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Bahnsen: Keeping Covenant With God in the Education of Our Children April 30, 2009

Posted by heldveld in Antithesis, Christian Education, Christian Parenting, Greg Bahnsen.
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I am still doing a lot of thinking regarding Christian education as I have to make a decision regarding my son’s education for next year.

In the process, I found a short but helpful article by Greg Bahnsen at the CRTA (Center for Reformed Theology and Apologetics) site.  The article itself can be found here.

Genuine knowledge of any subject whatsoever begins with reverence and submission to God (Prov. 1:7), particularly the fundamentals and philosophy which adhere to the Lord Jesus Christ rather than the fallen world or human traditions (Col. 2:8; 1 Tim. 6:20). It is the word of God which sets apart His people in the truth (John 17:17). Thus neutrality in education is not only impossible (Matt. 12:30), but immoral (Jas. 4:4). Accordingly, the aim of Christian parents must be to encourage their children to “bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5), “in whom are deposited all the treasures of wisdom and knoeledge” (Col. 2:3), Only if they are first disciples of Christ will they know the truth and enjoy real freedom (John 8:31-32).

Frame: Toward a Theology of the State April 17, 2009

Posted by heldveld in Antithesis, Christian Education, Christian Reconstruction, John Frame, Two Kingdoms.
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An interesting article by John Frame (Toward a Theology of the State) that traces the Biblical development of government and then explores the relationship of religion and the state.

The picture to this point, then, is that as Israel developed from nuclear family to extended family to clan to nation,  family authority became more elaborate and complicated. In time, God introduced new institutions. The heads of extended families were no longer exclusively responsible for prophetic and priestly ministries as were the patriarchs. Rather, God relieved them by assigning many religious duties exclusively to the priests, Levites, and prophets.

As the above quote shows Frame sees government developing out of family authority. Which leads him to draw the following conclusion:

I conclude, therefore, that state authority is essentially family authority, developed and extended somewhat by the demands of number and geography. Thus I believe we may eliminate from our consideration the views of the Lutherans and Meredith Kline, as well as others, who see the state as a distinct institution ordained by God, with powers and responsibilities different from those of the family.

I had never thought about government in this way (developing out of family authority) but Frame’s case makes sense and appears to do a good job of tracing the Biblical development of government.

Following his tracing of the development of the “state”, he then examines the relation of religion and the state. Among his insights:

God calls all human beings to repent of sin and to put their trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior. Those who have believed in Jesus are to do all things to his glory (1 Cor 10:31; cf. Rom 14:23; 2 Cor 10:5; Col 3:17, 24). Anything the believer does,
therefore, must be done according to God’s standards and out of a motive of love for him. This principle certainly bears on any human associations, whether for business, education, charity, worship, art, recreation, study, government, or whatever. The believer must press the royal claims of Christ in all areas of life. And to do that is, of course, to work toward Christian standards and practices in all those associations, so that there will be Christian businesses, Christian schools, Christian media, Christian charities, Christian churches, Christian art, Christian recreations, Christian scholarship, and, of course, Christian government. Why should government be any different from any other project in which the believer is involved? If we promote Christian schools because Christ is to be Lord of all of life, doesn’t the same argument apply to government? And once Christian standards become the norm in such institutions, why should that institution not formally recognize that commitment by confessing Christ?

He makes additional points on education and religious expression among others. I found the article helpful and encourage you to read it in it’s entirety.

Pink: The Extent of Our Depravity January 30, 2009

Posted by heldveld in A.W. Pink, Antithesis.
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The natural man has not one iota of holiness in him; rather he is horn with the seeds of every form of evil, radically inclined to sin. In our nature we are vileness itself, black as hell, and unless a miracle of grace is worked in us we must inevitably be damned for all eternity. It is not a case of man’s having a few imperfections; he is altogether polluted. “an unclean thing” with “no soundness” (Isa. 1:6). Not only has man no holiness, but his heart is inveterately averse to it.

The solemn doctrine of total depravity does not mean that there are no parents with genuine love for their children, and no children who respectfully obey their parents; that there are none imbued with a spirit of benevolence to the poor and kind sympathy for the suffering; that there are no conscientious employers or honest employees. But it does mean that, where the unregenerate are concerned, those duties are discharged without any love for God, any subjection to His authority, or any concern for His glory. Parents are required to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and children are to obey their parents in the Lord (Eph. 6:1, 4). Servants are to serve their masters ‘’in singleness of heart, as unto Christ.’’ Do the unconverted comply with those injunctions? No, therefore their performances not only possess no spiritual value, but are polluted. Every act of the natural man is faulty. “The plowing of the wicked is sin” (Prov. 21:4) because it is for selfish ends. Then is it better not to plow at all? Wrong, for slothfulness is equally sinful. There are different degrees of enormity, but every act of man is sinful.

A.W. Pink
The Doctrine of Human Depravity
Complete Book is Available Online

I thought it interesting that he does not take about ‘goodness’ but rather ‘holiness’ in regard to our depravity. When most people consider themselves or others ‘good’, what standard do they use? Not God’s perfect holiness but rather their own arbitrary standard. He also shows how it is the heart and not the action that matters to God, for the unregenerate perform their works “without any love for God, any subjection to His authority, or any concern for His glory” and that makes them sinful.

Pink: The Enormity of Our Depravity January 26, 2009

Posted by heldveld in A.W. Pink, Antithesis, Law/Gospel.
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There is a far greater malignity in sin than is commonly supposed even by the majority of church members. Men regard it as an infirmity, and term it a human frailty or hereditary weakness. But Scripture calls it “an evil thing and bitter” (Jer. 2:19), an abominable thing which God hates (Jer. 44:4). Few people think of it thus; rather the majority regard it as a mere trifle, a matter of so little moment that all they have to do is cry in the hour of death, “Lord, pardon me; Lord, bless me,” and all will be eternally well with them. They judge sin by the opinion of the world. But what can a world which “lieth in wickedness” (I John 5:19) know about God’s hatred of sin? It does not matter what the world thinks, but it matters a great deal what God says about it. Others measure the guilt of sin by what conscience tells them—or fails to! But conscience needs informing by the Bible. Many uncivilized tribes have put their girl babies and old people to death, and conscience did not chide them. A deadened conscience has accompanied multitudes to hell without any voice of warning. Tens of thousands of religionists see so little filth in sin that they imagine a few tears will wash away its stain. They perceive so little criminality in it that they persuade themselves that a few good works will make full reparation for it.

A.W. Pink
The Doctrine of Human Depravity
Complete Book Available Online

If we don’t understand the enormity of our depravity, how will we be drawn to Jesus as our saviour?

Church Growth Methods: Amish Style October 17, 2008

Posted by heldveld in Antithesis, Blog Spotting, Christian Parenting, Evangelism.
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Gene Veith points out some interesting facts on Amish church growth. I’ve always had an interest in the Amish. It’s hard not to be inspired by people who live such a radically different life due to their Christian faith. So in turn its also interesting to read about the growth of their church.

But God blesses the evangelism that takes place in vocation, and He is powerfully at work in the vocation of parents when they bring their children to Christ–via Baptism, going to church, the day to day teaching and example that goes on in ordinary families.

What a challenge for parents to evangelize their own children. Yet what a joy to know that God truly does bless such ventures.

Another point is the number of children that the Amish have. The notion of large families really is an antithesis to the prevailing notions of family in our society. I’m really begining to ask questions about how many children I should have.

I versus God September 16, 2008

Posted by heldveld in Antithesis, Blog Spotting.
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Tim Challies uses the recent news regarding Christian singer Ray Boltz (I’ve never heard of him) to examine of the antithesis between the believer’s and non-believer’s world views. He lays out his main point in these two paragraphs:

There are essentially two ways that humans can understand the world. The first way is the way we all understand the world until the Holy Spirit intervenes in our lives and gives us new eyes to see. This worldview is I-centered. I am the center of my own universe and the arbiter of all truth. I may not vocalize things in just this way and may not even think them quite like this, but it is ultimately what I believe. I believe that I am capable of looking at the world and understanding the way it works—who God is, who I am, the relationship between us, and so on.

The other way of seeing the world is God-centered. Here I acknowledge God as the center of all that exists and the arbiter of all truth. Everything that is true and everything that is knowable has its source in Him. Thus I can only interpret the world properly by rightly acknowledging God. This is, obviously, the biblical worldview. It is God who tells me who He is, God who tells me who I am and God who declares the terms of the relationship between us.

Here is the central antithesis, the point from which all other departures in world view originate, it is either God or myself who is the center.

Morality is Personal Again September 12, 2008

Posted by heldveld in Antithesis, Blog Spotting.
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HP used to use the slogan ‘The Computer is Personal Again’ touting the many customizations and configurations available on their PC’s.  Anyone could purchase a PC that was exactly what they wanted or needed.  It seems that some people have the same idea about morality.

Dan Phillips from the Pyromaniacs blog posts an article on Down’s syndrome and abortion. In it he links to an article in which Canadian Doctors worry that Sarah Palin’s example of having a child with Down’s syndrome could lead to more children with the disease not being aborted.  In a line from the article a Doctor says:

“We’re coming down to a moral decision and we all know moral decisions are personal decisions.”

At that point hasn’t objective morality just left the building? Can said Dr. even believe that morality exists, hasn’t the whole concept just been reduced to personal opinion? The sad thing though is that the non-believer has nothing on which to base an objective moral standard. So from that world view it is accurate.

9 The wise men shall be put to shame;
they shall be dismayed and taken;
behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD,
so what wisdom is in them? (Jeremiah 8:9 ESV)

The antithesis then is that the Christian has God’s word as his standard, not personal opinion.

Antithesis at Walgreens September 8, 2008

Posted by heldveld in Antithesis.
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In this post ‘Living Dangerously…at Walgreens: What can our Purchases at a Pharmacy Tell us About our Theology?’ Hank @ Lawn Gospel (HT: The Thirsty Theologian) ask us to think about birth control and what it could say about our world view.

If we affirm that Scripture is God’s Word, to God’s people, for all time – then we are bound by that confession to affirm that children must ALWAYS be valued as gifts to be received, rather than burdens to be refused (until we deem fit).

All I can say is ‘convicting’.