Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Dangerous Disorientation

The speed, fragility, glut, and gloom of events within in a 24 hour news cycle acts like a continuous pounding of stormy seas on our souls.

The rapid change and complication of worldview opinion without real thought or analysis is a constant erosion of necessary essentials of civilization and survival.

There has never been a more important time for steady and sturdy truth-telling. We are in need of precision and authentic application of these truths to the sandstorm of conflict and chaos.

PRESSURES ON CHURCHES: The more I read the 7 letters to the churches in Revelation, the more astounded I am on the relevance of the message. The church today faces many of the same problems that the first century church faced- it is just clouded in technology and shrouded by the withdrawal of gospel light in the world.

What is the pressure? It is always compromise.When you study the decline of gospel impact, it is proportional to the surrender and retreat of the church. A quick study of liberalism will always point to good intentions- a desire to remain relevant as culture grew to rely on science/technology more and supernatural faith less. It is a divorce that did not have to happen- but is an area that we still struggle with.

It has always been my belief that if science moves honestly through its method and the church honestly studies the Word as written there doesn't have to be a disharmony. It is when science extrapolates into mere speculation and theology presupposes science in Scripture, that is where we get into conflicting conundrums.

By the way, I am not talking about  a situation where the church expresses legitimate doubt on a scientific theory as long as the effort is made to thoroughly look at it and patiently persevere as the evidence is weighed.

I always point to Charles Hodge as an example of how the Church should have responded to the explosion of science. He saw it fitting in with how Calvin perceived it.

Science is the elegant structure of the world and serves as a mirror in which we see God." 
  Science gives us the full accord of facts. It costs the church a severe struggle to give up one interpretation and adopt another, but no evil need to be apprehended. The Bible still stands in the presence of the whole scientific community, unshaken
His compatriot, Archibald Alexander agreed:
 Science and the Bible are allies in establishing truth. God is author of both revelations. The truth has nothing to fear from the truth

Charles Hodge and the Princetonians successfully navigated through the Origin of the Species

Princeton received “Origin” with great interest in 1859.

In 1862, Charles Hodge noted Darwin’s own admissions: “his frank admission of  the difficulties of the theory and in the absurdity of its conclusion”.

Hodge’s main problem with Darwinism was its commitment to random chance and not directed by God.

According to Hodge, the fatal flaw of Darwinism is the denial of design in nature. “If you deny design,you in effect deny God. Darwin says he believes in a creator, but if the creator, billions of eons ago, called a germ in existence and abandoned its development to chance has pretty much consigned himself to non-existence. So what is Darwinism? It is Atheism.

Hodge rejected Darwin’s views, with respect in1862.

And I believe that their analysis remains valid when you consider how much of Darwinian theory still stands and how much of it has not endured.


Where the church really dropped the ball was an unwillingness to engage from a conservative point of view the various challenges that began to surface in the wake of Darwin and the rise of skepticism. If we are honest, we will agree that the venue for legitimate debate was slanted- but liberalism's fatal flaw was to capitulate in academic arenas to maintain peer prominence. The pressure to keep the money flowing and academic credibility in tact allowed for certain worldviews to gain a foothold without challenge. And we all know the tragic result- the philosophy in the classroom of one generation will be the philosophy in the stateroom of the next.

Even today, great Christian leaders will back away from doctrine like it is a cancer. But what sound doctrine does is keep us oriented in the storm. Without the precision of doctrine, we get lost in the shadows.


Another problem is that where we find sound theology, it often is presented without a deep heart confirmation. We have a religion of the head, but no fire from the heart. We beat people to death with the truth... right and DEAD RIGHT. Boldness with coldness.

The preachers of the reformation and great awakenings brought the Word to life. It doesn't mean emotionalism- no one could accuse Jonathan Edwards of that- but it was an intensity of the Spirit. Men who were moved to tears- unafraid of criticism- and held out their hearts even though the world often shattered them.

I place myself in this category and I often pray that God would prevent me from acting like a cold robot... I am discovering little slivers of change within deep prayer and thirst for worship.


This is going to sound confusing- but a help in this disorientation is an INSTITUTION and a problem in this area is an INSTITUTION.

I often feel the Lord challenging me to step beyond my institutional faith.

That is a faith that is just built into my routine. I work in a Christian School... which means on my calendar is prayer time, worship time, devotional time, instructional time, fellowship time, study time.

But if all I have is the routine, all I have is the ritual.

Does this mean we reject institutions? Heavens no! Where would we be without solid institutions of family, school, churches, civic organizations to uphold values and integrity. What is a strength of institutions is the ability to change slowly. The negative aspect of this is that the form of institutional values can be cemented in a tradition where the human touch is lost through decay and only a fossil remains.

But is that all lost? No. I can tell you walking the halls of places like Princeton, the US Capitol, or Westminster Abbey... the stones themselves cry out the glory of gospel truth!


My role in the arena of presuppositional opinions and kaleidoscope buffet ethics is to keep my feet firmly planted in the historic stream of gospel proclamation.

A Christian in today's world needs to pay closer attention to the historic narrative and cling to the historic writing that was paid for by spilled blood. The message is not quantum physics- it is a simple proclamation.

"The witness is this, God has given us eternal life and this life is in His Son, He who has the Son has life. He who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things have been written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know you have eternal life. I John 5:11-13"


If we are willing to know the Word and give a defense of the existence of God- the reliability of His revelation- the testimony of the Saints- worship in Spirit and truth- boldly serve and love without condemnation- we can suffer the slings and arrows of turbulent times.

FOR EXAMPLE- Much is being made of the recent battle of Gay Marriage and the NBA basketball player coming out of the closet. How does gospel proclamation and precise doctrine help us in the arena of endless soundbites and opinions?

In the end- all men have to answer 1 question- it has nothing to do with morals or orientation- "What have you done with the Holy God's crucified and resurrected Son?" Everything else is trivial.

If we stay on that question and harp on that subject- we can stay on true North in the dizzying chaos!

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