Summary: A commentary in response to the April 28, 2014, cover story of Time Magazine titled "Finding God in the Dark". Christians should be questioning and responding to the emerging secularization of society which is being confused with spiritual growth.
“Corn Doesn’t Grow In The Darkness” May 17, 2014 I Peter 2:9
It is true that Christian denominations and individuals within the various denominations grow or evolve. Christianity has been evolving for two thousand years. True growth is, however, toward the light, evolution always toward Christ and toward biblical Christianity, not away from it.
I guess that today will be the second sermon in which I react to a recent issue of Time Magazine. The cover story of the April 28 issue titled “Finding God in the Dark” celebrates the work of Barbara Brown Taylor with the lead in line, “Darkness is often treated as evil, a vast unknown and the ultimate spiritual enemy. But as Barbara Brown Taylor believes, it may save us all.” The following week’s issue lists her as one of the 100 most influential people of the year. This is quite sad because this woman is preaching nonsense. There is no way that darkness will save anyone. The Apostle Paul preaches that as Christians we are called out of darkness, a metaphor for ignorance, corruption and sin, into God’s marvelous light. This is the true gospel. And I’m quite sure that if the editors of Time Magazine understood, if more of today’s church leaders understood this, Ms. Taylor would not be among the most influential people of the year. But this, of course, is typical of the misconception held by people who think they are evolving when in fact they are devolving.
Our Epistle lesson for today calls us to be God’s People in this present world! It calls us to stick out, to make a statement, to live with reckless abandon. It calls us to rebuke the status quo, to be abnormal and to define our lives, not be the standard of the culture in which we are immersed, but to hold to a Higher Standard, that which will please our Father in Heaven. Jesus says we are people who must radiate his light in a dark word.
In contrast, Time Magazine, representative of the fog of today’s culture, comments summarizes Taylor’s message as follows: “Most of the world’s major religions have something helpful to say about finding God in the shadows. Buddha meditated in the caves of northern India. Muhammad received the Koran in a cave outside Mecca. St. Francis prayed in a tiny grotto near Assisi. Darkness is inviting everyone in to know God, to heal us of our weaknesses and strengthen us for the journey.”
While I appreciate spiritual retreat as much as anyone, I don’t for a second think that strength, purpose and true faith are found in the shadows. That’s simply ridiculous. For such an idea to have any credibility at all is an indication of just how ignorant the average American has become regarding the light conveyed to us in the teachings of the Bible opened to us through the illumination of the Holy Spirit.
The Bible teaches that Jesus calls us to be visible in a world of darkness. We are to radiate light in the midst of a darkened world. It was God who called forth the light and light entered creation. But in creating physical light, He was not done. Spiritual light was to be brought into the world as well. Jesus is that light! In the Gospel of John 1:1-9 we read: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.”
Later in John 8:12, Jesus Testifies, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
The Apostle Paul combines the two understanding of the origination of light and Jesus being the light of the world when he writes in 2 Cor. 4:6, “For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness, made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”
SPIRITUAL LIGHT HAS COME INTO THE WORLD THROUGH THE WORK OF GOD, AND IT IS THROUGH CHRIST JESUS THE LORD THAT WE SEE THE LIGHT REVEALED! This light is good, and it is through this light that we are saved. To denigrate this, or to twist this, is to denigrate and twist the teachings of the Bible. One cannot grow into the likeness by retreating into the darkness. Anyone advocating such a thing is, at best, confusing the rest of evening with the growth of mid-day, and more likely simply hostile to the gospel of Jesus Christ. We may need rest and respite before we exercise and grow again, but the light is essential to growth.