1 John – Something Critical Theory Can Never Offer You
From the Series: Certainty – Absolute Truths That Bring Joyful Assurance
BY MAX FERNANDEZ
As Christians, we are not only students of the Word of God, but we are also students of the culture around us.
The changes in culture seem to have accelerated with the propagation of what has been called Critical Theory.
“Theory” refers to a specific set of beliefs… it [Theory] assumes that objective reality cannot be known, and truth is socially constructed through language… therefore Theory aims to critically examine discourses [ways of talking]. (Pluckrose and Lindsay, Cynical Theories, 46-47)
Critical Theory intentionally creates instability about known reality and is designed to cause uncertainty in order to change what is perceived to be a problem, be it gender binaries, colonialism, feminism, etc.
This is why the letter of 1 John is so helpful. There were some teachers who had separated from the body of Christians, and their teaching had created some uncertainty about Jesus Christ among the believers. So John sets out to give certainty by establishing and reaffirming truths that bring joyful assurance. Take time to read the written testimony of the witness (1 John 1:1-4).
Kids’ Pause: How can I believe in Someone that I cannot see? The written word of God tells us about Him.
Critical Theory Does Not Offer the Same Object
He begins with the object being witnessed—That which was from the beginning. What John is a witness of is eternally significant. Have you considered your life in light of eternity?
Critical Theory does not offer an eternal, unchanging God. It is constantly changing definitions, terminology, and applications. Here, John calls us to consider changes all around us by looking to the unchanging One. Joyful assurance does not begin with figuring out modern narratives. Joyful assurance begins with the eternal Lord.
Kids’ Pause: Being sure that Jesus is real begins with Who Jesus is. Jesus is the eternal God.
Critical Theory Does Not Offer the Same Witness
John uses terminology that confirms he is an eye, ear, and hand witness. John roots what he is saying in his apostolic authority. It is possible to read the Bible, memorize parts of the Bible, and hear preaching from the Bible, all the while missing the Prize—Jesus. It matters not only that you read the Bible but how you read the Bible.
The fact that God became human means that he can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities. He is the suitable Substitute being fully God and fully man. The certainty of this theology is absolutely crucial. But there is more—he saves and equips his followers for ongoing witness. Joyful assurance is found in the certainty of God having become fully human.
Critical Theory Cannot Offer the Same Result of This Witness
Intersectionality is a concept within Critical Race Theory (one type of Critical Theory), and it seeks to establish a grid by which to determine those most discriminated against. This worldview makes peace, tranquility, joy to be a moving target because there are varying levels of potential discrimination, and this creates a lot of uncertainty.
This is why the message of 1 John is so refreshing: because there is no moving target. Our fellowship with each other is truly in One—that is God through Christ. Our joy is complete in the unchanging, written witness accounts of the whole Christ.
Is your life rooted in the apostolic testimony of Jesus Christ? Is “Jesus as our perfect Substitute” a one-time truth or an everyday truth in your heart? Is your basis of fellowship the Person of Jesus as clearly revealed in scripture, as opposed to a Christ shaped by tradition or preferences?
The written and preserved testimony of Jesus must be our stable source for fullness of joy. Joyful assurance is fundamentally based upon the testimony of Scripture. Critical Theory cannot offer you complete, joyful assurance, which is only found through Christ revealed in the inerrant Word of God.
Read the full transcript of the sermon here.
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