Pre-Mortal Calling to be
New Covenant Christians?
NCW 26, December 1995
Q. Do you believe that we [members of the Church] were called to be New Covenant Christians before we were born? Do we really need a doctrine of pre-mortal life when so few Christians accept it?
I do. We are here because we were led here by the Holy Spirit. Whenever we try to deny that testimony we experience enormous inner tribulation. But I believe that will be a true experience of anyone called to do a particular work in this life, and not just necessarily in this Church.
Paul remarked interestingly: "For preaching the good news I claim no glory, for I am under compulsion to do so" (1 Cor.9:16, RBV). God does not force us to do anything against our will. There is no love in that. That can only mean that Paul was doing what he was doing because it was his will. So why does he say he was "under compulsion" -- without will?
There are, in my view, only two explanations. His spirit is willing, but his flesh is not, as he explains in his Romans 7 and elsewhere. But this is not the explanation Paul gives. He goes on to say: "It is woe to me if I do not preach the good news. If I do this willingly I have my reward; but if I am compelled to do so, IT IS AN OFFICE WITH WHICH I AM ENTRUSTED. What then is my compensation? (v.16b-18a).
It was his office which compelled him. It was his calling. Many of us have callings which in this life we do not understand. We feel compelled by a power greater than ourselves. How can this be of God? we then ask ourselves. Only one answer is possible: WE ENTERED INTO COVENANTS AT SOME TIME BEFORE WE WERE BORN AND ACCEPTED THIS CALL IN THE PRE-MORTAL WORLDS. What evidence do we have that can be true? Because this is how God says Jeremiah was called: "Before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations" (Jer.1:5, RSV).
We do not, of course, remember our pre-mortal callings, but we feel the consequences of our covenants when we enter this sphere and are capable of making responsible choices. We feel them especially acutely when we try to run away from them, as Jonah did, as all prophets who have tried to run away do.
Yes, we need the doctrine of pre-mortal life. It opens a hundred spiritual doors and it is moreover biblical. If other Christians do not accept it, then I feel that is their loss. This Church cannot do away with this teaching without losing many, many precious truths and understandings. Indeed, I would even say that its whole spirit would change for the worse were it to do so. We would cease being the New Covenant Church in a very real and special way.
For more on the doctrine of pre-existence, see The Pre-Existence of Jeremiah: The Bible Teaching on Pre-Existence, Is Human Pre-Existence Biblical? and No Pre-existence for Job?
This page was created on 8 May 1998
Last updated on 8 May 1998
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