In what seems like a spiteful move aimed against Christians, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam spent Good Friday announcing he signed a bill to roll back many restrictions on abortions.
As Christians prepared to celebrate Resurrection Day, Satan was up to his old tricks. Just as he tried to kill Jesus, he struck hard and fast at the heels of our most vulnerable children.
Our country, indeed the world, seems to increasingly side with the slithery beast when it comes to abortion. Northam did too.
I believe the Bible is clear in Genesis 3:15; God placed enmity between the serpent and the woman and her children:
“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
I also believe abortion is an expression of the enmity between Satan and the woman and her seed.
Since then, Satan has had it out for the children of God. Cain killed Abel, Pharaoh killed the Hebrew children, and Herod killed the Jewish children in a massive attempt to kill Jesus.
At Jesus’ crucifixion, Satan finally thought he’d killed Jesus. But as he struck His heel, Jesus crushed his head- just as prophesied in Genesis 3:15.
Three days after that gruesome crucifixion, Jesus was resurrected- He’d conquered death and defeated Satan.
Yet the enmity continues murdering children and will continue until the end of time.
As the kingdom of God grew, Nero persecuted Christians and Hitler exterminated an estimated six million Jews and others. Now abortion is the number one killer of the woman’s offspring.
Somehow, I think the coronavirus is a way God can draw our attention back to what is right and good. The world’s tolerance to abortion violates God’s command to not murder and shows a world increasingly embracing an anti-godly agenda. Should we not expect something terrible to happen to us for tolerating such an abomination?
As we celebrate our Lord’s resurrection, let’s remember in the end, God always wins. Abortion will be overturned someday.
Are Democrats secretly advancing a global government?
By now most know Democrat Rep. James Clyburn told caucus members the Coronavirus bill was “a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.”
Does anyone know what the “Democrat vision” is?
Clyburn’s comments preceded Nancy Pelosi’s controversial add-ons to the bill. Some of the add-ons include questionable funding for foreign nations. Why were non-virus-related items attached?
The Vision: Plans to Transform our World
It seems the Democrats’ vision and Pelosi’s pork-funding follow an already-established plan signed by Barack Obama, along with more than 150 other world leaders, called Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Signed on September 27, 2015, “Sustainable Development,” or simply, “Agenda 2030,” is a plan of action for all citizens to change the way we think, live, and produce and consume goods and services:
“All countries and all stakeholders,” it says, “acting in collaborative partnership, will implement this plan . . . we are determined to take the bold and transformative steps which are urgently needed to shift the world on to a sustainable and resilient path. As we embark on this collective journey, we pledge that no one will be left behind.”
The Vision: The 15-year Timeline
The White House press release announcing Obama’s signing of Agenda 2030 included a narrow timeline. “The adoption of the 2030 Agenda . . . sets out a global development vision for the next 15 years.”
If these bold and transformative steps are urgent, and the target date of 2030 is now only ten years away, when are “all countries and all stakeholders” going to get started?
Perhaps we already have.
Maybe this “global development vision” is the explanation behind the radical policies which are already transforming how we live.
Climate, Population, and Resource Preservation
Sustainable development is a unique worldview based upon the relationship between climate, population, and use of the world’s resources.
The idea driving sustainable development is to create a sustainable future- one in which humanity can survive well into the future.
This, of course assumes several things:
First, sustainable development assumes unless we change how we live, the world could come to an end. Since most people don’t want to change, policies must be adopted to force us to change our beliefs and our habits.
Second, sustainable development assumes mankind’s production and consumption habits are unsustainable. Therefore, the world’s economic models must change to conform to sustainable models.
This means citizens of wealthy nations must learn to live at a much lower standard of living and take other measures to reduce their “carbon footprint.”
What better time to transform to a sustainable economic model than after a global economic collapse?
Third, sustainable development aims to create a sustainable world ethic and make everyone live by a set of common rights.
This third idea is a hurdle since America was built upon the premise “We are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights . . .”
What happens when a secular world who despises the thought of a Creator joins forces to create a sustainable set of rights?
See where this is headed? You cannot have “sustainable development” and make America- or any other nation- great again.
But it gets worse.
The Underlying Issue: Reversing Biblical Order
One of the leading figures of the Sustainable Development movement is former executive council member of the Club of Rome, Jorgen Randers. During an address before the 2012 Sustainability Conference at Cambridge University, Randers bluntly explains the real goal behind sustainable development is to reverse biblical thinking:
“If I could persuade you of one thing, it should be this: the world is small and fragile, and humanity is huge, dangerous and powerful. This is a total reversal of the biblical perspective on humanity, and the way in which man has thought during most of his presence on Earth. But this is the perspective we need to take if sustainability emerges or, at least, that the world as we know it survives for a couple of hundred more years.”
It couldn’t be clearer. The vision for sustainable development is an anti-biblical approach to solving the world’s problems.
Anti-biblical thinking is anti-Christian thinking, and a world government built upon anti-Christian thinking is what will eventually bring to fulfillment this horrifying biblical prophecy:“For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast until the words of God are fulfilled.” (Revelation 17:17)
“Man is born free, but everywhere he is in chains,” said Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
Like most of you, for the last several weeks I’ve felt somewhat chained at home. My frequent roaming habits have drastically changed.
I spent January driving to and from the white, sugar-sand beaches and crystal-clear springs of Florida; now my travels consist of walking to and from the brown creek running along the back edge of my great aunt’s 100-acre depression-era farm.
These walks are special because this is time I spend alone with God. I expect to learn something new, and each day I’m richly rewarded.
During my walk yesterday, something sticking out of the ground caught my eye: a rusty chain.
Sensing this wasn’t merely coincidence, I asked, “What do you want to teach me?” After all, I came looking for lessons.
“Shake yourself from the dust, rise up, O captive Jerusalem; Loose yourself from the chains around your neck, O captive daughter of Zion.” (Isaiah 52:2)
I hadn’t given much thought to being a captive, but the message was clear. That chain lying in the dust symbolized my own captivity.
I paused to reflect and lament my ignorance to my own condition. I let myself become a captive without realizing it.
I thought about my weekly screen time notifications. How could I possibly spend seven to nine hours a week on my phone? I thought about the early mornings and late nights reading and writing, and the time between that was wasted.
I thought about relationships I neglected so I could spend more time working. But what was I working towards? I believed I was working towards freedom, which to this point proved an elusive dream.
What had I to show for the precious time God gave me?
I was held captive by vanity.
My life lacked balance and the type of order that brings fulfillment.
Then excitement began to build. I sensed God telling me it is time- God’s time- to set me free and restore order in my life.
My mind became fixed on understanding what God was saying to me, and I sensed it had something to do with His timing.
With this being Passion Week, my thoughts turned to Jesus’ mission: to set the captives free.
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.” (Luke 4:18)
I know Passover is celebrated to remember God’s deliverance of His people from enslavement.
Before they were freed, though, God exposed the Egyptian idols as false hopes and symbols of vanity. I think he’s doing that in our culture right now. We’ve replaced God with so many things. Think of our vain idols: our careers and wealth, sports and entertainment figures, and whatever else keeps us occupied and away from God.
By the time the ten plagues were over, the newly-freed Hebrews had a good sense of God’s sovereignty, His protection, and His plan for them.
Freedom Found in Uncertain Times
For the Hebrews whom God delivered from Egyptian oppression, what followed was a wilderness experience. Like hearts around the world today, theirs were filled with uncertainty and thoughts of what seemed like certain doom. Yet God delivered them.
If you find yourself without a job, call upon Jehovah-Jireh, which means, “The-Lord-Will-Provide,” (Genesis 22:14). This name calls to mind Jehovah as the God who sees our condition and longs to bless us.
Listen to Him. Maybe you need to change directions and get off the path that keeps you in chains.
God is Faithful to His Covenants
Remember when God told Abraham to sacrifice his only son, Isaac? It seemed completely illogical, but Abraham knew somehow God would do something to keep His promise to bless Abraham and his children.
Are you wondering how God will provide for you and your family? I don’t think the story of God seeing Abraham’s willingness to be obedient and providing what he needed is insignificant to us.
Instead, God’s covenant promise to Abraham was at stake, and we are heirs to that promise.
Our Moral Rebellion
I don’t think the fact this virus hit during such a morally-rebellious time in history is insignificant, either.
Are we not also heirs to the promise of blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience? Are we not children of God and subject to the discipline of a loving Father?
Deliverance from slavery is inherent to God’s promises to us. Let’s not be surprised our Redeemer is both disciplining us and setting us free.
As bad as this virus is, there are many silver linings, one of which is we’re having a discussion about the proper nature of freedom.
True vs. False Freedom
While Rousseau was right about mankind everywhere being in chains, he erred in advocating freedom from any and all moral constraints.
Like Rousseau, the world tells we should be free from moral judgment. That’s a dangerous snare.
Rousseau’s philosophy led to thousands of morally-good people losing their heads during the French Revolution. Those were the people who dared to speak against the moral abominations among them.
Contrary to Rousseau’s philosophy of unrestrained moral freedom, the prophet Isaiah suggests we ought to exercise moral restraint. Isaiah 24 tells us the earth is cursed because of our morality:
The earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear their guilt. Therefore earth’s inhabitants are burned up, and very few are left. The earth reels like a drunkard, it sways like a hut in the wind; so heavy upon it is the guilt of its rebellion that it falls—never to rise again. (Isaiah 24:20)
I think we’re dangerously close to that point again.
Where most see the horrors of the coronavirus, I see it as a double-edged sword. Yes, it is terrible; I wish it on no one. However, I see God’s grace and mercy shining like I’ve never seen before.
I believe God Himself is calling us to throw off those rusted chains and be free- free to obey His moral constraints so our chains and this cursed virus might be removed.
“You ruined me. I don’t even want to go to school tomorrow.” I leaned forward, alarmed my words to my thirteen-year-old nephew might have been too frightening.
“You just told me the world is going to end. We’re screwed!” I glanced at my sister-in-law, whose wide eyes, tight lips, and tilted head told me I needed to fix this quickly. A quarter way through my chicken sandwich, I paused for a moment. Maybe this isn’t such a bad thing. Maybe we need to scare our kids.
We’d gathered at Chick-fil-A after an evening of bowling, and the conversation about the Corona virus arose. Paul, quiet inquisitive for his age, immediately impressed us with an interesting conspiracy theory. Amused by his thought process, I smiled as I recalled other conspiracy theories told by my college students.
Then I dropped the bomb which ruined his night. I told him I’d been teaching something similar all week. Whereas his conspiracy theory involved a questionable covert operation by Chinese operatives to reduce our population, I told him about a real plan to reduce world population.
I elbowed my fourteen-year-old. “Tell Paul about the Georgia Guidestones.”
“Yeah, that was crazy!” my son exclaimed while I quickly scrolled through my phone to find pictures we took last fall.
“Read this.” I handed my phone to my nephew. “Read the top one.”
“Maintain humanity under 500 million in perpetual balance with nature.” He pushed half his meal aside as his appetite vanished.
“Did you know the current world population is over 7 and a half billion?” “What do you think that means?”
Before he could answer, I quickly gave another example. “My classes have to write a paper based on an interview Jacques Cousteau gave to the UNESCO Courier in November, 1991.” The underwater pioneer Jacques Cousteau hosted the popular television series, The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau, which entertained awe-struck audiences of all ages from 1968-1975. “Do you remember him?” I asked his startled mother. She did.
“Cousteau traveled all over the world,” I explained to the teens, “and in this interview he said the biggest problem facing the world is overpopulation. He said that in 1991, while the population was much smaller than it is today.”
I continued. “Cousteau went on to say he believed the world’s population should be capped at 700 million.” My family stared at me, their expressions a mixture of horror and disbelief.
“What’s that got to do with the Corona virus?”
“I’ll tell you what Jacques Cousteau might think. He would say eliminating suffering and disease might actually jeopardize our species. In the interview with UNESCO he said, ‘It’s terrible to have to say this. World population must be stabilized and to do that we must eliminate 350,000 people per day.'”
Seizing the moment, I peered into my nephew’s wide-open eyes, almost staring into his soul. “You know what’s even scarier? The Bible talks about a drastic reduction in world population during the last days.”
“Ever heard of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?” My terrified nephew’s long face reminded me of the pale horse.
“Those represent God’s judgments upon Earth in the last days. One of those judgments is the pale horse, who has power to kill a quarter of the earth’s population.”
I rolled through my speech like I’d done so many times before with my classes. “What were those ‘ideal’ population numbers again? 500-700 million? And we’re at 7.5 billion? Somebody wants to kill off a bunch of people, and the Bible says a bunch of people will be killed off.” What do you think will happen?
Walking to our cars, my nephew was visibly upset. “You’ve ruined me,” he repeated. “I need a Bible. I need to sleep on a stack of Bibles!”
“No,” I smiled. His comments warmed my heart. “I didn’t ruin you. I set you free from the fear and gave you hope. Go seek God, who tells you the rest of the story and offers hope. That’s the Gospel story- the hope for humanity: ‘For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.'”
Doug Carter on pjnet.tv, March 2, 2020. In this episode we take a peek inside Plato’s Cave and discuss my latest blog post, Shadows of Reality. You’ll also find teasers about Pope Francis’ upcoming “New Humanism” summit and my upcoming book.
In Book 7 of Plato’s Republic, the old sage tells us to imagine people chained from childhood inside an underground den, or cave.
They’re forced to face the walls so they cannot turn their heads. Behind them, a fire is burning to provide a dim light. Between the prisoners and the fire, objects pass along a walkway, casting their shadow along the jagged walls. Of course, they cannot see the objects, so the distorted shadows are the only reality the prisoners know.
I recently visited Linville Caverns in the Blue Ridge Mountains to gain a sense of what Plato meant. As my tour group stood inside the cavern deep under the mountain, the guide told the story of Civil War deserters who lived in the cave until smoke rising from the mountain gave them away. “Here is where they built their fire,” he said, pointing to an indention in the rock separating two large passageways. “You can still see the discoloration from the smoke on the ceiling.”
I paused to imagine the myriad of shadowy figures dancing across the cavern walls in the firelight those men might’ve seen.
The shadows they saw on the walls, and to Plato’s point, were distortions of reality.
Plato then asks us to imagine one of the prisoners escaping the cave and seeing the outside world for the very first time. Having been enlightened by the sun shining on all objects, this person would see objects as they really are, not as the distorted shadows he knew inside the cave.
With his new sense of reality, he experiences a dramatic paradigm shift. “I must go back and tell the others!” But when he goes back to explain, they cannot understand him, for they don’t have the conceptual framework to understand him. His words are meaningless babble to them. For them, the shadows are reality.
In his pity, he knows he should be their guardian. He feels an obligation to do what is best for them, although they might object. So, he takes it upon himself to be their philosopher-king.
The philosopher-king, says Plato, is the rightful ruler of the people, for he has attained knowledge of the Good. Attaining knowledge of the “Good,” he adds, is the most important thing any philosopher can do, for with it comes true knowledge and without it, we’re left with only opinions.
When I study Plato, I can’t help but think of the origins of philosophy in the Garden of Eden. Remember how the serpent tricked Eve into tasting the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil? “If you’ll just eat it,” he said, “you won’t die, and besides, you’ll be enlightened and god-like, knowing Good and Evil.”
Since then, every philosopher has tried to explain the Good. The egoists say Good is what benefits the self; utilitarians say Good is what benefits the greatest number of people; hedonists say Good is what brings you pleasure; relativists say Good is determined by culture, a group, or individuals; humanists say Good is found without God.
I guess that’s why Jesus cut to the chase and said, “Why do you call me ‘Good’? No one is Good except God alone.” (Mark 10:18 ESV)
Unfortunately, some of our political leaders seem to be acting out Plato’s cave analogy. They behave as if we the people are chained to the walls of some sort of cave while they belittle us and call us deplorables, clingers, and nationalists.
Having eaten the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil themselves, these progressive politicians have taken God’s Good and turned it on its head. What we know from God’s revelation as Good, they call evil, and what God calls evil, they call Good.
They exchange the Light of Good with the Shadows of Evil.
Whether it’s climate change, gun control, immigration, sanctuary cities, justice, abortion, gender confusion, or population control, progressives consistently insist upon the Marxist doctrine of turning everything we know about reality and morality upside down.
Like Plato’s philosopher-kings, these progressive politicians insist their way is the true way to Good. For them, it is the only sustainable way.
It reminds me of the prophet’s warning: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” (Isaiah 5:20 NIV)
I recently wrote about leaving the 99 to visit a friend in need. Two weeks after that visit, I returned to my friend. Binding wounds takes time. Ministering takes time. It also takes initiative to go.
As I prepared to return home Sunday morning, my friend startled me with urgency in his voice: “I’m going to need your help!”
“Of course,” “How can I help you?” I suspected he might have been battling the thoughts in his mind.
“The cows got out.”
Suddenly, “leaving the ninety-nine to find the one” took on a new meaning.
I’d asked God to minister to me during my trip. Predictably, He saved one of the most impactful lessons for last.
A powerful, overnight thunderstorm drove away the two cows. We quickly spotted the point of escape: a weak part of the fence. This was lesson one: When the storm rages, we often abandon our abode in Christ by following the weaknesses in our minds. We stray through common temptations or erroneous thoughts.
Ezekiel 33:4 says, “The weak you have not strengthened . . .”
A good rancher keeps good fences. How often do we check our own fences? Are we secure in God’s truth? Do we know our own weaknesses? Do we share our weaknesses with our friends so we might strengthen one another?
Will You Wander into the Swamp?
It’s naive to think searching for the lost will always be a walk through a pristine prairie pasture. Sometimes those we seek wander into treacherous places- places we’d normally avoid.
When I think of a north Florida swamp, I think gators, snakes, ‘skeeters, and soaked sneakers. I can’t explain why anyone would want to live next to a Florida swamp, but that’s where we were.
We’d spent the previous day clearing briers, vines, small trees, and other nuisance undergrowth from the swamp. We labored, sweat, and bled. Guess where we found those cows? Yep. They’d wandered deep into that thickly vegetated swamp.
Years ago I’d underlined Ezekiel 33:6 in my Bible: “My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; yes, My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them.” In the margins I wrote, “I will. Send me.”
That weekend, God sent me to seek and search for the lost- not just a couple of lost cows, but lost people too.
That’s lesson two: Sometimes we must be willing to leave our comfort zone and venture out into the unknown. Sometimes we must go into places we’d normally avoid. But the lost are in those places. We’ll sweat, bleed, and soil our feet, but there are people out there who need us to be the hands, feet, and voice of our Shepherd.
That’s what Christ did for us on the cross. The thorns that pierced us were nothing compared to the crown of thorns pressed into our Savior’s head. The blood we shed was nothing compared to the amount of blood Jesus gave as he took the vicious beating and piercing for us.
Isaiah 53:5-6 says, “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was pierced for our iniquities, the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”
Our Savior-Shepherd shed His blood for me. He shed His blood for you. And He suffered for the one astray deep in the swamps of life.
There are times when I crave solitude with God. If you’re reading this, I trust you know that feeling.
Creating Solitude with God
St. Anselm, the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1093-1109, felt it too:
“Come now, little man! flee for a while from your tasks, hide yourself for a little space from the turmoil of your thoughts. Come, cast aside your burdensome cares, and put away your laborious pursuits. For a little while give your time to God, and rest in Him for a little. Enter the inner chamber of your mind, shut out all things save God and whatever may aid you in seeking God; and having barred the door of your chamber, seek Him. Speak now, O my heart, O my whole heart, speak now and say to your God: My face hath sought Thee: Thy face, O Lord, will I seek . . .”
This weekend I finally got away to a place where I could be completely alone and have some unobstructed God time.
Yet I almost missed it. Life has a way of keeping me super-busy. Between my full-time jobs as a professor and parent, taking care of older relatives and working on a book, my time is stretched pretty thin.
Nevertheless, God knew I needed this time, and God compelled me to go anyway.
God Invites Us to Spend Time with Him
I admit, I was quite amazed when I recognized how God orchestrated this whole trip. I couldn’t help thinking about Esther’s story. Although God’s name is never mentioned in her story, His actions behind the scenes are evident.
Similarly, Elijah knew it was time to leave when the water dried up and the raven stopped coming around to bring him food. Likewise, when my shower’s tub cracked, I needed to find a place to shower for a few days while my bathroom underwent some emergency remodeling.
That led me to visit an old friend who needed me just as much as I needed him. It wasn’t long before we both realized God called this meeting.
Jesus explains how this works in John 6:44: “No one,” he says, “can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him. . .”
God Renews Our Minds
What Anselm’s inner chamber of the mind is to him, the beach is to me. There’s something about being alone in nature, with just the sights and sounds of the gentle waves massaging pure white sand, that calms and renews my mind.
As we started walking along the beach, I suggested we walk separately to spend time alone in prayer and reflection. For four miles down and back I walked with God. My friend did the same.
You know what really blows my mind? That craving in my soul to connect with God originated with God’s desire to connect with me.
How amazing it is to know the Creator of the universe invited two old friends to reunite and step inside His throne room! Psalm 15 says, “Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill?” That day, we were both there- not because we barged in, but because God called us to Himself.