Much of the theology we take for granted is applied theology. It is rooted in chapter and verse, but it is down the road from its source. The chapter and verse are the roots of the tree, but the tree has grown thick, tall, and wide. Sometimes, when we try to force applied theology into a chapter and verse, we undo centuries of work. When we try to put it back in the box it came from, we essentially start over, or worse, we remain at the beginning of the truth never to be strengthened by its application.
Sometimes applied theology requires tracing back to its source to ensure it has not gone awry and still holds true in its applied state. Many ideas have originated from the Bible in good form and yet have strayed down the road from being good theology. This reformation work is essential. But we can only do this rightly if we understand its theological history – not only church history, but world history. While I greatly appreciate judging all thought by The Book, we must do so with understanding of that thought’s history lest we simply demand chapter and verse and dismiss all that is derivative.
I hear a lot of criticism of what gets dubbed “Christian nationalism” or “white nationalism.” Some of what I believe is being thus labeled is indeed worthy of some thoughtful constructive criticism. However, the more disconcerting occurrence is that people are eschewing the theology of nations altogether throwing the proverbial baby out with the bathwater. If we do not have a healthy theology for nations, we cannot rightly judge unhealthy theology or praxis. It is just as dangerous as witnessing greed within capitalism and jumping over to socialism losing the theology for personal property in the process. We can reject ugly behavior or the wedding of religious zeal to politics without rejecting good theology. We do not have to reject patriotism, or the Pledge of Allegiance, or our national anthem because of the overzealousness of some. Our flag raised high with the great red, white, and blue should catch in our hearts as Americans as this is home. This is the near and dear place that we are to steward as people who are citizens of this nation and not a different nation.
“Christianity is the greatest intellectual system the mind of man has ever touched,” wrote Francis Schaeffer. When we consider the Christian worldview, it is to be contemplated in the context of total reality. Only then can we begin to explore what it is and how to think within its massive structure.
Os Guinness professes that everyone thinks from their worldview, but only a few thinks about it. Our worldview is that lens from which we process life. It is a pair of glasses we look through to interpret the world. Sometimes the pair of glasses has been melded from a variety of sources along with scratches, smudges, and smears of dirt. Our worldview has been shaped from life experiences, education, books, television, podcasts, movies, parents, teachers, pastors, leaders, peers, marketing, as well as the technology and the products we use daily. All these things affect how we think. They grow in influence when we do not become those who think about our worldview and forms it on purpose.
All people are equal, but all ideas are not. If we treat ideas the way we are to treat people we will harm people. Truth is not indigenous to people, it is revealed from God. When God brought the Hebrew people group out of Egypt to make them a nation, they did not already know how to be a nation. They only learned how to be slaves from the Egyptians. God gave Moses the law to teach the people how to become a great nation in the promised land. The foundational teachings of nationhood come from Mount Sinai. God had to get Egypt out of them, and the covenant way of life into them.
We do not hear God telling the people to keep the ways of Egypt or any other land. Today we have elevated ideas to the status of the people who have them. Because of the abuses of colonialism and our modern judgment of them, we have retreated significantly from discipling nations in truth. In so doing, we consign cultures to darkness while trying to deliver individual people unto salvation in Jesus Christ.
Moreover, we embrace the cultural ideas of foreign lands serving foreign gods into our own nation. We go beyond the freedom of religion, to Continue reading
The Devil likes to redefine and repurpose words so that we reject them and lose their intended purpose in the process. He has attempted to hijack the word “nationalism.” The word has become politically and racially charged because it is being used incorrectly.
We first saw this with Hitler when he tried to make the world German. But what Hitler was doing was not nationalism, but imperialism. To quote Author, Speaker, and Reformer, Vishal Mangalwadi, “German Fascist imperialism was able to hijack words such as nationalism in the 20th Century, because Continue reading
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 Continue reading