WHAT’S THAT? …YOU SAY THAT YOUR HOMELESS… I’LL PRAY FOR YOU THAT GOD WILL PROVIDE HOUSING FOR YOU” Oh the empty word! Oh the Hypocrisy we show! We will often make comments like this without even thinking about what we are saying. We are quick to appease and tell “white lies”,BUT we seldom keep our promises to be in prayer for that person. Where is the concern? Where is the love? Where is the compassion? Do we even try to ask further questions to find out the extent of the problem? Do we look to see if there are things that we can do to help? Are we willing to spend time with them really getting to know them and their needs. Is our concern truly for him or is our real concern our bank account being drained away; “leaches” sucking our money and resources dry. Could it be that our biases, preconceptions, and stereotypes are causing us to be prejudicial to those in need? And what is it that we really believe about the homeless? Are they in our minds 2nd or 3rd rate citizens? Do they have less rights than us? Are we like the priest and the levite in Luke10 that totally ignored and avoided the man that had been , robbed,stripped, beaten, and left for dead or, are we like the Samaritan that helped him with his wounds, bandaged them, got him up on his animal, got him to an Inn and took care of him? What really is our heart towards the poor? Do we truly love them or are we just going through the motions; playing the role of one that cares when really we couldn’t be bothered otherwise?
I think, more often than not, it’s the latter. We all tend to do it. We talk the talk real good but we don’t walk the walk. We are so convincing that we even sell ourselves the lies that we are doing a good job in caring for the poor when in reality it’s all a sham, a big production done to make ourselves look good in front of others. We are experts at lying to ourselves and others; so much so, that we could sell snow to Eskimos (Inuit First Nations People). Oh sure there are lots of scammers out there, and many more that will take money misuse it without even a blink of an eye as to the sacrifice behind the gift. But are all like that?No of course not. There are many different types of people with a spectrum of needs. surely there is something we can do? Are we that Jaded that we throw out the baby with the bath water and not give at all to those in need? What position does that put us in light of the passage in Matt 25:31-46? Certainly I am not saying that we must foolishly give to all that ask without using discretion, and certainly there are those that are unable to give at all. We know that we have to choose wisely how we help so we don’t enable them But, we must seriously ask ourselves, whether we (myself included) are truly serious about showing the love of God to the homeless. We must ask ourselves is there not something we can do? Can we not buy them a meal at McDonald’s and use it to show the love of God. Is there no one that has a place in their heart and an extra room to take someone in that is on their way to recovery; giving them a hands up? Perhaps there are those that can just sit with them, listen, find out their story and really show you care. Is there not someone that is willing to start a support group for the homeless where they can discuss the issues and have the opportunity to hear how Christ can meet their needs? Is there not someone to love on them with all their heart and strength, and could be a light in a dark and perverted world? Is there not a Follower of Christ who truly cares enough to sacrifice their dignity and pride and spend time with them? Can we not be real, get past our hangups and start treating them like they truly are; People whom God loves and made in His image. Is there not a way that we can convey to them that we are good friends with their maker and we want to re-introduce them to their maker, help them understand their instruction book, the Bible, and help them to understand their purpose, and know that they have value, worth, dignity, hope and more because of who their maker is and what he did for us? Is there…..?
This is an article reposted by Comec Ministries
from an article by Donald T. Williams as posted on the Christian Research Institute Webpage. It is an excellent article defending why the whole concept of Hell is just and How it is right for a just and good God is to impose an eternal punishment for merely “temporal sins?” The Christian Research Institute is well known for their apologetics (defending the faith) and for giving answers about other faiths and belief systems and why these belief systems contrast with the Word of God and His teachings.
Again this is a more in-depth read but it is highly recommended
The Justice of Hell?
Article ID: JAF6391 | By: Donald T. Williams
This article first appeared in the CHRISTIAN RESEARCH JOURNAL, volume 39, number 01 (2016). The full text of this article in PDF format can be obtained by clicking here. For further information or to subscribe to the CHRISTIAN RESEARCH JOURNAL go to: http://www.equip.org/christian-research-journal/
Many atheists (and some Christians) object to the doctrine of hell on the premise that it is inherently unjust. How, they ask, can it be right for a good and just God to impose an eternal punishment for merely temporal sins? How can it be just to impose an infinite punishment for finite sins? It is hard to see how human beings, being temporal and finite creatures, could commit any other kinds of sin than finite ones. But unending conscious punishment is, well, unending. Add infinity to any finite number, and you see the problem.
The atheist who pursues this line of reasoning finds support for his or her suspicion that the Christian concept of a good God is incoherent. The Christian who does so seeks to revise or eliminate altogether the traditional doctrine of eternal punishment. And one must admit that this thinking has a certain surface plausibility. People thus persuaded might well question whether traditional Christian belief really takes the goodness and justice of God with sufficient seriousness.
But what if it is actually the questioners who do not really understand or take seriously the goodness of God? Yes, the goodness of God!
What if a maximally and eternally good, wise, powerful, and holy Being who is the Creator and Sustainer of the world actually were to exist? He would, in other words, be more good than Frodo, wiser than Gandalf, stronger than Treebeard, and more faithful than Sam. He would have more integrity than Aragorn and be more committed to all that is good and right than Faramir. He would, in fact, be the inexhaustible well from which characters like those, to the extent that they exist in the
real world, draw their goodness, wisdom, power, and righteousness. He would possess such attributes infinitely, that is, perfectly and inexhaustibly, in virtue of being the eternal and uncreated Standard and Source of goodness, wisdom, power, and righteousness—the One who in the beginning first said, “Let there be light.”1
Would such a maximally great Being then not be worthy of all our worship, all our obedience, and all our adoration? In fact, such a Being would deserve these responses from us, not just be in a position to demand or coerce them. That is, just by His being who and what He is, those responses on our part would be not merely nice or desirable but inherently appropriate to Him, indeed, inherently owed to Him. For contingent and morally responsible creatures such as ourselves to fail to see and accept this obligation in the presence of a maximally great Being is to be complicit in a pernicious lie about the real nature of things; to refuse this obligation is to incur guilt.
Furthermore, there would be no conceivable limit to this Being’s worthiness. He would be infinite in the sense that He would possess the greatest possible set of perfections that justify our worship, obedience, and adoration. Thus, He would infinitely deserve our worship, obedience, and adoration. And I mean by infinitely that there would be no conceivable limit to that worthiness and that deservedness on His part, and hence to that obligation on ours. All of this seems to follow inexorably.
THE REALITY OF OBJECTIVE VALUE
Modern people may hit a hurdle here, though. They tend to see moral qualities such as worthiness and desert as subjective phenomena—existing in the eye of the beholder rather than in the nature of the observed object. They have lived in a world where everybody gets a trophy just for showing up. They may think, “Well, if you feel God ‘deserves’ worship because of who He is, that’s fine for you, but what does it mean for me? Why can’t I just shrug my shoulders and move on? Why must I base my whole life on something external to me?”
People who think this way usually have never noticed how inconsistently they do so. Some of the things we think are subjective opinions (“vanilla is tastier than chocolate”), and some are objective facts (“Georgia is east of Mississippi”). Modern people tend to treat statements about moral value as belonging to the first category (vanilla vs. chocolate) because people often disagree about them, whereas most people will agree about where Georgia is on the map. But at least some moral values are moral facts, not mere feelings. For example, wanton cruelty to innocent children is just wrong. Genocide (as in the Holocaust) is just wrong. It does not really matter how we feel about these moral facts. If we fail to disapprove of such things, it is not a matter of taste; it is precisely a moral failing on our part. We have mistaken Georgia for Mississippi, not merely preferred vanilla over chocolate.2
ACKNOWLEDGING THE CREATOR’S GOODNESS
All right, if we must admit that there is such a thing as an objective moral value, one that demands a response from us (approval, say, or condemnation) whether we feel inclined to make it or not, then surely the one place where we should expect to find such an unyielding moral reality would be in the One who is the very Source and Wellspring of creation, both of its existence and its goodness. If that is the case, we are ready to revisit the point established earlier: would such a maximally great Being then not be objectively, infinitely worthy of all our worship, all our obedience, and all our adoration? Would such a Being then not objectively, infinitely deserve all our worship, obedience, and adoration? And would we then not be under a perpetual and limitless moral obligation to worship, obey, and adore such an all-good and awesome Being?
If all of that is true, then would stubbornly and persistently withholding those responses (indeed, stubbornly and persistently yielding them to something—to anything—else) not then make us, in a sense, infinitely guilty of rebellion? Would that rebellion not be infinitely inexcusable? For there could be no conceivable limit to how wrong it was. By what possible moral calculus could we then judge hell to be unjust? There is none. From this perspective, God’s goodness is not in conflict with the justice of eternal punishment; it is the very consideration that makes its justice and rightness inescapable.
FULFILLMENT OR FRUSTRATION
There are further questions that have to be considered. If such a Being existed and we were His creatures, absolutely dependent on Him for our own existence, would worship of, obedience to, and adoration of Him not then be the ultimate fulfillment of our existence? Would refusing to offer them to Him, or giving them to anything else, not be the ultimate frustration of our nature? Would that frustration itself not be the very definition of hell—even if no retributive justice as such were involved? For, having rejected the Standard and Source of all that is good, what could our existence then be? It would be an existence cut off from the Well from which flow the waters of life: goodness, knowledge, wisdom, strength, justice, and love. It would, therefore, be by its very nature an existence devoid of those things and full of evil, folly, impotence, futility, and every kind of wickedness. What could such an existence be but hell?
If retributive justice were involved (it cannot be excluded as part of the picture if we are to be faithful to Scripture), who would be in a position to complain that it was unjust or undeserved? For by refusing worship, obedience, and adoration to God, by giving them to anything else, we would have received precisely what we had chosen: a life in which our aspiration for anything that is good and noble is fully and finally frustrated.
One might well object that hypothetical questions such as these do not prove the existence of such a God. They do not. But they do clarify what the Christian claim about God is, and hence show that the traditional Christian claims about the afterlife are not inconsistent with it—indeed, the Christian confession is wonderfully coherent.
They also can lead to further questions: if this Being does not exist, how does it come about that anything exists? If naturalism and materialism are true, where did concepts such as goodness and justice (and evil and injustice) come from? For in a naturalistic world, there is no evil and no injustice—merely certain situations we do not happen to like. If naturalism is true, where did the concept of truth come from? If naturalism is true, how could naturalism (or anything else) be true? For in such a world all ideas (and their antitheses) would equally be nothing more than chemical reactions in the brains of organisms that evolved to have them by chance. And who (or, more accurately, what) would judge between those ideas and their antitheses? Another set of chemical reactions subject to the same conditions is the only possible answer. As C. S. Lewis realized in Miracles, thinking like this leads us nowhere.3
Such questions might well lead to the realization that the existence of God is a reasonable hypothesis in trying to account for the fullness of the reality we experience by living in this wondrous world. For it is a world that does contain goodness, justice, and truth, along with evil, injustice, and lies. If the world contains real and not merely imagined goodness and evil, then it makes sense that there should somewhere be ultimate fulfillments of both—that is, heaven and hell. Then the realization that God’s existence actually makes sense of the world (and is the only thing that does) might put us in a position to receive the life, death, and resurrection of Christ in history as a solid basis for faith in the God who, the disciples were convinced, was revealed to them in His Son.
One might also object that we cannot actually imagine such a God. Indeed, we cannot; not fully, if what I have said about Him here is true. In fact, we are warned that it can be dangerous to try. We can safely conceive of God only by sticking to the pictures of Him we are given in Scripture, culminating in the only perfect image, His Son Jesus Christ. If we tried to imagine Him outside of that framework, we would create only false and corrupted images of Him and worship them. They are technically known as idols. Because of the rebellion of our first ancestors, we have become constitutional rebels and constitutional manufacturers and worshipers of idols. They do not have to be made of literal wood or stone to be horribly real and destructive—and to render us horribly guilty.
Now, what if this good God loved us so much that He was not content to leave us in such a state of idolatry and rebellion and futility but offered us a way back to Him? What if He had already provided it by the sacrificial and atoning death of His Son, who absorbed in Himself all the consequences due to our guilt? We could never find God on our own; as constitutional rebels, we don’t even want to. But if He cut through all of your resistance and revealed Himself to you in such a way that He opened the eyes of your heart, so that you could get even the vaguest apprehension of what He really is as described above, would you not then want to give Him all your worship, obedience, and adoration?
In other words, the justice of hell is not really our intellectual problem. The very goodness of the God whom fallen humans despise, disobey, and ignore demands hell. His goodness—the fact that He is the Wellspring and Source of all that is good, and thus infinitely deserves the worship, obedience, and adoration we have withheld from Him and given to another—demands some such punishment for those who ungratefully reject His mercy and forgiveness in Christ. So, no, the justice of hell is not the real problem. The real mystery, the thing that we can accept but never finally explain, is the grace of heaven.
Donald T. Williams is R. A. Forrest Scholar at Toccoa Falls College. He is the author of nine books, including Inklings of Reality: Essays toward a Christian Philosophy of Letters (Lantern Hollow Press, 2012).
- For further discussion concerning the maximal greatness of God, see Tom Morris and David Baggett, “Greatest Being Theology,” in this issue of the Journal, pp. 30–37.
- For further defense of the concept of objective value, see C. S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man (New York: MacMillan, 1947).
- C. S. Lewis, Miracles: A Preliminary Study (New York: MacMillan, 1947), esp. chap. 3.
Here is another wonderful article By Hank Hanagraaf of the Christian Research Institute published on their Website under their article Section in 2015. Though it is a little in depth, it describes how it is that we as the conservative Christian Right have lost, or are at the very least losing the battle in the culture wars. It was He suggests lost in the area of Philology. He will explain exactly what that is. For someone wanting a more in depth and Philosophical read about the cultural war where it is present, where it is going, and how we can win the war this is the article for you.
Article ID: JAF3382 | By: Donald T. Williams
This article first appeared in the CHRISTIAN RESEARCH JOURNAL, volume 38, number 02 (2015). The full text of this article in PDF format can be obtained by clicking here. For further information or to subscribe to the CHRISTIAN RESEARCH JOURNAL go to: http://www.equip.org/christian-research-journal/
We lost the culture war, not because we had bad arguments for the positions we espoused, but because we had already lost it on the more fundamental ground of hermeneutics. Focused on theology, philosophy, ethics, and politics, we paid insufficient attention to changes taking place in our colleges in how reading and writing were taught. The old grammatico-historical exegesis, the attempt to discover the author’s message to his original audience, was replaced by a new view in which authorial intention is irrelevant at best and meaning is in the eye of the beholder. When people are taught to read this way, the authority of all cultural texts—including our founding documents and Scripture—is undermined, so that even good arguments for traditional values lose their traction. To reverse this defeat, we must recognize the importance of reading and how it is taught. You cannot win the battle for theology or ethics if you have lost the battle for philology.
The culture war is over. We (the Christian Right) lost.
OK, maybe it’s not quite over, and we’re only losing—albeit rather badly. If you quibble over the difference, you will miss the point.
It was a war we were right to fight, for no one who loves his neighbors can be indifferent to how they will be affected by harmful degradations of the culture that surrounds them. But we ought to have fought it very differently. We fought for many of the right things, but often not in a wise or loving way. We were generally right, and we often argued well, but we lost anyway. How did that happen? Why did it happen? It happened because we didn’t understand where the real battle was until it was too late. We probably don’t get it yet. Here’s what I mean.
WHERE THE BATTLE WAS
The founding documents of the American republic, from the Mayflower Compact to the Declaration of Independence to the Constitution, were on our side. They really were. Nobody cares. Nobody can even tell. Nobody thinks it matters. We lost the culture war on that score because we lost it earlier on the even more basic front of hermeneutics.
We lost, in other words, because we did not pay sufficient attention to changes taking place in our schools and colleges in the way writing and reading are taught. A major shift has taken place there over the past century, one with serious implications for every other issue we deal with. Typically, the Constitution—like any literary document studied in our secular schools, including the Bible—no longer has any objective meaning given to it by its authors. It means whatever the “interpretive community” (in the case of the Constitution, five out of nine people in black robes) thinks they need or want it to mean. That is a huge problem in itself, but we have an even bigger one: our fellow citizens are fine with this procedure. Why wouldn’t they be? It is how they were taught to read themselves.
Many Christian scholars and Christian institutions of higher education did not stand against this new view with sufficient rigor or energy. Why not? Many Christians either did not understand or just shrugged their shoulders at, or even welcomed, this change in how we read the world. Some even rejoiced in it as an improvement over the hated “modernism” they thought had taken over the Christian movement. How foolish! But we allowed it to happen because its earlier manifestations did not seem to be a threat. After all, they were happening in “English,” not in theology or philosophy, and in the reading of “artistic” works—novels, short stories, plays, poems—rather than “serious” political, legal, or religious texts. And who cares what a bunch of effete aesthetic snobs do with incomprehensible texts that don’t matter anyway?
And so in the secular academy, the Old Way—the attempt to understand what an author was trying to say to his original audience, believing that what they would have gotten out of his work must be the authoritative starting point for discussing the “meaning” of that work—was abandoned as naïve, unworkable, even perverse. This banishment of authors from their own texts was first crystallized by the “New Critics” of the mid-twentieth century in their concept of the “intentional fallacy”: just pay attention to what the text says in itself, they argued reasonably; the author’s intention for it, whatever that might have been, is a misleading distraction in the process of interpretation. The New Critics’ emphasis on “close reading” of the details of the text itself was sound. But wait: did scholars such as W. K. Wimsatt and Monroe C. Beardsley1 and the teachers who followed them intend for us to focus on the text as a thing in itself rather than as an act of communication by its author? Ahem.
The aestheticism of New Criticism, its focus on works of art, masked for a while the ideological use that could be made of this new author-free way of reading, not only in other texts but also in the literary works themselves. So most Christian English professors simply picked up this approach to literary texts with never a thought as to what would happen if some of its presuppositions were applied to other texts. And indeed for a while “close reading” produced genuine insights into the texts as works of literary art. But meanwhile, the exile of the author found its fulfillment in the “death of the author” espoused by current postmodern theorists. (But wait again: if authors such as Jacques Derrida and Roland Barthes really believe in the “death of the author” that they espouse, why do their names appear on the spines of their books?) Now the very distinction between literary texts and other texts has broken down. Now all texts can be mined for their aesthetic value or their ideological usefulness or anything else the critic wants to find in them. The one thing those texts cannot do—are not permitted to do—is to allow our ancestors to share with us the wisdom of the past. The “chronological snobbery” C. S. Lewis warned us about now reigns supreme.
The end result is that today if you try to apply the old method, the search for the author’s meaning (technically called “grammatico-historical exegesis”), to any cultural document, people stare blankly at you as if you were speaking a foreign language. That is one of the major reasons why, even when we had good arguments on the more recognizable issues in what was called the culture war, those arguments had no traction. People simply walked on by as if nothing had happened. To them, nothing had.
Sadly, this blank stare is not limited to “secular” people outside the church. I can tell you that it occurs on the faces of many students in conservative Christian colleges. They may tell you something very different when off guard in the cafeteria from what they put by rote on their hermeneutics exams to please their professor. Outside of class, they take it as a self-evident truth needing no support that readers create meaning in, rather than receiving it from, the text. Readers—not authors. These students don’t know it, but they have picked up by osmosis the epistemological skepticism of postmodern hermeneutics. Readers, not authors, are the source of meaning. Authors have no authority. Their presence at the moment of “text construction” has no historical or hermeneutical relevance. That would (horrors!) interfere with the freedom of the interpreter. The “free play of the mind in the text” trumps all other considerations.
These students don’t know any of the jargon, but they have absorbed the assumptions. And few of their professors are equipped to challenge those assumptions.
Their more conservative Bible professors can refute the old higher criticism but not the new hermeneutic, and their English professors had to spend their graduate careers pretending to take the chic nihilism of postmodern “theory” seriously if they wanted to get their degrees.2Not all of them came through that experience unscathed, and many had never been told that any other view was even possible. Yet they are often hired to teach in Christian-college English departments because they exude all the expected subjective pieties, and administrators do not know how to ask the questions that could expose the fact that their approach radically undermines the very basis of those pieties.
Now, no matter what you say, even if you still call the Bible the Word of God and think yourself a loyal son or daughter of the church, once you have adopted this view, authority has been transferred from the biblical text to you, the individual. Not only is there nothing to stop you from remaking the text (or the natural world, in the case of the gay rights cadre) in your own image; you have actually been taught that it is your right to do so, and that so doing is unavoidable, even virtuous. Biblical authors cannot be made an exception to this principle when it rules the mind unchallenged.
Yes, we have lost the culture war, and many of us have no idea how badly and how deeply! Many of our own children, even the pious ones, are more influenced by the culture at this critical point than by the church or the Christian tradition. Can this influence be unrelated to the fact that according to many studies they are only marginally better than the world in their practice of Christian morality? Readers empowered to create their own subjective meaning rather than exhorted to find the objective meaning left behind by the author are foxes put in charge of the henhouse when fallen human nature runs up against the demands of the Law of God.
WHERE THE BATTLE IS
So we lost. All right, what do we do now? Most importantly, we realize that the battle is never finally lost because Christ is sovereign and He is coming back. Those facts guarantee long-term victory. In the short term, since we do not know when He is coming back, we are to be faithful while He tarries and occupy until He comes. Therefore, the battle we have just lost must be followed by another one that we fight more intelligently, with a better recognition of our strategic position. Having lost the battle for faithful reading, we also have lost the cultural privilege and initiative we once enjoyed. We no longer command anything perceived by our peers as moral high ground. We are no longer defending the received tradition; we are now trying to come from behind. We are the new Moral Minority. Our position is now much more like that of our brothers in the old Roman Empire, except that instead of being the edgy new challenging Way coming in, we are now perceived as the outmoded fuddy-duddies being swept aside. A four-pronged strategy is needed in the situation in which we now find ourselves.
First, in response to this situation, we should not do what some are doing, and give up or surrender or try to retreat back into our private religious ghetto. We should continue to advocate biblical positions publically, even politically, because they are right, wise, good, and the only policies conducive to healthy human thriving in the long run. The unpopularity of biblical positions that are pro-life, protraditional marriage, or pro-traditional family is simply an indicator of how badly those views need proclamation and defense. But we can no longer pretend that they are a default setting, or that they are in any way privileged because there was once a consensus more or less in their favor. That situation belongs to an increasingly remote past. Failure to recognize this fact is one of the reasons we keep losing. We’re still fighting yesterday’s battles.
Teach a Proper Perspective
Second, we must prioritize reading and hermeneutics, and the way they are taught, as keys to our ability to witness effectively to the truth in all other areas. You cannot very well argue that traditional marriage or the sanctity of life should be normative if norms are inconceivable to your audience as anything other than arbitrary impositions of power. Norms cannot be conceivable as anything other than arbitrary impositions of power if meaning (not to mention truth) is by definition in the eye of the beholder. So if you live in an environment where the very act of reading as taught by almost all those who should be our most proficient readers (i.e., English professors) seems to undercut the very concept of determinative meaning and reinforce the absolute sovereignty of the individual, you will have a hard time making norms seem conceivable, much less believable. When truth is nothing more than a fluid miasma of shifting perspectives, the exclusive claims of Christ might be accepted by a few but cannot be taken seriously by anyone.
We therefore need to be much more vigilant against all forms of the postmodern “hermeneutic of suspicion” and much more aggressive in making the case for authorial intent as the foundation of textual meaning. Can authors communicate with their readers in their texts? The people who tell you they cannot are saying this in texts in which they are doing, quite successfully, the very thing they deny is possible! The ultimately self-refuting nature of such a stance is something we need to hammer relentlessly. The English professor who believes that authors can communicate with their readers is now the most needed missionary on the planet, and sending him or her into the secular academy (or even the Christian school) is the most strategic mission strategy we can mount.3
Sadly, the church herself has become a mission field in this area. Does the Christian college you support have people on its English faculty who piously believe that deconstruction (for example) is just one more neutral technique to be applied to texts, that it is something Christians should “take seriously” and “learn from”? (Not that I am advocating ignorance of it. People should be aware of the poisons in their cabinet!) You would be surprised at how many do. If you hire such people or contribute to their salaries or send your young people to study under them, you are aiding and abetting the Enemy. It is no exaggeration to say that the result will be more debased definitions, moral relativism, and brutally slaughtered babies.
The Importance of Art in Communication
Third, we must recognize the crucial role of the imagination alongside reason in cultural apologetics. Failure to take seriously the importance of literary art (and all the arts) in the formation of human minds and hearts was one of the reasons we were blind to the shift that took the ground out from under our feet until it was too late. We must not forget that the greatest apologist of the twentieth century was the greatest not only because he gave us the rational arguments of Mere Christianity and Miracles but also because he showed us what they looked like incarnate in the Chronicles of Narnia and the Space Trilogy—and most of all because in him reason and imagination were seamlessly integrated in one unified vision of the wholeness and the wholesomeness of Christian truth. We need more advocates who have learned such wholeness from writers such as C. S. Lewis.
How is such integration relevant to the culture wars? Exhortations to sexual faithfulness, for example, will be fully effective only if they flow from sound arguments for why God’s commands really are the expression of His love for us rather than arbitrary prohibitions. And those rational arguments will be fully convincing only if they are accompanied by compelling portraits of such faithfulness that make it genuinely imaginable as the only path to human thriving and fulfillment.4
Fourth, we must adjust our rhetoric to address the audience that actually exists, not the one that was here two generations ago. We need to stop berating people for departing from a position they never held, and instead do the hard work of evangelizing and discipling them from scratch. Maybe from less than scratch. They are jaded and cynical about what they think Christianity is, and that is partly our fault—not because we were wrong but because we were (and are) stupid in our approach.
Here’s an example of that stupidity: On my way to church I used to pass a billboard proclaiming a meeting in which the Christian Right was going to “take back America.” Have we no idea how this message comes across to the multitudes of on believers who read it on a public billboard? It would only reinforce all their worst stereotypes and prejudices about us. Even as an in-house communiqué, it did not send quite the right message. We have to win America back before we can even begin to think of taking it back.
It’s finally about recognizing what the real battle is, something we have not been very good at. It is too late to preserve the American republic (we have to restore it). We have lost the opportunity to appeal to the old consensus and we need to stop acting like it is still there. We need to continue our political opposition to atrocities such as abortion and perversions such as same-sex marriage but we should stop putting any hope in it until we do better at the prior job of evangelism and discipleship. We cannot win the battles for theology, philosophy, ethics, and politics if we lose the battle for philology (literature and reading). If we don’t understand these things, we will be fighting shadows on an empty field the Enemy has already abandoned for juicier prizes.
Better to wise up now than later.
Donald T. Williams is R. A. Forrest Scholar and professor of English and apologetics at Toccoa Falls College in Toccoa, Georgia. He holds an MDiv and a PhD in Medieval and Renaissance Literature. An ordained minister in the Evangelical Free Church of America, he has spent several summers training local pastors in East Africa and India for Church Planting International. He is also the president of the International Society of Christian Apologetics.
- “The Intentional Fallacy,” in Critical Theory since Plato, ed. Hazard Adams and Leroy Searle (1966; repr., Boston: Wadsworth, 2005), 1027–34.
- For the fountainhead of postmodern theory, see Jacques Derrida, “Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse of the Humanities,” in Critical Theory since Plato, 1206–15. For an excellent evangelical critique, see Alan Jacobs, “Deconstruction,” in Contemporary Literary Theory: A Christian Appraisal, ed. Clarence Walhout and Leland Ryken (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991), 172–98.
- For further discussion of how to make such a defense and mount such a strategy, see my books Inklings of Reality: Essays toward a Christian Philosophy of Letters, 2nd ed. (Lynchburg, VA: Lantern Hollow Press, 2012), and Reflections from Plato’s Cave: Essays in Evangelical Philosophy (Lynchburg, VA: Lantern Hollow Press, 2012).
- For further discussion of how this kind of integration has been and can be done, see my book Mere Humanity: G. K. Chesterton, C. S. Lewis, and J. R. R. Tolkien on the Human Condition (Nashville: B&H Books, 2006), and my article, “The World of the Rings: Why Peter Jackson was Unable to Film Tolkien’s Moral Tale,” Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity 26, 6 (November/December 2013): 14–16.
This is a wonderful article By Hank Hanegraaf of CRI Ministries and his Bible Answers section of his Webpage. I am forwarding it as it is a wonderful article that sums up why God did not use evolution as his method of creation. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did
Did God Use Evolution As His Method of Creation?
Under the banner of “theistic evolution,” a growing number of Christians maintain that God used evolution as his method for creation. This, in my estimation, is the worst of all possibilities. It is one thing to believe in evolution; it is quite another to blame God for it.
First, the biblical account of creation specifically states that God created living creatures according to their own “kinds” (Genesis 1:24–25). As confirmed by science, the DNA for a fetus is not the DNA for a frog, and the DNA for a frog is not the DNA for a fish. Rather, the DNA of a fetus, frog, or fish is uniquely programmed for reproduction after its own kind. Thus, while Scripture and science allow for microevolution* (transitions within “the kinds”), they do not allow for macroevolution* (amoebas evolving into apes or apes evolving into astronauts).
Furthermore, evolution is the cruelest, most inefficient system for creation imaginable. Perhaps Nobel Prize–winning evolutionist Jacques Monod put it best: “The struggle for life and elimination of the weakest is a horrible process, against which our whole modern ethic revolts.” Indeed, says Monod, “I am surprised that a Christian would defend the idea that this is the process which God more or less set up in order to have evolution.”
Finally, theistic evolution is a contradiction in terms—like the phrase flaming snowflakes. God can no more direct an undirected process than he can create a square circle. Yet this is precisely what theistic evolution presupposes.
Evolutionism is fighting for its very life. Rather than prop it up with theories such as theistic evolution, thinking people everywhere must be on the vanguard of demonstrating its demise.
inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for
them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so
that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find
him, though he is not far from each one of us.
For further study, see Jay W. Richards, ed., God and Evolution: Protestants, Catholics, and Jews Explore Darwin’s Challenge to Faith (Seattle: Discovery Institute Press, 2010).