Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: RELIGIOUS & POLITICAL LIBERALISM: I. THE SOCIOLOGICAL OUTCOMES OF UNBELIEF

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


“18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them” (Romans 1:18-32).

Although unbelief exists on many different levels, any level of unbelief is still unbelief. Each level of unbelief denies Who God is and His absolutes of right and wrong revealed through His inspired Words (the Holy Bible). Each level of unbelief brings its own consequences as God directly responds to that degree of unbelief with a progressive level of judgment appropriate to that level of unbelief. The purpose of any level of judgment is to bring about repentance.

“4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? 5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; 6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds: 7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: 8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, 9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; 10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: 11 For there is no respect of persons with God” (Romans 2:4-11).

Paul’s epistle to the church at Rome also details the natural digression in both individuals and a society that reject God or who reject Biblical absolutes. These outcomes of course will be more evident in a society that begins with Humanistic premises. Romans 1:18-32 describes in detail the digression to Anarchy (disorder, chaos, lawlessness) in a society that rejects the God of the Bible and who reject His Sovereignty over their lives through His Word. This will ultimately end in Anarchism (an ideology that rejects the need for a system of government in society and proposes its abolition beginning with resistance to all forms of authority or control).

Franky Schaeffer in his book A Time For Anger quotes Christian Journalist Russ Pullman:

“What’s happened in recent years is that the Supreme Court and others have developed an odd interpretation [of the separation of church and state] that has little to do with the intent of the Constitution. Now we are told that all government institutions must be absolutely neutral toward religion and to do absolutely nothing to advance it. That’s an impossible task since all of life involves essentially religious issues.”[i]

This is essentially what the statement of Romans 1:18-32 says. Psychology and Secular Humanism both come to us disguised as neutral to religion. That is far from the case. God always views neutrality as taking a position against Him.

“He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad” (Matthew 12:30).

The God of the Bible is the Creator. He is not some ambiguous Being. God defines Himself in His Word and by His Word. To know the true God is to know the God of the Bible. Any distortion or misrepresentation of the God of the Bible is to create a man-made god (an idol). To worship that man made god is idolatry. This is what Theological Liberalism has done.

“18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:” (Romans 1:18-20).

This text begins the first of five major divisions in the epistle to the Romans. This first division is the doctrine of condemnation and begins with 1:18 and goes through 3:20. This section has three other divisions within it, the condemnation of Gentile unbelievers, the condemnation of apostate Jews and the Law’s blanket condemnation of the whole world.

All sinners tend to have a common problem. Sinners (fallen mankind) are guilty of creating a god in their image. Sinners are guilty of reducing God to the god of their imaginations. In order to create a god who fits their mold, they must reject the God of the Bible. The three divisions of the doctrine of condemnation in the book of Romans establish the true God of the Bible accurately and absolutely. It is that God (the God of the Bible) to which all men are accountable.
Lost people suppress the truth of God (1:18). Lost people tend to rationalize God out of existence. At best, they tend to create God in their image. The God of the Bible is an absolute God Who reveals Himself to mankind.

The “wrath” of that absolute God is being revealed against all that is contrary to Him (ungodliness and unrighteousness). When the absolutes of God’s Word are removed from a society, that society will progressively begin to see the product of that removal (1:21-28). When society reduces the absolutes of God’s Word to just one of many options, all truth becomes relative. The ultimate end to this digression is the removal of God altogether. This is known as Secular Humanism.

Once the God of the Bible and His absolutes are removed as the governing force in a society, the things of God can be replaced with Humanistic absolutes (Non-theistic absolutes – Political Correctness). For instance, (it is not my intent to single out smokers) for Secular Humanists, it is not wrong to smoke because it is worldly. It is wrong to smoke because it is unhealthy and too costly for society. Although Bible believing Christians have been criticized in the past for calling smoking worldly, now the New Absolutism of Secular Humanism is trying to pass legislation to outlaw it.

The so called religion of Tolerance (Secular Humanism) is one of absolute rejection of the absolute God (intolerance of Biblical absolutes). Absolute Secular Humanism absolutely rejects the existence of God or absolute truth. Our society is presently caught between these two positions rapidly moving to the extreme.
Francis Schaeffer in his book A Christian Manifesto quotes from the Humanist Manifesto of 1933.

“Religious humanists regard the universe as self-existing and not created. Humanism asserts that the nature of the universe depicted by modern science makes unacceptable any supernatural or cosmic guarantees of human values.”[ii]

We can deny God’s existence and we can make up a god that fits our lifestyle. Regardless of what mankind believes (or does not believe) about God, mankind remains under the curse of God’s condemnation (“wrath”) because mankind suppresses (“holds”) the truth of God’s absolute righteousness (1:18).

Lost people in unbelief suppress two truths regarding the existence of the absolute God. First, lost people suppress the voice of their conscience telling them that God exists (1:19). Man was created in the image of God. Even in his fallen state, every reflection of himself is to some degree a reflection of God. God’s image was defaced in the fall, but it was not erased. Man has a God given conscience and God has programmed Himself into that conscience saying, “I am, I am, I am.”
What this means is that in every person there is a conscience that is like a neon light in the darkness of our fallen existence flashing, “God is! God is! God is!” However, lost mankind does not like this constant reminder of the existence of an absolute God with absolute rights and wrongs. “They did not like to retain God in their knowledge” (1:28). By the vanity of human reasoning, they deny the inward testimony of their conscience to the existence of God. In doing so, they put themselves in almost total darkness.

“9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not” (John 1:9-10).

“22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. 23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness” (Matthew 6:22-23)!

Secondly, lost people suppress the testimony of creation to the existence of God (1:20). Creation is a shouting testimony to God’s existence. The theory of Evolution is the means unbelievers seek to explain existence apart from a Creator. The creation of an ordered universe is in itself is a shouting testimony to the existence of a Creator.

“1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. 2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. 3 There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. 4 Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, 5 Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. 6 His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof” (Psalm 19:1-6).

There are two invisible things about God that are clearly evident in creation (1:20). First, “His eternal power” is evident.

“1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. . . 3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. . . 6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. 7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. . . 9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. . . 11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. . . 14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: 15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. . . 20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. . . 24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. . . 26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth” (Genesis 1:1, 3, 6, 7, 9, 11, 14, 15, 20, 24, and 26).

Secondly, His “Godhead” (literally His God-hood), this refers to His divinity. He is the Creator/God. He is evident. The fact that anything exists demands the existence of a Creator.

[i] A Time For Anger, Franky Schaeffer, Crossway Books, page 61
[ii] A Christian Manifesto, Francis A. Schaeffer, Crossway Books, page 53

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