Speaking to the whole person is pastorally vital

Last week, I was teaching a group of people about the Trinity. I gave them some discussion questions including

          How do you talk about this doctrine to non-Christians?

          Can God stop loving me?

          Can I lose my salvation?

Now, those may not on the surface look like obvious “Doctrine of the Trinity” questions but if you’ve read “Who is God?” you’ll recognise quickly the pastoral tie up between what we believe about the Triune God and what we believe about those things.

Anyway, we noticed that the discussion veered quickly away from what we had just learnt because people were rooting answers in their own cultural experience of love and father-hood.  I had some moving  conversations with some about their experience.

Then, this week I was talking with someone else who cited the example of an author attending a baptism service and listening to a good solid reformed sermon, then being surprised at how different and disconnected the testimonies were from the exposition.

I wonder if this relates to the point I’ve been making about the disconnect between emotion and intellect and our need to “preach to the affections”? Let me explain my theory.

If I hear an exposition of the Gospel that connects with my mind and respond to that clear presentation then all is well and good. However, then the day comes when I stand up to give my testimony before being baptised. My family are there, the building is full, friends have come along, I helped choose some favourite songs.  It is an intensely emotional occasion.  I’m not used to public speaking, I’m nervous too. My default is going to be going back into my emotions.  Now, I could try and quell this by working hard at the intellectual bit and reading my script but that doesn’t really cut it does it? What really needs to happen is for my emotions, behaviours and intellect to be aligned, with all of them submitting to the Lordship of Christ.