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Category Archives: Parenting

Charles Spurgeon Writes to a Child

Late in life & very unwell, Spurgeon models for us true pastoral care as he sits down to write to a child. More than that, he models for us the type of gospel love and pleading all Christian parents and pastors ought to have for the children in the care.

Written on July 1, 1890, Spurgeon was said to have been sick, tired and very busy. His hand “was swollen and probably painful as he held the pen.” (Dallimore, p 225)

My Dear Arthur Layzell,

I was a little while ago at a meeting for prayer where a large number of ministers were gathered together. The subject of prayer was “our children.” It soon brought tears to my eyes to hear those good fathers pleading with God for their sons and daughters. As they went on entreating the Lord to save their families my heart seemed ready to burst with strong desire that it might even so. Then I thought, I will write to those sons and daughters, to remind of their parents’ prayers.

Dear Arthur, you are highly privileged in having parents who pray for you. Your name is known in the courts of heaven. Your case has been laid before the throne of God.

Do you not pray for yourself? If you do not do so, why not? If other people value your soul, can it be right for you to neglect it? See, the entreaties and wrestlings of your father will not save you if you never seek the Lord yourself. You know this.

You do not intend to cause grief to dear mother and father: but you do. So long as you are not saved, they can never rest. However, obedient and sweet and kind you may be, they will never feel happy about you until you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and so find everlasting salvation.

Think of this. Remember how much you have already sinned, and none can wash you but Jesus. When you grow up you may become very sinful, and no one can change your nature and make you holy but but the Lord Jesus, through His Spirit.

You need what father and mother seek for you and you need it NOW. Why not seek it at once? I heard a father pray, “Lord, save our children, and save them young.” It is never too soon to be safe; never too soon to be happy; never too soon to be holy. Jesus loves to receive the very young ones.

You cannot save yourself, but the great Lord Jesus can save you. Ask him to do it. “He that asketh receiveth.” Then trust in Jesus to save you. he can do it, for he died and rose again that whosoever believeth in him might not perish, but have everlasting life.

Come and tell Jesus you have sinned; seek forgiveness; trust in Him for it, and be sure that you are saved.

Then imitate our Lord. Be at home what Jesus was at Nazareth. Yours will be a happy home, and your dear father and mother will feel that the dearest wish of their hearts has been granted them.

I pray you think of heaven and hell, for in one of those places you will live forever. Meet me in heaven. Meet me at once at the mercy-seat. Run upstairs and pray to the great Father, through Jesus Christ.

Yours very lovingly, C.H. Spurgeon. (Dallimore, p 224,25)

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Pondering Proverbs as a Parent – 10 Years Later

This Sunday, we begin a new series at Rolleston Baptist Church through Proverbs.

Proverbs Series

I love the book of Proverbs.

Nearly 10 years ago, I spent a month blogging through the book of Proverbs, one chapter per day. I called my simple blog series, “Pondering Proverbs as a Parent“.We were still living in the States at the time. My children were 1, 2, & 4!

Our lives have changed dramatically in the years since. Yet the timeless truths of God’s Word never change.

These blog posts are rough & unedited. I share them here as they may still prove helpful to some family.

You can download a PDF of the whole series – Chapters 1-30, Diagram for Chapter 31, Chapter 31.

 

Tackling the “isms”: Worldview Overview

I will be presenting a couple of seminars as part of two of the Shepherding a Child’s Heart Conferences in the coming weeks – 21/03 in Auckland, 28/03 in Christchurch.

One of the seminars I will present twice on each Saturday. Once for the parents and again for teens.

Here is an outline of this particular seminar…

Tackling the “isms”: Worldview Overview

  1. What is a Worldview?

Your worldview is your general theory of the universe. It’s comprised of your fundamental beliefs about yourself, the world, and God. Your worldview answers fundamental questions about yourself–

*What am I?
*How can I be truly happy?
*What’s morally right and wrong?

—and about the world:

*Why does anything exist?
*Why does anything happen at all?

*How do I know anything?

*How do I know what is real and true?

Everyone has a god that they worship. The only distinction between worldviews is whether the object of worship is God the Creator, or this world, the creation.

“A worldview is a commitment, a fundamental orientation of the heart, that can be expressed as a story or in a set of presuppositions (assumptions which may be true, partially true or entirely false) which we hold (consciously or unconsciously, consistently or inconsistently) about the basic constitution of reality, and that provides the foundation on which we live and move and have our being.”

James W. Sire, The Universe Next Door: A Basic Worldview Catalog, 4th ed. (Downers Grove, IL: Inter Varsity Press, 2004), 17.

“A worldview is a way one views the whole world. A worldview is a way of viewing or interpreting all of reality. It is an interpretive framework through which or by which one makes sense out of the data of life and the world. A worldview is like a set of colored glasses. If one looks at the same object through green colored glasses he will see it as green, while another looking at the same object through red glasses will see it as red.”

Norman L. Geisler and William D. Watkins, Worlds Apart: A Handbook on Worldviews. 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1989), 11.

“A worldview is not the same thing as a formal philosophy; otherwise, it would be only for professional philosophers. Even ordinary people have a set of convictions about how reality functions and how they should live. Because we are made in God’s image, we all seek to make sense of life. Some convictions are conscious, while others are unconscious, but together they form a more or less consistent picture of reality.”

Nancy Pearcey, Total Truth (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 2004), 23 

Everyone Has a Religious Worldview

In an important sense, all worldviews – even atheistic ones – are religious. Herman Bavinck says that, “The denial of the existence of God includes, in the same moment, the elevation of the creature into the place of God”[1]. In other words, everyone has a god that they worship. The only distinction between worldviews is whether the object of worship is God the Creator, or this world, the creation. If these claims seem exaggerated, consider a contemporary example.

In the opening chapter of his book The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins notes that “A quasi-mystical response to nature and the universe is common among scientists and rationalists” who do not believe in a supernatural being. Dawkins writes that his awe of the universe is so similar to religious awe that some people have called him “A Very Religious Non-Believer”. Dawkins virtually concedes then that he and many fellow atheists have subjective responses which very nearly approximate worship; the main difference lying only in the worship of the creation rather than God, the Creator.

Corrupt worldviews are based on false gods, and humans adopt false gods because of their sinful resistance to the true and living God. In Romans 1:18-32 Paul argues that all human beings know God but at the same time don’t know God because they suppress the truth that they know, and that they do this by worshipping the creation in place of the Creator. They exchange the truth about God for a lie. Because everyone knows the true God deep inside, they cannot help but be religious, even if they claim to be agnostics or atheists. But because humankind is corrupted, religion always defaults to take the form of worshipping the creation instead of the Creator. Fallen people are on the one hand idolatrous (Rom. 1:18-32), and at the same time altogether godless (Ps. 14/Rom. 3:9-18).

  1. What is a Christian (or Biblical) Worldview?

“A biblical worldview is a worldview that is shaped and tested, formed and reformed by the Bible. More specifically, a biblical worldview would be a fundamental perspective on life that is based upon the ‘pillar points’ (as I like to call them) of creation, the fall, and redemption. The story of creation is told in Genesis 1-2 and answers such important questions as where are we, who are we, and why are we here? Genesis 3 tells the story of the fall of humanity into sin and addresses the issue of what has gone wrong with the world and how we should account for the tragic human condition. The rest of the Bible from Genesis 3:15 all the way to Revelation 22 presents the narrative of redemption, which informs us about the divinely provided remedy to sin and the tragic human condition. God promises redemption in the Old Testament, and He fulfills His promises in Christ in the New Testament. This redemption that Christ has accomplished is both ‘already; present but is ‘not yet’ fully complete. When Christ returns, He will consummate His redemptive task and usher in the new heavens and earth.”

(David Naugle, author of Worldview: The History of a Concept (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002) in an interview with T.M. Moore, editor of Findings, in October 2003.)

Paul says that the idolatry of mankind has created futile thinking and darkened foolish hearts (Rom. 1:21). If this is true, then the gospel is the only hope for the restoration and renovation of all human thought. It is only possible to come to truly know God through Jesus Christ, which will result in a complete transformation of your mind and worldview.

The Bible makes the radical assertion that it is necessary to know and fear God before arriving at any true conclusions about yourself and the world. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” (Prov. 1:7); “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight” (Prov. 9:10). God himself provides the answer to all key worldview questions—

*What am I? An image-bearer of God, Gen. 1:26-27.
*How can I be truly happy? By knowing God, John 17:3.
*What’s morally right and wrong? What God commands—loving him and loving your neighbour.
*Why does anything exist? God willed to create it out of nothing, Gen. 1:1.
*Why does anything happen at all? God has predestined it to happen and brings it to pass by his providential power.

“God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6). In this light, we see everything else differently—we see everything else truly—for the first time.

  1. The Limbs of A Biblical Christian Worldview

Theology: Affirmation of the existence of an intelligent, powerful, loving, just, and awesome God. This same God took upon Himself human form in the person of Jesus Christ and died for our sins. Thus, in addition to being theistic, Christianity is Christus Nexus, Christ at the centre. “Christianity is Christ. The person and work of Christ are the rock upon which the Christian religion is built. If he is not who he said he was, and if he did not do what he said he had come to do, the foundation is undermined and the whole superstructure will collapse. Take Christ from Christianity and you disembowel it; there is practically nothing left. Christ is the center of Christianity; all else is circumference.” (John Stott, Basic Christianity (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1967), 21. (Gen. 1:1; Colossians 2:9)

Philosophy: The single most important philosophical truth in the Bible is that Jesus Christ is the Logos of God. Christian philosophy, especially metaphysics, is grounded in John 1:1-4. Christ the Logos is the explanation for the universe and all things therein. (John 1:1-4, Col. 1:17, Rev. 19:13)

Sociology: Both the individual and the social order are important to God, mankind and society. Christ died and rose again for each person as an individual; God ordained social institutions to teach love, respect, discipline, work, and community. God ordained certain social institutions. Family, church, and state are three of the most important. (Gen. 4:1; Luke 1:30-31; Is. 9:6)

Law: Christian or Divine Law consists of both natural and Biblical law originating in the very character of a righteous and loving God. Divine law is eternal, and will be used one day to judge the world in a judgment based on natural and revealed law. God established human government and the rule of law primarily to keep in check man’s sinful nature (Romans 2:12ff; 13:1-4). Human rights involves the Biblical doctrine of man’s creation in the image of God. (Gen. 3:11; 49:10; Rev. 5:5)

Ethics: God’s moral nature is absolute, eternal and unchanging. God created the world with a specific moral order revealed to man via both general (natural law) and special revelation (Scripture and the person of Jesus Christ). Ethical standards transcend the relativistic whims of society. (Gen. 2:9; John 1:9; John 3:19,20) 

Biology: Christianity trusts the Genesis model of creation above and beyond the theories of modern science. However, Christianity is not anti-science, requiring only that science begin from a Christian theistic presupposition. Science and Christianity are compatible in that the universe when properly studied reflects that God created all things. (Gen. 1-3; John 1:4; John 11:25; Col. 1:16)

Psychology: Only Christianity, with its emphasis on the spiritual and its understanding of man’s fallen nature can truly address the innermost concerns of the individual. Humans may truly get in touch with themselves by realizing their own sinfulness and consequential status before God, as well as the grace of God which removes all sin and guilt. Self-esteem is realistic only as it follows a true statement of who we are with and without Christ. (Luke 1:46-47; I Thess. 5:23; Titus 2:13)

History: The Christian worldview, unlike many other religious (especially transcendental) worldviews, is firmly rooted in historical events such as the events of the nation of Israel and the life, death, and resurrection of the historical person Jesus Christ. The Bible is an historically accurate book, describing events that actually occurred and are continually being vindicated via archaeology and other historical proofs. (I Cor. 15; John 1:14; Gal 4:4)

  1. Biblical Christian Worldview Presuppositions

GOD (theology): Does God exist? What is his nature? Is he personal or impersonal? One or many? 

REALITY (metaphysics): What is the universe? Who or what created it? Is the universe an open or closed system (Closed: Matter is all there is and nothing from “outside” the universe intervenes, e.g. God. Open: “outside” forces such as God interfere with the natural order)? What is its purpose?

KNOWLEDGE (epistemology): How do we know something/anything? Can we trust our senses? How far will reason take us? Is there such a thing as revealed truth? Can we know something for certain? Is knowledge different from faith?

MAN (anthropology): What is man? Is man basically good or basically bad? Are we free, or the pawns of deterministic forces? Are we only bodies or bodies and spirits? What happens at death? Are there are rewards and/or punishments after death?

  • The “…isms” we face
  1. Islam
    • See Worldview comparison chart on last page
  1. Secular Humanism
    • See Worldview comparison chart on last page
  1. Marxism-Leninism
    • See Worldview comparison chart on last page
  1. Cosmic Humanism/New Age
    • See Worldview comparison chart on last page
  1. Post-Modernism
    • See Worldview comparison chart on last page
  1. “Practical” Materialism
    • What I have/own defines who I am.
    • “Lust of the eyes”
  1. Consumerism
    • The freedom to chose what I want based on my personal desires and preferences from a variety of options is the greatest good.
    • “Lust of the flesh”
  1. Narcissism
    • Narcissismis the pursuit of gratification from vanity or egotistic admiration of one’s own attributes. The term originated from the Greek mythology, where the young Narcissus fell in love with his own image reflected in a pool of water.
    • “Pride of Life”

Bibliography

Bahnsen, Greg L., and Robert R. Booth. Always Ready: Directions for Defending the Faith. Atlanta, GA: American Vision, 1996.

Berkhof, Louis, Cornelius Van Til, and Dennis E. Johnson. Foundations of Christian Education: Addresses to Christian Teachers. Christian perspectives. Phillipsburg, N.J.: Presbyterian and Reformed Pub. Co, 1989.

Bertrand, J. Mark. Rethinking Worldview: Learning to Think, Live, and Speak in This World. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Books, 2007.

Breese, Dave. Seven Men Who Rule the World from the Grave. Chicago: Moody Press, 1990.

Carson, D. A. Christ and Culture Revisited. Grand Rapids, Mich: William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co, 2008.

Carson, D. A. The Gagging of God: Christianity Confronts Pluralism. Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan Pub. House, 1996.

Clapp, Rodney. A Peculiar People: The Church As Culture in a Post-Christian Society. Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity Press, 1996.

Clark, Kelly James, Richard Lints, and James K. A. Smith. 101 Key Terms in Philosophy and Their Importance for Theology. Louisville, Ky: Westminster John Knox, 2004.

Colson, Charles W., and Ellen Santilli Vaughn. Against the Night: Living in the New Dark Ages. Ann Arbor, Mich: Vine Books, 1989.

Colson, Charles W., and Nancy Pearcey. How Now Shall We Live? Wheaton, Ill: Tyndale House Publishers, 1999.

Cowan, Steven B., and William Lane Craig. Five Views on Apologetics. Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan Pub. House, 2000.

Craig, William Lane, and Paul M. Gould. The Two Tasks of the Christian Scholar: Redeeming the Soul, Redeeming the Mind. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Books, 2007.

Dembski, William A., and Jay Wesley Richards. Unapologetic Apologetics: Meeting the Challenges of Theological Studies. Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity Press, 2001.

Dockery, David S. Renewing Minds: Serving Church and Society Through Christian Higher Education. Nashville, Tenn: Broadman & Holman, 2007.

Feinberg, John S., Paul D. Feinberg. Ethics for a Brave New World, 3nd edition. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Books, 2010.

Geisler, Norman L., Francis Beckwith, William Lane Craig, and James Porter Moreland. To Everyone an Answer: A Case for the Christian Worldview : Essays in Honor of Norman L. Geisler. Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity Press, 2004.

González, Justo L. Essential Theological Terms. Louisville, Ky: Westminster John Knox Press, 2005.

Hoffecker, W. Andrew. Revolutions in Worldview: Understanding the Flow of Western Thought. Phillipsburg, N.J.: P&R Pub, 2007.

Keller, Timothy J. Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters. New York: Dutton, 2009.

Keller, Timothy J. The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism. New York: Dutton, 2008.

Kohoutek, Henry J. Invitation to Biblical Christianity for the Well-Educated. Raleigh, N.C.: Pentland Press, 2001.

Koop, C. Everett, and Francis A. Schaeffer. Whatever Happened to the Human Race? Westchester, Ill: Crossway Books, 1983.

LaHaye, Tim F. The Battle for the Mind. Old Tappan, N.J.: Revell, 1980.

LaHaye, Tim F., and David A. Noebel. Mind Siege: The Battle for Truth in the New Millennium. Nashville, TN: Word Pub, 2000.

Lennox, John C. God and Stephen Hawking: Whose Design Is It Anyway? Oxford: Lion, 2010.

Lennox, John. God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God? Oxford: Lion, 2009.

Lewis, C. S. God in the Dock ; Essays on Theology and Ethics. Grand Rapids, Mich: William B. Eerdmans, 1995.

The Great Divorce. New York: Macmillan Co, 1946.

Mere Christianity; A Revised and Enlarged Edition, with a New Introduction of the Three Books, The Case for Christianity, Christian Behaviour, and Beyond Personality. New York: Macmillan, 1952.

Miracles; A Preliminary Study. New York: Macmillan Co, 1947.

The Screwtape Letters: With Screwtape Proposes a Toast. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2001.

MacArthur, John, Nathan Busenitz, Scott Lang, and Phillip R. Johnson. Fool’s Gold?: Discerning Truth in an Age of Error. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Books, 2005.

MacArthur, John, Richard Mayhue, and John A. Hughes. Think Biblically!: Recovering a Christian Worldview. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Books, 2003.

Moreland, James Porter, and William Lane Craig. Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview. Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity Press, 2003.

Morris, Henry M. The Long War against God: The History and Impact of the Creation/Evolution Conflict. Grand Rapids, Mich: Baker Book House, 1989.

Mouw, Richard J. He Shines in All That’s Fair: Culture and Common Grace : the 2000 Stob Lectures. Grand Rapids, Mich: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co, 2001.

Noebel, David A. Understanding the Times: The Religious Worldviews of Our Day and the Search for Truth. Eugene, Or: Harvest House Publishers, 1994.

­

The Battle for Truth. Eugene, Or: Harvest House Publishers, 2001.

Pearcey, Nancy. Saving Leonardo: A Call to Resist the Secular Assault on Mind, Morals, & Meaning. Nashville, Tenn: B&H Publishing, 2010.

Pearcey, Nancy. Total Truth Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity. Crossway Books, 2008.

Poythress, Vern S. God Centered Biblical Interpretation. Phillipsburg, N.J.: P&R Pub, 1999.

Poythress, Vern S. Philosophy, Science, and the Sovereignty of God. Nutley, N.J.: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1976.

Poythress, Vern S. Redeeming Science: A God-Centered Approach. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Books, 2006.

Poythress, Vern S. Redeeming Sociology: A God-Centered Approach. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway, 2011.

Poythress, Vern S. Science and Hermeneutics: Implications of Scientific Method for Biblical Interpretation. Grand Rapids, Mich: Academie Books, 1988.

Robertson, David. The Dawkins Letters. Christian Focus, 2010.

Ryken, Philip Graham. He Speaks to Me Everywhere: Meditations on Christianity and Culture. Phillipsburg, N.J.: P & R Pub, 2004.

My Father’s World: Meditations on Christianity and Culture. Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Pub, 2002.

What Is the Christian Worldview? Basics of the Reformed faith. Phillipsburg, N.J.: P&R Publishing, 2006.

Schaeffer, Francis A. 2 Contents, 2 Realities. Downers Grove, Ill: Intervarsity Press, 1975.

Art and the Bible. Downers Grove, Ill: IVP Books, 2006.

Back to Freedom and Dignity. Downers Grove, Ill: Inter-Varsity Press, 1972.

A Christian Manifesto. Westchester, Ill: Crossway Books, 1981.

A Christian View of Philosophy and Culture. Westchester, Ill: Crossway Books, 1982.

A Christian View of Spirituality. Westchester, Ill: Crossway Books, 1982.

A Christian View of the Bible As Truth. Westchester, Ill: Crossway Books, 1982.

A Christian View of the Church. Westchester, Ill: Crossway Books, 1982.

A Christian View of the West. Westchester, Ill: Crossway Books, 1982.

The Church at the End of the 20th Century. Downers Grove, Ill: Inter-Varsity Press, 1970.

The Church Before the Watching World; A Practical Ecclesiology. Downers Grove, Ill: Inter-Varsity Press, 1971.

The Complete Works of Francis A. Schaeffer: A Christian Worldview. Westchester, Ill: Crossway Books, 1982.

The Complete Works of Francis A. Schaeffer: A Christian Worldview. Vol.1, , A Christian View of Philosophy and Culture. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Books, 1994.

Death in the City. Chicago: Inter-varsity Press, 1969.

Escape from Reason. London: Inter-Varsity Fellowship, 1968.

, and James Montgomery Boice. The Foundation of Biblical Authority. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1978.

The Francis A. Schaeffer Trilogy: The Three Essential Books in One Volume. Westchester, Ill: Crossway Books, 1990.

Genesis in Space and Time; The Flow of Biblical History. Downers Grove, Ill: Inter-Varsity Press, 1972.

The God Who Is There; Speaking Historic Christianity into the Twentieth Century. Chicago: Inter-varsity Press, 1968.

The Great Evangelical Disaster. Westchester, Ill: Crossway Books, 1984.

He Is There and He Is Not Silent. Wheaton, Ill: Tyndale House Publishers, 1972.

How Should We Then Live?: The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture. Old Tappan, N.J.: F.H. Revell Co, 1976.

Introduction to Francis Schaeffer; Study Guide to a Trilogy: The God Who Is There, Escape from Reason, and He Is There and He Is Not Silent, Plus “How I Came to Write My Books “. Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity Press, 1974.

Joshua and the Flow of Biblical History. Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity Press, 1975.

, and Lane T. Dennis. Letters of Francis A. Schaeffer: Spiritual Reality in the Personal Christian Life. Westchester, Ill: Crossway Books, 1985.

The Mark of the Christian. Downers Grove, Ill: Inter-Varsity Press, 1970.

The New Super-Spirituality. Downers Grove, Ill: Inter-Varsity Press, 1972.

No Final Conflict: The Bible Without Error in All That It Affirms. Downers Grove, Ill: Inter Varsity Press, 1975.

, Udo Middelmann, Lynn White, and Richard L. Means. Pollution and the Death of Man / Francis A. Schaeffer [and Udo Middelmann]. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Books, 1992.

The Practice of Truth: Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer Discusses One of the Central Problems of Evangelism in the 20th Century. Bangalore, India: Thomas Samuel, 1967.

True Spirituality. Wheaton, Ill: Tyndale House Publishers, 1971.

, and C. Everett Koop. Whatever Happened to the Human Race? Old Tappan, N.J.: F.H. Revell Co, 1979.

, Vladimir Konstantinovich Bukovskiĭ, and James Hitchcock. Who Is for Peace? Nashville: Nelson, 1983.

Sherman, Richard B., and Francis A. Schaeffer. Reclaiming the World: Conversations with Francis A. Schaeffer. Los Gatos, Calif: Schaeffer, 1982.

Thomas, Derek. What Is Providence? Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Pub, 2008.

Walsh, Brian J., and J. Richard Middleton. The Transforming Vision: Shaping a Christian World View. Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity Press, 1984.

Young, Frances M. Biblical Exegesis and the Formation of Christian Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.

Online Resources

Summit Ministries – http://www.summit.org (particularly http://www.summit.org/resources/worldview-chart/)

Stand to Reason – http://www.str.org

Monergism-Directory – http://www.monergism.com/directory/link_category/Worldviews

Worldview Series on my blog: https://joefl.wordpress.com/preachingteaching-materials/young-adults-home-group-at-howick-baptist-church/

Ethics Series on my blog: https://joefl.wordpress.com/preachingteaching-materials/im-a-christian-i-live-in-the-real-world-thinking-through-ethics/

 

Qumran Caves/Dead Sea Scrolls

In the past couple of weeks, my children have been learning about the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Here are a few websites which are very informative and which others may find interesting/helpful.

Qumran Caves (BiblePlaces.com)

The Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library

‏Qumran Caves (The Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library)

 

Don’t Focus on NCFIC’s View of Reformed Rap and Miss Their Poor Theology and Practice

Update with links to explanations and apologies regarding NCFIC & Rap:

I am sure most have watched the video of a panel discussion recently posted online by NCFIC. If you have, or even if not, you might find this summary post on the whole “Holy Hip Hop Squabble”, helpful:

A Round-Up of the Holy Hip Hop Squabble

I am writing this from a very different perspective. One that is of great concern.

Here is what I recently posted on a FB comment thread:

” I wrote a three part series in 2005 which were published & later put on my blog. They are still some of the most read items on my blog. Since then many others have raised similar concerns regarding NCFIC’s theology & practice. Yet these warnings have been mostly ignored. Now all of a sudden they say some stupid things about ‘Reformed Rap’ & everyone flips out. I find this troubling. Are we most significantly concerned about doctrine or our music preferences? Again, everything that was said on the video of the panel is nonsense. Of course it is, it came from NCFIC. But there are far greater concerns with them than their silly, ignorant opinions on rap! Sorry to rant… I think I’ll blog this.”

Here’s my concern…

There have been several people since 2005 who have tried to draw attention to serious errors in both the theology and practice of NCFIC (and other related ministries), but they have been largely ignored. Yet, what cannot be ignored is their opinions on rap!? Is sound doctrine on the family, ecclesiology, ect. not important? Are we really only meant to step up to the keyboard and fight over a group’s view of a genre of music while for years we have ignored other theological errors.

Here are some historical links:

In 2006, after receiving a phone call from a Vision Forum representative and not subsequently removing my blog posts from the Internet I received a signed letter from their board indicating their plan to take me to court for slander and justifying their right to do this as Christians because they had concluded that I was not a Christian and therefore they would not be in violation of Biblical principles.

In September 2006, I moved to New Zealand with my family. They have never followed through on this preposterous threat.

Tonight (14 March 2014) I received a letter from Scott Brown with NCFIC asking for a copy of the letter I mention above. He was on the board of Vision forum in 2006 and he has no recollection of this letter being sent to me.

I have looked everywhere on my computer for the above letter (it would have been six years ago) and although I have found two other letters from the “Vision Forum Research Team” I am unable to locate the above mentioned letter.

Therefore I am willing to conclude that my memory of the above is incorrect and therefore my statement above was wrong. I ask those whom I implicated in the above to forgive me for making such a statement without verifying my memory. That was unwise and has resulted in me publishing an accusation that now seems to be invalid. For this I am grieved.

If you don’t think there is a connection between Vision Forum (http://www.visionforum.com/) and NCIFC then see these:

If you are not familiar with the latest controversy surrounding Doug Phillips and Vision Forum see these posts:

For further theological critiques of NCFIC and related ministries see these:

A helpful collection from 2009-2011

From 2013

Conclusion:

NCFIC has released an apology for one of the more ridiculous statements made on the video here. I will leave it to others to say whether this apology is really gets to the point. I think they still don’t get it.

Yet, their view of rap isn’t my greatest concern.

For years this group has been characterised by legalism, an unbiblical view of the role of husband/father, a unbiblical view of the church, an unbiblical practice of church life and condemning of those who differ from them.

For years these errors have been pointed out by many from several different denominations and all online.

For years these theological critiques have been generally ignored, with some (Voddie Baucham and Joel Beeke being prime examples) even continuing to minister among them despite being personally entreated not to.

Why? Why have the above admonitions not been taken seriously? Why hasn’t this group been more widely and strongly condemned for their doctrinal errors?

Why do we only now see a huge Internet fire storm when these guys say a bunch of silly things about rap?

I am not sure why. However, I am sure these other errors in doctrine and practice are far more dangerous and damaging than their view on rap!

 

Our Family’s Advent/Christmas/Holiday Reading

Here’s my post from last year giving a bit of a description of our annual Advent Reading.

This year we will likely have our two oldest read sections from Keeping Holiday rather than me doing all the reading! (A new phase of family life as the children are growing up!)

 
 

Brief Thoughts on Disney’s “Planes”

No, my main aim isn’t to moan about the fact that I fell for the campaign which led me to believe this was a Pixar movie when, in fact, it was not! (Oddly, I am relieved to know it wasn’t as my immediate thoughts after the movie were, “it just did not measure up to the quality of story, etc. that we’ve come to expect from Pixar”).

No, my main aim is to encourage Christian parents to think carefully about the worldview taught in this film. It teaches a very dangerous & subtle anti-God worldview.

The main character states near the beginning of the film (and everyone else repeats this at the end) that he wants to “be something more than he was created for”. This of course makes for a fun story of a crop-duster doing the impossible and becoming a flying speed champion.

But hold on a minute. This isn’t just a fun movie; the makers of the movie are communicating a worldview. A worldview where one can rebel against one’s creator and all goes well.

So, if you were created to be a boy but want to be something else go for it, “be more than you were created for.”

My main problem isn’t in me, it is either “out there somewhere” or in how I was made, so if I can change, alter or fix that all will be well.

No, my main problem is in me. I was created “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever”. There is nothing greater than that for me and the only thing keeping me from this is my sin. The only remedy for this is to turn from my sin and turn to Christ for forgiveness and mercy. He will then give me all I need to find my satisfaction in Him and truly be all God has created me to be.

 
 
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