|Over and over again we are seeing the results of our culture’s rejection of God’s design. Does the Bible show us how to pray and order our choices to undercut the nearly ubiquitous pagan culture?
Obviously this quarter's newsletter is very delayed due to a multitude of reasons. One reason is that after the recent election I wanted to see how the new administration would begin. The platform and early actions tell us a lot on how we should live for the Lord under its leadership.
In ensuing newsletters, I will develop more fully my suggestions in that regard. However, for now let’s look at some basic truths that underlie all life issues. In thinking through God’s expressed will to us in the Bible, we should trust what He has told us about the real world as He, its Creator, omnisciently knows it. We should also understand that whatever He has told us must take precedence over our own limited thoughts. The Bible, therefore, shapes our metaphysical and epistemological beliefs, i.e., our beliefs about reality and truth.
Moreover, our ethical standards—how we decide what we and others ought to do—rest upon the Bible’s metaphysical and epistemological descriptions of reality. Our ethics derive from what God has told us in the history recorded in the Bible. Finally, our social and political judgments in turn derive from our ethical standards.
In recent years to help folks visualize this “map” of our thought life I have diagrammed these truths as a “four-layer cake”:
And again let’s not forget what this question is really about. It’s not about whether the four layers have a logical order from the bottom to the top that applies to every worldview whether biblically derived or not. The two lower layers concern the nature of what exists, what IS. The two upper layers concern what one OUGHT to do.
The problem we all have is that we usually don’t think about the two deeper levels until life’s difficulties force us to go from the top to the bottom. For example, take the never-ending conflict between the “Pro-Life” and “Pro-Choice” people over abortion.
Considerable time and energy are spent attacking each other and/or politically maneuvering at the top level of the diagram rather than pausing to ask some questions about why there are such strong emotions involved and how can the matter be resolved. Rarely in today’s hurried and superficial journalism are these deeper questions ever considered.
So as ambassadors for Christ who are commissioned to represent Him, we should seek to turn these kinds of life struggles into opportunities to share the gospel. Let’s trace a possible method using the diagram. The obvious first question “is abortion right or wrong”? That concerns the second level—ethics. And let’s not forget what this question is really about. It’s not about a personal opinion; it’s about a standard that applies to all parties. It’s about what a political community (a state or a nation) might express in its law for all of its citizens. If so, it will necessarily create a legal discrimination against one side or the other—a serious consequence indeed.
Our “map” points us downward toward the epistemological third level. Is the ethical claim true or false? How does one determine whether an ethical claim is true or false? If you and I have different ethical positions, who decides which of us is correct?
And again let’s not forget what this question is really about. It’s not about whether something is true for me or for you. If it is only about my or your subjective feeling, then there are only three ways of adjudicating what a society OUGHT to do: (1) have all society adopt whatever is the most popular ethic in the latest public opinion poll; (2) have a tyrannical leader or oligarchy forcibly impose whatever they happen to feel at the moment; or (3) abandon all attempts to set a society-wide standard and follow the free-for-all model of the Judges period (Judg. 21:25).
Clearly, if ethics derive only from subjective feelings, ethical standards simply don’t exist. Whether abortion is right or wrong becomes a temporary policy based on an ever-changing statistic of social opinion, or an arbitrary policy imposed by government, or is left for every individual to decide for himself or herself.
Let’s see what happens according to our “map” if indeed we have an epistemological and metaphysical reality capable of determining true from false ethical standards. In other words, we look at reality, at what IS, for help in determining what OUGHT to be. This is the only way to justify an ethical standard.
The Bible supplies the necessary epistemological reality: whatever God has told us must take precedence over our own limited thoughts. And He has told us that the created environment around each person, believer or unbeliever, is sufficient to make us aware of His existence (Acts 14:15-17; 17:26-28; Rom. 1:19-20). He has also told us that we have awareness of His ethical standards in our hearts and conscience (Rom. 2:14-15). In fact, this awareness of His ethical standards is clear enough in all human hearts that it warrants His final judgment of all people (Rom. 2:15-16). And, of course, He has told us in great detail His ethical standards in both Old and New Testaments, including the true humanity of a baby in the womb.
However, what about those who either suppress their innate awareness of God’s existence or, if aware of the claims of God’s Word, even suppress those? Denial of the Creator/creature distinction leaves one with “Nature” in which all reality exists whether material or spiritual. Objects—whether personal or impersonal—are viewed as on a scale or chain of Being from simple to complex. No responsibility to a Creator exists. No transcendent rights can exist in this is reality. No rights for the fetus; no rights for the woman carrying it. Neither Pro-Choice nor Pro-Life views have any ethical support if the Bible’s view of reality is disbelieved.
To sum up: If the Holy Spirit is at work in the soul of a “Pro-Choice” acquaintance and you have a respect for one another, a discussion that follows something like the four-layer “map” might lead them into consideration of the larger life issues—the dependency of true ethics on a framework supporting truth as a timeless and universal thing and a cosmos that is a creation of the God of the Bible. Perhaps the Spirit would lead the acquaintance to think how they are relating to the Lord and be open to the gospel.
Note that the word for baby (Greek brefos
) according to medical doctor Luke occurs for babies both in the womb and out of the womb (Luke 1:41–42; 2:12, 16). Also note the construction of life in the womb in Psalm 139:13–16 that corresponds to modern research which shows that it is the baby in the womb that sends chemical signals to the mother, not the other way around.
As a supporter of this ministry please know that without your prayers, your use of the website materials, and your financial aid, this ministry could not continue to reach those in many countries who hunger for a deeper faith in the God of the Bible, especially the poor and those locked down by various COVID-19 restrictions.
Annual Chafer Seminary Pastors’ Conference
March 8–10, 2021
West Houston Bible Church
1500 W Sam Houston Parkway N., Suite 104
Houston, TX 77043
Bayside Community Church
Guest Speaker March 21, 2021
3333 Bayshore Blvd,
Tampa, FL 33629,
Adult Sunday School 10 AM, Worship Service 11 AM
For continued exposure of the Bible Framework website to the global community
For making the edited version of Interlocked’s 55 lessons in .pdf format available to the public as a tool to introduce the Framework especially to families who have chosen to challenge the cultural influences on their children and grandchildren.
For skill in Charlie’s teaching of Christian Framework 2 on the Chafer Seminary on-line website.
For healing of Charlie’s cardiac condition.
For those who quietly volunteer to keep this ministry serving viewers: those who fulfill orders, the newsletter editor, the website manager.
And, for a safe and healthy delivery of a new addition to our BFM team!
BFM Web (In)Sites
Biblical vs. Unbiblical Views
In October 2020 Charles was asked to speak to students at the Helms School of Government at Liberty University. In his presentation entitled Biblical vs. Unbiblical View of Reality, Truth, and Ethics, he discussed how the big ideas of the Bible provided students with a framework for understanding the fundamental responsibilities and limitations of human government.
The school’s A/V team filmed his presentation and made it available in video as well as audio formats. You can view and/or listen to this impactful message on the Bible Framework website.
Audio File Updates
Due to popular request, we recently updated several of the MP3 audio files on the website after cleaning up some static that was distracting while trying to listen to the messages. These lessons include Lessons #94, 95, and 99. Charles will be rerecording Lesson #96 in the near future, so please check back soon for a clean, updated lesson.
The voice quality on Lessons #110–122 has also recently been improved, if you'd like to update your downloaded files.
If you find other lessons that need our attention, please contact us through the Contact Us form and we’ll attempt to improve the audio quality of that lesson.