Casuistry is defined as “the resolving of moral problems by the application of theoretical rules to particular instances.”
For ages in the Christian past men within the Church have occupied themselves with the science of extending the Bible’s voluminous ethical commandments and specific case laws to applications and situations relevant in their own time. This science, commonly called casuistry, reached its zenith during the Puritan era of Scotland/England and the American Northeast.
The word casuistry has several meanings in the English language and today it is often used in a pejorative sense, implying the use of fallacious or deceptive logic to resolve an issue. It is quite unfortunate that the Church in the West has not only abandoned the practical application of Biblical commands but it has allowed the very word which used to describe this field of intellectual exercise to fall from its proper meaning.
Many people today are upset by the course which our communities and nations seem to be charting, but these destructive paths are the only choices offered to any group that abandons the sovereign God of the universe. Once a society abandons the God of the Bible they are cast adrift on a very dangerous and turbulent sea of moral indifference and standards based more on perspective, relativity and supposedly evolving concepts of right and wrong.
None of these things are attributes of the faithful city, which will always be grounded on the solid foundation of God’s absolute truth. The simple truth for our nation today is that nothing short of a return to Biblical prescriptives for our aliments will see us safely to a prosperous harbor. The Christian’s role in this process of return to God’s blessing and favor is that of prophet. The faithful Christian must declare God’s will as found in the Bible before all men, confidently asserting it as the standard to which all men must submit.
The basic assumption of the Christian religion is that God is King over everything; there is no area of life or human action to which He is not entitled to issue commands because men owe Him all reverence and honor. The job of the Christian is to act as the ambassador of the King, calling all men to submit to His righteous commands lest He judge them unfavorably.
Although it may seem easy to look at the affairs which go on all around us today and assume wickedness is triumphant and that this must be the end, we must never allow our vision to be so hampered by our personal experiences.
God weaves all of human history together for His glory and the good of those whom He loves. The culture in which we live has become leavened with infirmity and the rampant, unrestrained desires of the flesh. God will not allow this to continue! This is a fact which must be counted on. The main issue which I believe causes God to restrain His righteous hand from judgment upon the evil which surrounds us is the fact that His Church has no societal alternatives to these issues.
If God were to dismantle the pagan infrastructure of our society today, would Christians be able to pick up the pieces and build something better? I don’t think they would. And I think God knows they wouldn’t be able to. What would be the point of His dismantling an evil society if His own followers can do no better? Christians must begin learning to apply God’s commands to every area of life, both personally and institutionally.
As specifically Biblical solutions to today’s problems began to emerge, then the wicked elements of our society will recede as God curses them for their rejection of His standards and ways. The very presence of righteousness is God’s cursing upon evildoers. The absence of true righteousness allows evil to flourish. This is where we find ourselves today. The task is clear, we must take it seriously.
The future of our world, as well as the eternal destination of over 5 billion souls currently living are at stake. The good which God is working out of the current world is the maturation of His people. He delays His judgments of evil around us, we must begin to distinguish ourselves from this evil lest we be swept up in the vengeance to come. Casuistry, the application of Biblical commands to modern issues, is central to this process.