Autor: Rev Dr J. N’GORAN
Category: Theological Education, Formação de Líderes, Mídia & Tecnologia
“καί ‛ο λόγος μου καί τò κήρυγμά μου ούκ ’εν πειθοι[ς] σοφίας [λόγοις] ’αλλ ’εν ’αποδείξει πνεύματος καί δυνάμεως (...)”, Κορινθιους Α 2:4
“(...) et sermo meus et praedicatio mea non in persuasibilibus non sapientiae verbis sed in ostensione Spiritus et virtutis ut fides vestra non sit sapientia hominum sed in virtute Dei” 1 Corinthios 2:4, Vulgata.
“My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power”, 1 Corinthians 2:4, NIV version.
“(...) Et ma parole et ma prédication ne reposaient pas sur les discours persuasifs de la sagesse, mais sur une démonstration d’Esprit et de puissance (...)”, 1 Corinth 2:4, Louis Second.
“καί ’έλθών ’εκεινος ’ελέγξει τòν κόσμον περί ‛αμαρτίας καί περί δικαιοσύνης καί περί κρίσεως·”, Ιωαννην 16:8
“et cum venerit ille arguet mundum de peccato et iustitia et de udicio”, Iohannem 16:8, Vulgate.
“When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment”, John 16:8, NIV version.
“Et quand il sera venu, il convaincra le monde en ce qui concerne le péché, la justice et le jugement” , Jean 16:8, Louis Second.
There are two concepts that the commonsense and even the Christians misuse by ignorance of their respective nature and function: persuasion and conviction. Their prior knowledge would permit to understand the type of connection that link them up and to make a good use of the two biblical terms that we cannot get round while talking of attracting someone to Christ with his salvation in sight; and of re-making serene he who is already in Christ creating to him access conditions to his salvation assurance.
In fact, persuading someone, it’s that is differently called “plugging” upon an object or a product presenting repetitively only its sensationally positive aspects to impose it on him or to have it accepted by him without reflection. Publicity does not advise to reflect carefully (maturely) during a more or less long while upon the product before deciding to buy it, but to do it right now that this one is advertised for the promotional price, even the stock are both limited in the time and the space. Such is the advice that any good evangelist will give to his evangelized individual when this one has finished presenting his Salvation Product (Jesus), he will not wish that the last-mentioned hesitates postponing to the following day his decision of giving his life to Jesus Christ for, he will say, the end of grace time would come as a thief and no one would know neither the hour nor the day. Listening in to an evangelist, we have at once the impression that once in Christ; the new convert will no more have any difficulties or sufferings.
Besides, comes conviction that, as for it, permits to he who must be convinced or convicted to make use of the rational (<lat. rationalis, “that serves to count, gifted with reason, rational”, from rationator, “calculator” and from the verb reari, “to calculate, to count”) part of his inner being, that gets passion from debates, which will give away short-middle-long terms, the result of the mathematical calculations of his spirit before taking, yes or no, the decision that commits himself entirely .
The meaning of the title of our subject is to catch a glimpse of the type of relation that we could envision between the manner of getting somebody accept something while moving his soul by the frequent repetition of the wonders of the advertised product and the other one of doing so while convincing or convicting the interested one’s spirit by the obviously doubtless evidences.
The preceding title arouses in us endless questions, namely: persuasion, unleashing passions and emotions with the person to be persuaded, isn’t it thus subjective (<lat. subjectivus, “thrown under oneself, under conscious subject”, from sub, “under” and from the verb jactare, “to throw”) seeing that it passes through the persuader? Conviction, calling upon the mathematical evidence, isn’t as for it objective (<lat. objectivus, “thrown before oneself”, from ob, “before” and from the verb jactare, “to throw”) going straightforward to the object without passing by the persuader’s sentiments or passions? Is it the soul, touched by the moving testimony that will be saved after the Last Judgment or the spirit, defeated forever by the rational demonstration that will be saved after appearing before the White Throne of God? Can we separate nature and function of persuasion from the ones of conviction following the example of the Holy Spirit who has the capacity of separating soul from spirit? Will a persuaded person not need to be convinced or convicted to reach the Heaven too; otherwise, will a non-convinced-persuaded individual be saved? Everything that does not come from faith [conviction] is sin, the Bible says; can we also assert that everything that does not come from a persuasion of soul is sin? Is persuasion closer or synonymous or categorically opposed to conviction? Etc.
The problem that is brought out from this subject is the study of a possibility to put a bridge between the emotional and the rational, passion and reason, the subjective and the objective, in other word, the ministry of evangelist and the ministry of doctor. We say that because sometimes people talk about emotional intelligence, that is to say, an attempt of possible rational explanation of emotions, supposed to be irrational; it’s the same that some people from the Arts, Cultures and Letters side find sometimes some emeritus mathematicians a little bit ‛crazy’ or marginal faced with their unusual behavior on some of the fringe of human society’s affairs. Our problem is to connect both of these spheres, the one that works upon soul and the other that does it upon spirit.
The possibility of unifying those two worlds is at stake. We’ll gain a lot of things bringing closer the activity field of the evangelist (persuading subjectively soul) and of the ministry of doctor (convincing objectively spirit) seeing to it that the evangelist’s persuaded individual may reach “become mature, attaining the whole measure of the fullness of Christ”, the doctor’s convinced or convicted one, “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching [doctrine]”, Eph. 4:13-14.
I / Persuasion: literal meaning
Persuasion (<lat. persuasio, “fact of persuading”, from the verb persuadere, “to induce someone to do something, to determine someone to do something” and from the adjective persuasibilis, “well-suited to persuade, persuasive”) is assurance or belief aroused by eloquence or the talent to have somebody accept something.
In fact, either the verb to persuade or the adjective persuasive que that those who speak the six (6) languages originated in Latin (French, Provencal, Romanian, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and even English that does not originate) utilize to translate the Greek word πειθος (peithos), “persuasive”, keeps somewhere a more or less pejorative (negative) meaning.
Originally, the verb persuadere was composed of two particles, namely, per, “by, through” and the adjective suadus, “inviting, insinuating”, coming itself from Suada, “Latin goddess of persuasion”. Suadere a Latin verb originated from Suada, that means “to advise somebody to do, to talk in favor of, to uphold something”. Literally, persuadere means “to go through Suada”, that is to say, by means of her method that consists in leading someone away while moving his soul. Mainlly, Suada proceeds in acting on her victim’s soul arousing his emotions and sensations. What is, otherwise named, with literaries, poets and/or other romantic novelists who produce texts of impressive type, that is to say, who arouse the feelings and emotions of their reader. To persuade, it is to make somebody do something, even if it is harmful or not, acting upon his soul (feelings, sensations, emotions, etc. that the soul is the seat). This verse of 1 Corinthians 2 kept, in full meaning of the term, the signs of Suada’s presence in the speeches of the creatural (human kind, demon or others) wisdom, “persuasive words of humane or demonic wisdom”. It is why, dissuadere (to dissuade), the contrary of persuadere means “to talk in order to lead someone away from, to advise someone against something, to divert somebody from someting”
II / Conviction: literal meaning
Conviction (<lat. convictio, “[decisive] convincing demonstration”, from the verb convincere, “to confound an adversary, to demonstrate victoriously [a guilt, an error, a fault, etc.]” and from the adjective convincibilis, “convincing”), certainty or confidence that results from acquiescement of spirit, based upon evident (<lat. evidentis“clear, visible, worthy of faith ; from ex, “out of” and from videre, “to see”) proof, that is to say, based upon the truth of the facts.
In fact, the Greek word ’έλεγχος (elenchos), “evidence, demonstration”, and from the verb ’ελεγχω (elenchô), “to confound ; to convince, to convict somebody of guilt” translated as such by the roman languages and other European modern languages; has, as for it, always kept the more or less ameliorative (positive) meaning whatever the domain that uses (Mathematics, Physics, Law, Christian Theology, etc).
Originally, the latin verb convincere was composed of two particles, namely, cum, “with, together” and from the name victor, “winner”, from Victoria, “allegoric divinity represented by a winged woman”. The Latin verb vincere that vincenter, “victoriously” is its adverb means “to be winner; to demonstrate victoriously that, to succeed in proving that; to triumph, to be right”. Literally, convincere means “to win with, to convince or to convict”.
III / persuasion & conviction: anagogic meaning
Anagogy (<gr. ’ανα (ana), “from the bottom to the top”, and ’αγογη (agogê), “leading, guidance”, from the verb ’άγω (agô), “to lead, to guide”) is the fact of leading or bringing everything up, taking it off from the low matter to the upper Supreme Spirit. A word or a text is said to have an anagogic meaning when this one has not a flesh meaning, but a spiritual meaning of the Scripture, based upon a typical or a figurative object of the Heaven and of eternal life. It’s about that the Apostle Paul talks in this passage of Galatians 2:4 where he does an anagogic interpretation of another passage of the Old Testament. He expressed this anagogy with the Greek term ’αλληγορούμενα (allêgoroumena), “allegorically”: “These things may be taken figuratively [allegorically], for the women represent two covenants. One (...) corresponds to the present city [earthly, worldly] (...) But the Jerusalem that is above[Celestial] is free, and she is our mother”, Galatians. 4:24-26.
After the definition of anagogy and its brief illustration in the Bible, nous we come back to its generalization in accordance with that we’ve developped previously. The verse that follows open the door to the aim following to the the exercise of all the ministries making all the Christians apt to appear in Court before the White Throne of the Righteous Judge: “It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers [doctors], to prepare [to strive for perfection] god’s people [saints] (...)”, Eph. 4:11-12.
As a matter of fact, evangelist and doctor are both the ends of the chain of the ministry’s work in sight of individual salvation of mankind sinner.
The evangelist (<gr. εύαγγελιστής (euanguelistês), “he who announces the good news”, from ευ (eu), “good” and αγγέλιον (anguelion), “message, news”) moves or stuns pagans not yet perfected in decent christian behavior and in the Lord’s knowledge getting them give their life to Christ. Once this is over, he does not continue his work towards the gained Christians, but goes back again to other pagans and announces the good news to them doing the same marketing or advertisement upon his Good Product: Jesus Christ.
The pastor (<lat. pastor, “he who grazes animals with pasture, shepherd”, from the verb pascere, “to lead animal to pasture, to feed”) taking daily care of the christian ‘sheep’, the prophet (<gr. προφήτης (prophêtês), “he who foretells things”, from προς (pros), “before” and the verb φημί (phêmi), “to tell, to say”) being on the watch tour to warn the people against possible dangers and the apostle (<gr. ’απόστολος (apostolos), “who is sent on mission, an envoy”, from the verb ’απόστεω (aposteô), “to send”) he who, though he has proved himself as senior servant of God, is not grander than the leader of his Church who sent him; on the whole continue the work of perfecting the neophytes (<gr. νεόφυτος (neophutos), “recently converted [to Christ]”, from νέος (neos), “new, fresh” and from φυτος (phutos), “planted”).
It is doctor (<lat. doctor, “he who teaches, teacher”, from the verb docere, “to teach” and from doctrina, “teaching, science, doctrine”) who, with the help of the Holy-Spirit, and remaining as the last of the chain, knocks in the nail of perfecting within the training in sight of making the Christian apt for salvation and/or the new called apt for priesthood.
Many of our evangelical Churches show a lamentable face.
Generally, temples that, at the start are full on account of numerous miracles that always go with the evangelist, crowding around him an immense crowd of those "who are fond of " Jesus Christ, see themselves with the passing of the time emptier and emptier. That is general and vague, one has therefore no yet understood something because even the phenomenon of the population increasing itself hides too this fact. If this year 2011, 30 believers have gone out of a Church and that next year 2012, 40 other ones come to the same Church, Church leaders are not worried about for according to them, God, not only replaces that they’ve lost, but more, He has added a surplus of 10 out of the 30 first lost ones. But, he who calculates differently, won’t reason as them. Otherwise, if we did not lose the 30 first Christians by the weakness of our teachings and that 40 other ones would come and add themselves to the number, we would totaled about 70 Christians already apt for salvation and/or for priesthood.
Particularly, it’s observed in big Congregations that have proved themselves as regards massive mobilization of crowds with sensational crusades for the profit of Christ, that after a while only the faithful non-intellectual ones could remain (neither they know reading nor writing, but they are rather poor in spirit, in reasoning). Quite simply because messages the evangelist has made use of while capturing the lost sheep to carry away into the Lord’s sheepfolds so that one could continue the work of perfecting, remain unchanged. The sheep in search of more solid "feeding" or knowledge see themselves under an obligation to go out of the Congregation at the risk of having themselves continually served messages similar to "feeding of milk they received at the outset", that have just been merely "warmed up". Worse, the intellectually weak ones like Christian school boys and girls, members of these Congregations, as they climb to the highest intellectual levels such as Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctor’s Degrees from Universities, go out of these Congregations moving elsewhere or even backsliding for good. Leaders are only preoccupied about money that enters the cash registers of the Church and about lots of other ephemeral material wealth; but to see it that their biblical highly spiritual and/or intellectual knowledge could permit all the social categories, from the simple shoes polisher until the Professor of University, to always find necessary teaching for their perfecting, is pushed away by these last-mentioned ones. These highly intellectuals (rich in spirit themselves who also need to be saved) suffer in very clear terms from conviction of spirit in the meanwhile the non-intellectual or the intellectually weak ones are content, without having the choice, with the persuasive speeches or words that only move subjectively their soul without convincing/convicting objectively spirit. At some steps of Christian believer’s walking, the subjective emotions of soul themselves do no more suffice to fully blossom out; but rather only rational demonstrations capable to convince/convict his spirit are essential. If this is not done, conviction of spirit, the few sheep crowded following to a persuasion of soul will finish up dispersing themselves going perpetually in search of solid foundation of their faith that will not be destroyable by all wind of doctrines. In an anagogic meaning, evangelist who utilizes this method consisted in touching soul to lead entire creatures to God, can continue persuading them for nothing is not yet lost, the doctor’s work, last resort, is still in expectation. The doctor himself, with the support of the Holy-Spirit, must lead the believer’s spirit to a very strong conviction that he’s still in the Sin or that he has assurance of his salvation.
The biblical principle of final destination (In everything, the end is worthier than the start) will have the upper hand upon the principle of the start for unlike of Suada who moves or seduces her victim’s soul to better lead him to his loss; evangelist as for him, does the same for his rescued one to intend him for everlasting life: salvation.
In fact, with the founding father of modern Biology, Claude Bernard, there is possibility to establish two consecutive principles both at the start at the end of everything: the principle of efficient cause and the principle of final cause.
If we take as principle of efficient cause the fact that the Roman people is a pagan one that all the most positive words are utilized towards gods and goddesses they were used to worshipping them (to persuade [Suada], to convince/convict [Victoria], to persevere [Severus], etc.); we could have also taken as principle of final cause the fact that Roman kings such Theodosius, Constantine 1st, etc. were converted to Christianity and that they had Catholicism be the Roman State religion. What means that we depart from now on from the principle that they will no more utilize their most positive vocabularies towards small divinities representing the then supernatural forces, but rather of the Unique Supreme Force of Nature: God Himself. Thus, the meaning of the Latin words (the Latin [Romans] were not a theocratic people like Hebrews and Jews, but pagan people) are going to evolve from the literal to the anagogic meaning passing through the simple or ordinary symbolic one.
Accordingly, the literal (<lat. litteralis, “in full letters meaning, literal”, from the noun littera, “letter” and litteratura,“writing”) meaning of to persuade that alludes to Suada, goddess of persuasion, evolves and gives possibility to evangelist to make an anagogic use in the framework of salvation for everlasting life. It’s why, for an evangelist, persuading someone touching, just his soul so that he accepts to change his way of living and to be accepted in the Heaven by God, can be considered in meaning nothing else than always an ameliorative (positive) one.
However, limiting oneself to acting upon the individual’s soul won’t work well in the framework of the doctor’s ministry. For a doctor, convincing or convicting someone with a rational (<lat. rationem, “calculation, count”, from the verb reari, “to calculate, to count”) demonstration that wins fully his spirit in such a way that he is given assurance of salvation and not to think of going back to his previous life or of letting himself blown by any wind of doctrines, can only be nothing else than ameliorative (positive).
In the two preceding cases of anagogic meaning, when each of them utilizes persuasion and conviction respectively in the strict sense of the exercise of his ministry, there’s really no problem although at the start they were corresponding to divinities that are not accepted in the third (3rd) Heaven by God.
It may happen, as the Lord Jesus Christ does it Himself, that to touch both soul and spirit, this is Divinely possible but not with the humankinds.
In conclusion, if a new convert is in your Church by your (f)act, it’s because he was persuaded by the moving testimonies included in your preaching of evangelist. May know that this does not suffice to keep the Christian permanently within your Congregation. The human creatures’ testimony has always limits: they move the soul without convincing/convicting necessarily the spirit so that the ‘sheep’ may remain within your Church and/or in Christ. Only God’s Testimony is complete such a way to make both the action of persuading and convincing/convicting: “We accept man’s testimony, but God’s testimony is greater (...) Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because he has not believe the testimony God has given about his son”, 1 John 5 : 9a-10b; and, “I have testimony weightier than that of John (...) And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me (...)”, John 5 : 36a-37a
The ministry of doctor, as the Lord Jesus Christ, the Greatest Doctor Himself, exercised and bequeathed it to the apostles-doctors like Paul whom we are the impersonators, provided a dominant lexical field in the New Testament, manifestedby the words of the same family than "victory" and their synonyms. It’s about the following latin words in their present meanings with the modern european languages: victor (winner, victor), victoria (victory), victoriosus (victorious), victrix (victorious woman or girl), vincenter (victoriously), vincibilis (vincible, contrary of invincible), vincere (to win, to defeat), convincere (to convince, to convict), convincibilis (convincing/convicting), convictus (convict, “convicted of a crime”), convictio (conviction), etc.
On the way of Damascus, Paul was totally won, defeated for the evidences of his conviction did not come from a mankind, but from the Lord Himself. The doctor, in the exercise of his ministry, makes an abondant use of the lexical field of success, triumph, victory upon the sheep previously lost that he convinced or convicted et and who has all the assurance of being already saved from now on.
To be sure about it, you’ll be able to re-read carefully all the biblical passages related to the ministry of doctor (teaching) to see this kind of vocabulary that predominates over.
1°) defeat of the victorious doctor Nikodemus before the Celestial Doctor: Jesus Christ
Not only the doctor with the meaningfull name Nikodemus (<gr. Νικόδημος (nikodêmos), “victory of the people”, from νίκη (nikê), “victory”, from the verb νικάω (nikaô), “to win, to defeat” and from δημος (dêmos), “people, public, crowd”) recognized The Christ as the Doctor who came from God (John 3:2), but moreover that the Genuine Victory is Jesus’ own one upon all the people of nations of all over the World that he is the symbolic defeat. If everyone agrees to assert that Nikodemus, pharisee member of the Sanhedrin, however remained favorable to Jesus Christ, it’s quite because he had been defeated by Him forever:
- through the convincing or convicting teaching of Christ : John 3:1-2
- through his attempt of dissuasion of his own’s sect members willing to condemn the Christ violating their law : John 7:50-51
- through his flawless attachment to Christ, expressed by his contribution to a burial worthy of Him: John 19:39
Nikodemus is an example of perfect success of Christ’s Victory upon a believer among so many other ones, parc because he was not only an ordinary "non-convinced-persuaded one", but a no yet circumcised doctor of law, a no yet born again doctor of law.
2°) the greek term ’ελεγχω (elenchô), “to confound” and its synonyms:
It’s the same word that Jesus, in his last address to Nikodemus, utilized and that translators translated in this verse: “(...) μη ’ελεγχθη τα ’έργα αύτου·”, (John 3:20) into "exposed": “(...) Everyone who does evil (...) will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed”. It means simply that whoever does evil can do nothing else than being “confounded by the victorious demonstration of his guilt”, otherwise, of that makes his defeat in regards with Holiness.
The greek verb συγχύννω (sunchunnô), “to bewilder, to confound, to be confused”, is one of the synonyms of ’ελεγχω (elenchô), utilized by doctor, apostle Paul in Acts 2:6, multitude was confounded (bewildered); in Acts 9:22, Paul was confounding (baffling) the Jews living in Damascus, by demontrating (proving) that Jesus is the Christ with the help of this other synonym of to convince or to convict, συμβιβάζω (sumbibazô), “to demonstrate, to deduce, to conclude”; and so on and so forth for the remnant of the Bible.
3°) Christ’s mission to all the Christians: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations (...)”, Mat. 28:19
He’s called disciple (<lat. discipulus, “pupil, apprentice, disciple”, from disciplina, “action of learning, of educating oneself; teaching ; school, discipline”, and from the latin verb discere, “to learn, to educate oneself, to study”), a pupil or an apprentice who is submitted to a teaching or who learns under a master (doctor), holder of knowledge of more or less variable size. The greek word of the New Testament utilized by the Christ and translated by our modern languages “disciple” to give this order of mission to all Christians, is this word μαθητής (mathêtês), “pupil, follower, disciple”. μαθητής is the word which family of word served all the humanity in regards to science and religion since Antiquity:
thus, μάθησις (mathêsis), “action of learning, knowledge”, μαθητεύω (mathêteuô), “action of teaching, to make a disciple; to be disciple”, μαθημα (mathêma), “science, discipline” that the adjective, μαθηματικος (mathêmatikos), “scientific”, that is to say, “mathematic”, was substantivated into the name: the Mathematics. If Since a long time scientists considered as being only scientific disciplines similar to the Mathematics, it’s not for next to nothing. Jesus, the Great Jewish Rabbi, is a Great Scientist who came from the Heaven according to Nikodemus’ own remarks, he who is the symbol of all the small and defeated scientists of the Universe. This Jesus who knows the wide mathematical diagrams of Holiness and Sin on a scale model (that Peccatologists Cadoshologists call peccatological and cadoshological pictograms) and who, Great Mathematician He is, created all things while giving the geometrical dimensions that suit to their nature and fonction, is going to give this order of mission: “ Therefore go and make "mathematicians" of all nations [and do not limit yourselves to persuading them but], “ teaching them [convincing or convicting them] obey everything I have commanded you [Law] (...)”, Mat. 28:19a-20a.
OveraIl, do not also and finally forget that a big family formerly named the three (3) theoretical sciences includes Theology. Mathematics, Physics and Theology were called the three (3) theoretical disciplines, because, not only their object is theory, but more, visenthey aim at knowledge etand not at action (It’s why a precision is made on Practical [Christian] Theology for the cases of demonstration of Power while casting out demons for example; and Applied Mathematics, Physics, etc.)
A non-convinced/convicted-persuaded sheep is a danger, a destruction opened door the Lord’s whole work you have thr responsibility to manage. You may be a senior Christian or even a servant of God of any category and yet, Peccatology can even right now convict you of sin somewhere in your life or your ministry because a science, biblical or not, is potentially able to demonstrate in a mathematical manner so that spirit accepts something stating himself that he is defeated forever. The Sin that you flee itself, you know so badly that claiming to run away from it, maybe you may go in the very direction it is situated. Peccatology has come to technically assist all the ministries and particularly the ministries of evangelist and of doctor.
The mathematical parts of social or human sciences (Sociometrics, Indicametrics, Psychometrics, Econometrics, etc.) are not within to make a strong impression or to cause sensation on someone. Some of these sciences are not included the sciences called exact sciences (Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, etc.), but include within parts or sub-sciences that are capable of objective studies intended for accurate aims. The Scientific Police for example makes use of exact sciences to confirm or invalidate a crime. The Legal Medicine, intermediary or auxiliary science between Law and Medicine, also plays the same role as Scientific Police through autopsies and so on and so forth.
When we talk about Peccatology, biblical science, perhaps, would you doubt because here it’s about religion, object or subject of faith, of myth, of dogmas for that we need not to demonstrate before believing, yes or no. But, Peccatometrics does not make shadow of any doubt for it is the mathematical part of the issues of sin.