Contexts for Christian Apologetics
What changed? The society in which I grew up is not the same society of today. Business no longer stops at noon on Wednesday so people can prepare for church that evening. In fact, businesses even now grub for every dollar on Sundays. Schools used to teach and measure reading, writing, and arithmetic. Now, more students must take remedial courses during their freshman year in college because their learning shifted in elementary and secondary education to tolerance and good feelings.
What will the world be like when my grand children are grown?
What has caused this change anyway?
Can it be reversed?
Where will it end?
People have been deceived out of some fundamentals of life: shame, reason, and meaning.
- Listen to the Apostle Paul’s description of life in our day from 2 Timothy 3.1-9. What loss of shame, reason, and meaning do you identify?
- Was Paul writing about his observations of society? Or, was he warning Timothy of things to come?
- We can see these throughout history, illustrated in the following, beginning with Adam and Eve and the serpent in the Garden of Eden. Genesis 3.5 shows clearly the steps of letting go of God’s hand in life.
- ‘Your eyes will be opened’ resulted in their recognition of nudity (verse 7).
- This led them know ‘good and evil’. Thus, they learned to question God’s pronouncements. Jeremiah 13.10 says such disdain leads to the pursuit of evil.
- This led their children to tell God, ‘I can do it myself!’ Examine the consequences of one illustration; Joshua 9.14-15 resulted in 2 Samuel 21.1-14.
- Without a compass, children interpret God’s word to rationalize their behavior. Notice how Eve added, in verse 3, to God’s instruction in Genesis 2.17. Examine Jeremiah 2.11-13, 17, 19; Jeremiah 4.18; and Isaiah 47.10.
- Rationalizing behavior led the children to conclude that God is a liar because He does not agree with me. Eve and Adam believed the serpent’s lie to ‘be like God’ (Genesis 3.5).
- Now, look at the mess we are in! No shame; no reason; no meaning!
- You can read the same in Moses’ warning to the Hebrews in Deuteronomy 8.7-17, in Absalom’s rebellion against David in 2 Samuel 15.1-6, in Solomon’s lust for sex in 1 Kings 11.1-11, in the Pharisees’ lust for power in John 11.45-48, and in Paul’s encounter with seekers in Athens, Greece, in Acts 17.16-21.
So, how have people lost shame, reason, and meaning? By pursuing the philosophies and traditions of men, which are founded upon the basic principles of the world (Colossians 2.8). The present world-system is organized upon the principles of force, greed, selfishness, ambition, and sinful pleasure (Scofield’s note to Revelation 20.10). In coming weeks, we will consider secularization, pluralization, and privatization as environments against Christianity.
How can we change the world for the better? Jesus! Colossians 2.9-10