MODULE 11 - SOBRIETY


(Shared Module) 

Welcome to week 11 class! 

The format for this week’s lesson will be slightly different than usual. In addition to your regular reading assignment, I have included some very basic teachings on critical thinking , or logic. The early church had to contend with ideas/ philosophies/ and formal, doctrinal errors that ran counter to Bible truths or principles. In some cases, they were mentioned in passing in the Scriptures. In other cases, after the first-century apostles had passed on, formal councils were convened to address certain heretical teachings; and certain creeds, were developed by church Fathers/officials as formal doctrinal statements to refute false teachings, and to affirm sound theological beliefs.

Today, many of the problems, it seems, stem from political ideology and activism, mixed with questionable ideas or beliefs ( some even of a religious nature) that the Word of God- and particularly New Testament Christianity- does not support. For that reason, we need to not only examine Scriptures that deal with “sober-mindedness”, but to understand some of the basics of how we form rational thought , and make sound, balanced judgments that align with Scripture. That is our learning objective for this week.


Things to do on this week:


-Review the answers to Week 10’s questions.


-Reading Assignment: Proverbs 11:1; 2 Corinthians 10:1-4; 1 Peter 1:13; 1 John 3:14-15


-Watch this week’s video, “ Sobriety”.


-Read the Purdue Univ Writing Lab Owl print-out on “Logical Fallacies”.[ See listing under references]. Please observe the legal notice concerning it on the references page of this lesson.


-Read “Come Let Us Reason Together”, my thoughts for you to “ponder”.


-Answer this week’s questions; and submit the answers by 12 Noon ,EDT, on June 8th, 2021.


Blessings,

Sandra Thomas Brown



READ LOGICAL FALLACIES HERE


“Come, Let Us Reason Together”


Where to begin with this essay? The Bible teaches us, as believers, to “think soberly” in Romans 12:3. It tells us to be “sober-minded”( Titus 2:6), “sober-minded” being from the Greek word “sophronia”, which means “ to be sound-minded”, or “ to exercise self-control”. Furthermore, it says to “Gird up the loins of your mind; and BE SOBER”( 1 Peter 1:13); yet I have never seen a time when so many people are doing the opposite. We live in “perilous times” when many people are angry, “fierce”, intolerant , and intemperate .They see one side, and only one side, of every matter. There is no middle ground on anything, even though there are issues or situations in which we should look for just solutions that do not violate God’s Word , or wisdom that may not be explicitly expressed in Scripture on a subject, but can be extrapolated or taken away from what we see and know to be true from other situations in the Word.


Jesus said , “ As I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just, because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent Me” ( John 5:30). He said that we are to “ Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment”( John 7:24). That should be our goal as Christians across the board. Our decision-making in every instance, and our dispositions/attitudes- whether concerning a job, a church, a spouse, politics, etc. should be based on the Word of God, first, and what it has to say about the matter. If it is a matter that requires us to look beyond the Bible, we should try to get as much good counsel and information as possible from reliable, credible sources; and by using a just, fact-based/truth-based process to evaluate issues and options. This will , in many instances, call for “critical-thinking”, or a sound deliberative process through the “mechanics”, so to speak, of reason and logic.


I used to think that faith and logic excluded each other. In other words, I did not see how logic could complement or work with faith; but I have learned otherwise. It can. Christian apologist and author, Peter Kreeft, Professor of Philosophy at Boston College, asserts that logic can aid our faith in 3 ways: (1) In “ clarifying” and “defining” our beliefs; (2) in demonstrating how God works in matters, even those that are trying, to give believers the best possible outcome, as He has promised in His Word; and (3) in logic-based arguments justifying why we believe what we believe. [1]I agree with Kreeft’s view(s). Luke, the author of Acts, in writing to Theophilus concerning the resurrection, even uses the expression

[1] Peter Kreeft Socrati c Logic: A Text Using Socratic Method, Platonic Questions, and Aristotelian Principles,Edition3.1; South Bend, Indiana: St. Augustine’s Press,2010, p4


“infallible proofs” in Acts 1:3. Paul told the church to “ Prove all things…” in 1 Thessalonians 5:21; and he was known throughout his ministry to engage in discourse/reason , whether on Mars Hill in Athens with philosophers ( Acts Ch.17); with/before King Agrippa , Bernice, Festus and others ( Acts chapters 25-26); or in other instances. Acts 28:16-30 seems to further bear this out. Peter told the church to “ …Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” ( 1 Peter 3:15). Whatever our positions are on Bible doctrines, political ideology, or otherwise, we should be able to justify them in a sound way. If it pertains to our Christian faith, we should be able to defend, from the Word, in a true, theologically- sound way, any doctrine/belief, prophecy, or practice. If we cannot do this, particularly based on the New Testament[ such as in calls for violence against government officials and others with whom some may not agree; in the acceptance of political/electoral claims for which there is no bona fide, supporting evidence; in Anti-Semitism, racism, xenophobia, national discord and division, etc.], it should be rejected.


In a more general way, we should be able to justify what we believe, and practice, as well. This is likely, again, to involve critical thinking/ sound reasoning. Kreeft makes a point in Socratic Logic that logic is needed even to maintain a democracy. He refers to Thomas Jefferson’s belief that reason and persuasion undergird a republic, and not force . [2] Our democracy is under assault today. This is not hyperbole or exaggeration. Changing demographics and feelings of “displacement” by some, “culture wars”, economic stagnation for some, etc. have , in large measure, brought us to this point.


This is relevant to this lesson because about 8 or 9 years ago, the Lord began to deal with me, in a foreboding, ominous warning, that something was coming for which many in the Body of Christ would be unprepared ; and even though it wouldn’t quite reach the magnitude of the revelation of the “Man of Sin”/Antichrist, many believers would be a part of the seduction, subversion, and apostasy ,or “falling away”, from the [ Christian] faith that the Bible speaks of in 2 Thessalonians 2:2, and other Scriptures, such as 1 Timothy 4:1, and 2 Timothy 4:2-4.My impression is that we are now seeing the beginning of that falling away, or a phase in the process. There is a dangerous mindset that has taken hold among some in our churches and our political system[ which some believers have allowed to supplant their faith and allegiance to Bible truths, and truth and reality, in general]: that to correct the nation’s problems- both real and imagined- the church and the country need to embrace a messianic-type figure other than Christ to “save America”; reject or breach Constitutional principles and methods that have

[2] Kreeft, 2010,p.5.


undergirded the country from its inception; institute millennial “fixes” in Christ’s stead; and use lies, violence, and/or whatever means some see as necessary to bring this about. New Testament Christianity supports NONE of these ideas , nor actions; so it’s well beyond the time to “…Gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” ( 1 Peter 1:13). That takes sound, well-reasoned thinking, prayer, and a commitment to the Kingdom of God, anchored in a love for Him and “ a love for the truth”, which those who ultimately fall prey to the Antichrist will not have.[ Here is what should be extremely “SOBERING”: Read 2Thessalonians, Chapter 2; and count the number of times that some form of the expression“ Did not have or receive a love for the truth” appears when referring to those who become deluded and overtaken by the Antichrist. It is a warning to all who think that lying and deceit is the right way to go for political and any other gain].


Sandra Thomas Brown



A Note about the “Laws of Logic” (or its “rules of the road”):

Logic and proper reasoning is a complex process governed by certain principles. The main, most basic of the basic things that I want you to grasp in this lesson are that arguments in logic are stated as declarative sentences that assert something. The first 2 statements are called the premises or propositions that make certain claims . These claims can be either true or false.The third statement generally will be the conclusion, typically using words such as “Therefore”, “So then”, etc. As to the content, which is really what we are most concerned about here, some arguments/claims are to be rejected because the claims are not valid, or are even clearly false. For Christians, claims that someone makes in an argument may need to be closely examined by looking at multiple credible, unbiased sources to determine whether it should be entertained or accepted.[ On important issues, we, as Christians, shouldn’t simply try to determine whether or not a conclusion is valid or sound, but that the actual conclusion is true, if it is knowable]. We will likely revisit critical thinking at a later time. It is something that, for this setting, needs to be explored a little bit at a time. However, you have a printout of a number of logical fallacies in this module. There are actually many, many more; but what you have will give you an idea of what some of the most common ones are that are used every day, both unintentionally, and intentionally by some, to deceive and mislead others for their own purposes or agenda.


References

Kreeft, Peter. Socratic Logic: A Logic Text Using Socratic Method, Platonic Questions, and Aristotelian Principles, Edition 3.1; South Bend, Indiana: Augustine Press, 2010


*Strong, James. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible; Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, 2009


The Writing Lab and the OWL at Purdue University, “Logical Fallacies”, 1995 -2018, pp1-4;accessed5/31/21,@https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/academic/logic_in_argumentative_writing/fallacies.html


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