in the air

by Elizabeth de Barros

I have never sensed a more momentous occasion than now.
The world is reeling with uncertainty…
it’s almost like it’s in the air.

— Ravi Zacharias



It’s everywhere. Elusive, weightless.


Flying around, too, are the sparks of an explosive spiritual atmosphere. Not just in global hot spots, but everywhere. More than ever, people are traipsing to and fro, increasing in knowledge — from the lecture halls of academia to the darkened caves of the cineplex — where deconstructionists feed hungry minds for a price and worldview is on the line.

When nobody was looking, society suffered a raid against absolutes; modernism gave way to postmodernism. Truth, reality, and the meaning of words now hang in the balance, and morality, certainty, and authority are held hostage to apathy disguised as “smarts.” Listen carefully. You’ll hear how “Whatever” is a mood and “Maybe” is a declaration. Everything’s up for discussion. Conclusions? Off the table. Standards are of personal choice. What godlessness looks like all dressed up.

Though God has deliberately been left out of the conversation, He’s not been absent. He’s been sitting on His throne, listening. What’s even less understood is that He’s set a fire, designed to consume His enemies, and the winnowing process is well underway.

“His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor,
gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

— Matthew 3:12

That’s the view from behind the scenes. Here’s how it plays out on center stage:

The new environment in which we live, with its huge cities, triumphant capitalism, invasive technology, and pervasive amusements, has vanquished and homogenized the entire world. While the modern world has produced astonishing abundance, it has also taken a toll on the human spirit, emptying it of enduring meaning and morality. Seeking respite from the acids of modernity, people today have increasingly turned to religions and therapies centered on the self. And, whether consciously or not, evangelicals have taken the same path, refashioning their faith into a religion of the self. They have been co-opted by modernity, have sold their soul for a mess of pottage.

— David F. Wells, No Place for Truth

And we’re having fun licking the bowl.

Today, the practices of many professing Christians and those who follow false gods are difficult to distinguish. Ambiguity reigns. Not only are people seeking knowledge, they’re also applying, centering, breathing, focusing, coloring, connecting, stretching, quieting, emptying, contemplating, chanting, gazing, soaking, and walking labyrinths. Could it be we’re “always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth?” ¹ This phenomenon of pseudo-spirituality is “Christianity’s misbegotten step cousin,” traveling all over the world, even leaving its footprints on the pages of American clothing catalogs. What does a perfectly tanned woman sitting outdoors in a lotus position have to do with my ordering a pair of shorts anyway?

With so much branding going on, God as “life coach” makes perfect sense if moralistic therapeutic deism is your elixir and Joel Osteen your breakfast of champions. That’s right, Ravi, chaff is what’s in the air, and those who watch are mesmerized. But they don’t know that what’s floating atop the murky river is the stuff called syncretism and is deadly.

Christians shouldn’t be surprised at the degree of peril all around, but we can no longer afford to be ignorant — lest our children pay hell’s wages. The times call for spiritual discernment of the highest order, based on the inerrant Word of God, a grace not to be bought or sold but granted as a gift to all who ask out of a pure heart. God is neither democratic nor republican, but He is a liberal and cheerful Giver.

Apart from the ideological mood of the day, these certainties remain: God is at work, and winnowing is a process. Knowledge doesn’t save, and Truth is a Person. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” He meets us on His terms, not ours. He will not yield His glory to another.

I say, let the chaff fly. May the skies serve as judge and jury and the ash heap be the executioner. Remember, it’s wheat He saves and stores away in His barn for safe-keeping.

1. 2 Timothy 3:7