Many leading thinkers today urge us to redefine relationships as contracts based on choice. Where did this idea come from that society should treat individuals as independent agents motivated by the supremacy of choice?
A FEW INTRODUCTORY COMMENTS
Becoming A More Intelligent Influencer
The following article might be a little more challenging for some of us, so I appreciate your efforts to read and assimilate the material. Reading and assimilating sections at a time is helpful. I am far from scholarly, but I believe there needs to be a greater number of believers who will intelligently resist the ideological war that is raging against the biblical values that we hold to be true, and articulate these values in the public square. The secular pundits I have read are intelligent, articulate, well-informed, and up on the trends for righteousness and are fighting against these righteous values with aggression. They are very aware of our efforts! These scholars are changing the narrative in our schools, high tech companies, politics, the entertainment industry, and the world of sports.
If something is important there is a fight being waged over it.
We live in a culture of competing ideas. False arguments and anti-God reasonings permeate secular America and keep people from the Truth, even influencing many novice Christians. Sadly, these believers fall for lies, which keeps them in the dark of their own self-induced deception.
By way of reminder, the Apostle Paul was exhorting the Corinthian church to win the battle over false opinions and erroneous reasonings raised up against the Truth:
“4 We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. 5 We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.”– 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 NLT
I’m encouraged to see more Christ followers engage as they see these false ideologies personally impact their children, grandchildren, extended family members, and their work environments. This is a healthy development. To read and apply biblical truth to the broader culture takes maturity and extended effort. This also is why it is crucial we become equipped from the Old Testament, especially the Torah as well as the New Testament. Remember that Moses was overseeing a Theocracy, which is a form of government recognizing Elohim (God the Creator), as the Supreme Being and the only One who could truthfully direct the affairs of a nation. This is challenging for many Christians today because we have centered our faith primarily on our private walk with Christ.
Biblical maturity is the ability to speak and live Truth in both the private and public realms.
As one Christian man asked me a number of years ago, “Dale, why do you waste time by addressing cultural issues from the Bible? It is only about our personal growth to become more like Jesus.” He was partially correct, but not completely. After discovering that his grandkids were being confronted by the educational elites with transgenderism, LBGQ indoctrination, CRT, and the Social Justice activists in their local public schools, he has changed. He has become an active participant in supporting and electing righteous school board members. He is now raising money for these people. He has sent out letters to influential people to persuade them to vote for positive change at the state and local levels. He has attempted to convince pastors to encourage their congregations to vote and give financially to righteous biblical causes. He discovered, as I discovered many years ago, that many evangelical pastors are simply too afraid that they will lose money and members. I call them, M&M pastors, “money and members pastors”☺.
It is important to remember that Jesus Christ is the main thing,
but He is not the only thing.
There are at least four easy to understand written resources that you can access along with your normal reading of the Bible to aid you in your biblical understanding, especially with regard to the Old Testament. They are: The Jon Couson, Commentaries, the Prager Rational Bible on Exodus and Deuteronomy, The Henry Morris Study Bible, and the John MacArthur Study Bible. However, the resource that will best equip you to address the issues we face in our society is the Prager commentary. In addition, Dennis Prager has a most informative, website called, Prager U. It is one of the most superior recourses available today in addressing a myriad of topics germane to our changing culture. Their five-minute videos are a must-watch resource!
Another great resource is The Letter to the American Church, by Eric Metaxas.
I am struck and motivated by the account in Daniel 1 about the four expats (those who live outside their own country) and their knowledge and aptitude for learning and skill. I desire to become more like them and I assume you do as well.
“3 Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king’s service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility– 4 young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians.” – Daniel 1:3-4 NIV
Increasing our Knowledge and Skills
In recent years I have read extensively regarding Critical Race Theory (CRT), Islam and Muslim scholars who are actively refuting the Judeo-Christian ethic. I have also read secular social philosophers and intellectuals. I have studied biblically based scholars, (who hold to a literalist hermeneutic, which is my persuasion) and have read and interacted with so-called “progressive Christians” who take their lead theologically and biblically from the secular culture. More of these progressive Christians have complied and conformed to the Woke and Social Justice movements while attempting or professing to be “biblical.” These are very interesting times, aren’t they?
My thoughts in this article have been shaped significantly by the reading of the book: Love Thy Body, by one of my favorite authors, Nancey Pearcey. The book is filled with insights, research, and real-life stories about Transgenderism, Homosexuality, Abortion, Euthanasia and other pertinent subjects that are shaping our society. A must read for any person concerned about the health of our Christian community and society in general. In all my articles I try to bring to bear not only my extensive reading background but my knowledge and biblical understanding of the Word of God for that is the Foundation upon which we stand!
The False “god” Called, Choice
The Value of Traditional Values and Institutions–Like Marriage, the Family, Sex Sanctity
I start this section with a most profound comment from Dietrich Bonhoeffer during a wedding ceremony that he gave to a young couple:
“It is not your love that sustains the marriage, but from now on, the marriage sustains your love.”
Please stand back with me and be righteously staggered by his comment!
Years ago, I remember a visitor to Rolling Hill whom I met with at a local Starbucks. He was a sharp businessman in his early 30’s and he offered his assessment of Rolling Hills, quite freely I might add, as he was a brand new guest. I love it when outsiders feel free to express their opinions! He said, “From what I can tell you are very provincial.” Full confession…I was so naïve, I thought he was saying that “provincial” was something good and it was a compliment! No, he was saying we were unsophisticated and narrow-minded because he observed that we held true to natural values. Natural values are the beliefs that are intrinsic to human nature–like traditional marriage and that homosexuality and lesbianism are a distortion of God’s image. He also observed that our ultimate authority was the literal and historical interpretation of the Word of God.
Pease remember when you clarify what you stand for, many people will clarify what they stand against.
From time immemorial, basic human relationships and sexuality have been regarded as intrinsic to human nature. It is natural for people of the opposite sex to be drawn to one another and to raise children together. Despite the richly varied norms and rituals which surround marriage, the nuclear family has formed the core of society. In classic Christian social and biblical thought, it was God who established marriage, [Mat 19:1, 4-6 NIV], family, (Exodus 20:12), church, (Mt. 16:18) and state (Genesis 9:6), and who defined their essential nature (Romans 13:1-8)—their tasks, (Ephesians 5:21-28), responsibilities (1 Timothy 5:8) and moral norms (1 Cor. 7:13).
Then, in early modern Europe, the novel idea arose that human relationships were neither natural (made from God) nor intrinsic (innate, inborn, or inbred,) to human nature—but that humans invented them and could, therefore, change them. Thus, we see the emergence of the supremacy of choice.
Where did this strange idea come from?
After the scientific revolution, people were so impressed by its astonishing success that many began to apply what they thought was a scientific worldview to every other field of knowledge—including social theory. The apex of the scientific revolution was Newtonian physics, which pictured the material world as atoms bumping randomly around in the void under the forces of attraction and repulsion. Social philosophers constructed what they called “Social physics,” modeled on the Newtonian physics. Civil society was pictured as so many human “atoms” who come together and “bond” in various social relationships.
The Steady Slide of Erosion
The elevation of choice over biology has indeed become “the cultural given” regarding life and sexuality—both for secularists and for Christians who take their lead from secular thinking.
The playing out of the supremacy of choice is evident not only in individuals, (like choosing my gender, choosing to live together before marriage, choosing to end my life, or choosing to have an abortion), but also into the fundamental family structure as well. The theory of social contracts or choice downplays natural communities like the family in favor of communities built on choice or contracts.
Implications for the Family and Education
It seems obvious to me that if the foundation of the family is transferred to choice, children will be adrift, without any moral claim on their own parents. The implication is that parents are not responsible in any special way for their own children unless they choose to be.
We are seeing this play out in our public schools, especially in urban inner city schools across America. As the cultural scaffolding crumbles and the family structure wanes, the radical agenda of the educational system becomes the dominate influencer. The educational agenda of implicit bias, white privilege, and cultural competency are part of the aggressive ideological indoctrination of our children.
Another excellent resource regarding the present educational system is the book, Get Out Now, by Mary Rice Hasson and Theresa Farnan, which is a must read for any parent enrolling their child in the public school system. I had the privilege to participate at a luncheon with Mary Hasson.
It is refreshing to see more and more parents fight back at school board meetings and voting to place righteous people on the school boards. Once again please remember…
If something is important there is a fight being waged over it.
For years western political and social thought have been hostile to the role of the traditional family in the proposed visions of the ideal society. Secular intellectuals from Plato (who regarded the physical world as inherently evil), to Rousseau (who propounded the liberation from all societal restraints) to B.F. Skinner (who believed behavior is motivated by the consequences we receive for our behavior: manifested in reinforcements and punishments), to Hillary Clinton (supporting loyalty to the State) who has been enamored with the idea of putting the child directly under the care of the state. Hillary’s “it takes a village,” is an example of taking authority away from the natural biological parents and shift the loyalty to the government-run schools. She was and is a student of the late Saul Alinsky a Marxist radical. The totalitarian regimes of the twentieth century—erected by Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, and Mao—all sought tight control of education, down to the earliest years to inculcate (insistent, continual instruction) unquestioning acceptance of the regime’s ideology.
History shows clearly that when biological bonds are downplayed in favor of choice, individuals end up forfeiting choice to the state.
Demanding freedom from natural relationships means losing freedom to the state.
This is what is taking place in America today. In our state of Oregon, the local schools receive their orders from the state and federal levels and, therefore, mandate gender orientation courses and the demanded acceptance and embracing of transgender teachers. Children are being taught as early as the 3rd and 4th grade the use of condoms and graphic illustrations of sexual deviant behavior, which are all part of the curriculum that is increasing in our public schools. There is an open aggression for demanding children to verbalize their new identity. A great resource for information and ways you can combat this trend is through Parents Rights in Education—WWW.ParentsRightsInEducation.com (Suzanne Gallagher, Director 503-516-0340)
Our third oldest grandson went to a mandatory assembly in High School and discovered it was a lecture by a transvestite. When he attempted to leave the lecture, the teachers blocked the exit doors. Forced indoctrination at work. The parents were not aware of the assembly, nor were they informed ahead of time as to the “gender identity” of the speaker. Why? Because the so-called intellectual elites representing the state know what is best for our kids and it’s not their natural parents or grandparents.
Responding to the Cultural Push In Education
A good response from the parents would be to file a formal complaint to the school administration, the teachers, and the school board. If you are a parent, please express your concern to all three entities. If they persistently ignore you, consider moving your child out of school into a charter school, Christian school, or school online. By removing your child, it is at least one less financial income for the school provided by the government. I think there may be a biblical and moral movement afoot regarding the education of our children as a new interest and wave seems to be emerging by parents taking the education of their children in their own hands. I praise God for this!
A most recent success is what is happening here in Newberg, Oregon. Look to www.parentsrightsineducation.com and look up something positive that just happened in Newberg, Oregon. You could call Suzanne Gallagher, Director 503-516-0340, as she would love to interact with you.
I have been advocating for years that Christians will need to start suing school districts to rectify the injustices being propagated on our kids. This sounds radical until it happens to your own children or grandchildren.
The Importance of Distinguishing between two categories of Laws
The reason this is so important is when the state is the ruling authority, the legislative, executive and judiciary branches, shape judicial laws and pass them into binding statutes. Those passed laws become the expected norm and, thus, a cultural is shaped and is transformed accordingly.
THE MORAL LAW identifies the timeless, unchangeable, and universal rule of right and wrong. The Bible, being our final authority, puts forth these moral laws as eternal, immutable (unchanging and unable to be changed), and which show us good and evil. Yahweh God Himself conforms to these laws as they flow from the goodness of His nature.
THE JUDICIAL LAW stipulates the civil penalties and/or permissions, enacted by a particular government. Therefore, the Moral Law does not change but Judicial laws will change as set by the civil government of a society.
For example, theft is always a violation of the Moral Law. But at the time of Hebrews, the Judicial Law punished it with economic penalties. At the time of the Arabs it was penalized with the removal of the hand. At the time of the colonial British, with death and in America, with imprisonment. The moral violation was the same in all eras but the judicial penalty was different.
The Scriptures listed below are the moral standards that were violated in the two court cases which have become the law of the land.
What is so egregious regarding Roe v. Wade, (Exodus 21:22-25; Psalm 139: 13-15) and Obergefell v. Hodges, (Genesis 2:22-25; Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Matthew 19:4-6) is that they violated the Moral Law of the Scriptures by instituting Judicial Law.
This is why it is vital to elect righteous people into power because the Judicial Law becomes the law of the land and thus, the results will eventually change the broader culture to accommodate that law.
[A most superior treatment of the difference between the four categories of laws in the Bible is found in The Founders Bible, pages 161-170.
Briefly stated they are the Ceremonial Law, the Moral Law, the Judicial Law, the Social Compact Law Understanding these four categories is worth the price of the whole Bible. Buy it and integrate it into your personal and family life. It just might save your kids and grandkids! Don’t you love how dramatic I am☺]
Resuming the Discussion on Choice
There is a “choice” that is good and vital because this “choice” is subservient to God’s Moral Code. In fact, the Bible is replete with the importance of making good and righteousness decisions. Ah, the magnificent book of Deuteronomy!
“15 Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. 16 For I command you this day to love the LORD your God and to keep his commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in his ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy.” – Deuteronomy 30:15-16 NLT
The Devaluing of Natural Relational Values for Marriage
In the past, the state recognized marriage as a pre-existing biologically based reality, something that followed naturally on the fact that humans are a sexually reproducing species. The judicial laws across the land merely recognized it as a previous fact. When judicial law treats a same-sex couple the same as an opposite-sex couple, the judicial law is denying the relevance of biology and declares marriage to be a state of mind—what you think, feel, and desire and, therefore, one’s choice. In the process, the state has taken on itself the authority to define what marriage is—which emotional commitments qualify as marriage.
In 2015 when Obergefell v. Hodges legalized same-sex marriage and it became judicial law, it violated the moral law of Scripture found in Genesis 2:24 NLT:
“This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” And, Jesus tells us:
“4 Haven’t you read the Scriptures?” Jesus replied. “They record that from the beginning ‘God made them male and female.’ 5 And he said, ‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’”– Matthew 19:4-5 NLT
Here in America, because it is “we the people,” the only way Obergefell v. Hodges or Roe v. Wade were enacted was through the political legislative process, or the courts. The people who are elected to office, or positions of authority, with whatever moral compass they carry will vote according to their ideological persuasion.
Do you remember when the Obama administration showed the homosexual and lesbian colors on the White House after the passage of this insidious law that authenticated same sex marriage? It is now the law of the “land” and before long will simply be an accepted expression of marriage. The massive cultural acceptance will shape our society for years to come.
The Secular Garden of Eden
When social contract theorists first proposed the concept of a state of nature it was clearly an alternative to the account of origins in Genesis. Standing at the dawn of modernity, these thinkers sensed that in order to propose a new political philosophy, they had to ground it in a new creation account. Instead of recognizing social structures as ordained and defined by God, the new myth treated them as inventions of human will. For a very insightful treatment of this subject go to Love Thy Body, Chapter 7, titled The Goddess of Choice is Dead, pages 229-264.
As an aside, when I did my teaching series on Creation I titled it, “Genesis: The Book of Origins.” EVERY ideology, philosophy, or religion must and does answer the question, Where did it come from? Once again, if you would like to know more about the beginnings of the worldviews of different philosophies, and how they are shaping our decisions today, please read the first three chapters of Pearcey’s profound book, Total Truth.
What to do considering this information?
It is always perplexing and challenging to know how to respond to the many challenges we face in our society. Here are a few of my suggestions:
- Become aware of what is transpiring around you.
“…’You know how to interpret the weather signs in the sky, but you don’t know how to interpret the signs of the times!”– Matthew 16:3 NLT
Remember that knowledge is power. We must not be caught sleeping.
“But you aren’t in the dark about these things, dear brothers and sisters, and you won’t be surprised when the day of the Lord comes like a thief. 5 For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night. 6 So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded.”– 1 Thessalonians 5:4-6 NLT
- A Plug for Reading
I am becoming aware of the trend that many, many Christians do not read to discover knowledge. Rather, they depend almost exclusively on YouTube videos, blogs, and podcasts. All of these can be good and beneficial. Obviously different people learn differently, and all forms of communication are important. But….I do wish more Christians would prioritize reading as it allows them to make notes and interact with the text. This allows more time to reflect on what is written. Also, one of the benefits of reading is that you can move at your own pace and more effectively assimilate the information as you go along. I am a slow learner and need to read something three or four times to really internalize it. My retention also increases because I can go back over the text. Reading is also powerful in group discussion, as everyone can go over the material together. I know I am “old-school” here – I still write personal handwritten notes and letters. 🙂
In the context of Isaiah 28, the prophet asks whether anyone can be taught knowledge and doctrine. They must be taught like little children, one point at a time, with much repetition. This is clearly me ☺! Some evidently ridiculed this method, but the Lord through Isaiah, confirmed the necessity of such an approach even though they refused to learn:
“13 But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, [and] there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.”– Isaiah 28:13 KJV
I purpose to be much more teachable than the nation of Israel, but in reality, I need to learn, assimilate, remember and apply truth in the simplest way possible for me… and that is by reading.
- Become More of an Activist
Probably right now the Holy Spirit is nudging you to do something or say something. Go ahead and follow His lead!
“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”– Galatians 5:25 NIV
If something is important there is a fight being waged over it.