Webster’s Dictionary defines relativism as “a view that ethical truths depend on the individuals and groups holding them”. The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (IEP) indicates that, “although there are many different kinds of relativism, they all have two features in common.”
1) They all assert that one thing (e.g. moral values, beauty, knowledge, taste, or meaning) is relative to some particular framework or standpoint (e.g. the individual subject, a culture, an era, a language, or a conceptual scheme).
2) They all deny that any standpoint is uniquely privileged over all others.
The Catholic Encyclopedia states that, “any doctrine which denies, universally or in regard to some restricted sphere of being, the existence of absolute values, may be termed Relativism.”
It is clear that relativism is a counter measure to absoluteness. By absoluteness I mean unchangeability. Something that cannot be changed (unchangeable). The danger of Christian relativism is that it asserts that doctrinal truths can be relative to the individual groups holding them. We may have relativism when it comes to our worship methods or service structures. However, one thing that does not adhere itself to relativism is the source of our salvation (worship is relative, salvation is not).
It is wise to recognize that as time modifies our social and philosophical viewpoints, these also has the tendencies to influence our theological perspectives and our resolved belief systems. Humanism infiltrates the structured truths used in the foundation of our doctrines and disciplines by the outcry of tolerance in a modern society. All that stand on the side of absolute truth are regarded as arrogant and divisive. The framework established for acceptance of truth is relative to the culture and era in which it was presented. The common good of the society or community is critical and the most important factor in a relative Christianity.
Relativism paint a broad stroke in presenting an interpretation of God’s Word. To the extent, that if need be, an absolute truth can be diminished to a statement to be interpreted upon the era in which it was given and categorized as only relative to the current times, with a call to required modifications in order to better fit the society of today.
In the so called Christian community of today, not all stand on the precept that the road to salvation stand upon an absolute truth. That truth being salvation through Christ Jesus. This irrefutable truth finds itself in a relative debate, due to its demand for exclusivity. Society, and to an extent, elements of the Christian community itself, now entertains the ideas of a broad interpretation of God’s intention in providing salvation to humanity by interjecting a flexible and culture-appropriate means by which salvation is attained. These relative means are what pose the greatest danger to the Christian church today. Once the cornerstone of Christianity, Christ Jesus, is explained in a relative form, the very foundations of the Christian faith receives a crack it its foundation which weakens the whole building.
In order to break through Christian relativism, a call for a stand on the undeniable truth, as presented in Scripture, must take place. Jesus Christ continues to be in all eternity, the only way of salvation.
The Apostle Paul declares it in this way:
“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him: and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell: And having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” (Colossians 1:12-20)
Paul continues on to say:
“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him: Rooted and built up in Him, and established in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ”. (Colossians 2:6-8)
Relativism is not new to today. It has been around since the foundation of the Christian church. The intent to dilute the truth through philosophy and vain deceit continues to make its mark in the Christian today who falls prey to a lack of knowledge and accepts relative philosophical arguments in the name of religious tolerance.
2 thoughts on “Breaking Through Christian Relativism”
Christian relativism–ethical truths based on ‘traditions of men’? The moral rectitude of Bible teachings is undermined by such comments as, “Christmas isn’t really a Bible ‘truth’–but WHAT’S THE HARM?” Traditions of men–Western culture–not Biblical ‘truth’–but WHAT’S THE HARM? Now, is Christ’s BIRTH the ‘cornerstone of our Christian theology’–or is it not Christ’s “death, burial and resurrection from the dead” the ‘cornerstone’ of our Christian theology? Isn’t this an example where Christian relativism has legitimized the celebration of Christ’s birth stating as ‘truth’ that the Christmas celebration is really the cornerstone of the foundation of our salvation? What? Every theologian knows Christmas is full of ‘myths’–making Christmas and its celebration a total distortion of the Truth–in fact, even an affront to the Cross!
Christian relativisim has come down to us through these ‘traditions of men’–“My Daddy’s daddy did it that way. It was good enough for him, so it’s good enough for me.”– So why do you add relativism to the scriptures–making Dec. 25th Christ’s birthday–for what purpose? And just because we’ve always done it that way….why slander those who don’t celebrate any “tradition of men”? Traditions change–they come and they go. Wanting Christ out of Christmas seems to be a very good idea…doing away with Traditions of Men is GOOD, isn’t it–if Christian relativism is the opposite of Christian absoluteness. Or have we adapted Pilot’s statement: “Truth, what is truth?” Should we be bothered that ‘absolute truth’ isn’t essential to celebrating Christ’s birth? Have Theologians become a bunch of Christian Spin Doctors?
Totally agree, i believe today’s postmodern community is inclined to relativism