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Brainwashing: Cleaning our Thinking

I write a weekly newsletter to the men at church…here is last week’s

Landon Gilkey wrote: “Whether he wishes it or not, man must pattern his life according to some chosen ultimate end, must center his life on some chosen ultimate loyalty, and must commit his security to some trusted power. Man…inevitably roots his life in something ultimate.”

G.K. Chesterton wrote: “For a landlady considering a lodger, it is important to know his income, but still more important to know his philosophy.

It has been my experience that most people never intentionally frame their worldview, or build and develop a personal philosophy of life and living. Everyone has one, but mostly we have one by default. It has just happened. The result is what we call “syncretism.” Syncretism is the combination of differing beliefs and practices in religion, philosophy etc. It is closely related and has its roots in what we call pluralism, which culturally is the existence of many cultures within one nation, but philosophically is the idea that reality is composed of a multiplicity of ultimate beings, principles or substances. This pluralism has impacted what “our culture” in is all about, and has certainly impacted our “philosophy” and “world view.”

Here is what D.A. Carson says about the effects of pluralism on pop-culture and subsequently the church:

“…the harsh reality is that most Americans, including most of those in our churches, have been so shaped by the popular culture that no thoughtful preacher can afford to ignore the impact. The combination of music and visual presentation, often highly suggestive, is no longer novel. Casual sexual liaisons are everywhere, not least in many of our churches, often with little shame. “Get even” is a common dramatic theme. Strength is commonly confused with lawless brutality. Most advertising titillates our sin of covetousness. This is the air we breathe; this is our culture.”

So what is your philosophy? Have you limped into it, or have you intentionally framed your mind to match the mind of Christ? Do you think like Christ thinks? Are you intentional about what runs through your mind?

Here is an assignment.

Write down, uncensored, every thought that comes into your mind. Don’t edit, don’t soften; simply record your every thought (I am not going to ask you to show it to anyone). I realize the immensity of this assignment. But if you are interested in making a difference in your mind and life, this is a critical step. Many of us who have learned this principle now regularly itemize and challenge our random thoughts. I cannot emphasize enough how important “uncensored” is in this task.

Take your list and categorize your thoughts, put them into common categories. You will have a money page, a work page, a sex page, a family page, a wife page, a self page, a God page, a church page, a desires page, etc.

Evaluate your lists. Are the ideas on the list true? Are the ideas on the list honorable? Are the ideas right? Are they pure? Are they lovely? Are they of good repute? Are they excellent? Are they worthy of praise? Mark each entry accordingly and then systematically address the thought or idea, seeking for a new and godly ideal.

If they don’t measure up your task is to REPENT and RENEW. Repent means to get rid of, renew means to replace. Get rid of any thoughts or ideas or values that need are false and destructive. You do that by identifying them as false and destructive, and rejecting them. Renewal is asking, what is the godly and Biblical replacement? You may need help in this regard. This is where fellowship comes in. Imagine Bible study when we are actually doing this and helping one another discover the mind of Christ and actively shaping our minds to match his! Sometimes this is not a black and white process, sometimes it is fine tuning, not junking and replacing. Nonetheless, it is always hard work.

Affirm the truth. This happens in worship, study and proclamation. It then ekes out into behavior. It leads to what the Bible calls transformation (See Romans 12:1-2).

We must be intentional about our philosophy. We cannot simply give in to culture. We need to have the mind of Christ.

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).

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