Sunday, February 28, 2016

Putting Everything in Subjection to Christ

If I were to ask you what the Gospel was and its purpose, how would you answer?

Most would say something like, "Jesus died for my sins".  Others might say, "Christ died in my place, was buried and rose again."  There might be those who would quote John 3:16, I Corinthians 15:3-4, or Romans 10:9.  All of these are correct and contain in them the elements of the Gospel, but from a comprehensive Scriptural understanding, they are only pieces of the whole.

In other words, the Gospel is much bigger than that.

You see, most people think of the Gospel in personal, individual terms: how does it apply to me?  That is often how we present the Gospel, whether in personal witnessing or in a public, evangelistic service.  The Gospel is portrayed as simply the death of Christ for the sins of individuals, and that they (individually) must apply that fact to their own experience, repenting of sin, calling upon the name of the Lord, and believing on his name for salvation.  Certainly, for each of us, there is truth to this experience, as those of us who belong to Christ can testify.  There was a time when we individually came to the place where we recognized that we had broken God's Law, that we were sinners, and therefore were under the condemnation of a just, righteous and holy God for our sin.  In that realization came the blinding truth of the atonement of the Son of God for that sin--that Christ had fully paid for our sin on the cross, bearing our sins on himself, and facing the full fury and wrath of God on that sin.  The resurrection of Christ three days later was the validation of his deity and the victory over death, thus giving us the hope of eternal life in him.  This was the Gospel to us, and applied individually, it is what saves us.

The danger in this comes when we limit the Gospel to individual experience.  Too often in pulpits the Gospel is seen only as an eternal "fire escape" from hell, and a ticket to heaven.  But the danger lies in limiting the Gospel simply to my own personal life and experience.  Certainly, that is the place in which it begins--my understanding of the Gospel comes through the teaching of the Scriptures by the inner working of the Holy Spirit when I am saved.  I want to know how this applies to me today.  Over time, we can see it begin to impact my life holistically, affecting every area of my mind, my heart, my will and emotions.  My daily choices are impacted by the Gospel as its truth diffuses its way throughout my life.

This is where you and I need to begin to think in the broader sense of what the Gospel is and does.  The Gospel is not just the death, burial and resurrection of Christ for individual sinners like you and me.  That is just the beginning.  The Gospel begins in Genesis 3:15 where we read what is called the "proto-evangelion", or first gospel.  The prophecy of God, in his pronouncement of judgment on the serpent (Satan), was this, "I will put enmity (a state of opposition, or make enemies) between you and the woman, between your offspring (seed) and her offspring (seed); he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel."  This enmity, or conflict, has been going on ever since.  Satan, the adversary of God, has been building his kingdom of darkness in this world in opposition to the Kingdom of God.  The story of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, is the account of this battle that has been ongoing since the opening chapters of Creation when the serpent said to Eve, "God knows that when you eat of it (the forbidden fruit) your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing (and deciding for yourself) good and evil." (Genesis 3:5).   It is a battle of world-views, and the weapons of this warfare are thoughts and ideas.

What does this "first Gospel" have to do with us as individuals?  The application is made when we understand that we are a part of this conflict.  God did not send Christ to save us in our sin, to simply give us a "ticket to heaven" and eternal life.  We were saved by Christ, redeemed for his eternal plan and purpose to play our part in this battle of the ages.  The Gospel saves me, then transforms me (Romans 12:1-2), and through the Word and the working of the Spirit it begins to change me into the image of Christ.  In Romans 12 and 13, the Apostle goes on to demonstrate what this looks like in the behaviour of the believer, how he interacts with other believers in the Church, and eventually how this spreads into every area of his life; to how he treats his enemies, his responsibility to civil authority, his business dealings, etc.  In other words, it not only impacts every area of his life, but makes its way out into society at large, to the point where, as Paul goes on to say in chapters 14 and 15, all people will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord; the Gospel will go into all the earth, so that the Gentiles will glorify God and sing praises to his name.

The exciting thing to consider is that you and I are a part of this grand design.  God has chosen each of us, as his children, to fulfill our part in taking the Gospel to the nations.  As we share the Gospel to individuals, teaching and discipling them, the truth of God's word spreads through the Word as it is taught and lived out in the lives of these individuals.  The result is that God's kingdom spreads, people are brought under his dominion, lives are changed, families are transformed, and eventually entire nations are brought under the dominion of the Gospel and into the kingdom of Christ.

The Gospel is much bigger than you and I as individuals.  It is the outworking of the ultimate purpose of God in Christ: to crush the head of the serpent, to destroy the works of the devil, and to put all things under his (Christ's) feet.

Soli Deo Gloria

Saturday, October 31, 2015

A Mighty Fortress is Our God - Proclaiming the Gospel in Every Generation

“One hammer in the hand of an obscure Augustinian monk changed the world forever.” These words from Dr. R.C. Sproul are a good summation of probably the greatest historical event of the past 1000 years.  No hammer rang louder than the one wielded by Roman soldiers as they nailed the Lord Jesus Christ to a rough, wooden cross 2000 years ago; no hammer since then rang louder than the one that Luther swung as he nailed his 95 theses, or complaints, to the door of the castle church in Wittenburg, Germany on October 31, 1517.  The echoes of that hammer are still heard today, in tens of thousands of churches all over this continent and around the world, as preachers stand behind pulpits and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  While the world celebrates a pagan holiday of fear, death and despair, we celebrate the new life of freedom in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the recovery of that doctrine from the layers of centuries of tradition that had obscured it. 

Luther took a stand for truth in a time when to do so meant trial, imprisonment, and even death.  It took extraordinary courage and supernatural boldness for Luther and the other Reformers to proclaim the truths of God’s Word.  The establishment of Church and State were the fierce enemies of this truth, and dealt severely with any who opposed their agenda and rule.  However, the truths of the Gospel fell upon the fertile hearts and minds of millions who were hungry for freedom.  The day in which we live today is not unlike the one Luther lived in almost 500 years ago.  Moral relativism of the age, the secular humanism of the state and a hostile media are all diametrically opposed to the Gospel and Biblical Christianity.  That is why it is imperative that, in every generation, we declare the Gospel anew, with clarity, boldness and the power of the Holy Spirit.  The five solas of the Reformation are still the rock upon which our faith is founded: Sola Fide (Faith Alone), Sola Gratia (Grace Alone), Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone), Solus Cristus (Christ Alone), Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God Alone).

In honour or Reformation Day (October 31) and Martin Luther, I am going to sing Luther’s most famous hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” in our church services tomorrow.  It is based on Psalm 46, his favourite Psalm, and was a source of great encouragement during the darkest days of his life.  Steve Lawson writes, “Many times during this dark and tumultuous period, when terribly discouraged, he would turn to his co-worker, Philipp Melanchthon, and say, ‘Come, Philipp, let us sing the forty-sixth Psalm.’

As you listen to this great hymn, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADamVJaXZMg my prayer is that the words will not only encourage you, but will embolden and empower you to stand for the truth of the Gospel and to herald the Word of God as Luther and the Reformers did so many centuries ago.


Soli Deo Gloria!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Humbling of a Man of God

This excerpt taken from F.B. Meyer's book, "Moses", pg. 61. It speaks to my heart because of much of what we went through when we left our last place of full time Christian service. I hope that it is an encouragement to those of you Ministers of the Gospel going through difficult times yourself.

When we see our hopes blasted, our plans miscarry, our efforts do more harm than good, while we are discredited and blamed, pursued with the taunts and hate of those for whom we were willing to lay down our lives, we may preserve an outward calm; but there will be heartbreak underneath, and the noblest part of us will whither; as wheat blasted by an east wind, unless we are able to pour out our whole complaint before God.

The agony of soul through which Moses passed must have been as death to him. He died to his self-esteem, to his castle-building, to pride in his miracles, to the enthusiasm of his people, to everything that a popular leader loves. As he lay there on the ground alone before God, wishing himself back in Midian, and thinking himself hardly used, he was falling as a grain of wheat into the ground to die, no longer to abide alone, but to bear much fruit.

Ah, but dying is not pleasant work! It is not easy nor pleasant to forgo one's own plans, to cease from one's own works, to renounce one's own reputation, to be despised and flouted by the very slaves you would save. What grain of wheat enjoys having its waterproof sheath torn from it, its elements disintegrated, its heart eaten into, as it lies helpless, exposed to the earth-forces, in the cold, damp, dark soil? And yet this is the necessary condition which must be fulfilled before it can put forth the slender stalk, like a hand holding to the sun thirty, sixty, or a hundred grains like itself.

From Fundamentalism to Reformed Baptist Theology - My Journey: Part 1

Greetings once again, earthlings.

Yes, I have returned from a hiatus of several months, this time to give my personal testimony from the past few years and how it is that God, by His grace, led me from hyper-fundamentalism to Reformed Baptist theology.  I know that there are some of you who are still in fundamentalist circles, so my blog is not intended to offend any of you, nor am I directing any attacks at particular groups in this case.  I am simply sharing my story and how God has led me to the place I am currently in.  I pray that the Lord will use my story to do four things:

1. Encourage those who have left fundamentalism or some other form of legalism.  You are not alone in your journey.  Others have trod those paths before you and understand what you are going through.

2. Encourage those who were never part of those corners of the Church, but are blessed by the testimonies of those of us who were, and to help others identify those aspects of Christianity which are legalistic and border on being cultish.

3. Warn those who are still part of fundamentalism or legalism, and to encourage them to think critically about what they believe and why they believe it.  Encourage them to engage with other believers of different denominational backgrounds, read and study the writings of their Baptist forefathers, and challenge themselves with the Scripture to prove their doctrinal and philosophical positions.  To adopt the motto in our thinking, "In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity."

4. To bring glory to God alone and His Son Jesus Christ, through whom all of these things have come to pass, by His immutable will and foreknowledge. Soli Deo Gloria!

Part 1

The beginning of my story starts the same as most who grew up in a Christian home in North America: going to Sunday School, Junior church and Vacation Bible School from the time I can remember, hearing the Gospel taught and preached every week, memorizing Scripture, and all the other things that go with growing up in an evangelical Baptist church in the 1970s.  I was 10 years old (a little older than most who grow in these types of circumstances) before I made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour.  I was baptized by immersion a month later by my pastor, and became the youngest member of my church a year later.

When I was twelve, a missionary who had served in Papau New Guinea during the 50s and 60s came and preached at our church. It was at this time that I gave my life to the Lord to serve Him in ministry.  Several things happened in my family's life at this time that would have a profound impact on me for the next two decades.  The most important event that follows my journey is that my parents left the Baptist church I had grown up attending.  This is the church where I was saved and baptized, where most of my friends and their families attended, in short, the church family that I associated everything that I knew about Christianity. I am not judging my parents on their decision, because they certainly had legitimate concerns with the direction the church was taking (which played out many years later and justified their concerns), however, we took a different direction in the type of church we began attending.  The church I had grown up in was a typical evangelical Baptist church, and was not much different than what you might find in the conservative evangelical churches today.  When we switched churches, we moved to a whole different spectrum of Christianity known as Fundamentalism.  

At this point, I will give a brief description of Fundamentalism and a comparison with the church I grew up in. Independent Fundamental Baptists (hereafter referred to as IFB) trace their heritage to the great doctrinal battles of the first two decades of the 20th Century between orthodox Christians and the liberals who denied many of the fundamentals of Christianity, including things like the inerrancy of Scripture, the virgin birth of Christ, the vicarious atonement of the death of Christ, the literal resurrection of Christ, and so-on.  A group of those who defended the faith against these heretics came to be known as fundamentalists.  They were not confined to one denomination, but over the years the most predominant denomination which became associated with fundamentalism were the Baptists.  This group became known for its very strict, hard-line separatist stand against any kind of compromise on what they viewed as the "fundamentals".  The problem with this was that, as with any movement, the group was dominated by a few big personalities who foisted their own particular views on certain things they viewed as being "fundamental", but not necessarily Scriptural.  This is not to say that there were many good men within the movement ( I know some of you don't like that label, but that's what it is, historically!) who were trying to do what they believed was right and stand for truth.  However, the opinions and agendas of a few men with big ministries often overshadow the views of less-prominent men with smaller ministries, and the "success" of bigger ministries is seen as the blessing of God upon a man and his ministry-philosophy.  Thus, his opinions and views are spread throughout the movement because he is seen as having more insight, or Holy Spirit-power, or wisdom that others ought to pay attention to.

IFB churches today are mainly characterized by several things: an adherence to the King James Version of the Bible as the only Bible in English (there are several variations to this position as well); a strict dispensational interpretation of eschatology (the study of the end-times), particularly a Pre-Tribulation, Pre-millenial position of the return of Christ; strict standards of dress, especially on ladies, mainly as a dresses and skirts-only, no pants allowed at any time philosophy; and a very strict separatist stand from any group who does not adhere to these standards.  This was very different from the Baptist church I had attended growing up.  We used the KJV, but we also used the New American Standard Bible (NASB), and the New International Version (NIV).  Every lady I knew, including my mom, wore pants (though not usually to church).  We associated with other evangelical denominations, so separation was from the world, not other Christians.  (A couple of things at this point for those of you who have little or no background in some of these theological terms I am using: I will try to keep them to a minimum, or I will offer to give definitions as clearly and concisely as I can in footnotes or links to articles that give definitions. For the rest of you, I know that I am generalizing somewhat in my characterization of IFB churches, but it is a huge topic on its own.  I am trying to streamline as much as possible to keep the story moving and interesting, without getting bogged down in the finer details.)

To continue with the story, when we entered the IFB world, it was completely different from anything we had experienced before.  It was like I had left earth and gone to another planet.  Looking back these many years later, I still experience feelings of bewilderment at having been wrenched from my evangelical world into what really is a sub-culture of Christianity that is very detached from reality.  But, being young and impressionable, it didn't take me long to absorb the teachings and philosophies of this movement, and to begin to espouse them myself and distance myself from others who didn't view these things the same way I now did.  Over my teen years, we bounced to a couple of different IFB churches in Southern Ontario, never really getting very close with anyone or getting too heavily involved in the ministries of these churches.  I continued to attend, but spiritually I began to drift  and my heart was more in tune with the world than God's will for my life.

I close this part of the story with the end of my high school years.  I was gifted as a teacher and in music, and thought that perhaps I would be a music teacher.  I also love history, and even thought of a double-major in music and history.  I had not forgotten my call to ministry, but it was far from my mind and I had many other things that were clamouring for my attention and affections. Because we had left behind most of my Christian friends in my childhood church, and since I attended a public school, most of my friends were from my school and were unsaved and unchurched, and this affected me as well. They were great people, but they did not share my faith, and were therefore unable to help me in my Christian walk.  I was longing for a place to really belong, and Christian people who shared my faith, a place where I could really grow and serve the Lord.  But I was also a worldly young man, and as the Scripture says in James 1:8, "He is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways."  This describes the end of my teen years perfectly.

To be continued........

Friday, February 7, 2014

Creation and the Gospel: Is the Genesis account of Creation just a side-issue?

Many of you are aware of the debate that took place between Bill Nye "The Science Guy" and Ken Ham, founder of Answers in Genesis the other night.  I found it a very enjoyable debate/discussion, and look forward to watching it again with my friends and family.

In the aftermath of the Bill Nye/Ken Ham debate, I have been reading some articles examining the content and reaction to it.  This thing really has caused quite a stir out there.  I was not surprised to see that there are Christians out there who try to harmonize the "theory" of evolution with the Biblical record.  But when I hear other Christians actually mocking the Biblical account of Creation, (like Pat Robertson, see here: http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-TV/2014/02/05/Pat-Robertson-Pushes-Back-on-Young-Earth-Creationism-There-Aint-No-Way-Thats-Possible ) and the comments from many who call themselves Christians, I was disturbed.  Some have even gone so far as to suggest or imply that Creationism is just a side-issue and that those who teach it are causing contention within the body of Christ.  They say that the main thing should be the Gospel, and nothing more.  I would like to give my take on this whole thing and why it is significant and relevant in discussions among Bible-believing Christians.

Almost 100 years ago, Christian leaders in the major Protestant denominations found themselves in a battle for the hearts and minds of the people in their churches and schools.  The battle was not against atheists, agnostics and opponents of Christianity; it was against those who also called themselves "Christians", who claimed to love God and follow the teachings of Christ.  However, these "Christians" denied the literal account of Creation, the historical accounts of Israel in the Old Testament, the miracles of Christ in the New Testament, and even went so far as to deny the virgin birth and the substitutionary death of Christ and his Resurrection.  They were called 'liberals'.  The battle raged for many years, and those who held to the fundamentals of the faith eventually lost.  The liberals claimed leadership of most of the major denominations and their schools and churches.  These quickly turned apostate, and today most if not all of these are completely secular in their beliefs and teachings.  Agnosticism, atheism and humanism are rampant on their campuses.  Start naming some of the largest universities in the United States and Canada, and you will find that many originated as orthodox Christian institutions.  Now they are completely secular, casualties of the secular humanism of liberal "christianity".

Many of the "fundamentalists" and conservative Christian leaders who lost the battles with the liberals over these institutions started their own churches and schools.  Their intent was to have churches and places of education where Biblical, historic Christianity was taught and passed down to the generations of Christians that followed.  What they did not anticipate was that the battle was not over.  Error will always look for a place to root and grow.  The Father of Lies is always hard at work, seeking to plant seeds of deception, lies and wickedness.  Where does Satan aim his biggest guns?  Where does He focus most of his attention in this battle?  The Word of God.  That is one thing we need to get into our minds and heads.  His first temptations was to question the Word of God, "Did God actually say....?"  And today, he is still using the same tactics.  "Did God actually say that He created the heavens and the earth in six days?  After all, modern 'science' has 'proved' the theory of evolution is true.  Why question what everyone else believes?  You might sound like a crazy person, or worse, a religious fanatic!"

Now, I would like to ask a question and make a suggestion.  If we cast doubt upon the literal account of Creation as found in Genesis 1-3, what other part of the Bible do we cast doubt upon?  If the very beginning of the Word of God is just an allegory, if it isn't really factual history of the origin of the Universe, Man, the fall and Redemption, then what other parts of the Bible are also just allegory, that are not really factual history?  What other miraculous events can we toss into the trash-heap of mystical fantasy?

Here is my suggestion: If we give the evolutionists and the secular humanists one inch of ground in the question of origins, then we cast a shadow of doubt upon not only Creation, but upon the Gospel itself.  And to my friends who would question any part of the Creation account and say that it does not matter as far as the Gospel is concerned, may I say that IT IS ABSOLUTELY FUNDAMENTAL TO OUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE GOSPEL.  The account of Creation is not just an account of the origin of matter, energy, consciousness and  the space-time continuum, it is the beginning of Gospel history.  The Word of God is the story of the Gospel.  From Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21 it is the story of the plan of the Almighty Creator God to send His Son, the second member of the Trinity, to become a man, to suffer and die and redeem His elect, His people the Church, and to set them in the Kingdom with Him in His glory for all eternity.

God's work of instantaneous, special Creation is a picture of the new birth of the believer.  Just as God spoke into the void and said, "Let there be light", and it was so, God also speaks into the cold, dead void of the human heart and shines the light of the Gospel.  Just as God breathed into Adam's nostrils the breath of life and he became a living soul, so too does the Spirit of God breathe the breath of Spiritual life into the cold, lifeless hearts of those who were dead in trespasses and sins.  God creates life ex nihilo (out of nothing), whether it be the matter and energy of the universe, or spiritual life in dead sinners.

To doubt the literal Adam of Genesis is to doubt the Gospel.  If you doubt the literal Adam and the literal history of the book of Genesis, then you can cut out key passages in the New Testament such as Romans 5:12-21, which is key to our understanding of original sin, the depravity of man, the source of death and the curse, and its remedy.  Or cut out I Corinthians 15:22 which says, "For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive."  Later in the same chapter the Apostle Paul quotes Genesis 2:7 with authority by saying, "Thus it is written, 'The first man Adam became a living being.'" (15:45).  In I Timothy 2:13-14, Paul once again attests to the historical accuracy of Genesis by saying, "For Adam was formed first, then Eve, and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor."  Sounds to me like Paul believed the literal Genesis account of creation and the historical accuracy of Genesis.

This is not a side-issue.  It is critical to our understanding of the Gospel and the Word of God.  Satan has cleverly designed this to divide God's people, and deceive many true Christians.  We need not be contentious as we stand for the truth of the Word of God and the literal account of Genesis, but we MUST contend for it.  We must be informed and speak out for the Truth.  We must be educated and informed so that we are always "...prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behaviour in Christ may be put to shame." (I Peter 3:15-17, ESV)



Wednesday, December 18, 2013

"Christian" in Name Only....

Okay, I know this is going to stir things up a bit, but I am going to write this anyway.

If a "Christian" school does not use Christian/Biblical curriculum, can it be classified as a Christian school?

This is a fair question, I think.  And one that warrants some discussion and some thought, since many young people from our churches are sent to these "Christian" schools.  I will not get into the specific statistics in this particular blog, but it is a well-known fact that the majority of Christian young people are leaving Fundamentalist and Evangelical churches in droves once they leave for college.  Very few of them are coming back.  I make this statement in the context of this particular topic, because even though there are many factors involved, I believe that the "Christian" school is one of them.  Many "Christian" schools are so in name only, and are simply using the curriculum provided by the state to educate children in a secular-humanist world-view.  In effect, we are teaching our children one thing from the pulpit of our churches and something completely different in the classrooms of our "Christian" schools.  Is it any wonder that they are confused, professing Christianity but living lives that are diametrically opposed to a Biblical world-view?


A bit of history....

One of the motivating factors for the start of the Christian school movement back in the late '60s and early '70s was the whole issue of the secular/humanist agenda that had over-run the public school system in both Canada and the U.S.  (I know that the Christian school movement started a lot earlier than that, but for all intents and purposes it was very small.  It really took off in the late '60s following the cultural revolution in the U.S.) The whole curriculum had been polluted with the secular-humanist doctrine, punctuated by their line of evolutionary thought.  This was mainly seen in the pure sciences (biology, chemestry, physics) and in the social sciences (history, geography).  It could also been seen creeping into other subjects as well, but it mainly made its presence known in these, the most obvious ones.

So, Christian schools were started.  (Home schooling was rare at this stage)  They replaced the secular curriculum with a Christian one.  Creationism replaced evolutionary theory in history, geography, biology, etc.  When evolution was presented, it was always in a "need-to-know" manner, to help the students develop an apologetic for creation, with a working understanding of their pro-evolution opponents.

Why did parents and churches choose to do this?  Most believed that they had a mandate from Scripture that it was their responsibility to teach their children the truth.  All the subjects they learned in the classroom revolved around a Christian world-view.  Now, I know I've simplified it a bit, but the heart, the main motivation for pulling their kids out of the public system and starting Christian schools was that of  competing world-views.

At this point, it behooves us to ask the question: What makes a school Christian?  I believe that there are two main factors that would meet the criteria for calling a school Christian.  There are others, but these are the biggest.

1.  A faculty/staff/leadership that gives a clear testimony of faith in Jesus Christ.  A corollary of this testimony would be that they are part of an evangelistic church and regularly worship and engage in the activities of their church or faith family.  Their lives would also reflect this testimony, and would extend itself into the lives of the students that they are teaching.

2. A curriculum that is distinctively Christian, and also reflects a clear testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  A Christian school should be using and teaching material that revolves around a Christian/Biblical worldview. The curriculum would be aimed at providing an education that will equip the students with the tools necessary to make an honest living in whatever field they wish to pursue in life.  It would also equip them to be honest, hard-working and Kingdom-centred in their secular jobs. The object of working is not just to make a living, but to impact the lives of those around them with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  This includes all the subjects, not just one or two.  That would also mean that you cannot use a secular/humanist curriculum in some subjects, while throwing in a token Bible curriculum in others to somehow "sanctify" the education experience of the student.

So, if a school that calls itself "Christian" uses curriculum from the secular-humanist state, can that school continue to call itself "Christian"?

Now, before you get angry with me, and I know at this point some of you are, consider this.

Let me ask you a question.  Why are you angry at me, and not angry at the "Christian" school?  After all, they have passed themselves off to you as being "Christian", when that is not the case.  You've been sold a bill of goods.  You're spending your hard-earned money to send your precious children to an institution you were told was 'Christian', when in reality you are sending them to a state-run, secular institution where they are taught curriculum from a secular-humanist world-view.  You should be angry at them, not me.

"Well," you say, "the teachers are Christians!" That may be true, but the curriculum that they are teaching your children is not.  It is the curriculum that the State has told them they must teach if they want to continue to receive their accreditation (code word: $$$$$).  "And it doesn't matter what you guys believe, as long as you teach what we tell you to teach (so you can continue to receive our $$$$$$)".  So, the teacher gets up and teaches Evolutionary theory (as if it is fact), and the Biblical creation theory is never mentioned.  "Oh, but the teacher is a creationist, you say!"  Great, glad to hear it.  Is he allowed to teach Creation alongside of Evolution in the classroom?  No?  Then what does it matter if the teacher is a creationist or not?  He or she may as well be teaching in a public school, which is essentially what they are doing.  The school may be listed as a private Christian school, but it is essentially controlled by the government, because they are using their curriculum and told what they can teach and what they can't.

"No school is perfect!" you say.  That is true.  We live in an imperfect world, and as long as there are sinful people, there will never be a perfect institution of any kind, be it church or school.  However, that is not the point.  I am not here to debate whether or not a person should choose a Christian school over a Public School over Home Education.  The main point is this: when a school that calls itself "Christian" ceases to use Christian curriculum in the classroom, even going so far as to present the secular-humanist-evolutionary world-view with no presentation of the Biblical-creationist model, and no room even for debate, the school itself ceases to be "Christian" and should not be called such.  Call it a private school if you want, but don't call it "Christian".  That is a lie.  It is dishonest.  And the leadership of the school should be called to account, since they are taking money from parents under false pretenses.  At the end of the day, that'$ what it i$ all about anyway.  When the $tate is paying for D.J. at the party, you dance to their tune.

And as a wise man once said, "If we send our children to be educated by Caesar, why should we be surprised when they come home looking and acting like Romans?"



Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Welcome to my blog.

I know what you're thinking.  Another blog? Just what we need on the internet....

I know.  I thought the same thing.  But here it is anyway. 

I have tried and failed several times to write a blog faithfully.  But it will be different this time, right?  Well, for one thing, I have a lot more to write about this time.  <chuckle>  I certainly have had a lot of things happen to me in this past year and a half.  There have been lots of changes in my life, once again.  I almost feel like I keep reinventing myself, and I don't know who I am any more.  Sort of like the guy who has walked the aisle in every evangelistic service he ever went to, so that he says, "I've heard so many life-changing sermons, and had my life changed so many times, I don't even know who I am." That's a bit what I feel like sometimes.

Once again, I find myself at one of those points in my life where I ask myself where I am going and what I am doing.  I find myself out of a job in the ministry again, this time because of finances.  And that prompts me to ask a lot of questions about the way we do ministry in the 21st Century.  It prompts me to ask if I should be in the ministry.  And I question myself about my own motives in it all.  Am I motivated purely on my finances?  Should a pastor be overly concerned about how much he makes?  How does this all apply to assistant pastors and how much they make, and whether a church is in a position to afford to pay him and support his family?  How will I be perceived by others if I choose to take a full-time secular job rather than work a part-time job on top of my ministry position?  These are all difficult questions that I have wrestled with over the past few months.  I will answer some of these questions through my blog over the next few weeks.  I hope that my answers will be given with a gracious and kind spirit, and that they will be received in the same way.

I also find myself in a profession I never thought I would be a part of.  Car Salesmen do not exactly have a good reputation in the world, so why choose such a job?  It is something I have never done before, and have zero experience in.  I have no client base to draw from.  It is a very aggressive and competitive market. Again, there is that perception thing.  Why did I choose to do this again?  That has been something I have asked myself many times over the past few months. 

Then there is that balance in the Christian life-thing.  Even though I haven't made a lot of money yet, the potential is definitely there in this industry.  I've asked myself: What's wrong with making a lot of money?  Is it wrong to work hard to save up and buy things like a house?  or a new car?  to make sure that my wife has nice, warm and stylish winter boots?  or to be able to afford to go on a holiday someplace warm in the winter time?  How can I continue to serve the Lord in ministry while I am working a secular job?  And where does working a few extra hours to make a sale to provide for the family conflict with my obligations in the ministry, if it does at all?  Can I continue to teach the Word of God in my church?  Again, there is always that perception-thing.

  "Ex-pastor who quit ministry to work as a Car Salesman and make a lot of money wants to continue teaching and preaching the Word in his church."  

Yeah.  Right.

Oh, and then there is the issue of the purchase of my new car.  My old '93 Exploder (Explorer) with 365,000 kms on it (228,125 miles) was still running and getting me from A to B, but had a lot of issues that needed to be addressed, and was going to cost me a lot of money.  You know the drill, lots of you have been in that position before.  So, what to do?  Well, I have a job working for a car dealership.  That means I can purchase cars myself at a very good price.  So, I set a budget of what I could afford, and waited for the right car to come along.  Now, there were two cars that fit the bill.  One is a 2009 Focus, the other a 2007 Mustang.  Now, I have always wanted to own a Mustang.  Two cars, same price.  Not much of a choice in my book.  But there is that perception thing again..... 

"Ex-pastor quits low-paying job in ministry to take high-paying job in car sales and buys a hot-rod." 

 Nice.  

Well, hopefully you can see where I am going in my blogs.  I will be writing about my journeys in life and experiences.  I will be writing about the ministry.  I will be writing about theology, history and social issues.  I will be writing some biographical sketches on historical and current figures.  I will give the occasional book review.  Basically, I will write about whatever happens to be on my mind.  Some of it will be serious, some of it funny.  

And I will write about Mustangs.  

In case you hadn't guessed, they are my favourite car. :-)