How Bias Can Blind Us
As part of my research for the book Traveling in the Spirit Made Simple, I read The Latent Power of the Soul by Watchman Nee. Several chapters into the book, I ran across a problem that I see in the writings of many authors. The problem is the bias we develop when we embrace a certain view of the end times.
As Nee described his beliefs about how the soul has its own power to travel outside the physical body. he wraps the discussion in a shroud of suspicion and fear. The reason is that he believes there is great deception growing in the world and that interest in spiritual travel will be part of the agenda of the soon to be revealed Anti-Christ. His conclusion is that we must at all cost, avoid getting involved in such things, because God would never use them as part of His plans, and for us to do so can only lead to ruin.
Nee’s concerns came from the fact that he embraced a view of the end-times known as dispensationalism. This view teaches that as time goes on, the world will become darker, being filled with greater deception and trickery until the forces of darkness overcome the world. This narrative serves as the default view of future events for many Christians today.
When a person embraces this view, any new trends they see developing in the world tend to be viewed with suspicion. Their overriding concern is that anything new that comes to light may be part of Satan’s agenda to overcome the world.
This view predisposes its adherents to a belief that God cannot be the driving force behind anything significant going on in the world (except perhaps sending missionaries overseas and building orphanages) since most of the spiritual activity going on today is assumed to be the work of Satan. Thus, if God were to actually increase the use of spiritual travel in the coming days among the church, a dispensationalist would tend to assume it was the work of Satan.
There is a view of the end times that has a different take on the future, called partial preterism. This view holds that the things that dispensationalists expect to see happen in the future have already happened centuries ago. People who embrace this view also have certain biases of their own which color their perceptions. They tend to dismiss predictions of catastrophe and increased darkness in the world and they attribute most of the increase in spiritual activity today to God. They see Satan as a defeated foe and have difficulty imagining his agenda becoming more influential in the coming days.
Both camps have a bias that blinds them to one set of possibilities. The more strongly you embrace a certain view, the stronger your bias tends to be and the greater your blindness is to the opposing set of possibilities.
I’ve studied the various end-times scenarios that have been put forth and for now, I’m not supporting any of them very strongly. All the major theories have some amount of biblical support, but they all overlook key passages of scripture that discredit their main points. None of them are so strong that I would risk losing my ability to objectively evaluate what God is doing to embrace it whole-heartedly.
The trick here is to become educated about the different views on a given issue and, unless it’s a critically important one, to resist becoming overly invested in any one view, lest you adopt the biases of the view and blind yourself to other possibilities. There are subjects about which we need not negotiate but many of the subjects debated today are not essential to our faith.
If we want to be open to the things the Holy Spirit wants to teach us, it’s necessary to keep our minds free of unnecessary bias.
Great excerpt! Funny, but I believe that if we just truly keep our eyes focused on Jesus, then alot of this “stuff” really won’t matter. Because, either way, we win. I personally don’t think about it either way. Kinda like what happened to Job……God is in control. Always has been and will be. Nothing is catching Him off guard.
If you think about it; the moment we are born we are starting to live in the end times. Our bodies are on a course to expire at some point. So why live in paranoia about the “why is this happening”
I get your point as to scripture that would support either case but also we are talking about spiritual travel. Bible says that in the end days, God is going to POUR OUT His Spirit. And I believe that is what we need to be focusing on is the things of the Spirit that are being poured out now (healing, deliverance, travel, tongues, repentence, etc).
In the end…it doens’t matter to me. I’m ready. My opinion….the worst thing in life (dying without Jesus Christ) will never happen to Dave Albanese. So all this other sutff might seem bad or be considered a bump in the road…..but the worst thing will never happen to me.
Anyway, enough of my ramblings. I enjoy your posts. Loved the book, “Divine Healing” and am anxious to read your next book. I was actually in Phoenix a short while back. Forgot that you lived there. Would have love to met for coffe and prayed with you!
Have a great big blessed day!
I am drawn to spiritual travel too and always want to be careful not to embrace anything that is not of God. Satan can indeed counterfeit things but we aren’t to live in fear of that. I avoid calling myself any brand of end times advocate. I’m more simple. If Satan knows the time he has is getting shorter, he will do whatever is in his power to gain people to his side. When we feel the time is short, as God is reminding us in this time, we feel the urgency to increase the Kingdom work we do. Thus, it makes sense that both sides will increase their activity. God does not leave us defenseless. He already won at the cross. The war is in advancing the Kingdom and gaining souls for Jesus.
When God puts things on our hearts, when he burdens us for an area, or a person and says “All things are possible for those who believe,” He means it. I have family far away. Is spiritual travel much different than saying, “God, show me what they are doing now, or what their needs are so I can pray for them.” Travel seems like one step further. I see visions as practice and travel as the next step. If I need to go there to accomplish what God needs to do, then I’m willing. If I don’t, the important thing is that his purposes are brought to the world. We are going to a place in our spirit to accomplish the purposes of God, whether in visions or physically.
Jeremiah quoted that we could call to Him and he would teach us unsearchable things we could not know. God invites us to call upon him and ask him for the things we don’t know. Travel to manipulate for our own gain would indeed be ungodly, but motivated from a pure heart dedicated to bringing light to places we can’t physically go, it is simply putting ourselves in the hands of God, body, mind and spirit.
Outside of a dream, I have not yet felt my body transported anywhere but I persist in praying using my imagination, asking God to show me what he sees and what he wants me to do. Where he takes me, I will go. I just say, “I am wiling Lord, show me the way.” I don’t fear the enemy when I’m seeking Him alone.
I agree with your article thoroughly. Both points of view you discussed bothered me. I felt such balance reading this. Intellectuals can be biased with their own understanding, we need to have open flow in our ability to receive revelation, that is how God has chosen to build his church.
Interesting perspective and methodology PM. It is important that we do not become sidetracked from Christ’s mandate by making non-essential matters the centerpiece of our theology. The Bible also warns about giving heed to fables parading as Christian teaching. .
That said, we can be sure of one thing. The enemy is the master counterfeiter. Remember Pharaoh’s magicians? I have found 3 important truths about counterfeits:
1. Only the real and genuine can be counterfeited.- e.g. no one makes counterfeit $13 bills
2. Only things of high value are counterfeited – e.g. no one makes counterfeit $1 bills.
3. The presence of a counterfeit does not invalidate what is genuine – e.g. your genuine $100 bill is legal tender no matter how many counterfeits are in circulation.
Thank God we have His Word and His Spirit to help us discern the one from the other.
That is the really the best way I have ever heard this put.
David Cutting…..that was quite clever! I shared that on facebook. 🙂 Praying Medic….I agree with your article. God got His point across to me long ago, “Fear Not!” Through that He has enabled me to pursue the knowledge of Him and His ways with an open heart, eyes and ears.
My mind is open to the subject. If Holy Spirit wants me to go, I am more than willing.
Will get back to you on this. Fortunately for me, at any given time in my understanding and awareness it is as if the Father clouds my understanding to help keep me on the correct path of understanding for me. LUV ya B
Good thoughts friend. For the longest time it seemed I was taught ( church) that most things supernatural were to be avoided minus tongues & laying on of hands- but I came to realize- only so thing original & good is bothered to be counterfeited & we have a largely untapped inheritance due to fear. Also, it makes a good deal of difference what a person is doing when they travel- for me I am always ministering healing or prayer or of the Word. That tells me I am there by Gods means & directive not of my own soul alone. Plus I don’t know how I come or go, at this point, just suddenly find I’m seeing where I am.( elsewhere) I think it’s true our soul/spirit can activate something similar, of our own initiative that Nee describes but I have only experienced that once and was wide awake & aware. I didn’t quite understand it, And knew it was soulish so I didn’t want a repeat. I’ve never had a repeat bc repentance is a gift. Heart motives are important. I pray before I go to sleep as well committing myself to His ways. Anyway, I appreciated your thoughts above. There’s truth in that. ~C
“And Jesus walked through them”~Ian Clayton
I was raised dispensational. I have now been officially exploded, so the idea that whatever Jesus did we can, no “must” do, shall include all things are possible. To a spirit being.
It’s good to not get locked in to any point of view so tightly that even God himself could not change our mind. However, Holy Spirit will lead us to correct understanding as we let him, over time. Obviously, the scriptures that seem to support opposite points of view are not confused…just our ways of interpreting what we read are not quite up to speed yet. You might find some interesting input on the subject here: http://schoolofeagles.com/courses/end-times.html
Blessings, just read your book…excellent!
My friend I am not well educated and I am afraid I have been ignored by those who are but if you are willing to hear my thoughts I will present them. I have been taught in both theories by people who were as you say biased. I came to this conclusion. God is sovergn and He is capable of anything and will do what ever brings about His will..Satin is a copycat. It will do whatever seems to distract us from the Father and His plans for us.If God is going to move us from one place to another by the Spirit then Satin will counterfit it trying either to give the impression it is as powerful as God or that the gift of spiritual travel is magic and there fore to be avoided by Gods people.
I believe this can be found true in all the gifts our Father might bestow upon us. The satin will try to discredit them and or us if it is possible. I don’t believe it can discredit God but it will try to leave that impression in us.Thank you for allowing me to express myself.
i honestly believe that if Jesus did it, so can we…i think there could be absolute times in the future time travel could be used as an “escape hatch” for some in need (i know i sound like i’m something out of star trek…lol…but i don’t underestimate the power of God or His “reasons” (if i may use that word) for it’s use…ok call me crazy, but i’m with ya on this one! 🙂
I appreciate your encouragement on this matter. Many of us find ourselves having to consciously break off these mindsets of fear and suspicion. I have heard testimonies of some people that were involved in occult practices before they were saved say their gifts changed into light-filled gifts once they were filled with the Holy Spirit, but that seems kind of rare. William Branham and many others showed us this is a God thing and it’s powerful!
I have always had the “Ask God and Wait and See Attitude.” Each day as I open my heart, mind and spirit to more and more of God the result is “More and More” revelation along with “new to me” spiritual possibilities and realities. Day after day I seek the Lord for deeper revelation of Himself to be given to me and I rejoice in a type of joyful spiritual dance. I suggest we should Rest, Trust and Move Forward as God confirms some of our thoughts and ideas of “new to us” spiritual realities. I am excited in this present time of my life that Father is opening my eyes to translocation. As I consider it I am leaning toward believing I have experienced it. Hallelujah! Don’t you just love when you get that deep-in-your-chest witness that what you have discovered is God’s truth? I find myself searching even more for other truths yet to be discovered by me. This Christian walk is so exciting and thrilling. PM, We have not met as yet but I have been affirmed by our friendship. Because of that friendship I feel less and less isolated. I am finding more people with the truths I have had shown to me. For many years I felt so alone out there. When I would share these pearls with others, they would gasp and pull back from me. God is so delighted to reveal Himself to His children. I am loved. Luv B
The Holy Spirit obviously is bigger than we think…is it God’s will that we do more for His kingdom: (His will be done, on earth as it is in heaven)? Jesus said He had more for His disciples than they could understand at the time (they were not able to bear it). Did it not seem strange for Peter, who was a Jew (and all THAT entailed!), to go to a Gentile’s house and present the gospel…he must have had to fight every instinct in his body to do it, but he was following/being obedient to the Holy Spirit’s leading/commandment. You can almost feel it as you read the account, his own amazement with every word that he speaks.
So trans-location will be nothing to us, Jesus said we would do greater things than He did and that’s unbelievable in itself!
Great article, thanks 🙂
As I have looked back on my own special spiritual experiences I have come to consider that I “may” HAVE done this. Now that I am more educated by my peers that I respect, whose comments have been quickened in my heart by the Holy Spirit as trustworthy, I am open to such events as the Lord decides. I am not afraid because the Holy Spirit abides in me. Bonnie Tennant