ABORTION – Is There Not A Cause?

babyThe Bible tells a story of a young shepherd boy and his foe. The Philistine army gathered for war against Israel. For forty days the giant, Goliath of Gath, stood mocking as he challenged the Israelites to fight. Saul, the King of Israel, and the whole army fled in fear. David, the youngest son of Jesse, was sent to the battle lines by his father to bring back news of his brothers. While there he heard Goliath shouting his daily defiance. “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” David asked as righteous anger burned within him.  Will no one take a stand?  King Saul, the one chosen to lead the people, sits by in fear doing nothing.  Subsequently, the one who is willing to fight for the Lord is criticized by his brother.  Yet David addressed the true matter by asking, “Is there not a cause?”  (I Sam. 17)

Is there not a cause?  Such a pondering question. Yesterday I found myself asking this very one.  A friend brought to my attention an ad that ran in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette last Friday. The full-page advertisement (see here) placed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation asked, “What Does The Bible Really Say about Abortion?” As I read the ad David’s question burned within me. Just who is this organization that they should defy the Living God? Mockingly, they declare that the Bible does not condemn abortion and even “shows an utter disregard for human life”.

Using text out of context, they twist scripture in the same vile fashion as Satan did when he tempted Jesus in the wilderness. It always strikes me funny when people who claim there is no God, try and use His Word to prove their points. But the Bible speaks to this when it says in 1 Corinthians 2:14 that a person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness. The secular man cannot understand the things of God because the things of God are only discerned through the Spirit of God. But nevertheless, they try. Using Genesis 2:7 they say that life does not begin at conception, but rather when a person starts breathing. “The LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” It goes without saying that Adam’s beginning was unique to mankind. The first woman was created just as unique as she was taken from her husband’s rib. Both were fully formed adults at creation, not babies in the womb.

The ad tried to prove from the Bible that fetuses are not persons. Again, more twisting of scripture. Repeatedly the Bible refers to pregnant women as being “with child.” Job, the oldest book in the Bible, refers to unborn children as infants. The Psalmists declares, “For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made,” (Psalm 139:13-14). God tells the Prophet Jeremiah, “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” The Apostle Paul says, “it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace,” (Galatians 1:15). God is the giver of life. This life begins at conception. To take life through abortion is to murder the innocent. It doesn’t get any more innocent than an unborn child and it should be noted that “hands that shed innocent blood” is listed in Proverbs 6 as an abomination to God and a sin that He hates.

Not only does the FFRF ad mock God and His Word, it deceives readers saying, “We live under a secular Constitution that wisely separates religion from government, and protects women’s reproductive rights.” There are three fallacies with this one statement. First, read the writings of the men who penned the Constitution. They were not secular. Most of these men were believers in Jesus Christ. They acknowledge this in Article 7 of the United States Constitution when they wrote, “Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord…”  Second, Thomas Jefferson’s “separation of church and state” phrase is not found in the Constitution but rather comes from a personal letter written to a group of Baptists. Third, the constitution does not give women a right to murder their children. However, before the Constitution was penned some of the same Founding Fathers did write about certain rights.  “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” These truths (absolute truths) are self-evident (undeniable and obvious) that our rights come from our Creator (Jesus Christ our Lord). These rights include Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Notice that life comes first. Freedom and happiness is of little value if there is no right to life.

Let me ask again, is there not a cause?  Christians, have we forgotten who we are?  Have we lost the will to stand up against this massacre?  Does not the slaying of millions move us to action? If so, pick up a stone of truth and whirl it at the giant of lies that is constantly mocking our God. Take a stand. Write a letter. Support a pro-life candidate. Labor in prayer. Give your time, treasure and talents. It is a worthy cause.

Christian friend, if you no longer feel compassion, concern or cause over the fact that thousands upon thousands of babies are murdered every day then please consider these words. “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small. Deliver those who are drawn toward death, and hold back those stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, ‘Surely we did not know this,’ does not He who weighs the hearts consider it? He who keeps your soul, does He not know it? And will He not render to each man according to his deeds? (Proverbs 24:10-12)

Hope…In Times Like These

discouraged

I am done. I am officially washing my hands from politics and this atrocity of an election. Can it possibly get any worse? Hillary Clinton is the epitome of what is wrong with government in this country and Donald Trump is the epitome of what is wrong with our culture as a whole. And like it or not, in less than three weeks one of these two will be elected as the next POTUS. I have played out the scenario over and over again. A Clinton presidency assures that the 1st and 2nd amendment will be under attack, the murder of innocent babies will continue to increase, SCOTUS will be in danger, religious liberty will be jeopardized, freedoms we love will be threatened, and government will continue to grow out of control. But if Trump wins evangelicals who vote for him lose more than an election. By promoting Donald Trump to the highest office of the land, we lose the right to talk about a candidate’s integrity. Morals and character issues become obsolete. In the future there will be no standard in which to measure a candidate. Anything will have to go. Did the candidate sexually abuse women? It won’t matter. Is he unrepentant? Who cares? Does he make his money in lascivious ways? Who are we to judge? It’s not that standards will be lowered; there won’t be any. Our witness and integrity is lost.

We’re all asking the same question. How did we get here? We could blame the liberal left for ignoring the facts. We could blame the right for being more concerned with holding on to power than actually doing what is right. We could blame uneducated voters, media bias, compromising Christians, 3rd party voters, those who refuse to vote, or a host of others. But it doesn’t matter.  The outcome is still the same. Our country is doomed. And I’m done with it all…

This is simply how I felt, that is last night. However, with the morning light peeking through my window I woke with a glimmer of hope. For the first time in months I was able to see our country through different eyes. Last night my husband and I attended a fundraiser for Family Council. We gathered with friends and acquaintances in an effort to support a great ministry. Admittedly, I was hesitant to go. (Remember, I had already washed my hands…) Yet, something compelled me.

Senator Tom Cotton was one of the guests and after dinner we gather around the living room and listened to him speak. What he didn’t say was just as remarkable as what he said. He didn’t stand up pontificating as a typical Washington politician. Nor did he cry out from the depths of despair. He didn’t paint a doom and gloom picture of our current state. And he didn’t highlight the government’s corruption or even cast blame. Instead, He reminded us that man is fallen. He talked of hope, faithfulness, duty and loyalty. He reminded us of the unity we showed in our country just days after 9/11 and how we stood together and overcame great darkness. He was encouraging and even more so convicting.

My friend Jerry Cox, founder and president of Family Council, followed the Senator and continued to encourage. He told personal stories that emphasized the reality of the American Dream. He spoke about the worship service that took place this year in the Capitol Rotunda.  He reported that Arkansas is ranked as the fourth most pro-life states in the union and that we are currently blessed with a rather conservative government.

I needed to hear that message last night. We all do. Listen, it is easy to stay in a defeatist state. I know because that is where I lived. When we look from the top down, cast blame and pessimistically ask “what in world is wrong with this world?” we overlook the most important aspect of this question. The ugly truth and answer is, “I am.”  I’m what’s wrong because I believed the lies. I lost hope. I forgot that God has a bigger plan than who wins the election. I forgot that His plan involves the remnant – God-fearing individuals who wake up each day making a difference to the world around them. They are all around us. They are not giving up. They are not washing their hands from it all. They are not tearing their brothers and sisters apart for simply casting a differing vote. They are looking up, working hard, and fighting local battles in their community, school boards, and city council. They are supporting good causes with their time, treasure and talents. They are strengthening their own family because they know that the family is the building block of all society. They are doing good works and supporting their pastor and local church. They are encouraging others, bearing burdens, and pointing the lost world to the Savior.

I want to be this person. I choose to be this person. I will look into the future with hope because I know there is good left in our country. But even more so, because I am determined to be that good. When my heart breaks for the thousands of babies aborted, I will do the good works. When I see the poor and homeless, I will do the good works. When bad laws are introduced and liberties are threatened, I will do the good works. When marriages are in trouble and families fall apart, I will do the good works.  My efforts do not have to be perfect to be beautiful. In fact, it is in my weakness – in all of our frailty– that God gets the most glory. For when we are weak, He is strong. When all hope is lost in mankind; we remember that it is in Him we trust.  And should darkness continue to engulf our nation then I choose to see the night as gloriously dark. And I choose to remember that stars shine their brightest against the darkest of nights.

And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. (Daniel 12:3)

I’m Dying

graveIn his book, Joy in Your Life, Charles Spurgeon recalls a story of an elderly woman who when asked about the fear of dying replies, “Afraid to die, sir?  I have dipped my foot in Jordan every morning before breakfast, for the last fifty years, and do you think I am afraid to die now?”  In speaking to believers, Spurgeon says, “We die hundreds of times.  We ‘die daily’.   We die every morning; we die each night when we sleep; by faith we die.  And so, dying will be old work when we come to it.  We will say, ‘Ah, death, you and I have been old acquaintances.  I have had you in my bedroom every night.  I have talked with you each day.  I have had the skull upon my dressing table.  I have often thought of you.  Death, you have come at last, but you are a welcome guest.  You are an angel of light and the best friend I have had.’  Why dread death since there is no fear of God leaving you when you come to die?”

It’s easy to say that as a believer I welcome death. It’s another thing entirely to live it out daily. We live in such a self-focused, self-absorbed, self-centered world. Our very nature is selfish. Our very sin nature, that is. I know the struggle well. In an attempt to elevate self my own flesh, the world around me, and the great enemy cries out. Focus on you. Put yourself first. Look out for number one. Do what is best for you. Don’t worry about others. Think of yourself. Do whatever it takes to make you happy. These are the lies whispered in my ear.

Self.

Self.

Self.

Because of the infatuation with self. I want the easy life – not the one that is best.

I want happiness – not true joy.

I want to be without pain – not growing.

I want to be free of all troubles and trials – not be a witness.

But something within me recognizes the lies. My spirit is quenched. And in that fleeting moment of clarity I run back to the source of all truth. I pick up God’s Word and dwell in the reality of death – death to self.

As Paul addresses the Corinthians he says, “I die daily.”  In Colossians he exhorts us to put to death the old man and put on the new man.  For we are dead and our life is hid with Christ in God.  Like the dear saint in the story I should every day wake to die; die to myself, die to my flesh, die to my desires, die to my wishes, die to my wants.  There is victory over death; therefore there is a death that is welcome. And in that death, I live.  Life. Everlasting life.  Victorious life. Abundant life! This is my prayer. This is my desire. Die to self and live for Christ, a selfless life of sacrifice putting others first. To serve and love in the name of my Lord. To truly live.

“Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”(Rom 6:6-11)

Sheep Don’t Worry

shepherd-and-lamb-pic2Are you anxious about the future? Maybe you’re concerned about a problem you’re facing? Are you losing sleep? Perhaps you are worried about your marriage or children. Your health? Finances? An issue at work? Family problems?

If you’re like me you know it’s wrong to worry. After all, I am a child of God. I know that Philippians 4:6 says to be anxious for nothing.

Yet, I worry.

I fret.

I give into my fears.

And I cry out to God.

For months now I’ve been crying out about a situation that is completely out of my control.  A friend suggested I read Psalms 34. I read it every day. This morning verse 9 caught my attention. “…there is no want to them that fear Him.” Then in the next verse it states, “They that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.” I was reminded of the 23rd Psalms. It was the first passage I memorized as a small child. In verse one David declares, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” Do you notice a pattern?

Those that fear Him lack nothing. Those that seek Him lack nothing. Those that are His sheep lack nothing. Why? Because He is God. He is Holy. He is righteous. He is the Creator and Preserver of all things. He is the Good Shepherd (John 10:11).

The Lord is my Shepherd. I am His sheep. And guess what? Sheep don’t worry. They just trust. Of course they have good reason to trust. Consider all that a good shepherd does for his sheep.

  • A good shepherd daily leads them in and out.
  • A good shepherd knows how to feed them and directs their path.
  • A good shepherd watches over his sheep. He keeps them safe. He fights for them.
  • A good shepherd brings back the ones who have strayed.
  • A good shepherd takes them to shade in times of scorching heat.
  • A good shepherd gives them good things like rest, oil and, peace.

The Good Shepherd leads me (Psalm 31:3). O, blessed thought! He directs my path (Proverbs 3:6). He keeps me safe (Proverbs 18:10). He lovingly brings me back when I stray (Luke 15:4). He gives me shade during scorching heat/persecution (John 16:33). He cares for me (I Peter 5:7). The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want.

Sheep don’t worry. They just trust!

I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

(Joh 10:9-11)

Storms of Life

storm

Chances are that you are either in one now or about to go through one. Storms. Sometimes we see them coming; other times they spring up. Sometimes they are unrelenting; other times they are quickly broken. No one enjoys them; everyone deals with them. There are various storm systems. They come into our life in the form of health complications. Pressures of life can lead to marital storms. Financial storms or storms within the family can develop. Even now certain forecasters predict that a national storm is brewing.  Storms are an inevitable part of life.

Personally, I love a good storm (as long as we’re talking about the physical ones). Wind, rain, thunder and lightning often contribute to a peaceful night’s sleep for me. Nothing is better than curling up on the couch with a book, blanket and hot cup of coffee in the midst of a storm. But storms of life…those are a different story. They leave my brain foggy. All I want to do is wish them away.

It is easy to become self-focused in the center of a storm. Heavy storms can be so consuming that it’s all you think about.  But just as a good rain storm is good for the land, so can a good life storm be good. They teach us a lot about ourselves, others, and God. Do you remember a story in Matthew about the storm on the sea?

And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God. Matthew 14:22-33

There are so many truths to grasps from this story.  First we learn that Jesus brings us to the storm. He was the one who sent His disciples into the ship and bid them to go across the sea. He knew what was coming. Rest assured, dear child of God, He knows.  Not only does He know, but He brought you to whatever storm you are now facing.

Next we see that Jesus prays for us in the midst of the storm. Did you catch that? Christ sent his disciples into the storm and then went up on the mountain to pray. Who do you think He was praying for? A most comforting understanding, especially in the midst of storms, is knowing that Christ sits on the right hand of God and makes intercession for us (Romans 8:34). In Hebrews we see that, “he ever liveth to make intercession” (7:25).

Then we learn that Jesus comes to us while we are in the storm. Oh, what a glorious thought!  Jesus didn’t leave his disciples alone to endure the storm. He came to them – walking on the water – proving His omnipotence. When the tempest is tossed and all hope seems lost, our Lord comes to us. In those darkest moments He shines His light of peace and whispers to our heart, “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.”

Finally, Jesus teaches us during the storm. This is perhaps the hardest for me. There are times that I don’t want to be taught. I just want to get through the storm as quick as possible. But it is imperative that we learn whatever lesson our Teacher wills us to learn.  Peter learned a lot that day out on the sea. He learned that alongside Christ anything (even walking on water) is possible. He learned that the moment we take our eyes off him and put them onto our circumstances we begin to sink. He learned that our Lord is always there to lift us up the moment we cry out, “Lord, save me.”

Are you in a storm of life? Is there a lesson the Master of the Wind is wanting you to learn?  He brings you to the storm. He prays for you in the midst of the storm. He comes to you while you are in the storm. He teaches you in during the storm. Trust in Him.

Salt & Light, Our Children & Public Schools

SaltAndLightChristians1Ephesians chapter 5 tells the believer to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. It goes on to say wake up; redeem the time, because the days are evil.  I believe a lot of Christian parents are beginning to wake up to the truths of public education. In the past decade the number of homeschooled children has increased by 62%. With the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide, the force of Common Core, humanistic and atheistic teaching, and safety concerns across the nation, homeschool organizations are anticipating even further growth.

A few weeks ago I ran into a pastor who has been taking a stand on the LBGT within our local school board. He mentioned that he didn’t know what he and his wife were going to do about their children being in public school. He’s concerned, and rightly so. In light of society, I’m concerned for Christian parents who are not concerned.

There is a humanistic agenda within the system – from the top down.  For years US Education Secretary Arne Duncan has been speaking out about this agenda. Then last week after the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage the Department of Education flaunted its support by changing their Facebook profile page to the gay rainbow. And it is only going to get worse.

Because our government schools have become such a dark place I am so very thankful for our Christian teachers and leaders who are there being salt and light day in and day out. God bless each of them. They are fighting a battle right on the front lines. They need our support and prayers. But what about the Christian youth? Our innocent children? Shouldn’t they be salt and light in our public schools as well? My friend, Jonathan Lewis, one of the founders of Home School Enrichment Magazine has agreed to share his thoughts on this very issue.

Salt & Light

Taking a look at the #1 Christian argument against homeschooling

By Jonathan Lewis

Throughout the years of the modern homeschooling movement, a number of arguments have been raised against home education. Doubtless you’ve heard many of them. “How can an untrained mother teach her children? What about socialization? How are you going to teach higher math? How will your kids get into college?”

In Christian circles, there’s another argument that’s frequently brought up by parents who have opted to send their kids to public school. Perhaps you’ve heard it from parents in your church: “I’m sending my kids to public school to be salt and light,” they say. “If all the Christian kids leave the schools, who will reach the students left behind?”

This argument, because of its spiritual overtones and scriptural reference, often seems more difficult to answer than other arguments against homeschooling. After all, how can we argue against being salt and light? Wouldn’t that mean we don’t care about kids and teachers who don’t know Christ?

This argument has left many current or would-be homeschooling parents feeling torn and conflicted, unsure of how to weigh their responsibility toward their own children against their sense of responsibility to further the Great Commission—to reach the world with the gospel of Christ. Somehow it seems unchristian to leave the schools without a godly influence, and yet . . . should I risk my child’s spiritual well-being by sending him away to school? No wonder parents are feeling torn!

Is there an answer to this argument? Can Scripture be used to justify sending our children to public school? Should we send our children out as missionaries, or should we keep them at home? What is the scriptural answer to this conflicting sense of responsibility parents are feeling?

 The Source of the Argument

The salt and light argument finds its source in Matthew 5:13–16, where Jesus tells His disciples that they are the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world,” and that they should let their light “so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

Thus, the argument says that Christian kids should attend public school to be a witness for Christ. They further argue that if all Christian kids are removed from the public schools, the students and teachers left behind will be stranded without a voice of truth or the opportunity to see a positive Christian witness.

 First Things First

Before looking at possible responses, it’s important for us to realize something fundamental right from the beginning. The salt and light argument itself inherently acknowledges that our schools are largely godless. No one uses this argument to justify sending kids to a Christian school, because presumably the students there either already know Christ or at least have opportunity to hear about Him in ways other than through Christian students.

In other words, we only send missionaries where they’re needed—where there is a sufficient lack of truth and godly influence to give them room and opportunity to work. Thus, the argument itself acknowledges the largely godless condition of our public education system, and the parents who use this argument are as much as admitting that the overall environment at school is more or less hostile to the Christian faith. Some would attempt to maintain that the schools are not hostile to our faith, but are instead religiously neutral; this, however, is a difficult case to support, especially in view of Christ’s declaration in Matthew 12:30 that “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” Christ doesn’t leave neutrality as an option.

In this context then, the salt and light argument assumes two things:

First, that the potential good a Christian student can do in the public school system outweighs the personal spiritual risk of sitting under humanistic teaching and spending hours every day in an admittedly ungodly environment.

Second, it assumes that being salt and light is a child’s top priority, as opposed to, for example, receiving a distinctively Christian education. In other words, it’s more important for children to be missionaries—while simultaneously receiving a humanistic education—than to be taught from a Christian worldview, protected from overtly negative peer influences, and so on.

With these basic presuppositions in mind, let’s progress now to looking at possible responses to this classic Christian argument against homeschooling.

 The Context of “Salt and Light”

First, we should look at the context of the salt and light passage. Whom is Jesus speaking to? At the beginning of Matthew 5, we see clearly that Christ is speaking to His disciples. Verses 1–2 read, “And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: and he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying . . . ”

As we can see, Jesus was speaking to a specific group of individuals: His disciples—adult men. Thus, in the original context, the salt and light passage was addressed to adults, not children.

That doesn’t mean children shouldn’t be a positive witness if and when they encounter those in the world around them. But it’s quite a leap from there to say that they should be deliberately placed in a spiritually hostile environment at young ages where they will be actively taught in ways contrary to the Word of God. Being salt and light is one thing. Sending our children to the training camp of the enemy is quite another—and we only need look around us to see the failure of this tactic.

We should also note that Christ’s disciples spent approximately three years with Jesus before He gave them the Great Commission and sent them out into all the world. In other words, they experienced three years of intense, hands-on training and preparation with the perfect, faultless, infallible Son of God before He deemed them ready to go out on their own. How much more preparation will our children need before they can stand on their own? After all, they have fallen, fallible, sinful parents responsible for their training—not the perfect Son of God in the flesh.

Looking further at the context, we see that Jesus was instructing His disciples to be salt and light while they were still in His presence, under His direct teaching and influence. Thus, we can see that it’s possible to fulfill this command even without being sent out alone, away from the protection and influence of one’s God-given teacher or mentor. If parents, biblically speaking, are the appropriate teachers and mentors of their children (more on this later), it’s possible for children to fulfill the salt and light mandate within that framework, rather than having to be sent away.

In view of these contextual considerations, it’s difficult to make the case that this passage directly applies to children in the way in which our critics suggest. Since it doesn’t specifically mention or command sending children to a spiritually hostile environment to be salt and light, it certainly doesn’t constitute the final word on the matter, and therefore we should look to other biblical passages and principles for more clarification.

 Training Ground, Not Mission Field

One consideration which the proponents of the salt and light argument often seem to overlook is the reality that they are not simply sending their children to a mission field, but a training ground. In other words, these Christian kids are not being sent out to reach other students and teachers while being isolated from the humanistic teaching that occurs in the schools. The teaching is an unavoidable part of the package. Thus, in order to justify sending his or her child to public school as a missionary, a parent needs to simultaneously justify sending his or her child away to receive an education based on humanistic philosophy instead of one that is built on Scripture and a Christian worldview.

Those proponents of “salt and light” who do recognize the educational aspect of the situation apparently maintain the assumption that their children can withstand whatever humanistic teaching they will encounter and escape unscathed. In other words, they assume that their children can sit under hours of teaching from a perspective other than the Bible, surrounded by peer influences that tempt them in the wrong direction, and not be negatively influenced by any of it.

In addition to being dangerously naive, this view contradicts such Scriptures as Luke 6:40 (“The disciple is not above his master [teacher]: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master”), Proverbs 13:20 (“He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed”), and 1 Corinthians 15:33 (“Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners”).

I would challenge anyone to search the Scriptures and find one verse advising parents to hand the teaching of their children over to those who don’t know God or uphold His truth. As Paul declares in 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?” And in verse 17, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord.”

We are to be distinct from the world. There should be a separation between the world’s philosophies and methods and our own. We are not to mingle ourselves in their practices or partake in their way of life.

The command to not be unequally yoked with unbelievers is also worth noting. When Christian children are placed under the authority of unbelieving teachers, principals, and other school administrators, we would do well to ask if they are in fact unequally yoked. Certainly they often do not have the freedom to fully express their identity as followers of Christ; in that sense, they are “yoked” to those who do not share their faith, and their activity, at least in some measure, is dictated by unbelievers who are in authority over them.

Proverbs 1:7 says that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,” and Colossians 2:3 tells us that in Christ “are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” In Proverbs 9:10 we again see that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.”

It’s no small matter to give the education of our children to those who remove the foundation of wisdom and knowledge. Unless the proponents of “salt and light” can make a convincing scriptural case that it doesn’t matter if we allow our children to be taught from a worldview contrary to the Bible, we are already beginning to see major cracks in the foundation of their argument.

 Peer Influences

Children—indeed, all of us—have a natural propensity to do wrong. That comes naturally to us. Doing right, on the other hand, is contrary to our natural inclinations and tendencies.

When children are sent to public school as “missionaries,” they are surrounded by other young people who, by and large, are following their natural desires, thus creating the negative peer pressure we so often discuss. And since our children have a natural propensity toward wrongdoing—even if they already have their own walk with the Lord—placing them amidst this negative peer pressure for hours every day is questionable at best.

We can examine Scripture to see what the Bible says about this.

We have already noted Proverbs 13:20 (“He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed”) and 1 Corinthians 15:33 (“Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners”). Both of these passages give strong warning to those who would willingly and knowingly allow their children to be surrounded by negative peer influences.

The influences surrounding our kids make a difference. They’re going to be impacted. We all know that in a typical scenario, kids generally tend to pull each other down, not lift each other up. Let’s go back to Proverbs 13:20 for a moment: when we pair its warning to the companion of fools with Proverbs 22:15, which tells us that “foolishness is bound in the heart of a child,” it’s easy to see why extensive peer-based socialization can be so destructive. Foolishness is bound in the hearts of children, and the companion of fools will be destroyed. Is it any wonder that we so often see children and young people making destructive life choices as a result of peer pressure?

Children are impressionable. When they are sent out alone to confront the world and interact all day with those who have a different system of values, they are placed at high risk of adopting those different values. Scripture warns us of this, and it shouldn’t be surprising when we see it occurring around us.

 Seasons of Purpose

Different seasons of life bring different opportunities, activities, and purposes. One helpful question to ask, as we examine the salt and light argument, is this: what is the purpose of childhood?

Is it to fulfill some kind of mission for the cause of Christ, or is it instead a season of preparation for later work and ministry?

Throughout the Bible, we find numerous commands and references to parents training and teaching their children (Deuteronomy 6:6–7, Deuteronomy 32:46, Proverbs 1:8, Isaiah 38:19, Joel 1:3, Ephesians 6:4). Put together, these passages form a consistent pattern throughout the whole of Scripture, emphasizing again and again the importance of parents raising their children in the ways of the Lord. The biblical model of education is always God-centered, faith-driven, and parent-directed.

At the same time, we see a profound lack of passages suggesting that children have a specific mission or calling to go outside the discipleship of their parents to reach the outside world.

Most of those who use the salt and light argument seem to assume either that their children don’t need any preparation to be missionaries in the schools, or that a few hours in church each week and perhaps a little time with Dad and Mom in the evening will be adequate to not only counteract the secular teaching in the schools, but also prepare them to be bold witnesses for Christ. And of course, children need preparation for the rest of life as well—not just their childhood years. In other words, it’s no small undertaking to raise a child in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

The reality is that the preparation must be adequate to the task at hand. The greater the task, the greater the need for adequate preparation. And is there any greater task than sending out the next generation ready and equipped to do God’s work?

God lays out for us a model in Deuteronomy 6:6–7 when He instructs parents to teach their children His commands. “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”

In his article “The Christian Education Manifesto,” Israel Wayne observes of this passage, “This describes a 24/7/365 discipleship paradigm, centered on the commandments of God.”

Precisely. God apparently didn’t think an hour of Sunday School and a few minutes in the evening with Dad and Mom was adequate to prepare children to live righteous, holy lives. He commands parents here to teach their children with a diligence and constancy that most parents never come close to reaching.

We can gain more insight into this issue by considering the words of Christ Himself in relation to adults and children. Consider this contrast between two messages: Christ commanded His adult disciples to be salt and light, and sent them out to do His work. But what did He say of children? “But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14). For adults, His word was “Go.” For children, His words were “Let them come.”

These words of Christ create a compelling picture and clearly illustrate the concept of different seasons of life. During the early, formative years, children are to be brought to Christ—taught about Him, nurtured in His ways, and discipled to live for Him. As adults, they are then able to go out and make a difference for Christ after that first season of preparation. Childhood is the time for coming, adulthood the time for going.

 Right Priorities

As a parent, you must ask yourself, “What is my top priority? Is it to reach someone else’s children for Christ by placing my own children’s spiritual well-being at risk, or is it to raise my children in the ways of God, discipling them to the point that they are solid, well-grounded young adults who can stand on their own?”

God didn’t give you someone else’s children. He gave you your own. That doesn’t mean we should never seek to reach out to others, but it does suggest a hierarchy of priorities. Generally speaking, our top priorities are those that are closest to us. We find this principle illustrated for us in 1 Timothy 5:8 where Paul says, “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” When it comes to physical provision, a man’s immediate household is his top priority. Those closest to him should command his first attention.

Similarly, Paul stipulated that a man must be able to “rule his own house” (1 Timothy 3:4–5) in order to be considered for the position of bishop or deacon in the church. Thus, before a man’s ministry could expand to include one of these positions of leadership, he first had to show the capacity to lead in his own family. Here again we see the hierarchy of priorities: attention to your own family first, expanded ministry second.

We see the same principle in the Old Testament in Genesis 18:17–19 where God is about to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah and decides to share His plans with Abraham. In that passage we read, “And the Lord said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.”

Here we see that Abraham’s ability to raise and train his children was a key factor that brought greater confidence from God, and was apparently even a factor in God’s promises and blessings to him. Thus, we again see that proper attention to the closest priorities came before increased responsibility and opportunity outside.

None of this means that we shouldn’t reach out beyond our own families. I’m not saying your family should be your sole focus, but your first focus. Parents who use the salt and light argument, however, are essentially saying that the needs of students in the public schools come ahead of their own children’s need for a Christian education, the intensive discipleship of their parents, and appropriate protection from negative peer influences. Biblically speaking, however, parents should place the greater emphasis on their own children’s needs and only thereafter look beyond their family to the needs around them. That is the biblical order.

 Wishful Thinking

We’ve already seen multiple reasons why the salt and light argument is contrary to biblical principles. We can also look outside Scripture to find an additional compelling reason why this argument doesn’t withstand scrutiny: generally speaking, the idea that children can be effective as salt and light in a hostile, secular environment is simply wishful thinking.

Lee Duncan, Dean of Administration for The Master’s College, wrote in his article “A Case for Christian High Education”:

Why would we expect Christian young people who are in their most impressionable time of growth to challenge mature teachers who will attack their faith? In reality, most Christian students in public schools challenge no one; they simply stay quiet and try to avoid any confrontation.

And in her article “Culture of Answers,” Jill Carattini of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, wrote the following:

A recent study on the faith and belief of today’s youth laments the growing inarticulacy of students when it comes to talking about what they believe . . . The researchers were troubled as they realized how seldom teens found opportunity to practice talking about their faith. They were astonished by the number of kids who reported that this was the first time they had been asked by an adult what they believed. One replied as if he was caught off guard, “I don’t know. No one has ever asked me that before.” (emphasis in the original)

In other words, by and large, students aren’t talking about their faith at school. It’s not happening. And as Lee Duncan points out, why would we expect them to? Why would we expect them—at such an impressionable age—to draw attention to themselves and challenge those around them when in school the supreme virtue is to do as you’re told and not cause disruption?

Consider it in another way: if the salt and light argument were solid and Christian kids were really making a difference in their schools, why have we not seen a great spiritual awakening in our public education system? Why do we instead see our church pews increasingly empty as young people continue their mass exodus from the faith? It’s not our Christian youth who are winning the world, but the world who is winning our Christian youth.

Research indicates that up to 85 percent of young people from Christian homes who attend public school end up walking away from the church by the time they graduate high school. Many parents will insist that their kids are the exception—that they can handle the unbiblical worldview and negative peer pressure and remain true to their God and strong in their faith. But is that a chance we should take? Do we want to risk that our kids will be among the 15 percent instead of the 85 percent? Sure, we’d all like to think that our kids can stand strong—that they’ll defy the norms, beat the odds, and emerge victorious on the other side. But is that really rational?

Imagine yourself the unexpected owner of a ten-million-dollar inheritance. Your financial adviser gives you the opportunity to invest the money and earn enormous dividends, but the opportunity comes with a risk. “I have to tell you,” he says, “there’s an 85 percent chance you’ll lose every penny in this investment.” Then he smiles and says, “But there’s a 15 percent chance you’ll double your money and walk away with twenty million!”

What would you decide? My guess is that you’d turn it down with a flat no and tell your broker that someone would have to be crazy to take a risk like that. And you’d be right. Why would you risk such an incredible treasure when the odds are stacked so heavily against you?

Why should it be any different with our children? God has entrusted every parent with a treasure worth far more than ten million dollars—and we’re going to invest that treasure in a risky venture, hoping we’ll be in the 15 percent instead of the 85 percent? Not with my kids. The risk must be weighed, and with the stakes so high, shouldn’t a godly caution guide our steps?

The numbers for homeschooled students are radically different. According to Dr. Brian Ray’s 2003 report “Homeschooling Grows Up,” more than 90 percent of homeschool graduates report that their religious beliefs are essentially the same as their parents’, and more than 90 percent continue to attend church on a regular basis.

Why the difference? Because Christian home education and public school are as different as night and day. When we follow a radically different process, it’s predictable that we’ll end up with a radically different result. And that’s exactly what we’re seeing.

If “salt and light” were really working as well as its proponents wish, we wouldn’t have these unfortunate statistics. We’d have churches overflowing with crowds of young people brought in by our Christian kids who are in the schools. It’s not happening.

In discussing all of this, we should also heed Jesus’s strong denunciation of those who offend children who believe in Him: “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:6).

Considering the rate at which children from Christian homes are leaving the church after attending public schools, we are forced to wonder if our school system is guilty of offending untold numbers of these “little ones” who believed in Him. And what of the parents who voluntarily send their children there when valid alternatives are available? My intention is not to be judgmental, but to help us to think about what we’re doing. The risk must be weighed, and again I ask: with the stakes so high, shouldn’t a godly caution guide our steps?

We would also do well to note that the very same verse that instructs us to be salt and light also warns us that if the salt loses its saltiness, it’s good for nothing but to be thrown in the streets and trampled underfoot. Thus, we have a command and a warning given together. The warning portion, however, seems largely overlooked by the salt and light proponents. The significance of the warning is intensified when we realize again that the large majority of children from Christian homes are in fact losing their saltiness in the public schools. If parents would pay as much heed to the warning as they do the command, their perspective might change.

 Wrong Becomes Right?

One reason so many parents have difficulty answering the salt and light argument is because it appeals to Scripture. On the surface, it can look like a scriptural justification for sending Christian kids to public school. But there’s more to it than that.

We all know that we must use Scripture appropriately—that we shouldn’t take verses out of context, twist their meaning, or seek to use Scripture to justify something unscriptural. Wrong actions are still wrong actions, even if we can pull an isolated verse out of the Bible that seems to justify what we’re doing.

Let’s take an obvious example. God instructed Adam and Eve in Genesis 1:28 to “be fruitful, and multiply.” He gave Noah and his sons the same command in Genesis 9:1 and repeated it six verses later in Genesis 9:7. Additionally, Psalm 127:3–5 tells us that “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them.”

Thus, from these verses we see that it’s good and appropriate for us to desire children and to consider each child a blessing from God. Now, imagine you meet a man who is pursuing numerous immoral relationships outside of marriage and who uses these Scriptures as justification. Imagine he tells you, “The Bible says to be fruitful and multiply, and that children are a reward from God. I realized that I can have more children if I don’t limit myself to only one woman. I know some people would frown on what I’m doing, but I’m just trying follow the Bible’s command to multiply and get all of God’s blessings that I can.”

Would we say that what this man is doing is fine and good because he was able to give us a few Bible verses that appear, at a quick glance, to support his case? I hardly think so. Why? Is being fruitful and multiplying suddenly wrong? Are children not a blessing? Quite the contrary. Yet we would recognize this man’s profligate lifestyle as wrong and displeasing to God, even though he gave us some Bible verses. His motives (theoretically, at least) could be perfect: he desires the blessing of more children, consistent with the Bible’s teachings. Yet his actions are still wrong because they are contrary to the message of Scripture taken as a whole, which commands moral purity.

Trying to justify sending our children to a godless environment to be educated on the basis of “salt and light” is akin to the man justifying his immoral lifestyle on the basis of being fruitful and multiplying. In either case, a biblical reason is used to justify something that contradicts the overall thrust of scriptural teaching. I repeat: the biblical model for education is always God-centered, faith-driven, and parent-directed. Remove one of those elements, and you’ve fundamentally altered the model God has given us in Scripture.

Being salt and light isn’t wrong. Exactly the opposite. But that doesn’t mean that every possible idea we could think of to allow us to be salt and light is acceptable and good in the sight of God. The message of Scripture is clear: children are to be taught and nurtured in the ways of the Lord, not the ways of the world. If a particular approach to being salt and light violates this truth, then we must reject that approach as unscriptural. Our motives may be pure, but that doesn’t make our actions right.

In short, we can’t justify doing something wrong for a “good” reason. Sending our children to a godless environment for their training and education is wrong. Plain and simple. There is absolutely no biblical basis on which to say it’s fine. To justify it with the claim that our children can be salt and light is to say that wrong has become right because something good might come from the wrong action.

 We’re in a Battle

Perhaps one of our problems is that we fail to see life as it really is—as a battleground between light and darkness, righteousness and unrighteousness, good and evil. If our goal is to simply raise children who can get a well-paying job and enjoy “the good life,” then we are likely to be far less concerned about how and what they are taught. But if we realize that our goal is to raise soldiers for Christ who can go out and make a difference in the world, the issue of our children’s training and preparation becomes far more important.

What army would send their troops to be trained in the camp of their greatest enemy? No, the people in the public schools aren’t our enemies. We don’t wrestle against flesh and blood, “but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). We do have a spiritual foe, and he is alive and well in our secular educational system of today.

In the realm of nations and governments, we would consider it reckless beyond belief to send our troops to be trained by the enemy. In World War II, Winston Churchill would never have considered sending the troops of England to be trained by Hitler. In the days of the Cold War, America wouldn’t have sent her soldiers to be trained by the Communists. Yet that’s exactly what we’re doing when we send our children to be taught in schools where God is excluded and a biblical worldview is ignored. The next generation of Christian soldiers is being trained, but not in the right camp.

 Whatever Remains

Sherlock Holmes, in The Sign of the Four, neatly summed up a simple reality: “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

Some say we have no scriptural command to home educate—in other words, there’s no chapter and verse we can point to that says public or private school is wrong and that we must teach our children at home. However, I would contend that if all the biblical principles and passages that discuss the training of children consistently uphold one model, then all other approaches are excluded—if not explicitly, then by clear implication.

In other words, if God has instructed us that children should be taught in the fear of the Lord, then we don’t need a specific command telling us that they shouldn’t be taught without the fear of the Lord—we already know how they should be taught.

If God has commanded parents to be the diligent, day-in, day-out teachers of their children, then we don’t need an explicit command not to send kids away for hours every day to be taught by someone else—we already know who their teachers are supposed to be.

If God tells us that negative peer influences are destructive, we don’t need a command telling us to give appropriate protection to our children—we already know they should be protected.

Let’s illustrate it this way. If you were to tell your children, “Be nice to the kids next door,” you wouldn’t have to explicitly and specifically forbid all of the potentially unkind things your children could do. You don’t have to tell your son not to punch the neighbor boy in the nose. You don’t have to tell your kids not to steal the neighbors’ toys, make fun of them, throw rocks at them, or any number of things they could conceivably do. All of that is excluded with the single command, “Be nice to the kids next door.”

Similarly, when God told parents to teach their children diligently in His ways, He didn’t need to specifically outline all of the ways they shouldn’t be taught. All of that was taken care of by telling us how they should be taught.

 What About the Success Stories?

There are those who will listen to all these arguments against the salt and light proposition and still maintain that children ought to be sent away to school as missionaries. In some cases, they may have seen (or even been) a Christian young person who successfully navigated the turbulent waters of the secular schools and emerged on the other side relatively unscathed. They maintained their Christian testimony, were outspoken for their faith, and perhaps even succeeded in winning classmates for Christ. These students may even argue that their experiences in a secular school strengthened them in their faith. Some then use this as justification that “salt and light” really does work after all.

Arguments from experience, however, should not be elevated to the level of Scripture. We have clear teaching from the Bible about how children should be taught. The general rule we’re seeing is that the faith of kids from Christian homes is being decimated in public school. If we encounter an occasional exception to this rule, that can hardly be considered justification for others following in their path.

If we look hard enough, we can find people willing to justify virtually anything based on their experience. There are those who argue, for example, that God led them to divorce their spouse—and that their life was better because of it—despite God’s clear declaration in Malachi 2 that He hates divorce and Jesus’s warning in Matthew 19:6 and Mark 10:9 that “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” We cannot argue against Scripture based on our experience. Just because we see someone else ignore the warning signs, jump in the alligator-infested river, and swim successfully to the other side doesn’t mean we should follow suit. Did someone else survive? Yes. Does that make it right for us—or, for that matter, even for them? No. We must heed the instruction of Scripture more than the voices of those who would tell us of their experiences.

 Conclusion

The purpose of this article has not been to criticize or judge the motives of those who advance the salt and light argument, some of whom are sincere, godly Christian parents. Rather, my intent has been to provide a much-needed alternative perspective—one that looks at the issue not just in light of one or two Scripture verses, but that examines the overall message and thrust of the Bible as it relates to education and children.

The bottom line is this: the concept of voluntarily sending God’s children away—for any reason—to be educated in institutions where He is rejected, is utterly foreign to Scripture. If the God-centered, faith-driven, parent-directed model of education found in Scripture means anything at all, then the concept of subjecting children to secular, God-absent education is beyond any rational biblical justification. Search for a lifetime, and you will still fail to find the smallest piece of evidence that God approves of sending the children of His kingdom to the halls of humanistic learning.

It was Christ who declared that anyone who offends one of these little ones would be better off drowned in the depths of the sea. Would He now be in favor of education that leaves Him out? It was the apostle Paul who boldly asked, “What communion hath light with darkness?” and “What part hath he that believeth with an infidel?” Would he now stand up and say it doesn’t matter if the children of God are taught in darkness and educated by unbelievers?

Let’s make sure we’re taking care of our first priorities first. Let’s give our children a God-centered, parent-directed education as outlined in Scripture, and then, as God leads, we can reach out to others. Just because we’re homeschoolers doesn’t mean we can’t be salt and light. And our children will be more effective in God’s service for a lifetime if they don’t lose their saltiness in their youth.

 Jonathan Lewis is a homeschool graduate, husband to Linnea, and daddy to Patrick, Timothy, and another on the way. He is one of the founders of Home School Enrichment Magazine and enjoys writing and speaking from his perspective as a homeschool graduate. If you would like to invite Jonathan to speak to your group—or to get in touch with him for any other reason—drop him a note at jonathan@HomeSchoolEnrichment.com.

Copyright 2015, Jonathan Lewis; reprinted with permission.

Christians – It’s Time to Stand

white houseLast Thursday Seattle, Mayor Ed Murray unveiled new rainbow crosswalks at several Capitol Hill intersections costing $66,000. The crosswalks are expected to last three to five years, but the city said it plans to maintain them for years to come.

On Friday in a long sought out victory for the gay rights movement the SCOTUS ruled that what God sees as an abomination the Constitution guarantees as a right. That evening the White House of the United States was illuminated in rainbow colors as an offense and cost to tax payers across the country.

Over the weekend businesses across the nation begin to show support for the LBGT community on social media. The Department of Education changes their picture to reflect their long time agenda.

Monday local judges and clerks across the nation stood and said they will not go against their deep-rooted conviction and conscience by issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. Some have resigned. Others brace for persecution.

On Tuesday the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that a Ten Commandments monument (paid for by private money) placed on State Capitol grounds must be removed because the Oklahoma Constitution bans the use of state property for the benefit of a religion.

Today….

What is happening in our country?

Let me submit that it is the same thing that has been happening for decades just now at an accelerated pace. Monday night I attended with many others from our community to an event to hear David Barton speak out on these issues. Below (posted with permission) is a summary of the event from two of my dear friends. Please take the time to read this. If the gay rights activists have not yet bombarded your local government they will. Christians need to be informed and prepared. It’s time to stand!

David Barton Encourages Fayetteville Activists – a Summary of Last Nights Meeting. Written by Angela Lathrum

David Barton, internationally known public speaker, author and historian, visited Fayetteville last night to encourage the grassroots effort to combat the effects of the radical sexual revolution on our local government.  Barton is the president of Wallbuilders, a pro-family organization, which holds a large private collection of original source American historical documents.  In the fall of 2014, Barton and others in Wallbuilders worked with activists in Fayetteville to repeal Ordinance 119, a dangerous law that forced business to allow members of either sex to enter both men and women’s bathrooms and locker rooms.  Now a new, but frustratingly similar, ordinance is on the September 8 ballot in Fayetteville.  Motivated to see a similar victory over Ordinance 5781, several hundred citizens gathered last night to hear what Barton had to say.

Many of those in attendance were encouraged to see such a prominent figure engage with citizens over a local issue.  The shift in culture, and the hijacking of Americans’ ethics, is impacting every level of society: our nation, our communities, and our individual consciences.  So, a call to action on the local level is crucial for a stand on a national level.  The Wallbuilders team aimed to rally support for the counter-initiative in local communities.

Barton drew some interesting parallels between the Genesis account of Lot’s confrontation with the culture of Sodom and today’s confrontation with the radical sexual revolution. Evil is not content with the position of “live and let live”.  It demands that we come and participate with it, just as the Sodomites sought Lot’s consent and participation in their assault on the visiting angels.  Barton presented nearly a dozen examples of cases around the country in which courts ruled that an individual did not have a right to act according to his own conscience, by not participating in objectionable activities.  Evil will have us participate, or seek to destroy us.

Just as Lot offered his virgin daughters to appease the Sodomites, Christians will often offer a compromise to appease those pushing their “progressive” cultural shift.  Churches have accommodated, families have looked the other way, schools have indoctrinated our youth in an effort to make them more “tolerant”.  Our compromises, have only strengthened the opposition.  Our middle ground is crumbling.

Evil is unappeased with compromise.  False accusations follow, usually without merit.  Lot was falsely accused of judging the men of Sodom.  “Bigot” and “discrimination” have been spewed at Christians who have tried to reserve their right to refuse service when it violated their conscience.  But radical sexual revolutionaries insist that love means tolerance and even affirmation.  God’s holy Word says otherwise.

False accusations will usually turn to meanness.  Similarly, Lot was nearly overtaken by the men of Sodom with whom he was trying to reason.  Undeniable, The Survey of Hostility to Religion in America documents acts of aggression and intolerance toward Christians each year.  It recounts many cases in which Christians are accused of persecution and bigotry, while the same and far worse is perpetrated against us.  Threats, coerciveness and down-right meanness are the arsenal of Evil.

Barton continued by quoting Charles Finney.  “God will bless or curse this nation according to the course Christians take in politics.”  Proverbs tells us that “A wise man scales the city of the mighty and brings down the trusted stronghold.” (21:22)  As a historian, Barton likened the strategies of successful battles to the strategies that Christians need to use today in fighting the encroaching evil that would lay siege to our society and capture the minds of our children.   Christian political leaders must focus on the national strategy, and local leaders must engaged in the battle specifics, on the ground, in our local communities.  Defense is not a battle strategy, it is a time to pull back, regroup and prepare for the next offensive move.  And at every level, Christians need to be proactive, watching and seeking out faithful, tested, and humble leaders in our local businesses, churches and communities.

Wallbuilders made a clear call for religious leaders to take an active role in encouraging Christians to participate in the political process.  Pastors and ministry leaders can learn more about this strategy through the revitalized organization, National Black Robe Regiment, at  www.nationalblackroberegiment.com.

David Barton’s message was a clear message to stand.  We have turned over our country to immoral extremists, simply because they are louder.  Passivity has been our weakness.  Instead, Christians must be proactive and organized.  Satan has used lies and confusion to incite the lost.   Clearly, anyone who believes that there are 82 different sexual identities and orientations is deceived, confused, and lost.   Christians’ greatest weapon is faithfulness to truth and love.

Above all, the movement to restore America to its Christian heritage must be covered in prayer and carried out in love.  What the lost, confused and deceived members of our culture need most of all, is Jesus!  Thankfully, we know love does win in the end through the sacrificial blood of the cross.

To learn more about the Fayetteville ordinance that strips business owners of their right to act in accordance with their own conscience and how you can get involved in its repeal visit  www.repeal119.com.

In response my friend Deedra Branscum writes:

It was encouraging to see so many pastors and community leaders attending last night. I am always so encouraged as many of them are homeschool families/parents and I am so glad to be part of this community.  Another interesting and true perspective Barton gave was that Christians are too quick to give up a compromise and giving away things we should not -like Lot offering his virgin daughter-when we should not compromise and give things up at all. Lot was attempting to not go as far as they wanted to in having homosexual acts by giving his daughter but he shouldn’t have ever offered a compromise in the first place and we should not either.  The evil men Lot dealt with wanted forced participation and not ” live and let live ” and that is the same group we are facing in this battle today. They want to force Christians to participate by baking then a cake for their event etc.

David Barton and other speakers also referred to the Bentonville school policy issue we have been discussing and actively opposing. It is another piece to the puzzle in this culture war. Thanks for all the encouragement and support of friends in this community. It has been a time consuming and at times seemingly endless battle but we know who has the final word in the end.!! I pray God is pleased in all we do and say despite what naysayers may say from the peanut gallery. It has been a great group to work with and we have seen Christ shared and I believe God would be pleased at how this group had handled it.

There are also some encouraging stories of people who have turned from this lifestyle, repented and are now right were God wants them to be.  Those sweet testimonies encourage us too. There are several dimensions to this culture war. There are those that are militant to complete their agenda and silence Christians and further persecute them for disagreeing wanting to force participation in their activities and then there are those who are not militant about it.  Here is a link to the testimony of a man we have become friends with during this battle.   https://flames2fire.wordpress.com/jasons-testimony/ He has spoken at several of the board meetings. He lived a gay life with a partner 11 years and then turned his life over to Christ. He has an awesome testimony and now has a sweet wife and several children and they are expecting a baby soon!!

Keep praying and doing what you can because it will take prayer and action, not silence, to stop the indoctrination of children and encourage people towards Christ.  Love and Godspeed in all your endeavors for Christ!!

Friends, Now is the time to stand. In the words of Paul be followers of God, as dear children.  “And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” (Eph 5:1-16) It’ time to stand!

When Leaders Repent . . . and what we can learn from them

repentance2

Just under a year ago I wrote a piece amidst another homeschool scandal called When Leaders Fall.. and what we can learn from them. I encourage you to go read it HERE and share it with your children, family and church. We live in a fallen world and how we respond to these issues can be vital to our Christian witness and influential to the spiritual development of our children.

This week past news of Josh Duggar and his resignation at Family Research Council has been in the forefront of headlines. Everyone has an opinion. I’ve read some pretty incredible responses against this sweet family. I’ve also seen support, grace and love extended toward everyone involved. Matt Walsh (The Duggars Aren’t Hypocrites) and Todd Friel (The Duggar Disaster)  both have great insight to this issue. And quite frankly, I didn’t believe there was much that could be added to the discussion.

There has been plenty of talk on sin and judgment. I have heard biblical phrases like “he who is without sin cast the first stone” and “be sure your sins will find you out” touted all over the internet by Christians and non-Christians alike.  But I haven’t read a lot on repentance. So let me offer a perspective that perhaps you haven’t considered.

First off, what happened this week to the Duggar family has nothing to do with a Christian man falling into sin. Josh was a young boy whose past was exceeding sinful and yet he found God’s grace and mercy. He repented, confessed, sought forgiveness and moved on with his life. This story is really about the people who sought after and dug up news in an effort to destroy the witness and gospel message that this family has long stood for.  Those that oppose the gospel message will always seek to destroy the messengers.  Those that oppose Christ will always seek to destroy His followers. None of this is surprising. It is certainly sad … but not surprising.

So nothing further can really be said to those who are blind to God’s grace.  They do not understand it. Christ said he came, “to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.” (Act 26:18). Until that happens they will always oppose truth and truth bearers.

While the Duggar story really is a separate issue, let me speak to Christians – Christ-followers -The Church who is the pillar and ground of the truth. If we do not respond correctly to repentance, we are not following Christ’s example. Let me repeat that for emphasis.

If we (as believers) fail to respond correctly to those who repent, we are not following Christ’s example.

Think about the vast references on repentance throughout God’s Word.

  • The prophets proclaimed it.  (Ezek 14:6,18:30)
  • John the Baptist preached it.  (Matt 3:2, 3:8)
  • Jesus’ first message was repent.  (Matt 4:17, Luke 13:3)
  • He told the disciples to preach repentance.  (Mark 6:12)
  • God commands man everywhere to repent.  (Acts 17:30)
  • And He warns the churches to repent. (Rev 2:5, 2:16, 2:21-22, 3:3, 3:19)

Can I make a point that really shouldn’t have to be made? There would be no need for repentance if we were all perfect.  This sinful, fallen world needs a Savior. This is the reason the prophets proclaimed it and Christ preached it. It is also the reason that those who have already received it tell others about it.

Even after we are saved and become new creatures, (redeemed and imputed with His righteousness) there is still a need for daily repentance. We do not repent unto salvation for that is no longer necessary (Hebrews 6:1-6).  But true believers do repent when we sin and seek the Lords forgiveness as a part of our sanctification. Those who walk in the light cannot continue to walk in darkness (1 John 3:7-9). They can , however, fall into darkness. But note that they do not stay there.

 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. ..My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (1Jn 1:9, 2:1-2)

This brings up a valid point of what to do when Christian men or women fall into sin. After all, believers will fall. We are sinful creatures. Yes, we strive. Yes, we have the spirit of God working in our lives. Yes, we are called to be holy, but until we are glorified and one day become just like Him (1 John 3:2) we will always fight sin. The Apostle Paul was transparent about his sin nature. He wrote, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me” (Rom 7:18-20).

Understanding this sinful state that even believers find themselves dealing with, he states, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? (Rom 7:24) And then boldly proclaims, “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” I can state as Paul, I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord! Without Him and His love, mercy and forgiveness where would we all be?

So what then? What happens when a Christian repents? Let’s look to King David, a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14) who as leader fell into great sin.  If you are unfamiliar with the story you can read about it in 2 Samuel 11 and 12. David sinned against God by committing adultery with Bathsheba and attempting to cover it up by having her husband killed. God sent the prophet Nathan to confront David and he repented. As you read the story you find that even after he repented, he still faced the consequences of his sins. He sons died. His kingdom was torn away from him. His family was shattered. People were hurt. This is what sin does – it destroys lives and brings death. And every one is prone to it.  But that is not the end of the story. David’s kingdom was restored. God was exalted. David’s second son with Bathsheba replaced his father as king and is used to build God’s temple.  How does God respond to true repentance? He forgives and uses it for His glory!

God uses our sins, mistakes, failures and ugly past for His glory. David understood that. David was going to make sure that he used his past to teach others. Don’t miss this! He used his past for God’s glory. Read David’s repentant prayer recorded in Psalm 51.

 To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.

But David does not stop there. In verse 13 he said, Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee. (Psa 51:13)  Did you catch that? David was saying that after he fell into sin and repented, God forgave him.  Now he was going to use his testimony to teach others about the dangers of sin. When we are right before God, our hearts desire is to teach others. Why? Because we are filled with such love from God’s mercy and forgiveness that we greatly desire for others to experience the same.

When leaders humbly repent we can learn from them.

  • Let it serve as a reminder of our great need for a Saviour.
  • Let is serve as a reminder of the dangers and consequences of sin.
  • Let it serve as a reminder to respond as Christ responds to those who truly repent.

On a personal note: I thank God daily for my salvation, but let me tell you that I’m in the process of being sanctified and it is a process.  My Lord is constantly working on me, changing me, molding me and shaping me into His image.  I have a long way to go, but I press on nevertheless.  I believe the key is striving – striving to be like Him. Of course I fall into sin on occasion, but my heart’s desire is to run from sin and to cling to my Lord. May we all be constantly pursuing holiness in spite of this sinful flesh and dark, dark world we live in.

The LGBT Agenda and our Public Schools

gayAs a good friend pointed out the other day, we do not have to travel across the ocean to fight wars; they are in our own backyard. Last night was a prime example. My husband and I attended our local school board meeting where they were to vote on a proposed change to the EOE policy to include the LGBT community and the term “sexual orientation and gender identity”.

Doors opened before 5 pm and there was a high attendance. After well over 50 speeches from the community the board postponed the vote until the next board meeting stating that they were not allowed to make executive decisions past midnight. The next meeting will be June 1st. Both sides spoke to the issue.

Pastors and evangelicals talked about the nature and consequences of the homosexual lifestyle in general and how it goes against God’s standards clearly defined in Scripture. Concerned citizens talked about how this policy would constitute endorsement of sexual lifestyles and behaviors that most of the people in our community do not condone. Local parents addressed the concern that the school would be putting children at risk while ignoring the overwhelming evidence that proves the dangers of such policies. Many spoke to the confusing nature of this issue on the minds of our children.

The LGBT community was represented by business men and women, young students and teachers. Some articulated their message in a respectful manner wishing for understanding and compassion. The majority spoke of fear, hatred, bigotry, judgment and hypocrisy.  I truly wished I had counted the number of times that these key phrases were used during the evening. Other phrases heard were “it takes a village after all” and “no one has a monopoly on truth”. This issue was time and again equated to civil rights. One lady went so far as to compare this perceived discrimination as to what happened to the Jews in Germany.

The most shocking testimony was from an ex-homosexual who testified of his deliverance from this sinful lifestyle. I thank God for that man’s testimony for the Lord. The most disturbing testimony was from a local pastor who defended this lifestyle.  My heart aches for the confusion and blindness of so many in the LBGT lifestyle. I pray that the Lord will open their hearts to the truth of His word. However, this man willing deceived the hearers last night. Claiming to be a student of the Word, he ignored God’s perfect design for marriage as one man and one woman. God’s standard is that any sexual activity outside of a one man/one woman marriage is unrighteous.

 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (1Co 6:9-10)

He down played scripture like Romans chapter one as “cultural issues” where it is clear that this is a moral and spiritual issue. “Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves,” (Rom 1:24). (See also Jude 7.)

He devalued the words written by Paul and other passages saying that Jesus never spoke on the issue of homosexuality. Did he forget that,All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”(2Ti 3:16)?   Or that Jesus is The Word of God (John 1:1, Rev 19:13)?

He compared Christians who speak out against the sin of homosexuality to the Pharisees of old. A true understanding of the Pharisees reveals that they were on the ones who in the name of religion twisted God’s original Word to their own liking and traditions of men. Read the Sermon on the Mount. Over and over Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said by them of old time…….But I say unto you………….”

  • We’re okay because we haven’t murdered. But Jesus said if you have hatred in your heart that you are in danger of hell fire.
  • We’re okay because we haven’t committed adultery. But Jesus said if you look with lust you have committed adultery in your heart.
  • We’re okay because we divorced according to the law. But Jesus said your unjustified divorce is leading to adultery.

And so on, all through Chapter 5 of Matthew. God’s standard is that holy. God’s judgment is that pure. In fact, Jesus said, “That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”(Mat 5:20)

Today it sounds like this:

  •  We’re okay because we are tolerant and nonjudgmental. But Jesus said, “Judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24).
  • We’re okay because we love Jesus. But Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).
  • We’re okay because God accepts us just the way we are. But Jesus said, “Why call me Lord, Lord and do not the things I say?” (Luke 6:46).

God is not okay with sin in any fashion. To say that God is okay with sexual sin is quite deceptive.

Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: Col 3:5-6.

I saddened for those who willingly lead people astray.  Scripture warns them. Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; (Isa 5:20). Thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing! (Eze 13:3)

The goal of the gay agenda is to force our society to fully accept their lifestyle as morally, socially, and religiously equivalent to the heterosexual lifestyle. These attempts at policy changes and others across the nation is just a stepping stone. If we allow this, where will we draw the line? Will we draw the line at giving special rights to pedophiles or those who think they were born with a natural desire for animals?  God’s Word speaks to that as well.

Last night, over and over again, it was said that those who oppose this are being judgmental and hateful.  Can I just tell you that when I speak God’s truth that I am no more judgmental than a doctor who judges the seriousness of a patient dying with cancer. Out of love for mankind and a sense of professional obligation a good, noble doctor must offer the cure no matter how painful.  There is a cure for sin and eternal death, although it is often painful to hear.

I do not stand in judgment because the judgment has already been made by God. To warn those who will one day be judged for their sins is the most loving and compassionate thing anyone can do. To those who are blinded by their sins against God this, of course, will sound like hate. Truth always sounds like hate to those who hate truth.

 Let me say that again, Truth always sounds like hate to those who hate truth.

Christian parents, this issue is not going away.   The youth in the public schools are being indoctrinated with this liberal propaganda every day.  Pay attention, it starts in kindergarten and continues year after year. On this topic Dr. Ken Ham wrote, “It is also important to note that the public education system has by and large thrown out God’s Word and raised generations of children to believe they are just animals who evolved by natural processes. In that worldview, who determines right and wrong? And who determines what marriage should or should not be? In fact, why should there be any such thing as marriage any way? Why shouldn’t people do what they want with anyone, even any animal? Why shouldn’t they do what is right in their own eyes if they can get away with it? Why not? If there’s no absolute authority, what right does anyone have to tell anyone else what they should or should not do?”[i]

My advice is to get your children out now. Homeschool them or send them to a good private Christian school. Make the necessary sacrifices. Otherwise, do not be surprised when they come home after being taught by the village stating that absolute truth does not exist.

[i] http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/blogs/ken-ham/2012/07/31/why-are-they-intolerant-of-the-only-true-marriage/

The Eden Concept

cover 4My niece is getting married in a few months. Her wedding invitation is posted on our fridge. There is excitement in the air and talk of dresses, cakes, receptions, decorations, and flowers. She will be a beautiful bride.

Don’t you just love weddings! I usually cry through the whole ceremony, but my favorite part is the moment when the bride walks through the door. Everyone turns and stands in awe. All eyes are upon the beautiful and radiant young women dressed in white. Music is playing and the groom waits anxiously to take his bride as his own. It is almost surreal.

But sadly, within our culture the sacredness of marriage itself is almost gone. For decades now it has been under attack and at its core the institution of marriage seems to be weakening. More and more we hear of marriages ripped apart.

Ripped apart by sin.
Ripped apart by selfishness.
Ripped apart by worldly influences.

Then there are those who want to throw the whole ideology of marriage away. It’s not that they want to “redefine marriage” as some would declare. No, they want to destroy it, erase it from existence. God instituted marriage. He is the author of it. He defines it. Therefore, marriage as God designed it is a constant reminder of His authority over His creation. And people who love their sin do not want to be reminded of their Creator and Judge.

A little over a year ago my husband and I started working together on a book called The Eden Concept. We are living in a time where biblical marriage needs to be lifted up, lived out, and taught to others. This is why I’m excited to announce that we are finally moving forward with this project. The outline is complete. Here is a sampling of the introduction:

A correct worldview of origins is foundational to a correct view of marriage. Established in Genesis, we see the doctrine of marriage as ordained by God of one man and one woman. But, an inaccurate view of origins led mankind down a path of narcissistic ideology – the idea that mankind should do what is “right in our own eyes.” On this topic Dr. Ham wrote, “It is also important to note that the public education system has by and large thrown out God’s Word and raised generations of children to believe they are just animals who evolved by natural processes. In that worldview, who determines right and wrong? And who determines what marriage should or should not be? In fact, why should there be any such thing as marriage any way? Why shouldn’t people do what they want with anyone, even any animal? Why shouldn’t they do what is right in their own eyes if they can get away with it? Why not? If there’s no absolute authority, what right does anyone have to tell anyone else what they should or should not do?”

To look at marriage in any other fashion than through God’s Word is futile. The Eden Concept dismisses man’s ideas about marriage and sees it as God – The Absolute Authority – designed it. The Eden Concept throws out man’s happiness and self-gratification as the standard for marriage. Instead, it lifts up God’s Holy Word as the design for a thriving marriage. Journey with us through each page; we start at “the beginning” and then witness the devastation that sin brought to Eden. We ascertain the perfect design for Eden and how to re-establish it. We address cultivating the marriage and raising our children, the tender plants of Eden. We examine the ruin caused by the cultural weevils in Eden and learn how to fight against them. We will see marriage just as God intended – The Eden Concept – and how we, as God’s children, are to respond.

Will you keep us in your prayers as we continue this work? Pray for protection for our marriage and family and for wisdom and discernment as we press on. Many blessings to you!