In this 21st century, we are being flooded by liberal thinking that is being presented as: “this is how it is.” Issues like abortion, gay-lifestyles, evolution, and so forth are regarded by a secular-humanistic society as the norm. When Christians question it we are being branded as “haters” and “discriminators.” Only a small minority promote these issues, yet any resistance against it is being wiped away. That is the fruit of a fallen society. With these issues that are being taken up more frequently in laws, popular thinking, and the media, we are not just moving from a Christian to a post-Christian society, but to an anti-Christian society. Where do we stand as Christians regarding this secular-liberal way of thinking?
The Church stands before her biggest choice in 2000 years. The onslaught against what the Bible says is very subtle, but it gets aggressive very quickly when a stand is made against it. The Church needs discernment by God’s Spirit, otherwise we could be swept away. As believers in Jesus Christ, especially in South Africa, we will need to take a stand. And with God-given courage, we will need to make it clear – like Gideon – that we are not going to be pulled in by this flood. Like David – spurred on by God’s Spirit – we will need to run in against it and turn the tide. The Goliaths must fall. God’s Kingdom must be advanced so that His Name is honoured again in our nation. By resisting compromise, restoration will begin and decay be stopped.
The Church must indeed be careful where she positions herself – not careful in regard of the popular and political correct ideas, but rather careful that we do not find ourselves outside of the Will of God. There must be such an awe and respect for the Lord and His Word that we do not dare to approve of things of which we are not certain is God’s Will. That is exactly the issue regarding the Dutch Reformed Church’s Synod decision in 2015. Worldly pressures have made it – or at least its leadership – approve homosexual marriage. How can same-sex relationships and marriages be approved by the church when she is not sure that it is God’s Will? We will need to come to our senses because by doing this we are sacrificing the Church’s prophetic voice in society for a ‘poetic voice’ that speak the language of the world. We are selling our souls for a pot of lentil soup if we buckle under the pressure of the popular thinking of the day. You can’t change a society by tickling people’s ears. Your salt becomes worthless and your light dims out when you make room for worldly thinking if you are not sure that it is God’s Will. It doesn’t help to say “we are searching for the truth” but we listen more to people’s voices than to God’s Voice. That’s exactly how you deny your prophetic voice (which is to declare the Will of the Lord in society). That’s why the Lord told Jeremiah: “If you repent, I’ll take you back and you will stand before me. If you speak what is worthwhile, instead of what is worthless, then you will be my spokesman. People will turn to you, but you aren’t to turn to them” – Jer 15:19. The Lord is saying this to His Church in this postmodern milieu.
The big question is: How do we read the Bible? Is it God’s Word or is it people’s words about God? Theologians refer to a Confessional read of the Bible versus a Historical read. Liberal theologians prefer the Historical read: it considers the historical background of Scriptures as the most important and considers it irresponsible to read everything in the Bible as if it is on the same level of truth. According to them, the exegetical conclusions from what you read in the Bible should not be seen as absolutes. Liberals strongly oppose the Confessional read of the Bible, which focuses on absolute truth and believes Scripture, in its entirety, is inspired by God’s Spirit. This is where steadfast believers stand, because we want to read the Scriptures in context. Liberals, for instance, give in to the homosexual issue because their point of departure is people’s experiences. Then they look for scientific confirmation. Then they do philosophical-rationalisation to ‘normalise’ such a lifestyle. Only then they consider the Scriptures – in light of the 3 previous points. Faithful Bible-believers do it the other way around: first we look at what the Word say about this issue and then the other 3 points are considered in light of the Scriptures.
DR ARNO VAN NIEKERK is an economist and senior lecturer from Bloemfontein; founder of THE STAND (join on Facebook); and author of ENOUGH! What is the plan? Email EnoughSA1@gmail.com to order the book (R120).