I had never heard the term “Freethinker” spoken in my presence until three years ago when I relocated into our community. Now it seems wherever I am, practically all spouses, especially male spouses of Christians, are ‘freethinkers’. Even those who profess no particularly religious affiliations claim the same for themselves – but never seem to call themselves atheists. Interestingly, also as I noted, their ‘freethinker’ claim it is told to me with an air of self-satisfied condescension, as if I cannot teach them anything, so don’t bother trying. Strangely, I never found a freethinker who ever wanted to discuss the views he or she, is so proud to hold.
To confirm what a freethinker is, I quote Dictionary.Com. They define a freethinker as “a person who forms opinions on the basis of reason, independent of authority or tradition, especially a person whose religious opinions differ from established belief.”
Interestingly, the freethinkers whom I have encountered, seem to lambast religion totally, as unworthy even as a topic of discussion, but yet never yielding to calling themselves atheists. In fact, they appear to use the word ‘freethinker’ more a defence mechanism, to fend off those evangelists whose apologetics they may feel unable to counter. In other words, they just do not ever seem to search for the truth, instead remaining happy in their own castle.
The Bible says, we are not all called to be Preachers, but we all have a testimony which we can make on behalf of Jesus Christ and His Kingdom and we are all called to testify. Therefore, I have sat with freethinkers and watched them, backs upright, eyes focussed, ears open and paying attention, all grasping and accepting all of the testimonies offered, without objection. At no points did I ever see signs of incredulity or non-belief, set into their demeanours, as they listened intently. That is the advantage, of course, of a personal testimony . If you trust the speaker, you can trust that they are telling the truth, or at least their heartfelt and honest version of it; and if the testimony does not glorify them personally, but another, it certainly gathers more power.
Reading about freethinkers, it appears that they see themselves as being ‘special’, with abilities which others don’t possess, to open their minds to new ideas and perspectives on the old. In this, they claim to favour rationality and logic, over all; though the truth seems that they much prefer the self-defined notions and interpretations which tend to be more negative than positive. They tend to pull down, rather than build up, they tend to destroy and condemn, rather than create and praise. Even when found to be in the wrong, they stand on the pedestals of the pride of resistance against social norms and what the rest of the world sees as conventional wisdom; always being proud of being different – whether right or wrong.
We often hear the term “Luddite” being used by against those who are against modernisation and new technologies. The Luddites, as you may recall, were member of assorted bands of workers in England (around 1811–16) who got organised to destroy manufacturing machinery, rightly believing its use diminished skilled employment. Luddites, though now decried as being anti-progress and anti-technology, were not originally against the technologies per se; instead, they were ‘pro-people’ and objected to the severe hardships which, in the days before social security or unemployment protection, these machines inflicted on society’s weakest.
Unlike Luddites, Freethinkers appear to have no social conscience, as it is all about their self and their self image. Freethinkers see the world being against them and their new ideas or contrary views, which, if they could ever get a chance to speak out, would of course solve all the world’s problems! The problem is, that since free thinkers are all about self, they are in essence much to blame for the resistance to new ideas – be it their new ideas of those of others. Indeed, freethinkers tend to grind society back to mediocrity where the status quo or the lowest common denominator (LCD) rules, rather than the highest common factor (HCF).
For example, suppose your boss, with whom you get on only tolerably well, (because he sees you as being a little ‘unusual’ for the job you hold), receives your report in which you show how you can save the company lots of money at no risk. He reads and thinks it a great idea, but it is late Friday, so he leaves it to ponder over a long weekend . Then, over the weekend, this Freethinking Boss sets his mind to work:– “Nice report, but the writer is a bit odd. Odd, a bit weird really – certainly not promotion material. No, he may not fit in with other people, might cause problems in authority, better not chance it. The ideas seem solid – but if the writer is weird, there must be a flaw I’m not seeing. Better not take credit just in case. Better not move on the report. “Normal” would be to loose the report – situation back to status quo. Yes, let’s loose the report and pretend nothing happened; this chap may be more deviant than first appears.”
The difficulty comes when we begin to assess unusual idea, for it is not easy. Typically a person who approves or supports unusual ideas has a harder time with colleagues, if for no other reason that they tend to be lax in their discernment of these odd and unusual ideas. Instead of requiring a higher degree of proof to establish credibility of the odd and unusually, they tend to get passed on just the same cursory glance as all others. If the odd and unusually were taken seriously, though under at a higher level of proof, testing or information than the more conventional, they would be endorsed and accepted gladly. Such protocol would separate out the innovative odd and unusual ideas from the freethinking rhetoric; for the freethinkers, just pretend. As a result, because we will not challenge the odd and unusual as we should, we bring they whole world of discussion and new idea evolution down to that of the verbose and self seeking freethinker, who is devoid of new and innovative thought in the first place.
So what do Freethinkers have to do with Christianity? Based on what I have read and seen and based on the above, nothing. Freethinking in relation to Christianity can be summed up in one word: rebellion. Rebellion against the maker of Heaven and Earth.
We have been given the Word of God which as Hebrews 4:12 describes it as:
“For the Word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing apart of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
We are also told in Second Timothy 3:16 that:
“all Scripture is God-breathed, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,”
and as Colossians 3:16 advises us:
“Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”
There is no allowance here for a freethinker in the Word of God, or in the Body of Christ.
How do we discern that which is correct and the right interpretation of Scripture? Quite simply: the Holy Spirit can and will lead. There are various offices in the Body of the Church, and as First Corinthians 12:28 says:
“and God set some in the church, firstly, apostles; secondly, prophets; thirdly, teachers, then works of power, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, kinds of languages.”
Some are called to be teachers. But there are two types of teachers, those who have a calling to teach and those whom God has specially anointed and gifted to be the teachers of the teachers. They are the ones through whom the Holy Spirit interpret the Word. When that is done for the teachers who then teach what they are called to teach.
There is no place, nor can there be any place for a “Freethinker” in Christendom, for all Christians are bond servants to Jesus Christ and are lead by the Holy Spirit who dwells inside all born-again Christians. To be a Christian means laying down one’s will at the feet of Jesus and asking Him to rule in our lives.
Secondly, Christianity is not about what you know, it is not about head knowledge; it is all about having a relationship with Jesus Christ. Christianity is relational not religious; whereas Freethinking, is all about self and hollow religious ritual.
Perhaps this post will open your mind as it has mine. The next time you hear a confessed freethinker glory in their self-indulgent ignorance, why not instead invite them to share in the truth of the Gospel and relationship, which is Jesus Christ?
Time is moving on and by all Prophetic accounts, and for those who have eyes and ears to hear, we are now hearing the blasts of the sixth Trumpet sounding over the earth. Times are changing, and times have changed. Soon the days of Grace which have been upon the earth, will end. It will then be too late to say “I believe.”
Dear Heavenly Father,
I recognise that the days of this age are fast drawing to a close. I look around at my friends and family who still look upon Christianity with scorn and derision. My heart cries out for them. I cry out for them from my deepest being. I pray Lord, for a last outpouring of your Grace upon all those for whom I have been praying, but who have not yet accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Saviour. I pray, Lord, that Your Holy Spirit will now hover over them, bringing them all to Christ. Please Lord Jesus reveal Yourself to them in such a powerful ways that they will all come to Christ.
Finally Father, as I bow before You, please use me for the Glory of Your Kingdom. I willingly offer my body, as a sacrifice for you.
In the mighty name of Jesus I pray.
Amen and Amen and Amen.