Legalism is a pesky problem. We would be mistaken to simply relegate it to religious areas. Rather, we should see legalism as it really is, the perverter of every area of life. Before I explain what in the world I am talking about let us first define legalism. To me, legalism is simply the belief that by doing right one will be considered right or achieve the right ends. Speaking from the heart, legalism says, If I do this I will be accepted, it is pride. Legalism speaks to the ultimate motivations of the heart, is it based in gratitude and humility (gospel), or is it based in pride and fear (legalism).
The reason legalism is such a problem and a perversion of reality, is because God defines reality, and He doesn’t do it with legalism, but Gospel, literally: good news. Through a Gospel lens is how the world must be seen. In the beginning, man’s relationship to God did involve obedience to His law, yet the relationship was never legalistic but always of grace. That is, the ultimate definer of why Man was accepted by God, was grace, not obedience. Man was to obey God, not to earn God’s favor, but because he already had God’s favor, evidenced by his own existence and immediate relationship with God. Obedience was the proper response to the grace of God.
I wonder if we have been long mistaken. Great friendships are not a series of mutual excitements over large accomplishments, but the reciprocal enjoyment of the mundane and simple life.
Overhearing a group of wonderful, gray haired grandmother’s social intercourse, I came to this epiphany: they are not talking about anything “important” or “monumental” but rather very ordinary things, and taking great joy in it. And that makes all the difference.
One of the many arguments going around as to why people should not vote for Trump is that, while Hillary will be horrible in the short term, long term she just may cause a resurgence and renewal of conservatism, which will not likely happen under Trump. Let that sink in for just a minute. The argument is simply that Hillary, while destroying conservatism in the short term, will cause it to be purged and flourish in the long term, a sort of, “if it don’t kill you it will make you stronger” argument.
Now I have been accused of being a utilitarian because I believe that we should seek the best outcome in every circumstance, an outcome that may not be ideal, nor through ideal means, but a sort of “make the best with what you got” mentality. This “Hillary will make conservatism stronger in the long term” is really what utilitarianism actually teaches. Utilitarianism is concerned with the ends, and it doesn’t care about the means, if the ends can be considered the greatest and best. The other flaw of this view is they do not have any objective standard of truth to even judge the ends by. Thus Utilitarianism fails because it neither considers just means, nor has an objective standard to judge ends by, but I believe in both righteous means, and a universal judge by which all aspects are reckoned.
Emotionalism rules our culture today, and Christians are not immune from its allure. As we are less than a week away from voting for many important things, this article is urgent, but as much as these concepts transcend this election and are true for all elections, this article is timeless. If your philosophy of political engagement cannot account for all political environments through all time, then it is lacking. For truth transcends time and cultures, and Christian involvement in culture and politics, is based on such transcendent truth.
We must begin with the commands of God that are upon our lives. Genesis begins with the command to populate and subdue the world, called the Creation Mandate, which starts our involvement in politics as human beings making culture. The 10 commandments give us guidelines for proper living and relating to God and our fellow man. Jesus, in response to a question, affirmed that loving God and Neighbor are the first and second (in order) commandments beholding upon man. Lastly, when Jesus ascended into Heaven, He commanded that Christians go and bring, fill in the blank your flavor of politics, to the world… No wait, He commanded that we go make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them and teaching them Jesus’ commandments.
The following is a test of your reasoning system. If you really were being asked to reason, then it would follow that things would change upon the conclusion of this article, but since this is just a test…wait no it’s not a test, this is the real thing, better buckle up cowperson (see I can be PC) things are going to get bumpy!
There are presently many, many wonderful and compelling (for those who want to listen) arguments against Abortion. My goal is simply to give a small, but powerful one here.
Unfortunately I do not believe there is a simple answer to the question of how one should philosophically vote in the presidential election. Therefore I do believe we should have patience with those with whom we disagree on how one should cast their vote. Since no non-voter will want to read this article, as there is no reason to read this if you do not vote, I will not attempt to argue anyone into why they should vote. Rather, my hope is to provide the voter with some things to think about, things I have wrestled with myself, as we attempt to think through what really are the issues and really what is at stake. Before I begin let me also point out that I think there is a difference in how one should vote between the primary’s and the election itself, and I will explain that more further in, but lets just state that I am speaking about the election in this article unless otherwise stated.
Americans are very pragmatic. Because American’s created pragmatism as a philosophy, it has really taken over much of American, and even Christian thinking. A simple definition of this philosophy (forgive me as I am not a PhD in Philosophy), is “the view on how to use things to achieve the success you want; something is true when it works for your ends.” In other words anything, say Religion for example, is only worth pursuing if it can be a tool to your success in what you endeavor. If Religion makes you happy, and fills your life with meaning, then it is worth pursuing, according to the Pragmatic. There is no ultimate transcendent truth in Pragmatism, the truth, or value of something is simply based on its perceived success. Thus great evil could be done in its name, say, the murder of millions of Jews if the perceived effect is the bettering of a country’s economy and standing in the world! (I’m not saying that Hitler was a pragmatic per-say, but there is a sense in which Pragmatism can simply be called: The ends justify the means, and surely Hitler had some of that in him).
I don’t know about you, but I have a problem submitting to authority. Call it my sin nature, my culture, my temperament, whatever may fit, but I want to do things my way, when I want and how I want.
Perhaps I am not really alone in this, and this really isn’t something located in me or my society, but is something inherent in all humans. Writing almost 2000 years ago Paul tells us in Col 3:22-23 that we are to obey our earthly masters as serving the Lord. “Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,”.
Certainly there are very smart people who are Atheists who have a track record of being very good thinkers. Yet, many atheists complain that they rarely, if ever, meet Christians whom they consider rational and good thinkers. Why is this the case? Is it true that Christians really are irrational and only Atheists are rational? Or as the Atheist would want you to believe: only rational people believe in Atheism because it is the rational view, and ergo only irrational people believe otherwise, and Christianity is otherwise, and thus it is full of irrational people. Nice when you can create logic that supports you, but bummer when it bumps into reality.
Contrary to popular belief, Atheism isn’t a more rational belief than Christianity, and although many Christians don’t disagree with the Atheist’s claim that most Christians are irrational, they too are mistaken. Atheists are just as irrational as Christians. You heard me correctly, but did you really? Notice I am speaking about people, not views, I didn’t say Atheism is just as irrational as Christianity, I said the person who believes Atheism is just as irrational as the person who believes in Christianity. Listen carefully (or should I say read carefully): every person on this planet is irrational, it is a human trait due to our fallen nature.
In the following essay I will attempt to argue that alcohol was created by God as something good to be enjoyed by His people, a good that has been perverted by the human heart, and our culture to only be thought of, wrongly, as evil, and I will seek to change such a man’s opinion. Even many Christians have alcohol in the “evil” category, or at “worst” in the neutral category, and I believe this is unbiblical, so let us begin.
Why does God create anything? Ultimately we do not know, but we do know that part of it is to bring God Himself Glory. How did God create everything? Genesis tells us that God created everything good, Gen 1:31. Everything includes natural things like hemlock, and it means for how the thing was intended. Everything also includes things able to be created by man, like alcohol, or things done by man, like sex, if the thing is used how God intended for the purposes God intended. So, the question I am posing today is simply: how does God view alcohol and namely its use by Christians? The answer might surprise you (to the American Christian): as something ultimately good.
The following article was mostly written before America’s largest lottery prize (to date) was won, but its publishing does come after the event, although its content remains unchanged.
No one cares to ask anymore why we have gotten to where we are and if that is a good thing. In simple terms we all seem to confuse change with progress, and wrongly assume all progress is good, and thus we conclude that all change is good. According to this logic, if something was once wrong, illegal, or considered immoral, but today it is considered legal and moral, then the thing must really be a good thing because we have “progressed”. Case in point: the lottery.