Jude 3 by Robert Dean
Series:Jude (2012)
Duration:1 hr 10 mins 7 secs

Contending? Not Culturally Acceptable – Part 2
Jude 3
Jude Lesson #12
June 26, 2012
Dr. Robert L. Dean, Jr.

Slide 3

Jude 1:3, “Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.”

In the last lesson we started on what we are calling “contending,” because the focal point of verse 3 is that we are to be contending vigorously. This means that this is to be a high priority. It is another way of talking about the concept in the Bible of spiritual warfare. Spiritual warfare is not something that takes place outside of us, it is something that really takes place between our ears. That is the first and foremost battlefield, the battlefield for the mind. So we are to contend earnestly for the faith, and that starts between our ears. We have to make that a focal point.

But the problem is that this idea of contending for a set body of objective truth that is universally true and applies to very human being, regardless of their background, their culture, of whatever ideas or values that were taught to them, that critiquing that, evaluating that, saying that there are many elements in those cultural beliefs that are wrong, is completely unacceptable today. It violates all the principles of so-called political correctness which was one of the evilest ideas that has ever been promoted in human history.

Yet, we discover that numerous Christians have bought into these ideas. Not because they necessarily heard them taught and they bought into them, but because it was just part of the air they breathed, the food they ate and the water they drank in terms of their culture. As American culture changed over the last thirty to forty years, those who were born after about 1980, and maybe as early as 1975, really do think differently from people who were born before that.

The people who were born before that were generally brought up to think about reality in a way that is different from the way someone who is, say, twenty or twenty-five years old today thinks about reality. There has been what people call a worldview shift.

A worldview is really a cultural view in some ways. It is the way in which a person seeks to organize all of the data, all of the information, all of the events in his world and to make sense of them. And a worldview basically includes a foundational element, such as their view of reality. Are we living in a world that is the product of time plus chance plus evolution, and are we living in a world that was created by a personal, infinite God? Those are radically different ways of looking at the beginning of life.

If you believe that everything is the result of time plus chance plus evolution then what you basically think is that any human being is just an accident, an accident that is the result of some unexpected accidental electrical discharge on some blob of protoplasm millions and millions of years ago, and so there is nothing any different essentially between a rock, a cockroach, and your next-door neighbor.

Because you can’t distinguish that, and everything therefore must be material because there’s no framework or basis within that kind of a worldview to believe in the existence of something like an immaterial soul, there’s no basis for thinking within that framework of any kind of future accountability or that there is life after death; that would imply a completely different nature of man.

So if you start with no God and then start with everything is an accident, then people are just accidents and nothing really matters. There is no real basis for absolute right and wrong because everything is just a product of whatever opinion has developed over time.

But if you are operating on the other side as a Christian, a theist, or for example, if you are Jewish, if you are a Christian, if you are operating on any kind of a theistic worldview where you have a distinct creation, a distinct creator that has informed man about ethical absolutes, then you start with a different starting point. Then you have a different basis for knowledge because you accept the fact that there is a true, genuine revelation from God and it affects your view of what is right and wrong, where that comes from, and your view of man and nature, your view of law and government, your view of education.

All of that is going to be completely different than the view of the person whose starting point is just pure matter that has accidentally evolved over time into the present state.

If there are huge numbers of people who believe one side then that is going to necessarily produce a certain kind of culture, certain kinds of lifestyles, certain kinds of belief systems, a certain view of education, politics, law; all of these things flow out of that.

On the other hand, if your starting point is a literal view of the Bible, and that this is an objective revelation from the creator God of the universe who is both personal and infinite, who is omniscient and knows everything and therefore can properly address everything, then you have a completely different view of all of these things.

These people eventually, as you push these different ways of looking at the world to their logically consistent positions, are going to end up with a huge divergence. People on one side are going to look at something and say, “Look, that is a whatever,” and they will describe it. But the person on the other side is going to say, “You’re absolutely crazy. How in the world can you think that that is what you said it was; it is something totally different.” It is because the glasses that they put on can help them interpret, understand, organize all of the data in the world are completely different.

The person on the one side who is an evolutionist, a materialist, has put on rose-colored glasses. Because often what happens is they want to think things are good when they have no basis for it because everything is everything is just an accident and therefore you can’t say anything is right or wrong, good or bad. But they can’t live that way. You often hear people talk like that: that they believe in evolution, but then they’ll say something like, “Oh well, the holocaust was horrible” or “Hitler was horrible.” What basis do they have to make those value judgments? They don’t have one. However, a Christian over here is completely different.

Things that were not a part of our culture and would not have been acceptable are acceptable today. What has changed? What has changed is this thing called a worldview. We have gone through a complete cultural transition from one way of thinking to another way of thinking.

This has happened throughout history. This kind of thinking is what was witnessed in the ancient world. There were different people with slightly different worldviews, some in the Greco-Roman word who bought into what was called the mystery religions and were very mystical in their orientation.

On the other hand, there were those who were somewhat skeptical, very similar to skeptics today, who didn’t believe in any gods, any eternal truth, anything of that nature; and they had their own form which was a more primordial view of evolution but that’s what they operated on.

Then there were others who believed in a sort of blend of the two. Then there were at that time the Jews. As we have seen in Colossians there was a distinct blend of these ideas that was a problem in Colossae. This was what the apostle Paul was addressing as these ideas from this Colossians mix was influencing those in the church.

People who are Christians are always saved out of a cultural context. Every Christian comes into the Christian life with a load of mental and moral baggage. This has to be dealt with, but it can only be dealt with on the basis of the Word of God.

This is part of the problem that is faced in this group that Jude is facing. Peter had written in 2 Peter to warn about this, that this was coming, and that they needed to be aware that this was coming. Jude is writing that this has now arrived, is a present reality and that there are these “ungodly people” who are presently within the church,

Jude 1:4, “crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

So there is this group which has infiltrated the church. This is a group of unbelievers and they are thinking according to the codes and standards of the world outside the church. But there are also those who are within the church who have bought into the same ideas they had before they were saved, and they have entered into the world. Jude is writing this at the prompting, the motivation, and the stimulation of God the Holy Spirit.

We saw that in Jude1:3, used as an illustration of how inspiration worked. It is very important to understand why it was so critical to take the time to go through inspiration and inerrancy at the very beginning because that establishes the principle for the believer of our authority. That is so critical.

Authority is one of the most fundamental concepts in the Christian life—authority in terms of what is our ultimate source of right or wrong. To whom do we go for our authority? Are we submissive to the authority of Scripture? Are we willing to let the Scripture change us because it is from God and God is the one who is the authority? The authority for the believer has to be the Word of God. This is fundamental because this is what makes the difference between a Christian and the way a Christian should think, someone who holds to biblical Christianity …

Slide 4

Jude is writing for the purpose of inciting, challenging, to motivate them to a particular course of action.

Slide 5

This course of action is then defined as “contending earnestly.” He wants us to be involved in a fight. This is a certain kind of fight that has to be conducted according to certain rules, but it is developing a warrior’s mentality. We have to have the mentality of an athlete going into an athletic contest, the mentality of a warrior, a soldier who is going to engage in combat, and we are going to win and defeat the enemy.

This word EPAGONIZOMAI is based on the word which means to struggle with an intense effort. So we are to struggle thus for the faith.

Slide 6

This fits a particular kind of literature in the ancient world that involved both read literature as well as rhetoric as well as oral presentations and sermons. It is called the paraenesis. It is important to understand this because this relates to how we are to think. This one is completely contrary to the prevalent notions that are in our culture around us today. Paraenesis was a style of exhorting someone to a course of action, and it was accomplished two ways.

First of all, the positive of encouraging: “this is what you should believe.” And then it was also dissuasion: “this is what you should not believe.” In the dissuasion side it is being critical and pointing out the flaws in other ways of thinking. In the younger generation, 40 years old and under, this doesn’t feel good to them. It doesn’t sit well with them.

And the more they have been influenced by the culture around them the less they like this, because when they hear the Bible critiquing, or a pastor critiquing a certain way of thinking, there is something inside of them that starts to vibrate and they are not really sure why. It is because they have developed a mindset and have absorbed a certain value system from the culture around them that they have never really taken out into the light of day and looked at and evaluated and changed. And they are still thinking like a pagan. They say, “You know, that’s not really right to say that what other people believe is wrong.”

So this idea of paraenesis had the idea of stating positively what we would believe but contrasting it negatively with what the opposite was. A lot of times when we learn ideas, we learn positive things, we don’t connect the dots to some of the things that they believed that are off-base a little bit or not quite right.

Slide 7

So we are to contend earnestly for the faith. This is another problem that we face in our culture today. This whole idea of the faith is the assertion of something that is very positive, something that is an absolute. It is the Greek word PISTIS and it refers to the content of what we believe. Sometimes it refers to the act of believing. As a noun it still refers to an action, but here it refers to the content of what we believe.

It is stated in such a way that it is emphasizing that there is a set defined body of beliefs that are correct and anything else is incorrect, and we are to be in the process of striving, contending, fighting for, maintaining the integrity of, that belief system. That means a couple of different things.

First of all, if we are going to contend for something—be involved in a fight or a competition, a war, an athletic event—we have to know two things:

a) we have to understand the enemy.

b) we need to know ourselves.

We need to be able to identify what the enemy strategy is, what the enemy strengths and weaknesses are, but we need to understand what we are, what our strategies, strengths and weaknesses are. That means we have to be able to think in an objective, honest manner about ourselves and about the other person. This part of what it means to contend for the faith.

We are fighting for this and we have to be able to identify in the spiritual realm that there are certain ideas that are wrong and there are certain ideas that a right. There are certain ways of doing things that are wrong and there are other ways of doing things that are right. Methodology is how you do something, and methodology can be right or wrong.

We live in a world today where those who are younger have really caught this whole idea of what is called postmodernism. This is a way of thinking about the world that is very different from the previous generations who held to a view called modernism.

What we need to do as we contend for the faith is recognize three spheres of combat here. The first is in the area of our own thinking, i.e., what is going on between our ears. The second has to do with our family. If we are a parent or a grandparent then we have children and grandchildren that we are responsible for in terms of training them up in the faith. So we have to contend for the faith between our own ears and also in the family. Then a third sphere would be within the church, and ultimately the fourth sphere would be outside in whatever other area where we may operate.

This idea of being engaged in a spiritual combat over ideas is also emphasized by the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 10.

Slide 9

2 Corinthians 10:2, “I ask that when I am present I {need} not be bold with the confidence with which I propose to be courageous against some, who regard us as if we walked according to the flesh.”

He had opposition from people who still wanted to think like they did before they were saved, and because they brought that pagan, worldly view into the church and were not changing their ideas according to the revelation of God it was causing division and problems within the congregation at Corinth.

Where Paul is going with this is that as Christians we don’t walk according to the flesh [sin nature]. We could even see in this that this is part of thinking according to pure materialism, which was also very present in the ancient world. That was part of the mental baggage that a new Christian brought with them when they became a Christian and entered into the church. They still had all the mental baggage of their pagan culture with them. That defines the war. The war is to identify these areas of thinking that are based on false beliefs, false religions, false gods, false philosophies, and to remove them.

Walking in the Scripture is the metaphor for the way we conduct our life.

Slide 10

2 Corinthians 10:3, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh …”

Here Paul is talking about the fact that we have a material life and existence, we have a physical life that is in the flesh (material), but we do not war according to the flesh. Again, he is talking about the way we do things, the way we conduct the war. There is a right way and a wrong way to be engaged in this warfare, in contending for the faith. We are not going to contend for the faith on the basis of the value system of the world, on the basis of the negative passions of the sin nature. We are not going to be hostile; we are not going to be vindictive; we are not going to operate on the basis of jealousy, envy, mean-spiritedness, and anger.

We are going to operate on a different standard and a different way of doing things. So that:

Slide 11

2 Corinthians 10:4, “for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.”

In other words, how we conduct the warfare is not carnal. How a church is going to do things, how a Christian is going to do things, is going to be different from the way things are done in the world.

This is a great problem in Christianity today because we have a lot of churches who don’t understand this and, in fact, what they are doing is conducting church and have bought into a philosophy of church where the idea is we don’t want unbelievers (seekers) to come into the church and feel uncomfortable. They should feel like they are in an environment that is culturally similar to what they are used to; we should hear music that is familiar to them.

When they come into the church and hear some of the great hymns of the faith they sound foreign to them. So this modern church growth movement say that is wrong. But they are completely wrong because they are letting the world’s philosophical system set the agenda for how they do what they do. It is a right thing (often they are involved in evangelism) done in a wrong way. They are using the weapons of the flesh in order to carry out the work of God.

Paul says: “the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh,” they are not based on the sin nature, they are not based on the carnal world philosophies or systems and methodologies, and using basic salesmanship techniques in order to grow the church—which is what people have done.

As part of this modern mental baggage that we have today one of the primary values in that inclusiveness is good. This is one of the upper tier ethical values—we need to include everybody. It doesn’t matter what the differences may be, we are not going to evaluate them (that would be judging!), we want to include everybody; any form of exclusion is bad. If we look at that, even using the word “man” is exclusive; you’ve just excluded all the women. If you use the word “American,” that is being exclusive; you’ve just excluded everybody else in the world, and that is evil. That is their value system.

This is the way they think and how they have been taught to think, and this is what is in their textbooks. This is why parents need to be reading the textbooks that their children have, especially the history books and of the other books that have anything to do with society, social structures, the environment. These textbooks are written from a specific agenda and parents need to address these things with their kids as they read them so that they don’t pick up these fraudulent ideas.

One of the values we see in postmodernism is inclusiveness is good and any form of exclusion is bad. Therefore, terms like “biblical” and “Christian” are necessarily exclusive terms, so by definition, according to postmodern values, that is evil, dangerous, exclusionary. When we talk about something being biblical that means that everything else is non-biblical.

If we go back a couple of hundred years to the 1700s, the time when America’s Founding Fathers were establishing the country, as soon as we say “Founding Fathers” some people are going to vibrate because, well, women weren’t involved also. As soon as you say founding fathers you have committed an egregious, horrible sin because you have excluded the women.

The concept of founding fathers has been completely expunged from textbooks used in schools for about twenty years. Now they are referred to as “the founders”—politically correct language. As soon as you say founding fathers you are evil, a danger to society, and you are wicked because you are anti-woman, and you hate women because you only refer to the founding fathers and are by nature a sexist misogynist. This is how it works.

We have to be very careful about these ideas coming into the church, and there are some people under forty who were brought up to think that way and they will come into a church and hear something like that and they will just vibrate and not even know why. They think there’s something about that that is wrong. They can’t really identify it because this way in which we are taught to think culturally is so foundational, it is not necessarily at the forefront of our thinking. It is the foundation that shapes out thinking, our knee-jerk reaction, our emotions, and things of that nature.

Contemporary society and postmodernism embrace the ultimate value of diversity, and we have to accept everybody as being on an equal footing. This is a view called multiculturalism. Multiculturalism started off as being something with perhaps some value to it. Definition of multiculturalism from The Death of Truth by Dennis McCallum:

An educational movement designed to facilitate awareness and appreciation of diverse cultures. In postmodern ideology, it teaches that all cultures should be empowered to preserve, unchanged, their unique cultural reality Any effort to change or reform a cultural group is actually repression, domination, and colonizing of one group by another.

There is nothing wrong with the statement, “An educational movement designed to facilitate awareness and appreciation of diverse cultures.”

We should learn how a people who come out of a Roman Catholic Hispanic culture think, and how Aborigines in Australia think. And it is important to understand that we have a lot of different cultures and so people think a different way. Everybody has a culture. Culture is the result of different value systems derived from different ways of knowing different theories of knowing, and that is ultimately viewed in different ways in which we look at the universe.

Some of those are right (if they are biblical) and some are wrong, but every culture is to be judged by the Word of God. The western European culture that we have is an amalgamation of certain kinds of paganism plus biblical Christianity. The good that is there is due to the influence of biblical Christianity; the evil that is there is the result of paganism that has invaded the culture. The same is true of other cultures, but we have an absolute.

When we don’t have an absolute and we are like the people over here who believe there is no God, no ultimate reality, everything is just material and a product of time plus chance and all you have is accidents, that this culture over here in Viet Nam isn’t any better or worse than the culture over here, the Indian culture, and that is not any better or worse than the culture of the United States.

But those cultures such as Viet Nam and the Hopi Indians never produced the great benefits to society that American culture produced. That is not saying that everything American is perfect and wonderful and right, because it is not. But western civilization brought hospitals. Hospitals developed only within a context where biblical Christianity impacted the way people thought, where Judeo-Christian values impacted the culture and changed it. Hospitals didn’t develop in a Muslim culture or a Hindu culture because those religious systems have a completely different way of thinking about human beings.

We have a mandate from Scripture that we are to evaluate these things. We have certain weapons of warfare that are going to be different from the weapons of the pagan worldview systems, and they are designed for the purpose of pulling down strongholds. Pulling down strongholds is a Greek word KATHAIRESIS, which means destruction, to tear down, to demolish, and it is used in 2 Corinthians 13:10 as the opposite of edification. Edification means to build something up, to construct something of value, but KATHAIRESIS means to destroy it, to tear it down, to demolish it. That is what we are supposed to be doing. We are on a search and destroy mission in our own soul to remove ideas that are not biblical. Not to remove ideas that are not comfortable because there are a lot of pagan ideas that are comfortable we have picked up from our parents or teachers or whomever, but we have to get rid of ideas that are not biblical.

So we are on a mission and we are pulling down strongholds. The word for “strongholds” is the Greek word OCHUROMA, which means a fortress or a fortification, or a bulwark of error or vice; so that is referring to a mental attitude that is so entrenched in our thinking that what we have to do is go in and send in our divine viewpoint doctrinal sapper units to plant charges under the walls of this stronghold and completely blow it up.

This is going to be spoken of in the next couple of verses in terms of taking a thought captive or casting down an argument. That is what we are to do—pull down strongholds, take a thought captive, and cast down arguments. In order to do that we have to be able to identify the stronghold. We have to know what that stronghold is.

If you are an engineer in the military and are involved in blowing up a wall, you have to know how the wall is made, understand where all of the support elements are, understand the dynamics—whether it is concrete, brick, hollow, wood. All of these elements come into play as to what kind of an explosive you need in order to take out that wall. So as the metaphor goes, we have to understand the intricacies of the thinking that goes into this mental stronghold. That means we have to understand all these inner workings of the thought system.

That immediately scares half the people who hear this and it bores the 90 per cent of those that remain, because they really don’t want to do this. They don’t want to put forth the mental effort because they are just mentally lazy. They just want to be saved and glad they are going to heaven, and they don’t care if they live in a ghetto in heaven as long as they are in heaven. But we have to be engaged in this kind of a battle because this is what the Scripture tells us to do.

Slide 12

Paul goes on to say that we have to cast down arguments. To do this we have to understand the arguments that we are casting down. You can’t defeat a football team if you don’t understand how they play. What we should get from this passage is that in order to fulfill this mandate to contend for the faith a few things are necessary.

We have to know the faith, what we are contending for. We really have to understand truth: not just basic doctrine but the entire realm of what the Word of God teaches from Genesis to Revelation, and every detail related to every branch of systematic theology. We have to understand all of it, and we have to probe the depths of Scripture, not just hop along the surface of the Word of God. We have to know the faith inside and out.

But we also have to understand the thought systems that we are going against. So we have to understand two things. This is a never-ending learning process, and if we are really serious about the Scripture and about the Christian life then we are in for a lifetime of learning. If we don’t like to read, don’t like to learn, don’t like to study, then we are just going to fall apart in the Christian life because we won’t go anywhere.

We have to do these two things, and the more we do them the more successful we are going to be in our own spiritual life. We are going to be able to identify the strongholds of human viewpoint thinking or worldliness that has invaded our souls from the time that we began to grow up—partly from our own sin nature and partly from the world around us—and we have to understand how to take those things out biblically. We have to know the truth, and that is why Jesus said we have to know the truth, because the truth will set us free. From what? From the bondage of these sin nature-based and world system-based errors and strongholds of thought.

In 2 Corinthians 10:5 We are to be “casting down arguments,” —so we have to be able to define and identify the argument.

“… and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God.” And then we are what? We are “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”

We are out there taking captive these enemy ideas that are shaping our thinking. We are on a search and destroy mission, so we have to decide. Are we going to function like a drafted private who just does barely enough to get along, or is our ultimate goal to be a spiritual [Navy] Seal so that we are going to work to the maximum to increase and develop every possible skill that is known to Christianity in order to be successful.

Are we going to be a “Special  Ops” Warrior? Are we going to be a special forces airborne ranger in the spiritual life? Or are we going to be just some sort of draftee who spends most of his Christian life napping away. Unfortunately, that is what ninety-nine point nine per cent of Christians are. We have to decide what kind of Christian we are going to be.

2 Corinthians 10:6, “and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.”

In other words, we are going to start within our own head. We have to deal with this. We have to take that out, this is part of warfare.

Slide 13

Paul says this to Timothy in 1 Timothy 1:18, “This command I entrust to you, Timothy, {my} son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them—i.e., on the basis of the Word—you fight the good fight.”

People talk about fighting the good fight, but they have no idea of what they are talking about. This is what this passage is talking about. We are engaged in a warfare. So are we going to be some draft dodger and fritter away our spiritual life, or are we going to accept the challenge to excellence and pursue excellence in your Christian life, and commit ourselves to a lifetime of study of the Word of God and learning about the culture around us?

We can’t do that by showing up at church once a week or going to some church that sings praise songs for forty-five minutes and then hearing a little homily for fifteen minutes; all that is going to produce is what it has always produced: baby, cry-baby, self-absorbed, infantile Christians who don’t have a thimble full of knowledge about the Bible, are just absolute spiritual failures, and a disgrace to the character of God and the plan of God.

We have to learn how to think. Thinking is hard. Thinking about our thinking is much harder. To begin with we have to understand this. This is a foundational structure for being able to evaluate any kind of thinking:

Slide 14

There are basically four ways in which we come to know truth. Three of them are based in our thinking, what goes on between our ears, and the fourth way is based on someone coming and telling you (because of their authority, because of their knowledge) what is true, what is right, what is wrong. So the first three ways are in contrast to the fourth way which is the divine viewpoint: God being omniscient, He knows everything; He alone can tell us how to think about everything.

Three categories: the name of the system or the way of thinking; the intellectual starting point from which they try to reason for all of their different beliefs; and the method that is used. The first two were dominant in western civilization from about the early 1600s to about the early 1960s. That would be either rationalism or empiricism or a combination of both.

Rationalism is basically the idea that we can come to an understanding of everything simply from the use of our own reason. Or in combination with empiricism, i.e., studying and analyzing what we see or feel or experience through our senses. Then we use logic and reason to come to a conclusion. These two systems, rationalism and empiricism, became completely independent from any influence from religion or the Bible—specifically the Bible in western civilization—starting in the 1600s.

In the 1600s it began to slip its anchor from any influence of the Word of God. The hope was that man (humanism) in his best efforts of intellectual activity can find the answers to all of life’s problems—we don’t need some sort of belief in religion. In many ways it was a reaction to a bad form of Christianity that dominated through the Middle Ages, what they called the Dark Ages, because of the blend of superstition and the Bible, and certain elements of pagan rationalism and empiricism through the influence of Aristotelian and Platonism.

It really wasn’t biblical Christianity, it was a distorted, perverted, paganized form of Christianity. But that became identified as Christianity and there was a reaction to it that wanted to get rid of anything related to God, the Bible and anything else. That became known as the Enlightenment, and their starting point was not going to be revelation from God but the ideas of man. But it didn’t work.

Typically, the cycle in human history is that when rationalism and empiricism and logic don’t work, we throw out logic and reason and in its place we accept mysticism, the idea that somehow I just internally know what is true. I have an impression; I have a feeling; I have a sense of what is right and wrong. This is based on inner, private experience.

But in rationalism, where are those innate ideas? They are between your ears. Where is the inner private experience under mysticism? It is between your ears. So mysticism is really rationalism and empiricism just gone to seed. It rejects the method though. It rejects logic and reason and replaces it with a non-logical, non-rational, non-verifiable method.

These three are all completely in contrast to divine revelation. In divine revelation God has revealed truth to man so that man can know right or wrong, because he can’t get to those eternal absolutes just on his own. So in revelation we have objective knowledge, i.e., knowledge that is true—true completely apart from my experience of it. Whether I believe it or not, it is still true; whether I like it or not, it is still true; whether I understand it or not, it is still true. It is true for everybody. Biblical Christianity doesn’t reject logic and reason but it submits logic and reason to the authority of the Word of God.

Slide 15

Understanding history is so important. A lot of people today don’t understand history. Part of it is because they are taught such a distorted, fragmented view of history that has become so politicized that they have just resisted it. And it has nothing to tie it together. What they have is a bunch of beads on the table but there is no string to tie them together.

What we are talking about in terms of a worldview is really a string that ties everything together, but in the postmodern way of looking at life they have rejected the string. So people have all kinds of ideas and they never think that they ought to connect together. In fact, trying to connect them together is viewed as something that is wrong.

The reason we are going into this is because we not only have to understand what the Scripture teaches is true, we have to be able to identify the strongholds, the arguments and the high places, these things that are lifted up against God. We have to understand them in order to take them down. Where they exist is first of all in our own soul, secondly in our family, third in the culture around us. So we really have to deal with this in terms of our own thinking. But we have to understand it historically.

We have these four ways of looking at knowledge and now we want to see how the trend has been in recent history. First of all, throughout the Middle Ages and before that there was the dominance of Christianity in western civilization. But it wasn’t a pure biblical Christianity, it was first a Christianity that had been sort of reshaped by Greek philosophy: first Platonism and then Aristotelianism, so it wasn’t a true biblical Christianity.

This is why when there was the conflict between Galileo and the church it really wasn’t a conflict between science and Christianity, which is what we have been told and lied to about all of these years, because modern man can only put it in those terms. What it was, was a church that had sold its soul to Aristotelian philosophy. Aristotelian science was geocentric; it believed that the earth was the center of the universe. And when Galileo came along and said that on the basis of observation the sun is the center of the solar system, not the Earth, that was rejected by the church.

Not because of the Bible, but because of their commitment to a false science based on Aristotelianism. So it was really a fight between an Aristotelian view of science and view of the solar system and an empirical view of the solar system, based on modern knowledge. It really didn’t have anything to do with Christianity, but you won’t get that in any science class or philosophy class or history class because they are committed to a different agenda other than the truth.

In  reaction to this religious foundation there was the rise of philosophers who were trying to slip the anchor from the Bible. But in many of these cases they are Roman Catholic. Descartes was a Jesuit priest and mathematician, and he developed a modern form of rationalism that is an improvement upon the ancient world’s rationalism under Plato. 

Then there was the rise of empiricism under John Locke. Rationalism says that if man starts with what is between his ears he can eventually explain everything in the universe. Locke’s basic view is that if you start not with the Bible but with what he sees with his senses, he can eventually answer every question in the universe.

Both of these men still have hidden away in their thinking Christian ideas, biblical ideas, theistic ideas, because that has informed their culture. In the case of others, even though they weren’t truly Christian, they thought more like a Christian than most Christians do today because most Christians today are influenced by postmodernism, and even though they are regenerate they think like a pagan postmodernist. This is because they grew up in a more theistic culture that was influenced by biblical ideas, even though they rejected the details of Christianity, but they thought more like a Christian than most Christians do today. 

By the time we get to Immanuel Kant, because of the influence of David Hume, empiricism and rationalism basically had been debunked. They couldn’t give any answers, it just falls apart. Immanuel Kant came along and said you don’t really know truth as it is, you only know truth as you perceive it. So this is called the Copernican revolution in thought.

This led eventually to the increase in skepticism and existentialism, and in the 19th and 20th centuries all of this is what is called modernism. It is out of modernism that there was the rise of Sigmund Freud, Charles Darwin, Marx, and Engles, and communism; all of these have their roots in a modernist worldview.

This modernism reigned supreme until about 1900 and then it was thrown out by the intellectuals. This eventually filtered down to the populace until they began to think in a postmodernist way. There is a lot of difference between the two and we really need to understand that.

Because when we read the newspaper and watch the news on television and you ask how in the world the Supreme Court can make the kind of decisions that they make, or how can the president do the kinds of things he does, how can these things be accepted? It is because we live in a world now where the people have not only thrown out biblical ideas, but they have also thrown out the rationalism and the value of logic that was part of modernism. Now they are operating on irrationalism and illogic, and this is coming into the church.

What are we supposed to do? We are to cast down these strongholds. We have to identify them and understand them because this is what it means to contend for the faith.