I am curious about "Exchanged life Ministries." I may not have a clear understanding, but from what I've read and heard, it seems to me that some are teaching that our old nature is dead and that we only have one nature now, not two. That the battles with the flesh are not a reality but only bad habits that must be reprogrammed. Can you give me some information? This does not match with scripture from my viewpoint.
Actually, I believe the perspective of Exchanged Life Ministries is more biblical than a lot of the teaching many of us have received over the years (especially if we've been reading out of the NIV). They teach that at salvation, we get a new nature when our spirits (dead when we are born) come alive. At that point, we have two warring components: our flesh (which the NIV unfortunately translates as "sin nature") and our spirit. The flesh consists of all our coping mechanisms, our thought and behavior patterns, that were established on our own apart from God. The flesh is like a baseball mitt without a hand inside to make it do what it was created to do. A baseball glove in and of itself is powerless to be what it was made to do, just as our flesh is powerless to please God, to obey, or to do anything of any eternal value.
Our spirit is the part of us indwelled by Christ through the Holy Spirit. When we are controlled by the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18), it's like slipping a hand inside the baseball glove: suddenly there is power and purpose and ability to function the way we were intended to function. We always have a choice to walk (or live) according to the flesh or according to the spirit, with the flesh being our "default setting." But only when we yield to God and invite Him to express Himself through us do we think and choose and live in alignment with Him. Only by surrendering to His power and character do we manifest Christlikeness, something impossible in our own strength.
You may have heard that ELM teaches we only have one nature, not two. That's because scripture says that the "old man" was crucified with Christ (Gal. 2:20, 5:24), and at salvation we are transferred from being "in Adam" (1 Cor. 15:22--the old man, the old nature) to being "in Christ" (Book of Ephesians--the new man, the new nature). Positionally, it's true that our "old self," our old identity, died with Christ; but experientially, it's also true that we still have all the old memories, beliefs, and habit patterns of the flesh, and we can choose to operate as if that old self were still reigning.
For instance, many people are addicted to pornography. Addiction to the flesh is something the "old man" would do, but Christ has set us free to obey and be empowered to do what is right instead of what is wrong. Christians have been freed from the power of pornography through Christ's death on the cross, but many believers nonetheless make themselves slaves to their lusts and passions. It's as if His death never happened, as if He never purchased their freedom. But that freedom is available if they grab ahold of it and walk in it, trusting Jesus to be holy and pure IN THEM instead of operating by the same old rules.
I know a number of people have trouble with Exchanged Life principles (which explains many of the attacks on Neil Anderson's teachings), but I have found ELM's teachings to be more in line with scripture than those of their detractors.
I hope this helps.
About the Author
Sue Bohlin is an associate speaker with Probe Ministries. She attended the University of Illinois, and has been a Bible teacher and conference speaker for over 35 years. She is a frequent speaker for MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) and Stonecroft Ministries (Christian Women's Connections), and serves on the board and as a small group leader of Living Hope Ministries, a Christ centered outreach to those dealing with unwanted homosexuality. Sue is on the Bible.org Women's Leadership Team and is a regular contributor to Bible.org's Tapestry blog. She is also a professional calligrapher and the webmistress for Probe Ministries; but most importantly, she is the wife of Dr. Ray Bohlin and the mother of their two grown sons. Her personal website is suebohlin.com.
What is Probe?
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.
Further information about Probe's materials and ministry may be obtained by contacting us at:
2001 W. Plano Parkway, Suite 2000
Plano TX 75075