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2009 Issue 5

Oct. 31, 1517, the date Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses on the door of the Wittenberg Chapel, the Protestant Reformation was ignited. A few years later, in 1521 Luther had to appear before the Diet of Worms to defend his writings. There he uttered the immortal words, “Here I stand, God help me, I can do no other.” I’m certain that you are familiar with those dates. But you may not be as familiar with Nov. 10, 1483 - the day Martin Luther was born and his early life. J. H. Merle D’Aubigne, in his History of the Reformation in the 16th Century, reminds us of the importance of the first stages of a man’s life. He wrote,

“The first stage in a man’s life—that in which he is formed and molded under the hand of God—is always important, and was especially so in the case of Martin Luther. There, even at that early period of his life, the whole Reformation existed. The different phases of that great later work succeeded each other in the soul of him who was the instrument of accomplishing it before it was actually accomplished.

The Christian position on foreign policy and international issues can be difficult to determine. National issues are far simpler–a careful study of Scripture can often sort things out. For example, there can be little question about the Christian position on abortion and same-sex marriage.

But when it comes to international issues, quite often different groups will try to pass off their position as the “Christian” one even though their positions diametrically oppose each other. Of course, biblical principles can be applied to international policy but these principles are often harder to discern and harder to apply in this arena. Relations between nations can be highly complex–there is rarely an obvious Christian answer to foreign policy questions.

What if I came before a group of Christian mothers at a home school convention and asked this question? Would you spend money to buy a curriculum program based on a philosophy of education that assumes the following? (1) The legitimacy of homosexuality, especially the seduction of teenage boys by men over age 30; (2) warfare as a man’s supremely meaningful activity; (3) polytheism; (4) a personal demon as a philosopher’s source of correct logic; (5) slavery as the foundation of civilization; (6) politics as mankind’s only means of attaining the good life, meaning salvation; (7) the exclusion of women from all aspects of public religion; (8) the legitimacy of female infanticide.

Preposterous, correct? On the contrary, at least a third of them have already decided to adopt such a curriculum. It’s called the Christian classical curriculum -- also called the classical Christian curriculum -- and it’s all the rage these days in Christian home schooling circles and day schools. Parents line up to give their children the education they never had. Christian Parents don’t know how blessed they were not to have had to endure it.

“The story of Babel (Gen. 11:1-9) suggests an important and timely question. Babel was an attempt to preserve the original oneness of mankind. But in man’s fallen state it resulted in an arrogant self-sufficiency which challenged or ignored the authority of God. It was totalitarianism. To prevent this arrogance from achieving its goal, God scattered the peoples and confounded the tongues. Division and separation were necessary to prevent godless and tyrannical centralization of power in a superstate. Christianity is a truly unifying force, which transcends the barriers of nation, race, language, and temperament. But only Christianity can prevent the super-state from becoming a tyranny such as the world has never known, with a concentration of power in the hands of the few which would reduce the many to utter slavery.

The “James” I am referring to is the author of the book by that name in the New Testament, most likely the brother of Jesus. I assume you know who “Obama” is.

James addresses the problem of wars and conflicts in the church, James 4:1-3, among the “brethren,” a term he uses quite often to identify his readers, 1:2, 2:1, 3:, 5:19. James raises the issue of conflicts and identifies the source in James 4:1,

“From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?”

Ardi, short for Ardipithecus ramidus, is the newest star in the field of paleontology. Both National Geographic and The Discovery Channel are promoting this discovery on their websites and television programs. This announcement is the culmination of research and studies that began in Ethiopia in 1994. Ardi has supplanted Lucy, the previous record holder of the oldest fossil with direct links to modern man. According to the National Geographic website:

“The fossil puts to rest the notion, popular since Darwin’s time, that a chimpanzee-like missing link—resembling something between humans and today’s apes—would eventually be found at the root of the human family tree. Indeed, the new evidence suggests that the study of chimpanzee anatomy and behavior—long used to infer the nature of the earliest human ancestors—is largely irrelevant to understanding our beginnings…

One way I look at church history is to see the Word of God and the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ being challenged by the “intellectual elite” or “politically powerful” God-haters. It is not hard to find church history text for the early period. The focus is on the champions of the faith: martyrs, pastors, theologians, and apologist. Polycarp, Athanasius, Augustine and a host of others are sure to be included. The heretics always lose.

Good histories of the Reformation are also available. Again the focus will likely be on reformers like Luther, Zwingl, and Calvin. We are pointed to the best of the theologians.

But a typical church history or history of doctrine text covering the 19th and 20th centuries passes over the faithful defenders of biblical Christianity. The persons most praised are those religious anthropologists (wrongly called theologians) who could accommodate the Christian faith to be more in step with the cultural norms. In particular, I wondered why even the Reformed and evangelical churches seemed to compromise with Darwinism and the evolutionary worldview.