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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

This Is not How the World Works!

We need to help them see this.

The Folly of the Fool (6) 

“And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges.” Matthew 12.27

“God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands.” Acts 17.24

Jesus and the exorcists
Exorcists were recognized members of the community of religious leaders in Jesus’ day. Because of God’s love for the afflicted, He granted power, even to those with faulty and incomplete views of the truth, to relieve the suffering of the last, the lost, and the least. Where demons were being tossed out, the grace and power of God were at work.

Until, that is, Jesus came along casting out demons. Then, suddenly, the power of grace the religious leaders had always admired in their peers became a power of the devil.

The religious leaders of the day charged Jesus with being in league with the devil; that was their explanation for why He was able to cast out demons. We looked at Jesus’ first line of response in our previous installment: It’s not reasonable, Jesus explained, for Satan to destroy his own kingdom.

Jesus’ second line of response, which we examined briefly, was to point out the utter incongruence of their claims with the facts everyone knew to be true. The religious leaders accorded divine power to their colleagues who cast out demons; how could they then argue that Jesus’ power was not the same? And if they charged Him with serving the devil, what did that suggest about their own exorcists?

Paul did something similar in Athens. The philosophers in his audience acknowledged the greatness and power of the “unknown god”. How could they possibly imagine that a god so great and powerful would live cooped up in kiosks and temples made by men? That made no more sense than the bogus accusations the religious leaders made concerning Jesus.

Lack of explanatory power
Wrong-believing worldviews simply cannot explain the way things are in the world. They end up stumbling over their statements, contradicting their claims, and backtracking over their boasts.

Oh, they make a good stab at it, to be sure, an effort which, when not very carefully examined seems almost plausible. However, they simply overlook a good many facts and criteria, and they freely assert others – certain of which they have borrowed from the Christian worldview – that make their story hold together, but which do not derive from and aren’t supported by their own position.

For example, when a postmodernist insists that there is no truth, all values are relative, and every person needs to be free, within his own community, to decide what’s right for him, we might like to ask: “Would you apply that reasoning to driving your car, ordering a meal, crossing a road in traffic, or going to the doctor?” In such everyday situations the postmodernist cannot live out the tenets of his worldview; instead, he must defer to a worldview that insists this is an orderly universe, there are laws to obey, we are responsible for one another’s wellbeing, and there is such a thing as trust – precisely as the Christian worldview teaches.

The postmodernist’s faulty reasoning – his folly – demonstrates the sound reason of the Christian worldview.

Or when the evolutionist argues that chance is the ultimate determiner of who we are and how we got here: We might remind our friend that chance is unknowable, unpredictable, and uncontainable, and then point out that the world, with all its physical laws and widely-agreed-on moral values (concerning stealing, lying, murder, etc. – what Lewis referred to as the Tao), doesn’t support the claim that chance governs and determines everything. Again, the evolutionist must borrow from beyond his worldview to make his worldview make sense. In the process, once again, he validates the Christian view of how the world works.

Or when the materialist insists that money, fun, and things are all that matter in life, we might like to query him concerning whether this is how he would be happy for his wife and closest friends to regard him – as merely a means to their material happiness, a thing to be used and used up, then cast aside as they saw fit? And we might also point out, from observations we have made in his own life, that he seems to believe there are more valuable things than stuff, such as peace of mind, love, contentment, and security from fear.

Wrong-belief just doesn’t work
The fact is, wrong-belief just doesn’t work; it doesn’t explain the world or the way people live. Because it turns from God, Who alone is true, its only option is to land on the lie in one form or another, pockets stuffed with smuggled cash from the Biblical worldview as they go.

We will want to help our friends see that they can only make their worldview make sense when they deny their own unexamined assumptions and borrow from truths explained only within the framework of a Christian worldview, as Jesus did with His detractors and Paul with his philosopher audience. Our God regards the lies and half-truths of wrong-believing worldviews as deadly arrows, which they shoot into the world to create fear and promote wickedness (Ps. 64.2-6). But God has “arrows” of His own – His Word, wielded by His faithful people. And that Word, faithfully proclaimed and reasonably explained, can leave those who prefer lies to God’s truth with nothing more to say:

But God shall shoot at them with an arrow;
Suddenly they shall be wounded.
So He will make them stumble over their own tongue;
All who see them shall flee away.
All men shall fear,
And shall declare the work of God;
For they shall wisely consider His doing (Ps. 64.7-9)

It’s reasonable and loving to help people face up to the inconsistencies and incongruencies of what they claim to believe about life. And, at the same time, it’s reasonable to point them away from their folly to truth as we know it in Jesus Christ. Because the world only works as it should when it works according to the one true God.

For reflection
1. Why are wrong-believing worldviews unable to explain the way the world works?

2. If we as believers in Jesus remain silent before wrong-believing worldviews, what’s likely to happen?

3. How can you prepare to help wrong-believing friends see the shortcomings of their views?

Next steps - Demonstration: Suppose someone says, “Well, science is the answer to everything. Science shows us the way to the good life.” How might you answer such a statement? Can you cite any evidence suggesting science might be as much a problem as a boon? What does science need to keep its more destructive tendencies in check? Where can that come from?

T. M. Moore

You can download this and all the studies in this series, “Let God Be True,” by clicking here. For a series of discussions on improving your conversational skills, begin here in our Personal Mission Field Workshop to learn the art of Christian conversation.

A companion book to this study, Understanding the Times, is available at our bookstore. Learn more about this book and order a free copy by clicking here. Our booklet, The Gospel of the Kingdom, can help ready you to proclaim the Good News. Order your free copy by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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