Non-Christians And The Authority Of Scripture

At The CrossMy regular readers probably understand that this blog’s primary purpose is to instruct women in biblical doctrine, fortifying them against the false teachings and aberrant practices within evangelical circles. Occasionally I might step out of that specific grid in order to address other matters because, after all, I own this tiny pocket of the web and theoretically can do what I jolly well please with it. But for the most part, I’d prefer to keep to the basic mission I’ve outlined.

That said, a reader called Darth Timon  visited my Comments Section yesterday to ask:

One question – how do you believe God’s Word should be applied in a secular society? If someone does not believe in God, and wishes to live their life without religious influence, what would you say to them?

I’ll overlook (temporarily) the fact that Darth Timon, a man (I looked around his blog this morning, and his bio says he’s a happily married man), really shouldn’t be reading my blog, and respond to his question because he asked it respectfully. Actually, he raised an important issue that Christian bloggers need to consider. Like it or not, people beyond our target audience read our internet offerings. And for that reason  we have a responsibility to take the injunction of the apostle Peter seriously.

13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.~~1 Peter 3:13-17 (ESV)

I don’t honestly know Darth Timon’s motives for asking his question. From looking over his blog posts on religion, I noticed that he invested several of them in refuting another Christian blogger’s stand against same sex marriage. He may or may not intend to use my blog as a platform for debate; if he does, that’s his prerogative.  Knowing that he may regard me as a potential “sparring partner,” however, gives me an added responsibility to respond to him respectfully and in a Christlike manner.

So I’ll begin my response by saying that Christians shouldn’t expect non-Christians to accept or obey the authority of Scripture. Pretty self-evident, don’t you think? I may grieve that non-Christians reject the truth and turn away from God’s commandments, but I can’t force them to acknowledge His authority.

The Word of God makes it abundantly plain that, as the time of Christ’s return gets closer, people will increasingly rebel against the Lord and Biblical authority.

For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, 10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. ~~2 Thessalonians 2:7-12 (ESV)

According to the apostle Paul, non-Christians will be given over to their refusal to accept God’s truth. I hope to devote an entire essay to this point in the near future, but for now I refer to it simply to say that the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write that those who refuse God’s authority will be confirmed in their rebellion. We can, and indeed  should, plead with them to repent and trust the Lord for salvation, but we can’t expect them to submit to Biblical Christianity without the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit.

At the same time, I can maintain my  stand that Scripture raises a certain standard, and I have the freedom to keep His standard in mind when I cast my ballot in November. Even though I fully understand that the world is determined to cast aside the clear teachings of Scripture in favor of sinful impulses, my commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ will naturally show up in how I vote. Regardless of how non-Christians want to shape society, I still bear the responsibility to vote according to Scripture’s authority over me.

Just as I shouldn’t expect non-Christians to embrace Biblical values, non-Christians shouldn’t demand that Christians  compromise our Biblical values for the sake of political correctness. Truly Bible-believing Christians realize that non-Christians will prevail more and more until Jesus returns to judge the world, and we solemnly warn people like Darth Timon to repent before judgment comes. Darth, I pray that God’s grace will lead you to faith in Him, and I urge my other readers to pray for you. Remember that the day will come when you’ll confess Him as Lord whether you want to or not.

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. ~~Philippians 2:9-11 (ESV)

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