1999 James A. Fowler
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I. Biblical evidence
A. There are no direct Biblical references
B. Some biblical verses which express
concepts of "humanism"
- "you will be like God, knowing good and evil"
- "the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and every
intent of the thoughts of his
heart were evil continually"
- "the earth was filled with violence"
- "Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower
whose top will reach into heaven,
and let us make for ourselves a name..."
21:25 - "every man did what was right in his own eyes"
- "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute
darkness for light
and light for darkness; who substitute bitter for sweet, and
sweet for bitter! Woe to those
who are wise in their own eyes, and clever in their own sight!"
- "the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all
ungodliness and unrighteousness
of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness"
- "they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish
heart was darkened. Professing
to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the
incorruptible God for
an image in the form of corruptible man..."
- "they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped
and served the creature
rather than the Creator"
II. Defining "humanism"
A. Not to be confused with
humanness - God created human beings
- educational discipline of man's enculturation
humanitarian - benevolent actions of men toward men
B. Humanism is a philosophical premise
that includes such concepts as:
is autonomous and independent
is his own center of reference
is self-generative and self-sufficient
has the potential to do anything he sets his mind to
is the cause of his own effects
is the source of his own activity
has a free-will to choose anything he desires -"sovereign
is innately good
is the subject and object of his own world
10. Man is the solution
to his own problems
11. Man deserves to
indulge his personal aspirations, personal gratifications, and
(cf. I Jn. 2:16)
12. Man is his own
C. Brief history of humanistic thought
- "you will be like God" - Gen. 3:5
(5th cent. B.C.) - "man is the measure of all things"
(1st cent. B.C.) - "what can give us surer knowledge than
Kant (1724-1804) - "man himself must make himself into whatever
he is to become"
(1850-1892) -"man is man and master of his fate"
Manifesto I (1933); Humanist Manifesto II (1973); "A Secular
"there is no divine purpose"
"no deity will save us; we must save ourselves"
"promise of immortal salvation or fear of eternal damnation
are illusory and harmful"
III. Humanistic thought and Western thinking
Rationalism - primacy of human reason
Naturalism - rejection of the supernatural
Disavowal of theism - censure of religion
Scientism - only reality is sensory and empirical
Progressive evolutionism - everything getting better
Moral relativism - permissiveness, toleration, self-indulgence
Pluralistic relativism - any thought as good as another
Pragmatism - functionalism
Politicization - social engineering
- statism - totalitarianism
12. Success orientation
- statistical and monetary
psychology - irresponsibility
- forced solutions
Human Potential Movement
Self-help movement - self-improvement
New Age movement
Holistic health movement
IV. Humanistic thought and evangelical religious thinking
fallen man is autonomous and independent
man has an inherent "human nature"
man has a free-will - "sovereign will"
man is capable of self-generating character
sinful, unrighteous, evil
godly, righteous, good
man's soul is inherently immortal
- behavior modification
proceduralism; methodologies; how-tos
orientation - belief system
civil rights; forced imposition of ideology
commitment; allegiance; loyalty; accountability
and numerical success; productivity; utilitarianism; verifiable
religious education; persuasion; coercion
socialistic identity; institutionalism
thinking; possibility thinking
of faith" movement; "health and wealth" gospel
V. Overcoming "humanism"
A. Recognizing that man is derivative
B. Faith - our receptivity of His activity
C. John 15:5 - "apart from Me you
can do nothing"
D. II Cor. 3:5 - "not that we are
adequate to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our
is of God"
E. II Cor. 4:7 - "we have this treasure
in earthen vessels, that the greatness may be of God"
F. Gal. 2:20 - "it is no longer
I who lives, but Christ lives in me"
G. Gal. 5:23 - "the fruit of the