Presenting the Christian Worldview: The Centurions

November 21, 2007

From Chuck Colson and Breakpoint.

“In the months before World War II, an Oxford don by the name of C. S. Lewis wrote, “Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason because bad philosophy needs to be answered.” Lewis’s students questioned the importance of studying the humanities and sciences with war on the horizon. But Lewis understood, as he wrote so beautifully in his classic book Weight of Glory, that “To be ignorant and simple now . . . would be to throw down our weapons and to betray our uneducated brethren who have, under God, no defense but us against the intellectual attacks of the heathen.” Four years ago, I launched a distance-learning and networking program called the Centurions Program. It is designed to equip Christians to understand and defend the truth in every area of life and culture.

Sadly, bad philosophy—like relativism, naturalism, and secular humanism—runs rampant in our legislatures, schools, movie theaters, and even our churches. In the face of this, Centurions is preparing men and women not just to understand and articulate their own Christian worldview, but also to proactively teach others to be able to do so and engage the culture in every sphere of influence.

One of our Centurions graduates, Fritz Kling, has begun a Christian Leadership Institute for civic and business leaders in Richmond, Virginia. Fritz says, “My [Centurions] experience exposed me to a model for developing talented leaders. I will tell you, though, that such programs are fairly common in the U.S.  But Centurions constantly pushed me to initiate and innovate—to be fairly audacious in believing that I could (and indeed should) start things.”

Fritz underscores exactly the vision we have for the program: one of exponential cultural impact.

And we have plenty of examples of Centurions doing just that: from Bill Peel in Dallas, who is equipping Christian Medical and Dental Association affiliates to view medical ethics and issues from a biblical perspective; to Stephen Dunson in West Texas, who is teaching a 12-week worldview course in a Texas prison. Then there is James Biersteker, in Ontario, Canada, who is starting a worldview academy for public high school students.

But not only are Centurions sharing the training they have received, they are also impacting the culture firsthand. Take Jim Walter, who is chairing a church committee that is reaching out to the community’s homeless, drug addicts, and ex-prisoners. Or Bonnie Crogan-Mazur and Tom Bulling, who are involved in teaching and hands-on ministry on Indian reservations. There’s Al Van Horne in New York, who is developing micro-enterprise projects to help the poor both here and overseas. And there are artists, writers, and filmmakers like Tom Hall, Jeanne Dennis, Phyllis Hammerstrom, and Greg Bandy, who incorporate Christian worldview themes and messages into their handiwork.

If you would like to find out more about how you can join the ranks of the next class of Centurions, please visit us at www.breakpoint.org. Our culture urgently needs more men and women who will rightly wield good philosophy to counter the bad philosophy of the postmodern era: men and women who can winsomely present the Christian worldview in their sphere of influence.”

Advertisements

Christians admonished to ‘take ownership’ of children’s education

September 7, 2007

From Rusty Pugh and One News Now.

“An Orlando pastor who heads the Southern Baptist Association of Christian Schools says it’s time for believers to stop disobeying God and take ownership of the education of our children.

Edward Gamble is director of the Southern Baptist Association of Christian Schools, based in Orlando. SBACS is sponsoring seminars around the country to train church leaders how to open private schools, in order to get children out of the secular public schools. Gamble says sending children to be indoctrinated by a secular, humanist institution is not biblical.

“Failure to do what God says is called disobedience. You can color it whatever color you want, but it’s still disobedience — it’s rebellion,” argues Gamble. “And when God’s people don’t take ownership of the education of their children, they’re disobeying God.”

The Southern Baptist official supports his argument with scripture. “[God] says very clearly throughout scripture ‘I expect you to raise Godly seed’ and ‘Teach these things to your children,’ He says in Deuteronomy. In Luke He says ‘give a child the teachers you want him to have because when he grows up he’ll look like the teacher.'”

Gamble says the major fallacy is that there is any such thing as an education that can be secular. “Scripture doesn’t know anything about any part of our lives being secular,” he states. “Everything’s sacred.”

To read more click here.


Life in a Secular Culture

September 6, 2007

A very worthwhile read from Rick Wade and Probe Ministries regarding the effect that secular culture has on Christians.

An excerpt of the article is below. 

“We get our cues about how to live from the society in which we live. Maybe I should say the “societies” in which we live since, in this day and age, we can find ourselves moving back and forth between very different worlds. Christians belong to the mini-societies of our churches which might extend beyond the walls of our church to define our friendships, our social lives. We also live and work and play in a secular society which is sending us messages constantly about how to live, how to talk, what to wear; in short, what is important in life.

“Secular” means that which is defined apart from anything religious. The late Peter Berger, a sociologist, put it this way: “By secularization we mean the process by which sectors of society and culture are removed from the domination of religious institutions and symbols…. It affects the totality of cultural life and of ideation.” In other words, secularism works its fingers into all of life, including the ideas we hold. Secularization also refers the consciousness of individuals who decreasingly view the world with a religious perspective. So the influence of religion declines in society and in us individually as we think about life with less—or with no—reference to God. {1}

Without God shaping its vision, what does our society teach us about how to think and act? Think about it. How are we shaped by the culture in which we live? Just identifying a few things can be a start to combating the corrosive effects of secularism in our lives.”

To read the full article click here.


Separating Secular Humanism and the State

August 29, 2007

From Chuck Edwards and summit.org.

“Secular Humanism is a well-articulated worldview. This is evident from the three Humanist Manifestos written in 1933 and revised in 1973 and again in 2000. According to their own pronouncements, Secular Humanists are atheists who believe that the scientific method is the primary way we can know about life and living, from understanding who we are as humans to questions of ethics, social issues, and politics.

However, apart from the specifics of what Secular Humanists believe, the pressing issue is this: is Secular Humanism a religion? This is important in light of current discussions surrounding the idea of “separation of church and state.” That’s because this phrase has been used by the courts and secular organizations (such as American’s United against Church and State) in an attempt to eradicate all mention of God from the public square, including public debates over social issues, discussions in politics, and especially regarding what is taught in public/government schools.

To verify that a number of major tenets of Secular Humanism are taught in public schools, one only needs to compare Secular Humanist beliefs with what is actually being presented through public school textbooks.[1] For example, any text on psychology includes what are considered the primary voices in that field: Abraham Maslow, Eric Fromm, Carl Rogers, and B. F. Skinner, to name a few. Yet, each of these men are atheists who have been selected as “Humanist of the Year” by a major Secular Humanist organization.[2] So why are almost all the psychologists studied in school Secular Humanists?[3] Why are no Christian psychologists included in the curriculum? Is this balanced treatment of the subject matter being taught?

Or when it comes to law, why are the Ten Commandments, historically known to be the foundation for English Common Law and American jurisprudence, judged to be inappropriate material to be hung on the school wall, in a courtroom, or as part of a public display on government property? The answer, of course, is an appeal to the “separation” principle. We have shown in other Truth & Consequences commentaries that this concept of separation is actually misconstrued law coming from revisionist history and a biased judiciary.[4]

But if this is how the courts are going to interpret the separation principle, we must insist that this ruling be applied equally to all religious faiths, not favoring some others. Therefore, for the sake of fairness under the law, if Secular Humanism is a religious faith, too, then teaching the tenets of this religious faith must also be eliminated from public school textbooks and classroom discussions.

What follows is an excerpt from the “Introduction” of Clergy in the Classroom: The Religion of Secular Humanism, by David A. Noebel, J. F. Baldwin, and Kevin James Bywater. This short essay provides the needed rationale for why Secular Humanism is, in fact, a religion on par with what are considered traditional religious faiths.[5]

To read more click here.


How Now Shall We Live? By Charles Colson and Nancy Pearcey

August 28, 2007

This is a MUST read for all Christians.  It is an incredibly powerful book that I highly recommend.  There is also a study guide for this book that I recommend as well.  This book examines the great spiritual battle today that is a cosmic struggle between competing worldviews.  The authors utilize true stories and compelling teaching to demonstrate the following:

– Expose false views and values of modern culture

– Live a more fulfilling life the way God created us to live

– Contend for the faith by understanding how nonbelievers think

– Build a society that reflects biblical principles

I ran across a review on amazon.com that I thought really did a great job of capturing the core of the book.  It is below.   

5 out of 5 Stars – The Way We See The World Can Change The World, June 21, 2006

“Centuries ago, when the Jews were in exile and despair, they cried out to God, “How should we then live?” The same question rings down through the ages. How shall we live today? Pearcey and Colson’s primary observation is that “the way we see the world can change the world.” (pg. 13) This is because our choices are shaped by what we believe is real and true, right and wrong, or good and beautiful. In short, our choices are shaped by what Pearcey and Colson call our “worldview.”Every worldview attempts to answer three basic questions: (1) Where did we come from and who are we? (2) What has gone wrong with the world? And (3) What can we do to fix it? According to Colson and Pearcey, the culture wars are not about extraneous issues like abortion or public education. Fundamentally, they are about worldviews–between competing secular and spiritual answers to those three basic questions.

The demise of objective truth, profoundly expressed in the halls of academia, also extends into the popular press and culture. The result has been a postmodern worldview which embraces relativism and reduces all ideas to social constructions shaped by class, gender, and ethnicity. Under this view, the world is just a power struggle for meaningless prizes. Their one absolute is that morality is not absolute. Other existing worldviews include “traditionalism,” found in many small towns filled with churches; and modernism, found among pragmatic social and business leaders interested in personal material gain, but less interested in philosophical questions and social issues. Against this backdrop, Christians are challenged to provide answers to those three basic questions in a compelling manner.

C. S. Lewis observed, “The Christian and the materialist hold different beliefs about the universe. They both can’t be right. The one who is wrong will act in a way which simply doesn’t fit the real universe.” Thus Colson and Pearcy observe that choices are not without consequences. The Christian worldview says we were created by God. Compelling evidence that life does not have a random origin can be found in the current arguments for intelligent design. Christianity claims that God created the universe with a material order and a moral order. If we live contrary to that order, we sin against God. Thus, what has gone wrong with the universe is human sin.

The way to redeem our culture is to help people realize which universe they’re living in. If it’s a materialist’s universe, then the answers don’t revolve around taking moral principles seriously. But if the real universe was made with a moral law (as Colson and Pearcey argue), then it stands to reason that the solutions to our problems begin with recognizing that fact, and taking steps to educate people in ways that will help them live lives that are not inimical to the way we were designed to live. This, Colson and Pearcey argue, is how we should live.”

For more information on Charles Colson visit his website at www.breakpoint.org and for more information on Nancy Pearcey visit her website at www.pearceyreport.com.


No Doubt About It: The Case for Christianity By Dr. Winfried Corduan

August 28, 2007

This book is an excellent introduction to apologetics.  A wide range of issues related to the Christian faith are covered in a simple, clear and effective manner.   

Some of the topics included are the following: 

– Faith, Reason and Doubt

– Truth, Knowledge and Relativism

– Testing Worldviews

– Worldviews in Trouble

– The Existence of God

– God and Evil

– Miracles: Liability and Asset

– The New Testament and History

– Who Is Jesus?

– From Christ to Christianity

– Truth and Our Culture 

I highly recommend this book to Christians interested in defending their faith as well as to any skeptics struggling with the above topics.  For more information on Dr. Corduan visit his website at http://members.tripod.com/~Win_Corduan/cv.html.


The Ever-Loving Truth: Can Faith Thrive in a Post-Christian Culture? By Dr. Voddie Baucham

August 28, 2007

This is an excellent introduction to understanding the culture/spiritual war that is raging in our society. 

The core message of this book is that we live in a post-modern/post-Christian culture that embraces all lifestyles and religions and rejects the idea of absolute truth.  Our faith is constantly challenged by a culture that uses words such as narrow-minded, intolerant, and bigoted to describe us. We must take a stand and challenge the culture instead of conforming to it.  We must use the unchanging truth of God’s Word to engage the culture for transformation.  As Dr. Baucham writes, “the unchanging truth of God’s Word still holds preeminence in relevance and answers to contemporary life issues” and “as followers of Christ, we must stand humbly but boldly in the marketplace of ideas and proclaim the truth to a culture void of everlasting answers”. 

Although the book is only 210 pages, Dr. Baucham covers a lot of ground and very effectively conveys his message in a simple, logical and relevant way.  This is a very important book for all Christians to read in order to begin to understand the dynamics of the culture war.  I highly recommend it.  For more information on Dr. Baucham visit his website at www.voddiebaucham.org.