Posts Tagged With: Christianity

Why I’m Not Voting

In next week’s election, I do not plan on voting for any federal or New York State officials, obviously including President of the United States of America. I have been asked by a friend to explain my choice. To my best understanding, the reason he is asking me to explain is because traditionally we conservative evangelical types see voting as a civic duty. We have learned from when we were wee lads and lasses that voting in democratic elections is a near-sacred duty, wrapped in all the somberness and ritual of a religious sacrament.

And therein is my first issue with voting for federal and state office holders. As a Christian, my primary citizenship is in heaven, where Christ is. He is preparing the New Jerusalem—the eternal city of God—and He will bring that consummate kingdom upon His appearance and judgment of the living and the dead. You’ll notice I said “primary” citizenship, and that’s because of course we are also citizens of the nations on earth as we live here. In simple terms, Christians are dual citizens, and we have duties in each realm. And what is our most important duty in the civil realm of this age? It is to be salt and light—to stand out. We are to be a different, holy people, and we are to be the fragrance of Christ everywhere we go, and in all we do.

What am I getting at? Only that in all areas of our lives, we are to show our pagan and post-Christian neighbors that we have a better hope, a higher kingdom, and accordingly, a fearless posture toward the evil in this world. Now of course none of us does any of this perfectly, which is why we keep returning to the church gathering each week where we hear of our sin, the forgiveness we have received, and the promises of the age to come. We are often fearful, though our Lord commands “fear not.” We are often mired in the same idols as the Gentiles, though our Lord commands “come out from them and touch not the unclean thing.” I think many wonderful Christian people in America have succumbed to the fear of man, namely, the liberal and Progressive man, and are placing their hope in democratic elections as a temporal salvation. In a narrow sense it is true that good civil policy saves us from lawless men, so I understand the need for the State in our present world; however, I think the manner in which our politics have become all encompassing and overwhelming shows the idolatrous fear and rage intrinsic to this present system.

Today we can and should repent, re-form the line if you will, and face the world as a fearless, holy people.

And I believe abstaining from the vote is one of the more powerful means to do so right now. nopeAsk yourself what drives 90+% of the voting in federal and state elections today. You know what it is: fear. And not only fear, but jealousy, rage, insecurity, and tribalism/racialism (in all directions). Why are Christians blending in with this portrait of ungodliness? I’ll tell you what I think—I believe we’re in a rut of tradition that we can’t see from above. We think voting always helps secure liberty and justice for all.

We think it’s our sacred duty to cast our ballot because men shed their blood to give us this right. We think we owe it to the brave guys who charged the machine gun nests on Normandy’s beach, we think the 58,000+ who never returned from Vietnam cry out “go! Go to the voting booth and vote! We died in a jungle ditch so you could do so!”

We think we must make our voices heard.

And on that last point, I fully agree. We must make our Christian, fearless, faithful voices heard to those in power, and I propose our message be something like this:

We are not your slaves, and we are not afraid of you. Do what you will to us, but we will serve the Lord Jesus Christ, promote His kingdom, and speak out against your ungodly policies. We will no longer be complicit in propping up this sham democracy.

This nation is captured by an oligarchy of lifetime politicians, corporate pirates, and usurious thieves on Wall Street, and voting has only distracted us from your injustices, as if we ever had a chance in a rigged game. We are tired of having our income stolen to propagate antichrist doctrines in the schools, violence in the womb, violence throughout the world in conflicts that are unjust and unnecessary, and general economic discord domestically.

We protest the system of credit and debt that is forced upon us, we protest the postmodern worldview of our leaders, and we refuse to participate in a system that fingers the wind in making law. Our vote will not save the United States of America, only mass waves of confession and repentance in the churches will begin to turn the tide of evil in this land.

We now turn to our families and to our churches to each show the way of confession and repentance, and to take responsibility for all the injustices that we have allowed in our name, and worse, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe that to any longer participate in this democracy is to betray our profession of faith in the One who is able to protect, provide for, and to keep His people while in the valley of the shadow of death during this evil age. We will submit to the authorities as He has commanded, but we will no longer sign our names to the vile means and aims at work in the places of power.

Justifying this View

First, the old Christian republic has long since passed away, and the Enlightenment constitutional republic that replaced it is also long dead. We have been living in a straight-out democracy for a long time; we are at the mercy of the majority of voters, and the rule of law is a mere phrase in the imaginations of optimistic, flag-waving patriots. Ever since Lincoln denied the South the right to secede, we’ve all been living in a post-constitutional democracy, now fatally compounded by 1,001 unjust decisions by the Supreme Court and Congress.

Second, what is left of law and order in this society is rapidly being folded into the tyranny of a man-centered foundation for law and justice. From the time merchants began arriving on the heels of the first Puritan pilgrims, the law of man (unjust and ghastly in any society) has been warring with the law of God for the central place in American law. We have always been a flawed, inconsistent nation whose lust for happiness has led to countless crimes against God and man (think chattel slavery); yet there has also been a remnant of the Christian instinct to hold our society to the standards and mores of the Scriptures. Now in 2016, this instinct has been suppressed and defaced to the point of utter mockery—we have pretty much fully embraced a culture of corruption, radical subjectivism, and self-serving. Sure, there’s a remnant of Christian and civil people who wish no harm to their neighbor, but we’re outnumbered, and we have almost zero representation in the halls of power.

Even where decent men and women inhabit an office or two somewhere in Washington DC, the system as a whole is oriented toward injustice at every level. There is no saving it. There is no political solution left in these United States. Let’s read that again. There is no political solution left in this nation, or in our individual states. We have been given over to the full measure of our wishes, to have the riches and blessings of freedom and liberty become the slaves of our lusts and evil desires. The only outcome possible for such a people is total slavery and war.

And so let’s talk about what it means for a Christian to vote in 2016. When we vote for federal and state officials, we are explicitly stating with that vote:

–          I believe that participation in this democracy will somehow promote justice and equity under law.

–          I believe that choosing new individuals to occupy these specific federal/state offices will create better representation for me, my family, and my clan of people.

–          I believe that by my vote I am securing my right to redress of grievances, representation in legislation, and financial entitlements.

–          I believe that without my vote I am somehow made responsible for the injustices of the tyrannous majority.

–          I believe that voting pleases my Lord.

And I do not agree with any of these points. I hesitate to attempt to fully bind other Christians’ consciences with this same conviction, so I will simply state how I see things, and allow the Holy Spirit to work in you as He does in me.

We are Samson with his eyes scooped out, pushing the Philistine grinding wheel. We have been with the Philistine prostitutes, and our Christian souls have clung to them under the sheets of comfort, entertainment, career, prestige, cultural acceptance, and academic clout. We have been fooled—we have been fools. In this last hour of the American experiment in democracy, I would wish for us to press the pillars of the Philistine temple, to bring down the weight of this corrupt nation upon its head… but unlike with Samson, I am not wishing for the death of our enemies, but only for the end of their sin against our holy God. The only way this world will see its sin is for the church to be the church, and that will require a great cost be paid by us, as it was by Samson in his last act.

If all true Christians in America quit voting, within a short while we would be standing in the place of greatest influence of all people, even while the roof of prosperity and comfort was falling on our own heads. The voting booth is a substitute for Christian courage in this day of moral anarchy.

If I am wrong in my framing of the issue, you are welcome to bring a loving rebuke in the comment section.

In Christian charity,

Adam

 

Categories: Interpreting Christian Hypocrisy, Understanding the Culture | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Christianity Answers our Universal Amnesia (Worldview pt. 4)

We Were in a Bad Crash

But it was no accident when Eve disobeyed God and Adam let her. It was a willing crash into the brick wall of death while going 1,000 miles per hour, and all while the whole human race slept in the back seat.car-crash

As John Piper said, “we are all of us like car accident victims, walking around asking ‘who am I,’ and ‘where did I come from?’ And the only means by which we will get the right answers is to get them from someone who is not affected by the same disaster that we are all a part of” (paraphrase).

So then, who has perfect knowledge of all things before, during, and after the creation of the universe; how everything came into being, the fall of humanity into sin, and the subsequent disaster zone on earth?

God does. He has perfect knowledge, memory, and foreknowledge of absolutely everything, and this is the foundation of all true knowledge. The objective definition that no atheist can ever give is that of reality. What is reality? What is true? Where do logic and reasoning come from? If we do not begin with the existence, preeminence, omniscience, and omnipotence of God, then we cannot make justified knowledge claims about anything.

Standing on the Rock

What we believe about reality is the foundation of everything we think and do. What we believe is the most important part of ourselves. Yet because of our separation from God when Adam and Eve sinned, none of us is born with clear thinking about reality. Our biggest problem is that each one of us tends to base our beliefs on what we can feel, touch, and test within our experience. We innately believe that we are autonomous – that we are perfectly capable of discovering reality on our own.

We don’t think we need the input of God. We see Him as a rival God – someone who will take away our own lordship. “I’m my own judge.” “I’m the master of my own fate.” “I say what’s right and wrong.”

Or a real life example from a 2004 interview with then Senator Barack Obama:

FALSANI: “Do you believe in sin?”

OBAMA: “Yes.”

FALSANI: “What is sin?”

OBAMA: “Being out of alignment with my values.”

FALSANI: “What happens if you have sin in your life?”

OBAMA: “I think it’s the same thing as the question about heaven. In the same way that if I’m true to myself and my faith that that is its own reward; when I’m not true to it, it’s its own punishment.”

In other words, Mr. Obama represents all of us when he represents himself as a god here. Yet the Christian response must be to lovingly dig down underneath such a fallacious mindset.

“Mr. Obama, how do you know that?” We look to expose the inconsistency of their worldview, because at the end of the questions, Christianity remains the only consistent, reality-based worldview there is. Logic demands it. Intuition leads to it. God made us to find Him.

“Mr. Obama, from where do you derive your knowledge that you are your own judge and measure of sin?”

Without the God of the Bible as his (and our) foundation, the only answer left is “from within myself, and from the pooled experiences of humanity.” Yet you may be seeing it now: if we are all of us amnesiacs who have forgotten who we are and from where we come, then how can we know with any certainty that we are not all deluded? How can we base our choices on faith assumptions – on a perception of reality that could be totally false?

We cannot, and so any truth claims, any worldview that does not begin with God is fatally flawed. All attempts to make knowledge claims (e.g. the universe began with a spontaneous big bang, creating itself) are therefore founded on assumption… and assumption is faith without justification. This kind of ruins the atheist party, although of course there are 1,000,000 arguments to be had to obscure the plain, elementary truth.

God has Spoken

No matter who you are, you wouldn’t deny this, right? God, who is the source of logic and sentience, is also omniscient and omnipotent – and He is therefore capable of revealing knowledge to us, His creatures, such that we are able to rise above our amnesia. When God communicates to us, we break out of the vicious circle of subjectivity that poor President Obama illustrates above. We can relinquish the devastating slavery of self-godhood once the one, true God has revealed Himself.

Once we get this simple, unavoidable axiom on the table, we can be reconciled to Him through what He has done for humanity in Jesus Christ. Sadly, our great barrier to reality is that we are at enmity with God, as I discussed earlier in this series.

Yet in His Word to humanity, God tells us who He is, how He created everything, why humanity is in turmoil, and why there is hope in Him. Nothing in the Bible is a contradiction of logic. This is the key. Honest atheists and those of other religions should be able to admit this. A universe spoken into existence in six days? If God is who He says He is, of course! A global flood to destroy a decayed, rebellious humanity while 8 people and some of all the animals survive on a big boat? Why not?

A talking donkey? Child’s play for the God who created everything.

Sun standing still for a while? Yes. God is who He says He is.

Atheism? Absolutely indefensible. That’s not an insult to anyone’s intelligence. That’s our shared reality.

We Are Who God Says We Are

According to God’s Word, we are His special creation – sharing with Him in our sentience, creative ability, and in our morality. Our right and wrong is generally universal, though may be seriously distorted in certain cultures. Our knowledge and assumptions about the past, present, and future are based on a belief in God. Yes, even atheistic parents, bus-drivers, and scientists are founded on an innate belief in God. This does not mean that they make a conscious acknowledgment of it, as they suppress the truth in unrighteousness; but through gracious interaction we can help people to recognize the reality they are bound to for eternity. Unfortunately, the internet is a terrible place to find gracious interaction. I’m fairly tremulous about hitting the “publish” key on this post, actually…

We do not create ourselves, we only live within the cosmos as God has determined things to be.

That is the Christian foundation and worldview. From this point we argue the biblical record and gospel.

Thanks for reading,

-Justin

P.S. A related post from Apologia Radio: http://www.apologiaradio.com/?p=445

Categories: Foundations of ItC blog, Humankind in Distress, The Message of the Bible, Understanding the Culture | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Why is Christianity Ultra-Divided? (Worldview pt. 2)

Big Tent

Out of all the people who are counted in the big Christian family – over 2 billion alive today – the variation in beliefs is incredibly, depressingly broad. From Rome to the East, Southern Bible belt Baptists, Mormons, Pentecostals and Presbyterians, wily Lutherans and Seventh Day Adventists, everyone is counted in when it comes to the umbrella label “Christian.”

And this is one of the greatest scandals I can think of – for it is in the writing of the Apostles that we see Jesus praying for the unity of His people (John 17), and Paul exhorting the Church to be all of one mind, speaking the same thing (1 Cor. 1). How could it be that there is so much disagreement as to what Christianity actually is and teaches?

Broken Body

The short answer is that much of what is called Christianity is made up of aberrations of the true Church. Many of the denominations in the world right now are Christian in name only, bandying about the flag of Christ with no earthly idea what they are doing.

Shattered Body?

Shattered Body?

The fallacy we can all fall into is concluding that since there are so many different groups claiming Christianity, that therefore there is none which is true. Muslims go for this conclusion, while Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses thrive on the visible division between churches. Yet if we are honest, none of this logically excludes the possibility that there is a church that represents the biblical formula, and which is the best visible representative on earth of Christ’s ancient promise that “the gates of hell would not prevail against” His Church.

Unity where God’s Word is Faithfully Represented

The Church is created by the Word of God (Acts 2:39, 47); is made up of individuals who have repented from sinful self-autonomy, idolatry, wicked lifestyles, and gross unbelief (1 Cor. 6:9-11); and who gather visibly to hear God’s Word proclaimed, celebrating the sacraments of baptism and the communion supper (Matt. 20:19-20; 1 Cor. 11:23-26). Anywhere in which these elements are gathered (born-again Christians who are baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of sins, led by officers of the Church as instituted by the New Testament instructions, hearing God’s Word, sharing in His body and blood at the communion table, and confessing the orthodox gospel to the world at large), we have the Church.

Over time, the Church has been more or less visible according to the degree of heterodoxy that has entered into official, hierarchical teachings. The ecumenical Church of the first 10 centuries after Christ was forever shattered by the East-West split in 1054, and so has never risen again. Since that time, and then with the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century, visible unity in Christianity has been elusive at best.

When Churches Teach What is Contrary to the Gospel

Although a physical church parish may have within it true Christians (those who are really born from the Spirit of God, justified in His sight through faith alone in Christ alone), the leadership and teaching ministry may stray far from the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and so imperil the visibility of that local church body.

The sacraments are only one element of the true Church (Rome and the East have the two biblical sacraments [plus additional sacraments by tradition and not Scripture], but have added to the Gospel in such a way as to bury it), while simply teaching the Bible without baptism and the Lord’s supper obscures the visibility of the Church as well (Salvation Army and others).

Any addition or subtraction from the core of what constitutes the Church puts that congregation/parish in jeopardy of no longer being part of Christ’s visible body. The form of Christianity may endure, and the true sheep of Christ may be present, but the unity of the faith is imperiled and destroyed by these amalgamations.

No Amount of Error in the Teachings of Men Can Negate the Christian Worldview

I have written this post to lay the groundwork for my coming posts on Christian worldview. Because so often error and hypocrisy in the churches and denominations of Christianity are held forth as proof positive that we are a false religion, I want to pre-empt that fallacious charge.

My long series on Christian hypocrisy from last year addresses many different angles of this same issue – please search the “Christian hypocrisy” tag on the right side to read those posts.

No matter how much junk is piled onto the Church of Jesus Christ, no matter how much error in teaching and living, no matter how many denominations, these things do not negate the fact that we have the one, true religion and worldview.

So many under the Christian umbrella are laboring in a false doctrine and worldview, not because Christianity is false, but because they have not believed Christian doctrine – rather they have followed a deviant path and retained the Christian label.

I would never have had to have defended Christianity in this manner just a few hundred years ago, but today modernism and post-modernism have wrought destruction on the thinking of Western humanity. We assume that truth is either impossible to know for certain, or that there is no universal truth.

Yet when the all-knowing, all-powerful God speaks, He is able to communicate Himself in such a way that we can know for certain that He has spoken, and so that we may know for certain the things He means for us to know.

Christianity is the Location of Ultimate, World-Framing Truth

So then the object of the Christian is to know God’s Word contained in the Holy Bible; the revelation of the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. Our mission is to then believe the things revealed therein, and to express these truths to all of humanity so they might be reconciled with God (1 Cor. 5).

We are supposed to be equipped with knowledge so that we can answer any objector – in fact, Jesus said “I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist” (Luke 21:15 NKJV).

Do we believe that?

With over 80% of kids of Christian parents leaving the faith once they go to college, something has become seriously detached in American/Western Christianity. As our culture dies, we still have the opportunity to disciple and train the next generation. Let’s be busy learning God’s Word and will, and training people in the consistency and beauty of the Christian worldview.

Thanks for reading,

-Justin

Categories: Foundations of ItC blog, Meaning Woven into Nature, The Message of the Bible, Understanding the Culture | Tags: , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Christianity as the True Worldview pt. 1

Allow me to Defend Christianity

Many times I hear folks dismiss the Bible as an accurate record of history because the Old Testament stories are too far-fetched. What rational person in 2013 believes that God created this entire universe in six days?

For one, I do. I believe that Genesis is all true, very true. I believe a donkey talked in the book of Numbers. I believe Moses really wrote the body of the first five books of the Bible, and that the sun stood still while Joshua led the Israelites into battle, and on and on. And my I.Q. is well over 100 – I’ve been tested a number of times since a boy.

What gives? I was a biology major for my first 2 1/2 years in college, taking plenty of chemistry, genetics, evolutionary theory, and math. I have a degree in English and creative writing, and I have an extensive library in my home. I’m working through a Master’s degree in Theology. I’ve traveled much more than the average person, and I understand at least three languages on a functional level, with reading comprehension in more.

What’s up with me? Many atheists tend to get huffy and rude, making light of anyone who believes in an inerrant Bible (and I can understand why – 9/10 Christians in the West seem to be about as able to argue their beliefs as an elephant is able to compose a symphony, leaving themselves wide-open to ridicule and scorn).

Yet there are many of us who are nobody’s fool. I believe in the full inspiration of every word of the Bible – nothing false or incorrect, and I am happy to argue for it.

Simple but not Easy

Being smart about consistencyyour faith does not mean being complicated. The simple fact is that without God we cannot know anything. The Christian worldview is the only way of looking at our world that is fully consistent. That is your mark of truth. Ultimate truth.

That doesn’t mean people will agree or recognize the consistency of the Christian worldview. There are major obstacles in the way:

  1. Every person conceived is fallen in the sin of Adam and Eve, and therefore their rationality is skewed. We can’t think straight. We won’t think straight, for as we do, our knowledge leads us right to the God against whom we have sinned. The Bible tells us that no one (outside of the work of the Holy Spirit) seeks for God, no not one. This means that every form of worldview that does not start and conclude with the God of the Bible is a demonstration of futile rebellion. We strive to escape the sovereignty of the God we all know, and our religions, philosophies, and educations are our main tools to do so.
  2. Christians are poorly equipped and educated. Many times I float around the internet looking at how Christians are arguing for the faith. It is a miracle anyone is a Christian who has ever seen the internet. The majority of the Christian voice out here is totally silly – plagued with straw-man arguments, baseless assertions, logical fallacies, and worse. This is not a failure of Christianity to be able to stand as the consistent explanation of all things – it is a failure of her adherents to know what they believe and why they believe it.
  3. Most of the Western world’s Christianity is a misrepresentation of the faith and thinking of the historical church. As I often do, I lay the lion’s share of the blame squarely on the shoulders of the anti-intellectual carnival barkers passing for pastors and theologians. Men and women within the church are far more destructive to the Christian message than anyone outside of it: Ed Young Jr. the 50+ screecher trying so hard to be 25, Joyce Meyer, T.D. Jakes, Benny Hinn, Peter Lumpkins, Brian McLaren, Rob Bell, Ergun Caner and on and on it goes. We are absolutely outshouted by heresy, idiocy, prosperity hawking, and general provincialism. It’s no wonder we’re a joke to so many.

And there are even more obstacles. Christian truth is generally buried beneath a mountain of cultural trash in the church. Yet by God’s grace, there are many of us who still stand. We don’t have all points agreement on all things, but the best of Presbyterianism, Lutheranism, and Baptist Protestantism are still producing women and men who know how to defend the faith and worldview of Christ’s religion.

Next time I post, I’ll delve into the arguments for the Christian worldview. Keep in mind, I’m not a philosopher by trade; there are many others who do a better, more thorough job of defending Christianity. Yet as I do my best to explain our religion in all its glory, I provide another committed voice to the equation, showing that the words of Jesus are ever true: “…I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it…” (Matt. 16:18b).

Until next time,

-Justin

Categories: Comparative Religions, Foundations of ItC blog, The Message of the Bible | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Feelings are not God

Piper says it all right here: to us Western thinkers.

Samuel at Gilgal

Finally AliveJohn Piper:

“My feelings are not God. God is God. My feelings do not define truth. God’s word defines truth. My feelings are echoes and responses to what my mind perceives. And sometimes – many times – my feelings are out of sync with the truth. When that happens – and it happens every day in some measure – I try not to bend the truth to justify my imperfect feelings, but rather, I plead with God: Purify my perceptions of your truth and transform my feelings so that they are in sync with the truth.” (Finally Alive: What Happens When We Are Born Again?)

View original post

Categories: Humankind in Distress, The Message of the Bible | Tags: , , , , | 13 Comments

Quotes from Charles Spurgeon on Affections and Idols

Charles SpurgeonPastor Spurgeon had a gift for clarity – he wielded the surgeon’s knife of biblical conviction, and yet gently healed the souls of those wounded by sin and Satan. Here Spurgeon addresses people like you and me: materialistic, tending to accumulate clutter and expensive stuff. What do you say, brother Charles, to the idea of having lots and lots of stuff in our lives?

Well, brother, well, sister, remember that where your treasure is your heart will go,
and if that treasure be taken away your heart must ache.

Right, and what else?

The more objects you set your heart upon, the more thorns there are to tear your
peace of mind to shreds.

So then eBay is a graveyard for Christian affections?

Those things which we allow to take the chief place in our bosoms have the most
power to give us grief.

Yes. What is the remedy?

We cannot too often turn our thoughts heavenward, for this is one of the great cures
for worldliness. The way to liberate our souls from the bonds that tie us to earth is to
strengthen the cords that bind us to heaven. You will think less of this poor little
globe when you think more of the world to come.

And how then does our Lord Jesus think of our affections being tied up with all these things?

The Lord Jesus Christ, of whom I now speak, is very jealous of your love, O believer.
Did he not choose you? He cannot bear that you should choose another. Did he not
buy you with his own blood? He cannot endure that you should think you are your
own, or that you belong to this world. He loved you with such a love that he could not
stop in heaven without you; he would sooner die than that you should perish; he
stripped himself to nakedness that he might clothe you with beauty; he bowed his
face to shame and spitting that he might lift you up to honour and glory, and he
cannot endure that you should love the world, and the things of the world.

His love is…
strong as death towards you, and therefore will be cruel as the grave. He will be as a
cruel one towards you if you do not love him with a perfect heart. He will take away
that husband; he will smite that child; he will bring you from riches to poverty, from
health to sickness, even to the gates of the grave, because he loves you so much that
he cannot endure that anything should stand between your heart’s love and him. Be
careful, Christians, you that are married to Christ; remember, you are married to a
jealous husband…

Strong medicine for a Monday morning.

Thanks for reading,

-Adam

Categories: Dead Guys, The Message of the Bible | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Plaid Fedoras and Liberty for All – Come Visit my New Blog

Interpreting the Cosmos is a place for all kinds of posts ranging from Poems about Mars all the way to commentary on false Messiahs. I just kind of let loose here, offering my Christian worldview interpretation of all things in our world and above. It’s been a great project, very fun, and I hope to continue it for many years.

I am a writer by trade, which means sometimes I wear plaid fedoras and eat quinoa while tweeting about it, sometimes I take long walks and think about how every blade of grass was put there for our enjoyment… and so I’m a joyful person.

And that joy springs from Christian theology. In fact, you could say that Christian theology equals human liberty. All the ills of the human race are traceable to a lack of Christian theology, and any good on earth can only be explained through Christian theology (the pouring out of the grace of the God who reveals Himself in the Bible). I had to start a blog where I could exult publicly in Christian theology; where I could promote the honoring and loving of God, where then I could promote human liberty.

I’m asking you to come and visit my second home, the Citizen of New Jerusalem. If you enjoy the content, please subscribe (on the right side of the blog), and make comments to add to the rejoicing we have in Christ Jesus.

newjer_01-1

I’m not a good marketer, and I’m not savvy with the way of the interwebs, so I’m not commanding a big audience through these blogs – but for those of you who read and encourage me to keep writing, thank you. I hope I have been able to bless you in some way.

Here are some sample posts from Citizen of New Jerusalem:

A piece I wrote to help Christians see how silly living in guilt really is.

My Tuesday posts from Athanasius are a gold mine of ancient Christian wisdom.

My Friday posts focus on fulfilled prophesy in the Bible.

Here’s a prayer we can all pray together.

If Interpreting the Cosmos is “everything outside the Bible interpreted by it,” then Citizen of New Jerusalem is “everything inside the Bible interpreted for the cause of human liberty.”

Come and visit me at the Citizen of New Jerusalem, and bless the Lord, He is good!

Thanks for reading,

-Justin

Categories: Personal Stuff, The Arts, The Message of the Bible | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Top 10 Reasons Our Kids Leave Church

I was one of these kids, and my siblings as well. I personally wish nothing but extinction upon the “cool, relevant” American entertainment church.

Marc5Solas

Screen Shot 2013-02-08 at 9.03.31 AM

We all know them, the kids who were raised in church. They were stars of the youth group. They maybe even sang in the praise band or led worship. And then… they graduate from High School and they leave church. What happened?

It seems to happen so often that I wanted to do some digging; To talk to these kids and get some honest answers. I work in a major college town with a large number of 20-somethings. Nearly all of them were raised in very typical evangelical churches. Nearly all of them have left the church with no intention of returning. I spend a lot of time with them and it takes very little to get them to vent, and I’m happy to listen. So, after lots of hours spent in coffee shops and after buying a few lunches, here are the most common thoughts taken from dozens of…

View original post 1,779 more words

Categories: Interpreting Christian Hypocrisy, Understanding the Culture | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

World-Shaking Evils and the Entertainment-Driven Church

Some ugly facts, some pointing of fingers, some suggested solutions:

As an example of why American Christians probably ought to sober up and look outside ourselves (brace yourself)… perhaps second only to child exploitation in horrific, ugly, beyond-words evil, the mass rape of women is often used as a means of demoralizing the enemy in modern war. See here for an example from the Bosnian-Serbian conflict in the 1990’s where of an estimated 35,000 rapes, only 40 have been prosecuted in a court of law. There is no way around this most dark of human tendencies: war makes way for men to carry out the evil fantasies of their inner-teenager.

What do we do with this reality? You and I cannot physically relocate to central Europe or Congo to protect the women and children. We don’t have the power to lock up and/or execute the millions of potential rapists in war-heavy lands.

Yet there are a few things we can all do to expose this wicked darkness, and I think my own points here will be slightly different than your average social-justice suggestions.

  • Christian churches need to repent of easy-believism, entertainment driven Sunday morning shows, and anything unbiblical and man-centered in doctrine.

That’s right. All of the problems in the world, including the very worst of them, stem from Christian people neglecting the world-saving truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It should look like this:

1) the Church stays on task, meaning we are going into all the nations preaching the gospel, baptizing people in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and teaching them to observe all things that Jesus commanded.

2) the culture of every nation is transformed by the pervasive work of the Holy Spirit in saving many people for the glory of Christ, transforming many people in all different stations in life.

3) the attitudes and desires of the nations change according to the desire to be like Christ – to love God first and to love your neighbor as yourself.

4) wars are no longer necessary, and rape becomes a shameful memory. Women and children are treasured, protected, and loved with the love of Christ through His Church.

Surface-level Christianity leaves billions of people without hope, while we decide how big of an entertainment screen to install in our suburban spaceship… I mean, “church.”

EHWC

Come fly away to Six Flags over Jesus-land!

The distraction of the Christian people in the world is the greatest enemy of women and children. While our mega-celebrity pastors are busy entertaining rich American people on their way to hell, poor, defenselessness women and children around the world are being raped and killed by Christ-less men. We here in American, rich churches have the information and resources to evangelize the world… but are much more comfortable playing with ourselves. Oh sure, there are the token missions trips we take, but most of that is laden with false, man-centered theology anyways. They are ultimately useless without the centrality of the liberating gospel of the forgiveness of sins by grace alone, through faith alone in Jesus alone.

  • For those who are Christian, take the words of Jesus literally, and seriously.

He is the light of the world. We are not. Preach Him. He is the world-changer, not us!

He is the Good Shepherd. Bring people to Him – not ourselves.

He is the way, the truth, and the life: make people disciples of Him. These believers should be passionate about making Him known, and by nature of our regeneration, speaking up in the public square for justice and peace among all people.

Through faith in Jesus, know that your life is His, and that when you die, you will be raised again on the last day, unto eternal life with Him. Knowing and believing this fuels the self-sacrificing life of the Christian.

  • Read the stories of the martyrs. Be inspired to, if necessary, die while spreading the true gospel.
  • Be free of the love of this world system. Our banner is not first of all the U.S. Constitution, or capitalism, or military might. It is meekness, care for the poor, and surrounding all of it, the preaching of Christ and Him crucified.
  • Stop supporting the pornography industry. 

I am a hypocrite, for I am an AT&T customer, and they are one of the world’s largest suppliers of pornography (I need to change this). This means that AT&T is one of the world’s largest enablers of exploitation of the weak and defenseless. The porn industry feeds on broken people, and it feeds the fires of lust – the very fires which flame out in rape and torture of the world’s impoverished women. Before you click on porn, make sure you are consciously willing to enable rape and torture through financially feeding the monstrous darkness of men’s hearts.

On the flip-side, the porn addict needs more gospel, not behavior modification. Jesus died to save pornographers and their customers.

Disconnect the demand for porn, and you disconnect the greatest tool of the demonic power of sexual violence in the world.

  • I note Exodus Cry as one of the most hopeful looking anti-sex-slavery organizations. Check them out!
  • Pray for the return of Christ.

There is one event which promises the end of earthly human misery: the Day of our Lord… when He returns He will judge the living and the dead, and put an end to injustices everywhere.

  • Be willing to go to the worst places on earth to bring the light of the gospel. Rapists in the armies of the world need Christ, and will never stop raping until His power and forgiveness reaches them.
  • Raise awareness in Congress, and in your social media interactions. Speak up to expose the unfruitful works of darkness. Whether or not we can see the effects of our efforts, we must make noise against war and rape as a tool of war.

Our intelligence agencies feed weapons to many war zones, while doing little to nothing to protect innocent life in the path of the many evil men we are arming. In all of our wealth, we have the power to do good, and have chosen to instead have more and more war in every corner of the earth. Why do Republicans insist on $700 billion+ Pentagon budgets?

While our American military has done good things, and is necessary; in general today we are feeding the furnace of world violence, and need to reign in our use of force. At the least, Christians should withdraw our political support of war candidates, and influence our representatives to scale down our war machine.

There is only one hope, one cure for a world in darkness: Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. All the earth needs to hear His gospel. Without Him, without the preaching of Him and baptizing in His name, violence can only grow and darken throughout the world.

Come alive to your Lord, dear Christian, and let us make Him known in all the earth. When you see horrific things happening, respond with gospel preaching and the support of missionaries – and respond by meeting material needs. Don’t think the government will do your giving for you, let alone the true compassion that has to be behind charity.

Let us repent of our own sinful selfishness, and confess our sins to the Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s be serious minded Christians – it’s a serious world.

Thanks for reading,

-Justin

Categories: Interpreting Christian Hypocrisy, Understanding the Culture | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Wretched TV Video Clip: Christianity Responsible for War and Violence?

Good wrap-up to our posts on the Crusades.

Happy interpreting!

-Justin

Categories: Interpreting Christian Hypocrisy, The Message of the Bible | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.