Education

Something to Think About

This past weekend, I was sitting at the airport when a woman a few years younger than me sat down next to me. She was friendly and we struck up a conversation. I soon realized that she was someone who believed in God and traditional values. We chatted about her kids for awhile. As is often the case, she was happy to talk and I was happy to listen. What I wasn’t expecting were the interesting –and rather disturbing–things she was going to tell me.

Keep in mind that I was not directing this conversation in any way. I didn’t ask leading questions or, honestly, any questions at all. She started talking and I simply listened, adding an “Oh, my goodness!” here and there. She had no idea that I blog or have any public platform whatsoever. She was just sharing what was on her heart. But I felt I needed to share it here with you.

She started telling me about her sons and their decisions, individually, to go to a Christian university after their experiences in a secular university.

She first shared that there was a required ethics class at the secular university. Only the students were never allowed to make an ethical choice. It should have been called “unethics.” If they were given a multiple choice option, it never included any good or right choice. It was always something that flew in the face of traditional, biblical values. And, to any normal human being, some of these options were simply horrifying. I won’t even bother to repeat what she told me. It was disturbing beyond measure.

While some kids, perhaps like her boys, can see this for what it is, far more are mightily influenced by these kinds of classes. And this is just one example. I know there are more because I’ve run into them multiple times. Some of you may be able to share examples from the experiences of your own children. They are plentiful and on every secular campus across this country.

The second thing she shared (and she had to wrap this up quickly because we had to go get in line for our flight so I wasn’t able to ask any questions or get more details) was that one of her sons has a gift for speaking and had risen pretty high within the college debate team. This afforded him many opportunities, including giving a speech at the UN. What he soon realized (and I was NOT expecting her to say this) is just how ORCHESTRATED the happenings in our world are. For example, she said, in this world he found himself in, he was given the job to help set up protests for lefist causes. He quickly realized that most protesters are paid actors who are told where to stand and what to do. In fact, he either recorded this happening or saw something that someone recorded. I was listening to flight information about this time, so I missed exactly what she said here. What I did take away is that what we see on the news is not what actually happens. I think we all suspected this already but it was interesting to hear it confirmed.

So, in essence, these kids are learning that morality is pointless and unnecessary. That people should do whatever it takes to reach their goal, dream, or desire. Or what the political party they are following desires. It’s all completely opposite of what the Bible teaches.

A few days before this conversation at the airport, a couple had shared that they had recently moved to Texas from Seattle because of what the schools were planning to teach their kindergartner about sexuality.

Someone also recently told me that their child’s history book had been re-written. That they had removed what were facts and are re-writing what is being taught to our kids. Think about the ramifications of that for a moment.

Ironically, as I was getting ready to post this someone sent me an editorial that was almost rabid in its disdain and hatred of traditional values and historical America. In fact, this person blamed those who held to and appreciated these things as the root of all kinds of evil and the cause of the issues America faces. And guess who this person was? A retired long-time professor at one of our local (nominally Christian) colleges.

Folks, these people are your professors. These are your teachers. It is what they were taught and it is what they are teaching. Are there some exceptions to this? Yes, of course, there are and praise God for them! But they are growing fewer and fewer.

And while some states may be miles ahead of your own in what they are pushing and changing in elementary, middle school, high school, and university classrooms, I think we are kidding ourselves if we do not recognize the serious danger that public education on all levels poses to our kids.

And I don’t say this as simply an observer of this particular type of education. While I have some very pleasant memories and some great friends from my years spent in public education, I have to admit that as I consider my education in small-town America (which took place over 35 years ago), I have to admit that I had my share of teachers teaching against traditional, biblical values already back then–

◆ A teacher promoting Romans 1 living (abandoning what is natural for what is unnatural).

◆ A teacher promoting evolution/atheism

◆ A teacher who was into witchcraft (and talked about it with her students)

◆ A teacher who declared that all roads lead to heaven

◆ And the “hip” P.O.D. (Problems of Democracy) teacher who stood against most everything my parents stood for

Now while two of these were not the kindest to me when I stood up and challenged what they were saying (because I was just that kind of kid), the other three were very tolerant of me and seemed to enjoy debating with me. But the core issue remains the same, does it not? Even back then there was an agenda. And most teachers were following it.

It is no different today. There is an agenda. And it is plainer to see now than ever. No matter which school in which state in which town. All of them are following orders to some extent. They have to…or they lose their funding.

And problems aren’t limited to secular schools and universities, are they? I had the privilege (insert dripping sarcasm) of recently attending the graduation of a small Christian college. In the opening the president quoted from and talked about a book that wasn’t even a Christian book! For twenty minutes he told us what this book had to say about changing society with nary a word of scripture or biblical counsel. I was dumbfounded, quite honestly. But it explained to me some other concerns I had had about that school as my child attended there. It was easy to see the direction he was planning to take the school. And this, a small Bible college in a conservative area of the country.

And even in the Christian school we sent our kids to there was an occasional teacher who told them something that wasn’t biblical. Christian schools are not “safe zones” where you can remove your radar and relax, which is what we hope to do. What we want to do. We are tired. We are weary. We want to rest.

But there isn’t any rest for the diligent, discerning believer. As I Thessalonians 5:21 says:  Test all things; hold fast what is good. This takes effort and intention. And it’s hard. And definitely not popular.

I believe the very best thing we can do for our kids is teach them from the Word ourselves. Talk about what matters. Don’t leave it up to church to do that. We need to stop focusing on the the grades and the games and the shallow stuff of life and turn our attention to the stuff that is going to protect and strengthen our kids for what they are going to face– no matter what school they go to.

Teach them what God has to say in His Word about Creation, about Israel, about love, about courage, about the future, about this world, about Satan. Show them that what the world is teaching them –and even much of the visible church–is just plain wrong, according to scripture. Teach them how to do their own comparing of things to scripture so that they are prepared.

And then be that parent that your student can come to with questions. Be open and honest and real. We don’t have it all together or have all the answers, so we might as well not act like we do. But we can help them find them and we can learn and grow together. The problem is that most people seem not to care about the stuff of life that really matters.

I am not telling you what education to choose. I am simply asking you to think about it. You are sending your kids to a place where they spend most of their waking hours. Be aware of what’s going on and teach your kids to be aware, as well. 

For this modern thing called “education” may be the greatest danger to our next generation.

 

 

Must We Defend the Bible?

A few weeks ago, my youngest daughter, Marissa, casually mentioned that she had had to write a blog post for a school assignment. While this young woman is artistic, she tends to use a paintbrush rather than a pen to express herself (She recently opened an Etsy store, which you can find here). But I have to confess that, after reading what she wrote, I can’t help but wonder if she may end up as a writer, as well.

I believe what she wrote for her school assignment is an important message that believers need to hear. We can get so mixed up by the noise and cacophony that comes at us from all directions and sometimes we lose our perspective. This short post reminds us of some very important truths. I hope it serves as a wonderful reminder and an encouragement, too.

Here is what she wrote–

Do science and the Bible go hand in hand? Must we have science to believe in Scripture? Must we use science to give proof for the Scriptures? These are all questions that have come into discussion in recent times. There has been a scientific push in this day and age. Everything must be be “fact based.”

I contend that the answer to the questions above is an absolute no. This is an unpopular stance to take. However, let me give my reasoning before you discount my claim.

#1) God never needs man to achieve His purposes. While God can use His people and circumstances to reach a soul, He is never dependent on them. The Holy Spirit can change a heart and give faith as He wills and pleases. To say that an individual needs to know the proof of the Scriptures before they can place their faith in the Bible, is giving absolute discredit to God’s power.

#2) Humans are fallen. This intrinsically means that science is fallen. There have been numerous scientific claims that were proven false years down the road. Pharmaceutical companies give false information for the sake of money. Governments make false claims for the sake of their own agendas. News companies spin stories to receive the reaction they want. As long as sin remains on this earth, science will inherently fail. Why should we rely on misinformation from secular sources to prove the Bible given from a holy and perfect God?

#3) The element of faith. Salvation has never been about knowledge. A person coming to faith doesn’t need to know how the creation is backed up by science before they make their decision. They choose to follow Christ based on faith. They choose to follow Christ because they understand the Gospel and its message. To say that science is needed cheapens the Gospel.

#4) The danger of pride. When we say that science is needed to prove Scripture, there is a larger emphasis on man’s knowledge than on God’s Word. Suddenly, humans have the responsibility to prove the Bible based on human knowledge and findings. It’s important to recognize who God is versus who we are. We are His creation. It’s as if the potter’s clay works to prove that their creator exists. How incredibly foolish. We know the Creator exists because we see His workmanship so clearly and evidently. We believe that He exists because He has given us all that is necessary to do so.

Now listen, I’m not saying there isn’t any purpose for understanding how science and the Bible work together. There are times when scientific proof serves as a great confirmation for a doubting believer or the cynical atheist. God can use science for His purposes. However, even if science and the Bible contradict, I will choose to believe that the Bible is the infallible Word of God and remember that earthly knowledge is fallen and a result of a depraved society. His ways are always higher than ours.

 

Some Options for Those with Extra Time

Okay, so by now we are a week or two into our isolation/social distancing. Some of you are still working crazy hours and serving the public (we thank you!!) but there are others who have a little extra time. Our churches do not have services, Bible Studies and meetings and get-togethers have been canceled. Restaurants, stores, gardens, zoos, and most other public places are closed. Many of us have little to do and fewer places to go. And so we are doing all of the things we never get around to doing such as cleaning and organizing and cooking.

But, let’s face it–you can only do so much cleaning.

So I got to thinking…

What are some other ways we can spend this gift of time that many of us have been given?

Lots of things come to mind. Now may be the perfect time to learn to knit or to find a YouTube tutorial on painting with watercolors. It’s a great time to start gardening or baking again. Perhaps it’s time to lift the covers off of old instruments packed away or rediscover our love of photography.

It’s also the perfect time to think outside the box regarding how we can serve others. What are some ways we can encourage others during this strange time in our world? Writing cards, making phone calls, sending texts and emails, and running errands for those who are high risk are just a few ways we can do this during this time.

But one of the best ways we can make use of this time would be to dig into the Word in a more meaningful way. So often we skim or quickly read. Perhaps now is the time to grab a notebook and a commentary or two and really dig in a bit.

In the upcoming month of April we will be reading John 15-21 in the Growing4Life Bible Challenge. When I planned the schedule I had no idea we would be reading the story of Christ’s death on the cross and His resurrection in the same month we celebrate it! (Only God, right?? I love how He does things like this!) If you do not have another study going at this time, I want to invite you to join me in reading the last third of John and focus on Christ and what He has done for you during this coming month. You can find more details here.

Here are some other way to grow your knowledge of the Bible and its influence on the world around you–

This is the perfect time to dedicate yourself to Scripture Memorization. I use the Bible Memory App to help me with this and it’s been so incredibly helpful. But you can also memorize many other ways. Find the best way for you and dedicate yourself to hiding God’s Word in your heart and mind.

I have been amazed at how, during this time of uncertainty and change, my memorized verses have come to my mind and comforted me. A few weeks ago, I woke up early one morning–long before it was time to get up–and, in thinking of the current events, felt myself grow panicky. And then Isaiah 26:3 came to my mind: You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. It was just the balm I needed. God’s Word is truly a treasure.

We can learn doctrine through A Crash Course in Systematic Theology. You will find it here. Taught by Pastor Dean Good to his Men’s Bible Study at Grace Church of North Olmsted, it is a review of the main doctrines in the Bible. It is easy to understand and wonderfully comprehensive.

The Institute for Church Leadership is offering a course on Hermeneutics for free during this unprecedented time. It will be offered through April of 2020. You can check it out here.

I have signed up to take this course which is taught by Dr. Abner Chou. I have appreciated his teaching and am looking very forward to this opportunity to learn more about correctly interpreting God’s Word from him.

Way of Life Literature publishes some very interesting courses. The three listed here each come with powerpoints that are full of visual proofs and photos that make the course come alive. They are currently not shipping hard copies, but you can still purchase the ebooks. If you enjoy history, you will enjoy these (descriptions are from their website) —

Bible Time Ancient KingdomsBible Times and Ancient Kingdoms is a training course on Bible geography, Bible culture, Bible history, and Bible archaeology, which has a two-fold objective: to present apologetic evidence for the Bible and to give background material to help the student better understand the setting of Bible history.

Jews in Fighter JetsJews in Fighter Jews covers the past 2,500 years of the history of the most important and amazing nation on earth, the only nation directly created by God and called by God “my people,” the nation to whom “were committed the oracles of God” and “of whom, as concerning the flesh Christ came” (Romans 3:2; 9:5).

History of the Churches — This enlightening course on church history begins with the apostolic churches and ends with the early 1800s. We show that sound churches have existed side-by-side with apostate ones through the centuries.

I am currently on chapter three of Bible Time Ancient Kingdoms and I am finding it fascinating. It is well written and so informative. You will find lots of other ebooks and Bible studies there. There is even a nice selection of free ebooks for download. While I don’t agree 100% with the author on every topic, I do find that the majority of his work to be sound and edifying. (And, after all, who do we agree with 100% of the time…? That will be one of the most wonderful things about heaven! We will all know the truth about every single doctrine big or small and, therefore, we will all agree!)

The Fuel Project over at YouTube has a FANTASTIC series called Know Your Enemy. It is a thorough overview of Satan’s influence on history. You will never view the world the same again after watching it. It is well-documented and very eye-opening. It gives you the knowledge to understand who our enemy really is and clearly shows how he often presents himself as light and good, all while being the mastermind of deception. I really can’t recommend this highly enough.

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However we choose to use any bit of extra time we’ve been gifted, may we use it wisely. May we not waste hours and hours glued to the news or scrolling through social media. These things aren’t bad, in and of themselves, but let’s keep them from stealing an over abundance of the precious hours we’ve been gifted with.

 

 

Thinking Beyond the Obvious (Part 2)

If we are in the Word, we know that God hates when we love the world. We know that we are to remain unspotted from the world (James 1:27) and that to be friends with the world is to be God’s enemy (James 4:4). But what exactly does worldliness look like?

In the first part of this series we defined worldliness according to scripture and then we looked at a few areas where worldliness creeps in. In that post we talked about entertainment, networking, and language. Today, starting with #4, I’d like to continue to look at areas where we are so prone to worldly thinking–

4. HOW WE PARENT. Christian parenting has undergone extreme changes. Most have fallen for modern day philosophies of raising children in some way. Often, there is nary a difference between the behavior and attitudes of children from Christian homes when compared to the rest of society’s children.

The World: Don’t ever punish your child or speak negatively to them. Always listen to the professionals because they know best. Resign yourself to never again enjoying a meal or any other event that includes your child. If you love your child you will satisfy their every whim and desire and occupy your child every moment of every day.

What the Bible Says: Let’s take all of these things the world says and look at them individually–

First, we know that the Bible tells us to discipline our children. We are told that discipline and correction keep our children from ending up foolish (Proverbs 22:15) or going astray (Proverbs 10:17). We also know that disciplining in a biblical manner not only protects our child but also shows our child how much we love them. No parent loves to punish their child. It takes true love to do something we so hate to do because we know it is in the best interest of our child. The one thing I will say here to any young parents who might happen to be reading this: If your child understands that mom and dad are the authority when they are two, there will be much more family peace and joy for future years. We cannot expect to let them be little tyrants at three, four, or five and then decide to discipline them when they are twelve. The concrete hardens with each passing year. Don’t miss the wonderful opportunity of  not only loving and snuggling our wonderful, forgiving little preschoolers but also establishing loving discipline and parental authority.

Second, we are to look at what the Bible says about parenting and not what worldly professionals tell us. We often say that the Bible is our guide for life but then proceed to ignore it when it comes to this most important of duties–raising the precious children God has given us. May I suggest that parents look up in the Word everything they can find about parenting. Look at examples of parenting in the Word. Find biblical books on parenting, instead of the modern day fodder calling itself Christian but greatly influenced by worldly psychology.

We can and should also look to godly families for our examples rather than to worldly blogs, books, and speakers. One of the things that I suggest to young parents is that they find a Christian family that has teen or adult children who are like they want their kids to be and then talk to them. Find out what they did. How they did it. It is only by following the Bible and godly examples that we can expect to raise kids who love the Lord. The world will always steer us in the wrong direction.

Third, true love is shown by discipline and boundaries and not by fulfilling every wish and desire. We can know this easily by the way God talks about chastening and disciplining us. Hebrews 12:7-11 puts it like this–

If[d] you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. 11 Now no [e]chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

These days, there actually are fathers who never chasten their children. But this is unnatural. Throughout all time, it was recognized that a parent that truly loves his children will not cater to them. They will chasten them and discipline them in order to yield the fruit of a moral or godly life. A parent who loves their child recognizes that some pain–both for themselves and for the child–must be endured now in order to yield fruit later.

How critical it is that we remember that never saying “no” will yield a tyrant; gratifying our child’s every whim will yield a self-centered, selfish adult; and failing to biblically discipline them will hinder their future in every possible way.

Parenting is a very challenging and critically important job. Let’s use the scriptures to determine how we parent rather than the worldly philosophies that will surely fail us.

 

5. OUR VIEW OF EDUCATION. This particular one is often a very, very touchy among believers as they decide how to educate their children and then choose how to navigate the criticisms of their choice. But I want to actually view education as a whole. It has become a bit of an idol to even Christians. If someone has a title behind their name or a bunch of letters after it, they are given immediate respect. I am not against this, as a rule. Many of these people have managed to stay true to God’s Word while increasing their education. They have learned how to remain free from compromise. But what I have found is that so many who are educated have compromised. Just because they are educated does not mean we should listen. We must first establish that they are committed 100% to the inerrancy and inspiration and correct interpretation of God’s Word. This should be our first and most important litmus test of anyone–including anyone with a degree or two or four or ten degrees.

Now, don’t get me wrong–I am in no way against education. But I think it is also extremely important to recognize that the majority of learning institutions in the world are not guiding us towards Christ but very emphatically leading us away from Him. They are not filling our heads with biblical knowledge but very decidedly filling it with human wisdom and vain philosophies. From elementary school through college there is a joined effort to brainwash us away from biblical Christianity, absolute values, and having a moral compass. If we choose to educate our children in public schools or to attend a university or seminary, we must be ever vigilant to counteract the unbiblical information that’s being heard with the Word of God. Vain philosophies and ungodly thinking has entered higher education, both Christian and secular, on a massive, unprecedented scale and we must be Bereans or be led astray.

The World: Education is the golden ticket to freedom and to having authority. If you are educated you have the right to be heard. Professionals are always correct in their assumptions–even if there is no scientific data behind it.

What the Bible Says: I Corinthians 1:18-31 sums this subject up pretty nicely–

For the [g]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 [h]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 [i]stumbling block and to the [j]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.

26 For [k]you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many [l]noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the [m]base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence. 30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— 31 that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”

If we are going to choose to follow Christ and His Word, the world will call us foolish. They will mock, disdain, and ridicule us. As believers, we so often want our cake and to eat it, too. We want to please God and to also win the praise of man. But in so many ways, this is impossible and perhaps no place more so than in this area of education.

Education is a good thing and not wrong, in and of itself. But, just as with any other area of life, we must stay on guard if we want to avoid worldliness when it comes to this topic of education–

First, we must stay on guard against the human wisdom that is in complete opposition to godly wisdom.

Second, we must stay on guard against the pride that can start to invade and take up residence in our hearts when we start to have a few degrees behind our name.

Third, we must carefully evaluate anyone we choose to respect and listen to, rather then giving a free pass simply because of a degree.

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Well, I had planned to cover more than two areas today but to do so would make this post way too long. In fact, it’s probably too long already. I hope that this post has caused you to think and to be encouraged to search the scriptures for yourself.

If you call yourself a Christian, then the Bible should be your final authority in all aspects of life. The world so easily creeps in, doesn’t it? But we can’t let it. And we can only keep this from happening by faithfully running everything–whether it’s how we raise our kids or a choice about education or anything else–through the grid of God’s Word.

 

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