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Who Is the Truth?

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
August 3, 2022 12:01 am

Who Is the Truth?

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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August 3, 2022 12:01 am

How we think about God will determine how we think about the world and our place in it. Today, R.C. Sproul explains the essential role that theology plays in forming a Christian worldview.

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I got the gun from the students. I don't need to know any theology. All I need to know is Jesus asleep.

Who is Jesus. As soon as they begin to answer that question.

They have been plunged immediately in the theology of the Christian world view solid foundation to the foundation. We have to think theologically today on Renewing Your Mind.

Dr. RC's role points us back to our Creator as we seek to understand ourselves and interpret the world around us.

When I was a seminary student in Pittsburgh, 100 years ago, I had a close personal friend whose name was Jim Tate and Jimmy was one of those fellows that had a terribly difficult time coping with seminary education. He was an athlete he was a bright, personable, and really one of the most spiritually oriented students at our institution, but had to deal with not only with the rigorous of the academic life from the skepticism that was pervasive in that institution may also add personal tragedy to deal with the first year we were together in seminary. His wife died suddenly from an ectopic pregnancy and I remember gently rustling through his understanding of the character of God in the providence of God in the midst of that but he was determined to spend his life in obedience and devotion to God and I remember an occasion to beginning of our senior year we were seated on the steps of the chapel of the seminary and Jim was earnestly concerned about the fact that he had had a dream the night before and that dream included images that were less than pure in the discussion we had that afternoon was focused on this. He said how can I learn to control the thoughts that go through my mind when I'm asleep.

Surely God is going to hold me responsible for the cleanliness of my mind, not only when I'm awake, but when I'm asleep. I never heard anybody raise that question before. I'd never seen anybody that concerned about their personal sanctification that they would repent of thoughts that they had in their mind while they were asleep. Jim was that sort of fellow almost at the end of our senior year, Jim became violently ill one night and was rushed to the hospital I went to see him in the hospital room and get all the tubes and things inserted and Emily was bleeding internally and the doctors diagnosed that he had a severely ulcerated: two days later, Jimmy.right before we were to graduate and I look back on that episode as one who survived the seminary experience and certainly trust the hand of providence in taking Jim from the church and from this planet. But, humanly speaking, I couldn't help but conclude that the instrument of his death was the seminary classroom.

Not a few of my friends, but many of my friends in seminary were during that experience being treated on a regular basis for all kinds of stomach ailments and ulcers and the like. Why, because that particular seminary had an atmosphere of cynicism and skepticism about the things of God. Many of the professors in that environment were openly hostile toward biblical classical Christianity and these were learned men, men from the continent of Europe. Men who were far more educated than we were. As students and often they ridiculed our faith in Christ and you imagine preparing for a life of ministry entering into an institution that you think or assume is committed to grounding you and training you in the truths of your faith, only to find that to be the institution most skeptical of it that puts a man or a woman in an exceedingly difficult situation and some of the students cracked underneath the pressure I would have to say to you was one of the three most difficult years of my life in during that crucible of skepticism.

But I survived and I survived with my faith intact, and I saw some of my classmates survived with her faith intact that they took a different approach to the issues in seminary from the one that I took and I always struggle with this because some of my friends when they were facing the heat and the turmoil of the debate of the classroom simply bowed out on the discussion they fled into the security of their closets and they answered all objections to the claims of Christianity by an appeal to sort of a mindless faith. This I believe it and that settles it, and they just plugged their ears to the criticisms leveled by the scholars and that's how they survived, but brought I was convinced that that was not an honest way to deal with skepticism. I didn't think that it was obedience to the biblical call to give an answer for those who inquire about the faith. We are always prepared to give a reason for the hope that is within us, though I struggled in seminary, but I wasn't totally intimidated. For this reason I had been blessed by having been instructed in 36 hours in the science of philosophy as an undergraduate from an extremely brilliant professor who was a Christian that he was also knowledgeable of the competing philosophies in the world that sought to undermine the truth claims of Christianity. And so, as I would go into one classroom in the college where the professor was a skeptic and he would ridicule the Christian faith I could turn around and run back to my professor and say that professors that this is there a cogent answer to this and he would go through patiently. The ground basis that supported the claims of Christianity against the critics and against the cynics now again as a seminary student. It was obvious to me that the professors were far more knowledgeable than I was. I couldn't debate a New Testament scholar on the basis of the technical points of his expertise in New Testament research, but the one thing that helped me through humanly speaking, was that it was obvious to me when I would listen to these skeptics who were teaching New Testament and Old Testament things like that that they knew next to nothing about the science of epistemology and I could see the glaring epistemological errors that were at the very foundation of their skepticism and that helped me make it through that crucible without having to rush into the quarter and hide my eyes and cover my ears and plead blind faith as the basis for the hope that is within me. What I'm trying to say with that simple illustration.

Ladies and gentlemen, is that as Christians we need to be aware of epistemology. We need to be aware of the relationship between faith which is real and reason. See what the skeptic and the critic of Christianity.

Does it says this that faith and reason are dichotomous things, never the twain shall meet, and they are willing to give you faith, but they claim reason for their side. They claim science for their saw ladies and gentlemen, it is manifestly irrational to deny the existence of God. And when a scientist speaks out and says that he is convinced scientifically that there is no God. He is stopped being a judicious scientist and has uttered the expression of the fool. He hasn't paid attention to the data he supposed to master because the creation itself not only bears witness to the creator it screams of the creator through the data when trying to say is that Christians need to understand that sense perception the testimony of history, the testimony of archaeology and the function of reason itself are tools that God has given his people to stabilize and solidify that faith and trust that we have in him our faith in God is a reasonable faith is not an irrational leap in the dark, but we have been almost as a generation brainwashed into thinking into thinking that we ought not to be thinking into thinking that prayer is a substitute for thought. See this kind of thought.

This kind of intensity that we see again in road and the thinker. I think should accompany the same kind of intensity in prayer that we pray with our minds alert. We read the Scriptures, which are addressed to our mind that are given to our understanding and only as we are armed by the information that God gives to us and the clarity of it are we able to stand in an age of skepticism is an American tragedy. The children are nurtured in the life of the church and then go off to college and we see it repeated over and over and over again go through a serious crisis of faith, why we haven't grounded them in epistemology. We haven't grounded them in metaphysics and so I'm pleading with you to take seriously those two steps of structuring a Christian life and worldview. The third element of the Christian worldview, which really should be placed at the beginning.

In terms of the order of importance is our understanding of God. How a person understands the character of God. I think more than any other concept determines how we live. That is the most foundational of all for the grid by which we interpret the significance of every aspect of our life that Paul makes a statement in the New Testament that the person who is without Christ is without hope because that person experiences the pain, the suffering and the perplexing mysteries of human existence without the benefit of the perspective of God incarnate. If God is not in your consciousness. If God is not in your mind that how you interpret your job, your bank account your recreation your marriage and everything will be reflected in that Christianity is theocentric.

That is to say, it is God centered and not course, maybe starting to sound like I'm doing a commercial here, but that's the part of the theologian to talk about God because that's my business to talk about God.

That's my profession to talk about God. That's my identity to talk about God is on my stewards over the seminaries sometimes think I stretch things a little bit when I try to find theological significance and everything when I commend all excited about the victory of the Pittsburgh Steelers of the Los Angeles Raiders and I see that is a foretaste of the heavenly triumph of the forces of good against the forces of evil. They begin to suspect the way the tentacles of theology reach into every avenue of human existence. On the other hand I've had people say to me where you get all your illustrations from.

Do you read up on these things, you get books of anecdotes inside as I know, I draw the illustrations that I use for theology from the daily events of my life and I said when you bring these things I would never seen any theological significance in those things that you find and I take that seriously, because I know that when people say that to me there serious about and I understand the time you know why you don't see any theological significance in that and I do this in a while. After because I think about everything theologically because everything has theological significance.

Ladies and gentlemen. If God is the creator of the whole world and is not simply been isolated by power higher than himself to have dominion and rule over one tiny quarter of human life that we call religion. But if he's really the creator of the universe, and if he is the sovereign ruler over all things that all things find their meaning and their significance as they are related to him. The late Prof. Cornelius Van Til from Westminster theological seminary, a seminary that helped get me through my experience of an unbelieving seminary through the writings of those learned professors by the way, Dr. Van Til once said there's no such thing as a brute fact and there's no such thing as a mute fact because every fact is tied to its creator and find its meaning and its significance in this relationship to God. So if were going to have a Christian life and worldview.

The first thing we have to have beloved is a Christian God view because how we think about God will determine how we think about the world and how we think about our lives.

What I'm saying here is that we must think about God.

I really don't think that the Christian community in general devotes a lot of thought to the character of God. Theology is not a favorite pastime among Christians. In fact, many Christians express an antipathy to it and reveal an allergy to theology. I hear again and again and again from the students. I don't need to know any theology. All I need to know is Jesus. That's Nate who is Jesus, and as soon as they begin to answer that question. They have been plunged immediately in the theology. Recently we had a board meeting. Preliminary ministries and the board voted that it was time for leader ministries to enter into phase 2 and phase 2 was sort of a abbreviated shorthand for the whole concept that we had discussed.

We sit for 20 years this ministry has focused our teaching outreach on addressing the Catholic questions of Christianity the doctrine of God. The doctrine of the authority of Scripture the person and work of Christ, being careful not to give too much emphasis to the distinctives of the theology that I personally embrace the reformed faith because we want to minister to the broad evangelical audience because we understand that the church is being torn apart. In this day not over issues of predestination or not, but over issues of whether or not God exists whether or not Christ is divine or if the Bible is the word of God. Those of been the central issues and these issues touch every Christian, not just those who are in this small minority group called reformed people. But at this meeting I said look we done that we produce the materials. Now it's time to go to phase 2 on the boards of what you mean my face so I said I'm tied up was the fourth because I think wherever you see a healthy evangelical church until the evangelical church is reformed solidly before were take seriously biblical Christianity and its concept of a sovereign God because unreformed Christianity has failed in our culture. It is been pervasively antinomian. It is been pervasively liberal in its trends and tendencies away from Scripture because there's not a basal commitment to the sovereignty of God is unlike a playwright anymore or people tell me that they don't believe in predestination underground by the throne say why not. The Bible teaches that said enough of your humanistic clinging to your concept of free will… Foreign from the biblical doctrine of the bondage of sin in the heart that you can find.

Nevermind that the majority report of evangelicals is Arminian. I'm not and I think Arminianism's death to Christianity in the final analysis, the heart of reformed theology at the heart of the Luther struggle at the heart of Calvin's awakening at the heart of Knox at the heart of Edwards were men who were awakened to the greatest of the majesty to the holiness of the sovereignty of God, and finally by contemplating the holiness of God and the sovereignty of God. They were written to develop their doctrines of the grace of God because until you face a God who is holy and who is altogether sovereign. You don't know what grace means the most Christians really never get outside of that temple experience of the Pharisee who says I thank God were to pray.

God, I thank you very much. I'm not like that miserable sinner over there Pharisee parade. He went to church and expresses gratitude acknowledging that to some degree, and in some measure the owed his righteousness to God. I cannot like that miserable sinner over there where the other man couldn't even lift his head will be merciful to me a sinner and that man stood in the posture of utter dependency upon God's grace, there was no mixture of human merit. No mixture of human ability adding draw to the pure gold. Grace and life.

That man was amazed by grace.

Evangelicals are never amazed by grace because they don't understand grace because they don't understand sovereignty as it understand God, the greatest weakness. I'm convinced, in the event talk in the evangelical church is a legendary sick sick of the suburban. In my judgment set on a stretcher fight, and believe it.

I wouldn't be speaking so strongly about this in the evangelical world people are saying that you don't have to believe in Christ Lordship to be saved, if you can be carnal in your life and still be a Christian pastor come to me recently to say that there is a young man he was ministering to who was involved in drugs regularly, even in the sale of them and he was living illicitly with another woman in the minister Fortuna said because the fella claim to be an evangelical Christian. He said don't you realize that you must leave this style of living and repent of it to be right with God and the young man look at her said no it's okay; a Christian.

I can only happen evangelicalism that is bereft of an understanding of the character of God. We need a style variety of Christianity that is not a religion but it's a life and it's a world view were at the heart of the foundational structure affect is a sound and deep biblical concept of the character of God become simply another human religion. I think with Dr. Spruill said there are the bears repeating.

We need a style of Christianity that is not a religion but it's a life or worldview. We have no compass.

If we live our lives outside the revealed truth of God's word any other way of thinking leads to chaos and disorder.

It's so important for us as believers to learn to think critically and biblically this week on Renewing Your Mind, Dr. Spruill from his series blueprint for thinking is helping us put these pieces into place.

We will add the five messages of the series to your online learning library would you give a donation of any amount to leader ministries will also send you Dr. Spruill survey of Western thought his series. The consequences of ideas in 35 messages and shows how the major thinkers and philosophers of the ages have influence culture request the nine DVD set of the consequences of ideas, along with the digital download of blueprint for thinking when you call us at 800-435-4343 if you prefer you can give your gift to make a request online and Renewing Your Mind daughter work. Another helpful resource in this enterprise of thinking critically is the magazine we published each month. Table talk this month's edition deals with misunderstood biblical words and phrases. When you subscribe to table talk. Not only will you receive the monthly printed version but you'll also have access to an ever-growing digital archive of past issues. Learn more and get a free three month trial subscription when you go to try table tomorrow. Dr. Strohl will continue providing us with a blueprint for thinking with a lesson titled how does truth relate to me. I hope you'll join us Thursday for Renewing Your Mind

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