Worldview Bulletin: Applied Theology

Much of the theology we take for granted is applied theology. It is rooted in chapter and verse, but it is down the road from its source. The chapter and verse are the roots of the tree, but the tree has grown thick, tall, and wide. Sometimes, when we try to force applied theology into a chapter and verse, we undo centuries of work. When we try to put it back in the box it came from, we essentially start over, or worse, we remain at the beginning of the truth never to be strengthened by its application.

Sometimes applied theology requires tracing back to its source to ensure it has not gone awry and still holds true in its applied state. Many ideas have originated from the Bible in good form and yet have strayed down the road from being good theology. This reformation work is essential. But we can only do this rightly if we understand its theological history – not only church history, but world history. While I greatly appreciate judging all thought by The Book, we must do so with understanding of that thought’s history lest we simply demand chapter and verse and dismiss all that is derivative.

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Negative Nationalism v. Biblical Nationalism

I hear a lot of criticism of what gets dubbed “Christian nationalism” or “white nationalism.” Some of what I believe is being thus labeled is indeed worthy of some thoughtful constructive criticism. However, the more disconcerting occurrence is that people are eschewing the theology of nations altogether throwing the proverbial baby out with the bathwater. If we do not have a healthy theology for nations, we cannot rightly judge unhealthy theology or praxis. It is just as dangerous as witnessing greed within capitalism and jumping over to socialism losing the theology for personal property in the process. We can reject ugly behavior or the wedding of religious zeal to politics without rejecting good theology. We do not have to reject patriotism, or the Pledge of Allegiance, or our national anthem because of the overzealousness of some. Our flag raised high with the great red, white, and blue should catch in our hearts as Americans as this is home. This is the near and dear place that we are to steward as people who are citizens of this nation and not a different nation.

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Worldview Bulletin: Worldview for Nations

I cannot think of a word strong enough to express just how much I love America. I am the girl who read the handbook on the American flag etiquette. I used that knowledge to write an editorial when the local fire department planned to stop keeping a Bible in their department. The Virginian Pilot ran my letter to the editor and my pastor printed it in the bulletin the next Sunday. I fought my way through the State University constantly fending off ideologies that undermine the American way of life because I love my nation. The anti-biblical worldview of secular humanism, Marxism, and postmodernism that has overrun the universities is detrimental to the stability of our nation. I have since published two books to argue for the reformation of America upon her biblical foundations.

I am an Evangelical Christian

I fit squarely within evangelical Christianity historically and yet I do not join without remainder all the modern voices that are so classified today. The more nuanced I become the more I cringe at some of the current trends of communicating a love of country. I am so happy that there are those who hold the fort even if it is with an extremity that I do not share.

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Worldview Bulletin: Prophets, Polarization, and Politics

The prophetic, prophetic words, and Prophets have been under the microscope lately due to recent national words prophesying a second term for Trump. A few Prophets have apologized for error. Some Prophets have spiritualized the word given making it more about some other non-political way of fulfillment removing its time and space truth to a more elusive interpretation that is difficult to affirm or deny. Still, some are holding fast to the word that we will see a second consecutive term for now former President Trump.

I cannot help but cringe at this last pronouncement. First let me say that the prophetic community within the Church is my stream – it is my church family.  I love the prophetic. I will not write disparagingly of the Prophets. I know firsthand what it is like to hold on to a word from God beyond its apparent death and to still believe for a resurrection when there seems to be absolutely no way for it to come about. I applaud that sort of faith. Some words from God take many years to come about. Some prophetic words die and look impossible before they resurrect.

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Worldview Bulletin: How Should We Then Live? A Nation in Crisis

Our nation is in crisis. The source runs far deeper than the current events which are terrible symptoms of a greater problem.

I am sobered and anguished watching the videos from the tragic attack on our nation’s Capitol Building. It is reprehensible. We can point fingers all day long, but we all have allowed anger, hatred, and animosity to boil over to this extent. These extremists disrespected the very fabric of our national heritage through their violent behavior. It is not about what extremist group did it, it is about that things got this far that it happened. This happened here in our nation, an attack on our Capitol.

I want to hear more Americans concerned for what their beliefs could cause in America. The Founding Fathers were consumed with posterity. What would generations hence learn from them, say about them, carry on because of their legacy and sacrifice? They took painstaking efforts to preserve their letters and writings so that we could learn from their wisdom.

We cannot reduce national discourse to Facebook memes. We cannot depend upon social media to the extent that we feel lost and silenced without it. The Founders had no internet. They could not reach the world in an instant with a knee-jerk reaction. They had to meet in a room with no air-conditioning and hash out their differences to work out our most cherished documents, The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution. John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison worked to create a series of essays, known as The Federalist Papers, to run in the New York newspapers to inform the public about the merit of ratifying the Constitution. This took time, deliberation, and thought.

Letters were written by hand, copied by hand, and carried by hand to their recipient. Thought took time to communicate. It was precious, not careless.

Preserving our liberty means preserving honor, history, integrity, civil discourse, robust debate, and conduct befitting men and women created in the image of God.

FAKE NEWS

We have lost trust in the institution of journalism in all its forms. The mainstream media has lost at least half of the public’s trust. It has become indefensible as a source of truth.

Journalists are to be a safeguard against government overreach. They are to investigate and inform as they did in breaking the Watergate Scandal (see the masterful film The Post). When we have lost all trust in the mainstream media, we enter new dangerous grounds. When public institutions fail to serve the people to benefit their own interests, the people look for underground sources.

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Worldview Bulletin: Becoming a Thinking People: Slicing Through the Polarized Views

The last few days of 2019 found me suffering with the effects of a bad cold that had me sleeping instead of watching the ball drop as we passed into the now infamous 2020. Little did I know that instead of a year of 2020 vision we would have a year of great confusion, deep divisions, a health crisis, economic uncertainty, social turmoil, and a mad dash for toilet paper!

Despite such a tumultuous year, I have experienced deep enjoyment of the Lord and all His bounty. I have found joy in the smallest of things, a well-made sandwich, a juicy strawberry, a walk along the shore or around the block on a pleasant evening, or a great conversation with my husband. When all the fast-paced parts of life are sidelined the important things come into focus.

I have paid close attention to the ensuing cultural battles polarizing our nation. I watch the dueling swords wielded with unrestrained tongues. I see the fearmongering and shock tactics, the victim mentalities, and carelessness and strife in social media posts.

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America: A Polarized Nation in Need of Truth

Watching this election coming down to such a narrow margin we can see that we are witnessing the effects of a divided nation. Perhaps we have become numb to our deep seeded divisions which have so polarized our nation. How do we participate in the healing of a nation rather than participating in its divisions? How do we do this without compromising truth? The answer is not standing in the middle of the road trying desperately to merge one worldview with another. It is not claiming neutrality for no worldview is neutral.

Theological Nature of Politics

Politics is both theological and spiritual, but it is not to be religious. There is a difference which I will flesh out. How we see nations and their inner workings on every level is deeply theological. The very idea of nation comes from the Bible. Majoring on personal responsibility or on programs to provide welfare for the poor are both derived from biblical theology. It does not mean that both arguments are equally correct, but that their origins are both coming from a Christian worldview expressed in how we look at economics and government.

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CLASSIC REPOST – Biblical Theology for Nations

Jesus said that the world will know that we are His by the way that we vote. Jesus said He would one day separate the elephants from the donkeys. Anyone with any Bible knowledge at all will recognize the blatant misquotes above, but now I have your attention.

The Bible gives us theology for nations, government, law, justice, etc. However, the Kingdom is neither synonymous with a particular nation nor a repudiation of all nations into one big globe.

The Bible provides the theology for nations. The Kingdom provides the supernatural power to reform nations to the reality of heaven. It brings the transformative power of truth to the natural undiscipled infrastructure of a nation. The Kingdom of God does not just heal a sick person, but also a sick institution or nation.

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CLASSIC REPOST – Redeeming Nationalism

The Devil likes to redefine and repurpose words so that we reject them and lose their intended purpose in the process. He has attempted to hijack the word “nationalism.” The word has become politically and racially charged because it is being used incorrectly.

We first saw this with Hitler when he tried to make the world German. But what Hitler was doing was not nationalism, but imperialism. To quote Author, Speaker, and Reformer, Vishal Mangalwadi, “German Fascist imperialism was able to hijack words such as nationalism in the 20th Century, because the Nineteenth Century German theology undermined God’s Word. That separated words such as ‘nation’ from their base in the Bible.”

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Worldview Bulletin: Perspective for Politics

We have entered the political season where there is a race of the century to see which path America will take. Worldview is a crucial component of this election. How we see what is going on and how we see people amid the political conflict is also a matter of worldview.

In this bulletin I am going to break down the different elements of this complex situation before us. To be clear, I am a conservative evangelical Christian. But I will be stepping on the toes of my own group as well as other groups in this discussion.

It is Only About the Kingdom

First, I want to speak to those Christians who believe being pro-Kingdom means being anti-nation. We hear from this group that Jesus is on the throne and all that matters is King Jesus. While I am ever so grateful for their devotion to Jesus, Jesus is not running for President. Our theology is useless if it does not make a difference on earth in the present-day reality. Jesus not only rules in heaven, but on earth. And on earth, God designed us to live within nations. We see this from His call of Abraham to be the father of many nations. Then we see the progression of Moses leading a people out of Egypt, training them in the laws of God to prepare them to be a nation in a physical land where God desired for them to flourish within its borders.

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