Feminism Worldview

Feminism is one of the most popular and dominant worldviews in the western world. It was born at the feet of egalitarianism, individualism, and statism. The fundamental ideology is that women have equal rights, the same rights that men have as a secular worldview. If taken to its logical end, it would mean that women desire to dominate men.  Now, where did that come from? Maybe from the mouth of God! “To the woman he [God] said, ‘I will greatly increase your labor pains; with pain you will give birth to children. You will want to control your husband, but he will dominate you’” (Genesis 3:16). As punishment for breaking God’s covenant, Eve the woman would desire to control Adam the man. It has been part of the old man (sinful nature) since the beginning.

The prevalent feminism in the American culture has produced two undesirable effects.

  1. Satan used a sinful secular doctrine (Jacobin egalitarianism – the political party during the French Revolution positing absolute/perfect equality) so the biblical doctrine of familial and marital covenants appear to be old fashioned. Since the fall of the human race, the female desires to rule over the male. A woman may desire to serve as a preacher in the church or a president of a nation, but it is a sinful desire. I will be redundant for the purpose of emphasis: “To the woman he [God] said, ‘I will greatly increase your labor pains; with pain you will give birth to children. You will want to control your husband, but he will dominate you’” (Genesis 3:16). God’s plan was for order and harmony, not equality and strife.

  2. It creates a dysfunctional family. It opens Pandora’s Box for the woman to vote for her candidate of choice and the man to vote for the candidate of his choice. It leaves the children with an example of ungodly and unbiblical leadership in the home.

The state should follow a simple biblical principle. Christians have an ultimate authority that will prevent these undesirable effects of feminization. “Wives submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22).  This verse is not a reference to blind and blanket submission. However, no submission leads to anarchy and absolute submission lead to tyranny. Although anarchy and tyranny are present, to a greater or lesser degree in many marriages, the doctrine of submission usually falls under one of three categories.

Patriarchy refers to the husband is the head of the family.

Matriarchy refers to the wife is head of the family.

Democracy refers to no rule of the family, therefore anarchy prevails in the family.

The enemies of submission are:

1)  Self-centeredness – A person who is governed by the thought that everything revolves around him or her.

2)  Dictatorial arrogance – Another aspect of the self by lording it over others.  The dictator wants absolute control.

3)  Individualism – The world view that displaces the confederation concept. The Bible describes individualism in terms of, “I am and there is no one else besides me” (Isaiah 47:10). Individualism literally says, “My opinions are the ones that count and if I can’t have it my way I will not play in the game.”

4)  Thoughtlessness –  One who is unconcerned with respect to the needs, desires and welfare of others.

5)  Self-seeking – One who is interested in the outcome only for the benefit of self.

The Southern Presbyterian theologian, Dr. Robert L. Dabney put it in these terms and I shall quote so as not to add or take away from these most profound words. Dabney said:  “the wife must obey the husband in the sense of conceding to him the final decision of joint domestic questions, within the bound of her higher duty to God and conscience or the husband must obey the wife, or the marriage is virtually annulled” (Practical Philosophy p. 367).”

Please notice two important points:

1)  Obey the husband within the bounds of her higher duty to God and conscience.  (Obey God rather than man.)

2)  If she does not obey her husband (unless he has told her to think or act in a way that is unbiblical or ungodly) the marriage is virtually annulled.

If there is no submission there is no marriage. One word will sum up the role of the wife in marriage – submit.

Likewise, one word will sum up the role of the husband in marriage –  love.

A marriage does not exist if the husband does not love his wife just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her.

The husband must be willing to sacrifice everything for his wife. It is the duty of the husband to love his wife so he may be the instrument for the sanctification of his wife.

The word love is not merely a reference to sensual and friendly love. The husband has a distinctive love for his wife. It’s called Christian love.  It is the kind of love that is sacrificial, so that whether it is a love in confrontation or a love in encouragement, it is a godly love.

Since the church is in a state of disorder and lacks a proper understanding of God’s prescribed order for submission and love in the marriage, the culture and political life follows suit.

The mandate for Christians is simple.  Submit yourself to the Word of God and pray for the Spirit of God to enlighten your mind, to incline your will and motivate your emotions so you will find harmony and order in your marriage relationship.  It will have a positive and meaningful effect on the political life of the nation.

 

The Doctrine of Salvation*

The doctrine of salvation is not a simple doctrine, but rather a complex doctrine.  The doctrine of salvation is easy to understand, but it is connected with many other doctrines found in Scripture.  The Bible says “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” (Acts 16:32).  The Bible also reveals a logical order of the causes and effects which produce salvation.  Theologians often use the Latin terminology ordo salutis (order of salvation) to describe the biblical doctrine of salvation, which includes election, calling, regeneration, conversion (repentance and faith), justification, adoption, sanctification, and glorification. The order of salvation refers to the logical order of the causes and effects which explain the fullness of the doctrine of salvation.

Effectual Calling

Effectual calling is used to describe that part of the order of salvation that is first in the logical order.  Our limited understanding of the application of God’s grace must not keep us from our inquiry into and belief of this important doctrine.  It is a calling that brings about the desired effect. Those who are effectually called actually come to faith.

Regeneration

Regeneration refers to the sovereign act of the Holy Spirit of God so that the children of God are given new life in Jesus Christ and enabled to understand and embrace the gospel.  The Holy Spirit operates by divine initiative to give those who are dead in sin a new life in Christ which is called regeneration.  Regeneration is necessary before faith.  The regenerated mind and will are able to believe the call of God.  The work of regeneration is strictly passive. The inspired apostle said it is the “power of God who has saved us and called us with a holy calling” (2 Timothy 1:8-9).   Theologians freely admit the ordinary way of salvation is by grace through faith and usually by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17).  God usually works by means or instruments; however He may work without the use of second causes.  It is not out of God’s character to act directly upon the souls of those who cannot hear the Word of God or understand the Word of God.  It may be mysterious and miraculous to the human mind, but consistent with the character of God.  The doctrine of regeneration changes the condition of the soul, but regeneration does not remove the guilt of Adam’s sin.  The guilt must be removed by an act of God which will be explained in greater detail.

Saving Faith

Saving faith has historically been understood to consist of three constituent parts.  Notitia, which is the grasping of the concepts inherent in saving faith, assensus, which is the affirmation that these concepts are true, and fiducia which means to trust based on what is known and affirmed as true.  Fiducia, meaning to trust God for eternal salvation is critical because the devil himself understands the gospel, knows that it is true, and yet hates it.  Likewise, the children of Satan may understand and know the truth of God’s saving grace, but hating it they refuse to trust (John 8:42-47).  Biblical faith is not a leap in the dark, or something to be contrasted with knowledge, but a conscious trust in the truth that can be demonstrated by the Word of God.  God’s saving grace is all a gift from God.   Christians often say they “exercised their faith” for the saving of the soul.  Every aspect of salvation is from God, even faith itself.  The inspired apostle Paul says we are “saved through faith and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).   Apart from the grammatical criticisms against “that” being a reference to faith, the logic of the language seems very clear.  When the Holy Spirit of God renews or regenerates the heart, the Holy Spirit also produces faith.  Man cannot produce his own saving faith.  It must come from God.  Believing that Christ and His righteousness are sufficient to save your soul is not enough.  You must trust Christ to pardon you of your sin and accept you as righteous in the sight of God.

Repentance

Repentance in the New Testament refers to the change of one’s mind.  The sinner has a change of mind then God calls the sinner to turn from his or her sin to God with the purpose of obeying God’s commandments. The Greek word translated “repentance” as it is used in the Bible refers to a complete change of mind accompanied by a new design for living a godly life.  The context is extremely important for understanding the meaning of a word.  For instance, in Acts 11:18 the Bible speaks of a repentance that leads to life.  In that context the word translated “repentance” encompasses the entire conversion experience.   Repentance is intellectual and has an effect on the will so that a change of mind should be reflected by a change of behavior.

Justification

Justification is an act of God so that God declares the believer righteous.  God judges the believer to be innocent based on the imputed righteousness of Christ.  Justification is found in the Old Testament (See Genesis 15:6) and the New Testament (See Romans 5:1).  The Protestant Church originally taught that faith was the alone instrument by which Christians were justified.  Deviation from that doctrine occurred as the church denominated.

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that baptism and penance are the instruments of justification.  According to the Roman Catholic Church, baptism is a one time sacrament whereby justifying grace is infused into the soul.   However, that grace can be lost by committing a mortal sin.  The Sacrament of penance is the instrument by which justifying grace may be obtained again which is called the second plank of justification.

The salvation of the soul is the central aspect of the doctrine of justification.  The word justification used in relation to the doctrine of salvation in Scripture is always used in a forensic (legal) sense.  It is a divine act whereby God declares the elect of God, who are sinners and deserve condemnation, to be acceptable in His sight.  The forensic (legal) language in the Bible explains our standing before God.  For instance, “Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect?  It is God who justifies” (Romans 8:33).  Paul’s view is that justification stands in opposition to condemnation.  Paul’s judicial language describes and explains this important doctrine.  The only way a sinner can be declared in a favorable relation with God is by the satisfaction of God’s justice.  Too often it is said the sinner’s justification is free.  It should be correctly stated that justification is a free gift.  However the gift required payment and Christ freely gave Himself for that payment.  The gift is free, or to put it another way, the grace is free to the recipient, but it was not free to the divine Son of God.  It was Christ and His obedience and death that paid the debt thus satisfying God’s justice.  Although justification is more kairotic (point of time), than it is chronological (sequence of time), justification does have a lasting effect.  In fact, if a sinner is justified, the result is eternal.  Christians are not justified one day and unjustified the next day.  Martin Luther believed that the doctrine of justification was the article by which the church stands or falls. He is right in the sense that there is no salvation if there is no justification.

Adoption

Adoption is the grace of God for the heirs of everlasting salvation. The Westminster Larger Catechism describes adoption as “an act of the free grace of God.”  It should be understood that adoption is a legal act of God in the sense that it is something that God does apart from any merit on the part of the Christian.

The theological concept of adoption is explicitly present in the New Testament in the writings of the apostle Paul (Romans 8:15, 23; Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 1:5).  Words like sonship, heir, and begotten are relative to the doctrine of adoption.  The apostle Paul used the word adoption to describe the relationship a converted sinner has in the family of God.  Justification describes a judge declaring a convicted felon not guilty.  Adoption describes the loving relationship a father has toward his son.

The benefits of adoption include a particular marking by God.  Those adopted in and for the sake of Christ will have the name of God written on them (Revelation 3:12).  They will be marked as God’s children.  They are freed from the slavery of sin and taken under the care of a loving Father.  Adoption as sons of God will issue an eternal inheritance in glory with Christ.  All these and more are the privileges of the sons of God because they are predestined to adoption (Ephesians 1:5).

Sanctification

Sanctification is the process of being made righteous.  I emphasize the on-going process in the doctrine of sanctification.  The doctrine of the evangelical church holds that Christians are declared righteous by God the moment they trust in the atoning work of Christ.  The atoning work of Christ is the basis for believers to be justified by faith alone.  Then believers begin growing in the likeness of Christ according to the biblical doctrine of sanctification.  They become progressively more like what God judges them to be in justification.  Sanctification is synergistic, a cooperative work between the individual and the Holy Spirit, who works both to will and to do His good pleasure.  The process can proceed at different rates with different believers, but with all believers it does indeed proceed.  The process is complete when the child of God is glorified. It does not mean Christians must be pure sometime before they die, but that at their death the process is brought to its end and then they are glorified.  The biblical doctrine of sanctification teaches that a regenerate heart justified by faith alone breaks the dominion of sin, but there remains the presence of sin.  This leads many professing Christians into a state of confusion.  The result is often a life of uncertainty and residual dualism.  The constant struggle to overcome the evil that remains in the whole man often leads one to believe that one may not be a saved sinner.  The struggle is not a Gnostic form of dualism, but rather a struggle of the new nature against the old nature.   The war will continue until death when the old man will finally be defeated.  Christians struggle against sin.  Unbelievers do not struggle against sin.  Fighting against sin is a sign of new life in Jesus Christ.  More will be said in Chapter 19 relative to the doctrine of sanctification.

Glorification

Glorification is the final estate of the Christian’s salvation experience.  It will involve the full redemption of body and soul.  The mortal body will take on immortality (1 Corinthians 15:53).  Glorification will reveal the power of God over death, the final enemy of Christian believers (1 Corinthians 15:54).

Jesus Christ is the necessary axiom for any understanding of salvation, the forgiveness of sins, and the promise of eternal life.  The apostle Paul, under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, asserts that Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15).  It is the duty of every Christian to reflect on the nature of Jesus Christ.  Reflect on the Prophet preeminent who reveals to His people by His Spirit and the Word the whole will of God.  Reflect on the High Priest whose sacrifice is without blemish and is continually making intercession for Christians.  Reflect on the King of the universe who rules over and protects His people.  Reflect on the need for a Savior that promises eternal life.

 

*Taken from The Essence of Christian Doctrine, by Martin Murphy

 

Be a Friend of God

When King Jehoshaphat was in despair he cried out to God saying “Didst Thou not, O our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before Thy people Israel, and give it to the descendants of Abraham Thy friend forever?”  Abraham had a unique standing with God; a friend for God forever.  In the New Testament James confirms the Old Testament passage by saying that Abraham was called a friend of God.

God created man to enjoy and fellowship with, but man failed God in the covenant promise.  God gave man a good place to live ‒ the Garden of Eden.  God gave man good water and food and he gave man a good job tending the garden.  A good God to the man he created.  God instructed man not to do one thing, which is what I mean by a covenant relationship.  Man disobeyed God and the favorable covenant relationship was broken.

Some historians estimate that during the past 5000 yrs. over 8000 covenants have been made and broken between nations.  The average time they remained in force was two years.  The number of wars that resulted was 14,531 and 3,640,000,00 people were killed.  God made a covenant with mankind during the creation order and I believe it remains in effect to this day.  By all rights God should have destroyed the human race, which would have served justice, but God had compassion on the sinful race and let them live with a promise of hope and redemption.  In 1 Peter 1:18-20 we hear these words. “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver and gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.  He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.  Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.”  From these verses Christians find the assurance that God’s plan from eternity past is effective in the present day.  The Bible teaches that God sent forth His Son in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons and receive the Spirit of His Son in our hearts.  When God adopts a son (or a daughter) it is a permanent relationship.  It is then that you become a friend of God forever.  Christian friends, we are to rejoice in knowing that we are friends of the creator of the Universe.  If God be with us we shall never be alone, nor shall we feel lonely.  If God be with us, He will not be inactive on our behalf.  He will provide for us so that we shall not be needy or destitute.  He will preserve us so that we shall not perish.  There is an old English proverb that says, “He cannot be poor who has the Lord Mayor for his uncle.”

We may rather say, “He cannot be poor who has God for his friend.  The Psalmist surely knew what friendship with God was like when he said, “I have been young and now I am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Or his descendants begging bread.”

Biblical Worship

It seems to me that many professing Christian worshippers are more interested in entertainment for themselves rather than worshipping the Lord God almighty.  People love to worship according to their feelings.  We live in an age when true worship has been replaced by entertainment of every sort.  The application of managerial theory and the psychobabble theories are the great enemies of true biblical worship.  Today the focus is on the worshipper rather than the object of worship, the true and living God.  Idolatry in the modern evangelical church is rampant.  The building where the church meets for worship is a popular object of worship, especially the multi-million dollar buildings.  Music, drama presentations, and other performances have become objects of worship.  Pastors, denominations, and church dogma are a few of the many idols found in the modern church.  Restoring biblical worship ought to be the primary objective of every Christian.

True worship offered to God is either worthy worship or un-worthy worship.  Un-worthy worship may mean the object of worship is wrong or may be the wrong attitude toward the object of worship.  Worthy worship comes from a true believer.  The true object of adoration, praise and worship is the one true and living God.  Worthy worship is that worship that God prescribes in His Word.  Worthy worship is called Theocentric (God at the center) worship.  Christian worship or if you prefer the term biblical worship ought to be offered to God, not to men, women or children.  True biblical worship is not meeting someone’s need.  True biblical worship does not minister to the needs of people.  True worship is not people oriented; it is God oriented.

Since worship expresses the worthiness of God, the glory of God is the end of all true Christian worship.  If man institutes and regulates worship by the commandments of men, will God take pleasure in the worship?  Contrary to popular opinion, God has commanded Christians to worship Him according to His commandments.  In an effort to appease God’s wrath, false worshippers bring their man-made offerings and forms of worship to their own shame.  God hates sin and He hates sinful worship.  The Word of God reveals how God despises worship that He has not commanded.  The notion that God prescribes certain practices to be part of public collective worship and frowns on other practices is found in the normative history recorded in Leviticus chapter ten.  Scripture explains how Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, “offered profane fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them.”  “He” in this text is God and God said, “By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; and before all the people I must be glorified.”  It is dangerous to offer worship to God that God has not prescribed and His prescription for worship is found in God’s Word, not in the mind of sinful man.  (See Leviticus 10:1-3).

There is another biblical reference to this principle in Jeremiah.  God warned the Old Testament church with these words.  “I will pronounce My judgments on them concerning all their wickedness, whereby they have forsaken Me and have offered sacrifices to other gods, and worshiped the works of their own hands” (Jeremiah 1:16).  The Lord spoke to the prophet Isaiah and said “Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths and honor me with their lips, But have removed their hearts far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men” (Isaiah 29:13).  Worship is either by the commandment of man, the commandment of God, or a mixture of both.  The commandment of man is idolatry and false worship.  A mixture of both, man’s commandments and God’s commandments is syncretism.  Solomon is an example of mixing true worship with false worship.  (See 1 Kings 11).  The people were offering false worship and God said, “I did not command them, nor did it come into My mind that they should do this abomination to cause Judah to sin” (Jeremiah 32:35).  There are many practical and seemingly spiritual offerings according to the mind of man, but it is false worship unless it is according to the mind of God.

If the marquee outside of a building commonly referred to as the church features:

Traditional Worship  8:30 am (or whatever time they choose)

Contemporary Worship 9:30 am

Blended Worship 10:30 am

Collide Worship 11:30 am

Or any combination of those captions, false worship is probably inside the building.

If a worship service is designed to please the audience, it is probably false worship. Worship according to the Word of God will please God.  Some congregations call their worship “contemporary” and others “traditional.”  The worship service ought to follow the teaching of Scripture.  The Puritans called it the regulative principle of worship.  All worship is contemporary in the sense that it takes place at the present time.  No worship is acceptable merely because of tradition.  Since all individual believers constitute the church, it is impossible for the church to go to church.  The church may gather or assemble for a variety of reasons including Bible study, fellowship, prayer, or collective worship.  Christians do not and cannot go to church.  The church can and should go to worship.

Forgiveness In a Sinful World

*We do not forgive each other, as we ought.  Husbands and wives fail to do so in their marriages.  Instead they allow the sun to go down on their wrath.  The same happens in many other relationships in the home and among fellow saints.  Either we reluctantly and halfheartedly forgive (which is no forgiveness at all), or we completely fail or refuse to do it.  We have our excuses, of course.  But in reality we are following the ways and actions of the ungodly.  A grudge instead of forgiveness.  A desire for revenge instead of forgetting.  We say we forgive, but then still tell others of how that person has sinned against us. It all amounts to hatred instead of love.

*Selected from the Standard Bearer, October 1999 written by Rev. Daniel Kleyn

Do you ever feel guilty?  The word guilt means that some punishment is due for some unlawful action or behavior.  People are born guilty, because they inherit the guilt of Adam.  Although God created Adam a perfect man, Adam sinned and the guilt of his sin passes on to all people. “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalm 51:5).  You not only inherited Adam’s sin nature; you also practice sin against God and against other people.  “Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4). The Bible states, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).  When people sin against God, there is a broken relationship.  When people sin against each other, there is a broken relationship.  The only way to have the guilt removed and restore the relationship is to pay for the sin or have someone else pay the penalty for you. Your sin erects a wall between you and God.  Sin severs the relationship between God and man.  The only remedy for that separation is forgiveness.  Is there any forgiveness?  Yes, through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ who paid the penalty of death for those whom God has called to Himself.

Sin causes guilt and forgiveness is the only way to relieve the guilt and heal the broken relationship. It is the guilt of sin that burns in the human heart.  So, how is the guilt removed?  Confession, repentance and forgiveness remove it. Martin Luther said the “forgiveness of sins through Christ is the highest article of our faith.”  The reason Luther said that is because of his understanding of God’s holiness and man’s sinful heart.  You may take great comfort in the inspired words of the apostle Paul.  “God has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ and given us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18).

The only way to know how to forgive is to model our forgiveness after God’s forgiveness.  The Bible says “be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).

God’s pattern of forgiveness in the Bible begins with confession.  “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”(1 John 1:9).  Confession is part of forgiveness because confession is the means of verbalizing the offense.  Repentance is also necessary for forgiveness. “Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him”(Luke 17:3).  Repentance is a change of mind and endeavor to turn to God in obedience.  To put it another way, repentance is a change of attitude and direction.

We pattern our forgiveness after God by saying “I will forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more” (Jeremiah 31;43).  “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us” (Ps. 103:12).  Feelings don’t determine the reality of forgiveness.   What counts is objective reality, which is found in the word of God.  We must judge with truth, not how we feel about truth.  God doesn’t forgive because he feels like it.  God forgives because of his grace and mercy.

Does anyone deserve forgiveness?  The Bible says, “If you O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord who could stand?” (Psalm 130:3).  God, by His pure grace, forgives you of your multiplied sins against Him.  If you believe in the forgiveness of sins you believe that you have been forgiven of the thousands upon thousands of sins that have been removed by the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, you must pattern your forgiveness after God’s forgiveness. To forgive the other person means to remove from your mind any wrath, hatred, or desire for revenge. To forgive means to willingly, gladly, generously, and finally forget any injustice  you may have experienced in your relationships with other people. Forgiveness means that the sin will never be brought up again and the relationship is restored, thus reconciliation of the two parties.  God promises to forgive, but woe to the person who refuses to forgive and be reconciled.

When we practice or refuse to practice the biblical doctrine of forgiveness, it is evidence of a spiritual condition.  I cannot stress mutual forgiveness enough.  The doctrine is very clear.  God, by His pure grace, forgives you of your multiplied sins against Him, then you must forgive others who sin against you.  When you forgive, truly forgive, you are simply following the example of your Lord and give evidence of the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ present in your soul.  If you are not able to forgive others who have offended you and sinned against you, then you have not received any forgiveness from God.  The Lord says, “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

The result of forgiveness is reconciliation.  Reconciliation is not optional among believers. Reconciliation means peace.  Do you want peace with God and peace with other Christians?  If the answer is yes, I urge you to remember the words of the Psalmist.  “I acknowledged my sin to Thee, And my iniquity I did not hide; I said, I will confess my transgressions to the Lord; And Thou didst forgive the guilt of my sin “(Psalm 32:5).

Review the three elements necessary for forgiveness:

God commands confession for forgiveness.  Confess means you acknowledge the sin and agree with your brother that it is sin (1 John 1:9; James 5:16; Matthew 18:15).

Repentance is necessary if the confession is sincere and true; “Take heed to yourselves.  If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him” (Luke 17:3).

Reconciliation is just as important as repentance.  Forgiveness means that the sin will never be brought up again and the relationship is restored (Matthew 5:24; 2 Corinthians 5:18-19; Psalm 103:12).

The one word I want and I hope you want the same written on your headstone is:  Forgiven.

If you want to worship and fellowship with other Christians who believe in the biblical doctrine of forgiveness and reconciliation, you are welcome to leave me a message.

Hero Worship

I wonder how many blogs are posted on the internet each day?  I wonder how many people read those blogs?  On the average there are over 700 books published each day in the United States.  I’ve read some reports indicating that the majority of those books will sell less than 100 copies.  I wonder why people follow and read some blogs and not others?  I wonder why people read some books and not others?

Even though I expect only a few will read this blog, I will still give my opinion for what it’s not worth.  Obviously a person has to discriminate when selecting books to read.  I’ve never counted the number of books I’ve read, but it has been a considerable number over a 30 year period.  Why did I select certain books to read?   The reasons are numerous.  Time restrictions have been the primary reason.  A person can only read so many books.  Then there are financial limitations.  The average person has to budget book buying.  There is another reason.  I call it “hero worship.”

I remember visiting Dr. Bryan Beyer’s office soon after I arrived at Columbia International University.  He was on the phone, so I admired his large collection of books.  He finished the phone conversation and proceeded to look at some papers on his desk.  I promptly asked him if he had read all those books.  Without looking up or hesitating he said, “Some of them twice.”  After a moment of being in awe, I was engaged with “hero worship.”  What a great man he was.  Then he suddenly broke his mirror by saying “but some, not once.”  He taught me a valuable lesson.

God graced me with the opportunity to study under the teaching of some godly, but erudite, scholarly academicians in the field of philosophy and theology.  Hero worship was a mighty temptation.  Although I’ve read books because they carried the name Jonathan Edwards, I’ve also read books written by little known authors like Glenn Gordy.

Hero worship is the reason many books are purchased and never read.  Many books are purchased based on the author’s name rather than the content of the book.

Whether I go to a bookstore or a thrift shop, I look not only for the name, but I look at the table of contents.  I look for summary statements on the back cover and endorsements if there are any.  I try to avoid “hero worship” in my book selection.

The Attack Against the Minds of Young People

The raging culture wars have a long string of wounded soldiers and citizens in this world.  The most devastating battle is the attack against the minds of young people.  The specific culture war I have in mind is education and more specifically education in the Christian sector.

Christians should be in the forefront of reforming education in this country, a concept not so new.  In Martin Luther’s An Appeal to the Ruling Class of German Nationality as to the Amelioration of the State of Christendom, Luther argued for reformation of education.  Luther said, “The universities need a sound and thorough reformation.”  Luther’s concern was that the Church of Rome was corrupt to the degree that “everything that the papacy has instituted or ordained is directed solely toward the multiplication of sin and error.  Unless they are completely altered from what they have been hitherto, the universities will fit exactly what is said in the Book of Maccabees:  ‘places for the exercise for youth, and for the Greekish fashion… . Nothing could be more wicked, or serve the devil better, than unreformed universities.”

Luther wanted to reform university education.  Today the bankruptcy of public education at all levels has created a national disaster.  Modernity and its replacement, the postmodern concept, have significantly contributed to the bankruptcy. Three unprincipled and ungodly worldviews dominant the educational process; they are pragmatism, utilitarianism, and relativism.

Pragmatism is particularly an American worldview.  The authors of this worldview popularized its philosophical theory by dismissing metaphysical rationality. Dr. Gordon Clarke defines pragmatism as, “A theory is true in proportion to its success; but success in solving a problem is eminently a matter of approximation” (Thales to Dewey, by Gordon Clarke, p. 503-504).  To put it another way, the theory is true if it produces successful results.  It applies to every level and segment of society because it is the final source of meaning and truth. Although, pragmatism started as a philosophical movement, through the efforts of William James and John Dewey, it has become a popular worldview.  If it works it must be right.

Utilitarianism is close kin to pragmatism.  Webster defines utilitarianism as, “The ethical doctrine that virtue is based on utility and that conduct should be directed toward promoting the greatest happiness of the greatest number of persons” (Webster’s Encyclopedia Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language).  This worldview applied on a personal level refers to using people to get what one wants.  Combine pragmatism and utilitarianism to “use people if it works for your benefit.

Relative is a very useful word in normal everyday life. For example, I may refer to the relative nature of the church to God’s people. However, relativism takes on a theological/philosophical/psychological/epistemological/moral dimension.  The most common use is moral or ethical relativism. Take the abortion controversy for example. One side says it is absolutely wrong to murder a child in the mother’s womb. The other side says it is relative to the circumstances and other variables. Ultimately, the logic of the law of non-contradiction defies relativism. The American philosopher, J. P. Moreland, explains that “moral relativism implies that moral propositions are not simply true or false.” Moral relativism is the predominant worldview in university education and to a lesser degree in secondary schools.

Modernity is a force to be reckoned with, but the force will eventually fail.  It must because it is humanistic and not divine.  It is proximate and not ultimate.  Human autonomy is self-destructive.  Divine aseity is the source of the ultimate authority and supreme power.  If any educational system survives, it does so because it has ultimate authority to fulfill its purpose.  Supreme power must accompany that authority or otherwise some other power will win the day.

Modern educators focus on the proximate rather than the ultimate.  I don’t hear Christians say, “What does God say about education?”  I do hear them say, “What does William James say about education?”  There are a few Christians who might ask, “What did John Calvin say about education?”  We cannot replace or repair our educational institutions and systems by consulting sinful men.  Of course it is wise to consult the church fathers that went before us, but the ultimate authority must be the Word of God.

The postmodern educational philosophy is no help in the restoration of a rational godly educational system.  In fact, postmodern thought is all the more reason to replace the present model. Postmodern educators have effectively created the religion of education as a means to change the culture.  After the failure of the enlightenment and its progeny, the postmodernists made educational philosophy a god of the new age.

Herbert Scholossberg accuses the public schools of promoting “the socialization of diverse peoples” and they have been successful in that endeavor.  It is sad that Christians, particularly postmodern Christians, have used the educational system in this country to homogenize the variety of cultures in the United States.  Postmodern educators will not admit that ethnic groups are fundamentally different.  To make many cultures into one is not a biblical world and life view.

The philosophical agenda to establish the educational elite has been a miserable failure.  One rogue passing along information to other rogues produces a generation of uneducated hypocrites with a diploma to prove they attended a school of higher learning.  The travesty is that Christians simply shrug their shoulders.

The educational system proposed by Dewey, Owen, Mann, et al., is a failure by their own standards.  Statist education was their goal and all it has produced is an uneducated, uncivilized, and incompetent society that hates its culture of residence.

The academies of colonial America and the academies of the old Southwest were God-centered educational institutions.  They resisted the liberal Unitarianism until at last the Unitarians took control of the educational institutions throughout America.  The history of those Calvinistic academies shaped the intellectual, cultural, and political lives for many generations.  Unfortunately the godless Unitarian universities have created a tyrannical force that has been the most powerful change agent in this country.  Os Guinness believes that the role of American public schools was so successful that they “became almost the working equivalent of a European established church” (American Hour, page 155).  He is right because the educational system in America is a rival to Christianity.

The reformation of the educational system in this country will be painful to the socialites, liberals, and statists.  However, Christians do not have a choice in the matter.  Reforming our educational system is a noble work for God’s people.