Equipping followers of Christ to engage in their everyday work as the work of God, so workplaces are invigorated, communities flourish and culture is renewed to the honor and glory of the Lord.

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Friday, April 29, 2016

Why Should Christians Value Machines?

Why should Christians value machines?

In a 4th grade test on pulleys and machines, Mrs. Curry included the following question: 

Why should Christians value work and machines?

Here are some answers she received: 

"Because they help us through life, and God gave us the material to make them."

"God wants us to use our brains to worship Him, and machines help people to worship God."

"Because God said to do work, and machines help us to do work."

"Because people can glorify God by building things that they have never built before."

"Because God made us to do work, not to just sit around and do nothing.  So when we work, we should want to do it easily if we have to do it all the time."

"Because God made us to do work and live. We should make it easier by using simple machines."

"Because it is God's purpose for us."

"God created people so people can invent machines."

I received this report from Dean Ridder, Headmaster at Isaac Newton Christian Academy, Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Worldview Matters is working with Bakke Graduate University and the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics to restore a biblical concept of work, economics and human flourishing to elementary and secondary education. We do this through a specialized training program called the WRAP: Worklife Restoration and Advancement Project. Dean's school is part of this program.

Applications for the WRAP are now being accepted for the 2016-17 school year. The number of schools we can accept is limited. Early applicants have a better chance of receiving grant funding.

For details click hereTo set up a time for a personal conversation to discuss the program, use the Worldview Matters contact page, indicating the best day, time and phone number to reach you, here.

Dean also relayed: 

"Our enrollment has grown by 10% since last year (and is still growing--we have families still actively participating in the enrollment process for this year). When I was asked to what do we contribute this growth when enrollment is dropping at Christian schools in our area, I had a good answer. 'People are hearing about our efforts to elevate the level of biblical worldview integration and incorporation of theology of work in our classrooms, and are responding to it.'"

Below is a clip of Mrs. Greer, 5th grade teacher at Dean's school, having a conversation with students on the topic of ecosystems and work:

If the video does not play, click here.

Friday, April 22, 2016

What Better Time Than This?

 Click this image to enlarge it.
Chuck Colson founded the "Centurions Program" in 2004 for the purpose of equipping 100 followers of Christ per year to “live out their faith authentically in the world.” I was privileged to participate in the 5th group of Centurions, in 2009, and I'm glad I did.

For many years, it was only possible to participate in the Centurions National Program, but now there are five additional Affiliate Programs as well. These Affiliate Programs are located in Washington State, Colorado, Michigan, Wisconsin and New England. Applications are now being accepted for the 2016-17 year, and I urge you to seriously consider this opportunity.  

I know the leaders who are heading up the Washington State Affiliate, and I commend them to you. This Affiliate will be meeting monthly on the campus of Northwest University, in Kirkland. The fee for the Washington Affiliate Program is $750 for the year. If you have questions about the Washington State Affiliate, contact my friend Steve Hunter at WAHunters@comcast.net, or call him at 714-501-6527.

Dr. Joseph Castleberry, president of Northwest University, has stated: “The Centurions Program, in our view, is consistent with our mission of ‘carrying the call of God by building a learning community dedicated to spiritual vitality, academic excellence, and empowered engagement with human need.’  To this end, we see the University as not just the physical campus but the community at large. Our hoped-for affiliation with Seattle Centurions is one important way for the University to ‘carry the call of God’ to the community, while in turn drawing the community to the opportunities for enrichment offered by the University.”

Participants in the Centurions Program are exposed to a curriculum of important books and films, with access to online discussion forums with nationally-known speakers, such as Joni Eareckson Tada and John Stonestreet.

For more details, visit the Colson Fellows Program website, at www.ColsonFellows.org.

If you want to make a difference, click here for an application to the Centurions Program. 

What better time than this?

Friday, April 15, 2016

We Have Become Fools

Take your pick.

In the United States, serious discussion is now going on about whether or not we should allow males who think they are females to use women's bathrooms and shower rooms, and vice versa. This includes allowing students in elementary and secondary schools to make the same choice, depending on which "identity" they choose. If you live in the contemporary West, this conversation is coming to your town soon.

How did we get to this point?

The answer is found in Romans 1:18-32. The contemporary West has gone the way of the ancient Romans, who went the way of the ancient Greeks before them. We (I use the term in a general sense) have "suppressed the truth in unrighteousness" for the past 150 years, and God has now given us over to a way of thinking that can only be described as "futile," "foolish," and "darkened." These are the apostle Paul's terms.

Professing ourselves to be "wise," as the most esteemed thinkers of our age have thought themselves to be (I am referring to the likes of Friedrich Nietzsche, Charles Darwin, William James, John Dewey and Jacque Derrida), we have become fools. 

A new video clip of students being interviewed on the campus of my alma mater, the University of Washington (produced by the Family Policy Institute of Washington), proves the point beyond any shadow of doubt. Among other critical issues, the video addresses the question of whether a 5'9" white man who says he is a 6'5" Chinese woman is wrong─or not. You must see it to believe it.

I think I'll be sending my sheepskin back. 

Click here.

Friday, April 8, 2016

The Unpardonable Postmodern Sin

The Church around the world just celebrated Easter. And in case you did not notice, music was a big part of that celebration.

You can tell a lot about a worldview by the kind of music it produces.

If you visit a Muslim mosque, you will not see an organ or a piano. Nor an acoustic guitar. No choir will sing, nor the congregation. Why? Because devout followers of Mohammad believe music is heram, which means "illegitimate." Some mosques make an exception for vocal sounds that come out sounding like non-melodic chants. Westernized Muslims are not as strict when it comes to music, but in traditional Islam (by this I mean "fundamentalist" Islam), music-making is intentionally absent.   

Buddhists view life as a cycle of suffering caused by human desire. Salvation, for the Buddhist, is escape from suffering through extinction of desire. Joy To The World is not something you would hear in a Buddhist temple. Life is not something you celebrate. There is no personal God to sing about. The closest thing to music coming out of a Buddhist's vocal chords would be a single-note drone. Some Buddhists incorporate Western-style music into their practice, but this is a relatively recent phenomenon, introduced by Westerners converted to Buddhism.

Do you know of any music stores with a section called, "Pure Hindu Hits?"

Westerners take melody and harmony for granted. But "Western" music did not spring from a vacuum. It came from a Christian motivation that viewed music as a way of worshiping the Almighty God who dresses flowers with more colors than a King's robe. It came out of a worldview of hope and joy, which produced harmony and melody as a means of praise, thanksgiving and celebration.

Yes, "Western" music came out of Christian worship. Worship that birthed single-voice melody called “Plainsong” [which later developed into Gregorian Chant] starting in the 3rd century, then in the 9th century developing into two-voice melody, and eventually polyphony [multi-voice music]. Out of this came Handel, Bach, Beethoven, and that remarkable phenomenon we now call “Western" music.  

The next time you download that favorite song from i-Tunes, you can thank a Christian monk. Better yet, thank the living God who inspired the monks who worked to develop polyphony. Then think about what this world would be like if Christ had never been born.

In this post I have committed the unpardonable postmodern sin. I have compared the Christian worldview with others, and found the others to be wanting. In postmodern times, all worldviews are supposed to be equally good. Frankly, I don't buy it. The music tells a different story. 

Friday, April 1, 2016

They Discipled A Nation

The Yanghwajin Cemetary in Seoul, Korea, was designated in 1890 as a site for burying foreign missionaries by Emperor Gwangmu, the first Emperor of the Korean Empire. [Photo by Matthew Smith, used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.]

In the secularist view of development today, Christianity is not always seen as a positive contributor to the cause. That’s because it is often stereotyped as “institutional” rather than community-oriented, and relegated to “private inspiration” rather than seen as a player in public life.

The history of Korea, however, tells a different story. In the late 19th Century, Korea was mostly illiterate, without roads or railways, power or sewer systems. But beginning in 1884, a movement of Christian missionaries took place, mainly coming from the USA, England, South Africa and Canada. 

These missionaries played a significant role in shaping Korean history. From the hundreds of schools these missionaries established, future leaders of Korea came.

A couple of years ago, I was privileged to visit the Yanghwajin Cemetery in Seoul. Among the 376 graves of foreigners, 145 belong to missionaries and their families. A brochure for the cemetery said: “Abandoning promising careers back home, they came to share the light of the Gospel with ‘Corea’ which was then unknown. The missionaries profoundly influenced Korean society, not only by establishing hospitals and schools, but by affecting its intangible values, thus contributing to the abolition of the class hierarchy in old Korea.”

Elmer L. Towns and Douglas Porter, in their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, report  that the missionaries required adult converts to learn to read Korean before admitting them to church membership. To distinguish Christians from collaborators with the Japanese who later invaded and occupied Korea, "the patriots required Christians to recite chapters from the Bible to prove they were Christians. The result was a 100 percent literacy rate among Christians in a largely illiterate nation. Their ability to read made Christians the natural leaders of the Korean society."

Christianity “caught on” in Korea. The Koreans took to the Bible like kids in a candy store. I’m not sure of all the reasons for this, except to say it was a move of the Holy Spirit, beyond human orchestration. Men and women of God left places of greater comfort to come to a far off land in need, and as a result, they discipled a nation. 

Now you know "the rest of the story."

I took this photo of the gravestone of Canadian medical missionary Robert A. Hardie. My guide let me know this man made a public confession of sin which started a movement of repentance among Christians in Korea known as the Wonsan repentance movement of 1903.

H. B. Hulbert is said to have "loved Korea more than Koreans did."

H. G. Appenzeller established the Pai Chai School, which "produced many capable men who served the Korean people based on the values of the Gospel." He helped with the Korean translation of the Bible.

A pioneer of Korean Christian education was William M. Baird. The school he started in his living room grew into a university.

M. F. Scranton, a pioneer of education for women in Korea, came to Korea at the age of 52, from the USA. She passed on at the age of 76, having dedicated herself to spreading the Gospel and the betterment of Korean women for the last 24 years of her life.