This blog is devoted to the written presentation defense of Christian theism. The principal essence of theology is God. Human knowledge is inescapably revelational. Man knows because God is. Reason nor science can function properly without radical transformation by God's regenerative work of grace. No other position on the subject of reason or science achieves epistemic coherence with the principle of Sola Scriptura.
Τοῦτο λέγω, ἵνα μηδεὶς ὑμᾶς παραλογίζηται ἐν πιθανολογίᾳ. (Col. 2:4)
Friday, November 30, 2012
The Threat of God: Secularism’s Objection to Biblical Christianity
If you have been watching any news at all this holiday season
you have already noticed the God-haters clubs have started their annual assault
on the religious orientation of Christmas. Why does secularism have such
hostility toward religion, and especially toward Christianity? Why do these
people find the idea of God so threatening? For many Christians, this
phenomenon is quite puzzling. After all, according to Joel Osteen, Christianity
is the very best chance you have of living your best life now. In addition, if
you listen to the prosperity preachers, America could be out of its economic
woes in a flash if they just had enough faith to speak it all away! According
to the modern gospel of modern Christianity in modern pop-culture, Jesus will
help fix your life, your career, your marriage, your kids, your finances, your
health, you name the challenge, and He will fix it.
In sharp contradistinction to the modern idea of this
strange new gospel, the Bible says something entirely different. Creation does
not revolve around me, or my happiness or my best life now. Creation was, and
is and, will always be for the sole glory of God. In order to understand why
secularism has this seemingly mysterious disposition toward God, we must turn
to Scripture. Is God the threat that Secularism considers Him to be? God’s
speech to man is not for the purpose of speculation, but rather, for
transformation. While understanding God’s revelation may require a high degree
of meditation and supposition in some instances, this is not the end goal of
that revelation. The end goal of the unveiling of God in the person of Jesus
Christ as recorded and revealed on the pages of Holy Scripture is redemption,
renewal, and transformation. God breaks onto the scene two-thousand years ago
as a babe in the manger. That babe represents the very summit of God’s
redemptive revelation to mankind. Jesus came, not to provide fodder for debate
and speculation. Rather, He came to save His people from their sin! In this
very statement rests the mystery of modern secularism’s hostility and
opposition toward God.
Jesus said, “You are of your father the devil, and you want
to do the desires of your father.” (Jn. 8:44) In this world there are two
distinct groups of people: children of God and children of the devil. This
contradicts the modern notion that we are all the children of God. To put it
quite simply, we are not. In Matthew 13 Jesus tells and explains the parable of
the wheat and the tares. He tells us that the field in this parable represents
the world. The enemy that sowed the tares is the devil. The tares are the sons
of the evil one, literally, “the sons of the evil.” The wheat are the sons of
the kingdom. In Ephesians Paul tells us we were once darkness, but we are now
light. This indicates that those outside the Christian group, outside the
kingdom of God are darkness while those in the kingdom of God are light.
Consequently, Paul commands us to walk as children of light. (Eph. 5:8)
Jesus said, “For everyone who does evil hates the light, and
does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.” (Jn. 3:20)
This is a remarkable, yet perspicuous revelation. In fact, it is starling.
Literally this verse says that men who practice evil won’t come to the light so that their wicked deeds will not be
exposed. The subordinate clause is a hina clause and this indicates purpose. The
Greek word ἐλεγχθῇ
(elegchthei) means to state that someone has done wrong, with the implication
that there is adequate proof of such wrongdoing. In short, the evil doer loves
their sin and will do whatever is necessary to avoid being convicted of it or
especially giving it up. Light threatens darkness by nature of its brightness.
Where there is light, darkness cannot exist.
Jesus said that the world hates Him because he testifies
that its deeds are evil. In other words, Jesus has intimate knowledge that the
world is guilty in the divine courtroom, and He serves as an impeccable and irreproachable
eyewitness that this world is evil. The world sits at the defense table in
utter contempt and intense hatred of the Divine witness.
Jesus said, “If you were of the world, the world would love
its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the
world, because of this the world hates you.” (Jn. 15:19) The secular world
hates Christians because Christians are not of this world. American Christians
find this truth to be almost foreign to everything the American Church has
taught them. They seem to be entirely ignorant of the fact that the Church and
the World have such a hostile relationship. It is shocking because Christians
in America bought into the idea that America was a Christian nation. While
America was founded on values that are indeed closely identified with and in
some cases identical to Christian values, this does not make her a Christian
nation. This way of looking at America has clouded the judgment of many
Christians and caused them to develop parallel loyalties for God and country
that are seemingly indistinguishable. If you listen to some people talk or read
certain blogs, Christians even have a social responsibility to preserve the “Christian
values” in secular American culture. These individuals are shocked that
American culture’s hatred for genuine Christianity is becoming more pronounced.
Jesus was unambiguous when He said that the world hates Him and that it would hate
us. He was clear on why the world would hate us. He did not launch into some convoluted
philosophical or theological explanation. Men love their sin and they want to
keep on sinning.
John tells us not to be surprised if the world hates us. (I
Jn. 3:13) Yet here we are, completely shocked that secular culture hates us.
Why are we shocked that the world hates us? Perhaps many Christians have not
spent enough time dialoguing with God by reading His word to realize the truth
of it all and to understand how we ought to respond to the vile criticism that
we experience in this world. John says we should not be shocked. Jesus warns us
that this world will hate us. Jesus also tells us to rejoice and be exceedingly
glad when men hate us. He even tells us to leap for joy! (Lu. 22-23) However,
is this how Christians are responding to persecution and hatred from American
culture? Most Christians think that it is the duty of the Church to make sure
this environment does not persist and we think the best approach is through political
activism. American Christians don’t want to suffer for the gospel. The truth is
that we don’t want to suffer for anything. We seem to be especially determined not to suffer for the gospel. One
blogger thinks it would be socially irresponsible to allow civil infringements
on religious liberty. Indeed, this philosophy seems to run quite contrary to
the NT teachings on the matter.
The apostle Paul reveals that the worldly mind, that is, the
mind of the world is a natural born, and naturally sworn enemy of God. “For the
mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and
peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not
subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” The
Greek word hostile actually means enemy. The natural mind is a natural enemy of
God. This is due to the curse of the fall. This means that the natural mind is
not open to negotiations for a peace treaty with God. The natural mind will
accept God only on its terms. In other words, God has to stop being the kind of
God He is in order for the natural mind to accept Him. Conversely, the natural
mind must stop being the natural mind in order for it to accept God as God.
This is what we call a conundrum in the south. It is what Washington Politics
call an impasse. The natural mind cannot stop being the natural mind on its
own. By definition, it would not be the natural mind if it could. Similarly,
God cannot stop being the kind of God He is without not being God at all. By
definition, He would not be God if He could.
The world demands to live its life on its own terms. It
loves its sin. The world loves to determine what kind of pleasure is acceptable
and what kind is not without regard for God. Secularism’s basic principle is
that man is the measure of all things. Man decides what is right and wrong, man
decides how life should go, determines the rules, and defines all truth.
Fundamentally speaking, at bottom, the very foundation of it all, God is the
nemesis of secular philosophy. Secularism cannot stand up to God intellectually,
ethically, or even relationally. In every way the idea of God is far more
congruent with reality than secularism could ever hope to be. Deep down inside,
secularists know this. (Romans 1) As long as God is in the public square,
secularism has someone on the field blocking its way to the end zone!
Secularism wants to remove God from the public square so that it can push its
hedonist agenda of self without restraint. Naturally speaking, this should not
surprise Christians. We should expect this kind of behavior from any godless
secular culture. Jesus spoke openly and freely about this subject. All
Christians need to do is read the NT gospels and they will realize that their
views on this subject have been sorely misinformed by men who have abandoned
the gospel long ago even though they stand in front of a podium and pretend to
preach it every Sunday.
The American culture is staunchly secular contrary to what
some evangelicals claim. It has been for some time now. America (American Christians so-called)
has made demands about the kind of God it will serve for decades. She has
corrupted the true gospel with a man-centered, hedonistic, patriotic kind of
gospel that is foreign to Scripture. She has immersed minsters in secular
philosophy and humanistic psychology for decades upon decades now. As a result,
seminaries produce men who range from being altogether inept in the content of
the gospel to being devoted skeptics and flagrant unbelievers. In short, much
of the reason the Church is shocked at the world’s hatred of Christianity can
be blamed on the fact that most pulpits and the majority of our congregations
are made up, not of the sons of the kingdom, but of sons of the evil one.
Let us rejoice that the words Christ spoke about the world
are and always have been true. We are to rejoice and leap for joy when men hate
us because of Christ. At the same time, we are to remain in constant dialogue
with this world, giving them the gospel.
Peter’s words are very fitting and encouraging in this
regard: “But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their
intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your
hearts, always being ready to make a
defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in
you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in
the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in
Christ will be put to shame. For it is better, if God should will it so, that
you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong.”