Enlightened Response to Difficulties

The Enlightenment is that period starting in the 18th century when reason ascended as the primary way to deal with our problems.  It arose as a reaction to the superstition and fear of the Middle Ages.  Much to its detriment the church had used its immense power to keep people in obedience through fear and ignorance and the 18th century saw masses coming out from under that yoke of irrational fear.  Unfortunately though, as one of my classes reminded me last week, we have become children of the enlightenment.  When difficulties strike we look to the light of our reason rather than the Light of the World.  My class presented us with an example of finding Mr. Worrall with a rabid squirrel bight.  What should we do?  Most of teh responses immediately turned to science and technology before turning to God.  Science and technology are good gifts from God, but in embracing them as tools we have enthroned them as God.  Ironically the enlightenment brought darkness to mankind when mankind enthroned his own reason and logic rather than using it as a tool.  When you are in a crisis, do you turn to God for wisdom?  Do you turn to science and technology?  Do you rely on yourself?  Where did the early church turn?

Acts 4:23-31

23 On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 25 You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:

   “‘Why do the nations rage
   and the peoples plot in vain?
26 The kings of the earth rise up
   and the rulers band together
against the Lord
   and against his anointed one.[b][c]

 27 Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. 29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”

 31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.


  1. To whom did Peter and John return?
  2. What was their prayer?
  3. Is this a model prayer for us in crisis?
  4. How do you react to crises?
  5. Do you have faith in prayer?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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