Part 6 of a 16 part series…
To catch you up, my father, Dr. Michael Ruth (an author, family therapist, and pastor since the late 70’s) gave me an assignment to read the book Set Forth Your Case by Clark Pinnock and to write a 1-2 page response to each of the chapters. It might be a little difficult to fully understand my responses to or summaries of the chapters without reading the book, but I wanted to share my work anyway.
Set Forth Your Case by Clark Pinnock
Chapter 6: Our Monolithic Culture
In this chapter Pinnock takes a look at how the decline of Christian faith in our culture has allowed humanism to invade and gain major strongholds in three areas of society: our government, the education system, and the field of science. First, however, he spends time discussing America’s transformation from a historically – and still officially – pluralistic culture to a monolithic culture.
One of the founding principles of this country is the freedom of religion. It is true that Christian faith and culture tied our colonies and states together in the early days of our country, but citizens have historically been allowed to practice their own religion without interference from government. In fact, the first amendment was written to save citizens from religious coercion from the State; however, Pinnock suggests that, as traditional Biblical Christianity continues to be pushed aside, humanist thought has seeped into almost all facets of our lives – from science to psychology to government and even theology. The polling numbers still tell us that most Americans are “professing” Christians, but we have watered down the definition of “Christian” so much (by our actions most of all perhaps) that it does not cost one anything to claim it. The subtle and gradual overthrow that humanism has achieved has led us, according to Pinnock, to a monolithic culture with uniform religious characteristics.
I believe Pinnock is describing our current culture with pin-point accuracy. It is amazing to think that he wrote this book in the late 60’s. I have said it before in these papers and I will say it again – if these movements, philosophies, moral declinations, etc. were evident in the 1960’s, how much further down the road must we be today? Here are some characteristics Pinnock gives of a monolithic society:
- Its people deny all absolutes and believe that all convictions are relative and relevant. The one exception of course is their own rejection of true Christians who believe there are absolutes, one way to salvation, etc. They fail to acknowledge the irony in this.
- It necessarily must project an appearance (Pinnock calls it a myth) of neutrality, whereby people act like they have no convictions or principles, when in fact we know that we all have them in one form or another. In such a world a Christian is a prejudiced bigot.
- It levels decisions and values to that of the lowest common denominator to avoid any unpleasantness among groups of different beliefs. Convictions become divisive. In such a system, schools must preach heterosexuality and homosexual equally, even if only 5% of the population supports a homosexual agenda. As Pinnock states, “…pupils learn that ‘values’ are important for life, but also that no way exists for knowing which values.”
- The only sacred thing worth obtaining is social harmony.
As I mentioned previously, there are three specific areas in this chapter that Pinnock highlights to show the reader how we can detect the invasion of humanism into our culture:
- The first area is government. In the traditional Biblical understanding, government is a necessary evil. There will only ever be one truly “successful” governmental structure – the Theocracy that will exists during Christ’s millennial reign on the earth. Until then, we know that we need governments to defend citizens against attacks, provide and support logistical infrastructures, manage taxes, etc.; however, under the humanistic view, the State is a savior. The individuals sacrifice their possessions to the state that will lead them to Utopia. You can look at any communist society in history to see that this philosophy never works in a fallen world.
- The second area is education. The Bible clearly points out that first and foremost, children are to be reared in the home by their parents…to be brought up in the fear of the Lord. Education starts first at home. In the early years, as this country’s educational system outside the home was forming, children were taught locally in smaller communities by like-minded individuals. As public schools gained popularity, parents surrendered their children’s educational development to the State. For the majority of the week, and during their developmental years, children are now under the control of whatever agenda the State wants to push through its schools. Removing the 10 Commandments from schools and replacing them with Planned Parenthood visits and free condom distribution to middle school children is just one example of how our nation’s educational agenda is changing.
- The final area is science. Surely the most obvious example of how science is used to attack Christianity is the nebulous theory of Evolution. As Pinnock points out, “The myth of Evolution is so entwined in the current world view that its absurdities are seldom even noticed.” Case in point…the fundamental principal of Evolution states basically that everything came from nothing. The problem is that there is no one alive or dead who has ever witnessed the spontaneous origin of life. Pinnock says that Evolution is promoted so strongly not because there is evidence for it, but rather because the humanist culture needs it to replace God.
It is easy for a Christian in today’s world to get dismayed at the path our culture is traveling on, for everything we believe stands in opposition to all of the things above. But we must take heart and remember that we have the Truth. What we preach, aside from the supernatural and spiritual aspects, brings sense and logic to a world that often has none. It is our responsibility to share this news; we must hope the recipient is ready to receive it.
Copyright © 2012 Jonathan Ruth