2 Corinthians 4:18b
This verse is from one of my favorite passages in all of scripture, telling us as it does that we needn’t worry about our earthly afflictions. They’re light, in the context of all eternity; and they are working for us a “far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (verse 17).
So don’t sweat today’s problems, folks. Don’t even really consider them, if they involve things that you can see – your money or career or possessions, your appearance or wardrobe or career, your hipness or lack thereof. These things are all just temporary, and they have nothing to do with what’s in store for us in eternity.
Talk about liberation! And this is just one of scores of Bible passages that free the believer in Jesus Christ from the bondage of this world.
What blows my mind is how I spent years believing just the opposite, thanks to the teaching of a popular Journalism professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and a little gem of ‘70s higher education that he called the Ploggly Theory.
According to this professor, the Ploggly Theory said, in a nutshell: If you can’t see it, it doesn’t exist. And this includes fairies, demons, devils and gods.
Isn’t that interesting? It’s a direct contradiction of the apostle Paul’s teaching that “the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” And it was a key component of '70s-era Journalism training, at least at UWM.
“If you can’t see it, it doesn’t exist.” To think that my widowed Christian mother paid good money to have this professor teach me this lie.
And to think that I was not smart enough (or perhaps enough of a truth hawk) to call him on it – to say, “Hey, Professor, does that mean love doesn’t exist? How about peace? How about other unseen things, like patience and charity, joy and truth, faithfulness and self-control? Or how about hatred and jealousy, idolatry and selfish ambition? Do none of these ‘unseen things’ exist?”
Such a challenge might have led to an interesting discussion, especially if one of my classmates had turned out to be biblically literate – a real possibility 40 years ago. But even without that key component, our lives might all have turned out differently if just one of us had had the intellect, and the guts, to exercise a little critical thinking.
But it didn’t happen. In fact, I took as many classes as possible from the Journalism professor who taught me about the Ploggly Theory. And I was far from alone; my hippie-dippy friends were equally crazy about him.
How can this be, that such a beloved professor could teach such a bold and spiritually destructive lie, and get away with it?
I guess the apostle Paul answered that question, too, in the 11th chapter of the same epistle to the Corinthians: “Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.”
Wish I’d known all of this back then. Wish I’d known, too, about the apostle Peter’s warning in chapter 5 of his first epistle: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”
Of course, the Ploggy Theory would have told me to ignore such warnings, since devils and demons don’t exist. But maybe, just maybe, I might have at least given the issue a little thought.