The Steps To Disaster
On the bookshelf behind me is a volume I return to time and time again. ‘The consequences of ideas’ by R.C. Sproul, is in many ways a depressing read. Starting with the Ancient Greek philosophers such as Pythagoras, Plato and Aristotle, he works his way through Descartes, Locke, Hume and Marx, and culminates with Nietzsche, Darwin and Freud. With such an infamous bunch–which gets increasingly worse as you progress–you might wonder why I return to it. The answer is simple: these men shaped the culture of the world in which we live, and therefore their influence is pervasive and obvious. Since the bible commands me not to be ‘conformed to the image of the world’ (Rom. 12:1) I want to know what that image is, and a regular refresher written from a christian perspective is more than useful.
The power of ideas fascinates me. Ideas that only a decade ago were taboo, are now on the statute book. How did this happen? Someone with a brain, and the ability to delude, wrote a book, or started a ‘cause,’ or lobbied a politician, or wrote a seemingly harmless but influential sitcom, and as a result they changed the minds of millions, if not billions of people.
From a marketing perspective, they should be applauded. But from a biblical perspective they should be denounced for what they are: anti-God, anti-truth, and anti-christian.
Paul was well aware of the consequence of ideas when he wrote to the Colossians. At four points in chapter 2 he warns the believers about the progressive danger of believing something other than the truth.
He begins in verse 2-3 by reminding them that ‘all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge’ are found in Christ, and that he has told them this ‘lest any man should beguile (delude) you with enticing words’ (v4). This is how it starts: the first lie is told and believed, and the mind is lost. Once the mind has been lost the battle has been won–it is merely a matter of time until everything else follows.
Next he warns; ‘beware lest any man spoil (enslave or dominate) you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men’ (v8). Once the mind has been lost an empty void is available for the world to pour in its philosophy to justify its axioms. Unfortunately, christian history is littered with theologians who have changed their mind once the world has changed its. Paul warns against this, and says that once this has happened you have been dominated.
In verse 16 he moves on to say: ‘let no man judge you (dictate to you).’ The context is strictly legalism in the church, but the principle holds true: once the mind has been lost, and deceitful philosophy has been poured in, the world now dictates the terms. You are no longer ruled by the power of God through the Holy Spirit. You have ceded your mind and control to another.
Finally, he says; ‘Let no man beguile (deprive or defraud) you of your reward’ (v18). This is where it ends, and how sad an end it is: defrauded of a reward that would be rightfully ours, had we not handed over control of our mind–probably unwittingly–in the first place.
Dear believer, your mind is a battleground. Guard it closely. Watch for that first delusion, and you will be protected from domination, dictation and ultimately deprivation.
Mervyn Hall and his wife are in fellowship in the assembly that meets in Hebron Gospel Hall in Bicester (UK) and is employed as a business consultant to the Healthcare industry.