Monday, February 6, 2017

Social Transmission Theology

According to 1 Corinthians 1:18 the Gospel itself is the power of God to all those that are called. The method of its disbursement is through the economy of preaching; or to put it another way, by word of mouth marketing. This ancient strategy, of what is now called Social Transmission, should never be under estimated. Word of mouth transmission is what makes a thing contagious. Whenever there is the human element attached to setting forth an idea it telegraphs a passion. Only people can do that. Newspaper advertisement campaigns cannot nor can radio ads. These, as good as thy might be, cannot transmit human vision or passion.

The Transmission of Experience

Whenever person A tells person B of a thing, it is because person A has had some kind of experience of importance what that thing. This can be either a positive or a negative experience. Whatever the case, the impression is both strong and memorable. It is, however, more than simply strong and memorable it is usually actionable.

For instance: If I tell you that I have had a terrible experience with a certain health product you would most probably steer clear of using that product. On the other hand, if I testified that a certain health product did wonders for my overall health you might be tempted to give it a try yourself. Either way you have acted upon my word of mouth transmission of an experience.

Social Transmission and the Gospel

When Jesus healed the man possessed with a legion of devils, He told him, “Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.” Mark 5:19 Christ was commanding the man to give a ‘word of mouth’ testimony of what God had done. When something is important, people talk about it. That is what makes things contagious. It is the real-life story which generates a buzz and draws people, beginning with friends and neighbors, into the experience. It is often the personal experience shared by others that makes their hearers want to experience it themselves.

The Psychology of Sharing

Why do people share things? Why do people share experiences? Usually it is because they are important, memorable or exciting. Worldly people share worldly things. That is what is important to them. To this fact we should not be surprised. What should surprise us is when Christians are consumed with sharing worldly things rather than the things of God.

The Reformation and Word of Mouth

The Reformation was a word of mouth event. All Luther had to do was post his ideas on the door at Wittenberg for people to start talking. Word of mouth, i.e. social transmission, did the rest. It didn’t matter that the original writing was in Latin. Once the ideas were translated into the common tongue they caught on like wild fire.

Why was Luther’s ideas so contagious? Obviously, people were ready for it. It resonated with the common folk. It spoke to something that was already in the subconscious of the masses and they ate it up. They took action. The Reformation promised life changing results. It viewed the World as God’s World and His Law was the organizing tool for society’s redemption. Every institution was to be subservient to the King of Nations. The idea that God’s Law was to be applied to every area and realm of the culture was something new. Until that time the world was divined into the sacred and the secular. The Reformation would change that. The Reformation challenged the status quo. Now people saw that everything belonged to God and everyone was to come under His Lordship as Lawgiver, Judge, and King.

Social Media and the New Reformation

I believe today’s social media was providentially introduced into the world to inaugurate a New Reformation. Its success is predicated upon its ability to unify the saints for the advancement of the Kingdom of God. However, while Social Media can be a path for a new Reformation it is also a test to see who will use it profitably for God. 

Social media is a word of mouth tool. It is to be used to encourage, galvanize, challenge, and equip the saints. It is a vehicle where the saints can share Kingdom advancement strategies and tactics. It is a globally conspicuous market place of Biblical ideas hatched and refined for the Glory of God. Sadly, I am afraid that it is not being used to the extent or purpose intended.

The Social Media Temptation

Kingdom building is not about what one person can do alone. It is about what the entire Body of Christ can do in concert, working together for a common God Glorifying, Christ-o Centric end. Within the ranks of Christendom, social media however has turned into a soap box for self-proclaimed gurus in order to advance their economic agenda. Every theological pendant is being tested to see whether or not they are seeking to advance God’s Kingdom or their own. Social media often devolves into a battle ground for innuendo, slander, verbal abuse and sarcasm. Instead of equipping Reformed Christendom and galvanizing it to work as a unified Body, social media seems to have divided it further.  This is because we have forgotten what social media is for.

Generating Word of Mouth

Social media is not simply Face Book. It includes Twitter, email, blogs, chats, websites, Skype, Google Plus, Go to Meeting, conference calling hubs, Sermon Audio, and a host of other internet venues that are flooding cyberspace at this very moment. These are tools. Tools for the advancement of the Kingdom. These should be effectively used for generating conversation, for generating word of mouth experiences, challenges, strategies and tactics. They are for the advancement of Christendom. They should be used for that end. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Intensity of Purpose

In order to accomplish those things which are important, an intensity of purpose is required. Whenever we set out to do something of extreme importance we tend to focus upon it until it is completed. Focus is one of the key ingredients needed, which can only be realized when we view the task at hand as purposeful. When a task is viewed in this way there is an intensity which goes along with it.

Strategic Purpose

Kingdom advancement requires a conscientious effort. It requires focus, resolve and tenacity. In addition to those attributes Kingdom advancement requires concrete strategies and tactics. In order to develop these strategies and tactics we need to think through to the end goal and decide, in detailed fashion, how to reach it. Detail is critical. Innovation and creativity is also a critical factor in planning. If we are sincere about cultural renovation God-ward, we will have an intensity of purpose toward that end goal. It will become our focus and our short and long term end.

The Painful Details

Kingdom advancement can only succeed when we plan in detail working from the end goal

For example: If you want to introduce yourself to the local sheriff, or the local county common-wealth attorney how would you go about achieving that? Where would you begin? How would you go about executing that goal?

First, you need to know “Why” you are meeting with him?
What do you want to accomplish?
What is your ultimate agenda?
What is the long-term reason why you might be interested in introducing yourself to that magistrate?

Since or default plan is usually abstract we need retrain ourselves to think in painfully explicit detail. We might begin with an abstract goal, but in order to successfully execute it to its final end there must be a systematic, well thought out, detailed plan.

Personal Integration

There are two ways of going about integrating yourself into any community. You can either critique and criticize to the point where people stop listening to you, or you can be crafty and become a trusted, even sought out, leader in the community God-ward. 

Once people respect you, even if they do not agree with you, you can have a Godly influence upon the culture so when you vehemently disagree with something it is not rejected out of hand.

A Case Study: The Details

Let’s take the hypothetical case of introducing yourself to the local sheriff. First: Why would you even bother getting to know the Sheriff? One very important reason is that he is the executive officer of the entire county which is an extremely weighty position. Secondly, he is one of the most important lesser magistrates that stands between the tyranny of the State and you. Thirdly, his job is to keep peace and order within the community which is essential to the overall well-being of any community.

So how do you get into the front door without looking like a complete idiot or nut case?

Remember you want to ultimately have him get to know you as an individual of integrity, lawfulness, ethical stability, knowledge and wisdom. If you have a business within the community, or if you are a minister, elder or deacon in your church, the introduction is easy. You already have a conspicuous place in the community which shows you have a stake in its safety and prosperity.

You can start by making an appointment with the sheriff introducing yourself and your position in the community, thanking him for his service and then asking him if there is anything that you might do to make his job easier.

This has to be a sincere request. You should want to be available as a gospel ambassador should an opportunity arise. Before he gets to know you, you must get to know him. Show some consideration for the job he has, his concern for his deputies, and offer whatever help and encouragement you can as a citizen or minister within the county.

After the initial introduction, be sure to periodically touch base with him and perhaps some of the deputies. Once a fluid relationship is established watch for opportunities to minster the Word of God to him as it concerns his position as the lesser magistrate.

Other Opportunities

This approach can be applied to any area that you wish to influence. Get to know the local bank manager, editor of the newspaper, fire chief, political reps of the local, state and federal jurisdiction. Visit your local commonwealth attorney and your local circuit court judges. Down the road, you may be able to offer them some materials that might be of interest in the application of God’s Law.
Don’t forget to be personable especially to the county clerk, treasurer and the secretaries of these offices. Don’t forget the local clergy. Get to know them. Eventually you will be lobbying them to get on board with certain community issues that they may tend to shy away from.

The Long-Term Effects

I cannot stress the importance of maintaining a consistency of Godliness. The manifestation of your ethical conformity to the Law of God is of utmost importance. You must be trust-worthy and even-tempered even in the face of severe reproach, slander, backbiting and even betrayal, all of which is guaranteed. Not everyone will respond positively to your Christian cause. Your purpose is to make inroads as a Christian leader in the community. Your efforts, if you are committed to the end goal, will pay off in the future, ultimately aiding in the advancement of righteousness, justice, equity and peace – the components of the Kingdom of God.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Christian Reconstruction: No Laughing Matter

Christian Reconstruction

The question concerning the reconstruction of the culture according to the Law-Word of God is no laughing matter, neither is it something to reject out of hand. It is a very real doctrine which is emphasized and repeated over and over in Scripture by way of commandment and historical case study. To deny Christian Reconstruction is to deny the Great Commandment of Matthew 28 and every other passage that corresponds to it both in the Old and New Testaments.

Consider the idea of Reconstruction

Everyone is a Reconstructionist. There is not one person on the face of the earth that doesn’t seek to re-orient things according to one’s own philosophical agenda. In fact, everyone seeks to conform the world in accordance with their theological presuppositions. In other words, everyone seeks to re-arrange things in light of what they “believe” is best either for themselves or for others. By definition that action is based upon theological and religious ideas. Once a person declares, “I think”, or “I believe, this way or that way is the best approach to accomplish something” it is a religious statement. To believe something is a theological statement.

Everyone is a Reconstructionist

Human life is in a constant state of re-organizing, re-prioritizing, re-scheduling and re-focusing. Mankind is constantly seeking to “better” himself by changing what doesn’t work to what works for a more fulfilling, productive life. To put it another way, every person on the face of the earth is seeking to “Reconstruct” their existence so as to enjoy a more meaningful existence. For the human race, reconstruction is not only inevitable, it is often a daily event.

For Example: Those who are unhappy with their intellectual knowledge usually go to college to re-orient their minds so as to be smarter. Individuals who are not satisfied with their physical appearance might opt for the reconstruction of their bodies though diet or exercise. Families are always in a state of reconstruction especially when there are little ones involved. Persons who are dissatisfied with their income seek to make more money by recalibrating their direction for better financial results. In the sphere of law and politics reconstruction takes center stage. Every law is an attempt to reconstruct human behavior. Every politician campaigns on promises for the society’s reconstruction.

These are all attempts at the reconstruction of something. In fact, reconstruction is all around us because it is wired into our nature. The question however is not ‘reconstruction or no reconstruction’ but rather ‘by what standard does a person, family, legislator or politician reconstruct the world around them?’ What is the standard for reconstruction?

Worldviews: The Standard of Human Reconstruction

Every attempt for reconstruction is based upon a network of belief systems called “Worldviews”. These Worldviews dictate the direction of change. Everyone holds to a particular world and life view. There is no neutrality here. These worldviews determine what a person believes about God, man, heaven, hell, money, power, good, evil, marriage, family, politics, law, science etc. Everyone holds some sort of “Opinion” (i.e. Worldview) which is actually religious in nature since it is not only a belief structure it is the standard which determines how one thinks and acts.

By What standard?

Worldviews can be classified as Biblical, Secular, or Syncretistic. Reconstruction will manifest itself in one of these three ways. Secular reconstructionist use pragmatism, individualism, libertarianism, atheism, and every other “ism” to reconstruct the social order according to what they believe is best for society. Those reconstructionist who blend moral principles with secular reasoning in a syncretistic fashion are also trying to reconstruct the culture.

Many of these are in the camp of the libertarians, natural law theorist, or constitutionalists but at the end of the day they are all trying to reconstruct the culture by way of their World view. They may call themselves Christians but their standard of Truth is not Biblical Christianity. What the syncretists fail to understand is that since their standard is not Biblical it cannot, and will not succeed in bringing about a righteous end no matter what their good intention are.

Christian Reconstruction.

Christian Reconstruction stands alone not only because it is unique but because it alone can bring about a cultural order that is holy, righteous, just, and good. The standard of Christian Reconstruction uses the Infallible Law Word of God to direct societal change. It stands in stark contrast to the chaotic system of man which has been proven to be futile time and time again, even throughout the ages.

So whenever anyone criticizes, mocks or tries to discredit the Christian Reconstruction movement remind them that everyone is part of a reconstruction movement. They will either reconstruct the culture according to their own fallible ideas, or they will reconstruct the culture in obedience to God’s Law. There is no middle ground and there is no excuse. 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Essentials of Christian Reconstruction

In Greg McKeown’s book, ‘Essentialism’, he asks a very pointed question that every Christian who is interested in cultural reconstruction must ask. Quoting from Chinese philosopher Lin Yutang he writes, “The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.”

In contemplation of this question the Christian should ask, “What is essential to the establishment of the Kingdom of God and what is not?” To be more specific the question really should be, “What is essential for me to focus upon and accomplish in the establishment of the Kingdom of God?” All too often, in the pursuit of reconstructing the culture, the Christian focuses on a myriad of general non-essentials rather than his or her individual specific essentials for Kingdom building.

So, what then are the essentials to Kingdom building beside the obvious establishment of individual righteousness and ethical conformity to the Law of God? How does one decide what is essential and what is not?

It must be first understood that each Christian is called to challenge a specific
area of the cultural for its reconstruction. I have been quoted as saying that “If your vision is anything less than changing the world for Christ, then your vision is too small.” What that quote fails to reveal is that the world is changed by many individuals focusing on individualized areas of the culture specific to their skill set which when networked together bring about world change. No one single handedly changes every area of the culture. Successful comprehensive reconstruction takes the entire Body of Christ, working together according to each individual calling. Deciding what area to focus upon holds the key to determining what is essential and what is not.

One way to begin is to focus on one area of the culture which you are most passionate about. The next step is to determine whether or not you possess the necessary wherewithal to begin confronting that area so it can eventually conform to the Word of God. Focus upon the single most important area that you believe you are proficient in understanding, analyzing and reorienting God-ward. Make a concrete decision to “fix” that area and then do not depart from that quest. To be sure these first steps are the most important. If you cannot decide which specific areas of the culture you wish to challenge you will remain confused, indecisive and thus ineffective.

Think In Concrete Terms

Abstract deliberation never solved anything. In order to actually reconstruct any
area of the social order concrete, strategic and tactical thinking must lead the way. Solution based applications must be tried and tested in the marketplace and not simply around the debate table.

The time for writing more books lamenting over what is wrong with the culture is as ineffective as any theoretical abstract plan for its remedy. Theory is good in so far as it becomes actionable. Whenever it fails to be applied it becomes ineffective. Once it is ineffective it simply becomes just another ivory tower of words without any teeth.

What we need are problem solvers. Instead of writing more books or pontificating via the lecture circuit or the bog-o-sphere, what is needed is a movement; a series of well-planned movements for Christian Reconstruction which will impact various targeted areas of the culture.
What do these individual cultural warriors look like? They are problem-solving Christians who are not interested in fame or fortune by becoming financially independent through donations. Their passion is only satisfied with results.

What is needed is a network of Christians that know how to get things done and are actually ready to execute those plans in the real world. It is that group of problem solvers that are essential to the success of Christian Reconstruction. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Stop Reading

Stop Reading

Quite a strange admonishment from someone who believes reading and study is essential to Biblical leadership  and cultural reconstruction. So why make the statement?

Reading vs Doing

The reason behind reading is to teach and then train individuals to DO SOMETHING with what they have learned. Reading apart from the application intent is useless in a world where accomplishment changes things, while reading, for reading sake does little, if anything culturally at all.

In an online issue of Entrepreneur Magazine, author Steve Toback explains.

"People learn from experience. We have textbooks and lectures in school, but without repeatedly solving work problems, conducting lab experiments, taking tests, writing papers (and getting graded feedback on all of it) we wouldn’t learn a blessed thing."
The reason behind the stagnation of the Christian Reconstruction (CR) movement is not due to a lack of knowledge but rather a lack of strategic real world application of that knowledge. Instead of being inundated with a long train of blog posts and FB arguments, pontifications and threads, what CR needs is a detailed operational plan for the advancement of Christ’s Kingdom.

Christian Reconstruction is about applying Biblical models to each element of the culture in real world scenarios. It is based upon diligent doing, not empty talking. It is about building Biblical models and
then experimenting with them within the reality of the culture to see what works and what doesn’t. It is about monitoring the results, both the successes and failures. Where there are successes these need to be shared with the CR community. When there are failures it’s time to go back and re-work the model.

CR is also about building coalitions across the nation, networking with them and sharing strategies and tactics. The Body of Christ does not work in a vacuum.

If I were to write a tactical playbook  I may only publish one page at a time. Once the details of the first page was completed, then the second page would be published. The reason for this is that too many claiming Theonomic roots and the desire to see Christ’s Kingdom advance often fail to lay the foundational groundwork for its success. These Reconstructionists are not interested in laying down a Biblical foundation within their own person or families first. They would rather change the world than to change themselves. They do not understand that CR beings with the individual and then the family. Only then can it yield cultural increase. Reconstructionists first must be Christians before they are allowed to advance the Kingdom.
I have pastored for more than 25 years. Of those years I have been involved in CR for 22 of them. What I have witness is both distressing and dangerous to any Christian movement especially one with Theonomy and the Dominion mandate at its center.

Before any Kingdom work can be successful one must first understand the Scriptures. Too often individuals read Rushdoony, North, Bahnsen et al without actually understanding what Biblical Christianity is and what it demands. They do not understand who they are or what the Covenant demands of them. This is a formula for disaster, especially for those that learn their theology from blogs and FB posts and not from the Scriptures and the Historic Creeds of Christendom.  

Yet, even when Biblical  fundamentals are intact, there is still the tendency to look for quick results. CR is not a quick fix. It is not saving the world in one generation. It is a long and slow process that requires faith, tenacity, resolve and patience. It is the laying down of a foundation for the next several generations to build upon. It is about building a generational legacy that has Christ as the Center.

Christian Recon 101: The First Step

So what is the first step after the Biblical groundwork is met? How does one engage the culture? This is what I would recommend on that first page of the manual before anything else:
1. Get to know those in your community. a. Visit store owners. Frequent their shops. Visit governing officials. Know the lawyers, sheriff, deputies, firemen, post master, clerks, etc. 2. Build report with everyone in your community from the least to the greatest. a. Take the Commonwealth attorney out to lunch. Give him a copy of Law and Liberty.
b. Visit those in the county and town office. Bring the secretaries a box of cookies. Tell them you appreciate their work. Get to know your supervisors. hear their concerns. Ask if you can help in anyway.
3. Establish yourself as a person of integrity, wisdom, and cordiality. a. Be quick to listen, slow to speak. Don't dress like a bum. Present yourself as person of respect. 4. Observe. Gather intel. a. Go to town and county meetings. Send others to gather info so when the time comes to offer solutions you know the issues. 5. Become visible but not intrusive or arrogant. a. This takes time. It make take 10 or 20 years but you are paving the way for others that will come after you.
Here is the Key:

If you genuinely care about people you will be influential in their lives for good and a staple in your community. If you only care about yourself and how you can win them for Jesus they will find you out very quickly and your witness will be destroyed. Once you have established an honest report they will be willing to hear you even if they disagree because you have gained their respect. That is dominion, and that is the first step in CR.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

A Great Opportunity for Cultural Revitalization

“And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.”  Mark 12:42-44

Christianity, America and the whole of Western civilization is at a cross-roads. If we are to lay a foundation of applied Biblical Scholarship for the express purpose of cultural renovation for the next generation the time is NOW. If we miss this opportunity it may very well be too late for any progress in the years to come.

The New Geneva Academy in conjunction with its parent non-profit Theological Institution the ITR has been given a tremendous opportunity by the merciful providence of God. The ITR has just secured a substantial piece of property across from its already existing library of more than 100,000 books, pdf and microfiche documents in downtown Appomattox, Virginia.

The purpose of this purchase is to build a small conference center with additional library

space which will house the R.J. Rushdoony Library of 48,000 books, making New Geneva and the ITR one of the largest libraries in Virginia, if not the largest to date.

The facility will be used as a research and resource center to train cultural leaders, ministers, evangelists, gospel ambassadors and statesmen. It will be like the Geneva of Calvin’s day where Knox once commented that the school at Geneva was "The most perfect school of Christ that ever was on earth since the days of the Apostles". We want to realize this once again as we embark on a new reformation.

While we have the property we do not have the funds to build the building. Wonderfully, however, new construction prices in Appomattox are relatively low compared to other U.S. cities. Moreover, Appomattox is located in the heart of Virginia, easily accessible from several of the East Coast States and developing quickly.

In order to realize this we need others to share both the vision and the passion that we have for this project. We are asking you to give like the widow gave in Mark 12. We need to raise approximately $200,000 - $225,000 for this to become a much needed reality.

This building will not only house the conference center and the library, it will be coupled with our existing building to provide a campus like atmosphere for both our students and the entire community.

Will you please consider being part of this project?

All donations are tax deductible and checks should be made out to the ITR.
PO Box 778 Appomattox VA 24522

You can also go onto our website to our donation page if you wish to donate via Credit Card.
Thank you for your prayers and support in this most critical time of our history.

Deo Vindice!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Hamster Wheel

One of the strategies of the Monolithic State is "Time Appropriation." If the State can commandeer the Christian's time by forcing him to devote all of his time to mere survival via making just enough money to live, the State then can thwart any move for Christian Reconstruction from being realized.

If all your time is taken up with work just to survive and pay bills you cannot redeem any time for the things of the Kingdom unless your work is being used specifically for Kingdom advancement. Without a targeted plan that situation, however, is not usually the norm. Too may Christians have failed to use their careers in such a way as to advance the Kingdom and have thereby set themselves up to run the "Hamster Wheel" just to make ends meet,l or in some cases to buy more stuff.

In order to keep Godly men and their families on the hamster wheel the State continues to impose every type of taxation upon them. This is the theology of unlawful taxation; feed the State so that it can continue to perpetuate its religion of secular humanism on its people and its demands of its monolithic ideology through legislation and coercion, to be as God.

In this way time is appropriated by the demands of the State. They not only own your time, they own you. But if that is not enough to make you furious they also own your future and if this pattern is not broken they will also own your children's future.

Redeeming the Time

Time is more important than money. Flexibility is more important than money. Your family cf Deuteronomy 8:18 This is precisely why the Scripture commands us to redeem time and not money per se, for the days are evil. Ephesians 5:16 and its future is more important than money. And of course the advancement of the Kingdom of Heaven is more important everything. Money is important only if it is used Biblically.

The Christian that finds him or herself on the State's hamster wheel must make a conscience decision to be liberated from its cyclical prison. The question is not how much money can we make, or how many things we can buy, but how many things have we done for the Kingdom. How productive were we in our lifetime for the Glory of God and the Gospel's advance? It's never a question of how much money do we want but rather how much money do we really need, and to what purpose do we use our finances. It is a fact that the blind quest for cash is a fools errand. Working for mere wages without a Kingdom plan is folly and vexation of spirit.

Define Your Purpose

Too many within the Christian community go through life without a clear definition of its meaning. Too may do not really have an active life plan based upon Scriptural mandates. For them life is passive. There is no real life's design God-ward. What is more discouraging is too many Christians fail to realize that they are commissioned to make an impact in the world for the Glory of God and not merely for the glory and financial success of themselves. The question that each of us must ask is "What is our contribution to the Kingdom's advance?" If we cannot answer this then we have not contributed to its advancement and we must then rethink our entire life's purpose and whether or not Christ is the central hub or life.