That's what Christianity is! Christianity is about being born again and becoming Christ like it's, but here's where people go off, is that they limit it to inward change. That's it. It's once that inward change has happened, job done, nothing else needs to happen. I'm thinking, no, that inward change is all for the purpose of changing this whole world that God loves and died to redeem. So it's not just limited to personal and inward.
As Christians, our mission is to spread the gospel around the world to all the nations. But our mission also includes to transform the nations to increasingly reflect the truth, goodness and beauty of God's kingdom. Tragically, the church has largely neglected the second part of her mission. And today, Christians have little influence on their surrounding cultures. Join us on this podcast as we rediscover what it means for each of us to disciple the nations and to create Christ honoring cultures that reflect the character of the living God.
All right, well, welcome again everybody to another episode of Ideas Have Consequences. This is the podcast of the Disciple Nations Alliance. And I am your host, Scott Allen, the president of the DNA. And I wanted to just mention at the beginning here that this is our 50th episode, guys. And I'm with Dwight Vogt and Luke Allen here, so hard to believe that we are at 50 already, just seems like yesterday that we started this. Anyways, I hope that those of you who are listening are enjoying and appreciating what you're hearing and will listen with us through another 50 of these. It's great to be at this point though. Hey, Dwight. Hey, Luke, how are you guys today?
Glad to be here.
Well today, I wanted to pick up on a topic, a theme that we have had a couple of podcasts on. It's the theme of discipling nations, what does it mean to disciple nations? And today, I wanted to look and explore with you guys, just kind of what we talk about in terms of the process. How does this happen? How do nations get discipled, if you will. And so we'll talk a little bit about that, what we call the inside out process of discipling nations. But just again, to start with the concept of discipling nations, I think that's still an idea for a lot of Christians that maybe it seems too audacious or it just seems strange, maybe, in some ways, when I talk to Christians about kind of ultimate purposes, what's the ultimate purpose of the church, or what's our purpose as Christians, I'll hear things that are all true. But in my mind, they're kind of means to an end, as opposed to the ultimate end, they'll say things like holy living, or evangelism, helping my friends and others to know Christ, planting churches, growing churches. So these are all really important things. But what I would say is, they're not kind of ultimate things here for us. These are means to an end, if you will, there's a bigger end that God has in mind. He wants to this world transformed, and he wants to see it utterly transformed. And he's got a plan and a process to do that. And that process involves us as individuals, but it involves entire nations as well. And we've already covered a lot of this ground in previous episodes in terms of nations and discipling nations. But I think it's good just to come back to that idea that God's got a big plan and this big plan of his isn't going to be completed in my lifetime. It's not going to be completed until Jesus returns and establishes a new Heaven and a new Earth. But there's a process between now and then, or between, if you will, Jesus is first coming and his second coming through which this process advances. I was reading this morning, in fact because it's Christmas time here and like you guys probably, I'm doing some Advent reading, and I read the famous passage in Isaiah, I believe it's chapter 7, talking about the coming of Christ, the first coming, and how he would sit on David's throne and he would rule and it says of the increase of His government and peace, there would be no end. And the word that stuck out to me and this is the famous passions that talks about, he'll be called The Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace, etc. But that kind of idea of the increase of His government and of peace, there will be no end, from the time that he comes. And this idea of increasing, of growing and expanding. This is the idea.
The word that jumps out at me even as you say that is, not just government, but peace. And we know that in the Hebrew peace is shalom, so the increase of shalom throughout the world, and that's what we're talking about when we're talking about discipling a nation, how can we increase shalom in our country?
And how can we bring the ministry of reconciliation, which God has given us, how can we bring reconciliation to all things, government, policies, culture, in our own countries?
How can we be a part of that? It's a great verse I think.
Yeah, it is. So Jesus is on the throne, All authority, all rule has been given to him, that's what he said to his disciples when he rose from the grave, and that's where he is today. And of the increase of His government and peace, there will be no end. And he'll consummate that, bring that to its conclusion when he comes back. So that should give us purpose, that should give us a real deep sense of meaning that we're saved, and brought into His kingdom under his reign as subjects of his kingdom, in order to be a part of what he's doing in the nations, we're saved for a purpose in order to be part of what he's doing in the nations. And I do think where people get confused, and I certainly don't blame people either, is that they'll listen to what I'm saying right now and they'll say, Scott, you make it sound like things are just getting better and better and better. But it doesn't look like it when I look at the world around me. I see things getting worse and worse, in some ways, so what are you talking about? Is God checked out? Is what you're saying not true? Are things actually getting worse and worse, and then they get really bad then Jesus comes back and wrecks it all and destroys it all. A lot of people have a lot of questions and confusions, there's different schools of theology on these things. But I would challenge that idea, well, I would challenge both ideas, that things are getting better and better, and things are getting worse and worse. And I would say it's kind of both.
It's the wheat and the tares.
Exactly! The picture that makes the most sense to me is the one that Jesus gives us in the parable of the wheat and the weeds that both his kingdom, and Satan's kingdom, if you will, are both growing and bearing fruit. And that makes sense of the world around me. But then, the hopeful thing is that at the end of the parable of the wheat and the weeds, when Jesus comes back, he's going to go into that field, and he himself is going to remove the weeds. This is the fruit of Satan's kingdom, if you will. And all that will remain is the wheat, the thing that's been growing during this time that we're to be focused on. And people say, well, what does it mean for the kingdom to be growing today for nations to be discipled today? Are you talking just about churches, about people coming to Christ, about churches spreading around the world, which they certainly have. From the time that Jesus was here, the church has spread around the world. And we have Christians now in nations worldwide, almost every nation now has a church, has people have God in it, and so that's a part of it.
And with that, we see God's intentions being carried out in those growing churches and believers. I'm always just thrilled to see oh, that person's a Christian. They just did something really significant I'm going oh, they're a believer, they love the Lord and they're just walking in his path and God's using them. And maybe it's a doctor, maybe it's a lawyer, maybe it's a school teacher. I don't know, but you see it out there. But you got to look for it. And it's there. God is using people.
Yeah, exactly Dwight. And it's not just that they're there, that now we have these people. But it's what they're doing. It's the fact that they're living under the rule of Christ, they're bringing the truth of the Bible into the way they live their lives. Into the way they raise their families and do their work, and the institutions that they build, and the laws, and all of these things are a fruit of the kingdom, it's advancing around the world today.
We often talk about good works. We are His workmanship created for good works. Well those good works aren't just picking up trash on the street, they're actually influencing others in a really, really positive and informative way.
Those are good works. It's not just simple little kind deeds all the time. Not that that's bad.
At the same time, I mean, Satan's active, the Bible talks about him as a roaring lion looking for people to devour. And he's doing it. But Jesus is on the throne, and the way that somebody explained this to me, Dwight, recently and I thought, there's different kinds of analogies are ways you can understand of how can both of these things be happening at the same time. They likened it to World War II. And there's certain turning points in major conflicts. And that's what this is, it's a conflict between light and dark. And, for example, in World War II, you had a couple of really critical turning points. One, in the war in the Pacific happened at the Battle of Midway. In other words, Japan was advancing, advancing, advancing all the way up until that kind of climactic battle at Midway. And that was the turning point. And after we defeated the Japanese fleet there, they never really won again, and in a sense, it was like, yeah, the war wasn't over, that wasn't going to happen for a few years, and a lot of people are going to be killed a lot of violence, a lot of bloodshed. But the end was kind of written at that point. And that's the way I see this as well. The climactic battle, if you will, has been fought and won, and that was the cross. So the end is written, if you will, it's a given at this point. But it's going to take time. Why did God do it that way? That's his prerogative, he decided to do it this way, where it's going to take time.
The cross was D-Day.
Or the D-Day, exactly. So those helped me a lot, in terms of just understanding this kind of now, and not yet, if you will of the kingdom of God that we're that we're in. So with that, I want to look at the process, how are nations discipled? How does God's Kingdom advance in the world. And we talked about this in the DNA as an inside-out process that's got some definitive steps to it, some key kind of steps. And if I could just maybe mention what those steps are, and then we'll go back and unpack them a little bit. But it's a process that starts inside of people, inside of us. And so it's this inside-out process that begins with what the Bible calls regeneration. In other words, you're not going to see any kind of transformation at the level of a nation or even a community or a family, unless you have that transformation first with inside of people, people have to change. And so we'll talk more about that. But one thing I want to say now is that this inward transformation, this regeneration that happens through faith in Christ and what Jesus called being born again when he was speaking with Nicodemus, in the garden, this is a work of God. And I think it's really important to underscore that right now, that the advancement of God's Kingdom, the discipling of nations, at the end of the day, it's a partnership between us and God, yes. In other words, we have a role to play in this. We're not just passive couch potatoes. At the same time, this is God's work, and there's nothing we can do to save ourselves at the very beginning of the process. We are utterly reliant on the power of the Holy Spirit to bring about a change.
and that includes the mind. We talked about being born again, in the mind as well in the heart, not just our passions, but our thinking.
And we tend to think, well, I can think my way into rightness. No, you can't. You really need God's influence to shape your thinking. And to see the world as God sees it. We talked about worldview. Well, that's the mind.
Exactly. And God is the driver in both of those areas. So there's there's an inward transformation at the level of our hearts, at the level, as you said Dwight of our minds, but I think most Christians understand. What I'm saying here right now is not controversial. Evangelicals really believe this. People need to be saved. And there needs to be people that share the gospel, that proclaim the truth and invite people to surrender their lives to Jesus Christ. So nothing here is controversial, where it gets a little bit, not controversial, but I think less thought through, is where it goes from there. And it's not intended to stop there, it's intended to continue outward, this inside out, into the social sphere, beyond just the change inside us as individuals, and that social sphere. The most basic unit of that social sphere is our families, that's kind of God's intended kind of unit, a cell, if you will, of the social body. And so there needs to be a transformation at the level of family. And I want to talk a bit about that today, because I do think there's incredible opportunity there. And family education of children, these are really, really important steps in the process of discipling nations. And by the way, the enemies of the Gospel understand this better than Christians, in the sense that when I think of the woke ideology that's really taken the high ground in the culture today in the West, the process by which that became kind of ensconced or embedded in our institutions, worked its way out over the last 50 years, primarily through education, schools and education, they really understood that. And so it's no different for the kingdom, we've got to have a lot of attention on those really critical areas. But it doesn't stop there either. And so from there, this process of transformation, of nation discipling, ripples outward, into every area of the society. But education has in some ways, almost a more strategic role. But then it's not intended to stop there. It's intended to affect everything, sports, entertainment, arts, government, the principles of God's kingdom are to establish the foundation for all of these areas and Christians are to do that. We're to be the ones that champion these true biblical principles, and to create cultures and institutions that reflect them. This gets a little controversial, because for some Christians, now you're starting to sound like a kind of a Dominionist, or you're starting to sound like a Triumphalist, a Christian nationalist.
Well, the other assumption is that areas of culture are neutral, and they're value neutral, and they're idea neutral. No, no, they're not neutral. Nothing is neutral.
Super important point Dwight. And I think that's what we've got to really understand, that there is no such thing as neutrality in these institutions in the way that we do things. It's always going to be shaped by one worldview, one system of belief or worship, or another. And then the question just is for us as Christians, are we okay to just sit back and let that system of worship or that system of belief be one that's Satanic and demonic and deadly and we're okay with that? Because that's what neutrality demands, or whatever it is.
And destructive, ultimately destructive.
Or are we saying no, what we believe is true, not just for me personally. But it's true, because Jesus is the Lord over everything. And so his ways are the best, His word is true. And these principles in His word should apply to all people. So I really think that's the choice at the end of the day, which one of those two do you believe? Well, I'm firmly on the side of the ladder.
And is that the outer circle?
Yeah, it is. To me, that's the inside out process of discipling nations, it's having this profound influence in the nations on the basis of biblical truth and the power of God. Never perfectly completed in any nation. There's always weeds and weed growing simultaneously, so it's not, it isn't this triumphalist thing, Luke, as you were saying, like, we did it, we've got a perfectly discipled nation, but we should be fighting, competing, working towards that end with all that we've got. With all that's inside of us, and with God's help and strength. So that's the basic idea. I think in some ways, you'd say, well, what's the end goal, what's it say? The Bible talks about shalom, getting back to the garden, or there's these famous prophetic passages like you see this for example, in Habakkuk, the earth will be filled with a knowledge of the glory of God as the waters cover the seas. And to me that's kind of a prophetic picture of what the end goal is. Everything else is kind of a means to that end, people being saved, churches being planted, families being raised. At the end of the day, it's the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of God as the waters cover the sea.
As you say that, I'm thinking about that verse, because we've used that a lot. And the words, filled with a knowledge of the glory of God, I usually project that as the glory of God in heaven, or somehow we see a throne and some smoke and some fake candles. But the Bible also speaks of God's glory being his will carried out on this earth, the earth will be filled with the glory of God, it's the earth functioning as the way God designed it to function, and human beings to be functioning in that way.
And you see His glory and everything.
And there it is. It's on the football field.
And the reason I liked that passage, too, it's a bookend to way back in Genesis chapter 1, where God created Adam and Eve, and he gave them his first command, Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth. There's this idea that, go out, take my goodness and my glory, and fill this whole earth with it. And the Fall thwarted that plan, the cross kind of thwarted the Fall.
More than kind of!
And now we're back on a track or a path to see that be realized, the earth will be filled with the knowledge. So what does that mean for you and your own city? Phoenix shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of God as the waters cover the seas, we can we can make that into a kind of a practical thing in some ways. My own family.
Arturo at the forum we were all at recently, the DNA form, Arturo Cuba, he was the keynote speaker this year, was talking about glory. And it's always been a word for me, like you were just saying Dwight, kind of abstract in a little bit of a way, you think of God, shiny and light and so forth. And Arturo was really simple with it, it's reflection, a glorious reflection. So to fill the earth with the glory of God's goodness, is to fill the earth with the reflection of God. And the thing is, even after the Fall, the earth, creation itself, is a reflection of God, you can see him in everything if you look. And then inside of humans as well, through the Holy Spirit, you can see his reflection inside of each of us. So filling the glory of God at a workplace like a construction site, that seems so abstract. But when you think of reflection for me, that really helps. Where can you reflect the characteristics of God or see his characteristics in creation through work?
Hi Friends, as always, thank you so much for joining us today for the 50th episode of this podcast. For a quick recap of what we've covered so far, with the five step process of discipling a nation in its most boiled down form. It all starts with our Lord and Savior who at the moment of spiritual regeneration saves us. But the process doesn't stop there. From there, it goes on to step two, which is changing our worldview and the way we think, and the way we see everything around us, through our now spiritual regenerated mind. And then moving on to step three, the way we see everything affects the way we act in the way, so it affects our character. And that moves on to step four, which is if your character is affected, the way you think is affected, it's going to affect of course, those around you, so your family, and your most tight knit community of people around you. And then from there, those people and yourself go out and you start affecting every sphere of society that you are in. And then from there, you go out into step five, and you disciple a nation. So that's where we're at so far. To learn more about this process, visit this episode's landing page, which is linked down the description below. On that page, you'll be directed to our strategy statement, which is what today's episode is based off of. If you're enjoying this discussion, don't let the learning stop with you, please consider sending this episode to a friend. Or if sending an entire hour plus episode to someone seems like too much you can simply share one of our instagram or facebook highlight posts from this episode instead. After that, go ahead and leave us a rating and review on Apple podcast or wherever you're listening. Thanks again for listening to Ideas Have Consequences.
Contrast this inside out process of transformation, or national transformation, or even global transformation, with a fallen or worldly ways that that's done. I was thinking about this Dwight and Luke, we are living in a time right now, especially in the West you see this, where very powerful people, government leaders, business tycoons. They've kind of organized themselves into networks with the goal of discipling nations or transforming the world. I'm thinking of the World Economic Forum and these groups, or you could even think about communist revolutions. Right now, in the news as we're speaking, we're reading a lot about protests that are happening in China and the Chinese Communist Party, set about to disciple that nation through a particular way, a means, a process. And what I noticed about the worldly ways, that these kinds of changes people seek to bring about is that it's not inside out. It's top down, imposed from the outside. There's no insight to it, there's no inside heart and mind change, that's not really part of the process. It's about how do we change laws, how do we change systems in such a way that we can kind of manage or coerce people into behaving the way that we want them to behave?
I think that's the key, the idea of coercion and imposition. It's how do we can impose change on this world? How do we impose change through our power? And you look at Iran right now and the demonstrations there, because that religious regime said, we're going to impose control of how people behave and how they act in this country. And eventually, it crumbles. Unless you change the heart and mind eventually, it will crumble.
The reason it has to be outside in is because that power structure, let's say communism, that idea is someone's truth, trying to be forced on everyone else. And the only reason that God's Kingdom can grow from the inside out is because it's based off of a foundation that we already recognize, it's written on our hearts. Everyone on earth seeks truth. So when you have a process that starts on that foundation, and not someone else's who can only enforce it on you through power, or trying to make you understand and agree with them, which a lot of people won't if they see a lie inside of it, that's the only reason that the biblical worldview can do this, because it's actually based off a truth and people can recognize that. Does that makes sense?
Yeah, I think it does Luke. I think the biblical worldview, it treats people obviously as they are, which is image bearers of God. And that means something, it means that people have a sense of freedom to make choices and until people make free choices to change, you're not going to see any change. And I think the secular regimes, whether they're communist or the World Economic Forum is very secular. It's got this very Malthusian view. It views people essentially as evolved creatures, not as image bearers of God, kind of like animals. And if we can rig the incentives, I guess that would be a positive way, but it increasingly it's not positive, it's, "let's shut down their speech." Let's even control the food supply, let's push all these controls, vaccine passports, or whatever it is, let's put all these controls on people to get to make society the way that we want it to be, to get people to do what we want them to do.
The only way you can actually do that sustainably for a long amount of time is eventually start treating people like slaves. You need to take away every structure you see in their life, you need to take away the family, you need to take away schools. Because all of those can be a place of a pillar of someone's existence. Take those all the way you can create that mob.
You can but you still have Frederick Douglass.
That's right, people are still people.
You can beat me and control me and manipulate me but I am still a human being and I know who I am and I am me. And I am free. I should self govern. I should decide. I control my conscience.
Because that's who God created us to be. You can't change that. I was thinking right now again, going back to the Chinese protests, which are in some ways really exciting, I heard guys that it's the largest uprising in China since Tiananmen Square, which is kind of amazing to think about. And it was caused because of COVID, this kind of COVID zero, really dramatic lockdown. People have been kind of forced to remain in their apartments and whatnot, for years now are talking about a couple of years, really draconian. And I heard this morning that even just months ago, in a city like Shanghai, they were flying drones around in people's neighborhoods, and they were replaying a message on a speaker, in the neighborhoods, and the message went something like this, try to repress your instinct to be free and remain at home.
That's like out of a movie. That's crazy.
It is! China right now is kind of George Orwell's 1984 in some ways, but I thought what they said was, to me, it gave the game away. It's like, we know that you've got this desire to be free, you need to repress that. But guess what, here's the problem with those outside in kind of control things, they don't work, eventually they fail. Because they don't deal with human beings as human beings, I would say.
And that takes us back, let's go back to the beginning of this conversation where it begins: with the human heart, the human individual, and the family. And I'm thinking of what we're talking about now. And you went back and you said, but we require the work of God in our hearts and minds to be transformed? Because we can't even impose that on ourselves. We try to create an exterior world as aesthetics or the monastery, the monks in the monasteries, if I can just create a world that will impose righteousness on me, I can get there, but it doesn't work. It has to come from within, and only God can do that.
Yeah, that's the message of Christianity, as opposed the Islam or something like that.
Even at that level, it can't be imposed on us, and the next level is children. I'm gonna get in trouble on this one. What's the difference between imposing your value system on your children and influencing them or growing them up in your value system? Because one works, and one doesn't. You see, one child gets into the university and says, Forget you, Mom and Dad, your ideas were bad that you imposed upon me and off I go.
They'll rebel. So you have to treat them as human beings. You basically do what God did to us. I think of the Old Testament where he says, here's my law, in Deuteronomy, now, choose this day, right? He encourages us, you've got to make a choice here.
So what does that mean for the family and for education, and working with children?
Let's get to that in a second.
I want to come back to what you were saying about how this very beginning process of change, of discipling nations, has to begin with, it's kind of like the beachhead, the beachhead in the whole process is the human heart. And until that changes, there's no possibility for change at any other level all the way out. And I just want to read to you guys this passage in Ephesians chapter 2, because to me, it just captures this part of the transformation so well. Paul says, As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins. No hope for change, you're dead, like there's nothing there. There's no movement, there's no action, there's nothing. It's just dead. You were dead. In your transgressions and sins in which you used to live when you follow the ways of this world, and the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh, following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest we were by nature deserving of wrath. But (here's where the transformation starts) because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy made us alive with Christ, even when we were dead in transgressions. It is by grace that you have been saved, and God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages, he might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus, for it is by grace you have been saved through faith, this is not of yourselves. It is a gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's handiwork created in Christ Jesus, to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. So much there, and so essential to our faith. But I think the thing that stands out to me is just this idea that if you want to see change in a society and a family, at any level of society, or nations, it's not going to start, unless there's this kind of supernatural work of God at the very beginning of the process to bring somebody who's dead, and bring them to life again, and to fill them with the power of His Holy Spirit. And I take a lot of peace from that in many ways. Number one, it says to me, it's not up to me at the end of the day, if this was up to me, nothing would happen. But God is the one who's behind this. It's his vision, it's his energy, it's his power that is going to bring about this process that we're talking about. It's a gift. It's a gift.
And I think that's why we celebrate, when we see how God has helped people transform or transformed people, we love to hear those stories, the guy that was stuck in drugs, or in some kind of horrible vise, and then came to Christ, and Christ has freed them, and you just go, wow.
And there's a recognition that there's something miraculous there, that person didn't get that out. Somehow God showed up and did a work. And that's where all this transformation begins. But then it goes on, and it says, that you've been saved, because God's got some good works for you, you're his handiwork, and he has good works that he's prepared in advance for you to do. And that speaks to our part in this, that it's not just God and what he's doing in us, but it's what he's called us to do, what he actually has prepared for us to do in this process.
And for that we can actually go all the way back to Genesis 1 and say, what are those good works? And you've already alluded to one, one is, hey, have family, create families, multiply, fill the earth with people, and then create, have dominion, rule.
On and on we go,
And on and on we go. So this is really the beachhead, this is where it begins. There's this heart level transformation, if you will. But then as you were saying earlier, Dwight too, it's a transformation that happens in the mind as well, and I think of famous passages like Romans 12:1-2 be transformed, transformed by the renewing of your mind, that's transformation. That's change. But that's transformation at the level of your mind, the way that you think, the way that you can see the reality, has to be changed from whatever this worldly system is that you've been thinking is true. That has to be set aside. And you have to put on a whole new set of glasses for your mind, that allow you to see reality as it really is, as God created it.
Back to the born again, what does Darrow say? Born again in the mind? Born again minds, are minds born again?
Yeah, we need born again hearts. We all know that as evangelicals, but we need born again minds as well.
Yeah. And they're both the process of sanctification, it's a process that we work through with the Holy Spirit. And the same thing with your mind. The verse, take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. I was just thinking about that one this morning. I feel like I normally hear that one in the context of like, temptation. But no, that's a continuous process in every single thought we think of. Like, how am I going to respond to this person in this email I didn't like? Who am I gonna sit with at lunchtime? Any thought. Take those thoughts captive and make them an obedient, because that's where the application comes in doing those good works that Ephesians is talking about. If we take those thoughts captive, in anything we're doing, and make them obedient to Christ, and you can only do that through biblical worldview. That's where it gets really practical.
That's where change happens. And I love that you said it's a process Luke, I think it's just so important to recognize that, that there is this moment of justification when our sins are wiped away and they're no longer counted against us because of the work of Christ. But this change in our heart and our mind is something that is a process. I mean, it takes time and we work it out. The Bible says, work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it's God that works in you to do and to will.
Until we die.
Until we die, yeah!
I got another thought, I'm gonna park on this a little longer, in terms of individual transformation, because I was having breakfast with a good friend here last week, and we were talking about just our identity, and just the idea that every human being is diverse and unique. So we need to be transformed, the reason we're transformed so that we can transform the world. But what we landed on was, it takes him being him. Me being me, you being you, because each one of us brings something unique to the world. So if we aren't transformed as our unique human being me, Dwight Dean Vogt, There's something the world misses. And so the transformation is Dwight becoming Dwight, Not Dwight becoming Scott, not Dwight becoming Luke, but Dwight becoming all of Dwight Vogt. I mean, NT Wright talks about being fully human. But it's this idea that we're transformed to be ourselves, who we really are meant to be, who God created me to be, because he made all of us unique. And basically, we all have a purpose in this world that's kind of special to ourselves, not kind of, it is natural to ourselves. Anyway, that idea that we're transformed to be unique, because we are.
That's a great thought, I love that. Who God created you to be, not just who you are, that's so popular right now, you do you, love yourself, and be your most authentic self. The problem with that is they pull in all the sinful parts yourself also, and be authentic to those. But this is who God created you to be, in all the beauty and diversity that he's given each one of us.
That's a cool thought. Yes it is Dwight, because, the process of discipling a nation is massive, it's way too big for any one person to do, one organization. We think about all that Elon Musk is doing right now, you think, gosh, if I was just the richest man in the world, I can really bring change. But even the richest man in the world can't transform a nation. It takes everybody, it's just this vast array of people in all their diversity, to do that. So that's a really good point.
You think of the areas of society, and how no one's gifted in every area of society, or even interested in every area of society. You have politics, but then you also have arts, you have dance, and you have teaching preschool, and you have cooking. In every area of society, we're all gifted in our own unique ways, in different ones of those, and in specific ways. So that's why we need that cumulative effort on all of us, but also into the areas that God has placed us. In focusing on those not just pushing outside of those, just because we all want to be the president, that wouldn't work, that wouldn't transform a nation.
And we each have our spheres of influence the people that we are to influence and they're unique to our person.
We talked about sanctification, the process of sanctification, of being transformed inwardly, in terms of becoming Christ-like, and I think there's a lot of truth to that, of course, it's becoming like Jesus. But that also can create confusion on this point too Dwight, because we think of Jesus as a person who lived at a particular time. And he was a man, and he was single, and all this other stuff,
and he had his own personality,
and he had his own personality. He was a carpenter, and I'm not, whatever it is.
I am not Jesus. But to be like Jesus is for me to be fully Dwight, just as Jesus was fully Jesus.
And it means to me to be fully human in the way that Jesus was fully human. And also sinless. I mean, we're never going to be sinless until we're glorified, but but we should be coming more like that, that quality of his character needs to be growing inside of us.
That was in the Sermon on the Mount, that was the goal of Christ gave us, to be perfect. Just as I am perfect.
Right. That's his goal for us, by the way.
I'm close. Ask my wife.
You are Dwight. You're closer than I am.
Yeah, and you're more of a carpenter than we are to so.
That's why you're on this podcast.
Thanks to my brother.
Anyways, we're becoming the image bearers that God made us to be, means, in a way, wiping away the effects of the sin in our lives.
Again, what we're talking about now is not controversial for Evangelicals. Everyone understands this. Yeah, that's what Christianity is, Christianity is about being born again and becoming Christ-like. But here's where people go off, is that they limit it to inward change. That's it, once that inward change has happened, job done, nothing else needs to happen. I'm thinking, no, that inward change is all for the purpose of changing this whole world that God loves and died to redeem. And so it's not just limited to personal and inward. It doesn't bypass that, of course, by any stretch, but it's not limited to that.
I think it can even be worse than that, it can be limited to forgiveness and a ticket to heaven. Right?
God doesn't care if I change. He saved me, he has grace, he always loves me. So he'll forgive me, and I have a ticket to heaven. And so this life doesn't really matter, because I'm already saved. That's so unbiblical.
That's where the DNA, the ministry that God's called us to, that's really where we step in and we say, no, this is really wrong thinking, this is faulty thinking, because God's saved you. He's doing all this work inwardly, in your life, for a purpose in the world,
because he put you here!
Because he puts you here. And so that's really what I want to go to next, is just kind of all the social and cultural implications of this, because I think that that isn't as nearly as well understood for evangelicals as the inward part is, the kind of the social and cultural change that we're to bring about. And again, it starts with that most basic unit of society, which is marriage and families. And I know when we talk this way, and I've got to be sensitive to this too. But people think, well, I'm not married, I'm single, we're all part of families, every single person is touched by family, by this most basic social unit. So don't just think I'm talking about married couples here, I'm talking about families that we all are a part of, and that basic social unit and the role that we play in it, whatever that role is, child. grandfather, uncle, aunt, husband, whatever that role is, God's got a purpose and a design for that. And he wants that family, that unit, that most basic unit, to function in a particular way, he wants the transformation to begin there, and that's where you have famous passages like Joshua's famous passage: As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. And it's kind of like, I may not be able to change everything out there in the nation or in the world, but I'm going to put a flag down for God and His Kingdom in my home, and we're going to serve the Lord here. I love that. Because, first of all, it's something to get your hands around a little bit, maybe I can't change the city of Phoenix or even my neighborhood, but I can get my hands around those most basic relationships that are part of my life every day, and I can say, how do I live out the principles and the truth of God's Kingdom in the most basic relationships.
I just want to emphasize that, I think that, our first call in terms of bringing reconciliation or transformation of the world is the people closest to us. And for many of us, that's our children, our wife, our immediate family.
Or our brothers and sisters if you're not married.
Actually, on that note, I was just thinking, it's so cool how, I've never thought about it this way, but the Old Testament is so specific on how it lays out the family structure, and how if husband dies, the wife goes to the first, brother of her husband, and then if he dies, and so forth, and there's like the law lays out how families, no matter who you are, you have some tight knit community that you can go to in any stage of life. I just thought that was really cool. I never thought about that way.
I mean, the family, God establishes it on the basis of marriage right away. I mean, this is way before the fall. This is way back in Genesis 1. So this is the first social institution that he created. And he's got a very definite purpose for it, because all of society is built on the foundation of that most basic unit. And consequently, no surprise that when Satan wants to destroy nations, that's where he goes first. He goes to marriage, and family, and sex, and all that involves that most basic set of relationships.
You even think of like, the Pharaoh at the time was Moses was born. He wanted to have control over the Israelites. China's one child policy is similar to that. If you want to have power over a nation, the first thing you need to attack is the family.
Get rid of the family. Yeah, destroy the family, the family is a roadblock. It's a barrier to totalitarians.
And the the other thing that's so prominent I think, it's not just to do away with families, but it's to make them dysfunctional. So that the function that God put for a family for parents is to nurture their children, and to help them grow up healthy and strong, with values that cause them to follow Christ. If you can make that structure, that institution, dysfunctional, you can actually create the opposite.
I think that this is where my heart breaks right now, for my own country. We just saw, for example, this week, our Senate, we talked about this in a recent podcast, redefined in our federal law, a lie about family, and about marriage specifically, that marriage can be between any two people. So we're living at a time where there's just incredible attack, and just lies being sewn into the culture at the level of this most basic institutions. It's falling apart. It's dramatic, we could just spend an entire episode or more looking at all of these indicators of the way that this most basic institution is falling apart. So I don't want to get all negative, but what it should do is it should, for those of us who are believers is go, again, as for me and my household, we're going to stand against this trend, and we're going to help others do the same, we're going to help other families do the same. And here, I want to speak to an incredible opportunity that I'm seeing to disciple our nations in our culture right now. And not just in the United States, I see this in other nations as well. Part of the discipling of nations very centrally is the education of children. And God has a very definite idea of how children should be educated, nurtured, discipled, there's so much in both Old and New Testaments on this. He wants them taught in his ways, in his reality, the reality of who he is and who they are as human beings, all of that needs to be inculcated, and it should be inculcated by parents first and foremost. They have the primary responsibility for doing this Biblically. But there's a place for schools as well. And this is where I see a huge opportunity right now, because one of the things we're seeing in the society is just incredible tumult in the area of education. My daughter teaches at a Christian school, a church based school, up in Bend, Oregon, the line to get into that school, Christian and non-Christian alike, is out the door and around the block. I mean, there are such demand, because in the post COVID world, schools were shut down, children were at home learning on Zoom, parents were tuned in to what was being taught and they go, Wow, what's being taught here is not, whether they're Christian or not, they go I don't believe this. I just don't believe this transgenderism, or this critical race theory. You're a victim, if you're black, and you're an oppressor, if you're white, or whatever it is, I don't believe this. This is horrible. I don't want my children being taught this stuff. So there's this huge tumult change in this area of education right now. And if you're operating a Christian school, you know what I'm talking about. I mean, there's such demand to get into those schools right now. So all that to say, I think there's a huge opportunity the church has right now to disciple the nations. It's been kind of laid on our doorstep if you will, but we have a lot of work to do. When it comes to our ability to do this, we have a lot of catch-up to do.
I think we have a lot of catch-up to do as parents, because again, I've got some friends that are younger, I'm older, my kids are adults, but I look at my friends and I go man, I'm glad I'm not in your shoes. Here they are trying, to raise teenagers in this time and give them give them biblical values, give them a biblical worldview, and yet not enclose them so much that it's like, it would be like putting a child into a non-germ environment, they have no antibodies. And so they have to have enough exposure to the world to create antibodies against everything, so they can see truth versus lies, but not create enclaves of such protection, and I would fear that for the school sometimes. You have to expose your kids, but how do you expose them in a safe way, or in a good way? So anyway, for parents these days of young children and teenagers. God bless you.
But it's doable. I mean, that's your job, and God's gonna empower you, it's not that you can't do it. He's gonna empower you.
Just a little principle that I've learned, just from my own experience with that, what I think what you're saying about inoculating is really important there. I think that's the right picture that people need to be exposed to these viruses and these germs that are out there, in order to strengthen themselves against them. If you just protect them, put them in bubble wrap, they're going to get sick, they're going to get it, and they'll get it dead in a deadly way. So how do you do that? this is just a simple idea here, bUt when the children are young. I'm talking about, 2,3,4, when they're really young, and they learn so much at that time, too, they absorb so much. It's incredible. I think 80% of what you learn as a young person you learn in the first few years of your life, it's just an enormous amount,
Where you have your worldview set.
You have your worldview set. So that's where children really need to be protected.
Arturo Cuba again made that really strong point.
They need to be really protected at that time, and they need truth, they need capital T truth with a fire hose, and they need a lot of love. Those two things, what they don't need is a bunch of lies and cultural stuff.
You don't need to innoculate a five year old.
They're too young, they can't handle that, they need to be protected from that. But as they get older, and I'm talking now about, junior high, certainly into high school, that's where you've got to do that, they've got to learn what these ideas are. They've got to learn about the sexual revolution, they've got to learn about evolution, they've got to learn what they're going to be exposed to, they gotta learn about post-modernism, and they've got to be able to see the difference.
If you don't, you don't learn how to think, you don't learn how to think critically if you don't have two options. When you're just taught something, it doesn't sink in, when you live it out, and you see it, and the applications of it, that's when you actually grasp it. So you have to see God's truth, and then you have to see a lie, in order for you to think critically and make the right decision. I mean, back to what we were saying at the beginning. That's the way God treats us. He respects our free will. And he doesn't just grab us and say, you're on my side now. So same thing with kids, you need to let them think critically, because the more they can do that, and the more they can question everything, the more they're going to see truth.
And especially when they can question those things and begin to challenge those things in a place where they've got a wise guide, ideally, a parent or somebody, a grandparent or an uncle or an aunt, or somebody who can guide them wisely in terms of how to think about that. So there's so much you could say about this. But that's just one little thing I would I would throw in here on this. And I just think there's so much we could say we could spend again, episodes on this alone, this whole idea that this step of discipling nations, it starts in and through families and education. It's massive. But I would just again come back and underscore that I do think for whatever reason God has given the church right now an incredible opportunity to make a huge impact on the nation and non-Christians. It's really interesting to me that, it's kind of like when it's your own children, it proves what what's important, you could you could say, oh, I'm postmodern, or you can act in a way that's postmodern, but when it comes to educating your own kids, it kind of proves something, and people are are voting with their own decisions and their actions. They're taking kids out of the public schools or beginning to homeschool, and they're looking, and there's not nearly enough of them, they're looking for Christian schools. So if you're a pastor, if you're running a church, make sure you talk about this, pray about this. Do we need to do something in this area of education? Doesn't have to be big. We don't have to start a 7000 student school, but can we do something with a dozen, or two dozen? You should be asking that question because there's a huge demand, there's a huge opportunity.
And think through the kind of school you want your children to be in.
There are some excellent schools and there some that, they're safe havens.
The models for schools that we've had over the last 100 years have been all very secular, and they've been rooted in a secular worldview. And very often what Christians do if they're not thinking biblically is they'll just borrow that secular model for teacher trainer or curriculum. Assuming it's neutral, and they just pray at the beginning of it or make sure that we're not teaching Darwinian evolution. But they won't change anything about the way that it's being done, the model. There's a very distinct way of doing education from the foundational principles of a biblical worldview. And if you want to know more about what I'm talking about, we wrote a book on this.
Don't Let your Schooling Stand in the Way of Education.
Don't Let your Schooling Stand in the Way of Education, I encourage you to read that book, because that's really what it's about. It's about how do we think biblically about school, about education?
Or go to the Monday church course, and go to the going deeper section and look at the Education lesson, done by Christian Overman.
Anything Christian Oberman, his teaching is really worthwhile in this respect, as is anything that Elizabeth Youmans and Chrysalis International, these are our partners in education. Go there, they'll teach you, they'll show you what it looks like to build something that's distinctively biblical in this area of education. And this applies if you're just homeschooling your own kids, or if you're actually running a school for 10,20,30, or 50,000 kids. I don't care how big it is. These are these are models for you to look at.
And the genius they bring is they're thinking at a worldview level when it comes to forming a child and not just reading, writing and math. What's the world view this child is developing?
Huge opportunity right now. And I think right now we're fixated, there's a lot of fixation on politics. And hey, politics are important. I'm not saying it's not. But when we think about changing nations, we tend to think, well, we gotta elect the right leaders and this and that. But what gets missed is education. And that's the huge opportunity that's right before us right now. I think so.
And if you want to change the nation, start now, and 20 years from now, you will have a changed nation. It takes a generation or two when it comes to changing people.
And a really important point you just made there, Dwight, that we have to have a long view, and we have think generationally actually on this, and so that and that actually gives some hope. Because you might think, gosh, things look really bleak right now, I don't know what change I can bring about my lifetime. That's okay. Think in terms of your grandkids, your great grandkids, what can you be doing now that's going to change the world for them. And it starts, the journey of 1000 miles single step. I mean, it's always these things that we do, the small things that we do, as Hein Van Wyck, our friend says, never underestimate the day of small beginnings.
What was that? Was that Jonathan Edwards family?
Yeah, John, walk us through that Dad. I think that's so cool.
Well, for those of you who aren't familiar with Jonathan Edwards, he's considered to be one of kind of America's greatest theologians. He was a theologian and pastor in the colonial era. He was a contemporary of America's Founding Fathers lived in New Jersey, Massachusetts, New Jersey, somewhere in New England there. Was a central figure in the first Great Awakening, and had a huge influence. God used him in a huge way to influence the church and the whole culture at that time, the colonial era in the founding era, but he would say that the greatest influence that he had wasn't even as a pastor, but it was as a father, him and his wife, Sarah, they had I think it was 12. Oh, a bunch. Yeah, it was large family, which wasn't uncommon. But they were very intentional at this level of discipling the nation and he was a president of Yale University. So he wasn't a slacker when it came to what he was doing, beyond his family, but in his own family, they were very intentional about discipling their own children. And somebody did a study a few years ago of the descendants, what happened with those kids, and their kids, and their kids. And it was amazing. It was like, three of them became vice presidents of the United States, university, presidents, doctors, you name it. Oh, yeah. And you look at the influence that that group, that one family had on a nation, and you start to see what it means to disciple nations. That made a huge influence on this nation. And that's one family. And it's one family that had a vision, and had a vision in this area in particular that we're talking about, which is family education. So he wasn't perfect, for sure, he gets a lot of flack nowadays, because apparently he owned slaves. But I will say this, he was also a missionary to the indigenous peoples of Massachusetts, he did a lot of incredible work to plant churches amongst indigenous people. So okay, enough on Jonathan Edwards. Guys, we need to wrap up. But we're talking about the steps. It starts inward, it works outward. It works into the social sphere, starting with families, and education, and then virtually every area, every sphere of society. So the question then for each one of us, what's my role? What are those good works that God's prepared in advance for me to do? Where do I have influence?
Today, tomorrow, next week.
That's the way we need to be thinking and not be daunted by the challenges that we're facing. God's on the throne. And he's going to get the job done, right? This is going to happen, we know how the story ends. I think the only question that remains is, are we going to be faithful in our generation in our lifetime, and what are we going to do? And I want each one of you who are listening and myself included, be faithful in this generation. So, Dwight, Luke, any final thoughts on this one as we wrap up today?
God help us.
Guys. Great to be with you. I hope this has been helpful. There's more we can talk about in this whole area of what does it mean to disciple nations or to disciple a nation, but I hope that this process that we talked about today was helpful.
Thank you for joining us on Ideas Have Consequences. As always, if you'd like to take a deeper dive into today's topic, feel free to visit this episode's landing page, which is linked down the description below. On that page, you can find all of the resources that we mentioned in this episode, including Don't Let Schooling Stand in the Way of your Education by Darrow Miller, the Monday church, our daily work for the service of man and the blessing of nations and the glory of God, or any of the other amazing educational resources from our affiliates Chrysalis International, or Renew a Nation. On next week's episode, we are joined by our friend Naomi Smith, the author of Home Inspired, and the producer of many other materials exploring the significance of motherhood and how to disciple the micro nation of the home. And that episode will be available next Tuesday at 5pm Mountain Time. This podcast is brought to you by the Disciple Nations Alliance, to learn more about the DNA you can find us on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube, or on our website, which is disciplenations.org. Thanks again for listening and have a great day.