For years I have been seeking terms to identify the enemy of the Christian faith in the modern world, since you cannot engage an enemy until you have clearly identified it. An enemy that describes itself or “frames the issues” will always wear camouflage, and will catch you in a catastrophic ambush.
Homosexual Kevin Jennings, the founder of Gay Lesbian and Straight Educational Network (GLESN), who is behind programs to teach homosexual techniques to children, has been appointed to the Department of Education in charge of “Safe Schools.” He links victory to framing the issue: “Finding the effective frame for your community…linked to universal values…is the key to victory” for the normalization of homosexuality.
Truth is framed by the social and religious Left as cutting–edge, late–breaking, progressive thinking for “freedom” and “equality.” Biblical notions are dismissed as “repressive,” “backward–looking,” “old–school.” The Los Angeles Times described the church’s support of Proposition 8, defining marriage as between a man and a woman, as “prejudice hiding behind piety.” President Obama believes that the foes of homosexuality are holding on to “worn arguments and old attitudes.”
In fact, everyone’s spirituality is old. In the yoga gyms in LA they go back to 6th century BC Buddha! Deep ecologists promote the worship of Nature found in ancient Native American spirituality.
Already, J. Gresham Machen, the great early twentieth century defender of Biblical orthodoxy in 1925, saw through this:
“Our enemy who prides itself in being very modern, is as old as the hills; and from the very beginning, the Christian Church has been menaced by…all–embracing paganism.”
Even further back, the brilliant theologian, Abraham Kuyper, Prime Minister of Holland, said in 1898, also at Princeton:
“The fundamental problem has always been, is still and always will be till the end, Christianity or Paganism, the idols or the living God.”
Indeed, the real issues are virtually timeless, “as old as the hills,” two ageless, contradictory ways of seeing reality. One constantly tries to cover itself in the false claim of newness, though among those in the know, it calls itself the Perennial [perpetual] Philosophy. The other is happy and proud to admit its age.
I have tried to come up with a “frame” to help Christians speak the truth of the Gospel with confidence and clarity in our culture and time.
I began with Christianity or Paganism, but people saw “pagan” as an insult. I then used the terms Theism (the biblical notion of the Creator/creature distinction) or Monism (the theory of All is One), but some complained that this was all too abstract and intimidating.
My final attempt is about as simple as it gets: One–ism or Two–ism. Everyone can count from one to two, and indeed my next book to appear this Spring, an application of Romans 1 for the Twenty–First Century, is entitled One or Two: Seeing a World of Difference. For 2000 years Romans 1:25 laid out One–ism and Two–ism right under our noses. Here Paul defines these two antithetical ways of thinking as “The Lie” (worshiping the creation, and believing that all is one) or “The Truth” (worshiping the Creator, and recognizing two distinct realities—God the Creator, and everything else, which is created.
These simple categories of One–ism and Two–ism indicate that truth is both much bigger than you could imagine, and far simpler than you have been told. In South America where I spoke, they now use “un–ismo” and “dos–ismo”; a missionary in Malaysia who heard me speak in Indonesia tells me they now use the terms in Malaysia; Mark Driscoll effectively used them in his debate with Deepak Chopra on national TV—and that is “the origin of a conference.”
Mark and I dreamed up a conference for June 17–18, 2010 in San Diego—Exchange Conference, that would apply these terms to various areas of Christian thinking and living—worship, law, education, sexuality, family, social justice, and Gospel preaching—in order to open the mouths of Christians to witness about Jesus without fear of intimidation.
If you want to learn more, come to “Exchange: The Truth & The Lie” this summer in San Diego and learn with many other Christians how to celebrate the beauty and the glory of biblical Two–ness. Let’s raise a banner to the honor of our transcendent, wholly other Lord who, in Jesus, came with unparalleled condescension into our created world to restore us to fellowship with Him.
Do you see it? This is not just theory. Without Two–ism you have no Gospel to preach.
PS. There are a few very large churches in our area who are keen to have their congregations attend, so if you want a seat, register now. I look forward to meeting you there!