Let Me Guess. The Lewiston Shooter was Not a Churchgoing Follower of Jesus?

Let Me Guess. The Lewiston Shooter was Not a Churchgoing Follower of Jesus?

On Thursday morning, October 26, when I went to my first stop to get a brief overview of the news, Gateway Pundit, I saw that some wicked man had shot and killed 18 people, and injured at least another 50 or 60 more. My first thought was, why in the world didn’t anybody shoot back! Leftists hate truth, and one they especially hate is that what it takes to stop a bad man with a gun (and it’s always a man) is a good man (or woman) with a gun. We aren’t surprised that the bowling alley where the killing occurred is a “gun-free zone.” My second thought was this is the deadly fruit of secularism. My third was, secularism is dead; it has been weighed on the scales and found wanting. I can promise you with 100% certainty that this man was not a Bible-believing Christian who read his Bible and prayed every morning, and worshipped God on Sundays at church. Anyone want to bet me? I heard Doug Wilson say it’s Christ or chaos.

Even though it started earlier, what we call the 1960s gave us the secular monster that eventually gobbled up the Christian influence in American culture, and gave us the chaos we now enjoy. The tragedy in Lewiston, Maine, and the grieving families and communities left in its wake, is just one of the more egregious examples. Of course there are multiple reasons and causes for the many disasters we’re now witnessing, but secularism write large and the church’s retreat are what’s driving all of it. We can blame secularism and the secularists who push it, and we should, but the church’s retreat from the culture over the last century bears its share of the blame. The Bible and God’s law, along with the Christians who embrace them, are demonized as positively harmful to the body politic. If Christians get out of line, like the new Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson, warnings of theocracy fill the airwaves of the elite media. Scary stuff, that “theocracy.” But let’s get back to guns.

Gun Control Kills
Everything leftists (i.e., liberals, progressives, Democrats, corporate media) promote leads to misery and death, everything. I wish I was exaggerating, but it’s not possible when talking about these people. They are so enamored of their own moral superiority (Karl Marx would be proud), so condescending in their preening self-righteousness, they are incapable of thinking beyond their own ideological blindness. It’s infuriating because so many innocent people have to suffer for their moral idiocy. Gun control, so called, is just one of the almost innumerable examples. The phrase, “gun violence” is used as if it meant anything. Leftists, and I’m not joking, actually think guns cause violence. Remember, for these Rousseau inspired Marxists, human nature isn’t the problem, society is. Most rational people, however, realize it is people who do violence, guns just being one of many ways to inflict harm on other human beings. Israel is a perfect case study in the consequences of morally inverted gun control laws, the 1400 dead at the hands of terrorists a sad example.

Since the nation’s founding in 1948, Israel has had extremely strict gun control laws. It is practically impossible for a civilian to get permission to own a gun. When the Hamas terrorists broke through the supposedly impenetrable wall separating Gaza from Israel, those civilians had no way to defend themselves. For seventy-five years Israeli citizens depended on the government to keep them safe, and they failed, miserably. The same thing happens in America when mass shooters appear and law enforcement can’t get there in time to save lives. Tragedy happens, lives are shattered, and leftists call for more gun laws. It’s as predictable as the sunrise. Guns, however, save lives when good people have them. Inbar Lieberman shows us how:

A brave 25-year-old Israeli woman proved to be a formidable opponent against Hamas after she successfully protected an entire kibbutz from imminent danger by mobilizing a large group of residents and neutralizing over two dozen advancing terrorists, including five Hamas terrorists she slaughtered herself. 

When she realized something was wrong, she accessed the armory at the kibbutz, armed the 12-member security team, and strategically positioned them to fight the invaders. The team killed a total of twenty. The good people had guns, and nobody died. Why this didn’t happen at more Kibbutz’s I don’t know, but everyone else were sitting ducks, just like the people in Lewiston, Maine.

In response to the invasion, the Israeli government is changing their gun laws, too little too late for the dead and their grieving families. Better late than never, I suppose. It makes us appreciate the second amendment and the wisdom of America’s Founding Fathers. From a news report:

Following the recent Hamas terror attacks on Israel, Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir indicated Sunday the country will ease its gun laws in hopes of arming “as many citizens as possible.”

In a post on X, Ben-Gvir noted how the laws, effective Monday, would be eased:

Applicants without a criminal or medical record would need only undergo a telephone interview instead of a physical interview and would receive permission to carry a gun within a week; Anyone who received a conditional permit to buy a gun but has not yet done so this year can now buy a gun, even if that permit has expired; Citizens who deposited their weapons having previously failed to undergo refresher training will be given their guns back; and Citizens can now purchase and possess up to 100 bullets as opposed to 50. 

Just think how many people would be alive and families not grieving today if Israel’s founders had had the wisdom and foresight of America’s.

Secularism Also Kills
I’ve written numerous pieces here on secularism having proved to be a disaster of an experiment in Western history. It is impossible to point to the exact historical antecedents of secularism (I explore the details of his in my book The Persuasive Christian Parent). Of the many factors, some point to Aquinas and too much Aristotle, the nominalism of Occam, or the empiricism of Bacon and rationalism of Descartes. All of these and more led to an awakening of autonomous man in the 18th century in what has come to be called the Enlightenment. What actually happened is that it slowly snuffed out the light of God’s word in what was once Christian Western civilization. As scientific knowledge exploded throughout the 19th century the hubris of Western intellectuals knew no bounds. As the 20th century bloomed, science promised endless progress overcoming all human limitations. Then Titanic slammed into an iceberg in 1912 and everything changed. It was followed quickly by a world war of unimaginable horror by supposedly Christian nations, the rise of Soviet communism, another world war, and over a hundred million deaths. The Enlightenment wasn’t working out so well.

Secularism, however, was just getting started. To Western elites, God and the Bible were still far too influential in the Western world. Sadly, as the 20th century progressed many Christians cooperated with the secularists by withdrawing from cultural engagement in a type of fundamentalist faith. Many believe the “Scopes Monkey Trial” in 1925 was the final straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back of Christian influence in America. The secular freight train, however, was just picking up steam. After World War II it was all over but the shouting. By the 1960s the inevitable harmful consequences exploded into the culture.

As Christians we  know the war we wage is spiritual, not against flesh and blood (Eph. 6:12), and in any war it is critical to have a thorough understanding of the enemy. That means we must have a thorough grasp of the all-encompassing, tyrannical nature of secularism against which we fight. In their book Classical Apologetics, R.C. Sproul, John Gerstner, and Arthur Lindsley start their 1984 book with a chapter titled, “The Crisis of Secularism.” After almost 40 years, that crisis has reached a revealing point. Their description of secularism is helpful:

Western culture is not pagan, nor is it Christian. It has been secularized. Western man has “come of age,” passing through the stages of mythology, theology, and metaphysics, reaching the maturity of science. The totem pole has yielded to the temple which in turn has given way to the acme of human progress, the laboratory. . . . Resistance to Christianity comes not from the deposed priests of Isis but from the guns of secularism. The Christian task (more specifically, the rational apologetics task) in the modern epoch is not so much to produce a new Summa Contra Gentiles (An apologetics work of Thomas Aquinas to non-Christians) as it is to produce a Summa Contra Secularisma.

I could not agree more. The so called “secularization thesis,” that as science and knowledge progress religion will eventually disappear, has been completely discredited. The world is arguably more religious than ever, even if the West is less so. The authors further state the obvious:

The impact of secularism . . . has been pervasive and cataclysmic, shaking the foundations of the value structures of Western civilization. The Judeo-Christian consensus is no more; it has lost its place as the dominant shaping force of cultural ethics. . . . Sooner or later the vacuum (the rejection of theology in the West) will be filled, and if it cannot be filled by the transcendent, then it will be filled by the immanent. The force that floods into such vacuums is statism, the inevitable omega point of secularism.

I could not agree with this more as well, the consequences becoming clearer with every passing year. As the authors state, at a political level the inevitable result is Babel, the concentration of power in the state. At the cultural level, the results are dysfunction on a massive scale. Both cause death and misery. 

Nobody has to be convinced we live in miserable times, and on many levels. Some may respond that there have been miserable times before, as indeed there has, but there has been no time in recorded history where mass numbers of people in a society have killed themselves. In America last year, a record of almost 50,000 people killed themselves, and probably three times as many tried. Surprisingly, the countries with the lowest suicide rates are the most troubled nations in the world. If you look at the suicide rates in Africa they are significantly lower than more developed nations. The worst suicide rate in Africa? South Africa, by far, the most secular Western influenced nation in Africa. There is no need to belabor the point with endless statistics. Anyone’s news feed makes it abundantly clear America is messed up.

What is the Answer?
Jesus, of course! God’s revelation in creation, Scripture, and Christ is the foundation for a flourishing society. I used to see this primarily on a cultural and personal level, thinking that if enough people became Christians everything would magically get better. We do need more Christians; thus we pray for revival and Jesus pouring out the Holy Spirit everywhere, but everything turns on what kind of Christians we are. A personalized, pietistic, over spiritualized faith isn’t going to cut it. Jesus is Lord over all. Every square inch of existence is his, and we his people are his body, sent into the world to bring his reign and rule into material, fallen reality. In other words, with this mindset we are being obedient to Jesus when he taught his disciples to pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” That, my brothers and sisters, is our job! If we really want our country to flourish (and this applies to every country on earth), it will be because we bring God’s word and law into everything we do.

At a political and government level, there is no secular sphere of neutrality where Jesus gets just one seat at the table. Living in a pluralistic society with many different religious beliefs represented doesn’t mean Christianity is co-equal with the others. There is only one religion founded on a resurrected Savior who ascended to the right hand of God to rule and reign “far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come” (Eph. 1:21). The founders of America, even the supposed Deists among them, knew the success of their experiment in republican self-government was dependent on the God of the Bible in Christ. If the experiment is not to completely fail in our day, leaders at every level of government must acknowledge Christ’s rule and authority. That is a “controversial” statement, but it is a true one, nonetheless.

Back to culture for a moment. It wasn’t until the reign of secularism that mass shootings became a thing in America. Getting rid of so-called “gun control laws” and arming more good people is necessary, but it is not sufficient to fundamentally change anything. The goal is for guns never needing to be fired. Only in a society where Jesus and God’s law and word are honored is that possible. Let us pray and work toward that end.


Uninvented: How the Samaritans are Powerful Evidence the Gospels and Christianity are True

Uninvented: How the Samaritans are Powerful Evidence the Gospels and Christianity are True

If you ask the average “man on the street” where the story of the good Samaritan comes from they will have no idea. Biblical literacy among non-Christians is pretty much near zero in our completely secularized society. Then inform him, or her, that it’s a story from the Bible, and it proves the Bible is true. That will give you a very strange look in response. I use the word “prove” provocatively because the story doesn’t actually prove it in the technical sense, but it and the two other stories of Jesus related to Samaritans are powerful evidence that it is. I was reminded of this as I was reading through Luke and came across one of those I’d completely forgotten about. Chapter 17 relates a story of Jesus healing ten men who had leprosy, a perfect example of the power of the uninvented argument:

11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.

15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.

17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

In addition to the parable of the good Samaritan, and the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4, this one makes it a perfect Uninvented trifecta! If you haven’t read the book, you might not know why these are evidence for the veracity of the gospel accounts specifically because they happened in a Jewish context.

The Jewish Nature of Jesus’ World
Understanding the Jewish nature of Jesus and the world into which he was born, lived, and ministered is critical to the main contention of Uninvented. You might think it too obvious, hardly worth mentioning, to need to be told Jesus was a Jew; but for the first 150 years of critical biblical scholarship, this fact was mostly overlooked. Critical scholars generally admitted that some of what we read in the gospels was historical but argued the full-blown story we read in our Bibles was primarily a development of Greek and Pagan influences over a long period of time. Such a Jesus, however, entirely distorts the New Testament witness and has nothing to do with the Jesus who actually lived. Since the 1970s, biblical scholars have come to accept the thoroughly Jewish context of the gospels, which is the only way to really understand the Jesus of the New Testament. It would be much easier to make up a non-Jewish Jesus than a Jewish one. When coming to the gospels we must grasp this salient point: First century Jews could not conceive of a Messiah like Jesus, let alone invent one. In speaking of the Messiah’s birth to come, Alfred Edersheim in his magisterial work, Jesus the Messiah, agrees:

But of this whole narrative it may be said, that such inception of the Messianic appearance, such an announcement of it, and such manner of his coming, could never have been invented by contemporary Judaism; indeed, ran directly counter to all its preconceptions.

Being aware of the first century Jewish context of the New Testament is critical to knowing why we can have confidence in the historicity of the gospel record. 

A Samaritan Would Never be a Jewish Hero
What we know today as “a good Samaritan” as someone who helps others would have been an oxymoron to Jews during the time of Jesus. There was a long and contentious history between the Jews and Samaritans. So much so that they despised one another, each thinking they practiced Israel’s true religion. So, when Jesus tells a parable about a “good Samaritan,” such a phrase was a contradiction in terms to a Jew, and offensive. A Jew would never have considered making a Samaritan the hero of a story, especially to teach a moral lesson on how to treat our neighbor, that is if he wanted to attract a following among Jews.

Jesus responds to a question from an expert of the law about how to inherit eternal life. His answer is to fulfill the greatest commandment: loving God, self, and neighbor. Because the man wants to justify himself, he asks Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus replies with a story. A Jewish man is going on a trip from Jerusalem to Jericho when he’s overtaken by robbers, and severely beaten. The beauty of the story is that two Jews, a priest and Levite no less, avoid the battered man and refuse to help him; but a Samaritan passing by stops to help. That Samaritan, the expert of the law must admit, truly acted as the injured man’s neighbor, and not the priest or Levite. We can imagine the Jews who heard Jesus tell the parable incredulously asking, “Who does this Jesus think he is, making Jewish religious leaders look bad, and a Samaritan look good!” Exactly.

Jesus Embraces a Samaritan Village
The women at the well might have been even more offensive to Jews because it wasn’t a parable, but Jesus actually interacting with and accepting Samaritans in a way no other Jew would have done at the time.

 Jesus is resting by a well in a Samaritan town called Sychar in the middle of the day, and a woman came to draw water. He asked her for a drink, and she was shocked because Jews just don’t talk to Samaritans like that, let alone a woman. Jews and Samaritans were hated enemies, so such an encounter would have been considered scandalous. When the disciples came back from the town with food, their response indicated as much:

27 Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?”

 Again, Jesus was doing the unexpected and the counter-cultural in the extreme. Isn’t it funny and telling, that Jesus had something about him so intimidating to people even his disciples wouldn’t ask, “What in the world are you doing talking to a Samaritan woman! Really, Jesus?” And not only that, but this is the first person to whom he reveals he is Israel’s Messiah, and that to a woman who Jews saw as less than human. There are many other details in this story that sound authentic, that have verisimilitude in spades. Jesus and his disciples end up spending two days with the Samaritans, and many believed because of the woman’s testimony, and because of Jesus’ words “many more became believers.” Compare this with his own hometown of Galilee. Not only did those who knew him best take offense at him (Matt. 13:53-58), Luke tells us after he appeared in a synagogue the people were so furious they drove him out of down and tried to throw him off a cliff! Yet the Samaritans in this city, the Jews hated enemies trust him as Israel’s long-awaited Messiah. You just don’t make that stuff up!

The Grateful Samaritan
Then to add insult to first century Jewish injury, we have the leper who was healed, and unlike the nine other Jewish men, he came back to thank Jesus. Reading the text of the story as Luke tells it, we might think Jesus was the only one involved in this incident. Given Jesus’ fame and reputation for healing, however, he rarely travelled alone. Crowds followed him at times, I’m sure bigger or smaller depending on the situation. I’m inclined to think, though, there were quite a few people who witnessed this healing and Jesus using it to teach about the power of gratitude and faith. Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem, likely for the Passover. In chapter 19 we read of his triumphal entry, so it’s likely crowds of pilgrims were on the way to Jerusalem for the festival. The men calling out knew who Jesus was and stood at a distance because they were lepers. People were terrified of them. So they have to call out “in a loud voice” to be heard which mean masses of people likely witnessed the event.

Notice that Jesus doesn’t heal them right there in front of everybody, but sends them away to show themselves to the priests. Because they trusted Jesus the healer, they obeyed his command and on their way they were healed. Jesus calls the Samaritan a “foreigner” to contrast him to the nine others who were Jews; he is the only one who returns to thank Jesus. While the crowd didn’t witness the actual healing, they certainly witnessed the Samaritan “praising God in a loud voice.” Not only that, but he also throws himself at Jesus’ feet and thanks him, obviously no longer a leper. Luke writes with a bit of dramatic flair—”and he was a Samaritan.” As a rebuke to the Jews, Jesus asks where the other nine were, how come they didn’t also come back and give thanks. Many of those in the crowd would have been none too happy that the Samaritan was the hero yet again, even after having witnessed a miracle. We can have confidence that Jews do not make up this story, or the other two, and they do not make up Jesus. He was truly uninvented.

Notable Quotations-Thomas Sowell

Notable Quotations-Thomas Sowell

In 1987, Sowell published A Conflict of Visions. In this now-classic, he offers a simple and powerful explanation of why people disagree about politics. We disagree about politics, Sowell argues, because we disagree about human nature. We see the world through one of two competing visions, each of which tells a radically different story about human nature.

Those with “unconstrained vision” think that humans are malleable and can be perfected. They believe that social ills and evils can be overcome through collective action that encourages humans to behave better. To subscribers of this view, poverty, crime, inequality, and war are not inevitable. Rather, they are puzzles that can be solved. We need only to say the right things, enact the right policies, and spend enough money, and we will suffer these social ills no more. This worldview is the foundation of the progressive mindset.

By contrast, those who see the world through a “constrained vision” lens believe that human nature is a universal constant. No amount of social engineering can change the sober reality of human self-interest, or the fact that human empathy and social resources are necessarily scarce. People who see things this way believe that most political and social problems will never be “solved”; they can only be managed. This approach is the bedrock of the conservative worldview.

—Konstantin Kisin-The Day the Delusions Died

Believe It or Not, God Wants to Bless Us

Believe It or Not, God Wants to Bless Us

Most of my life I didn’t really believe this. I would never have said that explicitly, but somewhere inside I think I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop, something bad to happen. We all know life can be really hard, but “life” is not sovereign, God is. We all, however, tend to live by circumstances and not by faith or trust in God (faith and trust are synonymous). We in effect judge the character of God by our circumstances. How many people rejected or leave Christianity because their lives are a horrible disappointment, and they blame God? A lot. Loss and grief have created many a heathen. Yet from Scripture we see that this has always been so for God’s people. They, like we, are always confused and wondering what God’s up to. Living by sight and not trust is nothing new, and God doesn’t seem the least bit embarrassed telling us this is par for the course; get used to it.

Before I get to justifying my assertion of God’s intention to bless us, one of the most powerful passages in Scripture of trusting God in spite of the circumstances comes from the last verses of Habakkuk. In the face of impending judgment things are looking really bad to the prophet, but he utters these amazing words:

17 Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior.

19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
    he enables me to tread on the heights.

In the ancient world it could not get any worse, but he decided to trust the Lord anyway. That’s always the bottom line, isn’t it? Are we going to trust God, or our lyin’ eyes. Knowing and believing God’s intention is always blessing is critical if we’re going to resist the temptation to live by circumstances. The temptation itself comes from the pit of hell. It’s the same one Satan used to seduce Eve to distrust the goodness and love of God by implying He’s a liar. Because this is the fundamental temptation of human existence, to trust God or not, we need to be rooted in what God actually says about the life He’s granted us in Christ. To do this we need to go back to the very beginning and build from there.

In the face of man’s rebellion, God pronounced judgment on Adam and Eve, but provided a solution by clothing them and covering their nakedness and shame, promising a deliverer, a Savior. He promised them the woman’s offspring would crush the serpent’s head, and the serpent would strike this offspring’s heel. In other words, this was going to be a nasty business—ergo life! Conflict is at the heart of existence, and the biggest mistake people make is thinking it shouldn’t be, that life should be smooth sailing or . . . . something is wrong! No there isn’t. Our confidence and hope is that God uses the friction of life, the challenges and unpleasantness of it for our good and His glory. Trust says He loves us and everything that happens in life, good, bad, and in between, is for those ends. Without trust, we are slaves of circumstance.

Believing this, I am convinced God’s purpose for our lives is blessing, our happiness, our flourishing, our fulfillment, our joy. He doesn’t just want us to survive but to thrive. Does that mean there will not be struggle and real suffering? Of course not. If what God calls us to is really hard, serious suffering, we live forever so it’s all temporary. As Paul says, himself no stranger to suffering, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Cor. 4:17). The point of suffering in the Christian life is that it has a purpose; it isn’t just to crush us, but to crush us and remake us in the image of His Son. And so Paul also tells us, our “labor in the Lord is not in vain” (I Cor. 15:58).

As for the big picture of blessing, some time ago I came across a lecture by Dr. Mark Futato of Reformed Theological Seminary overviewing Genesis. For him the key text of the book comes from Chapter 12: 

The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. 

“I will make you into a great nation,
    and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
    and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
    and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
    will be blessed through you.”

He argues the key theme from these verses is “blessing for the nations.” God is specifically establishing his covenant with Abram so through him and his offspring the nations will be blessed. If Dr. Futato were to reduce Genesis to one word it would be blessing which is used over 65 times. What struck me was his definition of blessing: empowerment. When God blesses people He empowers them to do a wide variety of things, as he puts it, “God empowers people to flourish.” I love that! Secularists paint Christianity as repressive and intolerant, but what it represses and doesn’t tolerate is sin! Sin destroys everything it touches and makes true flourishing impossible. It is by definition dis-empowering. Jumping forward two thousand years, Jesus says the same thing (John 10:10): 

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly. 

From Genesis 3 on, God promised this blessing in spite of the damage of the Serpent’s strike. Jesus tells the obvious us in John 16:33, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” We know from God’s own words, from the very beginning the fallen world, i.e., Satan, has no chance—he gets crushed! That doesn’t sound ambiguous to me; it has the scent of victory. I’ve come to see God’s promise in the garden as the microcosm of all of history, and Jesus’ words reflect that. Jesus’ resurrection and ascension to reign at the right hand of God overcomes Adam’s sin in space and time, and fully at his return and the consummation of all things.

We see throughout Genesis and in God’s covenant promises to Abram that these blessings are to touch so many people they literally can’t be counted (sand of the seashore, stars in the sky, and dust of the earth). God is not miserly in spreading his blessings on earth! And because of His covenant promise immediately after the fall, we realize all of it is done in the face of a cosmic spiritual war to frustrate the devil’s plans. We, the fallen myopic sinners we are, think the devil is there to frustrate God’s plans. He can’t do that! He’s a puppet on string in this unfolding drama. God, however, gives him sway so it will never be easy and will be done in the face of constant adversity and opposition, but through which we can rejoice in the victory already won by our risen Lord. We must always remember this big, huge, gargantuan picture is the context of our lives (Eph. 6:12). And we must also remember Christ ascended to heaven after the resurrection to be seated at the right hand of the Father to reign over all things, again for us and His glory (Eph. 1:15-23). It is no coincidence that the theme of the first book of the Bible, the foundation upon which our faith is built, is blessing. God wants to bless us! And the nations!

Looked at personally, for each one of us, Jesus confirms this in Matthew 7:

11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 

How . . . much . . . more! If you have children you know what he means, and multiply that by God and you have a sense of just how much He wants to give us good gifts. Luke’s version (I’m sure Jesus said both many times) is that we ask for the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13). That’s the perfect complement to Matthew’s because it is the Holy Spirit who applies the redemption accomplished by Christ in our lives and the world. At the individual level that’s called the blessing of sanctification. At the societal level that’s God advancing His kingdom as Christ reigns for the building of his church to accomplish that, spreading his blessings to the ends of the earth just as he promised Abram.

Persuasive Christian Parent: Teach Your Children Christianity is True!

Persuasive Christian Parent: Teach Your Children Christianity is True!

If you want to be a persuasive Christian parent, and you want your children’s faith to endure for their entire lives, teach them Christianity is true. It’s pretty simple, actually, but it takes work. I’ll justify that briefly below, but having written a book about being a Persuasive Christian Parent, I am convinced parents’ influence on their children is the primary influence on whether they maintain their faith throughout their lives. I know many Christians don’t buy this. They’ve seen children grow up in perfectly fine Christian homes and abandon the faith to one degree or another. They conclude, not unreasonably, that while parents certainly have a significant influence on their children, it is ultimately limited. I reject that. I go into some detail about this in the book, so I can’t do it here. You’ll just have to trust me, or read the book (you’ll be able to listen to the audio book in the not too distant future).

For mom and dad this is going to take some work. If your child came up to you and asked: “Mom, Dad, why do you believe Christianity is true?” Could you give them a credible answer? Be honest. If you stammer, or give them a half-baked answer, you need to get to work. I would like to commission a study, and I suspect I know what the conclusion would be. The study would be of all the young people, says 20s and 30s, who have gone through what we now call “deconversion.” If they grew up in a Christian household, we would ask them a simple question: “Did your parents teach you that Christianity was true, and why it is?” I am convinced the overwhelming majority would answer, no. Or if they did, it wasn’t very persuasive. The reason is that most Christian parents know what they believe, basic gospel, but have very little understanding of why they believe it, why their faith is “justified true belief.” Not teaching our Children why Christianity is the truth about the ultimate nature of things in this secular age leaves them susceptible to the lies of secularism they swim in every day.

The reason I was prompted to write this was because of an Apologetics Canada podcast I recently listened to. It confirmed exactly what I’m saying. The guest was John Marriot who has written five books on people walking away from their faith. He’s interviewed many such people and read hundreds of accounts and found that people don’t walk away because they want to sin more, etc. They say it comes down to no longer believing Christianity is the truth. He tends to believe them. When I heard that I instantly thought of my book, especially the second section on, “It’s All About Truth.” I felt so strongly about the Truth of the matter that when I first started thinking about writing the book, I decided this would be the first chapter. It turned out being chapters 3 and 4 because I felt “It’s All About Parents” was more important to establish up front. To decrease the odds that our children will experience a deconversion as they grow up in a hostile secular culture, the most important thing we can do for them, by far, is to persuade them Christianity is the truth.

Secularism Is Dead
We are living in a secular culture that daily attempts to drown us in its godless worldview. It is critical to understand this is not a threat to our children’s faith. Most Christians will not agree with that assertion. The problem seeing secularism as a threat gives it far too much credit as a credible alternative to Christianity. It is not! In fact, secularism (life without God) is a pathetically weak alternatives that gives zero answers to life’s most pressing questions. Why is it in an utterly secular culture, in the most prosperous country in the history of the world, almost 50,000 people successfully killed themselves last year? Does a God-less worldview have any answers to this beside drugs and therapy? It does not. Secularism is an almost 400 year-long experiment in futility. Once reason usurped God’s throne he was slowly set aside as necessary to a functioning society. But something ironic happened on the way to the coronation of God-lessness. It completely failed. Secularism is dead. It has been weighed on the scales and found wanting.

Therefore, there is nothing to fear from it. As I say in the book, our secular culture is the best friend of our children’s faith. I’ve used the culture all their lives, and still do as they are adults, to defend and argue for the truth of Christianity. Bottom line: If our children are to not only have their faith survive but thrive, they must be convinced with every ounce of their being that Christianity is the ultimate truth about the nature reality. How do we do that? Well, you’ll have to read the book to see how I did it, and see if you think I make my case. For a short blog post I can only do so much, but if you are one of those Christians who realize you need to work on your apologetic chops hopefully this will wet your whistle enough to check out the book.

Think about it. If your children are convinced Christianity is true, could anything make them walk away from it? Most if not all those who walk away from the faith never study apologetics, history, philosophy, or theology in any depth. They don’t come to their rejection after a thorough examination of the evidence. I’m sure after whatever input they’ve received, Christianity is no longer plausible to them, it no longer seems true, or seems real. This brings up a concept called plausibility structures, or the framework in our minds that makes certain things seem true to us and other things not true. It isn’t that they are true or not true, but that they seem so. I address this in a couple chapters of the book, but for those who reject the Christianity they once believed in, it simply no longer seems true to them, is no longer plausible. They’ve lived in a secular plausibility structure for so long with no counter narrative that Christianity doesn’t really have a chance.

There is No Such Thing as an Unbeliever
(This is going to be the title of a book I want to write in the not too distant future, God willing. That’s how important this is.)

One the most pernicious of the many lies of secularism is that if you’re not a Christian or “religious” then you don’t need faith. The uncritically accepted assumption of almost all people in the West is that if you’re not “religious” then you don’t need to believe things. Only “religious” people believe things, only “religious” people need faith. So the person who decides to reject the Christianity they once believed in thinks they are going from faith to not-faith, from belief to-not belief. What they fail to realize, and what is likely never pointed out to them, is that they are going from one faith to another. After they no longer embrace Christianity they are every bit the “religious” believer as they were before. Only there is far less evidence and plausibility for the veracity of their new faith than Christianity—and it’s not even close!

The question is always what we believe or have faith in, and why we believe it, not whether or not we have faith. The people who turn away from Christianity can tell you plenty of reasons why they no longer believe in it, but zero reasons for their newfound faith. They are under impression they gave up “faith” when they gave up Christianity. In defending Christianity to such people, in what we call apologetics (see I Peter 3:15), they are very easy to deal with. Probably one in a million can give a coherent defense of their new worldview, their new faith. Just asking the rest what they now believe in and why they believe it will leave them dumbfounded. They’ll likely think it’s a meaningless question because they’re no longer “religious.” I’m confident you’ll get a strange look, but it’s a wonderful question to begin a conversation if they’re open to it. If this happens to be one of your children, it’s a good question to get them thinking they don’t exist in some faith-neutral place where they don’t have to make decisions about what they believe and why.

A great phrase to keep in mind when grappling with such things is “the consideration of the alternative.” If we don’t believe in one thing then we are forced to believe in the alternative. Agnosticism is not an alternative but a copout for not thinking seriously about serious things. We may encounter people who just have no desire to think about or discuss serious things, and we just love them and pray. It is all, of course, up to the Holy Spirit, so we pray. However, and this gets us to the work part, we work like it depends on us. The saying goes, we work like it depends on us, and pray because it depends on God. What work am I talking about? Our apologetics chops. Each of us must ask ourselves, how good are we are defending the veracity Christianity. If most Christians are honest, they will have to say . . . . terrible.

Get to Work
That was the word I used about myself back in 2009 (along with horrible and pathetic). I had an encounter with a co-worker and it was embarrassing. He wouldn’t have noticed, but I sure did. After that I committed myself to put in the work. I got a little MP3 player (I still use one!) and listened to everything I could find. I also read everything I could get my hands on. I was determined in Paul’s words to Timothy, to study to show myself to God as one approved (2 Tim. 2:15). The word study (KJV) or do your best in Greek means “(figuratively) to move speedily by showing full diligence (fully applying oneself).” This is not just for professional ministers as was Timothy, but to every single Christian. If we’re honest most of us are lazy. There are many things in life more important to us than our Christianity. This is, I know, tough love. Most Christians know far more about their careers or hobbies than they know about their Christianity, and that ought not to be.

Just going to church on Sunday and reading our Bibles is not enough. Per Peter’s command, if we’re always to be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks us to give the reason for the hope that that have, that is going to take time and effort. There really is no excuse nowadays with the Internet to not show ourselves as one approved when it comes to defending our faith, and that is first to ourselves. Once we are fully convinced and know why, we can share that with others. If we have children, we too can become persuasive Christian parents and have confidence our children will have a faith that endures for life. What we will realize the longer we study and the more we teach is what C.S. Lewis said was the reason he believed in Christianity:

 I believe in Christianity as I believe the sun has risen, not only because I see it but because by it I see everything else.

This is what we have to pass on to our children! Christianity, God in Christ, makes sense of literally every single thing of existence. When they are convinced of this any kind of secular alternative to Christianity will appear to them as the phony worthless alternative it is. God has seen to it by providing for us everything we need for building an enduring faith in both us and our children.