Friday, August 29, 2008

John Piper and the Prosperity Gospel

Biblical Worldview (The Thompson Manifesto)

It is our belief that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the one true God that sacrificed His only son at the hands of the very people He created, in order for us to have eternal life with Him, created the heavens and earth and all that is in it. We believe that His design is perfect and without flaw. We also know that because of sin, this is a fallen world and we all fall short of the righteousness of God.
In 2000, we began to question our faith. We wanted to know everything about what we had said we believed for so long. We were seeing discrepancies between what the world calls truth and the reality that we live in. When we look at the world''s solutions to life's problems we saw that the results were broken marriages, empty lives and failures. This proves to me that mankind does not have the answers. Why would I seek the wisdom of man first to answer any questions or solve any problems? Man gets himself into trouble. If God made us to live one way and we act another way, we won't function well. We saw that our everyday living is affected by what we believe. What we believe causes what we think and feel and do. At this point we had to ask ourselves how much did we believe the Bible. If it is completely true, the undeniable word of the one true God, then we sure aren't acting like we believe that. We were living our lives with fear and worry. We were constantly worried about what was going to happen the next day, where will we get more money, how can we prevent bad things from happening to us......

Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
“So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Matthew 6:25-34

We asked ourselves "Are we willing to believe this? Are we willing to believe every word of the Bible? Are we willing to trust God completely?"

Jesus said "I will never leave you." We believe this! We are learning a new way of thinking and living that brings full rest and joy. We know bad things will happen. But "in the easiest position He must give me His grace and in the hardest situation His grace is sufficient!" (Hudson Taylor). This is true! This is how much God loves us and how much peace we can have! Living in His plan and abiding in Him is so much easier and so joyful and stress free. This is a lifetime long lesson and we won't always get it right. If we continually remember that this is God's perfect plan and there is a natural order to the universe, we have no reason to fear.

Why is there suffering? If God loves us so much, He must hate our suffering. Couldn't He just solve all the problems and fix everything? But we aren't puppets. The choices humans have made beginning with the fall and throughout history have resulted in an abnormal world. This fits our reality. It fits with the way the physical world works. Susan Schaeffer Macauley says " I believe real truth is practical and sensible. It fits in with and explains the world you see around you and feel inside. I propose that a good test for a view of life is to ask yourself: Can I live this way? Does it make sense with what I observe? A life view that is true would fit with the workings of the physical world and the facts of human personality....We can't bump into God in the universe. But in another sense, I believe that fact of His existence bumps into us every day." We can find out what God is like by looking at nature and experiences and human beings. He is evident in His creation and wants to show Himself to us there.

Some of the things we were taught in our culture and ideas ingrained in us don't line up with a Biblical worldview. How can I say I trust God if I lay awake at night and worry about money or health? If we truly accept that God is truth and we want to live our beliefs then we have to reconstruct our worldview. That's why we are writing down our beliefs. We are learning and changing and choosing to abide in Him.

Friday, August 01, 2008

The Thompson Manifesto

A manifesto is a public declaration of principles and intentions. The premise here is that if I put my beliefs into writing and let other people see them, then I might be more aware and accountable (or be exposed for the hypocrite I am). Does it make me less of a hypocrite if I announce it?
Several years ago, Kraig and I started writing "The Thompson Manifesto". We wanted to have our beliefs written down for ourselves and for our children to read later. At least they will see that we had a purpose and a reason for our choices. Some topics have been completed and some haven't. Here are the topics so far:
Biblical Worldview
Health and Nutrition
Child Raising
Celebration, Feasts and Alcohol
Have I left out any facets of life? I guess these are the most pertinent to me right now since I can't think of any others.
OK, now for the disclaimer: These are my beliefs. Belief means that I hold these to be truth. Does that mean I think that everyone should believe this way? Well, yes and no. Truth is important and I believe that I have searched out truth. Should everyone homebirth or not vaccinate? Only if God leads you to. I don't judge other people for not having the same beliefs. I've been led to this place and these beliefs buy seeking God and His will for me and my family. Some people are led to be doctors or public school teachers or teetotalers (shudder) and I know that to be true. So, know what you believe and live it (or they aren't your beliefs, just nice ideas.)