I DO IT!!

Our Granddaughter Rachel at about 3-years-old could chase off any non-invited helper with, “I DO IT!!”

Carole says the best bonus’ of hospital stays are warmed blankets and chipped ice administered by caring nurses and techs. It was early in the second day in ICU after triple-bypass that my wife was holding a cup of ice chips. I saw it was tipping and helped her hold the cup. She opened her eyes and asked me with fire: “What are you doing?” Then she declared. “I do it!!”

It sounded so familiar I backed off. Don’t mess with Carole’s ice chips! A couple minutes later, she allowed the cup of ice chips to gently empty into her lap which alerted her nurse to a clean-up in aisle 4.

We have learned there are some things that happen only if we do it, and in somethings we need all the help we can get.

Jesus said what we permit on earth will be permitted in Heaven; what we prohibit on earth will be prohibited in Heaven. (Matthew 18:18). It makes a lot of sense when we get past the “Let, Loose, bind.” Bluntly, if it doesn’t matter that much to you, Child of God, why should I bother? (God).

When the specialist pulled the breathing tube from Carole’s throat, about 2 hours after she gestured, “I am so finished with this!” we discovered she had lost the tiny bit of soprano range she had. She talked like she was drunk. There were days of worrisome thoughts and trying to figure out why she couldn’t stay awake. The anesthesia hung on to organs and cells. After they moved her out of ICU, I talked to the lovely nurse about concerns. She said, “We can use—and do use—all kinds of meds and drugs, but the best med for her is to walk and to eat.” That is a big principle. There are some things others can’t do for you. And the inferred promise from Jesus is, “You do what needs to be done—what you can do—and I’m committed to some of the heavy lifting.”

In the months after my bypass surgery, I wrote Mosquito Park Secrets. It is about why the list of Fruit of the Spirit should be posted in cardiologist’s offices. They are the fruit of the Holy Spirit. What Holy Spirit grows in us. Fruit is product of what is planted. What, I wondered, should we plant, nurture and steward that Holy Spirit can use to grow things like….

“Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).

When we thought the procedure would be a stent, I wondered if that writing held up after 23 years. I read the book and concluded it does. Great stories and quotes from medical writers and many disciplines. I share my actions, reactions and failures. Fruit of the Spirit is broader than medicine and health. The Fruit of the Spirit have been called the characteristics of Jesus.

I DO IT!

Amelia Earhart said,

The most difficult thing is the decision to act. The rest is merely tenacity.

When I arrived at the hospital today, Carole was sitting in a straight back chair. Her bottom was hurting. She had been in that chair for an hour, she said. Not a happy lady! The other change was that she was wearing a striped, green gown which means she is self-helping. No one told her how to fulfill her Green Gown Commission. Some of the limitations were removed. There were strict rules about lifting with her arms, but no longer. No one told her. Her walker was just out of reach and she wanted to sit in the butt-cushioning chair. She was doing the best she could with the info she had.

One of the pulmonary techs talked about his career experience and plans in his country of origin and in USA. Carole responded to new skills he has added by saying, “now you have more options.”

“Options. What exactly does that mean?”

He fits the tall, dark, handsome picture. When I met him the other day, he was non-verbal and sour. When Carole told him what new and more options meant, his countenance changed. He turned to me with a smile a positive shake of his head. Wow!

“People are doing about the best they can.”

I don’t remember who said that, but it resonates with me.

The Kingdom Good News is telling people the options available.

I DO IT!! If you know alternative options are available.

©2021 D. Dean Benton

Your Personal Domain Authorized

One of our favorite preachers used 2 Chronicles 7:14 for text and content recently.

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray, seek my face, turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

My reaction surprised me. “I don’t want to hear it!”

I spent a lot of time examining that verse months ago, and applying it. Most of my friends did humble, pray, seek, turn. I take God at His word, we are forgiven. However, two-years later our land is not healed. It is hard to detect any movement in that direction. In fact, it appears that corruption has expanded, and we are witnessing more of an unhealed land than at any time in this generation’s history.

I asked myself if I blamed God for that. No. I want to know what we did not do or did not obey adequately that kept God from doing the healing and renovation.

I’ve been reading about spiritual authority and pursuing “What you bind on earth will be bound in heaven; what you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 18:18). One translation uses the word, “What you prevent or prohibit on earth; what you permit on earth….”

Wow! Since Matthew puts it that way, we have a larger role in things than we thought.

During the night two days ago, the U.S. House of Reps passed a bill that would make abortion a Federal issue guaranteeing abortions until the birth moment. The most expansive abortion bill in history. Why? What motivates female political stars say, “We will fight for abortion!” They are unwilling to fight for traditional Constitutional Rights, why abortion?

The inscription on the Statue of Liberty says, in part,

“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

We can add another line: “The land of abortion.” Land of the free to abort at will.”

Is that what neutralized God’s hand? The pagan world was doing what they do. 2 Chronicles 7:14 is about “My people.” When 26% of Christians vote, are we intentionally or by neglect permitting it? 2 Chronicles 7:14 is about God’s People—what should we have done to correct and change this—the one “right” that D.C. is willing to fight for?

I don’t have an answer, but the “permit” and “prohibit-prevent ”principle seems close. The Old Testament worship of Baal kept Israel in trouble with God. It included the offering of children as sacrifices to Baal and Molech. Has God gotten soft? If He would nuke Sodom, what gives Western Culture a pass?

One of the most important elements of the Spirit-filled walk is the Believer’s authority. From Luke 9:

“When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick” (9:1-2; see also Luke 10:1 & 17)).

In The Intercessors HandbookHow to Pray with Boldness, Authority & Supernatural Power, (Chosen Books, 2016) Jennifer Eivaz  teaches,

“Spiritual authority was delegated first to the disciples and then to every believer in Christ. We have all authority in His name and the capacity to subdue anything that hinders His Kingdom from expanding. And while this is powerful truth, it is something we need to learn how to live” (page 50).

Ms. Eivaz lists where our authority is restricted and where it is empowered.

  1. Authority where we have overcome.
  2. Authority for tasks to which we are assigned or gifted.
  3. Authority to ask for more.
  4. Authority for serving spiritual leaders

I call your attention to number 2—”Authority for tasks to which we are assigned.” This includes territorial authority. When we minister as guests in a church, we are careful to work under the authority of the pastor. If we are invited, there is an implied delegated authority. There were times when that delegated authority was rescinded due to me overstepping or the resident minister disagreeing with our message.

One of the territory issues I figured out: If a nationally or internationally-known speaker says, “The church needs to—should…,” listeners know he or she is talking about the Universal Church. If I get lathered up and say, “The church needs to…,” listeners think I’m talking about their church. It is the only one they know about and probably the one they care most about.

Territorial authority is crucial because there are territorial dark spirits who will guard their control of the spiritual areas to which Satan appointed them or which they have clawed themselves into control.

Some men and women are given larger regions and given adequate anointing of authority for say, New Mexico or Omaha or influencers in the education sphere. Acting on that authority is foundationed by knowing the will of God. His kingdom and will are inseparable. Some assignments are too large for one person. Prophet Dutch Sheets has authority in the realm of government. He has associates and teams who participate and plan strategies based on what they hear from Holy Spirit. Lance Wallnau is another teacher to whom I pay attention. There are many others who have earned credibility. We drove past a church today once pastored by Tommy Barnette who has authority and favor for leading people to Christ in vast numbers.

The Kenneth Copeland ministries has felt authorized to pray against Covid-19. I think there is a disease & pandemic named Covid and there is a spirit named Covid. Brother Copeland is a spiritual frontiersman—occasionally, he gets “way out there.” There is a hit piece in the papers this morning about him asking for money to buy an airplane. He has airplanes and was a commercial pilot before he was called to ministry. One or more of those planes was used to fly 5000-10,000 refugees out of Afghanistan. I read and hear Christians and secularists making fun of Copeland. That is not a wise behavior! He is not equipped to fight the disease named Covid that is not his “territory.” He is praying against the spirit of Covid. This pandemic has been from the beginning or has become a spiritual battle. What “principality, power, wicked spirits in heavenly places” are leading the spread and damage and collateral damage? Taking orders from? For what purpose?

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against a spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12).

I’m wondering who has Kingdom spiritual authority, therefore, responsibility over the USA Southern Border. What about Afghanistan? Minneapolis? Washington, D.C.?

Authority is not just a national, region, international imperative. Each person, family, home has sovereign rights which you are viewed as a trespasser without authority. Honoring personal boundaries is the right thing. A spouse can give the authorization to minister to a mate. Most of the people I hear testifying about witnessing to a stranger speak of receiving a question or asking if they have permission. Being careful not to intrude or invade, we can expect Holy Spirit to open an on-ramp to those whom we are to tell about Jesus.

Nations have sovereignty which comes under question when widows, orphans, strangers, pilgrims are abused or harassed. I’m not talking about westernizing or colonizing, but proclaiming the Kingdom Gospel–telling and showing God’s love and desire that people live in freedom.

Kingdom authority neglected may be the reason our land has not been healed. Although I have asked, Holy Spirit has me on a need-to-know basis. At least to this moment. He certainly has alerted me to the regions and areas I do have authority.

A few of the resources that have influenced me:

I Give You Authority, Charles H. Kraft (Chosen Books, 1997).

The Intercessors Handbook, Jennifer Eivaz (Chosen Books, 2016).

Power Evangelism, John Wimber & Kevin Springer, (Regal Books, 2009).

The Purpose and Power of AUTHORITY, Dr. Myles Munroe, (Whitaker House, 2011).

©2021 D. Dean Benton

Does “Trauma” Apply?

Listening to a Wild at Heart podcast series.* John Eldridge, a legitimate counselor and therapist, talked about the trauma we have been in and are affected and afflicted by. I have not thought of that description—trauma. What else could better describe the past 18 months?

When I turned off the treadmill and paused the podcast, I got a phone call from Susan to talk about my automobile’s manufacturers warranty. Best laugh I’ve had since July. She must be my friend because she calls more often that my grandkids. Does Susan and her company think I’m worrying about that warranty while I’m praying about Afghanistan, Southern Border invasion, hurricanes, a government gone rogue and Covid? And! Real friends who are long-haulers, and those who are not well. They are using up my prayer bandwidth!

Eldridge and team talked about the necessity of healing, recovery and restoration. In what aisle at Walmart or Target is that to be found? In what terrain is that spiritual power found? Where is the blessing released? “The Kingdom is righteousness, peace and joy” (Romans 14:17) Not words or yesterday or tomorrow, but today!  I have vision to see that dimension of Kingdom breaking out in healings, fellowship and Holy Spirit activity in the presence of Jesus.

In the third session, Eldredge talks about “Apostacy” that accompanies the Last Days. My thinking has been that apostacy was about abandoning orthodox beliefs and doctrines. Eldredge says apostacy may be faithful people just giving up on God because of too many disappointments and weariness of the conflict.

Chapter 7 of my Mining Rhyme, Reason, Reality book is about digging into my own faith worldview to uncover my beliefs and paradigms concerning the Spirit Filled Walk and living the Kingdom life.

A paragraph from Chapter 7:

“My most used phrases these days are, ‘God, what are you doing? Where am I to fit?’ And ‘What in the hell is going on?’ I have heard of behavior today in universities, medicine and government that could only have been thought up in a satanic think tank.

“In what setting would you feel comfortable to any degree to say, ‘I’m finished. I can’t do this anymore!’? What are your resources speaking to and praying for you to recover and edifying you to renew your strength?

I believe that The Kingdom offers resources through “all kinds of healings,” and that recovery and soul restoration to manufacturer’s settings is available.

The five-fold ministry has a work load these days. When your worldview includes the contemporary ministries of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers (Ephesians 4:11-13), you wonder where the prayer lines for depleted souls are forming.

Your Kingdom come! Today! Now!

© D. Dean Benton

*Wild at Heart Podcast with John Eldredge– https://wildatheart.org/podcast. The September series will pop up beginning with September 6 episode.

Christian-Biblical Worldview

“But the salvation of the consistently righteous is of the Lord; He is their Refuge and secure Stronghold in a time of trouble. And the Lord helps them and delivers them; He delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they trust and take refuse in Him” (Psalm 37:39-40).

There is no one-worldview-fits-all. Even trying to find a consensus a biblical worldview is difficult. The Old Testament is the historical and spiritual story of the Hebrew nation with their preferences and paradigms. The New Testament has at least two dominant worldviews which are Hebrew and Greek. The Gospels outline Jesus’ worldview. The Epistles speak to Greeks rather than Jews, so when Paul especially writes to the non-Hebrew audiences, he has Greeks in mind. Jesus’ worldview according to Charles H. Kraft:

“As a human being he (Jesus) had a set of perspectives on life, most of which he shared with the rest of his society—including his enemies. But there were certain distinctives—in Jesus’ understandings that did not originate in the society in which he lived his early life. These came directly from God the Father and are normative for us, his followers.” (Page 103)

Dr. Charles Kraft goes on to tell us why there is not one “approved” worldview.

“If then, Christian principles and values can operate within any given worldview, it is misleading to use a term as ‘Christian worldview’. For if God were advocating a totally Christian worldview, the implications would be that there is one divinely endorsed set of assumptions, values and commitments designed to compete with those of every cultural worldview.” (Page 81)

Okay, then! What is a Christian worldview?

Dr. David S. Dockery has helped me understand the complex meanings.

“Christians everywhere recognize there is a great spiritual battle raging for the hearts and minds of men and women around the globe. We now find ourselves in a cosmic struggle between a morally indifferent culture and Christian truth. Thus, we need to shape a Christian world and life view that will help us to think Christianly and live out the truth of Christian faith.”

“A Christian worldview is not just one’s personal faith expression, not just a theory. It is an all encompassing way of life, applicable to all spheres of life.”

As I studied this subject, I increasingly felt that the Apostle’s Creed was a one-page description of a generic Christian worldview.

Google Apostle’s Creed and you’ll find differing versions depending on denomination and even version of the source being quoted—whether traditional, reformed or modern. That makes me smile.

The way the world really is

Who God is

Who we are

How God genuinely feels about us and what He intends for us

What life is about.

Let’s again look at the definition of Worldview:

“…the culturally structured assumptions, values, and commitments underlying a people’s perception of reality. Worldview is the major influence how we perceive REALITY. In terms of worldview assumptions, values and commitments, a society structures such things as what its people are to believe, how they are to picture reality, and how and what they are to analyze. People interpret and react on this basis reflexively without thinking.” (Page 20)

What do we mean when we say or think “Christian Worldview?” How does our faith in Jesus Christ become a standard for behavior? A psychologist says accepting Christ and inviting him into our life, “replaces self (ego) on the throne of our life and installs Jesus.” Jesus becomes the central element and reference of our life.

Here are some changes that happen in our personal throne room when we make Him Lord:

A New View of God.

A New View of Self

A New View of God’s Present Activity

A New View of God’s Love

A Kingdom Family

My worldview is a Christian view—this Christian’s operational assumptions, but not the Christian worldview. There is no guarantee that this (the author) Christian’s worldview is accurate or holy. Worldviews are extremely personal tools we use to figure out what is real—from our perspective. The more of God’s Word we involve in our presumptions, meshed with an intimate relationship with Jesus, the closer we will be to God’s REALITY.

To dig through, contemplate, define and freshen our presumptions, gives us a way to determine who we assume we are in Christ. Are we thinking, acting, feeling like He does?

David Dockery says a worldview must seek to answer questions like:

Where did we come from?

Who are we?

What has gone wrong with the world?

What solution can be offered to fix it?

Do I Have A Biblical Worldview?

Ask George! It used to be George Gallup. Now it is George Barna if you are wondering about church or religious beliefs and practices. Barna feels to me like a member of our extended family who may show up for Thanksgiving. His American Culture and Faith Institute conducted a nationwide survey about what is and who has a biblical worldview. They used 50 questions. Fifty-one percent of American adults believe they have a biblical worldview. Research shows based on specific questions that only 6% have a biblical worldview.

Barna also observed that about 70% of U.S. adults claim to be Christians. “Of those, 84% claim to have a biblical worldview. However, the American Worldview Inventory reports only 19% of self-professed Christians actually hold a biblical worldview.”

Barna suggests we think about our own presumptions, perceptions, assumptions and beliefs. You may want to write your thoughts down.

  • The existence, nature, character, and purposes of God.
  • The nature, character, and purpose of human beings.
  • The existence, source and application of absolute moral truth.
  • The reliability, relevancy, and validity of the Bible.
  • Whether or not people need to be saved from their sins, and if so, how.
  • The existence of life after death, and the dynamics of that experience.
  • Any existing spiritual or supernatural authorities, and define their powers and domains of influence.
  • The definition of success for your life on earth.

Hey, George! We are not all theologians! I find David Dockery’s four questions above easier. Barna’s are more complex and more comprehensive. Neither give you a complete view of your worldview but will give you data upon which you can compare to biblical teachings and principles.

“A biblical worldview enables you to think like Jesus so that you can live like Jesus. Because your worldview is the filter through which you make all of your decisions, developing a biblical worldview is one of the foundations of a truly Christian life.” (George Barna)

Is that helpful? The purpose of this chapter was to answer “what is it?” I also wanted to think through if all things were changed by becoming a Jesus Follower. Yes, everything is changed in our relationship with God. We are new creatures before Him. It feels right to me that our ultimate filter is “I believe in God, maker of heaven and earth.”

I like Barna’s use of the words “developing a biblical worldview.” It fits with “by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). Making God Primary sets us on a lifetime of inviting Him to restore and heal us totally and completely. Active and participatory.

“The secret is this: Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).

©2021 D. Dean Benton

Excerpted from Mining Rhyme, Reason, Reality (©2021 D. Dean Benton Publish Fall, 2021)

Please be in touch with questions or comments. I dig reality.

You Are Such A…

I awoke long before dawn. Bad dream. The church where I was working at in the dream, told me I could not be involved in the TV interview program. The person scheduled for the day’s program was Marilyn Monroe. Program leaders said I was cancelled due to my “heavy-handed questions.”  I promise you—I have no hidden thing for Marilyn, no subconscious lust that is only released in dreams. I knew, even in my dream, that I would never ask a question to trap, “gotcha” or belittle.

Another dream: I was opening a Wednesday evening Bible Study and a man interrupted to say to the gathering that I was not worthy of leading the meeting and to prove his point, he asked for evidence be brought forth. A woman presented a bagel—cut in half—that contained particles assumed to be a forbidden, but not identified substance.

As ridiculous and hilarious the dreams, I couldn’t go back to sleep. I felt seriously accused with only a thin defense. After coffee and half a bagel with peanut butter, the heavy accusation was still on me. I looked up “accusation” in a digital concordance.

“Satan is relentless in his accusations—he accuses God’s children continually. He hates God and all that God is, which means he also hates God’s mercy and forgiveness extended to sinful humanity. Satan the accuser stands before God in an attempt to somehow lessen God’s love or diminish God’s mercy. Fortunately, his accusations against us fall on deaf ears:” (Erwin Lutzer—Moody Church)

Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies” (Romans 8:33).

“Salvation belongs to the Lord, and His justification cannot be reversed. God is greater than our accuser.”

Accusation is systemic. Satan is the “accuser of the brethren,” (Revelation 12:10). Brené Brown reminds us we are self-accusers. “Never enough,” “Not good enough,” “Always….”

It has been a long time since Marilyn did a cameo appearance in my dreams or bagels were used as evidence of my inadequacy or ineptitude. There was a real spirit of accusation behind the silliness for which I had to say to any tormenters—“Stop it!” And, affirmation of …

“Salvation belongs to the Lord, and His justification cannot be reversed. God is greater than our accuser.”

God does not accuse! Remember that. He does not hang us over the fires of hell just to watch us sweat. Jesus said Holy Spirit has a different approach and always with the promise, “Salvation belongs to the Lord!” There is the promise of redemption and justification along with the conviction. If you are feeling accusation, it is satan and you can say, “Stop it! In Jesus Name.”

“And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment” (John 16:8).

I think Holy Spirit enjoys convicting us of sin or something we need to own, allow Him to fix and heal. While accusation is a weapon of torment, Holy Spirit knows conviction is the first step toward healing and wholeness. Our response is to own what we are experiencing conviction and ask for forgiveness and instruction what to do about the dwarfing element that Holy Spirit saw.

You and I live in an atmosphere of accusation. Those who live from biblical paradigms and mindset, will be accused. “You are anti-science, you are racist, you are without the hope of change or redemption.” You know the litany. The dream was not surprising when I figured out what the triggers were.  

No accusers Allowed!

Copyright 2021 D. Dean Benton

What if we missed a turn?

Third in a series of five.

I want to know the content of my worldview. I want to know how I discern Reality. I want to know the philosophies, teachings, doctrines and propaganda in competition. I’m inviting you again to listen in to what I am discovering and what needs to be reassessed.

A reminder. Worldview…

“In Western nations—From earliest childhood, Western people are trained in deductive reasoning; we draw conclusions based on rules of logic to guide our lives. The presuppositions of our society encourage us to think this way. The assumptions of most Eastern, African and South American societies do not.”  (Wimber)

Word and phrases like assumptions, presumptions and the following draw pictures of how we interpret the basic fiber and laws of the world.

“Our worldview is like a lens; it colors, clarifies, classifies, warps or partially excludes the world. It is, in Charles Kraft’s words, our ‘control box of reality.’” (Wimber page 125)

We acquire paradigms—thinking patterns—through which we interpret experiences (or data) from our parents, the media, art, education. Some are conscious and other unconscious. Most paradigms are like the huge catfish lying on the bottom of the Mississippi too big for a man to lift. When the new bridge was built across the river in our town, it was said that workers found catfish big enough to swallow a person. They are quiet unless threatened like worldview elements which will protect themselves. Our worldviews are our way of understanding reality.

When I wrote my Stress Management seminar and book, You Can Control It, I talked about worldview without knowing or naming it. I talked about phrases that we heard that stuck in our brains and in some measure motivated behavior. Think about, Good Fences Make Good Neighbors. How about, We don’t discuss family business outside the family.

I’m looking and listening to the words I heard when young that became a filter to relationships and evaluation of people and events. Like those catfish, worldview components just lie there a lifetime unless an upheaval hits us like an emotional hurricane. Given that, let’s look at how the average Western Civilization civilian views the world in this time frame—in this season that seeks to dismantle us.

With the Enlightenment era came three main ideas: Reason, Scientific Method and Progress. Those thinkers believed with these three dominant, guiding ideas, they could build better humans and societies. Other thinkers did not always agree, nor did the Common People fall into line. That kept the guillotine busy and the prisons full. But that elitism and mindset remains.

In recent decades no one has escaped the impact of Rationalism, Individualism, Materialism and Relativism. Together they birth Secularism which as a package is taught in all school levels as the mutually exclusive source of Reality. The package of four have captured the modern Western Civilization mind. While personal worldviews are caught rather than taught, students and consumers of news and entertainment are taught these:

RATIONALISM

Rationalism, or a belief that we come to knowledge through the use of logic, and thus independently of sensory experience, was critical to the debates of the Enlightenment period, when most philosophers lauded the power of reason but insisted that knowledge comes from experience. (Google)

One of my images of God is Him standing in front of large marking board—black or white—and beginning His presentation of Reality with…

“Come, let us reason together…” (Isaiah 1:18a).

There are at least three kinds of knowledge. The kind we gain 1) intellectually, 2) observationally and 3) experientially. Intellectual knowledge alone seldom changes minds or changes lives, only when observational and experiential knowledge is added do people begin to consider accepting new information as potentially a life-changer.

I was pastoring while going to the university. The church or the parsonage had a water issue. The property people came by one evening to track water lines. One of the men “witched for water.” He used a certain piece of wood looking like a large Y. He held the wood in front of him and scanned the ground. When the witching tool crossed a water source, the tool bobbed up and down. I recall it was accurate. Ironically, the next day in French Class, someone talked about witching for water. It was surprising, given my experience the evening before. I had never seen water witched and had to tell the French class. It is totally unreasonable and clearly not scientific that a piece of wood could nod where water could be found, so my classmates moaned and hooted at my non-scholastic views and opinion. I still agree with them, but I saw what I saw—stone sober.

Rationalism is the model of churches of the last century. Even evangelism was and generally still is, based on an intellectual approach. Worship services were designed to lead up to the main event. The sermon. When Pentecostal churches and then Charismatic gatherings saw emotion-involved worship as a better way to do church, the more intellectually-driven churches and pastors got really nervous. Those of us who used Campus Crusade’s Four Spiritual Laws format or booklet warned us that reality was about facts to which faith would respond. Feelings were a mere caboose on that train. In recent years facts have not lost importance, but emotional involvement has found a rightful place in healthy settings. (There is still craziness around!)

The scientific method gets a lot of air-time these days. In Western Culture, knowledge and solutions are provided only by science. Politicians of a certain brand tend to name science as the only source of truth. Perhaps you’ve noticed that only one acceptable “science” is considered legitimate in this season.

INDIVIDUALISM

Reflecting on studies comparing “Self-reliance” during the Great Depression and how students experienced the COVID Pandemic, the generations practice of self-reliance empowered our parents, while the inability or unwillingness to develop self-reliance hobbled our children and grandchildren in 2020/2021.) Dr. Tim Elmore in his book, The Pandemic Population (2020) says,

“(During the Depression) Adults trained kids to be self-sufficient yet interdependent, frugal yet charitable—an interesting mix that seems to be missing today. (P.19)

Individualism is good or bad depending upon the politics and worldview of the person describing it.

“Individualism places an emphasis on independence and self-reliance, and with it the desire to control everything—people, things, events and even future events. Thus, the individual, not the group (family, clan, community) reigns supreme.” (Wimber)

Socialism and Marxism find self-reliance and individuality undesirable. Those governments build on communes and dependence on a centralized government. I think that this is the basis of Mr. Obama telling business-owners that they did not build their business on their own.

The True North movement and Small Group movements over the past four or five decades have been about building community in response to isolation. A man presented me his current dream and projected plans. I asked the man about his competition and where was he looking for heads-up warnings and positive ideas. He hadn’t and he wasn’t going to. His “individuality” was built on pride and fear of not being adequate. Self-reliance is the ability to take what you have and survive until you thrive.

There is a homestead movement in Western nations—moving to the mountains or plains to literally build their own home and farm or ranch. My wife takes notes on homestead ways on cooking, raising sheep and how to hang drywall. I don’t get why she refuses to strap on a nail apron when I tell her that the garage needs to be roofed. Self-reliance is a good thing and part of free-markets, capitalism, self-satisfaction. Genuine self-reliance is not about attempting to control everything and everyone. It is not refusing instruction, advice or assistance. It is the opposite of depending upon the government.

MATERIALISM

“…nothing exists except matter and its movement and modifications; only what can be seen, tested proved to be real.”

From materialism comes the pleading to depend upon science and trust only that which survives the laboratory tests.

RELATIVISM

“Relativism denies that there are absolute truths, making all “truth” dependent upon personal experience.”

You hear the expression of relativism when people say, “That may be your truth….”

SECULARISM

The list and quotes come from John Wimber’s study. He says…

“Secularism is a lethal combination of the above; the idea that we live in a material universe that is closed off from divine intervention.”

“We live in a pluralistic society that is skeptical of any objective truth—whether scientific, religious or philosophical—as a way of understanding reality. Thus, post-moderns believe there is no ‘true truth’…” (Power Evangelism, John Wimber & Kevin Springer, Regal Books ©2009).

Those are the teachings of recent decades. Those ideas have brought us to where we are in Western Civilization. With the influence institutions denuding itself of tradition and nation-building values and virtues, I’m wondering about John Adams’ statement:

“Our constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Where will Secularism take us? Restrictive Totalitarianism.

!  !  !  !

This article comes from the studies and writing of John Wimber, Tim Elmore, Charles H. Kraft. On his podcast, Dr. Bill Bennett, former Secretary of Education, reads from an article by Andrew Sullivan which I found illuminating.

https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9mZWVkcy5tZWdhcGhvbmUuZm0vYmlsbC1iZW5uZXR0LXNob3c/episode/NWYwNjM3YjYtZWYwMi0xMWViLTliMmEtNzcyZGUxOGQ5ZDBj?hl=en&ved=2ahUKEwi31rucq4byAhUKPK0KHTp_C94QjrkEegQIChAF&ep=6

Two more Benton Blogs follow:

  1. What is a Christian worldview?
  2. What is a Kingdom of Christ worldview?

D. Dean Benton

Avoid Being Shark Bait

Shark advocates are appealing that the word “attack” be changed to “interaction.” The headlines will now appear as, “Lost an arm while interacting with a shark.” Can someone tell those advocates targeted meat cannot request a dialogue during an interaction. Sharks don’t like to chat with their mouths full.

I’m an advocate for correct grammar and accurate word usage. The Bible says in the last days,

What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter (Isaiah 5:20 TLT).

I’m not sure we are in the Last Days or what to do about it if we are. I want to know how we got here. I didn’t have it on my calendar. Scholars say Westerners are building their view of reality on a value-less world. One way that plays out is street-dwellers, homeless, addicts and rioters are given all the room they want while assuming they should have the right to express themselves.

My larger question is why is there no outcry and no insistence about potty habits and stopping burning other people’s property or looting. Why? How did we get to be a value-less culture?

  1. S. Lewis wrote what has been called the most important work of the 20th Century. The Abolition of Man was written in 1943. It is neither a Christian Apologetic or mystical novel. It is about the necessity of self-evident Objective Values. Without a common grasp of Objective Value, sometimes referred to as Objective Moral Value, Abolition of Man is predictable. Lewis says the decision to be value-less demands some value upon which to base that very decision.

God led me to an interview on Art of Manliness Podcast titled “Men Without Chests.” The conversation speaks to this subject precisely. https://www.artofmanliness.com/articles/podcast-723-men-without-chests/

From my armchair view, when our culture determined there are no absolutes the end game became predictable. Judges 21:25 captures where we are:

“In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.”

When Objective Value is abandoned or killed, subjectiveness reigns. Everyone makes up their own truth, morality, god and permission to do what they want to do. Jesus said that would mark the Final Days. This is not the first time this behavior has dominated cultures or the world. (“Lawlessness shall prevail…” Matthew 24).

I do believe God is just and He requires His people to practice justice. I’ve been working at figuring out where and how I learned that. So, it would be true for me that my worldview, like everyone else, started collecting parts and pieces long before I went to school. Is God really a “rewarder of those who faithfully serve Him?” Is that component not only real, but true? Is it not only True, but Real?

How do you determine Reality? REALITY? In this season, there is a smorgasbord of options of what is projected to the masses as Real. This is my quest. I thought you might like to join me in my search—look for some lights along the way; see if there were spotlights to direct our paths. At best, my thinking can only be a shorthand edition. My intent is that you will want to pursue the subject on your own journey to understanding how you perceive and determine your reality and what you base Reality upon.

Charles H. Kraft’s books have been a resource for me. He is an Anthropologist, Christian and a teacher at Fuller. When someone referenced his book, Christianity with PowerYour Worldview and Your Experience of the Supernatural, (Wipf & Stock Publishers, 1989) it was not in my library. Most of his other books are. Why not this one? Avoidance of the subject? He writes first about worldview and reality in generic terms, only then does he speak of a Christian worldview. This is not rhetoric or dogma.

Kraft outlines what influences our understanding and grasp of REALITY? These are spotlights that focuses our minds to determine Reality.

  1. Our Worldview, which is the most important in our pursuit of REALITY and reality from which our concept of truth. Our worldview is not constructed by polling world news, history or acceptable community patterns. It begins with the people, events and our reaction/response in our home and within our tribe. I heard a couple teaching about parenting and Secure Attachment. An hour later at Walmart, I saw a young father talking to his three-year old who was sitting in the shopping cart seat. He was talking to her while holding her face in his hands. According to the teachers he was building Secure Attachment in her brain and heart. The little girl was building a section of her worldview. Someone will teach her not to get naked on Main Street and poop in an intersection, which will also be part of her worldview. Not just for her, for all civilized people.
  2. Limitations of Our Experience. “I will not believe it unless I see it!” That is a major definitive rational thinking pattern in our culture. Kraft says, “All of us are hampered to a greater or lesser extent in our attempts to understand the experiences of others that we ourselves have not had.” (Page 21). Western Civilization interprets the world differently than the rest of the world. People in Nigeria, Kraft learned, are opened to the spirit world because they have seen how Dark Spirits can ruin lives or make life painful. Even after accepting Jesus as Lord, the Nigerians turned to their native spirit-guides when they needed powerful spirit impact. They had seen the evidence. Christian leaders could prescribe Western answers while the Nigerians saw a different Reality. They had seen the spirit world. Kraft said he had no experience with the spirit world with which to offer help or power. Before we reject something, we may want to ask, “What don’t I know and what have I not experienced in relation to the question?”
  3. Our Personality or Temperament. A preacher-friend’s granddaughter heard him preach about Jesus walking on the water, which she wanted to discuss. “Can you walk on water?” the grandad asked the four-year old. She replied, “Not yet!” Her calculation of Reality is going to be different than a pessimist or self-doubter. Kraft says our viewpoints are affected by predisposition, motivation, degree of openness to new ideas and how change is experienced. A friend recently felt betrayed. Betrayal has been a reality for her, so when the recent events occurred, it opened access to decades of other betrayals. Her temperament has adjusted to how she perceives the reality for her—she is going to be betrayed—count on and build defense mechanisms to fight back or protect herself.
  4. Our Will. Our image of Reality will inevitably be assaulted or challenged if it contradicts the culture we reside in. Let’s consider the four-year old’s experience of REAL. She is somewhere in her thirties now. If she continued to believe she was going to walk on water for three-decades, she would have to do it or change her beliefs. The will to believe can be stubborn unwillingness to face facts. But then, if she chose to believe that her failure did not affect Jesus’ experience water top, she has set her will toward reality. Our will impacts our perception—the will to consider changing our point of view, but not a larger perception.
  5. Sin. “Human sinfulness affects every aspect of the way people perceive and respond to the glimpses of REALITY they see.” (Kraft page 22). God does not “mete out” punishment willy-nilly. The Ten Commandments, for example, are the result of God looking at REALITY as only He can and concluding this is the best way for a human to live. Breaking these carries its own punishment. I keep thinking about the summer riots of 2020. Listening to reporters from the streets, they experienced the rioting as dominated and functioning in the power of a different Reality that adopted rebellion, deathly motivation, commitments to evil and/or evil spirits.

Let’s pursue that

It is possible to be locked in to an evil or closed worldview.

“…the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron” (1 Timothy 4:1-2).

Another condition is referred to in scripture as a reprobate mind. A phrase among Americans: “God is not even on my radar.” I know people who have never been to church. Their knowledge of or about God is negligible and their interaction with Him is extremely passive. In contrast, a person with a reprobate mind has an active relation based on rejection and rebellion.

“Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done” (Romans 1:28 NLT).

The reprobate mind is no longer able to consider God or God’s truth after passionate and prolonged rejection of God’s voice and words about Him. A person with a reprobate mind has become blind to the truth and unable to think beyond their commitment to a dark truth or demonic influence.

A quiz in Reality.

I like teachers. We have teachers in our family and among our close friends. I have witnessed the tears as teachers told us about kids they teach that are not thriving and my teacher-friends cannot break through or provide resources. I have listened as they considered quitting or retiring—giving up. I do not see aggressive, passive or ignorant spirit-murdering in them.

The past few days we have heard news reports that a portion of the money bill re: infrastructure, will go to finance re-education and rehabilitation of white teachers who are “spirit murdering” black and brown students.

Question: is spirit-murdering a Reality? Look at your answer—determination of your reality. What role did your 1) Worldview have? 2) Experience or lack of it? 3)Temperament? 4)Will? 5)Current relationship with God? Who is the Abolitionist Teaching Network talking about? What is the fruit of either conclusion?

Another question. What about the masses entering the USA by crossing the southern border? Is there a crisis? Humanitarian? Legal? Child abuse? What criteria factors into your Reality? Is that objective or subjective? What would you conclude about the role of Reality—objective values—who have a motivationally different view of reality?

Christianity makes a big deal about TRUTH and REALITY because the Bible does. To hear that we begin to build a worldview pre-school and much of it remains intact through life unless we experience a life altering game-changer. How many classes or sermons have you heard about that offered resources to rebuild that no longer feels valid? The conflict in Western civilization is about worldview and Reality from which we make decisions about truth. Should we not have tools to sort out what is true and real? I do not want to be shark bait!

My purpose is not to change your worldview. My intent is to shift your paradigm and mine from a Me-centered worldview to a Christ-centered worldview and then to adopt and grow into a Christ-Kingdom worldview and perception of Truth.

©2021 D. Dean Benton

Examine Your Worldview

“You may be a Southsider if you remember….”

I was invited to join the above group. I am a Southsider—from the southside of Des Moines. We have talked about geographies, landmarks, people and events that shrouded my life 8-18. SW 9th and Leland is two blocks north of Mom’s restaurant. That corner is still there, if not Vi’s Café. There was a supermarket on the SW corner, on the SE corner is a Methodist church. On the NE corner was/is Noah’s Dry Cleaners and in the 1950s an ice cream parlor filled the NW corner. One of my Southside friends posted a picture of the ice cream place. In the courtyard between the storefront and sidewalk was an operating clock—8 feet tall.

That clock impressed me when I was ten, and decades later it fills my memory, experiences and education. A Gospel song says, “Time Has Made A Change in Me,” and the evidence pushes forward in how those stores, schools, streets today are anything but matches for the pictures from my youth. And that clock keeps clanging—or it would except it is also now gone, which points to the point. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZh6jm1Dsj8

For several years, I been asking how two relatively smart people can look at a situation or historical event and describe it in contradictory words. In recent weeks I’ve been listening to news reports and conversations, reading commentaries on world events and hearing reports that contradict what I know to be different. How is that possible?

It may have been a dream, perhaps a daydream or something even more weird. In my mind, I was on the front lawn of Ft. Des Moines Methodist Church staring at that clock across the intersection. A word dominated my mind as I stared: worldview. I wondered how the days around that business neighborhood affected my worldview in the years following. Then! Almost like a surprise, I heard another question—what was my worldview that filled my first ten years?

“Worldview” had no significance for me until I was in college and then I resisted the concept. The concept seemed an easy way to box up beliefs and then dismiss them or trivialize them. I grabbed onto teaching about Reticular Activating System, which has a physical location in the brain stem. I am not educated in science of the brain, so my conclusions and opinions grow out of my experience, observation and minor-league research.

Reticular Activating System manifests in day-to-day experience by blocking out what we do not believe. If we don’t believe an answer to a problem or need will show up, we would not see it if it were delivered to us by Fed-Ex. Quite literally. I’m learning that R.A.S. is connected to worldview. This is important because our worldview impacts or determines faith, politics, what is right/wrong and whether you are involved in ministries of miracles, signs and wonders. No kidding.

What we now see is like a dim image in a mirror; then we shall see face-to-face. What I now know is only partial; then it will be complete—as complete as God’s knowledge of me” (1 Corinthians 13:12).

Worldview: “A set of presumptions (or assumptions) which we hold (consciously or unconsciously) about the basic makeup of the world.” James Sire.

Charles Kraft has been influential in my thinking in several areas of study. He defines worldview:

“…our worldview consists of thousands of assumptions we hold concerning time, space, causality, relationships and even how to classify the data of life.

“When things happen to us, we assume that either there was a cause or that they happened by chance. Some life experiences can modify one’s worldview but, barring life-altering events, one’s worldview changes little.” (Charles H. Kraft, Confronting Powerless Christianity, Chosen Books, 2002, page 29)

John Wimber adds:

“Every society has presumptions. Some are conscious, but most are unconscious. We acquire paradigms—thinking patterns through which we interpret experiences—from our parents, the media, art, education and so on. Our worldview is like a lens; it colors, clarifies, classifies, warps or partially excludes the world.” (Power Evangelism, John Wimber, Kevin Springer, Regal Books, 2009. Page 125).

This discussion is not just about how we interpret the Bible or whether we see angels. The current cultural and political discussions about gender, Socialism vs. Capitalism, education, race, and religion is guided by diverse worldviews. The attempt to change America’s history is driven by a different worldview. The brutal facts are that many cannot see or hear or think what their opponents are saying due to their differing worldview.

Charles Kraft’s larger definition of worldview:

“…culturally structured assumptions, values, and commitments underlying a people’s perception of REALITY.  Worldview is the major influence on how we perceive REALITY. In terms of its worldview assumptions, values, and commitments, a society structures such things as what its people are to believe, how they are to picture reality, and how and what they are to analyze.  People interpret and react on this basis reflexively without thinking.” (Christianity With Power, Charles H. Kraft, Wipf and Stock Publishers, 1989, page 20)

Kraft speaks as a Christian and an Anthropologist. He says only God fully knows REALITY. However, everyone has a perception of an objective REALITY and we make it our own—a  subjective reality.  We assume everyone accepts our reality as REALITY and when they don’t we also assume they are crazy or evil.

SO WHAT? !!

The current battles waged for America’s future is about worldview—how shall we determine REALITY? Whose reality will be empowered and enthroned as the official REALITY?

Back to the SW 9th & Leland intersection. I was aware that my worldview had been impacted by the age of ten by my parents’ divorce which shook my securities and how to process events, experiences, eventualities. Worldviews motivate, explain and draw lines usually without our awareness. Until and except for life disruptors that throw us into serious, life-changing questioning mode. Things like—

  • Abandonment
  • Abuse
  • Assault
  • Betrayal
  • Choices
  • Deficiencies
  • Disappointments

A worldview can be adjusted with new information that we intentionally consider. God’s direct revelation to us may stimulate us to change. The books above were written to show worldviews determine whether you will accept and work in Biblical Spiritual Gifts in the 21st Century. I have also learned that we will be most effective in evangelism if we understand the worldview of the person with whom we share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

It is possible to be locked in to an evil or closed worldview. Romans 1:27-29 speaks of a “reprobate mind.” Worldviews have consequences for this life and the next.

For a long time, we suggested people use the Wesley Quadrilateral when seeking if something were true: Ask what Scripture says on the subject. What does Tradition say? How about Reason and Experience? These are no longer adequate for those who doubt the veracity or have a different understanding of the words. Over the past half-century, our society has been taught mental and philosophical systems that have changed the way reality and truth is determined and lived out. There appears to be only one acceptable worldview in present education, media, government, entertainment and in portions of religion. Those arenas are where worldviews are learned.

As you know, I am not an expert in this, but it seems serious enough to demand conversation and study, perhaps change. The books referenced above would be chosen resources if I were to teach a class or lead a discussion.

In my next post, I will talk about the four most dominant influences in today’s worldview structuring.

How important is truth? Truth?

©2021 D. Dean Benton

This post comes from my ebook Seizin’ The Season, chapter 4—“Don’t Hunker Down in Dismayed.”

Restoration

Perhaps the preachers I listen to get together to compare notes. The weekend message was/continues to be, restoration.
Monday morning a guest on Wild at Heart podcast described an acquaintance who “fought for my heart.” (Sounds like a John Eldredge phrase.) What does “fighting for my heart” look like?
One of my preacher/teachers has been preaching through the book of Job. Yesterday he finished the series with chapter forty-two. Job’s 3-4 friends sure didn’t fight for his heart! God’s acceptance and embrace restored what Job had lost in the battle of good vs. evil. I’m also thinking about restoration of what we never had in hand, but God wanted for us.
Our ministry has news of a man whose resume includes prison, drugs, emotional needs and a family populating the road to hell. This man needs a restoration of what he never had and cannot build alone. The young man approaches being a Seeker. He needs someone to fight for his heart—someone who will walk beside him during his anxious days and pour into him God’s acceptance and the Good News—redemption and restoration—which I define in these terms:
Embrace, Encourage, Equip, Empower, Heal, Launch.
“Pray ye (literal translation: ‘ hey you, YE, yes, you’) that the Lord of the harvest will send workers into the field” (Matthew 9:38).
Restoration—Bringin’ It!
©2021 D. Dean Benton
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Splashdown

When we pastored near Chicago, portions of Methodism was abuzz with the Lay Witness Mission. Our church sent over 40 to share their Christ-following stories. These “witnesses” traveled to inviting churches in surrounding states.
The space program was in high gear. We adapted the phrase, “Spashdown.” The people returned home and gathered with 15-20 who celebrated their experience and their weekend ministries.
We listened to weekend experiences, asked questions sang, prayed, ate munchies and praised God. Of that group one or two became pastors; others developed ministries and gave their talents and gifts for use in industries and local churches.
At the heart of those Splashdown events was Marilyn and Gary Hansen.  Hansens moved to Ashville, NC and then to Wilmore, Ky. Through all of the moves they served on the Board of Benton Ministries, Inc offering wisdom, support of every kind, loyalty and tons of encouragement and vocalized affection.
The past two weeks have been filled celebrating the life, faith and family of Marilyn Hansen. After decades of serving several churches as executive secretary and establishing a Caring Ministry and becoming a hospital chaplain, she went home to be with Jesus. I have fixated on her arrival in Heaven as a Splashdown event—home from another place.
I’m assuming the Lord placed Psalm 68:6 on my mind as descriptive of our 50 years with Marilyn: “God places the lonely in families….
A Rusty Goodman song came as part of that welcoming time:
As you go down your list of firsts, there’s no question
We’re gonna want to see our loved ones awaiting me and         you
And when you feel you’ve shared your story with the last           one
That wants to hear you tell, just how you made it through
Look for me, I’d like to hear it too
I realize when you arrive, there’ll be so much to view
After you’ve been there ten thousand years, a million,                    maybe two
Look for me, for I will be there too.…
While Marilyn told her stories of God’s faithfulness, we told stories of her battle with Parkinson’s and the challenge of writing a book of those battles and her mission. “Broken Unto Wholeness,” (Marilyn Hansen, ©2019—available from Amazon).
Thank you, Marilyn for your obsession with saying thanks and telling your story and talking about Jesus.
©2021 D. Dean Benton—one of the tribe of “I’d like to hear it too.”