Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Neo-Orthodox Invasion

I am convinced there is an increasing tendency in evangelical circles to embrace neo-orthodox principles.What is neo-orthodoxy? Is it really that bad, and is it a genuine danger?  Neo-orthodoxy believes that truth is relative and there is more then one level of truth. On the objective level they are naturalists, believing God will not objectively intervene in history.  But they also believe there is another level of truth that involves "facts of faith," which become true to them subjectively through a leap of faith against reason. Therefore, these fact of faith beliefs are true only so long and to the extent that they are true for them subjectively. Unfortunately, it is easy to gradually fall into this approach, relegating faith to a sort of nether-land that is true, but not really true, or at least not in the objective sense. Or to vacillate between two conflicting opinions without feeling the need to consistently adhere to either. And this is something that can creep in gradually without our recognizing it.

The result of this is people can end up not seeing the Word of God as being objectively true. They only see those parts which speak to them as being true . Jesus was not objectively God, but becomes God as we regard Him to be God. They may believe in the resurrection, not as an actual objective historical event, but as something which is true for them because of their faith in it.  They may shy away from substitutionary atonement as an actual historical fact and emphasize more of a "transformation of life" approach to salvation. They can be strong on morality, but maintain a vague open acceptance, as opposed to any clear standards of required behavior. Further, they tend to ground their ideas in personal experience rather than objective truth. But often their views are subtly disguised or inconsistent, making them hard to identify or pin down. Sometimes those who hold to it, particularly those who are only partially influenced, will show indications of it at some times and not others, openly holding only some of the aspects of the view. Therefore, it is important for us to affirm that truth is absolute and does not change depending on who experiences it. That the Bible is fully and objectively the Word of God and not just those parts that speak to us. That it is true Jesus Christ was objectively God, paid the price for our sins, and rose from the dead in the same sense that it is true that F=ma and John F. Kennedy was president of the United States. We must base our beliefs on objective evidence and not just subjective experience. And we must oppose philosophical naturalism (as distinct from science) in all its forms. (Just because there are orderly laws by which things work does not mean there is not a God above the laws who can intervene.) Otherwise we could end up in a realm where whatever we experience is "true," regardless of its connection to actual reality. 

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