We speak of things that are more philosophical than theological. We seek to reason with those in the camp of unbelievers in order to defend better those in the camp of the believers. We have found that many theological authors have some difficulty understanding the reasoning of unbelievers because they are so committed to the experiential function of their own faith, which supposed experiential evidence is totally rejected by unbelievers. For this reason, some “Christian” writers have difficulty dealing with the onslaught that unbelievers are making against the world view of those who believe in a God who created this world. We have found that many religious writers are so focused on writing “feel good” books about their own personal experiences that they are out of touch with the real world in which their readers live. They thus leave their readers vulnerable in answering the questions that unbelievers launch against the faith of believers. The argument of “what-Jesus-has-done-in-my-life,” carries no rational weight in the mind unbelievers who contend that Jesus’ turning of water into wine was simply a children’s Bible-class fable.
We must better understand the world view of unbelief if we are to guard ourselves from being deceived by what may appear to be scientifically or philosophically true. There are many points of the unbeliever’s world view that definitely deny the faith of those who believe in the Bible. Our efforts to understand the thinking of unbelievers assumes, therefore, that we must deal specifically with those points that inherently deny the inerrancy of the Bible, and specifically the gospel. When we better understand the world view of the unbeliever, then we can conclude that there are some who hang on to the name “Christian,” and yet, they have adopted various points of the world view of the unbelieving world that attack the gospel. In doing this, they themselves have attacked the gospel. In the world of religion in which we now live, many of the attacks against the gospel are now coming from religionists, not self-proclaimed atheists or agnostics.
Our purpose for understanding the thinking of unbelievers, therefore, is imperative because this is the origin of some points in the thinking of some religionists who have succumbed to the world view of the unbelieving world. The better we understand the position of the unbelievers, and specifically the world of the scientists of our day, the better we will conclude that there is a real attack against the gospel in these times. In the developed world almost all graduates from universities have sat at the feet of professors who deny the Bible to be infallible. The result is that we now have a citizenship of these cultures that is basically antagonistic to the Bible. This skepticism in reference to the Bible is now so great that few of those who believe in the gospel actually realize that there is a war going on between science and the faith of those who believe in a creative God of the universe.
But the opposition is more pronounced in reference to the new wave of religious tolerance that is currently spreading around the world among all people of faith. In order not to be misunderstood, we must state firmly that religious tolerance must be an central part of our world view. Every person has a right to believe what they so desire in reference to their faith. This right (freedom) to be religious according to one’s own heritage or traditions is simply the world in which we live. It is also a part of the gospel, because one must voluntarily respond to the love of God that was revealed through the incarnate Son of God. There can never be any government intimidation for one to obey the gospel. Likewise, there can never be intimidation by a religion that is promoted by the majority of the citizenship that one obey the gospel. Obedience to the gospel must always be a voluntary respond to the grace of God. Nevertheless, this freedom can be a problem for those who believe in a God who created all things, and subsequently offered His incarnate Son for the salvation of those whom He had created.
Tolerance does not assume the acceptance of the beliefs of a religious world that is filled with that which is not true, especially that which is contrary to the gospel. Unfortunately, in democratic societies, citizens are often pressured into being tolerant of all religions in order to maintain a separation between faith and state. If in a democracy a particular politician seeks to be elected, he or she must maintain a policy of tolerance toward all faiths that exist within the democratic society where he is seeking the votes of the people. However, though this may be necessary to maintain unity in a state that is comprised of many religious groups, this is not the way it is with God and the gospel. His people have no right to compromise the gospel.
Those who are in a covenant relationship with God because of their obedience to the gospel can tolerate the religionists in the community who have not obeyed the gospel. However, they cannot accept the teaching of those who do not accept the Bible as the final authority in all matters of faith. Christians can tolerate religious Hindus, but they cannot accept the beliefs of Hindus, and at the same time, maintain a covenant relationship with God. The entire book of Hebrews was written on this matter. If a Christian would forsake any points of truth in his gospel-founded world view, then or she has turned away from the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ (See Hb 2:1-4; 6:4-6).
The camp of believers today has some inherent struggles in being consistent in reference to their relationship with other faiths. This is particularly true in reference of some who would seek to compromise the gospel of God’s grace. We have even discovered that the secular philosophies of the unbelieving world are so strong in many societies that many of those in the camp of religion have succumbed to humanistic explanations for origins in order to be accepted by those of the secular world. Subsequently, there are some who have tolerated other religions that have no consideration for the incarnate Son of God who gave Himself for redemptive purposes. They have been so tolerant that it is believed by some that salvation is simply based on the merit of good works. Whether intentionally, or unintentionally, there are a host of philosophies today that are promoted by the religious world that actually originated from the minds unbelievers. Many of these beliefs have been accepted by those who profess to believe in the Bible.
Because Christians have often been intimidated by the majority, it is incumbent on us to bring to light some of these philosophies that are inconsistent with teachings that are revealed in the Bible in reference to God, and specifically, those philosophies that attack the very core of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. When speaking in reference to “non-Christian” religions, we must be cautious that we do not accept the gods of those who deny the incarnation of the God of the Bible. If we accept these gods, we will eventually deny the gospel.
We have also discovered that many who believe philosophies that attack the gospel, sometimes do not actually realized that they are harboring teaching that is against the gospel. However, we believe that they would realize their anti-gospel thinking if they considered the contradictions that exist between secular philosophy and gospel. But some have simply accepted the fact that their belief in the gospel, and the philosophies that contradict the gospel, is thinking with which we must live as Christians in this world.
Some do not want to voice the contradictions between a secular world view and the gospel lest they are accused of believing what the scientific world considers religious fables. And in a democratic society, some seek to be tolerant to the point of believing that everyone will end up in heaven on the basis of being a good person. But in believing this, they are denying the necessity of the gospel of grace. In this matter they would rather compromise their faith than stand firm on the historical facts of what the Bible teaches concerning the gospel.
[Next in series: May 20]