Skip to comments.So What's Special About Christianity?
Posted on 08/14/2008 7:55:49 AM PDT by topcat54
We at American Vision are hearing rumblings from a number of people in the Christian community that Christians are being told not to engage the culture with a distinctly biblical approach to social and political issues. So what standard is a Christian to follow when evaluating the moral boundaries of society? Some Christians will claim that we aren’t to bother with what goes on in the world. Let the world go to the devil. Others claim that it’s just not the church’s calling. Abortion may be bad, but it’s not our job to say so to anyone outside the church. Homosexuality may be immoral, but there is no word from God for the civil magistrate to obey.
The more scholarly among us say that we are to follow a Natural Law ethic. “Charles Darwin destroyed natural law theory in biological science. . . . His successors destroyed natural law theory in social science. In the 1920’s, quantum physics destroyed natural law theory in the subatomic world. This immediately began to undermine modern legal theory.”1 The shattered foundation of Natural Law theory, like Humpty Dumpty, can never be put together again as long as evolution remains our national religion.2 At the moment, Natural Law theory is dead given materialist assumptions that are firmly rooted in every major secular university and law school in the country. If Natural Law is ever revived, it will have to follow on the heels of biblical law, the very thing Christian Natural advocates want to avoid. You can’t have one without the other. Take a look at William Blackstone (1723–1780) on this.
Thus when the Supreme Being formed the universe, and created matter out of nothing, he impressed certain principles upon that matter, from which it can never depart, and without which it would cease to be.
* * * * *
This law of nature, being co-eval with mankind and dictated by God himself, is of course superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over all the globe, in all countries, and at all times: no human laws are in validity, if contrary to this; and such of them as are valid derive all their force, and all their authority, mediately or immediately, from this original.
* * * * *
Upon these two foundations, the law of nature and the law of revelation, depend all human laws; that is to say, no human laws should be suffered [permitted] to contradict these.3
When Clarence Thomas tried to use Natural Law theory during his Senate Judiciary hearing in September 1991, he was immediately criticized by Sen. Joseph Biden. As long as Thomas defined Natural Law as Biden did, then Thomas’ appeal to it was acceptable. But if he defined it as “Higher Law,” the belief that God was its author as Blackstone did, then his view of Natural Law would not be tolerated. Biden wrote an article that appeared in the Washington Post4 in which he claimed the following for his version of natural law:
Basically, natural law is whatever the courts say it is. “In our system,” Biden writes, “the sole obligation of a Supreme Court justice is to the Constitution. Natural justice can supply one of the important means of understanding the Constitution, but natural law can never be used to reach a decision contrary to a fair reading of the Constitution itself.” This is why the Left wants to be the gatekeepers to the Supreme Court by mandating a liberal litmus test to all prospective judges. Biden’s article does not tell us anything about how we determine what’s right or wrong. Morality is a matter of “individual choice.” And if these new Christian social theorists get their way, they won’t have anything to say either.
Why Christians believe there is refuge either in cultural indifference or Natural Law is a mystery to me. William Wilberforce, upon being struck with the oppression of the slave trade, wrote in his diary, “Almighty God has set before me two great objectives: The abolition of the slave trade and the reformation of manners.” Had the British government “not been in the hands of Christians there seems little reason to have expected it to mount its massive, expensive, and voluntary campaign against slavery.” If modern anti-reformists had their way, the institution of slavery would still be with us. The cultural escapists would claim that slavery isn’t their concern, since their duty is “spiritual,” to preach the gospel. Slaves would be welcomed to attend Sunday services. The balcony or some other designated area would be reserved for them. Once the benediction was said, they would be marched back to the plantation for another week of enslavement. But they would have heard the Gospel!
A Natural Law theory not tied to biblical law would have done nothing for slaves since there were many Natural Law advocates who believed, following Aristotle’s view of Natural Law, that some men were by nature inferior. Enslavement was best for them. There were others who believed that only an ethical system based on the Bible could set the standard for reform. John Stott writes about revivalist Charles Finney’s views on social reform.
Social involvement was both the child of evangelical religion and the twin sister of evangelism. This is clearly seen in Charles G. Finney, who is best known as the lawyer turned evangelist and author of Lectures on Revivals of Religion (1835). Through his preaching of the gospel large numbers were brought to faith in Christ. What is not so well known is that he was concerned for ‘reforms’ as well as ‘revivals.’ He was convinced, as Donald W. Dayton has shown in his Discovering an Evangelical Heritage, both that the gospel ‘releases a mighty impulse toward social reform’ and that the church’s neglect of social reform grieved the Holy Spirit and hindered revival. It is astonishing to read Finney’s statement in his twenty-third lecture on revival that ‘the great business of the church is to reform the world . . . . The Church of Christ was originally organised to be a body of reformers. The very profession of Christianity implies the profession and virtually an oath to do all that can be done for the universal reformation of the world.’5
Finney saw no contradiction between preaching the gospel and social reform: “The Christian church was designed to make aggressive movements in every direction—to lift up her voice and put forth her energies against iniquity in high and low places—to reform individuals, communities, and government, and never rest until the kingdom . . . shall be given to the people . . .—until every form of iniquity shall be driven from the earth.”6 In a footnote, George Marsden informs his readers that “Letters on Revivals—No. 23,” from which the above quotation is taken, is “left out of modern editions of these letters.”7
When we dig a bit deeper into Finney’s thought, we learn that he too met resistance by advocating reform efforts. He was amazed that the church treated “the different branches of reform either with indifference, or with direct opposition.” Finney described opposition to reform efforts as “monstrous” and “God-dishonoring.”8 A careful study of Scripture and history will show that Christians involved in this world have made a profound difference. But you would never know it by listening to the cultural retreatists of today.
2. Gary DeMar, “The Religion of Evolution,” Biblical Worldview (October 2002).
3. William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, 4 vols. (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, [1765–1769] 1979), 1:38, 41, 42.
4. Joseph R. Biden, Jr., “Law and Natural Law: Questions for Judge Thomas,” The Washington Post (September 8, 1991), C-1.
5. John Stott, Involvement: Being a Responsible Christian in a Non-Christian Society, 2 vols. (Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell, 1984, 1985), 1:23. Emphasis added.
6. Finney, quoted from “Letters on Revivals—No. 23,” The Oberlin Evangelist (n.d.) in Donald Dayton, Discovering an Evangelical Heritage (New York: Harper & Row, 1976), 21.
7. George M. Marsden, Fundamentalism and American Culture: The Shaping of Twentieth Century Evangelicalism, 1870–1925 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980), 252, note 5.
8. Finney, quoted from “Letters on Revivals—No. 23 in Dayton, Discovering an Evangelical Heritage, 20.
Christiany per se is just a rag tag consortium of religions..
Jesus came to make ALL religion on this planet OBSOLETE, and DID..
And he promoted evolution.. saying "You MUST be born again"..
So primates could evolve from human to "something else"...
Jesus trumped all religion, philosophy and metaphysics..
Now thats special.. secret message->> I Cor 2;9...
Very silly question.
Enroll in a Pentateuch, Koine Greek, Theology 101, Hermeneutics, and Comparative Theology course ASAP.
What you are saying sounds syncretistic. Christianity isn't syncretistic.
For those of you who uninformed, please be aware that what he is saying might sound appealing, but it is false, and I would hate to see any of you led astray.
The "all roads lead to God" fallacy is quite prevalent in our culture and is nothing more than a New Age fad.
Christianity makes exclusive truth claims: Christianity's God is unique, its pathway to salvation, and other tenets are likewise unique. (By "exclusive," it is meant that if Christianity is correct, then Islam cannot be, Hinduism cannot be true, etc.) Any basic (and well-taught from a Christian perspective) theology course will reveal this much.
By extension, Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, etc., all would make their own exclusive truth claims as well--if you belief in Islam's pathway to salvation, it doesn't agree with Christianity's. And Hinduism's afterlife doesn't comport with the Jewish perspective on it. They're all mutually exclusive.
Either one of the beliefs is right...or we're all wrong. Pretty simple.
But they can't ALL be correct. It's not a logical option.
Oh, and another thing: your statement So primates could evolve from human to "something else" indicates a complete lack of understanding of Pentateuch (Genesis especially).
Are you saying that God didn't make man "good enough"--that we're in an evolutionary process? If so, what DIRECTS this process? Random chance? Nothing Divine?
No, this would be un-Biblical. Genesis teaches that God made man, pronounced him very, very (2 "verys") good--no other aspect of Creation received that compliment. No other aspect of Creation was physcially "touched" by God (this is important!). God touched us, blessed us twice (very, very good), and breathed his spirit into Man to give him life. A very personalized touch.
No, we are beloved by God. There is all the evidence to show this. We're not on our way to anything, especially any random-driven "something else."
Beware those New Age philosophies--they're pernicious.
What an incredible honor Man has been given. God must love us more than we realize.
I can't disagree with this. The question becomes what reform and how to achieve it.
Ping to read (more slowly) later
YES.. man is not good enough?.. The next question would be good enough for what?.. Which is another conversation..
What directs this process?.. Simply the Holy Spirit..
The Holy Spirit(Paraclete) directs this process..
Religion takes the Holy Spirit out of the loop.. all of them..
Religion treats the Holy Spirit like a doofus or moron..
The Holy Spirit is the authority and originator of the process..
A very present help in trouble and decision and spiritual understanding..
Without the Holy Spirit you have merely dogma and tradition.. i.e. corporate folly....
Playing church/synagogue/temple/shrine or sheep pen (John ch 10)..
Or Glorified Cargo Cultism.. depending on talisman, amulet and totems...
The Holy Spirit is out of the Loop..
Who "Has" the Holy Spirit, then?..
It is not whether you have the Holy Spirit but does the Holy Spirit have YOU...
If he does, he does, if he doesn't he doesn't..
All the posturing, acting and spiritual masks are a childish ruse..
It is quite a wonderful plan, I would say..
The Holy Spirit is BOSS.. without the Holy Spirit all are whistling past the graveyard..
Only to find out eventually the Holy Spirit was available and present and operable and a very present help in these troubling questions.. Religion is just a dramatical play.. about a very real personal relationship.. with actors, ALL of them..
When its real, it isn't an act.. You know, and are known..
Known by whom?.. Now thats the question.. (ref: John ch 10)..
The Holy Spirit is BOSS.. without the Holy Spirit all are whistling past the graveyard..
Amen ! Brother. Preach on ! shalom b'SHEM Yah'shua HaMashiach Adonai
Flesh is flesh and spirit is Spirit.. the difference is monumental..
i.e. "You MUST be born again"- Jesus..
Indeed.. Amen.. Marantha...
Law is a very real aspect of the secular humanism world view of progressives/liberals. The humanist, to be consistent with his basic assumptions of atheism, naturalism/materialism, and evolution must embrace specific legal theories. They must deny any source of ethics, rights, or laws that exists outside of man, including natural law. Hence, positive law becomes the legal theory most consistent with Secular Humanism. The state must create law, enact law, execute law, interpret law. The state determines human rights and grants such rights as it deems beneficial - presumably to assist man in developing his evolutionary tendencies. The state by granting or withholding rights becomes supreme; it becomes god.
America could not have been created without it.
It’s the ONLY religion with a SAVIOR.
ALL of the others require you being GOOD enough to enter God’s presense.
Not for most of the world's people...
(You missed the < sarc> tag.)
Christianity is not a religion. It is a relationship and God’s way of reaching man in all his sinfulness. No new age stuff here.
And the only one with a risen and resurrected Saviour who is coming back again for His body of believers. Hallelujah.
Jesus Christ is Lord!!
Christianity is the only faith where God makes a covenant with man, then proceeds to fulfill all of its conditions by providing what is necessary for salvation. All man has to do is accept Him by faith for forgiveness.
(10) Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.
(11) This is the stone which was set at naught of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.
(12) Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby, we must be saved.
New Age?... New Age stuff.. Me?.. LoL..
I’ve never seen ANY indication of New Age teaching in your posts. I think the other poster just misread something you said. (That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it!)
AMEN. Always was, always will be.
Even if you do not believe in a supreme being, you have to admit...
It brings out the best in people!
And FR's Religion Forum is Exhibit A!
I try to avoid those threads.
I’m no expert when it comes to quoting ancient biblical references, and the folks there are sometimes overly serious about things.
I know when I’m in over my head.
I’m late to this thread, but I thought you gave a very well thought out and measured reply. You sound like a devoted and well read Christian. I tend to avoid these religious threads because people become so nasty so quickly, but I wanted to let you know that I read every word you wrote and thought you said it well, both in content and in tone. Many blessings!