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The Rise of Governance and a Christian Response, Part 3

October 2, 2014

Grace to you! We’ve seen how a government structure that does not have representatives is unchristian. Christ is the exact representation of the Father (Hebrews 1:3) as God the Son and Christ is also the perfect Man to represent us to God as our mediator. (1 Timothy 2:5) Representation is intrinsic to the very nature of God and should be in our government.

Our founders revolted and installed a new government that would represent them. Today, we have many governmental agencies that govern and regulate our lives that have not been elected by the people. In this sense, these agencies are not biblically legit governing bodies and should be opposed until their positions are electable by the people and able to represent the people. One that poses an immediate threat to our local area is Thrive 2055. Most have never heard of Thrive 2055. Go to http://thrive2055.com/About/Interactive-Map.aspx to see that Marion County is included in this future plan. So what is Thrive 2055 and how should a biblical view of representative government affect our view of it?

Thrive 2055 is a regional plan, often understood as regionalism. I would encourage you to research for yourself the dangers of regionalism on the internet. Like other non-elected agencies, Thrive 2055 seeks to regulate our county, our zoning rights, our property rights, and future plans of infrastructure. Thrive 2055 is like all the other regional plans that are seeking to be installed across various parts of the US. Again, a simple internet search will show the prevalence of these central planners to altar how local government works. If our mayor and county commissioners agree to adopt Thrive 2055, they will be promised lots of money for the county but with many, many strings attached. Interesting enough, you as a citizen will have no voice in the vote. It will be decided by your local officials only.

Regional plans seek to ‘overcome the issues faced at a regional level.’ For example, the greater Chattanooga area and its surrounding counties would be considered a ‘region’. The plan, however, is a cookie cutter approach to addressing various issues. In short, they believe living in rural areas wastes too much land, which they call ‘rural sprawl’. Their solution? ‘In fill’ living, ‘multi-housing’ living. This means they want people to live closer together in apartments or something like it. How will they achieve this? Through rewriting or putting in place zoning regulations about what kind of houses can be built, where they can be built, and how land can or cannot be used. It’s happened elsewhere; it will happen here if we adopt Thrive 2055.

They will talk about ‘smart growth’, ‘sustainable development’, and ‘livable communities.’ These are all terms you would do well to research. I’ll say more in the coming weeks because unelected people seeking to regulate our lives is unbiblical and always leads to a loss of freedom for society.

Looking for a church home? Come visit South Whitwell Baptist, 133 South Oak Street, Whitwell. Sunday Service: 10:45 AM. Visit our web page: www.southwhitwellbaptist.webs.com

The Rise of Governance and a Christian Response, Part 1

September 15, 2014

Grace to you! We all understand the need for basic government. We choose (somewhat!) and elect our government officials every so often to best represent our values and desires for the society we live in. But do we understand what ‘governance’ is? Do we understand the inherent threat it is to our way of life and what is a proper, biblical response to it?

Governance strictly speaking is the act, power, or process of governing. But in the political realm, governance is more about people and/or agencies governing without voter approval and representation. Many governmental agencies such as the EPA, Department of Education, HUD, etc are governing agencies but neither you nor I have had a vote on who represents us in these agencies. The whole issue of ‘representation of the people’ is missing. This is a looming crisis and a sure recipe for abuse of power and minimizing the citizen’s interests.

How does an unelected governing body threaten us? The founding principle of our government and the very reason we went to war with Britain was over the very issue of representation in government (actually, the lack thereof). Early Americans sought to have their interests expressed through elected officials, however, England arbitrarily overthrew them and ruled over the wishes of the American citizens. The American rally cry was “No taxation without representation.” As long as the colonists had no one to represent them in government, then there was nothing to restrain the dictatorial powers of British government overturning the colonists way of life.

Contrary to the mantra repeated today, America is not a democracy. We are a republic. Simply recite the pledge of allegiance for a reminder. A democracy is, in short, mob rule. You get 51% of the vote and your will gets done regardless if it’s ethical or not. A republic focuses on the rule of law and representation. Both are crucial elements for a good, restraining force of evil in society.

But a wicked society will always seek to overturn the rule of law for the self gratifying desires. The apostle Paul talks about how if men persist in their desire for sin and wickedness, that He will turn us over to our evil desires and in turn create a lawless nation. “ And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.” (Romans 1:28) It’s interesting to note the more lawless the US citizens become, the more the cry for having a democracy and the flat out ignoring of the Constitutional law restraints on government.

Those crying for full democracy and the ignoring of the rule of law (the Constitution) will in the end find not a raw democracy, but a dictatorship instead. Nazi Germany found this out the hard way.

How does this all tie into the issue of governance, representation, and a Christian response? Next week we will look at how the bible is replete with representation from the nature of God to the glorious incarnation.

Looking for a church home? Come visit South Whitwell Baptist, 133 South Oak Street, Whitwell. Sunday Service: 10:45 AM. Visit our web page: www.southwhitwellbaptist.webs.com

Biblical Education: Part 3

September 15, 2014

Grace to you! We continue our series this week on rethinking our education model according to biblical standards. Our goal is to critique the educational model; not the teachers who make the system better than it is. We’ve seen that God has given tools for knowledge: reason, intuition, experience, etc. These are ways we learn and educate others. But we’ve seen in Genesis 3 that man fell into sin when he attempted to use these tools apart from God’s word. It is the heart of man’s rebellion and folly to seek to understand and live life apart from building it upon God’s word, and this includes how we educate our children.

What’s the alternative? Is there a neutral ground we can all pursue? If you’ve read the previous articles about the myth of neutrality, you know this is not possible. Man must place something down as his ultimate foundation he will build his life upon, even if it’s not God’s word. Jesus said, “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters.” (Matthew 12:30)

So what happens if our education model is not built first on God’s revelation, and having the goal to know God in and through all subjects taught? Man will take God’s revelation and replace it with an alternative, false “revelation.” In short, man will set up a new foundation to replace God’s word as the ultimate authority in education. What sort of authority or false revelation will man put in place of the bible? Man puts himself as the final authority. And man in a collective sense puts the government as the final authority.

Since the bible has been banned from the classroom, haven’t we seen an ever increasing push by the government to get more and more control over local education? It makes sense that government will want more control. If God’s revelation is rejected, false ultimate authorities will take its place just like back in Genesis 3. Man will seek to know apart from God. Man will set himself up as the final authority.

The new Common Core is just one more example of the government seeking to be the foundation of all education. Government elites and planners have become the final revelation for our present day schools. Education becomes more of indoctrination that the government is our friend and they are here to help! Listen to the stated purpose of education: “To make you a better educated citizen.” This is fine in one sense, but when the government plans the standards, educational material, and accreditation, their meaning of this sentence is that you are fit to fall in line with the government’s plans for your life and society.

We only have two options: build our educational model on God’s word or man’s word. Both are competing authorities for your life. Proverbs 1:7 instructs us in the way to go: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

Looking for a church home? Come visit South Whitwell Baptist, 133 South Oak Street, Whitwell. Sunday Service: 10:45 AM. Visit our web page: www.southwhitwellbaptist.webs.com

Biblical Education: Part 2

September 15, 2014

Grace to you! Last week we begin to look at what the bible says how to build an educational model. We noted that re-thinking about education is not against public teachers but about the system they too like the students they are trapped in. God has given us various of ways of learning such as reason, science, experience, etc. Satan asked Eve to use all of these God given ways of knowing to convince her to eat from the forbidden tree in the garden of Eden. (See Genesis 3) What was the issue that led our parents to disobey God even when they used the God given ways of knowing about life and reality? And how does this relate to education?

Our parents abandoned the foundation for the other ways of learning: revelation. God speaking to us is what we call revelation. God’s word was to be the base upon which the other ways of learning were to be established. Reason by itself will lead to uncertainty (as the history of philosophy has shown). But reason built on revelation will provide certainty in knowledge because God has told us about reality and framed the issues about how to use reason. Same is true for science, intuition, etc. All these are valid ways of knowing and learning but they come up short if they are not guided by biblical revelation.

Eve reasoned, performed a scientific experiment, looked to her desired experiences, etc when she ate of the fruit. The problem was that none of these valid ways of learning were sufficient in themselves to let Eve know that the fruit would prove to be deadly for all of mankind. But she did know ALREADY the fruit was deadly. God had already REVEALED that is was to be avoided. (Gen. 2:16) Adam and Eve both should have used God’s revelation as the starting point to how they used their reason, experience, etc to then reject Satan’s temptation. But they didn’t. They thought using the tools of learning alone without God’s revelation would make them wiser. (Gen. 2:6) It didn’t. It brought them into guilt, shame, and folly.

Today’s education model is built off the same lies in the garden. Our modern education model claims that the tools of learning are sufficient in themselves to make us into the people we need to be. This is not only shortsighted but inherently sinful. Knowledge divorced from the bedrock of God’s revelation is the heart of rebellion. And this is what our modern education model is patterned on. Where is the bible seen as the guiding centerpiece of all learning in our schools? Where is the knowledge of God seen as the highest aim and goal of education in all areas of learning? It’s not. And this has huge consequences that we’ll look at next week.

Looking for a church home? Come visit South Whitwell Baptist, 133 South Oak Street, Whitwell. Sunday Service: 10:45 AM. Visit our web page: www.southwhitwellbaptist.webs.com

Biblical Education: Part 1

September 15, 2014

Grace to you! This week we will start a new series on how the bible would have us think about education. The lesson today is the most fundamental idea in reorienting us in thinking biblically about what is education’s goal and how we are to construct an educational paradigm that honors the Lord.

First, some disclaimers. I know many, including myself, have been trained and have taught in public education. The goal of this series is NOT to attack public teachers. Many are doing a fantastic job with the system as it is. Many teachers give above and beyond their calling to pour into their students. This is not the issue in question. What is in question is the very MODEL of education we have adopted and accepted as normal and good for our children. The biblical model of education will bring freedom to the students and teachers.

Genesis 3 is the record of man’s initial disobedience to God. This passage has ramifications for how we are to think of how we gain knowledge and hence how we are to learn or educate. First, we need to understand there are various ways to know something. We can know it by intuition, by experiments, by reason, and/or by someone else telling us. When Satan tempted our parents, he enticed them to ‘know good and evil’ and to ‘become as gods’ through their pursuit of supposedly new knowledge if they would just eat the forbidden fruit. (Gen. 3:5) Notice what Satan does not do here. He does not say: “Forget reason, experience, etc.” He acknowledges these are valid ways of knowing. We too recognize we have education based on these ways of knowing.

Eve’s response likewise affirms that she agrees these are all God given ways of learning. “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate…”(Gen. 3:6)   Eve experimented with the fruit, she reasoned that it was good to take, her senses were engaged, etc. She did learn something: “Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked…” She learned guilt and shame in disobeying her Creator. She learned knowledge thru God given ways MINUS one thing. She sought to use the tools of learning apart from basing them on God’s revelation! She used all the valid forms of learning but separated them from God’s word.

Revelation is God speaking to us. Even before sin entered, man needed God’s word. What does this have to do with education? And how does this relate to using the legitimate tools of learning God has given us in reason, experience, science, etc? We’ll look at that next week!

Looking for a church home? Come visit South Whitwell Baptist, 133 South Oak Street, Whitwell. Sunday Service: 10:45 AM. Visit our web page: www.southwhitwellbaptist.webs.com

God and Government: The Myth of Neutrality, Part 3

September 15, 2014

Grace to you! So far we have seen that it is impossible for governments to be religiously neutral. Everyone, including government, has to answer the big questions of life and these questions are inherently religious.

Unfortunately, the Pietist movement has deeply affected the modern church. Pietism was more focused on religious experience than doctrinal content and systematic theology. This was contrary to the Reformers who saw the bible as a whole life system of thought. The Reformers saw that scripture, although it may not have spoken extensively about every subject, nevertheless gave the proper framework and context of understanding and developing all other areas of life including government.

The effects of Pietism we see today are that most Christians view the bible as a ‘salvation only’ book. The bible is seen as good for only getting a person saved and instructive on living the Christian experience. Forgotten is how the bible also talks about the principles of economics, law, justice, history, and government among others. It seems many Christians just go along with whatever their society dishes out to them without thinking about the infrastructure of ideas their lives or the lives of their neighbors are placed upon. What’s the consequence of not asking what the bible says about all of reality? “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3) Bad foundations, no matter how religiously pious one is in their experience, will not be good for the church or society. In short, you can build nice walls and a great roof, but if the foundation of the house is bad, the whole house will one day crumble.

Psalm 2 is an interesting passage to consider. Notice who it is written to: “Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; Take warning, O judges of the earth. Worship the LORD with reverence and rejoice with trembling. Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!” (Psalm 2:10-12) Although some Christians may not think of how the bible speaks to all of life, God most certainly requires governments and their leaders to be submissive to His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. The history of nations is ultimately what they do in response to the Son of God, whether they submit to Him and His law or they perish in the way.

How long will the modern church divorce the scriptures from directing us in all of life, including government policy? Why call Jesus “King of Kings, and Lord of Lords” (Revelation 19:16) if He’s not the one to whom all leaders and governments must pay allegiance to? Why would Christ be given this title if it had zero political ramifications?! To accept the idea that governments can be religiously neutral is to agree to allow your government to worship man or a plethora of other false gods. Let’s honor the true King of all, the Lord Jesus Christ!

 

Looking for a church home? Come visit South Whitwell Baptist, 133 South Oak Street, Whitwell. Sunday Service: 10:45 AM. Visit our web page: www.southwhitwellbaptist.webs.com

God and Government: The Myth of Neutrality, Part 2

September 15, 2014

Grace to you! Last week we saw that what you believe about man and how you help him is religious in nature. Government pretends to be religiously neutral but its public policies on how to help people shows its religious commitments. So if everyone must answer the fundamental questions of life, including government, then it’s apparent that even government cannot be religiously neutral. We must see that the ideal of government neutrality towards religion is a myth. Our government currently reflects the religious belief of secular humanism. Hear what Dr. Greg Bahnsen, the late Christian apologist, said, “The civil magistrate cannot function without some ethical guidance, without some standard of good and evil. If that standard is not to be the revealed law of God… then what will it be? In some form or expression it will have to be the law of man (or men) – the standard of self-law or autonomy. And when autonomous laws come to govern a commonwealth, the sword is certainly wielded in vain, for it represents simply the brute force of some men’s will against the will of other men…If no divine law is recognized above the law of the State, then the law of man has become absolute in men’s eyes–there is then no logical barrier to totalitarianism.”

When God’s religious law is replaced as the governing principles of society with man’s religious laws then total control of the state over the individual will eventually be the consequence! Do you notice how our country is getting more centralized, bigger in federal scope and reach, spending more money to feed the government beast, coming up with more regulations to control your lives and finances, finding more ways and reasons to invade your privacy by the ‘omniscient’ Federal government monitoring your computers, phones, and conversations? Do we not see the counterfeit god here? The Federal government, when its laws are based on man rather than God’s word, begins to act as God Himself. It will seek to ‘see everything’ you do, regulate your life and environment, and give you its own version of the 10 commandments. “Thou shalt not complain against government taking your money. Thou shalt not have local, self-government as priority over the Federal government. Thou shalt not take the name of despotic leaders in your government in vain. Thou shalt not covet a smaller, more responsible government.”

William Penn summarized it well: “Men must be ruled by God or they will be ruled by tyrants.” As long as people accept the myth of religious neutrality in our government, we will keep marching towards the gulags of a new Auschwitz for any who dissent and will not bow down and worship the coming Dictator. (See Daniel 3:10-30)

Looking for a church home? Come visit South Whitwell Baptist, 133 South Oak Street, Whitwell. Sunday Service: 10:45 AM. Visit our web page: www.southwhitwellbaptist.webs.com

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