Friday, December 23, 2011

Pagans in the Keep

“Your best friend is turning to Buddhism; your young nephew is confused about his sexuality; your wife is learning new spiritual techniques from a spiritual guide; you are beginning to wonder if Christianity is too restrictive. If these and other such issues are a concern for you, your friends or loved ones, then this book is for you.”

So writes Dr. Peter Jones in the preface to his latest book entitled One or Two: Seeing a World of Difference (ISBN 978-0-9746895-2-4). Dr. Jones is well qualified to write this book, holding an MDiv from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, a ThM from Harvard Divinity School, and a PhD from Princeton Theological Seminary. He is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America, and Adjunct Professor of New Testament at Westminster Seminary California. Dr Jones formerly taught seminary for seventeen years in France, returning to the US in 1991. Along with his seminary work and writing ministry, Dr. Jones maintains a busy schedule as director of truthXchange (, a ministry devoted to researching, warning, and educating the church with regard to the growth of ancient paganism and how to conduct worldview evangelism.

The title of the book refers to the competing worldviews which Dr. Jones has named “One-ism” and “Two-ism.” “One-ism believes that ‘all is one’ and shares the same essential nature…everything is a piece of the divine. Two-ism believes that while all of creation shares a certain essence (everything apart from God is created), the Creator of nature, namely God, is a completely different being, whose will determines the nature and function of all created things” (17).

The book is divided into three sections each of which is organized around a different aspect of Rom. 1:18-32. Section One establishes the need for the church to hear Paul’s ancient words afresh – pointing out through numerous examples and supporting documentation the major inroads paganism has and is making into the culture, and consequently into the church. The militancy of the spiritual/political powers behind the rise of paganism have in many cases forced believers from public discourse and are succeeding in redefining true and acceptable “spirituality as a combination of social justice and mysticism” (13).

Dr. Jones writes that the two issues over which the church is being intimidated into silence are “Christian uniqueness” (basic theology) and “homosexuality” (basic anthropology – humans as male and female) (58). Among young Evangelicals a growing commitment to mystical experience and deeds of social justice are replacing the gospel’s claim that Jesus is the only way of salvation, and absent a Biblical worldview, many eighteen-to thirty-year-olds think homosexuality is a valid lifestyle.

Section Two of the book is by far the longest and is devoted to an exposition of Romans 1, with particular emphasis upon “The Lie” of paganism (Rom. 1:25). In this section Dr. Jones traces the outworking of that lie in three areas: First, the overturning of sane thinking by making nature its own creator. Second, the overturning of sane worship by the abandonment of the Creator God and the substitution of created images, and thirdly, the overturning of sane sexuality by the embrace of unnatural sodomy (80). Dr. Jones provides an interesting and insightful subsection on homosexuality, paganism and the new spirituality (173-183) – shedding light on the driving politicalization of the gay agenda both nationally and internationally.

In Section Three Dr. Jones deals with the application of the truths of Romans 1 for both individuals and the church at large, noting that it is only in the mystery of the god-man Jesus Christ that a Transcendent Creator and his creation meet. “The ultimate pagan declaration is “Man becomes God,” but the Christian declaration is: “God became man” (241). It is this message that has the power to transform sinners and has been the church’s answer to paganism for the past 2000 years. May God grant us the grace to live and speak to our world in light of this reality regardless of whether the message is welcomed or not.

If you read only one book in 2012 this may well be the most important you can select. The infiltration of ancient paganism into our culture and churches present us with a scenario that would be easily recognized by the NT Apostles. In the last century the threat to Biblical Christianity came from atheistic humanism. In this new century the threat is not secular but spiritual - the pantheistic spirituality characteristic of the "Age of Aquarius"

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the review Dave. This will be one on our "to read" list for the new year!