How Should We Then Live? Francis Schaeffer on culture…

schaeffercoverGo get ChristianAudio.com’s free book of the month—Francis Schaeffer’s excellent How Should We Then Live? The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture. Here’s a nugget:

Rome was cruel, and its cruelty can perhaps be best pictured by the events which took place in the arena in Rome itself. People seated above the arena floor watched gladiator contests and Christians thrown to the beasts. Let us not forget why the Christians were killed. The were not killed because they worshipped Jesus. Various religions covered the whole Roman world. One such was the cult of Mithras, a popular form of Zoroastrianism which had reached Rome by 67 b.c. Nobody cared who worshiped whom so long as the worshiper did not disrupt the unity of the state, centered in the formal worship of Caesar. The reason the Christians were killed was because they were rebels. This was especially so after their growing rejection by the Jewish synagogues lost for them the immunity granted to the Jews since Julius Caesar’s time.

We may express the nature of their rebellion in two ways, both of which are true. First, we can say they worshiped Jesus as God and they worshiped the infinite-personal God only. The Caesars would not tolerate this worshiping of the one God only. It was counted as treason. Thus their worship because a special threat to the unity of the state during the third century and during the reign of Diocletian (283-305), when people of the higher classes began to become Christians in larger numbers. If they had worshiped Jesus and Caesar, they would have gone unharmed, but they rejected all forms of syncretism. They worshiped the God who had revealed himself in the Old Testament, through Christ, and in the New Testament which had gradually been written. And they worshiped him as the only God. They allowed no mixture: All other Gods were seen as false gods.

We can also express in a second way why the Christians were killed: No totalitarian authority nor authoritarian state can tolerate those who have an absolute by which to judge that state and its actions. The Christian had that absolute in God’s revelation. Because the Christians had an absolute, universal standard by which to judge not only personal morals but the state, they were counted as enemies of totalitarian Rome and were thrown to the beasts. (pages 25-26)

 

Statism, narcissism, transgenderism, and ageism…

Postman, writing in 1999, reflects back on the twentieth century (his book is a treatise on looking to the past to improve the future):

“Is it not obvious that our century has been an almost unrelieved horror? Who would have thought, in 1900—the year, by the way, of Nietzsche’s death and the publication of Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams—that the twentieth century would feature continuous mass murder, far exceeding anything humanity had witnessed in the previous two millennia? Who would have thought that the three great transcendent narratives of this century would be fascism, nazism, and communism? Who would have thought weapons would be invented that, in a flash, could end all human life? Who would have thought that the theme of this century would be ‘Technology Über Alles’? I am sorry to say it, but I don’t think we will get much help from our own century. As you can tell, I speak as an enemy of this century. But even if you are not, you must admit it is hard to be its friend” (Postman, Building a Bridge to the 18th Century: How the Past Can Improve Our Future, 14).

We’re merely fourteen years into the twenty-first century, but it appears the great narratives of this century may not turn out any less hellish than last century’s: statism, narcissism, transgenderism, and ageism.

Unless God in His mercy grants reformation and repentance…

Raising our children to be those of whom the world was not worthy (part 3)…

37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated 38 (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground (Heb. 11:37-38).

Of verse 38, the Puritan pastor John Owen writes:

Of this world it is said, that it was “not worthy” of those sufferers. It was not so in the ages and seasons wherein they lived; nor is so of them who suffer in any other age whatever. The world thinks them not worthy of it, or to live in it, to enjoy any name or place among the men of it. Here is a testimony given to the contrary, — that the world is not worthy of them. Nor can any thing be spoken to the greater provocation of it. To tell the great, the mighty, the wealthy, the rulers of the world, that they are not worthy of the society of such as in their days are poor, destitute, despised, wanderers, whom they hurt and persecute, as the “offscouring of all things,” is that which fills them with indignation. There is not an informer or apparitor but would think himself disparaged by it. But they may esteem of it as they please; we know that this testimony is true, and the world one day shall confess it so to be.

Reflecting on this verse, Owen makes this observation:

It becomes us to be filled with thoughts of and affections unto spiritual things, to labor for an anticipation of glory, that we faint not in the consideration of the evils that may befall us on the account of the gospel.

Parents, how are you cultivating the above mindset in yourself and then in your children? Continue reading

Raising our children to be those of whom the world was not worthy (part 2)…

If we believe the coming generation will face more hostility from our pagan culture, how do we switch gears from raising them for worldly success—as we have been doing, let’s be honest—to raising them for warfare, suffering, and loss? (We should have been doing that all along!) Here’s my list (Add others in the comments, please):

1. Discipline your children with the rod and with the Word. Proverbs 22:15, 23:13, 29:15. Love them through discipline (Prov. 13:24). Want them to have a right regard for authority?—one where they know that the ultimate authority is God whose throne is in heaven? Show your children your own fear of God and submission to His will in this task. Rebuke them and train them with the Word. Spank and speak. Give the no and the yes. Punish for sin and go to God’s Word to show them the right path.

Remember, we are no longer training them for success in the world, we are training them for success in battle… Continue reading

Raising our children to be those of whom the world was not worthy…

The church must get serious about training the next generation—our five year-old sons and daughters—to suffer for the faith. Gone are going to be the days when Christian parents can cover their worldly ambitions for their children with a thin veneer of Christian conservatism and go happily on their way. The new pagan orthodoxy won’t allow such softness. For many parents this will be to die the worst kind of death. Their sons and (especially) daughters won’t be permitted to matriculate at an Ivy League college. They won’t be able to become Christian-ish investment bankers and Christian-ish lawyers and Christian-ish professors and Christian-ish Senators.

And the wheat will begin to be separated from the chaff… Continue reading

Missing the elephant in the womb…

Sad story in The New York Times this morning…made sadder by the blindness of many of the participants. Amazingly, the hospital and her administrators, who are obeying the laws of the State of Texas, are on the side of the angels this time.

Update: Now baby Munoz’s life is in the hands of the courts. Mr. Munoz has sued the hospital

This morning, Munoz took another step toward fulfilling JPS’ wish for clarity, filing suit in Tarrant County District Court. In the suit, he says the hospital has diagnosed her as “brain dead” and that all life-sustaining treatments should be stopped.

Keeping her alive “makes no sense, and amounts to nothing more than the cruel and obscene mutilation of a deceased body against the expressed will of the deceased and her family.”

Update 1.22.14: The lawyers for Mrs. Munoz’s husband are now claiming the baby is not healthy and so deserves to die. A hearing is set for this Friday in Fort Worth:

A state district judge will hold a hearing Friday to consider removing a pregnant Haltom City woman from life support after she was kept alive by John Peter Smith Hospital against her family’s wishes.

State District Judge R.H. Wallace will hear a request by the family of Marlise Muñoz to have JPS immediately cease further medical procedures and remove her from any respirators, ventilators or other “life support” and release her body to the family for burial.

Please be praying for Judge Wallace and for the life of the baby.

Update 1.24.14: The judge ordered the hospital to terminate the life-support. Many sources are reporting that even the hospital is saying the baby is “not viable.” The Lord knows. The hospital could also now appeal the decision. Here’s a bit from the AP report:

Judge R. H. Wallace Jr. issued the ruling in the case of Marlise Munoz. John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth has been keeping Munoz on life support against her family’s wishes. The judge gave the hospital until 5 p.m. CST Monday to remove life support. The hospital did not immediately say Friday whether it would appeal.

Update 1.27.14: The hospital threw in the towel and decided not to appeal the judge’s decision. Mr. Munoz stopped the life-support around noon yesterday. Again, no mention of the baby who was being kept alive by these methods. No mention of the possibility of life coming out of these dire circumstances…

A lawyer for the family said Sunday that Marlise Muñoz was pronounced dead a short time after life support was withdrawn.

“Our client, Erick Muñoz, has authorized us to give notice that today, at approximately 11:30 a.m. … Marlise Muñoz’s body was disconnected from ‘life support’ and released to Mr. Muñoz,” said a statement from the family’s attorneys, Heather L. King and Jessica H. Janicek.