Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Double-Mindedness


ἀνὴρ δίψυχος, ἀκατάστατος ἐν πάσαις ταῖς ὁδοῖς αὐτοῦ. In other words, like, in English words, and as your Bible probably reads, “a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.” Double-mindedness is no small behavior according to James. Now, before I engage in the worse kind of anachronism, I need to place James’ comments in their proper context. James’ audience is the scattered tribes. James is writing to Jews who have been scattered abroad. These Jews are those who live outside of Jerusalem, most likely because of Agrippa’s persecution. The letter was likely the very first NT document, written sometime during in the mid to late 40s. Some may wonder about the identity of the author James. Without going into arguments for or against, consensus is that James, the just, the brother of our Lord wrote this letter.

Δίψυχος, or double-minded is used twice in the NT, both occurrences are in James. According to James, double-mindedness and doubt are identical. This man, as one looks at v. 6 is one who doubts. This goes to certainty. The Greek word translated doubt here means, “to think that something may not be true or certain.” Clearly, James is telling us that to engage in διακρινόμενος is sinful. In this context, doubting has to do with one believing that God will respond to a petition for wisdom. But the lecture James delivers seems to extend beyond just this immediate context. The idea being expressed here is one of a soul that is caught between the world and faith. This is seen in Augustine’s famous prayer, “Lord, grant me purity, but not yet.” Double-mindedness does not only lead to despair or lend itself to despair, but it is despair.

The idea emerges again in James 4 where James talks the source of divisions within the Christian community. What causes these ugly divisions? What causes sin? What causes immorality? James says it is an antithetical lust against the things of God. He says in 4:4 that anyone who wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Is that what you want? Nevertheless, in our culture, pastors and churches busy themselves day in and day out in their attempts to win the world to their church. They seek out those who could be classed as nothing short of despisers of God and they bring them in, suit them up, baptize them, and pronounce them saved by the blood of the lamb because they made a decision for Jesus. Over the course of time, given enough time, you end up with a 1,000 member church, filled mostly with practical atheists for all intents and purposes. These are double-minded hypocrites who seek to befriend the world, all the while attempting to retain their friendship with God. James said this will simply not do. In v. 5 he says, “or do you think that Scripture speaks in vain?” Regrettably, I do think that practically speaking, many of these churches and pastors act as if the Scripture actually does speak in vain. Steve Furtick’s code-orange revival is a perfect example of this. James MacDonald’s T.D. Jakes controversy is another example of this. Any church that does not take relationship, discipleship, discipline, unity, and Scripture seriously practically treats Scripture is if it does speak in vain.

Scholarship is filled with double-minded men. They want to hold to a high view of Scripture and evolutionary theory at the same time. They have engineered a variety of strategies designed to support their aspirations over the years. They want God and the idols within science so-called as well. There are those who wish to hold to the Christ event while at the same time finding a way to accept the homosexual choice as morally legitimate. They want the world and God at the same time. There are those who have even found a way to justify the murder of innocent babies through abortion, and they call it respect and love and being sensitive to the victim, I mean mother. The baby is the real victim. Modern leaders desire popularity within the culture. They desire to loved, approved and accepted. This is what the sin of self-love does to us. It is a problem for all of us. Modern scholars lust for academic respectability and willfully compromise fundamental truths of Scripture in an effort to attain it.

The opportunity for double-mindedness is everywhere. John commands us to love not the world, nor the things that are in the world. And then he issues this ominous description of those who ignore his words: “if anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is no in him.” This love of the world that John is talking about is a love for anything that opposes of the law of God. Whatever oppose the law of God, opposes God. One cannot love God and oppose God at the same time. Such a man is guilty of being double-minded. This man is without control. He has no control over anything is the Greek sense. He is unstable, or without any control whatever. He cannot make up his mind if it is God or the world that is the object of his loyalty.

John Calvin, in his writings on the life of the Christian man had this to say:
“For it is a doctrine not of the tongue but of life. It is not apprehended by the understanding and memory alone, as other disciplines are, but it is received only when it possesses the whole soul, and finds a seat and resting place in the inmost affection of the heart.”
He continues,
“With how much better reason, then, shall we detest these trifling Sophists who are content to roll the gospel on the tips of their tongues when its efficacy ought to penetrate the inmost affections of the heart, take its seat in the soul, and affect the whole man a hundred times more deeply than the cold exhortations of the philosophers!”





No comments:

Post a Comment

What is Your Favorite Quote: Evangelism Opportunities

A team building event within a human resources group that sits within a large, liberal, progressive western corporation is typically no...