aspects of preaching, teaching, etc.). And even those who do those preaching, teaching, evangelizing things also have normal lives. They still must interact with people, buy, travel, and so forth. Unless they are not actually qualified to do their "Christian" work, we might somewhat assume that portion of life is righteous. But is it all? We must have the mind of the Spirit and walk by it.
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Old 02-21-2013, 07:43 AM   #22
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You have the Septuagint too?
One online Septuagint translation says this for Isaiah 26:2-4;

2. Open ye the gates, let the nation enter that keeps righteousness, and keeps truth,
3. supporting truth, and keeping peace: for on thee, O Lord,
4. they have trusted with confidence for ever, the great, the eternal God;

http://www.ccel.org/bible/brenton/Isaiah/26.html
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Old 02-21-2013, 07:58 AM   #23
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One online Septuagint translation says this for Isaiah 26:2-4;

2. Open ye the gates, let the nation enter that keeps righteousness, and keeps truth,
3. supporting truth, and keeping peace: for on thee, O Lord,
4. they have trusted with confidence for ever, the great, the eternal God;

http://www.ccel.org/bible/brenton/Isaiah/26.html
Here is the LXX version, does it match?

2. ἀνοίξατε πύλας εἰσελθάτω λαὸς φυλάςων δικαιοσύνην καὶ φυλάςων ἀλήθειαν

3. ἀντιλαμβανόμενος ἀληθείας καὶ φυλάςων εἰρήνην ὅτι ἐπὶ σοὶ

4. ἤλπισαν κύριε ἕως τοῦ αἰῶνος ὁ θεὸς ὁ μέγας ὁ αἰώνιος
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Old 02-21-2013, 08:05 AM   #24
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Here is the LXX version, does it match?

2. ἀνοίξατε πύλας εἰσελθάτω λαὸς φυλάςων δικαιοσύνην καὶ φυλάςων ἀλήθειαν

3. ἀντιλαμβανόμενος ἀληθείας καὶ φυλάςων εἰρήνην ὅτι ἐπὶ σοὶ

4. ἤλπισαν κύριε ἕως τοῦ αἰῶνος ὁ θεὸς ὁ μέγας ὁ αἰώνιος
They don't show the Greek, just the translation.
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Old 02-21-2013, 09:27 AM   #25
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Tomes wrote:
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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.
I happened to pull out Jane Anderson's book last night and was flipping through it. In the section where she discusses the late 1980s and her family's imminent departure from the movement, she talks about a LC woman who dropped her kids off at babysitting then went home and hung herself.

Jane reports that the woman clearly had mental problems, but that no one tried to help her with anything other than platitudes about calling on the Lord and turning to her spirit. Jane says that the sad, ironic thing about this woman is she was always going around saying "O Lord Jesus."

I saw several incidents of mental issues in the Recovery and in each case the extreme subjectivity of "experiencing the sense of life" aggravated the problem. One young brother got so confused trying to discern what his spirit was telling him that it affected the motor control of his body. When I saw him for the last time he moved in jerky, hesitant moves. You could tell he was trying so hard to discern what his inner sense was telling him that he was even trying to know whether to move his arm forward or backward.

Of course, these people are rare. But I know I went through this kind of overwrought subjectivity. How short should my hair be? Should I wear this shirt? What about this tie? Where should I work? Should I quit school? If you'd honestly set your mind on your spirit, you'd know, brother!

Now I realize God mostly says to me, "Do what you like. I'll tell you when I don't like it."
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Old 02-21-2013, 10:12 AM   #26
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I saw several incidents of mental issues in the Recovery and in each case the extreme subjectivity of "experiencing the sense of life" aggravated the problem...Of course, these people are rare. But I know I went through this kind of overwrought subjectivity. How short should my hair be? Should I wear this shirt? What about this tie? Where should I work? Should I quit school? If you'd honestly set your mind on your spirit, you'd know, brother!
I have to give Witness Lee credit in handling one of the several instances of mental illness I was aware of. A young brother was traveling across the country to a training and started to have a nervous breakdown. Witness Lee was contacted and asked for advice. He said the brother's conscience was oversensitive and to stop discussing any spiritual things with him. No praying. Nothing. Instead play games like chess, etc and do other activities like sightseeing along the way. This helped a lot. When he got to the training the brother was not expected to attend any meetings. He was free to come and go as he pleased with no pressure. These stop-gap measures helped until he was able to get professional help. He went on to become a husband, dad and built a successful career without further incidents.

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Now I realize God mostly says to me, "Do what you like. I'll tell you when I don't like it."
Yes! And also for me at least: "I gave you a brain to make decisions - use it!"
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Old 02-21-2013, 01:03 PM   #27
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I have to give Witness Lee credit in handling one of the several instances of mental illness I was aware of. A young brother was traveling across the country to a training and started to have a nervous breakdown. Witness Lee was contacted and asked for advice. He said the brother's conscience was oversensitive and to stop discussing any spiritual things with him. No praying. Nothing. Instead play games like chess, etc and do other activities like sightseeing along the way. This helped a lot. When he got to the training the brother was not expected to attend any meetings. He was free to come and go as he pleased with no pressure. These stop-gap measures helped until he was able to get professional help. He went on to become a husband, dad and built a successful career without further incidents.
Thanks for relaying this incident alwayslearning. I know more than a few whose mental health illnesses were not effectively diagnosed until well into the late 80's/early 90's.
I know from personal experience being raised in the local churches, baseball, football, hiking, etc played a role in temporary distraction from over-spiritualizing every facet of human living.

Meeting with a current non-LC assembly many of the saints I have gotten to know are just as sensitive to their human spirit, but also recoginizing a need to be balanced in day to day living. I think saints in the LC are no different, but are squenched by the bondage of peer pressure to be "spiritual". Just be who you are until conformed inwardly.

Back to Nigel's writing. His article was surely informative. One thinking critically of Nigel's work might think our brother is "nitpicking". I'm thinking changing a verse's translation changes the context how a verse is comprehended.
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Old 02-21-2013, 01:59 PM   #28
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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.
This reminds me of how WL also used the description of "one city, one church" as an exhortation, a call to action, when the Bible actually had none. For a minister who spent so much time emphasizing "life and peace," it's truly amazing how little "life and peace" have actually existed in the Recovery. During my entire tenure there, we were always preparing for the next storm, enduring its fury, or recovering from the last one. When there was no "storm" brewing, the endless changes and flows out of Anaheim were designed to continually upset any peace in the local churchlife.

In light of our turbulent history, I like this better translation, "the mindset of the Spirit is life and peace." The NIV is also great, "the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace." While I like the exhortation side of the word "set your mind," to a limited degree, Nigel's paper does highlight some of the extremes which we endured during those early days. As time progressed, "whenever the heart turns to the Lord" (II Cor 3.16) became "turning to the Spirit," which in turn became "turning to my spirit," which simply became a call to action at meeting time. Eventually "turning to my spirit" became little different than a performance with the volume cranked up. Unfortunately bad habits are often learned more quickly than good ones, and with thunderous "amens" reinforcing them, little existed to rectify the situation.
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Old 02-21-2013, 02:11 PM   #29
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Back to Nigel's writing. His article was surely informative. One thinking critically of Nigel's work might think our brother is "nitpicking". I'm thinking changing a verse's translation changes the context how a verse is comprehended.
It seems to me that Nigel's underlying concern with this and some of his other articles is how Witness Lee and the LSM do their hermeneutic work. He's just using their handling of these verses as another example. It might be construed as nitpicking by some as you mention. But IMHO his concern is legitimate because they elevate Witness Lee's writings above the Bible and so their hermeneutic work is colored by that filter and has to be unpacked and reconsidered by those like Tomes who have the time and heart to do so.
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Old 02-21-2013, 03:19 PM   #30
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... As time progressed, "whenever the heart turns to the Lord" (II Cor 3.16) became "turning to the Spirit," which in turn became "turning to my spirit," which simply became a call to action at meeting time. Eventually "turning to my spirit" became little different than a performance with the volume cranked up...
I remember one time, when WL was alive, and one of the Maximum Blended Co-Workers from Anaheim came through. We were informed in advance of his coming, so the crowd size was above-normal. But it was a subdued bunch, and the singing and spontaneous declarations were not really "flowing"; the volume was also not cranked up. The Blended stood up and exhorted (berated) us for our performance, and we began to bawl like hungry calves at feeding time. That seemed to satisfy our visitor, and the meeting went on... eventually we even got a "special burden from Brother Lee's heart".
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Old 02-21-2013, 04:24 PM   #31
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It seems to me that Nigel's underlying concern with this and some of his other articles is how Witness Lee and the LSM do their hermeneutic work.
I have to believe his deeper concern was how so many saints got defrauded from their prize. By using flawed "hermeneutics," Lee and Company robbed us of the reality which is in Christ, and brought us under their submission. I'm sure Nigel's writings are also a therapeutic "detox" for his own journey.

Too bad Cassidy is not here to discuss "the Professor's" articles.
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Old 02-21-2013, 04:43 PM   #32
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I remember one time, when WL was alive, and one of the Maximum Blended Co-Workers from Anaheim came through. We were informed in advance of his coming, so the crowd size was above-normal. But it was a subdued bunch, and the singing and spontaneous declarations were not really "flowing"; the volume was also not cranked up. The Blended stood up and exhorted (berated) us for our performance, and we began to bawl like hungry calves at feeding time. That seemed to satisfy our visitor, and the meeting went on... eventually we even got a "special burden from Brother Lee's heart".
You got the divine dispensing!
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Old 02-21-2013, 05:39 PM   #33
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I have to believe his deeper concern was how so many saints got defrauded from their prize. By using flawed "hermeneutics," Lee and Company robbed us of the reality which is in Christ, and brought us under their submission. I'm sure Nigel's writings are also a therapeutic "detox" for his own journey.
Agreed!

The main title of his article is: LSM's Spurious Hermeneutics. By unraveling how they got from point A to point B he is exposing their shaky foundation on several items. Hopefully this helps some to reclaim their prize!
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Old 02-22-2013, 12:59 PM   #34
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Default Re: Setting the Mind on the Spirit - The Vanishing Verb

Randomnly selecting other translations of Roman 8:6-7. Most do not support the Rcv translation. The only one I've come across that does is Mounce Reverse-Interlinear New Testament

"To set the mind on the flesh leads to death, but to set the mind on the Spirit brings life and peace,"

By contrast Young's Literal Translation says:

"for the mind of the flesh [is] death, and the mind of the Spirit -- life and peace;"

I remember from my teenage years in the early 80's, I was taught all other Bible tranlations were considered sub-standard to the Recovery's Bible translation. Using King James was the standard until the Old Testament had a Recovery translation. If you were to read an alternative translation, Darby was suggested.
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Old 02-23-2013, 10:50 AM   #35
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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”?
This is an unfortunate use of a mental illness to describe the results of bad Christian teachings. Schizophrenia has little to do with oscillating behaviors, rather it is a psychosis whereby your senses do not accurately describe your reality. In other words, one sees and hears and imagines things which do not exist. Of all diseases, it is perhaps the most tragic, since one can not distinguish reality from fantasy. Perhaps a better description would have been bipolar disease, where one oscillates between times of exhilarating mania and debilitating depression.

Either way, Lee's unique teachings seem to have created numerous mental health issues in some of its members.
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Old 02-23-2013, 12:32 PM   #36
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This is an unfortunate use of a mental illness to describe the results of bad Christian teachings. Schizophrenia has little to do with oscillating behaviors, rather it is a psychosis whereby your senses do not accurately describe your reality. In other words, one sees and hears and imagines things which do not exist. Of all diseases, it is perhaps the most tragic, since one can not distinguish reality from fantasy. Perhaps a better description would have been bipolar disease, where one oscillates between times of exhilarating mania and debilitating depression.

Either way, Lee's unique teachings seem to have created numerous mental health issues in some of its members.
I saw some very interesting research on this condition. It turns out that we have a part of the brain whose function is to tell time. Since visual, auditory and other senses can happen at different instances of time this function works to sync it all together to make it seem as though they all happened at exactly the same instant. If this portion of the brain is damaged one possible result is that you think you are delusional or even worse you think there are two different perceptions of the same reality.

Based on this hunch they looked at people diagnosed with schizophrenia and learned that a statistically significant portion of them have had damage to this part of the brain say with a stroke or other trauma.
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Old 02-23-2013, 12:33 PM   #37
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In light of our turbulent history, I like this better translation, "the mindset of the Spirit is life and peace." The NIV is also great, "the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace." While I like the exhortation side of the word "set your mind," to a limited degree, Nigel's paper does highlight some of the extremes which we endured during those early days. As time progressed, "whenever the heart turns to the Lord" (II Cor 3.16) became "turning to the Spirit," which in turn became "turning to my spirit," which simply became a call to action at meeting time. Eventually "turning to my spirit" became little different than a performance with the volume cranked up. Unfortunately bad habits are often learned more quickly than good ones, and with thunderous "amens" reinforcing them, little existed to rectify the situation.

Good word, Ohio. I don't think it's wrong to exhort people to be conscious of the Spirit/spirit. I just think, for me anyway, "set the mind on the spirit" is awkward phrasing. I used to picture taking my brain and setting it on top of my spirit, like a balancing rock. I think "be conscious of the Spirit" or "be aware of the Spirit" works better for me. After all, how is one to walk in the Spirit if he/she is not conscious of Him?
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Old 02-23-2013, 12:35 PM   #38
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Really? Can you give me a reference on that?

I specifically recall being told that reading the Bible = setting the mind on the Spirit. Praying = setting the mind on the Spirit. Going to a meeting = setting the mind on the Spirit. Singing a hymn = setting the mind on the Spirit.

We were also taught that "Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God". In other words, spending time in the Bible, in fellowship, in prayer, in meetings increases the opportunity to "hear the word of God" and therefore increases the possible amount of faith you might receive.

So unlike your idea of the figure skater thinking about their feet, I felt that the teaching was the more time I spend "practicing" the better I will be in the game. Just like a piano player who practices until the music becomes part of his fingers (a concept that recent studies of the brain have proven).

Now that might be the Houston version, don't know. I was not in the LRC when the Roman's life studies were given. I do know that this is what I was taught in Houston and it does seem to match the word and my personal experience. It seems reasonable since this is how piano players, and basketball players, and even figure skaters learn their craft (see Perfecting Training, Chapter 38, Sect. 3, Practicing to be in the Spirit). So then, "Let us reason together".

Witness Lee: "To read the Bible, to recite the verses of the Bible, to fellowship with the Lord, to pray, and to fellowship with the saints around the Bible or about the spiritual things helps you to mind the things of the Spirit." (Perfecting Training, Chapter 37, Section 3).
I am confused. I was hoping someone would have cleared this up but apparently not.

1. Is my understanding of Romans 8:4-6 flawed?
2. If not how is my understanding of these verses any different from what WL taught in the verses I quoted?
3. If it is flawed what is the "acceptable" understanding?
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Old 02-23-2013, 01:40 PM   #39
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I am confused. I was hoping someone would have cleared this up but apparently not.

1. Is my understanding of Romans 8:4-6 flawed?
2. If not how is my understanding of these verses any different from what WL taught in the verses I quoted?
3. If it is flawed what is the "acceptable" understanding?
Nigel is not saying that to "set the mind on the mind" is inherently wrong, since some other translations use this same wording, but how WL built a house of cards upon this unique reading. The article highlights some of these abuses. As always, WL said some great things alongside his more extreme sayings. Also, practices seemed to deteriorate as time went on.

For example, I still treasure the practice of praying the scriptures, much as Ray Graver used historical patterns of this in his booklet "Lord, Thou saidst." But how this ever deteriorated into merely shouting scriptures or reciting outlines with PSRP in beyond me.
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Old 02-23-2013, 02:39 PM   #40
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For example, I still treasure the practice of praying the scriptures, much as Ray Graver used historical patterns of this in his booklet "Lord, Thou saidst."
I thought you weren't allowed to say this on this forum.
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Old 02-23-2013, 03:31 PM   #41
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I thought you weren't allowed to say this on this forum.

Shhhhh! Maybe they won't catch us.
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Old 02-23-2013, 05:10 PM   #42
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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, “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.’

Why am I not surprised that not one scholar endorses LSM's hermeneutics?!?


And we were constantly assured that Lee's ministry constantly "stood on the shoulders" of all the great men of God before us, and that we were the most orthodox of all Christians.
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Old 02-25-2013, 10:58 AM   #43
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For example, I still treasure the practice of praying the scriptures, much as Ray Graver used historical patterns of this in his booklet "Lord, Thou saidst." But how this ever deteriorated into merely shouting scriptures or reciting outlines with PSRP in beyond me.
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I thought you weren't allowed to say this on this forum.
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Shhhhh! Maybe they won't catch us.
Sometimes you guys really crack me up

Actually what is not allowed are wisecracks about supposed heavy handed, prejudicial moderation

Anyways....I haven't read Ray Graver's book in quite a while, but I don't believe he was able to give any quotes that support the kind of "pray-reading" that is practiced in the Local Church. And the reason he was not able is that no other Christians throughout history have practiced such a thing. The Local Church has produced other similar works that supposedly illustrate "calling on the Lord" as well, but those "proofs" fall flat on their face as well.

After many years away from the garlic room, and after many years of reading, observing and experiencing what other evangelical, orthodox Christians have practiced since the beginning, I believe these Local Church mainstay practices (pray reading and calling on the Lord) are best left for INDIVIDUAL practice and not for corporate practice in Church meetings. In my observation and experience over decades in the LC, these practices become somewhat mindless and ritualistic, and even worse they have a tendency to become a kind of performance. So they become very unprofitable - the saints are not edified or helped, and God is not praised or glorified.
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Old 03-16-2013, 05:24 PM   #44
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Default Setting the Mind on the Spirit - The Vanishing Verb

Here is the article on a blog complete with pics.

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