By Keith Pruitt
In the book, Set Forth Your Case, Clark H. Pinnock states, “Man is in the process of self destruction in the twentieth century” (1967, Craig Press, p. 48). Clark’s assessment is based upon the rapid move of man from romanticism to nihilism. Several examples are given including the works of Nietzsche and the various artistic endeavors of the absurd. The rise of suicide is merely an indication, he explains, of man’s frustration. As people continue to refuse God a place in their lives, they are faced with the bitter reality of their unrealistic dreams. Try as hard as he will, man is a creature who needs God.
Every facet of one’s life is touched by God and His revelation to man. Without God, life is as absurd as leaves upon an October ground with no trees to explain their existence. Indeed, life without God has no purpose, stability or order. Human life and the rights of freedom fade into meaningless jargon without the solid foundation of biblical morality.
Humanism seeks to fulfill the desires of the beast while causing standards, especially of morality, to become non-functional. Rationalism, the propagating of intellectual reasoning as the basis of any belief, has garnered little hope as man seeks to explain, or explain away, past beliefs or experiences in the light of better “knowledge.” Evolution has done little but add to the misery of human indignities as men and nations struggle for survival in a world seeking to find who is the fittest. So one is given a mixture of all of the above as he is educated in secular schools and is bombarded with these philosophies in music, art, television, magazines, etc. The result can be but absurdism. Truly Solomon has said, “All is vanity and a striving after the wind.”
But our concern just here is different from an examination of how secular society has been influenced by the tenets of humanistic philosophies. The influence of secular humanism can readily be seen in the religious fields as well. Theologians of the sixties declared God to be dead. Many leading teachers in denominational circles followed swiftly to discard the Bible declaring it as mere literature to be placed on the shelf beside Plato. They suggested that the Bible failed to address modern needs or that its teachings were old fashioned.
Belief in the miracles of the Bible was ridiculed as superstition. Evolution rapidly became championed by religious leaders as they endeavored to step into the mainstream of philosophical thought. Religious institutions became little more than social clubs even being fully equipped with the latest recreational equipment. Doctrines that were traditional 1 with denominations such as total depravity and the punishment of the wicked in hell were de-emphasized. Man became exalted even in the strictest Calvinistic groups. Campaigns against hunger, poverty, mental anguish and other social ills became the emphasis of the religious community. Debates on doctrinal issues, which had occurred frequently in the 1800s, became rare as few thought these issues to be of any significance.
Movements toward unity within denominationalism were frequent. The United Church of Christ and United Methodist Churches were products of such movements. Doctrinal issues were easily overcome (or avoided) in order to bring about these mergers. The goal of these groups was to be found in the secularization of religious thought. The social gospel (nothing more than humanism in religion) had gone to seed. The plants were springing up everywhere. God had not died, but theology had.
This has described the plight of mainstream denominationalism. One might wonder why such would be of any importance. But I now invite the reader to go back and retrace there thoughts taking denominationalism out of the pictures and replacing it with our own brethren. Brethren, the drift has ended; the separation is sure!
Guardian of Truth XXX: 4, p. 116
February 20, 1986