Distinguishing the Basics
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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
"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
"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
"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.
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