Posts Tagged With: Biblical worldview

To the Christian Looking for Purpose: One Breath of Advice

From time to time I post a “One Breath” thingamajig – something that could be spoken in… well, one breath. Here’s one just now.

Looking for that Purpose that God Gave You?

Maybe it’s time to stop playing the mystic, looking for a way to be the next “world-changer” with “purpose-driven faith” – and love that wife of yours, hug those kids, and embrace the “little” things in life that hold the world together.

Just maybe?

Categories: Humankind in Distress, One Breath, The Message of the Bible, Understanding the Culture | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Should we then Live? part 10: Final Choices

When this was filmed and released, it was 1977. As you watch this most important episode, think about how accurate Dr. Schaeffer was in his predictions about the future. Perhaps you may also find something he says to have been inaccurate–watch for that too, but all in all, I recommend you listen very carefully, receive the interpretation of the world which he gives, and allow your mind and heart to be shaped by the same Spirit who moved in Dr. Schaeffer. I believe if any of you have the Holy Spirit, you will not be able to blithely dismiss this dire warning, or for that matter, dismiss the hope which is held out towards the end of the episode.

I would call your attention to a very interesting detail in this video: out of the 10 episodes, it is the only one in which Dr. Schaeffer cracks a smile. Watch for it, and notice what it is that brings this smile to his face. We ought to be grateful for God’s grace given to this brother, and for his work in worldview, philosophy, and ethics. I have benefited greatly in studying his work– and this blog is in part a product of men like Dr. Schaeffer’s passion in this world.

 

Grace and peace in Jesus Christ!

Thanks for watching,

-Justin

Previous episodes posted:

Roman Age 1

Middle Ages 2

Renaissance 3

Reformation 4

Revolutionary5, Scientific 6, Age of Non-Reason 7, Fragmentation 8, Age of Personal Peace and Affluence 9

 

Categories: Understanding the Culture | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How Should we then Live part 2: The Middle Ages

The supreme 20th century Interpreter of the cosmos, Dr. Schaeffer draws together a brief overview of western civilization to illustrate the leap from reason to non-reason, civilization to chaos, and faith to despair. Still absolutely relevant, over 35 years later.

Part 1, “The Roman Age” can be seen here.

Part 2: “The Middle Ages” highlights the departure of Christianity from organic, biblical roots and practice into institutionalized, political Christendom, as well as the general improvement of western life throughout medieval times.

-Justin

Categories: Understanding the Culture | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Francis Schaeffer Video: How Should we then Live? part 1: The Roman Age

Dr. Francis Schaeffer (30 January 1912 – 15 May 1984) was a man of profound insight. He was the Interpreter of the Cosmos for the 20th century. He is an inspiration to me in my dim echo of his work as I attempt to interpret this world and universe. Please make yourself comfortable, get yourself a snack and a drink, and watch part 1, The Roman Age, of his still-relevant documentary “How Should we then Live?” I’ll be posting the rest of the series in the coming days.

No, really, watch it. Many blessings to you all in Christ Jesus.

-Justin

Categories: Understanding the Culture | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

The Real Hypocrisy: Guest Post by Dr. Bob Froese

It is with great joy that I am introducing my first guest writer to Interpreting the Cosmos; Pastor Bob Froese of Faith Fellowship Church in Clarence, NY. Bob is a brother in Christ who labors faithfully in the local church week in and week out; preaching the Word, counseling the flock, and providing an example of a bold yet humble, amiable, loving pastor with a backbone of steel. His is a brand of Christian manhood which most evangelical churches in America sorely need and lack.

Although I live far away, when I visit I have benefited greatly from the ministry at Faith Fellowship Church – my family’s local church. There will be no silliness or flippancy at FFC, but rather true preaching of the Word of God, counseling which deals with sin and rebuilds lives on the only sure foundation, and fellowship in the true worship of Jesus Christ. I could go on, but lastly I know Bob would want me to say that anything good at FFC or in his life is only due to Christ, from Christ, and for the glory of Christ. This guest post is the honorable 50th on this young blog – and it goes to the voice of a faithful local church pastor in whom the Holy Spirit works the image of Christ Jesus. Take it away, brother.

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What is the Real Hypocrisy?

Bill met her in the car at lunch. He’d never known such excitement – this was a woman who would make him happy. And so he made a choice, which ultimately offended God who hates adultery and divorce, and broke the heart of his deserted wife.

Oh, you say, I see that all day long. Just like Mellancamp sang: Ain’t this America, land of the free? And what does it have to do with hypocrisy?

Bill’s response when confronted was, “At least this is honesty, this is truth.”

Bill defined a lack of hypocrisy as the freedom to do whatever he wanted, as long as he wanted to do it. Desire had become his standard for truth. If he didn’t achieve his over-riding desire, he was hypocritical, play-acting.

For many, the definition of hypocrisy defies an absolute standard of truth outside of and apart from self. Existentialism rules and reigns. “I want it….that settles it.” Even in the church, we quickly turn to subtle variations of hypocrisy. A popular bumper sticker reads “God said it…I believe it…that settles it”. In this too, existentialism is alive and well. Take out the “I believe it,” and you have an absolute statement.

Joe studied psychology in university. He learned that he suffers from depression, and as a good student, he worked with a psychiatrist to find the best prescription to keep him functioning.  Recently God saved him, and now he enjoys church and reading the Bible, but when things get bad, he calls his doctor for the prescription that gives him a vacation from dealing with problems. He doesn’t believe God’s Word holds what he needs.

Joe thinks, “God might have said it, but unless I believe it, it doesn’t settle it.” His life reveals a mentality strongly rooted in modern relativism. Relativism pronounces ethical truth as dependent on the individual or group holding that truth, defying any absolute standard. Relativism accepts an eclectic manner of prescribing hope for intrapersonal and interpersonal struggles, from troubled inner responses to problematic interactive responses.

Relativism that intertwines religion and psychology fed Joe’s reaction when Joe’s biblical counselor called him to learn to think biblically (2 Corinthians 10:5). He responded with, “You must be taking God’s Word out of context. I’ve been to school and studied psychology, and I’ve learned that I have a diseased mind which cannot take thoughts captive.”

What’s our reply?  Is it: “Ah, yes. Pardon me. I hadn’t known. Here I’ve been fiddling with something less than the highest truth. Why don’t you help me.”?  Absolutely not!  The Bible supports its own identity as the source, indeed, the only source, of absolute truth. A true Christian will always fall in line with God’s word. We dare not teach that “God said it…I believe it…that settles it”, but rather that “God said it. That settles it.”  We must stand behind Psalm 119:160, “The entirety of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.” Our job is to affirm God’s word as the voice of God to us today, to bring God’s solutions to bear in the face of the difficulties.

A discussion of hypocrisy, absolute truth, existentialism, and relativism quickly raises the question of Scriptural sufficiency/authority. Do we truly deny that there are other voices of God (“truths”) other than God’s Word?  Do we bend the knee to relativism when the “other voice” is the voice of real life experience? Or the voice of academia? (Not to deny the necessity of excellence, Christians must embrace scholarly exposition in order to rise above the other voices. We must rightly divide God’s Word!)

The culture in which we live espouses a view that truth is relative, and therefore kernels of truth can be found in other different systems of belief. However, relativism, even from a wordly and philosophical standpoint, is self-refuting! The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy has this to say about relativism:

“The claim that truth is relative is, by the relativist’s own lights, only true relative to some frameworks and false relative to others. Hence, it is argued, the relativist cannot account for the status of his own claims…truth is the Achilles’ heel of relativism…many philosophers have agreed that the view is self-contradictory or self-refuting…It is quicksand all the way down. The metastasis is total. The meltdown is complete.”[1]

Dare we combine truth with error? We are more than fools if we do.

It’s all the same different same up is down is blue!

More importantly, God has given us very clear words on relativism (that says truth can arise from various sources) and religious eclecticism (that says truths can be combined). God’s word gives a scathing response to false prophets who claim to speak truth, when in fact they speak lies. In Jeremiah 23:31, the living God says “‘Therefore behold, I am against the prophets,’ says the Lord, ‘who steal My words every one from his neighbor. Behold, I am against the prophets,’ says the Lord, ‘who use their tongues and say “He says.”’

God gives us very clear teaching on the absolute truth of His Word. His Word is the tool to discern what’s at root of heart issues (Hebrews 4:12). His Word is the paradigm for courage and success (Joshua 1:8-9).  His Word equips us when used in relevant ways (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  His great and precious promises provide everything we need to respond to intrapersonal (inner man) and interpersonal (in relating to mankind) issues (2 Peter 1:3-4).

When we cry “hypocrisy” to those who make choices based on desires, we will face opposition. When we cry “hypocrisy” to those who claim other voices of God (“truths”) besides God’s Word, we will face opposition. We dare not waver. Deny systems that give credibility to other voices as truth. Faithfully hold up God’s word in preaching and practice. Not to do so is the real hypocrisy.


[1]  Swoyer, Chris, “Relativism”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2010 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2010/entries/relativism/&gt;.

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Dr. Bob  Froese serves as Sr. Pastor of Faith Fellowship Church, Clarence NY where he and his wife Ruth oversee a Biblical Counseling Center, & also serve as NY State Coordinators for International Association of Biblical Counselors.

Categories: Interpreting Christian Hypocrisy | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

When Beauty and Darkness Kiss – Interpreting the Artistic Power of The Doors pt1

Let’s interpret the beauty in the art of The Doors. Much of the artistic expression in this world grieves me because it is dead even while it lives, so to speak… disoriented and misshapen. In my opinion, the epitome of what I would call “stillborn glory;” art which is brilliant yet dead – is the poetry and music of The Doors. What I mean is that when an artist expresses himself so as to exalt anything as more valuable in itself than the Creator, the artist becomes blind and spiritually ugly, yet ironically their art can and often does still point us to the glory of God.

In this case, I know there are many who would not think much of The Doors – whether musically or aesthetically, the art would seem odd, dissonant, and jarring. Even if you would consider it to be average or nothing special, there are many who see it differently. I would point you to the numerous Doors fanatics out there still today, 41 years after the end of Jim Morrison’s life – they are serious fanatics many times. I am regularly disturbed and grieved by the exaltation of Morrison, as I have come across people who compare him to Jesus, when in fact the two could not be more different. Obviously there is something here which is powerfully attractive. The depth of thought and care which went into Morrison’s writing and expression is in itself impressive, and remarkably unusual. From a young age he read esoteric literature and developed his own interpretation of the cosmos, one which became magnified to truly worldwide, generation-spanning proportions.

This is worth understanding.

If we might set aside momentarily the manifestations of spiritual darkness which clung to the lives of Morrison, Manzarek, Krieger, and Densmore, we will hear a stunningly passionate musical art which for me has been at times quite moving. If you have read my other posts at all, you will know that I am easily fascinated, easily impressed, and profoundly moved by beauty and wonder.

Watch this video – first part is a poem written by Jim Morrison hearkening back to the blues bands he would watch live while living in Alexandria, Virginia in his late teens. The second part is one of the band’s most famous songs – performed in Copenhagen in 1968 on a sound stage without an audience, (an important part of this performance, since without an audience Morrison was much more focused on the music itself, in my opinion.)

I picked this performance because you can plainly see the raw talent and effort of the artists. In other words, here is a dramatic display of one of the 20th century’s most influential acts… and I ask, why does this music endure and profoundly impact so many people? No simple answers now – think about this! It is not simply that people are sinners and The Doors were sinful so therefore people find a haven for their sinful desires. Equally, it is not true that these were good men with good intentions, and that we are drawn to be moral and generous by listening. There is something more which happens to us as we behold the power of art, something which for us Christians is crucial to understand and communicate to our culture. Let’s interpret the cosmic significance of beauty found amongst the ashes. Please do share any thoughts you have… and

Thanks for thinking,

-Justin

P.S. In a future conclusion to this post on The Doors, I will offer a clear biblical interpretation and answers to the questions I attempt to raise here. I believe that through the biblical worldview we can redeem and celebrate the God-honoring aspects of those works which in themselves did not intend to be God-honoring.

Yours [O God] is the day, Yours also is the night... Ps. 74:16a

Categories: The Arts, Understanding the Culture | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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