On the Need for Christians to Develop a Distinctly Biblical Toolbox

“Christians simply haven’t developed Christian tools of analysis to examine culture properly. Or rather, the tools the church once had have grown rusty or been mislaid. What often happens is that Christians wake up to some incident or issue and suddenly realize they need to analyze what’s going on. Then, having no tools of their own, they lean across and borrow the tools nearest them. They don’t realize that, in their haste, they are borrowing not an isolated tool but a whole philosophical toolbox laden with tools which have their own particular bias to every problem (a Trojan horse in the toolbox, if you like). The toolbox may be Freudian, Hindu or Marxist. Occasionally, the toolbox is right-wing; more often today it is liberal or left-wing (the former mainly in North America, the latter mainly in Europe). Rarely – and this is all that matters to us – is it consistently or coherently Christian. When Christians use tools for analysis (or bandy certain terms of description) which have non-Christian assumptions embedded within them, these tools (and terms) eventually act back on them like wearing someone else’s glasses or walking in someone else’s shoes. The tools shape the user. Their recent failure to think critically about culture has made Christians uniquely susceptible to this.” — Os Guinness

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    • MB
    • April 24th, 2009

    Thanks for commenting on my blog (http://shellomatic.wordpress.com). Wow! Good points! I think we always need to make decisions based on the word of truth – The Bible. Also, with prayer. I think much of our answers do come from society and how others feel we should think. We always need to go to the Word and see if that is the correct way of handling it. One thing I see often is how women dress. They base their decisions based on what they think is popular and so others will find them attractive. But the Bible says that our beauty should come from within and from having a biblical character. That is just an example. Too many women fall into this trap and then feel worthless when they get wrinkles, gray hairs, and spider veins.

    • russellandduenes
    • April 27th, 2009

    I LOVE Os Guinness. “The Call” is wonderful book, and so is “Doubt.” I commend them both. I largely agree with him, but I find that no matter how well we think, we are still standing on the shoulders of many people before us, a good many of whom are not thinking out of a biblical theology. It seems to me that this is unavoidable. Even if we “base our decisions on the Bible,” there is still no way to totally avoid some of the inherent biases of our culture. D.A. Carson, whom you’ve posted, does a good job of addressing these issues, which is why we would all do well to read Carson and Guinness on this topic. Thanks for the post.

  1. Agreed. We are not immune to reading the culture into the text. This is a really important thing to keep in front of us as we read and apply the bible to our day.

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