Monday, 13 January 2014

Infinite Shades of Grey


In recent blog posts we have been focussing on the need for Biblical discernment amongst Scotland’s Christians.

There is no doubt that Christians should be in tune with the contemporary world and a number of Scotland’s independent evangelical fellowships and some more mainstream churches have chosen this path. However, a disturbing by product of this process is that some churches have at the same time have abandoned foundational Biblical teaching. Lacking clear scriptural direction, Christians have developed a continuum mind-set……one which has no discernible division into parts. Thus, rather than seeing things as black and white; right and wrong or true and false, attitudes, values and behaviours are seen as infinite shades of grey.

In his classic allegorical work, ‘The Screwtape Letters’, CS Lewis wrote of a senior demon who instructed an apprentice demon to, “keep his human victim’s mind off the plain difference between true and false”.

In reality, Satan uses this strategy very successfully. In many areas ranging from the personal moral behaviour of leaders to the unthinking endorsement of extremist ministries who exploit and manipulate the uninformed, Christians continue to fail to distinguish between truth and error.

Lack of spiritual discernment also leads to a preoccupation with image and influence as a key to evangelism. Many of Scotland’s evangelicals believe they can win the lost by winning their approval. Christians adopting this methodology no longer teach the Biblical doctrines of sin, hell, repentance or the cross because those would offend the lost or make them feel uncomfortable. Instead they market themselves as benevolent, non-threatening people whose primary goal is to achieve prestige, popularity and cultural acceptance among the lost. Their premise is, ‘if they like us, they’ll like our Jesus’.

The Apostle Paul gave a stinging rebuke to the church in Corinth for its obsession with image rather than the truth. The same is true today. One only needs to read any church’s Facebook traffic to see the evidence.

There is no doubt that Scotland’s evangelicals need to develop a Biblical mind-set. Dr Jay Adams has written: “People who study the Bible in depth think in terms of contrasts or opposites. From Genesis to revelation, God’s thoughts and ways are set over against all others. The Bible does not teach that there are numerous ways to please God, each of which is as good as the next. Nor does it teach that various opinions are more or less God’s ways. What it teaches everywhere is that any thought or way that is not wholly God’s is altogether wrong and must be rejected”.

There is only one God, and only one way of life….His!

It’s not easy being a Bible-believing true believer in 21st century Scotland. In some evangelical circles, true believers are labelled as ‘legalists’ and frequently marginalised.

Jesus saw that this would come when he said to his disciples, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.  If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.  Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” 
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