Truth, Knowledge & Discipling Nations.

“Why does God want His servants to be baptized with the Spirit of knowledge, wisdom and understanding?

The Bible explains that while God plans to bless all the nations (Gen.12:3; 18:18; 22:18 etc.), Satan is out to deceive the nations of the earth (Rev. 20:3,8). The Lord Jesus came to se us from by giving us the knowledge of the truth. He said, ‘If you abide in My Word… you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32 ESV)

Anti-intellectualism spread in evangelical churches partly because Reformation slogans such as “by faith alone” and “by Scripture alone” were misunderstood. In saying “by faith alone,” the Reformers meant that salvation could not be earned by human religiosity. They knew that knowledge sand understanding were preconditions of faith. Likewise, “by Scripture alone” meant that when tradition conflicted with Scripture, Christians were to abide by the Scriptures. The Reformers asserted the necessity of cultivating the mind and using reason in our search for truth. In his trial before the Diet of Worms (1522), Luther stated that he could no recant unless “the Scriptures and plain reason” convinced him.

Is salvation by faith alone? Jesus asked people to “repent and believe” (Mark 1:15.). Repentance involves turning from what is false to what is true see 1 Thess 1:9). Jesus calls humanity to worship God in spirit as well as in truth (John 4:23) Paul asked Timothy to instruct his opponents gently “in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 2:25).

Anti-intellectualism become acceptable because many Protestants forgot that Jesus came not simply to take our souls to heaven but also to give us the knowledge of the truth:

  • God wants all men to be save and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim.2:4)
  • [Christians are those] who believe and who know the truth brought up in the truths of the faith. (1 Tim.4:3,6)

In embracing antirational mysticism, the secular world is reaping the consequences of the church’s error – that of focusing on faith and the gifts of the Spirit and leaving the field of knowledge in the hands of unbelievers. This happened in part because some Christians were deceived by the secular idea that the human mind was a part of “the flesh.” Therefore, they assumed that the mind had to be crucified. 

However, the apostle Paul claimed, “I know whom I have believed” (2 Tim 1:12). He declared that he was “an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of God’s elect and the knowledge of the truth” (Titus 1:1). The Letter to the Hebrews says Christians are those who “have received the knowledge of the truth” (Heb. 10:26). James commands us to ask God for wisdom (James 1:5). Peter says that knowledge is the source of grace, peace, godliness, and effectiveness: 

“May grace and peace b multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His diving power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through, the knowledge of Him who called us…. Make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge…These qualities…keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:2-8 ESV)

The Renaissance and the Reformation created the modern world of inquiry, discovery, and knowledge because the Word of God taught medieval Christians (including the Reformers) that both our salvation and godliness required growing in knowledge.

The Scriptures talk about spiritual understanding and wisdom because there is no such thing as nonspiritual wisdom and understanding.  Humans have understanding because we are spiritual beings. By definition, machines, chemicals, and animals are incapable of understanding abstract concepts. 

Knowing and fearing God is not an otherworldly, “spiritual” matter. It is the beginning of wisdom. It is the key to a healthy national life. When Judah was about to go into captivity, Jeremiah said to them: “[King Josiah] defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that no what it means to know me?’ declares the Lord” (Jer. 22:16).

So, what does that imply?

Isaiah 53:11 says that by His knowledge God’s righteous servant will justify many. For a hundred years now, the church has been growing in many nations, yet the same nations are degenerating in many critical ways. This is because the church has been offering justification without knowledge of truth. We have turned salvation into a shallow religious experience that converts but does not “make disciples of nations” (Matt 28:19).

  • The Lord Jesus, however, calls us to make people His apprentices, those who would learn from Him and the Father:
  • “Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matt. 11:29).
  • “It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns rom Him comes to me.” (John 6:45)

The Reformation transformed the West because it made Europeans learners, the Bible their textbook, and Jesus their Supreme Teacher. The choice before our generation is either to seek the knowledge of God once again or to slide into an abyss of pagan ignorance, corruption, and slavery. The Word of God commands us in Proverbs 4:5-8 to

“Get wisdom, get understanding…. Wisdom is supreme; therefor get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Esteem her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honour you.”

Recovery and pursuit of wisdom, understanding, and the knowledge of truth is the key to a new reformation because the postmodern intelligentsia knows that it does not know and cannot know the truth. Deception has to rely on force. It has to enslave, destroy. Intellectual and moral slavery is deceptively called “political correctness.” This moral and semantic jugglery is similar to what pagans always do. For example, they try to make prostitution sacred by calling male and female prostitutes ‘gods and goddesses.’ While deceptive words enslave, the truth liberates. It empowers people by giving them genuine reasons to live and act in ways that are true, good, and beautiful. That is why the Ten Commandments begin by commanding us to believe and worship the one who is true.

Vishal Mangalwadi

Further Reading and listening. 

Excerpt from Truth and Transformation: A Manifestation for Ailing Nations (pages 128-132) by Vishal Mangalwadi Copyright © 2009 Vishal Mangalwadi, YWAM Publishing.)   


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