Ontology 101: A New Sermon Series, and Strange New World: A New Sunday School Series

A New Sermon Series: Ontology 101: The Business of 'Is'-ness: The Way Things Are

It depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is.”

Those infamous words, uttered by Bill Clinton in 1998 should have told us that the world and everything in it was already succumbing to the deconstructive forces of postmodernism. Postmodernism claims that meaning is no longer found in what a human author intends or what the Author of life declares. Rather, meaning is decided by individuals or local groups interpreting, or in most cases reinterpreting the words others.

In college after college, postmodern ideas have sprung to life from the 1960s on, and by 1998 such revisions of meaning were emerging in the public square. Bill Clinton’s elusive response to a question about his relations with Monica Lewinsky were not abnormal for a culture celebrated for transgression (think: the Hippies of the 1960s), raised on MTV (think: the teens of the 1980s), or enslaved to self-expression instead of submission to the truth (every American born since WWII).

Fast forward 25 years, add two decades of social media, a handful of contested elections, one global pandemic, and endless woke crusades in public schools and city streets, and it is not just language that has come under assault, it is everything that God upholds by the word of his power. To be certain, Christ the Lord reigns in heaven. But on earth, all is not well. And in our day, we can’t even figure out what a man is, why women’s sports should only include women, or why children should not be exposed to Drag Queens in public library.

In a word, the world has gone mad. And its insanity began when words could mean anything, or nothing, or something at one time and not another.

Many have rightly claimed that those who define the terms, decide the turf. And this means that in our day, we are at war for the dictionary. As Adam was charged to name the animals, so we are watching Adam’s heirs renaming everything. Only instead of naming the world as it is, we are like Adam trying to remake the world in our own image. Instead of receiving God’s world and giving thanks, we are trying to create new worlds. And don’t think that a few old fashion pronouns can get in the way. This is our world!

As Christians, called to salvation and commissioned to bring the light of the gospel to all nations, we cannot sit back and watch. Instead, we must take up our Bibles and hack to pieces the lies that are destroying our neighbors and sending people to hell. We must learn afresh what Scripture means when it says, God made us in his image and he made us male and female. We must learn what this world is, what humans are, and why it matters.

To this end, we will spend the next 7 weeks looking at the dictionary. And that means, we will open our Bibles to define some terms. Instead of just looking at the Bible to see what works (pragmatism), we will be looking at the Bible to see what is (ontology). Ontology is the “study of being,” and in May and June, it is our task to learn something about what is, and what is not. And so we will begin this new series, Ontology: The Business of Is-Ness. We will look at a handful of passages to answer a few questions:

  1. What is God?
  2. What is the cosmos?
  3. What is humanity?
  4. What is male and female?
  5. What is the family?
  6. What is a nation?
  7. What is a church?

If those sound like important questions (N.B. They are!), then join us for this series. I will aim to put up some resources on these questions and sermons over the next few weeks. Until then, don’t forget, “is” does have a definition. And it begins with the one who was, and is, and forever will be. He is the I AM and he is source of all being.

To God be the glory, the Word who never changes and who defines all that is—both now and forever!

Soli Deo Gloria,
David Schrock

A New Sunday School Series: Strange New World

Along with this, we will compliment this sermon series with a Sunday School series on ideas and how they shape our modern world. How did the world arrive at its current, disorienting state of identity politics, and how should the church respond? To answer these questions, we are starting a Sunday School series based on Carl Trueman’s book Strange New World. Investigating philosophies from the Romantics to the New Left, we aim to outline the history of Western thought to present-day identity politics explaining the modern implications of these ideas on religion, free speech, and personal identity, combatting these philosophies with the true and final authority of God’s Word.
You can find copies of Trueman’s book on the OBC Bookshelf, or you can listen to the audiobook on Hoopla. Strange New World offers a more concise presentation of his larger work The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self, which you can also find in audiobook format on Hoopla.
This series will take place beginning May 14 through July, and will be led by David Schrock and Matt Wood.

Other Recommended Resources Include:
In Christ,
Matt Wood

Matt Wood