“All truth is God’s truth.” This cliché has become the mantra for those who attempt to justify integrating knowledge from secular disciplines with the truth of Scripture, a practice known by the oxymoronic name of “evangelical syncretism”. The most aggressive attempts at this integration have come from the false religions of evolution and secular psychology.
While this saying may be true, it is not the whole truth. All truth is indeed God’s truth, but not all truth is equal. Not all truth has the same degree of certainty. Many beliefs that were once considered true have since been proven to be false. Many new discoveries are reported with tentative “if, then” statements; “if this proves to be correct, then such and such is true.” Almost every day some food that was reported to be bad for us is now good or benign, and what was thought to be good for us is now bad. Scientific theories are constantly being revised. The landscape of evolution and psychology are littered with scores of discarded theories and models whose presuppositions were found to be faulty.
Neither does all truth have the same authority. No absolute authority exists in the field of medicine, and many functions of the human body are still a mystery to physicians, physiologists, and biologists. No secular discipline has within its ranks those who are the final authority in their respective field of study. So to place the knowledge discovered within secular disciplines on a par with the truth of Scripture is to make an unjustified and extremely arrogant comparison. It places the fallible discoveries of men and women on an equal footing with infallible Scripture. It is man assuming for himself the authority that belongs only to God.
One integrationist goes so far as to call nature the sixty-seventh book of the Bible, that is, the truths we learn from observing nature are just as authoritative as God’s revealed truth in Scripture. How blasphemous! Scripture tells us that when man looks at nature he suppresses the truth it contains in unrighteousness (Rm 1:18-23). The truth of Scripture alone is completely certain and authoritative because it is the divinely inspired word of God. At the core of every attempt at integration is the satanic question, “Did God really say…?” (1 Tm 4:1-2).
Adolphe Monod (1802-1856) was one of the great evangelical preachers of the 19th century and one of the greatest French-speaking preachers of all time. One contemporary described him “As a defender of the truth that is in Christ, he had the heart of a lion; as a Christian, he had the heart and simplicity of a small child, the heart of a lamb.” His staunch defense of biblical truth eventually led to his dismissal from his church by the French government, becoming the first pastor for which no specific cause was given by the government for his removal. Monod gave voice to his convictions when he declared,
“If faith has not for its basis a testimony of God to which we must submit, as to an authority exterior to our personal judgment, and independent of it, then faith is no faith….The more I study the Scriptures, the example of Christ, and of the apostles, and the history of my own heart, the more I am convinced, that a testimony of God, placed without us and above us, exempt from all intermixture of sin and error which belong to a fallen race, and received with submission on the sole authority of God, is the true basis of faith.” (The Life of Adolphe Monod, Published by his family, 1885, 224, 357)
When people attempt to integrate human knowledge and experience with the Bible, it is always the Bible that ends up being compromised; it is always the Bible that must be changed to harmonize with man’s discoveries and experiences. Very rarely, if ever, are man’s findings and experiences reexamined to make them harmonize with Scripture. Evolution never gives an inch when attempts are made to harmonize the millions of years required for evolution with the biblical account of creation. Humanistic psychology doesn’t budge from its view of man and the source of his problems when integrated with the Bible.
When someone claims to have had a mystical experience it is the Bible which is judged by the experience and not vise-versa, and when someone claims to have received extra-biblical revelation direct from God, it is the Bible’s rejection of such claims as false teachings and the product of someone’s own imagination that is called into question. Ultimately the aftermath of all attempts to integrate man’s discoveries and experiences with the Bible are the corruption of God’s word, the introduction of confusion into the life of the church, and the creation of a fertile environment in which a multitude of false teachings and heresies flourish. In all attempts at integration, it is the human element, not God’s word, which becomes the ultimate authority. All error, falsehood, and heresy can be traced to a failure to submit to the authority of God’s word.
The Apostle Paul understood this. In writing to the Thessalonians he expressed his thanks to God that this church of Macedonia submitted their hearts and minds to the authority of God’s word. They accepted it, not as the word of men, but as the word of God (1 Thes 2:13). Sadly, many today think that if God’s word comes from the right person then it stands a better chance of being received. A parent says, “O, my teenager won’t listen to me, so will you, the pastor, talk to him/her. They will listen to you.” But Jesus said if people do not believe Moses and the prophets neither will they believe if someone rises from the dead (Lk 16:31). If they will not accept the authority of Scripture they will not accept any other authority (Jn 5:46, 47). And if they do listen to another, their acceptance is based on their respect and admiration for the person, not the authority of God’s word, thereby supplanting God’s authority with a person’s influence.
In rebuking the church in Galatia Paul warned of the danger of listening to those who question and reject the authority of God’s word, “But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed” (Gal 1:8). The authority is the word, not the person. If even Paul were to contradict his earlier teaching, it is the teaching, not Paul which is the authority. Not even an angel from heaven, that is, an unfallen angel, has more authority than God’s word. But yet so many who profess to be Christian are perfectly willing to let science, or psychology, or philosophy, or some human teacher be the ultimate authority. This is how people are led astray, because they follow a person or they “pay attention to deceitful spirits and the doctrines of demons” (1 Tm 4:1), and are not good Bereans. So many people live with the false hope that what is in the word of God is not the word of God.
People do not accept God’s word as the word of God because they do not reverence and fear God as God. Reverence, fear, and awe will yield to the authority of the word precisely because it is the word of God. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom because without this reverence a person will not submit their heart and mind to the authority of God’s word. True humility is expressed in humbly submitting to the authority of God’s word.
Who is the one to whom God looks with favor? “To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word” (Is 66:2). It is the ungodly who have no fear of God before their eyes (Ps 36:1). They have no fear because God is not their authority, but something else, usually themselves. A true fear and reverence of God subdues the heart to the power of His word, subdues the thoughts, the opinions, the conscience, the will, and the affections to the authority of God’s word. Those who come before God and tremble at His word are the ones who understand the nature of God more than others (Ps 2:11, 12).
What many fail to realize is that this fear, awe, and reverence for God, which has all but disappeared from people’s thinking today, is a fundamental part of the New Covenant (Jer 32:40), it is an inherent characteristic of the new nature. The purpose for which God instills this fear is “so that they will not turn away from Me” (Jer 32:40), the implication being that without this fear people would turn away from God, they would not yield to His authority, which is precisely what Israel did under the Old Covenant (Jer 31:32). Where there is a lack of fear, then there can be no new nature, and if there is no new nature then a person is still in an unregenerate state. This is a sobering thought where the defining characteristics of the majority of the professing church today are irreverence, frivolity, crassness, and superficiality. Again, it is the ungodly that have no fear of God before their eyes (Ps 36:1)
The world despises the person whose sole authority is God’s word, who would rather hazard anything than go against or compromise or alter His word as others do, and who refuse to tremble at His word, who must make it conform to man’s discoveries, experiences, and opinions before they will condescend to submit, and who set the terms under which they will believe.
God loves to see His word honored by trusting and submitting to it on the sole authority of it being His word. This is the only faith that pleases God (Hb 11:6). Any other faith is not true faith. The person who trembles at God’s word will not do anything but what God’s word will support him/her in. They accept all that His word says on the sole basis that it is God who spoke it. They believe and trust the promises, obey His commands and imperatives, and heed His threats and warnings. They revere the authority of God’s word. Do you?