You’ve perhaps heard that movie line, “You Keep Using That Word, I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means.” It comes from the fictional character Inigo Montoya from the 1987 comedy film The Princess Bride.
Well, the term, “Spiritual Transformation” is one of those words that begs for definition. In the visible church, it has come to mean something very different from the transforming work of the Holy Spirit that Jesus speaks of.
Our guest today is Sarah Leslie, the founder of an online journal called Herescope, published by Discernment Ministries Inc. It’s one of the many resources you’ll find on our website, and many of the guests you hear on our program tell us they couldn’t do what they do without her.
Sarah has put together a “thumbnail sketch” — an overview — of what constitutes “transformation.”Below is an outline summary which many will find helpful.
Are you in the throes of Transformation? (reprinted with permission)
“Transformation” is the end-goal of a process that moves from TRADITION through TRANSITION to TRANSFORMATION. This is sometimes called a “Paradigm Shift,” which means that Transformation shifts one’s worldview (paradigm) from the old to a new. This is a dialectically unfolding PROCESS in which the THESIS is continually challenged by ANTITHESIS, evolving into ever-unfolding SYNTHESES. Transformation is engineered, orchestrated and/or manipulated. Transformation involves changing over a person’s values, opinions, beliefs, attitudes, and even their behaviors to that of the new paradigm/worldview.
How to tell if it is “Transformation” —
Characteristics of TRADITION:
1. Education (teaching) is didactic
3. Right and Wrong
4. Focus on “what is”
5. “I know” statements
6. Facts, TRUTH
7. Respond to change by standing on THESIS
Characteristics of TRANSITION:
1. Education is facilitation
2. Affective (feelings), psychological
3. Must “determine” right and wrong (up for grabs)
4. Experience (dialogue)
5. “I think” or “I feel” subjective statements
7. Respond to change by adapting to new SYNTHESIS
Characteristics of TRANSFORMATION:
1. Education is modeling, spiritual formation, mentoring
2. Esoteric (mystical)
3. No absolutes
4. Common ground, coevolution, collective unconscious
5. Intuitive, “I sense,” imagery, imagination
6. ANTITHESIS supplants THESIS
7. Continual, perpetual change
How to spot the PROCESS of “Transformation.” Look for:
A. New Language:
1. Newly coined words, terms, phrases, slogans
2. Old words given new meanings
3. Old definitions discarded
4. Intentional deception, misleading statements, half-truths, ambiguity
B. New Worldview/Paradigm
1. A new way of seeing or interpreting reality—events, circumstances, history, causes and effects, etc.
2. Creating a new reality using envisioning activities
3. Revisionist history: altering the facts, distorting prior events to fit new paradigm
4. Creating a new reality through psycho-social change mechanisms
C. New Structure
1. New authority structure, system of governance, new forms of accountability
2. New physical structure
3. New forms, formulas, formats, formations
4. New liturgies not based on doctrine or Scripture
D. New Mission/Vision
1. Subjective, constantly changing, relative
3. Not tied to Biblical absolute Truth or Word of God
4. Subject to continual urgency, crisis, acceleration, etc.
E. New Values
1. Subjective, relational, situational, abstract
2. Irrational, illogical, irreverent, irrelevant
3. Tolerance for everything but absolute Truth
4. “The end justifies the means”
F. New Methods
1. Bait and switch, marketing, manipulation, machinations
2. Statistics, census-taking, databanking, assessing, monitoring
3. Orchestrated consensus, common ground, deceptions
4. Peer-driven, compulsive, coercive
G. New Doctrines
1. Man-oriented, culturally relative, contextualized, programmed
2. Anything that erodes the sovereignty of God
4. Authoritarian in implementation
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Want to dive deeper into what you’ve just read?
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- When Church means Business
- The New Legalism
- Missional: When Evangelicals Support The Social Gospel/Social Justice by Another Name
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