We are a group of Christians who recognize that God, in His love, mercy, and infinite wisdom has not only provided the means of forgiveness through His Son Jesus Christ, but has also provided, in the Old and New Testaments, all necessary directions and instructions for a just, happy, and productive society. Read more

Sign up for Email Updates

Register For Special Events
Calendar

Ongoing
Biblical Worldview Lecture Series

April 15, 2014 - The God & Government Project, Guest Speaker Mr. John Lofton of The American View

May 20, 2014 - The Covenantal Nature of Reality

June 17, 2014 - Presuppositional Apologetics

July 15, 2014 - Who Would Jesus Tax?

August 19, 2014 - Honest Money

Biblical Worldview Lecture Series
Monday
Feb042013

In a Handbasket?

“But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come.” (2 Timothy 3:1)


So said the apostle Paul in his last letter as he was encouraging his younger protégé to persevere. He was warning Timothy, and us, that all manner of problems will be encountered by the committed Christian. Yet it’s important to understand what Paul didn’t say.

He didn’t say, “But when difficult times come, realize this: that you are in the last days.”

The words are mostly the same but they imply something vastly different, don’t they? They imply that A) the “last days” are the end of time and B) a period of difficult times presages that end. Put this insinuation in the context of Paul’s impending martyrdom and you arrive at a very pessimistic prophecy.

For many of today’s Christians, this has morphed to the belief that our “difficult times” are the difficult times, i.e. our difficulties are the pinnicle of all difficulties. I fear that many evangelicals in America are arranging their lives and beliefs based on this transformed version of what Paul said.

So what? What is the outworking of such belief?

In a Sunday School class I am attending, a discussion of government encroachment of one sort or another was being discussed recently. It devolved into a complaint about much of what is wrong with society today. It’s a long list from the same chapter of 2 Timothy. Men are narcissistic, greedy, proud, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreoncilable, slanderous, undisciplined, brutal, treacherous, reckless, conceited, hedonistic, disobedient, and mockers. And our government is worse. Boy, these are difficult times. Etc.

An older gentleman interrupted the angst and hand-wringing to say, “I don’t know what we’re all so worried about. Those of us in this room will be raptured out before things get much worse.” Then someone suggested she was looking forward to when Christ would reign… but He’s not reigning yet.

Likewise, many evangelical pastors preach that the end is near. “If the Lord tarries…” is a common refrain. It’s not untrue to preach that the Lord could return soon – He might. But focusing on the idea that He might implies that He will. If He’s coming soon we need not worry much about our difficult times. We need only to recognize them and get ready.

So the outworking is that we might not do much to change society, only try to evangelize our friends and family. Maybe we can help save them from God’s wrath.

But what did Paul actually say?

First, he wrote about the “last days,” not the end of the world. The New Testament writers clearly define the last days as being the New Testament era. Peter interpreted the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost as being the “last days” prophesied by Joel (Acts 2:17). Was Peter wrong about being in the last days 2,000 years ago?

The writer to the Hebrews defined “these last days” (Heb 1:2) as being ushered in by the advent (the first one) of Christ. Was the writer wrong about the last days beginning 2,000 years ago?

Peter echoed Paul’s warning about the difficulties of the “last days” (2 Peter 3:3) but goes on to mock those who question the realities of Christ and His law, essentially saying, “Won’t they be surprised!” In the broader context of a “last days” discussion he discounts the notion of predicting the times of Christ’s actions (“a thousand years is as a day”). In other words, the “last days” will include the end of the world… but we don’t know when that is.

Second, what difficult times were Paul and Peter worried about? I know we’re repeating here, but they warned that men would be narcissistic, greedy, proud, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreoncilable, slanderous, undisciplined, brutal, treacherous, reckless, conceited, hedonistic, disobedient, and mockers. That’s quite a list and I certainly recognize all these things in the society around me. But hasn’t that list been with us since chapter 3 of Genesis?

Could it be that Paul was telling Timothy that difficulties would come, still? Just because we’re in the last days doesn’t mean the sun will shine always. You, Timothy, (and you, Christian) will need to continue in the faith and not become discouraged. Preach the word in season and out of season. Difficult seasons will come and go. Wonderful seasons will come and go. Persevere!

Last, let’s think about whether our difficulties are the worst of the worst. Are we throwing Christians to the lions? Drowning them? Burning them? Hunting them down for translating the Bible into common languages? The answer is yes – in some places – but not here in America where the cry is the loudest.

During the economic Depression of the 1930s, Will Rogers said that we’d be the first nation to go to the poorhouse, driving there in our own car. He wasn’t saying we had no economic problems; we did. But America wasn’t a poor nation; we were a rich nation making poor decisions.

I’m not saying that our American government isn’t hostile to our faith. They are and our freedoms are shrinking, not growing. Society is encouraged, even emboldened to disparage our faith. But where’s the church? Where have we been? We are not a faithless nation; we’re a nation rich in faith but not exercising it.

Paul told Timothy that despite the difficult times, his opponents would fail and he should “…continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of.” Let’s study our Bibles carefully and incorporate the Word into our lives fully.

Which means that we should act on the things we have learned and become convinced of. Forget the handbasket.

~John Bingaman

Thursday
Jan032013

It All Boils Down To…

Looking ahead to 2013 it’s easy to see minefields of problems. So how do we overcome the problems?

All our economic, political, and social problems can be solved by simply being able to decide what is right and and what is wrong. This is just another way of saying that our problems stem from disagreements about truth. Something that is right is true. If we are in disagreement on a matter then one side or another has an incorrect concept of the truth of a matter.

For instance, if the convenience store clerk and the armed robber trying to steal its cash register could both agree that the robbery is wrong, then the problem of the robbery would go away. Actually, there would have been no attempt in the first place.

But...

How do we decide what’s right? Who decides what’s right?

Of course, from my perspective the decisions have already been made. God has provided guidance on right and wrong. It is written in the 66 books of the Bible.

“Well, now,” you say, “that’s a pretty narrow view of things, isn’t it?”

Yes, it is. But the nature of the problem (right vs. wrong) necessitates a narrow view. Everything can’t be right. In ethical matters, if something is right then everything else must be wrong. While this seems obvious we don’t see evidence of this in our day-to-day lives.

How many times do you hear or read someone say, “That’s your truth?” As if there can be a different truth!

Abortion is murder. “That’s your truth.”

Creating a trillion dollars out of thin air (the amount scheduled for 2013) is counterfeiting. “That’s your truth.”

Marriage is a covenantal union between one man and one woman. “That’s your truth.”

The concept of truth is necessarily exclusive. If it’s true that two plus two equals four then all other answers are excluded. There may be many answers, but only one true answer.

It’s likely that most readers of this editorial rant will recognize that we’re talking here about relativism. This relativism, the idea that truth can differ depending upon the social status of an individual or the general agreement of the society one is living in, abounds today. But truth is no different than gravity. It’s the same for all regardless of how we pretend otherwise.

There’s an old riddle: If we call a dog’s tail a leg, how many legs does a dog have? Answer: Four; calling a dog’s tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg. In the same way, pretending God’s laws don’t exist doesn’t mean they don’t.

And here we find the dividing line between Christianity and the rest of humanity: God’s rules of righteousness exist from outside of mankind. They’ve been revealed to man, not developed by man, and our agreement with them is irrelevant to their truth.

Now, humanists hate this idea because for them humans are the center and perhaps even the origin of the universe. Their truth holds that if a tree falls in the woods and no human hears it, then no sound could have been made. “I will make my own rules and live by them,” is their creed.

However, logic requires an external source of truth because if right and wrong do not exist independent of mankind’s assessment then for any societal peace we’re left with the principle of Might Makes Right. This brings us the inconsistency of changing truth – a variable invariable. How?

If the strongest are able to enforce their “truth” today but are overthrown tomorrow then their truth wasn’t actually true, was it? It’s irrelevant if the overthrow is by sword or ballot box or the progression of history – if truth can be changed it isn’t true in its essence.

We Bible believers must recognize the utter confusion and darkness God’s foes are stumbling around in and have always stumbled around in. The world has progressed only insofar as humanity has come to understand that there is an Immovable Truth and that the Truth can be known.

If we are to change the world (and that is our charge as Christians—Matt 28:19-20) it must be through shining the light of biblical education and restoring the biblical literacy that Western Christendom once had and is now losing. The fight is against the pride and arrogance of humanism and its insistence that mankind is in control of its own destiny.

Our battle is not political in focus, although politics will yield to its influence when enough of society again agrees on truth. It is not economic in focus, yet the economic ship will right itself under the influence of truth. Its focus is not medical, musical, scientific, or any of a number of other disciplines yet every discipline will flower and bear fruit under the influence of the truth.

There is much work to be done to bring about the peace & prosperity that man is to have on earth. But that peace & prosperity must be according to God’s rules, not mankind’s. In the context of God’s creation, not mankind’s. By means of God’s delegated authority, not man’s usurped authority.

Evangelizing is our battle. But let’s recognize that evangelism is nothing more than biblical education. Just as important is the point that the education is not only for the sake of providing an escape for the lost soul. Rather, the evangelism is mostly for the sake of the reconstructing and accompanying enjoyment of a world God loved enough to create in the first place.

~ John Bingaman

Monday
Dec172012

Responsibility

To hear the gun grabbers, there was no such thing as murder prior to the invention of firearms. Adam Lanza would most likely be a well-adjusted  young man but for the mere existence (apparently) of his mother’s gun collection. Nothing like a gun collection to turn a nice loving young man into a perverse criminal.

That is environmentalism in a nutshell. Honestly, does Adam Lanza have any responsibility for what Adam Lanza did? For all the attacks on God and His sovereignty, it’s downright amazing how the secularists deny free will without God. The thinking, breathing, living Adam Lanza was powerless in the face of an inanimate firearm. He must have had no choice.

I’m not surprised that this incident has fired up the gun control debate again. Both sides will argue. Both sides will attack and defend. In the end, both sides will be even more convinced of the viability of their position.

But I am surprised that so few are willing to even talk about personal responsibility. I have yet to see a single post where a gun control advocate has held Lanza responsible. That’s because gun control advocates don’t believe in personal responsibility. They don’t believe that Adam Lanza was responsible for anything. He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Kind of like his victims.

Now we are at the heart of modern pagan philosophy: There is no distinction between Lanza and his victims. Both were victims of fate, or karma, or whatever. Both were victims of unfortunate circumstances. In the end, neither Lanza nor his victims had a responsible choice in the matter because personal responsibility does not exist.

But I can’t help but ask: What philosophy were those children being taught? Were they being taught that there is such thing as right and wrong, good and evil, and that the Word of God defines each? Or, had they lived and remained in their school, would they have been taught the opposite? Would they have been taught that “right and wrong” are mere personal choices that can change with wind and time?

The gun grabbers will not answer those questions. They may say that Adam Lanza made “unfortunate” choices that day. They may say that he shouldn’t have had access to firearms. They may say he had a troubled childhood. They may even say that he was every bit as much of a victim as those he murdered.

But they will never say that he was responsible.

~ Joel Saint

Tuesday
Nov132012

Hypocrites!

Mitt Romney never did campaign for my vote. And, insofar as my vote would have bound him to any course of action whatsoever, he didn’t want it.

The problem is that it’s comparatively easy to fire an employee who lies on his application. But a politician? Try firing him once he gets elected. At that point, all you as a voter can do is sound like a whiner and a complainer: “What did you expect?” “All politicians lie,” etc. It goes like this: If the politician lies, it’s not really his fault: It’s only your fault when you believe him.

And so I’ve been thinking about it: “All politicians lie.” That statement seems to be the only opinion consistently held by voters all across the political spectrum. “All politicians lie.” Great, so what are you going to tell me next? “Cats have claws, babies cry, and spheres are round. Thanks for the insight.”

It’s not that we’ve come to view lying politicians as acceptable. No, rather, we’ve come to embrace them as inevitable. We’re no longer shocked at the lies. It’s almost as if we’re reassured. “O look, he’s lying! Good, the sun will come up tomorrow, and all is right with the world.”

So we vote for liars for our leaders, and justify it by saying that we can accept that in our leaders, since the other side lies too.

We complain about our lying leadership. But the fact is that we the people have become even bigger hypocrites, because we will get what we vote for. We are hypocrites because we say that we hold politicians to a higher standard, while in reality we hold them to the lowest standard possible. We are hypocrites because we attack the other side for lying, even while we defend our side for the same thing. And finally, we are hypocrites—and this is most insidious—for blessing them when they lie while running for office, and cursing them for lying while they serve in office.

So shame on the liars that run for political office.

Even bigger shame on us who vote for them.

~ Joel Saint

Thursday
Nov012012

The Bible: Studying? Or Muddying? 

I’d like to be wrong here. On this one, I don’t think I am. I’m talking about the end of bible study in what is often known as a Bible Study.

Too many of us think of a Bible Study as anything but bible study. This is what I mean: Every other Thursday night, I get to teach the book of Romans at a friend’s house in Lancaster, PA. So far, I’ve spoken for about an hour each session.

Now, when I mentioned this in a discussion with someone who asked about it, the response I got was something like, “That doesn’t sound like a bible study; that sounds more like a Sunday School lesson or a sermon.”

So, I got to thinking about what we do in Bible Studies nowadays, and I came up with a hierarchy of Bible Study Necessities in today’s (barely) Christian Culture. So here it is, starting with the most important first:

1) Food. Lots of Very. Good. Food.

2) Friends. The kind that are gab capable. Should be cool, know how to dress, and definitely not show up to the Bible Study in an old car, unless it’s a Cool Old Car.

3) Opinions. Must be intense enough to garner interest, but still light enough to ensure that absolutely no one is made to think seriously. Why? Because the Think Seriously threshold is generally at the same level as the I’m Offended or About to Be Offended threshold. Most Bible Study Leaders know better than to cross this line.

4) General discussion within the rules. For rules, see #3, above.

5) More food.

6) More opinion sharing within the parameters of #3 again.

7) Bible study. Maybe.

Bible study has become bible discussion. The authoritative Word has become subject to a kind of group therapy session where the object is to leave feeling better than when you came.

The “I’m OK, you’re OK” rules of social interaction have definitely invaded our concept of the social Bible Study. The result? Everyone gets to opinionate, and all opinions are supposed to be treated equally. “Your opinion is OK, just like my opinion is OK. All right, so neither of know much about the passage, but that’s not important. The important thing is that we all get to share.”

So you come and you leave. Not convicted. Not challenged. Not changed. And, at all costs, definitely not offended. Always remember this cardinal rule: The more serious the issue under

discussion, the less you are allowed cite biblical authority concerning that subject. Don’t worry about non serious subjects, because you usually don’t look to the bible for them anyway.

So, when planning your next Bible Study, make sure you keep you checklist handy:

Food? Check.

Friends? Check.

Light conversation? Check.

Bible study? Optional.

~ Joel Saint