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?
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.
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.
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.
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 the Nineteenth Century German theology undermined God’s Word. That separated words such as ‘nation’ from their base in the Bible.”
Generally, we classify a Christian as one who has surrendered his life to Jesus as Lord and Savior. Such a one is a born again believer designated as “saved.” In contrast, the unsaved are deemed not Christian.
Being Christian is more than a saved soul. Jesus is not only truth for your soul, but for every area of life. A person can give his life to Jesus and still not be Christian even though he has become a Christian. Discipleship is required for a new Christian to become Christian in thought and praxis.
An unbeliever can be Christian in Continue reading
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. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
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
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. Continue reading
The Christian worldview is the best home for facts. The idea that one can have “just the facts” with no framework to judge them except “objective” human common sense is the worldview of naturalism. It is not Christian. We must get away from the idea that there is a neutral worldview. Truth runs deeper than mere facts. It involves interpreting the data within the framework of what is good and true. It is not imposing a cultural idea on the facts, it is receiving true truth from God’s written revelation.
As Christians we infuse God’s meaning on the conception of a child, calling the child a baby. Scientific investigation cannot provide that designation without operating through a Christian worldview Continue reading