Peter Jones on True Spirituality

Although I already shared a quotation from Peter Jones’ The Other Worldview two weeks ago, his description below of true spirituality is a fitting complement to the yesterday’s sermon over being filled with the Spirit, particularly through singing and giving thanks.

Also, here is a quick explanation of two terms below that are essential to Jones’ thesis: Oneism and Twoism. By Twoism, Jones is referring to true, biblical Christianity that begins with the basic distinction between God as Creator and all of His creation. Oneism, on the other hand, is the other worldview in question. It is everything that worships creation rather than the Creator; therefore, it is every worldview except for Christianity (although he specifically argues that we are experiencing a rebirth of paganism).

Much attention is given to “spirituality” in our time, especially to the practice of meditation. Meditation is often and sometimes deliberately confused with prayer. First, there are two kinds of meditation. Eastern meditation involves focusing on one’s inner divinity to develop ecstatic or out-of-body experiences. The psalmist understood a different kind of meditation, conscious thinking about the person and works of God, the Twoist Creator and Savior… This is not meditation on one’s divine self, but the communion with the transcendent Creator in the immense beauty of his person, the justice of his laws and the kindness of his deeds.

The other element of spirituality is praise, and the Bible is overflowing with tributes to God’s glory. This, says the book of Hebrews, is what Jesus our example did. The author cites Psalm 22:22, saying: “I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise” (Heb 2:12).

Praise was an element clearly lacking in the Parliament of World’s Religions in Chicago in 1993, which I attended. Nor was there a hint of thanksgiving– whom does a Oneist thank? Indeed, the Apostle Paul says the mark of Oneists is that “they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him” (Rom 1:21 NIV). By turning people to praise nature as divine, Oneism eventually makes them self-worshipers, since they are part of creation. The Bible is bursting with exhortations to praise God, because he is the ultimate, genuine object worthy of worship. Self-worship and self-praise naturally disgust us all. True worship and true praise are only genuine if turned toward another. Pagans will never write Handel’s Messiah, Robert Bridges’ words to Bach’s Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, nor Bach’s music to which the words were affixed.

In expression of love, self-sacrifice, moral courage and praise, these elements, so fundamentally uplifting to and defining of the human spirit, we see the discrete yet stunning beauty of Twoism, because behind the worldview system is the reality of the personal God who seeks fellowship with human persons made in his image.

pp. 176-177

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