I can’t even listen to the President of the United States speak anymore. There’s never anything of substance there; instead, it appears his entire goal is just to keep “hitting his marks,” so to speak – that is, making sure he injects in the focus-group tested phrases at every possible opportunity – and the only value of it at this point seems to be as a drinking game. Which is to say, if I was into alcohol without moderation (which I am not, let the reader understand), I think I could bring myself to suffer through it if I took a shot every time the president uttered the phrases “balanced approach” or “common sense.” Good thing I live only minutes away from the nearest hospital so I could get speedy treatment for the inevitable alcohol poisoning brought on after a single twenty-minute press conference.
That said, I’m sure we all recognize the obvious tactics of a demagogue here. The dependance upon the emotions that the phrase “common sense” elicits in one’s hearers, with the goal being that they will follow you due to your lip service of common sense instead of leaving due to your lack of ability to demonstrate it. Mind games, in other words.
But as bad as this is, spiritual demagoguery is worse, because it can be eternally damning. Or, at the least, presently frustrating. Which is probably why my dentist has prescribed me a mouth guard for all the teeth grinding I do when I hear the words “Biblical” or “Godly” appended to this or that concept these days.
That’s not to say that phrases like “Biblical worldview” or “Godly living” aren’t meaningful and appropriate, or that the words should never appear as adjectives; rather, what I’m aiming at is how traditions of men are often packaged and sold with these words on the wrapper to convince the consumer that there is something special, even Divinely commissioned, about them – when really it’s just as empty as the word “natural” on your lunch meat.
If it’s Biblical, don’t just assert it, demonstrate it. No one needs your perpetual ipse dixit refrain about how this or that is “Biblical” or “Godly,” but we could all use more time in the Bible itself. If you’ve got a great idea for how dating could be done better, great! Let’s hear it! But if you want to call your method “Biblical dating,” you’re gonna need a license for that, so show me the Scriptures! And by that I don’t mean a couple of out-of-context passages; we’re talking serious exegesis here.
So to sum up, I write this in good humor (I can only be snarky when I’m smiling 😉 ), and I know that often there IS legitimate Scriptural backing for this-or-that, no mistake. But since that is the case, when someone touts X or Y as “Biblical” it behooves us to act like the Bereans and check whether they are speaking from the oracles of God, or whether they are simply spiritual demagogues.