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the Threat of "Modernism" to our Faith

posted Aug 16, 2011, 5:52 PM by Kelvin Leu   [ updated Aug 16, 2011, 5:55 PM by hbchurch org ]
Since the advent of the industrial revolution, the word modern has almost become synonymous with the word better. The modernization of the western world in the last 150 years is mind-boggling. I, for one, am grateful for many of the modern ways and widgets that improve our daily tasks. But “modern” is not always better; modernism is a major destructive force at work in our world.

Modernism is a way of thinking that completely alter’s man’s approach to life and his perception of his place in the world. Modernism essentially removes God from the picture and focuses all attention upon man and his natural environment.

The roots of modernism are deeply embedded in the soils of the Renaissance. Men like Francis Bacon (1561-1626) had the notion that humans could exercise power over nature by discovering nature’s secrets. The so-called intellectuals who lived after Bacon declared that man was now free from the shackles of God’s written word because the exercise of human reason would supply the answers to all of life’s questions. This was the age of Enlightenment (1600-1700).

Modern thinkers also assumed that the human observer could be completely free from all historical or cultural influences as he or she pursued knowledge. Thus, all knowledge gained in such a clinical manner would be both reasonably certain and universally applicable. Since reason alone was sufficient to determine ultimate reality, the natural scientist became the hero of the “enlightened” world. Allegedly, scientists could be totally objective, uninfluenced by mythical (or religious) beliefs. One obvious flaw in this approach is the erroneous assumption that our world is a closed system of natural causes and effects. This viewpoint prohibits anything beyond nature to exist or exert any influence upon it. Thus, modernism completely dismisses any possibility of divine wisdom and power .

Another assumption of modernism is the belief that the quality of life can be improved via technology. Since technology is the result of applying what man learns from nature, empirical science became the sole source of worth-while knowledge. Therefore, the solution to most of the world’s problems, according to modernism, follows this basic model: more secular education leads to more knowledge leading to advances in technology which always improves life. Science becomes god.

If their premise is correct, its easy to see why the religious modernist:
  1. Repudiates the Biblical description of the nature of God, completely ignoring statements about His wrath. They live in a bubble of idealism which sees everything through lenses colored by their brand of love. 
  2. Calls Moses’ account of creation an ancient “myth”. Even Lutheran theologian, Helmut Thielicke said he was not embarrassed to confess that his grandfather was a monkey or that his great-grandfather a tadpole. To the modernist, evolution is just another mechanism of nature. 
  3. Adopts an attitude toward the Bible, ignoring the testimony of the scriptures. For example, they say Moses did not write the Pentateuch, but attribute it to several other sources. “Intellectuals” call this Higher Criticism. 
  4. Contends that the Bible, as a historical record, is not trustworthy, claiming the Bible is essentially a collection of ancient legends. 
  5. Offers naturalistic explanations for all Biblical miracles. If they can’t manufacture a “scientific” explanation for an event, they claim so-called miracles are merely dreams, or over-active imaginations, or myths. 
  6. Claims that human conduct is better regulated by a “loving” response to a situation rather than looking to the Bible for some “rule”. That’s the kind of nonsense that lead to junk like Joseph Fletcher’s system of Situation Ethics. 

This short article only scratches the surface of the threat of modernism to our faith, but this should be enough to get our attention. Its scary to think about how much modernism has already affected us, so be on the alert. Satan is on the prowl (1 Pet. 5:8) and his followers are legion, but they are the losers. Christians are victorious! (Rev. 1-22)

by  Ken Dart
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