Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Socialism: The Snake Slithering in the Grass

A nation once known for the liberty it provided for its citizens is now known for the burden of debt it has saddled on its citizens.  The massive, incomprehensible figure of $15 trillion dollars is a number we like to ignore but it is the number imprinted on the debt- shackles we have clamped on our children and grandchildren.  This national failure is unprecedented and this behavior is immoral.

What family would intentionally max out all their credit cards and then apply for another credit card in order to pay the interest on their previous cards?  Imagine having so much credit card debt that your entire income must be used just to pay the interest on the debt leaving no money for food, or transportation or the mortgage.  This is insanity redefined.  No one in their right mind would allow themselves to get into such a situation but that is exactly what our government has done. 

Americans are slowly discovering that the stealthy snake in the grass that has crept upon us unaware is socialism.  The ideas of socialism and Marxism are no longer just threats, they are upon us.  Like a slow twisting boa, we have been constricted by a powerful ideology that is just beginning to squeeze the life from us.  The sleeping giant that could save us from this slow death of our liberties and freedoms is the church but Christians have fallen asleep at the wheel. 

It is time for American Christians to awaken.  Isaiah warned an apathetic people; "Awake, awake, O Zion, clothe yourself with strength."  (Isa. 52:1)  "Awake, awake!  Rise up, O Jerusalem, you who have drunk from the hand of the Lord the cup of his wrath, you who have drained to its dregs the goblet that makes men stagger."  (Isa. 51:17)  Americans are drunk on their desire for pleasure and wealth and leisure.  We must awaken before it's too late. 

The brilliant British journalist, Malcomb Muggeridge, once addressed the plight of western society.  He illustrated the slow decline by telling how a frog, placed in a bowl of boiling water will immediately leap out in fear of boiling to death.  When placed in a bowl of lukewarm water the same frog will adapt to the increased temperature of the water and will eventually be boiled to death because he was too comfortable to remove himself from danger.

Muggeridge postulated on the dilemma of western man by saying:  "Since the beginning of the Second World War, Western Society has experienced a complete abandonment of its sense of good and evil. The true crisis of our time has nothing to do with monetary troubles, unemployment, or nuclear weapons. The true crisis has to do with the fact that Western man has lost his way."  (1)

The next election may be our country's most important election.  Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), grievously declared that President Obama and his administration continually sees the "government as a solution to everything.”  (2)  This is in direct contrast to the opinion of former President Reagan who believed, "government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem." (3)

The constant interference and intrusion of government in our lives has become a huge problem for concerned Americans.  The present day "Government is the solution" ideology has accumulated for us $15.4 trillion in debt.  Many fear a strategy for a Marxist takeover.  George Will recently said, "There are more Marxists on the Harvard faculty than in all of eastern Europe."  (4) 

President Obama is applying Marxist principles in his attempt to solve our economic crisis.  He has attempted to stifle capitalist innovation by placing an increased economic burden on American entrepreneurs.    He is changing the very structure of government by writing new rules along the way and by appointing zsars that do not represent the voting public.  His former first Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel is famous for saying, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” (5)   The president is attempting to use our economic catastrophe to reach into the pockets of hard working Americans with the intent of redistributing their wealth to those who have not been so diligent.  Saul Alinsky would be so proud of his disciples.

Christ calls Christians to be the “light of the world, a city on a hill that cannot be hidden”.  (6)  We are instructed to be the “salt of the earth.” (7)  But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor?  Christians must not become apathetic.  We are instructed to “occupy until I come.”  (8)  We are to stay involved and stay busy preserving the gifts of liberty and freedom granted to us by a Sovereign God.  Yet, of the 60 million evangelical Christians in America, only 15 million of them vote.  (9)

Americans are becoming more and more dependent on their government.  The government encourages this because greater dependency creates more power.  The government grubs for power by attempting to control and manipulate Americans in the areas of health, energy and education.

Many Americans are horrified when they realize that the government is using their tax contributions to murder innocent unborn babies here and abroad.  Some Americans are disturbed about forced taxation to support s system of education that teaches a set of values contrary to their Christian beliefs. 

One reason our country continues its decline toward defeat, decline and despair is because Christians are asleep.  We have built upon the sand.  We have compromised our values so that we might adapt to the politically correct expectations of our culture.  We have become obsessed with pleasing others and we’ve forgotten that the chief end of man is to bring glory to God. 

How inspiring it would be to hear a modern day politician echo George Washington’s words in his farewell address:  “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness.” (10)

Kevin Probst - Teaches History, Government and Apologetics at the high school level in Columbus Georgia.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Dawa – proselytizing and indoctrinating public school students for Islam!

ACLU has been aggressive in keeping Christianity out of public schools but fails to keep Islam out of Massachusetts schools!  The American Civil Liberties Union is a misnomer.  It is neither American, Civil, about liberty or unity.  Parents beware!  There are some public school systems that are failing to protect your child from proselytizing and indoctrination.  Be sure your child is not being taught a worldview contrary to your own.

Kevin Probst - Teaches History, Government and Apologetics at the high school level in Columbus Georgia.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Holiness or Legalism: How You Can Know The Difference.

When we first become Christians, when we confess and repent of our sins and accept Christ as the Savior of our souls, we begin a long and exciting journey.  God’s plan for us is to grow and mature and he gives most of us three score and ten years to experience his growth plan.  I looked at my new- born grandson a few months ago and felt the softness of brand new skin.  I peered at his new little ears and looked into his eyes as he struggled to hear my voice and focus on my face for the first time.

New Christians experience so many new sensations.  They now have eyes that can see more clearly.  Spiritual discernment gives to them ears that hear differently, minds that think differently and a heart that has been cleansed of evil and bathed in goodness.  The darkness that pervaded in the deepest part of their souls has been replaced by a light that reflects the brightness of His glory.  Unbelievers become accustomed to the feeling of the emptiness they must always be burdened with.  Like a ball and chain on the prisoner’s leg, they carry this emptiness everywhere they go.  But those who experience conversion have had their chains broken and the empty void in their soul is filled with the inexplicable fullness of God.

Once the new Christian sets out on this journey with Christ he is instructed not to look back.  Lot’s wife looked back and suffered horrible consequences because she still desired the things that would bring destruction to her soul.  We are instructed to leave the old sinful habits at the foot of the cross and move forward into maturity.  Our cry echoes the cry of Hosea, “Oh, that we might know the LORD! Let us press on to know him.” (Hosea 6:3) 

So how does a young seedling grow into a massive oak?  After experiencing the miracle of germination and emerging from the darkness of the soil, the fledgling plant absorbs the light, drinks in the moisture and nutrients made available to it.  A Christian, after the miracle of regeneration, emerges from the dark, sinful soil of spiritual death.  New life enables him to absorb the light provided by One who said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (John 8:12)  He sponges up the water of One who promised “living water” (John 4:10), a water that permanently quenches the thirst of a troubled soul. 

Young Christians are reminded that “we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us” (2 Cor. 4:7). We are instructed to strive for perfection; “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48) But we are reminded that we can never achieve the absolute perfection that belongs only to a Holy God.  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD.  (Isaiah 55:8) 

The admonition toward perfection is an admonition toward spiritual maturity.  We are instructed how we might become a mighty oak in the kingdom forest.  We are to make provision to saturate ourselves with the word of God because it is a “lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”  (Psalm 119:105)  We become strong in the Lord by spending time with him.  We are to “pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). While lifting our voice to him we are assured that he hears us because the shepherd knows the voice of his sheep.  “I know my sheep and my sheep know me.”  (John 10:14)  We should become so intimate with God that we also know his voice.  Elijah recognized it as a small still voice.  (1 Kings 19:12)  The flow of gentle, spontaneous thoughts that come unexpected into your mind may very well be the voice of God speaking to your soul.  We are instructed to “test the spirits to see if they are from God.”  (1 John 1:4)

The practice of certain disciplines becomes the vehicle through which we come closer and closer to God.  Maturity without discipline is an illusion. 

There is a movement that is quite prevalent today that provides a subtle opposition against the practice of such disciplines.  I would refer to it as the “legalism” movement.  Christians who purpose in their hearts to have a closer walk with God, to follow him into the deeper, more abundant life that he offers will inevitably be accused of practicing legalism.  There seems to be a fine line between legalism and holiness.  Some of Christ’s harshest words were reserved for those who practices legalism.  Nothing offends God more than the humanistic idea that we can somehow achieve salvation through our own efforts.  This devalues the precious blood Christ shed on the cross and stirs the anger of God.  Jesus reprimanded the Pharisees for their legalism when he referred to them as vipers and said, “You also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness".  (Mat 23:28)

How might one know when he is practicing legalism or when he is using the disciplines provided to strive for holiness?  He will know by discerning whether he is in bondage or whether he is free.  Legalism leads to bondage, holiness leads to freedom.  Legalism brings death, holiness brings life.  If one feels a whip on his back he is being driven by legalism.  If he feels a yearning in his heart to spend time with one he loves more than words can tell, he desires holiness.  Legalism is an attempt to please a demanding taskmaster.  Holiness is a desire to emulate One whom you love, admire and adore.   Legalism is because you ‘have to’.  Holiness is because you ‘want to’. 

Dr. Kent Hughes wrote a book entitled Disciplines of a Godly Man, in which he declared, “There is a universe of difference between the motivations behind legalism and discipline. Legalism says, ‘I will do this thing to gain merit with God,’ while discipline says, “I will do this because I love God and want to please him.’ Legalism is man-centered; discipline is God-centered.”

The legalist trusts in his own actions to make him righteous.  He relies on traditions like regular church attendance, prayer-time and paying of his tithes to achieve favor with God.  These become traditions for the legalist but they become disciplines for one in pursuit of holiness.  The one who hungers for holiness realizes that his righteousness is as “filthy rags”.  (Isaiah 64:6)   Praying just to ease one’s conscience or to impress others because a babbling of “vain repetitions”.  (Matthew 6:7)  The prayer of a truly righteous man is very powerful and affective.  (James 5:16)

So, the question we must ask is this:  Are we floundering about in legalism or are we on the path to maturity and righteousness?  Is our Christian experience about us or is it about Him?  Is our intent to satisfy some longing within our own soul or is our intent to satisfy Him?  Are we on the same page as John when he said, “He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.”?  (John 3:30)

Kevin Probst - Teaches History, Government and Apologetics at the high school level in Columbus Georgia.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

"Let Us Make A Name For Ourselves"

In the generations that followed the Great Flood, there was a tower built in the land between the rivers, the land of Shinar, perhaps better known as Mesapotamia.  This was the Cradle of Civilization, located between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in the area of modern day Iraq.  It was there that men became quite advanced.  Hebrews Chapter 11 reveals the hope of Abraham.  He was looking forward to a city "whose architect and builder is God." (1) But men became impatient waiting for the city God would build so they took upon themselves the task of building a city.  It would be a city built, not to bring glory to God, but to satisfy the desires of the human flesh.

"Let usmake a name for ourselves", they said. (2)  Has that not been the theme of man down through the ages?  I walked into our new multi-million dollar public library in Columbus, Georgia recently.  Near the entrance I saw a plaque with the names of major contributors to this community structure.  It is fundamental to a race of fallen men to have an urge to "make a name for ourselves."  It is the basic tenet of humanism; stealing glory from God and elevating man.

The Tower of Babel was a religious tower.  The purpose of its construction was to reach God.  But their motive was corrupted by their desire to make a name for themselves.  There is a corner stone on many churches I've seen.  "Erected in the year ________, to God be glory".  As the years pass, the glory of God fades from the institution while the centrality of man emerges.  In a God-centered church the purpose of music is to bring glory to God, in a humanistic church the purpose o music is to entertain people.  A God-centered church has a God-centered pastor whose primary goal is to preach for the glory of God.  A humanistic church wallows in spiritually shallow waters with a pastor who is often humorous and can entertain people with catchy quotes and funny stories.

Humanism has so invaded our culture that God has been relegated to a back burner.  We are not atheistic, atheism leads to a despair that few can endure for any length of time.  Many in  the American culture are more interested in calling the shots when it comes to God.  God is placed on a shelf to be reached for at our own convenience.  Our "don't call us, we'll call you" attitude toward God indicates that we think ourselves more important than he.  The words of the Psalmist are foreign and confusing to us, "As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, O God." (3) Our callings  to God are now limited to 911 calls.  We have little thirst for God but we are quick to pull him off the shelf if we are experiencing a crisis in our lives.

I have read recently of three people in the state of Georgia who are suffering from an infection called Necrotizing fasciitis.  (4) One of those is Aimee Copeland (5) who has had one leg amputated at the hip and her fingers removed in an attempt to save her life.   This is a horrifying disease for which there is no cure.  Humanism as infected our culture and the church like a flesh eating disease.  The spirit of the church is being consumed by a philosophy that makes the happiness of man a priority and conveniently ignores the glory of God. 

Liberalism in the church flowered in the mid-1800's.  Charles Darwin explained away the role of God in creation.  Humanist philosophers taught that the chief end of man's existence was his own happiness.  Religious liberals embraced the cancer of humanism when they declared their uncertainty about the existence of God, heaven or hell.  Their unbelief made it impossible for them to offer any hope beyond our earthly existence so they began to address the happiness of man in this world.  They offered a watered down version of Christianity that focused on the happiness of man in this life.  The doctrines of sin, eternal life and hell were avoided and the focus was on "Your Best LifeNow."  (6) 

A movement arose in answer to the liberals of that day and they called themselves fundamentalists.  But humanism is not selective in its choice of victims and fundamentalism also became a victim of the deadly virus of humanism.  Fundamentalists grew as a conservative movement because of their common beliefs in holding to the traditional teachings of the word of God.  They defined themselves as those who belief in the divinity of Christ, the creation, the holiness of God and the authenticity of the Bible.  If you believed in this list of essentials you were labeled a conservative fundamentalist.

In successive generations, fundamentalists began to teach that one might be saved by simply giving mental assent to a list of basic scriptural doctrines.  The measure by which one became a Christian was not the confessing of sin and experiencing a Holy Spirit- induced soul cleansing.  The evidence of one's Christianity was a simple vocal affirmative to a few basic questions regarding the nature of God.  A radical change in one's lifestyle was no longer associated with true Christianity.  A card carrying Christian was no longer expected to demonstrate righteous living or freedom from the bondage of sin.  Experiential Christianity was thrown out the door in favor of a simple "I believe." 

Liberalism set about focusing on this life instead of the next life.  The assortment of social programs developed to improve the lives of the masses are too numerous to mention.  Great declarations were made about eliminating poverty, drugs and war.  But their utopian goal was shattered when the First World War erupted and men set about to destroy one another.  The War to End All Wars was followed by another horrendous war and men began to question the idea that the heart of man is essentially good.  Then men proved how short their memories are and liberalism made another great comeback.  L.B. Johnson declared his War on Poverty.  The flower children of the 1960's demanded the end to all war.  Liberalism continues its march through the modern age.  Al Gore seems nearly insane and certainly delusional in his attempt to create a better earth.  Our first lady is strongly dedicated to manipulating the diets of our children. 

The liberal says that man must be made happy while he lives on this earth.  The fundamentalist says that man must be made happy in the afterlife.  Both have succumbed to the primary teaching of humanism:  the happiness of man.  When a fundamentalist preacher declares that a person ought to accept Christ so that he can escape the fires of hell, or so he can live in eternal bliss, is he not focusing on the humanistic idea of the happiness of man?  Should men not accept Christ because he "deservesto receive the reward of his suffering." (7)  

Christ did not walk away from the glorious splendor of heaven and submit to the humility of humanity solely to make us happy.  Christ did not drag his cross to Golgotha and allow the Romans to pierce his hands with spikes and his side with a sword only to make us happy.  Believing that or preaching that is replacing God with man as the central purpose of our salvation.  Does this not border on blasphemy? Did Christ not go to the cross and die for men because it was the only way men might be saved and thus bring glory to God.  It wasn't so much about saving us from hell or making us happy in heaven, it was all about bring glory to God.

How many today get saved as a way of making a deal with God?  It is true that salvation comes with benefits but the benefits are a byproduct.  Modern day ministers will one day be accountable for the steady stream of lies that come from their pulpits.  We are no longer being told that sin corrupts the soul.  We are no longer told that the grace of God can bring deliverance to hungry hearts.  Instead, we are being fed a steady stream of heresy.  We are being told that if we accept Christ he will make us millionaires, he will cure our diseases and dedicate himself to our happiness.  We are being sold a bill of goods. 

Humanism teaches us to look for human solutions to human problems.  We are the most over-medicated society in history.  We run to counselors instead of running to Christ.  We read self-help books written by pop-psychologists instead of turning to the word of God.  If we would only turn to the right source we could find a cure to alcoholism, to drug addiction, to sex addiction and to dysfunctional families.  But all of this is frosting on the cake.  The true motive for submitting to Christ should not be "to make a name for ourselves" or for our own happiness, it should be because doing so is the only possible way an earthly soul can bring glory to a deserving God.    

1.  Hebrews 11:10
2.  Genesis 11:4
3.  Psalm 42:1

Kevin Probst - Teaches History, Government and Apologetics at the high school level in Columbus Georgia.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Ministry: For Our Convenience or God's Glory

Micah was unable to worship in Jerusalem so he built a shrine in the hill country of Ephraim.  His mother assisted him in purchasing a graven image made of silver by the local silver smith.  Micah installed one of his sons as priest of his shrine and in those days Israel had no ruler and the people did what was right in their own eyes. (1)

A young man from Bethlehem, from the tribe of Levi, was traveling through the area and he came upon Micah's house and Micah asked him, "Where are you from?"  The Levite said, "I am from Bethlehem and I'm looking for a place to stay." (2)  Micah then made him an offer he couldn't refuse:  "Live with me and be my priest and I'll give you ten shekels of silver a year and I'll clothe you and feed you."
Some time later the Danites would invade the land of Laish, home of Micah.  They stole the silver images and ravaged his temple and asked the Levite priest to leave Micah and come with them.  "Isn't it better that you serve a tribe rather than one man's household." (3)  These words brought gladness to the heart of the priest and he followed them with enthusiasm. 

Paris Reidhead addresses the issue of utilitarian religion and expedient Christianity in his sermon, Ten Shekels and a Shirt. (4)  Utilitarianism is defined as an ethical theory that holds to the idea that the proper course of action is always the one that maximizes one's overall 'happiness' .  The morality of any action is determined by the consequences of that action, the resulting outcome.  (5)  In expedient Christianity the end becomes more important than the means to achieving that end.

Were we to apply this pragmatic standard to the ministries of some of the Bible's greatest men they would be judged to be men who had failed miserably.    John the Baptist was able to conjure up a few disciples but it seems he was lacking in the skills of diplomacy.  Rather than stay on the side of political correctness, he spoke truth to the king and he lost his head as a result.  By today's standards he was a failure.

Noah was a great builder of boats.  He built a vessel that endured the greatest flood in world history but as an evangelist, as a soul winner, he might be considered an utter failure.  When the rains came and the earth filled with water he had only convinced seven people, his own family, to follow God.  A hundred years of labor, a magnificent boat and seven converts…he would be categorized as a colossal failure in the mega-church mentality of the modern world.

The definition of success has changed down through the ages.  The modern church has been infected by the philosophies of the culture.  God-centered doctrines like salvation and eternal destiny have been replaced by man-centered beliefs in political correctness, self-esteem and acquired prosperity.  Modern ministers have been distracted from the truth by the philosophies of humanism.  These cancerous beliefs have been inching their way through the church for over 150 years until we now no longer question them, but willfully embrace them.

Humanists believe that the chief end of all being is the happiness of man.  Achieving that goal is justified no matter what means are required to get there.  If power is what makes you happy then by all means, strive for power, even if it means stepping on some and wounding others to achieve your goal.  Hitler believed that happiness would only come to men through a pure race.  He justified his racism and his murder as an ugly necessity to reach a worthy means:  the happiness of man.

Humanism has so saturated our culture that we have become sex-crazed.  The idea that the primary reason for living is to satisfy ourselves has led to an over-indulgence in sexual experiences.  Salvation no longer has anything to do with the soul but everything to do with the fulfillment of our sensual desires. 

Humanism has education has become a shell game.  It is no longer subject-centered.  It is now child-centered.  The Three R's have been cast aside in favor of ensuring the happiness of the child.  Failing grades are no longer distributed to those who are slack in their preparation for fear of wounding their self-esteem.  Subject matter is being scrapped in favor of allowing the pupils to find themselves.  The question is no longer "Is the child learning?"  The question now is "Is the child happy?"

If the goal of the environmentalist is to create an environment that will contribute to the happiness of man they will go to any means to achieve that goal.  They will suppress the poor, they will destroy national economies and they will become violent if necessary.

Even murder is condoned if it will lead to the happiness of man.  The life of an unborn infant is expendable if it causes inconvenience or threatens the happiness of the mother.  It is a sad state of affairs when our minds are so warped as to believe that our own happiness has more value than the life of another.

So many modern day ministers propagate the humanist philosophy by declaring that God is primarily concerned with the happiness of man.  This teaching borders on blasphemy.  How dare we elevate ourselves to a level of such importance! This violates the spirit of John who said, "He (Jesus) must become greater and greater and I must become less and less."  (6)   Our earthly happiness is a by-product of a saving relationship with God.  The primary goal of a Christian is not his own self-serving goal of happiness.  Rather, it is to bring glory to God. 

The Levite was more interested in utilitarian Christianity.  How much will I get paid and what benefits are available to me?  When the Danites came along with a better deal, the Levite was only too eager to graze on greener grass.  His concern was, "What is in it for me?"  How rare is the man who will ask, "In what way might I best bring glory to God?"

Paul wrote to the Romans, "They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator…"  (7)  The truth is that the chief end of man is to bring glory to the God who created him.  The lie that has replaced this truth is that the chief end of man is his own happiness.  Truth happiness can never be found when in pursuit of a lie. 

1.       Judges 17:5
2.      Judges 17:9
3.      Judges 18:19
6.      John 3:30
7.      Romans 1:25 

Kevin Probst - Teaches History, Government and Apologetics at the high school level in Columbus Georgia.

To Live We Must First Die

Have you ever had a thought pound away at your mind so persistently that you believed it would never go away?  I have been thinking about the incarnation of Christ.  The whole concept is totally incomprehensible.  Contemplating the reality of God becoming human so that he might save filthy, depraved, unworthy, stench-filled, morally corrupt human souls by the shedding of his precious blood is a fathomless mystery.  The Prince of God left the splendor of his eternal dwelling and clothed himself with humanity, took up temporary residence in the womb of a very young woman who finally gave birth to him in a stall made for sheep and donkeys.  The Christ child was laid in a manger filled with straw and his first breath was filled with the offensive aroma of manure.

Why did he do it?  He came to live the life of a human and his coming was filled with love and purpose.  He came to reveal to us what the holiness of God looks like in a human life.  His coming provided the only ray of hope in a world darkened by the sins of unbelief and disobedience.  He lived the life he lived in order that he might die the death that he died.  He died the death that he died so that we might have an opportunity to live the life that he lived.  Through the impartation of the Comforter he promised to send, we can live Christ-like lives.  We can be Christians.

I went to the garage a few weeks ago and retrieved some seeds I saved from last year.  I wheeled out my tiller and worked the soil in my small garden and then planted the seeds.  In just a few days I saw sprouts begin to grow.  And I wondered as I do every year, how does it happen?  Those seeds lay in my garage all year and never sprouted.  There have been reports of seeds having been found that were over 800 years old.  These seeds were planted and they sprouted and grew and produced fruit.  Scientists know what happens when a seed germinates but they are unsure why it happens.  When a seed is placed in the fertile soil it will germinate and it will grow.

Paul contemplated the mystery of the seed when he wrote to the Corinthians:  “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.” (1 Cor. 3:6-7)  Who can explain this miracle of life?  The best explanation is simply that the Author of life demonstrates his gift of life through the germination of the seed and the growth that follows.  Men must bow their heads in humility as they contemplate what God can do and what they cannot do.

Christ came to live the life he lived to qualify him for the death he died.  The child born in a barn was finally nailed to a Roman cross.  His body was then gently removed and buried in a tomb and like a seed buried in the ground. Christ experienced the miracle of life, the resurrection.  This miracle is the basis for our salvation.  Those of us who are followers of Christ share in the same hope Paul expressed to the Philippians:  “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.”  (Philippians 3:10-11)

But there is an earlier resurrection that Christians must not overlook.  Some Christians can live their entire lives in a state of dormancy like seeds on a shelf.  If they are never buried they will never experience germination or a resurrection.  They will never know the fullness of growth and life. The journey has just begun when Christ responds to our repentance and forgives us.  God wills that we continue on the path that leads towards the abundant life but this life is preceded by death and burial.  The sanctification of our souls requires that we die to our own selfish desires and bury our own ambitions and bow in total submission to God.  Then the miracle happens.  The burial of our seeds of selfishness is the prerequisite to a resurrection into a life of holiness and growth. 

The new life that we experience is the life of Christ indwelling within us.  Many believe the deception that salvation is available by simply offering mental assent to a list of doctrines.  Even Satan and his imps believe that Christ is the divine Son of God.  The acceptance of his divinity doesn’t save them.  It fills them with dreaded fear.  God wants more than a verbal admission of his divine nature.  He wants us to wholly experience salvation.  Simply having knowledge of God does not change behavior.  A radical change in behavior comes when we have experienced the indwelling Christ.  When we are filled with his love we learn to love him properly.  We are motivated to please him, not because we want to be rewarded with heaven or escape a horrendous hell, but because of our love for him.  We don’t want to hurt him.

Just as this experience is not based on an exercise of the mind, neither is it based on an accumulation of good works.  If we believe that we should be granted entrance into heaven based on good behavior, why would we not stand before God in judgment and refuse the benefits provided by the shed blood of Christ and demand that we be judged by the law of God?  Would we dare lay our righteousness, our filthy rags, (Isaiah 64:6) alongside the righteousness of Christ and demand we be weighed in the balance of his justice? Of course we would not.

If we have had our eyes opened (John 9:10) we would never dare to do such a foolish thing.  Some have “eyes to see but they do not see”.  (Ezekiel 12:2)  Those who do see understand that our only righteousness is in Christ Jesus.

Kevin Probst - Teaches History, Government and Apologetics at the high school level in Columbus Georgia.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Homosexual Orientation vs. Homosexual Behavior

The term ‘homosexuality’ is not found in the Bible.  Nor is the term ‘lesbian’.  The absence of these modern day terms in scripture does not indicate that scripture is silent regarding this issue.  The Bible does not address orientation but the Bible very clearly and unequivocally addresses behavior.  Same sex is condemned in the Pentateuch and also again in the New Testament.  The Apostle Paul strongly warned about homosexual behavior, even listing it as one of those sins that, if not confessed and cleansed by the sacrifice of Christ, would certainly lead one to hell. (1)

God’s plan from the very beginning was that sexual relations should be between one man and one woman involved in a monogamous relationship that would last a lifetime.  God’s condemnation of sexual activity outside of these parameters must be taken very seriously.  Those involved in homosexual behavior or adulterous behavior in the Old Testament were subject to the punishment of death.  The instructions were very specific and unarguable:  “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman, that is detestable.”  (2)  The penalty for such behavior was clearly spelled out:  “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both have done what is detestable. They must be put to death’. (3) The severity of the law of the Old Testament is now redundant due to the fact that Christ made the ultimate sacrifice by which he made available an abundant grace to all who would believe in him and repent of their sins.

Since the fall of man our depraved nature has habitually taken the good and beautiful gifts of God and corrupted them.  God gave us the ability to create art, but we have corrupted that gift by creating works that degrade the holy nature of God, even winning awards for placing a cross in a jar of urine and declaring it art. (4)  God gave us music as a way of expressing our praise for him but we have corrupted his gift by using it to promote violence and hatred and twisted sexual behavior.  God gave us the gift of sex so that we might procreate and multiply God’s crowning achievement, the creation of the human being.  As a bonus he threw pleasure into the formula but we have corrupted his gift by trespassing beyond the parameters he has clearly set for us in scripture.

Lest Christians get on their high horse and beginning flailing away at those who commit sexual sins, let us beware of Christ’s requirement for holy living.  He didn’t come to lower the standard of his Father’s holiness, on the contrary, Jesus said, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (5)  If anything, Christ is now raising the bar by requiring that those who call themselves Christians draw on the grace of God made available by his Holy Spirit and allow him to purify our minds.

So what are the parameters regarding sex in the Word of God?  They are simple and very clear.  We have only three options regarding sexual activity if we are to please a Holy God:  (6)
1.  Abstinence before marriage
2.  Fidelity in marriage
3.  Celibacy in singleness
Sometimes orientation can be changed. (7)  There are others who seem to be destined to a life full of temptation.  We must not believe the lie our culture is continually screaming in our ear that no one can really be fully human unless they are participating in some sort of sexual activity.  The Apostle Paul refuted this lie when he commended those who chose celibacy as a lifestyle and were able to free themselves of sexual activity in order to live a more exclusive and sanctified life for the sake of the Kingdom of Christ.  (9)

The Bible does not condemn those who have an orientation toward homosexuality or toward infidelity.  But it clearly condemns those who participate in sinful sexual acts.  We must always distinguish between temptation and actual sin.  Those who must fight a proclivity toward homosexuality and who do so successfully have not sinned.  Those who fail in their struggle need to experience an alternative love, a love that demonstrates the holy nature of a forgiving and merciful God.  True followers of Christ will not shove a boot in the face of the homosexual or the one who is sexually promiscuous.  Rather, they will demonstrate the true nature of Christ who graciously offered living water to the woman at the well whose life was shredded with sexual sin.  (10) 

We often fall into the trap of treating gay and lesbian people as if they were lepers.  We condemn their sin while committing an equal or greater sin of acting as if their actions merit a greater punishment for their sins.

Today Christians are expressing great concern over same-sex marriage.  It is easy to find scripture to oppose such a union.  But the marriage Christians should be more concerned about is the marriage of homosexual sin with Christianity itself.  The idea that one can live in a continuous state of sin and disobedience and still claim ‘at-one-ness’ with Christ Jesus is a blasphemous heresy.  Of course, the homosexual should be welcome to come as they are to our Christian assemblies but they are not welcome to stay as they are.  The church is a place for all sinners to repent of their sin and join the body of believers who rejoice in Christ’s power to deliver us from sin. 

What are the causes of homosexuality?  Some would claim that there is a gene that causes one to be oriented toward homosexuality.  There is no sure evidence of this claim and the study of identical twins with the same genetic code but differing orientations seems to contradict this claim.  Environmental factors seem to play a part in orientation.  Observe that very few homosexual men have a strong, healthy relationship with their father or any other male figure in their early lives.   We all have inclinations.  We all have orientations and a whole realm of experiences that have brought us to where we are.  The Bible minimizes the psychological and environmental aspects and makes behavior the primary issue.  We are all called to repentance. 

1.  1 Timothy 1:8-11
2.  Leviticus 18:22
3.  Leviticus 20:13
5.  Matthew 5:28
6.  Matthew 19
8.  1 Corinthians 7:22-35
9.  1 Corinthians 7:8
10.  John 4:1-26

Kevin Probst - Teaches History, Government and Apologetics at the high school level in Columbus Georgia.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

America’s Homosexual Evolution

President Obama has certainly made his mark on the history of the United States.  Our children will one day read about him in American History books as the first black president, the first foreign born president and the first president to play 150 rounds of golf in one term.  Now, after the completion of Obama’s ‘evolution’, he has become the first president to support homosexual marriage.  But even those in the homosexual community are questioning his motives.  They realize that his support on this issue, just like every other issue in the life of the Narcissist in Chief, centers on himself. 

Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post epitomized the pressure from the left for Obama to step out of the closet regarding the homosexual issue.  Marcus proceeded to pommel the president with a series of punches:  “Same-sex marriage is turning into a test of character and leadership for President Obama,” she wrote. “Does he favor it, or doesn’t he? In the wake of Vice President Biden’s remarks supportive of marriage equality, the continued presidential equivocation makes Obama look weak and evasive”. 

The greatest fear of this president is that his fa├žade of strength will be melted away by the heated disapproval of his own supporters to reveal just how weak he really is.  Marcus’ uppercut was followed by this gut punch, “The longer Obama waits, the worse he looks. The President’s first stall tactic, that he is ‘evolving’ on the issue, doesn’t cut it anymore.”  She finally throws the knock-out punch:  “…doesn’t evolution imply change? And if you think perhaps he’s still conflicted — well, that’s hardly an advertisement to be leader of the free world. At this point, Obama’s reticence is looking cowardly.”  Being criticized by Fox News is one thing, being pummeled by fellow liberals is more than the president can endure.  It’s like learning your wife is seeing another man.

So, just what is it that Obama supports?  Homosexuality is an act of immorality.  It is immoral by the standard of natural law, “men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another”,  (Romans 1:27) and it violates God’s moral law.  The Apostle Paul lists the offenses that will earn eternal separation from God.  “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders.”  (1 Cor. 6:9) If the leader of the free world will step out and support the immoral behavior of homosexuality, is he also willing to support adultery, fornication, and polygamy? 

These forms of immorality will eventually destroy a family, a church and finally a nation.  Any president who would promote that which would destroy us has no right to be the leader.  This utterly contradicts the intent of our founding fathers who founded this country on Christian principles.  We’ve had many presidents who participated in immoral behavior, from lying to staining a blue dress, but we have had none to blatantly verbalize that such immoral behavior should be accepted as the norm.  The president’s evolution on the immoral practice of homosexuality simply mirrors the evolution in our society toward sexual depravity.  We must ask ourselves the question:  Does the president’s evolution toward the acceptance of homosexuality indicate that our society’s evolutionary slide to Gomorrah is complete?

Why does God condemn adultery?  Why does he condemn homosexuality?  Why did the original marriage plan of God include one man and one woman, one husband and one wife?  It is because the institution of marriage is sacred.  The primary purpose of the marriage relationship is to portray the relationship Christ has to the church.  “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”  (Eph. 5:25)  God provides us with the wonderful opportunity to have a personal relationship with him but there are conditions we must meet.  He demands fidelity, just as any decent husband would demand of his wife or any wife her husband.  When we pursue other gods, when we worship other idols, our relationship with Christ becomes unsustainable.  The marriage relationship between a man and a woman is an earthly reflection of a spiritual relationship that can become eternal.

The effort to destroy marriage, to muck up the pure waters of something so sacred, is satanic.  How better to besmirch the purity and sacredness of marriage than to assault the institution with pornography, with adultery, with infidelity and most definitely, with homosexuality.  These sins cannot be participated in without consequences.  The sexual revolution of the last fifty years has reaped fatherless children, orphans, broken homes, innumerable divorces, rampant diseases, depression and suicides. 
God’s primary purpose for sexual relations between a man and a woman was to procreate.  God was so pleased and blessed to see his creation expand that he determined to make the experience of procreating extremely pleasurable as a demonstration of his favor.  Procreation has now become something to avoid like a plague.   The pleasure of sexual relations has been so dulled by our willingness to overindulge that we have stepped out of what God originally intended into that which is twisted and unnatural in a vain attempt to overcome our desensitization to pleasure.

There is a horrible plague of blindness that now pervades throughout American society.  In an attempt to find and experience freedom it was proclaimed loud and clear that ‘anything goes’, all sexual restraints were lifted to try to satisfy the deep emptiness of godless souls.  We became a society of moral zombies, proclaiming that all was well, while we pretended a lie to our friends and neighbors that we had finally found the secret to happiness.  But the freedom we proclaimed was not real, it was a fatal fantasy.  The smile on our faces was a failed attempt to hide the frown in our souls. 

We put up a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign to keep God from intruding in our society.  In our churches we replaced him with a cotton-candy prosperity gospel that was too anemic to save and too empty to satisfy the needs of the hungry.  So, they have fled from the church in search of another savior.  The blinded sexual libertarian cannot see that sexual depravity is not freedom, it is bondage.  It does not lead to happiness, it leads to emptiness.  It does not build relationships, it destroys them.  Discovering why they think they are free when they are actually slaves to the bondage of sexual immorality is a mystery for the ages.

We are living among “a rebellious people.  They have eyes to see but do not see and ears to hear but they do not hear, for they are a rebellious people.”  (Ezekiel 12:2)  It is most troubling that we are now assured that the one who leads us is blinded as well.  It is fearful to think of what our destiny will be when the blind is indeed, leading the blind.

Kevin Probst - Teaches History, Government and Apologetics at the high school level in Columbus Georgia.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Three Minute Explanation of the European Economic Collapse

Kevin Probst - Teaches History, Government and Apologetics at the high school level in Columbus Georgia.

Obama Tramples Traditional Marriage


           It has been framed as a shocking event.  The President supports gay marriage!!  This is not a shock.  This is the same president who repealed the military's ban on openly gay service members.  This is the same president who ordered his lap dog Attorney General to stop enforcing the Defense of Marriage Act.  (DOPA)  How could anyone be surprised?  We were served appetizers before the main course when Vice President Foot-in-his-Mouth came out with a statement affirming gay marriage earlier in the week.  The following day, Secretary of Indoctrination, Arne Duncan, made bold statements supporting homosexuality. 

            Informed Americans were not surprised at all when Obama finally evolved into a full-blown supporter of homosexuality.  The real surprise is how far we have slid toward Gomorrah in so short a time.  The evolution is now complete. It took 42 presidents to finally 'evolve' toward acceptance of homosexual marriage.  All 42 previous presidents opposed gay marriage.  Obama's opinion that he is the only president to finally get this issue right matches his arrogant, messianic attitude.

            A recent ABC opinion poll claims that 52% of Americans think gay marriage should be legal and 43% think not.  Those numbers may be accurate if this poll was conducted in San Francisco.  That poll was not conducted here in rural, southern Georgia, that's for sure.  The poll also proclaimed that 54% of Democrats support gay marriage (is that all?) and 39% of Republicans support it (are you kidding?)  How do you justify these poll numbers with the fact that 31 states have already added amendments to their constitutions defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman?  North Carolina most recently took steps to boldly protect the foundational institution of any civilization, marriage.

            Some of my younger friends who lean toward the libertarian banner would defend Obama's stance on gay marriage because they oppose the fact that government is too large and too intrusive in the lives of common citizens.  Many are willing to march in step to the beat of this drum.  But for those who are evangelical Christians, gay marriage isn't just a political issue, it’s a moral issue.  Those who claim to be genuine followers of Jesus Christ are more interested in taking a stance that reflects a Christian worldview rather than a political worldview.  Jesus said, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments."  (John 14:15)   He has commanded purity of heart and mind.  One of God's commands is found in Leviticus 18:22:  'You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination" 

            Thousands of blogs and website articles have been written in an attempt to dilute the importance of this command.  The common argument goes like this:  If we are to submit to this law regarding homosexuality, what other frivolous laws are we to submit to?  Are we to not "wear clothes made of more than one fabric?"  (Leviticus 19:19)  Are we to not shave or cut our hair?  (Leviticus 19:27)  Few seem to understand that the laws given to the ancient Israelites were categorized.  Some laws were temporary and localized for the purpose of keeping God's chosen people from intermingling and losing their identity with neighboring pagans.  Other laws were universal and eternal.  The purpose of universal laws was to promote righteousness and purity and prevent the type of behaviors (disobedience) that would sever relationship with God.  "If you love me, keep my commandments." 

            Some Christians will offer weak support to the gay marriage movement by declaring that "you can't legislate morality."  I agree that it is certainly not primarily the government's job to determine ethics and morality.  That would be the job of the church, although it seems to be failing miserably on most counts.  But the declaration that government should refrain from legislating morality is nonsense.  It is the government's responsibility to prevent chaos and tyranny by establishing and enforcing laws that control behavior.  If you take an oath in court and lie you have committed a federal crime, unless you are a former president trying to determine what the definition of "is" is.  There are and should be consequences for committing murder or abusing a child. 

            Christians are fighting hard against their government sanctioning a behavior that is clearly condemned in the word of God.  They don't want homosexuality to be stamped with government approval any more than they want to see murder, adultery, burglary or any other sinful behavior sanctioned.  Christians believe that America's slide toward Gomorrah is a consequence of their government sanctioning the murder of unborn children (Roe vs. Wade, 1973).  No society can escape the judgment of a pure and holy God when it allows for homosexual behavior that is clearly condemned in the word of God.  (Lawrence vs. Texas, 2003)

            When God created Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden he stepped back and said, "This is good, this is very good."  (Gen. 1:31)  God's desire is always to promote and expand that which is good.  When he mandated that man should multiply and replenish the earth (Gen. 1:28) he was commanding that the good in his creation be magnified throughout generations to come.  A Christian's belief in the existence of God is matched by the assurance that Satan is real.  Satan's goal is to disrupt the plan of God in any way possible.  He is very active in these days because …"He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short." (Rev. 12:12)  If God loves life, Satan loves death.  If God smiles on the reproduction of the crowning achievement of his creation, Satan is determined to destroy man.

            Satan's plan of destruction involves stirring men to such hatred they would choose to murder each other.  He also uses more efficient methods in destroy the apple of God's eye through abortion and homosexuality.  Fifty million unborn American children have been murdered since 1973.  Homosexuality prevents reproduction and reduces population.  Ironically, the only way a homosexual couple can rear children is to depend on the traditional institution they aim to destroy, traditional marriage.

            The impetus for Christian opposition to homosexuality is not political, it is scriptural.  Christians know that this sin, like any other sin, hurts the heart of a God they love deeply.  Their strong desire to defend the Rock of Their Salvation is often misinterpreted as a hatred for homosexuals.  Unfortunately, this is accurate in some cases, but not so among genuine Christians.  True followers of Christ are taught to love and to cease hating.  The only hatred found in the heart of a genuine Christian is hatred for sin.  This hatred runs as deeply in one direction as our love for Christ runs in the other.

            Blandina, the early Christian martyr who was sexually abused and then murdered left these dying words, `I am a Christian, and there is no evil done amongst us."    Let the evil of hatred never be found in the heart of the genuine Christian.  Christians are characterized by their love.  "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:35)

Kevin Probst - Teaches History, Government and Apologetics at the high school level in Columbus Georgia.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Public Education? We have our heads in the sand

It was Pliny the Elder, a naturalist and good friend to the Roman Emperor Vespasian, who is probably most responsible for the idea that ostriches hide their heads in the sand when they are confronted by an unavoidable danger.  It is all mythical.  Ostriches don't actually do this but people do.  Are the parents who send their children to one of 99,000 American public schools sticking their heads in the sand?  Are they unaware of what is going on in the public schools or are they in denial?  Are Americans getting the best bang from their buck or are they flushing when they pay taxes totaling an average of $10,500 per student?

Here in the state of Georgia the high school graduation rates hovered near 80% until a new formula was introduced that revealed a more accurate assessment.  The new formula divides the number of graduates in a given year by the number of students who enrolled four years earlier.  Georgia's graduation rate dropped to 67.4%.  In Columbus, Georgia's second largest city by population, the graduation rate computed below 50% in two of the cities eight high schools.  Graduation rates in the Atlanta area also plummeted under the new formula.  Gwinnett County dropped from 83.7% to 67.5%.  Fulton County dropped from 85.9% to 70.1% and Atlanta City Schools dropped from 68.2% to 51.9%.  Can you imagine any company operating at a 50% production rate?  Can you imagine the U.S. government investing billions of dollars in a company whose success rate is only 50% to 60%?  If you needed a heart surgeon would you choose one with a 50% success rate?  Do we value our youth?  We need to pull our heads from the sand.  The 67% Georgia graduation rate is unacceptable.  

Academia is only half the problem.  Recent statistics released through the Indicators of School Crime and Safety Report reveal that there were 1,183,700 violent crimes in the 2009-2010 school year.  Some of the violent crimes measured were physical attack with or without weapons, robbery with or without weapons and rape.  74% of public schools were the scene of a violent crime in 2009-2010.  Amazingly, while the school systems reported 1.2 million violent crimes there were only 905,000 violent crimes committed on the streets of America.  Many large city public schools report an arrest daily.  If the parents of public school children would pull their heads from the sand they would be shocked to realize that some public schools are more dangerous than the streets of our nation's cities.  

A University of Michigan study reported that the big issues in school discipline in the 1940's included:  chewing gum, cutting in line, running in the hall, noisy disruption, violations in dress code, and littering.  The study compared the decade of the '40's with the 1990's when school administrators found themselves dealing with: drug abuse, alcohol abuse, pregnancy, suicide, rape, robbery and assault. Many shrug at these alarming facts by saying that schools have always had these problems, they just weren't publicized.  Not true, things are worse, much worse. 

Some parents make an excuse for sending their children into such violent environments by saying, "Well, they need to get out there in the real world.  Better now than later."   How can exposing our children to a little assault, a little rape, or a little molestation be justified?  It is heart-breaking to see parents who want badly to remove their children from such an environment but circumstances prevent them from doing so.  Some have no choice but to send their children where they will be indoctrinated to believe that fathers are unimportant and homosexuality should be accepted as a normal lifestyle and killing the unborn is a legitimate way to avoid the consequences of the sin of fornication?

The 2005 University of Michigan study revealed that 26% of all school children are victims of violent threats, 4% have been threatened with an actual weapon and 24% have been struck with a fist.  It seems we've lost our way, big time, in public education.  We are being told that it is all about the kids.  Are parents too gullible when they believe administrators of their local systems who they say that they are committed to providing our children with the best opportunity to excel academically?  They strongly proclaim that protecting our children and creating an environment conducive to learning is a top priority.  Are we are being sold a bill of goods?  Some prisons, where Bibles have not yet been listed as contraband, are safer than some public schools where Bibles are prohibited. 

School systems affectively teach us the failure of socialism.  Competition has been removed.  Compulsory attendance laws give the teachers a captive audience and help to destroy incentive to be the best at what they do.  What if teachers had to compete for students?  What if parents could choose their schools and their children's teachers based on past performance?  Unions make it impossible to fire an incompetent teacher and child predators prey on our children, like picking ripe fruit in an orchard.  Charol Shakeshaft, a researcher and author of a 2004 study that was prepared for the U.S. Department of Education revealed the astonishing prevalence of child abuse in public schools.  She said, "…the physical sexual abuse of students in schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by priests."  The report stated that nearly 10% of all students were victims of sexual misconduct.  It's time to pull our heads out of the sand.  Would parents send their children off to a summer camp if they were told there was a 10% chance their child would suffer sexual abuse? 

It may be unfair to blame public education for all the ills of our society.  Our slide toward Gomorrah is due to many factors.  Motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar addressed the problem of protecting our children from a depraved culture:  "If I were to stand in front of an audience of virtually any kind in America and advocate drunken orgies, getting high on cocaine, pot or any other drug, they would look at me in stunned astonishment.  If I gave a sales talk on incest, adultery, homosexuality, necrophilia, bestiality, and even suicide, while generously sprinkling four-letter words throughout the presentation, there isn't one group in a thousand that would sit still and listen.  But the very group(s) that would assail such topics are the very ones who do it every day when they allow their children to listen to "popular" music." 

Parents must also share much of the blame for failing to build a hedge around their own children.  Our children are not just being exposed to pornography, violence, and immoral behavior, they are overdosing on it.  Fathers are commanded in Ephesians 6:4 not to "exasperate our children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord."   Parents dare not send their kids into public schools without providing them an interpretation of morality based on a Christian worldview.  We cannot isolate our children in a monastic lifestyle, but we can prepare them to live clean lives in a filthy culture.

Kevin Probst - Teaches History, Government and Apologetics at the high school level in Columbus Georgia.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Why Power Corrupts: Self-absorbed Leadership

Over one hundred years ago, Lord Acton declared that “Power tends to corrupt, absolute power corrupts absolutely.”  The concept was first demonstrated when Lucifer aimed to supplant God and God would have nothing to do with it, "How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God”.  (Isaiah 14:12-13)   There is a parallel passage in Ezekiel 28:11-19 that reveals that the ability of power to corrupt is not confined to Satan, but his plans are carried out through earthly kings and rulers who think just like the father they serve.  They take to themselves what belongs exclusively to God. They make outrageous claims of divinity, just as Lucifer did before he was cast out of heaven. 

The ancient Chinese rulers of the Qin Dynasty claimed to be the “Sons of Heaven”.  The Roman Emperor, Julius Caesar became “the Divine Julius”.  Imhotep, the ancient Egyptian physician was elevated to deity after his death when he was declared the god of medicine and healing.  The early kings who ruled Europe often thought they were privileged with divine rights.  Some modern day rulers are certainly so drunk on their own power, they also believe they are divine or have at their disposal divine power to rule over the mere mortals of earth.

So the question to be answered is this, “Why is it that some are corrupted by power and others are not?”  When one contrasts Hitler, Stalin, and Castro with Washington, Lincoln and Reagan the differences are very pronounced.  Who can explain the failure of Communism and Totalitarianism?  Is it not true when man attempts to use power apart from God he becomes corrupt.  Communist leaders who bought into Darwin’s theory of evolution hook, line and sinker had a rationale upon which to build their atheistic philosophies.  The absence of God created an empty vacuum in their souls which they filled with the only thing that remains when God is removed, self.  While one set of rulers refer to God frequently and seek his assistance the other group lifts their fist in the face of God and denies his existence.  After they have declared God eliminated, there is no one to set a standard for morality or determine proper human behavior, so, the self-absorbed ruler declares  that he is the arbitrator of all.

Jesus addressed this very idea of replacing God with self when he addressed a group of ruling lawyers and judges of his day, “…you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.” (Matthew 23:25)  Why does death follow after political systems that reject God?  The Apostle Paul gave us the answer 2,000 years ago:  “But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger”. (Romans 2:8)  The leader who exaggerates his own importance often uses his power to attempt to create what actually does not exist.  He wants to be the architect of a heaven on earth, a utopia, for the elite, those who share in the divine rights.  The status of their divinity cannot be fully realized until someone worships them so they oppress the common masses and encourage class warfare to create a great chasm that separates them from the mere mortals.

They visualize themselves as creating a society of underlings who will live in total submission to them and will be overwhelmed with admiration for them because they were able to create a system in which all share equally in the wealth.  The gratefulness of the masses will remove any bitterness that might be directed toward those who are living the high life.   The ‘gods of the marketplace’ deserve to live lives of leisure and luxury because of their gift to the masses.  While they fantasize their own divinity and revel in the worship of the multitude they are actually being set up for failure.  “You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.”  (James 5:5)

A culture has a sure anchor of morality when it is centered on God.  When God is removed from a culture, morality collapses and men, especially rulers, become nihilistic.  Moral character becomes obsolete and nihilism takes its place.  There are no exceptions to this rule.  It is the same for a liberal or a conservative, for a Democrat or a Republican.   The removal of God from the formula eliminates satisfaction in the soul and that individual begins to seek satisfaction from outside sources, mainly through pleasure, prestige and power.  When God is replaced by self a peculiar panic develops within.   Those who deny God are tormented by the illusion that there is no one in control.  Frantic control-freaks begin to immerge from the godless.  They begin developing rules and policies to govern the behavior of others.  Apart from the wisdom of God, these regulations and mandates become asinine and absurd. 

When men like Al Gore address the peons with statements like; “The world only has five years before it is destroyed by global warming”, and they roll their eyes at the absurdity, he is deeply offended.  He has come to save the world.  He knows better than we.  We should not resent the fact that he wants us to ride bicycles while he is flown about in his private jet.  He is the chosen one to save the citizens of the world from themselves.  For those of us who understand the sovereignty of the true God, Gore’s behavior seems juvenile and maniacal.  “Relax, Al.  We don’t need another Savior, we already have one.”

The emptiness of the soul that must depend on self rather than God often drives them to a grandiose self-assignment.  He tries to fill up his own emptiness, not with God, but by making themselves saviors.  They visualize themselves heroes of the poor, the working class and the downtrodden.  God-fearing leaders find their value in the God who created them and the God they serve.  Those who have alienated themselves from God must find satisfaction in becoming their own deities, saving the world from environmental pollution, saving the whales, saving mankind from the threat of nuclear annihilation and eliminating poverty.

This self-appointed task of becoming savior leads to arrogance.  This prideful spirit is always followed by disgrace and lack of wisdom.  (Proverbs 11:2)  Many think it is quite arrogant when President Obama strong arms the Supreme Court to approve of the ‘individual mandate’ in his healthcare law that is blatantly unconstitutional.  Is he above the law?  Does he assume the power to write his own laws and self-impose them on the rest of society?  There is an unattractive self-centeredness in the president when he declares a policeman acted “stupidly” before all the facts of the case were gathered.  How many Pennsylvanians were offended by his condescending statement regarding those who come from small towns in Pennsylvania (that would include the author) who “get bitter, they cling to guns or religion”.  The inference is that he has a plan to rescue those small town people, a plan that guns and religion cannot possibly provide.  Is this not more than arrogance?  Is this not one who believes he has divine rights?  Michele certainly thinks so as she recently stated that her husband has “brought us out of the dark and into the light.”

Can you not see the writing on the wall, just as Nebuchadnezzar saw?  “You have been weighed in the scales and found wanting.  The days of your kingdom are numbered, it is to be divided and given away”.  (Daniel 5)   There are no exceptions to this truth:  when God is defied and removed he no longer blesses and destruction is sure to follow.  Our future as a country and society will be determined by whether our leaders choose to serve self or others and by whether we embrace and worship the true God or continue to reject him.

Kevin Probst - Teaches History, Government and Apologetics at the high school level in Columbus Georgia.