Post Tagged as ‘Christian worldview’

SBC Calvinism Advisory Committee Panel Discussion

At the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention [SBC] this past June, there was a panel discussion with members from the SBC Calvinism Advisory Committee, which was headed by Drs. Frank Page and David Dockery. [Video from the panel discussion …

Read More

Dr. Russell Moore: The State’s Interest in Marriage Briefly Explained

Why does the state have any interest in recognizing marriages at all? I believe that many people- even many Christians who greatly value marriage- would be hard pressed to offer an answer to this question; marriage is currently seen as a mere personal choice, with little thought given to the broader societal impact of marriage.

At a “Next Generation Event” during the recent annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, Dr. Russell Moore, President of the Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, helpfully gave one main reason for the state’s interest in marriage:

The reason why the state [traditionally] recognizes male/female one-flesh unions: there’s a reason for that. There are all kinds of things the state doesn’t recognize that are important things: lots of us in this room are friends, [but] we didn’t go to the courthouse and register our friendship, and, if we ever get mad at one another and decide we’re not going to speak to one another, we don’t go to the courthouse and deal with it that way; the state doesn’t care who you’re friends with, [so] why does the state care who you’re married to? The state cares who you’re married to because (the state has an interest in that because) a male/female union- at least potentially- has some implications that society has to deal with, and those “implications” are called children. And so the state has to recognize, in some way, marriage, unless you’re going to have the kind of society where children are just abandoned on the side of the road and no one is taking care of them. I mean, really, when you think about the state’s interest in marriage, it boils down to, at the most basic level, issues of child support: ‘who’s responsible for this baby?’ The state is interested in that.

[The rest of the video from which the above quote was taken may be seen HERE.]

Even more recently, in an interview with National Review Online, Dr. Moore again gave a succinct answer concerning the state’s interest in marriage, this time explicitly mentioning the state’s interest in promoting situations in which children have the benefit of both a father and a mother:

The government has recognized marriage for one reason. The union of a man and a woman has implications for all of society in a way other relationships don’t. Male/female sexuality brings with it the possibility of children. Very few of us want the sort of “lord of the flies” laissez-faire kind of society which doesn’t care what happens to children. Encouraging the sort of fidelity that maintains, wherever possible, the right of a child to both a mother and a father is a state interest.

[The rest of the article from which the above quote was taken may be read HERE.]

Read More

Culture, Morally Neutral?

I found the following quote saved in an old document file on my computer. I’m not sure of the original source, but it’s thought-provoking, to say the least:You constantly read this: ‘Culture is neutral- morally neutral. So if culture changes, we can ad…

Read More

That Postmodern Inclusivism is Antithetical to Biblical Christianity

My Position Reiterated Postmodern philosophy is an enemy to the gospel as surely as was the philosophy of modernism. As modernism assaulted the Word of God through rationalistic “higher criticism” that undermined the inerrancy of Scripture and proceeded to deny the posibility of God through embracing materialism, which is contrary to Jesus’ teaching that “God is Spirit” (cf. John 4:24). Postmodernism assaults the Word of God by an experientialism that undermines the sufficiency of Scripture and proceeds to deny Jesus through embracing relativism, which is contrary to Jesus’ teaching that “I am the Truth” (cf. John 14:6). Postmodern Inclusivism Explained […]

Read More

That Postmodern Inclusivism is Antithetical to Biblical Christianity

My Position Reiterated

Postmodern philosophy is an enemy to the gospel as surely as was the philosophy of modernism. As modernism assaulted the Word of God through rationalistic “higher criticism” that undermined the inerrancy of Scripture and proceeded to deny the posibility of God through embracing materialism, which is contrary to Jesus’ teaching that “God is Spirit” (cf. John 4:24). Postmodernism assaults the Word of God by an experientialism that undermines the sufficiency of Scripture and proceeds to deny Jesus through embracing relativism, which is contrary to Jesus’ teaching that “I am the Truth” (cf. John 14:6).

Postmodern Inclusivism Explained

A prime example of the assault waged by postmodernism against the gospel of our Lord can be seen in the chapter “Between Exclusivity and Plurality: Toward a Postmodern Christian Philosophy of Other Religions” by Andrew Dell’Olio found in the book Postmodern Philosophy and Christian Thought, edited by Merold Westphal. In this chapter, Dell’Olio states that he wishes to “bracket” the issue of salvation and speak instead of truth– he decries what he refers to as the error of “soteriocentrism”– indeed, he directly identifies the idea of soul-winning to the crusades or jihad: acts of violence by religious fanatics.

He states, “I will argue that the postmodern Christian philosopher ought to reject the position of religious exclusivism.” [In this case, “religious exclusivism” refers to the belief that Christianity is true and all other religions are false.]

Calling for “a posture of openness to the other religion,” the author promotes “a postmodern version of Christian inclusivism [which] maintains that divine truth is definitely in Jesus Christ, but that Christianity- the religion- does not enjoy full possession of this truth. Postmodern Christian inclusivism thereby refrains from granting the teachings and practices of the Christian religion any absolute status vis-a-vis other religions.” The author asserts that as all people are made by God for God, any person of another religion may have had divine truth revealed to them, and so we should listen to them. As could already be expected from the previous statements, it is clearly stated in this chapter that people will not go to hell for choosing some religion other than Christianity.

The Biblical Response Examined

First, I would like to point out that the attempt to discuss truth in this context while ignoring the question of salvation is an impossible task. For all religions have an ultimate goal at their core, such as gaining the favor of a god, attaining spiritual enlightenment, or living in harmony with the universe. When a Christian speaking from the biblical perspective makes the claim that the teaching of God’s Word is true and all other religious perspectives are false, the point is not that the various world religions are incorrect on all points of fact, but rather that they fail to achieve the end to which they claim to aspire, whereas only biblical Christianity has the hope of achieving its stated goal- that of eternal reconciliation with God.

The basic, insurmountable problem of seeking to unite a philosophy that promotes inclusivism with Christianity is that the Christian Scriptures– the authority on which the Christian religion rests– are outspokenly exclusive in the sense mentioned above.

To list all the verses that prove this point would basically reconstruct the entire Bible right here on this blog, so I will give a limited sampling from some of the major groupings and teachers recorded in Scripture:

The Law, the Psalms and the Prophets

The Law of Moses commands worship to the LORD exclusively (Exodus 22:20 NKJV): “He who sacrifices to any god, except to the Lord only, he shall be utterly destroyed.”

The Psalms teach us to that there is no god but the LORD alone, and so those who worship other gods are idolaters (Psalm 96:5 NKJV): “For all the gods of the peoples are idols, But the Lord made the heavens.”

The prophet Isaiah records the words of the LORD mocking other gods and naming worshippers of other gods as an abomination (Isaiah 41:21-24 NKJV):

“Present your case,” says the Lord. “Bring forth your strong reasons,” says the King of Jacob. “Let them bring forth and show us what will happen; Let them show the former things, what they were, That we may consider them, And know the latter end of them; Or declare to us things to come. Show the things that are to come hereafter, That we may know that you are gods; Yes, do good or do evil, That we may be dismayed and see it together. Indeed you are nothing, And your work is nothing; He who chooses you is an abomination.”

The New Testament Witness

The Apostle Paul preached an exclusive gospel (Galatians 1:6-9 ESV):

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel: not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.”

The Apostle Peter taught an exclusive gospel (Acts 4:11-12 ESV):

“This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Jesus taught an exclusive gospel (John 14:6 ESV):

Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'”

Conclusion

It has been my desire in this post to obey the command of God:

But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil. (I Thessalonians 5:21-22 NASB)

Postmodern inclusivism has been demonstrated to be a form of evil as it directly contradicts the Word of God.

In seeking to “bracket” the issue of salvation, this philosophy has utterly forsaken the only hope of salvation, found in God’s Word alone:

Where is the philosopher? Where is the scholar? Where is the debater of this age? Hasn’t God made the world’s wisdom foolish? For since, in God’s wisdom, the world did not know God through wisdom, God was pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of the message preached. (I Corinthians 1:20-21 HCSB)

[For further reading on related subjects, please see the following links: “The Law of Contradiction” by Phil Johnson, “A Word About Labels” by Phil Johnson, “What Should We Think of the Emerging Church?” Part One and Part Two by Al Mohler.]

Read More

out of the frying pan…

“If you could hie to Kolob in the twinkling of an eye, and then continue onward with that same speed to fly, Do you think that you could ever, through all eternity, find out the generation where Gods began to be?” from the Mormon hymn, “If You Could Hi…

Read More

The Necessity of Theology

“I grew up impressed by the people I knew in the buckle of the Bible belt
Hopped in a van with a band, now I’ve been just about everywhere else.
Met a soldier from Seattle and a lawyer from the east,
a Texas oil baron and Roman Catholic priest.
Everyday I choose, to walk in their shoes,
’cause pretty are the feet of those who bring the good news
‘Cause it’s a Good people, good, good people, everywhere, everywhere it’s God’s people.”
from Audio Adrenaline, “Good People”

A common objection to the study of theology is the assertion we that should be more focused on doing right than on knowing right doctrine. Even many Christians will assert that as followers of Jesus, we should be more focused on imitating His example than on meditating on His teaching. But upon closer inspection, it becomes clear that true theology is absolutely necessary for the things we do to be accepted by God. As Phil Johnson recently explained on his blog [Pyromaniac]:

Authentic good works flow from sound doctrine; not the other way around. Orthodoxy [right belief] is what gives rise to orthopraxy [right action]. It never works in reverse. This, after all, is the basic message of Christianity: good works are a fruit of genuine faith. Faith, not any kind of work, is the sole instrument by which we lay hold of justification (Romans 4:4-5). And the practical righteousness of sanctification follows that (Hebrews 11:6; Galatians 5:6). Genuinely good works do not—and cannot—precede faith (Romans 8:7-8).


In other words, orthodoxy does take precedence over orthopraxy. That is an essential ramification of true biblical and evangelical doctrine. Orthodox doctrine really is more important than social action.


That is not to suggest that good works, human compassion, or godly virtues are optional. Far from it. (That certainly ought to be clear; for more than 35 years, our ministry [Grace to You] has opposed the kind of antinomianism that portrays good works as irrelevant to authentic faith.) But good works are secondary to faith and sound doctrine, because they flow from it. They are caused by it. They are never the cause of it. Social action and political causes (whether on the right wing or the left) are simply not as important as the truth of the gospel message, and every Christian’s personal priorities ought to reflect that principle.

Sinful behavior is always a fruit of wrong beliefs. You can be certain that if your behavior is bad, you have a belief somewhere that needs correcting.


For example, even if you can recite the catechism perfectly on the divine attributes, if you persist in deliberate sin, you do not fear God the way you should, and that is a belief (or lack thereof) that needs to be corrected with more orthodox thinking.


To put it another way, sound teaching (orthodoxy) is ultimately a necessary remedy for all evil praxis.
By the way, that’s why Jesus spoke of the Word as the instrument of sanctification. And that’s why orthodoxy itself should never be derided just because some who seem to be superficially “orthodox” might behave badly.

It’s certainly true that “doing is more important than words.” No one here has argued otherwise.
However (and this is the point I have labored to make), “orthodoxy” is not about words. It’s about truth, real belief, and the word of God. If it doesn’t result in “doing,” it isn’t true orthodoxy; it’s dead faith. That’s James’s point in chapter 2.


On the other hand, genuine goodness is not the fruit of pietistic doing. It’s the fruit of faith–and genuine faith is rooted in orthodox beliefs, not unorthodox ones.


It is important to note that true theology leading to orthodoxy, or right belief, is more than just intellectual knowledge about facts concerning the person and work of God through Jesus Christ, but true theology is not less than this knowledge. The biblical definition of saving faith includes information (biblical knowledge about God’s holiness, our sinfulness, and salvation through Christ), intellectual assent (confession that Jesus is Lord), repentance, and trust in Christ alone as Savior.

For those of us who have trusted in Christ, we must remember that all commands in the Bible flow out of the command to love God (Matthew 22:37; Deuteronomy 6:5) and we cannot love someone we do not know. It is for this reason that knowledge of God is stressed in the Bible and that right knowledge is said to have transforming power in our lives. So that the Apostle Paul declares:

And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, (Philippians 1:9 NASB)

And again he commands us:

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2 NASB)

[This post was originally published on 6/28/05.]

Read More

The Source of Theology

“I don’t need no one to tell me about heaven- I look at my daughter, and I believe.
I don’t need no proof when it comes to God and truth- I can see the sunset and I perceive.” from Live, “Heaven”

It has already been asserted on this blog that every person has an innate knowledge of God: that the world we see around us testifies to God as the Sovereign Creator and our own consciences testify to God as the Holy Lawgiver.

What then of theology? Is it possible to carefully observe the natural laws of the world around us and “search our feelings” to come to a right knowledge of God?

The answer is “no”for the reason mentioned in the last post, namely, the tendency that we all have toward independence and selfish pride. The outcome of this tendency will always be idolatry, but in the first instance our self-centeredness manifests itself in ingratitude. We all use God’s creation evey day to our own pleasure and we order our lives and (collectively) our societies around the moral precepts that God has placed in our hearts, but how often do we fail to give God thanks for all these things? On the other hand, due to the conviction of conscience, most people do not wish to boldly declare, “I am my own god!” and so they choose some religion for themselves to cover over their basic self-centered ingratitude.

What is needed is for something to cut through the cloak that we have placed over our radically corrupted soul to get at the root problem of defiance against God: defiance against the dependent, worshipful relationship for which we were created. For this purpose, God has provided the Law. As we see the Law of God, especially as explained by Jesus in the book of Matthew chapter 5, we are confronted with how far we have fallen short of God’s holy standard. We realize that each time we lust when we should love, we prove ourselves to be adulterers, that each time we are angry out of selfishness, we prove ourselves to be murderers, and that each time we lie, we are rebelling against God, who is Truth.

This Law is what drives us to forsake our selfishness and to cry out to God for mercy. And God has provided mercy through the death of His Son, Jesus Christ, who died on the Cross as a payment for the guilt of our sins and conquered death, being raised again to life.

The source of true theology comes by the Holy Bible, which is the perfect record of God’s Law and the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Scripture alone is the authoritative, necessary, sufficient, and clear source for Theology and for Church life and teaching. Scripture is the very Word of God transmitted by Him in every word and as a whole. As God’s revelation, Scripture is as truthful and authoritative as God Himself. Scripture’s main purpose is salvation: to proclaim the message of reconciliation to God through Jesus Christ. In order to accomplish this purpose, Scripture is crystal clear in all matters regarding salvation. Through Scripture alone we have a right knowledge of God and our means of a right relationship with Him.

The instruction of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is trustworthy, making the inexperienced wise.
The precepts of the Lord are right,making the heart glad;
the commandment of the Lord is radiant, making the eyes light up.
The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever;
the ordinances of the Lord are reliable and altogether righteous.
They are more desirable than gold: than an abundance of pure gold;
and sweeter than honey: than honey dripping from the comb.
In addition, Your servant is warned by them; there is great reward in keeping them.
Who perceives his unintentional sins? Cleanse me from my hidden faults.

Moreover, keep Your servant from willful sins; do not let them rule over me.
Then I will be innocent, and cleansed from blatant rebellion.

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to You,
Lord, my rock and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19:7-14 HCSB)

[This is edited from a post originally published on 6/24/2005.]

Read More