Spiritual versus “natural”
An OAC member wrote: “...John 4v24…God is SPIRIT and does who serve Him must serve Him in Spirit and in Truth.What do I want to tell you through this vers? I want to make know unto you that you interpret the Scriptures NATURALLY and exactly as it is written in the Bible.When God speaks to His people…he speaks in a language that only they will understand-SPIRITUAL.Seeing that they have His Spirit ,they are able to understand Him...” Sic
Now let us read John 4:24 in context with the other verses before it:
John 4:20-24 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
From the context it is clear that because God is a Spirit, He is not limited geographically, He can be worshipped wherever the true worshippers may find themselves geographically. It has absolutely nothing to do with literal interpretation of the Scriptures. Jesus was speaking to a Samaritan woman (John 4:9). The major issue between Jews and Samaritans has always been the location of the Chosen Place to worship God; Mount Zion in Jerusalem according to the Jewish faith or Mount Gerizim according to the Samaritan faith (Ezra and the Law in History and Tradition).
It’s all about perspective, in Hebrew the words for “matter” (chômer - חֹמֶר) and “spirit” (rûach - רוּחַ) are interchangeable. The letters that spell chômer also spell rûach, all you have to do is drop the letter mem (מֶ). The difference between the spiritual and material world is a matter of perspective.
If you look at the world in one way, you see a material world.
“We are the product of primordial quantum fluctuations” – Excerpt from ‘The Origin of (almost) Everything’ by Prof. Stephen Hawking
If you change the quality of your perception and look at things in a new and fresh way, then the very same world becomes spiritual. It’s the same world but it’s the quality of your relationship with the material world which makes it spiritual.
“A point worth noting is that the universe, nature, is itself a communication to us from G-d. The vastness, the boundless variety, the sense of structure and the sense of a constant interplay of dynamic forces express something about G-d, who causes every detail in the universe to exist. A painting in an art gallery tells us something about the painter; existence tells us something about G-d.” – Excerpt from ‘Nature as Divine Communication’ by Dr. Tali Loewenthal
As a child we sang the following hymn at primary school:
All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.
Each little flow’r that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colors,
He made their tiny wings.
The purple-headed mountains,
The river running by,
The sunset and the morning
That brightens up the sky.
The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them every one.
The tall trees in the greenwood,
The meadows where we play,
The rushes by the water,
To gather every day.
He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.
As a child this hymn didn’t make me more “carnally minded”. Since the creation of the world His invisible nature and attributes, His eternal power and divinity, have been made intelligible and clearly discernible in and through the things that have been made (Romans 1:20).
There is a common view in the OAC that the opposite of “spiritual” is “natural”. We are sown as “natural” bodies and after we die, our bodies will literally return to dust (1 Corinthians 15:44-49). This is literally true.
An OAC member wrote: “...I'am sorry it's either natural or spiritual! I am reading fruit salad! Mengelmoes sou jy natuur en gees mix!
Lol it's either naturally or spiritually! You cannot mix the two then you have fruidsalad!
God demands that we choose one way or the other—but not straddle the fence. We cannot have it both ways. Unless in the battle between the spirit and the flesh we throw down the gauntlet in favor of our spiritual selves, we run the risk of being torn to pieces psychologically and emotionally.
Recall Psalm 119:113: "I hate the double-minded, but I love Your law." Notice that the antidote to double-mindedness is yielding to God's law. Wholeness and singleness of purpose are the result of keeping God's law through the power of Christ working in us. As our Lord reminds us in His Sermon on the Mount, "The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good [single, KJV; focused, directed], your whole body will be full of light" (Matthew 6:22)...”
Another OAC member responded: “...Indeed, beloved [name deleted] we cannot be lukewarm in the mouth of God it's either we are cold or hot. But when we are lukewarm he'll spew us out of his mouth.
None can serve two masters at once : flesh and Spirit
We should lay upon our treasures in heaven/spiritual realm not upon earth/natural things where moth and thieves can break in and steal our treasure.
Jesus is you and Christ is the born again soul that gives life to the world through the testimony...”
Unless you know your Bible, such utter rubbish as the OAC member comments above may confuse you. Go and read those verses being quoted in your Bible and you’ll see how single verses are being misquoted and twisted out of context.
According to the Bible it is the flesh (carnal) which is the opposite of the Spirit.
Romans 8:5-7 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
Galatians 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
Literal interpretation of the Bible is not walking in the flesh or being carnally minded by any stretch of the imagination (Matthew 22:29, Mark 12:24, Acts 17:10-12, Romans 15:4, 2 Timothy 3:15-17).
Walking in the flesh refers to adultery, fornication, uncleanness, covetousness, filthiness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, greediness, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings and such like (Matthew 15:18-20, Mark 7:20-23, Romans 1:25-32, 1 Corinthians 5:9-11, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, 1 Corinthians 6:15-20, Galatians 5:19-21, Ephesians 4:17-31, Ephesians 5:3-7, Colossians 3:5-9, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8, Hebrews 13:4-5, 2 Peter 2:4-10, Revelation 21:8, Revelation 22:15). It is the fleshly lusts (carnal mindedness) which war against the soul (1 Peter 2:11), not literal interpretations of the Bible.
A true and practical example: My “priest” did not interpret the Bible “naturally”, but he made an unmarried young-member sister pregnant. Understanding the whole Bible as an allegory did not make him spiritual; he still followed his fleshly lusts to commit adultery. According to the Bible we can safely say my “priest” was carnally minded.
The fruit of the Spirit is not a parable. It is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts (Galatians 5:22-25, Ephesians 5:8-11, 2 Peter 1:4-8). Trying to understand “mysteries” to become “spiritually minded” is highly exaggerated (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).
An OAC member berated another OAC member’s literal interpretation of the Bible as follows: “...To interpret and to believe the bible is spiritually is one of the main things that seperates Old Apostolics from the rest of the world and other churches.. So now we can sommer join the NG kerk because you believe everything in the bible is natural happenings that happened 2000+ years ago.. My brother, you must go to you’re underdeacon so that he can explain all these things to you so that God can take out your heart of stone, and give you a fleshy heart so that He can write His word on your heart...”
Another OAC member wrote: “...what today makes the Old Apostolic Church Gnostic? To answer that we have to look at what they belief in...”
Gnosticism believes matter is the opposite of spirit; therefore matter is evil because spirit is good. As a result, Gnostics believe that anything you do in your body irrespective of any sin you commit has no meaning because real life exists only in spirit. This belief reflects the behaviour of the “priest” I mentioned earlier. Compare this view with what’s written in your Bible (Romans 6:12, Romans 13:13-14, 2 Corinthians 4:11, Galatians 5:16-24, Ephesians 2:1-3, James 1:12-16, 1 Peter 2:11-12, 1 Peter 4:1-6).
Gnostics claim to possess “elevated” knowledge (gnosis) known only to their inner circle. This knowledge is not from the Bible but acquired from some or other mystical higher plane of existence. Gnostics believe this makes them privileged and elevated above everyone else because they claim to have a deeper knowledge of God. Gnostics believe salvation is gained by acquiring some kind of divine knowledge. This is not what the Bible teaches. The salvation that Christ offers is a free gift from God and available to everyone who believes in Jesus (John 3:16, John 14:6, Ephesians 2:8-9). Salvation is not only available to a select few with some secret knowledge.
Gnostics don’t believe Jesus physically existed, but only seemed to be physical and that His spirit descended at baptism and left Him before He was crucified. The Bible however affirms His complete humanity and His full deity (Luke 24:39-40, John 20:24-29, Acts 1:2-3, Romans 5:15, 1 Corinthians 15:12-19, 1 Timothy 2:5, Hebrews 2:9).
Gnostics twist verses out of context to harmonize with their philosophy; the Bible is superseded by their thoughts, ideas, writings and visions. The Bible has clear warnings against this (Deuteronomy 4:2, Deuteronomy 12:32, Proverbs 30:5-6, Matthew 5:17-20, Revelation 22:18-19). All scripture is given by inspiration of God (2 Timothy 3:15-17).
Gnosticism questions God and the words He spoke. Gnosticism calls God and the Bible into question and those who are naïve or scripturally uninformed are easily caught in its web. Gnosticism also appeals to those who are seeking some kind of personal revelation to make them feel unique, special or superior to others.
Gnosticism is clearly unbiblical. Is the OAC Gnostic? Examine your beliefs and compare them to what’s written in the Bible. If the shoe fits, wear it.