In “The Age of Religious Fabrication Pt. 1,” we examined in depth “The Fabrication of Christian Homosexuality.” In this teaching on “The Age of Religious Fabrication Pt. 2,” we shall address at length “The Fabrication of Christian Relativism.”
It is so true that the terms “Christian” and “Relativism” cannot ever be joined, for they are in fact totally antithetical – incompatible – diametrically opposed. If it is “Christianity” it cannot be “Relativism,” and if it is “Relativism” it is not “Christianity.” That is historically the way it was, but it is that way no longer on a vast scale in modern society and in modern religion.
What has happened? Simply and devastatingly this, namely, that there are no longer “Spiritual and Moral Absolutes in the secular world and in much of the ecclesiastical world.” That is all now obsolete and a thing of the past. Rather, religion and ethics are no longer based upon “Spiritual and Moral Absolutism” but upon “Spiritual and Moral Relativism.” That is to say, “Beliefs” and “Morals” are now subjectively determined by the uniqueness of every individual and every culture. If you will:
“WHAT MAY BE RELEVANT SPIRITUALLY AND MORALLY
TO ONE PERSON AND CULTURE, MAY BE
TOTALLY IRRELEVANT TO ANOTHER
PERSON AND CULTURE.”
That my friend is what we mean by:
“SPIRITUAL AND MORAL RELATIVISM.”
That is why you will hear modern professors and pastors teach and preach about any given passage in the Word of God and say things like:
“IT MAY MEAN THIS, AND THEN AGAIN, IT MAY MEAN THAT. IT
MAY HAVE MEANT THIS OR THAT FOR THE CULTURE AND
TIME IN WHICH IS WAS WRITTEN, BUT IT REALLY
DOESN’T HAVE RELEVANCE FOR THE CULTURE
AND TIME IN WHICH WE LIVE.”
BLAH – BLAH – BLAH – BLAH! So we now live in the age of:
“THEOLOGICAL AND ETHICAL RELATIVISM.”
It is best captured by what we read in the Bible during the period of the Judges. Judges 21:25 says it best,
“Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”
Or more to the point:
“Each one did what was right in his own eyes.”
That is to say:
“EVERYONE/EACH ONE HAD HIS OR HER OWN MORAL PERSPECTIVE
ON LIFE, FOR WHAT IS RIGHT AND WRONG
VARIED LITERALLY FROM PERSON
You say, “Dear me, that sounds like a total spiritual and moral grab-bag.” Worse than that, it sounds like and in fact is a zoo without fences or cages which is exactly what our society has become. It means that there are really no more fixed and universal standards of right and wrong – do’s and don’ts – good and evil – but only individually preferred guidelines, NOT RULES BUT ONLY GUIDELINES. When it comes right down to it:
“WHAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU MAY BE WRONG FOR ME,
AND WHAT IS WRONG FOR YOU MAY BE
RIGHT FOR ME.”
“WE BOTH CAN BE RIGHT AND NOT WRONG EVEN THOUGH
OUR CONVICTIONS ARE FROM DIFFERENT TIME ZONES
AND PLANETS. I’M OKAY AND YOU’RE OKAY.”
THE SOUNDS OF RELATIVISM
The word “Relativism” is closely connected to the word “Relativity” which was launched into the world of physics with Albert Einstein’s “Theory of Relativity.” Does that sound familiar? It was Einstein himself who warned:
“RELATIVITY IS FOR PHYSICS, NOT ETHICS.”
In spite of his admonition, “The Theory of Relativity” was carried over into the realm of spirituality and morality, giving rise to the phrases “Spiritual Relativism” and “Moral Relativism.” “The Theory of Relativity” has permeated the societies of the world, and now has begun to permeate religion, yes, even Christianity.
We must now be very careful in our usage of the word “Morals” because it has come to be used interchangeably with the word “Mores” which means “Customs.” As we well know, customs are constantly redefined, just as beliefs and morals in the United States are constantly being redefined in society and the church. This all has now led to “The Fabrication of Christian Relativism” in an unprecedented way in church history.
To alert and inform us even more, another historic term for “RELATIVISM” is “HISTORICISM” which teaches that all ideas are only relative to their own time, and that these ideas must and will change as time moves on. Both “ISMS” are rooted in DARWINISM – that is, all ideologies and systems are always evolving, and nothing ideological or political or ecclesiastical is set in cement. This is what our youth are being taught in the colleges and universities across America.
FIRST, let’s listen to the sounds of Moral Relativism in the society around us from a very real campus setting. Two college students are talking in the dorm room discussing sex and sexual relationships. One says, “I believe that consensual sex between two adults is perfectly okay. It is wrong to force yourself on another, but when both are willing and desiring it, there is nothing wrong with it at all.” Says the other, “I believe that sexual intercourse is only for husband and wife alone, and I base my conviction on the Bible.” Says the first, “Well, different strokes for different folks, but I believe folks who believe like you are really suckers of some outdated and outmoded religious system. I believe that those who are slaves to religion are generally not the sharpest pencils in the box.”
SECOND, let’s listen to the sounds of Moral Relativism in religion. What I share with you are statements from “Christian Pastors” either spoken over the pulpit in my presence or to me personally in the very recent past.
One pastor said while preaching, “We do not live in a ‘Black and White’ world any longer, but rather in a gray world, and within that context we must minister to people. Things have become too complex to be simplistically dogmatic on everything to everyone. One size no longer fits all. We must meet people where they are.”
Another pastor said, “Most of the differences that we find between churches and pastors are simply ‘Personality Differences.’ When you really get down to the heart of things, we all share in common things that we agree on more than things that we disagree on. We must give each other room and key on what unites us and not on what disunites us.”
This pastor reminds me of the little girl playing all by herself, peeling and stripping off the wrappers of her crayons and murmuring, “Come on Blue, let Red try on your clothes. Come on Purple, let Yellow try on your clothes. Get close together now, come on, and forget each other’s differences and let’s be like each other.”
And yet another pastor said, “We as a fellowship do not base our faith and life on “Doctrine” but on “Experience.” Doctrine by itself is dead, but experience alone brings faith to life. Experience is the foundation of Christianity, not theological systems.”
Well then, today, whether in the world or in the church, it is LIVE AND LET LIVE, and we fabricate “Belief Systems” and “Ethical Systems” as we go along based on an assortment of personal, cultural, and religious variables and preferences. As a result, we are witnessing more and more:
“THE MANUFACTURING – CONTRIVING – FABRICATING OF
SOCIETAL AND RELIGIOUS RELATIVISM IN AN
ONGOING EVOLUTION OF BELIEFS AND
MORALS IN SOCIETY AND CHURCH. ”
So that what was not tolerated in the “The Good Old Days” is not only tolerated but even sanctioned in “The Modern Age of Relativistic Enlightenment.”
THIRD, give a listen to the sounds of Relativism or Historicism or Progressivism in government. Theodore Roosevelt became the 26th president of the United States in 1901. He said:
“I DO NOT FOR ONE MOMENT BELIEVE THAT THE AMERICANISM OF TODAY
SHOULD BE MERE SUBMISSION TO THE AMERICAN IDEALS OF THE
PERIOD OF THE ‘DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE.’ SUCH
ACTION WOULD BE NOT ONLY TO STAND STILL,
BUT TO GO BACK.”
Woodrow Wilson was elected president of the United States in 1912, and he said:
“SOME CITIZENS OF THIS COUNTRY HAVE NEVER GOT BEYOND THE
‘DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE.’ THAT DOCUMENT IS OF
NO CONSEQUENCE TO US.”
Those specious ideas have become full blown in the Obama presidency.
THE FUTILITY OF THE RELATIVISTIC MIND
The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to the Ephesian Christians. Ephesus was not just an ordinary town, nor was their temple your average run-of-the mill house of worship. No sir, not by a long shot. Ephesus with its temple was considered the center of idol worship in the 1st century world. The temple in Ephesus was reputed to be one of the “Seven Wonders of the World.” The temple, mind you, was peopled with prostitutes, both male and female. In the perimeter around the temple there was an asylum or sanctuary for criminals. It was the religion where anything goes all in the name of their goddess Diana/Artemis and the assortment of other gods as well.
How did anything that religiously pagan and debauched ever get to that hellish level? How is that possible? We don’t generally associate temples with practicing whores and thugs as the main cast of religious characters! How did all of that evolve or should we say devolve?
So the Apostle Paul wrote them in Ephesus 4:17-19,
“This I say therefore, and affirm together with the Lord,
that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also
walk, in the futility of their mind,”
“being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the
life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them,
because of the hardness of their heart;”
“and they, having become callous, have given themselves
over to sensuality, for the practice of every kind
of impurity with greediness.”
Having become futile in their minds, they gave themselves over to sensuality and every form of impurity! Having become! It was a process over time as the holy actually devolved into the unholy, and the sacred devolved into the sordid and filthy.
My dear Lord, could such a thing happen in America and the American church and in American religion? It already is happening with the church distribution of condoms to teens for the purpose of safe sex, better known in the Bible as fornication. And the endorsement of homosexuality and gay marriage by several denominations which have traditionally been bastions of orthodoxy. We are turning our churches into a modern Ephesus, and my tears are falling into the computer keyboard as I write this.
Once it begins, things will continue to deteriorate into an Ephesus moral sewer, and it becomes FUTILE to try and talk to such people. They dig themselves into such a moral abyss that they cannot think decently enough to find their way out of it. Futile minds!
This is always the cause of SPIRITUAL AND MORAL RELATIVITY:
“AS THE REALITY AND CONCEPT OF SIN LESSENS IN THE WORLD/CHURCH
MIND, THE PRESENCE OF SIN ALWAYS INCREASES AND WORSENS
IN THE WORLD AND IN THE CHURCH.”
If you will, in the development of “Religious and Moral Relativism“:
“LITTLE BY LITTLE, THE EXCEPTION BECOMES THE RULE
UNTIL THE RULE IS TOTALLY EXCEPTED
BY SOCIETY AND THE CHURCH.”
Again, here are MORAL ABSOLUTISM AND MORAL RELATIVISM contrasted:
“THE MORAL ABSOLUTIST SEEKS AS MUCH GOOD AS
HE CAN ON HIS WAY TO HEAVEN, WHILE THE
MORAL RELATIVIST WONDERS HOW
MUCH BAD HE CAN DO AND
STILL NOT GO TO HELL.”
SELF INTEREST – THE HEART OF RELATIVISM
We will be addressing now the root cause of “The Fabrication of Christian Relativism.” To get into this, let me first again give an illustration or two from the society in which we live in America, and then from the modern church world.
The Girl Scouts of America used to say something as simple and American as:
“I’M FOR MY GOD AND MY COUNTRY.”
In case America doesn’t know it anymore, and that includes well over half of its citizenry, the God that is there being confessed is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But now for the Girl Scouts to receive money from contributors, and be included in corporate budgets and not be overlooked, they must now hold to a new credo:
“WE DON’T HAVE TO BE FOR GOD AND COUNTRY.
WE CAN BE FOR SOMETHING OR FOR
NOTHING AND COUNTRY.”
That is now how it works! Whatever it takes to get support! You can be for God or you can be against God. It all depends on the circumstances and the dollar amount. That is the heart of spiritual and moral relativism! You make politically correct decisions rather than godly and right decisions.
Moral Relativism rooted in self interest will always make the wrong decision. I recall well when some years ago, Jimmy Johnson, the then very successful football coach of the Dallas Cowboys, announced that if he was to be a professional football coach, he couldn’t be married. So he divorced his wife. He is the same guy who admitted that if he did not control a conversation he was no longer interested in the conversation. He always has to be in control, and when man is in control and not God, man always will go out of control.
There is a tiny but powerful proverb in Proverbs 10:9 KJV that goes like this:
“He that walketh uprightly walketh surely….”
Or if you will:
“He that walks in righteousness walks a straight and
a steady path.”
But on the contrary:
“He that walks in relativism walks a crooked and
an unsteady path.”
“HE WHO FABRICATES FALSE MORALITY UPON THE BASIS
OF SELF-INTEREST WALKS ON UNEVEN AND
DANGEROUS GROUND, AND HE WILL FALL.”
“HE WHO BASES HIS MORALITY ON THE RIGHTEOUS
PRECEPTS OF GOD’S WORD WALKS UPON
EVEN AND SAFE GROUND AND
HE WILL STAND.”
The next sadly true stories are from the church world, as in this story about a modern church man! He with his wife are longstanding members of their church. He and his wife were having a discussion with the pastor’s wife, and in the flow of the discussion the subject of abortion came up. When it comes to pregnant, unmarried teens, the man’s conviction was all the way around that abortion is the best decision for everyone involved. To quote him now:
“THE WAY I SEE IT, IT IS EITHER ABORT ‘EM
OR SUPPORT ‘EM.”
Shocking! Appalling! If you will, it costs everyone in society, including himself, too much to continue to financially support illegitimate teen pregnancy, so the most advantageous way out is to get rid of the babies. It really comes down to this:
“KILL THE BABY TO PROTECT AND PROVIDE
But hear this:
“WHILE NO CHRISTIAN CAN BUY BIBLICAL SPIRITUALITY AND
MORALITY, YET EVERY TRUE CHRISTIAN WILL PAY FOR
THEM WITH HIS VERY LIFE AND SUBSTANCE
AT A VERY HIGH COST.”
Christian businessmen and women face this every day as they deal with prospective clients to get them to sign the contract and seal the deal. I know that there are companies who use women to get the account and keep it by supplying women. They use liquor to get the account and keep it. They use trips to get the account and keep it. They use women to get the account and keep it. They will sell their very souls to get the account and keep it. But God’s children would much rather lose the account if it means being obedient to their Lord.
What was it that Jesus said in Mark 8:36,
“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world
and forfeit his soul?”
Not only do we have the world fabricating ethical systems based upon self-gratification, self-protection, and self-preservation, but we have so-called “Christians” who are doing the very same thing. Morality for them is not based upon moral absolutes, but upon the existential and situational variables, which is also known historically as “Situation Ethics.” Christian Relativism!
The second true story is about a Christian couple who are devout church members. Their church is an inner city church which ministers on the edge of the ghetto. It is a biracial church now being engulfed in a culture in which over 60% of all black children born in the United States are born out of wedlock. Illegitimacy among whites has also escalated, and the taxpayer is paying for it.
This church couple was having a discussion with a pastor in the context of the coming and now past 2012 presidential election. In the light, or should we say darkness of Barack Obama’s strong anti-God stand of pro-abortion and pro-gay marriage, the husband said to the pastor:
“ABORTION AND HOMOSEXUALITY ARE REALLY SIDE ISSUES.
THE REAL ISSUE FOR JESUS AND FOR US IS MINISTERING
TO THE BASIC NEEDS OF THE COMMUNITY SUCH AS
FOOD, CLOTHING AND SHELTER.”
As shared with me by that pastor, the husband became very intense when he shared his convictions. Almost hostile! He and his wife voted for Barack Obama!
(By the way, I would much rather have an intense adversary, than talking with people who when you do comment on anything substantive, it is like dropping a slug into a conversational jukebox, and they generate sounds that require minimal mental activity. In short, their conversations are designed more to fill dead air than to learn something. The moment you become the slightest substantive, the jukebox plays another tune.)
What was this husband really doing? He is a “Christian Relativist” choosing between the basic needs of the already born (the real issue according to him), and the basic needs of the unborn such as life itself (the side issue according to him). Even though nothing is more essential than life itself! He made the needs of the born the major issue and true moral responsibility, and the needs of the unborn a minor issue and a footnote in the moral arena.
But what was really behind this? What was the real issue beneath his immoral verbosity? Self-interest! For you see, if babies continued to be born to unwed teens in the church community, benevolence requirements in the church would climb out of sight. We are already being taxed to death according to him, and increased benevolence responsibility would drain the church finances and put an unfair strain on everyone’s billfolds.
So when push comes to shove, the unborn child being put to death is a side issue in the total and much more important and larger community needs. If you want to know the truth, his argument is nothing more and nothing less than self-gratification and self-security under the guise of religious philanthropy. Abort ‘em or support ‘em!
And so the beat of “Secular Relativism” and “Spiritual Relativism” goes on and increases! The difference is only in their names, for in fact, they are bed partners. If you will:
“SELF INTEREST IN THE MORAL ARENA WILL ALWAYS
URGE MAN TO CHOOSE A ‘LESSOR EVIL’ TO
SECURE THE ‘GREATER GOOD’ – HIMSELF.”
Of course, there is in fact no such thing as “A Lessor Evil.” No sin is little because it dishonors the infinitely holy God.
AN ADULTEROUS GENERATION
Why are we having these arguments with “Fellow Christians” about “Biblical Absolutes?” Or if you will:
“IF THE WORD OF GOD IS INDISPUTABLE, THEN WHY
IS THE WORD OF GOD BEING DISPUTED
IN THE CHURCH.”
We must hear the words of our Lord at this point in Mark 8:38,
“For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous
and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed
of him when He comes in the glory of His Father
with the holy angels.”
Did you note Jesus’ way of expressing Himself:
“ASHAMED OF ME AND MY WORDS.”
Christ and His Words are spoken in the same breath because:
“CHRIST WORDS ARE HIS SECOND SELF.”
If you will:
“GOD’S WORD IS HIS SECOND SELF.”
No, but more exactly:
“GOD’S WORD IS HIMSELF.”
“WE CANNOT BE ASHAMED OF ONE AND PROUD OF THE OTHER,
FOR IF WE ARE ASHAMED OF GOD’S WORD WE ARE
ASHAMED OF GOD, AND IF WE ARE PROUD OF
GOD’S WORD WE ARE PROUD OF GOD.”
That is why we read in Psalm 138:2 KJV,
“For Thou hast magnified Thy word above all Thy name.”
Important! When we slight or ignore or rebel against God’s Word, that is a far worse evil than the very bad evil of defiling or taking God’s name vain. Lesson – don’t mess with God’s Word!
So then, here it is:
“HE THAT REBELS AGAINST THE KING’S EDICTS IN
FACT REBELS AGAINST THE KING HIMSELF.”
Well then, who does that sort of thing in the religious community? Jesus does not call them “Spiritual Rebels.” He calls them “Spiritual Adulterers!” The words SINFUL AND ADULTEROUS GENERATION spoken by our Lord were pointed immediately at the Jews, the covenant people of God, whose rejection of and rebellion against God’s Son and His words was likened by Jesus to SPIRITUAL ADULTERY.
The Jews by being ashamed of Jesus and His Words, were being SPIRITUALLY UNFAITHFUL TO GOD like an unfaithful and adulterous wife. They were having unholy and sinful spiritual intercourse with the devil who wanted to kill Jesus and silence His words, which he eventually did through the Jews. So it is that:
“ADULTERY AND MURDER OFTEN DO GO TOGETHER.”
Allow me to illustrate this in more modern terms. What we face today is not at all unlike what Jesus faced in His earthly sojourn. My wife and I had the invitation to worship in an all black church during the anniversary celebrations of their church and their senior pastor’s ministry there. It was a very warm day, and these precious people in their animated celebrating became very hot and sweaty.
So out came their circular hand-fans on sticks of sorts, and on these waving and very visible hand-fans were the very large pictures of the faces of Barack and Michelle Obama. Wherever we looked, Barack and Michelle were waving at us during the praise and worship.
What was happening there? These people were exalting during Divine worship a president and his wife who are in open rebellion against God and His Words – AGAINST HIS CREATION OF LIFE AND MARRIAGE AS GOD AND GOD ALONE SPOKE THEM INTO EXISTENCE. It was the most defiant act of SPIRITUAL ADULTERY against the Lord and His Word that I had ever seen in a church service.
This congregation in short was doing this:
“THEY WERE HAVING AN ADULTEROUS LOVE AFFAIR WITH A
PRESIDENT WHO SAID ‘YES WE CAN,’ AND IN OPPOSITION
TO THEIR GOD WHO SAID, ‘THOU SHALT NOT.'”
And in so doing:
“THEY WERE FABRICATING THEIR OWN ‘CHRISTIAN RELATIVISM.'”
It caused me to clutch the Sword of the Spirit in my hands and bow my head in broken-hearted shame.
As they were supposedly lifting up Christ, they were honoring and loving an anti-Christ. It reminded me of the eagle in the fable who carried in his claws the oyster to great heights, only then to let it fall far to earth to be dashed in pieces on the rocks below.
A lot of preachers of spiritual and moral relativity and spiritual adultery today, when they preach and say “Amen” at the end of their sermons, remind me of the surgeon who sews up the patient only to leave several life-critical organs lying under the operating table.
We must now state some very harsh truths, and as Charles Spurgeon said, “Lord, if it is the blueness of the wound that will make me better, then pinch me.” And now let us be pinched hard by the following truths:
“MANY WHO HAVE PREACHED CHRIST IN THEIR SERMONS, HAVE
TOO OFTEN SPOKEN A LECTURE OF SPIRITUAL ADULTERY
IN THEIR LIVES AND AT THE POLLS.”
“GIVEN THEIR CHRISTIAN PROFESSION, THEN WHAT IS THIS
SOUND OF THE BLEATING OF SHEEP, THE LOWING OF
OXEN, AND THE NOISE OF SPIRITUAL AND MORAL
ADULTERY IN THE BACKGROUND?”
“IT IS VERY POSSIBLE TO BE A CONFESSOR OF CHRIST WITH OUR
WORDS, AND IN REAL LIFE BE A SPIRITUAL AND MORAL
ADULTERER BY SHAMING CHRIST AND HIS WORDS.”
“WE OPPOSE AND DENY A MAN AND HIS WORDS BECAUSE WE
ARE ASHAMED OF BOTH. FIRST PETER WAS ASHAMED TO
STAND UP FOR CHRIST, AND THEN HE DENIED HIM.”
“THOSE WHO SHAME CHRIST AND HIS WORDS SHALL BE
SHAMED BY CHRIST AND HIS ANGELS
IN THE JUDGMENT.”