of genuine forgiveness, our generation has been
taught the vague notion of 'tolerance'. This is,
at best, a low-grade parody of forgiveness. At
worst, it's a way of sweeping the real issues in
human life under the carpet." -- N.T.
Wright, The Lord & His
Armchair sociologists call us
the "whatever generation." It's not a technical
term, but accurate. Whatever you
want; whatever suits you; whatever you
think. We may
disagree, but ... whatever. I may have
hurt you, but ... whatever.
This laid-back approach to
life produces indifference and indolence.
But the consequences run far deeper.
Like a seeping appendix, it poisons
out of relativism - that rampant philosophy that
defies biblical moral absolutes. In its simplest
form, relativism insists that what is true for you
is well and good, but don't force your standards
on me. As long as we act sincerely and with
tolerance toward each other ... whatever.
But this insipid mindset has a high
can evoke authentic absolution
and genuine grace. No absolutes; no forgiveness; no
We wallow in pain and
shame, and our culture's only consolation is a single
word: "Whatever!" It fails entirely to heal, reconcile,
redeem, or restore. Instead, it exacerbates our isolation and
The veneer of freedom in our
culture -- whereby we can do basically
we like -- only enslaves
us. True freedom does not mean lack of restraint.
opposite. Authentic freedom comes from the decision to
live within godly boundaries and forgive those who violate
them. We cannot dismiss or modify those standards, but
grace allows the fallen to return. In
contrast, "whatever" casts us adrift, without
moorings, without hope.
The philosophical arm-wrestle between absolute ethics
and relativistic ethics has grace-based implications.
The irony is obvious. Relativism
begets bondage. Absolutes lead to
God always seems distant and
remote to those with no culpability. On the other
hand, John Newton could write of Amazing
because its light shone in the darkness
of his acknowledged depravity. No "whatever" for
awareness of our sin and guilt, we cannot enter salvation
and grace as fully as the Father
emerges from absolute standards, not the
feeble 'whatever' philosophy of our times.
Lord's statutes do
than sustain society. His principles pave the pathway to
grace and life for each of
No more "whatevers" ...