Thursday, February 19, 2015

Apologetics are for Christians, Not the Unbelievers

Trying to argue for the existence of a standard moral law to which all humans should adhere is exhausting. I came across another blog today where the author was confidently proclaiming that people should adhere to his version of chivalry and self-sacrifice because - Natural Law!

When challenged on that assumption, the debate inevitably degenerated to a discussion of
"My god can beat up your god!"
"Nuh Uh! You can't say that! The Bible is just an old book!"
"Oh Yeah? Well you're just stupid!"
That's not what was said, but sadly that was the rationale between the warring factions.It's sophomoric. It's juvenile. It is the state of debate when people aren't even equipped to understand debate and rhetoric.

As a Christian, I tire of the back and forth. The appeal to "Reason" as the highest good. The demand for evidence that must adhere to "scientific" standards when the people asking for that evidence don't realize that observational evidence is only one type of rational evidence in the field of epistemology.

A commenter on the post recommended I watch a debate between Dr. Greg Bahnsen and Dr. Gordon Stein. Good stuff.

Then it occurred to me that the Apologetics, the evidences, the legal rationale, etc. aren't for the unbelievers. They're to reassure the committed Christians that they are on the right path. And this is ok. The Bible has 1 John to tell us what a true Christian looks like.

  • He doesn't try to say he has no sin
  • He confesses sins
  • He loves his brother. If he doesn't, then he isn't really a Christian
  • He walks in the Light
  • He keeps God's commandments
  • He does not love the World
  • He does not deny Jesus is the Christ
  • He practices righteousness
  • He helps his brother in need, physically - not just spiritually
  • He has the Spirit of God

There are more, but these are apologetics from 1 John. I've lived awhile now, and NEVER have I seen an unbeliever from one of these debates come to Christ because of it. I can do a fair job of representing these ideas, but no one has ever fallen to their knees in abject appreciation for the message and "proofs" I've given them. No one has ever come to Christ from anything I've said in a debate.

What does that mean? The older I get, the more I think the Calvinists are right: No one can come to God unless God first calls them. The only thing I ever really had against them was the idea that someone can live as they pleased but were always saved. Yet just from observational evidence, it is clear that most people just don't want to hear the Gospel. God isn't calling them.

Presenting the Gospel to a willing heart is one thing. Trying to win a debate is another. But I'm pretty sure it is a small percentage that are won as a result of the debate.

Love alone doesn't win people to Christ either. Without an effective presentation of the Gospel, all the good works in the world won't win a person who is not ready to hear the message. They will gladly take your free food, free clothes, and warm beds for years and NEVER come to Christ for anything.

So far, it looks as if the Calvinists are right. The only way people are won is by the working of the Holy Spirit in their lives. If they aren't being drawn, then they are lost. They not only WON'T hear, they CANNOT hear. They don't have spiritual eyes and hearts to see.

I don't want to waste any more time on people who aren't looking. I want to find the people that are looking for God. They come first.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The PC War on Christianity - Ironically on a Men's Rights Site

So I decided to wade in to the manosphere yesterday. For those that don’t know what that is, here is a link or two:

I’m not advocating for or against any of those sites. But I do have to take issue with one particular site:
I commented on this article recently:
It was a youtube video of an excellent discussion of why millenials aren’t choosing marriage at the same rate as previous generations. I would argue that economics plays more of a role than social changes, but that’s an argument for another post.

I commented on the article in the same way that I do most articles: forthrightly and unapologetically. You can click through to see my comments. I thought I had found a small band of brothers. I thought I had found men that were Christians that saw things as I did. We seemed to agree on some of the issues surrounding marriage and family.

Imagine my surprise when my comment was immediately contradicted by an “agnostic.” What galls me about these people is that they look down their noses at Christians, while not understanding that their pseudo-intellectual arguments against God, the Bible, and Christianity in general have been absolutely demolished and discredited by serious books and research into the historicity, evidence, science, and philosophy surrounding it. Christianity is in fact a more rational and logical approach than Atheism or Agnosticism. But don't try and argue that--the Atheists don't have the understanding of Rhetoric and Logic that they think they do.

I’m not going online to proselytize, I’m really not. I know the futility of that effort. What I was trying to do is show that the Christian tradition does have a credible, well-documented, and historically verifiable answer to the question of marriage roles. It was in line with the theme of the article. What do I get in return for the olive branch in my hand? A bloody stump where my hand used to be.

I don’t understand the Christian church’s fascination with allowing itself to be ridiculed and spat upon in the market place of ideas. That isn’t love—it’s surrender! It’s rolling over like a whipped dog and admitting defeat. This doesn’t encourage people to come to Christ.

My attempt to share my own marriage observation was met with vitriol and banishment. Why? Because they follow a false god of moral relativism. The un-believers not only don’t believe in God, they don’t even believe that there can be one truth. And they’re oh so certain of their tolerant moral superiority.

What they don’t realize is that the ultimate fruit of their post-modern worldview will be abject disgrace, ugliness, hopelessness, and despair. Francis Schaeffer displayed the results beautifully in How Should We Then Live. The end result isn’t beauty, it’s apathy and despair. But they literally CANNOT see it because they are blind. 
"But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them." 
2 Corinthians 4:3-4
What is skipped in the entire discussion is the Reformation. And when did that start? It started with Martin Luther in 1517 and with Guttenberg’s printing press 67 years before in 1450. The principles of property rights and liberty for the individual were also influenced by the Christian understanding. Too much credit is given to Locke and Hobbes on those ideas. Schaeffer argued that Locke appropriated his ideas from Samuel Rutherford’s, Lex Rex (Law is King) and discarded the Christian foundation for those views. Noah Webster also argued a similar rationale. The godless Renaissance and Enlightenment elevated Man to the same level as God. Man became his own measure.

But they don’t know what they don’t know. Their college educations were limited to only Hume, Nietzsche, and others who disputed Christianity.  This is what happens when you try to have an educational system devoid of the Bible. You create graduates ignorant of the very foundations of Christendom and Western Civilization that led to prosperity for the common man unheard of in the history of the world. The sad part is they feel triumphant in their ignorance to the point that you can’t even reason with them. The books and arguments are out there. Start with Augustine, move on to Aquinas, then look to the modern day philosophers such as Schaeffer, Plantinga, William Lane Craig, G.K. Chesterton, Paul Copan (His book, Is God a Moral Monster? is an excellent answer to many common Old Testament objections), Norman Geisler, Greg Koukl, C.S. Lewis, David Marshall, JP Moreland, Jonathan Morrow, Ravi Zacharias, and N.T. Wright. Evidences and legal justification can be found in the works of Josh McDowell and Lee Strobel

All you need to do is read William Bennett’s The Index of Leading Cultural Indicators and Robert Bork’s Slouching Towards Gomorrah to see where those ideas have led us. Also check out Barzun’s From Dawn to Decadence. Those books give example after example of the end game of post modernism. [Sigh] but yes, these secular humanists know better than us backwards Christians.

Back to the article at hand, I merely said that a Christian marriage has made me happy. For that I am labeled a “tradcon.” I had to look that up. It means one that follows a traditional conservative mindset. Guilty as charged! (One caveat-I read Dean Esmay's article on Tradcons vs. Feminists; I agree that the more traditional family is extended, not the artificial construct of one man at work and one woman at home that was created in the 40's.) Pardon me for believing that committed Christians in loving homes produce great families, happy children, good citizens and a prosperous society. And yes there is ample research to support those claims. Look here, here, here, and here. It’s practically a priori for the first century and a half of the U.S. as well as other Christian countries in the West. Why don’t the muslim countries have that prosperity and freedom? Oh that’s right, because ostensibly “rich” countries like Saudi Arabia are too busy cutting off people’s heads. Yep, that’s Islamic progress for you.

I’m just not buying into the PC arguments anymore. The “enlightened” agnostics, humanists, and atheists at A Voice For Men banned me for “bigotry and general contempt for the work AVfM.” What they really banned me for was daring to suggest that the traditional Christian view of marriage might be something to look into. After all, if it is true for me, then perhaps it can be true for you? I was banned for a truth claim that Jesus was right when He said,
"...I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."
- John 14:6
Truth claims are not allowed on that site. I didn’t realize it because yesterday is the first day I’ve ever visited the site. And no, I didn't read the comments rules at all. I didn't realize that the site was so touchy about who commented and how. I know better now.

And here is the crazy thing: I was banned by a FEMALE moderator on a MEN’s site! Oh the IRONY! She stated, “We ban people for disdain and bigotry, including religious bigotry.” So a truth-claim for Christianity is now religious bigotry. Do you see how that happened? That is a direct assault on freedom of speech and a prime example of how PC apologists try to capture and change the definition of terms. This steers the argument in their favor because they know they can't win on the merits of their arguments alone. I understand speech discrimination is allowed on a private site, but it is still discrimination against a form of speech they don’t like. And here I thought PC was all about tolerance. What it really says is tolerance for me, but not for thee. They can't have it both ways. They can't claim to be fair minded and equal when they are censoring viewpoints.

See, the World wants all of the benefits of God’s blessings with none of the trials. So what has the Christian church done? Dumbed it down and removed every reference to God to produce their success manuals. John Maxwell, Norman Vincent Peale, and others try and state that you can have success without God. Well, not without a price. That success is coming at the cost of having given your allegiance to the prince and power of the air, Satan. Here's Bob Dylan cryptically admitting as much.

I’m losing compassion for people who remain willfully ignorant and prideful.
"...for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him."
- Hebrews 11:6
These people need God, but they don't even want to consider the Christian perspective. It's "bigotry." The Christian church needs to be a little more militant and a little less cowed by claims that we don’t know what we’re talking about. We’ve been shamed into subservience to a world that desperately needs God but rejects all overtures. The people commenting on the article wring their hands over what to do, but reject time-honored advice like the following:
"22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body,[d] of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”[e] 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband."
- Ephesians 5:22-33

Instead, this is what we get: “It is AVfM’s official position that men’s issues are neither a matter of partisan alignment nor aided by religious doctrine,"

I disagree, and a couple of thousand years of Christian history beg to differ.
Blessings follow not just in the U.S. but everywhere Christianity is embraced. Running water, help for children, and help for the poor. I could go on and on. Check out the book, What if Jesus Had Never Been Born by Kennedy. Yeah, there would be no hospitals and we’d go the way of Rome and Sparta practicing infanticide were it not for Christianity. As an aside, Christianity also greatly enhanced the status of women in the ancient world. See here and here. As I said, the world loves the benefits, but not the costs of following Christ.

The non-believers love to try and quote scripture back to Christians and try and throw it in our faces. The fact though is that the non-believers simply can't grasp things because they are spiritually discerned. Finally, they have no place to judge us. They aren't of Christ. They don't love Christ and keep His laws. Here is the Bible's answer on that subject:
13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy[a] Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 
1 Corinthians 2:13-15 
In conclusion, their assertion that religious doctrine does not aid in the discussion of men's issues, and by extension, family issues, is patently false. The purpose of the article was to discuss marriage, about which the Bible has a lot to say as I quoted earlier. They suppress opinions they don't like. Doesn't sound very fair-minded to me.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Charles Martel Should Have Been a Pacifist

At least that's what many academics and "thought leader" authors would have American Christian men believe.

I'm looking for authentic examples of Christianity for men in America today. The Evangelical church has presented only one face. Here's what I see the Church today promoting:
The ideal Christian man in America loves his wife and practically worships her for all intents and purposes.  He keeps his promises to not dishonor her by looking at pornography. He promises not to cheat on her by having an affair with another woman (or man for that matter). These are not bad things. A Christian man should be faithful to his wife. He should not cheat on her or look at pornography. Perfect - I do agree. What else does the Church expect? They expect the man to live a purpose driven life. Yes, go out and make a difference, but only within established boundaries. Don't color outside the lines. Jesus wants you to keep your life and job intact. That purpose includes always looking inward and trying to be a better man so that he can lead his family spiritually. He volunteers to teach Sunday School. He even leads the men's ministry quarterly golf outing. He doesn't make waves. He supports his pastor during pastor appreciation month. He doesn't get involved politically because frankly he's too busy serving the church and his family and avoiding alcohol and pornography. Whew!
But isn't there more? I know the above is a caricature. There is much diversity, but how much is there really? Evangelicalism has emasculated men. Women run the Church and it has their imprint on it. How do I know? Look at how Mark Driscoll was vilified last year for daring to argue that perhaps Jesus was a special case with a special mission. That Jesus' ideas about non-violence have been misinterpreted. Oh yes, the emasculated men were out in force proudly proclaiming their pacifism and educating the rest of us just what Jesus meant by "real man." Of course, their feminist-inspired versions are correct and Mark Driscoll is a sad adult child of an alcoholic who just needs counseling from godless psychologists. Here's a link to the article.

Here's a critical question for men:  What would you do if the ISIS invaders came to your doorstep and threatened to kill your wife and children in front of you unless you converted to Islam?  What would you do in a home invasion where the intruders wanted to rape your wife in front of you?  Do you really think Jesus would have you turn the other cheek and call that holy while your wife and children were being murdered in front of you?  You really think that Jesus said you have no right of self-defense?

Or what about the machine gun preacher? Oh, he's horrid! Oh no!

Yep. We should just go protest and non-violently confront the kidnappers and war lords in Sudan. I'm sure they'll respond to your effeminate plea of "please Mr. bad man, please don't take these children! Oh. It's for the CHILDREN!" So, Christian men have no right to do whatever is necessary to help those children? Sam Childers isn't a Christian? Says who? You? Isn't that up to Jesus to decide?

And let's expand it a bit. The pacifists would say that Christians in Iraq and Syria, whose communities date back to the time of Christ, should just roll over and put their hands up and die wonderful martyrs deaths because such love is what will really convince those poor misled Muslims that Jesus is wonderful? Do Christians not have the right to defend their communities? Or should they turn the other cheek and let marauders come and burn their crops and starve them out?

I will concede that Imperialism as it has been practiced by Britain and the United States is a step too far. But to pull so far back that you won't even fight for your family is not only misguided, it is cowardly and sinful. Here's a gem from Revelation 21:8:
But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.
Interesting how both cowards and murderers are lumped together with the unbelievers and idolaters. I guess the whole lot of those commenters at RNS would throw stones at Charles Martel too. Don't know Charles Martel? You should. Without his bravery and his willingness to defend his borders, we may all be Christians in a Muslim land paying the jizya tax. Should he have just turned the other cheek?

These are the hard questions that the academics and theologians like to discuss while men like Sam Childers don't ask permission. They just go get it done. Mark Driscoll may be wrong, but at least he's wrong while taking action. I'll follow him rather than some effete author or pastor any day.

Where were the Christians leading the fight with Occupy Wall Street? Where are the Christians speaking out about the economic issues of the day? And why aren't pastors calling their congregations to simply stop paying taxes as a protest to Obamacare or Roe v. Wade? That's hard. I know. We have families to manage and raise. But God has called one person to do it. Read the link. Strong woman, which I say to the shame of most Christian men.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Thoughts on recent EBT shutdown

Obama promised hope for America.  He said change was coming.  Too bad nobody bothered to ask him what he meant by "change."  It's not the kind of change we were expecting.
Here is where we are:

I got my EBT

Somebody OWES Me!

Obama is going to pay for my gas and mortgage!

Mr. Ghetto - Wally World

Now, check this out:  Tomorrowworld

What is this book they're worshiping?  It's called "The Book of Wisdom."  My wife nailed it.  "It looks like a video targeted at young white guys to spend their money hoping they can hook up with the fairies at the end." Notice that the tomorrowworld youtube site has over 2 million 400 thousand views!  And why are they kissing that book again?  Near as I can tell, it's just a scrapbook of pictures.

Here are some other interesting links to that "New Age Woodstock"

Book of Widsom

Tomorrowworld on Facebook

Billboard Article on American Version September 2013

A participant's view

Here's a quote from the last link:  "As I traveled to each of the stages, I was totally drawn to the DJ’s and how much power they have over the audience.  Almost like a God (in that setting)… they can take you wherever they want you to go. "

Yep.  Exactly like that.  Now I know why the Christians of yesterday instinctively knew that rock music and the accompanying stage productions were bad news:  they are modeled after pagan worship principles.

The Secret History of Rock and Roll

Why I left CCM

Why I've stopped singing in your church

Christian Rock is Pagan

In case you haven't noticed, we live in a post-Christian America.  The culture wars have largely been lost amidst a time of prosperity.  People are not motivated to seek Jesus while things are going so well.  Abortion on demand remains the law of the land.  Known perversions are held up as the ideal:  Greed, Pride, Selfishness. 

I'll bet you thought I was going to talk about homosexuality.  That battle has been lost as well.  While Christians have been distracted by the homosexual issue, the far more sinister ethic of "greed is good" has replaced Christian virtues of thrift and service.

Having a parallel culture of "Christian" music, clothes, schools, etc. hasn't stopped the moral decline of our nation.  When things go south, the unbelievers aren't going to come rushing to the churches saying "you were right."  They are going to ask why we didn't warn them.  I'll tell you PRECISELY why.

501(c)(3) - It's guidelines are contained in IRS Publication 1828 - Tax Guide for Churches and Religious Organizations.  It's mere title should tell us that churches (and the individuals responsible for allowing the church to come under government rule) have sold out in order to keep more of the donated money than they otherwise would have by not paying taxes.  And what does this cost?  Here's a quote from page 5:

A church or religious organization will be regarded as
attempting to influence legislation if it contacts, or urges
the public to contact, members or employees of a legislative
body for the purpose of proposing, supporting, or
opposing legislation, or if the organization advocates the
adoption or rejection of legislation.

Now I wonder why Roe V. Wade is still in effect?  I wonder why the church hasn't had more to say about the U.S. government allowing it's currency to be loaned to it by the private bank called the Federal Reserve?  I wonder why the church hasn't moved to revoke the corporate charters of known environmental abusers such as Union Carbide, a subsidiary of Dow Chemical.  Don't remember why Dow Chemical is bad?  Here is their most famous faux pas, The Bhopal Disaster.  Dow is chartered by the U.S. State of Delaware.  Were there ever any calls from the church for its dissolution in Delaware?  What else has Dow been involved in?  Check out this list:

This is a simple sample from just 15 minutes of research.  This is only what the public knows about.  What else is hidden?  Dow is just one example in a long list of corporations and governments that have not been held accountable because the church found itself compromised by it's 501(c)(3) status and would not speak out for fear of losing its tax-exempt status.

In conclusion, what do we do?  The individual people have a right to good leadership in the church that will lead them to be actual salt and light in their culture.  I think the only way to help people crippled by a generation of failed government dependency policies known as President Johnson's Great Society, is to abolish those handicapping handouts.

If even the zoo keepers know that feeding the animals makes them dependent, how could our government not understand this?!?

It boggles the mind; unless, it could be ON PURPOSE?

There is much to do.  Most of us, myself included, are landlocked into corporate wage slave jobs.  The church just wants to make more converts while disengaging from society.  For now, Christians who are walking with God and who form the real Church in America must simply prepare and look for solutions to change the mindset of people who will be violent and helpless in case of a shutdown.

We do that one person, one church, at a time.  Here is the best model I've seen so far.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Greek Thought or Hebrew Thought - Pythagoras or Samson?

Certain foundational assumptions have been hidden from us who grew up in the West, but as Christians.  When reading the Bible, it is important to understand that the writers were Hebrew.  Their thinking was Hebrew.  This affected all areas of knowledge.  For instance, in mathematics, they did not have the concept of zero.  That came later, from India.  It takes a certain philosophical perspective to think of there being nothing.  I suppose early Jewish thought just wasn't capable of that.  They also thought of prophecy in terms of having already been accomplished at the time the writer predicts in the prophecy.  The sentence and verb structure shows the prophecies to be in future perfect tense, as though it will have already happened.  Interesting.

Their poetry is not in rhythmic meter of language, but of ideas.  Hebrew poetry stressed opposites in order to drive home it's point.  I also think that it is a wonderful coincidence that Hebrew poetry can be translated into any language without losing the beauty of the thought comparisons we see in Psalms and Proverbs.

Finally, and the point of the rest of this post, is that Hebrew thought emphasized the knowledge and experience of God above all else.  Their first assumption was God Is.  That's it.  Nothing else was before God and so this colored their world view.

What we need to know is that the Greeks also have a presupposition; namely, that materialistic observation is the only source.  I may be wrong in this next statement, but I believe they thought the earth had simply always existed and this is why nature has been elevated to Nature in Greek thought.  They were always looking though for the first cause.  They see things in terms of cause and effect.  Not so with the Hebrew mind.  God is the first cause and so the first and best effect is communion with God.

From an article I read recently, I learned the following things:

  • Worldviews are different, even at the grammatical level
    • Hebrew verbs connote movement and dynamic variety
    • Greek verbs are static or harmonic

  • Greek:  rest, harmony, composure, self-control
  • Hebrew:  movement, life, deep emotion, power

  • Greek:  words are names and labels only - you haven't reached the truth yet
  • Hebrew:  words have power; they are not names only but things

  • Greek:  Classification of observable properties; Materialism
  • Hebrew:  fundamental character of God in relation to His creation and connectedness of all things

  • Greek:  Cause and effect while constantly trying to identify first causes
  • Hebrew:  source of causality (God) overrides any other concern

  • Greek:  Focus on the group to the abandonment of the individual
  • Hebrew:  Focus on the individual's relationship to God

  • Greek:  Thinking as the highest virtue
  • Hebrew:  Commitment as the highest virtue
 This brings up many questions:
  1. How did the early Gentiles come to faith without an understanding of the Hebrew concept of God? 
  2. How do other cultures of today experience God without knowledge?
  3. If people can come to faith without knowledge of the originating culture, doesn't this strike at the heart of Greek thought that says knowledge is the highest good?
    1. As a correlation, isn't this search for truth and knowledge, as the Greeks practiced it -- apart from God -- the original sin?  Valuing knowledge of good and evil over the relationship and presence of God?
  4. Why are we taught that heroes are scientists and stoics?  From Pythagoras to Spock, we're taught that the "Rational" man is the ideal man.  I believe that this has led to much error.  It has gone so far that many Christians blindly follow Ayn Rand's Objectivism without realizing she was an avowed atheist and despised Christianity.  There's not much charity in Rand's world.
  5. The hero of the Greeks is a stoic thinking man.  The hero of the Hebrews is an Artist:  David.
  6. Who would you rather have in a fight?  Samson or Spock?
These foundational assumptions of viewing the world are hidden to us in the West.  The fact of going to school, being controlled by bells on the hour, the idea that rationalism is the highest good are all taken for granted that this is the way life should be lived.  Why aren't these assumptions brought to the surface for scrutiny in Sunday School?  In religious education?  For instance, I've learned that  school as we know it is actually a Prussian invention designed to make people obedient to structure.  In the 1800's, our progressive thought leaders adopted the Prussian system here in America to keep the class system in place (percentages are not exact). 

  • Ruling Class - Top 2%
  • Artisan Class - Top 5%
  • Bureacratic (Management) Class - Top 15%
  • Working Class - Bottom 80%
Isn't Theology just another name for Religious Philosophy?  And what is taught in the seminaries?  It seems that it is simply advanced education in Bible survey (no small thing, I know), the denomination's (depending on the seminary) version of accepted philosophy -- Systematic Theology, and Greek and Hebrew language.   I am acquainted with the Systematic Theology of only of Augustine, Aquinas, Wiley, Calvin, Arminius, Van Til, Tillich, and Luther, although I've only ever read parts of each (I have to make a living after all).

The point is that we are learning through a filter and we don't even know there is a filter.  When a pastor pointed out that Matthew was showing Jesus to be the seventh seven according to Daniel 9:25, it was the first time I had ever heard it.  And to be honest, I'll bet most of the congregation was still trying to figure out the math while he was trying to say the experience of God was more important.  I almost missed the central message as well.

I wrote a paper in Nazarene Bible college that argued for intensive Sunday School training for all parishioners. I have yet to see people coming out of graduate work with Christian degrees in Christian Education implementing these programs.  We don't know what we believe because from the very beginning, we're taught by our Greek Western schools first principles that deny God and exalt Materialism (that's the philosophy of Materialism and Observation, not in the Economic sense).  We're being handicapped and don't even know it.  I feel fortunate I've been led down a path to start having my eyes opened to these things.  There are some good programs in place that I do visit on a regular basis, but I'm sad that these are para church ministries whose ideas are not coming from the pulpit or Sunday School.

Stand To Reason
Reasonable Faith
Colson Center
Think Christianly
The High Calling
Institute for Creation Research

So, it's no wonder that faith isn't "taking" to the last 2 or 3 generations.  They don't have the tools to understand.  We are trained in Greek thought that values the Technocracy above experience with God.  The assumptions are in every book and every textbook.  I can't read a popular non-fiction book without running across it.  Here are three examples.

The Shallows:  What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains - The book has a quote that says "The greatest thing that Evolution has bequeathed to us is the ability of the Human Brain to reform itself."  It gives credit to the creation instead of God.

Guns, Germs, and Steel:  The Fates of Human Societies - The entire book is predicated on an evolutionary understanding of man's development.  I've started it twice and can't get to the author's conclusion because I believe his first assumptions are entirely wrong.  They leave out God.  They leave out the Biblical understanding of the Flood and how it affected migration patterns.  I've had that book for five years and can't get through it.

Servant Leadership:  A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness - This was written by a long time IBM executive, Robert K. Greenleaf.  It has a forward by Stephen Covey, a known Mormon.  While Greenleaf is a bit more magnanimous, Covey (like Oswald Chambers, Norman V. Peale, Napoleon Hill, and more recent names like Tony Robbins) pulls principles directly from the Bible and then discards God while trying to say these things will work for everyone.  I'm reading the introduction and getting more and more incensed at the arrogance of Covey.  They are re-packaging God's ways and selling them as their own.  And we know that while God does bring the rain on the just and unjust, He doesn't just bless indiscriminately.  You must bow the knee to Christ to be given the gift of the Holy Spirit.

I will admit that my own search for truth is leading me evermore to that next book, that next article, that next documentary that would bring me closer to knowledge, closer to the truth.  And I see that trap for what it is.  I see my own part in the original sin.  I'm wondering if the reason I'm trapped by that is because of my Western Aristotelian thinking.  How do we elevate God back to the center?  How do we get over our idea of Bible Study as the highest good instead of worship of God in Christ?  Even elevating the Bible above God is wrong.  I believe the answer is to get closer to the presence of God through the laying down of all this Western pursuit of perfection, efficiency, and knowledge through the senses only.  What we need is a true spiritual awakening.  Find God first, then get equipped with the Apologetics and Philosophy to combat the erroneous assumptions of our day. 

I'll leave you with a pithy quote from the article.  Actually, maybe I'm revising it a bit.  It was from Abraham Joshua Heschel in his book, G-d in Search of Man:  A Philosophy of Judaism, 1955, p. 216:
"Thinking without roots will bear flowers but not fruits"
I love this because look what our Technocracy has wrought.  We don't steward the Earth's resources well.  We don't treat our fellow man well.  Our business leaders follow Machiavelli instead of Jesus.  The very first principle taught in school is Materialism in our secular society.  The church has abandoned its people by not equipping them with the tools to combat that pernicious and destructive philosophy.  Worse, the people don't even know they're being poisoned.  Kids grow up, compare what they were taught in school with what they were taught in church and then come to the conclusion that because God can't be "proven" in a Materialistic way, that it must not be "true."  We've missed the point of what "true" really means in that case.  We have failed God and failed our children. 

We are so busy combating the symptoms of cultural decline (abortion, substance abuse, homosexuality) that we don't even see that the pillars of our faith have been co-opted by the Materialists and the Secularists.  They are building our children in their image because they have replaced our foundation of God with their foundation of Man.  The process takes awhile, but just look at Barna and Pew polls.  We are going the way of England and Europe.  Christian faith is waning even while the people are clamoring for some type of spiritual sustenance.  In a recent interview, Russell Brand claimed that what we need is a spiritual awakening.  He's a known devotee of Eastern philosophies.  He doesn't follow Christ.  Yet here is Russell Brand advocating for a spiritually led society.  He stated that he wants to do away with the barriers between church and state.  He knows that we are starving, suffering, and failing without it.