“Which leads us to, what worldviews in uence the other 81 percent? Our survey found that 61 percent of church-going Christians are in uenced by the New Spiritualist worldview. That’s the view proudly brought to you by the city of Manitou Springs, Colorado,” Jeff smiles.
Jeff noted that people often hold opinions that, when followed to their logical conclusion, are contradictory. “People set up a separate context for each question. Maybe they’re compartmentalizing,” he says.
Based on his own experiences, Jeff can understand how we might be vulnerable to ideas that lead us off course. He shares, “My family and I came to Colorado about five-and-a-half years ago to head up Summit. About four years ago, my marriage unexpectedly came to an end. So I’m trying to be a divorced man in charge of a ministry, along with attending PTA meetings and planning menus for the kids. For about a year-and-a-half I tried to be super dad.”
All of these responsibilities piled on top of the hectic schedule of Jeff’s day job. “Hundreds of students are here at Summit all summer. There’s never a dull moment. You never stop to think how you feel. But by the end of that summer, I realized I was in trouble. I talked to a mentor who asked, ‘Are you angry?’ I said, ‘No,’ and I realized that I wasn’t angry about anything. I just no longer cared. I had lost the capacity to care — even about whether I lived or died.”
Jeff joined friends on a hunting trip to try to press the pause button. One day he went for a long solo run. “As I ran along those South Dakota country roads, I felt an overwhelming sense of sadness come over me and I just broke down.”
“I started weeping as I ran. I turned up the music on my MP3 player, because that’s what I’d been taught to do when in pain — to drown it out. And then the MP3 player battery died. The only sounds were my footsteps on the gravel and my thoughts. So I started to pray. And the words that came out were, ‘God, I think I know what’s going on here: You are a bully. I’ve loved You and served You, so why do You keep kicking me?’
“I knew Christian worldview. I knew apologetics. I believed a biblical worldview holds the answer to all of life’s problems. I wasn’t doubting whether God exists. I was doubting whether or not He was good. And I realized later, that’s probably where a lot of people are at. I know a lot of people who have had experiences in life that are so tough that they doubt God’s goodness.
“So it was three weeks later that I started work on this new book, The Secret Battle of Ideas About God. It took a while for my team to get over being nervous about what I’d shared with them. But I knew I had to write the book — to understand how I’d been infected by these idea-viruses over the years.
“A virus is a bit of genetic code that weaves itself into the genetic code of a healthy cell, so that when the cell starts reproducing, it reproduces copies of the virus. By the time you know you have a cold, you might have a trillion copies of the virus in your body. So it is with ideas. The battle is against those fragments of ideas that come in that make us feel that we’re unloved, that we don’t matter. That if we were to disappear no one would care.”
In the book Jeff explores how varying worldviews answer life’s five big questions: Am I loved? Why do I hurt? What is my purpose? Why can’t we get along? Where is the hope?
In addition to the book’s unique and stimulating ideas that encourage the reader to consider the value and truth of a biblical worldview, the pages are highlighted by stories. “The stories I tell are of my own life experiences,” Jeff notes. “This may be a big mistake. It’s a very vulnerable book, but it’s not an autobiography. I don’t want the book to be about me. I want it to be about Jesus.”
I ask Jeff about how the ways we process factual information and intellectual ideas intersect with our stories and emotions. He ponders for a moment and then responds, “I’m pretty sure that there isn’t as neat of a distinction between the two as I used to believe there was. Proverbs 23 tells us that as a man thinks in his heart, so he is.”
Jeff sees a clear connection between the heart, the inner world of ideas and reality. “We use ideas to access reality. So I guess, what I want to know in those dif cult situations in life is, can I trust Jesus with this? Is there some depth in what the Bible has to say? If I’m going to be hanging off a cliff, I want to know that my anchors are well placed.”
Through his studies as well as his own journey, Jeff has come to deeply understand that even when life is falling apart, the hope we nd in the work of Christ holds rm. It’s a hope worth sharing. He says, “The gospel is so amazing. We are not necessarily supposed to go out and proclaim the four spiritual laws. It’s more than that. Jesus tells us to take heart because He has overcome the world. We’re not going out and saying, ‘trust Jesus because He’s in the sky.’ Were saying, ‘Jesus has won! He’s won the victory over evil, and we’re just here to proclaim that.’ Anybody can do that!”