The modern era was a western phenomenon. Travelling west brings you to The Age of the Enlightenment. It’s not clear whether Postmodernism represents a radical change of direction, travelling East, or just continuing further in the same direction. Either way, you end up in the East. And travelling east brings you to the Age of the Inner Light.

The western way to Enlightenment was academic study; the eastern way is meditation. But neither direction has been biblical. When western study separated itself from divine revelation and objective truth it condemned itself to futility. But eastern meditation separates itself from the same things, and thus has nothing in common with biblical meditation, and remains but another form of darkness.

Biblical meditation fills the mind with God’s truth, and in the Word we find Him. The pursuit of “Inner Light” requires the emptying of the mind. Modernism used to try to fill the mind with facts apart from God. Contemporary spirituality tries to empty the mind of anything so as to find the god within. Sadly many Christians are using these eastern techniques in various forms of “contemplative prayer”. As they empty their minds, they may get in touch with a deeper part of their being. They think they’ve found God. But tragically it might be the devil disguised as an Angel of Light rather than the True Light.

Successful basketball coach Phil Jackson understands the difference between east and west. The mystical approach influences the way he prepares his team for games. In his book “Sacred Hoops” he details various meditation techniques he uses. But he expresses a personal frustration. Although he is now a proponent of New Age mysticism, he has childhood Pentecostal roots. He says he has a hard time mediating, because every time he empties his mind the Bible keeps coming back in!

John has a phrase to describe this. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (1:5). The light continued to shine in the darkness of modernity. While the 20th century exploded with violence as the philosophies of secular humanism became flesh, the light of the gospel spread as never before. So too now: the light of a biblical heritage keeps breaking out. East and West will unite in the Light of the World. Jesus will reign wherever the sun runs on its successive journeys; the sun will never set on the Son’s Empire.