Tag Archives: Future

Government spending bankrupts our children and grandchildren

Ohio conservative Jim Jordan speaks out for generations not yet born.

Excerpt:

Government spending at its current level is “immoral, wrong and unfair” to the future generations that will be left to pay off ever increasing amounts of debt, Rep. Jim Jordan, the chairman of the Republican Study Committee tells Newsmax.TV.

That’s why the new budget proposal the committee revealed on Tuesday is so much better than another GOP proposal put forward by Budget Committee chairman, Rep. Paul Ryan, he said.

“We have a debt that is bigger than our entire economy, a debt that’s bigger than our GDP,” said the Ohio congressman. “We have to talk straight with the American people and say we are now making interest payments of $230 billion a year and that is going to increase dramatically over the next 10 years to where interest payments will be bigger than what we currently spend on national defense.

“It is immoral, it is wrong, it is unfair for one generation to live for the moment, to spend for the moment and send the bill to our kids and our grandkids. That is just wrong.”

Jordan said one of the things that makes America great is the concept that each generation makes sacrifices so their children can have a better life than they had. “Each generation has done it for the next until now.

“For the first time in American history we have a generation of Americans living for the moment and saying, ‘That’s OK, and we will send the bill to someone else.’

“We need to make that case and spell out what happens if we don’t begin to fix it, that we will in fact have a debt crisis just like Greece, just like Italy, just like these other countries are facing today. That should not happen to the greatest country in the world and that’s what our budget would prevent.”

This is why we should not believe the Democrats when they tell us sob stories about need to spending more money “fore the children”. The only thing that the children will get from the Democrats is unemployment and debt.

William Lane Craig: do all roads lead to God?

Do all roads lead to God? Christian philosopher William Lane Craig explains the Christian view of how imperfect humans are related to a morally-perfect God in this lecture presented to the students at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2004. He also defends against the charges of intolerance made by religious pluralists, who believe that all religions are basically the same – and all valid paths to God.

About the speaker:

William Lane Craig is Research Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, California.

Dr. Craig pursued his undergraduate studies at Wheaton College (B.A. 1971) and graduate studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (M.A. 1974; M.A. 1975), the University of Birmingham (England) (Ph.D. 1977), and the University of Munich (Germany) (D.Theol. 1984). From 1980-86 he taught Philosophy of Religion at Trinity… In 1987 they moved to Brussels, Belgium, where Dr. Craig pursued research at the University of Louvain until assuming his position at Talbot in 1994.

He has authored or edited over thirty books, including The Kalam Cosmological Argument; Assessing the New Testament Evidence for the Historicity of the Resurrection of Jesus; Divine Foreknowledge and Human Freedom; Theism, Atheism and Big Bang Cosmology; and God, Time and Eternity, as well as over a hundred articles in professional journals of philosophy and theology, including The Journal of Philosophy, New Testament Studies, Journal for the Study of the New Testament, American Philosophical Quarterly, Philosophical Studies, Philosophy, and British Journal for Philosophy of Science.

Craig’s CV is here.

Craig’s list of publications is here.

The lecture and discussion

Here’s the lecture and Q&A in 10 parts.

First part:

The lecture is in 6 parts:

Part 1 of 10
Part 2 of 10
Part 3 of 10
Part 4 of 10
Part 5 of 10
Part 6 of 10

And then 4 more parts for Q&A:

Part 7 of 10
Part 8 of 10
Part 9 of 10
Part 10 of 10

There is also a paper that follows the lecture very closely, for those who do not have the bandwidth for the videos.

Youth pastor Tory Ninja pleads with Christian parents to get involved

Tory Ninja
Tory Ninja

This is from one of our regular commenters Tory Ninja.

I’m a youth pastor in a church in Canada and have worked with youth for the last 10 years. And I think my current position is almost pointless and a waste of funds. Actually, I think the position is pointless in most churches. This post is an explanation as to why.

The short answer is this: Parents.

The long answer is this:

When I came into my current church setting 6 months ago I quickly realized something had gone horribly wrong in the youth and children ministries (the same could be said for the church I was in before). No one knew anything about the Bible or Christianity. Now don’t get me wrong, every class has one or two super geeks. In the church I was in previously the geek had been the son of a missionary, in my current church it is a kid who knows more stuff than most college students on most everything and a young convert girl who used to attend an underground church in China. But other than these people, who had external reasons to know things, no one knew anything.

Actually, Christianity didn’t really seem to impact any of their lives beyond coming to church on Sunday and giving lip service to some sort of Christian/secular garbage morality. Their knowledge of the Bible is non-existent. For example, most people did not know the story of Noah’s Ark. Now, I don’t mean they were confused over whether it was a local flood, or a global flood, or a literary creation. Oh no, if only! Rather, they just didn’t know the story… at all. Most of these kids (14-17) had grown up in the church. So what went wrong?

The first place you would think is the problem is with the church. We must be some sort of hippy liberal, let’s talk about our feelings, never bring out the Bible because it’s old and outdated, type of church. Nope. We are actually quite a strongly conservative, very biblically based, and incredibly mission orientated denomination. To become a pastor in this denomination, (I’m not talking about ordination here, that’s even harder), you literally have to know the Bible and theology better than anyone in the pew would know. You get grilled. Most people fail when they apply, and many people who apply are graduates from the denomination’s seminaries. (They do let you try again, and most people eventually pass after lots of study).  I remember one of the questions I was asked was “Hmmm, you say in your application that you like history. Could you please explain to us the history behind the canon development of the Bible?” and many questions I answered were followed up with “are you really sure? Do you actually believe that? But what about these verses here, how would you respond to those? What is the context of the verse you just cited to us?” Etc. We have national Bible championships. We are actually growing as a denomination, and have never stopped growing since our founding. My church fits quite nicely within the denomination. We care about knowing our stuff.

So if my church is in a denomination like the one described above, how did my youth never hear the story of Noah’s Ark? Well, to tell the truth, they have probably heard it countless times. But they don’t care. For example, one day I asked my class what the Gospel was. I wasn’t looking for a fully orbed answer, just the basic “Jesus died for my sins” answer. No one answered. I then asked a youth who had taking the essentials to Christianity class TWICE. He said he didn’t know. I then said, didn’t you take the essentials to Christianity class? He replied, word for word, “Yeah, but I didn’t pay attention the second time”… Face palm. I wanted to say “well, what about the first time”?

So what’s going wrong? This brings me to my answer: Parents. They are not doing their jobs. Let me give an example. I also run the children’s ministry and thus get to talk to children quite often. Most of the children in my ministry who are over 6 and under 9 have seen “Saw”, and some have seen “Hostel”. If you don’t know what those movies are, they are basically torture porn. You see people tortured. Lots of it. These kids got access to these movies from their parents. The parents didn’t even watch the movies with them, they put them on and then walked out of the room. This isn’t just my church. This is in churches EVERYWHERE in North America. This is just one of many examples that tells me that parents aren’t doing their job of discipling their kids in the Christian faith.

Sending children to a youth ministry is pointless if the parents aren’t actively discipling their kids during the week. Christianity just won’t stick. For example, why do the kids of most immigrants lose the mother tongue of their parents? Well, because they spend at least 5 days a week, 8 hours a day, at school taught in English. All their friends speak English. All the media they watch and listen to is in English. The only time they even hear their mother tongue is at home. And unless the parents make a concerted effort to teach the language and to emphasize its importance, the child will lose the language. They may understand it. But they will barely be able to speak it, it won’t impact their lives, and they will most definitely not pass it on to their kids.

The same thing goes for Christianity. If the parents aren’t actively, every day, teaching and discipling their kids in Christianity it’s content and its importance then there is almost no point in sending them to a youth ministry. If the parents aren’t every day praying with their kids, teaching them how to share their faith, giving them good reasons to be Christians, etc. they are not being good Christian parents. I take this very seriously. For example, my one year old daughter (almost two) already knows how to pray. We can’t eat meals without praying otherwise she will start screaming at us to pray. She will say amen after worship songs at church. We read the Bible to her EVERY night. As she gets older, we are going to take an active everyday role in teaching her the precious truths of the Gospel. She will memorize Scripture. She will learn about other religions and worldviews and how to interact with them. Will this guarantee she will be a Christian when she grows up? No, not at all. If we don’t do it right, she might even rebel because of our training! But if she ceases to be a Christian it won’t be for a lack of knowledge, or a lack of critical engagement, or a lack of seeing her parents treat Christianity as something important.

If parents aren’t actively involved in their child’s faith, sending them to a youth ministry will be pointless, even destructive. Now some of you may be saying “But pastor, don’t you have children and youth with non-Christian parents? If youth ministry is destructive for youth with Christian parents who don’t live like Christians, wouldn’t that be the same for youth with non-Christian parents?  Yet it is clearly better for youth with non-Christian parents to come to church so they can at least hear the gospel some times even if they don’t hear it at home. So wouldn’t it be the same for youth with Christian parents who are failing at discipling?” Good question. And the answer is no.

Here’s why. It has been my experience that the youth with non-Christian parents are often much stronger Christians than those youth who have Christian parents who are failing as Christian parents (which is most of them). See, a youth with non-Christian parents has a good reason for why their parents don’t disciple them in Christianity: they’re non-Christians! Thus, the bad example of the parents only reinforces in the youth that they need to use their own initiative to learn about the Christian faith. But if a youth has Christian parents, and the Christian faith isn’t the most important thing in the parents lives, the youth is going to learn that Christianity is really not that important. If the parents never read their Bible, the youth is going to think that is acceptable. If the parents emphasize school more than Christ, the youth is going to think school is more important, no matter what the parents say about Jesus. If the parents emphasize sports more than Christ, the youth is going to think sports are more important, no matter what the parents say about Jesus. The hypocrisy of the parents will destroy their child’s faith.

Which leads me to the whole point of this post, Why are youth pastors in many churches pointless and a waste of funds? Because youth pastors aren’t in charge of the single most important thing in a youth’s walk with Christ: the parents. The senior/main pastor is. The youth pastor actually has zero control over the constituency that he is suppose to shepherd. Thus, it is becoming my conviction that having a separate pastor for the youth in most churches is a waste of resources. Until a church has a senior pastor who is actively promoting and discipling adults to be good parents, and actually seeing results from that discipleship, there is no point in hiring a youth pastor. A youth pastor will not solve the “youth problem”. If anything, given that most youth pastors know very little about the Christian faith, and also usually have much lower requirements to be in that position, they will probably do more harm then good. Why waste thousands of dollars on a youth pastor when an educated lay leader would almost certainly be better? Use that extra money for buying good educational resources, or use it for missions/outreach, etc. Don’t waste it on a youth pastor. He will not solve the problem. That needs to start with the senior pastor and the parents. A youth pastor can be incredibly effective, but only if the senior pastor and the parents are doing their jobs.

I am currently half way through my one year probation at the church I am at. The church has taken quite the financial burden in hiring me. They know the youth and children ministries need help, because very few of their youth and children remain in the faith after high school, many drop out before graduating high school. But I can’t even begin to help with the problem until the parents start doing their job. And that’s not my job. Sure, I have met with parents one on one. But it is hard to flat out tell parents they have failed at parenting one on one to their face when you have only talked to them once or twice before. That will just close them off to you. And when I tried to give a parent seminar, almost no parents showed up. Thus, given my new convictions, at the end of my one year probation, I may very well step down as youth pastor. Until the entire ethos of my church changes, and people start taking the raising of their kids seriously, I am a total waste of funds. It is better to just have an educated lay leader do my job, or one of the other pastors to take my load.

As a final point, I’m not saying youth or children ministry is pointless. It is incredibly important. Let me say it again: youth ministry is incredibly important. But there is no reason to spend thousands of dollars hiring a youth pastor in a church that doesn’t already have parents doing their job. Until that happens, save your funds, and use dedicated lay leaders.

And that is why youth pastors are usually pointless and a waste of funds.

His previous post is here. Some days, I wish I had gotten married and had children. I’m sure I could do a better job leading the children than these bad church parents have done. And I’m sure I could do a better job of leading the parents than these lame, feminized pastors.

Student groups in Canada and the United States seek talented writers

The first new organization is called the Student Apologetics Alliance.

I found this on their Facebook page:

Founded
March 5th, 2011
About
We are a coalition of Christian student apologists from around the Internet.
Description
The Student Apologetics Alliance was organized for the purpose of bringing together apologetically oriented students who were scattered across the world wide web. Through the combined efforts of like-minded thinkers, its mission is to create a powerful network that advances the collective efforts of its members to “defend the hope that is within us.” (1 Peter 3:15)
Mission
To create a powerful network that advances the collective efforts of its members to “defend the hope that is within us.” (1 Peter 3:15)
Email
editor@philapologia.org
Website http://www.apologeticalliance.org

You can like their page on Facebook.

I went to their web site and found some interesting posts:

It looks like they have a number of students writing for them already, and they are looking for more! So, if you are a student, or you know someone who is a student, you should definitely send them the link to the Student Apologetics Alliance web site. And bookmark it!

My favorite article so far is the “Love is not all you need” one, because it shows that they will be tackling more than just philosophy. I really think Christian apologetics needs to branch out to address all the factors that cause people to turn away from Christianity. The disintegration of the traditional family is a huge factor – and these guys are talking about it.

And in Canada, conservative student writers are needed

My friend Miss Marprelate, who lives in Canada, sent me a note about her new job with a student newspaper in Canada.

She writes:

Conservative students and groups often complain about being treated inequitably on campus, or feeling like they are all alone in their convictions. The Prince Arthur Herald, Canada’s only center-right national student newspaper, aims to change that by giving conservative students a voice and community that will respect their opinions and stand up for their rights, along with the rights of all Canadians.

Started by a group of predominately McGill students, The PAH in less than two months of operation has received tens of thousands of hits from across Canada. As a result, the editors have decided that a nationally-read newspaper deserves to be written by students from across the nation. As an Ontario Desk Editor, I am recruiting students who are interested in writing articles on politics, current events, campus politics, or other issues that affect conservative students.

Those who control the message, control the debate. Without a friendly media presence that values excellence in communications while addressing the hard issues of our day, conservative students will continue to struggle to be heard and respected on campus.

This is a crucial venture, committed to supporting and nurturing the next generation of Canadian conservatives, while providing valuable media experience for students who may one day become conservative journalists, aides, or politicians.

Sincerely,

Rebekah Hebbert
Ontario Desk Editor,
The Prince Arthur Herald
missmarprelate@gmail.com
www.princearthurherald.com

So, if any of you are students up in Canada, consider sending her a submission.

Youth pastor Tory Ninja writes about the importance of parents

This was a comment to one of the posts on tithing and the church. I had argued that pastors should only be paid when they produce.

Tory Ninja wrote this:

I’m a youth and children pastor. I include “apologetic” minded material in everything I do. Even when the topic isn’t apologetic I bring out some apologetics (for example, if I am teaching Christ dying for our sins, I spend some time talking about objections to that idea). We are currently going through the Hitchens/Wilson debate documentary.

Sometimes we have good dialogs. We even go out into the community sometimes and do social justice. But the sad thing is is the Christian faith isn’t taking hold. As soon as they graduate, they’re gone. No one reads their Bible. People don’t remember what was talked about 5 hours after class, even if they participated! People are texting all the time, playing games on their phones/ipods, and just aren’t very engaged. Parents buy them the most messed up video games, let them watch the most messed up movies uncritically, and pay for their life sucking WoW [World of Warcraft] accounts. Last week a 9 year old boy, the son of an elder, told me his favourite type of movies were horror movies and he loved Saw.

To be honest, I feel kind of like a failure. I feel a little guilty taking money from the church. I’m giving it my all and trusting the Lord, and that’s what keeps me going, but the youth and children of today just have so many distractions. Also, not to mention the fact that parents do almost nothing to disciple their kids. I can’t do everything!

Anyway, I agree with you. A pastor shouldn’t demand his wages. But the church shouldn’t put him into indentured servanthood. I think a church should pay a pastor enough for him to do his ministry properly without having to worry about putting food on the table and clothes on his children. I’m happy that the church treats me well.

This comment was all over the place. I guess I just wanted to say that the future doesn’t look bright.

I think his point that parents have to work together with the pastors is a good one.

UPDATE: More from Tory Ninja. And I changed the title to make more sense! My fault.

So I thought I would add some more context to this comment.

For starters, I am in Canada. I’m not sure how different the church culture is from Canada to the United State so everything I say may not be representative of what you experience in the States. I am again a little over the place. Also, I apologize if the tone seems negative. There are of course positives in today’s youth and children ministry but that is not the topic of this comment.

Their are two major things that I have noticed a change in over the ten years I have been doing youth ministry. The first is that everyone is connected. When I started doing youth ministry texting wasn’t quite in yet. But now it is like there is a symbiotic relationship between teens and their texting. I have contemplated doing a no texting and gaming policy but I hesitate as it is such big part of their life and also because sometimes the texts are important and I rather them take a text then a phone call. Also, many people have their Bibles on their phones now. I know during sermons I will often check the greek on my iPhone, look up commentaries, and various other things based on what the pastor is preaching. So I know they’re legitimate ways for people to be using their phones.

Usually though, when I see someone doing something on their phone, that is when I will ask them a question about what is being taught at the moment. This strategy has kept texting down to a certain degree since I started doing it but it is still there.

Also, as soon as I am done teaching, or their is a break in teaching, bang! Out comes the video games. PSP, DS, iTouch/iPhone. Of course, these are all jail broken or hacked so they all have 100s of illegal games on them.

No one is ever where they are. They always need to be connected elsewhere. The sad part is is that when they aren’t at church they are never at church if you know what I mean.

The second thing is that parents are even less engaged with their children now then they were ten years ago. The reason for this is technology. Parents haven’t kept up. Kids get away with so much stuff because they know their parents don’t have an inkling of how to keep tabs on them. Even if you put draconian measures on them they still find a way to outsmart the parents. For example, Facebook. I am still surprised at what youth and my youth leaders will put on their Facebook pages. It seems like they forget that I can see them. Even the people who seem most devout and engaged at church will have Facebook profiles of nearly naked women, constant swearing, positions on issues that are noticeably non-Christian, etc. They will create a separate Facebook page for their families and parents and have one for their friends. Parents often aren’t engaged in their children’s life enough to find these “secret” pages.

Youth are also up late at night playing video games, talking online, or texting. Some parents are able to stop these things by removing the computer and cell phones from the room, but not all. One reason youth are barely engaged in church is because they are up till 2-3 on a Saturday night playing Starcraft 2 or Call of Duty.

Now I realize that most of these problems existed before technology. I stayed up late playing games and talking on the phone when I was in high school. Especially Saturday night. But it was more challenging and less “church” people did it. We also had a more reasonable schedule during the week and thus weren’t as dead tired on Sunday. But social media type technology has totally changed the game.

Christianity has always been on the cutting edge of technology and social movement. The codex, equal rights, social justice, the printing press, music, etc. But we have totally lost that edge in this new age. It’s been on the decline for the last century but we have totally lost it now. The way we promote issues aren’t engaging. I’m not talking about numbers. It’s easy to get numbers to a certain degree. Bring live camels with tigers jumping through flaming hoops to your Christmas pageant and you’re likely to get numbers. I’m talking about creating disciples of Jesus Christ that are engaged and want to grow Christ’s kingdom. We just don’t know how to do that yet.

We even do apologetics wrong. I’ve shown kids William Lane Craig debates and they almost always think he loses. They usually think he had better arguments, but they always find what the non-Christian says to be more convincing. Non-Christians know how to engage the audience with the issues that are close to them. While the Kalam cosmological argument may be great, we need to figure out how to present it in a way that engages the heart.

Youth will even acknowledge that what I say or the Bible says is right but they just don’t care. They don’t want to follow it. Not that they don’t want to be Christians or not that they won’t tell others they are Christians, but rather on issues they disagree with they will just not follow it. Oh yes pastor, I know getting totally wasted is wrong but I just don’t think you understand my context. Oh yes pastor, I know piracy is wrong, but I just don’t care.

Anyway, I apologize if this seems overtly negative. Also, not every single youth is like this. There are good apples. There are parents who are discipling their kids. I’m also not saying that I am free from blame here. As a pastor I have a responsibility to disciple those entrusted to me and I have definitely made mistakes in this process. I’m not saying this to shift blame off of me. I’m saying these have been my observations over ten years.

The earliest Christians knew how to engage their culture. No one was really lukewarm about the Christians. Strong emotions, either pro or con, were caused by these Christians. They knew how fight the good fight. I think we are losing that fire. I think apologetics is key, but I think we need a new way of framing the material. What the way is however, I’m not so sure. Maybe someone here can paint some insight or point me to people/books who do!

If anyone else has experiences like this, send them to me. But you have to have a good alias like “Tory Ninja” or “Wintery Knight” or I can’t print it. Kidding.