Don’tcha just LOVE Postmoderns? As a matter of fact, as a Christian I do. That is why every chance I get I want to show where their wishy-washy approach to life is not only incorrect, but detrimental to both the cause of Christ and to their own peace of mind (ironically!).
This morning, Justin Taylor of the Between Two Worlds blog (another blog definitely worth the time to read) quoted Kevin DeYoung, author of “Why We Love The Church” (one that is definitely on my reading list, if only I didn’t have to eventually sleep!) who took postmodern Christianity to task by illustrating the inconsistent nature of their criticisms of the traditional church. Not that there are not things that the traditional church can at least ponder and some things maybe even repent of, but if you are going to level criticism, make sure it is consistent with the Bible and at least with logic.
Kevin DeYoung, in Why We Love the Church (pp. 87-88, line breaks mine):
But then again, consistency is not a postmodern virtue. And nowhere is this more aptly displayed than in the barrage of criticisms leveled against the church.
The church-is-lame crowd hates Constantine and notions of Christendom, but they want the church to be a patron of the arts, and run after-school programs, and bring the world together in peace and love.
They bemoan the over-programmed church, but then think of a hundred complex, resource-hungry things the church should be doing.
They don’t like the church because it is too hierarchical, but then hate it when it has poor leadership.
They wish the church could be more diverse, but then leave to meet in a coffee shop with other well-educated thirtysomethings who are into film festivals, NPR, and carbon offsets.
They want more of a family spirit, but too much family and they’ll complain that the church is ‘inbred.’
They want the church to know that its reputation with outsiders is terrible, but then are critical when the church is too concerned with appearances.
They chide the church for not doing more to address social problems, but then complain when the church gets too political.
They want church unity and decry all our denominations, but fail to see the irony in the fact that they have left to do their own thing because they can’t find a single church that can satisfy them.
They are critical of the lack of community in the church, but then want services that allow for individualized worship experiences.
They want leaders with vision, but don’t want anyone to tell them what to do or how to think.
They want a church where the people really know each other and care for each other, but then they complain the church today is an isolated country club, only interested in catering to its own members.
They want to be connected to history, but are sick of the same prayers and same style every week.
They call for not judging “the spiritual path of other believers who are dedicated to pleasing God and blessing people,” and then they blast the traditional church in the harshest, most unflattering terms.
Excellent points all!
What is most striking to me is that by taking this approach to criticism of the traditional church, the Postmoderns refute their own argument. By their approach, they postulate that all truth is valid truth and that the details of your belief in Christ are not as important as what those beliefs mean to you. (Sounds like humanistic drivel if you ask me!) But, if all truth is valid truth, why is my belief in:
1. The literal, historical, Jesus, and His death, burial and resurrection (otherwise known as the doctrine of substitutionary atonement, our faith hinges on this point!),
2. The infallible, inerrant, Word of God known as the Bible, (the objective written standard on which our faith is built),
3. The doctrines of Grace as enumerated in the Scriptures, and espoused throughout the centuries by well respected Church fathers,
4. The doctrine of Justification by Grace, through Faith, and not of works, but unto good works, and among other things,
5. Truth is by definition objective, knowable, and ultimately exclusive,
Not a valid belief system? If all truth is valid truth, if you even HAVE a criticism of someone else’s belief system, isn't that a contradiction of your own? It looks at least like a validation of the objective, knowable, and exclusive nature of truth itself. They just may need to reevaluate their truth claims!
>All over the news for the last few weeks has been the story of Rifqa Bary, the 17 year old girl who fled her home in Ohio in fear that because of her conversion to Christianity from Islam, her family would consider her an apostate and in order to preserve her family’s honor, her father would consider her death an honor killing. The Pastor of the Global Revolution Church in Orlando, FL has taken Rifqa in and given her a safe haven during this time and has asked for Christians to email their support for Rifqa to the church’s information email address, email@example.com and they will compile the messages into a notebook for Rifqa.
I encourage all who read this post to send Rifqa a word of encouragement and let her know that you are not only praying for her, but that you are praying that God’s glory will be demonstrated through her life and testimony.
Here is the text of my email to Rifqa:
Greetings in the name above all other names, the Name of our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ, who was, and is, and is to come. All blessing, honor, glory, and dominion be unto His blessed Name.
I know to say that this is a troubling time for you is the understatement of all understatements, but I want to encourage you with the words of our Lord to His disciples prior to His crucifixion. John chapters 14 and 15 tell of Jesus’ last time of fellowship with His disciples and I hope that you will read this passage and allow the comfort of the Holy Spirit to ease your mind and give you peace during this difficult time. I particularly want to draw your attention to verse 27 of chapter 14 where Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Christ has your life in His hands and no matter the outcome, His Name will be glorified and as His chosen, He is working all things for your good. (Romans 8:28)
God in His sovereign plan appears to have brought you here “for such a time as this.” (Esther 4:14, an amazing story of the sovereign plan of God) Remember “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” (Philipians 1:6)
Be at peace, my dear sister in Christ and know there is a remnant of believers all over the world who are lifting you up in prayer. God bless you and may His glory be ever radiant in your testimony!
Continue to pray, not only for Rifqa, but for her family as well. To God be the glory!
Last week, Todd Friel of Wretched TV and Wretched Radio addressed the healthcare debate in the most unique fashion I have heard to date, and I must admit, it is the most powerful and most of what I will discuss here will draw from those discussions. He gave seven arguments in favor and seven against. Many of those who support the Democrats plans for healthcare reform have raised the question about how Jesus would have handled the healthcare debate? I agree that is a fair question. As Christians, the basis upon which we build our worldview should always be the standard of The Bible for as the writer of Hebrews has rightly said in chapter 4 verse 12, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” The Apostle Paul exhorted the young pastor Timothy to “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.” (2 Timothy 4:2) This is why doctrine and expository Bible study are so critical in all areas of life. Even Christ Himself in his Gethsemane prayer gave credence to the power and sanctifying power of the Word of God in John 17:17. “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”
As such, let’s approach the healthcare debate from a Biblical worldview. The fundamental question is whether or not it is the part of the function of government to provide universal healthcare coverage for all of its citizens and if so, how is that universal coverage to be provided? Let’s take a closer look at both sides of the debate.
First let’s look at seven arguments in favor of universal healthcare:
Jesus and the Apostles were involved in healing the sick.
That is absolutely true. What we need to understand is the reason why Jesus healed the sick. Matthew 9, Mark 2, and Luke 5 record the story of the man sick with the palsy, but notice that the first thing Christ did was not to heal the man. He told him that his sins were forgiven. When the ones around thought that he blasphemed the name of God when He declared the man’s sins forgiven, Christ said in Matthew 9:6 “But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.” The healing miracle was to demonstrate Christ’s identity as God Himself more than the temporal physical need of the man who was healed. Christ, not man, is the focus of the miracles in order to support the message of salvation. Christ’s miracles of healing also demonstrate His compassion for the poor and the infirmed, but are not in any way a mandate in support of universal healthcare.
Jesus said, “Love the poor.”
Absolutely! Not doubt about it! This is why every church should have some sort of benevolence ministry, first to its members, and then for the community at large. Todd posed the question, do you really know of any Christian who says, “I hate the poor! Let them all die in the street and stop being a burden to society!” Of course not! But when you understand the Biblical definition of who are the poor in reality, it does change the perspective on who we are called to help. The poor are those who are actually on the streets maybe living in a box due to circumstances beyond their control, such as illness or calamity and are totally unable to care for themselves, the truly destitute. It is not people who may be living in a small apartment with a microwave, air conditioning and a car and just want a higher standard of living.
Romans 13 promotes “general welfare.”
This is actually an excellent point. Romans chapter 13 defines the role of government. But I challenge you to read it and find any reference to universal healthcare. Government is established to protect its citizens from attack and to punish those engaged in crime. This includes establishing justice, ensuring domestic tranquility, providing for the common defense and as stated above, promoting the general welfare. But even the Federal Government with all of it’s power and influence is not big enough to solve a problem the size of healthcare and run that industry with the efficiency that the healthcare industry can run itself, if it were allowed to do so.
The problem here is in how that those who are in favor universal healthcare define justice. Literally, Justice, according to the Bible, is punishment for breaking the law not getting people things so they can have a nice quality of life or even equality for all. Solomon said in Proverbs 21:3, ”To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.” The Lord is most glorified in execution of justice, but we must understand that justice is not based on our comfort, convenience, or cost of living! It is in the conviction of the guilty.
The Kingdom of God.
This is an eschatological argument of bringing the Kingdom of God to this earth. As I stated in point number 2, every church needs to be involved in some sort of benevolence ministry, but when you read the Bible and how it describes the end times, it is clear that things are not getting better, but are getting worse and will continue to do so until Jesus Himself comes to make all things new and fully redeem them to Himself. Our job is not to make this world a better place to go to Hell from! Jesus’ last words to His disciples were not to go into all the world and provide better healthcare! They were to preach the Gospel to every creature and it is of utmost importance to know what that is and to do it!
Equality and fairness are not Biblical principles. If they were, all of us would have no hope of salvation and God should have incinerated Adam and Eve as soon as they fell. The Biblical concept is that all of us were born into sin and only because of the grace and mercy of God do we even have the opportunity to even draw a breath!
Greed and dishonest gain of the healthcare industry.
If any company is reaping their profit dishonestly, they should be prosecuted and punished accordingly (all part of that justice thing!). But the problem with painting with such a broad brush impugns the character of individual providers of whom the majority are honest people who chose this line of work to help their fellow man live a better lifestyle. It also promotes the idea that any company making a profit has done so by shady means and is not entitled to it. If a company cannot make a profit, it has no means of expanding and therefore cannot take on new business. Since every business is either in the process of growing or shrinking, the inevitable result is that if the company is not making a profit, it is shrinking. Shrinking business leads to layoffs, overworked employees who do remain, and in many cases, an implosion of the business itself. The Bible in Ephesians 4:28 teaches “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.” It is out of the abundance of profit from where all charity flows.
Now let’s look at seven arguments against universal healthcare:
Do not steal.
In order to pay for universal healthcare, the government must take wealth from one entity and give it to another. No matter how you slice it, that is stealing and the Bible is clear on it. Again, Ephesians 4:28 teaches “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.”
The Apostle Paul taught the principle “if any would not work, neither should he eat.”
The full reference is found in 2 Thessalonians 3:10 “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” This also applies to insurance. If a person is not willing to work for it, he should not receive it. The Bible is clear on this matter and teaches that work brings about wages. It’s the old sowing and reaping principle. Healthcare is not a “natural right” as enumerated in either the Bible or our founding documents.
End of life issues and Abortion.
Under this legislation, those facing the possible end of life are not going to get the care that they may receive now and even those who have a curable condition may not in fact be deemed viable enough to warrant care by the system. The other issue on the table is that taxpayer funded abortions are in fact not excluded from the bill. Psalm 139:13 (English Standard Version) tells us, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.” Each one of us was fashioned by the hand of God and therefore has great worth. Because of this, God is serious about life and any issues of life and death are His alone.
Closely related to end of life issues is the issue of deciding who gets healthcare and if they do receive it, limiting a person and their doctor’s ability to choose what is best for them. There is no possible way that a universal system can equally give the best possible care to every covered individual. Therefore, some criterion must be put in place in order to determine where those benefits are better spent. This would in effect deny an ill person the care he may truly need because he does not meet some arbitrary standard. The Bible teaches that each people group is of equal value to God Himself. Paul in Galatians 3:28 teaches, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” Rationing deems a particular people group as more deserving of healthcare based on an arbitrary bureaucratic standard.
The Old Testament pattern is ownership (personal property rights) with mercy and safety nets for those who meet the Biblical definition of “poor.”
With ownership comes responsibility. The Bible is clear on it’s teachings of stewardship (and that is much more than just tithing, my Fundamentalist friends!). God has entrusted us with what we do have and we are to manage that to His glory and that includes charity! God has allowed us to “own” (I use the term very loosely because the Bible teaches that all of creation is the Lord’s) our possessions and as such we are responsible for managing them to the best of our ability. Luke chapter 16 is a great example of an unjust steward and a great discussion of stewardship in general.
Closely related to ownership is the concept of debt. In Romans 13:8, Paul teaches, “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” The healthcare plan on the table will add in excess of 1 trillion dollars to the national debt, the likes of which our grandchildren will still be dealing with, which leads to the last point,
Proverbs 13:22 “A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.” After the stimulus bill we have already endured this year, if this healthcare bill passes in its present form, there will be very little left for our grandchildren to inherit except the debt for our own irresponsibility.
In conclusion, what must be done to solve our healthcare problems? While I have ideas on the matter, a workable solution will only come from a civil discussion on the merits of the issues and not from hyperbolic fear mongering from either side of the aisle. There do seem to be a few reasonable voices on both sides and I can only hope that somehow these voices will be heard, but given the track record of politicians in Washington, I choose to place my hope in the Sovereign God of the Bible. And whatever plan emerges from all that is happening today, we can rest assured that He is the one who has allowed it and will work all things together for good to them that love Him and are called according to His purpose! (Romans 8:28)
To continue the thoughts from yesterday's post regarding the “I Love Lucy Bible Study,” here for your consideration:
What about the “Green Acres” Bible Study? Maybe use Arnold Ziffle as a lesson in self-esteem?
How about the “Beverly Hillbillies” Bible Study? That ought to go over among the “Name It, Claim It” types!
Maybe the “Twilight Zone” Bible Study? God wants to take you to “another dimension” in your relationship with Him!
The “Honeymooners” Bible Study? Even if you work in the sewers, you can still be fulfilled! (Gotta love that Ed Norton!)
The “Charlie’s Angels” Bible Study? I’m not touchin’ THAT one!
The “Love Boat” Bible Study? A study in the adventures of sailing on this ship we call “Life!”
The “Cheers” Bible Study? Church ought to be “a place where everybody knows your name!” (NORM!!!!)
The “Six-Million Dollar” Man” Bible Study? Let God rebuild you to His specifications!
The “Bionic Woman” Bible Study? Ditto, for the ladies!
The “Friends” Bible Study? We should always be there for each other!
The “Blossom” Bible Study? In this very special edition,….. O never mind!
The “Charles in Charge” Bible Study about mentoring our young people? You know it did star Willie Aames, aka BibleMan!
And finally! (Drum roll please …….)
The “Andy Griffith” Bible Study? Wait a minute, that’s already been done!
Wait! Hold the phone! All of these could be used for the latest dopey topical sermon series from your local squishy seeker-sensitive church! There is a myriad of topics to discuss when all you want to do is moralize and ignore the Gospel.
It’s no wonder the world doesn’t take Christianity seriously! And It's no wonder people today are becoming more ignorant of the Scriptures everyday. The Bible itself is sufficient to the task of all doctrine and theology when “rightly divided.” I just can't see how “I Love Lucy” and “The Andy Griffith Show,” (both of which I thoroughly enjoy, by the way) can teach us anything about the Bible. Once again, humanist philosophy permeates the Christian publishing industry. And the truth is watered down even more!
As the old evangelist B. R. Lakin (one of Jerry Falwell’s mentors) once said, “Knowing your Bible sure messes up a lot of good preaching!” Let's mess up a few “good” Bible studies as well!
This sounded like a bit you would find on The Sacred Sandwich (one my favorite blogs, by the way. Always brings a smile to my face!). If I had found it there, it would have been a whole lot funnier. This is just tragic.