Theology

The Problem with “Neutrality”

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Corruption of Western culture was one factor that contributed to the evolution of postmodernism. The response was a pervasive suspicion towards accepted norms and traditions. This gave rise to a type of thinking that denies that even universal truth exists. As expected, major ideals that are characteristic of the postmodern movement include pluralism and relativity. For more information on moral relativity see “Truth is Necessary.”

 

Now it is quite reasonable to expect unbelievers to be able to successfully adapt to this type of thinking, but the struggle arises for Christians when we attempt to fuse this worldview with our faith. The problem for the believer when conforming to a postmodern world is an obvious one; if there is no objective truth, then it cannot be certain that the Bible is true and has absolute authority. This steals away the solid rock of scripture from under the Christian’s feet and replaces it with the uncertainty and fallibility of human reason.

 

It is no surprise that one of the products we see of the postmodern world is the adoption of “neutral” thought and study. The idea of neutrality is to eradicate presuppositions, truth claims, and all biases. This is what many scholars, philosophers, apologists, etc. believe to be necessary in order to be truly honest in practice and study. The trouble for Christians is that this would require a type of non-commitment to the authority of God’s word. As I will further explain by referencing 1 Corinthians 1 and 2 along with other bits of scripture, The Bible condones this demand of neutrality and even deems it to be immoral. The faith of the Christian seems incompatible with “neutrality.”

 

In 1 Corinthians 1 and 2 we immediately see Paul speaking with humility and explaining the necessity of allegiance to God’s wisdom and truth. He states, “For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge.” This confirms that in Him we are given knowledge. Human reason and knowledge is given to us through Christ. Proverbs 1:7 also states, “The beginning of knowledge is fear of the Lord.” So for this reason it is impossible for a believer to be neutral in our thoughts of scripture. We are told, sharply, that our knowledge and reason starts with God.

 

Paul also states, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor. 1:18). There is a clear distinction made between believers and unbelievers here. This line cannot be blurred, to do so supports ideals that are detrimental to the Christian faith. One cannot expect to be set apart by their faith, yet conform to the worldly view and method of neutrality. In a sense, this would be “serving two Lords.”

 

According to Bahnsen, we are to avoid philosophy rooted in worldly, humanistic, and non-Christian presuppositions.[1] This is supported when Paul gives credit to the Spirit’s power for his words, “…so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power” (1 Cor. 2:5). We also see in 1 Corinthians that the wisdom of the world is foolish (1 Cor. 1:20). We can know the certainty of truth because God gives it to us through revelation.

 

This is contrary to secular philosophy and study that suggests truth is unknowable and that neutrality is necessary in all matters of study. To endorse “neutrality” could potentially be detrimental to the Christian’s faith and everything it represents. We are called by God to keep our thinking rooted in Christ and God’s wisdom (1 Cor. 2:7). What do you think on this topic?

 

[1] Greg Bahnsen, “Always Ready: Directions for Defending the Faith,(Texarkana, AR: Covenant Media Foundation, 1996), 14.

 

Featured photo courtesy of Pixabay.
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6 thoughts on “The Problem with “Neutrality”

  1. This is amazing, and a blessing for me to read your convictions as one so young, and not caught up in this “neutrality” of the world system. The Lord bless you as you continue to speak for the truth of the Scriptures, wherein is the only hope for humanity now and for eternity.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Romans 1:18-32 describes where we are today, I think. Paul writes, “Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So they are without excuse.” In other words, even without Revelation, God has made himself known–all we have to do is look around. We can easily see the evil fruit on this modern tree. God help us to be the salt and light the world needs!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This post is so timely. The relativism that is embraced serves the individual and ignores the love letter God left. The bible is not neutral. It’s pretty explicit.
    Thank for this post… have shared:)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Words of wisdom, and I agree wholeheartedly. We have lost our reverence or fear of God. One little compromise, then another and another until there is no visible difference between the ‘world’ and the Christian. I’m not judging anyone, but overall, the Church is in real need to get back to our roots and the basics. We need revival…and to return to our first Love…Jesus.

    Liked by 1 person

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