Sunday, September 18, 2011
Many professing Christians like to hold God to His promises – and we are right in doing so. He is good and He is faithful to keep His Word. What many however, fail to realize is that not all of God’s promises are pleasant; and a particular promise is one we daily strive to avoid at all cost. The promise of suffering. God’s Word to us promises that we will suffer for His sake if we belong to Him. We the redeemed, are not only saved from the wrath of God, but He has saved us to service to Him – and that will include suffering because of our allegiance to Him and in order to make Him known.
“For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake – Philippians 1:29
What in the world does this mean when God’s Word tells us that for the sake of Christ, those who believe will suffer? And if it is true that all of life is worship – we either worship God or worship an idol – how does suffering become worship to God? Tough stuff!
The children of God have a two-fold problem with the notion of suffering as worship:
1.) We aren’t warned that suffering is a promise and will come,
2.) We aren’t taught that this suffering is ordained (brought on) by our utterly sovereign, loving God for personal good - and good beyond ourselves.
Champion and martyr for Christ’s sake, Dietrich Bonhoeffer aptly stated this essential gospel-truth, “When Christ calls a man, He bids him ‘Come and die’.” How the sovereignty of God intertwines with the sin and suffering of man is one of the most difficult dilemmas in our day, but the understanding of the absolute sovereignty of God is essential in suffering as worship to God. If there be one rogue molecule in the whole of existence that is outside of the providence and control of God, then God is not Who He says He is. All knowing. All powerful. Unchanging. Ever present. If He is not Who He says He is, then He is not a god worthy of allegiance and worship, for He would be a liar.
The Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms defines ‘worship’ as “The service of praise, adoration, thanksgiving, and petition directed toward God through action and attitude. Christian worship is Trinitarian in form as praise is offered to God through Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
“By the power of the Holy Spirit” is key – for without His indwelling and enabling, this worship of our great God is impossible. This is grace. We are only able to suffer as worship unto God by the Holy Spirit’s enabling power and grace. For the redeemed, God’s grace is sufficient in our weakness.
This sweet, God-given, enabling grace in Christian suffering is why Pastors John Piper and Matt Chandler and Mike Pohlman can boldly exhort us to “not waste our cancer” but rather to use it as a platform and an opportunity to tell people about our great God who is worthy of all praise and honor – even in suffering much. In this grace, the oncology department becomes the field to plant and nourish the gospel seed. God is the gospel.
This is why John Farese can be so content and purposeful as he lays in his bed with a crippling and utterly debilitating disease all the while testifying and affirming the Psalmist’s truth, “Those who fear You shall see me and rejoice, because I have hoped in Your Word. I know, O LORD, that Your rules are righteous, and that in faithfulness You have afflicted me. Let Your steadfast love comfort me according to Your promise to Your servant. – Psalm 119:74-76 ESV
This is why Horatio Spafford could pen the lyrics to one of our most treasured hymns after learning of the death of his four daughters as they crossed the Atlantic with their mother and proclaim to all It Is Well With My Soul.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV
For Christians, all of our life is a platform and an opportunity to proclaim the worth and beauty and treasure of Christ. There is purpose to our life – it is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever – to reflect Him as glorious and worthy even in our suffering so others might know Him and make much of Him and have joy.
That His Name May Be Exalted Among The Nations ~
Thursday, June 9, 2011
"For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another."
~ Paul to the Roman Christians ~
We have what we have by the mercy and grace of God and not any of our own doing. When we remember this, we can be humble .... When we realize that not only are we undeserving of His goodness toward us, but truly ill-deserving of His goodness toward us, we can't help but be humble. This is true humility; all else is pride.
One thing I left off from our Monday evening follow up:
Encouragement for summer reading!
With all the discussion Monday night about theology - especially pertaining to the theology of salvation - called soteriology (so-teary-ology) - I wanted to point you toward some resources for further study. I am also sending this e-mail to my Sister, Erin, since she is studying this as well. I will have integrity and not only recommend resources that support my particular soteriological view. (I detest that kind of 'help'.) I'm a believer in studying all the orthodox views in order to know what you believe and why you believe it. You can't possibly have a ready answer to the hope within you if you are willfully ignorant of other orthodox stands ..... Facts are, there are differing 'orthodox' stands. We are seeing through the glass dimly. (I Cor. 13:12)
Remember, God calls us to be a work(wo)man approved in the study and proclaiming of His Word. (2 Tim. 2:15) This requires our effort. Good news is - this is God's will for you. If you are alive in Him and His Spirit is within you, He will grow you in this. God will grant the desire and He will grant the effort and He will grant the greater understanding. He is GOOD that way! Do not let the enemy discourage you. You may feel behind, but God is outside of time. He will honor your efforts to learn more about Him. He can restore what the locust have eaten and grow you exponentially. (Joel 2:25) I've seen it!
You need to know that concerning our doctrine of soteriology, the battle has been on since the early Church fathers - because Truth concerning God and man matters:
TWO ANCIENT VIEWS ON RECORD - View of Man
Augustine - Man inherited fallen sin nature from Adam, unable to do anything to aide in being made alive in Christ - God must provide regeneration. We sin because we're sinners. We are incapable of not sinning. (today called the Reformed/Calvinist view)
Pelagian - Man did not inherit fallen sin nature from Adam, able to do what it takes to be 'right' with God. We're sinners because we sin. One is capable of not sinning. (today called Pelagian view - very few people are fully this position)
VIEWS ON RECORD MEDIEVAL PERIOD
Luther - Man's will is in bondage to sin. (monergistic view)
Erasmus - Man's will is free from the bondage of sin. (synergistic/semi-Pelagian view)
Helpful mini-lesson on YouTube.
TWO VIEWS LATER ON
Calvin - Monergistic view of God's work in regeneration and keeping of those saved.
Arminius - Synergistic view of the work of salvation between God and man.
(By the way, the website: http://www.gotquestions.org/ is a very good resource and I refer to it often even though I disagree with some points from their statement of faith. I provide this website to maintain the personal conviction of not 'tossing out the baby with the bathwater." The website link below is unapologetically monergistic in conviction. Being that I am now a 'monergist', I rely on it quite a lot.)
(There are people who decry, "Why not just learn from the bible?! Shouldn't we just rely on the Word and not read men." This sounds pious and sound, but it isn't. To this, I say - "yes and no". Yes - we should be Bereans in all things and reconcile Scripture with Scripture for a biblically sound understanding BUT .... No - God gave His church teachers and ministers of the Word. If you are of the notion that we should not learn from men the things of God, then to be consistent in your stated ethic, you should refuse to attend church and listen to a preacher or listen to a teacher. This of course is absurd, for God gave us Preachers and teachers for edification. This 'I'm a biblicist' position is a cop-out. That is why we must always be Bereans, for they were recognized for readily and eagerly listening to what Paul was teaching, but they confirmed it through the Word.)
Debating Calvinism: Five Points - Two Views by Dave Hunt and James White
(Product Description) A centuries-old belief system is put to the test as two prominent authors examine and debate the subject of Calvinism from opposing viewpoints. James White, author of The Potter's Freedom, takes the Calvinist position. Dave Hunt, author of What Love Is This, opposes him. The exchange is lively and at times intense as these two articulate men wrestle over what the Scriptures tell us about God's sovereignty and man's free will. This thought-provoking, challenging book provides potent responses to the most frequently asked questions about Calvinism.
I like this book because two prominent 'theologians' from their particular view are represented in one tidy little book.
Don't forget about Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology - Part 5 is especially helpful. You can find the section on salvation in a stand alone book titled Making Sense of Salvation.
I just found a DVD resource by Grudem on systematic theology - oh, how I'm wanting this!
Remember, I really like Grudem because he plainly states what 'take' he believes to be true to the whole counsel of the Word, but he doesn't stop there. He has integrity by teaching all the orthodox views within systematic theology. He's not a pitch-man! That is worthy of respect.
For more one-sided takes on soteriology, consider:
Why I am Not a Calvinist
Why I am Not an Arminian
That said, one of the best books I've read on the Reformed (Calvinist) theology of soteriology is by RC Sproul titled Chosen By God. It is a small but meaty book. (I really appreciate the fact that Sproul points out that BOTH Calvinism and Arminianism LIMIT the ATONEMENT. One does so in it's application and the other does so in it's power. Amen!)
I love, love, love Paul Washer - his Pastoral heart is so evident with this young man. Watch it. Of course, Paul Washer believes a monergistic view of God and man and of salvation, but alerting you to this, you can hear how he answers this man's very common questions according to the doctrines of sovereign grace.
Loved Ones, this is beautiful stuff. I know what I believe and why I believe it. I have precious close friends who disagree with me. We can and do have vigorous theological discussions - and that is okay. We shouldn't be scared of having passion and vigor for what we believe to be the gospel-truth. We are not to be ashamed of the gospel. WE ARE STILL FRIENDS! We are still Sisters! We still enjoy biblical fellowship.
I love you!
Shine bright for Him! Flourish this summer for His Kingdom!
That His Name May be Revered Among the Nations ~
“I am. I can. I ought. I will." ~ Charlotte Mason
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
No matter where your child attends school, both the content and the context of that schooling is discipling your child. Parents who elect home-based, parent directed schooling are in greater control of both the content and the context - we have an easier time screening and selecting truth-filled curriculum, and we can scrutinize and hand-pick the teachers we enlist to help us on our journey. Christian parents who outsource their children to institutional schooling - whether that be government schooling, private schooling, or even Christian schooling - must be evermore vigilant in tearing down those things that set themselves up against the knowledge of God and evermore diligent to root their children in Truth. They have a harder job! A Christian-thinking education for our children is not optional - says God. We parents have been given a sacred stewardship of our children to raise them for His glory, and we only have a limited amount of time to do it and the deck of cultural and ecclesiastical decay is stacked against us.
Q1: What is the chief end of man?
Q2: The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
Here, the word glorify does not equate 'making much of', although that is our privilege and delight, but rather the word 'glory' here means to reflect or to mirror. Like the moon, having no light of it's own, it shines bright in the night sky by simply reflecting it's light source - our sun. We benefit from this reflecting of the sun's light by illuminating our night sky. Likewise, we glorify God by mirroring Him and reflecting Him to the world - His attributes, His nature, His will. John Piper puts it this way, "'Glorify' does not mean make glorious. It means [to] reflect or display as glorious." When we glorify Him rightly, we are a benefit to this world in our applying His Truths to every sphere of our living - we shine forth His majesty and rightful reign in the darkness.
Facts are, most professing Christians - profess Him with their mouth, but deny Him in their hearts and their minds and actions. What shapes your thinking, shapes your living! It's not sufficient to have a little "Jesus" sprinkled on a compromised lesson or to know even heaps of bible trivia. When we don't think God's thoughts after Him concerning our family life, church life, community life, politics, economics and finances, entertainment, vocation, education, history, the arts, conduct and ethics, etc - we obscure His nature and majesty and infinite worth to a world in desperate need of Him, and provide grounds for God-directed scorn and mockery. This issue is not about you. This issue is not about your child. This is a Great Commandment and Great Commission issue (Luke 10:26-28, Matthew 28:16-20). The issue is the glory of God!
“There are a several troubling patterns to take notice. First, although most Americans consider themselves to be Christian and say they know the content of the Bible, less than one out of ten Americans demonstrate such knowledge through their actions. Second, the generational pattern suggests that parents are not focused on guiding their children to have a biblical worldview. One of the challenges for parents, though, is that you cannot give what you do not have, and most parents do not possess such a perspective on life. That raises a third challenge, which relates to the job that Christian churches, schools and parachurch ministries are doing in Christian education. Finally, even though a central element of being a Christian is to embrace basic biblical principles and incorporate them into one’s worldview, there has been no change in the percentage of adults or even born again adults in the past 13 years regarding the possession of a biblical worldview.”
~ The Barna Group ~
(Click to read full report.)
"Secular Education is the most powerful ally of Humanism [Atheism], and every American public school is a school of Humanism. What can the Theistic Sunday Schools, meeting for an hour once a week, and teaching only a fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of a five-day program of humanistic teaching?"
- Charles Francis Potter, Humanism: A New Religion, p. 128
Friday, September 17, 2010
~ Leonard Ravenhill ~
Why Revival Tarries
Sisters in Battle,
One of the greatest compliments - and challenges - spoken over me was by my children several years ago. You see, we have always loved movies - battle movies in particular. Among our favorites is the Lord of the Rings trilogy. These films are rich in spiritual allegory and I believe they are a gift to the Bride to remind her of her many foes and her call to defend, liberate, and to advance - that ours is battle, not respite.
The compliment? The challenge? That I remind them of the warrior princess of Rohan, Lady Eowyn. Her highest scene - protecting the injured King of Rohan from the witch king and his nazgul. Facing great terror. Cutting off the dragon's advancing head. Killing the witch king as no man could. (Scene) Indignant, the witch king seized her throat hissing, "No man can kill me!" At the same time the little hobbit who, all but Lady Eowyn believed had no business being in battle thrust his dagger into the witch king's leg, compelling the evil one to let go of Eowyn's throat. Now freed from his grip, she ripped off her helmet to reveal the powerful truth hidden behind the armor - and defiantly announced, "I am no man!" as she thrust her sword through his helmet killing the beast.
This battle was for the little hobbit.
This battle was for Lady Eowyn.
My sons paid me that compliment as they gave me a trading card of Eowyn. A prized possession from their collection. I keep this card my wallet - to remind me of who I've been crafted and called to be. A warrior princess of the Great King and His Kingdom. The picture of the Christian life is likened to the soldier in battle. Do we see ourselves as soldiers in battle?
Ours is not the time for the summer soldier and sunshine patriot, for the battle for Truth and liberty is fierce in our land, in our day. We must not deny. We must not shrink back. We must be people of emergency. So much is riding on it....
I pray you are invigorated and animated by what you have read so far in Let Us Highly Resolve and When A Nation Forgets God. One is the why; the other the how. Are these books stirring you? Are you getting a fire in your belly?
As you know, I am the kind of person who reads several books at once. I have books everywhere I frequent so I can make the most of my time - powder room, master bath, night stand, coffee table, car, purse. Presently, I'm reading our books for September as well as gift book from our own Katy Kelton titled Why Revival Tarries by Leonard Ravenhill. I find it hard to read this silently and find myself many times wanting to jump up and shout with joy in affirmation. A powerful read! A needful read! Yesterday, it's message broke me to tears and drove me fervent prayer. THANK YOU KATY!
I want to share some of this treasure with you. From the Foreword:
"Great industrial concerns have in their employ men who are needed only when there is a break-down somewhere. When something goes wrong with the machinery, thees men spring into action to locate and remove the trouble and get the machinery rolling again.
For these men a smoothly operating system has no interest. They are specialists concerned with trouble and how to find it and correct it.
In the kingdom of God things are not too different. God has always had His specialists whose chief concern has been the moral breakdown, the decline in the spiritual health of the nation or the church. Such men were Elijah, Jeremiah, Malachi, and others of their kind who appeared at critical moments in history to reprove, rebuke, and exhort in the name of God and righteousness.
A thousand or ten thousand ordinary priests or pastors or teachers could labor quietly almost unnoticed while the spiritual life of Israel or the church was normal. But let the people of God go astray from the paths of truth, and immediately the specialist appeared almost out of nowhere. His instinct for trouble brought him to the help of the Lord and of Israel.
Such a man was likely to be drastic, radical, possibly at time violent, and the curious crowd that gathered to watch him work soon branded him as extreme, fanatical, negative. And in a sense they were right. He was single-minded, severe, fearless, and these were the qualities the circumstances demanded. He shocked some, frightened others, and alienated not a few, but he knew who had called him and what he was sent to do. His ministry was geared to the emergency....
.... Those who know Leonard Ravenhill will recognize in him the religious specialist, the man sent from God not to carry on the conventional work of the church, but to beard the priests of Baal on their own mountaintop, to shame the careless priest at the alter, to face the false prophet and warm the people who are being led astray by him.
Such a man as this is not an easy companion. The professional evangelist who leaves the wrought-up meeting as soon as it is over to hie him to the most expensive restaurant to feast and crack jokes with his retainers will find this man something of an embarrassment, for he cannot turn off the burden of the Holy Ghost as one would turn off a faucet. He insists upon being a Christian all the time, everywhere; and again, that marks him out as different...." (A.W. Tozer)
That was just the Foreword.
Leonard was born to godly parents. His mother laid hands on her two-hour-newborn infant and asked that God make him a preacher or not let him live. How God honored her request! The boldness of a mother! May there be found some mother Ravenhill in us as we raise and disciple our children.
Some Leonard Ravenhill quotable quotes:
I'm astounded, bewildered, confused, baffled when people tell me there are 75 million people in America that are filled with the Holy Ghost and we're the most rotten nation on earth.
Someone asked me, "Do you pray for the dead?" I said, "No, I preach to them!" I think every pew in every church is death row. Think about that! They're dead! They sing about God; they talk about God, but they're dead! They have no living relationship (with God).
I'm sick and tired of (only) reading about church history; let's make (some) by the grace of God!
I'm embarrassed to be a part of the (so-called) church of Jesus Christ today because I believe it's an embarrassment to a Holy God!
I read through Hebrews 11. These staggering men and women through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtain the promises, stopped the lions; women received their dead raised to life again. All the devilish things (they endured) and not one ever had a Bible! Well, in God's Name, (what) are you and I going to do when we stand before Him?! When I get there, I'll have to face up to having the whole revelation of God. Finney didn't have a bigger Bible; Wesley didn't have a bigger Bible, but somehow they got nearer to the heart of God. They got a revelation from God, they got convictions of the Spirit and they laid their lives on the line.
What shapes your thinking, shapes your living!
For Christ's Crown and Covenant & His Kingdom Advanced ~
Visionary Christian Home Educators
Isaiah 58:11-12, Nehemiah 4:14
“I am. I can. I ought. I will." ~ Charlotte Mason
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Why so serious about an 'open-handed' issue?
THE SHORT ANSWER - The educational means and methods of our covenant children is not an open-handed issue of little consequence.
As you may or may not know, tragically, less than 10% of professing born again Christians have a biblical lens through which to interpret the world and it's philosophies and theories. In truth, most professing Christians today are practical atheists meaning they conduct life without thought or care to what God has to say about it (Psalm 10). These professing Christians who function as atheists bifurcate faith from fact, head from hands, biblical conviction from public square, personal beliefs from public behavior. They vainly 'allow' Christ to be Lord over Sunday morning and Wednesday evening and small group, but place themselves as lord over the rest of the days and activities.
This fact has had a devastating effect on the individual, the family, the church, and the culture at large.
Professing Christians no longer think differently than the unbeliever. Professing Christians no longer conduct life differently than the unbeliever. Truth is - we do what we are! We may 'talk the talk', but our actual walk exposes us as what and who we really are. What shapes our thinking, shapes our living. They are utterly and always connected. Ideas have consequences. The faith in Christ that saves us from the just and deserved wrath of God involves an internal transformation that has external implications! "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." (Romans 12:2)
We are no longer equipped - and no longer equipping - to "(We) demolish arguments and every lofty opinion raised up against the knowledge of God and take every thought captive to obey Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:5) Many of us are actually held captive by false assumptions and outright lies and don't know it. Does a fish know it's wet? In our Christ transformed diligence, we are to "See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ." (Colossians 2:8) Romans 12:2, 2 Corinthians 10:5, and Colossians 2:8 are the foundational passages for loving God with all our mind and strength, intellect and vigor, orthodoxy and orthopraxy. This the goal for the education of the Christian mind. This is to be the great effort of educating the child of a Christian.
When only a fraction of professing Christians think and conduct life differently than the world, we have a huge captivity problem - which is a curse on everyone because the blessings and the cursings of a people and a nation rest squarely upon the shoulders of God's people - the regenerate. "If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:14)
We are to be a blessing, not a cursing. We are to represent Christ and His will in this world. We are His ambassadors. We are to represent our King and His crown rights in this paradise lost. We are to be about His business by subduing entropy and decay and promoting His truth and treasure to all of life.
This is to be the grand charge of educating the child of the Christian. It comes down to discipleship - we are charged to make disciples, teaching them to obey everything whatsoever Christ has commanded, God makes converts - education and life together is discipleship. The curriculum disciples and the people disciple; the teachers and the peers. Message and messenger. Both are connected. Both are critical to the process. Content and context. "A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher." (Luke 6:40) This is not merely referring to the personality and character of the person or people doing the teaching, but the content of that teaching as well - what is being taught - the curriculum. We see the fruit of the what is being taught and the who is doing the teaching in America today - and it is not pretty - especially from those who take on the name of Christ. (CHRISTian)
You see the education of our children IS a gospel issue.
The call on the Christian life is to be conformed more and more into the image of Christ. To represent Him. To be about His business on earth. To speak His truth. To do what He did. To love people enough to liberate. Liberate from lies. Liberate from idolatry. Liberate from the consequence of ideas. Liberate from tyranny. Liberate from folly. Liberate from ignorance. Liberate from captivity. Perhaps in this great assignment, God will use us as a vessel to free them from Satan's grip. (Read 2 Timothy 2:24-26)
This is why we remain on earth even after we are made alive in Christ - born again. We have a work to do - to advance Christ's crown rights over creation; which is the carrying out of loving God and loving our neighbor. We live and proclaim Christ's rule and reign over individuals, over families, over church, over civics, over academia, over labor and vocation, over finances, over ethics, over leisure, over justice, over ministry and philanthropy - over everything. This is gospel-in-life! We need a good dose of it! The good news of the gospel isn't just for personal salvation and for eternity to come, IT IS FOR THE LIVING IN THE WHOLE, INTEGRATION OF LIFE HERE AND NOW - for Christ's name sake and glory, and for the benefit of others! We must be educated in this way of thinking and doing. (James 1:22-23)
Why must we speak up? Why must we risk being thought of as 'judgmental', 'legalistic', or - my personal ascribed label - 'divisive'? Why? Because we must be faithful to our King! As much as He cares about His people. He cares about His name more. "And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Lord GOD, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes." (Ezekiel 36:23)
There is more to 'taking the name of God in vain' than using His name as a expletive - truly, it comes down to calling oneself 'CHRISTian' yet thinking and acting like a captive child of the devil.
We must stop cutting our children in half. Today, King Solomon knew this - that a good parent would never allow her child to be cut in two. "As we see our schools, our churches, and our campuses constructing false dichotomies that sever our children's personal beliefs from their public behavior, their facts from their faith, and their head from their heart, do we tacitly let the king carry out his gruesome work or do we cry, 'NO - don't cut my child in two!'" (Everett Piper, Ph. D. in The Wrong Side of the Door - Why Ideas Matter, and President of Oklahoma Wesleyan University)
Too many professing Christian parents dismiss and deny the consequences of sending the children God has given them to steward for His name sake to government agenda institutions. Too many professing Christian parents see no threat of their child being cut in two. This is willful ignorance - agressively maintained!
The research data on the success of the public schools in indoctrinating the children of professing Christian parents with humanistic or neo-pagan worldviews is overwhelming. "The Nehemiah Institute’s worldview PEERS test shows that 83-percent of the children from committed Christian families in public schools adopt a secular humanist or Marxist socialist worldview. At the SBC’s 2002 annual meeting, the Southern Baptist Council on Family Life reported, among other disturbing things, that 88-percent of the children raised in evangelical homes leave church at age 18. Barna Research reports that only 9-percent of born-again teens believe in moral absolutes, and more than half believe that Jesus sinned while He was on earth. We believe the fact that 80-percent of Christian families send their children to public schools is a prime reason for this lost legacy." (E. Ray Moore, Exodus Mandate)
How can we continue to believe that 14,000 seat-hours of God-ignoring, Christ-hostile, historical revisionist, materialistic, absolute truth reviling, and humanistic indoctrination is not a gospel issue? This is the lunacy of cognative dissonence to the utmost! I am very public about the utter folly of Christian parents thinking it is benign to send their children off to 14,000 seat-hours of secular humanist (or even 'Christianized' humanist) institutions. I am no fan of 'to each their own' since the child (or parent) who claims the name of Christ yet who thinks and acts like the world brings shame to His name, obscures His majesty, and confuses the glory of the gospel-in-life before the captive Lost and the World. This is a big deal. This is a critical point lost on most Christians. This is a critical point lost on most of the church of America.
This is why I am so serious about this open-handed issue. I am attempting to stand against evasive, noncommittal attitude toward Christian truth that is destroying the church and its witness.
"I can see little consistency in a type of Christian activity which preaches the gospel on the street corners and at the ends of the earth but neglects the children of the covenant by abandoning them to a cold and unbelieving secularism."
~ J. Gresham Machen ~
Theologian and Founder of Westminster Seminary and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
~ Eric Ludy ~
Bravehearted Gospel and Ellerslie Mission
It was so nice to have you in our home last night (May 2010). I'm thankful for those of you who took time to make it.
I need to catch you gals up to speed:
The biggest change is that there will not be a typical V-CHE Tuesday class next year. These class sessions are scheduled to be recorded on MP3 media and will be available throughout the year online on a new V-CHE website (in development - to be launched sometime in September). This material will now be called V-CHE PRIME. PRIME will open this clarion call and information to any and all on the world wide web. Perhaps the year to follow will allow more confidence and ability in hosting a series of webinars - only God knows. May the Lord alone be magnified in this and may His people be emboldened to live out a biblical worldview for the benefit and joy of others.
2010-2011 will be a 'closed session' of intensive learning, fellowship, and accountability. It is called V-CHE AMBITIOUS. Many Christians have a negative, visceral reaction when they think of ambition - and this reaction is off base. We should be ambitious! Ambitious for God. Ambitious for being all God has designed us to be - for His glory, our joy, and the good of our neighbor. Ambitious for the integrity and craft and calling of our family to advance His kingdom in wartime. We ARE at war. Dare I admonish you - - - we are to be ambitious! This is part of loving our God. "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself." (Luke 10:27 esv)
We will be reading a critical selection of books this next year in AMBITIOUS. A book club, of sorts. Here is the syllabus of books for 2010-2011:
Scholarships (partial and full) are available for those who have need and who are accepted into the study.
V-CHE AMBITIOUS will be open only to those who have completed V-CHE PRIME in good faith and diligence. You must apply to participate. I will be the only person reading and making decisions in this application process. The application is attached. PLEASE DO NOT BE OVERWHELMED BY THE APPLICATION. Some ladies last night mentioned this application was more 'intense' than their bible college application. (That's sad, isn't it.) The questions are useful in assessing your level of personal interaction with the content covered in V-CHE and your commitment level for this next year. Be honest with yourself and with me. I am not legalistic.
The bar is raised in V-CHE AMBITIOUS. This level of commitment and accountability will not be appealing to everyone. We understand that. There is a season for everything. This is our season to rejuvenate and regroup; it may be your season to cut out everything that is extra in order to focus on the quiet importance in your life. THAT'S A GOOD THING!
Our ultimate accountability is to the Lord. We are to do all we do as unto Him - not as unto man. Diligence and excellence, not perfection. Whether you've attended V-CHE for the past 5 years in Wichita or this was your first year, I heartily encourage you to pray about joining us next year.
In the end, this next year will not be me teaching. We will be sisters in the Lord sharpening one another as iron sharpens iron; encouraging faithfulness to God, to self, to family, and to culture, and fanning the flame of one another. 2010-2011 will be relational and intimate. We will meet once a month in the comfort of my living room. We will stimulate. We will think. We will challenge. We will rejoice. We will cry. We will pray. We will laugh. We will exhort.
Watch INTERCESSION. Eric Ludy - The Bravehearted Gospel.
Despise not the young!
This breaks me....
Let's close in the breach! Let's soak our shields in water and lock arms and advance! (Thank you Heather!) No holes. No breaches! No woman left behind.
Let's endeavor to be useful to God - outward focused. May we be strong, so we are useful. May we prayerfully consider locking arms as warrior sisters in Christ for our families and for our church and for our culture - for the joy of the nations - for His name sake.
My heart is full of love for you girls.
"God, you have made this life; and you have called me for more than just to save me. You have rescued me so that I can become a rescuer. Who needs rescue? Who needs help? Who needs me to stand in the gap and take the hit?.... When you behold Christ, you will say, 'God - do it ALL within me - - - for Your glory. Make me strong. Make me strong to give.'"
~ Eric Ludy ~
The Bravehearted Gospel
Serving His Kingdom Here and Now ~
Visionary Christian Home Educators
“I am. I can. I ought. I will." ~ Charlotte Mason
Thursday, December 3, 2009
~ Dr. Al Mohler ~
President at Southern Seminary - Convocation Message
The Manhattan Declaration - in a nutshell - firmly states:
"Because we honor justice and the common good, we will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia, or any other anti-life act. We also will not bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family. We will fully and ungrudgingly render to Caesar what is Caesar's. But under no circumstances will we render to Caesar what is God's."
Why is this declaration important in our day?
Bill Wilson, a Washington-based journalist and a part of Bill Koenig's Koenig's International News recently summed up the unstable tide of our times. He says, "The Senate is poised to debate socialized health care and take a vote on it despite its unconstitutionality and opposition from the American people. This bill shreds the Constitution and the rights of Americans under the false pretense that it will provide health insurance to every American. This bill is the linchpin to legislating unprecedented and unconstitutional socialist humanism as the form of government in America. These usurpers in Congress must be stopped, and the American people must be heard from. From a Constitutional perspective this legislation, in effect, surrenders the power of the people to the power of the government."
Beloved in the Faith,
Attached is the link to the Manhattan Declaration and it's many prominent signatories. There are some weighty names. Perhaps these signers will ease the temptation to be dismissive about this important document.
Years ago, Evangelicals and Roman Catholics banded together to ensure ministry efforts were not hindered or duplicated with the Evangelicals and Catholics Together document. It raised quite a swell of emotion as there were several prominent Evangelicals who would not align themselves with this document claiming the joining together in ministry efforts to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and take care of the widows and the orphans would muddy the Gospel message as Roman Catholics and Evangelicals proclaim different gospels (but so do Monergistic Evangelical Christians and Synergistic Evangelical Christians - truth be told). I respect both signers and refusers-to-sign of this ECT Document.
This Manhattan Declaration has the same potential to create strong emotions, but I exhort you to study and think and pray about signing it. This document is not about the Gospel, it is about standing firm on biblical conviction and is a clarion call for professing Christians to adhere to their convictions and inform civil authorities that the signers will not—under any circumstance—abandon their Christian consciences.
There will come a day in these United States of America where we will be asked to stand firm on biblical truth and be faithful people or compromise away for the sake of false peace, obedience to a lesser authority, and bring further judgment on our nation.
Jesus Christ is our King - the King of Kings! He is our highest authority. His Word is authoritative! His Word is sufficient! Yes - He does place rulers and authorities over us whom we are to obey. But we are NOT to obey these earthly authorities if they:
1.) Require us to do what God has forbidden.
2.) Forbid us to do what God has commanded.
Biblical examples of civil disobedience.
1. Exod. 1:15 - 2:10; Heb. 11:23
2. Right to preserve God's people.
1. Esther 3:6,15; 7:4-6
2. Right to preserve God's people.
1. Daniel 6:4-15
2. Right to pray and worship.
D. Peter and John
1. Acts 5:29,41,42
2. Right to preach the gospel.
1. Acts 16:35-40
2. Right to just treatment.
Don't forget the disobedient Hebrew midwives who would not kill the male Hebrew babies delivered in Egypt! They feared God above man! They obeyed God!
To obey earthly authorities when their laws violate God's laws, is to practice idolatry. People claiming His name (CHRISTian) will tested on our allegiance to His crown!
Although the Manhattan Declaration is locking arms with Orthodox Christians, Roman Catholics, and Evangelicals of monergistic and synergistic gospel messages - it is not a document about salvation but about Christian conviction.
Please take time to seriously consider the message contained within.
A respected voice of disagreement and refusal to sign -
Alistair Begg states, "In accord with others who have chosen not to sign, my reservation is not with the issues themselves, or in standing with others who share the same concerns, but it is in signing a declaration along with a group of leading churchmen, when I happen to believe that the teaching of some of their churches is in effect a denial of the biblical gospel. I wonder whether it might not have been more advantageous for Evangelicals to unite on this matter, rather than seeking cooperation with segments from Rome and Eastern Orthodoxy."
My perspective on this -
To be honest, I struggle with protests or claims of adhering to the 'biblical' gospel when the gospel can be maligned and perverted by both action and inaction - by word and by deed, by message and follow through, and message and outward apathy. I am trying to figure this out. If one proclaims out of the mouth a monergistic gospel, I - for one - am in agreement and comfortable with that. If one proclaims out of the mouth a synergistic gospel, I am in disagreement and very uncomfortable with that. Evangelicals aren't in agreement about the gospel. Is God sovereign in salvation or is He not? Does regeneration precede faith or does the new birth follow faith? One gospel is monergistic, one gospel is synergistic. The Roman Catholic gospel is synergistic, but so is the gospel of most Evangelicals in America today. Is the salvation of the gospel merely a future salvation or is it a here-and-now salvation? By that I mean, is the gospel power for the Judgment Throne only or is the gospel power for victorious righteous thinking and living here and now - as well as for the Judgment Throne. If one proclaims a gospel message I am comfortable with (monergistic) yet they have a disconnect between their orthodoxy and their praxis, it confuses me. Is not the gospel a powerful one? Is not the gospel power transforming in mind and in action? Does not this gospel require of us once we have been brought to resurrected (here and now) life? Is not this new life in Christ a costly gospel life?
I value the gospel message when it is backed up in action and in power. When those who are proclaimers of the message of Jesus Christ are about His business upon this earth, adhering to His priorities, speaking His heart, addressing and tending to His concerns, and taking a visible stand for His Truth.
I believe orthodoxy truly held begets orthopraxy, doesn't it - not just a list of don'ts, but a list of do's. Not just abstinence, but of righteous pursuit.
I have signed this document.