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William

Against the World - The Idolatry of the 1st Amendment

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Our founding fathers were wiser than this man by creating the first Amendment. Our founding fathers knew their history enough to know what happens when one religion dominates the voice of the people and government. Most of the original immigrants were running from religious persecution because their version of Christianity didn't fall under the sect of their homeland's religion. Originally Christians had to hide and meet in secret because another religion ruled. The first Amendment allows Christians to freely believe in their religion and spread it, it's why it's been the dominant religion of America until recently. Unbelievers of God won't believe even if Christianity is forced down their throat and in the end it's all the same, God will deal with them in the end. But at least we know who are believers and who are not in an open and free fashion. This allows us to find the lost and guide them to God. You can't force believe onto people. If America became a theocracy, like this guy is implying it should be. What sect of Christianity is he suggesting we follow? Catholicism? Baptist? Pentecostal? Presbyterian? Methodist? Church of Latter-day Saints? Church of England (Americanized of course)? We only need to look at Europe's history with the Catholic church to know how that would end up working. He completely misses the point that first Amendment is to prevent the wrong religion controlling our government and the people. The first Amendment allows us to freely leave a bad religion and find the correct one.

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Our founding fathers were wiser than this man by creating the first Amendment. Our founding fathers knew their history enough to know what happens when one religion dominates the voice of the people and government. Most of the original immigrants were running from religious persecution because their version of Christianity didn't fall under the sect of their homeland's religion. Originally Christians had to hide and meet in secret because another religion ruled. The first Amendment allows Christians to freely believe in their religion and spread it, it's why it's been the dominant religion of America until recently. Unbelievers of God won't believe even if Christianity is forced down their throat and in the end it's all the same, God will deal with them in the end. But at least we know who are believers and who are not in an open and free fashion. This allows us to find the lost and guide them to God. You can't force believe onto people. If America became a theocracy, like this guy is implying it should be. What sect of Christianity is he suggesting we follow? Catholicism? Baptist? Pentecostal? Presbyterian? Methodist? Church of Latter-day Saints? Church of England (Americanized of course)? We only need to look at Europe's history with the Catholic church to know how that would end up working. He completely misses the point that first Amendment is to prevent the wrong religion controlling our government and the people. The first Amendment allows us to freely leave a bad religion and find the correct one.

 

I don't think he missed any point at all. I agree with him. The point Mr. Johnson is making is that while many of our founding fathers were believers, this country is by no means in covenant with God to the point that we are a holy nation set apart for His glory. The United States, while blessed for many years, is just another one of the many nations in a long list of many nations that God will deal with as He has dealt with all the nations. Nations come and nations go. The reason this is important to note is that as a Christian, our first concern should always be the Kingdom of Heaven/God, not the earthly nation in which we find ourselves. This is one of those reasons I don’t like national flags in sanctuaries.

 

"Congress shall make no laws…prohibiting the free exercise thereof (i.e., of religion)…" Those words have been summed up by others as having reference to "freedom of religion", but a more appropriate summary is "freedom to practice idolatry".

 

They mean that America's lawmaking body is prevented from making laws prohibiting America's inhabitants from freely embracing whatever religious beliefs, philosophical beliefs, ideologies, weltanschuungs or opinions they desire, and from freely exercising the same.

 

When those words, however, are carefully examined in view of God's moral law, which commands mankind to perform his supreme responsibility to love, honor, obey and worship only the true God, and to abstain from idolatry, we see that the first amendment actually insolently violates God's moral law and brazenly gives America's inhabitants the deceptive "right" and "freedom" to honor, obey and worship whatever false gods they desire. It prevents congress from making laws against the inhabitants practicing agnosticism, freethinking and atheism, from making laws against them honoring, obeying and worshipping satan and from making laws against them even blaspheming the true God.

 

Alas reader, in America, it is illegal to commit many petty crimes, but it isn't a crime to practice the far more heinous crime of idolatry, or to disobey, dishonor or even blaspheme your Maker. The first amendment gives you the license to do so, with the guarantee of full protection of the law. Surely it's easy to perceive that the first amendment isn't from God.

 

Here's the excerpt of the video:

 

I really do not care how you spin it, the so-called founding Fathers of this country allowed for the open worship of false gods. But the God of the Bible was clear, in both the Old and New Testaments that He did not and would not tolerate the promulgation of such idolatry and paganism - either by individuals or the masses. Those who follow after false gods will be judged and that judgment would last forever.

 

If you are a Christian and the first and second commandments are not clear enough for you, consider the divinely inspired words of the prophet Isaiah found in chapter sixty verse twelve, "For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted."

 

Notice that this is not directed toward national Israel only, but all the nations without exception.

 

John Gill, the great Baptist preacher observed the same thing when he noted in his commentary, "[The country] That will not serve the Lord Christ, and worship him with his church and people; that will not be obedient to the laws and ordinances of his house; but appoint another head over them [be it the U.S. Constitution] and make other laws, and set up other ordinances, rejecting the authority of Christ, the rule of his word, and the order of his churches: yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted; even all the antichristian states the vials of God's wrath will be poured out upon them."

 

Christian, allow me to say this again! And please hear me on this. God's is NOT an American. He does NOT get all choked up when He hears the National Anthem. Tears do not stream from His eyes when a performer belts out God Bless America.

 

For you see, all these things are meaningless, a rotten stench before His throne, when they are made to false gods and not the true God who is the same yesterday, today and forever.

 

In the last campaign during the conventions Democrats wanted to take out any and all references to God. Some thought this was a travesty. I simply thought the Democrats were being more honest and forthright - they do not intend to hide the fact that they are anti-Christ.

 

Republicans, on the other hand, are wolves in sheep's clothing. They use the word God, but as the Late Dr. Francis Schaeffer noted, it is a word without content - devoid of its Biblical meaning. In short, Republicans are taking the name of the Lord God in vain and God will not hold the one guiltless who takes His name in vain.

 

God bless,

William

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I don't think he missed any point at all. I agree with him. The point Mr. Johnson is making is that while many of our founding fathers were believers, this country is by no means in covenant with God to the point that we are a holy nation set apart for His glory. The United States, while blessed for many years, is just another one of the many nations in a long list of many nations that God will deal with as He has dealt with all the nations. Nations come and nations go. The reason this is important to note is that as a Christian, our first concern should always be the Kingdom of Heaven/God, not the earthly nation in which we find ourselves. This is one of those reasons I don’t like national flags in sanctuaries.

 

"Congress shall make no laws…prohibiting the free exercise thereof (i.e., of religion)…" Those words have been summed up by others as having reference to "freedom of religion", but a more appropriate summary is "freedom to practice idolatry".

 

They mean that America's lawmaking body is prevented from making laws prohibiting America's inhabitants from freely embracing whatever religious beliefs, philosophical beliefs, ideologies, weltanschuungs or opinions they desire, and from freely exercising the same.

 

When those words, however, are carefully examined in view of God's moral law, which commands mankind to perform his supreme responsibility to love, honor, obey and worship only the true God, and to abstain from idolatry, we see that the first amendment actually insolently violates God's moral law and brazenly gives America's inhabitants the deceptive "right" and "freedom" to honor, obey and worship whatever false gods they desire. It prevents congress from making laws against the inhabitants practicing agnosticism, freethinking and atheism, from making laws against them honoring, obeying and worshipping satan and from making laws against them even blaspheming the true God.

 

Alas reader, in America, it is illegal to commit many petty crimes, but it isn't a crime to practice the far more heinous crime of idolatry, or to disobey, dishonor or even blaspheme your Maker. The first amendment gives you the license to do so, with the guarantee of full protection of the law. Surely it's easy to perceive that the first amendment isn't from God.

 

Here's the excerpt of the video:

 

 

 

God bless,

William

 

That still fails to fully show how America should be, which version of 'Christianity' are you suggesting we should follow? I grew up considering Catholicism wrong because it practiced through idolatry. Though I've met plenty of Catholics who would say otherwise. Nations do come and go so it's everyone's individual responsibility to make a covent to God not your country's government. If you give the government the right and ability to limit your religious freedom, what's to stop them from banning Christianity in favor of Buddhism or Islam? The only thing I want my government doing is to protect me from other countries and make reasonable laws, I don't need to live in a society where my government decides what I believe in. As for being proud of the country you live, is that really unreasonable. The Jews are proud that left Egypt and survived the Holocaust why can't we be proud of our history? Is that really idolatry?

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You're actually sidetracking the thread LeapofFaith,

 

I suggest you reread the Transcript from the video, because you're not addressing Johnson's points, he stated right from the beginning that he was not addressing the forefather's intentions. America may be the best man made system to accommodate a wide range of citizens, but that kind of thinking will not exists one day. The video had very little to do, actually, with American ideology. I don't care whether one is American, French, or from any other nation, what he stated applies to all Christians. The question that was brought to light was whether the First Amendment supports idolatry, and on that point I find it hard to believe that another Christian cannot agree with that statement. You're waving an American flag in a domain where it does not belong. As an American that has served his country, and a pretty patriotic one at that, I still consider my American identity and citizenship an after thought and secondary in relation to my Christian identity and Heavenly Citizenship.

 

I really do not care how you spin it, the so-called founding Fathers of this country allowed for the open worship of false gods. But the God of the Bible was clear, in both the Old and New Testaments that He did not and would not tolerate the promulgation of such idolatry and paganism - either by individuals or the masses. Those who follow after false gods will be judged and that judgment would last forever.

 

If you are a Christian and the first and second commandments are not clear enough for you, consider the divinely inspired words of the prophet Isaiah found in chapter sixty verse twelve, "For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted."

 

God bless,

William

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One of my favorite Old Testament kings was Jehu. Just sharing something with you, LeapofFaith, for your consideration, on how Democracy wasn't even an afterthought in Jehu's rule, but only what brought pleasure to God in His sight. "In His Sight" one of the things I most am fascinated with in the OT is how the kings were always in the light of God, and because they were in the light of God, the people feared them. The question today, if one were to entertain a Christian Theonomy is what laws exactly has the Government not only the right to enforce but the obligation to enforce? That type of question should open the door to a whole new world. Lemme share this, and from this Scripture, read the entire two Chapters on Jehu with what God said in mind. Quite a contrast from a Theocracy and a Democracy.

  • And the LORD said to Jehu, “Because you have done well in carrying out what is right in my eyes, and have done to the house of Ahab according to all that was in my heart, your sons of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel.”

Jehu Anointed King of Israel

 

9 Then Elisha the prophet called one of the sons of the prophets and said to him, “Tie up your garments, and take this flask of oil in your hand, and go to Ramoth-gilead. 2 And when you arrive, look there for Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat, son of Nimshi. And go in and have him rise from among his fellows, and lead him to an inner chamber. 3 Then take the flask of oil and pour it on his head and say, ‘Thus says the Lord, I anoint you king over Israel.’ Then open the door and flee; do not linger.”

 

4 So the young man, the servant of the prophet, went to Ramoth-gilead. 5 And when he came, behold, the commanders of the army were in council. And he said, “I have a word for you, O commander.” And Jehu said, “To which of us all?” And he said, “To you, O commander.” 6 So he arose and went into the house. And the young man poured the oil on his head, saying to him, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, I anoint you king over the people of the Lord, over Israel. 7 And you shall strike down the house of Ahab your master, so that I may avenge on Jezebel the blood of my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the Lord. 8 For the whole house of Ahab shall perish, and I will cut off from Ahab every male, bond or free, in Israel. 9 And I will make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah. 10 And the dogs shall eat Jezebel in the territory of Jezreel, and none shall bury her.” Then he opened the door and fled.

 

11 When Jehu came out to the servants of his master, they said to him, “Is all well? Why did this mad fellow come to you?” And he said to them, “You know the fellow and his talk.” 12 And they said, “That is not true; tell us now.” And he said, “Thus and so he spoke to me, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord, I anoint you king over Israel.’” 13 Then in haste every man of them took his garment and put it under him on the bare[a] steps, and they blew the trumpet and proclaimed, “Jehu is king.”

 

Jehu Assassinates Joram and Ahaziah

 

 

14 Thus Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat the son of Nimshi conspired against Joram. (Now Joram with all Israel had been on guard at Ramoth-gilead against Hazael king of Syria, 15 but King Joram had returned to be healed in Jezreel of the wounds that the Syrians had given him, when he fought with Hazael king of Syria.) So Jehu said, “If this is your decision, then let no one slip out of the city to go and tell the news in Jezreel.” 16 Then Jehu mounted his chariot and went to Jezreel, for Joram lay there. And Ahaziah king of Judah had come down to visit Joram.

 

17 Now the watchman was standing on the tower in Jezreel, and he saw the company of Jehu as he came and said, “I see a company.” And Joram said, “Take a horseman and send to meet them, and let him say, ‘Is it peace?’” 18 So a man on horseback went to meet him and said, “Thus says the king, ‘Is it peace?’” And Jehu said, “What do you have to do with peace? Turn around and ride behind me.” And the watchman reported, saying, “The messenger reached them, but he is not coming back.” 19 Then he sent out a second horseman, who came to them and said, “Thus the king has said, ‘Is it peace?’” And Jehu answered, “What do you have to do with peace? Turn around and ride behind me.” 20 Again the watchman reported, “He reached them, but he is not coming back. And the driving is like the driving of Jehu the son of Nimshi, for he drives furiously.”

 

21 Joram said, “Make ready.” And they made ready his chariot. Then Joram king of Israel and Ahaziah king of Judah set out, each in his chariot, and went to meet Jehu, and met him at the property of Naboth the Jezreelite. 22 And when Joram saw Jehu, he said, “Is it peace, Jehu?” He answered, “What peace can there be, so long as the whorings and the sorceries of your mother Jezebel are so many?” 23 Then Joram reined about and fled, saying to Ahaziah, “Treachery, O Ahaziah!” 24 And Jehu drew his bow with his full strength, and shot Joram between the shoulders, so that the arrow pierced his heart, and he sank in his chariot. 25 Jehu said to Bidkar his aide, “Take him up and throw him on the plot of ground belonging to Naboth the Jezreelite. For remember, when you and I rode side by side behind Ahab his father, how the Lord made this pronouncement against him: 26 ‘As surely as I saw yesterday the blood of Naboth and the blood of his sons—declares the Lord—I will repay you on this plot of ground.’ Now therefore take him up and throw him on the plot of ground, in accordance with the word of the Lord.”

 

27 When Ahaziah the king of Judah saw this, he fled in the direction of Beth-haggan. And Jehu pursued him and said, “Shoot him also.” And they shot him[b] in the chariot at the ascent of Gur, which is by Ibleam. And he fled to Megiddo and died there. 28 His servants carried him in a chariot to Jerusalem, and buried him in his tomb with his fathers in the city of David.

 

29 In the eleventh year of Joram the son of Ahab, Ahaziah began to reign over Judah.

 

Jehu Executes Jezebel

 

 

30 When Jehu came to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it. And she painted her eyes and adorned her head and looked out of the window. 31 And as Jehu entered the gate, she said, “Is it peace, you Zimri, murderer of your master?” 32 And he lifted up his face to the window and said, “Who is on my side? Who?” Two or three eunuchs looked out at him. 33 He said, “Throw her down.” So they threw her down. And some of her blood spattered on the wall and on the horses, and they trampled on her. 34 Then he went in and ate and drank. And he said, “See now to this cursed woman and bury her, for she is a king's daughter.” 35 But when they went to bury her, they found no more of her than the skull and the feet and the palms of her hands. 36 When they came back and told him, he said, “This is the word of the Lord, which he spoke by his servant Elijah the Tishbite: ‘In the territory of Jezreel the dogs shall eat the flesh of Jezebel, 37 and the corpse of Jezebel shall be as dung on the face of the field in the territory of Jezreel, so that no one can say, This is Jezebel.’”

 

Jehu Slaughters Ahab's Descendants

 

10 Now Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria. So Jehu wrote letters and sent them to Samaria, to the rulers of the city,[a] to the elders, and to the guardians of the sons[b] of Ahab, saying, 2 “Now then, as soon as this letter comes to you, seeing your master's sons are with you, and there are with you chariots and horses, fortified cities also, and weapons, 3 select the best and fittest of your master's sons and set him on his father's throne and fight for your master's house.” 4 But they were exceedingly afraid and said, “Behold, the two kings could not stand before him. How then can we stand?” 5 So he who was over the palace, and he who was over the city, together with the elders and the guardians, sent to Jehu, saying, “We are your servants, and we will do all that you tell us. We will not make anyone king. Do whatever is good in your eyes.” 6 Then he wrote to them a second letter, saying, “If you are on my side, and if you are ready to obey me, take the heads of your master's sons and come to me at Jezreel tomorrow at this time.” Now the king's sons, seventy persons, were with the great men of the city, who were bringing them up. 7 And as soon as the letter came to them, they took the king's sons and slaughtered them, seventy persons, and put their heads in baskets and sent them to him at Jezreel. 8 When the messenger came and told him, “They have brought the heads of the king's sons,” he said, “Lay them in two heaps at the entrance of the gate until the morning.” 9 Then in the morning, when he went out, he stood and said to all the people, “You are innocent. It was I who conspired against my master and killed him, but who struck down all these? 10 Know then that there shall fall to the earth nothing of the word of the Lord, which the Lord spoke concerning the house of Ahab, for the Lord has done what he said by his servant Elijah.” 11 So Jehu struck down all who remained of the house of Ahab in Jezreel, all his great men and his close friends and his priests, until he left him none remaining.

 

12 Then he set out and went to Samaria. On the way, when he was at Beth-eked of the Shepherds, 13 Jehu met the relatives of Ahaziah king of Judah, and he said, “Who are you?” And they answered, “We are the relatives of Ahaziah, and we came down to visit the royal princes and the sons of the queen mother.” 14 He said, “Take them alive.” And they took them alive and slaughtered them at the pit of Beth-eked, forty-two persons, and he spared none of them.

 

15 And when he departed from there, he met Jehonadab the son of Rechab coming to meet him. And he greeted him and said to him, “Is your heart true to my heart as mine is to yours?” And Jehonadab answered, “It is.” Jehu said,[c] “If it is, give me your hand.” So he gave him his hand. And Jehu took him up with him into the chariot. 16 And he said, “Come with me, and see my zeal for the Lord.” So he[d] had him ride in his chariot. 17 And when he came to Samaria, he struck down all who remained to Ahab in Samaria, till he had wiped them out, according to the word of the Lord that he spoke to Elijah.

 

Jehu Strikes Down the Prophets of Baal

 

 

18 Then Jehu assembled all the people and said to them, “Ahab served Baal a little, but Jehu will serve him much. 19 Now therefore call to me all the prophets of Baal, all his worshipers and all his priests. Let none be missing, for I have a great sacrifice to offer to Baal. Whoever is missing shall not live.” But Jehu did it with cunning in order to destroy the worshipers of Baal. 20 And Jehu ordered, “Sanctify a solemn assembly for Baal.” So they proclaimed it. 21 And Jehu sent throughout all Israel, and all the worshipers of Baal came, so that there was not a man left who did not come. And they entered the house of Baal, and the house of Baal was filled from one end to the other. 22 He said to him who was in charge of the wardrobe, “Bring out the vestments for all the worshipers of Baal.” So he brought out the vestments for them. 23 Then Jehu went into the house of Baal with Jehonadab the son of Rechab, and he said to the worshipers of Baal, “Search, and see that there is no servant of the Lord here among you, but only the worshipers of Baal.” 24 Then they[e] went in to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings.

 

Now Jehu had stationed eighty men outside and said, “The man who allows any of those whom I give into your hands to escape shall forfeit his life.” 25 So as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, Jehu said to the guard and to the officers, “Go in and strike them down; let not a man escape.” So when they put them to the sword, the guard and the officers cast them out and went into the inner room of the house of Baal, 26 and they brought out the pillar that was in the house of Baal and burned it. 27 And they demolished the pillar of Baal, and demolished the house of Baal, and made it a latrine to this day.

 

Jehu Reigns in Israel

 

 

28 Thus Jehu wiped out Baal from Israel. 29 But Jehu did not turn aside from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin—that is, the golden calves that were in Bethel and in Dan. 30 And the Lord said to Jehu, “Because you have done well in carrying out what is right in my eyes, and have done to the house of Ahab according to all that was in my heart, your sons of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel.” 31 But Jehu was not careful to walk in the law of the Lord, the God of Israel, with all his heart. He did not turn from the sins of Jeroboam, which he made Israel to sin.

 

32 In those days the Lord began to cut off parts of Israel. Hazael defeated them throughout the territory of Israel: 33 from the Jordan eastward, all the land of Gilead, the Gadites, and the Reubenites, and the Manassites, from Aroer, which is by the Valley of the Arnon, that is, Gilead and Bashan. 34 Now the rest of the acts of Jehu and all that he did, and all his might, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel? 35 So Jehu slept with his fathers, and they buried him in Samaria. And Jehoahaz his son reigned in his place. 36 The time that Jehu reigned over Israel in Samaria was twenty-eight years.

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As evidence, Wolf notes that students today are demonstrating “diminishing familiarity with conceptually demanding prose.” Wolf sees numerous dangers here: shrinking attention spans that preclude “deep reading” (her term for focused, thoughtful reading), which in turn leads to failure to gain the empathy for others that reading engenders and the kind of personal store of knowledge that enables inference, deduction, and analogical thinking. Christians might perceive an overarching danger: a reduction in our ability to grasp God’s truth through deep reading of his Word. Clearly God created us with the capacity to learn the complex process of reading so that we might benefit from his written revelation, the Bible. But the Word of God is a challenging book, a prime example of “conceptually demanding prose” that requires attentive, reflective reading. Are we willing to let our digital pottage make us poorer students of this treasure? Reader Recommendations What is to be done? Wolf’s recommendation isn’t simply that young readers be denied exposure to digital devices—indeed, she is surprisingly open to their use—but that such exposure be meted out in careful doses. She urges parents of children up to age 5 to read to them often, giving them little access to digital devices. “Human interaction and physical interaction with books and print are the best entry into the world of oral and written language and internalized knowledge, the building blocks of the later reading circuit,” she writes. As for children 5 to 10 years of age, Wolf wants them develop a “biliterate brain” by learning in both print and digital mediums. Physical books are her preferred tool for reading instruction, while digital devices might be used to teach coding, programming, and creative skills such as graphic arts and musical composition. In other words, she envisions a two-track learning approach, with the understanding that students can safely combine print and digital media only when their mental reading circuits are firmly established around fourth grade. Thereafter, the goal is to prevent those circuits from atrophying. Digital Wisdom Whether many schools would agree to adopt such an approach, there is wisdom here for Christian parents, who must always be their children’s prime educators. If you’re a parent, read the Bible to your children from an early age, along with age-appropriate Bible storybooks and well-written (and well-illustrated) children’s books. As they grow, introduce them to classic literary works. Let them hear both biblical truth and also beautiful language. Through the exhausting early years of child-rearing, fight the terrible temptation to let a smartphone or tablet serve as a babysitter, much as parents a generation ago had to resist the siren song of TV. Keep books in your home for this purpose, whether owned or borrowed from the local library. Don’t let down your guard as your children acquire the ability to read for themselves. Help them find books that appeal to their expanding interests. When the time is right, these might include eBooks, but as much as possible help them use digital devices as tools for specific purposes, not as toys for relieving boredom. Hopefully by these means, we can raise up children who will be able to read and appreciate challenging texts, especially the Scriptures, which unfold the gospel of salvation through Christ. Meanwhile, we adults will do well to guard our own minds from the degenerative effects of the digital world. If Wolf is right—and her research seems sound and well-attested—such digital discipline is crucial for Christians who want to grow in their knowledge of God and his truth. View the full article

      in Christian Current Events

    • Evangelism Must Explain What’s Wrong with the World

      People around us today often scoff at the notion of sin. Our world has new names for what ails us: poor self-esteem, neurosis, addiction, anxiety, psychological wounding, and so forth. It isn’t that these issues aren’t a reality; it’s that such analysis doesn’t go deep enough to reveal the root cause. Yet for all the protest that sin is an old-fashioned, outdated concept, nearly everyone agrees that something has gone terribly wrong and must be made right. We see the wrong in world wars, racism, genocides, terrorism, human trafficking, exploitation of children—and in our own personal battles evidenced in broken relationships, anger, addictions, and on and on. What happened that caused our planet to go from paradise to our present brokenness? And how can this explanation be good news for our unbelieving neighbors? First Rebellion In Genesis 3, we discover that, though Adam and Eve were created in God’s image, they rejected God’s rule and chose to be self-ruled when they disobeyed God’s command not to eat the fruit of that tree. As a result, sin entered the human race: there’s now no area of human personhood not infected by sin—even though we still reflect, however dimly, the image of God in which each human being is made. But the perfection God had established was broken, and human beings have been in the grip of sin ever since, as Genesis 4–11 so chillingly describes. Sin is such an all-inclusive reality that Paul says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Like Adam and Eve, all humans have chosen self-rule instead of God-rule. That means that everything we see around us and in us that’s so tragically wrong—natural disasters, famine, genocides, and all forms of personal brokenness—can be traced back to the time when humans first rebelled against God. Into that garden came the evil Serpent, whom Revelation identifies as “that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan” (Rev. 20:2). The Bible reveals the reality of Satan and other supernatural beings who have rebelled against God and who do their best to tempt human beings to sin. Although the Bible reveals various forms of evil—such as corporate, systemic evil or Satan and his demons—the Bible is clear that at the heart of sin is personal rebellion against God. Wages of Sin Over dinner, a skeptic psychiatrist friend described the typical problems that drive people to seek her help. Then she said, “But you’re a Christian, so you think the problem is that we’re all sinners!” I asked what she thought the biblical understanding of sin was, and she answered, “Oh, something along the lines of drugs, sex, and rock ’n roll?” What my friend didn’t grasp is that from the biblical perspective, sin at its core isn’t just misdeeds. The Bible locates sin at the very center of human personality. Sin could be described as having a God-complex: we get ourselves and God mixed up! We live as if we’re in charge. Sin is actually twofold: it’s the deliberate refusal to trust and worship God as God, and it’s the prideful claim to insist on the right to run our lives. Sin is both unbelief and idolatry, as we try to create meaning and identity by depending on things other than God. Biblically speaking, sin is always against God. That’s why we can’t understand sin’s true meaning without understanding that sin, first and foremost, is rebellion against a righteous God. What was the final outcome of human disobedience to God? When Adam and Eve turned away from God in rebellion, God declared to them his righteous judgment, just as he had promised. Suffering and death fell on the human race. The consequence of Adam and Eve’s rebellion was disastrous: the human race became catastrophically separated from the eternal love of God. The perfect trust and warm, intimate friendship they had enjoyed with God and with each other were destroyed; they lived instead under his judgment of death. God’s presence was removed and human beings experienced a spiritual separation from God they had never known. The predicament of fallen humanity is so serious, so grave, and so desperately wrong from within and without, that it’s beyond human ability to fix. Think about it: Can fallen human beings change the intrinsic structure of our sinful nature and remake our natures from the inside? Can we defeat Satan? Do we have the power to conquer death? Clearly we do not! Who then has the power to deliver and rescue us? Who can take what is so terribly wrong and make it right? Obviously, only a power that is stronger than ourselves can help us overcome ourselves. Nothing short of divine intervention can rectify our situation. Hope for the Broken We glimpse this divine intervention even in the garden of Eden. Although God banished Adam and Eve from the garden, he didn’t stop loving them, as we see when he tenderly made them better clothes than what they’d made for themselves, to protect them once they were outside the garden. Most important, in Genesis 3:14–15, God declares war on the serpent (Satan) and says that the offspring of the woman will crush the serpent’s head. The whole rest of the Old Testament points toward the coming of that promised offspring who would finally defeat Satan: Jesus the Savior, born of a woman named Mary. God will not allow the Enemy’s plan to harm his plan. This is the first promise of the gospel. The Bible reveals that before the beginning of time and the human revolt, God had already decided on his plan of how to rescue the planet that had turned from him (Titus 1:2; Eph. 3:11). He would send a Redeemer, Christ Jesus the divine Son of God, who would endure suffering and death in order to bring sinners back to God. Even in human rebellion, we see the promise of God’s grace. The good news of the gospel is that sin and judgment weren’t the end of the story! Though God owed us nothing, in his mercy and grace he sent his divine Son from heaven on a rescue mission to redeem a people for himself and to restore everything under Christ—“to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ” (Eph. 1:10). Jesus now commands all believers to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19). When we see the beauty and glory of the gospel, the victory won by the Son of God on our behalf and in our place, and the cosmic significance of all that Christ has accomplished, how can we possibly remain silent and keep this glorious news to ourselves? View the full article

      in Christian Current Events

    • Passing Through the Wilderness of this World

      by John Newton Dear Sir,
      I make no doubt but you have at times had pleasing reflections upon that promise made to the Israelites, "Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands." Deuteronomy 8:2 They were then in the wilderness, surrounded with difficulties, which were greatly aggravated by their own distrust and perverseness. They had experienced a variety of bitter dispensations, the design of which they could not as yet understand. They frequently lost sight of God's gracious purposes in their favor, and were much discouraged by reason of the difficulty of the way. To compose and animate their minds, Moses here suggests to them, that there was a future happy time drawing near, when their journey and warfare would be finished; that they would soon be put in possession of the promised land, and have rest from all their fears and troubles; and then it would give them pleasure to look back upon what they now found so uneasy to bear: "Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands." View the full article

      in Soteriology and Reformation Theology

    • Juan Sanchez on Image, Identity, and Idolatry

      The first thing we learn about who we are in Genesis 1 is that we are made in the image of God. But what does that mean? What does that say about our purpose in this world? How was that affected in the fall? And what difference does Jesus make? I posed these questions along with many others to Juan Sánchez, TGC Council member and pastor of High Pointe Baptist Church in Austin, Texas. Over the course of our conversation we traced the Bible’s message about the image of God from Genesis, through the history of Israel, to the person and work of Christ, and into the future when the image of God in us will be fully restored. You can listen to our conversation here. Recommended Resources: Created in God’s Image by Anthony Hoekema In His Image: 10 Ways God Calls Us to Reflect His Character by Jen Wilkin Identity and Idolatry: The Image of God and Its Inversion by Richard Lints Made for More: An Invitation to Live in God’s Image by Hannah Anderson The Doctrine of Humanity (Contours of Christian Theology) by Charles Sherlock View the full article

      in Christian Current Events

    • 5 Children Killed in Fiery Church Van Crash While Heading to Disney World

      Tragedy struck a Louisiana town this weekend when several vehicles struck a Louisiana church van headed to Disney World, killing 5 of its passengers, all of whom were children. View the full article

      in Christian Current Events

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