THE CULTURE OF ARMAGEDDON
Is the Christian Faith Rational?
“Is there a cultural war?” A good question. What do we mean by culture? Culture is “the sum total of ways of living developed by a group of human beings and handed on from generation to generation” (qtd. in Gagging of God 538). This deﬁnition creates conflict between good and evil, right and wrong, God and the world, but cannot be avoided. Incidentally, this is the meaning of Armageddon in Revelation 16:16.
The biblical worldview. In the beginning (Genesis 1-3), God set forth the biblical worldview culminating in Christianity (Hebrews 1:1-2a; John 14:6). The biblical worldview insists man obey, serve, worship and glorify God (Revelation 4:11). God defines both the origin and purpose of man. God created man in His image (Genesis 1:26-27) and as the apex of His creation. He imbued man with all the traits of personality. God created man a creature of choice; i.e. man could choose to obey or disobey God. Consequently, man walks in the biblical worldview when his behavior is learned and modified by the divine standard, the Bible.
Our Culture and Life
There are Christians who become troubled when they think about their faith and sometimes they wonder if their Christian faith is true. Too many Christians have accepted the facts of Christianity solely on the basis of trust and confidence in others (parents, friends). They have never given a close and careful consideration to examine the basis of Christianity (the Bible).
The age in which we live is both sophisticated and educated. It demands that we know what and why we believe something. Believing something does not make it true. A thing is true or not true regardless of whether anyone believes it. This is true of Christianity as of everything else.
There are those who reason that Christianity is at least non-rational if not irrational. They use Paul’s statement: “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ” (Colossians 2:8, ESV). However, this is an abuse of Paul’s statement. Christianity is rational. The Bible is the ground of faith. Faith in Christianity is built on evidence. Paul wrote: “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17, NKJV). The Christian faith is reasonable and rational.
A Mixed Up Society
Someone wrote, “The culture around us has declared war on all biblical standards. . . . Some Christian unwittingly began following suit several years ago. That has opened the door for a whole generation in the churches to embrace postmodern relativism openly and deliberately.” No one will deny that our culture lacks a biblical basis and has a secular basis. To understand the “war on all biblical standards,” we mean there is no right and wrong, no true and false, no good and bad but only shades of gray. This is not the proper way of understating God’s truth. Stated above is what is called postmodern relativism. The confusion of the above concerning our culture is troubling. We believe the following observation is correct: “The United States is entering a post-Christian era and is rapidly becoming a foreign nation to committed believers” (Charisma Magazine). The question is: “How can we instill in our society a love for God’s truths.” Consider the following:
If A Man Dies Shall He Live Again
Society is a mess. Perhaps, we can describe our society as living in chaos. It is scary when we contemplate the society in which we live.
Civil government is ordained of God to which all men are subject in order that good and safety may prevail and evil may be controlled (Romans 13:1-3). As such civil government is for our good—for all citizens. This creates a societal setting in which peace and security can be practiced and enjoyed (Romans 13:4-7).
The words, “If a man dies, shall he live again” (Job 14:14) occur within the cycle of controversy with Zophar. Zophar, agreeing with Eliphaz and Bildad, claimed Job’s suffering was the result of Job sinning. Job replies to Zophar in chapters twelve, thirteen, and fourteen. The question of Job, “If a man dies, shall he live again?” is addressed to God.
The Heresy of Orthodoxy
Pilate’s question to Jesus, “What is truth” (John 18:38) has given men opportunity to define truth. As a consequence, many definitions abound and are often contradictory. How do you define truth? You must. Does the definition matter? Is truth absolute and non-contradictory or can it be ever changing and ever contradictory? Consider:
Set for the Defense
The Heresy of Orthodoxy by Andreas Köstenberger and Michael J. Kruger is highly recommended. The 250-page paperback has both a Subject and Scripture Index and 642 footnotes giving valuable insight and showing the depth of scholarship. Crossway sells the book for $17.99. The book is a serious reply to Bart Ehrman’s popularization of Walter Bauer’s thesis that heresy preceded orthodoxy. Some of Ehrman’s writings have made the New York Timesbest-seller list.
Christmas - My Turn
Paul was “set for the defense of the gospel” (Philippians 1:21) which implies the necessity to defend (1) the existence of God, (2) the credibility of the Bible, and (3) the Deity of Christ. We are to “be ready always to give an answer . . . [for] a reason of the hope” in us (1 Peter 3:15) and “know how you ought to answer every man” (Colossians 4:6). These texts imply a ready defense and a serious and studied defense against all opponents.
All who know me, know exactly what I teach about Christmas. Over the years I have written repeatedly on its historicity and traditions. Who among us does not appreciate this time of the year when joy, giving, receiving, and peace are practiced by so many? If you want to look at the glass as half-empty, it is also a time of haste, waste, expense, sadness, crime, etc. The season causes us to slow down our hectic pace of life, or at least we try, and enjoy our families and friends for a few days. We enjoy the blessings of life—eating, exchanging and receiving gifts, decorating, and in general, enjoying the spirit of good will to all men (cf. Luke 3:10).