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3.17.2015

Look at this amazing chapter on spiritual warfare and worldview from David Naugle's Worldview: The History of a Concept

Issues of Sin and Spiritual Warfare

"Worldview" in Christian perspective implies the catastrophic effects of sin on the human heart and mind, resulting in the fabrication of idolatrous belief systems in place of God and the engagement of the human race in cosmic spiritual warfare in which the truth about reality and the meaning of life is at stake.

There is no better passage in all of Scripture that describes the noetic effects of sin than Romans ia8-32, and it contains direct implications for a Christian theory of "worldview." The text asserts that there is a natural knowledge of God available to all people, but that this revelation is summarily rejected - suppressed, to be exact - in humanity's titanic pride and rebellion. Given the resulting spiritual vacuum, the text charts the path of the human mind in its futility and darkness to construct idolatrous belief systems (essentially world-views) in the place of God. It concludes by showing how those who have replaced divine truth with substitute deities and the foolish ratiocinations of their own hearts are handed over to moral degradation as a form of judgment. For matters relating to sin and the notion of worldview, then, Romans 1:18-32 is indeed the locus classicus, a passage Karl Barth has aptly designated as "The Night."45

The apostle begins by pointing out that the anger of God is manifested in the world because of those who beat down the truth about him through their idolatrous worship and immoral behavior. The knowledge of God is readily available to all people, providing insight into both his power and deity. Yet this revelation is unrighteously suppressed, incurring his wrath. "They have trimmed it," Barth says, "to their own measure, and thereby robbed it both of its earnestness and significance."46 The result is spiritual excuselessness, as Saint Paul explains: "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse" (Rom. 1:18-20).

Human beings are inescapably religious beings, even though they have turned away from the true God. On biblical grounds it is not hard to fathom why people possess this essential religious disposition and are naturally inclined toward orienting their lives around some ultimate concern. They are the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:26-27), and even after their defacement due to sin, they still seem to carry about in their consciousness the memory of their essential constitution. This is probably the basis for Calvin's argument that God has not only imparted an "awareness of divinity" (Divinitatis sensum) but also implanted the "seed of religion" (semen religionis) in the human heart.47 Or, as Alexander Schmemann has said, "`Homo sapiens,"homo faber,'... yes, but, first of all `homo adorans."'48 People are thinkers and makers, to be sure, but before they are these things or anything else they are worshipers whose essential nature is to adore. Thus there are no truly non-religious or un-believing people, personal protestations to the contrary notwithstanding. The human heart, given its divine design, abhors a vacuum just as nature does. Its emptiness must be filled, its longings satisfied, its questions answered, its restlessness calmed. It is in a constant search for peace, truth, contentment, and completion.

The question, therefore, is not whether someone is religious or a believer, but rather how and in what. In Langdon Gilkey's words, "Whether he wishes it or not, man as a free creature must pattern his life according to some chosen ultimate end, must center his life on some chosen ultimate loyalty, and must commit his security to some trusted power. Man is thus essentially, not accidentally, religious, because his basic structure, as dependent and yet free, inevitably roots his life in something ultimate."49 How this fundamental religious instinct is directed is the most important fact about a man or a woman individually, and collectively about a culture. The options at the end of the day are only twofold: either the human heart will worship God or an idol, and will cultivate a perspective on life that flows out of the power and illumination of either commitment. The god of one's heart determines the light and direction of one's life. As Henry Zylstra puts it, "No man is religiously neutral in his knowledge of and his appropriation of reality."so

This is precisely the logic of Romans i. Because people are sinful, they are religiously hostile toward God, have replaced the knowledge of him with false deities, and consequently have concocted erroneous explanations of reality. The diversity and relativity of worldviews, therefore, must be traced to the idolatry and the noetic effects of sin upon the human heart. Since people are sinful, they have spurned God, for sin consists of rebellion against him; and since people have spurned God, they have replaced him with an idol, for religious humanity cannot live apart from an object of devotion; and since they have replaced God with an idol, they have reinterpreted reality, for idolatry imparts a different meaning to the universe; and since they have replaced God and reconstructed reality, they have sought to live autonomously, for the only law they follow is their own; and since they have sought to live autonomously from God and his truth, then divine judgment will overtake them as he gives them over to themselves in their sin. In short, an exchange of worship means an exchange of truth which means an exchange of life which means a divine judgment. Saint Paul describes this tragic human condition in these words:

For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. (Rom. 1:21-25)

According to this passage, the fallen human heart does not rest in its rejection of God, but manufactures a multitude of new deities and ideas in accordance with its own desires. In this regard, Calvin points out that "each one of us forges his own particular error," and in doing so we "forsake the one true God for idols." In a remarkable passage, the Reformer describes the human mind in its spiritual blindness as an error and idol factory. It produces a multitude of superstitions and falsehoods by which the earth is flooded and led astray.

Hence arises that boundless filthy mire of error wherewith the whole earth was filled and covered. For each man's mind is like a labyrinth, so that it is no wonder that individual nations were drawn aside into various falsehoods; and not only this - but individual men, almost, had their own gods. For as rashness and superficiality are joined to ignorance and darkness, scarcely a single person has ever been found who did not fashion for himself an idol or specter in place of God. Surely, just as waters boil up from a vast, full spring, so does an immense crowd of gods flow forth from the human mind, while each one, in wandering about with too much license, wrongly invents this or that about God himself. However, it is not necessary here to draw up a list of the superstitions with which the world has been entangled, because there would be no end to it, and so without a word of them it is sufficiently clear from so many corruptions how horrible is the blindness of the human mind.51

Though he forgoes a list of the world's superstitions here, in a nearby passage Calvin illustrates what he means by the work of the horrible blindness of the human mind in a discussion about "naturalism" and "pantheism" (though not by these labels). He notes that some thinkers like the Epicureans substitute "nature" for God, and by crediting it as the source of all things they seek to suppress God's name as far as they can. Quoting Virgil, Calvin describes ancient "pantheism" as a view in which "an inner spirit feeds ... and mind pervades" the entire universe. In Calvin's critique, however, this secret inspiration or universal mind that allegedly animates the universe is nothing but the construction of a "shadow deity to drive away the true God whom we should fear and adore" 52 For Calvin, therefore, naturalism and pantheism are just two examples among many that demonstrate how the heart is prone to replace God with alternative religious outlooks and systems of belief. Either by replacing God with nature or by trying to identify him with it, naturalists and pantheists respectively make an idol of the creation in either a totally nonreligious or religious way. In either case the idolatrous heart conceives of the universe differently in spiritual and intellectual terms. In generating these new worldviews, the hearts of unbelievers find a way to deflect the truth about God and his creation in their unrighteousness.

But fiddling around with God and the truth is extremely serious business. If we return to the text of Romans i, we find that Paul offers a fourfold evaluation of this process of swapping the biblical God and his truth for a false god and a lie. No doubt the background for his criticisms is classic Old Testament maledictions against the foolishness of idolatry and idol worshipers found in passages like Psalm 115, Psalm 135, and Jeremiah io. First, Paul says that belief systems that replace God and the truth amount to futile speculations (v. 21b). Second, he asserts that those who promote these new idolatrous perspectives become darkened in their foolish hearts (v. 21c; cf. Eph. 4:18). Third, he states that devotees of these new religions and philosophies are deceived, since they profess to be wise but are in fact fools (v. 22). Fourth, Paul states that those who are guilty of the "Great Exchange" are given over by God in judgment to moral reprobation, specifically in the forms of impurity (v. 24), degrading passions (vv. 26-27), and a depraved mind (vv. 28-32). These four facts about false gods and fictitious beliefs make Paul's warning to the Corinthians seem most apropos: "Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become foolish that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. For it is written, `He is the one who catches the wise in their craftiness'; and again, `The LORD knows the reasonings of the wise, that they are useless"' (1 Cor. 3:18-2o).53

Romans i paints a disturbing picture, yet it seems true to life. From Paul's perspective the human heart is intuitively aware of God and the manifestation of his power and glory in his handiwork. But because of sin-induced corruption, it disregards this intuitive awareness. Yet its native religious impulses prompt it nonetheless to manufacture alternative faiths and philosophies in place of God and the truth. It reconceives religion and reinvents reality industriously, and is responsible for the existence of a multitude of fallacious worldviews in any culture at any time. But these bogus visions of the heart are subject to a forthright apostolic critique. They are an exercise in speculative futility. They cast men and women into profound spiritual ignorance. They are confused with wisdom (and vice versa). They terminate in moral reprobation as divine judgment. These idolatrously based belief systems, in their futility, darkness, foolishness, and depravity, make up what the New Testament calls "worldliness." As Craig Gay asks, could it not be true that "worldliness" rests not so much in personal temptations to debauchery, but instead lies in "an interpretation of reality that essentially excludes the reality of God from the business of life"?54 In other words, worldly behavior is the eventual outcome of worldly views that dot the cultural landscape. Therefore, the origin and multiplicity of relativistic worldviews are rooted in the depravity of the human heart as explained by the theology of Romans i.

This picture of the human condition is intensified by the fact that the Bible reveals that the entire creation and its human stewards are caught up in the midst of a spiritual war of cosmic proportions. It pits God and the forces of good against Satan and the powers of evil. These finite powers that insanely oppose the infinite God were originally made by him and had to be good, even as he is good. Romans 8:38-39 indicates that angels, principalities, and powers are among the divinely "created things." Colossians 1:16 teaches that Christ as the agent of creation is responsible for the existence of the entire cosmos, including "thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities." In short, God through Christ created the whole realm of reality, including the company of the angels. Though they received their being, purpose, and power from God, these spiritual creatures turned against him in a mysterious and monstrous act of pride and rebellion (e.g., Isa. 14:12-14; Ezek. 28:11-19; 2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6). Motivated by fierce animosity, they became his resolute enemies, intent upon subverting his divine authority and destroying all his works. They are good creatures gone bad, and now in an attempt to certify their autonomy they engage God and the angels of light in a fierce fight for universal domination. As the pinnacle of God's creative work, the human family is directly implicated in this battle of the ages. Not only are all people affected by it - caught in its cross fire, so to speak - but they are also participants in it, aligning themselves consciously or unconsciously with and fighting for one side or the other, depending upon their spiritual orientation. Thus humankind has to struggle not only with an inherited internal depravity, but also with temptations and assaults from without that reinforce their fallen condition. How difficult it is, therefore, to know God and view the world aright!55

Under the vice grip of the disenchanted worldview of modern naturalism and scientism, many have relegated this scriptural depiction of angels, Satan, the demons, and spiritual warfare to "the dustbin of superstition."56 There is no doubt, however, that what Gregory Boyd aptly calls "a warfare worldview" permeates biblical revelation, is foundational to its message, and has been essential to Christian theology throughout the history of the church. Marshaling impressive evidence from cultures worldwide, Boyd demonstrates that Western secularism is perilously unique in its elimination of the "warfare worldview" from its cultural consciousness, especially its biblical version, which he describes in these terms: "God's good creation has in fact been seized by hostile, evil, cosmic forces that are seeking to destroy God's beneficent plan for the cosmos. God wages war against these forces, however, and through the person of Jesus Christ has now secured the overthrow of this evil cosmic army. The church as the body of Christ has been called to be a decisive means by which this final overthrow is to be carried out . 1117

"The world is a battle zone," Boyd says, and that "is why it looks that way!"58 Now assuming the veracity of this perspective, I submit that central to the "warfare worldview" of the Bible is a "worldview warfare." A worldview warfare is a warfare over worldviews; that is, a megabattle between the forces of light and darkness over the identity or definition of the universe. A key stratagem of the devil, who is the father of lies (John 8:44), is to conceal the true nature of things through the proliferation of multiple cosmic falsehoods in order to secure the blindness of the human heart and its ultimate spiritual perdition (2 Cor. 4:3-4). In the conflagration that has engulfed the universe, the truth about reality is satanically enshrouded in darkness, and a multitude of idolatries and fallacious conceptions of life, counterfeiting as wisdom and enlightenment, are put in its place. The truths about God, creation, fall, and redemption must forever be banished from human consciousness. What better way for Satan to deflect the light of truth than by corrupting it and replacing it with false visions of reality that dominate the cultural landscape? The control of the zeitgeist, or the intellectual and spiritual climate of the age, is a most effective means of controlling what goes into the hearts of men and women, shaping their interests and ruling their lives. Worldviews are the basis for a zeitgeist and are at the center of this process. If this big-picture strategy succeeds, then there is only an occasional need for personal temptation to sin. How people get their jollies is of little interest to Satan if he has already captured and misdirected their hearts.

This proposal that a "worldview warfare" is a critical component of the "warfare worldview" of the Bible has been supported in an influential way by Heinrich Schlier. On the basis of Ephesians 2:2, he proposes that a worldview, or what he calls the "spiritual atmosphere" of a culture, is the "principal source of his [Satan's] domination." In this text, he believes the meaning of the word "air" in the expression "the prince of the power of the air" is best interpreted appositively by the phrase following it, "of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience." Thus he suggests the "air" is not only the literal realm in which Satan exercises his powers (in accordance with Jewish understanding), but it also refers in context to the universal spirit which fosters rebellion in unbelievers. Therefore Schlier thinks it has significant sociocultural meaning. "It is the general spiritual climate which influences mankind, in which men live, which they breathe, which dominates their thoughts, aspirations and deeds. He exercises his `influence' over men by means of the spiritual atmosphere which he dominates and uses as the medium of his power. He gains power over men and penetrates them by means of this atmosphere, which is his realm, the realm of his power. If men expose themselves to this atmosphere, they become its carriers, and thereby contribute to its extension.."59

Ephesians 6:12 would seem to reinforce this interpretation with its reference to the struggle "against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places" Also, in i Corinthians 2:6 Paul implies that there is a wisdom of this age and of the rulers of this age which stands in sharp contrast to the divine wisdom in Christ which he proclaims. Schlier notes, however, that this is not the devil's exclusive method of control, for he attacks natural life at every level and can even inflict physical harm quite apart from such socio-spiritual concerns. Still he is convinced, based on the authority of the apostle, that the "spiritual atmosphere" is Satan's principal source of domination, a concept which functions very much like a Weltanschauung.

At any rate, St. Paul regards it as the chief means by which the principalities exercise their domination. This domination usually begins in the general spirit of the world, or in the spirit of a particular period, attitude, nation or locality. This spirit, in which the course of this world rules, is not just floating about freely. Men inhale it and thus pass it on into their institutions and various conditions. In certain situations it becomes concentrated. Indeed, it is so intense and powerful that no individual can escape it. It serves as a norm and is taken for granted. To act, think or speak against this spirit is regarded as non-sensical or even wrong and criminal. It is "in" this spirit that men encounter the world and affairs, which means that they accept the world as this spirit presents it to them, with all its ideas and values, in the form in which he wants them to find it. The domination which the prince of this world exercises over the atmosphere, gives to the world with its affairs, relationships and situations, and even to existence itself, the appearance of belonging to him; it imposes his valuation on everything.60

Schlier believes these efforts at remodeling reality lead to an individual's misunderstanding of himself and the world, and thus result in his utter ruin. After all, the goal of Satan and the powers is to create a culture of falsehood and death aimed at "the distortion, thwarting, ruin, annihilation, and undoing of creation."61 The individual's immersion in such an environment can only contribute to his demise.

C. S. Lewis's character Screwtape would seem to agree. The seasoned satanic mastermind, in a speech to young devils at the annual dinner of the Tempters' Training College, suggests a strategy of domination and destruction through cultural atmospherics. This is easily accomplished, says Screwtape, because the human "vermin" are "so muddled in mind, so passively responsive to environment," and because "their consciousness hardly exists apart from the social atmosphere that surrounds them." By this process the tempters are able to induce an individual "to enthrone at the centre of his life a good solid, resounding lie." These are their means, and their ultimate end is sinister. It is "the destruction of individuals. For only individuals can be saved or damned, can become sons of the Enemy [God] or food for us [devils]. The ultimate value, for us [devils], of any revolution, war, or famine lies in the individual anguish, treachery, hatred, rage, and despair which it may produce."62

Since Satan and the demons can manipulate men and women only to the extent that they are deceived, what better way to achieve this than by the promulgation of fallacious conceptions of reality through the conduit of the spirit of the age from which no one can escape? To top off this scheme, the principalities and powers under devilish management cleverly cover their tracks and operate in such a clandestine fashion so as to suggest their nonexistence. "They withdraw from sight into the men, elements, and institutions through which they make their power felt. To seem not to appear is part of their essence.""

Thus Satan is an expert in the spiritual and intellectual murder of his subjects through his demons, who delight in the deception of countless numbers of people taken in by the ideas, traditions, and customs in which they live, move, and have their being. "Woe to you, torrent of human custom! `Who can stand against you?' (Ps. 75:8)," bemoaned Saint Augustine, who recognized the power of custom to shape the young. "When will you run dry? How long will your flowing current carry the sons [and daughters] of Eve into the great and fearful ocean which can be crossed, with difficulty, only by those who have embarked on the Wood of the cross (Wisd. 14:7) ?"64 In recent memory, the torrents of human custom have been based in the worldview waters of naturalism such as Darwinism, Marxism, Freudianism, secular humanism, existentialism, nihilism, and postmodernism. These mighty rivers have flowed together into a "great and fearful ocean" of deception in which many in the West, and elsewhere, have drowned. Even more recently, a flood of pantheistic and panen- theistic thought has also capsized many. At the outset of a new millennium, who can forecast with any certainty what the "atmospheric" pressures will be in days ahead?

What is certain, however, is that the human heart in its fallen condition will continue to suppress the truth in unrighteousness and to manufacture surrogate gods and errant perspectives on the world. For the human heart in its religious restlessness must have something in which to believe and by which to make sense of life. What is also certain is that spiritual warfare will continue, and it will continue to revolve around worldviews. The kingdom of Satan will capitalize on human pride and self-sufficiency as the source of idolatries and errors to insure the fact that the world's religious and philosophical environments are dominated by false notions that sustain deception and keep people from God and the truth. The doctrines of sin and spiritual warfare, therefore, play a vital role in understanding the notion of worldview from a Christian vantage point. They are products of the noetic effects of sin and are indispensable satanic weaponry in spiritual warfare against God. There is no way out from this spiritual, intellectual, and moral destitution apart from the grace of God.

David K. Naugle Jr.. Worldview: The History of a Concept (Kindle Locations 3747-3778). Kindle Edition.

3.16.2015

This gets at it

I'm reading David K. Naugle's Worldview: The History of a Concept, and I liked this paragraph in his Preface, it gets at the underlying foundational aspect of the subject. I was surprised to see it:

But these "collisions of consciousness," as Peter Berger calls them, which reside at the center of the current political situation, have also been a determining factor in the drama of history since time immemorial. The struggle over first principles marks the human condition. Ideas do, indeed, have consequences, as Richard Weaver has taught us. And yet there is an even deeper layer of reality to consider when reflecting upon the ideological discord that resides at the heart of the human story. From the perspective of Christian theism, a clash of worldviews also assumes a crucial role in the hidden, spiritual battle between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan in which the very truth of things is at stake. Between these regimes a conflict of epic proportion rages for the minds and hearts, and thus the lives and destinies, of all men and women, all the time. Since nothing could be of greater final importance than the way human beings understand God, themselves, the cosmos, and their place in it, it is not surprising that a worldview warfare is at the heart of the conflict between the powers of good and evil. Consequently, an in-depth look at a concept that plays such a pivotal role in human affairs seems particularly worthwhile.

David K. Naugle Jr.. Worldview: The History of a Concept (Kindle Locations 116-119). Kindle Edition.

And here:

"Worldview" in Christian perspective implies the catastrophic effects of sin on the human heart and mind, resulting in the fabrication of idolatrous belief systems in place of God and the engagement of the human race in cosmic spiritual warfare in which the truth about reality and the meaning of life is at stake.

David K. Naugle Jr.. Worldview: The History of a Concept (Kindle Locations 3640-3641). Kindle Edition.

And here:

What is certain, however, is that the human heart in its fallen condition will continue to suppress the truth in unrighteousness and to manufacture surrogate gods and errant perspectives on the world. For the human heart in its religious restlessness must have something in which to believe and by which to make sense of life. What is also certain is that spiritual warfare will continue, and it will continue to revolve around worldviews. The kingdom of Satan will capitalize on human pride and self-sufficiency as the source of idolatries and errors to insure the fact that the world's religious and philosophical environments are dominated by false notions that sustain deception and keep people from God and the truth. The doctrines of sin and spiritual warfare, therefore, play a vital role in understanding the notion of worldview from a Christian vantage point. They are products of the noetic effects of sin and are indispensable satanic weaponry in spiritual warfare against God. There is no way out from this spiritual, intellectual, and moral destitution apart from the grace of God.

David K. Naugle Jr.. Worldview: The History of a Concept (Kindle Locations 3776-3778). Kindle Edition.

- C.

3.15.2015

I know why this worldview material has lit me up

I now know why this worldview material has lit me up. It is because they are schools of the devils on the spiritual battlefield. Devils intentionally plural in that sentence. It's what they wear. How they appear.

I had to download a general work on worldviews to get more of a perspective on this subject, so I went with a general work Pearcey referenced in her book: Worldview, the History of a Concept, by David K. Naugle. As I was glancing through it, preparing for a complete read, it came to me. These things are ALIVE. They are EMBODIED. You see them on the spiritual battlefield. In the spiritual realm.

It's difficult to discern what we see in the spiritual realm because we don't have obvious senses to perceive and remember what we experience there, but we nevertheless do see things there and experience things there, and getting 'lit up' by something is a kind of evidence that it relates to spiritual realm experience. - C.

3.14.2015

Worldview Analysis 2

This has to be added to the previous posts, because we're dealing with a lot of shallowness and a lot of shallow people and types and classes of people in all this worldview analysis. I mean, Marxists/atheists, philosophers, textbook orthodox scientists, academics in general, seminary educated Christians, etc. All of these various morons think the average Christian doesn't know how to read or has never engaged higher influences (whatever that large group of idiots think higher influences are), but really those Christians mostly exist in the churches being led by the seminary graduates, for the most part. Those nurseries called churches. Believe it or not most real Christians are not in any of those churches. That level of shallowness (and heavily policed shallowness), we're sorry, that way lies death.

So what am I saying? Well, all those morons listed above think someone like myself is mixing up culture, civilization, great inspired works of art, literature, music, with these God-denying worldviews and thus seeing it all as worthless. Again, the morons listed above can't even articulate what a great work of literature is, yet still they are thinking this because they think that is *their* territory because they matriculated through institutions of higher learning, albeit thoroughly unconscious to the fact said institutions have been thoroughly taken over by cultural Marxism, yet...it goes like this: "I've got a degree from Oxford! I know great literature and stuff, even though I never was asked to read any great literature when I was there, but still..." And you didn't have the motivation to engage any of it outside your 'schooling', I mean, who wastes time like that? Reading stuff when no grade or degree is on the line?

No, these "God sucks" worldviews don't have anything to do with great inspired works of art, literature, music, or discoveries and inventions in science and technology...they mostly do own the realm of philosophy though, because people with a clue don't see much use in pushing back there, i.e. it's either Theism or Nihilism and everything in the middle is just screwing around. If we already see the truth why fuck around in that muck. We're drawn to classic works that show the true nature of human nature, the nature of power, the ways of the world, economic and liberty vs. tyranny writings that actually value liberty, but we intuitively from birth don't give a fuck about David Hume, who probably spent the vast majority of his life with one or another finger up his ass, judging by depictions of him on canvas. Oh, and he stated that all books should be burned that weren't depicting how to build a fucking footstool. That's included in his most famous, renowned, respected work. Reminds me of our own era's Sam Harris who advocated genocide in one of his great works. These are just small things to overlook (or I guess agree with) because the main thing is the great God sucks worldview being put forth.

Common grace, all truth is God's truth, the good, the true, the beautiful, inspiration, General Revelation, all is tapped into and used by believers and unbelievers alike (conscious of their unbelief or not). Christianity is reality. The atheists and the soft-headed churchians want to talk about 'Christian art' not realizing the Homeric epics, Faulkner's As I Lay Dying, and much of American pop music is Christian as much as Bach's Mass in B minor. It's all under the umbrella that is the reality of God's creation.

3.13.2015

Worldview Analysis

I think a reason I'm so enthused by this Finding Truth book by Pearcey is its the first book I've seen that really presents a comprehensive treatment of worldview analysis. I was always getting bits and pieces previously, but now have a source for a complete picture of it.

I always make lists of things like the main influences a person could have, and now *Worldview Analysis* can take its place on such a list.

It's a powerful subject. The criticism of it is this:

1. To philosophers and academics it's too simple, or facile; and

2. to a general readership it gives an impression of doing or saying too much (i.e. it's *seems* impressive, but that is only because the general reader is not knowledgeable or nuanced enough to see what is going on).

My answer to #1 is: your vanity (emptiness) and shallow world is exposed. Yes, it seems simple. Yes, it knocks down worldly philosophies rather easily and quickly. But worldly philosophies are paper houses built on sand. What seems like a bit of truth in this criticism is there *can be* real truth (or beauty or goodness) in these worldly philosophies (or, better said, in things created or accomplished in the secular world), but only by necessity, or by the fact that they have to work with God's creation to begin with. But even having said that real works of art, for instance, are rarely if ever born from an ideologue's shallow, God-hating mind that is holding onto one of these philosophical worldviews. These worldviews all tend to produce the shallow garbage that comes from academic types, and they have never been known to create or invent or discover much of anything of worth. All they can do is light fires. "Look at me! I can't do or create anything of worth, but I can destroy things that have worth! I can twist and distort things so that people descend into darkness and bondage to hellish levels! Weeee!!!"

My answer to #2 is: if the general reader is a Christian with ability from the Holy Spirit to see the Christian worldview then what the Christian is seeing is way above the head of the ideologue pushing the reductionist, "God sucks" worldview. It's impressive to a 'simple' Christian the way light is impressive when it lightens up a darkened room.

3.12.2015

One little critique

As I finish the book [Finding Truth by Nancy Pearcey] one little critique I have is what I'm perceiving as a bit of naivete on the part of Nancy Pearcey, specifically seeing the motivations of some of the people starting and promoting these various movements. Specifically in the section titled Postmodernism and Terror. She states that the postmodernists were motivated in their distrust of totalizing metanarratives because of their experience with the horrors of totalitarian regimes in their time, Nazism and Communism. I don't see it this way. My take is they were merely continuing the lunatic Marxist program of subverting the west and drawing cover by pretending they were motivated by wanting to go against totalitarianism. Obviously what they were doing, in actually mimicking the Nazi/Communist tactic (which Pearcey points out without seeing the tactical maneuver as conscious Marxist evil) was drawing cover by pretending to be against fascist totalitarian horror while quietly going about doing what such Marxist evil has been doing all along. Marxism doesn't need bloody revolution or violent war to further its aims. Gramscian Marxist tactics took over the moment the last shot of WWII was fired.

This lack of discernment for these things (or reluctance to call a spade a spade in this area) just might be one of the divides that we see among Christians more and more: the academic approach to the faith vs. the spiritual warfare approach. I take the latter. (Or I should say: I plunder the former but practice the latter.)

Having said the above...

This book is very, very, very well done, by the way. It is exceptional. Others reading this will say, "Well, you're just new to worldview analysis and you've yet to hear the proverbial counter argument; plus you don't know of the books that have fed into Pearcey's book that actually did all the hard work on this subject matter..." etc., etc. No, I'm not new to this subject matter, and I've already been through the stage of being struck by the impressiveness of worldview analysis; no, I haven't read Dooyeweerd, I haven't even read Francis Schaeffer, but I don't need to to say what I'm saying. What I am saying when I say this book is very, very, very impressive is it is powerful. Even if it's just the subject matter the writer put it together and is clear and can turn a phrase. It is powerful to have, to study, and to set next to any spiritual warfare book that you have singled out as particularly good. And this book will work in discerning the nature of anything new that comes down the Pike. It's ongoing useful. It is worthy of a place in a short list of most important books a Christian should read.

3.11.2015

Strange things in this worldview subject matter

A striking thing that came directly at me reading Pearcey's Finding Truth, and that has stayed at the forefront, is the scale aspect of what is going on in the book.

What I mean by that is these historic worldly things, these dominating worldviews, whether philosophies or theories or actual religions, are *so easily* cut down and destroyed when you analyze them. I.e. they seem *so small.* Once big and powerful and dominating to puny and insignificant and silly even. I used the parallel from the Bible of how Satan at the end gets marveled at regarding how pathetic and small he looks when it's all over. "This is the force that controlled nations and sowed planetary level confusions and evil and held countless souls and entire empires in his grip?"

But once the delusion is broken you see it for what it is. Yet, still...

Yet still, it is striking *how easy* these strongholds can be 'pulled down.'

These false - or partial - intentionally anti-God worldviews controlled politics, academia, the arts, social behavior of millions of human beings, war, life, death, in different eras, different cultures. That is *real power.* That is making history in a real way. You can't discount the reality and the power and the large scale of the phenomena.

And yet (and I'll use Pearcey's steps, but we could find similar formulas), 1. identify the idol involved. 2. see the reductive nature of it. 3. see how it denies universal truth and leaves out aspects of the world all humanity experiences. 4. see it's internal inconsistencies. 5. see how small and false and worthless it is compared to the worldview derived from the revealed word of God and the plan of God overall.

This is real power. This is pulling down real strongholds with understanding derived from fearing God alone, which is the source of real wisdom.

It's almost a glimpse of something supernatural.

In the deep background of this for me is something I've always rebelled against which is the notion that philosophy, or what philosophers talk about, has in any way any real power to effect how human beings think and act, let alone have power to define historical eras. I've always scoffed at that. It always seemed to me to come with a view of human beings as being very hollow and easy to indoctrinate. Robot-like, if you will. I never had that view of people and humanity.

And part of the above paragraph is the naivete of thinking I was immune from such influence when I never was. We get influenced and indoctrinated by all this garbage without being aware of it. Admitting that hurts our pride and vanity. But we can see it looking back on our life. Like it or not those philosophers we now, from the vantage point of having attained some understanding, can see to be so inane and who seem so shallow and hardened in village idiocy...*they* actually *have influence* on us all. Maybe not directly but through various levels of education and media and politics and fashion of all kinds (including mental fashions) and all the rest. That's disgusting to concede, but it's real.

We're born into a fallen world, with fallen human nature, surrounded by people with fallen human nature, in an actual Kingdom run by a fallen angel with real power derived from Adam's failure in the Garden. We are born guilty, yet ironically our only real innocence might be our innocence on the spiritual battlefield. We are naked and naive on this spiritual battlefield until we, piece by piece, don the real armor of God and get our bearings and are then given ability and understanding to pull down strongholds that previously had us in darkness and bondage. - C.

3.08.2015

Idolatry, a missing loci of systematic theology (Pearcey's Finding Truth fills in the missing chapter)

It just now strikes me that for a long time I've been saying systematic theologies have been negligent in not including chapters on idol worship and spiritual warfare. This total subject that Nancy Pearcey's Finding Truth is about is that missing chapter (or loci) on idol worship. And we can see that it is a big subject indeed. It is the missing subject that explained all the philosophy that we knew intuitively was inane if not worthless. I.e. not worth the time, yet in that dismissiveness also being naive to the power ideas have, including bad ideas, to influence people unknowingly. Naive to it because we didn't see the religious aspect of it. The idol worship aspect of it.

One thing I highlighted in the first chapter is how God in the Bible doesn't contrast Christianity with atheism, but with idolatry. Because atheists, whether materialists or rationalists or what have you, are idol worshipers. If they're worshiping material or autonomous human reason, etc., then they are as religious in their activity as any adherent to any other false religion. It just was interesting how the observation put atheists in their place and made them common run whereas they think of themselves as the main equal competitor to God and Christianity. - C.

Unusual book, Pearcey's Finding Truth

I think we have an unusual arrival in this book by Nancy Pearcey titled Finding Truth. It is seeming to me as a consummating book. People in general, people who think about these things, have been picking up on the strongest ideas and concepts that exist, and I've been sending some in email over recent time. Things like personalism/impersonalism, how subject and object are in sync in terms of human nature and the natural creation, the remarkable fact of the fine tuning of the universe, reductionism (I remember quoting the C. S. Lewis passage from that Louis Markhos book, C. S. Lewis, A to Z, or something like that, and how reductionism seemed a powerful, foundational element in seeing false worldviews and how they engage in reductionism) and several other things like that. She has not only gathered them all in this book, but she has brought it all together in a whole and with a purpose to create a kind of handbook on seeing faulty worldviews based on Romans 1 and 2. And to see how Christianity stands above it all and how all false worldviews have to borrow from Christianity to some extent to not give an immediate impression of comical self-refutation. It is a very powerful thing to see.

What we see in this book is really not just arguments against the philosophies of the world over time but a rather *easy* refutation of such things. I.e. things that seemingly *had power* not long ago are now seen as rather easily refuted. I'm reminded of the biblical image of Satan at the end and how he presents a rather pathetic and weak impression. I think this aspect of easy refuting of once powerful things has to do with this era having reached a point where it is now possible to no longer be so easily deluded by such things.

There's an uneasy reception of this book that I sense in some reviews and in other ways, and the same with her Total Truth, that I think has this reason behind it: many people who are sympathetic to the subject matter and conclusions still feel threatened because their own body of work seems to be transcended by this totalizing approach of worldview which is now in a mature, or complete stage of presentation.

No, Finding Truth is not Phenomenology of Spirit or Critique of Pure Reason, no it's not written like such books, yes it's written for a general audience, but it is the subject matter that is powerful. Simple, yet powerful. Because you say as you read it: "Is it this easy? Is it this easy to destroy things that have captured entire eras and movements in politics and arts and social behavior and on and on?" Yes it is. Once the delusion is broken.

As the Satanic rolling thunder road show of never-dead Marxism and now ragingly alive Islamism is casting it's dark shadow over the entire world which signals a real end time environment I think we can also look for new developments that help God's remnant to get a clear view and to develop and be strong in all this lunacy, and what you see in this book is part of that. It, *as a culmination*, is something new on the scene.

- C.

3.07.2015

This new Nancy Pearcey book - Finding Truth - is incredible

[This was an email...]

This Nancy Pearcey book is incredible. I open it at random and find pure gold. And she answers questions the reader has as the reader is reading. She comes through like that. Here's another section, but read it all because the aha moment is in the second-to-last paragraph:

"The key to identifying where a worldview commits suicide is to uncover its particular form of reductionism. Any theory that says, “Truth claims are nothing but X” is susceptible to self-refutation. For example, Karl Marx said that truth claims are nothing but rationalizations of economic interests: Laws are created by the rich to protect their property. Religion is the “opiate of the people,” placating the poor with false promises of a happy afterlife. 8 But what happens if we apply Marx’s rule to his own theory? Did he create it merely to rationalize his own economic interests? If so, we can dismiss it as a serious truth claim. The theory commits suicide.

Or take Friedrich Nietzsche. He held that all human action is driven by the will to power: Morality is invented by the weak to give them leverage over the strong . Religion is a “holy lie” used to control people. 9 But what about Nietzsche’s own theory? Was it driven by his own will to power? Then why should the rest of us pay any attention to it? The theory undercuts itself.

Sigmund Freud insisted that our thoughts are shaped by unconscious emotional needs: Personality is shaped by things like early toilet training. Much of human behavior is a result of sexual repression. But what does that imply about the origin of Freud’s own theory? Onto the couch yourself, Dr. Freud.

The behaviorist B. F. Skinner held that humans are nothing but stimulus-response mechanisms, responding to rewards and punishments: Their behavior is explainable in terms of operant conditioning, like the pigeons in his experiments, pecking at levers to get a pellet of food. 10 But is Skinner’s theory a product of his own conditioning? The theory refutes itself.

What these philosophies all share is a refusal to take truth claims at face value. Instead they interpret them as cover-ups for hidden motives and disguised self-interest. This penchant for debunking has been labeled the “hermeneutics of suspicion ” (hermeneutics is the science of interpretation). Those who practice it have been dubbed the “masters of suspicion.” 11 To be logically consistent, however, the masters should practice equal suspicion toward their own views—which they rarely, if ever, do.

As a tool of critical thinking, a hermeneutics of suspicion can be useful to highlight common human failings— to diagnose the ways our thinking may be distorted by things like economic interests or psychological impulses. Scripture teaches that we deceive ourselves all the time about our true motives: “The heart is deceitful above all things, … who can understand it?” (Jer. 17: 9). Taken on its own terms, however, a hermeneutics of suspicion is radically reductionistic. It simply abandons the question of truth, reducing it to questions of power and desire."

Pearcey, Nancy (2015-03-01). Finding Truth: 5 Principles for Unmasking Atheism, Secularism, and Other God Substitutes (pp. 185-187). David C. Cook. Kindle Edition.

+ + + + + +

Now, I have to continue and paste what she writes further in this section. How Christianity is different:

"Showing how theories that commit suicide is an essential tool in any apologetics toolbox. What is unique about the Romans 1 approach is that it explains why the argument works: because idol-based worldviews are reductionistic. By deifying something lower than the biblical God, they also recast humans in the image of something lower. The process of reductionism includes human cognitive faculties— things like reason, logic, rationality. It reduces human rationality to some non-rational force or process. Yet once a theory makes the claim that our ideas are not the product of rational thought, that claim must be applied to all ideas —including the theory itself. The debunkers end up debunking their own theories.

Or they would, if they were consistent. To avoid discrediting their own views, the debunkers tacitly exempt themselves from the critique they use to discredit everyone else. They act as if they are not blinded by the same irrational forces that distort and bias everyone else’s views— they are mysteriously able to rise above the forces that enslave everyone else— they alone are capable of achieving an untainted insight into reality. Even though they have stuffed the entire universe into a box, strangely they themselves are not trapped in that box. They somehow have the power to float above the box, rendering their own theories objectively valid and true.

But of course, by carving out an exception for themselves, they have introduced a logical inconsistency into their system. They have stated that there is one thing (namely, their own thinking) that their system does not cover.

Either way, then, idol-based worldviews are logically contradictory— which means they fail.

By contrast, a Christian worldview is not reductionistic. It does not reduce reason to something less than reason, and therefore it does not self-destruct. A Christian epistemology (theory of knowledge) starts with the transcendent Creator, who spoke the entire universe into being with his Word: “And God said” (Gen. 1: 3). “In the beginning was the Word” (John 1: 1). John uses a Greek word, Logos, that means not only Word but also reason or rationality— the underlying principle that unifies the world into an orderly cosmos, as opposed to randomness and chaos. The Greeks who heard John’s gospel understood that he was claiming that Christ is the source of the order and coherence of the universe.

This biblical view has two crucial implications. First, the intelligible order of the universe reflects the mind of the Creator. Second, because God created humans in his image, our minds correspond with that order as well. There is a congruence between the structure of the world and the structure of human cognition— a correlation between subject and object in the act of knowing . As Plantinga writes, “God created both us and our world in such a way that there is a certain fit or match between the world and our cognitive faculties.” 12

The medievals used the phrase adaequatio intellectus ad rem, which means the intellect is adequate to reality. Of course, humans are broken, fallen creatures, and as a result our thought processes are darkened and distorted. Nevertheless, even after the fall, we are still human. We still retain the image of God. Throughout history, the Bible has inspired confidence in the essential reliability of human cognitive faculties.

Biblical epistemology is backed up experientially by general revelation. To function from day to day, humans have to assume that we do know a great many things— that the material world is real (the chair I’m sitting on will hold me up), that the universe works by cause and effect (if I drop this computer, it will fall), that mathematical truths hold universally (5 plus 7 will always equal 12), that our memories are basically reliable (I did eat a sandwich for lunch today), that other people have minds (even though I cannot directly see them), and that the laws of logic are valid (to discredit logic, I have to argue using logic). In our daily actions, we have to assume the basic reliability of human cognition. If we were complete skeptics, we would be paralyzed, unable to act.

Anything we must assume in order to function in the world is part of general revelation. The undeniable facts of experience reflect the created structure of physical nature or human nature, or both. They are signposts pointing to the biblical God. Only a biblical worldview explains why it is possible for humans to have trustworthy knowledge.

The upshot is that all worldviews have to borrow a Christian epistemology— at least at the moment they are making their claims. They must tacitly assume the reliability of reason and rationality, which only a biblical worldview supports. They have to function as if Christianity is true, even as they reject it."

Pearcey, Nancy (2015-03-01). Finding Truth: 5 Principles for Unmasking Atheism, Secularism, and Other God Substitutes (p. 187). David C. Cook. Kindle Edition.

- C.

2.07.2015

A recent prayer I jotted down

Ask for connection with the Kingdom of the Triune God. Everything else is vanity (emptiness) and death.

(My thought as a context of saying this prayer was imagining a person who was almost like an angel and was able to effect events and so on, yet if he wasn't part of the Kingdom of God it is all empty and dead. My saying 'you don't want to be the most awake person in hell' gets at this too; but it's more because you want your actions to be part of the plan of God, not some empty side show. You want to be in that stream of fate that is the power of the Kingdom of God. Maybe you're able to be an active agent in that stream, maybe you've developed to be able to do that, yet it's not empty and dead if you have that connection to what is real.)

1.27.2015

How to distinguish Puritans

There is some confusion among Reformed academics - theologians and church historians - as to how to define who was and who wasn't a Puritan and whether there was any such thing as Puritans at all to begin with (some actually wonder this).

I see it this way: my observation that there is an academic approach to the faith and a spiritual warfare approach plays into this problem they have. The academic types can't see the spiritual warfare types or their approach.

The Puritans are defined as Reformed (Calvinist) believers who took (take) a spiritual warfare approach to the faith. This is why they are seen as practical and "reducing to practice" the Christian faith; because when you take a spiritual warfare approach you are like a soldier on a battlefield (the spiritual battlefield), and there is no more practical individual or group of individuals than a soldier on a battlefield. They need real things, no arguments. And doctrine becomes the real armor of God. They don't care that real doctrine is "hard" or insults their fallen nature. They are on a battlefield facing real enemies. They don't care if some people's feelings are getting hurt by the existence of real unwatered-down doctrine, that is what they need to survive.

The Puritans (then and today) understood regeneration and how it puts one on a real spiritual battlefield; and how doctrine becomes real armor of God.

People who take an academic approach to the faith - God bless them, we all benefit from their work (some of their work anyway) - can't see the seriousness or even reality of the spiritual battlefield and what soldiers on that battlefield need, hence they have difficultly even seeing those soldiers or sometimes even admitting they exist at all.

Another difference between Puritans and other Reformed types is Puritans tended to be outside the Establishment of their time. In fact they were often fleeing the law and even their home countries.

When John Owen met John Bunyan we saw the two types together; and notice who it was who admired the other with more respect and awe. If you don't know it was John Owen who expressed his respect for John Bunyan, and you can feel that in the anecdote as it's come down to us. Owen may actually have been more Puritan than his position allowed him to be. Gurnall would be another who felt the tension of being a Puritan by type yet who hadn't crossed the divide from Establishment to outsider during his life and career.

1.25.2015

Being ashamed of Christ

The shame of the cross and invoking the name Jesus that we feel when in the face of the world is due to the fact that our original and active sin and guilt and pollution is lying in denial inside us and everybody else, and invoking the cross and the name Jesus is like a public admission of that sin and guilt and pollution; and we know and experience that the world will not share in our admission but actually condemn us for it due to it cutting them close regarding it all.

Humans always get embarrassed when we genuinely admit real shortcoming or failure or downright moral turpitude (and invoking the cross and Christ is the ultimate of that, as it condemns all deeply); and other people, the world, get embarrassed for us, for themselves, for it all, and angry that anyone would even broach the subject.

That is what is behind our feeling of being ashamed of the Gospel and being ashamed of the name of Jesus Christ, and why we are reluctant to speak it in the face of the world.

1.09.2015

The Third Kingdom by Louis Berkhof (repost from 2011)

"Miracle, in short, is the normal frontier phenomenon."

The Third Kingdom is a paper written by theologian Louis Berkhof in the 19th century (hence when he was much younger). Here's a summary of each paragraph of the essay, 32 paragraphs or so in all.

Note: The title refers to there being three kingdoms: the 1st Kingdom being the Inorganic; the 2nd Kingdom being the organic (where human beings live); and the 3rd Kingdom being the Spiritual, or Kingdom of God.

1. That God was preparing or drawing a people out of the Second Kingdom is a main fact of the ancient world. The Israelites believed this to the extent that they refused to have an earthly king, believing their King to be of the Third Kingdom.

2. This longing for a more perfect Kingdom of God burned through the history of the Israelites up until the advent of Jesus Christ.

3. Jesus announced Himself as the King of this promised Kingdom. He gathered to Himself the first few subjects and assumed Sovereignty and framed a constitution and throughout his life the fact of the Kingdom of God (or Kingdom of Heaven) was foundational to all He said.

4. (Here it gets tricky. Berkhof had not yet developed an understanding of the theory of evolution - the theory of evolution itself nor the theory of evolution vis-a-vis the Creation account - at the time of writing this paper. He is clearly in a naive state regarding it. So you have him using the language of evolution and championing Science - capitalized - as leading the way to greater understanding of the Bible and the Kingdom, etc.; yet you also have to know that in his naivete on the subject he thinks, for instance, that atheism has been forever done away with by Science in his day and by the theory of evolution [you have to read his other essays contemporaneous to this one to see this]. To see what the mature Berkhof thought of evolution go to his Systematic Theology, pages 160-164, and pages 183-188, in the Eerdman's edition.) OK, so he sees science even seeing nature as a kingdom, in ascent, kingdom rising upon kingdom, to an apex yet unseen. The whole creation groaneth and travaileth, waiting for the redemption of the creature.

5. So what is this Third Kingdom, the Kingdom of God, which all creation strives for in some evolutionary sense (leave soteriology out of this here, Berkhof is not making those kinds of distinctions in this essay).

6. This paragraph I will just paste whole: 'The form of the question which chiefly interests us in the present inquiry is, Does the Kingdom of God [i.e. the Third Kingdom] propose to do anything abnormal, extravagant, or unintelligible? Is it a new and unrelated effect that is to be wrought on the subjects of this Kingdom [i.e. the Second Kingdom in which we human beings live], or is it something still consistently in line with continuity? Certainly if it could be shown that the aim of the Third Kingdom was in harmony with all that has gone before, it would go a long way to remove any prejudice that may exist against it on the ground of what men call its unnaturalness and "other-worldliness."' Here it sounds like he's appealing to scientists to cast off their materialism and naturalism and not be prejudiced toward the Kingdom of God.

7. Keep in mind that in this essay Berkhof is exploring the border region (or even overlap region) between the Second Kingdom and the Third Kingdom. It's unusual because it is not a common subject for a Reformed theologian to explore. Even the metaphor of three kingdoms, as he's using it, if you want to label it a metaphor, is foreign to theology in general. In this paragraph he's trying to convince Science of the existence of the Third Kingdom (or Spirit Kingdom, or Kingdom of God) by appealing to its naturalness as an object - evolutionary object - of life, a summum bonum, a chief end of man. Philosophers from ancient times have held it as the goal, etc. It's 'unnatural' to deny it.

8. This paragraph I'll paste whole: "Now as a matter of fact the aim of Christianity, in its general direction, is the aim of all philosophy. Christianity fell naturally into the stream of evolution which was carrying the world through kingdom after kingdom to a high and perfect development. Its idea of development was immeasurably loftier than that of philosophy, and the means for carrying out the process were altogether different; but the goal in either case, though not the same, lay in the same general line. I have defined the aim of philosophy to be the moral development of the race. When it is said, however, that this is also the aim of Christianity we must attach a higher significance to the term moral. Morality is a word of the Second Kingdom. In the Third we look for its evolution. We shall still recognise the old quality, but it will really exist in a form so greatly developed that we may be justified in substituting for morality the word spirituality. At the same time it must again be repeated that the development of the spiritual from the natural man is not a case of simple evolution. The natural character does not simply grow better and better until a pitch of excellence is reached such as finally deserves the distinguishing name of spirituality. Spirituality and morality differ qualitatively as well as quantitatively. The natural development can never pass the barrier separating the Second from the Third Kingdom. The transition is secured, just as in the case of atoms passing from the First to the Second Kingdom, by means of something not inherent in the lower Kingdom but communicated ab extra."

9. This paragraph kind of makes a distinction following from the above paragraph that is not so important to repeat here.

10. Here Berkhof speaks of the impressiveness of Christianity and how he won't go too much into it proper because it's not the subject of this essay to do that.

11. He concludes the above paragraph by suggesting if someone wants to investigate the Third Kingdom from this angle he read the Sermon on the Mount and the seven petitions in the Lord's Prayer.

12. Same as above.

13. "While the design of the Third Kingdom coincides somewhat with the purpose of Moral Philosophy, its apparatus and methods are widely different. And they are different mainly in respect of two things already mentioned. Christianity provides an ideal which is the highest possible, and equips the subjects of the Kingdom with powers in every way adequate to realize that ideal. The problems connected with the ideal will be referred to again, but the question of the powers of the spiritual Kingdom may now be dealt with under a separate head."

14. "The fundamental difference between the Second and Third Kingdoms consists in what, for want of a better name, may be called their Energies." He distinguishes in this long paragraph between the natural man's notion of a higher third kingdom with the reality of it as Christianity reveals it. The need to be born again first, etc.

15. He furthers explains that the Third Kingdom requires Spiritually being born again, which has not to do with biology, etc. (He's speaking to scientists, apparently, who aren't familiar with biblical revelation. I suppose. I don't know who the audience of this paper or talk actually was.)

16. Here he continues to speak of the very different nature of 'life' in the Third Kingdom.

17. He's here describing the difference of the power of the Third Kingdom and the Second Kingdom. 'The sum of New Testament doctrine is that there is an immediate action of the Spirit of God on the souls of men. In the New Testament alone the Spirit is referred to nearly three hundred times. And the one word with which He is constantly associated is Power. If we are asked to define more clearly what is meant by this Power we hand over the difficulty to science. When science can define Life and Force we may hope for further clearness on the nature and action of the Spiritual Powers. At the same time we are forewarned that with our present faculties we can never pass far beyond the threshold of these hidden things. Their very power of evading the senses is the mysterious token of their spirituality. It is the test of the Spirit that thou canst not tell whence it cometh or whither it goeth. If we could tell, if we could trace it naturally to its source, if we could account for its operations on ordinary principles, if we could define regeneration as the effect of moral persuasion, we should be dealing not with the Unknown but with the Known. It is from the analysis of natural religion, where the elements can all be rationally accounted for, that men derive their chief argument against the supernatural. But in analyzing spirituality the effort to detect the Living Spirit is as idle as to subject protoplasm to microscopic examination in the hope of discovering Life. When the Spiritual Life is discovered in the laboratory it will be time to give it up altogether. It may then say, as Socrates of his soul, "You can bury me—if you can catch me."'

18. "While the Powers of the Third Kingdom evade analysis their Energy is not less real. The activities of the Third Person of the Trinity have always been described as dynamical. The Spirit is the executive of the Godhead, carrying out the sovereign Will by operations as irresistible as they are subtle. To this omnipotent agency are to be referred ultimately all changes which take place within the Kingdom of God on earth. This is the Source of Energy for the Third Kingdom."

19. "[Let's]inquire for the evidence of the spiritual operations themselves... It will assist us, however, in understanding the evidence, as well as in defining the kind of result to be looked for, if we take one more backward glance at the two earlier Kingdoms. Suppose we take our stand for a moment on the confines of the Inorganic Kingdom. What order of phenomena will strike us first? Shall we see the Second Kingdom act on the First, and if so, in what particular way?"

[The next three paragraphs are given in full because they show where the essay is going.]

20. "As we take our first survey of the Inorganic Kingdom we seem to be surrounded by the dead. Every Atom obeys the law of inertia, or yields to simple changes induced by polar, molecular, or other forces. But presently, into this dead world, an unknown Power descends, feels about, seizes certain Atoms, and manipulates them in unprecedented ways. This mysterious Power is the Power of the Kingdom next in order above. To that Kingdom, indeed, the operations of Life, as facts of everyday occurrence, are not mysterious. But to the Atoms they are unintelligible and very wonderful. Here is one Atom raised from the dead. Here is another refusing to bend its will to the attraction of gravity A third, subject to crystalline forces from the beginning, suddenly defies them and takes its place as a part of the higher symmetry of a living organism. As their Fellow-Atoms observe these extraordinary changes, from time to time occurring around them, they have only one word which adequately describes them—they are Miracles."

21. "Taking our stand now on the confines of the Organic [the Second Kingdom], shall we not be presented with the same strange spectacle? Once more we are surrounded by the dead. Once more a Power descends out of another Kingdom—a Kingdom just in order above—and manipulates Organisms in unprecedented ways. Here is one Organism raised from the dead. Here is another refusing to bend its will to the attraction of sin. A third, subject to deforming forces from the beginning, suddenly defies them, and assumes a high and noble spiritual symmetry. And as their Fellow-Organisms observe these changes, their word again is Miracle."

22. "This, then, is what meets us first at the portals of the Third Kingdom—Miracle. We find an order of phenomena strange and inexplicable to the lower Kingdom, but as normal within its own sphere as are the operations of Life in the Organic. As the powers of the Second Kingdom master the First, so the powers of the Third master the Second. But this is not what is usually called Miracle. Miracle is a much narrower thing—so very narrow a thing that up to this point we have scarcely even come in sight of it. To single out a few specific wonders authenticated by ancient documents, and to attach to them the epithet Miracle, is a limitation so monstrous and unwarranted that the protest against it cannot come too soon."

23. So miracle describes the presence of the Third Kingdom. (Berkhof, by the way, I think without realizing it, is speaking in the language of cosmoses.) And miracles are much bigger than mere acts of healing or whatnot. The fact of a Christian itself is a miracle. The play of the Spiritual power upon the soul, etc. If you deny the existence of the Third Kingdom miracles have to become delusion or fraud.

24. "If, on the other hand, one accepts the Third Kingdom, the miraculous becomes not only credible but necessary The Third Kingdom would not be the Third Kingdom if it could not operate on the Kingdom beneath it in a way which to the Kingdoms below would seem miraculous. The Second Kingdom is the Second Kingdom because it can operate on the First in a way which to the First must seem miraculous. It is superior to the First in virtue of the superiority of its powers and the corresponding complexity of its organisms. In precisely the same way the Third rises superior to the Second."

25. "[If] one runs his eye over the boundary line dividing the Inorganic from the Organic, and finds the whole frontier abounding in similar activities, like the seaward margin of a coral reef fringed with the living polypes, he receives a new impression of their character and relations. He sees that these marvellous reactions are at that point no longer the exception but the rule. Miracle, in short, is the normal frontier phenomenon."

"Along the line of junction, again, between the Natural and the Spiritual a similar set of activities are carrying on their ceaseless work. Contemplated from the bottom of the Second Kingdom, where on an isolated group here and there these activities are operating on grosser material, the phenomena are exceptional, unintelligible, and miraculous. But on the frontier they are the normal actions of the Third Kingdom on the Second, demanded by Continuity, justified in the magnitude and gathering potency of their operations by Evolution and susceptible of the same kind of proof."

26. "That they are so little observed in the higher reaches is due to a peculiar law of their being. The Kingdom cometh without observation."

27. "But in the first days of Christianity the invisibility of its forces formed a drawback to its development. If not essential, it was at least advisable that the outside world should become at once aware of its pretensions. And if the secret operations of the Spirit in regenerating men were then insufficient to attract attention, it became necessary for the manifestation to descend to what some might call a lower plane. [...] And although it is proper to notice the striking and suggestive fact of the extreme conservation of this power in the life-work of Jesus, it is equally necessary to bear in mind that He continually did works which no other man did, and periodically appealed to these as a ground why the members of the Natural Kingdom should accept the Spiritual."

28. Berhkof says that we can't use the miracles in the New Testament to continue to make claims for Christianity and it's higher powers, but we have to recognize the miracles that are happening now (this paragraph is a bit difficult to decipher, Berkhof isn't turning charismatic on us here).

29. "Now, if Christianity ceased to act with the first century, I do not see that we can argue for the miraculous. Unless we include the Third Kingdom in our conception a miracle is certainly a violation of the laws of nature. And if the Third Kingdom has passed away miracles may be interesting, but their occupation is gone—there is nothing for them to attest to me. On the other hand, if the Powers of the Third Kingdom are working around me now I am independent of them. I have the superior credential of the "greater works" which Christ's disciples were to do in His name."

INTERESTING PARAGRAPH BELOW (REFORMED SEMINARY CHRISTIANS, COVER YOUR EYES!!) -

30. This is an interesting paragraph, and I'll paste it whole: "But I have said the denial of miracles is due mainly to defective observation—mainly, however, not wholly. The members of the Third Kingdom have something to answer for themselves here. They have failed to provide due materials for observation. Energy may be potential as well as kinetic. Were a visitant from a distant planet who had read "The Correlation of the Physical Forces" or Ganot's "Physics" to land on the coast of Labrador and demand of the Esquimaux to be shown the energies of electricity or the powers of steam, his credulity in his authorities would certainly be shaken. And even if he were informed by a passing Nordenskiold that many of the physical forces were available at Labrador, only the people had never utilized them, his bewilderment would not be lessened. Those who read the Christian's Book hear in like manner of faith to remove mountains, of love stronger than death, of limitless powers to be had for the asking of all the fulness of the Godhead placed at man's disposal. And when they turn to those who know this Book, who profess to believe it, who contribute themselves to the literature of the Third Kingdom, expanding and enforcing its ideas, and almost forcing them on men's attention, what do they see? Is it any satisfaction that a courteous Nordenskiold assures them that these forces are there withal, only the members of this frigid province at the moment do not happen to employ them? For does not the critic see multitudes of individuals met every week for the ostensible purpose of receiving these powers, down on their knees by the thousand crying for them to come? What is he to make of it? Is he dreaming or they? Or does the Kingdom come—but without observation? No; the Kingdom does not come. On the large scale it does not come. The splendid machinery of Christianity is standing still. The Church is paralyzed. When the Second Kingdom asks the Third for its credentials it remains silent. It has something to show in the past; it points sadly to the early centuries. But for the present nothing stirs; it is all as frozen as Labrador."

31. "So men tell us the spiritual energies are a myth—which is as inconclusive as the statement that the physical forces are myths where they are not utilized. The scepticism of the age nevertheless lies at the door of the Church. That there are individuals, and here and there churches, witnessing to the powers of the Third Kingdom is not to be gainsaid. No man who really desires to satisfy himself of the reality of the Spiritual World will seek in vain for a demonstration of the Spirit and of Power. But the appeal is not going forth to all the earth and arresting men by a testimony triumphant and irresistible. The Power that operated at Pentecost is no longer a mighty and awakening force. And even the ethical light which the subjects of the Third Kingdom were admonished to "let shine among men" is all but too dim to see."

32. 'Now, whatever may be the state of matters at present within the Visible Church of the Third Kingdom, let us not blind ourselves to the unspeakably important fact that the Spiritual World contains forms of energy infinitely more powerful than those of the First and Second. It has never been sufficiently realized how much greater they are—how much greater they must be, even from analogy. One might almost speak of an Evolution of Energy going on as we rise from higher to higher Kingdoms. By this, of course, is not meant that the higher energy is in any sense evolved from the lower, but that the potency—whatever may be the source of the increment—is found gradually becoming stronger and stronger. As a matter of fact, while the energy within each Kingdom is constant, the organic powers are greater than the inorganic, the Spiritual than either. And the one thing requisite at once for the attestation of the Third Kingdom and the further evolution of the Second is that the subjects of the former should give heed once more to the offer of its King and Founder, "If ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask it."'

+ + +

OK, so this early essay of Berkhof's is interesting for his use of the language of cosmoses (whether he knew he was using that language or not), and his dagger in the heart of the visible church in not making use of the higher powers of the Kingdom of God. It's also interesting to people who connect with a language of inner development that conforms to Calvinist, or Reformed, doctrine, which is just to say apostolic biblical doctrine. Here is a very Reformed theologian touching on such matters. A rare thing. And though he mentions that Christianity not only presents the ideal but also gives the means to attain the ideal Berkhof nevertheless doesn't go into that aspect of the faith, other than: "...much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask it." Yet how this manifests the mockers and the eternally piously shallow will never recognize. I give hints throughout this blog. Take them if you're of a mind to...

1.08.2015

Photo found on Twitter

This photo makes a great wallpaper for a small screen (click on image for full size) --

1.07.2015

Advice for James White

This advice I'm about to offer James White comes after attempting to listen to three or four of his Dividing Line podcasts/videos and having to abandon the effort each time. It's not just that there is very little room for substance in them between the "I, I, I"s (more self-references than 300 Obama speeches per podcast) or his juvenile scholar-priest brow-beating triumphalism; no, it's what I suspect are the psychotropic drugs that are keeping any chance for the Holy Spirit to work any degree of healing of his mental condition. Narcissistic Personality Disorder is usually non-curable, yet as Christians we know the Holy Spirit can cure anything in anybody, but the psychotropic drugs are going to be a barrier to that possibility. James, ask your doctor to start the process of coming down off those drugs. If you're not taking any psychotropic drugs, which would be hard to believe, then simply ask God to heal you of your mental condition.

12.20.2014

Imagining the unimaginable

If you ever ponder the plan of God from the Bible, Heaven, glorified bodies, etc., and you think, (maybe atheists mocking have gotten to you) pretty hard to believe that...then think of this: what is happening right now, being embodied, in a real world of visible numerous cosmoses, having consciousness, moving through space, experiencing time, all of it...it's all pretty bizarre in itself. So...

And what we are experiencing here, obvious alienation (from each other, the natural world, and God); constant evil that our consciences tell us is evil, that we know in our heart is evil; history that has meaning through time; etc., all of it is explained by Christianity.

Just because there are many religions, many worldviews, doesn't mean none of them are true. One of them can be true. In fact, one can be true and the others can be intentional counterfeit or just rebellious ignorance or something else.

12.18.2014

World views - lists

I just did a quick search for sites with lists of the different world views, and this one was exceptional:

http://www.inplainsite.org/html/world_views.html

Scroll down for the short descriptions.

Also this one:

http://www.worldviewweekend.com/worldview-times/article.php?articleid=5324

Seeing total world views is a good way to assess just why Christianity is unique. A lot of writing is about this subject without using the term 'world views'. C. S. Lewis' writings, for instance.

It's also a way to clear out the clutter of what we see in the world. Also see the influence of each which can often be insidious even if you know about them.


12.07.2014

Drugs

Look at the last sentence from this passage on the Wikipedia page the Death of Osama bin Laden talking about what the Seals found in his house:

"U.S. personnel recovered three AK-47s and two pistols, ten computer hard drives, documents, DVDs, almost a hundred thumb drives, a dozen cell phones, and "electronic equipment" for later analysis.[56][109][110] The SEALs also discovered a large amount of opium stored in the house.[111]"

A recent defector from ISIS who was slated to be a suicide bomber stated that the Jihadis had a drug they gave him and to all suicide bombers that made them not care if they died.

Early in the war against Islamic militants American soldiers stated they always found drug paraphernalia in overrun positions.

African militias are notorious drug users.

Remember that email I sent about Bolshevik death squads using cocaine to numb themselves as they randomly tortured and executed (not to mention raped) scores of thousands.

School shootings invariably involve psychotropic drug addled minds and beings.

My point is, always assume drugs are involved when really lunatic, Satanic things are happening. It's really naive not to. Doesn't bin Laden in retrospect look like a dude who was always smoking opium?

Drugs, narcotics, such sorcery and gateway means into darkness are a main tool in the Devil's tool bag to get really evil actions going on.

ps- I did a search on Osama bin Laden opium addict and came up with this:

http://www.preventragedy.com/pages/terrorism.html

Forgot about the Islamic Assassins during the Crusades who would smoke hashish before doing their murders. So an historical tradition in Islam.

10.18.2014

No, I don't like those people...

[an email reply]

I'll listen to that. The first great awakening was a strange phenomenon. Modern - most - Reformed academics play it down. It doesn't fit their modern narrative. Many of them don't believe in any kind of experience called regeneration. They called it 'enthusiasm', like a fainting spell. The first people to deride and belittle and wave off an awakening are the establishment clerics. A recent example is the resurgence of Calvinism among young people in the last decade. Immediately it was the establishment Reformed clerics who belittled it, mocked it, discounted it, even sneered at it and treated it with contempt. It threatened them because anything with the Holy Spirit in it threatens them.

John Owen wrote:

"As among all the doctrines of the gospel, there is none opposed with more violence and subtlety than that concerning our regeneration by the immediate, powerful, effectual operation of the Holy Spirit of grace; so there is not scarce anything more despised or scorned by many in the world than that any should profess that there hath been such a work of God upon themselves, or on any occasion declare aught of the way and manner whereby it was wrought... yea, the enmity of Cain against Abel was but a branch of this proud and perverse inclination."
- John Owen, A Discourse Concerning The Holy Spirit

The modern Reformed academics would scream, but John Owen is one of us!!! Really? John Owen told a surprised King that he'd give up all his learning to possess what John Bunyan had in his ability to preach. He was referring to the Holy Spirit in John Bunyan. John Bunyan, a lowly tinker, uneducated by the 'standards' of modern academics (the standards of cultural Marxism). Modern Reformed academics wouldn't even allow John Bunyan to enter their churches since he'd spent so much time in prison. "This is a family environment, sir. Yes, I'm sure you're a great believer and very 'holy', and so on - 'regenerated', as you people say - but you need to go back onto the street. This is a family church. We have children here."

- C.




10.07.2014

"Christians, we hate you, but don't stop feeding and protecting us..."

ATHEIST: Reason produces sense-based ideas. That's how farmers grow wheat, composers write music and businessmen create products for a market. Faith is the acceptance of ideas without the senses and mind. Faith is a morality of death. Reason is the morality of life. Its the difference between America's scientific-industrial-capitalist civilization and the Christian Dark Ages, the difference between Atlas Shrugged and the Bible.

I RESPOND: The problem with your juvenile, a-historical, philosophically ignorant rhetoric is all you need to know about atheists is they live wherever Christians are. And if Christians move, atheists move with them. Without Christians, and Christian culture and civilization (which includes the western scientific enterprise, you know all those universities, hospitals, research institutes founded by Christians, and all those discoveries and inventions made by Christians) atheists would starve or be killed. Without Christians to produce food for atheists and to protect atheists atheists don't survive.

I RESPOND FURTHER: Whenever atheists do attempt to strike out on their own and make it without Christians feeding and protecting them they end up causing famines and engaging in orgies of murder. Murdering anyone they can get numbers on, including each other. See the French Revolution and the wonderful Bolshevik Revolution and the great atheist empires that followed known as world Communism of the 20th century.

9.23.2014

Angelic life and Greek myth

I just came across one little connection between the Greek gods and goddesses and angels as they are described in Scripture. The gods and goddesses were known to walk among humans and it was generally said that one may be engaging one of the gods without realizing it. Of course there is the similar statement in the Bible: Heb 13:2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

The connection between real angels and the description of the Olympian gods and goddesses I think is like the connection between real life Russian aristocracy in the 1800s and the characters depicted in Tolstoy's Anna Karenina.

That's pretty darn close, but we wouldn't think that Anna Karenina actually existed as a real human being. The description of her life and times is real though. It matches the reality.

Take that analogy to the Olympian gods and goddesses, or Greek mythology in general. Or maybe just limit yourself to the Homeric epics to keep it clean and contained. They weren't (aren't) real angels, but the depiction could very well be very darn close.

Seers and poets in higher states could have seen such angelic life and depicted it in various ways over time.

I think, also, that in what they depicted they conflated vague collective memories of Biblical revelation and combined, for instance, some of God (the Trinity) with the creation (angelic life), in various ways. Making Zeus, for instance, have some characteristics of God. But also maybe that could be seen this way too: the angelic world may very well be a hierarchy and perhaps Zeus would just be an angel of a higher order, responsible for more of this natural world, maybe the solar system itself, so he comes across as being all powerful, but compared to God he is part of the creation.

And of course there is impiety involved, to be sure, in many ways in this depiction of angelic life. Falsity too.

But overall it can be seen in this way.

Another connection: glorified bodies. Jesus says we will be like the angels. Not angels, but like the angels. This may refer to our glorified bodies? In some way? I know the context was marriage no longer being needed, but it seems a more general statement as well. So we can see what glorified bodies may be like in Greek myth.

Another connection: these Olympian gods and goddesses and lesser divinities were influences on human beings. All kinds of influences. And the early church saw angels in the same way. Messengers of God who also delivered influence. With their connection with God they couldn't not be influential.

But we're not supposed to worship angels, the Bible is clear, and pagans worship angels in various ways, most often fallen angels. (And we might be influenced by fallen angels without realizing it, without discernment. Having the Holy Spirit and knowing the Bible would protect us from this.)

So remember, I am not saying the Olympian gods were real angels, I am saying they are descriptions of angels in the same way Anna Karenina is a description of a 19th century aristocratic Russian woman.


9.13.2014

To the Puritanboard, once again...

Yes, Puritanboard, I know you are confused to no end by this doctrine of republication of the Covenant of Works on Sinai. Slow down, realize first that what you are getting wrong is making false teachers *smile.* Yes, you are not currently able to see the spiritual battlefield because you can't see how false teachers (those who would put forth salvation by works) are talking about the Covenant of Works.

To make it short (because you get confused too easily otherwise): There are three unique players in God's plan of redemption: 1. pre-fall Adam; 2. national Israel; 3. Jesus Christ Himself.

What does this mean for republication? Focus your attention on number 2, national Israel. NOT individual Israelites, but NATIONAL Israel. National Israel is a unique player in God's plan of redemption because national Israel is a type of the coming Messiah. Not only that, national Israel plays a role in the arrival of the Messiah, a bloodline role, an historical cradle role, *the very history of national Israel is the SUBSTANCE of the word of God.*

Now, with that in mind, when the Covenant of Works was republished on Sinai, in obviously elaborated form, it was so that the Second Adam - Jesus Christ - would be born under the law (made known to everybody) which he would fulfill thereby fulfilling what the first Adam - Adam in the Garden - failed to fulfill.

You see, it is a Covenant of Works for Jesus, and in that it is the Covenant of Grace for us. That is to say for individual fallen man (including individual fallen Israelites.

NATIONAL Israel, on the other hand, had a different relationship to Sinai (again, NOT individual fallen Israelites but national Israel as a unique entity). That unique relationship was ultimately fulfilled, or made meaningful in the birth of the Messiah. Prior to that their VERY history was the substance of God's revelation, which included showing all of fallen humanity that you can't save yourselves by your works.

OK, I've already confused you with too many words.

You are very obnoxious, Puritanboard, in your lecturing on a subject you don't have understanding of. You clerics and other kinds of leaders of Christians need to know when to be silent and to learn from those who have actual understanding of biblical doctrine. You don't have it. Try some silence for awhile.

9.12.2014

Just found this old book


It says our conversation is in heaven, and there is a saviour there who will change our body like unto his glorious body. And it says how he will do this: according to the working whereby he is even able to subdue all things unto himself.

This is a mysterious book...

(What I was trying to get across and maybe didn't is the Bible can become too familiar and it's great message and deep mystery can become mundane, yet if we see it as like no other book, in Gothic font for instance, with archaic spelling that we have to slow down and actually work over to get the meaning of each word and phrase and sentence, then it changes the experience. In a real way as well, not just some facile or surface-deep or cheaply novel way.)

8.27.2014

James White is historic

Narcissists often caricature themselves unknowingly...


[Note: I agree with White on pretty much everything but his views - aggressively stated views at that - on the manuscripts issues. On the latter he comes off as nigh Romanist, if not an actual Counter-Reformation Jesuit. Get the Word of God wrong and it really doesn't matter what else you have right. Also, when you have a view of the Word of God that makes you look down on it as something that needs you more than you need it it is difficult to see how it could ever regenerate you in the way we are regenerated, when we are, by the Word and the Spirit; but I'll leave that between him and God.]