The modern graduate of our government-controlled schools knows little about the Puritans of the 17th century (except of course that they were a cheerless and superstitious folk who dressed in black, persecuted witches, and once invited some Indians to Thanksgiving dinner). This ignorance is emblematic of our present difficulties. What is "known" about the Puritans serves only to reinforce the perception that serious Christians are strange and dangerous people who ought to be kept in cages and never let out without strict supervision.
Unaccountably, the view of the Puritans is not much more complementary in many "Christian" history books. It would not be at all surprising if some readers of this magazine have latent suspicions of things "Puritan." Together, these realities demand that we take a fresh look at the Puritans.
"And He said to them, 'Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father's House?'" - Luke 2:49
These words of Jesus at twelve years of age to His mother, when she found Him in the Temple, after missing him in the caravan contain a world of theology, methodology and ethics. The purpose of this section, 2:41-51, regarding young Jesus in the Temple is not included in Luke's narrative simply for the sake of drawing moralisms -- parents should know where their children are at all times, or children should study hard in school. It is included to cast light on the person and work of Jesus Christ.
Presuppositional apologetics should emphasize the antithesis between the Christian and non-Christian worldviews. It seeks to point out the inconsistency and arbitrariness of both the unbeliever's worldview and how he lives his life in relation to his professed worldview. Likewise, the Christian cannot put forth a credible defense of the faith if either his words or his deeds undermine one another through inconsistency.
The Christian worldview can account for the presence of some sin in the life of a believer: "If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us" (1 John 1:8). However, the Christian faith does not allow for gross sinful conduct on the part of the believer: "No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. Little children, let no one deceive you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil... " (1 John 3:6-8a).
ApocalypseNot: Science, Economics and Environmentalism by Ben Bolch and Harold Lyons. Cato Institute 1000 Massachusetts Ave. N.W. Washington, D.C. 20001. 140 pp. with index. pb. $10.95. 1993.
The Burden of God: Studies in Wisdom and Civilization From the Book of Ecclesiastes by Michael Kelley Contra Mundum Books P.O. Box 32652 Fridley, MN. 55432 1993. 151 pages pb $11.00.
ACTS: A writer's reflections on the Church, writing and his own life by Larry Woiwode. Harper Collins Publishers 10 East 53rd St. New York, N.Y. 10022. 1993 244 pp. hb. $17.00 (USA) $23.00 (CAN).
Did you know that the U.S. operates one of the largest human zoo facilities in the world? I am referring to the prison system in this country. Why is the prison system a human zoo? The analogy is obvious. We keep men and women penned in iron and cement "cages" just like animals at our local zoo. One major difference between our human zoos and our animal zoos is that at least the animals are on display. People go to see them and give them some loving attention. The purpose of the prison system is to isolate criminals from society, to put 'n insulating barrier around them so that they might be reformed to be let loose on society when their "rehabilitation" has been completed. Does this ingenious human system work? Let us examine our analogy again. Living in a zoo may make an animal docile after awhile, but it does not "tame" it. That is obvious by the very fact that we do not release lions and bears to roam freely in the park after they have been "rehabilitated" by their cages for a few years. Little more should be expected from the prison system. Putting men in iron cages does nothing to "tame" them. In many cases it only intensifies their evil.