There is an ancient teaching called Gnosticism which has, throughout the centuries, constantly sought to wriggle itself into the life of the church. At its essence, the idea is that there is a fundamental division between the spiritual and the physical. The Gnostic believes that he is saved by the possession of special knowledge. The physical world however, along with the body, is fallen and beyond saving or repair.
Many variations of this idea have surfaced and resurfaced in the history of christianity, with each following version tending to be more and more subtle and sneaky. And our day is indeed no exception¹. But how can this be so?? Don’t we live in a day of peak theological growth? Before a false teaching even appears, we already have a good book published on the issue! We have hundreds of sermons, articles, websites and magazines being put out every week defending and defining the Gospel of Jesus!
This weekend I had the mighty privilege of visiting New St. Andrews College, located in the heart of the very progressive university town of Moscow, Idaho. Here, Doug Wilson and his band of classical christian thinkers wage a worldview war of sorts, raising the next generation of faithful christians that seek to live out all of Christ in all of life. The annual Wordsmithy Workshop is designed to do this precise thing in the context of thinking christians who want to write more and write better. It was quite the intellectual and spiritual feast and it set my thoughts and inspirations ablaze in a number of new directions.
The theme of the conference was the writing life of C. S. Lewis. We had the great privilege of having Micheal Ward (perhaps the foremost Lewis scholar on the planet) lead us in a deeper peek into the mind and work of this great and historic thinker. The following is my attempt at sharing some of the gold nuggets I take away from my time at NSA.
This week I am headed down to Moscow Idaho for the Wordsmithy writer’s workshop at New St. Andrews College. One of the homework assignments was to reflect on the influence of C. S. Lewis on my life so far.
To my great regret my personal acquaintance with the actual writings of C.S. Lewis are limited. Until now I have had the illusion that I knew him well because I have been surrounded by quotes and conversations about him all the time, I was well versed in him myself. Nevertheless, I do feel that the limited exposure to him that I have had has had a very important place in my growth as a christian and a thinker.
One of the greatest convictions that has gripped me over the past couple of years is the power and priority of writing, not just for “writers” but for all of us regular folk. Historically speaking there are a thousand reasons to put your thoughts and convictions to pen and paper. I have mentioned these before. As I have given this issue more indepth thought in the past few weeks from a distinctly christian perspective its significance shines all the brighter.
We live in a digital age. What that means in a large sense is that we live in an age of mass information. Our ability to produce, communicate and store information grows exponentially, as does our exposure to it. We live in a world that is teaming with voices, words and ideas.
I have the privilege of spending the week at Shepherds Conference. This is an annual gathering of leaders and pastors from all over the world to spend time in fellowship, learning and encouragement. This year is different however, because this years conference is built around the topic of the inerrancy of the Bible.
One of the repeated questions that keeps coming up in this conference is, “Why does this debate keep resurfacing? Didn’t we settle this years ago? Didn’t these objections get cleared up decades ago?”