Because it has appeared throughout history in a variety of forms and with a variety of emphases, humanism can be hard to define. Perhaps the best way to summarize its major tenets is to use the ancient Greek philosopher Protagoras’ statement homo mensura, which means “man the measure.” In its secular form, humanism has taught that man is the measure of all things. Man is the ultimate, autonomous norm; that is, he is a law unto himself. His reason, not subservient to divine revelation, is the basis of ethics.
Not every humanist has denied God’s existence, but even those religious humanists have said that belief is merely one aspect of our humanity. Removing faith from the center of existence made it easy for humanists in the nineteenth century to question the Bible’s validity and define it solely as a record of primitive man’s experience of religion. As a result, many seminaries began to deny the supernatural, producing pastors and other leaders who denied the resurrection but tried to keep many of the ethical teachings of Jesus. The consequence of all this was the “Social Gospel,” which emphasized feeding the hungry and other works of charity without telling people of their need for salvation from sin. This incomplete Gospel is directly linked to the decline of the so-called “mainline denominations.” If we do not need to be saved from sin, there is no reason for us to sit under a preacher and hear platitudes about giving to the poor. Such good works can be done without the trappings of religion.
Beginning in the twentieth century, humanists began to articulate more honestly that subjectivism is the inevitable consequence of making man the final arbiter of what is true. Without an objective, transcendent norm all we have are individual preferences to guide us. We must then ask, whose preferences will guide us? More often than not this has led to some form of statism wherein the preferences of the few are made into laws for the many.
Coram deo: Living before the face of God
The naturalism that is taught alongside humanism makes humanity into a cosmic accident with no real value, hence the ease with which we abort children and abandon the elderly. Only the Christian worldview, where God is the measure of all things, can preserve life and liberty. Only those who believe that man is made in God’s image have grounds for attributing any kind of worth to humanity. Remember this as you engage other worldviews.
The fountain of divine truth is the Lord Jesus Christ,
the repository of divine truth is the Holy Scriptures,
the proper abode of divine truth is the sinner’s heart,
and the sacred revealer of truth is the Holy Spirit.
The Bible contains all necessary truth–and nothing but truth. It was written expressly for sinners, it is freely given to them by God, that they may learn the things which make for their everlasting peace and salvation. It was never designed to gratify the critic’s pride, or please the carnal imagination; but it was intended . . .
to inform the mind,
to sanctify the heart,
and to direct the feet.
When we take it up, we should remember that it is a precious gift of God to poor sinners, designed to benefit them, and glorify His holy name.
This book sets before us our true state before God, as sinners:
It shows us that . . .
we have come short of the glory of God;
our hearts are depraved beyond description, and vile beyond expression;
the nature of Satan is not actually worse than ours;
instead of having anything to boast of, or pride ourselves in–all that we have and are, is calculated to fill us with shame, confusion, and self-abhorrence!
This book shows us plainly that salvation must be of grace–or not at all. It informs us that by faith in Jesus, we can rise from our dreadful state, and escape our fearful doom. It sets before us . . .
the provision of divine mercy,
the contrivance of infinite wisdom,
and the promises of eternal love.
It exhibits a perfect Savior, suited to our miseries and woes.
It presents to us a salvation . . .
all of grace,
to be enjoyed by faith, and
manifested by good works.
A salvation that . . .
reaches to our present state,
delivers us from all that we have reason to fear,
introduces us to all that we can consistently desire, and
gives us a right to all that God has promised, and that Jesus has procured.
In a word, this blessed Bible tells the poor sinner . . .
what he is by nature,
what he must be by grace, and
then what he will be in glory.
It shows him . . .
mercy’s way of escape, and
how God is glorified in his present salvation and future glory.
This book exhibits God’s . . .
and wise precepts.
It sets forth . . .
the thoughts of God,
the secrets of eternity,
the designs of everlasting love,
the method of salvation,
the saint’s privileges and glory,
the impenitent sinner’s state, condition and awful doom!
This book . . .
contains the mind of God;
reveals the way of salvation by Jesus Christ;
teaches the genuine evidences of real Christianity;
is a complete rule of life;
is the charter of the Christian’s privileges;
is the casket that contains the jewels of God’s promises;
is the light that illumines our path in this dark world; and
marks out as with a sunbeam, the blessed end of the righteous–and the miserable doom of the impenitent sinner. All who live and die without the salvation it makes known–will be cast into outer darkness, where there is eternal weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth!
There is a majesty in the Word of God which the believer sees, and an excellency, and glory which the Heaven-taught sinner discovers. He can no longer trifle with it, despise it, or pour contempt upon it. He views it as of . . .
inconceivable value, and
exact adapted to himself.
He feels a deep interest in its contents, and is concerned . . .
to become acquainted with the blessings it reveals,
to enjoy the privileges it sets forth, and
escape the threatenings it holds out.
The true Christian . . .
learns the doctrines with satisfaction,
believes the promises with joy,
accepts the invitations with gratitude,
receives the cautions with fear,
listens to the exhortations with pleasure,
walks by the precepts with delight,
reads it with reverence,
searches it with diligence, and
implores the promised teaching and guidance of the Holy Spirit to understand it.
Beware of slighting, despising, or neglecting the Bible.
Read it daily,
pray over it incessantly, and
meditate on what it reveals continually!
“His delight is in the law of the LORD, and on His law he meditates day and night!” Psalm 1:2