7 Global Shifts: The Epistemological Crisis

SCRIPTURE

Matthew 16:18 “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

DEVOTION

Over this week’s devotions, contributed by Thir.st, we will be looking at seven global shifts which have been ushered in, or accelerated, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We will be bringing them to the Lord in conversation and prayer.

Dear friend, as we read through them, let us ask God what He wants to show us through them. Let us ask Him how it is that He wants us to be praying about them and getting involved with them to bring His kingdom to this world.

Let’s jump right in!

‘In the midst of all the chaos that was the past two years, it’s easy to miss the forest for the trees.

Dare we ask: what’s the bigger picture, the grander narrative, God’s Kingdom plan in light of the changes that COVID-19 has wrought upon the world?

Thankfully, the recent 60th anniversary conference of the Evangelical Free Church of Singapore (EFCS) invited just the right guy to answer these questions.

Meet Jason Mandryk, one of the co-authors of Operation World which is seen by many as the definitive global prayer handbook.

Before Mandryk delved into what he considers to be the seven macro-trends that have emerged or accelerated due to COVID-19, he noted that we’ve actually been here before.

“When we look at church history, we can see that, littered across the last 2,000 years, plagues have very often catalysed and then ushered in great and rapid changes in our world,” he began.

Mandryk shared that it is thus “good to know that the Church is where it is today in spite of — and perhaps even thanks to — pandemics.”

His encouragement was that while some of the global shifts might make for grim reading, it would be good to hold on to Jesus’ words about His church in Matthew 16:18: “And the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

SHIFT #1: THE EPISTEMOLOGICAL CRISIS

Epistemology is a fancy way of saying “how we know what we know”. What is the nature of truth? Who determines what is true?

While we’ve lived in a postmodern world for quite a while now, Mandryk noted that COVID-19 has further eroded much of the world’s ties to objectivity by driving people further into online echo chambers.

In other words, truth is often determined by which WhatsApp/Facebook/Telegram/WeChat group one finds themselves in.

“We now face the challenge of internet echo chambers, deepfakes, platform-specific curated propaganda, the use of social media to spread conspiracy theories and its infiltration by trolls and shills,” warned Mandryk.

These all pose novel problems for Christians sharing the gospel.

Mandryk continued: “How do we (as Christians) assert to other people that we have truth and others do not? Are we still able to appeal to the notion of truth to objective matters of right and wrong? To facts that have moral and not merely statistical implications?

“Or have we been reduced to a gladiatorial arena where whoever has the most convincing or compelling narrative wins the battle?”

While many of these challenges wrought by technology are new, what isn’t new is the question of what is truth.

Mandryk ended this section with a sobering reminder that Christians have a very radical definition of truth — truth is not just a concept but a Person.’

In John 14:6, Jesus declared, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Dear friend, as Christians, we know that truth is not merely found IN the Person of Jesus, but that the Person of Jesus IS truth.

While many people in this world live according to their subjective “truths”, we know that Jesus Christ – and His life, death and resurrection – is the objective truth.

How can we present the truth to people today? How can we share the gospel with people in this postmodern world?

Dear friend, I believe that the only way we can do this is to show them the Person of Jesus – to tell of His life but also to live it out.

Why not have a think about how you can reveal the Person of Truth, Jesus Christ, to those around you today?

Today’s devotion was contributed by Thir.st and subsequently reflected on. https://thirst.sg/the-church-needs-to-pay-attention-to-these-7-global-shifts/

REFLECTION QUESTIONS

How can you reveal the Person of Truth, Jesus Christ, to those around you today?

  1. By going out of my way to serve and love someone.
  2. By extending grace and forgiveness to someone who has hurt me.
  3. By bringing Jesus’ light and life into someone’s dark situation.
  4. OTHER

PRAYER

Lord Jesus, You are the way, the truth, and the life. I’m so grateful that, in this postmodern world where everyone is questioning the nature of truth, that I have found a solid and firm foundation in You.

I pray that You would help me to reveal You to those around me today, bringing Your light, Your grace, Your mercy, Your forgiveness, and Your joy to people’s lives. May my life, and the faith that I have in You, show others that You truly are who You say You are. May many lives be changed by You working through me, Jesus.

In Your mighty name, Jesus, I pray, amen.

PRAYER POINTERS

Pray for someone’s salvation today. Pray that the Lord would open their eyes to see Him for who He truly is.

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