Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Whose Revelation?

While driving around the country side this morning, I listened to the White Horse Inn interview a french journalist,Uwe Siemon-Netto. Their discussion was on the ever relevant topic of Christ and culture as described on the Oneplace site here.

What is interesting about their conversation is that they discussed a point with which I have been struggling. Uwe Siemon-Nettoo pointed out that when discussing abortion with an atheist, appealing to God's revelation, the Bible, is not going to help since the atheist does not accept the Bible. Therefore, as Christians, we must appeal to "natural law" in order to persuade our neighbors including the atheist about the moral issues of the day.

Now if you remember my conversation with a commenter on the subject of homosexuality, I actually attempted to use both lines of argument, biblical revelation and natural law. Yet just as it was clear from the conversation that homosexuality is wrong based on natural law, Uwe's appeal to natural law simply begs the question. If an atheist rejects Biblical revelation because he rejects the idea of a Sovereign Creator, then how will appealing to "natural law" be of any assistance since natural law requires by definition a Law Giver?

One of the things (if I remember correctly) I appealed to in my discussion on homosexuality was the Creator/creature distinction and the created order and purpose/design of nature in general and mankind in particular. We now live in a culture that rejects both general revelation and special revelation. Our culture has become completely saturated with the idea that revelation comes from within the belly (as the Mormon likes to put it).

Now I realize that the law of God is written upon man, and therefore he knows right from wrong. In fact, he lives as if God exists throughout every day of his life. I also realize it is to this [image of God within men] that the journalist is appealing. Yet so many of our fellow citizens are suppressing this image of God within them to such great extent, that reasoning with them is becoming more and more difficult.

For now, I will be meditating on how the Christian in particular and the church as a whole in general may remain a prophetic voice of God's law and Gospel, while at the same time living with his neighbor and contending for what is right in the political realm. One idea that has occurred to me partly took place in an interview with Greg Koukl from Stand To Reason the week prior also on the White Horse Inn.

In a question of whether or not the Christian needed to defend the inerrancy of Scripture with the skeptic, Koukl bascially argued no. He noted that Scripture is self-attesting but that the non-Christian would not see that and no Christian evangelist in the New Testament went forth with that as being the main message. This perspective really struck home with me as I have been meditating on Matthew's words at the end of chapter 7.
28When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.
It is interesting to note that Jesus would obviously know that His own words have their own authority. He needs no testimony of man to verify the truth He speaks. Yet Jesus does not run out and say, "Believe Me because I am self-authenticating." Instead, it is something that is naturally or perhaps supernaturally seen and recognized.

So how does this all tie together? Well, I am thinking (still working through this) there is a time and place for appealing to "natural law" and God's revelation. The Christian must keep in mind that the United States is not a theocracy. Yet at the same time God's has instituted kingdoms to restrain evil and fulfill His purposes. The more a secular state understands their position before God, the better it will be for its citizenry.

The Christian must also understand that there will be times when society will reject God's law. Jesus' Kingdom is not of this age even though it is now breaking in. Using wisdom from New Testament Revelation to guide us should be our first priority as we struggle in our attempt to be salt and light in the world in which we live.

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