“Reinvent your life.”
“Transcend your unhealthy habits.”
“Harness the power of a positive mindset.”
These are slogans of a secular culture that recognizes a human problem, and is actively engaged in a quest for self-transformation.
Bhikkhu Bodhi, an American Buddhist monk, observed that “the urge for a radical reshaping of the personality persists as strong as ever, appearing in guises that are compatible with the secular worldview.”
While our culture appears to be less religious than it once was, there remains abundant promotion and consumption of movements, ranging from Mindfulness to Yoga, that acknowledge a broken human condition and offer self-transformation.
All of these movements involve self-induced methods of improving the existing human nature. Even the distinctive Buddhist principle of self-transcendence contents itself with improving the existing nature.
The Bible also identifies a universal internal human problem. For example, the letter to the Romans confesses that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
But notice how different the Christian solution is to the human problem. When a Jew named Nicodemus acknowledged that Jesus was a teacher, Jesus replied by saying, “I assure you: Unless someone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (See John 3:3.)
Contrary to teaching another method of improving the existing nature, Jesus indicated a transformation that involves the birth of a new nature. Such a transformation necessitates the agency of an external power. The Bible describes a salvation that is not the work of the person being saved, but is the work of the transcendent Creator God — the giver of life.
We join with Christians across all history in testifying to this power in our lives, and we urge you to investigate the true God, who is the only source of eternally-relevant transformation.