“If only I had some scientific proof that Christianity is true that would really strengthen my faith.”
Have you ever found yourself thinking something like that? Or maybe your teen has also wished that there was scientific proof for Christianity? If that’s true, then this podcast is for you. In today’s podcast, we’re going to be thinking about the blessing and limitations of science.
We live in a time when we’re blessed and amazed at the scientific discoveries that enrich our lives. But a belief in science can morph into the idea that science itself is how we know reality. This belief is certainly held by many around us, and it can affect our faith and the faith of our children.
In today’s podcast, I’m talking with Dr. Keith Plummer, a professor of theology and dean in the School of Divinity at Cairn University and a contributing author to the book Before You Lose Your Faith: Deconstructing Doubt in the Church.
We want to help you raise strong disciples of Jesus Christ, who can stand strong in today’s culture, and you can get the audiobook of the Disciple Making Parent absolutely free.
Simply visit: http://www.thedisciplemakingparent.com/freeaudiobook/
Resources From This Podcast
Why Scientism Can’t Explain Morality or Reality, by Dr. Keith Plummer
Before You Lose Your Faith: Deconstructing Doubt In the Church, from TGC
Scientism and Secularism, by J.P. Moreland
Why Our Children Don’t Think There Are Moral Facts, by Justin P McBrayer in the New York Times
The Stanford Prison Experiment
Wonder of Science on Twitter
Topics Covered In This Week’s Podcast
03:00 How Dr. Plummer came to the faith
10:21 Non-believers’ objections to Christianity
13:07 Science vs. scientism
17:45 History as a casualty of scientism
21:22 Morality as a casualty of scientism
29:05 How parents can help overcome scientism
37:06 Overcoming the mindset that disagreement is hate
42:19 Encouragement in the goodness of the Christian sexual ethic
I’m Chap Bettis, and you’re listening to The Disciple-Making Parent, where we seek to equip parents and churches to pass the gospel to their children.
If only I had some scientific proof that Christianity is true. Man, that would really strengthen my faith. Have you ever found yourself thinking something like that? Or maybe your teen has also wished that there was scientific proof for Christianity. If that’s true, then this podcast is for you.
Hi, my name is Chap Bettis and I’m the author of The Disciple-Making Parent. And in today’s podcast, we’re going to be thinking about the blessing and limitations of science. We live in a time when we’re blessed and amazed at the scientific discoveries that enrich our lives. But a belief in science can morph into scientism- the idea that science itself is how we know reality. And this belief is certainly held by many around us, and it can affect our faith and the faith of our children. And in today’s podcast, I’m going to be talking with Dr. Keith Plummer.
Dr. Plummer is a Professor of Theology and Dean in the School of Divinity at Cairn University. And I came across his chapter in The Gospel Coalition’s book, Before You Lose Your Faith: Deconstructing Doubt in the Church. This chapter was entitled Science: Why Scientism Can’t Explain Morality or Reality. I think you’re going to enjoy this conversation. Dr. Plummer has a PhD in Systematic Theology from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and he teaches various topics, including apologetics, biblical hermeneutics, and pastoral counseling. His love of apologetics resulted from the role that it played, particularly through the works of Francis Schaeffer, in helping him through a time of intense doubt during his early Christian life. Dr. Palmer and his wife Ingrid have two adult children, Candace and Brandon.
Well, before we start, I want to remind you that we are on a mission to equip parents to pass the Gospel to their children. We want to help you raise strong disciples of Jesus Christ who can stand strong in today’s culture. And you can get the audiobook of The Disciple-Making Parent absolutely free. We want to put that in your hands, so just go to thedisciplemakingparent.com/freeaudiobook That offer’s available for you and your friends as well. And now let’s listen to my conversation with Dr. Keith Plummer.
Well, it’s a joy to welcome Dr. Keith Plummer to The Disciple-Making Parent podcast.
Dr. Plummer: It’s a joy to be here and thanks for the invitation.
Chap: Well, we’re going to talk about your chapter Science: Why Scientism Can’t Explain Morality or Reality. But start by telling us just a little bit about yourself, your story, and how you came to faith. And then you’ve got to include the part about that overlaps- that we went to Brown University together, we just found out, and then what you’re doing now.
Dr. Plummer: Sure. Well, I grew up in New York in a nominal Christian family. We were a church-going family, but we were not believers. But if you had asked any of us if we were Christians, we would’ve said yes. I went to a very theologically liberal Protestant denomination, the United Church of Christ. And concurrently my mother had sent me to a Missouri Synod Lutheran parochial school. And there I did get exposure to the Bible. And so there was this kind of conflict between these two worlds, and I would try to make sense of the Bible and wasn’t too successful in it. I didn’t see how it really related to life. I kept my nose clean as a kid, and then went into high school still professing to be a believer, but I was just living my own way.
I went away to college and went to Brown, and it was at Brown, actually, that I came to faith by singing with a student-led gospel choir called Voices of Inspiration. And I reluctantly joined this choir, and I say reluctantly because I thought the student leaders were too religious. They talked about whether or not you were born again. They would pray at the rehearsals. They would encourage people to join Bible studies. I wasn’t into any of that, but they sang just really good gospel music and I liked many of them. I had grown up singing. And so I joined and it didn’t take long before I realized that there was a difference between their singing and mine.
I could tell that they were singing- many of them because not all of them were believers, but most were. And I could just tell that they were singing about someone and to someone that they seem to know and love. And for me, it was a matter of singing for the audience, whoever happened to be before us, and because I like the music.
And a number of those students were so instrumental. I know they were praying for me. They would talk about Christ to me. And I would ask questions, and most of those questions were designed to defend myself against the claims of the gospel as they were putting them forth. And it was at a choir concert at one of the members’ church homes that the pastor gave an evangelistic message. And I was really overcome with the gravity and the reality of my sin and guilt as I had never been before, and my helplessness to be right with this God who I knew was there. And that was my conversion. It was through that ministry of the choir.
Chap: That’s great. And you were telling me beforehand about a period of doubt that you went through- wasn’t that also at Brown?- and how apologetics helped you with that.
Dr. Plummer: Yes. Immediately there were some very marked changes in my life as a result of my coming to Christ. There was this sense of a relieved conscience, there was joy that I had not known before, there was a sense of rest of heart that I had not known previously. And I don’t know what precipitated this. There was no event that I can point to, but I started to seriously question whether all of these changes that I was seeing in myself were the results of the truthfulness of Christianity, or whether it was just kind of a psychological phenomenon. Whether or not Christianity is true, as long as I believed it was, this was the fruit of it. And then I spiraled it down into a period of such severe doubt.
And the questions I was asking now were unlike the questions I was asking previously because I wasn’t trying to defend myself against the faith now. Now the questions were coming because I just really needed answers. And I was wanting Christianity to be true and I was doubting everything from the inspiration of scripture, whether or not God was really there, of course then the deity of Jesus, the possibility of miracles, you name it, I was doubting it. The adjective that I used to describe that time is hellish. It was a very, very dark and painful period in my life, and I felt at some points that I was on the verge of. . . Well, it was like I was at a fork in the road between following the life of my mind, because I had always been intellectually-oriented, or I was going to have to follow the life of my faith, and it didn’t seem as though the two could coexist.
And by the providence of God, I came across a work about Francis Schaeffer. I was going through a, a bookstore in New York, which at the time was the largest bookstore in New York. It was in the Times Square area. I think it was East 47th Street. And I just picked up a book because there was this figure on the cover. It was a book about great American evangelists. And I just looked at this one man whose visage was so curious to me, and it was Francis Schaeffer. I remember standing in that aisle of that bookstore, reading about the emphasis and the ministry of Schaeffer, and tears came to my eyes because here was someone who was taking seriously the very things that were causing me so much pain. The questions about the intellectual soundness, the philosophical soundness of the Christian faith. And that was my introduction to Schaeffer. And I soon went out and bought some others of his works, eventually got the complete works, and I am just so grateful for his ministry of writing because it was a stream in the desert of my spiritual life.
Chap: Apologetics has always existed, but there seemed to be a resurgence around that time. And he, of course, was a leader in that. And he did cut quite an interesting figure with his Swiss clothes and oh, yes, haircut.
Well, let’s talk a little bit about your chapter Science: Why Scientism, and you distinguish between those words, Can’t Explain Morality or Reality. So talk a little bit about the project that you have your students do, the assumptions behind the answers you get back, and then we’ll, we’ll talk more about the extra chapter.
Dr. Plummer: of the things that I have students do in Apologetics is, I have come up with this list of 10 questions that I ask them to ask a non-Christian friend, family member, anyone who doesn’t identify themselves as a follower of Christ. And I just want them to ask, listen, record the answers. I’m not asking them to do apologetics at this point. I just want them to get into the practice and the habit of asking questions and listening attentively. And one of the questions that they have to ask is, “Is there anything that could persuade you that Christianity is true?
If so, what? If not, why?” And many of them come back and the people to whom they have spoken will say things like “Well, what would persuade me is if there was tangible evidence or if there was some type of scientific evidence that God existed.” Some people will even say, “something physical.” And I think what is underlying those kinds of responses is the assumption that the only way of knowing that something is true or that if something is real exists is if it is scientifically verified to be so.
And so I think that what that shows is a lot of people though they might not know what scientism is, if you were to ask them what the word means, operate on this assumption that science is the exclusive, maybe superior, way of knowing reality. And that is something that I spend time talking with the students about- this idea of scientism.
Chap: Yeah, let’s talk about that. This definition, which you would say is the way we know reality. What’s the difference between science and scientism? And specifically you talk about in the chapter, that it’s self-refuting. What is it that is self-refuting about the belief?
Dr. Plummer: Okay. I’ll say a little bit about the distinction between the two. In the chapter in the book I try to make it plain, and I try to make it plain to students: my criticisms of scientism should not be in any way taken as a disparaging or rejection of science. By science, I have in mind the idea of seeking the reasons for causes by observation and experimentation, observation of the natural world, forming hypotheses, doing experiments to test those hypotheses. Coming to some conclusions. In that regard, science is a very valuable discipline that I think Christians should celebrate. And I think the assumptions and the presuppositions of science actually accord well with the Christian theistic view. That if, in fact, the natural world is the product of an intelligent mind, then it makes sense that we should be able to trace out rational reasons for various phenomena that we see.
Scientism, however, is often so wed with science that people think they’re the same thing when in actuality they’re not. A very simple definition that I use with students is that scientism is the belief that science is the only way to know what is true or real. JP Moreland in a very good book on the subject, Scientism and Secularism, says this: “Roughly, scientism is the view that the hard sciences, like chemistry, biology, physics, astronomy, provide the only genuine knowledge of reality. At the very least, the scientific knowledge is vastly superior to what we can know from any other discipline.”
And so when I talk about self-refutation, to say that an idea or a statement is self-refuting is to say that this is a statement that fails to meet its own criterion If it’s true, it disproves itself. And so if you say that science is the only way of acquiring knowledge of what is true or real, and then you’re asked, “How do you know that to be true?” If you offer any explanation that is not scientific, you have just undermined your affirmation of scientism. And that sounds like to some people like you’re just playing word games. But it’s not word games, it’s just showing that there’s an incoherence there. It would seem to be that if this is true, then it requires that science would have to verify the truth of that. But scientism isn’t a statement of science. It’s a statement about science. And it is actually a philosophical statement that deals with how it is that we know what we know, what are the limits of our knowledge. So it really is a philosophical affirmation that has been very subtly so wed to science that people hear you critiquing scientism and think that you are belittling science. But in the chapter I’m trying to help people see the two are not the same.
Chap: So you’re talking about science and you’re saying that is superior. But that statement is not a scientific statement. You have to jump over into philosophy worldview to make that statement. It’s like saying there are no absolutes. Well, that’s an absolute statement you’re making that there are no absolutes.
Well, one of the things you talk about is if we accept scientism, then history becomes a casualty. What do you mean by that?
Dr. Plummer: Well, again, if science is regarded as the only way of knowing truth about reality, historical events do not lend themselves to scientific inquiry of the same nature as a chemistry experiment or something. In fact, most of our knowledge of history, whether we’re talking about recent history, like what happened to me this morning, or ancient history concerning events from the distant pasts, much of our knowledge of ancient history, let’s say, relies upon testimony, and testimony that we ourselves are not capable in all instances of being able to empirically verify.
And so if we’re going to say that science is the only way of knowing what’s true, then I think that it is necessary that we discard the vast majority of what we claim to know about history.
Chap: For me, this was just an explosion in my mind when I realized what you were saying years, that most people or a lot of people I’m talking with operate under this exaltation of science- not just appreciation, but exaltation. And when I do that, then I cannot historically repeat events. So we don’t want to have another 9/11. There’s only one first president of the United States. You cannot repeat that, whether it’s a cure or figuring out how to use penicillin or certain chemistry reactions, those will operate over and over.
So it’s just two different realms. And Christianity is in that realm because Jesus is talks about that we are to be witnesses. I think we take that to be, often that means I’m to tell the other person about Jesus. But to me the original context is, “You are to be legal witnesses of my resurrection that tells the world that I am the Messiah.” And again, that’s a different realm. So that’s just really, really helpful.
Dr. Plummer: And even memory, because I was talking about recent history. I asked my students, “How many of you know what you had for breakfast this morning?” And, you know, if they did have breakfast, they raise their hands. And then I asked them, “Well, is your present knowledge of what you had for breakfast dependent upon any kind of empirical verification at this moment?” Meaning the contents of your stomach, right? Well, yeah. You could pump stomachs. But my knowledge of what I had for breakfast this morning is not dependent upon that right now. I’m basing this on my memory of what I had this morning, and I think I am justified and I’m quite confident that I know what I had for breakfast this morning, but I don’t know it on the basis of some kind of scientific verification.
Chap: That’s great. Yeah. So that’s very helpful. And, and, and to say there are other ways of knowing. One is history. You also talk about moral knowledge becomes a casualty if we just exalt science to scientism. What do you mean by that?
Dr. Plummer: Well, morality has to do with things that are not capable of being empirically observed. Morality has to do with the conditions under which we are obliged in an objective sense to conduct ourselves in a particular way. So people will talk about whether or not there are objective moral values and duties, obligations. If such things exist, and I do believe that there are such things as objective moral values and duties, our knowledge of them is not acquired by way of some kind of scientific verification of their existence. And if, in fact, you require science be the only way that we can be justified in claiming to know something, then I think that it is necessary for us, for the sake of consistency, to say that we don’t know that there are certain things that are wrong in themselves.
And talking with students about this, this is an area where many of them just really struggle. Because even as Christians, they want to say, “Well, yeah, there is such a thing as right and wrong.” But even then they sometimes kind of slip into, “Well, but really can we say that we know?” And then when they’re pressed, they realize the only options are either we do have moral knowledge that is based upon something other than science, or if science is the only way of knowing what’s true, then we have to say that we can’t have moral knowledge. And if we can’t have moral knowledge, then we can’t really speak with any authority about such things as individual human rights. The obligation to acknowledge and protect and defend the rights of others.
And there’s a very interesting article that people can find on the site of the New York Times if you do a search for it. It’s written by a Christian philosopher, and it’s called Why Our Children Don’t Believe There Are Moral Facts. And he looks at how it is that many approaches to the difference between fact and opinion actually assume some form of scientism, though he doesn’t use the word scientism. But they make this distinction between fact and value. And a fact is something that can be proven by way of some kind of empirical means.
And then he looks at a number of statements that appear on worksheets to help children make the distinction. And they’re asked, “Which one of these are facts, which one of these are values?” One of the statements is “All men are created equal.” Now, there is no way that you can scientifically or empirically demonstrate the equality and dignity and value of all people. And in fact, according to this worksheet, that statement is an opinion. Because it is a statement of value and all statements of value are categorized as opinion, as opposed to facts.
Chap: And the facts are just the opposite. Men are tall, men are short, their weights are different.
Dr. Plummer: Right.
Chap: I’m trying to remember if it’s in your chapter, the, the famous experiment where, one set of students was prisoners and one set of students were guards, and they applied a certain amount of pain to the prisoners. And what these people did over time is they increased pain on their fellow students, prisoners. But the fact that they should not do that that’s a completely moral statement. That’s not a scientific statement.
Dr. Plummer: Yes, I do ask them, “If you were to if you were to have a willing subject who volunteered for this experiment and you were to hook him or her up to all of these biological function reading machines- blood pressure, heart rate, perspiration, and so forth- and you were to gradually increase voltage administered to various parts of their body. . . you would see that their blood pressure increases, that their heart rate increases, perspiration increases. You’d probably hear some screaming.” But I ask the students, “What of any of that would indicate that you should not be doing this?” And sometimes they will say, “Well, because of the pain.” And I just say, “But that’s just registering the physiological response to this. I’m asking you, how do you know on the basis of the biological information that you’re getting that this is something that you should not be doing?”
In other words, how do you identify the moral obligation not to inflict unnecessary pain upon another person? And with some time they see that that’s not the kind of thing that is subject to scientific investigation.
Chap: It’s so subtle. So I follow on Twitter Wonders of Science. There’s different accounts like that, and it’s very cool just to see God’s creation out there. But recently there was one with a picture from a spaceship from Saturn looking back at our earth. And of course, Earth is tiny. So that’s gorgeous, that’s beautiful. And then the very next Twitter post is about “And can’t you see therefore how we should take care of our Earth?” And I’m saying, No. It could be that you just realize you are a speck of nothing on a planet of nothing, in a universe of nothing. That’s another equally valid moral conclusion to this scientific picture that we’re seeing, right? You’ve got the scientific fact, but you just jumped and everybody’s going, “Yeah, that’s right, and see? Science shows that.” So it’s just very subtle. Very subtle. That’s why I thought your chapter was just really helpful.
So you work with young people teaching them, and the aim of this podcast, the ministry, is to help parents pass the gospel to their kids, to really inoculate them or help them think before some of these things come up. What would you say to parents of young people? How can they help prepare their young people for this world that they’re living in, and some of these subtle tricks, really, in terms of saying, “Well, Christianity does not have the right way. Science really is going to save us.” What are some things you would encourage parents to think about and do?
Dr. Plummer: Well, obviously spending time in the Scriptures with your kids and helping them to formulate a grasp of the overall story of Scripture and who God is and why it is that that story actually makes better sense of an activity like science than the alternative. As I said before, that Christians do science with a confidence that there is intelligence responsible for the world. And to help students understand that, that there’s not a necessary antagonism between science and the biblical story. If anything, the biblical story is the foundation that makes the doing of science possible.
And I would also say it’s really important for parents to do everything that they can to help their students become lovers of ideas. And with that, I would say reading. And with reading I would join- You know, one of the things that I just really, really lament is the absence of logic as a required elementary and secondary school topic. What young people are really in need of- it’s not the only thing, and I wouldn’t even say it’s the most important thing- but we’re living in an age of continual incoherence and fragmentation. The ability to see the relationship between ideas, to be able to follow a line of thought, to see its flaws where they exist, to be able to see the logical and necessary consequences of a particular line of thought. I think that that is something foundational that Christian parents should be seeking to not only instill in their kids, but many times we are in need of it ourselves. Just learning the basic elements of thought and the beauty of thought, because we believe that there is a coherence to life because again, life is the creation of the infinite and absolute coherent mind of God. And so I would love to see parents foster and help their students appreciate the beauty of thinking and applying that to all of all of life.
Chap: That’s really good. And I think we are running counter-culture if we emphasize thought. Because so much today, it’s emotion and stories that sway the day. So, for example, I know a state legislator who has told me, “If you’re testifying before the committee, what will persuade us is stories, not logic.” And that’s sad.
Dr. Plummer: I’m a big proponent of stories, and the question of whether or not the story is true. And so as Christians, we are a people who believe that the story of the scripture- and by story I don’t mean necessarily fiction. I just mean there any worldview that you can espouse or any worldview that people do espouse is essentially a narrative that is seeking to explain life.- It is a portrait of reality. What’s wrong with it? What’s the need of it being rectified and so forth? And so I don’t have a difficulty with story because I don’t think that logic can function independently of some kind of larger narratival framework.
But it’s just a matter of whether or not the story has the best explanatory power to make sense of life as we experience it. And I am convinced that the biblical narrative is that. It accounts for our aspirations, our brokenness, our sin. It accounts for things such as our intuitive sense that there are things that are actually unjust, wrong, that ought not to be. It accounts for our desire for meaning and our desire for purpose. And it provides the resolution to this sense that we cannot escape, that there is something profoundly wrong with us and that we stand in need of the pardon and the work of Christ. Since you said that, I would say along with the reading, I think exposing children to great stories as part of both helping them to appreciate reading and the importance of thinking.
Even some of Lewis’ fiction is great for that because I think CS Lewis was a master at bringing together beauty and imagination and a very, very tight logic. That they work together in a concert that is compelling. And I think more and more, that is what we have to be seeking to do with our kids.
Chap: What do they say about worldview? Where do we come from, what went wrong, and how do you fix it?” And sometimes as I observe others, I think, you’re living without moral absolutes. And then all of a sudden we gave the Me, Too movement and I want to say, “Wait a minute. Before there were no absolutes and now this absolute-“ which is absolutely wrong, yes. But you can’t acquire parts of the Christian worldview without the whole thing. So I agree one hundred percent. It does tell the best story.
Well, let’s finish up here. One of the things we talked in our earlier conversations- it’s sort of a cultural thing you see in young people, that they’re deathly afraid to disagree with someone, that it’s equated with hate. How do you try and handle that with the young people in your class, this lie which is that it’s to disagree is hateful.
Dr. Plummer: Yes. I have seen over the years the great fear that many young people have with being perceived as being offensive. And I think it is because of the association, the equation actually, in the minds of many, that to say that a belief or an act is wrong is necessarily to be belittling or diminishing another person. And one of the things that I try to help students see is that, number one, if in fact you are going to require- and a way to talk to people about Christ, a way to do apologetics that guarantees you that you’ll never be on the receiving end of the anger, perhaps of other people, or perhaps you’ll get the label of being a hater- If before you will talk to anyone about Christ, you have to have the assurance that that will never happen, you will never speak.
And I also try to help them understand that what’s going on there is- We talk about cancel culture these days, but I mean, you look back into the Bible and you have instances, for example, in John’s Gospel where the man that Jesus heals, who was born blind, and his parents are asked, “How did he regain his sight?” And they’re fearful because the Pharisees had said, “Anyone who confesses Jesus as the Messiah, they’re going to be put out.” And what’s going on is what the Bible calls the fear of man. And the only remedy to the fear of man is the proper fear of the Lord. But the fear of the Lord when it’s used with respect to God’s children is not the fear of dread in the sense of trying to run away, but it’s a sense of profound respect and awe that puts all of our lesser fears in their proper place.
And so I try to entice young people with what the Bible holds forth as the benefits and the securities of the fear of the Lord. And I also try to help them to see through the idea that if you make moral evaluations, you are being hateful, by helping them see everyone makes moral evaluation. The making of moral assessments is inescapable. The person who says, “Well, you ought not to say that anyone else’s actions are wrong,” is oblivious to the fact that they’re doing the very thing. They’re making a moral evaluation. They’re saying this behavior should not be done. And so then it’s a matter not of whether or not we make moral assessments, it’s a matter of what is the proper reference point for making moral assessments.
And for many of them, that’s kind of eye-opening. Because they haven’t really thought through the fact that so many of the claims for tolerance understood as not saying that someone else is wrong or engaged in immoral behavior, it’s like the emperor’s new clothes. It sounds right at first that you should just be tolerant and we shouldn’t make judgments, but you just have to help young people see there is a judgment going on here. We’re the kinds of creatures that can’t help but make moral judgments. The question is, What is the standard, the proper standard, for making such judgments?
And again, the biblical story explains to us why we are the kinds of creatures who cannot but think in moral terms.
Chap: That’s really good. To apply that to one specific area and we’ll finish up with this, but we would say that Christianity, the Christian life, causes God’s creatures to flourish. And yet one of the areas that right now I feel like is the biggest area of conflict is the Christian sexual ethic. And you and I in our earlier conversation, talked about the sexual, the Christian sexual ethic is seen as dehumanizing. So not only do I have the pressure to be tolerant, but I also know that this person is thinking that the anti-Christian sexual ethic helps me live my best life. I have the right to do this. And now you’re going to come and say, No, it’s not. Can you just speak to that as we finish up here? Just how would you encourage parents or encourage young people? How do you tell them just to think about this time when there’s just huge tension?
Dr. Plummer: I think that we have to be on guard against approaching a Christian view of sexuality such that it is understood predominantly, if not exclusively, as a list of what we cannot do. Certainly there are prohibitions and commands, but I shared with students recently a quotation that I heard many years ago from a professor at Biola, Dr. David Horner. He was giving a lecture on Christian ethics, and he said, this is a paraphrase, I should have written it down, but he said, “You will never rationally and for the long haul say no to something to which you’re attracted unless you say yes to something better.” And he said, “Too often what we’re doing in the church is we’re saying no,” but he says “What we have to do is make it clear what it is that we are saying yes to. We have to say, this is where life is.”
And so I think one of the things that is desperately needed is we have to, not only in our words, but with our lives, we have to give a vision for the beauty and the goodness of God’s design for sexuality in the context of marriage between a man and a woman. So many of the discussions about same-sex relations and so forth, people are looking at the six passages, for example, that are prohibitions against same-sex relations. And there’s a place for that. But the question isn’t how many verses or just looking at the no’s. The bigger question is what is the overall picture of the Bible in terms of what it is that God affirms and that he has designed in order to give us a life of thriving. And so I think that’s something that parents and churches, again, both in our teaching and in our lives, have to put forth. This really is beautiful. There is something in what God has designed with respect to how it is that we are to relate as sexual creatures that we find our greatest joy in and that we do harm to ourselves when we transgress the boundaries of this design.
And I think whether it be that or any other sin, it’s always the question of, Do I trust that God is really, really good, and that whatever prohibitions he has given – think back to the garden, the lie of the serpent was essentially, you’d better look out for yourself because the prohibition that God laid down, he did not give that because of any sincere concern for you. He’s selfishly holding back what is really good, and the woman sees that the tree was good for fruit the first time. Every time before this, it was God who was the one who was seeing what is good, and that we do the same thing with sexuality. We say, I am going to determine for myself what is good, regardless of what God says. And hat is not where life is to be found.
Chap: That’s true. That’s and that’s a good word. Well, thank you. Thank you for your time. Thank you. Just for talking about this subject, we live in a scientific age. Very thankful for the advances of science, but I think science can morph into scientism and yes, thank you for that helpful distinction. And thank you for your ministry.
Dr. Plummer: Thank you very much and thank you for yours. I’m grateful for the fact that you, you read the chapter and thought it worthwhile talking about it. It was a pleasure to talk with you about it.
Chap: Well, you’re welcome. And isn’t it available online also? We may put a link in the show notes, I think it is the book Before You Lose your Faith. That is available at Amazon and you through the Gospel Coalition I’m sure as well.
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