(July 11, 2017) Dr Jim McClure, renowned theologian, challenges a current argument about moral values…
Currently the ethical values of the Western world are being turned upside down as moral relativism (that is, that there are no universal moral therefore all views are equal, that there are no values that are categorically right or wrong and that the views and behaviour of others should be respected even if we totally disagree with them).
There are a number of problems that flow from this argument. For example:
- If there were no agreed values, society would disintegrate into anarchy and chaos, and
- If all views are of equal value, why do those who push the philosophy of political correctness, so vehemently disagree with, abuse, attack and demonise those who maintain a different point of view? Isn’t there a glaring inconsistency here?
Apart from anything else, common sense tells us that two opposite values or views cannot equally be right! And that is confirmed even by the moral-relativists/politically-correct brigade whose views are foisted upon others by any possible means and who brook not dissent or disagreement.
Discarded solid time-honoured values
In the unsettled world of today, as sound and solid values that have served us well for many generations are being discarded, life is being devalued and love is being corrupted. There is something serious wrong in any society when good is redefined, purity is ridiculed and faith in God is reviled.
Almost 2800 years ago the people in the nation of Israel reflected many of today’s corrupt values – rank materialism, self-indulgence, excessive focus on entertainment, personal violence and injustice. Through the prophet Isaiah God declared, ‘You are doomed! You call evil good and call good evil. You turn darkness into light and light into darkness. You make what is bitter sweet, and what is sweet you make bitter’ (Isaiah 5:20 GNB).
Prophetic voice needed today!
In a society of reversed values the prophetic voice needs to be heard, yet, sadly, the church in Australia has largely failed to exercise that voice. There has been a deafening silence from the leaders of most churches on the social, moral and spiritual disintegration taking place around us.
Why is that?
- Is because they fear the hostility of those who would oppose them who may call them bigots?
- Is it because they think that it is not the church’s responsibility to involve itself in such social issue but rather to focus on ‘spiritual’ matters?
- Is it because they fear that to challenge corrupt values that are being touted by politicians, entertainers, sportspeople and other ‘celebrities’ may make them appear to be ‘old-fashioned’ or intolerant?
One writer, referring to Margaret Court’s bold denunciation of ‘same sex marriage’ and the practice of homosexuality, has commented ‘… sincere Christians are being pressured into making decisions that are counterproductive to the cause of the kingdom of God.’
But from this perspective Jesus’ calling the Pharisees ‘white washed’ tombs (Matthew 23:27) may be seen as being ‘counterproductive to the cause of the kingdom of God.’ His taking a whip and chasing the traders out of the temple (John 2:15) may be seen as being ‘counterproductive to the cause of the kingdom of God.’
The above-mentioned writer further describes such challenges to evil practices and values as ‘… gifting Satan with opportunities to confuse the perception of the gospel in the public mind with moralism.’ But must we then criticise the apostle Paul of such ‘confusing’ when he challenged the corrupt sexual standards in the culture of his day in which promiscuity, adultery and homosexuality were accepted norms?
Rise up bold prophetic voices!
Admittedly the church must always be on its guard against misrepresenting the positive message of redemption entrusted by God to the church. And church leaders who are evident on the public stage must always keep in mind that their ministry is to glorify God and not themselves – as the highly public John the Baptist said, ‘He (Jesus) must grow greater and greater and I less and less’ (John 3:30 JBP).
There is no indication from Margaret Court in recent days that she was ‘big-noting’ herself! She is, on the contrary, a prophetic voice boldly (and lovingly) challenging the God-defying and human-degrading spirit of evil and rebellion that is at large today. Perhaps she is a ‘Deborah’ in our midst (Judges 5 and 6).
Hopefully some more male leaders will have the boldness to stand beside her!
Dr Jim McClure, author of several books and Bible study series, welcomes questions from Christians seeking enlightenment on biblical perspectives.
His new book, Looking for Answers in a Confusing World, has just been released and is available in electronic version in EPUB, Kindle and PDF formats with hyperlinks and offered free. offered free. Link for orders and questions: firstname.lastname@example.org