||2015-07-29 13:50:41, 조회 : 1,368, 추천 : 363
Wants of the Time
Today, secularism seems to be the popular view in our society. Dinesh D’Souza, author of What’s so great about Christianity, says that due to the inevitable result of “science, reason, progress, and modernization, the West will continue to grow more secular, followed by the rest of the world”. We can witness this in our communities today. Being religious or believing in God is considered to be old fashioned or traditional. Many people want to embrace science for this very reason, because they believe that science can answer any questions that they may have. In 1Chronicles 12:32 tells us “Men that had understanding of the times”. As a Christian, it is important to know the “times” that we are in. Ryle says that not knowing about the Church and the world “is a miserable patriot, and a poor style of Christian”. We must know what kind of time we are in, in order to know what we are fighting against and what we must do to prepare ourselves.
The first thing the “times” requires from us is to boldly believe the “maintenance of the entire truth of Christianity, and the divine authority of the Bible”. There are many that attack God and the Bible. For instance, leading atheists like Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett continue to attack at the very core of Christianity to break its foundation. Steven Weinberg boldly states “Anything that we scientists can do to weaken the hold of religion should be done and may in the end be our greatest contribution to civilization”. How do they do this? They spread unbelief. However, they aren’t the first ones to do this, the “existence of this plague of unbelief” have been around since the day when Adam and Eve fell. From the beginning, Satan has been roaming around to persuade men not to believe in God. While these atheists continue to attack every detail of Christianity, nonetheless there are three facts in which they have not been able to answer.
• The first fact is of Jesus Christ Himself. If Christianity is simply an invention that man made, what can be said of Jesus Christ? History even acknowledges Christ’s existence and yet there is still no answer to dismiss Christ as a false figure. Ryle states “Nothing can explain it but the great foundation principle of revealed religion that Jesus Christ is God,, and His gospel is all true”.
• The second fact is of the Bible itself. Once again, if Christianity is an invented religion why does the Bible hold such authority? Ryle asks “How is it that a book written by a few Jews in a remote corner of the earth” stands by itself when it comes to “high views of God, for true views of man, for solemnity of thought, for grandeur of doctrine, and for purity for morality?” There is no literature in history or presently, that can even come to the truths that are revealed in the Bible.
• The third fact is “the effect which Christianity has produced on the world”. If again, Christianity is an invention of man, “how is it that it has wrought such a complete alteration in the state of mankind?” Since Christianity has came along, there is a stark difference like “night and day, the kingdom of heaven the kingdom of the devil”. Where do these morals come from? Where do these principles come from?
The second thing that the “times” require from us is to have a “distinct decided views of Christian doctrine”. Sadly, there are many Christians today that do not have “decided views” of the Christian doctrine. We can witness this amongst our friends , family and even within the church. Ryle says “like people afflicted with colour blindness, they are incapable of discerning what is true and what is false, what is sound and what is unsound”. Instead of wanting to find the truth, it seems as if many Christians are comfortable and content by standing between both sides. It doesn’t take much for pastors today to convince the congregation. Ryle says “their religion is made up of negatives; and the only positive thing about them is that they dislike distinctness, and think all extreme and decided and positive views are very naughty and very wrong!” The reason for this “boneless, nerveless, jellyfish condition” is because naturally we are “dark about religion”. We need “instruction and illumination”. Without this instruction and illumination, we don’t want to be stern or decided about doctrinal views. If we want to succeed during these times, we must be decided in what we believe and what we don’t. Being lukewarm and nerveless, will not bring us up but drag us down with many others that are heading the same direction.
The third thing that the “times” require from us is an “awakened and livelier sense of the unscriptural and soul-ruining character of Romanism”. Romanism has triumphed Europe, England and South America and it is still very lively today. Ryle warns us of “popery, auricular confession and priestly absolution, the sacerdotal character of the ministry, the monastic system, and a histrionic, sensuous, showy style of public worship”. Ryle reminds us that it is because the Protestant Reformation, many were able to learn of “the blood of atonement, to faith and grace and real holiness”.
The fourth thing that the “times” require from us is a “higher standard of personal holiness, and an increased attention to practical religion in daily life”. There are many that have such low standards of practical Christianity today. Ryle says that “you may see scores of religious people continually doing things which in days gone by would have been thought utterly inconsistent with vital religion”. For instance, travelling on Sundays or spending your days vacationing without giving their religion a thought. Their idea is “where is the harm?” This does not mean that you cannot do anything or you should retire from the world, but become men glorify Christ anywhere they go. In order to aim for a higher standard of holiness, Ryle suggests for us to revisit the Ten Commandments. While many churches do not value it, the Ten Commandments “are a perfect mine of practical religion”.
The last thing that the “times” require from us is a “more regular and steady perseverance in the old ways of getting good for our souls”. While public religion is important, private religion is something that we must practice. Those that only practice public religion is often left with temporary emotions and without any real conviction. However, Ryle isn’t suggesting for us to decrease in our public religion, but increase in our private. Both must go hand in hand. How can we increase in our private religion? Firstly, we can pray more “heartily” in private. We must put our “whole souls” into our prayers. Secondly, we must read our Bible more in private. Ryle teaches us that “Ignorance of Scripture is the root of all error and makes a man helpless in the hand of the devil”. We must read the Bible and grow familiar with it, so that we may not fall into skepticism and lazy habits. Thirdly, we must have more private meditation with Christ. We must take time out of the day to look at our spiritual condition and consult with our Advocate, our Physician and communicate daily with Him.
Our times require for us to work hard in order to prevent our souls falling into traps and pitfalls. We must begin to understand the spiritual danger that our times bring. Instead of standing idly by, we must become decided Christians and aim from higher standards of holiness and practice private religion. Without it, we will surely fall into the unbelief Satan wants for us. Let us not be another lip professing Christian, but a firm, decided Christian that toils against the world.
1) What are the three facts that atheists and unbelievers are still unable to answer? What do these three facts do for us?
2) Why does our times require for us to have a “distinct decided views of Christian doctrine”?
3) What does Ryle mean when he says we must have a “higher standard of personal holiness, and an increased attention to practical religion in daily life”
4) What can we do in order to increase our private religion?
5) Why does Ryle say that not knowing about the Church and the world “is a miserable patriot, and a poor style of Christian?”
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