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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“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).
Welcome to the Second American Revolution!
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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“When the lives of the unborn are snuffed out, they often feel pain, pain that is long and agonizing.” – President Ronald Reagan to National Religious Broadcasters Convention, January 1981
Ronald Reagan became convinced of this as a result of watching The Silent Scream – a movie he considered so powerful and convicting that he screened it at the White House.
The modern technology of real-time ultrasound now reveals the actual responses of a 12-week old fetus to being aborted. As the unborn child attempts to escape the abortionist’s suction curette, her motions can be seen to become desperately agitated and her heart rate doubles. Her mouth opens – as if to scream – but no sound can come out. Her scream doesn’t have to remain silent, however … not if you will become her voice. This newly re-mastered version features eight language tracks and two bonus videos.
“… a high technology “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” arousing public opinion just as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 antislavery novel ignited the abolitionist movement.” – Sen. Gordon Humphrey, Time Magazine
Languages: English, Spanish, French, South Korean, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese
Running Time: 28 minutes
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With “preaching to the lost” being such a basic foundation of Christianity, why do many in the church seem to be apathetic on this issue of preaching in highways and byways of towns and cities?
Is it biblical to stand in the public places of the world and proclaim the gospel, regardless if people want to hear it or not?
Does the Bible really call church pastors, leaders and evangelists to proclaim the gospel in the public square as part of obedience to the Great Commission, or is public preaching something that is outdated and not applicable for our day and age?
These any many other questions are answered in this documentary.
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Special Two-Disc Set!
After 40 years of intense study and world-wide ministry, Dr. Francis Schaeffer completed his crowning work of scholarship – to present profound truths in simple film language. Dr. Schaeffer’s brilliant analysis of the past and predictions for current trends have proven so uncannily accurate that this amazing series still feels contemporary almost three decades after its initial release. Ultimately, Schaeffer concludes that man’s only hope is a return to God’s Biblical absolute, the truth revealed in Christ through the Scriptures.
Available for the first time on DVD, this documentary spectacular also includes intimate in-depth conversations with Francis and Edith Schaeffer. With the on-disc study guide, this presentation forms a unique course of comprehensive study. While this series forms an innovative analysis of the past, this outstanding work is more than history. Each episode focuses on a significant era, yet speaks clearly to 21st-century man with answers for modern problems.
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Who is the dreaded beast of Revelation?
Now at last, a plausible candidate for this personification of evil incarnate has been identified (or re-identified). Ken Gentry’s insightful analysis of scripture and history is likely to revolutionize your understanding of the book of Revelation — and even more importantly — amplify and energize your entire Christian worldview!
Historical footage and other graphics are used to illustrate the lecture Dr. Gentry presented at the 1999 Ligonier Conference in Orlando, Florida. It is followed by a one-hour question and answer session addressing the key concerns and objections typically raised in response to his position. This presentation also features an introduction that touches on not only the confusion and controversy surrounding this issue — but just why it may well be one of the most significant issues facing the Church today.
Ideal for group meetings, personal Bible study — for anyone who wants to understand the historical context of John’s famous letter “… to the seven churches which are in Asia.” (Revelation 1:4)
Running Time: 145 minutes
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