9/28/11

180 The Movie

 Great documentary by Ray Comfort. Please post this on your facebook and tell all your friends.

9/22/11

Rich Guys Rule

And That's the Way It Is
By: Jonathan Harris

If you're part of my audience you no doubt get tired of all the griping that goes on these days about the rich paying "their fair share." We conservatives don't like it when the rich are demonized simply because we know the importance of their contribution. As Sean Hannity often says, "I never got a job from a poor person." We don't see anything wrong with being rich, and yes, we all probably secretly want to be rich ourselves (and so do the liberals who speak out against it). At the same time we resent rich "elites" who try to micromanage our lives with over-regulation, etc. It's not the wealth of the controlling class that bothers us though---it's the control. So all that to say, we don't have a problem with being well-off. But how do we convey our feeling to those who do have a problem with it? How do we argue our point against the tirade of socialistic nonsense echoing from the halls of our most prestigious academic institutions? Simple!

Proverbs 22:7 says, "The rich rule over the poor, And the borrower becomes the lender's slave." In other words, as sure as it is that the borrower is slave (i.e. has his labor owned by) to the lender (the rich guy who gave him the money), the rich in a society will always rule over the poor. Proverbs, as most of you know, is a book about general truths in which there will sometimes be exceptions. In this case however, I can't think of one. In every governmental structure this world has ever known, one truth remains---the rich always rule over the poor. It's true in capitalism, it's true in communism. It's true in constitutional monarchies, it's true in oligarchies. It was just as true during the French Revolution as it was during the Bolshevik takeover. Think about it! Money may not always mean control, but control always means money. The booshwazee, when in power, always become the aristocracy! There is no such thing as a culture in which those in control are not the well-off. The question then becomes not one of, "In which culture can everyone have equal control?" but rather, "In which culture can the poor and middle classes be protected the most from tyrannical abuses from the upper class?" This form of government happens to be a republic in which there is freedom---the very system the liberals try to argue against. So the next time your liberal friend complains about the evil rich capitalists, ask him this question, "Give me an example of a society in which the rich didn't control?" The grass is always greener when it's AstroTurf in the mind of a dreamer. Let's get the dreamers to wake up!

9/15/11

Depression Recovery According to the Bible

A Review
By: Jonathan Harris

In Dr. Steven Waterhouse's booklet Depression Recovery According to the Bible, the topic of depression is approached in a nouthetic yet realistic way. I say "yet realistic" not to demean nouthetic counseling of which I am a subscriber, but to distance Waterhouse from those in the nouthetic world who down play medical problems as contributors to spiritual conditions. Waterhouse makes it clear that there are a variety of reasons for depression, and a variety of solutions. He divides the causes of depression into three separate categories which constitute 19 possibilities. The first category has to do with depression caused by sin. The second category concerns the non-sinful (circumstantial) causes. The third category is a subset of the second, but deals more with personal circumstances (medical and wrong theology) rather than social causes.

All in all I found the booklet to be helpful in diagnosing a problem---however it may not be sufficient in dealing with that problem in a meaningful way. I don't believe the work was ever intended to zone in on specific problems in a nuanced way, so I'm not complaining. What the book attempts to do it does. I would recommend it.

I think the main thing I learned from it---mainly because I tend to be a perfectionist---is learning that while it is good to aim for an impossible dream, it is not the achievement of the dream that pleases God, but rather the intention behind it. God commends David as a man after His own heart, yet David's goal to restore the temple was never met. God's response is recorded in 2 Chron. 7:8. "But the LORD said to my father David, 'Because it was in your heart to build a house for My name, you did well that it was in your heart.'" It is not the achievement of perfection that God takes pleasure in, it is the honest attempt to obey His commandments.

To view the free e-book click here.

9/13/11

Don't Let the Terrorists Win

Looking Back On 9-11's 10th Anniversary
By: Jonathan Harris

It's been 10 years since the most nation changing event in recent American history. All Americans remember where they were and what they were doing during the events of 9-11. We as a people have come far in the past 10 years---farther than the terrorists who perpetuated the events ever could have hoped. The goal of terrorism has always been to control by fear, and that's just what they've done.

We find ourselves in a timid fearful state. Don't believe me? How often do you go through checkpoints at airports and ballgames, etc. Without even thinking about it? It's considered normal now. We all get to the airport an hour early. Is this not a cultural fear? You would think that such a fear would drive a resolve against our enemies. Initially it did. Two wars were started (actually one war with two fronts), Americans displays their flags proudly, volunteerism and religious involvement rose considerably. 10 years later what's the nature of the landscape? A populace that has last sight of the purpose behind our war with orthodox Islam, a media that exalts Islam as a "peaceful religion" and Christianity as dangerous, even homeland security has stated that Tea Party members and Iraq war vets could be potential terrorists. Our culture has been intimidated and subsequently neutered.

As Christians we honor the fallen because It's our duty and our sacred pledge. Sacrifice has a special meaning to us because of the sacrifice of Christ who gave himself for our salvation. We remember because of the example he gave to us during Holy communion. We value history because of the monuments of Moses. It is our duty, even amidst a culture of fear, folly, and forgetfulness, to remain brave, strong, and always remember the warning we were given 10 years ago. We must go about our daily activities without fear. We must be controlled by our trust in God. And we must not back down from the politically correct notion that our enemies are peaceful. Only then will we honor the fallen of a decade ago.

9/9/11

Does Government Shape Morality?

A Two Lane Highway 
By: Jonathan Harris

My experience with evangelical Christianity has been wide and varied. From Jerry Falwell to John MacArthur, I've seen how each orthodox protestant group reacts to government. Not too long ago I had the privilege of attending a major conference at a premier reformed seminary. After one of the sessions on governmental power---in which the speaker assured his audience that there really was no involvement the church should have in governmental affairs---an attendee approached the speaker and assured in him in no uncertain terms that it was the influence of the pastor of the mega church at which the conference was held that had convinced him not to vote. He then went on to say how he encouraged others not to vote, and how it wasn't the Christian's responsibility to be involved in the affairs of the secular world. What was it being advocated by this flagship church that produced such a drastic reaction? Spending a little more time at the church and associated seminary I came across a professor who said very strongly that evangelical's obsession with influence was driving her to compromise, and furthermore, that her involvement in political campaigns did nothing good. Overarching the discussion was the assumed premise that the kingdom of God is really only concerned with individual salvation.

On the flip side of things, I attended another flagship church/campus of the more Arminian variety and found the exact opposite. The obsession with government affairs seemed to permeate the faculty to such an extant that I would have to say compromises were made. The acceptance of other religious groups on the grounds that they were pro-life or pro-traditional marriage was sickening. There was more concern about political institutions than there was regarding individual holiness.

So what's the deal? Is it important for Christians or the church to get involved? My answer is a simple "Yes." If "all authority has been given to Christ" it is obvious that every institution must be controlled by Him. If government has the power to "punish evil" and "promote good" then where does this standard come from if it's not Christian's providing it? But here's another question, "Is it productive to be involved in government?" This is where I want to camp.

The assertion is made by the former group in this post that "It's a waste of time to get involved in politics. It doesn't change anything anyway." They see the government as having no influence on individual morality. The latter group sees it as everything. If we just have the right president then everything will turn around. The fundamental disagreement is a simple one. One sees cultural change as coming from the bottom, the other from the top. Which one is correct?

In my estimation both are. Which is why both sides should work together and meet in the middle. Prov. 28:15 says, "Like a roaring lion and a rushing bear Is a wicked ruler over a poor people." Obviously God does have a preference in who rules, wouldn't you say? Ecclesiastes alludes to a certain order God has put in place for a government organization. "There is an evil I have seen under the sun, the sort of error that arises from a ruler: Fools are put in many high positions, while the rich occupy the low ones. I have seen slaves on horseback, while princes go on foot like slaves." A fool is someone who has "said in his heart there is no God." It is someone who does not have the "fear of the Lord." Elsewhere I have established that it is not only the atheist, but the theist who does not believe in the Christian God that gets put into this category. Therefore, logically God wants Christians in positions of power. It's only natural! But what effect does this have on the populace? The answer is in Proverbs 29. "When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, But when a wicked man rules, people groan." There is an effect the government has. This is born out in the history of Israel. We see that every time a good king emerged, the people would follow his example (In fact, that's what it means to be a leader. It means you must have followers). Every time there was a bad king the inverse happened. So does this only mean that whoever is in charge will set the moral standard? No! There becomes a disconnect when those in the front have leadership positions but don't act like leaders. Sometimes there will be an elected official who does not illicit the respect of his constituents. In this case, he or she has the title of "leader" without the actual respect that ought to go with it. People will only follow those whom they respect. This is why in one sense it shouldn't matter who's ruling. If people respect the Word of God over government they will still remain moral no matter what echoes from the halls of congress. This doesn't mean we give up though. It is a both/and not an either/or. Government does shape morality, but only because people let themselves become shaped. So if our concern is individual morality we should work toward both fronts.

One final thing I'd like to get people to think about is the history of the United States. Look what's happened in the last twenty years regarding the acceptance of homosexuality. Look how it's skyrocketed in states where the government has put its stamp of approval on the practice. What we find is that a small minority is successfully persuading a larger majority to accept them through the force of government. If we go back to the 1800s we see that secession was commonly viewed as a viable option in order to secure individual liberty and local sovereignty. Through government force of arms however, most people today think its treasonous. How about social security? It use to be that people took personal responsibility for their retirement. However, now it's expected. The same thing has happened with public education. It's assumed that children deserve it. Can you now see how the government has shaped morality over time? This is why Christians must stay involved.We need to be salt and light on a global scale. One grain does as little as does one ray of light. But both are equally required to link with other grains and rays and in so doing have an effect.

9/1/11

Presuppositional Apologetics Sunday School Class

Part 1 - Introduction mp3
Part 2 - Overview of Classical and Evidential Apologetics mp3
Part 3 - Overview of Presuppositional Apologetics mp3
Part 4 - Circular Arguments and the Nonbeliever's Ultimate Authority mp3
Part 5 - Believer's Ultimate Authority and the Myth of Neutrality mp3
Part 6 - The Preconditions of Intelligibility & The Don't Answer, Answer Method mp3
Part 7 - Tactics in Apologetics & The Problem of Evil mp3
Part 8 - Review & The Problem of Evil mp3
Part 9 - Logical Fallacies mp3


Handouts

Introduction

Ultimate Authority
The Myth of Neutrality
The Preconditions of Intelligibility
The Transcendental Argument
The Problem of Evil
Logical Fallacies

A Crash Course in Presuppositional Apologetics

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