Tuesday, April 28, 2015

God Has to Go

I suspect that if Christians would cede two or three points then the world would be happy to leave us alone and let us fritter away our lives without them.  First, the doctrine of creation must go and with it the inferred authority of the Creator.  Undermining the book of Genesis is critical in this effort to rid the world of God’s Word, which was the very issue in the Garden of Eden:  “Has God said?”  Second, the exclusive claims of Jesus, or to put it another way, the Lordship of Jesus is intolerable.  This doctrine demonstrates that the Christian faith is intolerant and, of course, they can have none of that. Perhaps He can sit at the table, but He can never be the chairman of the board. The third obnoxious thing about Christians is their doctrine of sexuality. This strikes at the very heart of the matter and is really an expression of the first two issues.

Sexuality is one of the main battle fronts in the effort to expel God from the universe.  Oscar Wilde observed that:  “Everything in the world is about sex except sex.  Sex is about power.”  I think he’s on to something.  There in the first chapter of the Bible, God not only gives man and woman the task of subduing the earth, He also gives them one of the most powerful tools that they will need to accomplish that task.  Their maleness and femaleness are essential for several reasons.  First, the two (i.e., the man and the woman) shall become one flesh―united in covenant and purpose.  Second, this is what enables them to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth [biology].  Third, they’re called to a mission, not only to fill the earth, but to fill it with godly offspring, which requires a godly family.  Worship is the ultimate end.

Adam and Eve wanted to do things their way.  They wanted to be as God; to determine good and evil for themselves.  As sin entered into the world, every aspect of mankind was dramatically altered, including their sexuality.  It remained no less a powerful force but now it became a destructive force.  A chainsaw is powerful for cutting firewood but a chainsaw in the hands of an eight-year-old running through the house is no less powerful; it is a whole lot more destructive.  This is why many of the most severe penal sanctions in the Bible are reserved for the misuse of this powerful and destructive force.  The effect of the corruption of sexuality is seen all the time in every place.  Individuals, families and societies suffer in a host of ways.  This is always the result of man doing things his own way.  Wisdom says in Proverbs 8:36, “All those who hate me love death,” and in Proverbs 13:15, “The way of the transgressor is hard.” The world loves to show you the glamorous side but never the dark side.

The current assault on marriage and the militant homo-jihad, along with the general pornification of the culture is the 3-D version of this hatred of God.  Sex and sexuality were created by the Creator and He has spoken concerning their legitimate use.  The world will have none of this.  He is not going to tell us what to do with our bodies.  We will determine good and evil for ourselves.  The Greek word “pornia” refers to all sorts of sexual sins.  It is interesting that pornia is frequently associated (in the Bible) with idolatry, or the worship of a false god.  R. J Rushdoony wrote about the “politics of pornography,” in his book, Law and Liberty. Here is an excerpt from that book:

Now the first thing which is apparent in pornography is its obvious hatred of morality, its marked distaste for Biblical faith and morals.  Moral restraint is seen as bondage for man, a slavery which must be destroyed.  As a result, pornography indulges endlessly in long, tasteless, and highly emotional attacks on morality, on the sanctity of marriage, on monogamy, and on every kind of moral inhibition.  It seeks to fan the flames of moral rebellion, to see morality as dull and restrictive, and immorality and perversion as exciting and liberating.  Although people will attempt to prove almost anything these days it would be an impossibility to prove that pornography is not hostile to Biblical faith and morality, because it so obviously reeks with hatred and hostility.

A second observation is equally obvious:  pornography sees a tremendous appeal in moral evil.  Morality is seen as tedious and confining, as utterly boring and restrictive, whereas evil is portrayed as man’s liberation.  Evil has the potency of a magnetic force for the pornographer. The vitality, potency, and possibility of life are wrapped up in evil. Truly to live means for him evil, a commitment to and an involvement in moral evil.  Man is not really alive, we are told, if he lives morally; life means evil; it means what is called sin and perversion.  Only the person who sins is truly alive, it is held.  Evil, for these people, is life.

Third, it can be further stated that for the pornographer morality is death.  To confine men and women to the prison house of morality, marriage, law, and order is seen as equivalent to a sentence of death.  Since evil is life, morality is logically death, and this is the religious faith of pornography.  The gospel for man is thus evil; sin is the way of salvation, and the way to life and liberty.  This faith is insistently presented, and with a religious fervor, and with good reason, because its roots are in an ancient religious faith, Manichaeanism, and also in various cults of chaos. For this faith, sin is life. Researchers a few years ago found that many people commit adultery, not because of any desire for the other person, but because of a fear that they will miss out on life if they do not sin. This is in essence the position of pornography—it offers sin and evil, and it declares it to be true life precisely because it is sin and evil.

Fourth, pornography manifests a hostility to the very idea of law and morality.  Law means for it something inhibiting and stultifying, a deadening restraint upon man.  Morality is held to be the dead hand of the past, the fearful and death-oriented will of men bound to superstition and fear.  The destiny of man is to be free from law, according to these men, and the way to be free is to begin by breaking the law, by violating morality.  Man’s freedom is to be free from law, free to do as one pleases, and the mark of this freedom is the deliberate violation of all law and order.  Very briefly, this position is one of moral anarchism.  Man’s greatest enemy is religion, morality, and law.  Eliminate religious and moral law, and all the evils of human life will disappear.  Man and the state can then reconstruct society in terms of man’s liberation from God and create a truly human order, the great society of humanism, the city of man.

[Law and Liberty, “The Politics of Pornography,” R. J. Rushdoony, (1984: pp. 22-23). http://libertyalliance.com/books/PDFs/rushdoony_law_and_liberty.pdf

Monday, April 27, 2015

Christin's Quote Book

  • Everywhere I go I’m asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them. There’s many a bestseller that could have been prevented by a good teacher. —Flannery O’Connor
  • The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him. –G. K. Chesterton
  • People occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened. –Winston Churchill
  • A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin.   ―H. L. Mencken
  • In the war on the unborn, every day is another 9/11. —Mike Adams

Friday, April 24, 2015

A Normal Girl

Toward the end of C. S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters, the senior demon, Screwtape is giving a toast to the graduates of the College of Temptors and discussing some great problems his generation was able to create in the hearts of the humans. Specifically, he is talking about the desire to be “normal” and “like everyone else”, he says:
All is summed up in the prayer which a young female human is said to have uttered recently:  “O God, make me a normal twentieth-century girl!”  Thanks to our labors, this will mean increasingly:  “Make me a minx, a moron, and a parasite.” 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

American Christianity

An excerpt from Eugene Peterson’s, Under the Unpredictable Plant (1992), pp. 35-37.

… Religious activity on our continent is very popular. There is absolute religious freedom, which means that we can be reli­gious any old way we want to. But the way we want to doesn't turn out to be anything close to resembling the biblical origi­nals.

North American religion is basically a consumer religion. Americans see God as a product that will help them to live well, or to live better. Having seen that, they do what consumers do, shop for the best deal. Pastors, hardly realizing what we are doing, start making deals, packaging the God-product so that people will be attracted to it and then presenting it in ways that will beat out the competition. Religion has never been so taken up with public relations, image building, salesmanship, marketing techniques, and the competitive spirit. Pastors who grow up in this atmosphere have no awareness that there is anything out of the way in such practices...

… Far from being radical and dynamic, most religion is a lethargic rubber stamp on worldly wisdom, leading us not to freedom but, in Chesterton's words, to "the degrading slavery of being a child of [this] age."

Something similar took place in the field of education. Our educational priorities and practices have produced a popu­lation with a high degree of literacy so that virtually everyone has access to learning. The reading skills that used to be the privilege of a few people are now available to all. But with what result? TV Guide is our highest circulation magazine, with Reader's Digest a strong second. Our nation of readers uses its wonderful literacy to read billboards, commercials, watered down pep talks, and humorous anecdotes. I don't think I would voluntarily live in a place where education was available only to the wealthy and privileged, but simply providing everyone with the ability to read seems to have lowered rather than raised the intellectual level of the nation.

Likewise, I would never voluntarily live in a place where the freedom to choose and practice religion was illegal and had to be pursued underground, but when I look at the results of this most extensive experiment in the freedom of religion that the world has ever seen, I am not impressed. Surveyed as a whole, we are immersed in probably the most immature and mindless religion, ranging from infantile to adolescent, that any culture has ever witnessed.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

George WIll

  • The nice part about being a pessimist is that you are constantly being either proven right or pleasantly surprised.
  • The pursuit of perfection often impedes improvement.
  • Some parents say it is toy guns that make boys warlike. But give a boy a rubber duck and he will seize its neck like the butt of a pistol and shout 'Bang!'
  • Football combines the two worst things about America: it is violence punctuated by committee meetings.
  • Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona. Not all holes, or games, are created equal.
  • The future has a way of arriving unannounced.
  • Politicians fascinate because they constitute such a paradox; they are an elite that accomplishes mediocrity for the public good.
  • As advertising blather becomes the nation's normal idiom, language becomes printed noise.
  • Constitutional arguments that seem as dry as dust can have momentous consequences.
  • Being elected to Congress is regarded as being sent on a looting raid for one's friends.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Christin's Quote Book

  • Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies. –Groucho Marx
  • It’s hard to make predictions, especially about the future. –Yogi Berra
  • There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are. —W. Somerset Maugham
  • Crying to get what you want is only successful in proportion to how cute you are. —Bill McCurry
  • Attempted murder should carry the same penalty as first-degree murder. Otherwise, you’re simply rewarding incompetence. ―Burt Prelutsky

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Jesus is Lord!

I am very grateful to see First Baptist Church of Nacogdoches distributing the “Jesus is Lord” yard signs in our community. We’re blessed to live in a city with many sincere and faithful believers. I also want to thank all those who are willing to be bold in their proclamation of the Lordship of Christ. It reminds me that in our country there are way more than 7,000 who haven’t bowed the knee to Baal (and other gods).

The declaration that “Jesus is Lord” is central and carries with it powerful implications for those who profess it as well as those who hear it. The Lordship of Christ is comprehensive. The Lordship of Christ is personal, familial, corporate and cosmic. When He is the Lord of a person it changes everything; how they live, look, talk, serve, love, spend, vote, and much more. The Lordship of Christ governs families, with parents raising their children at every turn in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. He is the Lord of churches and other communities and makes them better places to live. Ultimately, the Lord rules the universe; it was made by Him and for Him and it’s ultimately accountable to Him.

One of the great men who taught me about the comprehensive nature of the Lordship of Christ―Dr. Cornelius Van Til― has offered these insights:

There has been thought that religion is a condiment that may be added to the otherwise neutral territories of life…

And anyone who comes to grips with it [i.e., the Lordship of Christ] at all will sense the impossibility of thinking of Christian education as being ninety or sixty or thirty or ten percent like other education, the only difference being that Christian education adds certain elements or emphasizes certain elements that secular education neglects.  When viewed from this absolute standpoint Christian education is not even a fraction of one percent like public education.  The different conceptions of God that underlie the two educational theories cover every point on the whole front and cover them before and behind, without and within…

This, then, is the point.  The war between Christ and Satan is a global war.  It is carried on, first, in the hearts of men for the hearts of men.  Through preaching and teaching in the church and in the home, through the witness borne individual men everywhere, the allegiance of men is turned away from Satan to Christ.  But the warfare is also carried on where you might least expect it.  It is carried on in the field of reading and writing and arithmetic, in the field of nature study and history.  At every point Satan seeks boys and girls, as well as men and women to take the attitude that he got Eve and Adam to take at the beginning of History.  Everywhere and at every point Satan’s theme song is:  “Let’s be broad-minded; at the beginning of our research your hypothesis about God’s creating and directing the course of history is as good as mine and mine is as good as yours.  Now let’s be open-minded and find out from the facts, whose hypothesis fits reality.
And now the reason why we are willing as Christian believers in general, and as Christian parents in particular, to sacrifice so largely for the sake of having Christian schools is that we want our children with us to see the vision of the all-conquering Christ as he wrests the culture of mankind away from Satan and brings it to its consummation when the new heavens and the new earth on which righteousness shall dwell, at last appears...
...There is not a square inch of ground in heaven or on earth or under the earth in which there is peace between Christ and Satan.  And what is all-important for us as we think of the Christian school is that, according to Christ, every man, woman, and child is every day and everywhere involved in this struggle.  No one can stand back, refusing to become involved.  He is involved from the day of his birth and even before his birth.  Jesus said: “He that is not with me is against me, and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.”  If you say that you are not involved you are in fact involved on Satan’s side.  If you say you are involved in the struggle between Christ and Satan in the area of the family and in the church, but not in the school, you are deceiving yourself.  In that case you are not really fully involved in the family and in the church.  You cannot expect to train intelligent, well-informed soldiers of the cross of Christ unless the Christ is held up before them as the Lord of culture as well as the Lord of religion.  It is of the nature of the conflict between Christ and Satan to be all-comprehensive. [Cornelius Van Til, Essays on Christian Education, pp.26-28]

Joshua expressed this comprehensive struggle very clearly when he declared: “And if it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Josh. 24:15).

Saturday, April 18, 2015

College 101

I have been more than involved with the revival of Christian education in America over the past 35 years. Its growth and development have been remarkable and powerful. Many parents have recognized the essential nature of a Christian education and have made the sacrifices to provide (when possible) both home schools and Christian day schools as some of the means of achieving this important work. R. L. Dabney is worth hearing again on this:

The education of children for God is the most important business done on earth. It is the one business for which the earth exists. To it all politics, all war, all literature, all money-making, ought to be subordinated; and every parent especially ought to feel, every hour of the day, that, next to making his own calling and election sure, this is the end for which he is kept alive by God—this is his task on earth.

And so, I must start with a commendation to all those who have done what they can to provide a Christian education for their children, often under difficult situations.  Having home schooled as well as been the founding chairman of two Classical Christian schools, and currently serving on the board of a classical Christian college, I know firsthand that the dedication and sacrifice of many people is required to accomplish this “most important business done on earth.”

Commitment to inculcating a biblical worldview is a long-term construction project.  We take our children to church, instruct them at home, and (in many cases) enroll them in co-ops or schools where they will be immersed in, not only Christian instruction, but also in Christian culture.  We are concerned about what they will be taught, who will teach them, and also with the environment they will live in.  I am aware of some Christian families who have successfully negotiated less than ideal educational situations, but they are the exceptions to the rule.

Continuing the Challenge
Running 15 miles in a 26 mile, 385 yard race is impressive, but it will not win the marathon. Graduating high school is no small accomplishment. Raising Christian children and preparing them to be life-long followers of Christ is a daily struggle. It saddens me to see how many come to the end of this particular phase of education (i.e., high school) and then seem to stop thinking about what is necessary to continue the race.  I know that life is complicated, every child is different, and that some young people are better prepared than others.  A variety of opportunities present themselves.  I want to challenge parents and students to think through all these options carefully and to maintain the biblical principles that God requires. I want to see them finish the race.

The goal is to raise children to the glory of God, which means that their faithfulness to Him and their maturity in Christ is the single most important thing. “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.”  We do not have to look far to see many shipwrecks of Christian young people who headed off to the college or university for a lot of wrong reasons.  At the top of our list of considerations were things like:  proximity, jobs, scholarships, football teams, prestige, friends, etc.  Much further down our list of considerations (if they were considered at all), were things like:  who is going to teach my children, what are they going to be taught, what kind of culture will they be immersed in, and is this place likely to produce mature and faithful Christian adults who are prepared to engage our culture, who will establish great Christian families, and who will be dedicated members of the Body of Christ?  Now I am not opposed to the items on the first list, but I am suggesting that these two lists should be reversed in the order of their priorities.

Every education is selling something―it might be from God or from the devil―but they are all selling something.  Do you know what they are selling in the classroom and in their cultures?  Is that really where you want your young adults to do their shopping?  You sacrificed early for your principles. Don’t stop now!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Jonah Goldberg

  • Our fear of hypocrisy is forcing us to live in a world where gluttons are fine, so long as they champion gluttony. But if the choice is a cool president and 8 or 10 percent unemployment in a declining economy and a country that seems to be going in the wrong direction and structural unemployment for young people at 50 percent, I'd rather have a dorky president who fixed those problems.
  • If power made one evil, then God would be the Devil.
  • A rising economic tide is bad for people who live off of the poverty of others.
  • People ask, “Why is there poverty in the world?” It’s a silly question. Poverty is the default human condition. It is the factory preset of this mortal coil.
  • Just to clarify: If you go into every situation saying there’s absolutely nothing worth fighting over, you will inevitably end up on a cot sleeping next to a guy named Tiny, bringing him breakfast in his cell every morning, and spending your afternoons ironing his boxers. Or, in the case of the French, you might spend your afternoon rounding up Jews to send to Germany, but you get the point.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Christin's Quote Book

  • Do unto those downstream as you would have those upstream do unto you. –Wendell Berry
  • When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer. —Corrie Ten Boom
  • Build a man a fire, he’ll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, he’ll be warm for the rest of his life. —Terry Pratchett
  • We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive. –C. S. Lewis
  • The state is the great fictitious entity by which everyone seeks to live at the expense of everyone else. –Frédéric Bastiat