Then a herald cried aloud: “To you it is commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, that at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, you shall fall down and worship the gold image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up; (Daniel 3:4-5).
Perhaps the above could be better interpreted as “ to all who hear the daily drumbeat of news coming forth from the world’s main stream media; hear what we say and be sure to conform if you know what’s good for you”. And so, another daily feed of talking points have been passed along and life goes on towards an-ever concerning future. Is it just me or are we slowly being stripped of our ability to reason and critically assess daily events from a balanced and well-rounded flow of information?
Back in the year 2006 when I was involved in helping to establish a new model of Bible School, two proposed courses caught my attention. The first was entitled “Critical Thinking in Leadership” followed by another course that was named “Let my People Think”. To be honest I was a bit sceptical of these courses for a Bible School, especially the second one, but over time I realized just how vital the art of Critical Thinking really is.
What is Critical Thinking? Simply, it can be defined as the impartial analysis and observation of a particular topic that can lead to an inferred conclusion. This is possible when all information is made available without the suppression of potential facts or elements of truth. Is this what we see or are we witnessing a controlling narrative that cleverly prevents truth from being revealed.
What is happening here? Are people not trustworthy enough to be exposed to differing opinions so that a reasonable judgement can be ascertained? True, there are many messages competing for man’s attention but who are the ultimate arbiters and gatekeepers of truth? A person or corporate entity should never feel threatened when truth is being pursued. The danger, as I see it, is we are increasingly being told what to think as opposed to having the ability to think for ourselves.
A message of conformity is nothing new seeing its origins date back to the days of Babel.
Now the whole earth had one language and one speech (Genesis 11:1).
Nimrod, the founder of Babel was a charismatic leader who had an ability to gather people to himself (Genesis 10:9-10). His method of messaging and its success was more than just natural charisma. In fact, the same spirit seen operating in Nimrod will be seen in the last days when the man of sin is revealed. What is seen at Babel is playing out right before our eyes today.
How is it possible for so many people to come under the spell of such a leader in defiance to God? I would like to raise a few points that may help give traction to this message.
1. The Gift of “Critical Thinking”
One of the most precious gifts God has given to man is the ability to Think. Contemplative thought opens a world of ideas, pursuits and understanding. God is honoured when we ponder over His creation. He is further honoured when we think and ponder over His Written Word. The Bereans well understood this truth; they did not take what they heard at face value, they searched it out to see if what was being taught was really true.
Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so (Acts 17:10-11).
The Bereans were Critical Thinkers. Truth invites inspection; it has no fear of having to be suppressed or redefined by social gatekeepers. The Babylonian narrative of worldwide conformity has never seen the likes of what is playing out before us today. It is one thing for the world to fall into this trap but is it possible to be affecting the church as well? Jesus, when challenged on the social and religious issues of His day, would often go back to the beginning to establish and define His doctrine. Shall we attempt to do the same?
2. What was Adam Thinking?
We know that the serpent was able to target Eve and get her to come under his spell as he flashed the seductive fruits of the forbidden tree before her (Genesis 3:5-6). Eve exercised a bit of Critical Thinking after the serpents first attempt to separate her from God regarding the tree (Genesis 3:2-3). His talking points of a “loving God” never condemning one to death (Genesis 3:4) coupled in his ability to redefine Truth and God proved to much for her soul. That particular talking point continues to be a potent weapon in the arsenal of Satan.
The matter escalated when Adam knowingly went along with the transgression. Think about this for a moment! Adam knew God, he walked with God and had intimate fellowship with God. How could he possibly violate what he knew to be a commandment that God had established directly to him (Genesis 2:16-17). Where was his Critical Thinking hat? Where was his pursuit and reflection upon TRUTH? Is it a stretch to suggest that Satan cast a potent spell upon both Adam and Eve? He speaks with a mixture of truth that makes allowance for the soul and emotions to be stirred at the expense of the discerning “spirit man”. It is here where the Word of God can be refashioned and expressed into a new form of religion.
Over time such adherents will easily fall in line with the Nimrod’s, the Heralds’ as well as the end-time man of sin (Gen 10:9-10, Daniel 3:4-6, Revelation 13:14-18).
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).
What happened immediately after Adam’s disobedience? Adam and Eve sought to cover-up their transgression in addition to suppressing the Truth as God came into their midst (Genesis 3:7-8). My friends, I feel we are in a season where God is approaching His people and His church in an attempt to bring a WAKE-UP CALL TO TRUTH! Do not underestimate our adversary’s ability to lull God’s people into a state of complacency. He does it subtly and convincingly resulting in the potential for a Christian mode of sleep-walking.
3. Beware of the Enchanted Ground
I would like to refer to an account from John Bunyan’s classic entitled Pilgrim’s Progress. Christian, the main character and his companion Hopeful are well into their journey unto their destination toward the Celestial City. A group of Shepherds whose names are Knowledge, Experience, Watchful and Sincere exhort the pilgrims to beware of the Enchanted Ground which lies just before their final destination.
What happens to our two travellers when they encounter this forewarned territory? They are overcome with drowsiness, a longing to just lay down and sleep. It needs to be noted that this event takes place just before they reach their destination. It’s a sleep that may result in an inability to again WAKEUP. Hopeful, Christian’s companion, quoted scripture concerning how sleep is pleasant to man (Ecclesiastes 5:12). Can you see the danger here? This scripture is true but in this situation is not properly applied.
Does Critical Thinking Still Exist? It’s time for all of us to wake up from the worldwide spell and veil that has been cast over the nations. God created mankind with the ability to reason and think critically so that informed decisions can be made. Ask yourself one important question! Why is there such a worldwide crackdown on alternative viewpoints? The Truth only poses a threat to those who have something to hide.
The ability to Think Critically (Biblically) allows for a “bigger picture” to come into view. It aids in bringing us out of the trappings and seduction of circumstantial talking points that lulls one into a state of complacency (Enchanted Ground). If people and nations continue down this road the end result will be conformity and compliance. Today’s church must not fall into the trappings of the Enchanted Ground.
4. The Gethsemane “Enchanted Ground”
Jesus in His hour of need in Gethsemane was able to press through; He was vigilant and in direct communication with his Father. The disciples, though well intended, were sleeping.
When He rose up from prayer, and had come to His disciples, He found them sleeping from sorrow. Then He said to them, “Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation” (Luke 22:45-46).
These moments must be discerned due to the spiritual activity that is taking place. The disciples at this juncture could not comprehend the scope of the battle taking place before them. Jesus was about to fulfil the task appointed Him by the Father from the foundations of the world (Revelation 13:8).The Son of Man was about to become sin; His will was being challenged as He was about to establish His Father’s will on earth as it was decreed in heaven (Luke 22:42). Satan and hell were gathered there against Him. Jesus discerned the moment while the disciples were asleep in Gethsemane’s Enchanted Ground. Are we discerning our moment of destiny?
5. The Herald and Today’s Media
A quick comment on today’s mainstream media. Their supposed function as journalists is to provide facts and information from all sides so that people can make reasoned judgements. Today’s worldwide media serve more as propagandists, trumpeting a Nimrodic type message of conformity to a global audience. All one has to do is to track the daily drumbeat of “talking points” to understand this deep concern.
And He will destroy on this mountain The surface of the covering cast over all people, And the veil that is spread over all nations (Isaiah 25:7).
Friends, we are living in the last days. The conflict of the Ages is upon us; are we discerning it, are we positioning ourselves accordingly with the “big picture” in mind? Contrarily, are we falling into the trappings of the daily drumbeats of conformity, not properly discerning the reality of our surroundings. What should be our response?
The three friends of Daniel employed Critical Thinking skills as they stood firm against the message of conformity that everyone else submitted to. They knew their God and they were alert to the reality of their situation (Daniel 3:16-19). The qualities that defined Daniel and his three friends are the very same qualities required today. They forsook the trappings of Babylon while pursuing after God in prayer and fasting (Daniel 1:8, 12-15). What was the result?
And in all matters of wisdom and understanding about which the king examined them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers who were in all his realm (Daniel 1:20).
Daniel and his friends were non-conformists; they had the ability to anchor their conduct to Truth as opposed to a narrative that captured the attention of the majority. These qualities enabled them to stand out among their peers in a defining moment of Biblical history.
Wisdom and knowledge will be the stability of your times, And the strength of salvation; The fear of the LORD is His treasure (Isaiah 33:6).
Regarding the Enchanted Ground, Christian properly discerned his environment by calling to mind the warning of the Four Shepherds mentioned above (Knowledge, Experience, Watchful and Sincere). How did they get through their challenge? They began to speak of the good things of God. They reflected on what was taking place. They employed Critical Thinking skills to see beyond the here and now of their circumstances. Jesus, as the Son of Man, was successful throughout his earthly sojourn by feasting daily upon the milk and honey of God’s Word.
Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good (Isaiah 7:15).
Today’s herald (Daniel 3:4) is again trumpeting its globalist message of conformity and compliance. What do you think will be one of the next talking points that will warm the globe of hysteria? Get ready, it’s coming! How will we respond? For us as Christians, it’s important to discern the change of seasons as it relates to the Spirit. May the Lord help us to be like Daniel and his three friends; to be like Christian and Hopeful and of course the Lord Himself. The church must stand out as a pillar of wisdom and guidance. It is time to start Thinking Critically and Biblically.
Perhaps that silly old bear has been virtual signalling us all along. As for me, I will retreat to the 100-acre woods and continue to ponder (Critical Thinking) and Feast upon God’s Word and His glorious ways. We are in a Season of a Great Awakening!
But I would feed you with the finest of the wheat, And with honey from the rock I would satisfy you (Psalm 81:16).