The ministry theme for our church in 2015 is “Thy Word Is Truth.” In a variety of ways we are promoting this theme among our congregation. For example, in the Sunday School Community that I shepherd, a layman will read the next succeeding section of Psalm 119 to call our class to order. We will repeat this every Sunday through the year. During the month of August, our worship team will challenge our congregation to read the chapter of Proverbs that corresponds to the day of the month. I thought of this theme this morning while having one of my frequent theological/cultural discussions with my son.
Getting to the Heart of the Problem
In that conversation he shared with me how passionate he has become in his opposition to the horror of 56 million abortions in America. After some further discussion, I shared with him that while his passion certainly resonated with me, my passion touched the issue that has allowed America to become so confused that intelligent judges could so terribly err in making the Roe v. Wade decision. That issue, I identified, was the rejection of the Word of God as the final authority and therefore the arbitrator of morality in America.
At the present time, I am working on a set of lectures to present to psychologists, school counselors, and teachers in an eastern European country later this spring. A missionary friend and I have been invited to address the decrepit state of affairs regarding morals and ethics in the youth culture of that country. A Christian national who teaches abstinence in the public school system has arranged for this unusual mission opportunity.
Their frustration is expressed in several questions. How have we come to the place where the vast majority of our young people have no morals or ethics? What can we possibly do to inculcate morals and ethics in this generation? As I told my son, these are the same questions that most of the evangelical church is asking in America and Western culture. How did we get here? How do we re-rail society? On a much less grander scale, every biblical counselor is confronted with these two questions almost daily.
A Biblical Diagnosis
One of the approaches that I choose to address these questions is to trace the development of Israel as a nation. They went into Egypt as a family of 70 souls, and they left as a congregation of 3 million plus. They did not have any written code of morals and ethics. At most they had the oral tradition of the lives of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and his son Joseph which provided witness to the living God. They saw the work of this living God in the miracles of their deliverance. Once they were out of Egypt, the first thing that God did was to give them the Ten Commandments and the rules for implementing these in daily life in the national framework.
Fast forward to the book of Judges where the story reveals a repeated ignoring of the national framework in daily life resulting in the repeated phrase, “Every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” What this demonstrates for us is that morals and ethics are dependent upon a revealed objective standard. Ignoring such a standard leads to “Whatever feels good to me is right and moral.” On a more sophisticated level it leads to the group in power positing what is moral and right—gay marriage, for example, is about to be imposed on American life by the same body that imposed abortion on demand.
In the counseling office, it sounds like this statement from a counselee some years ago. “I know God wants me to be to be happy. Sherrie no longer makes me happy, but Cynthia does, therefore, I am divorcing Sherrie to have Cynthia and be happy.”
Stalin’s communism destroyed the broad stroke of Christianity in Eastern Europe. The impact of his morals and ethics is witnessed to on the one side by the multipliable people executed at the expense of his paranoia (likely, a guilty conscience driven by the vestiges of his former Christian knowledge) and his wife’s suicide on the other side. The Nazis were brutal when they invaded Russia in the mid-1940’s. Raping and pillaging was executed on a large scale. Stalin’s morals and ethics are displayed in the pamphlets he had dropped to his invading army in 1945. His army was instructed and encouraged to reap vengeance upon the German population, and in particular the women.
The vortex explained by the Apostle Paul in Romans 1:18 and following can be observed in Western culture for more than 100 years. Classical philosophy, man’s attempt to explain life without God, did not have a wide ranging impact on the general populace. But the introduction of the application of the critical textual criticism to the Bible towards the end of the 19th century did. This movement, at the intellectual and academic level, succeeded in disconnecting Western civilization from the revealed objective standard. While a blog post does not provide space to do so, a number of succeeding places in culture can be identified where “God gave them over.”
Hence, as biblical counselors we find ourselves frequently at the point at which we must appeal to the counselee to affirm the veracity and perspicuity of the Word of God and, therefore, the standard by which their choices in life must be made in order to be obedient, to please God, and to find the peace and tranquility promised in Jesus Christ.
Join me in my passion to promote the Bible as “Thy Word Is Truth” and let the chips fall where they may.
Join the Conversation
How can the conviction that “Thy Word Is Truth” impact your biblical counseling ministry? Your daily life?