Worldview Bulletin: Christian Thinking

Deception lurks in the unknown, or so we tell ourselves. Often what we do to guard against deception is precisely what opens the door to it. We want to stay in our current comfortable level of knowledge. If we explore beyond it, if we journey to the edge of what we know, we cannot be assured that that book, that speaker, that preacher, that journalist is not going to draw us into a snare of deception.

The Bible is safe. Perhaps we will only read that. We can eschew all other books and stay in the safety of only reading the Word. If we hear controversy surrounds an author, we steer clear. We wouldn’t want to get deceived. Is that not how the thinking goes?

However, we cannot grow staying cloistered in what we believe is the totality of safe truth. Maybe we have been unknowingly nursing bondage. What if someone has the truth that unlocks us from our entrapment?

If we had a modern-day Martin Luther, a reformer compelling us to see differently, would we want to shun him or her or grow in that greater truth despite becoming a rebel?

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Worldview Bulletin: Learning Discernment

I write often about the discipleship required to know truth in every sphere of society. I am usually speaking of learning truth through reading, listening to lectures or podcasts, learning in training events, classrooms, conferences, and small groups. But there is another level to learning truth and it involves learning to recognize its presence or its absence through spiritual discernment.

Recognizing truth or the lack thereof in this manner requires having your senses trained. I remember a conversation with a good friend one day. He was warning me about articles from a certain “news” source for they lacked truth and often good sense. I remember bursting out a bunch of questions. What are your sources for this? Did you research these articles and find out their information is wrong? Where can I find a good source that disqualifies this website as a source of truth? He did not have the answers to my questions. I was poised to dismiss his claims. He told me it was obvious to him that the site lacked credibility. It took me sometime before I could understand this. The website was saying things my circles validated as true. These were not questioned. I did not choose to dismiss him out of hand, because I knew him to be a wise friend. However, I had not yet gained understanding.

Once I learned to see from my spirit, to discern, I recalled this conversation and realized just how obvious I recognize malarkey even when others think it credible. Malarkey always has just enough of truth mixed in to make it believable. The spiritual discernment of truth heightens the natural senses as well to recognize where truth is lacking. The lack of spiritual discernment decreases the ability to see truth in the natural or to recognize where it is missing.

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Worldview Bulletin: Worldview for Nations

I cannot think of a word strong enough to express just how much I love America. I am the girl who read the handbook on the American flag etiquette. I used that knowledge to write an editorial when the local fire department planned to stop keeping a Bible in their department. The Virginian Pilot ran my letter to the editor and my pastor printed it in the bulletin the next Sunday. I fought my way through the State University constantly fending off ideologies that undermine the American way of life because I love my nation. The anti-biblical worldview of secular humanism, Marxism, and postmodernism that has overrun the universities is detrimental to the stability of our nation. I have since published two books to argue for the reformation of America upon her biblical foundations.

I am an Evangelical Christian

I fit squarely within evangelical Christianity historically and yet I do not join without remainder all the modern voices that are so classified today. The more nuanced I become the more I cringe at some of the current trends of communicating a love of country. I am so happy that there are those who hold the fort even if it is with an extremity that I do not share.

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Worldview Bulletin: Defusing Polarization

Modern evangelical conservatism is creating a surge in liberalism. Unlike many headlines, my provocative statement is not an overstatement device simply intended to garner your attention. Though I hope I have your attention, because this is a very important observation for which I have great hope in seeing this trend reversed. In fact, my thoughts are often arrested trying to solve the puzzle of this all-too-common occurrence.

While a great deal more thought is required, I will share the insight I have thus far. Some I have shared before because it is ever present on my mind. My writing returns to it again and again as of late.

Avoid the Extremes

The more extreme our perspectives become the more nuance is discarded. When our worldview reduces to the party line it becomes combative of the other party to an extent that any common ground is lost. We stand on opposite sides with a large gulf separating us leaving no room for interchange. We create the false idea that we cannot come to any agreement together. Polarized thinking requires that we label any idea that takes any step towards the other party as joining the other party. I am not advocating a middle of the road merging of two extremes – but a return to thoughtful argumentation which requires exploration and understanding of the worldviews we do not hold as our own.

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TRUTH DECAY: Inside Christianity

When truth is lost error grows exponentially in many different directions. We are watching the consequences of the loss of truth playing out in our nation. As a result, powerful people and businesses compete to control information as if it is a commodity of consumerism.

Information alone does not create knowledge – that requires wisdom to take accurate information of real facts and produce knowledge of what is true. Careful investigations take time, discipline, dedication, and integrity. Instant tweets, pictures, and videos from a variety of vantage points all dumped into social media do not produce knowledge. It takes more work to arrive at truth. We would do well to remember that when combing through all the instant information looking to make sense of it.

I understand in a world where we do not trust the professional journalists and investigators that we would want to look for alternative sources of information. But sometimes those who try to fill in the gap are simply not equipped to handle the burden of suddenly becoming an expert in investigative research and reporting.  

In these trying times it is imperative to practice patience, pausing before believing the latest meme claiming to have the real truth which fits neatly on a digital square. What is true would fill more than a book and still we would have unanswered questions. We can have partial information instantly, but truth takes time. Knowledge requires patience.

Reactionary Theology

Another loss of truth is in theology. There is a great deal of reactionary theology going on today. We witness the ugly results of one theological extreme and we pull hard the other way to avoid being like the ones we critique only to fall into the ditch on the other side. Case in point, I hear people react to extremism in support of the President with a denouncing of what gets termed “Christian nationalism” or “white nationalism.” As I have written before, at length, nationalism has no color. However, the very concept of nationhood comes from Judeo-Protestant theology. We cannot eschew nationalism without embracing a non-biblical theology destructive to modern nations.

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Worldview Bulletin: How Should We Then Live? A Nation in Crisis

Our nation is in crisis. The source runs far deeper than the current events which are terrible symptoms of a greater problem.

I am sobered and anguished watching the videos from the tragic attack on our nation’s Capitol Building. It is reprehensible. We can point fingers all day long, but we all have allowed anger, hatred, and animosity to boil over to this extent. These extremists disrespected the very fabric of our national heritage through their violent behavior. It is not about what extremist group did it, it is about that things got this far that it happened. This happened here in our nation, an attack on our Capitol.

I want to hear more Americans concerned for what their beliefs could cause in America. The Founding Fathers were consumed with posterity. What would generations hence learn from them, say about them, carry on because of their legacy and sacrifice? They took painstaking efforts to preserve their letters and writings so that we could learn from their wisdom.

We cannot reduce national discourse to Facebook memes. We cannot depend upon social media to the extent that we feel lost and silenced without it. The Founders had no internet. They could not reach the world in an instant with a knee-jerk reaction. They had to meet in a room with no air-conditioning and hash out their differences to work out our most cherished documents, The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution. John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison worked to create a series of essays, known as The Federalist Papers, to run in the New York newspapers to inform the public about the merit of ratifying the Constitution. This took time, deliberation, and thought.

Letters were written by hand, copied by hand, and carried by hand to their recipient. Thought took time to communicate. It was precious, not careless.

Preserving our liberty means preserving honor, history, integrity, civil discourse, robust debate, and conduct befitting men and women created in the image of God.

FAKE NEWS

We have lost trust in the institution of journalism in all its forms. The mainstream media has lost at least half of the public’s trust. It has become indefensible as a source of truth.

Journalists are to be a safeguard against government overreach. They are to investigate and inform as they did in breaking the Watergate Scandal (see the masterful film The Post). When we have lost all trust in the mainstream media, we enter new dangerous grounds. When public institutions fail to serve the people to benefit their own interests, the people look for underground sources.

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2021: A Prophetic Perspective

On the eve of 2018 the Lord impressed upon me that any difficulty I would experience in 2019 would be a matter of perception. The struggle would be against old thinking. Time and again in 2019 I would find that word from the Lord a comfort as I worked to renew my mind. I had to stop anticipating struggle. This required an adjustment forcing me to stop assuming a potential obstacle would become a hardship.

Worry creates a storm of difficulty that the thing itself would never bring if we did not add worrying about it to the equation. Worry gives us a reality of the worst happening when it is our worry creating the storm of negative emotions and not whatever is actually transpiring.

The Lord worked with me throughout 2019 to think differently. To lift up my eyes to Him and off what I perceived as roadblocks or difficult experiences to see His goodness through each and every obstacle of life.

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BOOK REVIEW: Love Thy Body by Nancy Pearcey

Twenty-twenty marks the year I finally met my long-time quest to read 52 books in a single year which is the equivalent of one per week. I met my goal concluding the year with a most excellent read – Love Thy Body by worldview apologist, Nancy Pearcey. I have had her book sitting expectantly upon my shelf for many months and while it was well worth the wait, I wish I had read it post-haste.

Worldview – Theology of the Body

Pearcey provides the worldview theology of the body with stunning clarity. In so doing, she thoroughly covers the dignity of life from conception to death. She reveals the worldview behind the personhood theory, the hook up culture, marriage, divorce, homosexuality, transgenderism, eugenics, euthanasia and so much more. Love Thy Body is not an expose of the sins of the world, but a worldview analysis of the bankrupt two-story philosophy which has so infected the world (and the church) that these travesties of sin run rampant in our society. It is an apologetic for the body, for life, for righteousness and for the merits of a biblical worldview. Pearcy writes with compassion for those suffering from disjointed lives due to worldview lies which pervade our culture as liberating ideas. The brokenness that results from living outside of biblical theology is heart wrenching. The pain continues for generations, but the good news is that there is hope in Jesus. Changing the way we think thereby practicing repentance can restore the years the locus has consumed.

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Worldview Bulletin: Becoming a Thinking People: Slicing Through the Polarized Views

The last few days of 2019 found me suffering with the effects of a bad cold that had me sleeping instead of watching the ball drop as we passed into the now infamous 2020. Little did I know that instead of a year of 2020 vision we would have a year of great confusion, deep divisions, a health crisis, economic uncertainty, social turmoil, and a mad dash for toilet paper!

Despite such a tumultuous year, I have experienced deep enjoyment of the Lord and all His bounty. I have found joy in the smallest of things, a well-made sandwich, a juicy strawberry, a walk along the shore or around the block on a pleasant evening, or a great conversation with my husband. When all the fast-paced parts of life are sidelined the important things come into focus.

I have paid close attention to the ensuing cultural battles polarizing our nation. I watch the dueling swords wielded with unrestrained tongues. I see the fearmongering and shock tactics, the victim mentalities, and carelessness and strife in social media posts.

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America: A Polarized Nation in Need of Truth

Watching this election coming down to such a narrow margin we can see that we are witnessing the effects of a divided nation. Perhaps we have become numb to our deep seeded divisions which have so polarized our nation. How do we participate in the healing of a nation rather than participating in its divisions? How do we do this without compromising truth? The answer is not standing in the middle of the road trying desperately to merge one worldview with another. It is not claiming neutrality for no worldview is neutral.

Theological Nature of Politics

Politics is both theological and spiritual, but it is not to be religious. There is a difference which I will flesh out. How we see nations and their inner workings on every level is deeply theological. The very idea of nation comes from the Bible. Majoring on personal responsibility or on programs to provide welfare for the poor are both derived from biblical theology. It does not mean that both arguments are equally correct, but that their origins are both coming from a Christian worldview expressed in how we look at economics and government.

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