Sunday, October 31, 2010

Despising the Word

Suppose you went to a Memorial Day barbecue. Suppose you saw someone there take an American flag, wipe his greasy mouth and hands on it, and then throw it in the trash.What would you think?

Suppose you were in the military and you saw a member of the service take down the colors and treat them that way? What do you think would happen to that soldier (sailor, Marine)?

Those are hypothetical examples. Now let me give you a real one.

I recently attended a Christian function. There was food. At the head of the table were some paper plates and some napkins with printing on them.

When I got to my place at the table, I noticed what the printing on my napkin said:

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. (Psalm 100:4)

I went to the kitchen and got myself a paper towel to wipe my mouth & hands on. Around me sat people who profess to revere God's holy Word, using it to mop up their personal filth. Then the napkins went out with the garbage.

Go ahead. Call me a Pharisee or any other ugly name you please. I will still maintain to my dying breath that it is a show of contempt to God's Word when you use it to wipe your dirty mouth, nose, or any other bodily orifice.

Friday, October 29, 2010

On the Gravity of Taking Human Life

Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man. (Genesis 9:6)

The reason that murder is such a heinous crime is that God made us in His image. Although the murderer strikes out at a creature, he also strikes out at the very image of God. In so doing, he makes his own life forfeit.

Capital punishment is not murder because God sanctions it. The death penalty properly applied does not strike out at God's image, but rather reflects another aspect of His image: justice.

Taking life in self defense is likewise sanctioned by God (Exodus 22:2). The fact that God allows legitimate taking of human life does not in any way diminish the gravity of such an act.

Sometimes, those involved in self defense or various aspects of warrior culture speak lightly of killing. This should not be so among Christian Martialists.

My barber recently sent me a link to a forum discussion on the subject. The first letter is by a woman who had taken a handgun self defense course.

Two things stood out to me:
  1. Her realization of the deep responsibility for taking the life of another, even in self defense -- to the point of nausea;
  2. Her resolute conviction that it remained the right thing to do.
Much discussion follows, and it is worthwhile to meditate on it in the light of God's teachings on the subject.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Reformation Day Download

As you know, this Sunday (Oct. 31st) is Reformation Day. We celebrate it because on that day Martin Luther unwittingly inaugurated the Reformation by posting his 95 Theses on the church door at Wittenburg.

(Click on the link above for a little more info and some Reformation Day fun.)

For a limited time, you can download a professional, dramatic audio presentation of Luther's contributions, including his famous "Here I Stand" speech before the Diet at Worms. Here's the link:

Martin Luther

(Thanks to my wife Laura for the link.)

The download goes through their shopping cart, even though there's no charge. It's a clever way to get you create an account with them in hopes you'll buy from them in the future. To me, that's a fair trade for the quality recording.

May God bless your observance of this holiday, and may He send much needed Reform to His Church in America.

Statist Terrorism

Terror as a means of control is a long-standing staple of totalitarian governments. The IRS and ATF have practiced it for many years in this country, and on the state level, social services agencies have made war on Christians who discipline their children for decades. This has taken place through Republican and Democratic administrations.

Every once in a while, though, as the godless state tightens its tentacles to suffocate our liberty, some new terroristic outrage arises that should shock the public into awareness, if not action. Here are two for your consideration:
  1. Federal court considers proof of citizenship an unnecessary burden for voter registration;
  2. State prosecutes Christian woman for seeking a Christian roommate.
Frankly, the terrorism perpetrated upon U.S. citizens by their own civil authority disturbs me much more than the machinations of foreign terrorists of any stripe.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

White House Working to Make Sure Jihadists Receive Funding?

Ever wonder why so many Americans think President Obama is a Muslim?

Watch the video clip below and wonder why MORE Americans don't think he's a Muslim.

He might plead ignorance . . . had he not received his education in an Islamic school in Indonesia.

Unprofitable Home Defense, 8

Continued from "Unprofitable Defense, 7"

I just can't afford to home-school or to put my child in a Christian school. (Common excuse)

Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly. (Genesis 13:11-13)

Bob Jones Senior used to say, "Lot picked a great place to raise sheep but a rotten place to raise kids." Lot put his business and financial interests above those of his family in his choice of the environment where his children would grow up.

Incredibly enough, in a recent discussion, someone defending the "right" of parents to put their children in public schools said, "We are to be in the world but not of the world." Good point. And how exactly does subjecting your child to over 14,000 hours of indoctrination in how to view the world without God teach him not to be "of the world"?

The public school is a spiritually toxic environment precisely because it attempts to excise all reference to the Creator from all His works. Putting your child in that environment is analogous to pitching your tent toward Sodom.

In fact, the parallels here are more than superficial. Romans 1:18-32 informs us that the society which does not like to retain God in their knowledge will eventually degenerate to the point that it will condone the practice of sodomy. Our public schools do not like to retain God in their curriculum, and -- lo and behold -- promotion of perverted "sexual preferences" continues to become more common there.

So, how do I respond to someone who tells me he cannot afford a Christian education for his child? Well, for the most part, my response is speechless  contempt.

You see, for 99% of American Christians, the statement, "I can't afford a Christian education for my child," is only half of the argument. The unspoken part goes, ". . . and maintain my present lifestyle."

At this point, my answer gets personal, and for that I apologize in advance.

My wife and I have lived in rat- and roach-infested apartments while I worked jobs at or below minimum wage. For us, the idea of  putting our children in public school and using their Christian school tuition money to better our living conditions never arose. It was never an issue.

Later, in our first year of home education, the only job I could find was part-time (2 6-hour shifts/week) and paid minimum wage. Sending my wife into the job force was simply not an option -- we were committed to educating our children in a Christian worldview.

During that time, as I looked for work, I actually turned down a full-time retail position because part of the job involved sale of pornographic magazines. We have to teach by example as well as by precept. To make matters even more dire, my wife's and my convictions prevented us from signing up for food stamps or other welfare programs.

How did we make it through that year? It wasn't easy, but only the grace of God sustained us. 

In fact, an incident that occurred after our first year of home education (and a second part-time job that really improved our circumstances) burned itself into my memory as if by a branding iron. I remember one day, during our family worship time, that I polled the family about whether there was anything they would like to see different in our family's devotional life.

My second daughter, about 10 or 11 at the time, said, "Daddy, I just think it was so neat that when we had no food in the house, how we would pray and God would send us food." A lesson to me, because where I had seen privation and poverty, my children were seeing a caring heavenly Father who supplied their needs.

A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked. For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the LORD upholdeth the righteous. (Psalm 37:16-17)

Can't afford a Christian education for your children? Liar!!! You WON'T make the sacrifices necessary to disciple the children for whom God has made you responsible.

Go ahead, pitch your tent toward Sodom. Use "free" public education to subsidize your lifestyle. Secure a comfortable house and middle-class living for yourself. 

Then prepare to give an account to the Almighty God for where you placed His children's spiritual welfare in your priorities.

Discussion continued here.

Friday, October 22, 2010

A Strong Man's House

No man can enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house. (Mark 3:27)

Jesus gave this analogy to refute the Pharisees who claimed that when Christ cast out demons, He was doing it in the power of Satan. In other words, Jesus was pointing out that His life and ministry were diametrically opposed to the devil's agenda.

It's not unusual that the Lord would use this illustration. Defense of one's home against thieves and robbers stands as not only a universal human instinct, but also as a cultural phenomenon rooted in Scripture.

If a thief be found breaking up [i.e., breaking in], and be smitten that he die, there shall no blood be shed for him. (Exodus 22:2)

I discussed this passage a while ago in "What Does the Bible Say about Self Defense". While the original post gives a brief statement of the passage's teaching, the questions in the comments section really helped me expand and clarify. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Unprofitable Home Defense, 7

Continued from "Unprofitable Home Defense, 6"

What shall it profit a man if he defend his child from all physical danger, yet lose that child's soul?

No, the Bible does not say that in so many words, but it has many choice words to say about a believing parent's responsibility to rear up godly children. And I have been trying to show in this series that putting a child into the public school system is detrimental to that Biblical goal.

In spite of my efforts, there will always be those who cannot or will not see. For example, someone has recently admonished me and described my position regarding education as "unwise and potentially harmful of the Christian liberty of parents . . . ."

It would seem that parents have the God-given right to enroll their children in a program of godless indoctrination.

Let's look at the question of "Christian liberty" from a purely physical perspective. Say that you go with your friend to pick up his child at a day care center. (Why the child is in day care rather than at home is another issue, but for the sake of argument, let's just say it's this way.)

As you go in with your friend, you notice the strong smell of feces as children play on a filthy carpet. Exposed electrical wires protrude from a wall not far from the corner where you spy rodent droppings. Asbestos insulation lies fallen under exposed heat pipes within the reach of children, and you suspect that the old paint flaking from woodwork may be lead-based.

Your friend seems oblivious to the dangers. So, do you warn him, or do you keep your mouth shut  rather than say something potentially harmful to his Christian liberty as a parent?

It seems to me that a parent who loved his child and simply did not know of the dangers would want you to warn him. A parent who disregards or takes offense at your warning either does not love his child or lives in a state of denial.

A child's spiritual well-being is no less important than his physical welfare.

Introducing Christian parental liberty into the equation only serves to obfuscate the real issue: Christian parental responsibility.

Continued here

Monday, October 18, 2010

Front Sight Rifle Course, $49

Front Sight is offering its $1000 2-day rifle course for $49 for a limited time. If you purchase, you get the right to attend a weekday course at any time in the future -- does not expire.

Click here if you want one.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Little Mental Training Exercise

My barber sent me the link to the video below along with the question, "What do you see wrong in this video??"

I submit it to you for your observation and comment.

Of course, it's easy to be an armchair critic, so I ask you to be charitable in whatever criticisms you make.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Unprofitable Home Defense, 6

Continued from "Unprofitable Home Defense, 5"

Christians must prepare themselves then, for the following results: All prayers, catechisms, and Bibles will ultimately be driven out of the schools. . . . Infidelity and practical ungodliness will become increasingly prevalent among Protestant youth, and our churches will have a more arduous contest for growth if not for existence. (R.L. Dabney talking about the results of Christians putting their children into the public school system in his essay, "Secularized Education")

You, son of man, shall it not be in the day when I take from them their strength, the joy of their glory, the desire of their eyes, and that whereupon they set their heart, their sons and their daughters, that in that day . . .  they shall know that I am Yahweh. (Ezekiel 24:25-27, WEB)

What a terrible judgment upon a people who had forsaken their God. God told them that foreigners would steal away their children, and they would be helpless to prevent it.

A movie comes to mind, although I've forgotten its title.

In it, a daughter visiting Paris is kidnapped while on the phone with her father. The rest of the movie shows the father tracking his daughter's kidnappers, leaving a swath of destruction until he rescues her just before an Arab sheikh (who has purchased her) sails off with her in his yacht.

Sadly, though, many Christian fathers who would fight to the death to keep traffickers from stealing and selling their children, have given their little ones over, body mind and soul, to a humanistic system that seeks to alienate them from their parents' beliefs and values. Most will lose one or more of their offspring to that system, just as surely as if kidnappers had broken into the house, kidnapped them and sold them to a roving Gypsy band.

A society's loss of its children is a horrible thing, a sign of God's judgment. So, why do Christians give their children over to their spiritual enemy so willingly?

I've seen Christian families lose their children to the faith so many times that I wouldn't be able to count them all. The statistics corroborate my observations: across the board, churches lose 60-70% of their youth.

Parents, however, still think, "It won't happen to me," or "Our schools are not like those schools; we have some Christians who teach in our schools."

Sadly, I've heard parents just about everywhere claim that their schools are different. Makes you wonder whose schools are the same.)

Over a century ago, Southron theologian R.L. Dabney commented on the excuse that it's okay to enroll children in a system where Christ is not exalted as Savior and Lord as long as some of the teachers are Christians.

We need the best men to teach our Children. The best are true Christians, who carry their religion into everything. Such men neither can nor will bind themselves to hold so influential a relation to precious souls for whom Christ died, and make no effort to save them. So the tendency must be towards throwing State schools into the hands of half-hearted Christians or of contemptuous unbelievers. ("Secularized Education")

Dabney could not have hit the nail on the head more squarely if he had been a prophet. Moreover,the system is rigged against the faith, regardless of the presence of individual Christians within it.

As I showed in my second post in this series, although churches in general keep only 20-40% of their youth, there is a small segment of the church that manages to hold on to 94%. Has it occurred to anyone to ask why?

Let's begin by looking at a couple of commands God gave to His people -- or rather a command He gave them more than once:

Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons . . . .  (Deuteronomy 4:9)

And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates. (Deuteronomy 6:6-9)

We have a name for the kind of training that Scripture describes here: discipleship. You can see this in the ministry of Jesus, who chose twelve to be with Him. (Mark 3:14)

The disciples learned as they lived with the Master -- walked with Him, ate with Him, talked with Him. This differs markedly from the modern Church's notion of discipleship.

Today, when a church decides to emphasize discipleship, it usually means a series of meetings or classes on the subject of discipleship. But passively learning about discipleship in a classroom does not equal actively doing discipleship in the course of daily living.

And this is the strength of those who have chosen to educate their children themselves. As the children grow, they absorb their parents' faith and convictions along with their lessons -- what Jay Adams calls "education in the milieu." (See Back to the Blackboard) For most, their faith in God becomes the matrix that holds all the rest of their knowledge and opinions together.

Contrast the results of home educators with what most churches accept as the norm. By their fruits ye shall know them.

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge . . .  seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. (Hosea 4:6)

In his comment on this verse, John Calvin says that the prophet

. . . now assures the whole people that God would bring a dreadful judgment on them all, that he would even blot out the whole race of Abraham, I will forget, he says, thy children. Why was this? The Lord had made a covenant with Abraham, which was to continue, and to be confirmed to his posterity . . .

The Lord made this covenantal promise in light of an understanding that the generations to come would grow up under covenant discipleship. Note God's words concerning Abraham:

. . . seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him. (Genesis 18:18-19)

Because subsequent generations of Israel not only violated the covenant themselves, but also neglected the discipleship of their children, God told them through Hosea that He would forget their children. Calvin's commentary on that warning continues:

[T]hey departed from the true faith, they became spurious children; then God rightly testifies here, that he had a just cause why he should no longer count this degenerate people among the children of Abraham. How so? “For ye have forgotten my law,” he says: “had you remembered the law, I would also have kept my covenant with you: but I will no more remember my covenant, for you have violated it. Your children, therefore, deserve not to be under such a covenant, inasmuch as ye are such a people.

A generation has arisen in the American Church that has -- for the most part with the "blessing" of pastors -- forsaken the true, Biblical discipleship of their children and put them in peril of forsaking God and being forsaken by Him.

R.L. Dabney foresaw this danger over 100 years ago. He wrote about it in an essay entitled "Secularized Education." ( To read it, click here and scroll down to find the link.)

This discussion continues here.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The New, New Army: Home for Perverts?

"Present arms!" (With a limp wrist, perhaps?) "Let me hear you lisp out those cadence calls." Is this the face of the U.S military of the near future?

According to an article in the Washington Times,

Those serving who oppose the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) agenda are no longer welcome.
Those were the views of Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Bostick, the Army's deputy chief of staff in charge of personnel matters who spoke about "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" before several hundred troops at the European Command headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. "Unfortunately, we have a minority of service members who are still racists and bigoted and you will never be able to get rid of all of them," Lt. Gen. Bostick said. "But these people opposing this new policy will need to get with the program, and if they can't, they need to get out. No matter how much training and education of those in opposition, you're always going to have those that oppose this on moral and religious grounds just like you still have racists today."

If you're a Christian with Biblical convictions regarding sexual preference, it looks as though you may soon be barred from service. If you're a Christian in the military, you may be drummed out of the army, unless you tippy-toe the politically correct line on sexual perversion.

So, what's next. Will the army battle cry, "Hooah!" be replaced with "WooHoo"?

Monday, October 4, 2010

"Your Money or Your Livelihood!" Is Your Employer Willing to Risk Your Life?

Pizza Hut -- like many other employers -- has a rule against employees working armed for self defense, even if the employee has a CWP. This has given rise to a situation where a pizza delivery worker who has saved his own life and that of his boss may now lose his job.

Thanks to my barber for sending me the link to this article. You may read it here.

The employee hesitated to pull his gun in self defense, while he was threatened and repeatedly pistol-whipped by the holdup men. It seems obvious that Pizza Hut's corporate rules played a part in his hesitancy.

Many businesses have similar rules against employees defending themselves. It's much easier for them to think of  replacing a dead employee than to pay out millions in a lawsuit to the family of a dead scumbag.

Pizza Hut could screen employees and set up a firearms training program and arm select employees to discourage armed robbers. But in the long run, it's cheaper just to ban firearms altogether.

Sure, it risks the lives of low level employees, but it's a risk Pizza Hut is evidently willing to take.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Unprofitable Home Defense, 5

Continued from "Unprofitable Home Defense, 4"

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)

But we also have the decree of election, a decree that extends both to strangers and in the line of our descendants, but a decree that does not promise us that every child born to believing parents is elect. God commanded Abraham to circumcise both Ishmael and Isaac in Genesis 17, yet Ishmael remained a lost man; it was with Isaac alone that God established his covenant (Genesis 17:19). Isaac in turn had two sons, Jacob and Esau; both received the sign of God’s favor, and yet God’s favor was on Jacob alone. (A Reformed Pastor)

Parents can do everything right, and their kids still turn out wrong. (Host of a Christian talk radio show)

To me, at least, it seems that many Christian parents of the Reformed persuasion equate the second quote above with the third: "Since it's all in God's hands, nothing I do will influence the eternal destiny of my child."

This is rotten theology. It twists what the reformers actually taught into an ungodly grotesquerie

This is akin to the error that certain hypercalvinists fall into who say that since God elects the saved from all eternity, we need not preach Christ to the lost. "Anybody who belongs to the elect," they in effect say, "will come to Christ whether we give them the Gospel or not."

But we observe that many more come to Christ through the ministry of those who preach the Gospel. This is so because God does not ordain an end apart from the means to that end.

So also, God seems to elect the children of those parents who show the most diligence in their training -- in and out of school. The Westminster Confession of Faith states the principle behind this phenomenon thus: 

God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established. (WCF III 1, emphasis added)

Does my application of the Confession square with Reformed tradition? Well, I guess it depends on which Reformed tradition you mean. Before 1660, Puritans sought to transform individuals and society through the application of Scripture. After about 1660, the Puritan emphasis turned inward, away from society to the idea that the Christian's primary (if not sole) goal in life was to achieve personal piety.

We can see this contrast by first looking at what Matthew Henry -- a later Puritan -- has to say about Proverbs 22:6.

Ordinarily the vessel retains the savour with which it was first seasoned. Many indeed have departed from the good way in which they were trained up; Solomon himself did so. But early training may be a means of their recovering themselves, as it is supposed Solomon did. At least the parents will have the comfort of having done their duty and used the means. (Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible)

(Note the unstated and unfounded assumption that David actually serves as an example of consistent, good parenting. There is Biblical evidence to the contrary.  In similar fashion, the pastor quoted at the beginning of this article operates on the assumption that the child-training Ishmael received from Abraham and the Egyptian Hagar equated in all important respects with the child-training Isaac received from Abraham and Sarah)

Contrast what Henry says with some words of another, earlier Puritan:

Wherever thou goest, thou wilt hear men crying out of bad children and bad servants; whereas indeed the source of the mischief must be sought a little higher: it is bad parents and bad masters that make bad children and bad servants; and we cannot blame so much their untowardness, as our own negligence in their education.

Does he seem to say that a poor outcome in children's attitudes and behavior result from parental neglect of their children's education? That how (and by whom) a child  is trained constitutes the primary influence in how that child turns out?

(Note that in those days, apprenticeship was a major vehicle for educating youth. Thus, the mention of servants probably refers to those young people who served as apprentices to Puritan artisans and merchants.)

Let's see if another quote from the same Puritan is not consistent with how I've interpreted the first quote:

A family is the seminary of Church and State; and if children be not well principled there, all miscarrieth: a fault in the first concoction (i.e., the family) is not mended in the second (i.e., the Church or State); if youth be bred ill in the family, they prove ill in Church and Commonwealth; there is the first making or marring, and the presage of their future lives to be thence taken, Prov. 20:11. (Emphasis added;unitalicized portions represent my inserted comments)

He seems to imply that how children turn out is a direct result of how parents train them. In this passage, he also indicts a generation of evangelicals which, instead of laying the burden for our youths' exodus from our churches upon the parents, lays it upon the churches with demands for bigger and better youth programs with rockin' music and eye-poppin' programs.

But back to our premise. Has our unnamed Puritan missed the contemporary doctrine that the child's destiny and character are determined by God from eternity irrespective of what their parents do? Apparently so, for he further says,

Upon all these considerations, how careful should ministers and parents be to train up young ones whilst they are yet pliable, and, like wax, capable of any form and impression, in the knowledge and fear of God . . . .

Wow! It's almost as though he believes that just as God's elect seem to gravitate to those who preach the Gospel, so God's elect children gravitate to families that will take pains to educate them in accordance with the faith. (I love it when I find theologians who agree with me.)

And what of those parents who neglect their responsibility? Our nameless Puritan has choice words for them.

But while negligent ministers are (deservedly) cast out of their places, the negligent masters of families take themselves to be almost blameless. They offer their children to God in baptism, and there they promise to teach them the doctrine of the gospel, and bring them up in the nurture of the Lord; but they easily promise, and easily break it; and educate their children for the world and the flesh, although they have renounced these, and dedicated them to God. This covenant-breaking with God, and betraying the souls of their children to the devil, must lie heavy on them here or hereafter. (emphasis added)

Where better to "educate their children for the world and the flesh" than in those schools which systematically exclude God from their course of study? "The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts." (Psalm 10:4)

Of course, you are assuming that I have dredged up some obscure Puritan to set against the well-known and revered Matthew Henry. So, who is it that I have quoted?

His name is Thomas Manton, and he was a member of the Westminster Assembly. The quotes I have used above all come from his introduction to the 1648 edition of the Westminster Confession of Faith.

Today we have available a more developed understanding of how our worldview affects every aspect of our thinking. We also have available tools [that Manton never dreamed of!] to help us inculcate our children with a more consistent Biblical worldview.

Yet so many Christian parents, including those who profess Reformed doctrine, choose to "educate their children for the world and the flesh" in the public school system. I close by quoting again Thomas Manton's warning to those who do so:

This covenant-breaking with God, and betraying the souls of their children to the devil, must lie heavy on them here or hereafter.

This discussion continues here.