I taught a Bible study last night on the subject of Renewing your Mind. Here are the notes in pdf form or from Scribd by clicking on the links below:
There was undoubtedly a strong prophetic anointing on the words of Malcolm Muggeridge—he perceived God’s perspective on the movements in society long before they were obvious to the majority. On a recent Ravi Zacharias podacst I heard him quoting these words of Muggeridge,
“So the final conclusion would surely be that whereas other civilizations have been brought down by attacks of barbarians from without, ours had the unique distinction of training its own destroyers at its own educational institutions, and then providing them with facilities for propagating their destructive ideology far and wide, all at the public expense. Thus did Western Man decide to abolish himself, creating his own boredom out of his own affluence, his own vulnerability out of his own strength, his own impotence out of his own erotomania, himself blowing the trumpet that brought the walls of his own city tumbling down, and having convinced himself that he was too numerous, labored with pill and scalpel and syringe to make himself fewer. Until at last, having educated himself into imbecility, and polluted and drugged himself into stupefaction, he keeled over–a weary, battered old brontosaurus–and became extinct.”
AW Tozer opens chapter 10 of his book, Delighted in God, by saying this,
The challenge before me is to describe that which cannot be described. When describing God, who is unlimited in every aspect, we are challenged by our human limitations. God makes the greatest demand on our intelligence and imagination and powers of reason, requiring us to pocture a mode of being that we are not familiar with, a mode of being wholly beyond ourselves, a mode of being unlike anything we have ever known.
Most Christians try to dumb down God, to make him more like us. Most sermons or teaching series do much the same. Maybe we are denuding God of his reality, maybe such words at worst might be considered heresy?
And what of us in the West? Are we showing that we too are prepared to follow Jesus and his authority at any cost? When an imperceptible bow would have saved Daniel’s three friends, they defied King Nebuchadnezzar’s idolatry at the threat of being burned alive. When simply closing a window and drawing his curtains could have saved Daniel himself, he chose to risk the lions rather than mute his allegiance to God. When a mere whiff of incense would have saved their lives, early Christians refused to acknowledge Caesar as lord rather than Jesus and were made human torches or the evening meal for wild animals. When it seemed quixotic to take on the emperor, the empress and all the empire, Athanasius took his stand for truth contra mundum (against the world) and was exiled five times for his faithfulness. When he was told he was arrogant or out of his mind to follow his conscience and defy the consensus of tradition, Martin Luther stood firm in the face of the fiery stake that had cremated Jan Hus before him. When his closest friends urged him to save himself for the important work of his future scholarship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer chose to reenter Hitler’s lair and ignore the looming specter of the gallows.
Bowing to the passions of modern society’s claims of authority is an easy option, “Be quiet and keep your head down.”
Yet for the genuine follower of Jesus Christ such a course is never an option. As a result the accusations of being both “arrogant” and “out of our minds” will come.
What about you?
This video might be old—well my daughters think anything that wasn’t made last week is old!—but it is right about one thing, just not the punchline.
A significant quote for your perusal:
Richard John Neuhaus died on January 8, 2009. He posited this idea,
“I’ll presume to call it Neuhaus’s Law: Where orthodoxy is optional, orthodoxy will sooner or later be proscribed.“
Undoubtedly we live in challenging times when much of what has been considered “true” and foundational for civilisation for centuries is now not only questioned but ridiculed. The consideration for believers is quite simple, “do you know what you believe, and do you know why you believe it?”
1 Corinthians 10:12, (NIV)
So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!