Rebuilding the Foundations
We must again champion what we believe in – and what we do not:
Yesterday I penned a piece on counterfeits. I had in mind spiritual and theological counterfeits. There are always fake gospels and fake spiritualities out there, so the biblical Christian must always be wise and discerning, able to separate truth from error.
This becomes all the more urgent because we live in an age that no longer believes in truth or absolutes, and runs with relativism and subjectivism instead. And this has infected the churches as well. The foundation of biblical truth is being undermined and destroyed, and far too many believers simply run with whatever secular narratives come along.
When the foundations are destroyed, as the psalmist asks in Psalm 11:3, what can the righteous do? No structure can last without a firm foundation, and Christians need to go back to basics here. We need to reaffirm what we believe. And the affirmation of truth means stating what we believe in as well as stating what we do not believe in.
To affirm certain things means of necessity rejecting other things. Truth is like that. It is exclusive. For example, to adhere to the Christian belief in the full deity and resurrection of Jesus Christ means we must reject the Islamic view that Jesus is not God’s son and did not rise from the dead.
So we will always need to speak of those things which we cannot affirm while we proclaim those things which we do. In light of all this a recent piece by American writer and pastor Douglas Wilson caught my eye. He also appeals to Psalm 11:3 as he lays out three main themes in his piece: Our Shared Beliefs; What We Reject; and What Is Distinctive.
It is that middle portion of his article that I want to share here. While one may not agree with every single point made in his article, nor even agree with every one of the items on his reject list, I like the idea of once again stating old verities and rebuffing modern illusions. Such conviction is becoming all too rare among believers today.
So the following is Wilson’s comments on ‘What We Reject’:
Actual belief in this gospel means that we reject certain debilitating compromises that some Christians have unfortunately made. We do not say that those Christians who have made these compromises are unsaved, but we do say that these compromises are why the church today has been so inept and powerless in the face of the secular jihad that we are currently facing. While there are many who want to say “you can be a Christian and also believe thus and such,” when it comes to consistent Christian witness, we believe the following doctrines must be rejected, root and branch.
We reject Darwin, and all his works. The world is here because God made it, and put it here. This goes for the ground beneath our feet, and the stars above our heads. God spoke, and it was done. Over the course of six days it was done, and we rejoice in the goodness of His exquisite creation. If you can look at the beauty and intricate craftsmanship that goes into a slug, and believe that it came about as the end result of mindless mutations over millennia, then our prayer for you is that God would take away the spiritual cataracts on the eyes of your heart.
We reject every form of woke, and any kind of accommodation that tries to rhyme with woke. The diseased definitions of justice that emanate from the envious today are definitions straight from the Pit, and that is why they smell like sulfur. Justice is a beautiful lady, blindfolded, with scales in one hand, and a sword in the other. She does not need that descriptive adjective social, which transforms the whole thing into a rancid grievance-fest. The source of so much bitterness and rancor in the church today is the result of trying to define justice apart from the Word of God.
We are dedicated to a rejection of every aspect of the sexual revolution. This obviously includes sexual behavior, including all the alphabet nonsense, along with whatever that + business is supposed to mean, but not forgetting to reject any old school heterosexual fornication. But an essential part of this means a return to a biblical view of sex roles. Men were created by God to do certain things for their wives and children—fundamentally, in order to protect them and provide for them. The woman’s role is to glorify what he gives to her. It is not possible for us to abandon our assigned sexual roles in marriage and at the same time to maintain God’s standards for our sexual behavior. If the fire is not kept in the fireplace, it will burn the house down, as we are seeing.
We are opposed to every form of dualism, by which we mean the sort of workarounds that enable Christians to affirm the lordship of Christ in theory while denying it in certain roped-off realms that are held in reserve for the devil. But Christ is Lord of both Heaven and earth. He is not the Lord of the upper story alone. Neither is He Lord in the church, while the world can go on its merry way. No. He is the Desire of Nations.
It naturally follows that we hold that secularism is a dishonest pretense. It is not possible for human societies to function apart from a transcendental grounding. Idols which pretend to transcendence can hold things together for a brief time, and the unique contribution of secularism was that it managed to hold things together, for a time, without any appeal to the transcendent. This was therefore thought to be a new era. This venture only succeeded for as long as it did because of the residual moral capital that still existed in the societies attempting it, a moral capital inherited from more faithful Christian times. But like the prodigal son, who eventually ran out of money, our secular societies in the West are now officially bankrupt. It is time we acknowledged this frankly, and call for our leaders to return to the Father, submitting to the lordship of Jesus Christ. We say this because we are servants of the one of whom it is said “of the increase of His government there will be no end.” https://dougwils.com/books-and-culture/s7-engaging-the-culture/a-torrent-of-truth-or-what-we-actually-believe.html
I am sure this is not an exhaustive list for Wilson. There would be many other things he might have added. But it is refreshing to find Christians today who actually still run with certainties, with absolutes, and with conviction. This contrasts with all the wishy-washy, half-hearted, touchy-feely Christians we find in the West today who would never dare to affirm with any degree of certainty what they believe and what they do not believe.
The world keeps winning while the church keeps losing because we have abandoned the idea of standing on the solid rock. We have preferred to simply slide along the shifting sand. But as Jesus warned so long ago, that scenario will never end well (Matthew 7:24-27).
The foundations are crumbling and are in urgent need of repair. The real question is this: does anyone care, and are they willing to do something about it?
6 Replies to “Rebuilding the Foundations”
Excellent analysis by Doug Wilson, thank you Bill for drawing it to your readership’s attention. Particularly apt was the beautifully expressed juxtaposition of “residual moral capital” against the blindingly true observation that “our secular societies in the West are now officially bankrupt.”
The hard bit though is Doug’s very next sentence: “It is time we acknowledged this frankly, …” From what I see of voters and politicians in Australia, fat chance!
I would change the last question to do enough people care. Without sufficient numbers caring nothing will get done. I know people love to point to Gideon or the Moses’ negotiation with God over Sodom and say since we have 10 he won’t destroy us or we have 300 so we can win America back. yet we have had said 300 for sometime and things are worse. I mean we were having Billy Graham crusades from the 1950’s to the early 2000’s and society only got WORSE! Have a handful of people going out and converting people it good but isn’t changing society. Satan has a army working for him in key places we need a army to. This IS war and unless we fight it like such we will lose. Too many just expect God to do EVERYTHING while they sit around doing NOTHING! Yes God COULD bring America and the West back to him on his on BUT as we see throughout the Bible he usually partners WITH man to accomplish something. If we won’t do OUR part why should he do HIS???
“I’m just about saving souls”. Good you and the 1000’s of people you saved can share the same death camp because you didn’t stop the societal slide. “That’s a political issue”. Most of the Bible deals with “political issues”! If that all it take to shut you up soon sharing your faith will be declared a political issue. Also for the Christianity is about winning souls only crowd if culture change to the point you are not allowed out of your house, and have very restricted internet access preventing talking about Christ, or are to be put to death for your preaching how many souls will you win then??? So even those who just want to preach have a vested interest in culture to ensure they CAN preach.
Getting involved means risking everything like a gambler who goes “all in” to many put in a chip or two then fold “too rich for my blood”. Like in Gideon’s time and Jesus’ time too many have excuses as to why they can’t get involved. There is a saying the soul is willing but the flesh is weak but I don’t even think for them that the soul IS willing. They love also to try to hid their cowardice by turning the tables on you what have you done??? As if because you haven’t fought out there in some big way they are absolved of not do anything either. Personally I have a lot of disabilities the keyboard it the weapon I can still use. But my inability to be front and center does not take away my right to criticize those who can from not doing so or from praising those like you Bill who DO get out there and fight.
I may not be the most eloquent speaker/writer I don’t have all the Christian words and phrases down pat or put Jesus in every conversation but I am faithful and I feel an anger over the state of the church and world similar to what God feels. I have great anger and great sadness over what is being taught to and done to children today. I have a great heart for children and it PAINS me to see to be lied to and through those lies committing sins boys with boys girls with girls, and altering that body God gave them for the whims of people in open rebellion. We’ve been normalizing perversion to kids since Kinsey. We have offended so many little ones. TONS of millstones are needed.
How many not only at the second coming will say Lord Lord but have died these past 80+ years saying the same thing???? We can’t even say a person who didn’t believe is in hell because we just don’t want to believe a good person wouldn’t go to heaven. We say well we don’t know what happened in his/her last few minutes/seconds they might have come to God. If can’t even take a stand on who is in heaven and who is in hell how can we do ANYTHING else??? (yes last minute conversions happened but I only recall ONE in the Bible, could be a couple more, so they are VERY VERY rare!)
The firm rejection of Darwin’s theory is so important. Once we allow the possibility that God didn’t create all things, we are free to define right and wrong as we choose without any accountability. We can decide that it’s OK to kill unborn humans if we consider them inconvenient.
Once we allow the possibility that God didn’t create all things in six days, we bring the Bible into question and it’s only a small step from there to deciding anything in the Bible that doesn’t fit with modern thinking can be ignored, redefined or ‘corrected’.
The Gospel starts in Genesis.
I would not be drawing the line at young earth creation is as Wilson seems to be doing here. Yes the universe was created in six days but we don’t know whether they were Earth days or whether, like we were created in the image of God, so were our days created in the image of God days.
Also I disagree about secularism. Secularism grew out of disagreements between Unitarians, Trinitarians, Protestants and Catholics etc. The fact that was obvious was that many wrongs had been done irrespective of whether the doctrines were correct or not. A system was needed, irrespective of who was correct, to provide for the fact that all humans are flawed. The problem is not with secularism itself, which was actually a product of belief in God, but that we have allowed it to morph into a religious, atheistic belief which actually excludes God.
We need to bear in mind that “concision” or divisions between groups is itself a sin and a tool used by wickedness to divide and conquer. This is why we see so many groups majority on minors and condemning others simply for not having the same understanding we have. We can see the examples from scripture that even when the Pharisees had huge understanding, human understanding was never enough on it’s own. Secularism was meant to provide a forum where we could thrash out our differences without resorting to sinful actions and, hopefully, based on the fact that we are all made in Gid’s image, come to a consensus that would actually move us closer to the Truth. It was not, however, ever meant as a means for the ABC, for example, to actually exclude views from the forum. The reason secularism is no longer working is because, as was prophesied, it is being used to exclude God and set man up as his own god.
Some people, for whatever reason, have not understood what the founders of secularism did and that is, for secularism to work, at least an acceptance of God to some degree, was essential. At the time it was well understood that belief in God was fundamental to morality and advancement. In as much as we have lost that understanding we have doomed ourselves to failure.
While we, of course, cannot put God to the test we know from scripture that God is willing to teach us His ways as, and when, we look to Him. That is what the founders of secularism overwhelmingly believed and that is what has, in the past, enabled secular society to advance.
However, just as we were warned, if we exclude God from our society, our society will fail because we are cutting off the means by which all people can be lead towards Truth. God most certainly does exist but our understanding of Him, obviously, cannot ever be complete.
Thanks guys. As I said, folk may well disagree with some of the points listed by Wilson. The comments here clearly indicate that! But my main point in this article was to celebrate those who value truth and affirm it with boldness in a culture that looks down on such people.
Michael Weeks, your claims about the origins of secularism cannot go unchallenged.
If you search online for the phrase you mentioned twice, “the founders of secularism”, you will find as I did the following names, which reads like a “Who’s Who” of Atheists at the time: George Holyoake, Charles Southwell, Harriet Law (formerly Baptist), Charles Bradlaugh, Charles Watts.
However, if you can cite a historical document to back up your contention that true secularism is predicated on “an acceptance of God to some degree”, I am willing to be corrected.