Distinguishing the Basics

by Derek Gentle

Christians, the Bible tells us, are priests, whose mission is to represent humanity to God and to represent God to humanity. As a group, it is our place to be a counter-culture, a shining city set on a hill, a people of God in the world. As such, there is the responsibility to challenge our culture when we drift from the ways of God. These ways are foundational in a society.

The priests of the Old Testament were told to be prepared to, "Distinguish between the holy and the unholy, and between unclean and clean" (Leviticus 10:10, NKJV). One mark of society in decay is when God must say, "Her priests have violated My law and profaned My holy things; they have not distinguished between the holy and unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean..." (Ezekiel 22:26, NKJV).

George Barna has done the surveys and points out that, "Fewerthan 10 percent of American Christians actually possess a biblical world view, a perceptual filter through which they see life and its opportunities." A Biblical world view contains distinctions which must be reaffirmed. Very basic, common sense distinctions, but distinctions which in our society are now being contradicted.

There is a distinction between the Creator and the creation.
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:1). In the beginning there was God. Then God created everything else. Yet, for more than two decades now, pantheism has been a prevalent view point in America. In it, God is an invisible life force (Yes, like in Star Wars). He is not the holy, personal being of the Bible. God is in everything, it says. Thus, "everything is god."

Perhaps, you are now thinking, "I don't hold to such weird thinking and I don't know anyone who does." How many people have you heard say that they could worship better at the lake than at church? If god is in everything, and everything is god, then in fact, "I am god". This has an appeal - Satan told Eve, "You will be like God". Being sovereign sounds like fun. We could sing with Sinatra, "I Did It My Way." But there are two things in life which are certain: One, There is a God. Two, You are not Him.

There is a distinction between humans and animals.
"Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing which creepeth on the earth" (Genesis 1:26).

Ingrid Newkirk, founder of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), wrote, "When it cornes to feelings, a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy." People who believe otherwise engage in "speciesism" and are guilty of valuing one species (human beings) over others. Peter Singer, wrote, "It can no longer be maintained by anyone but a religious fanatic that man is the special darling of the universe or that animals were created to provide us with food, or that we have divine authority over them, and divine permission to kill them." Yet God (being the religious fanatic that He is) has the Psalmist pray of man, "You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of your hands" (Psalm 8:6, NKJV).

You may not know any members of PETA, but perhaps your child has come home from school to say, "People are animals, too." And there is the agenda: If people are animals, then we can live like animals. And be aware that one cannot elevate animal-kind without lowering the value of human-kind. We Americans cannot bring ourselves to ban partial birth abortions, but just you destroy an eagle egg or some obscure species of rat and see what happens!

There is a distinction between male and female.
"Male and female created He them" (Genesis 1:27). God is not simply talking anatomy here. The differences are not merely biological, but psychological as well. The radical feminists and homosexuals would have us believe otherwise, that we are born as a blank slate, and that we are trained to have masculine or feminine traits (then they contradict themselves to say that a person is born with his sexual orientation). God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. Yet, we live in a time of "gender blurring." Increasingly, one cannot tell the boys from the girls among the models in fashion magazines and in music videos. If we reinstated the draft would our nation conscript our daughters into military service? These things hit closer to home than we may care to admit.

There is a distinction between right and wrong.
"And the Lord god commanded the man, saying, 'Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat. . " (Genesis 2:16-17, NKJV). God's commandment should be enough. Yet, relativism covers our land like a wet blanket.

In The Closing of the American Mind, Alan Bloom wrote, "There is one thing a professor can be absolutely certain of; almost every student entering the university believes, or says he believes, that truth is relative."

We have tried to maintain that mutually contradictory statements can both be true, that "You have your truth and I have my truth". We have blended Biblical Christian beliefs with those of false religions and secular belief systems. Take the physician whose Christian friend asked him, "Joe, you're an excellent doctor. You care deeply about your patients. Why do you care so much for people since you believe we have evolved by chance? What gives us value?" Joe was stunned by the questions and his world view didn't supply the answer. On one hand he believed that human life is of great value; simultaneously he believes man to be nothing more than a cosmic accident.

The method for determining right from wrong is found in obeying the commands of God revealed in the Bible; but for many the formula now is "Listen to your heart." Steven Covey, author of Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is reported to have appeared on the Opra Winfrey Show. He asked the studio audience to close their eyes, then to point north. Hundreds of hands pointed in all directions. Then Covey pulled out a compass and said, "This is how you tell which way is north. You can't know from within yourself.