The first thing a biblical counselor does with couples facing marital problems is learn the facts. He gathers data. He doesn’t go immediately to Scripture. He doesn’t show Mr. and Mrs. Smith where and how they must clean up their lives because, at this point, he doesn’t know what the problem is.
Giving Scriptural advice on adultery and porn doesn’t help a couple struggling with poor finances and dishonesty. A priori assumptions on the supposed problem could lead to counsel far, far worse.
Ready, Fire, Aim
Sola Scriptura doesn’t mean Christians are not in need of other information. It means that Scripture is the only unfailing source for faith and practice. Everything God requires of us is given in Scripture (2Pe 1:3). We must never add or take away from the Word (Rev 22:18-19). Sola Scriptura means it carries the only hope for the Smith’s marriage problems. But without the facts, it’s of much less help.
If this inerrant Scripture is not aimed at the proper prey, disaster will follow. What good is “judge not” if aimed at an unrepentant church member? What good is “preach the Word” if pointed at a teen-aged girl? Ready, fire, aim, is not a good model for Christians.
What about Social Justice?
Apply this to Social Justice. Before we can open our Bibles to address what it says about institutionalized racism, wouldn’t it be best to determine if institutionalized racism even exists? If the answer is yes, then a little history lesson is in order. Before we lecture Joseph on the sin of rape and and before we comfort Potipher’s wife with the Psalms of lament, we better know what actually happened in the courtyard. Just because Joseph was innocent in Genesis doesn’t mean Amnon is innocent in 2 Samuel. Learn the facts. Continue reading
This morning in a Zoom teleconference, Voddie Baucham addressed about 80 men on matters of race and the Black Lives Matter movement. Most of those in attendance were men in the ministry and residing in South Africa.
What Dr. Baucham said was wise, humble, and insightful, so I want to summarize the main ideas of his talk below. I typed as he spoke and got the crucial points. I’ll follow this with a sentence or two of my own in red. Continue reading
As certain as the world is round, water is wet, and what goes up must come down—racism will exist in this sinful world. Unless one embraces one of several human utopias such as Marxism—which one theologian called an atheistic form of postmillennialism—there will be no complete eradication of the tangled roots of racial prejudice until Jesus comes back.
Racism is simply a lack of obedience to our Lord’s command to love one another as he has loved us. Those who continue castigating others based on their skin pigmentation are destined for perdition and will not inherit the kingdom of God (1Co. 6:9-10). All believers, regardless of race, are baptized into one Spirit (1Co. 12:13). Continue reading
The wall of animosity between South African whites and blacks has shrunk since the formal fall of apartheid in 1994. Government has tried to mandate equality, but only the gospel of Christ can bring true unity.
My experience in Africa has taught me that among the last dominoes to fall in unifying Christians of different races is not church membership but table fellowship. In the pews, the votes may count the same, but around the dinner table, we are more like Joseph’s court:
They served him by himself…because the Egyptians could not eat with the Hebrews, for that is an abomination to the Egyptians”(Gn. 43:32).
For many white believers, it is a bridge too far to have blacks equally, joyfully, and freely join them at table. We coddle our conscience: “But the foods, manners, tastes are too different.” Maybe. Maybe not. But even if we grant the former, is not a change in menu or method but a small price for unity? As John Flavel said, “If you take away union, there can be no communion.” And if there is no communion outside the church walls, can we really argue for unity within them? Continue reading