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Monday, January 30, 2012


We are really good, it seems, at identifying problems. Discovering solutions is more difficult. That might seem odd, but I have begun to wonder of late if it's largely because we're not really so good at identifying problems.

Take, for instance, politics. We all know what the problem is. It's the media, with their 30-second soundbites and their liberal bias and their constant coverage-with-a-slant. It's the Super PAC concept with their unlimited money and ability to say whatever they want without repercussion or even honesty. It's "the wrong guy" in office or running for office or maybe just "the wrong party" in charge. It is excessive or inadequate laws to govern all this. If we could only fix these problems, our political woes would be solved.

Take, for instance, abortion. The cause here is obvious. It's the loud mouths of the "pro-abortionist groups" who are forcing their view on our culture. It's the evil "pro-choice groups" who suggest that it's all about "choice" rather than "murder". Or, if you're on the other side, it's those insidious "pro-life groups" who, as you all know, are really just "anti-choice", and if we could just shut them up, the question would go away. The "pro-life" side might say it's liberals in general or perhaps the Supreme Court for its faulty rulings or the government for its faulty laws and its blocking of good laws. Solve these, and we've solved the abortion problem.

Take, for instance, pornography. No one really asks what the problem is here. It's the media, with all that sex available on cable. It's computers and the Internet which make it readily available to anyone all the time. I mean, kids can get it on their smart phones! And it's the fact that most people find it acceptable, expected, normal. Pornography is everywhere. That's the problem. Fix that and we'll fix that problem.

Take, for instance, "same-sex marriage". Of course, when I say that there are two possible responses. One is "Yeah, we shouldn't be allowing that" and the other is "Yeah, they shouldn't be outlawing that." But let's go with the efforts that are being spent on keeping marriage intact. That problem is equally visible. It's, again, the media. In this case it's the infiltration of gay-rights types who are launching an intentional assault to shape public opinion away from "That's not right" to "That's perfectly normal" (even when 2% cannot be called "normal" by any mathematical stretch of the imagination). It's the product of constant assault on television where 80% of the shows have pro-gay characters. It's the flood of the Internet and computers that push the gay agenda. It's the infiltration into the courts and the erosion of laws, where the public can vote a law into existence and then have the courts legislate from the bench. Oh, yeah, we know where this problem lies. If we can shore up the laws and stop the presses, we'd have this problem beat.

The truth? The problem is not the media, the political party, the group that argues for the problem or the technology that abets it. In each and every case, the problem is the person, the individual that buys into it. Mass these persons together and you get a group. Ask them about politics and you get a political party. Give them access to tools and you get technology and "the media", which is a blending of technology and groups. It is the person. Oh, let's not dwell on my opinon here. Let's go to a higher source.
Each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers (James 1:14-16).
Clear enough. It is a personal problem, not an external problem. Or how about this?
What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions (James 4:1-3).
On what, then, does James blame conflicts? "Your passions are at war within you". "You desire and do not have." In both accounts, the problem is you. (Or, in my case, me.)

We could spend all our time attempting to correct the problems. We could alter the media, outlaw Super PACs, vote in the right people, change Roe v Wade, outlaw pornography, get rid of the computer, silence the gay agenda, whatever example you wish to use. It wouldn't make a difference. These are not the problem. The problem is self -- self-centeredness, self-interest, a lack of self-control, self-gratification and on it goes. The answer is not found in better laws, better controls, or better candidates. The answer is found in the Gospel alone. The solution is Christ. We can possibly stem the tide of moral decay by muddling about in those other things, but they are not solutions. And we who know Christ have both the Solution and the clear commission to administer the Gospel wherever we are. And, look, in all honesty, do you think that those who love God have the capacity to fight off those who are hostile to God by legislation or boycotts or voting right? These things are fine and dandy, but remember, we do not war against flesh and blood, nor are we alone in it. It is much better to remember that the battle is the Lord's.


Jeremy D. Troxler said...


I heard a quote that runs, in paraphrase, something like - technology allows us to pursue and experience improved means in order to achieve hitherto unimproved ends. At least that was the jist of it. Technologies are useful as tools, but tools are still operated by people. Until the people are fixed, the tools will only provide a more rapid descent into depravity.

This also means that change is always going to mean taking the slow road. No "policy," "initiative," or "incentive" will touch the nerve of the problem. Heart change is a work of the Holy Spirit and therefore the best we can do is to preach and teach the Word. If the minority, which we will always be as believers, will be fervent in prayer, diligent in preaching and teaching the Truth, and living consistent with that message in our conduct, then the Word will convict and cause heart change or defiance, life or death, light or darkness, peace or riot. In either case, what will not be possible is a proverbial easing into the warm bath of complacency.

May God grant us the ability to persevere and be diligent in such things, for His glory.

Stan said...


Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Yes, the truth is that the problem is people lacking discernment, and accept as fact anything they are fed via either the media, the education system, or maybe even a cult. Wherever people get their information, they fail to use discernment, especially if the issue appeals to them.

G. Richard Fisher, retired pastor and a member of Personal Freedom Outreach apologetics ministry, coined the phrase "deception by investment," describing those who are so invested in some teaching or teacher (or even someone in the entertainment world) that rather than admit they were wrong in accepting what they have been taught, will remain deceived because they have invested so much of themselves in that person/teaching, etc.

I read a good quote in the book, "Operation Mincemeat," by Ben MacIntyre - the story behind the movie "The Man Who Never Was" - a deception the British pulled on the Germans in WWII. MacIntyre said, "Deception is a sort of seduction. In love and war, adultery and espionage, deceit can only succeed if the deceived party is willing, in some way, to be deceived."

We really need to teach discernment in all matters affecting our lives.

Danny Wright said...

Glenn. I think this was on display about a year ago now leading up to Camping's predictions.