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News

Saturday Selections – Feb. 19, 2022

Kinsey - the man behind perverted sex-ed

The biggest bit of propaganda Kinsey passed along? That chastity was basically impossible. Thus sex-ed programs teach "safer sex" rather than actual safe sex – ie. sex only between a committed husband and wife – presuming that kids are akin to beasts in heat who couldn't possibly control their urges. God, in forbidding adultery (Ex. 20:14), presumes something very different.

A case for shorter hymnals

John Ahern argues for limited hymns. His main point? We can only sing songs well if we actually know them.

Why Postmodernism promotes Big Government

In this short yet provocative piece, J.P. Moreland offers an explanation for why the godless want government to get bigger and bigger.

A how-to for combatting the lie of "deep time"

Dinosaur soft tissue used to be inconceivable. Now it is incontrovertible.

Our polygamous past

This is quite a good practical case against polygamy: men with many wives leave other men without the ties that bind. Then, without families to concern them, these men often cause trouble.

It's such a good argument that Christians might be tempted to base their arguments against polygamy on this line of reasoning. But a practical case against can be answered with practical solutions. For example: mayhaps we need to encourage women to take more than one husband so as to even things out. Now our "too many unconnected men" problem is solved...but not in any sort of fashion we were intending.

Thus, when we defend God's truth – that "a man should leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh" (Eph. 5:31) – we need to defend it as God's truth. It's only once we have established that as our foundation, that we can then stack arguments like this "practical case" against polygamy on top. While practical objections can't stand on their own, they can stand when supported. Practical problems do come with disobeying God.

But will the world listen to us if we talk to them about God? It doesn't seem likely. But is our goal to get pagans to act like Christians? Or do we want them to be Christians? One thing we can be quite certain of: if we are too ashamed to talk about God, we won't be used by God to bring people to Him.

Do we want the Bible back in public schools?

Gary DeMar explains the problem with that sort of partial victory...

News

Saturday Selections – Jan. 15, 2022

Who is the minimum wage really protecting? (3 min) Governments will tax some products to deliberately increase their cost to then discourage consumption of those products (i.e. cigarettes, soda pop, gasoline). So what is the government doing when it increases the cost of labor via a minimum wage? Find meaning and beauty as a fast-food worker "God uses the work of our hands, no matter how simple, no matter how mundane, to connect with hearts and minds." Erasing women John Stonestreet notes that in rejecting the reality of sex – in rejecting that God made us male and female – the trans movement can only stereotype men and women. A creationist confession? Dr. Wes Bredenhof reports on efforts nearly three decades ago to write a common confession among Presbyterian and Reformed churches around the issue of creation. Some familiar names were in the mix including RP contributors Dr. Margaret Helder and Dr. John Byl. Dr. Greg Bahnsen wrote the creation confession, and another on hermeneutics. Secular film shows the emptiness of secularism Unbelievers rarely dare ask themselves deep questions. It's curious then that a new film, Don't Look Up, asks what the purpose of our lives would be if we all knew the world was going to be destroyed in two weeks. It's no surprise, however, that the secular film can't answer the issue it raises. Spider-Man's multiverse The concept of a "multiverse" – that there are more universes than just this one – figures prominently in the latest Spider-Man movie, and viewers might conclude there must be some sort of scientific basis for believing in the multiverse's existence. But did you know the only "evidence" for other universes is that this one is too finely-tuned to foster the existence of life for scientists to be able to explain it as just a chance happening. It's just too unlikely... unless they presuppose that there might be millions (or an infinity!) of other universes. If that were so, then it would, they argue, be less remarkable that in one of those universes – our own – all the dice rolled just right for things to line up so perfectly. The only evidence for a multiverse is that godless science needs it to exist. Everyone's a criminal? (6 min) This is an American presentation, but a much more widespread problem – countries have so many laws that everyone could be found guilty of something. This excess of laws gives the State the ability to punish whomever they don't like, and sometimes they do. Too many laws actually take us from the Rule of Law to the Rule of Men – instead of all being equal before the law, it's about who you know or which party is in power. ...

News

Saturday Selections – Dec. 25, 2021

Is Christmas a pagan holiday? (14 min) In this podcast from the folks at Creation Ministries International, the answer given is no, and it wouldn't even matter if it started that way. People we should know better: Dr. John Sanford This is a great profile of an atheist-turned-Christian and geneticist of renown, who is now using his expertise to highlight how the evidence points to a recent creation. Win-win denial: the false justification for economic envy Is the only way to get ahead by pushing others back? Do society's winners win only by making others lose? To illustrate by way of analogy, if Sally buys a shirt from Tony's store, is only one of them better off? Is one of them worse off? Or did both of them "win"? Potential solutions to the plastics problem? Our oceans are full of plastics, but Justin Trudeau's single-use plastics ban won't help since it won't stop the flow of trash entering the oceans over in Asia and other developing countries. His approach comes with a cost and creates its own plastics problems. But if doing nothing would be an improvement over Trudeau's approach, applying our God-given brains to bring some creativity to the issue is an even better idea. And that's what some folk are doing right now. A creationist take adds further context. Canada's conversion therapy law commits six secular sins The first and foremost problem with a law banning conversion therapy is that it runs right up against God's Law – it bans what God commands, that we tell and help sinners to repent and believe. Another problem with this ban is that it doesn't even live up to secular standards, which is the focus of Dr. Hendrik van der Breggen's article here. Teach us to number our days Why do we waste so much of our time? One reason might be that we always overestimate how much we have. "Our mind tells us to estimate a full eighty years or so; our heart tells us 900, give or take." As Greg Morse writes in this article: Some have fifteen years left; others more; others less. Will you live them? Will you receive normal days as spectacular gifts from a good God and spend them in his service? Stop subsidizing sports (5 min) In Samuel's warning about kings (1 Samuel 8:10-22), God teaches us that those in charge tend to be overbearing, as we can see with our own governments taking over entire sectors like healthcare, insurance, and education. So should we be asking it to get into the entertainment industry too, using its taxing power to take from Paul so that Peter can be amused? A government that is involved in everything is also a government that can use that reach and influence for its godless agenda. Yes, even when it comes to sports stadiums. The Western Australian gov't has since backed down, but they were going to use their investment in sports facilities to discriminate against Christians. One reason Christians should want smaller government is to diminish the power it can then use against us. ...

News, Politics

Conversion therapy and silence in Canada

Many concerned readers will remember the federal government of Canada’s effort to ban conversion therapy throughout 2021. The Liberals began their efforts in the spring, with a bill that would ban any therapy that was intended to help change a person's sexual preferences from homosexual or transexual to heterosexual. There were many hearings, some of which I watched, and I was astounded by the clear articulation by so many participants who spoke against the government's broad definition of conversion therapy. The hearings included horrific stories of tortuous attempts of conversion therapy (and these tortures should indeed be banned), but it became clear that the legislation also sought to ban conversations and advice that, for example, a pastor might offer a parishioner who requested their help. While it seemed inevitable that the legislation was going to pass, it would have to do so with much opposition. In June 2021, 62 Conservative MPs voted against this bill at Third Reading, and it moved on to the Senate. However, before they could deal with it, a federal election was called, and the business of Parliament came to an end. The next elected government would have to start all over. That meant there would be another opportunity to continue fighting against bad definitions, godless intentions, and government overreach. Sadly, on December 1, a Conservative Party motion to fast track the government's latest "conversion therapy ban" legislation (Bill C-4), was unanimously approved by the House of Commons. No debate, no discussion, no hearings, no fighting for care and caution. Mr. O’Toole was one of the 51 Conservative MPs that voted for the Bill originally, and he suggested that there were many different ways to expedite the legislative process for the Bill. What’s worse, as reported by the Globe and Mail, we learned: Earlier this week, the Liberal government reintroduced a bill banning conversion therapy. The legislation was wider reaching than a previous version. It was intended to ban the practice entirely for children and adults. Before, the proposed legislation left open the possibility that an adult could consent to conversion therapy. The new bill closes that loophole. (Ian Bailey, Dec. 1 – Surprise Conservative motion sends conversion therapy ban bill through Commons). Silent MPs There are so many different implications with this move that it is hard to comment on them all. What is most disconcerting is the silence with which this Bill was passed. Three members of the Conservative Party, Arnold Viersen (Conservative MP clarifies his stance on “conversion therapy” ban | The Bridgehead), Cathy Wagantall (Second Conservative MP clarifies stance on unanimous vote for “conversion therapy” ban | The Bridgehead), and Ted Falk (Conservative MP explains what happened with unanimous Bill C-4 vote), have expressed regret in not speaking up at that moment, objecting to the unanimous passage of this Bill (can we anticipate more such commentary?). Had only one person done so, the Bill would have had to go through the regular legislative procedures. I appreciate the humility and transparency of Viersen, Wagantall, and Falk and I believe they are sincere in their expression of regret – they are consistent with their previous actions and comments on this topic. Christians excusing silent MPs Another disconcerting phenomenon flowing from this event has been the social media commentary by many Christians dismissing or even endorsing the silence of these and other parliamentarians as being “sheep in the midst of wolves” and thus, being “wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matt 10:16). I understand the very real challenge of being a Christian politician, and I would not want to be judgmental. However, if we won’t take a stand on this issue, with relatively little at stake, what issues do we stand up for? One person considered this a lost cause, so “pick your battles.” Sure, there is truth in both statements, but it isn’t that we were going to lose the battle that concerns us, but how we lost it – capitulation and silence; acquiescing and standing by. Today, it is officially the case that there is not a single Member of Parliament who objects to the definition of Conversion Therapy in Canada. A few months ago there were 61. We are going to lose most moral battles moving forward – we don’t have a great track record of wins – but for righteousness’ sake we fight the battles. If we don’t fight because we know we’re going to lose, then whenever there is a Liberal government with support from the NDP and others, we may stop fighting altogether. Rather, let us recognize that some are fighting on the front lines, where the battle is most fierce, tiring, public, and hard – they need our support and encouragement. And when they lay down their weapons in a moment of weakness, we can still be behind them spurring them on to pick up the armory and keep on fighting – they haven’t lost all our support for such a moment. But neither should we say to the frontline fighters, “drop the weapons, stop fighting, late us take this blow so we can fight the next onslaught.” Such a strategy will not work. After repeated capitulation like this, it will only make those in the supporting roles look for others to support. The ban on conversion therapy legislation passed in silence and was celebrated with loud clamor. This was a sad day in Canada’s history and we pray that the Lord will stem the growing tide of secularism that is filling our land. May he also continue to grant strong men and women who can fight these battles where they are placed, to his honor and glory. May he also forgive all of us when we fail to do so. Postscript: Conversion therapy definitions The Bill (needing only Royal Assent now to be law) defines Conversion Therapy thusly: “Conversion therapy means a practice, treatment, or service designed to change a person’s sexual orientation to heterosexual; change a person’s gender identity to cisgender; change a person’s gender expression so that it conforms to the sex assigned to the person at birth; repress or reduce non-heterosexual attraction or sexual behaviour; repress a person’s non-cisgender gender identity; or repress or reduce a person’s gender expression that does not conform to the sex assigned to the person at birth” There is one point we need to understand. There is nothing in this law that would prevent a practice, treatment, or service designed to change person’s sexual orientation to homosexual; there is nothing in it banning attempts to change a person’s gender identity from heterosexual; it raises no objections to treatments, practices, or services intended to change a person’s gender expression so that it no longer conforms to their biological sex; it does not stand in the way of attempts to repress or reduce heterosexual attraction or heterosexual behavior, etc. It becomes clear then, that this Bill is not about banning conversion therapy, it is about allowing conversion therapy in only one direction – the unbiblical direction. Being gender fluid, transgender, homosexually active, etc. are celebrated and promoted in so many different ways in public schools and communities. There is a strong effort to promote sexual conversions through SOGI 123, and other similar curriculum. This isn’t about creating a safe space for struggling youths – it is about creating a cultural revolution where the standards of God’s Word are continually being tossed aside. ARPA Canada (C-4: Conversion Therapy) and others have commented on the implications of this legislation elsewhere. The next steps, as outlined by Cathy Wagantall, include “working with parents, pastors, and legal experts to develop legislation that protects parents’ and faith leaders’ ability to have conversations with individuals seeking clarity on their personal life decisions.” May the Lord bless these efforts!...

News

Top 10 RP articles of 2021

Free films featured prominently in this year's Top 10 with three entries, but there wasn't an identifiable theme for the rest. Or maybe that diversity was the theme: all of God's universe, from doctrinal discussions on baptism, to history, Christian fiction, the World Wide Web, and more, God created it for us to explore. These, then, are the most popular articles of 2021! You can click on the titles to check them out. #10 – 3 simple reasons we believe misinformation In an era of fake news, you'd think we'd know better than to fall for it again and again. So why do we? Chris Martin offered this much-appreciated explanation. #9 – In His Image: Delighting in God's plan for gender and sexuality Gender and sex will be hot topics for the next decade, and this free documentary was the go-to for thousands of RP readers who wanted to get a good grounding. #8 – Calvin's Institutes: Which edition should I read? There are three main translations of this pivotal work. So which should you read? #7 – On mandatory vaccines and "My body, my choice" Chris deBoer offered up this topical take on how Christians might have different thoughts on the Covid vaccines, but we should all agree to be against mandatory vaccines. #6 – Why do we suffer? Buddhism vs. Christianity There are some similarities between the way Buddhism and Christianity respond to suffering. But there's a big difference too! An article that didn't make the top ten the year it was posted comes in at #6 in 2021. #5 – A Return to Grace: Luther’s life and legacy It's another free film, and what makes this a must-see is its unique mix of drama and documentary. Other great Luther documentaries exist, but the most engaging of “talking heads” can’t really grab the attention of a broad audience. Drama might be more gripping but it can’t go into the same depth as a documentary. However, A Return to Grace is a docudrama – half documentary and half drama, making good use of the strengths of each. And it is free to see at the link. #4 – The hidden meaning of The Chronicles of Narnia This article was actually more popular in 2021 than when it was first published in 2020, when it was only #10. Cap Stewart explains how we've only recently discovered that C.S. Lewis – for his own private amusement because he seems to have never told anyone – linked each of his famous Narnia books to one of the 7 planets as medieval cosmology understood them. #3 – The Marks of a Cult: a biblical analysis This fantastic free documentary was very popular, and with good reason: it boils down a big topic into just two hours. If that's a bit long, it works equally well broken up into four separate chapters. And did we mention it's free? #2 – The impact of saying "I'm so busy!" This was an article for businessmen that we could all benefit from: sometimes it's a point of pride, being so busy. But what does being busy say about our leadership? And what opportunities does it limit? #1 – Infant baptism vs. believer's baptism: what's the main difference? The most popular article this year is a short but sweet piece by Pastor Garry Vanderveen. He asks, "The fundamental difference between the two positions is revealed in how one answers this question: Is baptism primarily God’s action or is it a human response?"...

News

Saturday Selections – November 27, 2021

Education without Jesus? "You would never go to a Vacation Bible School run by Mormons or spend your Sundays in a Muslim Temple. Still, many Christian high school students decide to spend their formative college years attending godless, public universities and colleges." Birth control documentary shares the Pill’s dirty little secret This review of The Business of Birth Control is itself very informative about the risks of the birth control pill to the women who use it. And it doesn't even get into the risks the pill presents to the unborn. Why Jack Phillips wouldn't bake the cake A Christian who has had to deal with a firestorm of controversy explains why he had to refuse to bake a wedding cake for two men who made the request. The short answer? As a Christian, he didn't want to help celebrate (and therefore be a part of encouraging)  two men pledging themselves to a lifelong rebellion against God. Our infant mortality rate is worse than in 1900 In the USA in the year 1900, one out of every ten babies died. In the year 2018, it is two out of ten babies. And the situation is similar in Canada and most Western nations. If that's a shock to you, it's because you've forgotten the reason why things are so much worse today. The unintended consequence of Universal Childcare A Swedish mother reports on her experience that when the government takes on more responsibility for childcare, parents have less options and less control. 39% of young Americans identify as  LGBT, rebutting "born this way" "...today, most Americans either believe that sexual orientation is something not chosen or that it is something that should never be questioned. However, polls like this one should make us question what many in our culture now take for granted about sexual orientation. Otherwise, how can the explosion in self-identified LGBTQ youth be explained?" Smeagol resets his personal pronouns Some ideas should be debated. This idea should be mocked. (For guidance on why, see Prov. 26:4-5 and also "The don't and do's of answering fools"). ...

News

Saturday Selections - November 20, 2021

The "A word" (1 min) As has been said, our culture wars are really battles over the dictionary. Whether it's the euphemisms offered in place of the "A-word," or the "redefinition" of terms like marriage, gender and even love, the devil's strategy is to confuse people. Our role? To share God's definitions, revealing the world as God has actually made it. Life inside a woke company (10-min read) Rod Dreher talks with two Christians on the pressures that exist in big companies for Christians to stay quiet and promote the company's latest woke (and maybe LGBT) initiative. Decades ago, pressures to join God-opposing unions prompted many Reformed folk to start their own businesses. We need that entrepreneurial spirit again. Intelligent Design without God Some will credit anything – chance, multiverses, or now, super-intelligent aliens – except God for the fine-tuning of the universe. Why many "Great Books" of the 20th century were by suicidal authors Jonathon Van Maren examines the authors' worldviews from a "50 greatest books" list and finds a whole lot of nihilism. For a better top 50 list, see one on our website here. What happens when Democrats have all the power? What's might be most interesting here is that the warning being issued here is being given by perhaps the most influential of all leftwing publications, the New York Times. Was life discovered on Venus?!? We regularly hear that this or that could be evidence of life on Mars, or on a meteorite, or, as happened late last year, on Venus. And when clarifying information comes in months later disproving the notion, there aren't the same-sized headlines offering up the correction. So, as Spike Psarris explains, looking back at the Venus hype one year later, we can see how the same old mistakes were made again. Commentators do their best "Who's on first?" Whether this was an intentional bit or not, it's a hilarious homage to Abbot and Costello's classic (and Babylon Bee has recently also paid tribute). wow. Abbot and Costello got nothing on @IngrahamAngle.pic.twitter.com/kuqxaFSyuD — ken olin (@kenolin1) November 16, 2021 ...

News

Saturday Selections - November 13, 2021

Though you slay me (6 min) John Piper teams up with Shane & Shane in this must-listen. On Christian conscience and vaccination (5 min read) Larry Taunton has a bone to pick with John Piper about vaccines. Soft flexible nerves found in Triceratops "If these fossils were millions of years old, we would not expect to find any actual soft tissue or biomolecules." Fewer children because of climate anxiety? Some people are having no or fewer children to save the planet. They've got it dead wrong, John Stonestreet explains. How to prepare for the Metaverse (10-minute read) Facebook recently announced plans to rebrand themselves as "Meta" but they aren't the first to speak of a coming "metaverse." It's not just an online world, but online worlds, all of them linked and providing users the opportunity to represent themselves digitally however they want to be seen. Ian Harbor outlines the challenges the Church may face, but also presents the opportunities, and how this may sharpen the antithesis between God's people and the world. Great article! Teens are lonelier than ever: what do smartphones have to do with it? "In theory, this connection should bode well for teens’ well-being — in particular, they should feel less loneliness, an emotion that occurs when we feel alone and disconnected from others. But has it boosted teen well-being? Do teens feel less lonely?" Happily divorced vs. unhappily married? (6 min) The video below and article above present a practical case against divorce and offers it up to a world that too often looks too quickly at divorce as a solution for marriage problems. So, this is a corrective to myths the world pitches that a happily divorced is clearly better than unhappily married. But it is important to put such a practical case in a biblical context where we see that God says that He hates divorce (Mal. 2:16, Matt. 19:6) but does also allow for it (Matt. 19:8). ...

News

Saturday Selections - November 6, 2021

Safe spaces should be about being safe to share ideas, not being safe from ideas (5 min) CNN host Van Jones wouldn't be called a conservative by anyone so it was interesting to hear him take on the idea of "safe spaces" on university campuses  7 marks of a good apology, 8 marks of a bad one This would be a good review for all of us! One lesson of the pandemic? Humility We have limitations in knowledge, time, and ability... but is that how we act? RP contributor Hendrik van der Breggen advocates for humility too in his article "We need some healthy skepticism about science and medicine." The great chromosome fiasco "Follow the science" is a phrase often heard, but seldom considered. Who decides what the "science" says? Is it science when some say men can become women? Or when some say that the unborn are not alive? When it comes to evolution, no one can show how life could come from non-life on purpose, and yet science supposedly says it happened. So nonsense can get passed along in the name of "following the science" and this short article shows how it sometimes happens. What Jordan Peterson taught us about the Holocaust "Dr. Jordan Peterson is frequently moved to tears as he begs his listeners to realize that it was so-called 'good' people and 'normal' people and 'nice' people that allowed the Holocaust to happen—and in many cases, even facilitated it. We must all realize, Peterson says with a passion that demands attention, that it was people like us who murdered the Jews, and it is essential that we understand why that happened, and how that happened." Serious or satire? The Babylon Bee, a Christian satire site, and its sister site Not the Bee, which reports the news of the day, have crafted a 10-question quiz where you get to guess what's fact and what's farce. It says something about our culture's crafters when the real and the ridiculous are so hard to tell apart. Taste and see (5 min) Shane and Shane with an amazing song based on Psalm 34. ...

News

Saturday Selections – October 9, 2021

Who cares about the national debt? This is an American presentation, but the point syncs up with the Canadian situation too. Secular prof discovers that God knows best (15-min read) God's restrictions regarding premarital and extramarital sex are sometimes presented as being restrictions on pleasure. God is seen as a killjoy. But what one secular professor discovered is that sexual restraint benefits a society. In other words, God's rules should be understood as guides for our good – they show His love for us. The C-vid survey that should have rocked the world As headlines tend to be these days, this one is a bit over the top. But it is important to understand the political group in charge of the US right now is the side that overestimates the dangers. The dangerous science behind "gender transitioning" Christians reading their Bibles already know that "gender transitioning" isn't going to have a good end. While some studies argue it does help these folk psychologically, it is not surprising to us that as John Stonestreet notes, the best studies say something else entirely. 12 tips for parenting the smartphone generation Tony Reinke, author of 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You, has 12 tips for parents, including: Delay social media as long as possible Delay smartphones as long as possible Ben Shapiro on climate change (3 min) The commentator explains that climate change "fixes" intended to avert potential harm in the future would do real harm to the poor today. ...

News

Saturday Selections - October 2, 2021

Going after Facebook (7 min) The way Facebook uses "fact-checkers" makes them bad arbitrators of the truth. (You can find RP on MeWe here and Twitter here, while the editor is on Gab here.) When a lesbian at Yale came to Christ While the Devil uses his resources to confuse, God can use even a stolen book to bring clarity, as He did with this young woman. Translation manipulation Some history worth remembering: 20 years ago plans were in place to make the world's most popular English Bible translation more gender-neutral. Even after being shamed into reversing course, the publisher tried again just two years later. Prediction: Scientists won't be able to improve on our design (15-min read) William A. Dembski's certainty that we have been designed, and not evolved, led him to predict 20 years ago that so-called "Junk DNA" would turn out to be functional. His position opposed that of evolutionists who assumed these sections were the useless leftover remnants of our species' previous evolutionary incarnations. Over the next ten years, Dembski's design inference was proven to be the right one, as these sections did prove to have functions. Now Dembski has a new prediction, also based on us being designed rather than evolved. A new discovery – CRISPR gene editing – allows us to edit mankind's genes. This raises the possibility of correcting some people's defective genes – errors that are obviously errors and lead to certain genetic diseases. But evolutionists see this as an opportunity to improve on where, in their minds, chance and time have brought us. Could gene-editing be used to make the human species smarter, faster, stronger, etc.? Dembski predicts, no, because no matter how smart scientists might be, they aren't anywhere near as smart as our Designer. And while this CRISPR process might have some use in addressing the breakage in that design, as caused by the Fall, Man is not going to be able to improve on God's design. Help in the midst of the pornography plague “The question is not if my kids will see pornography, but what will I do when it happens.” How Covid taught the public to distrust authorities Rex Murphy lays it out. Are you after easy A's? (2 min) Our young people can't all go to this college, but we can encourage all those that do head off to university to approach their education with this sort of rigor. ...

News

China takes a pro-life turn

This comes under the category of: “Come and see what God has done: He is awesome in His deeds...” (Ps. 66:5). A country notorious for forced sterilizations and abortions and government-mandated infanticide has just announced they are now putting restrictions on abortion. For 36 years China enforced a One Child Policy by tearing unborn babies out of their mothers’ wombs. But then the Chinese government began to realize their policy would leave a single child supporting 2 parents and 4 grandparents, without help from siblings, uncles, aunts, or cousins, because none of them would ever have existed. China’s policy left an aging populace supported by a shrinking workforce. That may be why the policy wasn’t universally enforced across the country. But from 1979 when it was first implemented, to 2015 when it was changed, the birthrate per woman dropped from 2.7 to 1.7. A replacement birthrate – one that keeps the population at the same size - is 2.1, with the two children there to take the place of their two parents (the .1 is there to account for childhood deaths.) But since the One Child Policy was expanded to a Two Child Policy in 2015, China’s birthrate, after inching up slightly right afterward, has been declining for the last four years to 1.3. Thus the Chinese government’s newly announced restrictions on abortion. There’s nothing repentant about this pro-life turn – this is the same utilitarian ethic that motivated their One Child Policy. They wanted to slow their population then, so they killed babies; they want a growing population now, so they are saving babies. It’s all about effective management of their population and their economy. But in this one area, their policies have switched from defiance to God’s revealed will – children being a blessing, not a curse (Ps. 127:3) – to being much more in accord with it (Gen. 9:6). It may be too late for them to halt their demographic decline, but there will still be fruit from this pro-life turn. The God who spoke all into being defines reality, and there is a benefit in aligning with His reality, rather than trying to run headlong against it. We can be rightfully ashamed (and fearful) that this leaves Canada along with Vietnam and North Korea as the only countries with unfettered abortion. But we can also celebrate that in China, and Texas, and other places around the world, there are governments aligning themselves with reality by beginning to protect unborn children like the blessings they are....

Christian education, News

US homeschooling grows by a million

In 1973, there were as few as 13,000 children being homeschooled across the United States. From those small beginnings, the movement has grown over the last 50 years, until there were an estimated 2.6 million homeschoolers as of March of 2020. This stay-at-home educational option got even more popular after public schools closed due to COVID lockdowns. But that growing popularity wasn't just due to public school closures. Otherwise, there would have been only a temporary boost in homeschooling, for only as long as the lockdowns lasted. But now, with public schools largely back in session, the number of homeschooling students has risen by a million, to 3.7 million (with some estimates putting it as high as 5 million). Saw how their children were being catechized This homeschooling surge may have been motivated by what parents saw when they were able to watch their children's online Zoom classes. Parents could see for themselves how their children were being catechized about race, sexuality, environmentalism, equality, privilege, and, most recently, gender fluidity. Public school attacks on God have, in the past, been somewhat subtle, in that they opposed God largely by ignoring Him. The public school curriculum taught by omission that the Lord of All wasn't important at all to anything and everything students were learning. The system's ungodliness has been more overt in recent years, with maybe the most noticeable being how confused boys are now embraced as girls, allowed on girls' sports teams, given access to female washrooms, and addressed with feminine pronouns. And vice versa for confused girls. While God made us male and female (Gen. 1:27), that's not what little Timmy is being taught by his government-approved curriculum. And long-distance, in-home Zoom learning allowed parents to see this curriculum close up. Parents taking charge While COVID hasn't had many silver linings, parents taking back their God-given educational role (Deut. 6:6-7, Prov. 1:8-9, 22:6, Eph 6:1-4) from the State is a big one. There are also at least 5.7 million children being educated in private schools. So, in round figures, that is almost 10 million students out of the public system, compared with approximately 50 million being educated in public schools. There's more progress to be made, as not all these homeschooled students are being educated to know and love the Lord – even atheists are jumping on the homeschooling bandwagon. But with minimal State support for homeschooling, it means that for these students at least, our tax dollars aren't being used to catechize them against God's Truth. A ready alternative to the public system Those of us who support Christian schooling of various sorts, haven't always felt very invested in debates about the public system. We're aware of the dangers, but we haven't known what to do about them. Should we call for the shutdown of the public system? But if so, what alternative can we offer? Our own Christian schools are confessional, allowing in only families that hold to the same creeds and confessions we do. Thus they aren't an option we can present to the general public. So if we're going to oppose a godless public system using our tax dollars to teach the children of our friends and neighbors that God is irrelevant, what can we offer as an alternative? We could push for a voucher system, where the government's educational dollars is directed by parents, rather than given to schools. Parents could then send their "voucher" to the school of their choice, and by that means, create more responsive, and, in some instances, more godly, schools. Of course, so long as the government controls the purse strings, they might also try to dictate the curriculum. Another problem is that this is a long-term goal – we aren't going to get a voucher system overnight. This highlights a strength of the homeschooling movement: it is an educational alternative that parents can turn to right now... as many more hundreds of thousands did just this last year. Celebrating what we once opposed Historically, our Reformed churches haven't celebrated homeschooling. The perception has been that any church families that chose to homeschool were diverting their support away from the local Christian school, which was usually in need of every dime it could get. Thus homeschooling was seen as competition that undercut the financial security of our Christian schools. But where two legitimate educational options exist – both fulfilling parents' baptismal vows to raise our children in the doctrine of the Lord – how can we say which is undercutting the other? It would make as much sense to say that Christian schools undercut homeschool cooperatives, which might otherwise be larger and more effective but for the energy and money devoted to our Christian schools. Of course, no one is making that argument, because we all know there is no Scriptural command requiring us to homeschool. Thus no fault can be found with those who choose not to (even if their involvement in homeschooling might have been a great help to other parents doing so). The same is true the other way around: no fault should be leveled at those who choose not to use our Christian schools but instead fulfill their baptismal vows by homeschooling instead. Instead of antipathy towards homeschooling, we should thank God for the possibility it presents to our neighbors that our own Christian schools cannot. By growing more than 40% in a single year, homeschooling has shown itself to be an at-the-ready, instantly-expandable alternative to the increasingly ungodly public system....

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