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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.

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

A Faithful Servant and Dear Friend

By | Public Blog, Uncategorized

It was the summer of 1978.  I was a young administrator at Lynchburg Christian Academy and had the opportunity to attend the International Institute of Christian School Educators in Winona Lake, IN.  It was at this week-long event that I was first introduced to Dr. Paul Kienel.

That year’s Institute was also when three Christian school organizations merged to form the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI).  Two men who had significant influences on my life and ministry were Dr. Roy Lowrie, Jr and Dr. Paul Kienel.  These two men were tasked with leading this new organization.

Little did I know that 10 years later I would be sitting in Dr. Kienel’s office at the ACSI headquarters in LaHabra, California interviewing to become the Southeast Regional Director.  For the next seven years I was privileged to serve the Southeast Region under the leadership of Dr. Kienel.

Dr. Kienel was a servant leader in the truest sense of the term.  He had sacrificed so much as he served as the head of the California Association of Christian Schools.  Then, he expanded the scope of that ministry to form the Western Association of Christian Schools before merging it into ACSI.  He and his faithful wife, Annie, worked out of their home in the early years before additional office staff and facilities were possible.

There were four things that were dear to Dr. Kienel and his life reflected his convictions about each of these.  They were his love for the Lord, His conviction about the truth of God’s Word, the necessity for Christian education and his family.  If you ever spent time with him, you would have heard about each of these important aspects of life.

Paul was a very quiet leader who led by example and served others.  He was soft spoken but was a man of deep convictions.  ACSI’s theme verse was Colossians 1:18 and it served as the driving force behind all it did — especially the last part of this verse.

And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.  Colossians 1:18 (NKJV)

Dr. Kienel always challenged the leadership team of ACSI to make sure that Christ had the preeminence in every thing we did.  He also drilled a statement into our hearts and minds whenever we met as a team to plan for the future.  I can still hear him challenging us to keep the main thing the main thing!

I can vividly remember how Dr. Kienel challenged Christian educators to filter everything through the lens of Scripture.  He would take something that man had written and explain how there were three ways to interpret a man’s writing.  You could use a man’s writing as a lens to interpret the Bible.  Or you could compare the Bible with a man’s book side by side and pick and choose what you like.  However, the only way to understand what a person had written was to look at it through the Bible.

Since Paul believed so much in the family, it was no coincidence that he treated the ACSI staff as one big family.  In many ways, Dr. Kienel was like a father to me and others who served with him.

I will be forever grateful that he allowed us to bring our spouses to our summer staff meetings.  My wife developed lifelong friendships with the wives of other regional directors during those special summer meetings.

Dr. Kienel modeled Christlikeness to all of us as we worked together as a family to advance God’s kingdom through Christian school education.  He epitomized the teaching of Jesus that is found in several of the gospel accounts.

But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.  Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant.  And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all.  For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”  Mark 10:42-45  (NKJV)

When I think back over my years of ministry, I find myself indebted to Dr. Kienel for believing in me and investing in me so much.  He was the one person who challenged me to speak and write on a biblical philosophy of education.  I went to him for advice when LifeWay Christian Resources contacted me and asked me to come and head up their Christian school section.

Dr. Kienel encouraged me to take this position because he believed it could impact the Christian school movement in a major way.  It was because of his counsel and my leaving ACSI to go to LifeWay that eventually led to the publishing of Kingdom Education: God’s Plan for Educating Future Generations.  Words cannot express my gratitude for Paul’s faith in me that continues to challenge me each and every day to imitate him just like he imitated Jesus Christ.

Many people didn’t realize that Dr. Kienel was an excellent craftsman when it came to woodworking. In fact, he built many of the cabinets and the conference table in ACSI’s headquarters when it moved to Colorado Springs.  At a recent gathering of former staff members in Branson, MO, Dr. Kienel presented each of us that were there with a beautiful gift.  He had handmade a wood pen holder that is still on my desk today.

When I think of Dr. Paul Kienel, the words of the prophet Samuel come to my mind.  Samuel was being replaced by a king that the people were demanding.  Samuel showed godly humility as he addressed the people he had served for so many years.  He said,

Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way.  Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.  1 Samuel 12:23-24 (NKJV)

I knew that Dr. Kienel was always praying for me as was the case with everyone that he influenced.  I could follow his advice and direction because I knew that he always taught me the “good and the right way”.  He will be missed for certain.  Only eternity will show how many thousands of lives were impacted for Christ because of his service to his Lord and Savior.  There is no doubt in my mind that he heard the words that all of us should strive to hear when we enter God’s presence.

His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’  Matthew 25:23  (NKJV)

Thank you Dr. and Mrs. Kienel for your friendship and faithfulness to God and His Word.  My prayers are with Annie and the family during this time of loss.  May God’s richest blessing be with the family in the days ahead.

It is time for those of us who were influenced by Dr. Kienel to rise to the occasion and strive to impact young hearts and minds through biblically based education.  May his legacy continue until the coming of the Lord.

God’s Word Is Enough!

By | Public Blog, Uncategorized

In the mid-1900s there was a battle taking place among Christians concerning the Bible.  I remember reading Harold Lindsell’s book, The Battle for the Bible, in 1978.  Lindsell’s book addressed the issue that was at the heart of the battle at the time – the inerrancy of Scripture.  Bible scholar, J. Otis Yoder, summed up the importance of inerrancy this way.

Biblical inerrancy means the Bible contains no error. It is without error in faith and fact. If we have the self-disclosure of the holy God, it cannot be mixed with error. Error and truth cannot be contained in the same document which claims to be a self-disclosure of a holy, righteous God. If error is mixed with truth, then that is deception which violates the character of God.

The reason this was so important is that there were those in Christianity who claimed that the Bible was infallible but not necessarily inerrant.  The Bible was believed to be true and without error when it speaks to spiritual matters, but may contain mistakes in other matters such as geology, history, or science.

Lindsell argued that if the Bible was inspired by God it had to be inerrant.  He wrote,

However limited may have been their knowledge, and however much they erred when they were not writing sacred Scripture, the authors of Scripture, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, were preserved from making factual, historical, scientific, or other errors . . . God the Holy Spirit by nature cannot lie or be the author of untruth. If the Scripture is inspired at all it must be infallible.

Over the past couple of decades, I have witnessed another battle over the Bible slowly percolating among many Christians.  This battle is not over inerrancy but over the sufficiency of Scripture.  Sufficiency of Scripture is primarily based on these two passages.

And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. 2 Timothy 3:15-17 (KJV)

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. Jude 1:3 (KJV)

Piper puts it this way.

In other words, the Scriptures are sufficient in the sense that they are the only (“once for all”) inspired and (therefore) inerrant words of God that we need, in order to know the way of salvation (“make you wise unto salvation”) and the way of obedience (“equipped for every good work”).

When one believes that the Bible is sufficient, it doesn’t mean that we don’t have to read anything else to live our lives.  It means that we don’t and can’t find any more special revelation.  Again, John Piper sums it up by writing,

We don’t need any more inspired, inerrant words. In the Bible God has given us, we have the perfect standard for judging all other knowledge.

It is Piper’s last statement that I see at the crux of this battle over the sufficiency of Scripture.  God’s Word is the perfect, final standard for judging all other knowledge.  This means that we must look at all other knowledge through the lens of the inspired, inerrant Word of God.

A subtle shift has taken place in Christianity here in North America that I am very concerned about.  It is very similar to the shift that took place in American education over the years.  This shift was captured in a chart that I included in my book, Kingdom Education.  You will find a portion of that chart below.

In the early days of American education, ultimate truth was found in the Bible.  Any human reasoning that was taught was always in subjection to God’s Word.  Then, a subtle shift started taking place.  The Bible and human reason became equally important in determining truth.  Later, human reasoning became the primary source of finding truth and the Bible was seen as a secondary source.  Today, truth is determined by the individual and his/her experience.  If it isn’t experienced by the individual, then it isn’t true!

This same thing is happening in today’s church.  The Bible, on its own, is no longer being seen as what is needed to understand life and how to live it.  God’s Word is not sufficient; we must look to other sources in order to really understand truth.

Again, I am not proposing that we don’t need to read and study other books.  I am saying that the Bible must be seen as the only perfect standard for judging all other knowledge.  Any other books must always be interpreted through the truth of Scripture.  We should never use man’s wisdom to interpret the Bible.

However, there are growing instances taking place that indicate that the church does not really believe that the Bible is sufficient.  In order to understand the physical universe’s origin, we have to add evolution to the biblical account of creation.  One organization says its mission is to invite the church and the world to see the harmony between science and biblical faith as we present an evolutionary understanding of God’s creation.

There is a growing tendency to turn to such things as Critical Theory and books like, White Fragility, to deal with the sin of prejudice.  However, God’s Word is sufficient to teach us that God has created each and every person as an image bearer of Himself.  One’s gender, color of skin, family, etc. are all an act of a sovereign God, who is not a respecter of persons.

Even in Christian education, the temptation is to take research, or the latest methodology and then add the Bible to it in an effort to justify it.  Instead, we should build our educational philosophy and practice on the truth of God’s Word.  Then, we can evaluate data, best practices and curriculum through the lens of the sufficiency of Scripture.

If I really believe that the Bible is the inspired infallible, inerrant, sufficient Word of God, it, alone, provides me with everything I need to love God and love other people as I live to glorify Him in all I think, say and do.  Again, let me refer what Paul wrote to young Timothy.

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousnessThat the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. 2 Timothy 3:15-17 (KJV)

Warren Wiersbe explains this so well when he wrote that the Bible is profitable for what is right (doctrine), what is wrong (reproof), how to get right (correction), and how to stay right (instruction in righteousness).  If I believe this, then I can go to God’s Word and address any and every issue that I might face in this sinful world I live in.

It is not enough to believe that the Bible is inspired and, therefore, inerrant.  We must be convinced that it is sufficient and all we need to equip us for a life of faith and service.  The question for each of us is this.  Is the Bible enough?

God Is AT Work!

By | Public Blog, Uncategorized

I have never lived through a time when evil is more evident than I have seen over the past few years. Society is under attack like never before in my lifetime.  Consider what we are witnessing each and every day in our country.

  • Anarchy
  • Rebellion
  • Political partisanship at an all-time high
  • Destruction of private and government property
  • Defunding of police
  • Threatening, harming and even killing innocent people because of the color of their skin
  • Rioting and looting without any accountability and consequence
  • Child sexual exploitation as seen in “Cuties”. People are supporting this vileness as being good and moral.
  • Religious freedom is eroding each and every day

When I shared this with KEM’s senior associates, Luke Bowers reminded me that this shouldn’t surprise us considering what Paul wrote to young Timothy.

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. 2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NKJV)

We are definitely witnessing these verses becoming a reality.  Because of this increase in evil, Paul challenged Timothy to,

…continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of…which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  2 Timothy 3:14-15 (NKJV)

In times like these, we must follow this same counsel.  We must continue in the things that we have learned from Scripture.  Paul went on to make sure his son in the faith understood the complete sufficiency of God’s Word.

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV)

God’s Word is sufficient as it instructs us as to what is right, what is wrong, how to get right and how to stay right.  Therefore, I continue to be optimistic because I know that God IS at work.  Notice I didn’t say that I believe God is starting to work.  No, God IS at work and He always has been, fulfilling His plan for mankind.

What I am excited about is seeing how God IS at work –- especially in the education of future generations.  Through all of the chaos and confusion I am seeing certain points of light beginning to shine on the horizon.  These include:

  • An awakening by many parents of the dangerous things that have happened and are increasingly happening in secular education.
  • Parents are more interested in and demanding more school choice be made available to them.
  • An increase in the number of parents who have chosen to homeschool their children this year.
  • Renewanation launched its virtual school, IlumenEd, with over 100 students. This virtual school is very intentional in making sure all instruction is from a biblical worldview foundation.
  • Christian publishers such as BJ Press developing quality, biblically integrated textbooks to support biblical worldview education.
  • ACSI is preparing to launch a new model for professional staff development in Christian schools through its Flourishing School Institutes.

God IS AT WORK!  I have been sharing with you in recent blogs how God has been leading Kingdom Education Ministries to be more intentional in equipping the body of Christ to disciple future generations through kingdom education.

I have been so excited about the fresh mission that God has given KEM to TRANSFORM individuals, EMPOWER the home, ENGAGE the church and TRANSFORM schools.  As KEM pushes forward to achieve this mission, I envision seeing future generations equipped to create a kingdom culture in their homes, churches and communities so that life will be viewed through lens of Scripture and, thus, bring glory to God.

This is why I am thrilled to announce an upcoming event for Christians who want to see God raise up a new generation of Christ-followers who will turn their world upside down for Him.  July 7-9, 2021 are the dates for the first Kingdom Education Summit.  This event will be hosted by Word of God Ministries in Shreveport, LA.

I am praying that a group of church and Christian school leaders will gather together around the theme, Teaching the Next Generation to Know God.  It is time for the home, church and school to rethink education from a totally biblical perspective.

If you have ever had the experience of climbing to the summit of a mountain, you were no doubt taken in by the majestic view of God’s creation from this high vantage point.  From a summit, one can see all the pieces that make up the big picture.  This is goal of the Kingdom Education Summit.

Pastors, church leaders, school administrators, board members and individual Christians who want to catch a glimpse of God’s plan for educating future generations will dig into Scripture and address the issue of education biblically.  This will be a time to not only see God’s big picture for education future generations but also the role that individuals, parents, church leaders and educators need to play.

Together, we will dissect the 14 biblical principles of kingdom education to see how these apply to the education that takes place at home, church and school.  The goal of the Summit is to begin to develop strategies that parents, church leaders and educators can embrace to be more intentional in making disciples of all nations.

So, mark your calendars and pray about being part of this historical event.  I will be sharing more details about the Kingdom Education Summit over the next several weeks.  Registration will begin with the start of the new year.  Join me in praying for a reformation to take place as we rethink education from a biblical perspective.

Transforming Schools

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I have been sharing a fresh mission statement that God laid on my heart several weeks ago.  This mission statement provides Kingdom Education Ministries with a focus for what God wants to accomplish through KEM in the future.  The focus of KEM is to:

RESTORE individuals, EMPOWER the home, ENGAGE the church and TRANSFORM the school through Kingdom Education

This week I want to explain what KEM will strive to accomplish with Christian schools.  First, it is important to understand that when I use the term education, I am not equating it with schooling.  Education is a multi-faceted process that primarily takes place in three institutions, the home, church and school.  This process is future-focused as it strives to prepare children and youth for life and eternity.

In today’s culture, the school plays a significant role in the educational process.  Young people will spend more than 14,000 hours in school during their K-12 years.  This greatly exceeds the number of hours that they will spend at church during these same years.  Therefore, there needs to be an intentional, ongoing effort to make sure the schools our children and youth attend are grounded in kingdom education.

What are some of the specific things that KEM wants to do in its effort to TRANSFORM schools?  When one thinks about the word TRANSFORM, a familiar verse in Scripture comes to mind.

And be not conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.  Romans 12:2 (NKJV)

In the original language, the term TRANSFORM means to “change from one condition to a new form.”  In this verse, it speaks to the need to TRANSFORM one’s mind, the way one thinks.  This is the burden that God has laid on my heart concerning Christian schools.  It is my desire to see a change in how Christian educators think about education.

However, the effort can’t be to change their thinking about education in a lot of different ways.  It must be aimed at “rethinking” education from a biblical perspective.  This is why KEM’s focus is on TRANSFORMING schools through kingdom education.

Why did Paul urge Christians to be transformed by the renewing of their minds?  It was to prove what God’s will was for their lives.  I believe this must be the motivation KEM has in its effort to TRANSFORM schools.  The primary goal is to see schools develop a strong, biblical philosophy of education that determines all that takes place at a school.  It is my desire to equip the next generation of Christian teachers to be able to answer the question, why schooling?, biblically.  I want to see Christian schools know and fulfill God’s will for their existence.

 

It has been exciting to see how many Christian school leaders and teachers have embraced the phrase kingdom education since the release of my book in 1998.  I often read about a school stating that it is a kingdom education school.  Individuals identify themselves as proponents and leaders of kingdom education.  My fear has always been that kingdom education would merely become a buzz word with little thought to its true meaning.  When someone states a commitment to kingdom education, then others will define the phrase for themselves by what they see the individual or the school, making such a claim, is and does.

True kingdom education is not so much about methodology as it is about a specific philosophy.  The foundation of my book is based on the biblical principles that I have found in Scripture that tell Christians why God wants them to educate their children and youth biblically.

If anyone or any school claims to believe in and support kingdom education, that person or school must live out the biblical principles from which the phrase gets its meaning.  Otherwise they are just stating platitudes with no real substance.

KEM’s efforts to TRANSFORM schools is to guide school leaders to change from merely using the term, kingdom education, to embodying the 14 biblical principles in their schools’ DNA.  As we fleshed out this fresh mission, we explained that we strive to TRANSFORM Christian schools by challenging educators to know, understand and embrace kingdom education (14 biblical principles).

It is KEM’s conviction that when this happens, along with RESTORING individuals, EMPOWERING the home, and ENGAGING the church, we will see future generations equipped to create a kingdom culture that views life through the lens of Scripture and, thus, bring glory to God.  I will soon be sharing an exciting event that we are planning where we will launch this effort to rethink education from a biblical perspective.  

The Church

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Over the past few weeks I have been sharing with you the fresh vision God has given me for Kingdom Education Ministries.  With each passing day I become more convinced that God is calling KEM to:

RESTORE individuals, EMPOWER the home, ENGAGE the church and TRANSFORM schools through kingdom education.

One of the burdens on my heart is to see pastors and church leaders ENGAGED through kingdom education.  The truth is that the vast majority of pastors have been disengaged when it comes to how God wants His people to educate future generations.  It is time that we must get them ENGAGED.

Webster defines the term engage as to gain; to win and attache; to draw to; to unite.  It is vital that we ENGAGE the church in the battle that is raging for the hearts and the minds of the next generation.  It is my prayer to see pastors drawn to and united in the cause of providing our children and youth with a biblical worldview education.

Unfortunately, I have witnessed parents and educators ignore the church when it comes to Christian education.  The argument has been that since pastors don’t support and promote our Christian school or our efforts to home school, we will just bypass them completely.  We forget that the church is the bride of Christ and it is ordained as God’s institution to take the gospel into a lost and dying world.

When I have encouraged parents and school leaders to try and get pastors ENGAGED in kingdom education, they usually try to “market” their school to the pastors of the area.  Pastors are asked to support a certain school or allow information about a school to be given out to church members.

This puts pastors in a very challenging position because there are church members who teach in secular schools and there are those who home school their children.  The pastor feels like he is in between a rock and a hard place.  If he supports one type of schooling, will he automatically offend everyone else who wants him to support another type of schooling.

This is why we carefully worded this fresh mission statement.  It is my desire to ENGAGE the church through kingdom education.  Allow me to remind you that kingdom education only takes place when God reigns as king in the entire educational process of young people.  It is not merely about where a child goes to school.  This is because education takes place in the home, church and school.  God wants to reign in the entire process whether it takes place at home or church or school.

This is why I believe that there are two ways that the church can be ENGAGED.  The first way is to encourage pastors and church leaders to address the issue of education biblically.  Church leaders need to be ENGAGED in studying God’s Word and see what it has to say about educating children.

Passages like Deuteronomy 6, Psalm 78, Psalm 127, Ephesians 6 need to be studied and applied consistently to the entire educational process of leading our children to the Lord and then discipling them in the Lord.  As I have studied Scripture, God has shown me 14 biblical principles that tell parents, church leaders and teachers how He wants them to educate future generations.  You may click HERE to see these principles.

 

The second way that pastors can be ENGAGED through kingdom education is to help them understand that parents have been given a mandate from God to educate their children in the Lord.  However, most parents are not equipped to fulfill their God-mandated assignment.  The church must step up to the plate and help parents understand that God holds them accountable for how their children are educated. Then the church must partner with parents in equipping them for the task.

I am convinced that the biggest obstacle to ENGAGING the church through kingdom education is the fact that so many pastors have developed a dualistic worldview.  They have divided life up into the secular and sacred compartments; most of the time this has taken place subconsciously.

One evidence of this reality is seen by what church leaders would and would not allow taught in their churches to young people.  Most pastors would not allow such things as evolution or gender dysphoria taught in their children and youth programs. However, they are silent about this being taught in the schools these same young people attend.  We must ENGAGE the church to understand that Christianity is a complete worldview that addresses all of life as a whole.  Nancy Pearcey says it this way.

We have to insist on presenting Christianity as a comprehensive, unified worldview that addresses all of life and reality.  It is not just religious truth but total truth.  Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey

If we are going to be successful in raising future generations to know God and think and act from a biblical worldview, we must ENGAGE the church.  I will be announcing an effort that God has laid on our hearts here at KEM to do exactly this in the very near future.  Stay tuned!

Whom or What Are We Seeking?

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July was a challenging time for me as I took some time off from writing my weekly blog.  It was a month when I spent a great deal of time alone with the Lord and in His Word.  During my quiet time, I began a study of the Old Testament prophets.  Every day I poured over the books of the prophets from Isaiah to Malachi.  It is challenging to read about what these men of God were called to do and the persecution that they encountered by being obedient to God’s call on their lives.

As I read through each of the these books, I saw several key themes repeated over and over again.

  1. God’s lovingkindness is everlasting.
  2. God is patient and long-suffering, not wanting anyone to perish.
  3. God constantly pursues His children and warns them repeatedly when judgement is coming.

In the writings of the prophets, I saw many parallels to what we are facing in our country today.  I must admit that as I read through this portion of Scripture, I did so with fear and trembling.  The realization that God is immutable and He will judge His people today if they are unfaithful captivated my thinking throughout the month.

Through all of this, God led me to do three things: reflectremember and repent.  During times of reflection, my mind went back to the day when God called me out of secular education into Christian education.  Those were some interesting and challenging days.

Reflecting back on those first days in Christian education, I focused on remembering what God did in my life and how He began to guide me into what would eventually become Kingdom Education Ministries.  I must admit, things were very different in Christian schools then than they are now.

There were two characteristics that were commonly found in Christian schools back then.  One was an excitement to be involved in this ministry and an anticipation of what God was going to do in our lives and the lives of our students.  The second characteristic I remember seeing was a spirit of total dependency on God concerning every aspect of the work we had been called into.

Some of the challenges facing us in the early days of the movement included:

  • poor facilities
  • lack of resources
  • no technology
  • teacher certification and school accreditation programs weren’t in place
  • low wages

Because of these conditions, along with other equally challenging obstacles, we were required to depend daily on God’s presence, provision and power.  There was an every-day awareness that if God didn’t work on our behalf, we would not only fail but, most likely, cease to exist.

One of the first books I read when I went into Christian education was Dr. Roy Zuck’s, Spiritual Power in Your Teaching.  God used that book to remind me that without Him I could do absolutely nothing.  I needed God’s Spirit to guide me when planning a lesson, presenting it to the students and giving the lesson its God-intended meaning.

One of the blessings of being involved in Christian education in those early years was how the entire staff started each day in a time of Bible study and prayer.  Early each morning the staff gathered for devotions.  This time was not one when someone merely shared a passage of Scripture and we prayed and asked God to bless our day.

These were times when we earnestly sought God’s presence.  We knew that we were incapable of fulfilling His calling on our lives if His Spirit didn’t fill us afresh each and every morning.  We didn’t have anything to rely on other than Him.

As I reflected on and remembered these things, God also reminded me of a warning He gave to the Israelites as they were preparing to go in and possess the Promised Land.

So it shall be, when the Lord your God brings you into the land of which He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give you large and beautiful cities which you did not build, houses full of all good things, which you did not fill, hewn-out wells which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant—when you have eaten and are full— then beware, lest you forget the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.  Deuteronomy 6:10-12 (NKJV)

As I meditated on these verses, I became burdened for today’s generation of Christian educators.  There is no doubt in my mind that they love the Lord and believe that God has called them into Christian education.  However, I am fearful that they work in modern facilities that they did not build and classrooms that are full of all good things.  They have resources that are from wells they did not dig and they harvest grapes and olives off of plants that they did not plant.

With all that God has given to Christian educators today, have we forgotten Him?  I don’t mean that we don’t think about God but have we lost that sense of dependency that was the driving force in Christian schools back in the early 1970s?  Have we taken for granted all of the blessings that are ours today as we begin the start of a new school year?  Will staffs meet with God every morning and seek Him with all their hearts and souls?  Or are we dependent on our facilities, programs, technology, advanced degrees, certification, accreditation etc. to get us through each day?  Will we enter each day with the realization that without abiding fully in Christ we can and will accomplish absolutely nothing?

Through this season of reflecting and remembering, God has called me to repent.  I have had to turn from my self-sufficiency and confess that I have not depended fully on God to lead me each and every day.

When I see all that is going on in the world today, I am burdened for God’s people to return to Him.  The book of Amos had a particular impact on me as I recently studied it.  In chapter 4, God rehearses the things that He did to wake up His people.  He brought famine, drought, pestilence, fire and the sword to shake His people out of the spiritual lethargy.  However, I found these sad words repeated again and again.

Yet you have not returned to Me,” says the Lord.

Then, in chapter 5, God makes three statements that I believe are applicable to each of us today.

Seek Me and live (verse 4)

Seek the Lord and live (verse 5)

Seek good and not evil that you may live (verse 14)

Over the past four to five months what have we have sought the most?  Have we sought a cure for COVID?  Have we sought how to do virtual school better?  Have we sought the answer to rioting, murder and destruction?  Have we sought a political answer to the chaos?  How often have we sought God with all of our hearts, souls and minds?

As a new school year is fast approaching, will we seek the Lord so that we will live.  I want to encourage you to take some time, get alone with God and  reflect and remember.  When you do, you may find that, like me, you will need to repent.

Note to Christian School Educators:

I put together a short form to help Christian educators evaluate whom or what they have sought and will seek as a new school year begins. To access this form, simply click HERE.  I hope you will find this helpful.

 

We Don’t Need Reform or Do We?

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A Demand For Change

There has been a constant cry for reform in just about every area of life for as long as I can remember. Whether it pertains to government, education, or the legal system, people from all walks of life are demanding reform.  Because of the tragic death of George Floyd while in the custody of police, there is now a concerted effort for not only police reform but also the complete defunding and dismantling of police departments across the country.

The fact that people are demanding that reform take place indicates one thing.  Something is broken and not right.  Of course, we, as Christians, know that this brokenness is a result of the Fall when sin entered the world.  However, will reform efforts make a difference?

I admit that there is a very real need for change to take place in many areas of society.  I agree that training and efforts to bring about change are helpful.  Yet, the change that is needed to solve the hurts of living in a sin-filled world will not be accomplished by human reform efforts — no matter how good the intentions are.

I lost count a long time ago of students and parents meeting with me to discuss their child’s poor grades or a discipline situation.  In these meetings, the child would come in saying that he/she was sorry and that they were going to change.

I have had students, who did nothing in a class for 9 weeks and were failing, tell me that they had decided that they were going to get A’s from now on.  Others, who had behaved badly, would tell me that they were sorry and they weren’t going to misbehave again.  Listening to them, one would get the idea that these students had the ability to turn off bad habits and actions and, all of a sudden, be model students.  Unfortunately, their determination and efforts to change, even though well-intentioned, didn’t last long.

These students thought that reforming their behavior would bring about the changes that were needed.  This is the same problem that today’s reform efforts are attempting to accomplish.

We believe that with enough training and effort bad behavior and/or practices can be corrected resulting in a perfect society.  All human efforts at reform are simply man saying that to stop evil one needs only to “turn over a new leaf.”  Unfortunately, the new leaf will turn out to be just as corrupt as the old one and may even be worse.

Reform efforts go all the way back to the garden when man first sinned and disobeyed God.  Adam and Eve knew that they had done wrong and life was broken.  They tried to “fix” it.  Their reform efforts were in the form of fig leaves whereas today’s efforts take the form of training, programs and/or laws and regulations.

I am reminded of some of the reform efforts that were made after the horrific Columbine high school shootings.  Cries for reform in our schools led to several efforts to change students’ lives through instituting various “character education” programs.  One of the most common ones, that is still in effect today, was Character Counts.  Even with all this effort to reform students’ character, violence has continued to escalate in our nation’s schools and school shootings have sadly become commonplace.

Why doesn’t, or even better yet, why can’t reform efforts change things?  One reason why human reform efforts can’t work is that they are based on human reasoning and opinion.  The world’s effort to reform brokenness is based on a false belief that man can improve himself and, therefore, society.  God’s existence is ignored or, even worse, denied.

If one denies the existence of God, then there cannot be any absolute moral values to direct any effort to bring about change.  This is the case with Character Counts.  By denying that God exists, man has to define right character and that is impossible to do.

Another reason why reform efforts can’t work is that they don’t address the real source of the bad behavior or injustice.  Reform is another name for the failed concept of behavior modification.  It is an attempt to change the outward actions of an individual or a group of individuals.  For example, sensitivity and/or diversity training focus on what one thinks and acts about others with the belief that training can transform a person’s life.

I am hearing people say that what is needed to change our current condition is to have open discussion and ask hard questions about the things that are causing division in society today.  We must “understand” each other and, when that happens, we will then get along with each other.  This was the mantra after 911.  I am not opposed to having difficult conversations about real issues people are facing but that will not bring about the change that is necessary.

So, if reform isn’t the answer, what is?  The reason why reform efforts fall short of real change is because the problems we are facing are heart issues – not head  or emotional issues.  Prejudice, hate, anger, injustice, division, envy, etc. all come from within the human heart.  Jesus told the religious leaders of the day that outward reform can’t work because it doesn’t address the cause.

There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man… Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him, because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods? And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.  All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”  Mark 7:15,18-23  (NKJV)

The prophet Jeremiah also understood the wickedness of the human heart.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart… Jeremiah 17:9-10 (NKJV)

A person’s heart won’t be changed by some form of human effort.  If this were possible, Jesus wouldn’t have had to die a cruel death on the cross.  Only God can change a person’s heart.

The prophet Ezekiel knew that God was the only One who could change a person’s heart.

I [God] will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26 (NKJV)

Only God can revive us out of the mess we are in.  Reform tries to bring about change from the outside in.  God brings real change because He does it from the inside out.

So, what is needed is revival not reform.  However, the key to revival doesn’t begin with the lost world.  It begins with me.  For revival to come and change society, it requires brokenness and repentance in my life.  David understood this like few men in history.

Only Revival Brings About Change

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Psalm 51:10 (NKJV)

In order for God to change my heart, I must give Him access to it.  I must humble myself and allow God to do what the Psalmist allowed Him to do in his life.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.  Psalm 139:23-24 (NKJV)

The evil that we are seeing up close in the world today is not a social issue.  Therefore, it cannot be overcome through reform.  It is a spiritual issue that will only be destroyed by revival.

Father, I ask you to search my heart and point out any sinful thoughts or desires You find.  As you show me my sin, I repent and ask your forgiveness.  Give me new heart that will cause me to see others as you see them – individuals who you have created in Your image.  Please heal our land!  In Jesus name, Amen.

My Response To Today’s Turmoil

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Lord Save Us!

First, we faced a nationwide lockdown due to COVID-19.  Then, the country exploded in protests and riots because of the senseless death of a man.  We are sitting on a powder keg that is ready to explode.  What is the answer to all of this?

I have resisted the temptation to speak about the issues facing us today as I, too, have struggled to make sense out of all of it.  There are so many voices shouting their feelings from every position imaginable.  It is my prayer that I will avoid sharing my opinions but try to approach things from a biblical perspective.

The protests, looting and rioting that are taking place all across the country are said to be reactions to the death of a man named George Floyd.  Anyone that viewed the heart-wrenching video that showed this man’s breath literally being choked out of him must condemn the actions of the men involved in his arrest.

My heart was broken by Mr. Floyd’s death and I long for justice to be served.  However, I am not grieved by this in the same manner as many others are.  Cries of racism, white supremacy, white privilege, black lives matter and police brutality have become the common narratives surrounding this senseless death.

What grieves my heart is that a person who was created in the image of God lost his life because another human being unnecessarily caused his death.  I am equally grieved to see another image bearer of God kicked in the head by a protestor that led to his death.  The same is true when I learned that a man working to secure a business lost his life.  Grief also gripped me when I read the account of a police officer being shot in the back of the head at point blank range while doing his job of protecting people and property.

 

In addition to each of the travesties, I am appalled by the murder of over 2,000 babies each day and over 700,000 each year here in the United States.  Every abortion destroys the life of an innocent image bearer of God.

Please note that I didn’t identify any of these victims by the color of his/her skin but as individuals who were each created in the image of God.  Whenever the ethnicity of a person is interjected into injury or loss of life, it seems like others justify injuring or killing of other people, as well as destroying private property.

The death of George Floyd was not tragic and horrific because a white police officer acted in a certain way towards a black man.  The same is true for the other deaths that I have mentioned.  It doesn’t matter what the color of skin the victims or the perpetrators were.  The worth and value of every human being is found in the truth that each and every person has been, is and always will be created in the image of God.  We know this to be true when we read the following passages in God’s Word.

Then God said, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them…And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.  Genesis 1:26-27; 2:7 (NKJV)

Because man is created in the image of God, God says that the shedding of innocent blood is sinful.

Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of God He made man.  Genesis 9:6 (NKJV)

We have abandoned the teaching of creation and that man was created in the image of God, imago Dei.  When one denies the existence of God, then man is merely a result of evolutionary time and chance.  Instead of one race there must be many races as various people groups evolved differently over billions of years.  One person puts it this way.

Atheistic and evolutionary worldviews teach us that events are random, our origins accidental, our lives meaningless, and tragedy inevitable. Those who close their eyes to the one true God remain blind to His divine plans and purposes.  Cameron Buettel

The evolutionary belief that there are many races is not biblical.  Therefore, trying to improve race relations, which reflects evolutionary thinking, is impossible.  Darryl Harrison states,

The term “race relations” is a misnomer. God created you and me to relate to one another by way of hearts and minds, not skin color. Melanin is passive—it cannot love or hate—but our hearts can—and do. Biblically, murder is an attitude before it is an act (1 John 2:9-11; 3:15).

I am concerned when I see and/or hear Christian leaders addressing these very real issues framed through secular ideas such as critical race theory, white privilege (or any other form of privilege), etc.  We must evaluate everything through the lens of Scripture.

God’s Word is totally sufficient to guide us into how to better “love our neighbor as ourselves.”  Recently, I saw several social media posts that gave the appearance that some church leaders are supporting the concept of “privilege”.  Here are some of the statements I have seen.

White privilege exists as a direct result of both historic and enduring racism, biases, and practices designed to oppress people of color.

White privilege doesn’t mean your life hasn’t been hard.  It means your skin tone isn’t one of the things making it harder!  There’s plenty of other privileges (socio-economic, male, heterosexual cisgender, Christian, able-bodied)  but white privilege is perhaps the most enduring throughout history.

Life can be hard if you’re white, but life will never be hard because you’re white. 

You’ve never been judged by the color of your skin. (A statement to a white person) 

If you consider these statements, you will find that they contradict themselves.  For example, if someone tells me that I will never be judged by the color of my skin, that person has just judged me based on my skin color.

The entire concept that someone has “privilege” because of his/her skin color or gender goes against Scripture.  If God has created me in His image (which He has), then He chose my gender and skin color.  I had nothing to do with it whatsoever.

If either of these traits cause me to be privileged, then God created me that way.  Of course, that means that I must reject Acts 10:34 when Peter preached,

Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons…

The same would be true about what James said when he wrote that not treating everyone the same is sin (James 3:9).

In order to understand the senseless taking of human life, destruction of private property and the violence that we are witnessing on a daily basis, we must trace this back to its origin.  To do this, it is not sufficient to simply go back to times of slavery or to the founding of our country; which is what is commonly being done by many today.

We must go back to Genesis 3 where we find sin entering the world through the Fall of man.  In fact, the first murder that was ever recorded was committed by Cain who murdered his own brother, Abel.  “Race” played no part in this evil act.

Murder and violence are the result of the sin nature of man.  In fact, all injustices that anyone commits are the result of sin.  It is not an attitudinal or social condition.  It is a heart condition.

So, what is the solution to all of this?  The words of G. K. Chesterton come to my mind when trying to answer this question.

It isn’t that they can’t see the solution. It is that they can’t see the problem.

We must first see that the problem is spiritual and is found in the depravity of the human heart.

The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it?  Jeremiah 17:9 (NKJV)

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it [are] the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23 (NKJV)

For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” Mark 7:21-23 (NKJV)

Once we accurately identify the problem, we can then try to find the solution.  Trying to reform a person or an organization can’t solve these problems.  We must have a heart change.  This can only be found in Jesus and the Gospel.

To biblically address the upheaval in society today is challenging because we have all been influenced by decades of secular education and thinking.  God’s existence has been ignored or, even worse, denied.  Because of this, we have raised several generations of people who do not think biblically.

Therefore, they do not know that every person has value and worth because each one was created in the image of God.  As a result, Christians have conformed to the world’s way of thinking when trying to address these important life issues and we find ourselves in turmoil.  Dr. Albert Mohler stated the following in one of his recent episodes of The Briefing.

When you deny the creation order as God has given it to us for our good and His glory, you get chaos at every turn.

We must develop a biblical worldview and, then, give our children and youth a biblical worldview education.  Without this taking place the sanctity of human life will continue to disappear from society and chaos will become more and more rampant.  Consider the words of A.W. Tozer.

When the knowledge of God began to go out of the minds of men, we got into the fix that we’re in now [Romans 1].

In whom or what are you trying to find your identity?  As Christians, we must find our identity and view the identity of each and every other person through the doctrine of imago Dei.  Then, we must identify with only one person, Jesus Christ.  I leave you with the words of pastor, Virgil “Omaha” Walker.  His challenge applies to every Christian, whether or not one is a pastor and regardless of the color of one’s skin.

There’s only one man that we’re told to identify with, and that is Jesus Christ and him crucified.  So, any identification based upon levels of melanin in the skin – where a pastor is coddling that, where a pastor is amplifying that, where a pastor is encouraging that – I’d argue that they need to repent, and turn from that behavior all together, and make sure that they are pointing their black parishioner, biblically, to Christ and him crucified.

Father, may I see every person as someone You created in Your image. Show me how to love my neighbor as I love myself.  May my life reflect Jesus no matter what circumstances I find myself in.  Bring healing and peace to our homes, churches, communities and country.  Do this for Your glory!  In Jesus name, amen.