Mar 29, 2008

My Christianity is MINE!

Tuesday night brought forth another wonderful evening in liberal academia. Where I attend school not only espouses a ridiculous amount of liberalism and emergent theology, but it espouses a facade of Christianity and even claims Christ as the center of learning. The irony here is not that we should be shocked that a Christian School has essentially gone soft, it's that even in a place that elevates the name of our Lord as the center of it's mission, He is not welcome in class discussion.

Why isn't He welcome? Well simply put, we can speak of Jesus and Christianity in all the manners that reference Him as a means to man's end. Or when it involves the loose fitting description of what most would claim as being Christian. Well, they're Christian because they aren't Muslim, Hindu, or Jewish. That would summarize the simplistic view of Christ that many in the class have seemed to hold. There is a desire of everyone within the classroom to satisfy a form of tolerance for those who don't believe in Jesus, are offended by His name, and quite simply don't agree with any kind of Christian contributions to discussion.

At one point the conversation in class came to an example of praying in public in Jesus' name. The individual was advised after he had done so by those whom he was praying for, that everything he said was right on and they agreed with the prayer. However, they did not agree with him praying in the name of our Lord, because they did not believe in Jesus Christ. They then advised him that this was not proper or tolerant of other people's beliefs. It may just be me, but this seems to reflect intolerance toward the praying man's beliefs no?

Now the highlight of the evening. An encounter with the Professor. Interestingly enough, a paralegal with a Master's in Social Work should have some form of psychological training in her academic career. That said, I found it odd that she was unaware of the theories I addressed with her in class. The response to her statement "all people are basically good, and become bad, because of their environments." I'll spare you the intricate details of all that followed, but here are some of the most interesting points.

  • Tabula rasa (Latin: blank state) refers to the epistemological thesis that individual human beings are born with no innate or built-in mental content, in a word, "blank", and that their entire resource of knowledge is built up gradually from their experiences and sensory perceptions of the outside world.

I challenged the teacher's statement based on my presupposition of original sin (Rom 5:12). When asked what theory she was advocating, she had no idea what Tabula rasa was. I was astounded, and knew at that point, I was going to be engaging her opinion, not her training. The conversation ensued and the class eventually became very riled up. As soon as the exchange began, the gasping, gnashing of teeth, and contempt filled the room. I was beginning to feel alone and outgunned. However, I continued to discuss this theory with the teacher. Her relative approach is that the environment of individuals influences their progression/declination in life. Their behavior is based on their environmental experience (ecosystems theory). This is not something I outrightly reject. I do add one thing to this theory though. The way an individual responds, reacts, and progresses in their environment is directly effected by their relationship to God through Christ and the Cross. No Christ, no good. At this point the boos and jeers were flying. Now the class had delved full on into postmodern relativism at its best.

The teacher stopped, looked at me and clearly and as plain as day said, "What is true for you, may not be true for me." I knew at that point, I should let the teacher go on teaching the class and let it rest. There was no more progress to be made. I had to concede to her authority as the teacher and quite simply, I didn't want to earn a quick ticket to failing land. I did end on a high note though. Upon her statement being made someone blurted, "You can't tell me what MY christianity is." I responded in as much meekness as I could muster and stated that while this may be true for her, it is not true according to Scripture, and Jesus Christ has already defined what Christianity is (Luk 14:26-30). I also did the best I could to emphasize in class that we need to have a definition of truth, and absolute if you will. This must be defined by someone who is greater than we are and has all knowledge. This source is the Bible, and it is the only authority to which we can refer to with confidence. This antagonized the class further and the commentary about Christianity not being believed by all people and therefore negating it's validity as an authoritative source. I ended with the comment that while they may not affirm it, that doesn't change it's truth.

Sadly, this was what I had expected in the University I attend. Also, those who proclaim Christ as Lord and say on one hand that He is their savior, quickly retreat when the necessity to proclaim Christ's truth is brought about. This class has married the feel good, add a little Jesus, and sprinkle in some scriptures thought with the profession of social work and born an illegitamate child that is clearly a spawn of satan. When Jesus' name can be used to promote good and social justice it is admirable and noble, but the moment you emphasize His name as Lord, Creator, and author of truth, you are repulsive, rejected, and silly for even thinking so.

Well, I'll take that. And if I have to be silly, that's fine with me. The clear aggitation of the class and their response to the claims made by Christ and the Scripture was a good sign. Someone was convicted, and someone heard truth proclaimed. Phil Johnson touched on this earlier this week at Pyro in a post about Paul on Mars Hill in the book of Acts 17:22-34. He said,
We need to remember that. We're tempted to think that when people reject the gospel it's because we have done a poor job of presenting it. Sometimes that may be true, but it's not necessarily true. Of course, our job is to be as clear and accurate as possible, and not to be a stumbling-block that keeps people from hearing the gospel. But the gospel itself is a stumbling-block for unbelievers, so people will stumble and even get angry when they are presented with it. And we have no right to try to reshape the gospel so that it's no longer a stumbling-block. You can't proclaim the gospel faithfully if your goal is for no one ever to be offended or upset by it.

This is the dividing line my friends. This is where we see the truth of who really believes, affirms, and stands for truth, and who rejects and denies Christ. This is where the rubber meets the road, and quite honestly, Im grateful that I even get to have even a sliver of understanding when it comes to the Word of my Lord.


Arthur Sido said...

Those who are not of Christ are naturally at enmity with Him. There can be no fence sitting, as many of these ostensibly "Christian" schools try to do. One either stands with Him, all the way (Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul) or one stands opposed to Him.

Michael R. Jones said...

I appreciate the stand you took in class (I know how hard it is to challenge a prof!) and pray God gives you grace and strength as you represent him in a school that is ostensibly Christian but where, apparently, Christ is needed.

I did part of a degree at a school that was slipping down the slope and I thank God it closed before it got too far.

My prayers are with you as you stand boldly for him!

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