They feed on the sin of my people; they have an appetite for their iniquity. The same judgment will happen to both people and priests. I will punish them for their ways and repay them for their deeds (4:8-9 CSB).
Our current problem is that western nations are lands lacking in knowledge. This might seem like an incredibly wrong assertion, given our expanding technology. Although we live in a time of increasing information and technology, many lack an understanding of how to process information and how to discern truth from error. Most adults never read a serious book; they merely listen to talking head pundits and assume the know a subject. When we add in the suppression of the knowledge of God, the ignorance is astounding.
In our culture we are entering a new dark age. Consider some contributing factors to our decline and fall.
- The collapse of true science. When our people first turned away from God, it looked to science, which people wrongly assumed would provide them answers to ultimate questions. Science could not provide the answers, because true science is a tool, not to interpret but to explore God’s creation. So people have turned to mysticism.
- Closed-minded relativism. This is the absurd idea that the only true statement anyone can make is that nothing is true. Everything is relative to the situation. What may be “true” for you is not “true” for me.
- A barrage of facts and observations without any standard or system for testing the accuracy and applicability of “the facts”. This is the controlling method in sociology and psychology. Spin out an idea and “prove it” with a number of emotionally compelling observations. This system is built on the false assumption that the observer is able to gather all the relevant data, compare it with apparently similar observations, and present an accurate evaluation.
- The belief that humans are the measure or standard of all things. Another way to say this is that people assume that they can start from themselves and arrive at a proper understanding of reality.
Evangelicals have absorbed the viewpoints of the surrounding godless culture. Here are examples of this relativism.
- “Christianity is a person, not a proposition.” [A proposition in this context is “an assertion; a statement wherein something is offered for consideration”.] In reply we agree that Christianity is certainly centered on the person of Christ, but you can make assertions about him. The Lord of all has defined who and what he is in the Bible.
- “I have no creed but Jesus.” But who is this Jesus in whom you believe? Tell me about him. Remember that the apostle John warned of many antichrists (1 John 2:18-23; 2 John 1:7).
- “This is what this verse means to me.” That would be cute, if it wasn’t off-kilter. But if it is the true and correct meaning, it will mean the same to me also.
- “I know the verse might not be saying this, but it’s an interesting application.” This is actually false teaching. It ignores God’s word and replaces it with personal opinion. All true applications will flow out from the true meaning of the text.
Examples of a barrage of facts
- Listing verse after verse, linked by apparent verbal similarities, without considering each verse in its context. It sounds impressive, but can you understand God’s message from the mere assemblage of a multitude of texts?
- Presenting jokes, stories and opinions instead of Biblical truth. This is manipulates people by using stories or observations or humor to put pressure on their emotions or will. One Sunday night I listened to four different messages on the radio. You did not need a Bible for two of them. There was not any Bible in them.
- Using tricks based on the emotions or the will to motivate. For example, you hear one verse, and then countless stories and examples. Perhaps this is one reason that many in our churches cannot define or explain the importance of justification.
Examples of human-centeredness.
- “There are good people on both sides.” That may be true, but we’re not discussing people’s character but truth.
- “That’s your interpretation.” The question is not, “Whose interpretation is it?” but “Is the interpretation correct?” What is your final authority—your mind or the word of God?
- “Well, we’re not going to change each other’s minds anyway.” Then what hope do we have in changing an unbeliever’s mind? Are believers more hard-headed than unbelievers? And even more importantly, do we really accept the claims that the Bible makes about itself. See Psalm 19:7-11; 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
I close with some practical questions. How much are we thinking and acting like followers of the Lord Jesus Christ? Or are we actually worldly-minded with a thin veneer of Biblical religion? Are you ready to change your mind and to love God with all your mind? Our people are being destroyed by a lack of knowledge. Are you equipped to spread God’s light? Let’s shine for Christ now and always.
Grace and peace, David