Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Math Evangelism: Why Does Math Work and Why Does it Matter? Video

Below is a great video using math as a tool in evangelism. It was put together by Katherine Loop, who has a ministry helping people to think Biblically about math. Here blog is located here: http://www.christianperspective.net/ The video interviews people about math and leads to a discussion of the ten commandments and need for a Savior. Please share this with others and try this yourself!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Science, Faith, and the Scholar's use of the Scriptues

Herman Dooyeweerd
I was studying the influence of the Dooyeweerdian philosphy in Christian thought and ran across a great article on how the Bible applies to science in the second appendix of a small book titled, "The Dooyeweerdian Concept of the Word of God."  For background, Herman Dooyeweerd lived from 1894 to 1977 and was a Dutch philosopher and founded of the cosmonomic (bad) idea. He followed Abraham Kuyper with the result of reducing the application of God's word to "devotional exercises of personal piety." In other words his complicated view of God's Word resulted in Christians not seeing that God's Word is instructive and authoritative with regards to economics, politics, education, psychology, science, math and more.  To some extent this is why it is uncommon for Christians to send their Children to Christian schools, to use Jethro's advice to Moses when for voting, or use Biblical law to guide lawmaking.

Here are some helpful insights, that Dooyeweerdian's would not like,  on Science from Gerald O'Donnell in an article titled, "Science, Faith, and the Scholar's Use of the Scriptures" from the mentioned appendix.  I don't see it available on the web to link, so here are a few key points.

  • Scientific knowledge is inseparably bound up with the underlying religious presuppositions of the scientists.
  • It is only through the constant reformulation and reformation of his thinking, in the light of the Scriptures, that the regenerate man comes more and more to hold the beliefs which are a consistent expression of his basic heart commitment to Jesus Christ. And thus the regenerate scientist, living out of a regenerate heart and directed by Biblically grounded presuppositions, is more adequately qualified to carry out his scientific task and to reflect more truthfully in his scientific knowledge that part of reality which is his concern.
  • For by faith he ought to recognize that the universe was created by the Word of God. By Faith he ought to confess that the earth is the Lord's and that all things cohere in Christ. And by faith he ought to recognize his own creatureliness and his obligation to bring all of his thinking activity into captivity to the obedience of Christ. Such faith presuppositions will affect the Christian scientist's observation, interpretation, and evaluation of the writings of men on various aspects of creation.
  • ..the natural man's knowledge is characterized by a denial and distortion of the true character of the cosmos.
  • The primary requirement for a successful implementation of the scientific task is that the individuals engaged in the scientific task be reconciled to God through Christ.
Ref. Hebrews 11:3, Psalm 24:1, Colossians 1:17 

In other words, only a Christian can think and work like a Christian, and the results will be different from the results of a non-Christian involved in science, or at least the results should be different.

Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

What do you think about this?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Answered Prayer to Legislation and Efforts of Many

The above picture is from a video clip of two legislators on a radio show discussing raw milk where Bartlett Farm is mentioned as one source of raw milk in North Dakota. To see this video, go to THIS LINK and look for "The Legislature Today 04-22-13 Seg 2."
The North Dakota House of Representatives and Senate have now passed SB2072 which doubly protects shared animal ownership (i.e., cow-share dairies). The amended bill defines shared animal ownership agreements and then specifically limits the ability of the ND Ag Commissioner from regulating it.  The three page relevant amendment is HERE.

The key sentences are these:  

"It is not a violation of this chapter to transfer or obtain raw milk under a shared animal
ownership agreement."
"..the commissioner may not adopt any rule that restricts, limits, or imposes additional requirements on any individual transferring or obtaining raw milk in accordance with the terms of a shared animal ownership agreement."
Here is what we wrote to the Representatives and Senators just prior to the recent vote:
Please vote DO PASS on the SB 2072 Amendment and bill.
1. The latest SB 2072 Amendment version 13.8013.04000 April 23 is acceptable to us, because it prevents the Ag commissioner from interfering with the private property and individual liberty of shared animal ownership agreements.

2. While acceptable, we view the amendment as technically unnecessary because shared animal agreements are already legal. On April 22, 2013 Attorney Pete Kennedy, President of Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund, http://www.farmtoconsumer.org/ informed us that the present legality of shared ownership agreements can be defended from NDCC 35-17, the Agister's Lien law (http://www.legis.nd.gov/cencode/t35c17.pdf?20130422151410 ). By implication from 35-17, a person can board their animal on another's property. It would then be unreasonable to bar someone from obtaining their own milk or for a dairy regulator to define shared ownership as selling milk, and thereby increase regulation.

Therefore we encourage you to vote DO PASS on the SB 2072 Amendment and bill.


Jim, Peter and Jonathan for Bartlett Farm


Thursday, April 4, 2013

What do you think of fining dairies for non-compliance?

What does Jim Bartlett of Bartlett Farm (www.BartlettFarm.us) think of the ND House of Representatives passing SB 2072 (62 to 29) on April 3, 2013 which fines a dairy-animal share dairy $500 for each non-compliance?  Each cow share dairy, including two neighbors sharing one cow are the required to do the following:

(1)    Register with the state. This seems benign until one ponders the history of state registration. In recent agricultural history, states have used their registration role to sign up small farms for the National Animal Identification Program (NAIS) without the farm owner’s approval. This, when fully implemented will require that all livestock animal movements be tracked, logged and reported to the government at an estimated cost of an additional $15 per animal, effectively handing over control of each farm and animal to the federal government. Refer to www.noNAIS.org for details. Gun registration in Great Britain led to confiscation of guns. Jewish registration led to the holocaust.

(2)    May not resell raw milk or raw milk products. This doesn’t affect cow sharing directly, but indirectly.  It undermines free market and private property rights, both of which derive from Biblical ethics.  Both free market or  laissez-faire ( "let do") capitalism and private property rights are rooted in the Eighth Commandment, “Thou Shall Not Steal” which has been the fountain of American prosperity based on stewardship since the 1600s.  On the other hand, the economic philosophy of secular humanism is interventionism and the economic philosophy of Marxism is socialism. Refer to www.summit.org/resources/worldview-chart/ for details.

(3)    Milk is to be transferred at the farm or delivered in accordance with the agreement. Besides interfering with the free market and individual liberty, this is a good example of the positive law philosophy of secular humanism. Instead of specifying what can’t be done in alignment with Biblical truth (“Thou Shall not steal raw milk”), what can be done is specified reflective of a view that the state sovereign and not God.

(4)    The individual receiving the milk has a shared animal ownership agreement and receiving on own behalf or for another with an agreement. Again, secular humanist interference with the free market and individual liberty. Keep in mind, to actually enforce each point will require a raw milk police force or a tattling system reminiscent of the Stasi.

(5)    The shared animal agreement contains warning. Besides the above, this reflects a bias toward pasteurized milk, and the support of that industry, which by comparison should be labeled as a health hazard before raw milk from pastured cows.

(6)    Annually, the owner of the diary farm provides standards and test results. In the free market, people ask and the dairy provides answers anytime and customers hold the dairy to their expectations by voting with their dollars.  Codifying common sense dumbs down the consumer and minimizes the dairy expectations.  People put their faith in the government regulator to maintain quality, which he really doesn’t and can’t do or take liability for.

(7)    A person may not publish a statement that implies the state endorses shared-animal agreements. If this gets signed into law, the legislature has endorsed shared animal agreements with a statement that it does not endorse shared-animal agreements. Apparently, logic is not required in making laws.

The Solution

To reverse this type of legislation takes a long term perspective. As explained above, this bill reflects and implements the formal religion of secular humanism. Secular humanism is the only religion given full voice in the North Dakota public schools (Clergy in the Classroom by David Noebel), which most legislators attended.  Therefore, the solution for the next generation is to return to Biblical education as reflected in the most popular book of 1776, the New England Primer. The Biblical influence of the New England Primer is through its use of the Shorter Catechism (www.reformed.org/documents/fisher).

Monday, March 18, 2013

ND Legislature Threatens to Ban Cow-Share Dairies

We spent the end of our spring break at the North Dakota Legislature testifying in favor of keeping access to raw milk legal.

One day before the hearing, Bartlett Farm received a letter from Dairy Director Wayne Carlson, saying he intended to offer an amendment the next day (3/14/13) to Senate Bill 2072 that will make cow-share dairies illegal in ND. The amendment read, "It is unlawful for any person to own, operate, organize, or otherwise participate in a cow-share program where the milk producing hoofed mammal is located in North Dakota." (view a copy of the letter)

The ND House Agricultural Committee received more emails on this issue than any other they have dealt with this year, thanks to social media and passionate raw milk drinkers in North Dakota. 

Here is the video of the ND Dairy Director in favor of banning cow-sharing:

Here is what Peter and I shared with the committee in response to the above.
Peter Bartlett Testimony (.pdf)
James Bartlett Testimony (.pdf)

There were about 9 other testimonies in support of keeping cow-shares and raw milk access legal in North Dakota. There is also some action toward making it legal to buy direct from the farm.
What do you think?  Should the government protect people from themselves?  What is the appropriate biblical response to this amendment? How would you vote or edit the amendment if you were on the ND House Agricultural Committee?
"Fear not, for they that be with us are more than they that be with them." II Kings 6:16

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The New Agrarian Mind - Student Essays

As Christians learning to understand the times and what to do something about them, this book is important to know about. The book essentially reviews several key authors and their writings as it relates to the decline of Christianity in the United States, in part caused by agrarian philosophers like Liberty Hyde Bailey who started agricultural extension services to help remove Christian thinking from the rural populations.

The book discusses the influence of technology and cities on family, church, economics and community life. The ideas in this book were part of what led the Bartlett family to move to rural North Dakota and start a small diversified farm.  Not knowing about these subtle influences still working in the United States leaves a family open to their negative impacts. Knowing these things can help revive Christian culture.

This blog post was created as a place for students in the aquaponics class, who are required to read this book, to post their weekly essays. Aim for 250 words per essay, cover half of a chapter in each essay, start with the one currently assigned. Focus on things that you find interesting and how they might apply to reviving Christian culture in your geographic location and circles of influence.

Aquaponic Gardening Book - Student Essays

This book by Sylvia Bernstein, that we use for the aquaponics class, is very helpful on the practical aspects of aquaponics. This blog post was created to provide a place for students in the aquaponics class to post their chapter review essays. One review is required for each chapter. Posts can begin with the current chapter assigned. Aim for 250 words and capture ideas that you found interesting and note any ideas that may be helpful to one of the systems that we are now operating.

Ancient Hebrew Education

How does education affect the passing on of the Christian faith? Studies from Josh McDowell Ministries, the Southern Baptist Convention and other places show that 70 - 80% of young people leave the faith who attend public high schools.  The Jewish people have had the same concerns and did a very thorough study showing the drastic effect of faithful education as compared to public schools and compromised schools.  Christian leaders have seen the parallels for Christians.  See if you can understand the chart located at this link and let me kn ow what you think about it and how you are avoiding the traps:  Jewish Educational Choice Effects on Next Generations

Since the most conservative Jews were the only ones who did a good job passing on the faith to the third and fourth generations, I did a literature review a few years ago and wrote the following.  It is a bit long for a blog post, therefore it is linked here: Ancient Hebrew Education

Did you get any good ideas for your own high school education, college education, career planning or future family education plans?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Thinking About Medicine

I have posted several videos below to convey a few points about the current and future of medicine. 

The key point is that Christians are needed to implement Biblical thinking in medicine.  Christians are needed because the current medical-legal-political climate of medicine is killing people, thereby violating the Sixth Commandment.

Christians interested in a career of changing how medicine is done, such that it serves God and people instead of money, corporations and statism, need to know, not only about biology and technology, but about the philosophies, theologies and politics in play.

Here are a few videos and documents with introductory commentary that I have found helpful:

1.  Technology is changing how medicine is done and giving consumers more data and more opportunities to participate in medical decision making.  This medical doctor states that 1/3 of pharmaceuticals are a waste of money and side effects. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/50582822#50582822

2. It is important to know that Christians have articulated a Christian view of medicine and this document is a good place to start toward developing even more specific statements about medical issues.  The Coalition on Revival involved many Christian Leaders such as Francis Schaeffer, Pastor James Kennedy, Duane Gish and many more:

3.  Dr. Ed Payne was the editors of the Christian View of Medicine and his Medical Ethics links are here: http://www.bmei.org/.  Here is an article by Dr Payne that I included in a Biblical Concourse newsletter a few years ago:  http://biblicalconcourse.com/BCNewsletter10.pdf.  There is an audio interview also where Dr. Payne recommends the four year medical programs of Europe and saw US medicine as containing alot of wasted time.

4.  This new movie titled "Doctored" is worth reviewing because it discusses how Chiropractors and Naturopathic Doctors are getting better results than medical doctors in many areas.  Here is the trailer: http://www.doctoredthemovie.com/

5.  This is an influential video/slide show on vaccines. After watching you will know the difference between vaccines and immunization, what the assassination of President Kennedy has to do with the cancer industry, how polio is still prevalent today and much more. This information could save and or improve many lives.

There are many more references to show that there is a great need for Christians to understand the times in medicine and do something Biblical about it.

1 Chronicles 12:32 
"And of the children of Issachar, who were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do;"

Monday, January 28, 2013

How do you know if you have good character?

I was reviewing the book titled, Upgrade: 10 Secrets to the Best Education for your child recently because it has a good and Biblical emphasis on the role of character in learning.  Long story short, a person's character is what enables success in education or limits one's learning potential.  Get Biblical character and you will love learning because you love God who is the author of all worthy knowledge, wisdom, understanding and creation.  So what is Biblical character and how can I know the state of my character and its impact on my ability to learn?

"Character traits are seen in the various experiences and relationships in life..If education were a house, character would be the foundation..."  Latin, logic, math, science, geography, aquaponics are like wall paper, not very useful without the foundation of godly Character.

Proverbs covers nine character themes toward teaching godly character, they are about: tongue and truth, hard work, self-control/avoiding temptation, conflict resolution/getting along, fearing God, receiving reproof/respecting authority, trusting God, humility, and the virtuous spouse.

One of keys to growing in godly character is honoring and obeying parents, which extends to all those in authority.  The idea is to simply be willing to hear and learn and change as the Holy Spirit helps in alignment with God's Word... Here is what the Westminster Confession says about the Fifth Commandment [click the brackets for scripture references]:

Keep this in mind as you read...character enables learning and character growth is enabled by keeping the Fifth commandment, therefore keeping the Fifth commandment leads to prosperity in soul and body, which would include good grades in school.

Q. 123. Which is the fifth commandment?

A. The fifth commandment is, Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.[648]

Q. 124. Who are meant by father and mother in the fifth commandment?

A. By father and mother, in the fifth commandment, are meant, not only natural parents,[649] but all superiors in age[650] and gifts;[651] and especially such as, by God’s ordinance, are over us in place of authority, whether in family,[652] church,[653] or commonwealth.[654]

Q. 125. Why are superiors styled father and mother?

A. Superiors are styled father and mother, both to teach them in all duties toward their inferiors, like natural parents, to express love and tenderness to them, according to their several relations;[655] and to work inferiors to a greater willingness and cheerfulness in performing their duties to their superiors, as to their parents.[656]

Q. 126. What is the general scope of the fifth commandment?

A. The general scope of the fifth commandment is, the performance of those duties which we mutually owe in our several relations, as inferiors, superiors, or equals.[657]

Q. 127. What is the honour that inferiors owe to their superiors?

A. The honour which inferiors owe to their superiors is, all due reverence in heart,[658] word, [659] and behaviour;[660] prayer and thanksgiving for them;[661] imitation of their virtues and graces;[662] willing obedience to their lawful commands and counsels;[663] due submission to their corrections;[664] fidelity to,[665] defence,[666] and maintenance of their persons and authority, according to their several ranks, and the nature of their places;[667] bearing with their infirmities, and covering them in love,[668] that so they may be an honour to them and to their government.[669]

Q. 128. What are the sins of inferiors against their superiors?

A. The sins of inferiors against their superiors are, all neglect of the duties required toward them;[670] envying at,[671] contempt of,[672] and rebellion[673] against, their persons[674] and places,[675] in their lawful counsels,[676] commands, and corrections;[677] cursing, mocking[678] and all such refractory and scandalous carriage, as proves a shame and dishonour to them and their government.[679]

Q. 129. What is required of superiors towards their inferiors?

A. It is required of superiors, according to that power they receive from God, and that relation wherein they stand, to love,[680] pray for,[681] and bless their inferiors;[682] to instruct,[683] counsel, and admonish them;[684] countenancing,[685] commending,[686] and rewarding such as do well;[687] and discountenancing,[688] reproving, and chastising such as do ill;[689] protecting,[690] and providing for them all things necessary for soul[691] and body:[692] and by grave, wise, holy, and exemplary carriage, to procure glory to God,[693] honour to themselves,[694] and so to preserve that authority which God hath put upon them.[695]

Q. 130. What are the sins of superiors?

A. The sins of superiors are, besides the neglect of the duties required of them,[696] and inordinate seeking of themselves,[697] their own glory,[698] ease, profit, or pleasure;[699] commanding things unlawful,[700] or not in the power of inferiors to perform;[701] counseling,[702] encouraging,[703] or favouring them in that which is evil;[704] dissuading, discouraging, or discountenancing them in that which is good;[705] correcting them unduly;[706] careless exposing, or leaving them to wrong, temptation, and danger;[707] provoking them to wrath;[708] or any way dishonouring themselves, or lessening their authority, by an unjust, indiscreet, rigorous, or remiss behaviour.[709]

Q. 131. What are the duties of equals?

A. The duties of equals are, to regard the dignity and worth of each other,[710] in giving honour to go one before another;[711] and to rejoice in each others’ gifts and advancement, as their own.[712]

Q. 132. What are the sins of equals?

A. The sins of equals are, besides the neglect of the duties required,[713] the undervaluing of the worth,[714] envying the gifts,[715] grieving at the advancement of prosperity one of another;[716] and usurping pre-eminence one over another.[717]

Q. 133. What is the reason annexed to the fifth commandment, the more to enforce it?

A. The reason annexed to the fifth commandment, in these words, That thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee,[718] is an express promise of long life and prosperity, as far as it shall serve for God’s glory and their own good, to all such as keep this commandment.[719]


So, with the above in mind and remembering that character enables learning and character growth is enabled by keeping the Fifth commandment, therefore keeping the Fifth commandment leads to prosperity in soul and body, which would include good grades in school, here is a Character test question:

Proverbs 10:4 states "He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand; but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.

Webster's Dictionary (1828) defined diligence as:

DILIGENCE, n. [L., to love earnestly; to choose.]
1. Steady application in business of any kind; constant effort to accomplish what is undertaken; exertion of body or mind without unnecessary delay or sloth; due attention; industry; assiduity. Diligence is the philosophers stone that turns every thing to gold.

Brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure. 2 Peter 1.
2. Care; heed; heedfulness.
Keep thy heart with all diligence. Proverbs 4.
On a scale of 1 to 10 how is your character quality of diligence doing?

Please take a look at the book of Proverbs and write another Character test question, like I did above, for your classmates to respond to. This might be interesting!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Preparing for Persecution

There is a sense among many Christian leaders that an increase in persecution of Christians can be expected in America in the near future, because it is already happening.  There certainly has been an increase in ungodly culture along with an increase in size and scope of civil government. And besides, American probably deserves some judgement if you consider Sodom. 

So how should Christians respond or not-respond or prepare? Withdraw from all aspects of culture to protect our families and churches? Advance Biblical truth in the public square through involvement in areas where we are called, in spite of opposition?

Are we approaching the great tribulation and seeing the great falling away prior to Christ's second coming? Or is this just another judgement or curse from God on sin?

For most of my Christian life, I would respond to these questions with something like, "I have read the commentaries, but I still don't have a personal understanding of Biblical eschatology (future things) or the book or revelation, so I will have to wait and see, and faithfully serve God in the mean time."

It has taken about 30 years, but I can now say that I do understand some of what the Bible says about the future, and it is very, very encouraging for Christians in the midst of persecution today. To summarize, apostate churches and tyrannical governments were the enemy of the church before Jerusalem fell in AD 70. We have the same opposition today and therefore the book of Revelation is the best document to understand in order to prepare for any increase in persecution today. In the end, the anti christian people and institutions basically self-destruct, just like we see happening in the public schools, and the people of God are victorious in the present time as well as the future.

Our family has been studying the book of Revelation by listening to the sermon series by Pastor Joe Morecraft.  Listen to one or more of these audios and let me know what you think!

Pastor Morecraft Revelation Audio Series

There is a study guide for this series HERE.

"Remember: It is the Gospel of Revelation that must be proclaimed, lived out, and received, if Western Civilization is to be Christianized.
          1. The Lordship of Christ over the nations.
          2. The judgement of Christ upon the nations.
          3. The victory of Christ and His Church over the nations."