In a brief article, Dr. Al Mohler of Southern Baptist Seminary addresses the more prevalent worldview of the natural sciences, materialism:

http://www.albertmohler.com/blog_read.php?id=1122

For a quick review, a worldview is a set of lenses which one looks through to understand the world around him.  It is a person’s understanding of how matter works, what is the nature of the supernatural, what is at the core of human existence, what happens after death, etc.

Materialism is the view that attempts to explain everything by purely natural phenomenons and does away with the spiritual- ie: man is just matter- salts and minerals- and will return to salts and minerals upon death.  This view shaped the policies of Soviet Russia, and has been addressed prayerfully from the Christian perspective in Richard Wurmbrand’s Tortured for Christ

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One powerful refutation of materialism comes in the book where a simple factory worker stands up against a lecturer stating that man is only salts and minerals and will return to such on death.  The worker asks to speak after the lecture.  Permission is granted and he stands up, throws his chair down and stares at it.  Then he walks up to the lecturer and strikes him in the face.  The lecturer becomes irate and demands his arrest.  When questioned about his actions, the worker explains, “When I threw the chair down, it did nothing, it was just matter.  When I struck you, you became angry.  Man is more than matter, we are spiritual beings!”

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Two years ago I was performing my EMT clinicals.  One of the EMTs gave me a word I haven’t forgotten.  When we waited in the break area between calls, I skimmed a medical book and commented that the hardest part of the job for me would be to see the more grotesque injuries.  I’m ok seeing my own blood, but wince at someone else’s injuries- avulsions, contusions, open fractures, lacerations, etc.  The EMT answered me, but I didn’t think he’d heard.  He said, “The patient is the one with the problem.” 

The pateint has the trauma.  You treat them.  You are not the one with the overdose or trauma at the end of the day.  It is someone else.

The praticality comes when applying this to theology.  As I’ve put my ear to the culture and listened to doctrines, more influenced by the spirit of the age than the Spirit of Christ, I’ve come away feeling the maladies.  Denial of Hell, diplomacy on the virgin birth, denial on the penal substitutionary atonement, mitigation sin, mitigation of the deity of Christ, etc.  I’ve come away feeling queasy myself.  Then I remembered, at the end of the day, the patient has the problem.  I remembered, you don’t defend a lion, you turn it loose; you loose the cure for all maladies of theological traumas, the Word of God, and let it speak itself.  God’s breath cuts and pierces and treats these maladies better than any surgeon’s scalpel.  I don’t need to address every scoffer that comes around, but I need to be ready to turn the scalpel loose on those who would here and be quickened under its power.

A quick glance at the news today brought this headline to sight (warning- offensive content). 

Call-Girl Centerfold? Penthouse magazine wants woman at center of Eliot Spitzer call-girl scandal”

Shameless exhibition is too trite of a phrase to describe this situation, but nothing more fitting is coming to mind.  It’s sad that the sin that will change the life of three daughters and a wife is now being exalted and spread, to dissolve more marriages and marr more lives.  What good came from it the first time?  Why is it still being spread?  Paul’s answer two thousand years ago is timely.  We have forgotten God and been given over to his gifts, which we have in turn exalted and made our Gods.  Like the plague that fell on Israelite exiles who were given meat until they could eat no more because of their complaining, we are in a land diseased with its lusting.  It’s no longer secret, it’s no longer shameful.  Listen to Paul’s words:

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

Romans 1:24-25

Paul’s solution to our problem:

  •  if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved (Rom 10:9-10).
  • So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Rom 10:21-25a). 

An article in the local paper caught my attention this morning.  According to a federal study, 1/4 teen girls between 14-19 has contracted a sexually transmitted disease (STD).    The article does a good job explaining the problem and crunching the numbers.  But the recommendation by “U.S. health officials” is more telling.  The recommendation?   “Better screening, vaccination and prevention.”

Sex has become an area of life like life itself.  Rather than asking why it is there, we jump in and indulge.  Science asks some questions, but is too satisfied with the superficial answers and misses the question. 

It’s clear that human suffering is bad.  It’s clear that STDs are a form of suffering and are bad for us.  Like science’s bent on evolution, it observes and takes note of species mutations, then sidesteps the profound inquiry of the child, “What came first, the chicken or the egg?”  Science traces a line back in time past the chicken, past the egg, and then fading into obscurity as time and matter and chance simmer into primordial goop.  It misses again on why human languages differ, sidestepping the basics of Babel and appealing to ape dialectics.

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But maybe in the end STDs aren’t a result of inadequate screening or vaccination.  Maybe if we taught and saw and felt that long ago we turned away from God to create our lives and ended up under his curse, we might get further than if we put a screening facility in every high school and vaccinated every child.  Maybe we’d identify the result of depression and disease and a thousand other anomalies resulting from plundering the prize of sex from the trophy house of marriage to the squalor of the slums.  Maybe, just maybe, if we taught and ackowledged that sex outside of marriage should be opposed as the desire to murder and rape and steal, we might find a backbone to fight it and reduce the devestations of STDs and abortions.  There is to sex the creative force that tells us we were ourselves created and are ourselves accountable for our creating.  And Jesus is the creator of us and sex and the one to heal and clean us from any sexual sin, if only we would acknowledge to him our sin and struggles- that we can never vaccinate or screen or prevent enough- having made such a pollution of his gifts, and ask for him to teach us who he is and who we are and to follow his prescribed limits for his gifts. 

“All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads; ‘he trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!’

“Yet you are he who took me from the womb; you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts,”  (Ps 22:7-9).

As Easter nears, remember that Jesus always trusted God during the incarnation.  From his mother’s womb, from his mother’s breasts.   And remember, ‘no deceit was found in his mouth’… ever. 

Jesus’s trusting of God allowed God’s will to be accomplished through his life.  God’s will was his death. 

Sometimes if circumstances seem unjust, unfair, overwhelming- not as a cause of disobedience but a result of obedience – it may be God’s hand moving to bloom the fruit of fruition. 

William Cowper, a sickly saint acquainted with a suicidal darkness noted on the mysterious movements of God, “His purposes will ripen fast, unfolding every hour.  The bud may have a bitter taste, but sweet will be the flower.”

Don’t lose hope of the divine flower of God bringing his work to completion in your life.

Here are some snippets that have helped me see the value and state of gender roles and created differences between men and women. 

Enjoy:

 

The state of men in many places:

In Seattle, the young men are, generally, pathetic. They are unlikely to go to church, get married, have children, or do much of anything else that smacks of being responsible. But they are known to be highly skilled at smoking pot, masturbating, playing video games, playing air guitar, free-loading, and having sex with their significant others… If there is any hope for a kingdom culture to be built in Seattle, getting the young men to undergo a complete cranial-rectal extraction is priority number one.[1]

 Leadership

P.T. Forsyth says that hierarchy- the placing of one above another-not was meant not for privilege, prerogative, favoritism, or dominion, but for leadership.  And leadership means service, sacrifice, help, uplifting, redemption, and a cross.  Leadership is not meant to exploit, but to lift; not to exterminate, but to rescue; not to rend, but redeem; not to devour, but to carry; not for primacy, but for priority.  It means, in the last analysis, obedience, service, even death, for the sake of others.[2]

           

 Can women still influence men for Christ in areas of deep passion and conviction?

It is obvious that we cannot and should not prohibit women from influencing men.  For example, prayer is certainly a God-appointed means women should use to get men to where God wants them to be.  Praying women exert far more power in this world than all political leaders put together.  This kind of powerful influence is compounded immensely when one considers the degree to which the world is shaped and guided by the effects of how men and women are formed by their mothers.  This influence is perhaps more effective than all the leadership of men put together[3]

 

Women, then, have engaged in significant ministries, even if those ministries were unofficial.  One thinks of Abigail in I Samuel 25.  Abigail was not a prophetess and had no other official ministry that we know of.  Nevertheless, her humble and gentle advice to David persuaded him not to kill Nabal.  How many unrecorded events there must be of women persuading men, humbly and gently, to pursue a more righteous course!  What a good model this story is for traditionalists who think being a leader means they must always know the truth and that their opinion is always right.  David was certainly the leader in this account, but his humility is evident in that he listened to Abigail and was persuaded.  For women, Abigail is a model of gentle and humble persuasion.  There was no stridency or imperiousness about her manner.  She was winsome, yet bold.

            The unofficial ministries of women, therefore, are of great importance, and some men, by desiring leadership for its status and power as the Gentiles do (Mark 10:42ff.), have contributed to the idea that these ministries are insignificant.  Such a secular concept of ministry has done great damage in Christ’s church.[4]

– pg 210

 

There are so many ministries today in which a woman can advance the cause of Christ and righteousness!  I will list a few here so that one can get some idea of the wide scope available: engaging in personal witnessing and joining campus organizations committed to spreading the gospel, ministering to the sick and elderly, fighting against abortion, fighting against pornography, helping with literacy, writing to government leaders to support the cause of righteousness, helping with disabled, aiding the poor, ministering in prisons, counseling and praying with the troubled and confused, supporting missionaries and the church financially, visiting newcomers to the church, extending hospitality to the lonely, using artistic gifts by ministering in music, the visual arts, drama, and theater, helping in youth ministry, etc.[5]


[1] Mark Driscoll, Radical Reformission

[2] Elisabeth Elliot.  The Mark of a Man.  pg 134.

[3] Pg 61, John Piper.  What is the Difference?  Manhood and Womanhood Defined According to the Bible

[4] Thomas Schreiner.  Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.  ed. John Piper and Wayne Grudem.  Pg 210

[5] Thomas Schreiner.  Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.  ed. John Piper and Wayne Grudem.  Pg 223

I stumbled upon this remedy for treating depression a couple years ago from “The Dr.” (Martyn Lloyd-Jones), and it has done my soul well.  May it do the same for you:

Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact thyat you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself?  Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning.  You have not originated them but they are talking to you, they bring back the problems of yesterday, etc.  Somebody is talking.  Who is talking to you?  Your self is talking to you.  Now this man’s treatment [in Psalm 42] was this: instead of allowing this self to talk to him, he starts talking to himself.  “Why art thou cast down, O my soul?” he asks.  His soul has been depressing him, crushing him.  So he stands up and says: “Self, listen for a moment, I will speak to you.”