Divine Deterrent to Creeping Relativism
Robert L. Millet, Dean of Religious Education
The Apostle Paul prophesied of our day, and many of the elements of that prophecy are
pathetically present in today
This know also,
that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own
selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of
those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of
God; having a form of godliness; but denying the power thereof:
from such turn away.
Perhaps as an indication of the source of the problem in our day, Paul concluded that such souls would
ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth
(2 Timothy 3:1-7).
We live in the day of an information explosion, a time when raw knowledge is being processed and
disseminated far faster than we can incorporate or inculcate. But we also live in a time of moral erosion,
indicating clearly that our decency has not kept pace with our discoveries. As a world, and more
particularly as a nation, we have drifted from our moral moorings, strayed from the faith of our fathers.
That the decline in society is due to a moral decay is perhaps obvious to most of us. I desire, however, to
take a step beyond that premise. I suggest that the lack of scriptural or theological literacy and the
subsequent lack of doctrinal depth are at the heart of our problem. Very often what we believe and know
affect what we do. I suggest that when men and women comprehend the great plan of happiness
of salvation, the gospel
many begin to see themselves within that plan as a vital part of God
They then begin to govern their actions accordingly.
I would like now to discuss some key factors that have contributed to our doctrinal desensitization
and thereby our moral decline. We could choose any number of things that have hacked away at the roots
of our religious heritage, but I will focus on four:
(1) the trivialization of religion; (2) the loss of a moral
sense; (3) a denial of personal responsibility; and (4) stressing ethics over doctrine. In subsequent sections
we will consider some solutions to our problem.
The Trivialization of Religion
. Whereas a hundred years ago religion was central to the
outlook of most Americans, we have in the last three decades become prey to a growing secularism, a
worldview that seeks to make sense of life without reference to God or the divine. If there is no real
purpose to life, no God, no system of salvation, no hope of a life beyond the grave, and no divine
parameters by which to distinguish right from wrong
in short, if anything goes, then eventually
In the early 1960