by Mike Ratliff
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6 ESV)
The title of this blog article “The Robbery of Neutrality” is the title of chapter 1 of Dr. Greg L. Bahnsen’s book on Presuppositional Apologetics, Always Ready, which I just received and am working my way through now. By trade, I am an I.T. guy, specifically a Database Administrator. However, my boss has made it clear to me and the rest of our staff that he values me mostly as a key problem solver. I have been in I.T. since 1973 and I have learned over the years that it is far better to get to the root of a problem and even if quite painful, solve it there, rather than go after just surface level solutions to try to fix issues. Therefore, when the uproar of Rob Bell’s book Love Wins began even before it was available, I waited until those I trusted and respected had a chance to review it before I started looking at it. What is Rob Bell’s motive? What is he attempting to accomplish in writing this small “puff piece” book that says nothing new? If you listened to the man talk in any of his interviews then you probably got a glimpse of what is really going on when he encountered an interviewer not willing to let him off the hook with his over generalizations. You see, that is exactly the point. Rob Bell seeks to be “truth neutral” when it comes to all those things he sees in God’s Word as being “exclusive” and “divisive.”
On the other hand, the late Dr. Bahnsen tells us in the very first paragraph of the 1st chapter of Always Ready, “The plea for Christians to surrender to neutrality in their thinking is not an uncommon one. Nevertheless it strikes at the very heart of our faith and of our faithfulness to the Lord.”1 That very statement by Dr. Bahnsen is completely antithetical to Rob Bell’s theology, such as it is. We see this in his continual casting of doubt on the deity of Christ, the veracity of Sacred Scripture as the infallible, complete, and authoritative Word of God, and even in his disparaging remarks in Velvet Elvis upon original sin.
Rob Bell states that for God to truly show his love for man, he must give us the freedom to choose. I see that nowhere in Scripture. Bell’s god is not sovereign. He is not omniscient. He is not omnipotent. His creation has gotten out of his control. Therefore, to help this inefficient inept god balance the books and “be fair” according to the values that Bell and those like him insist that he have, they force him to elevate Free Will as what decides everything. He even has scenarios in his book Love Wins in which those whom God has saved and is now in Heaven decide to leave and this god Bell has made up allows it.
This is what happens when the truth of God’s Word that is exclusive is made to be seen as neutral and men are allowed to make up the rules for themselves. Those who fall under the spell of this sort of thinking have actually been robbed by the demands of neutrality.
Whatever some people may say with respect to the demand for neutrality in the Christian’s thought—the demand that believers not be set apart from other men by their adherence to God’s truth—the fact is that Scripture sharply differs with this demand. Contrary to neutrality’s demand, God’s word demands unreserved allegiance to God and His truth in all our thought and scholarly endeavors. It does so for good reason.2
in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments. For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ. Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. (Colossians 2:3-8 ESV)
Carefully read this passage my brethren. What we learn is that all wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Christ. Think about that. What does this tell us about our academic pursuits, our daily thoughts, and what we do at work? They must all be related to Christ Jesus. Why? It is because Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). If we attempt to do work or have any pursuit that excludes Christ then what we are doing is opening ourselves up to be being misled with untruths from the spiritually dead! It is the beginning of knowledge to reverence God (Proverbs 1:7; 9:10).
In order for us to not fall into the trap of being robbed by the demands of neutrality, then, we must be presuppositionally committed to Christ in the world of thought and firmly tied to the faith we have been taught. If we do not do this, the persuasive argumentation of secular thought will eventually delude us no matter how firm our convictions. Therefore, the Christian is obligated to presuppose the Word of Christ in every area of knowledge; the alternative is delusion.
These truths about the fallacy of truth neutrality that Rob Bell and those like him are all about should make it clear that they are not of God for God would never allow His truth to be presented that way. He is not about neutrality when it comes to His truth. No, anyone who is familiar with the Word of God at all knows that. This is why Rob Bell and his friends attack it with such fury. My brethren. Let us get very serious about becoming completely presuppositionally committed to Christ in all parts of our lives.
1Greg Bahnsen, Always Ready, (Nacogdoches: Covenant Media Press, 1996), p.3.