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Biblical Worldview Lecture Series

September 16, 2014 - Honest Money

October 21, 2014 - Borders: Stopping Governments, Not People: A Look At Biblical Immigration Theory

Biblical Worldview Lecture Series

Pietism and the Downfall of Modern Christianity

Church leaders lament the condition of  society  in our day.  They sense apathy in the church, and a lack of serious commitment and zeal.  Moral conditions have deteriorated, driven in part by our civil government.  Evangelistic-minded leaders observe:  “In the old days you could put up a tent, bring in an evangelist, and people would come out to hear him.  Today nobody shows up".

There is a serious lack of critical thinking as to the causes and solutions of these things.  While there are many causes, the common denominator is usually pietism. Pietism must be understood for what it is if we are to progress Biblically and honor our Lord.

What is pietism?

“Pietism” holds different definitions and meanings depending on the context of usage.  There was a formal movement within Lutheranism in the 18th century called Pietism; while having some parallels, it is not what we discuss here.  For the sake of the present discussion, we will define pietism as “a radical and unbiblical division of thought and practice between the spiritual and the secular”.

An aside: although outside the scope of this short article, it is interesting to study the relationship and similarities between pietism, Gnosticism and eastern religions.

This is a worldview issue.  A person’s perspective with relation to pietism affects how he interprets, analyzes, and acts upon the issues of life. Consequently, it is a determining factor in the health and Godliness of the church and of society as a whole.

The Pharisees were pietists:

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.-Matt. 23:23

Just as in most churches today, “spiritual” duties (for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin) were elevated above what Jesus considered “weightier matters”: “the law, judgment, mercy, and faith”.  Does this sound like your church?  Are your efforts most welcome if they pertain to increasing church attendance, beautifying the edifice, or promoting programs, but unwelcome if you suggest doing the difficult work of carrying Biblical teachings and action into the surrounding culture?  Jesus said we should do BOTH :“these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone”. Interestingly, He considered the matters that we might view as more "temporal" to be "weightier".

James condemns pietism in strong terms:

And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?  Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.  Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.  But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? -Jas 2:16-20

The inward-focused faith that James describes is DEAD faith, opposed to a faith that works itself outward to our surroundings.  A pietistic, inward-focused faith is preoccupied with "how do I come closer to the Savior,  how do I become a better Christian, how do WE become a better church".  A living Biblical faith, while not ignoring these important things,  is more focused on "how can I apply my faith to ALL of my life, and then to the world around me?".  It is a comprehensive faith that results in comprehensive change in the world, including but not limited to the personal salvation of many souls.  We are seeing fewer individuals turned to Christ because we have willfully allowed society to turn away from Him.

If we claim to honor and love Christ and His Word, yet sit silent while the institutions around us blaspheme God, drive our culture away from Christ, and impose ungodliness through governmental force, what doth it profit?  If we say we love Christ in church on Sunday, and fail to stand up for Christ in our society, culture, and government on Monday,  faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.  Dead faith is a serious and frightening thing.

Pietism is always inward-focused, which is a good description of American evangelicalism.  “Me, me; us, us”, as the world passes by and yawns..  People who have been Christians for decades are subjected to endless self-improvement, as though with enough time we achieve perfection…while practically never being challenged or led to apply the things that we know about god and His Word to all the institutions that affect us, our families, and our churches every day. 

Christians waste time re-learning, over and over, the things that were in most cases grasped when they should have been: within the first year or so of conversion.  This is not the case in the Bible, where we see men and women with glaring personal deficiencies acting in obedience to God and addressing the societies in which they live.  Certainly we need to be diligent in our personal lives; personal piety is an important part of our life.  Daily inward devotion to Christ is vital…but as our Lord pointed out it is not the whole package:

And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.”  Jn. 2:2

The greatest irony lies within the worldview of the pietists themselves.  The same people who champion "just preach the Gospel" (by which they mean exclusively the gospel of personal salvation...remember, it's all about "me, me, me"), and lament that evangelistic efforts fall on deaf ears, are often those who discourage efforts to apply God's Word to the culture at large.  Their willful and intentional abandonment of the culture goes to the root cause of the deaf ears that they lament.  They cannot see that a century of abandonment of cultural institutions by their unbiblical "just preach the gospel" philosophy has left God's enemies in charge of education, the news and entertainment media, etc.  As a result several entire generations have grown up with very little sin-consciousness.  How do they expect to take the gospel to a society that they have abandoned through the effect of their pietistic worldview, and have people to respond to concepts that are entirely foreign to them?  Of course God the Holy Spirit quickens whom He will; but He promises to do it in response to preaching, and we are preaching to a world of people who have been numbed to the message by the institutions that we have failed to influence...indeed failed to seize and operate for God's glory.

Life is a "package deal"; education, vocation profession, culture and government do not exist in a spiritual vacuum, yet the pietists act as though all those things can be abandoned as "secondary" (or less) yet the Gospel will flourish.  The talk of the pietists may sound spiritual but it isn't; in fact it is self-defeating sinful heresy.  Let's be done with the hypocrisy and be about truly carrying the gospel...ALL of it...into all areas of life.  Biblically there is no other way.

~ Jim Mogel


The Colonial Era Founders: Under Attack from All Sides

"The founders were not Christians; they were, at most, Deists.  They intended, and in fact did, establish an atheistic republic, based on the tenets of Secular Humanism.  They never intended for America to be governed by God's Law."

            -The secular humanists, for at least the past several generations


            "The founders were not Christians; they were, at most, Deists.  They intended, and in fact did, establish an atheistic republic, based on the tenets of Secular Humanism.  They never intended for America to be governed by God's Law."

            -Certain Christian Theonomists, 2014


The battle over the nature of America's founding and its practical implications for today has been fought by Christians over two fronts for several generations.  On one front the battle is with the Secular Humanists, quoted above.  The debate is far from over, but on balance it could be argued that Christians have made some gains.  The other front is within the church itself, against the apathy-fueled ignorance of the "hide-in-the-church-and just-preach-the-Gospel"  crowd.  Progress on this front is perhaps harder gained.

It is a source of some alarm that there is now emerging a third front.  Ironically, it is a hybrid of the first two in that its adherents are within the church, but their position and arguments are identical to those of the secular humanists quoted above.  These are Theonomists; not all Theonomists, just some.  The motive for trashing and thrashing practically every effort of the colonial era founders, and twisting every good word they wrote into something bad,  is perhaps known only to them, and surely differs from one to the next.  It is tempting to conclude that in many cases it is a misguided competition: "I'm more Theonomic than you; here, I'll prove it". 

There is a vast and important difference between making accurate observations and drawing useful and accurate conclusions.  It seems that the founders' detractors are adept at making observations but for some reason(s) hit a disconnect when drawing conclusions.

Human nature seems compelled to run to extremes at every chance.  Surely we can detect and analyze flaws in the thinking, writing, and legislation of the founders without twisting the truth and convicting and condemning them every step of the way in all they said and did.  Surely we can discern the differences and disagreements between those founders who were Christians, those who were not, and those for whom it is hard to tell.   Surely we can admire and utilize the best of their work without making an idol of it.  Surely anyone who wants to see the plain truth can see that the founders operated imperfectly within a philosophical framework that was orders of magnitude more Christian than that in which the American public operates today, and factor that into any conclusions.  And surely we can work to implement Godly law in our nation more effectively if we don't hand over to the enemy  the intellectual capital on a silver platter.

~ Jim Mogel


Who Would Jesus Tax?

The Mid-Atlantic Reformation Society Presents

Who Would Jesus Tax? 

For our "Third Tuesday" Lecture Series
Tuesday, August 19th

Hear Joel Saint deliver a timely, practical, and Biblical presentation on the subject of taxation
What does the Bible teach about civil taxation?

What did Jesus actually teach about "rendering unto Caesar"?

How Biblical are our tax laws?

We all have an opinion about taxation, but what does God say?  You may be surprised to hear how much the Bible says about this interesting and important subject.

Come out and bring a friend for a great time of dining, fellowship, and learning.  We hope to see you there!


Dinner 6:00, from full menu (great food!) 

Lecture 7:00

Chef Alan's American Bistro  

6th Ave. & Penn Street West Reading, PA


What an Evening!

What an evening…The Mid Atlantic Reformation Society! (MARS) never lets you down, always stimulating, relevant and thoroughly Biblical. Last night was no exception! As a matter of fact, it was itself an exceptional meeting.

The room was full, standing room only and the powerful message “Tactical Considerations for a Biblical Reformation” brought the normally conservative listeners to spontaneous applause.

Dr. Paul Michael Raymond challenged us continuously to be about the work of “Civilization Building”. The impact of the Gospel is measured not only by the number of “saved souls” but by the impact of the genuinely saved souls on culture. “Culture is religion externalized.”

As Dr. Raymond pointed out “Culture is the report card of the Church.” If our Gospel has no impact on the outward life of its converts, if families aren’t changed, as well As churches, businesses and governments, what kind of gospel are we preaching?  The true Gospel produces eager, obedient disciples zealous for good works. Every decision has consequences and is ethical in nature and all of life is to be lived with God’s law as its standard.

Tragically, we are witnessing the unraveling of our culture, because the church has rejected God’s Law and has lost her prophetic, priestly and judicial authority. The church has nothing authoritative to say when the Law of God is considered irrelevant or secondary.

Pastor Raymond says, it’s time to put aside the WMDs (weapons of mass distraction) and get on with: establishing a comprehensive plan of Reeducating our people about Biblical authority, establishing Faithful Churches to encourage members to  apply God’s law in their sphere of life and to seek the Grace needed to stick with it.

A truly transforming night…now the work begins.

~ Dr. Robert E. Salzman


Thoughts from the Amusement Park

“But,” I said to my wife, “Do they look happy?”

We had gotten twilight tickets at a local amusement park. As I observed the various participants, I couldn’t help but notice the many shapes, sizes, ages, colors, and apparent income levels even. Some were forlorn, others mostly expressionless, all were tired.

“I think so,” she returned, “They don’t seem to be brining their problems with them.”

Of course, there was no way I could know what their individual problems were. But beyond that, I had to ask myself if people at an amusement park really should be happy.

Think about this for a minute: We go to an amusement park mostly for distraction and entertainment. At least, that was (I thought) mainly why I was there. So while I didn’t ride on any of the super-scary-thriller-upside-down-terrification-wonder-rides, I did have some French fries, rode the tram, and watched people.

“But what,” I found myself thinking, “Does amusement have to do with happiness? If it’s true that distraction and entertainment makes one happy, does that mean that concentration and work make one unhappy?”

Actually, it should be the other way around. A very wise man, after having considered the effect of entertainment and distractions, in reflection, said the following:  Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this [is] the whole [duty] of man. - Ecclesiastes 12:13 KJV

This wisest man who ever lived apparently saw happiness as a by-product of fearing God and keeping His commandments. Solomon (the wise man) concluded that happiness comes through application and concentration rather than distraction and entertainment.

So if you’re unhappy, it’s not because the line was too long at the Tilt-a-Whirl or that the suck-me-into-the-vortex machine broke down. It just might be that, due to all the distraction and entertainment in your life, you’ve neglected your duty. Your whole duty.

~ Pastor Joel Saint