Tag Archives: Love of Truth

Certainty or Confidence?

Years ago I read a newspaper interview with a spry 105 year old woman who had just celebrated another birthday.  I forget nearly all the details of the article except for one question the interviewer asked:  “After so many years of life, what do you know for certain that you would like to pass on to others?”  “Oh”, she said, “I don’t know anything for certain!  But I do suspect a few things.”

After spending the bulk of my life doing my level-best to call young people into discipleship, a steady willingness to “rethink” seems to be an important key to transformation.  We must be wary of certainty, and aim at confidence.  I have come to believe that when Jesus opened his ministry with the command to “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand” he was calling the world to something more than a one-time decision to follow Him, but rather to a lifetime of rethinking the ideas, attitudes, and habits that have littered our minds by the spirit of the age.  Discipleship is a lifelong process of being transformed “by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:1-2) 

In the series, The Chosen, Peter reacts to something Jesus has said: “But this is different.”  And Jesus, with a twinkle in his eye, answers, “Get used to different.”  So often we in the modern church have allowed our religious ideas to harden like concrete into certainty, and  in the process have short-circuited the opportunity to grow and change.  

“Get used to different.” (And by the way, this applies to The Chosen, too. As much as I enjoy the beautiful storytelling of the series, it demands discernment between the clear Biblical truth, and the creative license of the writers. Test all things)!

In the classroom I begin nearly every session with the challenge, “Test everything I say.  I too am a disciple, and though I am confident in what I teach, it’s possible I could be wrong.  Look at these scriptures with me, and if they do not support what I teach, then stop me, and help me to see my error.”   I hope you will do the same.  I’m far from an authority on the things I write about, but I present them with a degree of confidence that they seem to be true according to the scriptures, plain reason, and experiential fruit.  

The disciples of Jesus are not hardened scribes, but lifelong learners.

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.

The Kingdom of God is within you

When Jesus said “the Kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20-21), he wasn’t addressing faithful disciples, but bone-headed Pharisees who opposed him at every turn.  How does THAT work?   The great missionary-statesman to India, E. Stanley Jones writes, “Since the Kingdom stands for truth, and our own mental makeup demands the same thing, then are not the laws of the Kingdom written within us?  The right thing is always the healthy thing.  The wrong thing is always the unhealthy thing…. The Kingdom is the “Ought to be” standing over against the “Is”, challenging it, judging it, changing it and offering Life itself.”

Disciples of the Kingdom are known for their love of Truth because the Kingdom IS Truth in the most absolute sense.  But wait!  Jesus is also the Truth!  He is the one who “created all things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible”, and who at this very minute is holding “all things together by the power of His word”.  (Colossians 1:-16-17; Hebrews 1:3)

In the words of Jones, the Kingdom is “Christ universalized”, it is Jesus Himself filling creation and causing all things to work together for good.   And it is consummated as every part of the universe, from humans to health, from music to matter bows to Him and functions exactly as it was designed.  What a delightful hope to hold in this twisted and tremulous world.