If we are to have renewed minds, we need to stop thinking about ourselves and other people as the world thinks of itself and others, and instead begin operating within a biblical framework. But what does that mean? Well, when we turn to the Bible to see what it has to say about human beings, we find two surprising things. First, we find that, according to the Bible, man is far more important and more valuable than the humanists imagine him to be. But we also find that in his fallen condition he is much worse than the humanists suppose.

In the last twenty years something terrible has happened to Americans in the way we relate to other people, and it is due to the twisted humanism we looked at yesterday. Christians have become conformed to the world in this area, and we must take a good hard look at this to be sure we don’t get swept into the pattern of our culture. Up until a couple of decades ago there was still something of a Christian ethos in this country and people used to care about and help other people. It was the natural thing to do. Today we focus on ourselves and deal with others only for what we can get out of them. This approach is materialistic and utilitarian.

Last week I introduced the Christian doctrines of God and revelation as the biblical response to the world's way of thinking. The Christian doctrine of God is the Bible's answer to three of the four "isms" we studied: secularism, humanism, relativism, and materialism. The only one I did not write about explicitly was humanism, and I come to the answer to that "ism" now. The answer to humanism is the Christian doctrine of man.

It is not unusual in our day for men and women to have a low view of the Bible. Many persons, including professors of theology and ministers, feel that the Bible is man's word about God rather than God's word about man and so devalue it. Therefore, it is necessary to speak as Christ did, stressing the divine origin of the Bible and pointing out its supernatural characteristics.

The best critique of Western materialism that I know of is from a former citizen of the Soviet Union, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, now exiled. It is in an address he gave to the graduating class of Harvard University in 1978. Solzhenitsyn declared, "Should someone ask me whether I would indicate the West such as it is today as a model to my country, frankly I would have to answer negatively.... Through intense suffering our own country has now achieved a spiritual development of such intensity that the Western system in its present state of spiritual exhaustion does not look attractive."