This page features two writings, the first entitled "Progressive vs. Fundamentalism" and the second entitled "Humanism."

                                                                           Pieces from Berlin Wall

Progressive vs Fundamentalism

The dictionary says fundamentalism is a strict adherence to any set of basic ideas or principles. Conservatives in government and the religious right in today's world, have been associated with fundamentalism.  God is not just for one political or religious group, He is God for all. Progressive Christian believers realize that basic beliefs can still be adhered to while using common sense, new ideas and wisdom to deal with modern issues and changes in the world. This is nothing new. Jesus's earthly life, death and resurrection ushered in the beginning of the modern era with many changes. Jesus's progressive teachings challenged the Pharisees, the fundamental religious right of his day.

In 2 Timothy 3:16-17 it says, “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.” This verse in Timothy is true and the knowledge of truth in the Bible is timeless, to be treasured, to be adhered to. However, Christians can get confused on how this relates to a few specific topics such as slavery in the Bible, women in the church and issues of sexuality.  For example, why does the Bible give direction about slavery when today we don't have slavery? And why does the Bible say women shouldn't speak in church and today they do? These are good questions and let us use some common sense and wisdom in dealing with them.  

The answer is, the culture of the day in which the Bible was written has to be taken into account with these issues. First, slavery was accepted in Biblical times and today clearly it is not. Apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 6 and Colossians 3 about how masters should treat their slaves and how slaves should work for their masters. Paul says these things with love and giving correct Biblical principles such as masters respecting slaves. Clearly however, the relationship of masters and slaves thankfully does not exist in United States today although 150-200 years ago it did exist.  That has now changed.

The Bible is full of courageous, loving, faith-filled women such as Ruth, Esther, Mary and many others. They are highly honored in the Bible, each one of their stories is part of God’s word. However, the culture of the day, which was a male-dominated society, also precluded women from participating in church services. These things were written about in 1 Corinthians 14. It says women must remain silent, they are not permitted to speak in church, they should be subordinate to men. It says for women to speak in church is shameful, if they have a question they should ask their husband at home. This clearly does not apply to our culture today, this has changed. Now women take lead roles in churches everywhere, women are heads of denominations. Women lead huge worldwide ministries bringing millions of people to Jesus, the knowledge of truth and God’s love. What a blessing this is!

Sexuality is another issue that has been misunderstood and millions of good people who could have been serving the Lord and doing wonderful things for God have felt excluded or been excluded. Many homosexuals have been forced out of churches and turned away, much needless damage has been done. This is a result of fear in churches, a lack of knowledge, a lack of understanding on all sides and incorrect interpretations of scriptures.  Homosexuality can be a difficult subject for people, there is much healing that has to be done.  Ending discrimination against gay people hinges upon healing hearts.  To change laws, hearts must first be changed.

What is this lack of knowledge? Knowing God's abhorrence to idol worship, may I offer a different vantage? The societies surrounding the Hebrews in Biblical times had idols and sexual acts of all kinds were used in worship of them in pagan temples. This is not spoken about today. It is shocking but it's true. This had nothing to do with love and respect between two committed gay people, it was all about worshipping false gods. The word abomination is spoken repeatedly in scripture in reference to idol worship. This word is misinterpreted today. Apostle Paul speaks against the use of sex in worshipping idols. Romans 1:23-25 “They exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling a mortal human being or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles. Therefore God gave them up in their lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the degrading of their bodies among themselves because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature, rather than the creator who is blessed forever! Amen.”

Sexuality is not a choice but because some ancient idol worshippers chose same-sex acts in worshipping false gods, homosexuals of today are unfairly stigmatized. Homosexuality was not the sin, idol worship was the sin. Scriptures against sex in idol worship have been wrongly used to condemn homosexuals. Like slavery and prohibiting women to speak in church, the use of sex in pagan idol worship does not apply to our present culture, this has changed.  Because of this lack of information many fundamentalist Christians have difficulty with homosexuals. For many, instead of opening the door, it remains closed. This however, is changing as more progressive denominations and churches are opening up and embracing gay people. We can pray that God will bless everyone with knowledge, revelation and courage in this area. We can  hope that hearts will soften and walls of division that have taken many years to build up, with love and new understanding, will come down. 

                                                                               

Humanism

The dictionary defines humanism as a variety of ethical theory and practice that emphasizes reason, scientific theory and human fulfillment in the natural world and often rejects the importance of belief in God. As believers, we understand as it says in Colossians 1:16 that through Jesus "all things in heaven and on earth were created and that all things have been created through him and for him."

Humanism seeks to minimize or shut God out of the world He has created.  Humanism seeks to separate humanity from God. As believers we speak against humanism in the name of Jesus! We know it is the enemy's desire, his full-time job (and he is very good at it) and his goal, to do everything possible to separate humanity from God. Humanism is one tool of many Satan uses in attempt to do this.

Humanism can take a variety of forms. It can be a belief in evolution while excluding creationism. It can use scientific discoveries, philosophy or intellectualism, to minimize God. It can use human ideas to make up false spiritual beliefs that can, as its says in Colossians 2:4 "deceive you with plausible arguments." These can make sense or “feel good” but are not scriptural. How do we defeat a lie? With the truth. We must also pray for discernment in these matters because a lie can come deceptively cloaked in the truth. For example, someone could say Jesus was a great teacher who lived 2000 years ago. This is true. But don't leave out that Jesus is also God and still lives today! The Bible gives the knowledge of truth, we must consult the Bible to determine truth from lies. Ephesians 4:14-15 "We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people's trickery, by the craftiness and deceitful scheming. By speaking the truth in love we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ."

To defeat the lie of humanism, let's look more at what the Bible says. In Colossians 2:8 it says, “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe and not according to Christ.” Another verse is 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 “for the weapons of our warfare are not merely human but they have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle raised up against the knowledge of God and take every thought captive to obey Christ."

It is good to ask questions about our world but the ultimate question is, “Who’s name are we magnifying over it?” God’s name or the enemy? To say neither is to say the enemy. I choose to magnify God! Let us choose to take every thought captive to obey Christ and magnify the name of God over everything. When we magnify God we are saying He is greater-than. Let us magnify the name of God over evolution, over medical and scientific discoveries. Let us magnify and exalt God's name that He gave us intellectual abilities to make discoveries such as stem cell research, finding cures for diseases and new technologies. Let us pray that we can use these discoveries with wisdom. Let us praise the Lord that there are many things we do know and understand there are things we will never know, so we must trust God, who knows everything. The Lord says in Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your ways, so are my thoughts higher than your thoughts."

Regarding false spiritual beliefs let me give a couple examples. People will say there is no hell or they think that when everyone dies and if they are a “good person” they automatically go to heaven. Believers who know scripture know the truth. First, there is a hell, a place of eternal condemnation and scripture tells us so. One scripture (of many) on this is Matthew 13:49-50, Jesus says “ So it will be at the end of this age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the furnace of fire where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Jesus said in Luke 12:4-5 about his own earthly death, "I tell you friend, do not fear those that kill the body and after that can do nothing more. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who after he has been killed, has authority to cast into hell." Hell is a very real place. The Bible gives specific, clear instruction on what needs to be done in order to be saved from hell. We will never be good enough by God's standards to make it into heaven on our own merit. We must have Jesus. Romans 10: 9-10 “because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For one who believes with the heart and is so justified and confesses with the mouth is so saved.”

In closing, let us understand the ultimate answer to all the questions of the world. The answer is to stay close to our Rock, Jesus, consult and live by the Bible, the Word of Truth and magnify God over everything. The answer is to love and trust the Lord with all of your heart because you have Christ dwelling in your heart through faith. Ephesians 3:16-19 “I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth, and length and height and depth and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge so that you may be filled with the fullness of God.”