About the author, Jim Rose

Jim Rose

Rev. J.E. (Jim) Rose is an ordained minister, licensed professional counselor, and certified clinical supervisor. He is a staff counselor at Covenant Eyes and specializes in sexual addictions and the unique needs of clergy and other professional caregivers. He is also the Director of Nehemiah Ministries, a 160-acre retreat and counseling center in south-central Michigan for pastors and missionaries.

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The Porn Circuit

Parenting the Internet Generation Ebook Cover

Science shows us why porn is highly addictive. Learn how our neurochemistry is easily hijacked by porn to create compulsive behaviors, and discover how the brain can be rewired to escape porn's allure.

7 thoughts on “Neuroscience and the Mind of Christ: A Reaction to The Huffington Post

  1. Phenomenal article… full of patience, insight, clarity and – above all – grace for the object of its constructive criticism. If only the rest of the dialogue of differing viewpoints across the web could be carried out with such maturity and redeeming love. Well done Jim…

  2. Jim,
    I appreciate the thoughtful tone of your article here. I wanted to offer some thoughts in reply here:
    1. First let me say that “fruits of the spirit” (with a small “s”) was a typo. It should be “Spirit” of course (as in Holy Spirit). Mea culpa.
    2. You ask “How could decisions and judgments made not be a reflection of our character?” But a limbic reaction is not a decision or judgment at all. Decisions and judgments come from the prefrontal cortex. A limbic reaction is just that: a reaction. So when we are being reactive, feeling triggered, we need to engage our thinking-brains and make those judgments and choices of character, rather than being driven by reactive emotion.
    3. You next claim I am advocating “going easy” on ourselves. That is not actually what I’m proposing at all. While I do not believe it is constrictive to be down on ourselves, the point of the article was to suggest a way to get beyond “fleshly” limbic reactions, and instead to cultivate a response of character and compassion, to learn to overcome the “flesh” and exercise the “fruits of the Spirit” (look no typo that time!). So when we are feeling triggered, we need to find a way to engage our prefrontal cortex so that we can make wise and loving judgments and choices.
    4. While I certainly agree that we all need “more Jesus” I don’t think it’s fair to say that I “omit” this. In order to be practical, we would need to articulate what this entails precisely. My article is an exercise in discipleship. It’s about cultivating the fruits of the Spirit, developing the mind of Christ. To me that means it is about having “more Jesus.” So I’m unsure what your objecting to exactly here.
    5. Finally, in an aside you address my recent book Healing the Gospel and claim I have a “weak” view of the atonement and of sin. Have you actually read the book? If you did, I doubt you’d say this. I outline there a pretty robust understanding of the atonement, as well as a deep understanding of sin, firmly rooted in the NT.

    I hope that clarifies things a bit and serves to build some bridges of understanding between us, rather than to build walls.
    Christ’s grace and love to you!

    • Derek,

      Thanks for continuing the gracious and humble tone in your reply. I certainly appreciate your comments but still believe that, even if a psychological reaction is not conscious (sub-conscious) we are responsible for it and therefore it becomes part of our moral character. So, even if I pick my nose without thinking about it, it’s still gross and represents a character problem!.

      I like your comment: “when we are feeling triggered, we need to find a way to engage our prefrontal cortex so that we can make wise and loving judgments and choices.” I heartily agree with that. As for the “more Jesus” statement, I suppose I should give some theological context for that. Without trying to open a can of worms here, I believe in a doctrine of sanctification I call “monergism.” Some talk about “gospel sanctification.” To me that means that the power of sanctification is from God alone. The power to change or to even make those decisions you talked about must, ultimately, come from God himself. If left to our own resources we will always choose the wrong path. I hope that clarifies what I meant when I said we need “more Jesus.”

      As for your question regarding your book, Healing the Gospel, I will confess I did not read the book but only reviews. That leads me to my mea culpa. I’ll get a copy soon and read it!

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  3. Jim,

    “The power to change or to even make those decisions you talked about must, ultimately, come from God himself. If left to our own resources we will always choose the wrong path”

    Are you saying that non-Christians cannot ever make good moral choices? Because it’s pretty simple to observe that this is simply not true. Perhaps I have misunderstood you here and this is not what you are saying…

    Based on the observation that all people can make loving and compassionate choices I would say that people who are not Christians can apply the methods outlined in my article, and it would work in their lives. Equally a person who is in Christ could also apply it and it would work for them too. That’s not theoretical. It can easily be verified in practice.

    What I don’t discuss in the article is that being a Christian is not just about making good choices, but more substantially it is about living in a loving relationship with God in Christ. So as a Christian I make those choices in the context of that loving relationship with Jesus. making good choices should in no way be construed as a replacement for that relationship.

  4. I’m saying that on our own we will always make choices based on self-interest rather than the interests of others. I believe the Bible presents a picture of human nature–including natural neurological processes–that is not pretty. See Romans 3. Our “total depravity” is why sin creates such bondage and why the work of Christ on the cross is so necessary. It explains the stubborn sins and behavioral patterns in our lives. It’s why the indwelling Spirit of God is so necessary for victory over sin and spiritual growth.

  5. Guys…I have enjoyed both the article, Jim’s response, and all the response’s since (and any future ones). Thanks for your generous words on both sides. You carry Christ well and with good intention. I’m nearly 40yrs. saved and this conversation has tapped a deeper vein in me (over the last year) than most any other has [for years] as I overlay my [mostly post-salvation] life filled with ‘God’ experiences and Bible directions onto this self aware understanding of my brain, it’s ‘mission’, my choices once revealed, and how in many ways what science is discovering is validating what the Bible has told us about ‘how we can be’…if we listen. Thanks again. Richard Rohr captures some of this essence in some of his observations as well (but please do not get ‘triggered’ to warn me about RR).

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