The Price of Utopia

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, September 20, 2017 1 comments

by David Odegard

Every utopia seeks to create an unchanging, ideal life or society in which persons are the happiest they could be. A utopia seeks to create a static life. Change, dynamic surges of thought or progress aren’t welcome because they upset the status quo. The problem with utopia is that it destroys innovation and freedom. The utopia destroys what it means to be human; instead of making me a slave, it ultimately seeks to make me a robot. Just a little gear in someone else’s great big machine. No thanks!

Alexander the Great was totally enamored with the teachings of Aristotle. He saw himself as a liberator of the barbarian world, bringing them the gift of Greek culture. He brought with him the Polis, a square city plan with a road (called kardia, meaning “heart”) running north and south, an avenue that was three times as wide running east and west, and a giant square in the center where these two roads met. The shops would run along the kardia, and just off the square would be the temple to the principle god. There would be a theatre, a hippodrome (horse racing), public baths (with male and female prostitutes), a gymnasium, etc. It represented a perfectly ordered existence.

Alexander’s idea was that to be fully Greek meant to wake up in the morning and get the blood pumping at the gym—a good workout, then to the baths. After the baths, a vigorous meal and perhaps some spirited public debate at the forum or listening to a lecture. Then on to the theatre or the hippodrome for a little night life, where wine, women, and song was the order of worship.

Ah hedonism, ah Hellenism, ah the good life of being truly Greek. But, if this is the daily routine in utopia, who was planting and reaping the crops, ferrying goods back and forth, providing security, watching the children, or cooking the meals? Alexander had an answer for that too: the slaves. Yes, Alexandrian Hellenism was dependent upon slave labor so it could not be the ideal for all. Every utopian scheme must erase the individual in order to exalt the society in which all the humans must fit. The scheme must whittle all those square pegs to fit into its round society.

There have been Christian models of utopia as well. Some of them have been absolute, Jew-killing nightmares. Others have been fine. There are basically two kinds of attempted Christian utopia: voluntary and involuntary.

Voluntary associations are no problem, even those that wholly embrace socialism or communism. If you don’t like it, you can leave. The Amish, the Hutterites, the Mennonites, and the Quakers, just to name a few, all began as Anabaptist communities that wanted to live out the Christian life in a deliberate way. They voluntarily surrendered their own rights and freedoms in order to live in a way that they felt was consistent with the Bible. Those members, or children of members, who did not wish to live according to the established norm of the community were allowed to leave. They were never killed or jailed; forget the modern depiction of all of these communities as witch burners, it just wasn’t the case.

Another example of this type are the monasteries which are designed to enable the Christians who live in them to pray and meditate in order to draw nearer to God. The Dominican order was established for that reason, but they also had the vision of preaching to the world. It seemed like a utopian ideal. As long as it remained uninfused with secular power, it remained true to its founding vision.

But on April 20, 1233, the Dominican order was tapped by Pope Gregory to enforce orthodoxy on Christians. Hence the Inquisition was born. To be sure, the Inquisition was an illegitimate outgrowth of the Dominican order, which sought to employ reason in defense of the gospel towards pagan and others. Forced conversions were something not intended by the founder. Nevertheless, when the idea utopia gets into the minds of powerful people, it always engenders dehumanization by necessity. Those square pegs ain’t gonna whittle themselves, are they. The difference? The use of force.

Ludwig Von Mises wrote, “In human life there is never calm and repose. Life is a process, not a perseverance in a status quo. Yet the human mind has always been deluded by the image of an unchangeable existence. The avowed aim of all utopian movements is to put an end to history and to establish a final and permanent calm.”

The 1800’s were filled with many competing utopian models. Marx, Darwin, Bacon, the Republic of France, the frenzy of post-millennialism in the United States, not to mention all the utopias dreamed up by authors, both religious and secular. It seemed that everyone had an ideal shape that human society could be hammered into. The builders of the Tower of Babel would have been proud. Man’s will must be overcome by human force and effort. All of the humanistic ideals that have arisen since the Fall of Man have believed in the perfectibility of man. Religions, Christian denominations, and secularists embraced the ideal of utopia even if they couldn’t agree what exactly the perfect society should be.

The 1900’s became the battleground for all of these ideals. The 20th century was a bloodbath, but the blood was spilled in the name of utopia. Karl Marx’s view of the perfect world started the Russian Revolution—Red over White. Millions dead! Later it would be Chairman Mao, Pol-Pot, and many others filling the killing fields with the bodies of those square pegs who refused to be whittled in the Marx’s perfect socialist order.

Hitler and Mussolini had their own ideas of utopia and they brought all the power of Italy and Germany to bring about a worldwide Pax Germana. Millions more dead. In the United States, the social gospel and the progressive movement completely reordered society with the help of Woodrow Wilson, FDR, and Lyndon Johnson vastly undermining traditional American values and freedom. The “experts” were in control building a New America. They were taking their cues from secular idealists who had so much in common with the National Socialist Party of Germany. I could go on for a thousand pages!

How is the Kingdom of God different? Isn’t heaven the ideal of the ideals? YES! But God is the one who does the whittling of the pegs to fit them into His Kingdom. He does it with perfect love and ability. Humans can only PLAY God, they can’t BE God; therefore, their efforts to recreate the Garden of Eden always fall short. They always dehumanize and enslave. They try to make a human being into an unthinking machine—a robot, a cog in someone else’s machine.

But God works differently. He works through love not power. He works through self-sacrifice not coercion.

1 Peter 2:1-5, 11-12 says, “Rid yourselves, therefore, of all malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander. Like newborn infants, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, since you have tasted that the Lord is good. As you come to Him, the living stone, rejected by men, but chosen and precious in God’s sight, you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Beloved, I urge you as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from the desires of the flesh, which war against your soul. Conduct yourselves with such honor among the Gentiles that, though they slander you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us."

Sinful human beings simply cannot be made into a perfect society. It will always fail. God has chosen the way of regeneration. So must you.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


Race, Not Races

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, September 19, 2017 0 comments

by Aaron Felty

My father is black and my mother is white. We live in a time where there is so much animosity between those two color groups in our country. We hear about the “Black Lives Matter” movement, police officers shooting unarmed black citizens, and we see a variety of protests because of the latent racism and perceived “privilege” that exists. We see white people waving confederate flags and getting upset because they think black folks should just stop complaining and work harder. (Didn't we just have a black president?) Is the black/white issue the only issue? No, but it is the easiest for us in the United States to see the problem of race.

This blog post will not address those topics directly, but is intended to point people to Jesus in the midst of these difficult issues. It all begins with seeking to understand. Philippians 2:3b says, “In humility consider others better than yourself.”

Too often, we are trying to prove “we” are right and “they” are wrong. If we sought to understand the place from which one another was coming, much of this would disappear. For instance, do you understand and can you display compassion for people who do not look like you? Can you humbly answer these questions: Why do black people feel seem so hung up on racism and white privilege? Why are black people always talking about how poorly they are treated? Why do white people bristle when a black person protests the national anthem? Why can’t black people just work harder? There are so many things we need to address and these aren’t even the main ones, but you get the point. Listening and seeking to understand is the first and best way to begin to undo the negative effects of “racism.”

Additionally, we are also influenced by the media and people who push a particular narrative for a living. They are often called “race baiters.” Not only that, but we do have a sense of self-preservation; while something may be true and hurtful, we deny it because we may have contributed to it directly or indirectly, and that is too big of an issue to face on a personal level so we ignore or deny it. We have many influences that contribute to how we view “race” and how we react to it. Some are internal influences and some are external influences.

The Bible teaches that there is one race, the human race, and we in our sinfulness have created artificial walls between us and those who do not look like us, which is why “racism” exists. In Christ, there is no Jew or Gentile, slave or free, Greek or Scythian (Galatians 3:28). However, in America there certainly are these distinctions, and those of us who claim the name of Jesus would do well to create bridges not walls so that we can understand how to be salt and light in the midst of racial tension.

What is the follower of Jesus Christ to do in regard to the problem of race in the US? I am going to address only a few of the Biblical concepts here.

First of all, as I stated above, we need to consider others better than ourselves. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “In my walks, every man I meet is my superior in some way, and in that I learn from him.”

The Bible says in Philippians 2:3 that we are to do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than ourselves. If we want to solve the problem of “racism,” we must first consider if our motives are selfish and our perspective is arrogance. The above passage says we are to do nothing if either of those exists. In racism, we see our perspective as THE perspective (vain conceit) and if others do not agree with our perspective they are labeled with some nasty epithet. As followers of Christ, we have to resist that activity. When talking with someone who feels as though they are victimized by racism, the Christ-centered thing to do would be to listen and attempt to understand from their perspective. The non-Christ-centered thing to do would be to argue to prove our point. “A gentle answer turns away wrath” (Proverbs 15:1).

When we consider others better than ourselves, they will almost always be willing to hear another way, but not until they have been heard. When dealing with a racist it is also best to listen. We do not have to agree with them, but if we understand where they are coming from, perhaps we can influence them away from their racist tendencies and perhaps God will give us an apt word in that moment. I’m not sure about you but I have NEVER convinced someone to change their sinful ways by pointing out their sin, especially if they are coming from a position of pride. However, when I interact humbly, I have seen people respond in humility and consider a different way.

Secondly, we pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44). If you are a minority and have been mistreated, how about praying for the one who has mistreated you? If you are white and have been tongue lashed by a black person because you are white and do not “get it,” why not pray for that person? As in the first point, it all begins with listening. If you are in a dangerous situation, by all means flee to safety. However, God is able to change the heart of the persecutors in an instant. If you know someone who uses racial slurs or who is hostile toward other races, add them to your prayer list. Stop shaking your head at them and start bending the knee for them. “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16b). Ask the Lord to soften or heal their broken hearts, to convict them of their sin, and restore them so they may see others with God’s eyes not their own.

Finally, we see needs and meet them as we are able. This is indicated in Matthew 25:31-46 and James 2:16. This is one of the biggest problems black people seem to have with white people. Recently, a local Black Lives Matter group came out with 10 things white people can do (though I will not link to it because it has some disgusting language in it). I found the list absurd, but I understand the sentiment. Black people often wonder why white people do “nothing” when it comes to the obvious struggles in the black community. I could write an entire blog post on this. Suffice it to say, there is so much more white people could do to demonstrate understanding and compassion to the struggles still facing people of color. Some of these include befriending, supporting legitimate groups that advocate for healthy dialogue within varying ethnic groups, pushing for legislation that improves conditions in communities that are predominantly black or where people of color live, participating in peaceful protests, writing articles, asking good questions, listening, praying, or whatever you can do when a need is made known. If we did these things, we would see transformation in the health of our churches, our cities, our nation, and our world!

All too often, when a person hears talk about these issues, they immediately bristle because of the culture’s approach, which says, "If you are white, you are privileged; if you are black, you are a victim!" While both may be true in certain circumstances, in my opinion, neither are true in every situation. In fact, the argument simply creates more division. The only privilege we are all entitled to is the grace offered to us through our Lord Jesus Christ; it is free for the receiving!

I realize I have made this a completely one-way issue, discussing blacks being mistreated by whites. I am aware that these issues are far more complicated and occur the other way as well and with many other people groups from various cultural backgrounds.

In heaven, there will be people from every tribe, tongue, and nation, so let's practice getting along here on earth!

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Judges 21:19-24

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, September 18, 2017 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“But look, there is the annual festival of the Lord in Shiloh, which lies north of Bethel, east of the road that goes from Bethel to Shechem, and south of Lebonah.'
So they instructed the Benjamites, saying, 'Go and hide in the vineyards and watch. When the young women of Shiloh come out to join in the dancing, rush from the vineyards and each of you seize one of them to be your wife. Then return to the land of Benjamin. When their fathers or brothers complain to us, we will say to them, ‘Do us the favor of helping them, because we did not get wives for them during the war. You will not be guilty of breaking your oath because you did not give your daughters to them.’'
So that is what the Benjamites did. While the young women were dancing, each man caught one and carried her off to be his wife. Then they returned to their inheritance and rebuilt the towns and settled in them. At that time the Israelites left that place and went home to their tribes and clans, each to his own inheritance.” (Judges 21:19-24)

Israel was at a dilemma, which you can read about in more detail in last week’s post. The tribe of Benjamin had been nearly wiped out by the civil war in Israel, and they thought they had solved two problems at once by giving the virgins from Jabesh Gilead to the remaining men of Benjamin to repopulate, but there weren’t enough women to go around. So, Israel had to get a bit creative in how to address this.

The oath that Israel had taken before the war (referenced in Judges 21:1) said that the other tribes could not GIVE their daughters to Benjamin in marriage. But if Benjamin STOLE their daughters, that wouldn’t be breaking their oath, right?

There was a festival coming up in Shiloh and many people would be gathered there. This celebration is likely along with the celebration of the Passover, as the dancing may be an imitating Miriam’s dancing in Exodus 15:20-21.

The men of Benjamin were given very detailed instructions on where they were to go, primarily because they would not have been familiar with the hill country of Ephraim. This instruction would help them make a quick escape, should it become necessary. It’s especially interesting that the Benjamite men were essentially told to ambush the young women; this is the same technique that Israel used to defeat Benjamin in the war, and now it would be used to build their tribe back up.

This method was very unorthodox, and it would likely make the family members mad that their girls were essentially stolen from them. Marriages were usually arranged by the father, so this was contrary to their customs. But, the leaders of Israel would support the men of Benjamin in this, in case the families got mad over the action. They needed to fill the gap left by the tribe of Benjamin, and the women of Jabesh Gilead weren’t enough so they needed more. They technically aren’t breaking the oath since they’re not “giving” the girls to them.

After this plan was put into action, Israel had now taken care of the issues with Benjamin, and the army could disband. However, this episode was one of the most tragic in Israel’s history due to the great loss of life in the war and the fact that they were fighting among themselves rather than against an enemy nation.

But what about Israel’s actions to get around their oath - were they acceptable? This issue is often referred to as the letter of the law versus the spirit of the law. They were following the letter of the law in that they technically didn’t break it by not giving their daughters in marriage. But, the spirit of the law is about the heart attitude. Israel was trying to find a loophole to get around what they promised.

This reminds me of something my brother and I did when we were little. It was nap time, but we were getting toward the age of being too old for naps, so Mom told us to stay in our rooms. Well, our bedroom doors were right next to each other in the one corner of the hallway. There was different carpeting in the hallway than our bedrooms, so there was a clear line of what “in our rooms” meant. So, he sat in the doorway at the edge of his room and I sat in the doorway at the edge of mine, and we put a board game on the floor of the hallway and played it.

Did my brother and I follow the letter of the law? Yes - we were technically both in our own bedrooms. However, we were not following the spirit of the law, which was that we were to be by ourselves napping, or at least being quiet separately in our own rooms.

Israel followed the letter of their oath by technically not “giving” their daughters in marriage, but they disobeyed the spirit of their oath by coming up with a conniving way to get around it. They did need to fill the gap in the tribe of Benjamin, but they would have been much better off if they simply hadn’t made the oath in the first place.

Where in your life are you following the letter of the law, but breaking the spirit of the law? Maybe you’re “just friends” with that person, but in your heart you’re wishing it was more and therefore not being true to your significant other in your heart. Maybe you’re reading your Bible every day because you feel you’re supposed to, but your heart really isn’t in it and you aren’t doing it to draw closer to God. Take a look at your life this week and see where your motivation may not be what God would desire, even if your actions appear okay.

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Understanding By Faith

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, September 17, 2017 0 comments

by Logan Ames

When you’re afraid of something in life, how do you overcome it? Do you essentially just close your eyes and wait for the circumstances to pass you by, hoping that you won’t get harmed? Do you “man up” or “woman up” and face them head on? Personally, I rarely take either of those two approaches. God has given me a very analytical mind, so it causes me to approach my fears differently than many people. While others might take the “try not to think about it” path, I gave up on that idea a long time ago. I must find a way to reason in my own head that I’ll be okay. When I was afraid of roller coasters as a child, I watched happy and healthy people with all of their limbs intact walking off The Sidewinder at Hersheypark in Hershey, Pennsylvania and reasoned that I would not be injured or killed because they were not. Even when I went skydiving as an adult in 2005, I was terrified, yet I reasoned that the odds for survival were in my favor based on seeing other people successfully complete their jumps and knowing that a very large majority of people who do it survive and love it!

In the church, so often we respond to legitimate questions or fears that people have with some form of “that’s why they call it faith." Sometimes, that might be an appropriate response. Other times, it’s an incredibly lazy one. How can followers of Christ expect to develop other potential believers by pretending as if the entire foundation of our belief system is blind faith? If we look at Scripture, there are few circumstances where God requires us to trust him with no basis or foundation whatsoever. As I mentioned in last week’s post, God routinely commanded his people in the Bible to intentionally remember what he had done for them in the past. This wasn’t because God needed some kind of pat on the back. God doesn’t need our approval, our thanks, or our encouragement. The purpose for God telling them to be intentional about remembering what he did for them and how he showed up for them over and over again when they would have otherwise been destroyed was to show them they had REASON to keep trusting him.

Faith is not the opposite of reason. Some people say that faith in an unseen God defies logic, but I guess that all depends on what your standard of reason is. As we embark on a series that will cause us to look at each and every one of the heroes of our faith mentioned in Hebrews 11, including some who are not mentioned by name, we must understand that they trusted God because their standard of reason had been altered. Before addressing any of the specific individuals, the writer of the chapter gives us what I believe is the foundational verse for the whole thing: “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible” (Hebrews 11:3). This is a verse you will see quite a bit in my posts in the coming weeks and months. The men and women of this chapter who put their lives in the hands of their Creator did so with more than a blind and unreasonable belief that he was worthy of their confidence. It was an established truth that they UNDERSTOOD.

We too can have that understanding by faith when we face impossible and trying circumstances. Let’s follow the same logic the writer, and most likely the heroes, in Hebrews 11 did. If you walk outside right now and look up at the stars, down at the flowers, around at the mountains, or out toward the beaches and oceans, you basically have two choices in deciding how you believe it all came to be as it is. You either believe that someone designed it that way, or you believe that it happened by some stroke of luck or chance. Maybe you believe that chance has been accurately described by scientific research, but if so, there is still chance involved because you’d have to decide where the very first form of matter originated. Do you realize that either of the two options I described above requires faith? Since we can’t be 100% sure either way, it’s a matter of faith. If you believe that someone designed what we see outside, then you must decide if it’s the God of the Bible or someone else. This is where faith and understanding go hand in hand. The beginning of the Bible in Genesis tells us all about what God created. Then we go outside and can physically see with our very eyes that it’s designed just as the Word says it is. Even later in Genesis 9, we see that God created the rainbow for a purpose. Today in 2017, we can still walk outside and occasionally see the rainbow as God created it.

God’s not asking you to trust him just because he says so. He’s saying, “Look around and understand that you can trust me." Continuing with the logic of the writer of Hebrews, if God could make everything that we see out of what was not visible, is there anything he can’t handle? We must understand how small our view of God is and how limited our view of his involvement in our circumstances can be at times. If our standard of reasoning through our difficult circumstances is only extended as far as we can have control over them, then we won’t be able to trust God for anything. If our best doctors in the world say there is nothing they can do for a patient with a terminal illness, then we have no reason to have hope. On the flip side, if our standard of reasoning BEGINS with the understanding that God absolutely created everything that we see out of what was not visible, then the things for which we need his intervention seem like small potatoes in comparison. That terminal illness for which there is no cure could easily be healed by God. That drug addiction which has a grip on you or your loved one is nothing compared to God’s love and strength. Those attacks by your enemies don’t stand a chance against God’s power.

In a world with increasing uncertainty, we must stand on the only thing we know IS certain: hope and trust in God. We’ve had major hurricanes, continued terror attacks all over the world, political unrest, and threats of nuclear war. These seem like overwhelming and troubling circumstances to face, and they don’t even include whatever you are facing in your personal life. Left to our own reasoning, fear will overtake us. But when we think about what we know God has already created and accomplished, we are able to reason that he can do what we need and much more. I encourage you to compare the miracles you need from him to creating the world out of what we can’t see, and let your understanding by faith be your guide to get through whatever it is. Do that this week, then join me next week as we begin to look at other men and women just like us who had to go through the same reasoning process.

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Check Your Vertical, Part 3

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, September 16, 2017 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

I have a hobby in ceramics, making stoneware pottery. Now, let’s say I sell you a piece of pottery and you take it home and read the use and care instructions to know how to clean it, and what it’s safe to be used for. What if those instructions only told you what not to do? What if that label was so long and detailed, that it was hard to tell what you were allowed to do with it? 

Are you going to be inclined to use that mug or teapot? Would you think the maker was interested in you using the mug, or preserving it in some sort of shrine? Would you want to buy from me again?

By having instructions that list everything you shouldn’t do with it, the piece of pottery becomes useless – or at least a very expensive display item and dust collector. It becomes a statuesque piece of pottery we pay homage to by admiring its appearance - occasionally dusting it so visitors don’t think we are slobs - even though it has never served a practical purpose in its existence. You know what that’s called? An idol!

Read Matthew 15:15-20 again.

What Jesus revealed about all these laws the Pharisees had made was that in their desire to be “safe,” they had inadvertently created idols. By working so hard to create and keep all these rules, the rule-keeping became more important than the purpose behind the original rules. They tried so hard to set boundaries inside the boundaries God gave, that staying inside all the concentric circles of rules became their full-time focus. Jesus points out that their argument about washing hands and how to eat is so caught up in rule-keeping that they miss what God prepared for them, and they wind up in a worse position with God for their blindness to what matters to HIM. They had trapped themselves with all the horizontal rules and could no longer tell which way was up. 

Jesus presents a solution/test to His disciples that is pretty easy. If you want to check your VERTICAL, consider what Jesus tells them: Our OUTPUT can GLORIFY GOD, or DEFILE US - because it REVEALS our FAITH, or our IDOLS.

If you want to know what is in someone’s heart, listen to what they say. I mean really listen. Don’t guess. Don’t assume and jump to conclusions. Listen carefully. Ask questions for clarity if necessary, but listen. Sometimes we dress up all kinds of brokenness in fine sounding words, rational sounding arguments, or carefully slanted data. Sometimes our brokenness is obvious in what we are saying, whether we admit it or are aware of it, or not.

What about your own language? What do you say that reveals what is going on in side of you? What vows have you made, saying “never again….”? What attacks do you level with sarcasm, guilt, or finding fault? What wounds do you cover with humor, defensive language, or misdirection? Do you know it reveals you heart, even if you don’t mean for it to?

If you want to check your vertical, check and see if your life is seeking to live God's best, then run the tape back of this morning's conversations. Rewind this week's chats in person or on social media with friends and co-workers. Replay the last months’ conversations with your spouse, kids, or close friends. What do you hear? You know what is laced in through those conversations. Are you willing to face that brokenness and those idols and surrender them to God?

You can see your idols if you are honest, and you can see where there was truth that honored God. I invite you to intentionally be aware of what you say, how you say it, and what it reveals about your heart. Do the same as you listen to others. Then examine carefully the voices you are “akouo syniemi" – hearing and understanding – and whether or not they really are pointing you in the way God would have you go. Be willing to lay down any input that corrupts or distracts from your output honoring God.

Next week, we will look at another passage and see how we can use the vertical to better see the way forward. 

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Do Not Ride Your Parents’ Faith

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, September 15, 2017 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

There is an entire demographic in many churches today in grave danger of hearing the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:21-23: “I never knew you.” Jesus talked about the difference between true and false converts more than any other topic. Most, if not all, of his parable had to deal with that issue. I want to address one particular demographic of false converts: those who claim to be Christian by riding the faith of their parents.

I was reading through the kings of Israel and Judah, particularly studying what their choices and actions were, when this topic got dislodged, and I’ve simply been waiting on the Lord for the right time to address it. The first Bible I ever got was an “Adventure Bible” in the NIV, with commentaries geared for kids. One of the charts in this Bible was on the kings with who they were, how long they reigned, a brief synopsis of their reign, and whether they were a good king or not. That chart had always stuck in my head and as an adult, I am not convinced at the accuracy of that chart, because one king was listed as good, but in actuality was not very good: Joash.

2 Chronicles 23-24 covers the details of Joash’s reign. His rise to the throne is a great testimony of God’s protection of David’s line. Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, followed well in her parents’ footsteps. She sought to wipe out the entire royal family when her son died, and only Joash survived because he was hidden from her. Athaliah ruled wickedly for six years. Joash in the meantime was raised by Jehoiada the high priest.

When Joash was seven, Jehoiada made his move to remove Athaliah and instill Joash as king. She was executed and the idols to Baal were torn down and worship of the Lord was reinstated. It was a great day because wickedness was met with justice, and a king who could lead the people in the ways of the Lord was in power. Joash initially set out to do this. He is one of the few kings who is recorded to repair the temple after years of disarray because of false idols being put there and worse things taking place within those walls. Joash is considered a good king for this, however there was one thing that stood out to me.

We see this in 2 Chronicles 24:2: “Joash did what was right in the sight of the Lord all the days of Jehoiada the priest.” This is different from any of the other kings who were listed as good. Those kings did what was right all the days of their lives. Joash did not do that which was right ALL his days, and his apostasy began the moment Jehoiada died. He led the people away from God and right back to idol worship. Joash even killed Jehoiada’s son for confronting him. In the end, Joash was assassinated and the end of his reign was so bad he was not even given a proper king’s funeral.

What led to Joash’s demise? It was not because he did not have a good mentor. It was not because he listened to bad advice. It was because he was truly a false convert. The Bible never says Joash sought the Lord. The closest it gets is saying he sought to repair the temple. He did works for God, but never sought God personally.

The man who raised him, Jehoiada, was a good man. He sought the Lord, sought to protect Judah, and taught Joash all the ways of the Lord. He was an old man too and died at age 130. Joash rode Jehoiada’s faith. He followed God’s ways because the man who raised him followed God’s ways, but God’s ways were never his ways.

Ken Ham wrote a book a few years ago called Already Gone. The book addresses the issue of countless youth being raised in the church then leaving it as young adults. Many blame secular education, especially at the high school and college levels for turning them, however Ham suggests the real reason they are leaving was because they never were there to begin with. They knew the language, but they never knew the Lord. They followed their parents’ rules but they never embraced them, and the moment they left the house, their faith was left behind with them… because it was never theirs. This is a pretty good summary of the bulk of the “ex-Christian” testimonies I have heard. The problem is they cannot be ‘ex-Christians’ because they never were Christian to begin with. 1 John 2:19 tells us they came out of us but were never of us.

Teenagers, your parents cannot save you. You will not make it heaven because your parents are Christians. They can teach you the truth, but you must embrace it for yourself. You must own it. You cannot claim to be a Christian just because your parents are, or even just because you go to church. Do not be a Christian in Name Only. It is going to show. Christianity is not a label to wear; it is not statement of beliefs to hold on to. It is a completely new identity, a new nature, and to be very frank, it will make you very different from everyone else. You cannot be a Christian and be popular with the world and be consistent in your life. Pick one to follow, but a word of caution. The world will dismiss you the moment you are no longer beneficial to them. They don’t actually care about you. If you follow God, it will be hard, but he will never abandon his own.

Parents, your kids don’t come with you to heaven just because you are going. They are going to make it on their own accord, on whether they have been born again. Parents, you MUST stop trying to find any remote hint of a sliver that your kids might be saved if they are living godless lives. You cannot hope on the day of judgment that their profession of faith as a seven-year old is going to be sufficient; you are deceiving them and deceiving yourselves. Teach your kids how to walk in faith when you are not around. If your kids have back-slidden, there is a good chance they never were saved to begin with. Teach them what true salvation is and live that faith by your own lives. And this is going to be difficult to hear, but if your child, after doing everything in your power to showcase Christ, still rejects him, that is his/her choice, and it is NOT your fault. If you have sought the Lord in your own life, showcased it before your kids, and they still refuse to walk with Christ, do not blame your failures. It is on them. Keep praying for them, but in those cases, do not pray for them to return to the Lord. Pray for them to meet him in the first place and if that means handing them over to Satan to be brought to rock bottom, then let it be so. That being said, if your children as adults walk with the Lord and seek him, then praise be to God.

Do not be as Joash who only looked God’s direction while Jehoiada was alive. Do not use your parents’ faith to do your work for you. Learn from them, but make your faith YOUR faith. Our kids will face the world one day and I have seen so many, Christian and non-Christian, show up totally unprepared to face it and get swallowed alive. The only way to face this world and survive it is to be deeply rooted in Scripture and anchored to the Shepherd. Your parents can train and prepare you, but they cannot fight your battles in your stead. They can fight with you, but not in your place. Place your faith in Christ, nor your parents’ faith in Christ, and you will see victory. In the day of Judgment, you will hear these words: “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

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The Brave New World and You

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, September 13, 2017 2 comments

by David Odegard

Aldous Huxley wrote his most popular book The Brave New World in 1931. It was a dystopian look at a possible future in which the world is entirely managed by central planning. Last week I reminded you, constant reader, of Orwell’s 1984 and the stark similarities to modern life, but this week I want to reacquaint you with Huxley’s work.

If you recall, Huxley’s BNW was set the year 632 AF (after Ford) and controlled by Mustapha Mond as the World Controller. The world is subdivided into 5 classes: idiots called Epsilons, next Deltas, Gammas, Betas, Alphas. Each person is hatched in a test tube and is genetically engineered for maximum efficiency. The lower classes are “produced” to be hardy against the environment, they are strong for menial labor, and they are kept stupid enough to not want “higher” attainment. They are completely controlled through the use of recreational sex and drugs. The higher classes are more intelligent and they are suited for white collar work.

There is no sickness in this society. Everyone is perfectly happy. As the character of Mustapha Mond described the World Society:
"The world’s stable now. People are happy; they get what they want, and they never want what they can’t get. They’re well off; they’re safe; they’re never ill; they’re not afraid of death; they’re blissfully ignorant of passion and old age; they’re plagued with no mothers or fathers; they’ve got no wives, or children, or lovers they feel strongly about; they’re so conditioned that they practically can’t help behaving as they ought to behave.”

This description sounds chillingly like the Cardinal Principles document produced by the NEA Report in 1918, which has remained the ideology of public education from then until now. The methodology has changed wildly since 1918, but the ideology has remained constant: the production of a stable and contented populace.

One of the complaints of this Report according to Frances Fitzgerald, who studied American textbooks as part of her work America Revised, is that the older educational standard was too high and that it led “boys and girls away from pursuits for which they are adapted,” assumedly toward pursuits that the NEA did not feel boys and girls were “adapted” such as entrepreneurialism, invention, or other “white collar” work. Fitzgerald shows that the Report of ’17 called for a reorientation from history toward “social studies.” We need look no further than the destruction of southern monuments to realize that this principle has been fully realized today. There is a disregard for actual history, in preference for a sterilized social justice revisionist history.

Fitzgerald further indicts modern textbooks by looking for a uniting “ideology behind the texts.” She concludes that they do not convey history but rather present “a catechism… of American socialist realism.”

John Gatto quotes Fitzgerald’s work in his own book: “More than once she notes ‘actual hostility to the notion of intellectual training.’ Passion, in partnership with impatience for debate.” We need look no further than the modern university campus to see the fruit of passion plus impatience for debate. Speakers are routinely shouted down or harmed on American campuses. This is not because they are millennials; it is because they are the product of a multi-billion-dollar indoctrination regime that is an almost universal cradle-to-grave educational system controlled by the NEA and their Cardinal Principles. This is why we have to think of it as a “new brand of salvation,” that humanity can manage itself to a higher form of social life. Next stop—socialism unhindered by dissenters, “a socialism so good it’s mandatory.”

The idea is that “correctly managed mass schooling would result in a population so dependent on leaders that schism and revolution would be things of the past. . . No more wars, no civil disputes.” Just happy shiny idiots collecting stamps and laughing riotously anytime someone hits his head on a doorway. For proof, one need look no further than one’s own internal reaction to the government-by-manipulation on display at every facet of modern life. Don’t want to wear a seatbelt even if you are the only one in the car? Here’s your fine. Don’t want to bake a cake for people you don’t agree with? Here is a fine so large you’ll no longer be in business. On and on and on. From the DMV to the Veteran’s Hospital, we Americans have become all too familiar with government meddling in everyday life.

According to Fitzgerald’s findings, American textbooks are deliberately dumbing us down, numbing our minds to the upsetting realities in the world, simplifying us to pull our levers and pay our taxes and leave the thinking for the Alphas.

As Mustapha quipped, “’Just to give you a general idea,’ he would explain to them. For of course some sort of general idea they must have, if they were to do their work intelligently—though as little of one, if they were to be good and happy members of society, as possible.”

In conclusion, Gatto writes:
“The appearance of Cardinal Principles signaled the triumph of forces which had been working since the 1890’s to break the hold of complex reading, debate, and writing as the common heritage of children reared in America. Like the resourcefulness and rigors of character that small farming conveyed, complex and active literacy produces a kind of character antagonistic to hierarchical, expert-driven, class-based society. As the nature of American society was moved deliberately in this direction, forges upon which a different kind of American had been hammered were eliminated. We see this process nearly complete in the presentation of Cardinal Principles.”

In short, critical thinking had to go. One needs only look around to see that this fruit has long ago set. America is plunging into intellectual chaos. College students are demanding to be enslaved with socialism and refuse to exit the echo chamber.

Christians, I have endeavored to display that the government schools are an ill-fit for your child for more reasons than that they teach evolution and don’t have explicit moments of prayer. They are diseased with humanism to the very core—producing venomous fruit. Even when public institutions taught creationism and had prayer, they were still training students not to think, all the while placating unsuspecting Christian parents that all is well.

Americans worship one god really: government. We learned it in the religious school of secular humanism we were forced to attend. The twin values, ordinances if you will, of this American religion are personal security and affluence. We Christians must reorient around our Lord, Jesus Christ. We must orient in His kingdom, which is not of this world even though our message of the gospel is for this world. We are in the world, but not of the world. We love the world because God loves it. We attempt the reconciliation of God and world. If you feel no pressure to conform to the world and its standard, perhaps it is because you have already done so. Romans 12:1-2 is for you.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.