Friday, April 25, 2008

The Gardener With A Biblical Worldview

This week I have been listening to Dr. Greg Bahnsen's first apologetics series, "Defending the Christian Worldview from All Opposition." Dr. Bahnsen was a seasoned vet and well studied in the field of apologetics and so has some rich insights into what it's like to debate and instruct those with errant worldviews.

There has been helpful instruction about philosophy, logic, facts and faith. It's exhaustive or at least I think it is. What does one do when confronted with a errant worldview? What is the presuppositional approach to apologetics? How do you go about your apologetic argument, discussion or debate? There have been so many rich nuggets in my listening that finally prompted a late night energetic discussion which started like many others between Andrea and I. Sisterly pillow talk. But before we knew it, it was down to the kitchen for midnight cookies and milk and to continue our excited and energetic talk. Why so excited? It all has to do with our hopes for the future. How it will all come together and the Providences that we hope to see.
So this morning started later than usual. I went straight to the computer like I normally do and Andrea went to tend her gardens. A couple hours later up she came with more cookies and milk and stories to tell about what turned out to be a very interesting morning in light of our recent conversations.

And so unfolds the story of,

"The Gardener With a Biblical Worldview"
A Tale from the Secret Southern Sect of the Reformed Christian Spy Ring.

Be suspicious!

Up pulled a car and out stepped two conservatively dressed older women. They proceed up the walk and to the door of Liberty's* home across the street and knock and call out her name with the cheeriest of tones.

But there's no answer.

A quick look around back and the find noone and so they turn to leave with shoulders sagging, defeated. Until they spy a gardener across the street. Fresh blood....(sorry, I couldn't help it)

The gardener is minding her own business, or at least is pretending to, and pokes around in her garden beds as the ladies approach her. "Has anybody talked to you about God lately?"

"Yes. My dad." Andrea* replies.

Mrs. JW*, one of the visitors, is undaunted and continues on in her cheery voice and canned approach while the other* remains an onlooker, "What do you think when you hear the word...Armageddon?" (In spite of Mrs. JW's cheery tones that envoke memories of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood "Won't you be my neighbor?" her question is supposed to invoke feelings of uncertainty, so please insert overtones of curious yet slightly spooky sounding music.)

"End times movies? (Eeeert! The music comes to a screeching halt. How can you not laugh at that?) While this was indeed an honest answer, Mrs. JW doesn't see the joke in it.

Next, Mrs. JW presents her Watch Tower magazines and continues in a long drawn out memorized speech about what is really going to happen in the end times. (music with uncertain tones begins playing again but slightly lower this time) She is using fear tactics...just like Bahnsen said she would.

"Did you ever think that we were living in the last days?" She continues with her procedural approach while scanning the face of her convertee for traces that fear of the coming persecution and catastrophic earthquakes is starting to take hold and she is begining her journey of enlightenment. But no.

"No." Andrea replies, "The scripture talks about a 1000 generations that will occur before the return of Christ and so how long is a generation?" Andrea does not wait for an answer, "That would be close to 34,000 years to go still." So, no sweat in other words.

It would be dramatically climactic at this point if Mrs. JW and her sidekick shrieked in horror and with pained looks said, "What! You mean we have to take dominion over this mess?" But that isn't how it went in real life.

Mrs. JW again does what Bahnsen said she will do. She is older and wiser and so attempts to Lord her aged wisdom over Andrea and politely correct an apparent oversight in her calculation of generations. But she never makes a good counterpoint in spite of the fact that her cousin is 13 years older than her and by the time Mrs. JW is done calculating, there is still 7,000 years to be lived out.

So she does what Bahnsen said she will do. She sweeps her fumble under the rug in order to hide it and moves on. And the gardener is unshaken by Mrs. JW's unbiblical facts. There is more to this philosophy of hers however and so she continues.

Andrea looks over her shoulder as she thinks that she hears a bell ring signifying the beginning of round three. But no, it was just an early spring cardinal on the back fence.

"If Adam and Eve had not sinned we would still be in paradise." An interesting thought and what appears to Andrea to be a new angle. The Blame Game. Blame, blame, bah-blame banana fana fo fame, me mi mo mame and Bla-ame-0 was his name-o

Editor's interlude #1: The blame game is not actually part of Bahnsen's teaching or part of a reformed Christian's apologetic arsenal and so your opponant will not join the sing-a-long. Also, the reader must ask herself, "How thick is the JW training manual?" If this happens, turn here and if that, turn there.

This appears to Andrea to be a new maneuver for sure and she wonders if Mrs. JW is concerned about the depravity of man and their sin that is seperating them from God. But without responding, Andrea muses about the garden she is trying to tend, while she looks down at her green silicone bracelet with the acronym W.W.P.B.S. stamped in it and wonders, "What Would Pastor Bacon Say?" Okay, that part of the story isn't totally true, but here is a good article in response to this statement of Mrs. JW and you can also look forward to Pastor Bacon's series beginning this Lord's Day on Revelation. ( Not to be confused with revelations)

Mrs. JW refers to her magazine for scripture. Revelation 21:4, Isaiah 33:24 and 1 Corinthians 15:26 all talk about Christ overcoming the evil foe of death. Then she says, "Do you think that the government can accomplish that?" (It's the presidents fault again?) Mrs. JW doesn't stop there, "But I like to think about happy things." It is at this point that the reader will see that the JW manual apparently recommends using the "My God is a Santa Claus" approach, "My God will give you your happiness." First trap them with fear, then throw some bate in cage called comfort...but why isn't Andrea taking the bate and sobbing out words of gratitude towards Mrs. JW for bringing a salvation message? Let us return to our heroine.

Mrs. JW waxes elequent as she draws to a close, "In the last days perilous time will come, men will be lovers of themselves, blasphemers, everything is going to go all to h-e-double-hocky-sticks! Watch Out!" 2 Timothy 3:1-5 paraphrased

But the gardener shruggs, "That's always been that way."

"Have you ever seen people, not in your denomination of course, but people that call themselves Christians and don't live like it? The bible is inspired Word of God. The whole thing must be obeyed and salvation from all of this is only through Christ. He is the only way!"

The cultic nonsense based on emotionalism is shallow and untrue. The sales pitch isn't working like it should. Mrs.JW tries once more and asks her what Andrea thinks about their view of the end times.

"I am a postmillenialist."

"Oh, I have never heard of that."

After a brief description of the postmillenial position, the gardener asks Mrs. JW if she has ever read Foxes Book of Martyrs and recommends it heartily.

A spy's work is never done and Andrea quizzes them as to whether they really knew Liberty. (You see we don't know Liberty* or her husband Brian* all that well. They are a pleasant young couple in the neighborhood that just had their first child and Liberty is staying at home while Brian goes out to slay the financial dragon. So we sorta have this curiously since women don't do that anymore.)

"No, they really didn't now her," and are glad to leave their magazines. They don't change their worldview in spite of the biblical facts Andrea presented them, just like Dr. Bahnsen said they wouldn't. (Did I say that already?) Then they leave.

Editor's interlude #1: We realize that at this point some workers in the field may be clutching their chests and screaming "heart attack!" because we have gone about it with little skill. But our point of view is, "find a sinner and practice on them." The more you practice the better you will get at being able to give account 1 Peter 3:15

And we realize that evangelising the lost is a serious calling. It is serious to us and that is why we have embarked on a study of biblical apologetics and are attempting to put it to practice. But as we have just cracked the books, so to speak, on this reformed approach to winning the lost, we are newbies. But exuberantly so (Romans 1:6) and on this exciting new precarious journey it is difficult to suppress our giddiness, for we have so long gone about it the wrong way. Also, there is a fresh batch of popcorn in the lobby if anyone is interested. Sit back, relax and watch what happens next. (I wish I had something good to say)

Andrea becomes more curious than ever when she sees that Liberty has yet another visitor that has just arrived in a truck with a load of grain buckets and what have you.

She checks her spy cam to see if the battery has life left and walks across the street to make conversation, but before she can begin Liberty confesses, "I owe you for that. I was hiding from them." Conclusion, Liberty is not a Jehovah's Witness.

But Liberty's delivery says LDS all over it, literally, and thus enters onto the scene a third worldview.

Andrea starts a conversation with Liberty's friend with a question about grain grinders, speaking about a common interest. (Wouldn't Dale Carnegie be proud?) It helped that she received a question recently regarding which grinder is best.

A dry spot in the conversation emerges when Liberty's friend turns her back on Andrea and completely ignores her friendly converstional questions. Andrea doesn't have her spy field guide with her or else she would have known that chapter 9 secton 8 article 5 says what to do when the convertee is rude. And so she concludes her talk with Liberty and says, "Goodbye."

The End.

Perhaps future installments will contain news of a victory in the war of the worldviews, but until then...

We have to quip at this point. The Mormons are afraid of the JW's and the JW's are afraid of the Christians. It's becomes incredibly tempting to want to shout a real "boo" and tell them both that we are Amway distributors and envoke visions of us hounding them until Christ returns or until they buy products! But then that wouldn't help much while trying to win the war of worldviews, now would it.

*names have not been changed because no one here is innocent.


Lauren Christine said...

I loved the link you left me! :) Hilarious!

And well done, Gardener!

Anonymous said...

Clap, clap, clap,clap,clap,clap, clap,clap, clap,....bravo!

the delapers said...

I laughed so hard at this story! I'm going to have to do some apologetics studying myself now...