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April 7: Human Value and Dignity and the Issue of Freedom

Reformation Hope Church’s Christian radio program Vision Viewpoint looks at how one of history’s greatest leaders, William Wilberforce, was able to achieve a great milestone in history because of his use of the law of God within his Christianity, and how this brought about great moral progress for mankind. Reformation Hope Church and Vision Viewpoint are both based in Hartford, WI.
William Wilberforce was the crusading Christian who, in the nineteenth century, was responsible for bringing to an end the English slave trade – that cruel and abominable trade that afflicted its cruelties upon African slaves: trading them worldwide, and having been responsible for the deaths of many tens of thousands of slaves.
Wilberforce didn’t just bring the "simplicity" of the gospel to the forefront of this battle. After three decades of battling for an end to that slave trade, Wilberforce had used all throughout that contest the holy precepts of God’s Word and the worldview that accompanies them. He used God’s Word to publicly challenge and to publicly shame, and to expose the wanton cruelties of the slave trade.
Today, we see that there are many who deny that there are moral absolutes; we find this all throughout our society. Wilberforce understood that the Bible teaches man is made in God’s image. With that understanding, he knew and could draw upon the fact that we are not neutral. We are not a "neutral slate": God has written what we might call our "software" – the soul of man – in such a manner that man knows there are moral absolutes.
However, today tthere are moral relativists who instruct our society. For example, the well-known biologist William Atkins wrote, "We are but fish made over, somewhat like the original design of a house that’s been remodeled." Such statements teach the removal of ethical constraints. When professor of natural history Paul Davies’s work was reviewed by George Kuepel, that review noted the damage evolution had done to the issue of personal freedom and human dignity. He wrote that Davies had some interesting thoughts, but that the impact of the idea of evolution on the notion on human value and dignity was damaging: we end up with a serious problem concerning the value, purpose, worth, and dignity of mankind. It is hard to argue that someone who is an accident of the universe has some kind of special dignity.
God’s Word has always taught that we are made in God’s image. We are not made to be slaves, and God has, in fact, called men and women everywhere with unique callings. However, they cannot fulfill that calling – that purpose for which they have been made, their meaning for life – if they know nothing of God’s Son, and the kingdom that He is building worldwide. Hence, they can’t access those truths and trememdous precepts that constitute a worldview that calls men to understand the real meaning of life.
Instead, we have "purposeless" philosophies that degrade human beings and deny the issue of personal freedom and dignity. Wherever virile Christianity has ever gone, there has always been raised this issue of freedom and dignity – always. It’s one of the great histories of the world, and wherever Christian missionary efforts around the world have gone, they have always collided with cultural notions that challenge cultural notions, especially with respect to the idols, ethics, and the societal morays of different cultures.
Christianity always contends that man is made in God’s image, and the gospel of Jesus Christ "raises the bar" when it comes to the conduct of all men made in His image. But it must first do so by dealing with the obstacle we call sin. It’s for that reason that we deal with the law of God, which is a schoolmaster to bring men to Christ. Wilberforce knew that. When he called men to Christ, he was not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He knew that it was indeed, as St. Paul wrote, "the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes."
Vision Viewpoint, as a ministry of Reformation Hope Church, is a Christian radio program broadcasting out of Hartford, WI.

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