Conferinta Dr. Emil Bartos – Deosebirea vremurilor – Partea a 4-a – CUM SĂ PROCLAMI ADEVĂRUL ÎNTR-O LUME RELATIVISTĂ? – Biserica Baptista Curtici Martie 1, 2015

Emil Bartos Curtici 1 martie 2015

Cinci mesaje despre problemele generației actuale, cu referință la tineret, familiști și lucrători. Emil Bartoș: În aceste  întâlniri vom avea două părți: prima parte va fi mai teoretică și apoi una mai practică. Întâi, cum se definește problema, să vă conving că e o problemă a vremurilor noastre și apoi ce soluție are Scriptura și Domnul pentru noi. Acesta este planul pentru aceste zile. Vrem si aceasta lucrare sa fie spre slava lui Dumnezeu. Dumnezeu să ne dea și înțelepciune, răbdare și Duhul Lui să stăpânească peste întâlnirile noastre.
Programul întâlnirilor:

Vineri seara, de la ora 19:00CUM SĂ TRĂIEȘTI MODERAT ÎNTR-O LUME CONSUMISTĂ?

Sâmbătă dimineața, de la ora 10:00CUM SĂ AI O CREDINȚĂ UNICĂ ÎNTR-O LUME PLURALISTĂ?

Sâmbătă după-masa, de la ora 17:00CUM SĂ TE PĂSTREZI CURAT ÎNTR-O LUME TEHNOLOGIZATĂ?

Duminică dimineața, de la ora 10:00 – CUM SĂ PROCLAMI ADEVĂRUL ÎNTR-O LUME RELATIVISTĂ? (Pagina Actuala)

Duminică seara, de la ora 17:00 – CUM SĂ COMUNICI ÎN FAMILIE ÎNTR-O LUME POSTMODERNĂ? Vom avea și o sesiune de intrebări și răspunsuri la sfârșit. (Va urma)

Deosebirea vremurilor

PARTEA a 4 -a

CUM SĂ PROCLAMI ADEVĂRUL

ÎNTR-O LUME RELATIVISTĂ?

Emil Bartos: Seria de mesaje: Deosebirea vremurilor. Ideea a venit din Cuvantul Domnului Isus Hristos, care la un moment dat spunea: vremurile stiti sa le deosebiti. Sunt si alte texte care ne indeamna sa intelegem vremurile, sa cautam sa vedem pe ce lume traim, cum ne orientam astazi, mai ales in mileniul III. Toate lucrurile s-au schimbat astazi in privinta eticii, in privinta educatiei, Uitati-va, suntem invadati de multe ‘isme. Am vorbit vineri despre cum sa traiesti moderat intr-o lume consumista, pentru ca consumismul este o problema  majora. Astazi, toti vrem sa adunam lucruri, consumam. Putini se gandesc sa traiasca moderat, cumpatat. Apoi ne-am orientat spre celalalt ‘ism= Pluralism: cum sa ai o credinta unica intr-o lume pluralista. Atatea oferte sunt, atatea religii noi. Cum stii ca tu ai credint adevarata? Credinta ta in Hristos; mantuirea este doar prin Isus Hristos. In numele Lui avem mantuire. El este calea, adevarul si viata. Cum sa-ti pastrezi aceasta credinta unica? Ieri seara ne-am concentrat pe tehnologism si mesajul a fost despre cum sa te pastrezi curat intr-o lume tehnologizata. Cum sa nu fii dependent de tehnologie? Care-s limitele? Poti sa pui limite acestei lumi care ne-a invadat? E peste tot. Ne fura din timp, relatii, partasie. Mai crezi intr-un Dumnezeu Atotputernic si Atotprezent, chiar prezent in lumea virtuala? Traiesti tu cu frica de Dumnezeu in continuare? Sau tehnologia a devenit dumnezeul tau?

In aceasta dimineata, subiectul este ‘cum sa proclami adevarul intr-o lume relativista’. Cum sa afirmi ceea ce crezi, intro lume indoielnica? Altfel spus: relativist inseamna indoielnic.  E un cuvant mai modern. E opusul absolutului. Ai lucruri absolute, adevaruri absolute, adica neschimbatoare. Si opusul absolutului este relativismul. Sa relativizezi, adica, sa ei usuratic lucrurile, sa nu mai stii ce crezi cu adevarat. Acesta va fii subiectul nostru. Am citit textul acesta din 1 Imparati 18, surprinzator text. Proorocul confrunta poporul Israel si le spune, in vers. 21 – Atunci Ilie s-a apropiat de tot poporul şi a zis: „Până când vreţi să şchiopătaţi de amândouă picioarele? Dacă Domnul este Dumnezeu, mergeţi după El; iar dacă este Baal, mergeţi după Baal!” Poporul nu i-a răspuns nimic. Adica, pana cand vreti sa fiti indecisi? Nici intr-o parte, nici intr-alta.

Si textul spune ca poporul nu i-a raspuns nimic.
Traim intr-o lume indecisa. Si duhul acesta, al indeciziei, a patruns si in noi.
Nu mai stim ce credem, nu mai afirmam lucrurile clar. Ne e frica sa nu fim interpretatisi te trezesti asa ca pui intrebari aproape la orice.
Daca se afirma ceva ‘acest lucru este pacat’, te intrebi: oare???? Oare??? Hmm, depinde…
Acesta este mottoul relativismului: oare?? depinde… sa vedem… poate… Vedeti un limbaj  care-i tot mai folosit. E foarte popular astazi, mai ales la tineri.
Daca-i spui: traiesti in concubinaj, e pacat
Hmm, oare…? ..si altii…
. si incep sa se justifice. Astazi, vemurile s-au schimbat…
Daca-i spui: acesta-i plagiat, ti se v-a raspunde: depinde…
Depinde de comisia care analizeaza.
Sa vedem.. nu stim…, se inoculeaza un spirit de indecizie peste tot.
Despre asta vorbim astazi.

Nu cumva acest relativism a patruns si in tine? A patruns si in biserica! Dumnezeu cheama prin prooroc poporul, sa se decida, pe cine vrea sa slujeasca: pe Dumnezeul cel viu sau pe zeii fara viata. Altfel spus: cat timp mai vreti sa stati intre doua opinii? Pentru ca poporul statea indecis. Foarte dezamagitor. Eu am trait cel putin odata acest sentiment foarte neplacut, cand  ma asteptam ca biserica sa fie de partea adevarului, sa fie hotarata. Si n-a raspuns nimic. Mi-a fost foarte greu. Ce credeti ca traieste Dumnezeu atunci cand noi nu mai zicem nimic? Nu mai afirmam nimic. Cand altii se asteapta sa spunem adevarul pe fata si noi tacem. Frica aceasta de a te decidee semnul lipsei convingerilor. Iar lipsa convingerilor e semnul duhului relativismului. Dumnezeu te cheama la o lucrare si tu spui: sa vedemHmm, poate… Nu e nici da, nici nu. Nu e ‘da si Amin’, asa cum scrie in Scriptura. Te-ai invatat sa spui: mai vedem noi. Mai negociem. 

Uitati-va la varsta celor care nu vor sa se casatoreasca. Tinerii, care sunt tot mai multi, baieti, fete care nu se casatoresc. Avem o problema. Am vorbit de curand cu un tanar de 27 de ani. Foarte bun baiat, credincios, si i-am spus: de ce nu te casatoresti?
Sunt prea tanar.
Pai, cum esti prea tanar la 27 de ani?
Pai, de fapt, n-am casa inca, n-am masina, n-am bani in cont ca sa pot sa intemeiez o familie.

Observati gandirea? Alta data nu se gandea asa. Se gandea: am nevoie de o sotie ca sa facem impreuna o casa, sa luptam, sa facem o familie. Astazi, indecizia: inca nu, nu se poate. 

Si v-as da mai multe exemple, din foarte multe zone. Vreau sa va conving ca acest zeu si atentie, il numesc. Am un nume pentru el: zeul optiunilor deschise. E prezent cu noi. Nu e Baal, e zeul optiunilor deschise. Prin ce este caracterizat? Prima caracteristica a acestui spirit al relativismului  sau zeu al optiunilor deschise este indecizia.

1. Indecizia – traim intr-o cultura a optiunilor. Credem ca daca avem mai  multe usi deschise, optiuni variante, avem mai multa libertate. Dar e o pacaleala. Cu cat numarul optiuniloe creste, cu atat vom fii mai indecisi, pentru ca nu vom stii ce sa alegem din atatea optiuni. Cu cat avem mai multe variante, cu atat ne este mai frica sa alegem una dintre ele. Ca sa nu gresim, ca sa nu renuntam la o varianta pe care nu suntem siguri, ne justificam. Asa de teama ne este sa luam o decizie, incat refuzam sa decidem. Vrei sa clarifici ceva cu cineva si-ti raspunde: nu acum. Depinde. Hai sa mai analizam. Lucrurile-s clare, acesta-i alb, negru. Nu stiu, sa vedem, astazi, lucrurile-s vazut altfel, privite altfel. Si ramai indecis.

2. Indoiala – A doua caracteristica, pe langa indecizie, este indoiala. Care a fost primul cuvant pe care Biblia il consemneaza  si l-a rostit diavolul? Oare? Oare a zis Dumnezeu? Nu vedeti ca spiritul asta, duhul asta de a pune sub semnul indoielii CHIAR CUVINTELE LUI DUMNEZEU vine de la cel rau? Iacov are un cuvant foarte clar aici- Iacov 1:5-8 pentru ca toti vrem sa fim intelepti. Bun, zice Iacov, excelent, e bine sa fii inteleptToti crestinii trebuie sa fie intelepti. – Iacov 1:5-8

5 Dacă vreunuia dintre voi îi lipseşte înţelepciunea, s-o ceară de la Dumnezeu, care dă tuturor cu mână largă şi fără mustrare, şi ea îi va fi dată.
6 Dar s-o ceară cu credinţă, fără să se îndoiască deloc: pentru că cine se îndoieşte seamănă cu valul mării, tulburat şi împins de vânt încoace şi încolo.
7 Un astfel de om să nu se aştepte să primească ceva de la Domnul,
8 căci este un om nehotărât şi nestatornic în toate căile sale.

Dumnezeu, adica, nu poate lucra cu oameni indoielnici, nestatornici. Se schimba. Va place sa aveti prieteni nestatornici? Nu te poti increde in ei. Dar poate ca tu esti unul. Spui una, bine altcineva cu alt argument, te convinge si iti schimbi parerea. Foarte greu sa te mai increzi in cineva care e indoielnic. Dar, acesta-i spiritul veacului. Si mai ales astazi, acest idol al optinilordeschise, ne omoara relatiile. Ne spune, de ex. ca-i mai bine sa nu te implici prea mult. Si in prietenie: mai asteapta. Acest duh al optiunilor deschise:

  • Ne ucide slujirea in biserica.
  • Ne sugereaza ca e mai bine sa stai deoparte, sa-ti petreci weekendurile pentru tine.
  • Duhul acesta al optiunilor deschise ne ucide darnicia, ca ne sugereaza sa ‘tinem bani pentru zile negre’.
  • Ne omoara bucuria in Hristos pentru ca ne sugereazasa nu arati prea duhovnicesc.

Vedeti, aproape toate domeniile noastre pot fii infectate de acest virus al optiunilor deschise. Fara sa-ti dai seama, el devine un idol. Si te pacaleste pentru ca iti promite multe, dar, de fapt, vrea sa te inchini lui.

3. Spirit neloial, incorect – Si mai am ceva, al treilea lucru legat de acest spirit relativist. Este un spirit incorect, neloial. Este un spirit care iti sugereaza ca trebuie sa accepti toate punctele de vedere ca fiind egale. Asta-i relativismul. Si sa explic acest cuvant inca odata. Relativ inseamna ceva ce are o valoare dependenta de anumite conditii. Relativist inseamna sa nu ai valori absolute, standarde absolute. Sa fii reconciliant. Si foarte mult aud astazi acest cuvant: sa fim reconcilianti, adica, impaciuitori. Hai sa-i acceptam si pe aia si pe aia. Poate ca si ceilalti au dreptate. E adevarat ca e bine sa fii impaciuitor si mai ales in anumite situatii de consiliere. Dar, exista situatii in viata in care nu reconcilierea este solutia, nu aceasta indecizie. E incorect. De ce? Pentru ca inevitabil sacrifica valorile absolute. Abandonezi ceva ce ai crezut candva a fi clar, adevarat. Hai s-o punem altfel. Putin, doare. Stiu ca doare. Dar un om indecis, un om indoielnic, este si ipocrit, pentru ca se va adapta dupa vremuri.

Sa promovezi in numele tolerantei, de exemplu, nu ai niciun cuvant de spus, in numele tolerantei nu mai judeci pe nimeni. Ca vai, cu ce judeci pe altul, vei fii judecat si tu, Si te tot sustragi. Adica, fugi de raspundere, fugi de responsabilitate. E bine sa fii precaut, nu spun asta. Dar intelegeti, e vorba de chestiuni majore, ca in cazul acestui popor Israel. Adica, el trebuia sa se decida cui slujeste, pentru ca acest popor Israel cocheta cu idolii. Era una Izabela acolo, femeie rea, care l-a influentat pe Ahab imparatul. Si Izabela aceasta a adus zei straini in popor. A amenintat si a omorat pe proorocii Domnului. L-a amenintat si pe Ilie si Ilie fuge din cauza Izabelei. Un prooroc sa fuga din fata unei femei? Da, sunt femei rele din cauza carora trebuie sa fugi. Dar, nu asta e subiectul meu.  Problema cu Izabela aceasta e ca a adus idolatria si proorocul nu poate sa taca in aceasta situatie. Si confrunta poporul: Trebuie sa luati o decizie. Si poporul tace. Asta e forma de fatarnicie.

Doua consecinte majore a acestui spirit relativist

I. Prabusirea autoritatii – Adica, cand nu exista valori absolute, convingeri clare, autoritatea sufera. Si cand spun autoritate, ma refer, in special la structurile de baza in societate. Sa zicem, daca te uiti astazi, vei vedea ca sunt trei institutii de baza: Familia, scoala, biserica.(57) Toti depindem de familia noastra, de o scoala, de biserica. Cand esti intr-o familie sau intr-o scoala sau intr-o biserica, trebuie sa accepti autoritatea altuia peste tine. Esti copil, accepti autoritatea parintelui. Asa functioneaza o familie. Esti intr-o scoala, accepti autoritatea scolii, a profesorilor. Esti intr-o biserica, trebuie sa accepti autoritatea spirituala peste tine, pastorul, comitetul, cine decide, mentorul tau… Dar, ce se intampla astazi este in felul urmator. Toate aceste structuri de autoritate se prabusesc una dupa alta din cauza acestui spirit relativist.

Uitati-va la familie. Prima care sufera astazi este familia. Se contesta autoritatea familiei, a parintilor, a sotilor. Stiti bine ca in buletinele de identitate viitoare nu se va mai trece casatorit-necasatorit. Se va trece partener sau fara partener. Copilul va avea alegerea sa fie de partea cuiva. Cei doi nu vor fii sot si sotie. Vor fii parteneri. Poate se casatoresc, poate nu. Cei mai multi, veti vedea, nu se vor casatori. De ce? Ca sa nu-si asume responsabilitati de tata si de mama, ca sa aiba usa deschisa, optiunie deschise. Daca se intampla ceva, pleaca. Am discutat cu o familie de acest gen din Spania. Ei traiesc acolo de multi ani si am vrut sa inteleg de ce nu se casatoresc. Si motivul a fost financiar. Zice: Daca ne certam si trebuie sa ne separam, femeia ia totul. Asa, legea acolo protejeaza ca si in alte tari, protejeaza femeia, mama, daca au copil si barbatul ramane cu nimic. Asta-i legea, daca e divort, barbatul pleaca, n-are casa in care a investit, n-are nimic. Si de frica aceasta, sa neu existe o criza, sa se desparta, sa piarda totul, , mai bine nu se casatoresc. Ti se pare ca-i logic. Nu-i asa? Si zici: Pai, are dreptate pe undeva omul. Dar, de fapt, este un duh strain relativist. Usa deschisa, daca trebuie fug pe acolo. Nu pe usa principala, dar am o usa de scapare, o cetate de scapare.

Familia este intr-un mare pericol astazi, se dezintegreaza ideea. Se prabuseste autoritatea familiei. Credeti ca pruncii nostri, nepotii mei acuma, credeti ca ei  vor respecta autoritatea parintilor, asa, intru totul, cum a fost pana acum? Credeti ca scoala vine la familie sa intrebe: ‘voi cum ii educati, cum faceti’? Nu. Scoala isi asuma anumite responsabilitati si ce nu poate, da pe mana legii. Daca un copil este abuzat intr-un anume fel sau el considera ca e nedreptatit, nu familia este cea care are ultimul cuvant. Da telefon la 112, se plange ca are o problema si vine legea peste tine, cu politie, cu judecatori si-ti ia copilul. Daca iti eminor, poate sa il creasca statul, tu sa pierzi totul. Sunt mai multe cazuri cu romani de-ai nostri, care au trecut pe aici. S-au trezit cu politia la usa, cu catuse pe maini parintele si au adus pe cineva de la un Centru de Plasament, au luat copilul si l-au dus acolo pentru ca fara sa stie parintii, copilul a dat telefonul: Sunt in pericol, la telefon la 112. Nici n-au stat de vorba cu parintii. Sigur, veti spune: sunt exceptii. Nu sunt exceptii. E o problema de lupta pentru autoritate- cine decide.

Apoi, biserica. Biserica a avut un credit bun, mai ales in Romania. Dar, a inceput sa scada in procente Oamenii nu mai au atata incredere in biserica cat au avut inainte pentru ca se ajunge la informatii, se ajunge la tot felul de scandaluri. Exceptii, probabil, dar, care strica imaginea.

S-a deteriorat sistemul juridic in tara noastra si in Europa. Acuma vedeti cata coruptie este chiar intre cei care trebuiau sa ne apere, sa fie ei corecti. Sunt lucruri, anomalii, lucruri care nu-s normale. Am citit de curand un articol, in care niste avocati aparau un violator. Violatorul acesta a facut rau unor femei. Si avocatii l-au aparat pe acest om rau, pe ce ideie? Ca violul n-a fost asa de rau pentru ca violatorul i-a facut placere. Deci, hai sa-l si justificam. Si erau gata sa-l castige. Vedeti pana unde se merge. Ceea ce era evident pentru toata lumea, astazi nu mai este. Ce sa spun despre avort, despre eutanasie, toate acestea se regandesc.

Candva si societatea avea un drept, o autoritate peste ce facem noi. Astazi nu se mai intreaba asta. De ce? Eu cred ca spiritul acesta al relativismului a patruns foarte adanc si nu-i putem face fata. Biserica, sa stiti ca sufera. Sunt pastori care acuma sunt in inchisoare sau sunt penalizati, platesc mii de dolari pentru ca au refuzat  sa casatoreasca homosexuali. Sau, un pastor suedez a fos inchis pentru ca a afirmat de la amvon ca homosexualitatea este pacat. Alta familie a ajuns in judecata pentru ca ei aveau o cofetarie si au refuzat sa faca un tort pentru doi homosexuali, cum doreau homosexualii. Au ajuns in judecata. Vedeti, in detaliile acestea simti ceva. Adica, se coace ceva. Este ceva ce alta data nu se discuta. Se stia: acestea sunt pacate, acestea sunt chestii absolute, nu le discutam. Dar astazi, pana si judecatorii le discuta: sa vedem, s-ar putea ca sa nu fie chiar asa. In zona morala, pentru ca asta ma intereseaza.

Se prabusesc autoritatile, sa stiti. Mass media implica foarte mult ideea sa gandesti liber. Nu? Iti da si un motto: gandeste liber. Adica, nu mai asculta tu de autoritate. Fii liber. Dar, vedeti, e o pacaleala. Poate fii cineva liber cu adevarat? Numai Dumnezeu este singura persoana libera cu adevarat, nedeterminata de nimic, neconstransa de cineva de ceva. Noi, toti suntem, oamenii, determinati, adica limitati in libertatea noastra. Noi nu avem o libertate nelimitata. Toate libertatile noastre sunt conditionate de relatii. Deci, eu nu pot sa-mi permit sa fac anumite lucruri, fara sa tin cont de tine, de sot, de sotie, de copii, de prieteni, de frati in Domnul, de vecini. Cine spune ca exista libertate nelimitata? Nu exista asa ceva pentr om. Si apropo, frati si surori, un crestin n-are viata privata, cum se tot vehiculeaza: asta-i chestie privata. Noi nu avem viata privata. Noi toti dam socoteala unii altora. Cand esti in trupul lui Hristos, toate madularele raspund, depind una de cealalta, unul de celalalt.

De aceea, ideea aceasta ‘gandeste liber’. Alege tu. Adevarul tau e adevarul tau, adevarul meu e pentru mine. Eu ti-l respect pe al tau, tu il respecti pe al meu, cu alte cuvinte, nu ne decidem. Nu intervenim, nu facem nimic. Ideile acestea vin peste noi foarte subtil. De aceea vreau sa fim veghetori. La ce te uiti? Ce cauti in viata? Vrei sa te justifici in pacatele tal? Uitati, se dau pe posturile de televiziune seriale de comedie. Ele sunt venite din America, traduse, dar cu aceste seriale, care sunt scurte de o jumatate de ore, iti mai dau si o publicitate sugestiva acolo. Nu te tine mult, stiu ca pentru o jumate de ora, tu iti faci timp. Dar sunt foarte multe glume nesarate, idei cu doua intelesuri. Dar, acolo se strecoara idei relativiste. Daca este vreo sursa care sa-ti afecteze astazi convingerile, aici sunt.

Va dau un exemplu. Nu ma uit la asa ceva, dar am fost candva intr-o situatie in care m-am uitat pentru ca am citit intr-un articol aceasta faza. Doi barbati, amandoi casatoriti, era intr-un film din asta scurt. Unul dintre ei vrea sa aranjeze o aventura cu doua femei care nu erau sotiile lor. Si celalalt ii spune: eu nu ma duc la intalnirea aceea, pentru ca sunt casatorit. Si primul care aranjase intalnirea ii spune doar vorba asta: Doar nu esti asa de castorit.  O fraza, o expresie. Vedeti? Iti intra in cap si poti sa zici: Da, ma, eu nu-s chiar asa de casatorit. Asta-i gandire relativista. Usa deschisa: ah, nu-i chiar asa.(71) De aceea iti permiti si tu sa calci alaturi, sa te duci unde nu trebuie, sa faci niste mici ilegalitati in biznis: Eh, dar nu-s chiar asa de pocait. Ei, nu chiar asa. Sunte eu, dar daca si gresesc, duminica mergem, este cina Domnului. Ne iarta Domnul si am rezolvat problema. 

Vedeti? Gandirea e cu noi aici. Nu mai ai autoritate. Adica, renunti la o autoritate clara peste tine si autoritatea trebuie sa fie Biblia, Cuvantul lui Dumnezeu. Sa asculti de ea intocmai. Ah, o interpretamImi spunea cineva foarte bine, un coleg profesor: Poti sa justifici orice pacat cu Biblia. Doar o rastalmacesti putin. Asa, ii dai o alta nuanta… numai putin. Ca sa va dau un exemplu, ca foarte mult se merge astazi pe casatoriile acestea intre barbati si femei. Eu am citit, am si acasa carte scrisa de niste crestini, cum ar veni. Nu sunt, cred eu. Dar, justificau homosexualitatea prin prietenia lui David si Ionatan. Au luat, au intros acolo cuvintelesi au zis: „Uite si in Biblie ce este.” Va dati seama? Poti lua o prietenie curata si s-o rastalmacesti. De aceea, pacatul nu mai este numit pacat, ca si inainte, pana si ideea de pacat stramosesc a disparut. Cum adica, noi raspundem pentru ce a facut Adam? Asa scrie Pavel in Romani 5. Ah, nu, spun ei, fiecare raspunde pentru el. Adam raspunde pentru el, a fost un exemplu rau. Da, dar uite, consecintele au fost pentru toti oamenii, asa scrie ap. Pavel, noi avem aceasta inclinatie pacatoasa din cauza primului om. Nu, se reinterpreteaza. Deci, daca vrei, orice iti poti interpreta. Am multe exemple notate aici, dar nu avem timp. Ati inteles ideea. E prima consecinta majora: prabusirea  autoritatii- autoritatea morala, autoritatea spirituala, autoritatea familiei, Se traieste astazi fara o autoritate deasupra. In sistemul acesta relativist, nu ai nevoie ca cineva sa-ti spuna ce sa faci. Faci cum simti tu, cum iti vine si simturile sunt determinante astazi. Asa imi vine sa fac, inseamna ca e adevarat. Oare? Pai, asa se justifica toti criminalii, sau pedofilii, sau stiu eu, toti care insala. Pai, asa am simtit eu ca trebuie sa fac. 

Pai, simturile sunt cele care sa te conduca? Simturile sunt relativiste, relative. Adica, ele se schimba. Astazi simti ceva, nimeni nu simti. E ca si cum te-ai duce acasa intr-o zi, te-ai uita lung la nevasta si i-ai spune: Draga, nu prea simt multe azi pentru tine, ne separam. Poti s-o faci asta? De ce n-o faci? Pentru ca crezi intr-o autoritate peste asta, autoritatea lui Dumnezeu Creatorul. Autoritatea Scripturii care iti spune ca Dumnezeu uraste despartirea. Crezi in autoritatea dragostei care poate recupera. Simturile nu sunt ultimul criteriu la care apelezi intr-o relatie. Simturile vin, pleaca. Vointa trebuie sa fie mai puternica decat simturile. Asta te tine,  o vointa controlata de Duhul lui Dumnezeu, o vointa care stie ce crede, ce are. A adunat ceva, e o experienta, o baza. Pe asta traim. Deci, exista autoritati si noi credem in acestea. (Transcrierea pana la minutul 75, mai sunt 25 de minute din mesaj)

Mesajul incepe la minutul 35-

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VIDEO by Biserica Baptista Curtici

Reclame

True For You, But Not For Me – Is there any absolute truth?

Photo credit

Dr. Geisler tackles the seemingly tough position of the relativist. See more: http://www.normangeisler.net/

You’ve heard it: It’s true for you, but not for me. It may be true for me, but not for you. All truth is relative to the situation.

You look at it from one angle and it looks like a line. But, you look at it from another angle and it looks like a circle. You turn it sideways slightly and it looks like an elliptical figure.

What is truth? Is there any absolute truth? Is there only one perspective? Aren’t there many perspectives on topics? Is truth relative?

The first thing we want to note is fulfilling the Scriptural mandate for giving a reason for the hope that’s in us. 1 Peter 3:15, and to answer everyone who asks a question. Colossians 4:6

The first thing we observe is that the person who says there is no absolute truth is making an absolute truth claim. Because he doesn’t believe that his statement is just relative. He believes that his statement is the objective truth on the matter. Well, if he has the objective truth that all other truths are subjective, then, not only is he dogmatist  when he claims to have the objective truth, but he’s absolutely narrow minded because he claims he’s the only one that can make an objective statement about reality.

If he can do it, if a skeptic, agnostic and critic can make absolute truth claims, then why can’t the Christian?

The truth of the matter is anyone can make an absolute truth claim. But, the difficulty is in proving that it’s true. If I say that I am here today, speaking to you and sharing with you on the topic of truth, that statement is true, because I am indeed doing that. If I said I am not speaking to you right now, that statement has to be false, because I was speaking to you, saying I was not speaking to you.

In other words, people who deny the truth, who deny the truth is absolute, are really contradicting themselves. They’re using the truth to deny the truth. They’re using the absolute truth to deny that there’s absolute truth. One of the things that you can be certain of , a professor once said to a class of liberal university students, one of the things that you can be absolutely certain of is there is no absolute truth. Isn;t that strange? He was absolutely certain that there was no absolute truth.

I had a professor once who said: All of the commandments in the Bible are relative. I have exceptions. And then he went on to list 2 of his own. He said: You should always be tolerant and you should always be intelligent. I raised my hand and I said, „Well, are those absolute or relative?” He just said, „God’s 10 were relative.” I wanted to know, were his absolute or not? The truth of the matter is he was making an absolute claim that you can’t make absolute claims. He was making a universal statement that you can’t make universal statements. But, if he could make a universal statement: you should always be tolerant , you should never be bigoted. You should always respect people’s freedoms- 3 of the absolutes of our relativistic age- then, why can’t we?

Indeed, you cannot deny absolutes without having some absolutes of your own. You cannot deny objective truth without making an objective truth statement.

Jesus said, „I am the truth. That claim is objectively verifiable. And we’re here to give the evidence and the answer , so that you too can know the truth.

True For You, But Not For Me from Papa Giorgio on Vimeo.

Defending the Faith Part 2

Christ Putnam of logosapologia.com uploaded by LogosApologia

Some notes from Chris Putnam, from the video at bottom of post:

No matter how much someone believes this idea, this relativism, nobody lives this way, because what you do is you find something that is near and dear to them, like their wallet. And you say, „Well, what if your boss’s individual truth is that you only worked 20 hours this week, but, your truth was that you worked 40. How would you feel about that. Would those both be true? In India, relativism is very big, and Ravi Zacharias has a great one liner. He says, „Even in India, we look both ways before we cross the street. It’s either the bus or me. The idea is that if one thing is true, the opposite is false. This is the law of noncontradiction. It’s unforgiving, and it’s true in all cases. The idea is to find some real world examples when someone is giving you this relativism proposition. Such as: Would you like your surgeon to have his own individual absolute truth? I don’t think so. When you go to a doctor, you want someone that’s objective.

The Law on Non-Contradiction

street evangelismThis is the law that something cannot be both true and untrue, at the same time, and when dealing in the same context. In the law of non-contradiction, we have a set of statements about a subject, we cannot have the same set that negate it, the truth of the statement in the same set. Some things are contradictions, some aren’t. Like in the Bible, one that skeptics try to bring up is the fact that Judas hung himself. And in another Gospel, it says Judas fell down and his bowels spilled out. This is not a case of contradiction because neither statement about Jesus contradicts the other. Because if it was gonna be that, it would be ‘Judas hung himself’- ‘Judas didn’t hang himself’. But, it doesn’t say that, it’s really not a contradiction. It has to be in the same category. You could easily think of a scenario where he hung himself, and then his bowels spilled out- and that’s not a contradiction. So, it’s important to see the distinction that they cannot both be true, at the same time, when dealing in the same context. So, context is part of the equation.

The suicide tactic (self refuting statements)

This takes advantage of the fact that unbelievers often commit intellectual suicide- that is they refute themselves. These views are what we call ‘necessarily false’. There’s no possible worlds where we can imagine this. It defeats itself, it commits suicide. Suppose someone would say to you, „You can’t know anything for sure.” „Are you sure about that?” Or, „You can never know the truth about religion.” „Well, how did you come to that truth about religion?” Some are pretty funny, like, „Nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded.” Or, „I used to believe in reincarnation, but, that was in a former life.” There is a website http://www.proofthatGodexists.org , go work on some of those questions and it’s a good one to send to some of your skeptic friends. So, the suicide tactic takes advantage of the fact that two contradictory statements cannot be true at the same time. How to recognize if a point of view commits suicide:

  1. Identify the basic premise
  2. Does the claim undermine itself?

Sometime it’s not immediately obvious. Consider this one, that comes up around election time. Say you have a non Christian liberal leaning friend who criticizes you by saying this, „God doesn’t take sides in politics”. You can use your Columbo tactic and ask, „What do you mean by that?” „Well, God doesn’t take sides.” Then you can ask him, „Well, how do you think God feels about that?” Again he says, „God doesn’t take sides.” And you say, „Okay, so if we were to ask God about this, he owuld agree with you, right?” He would say, „Yes”. „Oh, so God would be on your side?” Here is where it is internally contradictory. Sometimes it’s tricky like that, it’s hidden inside the statement, so you have to think about it for a while. Like we were saying yesterday (in part 1) you don’t have to answer right away, you can just say, „I wanna go home and think about it.”

Do you see the internal contradictions here?

  • It’s wrong to try to change other people’s religious beliefs. Well, what is a Christian person’s belief? We have the great commission, we believe in evangelizing people and reaching the lost, , so they’re trying to change our religious belief. So, if it’s wrong, why are you trying to change my belief? We have a contradiction here.
  • All religions are equally true and valid. This one is not self evident. But, if you think through: What do CHristians believe, and this is the part of how it works. You have to know what you believe, in order to defend it, and that’s the mind set I’m trying to get you in. I know you guys know these things, but, you’re just not used to thinking in this way. So, if all religions are true, then Christianity is true. But, the essential claim of Christianity is that all the other religions are not true, that they’re false. You violate the first commandment, „You shall have no other Gods before me”. So, if our religion is true, then they (the other religions) can’t be true. So, either Christianity is true and the others are false, or vice versa. Either way, all religions cannot be true.
  • You can only know what has been proven by science. This is the big one, that most atheists and skeptics will come out with. You have to ask: Does this claim meet its own standard of truth? Now, did they arrive at this statement through a scientific method? What kind of experiments did they do to know that you can only know what’s proven through science? None. It implies that the speaker knows something that wasn’t proven by science. It self destructs because they didn’t use the scientific method to come up with this truth. So, if only science can teach us what we know, this is something we know science didn’t teach us. So, it’s internally contradictory. I like science. I studied computer science my first time through. I took physics and chemistry, and I read some of the things the new atheists say, and you get the idea that they think that science has proven that miracles are not possible, and that science has debunked the claims of the Bible. This is called a category error in logic, in philosophy. Here’s a good illustration. Can you weigh a chicken with a yardstick. No, you can’t do that. The yard stick is made for measuring length. But, does that mean the chicken has no weight? No. What I’m getting at is that science, by design, measures physical properties in a natural world. By category, it doesn’t deal with anything supernatural. It excludes that before it even starts. So, how can it disprove something it cannot even try to measure. It’s really like trying to measure a chicken’s weight with a yard stick. It really doesn’t even have anything to say about it. (14:35)
  • There is no truth. First thing you wanna do is turn this into a question and ask, „Why should I believe that?” Is that a true claim? This is a post modern claim that denies that we can know real truth about anything. We can’t know truth, but we know this *the statement that there is no truth) to be true. It can’t work. Resolve of the debate: Objective truth exists and we can know it. It’s what corresponds to reality. It tells it like it is, it describes the actual state of affairs. Jesus actually gave a reason why He came into the world, in the Gospel of John. Our biblical postmodernist Pontius Pilate was confronting Jesus and he said, „So are you a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” John 18:37 So, this concept of truth is foundational to the Gospel. If you think about what a clever strategy of Satan’s, this idea of postmodernism is, because, more than denying that we need a Savior, or denying the existence of God, this just pulls the rug right from under everything. If there’s no truth, you can’t really believe in anything. That really undermines the Gospel in a big way. (16:35)

Francis Schaeffer – Taking the Roof Off

Atheists and unbelievers are living in a world with a logical fallacy with a false idea in their worldview. And our job is to find it. Point of fact: Man is made in the image of God. We must live in the world that God created. So, every person who is a non theist must live with some contradiction, because what he believes is not actually true. In a real sense, every man who denies God is living on borrowed capital. He enjoys living in a world that is full of morality, meaning, order, beauty. Yet, he denies the God who grants these things and makes them possible. Because of this, non Christians live this contradictory world which creates a point of tension between what they believe and what is actually true. Man has erected a subconscious self deception. As Francis Schaeffer puts it, it’s a roof  to protect him from considering the consequences of his beliefs. So, your goal is to expose and remove the roof, to expose the fraud and deprive him of that false sense of security.

Schaeffer„Every man has built a roof over his head to shield himself at the point of tension…The Christian lovingly, must remove the shelter and allow the truth of the external world and of what man is to beat upon him. When the roof if off, each man must stand naked and wounded before the truth of what is…He must come to know that his roof is a false protection from the storm of what is.” Francis Schaeffer, The God Who is There, in The Complete Works of Francis Schaeffer (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1982), 1:140-41. So when you find the place where the point of tension exists, you exploit it gently, but directly. This is where a well place question, like the third one in the Columbo tactic can be very effective. Your goal is to cause him a little bit of pain, and push him off balance, but, it’s to direct him towards the truth.

The taking the roof off tactic:

  1. Adopt the other person’s point of view (for the sake of argument).
  2. Press their view to the logical and absurd consequence. In latin – Reductio ad absurdum – argument from absurdity.(19:10) Ask, if this were true, what would be the consequence of this view?
  3. Invite them to consider the implications of this view.

Now, one that’s really hot right now- consider homosexuality. The world would have us celebrate is acceptable and as a healthy expression of  sexuality. So, let’s take the roof off that belief, let’s reduce it to its basic premise that – homosexuality is a healthy expression of sexuality. Now, let’s follow that premise consistently. Suppose that everyone in the world was to adopt it. What were to occur if we did that? The human race would cease to exist within one lifetime. What does that tell us about the basic principle? It can’t be healthy if it kills the human race.

The Steamroller

Have you ever gotten into a discussion where  a person will not let you get in a word?  There is a tactical way to deal with that. What is the steamroller? It is people who overpower you with the force of their personality. They have strong opinions and big mouths. They mean to keep you off balance. They put you on the defensive by overwhelming you with facts, lots of noise. They come off fast and furious, keeping you from collecting your wits and getting a thoughtful answer. So, how do you deal with these people. The steamroller characteristic is that they are constantly interrupting you.

3 steps in dealing with a steamroller:

  1. Stop the interruption graciously, but firmly and negotiate an agreement. Now, you might just have to let them go for awhile. Don’t try to jump in and interrupt them. Many times, you can just hold up your hand and interrupt them. Say, „Hey, I wasn’t quite finished yet.” Or ask for a little more time, ” Hold on a minute, I need a little more time. You asked a good question and you deserve an answer. Are you interested in what I have to say? Can you wait?” If they are especially aggressive, calmly wait for an opening. Don’t try to talk over them, just let them have their run. And then, here’s the real crux on how to deal with a person like this. You negotiate an agreement with them and you have to be real specific. You ask them to give you something -patience, so you can give them something in return, the opportunity to respond to a question. One way you might respond is, „Is it okay for you, if I take a few moments to answer your question, before you ask another one? Then, I’ll give you a chance to ask another one, when I get done.” You’re negotiating some terms, is the idea I want you to get in mind. Or, you can say, „I know it’s a lot easier to ask hard questions, than to listen to hard answers. But, I need a moment to explain myself. Is that okay?” Or, „Let me answer your first challenge, when I’m done you can jump in again. Is that okay?” Or, „That’s a good question, that deserves a good answer. Let me try to give you one.” The idea is to ask them for their permission and come to an agreement.
  2. Shame them. We’re dealing with a steamroller personality, and the best thing is to show them they agreed to listen to your answer, yet they violated it again.
  3. Leave them. A lot of times this is not going to work, so that is when you leave them. When all fails, leave them. If they won’t let you answer, listen politely, let them have the last word and just walk away. Wisdom dictates that you’re not gonna waste your time with someone that’s gonna be a fool. And Jesus told us not to cast our pearls before swine. In Luke 9 he said, „And wherever they do not receive you, when you leave that town, shake the dust off your feet, as a testimony against them.” There’s a point where that becomes necessary.

But, here’s the little 3 step process, and a lot of times it works. Most people do have a sense of politeness, but, they just get excited. And, not every steam roller is a ‘pearls before swine’ situation. But, a lot of times, by the second time that you bring out the agreement that they violated, the shame factor does work.

The guy I learned these techniques from is Greg Koukl, and his website is Stand to Reason http://www.str.org He has a 3 hour radio show, in the afternoons, in the Los Angeles area, and he gets all kinds of calls with Bible questions, theology, apologetics, and he uses this all the time. The main idea in how to debate is to keep asking questions, and putting the other person on the defensive- because they are making the claims, and they need to prove them, and not shift the burden on  you.

Prepare for encounters

  1. street evangelizeKnow your Bible
  2. Study these tactics.
  3. Push yourself beyond your comfort zone. You will get better, and remember, we’re not trying to win arguments, we’re trying to win people.
  4. Don’t be discouraged by outward appearances. Don’t be afraid. You don’t always have to hit home runs. Ask them, „Let me think about it. Just give me your reasons for what you think… I mean, this is the first time I’ve heard this. I’d like to go home and think about it.”

Matthew 10:16 – Jesus said, „Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and as innocent as doves.” That tells us right there, that the ‘wise as serpents’ is a tactical approach. This is our great commission. This is what the Lord told us to do, to be ambassadors.So practice this, and think about the things you say to people, and how it went, and maybe write some of this down. If you have a friend (or a family member), that has a certain belief, go look up some things about them. If you have a hindu friend, they believe in some 30 million gods. Did you know that? But, you would have to be able to answer his questions (Chris gives an example of what to ask at the 37th minute). Hindus also believe in Karma. They believe that everything bad that happens to you in this life is the result of something you did in another life. But, they don’t believe in original sin, which is what we believe in. We don’t believe in karma, but, we believe in a sin nature. We believe that we inherited Adam’s sin, and that we’re all under a curse. The problem with karma is that, if you don’t have an original sin, then where did the first one start? The first evil act can’t be the result of karma, because there was no original sin. It is incoherent, because there is no way to start it (karma). If you look at what they believe, they have an endless cycle of time going back in history and it’s completely irrational.

What I was telling you earlier is that people who don’t believe always violate one of these laws of logic. Another law of logic that is foundational is called the law of causality. This is where the cosmological proof for the existence of God comes from. It says that everything that begins to exist, every effect has a cause. So, you can’t have an infinite regress. You can’t have an endless cycle. That’s irrational. So, if everything that begins to exist has a cause, and even all the atheistic sciences will tell you that they believe in a thing called the big bang. Well, the big bang needs a banger. You can’t deny causality. If something begins to exist, and the universe began to exist, even all physicists say this. And so, they come up with irrational explanations. They say it came to exist from nothing. If you read Stephen Hawking’s newest book, he basically tries to say that nothing isn’t really nothing. All the equations say there was nothing and then there was everything. Now, they wanna say: Nothing is really not nothing. It’s this mix of matter and anti-matter, and these particles reacted. But, wait a minute. Where did the matter in anti-matter come from? That’s not nothing. They always deny something. It’s either – you can’t deny causality, so they change the definition of nothing. There’s always something incoherent in there. Usually, you can discover it. (photo via www.michaelnoyes.com

Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. This is a great apologetic. If you look at other world religions, especially at Islam, Islam believes that Allah has a big scale, where he weighs the evil and the good in men’s hearts. And, if your good is more than the evil, then you get to go to heaven. And, in all other world religions you are judged by your works. That can make sense, because as people, don’t we like to believe that we deserve what we are getting? We have human pride, and part of it is our sin nature, and some of it is legitimate, but, to me, I can’t see how men could have come up with this doctrine of grace. If the skeptics idea is true, that these guys sat around and wrote the New Testament, just made this up, why would they make up something like: By grace you have been saved. It doesn’t make sense that men made that up. I think it came from God. Because men like to earn it, they like to show off. They like to take pride and say, „Hey, I deserve to go to heaven.” You know what? I don’t. It’s only by the blood of Jesus that I’m getting there. Everyone that’s honest would admit that. But, does that make sense that anybody would make that up? I don’t think so. Just look at the Pharisees. That was the whole thing with Jesus and the Pharisees. So, I think grace is an authentication, because only God would come up with that. I don’t think we would be capable of it, we’re too obsessed with it, in our pride.

By the way, faith is not believing in something that you have no evidence for, faith is more like trust. We trust in Jesus Christ.

Chris Putnam – LogosApologia.org Chris also recommends:

  1. William Fay’s book – How to Share Jesus without fear. This is an evangelism type book. Fay gives a list of questions you could ask, to open dialogue with someone, such as: Do you have any spiritual beliefs? Or, Who is Jesus to you?
  2. Lee Strobel’s books and videos- The case for a Creator, The case for Christ, The case for Faith – it’s a great introduction to a lot of these topics.
  3. Josh McDowell is also another entry level resource
  4. Also, William Lane Craig, a philosopher, and one of the sharpest minds of Christianity right now. Look for his videos on Youtube. He debates a lot of atheists.
  5. Greg Koukl at Stand to Reason str.org
  6. Walter Martin – one of the early apologists, started in the 70’s, debated on Donahue a lot- website – http://www.waltermartin.com He debated atheist, wiccan witches, he has some materials on Youtube videos. His daughter, CIndy Morgan, posts a lot of his work on a youtube channel of hers here- http://www.youtube.com/user/cindeemorgan

The Challenge of Relativism – Pastor John Piper

From the Ligonier Conference (2007). Uploaded by

The quote Pastor John Piper uses in the latter part of the sermon-

During the past hundred years, the question for those who loved liberty was whether, relying on the virtues of our peoples, we could survive powerful assaults from without (as, in the Battle of Britain, this city nobly did). During the next hundred years, the question for those who love liberty is whether we can survive the most insidious and duplicitous attacks from within, from those who undermine the virtues of our people, doing in advance the work of the Father of Lies. „There is no such thing as truth,” they teach even the little ones. „Truth is bondage. Believe what seems right to you. There are as many truths as there are individuals. Follow your feelings. Do as you please. Get in touch with yourself. Do what feels comfortable.” Those who speak in this way prepare the jails of the twenty-first century. They do the work of tyrants.

is from Michael Novak’s Templeton Prize Address „Awakening from Nihilism” delivered at Westminster Abbey in on May 5,1994 and an adapted excerpt can be read  here on the First Things website.

Videourile Vodpod nu mai sunt disponibile.

The Challenge of Relativism Pastor John Piper, posted with vodpod

You can read the sermon notes here at DesiringGod.org

Our theme is relativism. Let’s begin by working on a definition. Since almost all of us here take that word relativism to refer to something bad, a helpful way to clarify what we mean by it is to ask how it is different from good ways of thinking relatively. Here are a couple of examples of how good and indispensable thinking relatively is.

Thinking Relatively

If I say John MacArthur is tall that statement may be true or false in relation to, that is, “relative” to, standards of measurement. “John MacArthur is tall” would be true in relation to me, and men in general. But the statement “John MacArthur is tall” would be false in relation to the Sears Tower or adult giraffes in general. So we say that the statement “John MacArthur is tall” is true or false “relative” to the standard of measurement.

This is a good and indispensable way of thinking and speaking. If you are unable to speak of truth claims being relative in this sense, you may accuse people of error who have in fact spoken truth because you have not clarified the context or the standard they are using for measuring the truth of the statement.

Many examples from our daily speech could be given. My father was old when he passed away. True, relative to men. False, relative to civilizations or Redwood trees. That car was speeding. True, relative to the thirty-five-mile-per-hour speed limit. False, relative to a NASCAR race. That baby’s cry is loud. True, relative to ordinary human conversation. False, relative to a thunderclap. And so on.

The reason we do not call this way of thinking relativism is because we are assuming that the one who says John MacArthur is tall and the one who says he is short both believe there is an objective, external standard for validating the statement as true. For one, the standard is human beings, and for the other, it is giraffes. So as soon as the two people know what standard the other is using, they can agree with each other, or they can argue on the basis of the same standard. This is not relativism.

Relativism

Relativism would hold sway if a person said one of these four things: 1) There is no objective, external standard for measuring the truth or falsehood of the statement “John MacArthur is tall.” Or 2) there may be an external standard, but we can’t know if there is. Or 3) there may be one, but no one can figure out what it means, so it can’t function as a standard. Or 4) there may be an external, objective standard, but I don’t care what it is; I’m not going to base my convictions on it.

This starts to sound silly as long as we are talking about John MacArthur’s height. So let’s shift over to something explosive and immediately relevant. Consider the statement: “Sexual relations between two males is wrong.” Two people may disagree on this and not be relativists. They may both say: There is an objective, external standard for assessing this statement, namely, God’s will revealed in the inspired Christian Bible. One may say the Bible teaches that this is wrong, and the other may say, No, it doesn’t. This would not be relativism.

Relativism comes into play when someone says, “There is no objective, external standard for right and wrong that is valid for everyone. And so your statement that sexual relations between two males is wrong is relative to your standard of measurement, but you can’t claim that others should submit to that standard of assessment.” This is the essence of relativism: No one standard of true and false, right or wrong, good or bad, beautiful and ugly, can preempt any other standard. No standard is valid for everyone.

What does this imply about truth? Relativists may infer from this that there is no such thing as truth. It is simply an unhelpful and confusing category since there are no external, objective standards that are valid for everyone. Or they may continue to use the word truth but simply mean by it what conforms to your own subjective preferences. You may prefer the Bible or the Koran or the Book of Mormon or Mao’s little Red Book or the sayings of Confucius or the philosophy of Ayn Rand or your own immediate desires or any of a hundred other standards. In that case, you will hear the language of “true for you, but not true for me.” In either case, we are dealing with relativism.

In sum, then the essence of relativism is the conviction that statements—like “sexual relations between two males is wrong”—are not based on standards of assessment that are valid for everyone. There are no such standards. Concepts like true and false, right and wrong, good and bad, beautiful and ugly, are useful for expressing personal preferences or agreed-upon community values, but they have no claim to be based on a universally valid standard.

Assessing Relativism

What shall we make of this? Why have I assumed this is a bad way to see the world? Let’s begin our assessment of relativism with an interaction that Jesus had with some classic practical relativists—not self-conscious, full-blown relativists, just de facto relativists, which are the most common kind, and they are prevalent in every age, not just this one.

Consider Matthew 21:23-27.

And when he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” Jesus answered them, “I also will ask you one question, and if you tell me the answer, then I also will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, from where did it come? From heaven or from man?” And they discussed it among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘From man,’ we are afraid of the crowd, for they all hold that John was a prophet.” So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

Look carefully at how the chief priests and elders deal with truth. Jesus asks them to take a stand on a simple truth claim: Either John’s baptism is from heaven or from man. Declare what you believe to be the truth. They ponder: If we say that John’s baptism is from heaven, then we will be shamed because Jesus will show that we are hypocrites. We say we think his baptism is from heaven, but we don’t live like it. We will be shamed before the crowds.

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