Monday, November 28, 2011

December Vision Forum Sale


Save 20%-50% on Everything, Plus Free Shipping! *

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.

This week only, save up to 50% off list price on everything we sell — EVERYTHING! Plus, use coupon NOSHIPPING and receive free shipping on every order of $25 or more!*

The sale ends this Friday at midnight (CST), so now is the time to stock up on great gifts for your entire family — toys, books, DVDs, CDs, and much more!

*Your coupon entitles you to receive free standard shipping on your order. Please note that shipping in-stock items ahead of backordered items will result in additional shipping charges to you. Our "free shipping" offer applies only to the 48 contiguous United States and Canada, and is not applicable to the 70-volume Henty Set, the 20-volume Ballantyne Set, or other "Specialty" and "Drop Ship" items. Does not apply to past orders, and may not be combined with other coupons.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Christians and the Care of God’s Creation

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.

Other Posts in this Series:
God, Work and Redemption

Vision Forum Buy 2, Get 1 Free Sale Through Saturday Nov 26th

Check out Vision Forum’s latest sale that runs through Saturday November 26th.  You may want to get some of the resources I recommend here: Recommended Resources

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Recommended Resources

Here are some great resources from Vision Forum.

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.

As far as seeing how law relates to life this is a great audio resource: The Best of the Witherspoon School of Law and Public Policy

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. 

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Recovering Biblical Patriarchy

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.