They have let us down. . . .
Organizations and ideological movements live and die by the level of commitment their employees and followers exhibit towards them. If an employer cannot gainfully employ a hardcore group of dedicated workers, or train up such a group over time, then the organization’s future will be called into jeopardy. The company needs to have a continuous stream of fresh young talent entering the organization to ensure that it does not shrivel up and dry out like a flowering vine suddenly exposed to harsh drought conditions. But it must also maintain continuity with its past, with its heritage, traditions, and founding vision. It must be able to induct new workers into its methods and processes. This requires applying a combination of continuity and discontinuity.
Hiring new employees is a discontinuous act because it’s incorporating something brand new (a new hire, especially when they are a freshly minted college graduate) into something completely different—a corporate institution that possesses a history. Continuity is established when the old guard mentors, trains, and indoctrinates the new hires so that they learn the old ways. The new hires bring in fresh ideas and also develop new skills taught to them by the old timers. At the same time the old timers gradually invest them with increasing responsibility. They transfer the company’s legacy to a new generation so that it can continue existing across time, even as former employees and original founders leave or die. In this way, the organization outlives the lives of its creators because its vision is focused and powerful enough to motivate new workers to take up its cause. This can continue as long as a mechanism is put into place to continuously ensure the steady and continual transfer of institutional inheritance to new employees. The torch must be passed. It also continues for as long as the organization continues to adequately meet the needs of its customers. As the customer appetites change, the company should adapt if it hopes to survive. If it fails to properly service its market, then its profits will dry up as its loyal customer base dies off without any new one showing up to replace it because the company failed to appeal to a new generation of customers. When a company runs low on profits, it loses its ability to offer higher wages than its competitors. To attract the best and the brightest talent, a company should be able to offer attractive salaries and benefits.
This is even truer for a non-profit organization, where salaries may not be as competitive with those offered by for-profit private enterprise; non-profit organizations hope to keep their costs down so that they can run thin and lean and devote the majority of their income and contributions to the particular cause they were founded to support. To keep the costs down, they ask their employees to make sacrifices in the form of lower salaries and benefits. Those workers are willing to make those sacrifices because they are deeply committed to the cause or idea championed by the organization. By providing sacrificial service to the non-profit organization, they derive a multitude of psychological benefits that for-profit enterprise simply may not be able to provide. They swap salary for satisfaction. The greater sense of sacrifice they believe themselves to be making, the more rewarding their work seems to be.
Companies attract sharp talent because they can offer high salaries, the promise of personal fulfillment by contributing to an important endeavor, or both. Non-profit organizations must rely on their mission and vision to attract employees. Most must still offer salaries to complement their mission, even if they are lower than in private industry. They make up for the difference in salaries by providing intangible benefits private companies can’t match.
Beyond these two institutions, there are religions and ideological movements. Ideological movements don’t necessarily have to be religious—they can be atheistic, as Communism was—but the two are very similar. Neither generally offers any kind of salary for being an adherent. It’s true that if a religion or movement becomes mainstream enough to gain a widespread following that, as money begins flowing into the central bank accounts from its followers and other sources, it becomes possible to earn a very comfortable living as an officer in the organization’s hierarchy. But even if this is the ultimate goal of its founders—create a movement that will support them in their retirement—it is rare that in its early days it has much of anything in terms of money or earthly value to offer its disciples. It must provide something else of value in order to develop a hardcore group of dedicated disciples who are willing to take the movement’s message into the world and spread it as far and wide as possible. Their goal is to gain converts and gradually gain influence. By gaining influence themselves, their movement gains influence. They hope that this influence will capture the hearts and minds of millions of people and transform their community, their society, or the world—whichever they may have in mind.
Communism was almost a dead letter in 1900. Karl Marx died in 1883. Eight people attended his funeral. Five years after that, Lenin discovered Marx’s writings. It then took less than 60 years for Communism to capture one-third of the world’s population. Its followers were extremely devoted. They quit high-paying jobs to come to work for various Communist organizations. They would take a two-thirds cut in their lifestyle in order to further the Communist cause (read Dedication and Leadership, by Douglas Hyde). Clearly the organization supplied those people with a complex of benefits that a successful life as a salaried professional couldn’t offer. This is incredible, when you consider that Communism is officially and self-consciously atheist. Supposedly and officially their benefits were purely material in nature and without any spiritual value because, in its worldview, there was no such thing as “spirit.”
People still exhibit the same kind of sacrifice to work for nonprofit organizations. These days, though, it seems subsistence living is made easier with food stamp programs, Obamacare, and the contributions made by generous parents.
Christ demands dedication from His church, but it offers many more benefits than any rival institution could ever hope to compete with. Everyone ought to hold these benefits in high esteem, yet it often seems that few do. Because everyone is made in God’s image, they all produce an innate response to promises of redemption and salvation. Everyone responds to these ideas in some way, even if it means turning to officially atheistic causes to find them. Communism promised salvation in the form of ushering in an earthly paradise that would let the oppressed proletariat escape from under the burdens laid heavy on them by the privileged bourgeoisie. It swore redemption by ensuring that the formerly oppressed working class would ultimately get what they rightfully deserved by becoming equal to, if not outright superior to, the old wealthy class in this bright new Communist world order.
CHRIST’S NEW WORLD ORDER
The problem is that many, if not most, modern Christians in the Western world have lost their fervor for Christ’s vision of a new world order. An organization that demands big sacrifices from its disciples gets big commitments from them. Jesus demands big sacrifices from his elect, but it seems that his church has failed to communicate this message to the rest of the body. He lays out his terms by way of covenant, but by avoiding study of the covenant and its contents the church has managed to push the intense sacrificial requirements out of our contemporary memory. But in doing so, it has also forced out the great benefits that we gain access to by making those big sacrifices.
Jesus Christ is an infinitely superior leader to Karl Marx. Marx was a buffoon, a member of the bourgeoisie that he hypocritically despised. Jesus Christ, on the contrary, has been made like us in every way so that he may become a merciful and faithful high priest to serve God on our behalf (Heb. 2:17). He knows what we go through. He understands our problems, our fears, our desires. But he also demands everything from us.
Jesus Christ demands total commitment from his church. He has been gracious to us. He has given his life so that we may avoid the just punishment we deserve for our trespasses. He is not pleased by equivocation. He is not pleased by half-hearted attempts.
Several times he makes black-and-white statements that testify to his demands for our complete and total obedience. “No man can serve two masters,” he tells us (Matt. 6:24). Elsewhere he commands us to let what we say be simply “Yes” or “No” because anything more than that comes from evil (Matt. 5:37). This is echoed by James: “But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your ‘yes’ be yes and your ‘no’ be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation” (James 5:12). Paul is no different, spelling out Christ’s comprehensive requirements by invoking the minutiae of daily life: “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God…We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” (1 Cor. 10:31 and 2 Cor. 10:5).
What level of commitment must be required by someone to ensure that every thought that runs through their mind is dedicated and conformed to the message of their leader, their king, their lord? What kind of commitment is required to consciously surrender even the mundane tasks of eating and drinking to the will of their commander? They must embrace the realization that no aspect of their life whatsoever is under their sole authority. They have authority over their thoughts, deeds, words, and actions just as long as they are on message, in conformity to the code of the institution they are a member of.
This is the reality of the Christian life. Christ owns everything. He owes us nothing. We owe him everything. He demands our total obedience. He demands that we honor him and glorify him in all areas of our life, a demand which is more than fair considering that he bought us for a price (1 Cor. 7:23). He has given us a moral code which is supposed to guide our life: the Ten Commandments. This is His law, and it is supposed to be a lamp to our feet, something we delight in (Psalm 119:174).
The modern church goer knows nothing of this requirement. If they know anything of “the law” at all, it is to despise it. It conjures catch phrases like “works-righteousness” and other similar epithets that they use like trash bins to conveniently catch the terms of the covenant, which they uncritically toss over their shoulders.
We are commanded to be conformed to the image of Christ. We say that we “need to become more like Jesus.” We speak of love, but the modern definition of love is mangled form of the biblical definition. The way we are to go about conforming ourselves to the image of Christ is by putting to death the sin in our bodies. We do this by obeying God’s law: “And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments” (2 John1:6a). We use the Ten Commandments and the other case laws revealed primarily in the Old Testament as guides in every area of life. Those precepts quickly teach us the basics—don’t murder, don’t steal, don’t bear false witness, don’t worship other gods—but they also instruct us in more complex matters that arise in modern socioeconomic affairs, like abortion (see Exodus 21:22-23).
God’s law is applicable to ever area of life. It is relevant in all matters: ethics, family, politics, business, and church.
To accept this truth and embrace biblical law as binding on our lives requires also accepting a great deal of responsibility. When we take on a little responsibility, more usually follows: “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more” (Luke 12:48). With great responsibility comes great reward, but with it also comes the risk of great failure: “For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away” (Matt.13:12).
It is a moral requirement that Christians continually seek to increase their responsibility level in their lives (Matt. 25:14-30, the parable of the talents), and the way we go about gaining increased responsibility—in church, at our jobs, in our families, in our communities—is, first, by praying for more grace to do so, and second, by applying God’s law to our lives. God’s law is a tool of dominion:
[The nations will say] “’Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him? And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today?” (Deut. 4:6-8)
But instead of embracing this responsibility, we are overcome with paralysis. We are like the people that Elijah confronted: “And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? If the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word” (1 Kings 18:21). We can recognize the dilemma brought into our lives. We can recognize Christ’s call to responsibility, and it’s pretty clear what tools he has given us to embrace that responsibility and be successful at it. We just fear the consequences of that success.
And that’s our problem. We have not taken Paul seriously: “You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.”
Jesus demands great sacrifice. The rich ruler couldn’t pay the price required to follow Christ: giving up his riches. That doesn’t mean Christians must be poor and cannot be wealthy; on the contrary, the book of Proverbs is the Bible’s success manual. It is clear that obedience to God’s law results in success, both individual and corporate. But the rich young ruler couldn’t let go of his riches which he had so dedicated himself to attaining. His self-worth had been tied up in his wealth. He tied his value to his wealth. If he gave it all up, he couldn’t see that he’d have any value left. He would lose the lifestyle he had become accustomed to.
That’s because he became beholden to a worldly definition of success and value. In Paul’s words, he had becomes the slaves of men. “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matt. 6:21).
THE MODERN ACADEMIC IDOL
One of the biggest idols towering over our modern Western culture is intellectualism. It has infected Christian academics and theologians and, in turn, paralyzed them. Secular academia attempts to investigate and analyze the world based on a fundamental presupposition: there is no God. This presupposition effects the way they see the world. It rules out by a fundamental assumption the existence of the supernatural. There is no evidence that such an assumption is valid, especially when evidence is defined in terms of modern science: testable hypotheses, repeatable experiments, and piles of quantifiable data. There is no quantifiable information that anyone can appeal to that supports the hypothesis that God does not exist. Secular academia simply assumes it, which is ironic given its mantra: “question everything.” When someone starts questioning whether maybe God does in fact exist, which, if it were true, would cast a new light on the plausibility of the Big Bang Theory, then the flashing red lights go up. Tenure goes out the door. The dissenter is cast down with the Sodomites.
Secular humanists have played the game well. They captured the holy grail of Presbyterianism: academic certification and intellectual prowess. They beat the Presbyterians at their own game by slowly but surely capturing public education, from kindergarten on up to graduate school. They captured, one by one, the prestigious institutions of higher learning in the US: Harvard, Yale, Princeton, all founded by Calvinists. Christianity is hostile to the wisdom of the world; secular humanism is founded upon worldly wisdom: naturalism, gradualism, evolutionism. But modern Christianity has given over the keys of the kingdom to secular academia. Consider the facts.
Westminster Theological Seminary has a legacy as the top-notch Presbyterian seminary. It was founded in 1929 by J. Gresham Machen in response to heresy and heretics that had infiltrated Princeton Theological Seminary. It remains a popular destination for would-be pastors today.
As they explain in their FAQs, “Westminster is a graduate-level institution and requires a bachelor’s degree for admission to all programs.” Your bachelor’s degree must be from an accredited institution. The Federal Government, through the Department of Education, determines which accrediting bodies are acceptable. They must pass the DoE’s requirements. Public education is run by the DoE, and it is hostile to Christianity and friendly to evolution. Likewise, Christianity is hostile to public education because it is hostile to the morally corrupt foundation the system rests upon: the systematic theft of many (taxes) to fund the education of others, and the federal government is the enforcement muscle in this operation.
If homeschoolers do not use the public school facilities, why must they be taxed? There is no opt-out policy. The theft is foundational to the whole system.
A MINISTER’S TRIALS
In order to become an ordained minister (a preacher) in the major Presbyterian denominations (PCA, 358,000 members and OPC, 31,000 members), in accordance with the Book of Church Order, all candidates must have, first, a Bachelor’s Degree and second, a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree from a seminary.
So, in order to become a Presbyterian pastor, you must first have sat through a minimum of four years of secular college classes—and that’s assuming you were homeschooled for the first 15 years of your life. Most people spend their childhood and early adulthood in public school, and then four years in college (one night stands, and all), before they ever set foot in a seminary. At that point, it is practically too late to reverse any anti-Christian indoctrination the public schools inculcated in them.
The churches, long ago, delegated ordination authority to the seminaries. The seminaries require candidates to survive the ultimate gauntlet: 12+ years of secular saturation. The Bible nowhere mentions academic accreditation as a requirement for ordination, but it’s made a requirement by the churches. This does two things: restricts pastoral supply, which restricts how fast the denomination can grow; and second, it compromises the biblical message that ultimately reaches the congregation through the mouths of the ministers. This reveals that the churches are oblivious to the battle going on. Either that, or they seek to intentionally compromise the Gospel. Since the second choice is so malicious, I choose to think it’s the first situation.
Any Christian who believes the biblical account of the literal six, 24-hour day creation week, and who spends most of his early life first in public school and next in college, is going to have a hard time getting through his classes. The Big Bang Theory and evolution will haunt him at every turn. Only if he seeks refuge in engineering can he escape most of the liberal arts pollution. But even then he may find himself having discussions about entropy, closed universes, and the eventual heat death of the cosmos. He may still have to learn enough Keynesian economics to regurgitate it during exams so that he can earn excellent grades and get into the “best” seminary. He will have to keep his head down and his nose to the grind stone. No one tells him to keep his head down. The churches don’t give any advance warning: “You’re going to have anti-Christian beliefs rammed down your throat constantly, but in between each spoonful you must remember to take a breath. Don’t breathe while you are swallowing so that you can block most of the foul taste.”
Modern academia keeps a tight rein on its people through the peer-review process. As David Chilton once said, modern theologians are like a pack of dogs sniffing each other’s behinds. The same goes for all taxpayer-funded, peer-reviewed academia. They screen out heretical opinions in advance. The official line is published. The journals stay on message: evolution, all the time. Any evidence that challenges the prevailing view is said not to undermine the theory, but rather to present some stunning new avenue we have never thought about before. They then give some standard line about more funding being needed to continue to explore this exciting new possibility in the future. By “money,” they mean stolen taxpayer money.
Economists call this “rent-seeking.” We can understand it as leeching: the host is drained without any noticeable gains given in return. It’s Chaos in the Brickyard, and it ruins science.
THE DEVIL’S TEMPTATION
So, what are the consequences of this alliance between the Church and secular academia? Simple: ghetto eschatologies that lead to membership declines and cultural impotency. J. Gresham Machen was a post-millennialist. Most of the Presbyterian theologians at Princeton Theological Seminary were post-millennial until its decline in the early 1900s. At the founding of Westminster, Machen was the only post-millennial theologian, and his influence was cut short: he died in 1937, barely eight years after it was founded. John Murray joined the faculty shortly after its founding in 1930; Murray was a post-millennialist, but this really wasn’t known until his commentary on Romans was published in 1965 and his exegesis of Romans 11 (included in the commentary’s second volume) revealed his post-millennial interpretation of the calling of the Jews.
If Machen had not of held such a hopeful outlook on the future of history and the Holy Spirit’s power to overcome the effects of sin, maybe he would not have felt compelled to, first, abandon Princeton Theological Seminary and found Westminster and, second, abandon the Northern Presbyterian Church and found the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.
Machen made great sacrifices for Christ and His Church. He was the sole public representative of orthodox Christianity during the Fundamentalist-Modernist controversy. He fought the heretics tooth and nail, and this responsibility placed great strain on him. He was booted as the President of the church’s Independent Board in November of 1936, and he died on January 1, 1936. He told his sister-in-law, “They kicked me out as President, it’s the hardest blow I’ve ever had yet, I’m done for now. . . . everything I’ve worked for, loved and suffered for has been kicked out too. I feel it’s the end for me, this time they’ve finished me.” [Crossed Fingers, page 596]
He gave the ultimate sacrifice for Christ.
Machen recognized liberalism (and liberal Christianity) for what it really is: a rival religion to Christianity. This was the premise of his 1923 book, Christianity and Liberalism. Higher criticism had begun to erode orthodoxy in earnest by then by undermining the authority of Scripture. But before this, even the stalwart orthodox Princetonians—Charles Hodge, A.A. Hodge, B.B. Warfield [http://www.wts.edu/about/beliefs/statements/creation.html], and even Machen himself—had compromised their confession and, thus, orthodoxy by repudiating the six-day creation as set forth in the Westminster Confession of Faith; they subscribed to the day-age view, which was a compromise with Darwinism [link to six rival theories]. To be seminary professors, they had to affirm the Confession. In essence, they crossed their fingers. Their modern descendent, Westminster, officially maintains this compromise with secularism.
And why not? As we have seen, they have already compromised a great deal by requiring that candidates first come through the fires of accredited universities.
It’s interesting to note that the so-called orthodox defenders of rival theories to the six-day creation do so by basing their defense on the belief as a test of orthodoxy. Theologian John Frame [http://www.frame-poythress.org/machens-warrior-children/] asks, “Should one’s view of the length of the creation days be a test of orthodoxy? I think not.” A page discussing the doctrine of Creation on Westminster Theological Seminary’s website [http://www.wts.edu/about/beliefs/statements/creation.html] says this: “The Seminary has always held that an exegetical judgement on this precise issue has never of itself been regarded as a test of Christian orthodoxy or confessional fidelity, until some have sought to make it such in the modern period.”
Their arguments are red herrings meant to throw most inquirers off the trail. The issue is not one of orthodoxy. The issue is ultimately one of professorship, tenure, and the pastorate. It is not the laity who are required to subscribe to the Confession. To be a faculty member at Westminster, you must affirm the Confession of Faith. To become a church officer in the PCA, you must affirm the Confession of Faith. This means holding to six-day creationism. The issue is this: how hardcore and devoted do you want your ministers and church leadership to be? The modern answer, given by those who have compromised with secular academia, is simple: not very. They want all the perks of power—prestige, influence, high salaries—without paying the price required to attain them: uncompromising hostility to secular academia. They crave the honor bestowed by the intellectual academics, and, having grown up for so long within the system, they cannot bring themselves to renounce this worldly praise. They do not take Peter seriously: “If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you” (1 Peter 4:14).
Rejecting the six-day creation undermines Scripture’s authority and gives credence to the modern big bang myth, which is nothing but pagan mythology dressed up in pseudo-science. Rejecting post-millennialism means rejecting the possibility that the Gospel will change the world. It means embracing the idea that the Great Commission will fail in history, as will the Holy Spirit. It affirms the belief that Satan’s kingdom and the power of sin is greater than the power of the Holy Spirit in history. This is a pessimistic view that fosters isolationism and cultural retreat. The Puritans rejected such a belief. The last of the Presbyterian Old Guard rejected this pessimism, even though they may have compromised on the six-day creation in the face of oppressive Darwinism which had quickly captured the intellectual elite by the end of the 19th century. Rejecting post-millennialism, the view that the Gospel will spread to the whole world and transform it as surely as leaven transforms a loaf of bread dough, means you must embrace end-times visions of cultural defeat until Christ’s Second Coming and Final Judgment. This kind of thinking destroys any long-term vision of hope and victory.
This is perfectly acceptable to secular academics. It gives them a tremendous subsidy, funded generously by Christ’s church: very low competition for the hearts and minds of men, women, and children everywhere.
MY “CHOOSE THIS DAY” EXPERIENCE
I remember when I came to the crossroads regarding the big band theory and six-day creationism. I had read much by the great Christian thinkers of our time: Bahnsen, Van Til, Rushdoony, North. I recognized the high-powered intellectual rigor they brought to bear in Christianity’s cultural conflict with the world. They rejected this long tradition of compromise and they refused to play the academic game. Some paid high prices, such as Dr. Bahnsen, who was booted from Reformed Theological Seminary because of his beliefs and uncompromising nature.
I knew they were six-day creationists, but as an engineer I could not make the leap. I had no doubts regarding their ability to interpret Scripture and apply it to all areas of life. I had no doubts regarding their precise and piercing logical arguments. But on this matter I resisted even their confrontational and provocative rhetoric (especially North’s).
They didn’t know the things I knew. They had not taken years of advanced mathematics. They had no comprehensive exposure to or background in engineering or science beyond what they researched, which was more a matter of history than it was application or theory. They had not studied the quantifiable effects of entropy in thermodynamics and its implications in a closed universe like I had.
Then, in a particular moment, the reality hit me in what was truly a moment of clarity: the Bible and the Big Bang Theory cannot both be true. Either Scripture and its account of the six-day creation are true, or the Big Bang Theory is true. If the Big Bang Theory is true, then that means Scripture is unreliable on this point.
If Scripture is unreliable on this point, then it would be unreliable on other points. If Scripture is so unreliable, then my faith is in vain.
The choice really was that simple. I realized that if I did not embrace the biblical account of the six-day creation in that moment then I would be repudiating my Christian faith. Up to that point I had been double-minded on the matter (if I thought about it at all). But in that single instant, it was as if Elijah were speaking to me directly, personally: “How long halt ye between two opinions? If the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him.”
In that moment, I decided to follow Joshua’s lead: “But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15). I understood immediately his point: “And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell.”
There is no doubt that this was a result of the Holy Spirit’s influence and a providential work of God. You see, I still believed the Big Bang Theory was likely, but I recognized that believing it was a matter of faith. I did not believe it was likely based on any real knowledge or understanding of the supposed science and “evidence” for its position; in particular, I was afraid of the alleged irrefutable evidence supplied by old-earth dating techniques more than anything else. I had not looked into them in any serious detail; I had only read the popular media articles and fiery Internet debates.
But, in an instant, I rejected the Big Bang Theory and old-earth dating methods the same way I had come to accept them: on faith. The antithesis of Christ with the world became so crystal clear to me in that moment because I had been given a knowledge that led me to change my mind. It was just as Hebrews says:
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible” (Hebrews 11:1-3 ESV).
I had been illuminated with the strength of conviction to embrace the things not seen. Unbelievers have no trouble believing in things unseen just as long as it is not the handiwork of God they are being asked to believe.
Not to rest in this zone of discomfort, I began reading in-depth about the process of old-earth dating techniques. I understood that the battle between Christ and the world is presuppositional: either you place your faith in God’s word, or you place it in man’s word. This decision is a fundamental assumption upon which you build the rest of your worldview; one position is a foundation of stone, the other of sand. You cannot justify the presupposition by any method of science. Science itself rests upon elementary presuppositions about the nature of reality, ethics, and knowledge.
Knowing that, I made a connection based on my understanding of engineering: engineers derive mathematical formulas that can be solved to predict the behavior of the physical universe. But, in order to solve them, we must establish 1) boundary conditions, 2) initial conditions, and 3) simplifying assumptions. Sometimes the equations are too difficult to solve by hand, so we make simplifying assumptions in order to reduce complex equations to easier ones in the hope of gaining insight into the nature of reality. We can then use computer software to solve the raw, harder version of the equation.
But if your assumptions are wrong, your results will be wrong. Likewise, your results depend on your starting conditions. Knowing the nature of the case, this is exactly what I discovered when I began investigating the radiometric dating techniques. All of the techniques ultimately rest upon an untestable, unverifiable presupposition: the cosmos are very, very old, much older than 6,000 years. These are the untestable initial conditions. If those fundamental assumptions are wrong, then so are the dating techniques, the Big Bang Theory, and most of modern astrophysics.
Those assumptions are matters of faith: you either believe it on faith, or you reject it on faith.
I reject it. Once I did, it’s as if I started seeing Scripture and the whole world in a brand new, fascinating light. It is refreshing to have this kind of evidence shown to you and it actually be understood as proof that reinforces that you made the right choice. Not only that, but as you start looking deeper into the published scientific literature, there is indirect evidence that the theory is bogus: contradictions everywhere.
Our Lord is a very generous Lord.
As I said before, he demands excellence. He demands total dedication and devotion. He demands that we give up the treasures of the world to gain the treasures of heaven.
But this is where many modern Christians have failed. They have yoked themselves to humanism in such a way that they do not know how to cope without its helping hand. They have become slaves of men. For a Christian who has gained his living and reputation in academia, how can he hope to repudiate it? To do so would mean to admit that he spent most of his life in wasted effort. Though we should see this as a great blessing—so the last will be first, and the first will be last—we too often look at the possibility as the rich young ruler did: “Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions” (Mark 10:22).
This is a shame, given how Jesus felt towards him: “Jesus, looking at him, loved him.”
Christians who grew up in academia are paralyzed. They will reject post-millennialism in favor of a pessimistic end-times belief that won’t motivate Christians to compete with humanists in winning over the hearts and minds of people everywhere. They insist that the Gospel is applicable only to individuals and the church, that the rest of the world is a lost cause. They will preach cultural retreat and inevitable defeat in order to dissuade Christians from winning influence away from the atheists that control the levers of power today. They do this in the name of Christ.
Many of them will reject the biblical account of creation, which is clear that God made the world and everything in it in six literal, 24-hour days. By doing this, they help undermine Scripture’s authority and Christ’s influence over men. By adopting these two doctrinal positions—rejecting six-day creation and post-millennialism—they imagine that they retain some level of honor and esteem in the eyes of secular academia.
Christians in the laity are oblivious to these issues and simply let it go on, unhindered. We get the leaders we deserve. Christ demands sacrifice and dedication. We give him one hour a week, maybe two, and much less than 10% of our income. Contrast this paltry effort with that of J. Gresham Machen, a post-millennial Calvinist who was independently wealthy and, thus, not bound to the laity for his salary. Consequently, he preached the Gospel’s full reach and eventual conquest of the entire world. He preached its victory. When the heretics had taken control of the Presbyterian church and excommunicated him, he fell ill and died soon thereafter.
He was like Paul. He was a tentmaker who earned his living through free-market service (Acts 18:3). He was then able to preach the Gospel without fear of being rejected or silenced by the various congregations.
There will come a moment in your life when you must choose. You may experience multiple such moments, though you may not be conscious of them at the time. We have to choose. We cannot dawdle too long at the clearing before being forced down one of the crossroads. If you stall too long, you may be tempted down a path you will regret later.
The current (old) generation of church members are much like the first generation of Israelites who left Egypt during the exodus. Just as they had gotten used to Egyptian slavery and the Egyptian leaks, onions, and cucumbers and bemoaned their new-found liberty, the present generation grew up in public education and have grown used to the Egyptian bread of Social Security, Medicare, and sexual liberation. As surely in our day as in theirs, the Israelites who had grown used to Egyptian bondage were cultural defeatists:
They said to Moses, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt (Ex. 14:11).
And all the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! Why is the LORD bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become a prey. Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?” (Numbers 14:2-3 ESV)
Joshua urged them otherwise:
Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and the LORD is with us; do not fear them. (Numbers 14:9 ESV)
Their response was typical: “Then all the congregation said to stone them with stones.”
God sentenced that first generation to die in the wilderness because they were incapable of doing what was necessary to take dominion in Canaan. Sadly, so will it probably be for much of this present generation.
We can raise our children to be independent of the government. They can grow up outside of public schools and learn the Christian worldview from the beginning. They can learn how to challenge all opposing worldviews from the beginning. They can learn to become better biblical scholars than most academically trained ministers are today. We can train them up in this way. We can train them up with an eye for entrepreneurship so that they can start their own businesses and begin gaining influence in their local community. They, too, can be tentmakers like Paul. They too, can preach Christ crucified to the world without fear of compromise.
But you must first commit yourself to Jesus’ cause if you hope to raise up your children different from the generations which came before. It is time that you choose this day: whom will you serve, and how fully will you dedicate yourself?
Be a slave to Christ. Do not become a slave to men.