April 2012

People of the Book

April 23 2012 by K. Allan Blume, BR Editor

Opposition to the Christian faith is not new. Jesus was despised for His holy life and for His challenge to the religious status quo. They crucified Him.

Stephen was stoned because he proclaimed the exclusivity of Christ as the Savior (Acts 7:54-60).

Saul lived as a terrorist who intensely pursued the followers of Christ. The Bible describes him as one who shouted “murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples” (Acts 9:1). As we know, Saul repented of his misguided ways when encountered with the living truth of God, Jesus Himself.

Paul and Silas were beaten and imprisoned for their proclamation of Christ as the hope of lost mankind, as were many others (Acts 16).

Perhaps we should point out that most of this opposition to Christians came from misguided religious people who were caught up in the deceptions of tradition and ritual. They were well-intentioned and claimed to be spiritual, but very wrong – blind pharisees of a sort.

History’s list of enemies of the faith is quite lengthy. Romans fed Christians to the lions, providing cheap entertainment for the public. Communism outlawed Christianity as a threat to their doctrines. Today nations like China and North Korea still persecute believers and even execute them.

In American culture, pharisees and non-believers work hard to oppose those who actually believe the truths of scriptures. Christians are ridiculed, fired, shut-out, and belittled. The humanist proclaims his religion as superior, and injects it into every element of secular life – including government – while shouting the “evils” of allowing Christian influences in government, entertainment, business and education.

We were told to expect this. Paul wrote to this young pastor and friend, Timothy, “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:12-13, NKJ).

North Carolina is engaged in another chapter in this conflict now. It is a chapter which calls for North Carolinians to decide if we want the proven biblical values of marriage to remain our constitutional standard or if we prefer to reject those values.

An overwhelming dose of deception has been fed to the public by those who oppose the marriage amendment. I read an example of the distortions in a local newspaper.

A Boone newspaper reported on April 15 that a retired United Church of Christ minister and vocal opponent of the amendment, was the keynote speaker at a local gathering.

The paper reported, “In opposing the constitutional amendment, [Rev. Marcia] Cham urged county Democrats not to shy away from challenging what she called ‘biblical idolatry.’ She said amendment supporters are exploiting Bible scriptures to defend the amendment the same way opponents of inter-racial marriage did years ago.”

“The only thing they’re looking at is the Bible,” Cham said. “Civil law should not be based on biblical exegesis in a country that separates church and state.”

This astounding statement exposes the thinking behind the non-biblical worldview. This quote gives two incredible statements. One very true; the other clearly false.

The true statement: “Christians are only looking at the Bible.” Christians do not apologize for standing on the Bible as our source of truth, values and practical living. We believe the Bible is exactly as David described it, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path”  (Psalm 119:105, KJV).

We do not look for a syncretistic mix of secular values with biblical truth. We do not accept the idea that man’s opinions are equal to God’s truth. Humanism and Christianity are neither friends nor partners. It is essential that we take God’s commands seriously and commit ourselves to applying them. David wrote, “You have commanded us to keep Your precepts diligently” (Psalm 119:4, NKJ). “Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart” (Psalm 119:34, KJV). No half-hearted, casual embrace of scripture is acceptable.

David was keenly aware of the importance of following every portion of God’s commandments, “With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You” (Psalm 119:10-11, NKJ).

The false statement: “Civil law should not be based on biblical exegesis in a country that separates church and state.” Basic American civics shows that the overwhelming majority of American law is extracted directly from Judeo-Christian scriptures. We believe murder, rape, adultery, stealing and lying are wrong. How did we arrive at that conclusion? We got it from the Bible.

To amputate all elements of the Bible from the laws of the United States is to behead our civilization, cutting out the heart and soul of who we are. Where are the secularists trying to take us? 

They have accused us of “imposing our beliefs” on the rest of society. The facts show differently. This nation has a democratic process of allowing the people to vote. The majority will make the decision. A minority is not allowed to force their will on the majority if we stick to this process.

Up to this point, citizens of our state have been denied the right to vote on the issue of marriage.

On May 8 the democratic process of voting will be exercised. Your opinion will count only if you vote. Christians must not be silent. Our assignment is to be salt and light. Let us cast our vote for biblical values.
4/23/2012 2:45:32 PM by K. Allan Blume, BR Editor | with 0 comments

Do you have a biblical worldview?

April 9 2012 by K. Allan Blume, BR editor

Everyone has a worldview. Very few people have a biblical worldview. A worldview has been described as the lense through which one sees everything around him. It is the filter through which one interprets every activity and event he observes and experiences.
According to David Noebel, author of Understanding the Times, a worldview is “any ideology, philosophy, theology, movement or religion that provides an overarching approach to understanding God, the world and man’s relations to God and the world.”
Researcher George Barna found in a 2004 study that only half of Protestant pastors have a biblical worldview. He says, “A biblical worldview has a radical effect on a person’s life.” Barna’s claims are supported by his research. (http://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/5-barna-update/131-a-biblical-worldview-has-a-radical-effect-on-a-persons-life?q=worldview
Our worldview determines how we worship, how we live, how we vote, how we spend our money, how we spend our time and every decision we make.

BP photo

A traditional medicinal practitioner prepares an infusion of herbs in his store in Taipei’s Dihua Street night market. Chinese medical remedies, despite the city’s modern aura, remain popular. Just as with historical herbs, modern-day Christians sometimes piece together what they know about Christianity and combine it with traditions from the religion in which they were raised to develop their worldview.

I understood the meaning of a worldview better after visiting other countries. On a mission trip to Africa some years ago, the missionaries explained to me how Christian faith in that region had experienced a blending of animism and superstition over the years. They did not want me to be surprised when I saw elements of that culture occasionally overriding the truth of scripture.
Traveling to Asia several years later, the missionaries explained to me that in their culture Christianity was often intermingled with ideas from Islam. The people saw everything through a blended view of Christianity and Islam, unaware of the contradictions or simply choosing to ignore them.
In yet another part of Asia, the missionaries explained that Christians in that region had embraced some Buddhist rituals in their worship services. I saw it firsthand.
Visiting Eastern Europe and South America, I have been informed that Christian thought was often mixed with orthodox legends and Catholic rituals. Traditions were valued above scriptures.
I confess that the thought came to me, “How sad that these countries don’t have the good form of the Christian faith like we have in the United States.” The Holy Spirit quickly convicted me of my arrogant, errant thinking.
In America our Christianity is not as pure as we would like to think. Some within the ranks of the Christian faith have embraced secularism, relativism, materialism and humanism. Others weave folk lore and cultural traditions into their brand of Christian living. As the world presses them into its mold, their lifestyle and worship style reflect an absence of biblical values. Calling themselves “Christian,” they look very non-christian by biblical standards.
Such a perspective is not just a blending of religions. It is a blending of worldviews – views which are fundamentally in conflict with each other. The result is a liberal, watered-down form of the Christian faith, far removed from the authentic faith of the early followers of Christ.
Without a focused, biblical worldview, we fail in our mission to be salt and light. We diminish the body of Christ to a social meeting, merely celebrating human accomplishments while pushing God into the background.
The focus of the humanistic worldview is to please mankind. Humanism wants to keep everyone happy and embrace all shades of religions. It is the ultimate form of relativism and is an artificial image of the Christian faith.
Humanism invents new “rights” (gay rights, abortion rights, etc.) in order to appease the sins of an unregenerate world. It is a cheap substitute for grace. It glorifies man above God without resolving the sin problem.
Sadly, there are Christians with the label “Baptist” whose worldview is more humanistic than biblical. They introduce confusion into the minds of the populace. The world is puzzled as it watches churches who take opposing positions on moral issues which are clearly addressed in scripture. The witness of the Christian church is damaged – even neutralized.
Paul spoke boldly to the church at Galatia on this issue. “As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ”  (Galatians 1:9-10, NASB).
We are the church. The word ‘church’ in the New Testament is translated from the Greek word ‘ekklesia’ which comes from two words: “ek” meaning “out” and “kaleo” meaning “to call.” We are called out, not blended in! We are unique. We are special. We are witnesses. That is the root of our worldview.
4/9/2012 2:54:31 PM by K. Allan Blume, BR editor | with 1 comments