Don’t Be a Coward – Creating Communities of Courage

Don't Be A Coward

Creating Communities of Courage

Cowardice has no place in the life of the Christian or Christ’s Church.

A faith that bows before cultural coercion is not biblical faith. When the individual Christian or church acquiesce to the zeitgeist (the spirit of the age), we are being cowards – we are fearing man over God. Humans worship what they fear. When Christians take their cues from the culture, we are cowards (period) – we are worshipping what we fear – the culture (man).

Throughout scripture, God repeatedly calls his servants, his people to be courageous. True courage is properly grounded in fear of the Lord. When we fear what people might say, think or how they may respond, we are not fearing God but man. If our fear is rooted in the fear of man, the fruit is always cowardice. Christian cowardice has always led to spiritual, societal and cultural decay – and the rise of barbarism (ie. the silent church in Nazi Germany). If on the other hand, our fear is rooted in the fear of the Lord, the fruit will be courage. Not only courage but wisdom, righteousness, love and reflections of God’s attributes.

God’s commands carry blessing for those who obey. The command to “be courageous” is not a suggestion, it is a command to follow obediently. And God, like a loving father, blesses our obedience.

In the face of social pressure or coercion or violence, we sometimes think that backing down or appeasing the enemies of truth will give us relief or buy us peace. That is a lie. Don’t believe a lie and don’t disobey God’s command to be courageous.

The secular zeitgeist is a bully. How does one face down and defeat a bully?
First, you must stand up to the bully knowing that he’s weak and filled with folly. It’s all show.
Second, you fight back. Bullies only pick on people they think are weak. When you demonstrate that you are not going to put up with their crap and push back, they back down. Finally, when the bully backs down, their passive and active support vanishes in a mist of humiliation. But, the church must be careful not to become a bully either.

Both cowardice and courage are contagious.

The Christian must choose. All it takes is one Christian to stand up and others will follow. This is the catalyst that creates communities of courage.

The Church needs a commitment to the truth of Scripture and vibrant communities of courage where the people of God stand against a dark culture. When the redeemed in Christ can truly claim, “we’re in this together”, we have become a community of courage. Christianity is a “Public” faith. We have a public theology. We courageously think, speak and live by truth as Christ demonstrated in his earthly ministry.

Need help in developing courage?

Check out this video: Thinking Out Loud “Courage in a Culture of Chaos”

Feel free to share your thoughts and commend below this post…

 

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*This is a personal blog. The opinions expressed here do not necessarily represent those of my employer or my church. The opinions of expressed by guest authors and commenters do not necessarily represent my opinions.

Understanding CRT: Critical Theory and Critical Race Theory – Intersectionality

Over the last several months, I have had hundreds of conversations and answered questions about CRT (CRTI), Cultural Marxism and how Christians should respond.

Note: I use CRT and CRTI interchangeably. Let me say from the outset that many well-meaning Christians find these concepts very attractive because of the empathetic language employed by CRTI. Make no mistake, CRTI is not a ‘theory’ in the classic understanding, it is a total vision of reality. It is a worldview. It is rooted in atheistic materialism – time plus matter plus chance is total reality. The well-meaning Christian who adopts concepts or ideas is undermining Biblical faith, the Christian worldview and their public theology.

Therefore, I admonish my brothers and sisters to hold fast to the Bible daily by “renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). I challenge you to bring any and all foreign worldviews or concepts into the full light of biblical truth in order to “destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ… (2 Corinthians 10:5)

The content below comes from a previous paper I wrote on the book, “White Fragility” by Robin DiAngelo. I abbreviated and adapted it for this post. There is a resource list at the end for you to dive deeper if you wish.

History of CRT / CRTI – Marx

Karl Marx viewed the world through economics (only matter and energy exist). The struggle was between the Bourgeoisie (elites / owners / oppressors) vs Proletariat (poor / workers / oppressed). His theory was devoted to creating conditions for a revolution where the Proletariat would rise up and take power from the Bourgeoisie establishing equality in outcomes (a utopian state).

History of CRT / CRTI – Gramsci

When Marxist revolutions failed to materialize in the west, Antonio Gramsci (Italian Marxist) theorized that the Cultural Hegemony (dominant cultural power) hindered it. Gramsci came to the conclusion that the ‘revolution’ from Marx’s theoretical framework would not materialize in wealthy, stable and capitalist societies. According to historian Dr. Glenn Sunshine, Gramsci surmised that, “The problem was ideology not economics – the problem was worldview.” The hegemony elites controlled and oppressed the lower classes ideologically through the institutions (academia, education systems and universities, the church, politics, judiciary, civil service, media, entertainment, the family and marriage). Gramsci’s vision was to create a counter-hegemony to overthrow the dominant oppressive power structure. Then, the conditions would be set up for a Marxist revolution. Gramci’s vision of a “war of position” for socialists and communists, is to subvert western culture from the inside.

Modern Critical Theory as a worldview

What began with Marx was modified by Gramsci then adapted as Critical Theory. Today, Critical Theory is a bonafide worldview that competes with Christianity, Islam, Atheism, Secularism, New Ageism, etc. The application (praxis) of Critical Theory is to identify the systematic power structures in society (power dynamics) between oppressed groups and their oppressors with the goal of dismantling oppressive structures.

Oppressors and Oppressed – Social Justice Movement

The critical theorist is in a constant state of critique, dividing people into oppressed identity groups determined by gender, race, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, economic status, etc. and dismantling oppressive institutions and structures – thus, liberating the oppressed group. In other words, it is in a constant process of revolution against the cultural and economic hegemony. Critical Theory has been hybridized into Critical Race Theory Intersectionality. There are other variants (like Critical Pedagogy and Queer Theory) that I will not go into here but suffice to say, they all lead back to Marx (oppressors and oppressed). They are the fuel of the ubiquitous ‘Social Justice’ movement (see also Social Justice commentary).

Critical Theory as a Religion

It’s important to note that Max Horkheimer coined the term “Critical Theory” and wanted to distinguish it as a radical, emancipatory form of Marxian theory . If after reading this the notion of ‘religion’ comes to mind, you’re beginning to see the power of Critical Theory as a competing worldview.

Critical Theory as a Revolution

Within Critical Theory, there exists only two types of people, oppressors and the oppressed. All social interactions and institutions revolve around power dynamics in a zero-sum game (a winner and a loser). In other words, there is a fixed amount of material resources in the world. The dominant group obtains resources at the expense of the weaker groups. In order to keep power and control resources, the dominant group oppresses the weaker groups. That is the basic idea of power dynamics. In addition, the dominant group also exercises oppression through hegemonic power (recall Gramsci). Culture (language, law, business, customs, art, education, science, etc) is dictated by the hegemony. To Max Horkheimer, the objective of Critical Theory is “to liberate human beings from the circumstances that enslave them.” The existing power structures must be confronted and overthrown in order to ‘liberate’ oppressed people groups.

Critical Theory is a parasite – stealing words and distorting ideas

This brings us back to Gramci’s subversion of western institutions. We’re not just dealing with a book, we’re dealing with a worldview. CRTI has committed linguistic larceny of Christian words and concepts like justice, equality, human identity, liberation, oppression, etc. Therefore, the worldview deals in a slight of hand with words.

Critical Theory, Race and Power

“Critical Race scholar Zeus Leonardo states, “For white racial hegemony to saturate everyday life, it has to be secured by a process of domination, or those acts, decisions, and policies that white subjects perpetrate on people of color.”” (DiAngelo, 2018, p. 118)

Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality

CRT creates a type of caste system. By design, it divides all people into opposing groups that are constantly competing for greater levels of victim status (intersectionality). Moral authority is determined by the number of oppressed groups one identifies with, while moral responsibility is not expected among oppressed groups. In this worldview, certain ethnicities and identity groups have no moral responsibility at all. Essentially, they can behave however they wish without any moral or judicial consequence.

Ethnic minority identity groups have hidden knowledge of truth regarding racism that is only accessible to that group. Dr. Voddie Bauchman calls this “ethnic gnosticism.

CRT View of Truth

Adherents to CRTI also claim that actual knowledge is impossible – truth and knowledge are rooted in one’s individual experience and identity group experience. Truth, epistemology and metaphysics (the nature of reality) are culturally generated and socially constructed. In other words, there is no objective truth to be found in the domain of human existence.

CRT collapses by subverting its own logical framework

Now the logical inconsistency of the worldview comes into focus. The claim that truth and knowledge are subjective (rooted in experience) is either objectively true for everyone everywhere or it is not. The truth claim that all truth is subjective collapses and self-refutes. Logic wins! Game over! Right? Wrong.

The CRTI worldview maintains that logic, reason, science as well as the Christian worldview and the nuclear family are tools that white people use to retain hegemonic power in order to continuously oppress black people and other intersectional groups. This borrows a tactic from Queer Theory that states that is politically actionable to make reality as confusing as possible if it furthers the cause of defeating systemic oppression.

Dangers for the well-meaning Christian

The Christian who intentionally or unintentionally adopts or borrows language or even the smallest idea from Critical Theory must understand that he or she is importing a foreign artifact that undermines the Bible and Christian worldview. In today’s postmodern culture in America, words like justice, equality, human identity, liberation, oppression have dual meanings. CRTI has hijacked language in order to push an ideology. Well-meaning Christians should use discernment and ask questions. We’re using the same words but different dictionaries. Always ask, “what do you mean by that?” to get clarification.

Theologian Darrell Harrison puts it another way, “We (Christians) are not to take the world’s ungodly philosophies and worldviews and couch them within the biblical Christian worldview. We are not to adopt them or any part of them because one part taints the whole.”

CRT in the Church

In my interactions with brothers and sister who have knowingly or unknowingly adopted CRT concepts, they express confusion and frustration with what they see as the problem with the world around them and how to solve it. They are essentially struggling to make sense of reality because they have unknowing believed concepts that are foreign to the biblical Christian worldview. So, they are frustrated. They fall into a trap between two visions of reality and humanity. Sometimes, they feel like they are being attacked by both sides or they just can’t win either way. The Church has failed in teaching a comprehensive public theology in light of the fullness and clarity of the Gospel of the Kingdom. We are the most biblically illiterate generation in history. The solution is to reclaim and revitalize the riches and fullness of Biblical faith.

Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.” (Revelation 3:2)

Consider the Bible

God created the world and everything in it. God is the moral law giver and he implanted it on the hearts of humans by common grace. He infused and embedded rich meaning throughout the created order. He brought about the universe through his Word. He gave us the gift of language. God created all humans in His own likeness and image. God declares that there is but one race – the human race.

Is ‘race’ a biblical concept?

Regarding the category of ‘race’, it’s worth noting that the Bible does not divide people into ‘races’, instead the Bible speaks of nations (ethnos), tribes, tongues and peoples. He created unity in diversity. ‘Nations’ is translated from ‘ethnos’ – where we derive the word ‘ethnicities’. THAT is the language of the Bible. The concept of ’Race’ is rooted in Darwin’s Theory of Human Evolution and is ethnically prejudice full title: “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life“). It’s also worth noting that scientists have proven that the concept of ‘race’ is not grounded in genetics.

What’s the root problem with the world?

The Bible says sin is the problem with the world and reality proves this to be true.

“The depravity of man is at once the most empirically verifiable reality but at the same time the most intellectually resisted fact.”
– Malcolm Muggeridge

The Bible properly diagnoses the human problem and offers a comprehensive solution. The Problem is Sin and the Solution is the Gospel (salvation in Christ and vision for how we live based on that).

What’s the solution to the problem with the world?

As image-bearers, we implicitly know good from evil, right from wrong – we know God exists. The Bible states that ’Sin’ is the problem with the world. And our thoughts, words and actions evidence this as true (corresponds to reality of evil we see in the world and in ourselves). God also provides the only solution to our problem. That solution is His only son, Jesus Christ (Gospel). He is the one who saves by grace through faith. He died for all nations and all sin. We just need to repent and trust Him… He opens the gates to the Father’s Kingdom. And until these bodies wear out, we live in the joy of our Salvation. We express our love for Him by sharing the hope we have in our hearts and serving Him – redeeming and restoring our culture in our time. Then, our Father will whisper, “time to come home my child; well done…. I am making all things new.”

Final Thoughts for Christians

CRTI is an anti-Christian worldview and ideology. As followers of Christ with a Christian worldview and vision for life, we must think deeply in this cultural moment and understand the times. Second, we must pray for wisdom and discernment. We must pray for those brothers and sisters being led astray by false doctrines. Third, we must spend more time in our Bibles. One hour per week on Sundays is not enough to engage with competing worldviews.

Read your Bibles and understand the times.  I discuss worldview in greater depth here…

“The more one understands people’s ideas the better one can communicate the truth of scripture and the gospel to them. That is why one learns about cults and religions. And why missionaries try to understand the cultures in which they live. But not enough Christians put much effort into understanding the culture in which they live. New believers who come to the church bring their worldviews with them. Furthermore, those Christians already in the church who do not understand worldview issues will not realize when they are embracing non-Christian concepts.” – John MacArthur

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Worldview Explained – Making sense of the world around you

Do you struggle making sense of the world around you? It is worth examining your worldview.

The term ‘worldview’ gets thrown around a lot more frequently today. People ask me questions about worldview often. While everyone has one, very few can articulate it.

I find analogies helpful. Bear with me as a attempt to employ and analogy in this instance.

Your computer and your smartphone have what is called an “operating system (OS).” Your devices cannot function without one. “An operating system is a powerful, and usually large, program that controls and manages the hardware and other software on a computer. All computers and computer-like devices require operating systems.” (laptops, smartphones, GPS, etc). [lifewire.com]

A worldview is very similar to a computer’s operating system. Everyone has an operating system. It is a philosophical framework of how we live but its more than that. A worldview deals with total final reality. Not all worldviews are the same. My atheist friends have a very different worldview from my Mormon friends. And my Christian worldview is very different from my atheist and Mormon friends.

Essentially, our Worldview is the lens through which we view, interpret and engage reality. It is what we believe about ourselves and the world around us (total reality). Whether we are aware of it or not, our worldview informs us, shapes our thoughts and beliefs, and drives our actions (behaviors).

Worldview’s can be shared causing unity among people. Conversely, they can clash causing conflict.

What makes up a ‘worldview’?

Every worldview provides answers to the seven questions below. The question is, which worldview offers the best answers?

1. Where did I come from? (origin)
2. What is the nature of reality?
3. Does my life have meaning (meaning)?
4. Who am I (identity)?
5. How do I know right from wrong? (morality)
6. What is wrong with the world and how do we fix it?
7. What happens to me when I die? (destiny)

Worldview Tests for Truth – Correspondence and Coherence

Once we have established the answers to the seven questions above, we must apply two tests for truth. The first is correspondence.
Do the answers correspond to reality?
The second test for truth is the coherence test.
When all seven answers are put together, is there coherence? In other words, do they make sense together?

Finally, all truth claims must demonstrate logical consistency, empirical adequacy and experiential relevance. Truth is logical, measurable and applicable to daily life.

Is your worldview livable?

Can you base your life on it?

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Fear as cover for False Teaching

Fear as cover for False Teaching

Fear is like a foggy moonless night.

Fear is the cover of darkness that the enemy uses to infiltrate the church with false teaching and deception. Once inside the walls, false teachers spread a false gospel among the flock – beginning with the “least of these” children and the spiritually immature.

These false teachers are wolves in sheep’s clothing. They have the appearance of light and with smooth tongues and deceptive ways, they create divisions and lead the weak away into falsehood and bondage.

To the false teachers, the watchman warns, “Oh that you who causes one of the little ones who love God to sin… you are anathema.”

To the city of God, the watchman cries out, “The enemy is approaching under the cover of darkness – take your stations and close the gate!”

To the wolves – the sheepdog has apprehend the scent of your falsehoods, wicked schemes and bad fruit. He has tracked you down. You have choice; flee from the sheep fold or he will drag you out.  Wolves and false teachers can run with the hunted… You have been put on notice.  You ought to leave the fold before you are exposed.  Or repent.

Remember, those who’s hearts are dark love the darkness. At this moment in history a virus and social unrest have created much fear inside and outside the church. Fear can be blinding. Fear can be wielded by Satan in order to deceive, divide and destroy. Like an enemy platoon that advances on its target at night or a lion that stalks its pray in darkness; false teachers use the cover of fear to spread their lies. However, we know that fear is NOT a fruit of the Spirit.  Christian, give fear no quarter – keep watch.

The time has come to dispel the darkness of fear with the light of true truth. Christ stands champion over the darkness and will hold everyone accountable in His light.

“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” – Matthew 18:6

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire…” – Matthew 7:15-20

Assignment: September 11 – 17

6 Week Journey assignment one: A Christian Manifesto by Francis Schaeffer

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Of wolves, boats, creation theology, Christian resistance and Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Of wolves, boats, creation theology, Christian resistance and Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Today, I would like to commend to you a few things to read, explore and consider.

[Article] The Danger of the Evening Wolf (Alistair Begg – 2 min)
“The evening wolf, infuriated by a day of hunger, was fiercer and more ravenous than he would have been in the morning. This furious creature may promise a picture of our doubts and fears after a day of distraction of mind, losses in business, and perhaps ungenerous tauntings from our fellowmen.” Continue reading…

[Audio] Creation Theology (Theology Pugcast 51 mins)
God displays His glory and magnificence through His created order. The modern Christian has lost the beautiful and mysterious wonder of knowing God and understanding His attributes through creation. When I glimpse God’s beauty and goodness radiating from what He has made, I give thanks and glory to God. The question is, “How can modern Christians re-inhabit such wonder and awe of God’s majesty?” The guys from the Pugcast walk us through what a Creation Theology was to our predecessors in Christian tradition and what it might look like today. “Dr. Glenn Sunshine reflects on the idea that the Creation is sacramental, that is, that it points beyond itself to spiritual realities. He takes his cue from passages in Scripture that point to the Creation as pictures of truths about God and humanity.” Link to podcast page…

[Audio] Beyond Authority & Submission (Douglas Wilson “The Plogcast” – 17 mins)
Doug Wilson discusses what the Reformers called a “Theology of Resistance” of which there are three stages. Whether you agree with Wilson’s positions or not, it is worth considering how orthodox Christians (the Church) should respond in this cultural moment. The Bible and our forerunners give us an idea of properly ordered Christian resistance to tyranny and persecution. Listen to audio here…

[Article, Audio or Video] Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s warning “A World Split Apart 1978” (1 hr)
In light of this moment in American history, we must reflect on what happened in the past. Solzhenitsyn’s commencement address at Harvard University was cutting and prophetic. “Liberalism was inevitably displaced by radicalism; radicalism had to surrender to socialism; and socialism could never resist communism. The communist regime in the East could stand and grow due to the enthusiastic support from an enormous number of Western intellectuals who felt a kinship and refused to see communism’s crimes. And when they no longer could do so, they tried to justify them. In our Eastern countries, communism has suffered a complete ideological defeat; it is zero and less than zero. But Western intellectuals still look at it with interest and with empathy, and this is precisely what makes it so immensely difficult for the West to withstand the East.” Watch, read or listen to the speech…

 

[Book] The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics
This magnificent true story is one of the non-academic books I’ve read in a couple years. It’s worth every moment. “The sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the boys defeated elite rivals first from eastern and British universities and finally the German crew rowing for Adolf Hitler in the Olympic games in Berlin, 1936.”
This book is available as a Young Readers Adaptation as well. So the entire family can enjoy (5hrs 34mins). Link to book…

Don’t forget, you can join me in our 6 week journey. Learn more here…

Assignment: September 11 – 17

6 Week Journey assignment one: A Christian Manifesto by Francis Schaeffer

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Critical Response and Worldview Analysis of the book “White Fragility” by Robin DiAngelo

Critical Response and Worldview Analysis of the book "White Fragility" by Robin DiAngelo

I have written a two part series about the book “White Fragility” by Robin DiAngelo. [Links below]

Taken together, they provide a critical response and worldview analysis. I explain why Christians should not adopt concepts from DiAngelo’s book and I present why the Christian worldview offers the best solution. My prayer that these combined posts will help my fellow Christians think deeply and discern truth from ‘feel-good’ falsehoods.

Links to Parts One and Two:

“But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” Hebrews 5:14

“The more one understands people’s ideas the better one can communicate the truth of scripture and the gospel to them. That is why one learns about cults and religions. And why missionaries try to understand the cultures in which they live. But not enough Christians put much effort into understanding the culture in which they live. New believers who come to the church bring their worldviews with them. Furthermore, those Christians already in the church who do not understand worldview issues will not realize when they are embracing non-Christian concepts.” – John MacArthur

Meditate on these passages of holy scripture:

“Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” John 7:24

“For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.” 2 Corinthians 11:13-15

“For God is not a God of confusion but of peace…” 1 Corinthians 14:33

“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” Colossians 2:8

Links:

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