Promises and Secrets
A website for those not afraid to examine their beliefs, compare them to the real world, and make sure they fit.
The definition in the other viewpoint side is not surprising when you realize that those who believe this also believe that no one is in charge, so anything goes - unless, of course, the "anything goes" part affects them directly. At that point, they insist that someone fix the problem, which immediately cancels the relativism - at least for everyone else.
rel-a-tiv-ism noun: relativism - the doctrine that knowledge, truth, and morality exist in relation to culture, society, or historical context, and are not absolute.
(Taken from a Google definition page)
Relativism is the concept that everyone's opinion matters and no one can question anything if someone believes it. In other words, this belief asserts that there are no absolute Truths.
What do you think? That's all that matters.
This seems to be a society of anarchy, but with a need for someone to blame if things go "wrong". In fact, this philosophy of "no one in charge, everyone is on their own, don't force your religion on me", would not work without someone to blame (like the Republicans, conservatives, and those ridiculous Christians) for the natural consequences of the stand itself.
In addition to the definition in the FACT box above, there is another one in a book called Foreshocks of Antichrist, a collaborative work by Grant Jeffrey, Chuck Missler, Dave Breese, Zola Levitt, and John Walvoord:
Relativism means, in the final analysis, choosing to do what is right in our own eyes.
Where have we heard that before? How about Deuteronomy 12:8
8You are not to do as we do here today, everyone doing as they see fit,
and Proverbs 21:2
Every man's way is right in his own eyes, But the LORD weighs the hearts. (NASB)
? Yeah, yeah, that's Old Testament, so it doesn't apply to us special Gentiles, right?
What would it be like...
Can you imagine our society today if every time a meeting were held to solve a problem, everyone had a different solution because "everyone's opinion matters", no matter how bizarre or impossible? Think of a straight forward problem like a traffic issue where one intersection seems to be the site of more accidents than all others. You call a meeting because the people are all yelling for a solution. Five people get together to determine a solution. After much deliberation, the committee comes up with this list of solutions, with one vote from one member for each solution:
1. Remove all the trees and bushes blocking a clear view for 50 feet from the intersection
2. Add a traffic light to control the traffic
3. Do away with all automobiles as they are a source of pollution and danger
4. Hire a policeman to control the intersection manually to help with the unemployment problem as well as the traffic issue
5. Do away with all streets and have everyone walk, it's healthier.
OK. Since there was no consensus, how does the city proceed? Do they call another meeting and see if they can get two people to agree, thus creating a majority? Remember, this would be a majority of opinions, not necessarily facts or proven solutions. Let's say that two people in the next meeting agreed on solution number 3 - do away with all the cars. What do you think would happen next?
"Make it for the majority, unless I don't like it..."
It seems that no matter how relativistic people say they want society to be, they really want the final word on the prevailing opinion. That really means they want everyone to have their own opinion, as long as they keep it to themselves and don't try to affect anyone else. The exception to this seems to be when they want something done about a problem. Then everyone wants the final say, which affects everyone else. How do people expect this to work in a real society?
Well, they have the school system teach people how to let those who count the most (think richest or most political) have their way because "they best know" how society will function smoothly - their way. What happened to each having his own opinion? Well, that's fine as long as we don't actually need to get something done. If that happens, we are supposed to let the "smart" ones, usually the politicians in government, take over. Oops. There goes the relativism concept.
The framers of the Constitution got us this far, we should stick with it
In a society with any previous experience with traffic issues, there are a few steps that will have worked to solve the issues. This means that there are a few actual steps that can be used every time and the problem is solved, usually by someone who knows the problem and how to solve it. These steps are proven actions, not a list of opinions from people without experience with the issue. The problem gets solved by following the "rules" that work, not the opinions that make the majority happy until it is shown that their ideas don't work. When there is an issue that has no obvious or universal solution, we have elections and voting to get the will of the most popular opinions.
God has already worked it all out for us
That is why pure relativism does not work. Now take something that really matters - salvation. The bottom line to take care of problems in any society must be the use of proven solutions that work for society. The Bible is full of them, and they are easy to understand. They are not hard to apply or understand, mean-spirited, biased toward any group, "religious", or any other term used by relativists to object. They work. Not only that, they work for everyone. If everyone follows the rules that work, everyone is equal and free. That is, they work unless you refuse to try them. That refusal is also an opinion, not a considered solution. And if one person is free to refuse to follow the rules, or worse, make up their own, then the system will not work for anyone. With relativism, no one is required to follow the rules, and soon, no one will.
One rule, 40 different ways?
But what is the real problem here? The definition of "the rules". Not everyone agrees that there is a Rule Maker. Even for those who do agree there is One, they do not even agree on what He actually says in the rules. Most of the rules in the Bible are very clear, but most "Christians" disagree on which ones are to be followed, which ones are up to the individual, and which ones God doesn't seem to care about anymore. These people cannot all be the "ekklesia" that Jesus was talking about in Matt 16:18
18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.
Paul spoke of "disputable matters" in Romans 14. A disputable matter, by definition, is something that is subject to opinion or preference because it is not firmly defined for all. Many (most?) people who read this chapter conclude that no one is to be judged for anything they do, and claim that the final judgment is up to God.
Few seem to realize that the subject of discussion Paul puts forth is narrow and limited to food (vegetarianism vs. meat-eating, not pork vs. beef) and Feast Days, and even the food part is not what people claim it to be. According to most "dispensationalist" pastors, neither of these are rigidly defined for the "new" church (Messianic Jews and Gentiles). There are some strict definitions for the non-Messianic Jews, because they do not believe that Jesus was the Christ, but many say those restrictions do not seem to all apply to the rest of the church. However, there are some that apply to all Christians, and these are getting lost in the mix.
Not a building
That word "church" keeps coming up in Paul's writings. Actually, the word "church" is not what he said, but let's stay with that word as long as we keep it narrow enough to mean "Christ's church" instead of all "churches". Even in our day, the word church applies to a group of people with enough beliefs in common to worship together. The trouble is that there are groups that believe exactly the opposite of each other, but they are still called a "church".
Today there is much confusion when people refer to "the church". That's because, in reality, there are only God's chosen people (the believing Jews) and those Gentiles who believe in Christ. Those with the proper faith in Christ are called the "church". Now, there were other assemblies called churches, but they are only "the church" if they all had the foundation given by the apostles and disciples so that they were factions of the same "church".
In fact, if you look at Matthew 16:18
18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.
, how many churches were mentioned by Jesus? Only one - His! When Paul heard of some factions falling away from the prescribed path for Jesus's church, he wrote to them to correct their understanding, thus bringing them back into the church. An example is in 1 Corinthians chapter 5
1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father's wife. 2 And you are proud! Shouldn't you rather have gone into mourning and have put out of your fellowship the man who has been doing this? 3 For my part, even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. As one who is present with you in this way, I have already passed judgment in the name of our Lord Jesus on the one who has been doing this. 4 So when you are assembled and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, 5 hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.
6 Your boasting is not good. Don't you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? 7 Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch - as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people - 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.
12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. "Expel the wicked person from among you."
. What did Paul say that he already done in verse 3? Judged the offender!!! How does that fit into the "You can't judge me!" attitudes of those who play fast and loose with the rules of God? What would Paul say if he looked around and saw the Gentile churches today, and the host of "loving" exceptions they make for their membership? Especially regarding the Sabbath, Easter, Christmas - and gays.
This is not a matter of the will of the majority
Now there are some who read Romans 2:1-4
1 You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2 Now we know that God's judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgment? 4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?
, then stop reading and claim that we are free to do anything we want with God's blessing and no judgment allowed from other church members. They forget to continue and read verses 12 and 13
12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.
in the same chapter. Others read Romans 14
1 Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. 2 One person's faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. 4 Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.
5 One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. 6 Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. 8 If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.
10 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat. 11 It is written:
"'As surely as I live,' says the Lord,
'every knee will bow before me;
every tongue will acknowledge God.'"
12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.
13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. 14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. 15 If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.
19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.
22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.
and claim the same freedom, not realizing that Paul is speaking of food (again, vegetarianism vs. meat-eating) and whether to celebrate Feast days, called "disputable matters", and not complete freedom in activities still called sin by God. Do you really think that a first-century Jew who followed all the laws of God would call something clean that God called "unclean"? (Acts 25:8
8Then Paul made his defense: "I have done nothing wrong against the Jewish law or against the temple or against Caesar."
In fact, the site at eternal perspective ministries, by Randy Alcorn, says this:
Paul and his original audience understood that the "disputable matters" in Romans 14 - behaviors which Christians are not to pass judgment on their brothers concerning - are not matters God has revealed in His Word as sin.
Rather, the disputable matters are things which God does not explicitly condemn, and which fall within the circle of Christian liberty. Whether these behaviors are right or wrong depends on the convictions and heart attitude of the one doing them. Of course, not everyone will agree about what God's Word clearly condemns and what it doesn't. Sometimes this is the basis of dispute.
That's what Jesus was talking about
Bullseye! While Randy and I disagree strongly about what Heaven is like (as he describes in his book Heaven), and even where our part of it is going to be, he does understand what the Bible actually says about how to get there. What does one apostle say in James 4:17
17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn't do it, it is sin for them.
about knowing what they ought to do but not doing it? This is true, even if Randy knowingly takes the same liberties with the Sabbath, Easter, and Christmas as do the other Sunday-based churches that stray from the reality of the church of Jesus Christ's life and words.
Please understand, I will be happy to debate the issues with anyone, even Randy, as long as we take the Bible for what it actually says in context, not the slightly different interpretation and subsequent explanations that only the brilliant pastors with doctorates can understand. Jesus was speaking to fishermen and laborers, not only the elite schoolmasters. And, based on the concept of relativism, you can have your own opinion on the subject. All the churches have their own opinion, but only the one built by Christ is right, and there don't seem to be very many of them even trying to follow the principles of that one. I guess most of them feel that it is all relative to their needs.
Disagree? Find an error? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and give us your view.
Tell us your side.