In modern society, everyone seems to have their own ideas about Jesus. He was a religious rebel. He was a social justice warrior. He was all about people loving one another. He was merely a good man ... and on and on. The reason there are so many different viewpoints is that postmodern philosophy has become so ingrained in society (my beliefs are true for me, and your beliefs are true for you), that people think it is okay to come up with their own personal evaluation of Jesus no matter what it is.
When it comes to beliefs about morality, relativism is the norm there, as well. Postmodernism asserts the notion that there is no such thing as objective moral truth, and that every person must come up with their own personal moral beliefs. It is, at its core, atheistic, so there is no God in existence who is able to provide mankind with any kind of objective moral truth. Every person must create their own.
So how, you might ask, does that kill the Christian faith? For those who believe in postmodern philosophy, it kills it by completely discounting what the Bible teaches about “right morality.” If people get to make up their own moral beliefs, then what is taught in the Bible is no better than what any individual might come up with on their own. So for those who want to picture Jesus as a religious rebel, interpreting the Bible through that lens is okay. For social justice warriors, cherry picking only certain Bible passages, and asserting those as the central message of the Bible, is a legitimate method of biblical interpretation. For those who don’t want to contemplate God’s judgment, focusing only on “God’s love” is seen as okay. Or for those who don’t want to acknowledge Jesus as God, declaring that he was only a “good man” is seen as legitimate. All of these false teachings are possible when interpreting the Bible using postmodern philosophical beliefs, and each one comes with its own special evaluation of what is moral and what is immoral. And if that approach to believing becomes the foundational thinking of society, genuine Christianity has died.
But there is such a thing as objective morality. Just because Postmodernists believe God doesn’t exist does not mean it is true. God actually does exist, and he can be known in a personal relationship. And when that relationship is established, the person who has come to know Christ has a literal life change, and that change is an objective reality. That reality, in turn, creates an objective moral expression in daily life as believers live their lives based on that reality.
For Christians, understanding the nature of morality is not a matter of people making up their own moral beliefs. The God who is there has revealed Himself in the Bible in language that can be understood by humans, and He has provided us knowledge of what is moral and what is immoral. That morality is not merely a set of rules that God thought up to help mankind order society, it is so much more than that. It is actually a revelation of His very character. Christians don’t conform to biblical moral rules in order to simply do their duty to God, but they do it in order to actually conform their own character to His character. In that way, the Christian faith becomes a life giving link to God, as opposed to the person killing moral trap that is found in a relativistic approach to dealing with morality.
Freddy Davis is the president of MarketFaith Ministries. He is the author of numerous books and has a background as an international missionary, pastor, radio host, worldview trainer, and entrepreneur. Freddy is a graduate of Florida State University with a BS in Communication, and holds MDiv and DMin degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a popular speaker, particularly on the topic of worldview and its practical implications for the Christian life. He lives in Tallahassee, FL, with his wife Deborah.
You may also contact Freddy at Leadership Speakers Bureau to schedule him for speaking or leadership engagements.
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