Knowing and Loving God: Part 3a

by Jonathan Hamilton

Click here for an explanation of this series

Wednesday, June 18 (previous post here)

This was only day three of class (of five total), and we had already covered an incredible amount of ground. Each step was loaded with truths about God from His Word, all pointing us to a greater knowledge and love of Him.

Also by day three, 5 1/2 hours of note-taking per day was taking its toll…..so there are going to be a few gaps ahead (don’t judge me, I had hand and also brain cramps). Keep that in mind. Any imperfections in the notes are mine, they are not a reflection on the seminary or the instructor.

We left off on Day Two with a look ahead to the next part of our discussion on things that shape our imagination. Before we get there however, we will take a short detour into a discussion on prayer. This is where my notes are a bit gappy. Dr. Bauder talked about several areas of prayer, and I took good notes on exactly one of those areas, poor notes on a second, and no notes on the rest.

PRAYER

Confession – Two Elements:

  1. Agree with God – Admit what you’ve done – Call it what it is
  2. Acknowledge the wrongness – this requires a change of mind from when you were doing the wrong; this sets it apart from the joking or “proud of it” type of “confession” the world laughs about

Psalm 51 is the best example of confession. The first element is not present due to the fact that David’s sin was already quite public and well-known. It was the second element that was missing prior to this Psalm.

This psalm shows us that whoever we’ve sinned against, it pales in comparison to that sin against God. Verse 4:

Against You, You only, I have sinned
And done what is evil in Your sight,
So that You are justified when You speak
And blameless when You judge.

There are three things that happen when we sin:

  1. Guilt – Always and only dealt with at the cross of Christ
  2. Pollution – Corrupts to some degree and threatens to lead us to future sin
  3. Damage/Harm – Dissension, division, distress

David is praying for the third thing (damage) to be undone in verse 18:

By Your favor do good to Zion;
Build the walls of Jerusalem.

Some lessons:

  • God did not (and does not always) choose to undo all of the consequences. There is something wrong with people in counseling who think now that confession/forgiveness have taken place, restoration ought to be immediate. “OK, now restore me!” It doesn’t work that way.
  • Use your sins as future teaching opportunities for others. Learn from others’ mistakes and help them learn from yours.

Thanksgiving – What should we be thankful for? (not exhaustive by any stretch, simply representative)

  • Trials
  • Conviction
  • Sources of life (food, water, air)
  • Church
  • Doctrines of Salvation (justification, regeneration, sanctification, etc.)

Other Categories of Prayer

  • Adoration
  • Supplication
  • Petition
  • Intercession
  • Imprecation (2 Thessalonians 1)
  • Prayer of the Spirit

At this point we ended our discussion on prayer, and returned to the idea of things that shape our imagination.

  • KEY IDEA: What shapes our imagination is of primary importance.

All artistic media have the goal of shaping the imagination. We need to be aware of what we’re encountering, of what is bombarding us, both from the secular realm and the Christian. The difference between these types of imagery and Biblical imagery (for instance, the imagery of the Shepherd in Psalm 23) is that these are not automatically acceptable forms of imagery.

Phenomena from which we should shield ourselves:

  1. False Imagery – We can’t avoid it all because we need to know what our flocks are being bombarded with, but do this with your guard up. Avoid anything that falsely represents God or tries to shape the imagination against Him.
  2. Sources of imagery that shape our imagination without giving us the opportunity to think about what’s going on; bypassing our mind (theatrical, for example; watching a movie of an evil plot as opposed to reading it in a book – reading a book gives you an opportunity to think and respond); these bypass our minds and reach to our appetites

Together, a very toxic group, but also an appealing one (like meth). It’s just so much fun, once you stat you can’t live without it.

I wish I had typed these notes up when they were fresher in my mind, because there were some important qualifications and explanations given that I am having trouble remembering. For example, related to point one above, Dr. Bauder was not recommending against watching “Lord of the Rings” and categorizing all fantasy as “False Imagery.” That wasn’t the point. Certainly false imagery related to God or His Word ought to be avoided completely, but I do not remember if we expanded on that in class or if the total definition of false imagery was related to things about God.

Related to point two above, I do know that we discussed, for one example, the power that a movie can have as the plot unfolds, so that by the end of the movie you’re cheering for the guy who shot a political leader, or beat up his wife, or any number of immoral acts that you are shaped into approving of and feeling positively toward.

But this wraps up post 3a. Our next post will be a little shorter, covering our final discussion from Day 3: “The Glory of God,” which is a discussion that will spill over into Day 4 as well.

NEXT: Knowing and Loving God: Part 3b

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