EVERY THOUGHT CAPTIVE: DISCIPLESHIP (BATTLE) Of  The Mind

 

II Corinthians 10.2ff; I John 2.18-19; I John 5.4-12

 

            Introduction: Anti-Christs in all ages are opponents, adversaries, and/or ones which seek to displace/replace Christ as Lord and Savior. The battle for the Christian mind (Romans 12: 1ff) has been raging since the trial and crucifixion of Jesus. After the Church's victory during the reign of the Roman Empire (Edict of Milan) the Christian perspective controlled European culture. The Christian world-view dominated ever perimeter of reality from physics to art until the First Scientific Revolution (Galileo/Newton). What classically was called Western Christian civilization is now completely secularized. The Christian mind was surrendered to naturalistic, secularistic humanism. There is no longer a Christian mind.

 

It is commonplace that the mind of modern man has been secularized. It has been deprived of any orientation Cowards the supernatural.  It would not be so . . .tragic had the Christian mind held out against the secular drift. But unfortunately the Christian mind has succumbed to the secular drift with a degree of weakness and nervelessness unmatched in Christian history.  It is difficult to do justice in words to the complete loss of intellectual morale in the 21st  century Church. One cannot characterize it without having recourse to language which will sound hysterical and melodramatic. (Harry Blamires, The Christian Mind (NY: Seabury Press, 1973), p. 3.)

 

            What is the ‘World’ as described in the New Testament? (1) Cosmos is used 78 times in Jn; 22 times in I Jn; 1 time in II Jn; 3 times in Revelation; 46 times in Paul; 15 times in the Synoptics; 5 each in Heb, Jas; 2 times in I Pet; and 1 time in Acts.  (2) Cosmos - as universe, the sum of all created being, i.e. Finite and Transitory. (3) Cosmos as system - divided into ge and ouranos - egs Gal 4.3; Col 2.8,20. (4) Cosmos - as abode of men, inhabited world, the theater of history, Rom 1.18f. (5) Cosmos - as Humanity, Fallen Creation, Theater of Salvation. Matt 28.16f; Lk 1.10; Matt 26. 13; I Cor 1. 17f; I Cor 4. 13; Heb 11. 7,38. (6) Cosmos - a ion outos, Rom 3. 19; Eph 2.2. (7) When Cosmos is redeemed it ceases to be cosmos. Cosmos is never used in the N.T. of the future - consummated Kingdom of God, i.e. New Heavens and New Earth. (8) Cosmos - Jn 1.1-18; 8.12; 9.5; 3.17;10.36; 17.18; I Jn 4.9.  (9) Cosmos, Anti-Christ and Christ - I Jn 4.3 Salvation entails a conflict between Christ and the cosmos or ponros who rules it - Jn 16.33. (10) Christ and the Cosmos - The Ultimate Battle - II Cor 10.2-3 - ‘Every thought captive’.

 

            Confronting the World! Ways of relating to the cosmos: (1) Parallel, (2) Withdraw, (3) Identify With and (4) Creative Confrontation.  In order to do the latter we must identify the control assumptions of The Christian Mind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are 5 marks of the Christian Mind:

 

I.  The mind affirms that reality is from beyond the galaxies: Transcendent/supernaturalism.

 

The prime mark of the Christian mind is that it cultivates the eternal perspective. It is supernaturally oriented.

 

a. Reality is not limited to Time/Space/Matter.

b. Purpose of all reality is ultimately God's, not man’s.

c. Meaning to reality is grounded in the purpose of our creator God, not humanly devised meaning structures (eg. Kafka's, The Trial and The Castle)

 

II.  Christian Mind is aware that the universe is a conscious battle ground between good and evil

 

a. Evil is as personal as is good.

b. Evil is not reducible to Socio-Economic-Biological factors.

c. Evil is not removable by science, technology, or education.

d. Evil cannot not be irradicated by man.

 

III. Christian Mind affirms universal truth:

 

a. Church is "ground and pillar" of the truth.

b. Christ is the personification of truth "I am the truth."

c. Gospel of Lordship of Christ is the organizing center of all parameters of truth, i.e., no parameter is autonomous (science/math, etc.) d. Orders truth, meaning, significance/relevance.

 

IV. Christian Mind acknowledges the Authority of God

 

a. Scientific Method, truth and authority (R. C.Church, Galileo).

b. Authority crisis in every cultural Institution;   eg. government, education, law enforcement, etc.

 

V. Christian Mind cares for the person:

 

a. Tension between human value and technological ef-ficiency.

b. Naturalistic, secularistic humanism and the value of a person.

c. The Great Scientific Reduction - demise of the individual.

d.  Both radical individualism and collectivism will destroy the individual. e. Only the Gospel can sustain the worth of the human person.

 

Conclusion:

 

The time has come at which Christians must take the initiative in order to avoid being outmaneuvered. What is demanded of us by the voice of the Church, if properly understood, is likewise dictated by tactical and prudential considerations.  In short, it is better to define, establish, and nourish a Christian mind in freedom now, as a positive last effort to bring light and hope to our culture and our civilization, than to have to try to gather together the miserable fragments of Christian consciousness after triumphant secularism has finally bulldozed its way through the Church as a body of thinking men and women. (Harry Blamires, The Christian Mind (NY: Seabury Press, 1963), p. 181.)

 

 

Dr. James D. Strauss

World-View Studies

Philosophy/Theology

Lincoln Christian Seminary