America’s public square is in dire straits. The public square is the public discussion of all things cultural, political, religious, and societal. The people who participate in this discussion in America are citizens from every walk of life, background, gender, race, economic status, and from a vast variety of theological and political thought. This square becomes broken when conversation deteriorates into group think, quarrelling, and emotional attacks against thinkers with which we disagree.Read more
Worldviews are complex edifices that we use to acquire, filter, and disseminate knowledge. They run deeper than the content we consume and the ideas we hold true. They also drive the mood with which we emanate knowledge. Sometimes this looks like an attitude from which we share our knowledge. It is also a way in which we hear information or categorize the people around us. Our worldview mood can be healthy or unhealthy. It can carry love, hope, and good will, or it can take that same information and be destructive, critical, and forceful. At lot depends on how much we have cultivated and matured our worldview modality.
The Christian worldview is more than what we think, but also the way we think. We can be biblical in knowledge and still not be like Jesus in mature wisdom and compassion. We can pass the knowledge test and fail the mood test. Often, I agree with someone in content and yet disagree in perspective on that content. There are ways of thinking that we have fallen into as Christians, especially my fellow Christian conservatives, that betray a mood that undermines our desire to see true discipleship that builds nations. One major crippling persona we take on is that of the victim.
Modern Christianity is plagued with the mood of the victim. Someone somewhere is doing something to us. “They” are preventing us from liberty, mission, life, good education, good marriages, good family values, good movies, good television, (fill in the blank). “They” may be unbelievers, people of a different political persuasion, the government, foreign governments, the United Nations, or maybe we have boiled it all down to “the enemy.”Read more
When I first learned that NT Wright had written a book from his Gifford Lectures on history and eschatology, I knew I had to read it. Wright is a masterful New Testament scholar. He is a true academic in the highest sense of the word.
The Gifford Lectures were established by Adam Lord Gifford (1820-1887) in Edinburgh, Glasgow (Scotland). His endowment for the creation of these elite lectures were to “promote and diffuse the study of Natural Theology in the widest sense of the term—in other words, the knowledge of God.”
Wright argues in his lectures and now published book, History and Eschatology, that the Gifford Lectures themselves need a worldview shift in order to fully and successfully engage their mission. His argument unfolds in great precision throughout his book. It is an argument relevant to all historians, biblical scholars, and believers.Read more
Deconstruction is not a Christian practice. Truth comes from divine revelation. It is received, it is not constructed. Theology is not the practice of constructing truth, it is the practice of applying true revelation to every area of life.
Some applied theology has taken centuries for a culture to change the way it thinks to accurately apply the truth. We have seen this in how Christian societies have shifted from people who persecute heretics to a people who enumerate civil law to protect freedom of religion. Read more
I’ve heard it said that heaven has no borders. This is not true. Heaven has borders because truth has borders. Heaven is distinct from that which is not heaven. There are things that heaven keeps out – sickness, death, sin, darkness. These things do not exist in heaven. The Kingdom has borders. There are things that are Kingdom and there is that which is not Kingdom. Jesus has borders. He is distinctly the Son of God, The Savior, The Light of the World. He is Truth. He is the Way. He is the Life. There is no darkness in Him. There are no lies in Him. He is the Son of God. He is not the Daughter of God. Other ways do not blend to become His Way. He is the only WAY to the Father, and no one comes to the Father but by Him.
Even though God fills all – He is not all. Read more
Eschatology can make or break a nation. Our worldview has practical ramifications on our nation. Thinking the goal of the Christian life is more souls in heaven has a particular result in the here and now. Thinking the goal of the Christian life is to have more heaven on earth will have another result in the here and now. The power of the Kingdom to affect our world depends upon where we put it. If the Kingdom of God is where we go when we die, or waiting in our post-rapture life, then it does not do much for society now.
But if we are already seated in heavenly places with the ascended Christ, then Read more
Christian culture is shifting in a myriad of ways to embrace the idea that the Gospel is bigger than personal salvation. We are beginning to see that its scale encompasses institutions, cities, and nations.
We are not talking about The Church swallowing up these spheres, but that God cares about nations. His truth is not confined to how we do church and how we live our individual lives but expands to how nations function. We are not looking to create, or at least we ought not be looking to create, another Christendom, but an expansion of the Kingdom into all spheres of society. There is a difference. Read more
The evangelical vernacular has adopted and old word “Reformation.” For many our thoughts immediately go to The Protestant Reformation. We think of Martin Luther and the 95 Theses being nailed to the door of the Wittenberg Church in what would become the nation of Germany. This history is not only church history, but world history. The world changed through The Reformation. It did so because biblical theology came to bear on the practical world of institutions.
Today the term is used in conjunction with the historical meaning, but we are no longer talking about a protest, but a return to an integrated truth. The Church has been crying out for revival, asking the Lord to heal our nation. But we have not been applying the Read more
HOW we say something can be as important as WHAT we say. It is not enough that what we say is true. We can say it in a way that is brash or in a way that is kind. Sharing the truth in love does not mean that we share the truth because we love, but that we share truth in the way that love shares truth. Love always hopes. When we share what is true we are not rattling off the negative facts like a pessimist. We share the truth with hope.
When we speak of a problem it is not the end of the world (or the nation), it is an opportunity for a solution. Before you call me an optimist, neither optimism nor pessimism is Christian. To hope is Christian. Without biblical hope, all we are left with is the world’s philosophies of optimism or pessimism based on our personal preference. Truth carries a substance that is otherworldly. It is the reality of heaven infused in our very words. It is the power to release hope where there was fear. It is the power to give life where there was death. It is the power to give freedom where there was bondage.
Love does not dishonor others. Just because something is true does not mean we can speak it in a manner that brings dishonor. Love always protects. It does not just protect family and friends, but the stranger we have never met that we are talking about on social media. It does not just protect the one whose name we know, but the whole group we may be discussing. It protects celebrities and governing leaders too. I Corinthians 13 is not only how we are to treat those in our inner circle it is how we conduct ourselves in the way of love. A mature believer is one who speaks truth in love (Eph 4). Love is the way truth is shared not merely the reason truth is communicated.
Love is not easily angered nor easily offended. It speaks in such a way as to set people free, not to keep them bound by their wayward ways. It does not point fingers, it shields the one under attack. Not because the one has merited the love, but because Jesus did the same while we were yet sinners. “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” Truth is not communicated in offense. Offense is communicated, and the truth becomes secondary.
Politics is not an excuse for negativity, dishonor, anger, offense, or ridicule. While truth can be partisan, love is not. This means that we still have the responsibility to communicate truth in love no matter what the position of the other may be. They are not idiots. They are not imbeciles. It is possible “they” are the ones who see something we need to see. It is possible “they” have never seen what we see and therefore cannot know what we know and think like we think. Most likely “they” are not doing anything to us on purpose. It is important not to assign motives to people. It only serves to maintain the culture of “us” versus “them” when we do that.
Governing how we communicate truth will require that we slow down and listen to ourselves and how we may sound to others. It also necessitates that we listen to how others hear what we are saying. I have found that communicating my ideas to people who do not believe them help me to learn how I sound to them. It matters. If I fail to understand how I sound to others, I cannot do better at letting truth be heard in a way that honors the one listening.
To be continued . . .
Jesus said that the world will know that we are His by the way that we vote. Jesus said He would one day separate the elephants from the donkeys. Anyone with any Bible knowledge at all will recognize the blatant misquotes above, but now I have your attention.
The Bible gives us theology for nations, government, law, justice, etc. However, the Kingdom is neither synonymous with a particular nation nor a repudiation of all nations into one big globe.
The Bible provides the theology for nations. The Kingdom provides the supernatural power to reform nations to the reality of heaven. It brings the transformative power of truth to the natural undiscipled infrastructure of a nation. The Kingdom of God does not just heal a sick person, but also a sick institution or nation. Read more