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What will they call our time in the history books a few centuries from now? I propose that the chapter on this era should be “The Age of Compromise”. It is a highly interpretive age, subject to every individual’s speculations, which means essentially, that it is subject to no interpretation at all. This condition annihilates any sense of certainty and leaves everyone in an oceanic world of roving waves. In terms of philosophy, this is called “relativism”, which means that reality is relative to the senses and interpretations of the individual and to the consensus of the majority. Truth is not possible in such a world; there is no tolerance in relativism to the concept that anything exists outside of the human faculties and experience.

It is easy to get caught up in “good” movements and works because they make perfect sense, however, we must always be aware that although a string of logic may move perfectly along a succession of premises, that does not mean that we will not arrive at error instead of truth. Logic is a dumb tool, like computers — garbage in, garbage out. Logic can work very well in an erroneous environment of thought; just consider evolution for a while. That is the deception of “perfect sense” and just another reason why we need divine revelation.

One thing Christians need to know before they move their individual, family, or church thinking into the direction of the world is what the world thinks about Man. I could say Christians need to understand what the world thinks about God, but the effect of atheism and agnosticism is manifested in anthropology. By “anthropology”, I do not mean the study of the skull fragments of so-called hominids (pre-human “man”) with the view of trying to link together an evolutionary progression, but that does have something to do with what I’m talking about. What I mean is, what does the world of mankind we are presently living in think about Man and does it have anything to do with what God reveals about Man in Scripture? Also, what effect does the world’s view of Man have on the world’s policies regarding man?

Proverbs 29:18 states, “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, but happy is he who keeps the law.” Common interpretation of this proverb is disappointing. The last portion of the verse is usually not quoted – probably because it contains that “controlling” L-word. What the interpretation generally comes down to is humanistic, “If people do not have goals, a vision of the big picture, a direction for achievement, or a philosophy or principle to work toward, those people will not be able to hold together, they will not accomplish anything worthwhile and the whole thing will fall apart.” Whatever truth may be attached to that view has nothing to do with Proverbs 29:18 because the wording of the proverb has become victim to equivocation. Equivocation means that one is constructing a meaning by using a definition of a word that is not applicable. In the case of Proverbs 29, the word “vision” is given a definition, a modern one, that is not related to the definition of the word in the text.

I will begin by saying that I do not consider myself to be a prophet in the Old Testament sense, but I will undertake to predict the future in this article. The basis of my prediction is not an inner sense of divine light and revelation, but a rational assessment of the motions of the past along with insights from Scripture that are meant to guide the Church away from the rocks and shoals of humanistic thought.

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Each month the "Cross Examination" column presents a summary statement of a Reformed and Reconstructionist conviction in theology or ethics, and then offers brief answers to common questions, objections or confusions which people have about that belief. Send issues or questions you would like addressed by Dr. Bahnsen to the editor.

Scripture teaches us that when Christ laid down His life as a substitutionary sacrifice for sin, He did so in order to atone for the sins of His people. He died particularly for those chosen by His Father from before the creation of the world, rather than universally for each and every person who lives. Thus the scope of Christ's redeeming work is limited to the elect (the saved) - even though the power and efficacy of His redemption are unlimited, and its influence benefits all mankind.

For Calvin, the doctrines of creation and providence are inseparable; he is no deist. He writes, "To make God a momentary Creator, who once for all finished His work, would be cold and barren, and we must differ from profane men especially in that we see the presence of divine power shining as much in the continuing state of the universe as in its inception... Faith ought to penetrate more deeply, namely, having found Him Creator of all, forthwith to conclude He is also everlasting Governor and Preserver - not only in that He drives the celestial frame as well as its several parts by a universal motion, but also in that He sustains, nourishes, and cares for, everything He has made, even to the least sparrow [ef. Matt. l0:29] ... All parts of the universe are quickened by God's secret inspiration" Institutes 1:16:1).