Article ID: eN140814 | By: Hank Hanegraaff

Ontological Imperative


Don’t let the title scare you. Unlike most articles on ontology, I promise this won’t leave you feeling like you’re trying to eat fog with chopsticks!

But before I share what’s on my heart – or more accurately what’s at the core of my being – let me clarify my use of “ontology.”

As more serious students of apologetics know, ontology is part of a major branch of philosophy known as metaphysics. It wrestles with the fundamental nature of reality and questions regarding what entities actually exist.

Less ethereally, ontology grapples with questions such as “What is existence?” “What does it mean to really be?” “What is the relationship between being and becoming?” (Okay, maybe not less ethereal!)

Actually, my concern in this article has nothing to do with esoteric metaphysical categories and a great deal to do with a depth of passion and conviction. It has less to do with “being” and more to do with being here (in the United States), now (August 2014), and what I am doing to make a difference.

As I survey the current state of our nation, I cannot escape the impression that we are witnessing a gathering (and increasingly deadly) storm. For example, suicide has become the second leading cause of death in America for ages 10 – 24. In fact, more teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease combined. Add to this the sobering reality that 1.21 million abortions are performed each year (57 million since Roe v. Wade in 1973) and that shootings on our school campuses are becoming painfully commonplace.

As I contemplate the church’s response to these ominous assaults on life, it seems to me that as Christians we fall into one of three categories: the anesthetized, the paralyzed, and the mobilized:

  • First, there are those who in their “spare time” passively think it would be nice to do something meaningful and really make a difference. To these anesthetized brothers and sisters, I would lovingly but sternly say, “Wake up. Apparently you don’t get what’s going on here.”
  • Second, there are those who feel they really should do something. Not yet at the point of transformational awareness or genuine conviction, these folks are well intentioned but still paralyzed.
  • Third, there are those for whom making a difference isn’t just an option. It’s an ontological imperative: a mandate that emanates daily from the core of their being like the aftershocks of an earthquake. These followers of Christ have awakened, shaken off their paralysis, and are mobilizing to be effective agents of change for the kingdom.

I’m hoping by now it’s clear which category I’m in. I’m praying you’re there with me.