The Edification Complex of the Soul

Over the last few years I have found different Christian websites that I regularly scan for news, information, perspective and debates about different hot button topics in American Christianity. I find a lot of it to be interesting but a little light on solid spiritual food.

One of the topics that comes up regularly is what is the “Christian walk” in this world (often referred to as sanctification or, to be more precise, experiential sanctification). These discussions are usually a variation on a couple of themes. First is the “fruits of the spirit” theme where someone will choose a situation of interest and then tell how this situation should have been handled in the spirit of Galatians 5:22-23.

The other approach is to, once again, take a situation of interest and apply principles from the Mosaic Law (Christians usually only discuss the Ten Commandments and ignore the rest of The Law). Almost any situation in life can be framed so we believers can see how it violates at least one of the Ten Commandments (idolatry, covetousness, etc.). While true this approach always seems like it is missing something to me.

I grew up in a ministry that had a much more fully developed concept of the Christian way of life and what spiritual growth is comprised of. Throughout my youth R.B. Thieme, Jr. (aka Colonel Thieme) taught a doctrine he called the Edification Complex of the Soul which was his way of categorizing of a Christian’s spiritual growth. I have to be honest, after having grown up with the structure this doctrine provides I have found others’ teaching on the topic to be weak and unsatisfying.

Before I provide the details of the doctrine I should probably mention that Colonel Thieme stopped teaching this doctrine sometime in the 1980s. It’s not that he felt it was wrong but he replaced it with a more complex model of experiential sanctification called the Divine Dynasphere. He believed that the Divine Dynasphere is more complete than the Edification Complex. However, with that being said the simpler Edification Complex has a lot of truth and is certainly easier to comprehend.

When looking over the outline of the Edification Complex (a book could be written about each of the stages) please keep in mind that it is hierarchical. The first floor builds upon the foundation; the second floor builds upon the first, etc. So, without further ado, here it is:

The
Edification Complex of the Soul

Floor

Description

Eighth Floor
Confidence/Stability

13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13

17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him;
18 having the eyes of your heart enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
Ephesians 1:17-18

23 if so be that ye continue in the faith, grounded and stedfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel which ye heard, which was preached in all creation under heaven; whereof I Paul was made a minister.
Colossians 1:23

27 to whom God was pleased to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
Colossians 1:27

Seventh Floor
Peace/Prosperity (This is not to be confused with the “prosperity gospel”)

1 Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto all the peoples, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied unto you.
Daniel 4:1

25 Then king Darius wrote unto all the peoples, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied unto you.
Daniel 6:25

6 For the mind of the flesh is death; but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace:
Romans 8:6

2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.
1 Peter 1:2

2 Grace to you and peace be multiplied in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord;
2 Peter 1:2

2 Mercy unto you and peace and love be multiplied.
Jude 2

7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:7

15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to the which also ye were called in one body; and be ye thankful.
Colossians 3:15

Sixth Floor
Mastery of the Details of Life (see bottom the of link for the explanation)

If you possess the details of life (food, clothing, pleasure, security, satisfaction, etc.) then you have the capacity to enjoy them. If you don’t possess the details of life you still have bible doctrine and the capacity to enjoy life.

Fifth Floor
Capacity to Love

Capacity to Love:
– God and Bible Doctrine
– Your mate
– Friends

Fourth Floor
Inner Happiness

Inner happiness regardless of circumstances.

Third Floor
Relaxed Mental Attitude/
Impersonal Love

There is another tool new Christians need to begin using pretty  quickly in their lives, or they will find their spiritual growth  derailed. The Relaxed Mental Attitude (RMA) is an outgrowth of claiming God’s promises (CGP) and resting in faith (RIF), but like resting in faith it must be consciously applied to situations, so we are treating it as one of the tools in the new Christian’s spiritual tool belt.

A relaxed mental attitude (RMA) is the believer’s response to the circumstances of life that he encounters on a daily basis. It  develops naturally in the Christian as he matures in the faith by the daily process of taking in the Word of God, metabolizing it spiritually (more on that soon in a future lesson), and applying it in his life. But like RIF the RMA does not just emerge full grown in the Christian—it is developed gradually.

[Note: I copied the definition of the relaxed mental attitude only. If you would also like the definition of impersonal love then please follow the link at the left and read the entire article.]

Second Floor
Grace Orientation

Grace orientation is being oriented to the grace policy of God through the inculcation of Bible doctrine under genuine humility and the teaching ministry of God the Holy Spirit. The grace-orientated believer does not judge others and always offers other believers privacy while minding his own business! Grace  orientation offers to others the very grace that God offers to you!

First Floor
Filling of the Holy Spirit

The filling of the Holy Spirit is the status quo of the believer when God the Holy Spirit controls his soul thus making him 100% spiritual, EPH 5:18. To make it from salvation to spiritual maturity requires the filling of the Holy Spirit and the daily intake of Bible doctrine. At the moment of salvation, the Holy Spirit indwells the body of the believer permanently, JOH 14:16; 1CO 3:16.  Because the body is the headquarters of the old sin nature, the Holy Spirit sets up His headquarters in the body for counteraction. But while the indwelling of the Spirit is permanent the filling of the Spirit is temporary. We lose the filling of the Spirit when we personally sin, whether willfully, unintentionally, knowingly or ignorantly. However, God has provided the problem solving device of rebound so that we can instantly regain the filling of the Holy Spirit, 1JO 1:9. When we name and cite our known sins to God we are instantly filled with the Spirit and 100% spiritual. Since the battlefield for the believer is in the soul it is vital that we use the rebound technique to give the Holy Spirit control of the soul whereby He may influence, control and mentor us.

Foundation
Jesus Christ
(salvation by faith in Him)

Salvation is the work of God in the saving of mankind from the power and effects of being born in sin and therefore spiritually dead, being separate from God. This has been accomplished by means of the finished work of Jesus Christ on the Cross. Any member of the human race can acquire the grace gift of salvation by simply believing in Jesus Christ as their Savior, ACT 16:31.

For those of you who have made it this far I would like to mention the two sources I found which primed my memory and allowed me to pull the details of this doctrine together (I believe all of the publications where Colonel Thieme provided the details are now out of print). First, Grace Memorial Bible Church (GMBC) has an archive of doctrines that Colonel Thieme taught over the years. Someone spent the time to type these  doctrines up on a typewriter and then (probably years later) scanned them into Adobe Acrobat files. However, for anyone who doesn’t know the Colonel’s technical vocabulary, these will be very difficult to follow.

The other source is Gary Kukis’ website. Gary also pulled together a version of the Edification Complex which was very useful.

I tried to use the version of the doctrine at the GMBC site since it is closer to what I remember. However, I did add the foundation (salvation) and the first floor (filling of the Holy Spirit) which do not appear in the GMBC version. For anyone who was part of Colonel Thieme’s ministry these didn’t need to be included, we all knew them by heart. However, for the benefit of anyone new to this teaching I have included them.

I hope you all enjoy and benefit from this.

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10 Comments on “The Edification Complex of the Soul”


  1. I have been studying this for a few months; I must admit it is a novel teaching but one that has shook me at the very core. I have experienced a freedom in my life, I can’t easily explain. I would like to find out how this teaching has impacted your life and others you may be associated with.

    Reginald

    • Glenn Says:

      Hello Reginald,

      I suppose it has impacted me in a very deep way. If you read or listen to enough Christian teaching you will find that pastors often talk about spiritual growth. However there doesn’t seem to be a lot of depth in what they say. I have never found spiritual growth, or the Christian walk, as clearly laid out as it is in the Edification Complex. It provides a road map for advancing from being a spiritual baby to a spiritual adult. This is something that all Christians need to understand but few do.

      Does that answer your question?

      Glenn


      • Glenn,

        Thanks for your reply. Clearly, this teaching has helped to cement a broken marriage, and other failed relationships as well as provide tremendous peace in an otherwise tumultous time in my life. Simply put, I feel I am finally maturing as a christian, even though I have been one for many years. GAP has done much to assist with this process. I am in the process of learning as much as I possible can on the subject and even have begun researching Divine Dynasphere. Colonel must have been some man. He appears to have been a man’s man, an intellectual and a man of God all wrapped into one–which says a lot about him.

        I guess what I would really like to know is, are you a better person/christian as a result of this teaching. Perhaps this is too simple of an assessment of the overall impact of the teaching, but hopefully it will illumine me to its effectiveness.

        In His Care,

        Reginald

  2. Glenn Says:

    Hi Reginald,

    Thank you for your note. I am very pleased to hear that learning Bible doctrine has had a positive impact on your life.

    The short answer to your question of whether I am a better person/Christian as a result of this teaching is a definite yes! Without this teaching I don’t think I would even have a clue about how to be a better person.

    People have an intuitive idea what it means to be “better” but that doesn’t line up with what God says is better without studying the scriptures. I owe a great debt to Colonel Thieme because his teaching taught me a tremendous amount about how God wants me to live.

    I have some resources that I think you will find useful in your search for additional information on this topic. The resources are more than I really want to put in a comment so I will e-mail you the information. If it isn’t useful to you then feel free to delete the e-mail from your inbox.

    Glenn

  3. federico Says:

    Hello, i was studying lesson 37 of Ephesians 212 series 1972. Doctrine of SG and the ECS was coming up a lot, i had to looked it up and you came first. Thanks for posting this.

  4. Joan Norris Says:

    For some reason when I click on Grace Memorial Bible Church I receive a message that the page cannot be found

    • Glenn Says:

      Hi Joan,

      It has been a while since I checked the link and you are right, the web site appears to be down. GMBC may have decided to discontinue their website. Some time after I had worked up this post they began password protecting some of the material on their website. If I remember right they required visitors to send an e-mail saying that their pastor was alright with the material on the site before the password was provided. Apparently some people had challenged their pastor with material from the GMBC website and it didn’t go over very well.

      Sorry the link is gone. 😦

      Glenn


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