Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Evangelical Seduction of Two Truths

God is One (Deut 6:4).  His Truth Is One (Jn 14:6, Jude 1:3, John 17:17-19).  The story of the world is His story.  There really isn't a sacred and secular.  Everything is His.

I understand there is a world system, but the world system is part of the truth, the story, the one realm that is God's realm.  In God's sovereignty, everything is His.  It is His world.  The world system is a defeated part of it, existing on borrowed time according to God's plan and allowed by God's power and wisdom.

The world system, part of the story, has itself pushed two stories, two truths, inventing and enthroning a lie that it's interested in objective truth, while religion offers subjective truth.  Within the latter are many contradictory options, all equally valid, allowing people to believe whatever truth they desire.  The world has erected its own false front city, masquerading as true, its inhabitants busy pretending.

Genuine believers, biblical Christians, can tell the story, which includes government, family, art, economics, industry, marriage, education, etc.  It's all one story and a converted, Holy Spirit indwelt person knows the place and proportion of everything within the one true story.  He knows what life is about.

On paper, if asked point blank, evangelicals might deny two truths.  The world has separated truth to two to destroy the truth, to leave itself with its own version alone.  In reality, evangelicalism has embraced and nurtured the two stories, despite the master plan of the world.  Evangelicalism rides the two truths-two stories to a perceived success.

The evangelical seduction of the two truths is that you can in fact have the world and Christianity both.  The separation between secular and sacred has been convenient to the evangelical strategy.  The world is a major reason the lost rejects Christianity, but with evangelicalism, they don't have to.  They can have their church and their world.  Evangelicalism tells part of the story, the evangelical part of the story, like a separate track, the one that allows someone to get to heaven, and yet also have his own kingdom in this world.  This is in fact a lie, and a lie that does ruin the so-called part of the story that is supposed to save.

The world uses the two stories to destroy the one story, the true one.  Evangelicalism uses the two stories to seduce people in the world to Christianity.  Evangelicalism sees itself as saving Christianity like religious liberalism claimed in the nineteenth century.  Evangelicalism has divided the story, taken what it sees as the most attractive aspect of Christianity, removed the unpopular parts, and told that as the other truth, the one other than the world is telling.  As time has gone on, more and more of the repulsive parts have been removed, while attempting to keep Christianity itself intact.  Is this possible?

Can this reduced form of Christianity be truth?  Does Christianity come as a whole or can it be offered in pieces to accomplish the same goals?  Can it?  Do you believe that?

God has one beauty.  Christianity should tell the story, which includes beauty.  Instead, evangelicalism removes beauty from the story as a seduction.  Evangelicalism doesn't think on that which is lovely.  True beauty and loveliness does not attract the world.  Fleshly lust does.  Comfort does.  Self-will does.  Even chaos does.   It offers ugly and expects people to understand God in that superstructure.  They won't.

To begin, two stories was just pragmatic, what would work.  It was worth it, because people could "get saved."  They would be saved from what?  Hell, of course.  But they would be saved to a lie about beauty, but worth it to avoid Hell.  Evangelicalism co-opted the two stories for pragmatism.  They still do.  Instead of rejecting two stories, they embrace them for what works.  The world can't understand God without the proper aesthetic, reverence, and solemnity, so the evangelical strategy doesn't even work. God isn't God in evangelicalism's silly setting.

Evangelicalism tells two stories under the guise of essentials and non-essentials.  Evangelicalism seduces with two truths.  The nasty reality, and a big one, is that evangelicalism is not telling two stories.  They are telling the same one as the world.  I'm not saying that people can't be saved in evangelicalism.  I am saying perhaps they can, despite evangelicalism, but those statistics aren't worth relinquishing the one story, the one truth.

In evangelicalism, you have your two truth leaders and your two truth enablers.  The leaders insist they just care too much for the lost.  They can't allow other things to stop them.  The God that people believe to be saved is the God of one truth.  His very definition is within the realm He exists, not one invented for easier acceptance.  The enablers just operate as if there are two realms.  They point out problems that exist because of two truths, still not willing to function according to one truth.

An example of a two truth leader is John Piper.  I see him especially now as an uneasy advocate.  His uneasiness was seen recently in his rejection of Christians watching an HBO series, Game of Thrones, known for its nudity.   Of course, I agree with John Piper on this (and this article by one of his associates).  I wrote the following about it:

Piper sees a problem.  Evangelicals do.  You can see it with their reaction to same-sex marriage.  They are rethinking their doctrinal statements, their covenants, and even their stands on separation.  But they don't have a biblical, defensible standard.  They don't offer a definition of modesty or nakedness.  Drawing the line at "nudity" isn't scriptural.  The Bible doesn't use the term.  If they were consistent, evangelicals should be angry or upset, because Piper is going beyond scripture with this standard, but we all knew evangelicals were being selective with this terminology.  It's not biblical, but convenient.  Piper can erect a barrier to prevent further moral erosion without tuning in to God's position.

It really isn't hard to be against nudity even in the world.  I've never seen it in public in my entire life.  I remember the streakers, when I was growing up, running on to public sporting events with no clothes.  They were running to stay away from secular authorities who attempted to capture and arrest them.  The line is drawn by Piper:  Christians wear clothes.  So do unbelievers.  Why talk about it all unless you're going to provide God's standard?

Most conservative evangelicals are at least enablers, who talk one truth but practice several.  This leads to their followers having two truths.  The realm of their existence allows for two, even if they say there is one.

The world proposed two truths.  Evangelicalism accepted the premise.  What about you?

1 comment:

Naysayer said...

I was going to post the link for public consumption, but realized that you were pretty vague about what you mean by two truths. The problem isn't that Evangelicals have two truths. It's that they believe their two truths are THE truth. They don't understand and think those that have standards are just mean-spirited, grumpy, and unhappy with their Christianity. Breaking down that wall is necessary to changing the situation.