Archive for the ‘Christian Worldview’ Category
I love history books. I enjoy reading of many different time periods and biographies. I am currently reading several different history books all at once. One is on an escape from a POW camp during the Vietnam War. The second is on World War II from the eastern front between the Germans and the Soviets. The third is a book on the Civil War and reconstruction. Having grown up in South Carolina, I have always heard much about the Civil War (or the second war of independence here in the South). We Southerners have been told since 1865 that we were wrong, the North was right, and the South suffered for her transgressions of slavery. To this day, many believe that the entire Civil War was fought over the issue of slavery alone. Popular media casts the North as the valiant warriors who have come to set the African slaves free. Abraham Lincoln is portrayed as the great emancipator of the slaves and the issue of slavery takes the cake when it comes to the Civil War.
There is no doubt that slavery was an issue with regard to the South. I would also agree that the institution of slavery is best gone. I do think that the North’s presentation of slavery is at times a bit harsh. In comparison to the way slaves in Cuba and Brazil were treated, the South was hardly as evil. There was wicked abuse of slaves but there was also wicked abuse of freed slaves in the North. The Bible itself does not even ban slavery but sets guidelines for it. And further, if you reject slavery outright then you must reject the entire epistle of Philemon. While slavery was not based on race in the Bible, slavery was there. Jews were even slaves of Jews. The most common term Paul the Apostle uses for himself is “a slave of Christ Jesus” (see Romans 1:1; Galatians 1:10). Most English translations avoid translating the Greek term as “slave” because of the practice of racial slavery in the South. Only the Holman Standard Version translates the Greek term properly though the ESV puts the correct term as a footnote.
In every major nation where slavery existed such as in Great Britain, the practice ended peacefully. William Wilberforce, for example, used the Bible to preach against the practice of slavery. He preached correctly against racism. Had the American abolitionist movement in the United States preached against racism, they would have done more good. Racism existed in both the North and the South both before the Civil War and long after. The Civil War ended slavery but it only created more hatred of Africans by the whites. It did not end the harsh reality of racism which has still done more harm than slavery has ever done. The liberal churches in the North preached against slavery. The conservative churches in the South preached that slavery was allowed by Scripture (Ephesians 6:5-9) though the South failed to correct the harsh treatment by masters over their slaves. The North rejected the Bible’s teaching on slavery altogether. The South embraced it only in part. Both compromised the Word of God and both were judged for it. The great Presbyterian theologian of the era, R.L. Dabney, now often accused of being a racist for his support of the Confederacy until his death, believed that God was judging both the North for her sins and the South for her sins. Dabney wrote that the South was being judged by God for not following completely through on what He has said in His Word regarding master’s treatment of their slaves. Dabney believed that slaves should be treated with respect, with honor, and should be allowed to be given their freedom if possible just as in the Bible.
The unfortunate results of the Civil War in the United States are still with us today. Living in the South, I know first hand the results. I live just a few miles from where General Sherman and his troops camped out during their campaign through the South. Sherman looted, his men raped women, and they indulged on every form of sin you can imagine for men running wild through the South. The city of Savannah, Georgia was saved only when the mayor “wisely” brought out prostitutes for Sherman’s men. Many other cities such as Atlanta and Columbia were burned and destroyed. Many of the homes had no men in them at all. Only women and children remained but Sherman (and Lincoln behind him) believed that the South needed to pay for her crimes against the Union. Especially South Carolina.
The results of the Civil War that are unfortunate are:
- A destructive end to slavery rather than peaceful resulting in the deaths of over 650,000 people.
- Millions of dollars in destruction mainly to the South.
- The deep resentment from Southerners toward the North, the Union, and former slaves resulting in the Jim Crow era laws of segregation.
- The liberal move of the Northern churches both before the Civil War and after only led to a demise of the gospel. The North remains the most liberal area of the United States and the South remains the most conservative. This was a gospel issue before the Civil War and after as well.
- The failure to preach against racism in both the North and South led to segregation in both areas long into the 20th century and remains intact in many ways today.
- The failure to preach against racism and looking to the federal government for answers resulted in the horror of reconstruction in the South with whites forced to give their land to blacks and resulted in groups such as the KKK rising to power. To this day, we have racist groups such as the KKK, the NAACP, and others who fail to preach the true problem of racism as a sin against God.
- The failure to see that sin was rampant in the North as well as the South. Both the USA and the CSA were guilty before God. Neither was in the right. Neither settled the issues of slavery correctly though the South tried by ending the sale of slaves from other nations in their Constitution.
- The Civil War resulted in a transformation in the United States that began in 1861 and especially when the War ended in 1865 with the massive increase in Federal Government and its powers. Before 1861, the American government was controlled by the people for the people. After the Civil War, the Government became the moral judge and begin to impose her will on the people of the Union especially in the South. The massive expansion of government that we see today in 2013 can be directly linked to 1861.
- The segregation of the churches continues in many ways to this day. The failure to address the issue of racism in regard to slavery was ignored by the North and South and to this day, white churches and black churches remain separated in many ways. Sadly, many black churches even preach “black liberation theology” or a social gospel instead of preaching the true gospel as a result of the Civil War.
- The Civil War produced the equally discriminations of forced minority hirings. Companies continue to receive government money who employ racial minorities which leads to companies hiring people for their color and not their qualifications. This reverse discrimination does not help but only creates more racism.
My post is not to say that the South was right. I don’t believe this to be true. Even Dabney saw the North’s victory as a sign from God that the South was being harshly punished by God. He didn’t believe the North was right or innocent but rather that the hand of God was against the South more. He saw the sovereignty of God involved with the Civil War. The South’s racial slavery was wrong. The practice of slavery was not. If we argue that slavery itself is wrong, we must argue against the Bible and this places the liberals in an upper hand for they can point to slavery and ask whether we are for or against it. I had a black pastor point-blank tell me that he rejected the epistles because of Paul’s endorsement of slavery. I don’t see Paul endorsing slavery but he sets guidelines for it. The South should have abided by those guidelines and I believe the practice of slavery would have ended peacefully and not violently with 650,000 dead and countless battles to be fought by blacks for years to come.
The Church of Jesus Christ is the greatest place on earth to demonstrate the end of racism. Can you imagine what the early church looked like with both slaves and masters serving Christ together? This is the case with the epistle of Philemon in which the slave Onesimus had run away from his master and had become a disciple of Jesus along the way. Paul wrote Philemon to tell him this and to return his runaway slave. Paul tells Philemon these powerful words in verses 15-16 (NKJV):
15 For perhaps he departed for a while for this purpose, that you might receive him forever, 16 no longer as a slave but more than a slave—a beloved brother, especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.
What if Southern masters had loved their slaves like this? What if both masters and slaves had been regenerated by the Spirit of God? This was Dabney’s view. The South was wrong to preach slavery as biblical while basing it on color. The Bible does not condemn slavery but it does condemn racism and the Southern church did not preach enough on this subject. The Civil War did not end this unbiblical practice of racism and no war ever will. It takes the gospel to break the chains of racism.
Here is an excellent article on what will come next following the American culture adopting same-sex “marriage” as normal. The Church is facing a time when we need to cry out to God for revival and to be faithful in preaching the gospel (Acts 1:8). This alone can transform our nation.
You can find the article here.
When it comes to cultural debates, we disciples of Christ must not forget that we are dealing with more than just a difference in opinion over an issue but with an entirely different world view. The disciple’s world view comes directly from the Bible. It is a biblical worldview. Our view of all of life flows from our relationship with the one true and living God. We obey Him because we acknowledge His absolute Lordship over all things (1 John 2:3-6). No matter what the issue may be, we view it from the perspective of the Bible. It doesn’t matter what the issue may be, we always begin with what does Scripture say about this issue or what guidelines do the Scriptures give us about this issue. Our primary focus is on the glory of God in all things (1 Corinthians 10:31). Our focus is on pleasing God and giving Him glory and honor in all things.
Paul the Apostle argued this way with the Corinthians. In 1 Corinthians Paul dealt with many various sins. Divisions. Sexual immorality. Lawsuits among brethren. Division over spiritual gifts and improper uses. The role of women in the fellowship. The abuse of the Lord’s Supper. Yet he seemed to always point back to the glory of God. What God said was what mattered. For instance, in 1 Corinthians 6 Paul deals with the issues involving sexual immorality (we humans are still the same are we not?). In 1 Corinthians 6:12 he quotes the Corinthians and then turns the quotes of the Corinthians around to show that our focus is not on self-pleasure but upon the Lord Jesus Christ and how we can please Him. He ends 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 by telling the Corinthians that disciples are temples of the Holy Spirit and he ends by telling us to glorify God in our bodies which are temples of God. The focus of Paul was clear: glorify God who alone is worthy of worship.
Cultural debates are difficult for the true disciple because we begin where unbelievers don’t and that is with the glory of God. We begin with this and not with self-pleasure, license for sinning, or the focus on what we desire or want. We begin with pleasing God and we remain committed to that principle throughout a civil debate. In all things the disciple of Christ begins the question with, “Does this glorify God or not?” and move from there. What has God said in His Word about this? What does our position do for the glory of Christ?
It is almost a given then that the disciple of Jesus must first deal with the non-Christian worldview that the unbeliever is expressing but don’t allow them to borrow from our worldview to prove their point. For instance, the whole idea of fairness or equality must be based on a biblical worldview. The unbeliever borrows from a Christian worldview to prove or disprove their point. We should not allow them to borrow our foundations while denying the Word of God on a given issue. The disciple should consistently question their foundation. On what right do you have to borrow from the Christian worldview while denying the Lordship of Christ over all things in your life? This frames the debate in a much different fashion. It points to the lostness of the unbeliever, that they are dead in their sins apart from the life of Christ (Ephesians 2:1-3) and it shows their ignorance of what Christ has said in His Word about cultural issues or at least principles of holiness.
Never get caught up in a debate where you are put on the defensive while the unbeliever borrows from your worldview. You can presume two things about all unbelievers. First, they know that God exists and that He is real but they want to suppress that knowledge because of their sin (Romans 1:18). Secondly, the unbeliever begins with a worldview that pleases self above God (Titus 1:15-16). The disciple begins with an opposite view with the glory of God reigning supreme and a worldview that seeks to glorify God completely.
I urge you to listen to the following mp3 from Gary DeMar. You can find the teaching here.
I have no doubt that the United States Supreme Court will rule in favor of same-sex marriage this week. I would be utterly shocked if the high court ruled against the issue. At the heart of the debate is Proposition 8 in which the measure was passed twice by the residents of the state of California to define marriage as only between a man and a woman. The Supreme Court will hear the case of whether this is unconstitutional. If the Supreme Court rules against Proposition 8 they will in essence abolish state bans on same-sex marriage or will overturn the 31 states who have written into their state constitutions that marriage shall be between a man and a woman. It would be a landmark win for the homosexual agenda and would almost overnight turn the United States into a nation that must permit same-sex marriage.
I believe the court will rule in favor of same-sex marriage for several reasons. First, we are under the judgment of God and according to Romans 1, homosexuality is one of the evidences of this judgment. How can God not judge the US with the millions of unborn that we have murdered? We tolerate violence in popular culture and we give approval to all forms of ungodliness. If you read Romans 1:18-32, you’ll no doubt know that we are there. Our culture is full of sin.
Secondly, the rise of acceptance of homosexuality has been nothing more than staggering. We have gone from the early 1990′s when homosexuality was tolerated but to be kept behind closed doors to full-blown acceptance and even viewing homosexuality as a better life style than heterosexuality. Lots of things have contributed to this acceptance including Hollywood and secular media to postmodernism and the idea that there are no absolutes, no boundaries to cross. Anything goes and YOU decide what is best for you but you must not push what is best for you upon others unless what is best is also deemed best by the culture. In this case, homosexuality is deemed a good thing by culture and so culture wins. The Supreme Court will listen to the culture and will ignore the Bible and thousands of years of civilization to establish a new “class.”
Thirdly, the failure of the Church to preach the gospel. The seeker church led to the emergent church and in turn has produced nothing but liberalism all over again. The true Church of Christ must stand and preach the gospel but the seeker church, with her eye on power and money, has produced nothing. Therefore, we reap what we sow and thus we are now reaping 30 years of seeker church methods and teachings. The result: sin accepted by the culture and by the compromising church.
What should true disciples of Christ do? I believe the answer lies in being a true disciple of Jesus. Titus 3:1-7 should be our text. We read:
Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. 3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. 4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
We must recognize that our world is under the power of Satan (2 Corinthians 4:4). Our battle is not with homosexuals or with liars or with thieves. Our battle is with spiritual forces at work in our world to corrupt people and keep them from Christ (Ephesians 6:12). Our enemy is not a certain group of sinners but is the father of lies himself (John 8:44). The world lies under the control of the enemy and people blindly follow his commands. By nature, all flesh is corrupt before God (Genesis 6:5) and we are children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3) apart from the grace of God (Ephesians 2:6).
Paul says in Titus 3:3 that we ourselves were once just as sinful as the people around us. We are saved from sin only by the grace of God (Ephesians 2:8-9). We are not saved because we chose to stop sinning. We are saved from sin and its power only by the power of the gospel (Romans 1:16). In fact, Titus 3:4 reminds us that it was God our Savior who saved us by His own mercy. We are now regenerated by the Spirit (John 3:3) because of the work of Christ (1 Corinthians 1:30) and not by our flesh. Sin is so powerful that it takes the supernatural power of God to break us and save us.
Is this not the sinful world around us? Our world is so sinful, so corrupt. Yet we too once were lost in this world. If you are a disciple of Jesus you can testify that you once were bound in your sins and without hope. You didn’t go seeking after Christ. He came seeking after you (1 John 4:10). It was the grace of God that intervened in our lives and this is why we are saved.
Our reaction then to this sinful culture should be to preach Christ. Christ is the hope. I don’t believe the answer lies in politics or in the Supreme Court or in the White House but in the gospel. The cure for the United States (and all nations) is the gospel. Our hope lies not in a leader or a group but in the gospel. The Church must preach the gospel to all sinners and we will see the glory of God as He saves sinners by His grace. Our battle is not with any one sin. Our battle is against Satan and thankfully he is a defeated foe (Hebrews 2:14-15). Let us preach this truth, that Jesus saves sinners and we will see a mighty revival in our world.