The Politics of Economics

Let me start with a premise: Neither the Democratic Party or the Republican Party exists for the purpose of bettering the lives of the average American. The primary purpose of both parties is to gain and maintain power. Every policy, every bill, every major candidate, is chosen and designed for the single purpose of keeping the party in power.

This does not mean that individual politicians – of both parties – aren’t trying to make things better for the average American. But, such people rarely last long in national politics. Those that last are those who follow the party line, those who contribute to the power of the party.

In the American political system, votes equal power. The more voters a party can convince to vote for the candidates it puts forth, the more power the party will have. Therefore, everything the Republican Party and the Democratic Party do is designed to produce more voters who will vote for candidates from their party. It’s not about what’s best for you and me, or what’s best for the country; it’s all about getting votes. Period.

Of course, both parties portray themselves as the “party of the people.” Both parties constantly undertake massive propaganda efforts to convince the public that they are the “good’ party that can best create a strong economy, is the most moral, and cares about America, while portraying the other party as the “bad” party. Americans have been intensely indoctrinated for so long that most believe that one party is “good,’ and the other is “evil.” We’re largely blinded to the true motivation of both parties – power.

If this premise is true, the implications are profound.

There is a very strong correlation between personal wealth and which party Americans support. The wealthy overwhelmingly support the Republicans; the poor overwhelmingly support the Democrats. The Democrats are perceived as supporting the poor, while the Republicans are perceived as supporting the rich. However, if my premise is correct, then these perceptions are wrong. Neither party supports the rich, the poor, or the middle class – they only support themselves. Neither party actually cares about whether you and I have jobs, or whether the economy is doing well – they only care about getting votes. If a strong economy will give a party more power, the party will work to strengthen the economy. If a weak economy will give the party more power, they party will systematically work to weaken the economy.

Assuming my premise is true, does a strong economy help the Democrats, or the Republicans? Which party benefits from low unemployment and high paying jobs? Which party benefits if the economy stays in the toilet?

It all comes down to votes.

Voters from low-income households overwhelmingly vote Democrat. Voters from upper-middle class to wealthy households overwhelmingly vote Republican.

It is to the Democratic Party’s advantage to increase the number of poor people. Poor people vote Democrat. The longer the economy remains weak, with high unemployment and low-paying jobs, the more people will vote for Democrats.

On the other hand, it is to the Republican Party’s advantage to increase the number of wealthy people. Wealthy people vote Republican. The sooner the economy can turn around, with low unemployment and well-paying jobs, the more people will vote for Republicans.

If my premise is correct, and the primary motivation for everything the Republicans and Democrats do is gaining and maintaining power, then which party is going to work to improve the economy and help people get good jobs?

It seems ironic to me that the party that is stereotyped as supporting the poor is actually the party that benefits the most by keeping them poor. It is equally ironic that the party that is stereotyped as being against the poor is the party that benefits the most from ending poverty.

If my initial premise is correct, then the Democratic Party is systematically working to manipulate the economy to keep people unemployed and underemployed. It is to their advantage to do so. The Republican Party, on the other hand, is systematically working to manipulate the economy to produce high paying jobs for as many people as possible. It is to their advantage to do so.

I don’t particularly like either the Republicans or the Democrats. Both parties are self-serving and power-hungry, and neither actually cares about what’s best for America. But, since it actually helps the Republican agenda for the economy to grow, for people to have jobs, and salaries to increase, I’ll hold my nose and vote Republican. It may not be their intent, but the side-effects of their self-serving agenda benefit the average American far more than the agenda of the Democrats.

Presuppositional Apologetics: An Analysis and Critique

A bit more “academic” than my typical blogs. I actually wrote this for one of my seminary classes.

INTRODUCTION AND THESIS

    There are several approaches to Christian apologetics, or defending the Christian faith. This paper will examine presuppositionalism, a recently developed approach that relies less on evidences, and more on transcendental arguments, than traditional apologetic methods. This paper will summarize the key assumptions and methods of presuppositionalism, examine the benefits and drawbacks of the method, and list some of those who align themselves with the method. The thesis of this paper is that, despite whatever shortcomings the method may have, presuppositionalism provides effective tools for arguing for the truth of Christianity.

A SUMMARY OF THE PRESUPPOSITIONAL METHOD OF APOLOGETICS

Presuppositionalism is a system of apologetics that is generally considered to have begun with Cornelius Van Til (1895-1987), although the roots of presuppositionalism can be traced back to Augustine of Hippo and John Calvin. Presuppositionalism arose from Calvinist and Reformed theology, and teaches that apologists should “presuppose the truth of Christianity and not to think that they can or must arrive at Christian convictions at the end of a chain of secular reasoning.”1

Presuppositionalism begins with a view of epistemology that holds that all knowledge comes by revelation from God. Van Til wrote, “As God has self-contained being and all other being has created or derivative being, so God has self-contained and man has derivative knowledge.”2 As a result, any worldview that does not presuppose the truth of God’s Word is foolishness and vain deception, resulting in suppression of the truth and futile conclusions.

Presuppositionalism also holds that there is no neutral ground between the believer and the unbeliever. One either holds to the biblical worldview, or one holds to an unbiblical worldview. For the apologist to give up the axiom of the inerrancy of scripture is to accept an unbiblical starting point, and is foolishness. Presuppositionalist John Frame states that 1 Peter 3:15 “means not only that the apologist must ‘set apart Jesus as Lord,’ but also that his argument must presuppose that lordship,” and that “apologetic argument is no more neutral than any other human activity. In apologetic argument, as in everything else we do, we must presuppose the truth of God’s Word.”3 Presuppositionalism holds that traditional forms of apologetics foolishly honor the unbiblical worldview of the unbeliever by attempting to find neutral ground that cannot exist.

Presuppositionalism also holds that all people ultimately must presuppose God’s existence, even if they do not know it. Logic, morality, uniformity in nature, and the preconditions of intelligibility all presume the existence of God. All other worldviews must be logically inconsistent in order to account for such things, and are therefore false. In other words, the Christian worldview is the only worldview that can rationally make sense of the universe.

Consequently, presuppositionalism holds that traditional arguments based on various evidences are insufficient. Instead, presuppositionalism focuses arguments at the system or worldview level, arguing against the presuppositions at the foundation of the unbeliever’s worldview. Bahnsen states, “the apologist needs to recognize that the debate between believer and unbeliever is fundamentally a dispute or clash between two complete worldviews – between ultimate commitments and assumptions which are contrary to each other.”4 Presuppositional apologetics uses a transcendental argument, which is “possible if and only if God’s existence is true from the outset of the argument itself.”5 This is an indirect method of proof that argues if the God of the Bible does not exist, we cannot know anything at all. The argument is not that one must believe God exists in order to know anything, but rather that God must exist, whether anyone believes in Him, or not. The argument states that logic, the universe, knowledge, uniformity in nature, and morality could not exist if Christian theism is not true. The believer and unbeliever “together think through the implications of each other’s most basic assumptions so that the Christian may show the non-Christian how the intelligibility of his experience, the meaningfulness of logic, and the possibility of science, proof, or interpretation can be maintained only on the basis of the Christian worldview.”6

ADVANTAGES OF PRESUPPOSITIONALISM

The main advantage of presuppositional apologetics is that transcendental arguments deal with the underlying assumptions below the surface of an unbeliever’s worldview, and demonstrate the unreasonableness and logical inconsistencies in all non-Christian worldviews. Whatever evidence or logical arguments the non-believer presents, the presuppositionalist counters by pointing out that the underlying assumptions of the arguments are inconsistent with the axioms of the non-believer’s worldview. All non-Christian worldviews, when taken to their logical conclusions, can be reduced to the absurd by this method. Additionally, presuppositionalism forces the burden of proof on the non-believer. It allows the Christian apologist to utilize an offensive, rather than a defensive, strategy. Once the non-believer is forced to acknowledge that his worldview is irrational, the door is opened to present the Gospel as the only rational alternative.

OBJECTIONS TO PRESUPPOSITIONALISM

One objection leveled against presuppositionalism is that it is a circular argument. It assumes the Bible is true in order to prove the Bible is true. Presuppositionalists would respond that circular argument is unavoidable, and not necessarily fallacious. Jason Lisle writes, “Some degree of circular reasoning is unavoidable when proving an ultimate standard…an ultimate standard cannot be proved from anything else, otherwise it wouldn’t be ultimate. Therefore, if it is to be proved, it must use itself as the criterion.”7 Note that the Bible itself uses this type of logic in Hebrews 6:13, which states, “When God made His promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself.”

Another objection to presuppositionalism is that it completely ignores evidence, and relies solely on logical arguments. This is not always the case, however. For example, Dr. Jason Lisle, who holds a doctorate in astrophysics from the University of Colorado, is a young-earth creationist who uses presuppositional apologetics to argue for creationism. His use of evidence from astronomy is completely undergirded by a foundation of transcendental arguments and the authority of the Bible. He writes, “One perfectly appropriate use of scientific and historical evidence is to confirm biblical creation… When we say evidence confirms creation we mean that it is consistent with creation – it coincides and shows agreement.”8 He believes that evidence alone cannot prove creation, the Bible, or God, but evidence can and does provide support for belief.

Additionally, some have charged that presuppositionalism always assumes the reformed positions that only the elect few can understand Christianity, that logic and reason are totally corrupted by the Fall, and the non-elect cannot know anything. This may be true of Van Til and some other ultra-Calvinists, but not all presuppositionalists hold these views, and they are not necessary for the method to be successfully utilized.

CONCLUSIONS

    Although presuppositionalism was founded on theology with which non-Calvinists would disagree, the method has added much to the field of apologetics. Skeptics have long called Christianity irrational. Presuppositionalism shows that it is the skeptic who is irrational, and that biblical Christianity is the only rational worldview. It has infused Christian apologetics with additional tools that can be used by the Holy Spirit to reach people for Christ. For many unbelievers, traditional evidences have been unconvincing, but they are finding the presuppositional transcendental arguments more compelling. Whether the Christian should use a presuppositional approach, a traditional evidential approach, or some other approach, depends entirely on the skills and gifts of the apologist, the mindset of the unbeliever to whom the Gospel is being presented, and the leading of the Holy Spirit. Most evidentialists include arguments at the presuppositional level, and most presuppositionalists utilize evidences in their arguments. The difference is primarily a matter of emphasis and underlying theology. I have personally found that a mixture of evidential and presuppositional approaches gives me more tools for reaching a wider range of lost souls for Christ.

SHORT LIST OF PRESUPPOSITIONAL APOLOGISTS

The following Christian writers are aligned with the presuppositional method of apologetics:

  • Cornelius Van Til
  • Gordon Clark
  • John Calvin
  • Greg Bahnsen
  • Francis Schaeffer
  • John Frame
  • Jason Lisle
  • Ken Ham
  • Richard Pratt
  • Mike A. Robinson

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Bahnsen, Greg. Always Ready: Directions for Defending the Faith. Edited by Robert Booth. Nacogdoches, Texas: Covenant Media Press, 1996.

Bahnsen, Greg. “The Crucial Concept of Self-Deception in Presuppositional Apologetics.” Westminster Theological Journal 57, no. 1 (Spring 1995): 1-31. http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu:2048/login.aspx?direct=true&db=rfh&AN=ATLA0000896523&site=ehost-live&scope=site
(accessed September 5, 2009).

Collett, Don. “Van Til and Transcendental Argument.” Westminster Theological Journal 65, no. 2 (Fall 2003): 289-306. http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu: 2048/login.aspx?direct=true&db=rfh&AN=ATLA0001389134&site=ehost-live&scope=site
(accessed September 5, 2009).

Copenger, Mark. “Presuppositionalism.” In The Popular Encyclopedia of Apologetics, edited by Ed Hinson and Ergun Caner, 401-404. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2008.

Frame, John. Apologetics to the Glory of God. Philipsburg, New Jersey: P & R Publishing, 1994.

Lisle, Jason. The Ultimate Proof of Creation. Green Forest, Arkansas: Master Books, 2009.

Van Til, Cornelius. Christian Apologetics. Edited by William Edgar. Philipsburg, New Jersey: P & R Publishing, 2003.

Notes:

1. Coppenger, Mark, “Presuppositionalism,” in The Popular Encyclopedia of Apologetics, ed. Ed Hinson and Ergun Caner (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2008), 402.

2. Van Til, Cornelius, Christian Apologetics, ed. William Edgar (Philipsburg, New Jersey: P & R Publishing, 2003), 31-32.

3. Frame, John, Apologetics to the Glory of God (Philipsburg, New Jersey: P & R Publishing, 1994), 9.

4. Bahnsen, Greg, Always Ready: Directions for Defending the Faith, ed. Robert Booth (Nacogdoches, Texas: Covenant Media Press, 1996), 68.

5. Collett, Don, “Apologetics: Van Til and Transcendental Argument,” Westminster Theological Journal 65, no. 2 (Fall 2003), 291. http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu:2048/login.aspx?direct=true&db=rfh&AN=ATLA0001389134&site=ehost-live&scope=site (accessed September 5, 2009).

6. Bahnsen, Greg, “The Crucial Concept of Self-Deception in Presuppositional Apologetics,” Westminster Theological Journal 57, no. 1 (Spring 1995), 3. http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu:2048/login.aspx?direct=true&db=rfh&AN=ATLA0000896523&site=ehost-live&scope=site (accessed September 5, 2009).

7. Lisle, Jason, The Ultimate Proof of Creation (Green Forest, Arkansas: Master Books, 2009), 145.

8. Lisle, 98.

Mexico Mission Trip – Report

Today’s blog is by a guest blogger, my daughter Stacey.


This summer, my brother Joey and I went to Mexico for the first time. I had never been out of the country before, so I was very excited. I was also afraid, because I speak very little Spanish.

The first day was mostly traveling and unpacking at the compound we stayed at. We called it “the compound”, but it was more like a campus. There were several buildings which housed some of the staff, and a main building where interns and groups like ours stayed. We could see huge mountains in every direction. They were really pretty in the morning, when the sunrise was behind them and clouds seemed to rest on top of the peaks. The mountains were one of my favorite parts.

The second day was more eventful. After eating breakfast, we visited a children’s home called Casa Hogar Douglas. Since it was Sunday, we got to see the church there. It was cool to listen to so many people worshipping in Spanish. When the service started, we left and cooked chicken burgers for the children at the home. They ate with us, and we played with them for a while. Some of us went down to the library and cleaned it. There are very few libraries in Mexico. Many of the children can’t read when they arrive at children’s homes, so the staff built this library so they could learn and enjoy books the same way we do in America.

I became friends with a little boy named Roberto. He liked to watch the girls paint each other’s nails, and decided he wanted to try. One of the staff let him paint hers. After the first one, he left. We were kind of confused. He came back with water and a napkin. Apparently, he didn’t like how it had turned out and wanted to start over! This time, he painted all of the girl’s nails. We were all amazed at how good at it he was. If he had the opportunity, he could do it for a living.

On the third day, we came back to Casa Hogar Douglas. This time, another girl and I played jump rope with some of the kids. They were really good at it, especially the boys. I learned how to count a little in Spanish. One of the little girls was trying to be like us and kept asking my brother, “Do you want a piece of me?” He said “yes”, so she beat him up. He was fine, she was only five.

It was hard for us to leave, because we weren’t coming back the next day. Some of the kids started crying, and some wouldn’t stop hugging us. It was good to know that we had made a difference to them, even though it was sad when we left.

My favorite day was the fourth. We went to Rio 3, which was what the staff called the area. Basically, it was a community by a river. The people living there literally had nothing. They had built their houses out of whatever they could find, like fences or pieces of old buildings. We served a lunch at the church there, and passed out the leftovers to people in the community. Then we gathered all of the kids we could, and played games. One of the staff read them a story called Tu es Especial (you are special). I didn’t understand the words, but I realized later that I had read the book in English a long time ago, when I was little.

During the story, a girl about eleven or twelve sat down next to me. When the story was over, the kids colored a picture of a ribbon that said (in Spanish, of course) “thank you for making me special”. I watched the girl color and we talked, I with my limited Spanish, and she with her limited English. She told me that her name was Vero, and that there was a fruit tree near her house. When she was done coloring, she showed me her picture and held it out to me, saying “tu”. You. She wanted me to take her picture. The point of coloring it was for her to understand how special she is, so I didn’t let her give it to me. She looked disappointed, and walked away. When it was time to go, I headed towards the bus. Suddenly Vero was there, with a big smile on her face. She handed me a piece of paper and hugged me. I looked at the paper, and it said, “thank you for making me special”. I was confused. Why was it so important to her that I have that paper? She looked up at me and grinned, and then I understood. Vero knew how special she was. Now she wanted to make sure I knew how special I was. This little girl, who had almost nothing, was more concerned with making sure that the people around her knew that they were loved, that they were not worthless.

I understand now the needs of these people. Yes, they need food and shelter. But more than that, they need love. They need someone to care about them. They need someone to share the love of Jesus Christ with them. I think people don’t understand this. They send money, clothes, and food, and there’s plenty of it. But how many are willing to send themselves? How many of us are willing to go and be with the orphans, the poor, the homeless?

The organization we went through, Back2Back, works to meet all of the needs of people like the ones we met, in Mexico, Nigeria, India, and Haiti. They have come up with five categories of needs: physical, social, educational, emotional, and spiritual. Why is it that we are so eager to meet only the physical needs? These people are just like us, they need friends, family, education, love, and especially God. I encourage you to pray about this. Why not go to a homeless shelter or food bank near you? I know that it’s awkward to socialize with people you’ve never met, but it’s worth it.

The fifth day went quickly. We worked at a children’s home that’s still being build. In one of the rooms we were painted, I discovered enormous moths, easily as big as my hand. Since I was apparently the only one there not afraid of insects, I had to chase them out. It wasn’t fun. Imagine standing on a ladder while bugs the size of bats fly at your face. That’s what it was like. When we got back to the compound, I had to chase a two inch long flying cockroach out of the girls’ room. That was also interesting.

On day six, we took a field trip with another children’s home to a park. It was incredibly hot. We played a version of tag, and spent most of the time running around. When it was time for lunch, we sat under the three tiny trees in the park. Unfortunately, several hundred fire ants had beaten us to the shade and they bit everyone. Despite the ants, it was fun.

After the field trip, we went back to the children’s home and hung out with the kids. A few of us walked around and prayed over different parts of the home. We met some of the older girls and talked with them. We found out that one of the oldest ones had been accepted into the Hope program.

In Mexico, education only goes up to 9th grade, and when you turn sixteen, you have to leave the children’s home you live at. Most of these kids don’t have enough education to get a job, so they turn to drugs or prostitution to support themselves. Back2Back created the Hope program to give the kids a chance at a better life. Kids who are accepted move to the compound I stayed at and live with some of the staff. There are about forty kids living there, ranging from 10th graders to college students. They all have jobs to help pay for their education, but a lot of their tuition is paid for with donations. Some of the kids are also sponsored by Americans. The sponsors pay $100 a month per child, and write to them four times a year. Some of the people on our team decided to sponsor a child.

The last day, day seven, was mostly travel. While it’s good to be home, I miss those kids I met. I want to go on another mission trip, either to Mexico or another country. This trip has changed me for the better. I’ve made a commitment to be more involved with the ministries in my community, to meet the physical, social, educational, emotional, and spiritual needs of the people in Fairfield.

If you have never been on a mission trip, I encourage you to go. We in America have been given so much. The average person here lives on more than $100 per day. Over 40% of the world’s population lives on $2 a day. We have the resources to make a difference in so many people’s lives. I ask you to pray about it. I also encourage you to read a book, Helping Without Hurting. It’s a good guide for those who aren’t sure how to meet the social, emotional, and spiritual needs of people in need.

I have had an amazing experience, but it wouldn’t have been possible without help. Thank you to those of you who helped Joey and me raise enough money to go to Mexico and help so many people. The money you’ve given helped improve the living condition of a child. They appreciate everything you’ve made possible.

I can honestly say that this has been the most incredible experience in my life. After praying about it for a long time, I know that I am meant to be involved in ministry. I don’t know yet if it will be a career, or if it’s just something to do when I can, but I will do whatever the Lord tells me. It’s not hard. You just have to be willing to do it. Paul instructs us to minister “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ But how are they to call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!'” (Romans 10: 12-15) Paul is sending us. It’s up to us to preach so people can hear and believe.

I know, you feel like you can’t make a difference. Here’s a story I heard in Mexico: a man walks along the shore of an ocean. He sees a boy picking up something and throwing it back into the ocean. He walks up to the boy and asks, “What are you doing?” The boy replies, “Throwing starfish back into the water. The tide washes them up, and if I don’t throw them back they’ll die.” The man says, “Look, there are miles of beach and thousands of starfish. You can’t possibly make a difference.” The boy listens politely, then picks up another starfish and throws it into the water. “Well,” he says, “it makes a difference to that one.” Yes, you can’t help everyone. So just concentrate on helping one person at a time. That one person will thank you. And so will God.

Stacey Wendling

It’s a Great, Big, Stupid World (Part 1)

If Jesus came back today
They’d try to book him on the Oprah Winfrey show
‘Cuz it’s a great big stupid world
Great big stupid world

Randy Stonehill, “Great Big Stupid World,” Wonderama

This is the first in a series looking at stupid ideas people have.

Today’s topic: What Would Jesus Cut?

I ran across this ad while Web-surfing:

click to enlarge

It was printed in Sojourners Magazine in 2011, and endorsed by 28 “progressive” Christian leaders.

Why do I think this is stupid?

First, it assumes that Jesus would have anything to do with American politics.

I’ve read the New Testament several times, but I can’t remember reading that Jesus involved Himself in secular politics at all. The closest He came was to make the statement about Roman taxes, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” Jesus never stated anything about how those taxes should be spent. He never indicated anything about how the secular government of His day, the Romans, ought to do business. Most of His followers thought He would be a political Messiah, overthrowing the Romans and setting up an independent Jewish state. Jesus made it very clear that His kingdom is not of this world, and He intentionally stayed out of Roman political issues.

Secondly, although Jesus did make numerous statements about the poor, He never said the government should take care of them. Jesus made statements like:

“One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” Mark 10:21

“But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind.” Luke 14:13

These passages do show that Jesus taught that it is important to give to the poor. However, His comments were directed at religious leaders, not secular politicians.

Jesus also stated the following:

“The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them.” Matthew 11:5

“For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always.” Matthew 26:11

“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor” Luke 4:18

These statements demonstrate that Jesus was more interested in having the Gospel preached to the poor than in making sure their material needs were met. Jesus taught that it is more important that the eternal spiritual needs of the poor are met than their temporary physical needs. This obviously does not mean that meeting the physical needs of people is unimportant. Jesus Himself healed the sick. But, it does mean that Jesus was far more interested in drawing people to Himself than He was in meeting worldly needs.

Jesus never said anything about:

  • International aid that directly and literally saves lives from pandemic diseases
  • Critical child health and family nutrition programs – at home and abroad
  • Proven work and income supports that lift families out of poverty
  • Support for education, especially in low-income communities

Thirdly, I find it interesting that the “Christian” ad in question doesn’t quote any Scripture to support their position.  It’s also interesting that these “progressive” Christian leaders ignore what Jesus said about other issues, like marriage, prayer, and evolution.

To ask “What would Jesus cut?” is a stupid question. There is nothing in Scripture to indicate that Jesus would have involved Himself at all with the issue, and in fact, there is much to indicate He would stay completely out of the discussion. This ad is nothing more than a thinly-veiled attempt to invoke the name of Jesus to promote a liberal political agenda.

Don’t get me wrong; the federal government should work to prevent diseases, feed the poor, help people get jobs, and support education. Both liberal “progressives” and social conservatives would agree that these issues need to be addressed, although they would disagree with how to best provide for these needs. But, to claim that Jesus would cut parts of the federal budget, but wouldn’t cut international medical aid, nutrition programs, work and income supports (aka welfare), or education, is completely unsupported by the Bible.

Jesus is neither a Democrat nor a Republican, neither a conservative nor a liberal. He is the Creator of the universe and Savior of mankind, not a political pundit. For any so-called Christian political group to imply that Jesus is on “their side” is heretical, ignorant, and downright stupid.

Seven Obstacles to Sharing Your Faith, Part 7

I ran across an article a while back on christianitytoday.com by Chris Lutes entitled Seven Reasons Not to Share Christ (and why we should go ahead and do it anyway). I thought it would make a good a good blog series.

The seventh reason listed by Lutes:

7) “I don’t even know where to start”
Why not start by inviting a non-Christian friend to your youth group? Maybe your group has special events that are fun outreach nights with no heavy Bible studies. At least invite a non-Christian to take in a movie with you and your Christian friends. Then what? Well, when the subject of faith comes up, start with the story of how you became a Christ-follower. Or talk about why you’re a Christian and how God helps you live life. Just be honest, just be real, just be you—and you might be surprised at how much God can use to reach out to others.

My friend Carl Kerby often quotes Mark Cahill, who says, “Evangelism is a conversation, not a presentation.”

Sharing your faith isn’t about giving a speech, or saying all the right things in exactly the right way. It simply involves telling others about what God has done in your life. Maybe you’ve had a hard time turning conversations to spiritual matters. You’re probably overthinking. Just start talking about what’s important to you – maybe your family, your church, or your Christian friends. If Jesus is what’s truly important in your life, then the topic is sure to come up. And, Chris Lutes is right – invite your non-Christian friend to hang out with you and some of your Christian friends. Whether it’s going to a movie, getting a cup of coffee, having a cookout, or playing ball, as you get to know the person better, the topic of your faith is bound to come up. When it does, don’t get hung up on sharing the “Romans Road” or “Four Spiritual Laws.” Start out by simply telling what God has done in your life, or why your faith is important to you. Let God work out the details. Too often, we get hung up because we forget that it’s the Holy Spirit that leads a person to Christ, not us. Just start talking, and let God do the rest.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt to prepare yourself by studying the relevant Scriptures, or reading a book on personal evangelism. We’re told in 1 Peter 3:15 to “…always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you…” However, don’t get so hung up on the technique that you don’t say anything. God is more interested in you allowing Him to use you than He is about you knowing all the right things to say.

Where do you start? Start by praying and being open to God’s leading. Then, just get to know people, and God will provide you with the opportunities.

Random stuff from Facebook and emails, Part 7

Random pictures I either
found on Facebook
or had emailed to me.


Part 7:  Uncategorized Random Stuff 1


Because these pictures all came off Facebook or emails, I’m not sure where any of this stuff originated, so if anyone knows, post a comment, and I’ll credit the source and link to it.

Here are some things I couldn’t categorize…

Click on a photo to see a larger version:

     
     
   

Is the Message of the Cross Foolishness?

1 Corinthians 1:18-25

18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”

20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

As I have talked with many atheists and skeptics over the years, the one attitude that comes up over and over is the belief that Christianity is foolish. They argue, God cannot be proved; the Bible is a collection of myths; and dead people don’t come back to life. Anybody who actually believes this stuff must be a simpleminded fool.

My typical response is to point out that the only reason these things seem foolish to them is because of their presuppositions. Most atheists begin with the presupposition that nothing supernatural exists; therefore, any argument for the existence of God must be false. The logic here is totally circular, yet, when I point this out, they can’t seem to understand. Because most atheists presuppose some version of naturalism, they believe that the scientific method is the only way we can know anything for certain. However, the very belief that all knowledge must come through observation of the natural world is self-refuting – one cannot observe that this belief is true. The very foundation of almost all of their arguments is based on a logical fallacy! But when I point out the fallacies in their thinking, they just don’t understand. It is incomprehensible to them that their entire worldview is based on an absurdity.

Most of the atheists, agnostics, humanists, and skeptics I’ve interacted with are quite intelligent. I have often been frustrated by the fact that such obviously intelligent people can’t seem to understand the incongruity of their unbelief. To believe that the entire universe popped into existence all by itself, in all its vastness and complexity, without any supernatural intelligence guiding the process, is absurd. Yet, when I clearly show them why their thinking is preposterous, they just can’t seem to understand. How can intelligent people not understand simple logic, clearly explained?

The message of the cross is foolishness to those who choose to reject God. But, in reality, it is those who reject the Gospel who are fools.

1 The fool has said in his heart,
“There is no God.”
They are corrupt,
They have done abominable works,
There is none who does good.
Psalm 14:1

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
Proverbs 9:10

Paul talks about the cross of Christ being a stumbling block to the Jews, and foolishness to the Greeks. In Paul’s day, the Jews knew a lot about God and the Bible, but most didn’t actually know God. To them, the cross was a “stumbling block.” Today, there are many “religious” people for whom the cross is also a stumbling block. The cross gets in the way of religiosity. The cross means we cannot make ourselves acceptable before a holy God. Only through the blood of Jesus can we be accepted by God.

The Greeks of Paul’s day were nominally polytheistic, but actually lived as atheists or agnostics. Much like today’s humanists, they believed human understanding was the ultimate authority, and they saw the cross of Christ as foolishness.

I finally realize that the reason most skeptics can’t understand the Gospel is not an issue of intelligence – it’s a matter of the will. They don’t understand because they don’t want to understand. 2 Peter 3:5 says that they are “willingly ignorant” – they choose to ignore the truth. Looking back, I was the same way before I received Christ. None of us seeks after God on our own (Romans 3:11); it is only because God seeks after us that any of can respond to the Gospel. The Bible clearly teaches that God seeks everyone in the world (John 3:16), but only those who choose to believe will be saved. And, it’s only after we have received Christ that God opens our minds so that we can really understand.

The cross of Christ seems foolish to those who choose to reject it. But, to those who choose to receive Christ when the Holy Spirit draws them to Himself, the cross is the power of God. The cross has the power to overcome our sin. The cross has the power to restore the relationship between us and God. And, the cross has the power to transform our lives. Real foolishness is to reject the cross.