Only two species of religions exist. The essence of pagan religion is a monistic pantheism. But this modern rise of paganism takes on a unique trait. Though it’s genotype (inner reality) remains the same, it’s phenotype (outward appearance) is strangely different.
In the Old Testament, we saw unbelievers worshiping physical objects around them, statues of Molech for example. Today, we do not worship outward objects.
Asking why, David F. Wells has studied the postmodern religion for decades.
His answer is simply, we are postmoderns. We now “think that all reality” is located “internally,” and that “our access to everything” that is important is “through the self, and that like any other consumer product, our spirituality should be tailored to our needs, time, and availability.” James Hunter agrees. He found that as early as 1983, nine out ten evangelical books were about the self. David Wells continues:
The important assumption here is that the “Revelation” in this spirituality and its “salvation” are alike unmediated. They come by creation alone, through our experience alone, accessed by the self alone. They require no supernatural intervention in our lives to affect them. They require no Bible, no incarnation of the second person of the Godhead, no substitutionary death, no resurrection, no gospel to be believed, no faith, no necessary regeneration, no superintending work of the Holy Spirit. Indeed, this is all part of the religion that many who are spiritual reject as a condition of their spirituality.
By contrast, the tried and true Christianity holds that faith alone in Christ alone saves, which is a matter of grace alone, for alone is glory for God. On these truths we stand. But these truths are not revealed in nature, but rather in God’s inscripturated, written Word. You cannot have a relation with God based solely on nature. A relationship that is only “natural” is a relationship Scripture calls “enmity.” For the natural mind is hostile to God, it does not submit to God’s law, indeed, it cannot (Rom. 8:7). But while we were enemies to God, Christ reconciled us to himself (Rom. 5:10).
In every generation, truth must be proclaimed afresh. Of singular importance is the gospel truth, and close on its heels follow the proclamations of a Biblical worldview. Believing the gospel is not alone commanded in Scripture. The Christian is not to be conformed to this world, but transformed by renewing his whole mind; the renewing of his total world and life view.
A mind transformed by a Biblical worldview understands the importance of the Reformed doctrines of grace and the five solas. As David Wells pointed out, “It is not the (post)modern culture that should be telling it what to think. The principle here is sola Scriptura, not sola cultura.”
Christ did not come to redeem culture, but lost men. Men who have been found, however, may begin to redeem culture.
Citations & References1. J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1923), 153.
Daniel MasonSee More Essays
Daniel Mason studied theology in his undergrad, and currently pursuing graduate studies, with a particular interest in the Dutch statesman, Groen van Prinsterer. Daniel Mason is the co-founder of The Reformed Conservative.