One Of The First Places To Start To Fix The Nation

The elephant in the room is the public school system. It’s filling our nation with cultural toxicity. Public schools have added same-sex sexuality and transgenderism into the curriculum. Some will say, “but not in our schools.” California is the biggest consumer of textbooks. When textbook manufacturers are told to include these topics in future editions of their textbooks, they will comply. Other states will have to purchase these textbooks out of necessity.

It’s long past time to make a clean break from this idol. For decades Christians have been trying to save the public schools. It isn’t working.

While Christians try to “save” their beloved public schools, another generation of young people is seduced by the anti-Christian worldview of public education. This view is not popular with the majority of Christians. Criticizing public education in America is akin to blaspheming all that is holy and good.

Some Christians want to have the Bible taught in Public Schools hoping this will fix a lot that’s wrong with them. Here’s my opinion on that:

In order to justify the continued support of public education, the following reasons are often given.

Young people need to know about the Bible to “understand the English language, English literature, history, art, music or culture.”

There is truth to this. “For example, there are over 1,200 documented references to the Bible in Shakespeare’s 36 plays. If you don’t know the Bible, you really can’t understand Shakespeare. You can’t get past the first sentence of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick — ‘Call me Ishmael’ — if you don’t understand who Ishmael was in the Bible. Of the allusions that a student needs to know for Advanced Placement in English Composition and Literature, approximately two-thirds are Biblical allusions, according to AP Literature and Composition. If you don’t know the Bible, you won’t do well on this part of the Advanced Placement test.” (Fox News)

As many of you already know, public schools are getting pressure to get away from teaching a Eurocentric-based curriculum. It’s good to teach the impact the Bible has had on our world, but do we really want this done by people who detest the Bible?

Will the Koran be next to teach in public schools?

Opposition for teaching the Bible in public schools has a long history because the nation was relatively Christian, and teaching the Bible was seen as a threat to secularism. The Bible is no longer perceived as a threat as long as the secularists control its message.

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We can’t afford to send our children to private schools.

If Christians pulled their children out of public schools, voted down every tax increase having anything to do with education, voted to repeal the education portion of the property tax, and voted for candidates who would cut every dollar from education funding, then most families could afford the costs involved. The money spent on trying to save the public schools would go a long way in establishing scholarship funds for children whose parents cannot afford a private-school education. Yes, it may even take some sacrificing on the part of parents. Of course, home-schooling is always an option. Children can help out by working. When your children get older, have them work to share the financial load.

It’s not the church’s job to educate.

I heard this one recently. Christian school critics balk at turning over the church’s facilities for educational purposes because the tithe is designed to support the church’s work, not the education of children. That’s why we pay taxes. So the church building is vacant six days a week while Christians complain that it’s too expensive to start a Christian school. The Sunday school classrooms are used for forty-five minutes a week! What a waste of God’s money. So we send our children to public schools where they are indoctrinated for thirty hours a week in the latest non-Christian propaganda. To combat secularized education, Christian school critics develop “youth programs” for Wednesday and Sunday evenings and lament the fact that parents don’t take advantage of them. These kids are getting at most two hours of weekly instruction, while a child in a Christian school receives thirty hours of training from a biblical perspective. There’s no comparison. Most of these “youth programs” are weak entertainment times with a “devotional” to give them legitimacy. There are exceptions, but not many.

My child is a witness for Christ in public schools.

He or she may be. But I wonder how much witnessing really takes place in public schools. Most of the time children are sitting behind desks listening to a teacher lecture. From the time I entered public school no one ever presented the gospel to me. It’s the friendships that are developed after school that lead to witnessing opportunities: the neighborhood, playground, ball field. Witnessing can take place anywhere. Jesus met people at work and in their homes. He even went into the temple. If you want to follow Jesus’ example, then go witness to Jews in their local temples.

While there are few opportunities to witness in the public schools, students are captive to an anti-Christian worldview for at least six hours every day. This says nothing of the worldview promoted by a child’s peers from pagan homes.

Our school is different.

Maybe in degree. My guess is that most parents have no idea what’s going on in their child’s school. If they don’t hear any bad news, they assume that all is well. Keep in mind that public school children are not comparing their education with the public school education that was prominent forty years ago. And it wasn’t that great back then. The education students are receiving right now is normal for them. It’s the only standard they know, and it’s not a very good one. Anyway, a school that does not teach from a Christian perspective is at best third-rate.

I want my child to be exposed to the ‘real’ world.

What is the “real world”? The real world is where Christ dwells and where His Word is taught. Christianity is not unreal. If it is, then why not worship with pagans since their domain is the “real world.” Remember, Adam and Eve “fell” from what was normal, that is, from a world where they were in intimate fellowship with their Creator. A world without Christ is an insane and irrational world. A Christian school is a place of re-creation, a redemptive attempt to get back to the original design. Schools that Christians establish should act as magnets for unbelievers to be brought back to the garden. Christians should be setting the agenda for what’s real, honest, and good so as to be a light for those who are in darkness.

Balaam’s Donkey

I believe God has been giving us a very clear message through the modern-day equivalent of Balaam’s donkey: the court system. Balaam was called on by Balak to prophesy against Israel. God had warned Balaam to stay away from Moab. Balaam refused. The Angel of the LORD met Balaam on the road as he was going down to meet Balak, the king of Moab. Balaam’s donkey refused to confront the Angel of the LORD. Balaam struck his donkey three times to force him ahead. Finally, Balaam realized that it was the LORD who was directing him to turn around.

Repeatedly the courts have ruled against Christians and their attempts to bring Christianity back to the classroom. Like Balaam, they refuse to heed the message that God is giving through the Court. God is telling parents to seek a different route.

Prayers at sporting events and around flag poles do not constitute a Christian education. The entire curriculum must be Christ-centered. Saying a prayer at the beginning of the school day does not sanctify the secularization of education that takes place for the next six hours. The prayer ritual only gives unjustified validity to what is inherently corrupt.

What’s Love got to Do with It?

               

(Editor’s Note):

This article highlights a great need within Public Schooling, but it has enormous implications for the home schooling family, too. A family’s example, and specifically the example of parents, is probably the prime factor when it comes to the successful education of children. I can endorse nearly all of it.

              What’s Love got to Do with It?

By Sharon Lamberth

A few years ago, while serving as principal of a high-risk elementary school [in the U.S.], a student, whom I will call Jack, was brought to my office. It was not Jack’s first office visit and, as with prior visits, the reason for this one stemmed from an inability to control his anger that led to aggressive behaviours.

On this particular day, while talking with Jack, he suddenly looked at me and said, “Are you married?” After answering that I was, he then asked, “Why?” I could tell by the look on Jack’s face that he was most sincere in his inquiry. He then proceeded to tell me that his mother was living with a man to whom she was not married, and the man was not his father. He went on to say that his mother and biological father were also never married. Seeming to have a need to stay on the subject, Jack proceeded to share that his mother and her current boyfriend “argued all the time” and he wished they would go their separate ways, adding, “but then it probably won’t be long before there will be someone else.”

Jack’s life had been a revolving door of live-in boyfriends, some of whom had told him to call them “Dad,” which he sometimes did hoping that by doing so a father-son relationship might evolve; a relationship that he could count on and hold onto but that never happened.  At best, Jack’s understanding of his own emotions was limited. His teachers and fellow students observed in him an angry student with a chip on his shoulder. On really bad days, when the chip became a log, a visit to my office was inevitable. As I listened to this young boy, it struck me that he had never truly experienced unconditional parental love, critical to healthy development in children.

My 34 years in education taught me many things about children, one being that anger is often a mask for fear – fear of failure, fear of being rejected, fear of being unloved or unlovable, fear of what the future holds, fear of abandonment, and so on and so on and so on. I saw many “Jacks” over the course of my career; children who didn’t know how to give or receive genuine love; children whose lives were so chaotic that what felt like sincere parental love one day was likely destroyed the next in the form of rejection, broken promises, abuse, etc. Classroom teachers regularly observe students showing residual effects of a dysfunctional family life: falling asleep in class, taking on the role of parent in an effort to protect younger siblings, struggling to keep up academically, difficulty focusing on learning due to the weight of their emotional baggage, to name a few.

Throughout this nation, parents and children suffer from a lack of understanding of what healthy love is. As a result, the struggle to raise emotionally stable children is at the root of many, if not most, of the problems that ail our society today. Healthy love embodies the biblical teaching of loving one’s neighbour as oneself. It is kind, respectful, and nurturing. Healthy love manifests itself in actions as well as words, recognizing not only our own needs, but the needs of others. Jack had never known this type of love. As a result, he was not able to engage in healthy relationships with his teachers and peers. Without a healthy love of self, he was also not able to tap into his personal potential. Jack spent his days using anger to help him cope with his feelings of rejection and defeat.

Another one of Jack’s coping mechanisms was playing video games. Some of the most popular children’s video games exploit violence and aggression and can lead children to believe that such behaviours are acceptable and, in fact, normal. A report released by the American Psychological Association (APA) on violent video games concluded that there is a “consistent relation between violent video game use and heightened aggressive behaviour, aggressive cognitions, aggressive affect and reduced prosocial behaviour, empathy, and sensitivity to aggression.” It should be noted that researchers continue to banter back and forth as to how, and the degree to which, violent games impact children. However, from a common-sense standpoint, it was clear to me that seeking solace in video games was problematic for Jack. At age 10, he was already being set up for failure on multiple fronts.

For years, the educational system has tried to fix society’s problems by pouring more money into new programs, revamping curriculums, creating magnet schools, adjusting grading scales, implementing block scheduling, promoting zero suspensions, etc., etc., etc., all with limited success. Resources are being exhausted in attempts to instil motivation in students through external means. External motivation alone, however, is unsustainable if the internal pull that creates a personal desire to succeed is lacking; a pull necessary to achieving sustainable success. Jack seemed to be void of any constructive intrinsic motivation. The motivation to play video games was nothing more than a desire to escape (albeit temporarily) the pain and frustration of his life.

The educational system cannot be expected to singlehandedly fix a problem that it did not create. Fixing the problem lies, primarily, in fixing the family. Emotionally unhealthy families produce emotionally unhealthy children and emotionally unhealthy children struggle to reach their optimal potential. Until parents recognize, accept and resolve to make fundamental changes to ensure that they provide their children with unconditional parental love and effective parental leadership (cornerstone principles for raising children) the current cycle will continue.

Breaking the cycle will require a return to common-sense parenting; on re-educating parents on traditional parenting practices that were the norm before post-modern psychological ideologies took hold in the late 1960’s and attempted to undo the logical parenting practices that served families well for generations. Ideologies that imply that as society changes so too must parenting techniques. The result has been nothing short of disastrous. Society may change, but human development does not. Throughout history, all have gone through the same seasons of life (infancy, toddlerhood, childhood, adolescence) that lead to their emancipation from the family (adulthood).

The family is the backbone of any successful society. As such, the ultimate goal for all children is to become respectful, responsible, resourceful adults; a goal that requires parents to make developing strong character in their children the number one priority. Developing strong character is not dependent on academic achievement, sports recognition, popularity, brand names, family social status or income. Character is a by product of parenting that is solidly rooted in love and leadership.

The crisis within the American family must be addressed with a seriousness that hasn’t been seen in almost two generations. If, as a nation, we fail to make this a priority, Jack’s story will live on in yet another generation of children.

Sharon Lamberth

Certified Leadership Parent Coach

ABOUT SHARON

Sharon is an educator whose career has spanned over 30 years. She has served as a home-hospital instructor, elementary school classroom teacher, curriculum facilitator, assistant principal and principal. Married for over 35 years, Sharon is the mother of two adult children and a grandmother. Her approach is both compassionate and forthright, with the goal of helping the next generation parent from a position of love and leadership using a common-sense approach.

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Eradicating the Wild Pigs from McGinnis’ Swamp

By Andrew McColl, October, 16th October, 2018

Parables have a long history in literature, going back certainly as far as Jotham’s parable in the Bible (Judges 9:7-21). This one’s relates to Home Schooling.

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The wild pigs of McGinnis’ swamp had a bad reputation; they were unruly, dangerous, and no one could tame them. Go down there and get out of your car, and you could get hurt, or worse. Something was going to have to be done about those pigs, before they took over; but what?

The authorities got together to come up with a plan. Some people suggested that the solution was a full-on attack on those pigs at night, with a large number of well-armed men in 4WD vehicles, heavily armed with automatic weapons and search lights.

But this idea was scoffed at by others, who said that the vehicles could get bogged down there too easily. Why not use a different method, more subtle? Instead of attacking the pigs, why not feed and tame them, first? That would be much easier to accomplish, and they wouldn’t know what was happening, till it was too late. Then we’d fix ‘em!

Yes, that would be a lot easier to accomplish, and you could leave all the messy stuff to the end; it wouldn’t drag on, leading to bad PR, and issues that were difficult to explain. They decided on the second plan.

Now if there’s one thing pigs are good at, it’s eating. And all pigs are scavengers; they like finding easy food. Why go a long way, when it’s just nearby? Any pig likes that!

So, the authorities began going down to the swamp, not with guns, but bags of grain from the Co-op, which they emptied on the ground. This was new to the pigs, who had never eaten grain before, and boy it was good. So much easier than having to look for food! Those pigs were tucking in, and before long their numbers were growing.

But then there was another development down at the swamp. Near where the grain was being dropped, by day the authorities began building a heavy duty steel, rectangular compound. The pigs could see that no pig would get over that compound fence. They could only enter it through a gateway, then a lane.

Some pigs weren’t sure about that compound. Some thought it looked dangerous, and kept away, because man’s smell was on it. What could it be for?

Then the pigs noticed that their grain was being left near the gateway, and before long, it was being put inside the lane, too. It seemed like there wasn’t much being left outside, so they had to go further and further inside to get that nice, free grain.

Then there was another development, that some of the pigs began talking about. In the gateway, the men erected a strong, steel gate. It was always open, of course. The pigs could still get down the laneway to their grain, deep inside the compound. But why would the men mount a gate, just there?

Oh well, that grain was good. And so easy to find!

One night, when all the pigs had come for their grain, they’d got inside the compound, through the gateway and down the lane. As they ate in the dark, one of them thought they heard a sound like a gate closing, and a man muttering quietly, about “finishing the job.”

What could that mean?

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“Do not be bound together with unbelievers…” (II Cor.6:14).

The Necessity for Independent Education

“Like Hitler, Vladimir Lenin saw the value in monopolizing education and bringing it under the exclusive control of the State. The process for change had to begin with the children. The sooner they could be taken from their parents and broken from their links to the past, the sooner the reprogramming could take place.[1] In his Principles of Communism of 1847, Engels had advocated the ‘education of all children, as soon as they are old enough to dispense with maternal care, in national institutions and at the charge of the nation.’[2]All facets of society must conform to the new ideology:

We are bringing the women into the social economy, into legislation and government. . . . We are establishing communal kitchens . . . infant asylums . . . educational institutions of all kinds. In short, we are seriously carrying out the demand of our program for the transference of the economic and educational function of the separate household to society. . . . The children are brought up under more favourable conditions than at home.[3]

Getting foundations right is never easy. Why?

Because you have to persevere with a lot of planning and digging, before you seem to get anywhere. Not only that, you have to sift through a lot of other people’s ideas, before you can settle on what you really want to use.

The Bible speaks to us repeatedly about foundations. It says that “…no one can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Christ Jesus” (I Cor.3:11).

But this has not been the focus of education in the modern era, even in the church. We’ve gotten side-tracked with a lot of priorities that have nothing to do with the Bible, and this has hurt us badly. It will continue to hurt us, until we come around to a more sound and scriptural pattern, and begin to act accordingly.

The first thing we have to establish in education is that it’s a parental responsibility. If it’s a parental responsibility, that means that governments should have nothing to do with it. No oversight, no registration, no funding.

Over 90% of the church today would reject this idea, largely because the notion of parental responsibility is something that’s largely foreign to us. We’ve hardly heard of it as an ideal, let alone seen it happen. Our life experience has been with another model all together, so that’s what we think must be normal, and therefore good enough.

When Saul knew that David wanted to fight Goliath, he dressed him up in his armour. But Saul’s armour was utterly unsuitable for David; in the fights that David had engaged in previously with a lion and a bear, he’d been quick and nimble-footed, and he’d won. David rejected Saul’s armour, and went out to confront Goliath with just a sling and 5 smooth stones.

We know what the outcome was. But if we do, do we apply the lesson in relation to discarding humanism’s beliefs in favour of God’s way in education?

When the State controls education, the process from start to finish becomes politicised. Australia has 7 Education Departments, all vying for a greater share of the taxpayer’s dollar, while they busily publicise all their apparent funding “shortages.” What does a Minister know? The responsibility for education passes out of the hands of parents, to a bureaucracy. Are they interested in what’s best for children, or their security of tenure, first?

Secondly, this means that public education becomes extraordinarily expensive. The big costs are land, buildings and teachers. (Our local public school, sits on land worth perhaps $15-20 million). A competent home schooling parent can home-educate a child for under $1,000 a year, but taxpayer funded education controlled by bureaucrats costs the taxpayer today in Australia, about $15,000 per child. You don’t need a degree in rocket science to figure out where the best value is.

But do you really think those public servant bureaucrats would want to see the proliferation of home schooling, a phenomena that doesn’t requires a bureaucracy? Heaven forbid!

Thirdly, it means that the quality of education falls. Is it any wonder that children 100 years ago, had an education in the fundamentals far better than today? Or that there are proportionally, far more illiterate people? It’s a logical outcome of State control.

The State doesn’t care about the quality of education; it does care about control. When the population has submitted to government regulated education, it’s ripe for political manipulation, which is just want ambitious politicians love to engage in. But children, educated independently of government, without submission to departmental regulations? Perish the thought!

  1. L. Mencken (1880-1956) put it well, 90 years ago:

The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed a standard citizenry, to put down dissent and originality.     

Conclusion:

Our yesterdays have become our todays. Nieve Christians began submitting to the government control of education 150 years ago in Australia, and we’ve continually accepted the process, with hardly a qualm. But all of this has to stop, and the sooner the better.

In favour of what?

Independent education under God, conducted and controlled by the family. Charles Finney (1792-1875) was right:

I would rather pay any price at all within my means, or even to satisfy myself with one meal a day, to enable me to educate my children at home sooner than give them over to the influence of public schools. Remember that your children will be educated, either by yourself or by someone else. Either truth or error will possess their minds. They will have instruction, and if you do not secure to them right instruction, they will have that which is false.

 

 

 

[1] Gary Demar, “Liberal War on Women is a Tactic to Control our Lives and Make us Wards of the State,” “The Godfather” website, 14/4/2012.

[2] Quoted in Francis Nigel Lee, Communist Eschatology: A Christian Philosophical Analysis of the Post-Capitalistic Views of Marx, Engels and Lenin,” Nutley, NJ: The Craig Press, (1974), 351.

[3] Quoted in Lee, p.350.

From Generation to Generation (17)

My days are like a lengthened shadow, and I wither away like grass. But You, O Lord, abide forever, and Your Name to all generations. You will arise and have compassion on Zion; for it is time to be gracious to her, for the appointed time has come (Ps.102:11-13).

Funerals are good things to go to. The circumstances aren’t always joyful, depending on the deceased person, and our relationship with them. But each funeral we attend, we realise we are another step closer to our own. They should cause us to reflect on our life, what we’re doing, and the things we think we should do before we die.

The Psalmist knows his days are numbered, and don’t we all?  We know that human existence is transitory, and the implication of this passage is that he feels as though he’s not far from the end.

But he’s not depressed, but has confidence in the Lord that His work will go on, far beyond his own lifetime. “To all generations…” means that while there are people on this planet, God will be at work amongst His people, accomplishing His plan.

This should encourage us today. We don’t deny the painful things of life for they are here, they are real, and God has permitted them to be with us.

But the Psalmist has an utter confidence in God working out His plan. And not only that, but he understands that Zion (which the New Testament writers interpret as speaking of the church today –see Heb.12:22) is the central place of God’s purpose.

This means that the central place of God’s work is the church, and He’s building it up and purifying it, so that it will be strong to accomplish His purpose in the earth.

How do I know this will happen? Well, Jesus said that

I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it (Mat.16:18).

And Paul explained that God’s purpose is that

… the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places (Eph.3:10).

Having said that, I’m under no illusions about the state of the church today. The world is the way it is today, because of the poor state of the church. When the church is in decline, it offers little true salt and light to the world, so the world continues downhill morally and ethically. I think that’s the best explanation for how the West has been in decline morally and ethically, at least as far back as Darwin.

But God said through Zechariah, “Who has despised the day of small things?” (Zech.4:10) When God wanted to redeem the world, He started the process with a virgin conceiving. A grand and glorious process, began with what? Something microscopic, but the fulfilment of scripture.

Why should it be any different today? He began the process 2,000 years ago, and He’ll continue the process, through the quiet and steady obedience of God’s people, all over the world.

Are you discouraged today?

Remember that God wants to use the church in every society, and the future of every society  is contingent on the health and vitality of the church. So, it needs God’s people to be tithing, and willing to play their part in the reconstruction of the church, “… which is His body” (Eph.1:23). And believe me, there is a lot of reconstruction to be done.

The judgements of the Lord are in the church, and they always have been, ever since He judged Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5). But we have to remember He is at work to be gracious and compassionate to His people too. He takes away the dross and the refuse, with a view to establishing the church on a firmer foundation. The “taking away” part can be painful, but it’s necessary, for He won’t tolerate sin in His house, and elders have to be resolute in dealing with any rotten timbers in the basement, which have to be removed and replaced to ensure the building continues to stand.

There may not initially be a lot of joy in this, just a determination to get the job done. The scripture speaks of this when Jesus made a scourge of cords, and drove the money changers from the temple, while He overturned their tables.

His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house will consume Me” (Jn.2:17).

The fact is, zeal for God’s house should consume us too. It should challenge us to pray for the church, both all over the nation and the world, and right where we are. And it should challenge us to be active to be doing and pursuing the will of God, amongst our family, and in the local church.

And we have to remember this: I can’t change something I’m not a part of. Being a part of a church means we have to put up with some people, and things that are a long way from perfect, But other people too have to put up with us, and our imperfections. So, it’s a two way street, and that should keep us from thinking too highly of ourselves.

When Nehemiah came to Jerusalem, it wasn’t a pretty sight, but he wasn’t deterred by it’s  state. He was determined with others to start to set things right, and he did. His opposition soon came, first from without, and secondly from within. That seems to be the normal procedure.

Paul warned the Ephesians that,

…After my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be on the alert… (Acts 20:29-31).

Conclusion:

Of course it’s discouraging when the church is in a poor state. It’s not glorifying to the Lord, and we are made to be a laughingstock before the world. But this is what the Reformers confronted in the 1500’s: a church dominated by corruption and the traditions of men, and hostility to those who wanted to bring change.

But they decided to give their lives in the cause of reform, even if they died doing it. What makes us think we have the right to do anything different?

O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forever (Ps.131:3).

From Generation to Generation (16)

It is imperative for Christians to abandon the religion of humanism. It is imperative that they fulfill their responsibilities as members of a covenantal community. It is imperative that they see to it that their old people, as well as their young people, are not in any way dependent upon the services of a declining welfare State. To become dependent on such an institution is to become a slave. Worse than that: it is to become dependent on a master whose resources are almost spent.3

It seems astonishing that believers should need to be encouraged to “abandon the religion of humanism,” but that is a reflection of the state of the church today. A lot of things have quietly crept up on us over generations, that the church has largely been complacent about. The majority of the church has said, “Oh well, that’s the way it is.”

We may be complacent, but God isn’t. He’s been at war with humanism since Genesis 3, and this is why He sent Jesus, for “…the Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil” (I Jn.3:8).

And this is a fact: when individuals, families, churches and nations refuse to judge and deal with themselves according to scripture, they are merely inviting God to judge them; and He will.

David wouldn’t voluntarily deal with his sin, after committing adultery with Bathsheba and murdering Uriah. So God sent Nathan, who pronounced judgement on his family (II Sam.12:7-14). David lived, but he paid four-fold, as Nathan’s parable had specifically implied; four of his sons died. These were Bathsheba’s son (II Sam.12:15-18), Amnon (II Sam.13:28-29), Absalom (II Sam.18:14-15) and Adonijah (II Kings 2:23-25).

Eli wouldn’t deal with the evil taking place in his family, so God did (I Sam.4:14-18). Sodom wouldn’t deal with the evil in its midst, so God did (Gen.19:24-28). When the Corinthians were inclined to tolerate their member’s immorality, Paul challenged them: “Do you not judge them who are within the church?” He then commanded them to “remove the wicked man from among yourselves” (I Cor.5:13).

When Pharoah refused to let Israel go, pursuing Israel into where the Red Sea had been, God judged him. Pharoah drowned, and Egypt’s army along with him (Ex.14:5-31). God had raised up Pharoah only to destroy him, and Egypt was smashed. God said of Pharoah, that “…For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate my power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth” (Ro.9:17).

What is the lesson from all of this?

God’s judgements are both individual and corporate, from the individual to the family, church, society and nation. No individual or institution is exempt. We know that “…we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ…” (II Cor.5:10), “…the judgements of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether” (Ps.19:9), and that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb.13:8).

While we have tended in the church to emphasise the individual aspects of judgement, we must not neglect the judgements of God on churches, communities and nations. And because almost every nation of the world is in rebellion against God, His merciful restraints holding back these judgements have been rapidly disappearing.

Judgement hasn’t got to be in the form of fire and brimstone falling from heaven; it may take an economic form. And this is entirely logical, for nations of the world have been in breach of God’s economic laws for generations.

Governments around the world confiscate taxes like tyrants, at rates way above the tithe, and borrow with abandon. They think they are more important than God. He notes their blasphemy and rebellion and will judge them, just as He said He would with King Saul in Israel (see I Samuel 8).

And there again, God held the elders of Israel responsible, for they represented the people. So Israel’s problems were essentially spiritual, not political, for God said to Samuel concerning the nation,

Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them (I Sam.8:7).

We are seeing the judgements of God on ungodly nations. The Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the European Union is in serious trouble with debts and many other internal financial problems that won’t go away, and last year Britain’s Brexit vote was an indicator of the Union’s inherent instability.

The Chinese have pinned their hopes in artificially sustained economic growth, leading to the creation of massive economic bubbles such as in real estate, which must inevitably collapse. This will lead to unemployment and a host of resultant social problems in that country, for which China’s Communist leaders will have no constructive answers.

And all of this is a warning to us: no individual, family, church or nation can ignore God and survive, for God brings everybody and every institution into judgement. Judgement can be painful, but it is also an encouragement and a reminder, both to God’s people and everyone else, to walk in the light of His Word.

Conclusion:

God is going to judge the humanism of our modern era, much of which has entered the church. This will be both painful and good for us.

But these will be the big questions for Christians: will we make every effort to get our house and the house of God in order, and respond to His judgements in obedience and faithfulness?

 

3 Gary North, “The Sinai Strategy,” 1986, p.114-115.

From Generation to Generation (15)

God be gracious to us and bless us, and cause His face to shine upon us- Selah. That Your way may be known upon the earth, Your salvation among all nations. Let the peoples praise you, O God, let all the peoples praise You. Let the nations be glad and sing for joy; for You will judge the peoples with uprightness and guide the nations on the earth. Selah. Let the peoples praise You, O God; let all the peoples praise You. The earth has yielded its produce; God, our God, blesses us. God blesses us that all the ends of the earth may fear Him (Ps.67).

The Psalmist’s optimism about the future of God’s people is remarkable. His expectation is not one emphasising decline and disaster. No, he sees triumph ahead, the successful propagation of the gospel right throughout the world. Three times he uses the word “nations,” and five time, “peoples.”

And the long-term goal?  “…that all the ends of the earth may fear Him.”

Has the psalmist been drinking or smoking something he shouldn’t have? Has he been mixing with a strange bunch of theologians that didn’t know what they were talking about? Has he been doing something else, entirely irresponsible?

No, he has not, for

All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work (II Tim.3:16-17).

Is the Psalmist’s expectation yours as well? If not, why not?

Now, I readily accept the fact that the state of the world today would hardly encourage us that “…all the ends of the earth may fear Him.” But we believers are to take our directions from scripture, not the state of the world. If David had taken his guidance on the battlefield that day from Israel’s circumstances (when he turned up to supply his brothers with food and convey news to Jesse), he would never have done what he did, to God’s glory. And we must do the same.

After the resurrection, Jesus declared to His disciples that

Repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem (Luke 24:47),

and Zechariah promised that

…many nations will join themselves to the Lord in that day and will become My people… (Zech.2:10).

What are we witnessing today? God is disciplining and chastising His people, because we have fallen short of His glorious plans.

God has always disciplined His people and chastised them, when they were compromised with the nations around them, and were clearly unfaithful to God. But the goal of the discipline was that they would “learn righteousness,” and we see this so many times throughout the Old Testament.

This is why I don’t see the present decline and poor state of the church as being terminal. But we really are in a low state, and this requires a great deal of change. I don’t expect change to come from The Top, because true reform has never started there. The top generally opposes reform, as they did in Jesus’ day, and as they did when Luther inadvertently started the Reformation in 1517.

Reform will have to begin in the grass-roots of the church. We have been going backwards for hundreds of years, and change cannot come without a great deal of change within the church.

When Jesus came to the temple in John 2, there was instant confrontation:

And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables; and to those who were selling the doves He said, “Take these things away; stop making My Father’s house a place of business” (Jn.2:15-16).

There’s nothing wrong with capitalism and money, but there was something terribly wrong with what was taking place in the temple. What was it? Jesus identified it:

No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth (Mat.6:24).

Israel’s religious leaders had become deeply compromised with Rome. They’d concluded that the continued patronage of Rome and the flow of money and power was more important than obedience to God and His Son. John’s Gospel in particular (in passages such as 11:47-53, and 19:4-15) illustrates their compromise. It meant that Jesus was not merely expendable; they now needed to kill Him. Rushdoony’s comments here are helpful:

The cleansing of the Temple was predicted in Malachi 3:1. The Temple was the house of God, His appointed dwelling place. God speaks throughout the Old Testament of the tabernacle and the Temple as “My house.” Our Lord in Matthew 16:18 speaks of “My church.” As against this, in Matthew 23:38, our Lord refers to the Temple as “your house.” When the sanctuary or church becomes man’s, it is doomed, because God will move against it. At the beginning and at the end of His ministry, our Lord cleansed the Temple (Mat.21:12-13). He cleansed it because it was properly His house, required to serve Him and not itself.[1]

Once again, the temple is in serious need of cleansing. Like any house, it’s actually in need of regular cleansing, due to all the traffic of people in and out. That means we’ll need some new theological brooms, along with strong, determined men with hot water, mops and buckets. All the accumulated refuse that’s built up over time and doesn’t belong, needs to be removed and cast out.

That will mean a lot. The fact is, the church has forgotten to keep money in its proper perspective, which is a terrible mistake. This means that the church becomes susceptible to monetary inducements. And when thirty pieces of silver moves people much more than God’s law, you know we have a problem that won’t go away easily.

So we in God’s house will continue to feel some pain and public humiliation, until the church gets the message to “…seek first His kingdom and His righteousness…” (Mat.6:33), and becomes faithful to scripture again.

Conclusion:

The promise of God and plan of God is that His people become predominant in the world, 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…” (Mat.28:19-20).

This plan has never been abandoned, despite the fact that the church in history has frequently fallen far short. Thus believers must take His Word seriously, and continually apply it to themselves, their family, their church and their nation.

And the ultimate outcome?

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom He has chosen for His inheritance (Ps.33:12).

 

 

 

[1] Rousas Rushdoony, “The Gospel of John,” 2000, p.23.