Footsteps of the Founders, Part 2

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, January 17, 2017 0 comments

by Bill Fortenberry

“The Constitution was inspired by Solon, not Moses—nor Jesus … Solon gave us elections, and trials by a jury of our peers, two concepts never found in the Bible, Old Testament or New.”

This emphatic claim by historian Richard Carrier is one that is often repeated by atheists and Christians alike. How many times have you heard someone say that the government promoted by the Bible was either a monarchy or a theocracy? Now compare that with how many times you’ve heard someone say that the Bible promotes a representative government in which the rulers are elected by the people. Have you ever heard anyone make this second claim?

Carrier claims that our Constitution was inspired by Solon, and I’ve previously written on my own blog about the falsity of that claim, but what about his claim that the concept of election is not found in Scripture?

According to the Bible, God delivered the first part of the Mosaic Covenant directly to the assembly of the people of Israel in an audible voice. This part of the covenant has become known as the Ten Commandments, and we read about God delivering them to the people in the twentieth chapter of Exodus and the fifth chapter of Deuteronomy. In the account from Deuteronomy 5:4-29 we read: “The Lord spoke to you face to face out of the fire on the mountain…
These are the commandments the Lord proclaimed in a loud voice to your whole assembly there on the mountain from out of the fire, the cloud and the deep darkness; and he added nothing more. Then he wrote them on two stone tablets and gave them to me.
When you heard the voice out of the darkness, while the mountain was ablaze with fire, all the leaders of your tribes and your elders came to me. And you said, … ‘Go near and listen to all that the Lord our God says. Then tell us whatever the Lord our God tells you. We will listen and obey.’
The Lord heard you when you spoke to me, and the Lord said to me, “I have heard what this people said to you. Everything they said was good. Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever!”

In the above passage, we discover a remarkable series of events. When God established the Mosaic Covenant with the nation of Israel, He did not choose to speak to Moses alone. Rather, God descended upon the mountain in the sight of all the people, and began presenting the terms of the covenant directly to the body of the people. The people heard the Ten Commandments, which formed the foundation of the covenant, and then they became afraid.

When God stopped speaking in order to record the Ten Commandments in writing, the people took advantage of the pause to approach Moses and ask him to be their representative before the Lord. According to the parallel passage in Exodus, Moses actually pleaded with the people that they not succumb to their fears (Exodus 20:20), but they refused his pleas.

Then, the Bible records for us that God heard the decision of the people to elect Moses to be their representative. He not only approved of their decision but He also wished for them to always display such wisdom. Here we have a record of the God of the universe rejoicing because the nation of Israel decided on their own to elect a representative to stand before Him in their place.

This is just one of many, many elections that are recorded in Scripture. The Bible also tells us in Deuteronomy 1 and in Numbers 11 that the Jews chose their elders by election. The elders comprised one of the two bodies of Israel’s bicameral legislature. They were equivalent to our House of Representatives.

Many think that they are familiar with the account of Israel’s first monarch, King Saul, but did you know that they had to hold two separate elections before Saul could be crowned? The first election is recorded in 1 Samuel 10, and it ended with enough people being unwilling to accept Saul that Samuel just sent everyone home without any king being crowned. It was not until another election after a successful military campaign that the people agreed to have Saul as their king.

David also went through two elections before he was crowned king over Israel. In 2 Samuel 2:4, David was elected to be king over just his own tribe Judah. Then, after the death of Ishbosheth, the rest of the tribes of Israel came to David and chose him as their king (2 Samuel 5:1-3).

This practice of election was prevalent throughout all of Israel’s history and was even carried into the New Testament, where we read of the first deacons being chosen by a popular vote of the people (Acts 6:2-6).

Atheists like Richard Carrier are quick to claim that the Bible never speaks of anything resembling the principles laid out in the Constitution, but they make this claim without ever putting forth the effort to system of government that God established for the nation of Israel. The founders of our nation, on the other hand, were very familiar with the fact that the Jews elected their own leaders.

One of the leading influences on our founders can be found in the works of James Harrington. That’s not a name that we are familiar with today, but if you read the various listings that our founders gave of their study material, you will find the name of Harrington mentioned very frequently. John Adams, for example, once wrote that the principles of the American Revolution were “the principles of Aristotle and Plato, of Livy and Cicero, and Sidney, Harrington, and Locke.” You can even read a scan of Adams’ own copy of Harrington’s Oceana at the Internet Archive. In that book, Harrington wrote that: “Janotti, the most excellent describer of the Commonwealth of Venice, divides the whole series of government into two times or periods: the one ending with the liberty of Rome, which was the course or empire, as I may call it, of ancient prudence, first discovered to mankind by God himself in the fabric of the commonwealth of Israel, and afterward picked out of his footsteps in nature, and unanimously followed by the Greeks and Romans.”

This idea that the republics of Greece and Rome were predated by the Republic of Israel was the prevalent teaching regarding the history of republican government during the founding of our nation. Our Constitution was not founded on the philosophies of Greece and Rome but rather on the doctrines of Scripture.

If you would like to study this issue more, check out my comparison of 48 clauses in the Constitution with specific passages of Scripture.

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Judges 12:1-7

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, January 16, 2017 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“The Ephraimite forces were called out, and they crossed over to Zaphon. They said to Jephthah, 'Why did you go to fight the Ammonites without calling us to go with you? We’re going to burn down your house over your head.'
Jephthah answered, 'I and my people were engaged in a great struggle with the Ammonites, and although I called, you didn’t save me out of their hands. When I saw that you wouldn’t help, I took my life in my hands and crossed over to fight the Ammonites, and the Lord gave me the victory over them. Now why have you come up today to fight me?'
Jephthah then called together the men of Gilead and fought against Ephraim. The Gileadites struck them down because the Ephraimites had said, 'You Gileadites are renegades from Ephraim and Manasseh.' The Gileadites captured the fords of the Jordan leading to Ephraim, and whenever a survivor of Ephraim said, 'Let me cross over,' the men of Gilead asked him, 'Are you an Ephraimite?' If he replied, 'No,' they said, 'All right, say ‘Shibboleth.’' If he said, 'Sibboleth,' because he could not pronounce the word correctly, they seized him and killed him at the fords of the Jordan. Forty-two thousand Ephraimites were killed at that time.
Jephthah led Israel six years. Then Jephthah the Gileadite died and was buried in a town in Gilead.” (Judges 12:1-7)

Jephthah has gone to war with the Ammonites, God gave them victory, because of that Jephthah had to kill his daughter (see last week’s post), and now the bad stuff just keeps on coming for Jephthah. Now, the tribe of Ephraim is mad at him.

Ephraim had been mad at Gideon previously for not being invited to participate in the battle against Midian. But then Gideon had gotten them involved, so all was well (Judges 8:1-3). Now, however this dispute with Ephraim ended up in a civil war between the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh. They’re both tribes of the same nation (Israel), and interestingly both of those tribes were descended from the sons of Joseph.

The fact of the matter is that God granted Jephthah and victory over the Ammonites. Ephraim had no reason to be jealous for that; they worshiped the same God and were part of Israel as well. But the tribe of Ephraim was jealous anyway.

These two tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh were close geographically, but they were separated by the Jordan River (one on the east and one on the west). Because of this separation, each tribe had a slightly different dialect. In the Hebrew language, there are two letters called sin and shin (say them like “seen” and “sheen”). The letters look identical, similar to a W, except for the placement of a dot. If the dot is on the left side of the W, then it’s a sin (pronounced like an “s”); if the dot is on the right, then it’s a shin (pronounced like an “sh”). It’s not a huge difference, but the using a sin instead of a shin can change the word entirely, as they are considered two distinct letters.

So, to tell which side any given person was on (Ephraim vs Manasseh), they would be asked to pronounce the word ‘Sibboleth.’ Depending on whether a person pronounced it with a ‘S’ sound or a ‘Sh’ sound, they’d know if you were “us” or “them.” This could possibly be compared to the U.S. with northerners and southerners. Ask someone what they call a group of people, and if they say “y’all” then they’re more likely from the south.

But back to the point. Two nations, under the same tribe and worshiping the same God, were having a civil war. Because of this division, 42,000 people in Ephraim lost their lives! Jephthah was clearly vindicated as their leader, but his actions cost the loss of much life - the Ammonites during the battle, Jephthah’s own daughter, and now thousands of Ephraimites as well. That’s a pretty big deal, and a lot of negative consequences for some actions.

While the pronunciation difference may seem silly to us today (I’m from Michigan and I occasionally do say “y’all”), we have just as much division today as Israel had then, if not more. Instead of asking each other how to pronounce a word, what about these topics: who you voted for in the 2016 election, what’s your position on homosexual marriage, do you believe in creation or evolution, “Black Lives Matter,” etc. We have SO many dividing issues, yet we’re all called to be one nation, united under God. Fortunately in recent history our divisions haven’t killed 42,000 people like with the tribe of Ephraim (yet), but we humans have a way of letting things get out of hand.

Can’t we all just get along? We’re all humans, created to love and serve the God of the universe. We’re all sinful, unfortunately, which causes divisions among us, but that choice is ours to make. Today, make the choice to be unified under God with your fellow humans.

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Whatever is True

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, January 15, 2017 0 comments

by Ami Samuels

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think on such things.” ~Philippians 4:8

True means in accordance with reality or fact; not false but real.

Noble is morally good, superior in character or nature.

Right is to be in accordance with or conformable to law, justice or morality.

Pure means to be free from anything that damages, weakens or contaminates; innocent or clean.

Lovely is defined as beautiful.

Admirable means worthy of being admired or praised; excellent.

When I find myself trekking down a negative path of thinking, I am reminded of this scripture verse and I use this as an avenue to check my thoughts and to keep worry at bay. If what is on my mind doesn’t fit within the boundaries of Scripture, I turn it over to God and stop dwelling on it.

One thing that I realized was stealing my thoughts and causing me worry and concern was my own sin. I would ask God for forgiveness for my sin, but I would cling to guilt and shame, not letting go of my sin. The odd thing was, the more I worried about my sin and agonized over what I had done, I was more apt to fall into the same sin again.

When I put my thoughts of sin up against Philippians 4:8 I realized that my sin was true, which did warrant me to repent. However, it wasn’t noble, right, pure, lovely, or admirable.

As I thought further about Philippians 4:8, I realized that some of the things that take my focus off of God and the characteristics listed in this verse are sin, situations or circumstances, unfairness, anger, bitterness, fear, worry, and doubt. This verse says nothing about focusing on being wronged, guilt, shame, jealousy, or envy.

What I love about Philippians 4:8 is that it reminds us to focus on positives in life. If there are situations that need addressed or action, pray about the proper response, look to the Bible for guidance, seek wise counsel, then deal with it!

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More Than Anything, Part 2

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, January 14, 2017 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

Have you ever wanted something so badly, that you would do “anything” for it? There used to be a commercial for Klondike ice cream bars that asked, “What would you do for a Klondike bar?” And there was always some silly or outrageous thing someone would be willing to do on camera to get one.

That’s funny for a commercial, but chasing desires with wild abandon or big promises doesn’t work so well in real life. Last week we took a look at the leader Jephthah, from the Bible, and how he bargained with God. Read last week’s blog post by clicking here. This week, we are going to see how his vow to God turned out. Read Judges 11:34-40.

So, in hot pursuit of the enemy, Jephthah promises to sacrifice whatever comes out of his tent when he gets home. Obviously, it would be a living thing that would be coming out of his tent. We are not certain if Jephthah had someone in mind, or if this was just a moment of irrational passion for victory at any price. What we do know is that it was his daughter that came out to meet him.

I don’t know about you, but as a father this would crush me. Anyone from my family coming out that door would be an agonizing reality check for my arrogant promise. Jephthah, being an honorable man of his word, would keep his vow to God. And why God didn’t stop him, we are not privileged to know. But we do know it was Jephthah who created the situation, and the consequence is soul wrenching.

Now, did he need to kill her? Was it a greater sin to keep his vow, or to break it? Well, it is a sin to break a vow to God, but also a sin to murder a person. Jephthah made a foolish vow and we do not see God correcting or intervening, He lets Jephthah own his vow and work out the consequences.

What I find interesting is Jephthah’s daughter’s response. She didn’t mourn for her life or accuse her father of being foolish. She honored her father and honored God so highly that she saw her life as a reasonable price for the tremendous victory. She only mourned that she would never marry. This is amazing to me, the faith this young woman had. It makes me uncomfortable because of what happens to her, and because it reveals the shallowness of my faith. I am not certain I could have respected my father or resisted questioning God - in fact just reading the story I wrestle with God’s inaction.

But what should we take away from this encounter? Even in a foolish vow, BOTH Jephthah and his daughter wanted to honor God more than anything else. Even though Jephthah’s vow seems foolish to us, and even though he should have just trusted God for the victory, he still fulfilled his vow because of His desire for God’s blessing more than anything else. Jephthah’s daughter likewise submitted herself to death to satisfy her father’s vow, so that both she and her father would be right with God.

I can wrestle with the morality of this situation all I want. I can even declare that Jephthah made an unwise vow that he shouldn’t have kept. But I am embarrassed by the faith and devotion he and his daughter have in the face of a shortsighted and perhaps even selfish promise.

It reminds me of a young man I knew when I worked at UPS. In hiring new employees, the manager had inserted occasional weekend delivery driving in as a requirement for new associates. Others who started before this young man did not have that requirement, and it was only briefly discussed in his interview. He was a great employee and worked extraordinarily hard. The center manager asked him one day if he could start training for weekend driving. Because of commitments he had on the weekends, he couldn’t. The center manager was upset and had one of his usual temper tantrums. The center manager said, “It was in the job requirements when you were hired, I am sick and tired of people starting here and telling me they can do this, and then not being willing to do it.” He stormed up to his office.

We all knew this would blow over, and we knew the center manager valued this employee. We also knew that management could not require union employees to work hours outside their officially scheduled duties, and some loophole made it impossible for the center manager to enforce Saturday driving. There was actually no real job requirement problem, just the center manager’s broken expectations.

This young man came in the following day and turned in his resignation. We were all in shock, including the center manager, who begged him to stay. But the young man said, “I prayed about this and considered what you said. If I agreed to drive on Saturdays when I was hired and I cannot fulfill that, then I need to resign. I am a man of my word, and I cannot in good conscience continue here if I am breaking a promise.”

There are many who questioned the sanity of this young man, but no one questioned his faith or his integrity.

If I can offer two pieces of advice from this blog post, it would be these:
1. Be wise and trust God. Don’t make foolish promises, vows, or seek signs - whether for selfish things or noble ones.
2. Have the faith and integrity to stand by your word. If you make a promise, carry it out. Your integrity is direct reflection of God’s, and He keeps His promises. (He also doesn’t make them lightly).

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Standing Upon the Shoulders of Giants

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, January 13, 2017 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

We in Western Civilization love the intellect. We love to think; we love logic; we love science. I am an intellectual type. I am very fact-driven and I do not like misinformation put forth. One of the very common statements made about our current society is that “We stand upon the shoulders of giants.” This is a very true statement. Our knowledge is dependent upon those who came before us. However, one thing I am learning is that there is also a significant problem with this mentality. It is easily seen in the scientific setting, but what about the religious setting?

In Jurassic Park, Ian Malcom gives a very powerful lecture about this issue. Here is a quote: “I’ll tell you the problem with the scientific power that you’re using here: It did not require any discipline to attain it. You know, you read what others had done and you took the next step. You didn’t earn the knowledge for yourselves, so you don’t take any of the responsibility.”

In Jurassic Park, John Hammond stood upon the shoulders of the giants that did all the research before them, but he lacked the deep knowledge of the studies. And as a result, he misapplied a few concepts, missed a few things, and the central problem of the movie came out. Is not our current scientific community under the same issue?

Evolution most certainly applies to this. They took what the Bible-believing scientific field founders studied and established and they ran with it, claiming science to only belong under their worldview, and completely disregarding the work of those who went before them. I will even be bold enough to proclaim that atheism must commit the ultimate academic crime to maintain their position: plagiarism; taking that which someone else did and claim it for their own.

But there is a much more serious issue that follows the same train of thought. The vast majority of “Christianity” here in the US is guilty of the same thing. Leonard Ravenhill says it so poignantly and clearly: “Most preachers are only echoes, for if you listen hard, you will be able to tell what latest book they have read and how little of the Book they quote.” ~Leonard Ravenhill: Why Revival Tarries, pg 111

Tell me and tell you this right now: Guilty! I am guilty of this. If you look through my posts, and you know the different sources I have been reading, you can tell which ones are standing out to me. Paul Washer was the first to get my attention about this issue in this interview. He addresses the problem of living off the study, research, and prayer life of men like himself, John Piper, Eric Ludy, Ravenhill, Wilkerson, and others. We cannot be parasitic where they hear from God and we hear from them. WE must go to God ourselves. We must get directly fed from him.

There is a time where this happened in the Bible. In Exodus 20, right after God gave the Ten Commandments, the people greatly feared God and demanded that Moses go speak to God directly and they would listen to him. Same problem - they did not want to hear from God directly. I believe God intended to give the full Law to the people directly. The timing of things indicate that God spoke the 10 Commandments not to Moses privately but to everyone publicly. So what happened? After 40 days while Moses was with God, the people grew impatient and they turned to worship a golden calf. Here is the lesson of this passage (among others): we cannot be dependent upon others to get our spiritual nourishment. We need to get it from God directly DAILY!

Two months ago, I wrote about intercession in prayer. One of the things I warned you about is to let someone else delegate their prayer to you. You CANNOT delegate prayer. You CANNOT delegate studying the Word of God. You CANNOT delegate hearing from God. There is only one mediator between God and man and that is Jesus Christ. Your parents cannot do that. Your pastor cannot do that. Your best friend cannot do that. Your spouse cannot do that. Your favorite TV or internet speaker cannot do that. Your children cannot do that. Only Jesus Christ can do that.

Too often, we depend upon the giants that go before us, as though they are doing the job only Jesus could do. Any of the truly great men of God: the Rees Howells, the George Whitefields, the Hudson Taylors, the William Booths, the David Wilkersons, and others, will always deflect any attention they get towards Christ. I am teaching my Monday night Bible study group through Eric Ludy’s “Wrestling Prayer” and before I started the study, I warned about this issue, mostly as a reminder for me. Ludy is my favorite preacher that I listen to. And I have to watch myself that I not become a parrot of him where I know he had done the research and the prayer life and he preaches a true message with pure passion. I can mimic the passion and I can mimic the truth. Paul Washer, in the interview I cited above, said he could tell in a heart-beat if there is any real truth in someone like me preaching the same message. The truth is there, but it’s not real. It is real to Ludy, to Piper, to Washer, to Ravenhill. They did the work. But is it real to me? Have I spent myself searching and digging and pursing God and discovered the truth for myself? Or am I just taking what they have said and running with it?

The Seven Sons of Sceva did that. They stood upon the shoulders of giants like Jesus and Paul claiming the truth they proclaimed, but the demon knew they had no power of their own. They tried to ride the coattails of Paul. They may have been loyal followers, soaking up every word Paul spoke. They may have been able to quote every line and tenant that came from Paul’s mouth. They may have had the same passion. But they did not have the POWER! They had not gotten their hands dirty and earned the right to drive that demon out. They had not spent their night hours in the battles of prayer to get the instructions from God in what to do. They took what Paul was doing and they tried to take the next step and the result was a disaster.

As I wrap up this post, please do not read what I am not saying. I am not saying throw out all your books. I am not saying never listen to another preacher again or attend another Bible study group. We do need to hear from others. We need others to hear from us. Paul even tells us to imitate him as he imitates Christ. The key to that? “As he imitates Christ.” No one is perfect. We have to get close to God ourselves so that we can know who is like Christ and who is not. We have to get close to God so that we can model Christ-likeness ourselves. And we cannot compare ourselves to another, nor can we depend upon someone else to carry us to that destination. We must get on our own two feet and walk ourselves. Others can walk with us, but they cannot walk for us. Get in the Word. Study the Bible. Spend time in prayer. Seek after God yourself. Learn from others, but do not base your entire existence upon them. Base it on God himself.

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Turn That Frown Right Side Down, Part 1

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, January 12, 2017 0 comments

by Steve Risner

Al Gore once said, “Everything that ought to be down is up. Everything that should be up is down. They've got it upside down and we're going to turn it right-side up.” How is this statement related to this blog post series? Well, atheists have it all wrong and I'm going to explain why.

I have been covering 5 statements made by a high school friend who is a “Catholic atheist,” in his words. I could be wrong, but I believe he says that so he can keep his job at the university he's employed at. I'm not sure. We've covered things in these statements from our Godly heritage as a nation, when the Gospels were written, how and why they were translated and by whom, and most recently, the Enlightenment. We've covered a bunch of things. This week we will take a look at this person's final point in his condensed version of what's wrong with Christianity.

His fifth statement is: “Humanity slowly but surely accepted that the authority of God and king should be marginalized in favor of popular rule.”

What do you think of that statement? I think it's intriguing and indicative of a few misconceptions that may exist out there. Let's take a few moments to see those.

First, this person is lumping the authority of God with the authority of government rulers. It's certainly true that as a believer in Christ, I believe those in authority over our nation and states are there because God placed them there. It's difficult sometimes to accept that and to respect that and I know I've failed often in regards to my attitude towards our president, Congress, and even our governor (John Kasich). I'm not perfect in this but I understand the idea and do my best. However, the authority those in power have over us is not to be unquestioned or blindly accepted. God's authority is of a level and superiority that is comparable to nothing and no one. His will for us is perfect and good. He loves each of us and wants the absolute best for us. How He defines “absolute best” and how we define it may differ, but again His knowledge and ideas on our lives are far superior to our own. He not only has the bigger picture in mind but He also has eternity in mind. I believe this is demonstrated very well in the book of Job and I have had plans to write on that for some time now. Hopefully, that will happen this year.

But the authority of presidents and kings and other government officials is granted by God. In some cases, that authority is for the benefit of the people to receive the blessings of God. In some cases, that authority is for the punishment of the people for turning from God or for some national sin. Either way, the authority is from God but is human in nature and imperfect at best. But God's authority is not and I don't believe His authority has been “marginalized” by anyone. Has anyone decided that government authorities are not to be taken seriously? I paid my taxes this year. I stop at stop lights. I haven't stolen my neighbor's car. When I see flashing lights in my rearview mirror, I pull over. Don't you? I guess you could say that recently, some have decided they can somehow protest the election of our president and have it accomplish something. But in reality, this is nothing more than a tantrum and essentially has no purpose at all (a demonstration of “tolerance” that we talked about last time). So, I'm not sure I even agree with him there. I do think our society (and this will be discussed later) has embraced more of a democratic form of government where the will of the people is at least supposed to govern the land to one degree or another.

We are, however, not living in a democracy here in America. This is quite often mistakenly claimed. We live in a constitutional democratic republic. This is not the same as a democracy, and “popular rule” actually is not how it works in these United States. We elect people to represent us. They work for us. They are supposed to speak for us, but we have found recently that our will is generally not their concern. That's another topic entirely and I have no intention of discussing it further. But we send men and women to Washington and to our state capitals to represent us and make decisions.

This idea has also recently been brought to light in our 2016 presidential election. A process known as the electoral college is used to elect the president. Some have said that this is unjust and we should do away with the electoral college in favor of the popular vote. In my opinion, this is a terrible idea and should be avoided completely. I agree with the Founders, who were brilliant and founded this nation on Christian principles found in God's Word. They were led to use this practice for the election of our president to avoid “tyranny by the majority.” It is the ‘tyranny of the majority’ that James Madison, a Founding Father, warned about. His reading of ancient history was that the direct democracy of Athens was erratic and short-lived, whereas republican Rome remained stable for much longer. He even worried about using the word “democracy” at all, lest citizens confuse its representative (i.e., republican) form with its direct one. “Democracy never lasts long,” wrote John Adams, another Founding Father. Asked what government the federal constitution of 1787 had established, Benjamin Franklin responded: “A republic, if you can keep it.”

Tyranny by the majority is what the republican form of government we have is designed to avoid. In a pure democracy, the majority can vote for anything and do anything. This could easily mean that a large group could dominate another because there are no checks. But, as we've explained in the past, this means morality is subject to opinion and consensus rules. This is a terrible place to be in. If everyone decides molesting children is okay, then it is. If all the men vote that there's no such thing as spousal abuse, then there isn't if the men outvote the women. If Christians vote that you have to go to church on Sunday or face jail time, if that's the majority of votes then it's the law. This is why a pure democracy doesn't work and why our Founders knew that pure democracies don't last long. They collapse quickly under the weight of the insanity that comes with the anonymity that accompanies the mob mentality. If you're not sure about the idea of “tyranny by majority,” just do some reading on it.

In short, in the US, if the law was determined strictly by a majority rule, the states of California, Texas, Florida and New York would dominate our nation. Does that seem right? These 4 states contain a third of the nation's people and have no idea what it's like to be in Ohio, Wisconsin, or Montana. They could make laws that make it difficult to exist for us simply because the majority rules or, as my atheist friend says, popular rule.

The American form of government, which is based on Biblical principles, emphasizes the role of the governed in the process, but we have elected officials that determine our laws and how they're enforced. They are subject to us via the electoral process but we are also subject to the decisions they make. I'm not actually certain how all this fits into this atheist's worldview, but he made the statement.

Next week we'll cover some very common mistakes we Westerners/Americans make concerning the world around us. I hope you find it informative. Thank you for reading and be blessed.

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An Amorous Tryst with Pluralism

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, January 11, 2017 0 comments

by David Odegard

After the comments I made about pluralism last week, one would conclude that a Christian really cannot hold pluralistic views and be biblically consistent. But no, constant reader, they still try.

“Modal inclusivism” is an attempt to make Christianity more accessible to people of other religions by expanding the Christian view of the work of the Holy Spirit to include those other religions. It is an assertion that the Holy Spirit is present in other religions; not just persons holding to other religions, but the actual religions themselves.

Karl Rahner would be the voice in the catholic world, and Clark Pinnock is his ardent admirer translating this to the evangelical world. The inclusivism of Pinnock would not attempt to accept everything from other religions as true, but he pushes forward the idea that the Holy Spirit is present throughout all the world and that He is at work in the lives of all human beings and their religions to bring them to God. But Pinnock goes way too far when he claims that salvation can be obtained inside other religions.

He would not go so far as to say that all roads lead to God; he would say that Christ is the only way to God, but then assert that there are many roads to Christ, the Christian church being only one of many. These many other roads which lead to Christ are found in all the world’s religions like Islam, Hinduism, and pagan religions to name a few. The axis of this assertion lies in his belief that the exclusivity of Christianity is unacceptable to the world and therefore needs to be modified so that “more radical options [such as pluralism] are unnecessary.”

Pinnock’s evangelical heritage compels him to at least attempt to moor his theology to the Bible. He views all those believing before Christ came as pre-Christian believers. He calls Job a “pagan saint” and infers that Melchizedek is also one. He uses the account of Cornelius to make the point that God wanted “to teach the apostle Peter that there is no partiality in God’s dealings with humanity.”

The account with Cornelius (Acts 10) contradicts Pinnock’s inclusivism, however. Although Pinnock claims that God is in pagan religions, God did not use any of Rome’s pagan worship to convince Cornelius (who was Roman) to convert to Christ; rather he used specific means. Cornelius had already rejected the Roman gods and had become a “God-fearer.” This meant he believed in the God of Israel and had committed himself to a life of prayer, giving, and Sabbath worship. He was truly seeking God. But in spite of what Pinnock thinks, God did not send an angel to him to preach the gospel, rather He sent an angel that gave Cornelius the name and address of a Christian preacher. The Holy Spirit used the church.

Pinnock argues that the Holy Spirit can move in other religions, but we do not find an example of that in the New Testament for sure, and one has to be careful about calling God’s people under the Old Covenant who were waiting for the Messiah to come “non-Christian.” Certainly the name of Jesus had not manifested itself to properly call people “Christian,” but they were waiting in faith for the promises to be fulfilled in the Christ (Messiah).

Cornelius calls upon Peter, who has been prepared for the encounter and salvation comes to Cornelius and his whole household. He is the first recorded Gentile to become a Christian. For sure Peter did need to learn to accept Cornelius, but that didn’t include recognizing any value in Roman pagan worship. It simply wasn’t paganism that connected Cornelius to God.

We would firmly recognize that the Holy Spirit is at work everywhere in every person, but we could not say that God is using Islam or Hinduism to bring people to an awareness of Jesus Christ. The clarity of the gospel reaches some of these unbelievers in spite of the high pitched noise of false religious preaching. God be praised. God has ordained the preaching of gospel through Christians to be the mode of saving grace for all the nations.

Hebrews 1:1-2 says, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.” Also remember what the Apostle John wrote in 1 John 1:3, “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.”

Jesus said to the assembled body of the church, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you” (John 20:21). “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age’” (Matthew 28:18-20).

Pinnock may not go “all the way” with pluralism, but he definitely has an “emotional affair.”

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