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Silencing The Church!

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I grew up outside of Buffalo, NY.  Our home was on the Erie Canal.  As many people know, that area of the country is known for its brutal winters with frigid temperatures and LOTS of snow.

As kids we would always get excited when the temperatures dropped and the canal would freeze over.  I would grab my skates and head out the door for some skating fun and possibly a little hockey.  Before the door closed behind me, I would hear my mother warn me to be careful, you may be skating on thin ice.  It was understood that if I got out on thin ice and broke through, I would sink into dangerous, frigid waters.

That warning became a colloquialism that I often heard from either my father, mother or one of my teachers.  However, this warning had nothing to do with winter and skating.  It usually was said this way.  “Young man, you better straighten up because you are skating on thin ice.”  I knew that if I didn’t change my attitude or behavior, I would fall through the ice and some serious discipline would come my way.

As I have been prayerfully preparing for this post and the next couple of articles, I have heard a little voice in my mind warning me to be careful you may be skating on some thin ice.  I am well aware that the topics that need to be addressed are controversial and could possibly cause offense.  So, I am praying that they will be read in the same spirit in which I am writing them.

Over the past several decades, I have witnessed an attempt by a segment of society to try and silence the church.  Recently, this effort has increased in its boldness and intensity.  When I say the church, I am referring to both all born again believers and all local churches.  In an effort to clearly identify the segment of society that is mounting this attack on the church, I will yield to what Dr. Erwin Lutzer wrote in his book, We Will Not Be Silenced.

We are in a firestorm for the future of America…My preference, then, is to use the term ‘radical secularist’ [referring to those who are attacking us] or, another familiar term, humanists.

These attacks on Christianity will continue to intensify as the country becomes more and more secularized.  As I have attempted to understand how this has been allowed to take place, I find that the church has brought some of this on itself.  This is because many church leaders and lay Christians have embraced a false belief system that has opened the door to this firestorm.  This belief system is called a dualistic worldview or simply referred to as dualism.

Dualism is defined as the effort to divide life into separate compartments and making decisions in each compartment by different worldviews or sets of beliefs.  The most common compartmentalizing of life is into the secular and the sacred.  In her book, Total Truth, Nancey Pearcey explains how Christianity has been marginalized in society due to dualistic thinking.

The most potent way Christianity is marginalized in modern society is through the division of life into two separate spheres: a sacred realm of prayer, worship, and personal morality against a secular realm of politics, business, academia, and so on.

I have long seen dualism manifest itself in lives of Christians when it comes to the area of education.  For more than 100 years, the vast majority of Christians have viewed the education of children and youth from a dualistic worldview perspective. Christians have embraced the belief that the home and church are responsible to provide spiritual and moral training for their children while, at the same time, the state has been given the responsibility to educate their children in the “academic” areas.

The consequences of the church trying to operate from a dualistic worldview continues to cause me great concern.  Dualism doesn’t just impact the education that our children and youth receive.  It is now causing major confusion in other areas of life.

If I made a statement that started with these words, the left’s agenda… or the progressive’s agenda…, what would you most likely think I am getting ready to talk about?   The most common reaction to statements that begin with these words is that I am going to talk about politics.  Words like “left” and “progressive” are seen as political ideologies.

When the subject of politics comes up, one may commonly hear things like this from Christians.  There are two things I never talk about with friends—religion and politics. Or, Christians shouldn’t get involved in politics.  This isn’t what the church is about. Still other Christians will make statements such as, The answer to our problems won’t be solved by who resides in the White House or who gets elected to Congress.

Now, all of these statements have some truth to them.  However, statements like these are evidence that Christians have embraced a dualistic worldview.  And by doing this, they not only apply this compartmentalization of life to education but also to government and politics.  But, there is a problem when we do this.

Government/politics is a very real part of every Christian’s life.  When we fall into the trap of believing life can be divided up into a secular and a sacred compartments, we are actually rejecting what Jesus said in Matthew 6:33.  This is a very familiar verse to most Christians and it is the foundational truth undergirding Kingdom Education™.

Jesus simply said that every Christian is to seek God’s kingdom as his/her highest priority in life.  Seeking God’s kingdom means that each one of us needs to submit to God’s kingly rule in our lives.  God did not create us as dualistic individuals where He wants to have complete rule in the spiritual compartment of our lives but isn’t concerned about how we live out our secular compartment.  He wants to be Lord of our lives—PERIOD!

Since government/politics is a part of real life, God doesn’t want us to leave it to the world.  No, He wants to reign in our lives as we make decisions about issues relating to government and politics.

You may be asking yourself, what does all of this have to do with the efforts to silence the church?  I hope I can explain myself in an understandable way.

Behind everything that takes place in history is a cosmic battle between good and evil; God and Satan.  Satan engages in this battle through his world system.  It is my contention that Satan knows that the  majority of Christians have placed politics in the secular compartment of their lives.  Over the course of many years, Satan has influenced worldly leaders to make a subtle shift or pivot in how people view certain acts.

Actions such as abortion, homosexuality, prejudice, stewardship of God’s creation, etc. have historically been viewed, and should be, as spiritual and moral issues.  Slowly but surely the enemy has moved these issues from the spiritual compartment to the secular one by making them “political” issues.

Whereas, Christians saw these actions as being sinful and, therefore, the church must stand against them.  The secularists have now put them into the political bucket.  Therefore, Christians should be silent about them and stick to things that have to do with their “religion.”  Out of fear of ridicule, being called a racist, or being labelled as a homophobic intolerant person, the church (Christians) have become strangely silent.  In his book, We Will Not Be Silenced, Erwin Lutzer says this about the church. To our shame we are afraid of the secular left.

The enemy has intensified his effort to silence the church by creating a new label for Christians.  This label is applied to all Christians who stand up for the truths of Scripture, especially on biblical moral values.  Since many of these issues are now considered to be “political” in nature, when a Christian speaks out on them from a biblical perspective, they are accused of trying to legislate their morality on others and wanting to make the country Christian.  Thus, they are now called Christian Nationalists.

The plot continues to thicken because the secularists have successfully tied “Christian nationalism” to a person, President Trump and, most recently, to the events of January 6th at the Capitol.  Since these radical secularists have effectively labelled President Trump a “racist” and “white supremacist”, then all Christians who publicly proclaim such things as marriage should only be between a man and a woman, that abortion is the murder of innocent children, and that there are only two genders—male and female are de facto “Christian nationalists” and are, therefore by default, racists, homophobic, white supremacists, and even Nazis.  Now, I am not denying that there are extremists on every side of every issue.  However, the radical secularists make these charges against all Christians who stand up and support God and His Word.

What is the result of this?  Christians feel embarrassed about defending biblical marriage, the sanctity of human life, a biblical understanding of gender, and other moral issues—we have become silent!  Lutzer explains all of this by saying,

Many Christians will not be talked out of their faith, but they will be mocked out of it.  Shame will cause many Christians to retreat into silence.

The final step in trying to silence the church is taking place at this very moment.  First, biblical moral issues became merely political issues.  Now, the radical secularists are taking these “political” issues and enacting them into laws such as The Equality Act. Once laws, such as this, are passed, biblical moral values will not be merely political issues to debate. They will be laws we will be required to obey.  Again, I quote Lutzer,

In a revolution, dissident voices must be silenced…There are two ways culture attempts to intimidate Christians. One is to criminalize what they say or do, the other is to shame them.

We are already seeing what Lutzer warns us about happening in Canada.  A pastor has been sitting in jail for more than a week. His crime was holding church in violation of Covid restrictions.  At his hearing, he was told that he would be released if he agreed to not pastor, preach or enter his church until his trial.  He would not accept those conditions and his appeal was denied.  He will remain in jail until his trial in May.  He would not be silenced.  Will we have this same boldness?

Because of the effort to silence the church, we must be prepared to obey God rather than man.  This is going to be especially true as these attacks impact education.  That is why I am asking Christian school leaders, pastors and church leaders and individuals committed to giving children a biblical worldview education to join me at this summer’s Kingdom Education™ Summit.  Don’t Delay! Register Today!

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION!

A Very Challenging Month!

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Today is March 1, 2021.  It is hard to believe that February is over.  As I sit here writing this week’s blog, I find myself reflecting back on February as one of the most challenging times of my life.  It is hard to believe all that happened in just 28 days.

February 2021 was a month when I was immersed in some of the most intense reading that I have ever embarked upon.  I read numerous articles on such topics as Critical Race Theory (CRT), Marxist philosophy, synchronism in Christianity and the Equality Act.  At the same time I read two books by Dr. Erwin Lutzer—The Church in Babylon and We Will Not Be Silenced.  I encourage you to take the time and read these books.  I also listened intently to a couple of podcasts.  One of these podcasts, Just Thinking with Darrell Harrison and Virgil ‘Omaha’ Walker, took several times listening to it in order to really digest all their research on the principles behind Critical Theory (CT) and how it evolved into CRT.

Even though I was challenged by these things, what really burdened my heart was the time I spent in God’s Word throughout the month.  I can’t remember a month when I was in God’s Word more than I was in February.  My reading for the month started in Judges and continued through the book of Nehemiah.  The history of Israel covered in these 10 books of the Bible showed me God’s justice and His loving kindness like I have never seen it before.

I was amazed to see how God’s people continued to forsake Him over and over again.  Each time that they would turn to the false gods of the world, God would bring judgment upon them.  Then, they would cry out to Him in distress and He would deliver them from their oppression.  Finally, God allowed Israel to be taken captive by Babylon and this captivity would last for 70 long years.

It is true that the United States isn’t the same as the nation of Israel.  However, since God is immutable, He doesn’t change.  This means His person doesn’t change nor His ways.  God will judge His people (today’s church) the same way He judged Israel (His nation).  When we turn to God and obey His Word with our whole heart, He will bless us and deliver us from those who want to destroy us.  At the same time, God will bring judgement on us when we embrace the false gods of this world.

Two other things took place in February that rocked my world.  The first was what one Congressman said in an interview a few weeks ago.  This interview took place immediately following the Senate’s vote on the second impeachment of President Trump.  Representative Eric Swalwell was being interviewed by a news reporter about the vote.  I was taken back when I heard Swalwell’s response (emphasis mine).

We could have called God, herself, as a witness….

I thought that it couldn’t get worse until I watched a video clip covering the House floor debate concerning The Equality Act.  Representative Greg Steube was explaining the evil of this piece of legislation.  In his remarks, he read several passages from Scripture to illustrate how God looks at human sexuality, including gender.  After his remarks, Representative Jerry Nadler went to the microphone and made this statement (emphasis mine).

…what any religious tradition ascribes as God’s will is no concern of this Congress.

All I could do was bow my head and cry out to God—have mercy on us!  Lutzer shares his concern about our country in his book, The Church in Babylon.  He stated,

What concerns me is the death of Christian America.  Many of the biblical values upon which America was founded are no longer being allowed to shape our laws and our lives.

We better be prepared to walk through some very challenging and, maybe, dangerous times in the days to come.  Lutzer explains that,

when God judges a nation, the righteous suffer along with the wicked…There is a cost to living authentic lives of holiness in a godless culture.

Over the next couple of weeks, I will be addressing some very serious and somewhat controversial topics in these weekly posts.  Whenever I speak or write, I do so with fear and trembling.  Words are powerful and they can shape culture like nothing else can.  Last week I read a post on social media.  I don’t recall the entire quote but the first half of this person’s statement caused me great alarm.

CRT provides a lens that can help us understand what the Bible says about loving our neighbor.

This person had it all backwards.  Something a human being writes should never be a lens by which we interpret God’s Word.  God’s Word is and must be the only lens that can give true meaning to any thing man writes or produces.

I learned this fact many years ago.  I had just finished producing a paper on how the relationship between the sun, moon and earth relates to God, a Christian and the world.  When I completed this, I shared it with one of my heroes in the faith, Dr. Roy Lowerie, Jr.  Dr. Lowerie reviewed it and handed it back to me.  Then, in his deep voice, he simply said, “Glen, this is good but remember only God’s Word is inspired.”

As we strive to provide future generations with a biblical worldview education, we must make sure that we use God’s Word as our lens to understand the truth about all areas of life.  Only then will we be able to do what Dr. Lutzer stated,

Like Israel in Babylon, our challenge is to impact the culture without being spiritually destroyed by it…Our task is to be faithful even if we can’t restore the erosion of the Judeo-Christian consensus.

I want to encourage every Christian school to register for this summer’s Kingdom Education Summit.  At the Summit, we will be taking a deep dive into understanding and embracing Kingdom Education™.  There is no doubt about it—education, especially schooling, is going to undergo significant challenges in the days ahead.  Christians have to know how to educate the next generation so that they will be able to survive living in Babylon.

KEM Prime Members receive a special discount for attending the Summit.  Members of the National Alliance of Christian Schools (former SBACS) can receive partial grants to help cover the cost of registration.  The early bird registration fees will expire soon. CLICK HERE to find out more about this exciting event.

Where Are The Fathers?

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We are living in a pagan culture that is dominated by political correctness.  It is a culture where males want to be females and vice versa.  Even the 117th Congress of the U.S. will no longer use words such as brother, father, mother, sister, etc.  Instead, it will use terms that are gender neutral such as parent and sibling.  Well, this post is not politically correct.

God’s Word makes it clear that there are only two genders — male and female.  The Bible also sets forth God’s ordained structure for the family.  It is a mother and a father and their children (as God provides them).  It is paramount to understand that both males and females are equal in God’s sight.  However, it must be understood that God designed different roles for men and women.

Last week, I shared how we have to build strong families while living in a Babylonian/anti-Christian world.  In his book, The Church in Babylon, Erwin Lutzer makes the point that only strong families can weather the cultural storms of Babylon.  Lutzer referenced Jeremiah 29:6 to back up his statement.  God knew that with strong families, God would have future seed through which He would advance His kingdom.

It is the parents’ responsibility to have children and raise them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.  However, God designed the family for the father to be the spiritual leader of the home.  This is why Lutzer wrote,

The father led his family in the Passover rituals; fathers were charged with  teaching children the Word of God. And God knew that with strong fathers, grounded in the Word of God, these families could survive paganism.

There are numerous passages of Scripture that makes it clear that God holds parents accountable for the education of their children.  However, God’s Word particularly calls fathers to be accountable to Him for how children are educated.  This is clearly seen in passages such as Psalm 78:1-8, Ephesians 6:4 and Colossians 3:21.  In the book of Proverbs, Solomon gives instruction to his son. When God wanted a people to call His own, He choose Abraham.

For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.  Genesis 18:19 (NKJV)

God chose Abraham because He knew that Abraham would lead/teach his children and his entire household to keep the way of the Lord.  There is no question that Sarah would play an important role in raising Isaac but Abraham, the father, was responsible to God that this was done.

Herein lies the problem today.  Fathers are absent in their children’s lives!  The result of this is devastating.  Consider these troubling statistics from the National Center for Fathering and The Fatherless Generation.

  • 85% of youths in prison come from fatherless homes.
  • 71% of high school dropouts come from fatherless homes.
  • 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes.
  • Nearly 25 million children live without their biological father.
  • 60% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes.

In 2001, former President George W. Bush said this about the crisis of fathers being missing from action.

Of these, five out of six do not see their fathers more than once a week.  And 40 percent of children who live in fatherless households have not seen their father in at least a year.  Some fathers are forced away by circumstances beyond their control, but many times when a couple with children splits up, the father moves away or simply drifts away.  We know that children who grow up with absent fathers can suffer lasting damage.  They are more likely to end up in poverty or drop out of school, become addicted to drugs, have a child out of wedlock, or end up in prison.  Fatherlessness is not the only cause of these things, but our Nation must recognize it is an important factor.  There is a familiar litany, but behind every statistic is a child, and a compassionate society can never forget the large place a father occupies in that child’s life.

In 2008, former President Barack Obama sounded a similar warning.

If we are honest with ourselves, we’ll admit that too many fathers also are missing — missing from too many lives and too many homes.  They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men.  And the foundations of our families are weaker because of it…We know the statistics — that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and twenty times more likely to end up in prison.  They are more likely to have behavioral problems or run way from home or become teenage parents themselves.  And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it…We need fathers to realize that responsibility does not end at conception.  We need them to realize that what makes you a man is not the ability to have child — it’s the courage to raise one.

The key to surviving in today’s anti-Christian, postmodern culture is to have strong families and fathers must step up to plate.  The enemy knows that he cannot win if the family is strong.  This is why he has waged war on the family.  This isn’t new but it has intensified beyond description over the past 75+ years.  In his book, We Will Not Be Silenced, Erwin Lutzer explains how the family is and has been under attack.  He outlines how Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, launched a newspaper, The Woman Rebel, in 1914.  Her motto in doing so was “No Gods, No Masters.”

Her cry for “reproductive freedom” would lead to the demise of the biblically ordained home.  Lutzer wrote,

The home would no longer consist of a father, a mother and children.  Liberation meant equality of roles, equality of income, and equality of sexual freedom.  The biblical roles of marriage and faith in God were deemed obsolete and harmful…Children without family roots can be more easily directed toward secular values and state benefits.

This attack on the home, especially the lessening of the role of fathers, is also seen in organizations today.  The “organization”, Black Lives Matter, posted on its website,

We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and ‘villages’ that collectively care for one another…We foster a queer-affirming network.

The “Western-prescribed nuclear family structure” is really the God-ordained and designed home.  In order to build strong families, fathers must not only be present but must also be the driving force in raising their children.  Lutzer explains how parents (particularly fathers) are held accountable by God for the education of their children.

When living in Babylon, there will be a cost to living authentic lives of holiness.  We no longer have any support from society.  We are, in many ways, facing the same thing that Israel faced when they were taken away into captivity.  Lutzer explains that when in Babylon, God is still there and wants fathers to be fully engaged in their children’s education.

God basically said to fathers, “I’m going to entrust large families to you, and My presence will be with you in your homes.  You no longer have a temple and sacrifices, but I will be among you.  And if you adhere to me and seek my face, I’ll give you the wisdom that you need to rear your children for the glory of God.

Three of the saddest passages in the Bible explain how the next generation suffers when fathers are not fulfilling there God-given responsibilities in the home.  Every time I read these I become frightened about my failures as a father.

And your sons shall be shepherds in the wilderness for forty years, and bear the brunt of your infidelity.  Numbers 14:33 (NKJV)

And may not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation that did not set its heart aright, and whose spirit was not faithful to God.  Psalm 78:9 (NKJV)

And the Lord said, “Because they have forsaken My law which I set before them, and have not obeyed My voice, nor walked according to it, but have walked according to the dictates of their own hearts and after the Baals, which their father taught them.  Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “Behold, I will feed them, this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink.”  Jeremiah 9:13-15 (NKJV)

What are we, as fathers, teaching our children by our words and actions?  How involved are we in their education wherever it takes place — at home, church or school?  I leave you with a quote by a dad,

 

The key to understanding that our children don’t belong to us — they belong to God.  Our goal as [fathers] must not be limited by our own vision.  I am a finite, sinful, selfish man.  Why would I want to plan out my children’s future when I can entrust them to the infinite, omnipotent, immutable, sovereign Lord of the universe?  I don’t want to tell God what to do with my children — I want Him to tell me!  Voddie Baucham

Setting Priorities While In Babylon

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Today’s Homes Are Falling

It is one thing to watch society become more and more secular.  However, it is something else to try and  keep up with how conditions are worsening by the minute.  I have even thought that I may need to do a blog daily instead of weekly in an effort to try and stay current.  How can we survive here in Babylon?

I have been reading through the book of Judges and Jeremiah.  When God’s people do not live according to His ordinances and commandments, He always disciplines them as a loving father does his earthly children.  The amount of time that Israel was under siege depended on how long it took them to repent of their sin and cry out to God for mercy.

Unfortunately, as soon as God would deliver them, it didn’t take long for them to go back to worshiping false gods.  Finally, God allowed the king of Babylon to actually take the children of Israel into captivity.  God used this captivity to get the people to understand what His priorities were.  Speaking through the prophet, Jeremiah, God explains what He wanted the people to do.

Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all who were carried away captive, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem to Babylon: build houses and dwell in them; plant gardens and eat their fruit. Take wives and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, so that they may bear sons and daughters—that you may be increased there, and not diminished.  Jeremiah 29:4-5 (NKJV)

God told the people that they needed to get back to the basics.  And it starts with the family.  I am convinced that this is what must  take place in today’s church.  We must get back to building strong families.  In his book, God at Work, Dr. Gene Veith explains how important the family is to God.  He writes,

God could have decided to populate the earth by creating each new person from the dust, as He did Adam.  Instead, He chose to create new life through the vocation of husbands and wives, fathers and mothers.

Veith understood the importance of  the family in God’s kingdom.  He explains that when God told Adam to “be fruitful and multiply”,

 

He ordained the familyevery Christian–indeed, every human being–has been called by God into a familyThe family is the most basic of all vocations, the one in which God’s creative power and His providential care are most dramatically conveyed through human beings…The family is the basic unit of every culture and is the basis for every other human authority.

The family must be a priority for every believer–especially when living in Babylon.  Why is the family so important to God and His kingdom?  Sir Edmund Spenser wrote,

 

…in the conception of a child, an immortal soul comes into existence, a potential citizen of heaven.  It is the parents’ job, or rather vocation, to “train up a child in the way he should go” (Proverbs 22:6) and to teach him or her the Word of God            (Deuteronomy 4:9; 6:7)

Veith went on to explain why Christians must get back to emphasizing the importance of the home when he wrote,

The family is the arena for some of the most important spiritual work.  A father and a mother are “priests” to their children, not only taking care of their physical needs, but nourishing them in the faith…The spiritual well-being of the child is to be nurtured not just in church but in the family, which indeed has the primary responsibility…everyone has a parent.

I found it very convicting to read how Veith saw parenting as a “vocation.”  It is the very first “vocation” that one can be called to by God.  In fact, Veith points out a very important truth with this challenge.

The family is the foundational vocation.  Other earthly authorities grow out of the authority exercised in the family.

Since the family was God’s first ordained institution, the enemy knows that if he can destroy the home, he will capture future generations and cause them to follow him.  This is why the nuclear family is under such strong attack.

Martin Luther was very concerned how parents often don’t understand their God-given calling to raise their children biblically.  He said,

Everyone acts as if God gave us children for our pleasure and amusement, as if it were no concern of ours what they learn or how they live.

When the nation of Israel found themselves in Babylon, God told them to keep fulfilling His first command that He gave to Adam and Eve–be fruitful and multiply.  God wanted His people to increase even though they were in captivity.  I am convinced that He told them this because He wanted a remnant that knew Him, loved Him and would serve Him when He would bring them back to Jerusalem.

We need parents who will make their homes their top priority.  It is even more critical that this happens in today’s pagan, anti-Chrisitan culture.  Parents must teach their children truth and prepare them for the world in which God wants them to live and advance His kingdom.  I will be addressing this in greater detail in future posts.

Dr. Erwin Lutzer, in his book The Church in Babylon, challenges Christians to remain faithful to God and His Word when living in Babylon.

Like Israel in Babylon, our challenge is to impact the culture without being spiritually destroyed by it…Our task is to be faithful even if we can’t restore the erosion of the Judeo-Christian consensus.

For this to happen, there must be strong, biblically-based families/homes.  The church and the school must join forces with the home and become intentional in discipling the next generation.  Again, I share with you Lutzer’s advice.

Only strong families can weather the cultural storms of Babylon…The father led his family in the Passover rituals, fathers were charged with teaching children the Word of God.  And God knew that with strong fathers, grounded in the Word of God, these families would survive paganism…with strong families, God would have future seed…

The bottom line to surviving while in Babylon is that we must get back to what God sees as of utmost importance.  There is no question about it.  God’s Word makes it clear.  The family has to step up to the plate and become what God first ordained it to be.

Finally, we can’t wait.  We must take action TODAY!  We must understand that the “road marked TOMORROW only leads to the city called NEVER!”  Veith stresses the need to act immediately, without delay.

 

Christians need to realize that the present is the moment in which we are called to be faithful.  We can do nothing about the past.  The future is wholly in God’s hand.  Now is what we have.

Living For Christ Here & Now!

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It is difficult living in captivity to a secular, anti-Christian culture.  Anytime you speak truth you can expect to be criticized, mocked and marginalized.  This past week Snopes published an article titled, Why Creationism Bears All the Hallmarks of a Conspiracy Theory.  Even though the Snopes’ website said that it has not actually done any work to “fact check” the article, they were publishing it because they thought it would be something of interest to its readers.

The article states that young earth creationism can’t be ignored because it is dangerously opposed to science.  The article goes on to warn readers that if you visit websites that promote the biblical account of creation, you will find that their creationism is completely hostile to science, while paradoxically claiming to be scientific.

There is even an attempt to compare creationism to the QAnon and the stolen election conspiracy theories that led to the January 6th riots at the U.S. Capitol building.  The article is another example how the anti-Christian culture of today wants to “cancel” anything that even remotely hints of the truth of God and His Word.

We have to know how to live in Babylon and stay true to biblical Christianity.  Here are a couple of truths that we must fully grasp in order to remain faithful and steadfast.

Why are we in Babylon?

Whenever God’s people have been taken captive, either literally or figuratively, they have a tendency to blame the world for their problems.  It is easy to cast blame on today’s anti-Christian culture for the mess that we find ourselves in.  The Israelites saw the problem as the Babylonian empire.  If only they could defeat this wicked empire, everything could be brought back to normalcy.

We face the same danger today.  We can blame the moral decadence of the culture today for all of our  problems.  In reality, God’s people are taken into captivity because of their own behavior; not that of society in general.  Erwin Lutzer addresses this problem in his book, The Church in Babylon, when he writes,

The Church did not lose its position of privilege simply because of evil enemies of the faith.  We lost our position as part of God’s judgement on our pride, our hypocrisy, our love of power, our prejudice,  our bigotry and failure to hold onto the truth.  This is the way in which God gets people’s attention.

We are not living in Babylon because of the wickedness of the lost world.  We are here because of our sin and unwillingness to repent of it.

God has you and me where He wants us!

I must confess that there are times when I want to pack my bags and move to some remote island.  I just want to get out of this mess.  Other times I long for another time when my faith wasn’t constantly attacked and I could live my life in comfort.  Of course, I quickly realize that there is no utopian place where I can escape the fallen world in which we live.

There is a verse that has been quoted by quite a few people in recent months.  It is something that Paul wrote in one of his letters to the church in Corinth.  When this verse is referred to, it is usually done so in the context of the race issues of today.

He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth…  Acts 17:26 (NKJV)

This is a powerful verse that makes it clear that there is only one race of people — the human race.  However, the rest of the verse is too often overlooked.  The entire verse reads,

He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings.  Acts 17:26 (NKJV)

I am living in this country at this time because the eternal, omniscient God has predetermined this is when and where I am to live and fulfill His will for my life.  You and I are to advance God’s kingdom right here and right now.

What does God expect of me today?

God expects from me what He has always expected from His people.  Consider what Paul went on to tell the Corinthian Christians.

…they should seek the Lord…and find Him…for in Him we live and move and have our being.  1 Corinthians 17:27-28 (NKJV)

God wants you and me to be His disciples right here and right now.  However, this is where the rubber hits the road.  Being a disciple of Jesus Christ is not an easy path to take; especially in today’s hostile environment.

 

The most common passage of Scripture referred to about what it takes to be a true disciple is found in the gospel of Luke.  Jesus clearly states what is required of each of us.

Then He said to them all, “if anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow Me.  Luke 9:23 (NKJV)

Most Christians are very familiar with this verse.  However, at the same time, very few believers want to obey it.  God expects me to die to self every single day that I am alive.  This is especially challenging to do when living in a hostile, anti-Christian society.  When I am under constant attack, I want to defend myself and get even.  Instead of reacting in this manner, God expects me to die to myself.

Then, I must take up my cross each day as I follow Him.  It is noteworthy to understand that the cross I am to bear is not something that is placed on me.  I have to voluntarily pick it up and carry it.  Facing ridicule and persecution from a lost world is not the cross that I am to bear.  That is something that the world wants to put on me.

I am convinced that the cross that God wants us to bear in today’s world is standing up and boldly declaring truth to everyone around us—especially to the next generation.  In the introduction of the current issue of The Voice of the Martyrs magazine, Cole Richards writes,

…most [crosses] are optional situations in which we must choose to pay a price out of obedience to Christ.

Cole goes on to explain how the crosses that Paul bore were not those of being in prison and beaten regularly.  No, they were crosses,

…that he chose to bear many that he could have easily avoided by choosing not to boldly proclaim Christ…Most persecuted Christians can avoid suffering for Christ by simply deciding to stop bearing witness to His truth.  They face a daily temptation to avoid suffering through silence and inactivity.

Concluding thoughts

It is difficult living in Babylon.  But, we are not alone because God has promised never to leave us or forsake us.  Not only is it important that we deny ourselves and daily pick up the cross but that we become more intentional to train the next generation and prepare them for life here in Babylon.  I close with a challenge that Richards gave in his editorial.

 

As biblical disciples, we are called to deliberately and repeatedly leave the security and comfort we are tempted to design for ourselves in order to embrace the cost of bearing witness to Christ to the lost around us…The truth of Christ is incompatible with corporate America’s social agenda and so-called inclusive messaging.  All of us—especially the young generation of Christians preparing to enter the workforce—need to prepare for the increasing cost of discipleship here in the U.S.

It is no time for Christians to try and avoid suffering through silence and inactivity.  We need to deliberately and boldly declare the truth of God’s Word to a lost and dying world.

Living in Babylon

By | Public Blog, Uncategorized

Several years ago I was at an event and heard Josh McDowell describe what has happened in our culture over the years.  He said that in the early days of our country there was a Judeo-Christian culture.  This was marked by the culture actually supporting the beliefs and values of Christianity.  Unfortunately, we drifted into a post-Christian culture.  McDowell explained that this type of culture was one that merely tolerated Christianity.  Then, he said we are now living in an anti-Christian culture.  An anti-Christian culture is marked by society attacking every belief and value of the Christian faith.

This became very evident to me this past week.  There wasn’t a day go by when I didn’t read an article of how Christianity was under full assault by a totally secularized culture.  Let me share a couple of examples of what came across my desk in just the last few days.

Did you know that if you teach your children a view of history from a biblical perspective that you are giving your children a skewed view of history and a sense that the country is experiencing an urgent moral decline?  In fact, if your children are studying history from textbooks written in the context of a biblical worldview they are being taught with overtones of nativism, militarism and racism?

This is what was presented in an article published by the Huffington Post.  The article tried to attach biblical worldview textbooks to a political ideology.  The title and subtitle of the article made this clear.  They read,

These Textbooks In Thousands of K-12 Schools Echo Trump’s Talking Points.

Their religion-centered, anti-Democrat, anti-science, anti-multicultural message mirrors the Christian nationalism seen at the U.S. Capitol riot.

As I read the article, it was apparent that if you try to look at life through a biblical worldview and not a secular one, you are a danger to society and democracy.  Of course, that means that if I teach students from a biblical worldview and use textbooks written from that perspective, I am an even a greater danger to society because I could possibly be influencing the next generation to become, what the article referred to as, Christian nationalists.  The article inferred that teaching from textbooks written from a biblical worldview leads to the anti-science culture, anti-elite, the identification of Christianity with the military culture.

After reading this article, I was bombarded by reports of what happened when Christians stood for biblical truth and opposed the President’s recent executive orders related to transgenderism.  Two professors at Christian universities were banned from a social media site because they disagreed with the President’s policy on transgenders in the military.  The reason given for such a ban was that their posts violated the site’s Community Standards on violence and incitement.

Then came an article about what happened to a lecturer at another Christian university when she stood on biblical truth when it comes to moral values.  This instructor publicly asked the question, what about parents who don’t want a biological male in their biological daughter’s restrooms?  Such a question was reason for students at the university to report this instructor to various “equity” and “diversity” departments at the university.  The article quoted one of the students who made these reports as being upset because it eliminates another professor as one of our allies, because we have been searching for potential allies and professors for the past 10 years.  

These are just a few examples of articles that I came across over a period of a few days.  There is no doubt about it; we are living in Babylon.  We may not be in bondage geographically but we are in spiritual and moral bondage to a secular, pagan culture.  If you publicly take a stand for God, His Word and absolute moral values, you will be attacked.  If you stand against such ideologies as CRT, you may be called a racist, white supremacist, etc.  If you believe that God created man in His image and He did so as either male or female, you are homophobic and/or transphobic.

Living in Babylon means that we are living in a culture where the only public discourse allowed is that which goes along with the religion of secular humanism.  This becomes even a greater problem when you consider how the secular culture has taken over the meaning of words.  Words such as unity, diversity, science, and equity must be defined according to secular thought.  If anyone dares define them in accordance to God’s Word, he/she is anti-science, a bigot, ignorant, offensive, and/or counterfactual.  The goal is to shame that person to such a degree that it will silence him/her.

This is the same strategy that the late, postmodern professor, Dr. Richard Rorty, suggested when he addressed a group of university professors.

Secular professors in the universities ought to arrange things so that students who enter as bigoted, homophobic religious fundamentalists will leave college with views more like our own.  Students are fortunate to find themselves under…people like me, and to have escaped the grip of their frightening, vicious, dangerous parents.  We are going to go right on trying to discredit you [parents] in the eyes of your children, trying to strip your fundamentalist religious community of dignity, trying to make your views seem silly rather than discussable.

This shouldn’t surprise any of us.  In the early 1900s, Italian socialist, Antonio Gramsci, wrote,

Socialism is precisely the religion that must overwhelm Christianity.  Socialism will triumph by first capturing the culture via infiltration of schools, universities, churches and the media by transforming the consciousness of society.

The question confronting Christians today is not how to get out of Babylon but how does God want us to live while we are here?  Erwin Lutzer in his book, The Church in Babylon, rightly states that there are three options for how Christians can choose to live in a pagan, anti-Christian culture.  They are:

  • assimilate with the secular culture
  • isolate from the secular culture
  • engage the secular culture
The reality is that it is impossible to isolate ourselves from today’s secular culture.  It is all around us and escape is not possible.  This means that Christians will either assimilate into the culture or engage it.  Lutzer explained what happened when Israel was taken captive by the Babylonian king.  Most of the Jews just drifted with the cultural flow, not making waves but living lives that were indistinguishable from the people around them.  

Unfortunately, today’s church seems to be following the example of these Jews.  Lutzer goes on to explain why this is so common when he wrote,

Spiritual assimilation is always the path of least resistance; it is the most natural and cowardly way to life. It allows the culture to exploit our natural tendency to get all the world has to offer with only a nod in the direction of the God we say we love.

God wants us to engage the secular culture in which we find ourselves.  However, it is evident that, by doing this, we will face persecution.  Jeremiah was a prophet who obeyed God and engaged the culture of his day.  When engaging the culture, he started by doing so with God’s people.  Jeremiah poured his heart out to the Israelites.  He spoke only what God told him to say.  What was the result?  Again, Lutzer explains what was Jeremiah’s reward for his faithfulness.

He was rewarded with slander, mockery, and condemnation by false prophets.

Just like today, secular leaders tried to shame Jeremiah into silence.  Of course, we know that Jeremiah didn’t bend under the pressure, and neither can we.  Over the next couple of weeks I want to share with you some things that God has been laying on my heart as to what He wants from His children today as we find ourselves in Babylon.

Three Absolute Necessities

By | Public Blog

Secularism

There is no doubt about it.  The United States is a secular country.  Even though the founding of this country was grounded on biblical principles, we have drifted far from them.

Secular humanism is firmly entrenched as our society’s religion.  This religion declares that man is autonomous.  Of course, whenever a society becomes completely secularized, it also must become anti-Christian.  This is because Christianity stands opposed to the very concept of man being autonomous.  Christianity makes man accountable to his Creator and that is forbidden according to the beliefs and values of secular humanism.

In its effort to be “religiously neutral”, a secular society stands opposed to any recognition of one true God; especially the name of Jesus Christ.  This was very evident in two recent prayers offered at government proceedings.  The prayer given to open the 117th Congress concluded with these words,

We ask it in the name of the monotheistic god, Brahma, and god known by many names by many different faiths. Amen and awoman.

The second prayer was given at the recent Presidential Inauguration.  This prayer closed with these words.

In the strong name of our collective faith, Amen.

Last week I shared that, unless there is a supernatural revival in the land, Christianity will come under ever-increasing attacks.  To stand for Jesus Christ publicly will bring greater and greater persecution.

The new administration has already made policy decisions that have expanded government funding of abortion and advanced the LGBTQ agenda.  If the Equality Act becomes law, as promised by this administration, it will become illegal for an organization, including Christian organizations, to discriminate when hiring individuals based on one’s sexual orientation.

In my last post, I shared that in order to survive and thrive in a secular, anti-Christian culture, every Christian must be intentional in growing in his/her knowledge of two things—God and Truth!

We must develop a strong, personal, and intimate relationship with the God of the universe.  It is not enough to know God by His love, mercy and forgiveness.  We must also know Him as One who is holy, righteous and just.  When we truly know God, we will fear Him and this, in turn, will result in us trusting Him.  In the days to come, we will not survive if we don’t put our total trust in God.

We must also grow in our knowledge of truth.  If we don’t know truth, we will very easily be taken captive by the false ideas and worldviews that today’s secular culture constantly bombards us with.  As we strive to know truth, it is important to remember that truth is a person—Jesus Christ (John 14:6).

In order to grow in our knowledge of God and truth, there are three things that I believe we must do.  These actions must be intentional and continual.  They are not optional; especially when it comes to how we educate future generations.

These actions were foundational in the life of Ezra.  Ezra lived in a day that is very similar to the one we find ourselves in today.  God’s people were in captivity to a pagan culture.  However, Ezra was able to fulfill God’s will for his life in a miraculous way.

This priest was part of the remnant that went back to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple.  Of course, when they tried to do this, they faced fierce opposition from the pagan culture that was all around them.  The opposition was able to stop the work of rebuilding God’s temple.

Then something amazing happened.  Ezra went up from Babylon to join the effort to rebuild the temple of God.  Here is where you find something that seemed impossible taking place.  Not only was Ezra allowed to go to Jerusalem but the pagan king of Babylon gave Ezra everything that he requested for the journey.  The Bible records that the reason this happened was because God’s hand was upon him (Ezra).

If there was ever a time when God’s people need God’s hand upon them, it is now.  This didn’t happen because Ezra was a special superhero or that he simply prayed and asked for God’s hand to be on him.  No, there were three things that were part of Ezra’s life that brought God’s blessing on all he did.

On the first day of the first month he began his journey from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him.  For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach statues and ordinances in Israel.  Ezra 7:9-10 (NKJV)

Ezra was a man much like Daniel.  Ezra had prepared his heart to do certain things.  Daniel had purposed in his heart not to do certain things.  They both were men of conviction.  This is exactly what is needed in the church today—men and women who prepare and purpose in their hearts to do three things.

Action #1:  We must study God’s Word!

The only way to know God and truth is to study God’s Word.  This is because God reveals Himself through the pages of Holy Scripture.  Studying God’s Word is different from merely reading it from time to time.  The original meaning of the word, study, carries with it the connotation of following or pursuing something.  It means that one is seeking something and, therefore, searches for it.  Today, God’s people need to pursue His Word and search for truth like never before in our country’s history.

I can remember the challenges I had trying to discern truth during my doctoral studies at the University of Virginia.  So many times, the professor and/or the textbook presented material that seemed right—but was it true?  In order to know truth, I had to search the Scriptures.  It was difficult but necessary.  Without a conviction to know truth as found in the Bible, I would have been susceptible to being taken captive by false beliefs (Colossians 2:8)

Parents, church leaders, and school educators must prepare their hearts to pursue God’s Word every day.  It isn’t an option as the future of our children and grandchildren hangs in the balance.

Action #2:  We must obey God’s Word!

It is one thing to study God’s Word; it is something else all together to obey it.  Just knowing truth is not sufficient to surviving the challenges before us today.  We must “do” the Word!

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving ourselves.  For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.  But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.  James 1:22-25 (NKJV)

Unfortunately, we have a lot of hearers of the Word and few doers in our homes, churches and schools today.  I am convinced that if the majority of those who claim to be Christians “did” the truth they knew, they would turn the world upside down.

We go to church, say amen to the sermon and then go out and live life as if we never heard a word that was preached.  We have become like the person who defines a good sermon as one that goes over his shoulder and hits his neighbor.  Studying God’s Word will have little impact on the culture if we don’t put it into practice.

Action #3:  We must teach God’s Word!

This is where the rubber hits the road.  It is this action where Christians have failed miserably over the past several decades.  The home, church and school must be united in teaching God’s Word to the next generation.

This will require the church to teach and train parents about their God-given responsibility to biblically educate their children.  Christian schools must also help train parents in this all-important task.  Then, the home, church and school must unite to teach God’s Word to future generations.

Over the past several decades we have turned our children over to the State to educate them.  Since the State is secular, it has indoctrinated several generations of young people in its religion of secular humanism.  The result is they have become what they have been taught!

God’s hand of favor is no longer on our country and, sad to say, on us as Christians.  The only way to have His favor return to our homes, churches and schools is to follow Ezra’s example.  Kingdom Education Ministries is determined to help this become a reality.  There are a couple of things that I want to encourage you to consider.

  1. Be sure to register your school at this summer’s Kingdom Education Summit.  Registration is now open.  We need Christian school leaders, pastors and other church leaders, and individuals who are committed to providing our children and grandchildren with a biblical education to attend.  Remember that KEM Prime Member schools receive a discount on their registration.
  2. If you are a Christian school administrator, make sure your school is a KEM Prime Member.  If you are a teacher at a Christian school, check and see if your school is a member.  If not, encourage your administrator to consider becoming a member.  By becoming a KEM Prime Member, your staff, board and enrolled families have full access to resources that will equip them with a biblical worldview and philosophy of education.
  3. To join, click here.  Use the discount coupon code, KESDISC21, to receive a $50 discount off the low annual fee.

There is no question that the nations, including my own country, are raging against God.  However, I was reminded that I am serving the Ancient of Days when I listened to these words.  I trust that they will be a blessing to you.  You can watch by clicking here.

Ancient of Days

Words and Music by Jonny Robinson, Rich Thompson, Michael Farren & Jesse Reeves © 2018 CityAlight Music

Verse 1

Though the nations rage Kingdoms rise and fall; There is still one king; Reigning over all; So I will not fear; For this truth remains; That my God is, the Ancient of Days

Chorus

None above him, none before him; All of time in His hands; For His throne it shall remain and ever stand; All the power all the glory; I will trust in His name; For my God is, the Ancient of Days

Verse 2

Though the dread of night; Overwhelms my soul; He is here with me; I am not alone; O his love is sure; And He knows my name; For my God is, the Ancient of Days

Verse 3

Though I may not see; What the future brings; I will watch and wait; For the Saviour king; Then my joy complete; Standing face to face; In the presence of the Ancient of Days

Chorus

None above him, none before him; All of time in His hands; For His throne it shall remain and ever stand; All the power all the glory; I will trust in His name; For my God is, the Ancient of Days

Facing The Future

By | Public Blog, Uncategorized

Last week I shared my concerns about the consequences we are experiencing because we have become a people who has forgotten God.  Since posting the blog, I have been asking myself several questions about what the future might hold if we continue in the downward spiral that will lead us further into moral bankruptcy.

I have been wrestling with several things that may be just around the corner.

  1. What will my response be if our religious liberties continue to be taken away?
  2. What will I do when speaking truth about God’s moral absolutes will be illegal under the guise of social justice and/or critical race theory?
  3. What will happen when the Equality Act passes and Christian organizations are not allowed to discriminate in their hiring practices based on sexual orientation?
  4. What will be the results when school choice efforts are done away with?
  5. What will Christian schools do if they are denied accreditation due to their stand on biblical lifestyle morality?
  6. What consequences will we face if God’s design for the family is attacked with greater intensity by groups, like BLM, whose mission is to destroy the nuclear family?
  7. What will I do and how will church leaders react when the government says that church is not essential and it is unlawful to meet for worship services?
  8. Are we ready for the persecution that appears to be on the horizon?

These possibilities have been racing through my mind ever since posting last week’s post.  Please know that I am not discouraged even though I am concerned.  In fact, I find myself even more committed to what God has called me to be and do.  I believe that there are two things that every Christian must know in order to face the future with confidence and boldness.  Once we deepen our knowledge of these two things, we must also do three things.  First, let’s look at what we must know in preparing for the future.

#1 — We Must Know God!

I am convinced that all of the problems that we are facing in our homes, churches and communities are because there is a lack of the knowledge of God on the part of God’s people.  God wants to be known and this has and continues to be His motivation in everything He does.  For example:

  • God created this world so that He would be known
  • Man was created in God’s image so that he can know Him
  • God performed miracles throughout the Bible so that the world would know that there is a God
  • Redemption brings eternal life which Jesus defined as regaining the ability to know God (John 17:3)

The bottom line is God wants to be known by the people He has created.  God charged Israel through the prophet Hosea with these sins.

Hear the word of the Lord, you children of Israel, for the Lord brings a charge against the inhabitants of the land: “There is no truth or mercy or knowledge of God in the land. Hosea 4:1 (NKJV)

There was no knowledge of God in the land.  The land that Hosea was referring to was the nation of Israel—God’s people.  When God’s people do not know Him two things always result.

  1. God’s people are destroyed (Hosea 4:6)
  2. God’s people are taken captive (Isaiah 5:13)

When I look at what is happening in the world today, there is no doubt that we are being destroyed and we are quickly being taken captive—especially by false ideas and ideologies.  If you read many of Paul’s letters to the churches, you will find that one of his most common prayers for these Christians was that they would “grow in the knowledge of God.”  G.K. Chesterton once said that if there is no God, everything is right.

Knowing God is of utmost importance to Him.  In fact, God said, For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings (Hosea 6:6, NKJV).  It is important that we understand the difference between knowing about God and knowing God.  There must be an intimate, personal relationship with God in order to truly know Him.

J.I. Packer wrote,

Once you become aware that the main business you are here for is to know God, most of life’s problems fall into place of their own accord.

Jonathan Edwards also understood the necessity of growing in our knowledge of God when he said,

Of all the knowledge that we can ever obtain, the knowledge of God, and the knowledge of ourselves are the most important…He who does not know Him, knows nothing else as it truly is.

#2 — We Must Know Truth!

This past week, I read Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s essay, Live Not By Lies.  He penned this work on the very day he was arrested, which led to his exile to Germany the next day.  I also read Rod Dreher’s book by the same title.  In both these works, I was amazed that people would believe lies that were absolutely absurd which led to their captivity by totalitarian governments.

I found myself saying that I would never believe that 2+2=5 because it isn’t true.  But then I wondered if, by remaining silent, I am fostering an equally absurd lie that says that there are many more gender options than the two that God created?  We are living in a world that is saturated with lies and a great number of people, including many Christians, are living as if they are true.  Time and space don’t allow me to begin to list the lies that have taken so many of us captive.

There is only one way for any one to follow Solzhenitsyn’s advice and live not by lies.  That way is to do just the opposite and live by truth.  However, to do so, one must know truth.  So, the question we must be able to answer is what is truth?

To answer this question, I want you to consider a fundamental math fact.  If A=B and A=C and C=D, then A=B=C=D—they must all be equal to each other.  Let’s take this principle and apply it to what God’s Word says about truth.

  • Jesus said, I am the truth (A=B)
  • Jesus also said that He was the Word (A=C)
  • In John, we find that the Word is God (C=D)
  • Therefore, Jesus = truth = the Word = God
We can only know truth when we know the Word.  Jesus made a remarkable statement about truth that was recorded by John.

Then Jesus said to this Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.  And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”  John 8:31-32 (NKJV)

Here is the key to not living by lies.  We must abide in God’s Word and, by doing so, we will be free.  I have been challenged recently by a deeper look into these two verses.  Jesus told some new Jewish believers that they would become His disciples if they abided in His Word.  He went on to state that His disciples would know truth and, therefore be set free.  Just being a believer wouldn’t guarantee freedom from lies.  Only His disciples would experience this because a disciple was one who abided in the Word.

To abide means to dwell or take up residence.  I could come and visit you in your home but I wouldn’t know the truth about your home by just visiting it once in a while.  However, if I came and took up residence or dwelt in your home, then I would know what your home was really like.  To know truth and live in freedom requires a Christian to take up residence each and every day in God’s Word.  I read this quote yesterday.

So many people open a Bible and they are being taught to listen for the voice of God to hear what God is saying to them through their Bible.  I will tell you what He is saying to you.  “Put your head down, look at the words and read them.”  That’s what He is saying!  John MacArthur

For almost 40 years, I have tried to read through the Bible each year.  In addition to this, I have to study the Word in preparation for ministry opportunities that come my way.  What has amazed me as I studied the Word in 2020 was that I found myself underlining more passages and making notes than I had in recent years.  The more I abide” in His Word, the more truth He reveals to me and the freer I become no matter what I am facing in the world.

Here are some questions you and I must answer as we get ready to face an uncertain and possibly dangerous future.

  1. How well do we know God?
  2. Do we just see Him as a God of love, mercy and forgiveness? Or do we also know Him as the God who is holy, just and righteous?
  3. Do we know God as a supernatural Being who is distant and detached from every day life?  Or do we sense His presence and His guidance no matter what we face each day we are here on earth?
  4. Are there lies about gender, marriage, family, race, justice, etc. that have taken us captive?
  5. Do we know the truth about each of these issues and any other ones that the world throws at us?
  6. Are we visitors  or dwellers in God’s Word?
  7. What truth has God revealed to you and me recently as we abided in His Word?

If we are going to face the future with courage and conviction we must know these two things—God and Truth!  Next week I want to share with you some things we must do as we move into the future.

Here is a song that I came across this week as I prepared this post.  I hope the words will bring you hope, joy and peace.  You can click here to listen to it live.

Only A Holy God  CityAlight

Verse 1:  Who else commands all the hosts of heaven; Who else could makeover king bow down; Who else can whisper and darkness trembles; Only a Holy God

Verse 2:  What other beauty demands such praises; What other splendor outshines the sun; What other majesty rules with justice; Only a Holy God

Chorus: Come and behold Him, the One and the Only, Cry out, sing holy, Forever a Holy God, Come and worship the Holy God

Verse 3:  What other glory consumes like fire; What other power can raise the dead; What other name remains undefeated; Only a Holy God

Verse 4:  Who else could rescue me from my failing; Who else would offer His only Son; Who else invites me to call Him Father; Only a Holy God, Only my Holy God

Chorus:  Come and behold Him, The One and the Only, Cry out, sing holy, Forever a Holy God, Come and worship the Holy God

The Saddest Day In American History?

By | Public Blog

I think a lot of people were hoping that once 2020 ended and a new year began, life would be better.  However, having witnessed what has happened in the country in just the first week of 2021, I believe we are in for some very difficult days.  A lot of attention has been given to the events that took place in the nation’s capital this past Wednesday.

I have to admit that I did not watch or listen to the coverage of the march that took place in Washington DC, the joint session of Congress or the “news” coverage of the violent entering of the Capitol Building by a group of rioters.  I have stopped watching/listening to the “news” for some time now as reporting the news has ceased to take place and has been replaced by the spouting of one’s ideology/worldview.

When a group of rioters broke into the Capitol Building, my Twitter feed exploded.  Most of the people I follow on Twitter are Christian leaders.  There was a common theme that most of these leaders tweeted.  They all were referring to what was unfolding in Washington, DC as the saddest day in American history.

This phrase has captivated my attention ever since then.  Was Wednesday, January 6, 2021 really the saddest day in the history of our country?  Should we be shocked at what has been taking place before our very eyes over the past few years that seemed to come to a climax on that day?  Are we troubled over the censoring of free speech that has escalated since Wednesday?

As I contemplated all that was swirling around me, God reminded me of the very first creation ordinance He established by which He would govern and sustain His creation.  This creation ordinance was established whenever He created a new form of life.  This ordinance is found in these words, according to its kind.  God set in motion the principle that one harvests what one plants!

Plants reproduce only have their own kind, as do birds, fish and animals.  Of course, humans also have to obey this creation ordinance and will only reproduce other men and women.  This life principle doesn’t only apply to reproduction but also to all of life.  That is why Paul wrote,

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.  For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.  Galatians 6:7-8 (NKJV)

What we have recently witnessed and continue to watch unfold before our eyes is simply the harvest of what we have sown over the years.  As I thought of this, Erwin Lutzer’s book, When a Nation Forgets God, came to my mind.  Lutzer wrote this book warning us about what happened in Germany that led to the rise of Hitler and terrible worldwide devastation.

There is no doubt about it, our country has forgotten God.  He has been removed from public discourse and there has been a slow but constant purging of any reference to Christianity in our legislative and judicial systems.

 

Today the rule of law really doesn’t exist.  This is because there is no longer a belief in absolute moral values.  Truth is relative and the Bible is no longer the foundation our legal system.  Legislators act and judges and justices make rulings based primarily on their individual beliefs and values.  This is a far cry from what Alexis de Tocqueville saw when he visited America in 1831 to see why we were so prosperous.  He observed,

In America, religion is the road to knowledge and the observance of divine law leads man to civil freedom.

By forgetting God in our country, we have become a completely secular society.  The reality that has resulted is that even the Constitution is open to individual interpretation because its foundation, which was taken from the Scriptures, has been destroyed.  We are a nation where everyone does what is right in his/her own eyes.  In 1798, John Adams predicted that if the nation forgot God, the government that the founders had established would lose all of its power.

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

When contemplating this reality, I question whether January 6, 2021 was the saddest day in American history.  Even though no one can put a specific date down, the saddest day in our history may be the day when the nation forgot God.

Even though the consequences that we are reaping because the country has forgotten God are frightening, these terrible results pale in comparison to what we are reaping because the church has forgotten God.  In past blogs I have shared the statistics that show today’s Christians are the most biblically illiterate generation in modern day church history.

Os Guinness, in his book Fit Bodies, Fat Minds, gives this chilling description of today’s North American church.

We are a people with a true, sometimes a deep, experience of God.  But we are no longer people of truth.

Guinness was stating what Blamires already realized when he wrote The Christian Mind in 1963.

The mind of modern man has been secularized..the Christian mind has succumbed to the secular drift with a degree of weakness and nervelessness unmatched in Christian history…There is no longer a Christian mind.

Guinness went on to explain what happened when the Christian mind disappeared in today’s church.

Failing to think Christianly, evangelicals have been forced into the role of cultural imitators and adapters rather than originators.

Maybe this is why, throughout 2020, I heard more from church leaders about Critical Race Theory than I did about how God created one race in His image and the real problem is man’s sinful heart with the answer being the Gospel and not what the world is putting out in its theories and philosophies.

Today’s church didn’t forget God overnight as explained by Guinness.

From 1700 to the Civil War there was a long, slow retreat from the Christian mind to the creation of a “ghost mind.” A “ghost mind” has few distinctively Christian strengths left.

From the Civil War to the present there has been a long, slow rise of a mass mind and the creation of an “idiot culture.”

Many might disagree with me and say that God has not been forgotten in the church.  But listen to what John Piper observed about us.

Man is the star in our contemporary drama and his comfort, his prosperity and his health are the great goals.  Of course God is there on stage, but only as a kind of co-star or supporting actor to round out the picture for religious and cultural expectations.

I will never forget reading something that Dr. Jimmy Draper sent to all of the employees when I was at LifeWay.  Draper told us that he had read a quote that had haunted him for over 20 years and he could not refute what this person said.  More than 30 years have now passed since Anglican priest David Watson made this profound prediction.

It is widely held that the battle of the century will be between Marxism, Islam, and Third-world Christianity.  Western Christianity is considered too weak and ineffective to contribute anything significant to this universal struggle.

How did the nation and the church forget God?  How did we get to where we are today?  It has been a slow, long and deliberate journey to get us to our current condition.  The vehicle that has brought us here is the secular educational system that has shaped the hearts and minds of the current adult population.  Christian parents and church leaders have voluntarily and, in many ways, enthusiastically placed their children on this bus for several generations and we are now reaping the harvest.

I can well remember sitting and listening to Dr. Christian Smith present his findings from a massive research project he was conducting on religion and North American youth.  One of his statements that still haunts me today is,

The lives and faith of most youth closely reflect the lives, faith, culture and institutional values of the adult world they inhabit. Youth are good barometers, telltale indicators of the larger adult culture.

Smith, then, made this startling statement.  We will get what we are!  The reality is that we have educated several generations of young people to think and, therefore, act from a secular, anti-Christian worldview.  In their book, Already Compromised, Ken Ham and Greg Hall explain it this way.

It is possible to raise kids in church and subsequently turn them over to secular institutions for education without having thought through the potential outcomes of them losing faith in the process…We have turned over generation and generation of young men and women to be fully inculcated with the thoughts, ideas, and precepts that are absolutely contrary to our Christian faith…the Church systematically, seemingly without guilt, turns one generation after another of children over to a pagan, godless, secular education system that turns them from the faith.  We do it in public elementary and high schools and colleges and  universities.  And we pay the enemy to steal their souls.

Frank Gaebelein noted that this was taking place when he wrote Education in a Democracy back in 1945,

The fact is that, as both home and church have lost their grip on American youth, the people of this country have looked to education to fill the gap…With a confidence that would be touching were it not based on evasion of responsibility, [parents] have turned their youth—body, mind and spirit—over to the most extensive and highly organized system of education that the world has ever known.

What we witnessed this past Wednesday and for much of 2020 are basically the consequences of the seeds we, as Christians, have planted in the hearts and minds of past generations through secular education.  WE HAVE GOTTEN WHAT WE HAVE BEEN!

Maybe the saddest day in American history is that day when Christians turned the education of their children over to the State.  So, where do we go from here?  What does the future hold for us?  My good friend, Mark Kennedy, made a comment on last week’s blog that I believe answers these questions.  Mark has witnessed similar things that are happing here take place in his country of Canada.

It’s pretty clear that, barring a continent-wide spiritual revival, the last faint vestiges of a biblically-based society will soon disappear. It will, of course, be replaced by a new kind of society – one where our ideas about truth, morality and freedom of speech won’t be tolerated. And so we will join the multitude of believers throughout history whose version of a normal life was (and still is) a constant state of persecution.

Jesus said that those of us who name the name of Christ will suffer persecution.  Are we ready for it?

As I close this blog, I am wondering if the saddest day in American history has yet to take place.  Maybe the saddest day in our history will be every day that believers, starting with me, don’t fall on our knees before a holy, just, and righteous God, confess our sin, repent of our evil ways, throw away our idols and beg Him for forgiveness and mercy.  I am finding it hard to pray and ask God to bless our country but I am praying that God will have mercy on us!

We Must Get This Right In 2021!

By | Public Blog

I have witnessed an attack on the family like I have never thought possible.  This attempt to destroy the family isn’t new but it has accelerated at an unprecedented rate over the past couple of years.  It seems like even the government wants to make the family powerless and nonexistent.

During the month of December I found myself studying the role of the home as it relates to the education of children.  As I studied this topic, I was convicted that the home does not have the position of priority that God desires it to have.  One of the resources I pulled out to study was Dr. Robert L. Dabney’s Discussions published in 1897.  Dr. Dabney was a professor of theology in the Union Theological Seminary in Virginia and a professor of moral philosophy in the University of Texas.  He was an outspoken critic of State sponsored “public” schools.

ln an 1876 letter to W.H. Ruffner, Superintendent of State Schools in Virginia, Dabney got right to the major objection that he had against public schools.

…the principle upon which the State intrudes into the parental obligations and function of educating children is dangerous and agrarian.  It is the teaching of the Bible and of sound political ethics that the education of children belongs to the sphere of the family and its the duty of parents.

He went on to state that,

The parents are the real architects of their children’s destiny, and the State cannot help it.

Dabney was even more forcible in demanding that parents control their children’s education in another letter to Ruffner that same year.  In this letter he wrote,

Since religious education is so essential a part [of education], it is obvious that a wise Providence must have allotted the right and duty of giving it to some other of the independent spheres between which He has distributed the social interests of man.  This duty rests with the parents.  Such is the Protestant doctrine–the Bible doctrine.  Neither State nor Church are to usurp it; but both are to enlighten, encourage and assist the parent in his inalienable task.

I have also been reading a transcript of a sermon my former pastor, Dr. Glenn Weekley, gave back in 2002. In this sermon, Weekley boldly explained,

There are too many people today who believe that the state is responsible for educating their children.  Folks, I don’t know where it came from.  I don’t know where it happened.  I don’t know where it started, but today there are people who say, “now you take my children and you educate my children, and you teach my children.”  We’re losing our children because of that!  Even Christian parents today are abdicating their God-given responsibility to others!

One of the verses Dr. Weekley referred to was Deuteronomy 6:7.  In explaining this verse, he noted,

You teach these diligently to your children.  You teach them.  In other words, it’s my responsibility in the family, our responsibility as parents, to provide our children with a truth apologetic…God said that this whole teaching system starts with you, and it requires you to teach your children.

It is critical that the family be given its rightful place in society in general and in educating future generations specifically.  God designed the family to be the primary place where children will be nurtured and trained.  Once again, consider the words of Dr. Dabney in his discussion on Secularized Education.  He gave three reasons why parents must be responsible and in control of their children’s education.

First, we read in holy writ that God ordained the family by the union of one woman to one man, in one flesh, for life, for the declared end of “seeking a godly seed.”  He also in the fifth Commandment connected the child proximately, not with either presbyter or magistrate, but with parents.

This argument appears again in the very order of  the historical genesis of the family and State, as well as of the visible Church.  The family was first.  Parents at the outset were the only social heads existing.  The right rearing of children by them was in order to the right creation of the other two institutes.

Second, the dispensation of Divine Providence in the course of nature shows where the power and duty of educating are deposited.  That ordering is that the parents decide in what status the child shall begin his adult career.

Third, God has provided for the parents social and moral influences so unique, so extensive, that no other earthly power, or all others together, can substitute them in fashioning the child’s character…Doubtless God has deposited the duty in the safest place.

Today, most people have added the school as an institution along with the home, church and state.  Of course, as Dabney pointed out, God only ordained three institutions–the family, the State and the Church. In many ways we have gotten some things backwards.  One common way of saying this is that we may have put the cart before the horse.

It appears that many people, including a vast majority of Christians, think that if we have the right government and excellent schools, we will develop strong families.  The truth is that strong, biblically based families are needed to produce a godly citizenship and build strong churches.  Dabney saw this back in his day when he wrote,

The competitions of the State and the Church for the educating power have been so engrossing that we have almost forgotten the parent, as the third and the rightful competitor.  And now many look at his [parent] claim almost contemptuously.  Because the civic and ecclesiastical spheres are so much wider and more populous than his [parent], they are prone to regard it as every way inferior.

As I begin another year of ministry, God has convicted me about the need to empower the home.  We must give greater attention to helping parents understand their God-given responsibility when it comes to educating their children.  Then, we must come alongside of them and give them the support needed to accomplish this all-important task.  I will be addressing more about empowering the home over the next couple of weeks.

That is also why we decided last month to expand the KEM Prime Member benefits to include the enrolled families in all  member schools.  Any school that is a KEM Prime Member can now share the school’s generic Username and Password with their families.  This will give parents full access to these valuable training resources.

It was exciting to see so many new schools become members in December.  If your school is not a member, this is a great time to join.  Simply click HERE to begin the process.  Be sure to include the special discount coupon, KESDISC21, and receive a $50 discount off of the already low annual rate.  We need to train as many parents as possible in 2021.

Don’t forget to register for the Kingdom Education Summit this summer.  This event will focus on how we can restore individualsempower the homeengage the church and transform the school through kingdom education.  To find out more information about being a part of this exciting event click HERE.