The Supremacy of Christ and Truth in a Postmodern World
(by Voddie Baucham)
(Voddie Baucham is dean of the seminary at African Christian University and previously served as Pastor of Preaching at Grace Family Baptist Church in Spring, TX. He has authored numerous books, academic journals, and magazine articles. He is married to Bridget and they have nine children. They currently live in Lusaka, Zambia.)
This message appears as a chapter in The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World.
Friends…this will be a 9 Part series. This message provides such a wonderful theological ‘fulcrum’ for you to install into your belief system. Please, please, take the time to work through this series. dh
Why Am I Here?
This culture basically says that there is no rhyme or reason, so we’re here to make the most of it. Consume. Enjoy. That’s why we’re here. That is the overarching mentality in our culture, both inside and outside the church, resulting in unquenchable materialism and causing us to look at children as a blight and as a burden. While many in the poorest nations of the world talk about the number of children with which they can be blessed, we talk about the number of children we can afford. We have houses that are larger than they’ve ever had and families that are smaller than they’ve ever had. Our attitude toward children is “a boy for me and a girl for you, and praise the Lord we’re finally through.” Why? Because they get in the way of our consumption and our enjoyment. They cost too much. That’s the fruit of postmodernism and secular humanism.
Christian theism looks at the question “Why are we here?” and answers it very differently. Again, we turn to the supremacy of Christ. Look at the next part of the Colossians text:
All things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. ()
“All things were created through him and for him.” The ultimate purpose of all things is to bring Christ glory and honor, and that he might have the supremacy in all things. So who am I? The crown and glory of the creation of God. Why am I here? To bring glory and honor to the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s why I exist. That is why you exist. That is why he breathed into us the very breath of life. He is to have supremacy and preeminence in all things.
He is to have supremacy and preeminence in your life, supremacy and preeminence in the church, supremacy and preeminence over death and hell and the grave — supremacy and preeminence over all. And because of this, the reason for my existence goes far beyond consumption and enjoyment.
I have the privilege of lecturing on college campuses all around the country, and this is an issue that I love to bring to the fore when dealing with college students. Most of them walk onto campus with one thing in mind: they ask themselves, “What can I get here that will facilitate my consumption and enjoyment?” That’s why most people change their majors three or four times before they get out of college. Here’s how they do it. They come to college with major number one — oftentimes a dream major. It has nothing to do with their aptitude. It’s a dream. I meet students all the time. I shake their hand and ask them a couple of questions. I ask them where they’re from, what they’re studying, and how far along they are in their studies. And this is what happens:
I walk up and shake hands. “Hey, how you doing? Where are you from?”
“Oh, I’m from Podoke, Iowa.”
“Great. What are you studying?”
“Pre-med and microbiology.”
My next question is, “You’re a freshman, right?” to which he or she responds, “Yes, how did you know that?”
I’m not talking about young men and women with the proper aptitude for such study. I’m talking about students who walk into college and choose a major simply based on the prestige of their prospective position. That’s how they get to major number one, the dream major. How do they get to major number two? They flip open Fortune 500 magazine, find out who’s making the most money with the least amount of education, and major in that. But then, after that too gets hard, they start to look around for yet another major.
And how do they get to major number three? Around the second semester of their junior year they walk into a counselor’s office and say, “Excuse me. What do I have the most hours in? Yes, sounds like I’ll be takin’ that right there.” By that time, the major of choice is get-out-ology!
But how about this radical idea: God knit you together in your mother’s womb (). He gave you a unique mix of gifts, talents, abilities, and desires (Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12). What would it look like if you grasped the supremacy of Christ in truth as it relates to your very purpose for existing, and saw to it that all of your education served to advance Christ’s glory, supremacy, and cause here on earth?
As Richard Baxter wrote:
The most holy men are the most excellent students of God’s works, and none but the holy can rightly study them or know them. His works are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein, but not for themselves, but for him that made them. Your study of physics and other sciences is not worth a rush, if it be not God that you seek after in them. To see and admire, to reverence and adore, to love and delight in God, as exhibited in his works — this is the true and only philosophy; the contrary is mere foolery, and is so called again and again by God himself. This is the sanctification of your studies, when they are devoted to God, and when He is the end, the object, and the life of them all. (Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor, chap. 1)
What if we saw our studies as stewardship? What if we raised our children not to go and do something just because it would make us proud but instead raised them so that they would discover the way that God has put them together? What if we decided to shepherd and nurture them in such a way that God could utilize the gifts he’s given them for his glory? What if we continually taught them to focus on the supremacy of Christ in truth and how he relates to our very purpose for existing?
“Christian theism says that you are the crowning glory of the creation of God.”
Christ “is before all things.” Why did you choose your last job? Was it because of the supremacy of Christ in truth as it relates to your purpose for existing? Or was it because it paid you more than the job you had before? Pastor, how did you choose your current church? Was it because of a pursuit of the supremacy of Christ in truth in all things, even as it relates to your pastoral purpose? Or was it because this position is a little more prestigious than your last one? All things were made through him and for him. That means my life, my family, my ministry — everything that makes up who I am — must be characterized by a commitment to the preeminence of Christ. (Part 7, con’t tomorrow)