Taking the King’s Schilling

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When the United States was still thirteen colonies and part of Britain there was a popular saying related to joining the British Army.

The saying goes something like this: If you take the king’s dollar (schilling in those days) you become the king’s man. The meaning is obvious. If you get paid by the King then you do his bidding.

The saying has multiple applications today and I believe it applies especially to the federal and state governments and their relationship to faith based organizations.

To give a relevant example consider the concerns from Don Wilkerson from Adult and Teen Challenge (ATC) as recorded in the in the October 12, 2019 issue of World Magazine: “What concerns Don Wilkerson and others about these programs is that by accepting state licensing and funding , ATC centers won’t be free to present the gospel to all addicts.”

For those of my readers unfamiliar with Don Wilkerson and ATC understand that Don and his brother David started ATC way back in the 1960’s.

The ministry was for drug and alcohol addicts and the basic premise was faith in Christ could free an addict from bondage. To make this happen they developed Teen Challenge (later ATC). The strategy was a total spiritual immersion in a long-term residential program that featured evangelism, mentorship and Bible study. The program relied on donations.

The process was in stark contrast to the prevailing notion (that still prevails) that an addict will always be an addict. This meant that many secular clinicians believed in the rehab approach that often included medications and secular type therapies that had nothing to do with the gospel.

ATC exploded with about 200 centers situated in cities in the US and even abroad. With any faith based initiative funding can be a problem. Faith based ministries rely on churches and individuals to float the ministry boat and at times there isn’t enough funding.

Therefore, some ATC centers started to take the king’s schilling and with it came state licensing and with that came detox programs and short term programs that competed with ATC’s long term, gospel alone stance.

What ATC has now is a mess. It’s a mess to the point where individual ATC centers have to affirm the traditional stance or separate themselves as separate non-profits. World’s article in its entirely can be found here.

As a certified biblical counselor in a local church I immediately understood the tension. My church takes care of my ministry needs and we do not charge for counseling-counseling that is based on the sufficiency of Scripture to change a person from the inside out.

If I was in a parachurch ministry that was a separate non-profit it would be debatable as to the funding of the ministry. The temptation to take the king’s schilling can be huge and even thought to be a good thing “as long as it does not interfere with the gospel.” The problem is of course if you take the king’s schilling you eventually do his bidding and these days it often means “no gospel.”

Although the progressives have the whole separation of church and state thing wrong from a big picture point of view they do make a point with the little picture.

If you accept the king’s schilling and become state licensed you belong to the state and you must do the state’s bidding. In the anti-church climate of today this means the gospel is more offensive than it’s ever been in our nation’s history. All you have to do to realize that is be aware of the news on a daily basis. Conservative Christians are under fire and government is being weaponized in an effort to remove conservative Christianity from the public square. If you complain about that you are labeled a bigot. Well, Jesus said it would never be easy.

Separation of church and state did not mean the church could not have a public presence. It meant that the state could not control the church nor interfere with it. It had everything to do with imposing a particular state religion on a state and nothing to do with removing the church’s influence on society and culture.

Nevertheless, non-profits that are faith-based risk their ability to turn to Scripture and the gospel alone to help people when they accept a state license and the king’s schilling.

There is another old saying that comes from the Middle-East. It goes like this:

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National Blame Shifting

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In biblical discipleship counseling a blame shift is exactly what the terms imply, a shifting of blame from oneself and on to a person or circumstance. It allows the blame shifter to avoid taking responsibility for his or her actions or words that contributed to or were responsible for the situation.

For example, a husband with an anger problem will blame his wife for his angry outbursts. A wife will blame the husband for the silent treatment (grudge bearing) she gives him because she disagrees with a decision that was made.

We are good at blame shifts because we are prideful people whose first line of defense for the wrong we do is to blame others or circumstances to justify our bad behavior.

As a biblical counselor I see blame shifts frequently and am perfectly capable of launching one myself even though I’ve learned it’s a bad plan. It’s also sin and nothing good comes from it.

When Jesus said get the log out of your own eye before you get the twig out of someone else’s eye what he meant was “get responsible” for your own sin and faults; then you just might be able to help someone else see their own.

Sadly, blame shifting is so common and so seemingly normal we rarely recognize how detrimental it is in solving problems, both personal and national.

On a national scale we see blame blameshifting on a massive scale. Examples are not hard to find especially in politics. Perhaps the best example is what happens every time there is a mass shooting.

The blame culprit always seems to be the gun. The victim’s families barely have to time to grieve or think before the parade of politicians emerge to blame the gun and the NRA for the problem. Their solution is what they call “common sense” gun control as if some new law would somehow reduce mass shootings or eliminate them all together. The call to “do something” presumably anything, resonates with people because every decent person recognizes that a mass shooting is a horrific event and who would not want to prevent them if we somehow could..

Sadly, even when it is suggested that the shooter himself is at least partially responsible it’s assumed he is deranged or somehow mentally ill thus putting the blame more on what’s assumed to be a type of illness rather than the real culprit-human nature and an act of pure evil.

This is why more astute observers of mass shootings correctly identify the problem as a moral\spiritual issue. Whether a person shoots one person or one hundred persons it’s still murder. The desire to murder someone comes from the inside out; not the outside in. This has been true from Cain and Able to the last mass shooting.

Here are the words of Jesus:

43 “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, 44 for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. 45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. 

 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Lk 6:43–45). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

The treasure in the heart is the key phrase. The word “heart” in our culture is often misused as some kind of emotional response such as “my heart told me” this or that. The biblical meaning of the term is much deeper. It refers to the inner person or soul. It includes the mind, the will, the emotions and what biblical counselors call the desires\passions of the heart.

Jesus clearly says what’s on the inside is what a person truly treasures and if evil is treasured it will squirt out often in horrific ways. This means that mass shootings are a moral\spiritual\societal problem that is not going to be solved by doing something, anything that does not deal with the depravity of man and what evil some are willing to perpetrate on others.

We live in a culture adrift from most moral moorings. What was once assumed to be wrong is now considered right. In fact if you hold to the old moral moorings you are accused of being a bigot. The venom is more often than not directed against bible believing Christians who understand Jesus’ words.

The cultural rot is plain to see for anyone with eyes to see and obviously most do not have the eyes to see or we would not have as much blame shifting as we do.

A portent is a sign or warning that something, especially something momentous or calamitous, is likely to happen. Mass shootings are portents in my opinion. They point to the depravity of man and what evil man is capable of. The evil is on the inside and a gun is the tool, a tool that can be used for good or bad but when wielded by a person bent on evil it has horrific consequences.

The murderer of all types; whether they kill one person, four persons or twenty five take the lives of image bearers-people created in the image of God (although we are flawed image bearers). Mass murder is the warning that tells us just how far down the moral\spiritual slippery slip we’ve traveled.

The solution to mass shootings is not “do something, anything” that means more laws. The solution is we stop blame shifting and that starts with ourselves. When we apply that at a national level it means looking at root problems and recognizing that we are in a spiritual crisis rather than a gun crisis.

Demand and Supply

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The title is not a mistake. Let me explain.

The news reported that President Trump wanted to use the money seized from El Chapo’s drug empire to fund the wall.

Various news organizations reported that El Chapo’s cartel was responsible for 100,000 deaths (murders) over the last decade and that El Chapo’s personal worth was around 17 billion in US dollars. If true, that would go a long way in funding a wall.

I wish to say at this point that I’m not against the wall. I am all for safe and legal immigration but what we have now is certainly not legal nor safe for US citizens or the masses trying to get in. If a wall helps, so be it. Ultimately a wall will not help all that much with the drugs for one simple reason.

The reason is Demand and Supply. If there is a demand someone will supply it if there is money to be made.

El Chapo was a business man-an evil one, but a business man none-the-less. Think a Mexican god-father here. What does a business do? It sells what people want. A business or a godfather makes money by supplying a particular demand.

Consider our own laws regarding prohibition. Alcohol was banned but it did nothing to curb demand. The laws may have made alcohol harder to get but bootleggers (like the Capone mob in Chicago) managed to supply the demand.

As long as Americans demand drugs there will be an El Chapo seeking to supply them. This does not exonerate an evil criminal; but it does say something about those choosing drug addiction.

Yes, I said choosing drug addiction. I would grant that addictions feel like a disease but on the other hand it’s a disease a person chooses to get (or risk getting).

The human heart is the problem. Scripture is quite clear about our propensity to sin and worship gods other than the God of the Bible (Rom. 1:18-32). Walls, fences, barriers can assist in controlling a problem or a life-dominating sin but unless the heart changes the best you can hope for is some behavioral change that may or may not stick.

This does not mean drug addicts will not need rehab; in many cases they do.

I say use El Chapo’s 14 billion to help drug addicts get off the drugs and to educate others as to what drug addiction actually looks like and how it destroys lives. My prayer is that Christians would be involved so they can point to Christ as the person’s ultimate solution to our biggest problem. That would be change that sticks.

Breaking free from that which enslaves.

Domestic Abuse in the Church Part Two

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The statistics on domestic abuse are alarming and sadly, domestic abuse is not confined to those outside of the church. In fact, in the church the issue made worse by something called hyper-headship-a horrible distortion of strong male leadership that is controlling and harsh and thus a breeding ground for domestic abuse.

This post builds on my previous post on the subject and gives a few more resource recommendations for a woman in an abusive relationship. The post is also helpful for a woman who has a friend in an abusive relationship or for a man who wants to change (since the vast majority of abusers are men).

What To Do When You Are Abused by Your Husband by Debi Pryde and Robert Needham.

Book Description: For wives who suspect that they are the object of emotional, psychological, or spiritual abuse by their husband this volume is intended to provide a benchmark for establishing a responsible diagnosis. For Christian wives who know that they are the object of abuse, the authors have provided guidance to obtain resolution that is consciously biblical.

Recommendation: This book was written in 2003 (my edition) and as such it precedes the #metoo movement. As far as I know it is an early attempt to deal with the issue of abuse in the church and expose it. The title says it all since women often do not know what to do when they are married to an abusive husband,

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Hyper-Headship and the Scandal of Domestic Abuse in the Church by Justin Taylor of Bethel Baptist

Definition of Hyper-Headship by Jason Meyer preaching pastor at Bethlehem Baptist: 

Hyper-headship is a satanic distortion of male leadership, but it can fly under the radar of discernment because it is disguised as strong male leadership. Make no mistake—it is harsh, oppressive, and controlling. In other words, hyper-headship becomes a breeding ground for domestic abuse.

Recommendation: I like this article because too often men and sometimes even church leadership will rip Scripture from its context and hide behind it in their abuse of women. This article focuses on what Bethlehem Baptist is doing to make it right and thus it serves as a template for what other churches may want to emulate.

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The Heart of Domestic Abuse: Gospel Solutions for Men Who Use Control and Violence in the Home by Chris Moles.

Book Description: Domestic abuse and violence are on the rise in our culture today, and just as prevalent in the church. With an estimated one-fourth of women in the church living with abuse and violence, pastors and biblical counselors need to have the resources to offer hope and help. It is time for godly men in the church to call abusive men to repentance and accountability. Here is a valuable resource for every church leader and Christian man.

Recommendation: This is an excellent tell it like it is resource. Chris works with the West Virginia Correctional System with men who are abusers. The men he works with are “in the system.” Chris does not pull any punches yet tries to lead them to hope in Jesus Christ and their ability to change through the gospel. 

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A Biblical Counselor’s Approach to Marital Abuse-Roadmap to Reunification,  by Julie Ganschow and Bill Schlacks

Book Description: In this straightforward exposition, the counselors at Reigning Grace Counseling Center outline a biblical, heart-focused method for repentance and restoration of marriages ravaged by domestic abuse. The four-phased process of Recognition, Repentance, Reconciliation, and Reunification gives Christ-centered hope in the midst of what is often considered to be a hopeless situation.

Recommendation: This book is as the title indicates a road map to reunification. It assumes that Christian men will want to repent and do whatever is necessary to change by applying the gospel. There is extensive counseling within each phase. There is an extensive Bibliography for even more resources. 

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Debilitated and Diminished: Help for Christian Women in Emotionally Abusive Marriages by Anne Dryburgh

Book Description: Debilitated & Diminished is written for those who are seeking to help Christian women who are being emotionally abused by their husbands. It provides a definition of emotional abuse, describes the behaviors involved and the effects of these behaviors upon the victim. A biblical approach for helping these women is proposed that looks at human nature, marital roles, and what it means for her to live in Christ. Suggestions are given as to how the church can be a support to the emotionally abused woman.

Recommendation: I have not personally read this one but have it on good authority it is helpful.

 

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Domestic Violence in the Church

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Marital abuse is a significant issue in Christian circles. Consider this quote from biblical counselors Julie Ganschow and Bill Schlacks and their new book, A Biblical Counselor’s Approach to Marital Abuse.

Reports and concerns about domestic violence have surged to the forefront in our communities and churches. Since the #metoo movement and the stories of hyper-headship have come to light, more victims than ever before are coming forward with stories of abuse in their own homes. Statistics reveal that “Every nine seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten.” My research indicates that the prevalence of domestic violence is the same in the church. At the time of this writing (Summer, 2018), 98% of the counseling taking place in our biblical counseling center is comprised of couples who cited “marital issues,” or “the need for marital counseling” on their paperwork. Astonishingly, 98% of that group of counselees are abusers or victims of abuse.

Julie Ganschow directs a biblical counseling center in KC, MO. The ministry is set-up to take people from all over the greater metro area and from a variety of evangelical churches. Her research is derived from that context.

I am a biblical counselor as well, but work primarily within the confines of my own church. To receive biblical counseling in my church a couple would have to agree to attend my church. My research into the area of domestic violence within the church is far too limited to claim a 98% abuse rate.

I am able to say that over the last few years I’ve had more than a few contacts from women within my church who are friends with women in other churches or no church at all seek counsel on how to help their friends in abusive situations. I’ve also had one recent case of a young woman who did come to our church for help with domestic violence but her husband refused to take it seriously-a common MO for an abuser. All this to say that even within my limited experience I can verify the problem certainly exists within the church.

I am grateful for Julie and Bill’s book that provides a roadmap for reunification in the Christ-centered path of the Gospel. Their four-phased approach includes recognition, repentance, and when possible reconciliation, and reunification of the couple.

Recognition is when both the abuser and his victim understand that what has taken place in their relationship is abuse.

Repentance is when the abuser admits and recognizes that he has sinned without blame-shifting, rationalization or justification. Most importantly, he has a change of heart about his sin. He no longer desires to demonstrate power, control, and anger in his life and begins to address the sin in his heart.

Reconciliation includes supervised interaction, supervised dating and couple’s counseling.

Reunification is how the couple is gradually reunited.

Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of this process for a great deal of counseling takes place in each phase.

It should also be pointed out that abuse is on a continuum ranging from verbal fights and intimidation to domestic violence of the physical and sexual types. It should also be pointed out that men can also be the victims of domestic abuse although it is far more common that the man is the perpatrator.

I recommend A Biblical Counselor’s Approach to Martial Abuse. 

I also recommend, The Heart of Domestic Abuse: Gospel Solutions for Men Who Use Control and Violence in the Home by Chris Moles.

Link to Reigning Grace Counseling Center in KC, MO (Julie Ganschow, director)

Link to Chris Moles Peaceworks (ministry to men who are abusers)

Both books are well documented and feature a bibliography with other links. If you know someone especially in the church in an abuse situation take them to these resources and the other resources listed in the books.

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The Solution to Loneliness

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There was a recent article in the UK’s The Telegraph that stated church attendance (Church of England-Anglican) is at an all-time low. The article goes on to say that only 1.4% of the population of Great Britain goes to church on any given Sunday. The Archbishop of Canterbury (highest cleric in the Church of England) warns of the struggle in an anti-Christian culture.

The day before The Telegraph’s article appeared the New York Times reported that the UK has appointed a Minister of Loneliness.

What is the connection between low church attendance and the UK having the need to appoint a “Minister of Loneliness”?

The quote below by Theresa May, Prime Minister of Great Britain is revealing:

“For far too many people, loneliness is the sad reality of modern life,” Mrs. May said in a statement.

“I want to confront this challenge for our society and for all of us to take action to address the loneliness endured by the elderly, by carers, by those who have lost loved ones — people who have no one to talk to or share their thoughts and experiences with.” (The Telegraph)

The most obvious connection between the two stories is that a Minister of the State is replacing the Minister of the Gospel (and the fellowship of the church) as the primary means of encouraging lonely people.

It is, as the Archbishop of Canterbury noted the struggle in living in an anti-Christian culture. I’m sure the US is not far behind.

I think it may equally obvious that the majority of the people in Great Britain no longer believe the gospel or that the true gospel is even taught since much of “the church” has been given over to post-modernism where truth is a relative concept.

What I mean by this is that the church in Great Britain has few conservative evangelical Christians but  the number is growing. (9Marks article)

It makes perfect sense that once the gospel is abandoned  along with the solid biblical teaching associated with the gospel that people would fall away from the church and look to the state to fill the perceived need.

Depending on how you count there are over 50 “one anothers” in the Scriptures. Below is small sampling:

One-Another-Bible-Verses

The above sampling illustrates how God’s people can minister to one another as a result of their faith in Christ and his finished work on the Cross.

When faithfully practiced, especially in the context of a small group ministry one  outcome is a cure for loneliness. God said it was not good for man to be alone so he created woman, but he also established the church (Matthew 16:18) and provided a broader application so that we can love another by practicing the one another’s.

The Gospel is the solution to lonliness but a person has to believe it and embrace it and of course attend the worship service of the church.

For other blogs and sermons that are about the gospel and it’s application please visit: Missio Dei Fellowship

 

 

Parenting the Old Fashioned Way

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A few years ago I was taking my then 3-year-old grandson down to the lake to fish. A man approached me from our condo association and struck up a conversation that went on for about twenty minutes. My grandson patiently sat down on the grass and uttered not a word other than to say hello to the man and tell him his name. At the end of our conversation the man commented on my grandson’s patience. I replied that he was being trained to not interrupt and to wait patiently until the adults were finished talking. The man marveled that it was even possible to train a three-year-child patience and to not interrupt.

Read more at Missio Dei Fellowship

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