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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What does it mean to be Christian?

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 Read more

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

The Ten Commandments Matter

Are the Ten Commandments relevant today? Many are arguing that they are not. They argue that Jesus, the Word made flesh, is the replacement for the words written in stone. The new covenant replaced the old, making the old of no relevance in our lives today. The problem is we have siloed the law into the narrow package of individual salvation and righteousness. Since the law does not make us righteous, we think the law is of no consequence.

The Ten Commandments hang in court rooms across our nation for a reason. If the Ten Commandments are not relevant today, then why should someone be tried for murder? Read more

Truth Has Borders

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

A New Reformation

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

Facts in Context of Truth

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 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 . . .

The Authority of Scripture

The worldview of the Bible is the worldview of Jesus. They are not in conflict. The Bible is the truth because Jesus is the Truth. The Bible is the written revelation and Jesus is the person of Truth Himself to which the Bible points. (Post) Modern Christian authors are confused into thinking God is in conflict with His words where no such conflict exists. The conflict that exists is the university training these Christians have conflated with truth and applied to the Bible to judge it and rewrite it.

The Bible isn’t subjected to human culture – it is that revealed truth which transforms human culture. In a world of myth, it came forth as history. In a world of gods, only the Scriptures spoke of the one true holy God not made by human hands. He alone is the God who is not silent. These very same Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation have given us the modern world. Its truth has developed the previous undeveloped world. Read more