Sunday, January 10, 2010

Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide?

At the Common Ground (Insider) conference I asked this question to the presenters, “Where I live, Islam is all about Mohammed and he is highly venerated.  How can a Muslim who comes to faith in Christ remain in Islam if Mohammed is viewed as the savior?”  The answer I got was, “Well, that is up to the Muslim Believer to decide.  His conscience will guide him.

I have struggled in forming a biblical view of conscience for years.  Below is generally the principle I have held to, articulated in David Mays’ book notes on 10 Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe.  Listed as the 7th dumbest(sp?) thing is “Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide:”

"The idea that our conscience is a trustworthy moral guide is a myth." (108) "Our conscience doesn't tell us if we're violating God's standards. It tells us when we're violating our standards." (109) "Our conscience is also easy to reset." (110) Our sin nature clouds our understanding of spiritual truth and God's leading. It puts static on the line and creates spiritual blind spots. Over time, if we continue in sin, it can become callused and loses its sensitivity. Our ability to feel guilt goes away. (115) Prisons are full of people who let their conscience guide them. And the same is true in church. Business people break their word to make a deal. They think they have to. Many times someone's conscience is clear because it is no longer working. Our conscience is a valuable early warning device, a yellow light. But it's a terrible green light.

I have never seen a really good article on the biblical view of conscience.  Does anyone know of one?


Timothy said...

I do not have an article, but would like to go on record as saying that I do not think the conscience of one individual who has recently come to faith should be his sole guide to walking in the Spirit.

Abu Daoud said...

I think Thomas Aquinas talks about it in the Summa. He says that the conscience is the same as what Paul talks about when he said God has written his law on our hearts in Romans. Thus the human conscience is indeed a guide to right and wrong, but because of original sin it's ability is impaired. The Holy Spirit can and does rehabilitate the conscience so as the Christian matures his conscience becomes more sensitive and accurate in perceiving good and evil by the power of the Spirit.