November 13, 2003 Christian Integration of "Secular" Truth
Philippians 4:8 tells us "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things." The word "whatever" in this passage is not limited to a particular context. If it is true, we should dwell on it.
In the Christian university or in the trenches of battlefield faith, the quest for discerning "True Truth" attains. Integrity requires it. John 16:13 tells us 1"But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth"; indeed He has come, and we have the gift of the Spirit and the fruit of a sound mind to discern that which is true from creation, (what is normal from God's perspective) what has been corrupted by the fall, and the means to see it refined in the fires of redemption, whereby the word burns away the impurities.
I not only contend that Calvin was scripturally correct on this point, it is a driving force of my life. This attitude is not contingent upon being a scholar or a participant in Christian Higher education., it is a vital aspect of God's basileia on earth. If the truth sets us free, seeking or "hunting and gathering " the truth makes us liberators, and is a key vocation of agents of redemption in the Kingdom of God. Man's ability to apprehend and communicate Truth was fragmented by the fall. Men made in the image of God scratch and claw at these broken fragments of truth every day, and the history of the world is the history of man's failure to apprehend Truth. It is only by the Holy Spirit that we can hope to separate the wheat from the tares of the world's truth claims.
1 Thessalonians 5:21 tells us to test "everything". I do not believe it is beyond the purview of the context to exclude "anything", especially any word from the world that carries truth claims. II Corinthians 10:5 declares "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. "
All Christians are to be truth lovers and lie-haters. The attitude of a PhD student in our context then should be the attitude of all lovers of truth- to critically appropriate and joyfully glean the truth wherever its fragmented pieces may lie on the landscape of the human enterprise to the glory of God. We should measure discerningly how any truth claim has been corrupted by the fall, and how it might be redeemed in the light of Christ's Truth.
I would contend that this is a real extension of true confession and repentance. Confession is agreeing with God and repentance is changing our minds about sin- all that is not done in faith (Romans 14:23). This confession extends to all areas of our heart, soul, mind, and strength, which are all operating east of Eden. Whatever we proclaim and value as truth reflects upon God's glory, and if we devalue something that is true, we cast aspersions upon Grace. There is no need to debate whether this confession pertains only to moral issues, as in a moral universe, all truth claims carry a moral component.
We are to examine ourselves . 2 Corinthians 13:5 says "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith." This especially attains in regard to personality and developmental theory, which are so concerned with anthropology and which has at times been allowed to uncritically infiltrate the blood bought body of Christ.
Amos 5:15 commands us to "Hate evil, love good, And establish justice in the gate!" A separationist attitude attempts to set oneself apart from the world, the flesh, and the devil. In fact, we are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise- we have supernatural spiritual armor available that is intended to protect us parapedemoi (1 Peter 1:1) while we are about the hard work of establishing justice. It is the Spirit that makes us Holy, and self-separation from the context and cultural milieu the Lord has intentionally placed us in to be salt and light just makes no sense Biblically. Salt and light must perpetually come in vital contact with and penetrate impurity, decay, error, and darkness for its effects to take place consistently and as intended by our Lord.
Lifted up you reign in love
Lifted high over all the earth
High and Mighty One
Light of the World
Our eyes have seen the glory
Light of the World
Our darkness is now driven
Metaphors of Integration
Discern test, prove, refine, filter
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From the personal weblog of Anthony Foster @http://anthonyfoster.com/blog/