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The Secular Church

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
July 5, 2020 8:00 am

The Secular Church

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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July 5, 2020 8:00 am

The modern-day church has bought into a secular mindseta mindset that tells us were not so bad and that we can help ourselves. Some would tell us that were to rejoice in our newfound freedom, but is that kind of freedom a cause for rejoicing? Join Dr. James Boice as he explores the consequences when the church depends on the consensus of society rather than the Word of God...on this special holiday edition of The Bible Study Hour.

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This secular mindset is already present in the worldly church. It's a mindset that depends on the consensus of society, a mindset that downplays man's propensity to sin and redefines religious terminology are welcome to Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act quickly. As a result of this modern mindset, the word of God is downplayed as the church looks to the world for direction and the result is an abyss of constant uncertainty. Join Dr. Boyce as he looks at the state of the modern church, a church that is only a form of godliness on the brink of irrelevancy and the church is necessary. Response last week we began to talk together about the contrast between the secular city and the city of God. Contrast which St. Augustine spell out so clearly so long ago in his theological classic, the city of God we talk merrily about the secular city and began to lead on at the end of that study to a consideration of God's today which is the direction in which we should now head before we do that we have to pause to consider a video which is cropped up in relatively recent history.

The view that denies the difference between the sacred and the secular, or at any rate, says that they both operate in the same field and which would say so far as Christianity is concerned that Christianity should be secular on the words here. You have not a contrast between the church and the world about rather review which says the church should be a world or lease should be actively engaged in and be characterized by all the things that marked the world. The significant thing about this view is that it's maintained not by secular thinkers, but by so-called Christian theologians from our perspective, RB Cox is the best example that's true for two reasons.

First of all, the title of his book the secular city is the very title that I used in the last study to talk about the world. In other words, I talked about it in a negative sense in Cox, the secular city is something to be considered positively. Christians according to pop shouldn't be otherworldly. They should be. This worldly they should embrace everything that secular and then secondly… The second reason why Cox is a particularly good example to study. He says not only the Christians should be secular, but that this viewpoint is presented and developed in the biblical tradition.

In other words, according to Cox, it's precisely the teaching of the old and new Testaments of the Old Testament. In particular, which leads us to be secular.

Cox says that there are three things in the Old Testament also carried forward in the new which lead us to be secular men and women as Christians. First of all creation which she describes as the disenchantment of nature. What he means is this, according to Cox primitive man had a view of nature in which everything he saw rocks and trees and blends and grows and the sun sets forms and dropping rain all of those things were infused with friendly or hostile demons world was a magical place. All of these magic powers had to be propitiated or appeased or managed somehow, the account that we find in Genesis and what this teaches us is that nature is not magical nature is not infused with demons, good or otherwise. Nature is made by God and therefore this frees biblical man to consider nature naturally considerate in a matter-of-fact way if they are to be used as secondly he turns to the Exodus. He calls this the D's actualization of politics. What he means is this in primitive agents before the biblical. In the impact of the biblical worldview politics was infused with the aura of the goddess anybody who ruled ruled by virtue of divine right. The case of the king of Egypt. He ruled as he was the incarnation of the son God raw so the Hebrew God Jehovah led the people out of Egypt's hidden to a new land, thereby instigating what was essentially a rebellion or as Doc says a civil disobedience movement what the Hebrew God was saying is that politics is not sacred. Anybody can be overthrown if they don't promote the good and well-being of the masses so he handles this particular subject. In that way then thirdly turns to the Sinai tradition and the giving of the covenant in the law and he says and from our point of view. Perhaps this is the hardest thing to understand this is the D consecration of values. Values were supposed to be absolute now at Sinai, we learn that they are no longer absolute site.

How can that be.

We thought that if Sinai meant anything. It meant the giving of the law.

This was the law of God, and it was absolute and was binding upon Israel is binding upon us.

The diagnosis Cox if you approach it that way, you misunderstand. First of all the laws is a law against idolatry. Only God is to be worshiped as God. Everything else is relative. Therefore values are relative in the modern man is free to do what he or she thinks best or interesting concert with all those things together and he says what we have in the secular city is people freed up to be themselves by technology that is by mechanical handling of nature given privacy to do within their own private environment.

What they want to do and all of this in good terms without any ultimate responsibility toward a transcendent God. Furthermore, he says this is what Christians are called upon to embrace who encourage rejoicing because this is the way the biblical material is lettuce.

I suppose it would be nice if we could say at that point that what Cox did in the secular city was simply appeal to the masses by a sensational kind of book.

Certainly it had sensational elements in it, but it does not. I believe explain the popularity with which this book burst upon the theological scene at the time of its publication in 1965. Reason why his book receive such popular claim was that the secular mindset was already there in the organizational church. So when Cox book appeared not at all an original work, but merely a reflection of the kind of things that people have been saying for a decade. It was received is that which gave popular justification to the lifestyle and the processes within the organized church that many of the leaders of the organized church were already endorsing what we have is a secular church, one that may use the terminology that is been characteristic of Christendom but one which does not mean the same things by the terminology secular church is a worldly church aspects of his worldliness, or the first of all, the world's wisdom.

Secondly, the world's theology third world's agenda, and finally the world's methods.

We look at each one of them is this matter of the world's wisdom. What was the wisdom of the church before secularism took hold of the wisdom of the church in past ages has always been understood by Christian people to be the wisdom of the word of God. Christian people would come to the Scriptures acknowledging their own ignorance in spiritual things. I would even acknowledge that they are unable to understand spiritual things, except by the work of the Holy Spirit that opens our minds that truth. Nevertheless, wisdom is to be found if guidance from God is to exist. It had to be found in the Scriptures, and so although Christian people do not always understand fully what they read. They did determined to live by what they read so far as they were able to understand today we no longer have such a thing in the revelation of God is been cast aside as having no more ultimate value than any other human production. I've said before, by way of illustration than on one occasion I was speaking at a conference on behalf of the mission of the church. I had finished. It was a question.

Different people stood up and asked questions. I fielded them. Some gave their statements and in particular, one professor from one of the great theological seminaries in this country voiced his opinion was a reputation of everything I said. He went on for a very long time because I said a great deal and one of the things he said was this, he said you spoken of the historical Jesus. Let's understand there's no such thing as the historical Jesus historical Jesus is only something you talk about what we have to get into our mind is that each of the Gospels was written to contradict the other Gospels.

And so we don't know what Jesus said or did that I'd mentioned the return of Christ and the added these words he said we have to get it into our minds that the Lord Jesus Christ is never coming back and things are going to continue as they are indefinitely.

Another occasion a friend of mine was speaking in a church gathering, and afterwards a liberal man came up to him and said why are you always quoting the Bible when you stand argue a point. Don't you understand that nobody believes the Bible anymore.

This is the kind of thing that characterizes the secular church and it is far more common layman in the church usually are not exposed to such kind of debate ever understand anger for significant results may not see the cause but you do see the results. The first results of this abandonment of the wisdom of the church. The Scriptures is pitiful uncertainty and insecurity on the part of church leaders don't always talk about this, but on occasion are honest as in these words by Robin's blogs. Prof. of New Testament at the Chicago theological seminary. These words are from his inaugural address in the Chicago theological seminary register. Mr. Scruggs said this. We are thus in no secure place.

We have found no single authoritative standard from the past of what to say or how to live.

Neither have we.

A secure self understanding erected on the basis of our immediate experience. We in fact find ourselves in the abyss of a continual uncertainty but we are kept from falling in the chaos by the very tension between past and present.

We have no assurance that where we happen to be is the best or final place to stand. Secondly, we have as a result of the abandonment of the churches wisdom the very turning to the world and its values that I'm highlighting in this study long as you have the Scriptures to the sure word from God. This is the poison on which you can stay when this base is abandoned and the only place you can go is the world is 1/3 result of this abandonment of wisdom of the Scriptures, and this is a dependence it's connected with .2 upon what has been called the consensus or the 51% vote. How do you find the direction which are to go. God does not speak certainly what you turn perhaps to the people of God, the church are you turn to the world and you decide on the basis of what the majority of the people want.

This is the true meaning of the well-publicized Kenyan decision in the United Presbyterian Church. When Kenyon was a young man who had come entirely through the United Presbyterian system. His father was a United Presbyterian pastor had been educated in United Presbyterian. Schools, he acquitted himself well, even at the seminary level winning several of the prizes that his seminary offered when he came to ordination, he ran into difficulty with his Presbytery because he believed that the Bible did not teach that women should be ordained to the office of teaching or ruling elder in the church now, rightly or wrongly, this was his position, and it was a moderate one, and you didn't say that he wouldn't work with women he didn't say that he wouldn't have women on his session. He simply said this is the way I understand the Scriptures, and therefore I myself personally can't participate in such an ordination, but he was barred from ordination and is serving elsewhere today. Why wasn't because of the teaching of the Scriptures because nobody tried to argue the point on the basis of the Scriptures. It wasn't a word of argument what the Bible really taught.

It certainly wasn't on the basis of the Constitution of the church because there is nothing in the Constitution of the United Presbyterian Church that says that the minister hast ordained anybody. It is not one of the things that he has to do is assume that he will do it by then was debarred simply because the consensus of the church at that time is in a position like that was detrimental to the cause of women's liberation. See what I mean by the 51% vote. This is the kind of thing that we have on the authority of the Scriptures is abandoned. Finally, let me say that the church becomes irrelevant. Why not if it doesn't have a sure word from God. It is nothing to say to the world what the world could already say world and its thinking, especially along spiritual lines is irrelevant. Enough already. One great thinker Peter Berger a number of years ago at the meeting of the consultation on church union in Denver at these words to say, speaking out of men engaged in the ecumenical movement if there is going to be a relations of religion is bearers will not be people who have been falling all over each other to be relevant.

I would affirm that the concern for the institutional structures of the church would be vain unless there is also a new conviction in a new authority in the Christian community always right, but of course, is precisely at this point that the secular church of our day is weak now, how about the world's theology is a subject could deal with more briefly because the world's theology is perfectly obvious says there's nothing much wrong with men and women in that we don't much need a Savior, perhaps only a little bit of help.

The church is begun by this theology as well. This does not mean that the church of Jesus Christ going by that name necessarily abandons the terminology. It'll still speak of sin and salvation and faith evangelism in Jesus and all these things, but it doesn't mean by these terms, the things that the church is traditionally meant when the church used to speak of sin and transgression of the law of God, admit rebellion against God.

It meant what was basically wrong with the human race in the new theology works and is used, but sin basically means something that's wrong with the social structures and can easily be changed when the modern theology speaks of salvation. It doesn't mean salvation from sin by the work of Christ on the holiness being made over into the image of Christ by the grace of God simply means deliverance from the oppression inherent in the structures when it speaks of faith that means commitment to social change when it speaks of evangelism. It means proclaiming the gospel of revolution when it speaks of Jesus.

It doesn't speak of the one who is God, this earth to redeem us from our sins and speaks only of one who is an example which all of us should follow. Thirdly, there's a matter of the world's agenda. Now the secular church says whatever the world does. We are to do. Furthermore world as something is a high priority. This should be our priority to those world interested in hunger that should be a priority of the church is the world interested in revolution liberation that should be a priority of the church. Whatever it is. This should be our priority. This doesn't mean I hope you can understand me at this point that the concerns of the world should not also be sometimes, in certain correct ways the concerns of the church.

Perhaps we have been guilty. We who were evangelicals of not being concerned enough with that which concerns are secular contemporary. What I do deny is that the priorities of the world should be the church's priorities are priorities must be determined not by what we hear in the news six or 630 on a weekday evening coming from New York, but rather the priorities are set forth for us in the pages of the word of God proclamation of the gospel.

The building of the church. The establishing of righteousness. First of all, in the Christian community. And then God giving us grace in the world at large as were unable to put these principles and practice. I one last point, the world's methods. One of the world's methods world's methods of politics and money.

This is where the thinking of the secular church is today politics and money. That's why the secular church doesn't care much whether evangelicals proclaim in evangelical theology. That's okay, they don't care much about theology one way or the other. There are liberals in theology anymore than their conservators in theology what they're interested in his power and money in the two go together.

Number of years ago I saw a cartoon in the New Yorker concerning two pilgrims. They were coming over on the Mayflower. Obviously, and they were having a conversation on the deck and one was explaining his motivation to the other and he said this my short range goal is religious freedom.

But my long-range goal is to go in the real estate or this is where the churches come in the long-range what are Christians to do.

First of all, Christians are not to be surprised because this is what the word of God says will happen in the last days. Our text says that second Timothy 3125 notice lists, says Paul will be terrible times in the last days.

People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, trout, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, and wholly without love and forgiving, slanderous, without self-control, will not lovers of good, treacherous, rash conceded lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God have a enough form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.

That's the secular church is having a form of godliness, pretending to be the church but knowing nothing of the power of the word of God is works in the lives of people. Christian people must understand that and be different of the secular church is characterized by the world's wisdom, the world's theology of the world's agenda and the world's methods. Christian people characterized by the wisdom of God embodied in the Scriptures, the theology of God taught in the Scriptures. The agenda of God outlined in the Scriptures of the methods of God which are laid out in the Scriptures for our study and our adaptation to our own circumstances. Let us pray our father, bless this analysis of the problems of our day to our hearts in practical ways grants as we follow your word. We might be given grace not only to be different, but also to overcome this struggle between that which is formed by your word which has your spirit in it that which is best the world system and it works. The direct system of the devil.

We pray these things in the name of Christ our Savior are listening to the Bible study gallery featuring the teaching of Dr. James Boyce, the Lord had no word of praise for the church at Laodicea. Its members were neither hot nor cold and of little use to the kingdom. How can we avoid their lack of passion and cultivate a fervent devotion for Christ in our lives. Find out with our free CD offer from the late Dr. Donald Gray Barnhouse entitled the church at Laodicea. This special gift is our way of saying thanks for listening. Give us a call at 1-800-488-1888 we be happy to send you a copy of the church at Laodicea again. Our phone number is 1-800-488-1888 at a time when people look to society rather than God for direction and the church stands at the brink of irrelevancy. It's critical that the clear teaching of God's word continues to be heard. Please consider supporting the Bible study gallery with a gift of any amount to help keep the truth of God's word on the air. You can make your contribution by visiting our website@thebiblestudyour.org. You could also call us directly at 1-800-488-1888 in our mailing address is 600 Eden Rd., Lancaster, PA 17601.

Thank you. We are grateful for your prayers and gifts. The Bible study hours a broadcast ministry of the alliance of confessing evangelicals, proclaiming biblical doctrine to foster a reformed awakening in today's church connect with our online publishing broadcast and event platforms@biblestudyour.org by Mark Daniels. Thanks for joining me today, men have often tried to establish utopia to create heaven on earth. But God has established there be but one paradigm said man's feeble efforts fall far short of the glory of what God has planned for his people join Dr. James Boyce next time as he compares man's idea of a perfect world with that of God. That's next time one Bible study hours preparing you to think and act biblically. Today's message is part of a series on church and state called a patriot of what city we're offering this special series here around our nation's 244th birthday is reminded that the secular can creep into churches and Christians and hinder both from being salt and light. The complete messages and series are available@reformedresources.org stop now to pick up a book or some audio for your summer enjoyment that's reformed resources.org


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