This week I recently had the privileged to meet up with one of my co-workers and discuss philosophy and theology. He–a brilliant friend with a masters degree in clinical psychology–is a post-modernist, who denies objective truth. Notwithstanding, he had some interesting insights that he shared whereof on I pressed and challenged him, which made for a highly interactive, substantive, and intellectually satisfying conversation (we talked for three hours!). Of all the topics we had the opportunity to discuss–metaphysical realism, post-modernism, natural theology, historical criticism, existentialism, positive arguments for theism, and the resurrection of Christ–there was a period of the conversation where I feel the veil was truly lifted, as he shared some personal convictions that went beyond his philosophical metaphysic.
“You know, one of the reasons I stopped going to church is that I interacted with all these people claiming to be “Christians” that were really just a–holes.”
In poignant reflection, I took a sigh and could only say one word to him: hypocrites.
What followed as a result was the process of sharing with him from memory one of Jesus’ parables; namely, the parable of the wheat and tares:
“Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field;but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared.
So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them.
Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”
Matthew 13:24-30 NKJV
As frustrating as it is to know that the Kingdom of Heaven (in this case, the physical church) contains both wheat and tares (that is to say, true regenerate Christians, and unregenerate hypocrites only claiming the name ‘Christ’), we can be confident that the Good Farmer knows what He is doing when He allows them to “both grow together until the harvest (parousia, Second Coming), when He finally separates the godly from the wicked (Matt 25:46, Jn 5:29, Acts 24:15; c.f. Dan 12:2).
What I shared next with him was concise as it was profound: “Always judge a philosophy by its logical outworking, not its deviations.”
Amazingly enough, I got to preach the Gospel in explicit detailed terms to him, covering everything from penal substitutionary atonement to imputed righteousness of Christ. Christians: these are the conversations we need to be having. Nevertheless, not only are Americans starving for true answers, but they are starving for true substance.
Let us always make sure to walk carefully in step with the Spirit of God, lest we be like the hypocrites, when our actions are inconsistent with our words. Saints: Pray for my co-worker–that the Spirit may quicken his understanding to the Truth.
Keep fighting the good fight.
“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Col 4:6