Presuppositions are foundational beliefs that are usually assumed and unexamined. The are generally not adopted as a result of study and investigation. The are caught rather than taught.
That makes presuppositions particularly dangerous because chances are even if you aren’t consciously aware of your presuppositions, you will act on them. They affect what think and how you interpret reality.
Here are three presuppositions that will make you ineffective and irrelevant as a Christian.
1. Dualism. Dualism is the belief that the spiritual is good and matter is bad; or as Tarzan would say, “Heaven good. Earth bad.” It separates reality into the sacred and profane, the spiritual and the secular. It believes the full-time ministry is the highest calling and that so-called secular vocations are not as important. It’s what leads you to call Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith and Switchfoot sell-outs for crossing over from Christian to secular music. Dualism, however, misses the mark. Jesus’ incarnation invalidates dualism. How can one maintain the dualistic belief that matter is evil when God took it on to become man in the person of Jesus? Moreover, when God finished with creation, he said it was “very good.” (Gen. 1:31).
2. Escapism. Escapism is an excessive fixation on heaven that results in seeking an escape from the world. If you’ve ever been accused of being so heavenly-minded you are no earthly good you may suffer from this presuppostion. Another symptom of Escapism is rapture fever. Regardless of what your eschatology is, any eschatology that leads you to abandon the earth is clearly contrary to the command of Jesus, who prayed for His disciples the night He was arrested, “I do not ask You to take them out of the world…” (John 17:15). Too many Christians are obsessed with getting out of the world; Jesus is trying to get them back into it.
3. Passivism. Passivism is the presupposition that God generally works for us rather than in and through us. For example, Passivists expect God to take problems away from them rather than giving them the strength and wisdom to solve them. God will work for you if you are Christian, but He has chosen to work primarily in and through Christians. Consider these scriptures: “God is at work in you, both to will and work for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13); “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil 4:13); “Christ in you, is the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27); “Greater is He who is in you than he that is in the world.” (I John 4:4).
If you suffer from one or more of these three presuppositions they are probably sapping your effectiveness as Christian. They will lead you to spend all your time in so-called spiritual pursuits and with other believers rather than engaging the world, and you will find yourself increasingly irrelevant and unable to relate to non-Christians and the world. Have you caught any of these presuppositions? GS