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The Challenging of Worldviews August 13, 2007

Posted by Joe in Scripture Meditation.
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Lar,

I was reading Jeremiah 38 at some point last week and was forced to think through the response of the Israelites to Jeremiah’s difficult words concerning the destruction of Jerusalem. What struck me was the way in which the Israelites had no intellectual framework with which to deal with Jeremiah’s words and thus, rejected them. What follows is my journal entry. I could clean it up, but I think it is better just to put it out there for some discussion (if you wish).

Jeremiah was clear enough in all his words. In fact, he could not have been clearer probably. Yet the king and the people still refused to listen. Of course, there may have been some who surrendered and had their lives spared, but on the whole, the people had no framework to embrace Jeremiah’s words. They could not imagine Jerusalem being taken and burned. They had forgotten the Lord’s clear covenant. Surely they underestimated their own wickedness–as we all do. But they also failed to think through Jeremiah’s words and allow those words to challenge their own limited worldview.

If the Lord loves us–and if we love the Lord–our thinking is bound to be stretched. We are so limited in our thoughts. All of us are prone to believing that we have everything figured out. Particularly when we get ahold of some good theological truth, we are apt to think that we have all the answers. But this is not the case. We are still limited. Maybe not as limited as we were before, but we are limited nonetheless. Our intellectual frameworks must be challenged or else we will remain limited in our thinking and living. In fact, our intellectual frameworks are consistently challenge, but we often resist change and refuse to think through things, because they are uncomfortable to us. Arrogance feeds off ignorance. So we are very prone to fiercely hold onto our intellectual frameworks. It’s a work of pride, a work of deception. We think we are standing for the truth, when in fact, we are standing for our own ignorance and arrogance. We are allowing our pride to stand in the way of greater learning and greater joy.

If we are not being challenged in fresh ways intellectually, we are probably both ignorant and arrogant (For the two go hand in hand). So, in my opinion, we ought to continually pursue intellectual enlargement. We need to be challenged. Our worldviews continually need to take greater shape and grow in depth. We are desperate for this. The world is desperate for this.

Few things are more frustrating to me than Christians who reach a certain point of intellectual growth and in turn, refuse to dive deeper or to pursue greater growth. The reason why? An arrogance that feeds off a certain degree of ignorance (and we all vary in this respect). And this resistance certainly leads to greater ignorance and arrogance. And isn’t this a great turnoff to the world? I think it can be said that if our thinking is not being stretched, then we are not thinking clearly. At the very least, we are not thinking Bible.

The people in Jeremiah’s day refused to deal with his words because they did not fit into their present worldview. But look what happened to them….they were destroyed. They embraced ignorance in order to remain arrogant and consequently, ended up resisting God. Let us be wise enough not to do the same.

Seeking to be stretched,
Joe

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