Introduction to Secular Humanism

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In the current age, “Christians too frequently tend to think and act in humanistic ways rather than in harmony with biblical theism.”[1]

Because many Christians have subscribed in one way or another to the philosophy of
secular humanism, the student’s project details efforts at the Alum Creek Church of Christ to combat secular humanism. This paper will detail the student’s preaching ministry and will discuss how he upheld a Christian worldview through his preaching.

The Student’s Preaching Ministry

The proclamation of the gospel is an important activity. The activity’s importance is demonstrated by Jesus’ active preaching ministry. After John’s arrest, “Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God” (Mk. 1:14, NIV. All other quotations in these lessons will come from the NIV). Jesus saw preaching as central to his Incarnation: “Let us go somewhere else – to the nearby villages – so I can preach there also. That is why I have come” (Mk. 1:38). Matthew also records Jesus’ preaching activity: “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom” (Mt. 9:35).

Paul also frequently preached. Paul and Barnabas “fled to the Lycaonian cities of Lystra and Derbe and to the surrounding country, where they continued to preach the good news” (Acts 14:6-7). When Paul and Barnabas were in Derbe, “they preached the good news in that city and won a large number of disciples” (Acts 14:21). Paul additionally valued preaching the gospel; he wrote, “Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” (1 Cor. 9:16).

The student likewise has an obligation to preach the gospel. On the one hand, he has received that obligation from the eldership where he currently works, for they expect a large percentage of the student’s time to be devoted to preparing and delivering sermons. However, his greater obligation comes from the talents given him by God. The student has a knack for public speaking, and realizing that from “everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked” (Lk. 12:48), he decided to preach for a living. At present, God provides the student an opportunity each Sunday to speak to the Alum Creek Church of Christ, and the student has determined to use those opportunities to teach a biblical worldview to the congregation.

The student must uphold a biblical worldview, for truth comes from God and error abounds. John reminded his readers, “They [false prophets] are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood” (1 Jn. 4:5-6). Fitch has well commented on this text:

Nothing could be clearer. The source of truth is God. The origin of error is Satan. The truth is the revelation of God brought to the world by the incarnate Jesus. His apostles, of which John is the last, have passed that revelation of God’s grace on to the church. The error of substitute gospels is the work of antichrists. Their alternative teachings are legion to better confound the unwary.[2]

Secular humanism is a substitute “gospel,” and the student has no choice but to oppose Satan’s work.

That “living and active” Word which is “sharper than any double-edged sword, [and] penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow” (Heb. 4:12) provides the greatest antidote for Satan’s error. Preachers have received the charge for proclaiming that Word: “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction” (2 Tim. 4:2). Because Paul’s charge follows immediately upon his comment about Scripture’s inspiration (3:16-17), the instruction likely grows out of Scripture’s inspiration. [3] In other words, Scripture must be proclaimed precisely because the
words originated with God.

Thus, to combat secular humanism, the student must preach the Word of God. Only that Word can penetrate “even to dividing soul and spirit.” Only that Word came from God. Only that Word can be used to “correct, rebuke and encourage” the brethren. Only that Word can inoculate any congregation against the evils of secular humanism.

The Project’s Description

The sermons for this project were presented at the Alum Creek Church of Christ on Sunday nights from October 2, 2005 to January 22, 2006. The Alum Creek congregation averages 135 on Sunday mornings and about 75 on Sunday nights. The congregation largely consists of white, middle-class families. Most members of the congregation have college degrees, many have graduate degrees, and a few have terminal degrees. Those who do not have college degrees are, as a rule, well-read and quite knowledgeable.

The rest of this essay will describe the lesson’s Dr. Imel presented at the Alum Creek Church of Christ.

[1] Robert L. Waggoner, “Biblical Theism vs. Secular Humanism: A Class to Train Theists to Confront Humanism” (DMin diss., Erskine Theological Seminary, 1999).

[2] Alger M. Fitch, What the Bible Says About Preaching (Joplin, MO: college Press Publishing Company, 1989), 111.

[3] Sidney Greidanus, The Modern Preacher and the Ancient Text (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1988).

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