Monday, September 29, 2008

Demographic Winter, Part II

(Disclaimer: "The single most powerful force affecting the fate and future of society" isn't truly Demographic Winter, but is the sovereign will of the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, maker of heaven and earth!!)

Well... the video arrived in the mail today and I watched it immediately. It was by far one of the most sobering things I've ever seen. Our world has walked away from God's mandate to be fruitful and multiply, and the consequences will be staggering. Here in the United States, we can expect our GNP to begin declining within the next couple of years as the large hump of baby boomers move past their highest spending years. That will impact the stock market and the tax base. While it's virtually impossible to foresee a balanced budget now, in the very near future, it will not even be a possibility.

The video is made by secular folks, and yet they come to the conclusion that an intact family of a man and a woman and lots of kids is the only solution...and even then, it is very likely too little, too late to save society. They pointed out that the liberal ideas birthed in the 70s (feminism, homosexual marriage, cohabitation, etc) have their root in the idea that there are too many people on the planet. Those ideas are quickly discredited in the face of this impending catastrophe.

The one bright spot was when addressing the subject of whether humans are on their way to extinction. The social scientist said there were distinct groups still having large families and they would survive: Orthodox Jews, Fundamentalist Christians, and Muslims. The secular society has signed its own death warrant by rejecting the fruit of the womb for a mess of pottage. Of course, we who have (or would like to have) large families will still suffer the consequences of societal and economic breakdown of our culture.

It's quickly becoming time to "fish or cut bait" in terms of making our Christian communities real and practical.....

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Demographic Winter

HERE is a link to the website promoting a well-researched documentary on population decline and its consequences. This is truly frightening because it's not something that can be fixed easily or in a short amount of time. Dr. Albert Mohler, among others, has lamented on his radio show about how Europe will be Muslim within a generation or two. It's a foregone conclusion because the birthrates in all European countries have been below replacement rate for so long. They've been importing people from muslim countries to do their work...and these families have large numbers of children. Now, it's just a matter of time.

What's even more amazing is this is a secular film using secular data from secular scientists. Their conclusion? The family as defined as one man and one woman for life having lots of children is a requirement for a stable, growing, prosperous society.

Hmmmm....sort of sounds like God's idea! Marriage as defined as one man and one woman for life, being fruitful and multiplying, understanding that children are a blessing and praying for a quiver-full!!!!

Don't you love it when God is shown to have been right all along?

And don't you hate it when we as a society will suffer for having ignored Him and His laws....

Shall we do our part to receive as many of God's blessings as He deems fit to give us???

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Salvation, Grace and Law

Our evangelical culture has gone incredibly overboard in its emphasis on grace. This is especially evident in how many people have "prayed the prayer," call themselves "Christian," and yet show no evidence of fruit in their lives. John MacArthur recently had a four-day series on his Grace to You radio program that addressed this issue. The programs, based on the last portions of the Sermon on the Mount, can be found HERE, dated 9/2/2008-9/5/2008, entitled "Empty Words" and "Empty Hearts." I purchased his 20th anniversary edition of "The Gospel According to Jesus" and find it to be fantastic...and a very sharp critique of our "Christian" culture. (You can find a link to that book on the left.)

Another resource that I suspect will be interesting is a book by Puritan Samuel Bolton entitled, "The True Bounds of Christian Freedom." (HT: Tony at For His Glory). I intend to read this book soon! A quote that Tony point out encapsulates it well: "The Law sends us to the Gospel for justification; the Gospel sends us to the Law to frame our way of life." Wow!!!

As dads (and moms) who desire our children to walk in the way of our Lord, understanding true salvation and conversion is critical (MacArthur), and understanding the role of the Law in shaping our sanctification is crucial as well (Bolton).

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Voting Vexation

I just came across one of the most balanced articles on how we as Christians should be dealing with the debate on voting for or against a ticket with Sarah Palin as VP. It is found HERE and I highly commend it to you.

Friday, September 05, 2008


Everyone who hangs around the evangelical world long enough knows youth hang out in youth groups and those very youth groups send them out in groups to do "missions" in the summer. Some of them are supposedly "life-changing"...but most are simply excuses to hang out in some exotic places. (There are some exceptions... our church has made it clear that the youth who participate in missions are to be called and are to be prepared to serve and work hard!)

We did something different.

Instead of sending the children off with a leader and a bunch of other children, we took them with us to visit friends who are Africa! We lived in their home and experienced their life. We were extremely blessed by them, and were hopefully blessings and encouragements to them. They allowed us to see the culture of West African city life through their eyes and to experience it first-hand. Below are some musings about our experience:

1) While the country is officially about 95% Islamic, most seem to practice it the way most Americans practice Christianity: culturally.

2) The people take time for relationship and for community! This was probably the most encouraging thing in my mind and illustrated just what we've lost here in the States. "To Do" lists come in a distant second to spending time with people. One illustration was when Mustafa, the rent collector, came to the house. In the US, he'd probably stay outside, or maybe step just inside the door. We'd give him the check, say something about the weather, and he'd be on his way. In Africa, Mustafa came in the house and sat at the dining room table. While he was served a cold drink, he and my hosts spoke of each other's families and of the daily rolling electrical blackouts. It was a good twenty minutes before they got around to the rent check!

3) Partially because of number 2 above, things move s-l-o-w-l-y. Nothing happens at a fast pace, to include construction! It takes forever to build anything! The roads in the middle-class neighborhood were pot-holed dirt! If you have to drive somewhere, you'd best not be in a hurry. In fact, the patience of Job would be an asset!!! Another friend who had visited Africa related that a local said the following to him: "In America, you have watches and no time; in Africa we have no watches, and lots of time!" How very true.

4) We take so much for granted. The lights come on every time we throw the switch. The house is cool in the summer and warm in the winter. There is water every time you open the spigot. The mosquitoes, while the size of small birds in my part of the US, don't carry malaria. One doesn't fear the doctor here. You know when the garbage collector is going to come...and he actually picks it up himself from your particular driveway! There isn't any sewage in the streets. We don't have to filter our water before we drink it. We don't bleach our fruits and vegetables before using them. We don't have to wash feces off our eggs before bringing them home. People obey the traffic rules.

5) Our conveniences separate us from our neighbors. Air conditioned cars result in rolled up windows. Garages (especially those with electric openers) keep us from going outside. Air conditioned houses keep the windows and doors shut.

6) When you must spend time at home preparing food for the family without the benefit of modern conveniences, by necessity your family pitches in, resulting in increased closeness as well as learned responsibility.

7) When there aren't a thousand and one activities for the kids, they spend time at home with each other and with their parents. Games are played, relationships are deepened, and love is grown.

8) Being a typical monolingual American, I was frustrated at not being able to communicate with the locals...all of whom were incredibly friendly and kind.

9) A person in that country who holds hands with another of the same gender is communicating: You are my friend and I respect you! There is nothing that is sexual about it at all!!!

10) The elderly are respected and honored. We witnessed an elderly man trying unsuccessfully to cross a busy street. A strapping young man happened along and noted his situation. Without hesitation he spoke with the gentleman, let him take his arm, and led him across the street. With a word and a wave, he was on his way.

11) Ropes courses through baobab trees are a blast!!!!!!

12) Near-equator sun is extremely strong when at the beach...even on tanned, sunscreened skin!

We all got to experience the culture first-hand, with its wonders and its trials. With our hosts interpreting for us, we interacted with the locals. All in all, we had a marvelous time and bring back a very different perspective on our own culture, both its positives and the things we would like to see changed.

Now the trick is to see how we can integrate those changes into our personal lives....

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Palin: Promise or Problem?

It doesn't take the most astute observer of national politics to know that the nomination of Sarah Palin for the office of Vice President has Republicans and conservatives boiling over with excitement. And yet, while on one hand I'm excited as well, the other side of me questions the wisdom of electing a woman to this office. I don't have a concrete answer here, but I am going to do my best to flush out some thoughts on each side.

On the positive side:

1) Palin is probably comes the closest to a true conservative that a major party has put forward since Reagan.

2) Palin backs up her rhetoric with her life, with the most blatant being her prolife and her Second Amendment positions.

3) Palin strikes me as a politician the founders expected: a regular citizen who gets involved, and when done will return to being a regular citizen.

4) Palin is not afraid of her femininity. She actually wears skirts and doesn't screech when she speaks.

5) She has a large family and shows love and respect toward her husband!

6) Palin seems normal!

This blog is dedicated to helping advance the Biblial family as best as I can understand it. That includes the proper ordering of relationships and structure. This is where the negatives come in.

1) Scripture is crystal clear about what God desires in terms of the ordering of the family. The man is to be the covenant head with the wife being the vice-regent and helpmeet. Within the church, men are to lead as well. What is not blatant is how this should play out in the civil realm; we have to apply principles instead. There are good people who come down on both sides of this argument.

Dr. Albert Mohler, President of Southern Seminary, writes, "Do I believe that a woman can serve well in the office of Vice President of the United States? Yes. As a matter of fact, I believe that a woman could serve well as President -- and one day will. Portraits of significant men of history hang on the walls of my library --but so do portraits of Queen Elizabeth I of England and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

The New Testament clearly speaks to the complementary roles of men and women in the home and in the church, but not in roles of public responsibility. I believe that women as CEOs in the business world and as officials in government are no affront to Scripture. Then again, that presupposes that women -- and men -- have first fulfilled their responsibilities within the little commonwealth of the family.

Doug Phillips, Esq. of Vision Forum Ministries writes, "I am confident that Mrs. Palin is a delightful, sincere, thoughtful, and capable woman with many commendable virtues. But in fairness, there is nothing 'traditional' about mothers of young children becoming career moms, chief magistrates, and leading nations of three hundred million, nor is this pattern the biblical ideal to which young women should aspire. At a time when motherhood and marriage is so under attack, the message Republicans are sending is this: Winning politial elections is more important than the following proposition given by the Lord: 'That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, [to be] discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed' (Titus 2:4-5.)"

In his post, he points to an article by William Einwechter that argues in detail against women holding positions within the civil magistrate.

Dr. Voddie Baucham is one of the most eloquent when it comes to asking and answering the question about whether Palin's nomination is truly pro-family or not. He writes, "While I agree that from a political standpoint Mr. McCain made a brilliant political move, I am not so sure his pick can be portrayed as “pro-family.” It is true that Mrs. Palin is ardently pro-life –a distinction bolstered by the fact that she has five children, and chose not to abort a Down Syndrome baby—and she is also a fiscal conservative, a Washington outsider, and she hunts wolves from helicopters! What more could the Neocons ask for?

Unfortunately, Christians appear to be headed toward a hairpin turn at breakneck speed without the slightest clue as to the danger ahead. I don’t see this as a pro-family pick at all! Moreover, I believe the conservative fervor over this pick shows how politicized Christians have become at the expense of maintaining a prophetic voice. I believe that Mr. McCain has proven with his VP pick that he is pro-victory, not pro-family. In fact, I believe this was the anti-family pick."

Dr. Baucham's two posts can be found HERE and HERE (the first article really hit a note with my wife).

Lastly, Kevin Swanson, the head of the Christian Home Educators of Colorado and host of "Generations" radio show, speaks of how one of the ways God judges a nation is through raising up women in leadership positions. He points out that one of the reasons this happens is because men have failed to rise to the occasion and it is natural that women will not let things fall apart if they can help it. That is happening today in America. Women vastly outnumber men in college and in law school.

2) Palin IS a mother of five children and like it or not, there IS a difference between men and women. These children need a mother who will be at home to nurture them. Without casting stones, one must wonder if she would be on the road to being a grandmother right now if she had been at home instead of in the governor's office. This argument has been used hypocritically by the liberals, but is a legitimate question when asked by pro-family people.

3) Her description of herself as "used to be a hockey mom" indicates that motherhood is the low rung on the totem pole and that while motherhood is great, girls and young women should aspire to "more."

4) Her example will lead many young women to aspire to life outside of the home, leaving more and more children to day-care and government education.

So what to do?

It was very easy to vote against a woman when that woman is Hillary in her pant-suit, screeching socialist platitudes. But now we are presented with a woman with bona fide conservative credentials who could most likely lead this country well.

I respect Albert Mohler in many ways, but I'm not sure he is right in this case. Proverbs 31 illustrates a woman who enables her husband to sit in the gates (the government) and praise her there. While she certainly is involved in a lot of things outside the home, her focus is the home and she doesn't sit in the gates!

Voddie Baucham's articles really hit home with me, but I think Kevin Swanson's conclusions most illustrate reality.

God IS judging this country in many ways. In this issue specifically, look at the rise of women in political power. Number three in the line of succession for the presidency is a woman, and if McCain wins, number two will be as well. It's entirely possible there will be two women running for president in 2012 (Hillary and Palin). There are more and more women in elected office. This is not going to stop until Christian men stand up and start leading their households and start leading their churches. In the mean time, we have what we have. Could we do worse than having someone like Sarah Palin in office? Absolutely!

Terry at Ornaments of Grace writes HERE and HERE about recognizing that although the best way for a family to be structured is for the wife/mom to be oriented toward home, for the Palin family, they have made their choice and "that train has already left the station".

I wish I had a solid conclusion.

I can't change how the Palins are doing things in their family. I can be pleased that if we have to have a woman at the highest levels of government, that she is someone with the conservative credentials of Sarah Palin.

And yet, as a dad of daughters, I resent the unspoken message that being a keeper at home is mundane and not something to which they should aspire. I resent the unspoken message that being a helpmeet to a husband and a rock on which he leans is only an option for a woman (and not the best one at that).

And of course, as much as I despise being put in a position of voting against someone, Barak Obama is about the most evil (yes, I use that term intentionally and not rhetorically) candidate put forward in my memory. His positions on abortion are horrifying and his stated policies are Marxist to the core.

Is a vote for McCain (and thus Palin) in order to attempt to thwart the evil that is Obama just being pragmatic? Maybe... but I do know that having someone with her conservative principles makes McCain much more palatable than he would have been otherwise.....

Sorry if you were looking for a definitive answer from this post, but I hope that it and the links herein help in your own thoughts as you grapple with this decision.