An Examination of Biblical Precepts Involved in Issues at Hand
WORSHIP VARIOUS 1. BUSH & Co's Phase II, Destruction of Freedom 2. Enemy Combatants!! 3. Hitler 4. Government Schools promote Islam 5. USA, a Muslim Nation 6. Liberal Deny God's Word, Titus 2:5 7. Enjoy Your Articles PERSONAL 1. Winter 2. Computers 3. Book 4. Ministry Update 5. Note for Pastors 6. Marriage 7. No Wedding? No ring? No problem BOOK REVIEWS, Death of the Church Victorious **Tracing the roots and implications of modern Dispensationalism** 1. By Joseph Canfield 2. By Pastor John Weaver WAR: WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR?, Thomas Williamson LAHAYE'S TEMPERAMENT, Dave MacPherson AN EXCITING DAY AT RAPTURE BIBLE COLLEGE, Dave MacPherson HOMSCHOOLER Is Home Education Out?
One wonders if the Worship Service has many times become little more than an entertainment service where people come to experience God? Are people there looking for a close to God feeling? Many churches have gone so far as to have two services: a traditional service and a contemporary service, as they try to be all things to all people.
God alone defines worship, and how He must be worshipped. (Exo. 20:3-6.) How does God define worship? Is it defined as simply a meeting of a group of believers? Does God define worship in terms of Worship Service, Worship Songs, Worship Leaders or Worship Teams? Does worship consist of getting a mystical look on one's face, raising of the hands, and singing a few nice words over and over? Does worship consist of a set of drums and other instruments beating out a religious rhythm that at times sounds more like a jungle beat than something that belongs in a Christian church, particularly when the beat overwhelms the words? (Psalms 150 speaks of several instruments [no drums in Scripture, that I can find] used to praise God, but you cannot read into the passage that the music used in that praise sounded like the pagans' music, nor that the music was used to draw in the pagans to the house of God.)
Basically, worship means to bow down, e.g., Psalms 95:6, Daniel 3. But if we restrict worship to bowing down or lifting our voices in praise, then what more do we have than have the Muhammadans who bow down three times a day in worship of their false god?
Among the several things worship is connected with in Scripture, we have the following mentions that seem to be overlooked today:
First, worship is connected with glorifying His name, Psalms 86:9. The Lord rebuked His people for entering the gates to worship Him, yet they were going their own way and doing their own thing otherwise; they were worshiping the Lord, yet ignoring the ways in which He had commanded them to walk. (Jer. 7. Isa. 30:2.) Thus their worship was no worship; rather, it was sin that brought judgment upon them:
And come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations? (Jer. 7:10.)
Ver. 10. And come and stand before me in this house, &c.] In the temple; this they did after they had been guilty of such immoralities and idolatry; thinking by their appearance there, and their performance of a few ceremonies, and offering of some sacrifices, that all were atoned for: or this denotes their impudence, that, after the commission of such notorious crimes, they should have the front to come into the house of God, and stand before him, as if they had never departed from him, and were his people, and the true worshippers of him:
which is called by my name; the temple of God, the house of God, the sanctuary of the Lord; and where his name was also called upon, being a house of prayer; or where prayer was made to the Lord:
and say, we are delivered; from the punishment of the above sins, by coming into the temple, and standing before the Lord in it; by calling on his name, and offering sacrifices, though with impure hearts and hands, and in a hypocritical way
to do all these abominations; before mentioned; theft, murder, adultery, perjury, and idolatry. The sense is, either we are delivered and freed from punishment, that we may do these things with impunity; this is the use we make of, and the inference we draw from, our deliverance from evil: or we are delivered, though we commit these abominations, and therefore in them: or, seeing we are delivered, therefore do we these things; not that they really said these words, but this was the language of their actions. The Syriac version is, "deliver us, while we commit all these sins". (John Gill, Online Bible. See also, Jamieson, Fausset, Brown [JFB] Commentary, & Matthew Pool, also on Online Bible.)
God's people came and performed ceremonies of worship, and that worship, they felt, delivered them from the just punishment of their disobedient living the rest of the time. Biblical worship glorifies God in all that is thought, said and done:
Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Cor. 10:31.)
Second, worship is connected with service, Jeremiah 13:10. Service obedience, labour and work. I do not believe you will find Scripturally that worship consists of working up some spooky, mystical feeling that will cause people to respond to an "invitation". Rather, worship includes not only humbling one's self before the one being worshiped, but it includes serving, or obeying the one being worshipped, even unto the death. (Dan. 3:28, Matt. 4:10, Lk. 4:8.)
Third, worship is connected with obedience and teaching the commandments and judgments of God to our children, Deuteronomy 6, Proverbs 22:6, Ephesians 6:4. Thus education for a Christian's children must be in terms of the word of God. Anything other than a Biblically grounded education for our children is an act of apostasy for a believer. It involves worshipping other gods and bowing down before them to learn from them. (RJR, Institutes of Biblical Law, pp. 21, 22.)
Under the compulsory education laws, every child of school age must attend the five day a week worship service, either the government worship experience, Christian school worship experience or home education worship experience. (See end note about the Muslim control of text books in California.)
Not only do children attend worship services every Monday through Friday during the school year, but parents must attend worship services in their work place, home or wherever the Lord may have them throughout the week.
How many people revel in wonderful worshipful experiences they might have had and how much they enjoy worshipping the Lord, yet they have their children in the government schools? Their worship is thus no more than a show.
Worship also involves obedience to Titus 2:5that is, teaching women to be keepers at home. How many churches urge women to get out of their homes and onto church staffs? (My wife's daughter, Jennie Chancy has the web site, ladiesagainstfeminism.com. She continually receives e-mail from women who want to obey God, yet their church leadership's wives all work, and they condemn the women who want to obey God as commanded by Titus 2:5. She told me of one woman who recently contacted her whose pastor's wife rebuked her for not working outside of the home. Pastors, and Christians, have removed Titus 2:5 from the Word of God, yet claim to love God and His Word. They are hypocrites.)
The Lord used some harsh words against those who claimed to worship Him, yet they reject the commandment of God:
7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. 8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. 9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. (Mark 7.)
The next verse, v. 10 (For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother...) makes it clear that Christ referred to the Ten Commandments. Thus He soundly rebuked them for going through their religious rites, rituals and ceremonies of worship while rejecting the Commandments, so they could do their own desires.
Fourth, worship is connected with fear, 2 Kings 17:36:
But the LORD, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt with great power and a stretched out arm, him shall ye fear, and him shall ye worship, and to him shall ye do sacrifice.
Fear of the Lord is defined by the Lord:
Thus, worship of the Lord and fear of the Lord go together. Genuine worship of the Lord will result in departing from evil.
Fifth, worship is connected with sacrifice, 2 Kings 17:36 above (see also Genesis 22 where God told Abraham to sacrifice his only son, and that sacrifice was an act of worship, v. 5):
Sacrifice The offering up of sacrifices is to be regarded as a divine institution. It did not originate with man. God himself appointed it as the mode in which acceptable worship was to be offered to him by guilty man. ... (Online Bible.)
1 ¶ I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Rom. 12.)
Yes, the Lord requires of His people the sacrifice of praise continually (Jer. 33:11, Heb. 13:15), but that sacrifice is hateful to Him without the living sacrifice of one's self as required in Romans 12:1. (Cf., Rom. 13:14.)
In other words, worship that does not point toward and produce holiness is hypocrisy, just as much as it was in Jeremiah chapter seven. The Lord pronounces serious judgment upon empty worship that does not promote holiness of heart:
Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid. (Isa. 29:13, 14.)
Biblical, New Testament worship is more than the surrender of the will to God as revealed in His word:
[I]t is the response of God's Spirit in us to that Spirit in Him, whereby we answer "Abba, Father," deep calling unto deep. Its object is not ingratiation, which is unnecessary, nor propitiation, which has been made "once for all," nor in any way "serving" the God who `needeth not to be worshipped with men's hands' (Acts 17:25), but it is the loving attempt to pay our unpayable debt of love, the expression of devoted hearts, "render(ing) as bullocks the offering of our lips" (Hosea 14:2). For detail it is not a physical act or material offering, but an attitude of mind: "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit"; "sacrifices of praise, with which God is well pleased"; not the service of form in an outward sanctuary, the presentation of slain animals, but the service of love in a life: "Present your bodies a living sacrifice"; not material sacrifices, but spiritual: your rational "service"; not the service about an altar of stone or wood, but about the sanctuary of human life and need; for this is true religion ("service," "worship," threskeia), "to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction"; not the splendor of shining robes or the sounding music of trumpets or organs, but the worshipping glory of holy lives; in real fact, "hallowing Thy name," "and keeping oneself unspotted from the world." The public worship of God in the presence of His people is a necessity of the Christian life, but in spiritual Christianity the ceremonial and outward approaches, if it does not quite reach, the vanishing point. (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [ISBE, s.v. worship].)
How many go to church looking for and having a wonderful worshipful experience, yet their lives are vain, as they set out to serve mammon with all their heart, soul and strength the rest of their time. Genuine worship has very little to do with mystical feelings that cause people to respond to an "altar call". Rather, godly worship produces holy living and daily service in the Kingdom of God. All of the Worship Services, Worship Songs, Worship Teams and Worship Leaders in the world will not hold back the hand of God against worship that does not produce holiness.
Sixth, worship is connected with praise, Psalms 138:2. The reason David found to worship and praise the name of the Lordfor the Lord has magnified His word above even His name. God had promised to David a glorious future in a Saviour from his line to redeem His people. David praised the Lord for His word of promise, which, though heaven and earth might pass away, would not fail. Even in his praise, the Word of God was magnified above all else.
Seventh, even the devils know who He is, and will worship Him; they believe and tremble, James 2:19.
Mark 5:6 But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him <4352>, 7 And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not.
4352. proskunew proskuneo pros-koo-neh'-o; from 4314 and a probable derivative of 2965 (meaning to kiss, like a dog licking his master's hand); to fawn or crouch to, i.e. (literally or figuratively) prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence to, adore):worship. [See also Neh. 8:6, ed.]
Worship does not necessarily mean one is serving or is a servant of Christ. Here we see that this demon ran and bowed down before Christ, rendering Him homagethat is, he acknowledged Christ's superiority, power, authority and control over even the fallen spirits. (See Ps. 72:9, 1 Tim. 5:21, Jude 1:6.)
We should note that worldly wealth and acclaim are many times offered to worshipers, so worship services that attract large crowds are not necessarily the sign of God's blessings. (Lk. 4:7.)
Along the line of worship, let me mention that it seems there are groups, churches, that desire to be under the old Jewish ritualistic form of worship. Admittedly, that is their business, but the Author of the New Testament used a lot of words telling the new church that it was not a continuation of the Jewish rites and rituals, and that it had no business seeking after the old ways.
According to the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia:
There are no references to yearly Christian festivals, though the wide observance in the sub-apostolic period of the Jewish Passover, with references to the death and resurrection of Jesus, and of Pentecost to commemorate the gift of the Holy Spirit, argues for their early use. The place was of course at first in private houses, and the earliest form of Christian church architecture developed from this model rather than the later one of the basilica. 1 Corinthians gives rather full data for the worship in this free and enthusiastic church. It appears that there were two meetings, a public and a private. The public worship was open, informal and missionary, as well as edificatory. The unconverted, inquirers and others, were expected to be present, and were frequently converted in the meeting (1 Corinthians 14:24). It resembled much more closely, an evangelical "prayer and conference meeting" of today than our own formal church services. There is no mention of official ministrants, though the meeting seems to have been under some loose guidance. Any male member was free to take part as the Spirit might prompt, especially in the line of his particular "spiritual gift" from God, although one individual might have several, as Paul himself. Largely developed on synagogue lines, but with a freedom and spirit the latter must have greatly lacked, it was composed of:
(1) Prayer by several, each followed by the congregational "Amen."
(2) Praise, consisting of hymns composed by one or another of the brethren, or coming down from the earlier days of Christian, perhaps Jewish, history, like the Benedictus, the Magnificat, the Nunc dimittis, etc. Portions of these newer hymns seem to be imbedded here and there in the New Testament, as at Revelation 5:9-13: "Worthy art thou," etc. (compare Revelation 15:3; 11:17, etc.); also: "He who was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the spirit, Seen of angels, Preached among the nations, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory" (1 Timothy 3:16). Praise also might take the form of individual testimony, not in metrical form (1 Corinthians 14:16).
(3) Reading of the Scripture must have followed, according to the synagogue model. Paul presupposes an acquaintance with the Old Testament Scriptures and the facts of Jesus' life, death, resurrection. Instructions to read certain epistles in the churches indicate the same.
(4) Instruction, as in 1 Corinthians 2:7; 6:5, teaching for edification. (These passages, however, may not have this specific reference.)
(5) Prophesying, when men, believed by themselves and by the church to be specially taught by the Holy Spirit, gave utterance to His message. At Corinth these crowded on one another, so that Paul had to command them to speak one at a time.
(6) Following this, as some believe, came the "speaking with tongues," perhaps fervent and ejaculatory prayers "so rugged and disjointed that the audience for the most part could not understand" until someone interpreted. The speaking with tongues, however, comprised praise as well as prayer (1 Corinthians 14:16), and the whole subject is enshrouded in mystery. See TONGUES, GIFT OF.
(7) The meeting closed with the benediction and with the "kiss of peace." (ISBE, s.v. worship)
Worship glorifies His name.
Worship obeys the Lord's commandments, and labors in the word and work of God.
Worship fears God, and departs from evil.
Worship sacrifices one's self to the Lord to do whatsoever He desires.
Scriptural worship demands far more action than words. A far better description of a worship would be the following:
Worship Services studying scripture to equipt the saints for the work of the ministry.
Worship Songs songs that conform to Scripture, both in rhythm, beat and words. There were groups of Levites in the house of the Lord whose job it was to produce music and sing praises to the Lord, e.g., 2 Chronicles 29:25.
Worship Leaders leaders of "work groups".
Worship Teams "work groups" that are active in the community, e.g., evangelism, community help activities, activists groups that work to bring about godly morality in the community (library, civil service, &c.), care for the needy in the community.
You and I will go to a worship service tomorrow. That worship service may be in a "church" building, but it probably will be in any number of places: "education facilities, work place, home, & .
Scriptural worship produces active obedience, holy living, service to the God of the Christian Bible and service to our fellow man. I am afraid that much of what is called worship today is little more than a program designed to appeal to the lower nature; it is designed to attract and hold a crowd, so the debt payments can be made and the leaders can receive a good income.
What do we expect out of our worship experience?
(Though the draft of "the Patriot Act II" has been in the works for many month, Ashcroft's Justice Department denied to all inquiries, even inquiries from the House Judiciary Committee, that there was nothing of the sort in the works. Now, after months of lying about its existence, Ashcroft's staff has released the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003, or, as it has become known, "the Patriot Act II. The entire article can be found at <http://www.public-i.org/dtaweb/report.asp?ReportID=502&L1=10&L2=10&L3=0&L4=0&L5=0>, or contact me, and I can send you a hard copy of the article. Below are a few excerpts from the article as found on The Center for Public Integrity's web site. There is no doubt that we would have been better off with Gore in the White House, for then the misled "conservatives" of our day would have spoken out against these "terrorist" attacks against American freedom. The terrorists Americans must be alert for are the ones now in control of the White House.)
Justice Dept. Drafts Sweeping Expansion of Anti-Terrorism Act
By Charles Lewis and Adam Mayle
(WASHINGTON, Feb. 7, 2003) -- The Bush Administration is preparing a bold, comprehensive sequel to the USA Patriot Act passed in the wake of September 11, 2001, which will give the government broad, sweeping new powers to increase domestic intelligence-gathering, surveillance and law enforcement prerogatives, and simultaneously decrease judicial review and public access to information.
The Center for Public Integrity has obtained a draft, dated January 9, 2003, of this previously undisclosed legislation and is making it available in full text (12 MB). The bill, drafted by the staff of Attorney General John Ashcroft and entitled the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003, has not been officially released by the Department of Justice, although rumors of its development have circulated around the Capitol for the last few months under the name of "the Patriot Act II" in legislative parlance.
"We haven't heard anything from the Justice Department on updating the Patriot Act," House Judiciary Committee spokesman Jeff Lungren told the Center. "They haven't shared their thoughts on that. Obviously, we'd be interested, but we haven't heard anything at this point."
Senior members of the Senate Judiciary Committee minority staff have inquired about Patriot II for months and have been told as recently as this week that there is no such legislation being planned.
Mark Corallo, deputy director of Justice's Office of Public Affairs, told the Center his office was unaware of the draft. "I have heard people talking about revising the Patriot Act, we are looking to work on things the way we would do with any law," he said. "We may work to make modifications to protect Americans," he added. When told that the Center had a copy of the draft legislation, he said, "This is all news to me. I have never heard of this."
After the Center posted this story, Barbara Comstock, director of public affairs for the Justice Dept., released a statement saying that, "Department staff have not presented any final proposals to either the Attorney General or the White House. It would be premature to speculate on any future decisions, particularly ideas or proposals that are still being discussed at staff levels."
An Office of Legislative Affairs "control sheet" that was obtained by the PBS program "Now With Bill Moyers" seems to indicate that a copy of the bill was sent to Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert and Vice President Richard Cheney on Jan. 10, 2003. "Attached for your review and comment is a draft legislative proposal entitled the `Domestice Security Enhancement Act of 2003,'" the memo, sent from "OLP" or Office of Legal Policy, says.
Comstock later told the Center that the draft "is an early discussion draft and it has not been sent to either the Vice President or the Speaker of the House."
Dr. David Cole, Georgetown University Law professor and author of Terrorism and the Constitution, reviewed the draft legislation at the request of the Center, and said that the legislation "raises a lot of serious concerns. It's troubling that they have gotten this far along and they've been telling people there is nothing in the works." This proposed law, he added, "would radically expand law enforcement and intelligence gathering authorities, reduce or eliminate judicial oversight over surveillance, authorize secret arrests, create a DNA database based on unchecked executive `suspicion,' create new death penalties, and even seek to take American citizenship away from persons who belong to or support disfavored political groups."
Cole found it disturbing that there have been no consultations with Congress on the draft legislation. "It raises a lot of serious concerns and is troubling as a generic matter that they have gotten this far along and tell people that there is nothing in the works. What that suggests is that they're waiting for a propitious time to introduce it, which might well be when a war is begun. At that time there would be less opportunity for discussion and they'll have a much stronger hand in saying that they need these right away."
Copyright 2001, The Center for Public Integrity. All rights reserved
Court: U.S. Can Hold Citizens as Enemy Combatants
Appeals Court Rules in Favor of Government in Holding Hamdi
By Tom Jackman
Washington Post Staff Writer, Wednesday, January 8, 2003; 3:38 PM
"A federal appeals court today ruled that the government has properly detained an American-born man captured with Taliban forces in Afghanistan without an attorney and has legally declared him an enemy combatant. ..." (Complete article upon request."
Does this mean that any American citizen who is declared by the State to be an "Enemy Combatant" (EC) can be held without an attorney? Who determines who is an EC? How long before any person who is not Politically Correct will be declared an EC? Though I am not one, will "White Supremacist" be considered ECs? We know from past experience that the "Black Supremacist" will not be considered an ECs. Will Bible Believing Christians be considered ECs, for we know that as the State considers itself god on earth, those who will not bow before it will be considered enemies of the State, e.g., Daniel. "It will never happen here" is a foolish statement as long as men are sinners. My SS card had stamped on the back of it, "This number is not to be used for identification purposes".
"An evil exists that threatens every man, woman, and child of this great nation. We must take steps to ensure our domestic security and protect our homeland."
Adolph Hitler, proposing the creation of the Gestapo in Nazi Germany.
Textbooks said to 'hide' problems with Islam
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Published February 7, 2003
World history textbooks in U.S. classrooms sanitize the problems of Islam when compared to how they often treat Western civilization, a review of seven widely used texts reported yesterday.
The study, released by the American Textbook Council, said a rosy treatment of Islam may arise from the lobbying of the Council on Islamic Education on national publishers.
"When any dark side [of Islam] surfaces, textbooks run and hide," said the report, "Islam and the Textbooks," by Gilbert Sewall, a former professor who directs the council.
"Subjects such as jihad and the advocacy of violence among militant Islamists to attain worldly ends, the imposition of [Shariah] law, the record of Muslim enslavement, and the brutal subjection of women are glossed over," the 35-page study says.
This contrasts, the report suggested, with the candor in textbooks over such events of Western history as the Crusades, the Inquisition, slavery, imperialism, Christian fundamentalism and women's suffrage. ...
Shabbir Mansuri, founding director of the Council on Islamic Education, yesterday was sent a portion of the report. Other than describing the textbook council as "a conservative group," he had no comment. ...
The Council on Islamic Education, formed in Orange County, Calif, in 1989, has sent publishers guidelines and definitions for words for the textbook treatments and protests if texts offend Muslim sensibilities, the new report said.
"For more than a decade, history-textbook editors have done the Council's bidding, and as a result, history textbooks accommodate Islam on terms that Islamists demand," the report said.
It noted that the Council on Islamic Education, which influences California public schools with materials and classroom speakers, is not listed as a nonprofit group and is funded by private donors. "My efforts to find out where the money comes from have met a stone wall," Mr. Gilbert said. ...
[Collin Earnst, spokesman for Houghton Mifflin] rejected an assertion in the report that, although conservative Christian protests about textbook content are not heeded, Islamic protests are heeded to the point of censoring publishers. ...
Comment: Again, we are confronted with the sin of leaving Christian children in the Government schools, i.e., government worship centers.
None of this [attempts to vilify Pastor Youngblood for a sign he has in front of his church] is especially surprising to the preacher. "Bitter hatred and animus are the very heartbeat of Islam," he [Pastor Gene Youngblood of First Conservative Baptist Church, Jacksonville, Fl.] says. "The Muslim approach is to scream 'foul anytime something negative is said, but I'm here to say Islam is the most horrifying, dangerous thing on the horizon facing America.
"... Islam will dominate America. You can go around the globe, there's not a nation that Islam has ever started in but that it did not ultimately control. Ignorant, anemic, immature Christians don't understand the threat because they haven't studied the Word of God." (World, Truth or CAIR [Council on American Islamic Relations], 3/22/03)
CAIR, with the help of Saudi Prince Alwaleed ibn Talal's gift of $500,000, will place pro-Muslim literature in 17,000 public libraries across the US. Try to get pro-Christian literature in there! Christians must orginize in their local communities and keep that trash out of their community library.. If Christians continue to withdraw from society and wait for a "rapture" to solve the weighty social and political problems, their children will be in a Muslim country with a Green Flag over the White House.
Below is another letter I received from one of my articles posted on Jennie's web site, ladiesagainstfeminism.com. She continually gets similar letters. They are heartbreaking for those of us who believe the Bible. May God see fit to deliver us from men, pastors particularly, who have cut Titus 2:5 out of their Bibles by refusing to teach and believe it. The modernist movement that cuts up God's word to support personal opinions is bringing God's judgment against modern Christianity.
Date: Thu, 13 Mar 2003
Dear Reverend Need:
Thank you so much for your bold articles at "Ladies Against Feminism". I enjoy reading them. The Lord is really ministering to my husband and me through them.
We would appreciate your prayers. We have been having financial problems that we have recently been able to recover from slowly due to my husband's diligence, and over all the Lord's faithfulness and goodness. However, the session of our church is pressuring my husband (as well as myself) for me to find a job outside the home. We are passionately against this, for obvious biblical reasons, and we are meeting with our session tonight to explain this to them. Please pray for our wisdom and humility.
Again, it's so nice to read your articles. You are a very talented writer.
Many blessings to you, your family and church.
In Christ, ...
This is an unusual winter, even by Indiana standards, where I grew up, and after being gone for about 15 years, returned until we moved here. I thought we were supposed to be in the south here in Virginia. There were two feet of snow outside of our house (February 17, 2003, it snowed about 2inches an hour), making travel in this area of Virginia difficult, if not impossible. I must admit, this was my first experience with this much snow. Thank the Lord there was no wind to go with it at this time. Our driveway is about a quarter mile long, and was hard to keep open. Though we have plenty of wood for heat, I really did not expect this much snow between us and the wood pile. After about 12 inches melted, we got another 6 inches. It is now March 16, and although we have had many warm days, there is still enough snow in the shade to have snowball fights.
Praise the Lord we were not pressed to go anywhere.
Here are some pictures I thought you would find interesting. Remember, we are in the south.
To the wood pile
On a yard stick
My wife's youngest daughter lives in Huntington TX, and she and her family made a surprise visit up here for Bettie's birthday, February 23. (3 day trip.) Bettie's oldest daughter, Jennie's husband, Matt Chancey, works for a company in Harrisonburg VA (about 1 hour south of us through New Market Gap), and his company bought out a theater for a premier showing of "Gods and Generals". They invited us to go with them to the showing. (If you have not seen it, don't miss the picture. It will be the shortest 3 ½ hours in a theater that you will spend.) We were sitting in the theater waiting for the show to begin when in walked her youngest daughter and her family. They were able to stay here for a week with us and Bettie's other two children, Jennie and David, who live close at hand. Their girls (they have three girls and a baby boy) had never seen snow, and we got the extra 6 inches while they were here. It "snowed them in" for two extra days, which gave the girls a chance to see where snow comes from, and to go sledding.
Bettie's supprise birthday present: all of her children (3) and grandchildren (11, all 5 and under) from TX, and local (Harrisonburg, Toms Brook VA). Christina is in front.
The PC is a great invention, placing publishing within the grasp of any person with the drive to publish Biblical material, as well as a great tool of the enemy. However, we can become dependant upon the PC. My desk top PC lost access to the hard drive (probably a bad motherboard). I believe all of my files are still on the hard drive, but I have not been able to access them yet. My backups were a little old, so this mailing list may be not be up to date.
I update after every mailing, but all of the corrections may not be in this mailing. Have patience with us.
Talk show host, John Anderson (<lighthouseworldministries.com> or <www.gcnlive.com>) contacted me to do a radio interview about the book, Death of the Church Victorious. We were on twice, Thursday evening, 2/13, and again Sunday evening, 2/16. (Check gcnlive.com for more information. John Anderson and Tom Valentine are live on the web, shortwave, AM & FM.) Tom Valentine also contacted me, and we were on for a two hour call in show with him. Mr. Anderson said he wanted to get me on other talk shows. If you would like to know when I will be on where, drop me an e mail, and I will notify you by the same.
Mr. Anderson also had us come down to Sparta, NC, for a session on a video tape. He is having a "BIBLE PROPHECY CONFERENCE", May 1-3. It is not a prophecy conference like the ones you and I are probably familiar with (Tim LaHay/Jerry Fallwell/Hal Lindsey type). It will be more the Gary DeMar type, who is one of the featured speakers. The title of the video is "Israel 1948 Super Sign of The Last Days?", and should be ready by the conference date. Retail for 19.95. Phone order # 866-669-9600.
A very unusual thing happened to my wife, Bettie, and me at a preachers' conference (it came totally unexpectedly; we are still in "shock"). We attended Pastor Lloyd Shepherd's conference in Union City, Indiana, January 20 through 22 this year. He sent out invitations some time before the meeting, and when I told him we planned to come out to the meeting, he asked me to speak a little on second marriages because of some situations he was dealing with. Furthermore, he said that Bettie's and my situation was unique a widowed Baptist pastor and a widow of a Baptist minister getting together.
I was not scheduled as one of the speakers, so Brother Shepherd said he would work me in. I took a little over the 30 minutes, and explained some things Bettie and I have learned through our situation, and how those things helped in our second marriage, and how they should be applied to first marriages. The Lord used my few words to speak to one of the pastors, the father of two of the single young ladies, about how much these things are needed by young people who are confronting a first marriage. After my talk, this pastor came to me and told me that what I said needed more time to be developed. The Lord dealt with him to have a family conference at his place in Southern Indiana. This pastor has a primitive camp ground with showers, &c., and a meeting hall. He said the Lord laid on his heart to have Bettie and me come down for a weekend meeting toward the end of June. (See NOTICE in this issue of the Examiner.)
One thing that impressed my wife and me was the number of young ladies at this small meeting there were 14 from about 15 years old up. Many of them were marriage age, and have been trained in the skills of homemaking and in being a help meet for the man of the Lord's choice. Bro Shepherd let Bettie meet with the young ladies and their mothers who wanted to attend. The meeting was productive, as she was able to share some things she has learned over the years by working with drug addicts, young people and by mentoring young ladies in her home after her husband was killed. She had a very good meeting with the ladies.
The parents of these young people expressed concern over where their young people would find their mates. It seems that young people must go to college to find a mate more than to get an education. That is sure an expensive way to find a wife or husband, and college is not God's will for everyone. Besides, many parents are greatly concerned over the education their young people will receive at the average Christian college, not to mention what will be forced upon them in secular colleges.
** Bettie and I have spoken with several pastors seeking their advice in this area, and here is the way we believe the Lord is leading (all we have spoken with have encouraged us in this area). We would like to start a distinctly Christian matchmaking service. The base will be broader than Matchmaking for Reformed Singles, formerly Schlissel Family Service (ReformedMatchmaker@yahoo.com) That service is very restrictive for Reformed Singles only. We will only restrict our service to Christians, but will try to match according to the candidate's doctrinal position.
Bettie and I have wanted to do a book on second marriages since we have been married. When I spoke, I also mentioned about our desire to do a book, applying what we have learned and are learning for not only those facing second marriages, but also for those facing first marriages. Three men immediately requested the book! I assured them it was not even written yet, but we were getting it together.
My oldest daughter, Jessica, lives just south of Dayton in Franklin, OH. The church she and her husband attend specializes in counseling. (They will not counsel a non-church member without a letter from that person's pastor.) Bettie and I met with their pastor to see if we were too far off base. He told us that such a book is badly needed. He knows of only a few paperbacks on the subject of second marriages, and they are mostly fluff. He mentioned one good tape series, but the teacher of the series was in his first marriage.
He gave us suggestions, and encouraged us to write the book and explore a possible "matchmaking" service.
We have put together a "questionnaire" letter as a result of the preachers' meeting at Pastor Shepherd's and our meeting with Pastor Russ Kennedy of Clear Creek Chapel, which is distinctly Baptistic in its theology (clearcreekchapel.org).
** We are requesting, with your help, that we be put in contact with Christians who are in their second marriages. Our time is short and there is a great need for the material we can make available, by God's grace. Either give us, with their permission, their names and addresses, or we will send you the material to give to them.
We sent letters to all the pastors we know of on our mailing list, enlisting their aid in this matter. Rather than send another first class letter to you pastors, let me make the appeal here. Would you please address as many of the issues as possible that we mentioned in the "Help us" letter, and address them from your experience in counseling others?
This is a major project we are trying to do, and we need all the input we can possibly get.
Bettie and I both readily admit that we are way over our heads in what the Lord has laid upon our hearts, so we must depend totally upon His grace to see us through. Please keep us in your prayers as we attempt a new (for us) ministry, equipp the saints for godly families, and glorifying God in every thought and action.
It seems, therefore, that the Lord has, at this very late era of our lives, given Bettie and me a new "ministry", a ministry to families to help prepare young people for marriage by working with parents and strengthening the parents. We do not have a clear vision yet, for this all came upon us completely unexpectedly and without warning, but we are depending upon the Lord to do for us what we are unable to do.
With the Lord's help, we will work to change the emphasis of the Examiner to reflect the new direction the Lord has opened for us, emphasizing the family.
I picked up the following article a few years ago, so it is a little outdated. It recently gained new meaning for us, and again shows how the family has been neglected in the Christian community. We have a small house on the property that we have been trying to rent (It was built in 1996 for Bettie's parents, who passed away a few years ago, and now has new carpet and paint). Everyone tells us of the shortage of rent houses in this area, but we have been unable to rent this house. After several months, it still sits empty. Why? At least 5 out of 6 calls on the house have been from people "shacking up", which we will not allow in the house.
The excuses have been about the same. "My fiancee (seldom boy friend or girl friend) and I are in a committed relationship". Or "We plan to marry soon", to which we say, "Call us back after you are married". We even had one man call and say "My wife and I want to come look at the house". When they got here, I asked them how long they had been married, and he said they were not married yet, but plan to be soon. I said we were Christians and could not rent to "shackups". The man said, "I am a Christian also". Another woman called and said her husband and she wanted to look at it, and made an appointment. But the "husband" called latter to change the anointment, and it turned out that they were only living together. Many times there are children involved also. The sad thing is that there is no shame in the open immorality, fornication and adultery. I realize we are in the DC area of influence, which seems to be wicked in the extreme.
What has happened to the Christian influence in society? The silence of Christians against wickedness has allowed Christianity to be effectively neutered by the wicked society.
More and more Americans opt for cohabitation
BY JAY TOLSON
Before 1970, it was called "living in sin" or "shacking up," and it was illegal in every state of the union. Why then, many social scientists are beginning to ask, has America's 30-year rise in unmarried cohabitation remained a shadow issue in the family-values debate?
"Unlike divorce or unwed childbearing, the trend toward cohabitation has inspired virtually no public comment or criticism," note David Popenoe and Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, co-directors of Rutgers University's National Marriage Project. University of Michigan sociologist Pamela J. Smock, whose survey of recent research will appear in the Annual Review of Sociology to be published this summer, finds that most Americans are still unaware of the extent or significance of cohabitation, even though more than half of today's newlyweds live together before tying the knot, compared with about 10 percent in 1965.
Scholars are quick to point out that the United States is still a long way from Sweden, where unmarried couples-who have all the rights, benefits, and obligations of married partners-make up about 30 percent of couples sharing households. In America, by contrast, cohabiting couples make up only about 7 percent of the total. And for most of those 4 million couples, living together is a transitory business: 55 percent marry and 40 percent end the relationship within five years. "In this country," says University of Chicago sociologist Linda J. Waite, coauthor of the forthcoming Case for Marriage, "it's still mostly up or out."
What Smock has found is that the proportion for whom it's "out" of the union is on the rise. In addition, more and more unmarried women who become pregnant choose to cohabit rather than marry, which means that living together is increasingly a substitute for marriage, particularly, notes Smock, among African-Americans.
One of the biggest revelations of the new research is how many cohabiting arrangements involve children. "About one half of previously married cohabitors and 35 percent of never-married cohabitors have children in the household," Smock reports. She adds that almost 40 percent of all supposedly single-parent families are really two-parent cohabiting families. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean that kids in these households fare as well as kids with two married parents. "The nonparent partner . . . has no explicit legal, financial, supervisory, or custodial rights or responsibilities regarding the child of his partner," notes Linda Waite in the winter issue of The Responsive Community. Studies cited by Popenoe and Whitehead suggest there is also a greater risk of physical or sexual abuse in those situations.
Few romantic notions about cohabitational bliss withstand close scrutiny. While there is a little more sex between unmarried cohabitors than between married couples (one more act per month), there's also more cheating by both partners. Then, too, there's more domestic violence and a higher incidence of depression.
But since living together is still mainly a stage in courtship for the majority of marriage bound Americans, the critical question is how the experience affects the subsequent union. Here the evidence is slightly mixed. According to most research, couples who live together-with the possible exception of those who move in already planning to wed-tend to have rockier marriages and a greater risk of divorce. Why this is so is hard to say. It could be that people who cohabit are less traditional in their ideas and less reluctant to divorce. But it's also possible that the experience itself has an effect. "We need to do more qualitative research," says Smock, "and talk to people in their 20s . . . to find out why they are doing what they are doing."
Old rules. Some of the scholars who are studying the phenomenon-including Popenoe and Whitehead-are also taking sides, urging young adults to reject the argument that cohabitation is good preparation for marriage. Other researchers are taking aim at the economic disincentives to marriage, including the marriage penalty in the tax code and restrictions on Medicaid, both of which often discourage less affluent cohabitors from tying the knot. There is even a movement to bring back an older form of courtship. Leon and Amy Kass co-teach a course at the University of Chicago described by the former as "a higher kind of sex education:" Using their own recently published anthology, Wing to Wing, Oar to Oar: Readings on Courting and Marrying, they attempt "to train the hearts and minds by means of noble examples for romance leading to loving marriage."
Can such a quaint notion win over minds hardened by the "divorce revolution" of their parents' generation? Steven L. Nock, a University of Virginia researcher, is guardedly optimistic that durable marriages will make a comeback (and in fact, since 1990, have been doing so), whether or not old courtship styles are restored. "My generation," says the 49-year-old sociologist, "was the first to confront equality of the sexes. As a result, many reacted to the changed rules by fleeing from marriage. I suspect that our children, who've grown up with gender equality as a given, will be less likely to flee marriage." That might not be the "horse and carriage" argument, but it makes some sense.
U.S.NEWS & WORLD REPORT, MARCH 13, 2000
A Review of "Death of The Church Victorious, Tracing the Roots and Implications of Modern Otherworldliness" by Ovid E. Need, Jr.
By Joseph M. Canfield
A 'Buzz-word" of the day is diversity. It is so widely accepted that some hesitate to take a stand for anything different. In the Church, most assume that since believers are fallible though redeemed beings, differing views on spiritual matters are justified. But when we consider words which have come to us out of Eternity, we should be very, very careful about differences in major issues of the Faith.
A new work, "Death of the Church Victorious...." by Ovid Need, a Baptist Pastor, shows how some ideas which have almost taken over the American Evangelical scene may have very suspicious origins. The work gives much space to the development of prophetic interpretation. It shows how failure has permeated the Church with the effect of limiting its concern about and ability to influence the culture.
Note that modern prophetic interpretation was the result of a turn in thinking by about 1830, a reaction to the French Revolution. So many Christians of that day were so shocked by that event that they assumed that the end of the world must be near. They avidly accepted ideas which assumed no future for the Church on earth. Earlier views were cast aside as irrelevant.
Need notes the terrible influence of Lacunza and Ribera, both Jesuits, in shaping the prophetic views of the rest of the Church. Irving shared their belief in Church failure ,and based his thinking on works of those who had no good purpose for Our Lord (Dallimore in his biography of Irving notes no firm evidence of conversion for Irving). Need goes on to trace the impact of Darby and associates, also the fact that prophetic study was given a boost by gatherings in the stately homes of wealthy who were still shaking from the impact of the events of 1789.
From the material presented by Need, we see that The Great Commission has largely been emasculated. The Church was taught to primarily look out for itself to escape the doming doom (that 170 years ago). The prophecy buffs seemingly could not overcome a predilection for gathering in posh places like the Niagara on the Lake Conference or the Estate of John T. Pirie at Sea Cliff, LI, to ruminate on suffering and doom for others less fortunate
Meantime belief ran rampant that Satan, not Christ, was the Ruler of this world, and Christians should retreat, mentally if not physically. The idea of Satanic control became so strong the one wonders if some who teach that might regret not being on the Mount of Temptation (Matt 4:9) to have kept Our Lord from making the mistake of not bowing down to Satan. Of course, the Lord had absolutely no intention of "coming" at any time in either the 19th or 20th centuries. One must wonder from where exactly the ideas which have made the meat of Prophecy Conferences come.
Like the Pharisee in the Temple, (Luke 18:10) many prophecy buffs feel that they are not like other men. They look greedily for The Rapture, leaving behind untold millions to endure the Lake of Fire (Rev 21:6). This is actually quite sadistic.
So "other worldly" are the Prophecy Buffs that they do not realize how ridiculous they look to the world. The comic drawn by the late Charles Schulz and presented every October about Linus van Pelt and The Great Pumpkin are a fitting parody of the ideas which grew and festered from Irving and Darby. Of course, looking ridiculous makes fruitful witness difficult
Scores of revisionist works have come out since O. T. Allis started the trend in 1945 with his "prophecy and the Church". These works have been ignored by the Rapture cult who continue at great personal profit their fantasies of failure and doom. They malign writers who propose a different view, even belittling works of others. Same old leopard; same old spots (Jer 13:23). A. W. Tozer in 1955 said of misled Evangelical leaders:
"They must therefore be right and anyone who tries to call them to account is instantly written off as an unauthorized meddler who should be ashamed to reprove his betters."
Need shows how the Rapture cult has promoted failure, its implications and how the Evangelical "stables should be cleansed" so that the triumph of the Church visualized by our Lord in The Great Commission will come to pass.
The book is important, should be read by all Christians with even a modicum of concern about the present state of affairs, and how things must be changed to obey Our Lord.
Joseph M. Canfield (Author of "The Incredible Scofield and His Book, Ross House Publications.)
By Pastor John Weaver
Ancient Greek dualism is alive and well. Many who have never studied or heard of Greek philosophy have deeply imbibed its system of thought. In fact, so deeply, they believe their attitudes and actions are biblical and Christian. Ancient Greek philosophy taught a division between the secular and the sacred, spirit and matter. Matter was inherently evil and spirit was that which was inherently good. In order to become holy, one had to deny or destroy matter and concentrate solely upon the spirit. Enter "Christian pietism." Pietism is the logical result of the application of Greek philosophy to the Bible.
One of the main tenets of pietism is that in order to be holy, one must concentrate on the "other world," while at the same time, allowing everything in this world to go to hell. As one leading evangelical pietist stated: "You don't polish brass on a sinking ship." We cannot defile ourselves and waste our time with matter or things of this world which are considered less important and in some cases positively wicked. A few of those "less important things" in pietism are government, economics, law, health, and education. Unhappily, professing Christendom as a whole has left biblical theology and now follows religious humanism.
Pastor Ovid Need has masterfully laid out historically, logically, and scripturally how we, as Christians, have left biblical doctrine and have gone astray. His book, Death of the Church Victorious, is a must read for those who wish to know about Scofieldism, Darbyism and Millennialism. His book is not only easily read but also heavily documented for those who wish to study source materials. Remember, this is not a book of opinions but of facts - historical facts.
Death of the Church Victorious is a wake up call. We must repent and return to our first love, the Lord Himself, and His sacred Word. We must examine every aspect of our lives through the spectacles of His Word. We must make the Word of God once again our sole authority for faith and practice. As Jeremiah 6:16 states, we must return "and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein.
I encourage every pastor, missionary, and Christian to read and study thoroughly Death of the Church Victorious. It will stir us, move us, and motivate us to return to our Sovereign Lord and His Word.
John Weaver, Pastor
Death of the Church Victorious, 2002; Sovereign Grace Publishers, PO Box 4998, Lafayette IN. 47903. (www.CLW.com) 473 pp., includes three Appendices, a bibliography, and index. Paperback, $24.99 through your local book store. Order from Ovid Need, PO Box 81, Bentonville VA, 22610, $25.00, post paid.
By Thomas Williamson
3131 S. Archer Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60608
Consider the following hypothetical scenario: The leader of one of the Western world's most powerful countries has called for a war, for the purpose of conquering and occupying a remote, weak Third World country.
That Third World country poses no military threat to our great Western nation, and is not considered a threat by any of its neighbors. However, our leader feels that this country might someday become a threat to our interests in that region; therefore we must invade. Our attack on this nation is being presented as a justifiable act of "self-defense."
The consciences of some Christian people are troubled by this proposed "preemptive first strike" on a poor, defenseless country of dark-skinned people. But many of the respected conservative Christian leaders of our country have endorsed the war.
They call this war a Christian Crusade, a holy war. They say that as Christians, it is our duty to trust our leaders and obey our government without question. They say that these Third World people are being mistreated and enslaved by their own government, and that they will be better off under our benevolent colonial rule. They say it is our duty to bring them the benefits of enlightened Christian civilization. In fact, it would be a rotten sin against God if we do not go to war against them!
They also take note of the fact that the Third World nation has abundant natural resources that would be better managed under our control.
The government and people of this Third World nation say that they do not want to be "liberated," and they appeal to the nations of the world for help. But no one comes to their aid, because the attacking nation is a superpower and no one wants to get in their way.
Actually, this scenario is not hypothetical at all - it is a factual, historical account. In 1935, Italy, ruled by dictator Benito Mussolini, invaded and conquered Ethiopia. The invasion was officially endorsed by 7 Roman Catholic cardinals, 29 archbishops and 44 bishops. The Cardinal of Milan declared that the Italian armies were bringing the Cross of Christ to Ethiopia. The Archbishop of Taranto said the war was holy because it was being fought against "a country of infidels and schismatics." He called it a "civilizing war against barbarism and slavery."
The Italians disgusted the world by their slaughter of the benighted Ethiopians, using superior technology such as air strikes and poison gas. But the "Christian" Italian victory over Ethiopia was short-lived - in 1941 the British overthrew Italian East Africa and liberated the Ethiopians (for real this time).
Roman Catholic support for the Italian invasion of Ethiopia was, and still is, a public relations disaster for that church. Maybe we can learn a lesson from that.
As American Christians, we are now faced with the question of whether or not to endorse our nation's proposed war against Iraq. Obviously, this war does not resemble Italy's war on Ethiopia in all respects.
But there may be some points of similarity. We, like the Italian people in 1935, are being told that the war in Iraq will be an altruistic, benevolent act that is for the good of those we will be attacking. (Can you say, "humanitarian bombing?)".
Many respected Christian leaders are endorsing the war on Iraq and telling us it is our duty to support it. What does the Bible say about this?
The Word of God does not take a pacifist position, forbidding Christians to support a defensive war. In Romans 13:4, Paul states that the government has the right to bear the sword in defense of its citizens. Christ urged His disciples to be prepared to defend themselves, Luke 22:36.
However, we must avoid any appearance of supporting war for the purpose of advancing the cause of Christianity. Jesus told Pilate, "My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence." John 18:36.
When the disciples tried to call in an air strike on some uncooperative Middle Eastern peasants, Jesus forbade them, saying "Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them." Luke 9:55-56.
When Peter took up his sword, in order to defend Jesus and to ensure the fulfillment of his own personal prophetic notions of what must take place at the coming of the Messiah, Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword." Matthew 26:52.
As Christians, we are to seek to have a positive, beneficial impact on society, in our own nation and all other nations of the world. However, we are to bring about that impact only through peaceful, non-coercive means, not through war: "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds)." 2 Corinthians 10:3-4.
We are to be good soldiers of Christ, 2 Timothy 2:3. But the weapons of our warfare are not "smart bombs," tanks and napalm. According to Ephesians 6:14-18, our weapons are truth, righteousness, the gospel, faith, salvation, the Word of God and prayer.
There will be honest differences among Christians concerning our foreign policy in the Middle East, with some supporting a preemptive attack on Iraq and others opposing it. But there is one thing we must try to avoid, and that is to give the impression that any war that we endorse is a holy war, a Christian crusade, for the purpose of hurting the cause of a rival religion or to bring about the fulfillment of our speculative conceptions of "end-times prophecy."
To the extent that we promote war under the banner of Christianity, or as a method of advancing the cause of Christianity, we run the risk of betraying the basic principles of our religion, and of bringing reproach upon ourselves, just as the Roman Catholic prelates of Italy did when they endorsed Mussolini's brutal, aggressive war in Ethiopia.
"If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. " Romans 12:18.
"Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. " Matthew 5:9.
Editor's note: Bush seems to have been bent on war from the time he came into office, but not war with North Korea, which poses the greatest with "weapons of mass destruction". It is obvious, therefore, that God is the one who has placed that determination in his heart. This determination reminds me of what took place in 1 Kings chapter 22, where the lying spirit came from God to send Ahab to battle for his own destruction. That passage makes very interesting reading in light of our day.
by Dave MacPherson
A couple decades ago I learned how serious Tim LaHaye had become when it came to my pretrib history research----and it wasn't very becoming.
On January 5, 1981 he had sent a letter from the Scott Memorial Baptist Church he then pastored in the San Diego area to an evangelical publisher in another state. In the letter, which later came into my hands, LaHaye bluntly discussed yours truly and told the recipient: "Praise God you're going to answer this turkey----if I didn't already have 89 irons in the fire I'd take it on----some one should!"
Back in those days LaHaye was well-known for his bestselling Spirit-Controlled Temperament book (temperaments that fundamentalist and evangelical critics have traced to the world of the occult!). Unfortunately that book didn't reveal the type of temperament LaHaye could possess (a LaHaodicean one?) in order to call me a "turkey." Maybe his pretrib "feathers" had been ruffled by the many evangelical leaders who'd "gobbled" up my research and then praised it during the previous decade:
In his 1974 book When Is Jesus Coming Again, J. Barton Payne reflected it when he wrote that "the dispensational position...began only in 1830 with J. N. Darby's acceptance of Margaret Macdonald's revelation in Port Glasgow of a dispensationally divided return."
During the same year Christianity Today called it a "staunch defense" and Moody Monthly (while Jerry Jenkins was a top name there) referred to my "careful, factual sleuthing."
In Canada The Prairie Overcomer at Prairie Bible Institute concluded that "MacPherson's case seems to be watertight" while The Witness (the oldest and largest Darbyist Brethren magazine in England!) declared: "What he [MacPherson] succeeds in establishing is that the view outlined was first stated by a certain Margaret Macdonald...early in 1830." (Who knows the British, and the British ways of speaking, better than the British do?)
Some other comments during that period came from Harold Ockenga's letter ("You have done your research well"), Ian S. Rennie's Dreams, Visions and Oracles ("it is likely that [Margaret's revelation] was grist for Darby's mill"), and J. Gordon Melton in the Encyclopedia of American Religions ("The best scholarship available [views Margaret as the pretrib originator]").
With reactions like these coming from a noticeable percentage of the evangelical literati, you can see why Tim was dispensationally distraught over the possibility that comments from thinking evangelicals might have a dire effect on his ability to keep on making pretrib (la)hay while the sun was shining!
But now let's fast forward until we reach the year 1992 and the arrival of LaHaye's No Fear of the Storm----a book that's had no fear of being exposed as one of the most shabby, slipshod, slovenly (and, yes, even dishonest) prophecy books ever!
While flipping LaHaye's pages in order to spot his comments on the pretrib origin (the way my book The Rapture Plot describes it), I quickly found one sentence on page 180 that has four historical errors.
In it he asserts that 19th century (Plymouth) Brethren scholar S. P. Tregelles claimed in two of his books, spaced 11 years apart, that fellow Brethren member J. N. Darby derived pretrib from the Jews and Margaret Macdonald. Since Margaret wasn't Jewish, LaHaye sees Tregelles naming two different sources and contradicting himself.
If you've been totally immersed in pretrib rapture origin research since 1970 (as I have), you'll soon find (as I did) these four errors:
1. The two Tregelles works were not two books but an article (1855) and a book (1864).
2. They were nine years apart.
3. The article spoke only of "Judaisers" within Christianity. (This was the first time I'd ever found anyone claiming that the Jews had been blamed for originating pretrib!)
4. The book referred to "an 'utterance' in Mr. Irving's Church." (Margaret never even visited Edward Irving's church!)
LaHaye obviously had been influenced by other writers, including R. A. Huebner and John Walvoord, who had previously aired the supposed Tregelles contradiction. (Elsewhere in the present book I show that Tregelles did not contradict himself.)
After being flabbergasted by this blunder-packed sentence, I decided to check the accuracy of LaHaye's reproduction of Margaret Macdonald's key 1830 revelation. With all 117 lines of her revelation in front of me (as found in my books including The Incredible Cover-up and The Great Rapture Hoax), I began comparing LaHaye's version with it. Everything matched perfectly during the first few lines.
But when I got to lines 10-11, LaHaye's copy spoke of Margaret's "great burst." Was this a reference to the "inbreaking of God...about to burst on this earth" (lines 42-43)? Or perhaps her vision of the final collapse of the pretrib view? Well, neither. Between the words "great" and "burst" LaHaye had omitted "darkness and error about it; but suddenly what it was." This omission can keep his readers in the dark concerning her cultic pride in thinking that only she could really explain "the sign of the Son of man" (Matt. 24:30)!
In addition to a variety of other copying errors, LaHaye also omitted eight words in lines 16-17, a word in line 51, another word in line 58, 11 words in lines 74-75, nine words in lines 76-77, and eight words in lines 111-112----sins of "omission" that can easily result in faulty analyses of Macdonald's prophetic words! (I wrote LaHaye in regard to his many copying errors. He never responded.)
LaHaye's version of Margaret's words is actually found in Robert Norton's Memoirs of James & George Macdonald, of Port-Glasgow (1840). But somehow he had prefaced it as being part of Norton's The Restoration of Apostles and Prophets; In the Catholic Apostolic Church (1861). All I had to do was find someone who had carelessly combined the 1840 text with the 1861 title.
Within minutes, while going through my files, I ran across a 1989 publication that had the same combination. And it had the same copying errors----including the same 48 omitted words----in the same places! The author was Thomas Ice!
(When LaHaye decided to plagiarize Ice's reproduction of Margaret's revelation instead of doing his own research, he didn't realize that Ice's sloppiness would trip up himself as well as Ice. But of course they are still friends and partners----especially in connection with the Pre-Trib Research Center----because they are sloppy and dishonest birds of a feather! Incidentally, Ice never responded after my letter to him asked about his many copying errors.)
In addition to LaHaye's "bumped" words, I tallied 84 other errors he makes when quoting various writers on 27 other pages discussing pretrib beginnings. LaHaye omits 11 words when quoting Walvoord's The Rapture Question: Revised. Walvoord, echoing Huebner, was asserting that my evidence has not proven that Margaret and Irving taught the pretrib view. But readers are kept in the dark about the assertion in the book in question because LaHaye somehow deletes what Walvoord was concluding!
On page 169 LaHaye says that at the Library of Congress he obtained photocopies of Manuel Lacunza's work, the title of which is The Coming of Messiah in Glory and Majesty. Perhaps he can explain why on two pages this title appears as The Coming of Messiah in Power and Glory and is listed on a later page as The Coming of Christ in Power and Great Glory. Equally serious are his book's other copying errors including erroneous sources and page numbering in footnotes as well as inaccurate historical dates in the text.
Something else. If I fail to rectify some notions that LaHaye has repeated, others in the 20th century tradition of copying (and miscopying) may very well repeat and even embellish them.
LaHaye gives the impression that my father, Norman, changed from pretrib to posttrib during his Southern California pastorate from which he was ousted, and that Biola's position on the rapture was the only one ever held by that Los Angeles school. LaHaye even has a chapter about me entitled "MacPherson's Vendetta" and assumes that personal revenge on my part is the reason for my decades-long research on pretrib beginnings.
For the record here are my responses:
1. My father changed from pretrib to posttrib before his 1944 book Triumph Through Tribulation. Through meetings in my parents' living room, the church in question was formed in 1947. Folks knew about his previous change, but he was always a calm and scholarly preacher, almost never brought up posttrib, and never made any rapture view a test of fellowship. Later on, some pretrib outsiders joined, evidently intent on making the church a pretrib church.
I still have the handwritten notes that my mother took at the May 16, 1951 ouster meeting. One of the voiced criticisms of my father that she recorded: "He has no right to interpret prophecy contrary to Scofield." (This critic obviously was influenced only by Scripture and not by human agency in the same way Darby was!)
2. The doctrinal statement in Biola's catalog says merely that the "Lord Jesus is coming again to this earth, personally, bodily, and visibly." The school's founders chose such a broad statement because they wanted persons to have freedom to hold and discuss what were then viewed as non-essentials: for example, differing tribulational and millennial views.
Nowadays the Biola catalog includes this explanatory note (following the doctrinal statement): "The Scriptures are to be interpreted according to dispensational distinctives with the conviction that the return of the Lord for His Church will be premillennial, before the Tribulation, and that the Millennium is to be the last of the dispensations."
When I applied in 1952 for admission to the original Bible Institute of Los Angeles campus in downtown L. A., I was given the original doctrinal statement which allows for non-conflicting non-essentials.
Since my father had been a schoolmate of Biola's president at Princeton Seminary (hardly a pretrib school), I saw no harm in occasionally sharing copies of my father's 1944 book with some student friends and some of my teachers. If the school had told me to stop this, I would have. If I had been a threat all year to Biola's "official" position, why did it wait until just two weeks before the end of the school year to kick me out?
Throughout this century pretrib has changed from being a non-essential to being an expedient essential at Biola and many similar schools, primarily because of its tremendous fund-raising potential.
3. LaHaye concludes wrongfully that my pretrib origin research of a quarter of a century is nothing more than my vengeful reaction to what happened to my family in the 1950's.
If so, it must be one of the slowest reactions ever. I didn't even wonder about the origin until two decades after the California incidents. Long before my research began, numerous tragedies including untimely death had overtaken the ringleaders in the church trouble. During the years between the early 1950's and the early 1970's (when my research began), I was never bitter towards anyone at either the church or Biola----and haven't been down to the present day.
In the same No Fear book of his, LaHaye has an entire chapter discussing my books. The fair and honest thing, when citing books, is to list the books in footnotes or at least in a bibliography----unless a writer has something to hide. The reason LaHaye doesn't list any of my works in this manner is that he is neither fair nor honest!
As if all of the above isn't enough, there's even plagiarism in some of LaHaye's books! I'll give an example by comparing Hal Lindsey's There's A New World Coming (1973) with LaHaye's Understanding the Last Days (1998).
On p. 281 Lindsey wrote: "The New Testament refers to the 'Book of Life' eight times, and although the Old Testament doesn't call it by that name, it refers three times to a book in which names are written. This book contains the name of every person born into the world. If by the time he dies, a person has not received God's provision of sacrifice to remove sin, then his name is blotted out of this 'Book of Life.'"
On pp. 192, 194 LaHaye wrote: "The New Testament refers to the book of life eight different times, and although the Old Testament does not call it by that name, it does allude three times to a book in which names are written...The book of life is that book in which the names of all people ever born into the world are written. If, at the time of a person's death, he has not called upon the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, his name is blotted out of the book of life."
After I told LaHaye in a letter that I had found plagiarism in his books, he sent me the one and only letter I've ever gotten from him, dated March 3, 1999. His first two sentences said: "You are the first person who (to my knowledge) has ever accused me of plagiarizing anything from anyone. And with forty books in print I would think someone would have if it were true." I immediately sent him evidence that he had plagiarized various books by Walvoord and Lindsey. To this day he has never responded in connection with the proof that I sent to him!
My book The Rapture Plot has an appendix exhibiting plagiarism, by means of comparison quotes, in popular pretrib prophecy books. Not only is Tim LaHaye's plagiarism portrayed, but there's proof also of the same literary thievery in writings by Jerry Falwell, Ed Hindson, Ed Dobson, Charles Ryrie, Paul Tan, and Jack Van Impe, for starters!
If students at Christian Heritage College (LaHaye's former stomping ground) or Falwell's Liberty University were to plagiarize their neighbors' answers during an exam, they'd be in danger of getting an "F" for the exam and maybe for the entire course.
But when pretrib leaders cut corners and cheat in print, which of course allows them to turn out rapture rush jobs much more quickly, they are awarded honorary (if not honorable) degrees----like the Doctor of Literature degree that Falwell's school gave to LaHaye!
LaHaye gives the impression these days that his huge book sales are proof that he's being blessed by the Lord. Well, if financial success is the most important standard (and it seems to be in the eyes of many pretrib authors and publishers), then the Lord must also be blessing the Mafia and Columbian drug lords and even Osama Bin Ladin!
But when does success become greed? LaHaye is currently suing fellow Christians over the Left Behind film rights! His lawsuit even states that he has suffered "emotional and mental stress, including anxiety, worry, mental anguish and sleeplessness"----characteristics, as you can tell, of Spirit-controlled temperament!
Jeremiah 17:11 is a verse that LaHaye has somehow left behind. It says that "he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool."
Finally, here's the big question:
In light of recently uncovered evidence revealing the long-covered-up, sordid history of the pretrib rapture view, and in light of the fact that God's judgment of careless and apostate Christendom is rapidly increasing these days, will Tim LaHaye temper his outlook and change his temperament or will he lose his temper, let his temperature rise, and become temperamental?
(some names have been changed to protect the guilty)
by Dave MacPherson
Professor John Wallboard: Welcome to Advanced Rapture Techniques, course no. 666. If you study hard you'll get a Rapture Franchise someday. Talk about money! You'll be so successful you can even have a scandal or two and folks will still love you. Some of our star graduates are Tommy Eisegesis, Hal Lindseedy, Dwight Plentycost, Chas. Ryewheat, Chas. Stainley, Jimmy Swagger, Jack Van Empty, Edgar Whizheain't, and Jack Wiles. Does anybody already know any rapture gimmicks?
Tim (a student): I do. Pastor Stainley recently showed how fast the "twinkling of an eye" is by blinking his eye and making everyone laugh. Then, with sleight of mouth, he said the rapture will happen that fast. No one even noticed (heh, heh) that this passage doesn't say how fast the catching up is. But I knew he only wanted to compare the rapture with the final advent. Actually, Matt. 24:31's "gather" (in a posttrib setting) could be just as fast. But if we admit this, we lost a good pretrib argument, right?
Prof. Wallboard: Excellent, Tim. Now here's a technique on the "day of the Lord" I've used. Everyone ties together the rapture and the start of this "day." Since we're pretrib we naturally stretch forward this "day" and tie it to our rapture----what Darby and Scofield never dared to do. Since Acts 2:20 puts the (posttrib) sun/moon darkening before this "day," our prophecy charts would be more honest if they showed this darkening near the tribulation's start. But it would hurt us, so we just ignore Acts 2:20 and no one (hee, hee) ever seems to notice! Does anyone know how pretrib began?
Tim: I do. Our books claim that around 1830 John Darby discovered the church/Israel "dichotomy" which led him to pretrib. But my research has uncovered some long-covered-up facts. Darby brought the "new" (his term) pretrib view to the U.S. during the 1860's and 1870's. He seemed to view Southerners as ignorant and never once visited what has been the Confederate States. However, he later inspired outsiders and inside "Judases" to pretribize the South, taking advantage of the Civil War's chaos and destruction of Southern libraries and churches. Today many Southerners are finding out that posttrib was the South's ONLY rapture view during the 1600's, 1700's, and early 1800's prior to the Great Southern Betrayal!
Professor Wallboard, the most complete documentation on pretrib's bizarre, short-lived history is Dave MacPherson's The Rapture Plot (300 pgs., index, bibliog., appendices), available at armageddonbooks.com. If MacPherson's name is typed in on Internet search engines such as Yahoo and Google, quite often the first entry is: "Dave MacPherson's the Rapture plot: weighed and found wanting." Well, the world's worst scales must have been used! This entry is based on only five and a half pages (focusing on the same Plot book) in Frank Marotta's 28-page booklet on Morgan Edwards, a booklet in which words are sloppily added, subtracted, and changed in quotes, not to mention deliberate falsification of evidence, all of which proves there's something Marotta in more than just the state of Denmark! And everyone knows that if money is paid, an entry can be listed in the first slot on search engines----proof that pretrib tries to succeed by buying as well as by lying!
(Tim walks to the podium, pushes the professor away, and keeps on talking)
Something has begun to bother me. Our techniques are actually lies----
Prof. Wallboard: But, Tim----
Tim: ----and if our view is wrong, we're gambling with millions of lives!
Prof. Wallboard: TIM!
Tim: Don't stop me, Professor. I've checked Darby's writings. He didn't see any "dichotomy" until LONG AFTER the Irvingites began publicly teaching pretrib in 1830. In fact, Darby didn't clearly teach pretrib himself until 1839! You also know that Scofield was a jailed forger even AFTER his conversion in 1879 and that his wife divorced him in 1883 after he deserted her and his daughters! Pretrib is a colossal hoax! I'm leaving this class and this school! And I won't be surprised if God uses financial collapses and other disasters to wake up pretrib deceivers and deceivees!
(Tim walks out and all of the other students follow him)
Dave MacPherson graduated in 1955 from California State University in Long Beach with a B.A. in English. He figured it would be an easy major since almost everyone in the U.S. speaks English! Since 1955 he has been a journalistic investigator (various papers, TV, Christian radio) and currently shoots occasional spot news photos for a weekly paper in Monticello, Utah. Has long been married to the former Wanda Rader. They have no children.
FROMDOUG PHILLIPS AND THE VISION FORUM , INC .
FEBRUARY 14, 2003
Is Home Education Out?
As it shall be in the future, it was at the birth of man.
There are only four things certain, since social progress began,
That the dog returns to his vomit, and the sow returns to her mire,
And the burnt fool's bandaged finger goes wobbling back to the fire.
Is home education a mere reaction to the failure of government and private schools, or is it an affirmation of an explicitly and distinctively biblical philosophy and methodology of education? Should fathers of patriarchal vision send their teenage sons away to single-sex Christian prep schools, or seek to disciple them, train them, and walk beside them in the historic pattern of Hebrew fathers? Should Christian parents pray for the opportunity for their children to sit in the seat of scoffers at Babylonian universities dedicated to the destruction of Christianity, or should it be their goal to seek creative and distinctively biblical forms of higher education that reinforce the methods and values embodied in biblical home education? Is it the primary mission of this generation of believers to immerse themselves in God-hating institutions in the hope of gradual influence, or is it our mission to build distinctively Christian vehicles for cultural dominion and transformation? Should the long-term goal of the Christian community be to return to the anemic system of age-segregated schools from which we have been rescued, or to more fully equip households to disciple and train the next generation employing distinctively biblical methods of home education training? Should our philosophy of education be driven by pragmatic, utilitarian ethics, or by a distinctively and presuppositionally biblical philosophy? Do we aspire to embrace a Greek pattern of one-size-fits-all educational efficiency, or a Hebrew vision of training in the context of God-ordained relationships?
Funny you should ask. In a recently published article entitled "The End of Home Schooling," our beloved mishbrocah and friend to the Christian family, Steve Schlissel, pastor of Messiah's Congregation, argues that home education is a reaction, that secular universities and single-sex prep schools for boys are the true goals to which home educators should aspire, and that home education is highly inefficient and unhealthy for teenage boys.
We respectfully reply: "Oy Vay! We love ya man, but you've had too much maror in your gefilte fish."*
Join us for a gracious and brotherly, but manly response to the latest debate on the future of Christian education in America. This article is posted with Steve's blessings, and is offered to further the cause of Christ. Click here to read. (The Future of Home Schooling, by Phil Lancaster is reproduced below.)
The Future of Home Schooling
By Phil Lancaster
Posted: February 13, 2003
Viewed from the historic angle, home schooling is the most promising effort at family institutional reconstruction undertaken in America during the last 150 years. -Alan Carlson
The modern home schooling movement in America began quietly over two decades ago. Since then it has grown into what is widely viewed by historians and educators as the most significant movement for educational reform in many generations. And as the quote above from Alan Carlson suggests, the effects of home education have gone beyond mere academics: Those engaged in this venture have often found their entire family life revolutionized.
What now is the future of home schooling? Will it prove to be just a passing fad that parents abandon as they send their children back to school, or will it become a lasting alternative to institutional education, both public and private? Or is it even desirable that it endure?
"The End of Home Schooling"
In a recent article entitled "The End of Homeschooling," Pastor Steve Schlissel suggests that Christians ought not see home education as the best and final form of training for children. Rather, he says, it should be viewed as a transitional model. He considers home schooling to be a necessary reaction against the "Leviathan" of government education, but the ideal is to return to the days of "covenant community schools."
Pastor Schlissel identifies the strengths of home schooling for Christians: It maintains the "Antithesis" between Christian truth and Humanist error, it produces children with superior social and academic skills, and it creates a strong bond among family members.
On the other hand, he sees some "downsides" as well: The "dreadful inefficiency of the homeschooling enterprise," especially when there are several children; the "radical reorientation" of family life which it requires; the difficulty of meeting the needs of the "super-gifted and/or special-needs children;" the extreme demand on parents who would become competent in all sciences, upper-level mathematics, and foreign languages; the absence of labs, gyms, and team sports; and the actual danger of home schooling for boys for whom the home is not their future "dominion headquarters."
His solution is for home schoolers to take the lead in establishing Christian schools, particularly at the high school level. His proposal is for single-gender prep schools "which will serve as feeders for Ivy League colleges" so that Christians can "move on to cultural dominion" by becoming cultural leaders.
Pastor Schlissel ends with his oft-repeated appeal for the necessity of Christian community and the fact that schools like he describes would actually create such community by attracting families to live near them. He concludes his article with these words: "This vision is homeschooling's chief end. May it come soon."
Since I have been an advocate of Christian home schooling for nearly twenty years, it will come as no surprise that I don't agree with Rev. Schlissel's analysis and conclusions. But let's start with that upon which we do agree.
We Are Still in Transition
We need to start by exercising a little humility. Those of us who home school tend to be found on the more strong-willed and opinionated end of the personality spectrum, and we are tempted to believe that home schooling as we practice it is simply the best way to raise children, period. But there are a couple of problems with that opinion.
First, there is not even a uniform content to the word "home schooling." There is a wide range of variables within the home education movement. Consider the differences among home schooling families when it comes to spiritual content of home training, academic emphasis and structure, the involvement of fathers, relationship to institutional schools, cooperation with other families, the age of the children parents choose to teach at home, etc. So you and I may not even be talking about the same thing if we were both to say that home schooling is the best method of raising children. Some definition of terms would be needed. No doubt some forms of "home schooling" are better than others, and we cannot lump the whole movement together without a measure of confusion.
Second, we dare not give in to the hubris which presumes that we have discovered the best, the final way of doing anything. Naturally we home educators believe in what we do and defend it as a worthy enterprise, otherwise we wouldn't be doing it. But we need to acknowledge that our first-generation efforts will undoubtedly be improved upon by those who come after and seek to follow in our steps. They will have some insights we don't have, and they will learn from our mistakes. It would be arrogant indeed to think that in such a brief time we had come up with the perfect educational model. So we do indeed need to be open to a discussion about the future of home schooling, and I think that we can agree with Rev. Schlissel that home schooling as practiced today is not the final and un-improvable method of raising children.
Cooperative Home-Based Education
Rev. Schlissel is correct also when he emphasizes the importance of Christian community. One of the chief sins of modern evangelicalism is individualism, and because home schoolers are cultural non-conformists, they are especially afflicted with this failing. But God wants Christians to live lives characterized by mutual dependence, service, and love. We cannot make it as disciples on our own, and we should not try. Read through the New Testament letters and note how often the expression "one another" is used. Every reference reinforces the need for living in day-to-day fellowship with other believers.
Cooperation in our educational endeavors makes sense as an expression of Christian community. The principle of the division of labor is a scriptural idea that is derived from the doctrine of spiritual gifts. Each believer has a unique contribution to make to the welfare of the whole body. No one has all the gifts, and everyone has some gift, so we need one another if the body of Christ is to grow strong and to mature (1 Cor. 12). It would contradict this vital truth if in the training of children, one of the major endeavors of life, each family were to function in total isolation and independence from other Christians. Some form of interdependence would seem to be necessary and beneficial.
Pastor Schlissel makes passing note of the "cooperative education" that is becoming more common among home educators: Using a core curriculum at home but gathering perhaps weekly to benefit from the competencies of others. Someone may offer a physics class, another may teach French, and yet another may offer calculus. He takes this phenomenon as evidence that home schoolers are beginning to figure out that home schooling cannot be the final form of education but is rather a transition to something else (again: Christian schools).
However, it seems like cooperative education could also simply be what it appears: The application of the principle of the division of labor for the optimum use of family and community resources. It is a big leap to conclude that since we may benefit from having someone else teach our children chemistry that we need to move completely beyond home education toward institutional schooling.
Cooperative home-based education seems to be just the adjustment needed to make home schooling a viable enterprise for a larger number of families for the long haul. It is indeed a challenge for most parents to teach higher level academic subjects, and seeking the assistance of someone else in the community makes sense.
I can envision parents within a church and community voluntarily banding together to encourage one another in their home schooling program and to "one another" in those areas where they each could use assistance. Perhaps the families could even combine in mutual associations with covenanted obligations, although it would be best for such efforts to be under the spiritual oversight of the elders of a local church. The association could even employ an educational consultant to be available to assist parents in planning and carrying out their home schooling program and to coordinate cooperative efforts. The core process of training would be home schooling, but it would occur within the support network of the larger Christian community. That is a long-term model that makes sense to me in terms of balancing family relationships, educational excellence, and Christian community.
So while Rev. Schissel's emphasis on community is a corrective which most home schoolers need to hear, and while cooperation can meet some real challenges in the home education enterprise, there is no need to abandon home schooling altogether, and there are many reasons to stick with it.
The "Downsides" of Home Schooling
Pastor Schlissel bases his argument for "covenant community schools" in part upon certain "downsides" of home schooling that, upon closer examination, seem to me to be insubstantial or nonexistent.
1.) First is "the dreadful inefficiency of the homeschooling enterprise" which is compounded in "households with several children." He doesn't elaborate on this, but he must mean that you have all these parent-teachers having to give instruction to one child at a time, as compared with a classroom in which a teacher can teach thirty children at once.
However, this supposed weakness of the home schooling method is actually one of its greatest strengths: Each child can receive individualized instruction from a person who has time to spend with them. And it's not just a hireling with a professional interest, but the child's own parent. No one knows the child better nor cares more about his success. It is indeed inefficient to give personal attention, but it makes good educational sense. That's why rich people have always hired tutors.
2.) "Homeschooling ... requires a radical reorientation for all family members," especially those with "super-gifted and/or special-needs children." Again, he doesn't elaborate, but the point seems related to the first: It takes a great deal of effort to organize a whole family around the task of providing an adequate education, and even more if the education is to be superior or if the child's needs place special demands on the parent-teachers.
But what exactly is the problem with having to radically reorient family life? What more important things do parents have to do than to see to the raising of their own children? Prior to the home schooling movement, families had lost their reason for being, preserving almost none of the vital functions that families have performed in most cultures throughout history. Families have traditionally performed most of the occupations related to developing and caring for human beings: Birth support, child training and education, marriage preparation, business development, health care, and caring for the elderly and other needy folks.
It will indeed radically reorient the nature of their life together if families return some of these functions to the home, reclaiming them from the institutions that have been formed to take over what were traditionally family responsibilities. But that is a good thing, not a problem! Most families could use some radical reorienting.
3.) "Home educators cannot both live their lives and attain competency in all the sciences, all levels of mathematics, and foreign languages." While I suppose it may be possible to still live one's life while mastering all these subjects, we won't quibble. Indeed, we have already acknowledged the limitations of competency faced by any individual and the value of cooperation in education, particularly when it comes to these higher level studies.
4.) "Homeschooling is far more fitting for girls than for boys" whose future "dominion headquarters" is not the home. "The truth is that homeschooling can be dangerous for boys." Boys need "challenging male role models," and home schooling stifles their "godly instinct to be aggressive, a little messy, and overtly and physically competitive."
I'm sorry, but this makes no sense to me at all. The truth seems to me to be the opposite of what he reports. It is the traditional school model that is dangerous for boys. For the classroom model to work efficiently, little boys need to act like little girls: "Be quiet, sit still, be neat." And I strain to recall any challenging male role models in my twelve years of classroom education; most of my teachers were women.
Now it's true that some home schooling mothers tend to smother their boys with overprotection, but this is not inherent to the model. I know a lot of other families where the parents have enabled the boys to have far more freedom to explore, tinker, make messes, and be competitive than they would be allowed to do in a classroom school. And for those families who value competitive sports and such, there is no lack of those in the community.
As for the "dominion headquarters" of future men not being the home, I beg to differ. The home is the dominion headquarters for everyone. While the entire scope of a woman's dominion task is home-centered, the man also must be home-centered in the sense that he must succeed at home or he cannot be a real success outside the home where he is also called to take dominion (1 Tim. 3:5). His dominion role does not end in the home, but it certainly begins there.
Boys can have home-based training and still have plenty of exposure to other manly environments. My sons are home schooled, but they have built houses, worked with tractors, volunteered to save lives on the rescue squad, dispatched wild dogs with two-by-fours and guns, and killed a deer with a knife. Their home-based schooling has had no lack of out-of-the-home dominion work. And, by the way, is the artificial environment of a school classroom the future "dominion headquarters" of boys?
I'm afraid I don't see Rev. Schlissel's "downsides" of home schooling amounting to very substantial arguments for abandoning the enterprise.
Home Schooling's Unique Benefits
While he seems to strain to find arguments against home education, Pastor Schlissel seems to pass lightly over the profound strengths of the practice. As we saw, he acknowledges the spiritual, social, academic, and familial benefits of home schooling. Not too shabby, that list. What else is there? Home schooling sounds superior in most every way. Yet he clearly believes that Christian community schools would provide a superior academic training. But where is the evidence of the superiority of classroom schooling? While the academic content of a Christian school program may at times be equal to, or even better than, a particular home school program, the school model falls short in four important ways.
First, God has assigned parents to be the teachers of their children (Prov. 1:8; Eph. 6:4). This irreplaceable relationship is the one God has revealed as important and effective in the transmission of truth from generation to generation. There is nothing like a school classroom in the Bible and no evidence of parents delegating their teaching duties to others. Now while we would certainly grant that parents have the liberty to make use of others in the child-training task, the implication of the scriptural data is that parents need to be involved as the key players in the educational enterprise.
Second, the method of education revealed in the Bible is the process of discipleship, life-to-life and heart-to-heart training. The purpose of life is to love God with the whole heart (Deut. 6:5), and this purpose is realized in children as parents have God's Word in their own hearts and then impress it on their children (vv. 6,7). The method must match the aim. If the aim is the mere instruction of the mind in abstractions, then a classroom taught by a professional may be the best model. But the aim of training in the Bible is a transformed person. A student does not just glean information from a teacher. A student becomes like his teacher (Luke 6:40) when learning occurs in the context of real life lived in community day by day. Discipleship cannot occur very well in a school classroom. The efficiency gains of the mass schooling model work against the relational dynamics of learning which are designed to reach the heart and change the life.
Third, age-segregated mass schooling hinders Christian character development. Everyone knows that when kids get together with kids, they tend toward the lowest common denominator in their behavior. This is consistent with the Scripture's teaching that "foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child" (Prov. 22:15). And what happens when young fools get together? "Do not be deceived: 'Evil company corrupts good habits'" (1 Cor. 15:33). No matter how godly a teacher might be, the "efficiency" of the school model means that children will be relating primarily to children throughout the day, and this tends toward the hurt of the children. "He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed" (Prov. 13:20). One of the chief benefits of home schooling is the superior socialization it affords children who walk with the wise, their parents, and who are allowed fellowship with a wide variety of ages rather than their narrow peer group.
Fourth, classroom schooling disrupts the vital, formative relationships within the family. The family is the social group into which God places children for their training, and nurturing the bonds between parents and children and brothers and sisters is vital to the Christian mission. Scripture warns of dire consequences when the intergenerational bond is weakened and promises blessing when it is strong (Mal. 4:6; Lk. 1:17). In its drive for efficiency, the classroom school takes children out of their natural community and fragments the family, and this is harmful to the children and to the corporate life of the home. As Pastor James. W. Alexander wrote in Thoughts on Family Worship (1847), "No customs of society are laudable or safe which tend, in any considerable degree, to separate parents from children, and brothers from sisters." Traditional schools are the major offenders when it comes to separating family members from one another.
So as compared to home schooling, a Christian community school model would sacrifice the principle of parents as teachers and the discipleship method of training. It would also be a backward step in terms of socialization; and in particular, it would weaken family solidarity.
My problem with Rev. Schlissel's proposal is that, in order to deal with a couple of challenges faced by home schoolers, he proposes abandoning a system that conforms well to the Bible's revealed method for training children and adopting a model that does not so conform.
Pastor Schlissel's argument in favor of community schools amounts to this: They are a more efficient means of providing superior academic training so that our children can enter the "la-di-da colleges" (his term) and become cultural leaders.
I've noticed that many of the intellectual leaders of the Reformed renaissance in America promote such a high standard of academic excellence that they have a hard time believing that most parents are up to the task. Many of them are instrumental in starting Christian schools which do indeed set high standards, and their message to the rest of us is that we ought to do what they have done (or want to do).
The problem with this is twofold, what we might call the academic excellence fallacy and the institutional efficiency fallacy, both of which are evidences of the influence of modern secular assumptions even upon contemporary Christian thinking.
The Academic Excellence Fallacy
It is simply not biblical to place academic excellence at the pinnacle of child training values and to sacrifice other important values in the process. But this error comes quite naturally to westerners who have breathed deeply of the humanist air drawn from ancient Greece and filtered through Enlightenment Europe. The humanist worldview puts man at the center of the world and man's mind as the supreme arbiter of truth. In this system, education is all-important, education being defined in terms of intellectual achievement. Notice how the humanist solution to every problem known to man is more education, as if a well-trained mind will lead to virtuous living. Are premarital sex and its related diseases rampant? We need sex education. Does a teenage boy drive too fast and get speeding tickets? He needs more driver education. And on it goes.
Now I'm not saying that our brothers who propose the superiority of Christian schools over home schooling are Enlightenment lackeys. But I believe they are showing a bias toward intellectual achievement that is not drawn from the Bible. Peter wrote, "giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge" (2 Pet. 1:5). The Christian life is founded on faith, and faith issues in obedience (virtue) and knowledge. The process of learning is one of faith seeking to put on godly character and understanding, the yielded heart increasing in both virtue and knowledge.
So the most important question in the educational enterprise is whether the method is designed to pass on the faith and to reach and transform the heart, not whether it will lead to the highest intellectual achievement. As we have seen, God's method for reaching the heart of the next generation with the Christian faith is home-based discipleship with the parents as the instructors. We should, by all means, add to our faith and good character the excellence of knowledge, but only in that order. And we ought not, in our pursuit of intellectual excellence, adopt methods which undermine the transmission of the faith from parents to their children.
The Institutional Efficiency Fallacy
Those who strive to promote academic excellence readily conclude that creating institutional Christian schools will be the best way to assure that the rising generation is well-trained. Rev. Schlissel made reference to the "dreadful inefficiency" of home schooling, and we concluded that he meant it is more efficient for one person to teach thirty students than one student. This necessarily requires the establishment of Christian institutions of learning.
We must beware, however, of adopting values that derive from a modern, technological society and not from the Scriptures. The concept of efficiency is one such value. Modern men, Christians included, don't hesitate to conclude that the most efficient methodology is always the best. But efficiency has to do with the effective operation of a system as measured by a comparison of production with the cost in energy, time, and money. Efficiency is the supreme value of an industrial-technical society and has led to systems of mass production in which a product can be made with less energy and cost.
But the standards of efficiency ought to be applied with extreme caution to any human enterprise, and in particular to those that pertain to the training of Christians. When the task is the production of mature Christian disciples, efficiency is not the standard. There, effectiveness is measured by the fruit in the life of the person being trained, not by a cost-to-production comparison. And whatever bears the best fruit in terms of faith, virtue, and knowledge is the most effective method.
It is the "dreadful inefficiencies" of home schooling that are the source of its great success when it comes to the biblical values of faith, character, socialization, family solidarity, and intellectual achievement. Even very ordinary parents have had great success because this inefficient, one-on-one system is so much closer to God's revealed method for shaping human beings than its current alternatives.
It would be a giant leap backward for Christians to abandon home education in favor of establishing new institutional schools. We ought to stick with our wildly unregulated, dreadfully inefficient, hopelessly homey system, simply because it works better than any other system in terms of achieving the goals God sets before Christian parents.
But we ought to have the humility to be teachable and to improve the model of home education. Some form of cooperative home-based education seems to me to be the mature form of what we have begun. And by all means, we ought to have academic excellence as one of our goals, just not at the expense of the more fundamental Christian values.
After you have read the exclusive Vision Forum Ministries article by Phil Lancaster, editor of Patriarch Magazine, [www.patriarch.com] we invite you to study the issue in greater detail. For more information on a principled defense of home education; cost-effective, but distinctively Christian, non-statist higher education opportunities; and principles for making wise decisions about college and life after home school, we recommend that you obtain the following important resources [books] available through Vision Forum:
A Home School Vision of Victory - Learn why home education is not a reaction to evil, but a positive affirmation of God's program for covenant faithfulness. Understand why Jesus explained that the application of the "Greatest Commandment" is parent-to-child sheep-feeding as embodied in Christian home education. (http://www.visionforum.com/booksandtapes/productinfo.asp?number=74705)
Making Wise Decisions About College and Life After High School - Away with the pragmatism and utilitarian ethics! God's Word provides the only legitimate grid for decision-making when it comes to higher education. (http://www.visionforum.com/booksandtapes/productinfo.asp?number=35287)
Accelerated Distance Learning - Learn how you can obtain a fully accredited four-year college degree in six months for under five thousand dollars from a home school leader who did just that. (http://www.visionforum.com/booksandtapes/productinfo.asp?number=34927)
Building a Family That Will Stand - Discover practical tools for communicating a multi-generational and patriarchal vision to your family.(http://www.visionforum.com/booksandtapes/productinfo.asp?number=10175)
What's a Girl to Do? - What does God's Word say about training fully-equipped, highly intelligent, virtuous daughters who eschew the world's careerist philosophies and embrace a vision for the household? (http://www.visionforum.com/booksandtapes/productinfo.asp?number=68206)
Safely Home - Tom Eldredge demonstrates how fathers can reject the Greek efficiency model of delegating the training of our sons in exchange for the biblical Hebraic model of father-to-son discipleship. (http://www.visionforum.com/booksandtapes/productinfo.asp?number=45987)
Home education is not an "end," but it is the biblically ordained means to the true end. The true end is obedience to the Greatest Commandment, something which God declared is specifically demonstrated by a constant and habitual process of sheep-feeding -- a commitment to daily parent-to-child educational training (Deuteronomy 6; John 21:15-17). The true end is faith, wisdom, knowledge, and the transformation of the child into the image of the God who made him. The true end brings about covenant-keeping families and church communities, multi-generational faithfulness, and the turning of the hearts of parents to their children "to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." Home education is not the end, but without biblical home education, we will never experience the sustained family revival that is crucial to the preservation and advancement of the Church on this earth. Home education was the first method for education and it will be the last. Home education is not an end, but it will survive to the end as the most effective and God-honoring approach for preparing warriors for Jesus Christ.
Thank God for supplements and helps. Thank God for Christian brothers and sisters coming alongside families to share their giftings. Thank God for creative tools whereby believers can pool their resources to better equip families to do the work of discipleship. But the moment parents become comfortable with others playing a larger role in the training of their un-emancipated children than themselves, the end is near. The moment they prefer delegation over personal responsibility, they have lost the vision for family renewal, and may soon lose the hearts of their children. In such a case, the "end of home schooling" will be the end of true revival within the Christian family.
God's ways worked for Noah. They worked for Abraham. They worked
for David. They will work for you, too.
Copyright © 2003 Vision Forum Ministries (Reprinted by permission.)
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