A Sinful Woman Forgiven

Luke 7:36–50 (ESV)

36 One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, 38 and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” 40 And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.” 41 “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” 44 Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48 And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” 50 And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

For those who strongly dislike Calvin

People tend to either vilify Calvin or hold him up as the standard by which all of Christian thought must be measured. For either, I found this helpful. A Respost by Justin Taylor.

Calvin on the Good News in Christ

From John Calvin’s preface to Pierre-Robert Olivétan’s 1535 translation of the Bible.

“To all those who love Christ and his gospel,” Calvin writes:

Without the gospel

everything is useless and vain;

without the gospel

we are not Christians;

without the gospel

all riches is poverty,

all wisdom, folly before God;

strength is weakness, and

all the justice of man is under the condemnation of God.

But by the knowledge of the gospel we are made

children of God,

brothers of Jesus Christ,

fellow townsmen with the saints,

citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven,

heirs of God with Jesus Christ,

by whom

the poor are made rich,

the weak strong,

the fools wise,

the sinners justified,

the desolate comforted,

the doubting sure, and

slaves free.

The gospel is the Word of life.

In Institutes 2.16.19 he explains that “We see that our whole salvation and all its parts are comprehended in Christ [Acts 4:12]. We should therefore take care not to derive the least portion of it from anywhere else.”

If we seek salvation

we are taught by the very name of Jesus that it is “of him.”

If we seek any other gifts of the Spirit,

they will be found in his anointing.

If we seek strength,

it lies in his dominion;

if purity,

in his conception;

if gentleness,

it appears in his birth. For by his birth he was made like us in all respects that he might learn to feel our pain.

If we seek redemption,

it lies in his passion;

if acquittal,

in his condemnation;

if remission of the curse,

in his cross;

if satisfaction,

in his sacrifice;

if purification,

in his blood;

if reconciliation,

in his descent into hell;

if mortification of the flesh,

in his tomb;

in newness of life,

in his resurrection;

if immortality,

in the same;

if inheritance of the Heavenly Kingdom,

in his entrance into heaven;

if protection, if security, if abundant supply of all blessings,

in his Kingdom;

if untroubled expectation of judgment,

in the power given to him to judge.

In short, since rich store of every kind of good abounds in him, let us drink our fill from this fountain and from no other.

A followup post to "All Things Are Political."

Sometimes others express my opinions better than I do. This repost from the Gospel Coalition presents a cautionary tale for Protestant Christians:

CHRIS CASTALDO|12:03 AM CT

Freedom-Fighting Catholics

“It all comes down to catechesis.” Monsignor Irvine was known for memorable quips. A little leprechaun of a man, he was full of good-natured humor and wit (it was he who also told me, “Chris, if you go into the ministry, be sure to take God seriously and not yourself”). You can imagine, therefore, how my ears perked up when I recently spoke with Francis Cardinal George and heard him say nearly the same thing. “It’s all about catechesis.”

I don’t usually have dinner with the Cardinal (just for the record), but on this occasion I happened to be sitting beside him for an hour discussing the interface of Catholic theology and current affairs. The context of his comment was the Department of Health and Human Services mandate. With an admirable measure of candor, the Cardinal not only articulated his concern for the threat to our nation’s religious freedom, he also lamented the paucity of Christian thinking on the issue. However, far from a negative bemoaning of the problem, he was strikingly enthusiastic about the current “discipleship opportunity.”

Fortnight for Freedom 

Starting June 21, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) launched a Fortnight for Freedom, intended to expose the government’s violations of religious liberty. In an interview with CNN, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, explained that leading up to July 4, there will be prayer vigils, religious rallies, and homilies at Mass to build awareness among the faithful. In his words, it is about “prayer, education, and action.”

It is interesting to observe this movement through the lens of “catechesis.” Once again, quoting Cardinal Wuerl who spoke on Sunday before a rally at George Washington University, “We’re here to educate about freedom. We started this campaign to say religious liberty is eroding.” To understand precisely what part of liberty the Cardinal understands to be eroding, you’ll want to read the recent USCCB statement titled “Our First, Most Cherished Liberty.” Here is one of several places in the document where the theme of catechesis emerges:

Catechesis on religious liberty is not the work of priests alone. The Catholic Church in America is blessed with an immense number of writers, producers, artists, publishers, filmmakers, and bloggers employing all the means of communications—both old and new media—to expound and teach the faith. They too have a critical role in this great struggle for religious liberty. We call upon them to use their skills and talents in defense of our first freedom.

One such writer is Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York, whose new ebook,True Freedom: On Protecting Human Dignity and Religious Liberty (Image Books), was released June 19. Over and against the government’s secular creed, which supports abortion providers with tax dollars, imposes the HHS mandates, and threatens to redefine marriage, the Cardinal envisions a “culture of life” in which men and women, made in God’s image, are free to live out their faith. Quoting Pope Leo XIII, Cardinal Dolan begins: “True freedom . . . is that freedom which most truly safeguards the dignity of the human person. It is stronger than any violence or injustice. Such is the freedom which has always been desired by the Church, and which she holds most dear.” The Bishops’ message might be unpopular, but it is eminently clear.

The Challenge of Communication

As every pastor knows, catechesis involves two distinct challenges: content and delivery. You labor to craft a message from God, and when your exegesis is done, you’re only half-finished. Along this line, the Catholic Bishops are now facing a communication challenge. According to sociologist William D’Antonio and his team at Catholic University, whose recent study Catholics in America: Persistence and Change in the Catholic Landscape wasfeatured in USA Today, these challenges include the following:

  • 86 percent of Catholics say “you can disagree with aspects of church teachings and still remain loyal to the church.” Only about 30 percent support the “teaching authority claimed by the Vatican.”
  • 40 percent say you can be a good Catholic without believing that in Mass, the bread and wine really become the body and blood of Christ—a core doctrine of Catholicism.
  • When asked why they don’t go to Mass more often, 40 percent say they are simply not very religious.
  • 88 percent say “how a person lives is more important than whether he or she is Catholic.”

While the antichristian bias of government and media is a formidable challenge to U.S. Catholic Bishops, the more immediate predicament may actually be the lukewarm theology of men and women who identify themselves as Catholic. To be sure, there is no room for triumphalism here. We Protestants see enough nominal faith in our own ranks. But it may raise a point worth considering.

The enterprise of catechesis can only succeed when one’s public identity is manifestly defined and critiqued by the objective truth of divine revelation. Any bifurcation between public and private life pulls the carpet out from beneath the whole project. Evangelism, discipleship, and the fulfillment of Christian vocation are all predicated on this conviction; otherwise, there is a smattering of religious opinions and nothing more.

Men and women will only listen to their pastors and take action when they believe that they are hearing the voice of God. How do churches arrive at this place? This, too, underscores the point of my favorite Irish Monsignor: “It all comes down to catechesis.”

Chris Castaldo serves as director of the Ministry of Gospel Renewal for the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College. He is the author of Holy Ground: Walking with Jesus as a Former Catholic and a main contributor to Journeys of Faith: Evangelicalism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Catholicism, Anglicanism. He blogs atwww.chriscastaldo.com.

 

"Everything is Political" or is it?

There is an alternative magazine called This Magazine. on it’s masthead it has the subtitle, “Because Everything is Political.” Aside from the journal being really anything but alternative (just more uber-left anarchist stuff), it raises an interesting question:

Is everything indeed, political?

I attended a pastor’s breakfast today that helped me to focus a bit on this question. The reason for the meeting was Ontario’s new anti-bullying bill which is a lot more about social engineering in schools than it is about protecting anyone from getting hurt or harassed. In fact, the law pretty much guarantees that things will get a lot worse for a lot of students under this piece of legislation. More can be read about it here.

The issues raised at the breakfast are valid; as a result of new curriculum in Ontario public schools, the question of the homosexuality, bisexuality, etc., (the categories are getting pretty long and complex) have become settled: no one has the right to be on the dissenting side of the debate, no one can learn otherwise in a public school in Ontario. Those who oppose the rightness, goodness, and normalcy of such behaviour must be reeducated. The acceptance of what the Bible calls sexual sin will be enforced from Kindergarten through grade 12. In Wisconsin, where this curriculum has been adopted, grade school students must participate in a gay pride parade at their school.

Pastors are urged to organize to fight this legislation, and the general slide to lawlessness in public schools. I can sympathize with that. But I think, though, that a political solution might not be the right one, because the problem isn’t a political problem, but a spiritual one.

Secularists see the political realm as the one area of life that really matters. It is there that society, family, the individuals and institutions are shaped for the future. This makes sense, because a secularist does not acknowledge spiritual reality.

To respond to bad public policy with political activism seems, at least on the surface, to be the obvious approach, and, although difficult, the simplest. But the Christian needs to remember that all of life is God’s domain, in spite of the fact that unbelievers move only in the secular-political realm (because for many, that is the only reality acknowledged). So there are places, ideas, realms, if you will, that should be  obviously spiritual: human sexuality, marriage, and family for instance.

Marriage has, allegedly, been  redefined to include unions that are same-sex. That redefinition is only political, and the political has no authority to do so. Marriage is God’s to define, and define it He did. Widening the debate a little, God has also spoken very clearly about same-sex relationships, and they are forbidden. Sex, however, has also been politicised to the point that the spiritual has been crowded out.

But the Christian knows otherwise: There has never been a same-sex marriage in human history, because such unions are not marriage.

So I think the real culture wars will be less on the political/legislative front, and more to issue of denying the legitimacy of political domination of God’s Rule. Normalizing homosexuality, sanctioning same-sex marriae, and all that accompanies these moves are illegitimate actions for governments. These are not their domains of power or influence, except that power and influence has been usurped.

This is why schools are still going on about bullying: bullying is a spiritual problem, a problem of sin, not a political one. The political does not acknowledge the reality of sin, the need of salvation, or the reality of a God Who judges, so how can the political come up with a solution?

I am not opposed to Christians organizing and doing some things politically, but a couple of thoughts came to me at this meeting. The first was, if Christians were faithful and consistent, why would these trends be so prevalent in our culture today? We are at a spiritual low ebb, and we have sunk lower than we can even recognize. For example, if we consider the most popular Christian book titles (for those who still read), we find first of all, the Bible (purchased by millions, read by hundreds). Following this are books about self, self, and how to have a happy self; or “Christian” fiction. Contemporary Christian music often falls between mind-altering repetitious chanting of the same few lines, aka “worship,” or creepy love songs that seem inappropriate when addressing deity. We have more books, internet, radio, television, DVDs, video games, etc., that all fall under the “Christian” category, and yet we are possibly the most Biblically illiterate generation since the Reformation. We really are, “amused to death.”

The second thought that came to me at this meeting truly hit home, and hard. It was an exhortation from a pastor from a large charismatic congregation in Stoney Creek. He said, “The government is not afraid of the church at prayer. The government is not afraid of the church’s message. But they are afraid when Christians are united and organized!” This garnered some loud “Amens!” from the group, but I found it summarized the political idolatry many Christian organizations, as well as churches and individual Christians, have fallen into: we have exchanged the political for the spiritual.

To wit: If the world isn’t afraid of our message, what’s wrong with our message? As far as I know, the apostle Paul did not organize a political response to Rome, yet his message was so well understood by Rome that he was beheaded, and thousands of Christians were killed for their faith. That tells me that the message was heard and received, and rejected by the government of the day. What message does the government hear from us today? The message of the early church was rejected by early Rome because it placed God as God, and rightly named the rulers and religions of the day as idolatrous. This is why being so political seems so misguided: the church legitimizes governments’ powers when it plays by their rules, rules that are false and idolatrous.

Romans 1:16–17 (ESV) says,

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it [the gospel] is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

I don’t know where in the New Testament that God blesses political prowess. But God has promised salvation through the gospel, and salvation is what sets us free from sin (all sin).  Have we really exhausted that power, so that we have to become a political threat to our government before there is change? Do we really think that?

I am not advocating quietism or anything like that. I think Christians should boldly and clearly state God’s truth on all matters of life, and that the government has no right to act in some of the areas it does. The power it claims does not rightfully belong to a government, even if it is a majority. The things of God are God’s, and we would do well to behave accordingly. We must continue to be salt and light, to clearly state Christian truth, and to live the truth so that our lives are seen as a real alternative to live’s lost in confusion.

If you are reading this are thinking that it would be nice for Christians to get out of politics, and therefore out of the way, you’re missing the point. We will always be in the way, and exposing the lie that political reality is the only true faith, or that mankind’s deepest yearnings are satisfied in parliament.

Gay Pride | Gay Shame

So this is hate speech.

What then, is this? (Content Warning: explicit, disturbing, and offensive photos).

For those who might miss the point: hypocrites. Western society has moved from non-criminalisation of homosexuality to a forced sanction.

It might be good to note that not everyone is seeking a political answer to a spiritual problem. See this article by John Piper, as well as this one.

THIS must be why so many people are leaving Canada | National Post

Having trouble meeting people? UN says Canada’s laws on free association ‘harsh’

(Meanwhile, REAL human rights abuses are ignored: http://www.campaignlifecoalition.com/index.php?p=Anti-bullying_Bill_13)

  Jun 21, 2012 – 10:45 PM ET | Last Updated: Jun 22, 2012 11:44 AM ET

FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images files

FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images files

Maina Kiai also levelled criticism on the Swiss Canton of Geneva, where the UN’s human rights body is located.

For the second time in a week, a United Nations official has listed Canada alongside illiberal regimes as a prominent violator of basic rights and freedoms.

Speaking on Wednesday before the UN’s human rights council, UN special rapporteur Maina Kiai listed Canada — along with Belarus, Ethiopia, the Russian Federation and Jordan — as countries where “the laws are particularly harsh in terms of restricting the freedom of association.” Mr. Kiai was specifically referring to Quebec’s recently passed Bill 78. The law — passed last month in response to unruly, ongoing street marches protesting tuition increases — requires demonstrators to give police eight hours’ notice before a protest.

Mr. Kiai also levelled criticism on the Swiss Canton of Geneva, where the UN’s human rights body is located. In March, following a referendum, Geneva enacted a law imposing fines of up to $107,000 on organizers who allow their protests to descend into violence.

The risk to freedom of expression “cuts right across the world and there’s no country exempt from them,” said Mr. Kiai, adding that “there’s no way I will pick and choose which countries I will pay attention to.”

If the brutal and oppressive regime of Belarus dictator Alexander Lukashenko is equal to Canadian and Swiss democracy, people may conclude that maybe he’s not so bad after all

The comments came just two days after Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, addressing the same council, called the Quebec bill an “alarming” move to restrict freedom of assembly. That prompted condemnation from Quebec premier Jean Charest and Federal Foreign Minister John Baird. “Quebec is a very democratic place, subject to the rule of law,” said Mr. Baird, noting that Bill 78 can be challenged before a court.

By failing to do her “due diligence” on the Quebec situation, Ms. Pillay “wasted a valuable opportunity to further focus on true human rights abuses,” Elissa Golberg, Canada’s Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, told the UN Human Rights Council on Monday.

“Too often at the UN, a doctrine of political correctness compounded by pressure from powerful blocs of states leads to jaywalkers being treated the same as rapists and murderers,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, in a statement Thursday.

Targeting Quebec’s protest laws do not promote higher human rights standards, but the “opposite,” said the Montreal-born Mr. Neuer. “If the brutal and oppressive regime of Belarus dictator Alexander Lukashenko is equal to Canadian and Swiss democracy, people may conclude that maybe he’s not so bad after all,” he said.

Both Mr. Kiai and Ms. Pillay’s comments were made before a human rights council notorious for a rotating membership that includes prominent human rights abusers such as China, Cuba and Saudi Arabia. Since its creation in 2006, the Council has directed more than half of its resolutions against Israel.

In May, the same UN Council sponsored a Canadian visit by Olivier De Schutter, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food. After an eleven-day tour of Canada — his first to a developed country — Mr. De Schutter said Canada should drop its “self-righteous” attitude and own up to a severe food insecurity problem.

Speaking to Postmedia, the special rapporteur also blasted Canada’s “appallingly poor” record of taking UN human-rights bodies seriously.

More from Gary North on Education

May, 1995

 

Dear ICE Subscriber:

 

Earlier this year, I received a letter from the headmaster of a Christian high school. The school, he said, is committed to providing a classical education. He asked me if ICE could supply materials that would improve his curriculum. I wrote back to him that the most important thing he could do for his students is to scrap his curriculum.

Peter wrote: “But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire” (II Peter 2:22). He was not writing about classical education, but he could have been.

Classical education undermines Christian orthodoxy. Christian orthodoxy has tried to make classical education Christian for over eighteen centuries, and it has always failed; the reverse always happens. Classical education is a Trojan horse: Greeks bearing gifts.

Classical education begins with a premise: the student must learn the classics. The classics are pagan: Greek and Roman literature and philosophy. They were based on the premise that man is the measure of all things, that man’s reason is ultimate. The rational side of the Renaissance was based on the same premise. (Its irrational side was also a revival of Greek and Roman religion: occult, magical, and either chance-based or fatalistic.)

Medieval Scholasticism was as committed to the classics as the Renaissance was, though without classical occultism and pornography. The Scholastics were committed academically far more to Aristotle than to the Bible, especially in their political philosophy. They worshipped at Aristotle’s shrine. Prior to the eleventh century, medieval theologians had worshipped at Plato’s shrine: neoplatonic mysticism. The Scholastics substituted Aristotle for Plato. There was some gain — Aristotle at least was not a communist, as Plato was — but not in the realm of men’s presuppositions. It was the equivalent of substituting Milton Friedman for Karl Marx: better economics, but the same old humanism. For humanism, man is the measure, and man’s mind is the sole valid instrument of measurement. The Bible denies this view.

From the beginning, the medieval university was committed to classical education, and from the beginning, rationalism and irrationalism (mysticism) undermined the Christian roots of education. By the time of Cromwell and the Puritan Revolution of 1642-59, the Puritans suspected that the curriculum of Oxford and Cambridge was against them, yet they did not seek to change it. They hoped that inward salvation would somehow make Renaissance rationalism Christian. Cromwell changed nothing at Oxford, even though as Lord Protector, he was chancellor of Oxford. John Morgan writes in his survey of Puritan education, Godly Learning: Puritan Attitudes towards Reason, Learning and Education, 1560–1640 (Cambridge University Press, 1986):

Puritans did not venture far from the traditional academic routine. The structures of educational institutions, and the content as affected by Renaissance urgings, seemed to satisfy their need for an academic base. There can certainly be no doubt of the very limited effects of puritans to the legacy of the Renaissance, or in developing the human intellect in the Baconian sense of the `advancement of learning.’ . . . A novel theory of learning or education lay outside the necessities of a puritan blueprint for the future (pp. 305–6).

To indulge in classical education is to indulge in Renaissance education. To force a child to learn Latin is to encourage him to accept the premises either of medieval Catholicism or the Renaissance. Yet today’s would-be Puritans have accepted the error of those Puritans who built Harvard. Harvard went Unitarian in 1804. Christians know something is wrong with rationalism, yet they seem incapable of breaking with the past.

Van Til’s apologetics should warn us: the history of Christian philosophy has been one long compromise with the philosophy of autonomous man. From Plato to Newton, from Newton to Kant, from Kant to some cast-off liberal fad, Christian philosophers have sought to baptize humanism. They hope to appropriate for Christ the anti-Christian philosophies of their day or an earlier day. They trust the natural mind of the natural man, refusing to acknowledge the enormous danger involved: the importation of alien philosophical categories into the Church. And so, without exception, Christians for over 1800 years have surrendered education, and therefore the future (inheritance), to the humanists.

What is the obvious sign of this surrender today? The futile attempt to revive Latin. Why force a child to master Latin rather than New Testament Greek? Greek will enable him to read the New Testament in the original — an obvious benefit. But what is the benefit of Latin? Except for the historian of the ancient or medieval eras — for whom there will be no paying employment — Latin is peripheral. Yet it is seen as the mark of true learning. Latin was the universal language of the Western Church, i.e., Roman Catholicism and early Protestantism. But that learning was deeply compromised with Renaissance humanism. At best, Latin will enable a tiny handful of highly skilled, highly motivated, and poorly paid Christian scholars to read fragments of the Latin Church fathers. Meanwhile, we live in an era in which the vast majority of Christians know nothing of Calvin, where Calvinist pastors have yet to read all of The Institutes of the Christian Religion, let alone Calvin’s commentaries. Forget about Latin; teach the Institutes. Abandon the futile boast: “My child is receiving a classical education, just like the good old days.” The good old days produced the bad new days, step by step. The assumption of intellectual neutrality is the Church’s great enemy. Latin education was the primary agency used to spread this lie.

I see home school mothers who cannot read Latin, who have no intention of reading Latin, who are utterly uninterested in anything written only in Latin, buying Latin grammars to inflict on their hapless children. Why? Because somebody they trusted told them that “Latin is basic to a well-rounded education.” To which I reply: “Latin was basic to the initiation process of pagan and/or deeply compromised academics to gain control over the training of each generation of Christian leaders in England and America.” Latin was a wedge used to separate Christian children from their parents. In the same way that the sex education fanatics today devise ways to keep parents from finding out what teachers are really teaching the children, so was Latin for six or seven centuries. To open the doors of ecclesiastical office and government patronage to your child, Christian parents had to surrender him to the Latin-based curriculum, a curriculum that rested squarely on the autonomy of man. The child was initiated into classical humanism by way of Latin.

What is nothing short of astounding is that there are dedicated Christians today who insist on doing this to their children. They insist on reviving the tool of their ancient enemies in the name of traditional education. But traditional education was Satan’s own tool for capturing the souls of Christians as well as their inheritance. Satan’s agents abandoned that tool only late in the nineteenth century, when it became clear that mass education was going to make the traditional Latin school obsolete as an initiation process for the elite. At that point, the humanists substituted the modern curriculum, in which Latin plays no role. Latin has become a lost tool of learning. Let’s keep it that way!

Is there a role for Latin? Only historical. If there were a self-conscious effort on the part of dozens of Christian schools to create a cooperative program for translating the 220 volumes of J. P. Migne’s Latin Church Fathers, I would approve. But the cost — $65,000 for four CD-ROM disks, shared by four schools — is prohibitive. Christian schools do not have the funds or the vision to begin a project like this. Until they do, it is foolish to indulge in the waste of time that a Latin curriculum involves. The vast majority of children so initiated will learn only the equivalent of pigeon Latin. If a child cannot sight read a foreign language without a dictionary by age 14, then whatever benefits he has received from the exercise of learning that language are indirect, e.g., learning the rules of grammar. If someone is going to be forced to do this, then he should learn a language useful to Christians: Greek, first; Hebrew, second, and Latin only a distant third. But what do we see? Mostly Latin, with no Greek and no Hebrew. This is Renaissance pride in action.

What does your child really need? First, he must learn how to read early, so he will enjoy reading throughout his life. He must learn to read critically. This means he must also learn to write, for in writing, the student learns how others have communicated with him through the printed page. Reading and writing are complementary skills.

Second, he should gain a knowledge of the Bible. I prefer the King James Version, for these reasons: (1) the language is magnificent; (2) its unique phrases stick in the mind, making Bible study easier; (3) the Strong’s numbers are tied to the King James, making serious Bible study easier, especially with a modern computerized Bible search program.

Third, he must master mathematics. Until there is a self-consciously Christian version of Saxon’s math program available, we should go with Saxon, which emphasizes review and mastery. Fourth, anything else that interests him. Let him master a subject for the joy and experience of mastering it.

Christian education should be highly focused on a handful of topics: reading-writing, Bible, and mathematics. To force a child to take six courses per semester is both traditional and foolish if the child has not first mastered reading, writing, arithmetic, and the Bible. If he has mastered these, he can pick up the other courses in short order, such as by preparing through Advanced Placement exam cram courses.

Students can sometimes gain admission to a local junior college and take courses that count for both high school and college. My son did this: he started college part-time at age 14. He graduated from high school at 15. He will be a junior in college the month he turns 18. Even if a child does not graduate, he or she can attend a junior college at age 18, when, by law, the JC must accept the child on a provisional basis, even without a diploma.

A child who has gone through the King James Bible twice and Saxon’s calculus once will get 1,000+ on the SAT, and will gain provisional acceptance in most colleges without a high school diploma. I have my 15-year-old daughter taking Saxon math (algebra II) and Shakespeare. Every week she writes a paper on one of the plays. She is getting a feel for the most magnificent English every written. Then I have her use a computerized typing course (Typing Tutor), so that she can type her weekly paper. Her grammar is generally correct; she can communicate on paper. She is learning how to think.

The lust for academic certification is what has placed the Christians under the domination of the humanists for nine centuries. How will we break the cycle? Christians make their children take high school biology. Why? So they can cut up frogs and learn Darwinism? They make them take high school chemistry. Why? So they can find out that hydrogen sulfide smells rotten? They make them take high school history. Why? So they can get the Enlightenment view of American history, which is what most of the high school textbooks teach?

All of this can be picked up in college by anyone who has mastered the King James Bible and calculus. It does no good to force a child to speak pigeon history, pigeon chemistry, and pigeon anything else at the expense of fluency in reading, writing, Bible, and mathematics. Yet Christian day schools and most home schools are tied to the state-approved curriculum. The “innovative” ones then add classical education. We compel our children to read the lies of Greece and Rome that led to the persecution of the early Church. Like kidnap victims, the early Church’s apologists proclaimed the wisdom of their own kidnappers — what two decades ago was called Patty Hearst syndrome. That famous poster of Patty Hearst holding a machine gun during a bank robbery should be placed above the door of every Christian school headmaster whose school teaches classical education.

 

Sincerely,

Great Article on Homeschooling Christian Education by Gary North

Classical Christian Education Is Like Marxist Christian Education, But a Lot More Subtle.

Gary North
Printer-Friendly Format

What if I came before a group of Christian mothers at a home school convention and asked this question?

 Would you spend money to buy a curriculum program based on a philosophy of education that assumes the following? (1) The legitimacy of homosexuality, especially the seduction of teenage boys by men over age 30; (2) warfare as a man’s supremely meaningful activity; (3) polytheism; (4) a personal demon as a philosopher’s source of correct logic; (5) slavery as the foundation of civilization; (6) politics as mankind’s only means of attaining the good life, meaning salvation; (7) the exclusion of women from all aspects of public religion; (8) the legitimacy of female infanticide.

Preposterous, correct? On the contrary, at least a third of them have already decided to adopt such a curriculum. It’s called the Christian classical curriculum — also called the classical Christian curriculum — and it’s all the rage these days in Christian home schooling circles and day schools. Parents line up to give their children the education they never had. Christian Parents don’t know how blessed they were not to have had to endure it.

Not having to go through through the unstable hybrid known as the classical Christian curriculum is an advantage every Christian high school student deserves.

Greek society and Greek wisdom were based on all eight of the characteristics I listed above. Classical culture, which flourished for about two centuries, 600 B.C. to 400 B.C. Its primary religious and cultural document was the Iliad, and during the Peloponnesian war, the city-states fought themselves to exhaustion. Greece was easily conquered by Alexander the Great in the 330’s. And why not? His tutor had been Aristotle, who taught him all about Greek culture. Alexander learned its weaknesses, and he took advantage of this. But Christian parents don’t know its weaknesses, so they encourage their children to have respect for the culture that Paul called to repentance in Acts 17.

Parents who know nothing of Greek history and culture think they are doing their children a favor by assigning them the classics. What they are doing is to repeat the errors of the Middle Ages: mixing two ways of thinking into one unstable mass. Renaissance humanism triumphed culturally in Italy by scrapping the Christian aspects of that unstable mixture.

Of course, the assigned texts have been edited. They do not reveal openly to students or their parents what classical Greek culture was really all about, and what underlay it. Students are not told, for example, that Socrates admitted that a demon (“daimon”) told him when his logic was wrong. But he did.

I wrote about this back in 1995. I have not changed my mind. Read what I wrote then. Click here.

This is probably why I never get asked to speak at home school conventions.

If you want a free solution, start here: http://www.freechristiancurriculum.com.

On Free Expression | Mark Steyn

Mark Steyn: I hate to say I told you so. Actually, I don’t. I love it

As I have said, section 13 is not a right-left thing

by Mark Steyn on Tuesday, June 19, 2012 5:40am –

I hate to say I told you so. Actually, I don’t. I love it.

Richard Warman (photo by Tony Fouhse)

“Coloured people don’t like Little Black Sambo. Burn it. White people don’t feel good about Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Burn it.”

Thus, Ray Bradbury in his prescient 1953 novel Fahrenheit 451. On June 6, the day after Bradbury’s death at the age of 91, the House of Commons passed Brian Storseth’s private member’s bill repealing Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act. Fahrenheit 451 draws its name from the temperature at which books burn; Canada’s Fahrenheit 13 is its frosty northern inverse—the temperature at which the state chills freedom of expression. Free speech is the lifeblood of free societies, and, as this magazine has learned over the last half-decade, our decayed Dominion was getting a bad case of hypothermia.

We’re not alone in this. In Britain, Australia, France, Denmark, the Netherlands and many other places, democratic societies have become far too comfortable in policing the opinions of the citizenry. But even by comparison with our Commonwealth cousins and Western Europe, Section 13 and its provincial equivalents are repugnant—practically, philosophically, and operationally.

 

As a practical matter, an extremely narrow licence to combat the mortal threat to Canadians of 1970s answering machines effortlessly metastasized into investigating the country’s most-read magazine for publishing an excerpt from a No. 1 Canadian bestseller. Which was entirely predictable to everyone except genius jurists on the Supreme Court—because make-work bureaucracies are never going to content themselves with being a little bit pregnant.

Philosophically, it was a cure worse than the disease: Ian Fine, the senior counsel of the Canadian “Human Rights” Commission, declared that his organization was committed to the abolition of hatred—not “hate crimes,” not even “hate speech,” but hate—a human emotion; you know, like the human emotions the control-freak enforcers attempt to abolish in Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Stepford Wives. Any society of free peoples will include its share of hate: it could not be human without it. And, as bad as racists and homophobes and Islamophobes and whateverphobes may be, empowering Mr. Fine’s ever more coercive enforcement regime to micro-regulate us into glassy-eyed compliance is a thousand times worse.

Operationally, Section 13 was stinkingly corrupt. There are some 34 million Canadians, yet just one individual citizen had his name on almost every Section 13 prosecution of the last decade. Just as Matthew Hopkins appointed himself England’s Witchfinder General in 1645 and went around the country turning in raven-tressed crones for the bounty of a pound per witch, so Richard Warman appointed himself Canada’s Hatefinder General and went around turning in shaven-headed tattooed losers in their mums’ basements for far more lucrative bounties of tens of thousands of dollars. He filed his complaints as a supposedly “offended” and “damaged” private citizen while an employee of Her Majesty’s Government. And, in fairness to Matthew Hopkins, he didn’t personally put on a pointy black hat and ride around on a broomstick. Whereas Mr. Warman joined Stormfront and other “white supremacist” websites and posted copious amounts of hate speech of his own, describing, for example, Jewish members of cabinet as “scum” and gays as a “cancer.” That’s how “hateful” Canada is: there’s so little “hate” out there that the country’s most famous Internet Nazi is a taxpayer-funded civil servant.

For Warman, there was little risk: you paid his costs, and the dice were loaded. After Hosni Mubarak was “re-elected” with 97.1 per cent of the vote, he was said to be furious with his officials for stealing too much of the election and making him look like one of those crude ham-fisted dictator-for-life types like Saddam and Kim Il-Sung. So next time round his officials arranged for him to “win” with a mere 96.3 per cent of the vote. Canada’s “human rights” commissars had no such squeamishness: until the tenacious Marc Lemire won his landmark victory in 2009, Section 13 prosecutions had a three-decade 100 per cent conviction rate even the Soviets might envy.

That wasn’t even the most basic affront. Until Maclean’s intervened in 2008, Lemire’s Section 13 trial was scheduled to be held in secret. I couldn’t quite believe this when I chanced to happen upon the “judge’s” rationale, and I suggested en passant that we should get Maclean’s estimable QC Julian Porter to file a whatchamacallit, a brief or motion or whatever, referencing precedents and other jurisprudential-type stuff, and put a rocket up these totalitarian buggers by treating their dank outhouse of pseudo-justice as a real courtroom subject to real law. Secret trials are for Beijing and Tehran, yet in the name of “human rights” they were introduced to Ottawa.

The line that sums up my objection to the racket was formulated by the Toronto blogger Kathy Shaidle: “You’re too stupid to tell me what to think.” In recent days, the last lonely defenders of the Canadian thought police have all volunteered to demonstrate Miss Shaidle’s proposition. The Opposition critic for “public safety,” Randall Garrison,bemoaned the demise of the commissars’ “power to educate Canadians.” “We do have a serious problem,” said Garrison. “If you take away the power to take [websites] down, it’s not clear they have any mandate to even talk to people about it and educate them about it.”

Unlike Canada’s government-in-waiting, I don’t want the state to have a “mandate” to “educate” the citizen about his opinions. Generally speaking, re-education camp hasn’t worked out so well in those systems that have adopted the Garrison program. Yet joining him, inevitably, in a final desperate defence of Section 13 is Bernie Farber, former head of the Canadian Jewish Congress and Barbara Hall’s rumoured successor as Ontario’s Chief Censor. Capt. Farber is determined to go down on the Good Ship Stupid. As evidence of the need for Section 13, Mr. Farber excitedly tweeted that “when Nazis rejoice we known [sic] something must be very wrong.” Section 13 is all that stands between you and jackboots on the 401!

Just for the record, the last “hate crime” conviction secured under Section 13 was an Internet post read by just eight people, which works out to 0.8 per cent of a Canadian per province, or, if you include territories, 0.6153 per cent of a Canadian—most of whom were undercover civil servants playing dress-up Nazis. Indeed, at least one of those 0.6153 per cent of a Canadian was Mr. Farber or one of his colleagues, since the CJC was an “interested party” on the suit and presumably, if they were that “interested,” they actually read the thing.

But nobody else did.

There is a tragic quality to the obtuseness of what Ezra Levant calls Canada’s “official Jews.” Europe is awash in explicit Jew-hatred on a scale unseen since the Second World War: synagogues are burned, schools are attacked, children are murdered, and, even on quieter days, Jews are enjoined to walk around Toulouse and Amsterdam and Malmo without any identifying marks of their faith. In Calgary, demonstrators of a certain, ahem, religio-cultural background march under placards proclaiming “Death to the Jews!” In Toronto, their comrades stand on sidewalks and express enthusiasm for a new Holocaust. But, as long as there’s one last penniless loser neo-Nazi getting his swastika tramp-stamp touched up at the tattoo parlor in Redneck Junction, Bernie knows his priorities. Canada’s “human rights” regime is less than useless against real threats to social tranquility, but it does enable cardboard crusaders to enjoy cosy sinecures pursuing phantom enemies.

Meanwhile, Warren Kinsella, whom older readers may recall as Jean Chrétien’s attack poodle, began his column bemoaning the end of Section 13 by asserting that people would now be free to use the words “Kike. Nigger. Faggot. Paki. Chink.”

Actually, lots of people use those words all the time. Mordecai Richler used to refer to his favorite berth at Le Mas des Oliviers as “the Kikes’ round table”; there is nary a gangster rapper for whom the epithet “nigger” is not as omnipresent as “moon” and “June” were in less attitudinal ditties; and the best-known comedy sketch of Canada’s acclaimed Kids in the Hall has just one word in the script, recurring over and over: “Fag.” As for “Chink,” a couple of years ago Kinsella himself was forced to make a grovelling apology to “the Chinese community” after an ill-advised jest about ordering the cat at his favourite restaurant in Ottawa: even the most censorious of politically correct enforcers occasionally forget themselves and accidentally behave like normal human beings. Kinsella made the mistake of assuming that, just as rappers can sing Strictly For My N.I.G.G.A.Z and gay comics can do fag jokes, so a Liberal of impeccable Trudeaupian credentials is free to engage in feline Sinophobia. You would think, after the Chinese cat got his tongue, that Mr. Kinsella might be somewhat chastened. But no, he too is determined to go down with the Good Ship Stupid:

The boy stood on the burning deck

When all but he had fled

Denouncing ev’ry naughty word

Emerging from his head.

“You weren’t hurting anyone, you were hurting only things!” wrote Ray Bradbury in Fahrenheit 451. “You were simply cleaning up. Janitorial work, essentially. Everything to its proper place. Quick with the kerosene! Who’s got a match!” Toss ’em on the bonfire—criminal words, illegal cat jokes, they’re only things.

I wish Randall Garrison and the other defenders of censorship and secret trials and 100 per cent conviction rates understood. As I said here years ago, it’s not a right-left thing, it’s a free-unfree thing. And I’m glad the Parliament of Canada is finally on the right side of that divide.

 

 

The Curse of Motivational Speaking | A Repost by Conrad Mbewe

The Curse Of Motivational Speaking

Last Sunday, a young man came to see me after our church service. He is the kind of guy who shows up at church once in a while and then disappears for a season. My guess is that he goes around churches sampling sermons and looking for answers. On this visit, he asked that I help him to overcome a failure in his life, and it was a failure to progress. He said that his greatest problem is that he does not believe in himself. Could I help him believe in himself so that he could become successful?

I asked him whether he was a Christian. His answer was, “Do I really need to be a Christian in order to be successful? Are you telling me that all those successful people out there are Christians? Aren’t there general principles that I can apply to my life—whether I am a Christian or not—that can catapult me to success?” I challenged him to answer that question himself. After all, I was sure he had done enough rounds among motivational speakers to have the answer.
“That is the problem,” he said, “I have been told that such principles exist and I have tried them. They seem to work for a while and then I am back to my old self again. I want you to help me find that formula that will help me go forward and never slide back to the place where I do not believe in myself.” To cut the long story short, I finally persuaded him of the need for reconciliation with God before anyone can break free from the frustrating rut that God locks unreconciled sinners in.
I gave him a booklet to read, entitled, What is a Biblical Christian? When we met the following day, he was honest enough to tell me that he was disappointed with what he read because it was not telling him what he wanted to hear. “What I want to know is how I can be successful. This booklet did not say anything about that.” I repeated what I told him earlier. What he needed was not belief in himself but belief in a Saviour sent from heaven. He needed forgiveness as a foundation for his life.

Yesterday, a church member told me that he met the young man in the local market. He had two booklets in his hands. The first was the one I had given him and the second one was by Joel Osteen. He told our member, “Pastor Mbewe gave me this book but I don’t like it because it makes me feel guilty. I prefer this one by Joel Osteen because it lifts me up. It motivates me.” I am very concerned about this and so I decided to put some thoughts together about the curse of motivational speaking.
Sadly, motivational speaking has become the staple diet of many evangelical pulpits. The message being heard is, “God has put the potential in you and all you need to do is believe in yourself to unlock that potential. Have a grand vision and live out that vision. You must be a man or woman of destiny and the sky will be the limit for you. Don’t let your past failures get in your way of success. Look beyond them, as Jesus looked beyond the cross and thus overcame it. You are the head and not the tail. ”
In the light of the plethora of motivational speaking, it begs the question, “Is this how Old Testament and New Testament preachers preached?” If I summarise the preaching of Noah, Moses, Elijah, Isaiah, Jonah, Paul, Peter, etc., in the Bible, is this the kind of message that I will find there? I do not think so. Granted, motivational speakers borrow words from these men, but borrowing someone’s words is not the same thing as saying what he is saying. “A text without a context is a pretext.”
My chief quarrel with motivational speaking is that it reduces God to a means rather than an end. Men and women are not made to see that the nature of SIN lies in the letter “I” in the middle of the word. Instead, motivational speaking feeds that same ego and points to God as the one who can spoil it to the point of intoxication. That is a lie! It is God alone who must be at the centre of our lives. Christianity demands a dying to self, a taking up of one’s cross, and a following after a suffering Saviour.
Whenever I listen to motivational speaking, I seem to hear the message, “Peace, peace,” where there is no peace. It sounds to me like a doctor assuring a patient who has terminal cancer in its final stages that he should not worry because all will be okay if he only believes in himself. The guy is dying, man, for crying out loud! It is the height of insincerity if a preacher knows that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23) and instead makes those heading for the slaughterhouse feel nice.
Motivational speaking makes people feel good, whereas the gospel first makes people feel bad—until they find their all in Christ. True preaching must make people face the fact that they are living in rebellion against God and that they need to repent or they will perish. It is only as people recognise this and cry out, “What shall we do to be saved?” (Acts 2:37, 16:30) that true preaching gives them the good news, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13).
Motivational speaking is an attempt at trying to kill a charging lion with a pea-gun, using freshly cooked peas, spiced with the most aromatic seasonings. The aroma may be tantalizing to the taste buds, but it is totally useless in bringing down that ferocious beast. Men and women outside Christ are DEAD in trespasses and sins. Exciting their senses with nice-sounding platitudes will not give them life. They need the law to kill their fallen egos and the gospel of Jesus Christ to give them life.
I know that motivational speaking is filling up our church buildings until they look like football stadiums. In this world of misery and gloom, we can all do with some encouragement. But is that all that we were called to do as preachers? What good is it if men feel inspired and motivated, and then go back home to live a life of sin and selfishness? Sadly this is the norm in so many evangelical churches. The churches are filled to capacity with people determined to drink sin like water the whole week.
Motivational speaking is not biblical preaching. It is a blight on the landscape of true evangelicalism. It is filling the churches with dead people who are being told to live as if they are alive. We need to return to the good old gospel that truly gives life to the dead and sets men and women free. Like Paul of old, every truly evangelical pulpit must sound out the clear message of “repentance towards God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). Let us get rid of this curse of motivational speaking!
Posted by at 8:30 AM