CHARACTER QUALITIES CHRISTIANS SHOULD LOOK FOR WHEN CHOOSING A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE


As Super Tuesday rolls around…What Character Qualities should Christians be looking for in the Presidential Candidates?

 

When Moses was appointing leaders to officiate over the Israelites, his father told him to “look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe” (Exodus 18:21, ESV)*

Jesus tells us that a good way of knowing if a leader is trustworthy is a fruit test. “By their fruit you will recognize them…every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.” (Matthew 7:16-17)

*- All scripture is in the New International Version unless otherwise specified.

 

LOOK OUT FOR BAD FRUIT

Jesus warns his disciples of leaders who look good on the outside, but on the “inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.” (Matthew 23:25)

Greed

A greedy person will say to himself “I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones” (Luke 12:18) rather than giving to the poor or to God.

Jesus tells us that “a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (Luke 12:15)

Self-Indulgence

Bad leaders will enjoy being rich and popular: “walk around in flowing robes”. (Mark 12:38)

They enjoy and indulge when they “have the most important seats” and the “places of honor at banquets”. (Mark 12:39

“They devour widow’s houses”. (Mark 12:40)

And their talk and “prayers” are for “a show”. (Mark 12:40)

 

A GOOD LEADER WILL DISPLAY GOOD FRUIT

  • Hate pride and arrogance” (Proverbs 8:13)
    • “A wicked man puts up a bold front, but an upright man gives thought to his ways. (Proverbs 21:29)
  • Hate “evil behavior” (Proverbs 8:13)
    • “A man who commits adultery lacks judgment” (Proverbs 6:32)
    • “He who sleeps with another man’s wife” will not “go unpunished” (Proverbs 6:29)
  • Hate “perverse speech” (Proverbs 8:13)
    • None of their words are “crooked or perverse.” (Proverbs 8:8)
    • “he who holds his tongue is wise” (Proverbs 10:19)
    • “A man who lacks judgment derides his neighbor, but a man of understanding holds his tongue.” (Proverbs 11:12)
    • “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.” (James 1:25)
  • Integrity “guides them” (Proverbs 11:3)
    • Unfaithful followers walk in the ways of “duplicity” (Proverbs 11:3)
    • Speaks truth and does not lie (Proverbs 12:19)
    • “A man of knowledge uses words with restraint
  • Has a “wife of noble character” (Proverbs 12:4).
  • Has patience and “great understanding(Proverbs 14:29)
    • A quick tempered man displays folly” (Proverbs 14:29)
    • “A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension” (Proverbs 15:18)
    • “A patient man calms a quarrel.” (Proverbs 15:18)
  • Honor the Lord with your wealth” (Proverbs 3:9)
  • Does not acquit the guilty
    • “Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent – the Lord detests them both.” (Proverbs 17:15)
  • Acknowledges God in everything
    • “in all your ways acknowledge him” (Proverbs 3:6)

 

LITMUS TEST

Jesus warns that false leaders “do not practice what they preach.” (Matthew 23:3)

As you decide to vote for a candidate:

PRAY THAT GOD WILL OPEN YOUR EYES TO TRUTH AND THAT YOU WILL NOT FALL FOR DECEIT

“Save me, O LORD, from lying lips and from deceitful tongues.” (Psalms 120:2)

 

Two Artists, The Renaissance, and God


During the Renaissance, man saw everything in relation to himself.  Man conquered all. Man measured all. Man made his own worldview.  Why should they not be able to ?  God became irrelevant because of this pride.  Predictably, this quickly caused humanism.  Every man was affected by this mind set, which spread like a disease .  Two contemporaries, Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, show this mindset well.  Although they possessed distinctly different views about man, they had the same basic assumptions.

Michelangelo, like most other men of the time, believed the self to be the most important thing.  Clearly, this is evident in many of his greatest works.  His statues of men tearing themselves out of rock depicts this idea well.  Working on his own, man could liberate himself from the bonds of the world.  Because of this, man will always be victorious.  If man could fully tear himself out of solid rock, how could he ever fail at anything? However, Michelangelo’s most excellent example of humanism is found in his greatest work of art.  David was the humanistic ideal.  This man, who was perfect, was the man of tomorrow.  When looking at this statue, one would have confidence in what man could do because of his greatness.  However, in Michelangelo’s later works, human pride seems lessened, even to the extent of putting his own face on the man holding the dead Jesus.  Despite this, it can be concluded that he once thought that man was everything like every other man of the day.

Leonardo da Vinci, however, foresaw the problem of man, but failed to do anything about it.  By only looking at particulars, man would never decipher any meaning or absolutes.  Man was like a machine.  Seeing this, Leonardo tried to paint absolutes, which was what man could not figure out.  However, Leonardo still tried to find them in himself and what he observed.  Because of this, he failed in his attempts.  How could he think that he could find the answer to a problem without addressing it in himself?  Leonardo correctly assessed the problem of man, but ultimately failed to change it in himself because of his personal pride.

During this period of the Renaissance, man was everything.  Although Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci lived during the same time, their responses to this were very different as revealed by their art.  Michelangelo embraced human pride at the beginning of his life, but his later works revealed that he thought less of humanism toward the end of his life.  Leonardo da Vinci, however took an distinctly different approach.  Starting with the belief that humanistic particulars would go nowhere, he attempted to find absolutes like Plato of old.  Unfortunately, he tried to find these within himself, which resulted in failure.  Both men tried and failed to make a coherent man-centered view.  What was the reason for their failure? The Bible clearly explains that it was so because the only way to find meaning in life is through God.  Clearly, human pride has no room in God’s word.

A Lesson From Merry and Pippin


With the decline of our once great nation, one often wonders, “What can one individual do? What can I do to make a difference? One vote won’t really do much, why do it at all?” When the Founding Fathers created this nation they understood our sinful nature and puts checks in the government to stop its tendency to abuse power. This was done by placing the political power in the hands of citizens who were themselves trained by Christian churches with biblical morality. However this task often seems overwhelming and impossible. What can one person do to make a difference among millions?

“J.R.R. Tolkien provides an answer. In a scene from The Two Towers, Pippin and Merry entreat the peace-loving Ents (ancient trees that walk and talk) to join the battle against the forces of the evil Sauron [and Saruman]. When the trees refuse, Pippin tries to solace Merry by saying, “Maybe Treebeard is right. We don’t belong here, Merry. This is too big for us. What can we do in the end? We’ve got the Shire. Maybe we should go home.” Merry replies with desperation in his voice, “The fires of Isengard will spread, and the woods of Tribru and Buckland will burn. And all that was once great and good in this world will be gone.”” (Understanding The Times, David Noebel, 480.)

Merry sure understood correctly. If we don’t act while we still have the political freedom to (freedom of speech) then some day a power-play of political correctness will eliminate our freedoms and enslave us. All that was once good of Western civilization will be eaten up by the fires of Humanism. We can’t let our assumptions that our country has already “gone too far” dictate our freedoms left. We cannot get swallowed up in the flood of millions. We need to fight for every inch left of free soil in this land!

The Christian Worldview


The Christian Worldview

A Summary by Hudson Farrell

7/19/13

 

Class Instructor: Hobert Farrell

Based on the Book: Understanding the Times ©2006 by David A. Nobel

Christian ideas rest on these points: the evidence that Jesus Christ existed as a human being, the historical proof that he was killed, the actuality of his resurrection, and the fact that by doing so he provided the way for individuals to be forgiven of their sins and reconciled to God. Christian’s believe these points to be true; this belief implies many assumptions which compromise the basic foundation of the Christian faith. These assumptions are not based on wishful speculation, they are not blind faith; they are based on a great deal of evidence. Through the course of this paper I will outline basic key assumptions and evidences by briefly looking at ten different (but related) categories: theology, philosophy, ethics, biology, psychology, sociology, law, politics, economics, and history. The ideas and beliefs one creates, consciously or unconsciously, about these ten categories form the basis of his/her way of “looking at life” (worldview). Therefore, by looking at these ten topics from the Christian perspective, we will gain a glimpse of the Christian worldview.

Christian theology rests on two foundations: special (the Bible) and general (the created universe) revelation. These foundations determine how a Christian views God and life. Christians believe in theism (the conviction that God exists), which causes them to view existence as ultimately meaningful. The Christian is not only concerned with the existence of God, but also with the relationship that exists between God and people. Christians believe that the Bible is God’s Word and that it is the basis for understanding all of reality. We believe that God manifests himself and his relationship to us through his Word. This special revelation is considered superior to the general revelation displayed in the physical universe because it specifically describes our relationship to God. General revelation, however, is considered important as well because it is believed to be proof of God’s existence (if one finds a watch in a dessert, concluding that a chance sandstorm gave it order is foolish). These two foundations shape the way Christians view God. Consequently, our view of God forms the basis for the rest of our worldview (as does anybody’s view of God).

Philosophy is the study of wisdom and knowledge.  Because Christians believe that God is the source of all knowledge, their study of knowledge starts with him and then, consequently, with special revelation which in turn is based on history, the law of evidence and the science of archaeology. Christians believe faith and rational thought are not devoid of each other, but rather are concisely intertwined.  We believe that we can understand much about creation and the Creator because he has made us with the capacity to understand him and his intelligent order. We view our minds as separate entities from the physical brain. Therefore, our minds are proof for the existence of the supernatural.

The origin of life continues to be one of the most questioned and debated issues in this era. Most Christians consider the creation of the world to have happened as described in the Genesis account. Adam is seen as an important historical figure. We believe Adam was created perfect but then fell into moral indifference by his own choice and that every human inherits this moral dilemma at birth. We believe that science and the Bible are not in conflict over the originations of the universe, but rather that they support one another. Proof in science for the validity of the Creation account include: the intricate design found in all living organisms, the complexity of DNA, and the fact that there are fossil gaps in the evolutionary tree. Christians view the universe like a piece of art: it suggests an artist.

Christians hold a different view on sociology and psychology than other competing worldviews because Christians put emphasis both on the individual’s worth and on society’s worth as a whole. The Christian believes that in order to understand society, one must understand the individual first because individuals are responsible for the evils in society. To understand the individual one must understand that humans have a natural tendency to revolt against God and His laws. This evil in human beings is what causes the evils seen in societies (and, the only way to rid individuals of this evil is to point them to Christ). However, Christians believe that the individual is valuable in God’s eyes and is capable of contributing to society. We believe society should have three institutions to “govern” itself: family, state, church and a prerequisite – labor. Each of these institutions has place in society, however, if they aren’t kept in proper balance, society as a whole will crumble.

Because individuals have such a large impact on society, the ethical code and morals which govern the individual should be of top concern to the Christian. Christians believe that every human has a common moral heritage engrained into their mind and that God also revealed the ethical code to us in the form of his word: the Bible. We believe that the ethical code is unchanging and not relative; when we follow the code we please God. Laws that politicians make are based on their own ethical codes. They determine what is just by what they believe is right and wrong. Christians believe that God is the world’s lawgiver and judge and that he provides his own character as an absolute basis for law making. Not only did God give us a sense of what is right and wrong, he also provided the Bible to show us what is moral and lawful. As Christians, we believe that the Bible should be the stem from which the laws of government blossom.

Human government is instituted by God to protect our unalienable rights, which are found in the Bible, from our own selfish tendencies, and those of others. As humans, we have unalienable rights only because we are made in God’s image, and those rights are based on his unchanging character. We Christians see justice as the principle reason for the state’s existence. Our evil inclinations toward moral indifference must be kept in check by laws and a government capable of enforcing such laws; and we are to obey, respect, and participate in the government in order to serve God according to his will. However, if a system of government is unjust, and remains so, we may be required to engage in civil disobedience in order to remain obedient to God. Obedience to God is primary in the life of a Christian.

Christians differ over the subject of which economic system is more in line with biblical teaching; but one thing we agree on is that no system run by people is perfect. Socialism and Capitalism have clashed during the past century and Christians have aligned themselves onto both sides. However, the Bible makes itself clear that humans have the right to own property when it states “Thou shalt not steal”. This implies that the owner already possessed property. The Bible also makes it clear that those who work are rewarded and those who are lazy remain poor. God makes it clear in the Old and New Testament that fairness does not consist of showing special favor to the rich or to the poor (Lev. 19:15; 2Thes 3:10). The biblical view of Free Enterprise does not cause the rich to get richer or the poor to get poorer; rather it encourages the rich to create more wealth, and use it to aid all of society.

Because Jesus Christ is the basis for the Christian worldview, the proof of his existence is key for the Christian faith. The historian Josephus mentions Jesus at least twice in his Antiquities of the Jews. Bruce Metzger writes, “Today no competent scholar denies the historicity of Jesus.” This includes atheistic and secular scholars. Christians believe that Jesus’ death and resurrection were real events. The proof of this claim lies in the accuracy of the New Testament and whether or not it is a reliable and truthful document. Not only does the New Testament remain unchanging across copies a thousand years apart, it also was written by eyewitnesses only a few decades after Christ’s death. The writer of the Gospel of Luke goes out of his way to place major figures of history in the description of Christ’s death and resurrection. This, coupled with five-hundred eyewitnesses who saw Jesus after his death, gives enough proof for the validity and historicity of Jesus’ resurrection. This divine intervention by God implies a purpose in history. As Christians, we believe that the story of humanity is invested with meaning and that history is moving to a specific climax- the Day of Judgment. This is when Christ’s resurrection and triumph over sin will become known to all and Christians will celebrate with him in his victory.

By taking the time to look over each of these ten topics from a Christian’s perspective, we are able to conclude that Christians view life as very meaningful. This meaning provides hope to every individual through the provider of meaning, Jesus Christ. We believe that Christ provides himself as the basis for how each topic should be viewed and applied. Hopefully you have seen that the beliefs Christians hold to are not blind ones, but are based on strong and reasonable sciences. As Christians, it is important for us to be able to know where we stand on each of these ten topics (1Peter 3:15-16), and hopefully this paper provided a basic overview of the beliefs a biblical Christian holds.

The decline of law…Harold J. Berman


Originally the West’s legal system was rooted in “the structural integrity of law, its ongoingness, its religious roots, [and] its transcendent qualities.”1

However, he explains further that these foundational beliefs are disappearing very quickly, and this from “the minds of lawmakers, judges, lawyers, law teachers… [and] from the consciousness of the vast majority of citizens….The law is becoming fragmented, more subjective, geared more to expediency and less to morality, concerned more with immediate consequences and less with consistency or continuity. Thus the historical soil of the Western legal tradition is being washed away in the twentieth century, and the tradition itself is threatened with collapse.”2

1- Harold J. Berman as quoted in David A. Noebel, Understanding the Times, 312

2- Harold J. Berman as quoted in David A. Noebel, Understanding the Times, 312

 

The Renaissance and Enlightenment: Two Periods of Worldviews


The Renaissance and Enlightenment: Two periods of worldviews

Resource:  History Through the Eyes of Faith

By Hudson Farrell on 6/7/13

 

            Every person has a way of viewing the world. Each time period has a group of predominant philosophers. Thus we can conclude that most time periods have a predominant worldview. In this paper I will discuss four topics: God, man, ethics and suffering. Each will be discussed in a way that will attempt to address each issue from the viewpoint of the time period selected. I will discuss the topics from a Renaissance point of view and also from an Enlightenment standpoint. In doing so, I hope to unwrap certain characteristics of the worldview of each time period. God is a good starting point for this paper. Seeing that He is the center of everything (John 1:1-4) I think that by starting with Him we will be able to set a foundation for each worldview, and then the other main topics will flow soundly from it.

During the Renaissance period, roughly the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, God was still predominately perceived to be at the center of life. God would have been seen as fully just and also as fully love, infinite and personal. He would have been seen as mostly mysterious, but also somewhat predictable. In the Renaissance period we begin to see a small spark of humanism. However, this humanism, for the most part, was not “man” centric but on valuing human worth and human knowing in a way that glorified God. Contrary to the popular belief that the Renaissance was a time of rebelling against Christianity, the Renaissance was a time of “rebelling” to do Christianity better. This is shown by the many Christians who sought to reconcile the best of pagan antiquity to the Christian gospel.

The Enlightenment (roughly the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries) “dulled” God down into a predictable entity who could eventually be understood by humans. God created the universe, and placed humans onto planet earth and endowed them with inalienable rights.  Human education was emphasized greatly during the Enlightenment (and to this day). People believed that God created the physical (and maybe spiritual) world with certain laws which humans could discover. The world was seen as mathematically predictable. Presumably humans could then learn all the laws of this world. God also subjected Himself to these laws; therefore humans could predict his ways. What humanism was not in the Renaissance, it became in the Enlightenment. Humanism turned from being primarily religious to being predominantly secular, from God centric to man centered.

The human individual became the central focus of society during the Enlightenment. Much emphasis was placed on the individual and his merits. The more that humans could understand the world and the laws that rule the world, the better human advancement would become. Also, the more people utilized education and knowledge, the more peaceful the world would become. However, we in the modern era see that this isn’t true.

In the Renaissance era, the individual was not placed at the center of society, but rather part of the corporate body of which society was composed. Education and human learning was seen as an opportunity to learn about God’s world and to explore it. Man was not the “measure of all things”; God was.

Since God was seen as the nucleus of life during the Renaissance, He would have been the standard for the ethical code. Many of the humanists of the time would have wanted to “rebel” against, what they considered as, “not so good” ethical codes, and replace them with better standards based on what God’s desires were. The ethics and laws of society would also have been determined by whether or not the code in question was beneficial to protecting society.

During the Enlightenment more emphasis was placed on the individual, and therefore ethics and laws would have been determined more by what was good for an individual rather than for the common good of a group of individuals. Many secular humanists of the time pushed for complete freedom from all tyrannies over the mind and spirit. One tyranny that they could not push out was the tyranny of suffering and hardships.

I don’t think that during the Enlightenment scholars would have had an answer for why there is evil and suffering. It was a time of reason and understanding, and suffering cannot be rationally explained when man is the center of everything. Because when man is the center of all, he sees himself as good; evil cannot come from good. Therefore, man would be living in a world that was defined by perfect laws, and no evil should be present in a perfect world. Yet, there was evil and suffering. I don’t think the Enlightenment scholars had an answer for this difficulty.

Scholars during the Renaissance probably would have been disturbed by evil and suffering, and some probably would have had a similar response to the scholars of the Enlightenment. They probably would have attributed it to the likelihood that the laws of society were not perfect and needed perfecting to eliminate the blemishes. However, I think most would have considered suffering as a part of life. They would have viewed it as a consequence of man’s inherited imperfection. They probably viewed hardships as part of their daily lives.

By discussing important topics such as the places given to God and man, ethics and the cause of evil and suffering, we have been able to explore the worldviews of two important time periods. The Renaissance period was a time when worldviews were based mostly on Biblical values. The Enlightenment however, was a more secular period, but did have many influential Christian leaders. In short, God was the center of everything during the Renaissance and man became the nucleus of all during the Enlightenment. Both time periods have affected the way we shape our worldviews today. It would be useful for each of us to compare the worldviews discussed in this paper with our own.