Gary discusses an article on the Front Page Magazine website about the current state of craziness in western culture.

The Stylites lived on pillars (stylos is the Greek word for “pillar”). These “pillar saints,” as they were called, followed the example of a recluse named Simeon who lived in the fourth century. Simeon’s desire to be a super-spiritual saint began when he was a boy. He chose the life of a shepherd in an attempt to give himself the needed solitude to develop true “spirituality.” Since the life of a shepherd was not isolated enough to cultivate the true spiritual life he desired, he entered a monastery. In the nine years he spent as a monk, he never once set foot outside the confined space of his room. Seeking even more solitude and “spirituality,” Simeon went into the desert, erected a pole nine-feet high, and began his thirty-year perch. “Even then Simeon thought he was too near the earth, and little by little he lengthened the pillar until finally it reached the height of sixty feet.”[1] Simeon believed “that by living on the top of a pillar his soul would benefit.”[2]

How was Simeon’s spirituality better than those who cared for him? His attendants toiled while Simeon enjoyed the fruit of their labor. In reality, Simeon’s “spirituality” was worthless because it was self-serving. Jesus said it best: “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how will it be made salty again? It is good for nothing any more, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men” (Matt. 5:13). It was deception, Paul wrote, to believe that such practices contributed in any way to true spirituality (Col. 2:16–23). The definition of “pure and undefiled religion” is to “visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained from the world” (James 1:27). Of course, there is no way to visit orphans and widows if you are perched atop a pole separated from the world where orphans and widows live.

Defilement does not come by way of things but from what’s inside a person, from “the things that proceed out of the mouth” which arise “from the heart. . . . For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders” (Matt. 15:18–19). There isn’t a pole high enough to escape the sinfulness of the heart. The Reformers of the sixteenth century understood Christian spirituality “in terms of the vocation of all Christians to express their faith in the market-place of life.”[3]

Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths

Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths

Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths takes a closer look at God's Word and applies it to erroneous misinterpretations of the Bible that have resulted in a virtual shut-down of the church's full-orbed mission in the world (Acts 20:27). Due to these mistaken interpretations and applications of popular Bible texts to contemporary issues, the Christian faith is being thrown out and trampled under foot by men (Matt. 5:13).

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Gary discusses an article on the Front Page Magazine website about the current state of craziness in western culture. Could all the political nonsense and cultural insanity be signals of the end of western civilization? If so, what should be the response of concerned Christians? We can either survive or commit suicide—sink or swim—by using what we have at our disposal.

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[1] R. B. Kuiper, “Not of the World”: Discourses on the Christian’s Relation to the World (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1929), 27.

[2] Houghton, Sketches from Church History, 28. Also see Robert J. Morgan, On This Day: 365 Amazing and Inspiring Stories about Saints, Martyrs, and Heroes (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1997), 5.

[3] James M. Houston, “Spiritual Life Today: An Appropriate Spirituality for a Post-Modern World,” The Gospel in the Modern World: A Tribute to John Stott, eds. Martyn Eden and David F. Wells (Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 1991), 180.