Tag Archive | "Ethics"

Bible Nation Society Founder interviewed by Christian Science Monitor concerning Pouillon Murder

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Bible Nation Society Founder interviewed by Christian Science Monitor concerning Pouillon Murder


The following take from the Christian Science Monitor website which interviewed Dr. Levesque on Saturday, September 12th concerning the murder of James Pouillion.

Killing of anti-abortion protester has both sides questioning violence

Already, there are small signs that common ground is being found regarding the use of violence, no matter where it’s directed.

By Mark Guarino

CHICAGO

The murder of an anti-abortion protester outside Detroit Friday is forcing both sides of the abortion issue to address their traditional roles in the long-standing debate.

James Pouillon, a local man known in the community for his 20-year street protests aimed at ending abortion, was shot and killed outside a high school in suburban Owosso early Friday morning while staging his usual protest involving large photos of mutilated fetuses.

Within hours police named a suspect: Harlan James Drake. Mr. Drake killed two people that day, but the death of Mr. Pouillon is drawing attention because it is the first abortion-related murder since the May shooting death of Dr. George Tiller, a Wichita, Kan. physician who performed abortions, in the foyer of a Catholic church. A staunch anti-abortion advocate was charged.

Since news of the shootings broke Friday, national organizations representing both the anti-abortion and abortion rights movements released statements to frame the murder against data — either aborted fetuses or assassinated medical personnel — they say is essential in understanding how their side deals with violence or the threat of violence every day.

Shaun Kenney, executive director of the American Life League in Washington, one of the nation’s largest pro-life organizations, called Pouillon a “true pro-life hero” and said his murder on Sept. 11 was “a terrible irony” for bringing “to mind the 50 million innocent lives lost to abortion.”

On Saturday, Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, condemned the murder and said the pro-choice side knows “all too well the chilling effect that shootings and other forms of violent intimidation have on people who have strongly held beliefs about this most personal issue.” The organization reports that eight abortion clinic workers in the US have been murdered since 1993.

Because the majority of violence surrounding the abortion issue usually involves threats or acts against clinics, resulting in federal and state protection laws, the murder of an anti-abortion advocate is reversing the traditional roles of both sides and, in that process, perhaps even forcing both to look at it with a new perspective.

Already, there are small signs that common ground is being found regarding the use of violence, no matter where it’s directed.

Keenan called Pouillon’s murder “senseless violence” and offered condolences to the families involved. Kenney said it wanted to “renew” its “call for peace and prayer as the only remedies for the culture of violence.”

Doug Levesque, the pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church outside Owosso, says he is already sensing “a solidarity of spirit” among people in the city, population 15,000, who share different points of view on abortion.

“I think people are [saying] ‘this is just craziness’. There are so many other things we can do. We can argue, we can rally. It’s not worth shooting each other over,” he says.

Mr. Levesque says Pouillon attended his church “numerous times” over the past few years and was known as a “caustic” abortion protester who “would have been thrilled” to learn that his murder was considered the antithesis of the Tiller case.

After the Tiller case, Levesque says he wrote op-ed pieces to the local newspaper condemning the use of violence in the abortion debate, even though he personally agreed that Tiller’s efforts resulted in “cold-blooded murder.” He said Pouillon felt the same.

“Jim would say Dr. Tiller killed 60,000 babies but Jim would never say, ‘let’s kill somebody’,” says Levesque. “I think the pro-choicers are the same way when they say ‘we support women’s right but it’s not worth senseless violence’. Even Jim didn’t deserve that.”

Since the shootings, he says he is sensing people around Owosso are making efforts to “look into each others eyes” and find “a connection” rather than decamp. It can only happen “by living together.”

Article can be seen at http://features.csmonitor.com/politics/2009/09/12/killing-of-anti-abortion-protester-has-both-sides-questioning-violence/

Also see Dr. Levesque’s article concerning the Tiller murder. http://biblenation.org/2009/06/“tiller-murder”-a-sad-saga-of-abortion-in-america/

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Domestic Enemies

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Domestic Enemies


By Dr. Douglas F. Levesque, Founder of The Levesque Institute

Every soldier and public servant covenants by solemn oath to defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, “foreign and domestic.”  We sing, “land of the free and the home of the brave”, thousands of times a day across this country.  We pledge allegiance, “to the republic”, in countless venues, and a myriad of times in our life.  Are such commitments poppycock?  Is our rhetoric without understanding or truth?  I have personally preached a score of sermons related to the commitment of good citizenship and the uniqueness of our heritage, charging good Christians to be good Americans.  I have weighed the times and the seasons, the costs and the ramifications.  It is time to stand up and be counted for right, and align clearly against wrong in our National life.

Wrong War

The examples in Scripture are there for our wisdom.  Consider Judges chapter twelve.

Jephthah and the Gileadites had no difficulty of conscience in fighting against the Ammonites and Amorites when invaded.  The decision to war against such enemies was clear cut, and to fight a defensive war, dependent upon Almighty God was just, even right.  But when confronted by their own countrymen, the Ephraimites, a plea and dialogue was put forth by Jepthah as to his rightness, but to no avail.  Ultimately, the men of Gilead responded to the threats of Ephraim in order to keep themselves from enslavement by their own kin.  A battle ensued.  The tragic deaths of war bloodied the Jordan river.  Jephthah emerges victorious.  We do not want to rally against our own country men, but their incessant threats of enslavement are becoming real chains and rapidly.

Brother Against Brother

With the death of national sovereignty will no doubt come an attack upon personal liberties.  Bible preachers will become “hate mongers”, Christian educators will be labeled “child abusers”, and Christians will be pushed into a deepening silence.  What will we do about it?  What can we do?  I return to the Biblical account for help.

Ephraim, by pride and jealousy, initiated a war of enslavement and conquest.  It was the wrong war to fight.  They should have joined Jephthah against Ammon, but missed out for unknown reasons.  Why did Gilead seem like more of a threat to Ephraim than the Ammonites?  And so it is in America today.  Liberals count Bible advocates as a greater threat than Taliban terrorists, and conservatives do nothing to stop the bashing because their eye is upon the waxing and waning of their ever precious stock reports.  Christians are fighting moral corruption but will not be joined by Democrats or Republicans.  Instead, both parties struggle to free themselves of the “fundamentalist” Christians in their ranks like a leper seeks to be free of his spots.  Do we have a principled or historical leg to stand on?  Who are the real keepers of the Constitution?

A Dark Decision

The men of Gilead were forced to fight, and some day so might we.  Let us refrain from foolish bravado or untaunted saber rattling.  However, let us pledge the flag and the republic with truth.  Let us sing about our land bravely.  Quote the Constitution, herald the Declaration.  Repent of wrong.  Commit to right.  Humbly pray and seek God’s face and miraculous reform, but . . .prepare for the dark decision that faces every Bible believer.  What will you do when your child’s education is no longer your choice, or Biblical truth is considered criminal, or faithful churches are litigated against for “treason” when all thy really do is declare the Scriptures, and hold to the founding fathers own sentiments? The fight is being brought to us.  May God help us and the dark decisions we face as he aided Jephthah and the men of Gilead.

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An Interview with Dr. Dreisbach from American University

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An Interview with Dr. Dreisbach from American University


By Jason Georges, Executive Director of The Bible Nation Society

BNS:  What worldview, in your opinion, influenced the thinking of the founding fathers?

I think the first thing to keep in mind is the founding fathers were not a monolithic  group.   They didn’t come out of the same religious tradition, or the same political, or regional backgrounds.  They came from different parts of the country with different interests, different professional backgrounds.  And they were influenced by a variety of worldviews, perspectives, and the like.  Clearly they lived in a Biblically-literate culture.  Christianity was, I would say, probably the most dominant cultural influence.  But they were also being influenced by other ideas, some of which are coming from the other side of the Atlantic.  Some of them, a small number of them, were being influenced by Enlightenment ideals, or the ideas of classical Republicanism, Whig political tradition.  So, they were influenced by a variety of perspectives.  But I think most of them are going to be viewing these different perspectives largely through a Christian lens.

BNS:  Did our founding fathers reference the Bible from a personal knowledge and interest, or was it a political thing to do at the time?

I think that’s a very good question because it really gets to the heart of what I think is one of the most important questions when talking about the Bible in the American founding, and that is for what purposes did this generation use the Bible?  Now the truth of the matter is they used the Bible for a whole variety of reasons, depending on the context, or the time at which they used the Bible.  There are times they used the Bible for purely literary allusions.  They are trying to pick examples from history, from literature, that their audience will know and understand.  And the Bible would have been one of the major sources for that kind of literary allusion.  Sometimes they would have used the Bible for rhetorical effect.  The language of the Bible, especially the King James Bible, carries with it a certain authority, a certain seriousness.  And so, occasionally you’d find this generation using the Bible, or Bible-like language, to convey that kind of authority or seriousness, or to bring solemnity to a particular discourse.  There are other times when you’re going to find them using the Bible to paint a parallel between their own experience and perhaps the experience of the children of Israel as described in the Old Testament.  Other times they use the Bible to make theological points about who is God, the nature of God, and most especially from their perspective how God deals with human beings in the here and now.  So, you find this generation using the Bible for a lot of different reasons, a lot of different purposes.  You have to read this literature in its context.  I don’t think we can make a generalized statement about why they used the Bible, but understand they used the Bible for a variety of reasons and we have to read each example in its context to understand and appreciate why they’re using the Bible.

BNS:  Does one historical figure come to mind where you would say he had an adamant Biblical worldview, even almost ignoring any other influence?

There were certainly founding fathers who are very devout and pious Christians, who want to reflect that piety in all their actions including their involvement in politics.  I would identify people like John Jay, first chief justice of the United States and one of the co-authors of the Federalist Papers.  I would also include Samuel Adams, Elias Boudinot president of the Continental Congress, Oliver Ellsworth, Roger Sherman two men that came out of the state of Connecticut.  Roger Sherman is very much involved in the founding of the American republic.  He was one of only two men to sign three organic expressions of American law:  the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the United States Constitution.  Sherman was a member of the first congress involved in framing the first amendment.  Someone else that I would include is someone like John Witherspoon, leader of the Presbyterian community in the United States, also very involved in politics.  He sat on over one hundred communities in the continental congress, president of what was then called the College of New Jersey, today known as Princeton.  A very devout man who brought his faith with him into the public realm.

BNS:  Did Thomas Jefferson intend for any reference to religion to be excluded from all public discourse when he used the metaphor ‘wall of separation’?

Well, I think the wall of separation metaphor is used today in ways that Jefferson probably would not recognize and might even repudiate.  Looking at his record as a public official I think we would have to conclude that Jefferson did not mean and did not intend to exclude all references to religion and even references to God from public life.  Jefferson himself in numerous public statements made references to God.  You might want to look at what today we call the state of the union address, in his annual messages to Congress he would frequently make references to God and our need to be thankful to God.  Now I wouldn’t suggest that Jefferson was an Orthodox Christian necessarily, but I don’t think he intended to exclude religion and religious expressions from all aspects of public life.

BNS:  In your opinion, what are the dangers of a Bible-illiterate society?

I think that to the extent that many of our expressions, many of our idioms, our manners of communicating with each other are based on ideas, concepts, and allusions to the Bible.  I think it hinders our ability to communicate to each other.  If you take a common expression like, ‘lion’s den’, or ‘Damascus road experience’, or ‘handwriting on the wall’, or ‘forbidden fruit’, the kinds of expression that work their way into popular discourse, if you lack or lose knowledge where these phrases come from it really hinders our ability to communicate to each other.  So, to that extent I think it’s useful, valuable, to be literate in the Bible and how the Bible has informed our culture and in our manner of expression and speaking to one another.

BNS:  What, if any, major events in history participated in the decline of Bible literacy? 

I think there have been certain forces of modernity, perhaps, in the last several hundred years that have emphasized the rational over the transcendent, that have wanted to marginalize matters of faith, to privatize matters of faith.  We see this not only in political ideas but we see it in decisions of our courts, limiting the expression of our religiosity in the public square, those kinds of things.  I think to some extent that has had an impact on the ability of traditional Christianity and Biblical faith in particular to influence the broader culture.

Professor Dreisbach’s principal research interests include American constitutional law and history, First Amendment law, church-state relations, and criminal procedure. He has written extensively on these topics. He has authored or edited five books and numerous articles in scholarly journals. Among the courses that Professor Dreisbach teaches are American Legal Culture, Issues in Civil Justice, Civil Justice Systems and the Constitution, and The Constitution and Criminal Procedure. 

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The Character of a Nation

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The Character of a Nation


By Dr. Douglas F. Levesque, Founder of The Levesque Institute 

The Biblical world view naturally held by America’s founders, and so successfully ingrained in the national psyche in succeeding generations, is a national phenomenon unparalleled in history.  Such a pervasive viewpoint fueled America’s decision making and action taking for centuries.  It is the not-so-secret reason behind the United States meteoric  rise to superpower status, economically and militarily.  It is also the rationale that put the U.S. in support of Israel’s right to exist as an independent nation state.  Does not the Scripture endorse Israel as a nation, and one beloved of God at that?  Do we not see ourselves the same way?  Surely we are akin to such an idea of ordained nationhood?  For sixty years America has backed this point of view with diplomacy, foreign aid, military alliance, and sometimes . . . a blind eye.  The relationship between the two nations has been give and take, but also one of frustration and disappointment.  With both nations preparing to be led by new and differing governments, with manifold forces intent on severing the bond at any cost, with a nuclear Iran on the immediate horizon, how are we to behave now toward our tempermental ally?  The character of Israel and America is being put to the test.  An understanding of one another is vital now more than ever.

Israel Wrestles With God

The Biblical promises made to Abraham, and renewed through Isaac, began to materialize through the patriarch Jacob.  In fact, it was he who was called “Israel” by the Almighty.  His unique personality and situation are a key to understanding the nation and mindset of Israel today.  With a name meaning ‘supplanter’ or ‘trickster’,  Jacob has set the pace for what others think of him.  He tricked his father, ‘stole’ his brother’s birthright, exploited his position and contract with his father in law, then encountered some of the same traits among his twelve sons.  It is this same “Israel”  who, when encountering the Angel of the LORD, wrestled with him, and would not let him go.  Perhaps Jacob’s sense of promise, passed on no doubt from grandfather and father, made him justify what we deem a flaw in his character.  Who was he to be so familiar with God?  What made him think that he should win at any price? Why was he compelled to succeed at his own friends and families expense?  The same questions that perplexed Jacob about his own identity,  perplex the modern day Israel still.  And yet, they wrestle with God.  They continually fall short of yielding to the will of God, but then again, so does the United States.  Can we accept that?  Do we understand that?  Can America be faithful in a high stakes marriage with Israel that is like a partnership between the Kings daughter and the Kings friend?  Both have much to gain and much to lose.  Both have a character they believe to be chosen, destined, and promised, yet are intertwined with God in a wrestling match that they cannot win, but dare not give up on.

Israel Wants Divine Blessing

Everyone wants to have a sense of spiritual or universal mandate.  Even imperialists and secularists talk of higher consciousness.  The Muslim Mullahs feel compelled to conquest, and the Catholic Cardinals claim a destiny to rule.  Israel, like Jacob, wants desperately to get “its’” blessing from God.  After all, they are children of promise.  The Biblical framework has Jacob (“Israel”) preparing to meet Esau, whom he had previously defrauded, and from whom he now fears annihilation.  While prayerfully waiting for this meeting, the LORD shows up and engages Jacob in hand to hand combat.  Of course, such a meeting is always a one sided affair unless God’s intention is not to destroy, but to direct.  When Jacob realizes who he is face to face with, his defensive posture turns into an all out press to grab hold of God and not let Him go.  The LORD finally ends the confrontation with Jacob getting an answer to his prayer, although not in words, but in a real sense of assurance, and a successful meeting with Esau.  Today, Israel is in real and surreal ways, reaching for Divine fulfillment of it’s national potential.  Can anyone blame them?  America has a similar sense of needing God’s hand.  In fact, the very reason Americans support Israel is to capture God’s favor and blessing for doing so.  Israel sometimes takes advantage of this reality.  Let us hope there is a reciprocal understanding of each others motives and intentions.  Jacob’s character was enhanced by striving after Divine blessing.

Israel Walks with a Limp

As a permanent reminder of the special meeting with God, Jacob was “touched” in his thigh and so walked with a limp throughout his days.  Israel continues to be hobbled by their special relationship to God, and their place of favour in the Bible.  It is meant to direct them and keep them reliant upon the Almighty as opposed to political allies, military prowess or Mossad intrigue.  At times, the limp seems to make them an easy target, or a weak competitor, but make no mistake, that same limp is a mark of survival from a meaningful scuffle with the LORD himself.  If Israel walks different from us it is because it has to walk at it’s own pace, and often by itself.  A golden ally will be cognizant of these integral character traits, and strive to be a friend at all times.  Israel, likewise, should be patient, explanatory, and appreciative of The United States role and desire to be a partner in equitable national efforts to please the LORD.

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Surviving Babylon

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Surviving Babylon


By Dr. Douglas F. Levesque, Founder of The Levesque Institute

The Bible is filled with historical accounts of ‘evil empires’ and their ‘despot rulers’.  The reality of such difficult circumstances for Bible adherents is something we often look back on and thank God we do not have to endure.  However, in recent years, even the United States has become more and more ‘Babylonian’.  Today, the Bible is being relegated to a myth or just a book among books.  Bible believers are increasingly being hushed in the public arena.  Bible speak is hardly being tolerated even in church services.  Bible literacy is at alarmingly low levels.  Could it be possible for ‘evil empires’ and ‘despot rulers’ to once again claim a place of power and influence?  How will this effect Bible believers?  Is there a way to survive such Babylonian circumstances?  Can one be an adamant Bible advocate and still thrive?  We can find the answers to these questions in the Bible itself, and we can take heart at the hope that is offered.

Many are intimidated and afraid of what may be happening to their freedoms in America today.  Conspiracy theories, and even paranoia abound, but the reactions to these mindsets – apathy, malaise and surrender, are even worse.  A Biblical response is in order.  That response is to stand with an adamant purpose to survive and thrive in modern “Babylonian” societies.  Consider the following Bible vignettes:

Joseph in Egypt        

“And Pharoah said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt.” -Genesis 41:41

The Pharoahs were not known for their kindness, especially to the Hebrews, but in the midst of his life gone mad, Joseph not only survived, but thrived.  Joseph continued to walk with and trust Almighty God.  This made him a humble and able servant.  God touched all that Joseph did, making Joseph appear to have the Midas touch.  Everyone wanted a bit of Joseph’s “magic”.  Joseph took none of the glory for himself, and eventually he became a savior of his family and of much of the ancient world.

Daniel in Babylon     

“Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.” -Daniel 6:3

Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Darius, Cyrus.  These are just some of the pagan rulers Daniel had to deal with.  His oppressors were ruthless in their conquest.  Daniel held to the Bible and its truths time and again.  He was hated, plotted against, and betrayed, but he maintained an excellent spirit throughout every ordeal.  Somehow, he always stayed close to the seat of power and influenced it over and over  for the preservation of his people.  Perhaps he read the Proverb, ‘He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit.” -17:27

Mordecai in Persia 

“For Mordecai was great in the king’s house, and his fame went out throughout all the provinces:  for this man Mordecai waxed greater and greater.”  -Esther 9:4

No person can deny that Persian culture was opposed to Biblical influences.  The king Ahasuerus reigned from India to Ethiopia with an iron hand.  His lieutenant Haman was very averse to the Biblical culture of the Jews.  He schemed for their destruction.  The king was an immoral man with poor judgement, but could not deny the loyal service and skillful diplomacy of Mordecai – or the beauty of Esther.  Of course, Mordecai was Esther’s chief influence, and he raised her in the way of the Word.  When it came time for her to fulfill her destiny, she did not blink. 

Paul in Rome

“All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar’s household.”  -Philippians 4:22

While Nero remains one of the most infamously murderous Caesars to this day, Paul actually used his Roman citizenship for an advantage in the work of the Gospel ministry.  His appeal to Caesar not only spared his life for years to come, but got him free passage to Rome at Rome’s expense.  Along the way he won his shipmates, housemates and even his guards.  He preached to kings and governors.  Ultimately he was able to preach the Gospel to Nero himself on at least two occasions.  He was successful in converting some of Caesar’s own house.  Today Paul’s letter to the Romans is printed and shared in most of the languages of the world.

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Good Kings Bad Kings

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Good Kings Bad Kings


By James Demis C.P.A.,  Bible Nation Society Board Member

The book of II Chronicles, among other things, relates the actions of various kings of Israel and Judah.  The following is a list of kings. Just like any list of leadership in nations, there were good, bad and mixed leaders. In the secular worlds, good leaders are primarily known as leaders that got their nations through tough times, both economically and militarily. They may also have pursued agenda’s of grandeur or destruction.

Chronicles shows clearly that the nature of the leader’s walk with God, affects the people of the nation. Other books of the bible do this also, from Moses and the Jewish people in Genesis to the Anti-Christ and his followers in Revelation. But no one book describes this relationship more clearly than II Chronicles.

Chronicles often uses phrases, such as “…did that which was right…”, and “…did that which was evil in sight of the Lord.” to describe these men.  Often the King did what was right by changing something that displeased God, or vise versa. But you will note, that the people of the nation under the king were blessed by God or suffered, paralleling the leader’s relationship with God.

 Chronicles, however, doesn’t use the King’s relationship with the people as the yardstick for good. The yardstick was the King’s relationship to God. In modern times, Israel is probably the best example of how God can bless an entire nation. The Abrahamic covenant, of course, is part of this protection, but good leadership is also a part of this protection.  Their leaders not only have a higher moral value system than their neighbors, their neighbors, but prayer is a continual part of their deliberations. Israel’s existence, against all odds, is a testimony of Godly leadership.

We have many critical elections in our future.   This article is not to tell you how to vote. However, there are two essential elements to your vote, one is voting for those that do not merely espouse Christian beliefs, but advocate laws and policies beliefs, but advocate laws and policies consistent with biblical principles. The only way for voters to know biblical principles is through Bible reading and meditation.

The other is through prayer. II Chronicles details how through asking God his will, our leaders can bestow God’s blessing on our nation. We need to collectively pray for such a leader.

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America Getting Back to Normal

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America Getting Back to Normal


By Dr. Rick Flanders

A great man once said that most Christians are so subnormal that when some rise to the normal, they are considered supernormal!  Here is the problem we face.  Worldliness, carnality, and indifference have become so much the usual condition of Christians that passion, power, and purity seem extraordinary!  Let us recognize that Bible Christianity is a very powerful thing whenever and wherever it is lived out.  Sadly, we have so seldomly seen it that men are persuaded that it is beyond the normal.  Yet effective evangelism, abiding peace, Spirit enablement, as well as severe persecution are the norm for the Christian life.  Our unbiblical conception of revival points to our great need for it!

 A third strange and incorrect idea that we often hear is that revival must meet certain historical criteria to be correctly called “revival.”  It is amazing how unscriptural are the requirements some believers set for revival! 

The number of conversions, the endurance of the converts, the effects on society, and unusual phenomena are all considered when critics decide whether or not a religious occurrence is a “revival.”  But a revival is not in closed taverns, reduced crime, strange experiences, massive numbers, or church harmony.  It is in believers turning back to a life surrendered to God!  When God revives His people, their witness for Christ has new power, but the specific effects of that power may not match exactly the effects of other revivals in the past.

The second chapter of Acts says that Peter and the congregation at Jerusalem were “filled with the Holy Ghost” (v. 4) and spoke the Word of God in His power.  They were in a state of revival.  As a result, those who heard their witness to the resurrection of Christ “were pricked in their heart” (v. 37) and repented.  Some three thousand were saved and baptized as a result of the revival on that Day of Pentecost (v. 41).

The seventh chapter of Acts tells about the deacon, Stephen, who was “full of the Holy Ghost” (v. 55).  He was in a state of revival, and as he witnessed for Christ before the council of men that had arranged for the Lord’s crucifixion, the power of God brought conviction.  “They were cut to the heart,” the Bible says (v. 54), but the result was rage, not conversion.  These sinful men “ran upon him [Stephen] . . . and cast him out of the city” (vv. 57-58).  There they stoned the deacon to death.  But let us note that there was a state of revival in the Christian of Acts 7 just as surely as there was such a state among the Christians in Acts 2!  The revival was in the hearts of the believers, and the expected blessing of convicting power did come in both cases.  Yet in one situation, a multitude was immediately converted, and in the other, the believer was murdered (although fruit was indeed produced through the eventual conversion of Saul-Acts 7:58 and 9:3-6).  The particulars were different because they were incidentals, not essentials.  Essentially, revival was the same in Acts 2 and 7.  In the Bible we are instructed accurately about revival, but that is not always so in history books!

Revival is God’s bringing us back to normal!  Mr. Finney said, “[A revival] is the renewal of the first love of Christians, resulting in the awakening and conversion of sinners to God.”1  Bill Rice III says that revival is a return to Bible principle.  Vance Havner defined revival as Christians returning to normal.

Revival is also predictable.  It can be expected when it is sought on the basis of God’s Word.  Judges 10 shows us that we can expect revival in response to our repentance because of the very nature of the heart of God!  “His soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.”  Something in God moves when men move toward Him.

The aspect of God’s nature that responds to man’s repentance is His mercy.  The great revival Psalm, number 85, says in verse 7, “Show us thy mercy, O LORD, and grant us thy salvation.”

Psalm 89 says in verse 1, “I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever.”

In Psalms 106, 107, 118, and twenty-six times in Psalm 136, we read that “his mercy endureth for ever.”  The reason God’s mercy endures forever is that the eternal God is essentially merciful. 

The prophet Habakkuk prayed for revival, and in his prayer he said, “In wrath remember mercy” (Habakkuk 3:2).  God always remembers mercy in times of His wrath.  Think of the covering coats He provided for Adam’s nakedness on the day of his fall and God’s curse.  Think of Noah’s ark at the time of God’s terrible judgement in the Flood.  God is always merciful, even when He is angry, and that is because He is unalterably merciful.

Have you noticed what God did when weak and wicked King Ahab repented?

 ”And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days:  but in his son’s days will I bring the evil upon his house.” (I Kings 21:28-29)

 Even Ahab found God merciful, and he was the worst of the kings of Israel!  Can you remember who was the most wicked ruler of the southern kingdom of Judah?  It was Manasseh.  Have you heard that Manasseh found God’s mercy, too?

 ”And when he was in affliction, he besought the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, And prayed unto him: and he was entreated of him and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom.  Then Manasseh knew that the LORD he was God.” (II Chronicles 33:12-13)

The verses that followed these remarkable two tell us that the king experienced a full-scale revival in his own life and spent the rest of his days working to undo the harm he had done by his sins!  How could such a man have a revival?  The answer is in the fact that God is and will always be merciful and that His reviving work can be expected in response to our repentance.  Hear what God’s messengers have told us!

 “In the time of their trouble, when they cried unto thee thou heardest them from heaven; and according to thy manifold mercies thou gavest them Saviors.” (Nehemiah 9:27)

 “Thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” (Isaiah 57:15).  “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”    (James 4:10).

Yes, we can have forgiveness, help, and blessing from God in response to humble submission, steadfast faith, sincere repentance, and solemn commitment.  God is, and has always been, the Great Reviver of His people!

Certainly in our day we ought to seek personal, corporate, and general revival in the way the Israelites did in Jephthah’s time.  Pay attention to what characterized their quest for revival.

There Was Confession!

“And the children of Israel said unto the LORD, We have sinned:” (Judges 10:15a)

They harbored little hope for a response, but they nevertheless confessed their sins to God.  Can we expect a particular reaction from God when we sincerely confess our sins?

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, And to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9)

God is “faithful” to forgive when we confess.  Forgiveness is not a sovereign act unrelated to our attitude, but the promised response to our confession, rooted in divine mercy.  These days, Christians who have lived their lives in love with the world and in neglect of their Father’s commands ought to make serious business of confessing their sins.  Godly men and women of the past have sought revival by writing out their sins and spending time confessing them.  Thoughtful reflection on our sins of omission as well as our habitual sins of commission will reveal clearly why we see so little of God’s blessing in our lives.  However, earnest confession of all these sins will certainly secure our God’s forgiveness.  And the God of Israel will revive us again!

There Was Submission!

“do thou unto us whatsoever seemeth good unto thee;” (Judges 10:15b)

The children of Israel were resigned to accept God’s will for them, no matter what it was.  Can we expect the Lord to do anything in particular when we yield to Him in this way? 

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world:  but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:1-2)

The admonition to surrender is attached to the promise that those who surrender all will “prove” the perfect will of God in their lives.  The Lord will set our steps on the right path when we submit our lives unconditionally to Him!  He wants us to fulfill His will, and He will see that we do when we become willing.  His mercy guarantees it.

There Was Prayer!

“Deliver us only, we pray thee, this day.” (Judges 10:15c)

When we ask “any thing according to his will,” the Apostle John told us “he heareth us” and “we have the petitions that we desired of him” (I John 5:14-15).  Men who pray for things that God says He wants for them can expect to receive the blessings they seek. 

“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6). 

Do we want revival blessings?  Then we should ask for them.  Do we desire holiness?  Let us ask for it.  Do we hope to win others to Christ?  Let us pray that the Lord will grant these things.  It is in His nature to respond to such prayers.

There was Repentance!

“And they put away the strange gods from among them, and served the LORD,”  (Judges 10:16a)

God did not tell His people that if they got rid of their idols He would deliver them from the Ammonites.  He did not lead them to believe that if they served Him again, He would come to their aid.  They just did it anyway.  They repented of their sins, repaired their ways, and returned to the service of the true God because it was right to do so!

“and his soul was grieved…”

Their repentance brought his mercy, a response we should expect.

In his journal, Benjamin Franklin described what was happening in Philadelphia as a result of George Whitfield’s revival preaching.  “From being thoughtless or indifferent about religion it seem’d as if all the world were growing religious, so that one could not walk thro’ the town in an evening without hearing psalms sung in different families of every street.”2 

A general revival was prevailing in the city, and it was seen and heard in the changed lives of sinner and saint alike. Sometimes I think that if Christians began to act as if a general revival had come perhaps the Lord would send one!  Perhaps we should just change our ways and see what happens!  We could  gather our families nightly to sing the praises of the Lord.  We could  start praying as if we believed that God would revive us again.  We could give up the things in our lives that generate or fan the love of the world.  We could begin witnessing for Christ boldly and habitually.  We could have meetings to seek revival as in time of old.  Repentance turns the heart of God.  Certainly we ought to repent!  We can have the revival we need, as individual Christians, as servants of the Lord, and as congregations of believers.  God is the Great Reviver of His people and can be expected to respond to our repentance and prayer.  He is ever merciful and will hear our cry!

Dr. Rick Flanders, a pastor for 36 years, is now in a full time itinerant preaching ministry and the author of Back to Normal: Understanding Revival.  He is an expert on the history of religion and religious revivals in America and speaks optimistically about the possibility of a new revival era in the future.  For more information or to order materials contact via email at drrickflanders@gmail.com or sales@evangelpublishing.com

 

Notes

1 Charles G. Finney, Lectures on Revivals of Religion (New York:  Fleming H. Revell Company, 1868), p. 14
2 Benjamin Franklin, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (New York:  Washington Square Press, 1955), pp. 128-29

Dr. Flander’s book can be purchased at Amazon.

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Step Parenting: How to Enjoy a No Win Situation

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Step Parenting: How to Enjoy a No Win Situation


parenting1By Dr. Douglas F. Levesque, Founder of The Levesque Institute

Americans would have a hard time saluting the communist Chinese flag. Some Americans might be challenged to recognize it in a line up. One thing for sure, is that very few, if any, of us could yield allegiance to it. The same sentiments are beating in the heart of step children everywhere. “How can I pay allegiance to someone I did not choose and do not want,” is a struggling thought for step children. It is no wonder most step parents describe their task as a no win situation. That description may well be true but there are a few secrets that can help even the most discouraged step parent enjoy their challenge.

Adulthood Usually Clears the Focus on our Childhood

A thirty year old man married with children begins to see with alarming clarity why his parents did things the way they did. Often times he forgives what he perceived as an offensive policy and sometimes even adopts those same parental decisions himself. As impossible as parenting situations can be, step parenting situations can eclipse them in size and scope. Truly a step mom may have to say words or make decisions that a biological mother may never face. Step dads can seem like twice the monster that a biological father may seem to be, simply for taking the same actions. However, time has a way of changing the dull lenses of childhood, allowing the bitter or defiant step child to begin to appreciate the step parent. The Apostle Paul put it this way, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” (I Cor. 13:11). There is hope, Step mom. You will be appreciated someday. And Step dad, they will not hate you forever. Do right by your step children. Enjoy the fact that their kids will call you grandma and grandpa someday!

Commitment and Action are More Rewarding then Sentiment

Those step kids have an inner fight about whether or not to like you, Step dad. Your simple sentiment is not enough, Step mom. Do not be upset because they call you ‘Bill’ instead of ‘Dad’. Remember you are not their biological father, and their young heart usually has room for only one such loyalty. Remember Paul in that famous love chapter in the Bible, I Corinthians 13:1, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become [as] sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.” Your love is not biological, but instead must be a commitment to right actions. Even if those actions are not always popular. You are not in competition with the biological parent but you may end up being a winner in that child’s life by exuding a substantive love.

Balance between Your Biological Children and Stepchildren is Possible

Again the bible says God gave his only son in order that we might be ‘adopted’ children.

“Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,” (Eph. 1:5). Sharing that natural bond with step kids is not natural, but can be purposed and achieved. Talk to both sets of kids about what the desired goal is… a happy family, and set out to be just that. Spend individual time with each child and follow it up with a corporate whole family experience. Finally, charity, “believeth all things,” (I Cor. 13:7), so never show a wavering that you doubt the necessary balance possible. Those step kids might feel fear and attack! If nothing else your spouse will appreciate your efforts, and become a believer in your designed goals for a unified family.

Divorce is a personal, family and national tragedy, and nobody that has suffered and endured it will say, “Oh, it was great! You should get one!” That is especially true were kids fall into the horrible category of step kid. Second marriages have lower success rates than first marriages precisely because of the seemingly impossible mission of step parenting. But for those who find themselves in that awkward situation, a purposed drive to enjoy the kids and strive for the rewards of grand parenting is the key ingredients to a satisfying experience.

Posted in Morality & EthicsComments (5)