Rebuilding the Godly Foundations (3)

                   Conviction vs. Preference

…Let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up (Dan.3:18).

But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).

The men who uttered these statements, held Biblical convictions about how they ought to behave. Holding Biblical convictions and acting on them got them into trouble. They knew it would get them into trouble, but they acted on those convictions, anyway.

This is what men and women in the Bible did. When Abram heard that his nephew Lot had been kidnapped, he acted on his convictions. He took his life in his hands, and went and fought, and rescued Lot (Gen.14:12-16).

But there was a lot more to Abram’s convictions, than just being willing to put his life on the line for a relative. That was physical courage, but God requires of us much more than that. When the king of Sodom said to him, “Give the people to me and take the goods for yourself” (Gen.14:21), Abram responded with a statement that the modern church steadfastly ignored:

I have sworn to the Lord God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth, that I will not take a thread or a sandal thong or anything that is yours, for fear you would say, ‘I have made Abram rich’ (Gen.14:22-23).

Refusing money or property that shouldn’t be taken requires convictions, and a clear sense of priorities. Moses did similarly. When Moses saw one of his brethren being beaten by an Egyptian, he killed the Egyptian (Ex.2:11-12). But once again, this was more than a case of physical courage. The Bible tells us of Moses, that he

refused to be called the son of Pharoah’s daughter, choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward (Heb.11:24-26).

When shepherds came to drive away the daughters of the priest of Midian when they were preparing to water their flock, Moses “stood up and helped them [the daughters]” (Ex.2:15-21).  When Jesus witnessed the corruption of the temple of His era,

He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables (Jn.2:15).

I’ve walked out of jobs three times, the first time being 1986. I was working in a really good Christian school in the Blue Mountains of NSW, where I’d been since 1981. But through the course of the year, I formed the conviction that my days there were coming to an end, that something else was coming up and I needed to leave. The school closed at the end of 1987.

In 1987, 900 hundred kilometres to the west, in Mildura, Victoria, I walked out of a service station job, when the boss wanted his staff to sell cigarette lighters with a naked girl on them. I left, and God provided another job immediately.

In 2005, I walked out of a well-paid educational position in Brisbane, because I’d formed the attitude that the management had become disingenuous with clients, compromising Biblical ethics in their pursuit of the vast sums of government money available.

Did those decisions cost me? Sometimes they cost me a lot. Am I sorry about any of those decisions, now? No.

Political leaders have sought to control the church, at least from Abram’s day. Little has really changed much. Political leaders want to extend and secure their power, and they don’t appreciate community rivals, whoever they may be.

When confronted by Moses and Aaron, Pharoah declared,

Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and besides, I will not let Israel go (Ex.5:2).

But the modern church is a confused church. It’s been that way for well over a hundred years. It’s confused, firstly because of its dreadful theology, leading to all manner of false doctrine, ideological aberration and practical shallowness. These four things have led directly to one significant, deadly outcome: the church has been easy game for political manipulators. It’s forgotten it’s supposed to hold Biblical convictions, and act on them.

Like most successful twentieth century political leaders, Hitler was a master political manipulator. He knew how to get around the church of Germany. In fact, the church made it easy for him, because the Lutheran and Catholic churches (which were predominant in Germany), were State churches, funded from taxes. They didn’t understand that conviction and preference are two, vastly different things; thus they were compliant. They only knew this:

He who takes the king’s shilling, does the king’s bidding.

Hitler despised them, but he was politically shrewd and wanted their support. Of the German Protestants, Hitler said to one of his aides,

You can do anything you want with them. They will submit…they are insignificant little people, submissive as dogs, and they sweat with embarrassment when you talk to them.[1]

Anyone who thinks that this was merely an aberration of Nazism is making a mistake. Hitler in his manipulation of the German church merely followed on from Bismarck, 50 years earlier. It’s normal now, all over the West.

The fact is, the church wants money, and it wants its people to get money. Where it comes from is rarely the point. So, if governments hold out wads of cash for Christian families in the form of some kind of Social Security payment or educational grants for “Christian” schools, what could be wrong with that? This short-sighted attitude leads directly to the political manipulation that Hitler utilised.

Money is not evil, but where it comes from is the critical factor. Modern governments want to control the electorate with money in the form of electoral bribes, and everyone’s used to it. It’s the new normal, but it’s manipulative and evil.

In the mid-1940s, the Labor Party in Britain decided to create a system of State-financed national health care. They knew that they would not readily gain cooperation from the private physicians of Britain. So the Labor Party created a plan. First, they made it illegal for non-participating physicians to sell their practices upon retirement, thereby extracting a major capital tax from the physicians. Second, they offered relatively high salaries (for the post-war years) to all participating physicians. Third, they offered high positions in the new, compulsory system to the leaders of the British Medical Association. Nye Bevan, the Labor Party’s master political strategist, who served as Minister of Health, promised Party leaders that the Party would gain the support of the medical profession’s leadership. “How?” he was asked. His answer shall ring down through the ages: “We shall stuff their mouths with gold.” So the Labor Party did, and the medical leadership capitulated, just as Bevan had predicted.1

Whenever the church becomes ambivalent about money, it has exposed itself to compromise and corruption, and this has always been deadly. A compromised church is a silent church, and a silent church is always ripe for judgment. Can you imagine Moses accepting a golden payoff from Pharoah, Elijah being paid by Ahab, or John the Baptist being silenced by Herod with gold?

Political leaders think, “This is how you do it. Throw money in front of them. That’ll fix ‘em.” But as The Animals sang, fifty years ago,

We gotta get outa this place, if it’s the last thing we ever do. We gotta get outa this place, girl there’s a better life for me and you.

The answer is not (generally) to leave the country. It is to understand that a game of cat and mouse is being played, and we’d best stay out of it. We have to do what godly people have been doing for thousands of years, when political leaders seem to hold all the political and legal aces: we hold to our Biblical convictions, and follow our own plan.

We must be careful to adopt the long-term strategy of the early church. They did not rise up against the Roman legions. They did not become guerillas. The Jews did, and they were scattered, becoming an identifiable minority to be persecuted throughout the Roman Empire. The Christians adopted a different strategy, although suffering intermittent persecutions-a strategy of avoiding a frontal assault on Rome. By 313 A. D., the Christians triumphed; a non-pagan Emperor came to power. [2]

Conclusion:

Money in the hands of evil people is sometimes a lure dangled before believers. It’s especially challenging when those evil people are political leaders. But Abram didn’t fall for it, neither did Moses, and neither did Jesus.

One of the ways the godly foundations of the church must be re-laid, will be by the church asserting its independence again, turning away from all forms of illegitimate taxpayer funding. And when we renounce his thirty pieces of silver, Caesar won’t be able to control, manipulate and silence us.

Perhaps then by God’s grace, light will begin to shine on our path, again.

One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts (Ps.145:4).

 

[1] Quoted in William Shirer, “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich,” 1968, p.329.

 

1 Gary North, (Ed.,) “Tactics of Christian Resistance,” 1983, p.146-147.

[2]  Gary North, (Ed.,) “Theology of Christian Resistance,” 1983, p.xvi.

Rebuilding the Godly Foundations (II)

Your Name, O Lord, is everlasting, Your remembrance, O Lord, throughout all generations (Ps. 135:13).

We make a big mistake as believers, if we centre the purpose of God in our lifetime. Our lifetime is certainly important to us, but God has a far greater time-frame in mind than the few years on the planet that we’ll have.

This means that we have to think about those years when we certainly won’t be here. We won’t be around, but our children and our grandchildren will. We can’t live their lives for them, nor should we try. But what we can do is help prepare the next generations of God’s people for faithful service of Him.

For this, homeschooling presents us with a great opportunity, and more. We can fulfil our obligation to the Lord to use our time productively, with the next generations in mind.

I turned 60 this year. It’s one thing to have a birthday. But when the first digit on your age changes as many times as mine has, you realise that statistically, there can’t be a lot more of these. We simply run out of time, run out of life.

In my office on the wall, I have a photo taken of the property where I grew up, near Cowra in the central west of NSW. In the foreground is a mob of sheep, and five hundred metres back is my home till I was 18. Another five hundred metres back, is the home my grandfather built around 1910, where my father (born in 1918) and his siblings grew up. The last of my father’s generation died in 2000. Now, the property is farmed by my cousins and their sons. Life moves on, to the next generations.

Abraham was the first of his family to be called of God. He sojourned in the promised land, knowing that God had promised it to him, but not just yet. For God said,

I will give it to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojourning, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God (Gen.17:8).

Abraham and Isaac both lived in tents, dug wells, and built altars to the Lord. Some family traditions are a waste of time, but not these ones. When you have lots of livestock (Gen.13:2) and dependent families (and Abraham must have had over 1,000 people-see Gen.14:14), a good supply of water is critical. But Isaac’s well-digging was fiercely contested by the Philistines (see Gen.26:12-25), because they were envious of him.

Moses was called by God to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, but it was Joshua who led them into the land. And what was the centrepiece of God’s encouragement to Joshua? Faithfulness to the law of God.

This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success (Joshua 1:8).

David had it in his heart to build a temple for God, and that was good. But it wasn’t his task- it was Solomon’s. All David was supposed to do was prepare for it, by assembling the raw materials for its building.

David was a great man, but Solomon, who seemed initially to show great promise, ended up in compromise and idolatry (I Kings 11:1-13). Though God had appeared to him twice, he frittered away his great inheritance, influenced by hundreds of foreign, pagan wives: “…the foreign women caused even him to sin” (Neh.13:26). In this, he did what his father had actually initiated: he married lots of wives; something God’s law (Deut.17:14-17) specifically forbade Israel’s kings to do.

This much is clear: the next generation of God’s people either builds on the past successes, or abandons them.

Everyone has to pass the baton, sometime. But what we must do as well as we can, is make those preparations for others who come after us, even while they are children.

This requires some things. It requires that we have faith in God, that He will lead and keep our successors just as faithfully as He has led and kept us. If we leave something of worth behind, they will have something to build on.

The first thing to leave for our children is a godly example. This aspect of leadership is a prominent theme in scripture.

It is a show of false modesty for a parent to say, “Well, my role is not a very important.” You are important, because you will spend a significant portion of your adult years modelling a lifestyle to your children, and then perhaps your grandchildren. Saying, “I don’t model anything,” is not facing the facts; you may not deliberately do so, but it will just happen in the day to day affairs of home and family, as others observe your speech, attitudes, behaviour and decisions.

Godly Gideon said to his three hundred men, “Look at me and do likewise. And behold, when I come to the outskirts of the camp, do as I do” (Judges 7:17).

Even evil leaders understand the importance of leadership. Abimelech said to his followers, “What you have seen me do, hurry and do likewise. All the people also cut down each one his branch and followed Abimelech … (Judges 9:48-49).

Leadership by example is God’s way. The Bible says that “…God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Ro.5:8). Jesus commanded us to “take My yoke upon you and learn from Me…” (Mat.11:29), and He also said that “when he [the good shepherd] puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice” (Jn.10:4).

When Paul explained to Timothy the requirements of an overseer (see I Tim.3:1-7), implicit in his description is that the overseer is to be an example to those he leads, while Peter plainly says that the elders are to be “examples to the flock” (I Pet.5:3).  Paul said, “the things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you” (Phil.4:6). He also said, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ” (I Cor.11:1).

Conclusion:                                                                                                                            

Everyone godly person leads with the hope and prayer that those who come after them will follow the Lord, and build on the useful foundations laid before them. For God wants to lead successive generations.

…Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he crouched down on the earth and put his face between his knees. He said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” So he went up and looked and said, “There is nothing.” And he said, “Go back,” seven times. It came about at the seventh time, that he said, “Behold, a cloud as small as a man’s hand is coming up from the sea” (I Kings 18:42-44).

Rebuilding the Godly Foundations (I)

        If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do? (Ps.13:7)

It’s deeply upsetting when the good things in a community or nation are being progressively destroyed.  The good and godly institutions of the West like marriage, continue to be under pressure. We know this is not right. But lamenting is insufficient for the Christian, or it should be. Why?

The Christian believes in certain things. He believes in a sovereign God Who made the world in six days, Who rules all the affairs of men. His ethics are found in scripture, and He’ll hold us all to account concerning them.

We have to do a lot more than shake our fists at the humanist’s parade. They may be parading, but we must be working at articulating and building a God honouring, viable alternative. And that cannot happen overnight.

Nehemiah heard of the state of Jerusalem when he was in Susa. He was told that

The remnant there in the province who survived the captivity are in great distress and reproach, and the wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates are burnt with fire (Neh.1:3).

Nehemiah was deeply upset about this. The Bible says that he

sat down and wept and mourned for days; and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven (v.4).

The scripture then records the seven verses of Nehemiah’s prayer. He’d been greatly upset, so he prayed and fasted. Is that where he stopped? No. Now, he acted in faith, which godly people must always do. He had a plan, that he put before his master the king. He said

    …send me to Judah, to the city of my father’s tombs, that I may rebuild it (Neh.2:5).

Lamenting just won’t ever be enough for the believer, because if we stop at that, we’ve never gone far enough. Yes, lament if you wish, but ensure that it leads to the thing God always wants it to lead to: prayer and action.

When we got married in 1979, I heard this simple saying:

            Men of action, have satisfaction.

Nehemiah moved from hearing, to lamenting, to praying (with fasting), to acting, and we must do this too.

How do we do it? Well, the Bible tells us. It says that

Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins; you will raise up the age-old foundations; and you will be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of the streets in which to dwell (Isa.58:12).

The godly man has to begin with his family; their education and discipleship. He has to begin at the beginning with what God has given him, and this will require his dedication, his time, and some of his money.

Thankfully, the cost of a godly education in terms of dollars continues to decline in relative terms. The internet is going to keep driving this cost down. Economics tells us this: as the price of something is reduced, more is demanded.

That means that there is and will be a growing market for home education. That means that over the next few decades, the ranks of home schoolers are likely to broaden, while public education has already peaked: it’s struggling.

The Bible speaks of the consequences of this man’s activities:

Praise the Lord! How blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in His commandments. His descendants will be mighty on earth; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever (Ps.112:1-3).

But the godly couple knows there is more than just their family that needs to be rebuilt. They have to consider the church, too. Like the family, it’s of vital importance for the future. Paul declared that                                                                                                                                                                                                         

 According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ (I Cor.3:10, 11).

So, the godly couple are investing in their church: their tithe, their faithfulness and their time. The church is all about God and His people. They know it’s a God ordained, essential social institution of the future, which has received magnificent promises from God:

You who remind the Lord, take no rest for yourselves; and give Him no rest until He establishes and makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth (Isa.62:6, 7).

Conclusion:                                                                                                                                              There are many things wrong with our society, and it doesn’t require a rocket-science degree to understand it. But what are we to do? We have to go back and begin at the beginning.

And where is that? With God and His Word; with the family and the church.

Events do take place that are disappointing and disheartening, but we have to look beyond these, and accept the encouragement that Nehemiah received from his fellow-workers, hundreds of years before Christ:

…Let us arise and build (Neh.2:18).

The Challenge for Every Christian Parent (4)

Watch yourself that you make no covenant with the inhabitants of the land into which you are going, or it will become a snare in your midst. But rather, you are to tear down their sacred altars and cut down their Asherim- for you shall not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is jealous, is a jealous God (Ex.34:12-14).

People have always tended to live out their religious beliefs. Pharoah was a humanist, and he lived out his. He saw that the Hebrew population was rapidly expanding and could be a threat, so he said to the Hebrew midwives,

When you are helping the Hebrew women to give birth and see them upon the birthstool, if it is a son, then you shall put him to death; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live (Ex.1:16).

Herod was the same.

…when Herod saw that he had been  tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under…(Mat.2:16).

Hitler was a humanist. He commanded that

All of the German youth in the Reich is to be organized within the Hitler Youth. The German youth, besides being reared within the family and schools, shall be educated physically, intellectually, and morally in the spirit of National Socialism…through the Hitler Youth.[1]

Now, you might be thinking, “Well, what’s that got to do with us, today in Australia?” Our previous humanist, feminist, pro-abortion Prime Minister Julia Gillard, whilst the Federal Minister for Education in 2008, said in Parliament in August 2008, that

               parents of school-aged children are obligated to send them to school.

Why was school so important for Julia? Because this granted government teachers the power for humanistic indoctrination. She was utterly indifferent to the wishes of parents. Gillard was reflecting the attitude of all socialists, historically. In 1918, a Congress of Soviet educators was told that

We must remove the children from the crude influence of their families. We must take them over and, to speak frankly, nationalize them.[2]

There is something Christians have been slow to understand. To our lasting shame, our enemies have understood the power of governmental educational indoctrination, far more than we have. And if you have fallen for the old and tired idea that we could teach them godly principles at home whilst they went to the State School, you haven’t realised how quickly this foolish notion falls down in practice.

Why?  Parents don’t recognise the religious war being waged against their children through Public Education. As North commented,

The modern State seeks to steal the legacy of the faithful: the hearts and minds of children. The educational bureaucrats today have imposed a massive system of ideological kidnapping on the voters. This is the inherent nature of all compulsory education, regulated education, and tax-funded education. Education is not neutral. The bureaucrats have built a gigantic system of humanist indoctrination with funds extracted from all local residents in the name of common-ground education.[3]

Religious neutrality in education is a fraud, because all education is religious. Why?

All education is based on values. The question is, “Whose values?” Someone dictates the values communicated in public schools, and over the last couple of generations those values have been progressively secular; God doesn’t get a mention. Almost every text book in public education reflects this fact.

God gave the responsibility for education to parents, because all education is religious. They would be on the spot. Parents love their children, and they have a vested interest in what their children are believing and why, for it is their children who will be at least playing a role in caring for them, in their old age.

The scripture commands us,

Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? (II Cor.6:14)

When you send your child to a State school, you implicitly bind your child to the ideology of that school; its curriculum, its staff and its peer-group pressure. You may not want to, but that’s what enrolment really means. Is it any wonder that in our era, such a high proportion of children from Christian families depart from the faith? In our folly and naivete, we have taken our children’s hands and walked into the lion’s den of public education, and seen them over time, religiously mauled.

If we want to be faithful to God, obeying the implications of the New Covenant, this will have to stop, now.

 

 

[1] Hitler, December 1, 1936, quoted in William Shirer, “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich,” 1968, p.349.

[2] Quoted in “Separating School and State: How to Liberate America’s Families,” Sheldon Richman, p.xv.

[3] Gary North, “Inheritance and Dominion,” 1999. Ch.28.

The Basics of Success Are Not Taught in School

By Gary North, 6/6/2017

A site member provided a long testimonial about his success:

Learn, learn, learn. Practice, practice, practice. Over a long, long, long time. Are you prepared to make this sacrifice? There is no other route. Don’t forget this.

This is a reasonable formula for success.

I think these two principles, which boil down to learn and sacrifice, are best taught in an environment of personal mentoring by somebody who has been successful. Probably the best movie I ever saw on this was a teenage flick, The Karate Kid. The trainer, Mr. Miyagi, was the incarnation of self-discipline. He knew what was required for the young man to be successful. The young man had to start out doing grunt work and mastering it. It was not clear what the relationship was between the grunt work of waxing the cars and success in karate. But, later in the movie, we learn the connection.

There are movies about teachers who take a classroom of misfits and turn them into competent kids. Some of them may even be true. But it takes a remarkable teacher to do this. We all know from personal experience that there are not many of these remarkable teachers. It is a Pareto distribution curve.

I think success takes a combination of factors. One of them is basic talent. I have only two of these: the ability to write clearly and the ability to speak clearly. I was also able to persuade people. That is a matter of rhetoric. Nobody taught me how to do this. I learned it on my own initially, and then I continued to do it for over 60 years. I got good at it. But I had the basic skills, which I think were innate. Not everybody has these.

Then there is the question of opportunities. Doors get closed. Windows open. It is not clear why these windows get opened. I had a few of these. I probably had a lot more than I remember. One of the reasons why we ought to keep diaries is to remind ourselves in retrospect of the doors that closed in the windows that opened. It would make us humbler.

I think tenacity is innate. I don’t think it can be taught. Anyway, I don’t know how to teach it. Winston Churchill spoke of tenacity as being crucial. So did Thomas Edison. He called it perspiration, and he made a contrast with inspiration. He was a great believer in perspiration. And yet it is obvious that he was one of the most inspired inventors in the history of man. He brought good ideas to fruition, and he developed a series of procedures that enabled lesser men to do the same.

The combination of innate talent, a mentor who develops this talent in a young person, and a tenacity toward opportunities is unique. It cannot be programmed.

I think tenacity can be developed. Any innate skill can be developed. But it takes tenacity to develop it. It takes a willingness to stick to your knitting.

Of all of the capacities that I would look for in a young person to train, it would be ethics. The ability to distinguish right from wrong is crucial. This can be taught, and it must be taught. Then there is the secondary ability: the ability to move from theory to practice. This used to be called casuistry. It is the ability or part of applying general principles to real-world situations. It takes years of decision-making to develop this skill.

This is why I think the most important single goal that somebody can have is wisdom. The book of Proverbs is devoted to this topic. Wisdom basically is the ability to be a successful casuist. Somebody sees a situation, he understands the fundamental moral principles involved, and that he has the courage to apply the moral principles to his role in the situation. This ability is exceedingly rare. I am a providentialist. I believe that this ability, above all others, is the one that is blessed with success. Success means greater responsibility. It may mean greater money. It may mean greater power. But, above all, it means greater responsibility.

We live in an era in which people do not want responsibility. Every era is marked by this, but ours seems to be afflicted by this burden. People will not step up to the plate. They do not want to be responsible for the outcome of difficult decisions. A person who will not take responsibility is not going to wind up a leader by default. There are people who are irresponsible in terms of their judgment, yet they wind up leaders. They have this in common: they are not afraid of responsibility.

In my book, the classic person in this mold is George W. Bush. He spoke as though he were a fool. He made bad decisions. I don’t think he was stupid. I don’t think anybody gets through Yale University and the Harvard Business School who is stupid. Critics kept saying he was stupid. Not so. He just had bad judgment. He surrounded himself with people who also had bad judgment. They worked as a team.

Hillary Clinton is also such a person. Her husband had bad judgment ethically, but he always got away with it. He charmed his way out of it. He did do this in a society that winks its eye at corruption. That is what our society does. In contrast, Hillary had no charm. She also had no charisma. She was exactly what she appeared to be: an opinionated, screeching, bad-tempered woman with poor judgment, beginning with the bad judgment of marrying Bill Clinton. She never recovered from that. She never recovered from her switch from Goldwater conservatism to Saul Alinksy radicalism. She adopted Saul Alinsky, and she wound up with a man who preferred Monica Lewinsky. Somebody could write a chapter on this: “From Alinsky to Lewinsky.”

Bad ethics pollutes everything a person has of real value. It doesn’t matter what your skills are. It also doesn’t matter what your opportunities are. If you are morally corrupt, you will foul your own nest.

Students don’t learn good ethics in the public schools today. It is illegal to teach good ethics in the public schools today. Immoral people who have formed immoral groups work together to control the public schools in order to reproduce themselves. The good sense and decent ethics of young people do restrict the success of the corrupters in this task, but it is getting worse and worse for young people to survive the system without losing their integrity. It usually begins with the loss of their virginity. Their enemies know this. This is why they created coeducational dorms on university campuses. They know exactly what they’re doing.

Parents can teach good ethics. Anyway, righteous parents can do this. They may not be great mentors. They probably don’t have tremendous teaching skills. They turn their children over early to other specialists who teach them specialized skills. But if the parents know right from wrong, and they teach their children to understand the difference between right and wrong, they can make a major difference in the lives of their children. If the parents don’t get this right, the children will be disasters.

I knew a man in prison when I was involved in a prison ministry. He was regarded by those around him as fearless, and not a man to be tampered with. He was a Christian, but he had been a really bad man. He told me that he had been taught his skills as a criminal by his father. His father was a thief, and he taught the son to be a thief. The son learned his lesson well. That was why he was in a maximum-security prison. From father to son, the moral corruption spread. I think of the Kims of North Korea. What better examples do we have than this trio?

Then we have oddities of history. Consider the father-son duo of Marcus Aurelius and Commodus. The father was known as a philosopher. In all of history, he may have been the best example of a classical philosopher king. He wrote philosophy. He was also a war monger. He was a persecutor of the church. His son was debauched. He had hundreds of concubines, both male and female. But he left the church alone. The church was better off under the corrupt son than the philosopher king father.

There are sons who do not learn the lessons their parents taught them. Parents have complained about that from the beginning. It started with Adam and Eve. But people with bad ethics usually get overturned by the outcomes of their decision-making. If this were not true, we would live in a world almost totally evil. We don’t. Bad decisions eventually undermine the decision-makers. If we believe that this is a cause-and-effect universe, we believe that this is the case. But the modern public school system does not teach such a view of causation.

This is one of the great problems of our age. It is why I think homeschooling is the wave of the future. Parents who want their children to be educated in a moral environment are going to pull their children out of the public schools eventually. This, I believe, is the most important single institutional challenge facing the modern world. We are winning in a lot of areas, but it is slow going in persuading people to pull their kids out of the public schools. The lure of free education is just too great. It is worse than the lure of Social Security and Medicare.

The Challenge for Every Christian Parent (3)

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age (Mat.28:19-20).

From the days of the early church, Christians have recognised that the Great Commission didn’t commence with their government or neighbours, but with themselves and their children, at home.

Furthermore, the Great Commission doesn’t begin and end with the New Testament. How do we know this?  Because Jesus told the Jews, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am” (Jn.8:58), and “I and My Father are one” (Jn.10:30). Paul also reminds us that “Whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction…” (Ro.15:4).

Thus Christian must go back to Genesis to begin to appreciate all of the commands of Jesus, and familiarise themselves with all of scripture as it applies to education. Hezekiah for instance, tells us that “…a father tells his sons about Your faithfulness” (Isa.38:19).

Consider Abraham in relation to the subject of education and discipleship. God said of him,

For I have chosen him, so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him (Gen.18:19).

This means that education is a parental responsibility. Aspects of it may be delegated, but if we delegate, we must ensure that those entrusted with this responsibility will hold the same attitudes and philosophy that we do. Otherwise we are merely giving our children over to the godless, and the Bible tells us that “…bad company corrupts good morals” (I Cor.15:33).

Over 100 years ago, Dabney commented,

It is the teaching of the Bible and of sound Political ethics that the education of children belongs to the sphere of the family and is the duty of parents. The theory that the children of the Commonwealth are the charge of the Commonwealth is a pagan one, derived from heathen Sparta and Plato’s heathen republic, and connected by regular, logical sequence with legalized prostitution and the dissolution of the conjugal tie.[1]

All State or Public education, and even education under the authority of an Education Department falls into this category. It is good for a Christian school to employ Christian teachers, but that’s only one aspect of education. What if those that ultimately oversee the curriculum have no time for God and His Word? The integrity of the educational process will quickly be trashed.

Luther observed this nearly 500 years ago. He wrote that

I am very much afraid that the universities and schools will prove to be the very gates of hell, unless they diligently labour in explaining the holy scriptures, engraving them in the hearts of youth. I advise no one to place his child where the scriptures do not reign paramount …every institution in which men are not unceasingly occupied with the Word of God must become corrupt.

But we in the modern Church haven’t taken a lot of notice of this of late. Our eyes have been on social acceptance, the money and the potential careers for ourselves, and this has led to no end of compromise.

Perhaps because we were educated at Department registered schools, we’ve said to ourselves for a hundred years, “Education means school.” But Departmentally registered schools merely perpetuate a worldly system with no relationship to scripture, so that children continue to be chronically separated from their parents whilst being educated, when parents were the ones charged by God with educational responsibility from the beginning.

The American Presbyterian theologian J. Gresham Machan recognised this. He wrote in 1926:

I think that when it comes to the training of human beings, you have to be a great deal more careful than you do in other spheres about preservation of the right of individual liberty and the principle of individual responsibility; and I think we ought to be plain about this — that unless we preserve the principles of liberty in this department [of Education] there is no use in trying to preserve them anywhere else. If you give the bureaucrats the children, you might as well give them everything else as well.

Moses did not say to the children of Israel after they had left Egypt, “Get those kids back through the Red Sea each day. That way, they’ll get educated.” No, concerning education, Moses passed on to them the commands of God (see Deut.6 & 11). That meant direct parental responsibility: no monopolising Department with power over other people’s children, no bureaucracy, no schools, and no onerous taxes for education: presently some $15,000 for each state schooled child, annually.

Education by parents, using the law of God, should have been the foundation for Israel’s future godliness, liberty and prosperity. Isn’t it about time we in the Church took our marching orders seriously, threw out the world’s pagan influences, and followed suit?

Now, that would be exciting!

 

 

[1] Robert Dabney, “Discussions,” 4:194 quoted in Gary Demar, “God and Government,” Vol.3, p.272.

The Challenge for Every Christian Parent (2)

They did not destroy the peoples, as the Lord commanded them, but they mingled with the nations and learned their practices, and served their idols, which became a snare to them. They even sacrificed their sons and daughters to the demons, and shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan; and the land was polluted with the blood (Ps.106:34-38).

Humanism is a religion which deifies mankind. Of course, it all began in the Garden, when Satan promised Adam and Eve, “you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Gen.3:5).

The most obvious manifestation of humanism of our era, is Public Education. Leftist politicians generally are humanists, and great believers in Public Education. Public education is a means of indoctrinating the population with values which suit the political rulers of the nation.

Anything intrinsically wrong with that? Think of it this way: all education involves indoctrination. The question is, indoctrination in what? And this is what Christians have been most reluctant to face up to, for four generations. We’ve habitually said to ourselves, “education involves learning how to read and write, and how to relate to others in society. So, the children will go to the State School. We’ll teach them spiritual values at home.”

In the early years of the 20th century, the Fabian Society of England came out strongly in favor of state aid to independent Christian schools. When a board member resigned in protest, George Bernard Shaw rebuked him strongly. Nothing, Shaw held, would more quickly destroy these schools than state aid; their freedom and independence would soon be compromised, and, before long, their faith. Events soon proved Shaw to be right.[1]

How foolish and disobedient we have been to God’s Word. The Psalmist in the above text (recorded around 1,000 BC) offers a Holy Spirit inspired historical commentary on what the children of Israel had been doing 500 years earlier.

And what has the modern Church done? We have essentially followed the same practices. In sending our children to the public school, we have “mingled with the nations and learned their practices, and served their idols, which became a snare to them.” They were disobedient then, in 1,500 BC. Today, we repeat the process.

Now there would be some who will quickly be saying,

That’s not fair Andrew. We send our children to the Christian school, where the education is so much better.

My response is, “Who is controlling the Christian school?” If you threaten the supply of tax-monies from the Education Department to that school, that school’s leadership will cross flooded streams and crawl over broken glass to make sure their funding supply is secure. The school’s attitude is, “No funding-no school.” (In some “Christian” schools, government funding accounts for 90% of all of the school’s budget). Everything else is up for negotiation, including the curriculum.

And if the Department (dominated by humanistic bureaucrats) asks hard questions about the school’s 6-day Creation Science course, or school policies about anti-discrimination for homosexual teachers or a host of other things, which way will the school jump? Anyone can pretty well predict. The school will follow whatever path is necessary, to ensure the supply of funding continues.

Even if a school doesn’t come under direct pressure from the Department of Education, there is the implicit kind. Think of it this way. If the school gets all 125 boxes ticked for complete Departmental approval for the next 3 years, everything is hunky-dory. And if you have gone to a great deal of effort to do all the work, and committed the time and resources of the school to that project, what then do you have left, if you want to implement a Christian curriculum?

Chances are, you’ll have had enough. Chances are, you’ll say,

We’re over the line now for the registration and funding. Happy days! Do we really want to be bothered going the extra mile to press for that curriculum improvement? That would mean going back to the Department for a whole new registration process. The School Board doesn’t care. Most of the parents don’t care. The teachers are happy. What’s the problem?

So, the average “Christian” school plays the middle of the road game. The Department is kept happy, along with parents (who were never taught about this from the pulpit), and teachers.

Is this God’s way? If so, show me the scriptural validity of governments ever being involved in the education process. It’s not in the Bible, but parental responsibility is, both in the Old and New Testaments (see Deut.6; Prov.22:6; Eph.6:4).

The notion of taxes being collected for the purpose of educating children, assisting to press the national tax rates over 30-40%, only means two things. Firstly, we are a nation under judgment, and secondly, God’s way for education has been rejected.

This is what God said of Israel in Samuel’s day (see I Sam.8): God said, “…they have rejected Me from being king over them” (v.7), when the tax rate got to 10%.

Rushdoony was right, again:

Children are a God-given inheritance for our conquest of the world for Christ. They are a means of subduing the earth and exercising dominion under the Lord. If we give our children to state or private schools which are not systematically Christian in their curriculum, we are then giving the future to God’s enemies, and He will hold us accountable for laying waste our heritage.[2]

Conclusion:                                                                                                                                        The body of Christ has a lot of searching of heart to do, today. We will have to apply ourselves in faithfulness to Christ, to our children’s education. This will require some major changes in how we do things in the future, if we really want to please the Lord of heaven and earth.

Refusing to commit our children to godless institutions and people for their education will be the first step.

Is that what you’re ready for?

 

 

[1] Rousas Rushdoony, “Roots of Reconstruction,” 1991, p.446.

[2] Rousas Rushdoony, “In His Service,” 2009, p.20.

The First Church Of Christian Gnosticism

By Gary DeMar, Dec 31, 2019

Many Christians believe and teach a form of factual neutrality where some subjects, for example, science, geography, politics, mathematics, can and should be taught without any regard to religion since “facts speak for themselves.” This is most evident in education where a self-conscious sacred-secular divide is maintained and supported by Christians. Ninety percent of Christian parents send their children to government schools. Since these parents believe that math is math and history is history, the religious stuff can be made up at church.

One hour of Sunday school and an hour at Youth Meeting each week and maybe a mission trip in the summer can’t make up for five days a week, six hours each day, 10 months of the year, 12+ years of a government-developed curriculum that is humanistic to the core. The humanists understand the importance of education in creating worldview shifts and control, so why don’t Christians? Charles Francis Potter, who founded the First Humanist Society of New York in 1929 and signed the first Humanist Manifesto in 1933, made no secret of the purpose of the American public schools:

Education is thus a most powerful ally of Humanism, and every American public school is a school of Humanism What can the theistic Sunday-school, 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?1

  1. J. Rushdoony pointed out the Humanist design for education in his books Intellectual Schizophrenia(1961) and The Messianic Character of American Education(1963). According to Rushdoony, modern government education “is erosive and destructive of all culture except the monolithic state, which is then the ostensible creator and patron of culture. When it speaks of the whole child, it speaks of a passive creature who is to be moulded by the statist education for the concept of the good life radically divorced from God and from transcendental standards.”2 Rushdoony was not the first to understand the goal of statist education. Robert L. Dabney (1820–1898) saw it more than 100 years ago:

[T]he Jeffersonian doctrine of the absolute severance and independence of church and state, of the entire secularity of the State, and the absolutely equal rights, before the law, of religious truth and error, of paganism, atheism, and Christianity, has also established itself in all the States; and still the politicians, for electioneering ends, propagate this State education everywhere. By this curious circuit “Christian America” has gotten herself upon this thoroughly pagan ground; forcing the education of responsible, moral, and immortal beings, of which religion must ever be the essence, into the hands of a gigantic human agency, which resolves that it cannot and will not be religious at all. Surely, some great religious body will arise in America to lift its Christian protest against this monstrous result!3

What would America be like today if the Church of Jesus Christ had heeded Dabney’s warnings and some “great religious body” had arisen to make the break from an educational system that was designed to be the indoctrination center for the State and its messianic motives? The usual Christian response is to reform the public schools, to get more parents involved, sue to get a moment of silence, prayers at sporting events and commencement exercises, release programs, and legislation to teach the Bible as literature as they’ve done in some states.4 There will be pressure groups in some cities to teach the Koran. Then there’s the question of how the Bible will be taught. Will the Old Testament be taught as myth? For example, NBC News anchor Chuck Todd has said that “Trump voters ‘want to be lied to’ since they believe in ‘fairy tales’ — like Noah’s Ark.”

Will someone teaching on the Olivet Discourse point out that Jesus was mistaken about His coming?

Some years ago, I received an email from a woman who asked me if I could direct her to some information that refutes Gnosticism. She wrote that a friend of hers “claims to be on an extraordinarily intense spiritual ‘pilgrimage’ of ‘really pressing in to know God intimately’—but this guy has in effect divorced himself from the material world and from all relationships (including his wife and 10 children) which he views as a hindrance to his spiritual growth.”

Gnostics claim to have special knowledge (gnosis is the Greek word for “knowledge”) on how to live the Christian life that is not revealed to “ordinary Christians.” God’s revelation in Scripture is not good enough or sufficient to give direction on how to live the Christian life. Of course, this refutes what the Bible says when it states that Scripture is “adequate” and equips the Christian “for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:17). She went on to say that this friend, a farmer, “was putting up hay recently and needed to get it in as they were expecting rain. Before he finished, he remembered that he had scheduled a Bible study, so he left his hay in order to keep the ‘spiritual’ duty. The rain came and the hay was lost, but he felt justified that he had chosen the higher calling.”

Another feature of Gnosticism is the belief that there are two separate realms—“one spiritual, the other material. The spiritual realm, created by God, [is] all good; the material realm, created by the demiurge, all evil. Man [needs] to be saved, not from Original Sin, but from enslavement to matter.”5

A further expression of Gnosticism was expressed by someone who “doesn’t believe in voting because that is a ‘worldly affair,’ and he wants only to be engaged in truly spiritual activities.” For the Gnostic, the material world is on a lower plane. Only “spiritual things” are useful and profitable. A Gnostic-like belief might forbid marriage while advocating “abstaining from foods” even though “God has created these things “to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth” (1 Tim. 4:3). Godliness for the Gnostic is defined as a retreat from the world and despising the things of the world.

[The Gnostics] devised a dualistic cosmology to set against the teachings of the early Christian Church, which, they claimed, were only common deceptions, unsuited for the wise. The truth was esoteric. Only the properly initiated could appreciate it. It belonged to a secret tradition which had come down through certain mystery schools. The truth was, God could never become man. The Gnostic secret is that the spirit is trapped in matter, and to free it, the world must be rejected.6

For the Gnostic, life “must be escaped at any cost.”7 But if there can be no immediate material escape, then a spiritual escape is a good enough substitute. The Gnostic escapes from the responsibilities of history. But for the Christian, history is the realm of decision making, and, therefore, is anti-Gnostic. If we are not responsible for history, then we are not responsible for decision making. Even a casual reading of the Bible will show that our faith is to be lived out in the world so that “fruit”– good works — is manifested for the world to see and for Christians to judge (Matt. 7:15–23). No restrictions are placed on where this fruit is to mature.

One of the central issues that divided gnostics and orthodox Christians in the early Church was their understanding of the relationship between religion and politics. The Church Fathers accepted the political worldliness of the Jewish faith, contending that religion and politics are interconnected and inseparable. The early Puritans and even Jonathan Edwards, following classical Calvinism, would have been clearly orthodox in this regard. The world of politics, of human institutions, was for them an essential locus of God’s redemptive work.8

What is contemporary Gnosticism like? While it might not manifest itself in ascetic practices like pole-sitting, it does reveal itself in an institutional escape. Institutional escape is not in the Protestant tradition, however. Our nation’s earliest Christian citizens did not view escape, eschatologically, ascetically, or institutionally, as being biblical. Education, publishing, law, science, medicine, and politics, to take just some worldview areas, were to be governed by the Word of God as were ecclesiastical affairs. Modern-day Gnosticism thrives in a climate of escapism which means a retreat from this world and responsibility to do anything to change any part of it. If this world means nothing, then I am not responsible for its evils.

  1. Charles Francis Potter, Humanism: A New Religion(New York: Simon and Schuster, 1930), 128. Quoted in David A. Noebel, J.F. Baldwin, and Kevin Bywater, Clergy in the Classroom: The Religion of Secular Humanism (Manitou Springs, CO: Summit Press, 1995), vi. []
  2. J. Rushdoony, Intellectual Schizophrenia: Culture, Crisis and Education (Vellecito, CA: Ross House Books, [1961] 1998), 10. []
  3. Robert L. Dabney, Discussions of Robert Lewis Dabney: Secular, C. R. Vaughan, 4 vols. (Harrisonburg, Virginia, Sprinkle Publications,1994), 4:548. []
  4. David Van Biema, “The Case for teaching the Bible,” Time(March 22, 2007). []
  5. Dusty Sklar, The Nazis and the Occult(New York: Dorset Press, [1977] 1989), 140–141. []
  6. Sklar, The Nazis and the Occult, 147. []
  7. [1]Philip Lee, Against the Protestant Gnostics(New York: Oxford University Press, 1987), 122. []
  8. Lee, Against the Protestant Gnostics, 123–124. []

The Challenge for Every Christian Parent (1)

Great are the works of the Lord; they are studied by all who delight in them (Ps.111:2).

We Christians must acknowledge one thing today: the Church has been letting a lot of things slip over the last hundred years or so, and it’s got us into no end of trouble.

Why has this happened? I believe it’s been because the Church has believed things that are not true. For example, Jesus explained to Pilate that “My kingdom is not of this world…” (Jn.18:36).

Does this mean that Christians are never to have a role, or play any part in the affairs of the world that we live in, that we are not to speak with confidence or authority about important issues in the life of the community or nation, and that we should just shut up and watch the world go by, to destruction? The Bible doesn’t teach us that.

Jesus was showing Pilate that the origins of His kingdom are not from this world. Jesus’ authority and kingdom came from God, and are not derived from a human, earthly source. But because God has made the world and all things in it, and He called Adam and Eve (and representatively, us) to “rule and have dominion” (Gen.1:26-28), Christian people are obliged under God to understand how we are to live and serve Him, so that we can give a good account to Him.

This means a lot of things. It means that we are firstly, to see all of life from God’s perspective. There is no subject or area of understanding that ought to be separated from the knowledge of God, or seen apart from scripture, for God has laid out in His Word His commands for life, and they are all encompassing.

Let me give you an example. The Bible teaches us that

You shall do no injustice in judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor nor defer to the great, but you are to judge your neighbour fairly (Lev.19:15).

Government instigated graduated taxation (where high earners pay a higher rate of tax) is in violation of this scripture, because it is “partial to the poor.” If there is to be income tax, it ought to be at a flat rate. But we in the Church have systematically ignored this scripture for all of the twentieth century, and now “progressive” tax rates are with us, all over the world. The politics of envy have triumphed over godliness, and now it’s hurting.

According to the law of God in Deuteronomy 6, education is a parental responsibility. It’s not a task that God has given to government to perform. But 150 years ago, the Church said, “That’s all right. We’ll let the government look after that. We won’t have to bother.” So now, we have Public Education: the most evil, wasteful and inefficient system of education known to man.

Why did this happen? The modern Church decided that when Paul said, “…you are not under law but under grace” (Ro.6:14), we had a licence to throw all of God’s law out the window.

The results have been catastrophic, both in the Church and in the world.

Paul was not advocating the rejection of God’s law. What he was doing was showing that obeying God’s law has never been and can never be the basis of our justification. Only the substitutionary death of Jesus on our behalf could accomplish that. The law of God teaches us how to live.

So as we think about our children’s education, we’re going to have to go back to God’s law to give us our marching orders.

The education of children for God is the most important business done on earth. It is the one business for which the earth exists. To it all politics, all war, all literature, all money-making, ought to be subordinated; and every parent especially ought to feel every hour of the day, that, next to making his own calling and election sure, this is the end for which he is kept alive by God-this is his task on earth.[1]

 

[1] Dabney (circa 1890), quoted in Bruce Shortt, “The Harsh Truth about Government Schools,” 2004, p.356.

Teacher Tells her Child Her Mother is not Her Teacher

By Gary DeMar (www.godfatherpolitics.com), 26/11/2014

Cassidy Vines recently began noticing a change in her daughter’s behavior. The kindergartener began to ‘snap’ at her mother when she tried correcting the little girl’s homework.  ‘She told me that I was her mommy, not her teacher.'”

Cassidy asked her daughter, “Is somebody telling you this at school?”

“She said, ‘Yes, I’m only allowed to learn from my teacher,'” Vines remarked.

There you have it. It doesn’t matter what you and I know and can find out on our own; it’s only what government-trained, and government-paid teachers are required to teach over any knowledge parents might have.

There are many teachers who want to be good teachers but are not allowed to teach anything but what the curriculum dictates.

When one mother objected how Thanksgiving was being taught, she called the principal “to point out that Thanksgiving was when the Pilgrims thanked God. The principal responded by saying ‘that was her opinion’—the schools could only teach what was in the books!”

If you ever sat through a college history class or even a high school history class, you will most likely be taught that there was a period called the “Dark Ages,” and it was all blamed on evil and ignorant Christians.

Nothing could be further from the truth, but in many cases there is no other view being taught. Art, science, architecture, music, literature, and so much more developed during the period that too many historians describe as “dark.”

The Enlightenment did not burst on the scene fully formed. There was a long development of progress preceding the area of a so-called enlightenment…

BN-CD488_edp_bk_ER_20140330172035

Take a look at Rodney Stark’s book How the West Won: The Neglected Story of the Triumph of Modernity.

The perception that there has always been a war between religion and science is of recent vintage. The myth finds its most formal statement in the nineteenth-century works of John William Draper’s History of the Conflict between Religion and Science (1874) and Andrew Dickson White’s History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom (1896).

White introduces his work with the claim that he is ‘letting the light of historical truth into the decaying mass of outworn thought which attaches the modern world to medieval conceptions of Christianity and which lingers among us—a most serious barrier to religion and morals, and a menace to the whole normal evolution of society.”

Tom Shachtman writes in his book Gentlemen Scientists and Revolutionaries: The Founding Fathers in the Age of Enlightenment (2014):

“It is also important to note that the Founding Fathers’ science was in no way opposite their religion. The notion that science and religion were antithetical is a nineteen-century construct” falsely popularized by Draper and White. “To split the Founders’ religious beliefs from their scientific ones creates a schism that did not exist in the Founding Fathers’ time. The Founders saw and felt no space between their faith in science and their faith in a Deity.”

And what did Cassidy Vines do? She took her child out of the government school and is teaching her at home. There are many educational opportunities available to parents these days that avoid the government education gatekeepers.