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.

READ MORE

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!

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.

READ MORE

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.

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.

READ MORE

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.

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.

READ MORE

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. 

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.

READ MORE

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.”

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.

READ MORE

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.

READ MORE

Is There Such a Thing as a Christian Evolutionist?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, September 12, 2017 8 comments


by Aaron Felty

My name is Aaron Felty, and this is my first blog post for Worldview Warriors! I am excited about the opportunity to listen to feedback and share what the Lord has laid on my heart.

Now to the question: is there such a thing as a Christian evolutionist? The short answer is yes, but upon further inspection we have to question if that is even possible. The requirements for salvation are to believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ; that is what Paul and Silas said when the jailer asked what must he do to be saved (Acts 16:30-31). There is nothing in this passage about evolution, the age of the earth, or the fossil record. So, belief in evolution is not going to make someone go to hell! However, I would suggest that a mature faith CANNOT believe in evolution. Please re-read that line: a mature faith CANNOT believe in evolution.

To dig into this further, we first have to define evolution. In this case I am referring to macro-evolution (one species evolving into another). We are not talking about micro-evolution (changes within a species, which you can see by looking at my 5 kids!). So from here on out, when I say evolution I am talking about macro-evolution.

In order for the proponents of evolution to support their claims, they need millions of years of animals dying and a fortuitous set of random occurrences to happen in a very precise order. Not only that, but they need new DNA information introduced into a species which would account for an actual change from one species to another. While there are many escape vehicles around these claims that the most ardent proponents of evolution will cling to, there is one question for the “Christian” that is impossible: how do you account for death and blood shed before Adam sinned?

Having a Christian worldview means that we view the world, as best we can, according to the way Christ did. We get Christ’s view from the Scriptures. Romans 5:12 says, “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people.”

A Christian follows Jesus, but an evolutionist believes that millions and millions of things died before Adam sinned, meaning DEATH ENTERED the world before Adam sinned!

God told Adam in the garden, the moment he ate the fruit he would die. God also explained the consequences Adam’s sin would have on all of creation - thorns and thistles, essentially all the created order would move toward death (Genesis 3:17). Obviously, Adam did not physically die the moment he ate the fruit, so is God a liar? Of course not; the Bible says it is impossible for God to lie (Hebrews 6:18). God breathed the breath of life into Adam’s lungs and he became a living being. Once Adam ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, he died spiritually. He was disconnected from God until God sacrificed an animal and covered Adam’s nakedness.

So back to the original question. Can someone be a Christian evolutionist? I would contend one cannot be a mature Christian and believe in evolution. If evolution is true, God is a liar, death did not enter the world because of Adam’s sin, and Jesus’ death on the cross to undo Adam’s action was unnecessary. Romans 5:17 says, “For if, by the trespass of one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!”

1 Corinthians 15:20-22 goes further: “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.”

So, while believing in evolution is not a heaven or hell issue, I would say, it certainly indicates one who claims to follow Christ has not really considered the implications of this belief. This person’s faith is immature and risks stripping Scripture of its power. I would encourage you to think through why an evolutionist would want to believe death has been around millions of years. I believe this worldview (the evolutionary worldview) is an effort to create a god in our own image and give us unrestricted freedom and excuse to do what we want without accountability. If death entered the world through Adam’s sin, we are all guilty and need a Savior! If death has always been around, nobody is guilty or in need of a Savior. One step further: if you believe that Jesus is the only way to get to heaven but also believe that God used millions and millions of years of death and bloodshed as His vehicle to deliver salvation, I would ask you to consider the very fact that you have conflicting worldviews. I urge you to search the Scriptures to see if there is any room ANYWHERE for millions of years. Search to see if there is any room for macro-evolution. As I read the Bible, I see that God created plants, fish, birds and all the other animals “according to their kind” (Genesis 1:11-12; 21; 24-25).

One final question: why would God declare everything “very good” at the end of the 6th day, if for millions of years before this death and bloodshed reigned?

To those of you still with me, if you have been believing in evolution and claim to follow Christ, I suggest re-examining what you actually believe about the Scriptures. As you hopefully are beginning to see evolution does not fit into the Christian worldview.

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.

READ MORE

Judges 21:10-18

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, September 11, 2017 0 comments


by Katie Erickson

“So the assembly sent twelve thousand fighting men with instructions to go to Jabesh Gilead and put to the sword those living there, including the women and children. 'This is what you are to do,' they said. 'Kill every male and every woman who is not a virgin. ' They found among the people living in Jabesh Gilead four hundred young women who had never slept with a man, and they took them to the camp at Shiloh in Canaan.
Then the whole assembly sent an offer of peace to the Benjamites at the rock of Rimmon. So the Benjamites returned at that time and were given the women of Jabesh Gilead who had been spared. But there were not enough for all of them.
The people grieved for Benjamin, because the Lord had made a gap in the tribes of Israel. And the elders of the assembly said, 'With the women of Benjamin destroyed, how shall we provide wives for the men who are left? The Benjamite survivors must have heirs,' they said, 'so that a tribe of Israel will not be wiped out. We can’t give them our daughters as wives, since we Israelites have taken this oath: ‘Cursed be anyone who gives a wife to a Benjamite.’” (Judges 21:10-18)

For the context of this situation in the life of the nation of Israel, check out last week’s post. Israel has two problems right now. First, the tribe of Benjamin is basically going to die out, after they got almost completely wiped out during the civil war in Israel. Second, the city of Jabesh Gilead in the territory of Manasseh didn’t show up to the initial meeting, so according to the oath made among Israel, they need to be put to death. In addition, the men from the tribe of Benjamin who remained had been hiding in the caves of Rimmon, so Israel needed to do something to let them know it was alright to come out, and so they could begin to repopulate their tribe.

Israel came up with a creative idea to solve both problems at once: keep the virgins of Jabesh Gilead and give them to the men of Benjamin!

This was a good solution, because of the genealogy of the tribes of Benjamin and Manasseh. Jacob was the father of the nation of Israel, and he had two wives and two servants whom he had children with. One of his wives, Rachel, gave birth to two sons - Joseph and Benjamin. Joseph had two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. So, Benjamin and Manasseh were uncle and nephew, and therefore closely related in the bloodlines of the nation as they came from the same wife of Jacob.

But what about that whole idea of re-populating a tribe using virgins? Didn’t the virgins get a say in the matter? Not really, unfortunately; but their other choice was to die. According to Numbers 31:17-18, the law says it’s encouraged to save the virgins (and only the virgins) after a war.

After 4 months of hiding in caves, the remaining men of Benjamin were eager to get out and get on with their lives. However, as it turned out, there weren’t enough virgins for the men, and it would not have been right for some of the few survivors to not continue their family lines. Benjamin was already a small enough tribe after having most of their people wiped out!

In verse 15, it says, “The people grieved for Benjamin, because the Lord had made a gap in the tribes of Israel.” The word there for “gap” literally means a breach, like a break in a wall. This suggests that Israel really wasn’t whole or complete without Benjamin. At this point it seemed like the breach was only partially repairable, given the oaths that had been made previously. Fortunately, Israel comes up with an even better plan, which we’ll take a look at next week.

What do you feel is broken in your life? Is there a hole that you feel can’t be filled? Perhaps you’ve experienced the death of a loved one, a divorce, a child moving away, a breakup of a relationship or close friendship, etc. We all have places in our life where we feel things aren’t quite as they should be and are broken.

What can we do about the holes in our life? Often, we can do nothing to fix them on our own, but God can fill them. He can fill us with His presence and give us His peace about the broken situation, and He likely has a solution for you, even if it may not be what you expect. It won’t be the same as what was lost, but just as God will provide a solution for Israel, we too can trust in God’s perfect timing and will for our lives. We need to trust that He will take care of us and give Him glory in all situations, including the broken ones.

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.

READ MORE

Remember the Heroes

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, September 10, 2017 0 comments


by Logan Ames

Tomorrow, many of our country’s citizens, politicians, and public servants will reflect on the significance of the date. September 11, 2017 marks 16 years since one of the most horrific single days in our country’s history. Thousands were murdered at the hands of terrorists who hijacked airplanes and flew them into the World Trade Center buildings, the Pentagon, and a rural field in Pennsylvania no more than 50 miles from where I was living and going to college at the time. It is certainly not a day of celebration, but one of reflection and remembrance. You will likely hear some of the names of those whose lives were taken, as well as stories from survivors about some of the heroes they met that day. In some ways, it feels like it was just yesterday. In other ways, it feels like a lifetime ago.

I said that “many” will reflect on the date and that was intentional, because I also feel that many will not. With each passing year, it feels like more and more of a distant or fading memory. We’re now at the point where remembering the events of that day is a bigger deal on the anniversaries that happen every five or ten years, but less of a focus on the years in between. Have you thought much about it heading into tomorrow? How often do you remember what took place on that tragic day? If you do think about it, what specifically comes to mind?

For many, the reason we remember events like 9/11 is because they remind us of the presence of evil in our world, our own mortality, and our need for better vetting of potential terrorists. However, I feel we are missing the big picture if those are the only things we choose to remember about that day. In the Old Testament, God frequently told the Israelites to DO things to make sure they remember his goodness and faithfulness toward them. These included observing very specific instructions regarding Passover as a “lasting ordinance” (Exodus 12:24-28), remembering the Sabbath as a day to rest, stop, and think about all that God has given them (Exodus 20:8-11), and taking twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan River after God stopped it from flowing temporarily so they could cross into the Promised Land (Joshua 4:1-7). Each of these things required the Israelites to be intentional. If they relied on randomly celebrating or commemorating God’s faithfulness, they’d eventually lose sight of it.

When I think back to the events surrounding 9/11, I believe it’s absolutely critical for us to remember not only that we are mere mortals who rely on God’s grace and protection every moment of every day, but also the positive things that took place in the midst of tragedy. Our nation was very divided politically back then, but suddenly 9/11 brought us all back to reality and gave us a greater purpose than arguing. We were reminded to band together, to seek unity, and to love unconditionally. As our nation has just recently watched the devastation of Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana, we are once again reminded of these things in the midst of our dysfunction and political arguing. We have also seen the heroes who risked their own lives to save others during the massive flooding around Houston, and I believe we should intentionally reflect on the sacrifices and bravery of the many first responders who rushed into the falling towers on 9/11 to save people they didn’t even know.

Think about the men and women on board Flight 93 that went down in Shanksville, PA. I had a chance to visit the memorial there last summer and it left me speechless. They have phones that you can pick up and hear the ACTUAL conversations that members of that flight had with their loves ones before they said good-bye for the final time. You can follow each step of the passengers’ plan to take back the plane from the terrorists, knowing that they might crash the plane and kill themselves while saving many more lives. I believe we should be intentional about remembering all of these heroes because God worked through all of them, ordinary people who, when called upon, did extraordinary things. We must remember them as examples for us, so that when we are called upon to do the extraordinary, we might trust God and be his vessels as they were.

While I’ve spent this post talking about reflecting on 9/11, remembering heroes is just as important in the Bible. Starting next week, I will be doing a long series on all the heroes of our faith listed in Hebrews 11. Why was it important for the writer of Hebrews to specifically talk about all of those people and what they were able to accomplish by faith? I believe it’s for the same reason that God emphasized remembering in the Old Testament. The word “remember” has roots that mean “to recall to mind." For the Hebrew believers, many of them were familiar with the stories that we find in Hebrews 11. But maybe they struggled to find hope and faith for themselves. Maybe as they faced difficult circumstances, they were unable to recall to mind how God had so mightily moved in the lives of others. They needed the reminder and the encouragement to stand strong in their faith no matter how dark or tragic things may appear.

The same is true for you and I. We need to think about and remember the heroes of our faith just as we remember the heroes who rushed into floodwaters in the past few weeks and into burning and falling buildings on 9/11. The heroes of our faith, referred to as “witnesses” in Hebrews 12:1, were ordinary men and women. They did not have some super-faith. They had average faith in a super God. Jesus Christ is the ultimate hero of our Christian faith, but when ordinary men and women trusted in him even when the odds said they would likely be destroyed by their circumstances, they prevailed in extraordinary ways. Through their faith, God gave them confidence and assurance of things that they couldn’t envision, and the Word tells us they were “commended” for that faith (Hebrews 11:1-2). Take some time this week to look over their stories as we prepare to dig into them one-by-one. Be intentional about picking out specific stories or details that most apply to whatever you’re currently going through. As we intentionally recall to mind how they prevailed in the faith, we can also find confidence and assurance of God’s victory in our times of need.

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.

READ MORE

Check Your Vertical, Part 2

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, September 9, 2017 0 comments


by Nathan Buck

There are so many times I remember being with my dad in the car and he would have the AM car radio news station WHP 580. To this day, I can remember the call sign and hearing news stories drone on and on. I could hear the words, and occasionally I could pick out a tidbit or two that I understood, especially if Paul Harvey came on with “The Rest of the Story.” Most of the time, I was just bored with the blah, blah, blah.

I was reminded of those moments the other day, as I drove down the road listening to a podcast regarding the latest news. I was riveted to every detail and laughing at the sarcasm of the commentary. Then it dawned on me: I finally get why Dad enjoyed the news. Because I understand more about the world, I am more interested, aware, and able to understand the implications of political and government decisions. I not only hear the news; now I understand the news.

Read Matthew 15:12-14. When Jesus challenged the Pharisees and those gathered around and listening, he says, “hear and understand” – “akouo syniemi" – which carries the idea of listening with the intention to obey or put into practice what you hear. To do that, you must make sure you are clearly understanding and gaining the knowledge so you can put it into practice. Jesus then explains to his disciples that the Pharisees had become so concerned about not breaking the law, that they forgot how to keep the law. He calls them “blind guides.”

So, let’s pause and ask ourselves: who are the blind guides I am following? Are they on your Twitter feed, Facebook, the news, the radio, etc.? Are you listening to people in order to put into practice what they are saying? Is what they are saying able to be put into practice? What would be the risks, gains, and losses be for doing what they say?

Are these people striving to honor God and demonstrate His character, or are they arguing about whether there is a God, or whether there is a right way? For example, have you noticed there is a lot of labeling of what is racist being thrown around, but very few people are talking about or demonstrating how to live in unity, at peace, with humble respect for one another? When we are OFF COURSE, we LOSE SIGHT of what is TRUE (and so does anyone following us).

As we drift off course, it actually becomes harder and harder for us to demonstrate what is good and easier and easier to just talk about it. Most people arguing on Facebook today about racism in America probably do not have the guts to do what it takes to really solve the problem. They want to argue passionately, name call, virtue signal, and make lots of noise but not do the one thing most needed to end the division amongst us: fall to their knees, fast, and pray, seeking God’s mercy and demonstrating that it is not the rebalancing of our own power that will solve the problem, but it is the humility for us to surrender our control to God's power and love one another the way He does.

Why don’t we HEAR and UNDERSTAND God in a way that we can obey Him? Perhaps because we are too busy trying to figure out how we can live the way we want to, get by under the radar, and not get zapped for stepping out of line. Or maybe we are just too confident of our own opinion and unwilling to consider that we may have missed the point, so we do not HEAR and we do not UNDERSTAND what God is saying to us. 

Look at the next verses, Matthew 15:15-20. The disciples had the same problem. They had listened so long to the horizontal conversations and parables of do’s and don’ts from the Pharisees that they didn’t get what Jesus was saying. They missed God’s purpose in His commands, because the Pharisees didn’t teach how to live the command well, they just taught how to avoid breaking it.

Where are you tuning God out because you have a hard time, or are unwilling, to hear and understand Him? Is it worth the risk to hope that the horizontal conversations around us will come up with beneficial solutions, when God already has the solution? God sees the end from the beginning, and His Word is perfectly designed to lead us on the right path. Perhaps you have some maturing to do, like I did when I was a kid and didn’t get all the news radio stuff. Perhaps, you just need to take some time and learn some basic context of the Bible so you can better understand. Perhaps you just need to tune out the horizontal long enough to hear God. Whatever is making it hard for you to HEAR and UNDERSTAND, are you will to lay it aside and make the effort?

God wants to lead us in the right direction and get our eyes off just being comfortable, safe, or out of trouble. He wants us to grow and thrive. We can do that if we tune in to His Word and let Him be the first voice we consider in every situation.

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.

READ MORE

Rak Chazak Revisited

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, September 8, 2017 0 comments


by Charlie Wolcott

A month ago, we at Worldview Warriors looked at some of the statistics of our different blog posts. We looked at the top ten viewed posts of all time and the top ten of the month of July. We saw some interesting things. At that time, every active Worldview Warrior blogger was on the top 10 in either one or both of the all-time and month’s lists. But what really surprised us as a group was our #1 most viewed post: my “The Israelite War Cry” posted way back in January 2014. That was my third blog post for Worldview Warriors when I joined the ministry. So when I saw those stats, especially with it being #1 all time and #2 of the month at the time, I sensed this topic needed a revisit, not because people are missing the point, but to bring it afresh to both my old and newer readers.

The inspiration for that blog post came from Eric Ludy’s short video, The Ancient War Cry. We find this war cry initiated in Deuteronomy 31:6-8 and Joshua 1:6,7, and 9. It is the Hebrew of “Be Strong and Courageous” but the whole phrase Rak Chazak Amats is found in Joshua 1:7. Please look at my initial post or listen to Ludy’s 6-minute video to get the details about what it means.

When I set out to write this post, I mostly wanted to reiterate what I had in my original post. However, God would not let me do it. He gave me writer’s block. I wanted to go into greater detail about the meaning of “Rak,” “Chazak,” and “Amats.” I wanted to showcase the plight Joshua was going into in facing 31 empires with much stronger armies, massive city walls, and people who were giants. And I wanted to give you another “Hurrah! Let’s go!” But I can’t. I can’t write that message. I tried. I can’t. Instead, I have to write a post that is for me. I need to write this post as though I am writing and preaching to me as the primary audience. This post may not be for you, or it might be.

One of the images I have of Jesus Christ is as a Commander-in-Chief. He is the military commander of the spiritual army we are part of it. One of his titles is “Lord of Hosts,” the commander of the angelic hosts. So allow me to write you a letter as I would picture Jesus as Commander-in-Chief may write it, and I am going to write it to me, an officer in his army, as the primary recipient.

Officer Wolcott (or put your name here):

It is a great joy to have you serving in my army. I chose you to serve me because I made you with the skills and abilities needed for the jobs I wanted you to do. However, there have been some issues with your services I would like to address.

You have a great tendency of starting strong and being gung ho in the tasks you engage in, however you lack the endurance to maintain it over time. I greatly appreciate that you are not giving up and abandoning the task when it gets hard, however, you do not yet know how to push through and press forward when you run out of energy.

This lack of endurance has caused you to lose your fight and your desire to press forward. You are out of shape, Officer Wolcott, but you do not have to be out of shape. Will you trust me to train you properly? You have wisely learned from many others I have trained by reading of their biographies, but they can only take you so far. How about training with me directly? Last year you went for it, but you crashed and you have not gathered your strength up to stand again. I know what you can handle. I want to give you even more because I have jobs and tasks that I want you to do, but you need a greater strength to do them.

Training with me is going to require more dedication than you have been giving me lately. It means getting up earlier to focus your mind with me. It is not going to be easy to do it day after day, but you must resist the desire for more sleep. You know you are not getting the sleep you want anyway. Get up and let me be your rest. I know how much sleep you actually need for the day. You know this as well. Trust me.

I have heard your desire for the “growl” of a Christian man-warrior. I want to give it to you more than you want it. I have seen you with that growl when it comes to addressing false doctrines. I love your strong stance for truth. However, take that stance and pick up the War Cry I gave my people to stand against the sin of your life and the true power of wickedness in this world.

RAK CHAZAK! Be strong, Officer Wolcott! Hold your ground! You are placed in me as a citizen of my kingdom and a soldier in my army. Rise up and fight against all that would hold you down and render your service to me irrelevant. Those besetting sins you have been struggling with do not have dominion over you. Too long you have played only defense. Too long you have taken their blows. Yes, parry the attacks of the enemies, but riposte. Answer back.

Rise up! Be very courageous! Attack! Your battle is not against those who challenge my name and my kingdom. Your battle is against the principalities and demonic forces that have blinded them and held them captive. I know you know this, so stop engaging with your own wit and intellect and engage instead with my weapons and my armor. There is a time and place for defense, but I want you to be on the offense. Go! Conquer territory in my name and in my authority! Submit to my command. I will tell you where to advance, when to retreat, when to engage, where to fight, and how to fight. Let me show this world through you that I am still in control and I am still the rightful and ruling Lord and King over this universe. You do not need to defend me. Let me defend myself, but let me use you in doing so.

Get up, Officer Wolcott! Let me renew your strength. Let me be your source. Let me be your rest. Let me be your defense and let me be the weapons in your hands. I want you to be an officer in my army whom the Devil knows well. I know it is going to be hard and I know it is going to make you have to stay alert and on guard at all times. But you need me to train you so you can keep that on guard position for longer. Train with me, Officer Wolcott. There are no limits to the strength I can give you so keep training and when you get tired, rest on me. The enemy is doing to do everything he can to keep you from the battle field. Let me sound the alarm in your soul. There is a breach! RAK CHAZAK! Drive the enemy back! Build the walls around your soul! Keep a diligent watch on your soul’s territory. And every time the enemy comes, you take my authority, my weapons, and in my name, drive them out. RAK CHAZAK!

Sincerely,
Your Commander-in-Chief
Jesus Christ

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.

READ MORE

Epigenetics Changes Everything

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, September 7, 2017 3 comments


by Steve Risner

Epigenetics is a topic I've been fascinated by since I first heard of it. Epigenetics is, as defined by Google, the study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself. This is a study that, in my opinion, makes Darwinian evolution look foolish and completely unnecessary. If you've never heard of it or don't know much of it, I think you'll find this blog post interesting. That's my hope anyway.

Jean-Baptiste Lamarck said that genetic expression was governed by changes in genetic expression rather than genetic modification (mutations that were kept in the genetic code). This is an amazing and observed reality that is contrary to Darwinian evolution, that states that mutation is the driving force of change. Nothing could be further from the truth! What we have observed is that actual mutational changes are either degenerative (they result in a loss of information and function) or are neutral (they are overshadowed by the fact that a dominant gene compensates for it). There is rarely, if ever, a “beneficial” mutation. This means an error in the genetic code that actually adds information to the code of genetics, resulting in a novel or new function or trait in reality doesn't happen. These mutational changes that ADD information, are the backbone of universal common descent and have not been observed to date. Epigenetic changes (changes that result from turning a gene “on or off”) is much more likely the mechanism of change and we'll take a look at that further.

Darwin became a “Lamarchian” evolutionist before his death. This means he believed that environmental stressors could actually change the genetic code and be passed on to offspring. This is exceptionally different than mutational changes being transferred to offspring. Darwin used sailors (being far sighted as they looked upon the ocean for great distances) and watchmakers (who looked at very small objects very close to them) as a “for instance” example of genetic traits that were transferred to offspring due to environmental factors. Again, Darwin admitted faith in Lamarchian ideas prior to his death.

For some time, scientists resisted the idea that environment could influence genetic expression (since it screamed of a Creator and made Darwinism look foolish), but now they're embracing it because they have no choice.

I'll not get into the details of how epigenetic works, but certain genes, due to what is going on in the life and environment of the parent, can be turned “on” or “off” and passed on to the offspring. This has been documented repeatedly. The Italian Wall Lizard is a wonderful example. This lizard was dropped off on an island that did not have its natural food source. As a result, it developed a novel way of digesting vegetation that very close relatives of the lizard already possessed. The organism did this in a very short time period and passed it on to its offspring. This is epigenetics to the core and anti-Darwinian.

We've actually seen changes in populations that are passed on to the “grandkids” of the subject, that are quickly changed back to the “normal” expression quickly if environmental changes are removed. This screams of what creationists have termed “front loaded” gene expression, and it’s another example of creationists having it right for years before the atheist/secular scientists catch up. It happens all the time.

Epigenetics deals with what we'll term “non-permanent” changes to genetic expression. In other words, the genetic code already has the possibility for a wide variety of expression and it just requires a stress to signal a change is needed to adapt to the new environment. These changes are easily and quickly reversible. This is absolutely devastating to Darwinian evolution. It essentially means it is not necessary at all by any means. Ever heard of Darwin's finches? This is a perfect example of epigenetics and has nothing to do with Darwin's ideas of natural selection or mutation. In other words, Darwin got it wrong big time.

Creation.com says, “...considering that epigenetic changes seem to be designed to have a significant effect, they seem to be more powerful than most mutations, which generally have little to no effect on the individual. ‘Natural selection’ needs to be able to ‘see’ mutations, but most mutations are so weak as to be invisible. Epigenetics adds a lot of noise, making it even harder for natural selection to operate. How can evolution proceed if natural selection cannot remove mutations? That is one puzzle that epigenetics creates.”

External changes lead to long-term inherited affects. Conditions the mother or possibly the father were going through at the time of conception can be passed on to children and grandchildren. This is amazing and absolutely in the face of Darwinian evolution. No mutations are necessary. In fact, it further shows us that these real changes in gene expression are far more impacting and substantial than any mutational changes could ever hope to be. Mutations are generally damaging, and there are mechanisms in place to eliminate them within the genetic replication process. Epigenetic changes are real and long-lasting. Again, the creationist relies on observed facts rather than extreme extrapolation that the evolutionist heavily relies on.

Dr. Bas Heijmans says, “Epigenetics could be a mechanism which allows an individual to adapt rapidly to changed circumstances,” and this nullifies mutations that would may lead to changes. In fact, we're hard pressed to find evidence that these changes (mutational) occur and are beneficial for the continued existence of a species.

Epigenetic changes are real, very quick, preloaded so they are actually already present in the genetic code, and long-lasting. According to Creation.com, studies on bison bones found in permafrost in a Canadian gold mine indicated that epigenetic changes in the bison population enabled them to adapt rapidly to changes in climate. These are changes far too rapid for traditional Darwinian models of natural selection to explain. The article says, “The bones play a key role in a world-first study, led by University of Adelaide researchers, which analyses special genetic modifications that turn genes on and off, without altering the DNA sequence itself. These ‘epigenetic’ changes can occur rapidly between generations—without requiring the time for standard evolutionary processes.” In other words, Darwinian evolution is absolutely bunk here and unnecessary. Epigenetics are not changes in the genetic code but changes in how the genes are expressed. This makes Darwinian evolution absolutely a thing of fiction and again totally unnecessary. In other words, it's nonsense. It stands in the face of random mutations that create benefits for organisms and, therefore, biodiversity. There is no scientific proof for such things. Again, the science confirms creationist ideas and makes atheist/humanist ideas look like a thing of children’s stories. That's too bad.

Be encouraged. Science confirms the Bible and the creation account. That's just the way it is. I’m looking forward to your comments to this thought provoking and anti-secularist blog post! Thanks for reading.

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.

READ MORE

Rotten to the Common Core

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, September 6, 2017 3 comments


by David Odegard

I am writing this post predominantly for Christians to understand the world in which we find ourselves in, in the West at the beginning of the 21st century. It is not really a brave new world for us, but it looks rather more Orwellian than we dare admit. Edward Snowden blew the lid off a massive and unconstitutional surveillance program, confirming some of our worst fears. Big brother is watching. It makes us suspicious of all else that big brother might be up to.

There seems to have been an effort in the American system to produce a certain kind of person that is just as unbelievable as a giant surveillance initiative as described by George Orwell and actually practiced by the American government on its own people. Big brother knows best, right? For evidence of this, one only has to read. Read the books by John Dewey, Horace Mann, etc. and you will find that the mainstream of the philosophy of education is concerned with social engineering.

Here is a passage from William Torrey Harris’s book, The Philosophy of Education. Torrey was the U.S Commissioner of Education from 1889-1906. He writes, “Ninety-nine [students] out of a hundred are automata, careful to walk in prescribed paths, careful to follow the prescribed custom. This is not an accident but the result of substantial education, which, scientifically defined, is the subsumption of the individual.”

The current model of education isn’t just about teaching people the rudiments of learning, but socializing them to be a certain way. This vision is deeply imbedded in progressive education. “The public schools exist primarily for the benefit of the State rather than for the benefit of the individual” (US Bureau of Education, 1914). This is so that they can sculpt the mind of the future voter into their opinion of a responsible adult, but this sculpting always favors the values of those currently in power. In our day, the current power structure is deeply non-Christian, morally bankrupt, and insists on humanism.

John Dewey is one of the most influential persons in modern American philosophy of education. He was a humanist, a socialist, and an atheist. He said, “The child does not go to school to develop individual talents but rather are prepared as ‘units in an organic society… The changes in the moral school atmosphere… are not mere accidents, they are the necessities of the larger social evolution.”

These comments are not made from the periphery of public education, but rather from the center. No one is hiding this information; read it for yourself. It is everywhere and it is godless.

Recently I read an essay about age-grading in an education forum. The author writes, “John Taylor Gatto is America's most eloquent defender of homeschooling. He was Teacher of the Year three times in New York City. He was Teacher of the Year in New York State. Then he quit. He gave up public school teaching.” Based on Gatto’s experience in the public sector he writes his signal work The Underground History of American Education, which is available for free here. Here is a quote from the book:

“The socialization of children in age-graded groups monitored by State agents is essential to learn to get along with others in a pluralistic society. The actual truth is that the rigid compartmentalizations of schooling teach a crippling form of social relation: wait passively until you are told what to do, never judge your own work or confer with associates, have contempt for those younger than yourself and fear of those older. Behave according to the meaning assigned to your class label. These are the rules of a nuthouse.”

So far, I have concentrated my educational comments to theological considerations: who has the responsibility to educate, the effects of secularization on the children, etc. But I would like to point out the very ground and intention of public education is nefarious at the systemic level. It is a social tool before it is an education.

“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ” (Colossians 2:8). We Christians are being pressed by public education.

A word: my children are all in public school, though the oldest two are in a hybrid public school and home school curriculum that we designed. It is a good school with a high degree of religious freedom. But my wife and I recognize that it has intrinsic weaknesses. We are hoping for better solutions to correct these deficiencies. I want you to be aware of those weaknesses and think about how you can address them. There are many great homeschool options available. Where there is a will, there is a way.

As a pastor, I am asking myself how we can support the families in our church in the area of education. Frankly, I don’t want to see young people abandoning the faith anymore. I don’t want to see them adopt the world’s conclusions about everything. I want them to see life through the Bible and the lens of Christianity because it is true and superior to all the alternative views. I would love to hear from you on how churches can better aid families in educating their children.

Finally, Christian parent, it is up to you to guard your child from the hollow and deceptive philosophies of this fallen world. If you do send your child to the government school, I hope that you can no longer do so with an uncritical, unthinking confidence that they are being trained to be good. You can’t outsource that, especially to those who control the national education boards.

Finally, Christian teacher, it is up to you to love the Lord your God with all your mind, strength, and heart. Your primary responsibility is to God. Your secondary responsibility is to the parent, and somewhere after these two will fall your responsibilities to your employer—just like the rest of us. (Those who teach my kids, if you are reading this, thank you. I pray for you constantly. I know you are Christian and view public school as a ministry. God bless you for it.)

Romans 12:1-2, Philips Translation: “With eyes wide open to the mercies of God, I beg you, my brothers, as an act of intelligent worship, to give him your bodies, as a living sacrifice, consecrated to him and acceptable by him. Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity.”

May the grace of God be with you.

[Note: I borrowed my title this week from a book recently written by two PhD’s in education, Joseph P. Farrell and Gary Lawrence, which is available here.]

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.

READ MORE