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Have your heard American politics described as Left and Right? Or perhaps Liberal and Conservative, but now there is this new designation, Left or Progressive? What does all this mean?

Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #27 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.

American culture and therefore politics is divided. Actually, more than divided, it is polarized. We don’t just disagree. We disagree vehemently, sad to say, often hatefully.

This polarization has affected every corner of our culture, including education, entertainment, sports, and religion. On every issue, people line up on one of two sides, what is called the Right or what is called the Left.

The Right is generally considered synonymous with Conservative, and maybe Republican, but not all Republicans are Conservative and not all Conservatives are Republican.

The Right tends to believe in God and country, the existence of absolute truth, personal initiative and responsibility, individual liberty and freedom of religion and speech, national identity and patriotism, capitalism or free enterprise along with equal opportunity, the traditional family, and justice based upon objective and equal law and order.

There was a time not long ago when we typically did not say, Left, but said Liberal. 

Interestingly, now forgotten, those who embraced a Liberal point of view were not that different from those who embraced the Right or a Conservative point of view. Sure, Liberal and Conservative differed on the extent of government involvement, but Liberals then and, actually now, tend to believe in God and country, the idea of truth, liberty and freedom of religion and speech, national identity and patriotism, the traditional family, even free enterprise and certainly blind justice based upon identifiable principles of law and order.

Sound familiar? Both Conservatives and Liberals acknowledged America had made terrible mistakes in its past, for no country comprised of sinful people is perfect. But both also celebrated the historical fact that America had made sacrifices and progress toward realizing its founding ideals, that it was the home of the brave and the land of the free.

Then along about the time of the 1960s things began to change. Something called the Left, and more recently Progressives, began to emerge with a set of beliefs diametrically opposed to what the Right or Conservatives believe. 

And though media still often uses the terms Liberal and Left interchangeably, this is misleading at best and does not recognize the profoundly different values promoted by the Left, not the least of which is rejection of their own country.

The Left now represents a set of beliefs sharply distinguishable from Liberals and certainly of Conservatives or the Right.

Think of the comedian Bill Maher, a self-avowed Liberal in the classical sense, an atheist or at least agnostic, a brilliant mind and talent capable of hilarious observations and comebacks. He is a Liberal, a late-night talk show host you’d think would embrace the Left and its so-called progressive ideas. But he does not. In fact, he has repeatedly and incisively skewered the illogic, arrogance, and utter lack of realism of the Left, labeling them a threat to liberalism and a free society. He thinks the Left is, well, Nuts, and he’s a Liberal.

What’s ironic if maybe sad is that the best critic of the Left is not someone on the Right but a Liberal, Bill Maher. His monologues on the Left’s excesses are a call to sanity, something the Left with its pell-mell rush to embrace of Woke philosophy does not understand.

The Left tends to eat its own if anyone dares to question basic ideas. This is what cancel culture is about. 

J.K. Rowling, the incredibly successful British author of the Harry Potter books, is and always has been a Liberal, clearly and unapologetically. But now she has been systematically vilified, disinvited from a celebration of one of her own movies, criticized by the young actors her books help to make rich and famous, and in general, cancelled. Except she is so wealthy, smart, and therefore powerful, she can push back. 

What was J.K. Rowling’s grave offense? She believes in biology. She thinks men are men and women are women, and she argues transgender ideology is a threat to girls and women. Interestingly, she’s not opposed to LGB, nor does she moralize on any of this, she just thinks science is real and gender is not fluid. That’s it.

This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends.

So, what does the Left believe?

  1. Secular – no creed or Scripture, hostile to religion, no God, generally supports secularizationand total separation of church and state. 
  2. Since God did not create human beings in his image, we are socially constructed, either through some social determinism as if we are animals, or through a humanist belief we can make ourselves anything we want to be.
  3. Reject the moral categories of Judeo-Christianity and believe truth is not identified or received but created.
  4. The Left’s compass is guided by power, race, and class. 
  5. Since there is no Sovereign God there is no personal sin, so our problems are not moral but social and economics explains most behaviors.
  6. Human beings define their own existence based upon their feelings, subjective, so we end up with rollercoaster emotions and a mentality of endless victimhood. 
  7. The Left’s view of humanity promotes a sense of entitlement and a lack of gratitude, hence we are forever unhappy.
  8. The source of improvement is inside us, thus we need to know ourselves and to “dialogue” with others because through dialogue, not debate that implies disagreement or antithesis, but discussion that always must end in a synthesis of ideas, for no idea is wrong or bad.
  9. The Left affirms a strong centrist government and distrusts freedom of speech.
  10. The Left tends to reject national identity and patriotism, then proclaims we are world citizens, typically anti-American, anti-Israel, and anti-Western Civilization, which for the Left’s is an euphemisms for White Supremacy.
  11. Sexual liberation including LGBTQ+, new socially defined gender identity, so biology is irrelevant.
  12. The Left promotes fear and hysteria, anxiety, hence safetyism, for all this increases its power.

From a Christian worldview point of view, the Left is wrong in its pre-theoretical assumptions top to bottom. Once any philosophy rejects God and truth, there’s nothing left but power, which is the Left’s stock in trade. 

Sadly, Leftist ideas have hugely and maybe surreptitiously influenced Christian churches and Christian nonprofit organizations in both Europe and the United States, meaning these churches and organizations offer a message little different from the culture around them. Of worse, are often presenting a view contrary to the Word of God as one that advances it.

The Left’s views are morally unsustainable. No human beings can live long and certainly not in a healthy or joyful manner based upon Leftist unbiblical philosophy.

The results of Leftism include: ennui, loss of sense of purpose and creativity or intellectual curiosity and excitement, declining industrial innovation, loss of hope including a desire to marry or have children, fear rather than risk-taking, division, disillusionment, anxiety, despair, a culture of death, an existentialism that gives way to secular nihilism, and…hopelessness.

The Left is now promoting social justice ideology in schools, entertainment, business, and churches. This ideology rejects transcendent biblical morality in favor of an arbitrary, ever-changing “do what’s right in our own eyes” ethic that is sexually licentious and racially divisive. While this is done in the name of advancing what the Left calls the oppressed, what really happens is it creates power for a new set of Leftist oppressors who do not believe in God, grace, or forgiveness.

The Left is godless, irrational, and seductive. 

There is no room for Christian compromise with the Left.

Our task in this moment is both great and strategic. Believers must learn to articulate biblical theology. We must learn how to apply our faith in a rapidly changing world, and we must stand for truth in the face of error.

 

Well, we’ll see you again soon. For more Christian commentary, be sure to subscribe to this podcast, Discerning What Is Best, or check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s rexmrogers.com. And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2022   

*This podcast blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.  

Have you been thinking about the children lost at Uvalde? How can such senseless violence occur?

Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #26 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.

Robb Elementary School, Uvalde, TX.

Columbine high school (CO), Red Lake high school (MN), West Nickel Mines Amish school (PA), Sandy Hook elementary (CT), Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school (FL), Santa Fe high school (TX).

This somber list records the deadliest school shootings in the United States. It is horrendous. And worse, this list does not even include university shootings or innumerable other gun violence events in which injuries occurred but fewer or no fatalities.

Killing is always gut-wrenching, the killing of innocent children even more so.

Uvalde strikes us like Sandy Hook or West Nickel Mines. Children 6–10 years old. Who could do this? Who can understand this?

When it happens, we wonder how our Christian faith speaks to these kinds of events? What understanding does it provide?

In part, I believe we are living in the last days. I believe that as Jesus tarries his coming, we will witness an ever-greater impact of sin in this fallen world. In the last days, the Scripture tells us there will be (Rom 1, 2 Tim 3, 2 Peter 3, Jude 1):

• people who suppress the truth in their wickedness • terrible times • brutality • evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived • scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires • every kind of wickedness, evil, greed, depravity, envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice • people who invent ways of doing evil • people who are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless • false teachers who introduce destructive heresies.

Things are indeed waxing worse and worse, and mass shootings are now a part of our lived experience.

This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends.

Life is cheap in these last days in multiple and various ways, e.g., abortion, death-dealing wars including what’s happening with Russia and the Ukraine, random killings, systematic criminal killings like those occurring every weekend in Chicago, school shootings, church shootings, mall shootings.

What makes a young man want to kill children? Is he mentally ill as media often claim? Perhaps he is. I’m not negating the potential of some psychological programs to help troubled young men, if they can be identified and if they will seek help.

But perhaps more often he is not mentally ill. I find it difficult to accept the diagnosis “mental illness” when this shooter and so many others leave evidence that in days or even weeks running up to the event, they scoped out the location, purchased weaponry and ammo, planned what to wear and when to enter the facility, and sometimes planned to die in the process.

This kind of preparation speaks to intelligent if warped intention to me, not mental illness. In most of these cases, the issue at bottom is not psychological or social but moral. The shooter is simply given over to sin. The root of this sin could be his own heart, the individuals around him, the absence of individuals around him, particularly no father in his life, or a declining, morally decrepit American culture. Or it is all the above.

Whatever the source, sin works out as an uncontrollable rage making the young man not only to want to die (mass shooters are often suicidal) but to take as many people with him when he goes as he can.

Rage, an evil emotion-then-behavior rooted in twisted feelings of rejection, inadequacy, loneliness, alienation, and a hopelessness that leads him to believe the lie that the only way his life can have meaning is to end it by seeking revenge upon others in some sensational fashion. The shooter is ready to die and ready to kill in order to create some resentful, bitter, “I’ll-show-you,” meaning to his life.

This kind of evil can develop in the lone gunman or radical terrorists. It is Satan’s fake triumph, conquering the soul of a person created in the image of God who comes to believe God is not there or does not care and all that’s left is nihilism.

So, the primary challenge in the U.S. today is this: though we are “religious” with functioning dominant religions, yet our culture and millions within it are disconnected from profound spiritual moorings. We’ve rejected moral parameters in the mistaken belief our fate is in our own hands, or rather in our own feelings. We think we are social creatures of our own making. We control our own destiny.

Except this doesn’t work, and ironically, it is the disillusioned young gunman who discovers this create-yourself approach to life is found wanting, when what he sees around him and within him offers no hope.

We live in a fallen world where sin is real, and the Devil is the Prince of the power of the air. So evil events will happen. This is not fatalism. It is realism.

We do not know why God allows tragic events like Uvalde. We do know that he knows why and is engaged day by day. This, too, is realism, the truth.

This is where our Christian belief and our testimony should speak to the moment. We know the God of the Bible is present, loves, and provides a path to healing and hope. So, our response to heinous events in which innocent children are gunned down in the U.S. should be multi-layered:

1. Weep with those who weep. Mourn with those who mourn. Pray for the families involved. This means more than bland comments like “our thoughts and prayers are with you.”

2. We don’t blame God, and we help others understand that in the face of evil our God is still sovereign, holy, and just. We must speak and live out this truth in love.

4. We do not live in fear but trust the Lord with our own safety. We know, “The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore,” (Ps 121:7-8).

The best remedy for hopelessness is hope. Christians of all people should understand this.

Our culture, many troubled souls living near us, and these confused and damaged young men need God’s message of reconciliation, of love, of hope. And it is our time, our moment as believers to share this message.

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,” (1 Pet 3:15).

Well, we’ll see you again soon. For more Christian commentary, be sure to subscribe to this podcast, Discerning What Is Best, or check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s rexmrogers.com. And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2022

*This podcast blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.

The ancient Greek philosophers famously said, “Know thyself,” even inscribed the phrase on the temple walls to their idol gods, and perhaps this is good advice as far as it goes. But in knowing ourselves, what do we learn, and can we really trust ourselves? 

Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #25 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.

 

Many years ago, when we lived near New York City where I served as a Christian college administrator, we attended our daughter’s Eighth Grade graduation ceremony. It was a nice outdoor affair conducted with the usual academic pomp and circumstance, complete with commencement speaker and individual diplomas. It was a nice experience for our daughter and her friends.

While I know it is rare indeed to remember anything a commencement speaker says, I’ve never forgotten this speaker’s presentation. This was back in the day when self-esteem was the huge educational if not cultural fad of the moment. Everyone was into raising their self-esteem and books were pouring off the shelves, especially those aimed at women or children.

This speaker, no doubt with good intentions, used the words self, self-esteem, self-awareness, self-acceptance, self-care, even self-actualization at least twenty times in her mercifully brief speech. It was overwhelming. Basically, her message to the graduates was, you owe it to yourself to take care of yourself and the best way to do this is to look inside yourself and pursue whatever your authentic self wishes to do or be.

It all sounded like a wonderful experience of freedom and self-fulfillment. 

This exaltation of the self has not gone away in American or Western culture. The self-esteem movement ran hot for some time, eventually resulting in among other things, trophies for every player, effusive praise in the face of error or lack of learning, feel-good affirmations for any and all behavior, thus a generation of children growing up (but not maturing) with a sense of entitlement, little in the way of expectation, a limited work ethic, no vision for themselves, an inability to deal with loss they were never asked to experience, and a sense of meaninglessness. 

Some have blamed this movement for the so-called “snowflakes” entering higher education today, students so emotionally fragile that mere unpleasant words trigger their ability to function normally, hence, the arrival of “safe spaces” and politically correct lists of vocabulary allowed in the classroom. And sadly if ironically, for all this attention to the self, young people today are unhappy.

Add to this the ubiquitous Internet: Every day, online influencers essentially say the same thing in thousands of Instagram posts, TikTok videos, and websites promoting products that ostensibly improve the self. 

Celebrities model this message as they post daily logs of their lives built around their appearance—beauty and fashion—materialistic excess, jet set lifestyles, opulent homes, non-stop parties, sensuality, and promiscuity. 

Whatever they desire, they do, because, well, they are the beautiful people whose lives are a model for us all. No one says it, but the message is, hedonism is healthy. 

Self-actualization, indeed, self-aggrandizement, is the ultimate path to the good life, to utopia, to heaven on earth.

Now I understand that some individuals, perhaps because they have been badly mistreated by parents or others, suffer from a serious lack of personal confidence, i.e., self-esteem. I understand this condition, particularly when resulting from emotional or psychological damage, is a very difficult challenge to overcome. I am not minimizing those peoples’ pain or otherwise ignoring their hurt. We should care about them. There is a biblical understanding and a Christian way to encourage and help these people.

This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends.

What I am saying is that while personal confidence and self-esteem rightly understood are wonderful blessings, promoting a philosophy rooted in humanism – self-esteem or specifically the self, as the answer to all our life problems, does not work.

We hear bland statements like, “Just believe in yourself,” or “Practice self-love,” or “One of the deepest ways to increase confidence is to connect to your inner power.”

Or how about, “The more you believe in yourself, the more you could trust yourself. The more you trust yourself, the less you compare yourself to others.” 
― Roy T. Bennett.

“Spirituality is not adopting more beliefs and assumptions but uncovering the best in you.” ― Amit Ray, Beautify Your Breath – Beautify Your Life.

“No one knows your truth but you. If you're secure in yourself, no one and no(thing) can touch you.” ― Brittany Burgunder.

The problem with all these comments that in essence say, Trust yourself, is that yourself is inherently untrustworthy. That’s right, you the self, and me the self, are untrustworthy.

The time in which we live is often called Postmodernity, and the dominant philosophy of our day is called Postmodernism. “Postmodernism views human beings as autonomous, self-determining agents…Gone is any notion of a transcendent, objective moral law, or even the natural laws of modernity. Reality is now subjective, the product of human minds.”

“Because postmodernism sees all reality as subjective, we no longer have a basis for human rights. Life and liberty have been replaced by a new overarching human right: ‘The right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.’” But this autonomous self, little gods, leads to social chaos. (Scott David Allen. Why Social Justice Is Not Biblical Justice.)

On the other hand, a Judeo-Christian worldview sees our times and our place in it differently, which is to say, accurately. While we as human beings are made in the image of God and as such are blessed with eternal value, significance, and meaning, while made in the image of God we are blessed with a right and righteous sense that God loves each and every one of us. We as individual selves are somebody. We can and should, therefore, possess a humble self-esteem based upon this knowledge.

But because of the Fall, because of sin, each human being is born in sin and possesses a sinful, depraved heart. 

Jer. 17:9 reminds us, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”

Rom. 3:10 says, “As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one.”

Rom. 3:23 states, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

And there is a remedy,

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).

In the book of Ephesians, the Apostle Paul speaks directly to the issue:

“You were taught with regard to the former way of life to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires, to be made new in the attitude of your minds, and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:22-24).

The Word of God describes humanity as we are – created in God’s image and uniquely, ultimately valuable, that is, We all matter. But we are also members of a sinful, fallen human race, capable of great evil and in need of redemption provided through Christ.

The point is, if we simply look inside ourselves, we find a sinful heart. We find someone untrustworthy. We find attitudes and values that do not conform to what God wants for us, which is to say what is best for us.

So, if we really want to improve ourselves, to change the self, we need to look not inside but outside ourselves to gain perspective, to know who we are, and to discover what may be done to bless our lives.

The self cannot fix or save itself. Let me say that again, the self cannot fix or save itself.

Pursuing the self’s natural desires leads us into hopeless hedonism, a toxic brew of shiny objects that only leads us on the broad path of destruction.

Meanwhile, God has not left us adrift. So, don’t trust yourself. 

Rather,

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart

And lean not on your own understanding;

In all your ways acknowledge him,

And he will make your paths straight” (Prov. 3:5-6).

 

Well, we’ll see you again soon. For more Christian commentary, be sure to subscribe to this podcast, Discerning What Is Best, or check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s rexmrogers.com. And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2022   

*This podcast blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.  

Remember that old chorus, “This world is not my home I’m just a-passing through”? I sang that many times as a kid in Daily Vacation Bible School and church camp.

The lyrics seem to suggest believers have no real role or duties on earth and the sooner we can get out of here the better, but is that really sound biblical theology?

Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #24 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life. 

When I was a young professor, I developed a college course entitled “Christian Social and Political Responsibility.” We examined what the Scripture said about a Christian’s place in the world, beginning with the Cultural Mandate in Gen. 1:26-28 wherein human beings are charged by God to care for the world and develop it. 

And we considered Jesus’s prayer in John 17, in which Jesus noted we are to be “not of the world” even though we remain “in the world,” and then not to be forgotten, he said, we are to go “into the world.” And in the Great Commission of Matt 28:19-20 we learned that we are to go into the world and make disciples, teaching them to follow Christ.

As a kid I was much blessed to have parents who took me to church where I learned not just Bible stories but theology, values, principles, and propositions in the Word of God. But it was in college that I first confronted the phrase “Christian theistic world and life view,” a mouthful that meant Christian philosophy of life, what later we shortened to Christian worldview.

A fully developed Christian worldview begins of course with salvation in Christ, but we don’t stop there, nor are we immediately raptured away to eternity. No, we live out our lives, for the time God gives us, and we are supposed to proclaim the Lordship of Christ in all of life. 

I have always believed Christians could fulfill these divine commands in a variety of ways, that we are called into all walks of life, some into politics, some not. 

This point of view goes back to what the great reformer Martin Luther said about vocation, that the farmer is as important and valued as the clergy.

So, according to Scripture we’re to witness to the truth of Christ, sharing with others the message of reconciliation. We’re to carry the message even as we care for the world, meaning build culture, make possible human flourishing to the glory of God.

But given humanity’s penchant for sin that began with the Fall from grace in the Garden of Eden, Romans 1 tells us sin affects every part of Creation. So, as we live out our lives we come in contact with spiritually bereft individuals who need saving grace, and we come into contact with a world full of what we now call social problems. 

Our task as Christians is to speak the truth in love, to be ready always to give an answer, and to bring peace, healing, and hope. This is the evangelism and social concerns tension. For which do we have greater responsibility and to which to we give more time?

In the early 1900s, Christians debated the relative importance of evangelism vs what was then called the social gospel. The Fundamentalist church movement emerged from this, rightly asserting the authority of Scripture—the fundamentals of the faith—over and against the social gospel proponents who too often strayed from Scripture. Unfortunately, many Fundamentalists eventually over-reacted by rejecting responsibility for or engagement in social issues.

By mid-century in the 1940s and thereafter, another segment of conservative Christendom emerged that became known as Evangelicals. Billy Graham, theologian Carl F.H. Henry to name two influential leaders helped propel this movement to great growth. Evangelicals attempted to maintain a commitment to the basic doctrines, the fundamentals of the faith, while giving renewed attention to social concerns.

Like most movements, in time, this one divided and it remains so today, along a spectrum, Right to Left. Some on the Right began to align with conservative politics and the Republican party. Some on the Left began to align with moderate to liberal politics and the Democrat party.

This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends.

Now in the early 21st Century, Evangelicals seem to be even more divided and may fragment further. We face a new tension in the form of a set of values collectively known as social justice ideology, maybe better known as Woke philosophy.  

As I detailed in an earlier podcast, social justice ideology has infiltrated virtually every part of American culture and much of the Church, especially those who would call themselves Liberal or Progressive or the Left, but now also increasingly among those who, formerly at least, aligned on the Right.

Social justice ideology is a secular worldview. The way social justice advocates define and approach their ostensible public goals—racial justice, helping the marginalized, expanding access and tolerance, justice for those who do not consider themselves sexually binary, and more, is at bottom antithetical to biblical Christianity. 

Social justice ideology must be resisted and rejected. It must not be allowed to influence the Christian church…and yet today it is.

In our present day, it’s much like a century ago. We must resist social justice ideology, which is not biblical and not Christian social concern, while at the same time, not losing site of our responsibility to both carry the message—evangelism—and care for the world—social responsibility.

All positive cultural change includes gospel proclamation and inward spiritual regeneration by the Holy Spirit. The antisocial justice mindset puts evangelism against social transformation. The biblical worldview, however, brings them together into a seamless whole. In the words of John Stott: ‘Evangelism is the major instrument of social change. For the gospel changes people, and changed people can change society.’”

We must not allow the Devil, as the chief of liars, to divide the Christian Church once again, those committed to evangelism on one side, those committed to social engagement on the other. The biblical approach to living in the world while not of the world while going into the world is built upon a Christian worldview that connects evangelism to social change. 

In fact, since most of the problems we face are spiritual at root, not social, the Good News of the Gospel stands as the most potent transformational message we can share. It changes people within, then they change what is without.

 

Well, we’ll see you again soon. For more Christian commentary, be sure to subscribe to this podcast, Discerning What Is Best, or check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s rexmrogers.com. And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2022   

*This podcast blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.  

 

It seems that everywhere we turn these days someone is talking about social justice. It seems like the right thing to do, but is it, and more importantly, how is social justice different from biblical justice?

Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #23 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.

 

 

Social justice has become a watchword for political discourse in the past few years. It sounds good, sounds like what every decent person should be concerned about. 

But what activists mean by “social justice” is considerably different from what the words used to mean in everyday parlance, and more importantly, it’s now become clear that social justice is not the same as biblical justice.

The best resource on this topic that I have seen is Scott David Allen’s book, Why Social Justice is not Biblical Justice. He defines the two phrases this way:

Biblical Justice is “Conformity to God’s moral standard as revealed in the Ten Commandments and the Royal Law: ‘love your neighbor as yourself.”’

Social Justice is “Deconstructing traditional systems and structures deemed to be oppressive, and redistributing power and resources from oppressors to their victims in the pursuit of equality of outcomes.”

In other words, the moral teaching of Scripture contrasts sharply with what is passing today as a means to a just society. 

Allen notes that a biblical worldview describes human beings as made in the image of God, whereas social justice ideology argues “we are children of society, fashioned by its social constructions and the power dynamics they maintain.”  

This is the critical difference. Biblical justice exalts and obeys God. Social justice ideology omits him entirely and introduces a surrogate—you, me, or society. And remember what Os Guinness said, either you worship God, or you worship an idol, even if that idol is you, me, or society.

Real justice, Allen notes, is truth conforming to a fixed point of reference, a higher law. “Without the higher law, justice is arbitrary and changeable based on whoever wields power.” God, not the self, not humanity, not government, “is the moral plumb line who determines what is good and right for all peoples, for all eras.”

Social justice ideology has made enormous inroads in virtually every corner of our culture. Promoting their ostensible ideology of fairness and equity, social justice activists have taken over education, Kindergarten to graduate school, media and entertainment, corporations, and politics as a speed that boggles the mind. 

Social justice ideology brings with it far more than a concern for diversity, equality, and inclusion, the oft-heard mantra. It brings a counterfeit theology, something the Apostle Paul warned us about in Col. 2:8, when he said, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.”

And what’s more, the social justice ideology blitzkrieg, while right there in front of us, still seems to have taken a lot of Christians, churches, church leaders, and even Christian universities unawares. And while I dislike thinking this, it appears that some Christians, churches, church or mission leaders, and faculty and staff members at Christian universities have knowingly embraced what is at bottom a worldview antithetical to biblical Christianity.

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Disconnected from God and his moral will, social justice ideology affirms the following:

1—The human mind, not God, is source of ultimate reality.  

2—Objective truth, reason, logic, evidence are simply the tools of oppressors. One can therefore only know “truth” through victims’ “lived out experiences.”

3—Personal identity is wholly socially constructed via class, race, gender, sexual orientation, etc., and individuals do not really matter. 

4—Promote division as path to power. 

  • Oppressors vs morally innocent victims
  • Class vs Capitalism, Property Owners
  • Race-minorities vs White supremacy or “whiteness.”
  • Females vs Males, i.e., patriarchy.
  • Gender-LGBTQ+ vs Judeo-Christian morality and natural family.

5—Argue not for equality of opportunity, or even equality before the law, but for equity, a vague sense of fairness defined as “if someone has more, it’s unfair.”

6-Systematically redefine words based upon its values, then masquerades these words to the public in outright deception, terms like women’s rights, binary, inclusiveness, tolerance, empowerment, even male and female.

Depending upon the word or phrase, these words or phrases may not be “bad” as such but buttressed by redefinition in the interest of social justice, they become tools with which to deceive the public.

Social justice ideology is now a secular religion, embraced by many people on what is now called the Left, the so-called “progressive” wing of philosophy, religion, and politics. This secular worldview strives to attract converts to its false theology and false politics. To do this, the points of the spear are always one of two things:

  • Race,now often promoted by a subset of social justice ideology called critical race theory,
  • Sex, defined as LGBTQ+, and gender identity.

The Left unrelentingly propagates its views, even while its cancel culture inclination works to silence opposing points of view. The Left literally sells the public with deception:

  • that all racial or ethnic minorities are ipso factovictims of society, and 
  • that any person who defines his/her sexuality as one of the ever-expanding 112 gender options, is somehow a victim of society.

Victimhood can include anything, but certainly bullying, lack of access and equity, trauma, mental illness, and more. For a public in the past 30 years that assumes every person must have unfettered path to self-actualization, this has become an easy sell.

People think they are doing good by expanding heretofore unknown justice. They feel good about themselves and often virtue signal online.

Social justice ideology sees injustice as, well, a social problem, but this is a critical mistake, for injustice is a moral problem. According to the Word of God, what human beings need as a remedy for sin is heart transformation, which is to say spiritual regeneration, salvation in Christ.  

This is not a conspiracy theory. What I’ve said is not exaggeration. The social justice revolution is happening across American culture. 

I am familiar with several Christian ministries already divided, weakened, and possibly lost to the Christian faith because staff members have either knowingly or unawares embraced this false worldview. 

Unless we resist and unless in the providence of God, he intervenes, the American Church is in trouble and the America we thought we knew is fast disappearing.

 

Well, we’ll see you again soon. For more Christian commentary, be sure to subscribe to this podcast, Discerning What Is Best, or check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s rexmrogers.com. And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2022   

*This podcast blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.  

Chicken Little was hit by a falling acorn one day and began yelling, “The sky is falling! The sky is falling,” thus working the entire farmyard into a turmoil. And now the Climate Change movement is telling us the world will soon end, but will it?

Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #22 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.

I’ve loved the outdoors as long as I can remember. It’s one reason my favorite color is green. 

As a kid, I reveled in spending time in the woods and in the fields on my Grandpa Rogers’s farm and elsewhere. I read every issue of the monthly “Field and Stream,” “Outdoor Life,” and “Sports Afield” magazines that arrived at our house.

In 8th Grade, a classmate David Hammond and I won an award for our entry in the Science Fair. Our project illustrated ways to reinforce conservation.

I remember Ohio’s Cuyahoga River catching on fire in 1969, sensationally making national news. When I was a freshman in college in 1970 President Nixon launched the Environmental Protection Agency. Then in 1979, there was a partial meltdown at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania. 

These early incidents stimulated the emerging environmental movement, eventually leading to global warming, then more recently, climate change. It’s a strange flipflop because in 1974, “Time” magazine’s cover proclaimed a “Coming Global Ice Age.” Not sure what happened to the Ice Age. Maybe it got melted away by global warming?

Now it seems as if we’re into an arms race to see how frightening climate alarmists can become: 

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says we’ve got 12 years to correct our climate sins before the world as we know it becomes unlivable. 

Former Vice President Al Gore speaks of an “inconvenient truth” at 10 years. Recently, the director of the film, “Don’t Look Up,” tweeted:

We’ve got 6-8 years before the climate is so chaotic we [will] live in a permanent state of biblical catastrophe.”

Wow.

Consider this recent study:  

“Angry, terrified, and in despair. These three words capture how many people are feeling because of climate change according to a recent… report "Mental Health and Our Changing Climate: Impacts, Inequities, and Responses." A global study…found that nearly 6 in 10 people aged 16 to 25 were very or extremely worried about the fate of the planet, nearly half of them reported climate distress or anxiety affecting their daily lives, three-quarters agreed that "the future is frightening," and over half are convinced that "humanity is doomed." 

The author’s remedy for all this is that we should look for ways to “take positive action,” go biking or walking. She said, “The key is to balance hope and worry…we must remain ‘stubbornly optimistic.’

So, the answer to the end of the world due to climate change is to remain stubbornly optimistic? But based upon what? No wonder young adults are experiencing anxiety.

This kind of climate change hyperbole is an example of what some have called “climate fear porn,” an ever-ratcheting-up hysteria

Problem is, rather than people rallying to combat the epic effects of climate change, people are wearily succumbing to “Apocalypse fatigue.” And the screeching Greta Thunberg—who I think is being used by older adults—embarrassingly makes things worse.

But I don’t think climate change, and certainly not fear, are what God had in mind for us.

As I said, I love the Creation we learn about in Genesis. Scripture says, ‘The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters,’ (Ps. 24:1-2; 1 Cor. 10:26).

I believe God gave humanity a magnificent environment in which to flourish, and in what’s called the “Cultural Mandate” of Gen. 1:26-28, God gave humanity dominion over the earth, meaning we are responsible for exercising wise stewardship, developing and caring for creation and everything in it.

This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends.

I also believe human beings have at times made bad choices that negatively affected God’s beautiful Creation. Because of the Fall (Gen. 3), even Creation is laboring under the weight of sin. God talks about this in several places in the Bible, e.g., “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time,” (Rom. 8:22; Ps. 102:25-27; Heb. 1:11-12).

You don’t have to review the whole of human history to recognize this. Just consider our American experience.

Think, for example, of the tens of millions of American Bison that were brought to near extinction in 1870-1890, or the Passenger Pigeon that numbered in the billions before being hunted without thought of conservation, the last pigeon dying in the Cincinnati Zoo in 1914. 

We nearly lost the American Bald Eagle and the Timber Wolf, but these species, along with the buffalo, are an example of what can be done when proper animal husbandry is employed. All three species are thriving again.

Plowed under indigenous grasses, together with over-farming of the Prairie in the late 19th, early 20thCentury, were precipitating factors that, together with severe drought, resulted in the 1930s Dust Bowl eroding millions of cubic tons of topsoil.

Clearcut logging in the West denuded mountainsides and contributed to later mudslides.

Earlier, I recorded a podcast on littering. Surely this is a global example of human irresponsibility. Some 9 billion tons of litter ends up in the ocean annually, and 50% of all littered items are cigarette butts.

So, human beings can exercise a damaging impact upon the environment.

But many in the climate change movement claim that human beings are solely responsible for all current degradation to the world, so much so, that if we do not immediately cease using fossil fuels, we’re goners in the near term.

The problem with climate change activists’ claims, however, are several:

  • Conclusions are based on biased computer modeling, not evidence.
  • Climate is always changing so their thesis is untestable and unproven.
  • The fact that humans contribute to global warming is demonstrable, but the effect is minimal, and zero use of fossil fuels immediately does not appreciably change this condition in the next hundred years.
  • Climate change is far more complex than simplistic bromides calling for shutting down oil, gas, coal and other fossil fuel consumption.
  • Calls for dramatic transitions from fossil fuels to other forms of energy like wind or solar are enormously expensive – so claims of “climate justice” on behalf of the poor are not deliverable.
  • Climate activists’ passion for alternative energy oddly does not include the clean, safe source of nuclear energy. 
  • Embedded in the climate change movement are values that run counter to ether to a Christian worldview or to traditional American values, among them, 
  1. Anti-humanity.
  2. God is irrelevant, unless the earth is the deity. 
  3. Anti-truth or genuine science.
  4. Anti-free enterprise or anti-capitalism.
  5. Look to government as the source salvation and utopia.

Climate change enthusiasts demonstrate that what is going on here is a worldview battle: for many, climate change has become a secular religion.

Politicians, environmentalists, and media create a triad constantly promoting climate catastrophe. They do this because fear sells. It scares people to the point they support the triad with money and power. 

Yes, climate change is happening. It’s always happening. Droughts, floods, hurricanes are not getting worse. Fires are decreasing. Even Antarctic Sea ice is not declining.

We know the earth is warming modestly, but climate change is not an existential threat.

We should remember what God told Noah after the Great Flood: “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease,” (Gen. 8:22).

Well, we’ll see you again soon. For more Christian commentary, be sure to subscribe to this podcast, Discerning What Is Best, or check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s rexmrogers.com. And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2022   

*This podcast blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.