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"Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon him while He is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon." (Isaiah 55:6-7)

 

Nov 29, 2017

In this episode Brother Jonathan defines presuppositions and worldviews, how presuppositions are formed incorrectly in Christianity, Biblical unity, and how this affects the body of Christ.

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Worldviews and Presuppositions within Christianity

Episode 25

Remnant Bible Fellowship

 

  1. Introduction
    1. The Red Ball Illustration
      1. If I approach you and hold up a ball, and say, “Is this ball black, or white?” How would you respond?
      2. Now, if I approach you, hand you a ball, and tell you, “The ball is red,” and you accept that, then how does that affect your interpretation of the colors around you?
    2. These two illustrations should help you to understand a problem in Christianity. Consider illustration 1.
      1. The first illustration is based on the idea of people being pressured to make a decision before they have any true knowledge. How are you to know what color the ball is if you don’t have some standard of color yet? If you KNOW that you don’t have a personal knowledge of color, then why try to answer until after you have studied?
      2. Why does this matter to a Christian? Consider this question: Do you hold to supralapsarianism? Or how about this: Do you hold to monergism or synergism? Have you ever even heard the terms? Probably not. But they are ideas that you have almost certainly heard taught before.
      3. If someone was to come up to you and ask you, “Do you hold to monergism or synergism?” Don’t ever feel pressured to answer that question until you know what those words mean for yourself. You don’t have to! You don’t have to accept the terms and definitions of these armchair-theologians who philosophize about everything under the sun but don’t seek God. Most of them don’t truly know the Word of God, they only know terms and doctrines that were taught to them. And they ran after it because they confused learning something (anything at all) with spiritual growth. Ever learning but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
      4. In your Christian life people, churches, ministers, or teachers are going to be pulling at you sometimes—sometimes unintentionally—for you to accept some false dilemma like this. For example: “Are you a Calvinist or an Arminian?” Why do you have to be either? Neither school of thought existed until over 1400 years after the Word of God was completed? Why are these two terms used to define almost every church on some level?
      5. Simply study, and state a Biblically defined position.
    3. Consider illustration 2.
      1. The second illustration is based on false knowledge. We’ll be looking more at this in this episode.
  2. Presuppositions
    1. So, the second illustration uses the example of someone handing you a ball and telling you it is red. What you should have noticed was the fact that it was accepted that the ball was red without you examining it first.
    2. Let me ask you: How do you know that your understanding of the atonement is correct? Most people still hold to certain ideas that they heard or were told before they were converted.
    3. Think about it. In order for an Unbeliever to become a Believer then they must be told what to believe. What they were told to believe is doctrine. They were taught doctrine before they were converted! In a certain sense, this is necessary. How can they believe if they don’t hear the gospel? The question to ask is: How do they know that they were told correctly? The answer: they should study for themselves AFTER initially receiving.
    4. The great majority of people who are converted stay within the same church or denomination or school of thought they first heard. Why is that a problem? Because they are so many different ones, and only one can be correct.
    5. God does not make His Word ambiguous. There is only one possible interpretation that is correct. There is no “middle ground” that makes all interpretations possible—especially ones that are contradictory.
    6. The Word of God is self-consistent. All truth is self-consistent. God cannot deny Himself. He is truth (John 14:6), His Word is truth (John 17:17), the Spirit of Truth guides believers into all truth (John 16:13), the church of God is the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Tim. 3:15), and if your heart is set to do His will then He will reveal the nature of whether or not doctrine is right or wrong (John 7:17): Now why is there no real unity? Not the false unity of ecumenicism (which compromises truth in order to keep people together), but the Biblical unity of the Spirit and Truth; for they that worship God must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:24).
    7. Now, I acknowledge that a lot of people simply don’t care about the truth. Christians are those who should plead for truth. You can listen to me talk about that on other episodes—such as the one titled “Pleading for Truth”.
    8. There is something wrong with what they believe on a fundamental level. They are being told some things that are affecting the way that they look at the scriptures. Anyone who is familiar with apologetics knows exactly what I mean. Why do evolutionists looks at the same evidence that creationists do and are so incapable of seeing that it confirms the Bible? The answer is that they have different presuppositions.
    9. Dr. Jason Lisle, in his excellent book The Ultimate Proof of Creation had this to say:
      1. “The beliefs that we hold to most strongly are called ‘presuppositions.’ People are very reluctant to give up their presuppositions. Presuppositions are assumed at the outset, before any investigation of evidence; they are pre-supposed and control our interpretation of evidence. We are often not aware of our presuppositions, but they are always present. Just as we are always breathing, even though we are not often conscious of it until we stop and think about it, likewise, our presuppositions are constantly guiding our understanding of our experience.” (Lisle, The Ultimate Proof of Creation, p.76)
    10. There are things that believers are bringing to the table, that they assume to be true, that are coloring the way they see and interpret the scriptures. Things such as the person and work of Christ, the effects of the atonement, what a Christian is, how to become a Christian, and therefore, by necessity, eternal security or not eternal security.
    11. I have personally seen people given ideas about all of these things before they ever even heard the word “repent” once. As I said before, people must hear the gospel in order to be saved. I understand that. But are they being encouraged to critically examine EVERYTHING that they were initially told by the scriptures. The answer to that is an emphatic NO!
    12. People are taught to be immovable stones for their church, their pastor, their teachers, their denomination, a school of thought, a seminary, etc.
    13. Within each of these circles is an accepted form of interpretation—if there’s any doctrine at all—and if you even question it they will cast you out. I know, my wife knows, my in-laws know, a brother in Chicago who just emailed me a few weeks ago through the podcast knows, brother Warren Smith knows: it’s everywhere.
    14. I’ve seen people with doctorates refuse to even talk about doctrine, though that’s what they teach. They are afraid of being challenged…even in a brotherly manner. They’re afraid to change their presuppositions. But that’s the only way to biblical unity. Someone is right—and because it’s biblical not because they’re something special—and everyone else is wrong. All believers should be willing to receive correction, be examined, examine themselves, and humble themselves if they are in error. Why? Because they love God, and tremble at His Word.
  3. Define “worldview”
    1. Now, presuppositions together make up a worldview.
    2. A worldview is a network of our most basic beliefs about reality in light of which all observations are interpreted. (Lisle, The Ultimate Proof of Creation, p.25)
    3. I firmly believe that if people were truly given the full truth of the gospel according to the scriptures at the outset then there would be LESS people professing to be Christians. Most people came under false pretenses. The majority of people who are in churches are not Christians. Their ideas about Christianity are completely wrong.
    4. Most professing Christians believe that God doesn’t require them to obey Him. That is demonstrably false. But they were told that before they were converted. Most professing Christians believe that their future sins are already forgiven before they repent and confess them to God, and this is easily shown to be unbiblical from the scriptures: but they were told it before they were converted. I’ve seen it happen personally.
    5. These same people have no knowledge of the Bible. In fact, if you try to talk to them about the Bible and God they get hot and bothered and call you a legalist. They accuse you of being a heretic, or un-Christlike (I’ve had that happen), because you want to speak of Jesus and His commandments. Their worldview, how they interpret things, is completely unbiblical. They have been lied to and they love it. Why then should they examine it when it allows them to “sit back, relax, and enjoy their salvation” as one very famous Bible teacher said?
  4. The Ultimate Standard
    1. A person’s ultimate standard of truth is what they will always revert back to in explaining their beliefs when questioned enough. For a Christian, it always comes back to “because the Bible says…” Their beliefs will always be finalized by God’s Word.
    2. The problem is that professing Christians have attached certain conditions to that standard. If you could sum up their ultimate standard of truth it would be something like “The Bible is the truth, and Calvinism is it.” Or, “The Bible is the truth, and evolution is true also.” They attach some other thing to it, and therefore, do not believe it to be contradictory to scripture.
    3. No matter what evidence or scriptural argument you give them they simply will not see any problem. It’s accepted before investigation. So you have to show them that that’s the case.
    4. A good question to ask is, “Are you willing for it to be wrong if I could show you that it contradicts the Bible?” Emphasize the willing part. Force them to see that this specific thing is not equivalent to Biblical authority. It may be something taught by it, or not, but it is not supposed to be believed without examination BY the scriptures. You have to show it to them that that’s the case.
    5. Just the other day, maybe two or more weeks ago, I had someone who used to be a close friend. He has a doctorate, masters, and bachelor’s degree in Biblical studies. I believe he also has a bachelor’s degree in Divinity. But in trying to get him and his wife to sit down with my wife and I and have a discussion about eternal security he said, “We WILL not believe as you do”. Then, he shut the door, and handled things very unbiblically. It hurt my wife and I quite a lot. There were false accusations and all sorts of things toward us. Nothing handled the way scripture tells us to handle these things in Matthew 18 and 1 Corinthians 5—even if the slanders were true.
    6. The ultimate standard must be the Bible alone. If someone ever argues that they WILL not believe something, then it simply shows that their WILL is their ultimate standard. It’s not the Bible. They want what they want, they don’t want truth.
  5. Illustration
    1. So, let’s look at another take on the red ball illustration real quick. Here is an excerpt from something that I am working on writing:
      1. “It is this simple statement then, “God is true, and His Word is true,” that should be the summary of a Christian’s ultimate standard of truth. It should be their plumb-line conviction. Whenever a believer is confronted with new information, or a new argument that is seeking to persuade them of something it is this premise that they should examine it by. If the information or argument presented to them is in any way contradictory to this plumb-line then it must be rejected. For example, imagine that God said, “The ball is red.” A believer would then have confidence that that ball is indeed red. It would be their firm conviction that it is so, because God is true and He said it. Even if they had never seen the ball themselves, they would believe it on the basis of God’s trustworthiness. Men may come and say: “The ball is blue.” “The ball is actually a square.” “There is no ball!” But if God said it is red, then it is red.
      2. Imagine though, if a believer unintentionally changed their premise slightly by adding to it. What if a believer, maybe by some form of persuasion or deception from someone else, changed their premise from “God is true and His Word is true” to “God is true, His Word is true, and the color red doesn’t exist”? Because their premise has changed, how they interpret the things presented to them would be skewed. How would the person then interpret it if God said, “The ball is red”? Well, they could redefine what “red” meant. “‘Red’ here is used in a symbolic sense, meaning, ‘non-existent’, and the ball therefore is non-existent because it is ‘red’ according to this meaning.” They could set aside the statement totally. “This statement is not applying to believers currently because it contradicts what we know the rest of scripture says: red doesn’t exist, therefore, this passage can’t be applying to us today.” Perhaps some ministers could write books on the “doctrine of the non-existent red.” What if another believer then told them that the ball is actually red because they had not changed their premise from that which scripture truly says it is? They had never added the part that said, “The color red doesn’t exist.” What would most likely result is a debate about what “red” means, or whether or not the statement applies to believers today at all. As far as our believer with the skewed premise is concerned, this other believer has completely missed the point.
      3. Does it sound silly? Let me frame it in a different light. Is your “ultimate standard” that “God is true and His Word is true”, or is it “God is true, His Word is true, and my denomination is true”? Could it possibly be “God is true, His Word is true, and my favorite teacher is true”? Does this illustrate the point a little clearer? May I ask you, what is your actual plumb-line? When new information or a new argument is presented to you, what exactly are you measuring it by? Do you think, “Okay, this and this isn’t what my Pastor said…so it must be false”? It is possible to deceive yourself in something like this. Perhaps you think, “This and that is false because the Bible doesn’t teach that,” but in your mind you equate “what the Bible teaches” with “what I believe”. It is more common than you think. Never presuppose that you’ve gotten a corner on the market of truth. God knows all things, the believer knows that God knows all things, and this is where the believer’s confidence rests: in God’s infallibility and not our own.”