Wednesday, January 25, 2006
The End Justifies the Means
While recuperating from battle wounds in 1521, a Spanish soldier named Ignatius Loyola dedicated his life to Roman Catholicism and the pope. In 1540, the pope gave Loyola approval to begin a new religious organization called the Society of Jesus, or Jesuits, as a part of the Counter-Reformation. They purposed to maintain and reclaim members and spread the doctrine of Romanism all over the world by any manner necessary. They initiated a philosophy encapsulated by the phrase, "the end justifies the means," which became their hallmark.
Three questions guide anyone's life: What, Why, and How? What am I going to do? My Actions. Why Am I going to do it? My Motives. How Am I Going to Do It? My Methods. To know God's will, we apply Scripture to every question. The Jesuits obviously did wrong things, unscriptural actions. However, in their frame of reference, they thought they were right, especially because their motive was to please Romanism and the pope. However, they didn't care how they got it done, because that didn't matter. So many people disregard scriptural methodology, reasoning that it doesn't matter how you do what you do, as long as you reach a scriptural or desired result. So much of Scripture contradicts this by either teaching a method or punishing a wrong method. 2 Samuel 6 and the example of Uzzah and the ark of the covenant jumps out to illustrate this point. Bringing the ark to Jerusalem was the right action with the right motive. Carrying it on a cart was the wrong method. Uzzah died as a result. The sufficiency of Scripture demands that we use scriptural methods. When those methods are utilized, God gets the glory, not only the overarching motive, but also the central activity of the Bible. If only the end justifies the means, then we are no better than Loyola and his Jesuits. And that might be the least of our problems.