Monday, October 30, 2006

Rhema and Logos

The Bible doesn't refer to itself as the 'Word of God' as many Evangelicals are wont to do. Except of course in referring to the Penateuch and when they mean the Bible as the Word of God they don't just mean the first five books!

The New Testament does refer to Jesus as the 'Word of God' and so He is. What we are seeing is a difference between two Greek words: Rhema and Logos. Where rhema refers to the spoken word of God and logos to the written word of God. The wikipedia reference for rhema explains the difference well.

However, seeing a difference doesn't seem to underline enough the dangers of rhema without logos of logos without rhema. Rhema without logos can produce totally off the rails interpretations of what God is saying. The word-faith movement is an example of this. The father of the word-faith movement is usually considered to be Kenneth Hagin, but in reality he plagarized another guy called Kenyon. They have a doctrine which they call 'positive confession' and which they mean that because God spoke and the universe was created it is the power of words that makes things happen.

Of course this is just one aspect of the word-faith movement, but does focus on spoken word, rhema, as if it of itself is powerful rather than the outworking of an all powerful God.

People who are upside down on this, ie focus on the logos not the rhema, see rhema as coming out of logos and where logos is silent then make your own mind up because 'God predestined it anyhow'. Which is Calvinist. And Muslim.

When I look around if I take a phenomenological approach to looking then frequently the church doesn't look much different to a mix of west end musical, political meeting of the 1930s and Islamic theology.

Yet I cannot get over the fact that Jesus came to change all this. He came to announce good news for the poor, freedom for the captive and tell people that the unrelenting power of God to change you was here and available because He himself was going to die for us.

How did he do this? He spoke - rhema. He referred to the Old Testament - logos. He told stories. He shared Himself. He broke the accepted rules of the day. He would probably have been as bored in a church service as I am with pontificating preachers who neither proclaim rhema and turn logos into monotonos utterances.

Hmmm... why if Jesus is so interesting is the church so boring?


Dorothea said...

Hi Richard,

I came across your blog today, (long story) I've bookmarked it "Blog on nonchurch Jesus lover"

I am (with my husband and 2 kids) in the same spot; love Jesus, don't love going to church. We used to attend regularly (long story).

My husband, my 24 year old son and I are having "quiet time" at home this Sunday am. (daughter, 26, does not live at home any more)

We usually listen to a sermon via the internet, chat occasionally and then pray.

Anyway, just wanted to join you on this journey.


Anonymous said...

Church is boring today for two main reasons.
1) Apostasy …a falling away from truth, 2) Faithlessness due to a falling away from the Word.

Most churches/denominations have fallen away from the true Gospel and embraced traditions and is in apostasy (not all but most). Another gospel is being preached.

This has happened in the VISIBLE church from the beginning. Read the judgments against these churches in Book of Revelations.

If you think spiritual growth comes through attending church services and Bible studies alone, you are sadly mistaken.

Faithlessness comes from falling away from scripture.

The Greek words "Rehma" and
Logos" are two distinct Greek words – very precise with similar but different meaning. Logos leads to rehma leads to faith imparted to believers. One cannot be saved without rehma. That is why many read the Bible but are not saved by it.

The scriptures that were God-breathed and written down are logos. A quickening of the spirit to believe the logos is true is rehma … i.e. the word made alive.

Matthew 4:4 "But he [Jesus] answered and said, It is written (logos), Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word (rehma) that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."

The logos is truth. Rehma is faith imparted to believe the logos truth … impowered by the Holy Spirit to the believer opening his understanding ... whose spirit is quickened ... or made alive.

Powerful statement in Matthew because it means that as the believer studies the logos (scriptures), the Holy Spirit will quicken his spirit to apply that (logos) word to their own lives. A rehma … or a personal word uttered by God directly to the believer regarding a particular situation or circumstance in their life. If you have that tiny mustard gain of a rehma ... mountains would be moved for that would be the perfect will of God empowered.

This is what we seek as believers through study, meditating, praying, fasting ..."Make your word alive and I will feed upon it and grow spiritually as I apply it to my own life and circumstances."

Faith or faith-ing (sic) is the spiritual food of life. You don't get that from merely warming a pew nor do you get it participating in worship and praise or merely listening to preaching. Preaching often provides conformations of truth. Faith cannot be worked up in the flesh for man has no faith in himself or capacity to save himself.

Therefore we are to live by God's faith as a seeker. Romans 10:17.

"It is impossible to please God without Faith." Hebrews writer declares. Hebrews 11:1 Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen.

Spiritual growth comes through faith-ing not warming a pew. Change your thinking…repent. The invisible church which is the Body of Christ has always existed and the gates of hell will not prevail against that invisible church ...a church not made of brick and mortar but the temple is our bodies [I Cor.6:19] which are now the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit who is Christ's representative ... therefore Christians are a nation of priests. The Holy Spirit will teach you all things.

The visible church coming together is for encouragement and corporate worship.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

@Anonymous a, good job on your revelation, found it helpful.
@Anonymous b, Just check Mat 4:4 the WORD in that scripture is definitely RHEMA.

Anonymous said...

After 40 years of attending church and never quite (inwardly) fitting in, I have decided to leave religiosity for the benefit of knowing Christ more intimately. Trying to fit it and be approved has put me in a dry desert of despair and depression. I found your blog because of looking up the difference between logos and rhema. I hope to check in more with you. Thanks!

Roberto P. Alianza said...

We can simply say that God help me understand His word instead of saying He rhema (specially if you're a pastor speaking before the congregation) to me. Doing just that is pure pride showing off that you're a super christian so deeply related to God. And what difference does it make if rhema is actually what it is, can't God simply illumines us without those Greek/Hebrew know it all things? We never heard this rhema things in the likes of great men like Henry, Barnes, Darby etc in their commentaries. Henry is so spiritual in his commentaries yet he never once said he received a rhema from God. Today's pastors who make so much noise about this rhema thing is simply bragging -- to impress the crowd that the Holy Spirit really do talk to them.

Mat 12:36 But I say unto you, That every idle word(rhema) that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
Mat 12:37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.