|The Biblical Examiner
An Examination of Biblical Precepts Involved in Issues at Hand
Click here for full page
Let me open with this point: God will raise up the pagans to
do what Christians fail to do, and in this case, they have failed
to pass on Christian Character to their children. Now the Christian's
children, many times, act as bad or worse than do the pagan's
Because of sin, God exalted women and children over His people, Isaiah 3:12. (TBE, April, 1993. <http://www.biblicalexaminer.org/w199304.htm>) And thus God will raise up a despot rather than have anarchy reign in a nation. Obviously, neither I nor anyone else (regardless of what Tim Lahay and Jerry Falwell say in their "School of Prophecy") know the secret counsels of God. But I believe the Lord is raising up "secular" (without God) study courses because the Christians are no longer the salt and light as commanded by God.
Accordingly, the following could well be the hand of God moving to do what Christians have failed to do.
What kind of Character Counts?
Let me open with a reminder of the basic desire of fallen man:
Genesis 3:4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
There are all kinds of programs that have come and gone, instituted
with the basic desire to train fallen people to be as gods,
able to determine for themselves what is good and evil.
Fallen man's desire is to know what is best for himself apart
from God's command-word.
Currently, there are many moves across the country to introduce Character Training classes in the state schools (they certainly are not "public"). Fourteen states now require some kind of character training course in their schools. However, since the Christian God has been removed by the state, the character classes must exist without the Christian God or His word. But the state will allow all kinds of false gods into their pagan temples of worship:
7th GRADERS MEMORIZE KORAN VERSES, PRAY TO ALLAH In the wake of Sept. 11, an increasing number of Calif. public school students must attend an intensive 3-week course on Islam, reports ASSIST News Service. The course mandates that seventh-graders learn the tenets of Islam, study the important figures of the faith, wear a robe, adopt a Muslim name and stage their own jihad. Students must memorize many verses in the Koran, are taught to pray "in the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful" and chant, "Praise to Allah, Lord of Creation." We could never teach Christianity like this.We can't even mention the name of Jesus in [most] public schools,Can you imagine the barrage of lawsuits and problems we would have from the ACLU if Christianity were taught? [Some see] the course as a tool [indoctrination?], not only to engender sympathy and support for the Muslim cause, but for recruitment. Islam is presented broadly and positively, whereas the limited references to Christianity are shown negatively, with events such as the Inquisition, and the Salem witch hunts highlighted in bold, black type. The portrayal of Islam omits the wars, massacres, cruelties against Christians and other non-Muslims that Islam has consistently perpetrated over the centuries. (Adapted, 1/11 WorldNetDaily]
The states, fearful of the ACLU, with very few exceptions,
tremble at the very thought of allowing the Christian God of the
Bible into their temples, even in a moment of silent prayer. But
above we see the state requiring the students to become followers
of Mohammed for a minimum of three weeks. Where is the cry from
the ACLU for separation of church and state?
Parenthesis: We must also conclude that the Christian God of the Bible is removed from the state temples of worship because He has also been removed from the average "Christian" church, for He can only be approached through faith in the finished work of Christ. In our day of "say this prayer," fewer and fewer "Christian" churches are offering the true God of Scripture. (See article on Heresies in this issue.) Notice also that we have heard of no mass exodus of Christians from the schools where Mohammedanism was required. What is wrong with Christians who are so willing to sacrifice their children to the god of expediency?
In order to counter the forced removal of the Christian God, and thus the removal of the Christian basis of good character (the Ten Commandments), many states are mandating character training courses, and those courses must be secular, i.e., without the Christian God. However, they can be taught promoting any of the pagan gods around us, particularly humanism.
Can character be taught without God and His word?
Do Character Training classes equip this generation to be as gods, able to determine for themselves what is good and evil?
Are Character Training classes an answer to fallen man's corrupt dream the results of Christianity without Christ nor the word of God?
My wife, Bettie, and I went to a preacher's meeting recently in Union City, IN. We spent the night with another pastor on over in Ohio. The pastor we stayed with was a home school leader in his county. But he also has a Christian school. He is the only person I have met who uses ACE to a good advantage. His school is in an old "public school" building, and he has a good enough reputation that the county courts recommend troubled kids to him. He welcomes the kids with open arms, and is able to help them and their families. I found that normally a Christian school cannot operate with the goal of helping the unsaved, but that is Jim Leonard's calling, so he can make it work.
While we were there, he told us about a program being instituted in the "public schools" in his county, and he gave us one of the booklets the schools are passing out to the kids. The program is called, CHARACTER FIRST (CF), and it has a web site by that name, one word.
Pastor Leonard, his wife, Bettie and myself all picked up the same impression that is, the material looks exactly like Bill Gothard's material. I don't have time to go into that point, but Gothard did have a hand in the material. (See TBE, October, 1992, A Short Analysis of Bill Gothard's Theology of Civil Government as presented in Booklet 52. <http://www.biblicalexaminer.org/w199210.htm> Also in this issue is an analysis of Gothards' justification for teaching character without Christ and the Christian God, and a short interview with the director of CF, Mr. Kent Fahrenbruck. Mr. Fahrenbruck said there is other character training material available, such as Character Counts.)
When we got back, Bettie called my attention to some signs here in our small town. They are blue, and are on a couple of light poles here in Linden. They say, CHARACTER COUNTS in large white letters. Then they have a Greek column with Montgomery County across the bottom, also in white letters.
I find this a strange sign to have up in Montgomery County, considering that the Ten Commandments were so willingly removed from the Court House lawn. In other words, the county commissioners did not have enough character to challenge the threat of a law suit to remove the Commandments. I have reproduced a letter to the editor at the end of this article, and the response I received from a co-chairperson for the program.
These Montgomery county signs are from another program which is similar to CHARACTER FIRST, and it promotes 6 pillars:
The CHARACTER COUNTS web site had this statement:
It just makes sense to teach young people right from wrong, in the classroom, living room and locker room. We want to be surrounded by good people, people we can trust to make decisions according to principle rather than expediency. After all, what are education, coaching and child-rearing supposed to be about? Developing good people who can live healthy, happy lives of purpose or just clever people who can pass a ball or a test?
There are at least two things from this statement that should
get our attention:
First, who defines "right" and "wrong"? Evidently, the state must make that distinction, for the word of God cannot. And besides, with the state supporting the program, we can safely assume that "citizenship" will teach unlimited submission to the will of the state.
Second, what is the purpose of "child-rearing?
What is the purpose of "child-rearing" according to the world?
From what I have gathered from browsing the character web sites, the ethics classes teach that the purpose of life, and, therefore, "child-rearing", is to be successful and share your success with other people (maybe bordering on socialism, an ever encroaching goal of the state), take care of the environment ("mother earth"?) and be good citizens, obedient to all authority. Since these ethics classes must exist in a godless vacuum, there can be no distinction whether that authority is good or bad, which is Gothard's stand on authority. (See our web site, or I will send a hard copy of the Examiner with "Booklet 52" in it.)
Who will tell the kids that the murder of the unborn is wrong when the state says it is good? The ethics classes cannot say abortion is wrong, because they cannot speak against public policy.
What is the purpose of "child-rearing" according to God's word?
Ecclesiastes 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
Revelation 14:7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.
The purpose of "child-rearing" according to God's
word is so the children may know and do the will of God as revealed
in His total word; it is so that whether they eat or drink,
they may be able to do all to the glory of God.
Because these "ethics" classes must exist in a godless vacuum, they can not mention God and His commandments. The result is that the ethics presented in these classes must be man centered that is, what is best for man, with no hint of the Christian God involved in the lessons.
Nor can these classes define any purpose for the student any higher than man the common good of man as in what is best for the state, or as an individual, what is best for himself, what is best for his neighbor (share your goods), and what is best for the environment. The classes cannot define what is best in terms of God's word, for God's word is forbidden. The state cannot define the purpose of man as to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, so the ethics must be completely man centered.
The state realizes that a society without a moral foundation will crumble, as Constantine found out with Rome, but the state does not want the Christian God connected in anyway with that moral foundation.
The goal of these ethics classes is to try to form the fruit of the spirit in the young people without God.
Galatians 5:13 ¶ For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. 16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.
A page from CHARACTER FIRST has this statement:
Good character is the inward motivation to do what is right, according to the highest standards of behavior, in every situation. It transcends age, position, financial status, race, religion, education, gender, and personality. Good character springs from the heart.
First, "highest standards of behavior." Though not
defined, the state is the entity that must establish those standards?
And the state at this time in history is controlled by immoral,
lustful, greedy, antichrist socialist.
Second, "Good character springs from the heart."
Matthew 15:19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: 20 These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.
Here we see that a goal of the character training classes is to change the heart, and that change is attempted without Christ.
Ezekiel 36:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Galatians 6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
The Spirit of God alone can change the heart. So the basic
premise of the character classes is contrary to the very fiber
of what the Christian God teaches.
The devil told Eve though it is forbidden, if you will only eat of the tree of knowledge, you will be as gods. You will no longer need the Lord God, but you can know good and evil without Him. Thus, you can have good character without God.
And the goal of these character training classes fit very well with the devil's offer to Eve.
Moreover, the character training classes fit very well within humanist religion that reigns in state school system. Below are some of the applicable pillars of Humanism:
We read from the Humanist Manifesto, I (1933):
ELEVENTH: Man will learn to face the crises of life in terms of his knowledge of their naturalness and probability. Reasonable and manly attitudes will be fostered by education and supported by custom. We assume that humanism will take the path of social and mental hygiene and discourage sentimental and unreal hopes and wishful thinking. (Among the 34 signers of the first Manifesto, was John Dewey, the father of progressive education.)
Education and custom... Life will be good if only we can educate young people in the customs of the nation. As mentioned elsewhere, presently the custom of this nation has its basic roots in the Ten Commandments, though those roots are being pulled up by great hands full.
Forty years later, a second Manifesto was put together. Note the first point:
FIRST: In the best sense, religion may inspire dedication to the highest ethical ideals. The cultivation of moral devotion and creative imagination is an expression of genuine "spiritual" experience and aspiration.
We believe, however, that traditional dogmatic or authoritarian religions that place revelation, God, ritual, or creed above human needs and experience do a disservice to the human species. ... We find insufficient evidence for belief in the existence of a supernatural; it is either meaningless or irrelevant to the question of survival and fulfillment of the human race. As nontheists, we begin with humans not God, nature not deity.
Character training classes seek to meet the "human needs" of an orderly society without "dogmatic or authoritarian religions."
We appreciate the need to preserve the best ethical teachings in the religious traditions of humankind, many of which we share in common. But we reject those features of traditional religious morality that deny humans a full appreciation of their own potentialities and responsibilities. Traditional religions often offer solace to humans, but, as often, they inhibit humans from helping themselves or experiencing their full potentialities. Such institutions, creeds, and rituals often impede the will to serve others. Too often traditional faiths encourage dependence rather than independence, obedience rather than affirmation, fear rather than courage. More recently they have generated concerned social action, with many signs of relevance appearing in the wake of the "God Is Dead" theologies. But we can discover no divine purpose or providence for the human species. While there is much that we do not know, humans are responsible for what we are or will become. No deity will save us; we must save ourselves.
Humanism recognizes the need of "the best ethical teachings"
that come from the "traditional religious morality"
(Christianity), but the Humanist religion rejects the religion
that gave "the best ethical teachings." That religion
(Christian) promotes dependence on God and obedience to His word,
rather than independence. Humanists feel that they do not need
any kind of divine help, for we can lift ourselves out of the
mud with character training courses without God.
Humanism complains that "Too often traditional faiths encourage dependence rather than independence, obedience rather than affirmation, fear rather than courage." However, the humanistic state is working overtime to make people dependant upon itself in every area of life. Follow what the state does (and the IRS) in places like Waco and Ruby Ridge, and see if it is not building fear so the people will obey its every whim.
SECOND: Promises of immortal salvation or fear of eternal damnation are both illusory and harmful. They distract humans from present concerns, from self-actualization, and from rectifying social injustices. ...
The concern is not how to please God, but how to rectify social injustice. And thus any mention of the Christian God is forbidden.
THIRD: We affirm that moral values derive their source from human experience. Ethics is autonomous and situational needing no theological or ideological sanction. Ethics stems from human need and interest. To deny this distorts the whole basis of life. Human life has meaning because we create and develop our futures. Happiness and the creative realization of human needs and desires, individually and in shared enjoyment, are continuous themes of humanism. We strive for the good life, here and now. The goal is to pursue life's enrichment despite debasing forces of vulgarization, commercialization, and dehumanization.
"Moral values derive their source from human experience." From my investigation of the character training material in both Character First and Character Counts, an investigation anyone can do through the web sites, it is clear that the basis of the training courses is human experience. Human experience has taught that lying, theft, rebellion, murder, &c., is not good for the situation in which we live. These things are not necessarily wrong, for wrong speaks of a set, dogmatic standard; rather, it these things are "inappropriate behavior." See "Plagiarism" in this issue.
FOURTH: Reason and intelligence are the most effective instruments that humankind possesses. There is no substitute: neither faith nor passion suffices in itself. The controlled use of scientific methods, which have transformed the natural and social sciences since the Renaissance, must be extended further in the solution of human problems. But reason must be tempered by humility, since no group has a monopoly of wisdom or virtue. Nor is there any guarantee that all problems can be solved or all questions answered. Yet critical intelligence, infused by a sense of human caring, is the best method that humanity has for resolving problems. Reason should be balanced with compassion and empathy and the whole person fulfilled. Thus, we are not advocating the use of scientific intelligence independent of or in opposition to emotion, for we believe in the cultivation of feeling and love. As science pushes back the boundary of the known, humankind's sense of wonder is continually renewed, and art, poetry, and music find their places, along with religion and ethics.
Ethics, balanced with compassion and empathy,
must to be taught from reason and intelligence, not from any kind
of a religious (that is, Christian) foundation.
Today's desire to teach ethics in the class room without any mention of God nor of His law-word fits very well into the pillars of the Humanist religion
The doctrine of "self-esteem" is bearing fruit. Who needs the Grace of God when you can build man up enough to live the good life in his own strength and power? But Scripturally, there can be no basis for morality without the Christian faith. Because the Christian faith has been abandoned by the family, the church and the schools, Christian morals and character have also been abandoned.
People have abandoned faith in God and in His higher moral law as found in His commandments. We have what is called a REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNMENT, and it is just that. The leaders today represent the lack of morals and character of the people. And the loss of faith in the God of the Bible and God's moral standard in the people is reflected in the leaders.
However, faith is never actually lost. Faith is only transferred to another person or thing. When men reject God and His word as their standard, they accept Satan's promise to Eve, that they can be as gods, not needing God's word for their standard.
Let me draw this to a close:
First, what will be the result of rearing a generation of kids who believe they can be a success in life without Christ?
Second, what will be the result of teaching kids that they can have these good character traits without the Sprit of God. Worse yet, what if they actually can develop these good traits without Christ? Will they then feel they do not need Christ?
While there is much that we do not know, humans are responsible for what we are or will become. No deity will save us; we must save ourselves.
Third, the natural result of these classes will be that the kids will believe they are their own gods. They are the ones who are in control, and they are the ones who decide what is right and what is wrong. They have NO MORAL standard to go by that is, the commandments of God.
Fourth, what can we do?
Teach character at home and among those we associate with. Make it clear to those under our influence that character is not possible without Christ.
Note here that being a good person with lots of even "Christian character" does not guarantee heaven.
Matthew 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Pastor Leonard gave me a "Character First"
book, "Self-Control." The material put out by CHARACTER
FIRST is purely SECULAR that is, without religious significance,
or any mention of God.
When I first called CF, the lady who answered the phone answered a few questions and assured me they were no longer associated with Gothard. No longer raised my attention, so I later spoke with the director, Kent Fahrenbruck. (The short conversation with him is included in this Examiner.) After a few questions, the lady suggested that I log onto their web site, and I did <http://www.characterfirst.com>. I realize these are for-profit companies, so their material is quite expensive.
Remember, this program is endorsed by Bill Gothard. (His endorsement is in this Examiner issue.) The CF site opens with this statement:
We offer character based training, resources, and consulting to help SUCCEED in your business, school, and community.
And then on another page, they define character:
Character can be described in a variety of ways such as:
The inward motivation to do what is right
Who you are, even when no one is watching
The key to true success in every area of life
God gave us the key to true success in every area of life
in Psalms, and nothing in Psalms one supports the CF nor
other character training program. I do find it disheartening that
Gothard, who preached so hard about Psalms one being the only
way to success now supports wholly secular programs that avoid
Psalms one completely.
On another page, CF lists 49 Character Qualities:
Self-Control (The one I have)
Many children have little concept of what words such as attentiveness, responsibility, or diligence actually mean, much less how such qualitites apply to their personal lives.
And, sadly, the statement
is true. Why is it true?
The web site <http://www.characterfirst.com/education/gettingstarted/require.htm> also says,
In many ways, character is more "caught" than "taught." Leaders who demonstrate good character provide a positive example children can follow.
Where do the parents fit in? What kind of "character" is being "caught" at home?
Teaching character means not only correcting those who do wrong, but also praising those who do right.
This is a statement
we must all agree with, but the picture is of a school teacher
praising the child. Where are the parents?
Whether in front of the class or the entire school, praising students in front of their peers communicates the importance of character and motivates good behavior. <http://www.characterfirst.com/education/gettingstarted/recognize3.htm>
Look for historical and contemporary individuals to serve as positive role models for your students. Celebrate the character of these men and women. Read their biographies, invite them to speak to your students, and pay tribute to the character that made them great.
What Others Say About Character First!
Kaiser Elementary School Located in northwest Oklahoma City, Kaiser Elementary School has a diverse student body of 330 children. Kaiser faced problems other inner-city elementary schools experience--class disruptions, disrespect, defiance. In 1997, however, Kaiser Elementary found a solution.
The assistant superintendent of Oklahoma City schools approached Kaiser's principal Lee Roland about piloting the newly-developed Character First! Education program. By the completion of a nine-week pilot program, Principal Roland and his staff had already seen a difference in the students. They unanimously agreed to continue using Character First!.
Four years later, Kaiser Elementary has witnessed improved student/teacher relationships, behavior, and academic excellence. Principal Roland attributes this success to having a systematic school-wide plan to address student attitudes and behaviors based on character.
"I have definitely seen benefits. Character First! is one of the best things that has ever happened to our school."
-Lee Roland, Kaiser Elementary
Now, sad to say, the
public schools have had to take on "character building"
out of self-defense – the parents have lost control, or
willingly yielded it to others, and now someone else must step
in and be the parent. Guess where the allegiance of the child
will be, to the parent or to the state?
The particular CF book Pastor Leonard gave me was on "Self-Control."
February 9, 2002
Letter to the Editor (Journal Review, Crawfordsville In):
I notice some signs going up around the county, "CHARACTER COUNTS in Montgomery County." This is probably a program to promote "character" in different areas. But what is the basis of this "character" that is being promoted? It obviously cannot be the Ten Commandments, for they were removed from the county court house. So who now defines "character"? Atheist? Muslim? Agnostic? Buddha? Confucius? Greek? Should not the ACLU be called in to define character, so no one will be offended?
The "character" in question cannot be Christian, for that will probably be forbidden by the commissioners, or they would have at least put up a fight over the Ten Commandments. After all, the ACLU may threaten to sue.
Can we expect the citizens of the county to have more character than the commissioners? Maybe the commissioners are the ones who need to take the "Character Counts" classes, for they did not have enough character to challenge the removal of the very definition of good character, the Ten Commandments.
Check out the <charactercounts.org> web site. I believe you will find that it promotes unlimited submission to all authority. Is that proper character?
It is sad, but I must admit that because the parents, in many cases, fail to teach "good character," the state must take over the job and become the parent of those children. And thus the state defines what makes up "good character."
PO Box 6
Linden IN 47955
After the above "letter to the editor" appeared in the local paper, I received a phone call from a local school administrator (John Tibb, of the Laura G. Hose Elementary School in Crawfordsville) who is, along with others, behind the county-wide push of "Character Counts" (he is Co-Chairperson). In his attempt to justify their use of such a program, he told me that there are local churches having representatives in to speak about "Character Counts," and that some are even using the curriculum. Sad to say, we deserve whatever God sees fit to send our way in judgment when churches fail to use His word as their basis for character training. And then not much later, this letter appeared in the Crawfordsville paper, Journal Review, 2/14/02:
This letter is concerning the Southmont Elementary 6th grade basketball season and the tourney held at Waveland. It is in no way to complain about the outcome of any game, but about the tolerance for horrible behavior and the lack of responsibility from the adults employed by the corporation.
I would like to know why our kids are attending a Character Counts convocation and the faculty are attending this training and a situation like the one that occurred on Tuesday night was not stopped. What is more important teaching sportsmanship and respect and enforcing it, or winning?
It is totally unacceptable that there was a player that out of control while his two coaches, two referees and three principles were watching and not one took control of the game and acted responsibly. Anytime you have an elementary player shoving a referee, kicking a player in the head, using foul language and directing obscenities at opposing players, you have a major problem.
It is hard to put blame on a 12-year-old when that kind of behavior is accepted. What good is it to have these kind of programs when the schools are not stopping this but allowing this to happen at a school function? Are all rules off after 3:30 p.m.? It was very disappointing that an elementary game could get that out of control with no intervention. Who was in control? The refs? His coaches? His principal or the principal of the host school? It seems no one was in control. This has gone on long enough.
I am asking that someone step up to the plate and do their job and stop this behavior. It will not change the outcome of what has already happened, but will hopefully prevent this from happening again and most importantly will teach the kids that unsportsmanlike behavior by a player will not be tolerated. So many of these kids love sports and do act responsibly, I'm waiting for an adult in the position to control these things to do the same.
Please enforce what you are teaching our kids about sportsmanship and respect, or why bother?
Tiffany Buck Crawfordsville
It sure appears that
the schools here are using the character training classes as an
excuse NOT to take disciplinary action against rowdiness. However,
maybe their definition of character, which cannot be based in
the 10 Commandments by order of the ACLU and supported by the
commissioners, may permit temper tantrums when one is not on the
I spoke with Ken Fahrenbruck, the director of the "Character
First"(CF) program. He told me he was a Christian,
and he and his wife home school their children. I confronted him
about the attempt to build character without Christ, and the danger
I felt it could lead to. He said that he and the staff have also
agonized over the same question. However, Gothard assured him
it was fine, and put together a paper justifying character education
without God. (See Gothard's justification of Character First
in this issue of TBE.)
Character Training Institute Inc. (CTI) was started in 1992 by a businessman who saw the need to develop character among his employees. CF, founded by a board member of IBLP (Bill Gothard's Institute of Basic Life Principles) and operated in close connection with Gothard, broke from IBLP and merged with CTI in 1999. It continues to use, with permission, IBLP's artwork, which is why CF and Gothard's material look so much the same – it is basically Gothard's material secularized, that is, with the Christian God removed.
When I raised the question about teaching Biblical character qualities without Christ, Mr. Fahrenbruck said he had also had to answer that question. He knows that Christ alone is the only one who can develop proper character qualities. He said that as he saw the "character" quality programs being used in the public schools, new age, &c., he felt that anything was better than what was being offered. There are 14 states that require character training in the schools, and he is able with CF to meet those requirements without the schools having to go to Eastern mysticism and meditation.
He feels that the key to the CF program is the volunteer "mentors" the leaders try to enlist. His desire is that these "mentors" be Christian young people who use the opportunity to present Christ when the student finds he or she is unable to obtain the character qualities. Kent also pointed out that many teachers in the public schools are Christians, and the CF program gives them a chance to speak up for Christ.
Question: Since the God of the Bible has been expelled from the synagogues of Satan, what should be done? It appears that CF is a step in the right direction, though not what we would like to see take place. What choice does CF have if they want to have any influence into Satan's synagogue? (There are also other character training programs being used; the one here in our county is "Character Counts." See explanations in this issue of the Examiner.)
No doubt, those in authority in Satan's synagogues see CF as a means to further the humanist's goals in the government's education system, for programs like CF's offer morality without God, and that morality based upon perceived and misplaced human potential. Can curriculums such as CF's be used as an opening for the gospel? Only the Lord knows, though Mr. Fahrenbruck said there have been many salvation testimonies.
I must admit that the Lord many times works in ways we do not understand, and all we can do is compare what we see with the word of God. How God works in areas we cannot see, in the spirit of man, is not ours to question.
The word of God is clear:
Leviticus 20:2 Again, thou shalt say to the children of Israel, Whosoever he be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, that giveth any of his seed unto Molech; he shall surely be put to death: the people of the land shall stone him with stones. 3 And I will set my face against that man, and will cut him off from among his people; because he hath given of his seed unto Molech, to defile my sanctuary, and to profane my holy name.
Leviticus 20:4 And if the people of the land do any ways hide their eyes from the man, when he giveth of his seed unto Molech, and kill him not: Then I will set my face against that man, and against his family, and will cut him off, and all that go a whoring after him, to commit whoredom with Molech, from among their people.
Jeremiah 32:35 And they built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.
First, Molech means simply "King." Christians sacrifice
their children to the king, or the state in the state's education
Second, I cannot hide my eyes from those who sacrifice their children to the king.
Third, sacrificing one's children to the king is self-destruction.
Fourth, the family that sacrifices its children to the state has God's face against it – they have profaned His holy name.
Obviously, the Biblical answer for those who profess to love God is to get their children out of the wicked dens of iniquity. When the Christian God was removed, the Christians should have fled like "rats from a sinking ship," for the system is sinking. Instead, they have left God's heritage to be trained by a system (not necessarily individuals) that hates God and His word, e.g., the NEA.
Moreover, if Christians would withdraw from the state's satanic (any system that is antichrist must be satanic, for one cannot be neutral -- either we are for Christ or against him) institutions, the institutions would collapse of their own weight. In other words, let the Eastern religions, including Muslims, have the state education system, and it will soon implode upon itself, turning society over to the Christians who have escaped the self-destruction through home schools or Christian schools. Why should Christians try to raise back to life a dead system, when that system loves death?
Proverbs 8:36 But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.
I see no way around the fact that the Christians are pumping the life blood of their very own children into a dead corpse. Rather than bringing the corpse back to life, they are sacrificing their children on the altar of expediency.
The following was put together by Bill Gothard to justify the
secular, without God, "Character First" study. It was
faxed to me by Kent Fahrenbruck, Director of Character First.
See a short interview with him in this issue of TBE.
How Can We Teach Character Without Bible Verses?
1. Character Defines the Law of God
Each Character Booklet describes the essence of qualities that are required by the Law of God. The Law is a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ (See Galatians 3:24.) A schoolmaster was not the teacher, but a trusted slave who brought a child of nobility to the master teacher. God's Law states. "Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor (Exodus 20:16). The Character Booklet amplifies this to include exaggeration, partial truth, and deception. Such instructions produce conviction of sin.
2. Teaching Universal Stories Follow Christ's Example
When Jesus Christ taught the multitude, He used illustrations from nature such as the ways of sheep, the pruning of grapevines, the danger of wolves, and the laws of harvest. He also drew character illustrations from human nature such as the prodigal son, the hired laborers, and the Good Samaritan. He did not even explain what these parables meant, but He assured His disciples, "Those who have ears to hear will hear [the truth]." The Apostle Paul quoted much Old Testament Scripture when he spoke to the Jews. However, when he spoke to the Gentiles on Mars hill, he referred to their philosophers and not to Scripture.
3. "Character First" Opens the Door for "Living Epistles"
The most powerful messages that can be read by the world today are radiant, Godly young people who are living examples of Christ's character. These Character Coaches are opening opportunities in public schools and state agencies that we would have never imagined possible As a result, adults and children are finding salvation and then growing in the character of Christ
4. All True Character Personifies Jesus Christ
The Lord Jesus Christ is the full expression of every positive character quality that there is. He is truth, kindness, graciousness, attentiveness, obedience. etc. The more the secular world learns about character, the more they will discover about the One Who said, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest ....Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall field. rest unto your soul" (Matthew 11:28-29). The more we learn about Christ, the more we understand that we cannot live our character apart from His power in us.
5. Teaching Character is a Good Work
The believer is to be zealous unto good works and to "do good unto all men." (See Galatians 6:10.) It is good to teach all people about the need for positive character. We are not to be overcome by evil, but we are to overcome evil with good. Jesus instructs us to let our light so shine (glory), that men will see our good works and glorify our Father Who is in Heaven. (See Matthew 5:16.) For those who think that we should not try to improve sinners, [emp. added, ed.] Jesus states that we are to be the salt of the earth and a restrainer of evil as the Holy Spirit works in us. If we fail to be a restraining force of evil we become "good for nothing, but to be cast out, and trodden under foot of men." (See Matthew 5:13)
End of Gothard's justification of teaching character without Christ.
So, what does Scripture say?
First, the truth is Christ and Christ is the truth, John 14:6. Accordingly, things might be "true," but in a secular setting, they are only facts. Where does Scripture tell us that "Such [secular, ed.] instructions produce conviction of sin."? Gothard himself said that the Commandments are the schoolmaster to bring people to Christ. Can there be conviction if the schoolmaster is not present? Confucius said, "Few are those who err on the side of self-restraint," (CF, Self-Control, p. 8), but how can that factual statement bring about conviction of sin? Common sense alone tells us that factual statements do not bring about conviction of sin, for that is the job of the preaching of the law-word of God. Paul said that sin is known by the law, the Ten Commandments, Romans 7:7. It is not known by the sayings of pagans, such as Confucius. Peter's preaching of Christ's resurrection and exaltation to the right hand of all power is what brought conviction, Acts 2:37.
One wonders what Gothard will seek to justify next. Gothard himself said that "Education without God only makes man more effective in his rebellion," and now he is justifying character education without God.
Second, I know I will raise eyebrows with this, but was the schoolmaster the Ten Commandments or the mediator and sacrificial requirements?
Galatians 3:19, the law was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come... Were the Ten Commandments added because of the transgression (the moral law was already in effect, e.g., Gen. 9:6, 19:7, 39:9, 50:7), or was a mediator added because of the transgression? Exodus 20:18, 19, the people, upon seeing the holiness of God in the Commandments, ask for a mediator. Then after the "case law" is given in Exodus 21-23, the Lord adds the mediation laws in chapter 24, of how the sinner who violates the Commandments must come to the Lord in order to have his transgressions covered.
Accordingly, the seed was Christ, the only one who could fulfill the mediation laws that were added because of the transgression. The context of Galatians 3 speaks of the need of a mediator, not the need of the Commandments, v. 20. Vv. 22, 23, did faith in the finished work of Christ release God's people from obeying Commandments or from obeying the sacrifices? Did faith replace the Commandments or the sacrifices? The old mediation law could not give life; only the new mediation law, faith in Christ, can give life. Vv. 28, 29, moreover, Israel was separated from the outside world by the mediation laws. Though the whole world was accountable to the Ten Commandments, those outside Israel were not accountable to the mediation laws. (Jer.25:25-32, Isa. 24, vv. 1-6, 5, 21, 13:1-23:8, &c. I develop the fact that all nations of the earth are accountable to the Commandments in Identifying Identity, pp. 13, 14. Who is Israel is discussed in Israel's Identity/Israel's Conversion and in my study on Galatians. To show that I am not presenting a strange new doctrine, serious study and documentation is posted at <biblicalexaminer.org> in my Galatians study [both on the web and in print.)
We must add that a purpose of the Commandments is to prove that all are sinners in need of a Saviour, Romans 3. V. 20 tells us that conviction of sin comes from hearing the law, and we should add that that conviction applies to both the saved and unsaved. Note that as far back as Job, man knew that neither the moral nor the sacrificial law could justify, and that only a Redeemer-Mediator could solve the problem, Job 25:4, 19:25-27.
I may not understand the text properly of Paul's message on Mar's hill, Acts 17:22-31, for I find there only one mention of "certain also of your own poets" (v. 28). However, Paul's message that I read in the KJV Bible is quite Scriptural — Paul preached that there is only one God, and that one God was the creator of heaven and earth, and He could be approached only one way, and that was not through any of man's devices. (If that message were presented in these character training classes, they would be barred from the schools, for they cannot be God centered, as was Paul's, but must be man centered.) Though Paul quoted no passages, the message he preached was resoundingly scriptural. The point being that Paul did not attribute the Biblical things he said to pagan philosophers as do these character training courses, e.g., Confucius, q.v.
Are we to use Greek philosophies to persuade sinners to turn from their sinful ways?
Colossians 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
Verse 8. Beware lest any man spoil you. The word spoil now commonly means, to corrupt, to cause to decay and perish, as fruit is spoiled by keeping too long, or paper by wetting, or hay by a long rain, or crops by mildew. But the Greek word here used means to spoil in the sense of plunder, rob, as when plunder is taken in war. The meaning is, "Take heed lest any one plunder or rob you of your faith and hope by philosophy." These false teachers would strip them of their faith and hope, as an invading army would rob a country of all that was valuable.
Are young people being plundered by character training courses
that give hope of "Godly" character without God?
Through philosophy. The Greek philosophy prevailed much in the regions around Colosse, and perhaps also the Oriental or Gnostic philosophy. See the Intro. They were exposed to the influences of these plausible systems. They consisted much of speculations respecting the nature of the Divine existence; and the danger of the Colossians was, that they would rely rather on the deductions of that specious reasoning, than on what they had been taught by their Christian teachers.
I do not know how this fact can be avoided -- character training courses permit the "learners" to rely on deductions of human reasoning rather than on Christian teaching. Can we have Christian teaching without Christ?
And vain deceit. Mere fallacy. The idea is, that the doctrines which were advanced in those systems were maintained by plausible, not by solid arguments; by considerations not fitted to lead to the truth, but to lead astray.
Lead astray from the truth, which is Christ alone. Only Christ can give life.
After the tradition of men. There appear to have been two sources of danger to which the Christians at Colosse were exposed, and to which the apostle in these cautions alludes, though he is not careful to distinguish them. The one was that arising from the Grecian philosophy; the other from Jewish opinions. The latter is that to which he refers here. The Jews depended much on tradition, See Barnes "Mt 15:2";) [sic] and many of those traditions would have tended much to corrupt the gospel of Christ.
In our nation, because of its Christian foundation of the Ten Commandments, the tradition of men is the "Judeo-Christian" foundation of the Commandments. However, those Commandments are today not much more than tradition -- how much better are they than the traditions of Christ's day? In other words, the character training courses are simply teaching the traditions of this nation, for the Lord and His Commandments are forbidden. Are those traditions usurping the place of the Commandments?
Is Gothard justifying preaching Greek philosophers to bring conviction of sin? If so, he is clearly one of the false prophets in sheep's clothing, sent by God to deceive even the elect if it were possible, Deuteronomy 13, Matthew 7:15, Philippians 3:2, Matthew 18:7, Acts 20:28-30.
Does having good character mean that one is a Godly person? From my talk with Mr. Fahrenbruck, the "Character Coaches" may be Christian young people they try to recruit to become "mentors" in the CF program. However, when Christians cannot be found to fill those places, pagans are used.
Does "positive character" qualities in the unsaved point toward Christ, or does it say that I can do all things through my own strength? The Lord said, "Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts." (Zechariah 4:6.)
I. "overcome evil with good..." Who defines good? It cannot be the Scripture for CF, for God's word is barred from the schools. Gothard makes it clear in his five points above that Scripture is not needed to define what is good character.
II. Romans 14:23 ... whatsoever is not of faith is sin. "Positive Character" qualities without Christ are sin. Gothard here said that the unsaved, who, more than likely, teach these character training courses, are doing a "good work" by teaching people how to live properly without the converting power of Christ. He equates teaching "Godliness" without the Christian God with the "restraining force" against evil as defined in Matthew 5:13.
Is the Christian's calling to "improve sinners" with the Gospel or is it to "improve sinners" without the Gospel? Is evil restrained by improving sinners or by the gospel of Christ? Is the command of Matthew 28:19, 20 to go into all the world and preach the gospel of Christ, or is it to go into all the world and improve sinners by urging them to develop "positive character" qualities? Is the Christian's calling "to improve sinners" with pagan philosophers, e.g., Confucius, or is it to "improve sinners" with the word of God?
So if our command is not "to improve sinners," then what is our command?
2 Corinthians 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
The command is to depart from the sinners. Obviously, this
does not mean to withdraw in such a way that we cannot even present
Christ to them, but it clearly means to avoid close associations
with sinners. 1 Corinthians 5:11 tells us to not even eat with
God's people who continue in sin. The purpose is to let the results
of their sins catch up with them, and the results then call them
Observe: If Christians are commanded so strongly to avoid other Christians who are in sin, then how much stronger is the command to avoid the unsaved who are servants of self and of the state -- that is, the state's education system?
III. do we need God's just judgment to call us back to Himself? See an old Biblical Examiner article, "Needed--Bitter Bondage. <http://www.biblicalexaminer.org/Bk01.htm>
01-29-02 (Kansas City Star)
Teacher quits in dispute with school board over student plagiarism
by Diane Carroll.
To teacher Christine Pelton, the issue seemed clear: The 28 high school sophomores whom she viewed as plagiarizing a project deserved no credit for their work, and therefore should flunk her class. But the board that runs the Piper School District in western Wyandotte County saw things differently. After several parents complained, the board decided the students deserved partial credit on the biology project. The effect? Many of the students passed. Pelton resigned the next day. (<http://www.apa.udel.edu/apa/philnews/>)
At the end of the article posted on The Kansas City Star is this statement:
Before the board's action, Pelton said, other teachers told her they thought the board would back her. The student handbook, which the board approved, says the first-offense cheating should result in no credit for the assignment.
Rodney said that the handbook does not specifically address plagiarism, and that the board has no policy on it. He said he expected the board would address that in the near future. (By Diane Carroll, The Kansas City Star, <http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/2561083.htm> Posted, 2/8/02.)
Diane Rehm's Show, NPR, February 21, 2002, had an interview
about plagiarism. The discussion opened with a statement about
the plagiarism case in Kansas. One of the persons being interviewed
(Dr. Patricia Harnet [?] of the Character Development department
of the Ethics Resource Center) spoke of the teacher in
Kansas giving the kids a low grade for inappropriate behavior
-- plagiarizing their work. However, none of the articles I saw
said that the teacher viewed the cheating as anything but wrong.
Patricia did not call the cheating wrong, but "inappropriate
Shades of Bill Clinton!! Cheating, lying, stealing, adultery and wickedness of all kinds are no longer called wrong, but inappropriate behavior.
Plagiarism is theft. So, may I ask -- when is plagiarism appropriate?
But such is the language when the Ten Commandments are no longer allowed to set the standard. After all, we are not under law, for law establishes a firm standard of right and wrong. We are under grace, so if I do not feel like I should not steal, then stealing is OK. Hence, character training classes without the Christian God so the kids will feel it is wrong to steal.
by Gordon Thomas
Reviewed by Mark Dankof for Christian News and Freedom Writer at www.freedomwriter.com
I reproduced Mr Dankof's review in the hard copy of the Examiner, with the permission of both Mr. Thomas and Mr. Dankof. It is worth your time to check out the review.
Mark Dankof is an ordained Lutheran pastor engaged in post-graduate work at Westminster Theological Seminary in systematic theology and theological German. An occasional correspondent and book reviewer for the Lutheran conservative weekly, Christian News, and the Internet web site Freedom Writer, he was the Constitution Party's candidate for the U. S. Senate in the State of Delaware in 2000. His book reviews and short stories can also be found on his own web site at www.MarkDankof.com)
The book is Published by Dandelion Books (www.dandelionbooks.com) with Anvil Studios: Tempe, AZ ISBN: 1-893302-54-7 (Paperback, $25.95, 523 pages)
The review is found at http://www.markdankof.com/seeds_of_fire.htm
BY. PHILIP VERGHESE `ARIEL'
The people who were astonished by the courage of Peter and John when they preached the gospel were no ordinary men. They were, rulers, elders and teachers of the law. They were astonished because they realized that Peter and John were unschooled, ordinary men [Act 4:1-13].
Can the same be said of us who are redeemed by the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. If not, it is good to examine ourselves in the light of these words. Are our lives and actions like the ones seen in the Apostles. If this is not so, then others will see us as the enemies of God or under Satan. Let is not forget that "friendship with the world is hatred towards God". We need to consider that today there is a great desire to love the world and the things in the world.
It is so obvious that a great majority of believers have a very superficial brotherly love. Have we not become selfish, boasters, self-willed, not displaying unity of heart and mind? There is no doubt that Satan takes the advantage in such situations. The main reason for our failures is that we have forgotten that Satan is roaming about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. If this thought were there we would have been more alert in our lives and Satan would have no success.
Satan cannot do much with a nominal Christian. However we need to note that Satan can create great havoc with born again Christians who want to serve the Lord in a big way. He is on the lookout for such people. Many of God's servants have fallen to Satan's tactics and that is a warning to us. If we seriously consider this and take care then we would be able to defeat Satan; the powerful enemy who even tried to deceive our Lord Jesus Christ.
If we live pleasing to the Lord, others would testify that these people were with Jesus. As we see the evidences for the coming of our Lord, may we live a worthy life and look for his coming.
(TRANSLATED FROM THE ORIGINAL MALAYALAM BY. M GODLY DANIEL, BANGALORE.)
I had the opportunity to talk to a brother who had left his
high paying job in the Gulf to serve the Lord. He said that God
had exercised his heart to serve in a place where there was no
church; to serve as a personal evangelist and not as a convention
speaker, also not to be part of any organization in any capacity.
In association with certain like-minded dear brothers, this brother was able within a short time to start an assembly of 20 believers in a thickly populated nominal Christian locality. Further there was another brother now with him also working as a full time evangelist.
On hearing this, I felt that this was a good example to follow. My thoughts went to Matthew 4. The Lord was walking beside the Sea of Galilee. He talked to the two brothers and led them to be fishers of men.
In the work of evangelizing and catching fish we need to go to the fish. The fish will not come to us. There is a lot of skill needed to catch certain kinds of fishes. Sometimes they can slip off from our nets, but repeated efforts can bring them in. Is this not the same approach that we can use in evangelization too? Often we cast big nets like gospel crusades, campaigns, conventions etc. with the end result that not a single fish has come into the net, in spite of great efforts behind it. I feel sorry for such fruitless activities. The first generation believers had learned the basic lessons of fishing. They knew that when the net is cast in the deep waters they could get a big catch. By being on the shore they could not cast the net in deep waters. There is some amount of hardship to get into the water. Today there are some, fishing by just being on the shore. But the truth is that not a single fish will get into the net.
In order to evangelize an Ethiopian eunuch, Philip traveled miles through a long stretch of road to Gaza which is south of Jerusalem. That incident was instrumental for the gospel to reach Africa. We are familiar with the way Paul and his co-workers went to interior parts of the Roman Empire, enduring hardship, to make many the citizens of heaven. It is evident in the Bible that many came to Jesus by personal evangelization.
Today, the number of those fishing from the shore are increasing. Because of that, they are not serving any useful purpose. If the approach is taken to go where the fish is, then there could be a good catch. Many look on certain people as untouchable and follow a certain social status in gospel work. It is high time that such attitudes have to be changed.
Dearly beloved we need to see others in the manner that the Lord saw them, especially our brothers. Then only can we have the peace, joy and the expected results as the Lord promised. May the Lord so help us in the coming days.
(TRANSLATED FROM THE ORIGINAL MALAYALAM BY M. GODLY DANIEL,
Philip Verghese, "Ariel", lives in South India, and has been on our mailing list for several years. <email@example.com>
By David A. Meunier
Reviewed by Darin Gregg
In my last article I discussed basic "apologetics" and touched on the evidential approach for the truth of Christianity. I had planned on following that up with specific evidences pertaining to the creation/evolution controversy but instead I was asked to do a similar project that perfectly coincided with my original intent.
The editor approached me about doing a book review which just so happened to be an apologetic work on the creation/evolution controversy. Since this happens to be one of my favorite fields of study he thought I should do the review and mention it in the Examiner. It just so happens that Mr. Meunier's book is full of excellent apologetic arguments for the Biblical creation model.
I must admit the book seems a little sluggish at first but the approach is correct since the author starts with the basic foundation of creationism and that is the book of Genesis. The author repeatedly refers to other creationist as references which depending on your particular needs for detail can seem to dull the message. This however is good in the respect that many of the top creationist are mentioned and often quoted throughout the book. For someone interested in further research I guess this is a plus. One thing I agree on is the author's persistence on a literal interpretation of Genesis, which is the main scope of chapter 1.
Mr. Meunier follows this up with a chapter on the scientific credibility of the Bible. There are several interesting facts discussed here such as the Bible's mention of the water cycle, the weight of the winds, the circular earth, and many more. It is interesting to study such issues and then compare them to when man actually discovered these truths. Also discussed are the laws of thermodynamics which clearly argue for Divine creation and not evolution.
In chapter 3 the author discusses Charles Darwin and Darwinism and in chapter 4 there is a good overview of Christian men of science. Men such as Leonardo da Vinci, Blaise Pascal, Samuel F.B. Morse, and George Washington Carver are just a few names mentioned. These men were Christians or at least believed in Divine creation. This of course begs the question; why doesn't our public school system acknowledge these historical facts?
I found that some of the later chapters caught my attention more than the others and this could be because of the subject matter. Mr. Meunier has complete discussions on Noah's Ark and the feasibility thereof, the flood, the fossil record, human fossils, and living fossils. I especially enjoyed his discussion of how once thought extinct animals are still found to be living today. Of course this puts a tremendous burden on the evolutionist when asked to explain how a so-called million year old fossil is still breathing today!
In chapter 10 the author broaches what is certainly one of the most controversial subjects concerning the creation/evolution debate. This is the argument for the actual age of the earth. While chapter 1 certainly answers this question by proclaiming the supremacy of a literal interpretation of Genesis, the author now begins to give evidences for a young earth model. It is always fascinating to study just how many young earth evidences there are. Even radiometric dating methods when thoroughly studied, show so many inconsistencies, it becomes clear just how desperate science has become to prove the Bible false. The author gives clear evidence that the earth's magnetic field, the influx of various chemicals into our oceans, and the lack of soil layers as well as other evidences all point to a young earth.
In chapter 11 the author approaches another controversy that I am not as well versed in but it certainly ranks high on the list of concerns for Christians who hold to a literal Genesis and a young earth mind set. This has to do with the compromising theories such as "Day Age" and "Gap Theory" which are widely held by many Christians. It is sad to say but there are many, perhaps even some who will read this article, who feel that science has proven that a literal Genesis and a young earth just can't be true. I encourage anyone who believes this is the case, to consider the arguments from young earth creationist and compare them to the literal interpretation of scripture. For once we deny a literal Genesis we set ourselves up to deny all scripture. This of course leads to the liberal and atheistic thoughts which so permeate our society.
The author's last chapter deals with the historical impact of evolution and I believe in some places may be a little speculative but I must admit the work is well researched. Evolutionary ties to Nazism, and Communism are discussed as well as the famous "Scopes trial." Also, discussed are the evolutionary ties to modern humanism and its impact on education.
In conclusion, I believe Mr. Meunier covered most if not all the major details concerning creationism and evolution. I personally did not feel engrossed in this work like I have others, but felt it was more of a textbook intricate on detail. The literary content however, seems suitable for the middle to high school level as well as adults. The end of the book contains a chapter by chapter breakdown of the author's literary resources which could be valuable tools for those wanting to do further study. It is clear that Mr. Meunier spent a considerable amount of time and research which are certainly commendable while also lending credence to its accuracy. Many of his resources were by well-known creationist recognizable from my own research and studies.
The author does mention the gospel message, however, references to "asking Jesus into your heart" were a little discontenting since this ministry feels this is adding to scripture what scripture does not explicitly state. I would therefore not recommend this book to non Christians but would see its use as an evidential study guide to those who are already saved but are confused about the issue at hand.
For those who have not been exposed to the creation/evolution controversy at all, I would recommend before purchasing any book that you check out the following web address: "www.answersingenesis.org"
Although we didn't discuss creation evidences in detail, I have given you a reference to a good source and an excellent starter kit with the "Answers in Genesis" web site. I encourage you to study this topic out further especially if you're a parent with children in the public school, for the brainwashing of our children using evolutionary teaching is real and we shouldn't stand for it!
Information or order from the Turner Publishing Co
MasterCard or Visa.
By Thomas Williamson
On September 12, 2001, one day after the devastating Attack on America, prophecy teacher Hal Lindsey began his commentary on World Net Daily by saying, "The Battle of America has begun! So be it!"
Huh? Why does Lindsey appear to be so delighted at a terrorist attack that calls into the question the continued future of America?
Lindsey explains later in the article: he has been predicting the destruction of America all along, and the events of September 11 may be the long-awaited beginning of the fulfillment of that prophecy.
He says, "In my video, `Where is America in Prophecy,' I warned that America will be destroyed as world power and that terrorism was one way this could happen. This scenario seems to have begun. I do no believe this is the last attack." Lindsey goes on to call for an all-out war on the terrorists. But why bother if America is going to be destroyed anyway?
Israel-First Millennialists can view the possible defeat and destruction of America, as a result of our ongoing sponsorship of Israel's illegal occupation of Palestinian territory, with calm and equanimity. In their view, it is only reasonable for us to sacrifice ourselves for Israel in this manner. And besides, America is doomed to destruction anyway, so why bother to change our foreign policies in a vain attempt to evade the inevitable?
For "Scriptural proof' that America is going to be destroyed, authors S. Franklin Logsdon and Noah Hutchings, in their book "U.S. in Prophecy" quote Jeremiah 30:11, "Though I make a fill end of all nation whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee " [Israel]. They take this to mean that all modern nations, including America, will be destroyed, with the exception of Israel, the only nation God cares about. It does not occur to the authors that Jeremiah was talking about the nations of his own time in the 6th Century BC, not the 21st Century AD.
Logsdon and Hutchings provide other, equally dubious "proofs" that America is destined for God's trash heap of nations. They quote Jeremiah 50:12, "Behold, the hindermost of the nations shall be a wilderness, a dry land, and a desert," and tell us that this refers to America. What a come-down - we thought America was the world's headquarters, and as it turns out, we are only the hindquarters. But if it is so easy to plug in any modern nation into a passage dealing with the fall of Babylon in the 6th Century BC, why does it have to be America - why not Paraguay, Patagonia or Papua New Guinea?
Based on the "scholarship" of "prophecy experts" like Lindsey, Logsdon and Hutchings, there are millions of Americans who believe that our nation has no future. Though their application of the Armageddon Theology to American foreign policy in the Middle East may lead to World War III and possible nuclear devastation, this does not bother them because America is doomed anyway.
They do not expect to suffer personally in the coming conflagration over the ownership of Palestine, because they expect to be "raptured out" by the Second Coming of Christ before things get really bad. In an old Three Stooges short, an army colonel facetiously stated that "Never in the history of United States movies has the cavalry ever been late." For today's American prophecy buffs, that statement can be amended to read; "Never in the history of `Left Behind' Armageddon Theology movies has the Rapture ever been late."
Based on the constant turmoil in the Middle East, which Armageddon theologians have helped to foment, many American fundamentalists assume that the Rapture cannot possibly be more than a few years away. This belief that there is no tomorrow can lead to irresponsible thinking patterns.
For instance, in an 1975 interview, Dr. G. Beauchamp Vick, an associate of the prominent Baptist preacher J. Frank Norris, complained that Norris "used to say borrow as much as you can, the Lord's going to come before it comes due. They owed everybody in the country."
This lack of fixture orientation and long-range planning can lead to serious consequences, not only in the area of church finances, but also in our foreign policy. When millions of Americans, some of them in high places have no interest in avoiding World War III, promoting peace in the Middle East, or protecting our nation's future, because they believe that we have no future and that the only thing that matters is territorial expansion for Israel at any price, then this fatalistic attitude puts our nation and every other nation in the world (including Israel) at a critical risk of being devastated in a pointless war that has nothing to do with the genuine fulfillment of Bible prophecy.
The January and February 1988 issues of Moody monthly carried a chilling fictional article called "Thy Kingdom Come/Thy Will Be Done," from the book "Kingdoms in Conflict" by Charles Colson, about an American President who refuses to take action to prevent Israel from destroying Jerusalem's Dome of the Rock. The fictional President's reasoning, based on the Armageddon Theology, is that war over the Temple site is the prelude to Christ's return, and therefore it is his duty to let it happen, even if World War III results.
The current situation in America is almost as bad. American foreign policy in the Middle East is heavily influenced by millions of Americans who agree that it is our duty to support the territorial demands of the most extreme elements of Israeli society. It doesn't matter how much suffering is inflicted on Israeli and Palestinian civilians if war breaks out. (They believe, based on yet another ancient prophecy twisted out of context, that two-thirds of all Jews are fated to die anyway in the war, and they don't care - they just want Armageddon to be started as soon as possible).
It doesn't matter if world-wide nuclear war breaks out and spreads to the rest of the world. It doesn't even matter if America is destroyed - America is expendable.
What can we do about this problem? The long-range solution is to combat the ignorance of so many evangelical Christians in prophecy matters, teaching them to understand Bible prophecy in its historical context instead of applying everything to the decade we happen to live in.
The short-term solution is to write our elected leaders, to let them know that we are Christians who believe everything that the Bible teaches, but that we totally reject the Armageddon Theology and do not want our foreign policy to be based on such madness.
Thomas Williamson 3131 S. Archer Avenue Chicago, Illinois 60608 (As appeared in Christian News, December 3, 2001)
By Thomas Williamson
Evangelist Robert Summer, publisher of the Biblical Evangelist newspaper, has called for a boycott of the preaching and writings of well-known prophecy teacher Hal Lindsey.
In the May-June 2001 issue of his paper, Sumner stated that "Hal has now ditched his 'beloved' wife Kim, just as he did his `beloved' wife Jan before her. There is now a new (and fourth) `beloved wife' for the prophecy expert - and, in keeping with his custom, the new one is another 'younger' model, a student from one of his Bible classes. If you are as disgusted this flaunting of the holy and sacred marriage vows ordained by God to be `one' man, `one' woman, for `one' life, join me in promising to never again read anything from Lindsey's pen or listen to him preach (pulpit, radio, television, anywhere). He has forfeited his right to be considered `a man of God.'
"Lindsey's marital standards are no better than a Mickey Rooney . . . Elizabeth Taylor, or any one of hundreds of Hollywoodites who seemingly change mates with the same abandonment with which they change wardrobes. It is a shame and a disgrace. You may quote me! Perhaps if Hal would let the truth that he preaches about the blessed hope really grip his heart, it would purify him, even as Christ is pure (1 John 3:3)."
Meanwhile, prophecy buffs continue to puzzle over the fact that the predictions that Lindsey made in his 1970 best-seller, "The Late Great Planet Earth," have not come true.
Supposedly, the Rapture was to happen within 40 years after the founding of Israel in 1948. In an April 1977 interview with Christianity Today. Lindsey was asked, "But what if you're wrong?" Lindsey's response: "If I'm wrong about this, I guess I'll become a bum."
Not all prophecy teachers have adopted Lindsey's speculation about the Rapture coming within one generation after the founding of Israel. For example, Evangelist John R Rice, writing shortly after the founding of Israel in 1948, stated, "There is no prophetic significance in the present partial worldly establishment of a Jewish state in Israel." Rice said that the passage in Matthew 24, sometimes interpreted to predict the rise of the nation of Israel before the Rapture, actually refers to events "immediately after the tribulation" and that "these words are not for our times at all." (From the book "The Coming Kingdom of Christ)."
Meanwhile, 53 years after the founding of Israel, the Rapture has not come. Lindsey was mistaken about this. Many of his other predictions, about a Russian invasion of Israel, a Chinese invasion of the Middle East, "some limited use of modem nuclear weapons," and the fall of the United States as a great power, also have not come to pass. All these things were supposed to happen by approximately the year 1988. Lindsey's readers were given the impression that this timetable of events was based on the Bible itself. [Is this not the impression given by Tim Lahay with his "Left Behind" series? Ed.]
In "The Late Great Planet Earth," Lindsey predicted that "The United States will not hold its present position of leadership in the western world . . . . Internal political chaos caused by student rebellions and Communist subversion will begin to erode the economy of our nation. Lack of moral principle by citizens and leaders will so weaken law and order that a state of anarchy will result . . . . When the economy collapses so will the military." After 31 years, this prophecy has not come to pass - America is now the world's only superpower.
While some are under the impression that Lindsey's date-setting and "signs of the times" preaching are a faithful reflection of dispensationalist teaching, the truth is that Lindsey has actually departed far from classical Scofield dispensationalism.
For instance, in his note on Acts 1:6, Scofield, discussing Christ's 40 days of teaching about the kingdom of God, says, "One point was left untouched, viz, the time when He would restore the kingdom to Israel; hence the apostles' question. The answer was according to His repeated teaching; the time was Cod's secret (Mt. 24:36, 42, 44; 25:13, cf. 1 Then. 5:1)." If the timing of the Rapture is a secret, then there is no validity to date-setting.
In his note on Matthew 4:17, Scofield debunks the emphasis on watching for "signs of the times," saying "At hand' is never a positive affirmation that the person or thing said to be 'at hand' will immediately appear, but only that no known or predicted event most intervene."
While some still cling to the belief that Lindsey's predictions will yet come true, close to his schedule, others have been turning away from his speculative beliefs, based on his undisciplined personal life and the fact that many of his predictions have failed. Rather than taking Lindsey's prophetic failures as a sign that the Bible is not true, many have come to the conclusion that Lindsey's prophecy speculations are lacking in any sound Biblical basis.
Editor's note: Obviously, immorality or morality does not determine the truth of "prophetic" writings. Only God's word does. Moreover, not only does Lindsey's prophetic speculation lack any sound Biblical basis, but so does 90% of prophetic speculation today. (Deut. 29:29.)
by Michael A. Hoffman II
Review by Bettie Need
"God's chosen", "Touch not my anointed", "The apple of His eye", "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem", "eternal inheritance".
How often I have heard those phrases in conversations about the land of Israel and the modern Jewish nation in relation to God's purpose for the church and the United States! Some of the debates have been heated and vigorous in defense of our nation's preferential treatment of Israel.
As I read through the Bible year after year, I became confused about this almost fanatical defense of Israel as God's favorite people. Why is a nation that denies Christ as God's anointed Savior more important to the church or to God than someone who humbly receives Christ's payment for sin and lives to obey God's Word? Why did God say, "My Spirit will not always strive with man"? Were God's promises to Israel not conditional upon obedience? Are not Abraham's true children those who believe and trust in Christ? Did not Christ completely conquer sin and death, and does He not rule right now at the right hand of God? Why do we wait helplessly still for Christ to conquer Satan and "rule on David's throne" in Jerusalem?
My first husband, before he died, had a Jewish publisher from England who was always pushing him to write for the Christian market, "because it's the fastest growing market in publishing." Wondering why (other than financial reasons) he was so interested in Christian publishing, we used the opportunities each year to ask him about his faith. He told of his son's Bar Mitzvah, and their strict orthodoxy (meaning his children would only marry Jews), though he had a long explanation for his non-kosher eating when he was in the United States!
We asked him one time what the Jews do about sin, since there is no longer any sacrifice offered for sin. He waited to ask his rabbi before answering us with some vague reference to the Day of Atonement celebration as part of the removal of "wrongs". He was ignorant of the concept of sin. His lack of knowledge about the Old Testament surprised me, because in church I was taught that in a Jewish Bar Mitzvah, a young Jew had to recite all the books of Moses. I thought our Jewish friend knew all about the major and minor prophets. What DID the Jews know and believe, we wondered.
I was intrigued to find the book by Michael A. Hoffman II, called Judaism's Strange Gods. I had to read it through in one sitting and then re-read it later more slowly, to be sure I understood it correctly!
No wonder our Jewish friend knew nothing of the laws of Moses, and was totally unfamiliar with the Old Testament! What the modern church thinks about the Judeo-Christian relationship has no basis in the facts. Judaism did not arise until after the fall of Jerusalem, and is in fact the writings and "canonization" of what Jesus condemned as "the traditions of the elders."
Judaism is a man-made religion of Talmudic tradition and Kabbalistic (Babylonian) superstition. It represents the institutionalized nullification of Biblical law and doctrine. Judaism's God is NOT the God of the Bible, but the strange gods of Talmud and Kabbalah and the racial self-worship they inculcate!
Michael Hoffman makes his relentless case with massive documentation taken directly from the canonical texts and the leading rabbis. He demonstrates how the ritual show of the Torah, with its inscrutable text, lays the foundation for rabbinical "interpretation" without which no one can "understand the holy writings."
No wonder our friend had to go to his rabbi to find out what Jews do about sin. He was told that the Day of Atonement covered that issue. What Michael Hoffman discovered about The Day of Atonement celebration shows something completely different than what Christians have portrayed as the Jews' day of sorrow for sins. The Day is actually one at the beginning of the Jewish year, which allows the Jews to disavow ahead of time any promises, contracts, or vows they might make in the coming year!
Michael Hoffman shows that the Jews have one document to reveal to the world, and another document to live by. Just as we have been discovering about the Muslim religion's hatred of "infidels", there is also the Jewish hatred of the "Gentiles." Both religions idolize their own race to the exclusion of any other, and are particularly hostile to Christians. The Jews, however, court the favor of the "Christian" nations for their own purposes, and know how to make Christians feel guilty for any semblance of anti-Semitism. (Don't mention their own Talmudic-inspired mass murder in the Middle East!)
Michael Hoffman details the Judaism/Church relationship through the popes in Rome to show how Judaism stirs up false doctrine to get the Church on its side in politics. He also shows how the Kabbalah is the source for the secret philosophy of the Rosicrucians and Freemasons.
Not all who call themselves Jews can trace their lineage directly to Abraham. In fact, because of proselytizing and conversions to Judaism, there are probably more non-Jews than Jews in Judaism. And lest we lump all Jews together under Judaism, there are God-fearing Jews, the Karaites, who are persecuted by the rabbis for heeding only the Bible and refusing the Talmud.
Michael Hoffman's book is a must-read one for all Christians who want to know the truth about the non-Biblical nature of Judaism.
JUDAISM'S STRANGE GODS
Michael A Hoffman II
6 x 9 quality softcover. 144 pages. With notes, index, bibliography, glossary and illustrations. ISBN: 0970378408
Single copy price, $9.45 plus $2.50 shipping. $12.45 total, including shipping.
Independent History & Research
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho 83816
Contact Mr. Hoffman for wholesale rates <www.hoffman-info.com>
Not long ago, I received this e-mail:
Once again, I have left church this morning (11/25/01, ed.) in awe of what I have heard. Our pastor actually told anyone in the audience who felt the LORD convicting to pray this prayer along with him. He said something to the effect of 'I believe Christ died on the cross, and in three days rose again, and that I am a sinner, and Lord I am opening my heart for your spirit to come in. Please come into my heart.' Good thing it was an altar call and my head was bowed because my chin must have dropped to the ground. I know that I expressed the importance of not using a prayer as a means of Salvation when my husband and I initially spoke with the pastor. How would you suggest that my husband and I go about addressing our feelings on this topic and also the possibility of leaving the church. Obviously with my husband working and not being able to go to church these past few Sundays, it leaves the burden of hearing it on my shoulders."
The "sinners prayer"mentioned above brings up an
interesting subject -- that is, heresies and hereticks.
[I]n theology, is any doctrine containing Christian elements, but along with them others subversive of Christian truth.
In the early post-apostolic Church, if "a man admitted a part, or even the whole of Christianity, and added to it something of his own, or if he rejected the whole of it, he was equally designated as a heretic. Thus, by degrees, it came to be restricted to those who professed Christianity, but professed it erroneously; and in later times, the doctrine of the Trinity, as defined by the Council of Nice, was almost the only test which decided the orthodoxy or the heresy of a Christian. ... (Emp. added. CYCLOPEDIA OF BIBLICAL, THEOLOGICAL, AND ECCLESIASTICAL LITERATURE By Rev. John McClintock and James Strong, s.v. "Heresy." CDROM by AGES.)
In other words, knowingly adding to the word of God things that it does not say is a serious sin, Deuteronomy 4:2, Proverbs 30:6, Revelation 22:18. But that is another study. Observe what the "sinner's prayer" above said:
I believe Christ died on the cross, and in three days rose again, and that I am a sinner, and Lord I am opening my heart for your spirit to come in. Please come into my heart.
First, the "Christian elements" -- "I believe Christ died on the cross, and in three days rose again, and that I am a sinner..." This statement is sound enough that it would be redundant to quote the passages here. (Remember, however, that the devils believe and tremble, James 2:19.)
Second, the soundness of this statement influences the hearers to accept the rest of the statement. The second part is as unscriptural as anything can be -- "I am opening my heart for your spirit to come in. Please come into my heart."
In other words, there is absolutely NO SCRIPTURAL grounds for identifying Christian conversion with the sinner opening his heart for the Spirit of God and then inviting that spirit to come into his or her heart. And those who knowingly try to make the Scripture say something it does not identify themselves as heretics, leading the simple to hell with false assurances of salvation.
A heretic is one who makes a statement "containing Christian elements, and along" with those statements, he knowingly adds other statements that are "subversive of Christian truth."
This passage cannot be used as a salvation verse. A.T. Robertson -- I stand at the door and knock, "Picture of the Lord's advent as in Mt. 24:33; Jas 5:9, but true also of the individual response to Christ's call..." Albert Barnes -- "Intimating that, though they had erred, the way of repentance and hope was not closed against them. He was still willing to be gracious, though their conduct had been such as to be loathsome, #Re 3:16." Jamieson, Fausset, Brown -- "This is a further manifestation of His loving desire for the sinner's salvation. He who is Himself "the Door," and who bids us "knock" that it may be "opened unto" us, is first Himself to knock at the door of our hearts. If He did not knock first, we should never come to knock at His door." And thus JFB uses the passage as a salvation passage.
The truth is that the context, Revelation 3:14-22, requires that the statement be understood as a command for Christians to repent, for it is made to the Laodiceans. The Spirit was not speaking to the pagans, but to Christians who were acting like pagans.
Titus 3:10, A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject.
The following is by Thomas Taylor (c. 1619) with my comments interspersed:
1. Who is a heretic? A heretic is he who, professing Christ, yet invents or maintains any error against the foundations of religion, and holds such error with obstinacy. To open this description three things are to be noted.
(a) A heretic must profess Christ. Jews, Turks (Muhammadans, e.d.), or pagans cannot properly be heretics, though they fight against Christ and all religion in its foundations. These are more properly called heathens, infidels, and atheists, without God in the world. But the person with whom Titus has here to deal, is one within the church, who is cast off from a foundation upon which he seemed to stand.
(b) He must maintain an error in doctrine, for if men err in practice they are hypocrites and profane, but not heretical. This doctrinal error must be fundamental, that is, such a one as overturns some ground or article of our faith; for it will not make a heretic not to believe the fables of St Francis, though Pope Benedict IV so determined. But if any man shall maintain justification by works, a daily sacrifice for sin, or any other righteousness except Christ, the defence [sic] of these positions will easily prove heresy. And thereby the Popish doctrine is clearly proved heretical.
(c) This error must be willfully and obstinately maintained; for he must reject admonition, and must strive after being convicted. This is what properly constitutes a man a heretic for everyone who holds a heretical opinion is not a heretic, but a man may through simplicity, levity, or rashness be drawn into such an opinion. But if, when admonished of his error, he does not contend, but is ready to yield himself up to the persuasion of truth, he is no heretic. For these three things make a heretic -- error, conviction, end obstinacy.
Note then what a grievous thing we charge a man with, when we brand him with the title of heretic. We charge him to be one who does not rest in the wholesome word, but maintains such an error as has turned trim off his foundation; we charge him with scorning the judgment of the church, despising wholesome admonitions, and continuing in his damnable opinions against the light of his mind, against the check and accusation of his conscience. If we hastily pass this censure, we shall hardly avoid rash judgment; for if every error in divinity made a heretic, the apostles themselves would have been no other, for at first they were erroneous and ignorant in many things of the greatest importance in religion.
Comment -- though a great amount of modern Christian doctrine is false, especially in the realm of the proper way of salvation, that doctrine is heresy and the promoters of that doctrine are heretics only after they have been confronted with the truth, and have rejected that truth, and continue on in their self-willed way.
Divisions [Schisms] Defined, ed.
What an injustice it is then to cast the name of heretic at the lives and ways of many godly and worthy men; yea, Christians and religious men are called Puritans, an ancient sect of heretics with whom these have but small acquaintance. We may say the same of that reproachful title, Schismatics, who rent the cloak of Christ and make division in the church. But to challenge us of schism, two things are necessary, and here both are lacking. (a) The church must be proved to agree, and to have the unity of truth in both doctrines and rites. (b) Men must be convinced by the word that the doctrine is the wholesome word, and the rites and ceremonies are edifying, orderly, inoffensive, and not superstitious. Far be it then that everyone who carries a diverse judgment concerning some rites of the church in which he lives should be called a schismatic; for such a one may still cleave in heart, affection, and personal presence unto the church, and may be far from interrupting its unity. Were Elisha and Elijah schismatics because they departed from Jeroboam's worship, or our Saviour and the apostles for departing from the Pharisees and Sadducees?
Comment -- we must be cautious about casting forth the name "heretic" or "schismatic," for that title is not justified unless the one in error has been confronted with the truth.
Heresies, Cont., ed.
Note also that there have been and shall be, to the end, heresies in the church. Christ was no sooner ascended than his blessed doctrine was assailed by heretics; and this seems to be the occasion for this precept. Yea, no sooner was there a church than heretics became its disease and corruption; the tares quickly came up with the good seed.
Here we may note four reasons for the continued presence of heretics in the church.
(a) As long as the causes of heresy remain, it must needs itself continue; and the causes shall ever be in the church, namely ignorance of God, pride of heart, self-conceit, overweening [arrogant, ed.] of gifts, lack of love to Christ and his truth, Satan's malice, ambition, covetousness, flattery, and many more. In a word, as long as there is a mixture of good and bad, there will be a fight between them.
(b) The Lord in his providence allows false prophets and heretics to rise up among his people, to prove and try them, whether they will cleave unto him (Deut. 13:3). They are the Lord's fan brought into his threshing-floor, to separate between the wheat and the chaff, the faithful and the unfaithful. By this the wicked fall off, as being thrust away from the Lord; and the godly, who are accused by Satan and his instruments to be hypocrites, are manifested as sound at the heart, and faithful to the end. "There must be heresies, that those who are approved of God may be known" (1 Cor. 11 -19).
(c) The Lord in his justice punishes by heretics the contempt of his truth, and the careless entertainment of his word. If men will not receive the truth in the love of it, justly are they given over to strong delusions in the believing of lies (2 Thess. 2:11,12). If Christ and his gospel will not be received, antichrist shall come in with all lying wonders, and shall prevail. If the truth in Micaiah's mouth is scorned, four hundred false prophets shall prevail with their lie. So we have seen that where a faithful pastor has been set lightly by, the Lord has in one way or another removed him, and after his departure has sent in some grievous wolf, who has not spared the flock.
Comment -- When people reject the truth from one godly
man, e.g., Micaiah, the Lord removes him, and sends in
GOD blinds those he will judge (That is, Judicial Blindness, e.d.)
What resulted from all this? Through all that I have said they were fallen so low that in them was fulfilled the saying of the Sacred Word: (41) 'wine and women make men fall away from God.' For, while they drink, gamble, commit adultery, and are mad, they begin to deny Christ. And we wonder after all these things that they have suffered the ruin of their own property, they who long before have gone to pieces mentally! Therefore, let nobody think that city perished only at the time of its own ruin. Where such things are done, the inhabitants had already [morally] perished long before they [physically] perished.
(14) I have spoken about the most famous cities. What about other cities in other parts of Gaul? Have they not fallen because of similar vices of their inhabitants? Their crimes possessed them in such a way that they did not fear danger. Their captivity was foretold them and they were not afraid. Indeed, fear was taken away from the sinners to obviate the possibility of caution. Thus, when the barbarians were located almost in plain sight of all, there was neither fear of men nor protection of cities. So great was the blindness of soul, or rather so great was the blindness of sins, that, without doubt, nobody wished to perish, yet nobody did anything to prevent his perishing.
Everything was carelessness and inactivity, negligence and gluttony. Drunkenness and sleep took hold of all, according to that which has been written about such men, 'because the sleep of the Lord had fallen on them. (42) Indeed, a sleep flowed in upon them that ruin might follow. For when, as it is written, his measure of iniquities being full and the sinner deserves to perish, foreknowledge is taken away from him, lest he escape perishing. (43) I have said enough about these things. I think I have proved clearly enough what I proposed. This was that the vices of the citizens never ceased, even to the critical moment of destruction of their cities.
(15) Perhaps you are saying that these things happened in the past, or no longer exist, or will forever cease. If today any city or province is struck down by heavenly blows, or is overrun, humbled, converted, and corrected by a hostile population, if practically all peoples who bear the Roman name prefer to perish rather than be corrected, it is easy to see they prefer to die rather than live without their vices. This can be proved in a few words by the fact that the greatest city of Gaul was destroyed three times by successive captures, and, when the whole city had been burned, evil increased after its destruction.
41 Eccli. 19.2. 42 1Kings 26.12. 43 Gen. 15.16. (Emp. added. The Writings of Salvin [Salvian, of Marseilles, ca. 400-ca. 480], the Presbyter [The Governance of God] Translated by Jeremiah F. O'Sullivan, Ph.D. New York, CIMA Publishing Co., Inc. © 1947. Fathers of the Church, III.68. Pp. 176, 177.)
Note that Salvian pointed out that people would rather perish
than repent; the result is that the Lord sends upon them a sleep
so that they will perish in their own sins.
I have encountered more than a few people, including pastors, who would rather perish than change their message, though they know the truth. At least two men took their families (from where their wives and children were saved) to other churches because the pastor stood against "Lord I am opening my heart for your spirit to come in. Please come into my heart." Though they knew the truth that salvation could only be through faith in the substitutionary work of Christ for one's sin, they were unwilling to admit that "asking Jesus into their hearts" was an unscriptural "gospel." They made it clear to that pastor that they would rather perish than admit their error. I have met pastors just as determined to retain an unscriptural position on other passages, e.g., "This was the way I was taught; this is the way I have taught it, and I am not going to change now." (Don't forget, Paul warns that there is another Jesus that can be preached, 2 Cor. 11:4.)
(d) The wisdom of God permits it. Though it seems utterly to poison and destroy the truth, yet indeed he turns it to clear and confirm the truth, for by it the truth is further examined and looked into. As sparkles issue out of the striking of two flints together, so the truth discussed and disputed becomes more luminous and more victorious; yea, the gold comes no brighter out of the fire than the truth comes out of the trial of opposition and contradiction.
Use 1. Whenever Satan, according to his accustomed malice against sincerity, stirs up any troubles to stay the course of the gospel, to obscure the shining brightness of God's glory, and to bring confusion into the most wise orders and ordinances of God, then the Lord overrules the matter, and brings light out of darkness; he glorifies himself, purges his floor, proves his people, quickens their zeal, and trains them in humility and obedience. Let us not be discouraged, then, if our eyes see many trials; if we see the truth opposed, and doctrines of liberty broached far and wide; for surely, though the Lord may herein justly correct our manifest despite of the truth, yet he cannot and will not forget his own glory.
Use 2. Let us not trouble or hinder, but pray for, the peace of Jerusalem. Yet let us consider that peace and truth ought to abide undivorced, yet, as one said, he who has magnified his truth above all things, has magnified it above peace as well (Ps. 138:2).
Comments: 1) . Taylor is referring to the New Jerusalem; accordingly, Psalms 122:6, refers to the Gospel Church, Hebrews 12:22. (Isa. 62:6, 7.) Christians are to pray and work for peace among Believers, 2 Timothy 2:22. See also CHS, Treasury of David, and John Gill. 2) In other words, Christians are forbidden to seek peace at the cost of the truth -- that is, compromising the word of God. Peace at times must be sacrificed for truth, for it is His truth, word, that must be magnified above everything
Use 3. Use means to avoid heresy, and to keep out of the degrees of such a distasteful fruit of the flesh (Gal. 5:20).
The chief means to avoid heresy are:
(a) Lay your ground in humility, which alone cuts off contention, the eldest daughter of pride; yea, humility has a promise to be taught in the way of God.
(b) Be diligent in hearing and reading the word, and especially in obeying it; for this is the ready way to attain and contain yourself within the bounds of truth. "If any man will do his will, he shall know whether the doctrine be of God, or whether 1 speak of myself" (John 7:17). And whoever embraces the counsel and wisdom of the word walks in safety, and his foot shall not stumble (Prov. 3:21, 23).
(c) Grow up in seeking and loving the truth; and thus you shall grow in the hatred of falsehood (Ps. 119:113). David would never have come to such a hatred of vain inventions if it had not been for his singular love unto the law.
(d) Beware of heretical books and company. You can hardly get good out of the former, and hardly do good unto the latter, but can most easily receive harm from either, for both are leaven and infectious. The same may be said of sticking to philosophy in matters of faith; for even this will easily breed a heretic.
(e) Content yourself with your estate and portion, be it more or less; covetousness and ambition have thrown down a great number of the stars of heaven, and have been the seeds of most heresies, as history shows. Yea, in our days not a few have grown into dislike of their state, and in hope of better preferment have joined the heresy of Popery, and therein have drunk all manner of deadly poisons.
A Christian's response to heretics, ed.
2. Now having cleared the first point, who are heretics, we come to the second. How must Titus carry himself toward such men? After one or two admonitions, he must reject them.
What kind of adminition [sic] is this to be? Not the private admonition unto which both private Christians and the minister are bound, toward those who err and are known to err, but here the apostle speaks of a public admonition, in the face of the church, which makes way for the public censure of excommunication. Further, this admonition must be "once or twice," namely, when the pastor has privately conferred with him for the conviction of his conscience, and admonished him to revoke his wicked error. And if he still stands out, general warning is to be given two different Sabbaths of such an offender in the congregation-- not yet naming the person or case in particular, but threatening the sentence of excommunication unless the delinquent comes in the meantime and yields himself unto the truth. And thus he shall see that all gentle and good means are used with him, before the church descends to such a grievous censure.
Doct. Even heretics and enemies to the church must be tenderly and lovingly dealt with, so long as there is any hope that they may be gained and won. They must not be severely or suddenly proceeded against by the church, but upon due warning and threatening.
Reason 1. The church, being the daughter of God, shall resemble God himself, who still admonishes before he strikes.
Reason 2. The commandment is that those who are spiritual must labour to restore offenders, by the spirit of meekness (Gal. 6:1), and never to remove until all means of restoring have been assayed. Thus severity at first, in those who are spiritual, is mere disobedience and cruelty.
Reason 3. This softness in the proceeding of the church reveals her love of the party, makes his sin better known unto him, and lets him see the danger of it; and if all this be scorned and despised, it heaps coals upon his head, and makes the ensuing censure more just and heavy.
Reason 4. Consider the example of Paul, who did not turn to severity until gentleness did no good, nor used the rod as long as the spirit of meekness could prevail; yea, our Lord Jesus did not pronounce his woe against Chorazin and Bethsaida until other great means were rejected by them.
Use 1. Hence we may gather the meaning of various places in the scripture, as "Brethren, I beseech you, mark diligently them who cause divisions and offences among you, and avoid them" (Rom. 16:17); "if any man come and bring not this doctrine, receive him not" (2 John 10). These and other such places may not be understood except by this our text, namely, after admonition and good means are used for their reclaiming, and not before.
Use 2. If heretics must be thus dealt with, how much more are we to deal lovingly with brethren, who do not fall willfully, but of frailty! How careful we should be to set them in joint again tenderly, covering the bitter pill of reproof with the sweetness of persuasion. Surely here there must be loving admonition, not once or twice, but as often as they offend, if they offend not with contempt and scorn of religion and discipline.
3. After admonition, heretics are to be rejected. There is a twofold rejecting of a man; the first is more private, by which every Christian is bound to forbear conversing familiarly with those who are openly wicked and scandalous in doctrine or life. And especially the minister, whose life is more remarkable and exemplary, must be more careful to avoid the company of such. This rejection is thought by some to be meant here, as if Paul advised Titus that when in his course he should meet with such a person, he should after admonition leave such a one to himself. He should neither converse familiarly with him, lest he should occasion others to do so; nor should he strive against the stream with such a one, for all that labour would be but lost, being done against malice and obstinacy; and therefore Paul says, Reject him, avoid him, do not meddle with him, but leave him alone to God's judgment. To build one who is cast from his foundation, is to hang a house in the air; and therefore unless you can hope that he who will not yield to the voice of the apostles and prophets, will yield to you, do not meddle at all with him.
But as I noted in the former point, there is more included in the precept, which is to be taken as a public rejection of an incurable person who will receive no good, but is likely to do much harm in the church by infection if he is allowed to remain. And this the word ( paraitou ) notes, for it properly signifies to be drawn out of a city as an outcast, or (applied to the church) to cast a men out by excommunication, or to cut him off from the society of the church.
Who must avoid such heretics? The whole church, but especially the pastors, lest their remissness or familiarity with such men make the people more bold with them, for it is meet that the whole church should have knowledge, approbation, and consent in that which concerns the whole.
How far must they be avoided? Our Saviour shows in general, when he commands us to account them as publicans, who were known as sinners and wicked men (Matt. 18:17), as Samaritans, with whom the Jews meddled not (John 4:9), because they were heretics (2 Kings 17:28-34). The apostles more particularly express the nature of this censure, "withdraw yourselves" (2 Thess. 3:6), "with such a one no not to eat" (1 Cor. 5:11), "receive not such into your house, nor bid him godspeed" (2 John 10).
In such places it might seem that such persons are to be cast utterly out of every Christian's affection, as those who are justly to be rejected; and yet we must observe herein various cautions, if we will conceive of it rightly.
(a) This censure does not infringe any of the bonds of civil right and society. An excommunicated magistrate remains a magistrate still, and must be acknowledged such by all Christians. Thus Ambrose obeyed Theodosius, whom he himself had excommunicated; yea, Christ himself and his apostles willingly obeyed heathen and persecuting emperors. This censure then may make them as no Christians, but not as no magistrates.
(b) An excommunicated person is not loosed from the bond of common humanity. Everything must be ministered unto such a one which is necessary for the preserving of his life (Rom. 12:20). Hence it is lawful to buy and sell with him, and to bargain with him; and if he was a partner with us before in any civil business, we are not by this censure loosed from that fellowship, which is no nearer than we may and do contract with very strangers. We may not contract familiarity with him as a friend, but fellowship as with a man of our own mould [sic].
Exposition of Titus, Thomas Taylor, pp. 525-531. 1619, Cambridge. Klock and Klock Reprint, 1980
Comment -- if the one in error is
the pastor, then he should be approached in private. If he refuses
to repent and depart from his unscriptural teaching, then the
individual[s] should leave quietly. Only if asked why they left
should they make a public issue of the false teachings, in my
[Titus 3:10] After the first and second admonition. Comp. #Mt 18:15-17. That is, do not do it hastily and rashly. Give him an opportunity to explain himself, and to repent and abandon his course. No man is to be cut off without giving him a proper opportunity to vindicate his conduct, and to repent if he has done wrong. If, after the first and second admonition, a man, who is undoubtedly doing wrong, will not repent, then he is to be cut off. The apostle does not say in what way this admonition is to be given, or whether it should be public or private. The language which he uses would justify either, and the method which is to be adopted is doubtless to be determined by circumstances. The thing which is to be reached is, that his fault is to be fairly set before his mind.
Reject. paraitou . This word is rendered excuse in #Lu 14:18,19; refuse, #Ac 25:11 1Ti 4:7 5:11 Heb 12:25 avoid, #2Ti 2:23; and entreated, #Heb 12:19. Its prevailing meaning, as used in connections like the one before us, is, to reject in relation to an office; that is, to decline appointing one to an office. It probably had a primary reference to that here, and meant that a man who was given to making dissensions, or who was a factious person, should not be admitted to an office in the church. The general direction would also include this--that he should not be admitted to the church. He is neither to be owned as a member, nor admitted to office. Comp. #Mt 18:17: "Let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican."
How many are being treated as good Christian brothers when they should be treated as heathens and publicans, e.g., "They can draw a crowd and keep the bills paid, so God must be blessing." Such a though must put God's blessings upon the Mormons as well as upon the followers of Mohamed.
Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. (1 Tim. 6:5.)
[Home] [Topics] [Part II]