Category Archives: Worldview & Truth

Born-again hearts and Babylonian brains

I first heard Darrow Miller say it in a 1997 Worldview Seminar that changed my life: “Many Christians today have born-again hearts but Babylonian brains.”  That’s not a crack on the intelligence of anybody, but rather a sad commentary on the condition of the church.  We’ve given our hearts to Jesus and our heads to universities, politics and pop culture.  

Much of it happened during the twentieth century when our enthusiasm for Heaven began to eclipse our vision of the Kingdom.  Faith divorced reason, and the children went up for custody.  Genteel Heart went to Jesus, where the church tickled her emotions, coddled her feelings, and told her magical stories of Heaven.  But the troubled sibling – Mind – got fostered out to whoever would do the hard work of challenging opinions, digging for truth, and searching out answers.

Now the world is in free fall, and few of us have done our homework.  We can tell you whatever you want to know about sin, heaven and the cross.  But when questions arise about government, poverty, economics, education and such, we divert our eyes like school children from a teacher’s gaze.  What do we know about these things?  Does God even have opinions about that?  Gosh… I wish I’d done my assignment.

The truth is, the church has been given a road map and a commission to declare the Way home to a lost world.  “You are the light of the world.”  (Matthew 5:14)  Instead we’re like last night’s TV drama, where the Native American guide abandoned the greenhorn explorers in the Everglades without food and water among the alligators and wildcats. We’ve done as much, leaving godless academics, corrupted politicians, failed Marxists, and Comedy Central entertainers to lead the way.

Today I have an assignment, if you’ll accept the challenge:  Take a Bible in one hand, a pen in the other, and with the help of the Spirit begin formulating what you believe about:  People, Government, Hope, Calling, Poverty, Education, and any other thing God brings to mind.

Finding my voice

VoiceIn case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been pretty silent both here and on Facebook for several months now.  But I think I’ve found my voice again.  I realized today that it’s an old tactic of the enemy to silence the people of God.  They crucified Jesus, beat Paul, imprisoned Peter, and sent the early Believers to the lions all because of the inconvenient and unacceptable things they had to say. And then there’s me. Like the weenie-warriors in Saul’s army it took only a few taunts from a perceived Goliath to intimidate me into retreat.

The irony first hit me when I was in Romania and Lebanon last month.  I suddenly felt a greater release to speak freely in these two former Soviet and Middle Eastern countries than I do here at home.  It was the beginning of a wake-up call.  Freedom is a spiritual thing that lies at the heart of the Trinity, and it’s a defining characteristic of the Kingdom.  While Jesus hushed his enemies with a simple word of Truth, Satan employs threats, fear and brute force to silence those who oppose him.  The suppressors of free speech are enemies to God.

One of my commitments at the beginning of this year was to renounce the false god of Political Correctness.  PC is an idol that demands absolute obedience.  It tolerates no other God, shuts down opposing voices, and punishes it’s defectors with false charges, lost employment, scorn and social stigma.  Political correctness wars against the Kingdom of God by opposing truth.

Today I’m reclaiming my voice.  I will not be ugly or judgmental, but neither will I be bullied into silence.  “Political correctness does not legislate tolerance; it only organizes hatred.” – Jacques Barzun

Truth and the battle for the Kingdom

The Kingdom is Truth, total Truth permeating every facet of God’s creation from relationships and government to economics and environment.  When the King identifies himself as “Truth” (John 14:6), you can be sure His Kingdom will reflect the flawless reality of His original intention in all of our living, loving, working, playing, and laughing.

Lucifer, the World-Hater, has only one real weapon in his arsenal of destruction, and that is the simple, yet effective strategy of deception.  Daily He disseminates lies like dandelion seeds, which in turn poison everything they touch:  Lies about neighbors contaminate communities.  Lies about government sabotage our freedoms.  Lies about morality breed slavery and destruction.   Lies about health metastasize into cancer and disease.

Recently God has been teaching me to pray for the Spirit of Truth to expose lies and to stir up an appetite for Truth in the church and in the nations.  Picture how effectively wars can be turned when the enemy’s plans have been laid bare.  It’s a non-partisan prayer, really.  Whether the lies are liberal or conservative, yours or mine, church lies, media lies, or Hollywood lies, they all must be rooted out before the Kingdom will emerge with great glory.

An additional bonus to this kind of prayer is the transformation of the way I read the headlines.  Instead of daily discouragement, I take heart when one more instance of corruption, infidelity and greed has been exposed to the naked light of Truth.  Imagine with me what God might do if His people banded together in asking that – come what may – the Enemy’s hidden agenda would be exposed like cockroaches to daylight for all to see.

Everything matters

Back when I was religious, I had my life all sorted into neat piles of “things that matter” and “things that don’t”.  Church, Bible study, prayer, and Christian music had value because those things were “sacred” and eternal.   But other things, “secular” things, were essentially meaningless:  Hollywood and hobbies, politics and parties, the way I dressed and the way I kept my yard.  It was easy in those days to prioritize: I merely had to sort the sacred from the secular and turn my focus full onto the sacred.  Now that I see the Kingdom I’ve come to realize that my twisted thinking was just one more remnant of hyper-religious, super spiritual yada yada.   The truth is, Everything Matters!

From the majesty of a sunset to the stripes of a caterpillar, ours is a world designed for glory and destined for redemption.  Every little piece of it.  Abraham Kuyper, the Dutch theologian captured it perfectly when He said,  “There is not one square inch of the entire creation about which Jesus Christ does not cry out, ‘This is mine! This belongs to me!'”  There is no division between sacred and secular because there is no secular.  It all belongs to a holy King, from the tidiness of my car, to the trimming of my shrubs, to the brightness of my smile.  In fact, everything I do carries the seeds of significance.

I’m reminded of “The Broken Window” theory that became a crime-fighting strategy of former Mayor of New York City, Rudi Guilanni.  The theory says that there is a direct correlation between broken windows and crime rates.  When people go into a neighborhood and simply replace the broken windows of the vacant buildings, crime rates will drop measurably.  Glory begets community health as surely as neglect and broken windows beget crime.

So while our postmodern neighbors suffocate under the lie that says “nothing really matters”, we believers have inherited a message of hope, the glad news of a Kingdom where everything matters!

Jesus and the one percent

This morning it occurred to me that the Gospel of Luke tells a delightful story about Jesus’ encounter with a 1%  Wall-Street-type rich man.

Jesus was passing through Jericho.  A man named Zacchaeus was there. He was the director of tax collectors, and he was rich.  (We’re traditionally reminded that these tax collectors acquired their fabulous wealth by extorting money from the “ninety-nine percent”).  He tried to see Jesus, but Zacchaeus was a small man, and he couldn’t see Him because of the crowd.  So Zacchaeus ran ahead and climbed a fig tree to see Jesus, who was coming that way.  When Jesus came to the tree, he looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down! I must stay at your house today.”  Zacchaeus came down and was glad to welcome Jesus into his home.  But the people who saw this began to express disapproval.  (Maybe they made signs and occupied tents out in front of Zaccheaus’ house)?  They said, “He went to be the guest of a sinner.”  Later, at dinner, Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Lord, I’ll give half of my property to the poor. I’ll pay four times as much as I owe to those I have cheated in any way.”  Then Jesus said to Zacchaeus, “You and your family have been saved today. You’ve shown that you, too, are one of Abraham’s descendants.  Indeed, the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that  which was lost.”   (Luke 19:1-10)

The obvious truth lies in the details of how Zacchaeus was changed.  It wasn’t shame nor legislation that loosened his purse strings, but the love of a man named Jesus.  To my Christian friends tempted to “occupy” Wall Street, I remind you that the Kingdom begins not in anger and protest, but in love, witness, and the declaration of a new Kingdom.

The great lie about people

I’m feeling both sad and concerned at the growing animosity between American liberals and conservatives.  As the budget debate intensifies both camps are busy slinging slurs and pointing fingers in a growing chorus of anger.   It hit me especially hard this morning reading Facebook comments that were stoking hatred like a blacksmith bellows.

Lies kill, and there’s probably no more deadly lie than the notion that the trouble with the world is people.   It’s a subtle worldview that insinuates that “if we could only eliminate those ‘damned’ Atheists, Tea-Partiers, Christians, Muslims, Liberals, or Gays, then all would be right with the world.”   This same thinking permeates the doctrines of Nazis, Islamists, (those Muslims who take up the ideology of bombing infidels), and Marxists who sort through enemies like socks.  It’s OK to hate their ideology, but never the people.

Followers of Jesus must stand in the solid truth that people are not the enemy!   Sin is the enemy!  Pride is the enemy, judgment, arrogance, and lies are the enemy!  These are the things that divide communities and choke the life out of our souls.  And these very attitudes reside in the fallen flesh of each of us.  Will you purpose together with me to lay down the accusing finger and attack the problem not in the face of a friend, but at the level of truth and deception?    God’s word tells us “The thief comes to steal, to kill and destroy.”  (John 10:10)   The great enemy of God and of the human race carries out his work through lies and accusation.  Let’s purpose in our hearts to live in the opposite spirit of blessing and affirming others while standing firmly on the truth that sets people free.

Missing pieces: education and worldview


Back in the early seventies I learned at a liberal denominational youth conference that life is really “all about sex.”  No kidding.  One dear counselor casually unpacked the idea that all our relationships, all our dreams, and all our motives were merely hormonal spark plugs firing in our adolescent bodies.  It was so jarring to my impressionable mind that I could barely concentrate on Kum Ba Yah for the next couple of days, until another man stood up and spilled the real beans:  It wasn’t about sex after all.   It’s about racism and the struggle for equality among people.   I didn’t understand at the time that I was being bombarded with worldviews, and non-biblical ones at that.  These were ideas that fell like a fog around my mind.


A worldview is a story line we believe about the world, an over-arching idea that organizes our experiences into a meaningful whole.  If life truly is about hormones, then that explains a few things about why I do the things I do.  But if it’s about racism, then it explains other things.  Virtually everyone  believes some sort of story about the world.  It’s nearly impossible to live in a world of random pieces which cannot be assembled into a story line.  Marx’s story was about wealth and freeing ourselves from the damnation of capitalism.   Margaret Sanger’s story is one of sexual liberation and emancipating ourselves from old fashioned morality.   Timothy Leary told a story about the promise of drugs and flower-power to redeem the world.


But of course the real question concerns the truthfulness of the story we believe.  Any old story will do to a point.  But only the True story will bring all the pieces together into a coherent whole.  And of course the only person who can verify the correct story is the Author who brought it all into being in the first place.   “Once upon a time”, (“In the beginning”), is the platform upon which the whole story will be built, and if we begin on a faulty foundation it’s a sure bet the whole system will crumble at some point.

Modern Western education is a house built on the sand of a false beginning.  It’s all well and good to fill young minds with stories of man’s descent from primates until you expect him to act like a human being, and not steal the banana you brought for lunch.   It all works well enough until those eighth grade primates begin to actually believe the idea that there really is nothing special about being human, and succumb to depression and suicide.  Who’s to say we should work and not live off the government?  Who’s to say we shouldn’t cheat our way through school?  Who’s to say we shouldn’t accept bribes or steal the neighbor’s vegetables from his garden?   Because if it’s all about sex, money, power, drugs, climate change, racism, or tolerance, then I’ve got quite the latitude to invent any old story I choose.  And society begins to crumble.

Missing Pieces: goodness, truth, and beauty.

It’s been a delightful week here in Kona, (The University of the Nations), in a class of wonderful students grappling with the Kingdom of God.

When the first Universities, (Paris and Oxford), were founded in the twelfth century they featured a curriculum which focused on the three absolutes of Goodness, Truth, and Beauty.   Within that academic trinity can be found all the glories of ethics, law, science, philosophy, and the creative arts.   And when taken together the absolutes point to the wonder of God’s Kingdom.   “Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)   To sit in holy wonder before these absolutes is to seek God’s kingdom.

That’s a fair summary of what we did in class this week:  We examined beauty, truth and goodness, identified them as reflections of the Trinitarian God,  surveyed a few of the ways these absolutes are under attack, and reminded ourselves that the Father of Jesus will not be satisfied until every lost glory of His Kingdom is restored.   And that, I believe, is a true education.

Missing pieces: a return to school

Hopefully my friends will forgive me if I confess that the reason I haven’t written lately is because I stumbled briefly into a swamp of despair.   My heart got slimed by news and politics and I lost sight of the dreams and promises of God.  But today I’m returning to the only foothold I can find in this messed-up world: the certain reality of Jesus and his kingdom.

I left off talking, (in “Missing Pieces“), about how the kingdom might influence the sphere of education.   With America spending in the neighborhood of 100 BILLION dollars per year on education, our schools remain in a state of crisis.  One National Geographic survey shows the disturbing trend that when American 18 to 24-year-olds were given world maps,

  • 87 percent could not find Iraq
  • 49 percent could not find New York
  • 11 percent could not find the United States

With such shocking results in a field as objective as Geography, who wants to even imagine our command of  Truth, reasoning, and understanding of the world itself?   In the diagram below the yellow circle represents Truth, which  ALWAYS produces life.  The red circle represents our beliefs.  Notice that when our beliefs intersect with Truth, the result is knowledge and life.  But when our beliefs fall outside the scope of Truth they produce death, whether it’s mathematical, scientific, psychological or spiritual.   Hosea 4:6 tells us “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…”

So how would the Kingdom influence education?  Just a few thoughts:

1. The church would repent of it’s narrow message which idolizes “personal salvation” and “getting into heaven” to the neglect of “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Personal salvation is the entry point into the kingdom, (John 3:3), but it is not the end-all of the gospel.   The church must re-embrace the entire gospel, which declares a kingdom plan for every sphere of life from schools to science, from films to families.  (Eph. 4:10)

2. The basis of Education would return to the focus of “These things are True,” rather than “This is the stuff you should know in order to enter the job market.” We are not perishing for lack of information and opinions, but for the lack of Truth.

3. Parents would assume the God-given responsibility of teaching their children.  “Teach these things to your children, and talk about them when you’re at home or away, when you lie down or get up.” (Deut. 11:19)  That doesn’t mean we need to home school every child, but that parents, (and not the government), should assume a primary role in educating their children.  When we allow the direction of our schools to be dictated by government bureaucrats we get exactly the kind of students we have today, who can’t locate America on an unmarked map.

4. Schools, (both public and Christian), would turn their focus from teaching students what to think, to training them how to think; how to assess truth, how to reason, how to employ logic and exchange ideas in constructive and meaningful dialogue.

One more idea I’ll save until next week.

Missing pieces: discipling nations

Once upon a time God discipled a nation.   He took a group of bedraggled slaves and changed them into such a glorious nation that foreign dignitaries were left speechless.   When Jesus told us to “make disciples of all nations” he was thoughtful enough to give us the stellar example of Israel to demonstrate what he had in mind.

Consider:  When Moses led the Jewish slaves out of Egypt,

And yet in the space of four centuries God had so transformed this ragamuffin people that the Queen of Sheba was dazzled by the glory of Israel.  (1 Kings 10:4)   Such is the power of God’s transforming Truth for any nation from broken Bosnia to impoverished Haiti to floundering America.   And it is God’s dream for the nations.

The Gospel of the kingdom begins with the promise of redeemed hearts (Ezekiel 36:26), and goes beyond to the transformation of nations.  There’s not a hint of heaven or eternal life in this promise: “If you indeed obey the LORD your God and are careful to observe all his commandments I am giving you today, the LORD your God will elevate you above all the nations of the earth.” (Deuteronomy 28:1).  The commandments God is referring to here have nothing to do with heaven and the hereafter,  but about the everyday truth of living together in peace, ensuring justice, conducting business, educating children, caring for strangers and the environment, growing crops, practicing good health, and a host of other “how-tos” that will produce blessing and life.

The gospel of the Kingdom bids us pick up the dream of God for every person, every nation, and every sphere of life.   Check back soon for some pieces of God’s dream for government.