The answer that we are to give to the question, "What is Christianity?" depends quite largely on the view we take of Scripture. If we believe that the Bible is the very word of God and infallible, we will develop one conception of Christianity. If we believe that it is only a collection of human writings, perhaps considerably above the average in its spiritual and moral teachings but nevertheless containing many errors, we will develop a radically different conception of Christianity, if, indeed, what we then have can legitimately be called Christianity. Hence we can hardly over-estimate the importance of a correct doctrine concerning the inspiration of the Scriptures.
This year marked an important milestone for Chalcedon Christian School. Wanting to offer a quality education to the children of all the church families and other Christian families within their sphere of influence, but realizing acutely the financial and personal undertaking involved, the school leaders have undergone much searching and labor over whether they could even extend the curriculum all the way to the 12th grade. But, finally a few years ago the council of governors, administration, and faculty became committed to offering students and parents a facility in which a godly education could be offered throughout the entire scope of elementary/secondary education. That commitment realized a very important fruit in May -- the graduation of the first senior class. And, although the class was small, the school and church are very encouraged. Providentially, all three of the students were from families in our church body. Kevin White is the son of Matthew and Gale White, Christi Gazaway is the daughter of Arthur and Boots Gazaway, and Rachel Goodrum is the daughter of David and Marlene Goodrum.
Ten years, a hundred-plus prominent professors and attorneys (including Warren Burger, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court), and $25 million later, Ford, Rockefeller, and other tax-exempt Foundation funding produced a brand-new Constitution to REPLACE the American Constitution. Although our 200-year-old Constitution has the unique distinction of protecting more freedom for more people for longer than ever in recorded history, these tax-exempt foundations deemed it necessary to rewrite it Why?!
Their creation, the "Newstates" Constitution, literally wipes out our permanent God-given freedoms to worship, to "keep and bear arms", to choose private education for our children rather than forced, mandated government education, etc. It goes so far as to abolish all state boundaries and even change the name of the United States to the "Newstates of America!" Our unalienable rights (stated in the Declaration of Independence and guaranteed by the Constitution) are revoked in this NEW Constitution. Authority over man's freedom is transferred from God to the State through temporary government-granted "privileges," easily revoked by any government in power.
On a recent "Donahue" TV program an infuriating piece of film was shown. Secretly taped by parents who suspected her of beating their baby (who appeared to be about six or eight months old), a baby-sitter was shown slapping this tiny child very hard because the baby was crying while being fed. And I mean this baby was slapped hard -- three times and then something was held over its mouth to try to quiet it.
Coming out of this sickening film clip, Phil Donahue says: "I bet you $100 this woman was struck as a kid." He says, smugly: "I betcha," as a camera shows a woman in the audience nodding in agreement.
And then Mr. Donahue says that what we just saw is "a legacy we pass from generation to generation," that "we use the Bible to justify this." And, he says, incredulously, that if spanking were put to a national vote it would win because we believe in "spare the rod."
Over the last two decades, the Martial Arts have captured the imaginations of our children and the interest of millions of adults. And Hollywood is one of the reasons. Martial Arts choreographers supply the motion picture industry with almost endless ways for the hero to take revenge on the bad guys (since revenge seems to be the current box-office money-maker). The skills and abilities of the movie Martial Artist are therefore greatly exaggerated for maximum effect, as the hero defeats a dozen weapon-carrying attackers using the flashiest flying, spinning, jump kicks possible. The outcome is usually the same -- the underdog wins -- and wins big, as attackers find themselves being kicked through walls, and flipped off the edge of buildings.
As a result of the mental image of Black Belts painted by the motion pictures, some of the audience seek out the nearest Martial Arts school in hopes that they will learn some of what they have seen at the movies -- "just in case". But, in real life, does the karate student (perhaps your child) always win like the "karate kid" eventually does? Are the Martial Arts as harmless as they are made to appear, or is there something potentially harmful to us or our children? Can they simply be placed in a category of good exercises such as running or swimming? Should the Christian allow h1s children to enroll in a Martial Arts school? Should the Christian adult become involved in Martial Arts and to what extent? Does the Bible give us any guidelines?
LARRY PRATT, executive director of Gun Owners of America, spoke in Atlanta to an attentive church group this past weekend. He pointed out that in 1775, militias organized from Massachusetts church congregations were the ones who proved that as long as the colonists had gunpowder, they could hold their own against the British.
According to Pratt, many of the organized congregation-based militias were commanded by none other than colonial ministers. Pratt, a Bible-believer himself, gave the Biblical justification for the right to keep and bear arms. He said many Christians do not understand the necessity of keeping and bearing arms, or the Biblical justification for bearing arms.
[Editor's note- We continue Dr. Gentry's final response to "Mr. Gray," which began in the May issue.]
Your reference to 2+2=4 was most interesting, for that opens up the whole matter, again, of the nature of reality (what is) and the foundation of epistemology (how we know what is). The neutrality postulate of mathematics, which you apparently hold, is false. On what ultimate philosophical base may we assert 2+2=4? Not all philosophies will tolerate 2+2=4; thus this statement is not philosophically neutral. Philosophically it should be noted that only a world-view committed both to a metaphysical plurality in the world and a metaphysical unity can sustain even this most simple arithmetical truth. Thus, mathematics immediately engages one in the metaphysical debate over unity and plurality, the one and the many. Which is more ultimate, the oneness of the Universe or its manyness? Further, we should ask how we know "2" exists? Thomas S. Kuhn (The Structure of Scientific Revolutions) and Michael Polanyi (Personal Knowledge: Towards a Post-Critical Philosophy) demonstrate that "agreement" regarding mathematical truths is partially due to the intentional exclusion from international mathematical symposia of certain philosophical systems. Radical monists, such as Hindus, believe in the ultimacy of unity ("All is one" is that chant that has done so much for the development of Indian culture). They assert 2+2=1. Evolutionary relativists see Chance as the womb and foundation of being and consequently of knowledge. Hence, irrational Chance is the floor upon which the rational world and coherent knowledge is supposed to stand!
The clay on the wheel was not suitable for the intended design of the potter. He must make a different vessel than the original design called for.
Jehovah is the potter. Apostate Judah is the clay. A people who break his covenant and reject his sovereignty are not material through which God will fulfill his original purpose for a faithful people. Now, due to their apostasy, they must be made to serve the purposes of judgment.
This section highlights the absolute sovereignty of God over Judah. He tells her "so are you in my hand!" (18:6). And the spiritual condition of the nation determines what the Potter will make out of his clay.
How often do professing Christians shrug off church attendance by saying, "I can worship at home!" The perfect response to such a remark is simple: "But do you?" Or, if you stumble upon a rare individual who may actually strive to worship at home, you may ask him: "When did you last take the Lord's Supper at home?"
Many who profess to be Christians today know too little of devoted commitment to Christ. A major aspect of our commitment to Christ involves our attendance at, worship in, and service through the local church. In fact, church attendance is obligated on several grounds, among them we could list the following: