What is Neutrality?
From time to time in blog posts, sermons, and podcasts, I have touched on the myth of neutrality or elements of it. However, I wanted to spend an entire post on this issue because it is vital for us as Christians to understand if we are to engage the world faithfully according to the Scripture. Often, Christians are urged to simply act neutrally about the facts in the realms of education, defending the faith, politics, academic scholarship, and nearly every other area except the church service on Sunday morning. Greg Bahnsen shared comments about this idea as it pertains to education and said:
“Other times the plea for neutrality in the thinking of the believer comes with reference to schools. Some Christians feel that there is no real urgency for Christian schools, that secular education is all right as far as it goes, and that it needs only to be supplemented with Christian prayer and Bible reading in the home. Thus the idea is that one can be neutral when it comes to education; one’s Christian faith need not dictate any particular assumptions or way of learning about the world and man. We are told that the facts are the same at state schools as they are at Christian schools; so why insist that your children be taught by committed believers in Jesus Christ?”1
Here, Bahnsen targets the popular idea, even amongst Christians, that it does not matter if children are educated according to the Christian worldview. That type of reasoning stems from the idea of neutrality. Proponents of this notion believe facts are facts, and the worldview of those providing instruction does not matter in the end. Bahnsen goes on and states:
“Well then, in these and many other ways we can see that the Christian is called upon to surrender his distinctive religious beliefs to temporarily “put them on the shelf,” to take a neutral attitude in his thinking. Satan would love this to happen. More than anything else, this would prevent the conquest of the world to belief in Jesus Christ as Lord. More than anything else, this would make professing Christians impotent in their witness, aimless in their walk, and disarmed in their battle with the principalities and powers of this world. More than anything else, such neutrality would prevent sanctification in the Christian’s life, for Christ said that His followers were “sanctified (set apart) by the truth.” Immediately He went on to declare, “Thy word is truth” (John 17:17).”2
Neutrality is a myth, Bahnsen rightly shreds the idea by exposing it to biblical truth in this paragraph. Jesus said that “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters (Matthew 12:30).” It is unbiblical to attempt to be neutral as it pertains to obeying Christ in every realm of life. Jesus Christ is the sovereign Lord, which means we must honor Him as such in all of life. It is wrong for me to profess to bow to His Lordship on Sunday morning and then go out on Monday seeking to be neutral in how I engage with family, politics, education, culture, or any other aspect of life. Everyone is serving a god in their actions, we must serve the true and living God in everything, thereby laying down this myth of neutrality!
Fighting Against Neutrality
The question for us to now consider is to ascertain how we must begin to fight against this prevailing myth of neutrality? We must realize this battle is comprehensive and long-term. Meaning that it must be our goal to rid neutral thinking from every area and exercise consistency in this effort over the course of our entire lives. How do we protect ourselves from falling prey to the secular ideas around this issue?
Firstly, we must guard ourselves through the Word of God. We are commanded to love God with the entirety of our being, including our minds (Luke 10:27). To combat the myth of neutrality, we must start with our own souls. Where in our life have we neglected to take action in a completely comprehensive biblical scope? Are we seeking to be biblical in our family life while believing Christ does not care about our function as members of the workforce? If so, then we must repent and be obedient to the Lord in our whole life. What aspects have each of us neglected to live personally unto the Lord? We must seek to submit and urge our families to do the same. This is step number one.
Secondly, pastors and churches as a whole should see the totality of life within a biblical worldview under the Lordship of Christ. Therefore, pastors should bring God’s Word to bear on every single aspect of life. Consistent, biblical exposition should produce Christians who are equipped to live for the glory of Christ in everything. If this result is not being produced, something is wrong on the part of the pastor, the people, or perhaps both. Local congregations must see the necessity of applying the Gospel and the entirety of God’s Word to every single issue and aspect of life. Therefore, how believers educate their children must be grounded in Christ and His Word. It is imperative the way men and women view the marital relationship is founded in Scripture being undertaken for the Lord’s glory. The local church must equip one another to live out this robust Christian view of life. Pastors must seek to preach the full counsel of God, showing deep application for everything.
Finally, Christians must remember to maintain their firm allegiance to Christ and His Word when engaging the unbelieving world. Whatever aspect of life is being discussed, when talking with those who are lost, or attempting to counter the culture of secularism, believers must firmly stand upon the Scripture and never remove themselves from that basis onto the shaky foundation of the world instead. Therefore, Christian opposition to abortion cannot be based on any sort of supposedly neutral area. It must be grounded in the reality of what God has declared regarding human life. How a believer engages in politics or other cultural issues must also be based in the Scripture. Fighting neutrality starts with each of us as individuals ridding this complacency from our lives. Then, we must apply the concept of Christ’s Lordship in every single section of life, from our personal affairs to the very public arenas of our society.
1 Greg Bahnsen, Always Ready, p. 4.
2 Greg Bahnsen, Always Ready, p. 4.