Saturday, May 27, 2017
When Scripture Loses It's Authority in the Seminary and the Church
I am taking a one-post break from my Battle for the Beginning series. However, I am convinced that this post is indelibly connected to the flawed views of those who are doing everything they can to make Christian doctrine conform to modern scientific philosophies surrounding the age of the universe along with evolutionary theory. Those who are desperately attempting to do all they can to make Christian doctrine less offensive to the modern senses ought to be fired from their posts, be they pastors or professors. They are not working in serving of the body as Ephesians 4 demands.
In the year 2000, a gallop pole asked the question, "What is your religious preference?" 82% responded Protestant, Christian, or Catholic, and only 8% responded, none. In 1950, the response was 91%, Christian and 3%, none. In 2017, the response was 62% Christian and 18%, none. From 2000 (2) to 2017 (3) the percentage of nones more than doubled. To be accurate, nones increased 125%. That is an average of 7.35% per year. Based on that projection, over the next 10 years nones could reach 34.1%. If Christianity is dropping by 1.47% per year, then the corresponding numbers could reach 55% in 2022 and 47% by 2027. In a mere 15 years, there could be more, much more nones (52%) than professing Christians (40%) Now, it is important that you understand that I am NOT among those who believe Christianity is collapsing. I am convinced that these numbers have never reflected true Christians. They reflect mostly pseudos (fake Christians-Christians in name only). The overwhelming majority of "Christians" in American history have been much closer to what might be termed a therapeutic deism, embracing something very close to Christian values and principles at the most surface levels only. As the old saying goes, mile-wide Christianity but only an inch deep. Still, the trend in our culture is extremely significant and Christians should pay very close attention.
With the increase in nones comes an increase in changing values, changing worldviews, along with pressure and persecution. And we are seeing pastors and other leader-types (professors, educators, apologists, etc.) react to these pressures differently. Most of those reactions in recent years have been mostly negative where biblical truth and authority are concerned. To be sure, the real problem is the lofty level occupied by human reason and its ability to sit in judgment of all truth-claims. If human reason deems it so, then it is so. The cause of this problem is obvious to the serious Christian: sin. Man sits in judgment of everything. He occupies that chair for which he desperately aimed thousands of years ago in the garden: the place belonging solely to God.
Sin displaces God and in his place, inserts human reason. Man judges what can and cannot be known, what is and is not moral, what is and is not the state of affairs than have obtained. In other words, human reason dictates our metaphysic, epistemology, and ethic, as opposed to God through divine revelation. Whatever violates man's standard is dealt with harshly. Now, in American culture, man has extended a certain cognitive respect to Christian principles over the course of her short history. But that respect has always been determined, not by Christian principles themselves, but by what human reason has been willing itself to extend. And as one looks at the trends above, human reason in American culture is rapidly changing. It is my conviction that the primary driver of this rapid change is the professing Christian's view of Scripture. The visible Church has always served as a counter-balancing element in American culture. She pushed back on certain ideas and beliefs. And even if it was in word only, she upheld certain Christian principles that served to influence the external behavior of the culture at large. But that has been changing slowly over the years and as the numbers above indicate, that change as accelerated at an alarming rate. I blame this acceleration on an evangelical community that has been rapidly succumbing to the pressure of the culture. The problem if complex and it is beyond the scope of this post to get into the details. However, make no mistake about it; the subject of this scope is the only cure, the only hope that Church has for thriving in a culture that is obviously post-Christian at this point even if that "Christian era" was more pseudo than genuine where the majority is concerned.
The solution to this problem is for evangelicals to stop compromising every truth taught in Scripture that modern intellects, secularism, judges to be offensive intellectually or morally. Even when we state the truth, we find ourselves trying every way possible to take the stinger out of it. Isn't it true? How many times do you find yourself having to talk about God's truth knowing that the other participants in the conversation are going to find your position incredibly offensive and so you try your best to state it as softly as you can. Why? Why do we do this? We do it because we are desperate NOT to offend anyone. But what if such an approach offends God? Yes, what about that?
The purpose of this section is to provide an overview of the Christian doctrine of Scripture. One's view of Scripture will do more than anything else to determine how they think about and interact with modern culture. Churches that have lowered their view on Scripture find themselves becoming more and more irrelevant where true Christian living is concerned. From my perspective, nothing is more important in the American Churches today than ensuring that our people understand what the Scripture teaches about itself and what Christianity has always affirmed about the nature of God's Word set down in written form.