Shades of Gray

Shades of Gray Geroge Harkness Vision CollegesPreface

Why is it that today so many are swayed by mere emotionalism or trapped by the most recent propaganda disseminated through television or in the classroom? While there are several factors, one that stands out is that people do not think critically.  In 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV), the apostle Paul writes, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”  If we are to take every thought captive we must learn to think!  As Christians, we are to follow the example of the Christians at Berea.  They were of “more noble character” because “they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true” (Acts 17:11, NIV).  Paul also exhorted the Colossian church to “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ” (Col.2:8, NIV).  As Christians we need to be able to discern what standard of evaluation we will use to make our day to day decisions.

The foundation for logical thinking is the law of noncontradiction.  The law may be stated as follow: a statement cannot be true and not true at the same time and in the same respect.  Throughout the Bible, the law of noncontradiction is implied.  If it were not, then nothing would be a claim to truth.  Right thinking is thinking that imitates God’s thinking.  God’s revealed law, which is part of the law of nature, is to be found only in the Holy Scriptures.

Sometimes we have heard it said that you can’t legislate morality.  Some have even made the statement that religion should be kept separate from law.  Those statements are ridiculous.  Every law is a legislation of morality, because law sets a standard of what is acceptable.  The only issue is what will be the standard?  The only issue is what will be the standard?  What will be the religion that determines what the law is?  We either live in obedience to God and follow His Word for our entire legal system, or we put a man-made substitute.  If we change the theological base of a legal system, we will change its government, its families, its education, etc. (see Deut. 4:5-9).  However, if we don’t obey God’s Word, we will pay the consequences.

The most insidious humanistic philosophy being perpetrated on us today is called relativism.  Relativism is the belief that there is absolutely no absolute.  Relativism says, “to each his own.”  In the eyes of a relativist, the greatest evil that you can commit is being close-minded, intolerant, or judgmental.  Every law in our country is based on a concept of morality.  For the Christian and non-Christian the morality dictated by the Ten Commandments holds society together and governs us and is the basis of any just legal system.  The question isn’t whether morality or values are going to be part of our society.  The question is whose values are going to rule our society?  When you take a “neutral” position between good and evil, you are in a position which directly supports and encourages evil.

In the subsequent chapters we will be studying what is ethics, what are some of the prevailing philosophies that affect our thinking, why it is important to understand worldview, Antinomianism and its humanistic contribution to the relativism of today, and finally a foundation for a biblical way of life.  To make a difference, we must know what we believe and why we believe it.  James Sire wrote in his book The Universe Next Door[1] that “to be a Christian theist is not just to have an intellectual world view; it is to be personally committed to the infinite-personal Lord of the Universe.  And it leads to an examined life that is well worth living.”  My prayer is that this book will help you live out Paul’s exhortation to the Romans, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-His good, pleasing and perfect will” (Rom. 12:2, NIV).

                                  Dr. Ronald L. Bernier

[1]      James W. Sire, The Universe Next Door (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1988).

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