The Issue of Essentiality
By Mike Chance
The subject that has been assigned to me is one that is admittedly open ended
It afforded me the ability to go in one of several directions in which essentialities were either in question or clearly set forth in the Word of God.
A. The necessity of the Holy Ghost
B The essentiality of tongues
C. The essentiality of righteousness
After a great deal of thought I arrived at what I feel is a core issue concerning the issue of essentialities.
The Issue as I see it
* There is a basic struggle that spans the length and breadth of all society and all religion.
* It is a part of an ever-emerging conflict that is known as a culture war.
* It is the struggle facing every man and every woman of choosing between what some have labeled-two models of truth.
1. Theocentric or God Centered Model
* It says that truth is defined by God for every person
* It is objective and it is absolute
2. Anthropocentric or Man Centered
* It says that truth is defined by the individual
* That truth is situational and subjective
It is this model that has created confusion and torn down the essentialities of God and the Bible.
Under the influence of this model:
* People live according to all kinds of standards.
* From if it feels good do it —to—the latest thing that has emerged from Hollywood.
* People are grasping after pagan deities, eastern religions, crystals, scientology, etc.
* Last year 126 new cults emerged or were formed in California alone.
* This model has spawned openness and tolerance as cardinal virtues to a dangerous degree in educational realms.
* Under this model people are taught to fear anyone who teaches or says they have absolute truth.
One university openly posed and published a question to its students asking “how can you possible talk about one God or one way when there are so many good options?”
It is common knowledge that most of the so called intellectual elite of our country disavow the idea of absolute truth.
I have come to teach the essentiality of absolutes
Example I read the touching account given by an author during his time as a university student.
* When Lloyd C. Douglas was a university student, he lived in a boarding house.
* Downstairs on the first floor was an elderly, retired music teacher, now infirm and unable to leave the apartment.
* Douglas said that every morning they had a ritual they would go through together.
* He would come down the steps, open the old man’s door, and ask, “Well, what’s the good news?”
* The old man would pick up his tuning fork; tap it on the side of his wheelchair, and say, “That’s middle C! It was middle C yesterday; it will be middle C tomorrow; it will be middle C a thousand years from now. The tenor upstairs sings flat, the piano across the hail is out of tune, but, my friend, that is middle C!”
The old man had discovered one thing upon which he could depend; one constant reality in his life; one “still point in a turning work”
I Have Come To Declare That There Are Some Still Points in a Turning World Some Things That Are Absolute and Essential
PLEASE HEAR ME OUT
While I cannot endorse in total the doctrine of essentialism, as pertaining only to society, I can readily say that we who are Apostolic are essentialists and believe in essentialism, when it comes to the Bible, God, doctrine and the traditions taught in the Word of God.
DEFINITION: Doctrine that certain concepts, ideas, and skills essential to society should be methodically taught
MY BELIEF is that there are essential things in the Word of God, and in living for God which must be methodically taught.
If all of essentialism were based on a society governed by the precepts and the guiding traditions and principals of the Bible and Almighty God, then I am a believer in that Doctrine of Essentialism.
* I believe there are some things that are inherent in a born again child of God.
* Things that were fixed from the beginning.
* Things that God birthed in humanity and in born again children of God.
The very word essential means:
Absolutely necessary; Indispensable
It is synonymous with the word inherent.
Inherent means inborn or fixed from the beginning as permanent.
I also believe that there are things that God meant to be inherent in society in general.
When something is deemed essential we must remember that the word is derived from the root word “essence.”
Essence is the basic real and invariable nature of a thing or its significant individual features.
The church is called the children of God, the sons of God, the Bride of Christ. We are said to be created after his image and made in his likeness we are, according to the Bible, partakers of his divine nature
II Peter 1:3-4
Vs. 3 according as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
Vs. 4 whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. KJV
This means then that in us is the essence of God
This means that God’s basic and individual features are inherent in us, fixed from the beginning.
It also means that those basic and individual features of God which form his nature will also be essentials in every child of God.
Absolutely necessary and indispensable
Vs. 9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the father of spirits, and live?
Vs. 10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness
Vs. 9 Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at his holy hill; for the Lord our God is holy
So, holiness is a feature of the nature of God and becomes an essential to a child of God.
Vs. 13 and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.
Vs. 14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the lord
There are many attributes of God’s nature that are essential to us as partakers of his divine nature.
They are inherent —inborn in us and fixed from the beginning of conversion.
* God is love
* God is merciful
* God is gracious
The doctrine that is battling against essentialism in the church is twin opponents called Relativism and the doctrine of No Absolutes.
Relativism is the philosophical position that all points of view are equally valid and that all truth is relative to the individual.
The word relative is opposite of inherent and essential
By definition, relative means something that is:
* Dependent on external conditions for its specific nature.
* It is something considered in relation to something else.
* It is having its specific nature only by its relation to something else.
* Not absolute or independent.
From this word relative comes the word Relativism.
Relativism by definition means:
* Any theory holding that criteria of judgment is relative (dependent on external conditions not absolute of independent.)
* And varies with individuals and their environments.
This is evidenced in:
Our deteriorating judicial system that has more and more trouble punishing criminals
In our entertainment media which continues to push the envelope of morality and decency, in our schools which teach evolution and “social tolerance”, etc
In addition, the plague of moral relativism is encouraging everyone to accept homosexuality, pornography on TV, fornication, and a host of other that were once considered wrong, but are now being accepted and even promoted in society
How did our society come to the mindset of no absolutes? It didn’t just happen overnight. There was a gradual process of erosion that came through time and influential men in the past.
There have been those in our history that have recognized the trend.
In his book “Up from Slavery,” Booker T. Washington explained that in the period following the Civil War, many people became teachers thinking it would be an easy way to make a living. One such fellow went from village to village, teaching for awhile and receiving pay for it.
As he entered one town, the people asked if he taught that the earth is round or flat. His reply: “What do you want it to be, and I will teach it that way.”
I read a Peanuts comic strip the other day that said it well. In the classroom setting of one Peanuts comic strip, on the first day of the new school year, the students were told to write an essay about returning to class. In her essay Lucy wrote, “Vacations are nice, but it’s good to get back to school. There is nothing more satisfying or challenging than education, and I look forward to a year of expanding knowledge.” Needless to say, the teacher was pleased with Lucy and complimented her fine essay. In the final frame, Lucy leans over and whispers to Charlie Brown, “a while, you learn what sells.
THAT IS WHERE WE ARE
* Say what sells
* Say what others want to hear
This is not only facing us in classrooms but in church houses and pulpits:
* Anything to get a crowd.
* Don’t speak anything absolute you will offend.
* Leave essentialities behind as dinosaurs obsolete and out of date.
* Get the people to come no matter what you have to say.
* Strive to be acceptable and to fit in rather than to truthful and accountable to God for a generation he mandated us to reach with the gospel of truth.
Hear me; there is a Law of Non-Contradiction which is a familiar law of logic:
It says that no statement can be true and false at the same time and in the same relationship.
This law applies to religion and reality.
* If Jesus says he is the mighty God, he either is or he isn’t. We cannot have it both ways
* If he says you must be born again of the water and of the spirit, -then you either do or you don’t
* It cannot be true or false depending on the denomination or the setting.
* If he says be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins…
* Then it has to every one of you or it doesn’t it cannot change from one church and minister to another.
* If he says follow peace with all men and holiness without which no man shall see the lord, then that is the way it is or it isn’t.
GOD SAYS: “All have sinned” (Romans 3:23).
THE WORLD SAYS: Everyone is basically good.
GOD SAYS: “Fear him who…has power to throw you into hell” (Luke 12:5). THE WORLD SAYS: There is no hell, so there’s no need to be concerned.
GOD SAYS: “I am going…to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2). THE WORLD SAYS: Heaven is not a real place.
GOD SAYS: “Man is destined to die…and after that…judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). THE WORLD SAYS: There is no such thing as life after death.
GOD SAYS: “You may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). THE WORLD SAYS: We cannot be sure of salvation or our destiny when we die.
GOD SAYS: “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable” (Lev 18:22).
THE WORLD SAYS: Homosexual orientation and practice are okay.
GOD SAYS: “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality or of any kind of impurity …”(Eph 5:3).
THE WORLD SAYS: Sex before marriage and outside of marriage is okay.
GOD SAYS: “No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). THE WORLD SAYS: Jesus is not the only way to salvation and heaven and everlasting life; other religions and other paths also lead to God.
I Found Myself Asking How Our Society And Many Churches Had Come To These Thought Patterns And How They Came to Accepted So Universally.
How did all this happen? What is going on in America? How did we lose the Christian values we once had? The opinion held by a society on a subject is usually derived from the past thoughts, or philosophies, of people. Who were some of the philosophers who instilled culture changing ideas, or concepts, in the minds of men? Although there are others, nine men exerted significant influence on what is occurring in America today.
I Took Our Church On A Journey Back Through Time To Look At The Philosophers And Their Philosophies That Shaped The Thoughts And Values And Concepts Of The World As We Know It Today.
George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel was a German philosopher in the 1820s. Hegel rejected the entrenched concept of moral absolutes. He presented a dialectic theory (reasoned argument) to demonstrate that history and social morals are evolutionary. Hegel said that all history is composed of a thesis, an antithesis, and a synthesis.
Thesis: A proposition put forward for consideration to be discussed, proved or maintained by overcoming objections.
Antithesis: The direct opposite of a thesis. The opposition or contrast
Synthesis: The combining of elements of both to form a unified entity
Listen to me; the philosophers have forwarded the thesis of relativism. The church has launched an antithesis of absolutes. The devil is trying to get us to compromise and form a synthesis by combining elements of the world and its philosophy with elements of watered down truth.
Social evolution occurs when a thesis consisting of an idea people hold to be true is challenged by an antithesis, or opposing idea. Eventually, a resolution results in a blending of the opposing ideas producing the synthesis. The synthesis then becomes the new thesis, and over time, the cycle is repeated. Therefore, according to Hegel, since history is evolutionary, there can be no absolutes. The enemy’s effort from the beginning has been to get the church to accept some of its ideas and philosophies and beliefs. Its desire is for this to become the new thesis for the entire religious community. The reason is obvious as long as the church holds on to absolute essentials the devil cannot do his work completely or effectively. Only through a compromised church can the enemy get its foot in our doors to our churches, homes and lives.
Ludwig Feuerbach was also a German philosopher who, in the 1 830s, would build on the emerging theory of Hegel. Feuerbach contended that if Hegel was right, and he accepted that he was correct, that there are no absolutes, then there can be no God. God would be absolute Truth according to the Bible, so God cannot exist. Feuerbach said that God is imaginary, that God is nothing more than a fixed idea in the mind of man. This is the concept of “humanism” – that man is the center, the sum total of everything.
Sren Kierkegaard was born in Denmark in 1813 and died in 1855. He was a prolific writer although many of his works are reportedly hard to understand. Nevertheless, h gave the world what philosophers refer to as existentialism. In short, Kierkegaard built upon the philosophies of Hegel and Feuerbach
Existentialism is opposed to rationalism–(the principle of accepting reason as the supreme authority in matters of opinions, beliefs and conduct). It also rejects empiricism, the belief that all knowledge arises out of experience. Instead it stresses the individual’s unique position as a self determining agent responsible for the authenticity of their choices.
SO, HE SAID:
If there are no absolutes, and there is no God, then there is no right or wrong and everything is permissible. The heart of existentialism is the refusal to accept any school of thought or beliefs, and to deny consistent morality. The existentialist lives for the moment at hand, uninhibited by fixed standards or actions.
Although Kierkegaard cannot be blamed for all the ramifications of his views, he still retains the title, Father of Existentialism. The outcome of it all remains to be seen, but in concert with the other views under discussion, America is paying a high price for accepting these philosophical concepts
Karl Marx was a German social philosopher. Marx built on previously established concepts. If there are no moral absolutes, and therefore no God, then what are the purpose and the future of mankind? Where are we going? Marx wrote the now famous Communist Manifesto in 1848. Communism is based on atheism and its conviction is often repeated in the announcement, “There is no God.”
In the Manifesto he set forth a thesis that capitalism, the right to own property, and to be productive for self-enhancement, was wrong. His antithesis was the desire for equity and fairness for all the working people. The synthesis was socialism, or communism, wherein the state would own the land and everyone (except the elite) would receive an equal share of necessities, regardless of their production efforts. Marx insisted that a socialist world revolution would overwhelm capitalist societies, and produce a communist utopia – heaven on earth.
Since it is godless, communism does not recognize the dignity and worth of the individual, and it is implemented and maintained by those in power. As a result, 40 to 50 million people were murdered, simply because they did not agree with the concept. Communism manifests the doctrine that there is no God, thus there is no fixed standard of right and wrong, and therefore, no eternal accountability
Charles Darwin was born in England in 1809. He wrote The Origin of the Species in 1859, and The Descent of Man in 1871. His theory was advanced to account for the way in which the various species came to be differentiated from one another, in a concept he called the process of natural selection. Although he left unexplained the question of where everything came from in the beginning, he concluded that man is the product of evolution.
Darwin had offered no credible scientific evidence to substantiate his theory. He simply recorded his observations of various animals and plants and then produced his conclusion in a voluminous amount of publications. The multitudes in the world of natural sciences were impressed, but perhaps more importantly, they accepted his theory because he had provided a supposedly scientific alternative to the concept of creation by God. For this reason, Darwin’s theory of evolution is adamantly advocated by many in the scientific community. It has been accepted by the education system, and is taught as fact, in virtually all public school classrooms, while the concept of creation by God is banned.
Julius Wellhausen a German scholar presented his philosophy on religious liberalism in the 1 870s. He held that the existing acceptance by society that the Bible was the true and inerrant Word of God should not be accepted. He believed the Bible was simply a collection of human documents, that it was a product of evolutionary thinking.
Therefore, in conformance with Hegel’s and Feuerbach’s contention that there are no absolutes, and no God, he insisted that human reason was totally dependable, and that the Bible could not be trusted. Wellhausen’s views quietly advanced the concept of secular humanism.
Sigmund Freud was born in 1856 in Austria. Based on information obtained from his medical practice, he promoted the view that mankind is motivated primarily by pleasure, specifically sexual pleasure. Freud concluded that sexual instinct is the driving force behind all human action. Acceptance of Freudian psychology is the reason we have the free-wheeling sexual perversion and filth in society today.
John Dewey was born in 1859 in Burlington, Vermont. While pursuing his university studies, he discovered Hegel’s philosophical idealism. Dewey accepted Hegel’s view that reality is not a static and fixed thing, rather, it is always changing, that there are no absolute truths. For Dewey, nothing was constant, permanent, or absolutely true. Instead, all things were pragmatic, adaptable, and subject to reinterpretation at the moment.
Dewey’s education and professional interests led him into the field of education. His professional stature grew to the point that he was the most respected educator in the world, a reputation he sustained by spreading his ideas through publications. Dewey promoted an educational system that emphasized problem-solving and development of the child in all aspects of his or her self.
Emphasis was placed on student participation, and making choices appropriate for the moment, rather than requiring students to adequately learn the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic. John Dewey, the ardent advocate of progressive education, was arguably the most influential philosopher of the last two centuries. His impact on American society was dramatic, because he infused his doctrine, aided by Darwin’s theory on evolution, into the education system.
John Maynard Keynes was an Englishman born in 1883. His education, professional interests, and hard work eventually resulted in a reputation of being an important person in the field of economics, especially economics as it relates to government. The Great Depression of 1929-33, and its immediate post years, had people searching for a recipe to stimulate the economy. The accepted concept of economics at the time was that at the cycle; i.e., a depression, savings would rise and interest rates would fall, making money available for industry expansion.
An expanding industry would increase employment, causing the economy to improve, thereby stimulating investment. The theory, however, was not working at the time. Keynes believed the stimulant to revive the economy was not in the static values of savings and investment by the private sector. He held that expansion of a business was finite, and that eventually investment would stop, thus halting an upward spiral in the economy.
Keynes successfully argued that the best catalyst to get the economy moving was specific, planned, government investment. Whether or not Keynes envisioned significant government intervention on a permanent basis, government borrowing and deficit spending became the course of action for America, and many other nations. The bottom line that the philosophy Keynes brought to the center of the world’s thinking, with his Keynesian economics, is that the government has all the answers, and should play a large role in the affairs of the people.
Obviously, this doctrine is not in conformance with the United States Declaration of Independence, or the Constitution. Arguably, the approach worked in the short term, but it encouraged government expansion, and today, we are enduring the consequences.
What has been the result of this tide of influence generated by these nine men? It only required a little over 100 years for their philosophies to come into fruition. Starting with Hegel in the 1820s, the concepts of absolute truth, the existence of God, and belief that the Bible was Divinely inspired were undermined. Sexual permissiveness was encouraged, and the self-centered idea that “anything goes” was advocated
In concert with all this, the theory of evolution was accepted at face value as fact. Expansion of the government was acceptable for the purpose of economic development Symptoms of the effects of these philosophies on the life of Americans became evident in the 1 960s.There are some good things about our public education system, and many outstanding teachers and professors deserve to be acknowledged and appreciated. Some educators, however, embraced and entrenched the concepts under discussion into the educational process, and extended them to students through the classroom.
Evolution, Marxism, Freudianism, and the other alien views were accepted into our school system, and became basic assumptions. The Department of Education expelled God, and mentally and spiritually programmed many children with outcome-based education that destroyed the distinction between right and wrong. Morals have faded and the established concepts of honor, honesty, virtue, and other truths, once considered to be self-evident, are fading fast. They have either not been replaced, or they are being replaced by hollow, self-centered, and morally-bankrupt values that are wreaking havoc with our society.
But, the Church Is Still Preaching the Essentials, the Absolutes, and the Basic and Significant Features of God