Thursday, November 15, 2018

Social Justice Vs. Biblical Justice: How Good Intentions Undermine Justice and Gospel [Review]


by Hiram R. Diaz III


There are many reasons why the contemporary push to integrate critical race theory (hereafter CRT) into Christian ethical reasoning is not only problematic but contrary to the Christian faith. For instance, we have dealt with the philosophical worldview underlying CRT in several places, drawing attention to its anti-Christian metaphysics, epistemology, and anthropology.1 Such critiques may help reveal how the structure of reasoning leading to “social justice” activism is completely at odds with Christian doctrine, but what about the concept of “justice” itself? Are evangelical social justice advocates advancing a Biblical doctrine of justice, or are they attempting to redefine the concept of justice to suit their own ideological ends?

In his booklet Social Justice Vs. Biblical Justice: How Good Intentions Undermine Justice and Gospel, E. Calvin Beisner offers a solidly biblical critique of social justice as a concept, in addition to its proponents’ eisegetical arguments. As Beisner explains, his goal in the booklet is to first “evaluate some common claims that Biblical justice requires equality of outcome – or some approximation of it...[and] then look carefully at what the Bible really does say about the nature and value of justice.”2 Thus, he begins by evaluating five common eisegetical arguments made by evangelicals in support of a Christianized “redistribution of wealth and equalization.” The arguments are based upon five different portions of Scripture, namely –
1. Jesus and the Rich Man3 
2. The Sabbatical Year Law4 
3. The Jubilee Year Law5 
4. Sharing of Goods in the Jerusalem Church6 
5. The Pauline Collections: “That There Might Be Equality”7
Beisner gives the context of the passages employed by social justice advocates, explains their meaning, and goes on to show how they do not support the redistribution of wealth and equalization.

The next chapter delves into Scriptures’ definition of justice, explaining the four criteria of justice, the relationship of justice to rights, the difference between positive and negative rights, the five types of justice found in Scripture, and the incompatibility of “social justice” and the Bible’s definition of justice. This chapter seamlessly segues into the next, which answers the question – “Why Does the Bible Speak So Much of Doing Justice for the Poor?” Beisner answers with Scripture, writing that although Scripture condemns partiality it commands us to care for the poor
Because the poor are particularly vulnerable to injustice in ways others aren’t. The poor, therefore, are more frequently victims of injustice than are others. Furthermore, the many Hebrew words translated as “poor” in these contexts often emphasize not material destitution but vulnerability to oppression. In other words, it is not simply because they are poor that Scripture tells us to help the poor by administering justice…we focus on justice for the poor because they are so often the victims of injustice.8
Social justice proponents misunderstand the Scriptural commands to show kindness and generosity toward the victims of injustice. These commands, moreover, are misunderstood by social justice proponents to be governmental, when in actuality “the Bible never...put[s] responsibility for charity into the hands of the civil government.”9 God has given the task of showing charity toward the victims of injustice to individuals, whereas he has given the state the task of enforcing justice.

Most importantly, Beisner notes that the social justice proponents confuse justice and grace. “Where the needy suffer because they have been unjustly treated,” writes Beisner, “they need justice.”10 Yet “if such justice is not attainable,” he continues, “they need charity.”11 Scripture clearly teaches us that “granting unearned benefits is grace, not justice.”12 This is important to remember, for “if care for the needy is made a matter of justice to the needy rather than to God, then grace becomes law.”13 The confusion of law and grace inexorably leads a confusion of Law and Gospel, showing us that the contemporary push for the acceptance of social justice concepts as compatible with Christianity is not at all harmless. Rather, by confusing law and grace/justice and charity evangelical social justice proponents risk denying the very Gospel they so adamantly claim to believe.

Beisner’s booklet is an excellent tool for Christians either trying to defend the truth against the wave of social justice proponents seeking to impose their unbiblical beliefs on the church, Christians who are seeking to better understand what the Scriptures teach about justice and the church’s responsibility to the needy, and for non-Christian proponents of social justice. Beisner’s case is presented carefully, concisely, and for a wide reading audience. We pray that the Lord will use it for the glorification of his Gospel, and for the betterment of his bride.


1 See Diaz, Hiram R. “Social Justice Buzz Words and Why You Should Not Use Them,” Biblical Trinitarian Facebook page, ; “The Anti-Christian Philosophical Foundations of Critical Race Theory,” InvoSpec.org, ; “Is Critical Race Theory Anti-Christian? Yes,” Biblical Trinitarian, .
2 Beisner, Social Justice, 8.
3 ibid., 9-10.
4 ibid., 10-11.
5 ibid., 11-13.
6 ibid., 13-14.
7 ibid., 14-16.
8 ibid., 30.
9 ibid., 31.
10 ibid., 32.
11 ibid.
12 ibid., 31.
13 ibid., 33.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Is Critical Race Theory Anti-Christian? Yes.

by Hiram R. Diaz III

§ I. Introduction

Matthew Mullins, professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, has a series of articles titled “Is Critical Race Theory [hereafter, CRT] ‘UnChristian,’” in which he seeks to demonstrate that CRT is not incompatible with the Christian faith. The articles form an apologetic defense of the recent utilization of CRT by professing evangelical leaders (e.g. Al Mohler, Thabiti Anyabwile, Russell Moore, and others) who are presently attempting to make “social justice” issues a primary concern for all Christians. This has been the cause of conflict between themselves and other evangelical leaders, as well as their congregants and other like-minded believers, who see such an emphasis on “social justice” issues as contradictory to the central role of the church in preaching and teaching the Scriptures (summarily expressed by the Law and the Gospel), and not engaging in social activism.

The upsurge in evangelical proponents of CRT has led a wide variety of non-CRT evangelical pastors, leaders, thinkers, and personalities to draft “The Statement on Social Justice & the Gospel,” wherein they explain their stance as regards the various “social justice” issues that have been raised by evangelical CRT proponents.[1] Their opposition to CRT is not only due to CRT proponent’s marginalization of the preaching of the Word of God, and their simultaneous privileging of “social justice” issues, but also due to the fact that CRT is derived from the presuppositions and concerns of postmodernist philosophers and social theorists. Opponents of CRT have rightly noted that the philosophical origins of CRT, from which CRT concerns and goals take root, are diametrically opposed to the main beliefs forming the foundation of the Christian worldview. In response, CRT proponents have sought to defend their synthesis of CRT categories, concepts, beliefs, and goals with the Christian faith.

However, the proponents of CRT have not given a biblical defense of the underlying philosophical beliefs which undergird it. This is either due to their unfamiliarity with those beliefs, their desire to avoid having to deal with the contradiction that arises between CRT’s philosophical foundations and the Christian worldview, or their inability to see how the Christian faith and CRT are diametrically opposed at the presuppositional level. This article, therefore, will follow Mullins’ definition of CRT, its core beliefs, and its proponents’ goals. It will then identify the philosophical origins of CRT and explain why it is not only un-Christian but foundationally anti-Christian and, therefore, to be denounced by the people of God.

§ II. Defining Critical Race Theory, 
Its Core Beliefs, and Its Proponents’ Goals

Mullins begins his series by defining CRT. Mullins –
CRT is a complex system of beliefs that emerged in the United States in the 1970s and 1980s to call attention to and redress the subtler forms of racism that replaced the overt racism made largely unacceptable by the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s.[2]
These beliefs are identified in later articles to be the following –
1. “Race is social construct”[3] – This “means that race is a social reality rather than a biological reality. It does not mean that they think that everyone’s skin is the same color. It means that the characteristics we associate with those colors are imposed rather than inherent. Race is something we have invented to organize our world, rather than a product of our DNA. And for CRT, folks with lighter skin have organized the world based on values assigned to colors that privilege themselves and oppress people with darker skin.”[4] 
2. “Racism is Structural”[5] – Mullins explains that for CRT proponents “racism is thus not only treating someone badly because their skin color is different from yours. Racism is a huge, complicated, historical system. It is the very way our world has been organized over time to empower folks who came to understand themselves as white and to subjugate those who fall outside that category.”[6]
3. “Colorblindness is a Problem, not a Solution”[7] – For CRT proponents, “the idea of treating people the same ‘regardless’ of their histories is why racism persists.”[8] CRT proponents argue that “if racism has evolved over time into an integral part of the structure of our society, and if that structure holds some people back and gives others a leg up, then to treat all those people the same is to maintain a status quo that disenfranchises some and privileges others.”[9] 
4. “Interest Convergence, not Pure Progress”[10] – Mullins relays that “Interest convergence is the idea that dominant groups only acquiesce to minority interests when those interests converge with their own.”[11] In other words, CRT proponents believe that at times changes in society affecting racial groups are wrongly identified as “progress” when in reality they have only come about because they changes that are “in the best interest of the dominant culture, not because [they are] truly just, fair, or best for minorities.”[12] 
5. “Whiteness is Normative”[13] – For CRT proponents, “whiteness has come to seem normal over time, making everything else non-normal, or other. To put it another way, whiteness and everything associated with being white has become the standard for how a person should be...CRT criticizes the idea that we can be neutral, objective, or colorblind when it comes to race. If we are trying to be neutral, then we are inevitably reinforcing the status quo, or the norm, and the norm is to live and behave like white people.”[14]
6. “Intersectionality”[15] – As Mullins states, “intersectionality is the study of how different identity categories overlap.”[16] Consequently, “proponents of CRT who study intersectionality typically believe that people living at the intersection of multiple oppressed identity categories face unique forms of discrimination that require equally unique forms of defense.”[17]
These core beliefs undergird the CRT proponent’s activities. CRT proponents see themselves are actively being committed to “expanding history,”[18] which is to say “telling a more complete story of United States history than many of us learned in school.”[19] They also “critique colorblindness,”[20] by “focus[ing] on revealing how stories, laws, customs, and decisions that seem to be neutral, or colorblind, are actually built on assumptions about race.”[21] Additionally, CRT proponents seek to “make the legal system fairer,”[22] “advocate for voting rights,”[23] and “change speech norms.”[24]

§ III. A Necessary Clarification

Having defined CRT, its core beliefs, and its proponents’ goals, we must make a necessary point of clarification. The proponents of CRT represent their stated goals as being in line with the second greatest commandment to love one’s neighbor as oneself, and because of this do not think their views should be called unChristian, let alone anti-Christian. This sidesteps the underlying issue – the fact that the philosophical underpinnings of CRT, from which perceived social ills spring and are identifiable as social ills, are anti-Christian. The disagreement between proponents of CRT and opponents of CRT is not one over whether or not Christians should love their neighbors as themselves. Rather, the disagreement is over the compatibility of CRT, as a post-structuralist-influenced/postmodern philosophical tool for social “change,” and the Christian worldview. The short answer is that they are not at all compatible, although they may share a superficial concern for rectifying some of the social ills we and our neighbors may experience. We will demonstrate this is the case below.

§ IV. The Origins of CRT

When we speak of the origins of CRT, we may be referring to the historical beginnings of the actual discipline or the philosophical foundations upon which CRT has been built. It is all too often the case that proponents of CRT will point to the historical beginnings of CRT when discussing its origins, presumably seeking to distance it from the halls of academia. Mullins does just this in his article explaining the “origins” of CRT, writing –
Critical Race Theory was not born out of a university department. It did not emerge from a political party, think tank, or policy center. It was a natural reaction to the aftermath of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. While overt forms of racism such as discriminatory hiring practices and voter intimidation had been made illegal thanks to civil rights activists, new forms of racism emerged that required new forms of resistance and new forms of legal defense.[25]
By denying that it originated in a university department, and by stating that it was “a natural reaction to the aftermath of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s,” Mullins suggests that CRT is not tied to any particular philosophical worldview. It was a “natural [moral?] reaction” to historical circumstances, claims Mullins, but CRT scholars do not agree. For instance, Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic state that –
As a scholarly movement, Critical Race Theory (CRT) began in the early 1970s with the early writing of Derrick Bell, an African-American civil rights lawyer and the first black to teach at Harvard Law School. Writing about interest convergence as a means of understanding Western racial historyl and the conflict of interest in civil rights litigation (the lawyer or litigation fund wants a breakthrough; the client or her group, better schools), Bell was one of a small but growing group of scholars and minority activists who realized that the gains of the heady civil rights era had stalled and, indeed, were being rolled back.[26]
Delgado and Stefancic are even more specific in their introductory work on the subject, writing –
The [CRT] movement is a collection of activists and scholars interested in studying and transforming the relationship among race, racism, and power. The movement considers many of the same issues that conventional civil rights and ethnic studies discourses take up, but places them in a broader perspective that includes economics, history, context, group- and self-interest, and even feelings and the unconscious. Unlike traditional civil rights, which embraces step-by-step progress, critical race theory questions the very foundations of the liberal order, including, equality theory, legal reasoning, Enlightenment rationalism, and neutral practices of constitutional law.[27]
Rather than placing the origin of CRT in a “natural reaction” or in some non-academic context, CRT scholars openly recognize that CRT was indeed birthed within the very context of academia.

Critical Legal Studies & Its Discontents: 
Truth and Consciousness as the Possessor and Revealer of Truth

Thus, the origin of CRT lies directly in the work of legal scholars emerging from Critical Legal Studies (hereafter, CLS), a “wing of legal theory,” according to Raymond Wacks, that “generally spurns many of the enterprises that have long been assumed to be at the heart of jurisprudence.”[28] CLS embraces an anti-Enlightenment worldview which rejects many of the core assumptions of the Christian faith, as derived from the Scriptures. For instance, Wacks explains that “the primary purpose of critical legal theory...is to contest the universal rational foundation of law which, it maintains, clothes the law and legal system with a spurious legitimacy.”[29] Rather than viewing Law as originating in the mind of God,
...CLS detects in the law a form of ‘hegemonic consciousness’, a term borrowed from the writings of the Italian Marxist, Antonio Gramsci, who observed that social order is maintained by a system of beliefs which are accepted as ‘common sense’ and part of the natural order – even by those who are actually subordinated to it. In other words, these ideas are treated as eternal and necessary whereas they really reflect only the transitory, arbitrary interests of the dominant elite.[30]
Universal and absolute rules, consequently, were viewed as local and relative strictures imposed by those with power on their subordinates. As Duncan Kennedy explains –
Legal behavior and legal thought, with their prestige and claims to universality and rationality, have an important effect, the Gramscian-type argument would go, in maintaining the hegemony of ruling class people over this influential professional, technical, intellectual sector which administers the legal system. The legal system maintains the social structure of the capitalist state. It requires legal workers and has got to have some way of keeping their loyalty.[31]
Law is a human construct that serves human ends, in other words, and nothing more.

CLS, following Freudian psychoanalysis, also psychologized “legal thought,” identifying it as “a form of ‘denial’...[which] affords a way of coping with contradictions that are too painful for us to hold in our conscious mind...[by denying] the contradiction between the promise, on the one hand of, say, equality and freedom, and the reality of oppression and hierarchy, on the other.”[32] The underlying assumption of Freud’s concept of denial is, we must note, the belief that what is truly taking place in the unconscious mind of man is only perceivable by analysis of his patterns of speech and behavior. What is explicitly identified as the true content of a man’s mind, by the man himself, is to be understood as a socially approved of means of communicating socially disapproved of desires for animalistic “needs” (e.g. violence, sex, power).

CRT: The Fruit of Philosophy,
Not a “Natural Reaction” to Moral Evils

In contradiction to Mullins' claims regarding the origin of CRT, then, it is plain to see the anti-Enlightenment – and by implication anti-Christian[33] – philosophical roots of CRT without much effort.

§ IV. Why CRT is Anti-Christian

1. Reality, Language, and Law – The Christian Worldview

At this point, it should be evident to the reader that the worldview espoused by CLS, and which forms the foundation of CRT and social justice advocacy, is essentially opposed to the Christian faith. Metaphysically, i.e. as regards the fundamental nature of reality, the Scriptures show us that our creaturely reality was brought forth,[34] is now being sustained,[35] will be destroyed, and will be recreated by the Word of God.[36] As the psalmist declares –
By the Word of the Lord the heavens were made,and by the breath of his mouth all their hosts.[37]
Moreover, what God has decreed to come about will not fail to materialize,[38] for God “works all things according to the counsel of his will.”[39] All of creation obeys the Word of God, the command of God that these things should exist and do what he desires them to do. And if the entirety of creation and its existence is under the Law-Word of God, then so are the actions of all men. 

Hence, when Paul declares that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”[40] he implicitly reinforces what he’s already stated explicitly to his hearers in Rom 2:12-16: The same moral Law of God addresses all men. The Scriptures teach us that the work of the Law is written on the hearts of all humans,[41] irrespective of their national, ethnic, cultural, linguistic, or gender differences. The Law of God, therefore, does not see color, ethnicity, gender, socio-economic status, or even age – the Law of God sees guilt or innocence.

God’s rule by Law is evident, therefore, in the governance of the created order, but it is even more so evident in the universal knowledge of God as Creator, Law-Giver, and Judge. According to the apostle Paul, all men know God has created them to obey his Law, but they reject his law. According to the apostle Paul, all men know the difference between good and bad (i.e. righteous and unrighteous) behavior. All men will be judged on the basis of God’s revealed truth, be it merely general revelation or general and special revelation. Psalm 19 aptly articulates the triadic reign of God’s Law over the creation in general (vv.1–6), over all men in general (vv.7–10), and over particular men (vv.11-14). God teaches us that there is a inextricable link between reality, language, and law that reflects the life of our Creator, Redeemer, and Judge.

2. Power is God’s Possession to Distribute as He Sees Fit

The human establishment and exercise of civil laws by words is not a human contrivance, let alone a human practice which originated only a few hundred years ago (i.e. since the Enlightenment period). Man, as the image of God,[42] a priori understands that there is an inextricable link between reality, language, and law. He further understands that law is a legitimate, divinely ordained means of exercising divinely bestowed power. This is hinted at in Gen 2:18-20, in which Adam reflects God’s act of naming creation in Gen 1 by naming various animals brought to him by God. Adam’s exercise of language assumes the inextricable link between reality, language, and law, and it assumes as legitimate the expression of power via legal language.

Adam received power from God, as all men do. For according to the Scriptures, “power belongs to God.”[43] As the prophet Samuel’s mother declares,
The Lord kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up. The Lord makes poor and makes rich; he brings low and he exaltsHe raises up the poor from the dust; he lifts the needy from the ash heap to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor. For the pillars of the earth are the Lord's, and on them he has set the world.[44]
And as the prophet Daniel tells us  Nebuchadnezzar likewise proclaimed –
“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings...”[45]
And as the Lord Jesus Christ also declares to Pontius Pilate –
“You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above...”[46]
Rather than identifying political structures of power as illegitimate mechanisms of oppression, the Scriptures identify them as divinely ordained institutions for the well-being of human society. In contradiction to CRT, Scripture teaches us that power does not originate with men individually or collectively. Power is the sole possession of God; he distributes it, on loan as it were, to whomever he wishes, as he sees fit. 

The apostle Paul relays these truths unambiguously in his epistle to the Romans, writing –
...there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.[47]
While we recognize that there are historical events that lead to the formation of governing bodies, we also must recognize that it is God who has appointed these authorities to judge the actions of men and women impartially.

3. Impartiality is Not Impossible, if Properly Understood

From the above, we see that the Christian faith does not sever reality, language, and law from one another. We also see that God has given men the ability to rule by laws expressed in language. It is this judgment by the law of God that can properly be called impartial, seeing as its goal is to glorify God, not to attend to the needs, demands, and desires of any human individual or group. As it is written –
“You shall do no injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor.”[48]
One can only show true impartiality by judging all men by the Law of God. CRT, and social justice advocacy, assume a concept of law that is purely socio-historical, non-divine in origin, and, therefore, identifies all laws as partial by virtue of their being expressed by different individuals and groups. Yet the Scriptures are clear – impartial judgment is judgment according to the Word of God.

4. Biblical Epistemology is Thoroughly Anti-Relativistic

We have already noted that CLS and CRT assume a form of ethical/moral relativism. What the reader should note here, however, is that ethical/moral propositions (e.g. “Income inequality is immoral”) constitute knowledge claims. Ethical/moral items of knowledge are viewed as relative to historically ensconced persons and groups, which implies that truth itself is relative. This is necessarily implied by their doctrine. However, we may further substantiate this assertion by reminding the reader that CRT, following CLS and the post-structuralist/postmodernist philosophers who influenced that school of jurisprudence, axiomatically denies all forms of essentialism. Consequently, CRT reduces categories of being and thought to heuristic tools to be used in the service of achieving whatever ends are in view by CRT proponents. The denial of all forms of essentialism renders all “knowledge” relative to historically ensconced persons and groups. Such a relativized understanding of knowledge, and therefore truth itself, stands in stark contradiction to the teaching of Scripture. 

God’s Word teaches us that what it proclaims to be the case is actually the case. Scripture is replete with examples of this, but here we will offer two that are sufficient, seeing as they are universal in scope.
The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.[49]
Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.[50]
Given that the Scriptures are the Word of God communicated by various men throughout history, it follows that the truth is not relative to particular individuals or groups. CRT’s assumption that truths are relative to specific persons or groups is not only self-referentially absurd, therefore, but diametrically opposed to the teaching of Scripture regarding the nature of knowledge, truth, and, by implication, man.

5. Biblical Anthropology Militates Against CRT

We again must underscore CRT’s commitment to anti-Enlightenment concepts derived from the Christian worldview. As regards anthropology, what is renounced by CRT is the concept of subjectivity divorced from any particularities of history, ethnicity, language, gender, et al. Whereas the Scriptures teach us that every individual who ever has existed, is now existing, and will later exist is made in the image of God,[51] CRT undermines this by renouncing any concept of “abstract” subjectivity. The contradiction that obtains here is plain to see. Scripture teaches that all persons have an essential nature that makes them human; CRT denies all forms of essentialism, including anthropological essentialism.

6. The Incarnation and CRT are Mutually Exclusive

Christians affirm that the Eternal Son of God, Second Person of the Trinity, became “became flesh and dwelt among us.”[52] He was “made like [us] in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.”[53] This means that “when the fullness of time was come, [Christ took] upon him man's nature, with all the essential properties and common infirmities thereof, yet without sin.”[54] Thus, we affirm “that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion; which person is very God and very man, yet one Christ, the only mediator between God and man.”[55] God the Son truly became truly human, sharing every aspect of our human nature in its uncorrupted and sinless state. Hence, Scripture declares him to be “the last”[56] and “second Adam.”[57]

Christ, in other words, is truly God and truly man. The two natures are united in one divine person, implying that the knowledge of the incarnate Son did not differ in kind from the knowledge he possessed prior to his incarnation, nor does it differ now. Knowledge is not dependent upon history, nor is it dependent upon one’s socio-historical conditions; knowledge is God's possession. Neither Christ’s gender, nor his skin color, nor his language, nor his height, nor his hair length, nor his weight, nor his eye color made him possess knowledge he otherwise would not have possessed had he been born, for instance, a wealthy, white Scandinavian aristocrat. The knowledge Christ has as the God-Man is identical in substance to the knowledge he possessed prior to his incarnation. This is a necessary implication of the doctrine of the hypostatic union of the human and divine natures in the Second Person of the Trinity.

Given the doctrine of the hypostatic union, therefore, we must affirm that whatever divinely revealed knowledge we possess is substantially identical to that knowledge as it exists in the mind of God. The true propositions we possess are identical in substance to those which God possesses, and cannot be otherwise, since the Son of God as one divine person with two distinct natures knew, and knows, such propositions as both God and man. This is a reality that contradicts CRT’s relativistic epistemology in which persons and groups of persons have access to truths that are unknowable by other persons and groups of persons differing with respect to historical placement, skin color, language, weight, height, gender, socio-political status, and so on.

CRT and the doctrine of the incarnation cannot be held together simultaneously without contradiction, for CRT implies that there are “truths” that are inseparable from the human particularities mentioned above, but the incarnation shows us that there are no truths that are inseparable from the human particularities of an individual person or group's existence, seeing as the Lord Jesus Christ’s possession of universal and absolute truths was not dependent upon those human particularities mentioned above. Either CRT is correct, therefore, and Christ could not have known universal and absolute truths, or Christ did know universal and absolute truths, and CRT is false. These options are mutually exclusive.

§ V. Conclusion/s

Contemporary Christian proponents of CRT and social justice advocacy are either not being upfront about the academic and philosophical origins of CRT and social justice, or they are ignorant of their origins. If they are not being honest about this matter, Christians have every right to question the veracity of their claim that CRT is not unChristian. Likewise, if the proponents of CRT and social justice are ignorant as to the origins of CRT and social justice, Christians have every right to question the veracity of the claim that CRT is not unChristian. We are under obligation to test all things by the Word of God, accepting what is explicitly and/or implicitly taught therein; we are also obligated to reject what has no basis in the Scriptures.

What we do not have the liberty to do is accept the claims of CRT and social justice advocacy proponents as true without first scrutinizing them in the pure light of God’s holy Word. As is usually the case in church history, proponents of false teaching often claim to be taking the moral high ground by promulgating their false teaching. One need look no further than the so-called “Emerging church” movement just over a decade ago to see this tactic in action.[58] It is necessary for us, therefore, to know whether or not a new teaching or framework for understanding some Scriptural reality (in this case, i.e. that of racism, sins of partiality and violence) is fundamentally, essentially, at odds with the Christian faith. When we do, we will be able to properly differentiate legitimate moral concerns and commands from illegitimate moral concerns and commands.[59]

Having established that CRT is foundationally anti-Christian and, therefore, incompatible with Christianity, indeed contradictory to its main beliefs regarding the Son of God’s person and work, we may better understand why it is that CRT and social justice advocacy mistakenly identify acts of mercy as acts of justice. CRT and social justice advocacy rest upon a worldview that is contrary to the Scriptures at nearly every turn, thus their fruits are equally corrupt. The central issue in this matter, then, is not whether or not the church is to uphold justice, nor whether or not the church is to despise all forms of partiality and embrace persons of all socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds, nor whether or not the Scriptures command us to love our neighbors by showing them mercy and kindness. The central issue is this – Are the Scriptures sufficient, or not?



1 See, “The Statement on Social Justice & The Gospel,” https://statementonsocialjustice.com.
2 “Is Critical Race Theory ‘UnChristian’ Part 1,” Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary,
http://kingdomdiversity.sebts.edu/index.php/2018/10/12/is-critical-race-theory-unchristian-part-1/, accessed October 18, 2018.
3 “Is Critical Race Theory ‘UnChristian’ Part 3,” Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, http://kingdomdiversity.sebts.edu/index.php/2018/10/03/is-critical-race-theory-unchristian-part-3/,accessed October 18, 2018.
4 ibid.
5 ibid.
6 ibid.
7 “Is Critical Race Theory ‘UnChristian’ Part 4,” Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary,
http://kingdomdiversity.sebts.edu/index.php/2018/10/01/is-critical-race-theory-unchristian-part-4/, accessed October 18, 2018.
8 ibid.
9 ibid.
10 ibid.
11 ibid.
12 ibid.
13 ibid.
14 ibid.
15 “Is Critical Race Theory ‘UnChristian’ Part 5,” Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, 
http://kingdomdiversity.sebts.edu/index.php/2017/10/26/is-critical-race-theory-unchristian-part-5/, accessed October 18, 2018.
16 ibid.
17 ibid.
18 ibid.
19 ibid.
20 ibid.
21 ibid.
22 ibid.
23 ibid.
24 ibid.
25 “Is Critical Race Theory ‘UnChristian’ Part 5,” Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, 
http://kingdomdiversity.sebts.edu/index.php/2018/10/14/is-critical-race-theory-unchristian-part-2/. accessed October 18, 2018. (emphasis added)
26 “Critical Race Theory: Past, Present, and Future,” in Current Legal Problems 1998: Legal Theory at the End of the Millenium ed. Michael Freeman (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), 467. (emphasis added)
27 Critical Race Theory: An Introduction (New York & London: New York University Press, 2001), 2-3. (emphasis added)
28 Philosophy of Law: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), 92.
29 ibid. (emphasis added)
30 ibid., 95.
31 “Antonio Gramsci and the Legal System,” in ALSA Forum Vol. VI. No. 1 (1982), 36.
32 Wacks, Philosophy of Law, 95.
33 While Christianity does not embrace the Enlightenment ideals of human ethical, epistemological, and social autonomy, it does agree with the Enlightenment’s concepts of rational universality, ontological essentialism, and epistemological foundationalism.
34 cf. Gen 1:1, Ps 33:6, John 1:1-3, 2nd Pet 3:5, Heb 1:1-2 & 11:3.
35 cf. Heb 1:3.
36 cf. 2nd Pet 3:5-7.
37 Ps 33:6.
38 cf. Ps 33:9.
39 Eph 1:11.
40 cf. Rom 3:23.
41 cf. Rom 1:18-19 & 32; 2:14-15.
42 cf. Gen 1:26-27 & 9:6; Luke 20:23-25; 1st Cor 11:7; James 3:9.
43 Ps 62:11
44 1st Sam 2:6-8. (emphasis added)
45 Dan 2:20-21. (emphasis added)
46 John 19:11a. (emphasis added)
47 Rom 13:1b-7. (emphasis added)
48 Lev 19:15.
49 Ps 119:160. (emphasis added)
50 John 17:17. (emphasis added)
51 cf. Gen 1:26-27.
52 John 1:14a.
53 Heb 2:17.
54 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith, Ch. 8, Art. 2. (emphasis added)
55 ibid. (emphasis added)
56 1st Cor 15:45.
57 1st Cor 15:47.
58 See Diaz, Hiram R. “Heretics that are Holier Than You,” Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry Official Blog, 
https://web.archive.org/web/20121103061646/http://blog.carm.org/2011/06/heretics-that-are-holier-than-you/.
59 There are several contemporary authors who have provided very useful resources in this regard. See Beisner, Calvin E. Social Justice vs. Biblical Justice: How Good Intentions Undermine Justice and the Gospel (Good Trees Press: 2018), 46pp; Clark, R. Scott. “Resources on the Social Gospel and Social Justice,” The Heidelblog, https://heidelblog.net/2018/04/resources-on-the-social-gospel-social-justice/; Harrison, Darrell B. “The Fault in Their (Social) Gospel,” Just Thinking...For Myself,
 https://justthinking.me/2018/08/31/the-fault-in-their-social-gospel/, and “The Misleading Language of the Social Justice Movement,” https://justthinking.me/2018/05/13/the-misleading-language-of-the-social-justice-movement/; Buice, Josh. “The Broken Road of the Social Gopel,” Delivered by Grace, 
http://www.deliveredbygrace.com/the-broken-road-of-the-social-gospel/; Sey, Samuel. “Social Justice is a Threat to Human Rights and the Gospel,” Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel, https://statementonsocialjustice.com/articles/social-justice-threat-human-rights/; Hall, Amy K. “If We Lose the Meaning of ‘Justice,’ We Lose the Gospel,” Stand to Reason, https://www.str.org/blog/if-we-lose-meaning-justice-we-lose-gospel.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

What is Apologetics? Pt. 3

by Hiram R. Diaz III 

§ I. The Impossibility 
of Epistemological Neutrality1

The particular apologetical methodology which we have been discussing has been called presuppositionalism by some thinkers because it does not argue to the Christian faith, it argues from the presupposition that the Christian faith is true. We presuppose the truth of the Christian religion, we do not argue to it from the basis of some neutral starting point. This is because epistemological neutrality does not exist. According to Scripture, we are either for Christ or against him;2 therefore, either one’s mind is in submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, or it is not. And if one’s mind is not in submission to the Lordship of Christ, then it is in opposition to Christ. 

Paul the apostle repeats this truth when he declares that “the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot.”3 In context, Paul is speaking to fallen man’s inability to love and serve God, and this includes his ability to love and serve God with his mind. How this plays out in epistemological contexts is clear – if the law of God written on a man’s heart4 binds him to accept the truth about who God is, for this indeed pleasing to God, then the fallen man cannot do this. Instead, he suppresses the truth in unrighteousness.5 Fallen man is always at the center of all of his reasoning. Be it empirical research or mathematical calculation, there is no difference. Consequently, fallen man’s construction of criteria for what does or does not constitute evidence for the truth of any proposition is geared toward this end, namely his own self-satisfaction in opposition to his Creator. 

What is more, we must recognize that if there is a proper means of evaluating evidence, and there is, then that proper means of evaluating evidence has its origins in God himself. This means that whenever we reason correctly, we are reasoning according to that standard which God has determined we ought to follow. It, therefore, likewise means that when we do not reason correctly, we are not reasoning according to that standard which God has determined we ought to follow. And so the unbeliever’s reasoning, if it is sound, is built upon the truth (e.g. the laws of logic, mathematics, and so on), whereas his unsound reasoning is built upon his sinful desire to glorify himself, not God. 

If there are universal standards for the evaluation of proposed evidences in favor of some spiritual matter, in other words, those standards are necessarily there because God has placed them there. The laws of logic, for example, do not exist apart from the Logic of God, Christ Jesus who sustains the universe in existence by the Word of his power. Knowledge is always revealed by God, even the knowledge that A is A, or that If A is B, and B is C, therefore, A is C. This is why the unbeliever’s opposition to the Christian faith is riddled with logical fallacies and contradictions – for he is trying to use God’s own revealed knowledge against God’s revealed knowledge. 

Thus, we reason from the truth of the Scriptures, because all human reasoning argues from a foundation, a starting point. What is more, all human reasoning argue from the revealed knowledge of God present in all men’s minds (e.g the laws of logic). When the unbeliever claims to have reasoned from that very foundation given by God for our acquisition of knowledge, and upon that basis have come to the conclusion that Christianity is false, therefore, we challenge his claim by asking him about his own epistemological foundation, demonstrating its inherent instability due to the fact that it is attempting to use God’s revealed knowledge in one area of life (i.e. non-spiritual matters) against God’s revealed knowledge in another area of life (viz. spiritual matters). 

There is no neutral starting point. One is either reasoning under the dominion of sin and death, or one is reasoning under the Lordship of Christ.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Irenaeus vs. The Annihilationists


by Hiram R. Diaz III 

§ I. Introduction 

Among the many church fathers the annihilationists mistakenly claim for themselves, we find not only Athanasius1 but his biggest influence, Irenaeus of Lyons. This is largely due to the presence of words central to the annihilationist doctrine which are also present throughout Irenaeus’ writings. For instance, given that Irenaeus states that “those who, in this brief temporal life, have shown themselves ungrateful to Him who bestowed it, shall justly not receive from Him length of days for ever and ever,”2 annihilationists believe he is denying that the wicked will exist eternally. This coupled with the fact that Irenaeus repeatedly stresses that immortality is conferred upon the righteous provides the annihilationists with a case that is superficially impressive. Yet a comprehensive reading of Irenaeus demonstrates that his understanding of immortality is much different than that of the annihilationists. What is more, a proper understanding of Irenaeus in his historical context reveals that his theological opponents, the Gnostics, were the ones who actually embraced a form of annihilationism that is very similar to that of present day annihilationists. 

The present article, therefore, will mainly deal with secondary scholarly literature as regards several key Irenaen themes pertinent to the question of immortality, and demonstrate that in Irenaeus’ theology the true immortality conferred upon the righteous encompasses the ontological immortality of the body, soul, and spirit, as well as the qualitative immortality acquired only by grace through faith in Christ, via participation in the life of God. 

These key themes are – 

1. Irenaen Anthropology vs. Gnostic Anthropology 
a. The Whole Man as Divine Image [Irenaeus]  
b. The Spirit as Wholly Divine [Gnosticism] 

2. Ontological & Qualitative Psychical Immortality 
a. Universal Ontological Psychical Immortality  
b. Particular Qualitative Psychical Immortality 

3. Universal Ontological Somatic Immortality 
a. Particular Qualitative Somatic Immortality
Once given due explanation, we will then demonstrate that because it is the case that Irenaeus did not hold to the same notion of immortality as held by the annihilationists, arguments that appeal to his numerous statements about immortality being a gift which the righteous only receive from God, are fallacious by virtue of equivocation. It will further be demonstrated that the annihilationists in Irenaeus’ day were actually the Gnostic heretics who affirmed that the lost would be annihilated in the fires of Gehenna, whereas only the righteous would receive any form of ontological immortality.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Our God is Triune: Essays in Biblical Theology


While we began working on this book late in 2017, it is the product of years of biblical and theological inquiry and study. I am proud to introduce Our God is Triune; a refreshing consideration and defense of the biblical nature of God. I had the privilege of both editing and contributing to this volume. I spilled my ink equally between the Old and New Testament, considering the consistent and progressive nature of God taught therein.

This volume is unique in several respects. First, it deals heavily in the Old Testament. Typically, books on either the Trinity or Christology that deal with the Old Testament, do so quite poorly. In fact, I have never seen any other book which deals so thoroughly with the proto-trinitarian nature of God in the Old Testament. That I believe, is worth the price of the book alone. While academic in style, and lengthy (380 pp.), Our God is Triune is a substantial contribution that we are blessed to present.

You can find it at amazon and all major bookstores.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

What is Apologetics? Pt. 2c

[Continued from Pt. 2b]

by Hiram R. Diaz III

§ I. Internal Critique

Having addressed the nature of apologetics,1 the supremacy of Scripture over all of human reasoning,2 and apologetics as a means of communicating Law and Gospel to the unbeliever,3 we now turn to the ways we can apply what we have learned. When dealing with any objection to the Christian faith, it is necessary for us to remember that any objection is an implicit knowledge claim. For instance, a person may state the following –
I doubt that the Bible is true because x.
x can stand in for anything – an idea, a physical reality, a philosophical conundrum, a personal pet-peeve, etc. Whatever x is, it is presupposed to be known to be the case, whereas the Bible is not known to be the case. So we must challenge x, showing it to be incoherent.

x will be either an indirect reference to an presupposed belief, or it will be an explicitly stated presupposed belief. For example –
[Indirect] A. I doubt that the Bible is true because it teaches that snakes talked, and simple observation teaches us snakes don’t and can’t talk. 
[Explicit] A.1 I doubt the Bible is true because it contradicts empirical observation, which is always true.
The belief in each of these assertions is the same: Empirical observation is always true. Let us pull the assertion apart to show its absurdity.

§ Ia. Reductio Ad Absurdum

Firstly, therefore, we must point out that the assertion “Empirical observation is always true” is false because empirical observations do not have logical values (e.g. true or false). Propositions are capable of being true or false, but empirical observation is neither. Secondly, however, we can ignore the categorically erroneous nature of the unbeliever’s assertion that “Empirical observation is always true” for the sake of argument. Once granted, for the sake of argument, we may point out that since empirical observation is spatio-temporally limited, and all human observers are likewise spatio-temporally finite, it follows that no human observation can non-fallaciously infer that “Empirical observation is always true.” Thus, the belief is demonstrably false on these two accounts.

This is a simple refutation that does not require extensive knowledge of the more involved philosophical debates concerning not only the relationship of sensation to knowledge. It also does require the Christian to refute the implied belief of the unbeliever regarding empirical observation, namely that it is infallible.

Nevertheless, we may go another step further in our internal critique of the unbeliever’s stated belief that “Empirical observation is always true,” for it does imply that empirical observation is infallible, i.e. without fault. We may, therefore, further infer from this unstated presupposition the absurdities that follow thereupon, for granting that E represents the proposition “Empirical observation is always true,” it follows inexorably that
If E, then all empirically based knowledge claims are necessarily true.
And if this is the case, then it follows that the scientific method is based upon a false presupposition, namely that ¬E. More to the point, if E is true, then ¬E is false. And if ¬E is false, then the scientific method is based upon a false assumption. And if the scientific method is based upon a false assumption, then it follows that conclusions drawn empirical observation, as delimited by the scientific method, are false as well. The assumption that E, in other words, leads to the conclusion that the conclusions drawn from empirical observation in science do not constitute truths but falsehoods.4

Friday, August 17, 2018

Beginning at Moses: A Guide to Finding Christ in the Old Testament [Review]


by Hiram R. Diaz III


The body of Christ has always recognized typology as Scripturally sanctioned, even mandated, means of interpreting the Scripture. However, there have been times in her history when the church has not understood the proper use and limits of typological exegesis. In part, this has led some to argue that typological exegesis should be limited only to those types mentioned in Scripture explicitly (e.g. Adam as a type of Christ in Rom 5 and 1st Cor 15). Others have attempted to argue that typological exegesis adds meaning to the text that was not intended by the original authors. These arguments have been dealt with in other articles to some extent,1 but have not laid out specific rules of typological interpretation for readers to follow.

Thankfully, however, we can point readers to a great resource in this area of study that will serve as a great help to those understanding how it is they can see Christ in the Old Testament, without resorting to arbitrarily concocted rules. Michael P. V. Barrett’s Beginning at Moses: A Guide to Finding Christ in the Old Testament does just this, providing the reader with the necessary tools for reading Scripture’s types according to Scripture’s own given rules, in a way that does not compromise the Christian understanding that the meaning of Scripture is “not manifold, but one.”2 Barrett helpfully limits his study to the Scriptures and the Westminster Confession of Faith, thereby drawing the reader’s attention to the meaning of Scripture, specifically as articulated by the Reformed.

The book is divisible into two major parts: (1) Whom to Look For, and (2) Where to Look. In the first chapter of part 1, Barrett explains the Scriptural teaching regarding the nature of a messiah or anointed one. He then moves on to detail the person of Christ in chapter 2, as well as his work in chapter 3. This sets the foundation for part 2, in which Barrett shows how Christ is found in the covenants (ch. 4), persons (ch. 5), names (ch. 6), word prophecies (ch. 8), picture prophecies (ch. 9), and songs (ch. 10) of the Old Testament. Typology is not limited to the explicit statements that “x is a type of y,” but it is limited in two ways. Firstly, typology is limited to the Old Testament. Typology foreshadows the one who is to come; therefore, it is thereby limited to the content of the Old Testament. Secondly, typology pictures or images nothing distinct from the propositional meaning of Scripture. One’s reading of the Old Testament types cannot, therefore, result in doctrinal meanings that add to the propositional teaching of the Scriptures. Typology does not add to the teaching of Scripture.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

What is Apologetics? Pt. 2b


by Hiram R. Diaz III

§ I. Law and Gospel in Apologetics

A. The Law

As we saw in our last article, we are required to use Scripture alone in our warfare against unbelief. The use of the Word of God is twofold. In the first place, we destroy the false beliefs and belief-systems standing in opposition to the Christian faith. In the second place, we assert what is the case from the Scriptures, i.e. we raise the truth up by means of argumentation, building the edifice of the Christian faith by sound reasoning. This two-fold movement corresponds to the two-fold distinction of God’s Word as comprised of Law and Gospel. The Law of God, in its broadest sense, is whatever God commands. As John Colquohoun explains, in

...its restricted or limited sense, it [i.e. the phrase “the Law of God”] is employed to express the rule which God has prescribed to His rational creatures in order to direct and oblige them to the right performance of all their duties to Him. In other words, it is used to signify the declared will of God, directing and obliging mankind to do that which pleases Him, and to abstain from that which displeases Him.1

The Law of God is comprised of imperatives that reveal God’s holy will to man, and simultaneously reveal man’s complete inability to meet God’s perfect standard of absolute moral perfection.

Thus, when the Law is preached properly, it removes man’s confidence in his own capacity to, as it were, fix himself and make himself presentable to God. As C. F. W. Walther aptly puts the matter –

The Law says: “You must do this; if you fail to do it, you have no recourse to the patience, lovingkindness, and longsuffering of God; you will have to go to perdition for your wrong-doing.” To make this point quite plain to us, the Lord says: “Whosoever shall break one of these least commandments and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven.” That does not mean, he shall have the lowest place assigned him in heaven, but he does not belong in the kingdom of heaven at all.

[…]

A sermon on the Law which you deliver from your pulpit, to be a proper preaching of the Law, must measure up to these requirements: There is to be no ranting about abominable vices that may be rampant in the congregation. Continual ranting will prove useless. People may quit the practises that have been reproved, but in two weeks they will have relapsed into their old ways. You must, indeed, testify with great earnestness against transgressions of God’s commandments, but you must also tell the people: “Even if you were to quit your habitual cursing, swearing, and the like, that would not make you Christians. You might go to perdition for all that. God is concerned about the attitude of your heart.” You may explain this matter with the utmost composure, but you must state it quite plainly.2

Concerning apologetics, then, the Law destroys the self-righteousness of man afforded to him, albeit falsely, by his individual false beliefs and/or belief-system. When we destroy the false beliefs/belief-systems of opponents of the faith, we are reminding men once again that all people are to be subject to the Law of God which requires them to “Love the Lord” with all of one’s “heart” and “soul” and  “mind.”3 We are also reminding them that by their failure to love the Lord God with all their minds, i.e. by submitting to the truth and not attempting to establish the truth by rebellion against the truth, they are failing to love their neighbor. Since it is upon these two commandments, as Christ declares, that the whole of the Law and the Prophets depend,4 a refutation of the false beliefs and false belief-systems proposed by the unbeliever is an indictment of the wickedness of fallen man’s heart. We are not playing an intellectual game, or trying to show our superiority of intellect. Rather, we are removing any confidence men have in the idols of their imaginations. We are holding up the perfect Law of God to men’s minds by showing them that the irrationality and falsity of their beliefs and belief-systems are the fruit of their sin against God and neighbor. The falsity and contradictory nature of false beliefs and belief-systems is evidence of the guiltiness of the person who espouses and promulgates them.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

What is Apologetics? Pt.2


by Hiram R. Diaz III
§ I. Methodology
Having defined apologetics,[1] we will now turn our attention to considering how we are to intellectually defend the faith. This article, in other words, will be dealing with methodology. We understand that the faith is to be defended defensively and offensively, but how are we to do this? Before answering this question, we must look at the nature of attacks on the Christian faith. After doing this, we will proceed to answer what methodology we must employ when defending the Christian faith against the enemies of God.
§ Ia. Epistemology & Authority
Apologetics is, as we have noted, the intellectual defense of the faith against spiritual opposition to the it. We are engaged in war, and this implies that we are under some commanding authority. Christians are under the authority of God, who teaches us knowledge[2] through his Word. We do not derive our knowledge firstly from any other source than the Word of God. All authorities are subordinate to the Word of God by necessity, as we learn from the writer to the Hebrews. Discussing the assurance believers can have of their inheritance as children of God struggling against outer and inner corruption that seeks to destroy us, the writer states —
…when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.” And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise. For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation.
So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.[3]
Here we are assured of our everlasting inheritance by the author’s referencing the fact that while men swear some authority higher than themselves in order to give a “final confirmation,” God “since he had no one greater by whom to swear...swore by himself.” This teaches us that God’s Word is the highest source of authority, for God cannot swear by some other authority which would grant his words a final confirmation.
The above situation regarding Abraham, we must note, is not limited to that one event, for there is no situation in which God’s Word is dependent upon some created and mutable thing for its confirmation. We do not argue to the truth of the Scriptures, therefore, but from the truth of the Scriptures. As believers in him who is the Truth, the unchanging and highest authority who could swear by no one higher, we test all things by his Word, and we subordinate all epistemological pursuits to this one — knowing the Word of God.
While the enemies of God are numerous, their ultimate authority is “self.” As the Scriptures state —
…every intention of the thoughts [fallen man’s] heart was only
evil continually[4]
And
        “…the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth.”[5]
The evil in fallen man’s heart is always self-serving. This has been the case since the fall. In seeking to sin, therefore, the unbeliever places himself above all authorities, serving as the judge of what is right and wrong, what is useful or useless, what is worthy of worship or not. Even when he is superficially under the authority of some false god, he has put himself there for self-serving ends, thereby demonstrating that his god is his belly.[6] 
And from this we must conclude that fallen man’s thoughts are constrained by the desire to be free from the authority of God. Man’s thinking is inherently self-serving apart from the grace of God. The apostle Paul explains this in detail in his epistle to the Romans, writing —
…the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
[…]
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.[7]

Fallen man does not seek the truth; he suppresses the truth in unrighteousness. Fallen man’s desire in all things is to pursue his own fallen interests, namely sin. Consequently, his thinking is always geared toward that end, even in the most mundane of activities. His authority is his self, and he subordinates all epistemological pursuits to his own sin-formed notions of what is good or bad, or wise or foolish, et al.