Eternal Truth for Changing Times: An Interview With Dr. Douglas Groothuis
Doug Groothuis is one of America’s leading Christian apologists. Author of Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Christian Apologetics, as well as many other books and articles, Dr. Groothuis is Professor of Philosophy at Denver Seminary.
Herb: What motivated you to become interested in apologetics?
Doug: I became a Christian after studying philosophy my first year in college. And then I went back and tried to be philosophical about Christianity and think through the Christian worldview and how it related to other worldviews. And I ended up getting a PhD in philosophy and studying other religions and other philosophies, writing about those. And I had some facility in doing that and it ministered to people. I love to build Christians up in their faith and also try to speak the truth in love to unbelievers, understand them, be able to interact logically with people that I disagree with.
Herb: Wonderful. I have a ministry that ministers to men and so a question I have for you involves the tremendous worldview change in our culture over the last several decades. How do you feel that that has affected men?
Doug: Well, the changes are profound, really titanic. And it has to do with not considering God as the ultimate moral authority. We’re concerned more about what’s contingent and what culture thinks. So laws are changed with no regard to the fear of God. And sexual ethics have gone insane in recent years. So I think men are told any sexual relationship they want is legitimate as long as it’s consensual. And that’s wrong. I think when people stop exercising dominion, as we’re called to do. We’re called to cultivate the planet–it’s true for men and women–that they often resort to the strongest feelings they have. And in many people, those are erotic feelings. So men and women need to practice self restraint, self control, and also have a worldview that makes sense out of sexuality. God created us male and female for marriage. Pretty simple. And if we stay within heterosexual, monogamous marriage and faithfulness within marriage, then we’ll have a framework for our lives and we won’t be tossed about by all these bizarre sexual ideas that assail us all the time.
Herb: When our culture had a theistic worldview, a Christian worldview, that men had a template of what they were supposed to do.
Herb: And now, with a materialistic worldview, men tend to think of themselves as just mere animals.
Doug: Well that’s right because people are trying to erase the distinction that exists between the human and the non-human. And often behaviors are justified or explained on the basis of what’s called evolutionary psychology which, as Francis Schaefer said, has a view of human beings where you look down, you don’t look up. You look down at your supposed evolutionary history. And you don’t look up in terms of your creator who made you in his image and likeness. So we lose a law above the law. We lose an orientation to God and we look only to the biological and only to the social world. And that means that we won’t have abiding standards and we won’t have reasons to say no to ourselves because we’re saying yes to God and his kingdom. And once that becomes a part of culture, anything goes. It’s like the psalmist says, “When the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” What we do is we cling to God. We read the Bible. We believe the Bible. We attend church. We try to be salt and light in the culture. But we can’t underestimate the philosophical consequences of this belief that God has nothing to say to the human condition…
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