Establishing the Boundaries of a Biblical Worldview

sin

Why Do So Many Christians Agree With the Devil?

There are many people who agree with the devil on a major issue. What might surprise you is the number of Christians who agree with the devil on what has to be one of the central tenets of what the Bible teaches. Even many Christian scholars and commentators gloss over this key issue. As a result, many believers are in disarray. For they may not know that what they promote as Christianity is instead the worst idea of Satan himself.

The wrong view is a single idea with huge ramifications. It is as a proclamation that it is not necessary to keep the Old Testament law. Various reasons are given for this: we’re under grace, not law; OT laws were given to Israel and intended for them only; the ‘new’ covenant replaces the old covenant; non-Israelite believers are not signatories to the Sinaitic Covenant. No matter what reason is given, it comes down to the notion that it is not necessary to keep the commandments given in the Torah, the books Exodus through Deuteronomy.

Now no one who promotes this idea is suggesting that murder, theft and adultery, for example, are no longer prohibitions on how people should live. They may be shaky on the idea of the Sabbath, yet strong on the idea that there should be no graven images of God. No one suggests that it is now OK to make your daughter a prostitute. But they hesitate when the gleaning laws are put in front of them as God’s method of helping the poor. There are others who believe stoning for blasphemy is no longer required under ‘Christianity’. Some people do not even accept that the laws of God are obligatory; they suggest the commandments of God are now downgraded to merely ‘good advice’ which we are free to choose or reject.

This idea is not new, but not as extreme as the second century heretic Marcion who claimed that the God of the Old Testament was a lesser and inferior God to the God of the New Testament. Thus, he rejected any notion that Old Testament law should be kept in the New Testament era. He went so far so say that he believed that the God of the Old Testament was an evil creator god that Jesus came to destroy

What concerns us, however, is how they arrive at the idea of which laws of the Old Testament still apply today. But before explaining this, let’s take a look at the central passage of Scripture concerning the origin and nature of man’s rebellion against God.

Genesis chapter three records the episode between Eve and the serpent, the ‘Whisperer.’ In that discussion, the devil proposes that death will not be the outcome of eating the forbidden fruit, but that instead Eve’s ‘eyes will be opened’ and she shall be ‘like God’. Eve, and with her Adam, were thus offered enlightenment or illumination to ‘know good and evil’.

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Meteor shower in the skyWhatever Happened to Sin?

In a recent discussion with an old-earth creationist, some important issues began to unfold. These are issues of concern to every Bible-believer, for they have serious implications.

First, he had no idea of hermeneutic principles. The principles are those that are used to interpret the Bible. When asked to identify what these might be, he replied that a) reading different translations, b) reading different commentaries, and c) discussing issues in his community were the ‘principles’ of hermeneutics he adhered to. Nowhere here, of course, any mention of the original languages without which he will never know which of the translations he is reading has it right, nor, more importantly, the idea of sola scriptura—scripture interprets scripture.[1]

The idea of scripture interpreting scripture, however, pushes a very important question of methodology to the top of the list. For in order to have sola scriptura you are going to need to have systematic theology. Now there are some people who try to say that systematic theology is ‘psycho’, that it misleads people to wrong conclusions. But the fact is everyone operates on the basis of some system of theology. That is because human beings appear incapable of operating outside of a system of thought. If they could, all theological ideas would be non systematized—that is, they would be random thoughts. And random thoughts are thoughts that have nothing to connect them to any other thought or idea, which makes random thoughts meaningless. They are unknowable as random thoughts because there is nothing to connect them to that which will give them meaning.

Some people really do say the craziest things when it comes to theology and then wonder why they are not taken seriously.

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Footnotes    (↵back returns to text)
  1. For a development of the idea of sola scriptura and an interesting contrast with solo scriptura, see Keith A. Mathison, The Shape of Sola Scriptura (Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2001).↵back

“All You Need is Love, Love, Love.” — The Beatles, 1967

The Romantic movement, following on the heels of the Enlightenment, brought a revitalized message about love. There’s not enough of it.

And Romantic art of all kinds—poetry, music, painting, etc.—indicates that the lack of love is the significant problem in the world. If only this girl or that man would love me, all my problems would go away. Romanticism in this vein, however, is even more likely to have the three-way love affair, with adultery mixed in the midst of it. There was a reason composer Richard Wagner used Tristan and Isolde as a key part of his operatic works with music designed to undermine Christian culture, for the story is a key representative of Romanticism. Hollywood, in our generation, perpetuates this belief about love.

Enter our churches and you hear an identical message called the gospel of love. “Honk if you love Jesus” was an old bumper sticker. Music, now the controlling influence in the contemporary church, is the music of the Romantic era. The use of melody and harmony are governed by the rules of the post-Baroque period, and when played on guitar and drums, the rhythm is highlighted and it becomes the dominant aspect of the contemporary worship service.

Now listen to the sermon that follows this kind of music.

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Twice each year, as a child living on orchards, we had fruit picking season. Oranges towards the end of winter, and grapes at the end of summer, southern hemisphere time. So I never experienced a genuine white Christmas until I relocated to the heartland of the USA, the mid-west.

Picking fruit, especially the grapes, was an art. These grapes were for eating, so they should be picked carefully so as not to bruise or damage.  The bad ones were removed, and the good fruit gently packed in a box where it was sealed and made ready to go to the big city.

Sometimes it was necessary to throw a whole bunch out. Once you get one rotten grape it spreads and contaminates the remainder. And you had to be very careful that a bad grape did not get packed, because it could very easily spread its rottenness through every bunch in the packing box.

Now many preachers, and street-preachers are just one section of a much larger group, approach their preaching like we used to approach fruit picking. They not only present the Good News of Jesus’ death and resurrection, but they also remind people of their sins. When I was a child, the list was usually confined to the seventh commandment (adultery), dancing and alcohol. Preachers may add more to this list, lying, stealing, violating the Sabbath.

But there is a big difference between picking grapes and trying to cut out the bad ones on one hand, and selecting a list of sins and then trying to excise them out of the way on the other. Here’s why.

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The copyright in music debate creates an opportunity to re-think the purpose of copyright and similar laws, such as patent protection. Neither copyright nor patents have an illustrious beginning. Used by the powers in authority as an attempt to either limit free speech or raise money, the laws had a purpose to protect the position of those in authority. In other words, they were used to protect a monopoly.

More recently laws such as copyright, patents and trademarks are used to create monopolies not of political power but of economic power. Music writers sell their compositions to music publishers who invest the time and money in print and marketing to create sales. The publishers and shareholders want a return on their investment. They are clearly not happy if someone gets access to the same product without paying for it. Book writers do the same.

So do hamburger suppliers. If you want to buy a McDonald’s hamburger, you have no choice but to go to the licensed McDonalds monopoly somewhere and buy. As much as this might be an inconvenience, you cannot go to the Burger King outlet and buy a McDonald’s hamburger, just as you cannot buy Taco Bell at McDonald’s. They each protect their property by insisting only approved sales outlets can sell their food, for which the parent company receives a percentage of the sale. This is just as much a monopoly as is the publishing of songs, so the attack on the publishing industry for protecting its monopoly could be construed at the same time as an attack on all forms of endeavor to protect the fruit of one’s labor and capitalize on it by creating a monopoly selling outlet.
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