Thursday, November 7, 2019

Oh Paradise!

Oh paradise! The world so far
That sorrows here can't make it there;
Whence wafts of joy we oft' await
To lighten the load of daily pain.

Oh death! The door of the near
Opening up to freedom or fear.
Some fall helplessly into hell's cries.
Some are snatched away by paradise.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Self-pleasing, Man-pleasing, God-pleasing

There are these 3 orientations of the self:
Towards itself
Towards others
Towards God

People usually have a mixture of these with one or two predominating the others.

Romans 12:1-2 reminds that pleasing God can only be possible through a living sacrifice of the body and a transformation of the mind to be able to discern God's acceptable will.

Galatians 1:10 challenges is to please God and not the world.

Jung talked of the mass man who falls prey to the images of the collective consciousness (what the world is demanding as ideal) rather than listening to the collective unconscious (analogous to the Imago dei, the designer's blueprint within us). Conforming to the world is equal to being incapable of pleasing God as well as being untrue to oneself - inauthentic existence. Transformation requires letting the Spirit work in our innerman to transform the way we are thinking so that our minds become capable of right perception unclouded by and free of  the consciousness of the masses, the world. This is important for individuation. This does not mean a denial of the outerworld but a proper and right orientation towards it that only comes by offering our body (that connects to the external world) as a living sacrifice to God who made us not merely worldly beings but spiritual beings in His own image and likeness. It is His image that we are to be transformed into. Obviously, this begins with first breaking the habit of conforming to the world image.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Shaping a Scientific Sense of Self

SCIENCE
SELF
Causality (determinant factors)
Self-determination (freedom)
Essentiality (defining features)
Social disguise/identity (façade/front)
Objectivity (definite facts)
Subjective dispositions (feelings)

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Grammar, Culture, and Transgender

Accepting an anomaly into the grammar of social-culture might introduce meaning confusions and so humans naturally resist any disturbance of the prevailing system of meaning which is crucial for any proper communication/socialization to take place. That is an important factor why in traditional Asian societies like India, the transgender had to group away into a community of their own with their own socio-cultural grammar system that was different from the others. However, with the rise of liberalism, individualism, and postmodernism, systems of meaning are breaking down. Human consciousness identifies this as an omen of forthcoming rational catastrophe and would naturally attempt to forestall the same.

Whether homosexuality should be criminalized or whether same-sex marriages should be allowed much depends on the ideological position of a government in the spectrum of Individualists Vs Collectivists. The individualists would regard sexuality as a private matter while the collectivist would regard it as a social matter. Whether homosexuality is good or evil must be considered by looking at various moral theories, esp. the consequential and the deontological. Even from the evolutionary point of view, homosexuality has consequential disadvantage in the long-run (collectively speaking). In the short-run, it may only have some psychological benefit of "satisfaction", but "satisfaction" is not a moral criteria for value judgment..

Sunday, September 15, 2019

3 Principles of the Kingdom in Mark 4-5

Principle of Invisible Action
Jesus was asleep on a pillow and it felt and looked like he didn't care, but He is in control. Like the seed sown that grows regardless of human feeling or knowledge, the work of the Kingdom is independent of human cognizance.
Sometimes, answer to prayer, miracles don't seem happening. But, what seems to be the case is only a matter of subjective perception. God knows what he is doing.

Principle of Tangible Flow of Power
The physical flow of power through CONTACT is evident in both OT and NT (Moses' rod, Elijah's mantle, Elisha's bones, Disciples' kerchiefs, oil...). Jesus perceived power leave His body. ...

But it was faith that Healed her

Principle of Order, Unity, and Seriousness

God is not a God of confusion.

Friday, September 6, 2019

The Spirit as Witness in the Work of Salvation

One’s lifetime is insufficient to capture in words the extent of the Spirit’s work towards the salvation of any individual. The Spirit was involved not only in the creation of the world (Gen.1:1,2; Psa.104:30) but also is involved in the creation of every human being that comes into the world (Psa.139:7,13-16). But, more importantly, it is through the Spirit that the believer is regenerated (born again) and becomes a new creation in Christ.
“According to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit” (Tit.3:5)
Jesus said to Nicodemus, a Jewish teacher: “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” As Nicodemus began wondering what “born again” meant, Jesus explained, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:5, 6). 
Jesus declared Himself to Nicodemus as the “He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven” (John 3:13). The significance of this revelation in relation to our salvation is very significant. “The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.…. flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption” (1Cor.15:47-51). The final salvation will be realized when God who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to our mortal bodies through His Spirit that dwells in us (Rom.8:16). Then, the body sown in corruption will be raised in incorruption  and that which is sown a natural body will be raised a spiritual body (1Cor.15:42-44). The whole creation waits for this unveiling of the sons of God, this glorious liberty of the children of God, this redemption of our bodies (Rom.8:19,21,23). It is impossible to think of Christian salvation without the effectual working of the Holy Spirit. In fact, “no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit” (1Cor.12:3). 
Among the various roles of the Spirit (that include witness, calling, conviction, conversion, regeneration, intercession, confirmation, sending, outworking, gifting, direction, supervision, guidance, teaching, and perfection), the role of the Spirit as witness is one. In this article, we will mainly concentrate on the work of the Spirit as the divine witness in the world. This we do while inarguably affirming that the Spirit’s other roles are all equally important in the salvation work of God.

1. Witness of Christ
2. Witness of Sonship

WITNESS OF CHRIST
The Holy Spirit is the primary witness of Christ in the world. “It is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth” (1John 5:6). 

Witness of Christ in the Old Testament Period
The Spirit’s testimony of Christ overflowed since the beginning of the world in words of prophecy, symbols, patterns of tabernacle, and the living experience of the people of God in the Old Testament period.

“The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Rev.19:10)

“Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.” (1Pet.1:10,11)

“But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, ….The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still functioning.” (Heb.9:7,8)

But, sadly, there were many who ignored and hardened their hearts against the voice of the Spirit (Heb.3:7,8) 

This testimony of Christ was inscribed in words through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit as Christ Himself declared: “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me” (John 5:39).  The primary role of the Spirit as the witness of Christ who moved the prophets to speak and to record the testimony of Christ is clear from the following scriptures:

All Scripture is God-breathed [given by divine inspiration] (2Tim.3:16)

For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. (2Pet.1:21)

The Spirit-inspired written word of God is ‘living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” because it is the Spirit who bears witness through His word and “there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Heb.4:12,13), even as David confessed: “Where can I go from Your Spirit?” (Psa.139:12).

Jesus made it very clear about the people of the Old Testament that they were without excuse because “If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.” (Luke 16:31).

Sadly enough, many Jews resisted the witness of the Spirit and identified themselves with the crucifiers of Christ rather than with the Crucified One. “You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers” (Acts 7:51,52). Resisting the Holy Spirit tantamounts to a rejection of Christ, in fact the murder of Christ, and nothing is more sinful than the rejection of the Holy Spirit. There is no forgiveness for blasphemy against the Holy Spirit: “whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come” (Matt.13:32).


Witness of Christ Today
Prior to His death and resurrection, Jesus promised that when He ascended to the Father, He will send the Holy Spirit who would testify of Him.

“But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.” (John 15:26)

After His resurrection, Jesus commanded His disciples to stay in Jerusalem until they had received power from above. When the Holy Spirit comes on them, He said, they would receive power and be His witnesses from Jerusalem to the ends of the world (Acts 1:8). In other words, the disciples could not be Christ’s witnesses without the infilling and empowerment of the Spirit. A crucial element of the Spirit’s witness in both the ministry of Jesus and the ministry of the disciples was the Spirit’s confirming of the Gospel message by signs and wonders (Mark 16:20).

But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. (Matt.12:28)

“God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” (Acts 10:38)

“How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit... (Heb.2:3,4)

The disciples preached the gospel “by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven” (1Pet.1:12). 

Though the message of salvation is presented in verbal form through the ministry of preaching, it is the Spirit who strives with each individual in an intimate yet inexcusable manner. The word through the Spirit is near to each individual, in his mouth, in his heart (Rom.10:8). It is the Spirit who proves the world “to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:8). This intimate witness of the Spirit is stronger than any other source of knowledge (reason, experience, or human testimony - books, media, tradition, school, etc), because the testimony of the Spirit is clearer, surer, and irrefutable.  

“It is the Spirit who testifies…. We accept human testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son.” (1John 5:6,9)

When an individual turns to the Lord, he is set free from the darkness and blindness of sin and enters into the liberty of the children of God.

“Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” (2Cor.3: 16,17)

When someone receives Jesus as Lord and savior, he is baptised by the Spirit into the body of Christ and is made to drink into the Spirit of God (1Cor.12:13). Such a believer who is Spirit-filled and Spirit-led can be used by the Spirit as a witness of Christ in the world.

WITNESS OF SONSHIP
One crucial thing to note about salvation-knowledge is that this faith is not sustained by any rational philosophy or empirical proof whatsoever. Any faith founded on human philosophy or empirical evidence is bound to falter. Instead, true salvation-faith is based in the true power of the Spirit of God.

“My speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (1Cor.2:4,5)

This is a solemn truth of Scriptures that the assurance of faith is only possible because of the internal witness of the Spirit of God. The communion of the Spirit (2Cor.13:14) in the spirit of the believer is the highest evidence of the salvation of God in him. Apart from the Spirit, there is no other way for a person to be sure of his salvation.

“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.” (Eph.1:13,14)

No mortal human nor corruptible thing can function as the guarantee of eternal inheritance in the same way that no grain of dust can function as a pledge for a palace of gold. The eternal Spirit of God, God Himself in us, is present as the promise of our eternal inheritance.

The word “inheritance” is very important. It signifies our position as heirs of God through Christ. The Spirit of Christ, the Son, sent into our hearts, therefore is the only and greatest guarantee of our eternal inheritance. The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.

“For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.” (Rom.8:15-17)

This internal witness and communion is a crucial doctrine of the New Testament. It assures us that we belong to God and that God is the one who makes us stand firm in Christ:

“Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” (2Cor.1:21,22)

It also assures us that we live in Him and He in us: “This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit” (1John 4:13).

It also assures us that when we depart from this mortal frame, there is another glorious body that God has prepared for us. This realization is the reason by which the true disciple regards as rubbish every glittering object of this world and sets his eyes on the redemption of the body, the resurrection from the dead after the manner of Jesus Christ (Phil.3:7-11). This realization is what makes the true disciple groan and long for God, for that true immortality for which God has fashioned each one of us.

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling,... we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. (2Cor.5:1-5)

We ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies… the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans…  (Rom.8:23, 26,27)



Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Is Pentecostalism a mystical movement?

Image result for mysticism
There are some who are trying to contend that Pentecostalism is a mystical movement or tradition. I disagree with this notion. Pentecostals call themselves Pentecostals since they regard their experience as the same as the experience of the apostles on the day of Pentecost. It would certainly be amiss to label the apostles and the early Christians as mystics. The Pentecostal experience of Holy Spirit is considered as the truly New Testament normal Christian experience of a believer. Paul expected the Ephesian disciples to have this experience (Acts 19).
While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”
They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”
So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?”
“John’s baptism,” they replied.
Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.”
On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. There were about twelve men in all.

The Pentecostal worldview does not attempt at any demythologization nor cessationalization of the Biblical worldview. Angels, spirits, demons, visions, supernatural signs are as real as cups and chairs and cars. It is quite different from the materialistic view of the universe. It is also opposed to the occultic view of reality that Pentecostalism regards as based on "deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons" (1 Tim.4:1). In fact, any nature-idolizing ideology (even if it were naturalistic materialism) is no less deceptive (cf. C.S. Lewis, Screwtape Letters).

If one begins labeling Pentecostalism as a mystical tradition, then it wouldn't be far from when people begin labeling any spiritual encounter as "mystic" - which is too broad a defining scope for mysticism. Mysticism involves claims of trans-rational subjective experiences of the "ultimate" which are heavily colored by the religious ideology of the experiencer and privileged to him/her alone. In contrast, Pentecostalism does not involve any claim of that sort. In fact, Pentecostal teachers regard human self-attempts towards mystic experience as dangerous and make it important for one to differentiate between hallucinations, demonic deceptions, and real spiritual experience. Regarding the mystic experience, William James had noted as early as 1902 in his Varieties of Religious Experiences:
Nitrous oxide and ether, especially nitrous oxide, when sufficiently diluted with air, stimulate the mystical consciousness in an extraordinary degree. Depth beyond depth of truth seems revealed to the inhaler. This truth fades out, however, or escapes, at the moment of coming to; and if any words remain over in which it seemed to clothe itself, they prove to be the veriest nonsense. Nevertheless, the sense of a profound meaning having been there persists; and I know more than one person who is persuaded that in the nitrous oxide trance we have a genuine metaphysical revelation.
There have been further research done on the similarities of LSD and mystic experiences:

From Epistemics of Divine Reality (2007, 2011)
At this juncture, it is important to make a differentiation between revelation and mysticism. Revelation, as in the case of miracles, visions, dreams is not a human initiative, at least theologically speaking (though lasting effects like the drenched fleece of Gideon warrant the theological standpoint), and so must not be labeled as mystic experience. However, mystic experiences originating in meditation and use of drugs may be easily explained as induced by some psychologically altered state due to stress, anxiety, or chemical imbalance in the body. Hallucinations can easily occur to physically ill, weak, or strained people. The ‘saintliness’ of a person, in addition, must not be taken as the standard of evaluating the genuineness of the experience. As was seen, William James saw that the mystic experience did have positive effects in the lives of the mystics; however, his conclusion was that the striking differences of mystics regarding theology, often out of their allegiance to diverse traditions, lends them no credulity for absolute truth. Their mystic experiences only possess pragmatic value that is ‘relatively in favor of all these things,’ i.e., their traditional religious suppositions. Thus, there are pantheist mystics, monist mystics, and monotheistic mystics all different from each other and proving that mysticism, originally, has no intellectual content. James also points out the existence of diabolical mysticism as witnessed in delusional insanity and paranoia. Thus, mysticism cannot be the source of absolute knowledge regarding either reality or divine reality. At the most, it is subjective, relative, diversified, and perhaps life-changing, yet devoid of genuine knowledge. Therefore, mysticism is unreliable.




Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Some Similar Hebrew and Hindi Words

קֶרֶן • (kéren) and किरण(kiran) both mean "ray of light"
נהר (nahar) and नहर (nahar) mean "river". Nahar also means river in Arabic, Persian, and Urdu (نهر)
הֵיכַל (hekal) and هيكل (haikal) in Arabic mean temple. The word is used for temple in Hindustani literature.
מֵאִירָה (Meira) means "illuminates" and मीरा (Meera) means prosperous

Monday, July 22, 2019

Approaching Truth

Contrary to the postmodern and deconstructionist skepticism regarding the possibility of encountering truth hermeneutically (which, as has been observed, is self-skeptical as well since deconstructionists need to use the medium of language whose efficiency they doubt), Jesus said "You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free." This might appear too simplistic an understanding of truth; nevertheless, it's undefeatable. Do the deconstructionists believe that they "know the truth and the truth has set them free"? Is it really the truth that they are believing in?

1. Arundhati Principle. (Arundhatīdarśananyāyaḥ (अरुन्धतीदर्शनन्यायः)) The proximate star (or landmark) principle. Arundhati (Alcor) is the smallest star in the Ursa Major, almost invisible. Someone who knows the star can help his friend see it by first pointing to the brightest star closest to Arundhati. Once the friend is able to see the brightest star, it becomes easier to then point to the fainter Arundhati in its proximity. Similarly, distance from truth can make it difficult for some to see it. But, there are brighter truths that are quite visible to the human mind which can serve as proximate guide to seeing the fainter star. Some of these brighter truths might be as simple as parables and illustrations. We use the Arundhati principle almost every time we try to show directions to a place. "After you reach the cantonment area, you will see a big blue house. The little spices shop is just beside it."

2. Proximation principle. As one draws closer, the object of knowledge becomes more clearer and several previous assumptions regarding it begin to fade away gradually. The truer assumptions gain confirmation. Many questions also get answered. A distant reflection of water may turn out to be a mirage. A distant twinkling of faint light might turn out to be a large town. It is not uncommon for those who are far from God to have many assumptions regarding Him, some even doubting His existence. But, as we draw closer to Him, He draws closer to us. Similarly, as one gains more insights of scriptural truths, several notions get clarified and truth is known through ap-proximation.

Monday, July 15, 2019

The Tragedy of a Lured Prophet (1 Kings 13)

1 KINGS 13 gives us the narrative of a prophet whose prophecies were accompanied by signs and wonders.

However, he was lured by another old prophet into doing what was forbidden to him. He was forbidden to eat and drink in that place. But, the old prophet said that the Lord had told him to feed him. The narrative describes the ensuing events that unraveled the error of the prophet lured by lies and his subsequent tragic death by a lion. The lion didn't eat him nor hurt his donkey. Interestingly, the old prophet who lured this young prophet seems to go unpunished. On the other hand, he wisely observes that the young prophet's prophecies will come true and instructs his sons to bury him when he dies along with the young prophet. Subsequently, when the prophecies did come true, and Josiah was turning over the tombs in Bethel, the old prophet's body was honorably left because it was placed together with the young prophet's body in his tomb. Seems shocking.

But, the young prophet erred grievously. He had a two-fold word from the Lord and it was accompanied by two signs. The two-fold word constituted a prophecy related to the false altar worship practiced at Bethel and secondly, the command to the prophet not to eat at Bethel. Both words were equally immutable. God's word has plenary truth-value. The young prophet allowed an inconsistency factor into his system of faith by allowing the old prophet's lie to turn him from the divine command. But, God's word is not inconsistent. If the prophet would not be punished for violating God's command privileged to him, so may not Bethel be punished according to his prophecy against its false worship and violation of God's written command to the people of Israel. However, for whatever reason (open to speculation) he chose to believe the antithetical privileged testimony of the old prophet (a lie) and suffered the consequences for his turning away from faith.

If he himself didn't believe God's command to him, why should people believe in the prophecy concerning them? The teacher and preacher of the word is doubly accountable.

Do Religious Conversion themselves have any evidential value?

While the reasons behind religious conversions may be considered for any potential evidential value, the conversions themselves do not possess any intrinsic value apart from their rationale.

Conversions may have various motivations. There might even be a mixture of various motivations behind them. Conversions prompted by lure or coerced by means of fear or force do not possess intrinsic value. Similarly, conversions backed by diplomatic motives are neither real. Real conversions are governed by strong epistemic values of justification.

King Solomon's turning towards the religions of his non-Jewish wives by itself does not constitute an invalidation of his previous privileged claim of a personal visitation of the Lord in which he received the gift of wisdom. It does not prove that the religions that he turned to in his later years were superior or more advanced or similar to his previous faith. Similarly, King Saul's turn to spiritist involvement in the forbidden practice of contacting the dead doesn't establish spiritism in any way as a valid alternative to the prophetical movement. On the other hand, the medium's terror at seeing Samuel demonstrates the superiority of the prophetical movement. When the prophet Balaam refrained from cursing the Israelites and instead blessed them, it may have seemed that he stood in support of them. But, the New Testament reveals that his heart was covetous.

In any claims of conversions, the motives and the rationale behind them must be thoroughly investigated.

One prominent example of conversion is that of Paul. He wasn't swayed in any way by the preaching of the apostles or the testimony of Stephen's vision at his stoning. He was an uncompromising Pharisee and persecutor of Christians until he had a personal encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. Following this experience, he underwent several persecutions for the sake of the Gospel. There was no political, social, mainline religious, or economic benefit or advantage from this conversion. The primary rationale behind his conversion was his empirical encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus.

In modern times, we have testimonies of such dramatic conversions in people like Sadhu Sundar Singh (who came to be known as the apostle with bleeding feet), Gulshan Esther, and Karamchand Hans.

But, even as neither the testimonies of the disciples, if Paul had heard them, nor the testimony of Stephen had any evidential value for Paul, such privileged testimonies might not have any evidential value for any other person than the experiencer.

Also, Jesus said that even if a dead were raised and sent to testify, it would not be evidence enough for the Jews who did not take the testimonies of Moses and the prophets seriously. For the Ethiopian Eunuch to whom Philip preached the Gospel, a simple reading of Isaiah and a testimony of Jesus was sufficient evidence for faith.

But, obviously, for Paul, Sundar Singh (who had previously torn and burnt the Bible), and Karamchand (who previously beat his mother for professing faith in Christ) Christian preaching itself was insufficient. They were given a personal physical encounter.

Solomon too had a personal vision. But, he turned away. So, Paul places safeguards when he says: "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed." (Gal 1:8)

And, he confesses: "But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified." (1 Cor.9:27)