Archive for October 17th, 2008
In looking at the concept of Christian Survivalism or Preparedness from a biblical perspective you realize right away that there are a lot of strange folks out there who are into the survivalist movement. There are the Mormons, who are otherwise very nice, normal and decent folks, but they have a very un-biblical approach to the Bible; hence their being labeled a cult. That is a subject for a different time. Then there are the rascist groups out there who link a twisted version of Christianity with some kind of white supremacy….puhlease! What this blogger is looking for is a rational, biblical basis for preparing for a variety of disasters ranging from a flat tire to a bad storm to a nuclear war. What should we the Church do to prepare? How should we prepare not only to survive, but to carry on with the mission of loving God and loving our fellow man?
In this posting I want to begin looking at some Scriptures that suggest that God’s people should be prepared for a disaster. So we begin in Genesis and the Creation story.
I. God Is The Creator and is Sovereign
In Genesis 1-2 we see that God is the Creator of all that is.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.…
When we start to discuss something like survivalism, we must begin with the doctrine of God. He is the creator of the universe and therefore is all powerful, all knowing, all wise, and he remains in control. He is sovereign. Because God is sovereign and is our Creator, we cannot approach this subject with a cavalier, rugged independence. We must begin with humbly acknowledging that He is God and we are not. We cannot survive on our own, life is a gift from God. All the world’s events, natural disasters and man made disasters fall underneath God’s providence.
How horrible it would be to be able to survive a disaster here, but in the end, to face our Creator and to hear the Lord Jesus tell us, “Depart from me, I never knew you.”
Luke 12 tells the story of a rich man who had stored up a bunch as he prepared for tomorrow, but he failed to prepare his soul:
15 And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” 16 And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
So any discussion of preparedness or survivalism must begin by understanding God is in control and if we do not have Christ, if we have never repented of sin and trusted in Jesus, we are not prepared for the disaster of hell for all eternity.
II. The Triune God Created Us In His Image
Gen.1:26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
Much has been written about what it means to be created in the image and likeness of God, but allow me to summarize it: Man has a mental, moral, and emotional make up that reflects many of the attributes of God. We can think, reason, remember, plan ahead, and be creative like God. We are designed as moral creatures with a will to choose to obey or disobey (we will talk about the fall in a bit). God designed us to obey him and reflect his moral nature, his holiness. We are emotional creatures and can love, hate and everything in between. God is love (1John 4:8) but God also hates sin. We are designed ultimately for the glory of God, to relate to him and to enjoy being in his presence as we fulfill his will. Christian survivalism and preparedness is rooted in the fact that we are not the product of an accident of evolution, rather, we are created by a loving God in his image and are accountable to God for what we do with that image.
Because God is purposeful, and he created the universe and us with a purpose, we can live purpose filled lives. Life is not ultimately random. There is an order to the universe, and beauty. We are to seek to preserve and restore this order and beauty. Christian survivalism is to be rooted in this beauty and order.
God exists in a Trinity yet is one in essence; plurality and unity. We see hints of the Trinity in Gen. 1:1 where the Spirit of God is distinguished from God and in vs.26 when God said, “Let us make man…” using the plural in the Hebrew. In ch.3:8 the couple hear the sound of God walking in the garden, thus implying some kind of physical presence or theophany, possibly the pre-incarnate Christ and then in the prophecy in 3:15 that points forward to the Son; these verses do not prove the Trinity but do set the stage for the Trinity.Grasping the Trinity is essential for a Christian survivalist.
We are created as individuals but he created us as male and female with the command to be fruitful and multiply, and to fill and subdue the earth. Thus we are individuals living in the context of the family, where the husband and wife shall be one flesh, producing offspring. As we multiply and fill the earth we are to live in community with one another. We are therefore one, yet also many. Love, communication, and fellowship were in the Trinity in eternity and we are to experience those things as well. To be a survivalist then implies caring for others, and not just self. Family, local church, neighborhood matter because of the Trinity and the eternality of fellowship, love and communication.
Francis Schaeffer, writing in “Genesis In Space and Time”, IVP, 1972 (p.20-21) “…if we begin with an impersonal universe, there is no explanation of personality. In a very real sense the question of questions for all generations – but overwhelmingly for modern man- is Who am I?….The assumption of an impersonal beginning can never adequately explain the personal beings we see around us, and when men try to explain man on the basis of an original impersonal, man soon disappears…an impersonal beginning explains neither the form of the universe nor the personality of man. Hence it gives no basis for understanding human relationships, building just societies or engaging in any kind of cultural effort….But the Judeo-Christian tradition begins with the opposite answer. And it is upon this that our whole Western culture has been built. The universe had a personal beginning- a personal beginning on the high order of the Trinity. That is, before ‘in the beginning’ the personal was already there. Love and thought and communication existed prior to the creation of the heavens and the earth.”
The rugged individualist, the hermit who hides in the hills in a bunker to survive the apocalypse is not the proper model for the Christian survivalist. Surviving and living in community with family and church should be the model. In Daniel Defoe’s wonderful classic, “Robinson Crusoe” he has Crusoe shipwrecked on an island alone for many, many years. He survives and even thrives, but is desperately lonely. After many years alone he is able to rescue an Indian who is about to be eaten by the cannibals. He befriends the man, teaches him English and converts him to Christ. Community is restored.
This also teaches us that the individual, created in the image of God, is important. God saves us one at a time, we have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. This teaches us that the family, the husband-wife relationship and the parent-child relationship is God’s will and should be protected and honored. God created Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve and not Adam and Eve, Betty and Debbie.
Therefore, because we are created in God’s image, and because God has sent his Son Jesus to redeem us from sin, and Jesus himself came in human flesh, being 100% man, we can say that life, human life, is a blessing from God and should be treasured, honored and preserved. Protecting life is good and God honoring.
The Bible story of creation links all of humanity to the first couple, and then in Gen. 6-9 and the flood story, we again see all humanity coming from one family. Hence, all races have a common ancestor and are therefore united in our humanity. There is no room for racism in the Christian worldview. When we talk of Christian preparedness or survivalism we must distinguish ourselves from those who are racist in their approach.
Thus, a Christian view of survivalism is rooted in the following doctrines and principles from God’s Word: 1)God being the sovereign creator, he owns, provides for and controls the universe- he looked at his creation and called it “very good”; 2)The Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit; 3)The creation of man in the image of God; 4)Man being created as male and female, husband and wife with cildren being a blessing and command; 5)the Incarnation of Christ and his two natures, human and divine; 6)Life therefore is good and sacred and should be preserved; 7)Because all men are descendents of the first couple, all are “brothers” in some sense and there is no room for rascism in God’s creation, we are to live in community.
Next: How the Fall and Sin affect Survivalism.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
Friday, October 17, 2008–Book Reviews were never my favorite thing in high school, college or seminary. I don’t think I had to do many in college, and only 1 or 2 in seminary it seems. In talking with the students at SWBTS today, it seems they have to do more book reviews, especially the doctoral students. When I taught for one semester at a private school I had students write one book review, and I think I got more out of it than the students!
Being almost a half-century old now, I am beginning to see that 1) I don’t have much time left on this world so anything I read had better be good and I ought to make it count; 2) A lot that I have read in my past was worthless; 3) A lot that I read deserves to be re-read; 4) but, I need to read with a goal of not just enjoying it for the moment, but of seeking to understand what I read in light of Scripture and see if there is any application for my life, the church, or society I can make from what I read.
I began these book reviews back in August with Ender’s Game, a Sci-Fi book that had won the Hugo and which I never read. It was worth the read, for sure! But why did I begin with SF? Due to some personal junk I have gone through in the past 2-3 years, I was almost unable to read- emotionally. I needed to get back but was struggling, so I went back in time to when I was a kid and started reading in a genre that I was familiar with, that was easy for me due to my high level of interest, and that I needed to “redeem”. SF is a very important genre of literature that many in society ignore. But I have found it to be very deep as the SF community seriously considers where we are as a culture and projects that forward to what might be. They want to project their worldviews onto society in the future as well as tell a good story and have fun. When you look at what the authors of SF wrote in the 30’s-70’s and then look at our society today, you will realize how close they were to some real trends.
One of the things that modern Christendom fails to do, it seems to me, is to look forward and catch a glimpse of potential theological and philosophical problems that are coming at us and then prepare the church ahead of time. My experience as a pastor taught me that a lot of Christians not only cannot or will not prepare for the changes in the future, they cannot or will not even adapt to the changes that are slapping them in the face right now. Then there are those “Christians” who jettison the historic faith in an effort to become relevant. That is most irritating.
I want to examine my culture in light of the Scripture and bring the historic, biblical Gospel of Jesus Christ to bear on my culture and to look as far forward as is possible to see how the Gospel can face the future should the Lord tarry. I do believe in a literal second coming of Jesus who will judge the living and the dead. That may occur in a few months, or a few centuries. I was raised in a church tradition that believed in the pre-millennial rapture of the Church before the Great Tribulation. I now believe the Church may indeed go through the Great Tribulation.
This blog is not specializing in any one thing. I write about theology, the Bible, the Church, guns, hunting, the Army, cooking, current events and books that interest me. All of life needs to be lived for the glory of God and looked at critically from the Scriptures.
So what is the plan for this Book Review section of Mark12ministries? I will move my reading into some political sci-fi now by looking at some classic dystopias. My next read will be Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451” followed by Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” and George Orwell’s “1984”. This will continue the SF theme but focus it a bit more on The State. Why? We are in a critical time in America. With the convergence of the Financial Crisis and the Presidential election we are at a turning point. Sen. Obama is an outright socialist (as are most of the demoncrats in government today) and Se. McCain is a somewhat liberal Republican, an almost socialist. I am astounded by the willingness of America to surrender liberty for some supposed economic stability.
Following these classics I may go back to some more normal SF or I may actually move into the political and economic realm full force. I need to re-read Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman and some others. Clearly we are entering a dark time in America and the Church needs to be well equipped to face the difficult days ahead. Liberty is always tenuous and requires eternal vigilence.
I hope to add some history books to this series as well as some other literary classics. And I may even go into some religious books or theology. I will very likely do some movie reviews soon too, because movies are the major medium in our culture today in that more people watch movies than read books.
22 So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man,  25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, 28 for
“‘In him we live and move and have our being’; 
as even some of your own poets have said,
“‘For we are indeed his offspring.’ 
29 Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. 30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”
32 Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, “We will hear you again about this.” 33 So Paul went out from their midst. 34 But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them.
And here is a must read article from Christianity Today about Science Fiction and Spirituality:Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )