A wide range of World Religions and Worldviews have served to undermine a people and set them on a destructive path. Not so the Christian Church and the faithful, when they exhibit biblical integrity. In that vein, four themes — The Church’s Prophetic Voice, Glorious Church, Pastor, Culture and Public Duty, and Spiritual Disciplines — describe the Church at its proper best as its preachers bring the Word with integrity and power. In sharp contrast, the Church in Decline slides into doctrinal and moral confusion, losing its gospel power and encouraging — even at times aiding — its enemies.
Isaiah 5:20 says it best: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil.” Whether pursued for pride and glory or merely to cut moral corners, Greed, Hypocrisy, Idolatry, and Prejudice are cancers eating away at a person’s ability to truly be “salt and light” in a world already given to rot and darkness. Bribery is the last topic and the only prosecutable crime in this category, but the others are fountains of evil behavior. Together these five assault the standards of decency and lead to a poisonous society.
In the English New Testament, we can read the Greek translation for “economics” which shows up as “stewardship” and “management,” and, at base, it pictures the steward: the employee who handles the financial and logistical affairs of the household. In the modern world, we encounter clever catch-phrases like Economic Systems, Taxation, and Poverty and Wealth on a daily basis. The Bible is rich in precept, principle, and practical examples on how to approach these areas of our life with God-given wisdom.
Teaching and Learning have always been central to the Judeo-Christian tradition from the earliest times. Raising our children with a biblical worldview is the foundation of faith, as written in Deuteronomy 6:7, “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children….” Christians have aimed at building character, shaping citizens, fostering civility, and forming Manners as their children grow. One of the biggest attacks on traditional education over the last century has been the debate over Evolution and Intelligent Design, and its prevalence in our school system.
Marriage and Family are foundational to civilization and as a society we must do all that we can to preserve a happy, safe, and holy relationship between one man and one woman, made in God’s image so that we can go forward and foster healthy homes. Parenting is one of the most sacred responsibilities God has given us, but it is just that, a calling and too many are rejecting or delaying that call for serial monogamy. Adultery & Fornication and Divorce have become all too commonplace in our society that even Christians might believe that they are acceptable, but sexual activity outside of the marriage or the disregard of those sacred vows is a grave offense and carries with it heavy consequences. Homosexuality & Transgenderism is an issue we all face in our culture today and while our God loves all His children, the truth of His Word remains unchanged and we’re called to minister with bold love as Jesus did.
As Christians, we all are charged with finding a balance between faithfully serving the teachings and precepts of our faith while adhering to the laws of our government. So here we consider Forms of Government with their motivating principles and protocols as well as the complementary roles of Church and State. In addition, we must address the public policy of justice, particularly through civil Punishment and in Peace and War, as well as Environmentalism with its global interest from nationwide lobbyists and former communist countries around the world.
SANCTITY OF LIFE
We live in a convenience culture. We’ve become desperate to stave off or terminate life through Contraception, Abortion, Euthanasia, and Suicide when we feel it has become troublesome; yet we also spend small fortunes on Fertility, or one day Cloning, to conceive a child or “restore” what was once lost. The promise of Biotechnology and Stem-Cell Research may appear, at once dazzling, will turn terrifying as the science employed for such gains will go astray morally. Of course, feelings of compassion can come into play in all of these areas — whether to relieve suffering and heartache or to alleviate misery — but feelings, which are often conflicting, are an unreliable guide to morality.
The end of the twentieth century saw renewal of interest in the classic virtues. A focus on the Character of a person rather than just the things that he or she did, trying to devise a right path between the two extremes. Our list is pulls from “heavenly virtues”, like Courage, and Justice, but also includes Faith from the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 13, as well as Compassion, Repentance, and Work Ethic, focusing on the totality of a person’s life and responsibilities. So, though we are not saved by virtue, we are saved unto virtue by the transforming work of Christ.