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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The Christian Worldview

“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.

Worldview Formation

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.

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Kingdom Worldview Modality

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.”

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Diminishing Distinctions

When we see truth in a non-Christian worldview, we see what it adopted from what is real, what is true, what is Christian. We did not need to go to that worldview to find it, for it is already present in what God has revealed as true. They borrowed from truth, not the other way around. We notice it only because we know what truth looks like as the Holy Spirit and Scriptures are our tutor. However, when we borrow what is not Christian, what is not true, from a foreign worldview we borrow that which belongs the prince of lies. We borrow that which deceives, binds, destroys, Read more

Our Father Speaks: God’s Masculinity

Jesus asked His disciples: “Who do you say that I am?” They replied, “some say you are John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and still others say Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” Jesus pressed further, “but who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, Son of the Living God.” Jesus answers, “Blessed are you Simon, Son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.”

Likewise, Moses asked God: When I go and tell the Israelites the God of their ancestors have sent me and they ask me your name, who do I say has sent me? God replies, “I AM WHO I AM.” Say this to the people of Israel: I am has sent me to you.” God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: Yahweh, the God of your ancestors—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.

Unlike idols, and man-made gods, the Creator of the Universe tells us who He is. Read more

Restoring The Word ‘Nationalism’

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 Read more

What is Reformation?

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

Speaking the Truth in Love

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 . . .

Biblical Theology of Nations

e-pluribus-unumJesus 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