There is a new exodus coming upon us, not from physical slavery or even sin as so many of us think of it. This new exodus is from what I call Greek thinking.
Greek thinking is not very subtle, yet it is difficult to recognize in ourselves because of how predominant it is in our culture and because of how enslaved our minds and theology have become to its power. Please allow me to explain.
The ancient Greek pagan philosophers were obsessed with discovering new truths about the nature of reality and the self. A number of words in the english language today owe their origins to these philosophers, such as the Cynics and Sophists. Radical doubt and questioning of all things was what made the Socratic Method so controversial and fascinating for the ancient Athenians. Thousands of years later, Thomas Aquinas’ theology would be impacted by the writings of Greek philosophers and radical doubts that left only the mind to recognize the answers led René Descartes to conclude of his existence the famous quote, “I think, therefore, I am.” Logic, deductive reasoning and studious observation became the backbone of academic thought as they remain today.
God gave us all brains, and the use of logic, deductive reasoning and observation is simply the exercise of the brain as the tool He made for us. Greek thinking is the perspective that not only are these the only tools at our disposal, but that even if there are other tools for discovering the nature of our reality (say, divine revelation through Scripture, or spiritual experiences through which divine revelation is imparted), these other tools should be considered secondary to the mind. Greek thinking is, in effect, idolatry of the mind, tools of the mind and knowledge itself. An example of this is that reconciliation with God is no longer the goal of most sermons in the western world today, but the teaching of principles that have been deduced through reason and study.
Now even in saying this, many will immediately assume that I am saying that we should throw out our brains, logic, deductive reasoning and scientific observation and revert to essentially barbaric thinking and conditions. Not at all. The exodus that is upon the church today is from taking the mind, formulas, principles and “knowable things” as the objectives of highest importance and replacing them with God Himself as the objective of highest importance. Christianity is never and has never been about self-improvement or attaining items of knowledge or wisdom – it has been focused on reconciliation of people who are dead in sin to the Author of life.
If God really is who He says He is and He truly is the Author not only of life but time, the universe and all that we perceive and do not perceive, then He is the primary source of all knowledge. That being the case, our brains are built not simply for us to “know” things apart from God, but for us to use in our interaction with God through whom all knowledge can be known. When it comes to “spiritual things,” most of us within the church are comfortable with appealing to the Bible or prayer to get the answers, but what about deciding what clothing to wear today? Or the directions for driving from point A to point B? Well, obviously these things are not to be found specifically in the canon of Scripture.
Yet we see something in Scripture that should grab our attention: Many of the main characters seem to have active, conversational relationships with the Most High God. They dialogue with Him regularly, He listens to them and they receive direction, instruction, wisdom and even encouragement from Him. Jesus lived in a consistent dialogue with His Father and promised that we would do even greater things than He did.
In fact, the whole way sin entered into the world was through the disobedience of Adam, who when confronted with lies about God acted on what seemed to make sense to him rather than rely upon the revelation he received from God. Instead of letting God determine right and wrong, good and evil, he took it upon himself to determine right and wrong and good and evil apart from God. In this respect, Greek thinking is less Greek and more serpentine or even more properly satanic. I say this because whenever we begin to trust our own reason above or in contradiction to the instructions of God’s written word we open ourselves up not only to deception, but to sin and death.
We were created primarily for fellowship with God, and conversation is one of those ways we were meant to fellowship with Him. We can do this through reading His Word and talking with God about it. We can also do this through simply talking with God and recognizing that any response we feel we have received from Him, (be it through circumstance, audible voice or internal impression) we should test with Scripture to be sure that it is in fact God and not our flesh or a demonic influence of some kind.
I was once mentoring a young man who was struggling with his faith and I asked him if he had prayed and talked with God about some of his concerns. His response was that he didn’t want to “question God.” Yet Adam and Eve fell into sin in part because they were unwilling to call out to God in the moment of the serpent’s deceptive speech and ask God to clarify the truth. Instead, they believed the serpent’s character attack against God and so became enemies of God along with the serpent.
In many cases resulting from this, I have heard sermons and “spiritual principles” taught that not only contradicted the very Bible they claimed to be gleaned from, but which had more to do with what made sense to the intellect or emotions rather than came from the Spirit. Essentially then, this exodus that is coming upon us is not only from dead principles and teachings that we might have relied upon over God and His Word, but from self-deception in the name of intellectual, even “spiritual” wisdom and the approval of others.
God is calling us right now, not only to leave behind an over-reliance upon our own thoughts, judgements, comparisons and observations, but to cling to Him, abide in Him and rest in Him. This is an exciting call, because in this exodus from the works of the mind, we can enter into the place of rest for our souls. God Himself is that place of rest, and He is calling us to Himself.
Here’s a quick prayer you can pray to help you in your journey of trusting more in the Lord than in your mind:
“Father God, thank you for loving me and sending your Son to take the punishment I deserved on that cross. Thank you that despite all of the temptations thrown at Him by the enemy, He resisted temptation and conquered death. I ask, Father, that you would give me the mind of Christ, that my thoughts would always be towards you and in submission to you. I ask that your Word would not only find a home in me, but that my mouth would be guided by your Word and that my thoughts would be renewed by your Word as I read it today. Please teach me to discern between your voice and the voice of the enemy. Please teach me to recognize your truth and rest in you and seek your counsel rather than try to think my way through the challenges I face. You are the perfect shepherd, and I know that I shall never lack anything in your presence. I pray these things for your glory in Jesus’ name. Amen”
For the joy of our Salvation,