Wanted: Young Radicals for Truth

If Jesus Christ is worth believing, he’s worth following radicially 

Humanism has infested the evangelical church. One of its chief traits is antinomianism, abandoning God’s written law. Conceptually, antinomianism begins with denying the Bible’s inerrancy. Francis A. Schaeffer called biblical inerrancy the“watershed” issue among evangelicals.[1] It divides true evangelicals from pretenders. More and more, evangelical seminaries are denying or not insisting on an error-free Bible. They’ll highlight Christ’s death on the cross, and plead that the gospel is the centerpiece of evangelicalism; but they seem to forget that the only place we know about Christ’s redemptive work is in the Bible.[2] If we lose the truth of the Bible, we lose the gospel. And it won’t do to say that the Bible is true on spiritual and theological matters, but not necessarily true on historical and scientific matters. If it’s mistaken on history and science, it will be easy to show how it is mistaken on the central truths of the gospel, which is both historical and scientific.[3] Whenever we get rid of an inerrant Bible, antinomianism and anarchy reign.

Socialism

In addition, Schaeffer observed even in the early 80s how evangelicals were investing in economic Leftism, interventionism, and socialism.[4] They believe the state could enforce a “just wage.” The state should provide healthcare, education, and welfare benefits. But according to the Bible, these are responsibilities of individuals, families, and the church. The Bible teaches that state stealing is still stealing (1 Sam. 8:1–20; 1 Kin. 21:1–25). In other words, illegitimate taxation is anti-biblical. Yet more and more evangelicals claim that if you don’t believe in socialism, you don’t care for the poor. It seems to have escaped their notice that in history, by far the greatest force in lifting people out of poverty is what we term the free market.[5] This is just what the Bible teaches, though of course it doesn’t use that name.

“Feminist subversion”

Then it’s imperative to mention what Schaeffer terms “the feminist subversion.”[6] There is a biblical feminism, of course, if we want to use that language. Christianity exalted women. The ancient pagan way debased them. Women were Jesus’ most loyal disciples, more loyal than the male apostles. Both man and woman are created in God’s image. They’re equally valuable to God. Women are not inferior to men. This doesn’t mean that God has not called them to different tasks. The woman was created to be man’s equal partner in fulfilling the cultural mandate. That’s a creational norm. But God never designed women to be sent into military combat. They were not made to be rulers of the church. They were not made to pursue a separate career path from their husband. God has given them other, and sometimes even superior, callings. In the modern feminist subversion, man and woman are not equally created in God’s image to fulfill their respective callings. No, they must do equal things. The subversives want to pit women against men. They want to force women to do everything men are called to do, and force men to do things women are called to do. They want women to serve in combat, and they want men to stay home and nurture the children. This is a feminist subversion, and tragically, many evangelicals buy into it. Their entire agenda seems to be to accommodate the surrounding culture. They are accommodation junkies.

The Sexual Revolution gets its own pew

The evangelical church often refuses, additionally, to stand for biblical sexual ethics. The Bible supports sexual fidelity (sexual intercourse between a married man and woman), not sexual autonomy. The Sexual Revolution of the 60s presses relentlessly forward, devouring everything in its path. Its latest social and, therefore, legal victory has been same-sex “marriage.” We shouldn’t be surprised at this success within the culture, but its success within the evangelical church has been breathtaking. More and more evangelicals are trying to argue that the Bible permits same-sex “marriage.” This view is so absurd that one must intentionally close his eyes when reading the Bible to arrive at it. Some of them stop short of same-sex “marriage,” but defend “same-sex attraction” and want to carve out in the church a place for celibate homosexuals and lesbians that are faithful to Jesus Christ. This is utterly false. All of us have sinful temptations, but by the Spirit, we’re called to gain victory over them. The church must be open to all repentant sinners. But we don’t turn homosexual lust into a new principle to be affirmed within the church. The Sexual Revolution has been welcomed by the accommodation junkies in the church. Unless it’s expelled from the church, it will devour the church just as it’s devouring the culture.

After all, in Schaeffer’s haunting words, “Accommodation leads to accommodation —which leads to accommodation….”

Conclusion

Now a very personal charge to Christian teens and young adults. You’re the future leaders in Christ’s church. In 20 years, you’ll be in your prime. Decisions you’re making today will shape who you will be then. Question: Are you willing to be what Schaeffer called young radicals for truth?[7] Are you willing to stand for the truth, standing with great love and compassion, but standing nonetheless, against the great evil of our time? Are you willing to stand for personal holiness? Will you live a pure life before God in mind and heart and body? Will you love God and obey his gracious law?

Will you stand for the biblical gospel? In the broadest sense, the gospel is the good news of how God is turning back evil in the universe on the basis of his Son’s redemptive work. In its narrower sense, it’s the message of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.[8] Will you declare that gospel and stand for that gospel in our pluralistic age?

Will you oppose and expose evil in our culture, even among family and friends, if necessary? We’re called not just to avoid evil, but also to expose it. This biblical requirement isn’t a popular task in our multicultural world. After all, we tend to think that we can live how we want to, and we should leave everybody else alone to live how he wants to. But that’s not what Paul states in Ephesians 5:11. “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness,” he writes, “but rather expose [or reprove] them.” Schaeffer wrote, “Truth demands confrontation.”[9] If we’re not willing to confront evil and deception, we are not really serious about the truth. We haven’t done our job before the Lord if we simply stay away from sin. If unrepentant sin comes into our path, we need to expose and reprove it. Sin disturbs God much more than it disturbs us, and we need to take his side against sin, first against the sin in our own hearts, and then against the sin of the surrounding culture.

The wise father in the Scriptures says, “My son, give me your heart” (Pr. 23:26). The heart is the very center of our being. It’s who we really are. It’s how we relate to God. Our heart is turned either to worship God, or to worship some aspect of creation. We are either God-fearers, or we are humanists. We’re either Christians, or we’re idolaters. The question for you today is: which will you be? The choices are binary; there’s no third option. We must worship and serve the Creator, or we will worship and serve the creation.

That choice starts here. Right now. Today. It’s pernicious to delay giving your heart to God. Remember your Creator in the days of your youth (Ec. 12).

Give yourself in reckless abandon in zeal for God. Find out where God is, and run over to his side. If necessary, stand against yourself, and stand with God. If you’ll do this, God promises to bless you in ways you cannot imagine (Is. 64:4). But if you become nothing but a religious humanist, even an evangelical humanist, you can expect nothing but God’s judgment.

Commit yourself to become a young radical for Jesus Christ.


[1] Francis A. Schaeffer, The Great Evangelical Disaster (Westchester, Illinois: Crossway, 1984), 43–65.

[2] Mark Labberton, “On Being Evangelical,” Fuller, issue #2, 6–8. Labberton is president of Fuller Seminary.

[3] Noel Weeks, The Sufficiency of Scripture (Edinburgh, Scotland: Banner of Truth, 1988), 15–64.

[4] Francis A. Schaeffer, The Great Evangelical Disaster, 111–115.

[5] Ronald H. Nash, Poverty and Wealth, The Christian Debate Over Capitalism (Westchester, Illinois: Crossway, 1986), 184–199.

[6] Francis A. Schaeffer, The Great Evangelical Disaster, 130.

[7] Ibid., 149–151.

[8]John M. Frame, John Frame’s Selected Shorter Writings (Phillipsburg, New Jersey: P&R Publishing, 2014), 1:26–33.

[9] Francis A. Schaeffer, The Great Evangelical Disaster, 64.

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