Thursday, December 2, 2010

Danger in a Virtual World

In modern society, people have access to many things their parents and grandparents would have never been able to comprehend. With progress come many of its advantages and disadvantages. Today, the quality of healthcare has improved, computers have helped many do their jobs more efficiently and quickly, and people have access to mobile phones that can send a text message across the globe in seconds. Along with progress are many new evils such as identity thief, cyber warfare, and computer viruses. In this day and age, online security is of paramount importance. However, people do need to take responsibility for protecting their own private information on the internet. Because online privacy is an important right, the U.S. government should back away from unnecessary monitoring of the internet and let the people be responsible for their private, personal information.
To start off, what needs to be defined is what constitutes legitimate reasons why government must regulate the internet and why they should not. The first reason is to protect America’s databases that are important for national security. According to David Lambrecht, journalist with the St. Louis Dispatch-Post, the Pentagon databases are attacked at least 250,000 times an hour, which sums up to six million attacks a day. These attackers range from computer hackers to foreign intelligence agencies from around the globe (A1). This is a matter of national security. The government needs to regulate their own networks because countries such as Iran, North Korea, Russia, or China could be attempting to access classified information. This is the reason why the government must take down sites such as wikileaks. The hosts of that site have betrayed America by putting classified information out in the open where foreign intelligence agencies and terrorist groups can access that information within a few clicks of a mouse. The government has the right and responsibility to regulate the internet when it comes to classified documents.
Another reason to regulate the internet is to fight against internet crimes. These include computer hackers, cyber-terrorists, and those who sell child pornography. Jaak Aaviksoo, Minister of Defense in Estonia, said concerning a cyber-terrorist attack in Estonia, “Taking into account the tensions around the relocation of the monument and the street riots that broke out afterwards, the people who were news-thirsty could not get access to online news. At the same time, the bank transactions that in Estonia to more than 90 percent are carried out via Internet were not possible”(29). These are real threats to society. Aaviksoo stated that “Most of the attacks were carried out against Estonian governmental websites and servers, but also against Estonian news portals, against two biggest banks in Estonia, and later all of the other commercial banks as well as several Internet service providers and telecoms”(29). These are things that a society is dependent on. News is transmitted online in modern day society and banks now do their business on the internet. If the internet is attacked, it can have a major impact on governments and economies of across the globe. The government should have regulation over the internet to make sure things like this do not happen.
There are also legitimate concerns about the government controlling the internet. When a government is given a little more control over something, it only wants more control. This is the case of what happened in countries such as Iran, China, and the former Soviet Union. Farnaz Fassibi, writer for the Wall Street Journal, said concerning Iran, “Tracking internet crimes—from political dissent to pornography—has been a priority of the regime” (A1)In countries such as Iran, they just don’t track cyber-terrorists or computer hackers, they track down those who do not agree with their government officials. If the U.S. does the same thing, it would be a clear violation of freedom of speech in the United States. Daniel Calingaert, writer for the Policy Review, stated that "It is increasingly focused on impeding the spread of domestically generated content that authoritarian regimes find objectionable, such as news about government incompetence or online discussions about abuses of power, and obstructing the organization of political opposition,internet censorship and surveillance are used first and foremost by authoritarian regimes to silence their domestic critics and to prevent the emergence of political alternatives."(67) Iran and China are examples of those who censor content that criticizes their imperfect government and other viewpoints. There has never existed a perfect and, unless mankind learns to not disagree, there will never be one. That is just a fact of reality.
Another reason not to censor the internet is for the purpose of privacy. There is a lot more information out in the open then one thinks. For example, a major data broker, ChoicePoint, sold personal information of many people who used their services. According to USA Today reporters Jon Swartz and Byron Acohido, the company “sold sensitive information for at least 166,000 people to a Nigerian con artist posing as a debt collector”(par.2) What this means is that people need to be responsible where they put their private information. Choices have consequences. Scams are prevalence in American society and the American people need to be on the defensive end making sure they are not being cheated out of their money. Keeping the public educated on these issues and keeping people accountable concerning their personal information will be the only ways that true privacy will work. Reid Goldsborough, writer for Teacher Librarian, writes “One rule of thumb is that you should feel free to say what you think, but you should also think before you say it. No matter how careful you are, it is unavoidable that some degree of personal privacy must be compromised in our increasingly interconnected and digitized society” (par.8). We have freedom of speech. We must use it wisely. The internet would not need much regulation if people can regulate themselves and parents keep an eye out on what their children view on the internet. When it comes to regulating the internet, one needs to practice what is called “self-regulation.” Joe Cannataci and Jeanne Bonnici, who were involved in research at Law and Information Technology Research Unit at Malta University, defines it as that a person who enforces the rules and laws himself (3). America’s citizens need to follow a set of rules. Otherwise, the government will have to do it and it will be cumbersome. One of the ways that families can practice “self-regulation” is to monitor their children on the internet is using an online filter. If government chooses what is best for America’s children, they, not the parents, have become the ones raising them and becoming the ultimate teachers of children. Chris Hunter, a Ph.D candidate, wrote about an organization called the Bertelsmann Foundation who proposed a method ten years ago where parents could voluntarily rate content and filter a web site if they do not approve of a particular site (2). The benefit of having an online filter is that it gives parents control over what their children see on the internet. It takes the burden off the government from passing content regulation laws and giving that authority to the parents. Having one can also limit what one can view himself. If one does not like a website, then he can filter it or simply not view it. Why waste time and taxpayer money filing lawsuits on sites a few people find offensive? The money used in lawsuits like these needs to go off towards paying the national debt and building up America’s defenses, not to the emotional whim of a few people. If wants to see more freedom on the internet in America, it must be given to the people.
With a clear definition of what the government can and cannot regulate on the internet, how can the U.S. government deal with issues such as cyber terrorism and computer hackers? As anyone who has common sense knows, these are moral wrongs in society. Good people just do not do those things. The problem America has today is that it is not prepared to fight in a cyber war. Former national intelligence director Michael McConnell said, “’If the nation went to war today in a cyberwar, we would lose. We're the most vulnerable. We're the most connected. We have the most to lose’”(qtd. In Rockefeller and Snowe A15). What would happen if a virtual assault from a cyber-terrorist occurred? The United States would experience something similar to what happened in Estonia where business transactions will be down and no one can contact anyone else through e-mail or Facebook. The majority of Americans are dependent on computers and the internet. If the U.S. is attacked, we will not be prepared for it. U.S. Senators Jay Rockefeller and Olympia Snowe said, “These adversaries target our identities, our money, our businesses, our intellectual property, and our national security secrets. They often succeed. What's more, they have the potential to disrupt or disable vital information networks, which could cause catastrophic economic loss and social havoc. We are not prepared” (A15). These are real threats the government cannot just ignore in the name of privacy. When there is sufficient evidence that a man is plotting an attack, federal agents should attain a warrant (required under the 4th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution) and arrest that individual. Then, agents are allowed to check his cell phone, computer, or anything relevant that can help them find any more information about the attack. If the government can develop a way to prevent cyber-terrorist attacks without compromising an innocent citizen’s privacy, that would be a step in the right direction.
What is the difference between fighting enemies based on the damage they can do economically and socially and those that simply want their voices to be heard? In 2009, the Islamic Republic of Iran held elections. After the results were announced, many citizens went to the streets and protested. How did the Iranian government respond to this? The government officials soon realized that social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter were circulating information that rallied citizens across Iran and around the world against the regime. In response to this, the government slowed down internet connection. For many Iranians, it took them a half-hour to simply access an e-mail inbox. Facebook, Twitter and Youtube were banned from the country (Fassihi A1). This is an example of how far leaders will get to silence their critics. On the other hand, securities measures are needed to defend America’s networks from cyber-terrorists who want to do damage to this country. The CIA and the NSA cannot censor critics of the nation’s government leaders. This would violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and would not solve the problem of criminal hackers and cyber-terrorists with an agenda. The government censorhip of the internet violates the free speech rights of its citizens. An article from Policy Review says, “Internet censorship, for example, infringes on the rights of a great many citizens as content producers, not only as consumers, and online survallience allows authorities to monitor personal communications as well as to track what citizens read”(Calingaert 15). The big difference is that the CIA and NSA need to spend their time tracking down people such as Osama Bin Laden and other wanted fugitives, not spying on a conservative news writer in Washington, DC. If someone has written a critique of the U.S. government, the government needs to let it go. Freedom of speech prevails in a truly democratic society like the United States.
In closing, providing freedom of speech and freedom of what people want to view can bring a greater amount of freedom to America. The government should regulate the internet to protect it from criminal hackers and cyber-terrorists. They should never regulate it against different political views, pornography, or material people find offensive. It is the job of the individual to determine what he wants to write and view. If he does not like a site, then he should not view it. Parents have the responsibility to monitor what their children view on the internet. The less regulation on the internet, the more freedom of expression and speech there will be in America.

Works Cited
Aaviksoo, Jaak.”Cyber-Terrorism.” Vital Speeches of the Day 74.1(2008): 28-32. Academic Search Complete. Web. 29 Oct. 2010.
Calingaert, Daniel. “Authoritarianism vs. the internet.”Policy Review. 160(2010):63-75. Academic Search Complete. Web. 26 Oct. 2010.
Cannataci, Joseph and Jeanne Bonnici. “Can Self-Regulation satisfy the transnational requisite of Successul Internet Regulation?” BILETA. British & Irish Law, Education, and technology Association. 5-6 April 2002. Web.29 Oct. 2010
Fassihi, Farnaz. "Iranian Crackdown Goes Global." Wall Street Journal 03 Dec. 2009: A1. SIRS Researcher. Web. 26 Oct. 2010.
Goldsborough, Reid. “Are you Protecting Your Online Privacy.” Teacher Librarian. 37.5 (2010): 72.Academic Search Complete. Web. 1 Nov. 2010.
Hunter, Christopher D. “Negotiating the Global Internet Rating and Filtering System: Opposing Views of the Bertelsmann Foundation’s Self-regulation of Internet Content Proposal.” CFP2000.Computers, Freedom, and Privacy 2000 Conference. n.d. Web. 1 Nov. 2010.
Lambrecht, Bill. “Cyber Security Becomes Priority.” St. Louis Post-Dispatch 13 Jun. 2010: A1. SIRS Researcher. Web. 26 Oct. 2010.
Rockefeller, Jay, and Olmypia Snowe. “Now is the Time to Prepare for Cyber war”. Wall Street Journal 2 April 2010: A15.SIRS Researcher. Web. 03 Nov 2010.
Swartz, Jon, and Byron Acohido. “Who’s Guarding your Data in the Cybervault?” USA Today 1 April.2007: n.pag. SIRS Reseacher. Web. 26 Oct. 2010.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Real Solution to America's Problems

If you are a Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, or Rush Limbaugh fan, this article may offend you. It will offend you because those three men have not offered the real solution to what is really going on in America. The solution is not voting out all the Democrats, organizing Tea Party rallies, or condemning President Obama and his policies all day long. The problem goes deeper then that. The thing is, most Conservative commentators do not even know what the problem is. It is not America's move towards Socialism, Facaism, and Communism. These are symptoms of the problem but they are not the problem itself. The problem is that people like you and me are sinners. The solution is found in the Cross of Jesus Christ. Only the Gospel of Jesus Christ can change America. Glenn Beck can't do it, Sarah Palin can't do it, nor can Michele Bachmann. We can vote out politicians all day long, but that will not deal with the issues of sin and the heart. You cannot change a country from the tops down. It must start with people like you and me, examining our own hearts and laying down our sins at the foot of the Cross. Then we must be diligent to proclaim the Gospel to others. The Church has substituted the Gospel for political activism. Oh Lord have mercy on us. We must pray that there will be laborers in the fields. When people began to realize their sinfulness before a holy God that will began to see change America. Barack Obama cannot bring that kind of change, it can only come by the Lord granting us His mercy. Let us pray that America will come to repentance and return to God this country was dedicated to.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Family in America

Within the last century, there has been a drastic change. This change came not by revolution or civil unrest, but by a major shift from a Christian worldview to a humanistic one. One way this is evident is that Americans are embracing homosexuality and abortion. As a Christian can see, homosexual marriages and abortions are distortions to what the Bible calls the family. With that said, what does an ideal family look like according to Scripture? There will three areas that we will look at that will answer that question; marriage, parenting, and how a family impacts society.

To start off with, we are going to take a look at what a marriage is suppose to look like. Marriage is what keeps a family together. It is the foundation on which a family is built upon. Sadly, marriage is under attack from various sides including the homosexual movement to the modern feminist movement. Groups such as the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) are on the front lines “to eliminate laws governing divorce, fornication, and adultery” and are involved in “lawsuits seeking to legalize same-sex marriage, gay adoption, and even polygamy”1.For the last forty years feminism has been on the rise. They say things such as “We have to abolish and reform the institution of marriage…By the year 2000 we will, I hope, raise our children to believe in human potential, not God… We must understand what we are attempting is a revolution, not a public relations movement.”2 Just recently, a Judge in California declared Proposition 8, an amendment which defines marriage between one man and one woman in California, unconstitutional. Cultural commentator and Southern Baptist Seminary President Albert Mohler comments, “Judge Walker’s decision, bearing the full force of a Federal court, adds to the sense of inevitability that the proponents of same-sex marriage have been so carefully constructing in recent years. Defenders of marriage as a heterosexual institution should resist the temptation to minimize the significance of this decision, even as the verdict is vigorously appealed. Yesterday’s ruling is a huge win for the homosexual community, and a significant step toward the full normalization of homosexuality within the culture.3 These are real threats that, if successful, can bring a fatal blow to marriage. If marriage is destroyed and redefined, then the family is going to be redefined which will drive society farther from its founding principles.

What does an ideal marriage look like? First, it is meant to be between only a man and a woman. One verse in Scripture that teaches this is Genesis 2:24, which states that “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” Also, for a man to become an elder in the local church, one of the qualifications is that he must be “the husband of but one wife.”(1 Timothy 3:2) This clearly refutes the notion that homosexuality is consistent with Biblical Christianity and is a natural trait. This even shows he can’t have two or more wives. God intended marriage to be a picture of the relationship between Christ and His people (the church). Ephesians 5:25-33 shows us that picture by telling husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her. It is all a part of the wonderful design God place for humanity. Marriage is also a covenantal relationship. Just as it is a picture of the covenant between Christ and his church, it also involves a covenantal commitment between a man and a woman. One problem in many relationships in America is that there is no covenantal marriage and there is no commitment to each other. There are couples that are living together without being married. On top of that, if someone else shows up that one likes better, he can terminate that relationship and move in with his new girlfriend. It is a mess the way our culture values marriage. Marriage is a commitment both parties keep until “death do us part.”

The Bible gives instructions on how a man and a woman are to work a marriage. The man is supposed to represent Christ as the head of his household. 1 Corinthian 11:3 says that “Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” Pastor John Piper helps us define Biblical masculinity. He said “At the heart of mature masculinity is a sense of benevolent responsibility to lead, provide for and protect women in ways appropriate to a man’s differing relationships.”4 One characteristic of biblical manhood is that a man is supposed to lead. Adam in the Garden of Eden was given leadership roles by naming Eve and the animals (Genesis 2:19-23). This is a sign of authority. Husbands are commanded to lead their wives and be the head of their homes. Another role of a biblical man is that he is the main provider for the home. Unless he is hindered otherwise by illness or injury, the man should be the one feeling the pressure of putting “food on the table”, paying the bills, and caring for his wife and children. Thirdly, a man is to be the protector of his wife and kids. We’re not saying women are weak, but men need to make sure that they protect women. If anything ever happens, a woman will know that her husband will protect her and will not be off somewhere else. John Piper said, “A mature man senses instinctively that as a man he is called to take lead in guarding the woman he is with.” 5 These are the characteristics that need to be found in men throughout our society.

For a woman, she is called to represent her husband to her children and to the world.In a marriage relationship, she is suppose to summit to her husband. (Ephesians 5:22, 1 Peter 3:1) One might ask if this makes women inferior to men. No, it does not. The reason a woman submits is that she was designed by God to be a helpmate to her husband. Genesis 2:18 says “And the LORD God said, 'It is not good that man should be alone; I will make a helper comparable to him'” Eve completes Adam. Presbyterian pastor and theologian Brian Schwertly said “When Adam saw Eve, he knew that she was perfectly suitable to answer his needs and desires. The wife is to be a helper suitable for her husband. She is to compliment him and make up what is lacking in him. Together in marriage God makes them a complete whole and together they are perfectly suited to carry out the dominion mandate. They submission of the wife is rooted in the very fabric of creation. Eve was made for Adam to help him and complete him. Therefore, the only way that a woman can find true fulfillment and meaning as God created her is to become a loving submissive wife to a man who is under the loving lordship of Christ.”6 Other roles of Biblical womanhood is to bear children (Genesis 1:28) and to provide companionship to man (Genesis 2:18). America is in dire need of women who follow God’s Word.

Secondly, another aspect of the family is the reproduction and bearing of children. Genesis 1, God commanded man to “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” As the verse indicates, mankind needs to reproduce so that humanity can continue. More importantly, Adam as the head and Eve as his helpmate were given a mandate of dominion, which includes the task of rising up a God glorifying civilization. Due to the fall in Genesis 3, this mandate has been perverted. Today as America strays further away from its Christian roots, the family must start being the family or society will start deteriorating. Parents are required to raise their children in fear of the lord. The family is foundational to stable societies and thriving churches. R.J. Rushdoony writes “The family is man's first state, church, and school. It is the institution which provides the basic structure of his existence and most governs his activities. Man is reared in a family and then establishes a family, passing from the governed to the governing in a framework which extensively and profoundly shapes his concept of himself and of life in general.”7 You might be surprised to know that the family is a form of government. One school textbook written in 1903 said “The family…is a form of government, established for the good of children themselves, and the first government we all must obey.”8 Throughout American history, the family has been an important element of society. People who founded our country such as George Washington, James Madison, and Thomas Jefferson have actually been given their education at home. Because public schools did not exist, the only alternatives were either homeschooling or a charter school if there was one. Most of the founders were taught by tutors with parents closely involved. Former education secretary William Bennett at the 1992 Republican National Convention said “Not all teachers are parents but all parents are teachers – children’s first teachers, children’s all but indispensable teachers.”9 This is why parents need to take their responsibilities seriously. If they do not instill a love of God in their children and teach them Biblical Christianity, we will have people running our government who will not respect Christianity or the U.S. Constitution. This is one of the reasons why we are having the problems in our society. The reason why there is drug abuse, premarital sex, and corrupt politicians is because parents for the last 40-50 years stopped disciplining their children and allowed the State (Through Our wonderful public school system) to takeover in place of the parents.

What can we do to help restore the family in America? First, Christians in America need to wake up to the fact that their freedoms are gradually being taken from them by humanist and anti-Christian groups. Humanists know the power of public education for the propagation of their worldview. Charles Francis Potter, a signer of the first Humanist Manifesto in 1930, said “Education is thus a most powerful ally of Humanism, and every American public school is a school of Humanism. What can the theistic Sunday-school, meeting for an hour once a week, and teaching only a fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of a five-day program of humanistic teaching?”10If most Christian parents start taking responsibility for their children’s’ education and not leave it to the State or even the church, this could change the battle of the culture war were in. Secondly, fathers need to start being fathers. Daniel Amneus writes “Fatherless families . . . generate far more delinquency and personality disorders than do normal or motherless families…The ratio of delinquent children living with the mother only compared to those living with the father only is about three to one.”11According to data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation(FBI), in the year 1983, people under the age of 18 have committed the following; 218,00 burglaries, 45,000 motor vehicle thief, and 10,000 arsons . Can you guess who contributed to at least 78% of these crimes? Boys which the majority of them don’t have a father in their lives.12 (Statistical abstract p.173,183) Thirdly, there needs to be a proper understanding of Biblical manhood and womanhood in our culture. America has adopted false ideas on what men and women are suppose to be. Even gender identity is blurred from the culture. A couple of years ago in the city of Gainesville, FL, the city commission passed an ordinance that allow men that “feel like a woman” to use a woman’s restroom and vice visa in any public bathroom within the city limits. This is how far Americans have gone from what God intended in His design of a man and a woman. It is time we boldly cry out for a return to reality and what God designed us to be. These are steps we can use to bring the Biblical family back to America.

Finally, what can the families that are being Biblical families do to how change America? We as Christians are called to be salt and light to the world. Jesus declared “let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”(Matthew 5:16) If people see a Christian family where the husband and wife have a strong marriage and children that are kind and well behaved, they might be likely to notice something different with that family than from a worldly one. Christian couples with strong marriages need to go and help those whose marriages are crumbling and point those people to the Gospel. Parents can help non-Christian parents and show them the Gospel. It is the Gospel that will save America, not politicians or voting corrupt ones out of office. What we as young folks can do now is to show respect to our parents by submitting to their authority, learning what it means to be a Biblical man or woman, and doing hard things such as helping a Godly candidate running for office get elected or going out evangelizing.

In closing, as it was shown, we have a lot of work to do. In order to reclaim our country and culture, we need to have a Biblical idea of what the family is suppose to look like. Let us be the generation that will set an example to those that are yet to be. We must be bold and speak out against the dangers that homosexuality and abortion bring to our country, families, and to ourselves. Meditate on these words from Yale president Timothy Dwight, “You should by no means consider yourself as members of a small neighborhood, town, or colony only, but as beings concerned in laying the foundations of ‘American greatness.’ Your wishes, your designs, your labors, are not to be confined by the narrow bound of the present age, but are to comprehend succeeding generations, and be pointed to immortality.”13` We are a generation that we determine the fate of future generations. We will either fight for Biblical values or we will sit on the sideline watching our freedom go down the drain. It is time for a new reformation and our generation is the one called to bring it out. May the Lord’s will be done for future generations to see.

Works cite
1. Kastensmidt, Sam. Indefensible; 10 Ways the ACLU is Destroying America p. 138
2. Steinmen, Gloria. Saturday Review of Education March 1973
3 Mohler, Albert. August 5, 2010
4. Piper, John. What is the Difference
5. ibid
6. Schwertly, Brian.
7. Rushdoony, R.J. Politics of Guilt and Pity. P. 331
8. Elements of Civil Government. P.18, 1903 edition
9. Bennett, William.
10. Potter, Charles Francis. Humanism: a new Religion. P. 138
11. Amneus, Daniel. Back to Patriarchy. P. 26,64.
12. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Statistical Abstracts. P. 173,183
13. Hawkinson, Don. Character for Life: An American Heritage. P. 166.

Is our Focus on the Cross?

In our fast paced lives, we can easily forget about the things that are the most important. Many times in our relationship with God, we tend to lose grasp of one thing; the life, death, and resurrection of our savior Jesus Christ. Many times Christians can get caught up in the latest end-times book released or caught up in the politics of the day that our focus is not on Jesus. Because the Gospel is the nucleus that holds biblical Christianity together, it is important that we have a strong grasp of it.

To start off with, we need, time and time again, to be reminded of what the Gospel is. It starts with that fact that we are totally depraved sinners that need a savior. Psalm 53 says, “God looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. Everyone has turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.” No one does good and no one is able to save himself. We have broken God’s law and we have to pay a penalty for it.That is why God the Father send his son, Jesus, to take the penalty we deserved by dying the most gruesome form of death imaginable. It was not just the most horrible form of death because he had been whipped, had his hands and feet nailed to a piece of wood, and was severely beaten, but He forebeared the wrath of God. The wrath you and I deserved was placed upon that cross. John Newton in his hymn said, “I saw my sins His blood had spilt and helped to nail Him there. But with a second look He said ‘I freely all forgive. This blood is for your ransom paid. I died that you might live.’” Jesus died so that we can live. We were dead in our transgressions and sins, but through Christ we were made alive. Not only did Jesus die, but he rose again from the dead. If Jesus did not rise, The Bible and the Gospel would be meaningless. He rose again and ascended into heaven and is reigning at the right hand of the father. One day, Jesus will return to judge the world. Oh let us not show our filthy hearts on that day. If you are not a believer, I would encourage you to repent of your sins and get things right with God. You do not want God saying to you on that day “Depart from me, for I never knew you.”(Matthew 7) This is the Gospel in a nutshell. Never lose grasp of it.

Pastor C.J. Mahaney once said, “Never be content with your grasp of the gospel. The gospel is life-permeating, world-altering, universe-changing truth. It has more facets than any diamond. Its depths man will never exhaust." Not only do we need to understand the Gospel, we need to apply into every area of our lives. Even though the questions of what constitutes biblical economics or government will not be addressed in this article, but the Gospel must be applied in those areas. We must place every area of our lives under the lordship of Jesus Christ. It is not enough to just go to church on Sunday, we must be out there preaching the Gospel, taking back the universities and educational institutes for Christ, and ministering to others. Why do we do this? It is because of the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ is so wonderful that we need to live it and show others that. We need to proclaim that true not only to ourselves, but to the whole world.

How do we apply this glorious gospel to our lives? First, we must preach it to ourselves every day. Read the scriptures and learn more about Christ and his work on the Cross. All other Christian doctrines have their foundation on the Gospel. Can you not think of any doctrine that is not connected to the Gospel? In Eschatology, it is more concerned about the return of Christ than about what is going to happen. One scholar put it this way, “eschatology is thoroughly Christological. It’s about Jesus. Christ’s return is like the hub of a wheel, and all the other stuff is like spokes coming off that wheel. And they only have meaning relative to the hub, relative to Christ’s return.”1 It is consummation of the whole of redemptive history. In one part, Christ came down and died for the sins of those he loved. In the next, He will return to put an end to wickedness and bring home the people He redeemed. Concerning the doctrine of total depravity, we are sinners, unable to do any good, and we need a savior. That is simple enough. How about the church? If Christ did not die, there will be no need for a church because the blood of the lamb was never poured out. We would most likely be sacrificing animals prescribed by the levitical laws rather than enjoying the Lord’s supper or embracing baptism. I am sure you get the point by now. The main theme of the Scriptures is the redemptive work of Christ. It has been predicted and hidden in the Old Testament and reveled and fulfilled in the New Testament. Another way to apply the Gospel is to go out and tell it to others. This is a must for all Christians. If you do not have resources to teach you how to evangelize, look up “Way of the Master” (Led by Kirk Cameron, also known as Buck Williams in the Left Behind series, and Ray Comfort) or take a look at “Proclaim” (An evangelism program developed by pastors within Sovereign Grace Ministries). So now you do not have any excuses for not evangelizing! You need to get over your fear of man. People around the world get killed for proclaiming the Gospel. Here in America, the worst thing that can happen is a person rejecting the Gospel. People rarely get killed for evangelizing in the United States. Thirdly, we as Christians need to take back all social institutions for Christ. Rather than withdrawing from the culture and forming a Christian subculture, we need to reach out and take the Universities, our government, the press, and the culture for Christ. If we do not do this, there can be severe consequences. This mission will not be easy and it may be accomplished within a couple hundred years. These things are what Christians are called to do.

In closing, the Gospel is what our focus is on. Without it, all that we do will be meaningless. If Christ did not die, we will be lost and running as far as we can from God. Rather than getting focused on end-time charts and predictions, we must put our focus on the One who has the end in His hands. He is the reason for our existence. We should be thankful for the One who died for the sins of His people.

1. Purswell, Jeff. “The Last One”. Sovereign Grace Ministries.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Failure of socialism/communism/welfarism

Here are some finer points discussion the issue of socialism vs. capitalism.

1. People think that a socialistic society will bring happiness and joy because everyone can be lazy. Well.... In Jamestown back in the Colonial days, this was put into pratice and the entire town was about to collaspe. In countries like China, North Korea, the former Soviet Union, people are forced to work in order to make the system work. In China, prisoners are forced to make products or be faced with a beating. People are forced to work or they will be killed. Period.

2. Many communists are dependent upon capitalistic nations for their survival. The Soviet Union would not have survived seventy years if it wasn't for the U.S. supplying it with technology and other products of a capitalistic economy.

3. I make can make the argument that the communist government officials are the Bourgeois that Marx strongly opposes and the proletriat are the citizens in the former Soviet Union, North Korea, and China being oppressed by the government officials.

Since this is brief, I will expand on this at a future time.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Homeschooling and the PCA

Recently, a PCA pastor wrote an article concerning the issue of homeschooling(You can view here What is so unusual about this is that a pastor from a usually calvinistic, conservative, evangelical
denomination is agruing for statism and government control. He strongly believes that the government should regulate homeschooling. Because government control destorys the family, this is not a good idea.

Tom Stein, the PCA pastor who wrote the article, argues that school administrators in the state of Indiana are cutting corners about their dropout rates by having failing students sign homeschool forms. Rather than blaming the officials, Stein puts blame on the homeschoolers. So the solution? Regulate homeschooling!

So, if government school is working so well becuase it is run by the government, why regulate homeschooling? Let us make one thing clear, the state should never be involved in education. Education belongs to the parents and the communities. Stein thinks seems to think that if failing students sign a form to homeschool, they will be unproductive and lazy people who will not make any contributions to soceity. According to a study called Progress Report 2009, the "results support the large existing body of research on homeschool academic achievement and show homeschoolers, on average, scoring 37 percentile points above public school students on standardized achievement tests."(
You think that a "a curriculum of potato chips and ESPN" is really what homeschoolers do? Think again. If the public school system continues to be a disaster as it has been, then the homeschoolers are the ones that are going to make the differences in our society.

But, you may argue, are homeschoolers social whimps? According to the study Homeschooling Grows Up, alot os homeschoolers are shown to be active in society more than the average U.S. Adult. It states "Seventy-one percent participate in an ongoing community service activity (e.g.,coaching a sports team, volunteering at a school, or working with a church or neighborhood association), compared to 37% of U.S. adults of similar ages." and "homeschool graduates work for candidates, contribute to
campaigns, and vote in much higher percentages than the general population of the United States." (Read this for yourself, don't just take my word for it As you can see, my prediction will that if America returns to its traditional values, it will be the homeschoolers that will be the determining factor. This year, a homeschool youth political activist group, Generation Joshua, is assembling a thousand man army to help get pro-life, pro-homeschooling, pro-traditional values condidates to get elected. This group has set up camps such as igovern to teach homeschooled students about how our government works. The leaders of this group(William Estrada, Joel Grewe, Jeremiah Lorrig, Michael Zeller) are the people with a passion and a vision for the next generation. So, if America comes back to the values it was founded upon, it will be decided upon by the homeschoolers of this country.

What really is the solution to Stein's problem of school admistrators having to classify drop-out students as homeschoolers? We should go after the administrators, not the homeschoolers! The problem is with the public school system! It is broken. I believe that federally run education should be abolished. The Department of Education must be abolished! No more government intrusion into every aspect of our lives!

In closing, the solution is not to have government control homeschooling. We need to solve the issues of what is going in the public school system. A Presbyterian pastors goes against Covenant theology and family government that most PCAers I know embrace.

Sovereign Grace Ministries Mission Presentation

2010 Sovereign Grace Missions Presentation Video from Riverside Christian Fellowship on Vimeo.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Myths concerning Sovereign Grace Ministries

Within the past couple of years, many stories have spread like wild fire thanks to the internet. Millions upon millions of articles can be accessed within a couple clicks of a mouse. Sadly, due to this fact, great lies and gossip can circulate rather quickly. The same is true with Sovereign Grace Ministries. Due to the vast popularity of just a few blogs, the organization led by C.J. Mahaney has been depicted to look like an organization that is not what it was meant to be. Here, we will, with the help of God, analyze some of the arguments brought up by those slandering SGM.

Does Sovereign Grace Ministries support Ezzo parenting?
Some time ago, there was a claim that a family was "involuntarily" released from membership from Covenant Fellowship Church in Glenn Mills, Pennsylvania(A suburb of Philadelphia)for not agreeing with the church's parenting philosophy. As far as I know, every Sovereign Grace Ministries pastor that I have interacted with does not agree with Ezzo parenting AT ALL! The church that I am at does not teach this method of parenting at all. We embrace more of the parenting of those critical of Ezzo such as Paul and Tedd Tripp. I believe there is another side to this story that we do not know about. But what I do know is that this claim is inconsistant with what I have been hearing from Sovereign Grace pastors; they do it believe nor teach Ezzo parenting.

Is Sovereign Grace Ministries hyper-episcopalian?
I have have seen this claim come up alot. Now, many people have the misconcept that Sovereign Grace Ministries is a group run from the top down with C.J. Mahaney as the "pope" and the apostolic leaders as "bishops." According the the booklet "understanding Sovereign Grace Ministries", the local churches are governed by the local pastors/elders.(You can access it here The sovereign grace churches take a presbyterian form of church government where each local church is governed by a body of elders. C.J. or the apostolic leaders do not have the final words concerning a decision on matters that pertain to that particular church. That is up to the elders of the church. Membership in a SG church is completely voluntary and any church can withdraw if it wanted to.

Does SGM strictly enforce homeschooling and courtship?
I heard this one at least once. No, they do not enforce homeschooling or courtship enspoused by Joshua Harris. I believe that it is up to the families, not the church, concerning those matter. In fact, Covenant Life Church has a regular school called the Covenant Life School. All three of C.J.'s daughters graduate from that school. At the church that I am at, I know people who are sending their children to public schools and aren't getting into trouble with the leadership.

In closing, the misconceptions of Sovereign Grace Ministries are great that they needed to be addressed. The time has come when the truth needs to be exposed against those who are covering it and hiding it. May God be glorified in the mist of all this!

Florida Healthcare Freedom

Throughout the United States, there has been lot of reaction against the healthcare reform legislation proposed by President Obama, House speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate majority leader Harry Reid. Many citizens have taken action by filing lawsuits against the federal government. On the other hand, many states are proposing legislation that bans certain aspect of Obamacare from becoming law in that particular state. Florida has joined the fight. A bill that is sponsored by state representative Scott Plankon and state senator Carey Baker, the Florida Healthcare Freedom Act has been struck down by activist justices on the Florida Supreme Court against the will of the citizens of Florida. Because healthcare freedom is necessary for a free society, it is important that this act be brought be up and enacted into law.

To start, the Florida Healthcare Freedom act is a bill that is sponsored by State Representative Scott Plankon(R-Longwood, FL) and State senator Carey Baker(R-Eustis, FL). It prohibits anyone from being forced to “participate in any health care system, permit person or employer to purchase lawful health care services directly from health care provider”1 In other words, it nullifies the part of the healthcare reform where it mandates Americans to purchase health insurance. In case you don’t know, nullification is Constitutional under the tenth Amendment. It states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” The debate that is going on is whether a state has the right to nullify a law it deems to be unconstitutional. It is a modern day federalism versus anti-federalism debate. In September 2010, the Florida Supreme Court declared the Florida Healthcare Freedom Act unconstitutional and threw it off the ballot for the November 2010 elections. But there is hope, two of the Justices who voted against the bill, Jorge Labarga and James Perry, cannot take themselves off the ballot for elections. In Florida, citizens have the privilege of voting to determine whether the justices on the Florida Supreme Court can stay on the court. They are still appointed by the governor and approved by the state legislator, which is important that Republican Rick Scott, who is conservative on healthcare, is elected governor. If anyone in Florida was able to vote on something to make a difference, it can be the vote to remove Labarga and Perry.

Why is this bill important? This bill is a stand against the actions of an expanding federal government that is trying to impose its agenda on the American people. It seems that the goal of President Obama and liberals in our government is to control every aspect of American life as much as possible. Healthcare reform is not really about healthcare; it is about getting an agenda across and imposing it on the American people. The feds are more concerned about control and power rather than about healthcare. That sums why former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” Our government officials are using the economic crisis that we are currently in and using as an opportunity to implement an anti-American agenda. The American people have awakened to realize these acts of tyranny are being imposed on them and they want to do something about it. Tea parties have been organized and rallies such as the 9-12 and 8-28 have occurred. The people have been aroused. In other words, the American people do not want government involved in their lives.

What can we do about? As citizens of Florida, we can help vote out Florida Supreme Court Justices Labarga and Perry. Since it is important to know that the governor appoints those on the court, it is important that the right governor gets elected too. The republican candidate Rick Scott, who once was president of the Columbia/HCA association of hospitals, is the ideal candidate for the job. He is very conservative on the issue of healthcare and opposes the agenda that the federal government is pushing upon us. If you are interested in helping out with the campaign, go to this link: What I recommend for you do is that you print you 250 of those flyers and distribute them throughout your neighborhood. Put them on the bulletin board of your local library or place them in your church. Do whatever it takes to spread the word. This is a word of mouth campaign. We need a full force in action.

In closing, the importance of having healthcare freedom is of paramount importance. The encroachment of the federal government on our lives is opposite to the principles that originally made our country great. The people have been awakened and it is time that we let our government officials know that we will not have their agenda shoved down our throats. Let us be the generation that will bring socialism and fascism to their deaths!

1.HJR 37, Florida Healthcare Freedom Act.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Learning Something

This was a letter written by James Alexander(1804-1859) who was a minister in the Presbyterian Church. The following is a letter written to his brother about learning. Something that is much needed today....


My dear brother,

You must not suppose, from what I said in my last letter, that the school is the only place where you can acquire knowledge. I would by no means have you to play all the time, which you are not employed at your tasks. There are a great many hours, especially in these long winter evenings, in which you may be filling your mind with something useful. For this purpose you should always have some instructive book at hand. Your parents have many such books, and are always glad to give you the use of them.

It makes me sorry to see that you read so much in mere story-books. Some of these, indeed, are useful, and they are liked by all young people. But most of them are foolish, if not injurious. Boys often become so fond of this sort of reading that they never look into anything but tales, stories and novels. And in this way they weaken their minds, and lose all the advantage they might gain from books of instruction.

Now, if you did but think about it—you would find out that there are works which are highly entertaining, at the same time that they are profitable. I mean books of history, voyages and travels, biography, natural history, and philosophy. If you were once to taste the pleasantness of these, you would soon throw away your story-books, which are mostly fit for the nursery.

But you cannot be always reading—and it is by no means necessary. There are many other ways of getting useful knowledge. The greater part of what you already know, you have learned from hearing your father and mother talking. If all they have told you should be written down, it would fill a multitude of volumes. And you remember this much better than if you had read it in a book. You ought, therefore, to learn something every day from your parents. They are always willing to teach you; and whenever you have any difficulty you should get them to explain it. There are a thousand things which they would be delighted to tell you, and which you would be profited to learn. Whenever you are sitting with them, try to get them to instruct you.

You may do the same thing with all your friends. If you are only modest and respectful, they will not consider you too inquisitive. All sensible people are gratified when they see that boys are desirous to learn. Make it a rule to learn something from everybody; for there is no one, high or low—who has not some knowledge which might do you good. For instance, you have friends in the school who come from different parts of the country. You may gain much information from them, by inquiring concerning the places where they live, and getting them to describe to you everything that is remarkable in their own neighborhoods. Even the tradesmen and mechanics can instruct you in many little matters relating to their own employments. It is a great advantage for a man to know something about every different trade and mechanical art—and you cannot learn this from books so well as from going into the workshops, and asking questions of the people who are at work. When they see that you really wish to be informed, they will he glad to answer all your inquiries. I would like you to know all the particulars about every kind of trade and industry.

And then, when you go into the country, it will make your excursions much more pleasant if you will take pains to learn from farmers everything about the cultivation of the earth. You must be sure to find out as much as you can about the different operations of agriculture; sowing, reaping, and the like; and about the productions of the land, the raising of cattle and sheep, and the ways of improving the soil. You will find that many farmers, who have not read as much as yourself, have a great treasure of knowledge and wisdom. Sometimes you will fall into the company of those who have traveled in foreign countries. This will give you a fine opportunity to learn from them all you wish to know about the parts of the world which they have visited.

And if you travel about in your vacations, you must keep your eyes open to everything that is remarkable, and learn all about the places through which you pass. In old times this was the principal way of acquiring knowledge. Instead of going to colleges and universities, the ancient Greeks used to travel for years together in Asia and Egypt, and other lands. This is the method which was pursued by Lycurgus, and Pythagoras, and Plato, and others of whom your histories tell you. When you go to a strange place, you must endeavor to find out about whatever is remarkable, and to make inquiries of all your friends.

Also, there are a great many common things which we see every day, that are very interesting. Many boys carry watches for months and years without knowing at all what it is that makes them go. Charles Harvey had a watch given to him the day he was fifteen years old. He was much pleased with the present—but could not feel satisfied until he went to the watchmaker, and got him to explain the inside of it. The watchmaker took the watch to pieces, and showed him all the works. He showed him the steel spring wound up in a coil, and let him see how it was constantly trying to unwind itself and get loose. Then he showed him the barrel to which the end of the spring is fastened, and how the working of the spring makes the barrel move round and round. He pointed out the chain which goes from the barrel to the great coil, and told him how one wheel moved another, until the hands were made to go around. But you cannot understand this by writing. If you ask a watchmaker, he will explain all these works to you in a few minutes.

Some boys are so careless that they make no inquiries, and never learn anything of value. I knew a boy who used to go to a mill every few days—but who never had the curiosity to ask how it was that the water falling on the great wheel could make the mill-stone turn round and round. Some lads will often own guns without ever finding out how the lock is formed, or how the trigger moves the other works, or how the gunpowder is made. I hope it will not be so with you—but that whenever you see any machine, you will not rest until you know all about it.

When you are next on board a steamboat, get someone to explain to you how the steam works. Inquire about the boiler, and the condenser, and the piston, and the valves.

Find out the way in which the pump in the yard raises the water, and what it is that makes the mercury rise and fall in the thermometer.

The great thing is to be always inquiring. Ask and you will learn. Learn something every hour. Remember the little story of “Eyes and no Eyes,” and read “Travels about Home.” Whenever you take a walk, you may be learning something. You ought to be able to tell the name of every kind of tree in the woods, either by the bark and leaves, or by the shape, and the way they look at a distance. You may easily find out the names of the principal plants and flowers which grow in the fields. It will be a shame if you grow up without knowing how to tell one bird from another, by their shape, their plumage, their song, or their manner of flying. When you come to look more sharply, you will discover a great many curious differences in the mosses and the ragged lichens which grow on the fences and stones, and look like mold.

This is the way to become a philosopher. A philosopher is a lover of wisdom. The reason why some men become philosophers is that they are always inquiring and learning something every hour. It was thus that Dr. Franklin became so celebrated, and discovered the nature of thunder and lightning, which no one knew before.

I have read also of poor shepherd’s boys who have become great philosophers in the same way.

If you are only determined to be learning something all the time, there is no doubt that you will be constantly improving. When your friends see this they will help you, and be glad to instruct you. They will put you in the way of making experiments for yourself, and will furnish you with books and instruments. Thus your very amusements will be full of profit. I am sure that you would find far more entertainment in trying experiments with a little electrical machine than in playing at ball or marbles. And at the same time you would be learning an important science. You might spend an hour or two in a printing office, learning the way in which books are made, and be much more amused than by running about the playground.

So you see that even when you are not in school, you may be constantly improving your mind. You cannot open your eyes anywhere without beholding something to inquire about; and the more inquiries you make, the more you will know. This makes one great difference between people—some are anxious to learn, while others do not care whether they learn or not. Be awake, my dear brother, and remember that time is short, and that you must give an account of the way in which you spend every moment. The greater your knowledge is, the more useful you may be to your fellow creatures.

Your affectionate brother,

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Way the World Thinks: Meeting the Natural Mind in the Mirror and in the Marketplace

The word “think” is central. Evangelicals are known as people who do things. But to our shame we are not largely known for thinking. So without apology, we are here to think about thinking.

By the time we enter adolescence, we are aware that it is possible to think about thinking. We ought to be a people that never get over thinking about thinking. This is a second-order discipline. It’s complex thinking, the kind of thinking required if we are to measure faithful thinking against unfaithful thinking.

How should we think about thinking as Christians? We must first recognize that there is a crucial distinction between the regenerate mind and the unregenerate mind. Also, we must understand the mind of the age, the mind around us, because we want to communicate the gospel well.

1) Understand the Difference Between the Regenerate and the Unregenerate Mind
We currently live in a postmodern age where some think that the claim to knowledge is merely a political statement. We need some biblical grounding. Let’s look at Romans 1:18-32.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

In the opening chapters of Romans, Paul is informing us that this is our story, a story of universal human sinfulness. Romans 1 is fascinating territory. Many evangelicals have turned to this chapter to understand the human predicament, but they typically focus on verses 18-32 to the neglect of verse 16. However, it is important to see that Paul begins his description of the problem with humanity by testifying that the gospel is the power of God (Romans 1:16).

Sinful humanity is involved in a conspiracy: we suppress the truth. We desperately need to know this about human beings, particularly because we don’t like to think of ourselves as suppressors of knowledge. We like to think of ourselves as questing for truth. But the reality is that we are about the project of suppressing the truth.

Paul goes on to say that we suppress the truth in unrighteousness. We are not only truth-deniers. We work out the suppressing conspiracy in a cloud of unrighteousness.

And we’re accountable. This knowledge crisis is not about what people do not know. It’s about what we will not know. The will is the great engine of the intellect. We not only behold truth in the outer world (the creation); we also behold truth in the inner world (our conscience). But our unrighteous wills can make our consciences do what we want them to do.

This suppression plays itself out in futile thinking: “Claiming to be wise, they became fools.” We don’t want to hear that. This futile thinking, then, leads to idolatry: we exchange the glory of God for the glory of the creature.

But that’s not the end. Three times in Romans 1 we see the phrase “gave over.” This is not about God giving empires over to destruction. The tense is in the past. God has given humanity over to futility. When did this happen? It happened in Genesis 3. In the fall of Adam and Eve we see the beginning of the great crisis of knowledge.

The consequences of the fall were enormous and immediate. First, there was death. Then there is the story of human depravity made clear in the early chapters of Genesis.

We often talk about the “noetic effects” of the fall. This refers to knowledge. There are intellectual consequences to sin. Calvin said there were three causes of the noetic effects of sin in our lives:

The fall itself.
Satan wishes to confuse our thinking.
God, for the protection of his own character, judges our minds in such a way that he gives us over to ignorance and falsehood, seen most clearly in idolatry.
What are the effects of the fall on our minds?

First, our reason is now opposed to God. The fallen will produces a fallen reason. This doesn’t mean that unbelievers know nothing. The reason is not destroyed. It is given over to sin. An unregenerate person can know that two plus two equals four. But when it comes to the fundamental issues of meaning, that is where our reason is most corrupted. The unregenerate mind sees the gospel as folly.

What are other effects of the fall?

Faulty perspective
Intellectual fatigue
Failure to draw the right conclusion
Intellectual apathy
Dogmatism / Closemindedness
Intellectual pride
Vain imagination
Partial knowledge
The list could go on, but the point is that all of this is tied to the will. The noetic effects of the fall are devastating. They operate on multiple levels.

2) Understand the Natural Mind
Evangelicals have begun using the word “worldview.” A worldview is a set of beliefs and principles and axioms of thought that allow us to make sense of the world. It is like gravity. We don’t think often about its presence. We simply assume it in our actions.

In understanding the natural mind, I want to speak about the natural mind we are most likely to meet. It is a secular mind. It’s not a fully secularized or irreligious mind, but it’s a secular mind. There are five precepts that govern this mind:

Postmodern anti-realism.
Selective moral relativism.
Therapeutic universalism.
Radical pluralism.
Managerial pragmatism.
Though the natural mind doesn’t change between Genesis 3 and Jesus’ return, it puts on new clothing. Here are several precepts important to understand this mind:

I am who I think I am.
I may do some bad things, but I am not a bad person.
Something is wrong, but it’s not my fault.
Something happened to me.
Morality is a good idea, but it’s relatively relative.
What goes around comes around.
There is not only one way of anything.
God is available as an explanation when needed.
God is available as a helper in case of emergency.
Science or technology will solve most problems.
I may need help, but I can negotiate the terms.
Most people are well-intended, but some people are just mean.
If we do not think about thinking, if we are not intellectual disciples of Jesus Christ, then we will find the natural mind staring us in the face. If we’re going to think rightly, we need to do at least three things:

Avail ourselves constantly of the Word of God.
Avail ourselves constantly of the life of the local church.
Depend constantly upon the corrective power of the Holy Spirit present in our lives to conform us to Scripture.
Keep thinking till Jesus comes.

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website:

Monday, October 4, 2010

Jonathan Rourke as CJ Mahaney

Book Review: Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis

Here is another interesting book. Socialism by economist Ludwig Von Mises is a classical masterpiece that is still relevent today. In this book, Von Mises critiques socialism not only in the economic arena, but how it affects every area of one's life. What I want to see is that you read the book for yourself... You can read it online at It will change your focus on how you view the crisis America is facing today and what we can do about.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

All I Have is Christ


I once was lost in darkest night
Yet thought I knew the way
The sin that promised joy and life
Had led me to the grave
I had no hope that You would own
A rebel to Your will
And if You had not loved me first
I would refuse You still

But as I ran my hell-bound race
Indifferent to the cost
You looked upon my helpless state
And led me to the cross
And I beheld God’s love displayed
You suffered in my place
You bore the wrath reserved for me
Now all I know is grace

Hallelujah! All I have is Christ
Hallelujah! Jesus is my life

Now, Lord, I would be Yours alone
And live so all might see
The strength to follow Your commands
Could never come from me
Oh Father, use my ransomed life
In any way You choose
And let my song forever be
My only boast is You

© 2009 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Economophobia: A Critical Analysis of Hayek and the Road to Serfdom

Here is an article written by my friend Christos Makridis. This can be view at
Economophobia: A Critical Analysis of Hayek and the Road to Serfdom

Unequivocal evidence indicates that the economy is suffering from what is characterized as the most catastrophic economic contraction since the Great Depression. Although these types of challenges are inevitable, policymakers can choose to react in productive or unproductive ways. History is plagued with decisions that have brought civilizations to their knees; however, history also is littered with success stories where nations have transcended their challenges towards more prosperous times. The United States is at the crossroads between two polar opposite worlds; in one world, the United States embarks on a failed path, traveled by the Weimar Republic, while in the other, the United States returns to its traditional roots. The choices that are made in the next year will determine the success or failure of the United States.

A Brief History of Germany Pre-World War I

The aftermath of World War I created a power vacuum; not only was Germany’s economy in a severe contraction as a result of debt payments and reparations, but also Germany’s political class was in chaos. In the aim to appeal to the public, a wide array of national associations formed, each promising their own version of prosperity and reconstruction. Yet, these parties were unable to retain their constituents in the face of ongoing economic, political, and social turmoil during the 1920s. Although the political class was organized, it remained vertically fragmented; its structure, from the top down, was unable to articulate and implement a cogent strategy with concrete results (Berman). Political incompetency, fused with severe circumstances, led to a significant deterioration of events.

Faced with the herculean challenge of restoring Germany’s previous economic might, the nation decided that the only way to catalyze their economy would be to start printing money at an accelerated rate. Because of Germany’s economic obligations, as per their agreement post-World War I, to the victor countries, Germany had approximately £6,600 million to pay in debt (HON). Despite Germany’s efforts to regain economic control, hyperinflation resulted due to the massive printing of national currency, plunging their economy into further debt. Specifically, Germany’s economic collapse eroded the distinction between the middle and lower classes, transforming everyone into a consumer with functionally zero bargaining power. As a result, the public became extremely susceptible to revolutionary goals and began to follow suit National Socialism, due to its temporary success in stabilizing the domestic currency (the National Socialist party replaced the Reichsbank with the Rentenmark). Soon, Adolf Hitler began arguing for a resurgence of German nationalism, appealing to populist and violent sentiments, eventually receiving massive decision-making power in the German government (Berman).

Wiemar and the United States: Similarities

Students of history understand that human nature follows a predictable pattern. Although we, as Christians, continually seek to improve, civilizations nonetheless make reoccurring errors in judgment. It is not enough to merely be cautious – we must also be proactive in our historical analysis and be ready to shift courses if necessary. Now, the danger is that the United States will follow the same path that the Weimar Republic took, guaranteeing an era of unprecedented tribulation and suffering.

Unfortunately, there are a variety of signs that signal impending danger in domestic and foreign policy decision-making. Yet, perhaps the most distressing signal in American politics lies in the nation’s ability to meet its economic debt obligations. Aside from the recent year’s accelerated rate of deficit spending, the United States has nearly $202 trillion in unfunded liabilities, including programs such as: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and government sponsored pension plans (Kotlikoff). As Laurence Kotlikoff, an esteemed economist[1] at Boston University, remarks, “Most likely we will see a combination of all three responses [massive benefit cuts for baby boomers, astronomical tax increases, and inflation] with dramatic increases in poverty, tax, interest rates and consumer prices.” Already, we see Laurence’s argument being falsified: poverty levels in the U.S. have increased by 3.8 million in the past year, price controls will limit the quality of care in the healthcare industry, and tax rates will skyrocket (PR Newswire; Taylor, et al).

With such distressing economic evidence, the chair of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, as well as other Federal Reserve members, has decided to begin what is known as “quantitative easing,” or monetizing the debt by printing money. Although Ben Bernanke said, on June 3, 2009, that he would not monetize the debt, policymakers are once again contradicting their past statements (Faler). That said, most of the economic policymakers never imagined that the federal government would accelerate this economic quagmire at such a quick rate, necessitating drastic economic measures to be taken, like quantitative easing. Although the United States has “the best and the brightest” working to resolve the economic contraction, Germany also had “the best and the brightest” during its economic collapse. No civilization is immune to poor decision-making.

Another dangerous sign of trouble, that parallels the Weimar Republic, is the acceleration of transfer payments and entitlement reform. With increasing calls to action by the Left, the federal government has dramatically increased the growth of the “welfare state.” As noted above, the poverty levels have increased in the past year more than any other year in U.S. history, apart from the Great Depression. Regardless of whether or not there is merit to legislation that expands transfer payments (Social Security, unemployment benefits, etc), there is unequivocal evidence that the federal government has been expanding its authority at an unprecedented rate. One should see this not merely as an ordinary expansion of power, but instead as a relationship sourced in the dependency of American citizens to its government – identical to the atmosphere of dependence that was prevalent in Germany post-World War I.

On the Precipice

Is there a moment in history where scholars can point to and conclude ‘this was when the country culminated its deviation from honor and the free market’? The most dangerous attribute of centrally planned economies is that they subtly “nudge” society in a certain direction. Policymakers do not create overtly totalitarian legislation. Instead, central planners slowly change the structural framework of a given society. If there is a “first step” in the process, it is the delegation of particular technical tasks to separate bodies (Hayek). It is interesting to note that the nation’s regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein, strongly favors this approach. While at the Harvard Law School, Sunstein published a paper in 2008 (in text at: that argues for the creation of “independent experts” that are tied with the government to “dispel” views that are contrary to public opinion (Greenwald). (Sunstein also coauthored the book “Nudge” that argues for slight nudges in a particular direction). In this sense, the federal government would be hiring individuals to “filter” conspiracy theories, albeit what constitutes a conspiracy will be purely subjective by nature.

That said, the purpose of this article is not to argue that the United States has already – or will become – socialist. Rather, these facts must serve as a warning to individuals that the country may repeat dangerous steps of the past. Of course, the United States – and every modernized economy – has used regulatory agencies to help facilitate the growth of the economy and check dangerous imbalances of power. Yet, students of history must pay close attention to recent developments because we have witnessed a dramatic increase in government and regulatory oversight. The danger is this: once a state takes it upon itself the task of planning economic life, serfdom and totalitarianism become inevitable.

Individualism v. Collectivism: The Dangers of Central Planning

But what does it mean to have a centrally planned economy? We hear celebrities and well known individuals, like Michael Moore and to a large extent Paul Krugman, derail capitalism as an irrational system that perpetuates oppression. Indeed, the goal of private industries is profit maximization, but that is not incompatible with charity, honesty, and righteousness. The central tenet that is rarely addressed lies in a deeper philosophical debate between individualism and collectivism.

Where do our rights come from? It is no surprise that the essential features of individualism are sourced in elements of Christianity and classical antiquity, which were implemented and revered the most during the Renaissance (Hayek). In this sense, respect for man and his innate ability to achieve is rooted in the desire for individual liberty and freedom. These freedoms must come from God only – not other individuals or entities. On the other hand, collectivism argues that an individual’s rights are derived from the government and relevant authorities. The United States’ founding fathers legitimately opposed this philosophy because they were divinely inspired. Individuals, such as Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, knew that the government authority to control life would inevitably result in propaganda, suppression of knowledge, and hedonism. In the words of F. A. Hayek, a political economist who witnessed the rise of socialism in Nazi Germany:

Individualist ethics are general and absolute; they prescribe or prohibit a general type of action irrespective of whether in the particular instance the ultimate purpose is good or bad. To cheat or steal, to torture or betray a confidence, is held to be bad, irrespective of whether or not in the particular instance any harm follows from it… The principle that the end justifies the means in individualist ethics is regarded as the denial of all morals. In collectivist ethics, it becomes necessarily the supreme rule; there is literally nothing which the consistent collectivist must not be prepared to do if it serves “the good of the whole,” because “the good of the whole” is the only criterion of what ought to be done.

The essence of collectivism necessitates that one will inevitably pursue what is “good for the whole” – a motto which is pliable depending on the authority figure in power. More importantly, morality and personal responsibility are eliminated. Collectivism prohibits the opportunity for moral merit and the chance to prove one’s conviction by coercing individuals into a predetermined behavior. Because there is no truly autonomous choice under collectivism, repentance and personal responsibility is impossible. Economic and political arguments aside, the road to serfdom undermines the potential for living a moral and/or Christian life.

Virtue and Honor: The Road to Prosperity

As the founding fathers properly understood, decentralization and private enterprise is the only path towards individualism and personal responsibility. In a competitive society characterized by private enterprise, there is no single entity that can exercise even a fraction of the power that a social planning board would possess; to decentralize power is to necessarily reduce the amount of absolute power. The virtue of competition and a free market economy is its blindness; the forces of supply and demand do not subjectively isolate certain groups of individuals, prohibiting their success and/or worldviews. Instead, competition provides an atmosphere conducive to hard work and merit. In this sense, individuals are rewarded for the constant honing of their talents. As Christians, this is the only type of society that allows for the worship and glorification of God. Any alternative to individualism and the pursuit of excellence will result in coercion and forced choice – the antitheses of autonomy and moral choice.

Although individuals continue to debate the merits between national policy issues, like healthcare and financial reform, the basic tenets of individualism have proven to be the only path towards God. The classical understanding of individualism does not involve selfishness and greed, but rather a desire to perfect oneself into a more God-like individual, for we are all created in God’s image. As such, our duty is to behave like Christ in our journey to exemplify God’s love for humanity. For this reason, each of us must be aware of our environment and understand developments such that we can adapt our behavior to better fit the challenge. A resurgence in collectivism and central planning will not only make the international community worse off, but also result in hedonism and vice. As Christians, we must carefully scrutinize history, learning from the lessons of the past, so that we do not repeat our mistakes.

Sources Cited

Berman, Sheri. “Civil Society and the Collapse of the Weimar Republic.” World Politics 49.3 (1997): 401-429. JSTOR. Web. 18 Aug. 2010. .

Faler, Brian. “Bernanke Warns Deficits Threaten Financial Stability.” Bloomberg. N.p., 3 June 2009. Web. 18 Aug. 2010. .

Greenwald, Glenn. “Obama confidant’s spine-chilling proposal.” Salon. N.p., Jan. 2010. Web. 18 Aug.

Hayek, F. A. The Road to Serfdom. Ed. Bruce Caldwell. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1944.

Kotlikoff, Laurence. “U.S. Is Bankrupt and We Don’t Even Know It.” Bloomberg. N.p., 10 Aug. 2010. Web. 17 Sept. 2010. .

“Nation’s Largest Hunger Relief Organization Responds to New Poverty Numbers.” PR Newswire. N.p., 16 Sept. 2010. Web. 17 Sept. 2010. .

“Study Finds Continued Growth in Federal Regulatory Spending & Staffing.” Murray Weidenbaum Center.

Taylor, John, et al. “Principles for Economic Revival.” Wall Street Journal. N.p., 16 Sept. 2010. Web. 17 Sept. 2010. .

“World War One – The Treaty of Versailles.” History on the Net. N.p., 2010. Web. 17 Sept. 2010. . [abbreviated HON]

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Wall Street Journal: How to Raise Boys Who Read

Here is an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal called "How to Raise Boys who Read."

Here are some points I want to make out....

1. In America today, men are not being men... Period. The American family is broken down and the concept of Biblical manhood is lost in our culture. Instead, boys are more into video games and other forms of entertainment instead of learning. The article states;

The appearance of the boy-girl literacy gap happens to coincide with the proliferation of video games and other electronic forms of entertainment over the last decade or two. Boys spend far more time "plugged in" than girls do. Could the reading gap have more to do with competition for boys' attention than with their supposed inability to focus on anything other than outhouse humor?

Dr. Robert Weis, a psychology professor at Denison University, confirmed this suspicion in a randomized controlled trial of the effect of video games on academic ability. Boys with video games at home, he found, spend more time playing them than reading, and their academic performance suffers substantially. Hard to believe, isn't it, but Science has spoken.

2. Those with strong families tend to not have this problem. The article states again;

offer a final piece of evidence that is perhaps unanswerable: There is no literacy gap between home-schooled boys and girls. How many of these families, do you suppose, have thrown grossology parties?

If parents get their act back together, we would not have many of the problems we are currently having today. America within the next couple of decades will lose its military strength, scientific edge, and freedom if the family is not restored. They need to get involved in raising their own children and not have the state do it for them(Through the public school system). Al Mohler writes;

Don’t reward with video games. Instead, take the games away. If parents do not restrict time spent with digital devices, boys will never learn to read and to love reading.

3. This is a step towards America losing its freedom. Abolition of the family is a goal towards a Communist society. Karl Marx writes;

Abolition [Aufhebung] of the family! Even the most radical flare up at this infamous proposal of the Communists.

On what foundation is the present family, the bourgeois family, based? On capital, on private gain. In its completely developed form, this family exists only among the bourgeoisie. But this state of things finds its complement in the practical absence of the family among the proletarians, and in public prostitution.

The bourgeois family will vanish as a matter of course when its complement vanishes, and both will vanish with the vanishing of capital.

Do you charge us with wanting to stop the exploitation of children by their parents? To this crime we plead guilty.

But, you say, we destroy the most hallowed of relations, when we replace home education by social.

And your education! Is not that also social, and determined by the social conditions under which you educate, by the intervention direct or indirect, of society, by means of schools, &c.? The Communists have not invented the intervention of society in education; they do but seek to alter the character of that intervention, and to rescue education from the influence of the ruling class.

As you can see, the family is a threat to an expanding government. It can provide for itself. The family according to scripture has rulers(mother/father) and subjects(children) that only a national government can imitate. Parents, if your son is addicted to video games or whatever, take it away. You'll be glad you made that choice.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

C.J. Mahaney: The Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment of Spiritual Dehydration

I just read a post by C.J. Mahaney on Spiritual which I hope will bless your soul. The link is Here is the post. Enjoy!
Let me begin this post by asking you four direct questions about the condition of your soul right now:

Do you sense that your affections for the Savior have diminished recently?
Has your appetite for Scripture weakened?
Does your soul seem dry?
Does God seem distant from you?

If so, you are not alone. These struggles are common to even the most mature Christians—so common that Scripture anticipates them. But these are serious problems and must be addressed and not ignored. They don’t just go away over time.

So how should we respond?

Tucked away in the short (and often neglected) letter of Jude we find help and hope:

But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. (Jude 1:20–21)

In these verses we find a command and three practical ways to obey the command.

The command

First, the command: "Keep yourselves in the love of God." This is our responsibility and it requires effort on our part. The good news is that Jude doesn’t leave us guessing. One commentator writes, “Jude did not leave his congregation in suspense about how to keep themselves in God’s love.”[1]

No, he does not leave us in suspense or wondering how to do this. In fact Jude wonderfully provides us with three means by which the reader can keep himself in the love of God.

1. Remind yourself of the gospel (“building yourselves up in your most holy faith”).

The “most holy faith” is the gospel. And the first way we keep ourselves in the love of God is to grow in our understanding of the gospel and to remind ourselves of the gospel each day. There is no more effective way to keep yourself in the love of God each day than to remind yourself of the gospel.

As you meditate upon the gospel, as you preach the gospel to yourself, as you receive the gospel into your soul afresh each day, your awareness of the love of God increases and your affection for the Savior grows.

So how much time do you devote each day to the strategic study, thinking, meditation, contemplation, reflection, and proclamation of the gospel to your own soul as a means of keeping yourself in the love of God?

Review the content of the gospel, rehearse the content of this “most holy faith,” and rejoice in the gospel each and every day. What a sweet assignment! And as we do this we are keeping ourselves in the love of God.

2. Pray in the Holy Spirit (“praying in the Holy Spirit”).

An awareness of God’s love cannot be sustained without prayer. Nor can a relationship with God be maintained or cultivated apart from prayer. So Jude commands us to pray. In dependence upon the Spirit, we pray to God the Father, through the Mediator he has provided in Jesus Christ.

We pray to God at the beginning of the day. We pray at structured times in our day. We pray spontaneously throughout the day. Prayer is not only a discipline it is a means of keeping ourselves in the love of God. This perspective will transform our perspective of prayer and our practice of prayer.

3. Await Christ’s return (“waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life”).

Waiting is not my preference. I don’t believe in lines! I try to avoid waiting in lines at the grocery store and I try to avoid traffic on the road. In fact I’d rather be moving in the wrong direction than stuck in traffic going in the right direction.

On the other hand, I don’t mind waiting 45 minutes for a table when I’m at a restaurant on a date with my wife. Why not? For the next 45 minutes I will look into the eyes of the woman I love with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. There’s a big difference between waiting in line at the grocery store and waiting 45 minutes to be seated when I’m at a restaurant with my wife.

As Christians we wait. But we await the mercy of our Savior that brings eternal life. Think about that! We do not wait for God’s judgment or condemnation. We do no wait for God’s wrath that our sins deserve! No, we are anticipating mercy. We anticipate mercy because Jesus Christ suffered as our substitute, receiving upon himself the wrath we deserve so that we receive mercy—mercy we don’t deserve. That is what we are waiting for.

As we anticipate the future our perspective of present circumstances will be transformed. It will keep us aware of God’s love. On the other hand, "Those who take their eyes off their future hope will find that their love for God is slowly evaporating.”[2]

So are you waiting with eager anticipation? How often do you think about Christ’s return (Titus 2:13)? How often do you think of the new heavens and the new earth (Revelation 21:1–4)? How often do you think of eternal life? And how often do you think about the mercy you will receive in light of the judgment that we so richly deserve?

This eternal perspective will keep us aware of God’s love.

Reminding, praying, waiting—this is how we remain aware of God’s love.


To be honest my grip upon God is sometimes weak. I don’t flawlessly keep myself in the love of God daily. I don’t. My love for Him fluctuates. But while my love for him is uncertain, His love for me is fixed. We keep ourselves in the love of God because God is keeping us in his grasp.

Both at the beginning of this short letter (v. 1) and near the end (v. 24), Jude reminds us that our safety is in the Father’s hold upon us and his preserving grace. As Puritan Richard Sibbes once wrote, “As we say of the mother and the child, both hold, but the safety of the child is at that the mother holds him.”

His grip never weakens.

When I neglect the means that He has given me to keep myself in the love of God, when my grip upon him weakens and my love fluctuates, His grip upon me does not weaken and never changes.

God promises to “keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy” (v. 24). This promise is an enormous assurance for our souls, and especially for those who feel as if their love for God has diminished. Receive this assurance provided from Jude: Our hearts may shift and change but God’s love for you is unchanging. May we keep ourselves aware of God’s unchanging love toward us in the gospel.


If we fail to attend to our hearts, if we fail to attend to our relationship with God, if we fail to obey this gracious command to “keep ourselves in the love of God,” the consequences upon our souls are inevitable. The consequences may not be immediately obvious, but a persisting pattern of neglect will become obvious in time.

So have your affections for the Savior diminished? If so, ask yourself these questions from Jude:

Am I preaching the gospel to my own soul each day?
Am I praying with any level of consistency?
Am I eagerly awaiting Christ’s return and am I longing for heaven?


For more on this topic see C.J.'s recent sermon "Jude: A Call to Contend," at Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, MN (Sept. 12, 2010).


[1] Tom Schreiner, 1, 2 Peter, Jude (NAC), p. 474.
[2] Tom Schreiner, 1, 2 Peter, Jude (NAC), p. 484.