A Relativistic Church?
NCW 21, July 1995
Q. I enjoyed reading your pamphlet, "Your Call to Freedom", and agree that relativism is the great curse of the western world. But isn't New Covenant theology "relativistic" in a way? I hear so many of your people saying "I feel this to be true" or "that to be true." Isn't that relativism?
You are right. There is a tendency on the part of all of us to base our testimony on transientory feelings, and even feelings that have been around for a very long while which are yet not built on the Word. This is especially true for those coming out of charismatic churches to the New Covenant where feelings run high and are taken as evidence of the presence of the Holy Spirit. Many former Mormons among us are sometimes similarly disposed for Latter-day Saints are extremely feeling-based.
Yet we must be careful here too and not swing to the other extreme of basing our witness on the Word while our feelings are atrophied. Remember, we are to "serve not under the old written code but in the new life of the Spirit" (Rom.7:6, RSV). That Spirit, when present, animates the feelings, purifies them, and elevates the soul into joy. When it is not there, "soulish" or "fleshy" feelings take over and masquerade as the Spirit.
There is a three-fold order of events, as it were, that we must understand if we are to avoid the pitfall of relativism, beginning with the Word (John 1:1) of which the Holy Spirit testifies, in turn animating our feelings. If we want to know if our feelings are relativistic or not then we have only to see if they agree with the Word -- with the commandments of God. When these three are one, then we are on the sure path of salvation.
As a people, we in the New Covenant are most strict about this principle which drives all we do. Our feelings, God's Word, and the Holy Spirit must agree with one another or else our feelings are not valid.
So we accept your criticism and can only say that we are energetically working with it for we are acutely conscious of these things even if sometimes we forget. So your question is timely and appreciated.
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Last updated on 2 May 1998
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