Thursday, November 4, 2010

Pregnancy Crazies

Baby Cook, 9 weeks

I haven't blogged much about this pregnancy- in fact, I'm not certain that I've mentioned it at all on this blog. This pregnancy has been both easier and more difficult in different ways from when I was pregnant with Weslee. I didn't have a miscarriage scare, which made things a lot easier. I did get just as sick as I was with Weslee, but this time I knew to get some medication for it instead of ending up in the hospital. The unfortunate thing about this pregnancy has been the migraines and vertigo. I didn't even know that pregnancy could bring on vertigo, but I found out later that it's not uncommon because of all the fluid changes in the body.

That said, I'm 18 weeks now and we find out if this little one is a boy or a girl November 20, which I am very excited about. I think we'll paint the baby's room a pale mint color so the room is neutral but not the weird whitish color it is now. Weslee is going to get the futon bunk bed in his room for his "big boy" bed, and the crib will move into the other bedroom. I'm not sure exactly what at toddler's room should look like, but I'm sure we'll figure out something fun for him.

I have SO many things listed to get done before this baby arrives, but I'm lucky if I just get my normal weekly list completed. If you have never been pregnant, you may not know that there is this urge we expecting women get called "nesting". Well, my nesting urge hit a couple weeks ago, and it has been plenty frustrating that I can't do everything RIGHT NOW.

It's actually given me a good amount of anxiety because I have the desire to throw out/get rid of about half of the things we own. In talking to my friends, I know this isn't uncommon, but I don't remember having to do this when I was pregnant last time. Granted, we moved from an apartment to our current house, so a lot of that paring down was probably done in the moving process. Either way, I know we'll have to do something with all the "stuff" in our current guest bedroom/future baby's room.

So I'm open to suggestions. How do you simplify your life when needed? What methods do you use in sorting keep/donate/trash when going through all that "stuff"? Do you have any creative storage ideas for kids' rooms or decorating ideas for a toddler?

This poor mama with the pregnancy crazies appreciates any input. :)

Monday, October 25, 2010

A call for moratorium on "brokenness"

I am no theological expert, and I'm not even that great at memorizing scripture. I'm a sinner like everybody else, but I've been saved by grace through faith in Jesus' precious atoning blood shed on the cross for my sins.

That said, as I desire to grow closer to God, I am constantly looking to be more and more biblical in my life- the things I think, say, and do. On more than one occasion that has led me to awareness of flaws in the modern Church and the way we do things in Christianity as a whole.

One of the things I've noticed is how we are moving toward more post-modern and emergent language in churches. It's like we've become too afraid of offending people to just call disobedience to God "sin". The popular word to use now is "brokenness" and I just don't think it accurately portrays how devastating our transgressions are to a perfect and Holy God.

Jesus is not merely a cosmic Mr. Fix-It character who comes and tweaks some loose screws to make us better. He is God come in flesh, condescended to manhood, crucified on a cross to blot out the stains we could never cleanse ourselves. We don't need "tweaking", we need salvation!

In language, words have meaning, and an accurate portrayal of those words makes all the difference in how we perceive what is being said. If you do a word search of the Bible, you'll find that the term "broken" is most used in reference to having a broken or contrite spirit, people being brokenhearted over sin, or in God breaking and punishing His enemies. We don't see sin portrayed as us being broken, but instead bluntly stated as a grave offense against God.

"But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. "
James 1:14-15

Why then, do we substitute "sin" with "brokenness"? People have understood sin in that three-letter word for thousands of years, but we somehow have decided that it just doesn't work for us anymore, that we know better than the inspired words from God? I wonder if it's more an issue of the church being too afraid to boldly proclaim God's law, and the Gospel. When we do so properly, we cannot avoid the issue of sin; it must be addressed directly, and explained so people understand what it means.

"For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it--he righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction:or all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus."
Romans 3:20-26

I believe substituting "sin" with "brokenness" does not allow for people to understand the full gravity of their transgression against God. It is dishonest to only give people part of the picture, and cowardly to care more about appeasing others than the state of their souls for eternity. How can we properly repent without knowing the full weight of our sins, and how can we truly appreciate the extent of Jesus' sacrifice and the gift of forgiveness and grace if we don't understand what we have been saved from?

So I hereby call for a moratorium on the terms "broken" and "brokenness" in churches. I pray that pastors would be bold enough and love others enough to give them the full biblical picture, that they would desire their flocks have meat and not only milk. I pray that in our evangelism efforts we would be completely honest and not gloss over things that may be offensive and risk that the person may never understand and come to true repentance.

I would like to clarify that I am not saying you can never use another term besides "sin". The Bible uses other words as well. What I am saying is that we should rely on scripture first, and take to heart that, "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work." (2 Tim 3:16-17) It is beneficial to expound on "sin" and make known to people the law so they may see what sin truly is before they hear the good news of the Gospel. May we never be so arrogant as to think that we have found a new and more relevant way of doing things than God gave us in His Word.

"If you really long to save men’s souls, you must tell them a great deal of disagreeable
C.H. Spurgeon

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Relativism and Christianity Accountability

I have a love/hate relationship with social networking. I love that I can keep in touch with friends, see what's up in people's lives, get interesting news and fact, and in general feel connected to the world even when I'm at home with Weslee.

On the flip side is my utter sadness over what I sometimes see from my brothers and sisters in Christ. Somehow we have decided that even though we are representatives of the Most High, nobody is entitled to EVER question something that we say in (let's face it) a public forum. We misuse scripture and speak of the freedoms we have in Christ, and throw out all of those that caution us to not abuse that freedom and cause others to fall.

"But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God.And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake.For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness,"has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. " -- 2 Corinthians 4:2-6

I obviously do not expect the same standards from those who do not profess to be Christians, but I will definitely hold those professing Christianity to the Bible's standards, and not the world's. The sad thing is that the world's standards have invaded the Church, and we can see that reflected in how Christians perceive the world. No longer are we ready to search scriptures to determine right and wrong. If it feels good, it's ok. No longer are we offended at things that are questionable, or that hint at sins the Bible clearly speaks out against. It's all relative... you have your right, and I have mine, and we'll all just coexist.

"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world--the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions--is not from the Father but is from the world.And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. " -- 1 John 2:15-17

We have been beaten down and gagged by the secular world we live in, and we have let ourselves become part of it, instead of standing out within it. We've even adopted popular secular arguments, accusing those who dare to cite scripture and point to the Bible as being "intolerant" and "judgmental", claiming that what we do is nobody's business but our own. We fail to see the contradiction in our own words, that we proclaim our beliefs while telling others to keep their own to themselves. And this comes from those who claim to be CHRISTIANS!

"But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned itand how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,hat the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. " -- 2 Timothy 3:14-17

I would have a lot more respect for these people if they would venture to the scriptures themselves, and use God's Word to defend their positions, instead of just spouting off without any biblical backing whatsoever. I often post things that I have taken a lot of time finding scriptural support for, and find that the response (from Christians) is a blatant ad-hominem attack against my person or the topic, with no support for their position. The Bible does not tell us that our beliefs are based off of "feelings", but on the TRUTH. All truth is in the Bible, and we should be ready to defend our faith against those who would attack it, even if it's another professing believer.

"If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God." -- Colossians 3:1-3

If you follow Christ, and proclaim to be a Christian, your life is not your own. It belongs to God, and therefore you are His representative here on earth. EVERYTHING you say and do is a representation of Him, and you will be held accountable for it. Ignorance of scriptures will be no excuse when we stand in front of our Lord on judgment day.

"'You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.'" -- Matthew 5:13-16

We are to be salt and light in this world, we are to boldly proclaim the Gospel- Christ crucified for OUR sins, and we are to go against the tide of the secular world that people may know who and what we stand for. I'm sorry, but what we say and do IS the business of others, especially when in public, and to say that it's not is completely ignorant.

"Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid." -- Proverbs 12:1 "And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle,encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all." -- 1 Thessalonians 5:14

We are looking past scriptures that call us to accountability to our brothers and sisters in Christ, those that encourage us to be involved in each other's lives and to admonish others when we are concerned that they may stumble, and call them out on sins because we love them. We are to love discipline as Christ followers, but instead we reject it and stand on our "freedom", as if it will make us untouchable. I'm sorry, but separating ourselves from the discipline and admonishment of others in Christ is to shun the scriptures, to spit in the face of God. It's telling God, "hey, thanks for the salvation and all, but I don't really need you or those you put in my life to help me."

"The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death." -- Proverbs 14:27

Where is our fear of the Lord that drives us to passionately study His Word and desire to only do right? Where is the desire, the need to flee from sin and live more holy lives? It seems that we have forgotten the ultimate Truth in God's Word, and have instead turned to man for our standards. I pray that we return to our Savior, lest we be cast out.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Anti-Family Church, pt. 5- Family

I hope you've gleaned some kind of wisdom from the previous installments of The Anti-Family Church. If you were unable to tell, I am very passionate about this topic, as I see it as a failing of the Church today. I look back on the early church and see how they were structured, and lament over the position of the Church in today's world, in the hearts of her members. God's people have been continually adulterous throughout history, and we are no different, worshiping ourselves and our secular ideals that have been instilled by society today. Yet contrary to breaking free of the bonds of sin, we have become comfortable in our wayward ways and embraced a life of selfish desires instead of biblical wisdom.

This departure from the scriptures is evident when we look at the Church today. It is especially evident when we see how the Church values the family. The former articles give a good picture of the neglect of the individuals in churches, but it is the summation of all those things that leads to the dismal reality of the decline of the family. We no longer look toward the future, putting our focus on raising up generations of faithful Christ followers. Instead, we focus on ourselves, making sure we feel that we are right with God. What we often do not see is the reality that in order to be right with God, we must actually care about others.

The blame lies in every follower of Christ who, in their lukewarm states, have neglected basic biblical principles within their churches and families. We are each of us at fault, and it will take every one of us to correct it. I tend, though, to hold those in positions of authority to a higher standard than your basic church layman. Why are our pastors and elders not up in arms about how their parishioners are living? Why do we not see outrage at sin within the church, and preaching and teaching from the pulpit that drives sinners to repentance and strengthens the faithful?

It is a sad day when these issues go seemingly unnoticed, and absolutely appalling that- if the authority figures in churches do know- they are doing nothing about it. Please, do something! I know so many concerned Christians who are tired of hearing their pastors say they are working on the problem, without seeing any effort toward it.

It is not enough to mention a scripture about biblical living and leave the people to go forth in their week. Discipleship was never focused on a single day, a single sermon, a single class to attend. It is an ongoing process that must be entwined in our daily lives, just as God should be the focus of everything that we do.

What we are doing is not working, and as such we need to change what we are doing. Break away from the world and stop being of it. We are to be shining examples of Christ's love and saving grace, but how are we to do that when we cannot even disciple our own families? Where are those mentors, those who are wiser than us, who will guide us in our walks, pray with and for us, support us, and love us? Where are our brothers and sisters in Christ who are willing to gather together in fellowship to worship and learn together? Where is the love for the brethren?

Christians, be bold in the truth! Encourage your leaders to take on these issues and make a difference in the Church. If they do not listen, pray for them, because those who reject the truth of scripture need so badly to hear it. We should be righteously angry when we see God's Word twisted and warped to please the masses, and we should demand that it stop.

My desire is to glorify God in all that I do, to be faithful to Him, to grow in holiness and be closer to Him. I want to stand before Him on the day of judgment and know that I have brought him glory and honor, to hear that I have been a good and faithful servant. I want to be blameless before him because of the saving blood of Jesus Christ, who died that I might live, that I might spend eternity with Him. To do that, I must follow His instruction, fulfill the Great Commission, and disciple. How better to do that than to start at home, with my family, with my church family?

Is that your desire, and will you step up and be bold enough, trust in God enough, to go against the current and stand fast with the Lord? My prayer is that your answer is "yes".

"A church that does not exist to reclaim heathenism, to fight with evil, to destroy
error, to put down falsehood, a church that does not exist to take the side of the poor,
to denounce injustice and to hold up righteousness, is a church that has no right to
-- C.H. Spurgeon

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Anti-Family Church, pt. 4- Children

"Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to him, saying, 'Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.' "
-- Luke 18:15-17

Perhaps one of the most startling occurrences in churches today is the neglect of children within the body. We shuffle them off to classes to color scenes from Bible stories, watch movies, and play- while the adults hear the Word of God. Not all children's services are bad, of course, and some instructors are very invested in bringing souls to Christ, but they seem to be in the minority.

It begins at a young age, when parents are encouraged to drop their infants off in the church nursery. And what if you dare to bring your child to service with you? Be prepared for scowls and scoffs if your child makes a peep- churchgoers are no longer accustomed to having their service interrupted by the very ones Jesus drew near. It's a sad testament to how much the world has influenced the Church's view on children.

What does the Bible say about children?

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate."
-- Psalm 127:3-6

We are to rejoice in the children God gives us, to be thankful He chooses to expand our families. This goes against the popular belief that more than two kids is "too much". I've encountered this belief personally in more than one church, and have heard from many other women who feel pressured to limit their family size because of the opposition they meet in the body of Christ. Shame on those who would dare insinuate children are not of the Lord, and would act as if they are burdensome. Easy? No, children are not easy. Blessings? Yes! Children were consistent blessings for those in the Bible, and why should we reject such a blessing from the Most High?

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it."
-- Proverbs 22:6

It is the parent's responsibility to train up their child, to teach them the ways of the Lord. The responsibility rests on no other, and parents should be called to disciple their own children instead of just assuming that the youth pastor will do it for them.

Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him."
-- Proverbs 22:15

As parents, we should not fall prey to the popular secular belief that a child should be allowed to do as they wish in order to develop who they are. Children need direction and correction. How else will they learn right from wrong if the parent does not teach them? It does a disservice to our children to act as if they are blameless, for they are just as sinful, wicked, and depraved as any other human being, and our desire should be that they come to salvation, not that they have good "self-esteem".

And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, 'Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.' "
-- Mark 9: 36-37

We are not to turn away the smallest among us, lest we reject the teachings of Jesus. We are to embrace those children, teach them, raise them to love the Lord. By following Jesus' teaching, we are following what is right and true, and pleasing God.

"Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord."
-- Colossians 3:20

This is pretty self-explanatory. We are to raise children to respect us, not only because we desire it, but because it pleases the Lord.

The whole modern concept of children and their place spits in the face of the biblical model of children and the family. Then we sit back and wonder why our children rise up and curse their parents in rebellion. We have no one to blame but ourselves. Ultimately the responsibility lies with the parents of the child, but the Church should be doing the job of discipling the parents in such a way as to make them able to raise their children in a biblical and godly manner.

"God has designed your family- not the youth group, not the children's ministry, not the Christian [or Government] school, but your family- as the principle discipling agent in your children's lives."
-- Voddie Baucham

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Anti-Family Church, pt. 3- Women

The vast majority of women I talk to ask one question in regards to discipleship: where are the Titus 2 women in the church? For those of you who are not familiar with what scripture says in regards to women in Titus 2, here it is:

"Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled." -- Titus 2:3-5
The lack of older women discipling younger women is shocking. I myself have searched for a mentor for years now, and have as yet been unable to find somebody willing. I rely mostly on blogs from older Christian women, and a few online who are willing to discuss tough topics. When we lack older women to teach the younger, is it any wonder why we have generations coming up who have no clue as to what the Bible says about women? Why are we surprised that feminism has taken root, and biblical femininity has gone by the wayside?

The Bible puts the focus of the married woman on her husband and children. Is it acceptable for a woman to remain unmarried? Yes, but only if she's been called to a celibate life in service of the Lord. Otherwise she should be preparing for marriage and family. Today, however, we find women focusing mainly on their careers, and treating husbands and children as if they are intrusions on their life. It is so backwards it would be laughable if it weren't doing so much damage to the Church.

Let's look at whats the Bible says about the role of women:

... likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness--with good works. 11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. " -- 1 Timothy 2:9-14

"... encourage...
older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity." -- 1 Timothy 5:1-2

Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external--the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear-- but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening." -- 1 Peter 3:1-6

Women are to be respectable, modest, pure, self-controlled, and submissive to their husbands. Why? Because that is what God tells us to do. The Bible even talks about being obedient when our husbands are disobedient. We are to set an example for others in our dedication to the Lord, in the way we conduct ourselves. That doesn't mean acting high and mighty on Sundays and going home to demean our husband's masculinity and ignore our children during the week.

Instruction to women as wives and mothers is most often combined in scripture. We see that it is assumed that women who are married will be mothers, with exceptions for those who should rejoice even in a circumstance of infertility. We see nowhere where a woman is instructed to avoid having children or pawn those children off on others to raise.

It would make most sense to raise up young girls to be wives and mothers, to disciple them in the ways of family life so they are prepared for the service they will enter in life. How many women have gone out into the world to make their way, and come home to their families without a clue as to what their role is to be? Who is taking the time to teach younger women to be wives and mothers so they are not at a disadvantage and do not damage their marriage and family when they get to that point in life? Are those in positions of authority prepared to answer for how the women under their care turn out?

I believe we also must instruct women to be content in their position in life, whether they be single or married, whether they are childless or have a house full of little ones. If they are called to a celibate life, then they should rejoice in it, but if they are called to be married, they should glorify God as well. We just must ensure that whichever it is, women are not doing it out of a selfish and sinful nature, but to the glory of God.

What we lack in the Church today is women who are bold enough to throw off the secular teachings of the feministic society we live in, and instead embrace the biblical femininity our Lord has prescribed. Instead of encouraging women to care for their families, the Church puts precedence on those who have "real" jobs, as if wife-hood and motherhood are not jobs in themselves. We should put priority on those things the Bible puts priority on, and not what is most popular in society. Children need their mothers, and husbands need their wives. If that means giving up our selfish dreams and coming home to meet our God-given responsibilities, then so be it. The Church should support that, and even push for it to ensure that the priority is put back on raising godly families instead of fulfilling selfish desires.

Is this an easy task? Of course not. I would venture to say that most women will not agree with me. I've heard the argument regarding the Proverbs 31 woman, and how she must have worked outside the home. There is a HUGE difference between a woman working outside the home and a woman staying at home to raise her children while also having jobs she does on the side. The stay-at-home-mother does much more than simply sit at home with her children. Most I know also volunteer in their church and community, have home businesses, or do other activities. They rarely have any down time, yet people assume they are lazy.

We should call women to use their God-given talents to help raise up lives for the Lord right at home. What good is it for us to go out into the world while those under our roofs are going to hell? Where is our sense of responsibility? God never says we will get to do everything we want in life; He specifically tells us it will be full of trials. Our promise is in Heaven, and won't it be wonderful to be able to stand before Him on judgment day and know that we did not neglect those God put under our care, but instead nurtured and raised up generations who would change the world?

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Of Cowboys and Caner

Mama's don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys- or, at the very least, don't let them grow up to be anything close to what the soon-to-be-former president of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, Dr. Ergun Caner, is starting to look like.
I have been watching events in this Caner debacle for about six months, and have stayed out of it up until now. I don't like drama much, and politics mixed with religion isn't really my thing. This week, though, changed my opinion on the situation. I'd been trying very hard to give Dr. Ergun Caner the benefit of the doubt, hoping that the claims laid against him would be unfounded. Evidence continued to pile up (I'll refer you other places for that: here, here, here, and here) and I prayed that there would be an adequate explanation, that Dr. Caner would not be the deceiver the evidence seemed to suggest.
I was glad when Liberty University launched an investigation into the claims against Dr. Caner, confident that the situation would finally be resolved. What I found, however, was that the university effectively obfuscated on what should have been their responsibility as a Christian school, to uphold strict standards of conduct according to biblical methods.
The statement the university released June 25 (link to SBC Today article here) read as follows:

"After a thorough and exhaustive review of Dr. Ergun Caner’s public statements, a committee consisting of four members of Liberty University’s Board of Trustees has concluded that Dr. Caner has made factual statements that are self-contradictory. However, the committee found no evidence to suggest that Dr. Caner was not a Muslim who converted to Christianity as a teenager, but, instead, found discrepancies related to matters such as dates, names and places of residence. Dr. Caner has cooperated with the board committee and has apologized for the discrepancies and misstatements that led to this review. Dr. Caner’s current contractual term as Dean of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary expires on June, 30, 2010. Dr. Caner will no longer serve as Dean of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. The university has offered, and Dr. Caner has accepted, an employment contract for the 2010-2011 academic year. Dr. Caner will remain on the faculty of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary as a professor."

Now, I'm no expert, but even I can see the political tap dancing that the university is doing with this statement. You will find a plethora of information in the links I provided discussing why the conclusion of the investigation is not satisfactory. I will focus on my personal opinion, which is while it's all well and good that we've discovered Caner was really a Muslim (I never had an issue with that), it is just not satisfactory that we have not heard a statement from Caner himself, nor any direct answers to the questions that have been raised.
It seems plain that "factual statements that are self-contradictory" just doesn't make sense. You cannot have two statements, both true, that contradict each other in this context. The opposing statements are on such opposite ends of the spectrum it seems impossible that it could have been a simple mistake- multiple times. You cannot be born in two separate countries, and I haven't yet met a person who repeatedly makes those same kinds of "mistakes".
Even further than that, the university found that possible deception is not a moral issue? Come on people, you are supposed to be pillars of the academic society, an example for the young minds your schools shape. Your staff should be held to- at the very least- the same standards as your students. I highly doubt that it would be acceptable for a student to make factual claims that are self-contradictory in any of their schoolwork. In fact, any reasonable educator would assume that in some place, there is deception.
Yet, here we have Liberty and others fighting to the bitter end to exonerate Caner, yet for some reason his contract as dean will not be renewed. That, friends, is a contradiction in itself. Why relieve somebody of their position (or step down) if you have nothing to hide? What example is the university setting for those who attend?
Why would we, as parents, choose to send our children to a place where moral standards are quickly becoming cloudier than the oil slick in the Gulf? We are responsible, in God's eyes, for the raising of our children. It would be highly irresponsible for any parent to send their child to a university that doesn't uphold the highest biblical standards, or even basic moral standards. Honesty is key in a Christian lifestyle, and those in positions of authority should strive to be above reproach in everything they do.
Liberty has shown, by their politically-driven response to the Caner situation, that they have abandoned those high biblical standards. I would encourage parents to take a hard look at sending their children to be taught under questionable circumstances, not just at Liberty, but at any university.
We want to stand before God at judgment with a clear conscience, knowing that we have done everything in our power to raise our children in the way they should go. With education playing a key role in how children turn out, I will choose to send my children to places that will turn them out in God's way, and that are not bent towards tickling ears and pleasing the masses.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Anti-Family Church, pt. 2- Men

I will only touch lightly on the subject of discipling men in the church, since I am a woman and I believe that men should teach men. It doesn't take an expert to tell, though, that the church is not raising men to be leaders in their families.

What does the Bible say about men?

"But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness... Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity,and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us." --Titus 2:1-2, 6-8

This means men must actually know what sound doctrine is. Men who already fit this bill must disciple other men so they, too, can learn and teach others, especially their families. They should hear sound doctrine from the pulpit, in classes, in home discipleship, from mentors. They should be held accountable to high biblical standards, and the accountability must be consistent. I find one of the downfalls of the Church is that, even when sound doctrine is taught, there is no follow-up to see that it is being applied in the lives of believers. Where is our fellowship and mentoring to make sure men understand how to be men, husbands and fathers? God didn't expect us to do it alone, or He wouldn't have written so much in His Word and instructed us to keep each other accountable.

What instruction do husbands receive?

"But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God." -- 1 Corinthians 11:3

"For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior... Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her... In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body... However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband."
--Ephesians 5:23, 25, 28-30, 33

"Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them." -- Colossians 3:19

Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered." -- 1 Peter 3:7

Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the church, treat them kindly, be understanding, show them honor, cherish them, protect them, and guide them as their head. Why? Because they are followers of Christ. Not because they "feel like it" or because their wife may or may not be attractive, kind, and respectful. It is commanded they do so out of respect and obedience for God.

What does the Bible say about fathers?

"Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." -- Ephesians 6:4

"Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged." -- Colossians 3:21

I think most instruction will be in the section on children, but it is clear that the father is the head of the family, and he is in charge of bringing up his children in the Lord.

For more information about biblical manhood, I highly recommend Voddie Baucham's series titled "Biblical Manhood" on YouTube (the link is to part 1 of 8).

An interesting commentary on manhood by Geoffrey Botkin "A Gift for the Family Hearth"

The Anti-Family Church, pt. 1- Introduction

I've been contemplating this blog series for months now, and have been putting it on the back burner until I could find some time to actually think it through a little more. I figured when I started dreaming about writing the posts it was time to get to it. I'll give you a disclaimer: this may rile quite a few people, which is ok. Before flying off the handle about it, think about whether you're upset because you think I'm dead wrong, or because you're being convicted. Then, if you decide I'm wrong, please give me biblical proof for your side, since I am doing so for mine. It's only fair. :)

The Evangelical world as a majority has been moving away from family church for a long time now, and moving toward seeker-friendly/seeker-sensitive church. Along with that has come the shift towards catering toward man-centered theology, and the idea that "what feels good must be right". In today's society that tends to be the idea that freedom is key, and avoiding family (or family responsibilities) is a perfectly acceptable alternative to raising children and instructing them in the Lord's ways. I have pretty strong feelings against seeker-sensitivity, as I see it as completely against biblical directive.

What as Christians are we to do? Let's take a look at what Jesus says:

"And Jesus came and said to them, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.' " -- Matthew 28:18-20 (ESV)

How do we make disciples? Is it accomplished through a catchy worship service, a neat video, and funny jokes? Is it by giving "life principles" without cracking open a Bible? Do we help disciple people by feeding, clothing, and assisting them without once mentioning Jesus? Do we help our families and children by pushing them into segregated classes once a week to learn about Jesus (maybe) from teachers who themselves may or may not share the same biblical standards as we hold to?

It seems the only effective way to disciple a person is by using the Bible, God's inspired Word, which is the only place we can find the directions for a life dedicated to Him. When we get away from the Truth revealed through the Bible, we move away from God and toward man. Man-centered theology says, "it's all about me, me, me" when really we should only be focused on God, and not what makes us "feel good". Let me tell you, this is an incredibly flawed standard, especially in regards to family, which often does not make us "feel good". Family life is difficult, and as fellow believers we are to uplift and encourage each other. We should be focused on teaching men to be bold men of God, husbands, fathers, and women to be bold women of God, wives, mothers. We should encourage parents to teach their children and raise them in the way they should go.

It would appear that the direction of our society, of which the majority still claim Christian beliefs, is enough to point to the failure of the Church to disciple properly. Where is the accountability, the fellowship, the bold teaching of Truth that angers sinners and uplifts the saints? Have the days of proclaiming Truth and a Gospel so powerful it saves even the most wretched of men passed along with the reformers? May it not be so!

This series will address the areas that I see as needing the most attention in the church in regards to family: men, women, children, and family.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Purple Cow Winery

Yesterday we make a trip out to Purple Cow Winery in Forest Grove. Ken does the advertising for the owner, and he'd invited us to check it out. They were having a wine tasting, and though we're not really wine people, the kinds we tasted were very good. We were able to tour the area where they store the wine, and the view from the winery was amazing. From the hill where it's located you can see the coast range mountains, and one of the guys pointed out a hill that was on the show "Ax Men". We were able to see the baby grapes on the vine, and Weslee really enjoyed being able to run free on the land. I think we'd enjoy making another trip up there sometime. They were very family friendly, and not at all stuffy like some of the bigger vineyards.