By Mike Wade
Published September 1, 1992
Ask someone their opinion of Columbus and it will very likely reveal their worldview, even if they don’t know what that is.
Paul Gray, writing in Time magazine last October, identified the three contemporary interpretations of Columbus and his journey. The are significant because of the opportunity they provide to understand the different ways history is revised today.
The traditional view has largely been held by Christians holding a biblical worldview, even though Gray’s definition is much broader: the journey “was the first step in a process that produced a daring experiment in democracy, which in turn became a symbol and a haven of liberty.”
The Politically Correct view is, of course, in extreme opposition to this. The PC Columbus is a sort of voodoo doll by which all of Western civilization may be stabbed and vilified. Here’s how Gray defines it: “Indigenous peoples were doomed by European ignorance, brutality and infectious diseases. Columbus’ gift was slavery to those who greeted him; his arrival set in motion the ruthless destruction of the natural world he entered.”
The third view set forth by Gray is the one he affirms. It is an attempted compromise between the two, eliminating any notion of Providence yet watering down the Marxism and fascism of the PC version. It allows Columbus all the necessary gray areas to be basically a good person who brought to the New World a mixed bag of blessings and curses, and helped determine which peoples would be winners and which would be losers. It allows one to deny personal responsibility for being white without attempting to diminish the damage done to other cultures lying in Columbus’ wake.
That’s why the traditional view has been more or less abandoned to those upholding a biblical world view. To see Columbus as a completely positive force only makes sense if he was an agent of Providence. Columbus’ hands and mouth may have brought inhumane hardship, but the Bible says it is the feet that are beautiful if they bring the Gospel.
The skeptic may ask what good the Gospel is to a society that has suffered near extinction. In the first place, in a Providential interpretation of history, it is God, not Columbus, Who decides if a nation should rise and when it should fall. Secondly, it was simply His mercy that the Gospel arrived before the plagues hit. Thirdly, what God allows and what God initiates are two very different things.
It is a matter of historical fact that much cruelty occurred at the hands of both the Europeans and the indigenous tribes. In fact, the PC gloss over very quickly that the Native Americans held and traded slaves of their own and participated in barbaric warfare well before they ever met Europeans. My point is to divide between the cruelty of the adamic nature of man, regardless of his race, or the purposes of God in the year 1492.
The real question here is not why God would allow this, because if He allowed it, each of us will eventually have to give an account. The issue at hand, no matter which of the three views you have of Columbus, is: “How could man be so wicked?” The only thing that the barbarism of Adam proves is that man is in need of a Redeemer.
In the PC view, as well as Gray’s compromise, there exists no such thing as absolute right or wrong, so it borders on the macabre that they take God to task for crimes they correctly identify as repugnant. Was this the attitude that caused David to shake his head and write, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’”?
Columbus labored to find a passage to the Orient for the advancement of the Gospel, the glory of God, and to raise money to fight the Crusades. In so doing he helped build the New Jerusalem and the kingdom of Babylon. What he will be judged for is not how these deeds fell in line with our morality, but his conscience. What is most significant about Columbus is the mental picture of an Unlimited Power using a very limited and fallible vessel. To make a hero out of the vessel is fine. But if that’s all we see, we are severely missing the point. It was God’s Hand that was upon Columbus for a specific purpose. Normally, God sovereignly chooses to keep this Hand invisible, so when He allows us to see it, or at least its fingerprints, we must by all means look past the instrument.
Sadly, both Christians and non-Christians often approach the New World’s discovery with a determination only to confirm their own prejudices. Our relationship with the Lord should be secure enough that we embark on a childlike search for truth. God does not need our defense. And neither is history helped by those with an ax to grind. God is glorified through the study of history because He is using the dimension of time to install His King on Mt. Zion.
Cicero defined history as “the witness that testifies to the passing of time; it illumines reality, vitalizes memory, provides guidance in daily life, and brings us tidings of antiquity.” The key is one’s definition of reality. In a classroom setting using atheistic logic, it is easy to argue that reality does not exist. But once Reality is properly summed up in a Person, the definition becomes more simple. To study history from a Providential perspective is to lift the fingerprints of God from the smudges and mire of man.
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Foundations in Biblical Eschatology
By Jay Rogers, Larry Waugh, Rodney Stortz, Joseph Meiring. High quality paperback, 167 pages.
All Christians believe that their great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will one day return. Although we cannot know the exact time of His return, what exactly did Jesus mean when he spoke of the signs of His coming (Mat. 24)? How are we to interpret the prophecies in Isaiah regarding the time when “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:19)? Should we expect a time of great tribulation and apostasy or revival and reformation before the Lord returns? Is the devil bound now, and are the saints reigning with Christ? Did you know that there are four hermeneutical approaches to the book of Daniel and Revelation?
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“Give me liberty or give me death!”
Patrick Henry’s famous declaration not only helped launch the War for Independence, it also perfectly summarized the mindset that gave birth to, and sustained, the unprecedented experiment in Christian liberty that was America.
The freedom our Founders envisioned was not freedom from suffering, want, or hard work. Nor was it freedom to indulge every appetite or whim without restraint—that would merely be servitude to a different master. No, the Founders’ passion was to live free before God, unfettered by the chains of autocracy, shackles that slowly but inexorably bind men when the governments they fashion fail to recognize and uphold freedom’s singular, foundational truth: that all men are created in the image of God, and are thereby co-equally endowed with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
This presentation is a similar call, not to one but many. By reintroducing the principles of freedom that gave birth to America, it is our prayer that Jesus, the true and only ruler over the nations, will once again be our acknowledged Sovereign, that we may again know and exult in the great truth that “where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).
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This DVD features “Liberty: The Model of Christian Liberty” along with “Dawn’s Early Light: A Brief History of America’s Christian Foundations.” Bonus features include a humorous but instructive collection of campaign ads and Eric Holmberg’s controversial YouTube challenge concerning Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.
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Just what is Calvinism?
Does this teaching make man a deterministic robot and God the author of sin? What about free will? If the church accepts Calvinism, won’t evangelism be stifled, perhaps even extinguished? How can we balance God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility? What are the differences between historic Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism? Why did men like Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, Whitefield, Edwards and a host of renowned Protestant evangelists embrace the teaching of predestination and election and deny free will theology?
This is the first video documentary that answers these and other related questions. Hosted by Eric Holmberg, this fascinating three-part, four-hour presentation is detailed enough so as to not gloss over the controversy. At the same time, it is broken up into ten “Sunday-school-sized” sections to make the rich content manageable and accessible for the average viewer.
Running Time: 257 minutes
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Exposes the Dangers of Abortion to Women!
These shocking eyewitness accounts expose the dangers of abortion not only to unborn children, but to the health and lives women as well. An antidote to the smokescreens of the liberal media, these short clips show what really happens in and around abortion clinics.
Although the content is emotionally gut-wrenching, these videos have been used in church seminars and small groups to educate Christians on the abortion issue and to lead people toward a pro-life position. Contains 2 hours and 40 minutes of materials that can be shown separately.
Watch these pro-life videos on-line.
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That Swiss Hermit Strikes Again!
Dr. Schaeffer, who was one of the most influential Christian thinkers in the twentieth century, shows that secular humanism has displaced the Judeo-Christian consensus that once defined our nation’s moral boundaries. Law, education, and medicine have all been reshaped for the worse as a consequence. America’s dominant worldview changed, Schaeffer charges, when Christians weren’t looking.
Schaeffer lists two reasons for evangelical indifference: a false concept of spirituality and fear. He calls on believers to stand against the tyranny and moral chaos that come when humanism reigns-and warns that believers may, at some point, be forced to make the hard choice between obeying God or Caesar. A Christian Manifesto is a thought-provoking and bracing Christian analysis of American culture and the obligation Christians have to engage the culture with the claims of Christ.
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