I believe I have always thought that the best thing to do in life is to not create waves...to let the sleeping dogs lie...to leave the status quo alone. The peace accompanied by that lifestyle leads to only the degradation of one's own soul and the state of constant regret.
I know that this can apply to many different parts of our personal lives but I want to speak specifically to Christians in regards to the overt lie that is being promulgated throughout our public and private educational schools. That lie is Darwinian Evolution. It it now considered "scientific fact" and any view that deters from that is considered outlandish culturally.
The problems with this are numerous. First, there is no scientific evidence for "Darwinian Evolution". Please let that sink in. Despite all the slant you hear from the news, school textbooks and blogs there is none. None. No one has been able to prove it. Rather it comes from a philosophy that people hold. So, our children are not being taught facts about the origin of life and the purpose of it but rather a philosophy. Which I am perfectly fine with...as long as other philosophies are allowed as well...but they are not.
This has lead to the God-centered philosophy as the center of life to be undercut by public education and painted as archaic. In other words, there is no reason to believe that there is someone outside of natural forces who gives life, guides morality or determines the future. Everything is fatalistic and man is the ultimate author of all life and morality.
So my hope is this. If you are in any way in educational circles....speak up. Demand facts. Demand critical thought, not blind adherence to a philosophical system. Learn how to lovingly speak the truth to a blind world who is lost in believing a lie that has numerous harmful consequences...namely not believing a loving God can save them.
This book is a great place to start:
Thursday, May 30, 2013
Key Elements to Christian Education
Cultures change, ideas become reality, governments are over-thrown and farther
reaches of the universe are explored. Change is inevitable and with that the youth that
fill the classroom. What does not change is the basic, over-arching principles that
should direct the education of those students. In the following pages, I will explore what
I believe to be some of the most critical beliefs when it comes to doing Christian
I believe the most important principle that guides me as an educator is the person
and work of Jesus. Jesus fulfills three roles that are critical to the content and the
delivery of education. First, Jesus is the Prophet. He tells us the truth about who God
is, the future and our sin. I need to communicate truth from every discipline through this
lens because if not, the lies I tell can harm my students. Secondly, Jesus is the High
Priest. His sacrifice is what enables me to be gracious and understanding of my
students despite their behavior because he does the same for me. Finally, Jesus is
King. I do not mean a figurative king for Christians only but rather a real, ruling King
who will make judgement on all people from all time. This means that information is not
amoral but rather should be used for the betterment of Jesus’ Kingdom. This overarching
principle is what guides all the other following. Without this, there can be no
judgement on what is good and right when it comes to education but rather speculation.
This leads to the next principle which explains what we can know.
The term pluralistic is thrown around a lot in our culture when it comes to religion
because the belief is that everyone’s idea is valid and therefore true. This is done in
light of being politically correct so no-one is offended by someone else’s narrowmindedness.
A world-view with this line of reasoning makes no sense and leads to unfortunate real-life consequences. A Biblical perspective is that there are rather two
types of truth in the world, subjective and objective. What has been done is that the two
have been misused in public education. Subjective truth is based on a person’s feeling
and cannot be proven right or wrong. This is all well and good when it comes to
someone’s preference for ice cream or movies but not when it comes to reality.
Objective truth is based on the object. In other words, it is not dependent upon
anyone’s feelings but rather what is real. The person who confuses these two truths will
have grave consequences to deal with, in everything from gravity, to firearms to sexually
transmitted diseases. Educators need to teach the difference between these two types
of truth and then establish what information falls into each category. Discussion in the
classroom about abortion should not include “How do you feel about that?” The
existence of human life is outside of my preference. The existence of God is outside of
my preference. The existence of gravity is outside of my preference. Educators need to
teach that while reality might not please the student, it is still reality and the student
needs to adjust accordingly. I think this conflict is seen consistently in education circles
when it involves the Christian Bible.
The Christian Bible is viewed today in secular circles as outdated, written by a
primitive people group who were not as enlightened as us today. The Bible rather is
“Sola Scriptura”. The Bible is not the only authority but it is the highest authority. The
consequences for this are numerous. First, we can know the purpose and meaning to
human existence. We can bring an assurance that others can only speculate. This
means that all the disciplines taught have a purpose to them as well. We are not
teaching information for the sake of having more information but rather there is a purpose and goal. Secondly, we can rightly judge from the Bible what is good and evil.
A classroom that is void of this direction can only speculate on the morality of action
when engaging the information. In Christian education, we have the ability to rightly
direct a student’s behavior with the information he has received. Finally, the Bible is the
standard by which all other books can be judged. Like I said earlier, it is not the only
authority but it does trump any other book that directly contradicts it. This gives the
student in Christian education the ruler by which to measure all other books.
A fourth critical element to Christian education is love. This is no doubt a word
that is overused and misused but it is crucial to understand in the classroom. I believe
that as an educator, I must be empowered to have a genuine love for the students in my
classroom and their families. The point of education is to essentially empower someone
to live life the best way possible. As an educator, I believe I am telling my students the
truth and that truth will better their lives if they put it into practice. The temptation is to
not tell the student the truth by not answering their question, not pushing them to work
harder, not confronting them or a millions other lackadaisical actions. Love forces me to
take initiative even when good enough will be accepted. An educator needs to learn to
push through what makes them uncomfortable and genuinely seek for the good of the
student. The reason this element is crucial is because of the sin issue.
The recognition of sin culturally is not popular. There are numerous reasons for
this. Some do not like being told what they cannot do, others do not like the idea of
someone over them, some believe that they are just a good person because they are
filled with pride. Sin is not something discussed in the public school classroom because
that would lead to a whole other bag of worms that no one would want to touch. Christian education hinges on the understanding of this though because it gives
understanding as to why the world is the way it is. Also, it takes into account the need
for discipline in the classroom and for the student outside of it. This issue also
addresses the concept that not all ideas are equal or correct which flies in the face of
pluralism. Finally, the student needs to understand their journey for truth will be a fight.
They are fighting powers or darkness which take the shape of false philosophies and
outright lies. Also, they are fighting their own sinful nature not to know the truth.
Without this knowledge, the student takes the path of least resistance which only
hinders their understanding of the truth.
While I have looked at some larger philosophies which engage the classroom as
a whole, I know want to look specifically at the educator. I believe that Christian
educators need to be concerned with personal growth first and foremost. This includes
spiritual growth as they are confronted year after year with different challenges but also
professional growth as well. The teacher should never grow out of being a student
because that shows a lack of humility. The Christian educator needs to model that for
his students because that is the mark of Christianity. The Christian is always in need.
We are not self-sufficient, but rather recognize our desperate sin situation and turn to
the One who can help. The educator who models this humility will have students who
will view learning as a need and not as a luxury. He will have students who will see
education as a life-long pursuit and not just a pre-requisite for a certain career path.
Those students will be fine with “never arriving” when it comes to their knowledge of
God but will rather press on daily. The educator needs to be a student of not just their
subject matter but also of their students as well. The educator should present the truth in a relevant manner.
I am not saying that the truth changes but rather the presentation in which it is
communicated does. This idea is near and dear to a missionary’s heart because there
usually is an obvious difference between the cultures. I get the sense in the American
culture that we should leave well enough alone and force the student to change. I
strongly disagree with that and believe that schools who do not change will be nonexistent.
The same is for churches who are stuck in the communicating the gospel in a
certain way. They have grown complacent and are happy to have their church slowly
die off. A school that does not account for the changing culture of the student population
will have students disinterested and looking somewhere else. The method of which the
information is communicated in the Christian school needs to be relevant or students will
look elsewhere for anyone communicating to them in a relevant way. If an educator
does not understand the student culture, how does he expect the student culture to
understand what he’s saying. This is seen throughout the entirety of the Bible as God
communicates His love for His people. He meets them on their level and uses the
appropriate language and illustrations that they grasp. Paul does the same thing in the
New Testament with the pagan Romans he has contact with. He knows their culture
and uses it to communicate the truth. As Christian educators we should be on the
forefront of technology, the arts and other forms of communication that engage our
Finally, I believe a crucial element to Christian education is community among the
educators. The educators need to model not just individual godly character but also
what it means to treat your fellow man. The student will hear how the teacher treats a co-worker much louder than what is said in the classroom. Also, it really does take a
village to educate a student and that can only happen through Christ-centered
communication. The educators in a school must consistently live out the gospel at the
forefront of their professional lives because a student’s education is at stake. There is
no room for back-biting, ladder climbing or gossip because those things only take away
from the success of the student. Rather, a consistent theme of the Gospel of Jesus
needs to be promulgated so the educators remember they are not there for their own
academic gain and recognition. This allow for accountability, so that no teacher is
above the law when it comes to discipline or academic integrity.
Education looks vastly different than it did forty years ago and it will look that
much different forty years from now. The key to educating students is not to grab onto
the latest fads or ideas promoted by the government. Rather it is to stick to these
fundamental truths that keep Jesus as Lord of not just the Church but the classroom as
at 6:22 PM
Friday, November 2, 2012
Four years ago I saw one of the most amazing sites from the perspective of a History educator: a black person was elected president. Most do not understand the barbaric treatment that the people from Africa went through to arrive in the New World. From there, their children were forced into hundreds of years of slavery, oppressed under the black codes and still face the negative stereotypes based purely on the color of their skin. You do not need to travel too far south in Arkansas to experience the racism that most in the North think is ancient history. I should know, i lived there for four years and received racist pamphlets in the mail promoting the “Biblical” superiority of white people. So to see a black person being sworn in as President honestly gave me some pride as an American that we were crossing a threshold I thought would never happen.
I am always a fan of the underdog, (proven by my lifelong allegiance to the Phillies, Redskins and 76er’s), so to experience that underdog victory by the African-American community was at the time exciting. As a Christian though, my allegiance needs to go beyond the feeling of underdogs and skin color and what really is best for the country and hence what is most glorifying to God. I feel as though the younger, relevant Christian community is wrongly brushing over the issue of abortion when it comes to this Presidential election. I am fully aware that the President is unable to overturn a Supreme Court decision and can at best appoint judges that would, but I feel as though the President does more than that as a figurehead. As president, he speaks for the nation and influences people on their decisions as all leaders do. President Obama continues to call abortion a healthcare issue and not a human life issue and so the people of this country will do the same. There are also the Republican candidates for various political offices who ignorantly speak on the subject and in turn give more validity to the President’s dialogue. To focus on their mis-steps also ignores the issue though that a human life is involved. I do believe that abortion should be legal but only in the case of an ectopic pregnancy in which neither mother or child can survive unless the child is aborted. That makes sense to save one life when the baby’s is not viable.
Let me be clear, the issue is of someone’s life. Do we value human life or is murder by the more powerful acceptable? No doubt people are offended by the idea of murder because they like to keep this argument intellectual. These ideas though have sinful consequences. There is no doubt there are well intentioned people on the pro-choice side but there were also well intentioned people on the Nazi Germany side. Please watch Ben Stein’s “Expelled” to learn how the idea of macro evolution lead to the rationalization of killing innocent human life http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIZAAh_6OXg . So while President Obama is well intentioned in his views on abortion, they still promote the killing of innocent people.
More importantly, as a Christian, I cannot overlook the fact that President Obama is lining up more with pagan kings from the Bible than as a follower of Jesus he claims to be. This passage I recently read from Zephaniah 1 is strikingly similar to his views:
“I will stretch out my hand against Judah
and against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem;
and I will cut off from this place the remnant of Baal
and the name of the idolatrous priests along with the priests,
those who bow down on the roofs
to the host of the heavens,
those who bow down and swear to the LORD
and yet swear by Milcom,
those who have turned back from following the LORD,
who do not seek the LORD or inquire of him.”
(Zephaniah 1:4-6 ESV)
This section probably means nothing to you regarding the president, but look again, “those who bow down and swear to the LORD and yet swear by Milcom,”. Milcom was the pagan god in which babies were sacrificed in the worship ceremony. Sound familiar? Someone was claiming to love God and yet approved the practice of murdering children. God here is clear that behavior is sinful. It does not matter how you shade it with certain terminology or circumstances, it’s wrong. It’s murder.
Please hear me, I am not here to judge your circumstances or past behavior. Forgiveness can be found for all sin and God promises that in the same book (see Zephaniah 3:9-20). Thank God his forgiveness is not based on our past actions but rather Jesus’ work on the cross. Please let that love He has for you direct your heart to the fact that human life is not a matter of convenience or choice. Innocent human life needs to be protected and as Christians, we cannot flippantly put it off as a political issue. That is why I will not be voting for President Obama. He claims Christ and then turns to ignore the very God he claims. He has bought into a lie and by my vote I will not enable him to lead others to buy into the same lie.
at 9:59 AM
Thursday, September 13, 2012
The smoke has cleared from the Democratic and Republican conventions and depending on your political favorings, there were some important happenings. My concern is not political but rather the continued confusing state of Repblicans who call themselves evangelical Christians. I do agree with the majority of their moral stances but I am finding myself more and more disagreeable with the way they communicate them and their judgement of others who do not meet those standards. I was under the impression from Jesus that we should humbly serve and love our enemies, not bash them on national television (Romans 12:20). What concerns me most though about the Evangelical Right is their greater concern for political gain than sound theology. This was made evident by a speech given by Republican pundit and former governor, Mike Huckabee. The comments he makes here shows the unhealthy focus The Christian Right is hanging on politics.
"I am far less concerned about where Mitt Romney takes his family to church than where he takes this country". I am not saying that as a Christian I should be indifferent to who the leader of the free world is and his stances on moral issues. What I am saying is that I should care about the eternal destiny of that person’s soul more than a nation that will fall just like all others before. This careless rhetoric by this pastor does a couple things:
- It gives legitimacy to the Mormon Church as being a Christian denomination and not a cult. That’s scary. A lot of uneducated Christians are looking to Mr. Huckabee for Biblical guidance and he failed.
- It promotes a social gospel which really is no gospel at all. Mr. Huckabee is putting the needs of a temporary instituion above the needs of an eternal soul. Again, the needs of this coutry are great but to say they outweigh the eternality of Jesus’ rule and reign is ridiculous.
I am not against this country having a Mormon president or one affiliated with any other religion. I think by God’s grace good things can happen to benefit this country despite someone’s severed relationship with God apart from Christ because of common grace (Matthew 5:44-46). As Christians we need to realize this and not isolate ourselves from every person who does not line up with us theologically. What we cannot do though is compromise the message and importance of the gospel for things of lesser, and in the long run, no importance.
at 2:24 AM
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
The following blog post has been on my mind not just because of President Obama's announcement of his support of same-sex marriage but also because of the numerous Christians I hear on talk shows voicing their thoughts on the matter.
Was Jesus Silent About Homosexuality?
What has been going on in my heart since President Obama’s announcement that he supports gay marriage has been varied. As a student of history and the Constitution, I am inclined to believe that the allowance of civil unions is the natural course of action for this country. The government should stay out of our bedrooms, relationships and our wallets. My concern is founded rather on his assertion of his deep faith in Christianity and how that only encourages his belief that marriage should include same-sex couples.
There are about three major points of contention that are brought up when same sex marriage proponents espouse their reasoning for such a stance. First, they point out that to not allow someone a “right” is not a loving act. They reason Christians should be about "love", so to be anti-same sex marriage is not loving. Secondly, they point out that traditional marriage is not working that well with about a 50% divorce rate. Finally, the argument has been made that Jesus did not say one word about homosexuality. If it is so wrong, then he would have talked about it extensively if not at least mentioned it in passing.
I hope to be helpful in correcting the view of that last argument. I believe a lot of people who call themselves Christians are being misled by that reasoning from political leaders, talk show hosts and errant pastors.
Who is Jesus?
I think the very first thing we must examine is who Jesus is. I know there is a ton of debate around this question but I would like to look at solely scriptural answers, since the argument starts there. Put very simply, Jesus said he is God: Matthew 16:16-17, 19:28, 26:64, 28:18-20, Mark 15:2, Luke 4:18-21, 22:66-71, John 20:26-29. Also, he implied it with parables (Matthew 7:24, 12:38, 18:21), proved it with miracles (Matthew 8:1, 8:14, 8:23, 8:28, 9:1, 9:18, 9:27, and a lot more) and the New Testament writers all affirm it (Romans 1:1-4, Hebrews 1:1-2, James 1:1, 1 Peter 1:1, 1 John 1:1-3).
So, the argument is still concerning the silence Jesus gives on same-sex marriage. Now, he does affirm heterosexual marriage (Matthew 19:1-7) but it is true that in the Gospels Jesus is not recorded as speaking on the topic. This does not mean he is silent though. As we have shown, Jesus is God and so anything that God the Father says regarding homosexuality we have to take as Jesus saying. God is One (Genesis 1:1-31) and to infer that He somehow disagrees with Himself runs contrary to all other teaching found in Scripture explaining God’s character. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are not in competition but rather in agreement on all things because they are of the same essence. There is no division within in the Trinity. This is akin to a healthy marriage. The child might ask one parent for permission and then turn to the other when the first one declines his request. The second parent gives the same response as the first because there is good communication and unity in the marriage. They are one.
So this all begs the question, what does God say about homosexuality? We see evidence that He is against it in the Old and New Testaments that He inspired (2 Timothy 3:16). In the Old Testament He condemns it (Leviticus 18:22). In the New Testament it is condemned as well (Romans 1:26-27). So to say that Jesus is silent on the issue of homosexuality is incorrect. Jesus is God and God has a lot to say about it and other sexual sin. Please do not view this as a condemnation but rather as an opportunity for grace as God really desires the best for His creation and so He lovingly corrects us through His Word. Jesus is not silent on this issue. He loves us too much. I hope this helps clears up confusion for the Christian as many under the banner of “Christian” have pronounced that Jesus has nothing to say on the issue.
at 4:46 PM
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Joe Paterno: Why Morality is not Enough for Men
I think it is going to be really easy to rail against Penn State Football coach Joe Paterno for his lack of iniative investigating the allegations against former coach Jerry Sandusky. I think we run into a real danger as men though if we do not heed the warning sent by his inaction...our own. My goal is to be helpful and point out some practical ways in which as men we can change so as not to leave the same sort of legacy as Joe Pa.
It is imperative to start out by stating there are two types of sin. There are sins of commission in which you proactively steal, cheat, lie, hurt, etc. There are also sins of omission. You should do something but do not. You should help that person, give that money, have that conversation, stand up for that person, etc. I think men have a greater struggle with sins of omission. Take Adam from the Bible for example. He should have stood up against the serpent but instead passively let his wife get tricked. As men, I think there are a couple instances in particular in which we struggle with sins of omission. I think all of these can be seen in the Penn State instance and so it is helpful to evaluate our own lives to see if we are doing the same.
1. The Worship of the Institution
I think men in general like buildings, dynasties, tradition because it was something that was built. People marvel at these things and there is a sense of pride in doing something so well that it has stood the test of time. I think this was the case with Jerry Sandusky. He had become an institution at Penn State. His defenses were top tier consistently and he was known as a generous man through the Second Mile Foundation. What tends to happen with people like that is that we tend to worship them. We give them free passes on their sins and protect them at all costs instead of holding them accountable. When we do this, we do not know what to do when their mortality is revealed to us. Former Pennsylvania football star John Ritchie explained this idea well here. It freaks us out because our "god"has fallen from the heavens and we choose to look the other way because our world view has been shattered. We do this with our job. We do this with our reputation. We do this with our heroes. We choose to not deal with sin because it might hurt or wreck whatever we has set up as the idol. So we do not speak up at work when shady financial practices are done. We do not confess sin because we care more about what people think of us. We do not have that tough conversation with that person because we are afraid of who they really are. That leads into the second reason...
2. Men Hate Awkward Conversations
A second reason men commit sins of omission is because we do not like to feel unsure of ourselves. Nothing makes us feel this quicker than hard conversations. Conversations in which sin will be confronted and the offending party could possibly reveal your own sin or disown you as a friend. Again, this is a form of idolatry with you as the god. We choose not to speak up and dig into that person's life because there are too many unknowns. This is not loving behavior. It is cowardice. Love acts bravely and does not care about the consequences but rather about the truth. I can only imagine the amount of opportunities that Joe Paterno had with Jerry Sandusky to have "that" conversation but chose not to. How many times have we chosen not to have "that" conversation because it was simply easier to let sleeping dogs lie than pushing someone towards holiness?
3. Morality is god
Finally, men struggle with sins of omission because morality is what drives them. Moral people go to hell. Jesus is after more than moral men. Morality is not enough for men. Men need to deal with issues of the heart but it is so much easier just to deal with surface issues. As men we are by nature lazy and dealing with issues of the heart takes work. It's easy to put on a front as a man and pretend everything is ok. It is easy to get your children dressed up for sunday school and make your wife smile for two hours a week. It's tough to discipline your children, pursue your wife and model humility. Culturally though, we are taught that appearances matter most. Jesus has called men to something greater though and culture does not have the patience for it. He calls us to love God and love others and that will not always fall under the banner of morality.
My encouragement to you as a man is that you do not have to be stuck under morality. You are made to be more than a man who is nice. You have been created to reflect the image of God. You have been made to bring glory to God. When that is your main objective, no institution, no awkward conversation and no ever-changing social moral code will satisfy. Only the glory of God will do and sins of omission will seem foolish in light of the presence of the eternal God.
at 3:50 AM
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Men Who Love Jesus Do Not Make Good Politicians
Ok, I am not trying to drag Rick Perry through the mud with these two blog posts but I think there is a real danger in not pointing out the obvious. Again, this is in response to the Las Vegas RNC debates from last week. You can read about it here. I think there is three things we can learn from Rick Perry as a Christian man:
1. Keep first things first: It was amazing to watch Mr. Perry get bent out of shape on lawn care and not give a flip about the eternity of another person's soul. I think this is the danger we all face as men. We tend to elevate the temporal and minimize the eternal. So, culturally fantasy football, video games, sound systems, electronic, cars, sports and air-bushed women are our greatest concern. While issues like memorization of scripture, praying with our families, discipling other men and tithing take a back seat. Because of this, we lose credibility with the culture and with our children who get easily bored with our shallow pursuits.
2. Seek truth, not to be right: I loved Rick's incessant interruption of Mr. Romney's rebuttal when it came to the lawn mowing service. I thought I was watching an argument in a bad teenage movie drama. Mr. Perry was not concerned about the facts that Mr. Romney was presenting, just that his ideas was the loudest. It reflected poorly on Mr. Perry and it does the same for the Christian man with that same approach. My aim should never be to prove how right I am to my kids, my wife or my friends. Rather, it should be to serve. Speaking the truth in love is a great way to serve. It lessens myself and puts the truth, which is always helpful, at the forefront. Unfortunately for Mr. Perry as a presidential candidate, his job is to always to be right.
3. Don't be a coward: Harsh words I know, but really this is what this issue boils down to. Anyone can get in front of a large audience and tell people what they want to hear. Rick Perry did just that. Mormons are Christians. This idea is becoming more and more accepted in American Christianity. (To see why this is wrong read here.) To argue against it would make some people uncomfortable and possibly divide the Republican base. Jesus was not a coward. He spoke hard truth and suffered persecution from his family, casual followers, the religious establishment, his friends and the government. The Christian man cannot be a coward. You will have to speak hard truth in love to your spouse, children, co-workers, friends and strangers. Ultimately that they are sinners and that they need Jesus just like yourself. To not do that is to run away from your responsibility and hide behind being liked.
My fear is that men will see tough Texan Rick Perry and confuse him for a godly man when that could not be farther from the truth. People pleasing has never been the mark of a Biblical godly man.
at 8:05 PM