American Public Education: An Institution In Crisis

Dec 4th, 2021 | By

The Northwest Ordinance of 1785 and the subsequent Land Ordinance organized the territory the United States gained by the 1783 Treaty of Paris, which ended the Revolutionary War. Among other things, these acts organized the territories into townships and set aside one section in each township for a public school. In the early decades of the new republic called the United States, it was understood that public schools would be a cooperative effort between the parents, the church and the school itself. Indeed, in these early decades well into the 19th century, schools were often held in the churches.

The Lie Of Personal Autonomy

Nov 20th, 2021 | By

In the 1992 Supreme Court case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Justice Anthony Kennedy penned his famous “mystery passage”: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” Robert Bork called the phrase indicative of “New Age jurisprudence”; William Bennett derided it as an “open-ended validation of subjectivism” that paves the way for drug abuse, assisted suicide, prostitution, and “virtually anything else”; George Will said it was “gaseously” written; Michael Uhlman labeled it a “thing of almost infinite plasticity”; the editors of First Things called it the “notorious mystery passage.” What seems clear is Kennedy’s underlying conception of human beings as autonomous individuals, choosing their own values and mapping out their own life courses.

Evidence Of Moral Decline In America

Nov 6th, 2021 | By

In 1923 German historian and philosopher, Oswald Spengler (1880-1936), published his famous two-volume historical analysis in one volume, entitled The Decline of the West. Spengler analyzed the various civilizations of world history, arguing that each went through a time of flourishing followed by a period of decline. His central argument was that Western civilization was in a period of decline. [He wrote in German and the term translated “decline” could actually be translated “downfall.”] As civilizations decline, they gravitate to dictatorial power that preserves what they cherish (e.g., stability, order, security). What once marked the core defining elements of the civilization (e.g., religious beliefs, ethical standards) are abandoned as the civilization embraces raw rationalism, skepticism and power.

The “Faith” Of Atheism

Oct 23rd, 2021 | By

In 1933 a group of thirty-four liberal US humanists drafted the “Humanist Manifesto I,” which for its time was a radical document. Committed to reason, science and democracy, the document rejected orthodox and dogmatic positions and argued for a “new statement of the means and purposes of religion.” [Paul Kurtz, ed., The Humanist Manifesto I and II, Buffalo: Prometheus Books, 1973, p. 8] The Manifesto maintained that the universe is “self-existing and not created,” explained only by the evolutionary hypothesis. The Manifesto affirmed that the human race is the center of all things and that religion must be redefined in these terms. Finally, the Manifesto rejected capitalism and affirmed some kind of socialist order as the wave of the future.

Living With Contradiction: Peter Singer And The Value Of A Human Life

Sep 25th, 2021 | By

The “image” and “likeness” of God is not a human achievement, but a gift conferred on all humans through God’s creative act. According to Genesis 1, God’s creative activity reached its apex on Day 6, when the divine counsel determined to create man in God’s “image” (tselem) and “likeness” (demut). [Theologians call this the imago Dei.] These two terms define the first and fundamental truth about the human race: That humanity was created in God’s “image”, which means that humans represent God. Humans have the capacity to mirror God in everything—and are commanded to do so.

The Importance Of Sound Doctrine Within Biblical Christianity

Sep 4th, 2021 | By

When the Fundamentalist-Modernist controversy of the early 20th century was brewing, one of Christianity’s greatest minds, J. Gresham Machen, published a book in 1921 entitled Christianity and Liberalism. In my judgment, it remains one of the most important books of the 20th century. It is relevant today for we who name the name of Christ believe that the Christian faith is not only a faith commitment to Jesus Christ, but is also a set of doctrinal beliefs.

The Church: A Kingdom Counterculture

Aug 28th, 2021 | By

When the dignity of all humanity is disregarded, relegated or unintentionally overlooked by those in the body of Christ, the name of our God is disparaged. Believers are to mirror God: He loves all human beings; He values their existence and seeks to recognize their value as His image-bearers. God honors all human beings and has a vested interest in who they are as His creatures. He grants humans dignity and honors each one with responsible freedom. His protection of all humanity is reflected in His providential care (i.e., His common grace); in His love for them; and in His provision for their redemption through Jesus Christ.

The Victorious Church Of Jesus Christ: Iran And China

Aug 14th, 2021 | By

In Matthew 16:18 Jesus victoriously declared, “I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”[ESV] Yet, as we view the church in North America, victory does not seem to be the correct term to use. The church is in decline; toxic politics, discord over responding to COVID, and leadership failures are ripping it apart. At one level, discouragement, defeat and discord are more characteristic terms to describe the church in America. For some, the American church has lost its way; lost its passion; lost its power.

The Chosen: A Message Of Transformation

Aug 7th, 2021 | By

I have never appreciated Hollywood’s depiction of Jesus. Such movies, usually shown around the Easter season, seem superficial, contrived and lacking in authenticity. Other than Ben Hur, I have never watched an entire Hollywood movie on the subject of Jesus. But, there is a new movie series that I find compelling, authentic and stimulating. It is the [proposed] seven-part series, The Chosen, created, directed and co-written by American filmmaker Dallas Jenkins. First aired in 2019, it is the highest popularly-funded film project of all time.

Ignoring The Lessons Of History

Jul 31st, 2021 | By

History teaches us lessons that we should learn both individually and as a nation. Whether we study the decline of the Athenian democracy in the 5th century BC, the decline and fall of the Roman Empire, or the tragic demise the British Empire, wise American leaders can learn from the decline of these giants of human history. Furthermore, the Bible is filled with narrative history (e.g., 1 and 2 Kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles), which wise leaders should observe and apply. For most of our national leaders right now, history is irrelevant.