The Key to Resolving All Social Ills
It is self-evident that if humanity, as a unit, decided to obey all of God's laws then almost all social ills would disappear overnight: Greed and hunger, sexual perversion and related disease, adultery, rape, covetousness and theft, murder, racism and all forms of malice etc. These would be replaced with love, unselfishness and honoring the image of God in every person. The problem is, however, that obeying God's law is wholly UNNATURAL to us. Our nature is repulsed at living this way even though we know with certainty that it would help resolve almost all social ills entirely. Being unnatural means not only are we unable to live according to God's laws but also that we do not WANT to live according to His laws. This fact demonstrates that the solution to man's ills are not to be found in himself or better education. In fact, history demonstrates that the better educated just seem to find more crafty ways of doing evil. No the "natural solution" to man's ills is proven to be bankrupt and our only hope is a supernatural one, outside of ourselves. This testifies to the validity of the Bible as the solution to our ills because it so understands human nature as it really is, and points to our only solution: Jesus Christ.
"Imagine All the People Living Life in Peace"
The underlying message of John Lennon's song "Imagine" is not actually about peace, but instead, draws clear lines of hostility. He imagines a world where no one believes in heaven and hell, and then, at the end of the song, calls everyone to join him in HIS belief, which, he declares, would swiftly bring about utopia. In other words, he is asserting that "if you only thought like me, and not like them, then we would all live as one." So, in reality, all he is doing to calling people out of one ideology to another. There is nothing neutral about it.
The Narcissism Epidemic
Many churches in our day offer entertaining music, fluffy sermons, and demand nothing. In short, they give people what they want. But what if “what they want” is informed by a culture of narcissism? On this edition of White Horse Inn, Michael Horton talks with psychology writer Jean Twenge, author of Generation Me and coauthor of The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement (originally aired Aug 2, 2009).
Why Are Secular Progressives So Threatened by the Christian's View of Homosexual Behavior?
Why do the the secular progressives feel so threatened when homosexual behavior is called a sin by Christians? Is this sin unique among sins? The recent fury by the Hollywood crowd over Kirk Cameron's honest answer to a journalist's question got me to thinking about this.
For thousands of years the church has declared many various things as sinful; practices that are in direct rebellion against the Creator. These are acts that God Himself revealed to men as opposing his Lordship. The church has always declared the sinfulness of sex outside the covenant of marriage (before and after marriage), the sinfulness of idol worship, greed, hatred, pride and arrogance, self-righteousness, murder and many more. And the largest proportion of these are directed toward the church's own sin. You can see this every morning in our prayers and every Sunday (in confessional churches) during the corporate confession of sin where we remind ourselves that we are sinners and do so by then naming specific sins we ourselves are all guilty of ... and the very grace in the gospel constantly reminds that we are no better than others (this is such an easy sin for all of us to fall into), and we also remind ourselves that but for the grace and mercy of God in Jesus Christ alone would would have no hope at all. We confess daily that if we based our ability to please God and earn eternal life on our own broken sinful lives, that none of us would make it, since we all justly deserve God's wrath. Humanity, therefore, needs a Savior because it is in slavery to sin and bent on rebellion against the only one who can deliver us. None of us are immune from sin and our personal sin is not above the sin of the gay person. We are all equally damned without God's grace.
When we tell others that something they are doing is sinful behavior in the eyes of God it is not because we hate them or think we are better than them. On the contrary, it is a call from other sinners like them to escape their slave-master and flee to Jesus Christ, the one who lived the life we should have lived and, in our place, died the death we justly deserve. None of us are born free. Only Christ can set us free.
Now, the secularist may not agree with that and think it is foolish to believe in God, but it is only spreading the greatest ignorance to imagine that when the Christian says homosexuality is sin that it somehow promotes hatred, bigotry and bullying, all sins that are equally bad, if not worse, than homosexual behavior itself. When we declare these other practices sinful, I noticed that the progressives do not call it hatred. They may laugh and shrug their shoulders but they do not think it is bigotry. So why is it then that this particular sin is singled out? It seems to me that the purpose has more to do with the political rhetoric used when someone wants power, than anything based in reality. If Christians are bullying people because they are gay, then in all likelihood they are not Christians. I think deep down the progressive secularists know that Christians declare God's law, not out of hatred but of love. We can even see this in popular culture. On Seinfeld, When Elaine's Christian boyfriend did not warn her about hell, she complained that he did not care about her because if he thought there was a hell, he should at least warn her about it, even though she didn't personally think there was a hell.
This is not not say that there are not so-called Christians who hate or are bigoted. It is to say that this is not the motive behind the vast majority of those in the true church. We rail against bigotry and hate in ourselves every bit as much, if not more, than we do someone's perverse sexual behavior. Homosexuality is really not something we think about very often. But if you ask us or if you would have us vote our conscience when the issue comes up then we will. Christians will never, and I repeat NEVER, change their mind about this. God's law always triumphs over social pressure. Time to be tolerant yourselves and get used to it without calling other people hateful. This reaction is evidence of Christophobia rather than anything resembling what is going on in our minds.. That is merely to spread false reports and may help a political cause but it does not match reality.
Remember it is one thing for individuals to commit a sin and yet know its wrong and feel remorse about it. All men do this and such sin is forgivable. But it is entirely another matter when society begins to call good "evil", and evil "good"... by calling good "bigotry". This is the height of mass self-deception.
Psalm 51:5 - 'Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.'
Two Levels of Human Sin
It is one thing for individuals to commit a sin and yet know its wrong and feel remorse about it. All men do this and such sin is forgivable. But it is entirely another matter when society at large begins to call good "evil", and evil "good"... and zealously creates laws, and teaches presuppositions to children which positively mock God's law, calling it "bigotry" ... When society reaches this point we know God is beginning to pronounce judgment on people by giving them OVER to their sin. (see Rom 1:26, 28, 32). This is when the Holy Spirit no longer restrains sinners from engaging in sin but gives them exactly what they want, such that the sinner pursues his wicked ends with abandon ...
People in every age sin, but mostly knew (to one degree or another) that they were doing wrong. They may have done it against their own conscience knowing deep down they were doing wrong. But when a civilization reaches a point where good is aggressively derided openly and publicly as evil, and evil is promoted as the norm, in the name of some legal fictional justice or of a twisted understanding of "civil rights", then Lord help us all.
Luther once said,
"we are compelled to serve in Satan's kingdom if we are not plucked from it by Divine power ....we are translated into [God's] kingdom, not by our own power, but by the grace of God, which delivers us from this present evil world and tears us away from the power of darkness..."
While all unbelievers are captive to sin and Satan (2 Tim 2:26),when people are given over they have what is known as "Stockholm Syndrome" which is a paradoxical phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and have positive feelings towards their captors, sometimes to the point of defending them.
When we pray and persuade our skeptical friends we need to remind them that we are acting on their behalf as their friends so when they continue in sin they are working against themselves, and helping their captor.
A True Work of Art
What does art tell us about our cultureâ€™s hopes, values, and fears?
Thatâ€™s the question Dr. David Murray seeks to answer following a visit to the Grand Rapids Artprize Festival, which awards the winner $250,000, making it the worldâ€™s largest art prize.
A Theocratic or a Secularist State? Or Neither?
Until the Lord Jesus Christ returns and establishes justice (Rev 6:16, 17; 11:18) by trampling down his enemies in the great winepress of His wrath (Rev 14:19, 20), Christians are to advance the kingdom of God through proclaiming his word with love and persuasion. Aside from the secularist hysteria about the dangers of Christian theocracy, the vast majority of Christians actually have no more interest in establishing a theocratic Christian state, than in establishing a purely secularist state. Both are equally loathsome to us. Here is why. The secularist mullahs are just as dangerous as the Christian ones. Too much power in the hands of anyone, including certain denominations of Christians, is dangerous because man is corruptible. That is why limited government and a balance of power is a reasonable idea, because it understands the sinful limitations of human beings, whether they be secularist, Christian, Muslim or Buddhist.
Even though Christians know the only truth, they also know themselves too well as sinners to be without the restraint of law or a balance of power. So when Christians speak of separation of church and state we include all ideas under this umbrella, including secularism. One thing many secularists fail to realize though, is that neither they nor their ideas are religiously neutral. Yet they seem to have convinced themselves that they are neutral....even though (ironically) the secularists want to vigorously impose their own moral code on society, ideas which have both affirmations and denials about the nature of good and evil. Even in the face of this obvious truth, the secularists amazingly still want to exempt themselves from the separation of church and state clause. It is amazing to me that they do not see how very exclusionary of all other ideas this is and leaves power in the hands of secularists alone. They think, "others are forbidden to speak in the public square because they are religious but WE CAN because we are not religious." But if, on the other hand, we understand the separation clause more broadly, wherein all views are included under the separation of church and state (that is NO religion can be established, including secularism) then ALL religions and worldviews can speak freely in the public square and compete in the free market of ideas... That is closer to true liberty. Remember, we live in a secular country, not a secularist country.
So because of the sin nature a good Christian should never be anti-government (because all government is established by God) but he should believe in a limited government and rule of law so as to promote the most good by avoiding the tyranny of any one group, including his own. Let's say Christians did get power. Which Christian denomination will you trust to impose laws on the USA? If you know yourself and the nature of man well, you will answer that none should have such power. The Lord alone has the omniscience to judge right and wrong and do it with absolute justice and equity when He comes. For now we are to win people's hearts and minds through the gospel, which God uses to change hearts, and which ALONE will make people eager to follow God's laws. He can gather people for his kingdom under any type of government. Some of the biggest revivals in world history have taken place under the most inhospitable of regimes. So we fear no man or law for what can he do beyond kill our body? Nothing.
The Secular Mind
On yesterday's Dividing Line program, Dr. James White is challenged by a caller, a lady named Alex.
After the program, Dr. White commented that this call (and another like it later on in the show) illustrates "what we are up against in attempting to deal with a secularized younger generation - a generation that will soon be making moral decisions about cloning, the use of stem cells, nuclear weapons, and so much more. God have mercy."
Young People and Reformed Theology
There's a very interesting article found in a Houston newspaper as it discusses the surging interest amongst young people in good sound biblical study and reformed theology... see here.
Over-Realized Postmillenial Eschatology
In one of his classes on the gospel of John, Jim Dennison made some interesting comments on theological & political liberalism and eschatology. He said that the kind of eschatology in the New Testament is not a fully realized eschatology. A fully realized eschatology [on the other hand] would say that now the fullest realization of eschatological reality is accomplished. That eschatology NOW is completed - the present time is the eschatological era. Any future time has no eschatological significance. This is the eschatology of liberalism. Also the eschatology of all political and social utopianisms, whether they be fascist, socialist or communist. This is the Immanentization of the eschaton. All political utopians or liberals are Immanentizations of heaven on earth (Vogel). The bringing of heaven on earth now. Your liberal theologies, whether they be neo-orthodoxy, liberation theologies are now fully realized eschatological theologies. No future. Which means they de-eschatologize the future.
500 Years On - Why John Calvin Still Matters
July 10, 2009 marks 500 years since the birth of John Calvin in Noyon, France. Dr. Robert Godfrey in an article "Calvin: Why He Still Matters" writes:
There can be no serious doubt that Calvin once mattered. Any honest historian of any point of view and of any religious conviction would agree that Calvin was one of the most important people in the history of western civilization. Not only was he a significant pastor and theologian in the sixteenth century, but the movement of which he was the principal leader led to the building of Reformed and Presbyterian churches with millions of members spread through centuries around the world. Certainly a man whose leadership, theology, and convictions can spark such a movement once mattered.
Historians from a wide range of points of view also acknowledge that Calvin not only mattered in the religious sphere and in the ecclesiastical sphere, but Calvin and Calvinism had an impact on a number of modern phenomena that we take for granted. Calvin is certainly associated with the rise of modern education and the conviction that citizens ought to be educated and that all people ought to be able to read the Bible. Such education was a fruit of the Reformation and Calvin.
Later in the article, concerning Calvin's insights into Christ as our Prophet, Priest and King, Godfrey states:
Calvin is the first in the history of the church to develop the work of Christ in terms of those three offices. Martin Bucer had talked about it but had never developed it. Calvin is the pioneer here. What has Christ done for us? He has been our prophetâ€”he has told us the truth, the full truth of Godâ€™s saving plan. What has Christ done for us? He has been our priestâ€”he has offered himself as a sacrifice in our place to cover our sin, that we might belong to him. What has Christ done for us? He has been our kingâ€”he has promised us an eternal kingdom that will never pass away and never be shaken into which he will take us by his power. He has also promised us right now that we are citizens of that kingdom. Right now we enjoy his kingship and his care for us. That is his promise to us.
Read more here. - JS
The Calvinistic Resurgence in America
"This is not the time for Reformed triumphalism. It is time for quiet gratitude to God and earnest intercessory prayer, with tears, that what has begun will flourish beyond all human expectation." D. A. Carson
A very interesting overview of the current deepening interest in the reformed doctrines of grace by Erroll Hulse is found at the banner of truth website here.
On the day after an historic election
Some strong and sober words on the day after an historic election from Dr. James White:
Free Market of Ideas
With all the problems in our political system, One thing I am thankful for in the USA is that it recognizes people's limitations and innate capacity for corruption. The founders were forward looking enough to understand that we are corrupt by nature and thus needed be limited by a balance of power and a rule of law so that no one person or group of persons could get too much of it. Agreeing with this fundamental insight, the worst prospect imaginable, in my mind, is a theocracy on any side, because people will always be corrupted by power, whether religious or irreligious. So I oppose the idea of any statism ... whether it be secular or religious in nature. We should be a secular state because plurality is a fact. But we should not be a secularist state. The difference is between a fact and a philosophy. Philosophical Secularism can become just as dangerous as any theocracy. So my view is to oppose both religious and secular brand theocracies. I say, may there ever be a free market of ideas with no censorship in the public square of anyone. May 100 flowers bloom but may the best ideas prevail so long as other ideas are always allowed to be freely spoken. Anyone who believes they have truth should not fear such a state of affairs. I know that theonomists will be aghast at such a thought. So be it.
Because of this I tend to vote for persons who want to limit the size of government, not expand it ...who want to bring down man from his perch, rather than grant him more powers. Unfortunately the size of government in the US is growing every year and the original vision is thereby getting clouded. Public education should be a place where all voices pro and con are allowed to be expressed. As it is now, only the secular progressivist voices are being heard in that part of the public square and it reeks of totalitarianism.
A thank you to all those who serve us in the military...
No Substitute for Hard Work
People who are without the gospel around you live in great vexation and torment. Sin has caused brokenness, alienation and mass personal and social problems in our world. But having been mercifully delivered from the bondage to corruption, God has granted you a sphere of influence, a â€˜plot of landâ€™ to cultivate (so to speak) and until you become an instrument of redemption for Christ in the workplace, the persons in your life will continue to look for solutions to problems in all the wrong places. God has prepared good works for you and because the gospel is the only hope for the world, God has made you indispensable to the well being of the people around you.
The kingdom of the age to come has broken into the current age in Jesus Christ. All those who are now united to Christ, the true Israel, are made partakers of kingdom of the age to come and are called in Christ to exhibit the resurrected kingdom life. Although weak in ourselves, God has made us ambassadors and granted us power to demonstrate to those in our midst a foretaste of life of the age to come. Christ commands us to go and promote the kingdom in every sphere, not to sit idly in our sanctuaries. In fact, God has given each of us specific gifts and a calling and we are to use the gifts and position God has given us to wield influence by redeeming the people and the institutions in our sphere for his kingdom. The gospel is our 'weapon' to take every thought captive for Christ advancing Godâ€™s kingdom and force darkness to retreat.
Are We Trusting Gov't for Social Justice
The weak, the fatherless and single women are especially vulnerable to being overpowered by the faceless arbitrary powers around them, especially in our present fragmented society. The defenseless are subject to the greatest creulty. And while the law of the land usally does something to protect the weak, it does so imperfectly. In fact it woefully falls short in what must be done to help and without any personal touch. That is where the church comes in since the government cannot substitute sufficiently. Just as God has freed us from our captivity from the savages of sin and given us great dignity so we are to treat the weak and helpless. The government can never really substitute for a father and likewise the church should consider these things when it go out to help others, to be a father to them. Do not simply rely on a government bureaucracy to take care of these things for you. Our personal involvement in them will make a much greater impact in their lives than a system for their good.
The fatherless are without someone who was intended to be in their lives. There was no one there to point the way, to nurture, protect and provided for them. Do not simply count on your tax money to help from a distance but get involved with the most vulnerable in your community. The weakest among us are due the greatest protection and consideration by the caring community. In Deut 14:29 & Isa 1:17 the law required that the fatherless orphan be looked after and needs taken care of, that is, their physical and spiritual well being. In this our Lord is glorified as what we do for them we do for Him.
Visitor: One of my peers recently told me about this movie on the internet about "Zeitgeist." Here is the link: http://zeitgeistmovie.com/main.htm. I searched your website hoping to find an article on it but nothing came up. It seems to me like just another ridiculous occult trend, like the Da Vinci Code, that's going to spark a lot of initial interest but then fade. But it bothered me that my peer said that this movie would be powerful enough to make me an atheist. I would really like to see a refutal of this by someone a lot more educated than myself. One day I'd like to be on your end, though, getting e-mails from people asking me to help them refute the next up and coming occult fad.
Response: The movie is right to point out that atrocities have been commiitted in the name of religion. It is interesting to see that if we are merely swamp gas, as an atheist would acknowledge, that the person who believes this would want to promote it with such missionary zeal to others. Why they would care what other swamp gas believed is a mystery. The movie at one point says nothing is "Bad or Good per se" ... then I suppose that theism is also not bad or good so why should he care whether we are in the "now" or not? If they think there is not "bad or good" then is not their rant against religion itself meaningless?. On the one hand they say there is no bad or good, but then they make a movie to tell us how bad religion is for the world. Confused? You should be because there is not a shred of consistency about it. It seems the producer does, after all, believe in a dogma. The danger of this movie's position is that they erroneously think of their own position as not a position.. is not a belief, is not a dogma is not itself a religion. It like when Oprah demanded that her audience accept that Jesus could not possibly be the only way and rather, she said, all ways are acceptable. Is that not also a dogmatic statement? A firm belief that beliving in one way is bad and that we MUST accept that all ways are equal? This is the height of self-deception. Dogma cannot be avoided and the producers of this film also have presuppositions or strong beliefs as to what is good and bad, or they would not bother making the film to try to convince others. Any hope they have of changing someones mind to think like them is actually a belief in morality, in something outside themselves - that there is a way to live that is better. If they say slavery is wrong, violence is wrong, torture is wrong, racism is wrong, how do they know this if they are merely swap gas, and more importantly, why should they care? They show all these frightening images as if their position is not just as religious and dogmatic and that they are exempt from such atrocities. The greatest danger lies when a group convinces itself it is the only one out there who isn't promoting a view. We all should know by now that this is the height of absurdity.
Lately, there seems to be growing interest in the resurgence of Calvinism and Reformed Theology among the younger generation of Evangelicals. Persons from within Evangelicalism/Fundamentalism, as well as outsiders, are taking note, and wondering what could be fueling the phenomenon. I was recently approached by someone asking for possible reasons or motivations underlying this resurgence among younger evangelicals, and after a little deliberation I came up with five motivations that I see at work, as listed below. I am sure there are others, but these seem highly instrumental to me. What do the rest of you think?
Same Sex Romantic Love Not a Sin?
A man who claims to be a Christian from the UK has written to claim that same sex romantic love is not listed listed as a sin somewhere in the Bible. He claims to have already been converted... Already a Christian, already read the
Bible cover to cover and can't find a word against same sex romantic love, and, he says "since you can't either, its only logical and fair to put blame on people like you who want a sin to be a sin, even if it aint listed in the Bible. But I don't blame you for it as we Christians do it all the time. We all like to add our own sins, look at the mid 60s when we wanted to condemn black people, we had no Bible text to do it but did it anyway. We condemned women and drowned loads of em in the 1500s with no Bibical evidence, and today we do it to homosexuals with no Biblical texts. Is that a good thing?... I see you want to hold on to a kind of homophobic lifestyle without any Biblical evidence that you can.
While a clear and unambiguos biblical case can be made against homosexuality, it is also true that many people really do just hate homosexuals and construct their arguments against homosexual practice in order to provide a rationale for their angry feelings against them. And it is, no doubt,true that Christians frequently misuse doctrines that are true in order to achieve improper ends. And I would agree that homosexual practice is not necessarily more heinous than a lot of sins out there which are also called detestible to God .. some of which I have personally committed prior to knowing Christ. But sin is sin, and all sin is rebellion worthy of death. But you and I both are all born into a condition - the bondage to a corruption of nature which manifests itself in many sins here on earth than none of us can escape from naturally unless Christ sets us free. Being born into a condition is not testimony that this is what God desires or intends us to do, but is part of our condition in the fall. Due to our corrupt natures, I have committed this sin, and you are addicted to some other form of idolatry but both of are slaves to our fallen condition and are hopeless apart from Christ. Being natural is not not an argument for, but against something being of God because depravity keeps us from being able to save ourselves and extract ourselves from our willful sinful predicament. Fact is, we don't want to.
Two Recent Stories from the United Kingdom
"I do believe we will need to start to view our brothers seeking to proclaim the gospel in the United Kingdom as foreign missionaries in their own homeland, given the speed with which the British culture is collapsing into utter irrationality and loathing of God and His laws." - Dr. James White
Let us pray for the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be preached boldly and received widely in our time.
Steve Brown Etc.,
Dr. Steve Brown, professor of practical theology at Reformed Theological Seminary, has a new talk show, Steve Brown Etc., featuring discussions, debates, interviews, comedy and commentary dealing with religious, political and social issues. You can hear podcasts and view episodes of the show and more at stevebrownetc.com.
Love, Unity, and Doctrinal Precision
It is currently in vogue within American evangelicalism to play against each other the complementary realities of Christian love and unity, on the one hand; and on the other hand, the necessity for a strenuous biblical precision in formulating and contending for those points of doctrine which are secondary in importance â€“ that is, those doctrines which, to believe one way or the other, would not per se corrupt the essential purity of the gospel. A concrete example of such secondary matters would be one's beliefs in the debate between cessationism or continuationism of the so-called "sign gifts"; or else one's understanding of the nature of the millennial reign of Christ, or one's position on the mode of baptism.
Search my heart O God
"The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it? "I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind..." Jer 17:9-10
"Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me." Ps 51:10
Tim Challies' article here on the Ted Haggard scandal shook me to the core as I read it today. It literally drove me to my knees. Please read it prayerfully. - Pastor John Samson
John Piper on How We Might Respond to Muslim Anger over the Pope's Comments
John Piper suggesting How Christians Might Respond to Muslim Outrage at the Pope's Regensburg Message About Violence and Reason.
Here is an outline of his ten points:
1. Admit that the Christian church has often been too entangled with civil governments, with the result that violence has been endorsed by the church as a way of accomplishing religious, and not just civil, goals.
2. Make clear that the use of God-sanctioned violence between Israel and the nations in the Old Testament is no longer Godâ€™s will for his people.
3. Admit that there are many Muslims today who do not approve of violence in the spread of Islam.
4. Point out how Islam, in its most sacred writings and authoritative teachings, belittles Jesus Christ, not just occasionally in the news, but constantly by its dominant claims.
5. Point out that, in response to this constant defamation of Jesus Christ, there are no public threats or demands for apologies.
Philosophical & Religious Pluralism
About every other week, I confront popular pluralist notions that have become a large part of the way Americans think. For example, pluralists contend that no one religion can know the fullness of spiritual truth, therefore all religions are valid. But while it is good to acknowledge our limitations, this statement is itself a strong assertion about the nature of spiritual truth. A common analogy is often cited to get the point across which I am sure you have heard â€” several blind men trying to describe an elephant. One feels the tail and reports that an elephant is thin like a snake. Another feels a leg and claims it is thick like a tree. Another touches its side and reports the elephant is a wall. This is supposed to represent how the various religions only understand part of God, while no one can truly see the whole picture. To claim full knowledge of God, pluralists contend, is arrogance. When I occasionally describe this parable, and I can almost see the people nodding their heads in agreement.
The Sea in the Ship is all Wrong by Pastor John Samson
"Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good, acceptable and perfect." - Romans 12:2
There's an old saying: "The ship in the sea is alright. The sea in the ship is all wrong. The Church in the world is alright. The world in the church is all wrong."
Everything you and I believe as Christians flies in the face of our post-modern culture. We believe in a God who has made His existence known to everyone (Romans 1:18-22) despite the strong denials of man. We believe in a God who has communicated to us in clear terms in a book called the Bible (2 Tim. 3:16, 17). We believe in absolutes, for we believe in a God who is Truth Himself, and who tells us what is right and what is wrong. We believe in the one true Gospel of Jesus Christ (Rom. 1:16, 17) who said, "I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but by Me." John 14:6. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is the way to God and the only way to God, and we deny that He is merely a way, a truth and a life, and one of the ways to God. Understand that we do not say this because we believe our opinion is greater than someone else's, but because Christ Himself said this about Himself, and we believe His claims are valid, trustworthy and true... We believe too that if Christ is not THE way to God, then He is a liar, and not even one of the ways to God. Jesus Christ is either who He claimed to be, or else He is a fraud, or perhaps a lunatic. But what He could never be is merely one of the ways to God. If we take His words with any seriousness at all, then we have to admit that His own claims deny this very possibility.
The claim of exclusivity is repulsive to the modern world. However, every religion claims exclusivity - even the ones who claim that all religions lead to God. Why? Because even this claim is a claim to be exclusively and absolutely true. The claim is a fundamental denial that there is only one way to God. That is the very definition of exclusivity. It certainly denies the possibility that the exclusive claims of Christ are true.
The claim "there are no absolutes" is also a ridiculous non-sensical statement, for it is an absolute statement in and of itself. It claims that there are absolutely no absolutes but in doing so affirms that there is at least one absolute, namely that there are no absolutes!
When Your Values Are Threatened
I read an article on the BBC's website this morning about the recent Vatican document prohibiting active homosexuals from entering seminary or the priesthood. There was a page for reader comments, and the list of [primarily hostile] remarks grew extraordinarily quickly.
The prevailing sentiments were that the Catholic Church is "medieval," "outdated," "narrow minded" in publishing such an "utterly dishonest and morally outrageous" document. Every thinking man and his grandmother commented on how the Catholic Church ought not to believe and practice the things she believes and practices.
It's interesting that so many people who are uneducated in Catholic tradition and teaching are so quick to pronounce what the Church ought to do in any circumstance. It seems that those who feel their values condemned by God-through-the-Church would, in their search to justify themselves, rush to condemn God-through-the-Church, rather than simpy ignoring an authority they try not to acknowledge anyway (which is what you might expect in today's Western society).