FAITHFUL OBSERVATIONS Reading with a Biblical worldview

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    Shillingstad

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    Shillingstad

Franklin Graham made these statements: “That an individual with a Biblical worldview looks at the world and sifts all information through the lens of God’s Word. Scripture informs his thinking and behavior, guiding his intellect and moral determinations. The Bible is the bedrock that undergirds his entire life.”

Accepting that as true, then all the information coming at us in the news, media and publications should be taken in light of our worldview and we should be taking into our lives those things that build up our faith. As we go into a time of winter weather and reading more, I thought it would be a good time to highlight some interesting books.

2020 is going to be another year of politics, elections and events in the world that we don’t expect. You might be thinking that politics has descended to new depths and we have never seen nasty politics that we have today. You would be wrong.

A fascinating book is “Anything for a Vote: Dirty Tricks, Cheap Shots, and October Surprises in U.S. Presidential Campaigns” by Joseph Cummins. Presidential campaigns haven’t gotten worse — they’re just as dirty now as they always have been. Cummins writes, “Democracy has never been for the faint of heart.” Adams and Jefferson became bitter enemies and this book tells the story about all of them. Our worldview tells us that we are a fallen people; we all fall short of the glory of God!

On the bright side there is a new book, “Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World” by Tom Holland. He depicts the power of Christianity in upsetting the powerful. Christianity changed the Roman Empire — even now those who hate Christ pay tribute to Him when they care for a few of the least of these. This book will certainly shape a worldview.

An atheist communist/fascist state rejects any acknowledgement of God, and thus seeks to assert itself as the sovereign authority, leading to inevitable ruin and misery. We are seeing more persecution of Christians today than ever before. China, Russia, India, moslem extremists in Africa and the Middle East. An alarming example in history was how Hitler turned the church from Christ to worshipping the state and himself.

Easter and Christmas were to be changed to secular holidays and the Nazi flag on the altar. A book that brings all this to light is “Hitler’s Cross: How the Cross Was Used To Promote The Nazi Agenda” by Erwin Lutzer. More than 700 pastors and priests were thrown into concentration camps because they had the courage of their convictions and “did not count their lives dear unto themselves.” A lesson for our worldview is that ordinary people can become a part of an evil movement and be willingly caught up with the euphoria that surrounds a leader and that we need to stand for religious freedom.

Two new books out of that World War II period are stories that inspire and give us that picture of the difference ordinary people can have upon history. The first is a novel based on historical facts entitled “Beneath a Scarlet Sky” by Mark Sullivan. It is an amazing story of a young boy, Pino Lella, who saves dozens of Jews fleeing Italy over the mountains into Switzerland. The story of Pino’s life is inspiring and a tribute to those throughout Europe who risked and gave their lives for others.

The second book that was just published is “Wounded Tiger” by Martin Bennett about the pilot who led the attack on Pearl Harbor and whose life was changed by an American prisoner and by a girl he never met. Wounded Tiger reveals how ordinary lives lived out faithfully to their calling can impact the destiny of a people and a nation.

Finally, probably my favorite new book this year is “God’s Hand on America: Divine Providence in the Modern Era” by Michael Medved. Michael is an orthodox Jew known for his cultural commentary as former chief film critic of the New York Post and longtime co-host of Sneak Previews on PBS. These are stories from our history that are amazing and many that I was unaware of — the chapter on the battle of Midway is worth the price of the book. I thought I knew about this battle but there was much more that I learned.

George Washington said in a letter in 1789, “The Man must be bad indeed who can look upon the events of the American Revolution without feeling the warmest gratitude towards the great Author of the Universe whose divine interposition was so frequently manifested in our behalf.” Many times our leaders have reiterated those beliefs as they experience God’s providence.

Dennis Prager is another orthodox Jew who made the following interesting statement, “I believe in God. Until reading God’s Hand on America, however, I was agnostic as to God’s role in American history. That I am no longer in doubt about God’s hand on America is proof of how persuasive this book is.” (An interesting aside is even though we call ourselves a “Christian nation,” about 90% of the 14 million Jews in the world are split evenly between Israel and the United States! Our welcoming of people of faith is our strength.)

As Christians and Jews we are often reminded of the verse from 2 Chronicles 7:4 in the Old Testament that says, “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

This is a reminder to pray for our country and our leaders, a critical part of our worldview! Take time to read some great books that strengthen your “worldview”!

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Bob Shillingstad’s religion columns run every Saturday in The Press. Email bob: bjshill@mac.com

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