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I want to preface what is to come, in this series, with a few books I have been reading that have given me much food for thought, pun intended. Two of them are by Joel Salatin: “Everything I Want to do is Illegal” and “ Folks, This Ain’t Normal.” Another book I am almost done with that has given me much to think about as I try and work through how we are to deal with technology and man’s attempts to “make life easier” is "Surviving Off Off-Grid" by Michael Bunker. I think these are worthwhile books to read as we too often are so ingrained in a way of thinking that we need to be jolted out of our slumber and these books may help do just that. Will you agree with all they say, maybe not, but these are books that may help you to look at things differently, and that is what we need today. Also, both authors have a Christian worldview that sees all that is around us as God’s creation and that God has a way He desires for us to interact with it, a view I would pray we would all seek to posses.
When we look at any area of life we need to do so with God’s word as our standard, our filter, and this includes when we interact with God’s creation and our required stewardship of it. When I speak of God’s word I mean not only His inerrant word but also His all-sufficient word. If one does not see God’s word as sufficient for all of life then one will not seek to see what God says about every area of life and thus will end up setting up areas that are not judged by the only infallible rule of life, His word. To make God honoring decisions we need to see what God’s word says about every area of life.
I thought I would start with looking at the issue of work because so much of what we have to deal with today is promoted as being “required” so as to reduce our work, save time and increase our ability to spend more effort in recreation. I need to mention here that the idea of saving time is misleading as we all have 24 hours and we invariably fill up every minute. Thus, seldom do we actually save time but instead just rearrange the use of the minutes, now back to the subject of work. The world seeks to tell us we need this device, that program or some other modification to our life because it will reduce our work and benefit us by giving us time to do any number of other “more” enjoyable activities. Due to this propaganda, for most things I do not think this is too strong a word, we need to understand the biblical concept of “work” so as not to be taken in by the many claims of the world and its offerings.
To begin with work is not in and of itself evil. Man was created and given dominion, stewardship, over the garden (Gen 1:26-31) that God created. God calls what he had created, including the work of dominion, very good thus we see that work at this point is not what we think of it as today, but is instead good. Work is not a result of the fall, as most treat it, but is a creation of God and is His means for man to care for His creation. However, when man fell work became burdensome as God’s word reveals in Gen 3:17-19. Adam would indeed keep working but in contrast to before the fall work would now be what we know it as today “WORK.”
We all too often look at work as just that, work, something to avoid. But have you ever contemplated why God chose work to be so hard because of the fall? It was not simply as some form of punishment from an indiscretion but instead was, and is, to be a reminder. It is to be a reminder of the state of our nature and a reminder of our need for redemption. For the believer then there is hope in the midst of the toil of work. Knowing this does not mean that work will be easy, as our flesh desires it to be, but it does let us know that as we work we can find joy as we contemplate that God is reminding us of all He has done, is doing and will do, in our lives. Thus, we should not avoid work but embrace it and seek to redeem it by having an attitude of remembering what it signifies. In our toil work lets us see our rebellion against God, our reliance on Him for redemption and it also reminds of the glorious hope that is before us. For me this is convicting as I often grumble at work not being as easy as I would like it to be instead of taking the toil and looking at it as I should, a vivid reminder. While we should seek to be efficient and work as best we can, so as to glorify God, even then we need to realize work in our fallen state is meant to be tiresome and troubling so as to remind us of our sin and Christ’s work. That is where true peace and joy in the midst of work comes from, when we recognize why work is as it is.
When we think of joy and peace we all too often define them by the world’s standards and thus we cannot find joy and peace in the midst of our toil and trials. Let us not forget that Christ in going to the cross found joy in knowing what was ahead (Hebrews 12:2.). He suffered more than we can ever imagine by taking on the sins of His people but His joy was in knowing He was glorifying the Father. We need this attitude of joy in our work and for me that is very convicting. It is in having a right view of work that will allow us to make right choices and not let promises of pleasure and rest dictate the decisions we make. Having a right, biblical, view of work, joy and peace will allow us to take what from a worldly perspective is a hard route and see our situation as one that sanctifies us and thus most glorifies God.
We are to be serious about the work God has for us and should not be complacent in our endeavors, seeking just to get by. When we work we are to do so for His glory because of what He has done in us and is doing through us in our work.. The world can only toil at work thus its instinct will be to avoid work but we as believers are to know that work is our destiny and we need to see God’s hand in it. What a joy that is.
Having a right view of work is imperative so as to inform our every decision for God’s glory. However, the world seeks to set before us an alternate reality, an alternate path to take. One where work is sought after to be non-existent and where recreation is the goal of all we do. We are sold this worldview in everything from vacation getaway plans, such as “time-shares,” to fast food offerings all of which are to save us time, effort and increase pleasure. We fall for this advertising that seeks to make us feel as if we can avoid work and it’s toil because our sin nature wants to forget about our sin, neglect God’s redemption and not realize there is only true freedom in what God offers. The world wants us to believe that true happiness can only be found without work and promotes the concept that work is evil. We as believers need to remember that while work may be hard and tiresome it is not evil. It is, as we have already seen, in reality a great reminder of what God has done, is doing and will do in our lives. It is the avenue God has given us for dominion and stewardship of His creation and we need to partake of work as God defines it, hardships and all, so as to experience the peace and joy only God brings when we are seeking to glorify Him.
I started with the topic of work as I think it is at the core of many of the wrong decisions we make with regards to the care of God’s creation. For example man crowds the animals God has provided us into unnatural surroundings known as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) as this is our way of saving time, work and as we are often told, to be more productive. However in doing this not only do we treat God’s creation, the animals and the land, poorly we also create food that is not conducive to good health and thus makes us less able to work as we need to and thus not glorify God as we ought. Also, by our not wanting to work we have allowed the melding of science and “nutrition”, even though it is not really nutritious, in such a way as to make substances that are called food and are sold to us as being able to reduce our work and leave more time for recreation. Again, when we lose sight of the biblical meaning of work we make decisions that not only are bad for us they negate the glorification of God in our relation to the work God has for us.
So, there are some thoughts on work and how it relates to creation and areas such as food. If you take anything from this I pray it is to see that work is a gift of God. Yes we have to deal with the affects of sin in our work but by the work of Christ we can find joy in the midst of our toil. While we should seek to be more efficient as we work I pray we would always weigh our motives by biblical standards. Let us see if our goal is to be better stewards of God’s creation, for His glory, or if it is to avoid the work God has for before us. Let us make sure we do not buy into the world’s view of work but cling to God’s view. Always seeing in work a reminder of our sin, a reminder of God’s work in redeeming us and a reminder of the future peace to come at His return. Let our view of work be a stark contrast to the world’s and let our lives live out that difference in our thoughts, words and actions.
More to come on other areas relating to our interaction with God’s creation.
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I will collect names until 5PM (PST) on Wednesday the 14th of December. Here is how you can get multiple entries: One entry can be gained by leaving a comment to this blog post. You can get additional entries by placing a link to the giveaway on your blog and leaving a link to the post on your blog in a comment here. Another entry can be gained by sharing this post on Facebook or sharing the post that is already there. Lastly, you can share this giveaway on Goolge+. So, leave a comment here, on the Facebook or on the Goolge+ post letting me know the methods you have used to enter.
December is almost here! And to help you with your shopping needs, Vision Forum is running an incredible December kick-off sale across our entire website.
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Let me start by saying I have not always held the views I will put forth here. But as I have grown in my understanding of God’s word and seek to be obedient to all of it, it has become increasingly clear to me that we as Christians should be the most diligent people caring for God’s creation. In this care for God’s world, yes it is His, we do not do as the environmentalists and elevate the creation over the creator but instead seek to be the best stewards of what is God’s that we can be because that is what pleases Him. We are to care for, be a steward of, His creation so that it can be used for His glory and that does not happen if we simply see God’s provision as ours to do with as we please. God is most glorified when we see His grace in providing all that He does is firstly for His glory and then our good.
For too long the Christian community has taken its cues for how we are to relate to the world around us from the Rush Limbaugh’s, Sean Hannity’s, Ann Coulter’s and so many other “conservative” radio personalities rather than from God’s word. We have rightly seen the error in the environmentalist movement but instead of asking what it is they are reacting to we have taken an equally wrong swing in the other direction. Instead of seeing the call to subdue and have dominion (Gen 1:26-28) as a call to care for, grow and cultivate creation for God’s glory and our good we have instead often taken the idea of dominion as a free pass to damage, abuse and destroy and that does not glorify God or do us any good. We need to not discard the concept of dominion but instead need to see it for what it was intended from the beginning, as stewardship with a mind that sees all as belonging to God and thus of value.
This stewardship we are to provide extends not only to the animals, foliage and land God has placed around us but also to our bodies and how we treat them. If you think clearly, and biblically, on this I think you will find they are inter-related. In all of this we are to seek to be the best stewards we can be; not to stop some theoretical end of the world but to bring glory to God as we show the world how we revere God and what He has graciously provided. If we take God’s sovereignty seriously we should not only think that God has created that which is around us but that He has created it to work and live together as He designed it. When we seek to modify this God ordered symbiosis we in essence say we know better than God and in the process seek to be God.
Is that not at the heart of much of what we do, that is to say God meant to do such and such but stopped short and we need to finish what He could not do. I realize it is not always easy to see where our actions are trying to be as God and where we are seeking to work according to God’s purposes. But there are areas that where it is much more clear such as in man’s attempts to genetically modify that which God has placed among us and thus seek to create new kinds. This work of modifying what God has designed oversteps our bounds of stewardship as we attempt in our sin-tainted wisdom to create what God could not, or at least by our actions we say God could not.
So over the next few months or so, as time provides, I will be writing on a number of areas from care for the land to sustainable agriculture and whatever area comes to mind, all from a biblical perspective. Since God’s word is applicable and sufficient for ALL areas of life I believe God wants us to live as such. This view of life needs to flesh itself out in more than what we deem as spiritual, since at the end of the day all of life has a spiritual aspect, but needs to be applied to the physical as well.
You can get Rushdoony’s 3 volume set, The Institutes of Biblical Law for only $54. While I have not read this entire set I have read parts of it and know others that have read more of it than I have and it is a great work.
With regards to an understanding of the law of God as it realtes to our lives today William Einwechter’s Walking in the Law of God is a must read. I have read this and give it out as it concisely explains how we should view God’s law and our lives.
If you would like to understand the topic of patriarchy from a biblical perspective Family Man, Family Leader is a must have resource.
If you would like a book that speaks on nutrition and health I highly recommend Health for Godly Generations. My wife and daughter have read this, it is next on my list, and they thoroughly enjoyed and were edified by it.
I want to add that while I am a Vision Forum Affiliate and get a small percentage from the sales that go through the above links I recommend these books no matter where you buy them or what link you use.
What is it about the word “Patriarchy” that sets many people into a rage and others into a mode of finding a way around even speaking about the word? Now of course there is the usual argument that some person or other has abused the idea of patriarchy but that is not a valid mode of argumentation and actually avoids the nature of the subject. Are we to remove every doctrine that is abused or are we to seek what scripture has to say and then seek to correct the errors that may exist? Also, there exists the thinking that patriarchy is some sort of vestige of a bygone era that we are to jettison since we have evolved out of that archaic way of thinking. Many evangelicals talk this way even if they do not use the idea of evolution in their language as they still speak of patriarchy as some form of Old Testament bondage.
I do not think the avoidance and rejection of “Biblical Patriarchy” is to be separated from the biblical illiteracy that exists in the church today. Nor are we to separate it from the misguided view of the Christian life that does not see a need to follow God’s commands and principles that are found in the “entire” canon of scripture. Both of these mindsets lead to denying or misunderstanding biblical patriarchy. I do want to stress “Biblical” when speaking of patriarchy since I readily agree that there are many that have taken the biblical concept of patriarchy and run in their own, unbiblical, direction. However as mentioned before, even if there are those that abuse correct doctrinal principles that does not necessitate the eradication of that doctrine.
So is patriarchy biblical? I am not going to even come close to dealing with this subject exhaustively. I think Phillip Lancaster in his book Family Man, Family Leader does a great job of setting out what biblical patriarchy looks like. Will there be those that espouse the views of this book that do so imperfectly, or maybe even fail at them, I am sure there are. But the measure of a book is not simply how it is lived out, as we are imperfect people, but how it aligns with scripture. If one simply takes the text of the book and looks at the scripture given and does due diligence in seeking out God’s word I think you will see that the principles put forth are clearly biblical. What I want to do in the rest of the article is to briefly see how the concept of patriarchy is intrinsic to Christianity and thus patriarchy as seen in the family is simply a living picture of God’s working in His world.
First let me make it clear that I not only find scripture infallible, sadly a place many stop, but also hold to scripture being sufficient for every good work that God has set out for us (2 Tim 3:16-17). Thus not only has God set out the basics of life but also His word directs all areas of life, in precept and/or principle. Also, we are not to limit our search for God’s directions for life to the last third of scripture, the New Testament, as many are wont to do but are to take 2 Timothy 3:16 seriously and seek God’s direction for a God glorifying life in all of His word and that includes the Old Testament.
That said, we need to start with the relationship in the Godhead. In the trinity we see a patriarchal relationship between the Father, Son and Spirit in that the Father sends the Son (John 6:44, 16:28 ) and the son the Spirit. (John 15:26) We also see the Son do as the Father commands (Luke 22:42; John 14:31). So the relationship in the Godhead is a patriarchal one.
How about the relationship with Israel and the people of God seen in the Old Testament which foreshadows His relationship with us? Throughout scripture God is seen as Father and thus His relationship with His people is patriarchal as one of a Father to His children. Even the patriarchs, such as Abraham, Jacob and Joseph, are seen as the leaders of their families, which is not shown in scripture as a model to be done away with or to be modified. We see in the Old Testament that the fathers were to lead as directed by God as fathers today are to lead as directed by the all sufficient word of God and as empowered by the Holy Spirit. Yes, Christ is the head of the church as its bridegroom but God, as in the past, still works through fathers as a picture of Christ leading His church and thus we are to lead as God directs. That is key since patriarchy is not about fathers leading families by their every whim. But it is about fathers leading the families God has them over as directed by His Word and Spirit.
Lastly we see God has set men over the family in the context of marriage as clearly seen in Ephesians 5:22-31. This is a passage much maligned and manipulated by those desiring to do away with patriarchy and male headship as set forth by God. Also, this passage is often abused by those claiming to hold to patriarchy, I intentionally left out “biblical,” and is used to claim some sort of unbiblical leadership role. The Ephesians 5 passage instead sets out that the relationship of the man to the women is one of head, as in leader, as Christ is the head of the church. We have seen in our day not only the erosion of male headship and patriarchy but also, by practice, the dissolution of Christ as head of the church and I think this is a natural outcome. When the doctrine of Christ and His relationship to the church is minimized or abandoned there are repercussions and the loss of a biblical understanding of patriarchy and family is one of those results.
This was by far not a thorough explanation of “Biblical Patriarchy” but I hope it showed a connection with the entirety of scripture and set some ground work for the recovery of biblical patriarchy. We need to see that patriarchy is not simply a bygone practice of some other era but is how God has worked, and still works. We need to not simply regain some outward form of male headship and fathers being leaders in the home but we need to recover a right view of patriarchy and see it being implemented in the home for God’s glory and the good of His people.
I will collect names until 5PM (PST) on Wednesday the 9th of November. Here is how you can get multiple entries: One entry can be gained by leaving comment to this blog post. You can get additional entries by placing a link to the giveaway on your blog and leaving a link to the post on your blog in a comment here. Another entry can be gained by sharing this post on Facebook or sharing the post that is already there. Lastly, you can share this giveaway on Goolge+. So, leave a comment here, on the Facebook or on the Goolge+ post letting me know the methods you have used to enter.
“By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.” ~ 1 John 5:2 (KJV)
Have you ever read a verse over and over and then one day see it differently. Well that was what happened to me in studying for a sermon on 1 John 5:1-5. What I had not noticed before was that John does not make the connection of loving the children of God by what we do to the children of God, directly, but by how we love God and obey His commands. If this does not strike you let me repeat; we show our love for our brothers and sisters in Christ by loving God and obeying His commandments.
What struck me was the connection between love and law, His commandments. A connection that most believe is nonexistent since most see love and law being at odds with each other. Ask the average professing believer what they think of the law as it relates to love and you will either get a blank stare or more than likely they will say that they are not connected. But, John after speaking throughout his letter about the life of the believer, says that love for one another is shown by loving God and being obedient to God’s commandments, living out His law.
Now most may not have an issue with the connection to loving God and if obeying God’s command is about His call to love one another they may also not see an issue. However, the passage says “commandments” and thus this is not speaking to only one command of God but about His law, His commands. How can this be so? How can obeying God’s law reveal love for each other?
As I thought through this it became clear that as we love God and obey His commands we do what not only glorifies God, our first duty, but we do what God sees as best for one another. When we seek to show love for one another by our own standards we end up with all sorts of problems as we try by our own devises to show love. We need to see that God has set out in His word how we show love for one another and that includes obeying His law. Not just that part of God’s law we like but all of His law as reveled in His word. God’s word is sufficient for all of life and that is why we are to obey His commands and when we do so we not only show our love for God but also for our brothers and sisters in Christ.
An example of this is when Paul speaks to the Corinthian church about the man that was having an affair with his father’s wife (1 Cor 5). Paul tells them that in their efforts to seem accepting they did what not even the world would accept. To deal with this Paul tells them they should discipline the man as God’s word speaks to dealing with sin and not overlooking it. That they need to obey God’s word and commands and not come up with their own law. This is all done not out of retribution but out of love for the man as the goal is reconciliation, to them and God.
We need to regain a view of the law that is not at odds with love and grace. The opposite of law is lawlessness and that is what God’s law deals with and as believers we need to seek to obey the law and help our brothers and sisters in the Lord do so as well. Is it not loving to be used by God to help His children stay on the path His law gives us to live on or to let them wander of God’s path. God will do what is necessary for His children to live lives that glorify Him and we need to seek to help others avoid the discipline that will come from straying.
For more on obeying God’s law and seeing how that work’s itself out as love you can listen to the sermon that led me to look at this subject: Love and Law. I know that for many this is new since for so long the evangelical world as set up a wall between Love and Law, Grace and Law, but that wall does not exist in scripture. Yes, the law is not to be seen as a way to salvation but the law is used by God as a means to lead one to salvation and for the child of God His law is used as the path for life. So let us regain a love for His law and see that this will reveal love, biblical love, for one another.
Some may see this title and
think I am going to speak to the government and its enslavement of the people
through a plethora of unjust, unconstitutional and most importantly unbiblical
laws. While that is a tempting subject with
all that is going on around us that is not my intended direction. While all of the above may be true I want us
to see that we are all slaves, it is just a matter of who we are slaves of.
Yes, God’s word tells us we
are either slaves of righteousness or sin (Rom 6:16-23). Slaves of Christ or slaves of Satan. Now, our sinful nature does not like to see
ourselves as slaves but Paul does not mince words in letting us know there is
no in between; we are to see ourselves as either slaves of one or the other. Our slavery is not contingent on that which
is around us as in our environment but that which has been changed, or not
changed within us. Of course we will see
the outworking’s of this change, our inward disposition, and thus as the
letters of 1 John and James make clear our actions and proclamations in life
will reveal whose we are. They will reveal
who is our master.
In 1 Cor 7:22-23 we see Paul
explain how as a child of God we are called to be a slave of Christ. No matter how much our flesh seeks to be its
own person, be autonomous, we as believers need to understand our true position
with God is as a slave. It is by grace
we are called out of our slavery to sin into slavery to the law of God because
it is only in the law of God we find true liberty. What a joy it is to be called by God out of
our sin to serve him and not the sin we previously so loved since to sin, let
alone live in sin, is true slavery (John 8:34).
Now that we know we are
slaves, at least I pray we see we are, we need to understand that the work of a
slave is to obey his master. One who is
enslaved to sin by his very nature willingly follows the world and thus will be
a slave of it. The nature of one who is
a slave to sin and not righteousness will be averse to the law of God, often
adamantly so, and seek to do what they can to serve their master, sin.
Many decry the call to obey
God’s commands as being legalistic and the antithesis of grace. However, James 1:25 speaks of the law of
liberty but sadly many that profess Christ and cry out for liberty see God’s
law as curtailing liberty rather than enlarging it as God’s word reveals. The issue that most miss when it comes to
being obedient to God’s law is that to disobey God’s law is to lead one to be
restrained, enslaved, by the consequences of the sin that ensues from staying
from God’s perfect law. Thus, only
obedience to God’s law brings true liberty, biblical liberty.
We that are the called of God
need to live as the slave we are called to be, obedient. We need to seek to please the only master
worth pleasing. Not to gain anything but
merely for the pleasure of worshipping the King of kings and Lord of lords. We need to understand and grasp that God’s law
is meant to bring true liberty. Man is
notorious for seeking to set up his own kingdoms and laws but they all end in
tyranny and slavery apart from being founded and grounded in the law of God. As obedient slaves of Christ we need to, no
must, seek by His power to follow His word.
Not just those portions we like, not just the words in red and not just
those commands of Jesus found in the last 1/3 of God’s book. No we as slaves of the most high God need to
seek to follow all of His word which takes effort, a lot of effort, but because
our affections have been changed by the one we serve this effort is not
burdensome and we as His adopted children will desire to serve our master.
Yes we are slaves and I for
one am grateful I am a slave of Christ and have been called out of my slavery
to sin and the world to serve Him. Not
by my merit but by His grace. We are not
called at the cross just to some place to spend eternity but to serve and obey
our master in the here and now. We are
called to make His glory known in all the world and that can only be done by
seeing the Masters word as all sufficient and being obedient to that very same word.
There has been a fair amount of reaction to the movie put out by the NCFIC called Divided. You can watch the movie free online at the Divided website for around one more month. From my experience the reaction has either been positive in that people have seen the issue dealt with in the movie in their church or in churches they have been in as well as people coming to see the lack of support in scripture for age segregation. The other reaction has been that of anger and a rejection of the premise put forth in the movie. As with many things the negative reactions seem to get the most notice.
The truth is I fully understand the negative reaction. If one has been entrenched in a model such as age segregation for so long and then for someone to question the practice and put forth that it is unbiblical will often engender an adverse reaction. In my seminary training age segregation was taken as a given and in all truthfulness was accepted because of worldly psychological theories rather than any biblical commands. If there was a biblical conviction it was that we needed to share the gospel and so we need to do what ever was necessary to do and since psychological theory said we learn best being in our own age group that is the model that was accepted. I truly believe that the best intentions were put forth but as has been said before; the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Good intentions are not what we are held accountable to but scripture is. We need to seek out in all we do to be true to scripture 2 Tim 3:16-17 says “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” Is it tough to give up the practices that have been so drummed into us over the many years of use, yes. But that is exactly what we need to do. We need to return to not only proclaim the sufficiency of scripture but to actually seek to live out that claim. To do this one needs to truly believe that scripture is sufficient for all of life, and let me assure you that the word of God, all of it, is just that “SUFFCIENT.”
There have been some that have tried to argue that the Hebrew children were segregated for teaching or that the Puritans separated out their children for training. Without dealing with the validity of each of these statements the issue is not what others have done, as helpful as that may or may not be, but what scripture says. The actions of those before us can help inform us but our actions need to be directed and driven by the word of God. When we face God for our actions we will not be able to use the actions of others as an excuse when we have the word of God so available. Again, this is not to minimize those that have gone before us but often we not only learn from their successes but also from their failures. Man is fallible and prone to error but God is not and neither is His word and that is why we are called to follow God and not man.
At the end of the day the issue at hand is the sufficiency of Scripture and age segregation is just one of the results of not holding to Scripture as sufficient for all areas of life. One needs to ask; if the professing church gives up the sufficiency of scripture in the area that the movie Divided touches on what is next. The Gospel is grounded in an all-sufficient scripture not a somewhat sufficient scripture. The Gospel is grounded in the word of God that was given to His people so that they could worship Him in all they do and how we disciple youth is one area we are not glorifying God as we should because by and large the professing church is telling God we know better. So let us return to Scripture for all we do including how we disciple.
The Divided site has a number of FAQ to help deal with questions about the movie. Also, here are some other reviews of the movie:
William Einwechter has a new site, Darash Press, that will be place to view his many writings. Darash is a Hebrew verb menaing to search out or study. I have greatly beneffited from Mr. Einwechter’s writings. Here is what the About Page says:
“Darash Press is an internet and book publishing venture of William O. Einwechter that is focused on the exposition and application of God's infallible Word and God's perfect Law for the instruction and edification of Christians as they seek to bring every area of thought and practice under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Our particular focus is in some specific areas where the conflict with doctrinal and practical error is especially intense in our day: ethics, the family, education, law, politics, and eschatology. We desire to articulate a biblical response to autonomy, antinomianism, natural law, legal positivism, political secularism and pluralism, the messianic state, feminism, the break-down of God's order for the family, and the pessimism of much of the church's eschatology.”
Tim Challies has posted an uncharitable review of the NCFIC documentary Divided, here, where he encourages others not to even watch the movie. Scott Brown has posted a response; Tim Challies’ Harsh Review of Dividedthemovie.com. As has Fred Wolfe: Response to Tim Challies Review of Divided the Movie. It is interesting that he would want people not to watch Divided” It’s a destructive message wrapped in a poorly-made documentary. The church would do well to ignore it.” but does not speak against reading such books as the Twilight series in his review of them: “But I know there are some, perhaps myself included, who may allow an older teenager to read it.” By the way I would encourage you to watch Divided as it is free online for a short time. It may step on some toes, obviously Tim Challies had his stepped on, but often that is what we need to wake up and see what is going on around us.
Jesse Murch has an article entitled: Forgetting How to Blush? He references Jeremiah 6:15 ” Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the LORD.”
How true this is, for myself as much as anyone. We need to learn to live by God’s word and realize what we need to be ashamed of. 1 John 2:28 speaks of us abiding in Him so that we do not shrink away in shame when he appears. We need to realize that we live before God now so that we live in a manner that we should not be ashamed of and that can only be done by abiding in Him and living by His word through His power.
Yes, the Governor of the State of California signed into law that Gay History, by the way this will of course be manipulated history, needs to be taught. If Christian parents thought it was safe to send their children to the government indoctrination centers before, and it was not, it should be exceedingly clear now that they are not a place for children of believing parents. By the way if one thinks Charter Schools are the answer you need to think again since Charter Schools, from what I can discern from the rules regulating them, are held to the same guidelines and standards as the government schools, you just get to do it at home. The New Geneva Academy has an article on this called: God’s Wrath Kindled Against the Ungodly Statist Schools. The article does a good job of showing how we are to view this action.
Well, we are only a little under a year and a half away from another presidential election and the rhetoric has already started, as have the pragmatic calls from professing Christians to vote for just about anyone but the current president. Far too many professing believers do not take their Bibles to the ballot box and if they do I think it is only used to stand on so they can reach the ballot. But if we do not seek God’s word for who we are to vote for then our only other alternative is to turn to ourselves and that seldom, if ever, turns out well. It is when we seek to find candidates that are biblically qualified as God’s word lays out that God is glorified and that is to be our goal. While we desire to see the tyrannical leadership that is in office removed, our first goal as a child of God is to seek to glorify HIm in our voting. This does not just happen via the results of an election but in the manner those results are reached.
God is not glorified when we seek to find the “most” qualified candidate. He is not qualified when we simply seek to find the “least” evil candidate. However, He is glorified when we vote using His word, all of it, as our standard. How often does one vote for a candidate that would never be qualified to be an elder or deacon in ones church? But is that not the issue, as even in the church the standards for those God has called to lead us have been so minimized that anyone can fill the position as long as they appear to provide us some benefit. This is all endemic of an even greater issue and that is the issue of not seeing God’s word as all sufficient. I say “all” sufficient as many claim God’s word as being sufficient but they only mean, at best, as it relates to “spiritual” matters. This, however, misses the point that all things are spiritual. I wrote on the issue of the sufficiency of Scripture some months ago, The Sufficiency of Scripture, ALL of Scripture, and it is still relevant today. 2 Tim 3:16-17 does not just speak to the inspiration of Scripture but also speaks to the sufficiency of it as it is God’s word that equips us for every good work and choosing leaders is a good work that God has called us to take part in.
I write all of this to encourage Gods people to seek God for direction in voting and not to wait till November of 2012, start now. I hesitated here when speaking of God’s direction to use the word guidance as often the word guidance is seen more about seeking God for suggestions, when in truth God’s word is much more directive. It does more than simply making suggestions for such things as who we seek to be our leaders. God sets out qualifications for those He desires us to seek as leaders and not just in the church but also in the nation. One resource that I found very helpful was a talk given given by Doug Phillips called: Biblical Principles of the Ballot Box (you can also go get the MP3 here). While some may not agree with the conclusions Mr. Philips arrives at it will drive one to find biblical rebuttals rather than seeking the pragmatic conclusions which we so often find ourselves doing. The world may not understand any of this but we are not called to make account to the world for our actions but to God. Let us be able to stand before God and say we chose candidates that His word directed us to chose and not that we chose candidates that met most or some of His qualification but were the best of the bunch.
Elections are just another test of who we trust, God our something else. Let us stand with Joshua and be able to say that “as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15). It is when we stand according to God’s word in light of all that may look pleasing or best that we most glorify God. Let us choose all of our leaders by God’s standards and not ours. Let us seek to support the most qualified men of God that God has placed among us, and they do exist.
Start now to scour scripture for God’s qualifications for the men He desires to lead us and be ready to make decisions based on those very same words. Do not let the world lead you to think that God’s word is not sufficient to make choices for choosing leaders. At the end of the day no matter who wins an election God is in control and it is God we will have to answer to and until we begin to reveal to God our reliance on HIm and His word we will get the leadership we deserve.
"Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost." -- John Quincy Adams
Well it has been some time since I have posted one of these, life sure has been busy.
If you want to start an argument try talk about patriarchy. The problem is that most people seem to either not understand patriarchy or understand it from what they have seen in someone who may have abused it. The issue is we need to be seeking what God says about leadership in the family and patriarchy is simply the outworking of God’s all sufficient word in the family. Here is a good article on patriarchy: The Tenants of Biblical Patriarchy.
Here is an article from Bill Roth regarding entrepreneurialism: 7 Signs God Wired You for Entrepreneurship. I am not sure about you but number 7 is the one I struggle with the most as risk is uncomfortable and who wants to be uncomfortable. The truth is God will put often put us in positions that may seem risky so that we learn to rely on Him for me entrepreneurism may be one of those areas.
The Winton’s new album Rest Assured is out and it is very good. If you like bluegrass I am sure you will enjoy this album, and their first one. We are also glad that they will be stopping buy a friends house for a home concert at the end of August, Lord willing. You can hear some of their music from their first album and couple songs from the new one here.
Ever since the fall man has had a desire to be God. The serpent told Eve “hath God said” (Gen 3:1) and then quickly said, with reference to eating the fruit that was forbidden, “ye shall be as gods.” This was all done to play on Eve’s desire to be as God, a desire we also struggle with. The truth is that to be like God is not in and of itself wrong if our intention is to walk as He walks (1 John 2:6). The issue comes when we simply want to be God, when we want to walk as we desire and in the process reveal our desire to be God. That was Eve’s error, as she wanted to not just be like God but wanted to be as God and thus be autonomous.
This error of autonomy has not been diminished by time. We constantly hear how man has progressed, evolved, and is improving but a look at the world will reveal something much different. Man still has a desire to be as God and create his own world and man sees no reason to seek after God for His guidance and direction. This is expected from the world as it walks in darkness, and loves it (John 3:19), but for those professing Christ to seek to live by their own standards and desires is to deny ones profession. This desire for autonomy is what John deals with in his letter of 1 John and what our flesh fights against.
Far too many professing believers seem to seek after ways to avoid God’s law rather than scour scripture for how we are to follow it. We need to, instead, dig deeply into the entirety of God’s word to find what God desires, what He commands, so that we may walk by those commands. John is clear that how we walk does not save us but he is equally clear that how we walk does reflect whose we are. We must take verses such as those in John 14 seriously when they speak to reflecting our love for God by our affection for His commands:
John 14:15 "If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
John 14:21Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him."
John 14:23Jesus answered him, "If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
John 14:24Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me.
John 14:31 is for all those that claim to want to walk as Jesus walked but struggle with a call to obey the law; but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.
When these verses are seen in light of 1 John, as if they were not enough on their own, we should not come to any conclusion but that God desires those that are His to walk by His word, and His word alone. What is so liberating about 1 John is that John ties Christ’s work to our ability to live as most glorifies God. This is not about God setting before us an impossible command but instead reveals that God’s call is not simply to a place with Him in the future but to a life lived for Him now. A life lived according to His word and by His power. We must always remember that our call to God is not about us, even though that is the focus of much so-called evangelism, but about Him. It is about living a life focused on glorifying Him above all things as our worship of Him This may be difficult and at times unpleasant but it is not burdensome (1 John 5:3) as God empowers us to worship Him with our lives and that is to be our focus.
To some that have been raised on the pablum of the church of today this call may sound like legalism. But the issue is that the term legalism is often bandied about in such a way to label anything that steps on our autonomy as such. Many throw out the word legalism anytime they are called to action, called to live in a manner decreed by God’s word. Often when one calls for a change in the actions of the church they are equated to Pharisees but this misses one of the issues with the Pharisees, their heart. Jesus in Matt 23:27 spoke of the Pharisees as whitewashed tombs which we need to see does not denigrate what they did but spoke to the heart behind their actions. We are to live by God’s word empowered by God given affections for his law, affections that move us to live in a manner that glorifies Him and not us.
The issue is that scripture clearly calls us to live by His commands and this, for those that are truly His, should drive us to His word to find out what this living is to look like. Let us live by His word, and by His word I mean all of it, and thus show our love for God. John did not say we would achieve perfection but he did call us to desire perfection (1 John 2:1) in how we live. Should we fail we have an advocate in Jesus Christ (1 John 2:1). What a joy it is to know that we are not seeking to live according to His word by our power but by His.
Let us seek to glorify God in all we do and in the process our walk will reveal whose we are.