Commentary: Liberalism and Education (Part Three)
John W. Ritenbaugh
Given 05-May-12; 14 minutes
This commentary will mark my third in a row on this subject, so I thought that I better make you aware that though I am very solidly against the liberal political philosophy practiced in the United States, I most assuredly I am not a conservative American politically. God's children should be apolitical.
I can clearly see many of the flaws in their [liberal's] beliefs and practices and believe we need to be aware and warned about where its roots are anchored, and that I gave you the last two weeks, and also to be aware of what its adoption in the United States has caused within us. It's political opposite, conservatism, those safer and slower, is ultimately every bit as bad. Human nature has a strong proclivity to take powers to extremes, and it's well known as a historical fact that "power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Thus, liberalism and conservatism both ultimately produce a controlling slavery of the governed.
During Jesus' ministry, the religiously conservative group was the Pharisees. The Sadducees were the more liberal of the two. Each group had a measure of control of their culture. The Pharisees' control was over the general public on the street, as we might say today. This was probably because of a measure of class hatred, vented against the Sadducees because they tended to be wealthier than the Pharisees. To this day in America, the wealthy are envied and even hated simply because they are wealthy, and most people seem to assume that they got the wealth unfairly, or it was unearned because somebody gave it to them, or they just happen to be lucky.
The Pharisees' power flowed from the fact that the common people related to them more as an economic equal. The Sadducees, though, had control of temple affairs and apparently also a majority in the Sanhedrin, the ruling religious body, as well. However, both liberal and conservative, they both perceived Christ as an enemy, and both conspired to put into death, even though Pilate could find him guilty of nothing that broke any Roman laws.
It's the laws of God that set the standards against which any act of man is evaluated as liberal, conservative, or right on. But what does God say regarding the Pharisees' and Sadducees' position? In Mark 7:8-9, it records Jesus saying this regarding the Pharisees:
Mark 7:8-9 For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men—the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.” He said to them, “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.
Their conservatism was to the right of God's standard. Regarding the Sadducees, He had something less direct to say, but still headed in the same direction. In Matthew 16:12, it says,
Matthew 16:12 Then they [meaning, the apostles] understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine [the teachings] of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
Since God's law is the standard against which behavior is measured, II Timothy 1:7 is very interesting in regard to what we should aim for in our conduct. The King James version and the New King James version both say,
II Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
It's the word "sound" that I am interested in within this commentary. Listen to these variations that this term is translated into and take note of this. Every one of these variations is correct, depending upon context. The one, I believe, is more correct than others regarding this particular subject.
» The New English Bible translates "sound" as "self disciplined."
» Coneybeare, a very famous translator, translates it as "self restraint."
» A New Translation Bible translates it as "wise discretion." Sounds like they are all over the map, doesn't it?
» Alford translates it as "correction."
I'm going to read the entire verse to you from the Amplified Bible. You know what the Amplified Bible does? It inserts all kinds of synonyms so that somewhere along the line, they are going to hit something that we understand.
II Timothy 1:7 (Amplified Bible) For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.
Somewhere along the line, you're going to get something out of that. I have no problem with the translation of the Greek word as any of the ways any of the translations have done. In most cases, these terms fit well because we must discipline and restrain ourselves to hold fast to God's truth, or else we drift from one side or the other.
However, the Amplified adds a factor when it inserts "balanced" as part of the usage of this Greek word. And this is because human nature pulls human behavior and attitudes toward either side of God's law, and conduct becomes unbalanced. God's law is absolutely dead center.
In some circumstances, some people want to be more liberal than God, while others in the same circumstance want to be more conservative than God, when the reality is that God is right down the middle and people are moving toward one extreme or the other. It's human nature that is the variable.
There are some behaviors about which God is more liberal than many humans. How about drinking alcohol? At the same time, there are other behaviors and attitudes that He is exceedingly more conservative than most would think. How about when, in a flash, He executed Nadab, Abihu, and others. That's pretty conservative. They got no appeal whatever. Jesus healed on the Sabbath; the Pharisees were more interested in saving an animal than healing people. The Sadducees rejected the resurrection of the dead, and yet that's the goal of everything in the Bible for every individual.
In other words, what I'm saying here is that men can pull away from God's standards to either direction, depending upon what any given human, ignoring God standards, may think. "This is the way I see it. . ." There is a way that seems right—that's mankind's calling card. Regardless of what human's think, in reality, God is dead on, perfectly balanced, and that, brethren, is what we need to be striving for because that truly is sound-mindedness.
Let me ask you something that involves last week's commentary about the universities, the colleges. Can I ask you a question? You answer it yourself—whether the liberal administrations of the colleges and universities that I mentioned last week, and what they are doing, would you consider them to be balanced, sound-minded decisions regarding something that has been going on for quite a period of time now?—and I'm going to tell you what this something is.
Consider the state of the world, as we understand from an American perspective, in which we have a war on terror going on against those who claim the Islamic faith. I've got these figures that I'm going to give you from a YouTube video that passed through my computer within the last two weeks. Harvard University has accepted a donation of $22 million from Saudi Arabia. Why? To establish a Department of Islamic Studies. Georgetown University has accepted a donation of $28 million from them. Princeton: $1 million. University of Arkansas: $20 million. Rutgers University: $5 million. Cornell: $11 million. M.I.T: $5 million. Johns Hopkins: $11 million. American University: $11 million. Duke University: $11 million.
I could not write fast enough, but the University of Chicago was involved there. Rice University, Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, and Syracuse University—all of them for the purpose of instituting, establishing, and teaching Islamic studies.
What these Arabs are duplicating the same basic method that the liberals began 100 years ago when they began invading the universities in order to plant and spread liberalism in America's public schools. Already, these departments of Islamic studies have their finger in our middle schools in America, and these things are being taught—funneled—through our own universities. That's what liberalism does.