Archive for June, 2007
If you haven’t already, you can read Part 1 of this series here.
Where Humanism has Been
While I will be examining in a little more detail Neitzche and what I believe to be his most critical work - The Anti-Christ, or his treatise against Christianity - it is obvious to all that humanism’s roots are not found with him. In fact, humanism’s roots transcend the Renaissance, or the age of Enlightenment that marked the European transition from the ideas of Christendom and the Reformation. Conversely, it is these biblical ideas and ideals that formed the root system of Europe for over a thousand years that still constitute a critical part of modern civilization’s philosophical foundation.
Not that Christendom and the Reformation era of European development was without its excesses and corruption. There was much sin and unrighteousness throughout that age of history, but I do not believe that the great shift of human thought that spawned the “idea revolution” of the Enlightenment was really about human weakness and government corruption in the name of Christ. At its core, the Renaissance and the Enlightenment were as much about the internal human rage against biblical ideas as it was about external rage against human corruption and poor governance.
Looking at the past is helpful in understanding the obvious parallels with the realities of our day. The social justice movements of recent generations can easily be deconstructed to reveal these dual realities. Externally, it seems reasonable and sound to conclude that human corruption and poor governance must be solved through human benevolence knit to great hope for the future. That both solutions rest upon the notion of the basic goodness and decency of men forms then a powerful illusion about our future that is completely disconnected from biblical (and social) realities. At “best”, a sentimental idealism is the result - and the product of this human sentiment is often seemingly harmless - a “Walt Disney” reality tied to the utopian hope of human cooperation.
At worst, however, humanism’s destination, both historically and prophetically (or scripturally) is far from the Disney realities that pervade modern entertainment.
The French Revolution
One recent example of where humanism goes is found in the logical conclusion to the ideas birthed in the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. Those anti-Christian ideas exalted the human potential and capacity of men and greatly shifted the direction of European culture from the 14th - the 17th centuries. Even the idea that this age marked a revival of learning and a marked improvement from the previous “Dark Ages” of Christendom reveal the pessimistic reality beneath the surface of the movement. Works such as Manetti’s On the Dignity and Excellence of Man marked the humanistic shift to the exaltation of an unbiblical (and idealistic) human ideal.
As the transition of ideas continued, the Enlightenment and the Age of Reason began to take root in the 18th century. Intellectualism, rationality, and modernist thinking marked the philosophical realities of ideas that had now fully taken root in society through science and politics in particular, and, in some spheres, even the church itself through some of the great theologians of the era. A nation-state ideal or societal ethic of rational behavior followed rational thought related to the responsibility of man; in other words, apart from biblical morality, how could men police one another to hold back the tide of darkness and chaos? What would be, in this emerging societal order, the forces of “good” that could be employed to restrain the advance of evil? Thus the idea of societal contracts and civil rights emerged through the writings of the great thinkers of the era.
That revolutionary ideas would lead to revolutionary action was, then, an inevitable consequence. The idea of revolution against unjust rule was romanticized then just as it has been, in a powerful way, in our day. Are some violent revolutions unjustified? What is the difference between some modern “terrorists” and yesterdays revolutionaries? The answers to these questions are beyond the scope of this article. Yet it is helpful to examine the moral imperatives and foundational ideas that fueled the two great revolutions of the 18th century.
While the American Revolution provided much inspiration and fuel for the French Revolution, and both wars were ignited by Enlightenment thinking, the leadership of the two revolutions had vastly different goals and reasons behind their bloody conflicts. Fueled by the Enlightenment societal contracts and ideas of the rights of men to throw off unjust rule that violated those principles, both groups saw moral justification in their actions. The difference, then, is that the initial group looked to supplant oppressive government while preserving the influence of the church (due in large part to the revivals of the first Great Awakening that preceded the American Revolution). The group that followed, however, looked to throw off both unjust government and the biblical morality that had set the foundation for that government over the last thousand years.
Thus, without the moral foundations related to biblical ideas that undergirded the American Revolution, the French Revolution quickly descended into brutal anarchy and rampant, often senseless violence. This was what we now all the Reign of Terror. In essence, the French Revolution was the final “end”, or nail in the coffin, of the idea of Christendom that had been so much a part of the social fabric of Europe from the 8th century and the rule of Charlemagne. The transition, of course, began during the Renaissance and strengthened during the Enlightenment; the French Revolution brought things to a bloody and immoral end - which, unfortunately, is the ultimate end of humanism when it is exposed to the light of God’s truth.
The Original Revolution
Before we examine Nietzche, modern humanism, and the ultimate destination, it is helpful to reflect on the tragic event that the French Revolution simply replayed for all to see. Tolerance and cooperation without biblical foundations only serve to mask a brutal rage and a frightful intolerance of dissent that has a brutal end that robs freedom rather than granting it. This is the lie of humanism - that great freedom is found from the place of true freedom from biblical foundations. In fact, great bondage and fear come when the truth of human nature is revealed - not by God - but by men themselves in bold, arrogant, open rebellion against the Lord and His ways.
I am not describing, of course, the end of the age. I am describing the exact scenario surrounding the events of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11. It was at this tower that humanism as we know it was born. It was conceived in a garden and grew significantly before a flood stunted its growth, but very quickly the seeds of revolution were reignited into an expression that is far more sophisticated and mature in our day. Yet God did a strange thing. Rather than destroy this unified effort to throw off His rule and establish the uniting of the supernatural realm with the natural without His help. He curiously spared them, showed them mercy, and scattered them by making it impossible for them to speak to one another (in other words, he made their languages like babble).
He did this because of the commitment He made to the nations only a short time before, just after the flood, through a rainbow. This rainbow expressed the covenantal desire of a God that is fully set on showing mercy to weak and broken human beings that are completely disconnected from the fact that they are weak and broken human beings. In essenc, God delayed the time of their destruction (significantly) in order to buy time for their redemption and repentance.
Yet the seeds of humanism continued on from that time forward.
Thus the humanism that was birthed at a tower has, in these last days, accelerated in its maturity to become established in the framework of normative human thought, society, law, and government. We have come to the end of this age, and the expression of modern humanism has almost fully taken hold in a unified way in hearts and minds throughout the nations. Once the peices are fully in place, the nations will be convinced that they no longer need the biblical ideas that have served to limit society and bind it in chains of weakness and pity for so long. How has it come to this? How have we come to the very doorstep of another Reign of Terror - one that will be global this time?
For that answer, we need to begin with Neitzche.
June 27th, 2007
I have to confess that, as a writer, I am a big fan of Joe Posnanski of the Kansas City Star. He’s an award-winning sports columnist and an excellent baseball writer. I confess that, as a sports fan, I am a secret baseball guy. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, I really appreciated some math that he did on his little baseball journal, related to some incredibly long posts he writes. I mean, really, really long posts. For all of you who have pleaded with me and urged me to keep things short, I submit to you the following quote:
“Editor’s note: My wife says these entries are too long. My wife studied some marketing back in college, and so she was explaining to me the various reasons why shorter and more frequent entries would get significantly more hits for this blog. And more hits, she says, equals more money. I must admit to not understanding the math on this:
Few hits x $0.00 = $0.00
Lots of hits x $0.00 = $0.00
In any case, I promised her I’d try it for a week – so for a time those long blogs with lots of different ridiculous thoughts will be broken up in to individual, bite-sized blogs with individual ridiculous thoughts. Is this a good idea?”
I do appreciate that some find what I write to be almost inaccessibly long. I really do. To make one last confession, however, I have to say that the main reason that I post such long articles is because I’m too lazy to break things up into individual, made-for-easy-consumption sized articles. I tried it with the Emerging Church and the humanist stuff, but I move on too quickly to the next thing on my mind. When it’s time to go back and expound on the last point from the day before, I find that I’ve already moved on to other points of interest. So mostly, I write long because I have a profoundly powerful internal desire for closure.
That said, you probably quit reading before the quote. So I’m going to do what I do, and hope you’re still there when I’m at the last sentence of a thought.
At least I followed through to the end of my little global warming series. Somehow, I was able to get through that but still can’t get back to the “peacemaker” thing. I am probably done writing about Chuck Norris, though.
Okay, probably not.
June 26th, 2007
I appreciate the tip-off from David Gagne - thanks to him, I now have come to the truth of the matter. No one wants to talk about Nietzsche, humanism, or the coming global system of religious harlotry. Nope. What’s on your minds is your Live Impact!
Are you enviro-friendly and carbon conscious? Take the test! Know your score!
The great irony to me is that, since there is no real comparison, national average, pass/fail, or any standard measuring stick for some kind of objective “success”, this strikes me as a particularly useless exercise destined to fail miserably at the one thing it was designed to do: shock me into changing my lifestyle habits related to carbon emissions. If anything, my score has shocked me into a happy complacency since I scored way better than most of you. In fact, seeing the median average of the scores has spurred me on to free myself from the shackles of “turning lights off when I leave the room”.
I may upgrade to an SUV.
June 25th, 2007
It seems at times that I often use this space to wage my personal war against humanists, atheists, and global alarmists who look to stir the hearts of men towards a seemingly reasonable, rational solution to the problems facing the human race. I suppose that I post so many articles on here about these issues because of the increasing alarm that is resounding in my heart related to the human condition and the growing mindset of “centrist” compromise related to a backlash against the extreme.
It simply seems so clear to me that I have stumbled onto a clear trend, a paradigm of thought and perspective that has transformed how I see and hear the world, and now I detect the fruit of the hubris of humanity in its bold resistance against the leadership of the Lord everywhere in modern society. Because I see where the Bible describes the peoples of the earth going collectively, and I have a fair understanding of the stream of history that has carried us here, I then can watch and pray with some measure of clarity in regards to the present reality of where men stand before my God.
The beginnings of my understanding can be found in Psalm 2.
Breaking the bonds and casting away cords
Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us.” (Psalm 2:1-3)
King David in Psalm 2 gave us the ultimate “blueprints” for the end-times, covering in the broadest of strokes the path that humanity would tread and the necessary response of the Lord in sovereignty, tenderness, mercy, judgment, and wrath. This first section of the Psalm gives us the overview of the desire of the nations to indulge in the ultimate vanity - to gather in unity related to their collective decision to throw off restraint and establish a global “anti-God” society.
I believe that they do this as part of a rage-filled response to prophetic preaching - the global witness of the coming King that will go forth in the coming days (Matt. 24:14). The powerful preaching of the coming prophetic messengers to the kings of the earth will actually serve to galvanize their resistance and rage against the “Anointed One”, or God’s chosen King of the earth.
The result of this concerted effort to reject God and His Son will be the apex of humanism itself, or the exalting of man and his capacities and capabilities in a manner that is seemingly able to effect his own salvation without the interference of biblical morality or the “restraint” of the law of God. In the minds of the sinful man, “salvation” means the achievement of utopian ideals related to perfection in society and perfection in man himself. Nietzsche called this the “Übermensch” - or the overman, which represented the human ideal, once men overcame by force the norms of society externally imposed.
As I continue this series, I will look at where this philosophy has been, where it is, and where it is going. All of the evidence, however, leaves me concluding that the destination of sinful man is far nearer than we would like to admit or ponder.
June 22nd, 2007
On 7/7/07, a massive rally intended to spark a “global movement” is taking place - and many, many others will join via simulcast to participate in a drive to force behavioral change throughout the earth. Of course, if this was the stated goal of The Call Nashville, there is a good chance that we would be instantaneously ostracized from society for good, particularly on every cult watching website that ever existed. It’s not The Call, of course, but it is a call - a call to Save Our Selves.
Here’s the press release:
“Live Earth is a 24-hour, 7-continent series of 9 concerts taking place on 7/7/07 that will bring together more than 100 music artists and 2 billion people to trigger a global movement to solve the climate crisis.
Live Earth will reach this worldwide audience through an unprecedented global media architecture covering all media platforms - TV, radio, Internet and wireless channels.
Live Earth marks the beginning of a multi-year campaign led by the Alliance for Climate Protection, The Climate Group and other international organizations to drive individuals, corporations and governments to take action to solve global warming. Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore is the Chair of the Alliance and Partner of Live Earth.”
Ironically, two of the locations include: the Seven Towers Fortress, a historic Byzantine site in Istanbul; and the Cradle of Humankind, Maropeng, just outside of Johannesburg, South Africa.
There’s not too much beyond the obvious to say at this point
I am thankful, however, that Mr. Gore and Mr. Kevin Wall (the main organizer) proved the point I was trying to make a while back with my little series on global warming. That point was driven home to me last evening as I was out with my kids at our last stop for the evening - Barnes & Noble. The main display of the “religion” section were books on global warming and environmentalism.
Is global warming a problem? Again, I am sure that it is, actually. But the greater problem is that man is completely disconnected from the solution. It is the sin and darkness of man that leads to the mismanagement of the earth and its resources. The solution to “drive behavioral change” is an interesting leadership style called “voluntary love” (Ps. 110:3) and “happy holiness” that flow from deep repentance. As I have said elsewhere, no one wants to renew and refresh the earth more than Jesus Himself - Paul told us this in Romans 8:21 -
“…because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.”
God’s environmental strategy
God has a stunning environmental plan knit to man’s repentance. It’s found in 2 Chronicles 7:14 -
“…if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
Thus there are two plans unfolding on 7/7/07. Man’s plan is to gather, listen to music, hear some information on how to recycle from cool people, and then really think about their sin committed against the earth. Behavioral change is sure to follow. God’s plan is to gather His people, called by His name, to a Joel 2:15 solemn assembly in which repentance and turning from sin by asking for His transforming grace becomes the top priority of our lives.
If we cry out night and day for speedy justice (Luke 18:8) then we have a two-fold promise. First, He will come as Justice itself, and be established amongst the peoples and cleanse, heal, and refresh the land. Secondly, in the immediate, we become a people of prayer that learn to ask the Holy Spirit for revelation and wisdom (Eph. 1:17-19). Rather than apply human wisdom to a sin problem, we can repent, approach God with a tender heart, and ask Him for wisdom that He is happy to give us. The healing of the land begins with the daily and continual involvement of the Holy Spirit with our individual and corporate lives.
I remember the first “Save Our Selves” simulcast. It happened at the Tower of Babel, the other “cradle of civilization.” It didn’t meet its stated goals, unfortunately. The final “Save Our Selves” event in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, isn’t slated to end well either.
June 18th, 2007
Are the gifts for today? Or are did they pass with the passing of the original twelve apostles?
The arguments to this question rage with increasing fervor. It’s an argument that has been raging for the past hundred years, though we can find traces of this heated discussion in the annals of revival history. Charismatic expressions of Christianity remain, in our day, the fasted growing sector of Christendom. The question, of course, is whether or not book of Acts Christianity was meant to be the template for normative Christianity in our day. There are some that spend much energy combating this idea. My reaction to this discussion may surprise you:
That’s right, I have absolutely no concern for arguments about the cessation, or ceasing, of the gifts of the Spirit. When the gentleman who spends his days fighting for a powerless expression of Christianity wakes up one evening to find his wife speaking in tongues, essentially the argument is over.
So rather than wrangle with words over the minutia of scripture that can never be definitively proven to mean that the gifts will pass away in this age, I hope to go in a drastically different direction in the manner in which I spend my energy and bend my thoughts. I want to pray and contend for an expression of Christianity that looks like the book of Acts, with evangelism and life in the Spirit that reflects the foundation that was laid for me by my fathers in the faith.
Wake me up when the argument is settled, though.
June 15th, 2007
A week or so ago I asked if you thought we were really living in the end-times. The conviction that we are, of course, has many implications for our lives (and lifestyles). It also has another unfortunate side-effect: it transforms the nature of our evangelism and discipleship. For if we are at the end of this age, and we believe that we will be on the earth (not somewhere else) when the end-time judgments begin, then we are forced to re-evaluate our entire ministry approach.
Urgency changes everything.
When you understand that my desire is to prepare and equip believers and unbelievers with a faith and confidence in the leadership of Jesus that can endure extreme distress, trouble, and trial, you have a paradigm that understands a bit where I am coming from when I say some the outrageous things that I say. I have no desire to win someone to Christ and help them enter into an ongoing conversation about the normal Christian life. My desire is to win someone to Christ and stir them to be fully given to Him, fully loyal, and willing to die for Him that we might gain everything in the exchange.
I don’t want to see converts as the fruit of my ministry. I want to see martyrs. Will the people whom I minister to lay their lives down for the sake of Jesus and the nations of the earth? Will the fruit of my life include a core of Christians who gave all they had in the name of love? Did I do the same? These are some of the only questions that matter to me as we approach the Second Coming of Jesus.
Yes, we can effectively lead someone to Jesus; but will they stay with Jesus?
I fear that many in ministry today are content with doing the “pre-marital counseling”, are happy when the two parties (Bride and Bridegroom) get married, yet rarely see the marriage through until the “death do us part” phase. I have an urgency to equip young believers with a faith that endures - that He might find faith when He comes. If the question of Jesus in Luke 18:8 does not haunt you, then perhaps you should re-examine your pursuit of ministry?
Of course, if we are not at the end of the age, then please - by all means, carry on as normal.
June 13th, 2007
40 days is a long time.
I, for one, am finding myself in dire need to refocus and set myself again for the next phase of our 40-day fast and not lose momentum. Initial zeal and passion that ignites the heart at the beginning phases of a corporate fast can quickly fade in the midst of something like this. It’s so easy for me to disconnect from the reasons that I said “yes” to this fast in the first place and lose my way a little related to time, energy, and prayer. How tragic to endure a 40-day fast and find that I prayed less not more?
It’s a fight in our weakness to say “yes” to God - not one time, but minute by minute, choice by choice, step by step. I feel like the offer of a lifetime has been extended to me - to participate in a historic fast that in many ways is a continuation of a true historic fast - and yet my mind and my heart are prone to wander. And so it is that I present myself to the Lord again today, asking for fresh grace and power to lay hold of a resolve that is beyond me. I want a resolve that is God-birthed and ignited. I want a fresh zeal to arise within me to lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.
I do not simply want to lay hold of an expression of Christianity - even a “better” one. I want to lay hold of Jesus. And so I press on.
How are you doing today? Let’s go again, together, into the fresh pursuit of His heart and His high calling for our lives.
June 12th, 2007
I just found Ben’s Wikipedia article on the “wordcast” phenomenon…
June 9th, 2007
I think I passed out for a few minutes after I read this article by Walker, Texas Ranger. Any article that contains the words:
“For that reason I believe theistic patriots need to be wise to atheists’ overt and covert schemes, exposing their agenda and fighting to lay waste to their plans.”
“For these liberal groups to win the war of ideological dominance, they know they must minimize the effects of Christianity, which many are doing (unbeknownst to others) behind the scenes through lobbying and legislation.”
…well, let’s just say I’ve found my favorite article ever. I have already bronzed it. I also printed part two on a quilt and now use it for my warmth at night. No one will win a war of ideological dominance against the Chucktator of Painland.
He goes on, by the way, to comment extensively on the continuing global wave of delight over “Chuck Norris Facts”.
I often visit his website so I can listen again and again to Chuck personally welcoming me to his website. I will often follow up that visit with a quick stop-over to this site to watch his commercial.
In all seriousness, his two articles on the threat of atheism were quite good, and right on the money. He really is a sincere and committed Christian, and that makes me really happy. And feel safe. For the articles really did make me giggle throughout as I came to the shocking and comforting realization that, in the fight against radical atheism, I’ve got Chuck Norris on my team.
My next prayer request is to read an article by Mr. T threatening to pity the fools who sign up for “Oprah Christianity”.
June 9th, 2007