I just had a conversation with a friend about his spiritual beliefs. I was talking about Jesus and my friend said that the miracles He performed were from His own mind power. That he had a higher control over his brain than other people. Jesus attributed his miracles to God's power but that's only because he didn't understand where the power came from.
He generally believes that there is a lot of power in oneself and if one will only utilize it and become self actualized one can become god-like.
I responded by talking about my belief in the fall and its effect on humanity. How man is hopelessly flawed and incomplete without Christ. I noted how man's efforts and science have failed to deliver. The world is still wrought with disease and suffering. I'm trying to be brief so I'll not go into the rest of the conversation. How would you have responded and do you have any suggestions on what to bring up the next time we talk about that kind of thing?
It sounds like you're doing a great job talking with your friend! Here are a few thoughts: It might be worth asking your friend, "If Jesus had such incredible control over His brain, including the ability to perform miracles by the sheer power of His mind, then how is it that He was deluded about where His power actually came from?" I would challenge your friend, "If Jesus was so superior to you in mental power and abilities, then why should you think that you know more about where His power came from than He did?" It's a question that deserves a careful answer, I should think.
More generally, however, I would ask your friend why anyone should believe his rather original spin about where Jesus' power came from? Why does he think he's correct? What evidence supports his opinion? Further, why does he reject what the New Testament says about Jesus? Shouldn't the original witnesses to these events have been in a better position to judge what happened than he is? What does he do with the evidence for the historical reliability of the Gospels, etc?
Finally, if Jesus really died on the cross (which no serious scholar disputes) then how can your friend explain Jesus' greatest recorded miracle—His resurrection from the dead? If Jesus was dead, then how could He have used His brain to accomplish the miracle? If your friend doubts that Jesus rose from the dead, then challenge him to investigate the evidence for himself by reading some good books and articles on the subject. Challenge him to read Lee Strobel's book, The Case for Christ. Or challenge him to read some of William Lane Craig's work on the historicity of the resurrection. Log onto this site and register for free, then search for the following www.reasonablefaith.org:
• Article: The Resurrection of Jesus
• Section: Scholarly Articles/The Historical Jesus (numerous relevant articles).
• Audio-Visuals Page and Debates Page: Dr. Craig also has audio and visual stuff as well as debate transcripts regarding the resurrection here
I have tried to give you some helpful information here. But the most important thing is to share this information with genuine love, compassion and respect. No one likes an intellectual bully. So please be sensitive to the Spirit's guidance.
Hope this helps.
Shalom in Christ,
© 2007 Probe Ministries
About the Author
Michael Gleghorn is a research associate with Probe Ministries. He earned a B.A. in psychology from Baylor University and a Th.M. in systematic theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. Before coming on staff with Probe, Michael taught history and theology at Christway Academy in Duncanville, Texas. Michael and his wife Hannah have two children. His personal website is michaelgleghorn.com.
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Probe Ministries is a non-profit ministry whose mission is to assist the church in renewing the minds of believers with a Christian worldview and to equip the church to engage the world for Christ. Probe fulfills this mission through our Mind Games conferences for youth and adults, our 3-minute daily radio program, and our extensive Web site at www.probe.org.
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