Friday, May 11, 2012

Why a Liberal Anthropology Can't Save Us

One's view of humanity is vital in determining what solutions he or she will provide for a humanity that becomes wayward. If one believes that people are basically good, then if they are not perfect, their imperfections are due to a lack of achievement brought on by some outward deficiency. If someone is a bad person, it is because he or she was influenced to be bad by poverty, lack of education, bad parents, etc. In other words, the problem is not within, precisely because the individual is human and humans are basically good. Hence, the problem must be a deficient environment.

It might surprise you to know that most Christians unknowingly assume this unorthodox view of humanity, which is actually the classical liberal view of humanity adopted by the Enlightenment. It assumes a Pelagian theology of man, where man is a blank slate to be written upon by his environment and may simply choose of his own freewill to latch onto good or bad elements therein. This, of course, is the polar opposite of an orthodox Christian view of man.

I myself assumed this when I first became a Christian, and it led to many days of frustrating evangelistic and discipleship efforts. The reason why is because I assumed that the real problem people had was a lack of education. They believed and did what was wrong because they just didn't know the truth. If they were told the truth, if I could somehow convince them that it was the truth, the problem of their disbelief or immoral behavior would dissolve in light of those glorious truths.

And so I did bring numerous people to the threshold of truth. I had the ability to bring people to the point of saying, "I now believe everything you have said is true." The problem is that there was always a "but." The "but" was in terms of not wanting to believe or do otherwise. In other words, they now believed everything that was said was true, but they didn't like the truth and want to believe it, and they certainly did not want to conform their indulgent behavior to it.

This is because the liberal view of humanity is false. Liberals have proven it to be false by pouring millions of dollars into a failing education system. Education has not made anyone better, and in many cases, it makes them worse. As Paul once said something to the effect that the knowledge of the law increases sin, so the knowledge of the truth makes people worse when that truth infringes on what they want to do. It's almost like a teenage girl being told she can't date the school rebel. She may have "loved" him before, but now she wants to marry him.

Likewise, I think the Holy Spirit actually stays with a person for awhile until he is given the full truth. At that point, if he does not receive it into his heart, He finally lets go of him, and he descends into further deception, believing he is taking a good path, but ending in further corruption and death.

Now, I'm not saying that the truth doesn't do any good. Of course it does. But educating someone is only half the battle, precisely because we aren't good people. Humanity is not good in its post-lapsarian condition. It desires what is destructive, and it is that desire that is a greater force in one's life than all of the light of the truth. As Christ said, people didn't come to Him because they loved the darkness rather than the light, not because they weren't given enough light.

Now, of course, the Holy Spirit works through the truth, specifically the truth of His Word rather than general truths of the world, so the truth is not invaluable, and in many ways, the communication of truth is the only part we get to play in the redemption of others.

This bring me to why I should never have cried so many tears when Mormon missionaries would be brought to the truth, but reject it because it would mean they would have to give up the community they had come to love, or why I should not be so depressed (even to this day) about my failure to communicate in just the right way as to cause one to believe. It's because I can't cause anyone to believe. No one can come to Christ unless the Father grants it to him (John 6:36-47).

This means that our only part in this is to communicate truth to someone as clearly as we can, but whether they receive it and repent is left, not really even up to them, but to the work of God in their lives. That's because their hearts are stone toward what is good and true until they are made flesh again by God. A stone heart cannot be changed by us with a million words, but it can be changed by Him with only a few.

The liberal view of man, of course, is a joke. If people were basically good, then society would be good. Hence, there would be nothing in the environment, especially from the standpoint of bad humans, that would influence one to be bad. Furthermore, if people just needed to fill up a deficiency then they would improve once that deficiency no longer existed. As we know too well, such is simply not the case.

But liberals will continue to talk about improving oneself through education because it's all they have. They'll seek the type of counseling that looks to the environment as the source of, rather than the catalyst for, their lack of perfection. They'll continue to see poverty as a major source of human evil, even when its the multi-millionaire stealing from little old ladies and blowing their brains out when they feel empty inside. That's because liberals don't want to believe the truth. The truth is too frightening. The truth makes me turn to God for the answers, outside of the Self that liberals so love to exalt.

And that's just it. Liberalism is really just another word for secular humanism (an elevation of the self and humanity in general), the religion of our society; and for it to acknowledge that the answer is outside of humanity means to give up all of the assumptions and comforts of its religion and once again submit itself to what it views as a tyrannical deity that does not allow it to do whatever it feels is right in its own eyes.

Hence, the stoney heart of liberalism remains and we are continually bombarded with its assumptions because it simply does not want to believe the truth made so evident by its continual failure to accord itself with reality.

By all means, we should work to eradicate poverty and educate the masses; and we should absolutely speak truth into each others' lives; but these are not the solutions to our primary problem, which is rebellion against God and the exaltation of the self to God's rightful place in our lives.

Education can't save us because a lack of truth isn't our problem. Solving poverty can't save us, because a lack of money isn't our problem. Our problem is not outside. It's inside, and the sooner we realize this, the sooner we can look outside of ourselves to He who is our real solution to our only real problem.

"And I shall give them one heart, and shall put a new spirit within them. And I shall take the heart of  stone  out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances, and do them. Then they will be My people, and I shall be their God. "But as for those whose hearts go after their detestable things and abominations, I shall bring their conduct down on their heads," declares the Lord God. (Ezek 11:19-21)

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