Friday, December 29, 2006
I appreciate his references to C. S. Lewis's reminders about the danger of adopting a medical view of crime and evil. Lewis reminded me of Dr. Karl Menniger's book entitled What Ever Happened to Sin?
Menninger was a physciatrist but not a Christian yet he concluded, along with Lewis, that the elimination of sin (and evil biblically defined) has an inescapable impact upon a society. Consider what Lewis writes in God In the Dock:
"According to the Humanitarian theory, to punish a man because he deserves it, and as much as he deserves it, is mere revenge, and, therefore, barbarous and immoral. It is maintained that the only legitimate motives for punishing are the desire to deter others by example or to mend the criminal. When this theory is combined, as frequently happens, with the belief that all crime is more or less pathological, the idea of mending tails off into that of healing or curing and punishment becomes therapeutic. Thus is appears at first sight that we have passed from the harsh and self-righteous notion of giving the wicked their deserts to the charitable and enlightened one of tending the psychologically sick. What could be more amiable?" (pp. 287-288)
"My contention is that this doctrine, merciful though it appears, really means that each one of us, from the moment he breaks the law, is deprived of the rights of a human being... when we cease to consider what the criminal deserves and consider only what will cure him or deter others, we have tacitly removed him from the sphere of justice altogether; instead of a person, a subject of rights, we now have a mere object, a patient, a ‘case'...But to be punished, however severely, because we have deserved it, because we ‘ought to have known better', is to be treated as a human person in God's image." (288, 292)
"For if crime and disease are to be regarded as the same thing, it follows that any state of mind which our masters choose to call ‘disease' can be treated as crime; and compulsorily cured. It will be vain to plead that states of mind which displease government need not always involve moral turpitude and do not therefore always deserve forfeiture of liberty. For our masters will not be using the concepts of Desert and Punishment but those of disease and cure. We know that one school of psychology already regards religion as a neurosis. When this particular neurosis becomes inconvenient to government, what is to hind government from proceeding to ‘cure' it? Such ‘cure' will, of course, be compulsory; but under the Humanitarian theory it will not be called by the shocking name of Persecution. No one will blame us for being Christians, no one will hate us, no one will revile us. The new Nero will approach us with the silky manners of a doctor, and though all will be in fact as compulsory as the tunica molesta or Smithfield or Tyburn, all will go on within the unemotional therapeutic sphere where words like ‘right' and ‘wrong' or ‘freedom' and ‘slavery' are never heard. And thus when the command is given, every prominent Christian in the land may vanish overnight into Institutions for the Treatment of the Ideologically Unsound, and it will rest with the expert gaolers to say when (if ever) they are to re-emerge. But it will not be persecution. Even if the treatment is painful, even if it is life-long, even if it is fatal, that will be only a regrettable accident; the intention was purely therapeutic." (p. 293, emphasis added)
So dear reader I ask you the question, can it happen here? It happened in the Soviet Union for most of the 70 years of its existence. Remember that ideas have inescapable consequences. Consequences that have profound judicial, political, and social implications. Rejecting the biblical view of creation, the fall, man, etc., has profound implications too! The solution? the worldview of the Gospel!
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Friday, December 22, 2006
Jay Abraham masterfully writes:
I have a very simple philosophy on life. You shouldn’t steal from yourself. If you are going to commit your life to an enterprise, wealth creation, security and the financial well-being of your family…and if other people – your staff, your team, your employees, your vendors – are going to commit their lives to you, you owe it to yourself and to everyone else to get the highest and best results. You should never accept a fraction of the yield when with the same effort or less, the same people or fewer, the same time or less, the same capital or less, the same opportunity cost or less, can deliver so much more to you currently, and perpetually.
Monday, December 18, 2006
Boniface of Crediton spent the first forty years of his life in quiet service to the church near his home in Exeter. He discipled young converts, cared for the sick, and administered relief for the poor. He was a competent scholar as well, expounding Bible doctrine for a small theological center and compiling the first Latin grammar written in England. But in 718, Boniface left the comfort and security of this life to become a missionary to the savage Teutonic tribes of Germany. For thirty years he not only proclaimed to them the Gospel of Light, he portrayed to them the Gospel of Life.
Stories of his courageous intervention on behalf of the innocent abound. He was constantly jeopardizing his own life for the sake of the young, the vulnerable, the weak, the helpless, the aged, the sick, and the poor—often imposing his body between the victims and their oppressors. Indeed, it was during one of his famed rescues that his name was forever linked to the celebration of Advent during Yuletide.
Wherever he went among the fierce Norsemen who had settled along the Danish and German coast, he was forced to face the awful specter of their brutal pagan practices—which included human mutilations and vestal sacrifices. When he arrived in the region of Hesse, Boniface decided to strike at the root of such superstitions. He publicly announced that he would destroy their gods. He then marched toward their great sacred grove. The awestruck crowd at Geismar followed along and then watched as he cut down the sacred Oak of Thor, an ancient object of pagan worship standing atop the summit of Mount Gudenberg near Fritzlar. The pagans, who had expected immediate judgment against such sacrilege, were forced to acknowledge that their gods were powerless to protect their own sanctuaries. Together, they professed faith in Christ.
A young boy from a neighboring village, hearing of such boldness, rushed into the missionary camp of Boniface three evenings later. It was just about twilight on the first Sunday in Advent. He breathlessly told of a sacrifice that was to be offered that very evening—his sister was to serve as the vestal virgin.
Hurrying through the snowy woods and across the rough terrain, Boniface and the boy arrived at the dense sacred grove just in time to see the Druid priest raise his knife into the darkened air. But as the blade plunged downward Boniface hurtled toward the horrid scene. He had nothing in his hands save a small wooden cross. Lunging forward, he reached the girl just in time to see the blade of the knife pierce the cross—thus, saving her life.
The priest toppled back. The huddle of worshipers were astonished. Their was a brief moment of complete silence. Boniface seized upon it. He proclaimed the Gospel to them then and there, declaring that the ultimate sacrifice had already been made by Christ on the cross at Golgotha—there was no need for others.
Captivated by the bizarre scene before them, the small crowd listened intently to his words. After explaining to them the once and for all provision of the Gospel, he turned toward the sacred grove. With the sacrificial knife in hand, he began hacking off low hanging branches. Passing them around the circle, he told each family to take to the small fir boughs home as a reminder of the completeness of Christ’s work on the tree of Calvary. They were to adorn their hearths with the tokens of His grace. They might even chop great logs from the grove as fuel for their home fires, he suggested—not so much to herald the destruction of their pagan ways but rather to memorialize the provision of Christ’s coming. Upon these things they were contemplate over the course of the next four weeks, until the great celebration of Christmas.
Such exploits inspired a number of Advent traditions. The Advent wreath—a fir garland set with five candles, one for each Sunday in Advent and one for Christmas Day—was quickly established as a means of reenacting the Gospel lesson of Boniface. In addition, the Christmas tree, decorated with candles and tinsel, strings of lights and garlands under the eaves and across the mantles, and the Yule log burning in the fireplace were favorite reminders of the season’s essential message.
In time, Boniface established a number of thriving parishes. He eventually became a mentor and support to the Carolingians, and he reformed the Frankish church, which Charles Martel had plundered. Ultimately, he discipled Pipin the Short, the father of Charlemagne the Great.
Then, when he was over 70, Boniface resigned his pastoral responsibilities, in order to spend his last years working among the fierce Frieslanders. With a small company, he successfully reached large numbers in the previously unevangelized area in the northeastern Germanies. On Whitsun Eve Boniface and Eoban were preparing for the baptism of some of the new converts at Dokkum, along the frontier of the Netherlands. Boniface had been quietly reading in his tent while awaiting the arrival of his new converts, when a hostile band of pagan warriors descended on the camp. He would not allow his companions to defend him. As he was exhorting them to trust in God and to welcome the prospect of dying for the faith, they were attacked—Boniface was one of the first to fall.
Though his voice was stilled that day, his testimony only grew louder, surer, and bolder. And thus, to this day, his message lives on—in the traditions of Advent.
Friday, December 15, 2006
If your child’s success in life is important to you, there’s one thing you must do while they’re young. Regardless of whether they work in business, ministry, the home, in government, in a school, or anywhere else, doing this one thing for them will pay off big.
Back in 1883, Wilbur Crafts, a well-known author, pastor, and public speaker of his day, published a book called Successful Men of Today. Crafts surveyed hundreds of successful businessmen and found something very unusual. The vast majority of them grew up in the country. Crafts said, “I find … that while only 47% of our population of working age reside in country districts, they furnish 57% of our successful men. While the cities, with 20% of the population, furnish 17% (of the successful men). A very large majority of our famous men were farmers’ boys.”
But Crafts went on to say that being from the country was not what made these men successful. What made them successful was that, as farmer boys, they learned to work hard at a very young age.
While Crafts’ information is over 120 years old, Marty Rossmann, at the University of Minnesota, confirmed his finding in 2002. Rossmann’s studied 84 young adults. She recorded how young their parents made them do chores and compared it to their success (measured by completing education, starting a career path, IQ scores, relationships with family and friends, and not using drugs). She discovered that the children who learned to do chores when they were three or four was the best predictor of the person’s success in their mid-20s.
Some parents feel that they can wait to teach their children to work when they’re teenagers. But Rossmann’s research found that this was the worst time to teach children to work. In fact, those children who didn’t do household chores until they were 15 or 16 were the least successful of all those she studied.
Learning to work at a young age was so important, it was a bigger factor in a child’s success than anything else – including IQ.
So if you want your children to be successful in life, teach them to work when they’re young. Training a three-year-old to work isn’t going to hurt them (as long as you don’t overwhelm them). In fact, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).
– Steve KroeningSource: Crafts, Wilbur F. Successful Men of Today, 1883; http://www1.umn.edu/systemwide/enews/101702.html.
Saturday, December 09, 2006
If you are not familiar with the work of The Chalcedon foundation, and the late Dr. R.J. Rushdoony, you should be. Here is an excerpt from the Chalcedon blog site:
"Too many of God's people want promises and not commandments. Too many desire keys to successful living and not laws directed towards holiness. Too many are self-indulgent and refuse to embrace their Christian responsibility. We as teachers are surely to blame. Until conversion happens first in the pulpit the pews will continue the march down the wide path to destruction."