The Kuyperian Commentary

Politics, Economics, Culture, and Theology with a Biblical Viewpoint

Archive for the tag “Christian”

Mother of Ten: “Abandon the slavery of the coercive boot camp of the state.”

Carmon Friedrich started with “We are often told we have freedom of choice in this country, but in things that really matter, our choices are growing increasingly limited.”

She is pointing out the apparent hypocrisy in the current political climate to favor a woman’s right to an abortion, but not the right to choose “to control our lives.” Read more…

Cheerios, Racism, and the Plan for the Whole Earth

by Luke Welch

This is a wonderful video. Apparently 7% (about 1,000 out of 14,000 total) of the people commenting have given a thumbs down (at the moment I checked), because they disapprove of some people descended from Noah marrying other people descended from the same guy: Noah.

Hmmm. It occurs to me that lots of these people probably think the Bible tells us not to allow for so called “inter-racial” marriages.

Read more…

A Sabbath Question

The Westminster Confession of Faith says this about the Sabbath:

VIII. This Sabbath is to be kept holy unto the Lord when men, after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering of their common affairs beforehand, do not only observe an holy rest all the day from their own works, words, and thoughts about their worldly employments and recreations, but also are taken up the whole time in the public and private exercises of His worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy.

In defense of the Sabbath for Christians, some have argued that the reason we don’t appreciate the Sabbath is because we don’t appreciate the other half of the commandment: to work six days.

In other words, if we honored the commandment to work six days, we’d be much more inclined to rest on the seventh. This post is brief, in that the combination of these two points, 1. working six days and 2. resting the seventh, raises one question for me.

When do we play?

Is play a subcategory of work, so we play on the six days of the week that we work? Or, is play a subcategory of rest, so we play on the seventh day of rest?

The Westminster Confession of Faith defines rest and Sabbath-keeping so that it explicitly excludes play: “are taken up the whole time in the public and private exercises of His worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy.”

So when do we play? What are your thoughts on this question?

Matt Bianco is a PCA elder, the homeschooling father of three children, a result of his marriage to his altogether lovely high school sweetheart, Patty.

Evangelicals, Damning Statistics, and Bible Reading, Part I

By Uri Brito

The results are in and they don’t look good. Christianity Today reports on the Sex Lives of Unmarried Evangelicals. The two surveys offer differing numbers, but the conclusion is summarized in this manner:

Bible Reading? Evangelicals who infrequently read the Bible were 70 percent more likely to have been recently sexually active than frequent Bible readers.

Church Attendance? Evangelicals who attend church less than weekly were more than twice as likely to have been recently sexually active than weekly attenders.

Conversion? Of the sexually active singles, 92 percent had sex after becoming“born again.” That’s largely because the average age when evangelicals under 40 became “born again” was 8.

Evangelical statistics have a way of increasing our national Christian guilt, which is something that usually is already mighty high. Furthermore, the numbers usually paint a more pessimistic picture than what is actually taking place. My general principle when dealing with these statistics is to cut the percentage by a third. When the oft-cited “50% of Christian married couples end in divorce” statistic is referenced, this usually means about 35% of Christian married couples divorce. Those original statistics also included Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons. A Non-Trinitarian marriage is anything but a Christian marriage.

But however you do the math, the numbers are still frightening. No one can deny that they reflect a weak evangelicalism. It is not that evangelical churches are fully entertainment driven without any substance, but that the substance they offer is not sustaining, and therefore leading our young generations to find pleasure is worldly entertainment. Part of this worldly entertainment is the casualness of the sex culture.

Since this is the case, we have responded in the way we evangelicals do best: we have over-reacted. Read more…

Rhetorical Hit, Theological Miss

A couple months ago, Mary Elizabeth Williams posted a column at Salon.com entitled, “So What If Abortion Ends Life?”  The vitriolic nature of the piece prevails from the title to the final phrase, designed to enflame the most seasoned of post-Roe veterans on both sides of the debate.  Her flippant handling of what’s often considered a sacred issue does its job.  The article was low on fact and high on accusation, but it is still able to accomplish its goal of engendering strife and perhaps, even a little bit of nausea.  However, as acerbic as the article is, Ms. Williams makes two salient points.  The first is about the use of language in public debate and the second about the arbitrary philosophical distinction in the “life-begins-somewhere-other-than-conception” camp.

Her immediate use of the phrase “diabolically clever” is diabolically clever, because it automatically brings to mind thoughts of a red-clad, pitchfork-wielding imp, mostly drawn from religious allusions.  Comparing the religious-right with the devil will certainly get folks stirred up in a hurry.  Then they’re not seeing straight when she gets to her arguments later. But her use of rhetoric is not as prominent as her analysis of how rhetoric is used.  Her opening paragraph begins,

Of all the diabolically clever moves the anti-choice lobby has ever pulled, surely one of the greatest has been its consistent co-opting of the word ‘life’.  Life!  Who wants to argue with that?  Who wants to be on the side of…not-life?

Then with all the hubris she can muster, she boasts, “that throughout my own pregnancies, I never wavered for a moment in the belief that I was carrying a human life inside of me.  I believe that’s what a fetus is: a human life.  And that doesn’t make me one iota less solidly pro-choice.” Read more…

Taylor Swift, Christian Music, John Cage, and Goats

Taylor Swift and American Fragmentation

Taylor Swift Goat Trouble

Ever since she wrote a song about me, see Hey Stephen, Taylor Swift’s music has been on my radar. Her music is in nearly every way contemporary with the current state of other American art. The lyrics, notes, melody, and music video reveal Swift as a modern John Cage.

Read more…

The Religious Motive Behind Rand Paul’s Filibuster

Paul Leaves the Floor, Refuses to Yield Values

As the thirteen-hour filibuster ended, Rand Paul left the floor to a roar of applause. He took the floor alone, but now the entire twittersphere and even the Republican leadership joined his crusade against the Obama administration’s drone policy. In one day’s time he has reached the name recognition of his father for standing for the same sort of issues. Again, like his father, he has forced the Republican establishment to join him as cobelligerants for the cause of liberty.

The past three decades of American politics have been blessed with two generations of men who are unafraid to be political game-changers. Ron and Rand are Leaders seemingly incapable of “relinquishing” their values. Rand’s thirteen-hour filibuster is a good tribute to his father’s legacy of refusing to “yield” to politics as usual.

One has to ask what creates such men?

The answer may be a surprise to many. Presbyterianism.

Read more…

Why Most Christians Should Use Facebook!

It is likely that you are a Facebook user. In fact, over one billion people are on Facebook. And of course, it is likely that you are reading this article because a friend linked to it on their Facebook page. So the majority of you do not need to be persuaded. The small and insistent bunch that will not succumb to the technological and peer pressure may do well to continue on a perpetual Facebook fast. But there is another group of Christians out there that simply haven’t joined for lack of knowledge of the benefits Facebook can offer. As a friend, you may have to print them a copy of this piece, or send them a link via e-mail.

The reason I did not state “all Christians” in the title of this article is because there are legitimate reasons for some Bible-believing Christians to stay away from this tool. And that is precisely what Facebook is: a tool. I agree with Dr. Al Mohler that “Social networking is like any new technology.  It must be evaluated on the basis of its moral impact as well as its technological utility.” We are all called to be stewards of God’s gifts. Money is a tool for good, but the love of money is the root of all sorts of evil. In like manner, Facebook can be a tool for good, and I am arguing that if used wisely it will be.

I am in the redeeming business. I usually prefer to begin with how something can be redeemed before I talk about its dangers. Dr. Mohler suggests ten ways for safeguarding the social networking experience. You can read them. They are helpful and can keep us and our children from abusing something that is so ubiquitous. Before you read those, however, consider how Facebook may actually be a constructive tool in the Kingdom of God, one that can benefit you, your Church and community:

First, Facebook offers invaluable information about loved ones. A couple of days ago as I was leaving the office I scanned briefly through the updates and discovered that the son of a dear friend was about to enter into surgery. She asked for prayer. As I drove home I petitioned to our gracious God on behalf of this little child. Without Facebook I don’t think I would have known about this surgery in time. I could multiply these experiences. Facebook has brought closeness with not only loved ones, but dear friends and their families.

Second, Facebook has provided me tremendous counseling opportunities. I already have a distinct call as a pastor to counsel my flock, but if someone outside my community desires 5-10 minutes of my time seeking wisdom on a personal issue I have the luxury to offer it through this tool. We are all called to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. I have done both regularly because of Facebook.

Third, Facebook offers exposure to new ideas. This may not seem appealing, but I have always believed that Christians need to frequently visit C.S. Lewis’ wardrobe. They need to be exposed to ideas that confront their theological paradigms. Of course, sometimes these FB discussions can lead to unfortunate and uncharitable debates that consume a lot of our time, but again I want to redeem Facebook (see Mohler’s list for safeguarding).

Fourth, FB provides a venue to encourage others with words of comfort (see #1). Many have been encouraged by biblical passages and quotes that speak directly to a unique circumstance in their lives. At the same time, the same venue can provide a proper rebuke to our unpleasant and ungodly attitudes. There are pastors and godly parishioners whose FB status I read daily for comfort and rebuke.

Fifth, FB can be a source of intellectual stimulation. I can’t tell you how many books I have purchased or downloaded on Kindle (another useful tool for the kingdom) due to the sample quotes posted on FB. For those with a book budget this can be a temptation, but again I am in the redeeming business.

Finally, FB is inevitable. “Hey, everybody’s doing it!” Seriously, everybody! Is this a good reason to do it? In this case I believe it is! Many Churches, Ministries, Charitable Organizations, Event Planners, all have their own FB page. Of course, you don’t have to be on top of everything, just be a lurker! But at least have a FB presence. FB serves a multitude of purposes, and can in fact facilitate communication, fellowship, and much more.

Facebook has been a tremendous tool for good. And as tool, it fulfills Dr. Mohler’s requirements, since it is morally impactful and technologically useful. So go ahead, start an account and join us!

Uri Brito is the Senior Pastor of Providence Church in Pensacola, Fl. and the author of The Trinitarian Father. 

Homeschooling: A Fundamental Human Right?

Thomas S. Kidd is special contributor to the Kuyperian Commentary

A remarkable political asylum case has raised questions about whether the U.S. government should defend the right of families to homeschool.  The case concerns the Romeike family of Germany, where homeschooling is illegal, and where families who attempt to homeschool their children can face heavy fines and even have their children taken from them. An American immigration judge granted the Romeikes political asylum in 2010, but the Obama Justice Department has been working to overturn their asylum status and have them returned to Germany. Administration lawyers say that the German law does not represent any kind of specific religious discrimination (which would warrant asylum), but only a general legal requirement that all children attend public or state-supervised schools. Thus, in the administration’s view, German authorities punish families like the Romeikes not because they are Christian homeschoolers, but because their children are not attending a governmentally-sanctioned school.

I understand that this issue is more complex than whether Attorney General Eric Holder likes homeschooling or not. And I very much hesitate to designate a political good as a “fundamental human right,” because such notions have become distended and overused in modern American politics. Furthermore, it is not “homeschooling,” per se, that is a fundamental human right. What is fundamental, however, is the right of parents to raise their children according to their consciences, without interference from the state. The Obama adminstration hopefully has no inclination to infringe upon this right in America, but in this case they obviously have more sympathy for Germany’s rigid education policy than the rights of parents, including parents of dissenting religious sensibilities.

The effect of Germany’s law (which, thankfully, is almost unique in western Europe) is to ban parents from taking primary responsibility for educating their children. The most common reason parents would want to do that is religious conviction. This is certainly the case with the Romeikes, so they deserve political asylum as refugees from religious persecution by the government of Germany. Other German Christian homeschoolers have already been fined, and even jailed, for acting according to their conscience with regard to schooling, and the Romeikes can reasonably expect similar treatment if the Obama administration forces them to return. Reasonable fear of such persecution is clear justification for political asylum.

Originally posted here.

For more coverage, see:

Joseph Knippenberg, “Federal Government Tries to Block Homeschooling Refugees,” First Things

Mary Jackson, “Christian homeschoolers losing deportation fight,” WORLD Magazine

Napp Nazworth, “Homeschooling Not a Fundamental Right, Justice Dept. Argues,” Christian Post

Joe Carter, “Homeschooling Not a Fundamental Right Says Justice Department,” Acton Institute

Michael Farris, “Sobering Thoughts from the Romeike Case,” Home School Legal Defense Association, which is representing the Romeikes

Rod Dreher, “Romeikes as Canaries in Coal Mines,” American Conservative

Tyranny’s Bane

“Abraham Kuyper was one of the most remarkable men of the twentieth century. A true polymath, the Dutch statesman made his mark as a pastor, theologian, journalist, educator, orator, publisher, politician, and reformer.” ~ Grantian Florilegium

Be enheartened and encouraged  this day by listening to this two-part lecture series delivered, by Dr. George Grant before an audience at the 2007 ACCS Conference in Atlanta, as a primer on the reformer of Dutch culture.

The Kuyperian Vision of Christ’s Lordship
(made available for free download or streaming by WordMP3)

Part 1 of 2
Part 2 of 2

“…Six months in to the German occupation of the Netherlands, Hitler issued a command that every single student who had ever graduated from Abraham Kuyper’s school, the Free University of Amsterdam, was to be hunted down, arrested, and treated as a Jew…high praise indeed.” ~ Dr. Grant

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