Social Media is Rarely a Healthy Alternative to Fake News

I am often amazed by what people who decry fake news post on their social media feed. Often they complain about fake news with one breath and post more of it to their pages with the next. I get it; there is a lot of fake news out there. Mainstream media is not the bastion of journalistic integrity it claims to be. The problem is that social media feeds tend to be much worse, and we feed upon them daily without complaint.

I am a Christian, and I am conservative, but just like my liberal friend’s posts, half of what my conservative friends post is also untrustworthy. It is a shame that we have to filter through half-truths and slander even from those who share our views. These misleading posts come in multiple forms.

First and foremost are the memes. There are some great memes out there that are worthy to be shared, but it seems a high percentage of them are not. It is easy to let misleading memes slide because they are more about comedy and satire than truth, right? The problem is that many people are unable to spot the non-sequitur or the equivocation that exist in many of these posts and believe it is a good argument. It seems most people who post such things tend to miss the fallacy too. Rarely does the person posting the logically fallacious meme do so simply to be funny; most actually think it makes a good point. Know this, if you post a logically fallacious meme, the people who recognize it automatically assume you were not bright enough to catch it. The are many errors in reasoning that exist in memes, but irrelevant association is a repeat offender.

The second thing that takes place is that my conservative friends often repost the most ludacris posts they can find from liberals; I am talking about retweeting the asinine. From videos of antifa beating someone on the street to unadulterated racism, these posts sprinkle throughout our feeds. From there, they conclude that all liberals are just like them. They paint everyone who disagrees with them with an extreme brush.

The final problem I will mention has to do with social media logarithms. If we hit like on a post similar to those mentioned above, Facebook and other platforms will then put more of the same in front of you. They have one primary goal, to get you to spend more time on their platform. That is how they make money off you. To do this, they will show you what you like to see, not necessarily what you need to see. If you clicked like on one conspiracy theory, from there, your feed will be filled with similar conspiracy theories. It can get to the point where you see so much of it, it will start to feel like the entire world agrees. This bandwagon mentality can then push us further and further into our delusion.

This constant reinforcement to our imagination is how we get to the point that we think the other side is clinically insane, because how can they believe what they believe after seeing everything we are seeing. The problem is, they are not seeing what we are seeing. Liberals are likely witnessing the exact opposite in their feeds and think we are clinically insane. All of this has contributed to the polarization of our society.

The bottom line is this: we tend to lose our ability to complain about fake news if we willingly feed on a diet social media posts that are more misleading than the mainstream media. Please do not get me wrong. There are real issues at stake in our culture, from sexual perversion and abortion to racism and riots. In dealing with the ramifications of these issues, we will often need to use strong words, but vitriol and bitterness do not fit Christians. Scripture tells us, “The servant of the Lord must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil (2 Timothy 2:24).” This applies on social media as well. We are to be bearers of the truth, but why would anyone listen to us when we speak the word of God if we are willing to cast the truth aside as long as it helps make our opponents look bad.

-D. Eaton

Breaking New From Heaven

  • Suffering for Jesus is still a blessed part of living for him.

There has yet to be a promise from heaven that says living a godly life would be easy in a fallen world. We should still expect persecution, but scripture is still able to to equip us for every good work. Read full story here.

  • All things continue to work for the good of those who love him.

Contrary to all those who come against Jesus and his followers, all things continue to work out for the good of those that love God and are called according to his purposes. Read full story here.

  • The Lord of heaven still laughs as the nations rage.

It was confirmed this morning that while wicked rulers take counsel together and the nations rage, He who sits in heaven still laughs. Read full story here.

  • The saints who have gone before remain happier than they have ever been.

While we continue fighting the good fight of faith, the saints who have gone before continue to enjoy heaven where there is no more pain. We will join them soon. Read full story here.

  • We are to keep preaching the word of God.

Even though there are many who refuse to endure sound doctrine and are heaping up teachers to suit their own passions, Christians are to continue preaching the word. Read full story here.

  • God continues to give strength to the weary.

The Lord knows that we do not have the strength in ourselves to handle all of this, but he has promised to renew the strength of those who will wait upon him. Read full story here.

  • God maintains his promise to forgive the wicked if they will turn to him.

Despite what many seem to indicate, he still forgive sinful people if they will turn to him. Read full story here.

  • Jesus plans on returning soon.

Contrary to scoffers, Jesus will return to judge the quick and the dead, and he is bringing his recompense with him. Read full story here.

God is Faithful to His Promises (and Threats)

May the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that day. – 2 Timothy 1:18

There is a day coming that is so severe the Bible often refers to it simply as “that day.” It is so expected and so known, no other descriptors are necessary.  “It will be a day of death and judgment,” as Matthew Henry says, “an awful day.” In the verse above, Paul is remembering the good work of Onesiphorus and blesses him by saying, “may he find mercy on that day.” On that day, the only way anyone will stand if we receive mercy because it is a day of justice and we are all guilty. We have all fallen short of the glory of God, and the wages of sin is death. On that day, the best Christians, even the apostles and prophets themselves, will need mercy.

Notice in this verse who we will need mercy from. We will need mercy “from the Lord.” It will be a day of his vengeance, and the Lord himself will carry it out. On that day, the Lord will repay humanity for its sins; every time we scorned his law, belittled his name, and saw our honor as more precious than his. If you want a good test of how prone we are to do this, think about the last time someone spoke a word of disgrace against your name, and think about the how it filled you with rage. Then remember what Thomas Manton said, “but we can hear God’s name dishonored and not be moved about it.” Even as believers, we are often poisoned with self-love, which far outweighs our love for God. On that day, the infinite God, who will not be mocked, will pour out his infinite justice on finite creatures.

We must be saved from God, but it is also God who does the saving. This truth is why the verse says, “the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord.” It is the Lord himself, who grants mercy. God is righteous, just, and must punish sin. He will not deny himself, but he has made a way to satisfy the wrath of those who will put their trust in him. On the cross, we see the wrath of God propitiated for those who will come to him in faith. When the triune God saw the problem of sin in his people, he took it upon himself to provide the needed mercy.

The cross of Jesus Christ is an act of perfect divine justice, and at the same time, it is an act of perfect divine mercy. If you hope to find mercy on that day, you must seek it in Jesus Christ now. Come to the throne of perfect righteousness, and you will find mercy. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). However, if we do not accept Jesus and the wrath he poured out on the cross, we will be left to face the just penalty for our sins ourselves on that day. It is by looking to the cross that we see most clearly that God is faithful to fulfill his merciful promises and his threats. Which ones we will experience depends entirely upon what we do with Jesus Christ.

-D. Eaton

Painting Sin with Virtue’s Colors

Satan knows that if he would present sin in its own nature and dress, the soul would rather fly from it than yield to it; and therefore he presents it unto us, not in its own proper colors, but painted and gilded over with the name and show of virtue, that we may the more easily be overcome by it, and take the more pleasure in committing of it. Pride, he presents to the soul under the name and notion of neatness and cleanliness; and covetousness (which the apostle condemns for idolatry) to be but good business; and drunkenness to be good fellowship, and riotousness under the name and notion of liberality, and wantonness as a trick of youth.

Remedy 1

Consider that sin is never a whit the less filthy, vile, and abominable by its being colored and painted with virtue’s colors. A poisonous pill is never a whit the less poisonous because it is gilded over with gold; nor a wolf is never a whit the less a wolf because he has put on a sheep’s skin; nor the devil is never a whit the less a devil because he appears sometimes like an angel of light. So neither is sin any whit the less filthy and abominable by its being painted over with virtue’s colors.

Remedy 2

Consider that the more sin is painted forth under the color of virtue, the more dangerous it is to the souls of men. This we see evident in these days, by those very many souls that are turned out of the way that is holy, and in which their souls have had sweet and glorious communion with God into ways of highest vanity and folly, by Satan’s neat coloring over of sin, and painting forth vice under the name and color of virtue. This is so notoriously known that I need but name it. The most dangerous vermin is too often to be found under the fairest and sweetest flowers, the fairest glove is often drawn upon the foulest hand, and the richest robes are often put upon the filthiest bodies. So are the fairest and sweetest names upon the greatest and the most horrible vices and errors that be in the world. Ah! that we had not too many sad proofs of this among us!

Remedy 3

Look on sin with the eye of the coming judgment. Ah, souls! when you shall lie upon a dying bed, and stand before a judgment-seat, sin shall be unmasked, and its dress and robes shall then be taken off, and then it shall appear more vile, filthy, and terrible than hell itself; then, that which formerly appeared most sweet will appear most bitter, and that which appeared most beautiful will appear most ugly, and that which appeared most delightful will then appear most dreadful to the soul. Ah, the shame, the pain, the gall, the bitterness, the horror, the hell that the sight of sin, when its dress is taken off, will raise in poor souls! Sin will surely prove evil and bitter to the soul when its robes are taken off. A man may have the stone who feels no fit of it. Conscience will work at last, though for the present one may feel no fit of accusation. Laban showed himself at parting. Sin will be bitterness in the latter end, when it shall appear to the soul in its own filthy nature.

The devil deals with men as the panther does with beasts; he hides his deformed head until his sweet scent has drawn them into his danger. Until we have sinned, Satan is a parasite; when we have sinned, he is a tyrant. O souls! the day is at hand when the devil will pull off the paint and garnish that he has put upon sin, and present that monster, sin, in such a monstrous shape to your souls, that will cause your thoughts to be troubled, your countenance to be changed, the joints of your loins to be loosed, and your knees to be dashed one against another, and your hearts to be so terrified, that you will be ready, with Ahithophel and Judas, to strangle and hang your bodies on earth, and your souls in hell, if the Lord has not more mercy on you than he had on them. Oh! therefore, look upon sin now as you must look upon it to all eternity, and as God, conscience, and Satan will present it to you another day!

Remedy 4

Seriously consider, that even those very sins that Satan paints, and puts new names and colors upon, cost the best blood, the noblest blood, the life-blood, the heart-blood of the Lord Jesus. That Christ should come from the eternal bosom of his Father to a region of sorrow and death; that God should be manifested in the flesh, the Creator made a creature; that he who was clothed with glory should be wrapped with rags of flesh; he who filled heaven and earth with his glory should be cradled in a manger; that the almighty God should flee from weak man—the God of Israel into Egypt; that the God of the law should be subject to the law, the God of the circumcision circumcised, the God who made the heavens working at Joseph’s homely trade; that he who binds the devils in chains should be tempted; that he, whose is the world, and the fullness thereof, should hunger and thirst; that the God of strength should be weary, the Judge of all flesh condemned, the God of life put to death; that he who is one with his Father should cry out of misery, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46); that he who had the keys of hell and death at his belt should lie imprisoned in the sepulcher of another, having in his lifetime nowhere to lay his head, nor after death to lay his body; that that head, before which the angels do cast down their crowns, should be crowned with thorns, and those eyes, purer than the sun, put out by the darkness of death; those ears, which hear nothing but hallelujahs of saints and angels, to hear the blasphemies of the multitude; that face, which was fairer than the sons of men, to be spit on by those beastly wretched Jews; that mouth and tongue, which spoke as never man spoke, accused for blasphemy; those hands, which freely swayed the scepter of heaven, nailed to the cross; those feet, “like unto fine brass,” nailed to the cross for man’s sins; each sense pained with a spear and nails; his smell, with stinking odor, being crucified on Golgotha, the place of skulls; his taste, with vinegar and gall; his hearing, with reproaches, and sight of his mother and disciples bemoaning him; his soul, comfortless and forsaken; and all this for those very sins that Satan paints and puts fine colors upon! Oh! how should the consideration of this stir up the soul against sin, and work the soul to fly from it, and to use all holy means whereby sin may be subdued and destroyed!

It was good counsel one gave, “Never let go out of your minds the thoughts of a crucified Christ.” Let these be food and drink unto you; let them be your sweetness and consolation, your honey and your desire, your reading and your meditation, your life, death, and resurrection.

-Thomas Brooks

THE FIGHT OF FAITH

Below is the post I wrote in 2016 to launch this site. It was a dark time for me. I was struggling in new ways with my health, and I was unsure of what it was going to do to me going forward. Like a journal entry, I go back to read this post from time to time, and what I can tell you almost five years later is every bit of it is still true. The storm clouds our Savior sends to train us may perplex us, but they do not drive us to despair because we have a treasure in these jars of clay; the Holy Spirit and the faith he supplies always rises to the challenge. He never lets go of his children. We are kept by the power of God through faith (1 Peter 1:5).

The sky has turned dark.  It has not always been this way, but now it is frightening.  Not long ago, it was bright and sunny as was the disposition of my heart, but now the thunder crashes are similar to the war drums of an enemy telling me that I will never survive. When the skies were clear, I always imagined that I had the strength to handle whatever would come my way, but now as I stand here, I realize how weak I am compared to the power of this storm.

Somehow, the darkness that has surrounded me has begun to make its way into my soul. The doubts, confusions, and fears continue to whisper to me, and they seem to be penetrating deep into my heart. It even has a way of making the simple tasks of the day seem burdensome. Deep inside me, it has revealed the truth that I am no match for what I am facing, and to crown its victory, it declares my sinfulness by reminding me of my many failures.

However, that is not all this storm has revealed; something deeper still has begun to stir. Something that is turning my eyes away from the ephemeral and focusing my attention on what endures. It was there before the skies turned dark, but I am only now beginning to see its power. It has gripped me and will not let go. It is something that was born within by a strength not my own which is what gives it a life of its own. It is said, those born in this way will overcome the world, and what is this victory that overcomes the world – our faith.

It often takes a storm more powerful than I am before I reach out for the Hand that is more powerful than the storm, and though the tempest remembers my transgressions, the Hands that hold me bear the scars of nail piercings that declare my forgiveness.  I still tremble, and sometimes it is difficult to tell whether it is out of fear or out of faith, but what I am beginning to see is that there is something, or should I say, Someone, greater within me than what is in the world.

One day it will all be put right, but the sky is still dark, and the storm is still raging. When I see the things of this world slipping from my grasp, the tears sometimes well up in my eyes. Although, I’ve learned that the One who holds me is also directing the storm, so I have nothing to fear. You may not always see me holding it together, but know this, deep inside, there is a battle raging to set me free from the things that hold me captive. That battle is the fight of faith, and that battle will not be lost.

-D. Eaton

Stress in the Body

Just as stress affects our physical bodies, it can also affect our church body. I am not a strong man. As much as a want to be, and as much as I try to let the semblance of strength linger around me, when the stresses of life start applying pressure, my body succumbs to its presence. I live with a chronic illness, and the stress and strains of life wear on my body much more than they used to. When I need my physical health the most, that is the minute it begins to let me down. As we all know, stress is not merely an emotional or spiritual reality. It manifests itself in a multitude of tangible ways, and each person experiences it differently.

The body of the local church is not much different. When conflicts, financial pressures, or any other external force begins to weigh heavily on the church, there will be symptoms that arise among its members. The restrictions of COVID-19 are an excellent example of this. Regardless of what you think the right path forward is, there are people in your congregation who disagree and are as distressed about the situation as you are for different reasons.

Typically, in difficult times, we would go to our church family to find refuge when we are heavy-hearted, but what we are facing right now is bigger than any one of us. We are all feeling its weight in different ways. When we need our church family the most, we might find that it too is manifesting the stress we came to forget. On top of that, one of the essential aspects of corporate worship, drawing near to each other, is stifled. It is hindered not only by the governmental  restrictions in place, but it is also hampered by the multitude of opinions of how closely the church should follow those restrictions. Whether your church is abiding by all the guidelines or is gathering as usual, there is a portion of the body that is uncomfortable with what it is doing.

When my physical body begins to show its weakness under the stress I am facing, something interesting begins to take place. It is as if my faith rises to meet the challenge. When I speak of my faith, I speak of it in two ways. First, it is the biblical truth I believe about Christ, and the trust I have in him. Saving faith always involves correct data, assent, and trust. Second, it is the gift of God. The reason our faith as Christians is powerful is not that it is our faith, but because it is born from above. Not only is it born of God, but he also sustains it. We are kept by the power of God through faith (1 Peter 1:5). For this reason, scripture tells us, For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith (1 John 5:4).” Faith is the victory that overcomes the world because it is the work of the Holy Spirit, and greater is he who is in us than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4).

Amid my weakness, the Lord empowers me through faith by turning my eyes away from my strength and ability and placing them directly upon my hope and stay Jesus Christ. Here, in my frailty, his power is made perfect. Every time this happens, it is a step forward in sanctification of sorts, because I should have never been trusting in my strength. In the furnace of affliction, the Lord brings the dross to the surface to remove it. With my eyes firmly fixed on Jesus, many of things I thought were important fade away. As they fade, so does much of my unnecessary concern and the bodily impact that came with it.

I believe the same process can happen in church bodies. It is easy for a group of believers to experience stability for so long that their eyes begin to look more to the body’s health and benefits than their Savior. When the manifestation of stress begins to show in the congregation, we begin to realize, even as a church, we all still have a chronic illness that makes us weak. Though we have been forgiven and declared righteous in Christ, every single one of us is still dealing with indwelling sin. We are not as strong as we think we are, even as a group.

When frustrations with their local church begin to manifest, many people start looking for another body to join, but they will never find what they are looking for because we are all the same. The grass is only greener on the other side until you step on the first sharp rock. If the stresses of 2020 are impacting your relationship with your local church, my prayer is, as a congregation, the spirit will use this time to draw your eyes to your Savior. The body is only as healthy as its focus on Jesus.

It is only when we all have our eyes on him that we will be able to navigate the troubled waters with unity. Unless your church is violating essential teachings of the faith or openly engaging in or embracing sinful activities and ideas, this is not the time to jump ship. It is time to double-down on your commitment to the people you have been worshipping with all along.

They need you now more than ever. Take your eyes off the waves of dissatisfaction, look to Jesus, and go out of your way to love one another because they are as troubled by all of this as you are, even if it is for different reasons. As we regain our focus, many of the church’s concerns will fall away, and so will many of the effects on the body that came with them. If this begins to happen across the church, you will know that Lord has taken your eyes off your failing body and put them on him. He has caused the church’s faith to rise to the challenge, and in its weakness, his strength is being made perfect.

-D. Eaton

5 Mistakes People Make in Understanding the Beatitudes

The beatitudes are essential to the Christian life, but many people have not taken the time to understand them properly. There are many Christians who have misconceptions about what they are and what they mean. Here are five mistakes people make in understanding the Beatitudes.

1. They assume the beatitudes are something only notable Christians possess.

The beatitudes are not something set aside for some unique category of Christians. They are something every Christian should possess. We do not do these things to be saved; we are this way because we are saved. The beatitudes are the products of the grace of God in our lives. None of us indeed possess them perfectly, and we should all desire to grow in them, but if we do not have at all, that should be a serious warning to us.

2. Like spiritual gifts, they assume each Christians will only have one or two of the Beatitudes.

The Beatitudes are not like spiritual gifts. One Christian does not get poverty of spirit while another has hungering for righteousness. All Christians are meant to manifest all of these. One of the main reasons is that as you begin to study through the beatitudes, you will find that they are all linked together. Poverty of spirit leads to mourning, and mourning leads to meekness, and meekness leads to hungering for righteousness and so forth. To have one is logically connected to having all of them.

3. They assume the beatitudes are natural tendencies or dispositions.

None of the beatitudes are natural tendencies. They do not exist in the heart of the natural man, nor are they even possible in people who have not been born again. Part of this misunderstanding stems from not understanding the Beatitudes themselves. They may assume that poverty of spirit means to sympathize with the poor or to mourn means to be sorrowful when someone dies, but even people who reject God do those things, and they do not possess the blessings attached to each of the beatitudes. The beatitudes go much deeper than natural behavior.

4. They fail to see them as the essential difference between Christians and non-Christian.

Since they often misunderstand the Beatitudes themselves and see them something that can exist in the natural man, they do not know how entirely upside-down they are compared to the desires and goals of the lost. Instead of poverty of spirit, the natural man pursues pride of spirit, and instead of mourning over their lost condition, they seek self-satisfaction and righteousness. Rather than being meek, they believe the only way to inherit the earth is through a will to power, and we could go on, but the reality is, rightly understood, only Christians can possess these. The Beatitudes reveal that the non-Christian and the Christian operate from entirely contrary principles.

5. They assume that the Beatitudes can help them gain worldly success.

Some people try to use the beatitudes like a list of self-help tactics to gain affluence. The reality is, the Beatitudes show us that we belong to an entirely different kingdom. The non-believer is pursuing the kingdom of this world while the Christian is pursuing the kingdom of heaven. The beatitudes are contrary to seeking the riches and treasures of this world, and those who try to use them in pursuit of worldly glory, show us that they do not understand them at all. The Beatitudes belong to those who desire God’s rule, righteousness, and glory.

This list of mistakes was derived from Martin Lloyd-Jones’ outstanding book, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount. In the book, he lays out five things we need to know about the beatitudes. Each of his points corresponds to one of the mistakes I have written above. These common misunderstandings are why I began writing a series of posts on each beatitude several years ago.  Unfortunately, I got sidetracked. I have completed the first four, and I hope to finish the second four over the next few months. Below you will find the list of beatitudes. As each new post is written, I will update this page with the links to each article.

Man’s Relationship to God

Man’s Relationship to Man

  • Merciful
  • Pure in heart
  • Peacemaker
  • Persecuted for Righteousness

-D. Eaton

When the Mob Asks, “Are You a Christian?”

A 30-second video has been circling the web for the past couple of days. It is a group of protestors surrounding a female bystander demanding that she raise her fist for their cause. There is much that could be said about this clip, but what some people have missed is the question asked of the woman at the 26-second mark. Twice she is asked if she is a Christian. See the video below.

Based on what we see in this video, there is no indication that this woman is a Christian, yet, the woman asking the question is making an assumption. Why would she do that? According to the secular ideology driving many of these revolutionaries, Christianity is problem.

Secularism has no place for Christianity unless it is a liberalized distortion of it that has a form of godliness but denies its power (2 Timothy 3:5). Even when we agree that the lives of black men, women, and children are of the utmost importance because God has made them in his image and that racism is an evil that needs to end, it will never be enough. The demands will continue to come. We will either have to embrace all aspects of their revolution, or we will face their wrath. If they cannot indict us on charges of racism, they will find some other cause to use.

When the mobs ask, “Are you a Christian?” How will you respond? Before you answer that, let me ask you what will see when you look at the faces of the people when they surround you? Will you see eternal souls who need the light of Christ? Will you remember that you used to be one of them? The wrath of God used to hang over us as well, but Christ saved us from our sins. With these things in mind, what would it cost to capitulate and deny our faith? We would throw away our chance to shine the light of Christ and abandon our questioners to their lost condition, and we would have turned our backs on our King to serve ourselves.

When the multitude comes against you, seek the face of the Lord. Power and might are in his hand, and no one can withstand him (2 Chronicles 20:6). When you are powerless against the horde, he will be with you. The Lord says, “Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed, for the battle is not your but his” (2 Chronicles 20:15).

There is no angry mob as terrifying as the wrath we once faced for our sins. Since we understand that, we do not fear them who can kill the body, we fear God who can destroy both body and soul in hell, and he has set us free and calls us his children (Matthew 8:28). With the fear of God, we possess a fear that makes us fearless, because even if they destroy our bodies, in our flesh, we shall see God (Job 19:26).

When the mob asks, “Are you a Christian?,” with meekness and humility, stand firm, hold your position, speak the truth in love, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf (2 Chronicles 20:17). For even if they take your life, his light will shine through your suffering, and you will stand in the presence of your King. Who knows, like Stephen standing with Paul (Acts 7:54-8:1), maybe one day, one or more of the faces in the crowd will stand there in heaven with you, and you can praise your Savior together.

-D. Eaton

7 Ways to Feed Your Faith in College

A busy academic and social schedule in college can easily pull the Christian away from God’s Word. But remember: you cannot defend God and His Word if you are not sanctified (set apart) for Him by means of contact with His Word. Too many Christian students drift away from the faith in college because they have not been prepared for the spiritual and apologetic battles they will face. Dr. Gary North once wrote an article advertising a Christian college. The article showed a dejected father who had sent his son off to a secular college. It stated: “I spent $40,000 to send my son to hell.”

Seven Practices Christians Must Do in College.

1. Frequently remind yourself of the nature of spiritual warfare. In order to prepare yourself for your college classes, at the beginning of each semester you should re-read the biblical passages that demonstrate the active antagonism of the unbelieving world against your Christian faith. You must not forget the nature of the unbeliever’s challenge to your holistic (all encompassing) faith.

2. Diligently seek to evaluate everything you are being taught from a principled Christian perspective. After classes each day, jot down comments on the contradictions to the Christian faith which you encountered. Keep them in a notebook. Writing things down is the best secret to a good memory. Reflect on biblical answers to these supposed contradictions.

3. Develop small Bible study and accountability groups with other Christian students on campus. A part of defending the faith involves promoting its defense even among believers. As a Christian in fellowship with other Christians, you should urge fellow believers to realize their spiritual obligation to defend the faith before and unbelieving world.

4. Seek out any Christian campus ministries that are strongly committed to the Bible and are developing the Christian life. Attend their meetings and involve yourself in their ministries.

5. Find a good church in the area of your college. Commit yourself to attend church regularly. As Christians, we must not be “forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encourage one another” (Heb. 10:25).

6. Where possible use class assignments to present the Christian perspective on issues. We would recommend that you avoid narrow testimonial types of papers. You should rather discretely develop worldview oriented themes that work basic Christian principles into the picture. In-your-face testimonials might be an affront to your professor and may appear to be a challenge to him. But working out your biblical principles might alert him to the philosophical implications of Christianity and will certainly help you flesh out your own understanding. You must be about “making the most of your time” while in college . . . You will certainly not find your professors assigning papers that encourage your Christian faith. But you must seek the opportunities—when they are allowed.

7. As a well-rounded Christian seeking to glorify Christ, you must approach your academic studies in a mature and diligent fashion. Your are both paying hard-earned money for a college education and spending your God-given time in college; make the most of your investment. Do not cut corners in your studies or simply try to “get by.” Christ calls you to excellence. Some students are naturally lazy, others suffer from voluntary inertia. Do not allow your educational experience to inadvertently teach you to be intellectually lazy. Such laziness is disloyalty to Christ.

-Greg L. Bahnsen; Pushing the Antithesis

When Christians Try to Please the Culture

Society is filled with voices trying to tell us what to think and how to live, and we often spend too much time trying to please the unpleasable. Too often, churches spend more time trying to charm the culture rather than serving our Savior. We seek to entice the lost with entertainment when they are drowning in it already, and we conform our talking points to mimic their topics of the day. The problem is we gain nothing by it; we compromise our calling, and the world maintains its displeasure.

Even in the time of Jesus, the world could not be appeased. In instructing us, our Savior once compared his culture to children in the marketplace calling out to their peers (Matthew 11:16). Kids in the public square do not contribute to the commerce, but they do begin to imitate their parents’ authority. Somehow, these children came to believe it was in their jurisdiction to tell other children what was important and how they should act. No matter how much their companions tried to appease them, they were never satisfied. These sham superintendents said, “we played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn (Matthew 11:17).”

Jesus went on to explain. He said John the Baptist came neither eating nor drinking, and they said he had a demon (Matthew 11:18). In saying John had a demon, they were showing their displeasure because he would not celebrate what they thought he should celebrate. Then came Jesus, eating and drinking and declaring the year of jubilee, and they called him a glutton and a drunkard (Matthew 11:19). Remember, you will never hit a moving target.

Regardless of how much we mirror the world’s patterns, unless we embrace their sin and reject the core teaching of Jesus, they will continue to condemn. Scripture calls us a peculiar people. We are not to conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2). One of the things that made John the Baptist a great man of God was that he was not a reed shaken by the wind; he did not bow to cultural and political pressures. He also knew how to suffer discomfort when necessary. He was not a man in soft clothing seeking to live in earthly palaces (Matthew 11:7). He was a prophet of God fulfilling his calling no matter what it cost him. This is why the people came out to see him; it was because he was set apart from this world not because he was like them.

Perhaps it is time for us to pay less attention to world’s dances and dirges, and pay closer attention to the voice of our Savior. It is time to stop being reeds bent by the cultural winds. The Christian life has its place for feasting and fasting, but they seldom align with the passions of the world. Maybe it is time for us to live in a way that says we do not take our marching orders from the pretended authority of the children in the marketplace. We follow the Father. The one who’s feasts and fasts, unlike the world’s, can satisfy the soul, offer us peace, and lead us to glory.

-D. Eaton