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Only Two Religions 9 - Unbiblical Responses

Heritage Presbyterian Church
Adult Sunday School

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Only Two Religions 9 - Unbiblical Responses

  1. 1. P e t e r J o n e s Director of truthXchange A Worldview & Culture Teaching Series by Ligonier Ministries Adult Sunday School Summer 2019
  2. 2. Lesson Slide 9 2 Unbiblical Responses The Big Question How can we make sense of the breakneck spiritual and social changes happening right now in our culture? and How should Christians respond?
  3. 3. Lesson Slide 9 3 Unbiblical Responses Lessons in the Series 1. Explaining Modern Culture 2. The Rise & Fall of Secular Humanism 3. Carl Jung’s Alternative Spirituality 4. Paganism in the Shadows 5. Paganism in the Spotlight 6. Pagan Sexuality 7. From Personal Spirituality to Worldview 8. Where Is Society Headed? 9. Unbiblical Responses 10.Articulating a Biblical Worldview 11.Living in Holiness 12.Thinking with a Discerning Mind
  4. 4. Lesson Slide 9 4 Unbiblical Responses Lesson Introduction • In light of the cataclysmic cultural changes that have occurred during the recent past, Christians have responded in a number of ways • While some have sought to separate themselves completely from culture, others have attempted to make the Christian faith and worldview less objectionable by conforming it to the tastes of modern culture • In this lecture, we will see some ways that Christians have failed to maintain the distinctively Christian worldview, and why Christians cannot compromise on Christian worldview distinctives • Compromising the Christian worldview leads to compromising the gospel itself
  5. 5. Lesson Slide 9 5 Unbiblical Responses Scripture Readings • Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 1 John 2:15 • And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience-- 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ- -by grace you have been saved--
  6. 6. Lesson Slide 9 6 Unbiblical Responses Scripture Readings (cont’d) • 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:1-10
  7. 7. Lesson Slide 9 7 Unbiblical Responses Teaching Objectives 1. To make clear why Christians cannot conform to the present culture 2. To show the ways in which Christians are intimidated to conform to the culture 3. To explore the results of a Christianity that has compromised with culture
  8. 8. Lesson Slide 9 8 Unbiblical Responses Watch Lecture 9
  9. 9. Lesson Slide 9 9 Unbiblical Responses An Old Problem • Panic, then temptation to create closed communities • Psalm 11:1-3 In the LORD I take refuge; how can you say to my soul, "Flee like a bird to your mountain, 2 for behold, the wicked bend the bow; they have fitted their arrow to the string to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart; 3 if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?“ • However, we must not give up because we have hope in the one foundation that lasts • Psalm 11:4-5, 7 The LORD is in his holy temple; the LORD's throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man. 5 The LORD tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence. 7 For the LORD is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.
  10. 10. Lesson Slide 9 10 Unbiblical Responses God is our Refuge • Our hope with a sure foundation is not • Christian America • Western Christendom • A coming utopian planet • God, our refuge, made the mountains and will one day remake his creation into a truly new and renewed cosmos where righteousness dwells • Knowing that our Father is refining and testing us and that he loves “righteous deeds,” even when the foundations are crumbling, we seek to display righteousness to the watching world
  11. 11. Lesson Slide 9 11 Unbiblical Responses How Will the Church Respond? • This is a time unparalleled since the beginning of church history, when religious paganism ruled the culture • The response of believers is crucial for the survival of the gospel in our day. Will the present church see the true nature of this situation and react in a way that honors Christ and his gospel—as the early church did? • First century Christians lived under a regime that continually tempted them to modify their beliefs and adapt their behavior to a culture that didn’t share their essential faith • We can both resist the Lie and make a statement of the Truth that understands and exposes the Lie and offers the only true hope in the gospel. Ignorance of this will produce faith-destroying conformity and compromise.
  12. 12. Lesson Slide 9 12 Unbiblical Responses Fearing our Culture • Christians today often conform or compromise due to fear of • Verbal attacks • Accusations of hate speech • Loss of friends, jobs, or respect • Threats of physical violence • For example, many campus Christian groups opt for a low profile and doing acts of community service, shying away from sponsoring public debates and campus-wide lectures, effectively silencing God’s Word • We must remember to pray for, encourage, and support each other lest we succumb to fearful retreat (Eph 6:19- 20)
  13. 13. Lesson Slide 9 13 Unbiblical Responses Seeking Approval from our Culture • Some modern Christians believe that the church’s difficulties getting along with the culture are largely self-imposed and avoidable • The culture dislikes us because Christians are socially obnoxious and go about Christian witness all wrong • Cultural opposition will disappear if the church tweaks its witnessing techniques, updates its message, and participates more heartily in compassionate care for the earth and its inhabitants • The goal for the church almost becomes the promotion of this- worldly “human flourishing”—as defined by the surrounding culture • So we ought to promote as the heart of the gospel: environmental care, social justice, forms of mysticism, tolerance of differing views of truth • But it is not obvious that Christianity needs to change just because the current generation does not find it immediately palatable
  14. 14. Lesson Slide 9 14 Unbiblical Responses The Lovingly Faithful Alternative • In a situation like ours, Christians must not first and foremost seek to be liked but to be lovingly faithful to the gospel. Otherwise, compromise can seem like a virtue rather than a serious danger. • Some evangelicals attempt to propose a cool, intelligent, sophisticated, open-minded evangelical pluralism by opening the “gospel tent” to non- Christians and Christians with highly controversial views on the Bible, gender, and sexuality • The question is: can this particular path remain evangelical?
  15. 15. Lesson Slide 9 15 Unbiblical Responses The Issue of “Gay Marriage” • Be aware that language and definitions inexorably steer public opinion and the church’s theology. Remember same-sex “marriage” is not actually marriage, but a radical redefining and repurposing of the age-old, universally-recognized institution of marriage. Doug Wilson aptly calls it “same-sex mirage.” • Many churches and Christians, including self-described evangelicals, have already adopted an affirming stance on same-sex “marriage”. No doubt many more will change— motivated by fear or enticed by societal approval. • In the name of walking more closely with Jesus and seeking to love those around them, are evangelicals running unwittingly into the embrace of a rising Oneist worldview and its integral views on spirituality and sexuality? • We need a full-orbed understanding of where our world is headed and how the gospel speaks to all human concerns
  16. 16. Lesson Slide 9 16 Unbiblical Responses Progressive Evangelicalism • The problem: young Christians are leaving the church • The perceived reason: Christianity has become too political, too exclusive, old-fashioned, unconcerned with social justice, and hostile to LGBT people • The proposed solution: the church must become less concerned with sex (abortion and contraception) and more consumed with eradicating poverty and embracing same-sex “marriage” • The goal: a new way of being Christian • Major proponents: Brian McLaren, Rachel Held Evans (deceased), Diana Butler Bass, Shane Claiborne
  17. 17. Lesson Slide 9 17 Unbiblical Responses The Progressive Awakening • Progressive evangelicals work and hope for a Fourth Awakening, which has little to do with historic Christianity and even less to do with historic evangelicalism • Such a “religionless Christianity” is short on: • Creeds • Dogmas • Authority structures • Unchanging moral codes • An authoritatively revealed Bible • Since modernist Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists have been undergoing similar restructurings, the next great awakening must be a spiritual interfaith awakening, emphasizing the foundation Oneist truth of the “interspiritual age” and the pagan cosmology behind it
  18. 18. Lesson Slide 9 18 Unbiblical Responses The Progressive Utopia • An organic connection between the three pillars of the new Oneism 1. Jungian pagan spirituality 2. Sixties East/West enlightenment 3. Present interfaith mysticism • God defined in less dualistic terms (less Twoist) • Ditch the idea of submitting to a transcendent—and often distant—God in favor of finding one’s self in God and finding God in one’s self • Praying to God, not as “our Father” but as “our Mother” • Seeing God less in terms of an absolutist, sin-hating, death- dealing almighty Father in Heaven and more in terms of the nourishing spirit of mother earth
  19. 19. Lesson Slide 9 19 Unbiblical Responses New Gnosticism • Union with nature in the lap of the mother goddess • No need for the divine savior Jesus Christ • Jesus’ question, “Who do you say I am?” should lead us to ask, “And who am I?” • The gnostic answer, according to the “gnostic Gospels” and other ancient gnostic texts, is that Jesus and humans are of equal status • Self-knowledge is true salvation • “Finding one’s self in God is also to find God in oneself” • Attained through prayer, yoga, or meditation • A new reformation: Sola scriptura (according to Scripture alone) replaced by solo spiritu (according to the spirit alone) • The real incarnation moment is the Big Bang, when God actually decided to materialize and to self-expose as the cosmic Christ. The world is the body of God, visualized through third-eye, non-dual thinking.
  20. 20. Lesson Slide 9 20 Unbiblical Responses Evangelical Acceptance • For a long time, liberal theologians have found a home in the integral spirituality and sexuality of neopaganism (progressive/evolutionary spirituality) • Well-meaning Christians have often made the mistake of thinking that their surrounding culture is, at worst, neutral and, at best, a redemptive work of the Spirit that shares authority with the Scriptures • Evangelical conformity to culture will seem natural and faithful if we believe the lies that • We must admit our dependence on our host culture • We must open ourselves to and adapt to our host culture, recognizing its essential goodness
  21. 21. Lesson Slide 9 21 Unbiblical Responses Evangelical Resistance • The basis of the church and that of the culture are not the same • The Bible urges the church and Christians to have a healthy mistrust of the culture and a love for sinners • The culture has a mind of its own (a worldview, i.e., the “wisdom of the world”) • That worldview is the cosmology of the Lie that causes people to worship the creation rather than the Creator • The world does not need more Christian conformity; it needs Christian transformity. • The world needs to hear the Word from God, from outside itself. It needs to see and hear the Truth of the gospel proclaimed and lived out by faithful, countercultural Christians.
  22. 22. Lesson Slide 9 22 Unbiblical Responses The Biblical Response Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, "I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, 18 and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.“ 2 Corinthians 6:14-18
  23. 23. Lesson Slide 9 23 Unbiblical Responses Study Question Answers 1. Carl Jung argued that the Christ symbol lacked wholeness, and that this wholeness is to be found in the reconciliation of the opposites of good and evil. True 2. Studying the culture and modifying the Christian message to make it more acceptable is an example of sociology rather than theology. 3. Fear has not been a major factor for Christians to conform their message to the surrounding culture. False 4. Carl Jung thought that sexual freedom would create an irresistible mass movement that would undermine two thousand years of Christianity. 5. Those who advocate a religionless Christianity, devoid of any creed or dogma, tend to deemphasize the use of the mind in their spirituality. True
  24. 24. Lesson Slide 9 24 Unbiblical Responses Discussion Questions 1. Fear is a major reason for Christians to modify their message in order to make it more acceptable to the culture. Read 2 Timothy 1:3–7 and give some examples of why Christians can be bold in standing for the truth. 2. Have you ever been tempted to articulate an aspect of the Christian faith and worldview in a more culturally acceptable way? What motivated this? 3. Disagreeing with modern culture’s spirituality can lead to hostility and rejection. How can Christians show genuine love in their presentation of the gospel while at the same time refusing to compromise their beliefs? 4. The impulse to eliminate gender distinctions has even crept into some evangelical churches. Explain how this is part of a wider pagan worldview, and why it is wrong.
  25. 25. Lesson Slide 9 25 Unbiblical Responses Next Lesson Do not be fooled. “Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God” (2 Cor 7:1). Here is the church’s way forward: a healthy mistrust of culture and a love for sinners.
  26. 26. Lesson Slide 9 26 Unbiblical Responses Resources by Peter Jones • Only Two Religions (study guide) • Only Two Religions (evangelism tool) • (website) • (website) • The Other Worldview (book) • The Pagan Heart of Today’s Culture (booklet)