Writer of Kirk Cameron’s Monumental Movie Dismisses Mental Illness as Cause of School Shooting, Blames Sin and Educational System

Marshall Foster, president of the World History Institute and co-writer of Kirk Cameron’s documentary on American history, Monumental, issued a press release today dismissing the role of mental illness in the Newtown CT school shooting. Instead, he blamed sin.

School Shooting Caused by Sinful Soul, Not Imbalanced Brain

NEWTOWN, Conn., Dec. 18, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ — “I’m sick and tired of the media’s attempt to make excuses for Adam Lanza’s mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School. In the face of all the politically correct mumbo jumbo from pundits and religious leaders alike, it’s time that someone took a stand and told the truth. The culprit is not an imbalance of chemical enzymes in Lanza’s brain; the culprit is Lanza’s sin nature! Man is wicked beyond belief,” declared Dr. Marshall Foster, Christian historian, founder of the World History Institute and author of the introduction to the newly republished 1599 Geneva Bible.

While many conservatives are calling for significant attention to the nation’s mental health system, Foster calls talk of brain imbalances “mumbo jumbo.” Foster also appears to blame the victims for their death because of the educational system.

“Connecticut and the other 49 states have rejected the original vision for education which was to develop the moral character of the students in favor of the fiction that everything is morally gray. That kind of education emboldens mass murderers like Adam Lanza,” said Dr. Foster.

The press release through Christian newswire also includes a link to his new Geneva Bible. Cameron is shown promoting it on the website.

This is an irresponsible and misguided press release in my opinion. While the victims of the shooting are trying to grieve and recover, this would-be Christian leader uses the tragedy to hawk his products. Furthermore, he blames the victims and opines about something he clearly knows nothing about.

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  • Mary

    Now is a time for many to begin healing.

  • inca nitta

    While Dr. Marshall may not know psychology, he clearly knows the word of God, which for him is enough. I am wondering though, why do Christians who read the Bible and believe it answers all the questions, need to care what psychology, biology, physiology, and other manmade sciences say?

  • Boo

    I guess maybe it’s just hard to believe that demons can be cast out by atypical antipsychotics.

  • Lynn David

    It seems lately that Christian leaders if not Christianity itself is jumping the shark.

  • James Ferguson

    I just don’t know how persons can say these things in the face of such a horrible tragedy, but I suppose would you have so deeply deluded yourself, as the good “doctor” has, you just don’t care what anyone else thinks.

  • James Ferguson

    would should be when, sorry.

  • Jim Guinnessey

    Marshall Foster is just another right wing religious fraud.

  • inca nitta

    So, just because he doesn’t believe in psychology but in the Bible, that makes him a fraud? America is a free country, and everybody has a rigth to believe in anything they want what causes events to happen. Like I said before, he doesn’t believe in psychology, but instead, believes that the Bible alone gives perfect explanation for everything and he has a right to speak about what he believes. Of course, people who do not share his beliefs have the same rights to speak their minds, as well. That’s what American democracy is all about. Also, Dr. T. after reading the link in context, I came to conclusion that he wasn’t blaming the actual victims for the shooting but the envioronment they were living in, including the curriculum of the school. One can dislike the curriculum, but feel compassion for the students who are forced to study this curriculum, at the same time.

  • Jayhuck

    Inca –

    Of course people can believe anything they like. They can believe the earth is flat, or that gravity doesn’t exist, but beliefs don’t always equate to good science.

  • inca nitta

    Jayhuck, that’s not the point. We need to respect each other and allow all of us to share our beliefs in public, especially people of faith since our First Amendment guarantees us freedom of religion, even though we personally think that other person’s beliefs are completely wrong from our own. While going through this threat, I’ve noticed that Foster Marshall has been subjected to intimidation and name-calling just because he publicly shared very unpopular statements. It’s one thing to say that he is wrong about his beliefs, it’s quite another to insinuate that he shouldn’t share his beliefs. IMHO, that goes contrary to the American spirit.

  • inca nitta

    Oops, I’m so sorry, I’m meant to say thread, instead of threat. I never suggested that Dr. T. was threatening anybody.

  • Jarred

    inca says:

    “While going through this threa[d], I’ve noticed that Foster Marshall has been subjected to intimidation and name-calling just because he publicly shared very unpopular statements. ”

    What thread? Only one person has referred to Marshall Foster as a religious fraud in a single comment on this post. No one has said anything that I find particularly intimidating. The press release does not appear to allow comments.

    So again, I ask, what thread? Or are you exaggerating?

    inca also says:

    “We need to respect each other and allow all of us to share our beliefs in public, especially people of faith since our First Amendment guarantees us freedom of religion, even though we personally think that other person’s beliefs are completely wrong from our own.”

    Respect does not negate the possibility for strong criticism. Nor does the First Amendment protect one from having one’s beliefs scrutinized or criticized.

    inca says:

    “…it’s quite another to insinuate that he shouldn’t share his beliefs.”

    Who has insinuated any such thing? Again, people have criticized his beliefs. That is not the same as stating or even insinuating that he should not share them.

  • inca nitta

    This particular thread. I’ve noticed at least 3 people suggesting that Dr. Foster need not to make public comments the ones he did, because in their mind, it was inappopriate. I respectfully disagree.

  • Zoe Brain

    “Man is wicked beyond belief,” declared Dr. Marshall Foster,

    He should know… but he’s guilty of universalising his own situation to include everyone else.

    Not everyone else would use a tragedy like this as a means of advertising their product. Very few would, in fact.

  • Zoe Brain

    inca nitta – while I probably disagree with you on just about everything – I believe that some opinions do not deserve respect, for example – please continue commenting here.

    A monoculture where everyone agrees with everyone else, a place which is an echo-chamber, is intellectually unhealthy. If my beliefs are so wonderful, they should be able to withstand challenge. If they can’t, then maybe they’re not so wonderful after all.

  • Jarred

    inca: I see no such suggestions. I see criticism of his statements and beliefs, but I see no one who said he should not be allowed to make such statements.

  • inca nitta

    I’m totally fine with people challenging Dr. Foster beliefs, but at the same token, I would encourage him to expound further on his beliefs and comments that he made. I think we should have an open dialogue with him, that’s what America is all about.

  • mom2three

    It’s pretty clear that he is talking about the sin nature of man from a theological point of view, REGARDLESS of the psychology involved. He doesn’t say anywhere that mental health issues are unimportant. He is proclaiming his belief that we all are in need of a Savior. He shares his faith all the time in this way, as do many pastors. This is not a statement he made to merely sell anything… he’s been saying it for years. And nowhere do I read that he blames the victims for this tragedy! That is a huge journalistic leap bordering on libel. It’s strange to me why anyone would want to paint it that way?

    He does, however, believe the educational system is failing our children by omitting morality from the curriculum. I believe that too. Does that make me a hatemonger?

  • mom2three

    “Regardless” should be in italics… I’m not trying to shout, just make a distinction.

  • TxHistoryProf

    As a teacher in the public school,system and a Christian father of two fathers, I can assure you that the public school system’s curriculum is about middle class values of right and wrong. If people disagree with it, pay for private school. If its that important you will find a way pay for it. If not, do not speak of something you know nothing about as a lay person. To blame the school system and “sinful souls” is insensitive during this time of healing.

  • Dave

    @mom2three .. I can assure you that I have met many non-Christians in the world who’s morality and overall maturity and/or mental health rivals or exceeds that of some Christians I know. So painting Christians as being these wonderful people and painting non-Christians as being wicked to the core creates a false dichotomy that alienates us from the very people we are called to reach with the love of Christ. Dr. Throckmrton’s blog exposes many so-called Christians whose bias and slander against folks hardly matches any principle of Christlikenss. Likewise, my facebook newsfeed during this last election (from some Christians I know) had some mudslinging and slander against the opposing candidate that looked anything but Christlike .

    As for the whole business about the sin nature and us being wicked to the core … That type of rhetoric can perhaps be found in some parts of scripture but it was directed to fellow Jews or to Christians who already had a grasp of the holiness of God. If you look at Paul’s witnessing in the book of Acts .. he uses a very different language when talking to folks who are not Jewish .. ie. Gentiles (see Acts 17:22-34 for example). Paul adapted his message depending on his audience. He says as much in I Cor 9:19-23. News flash: This is the modern information age. Our audience is much bigger. We need to adapt our language to that audience just as Paul adapted his language to his audience.

    I would also add that evil things have been happening since the beginning of time. And while it seems very popular today to try to connect the dots to a particular causality (usually to support a particular political agenda) scripture comes to no such firm conclusion. In fact the suffering of people who had done what was right was (and is) a divine mystery. See the book of Job for one such example. Jesus’ discussion in Luke 13:1-5 might also give you some insights.

    In short, the rhetoric of Mr. Foster is (IMHO) wrong .. inappropriate for people who are suffering .. fails to follow the biblical principle of weeping with those who weep .. draws false black and white conclusions on a very complex subject of why bad things happen .. (things even the bible regards as mystery) .. and … in its insensivity .. alienates the very peope we are called to reach in the great commission of Christ.

    Blessings,

    Dave

  • Teresa

    @Dave,

    Wonderful comment, Dave. Thank you.

  • inca nitta

    Dave,

    I’m sure Dr. Foster has a lot of compassion to the victims of Sandy Hook shootings. Please notice, his criticism was addressed to the environment they were living in, not them as people. In my view, the only person whom he has shown insensitivity and unloving attitude was Adam Lanza, the shooter. Yes, Adam did a an evil thing but God loves him also and he can be forgiven, as well, so Dr. Foster should have asked to pray for Adam that he meets Jesus. It’s like when he was on a cross he told a convicted robber and murderer, crucified right next to him that he will see him in Paradise, right after the latter has asked for forgiveness. That’s where Dr. Marshall has missed the mark.

    Speaking of Jesus, if anybody recalls his sermon on the mountain in Matthew 5, you will see that he has used a pretty harsh language about the subject of our human sinful nature. I’m pretty sure had he spoken today in public in a large city, a lot of people would think that this guy named Jesus, is a wacko like Fred Phelps. So, I have a message to my moderate Christian friends, if you perceive Jesus, as someone who was always empathic to human feelings, you need to think again.

  • Dave

    You obviously did not read my post .. Jesus is talking to Jews .. not Gentiles. Jewish people were well familiar with the concepts of sinfulness and righteousness as their entire covenant system showed them that. As for the environment .. No I do not beleve that the educational system is to blame for this .. Evil and/or misguided people have existed throughout history . Foster unfortunately IMO follows a long tradition of using tragedies to hawk a particular viewpoint or political ideal. As for mental chemical imbalances .. yes I believe they are real .. how we deal with that in the mental health system and criminal justice system is a whole other question. ..but the question is a far cry from “mumbo jumbo” as he describes it.

    I am a Christian and I personally find his remarks offensive and ill-timed. As for the mind of Adam L.. the only person that knows that is Jesus. On this last statement I sense you and I may have some agreement.

    Blessings,

    Dave

  • inca nitta

    So, Jesus was being harder on Jews then he was on Gentiles. That makes sense, since he himself was a Jew, it would be a particular concern for him to make sure that God’s chosen people receive salvation. Well, I’m talking about a typical reaction ANY person would get about Jesus, today, after he or she reads Matthew 5. I’m sure, people would get fired up and say: “What?!!!”

    I see that Dr. Marshall says things about mental health and psychology because he personally does not believe in it and does not like it. Well, that’s his right as an American citizen and talk about it. Personally, I am a Christian and I have a degree in psychology. I personally find it fascinating, but I respect the people who don’t like it. Two of my uncles are evangelical pastors and they also don’t believe in psychology, they even think it’s a misguided science, but I can assure, they are the most loving and compassionate individuals I have ever known. I would take offense if somebody labels my uncles as unloving just because they are unwilling to like psychology and other mental health sciences.

  • Dave

    When Jesus talked he was speaking mostly to people who already understood sin and righteousness. When Paul talked to the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers he did not use the same type of lanugage as when he talked to his fellow Jews. He spoke of admiring their religous beliefs .. noted their idol to an unknown god and … rather than go into a ton of rhetoric about how demonic idols are .. he used this idol to an unknown god as a stepping stone to introduce Jesus to them. He also used their own poetry to describe God. (see the passage in Acts that I referenced earlier)

    Spare me the boo hoos about your uncle’s rights as American citizens to talk about psychiatry. Your uncles are a red herring to this conversation anyway as they have not made any grandiose statements. Your complaint that I am accusing Foster or some anonymous uncles that I have never met of not being compassionate is a red herring as well. Be aware that compassion and common sense are two different things.

    Blessings,

    Dave

  • inca nitta

    I see a sentiment in this thread such as that any Christians who don’t believe in or dislike psychology and other mental health sciences are either unloving, insensitive, or non-compassionate towards people, and I’m simply saying that it’s not always true.

  • Dave

    No.. what you are seeing is that when 20 families who have been happily buying their 6-8 year old children presents for Christmas end up burying them instead its a bad time to use the tragedy as a soap box for a person’s own personal agenda.

    Blessings,

    Dave

  • inca nitta

    What exactly is Dr. Foster’s personal agenda: to share with the public his personal beliefs about the existense of sin and use this tragedy as evidence of it, in order to call for people to repent and turn to God? Gees, that sounds exactly like what Jesus and apostles were doing.

    I figure that in a free democratic society, if it’s okay for Dr. Throckmorton to promote his personal agenda of constant disparagement of religious conservative people and organizations whenever an opportunity arises, then it should be okay for Dr. Foster, or any other people whose beliefs and opinions Dr. T. does not like, to promote their personal agendas in public square, whatever they might be. It’s all about fairness, my friends.

  • Dave

    The second you started talking about rights and fairness you gave yourself away… another red herring. No one is stopping Foster from saying stupid things at the worst possible times.

    Since you think Foster is espousing truth lets cover some of the things he is saying..

    Prove to me biblically that the failure to identify certain things as sinful *causes* people to take up arms and shoot children. (His whole bit in the article about how peope find other excuses for why people do evil things misses the obvious fact that the governor of Conneticut called this an “evil” act) (I woud also point out that with the first murder in the bible of Cain killing Abel, God gave Cain full warning not to do what he was about to do but Cain committed murder anyway.)

    Prove to me that the education system is making excuses for people like Hitler. To be specific ..prove to me that the education system teaches that Hitler had autism and this is the cause of his actions (he makes this accusation in the article)

    Prove that the education system has no interest in right and wrong as Foster claims in his article.

    Prove .. as Foster claims / quotes .. that Christian teaching perfectly maintains people in morality and eliminates the need for a police force. (Newsflash: you might consider the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandal and coverup .. along with many Christian pastors who committted adultery .. and many Christian youth leaders that ended up being prosecuted for child sex abuse. Moral teaching didn’t seem to help these folks.)

    There are plenty of civilizations down through history who have held to a moral code that did not necessarily recognize the God of Abraham Isaac or Jacob .. The morality they were able to maintain is likely comparable to the morality of Old Testament Israel .. which, despite the law from God, had its own problems with unfairness to the poor .. unjust scales .. deception .. murder and so forth. That’s why they had laws and people that enforced them.

    Foster gives simplistic answers to complex issues. While I agree with him that there is evil in the world, his accusations (as I have partly outlined above) are at times faulty and at other times just plain wrong and not biblically based. His comments are more in tune do a culture war mentality than they are to any kind of great commission approach of offering hope, comfort and grace to a hurting world. Like many others he is siezing the moment to promote his own culture war agenda along with the obvious promotion of his Geneva bible. I personallly can’t see Jesus acting this way at all .. if I were inthe shoes of a non-Christian I would run the other way from this kind of rhetoric.

    Dave

  • mom2three

    Traditionally pastors tend to point to sin as it exists in the world and in ourselves, arguing that as a human population we “need” saving. Sin then leads to faith in something that can overcome that fallen nature. Awareness of sin can really change lives, whether you believe it happens on a societal level is another (very long) debate of course. Is this simplistic? Possibly. As quoted in a brief sound byte above, certainly. But taken as a whole from Dr. Foster’s record of preaching the gospel for 40 some odd years beginning with street preaching in the 60′s on college campuses with Campus Crusade for Christ his statements are merely the unvarnished truth. For him there is no day that should go by without pointing out sin and the need for us all to be saved from ourselves. The tragic shootings were just evidence of the evil living in one man and the damage it can do. He also believes this man will be held accountable, as will Hitler, by a higher power. Even I remember various professors in college explaining away his heinous agenda with arguments of mental illness (not sure I remember any reference to autism from anyone though). Dr. Foster is saying Lanza should not be excused from his behavior because of said mental illness (if indeed that is even true here). It is not so much simplistic, I think, but straightforward. The Old Testament Hebrew Republic brought freedom and fairness to women in a world where that was essentially nonexistent. So perhaps the law of God contained within the Bible could have a remarkable affect on a nation and its people? That’s a rather complex argument if you break it down and worthy of discussion.

  • mom2three

    Dave I just noticed your comment to me above. I would agree with you that some non-Christians exhibit a morality that seems to outshine many Christians. As a rule I haven’t found that to be true, but I have seen enough instances of it to be disturbed. But you agree with Foster here – he would also argue that all are “fallen and fall short of the glory of God.” Only faith in Christ makes the difference, and even in that Christians are to take no credit for the belief, but give the glory to the Holy Spirit who provides the softened heart. Christians are still sinners. They are just rescued sinners. While the unbelievers have yet to be scooped up by the merciful hand of God. (Paul has much to say about Christian behavior and works of course… I’m sure you’ve studied that as well).

  • mom2three

    The reference to the broken educational system, again, is a traditional pastor’s argument that because you no longer have the ten commandments, any reference to the Bible apart from myth, and any reference to Christ apart from prophet, you cannot possibly have a discussion of right and wrong. Of course if you think the Bible is not the source of true morality, that argument falls flat. But he is being consistent with his many many sermons on the issue. This is not a new statement being use to “hawk a product.” It’s not even his product. He just wrote a short introduction to it. He is espousing his fearless and controversial faith as he always does. Please argue the theology is you like, but you are off base on his intentions.

  • Dave

    The broken educational system reference might be traditional for the pastors you listen to but it is not for this one .. nor for the pastor of the church I attend. Your black and white view of morality discussions only being possible if Jesus or God is mentioned misses some rather obvious theological beliefs concering natural law and also ignroes the witness of history.

    So I do not have to repeat myself from the multiple posts I have already made on this let me sum it up below…

    -The world seperated from God by sin .. Yes.

    -The world clueless about morality because of the above …. No.

    -The education system no longer espousing Christian beliefs in the classrooom .. True.

    -The above *causing* people to shoot children .. False.

    -Jesus being the hope of our world .. Yes.

    -Faith in Christ guaranteeing that the world will be a better and better place .. No. (scripture guarantees the opposite .. things will get worse and worse)

    -The idea that if the education system returned to Christian beliefs being espoused in the classroom it would fix all the violence in the world .. False .. Furthermore .. after seeing the various flavors of Christianity and witnessing the holiness or lack-there-of of multiple Christian leaders .. I would oppose the return of Christian values to the schools. Just because it has the Christian label on it doesn’t mean that it is full of Christlikeness or truth.

    As for the law of God being used to guide a nation and the idea that it brought freedom and fairness to women .. What bible are you reading? I agree that scripture generally pointed in a path of equality for women it took hundreds and hundreds of years after Christ .. until modern day equality was achieved .. with the biggest opposition to that comig from Christianity.

    As for Old Testament law (along with your guidance comment).. well lets see .. women forced to marry their rapist .. children stoned to death if they continually disobeyed their parents .. the death penalty for adultery .. men having multiple wives and concubines .. and so forth .. I don’t see this working today.

    As for Israel being a republic .. No .. Israel was a theocracy that was supposed to have God as king but chose instead to have their own king. God still worked with them as a concession but it was not His original intent. When Christ comes again God’s original intent will be restored and every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord .. (This is not something that anyone will get to vote on regardless of what governmental system they have)

    Dave

  • mom2three

    Your theology is much more liberal than my own, but I see alot of validity in your arguments. Holes in some as well. But my main point was that you disagree with Foster “theologically” as evidenced by your comments. The article above attacks him personally and paints him in a terrible light. I don’t think that is fair and it further alienates one side of the church from the other, which usually isn’t beneficial for anyone. The Old Testament did contain the stories of a sinful nation… but that didn’t mean that the Law or God himself condoned it. A republic is not necessarily democratic in nature. It is representative, which Israel certainly was, at least during parts of its history. There are OT law experts alot more qualified than I (or you apparently) to discuss this. But your list is not a fair representation and very few traditional Christians would segment the OT from the NT as you do. The Biblical Law is a combination of all the texts, and is is our job as believers to find the harmony between them. That applied in the context of civil law will and has shown remarkable results historically. Without the Bible very little freedom has existed. As a side note, Jewish women could own property in their own right. This is incredible considering the world at the time. I encourage you to read from Jewish historians on this matter…. its truly fascinating.!

  • Dave

    The critique of Foster’s comments IMO is his failure to engage in a missional incarnational Christlike manner with the culture of today in such a way as to advance the Great Commission of Christ. Scripture is quite clear in proclaiming that true change in an individual comes from Christ entering their heart .. not through political action nor through improving an educational system. American Evangelicalism often forgets this and seeks a nonbiblical agenda of making laws. Laws do not save. Improved educational systems do not save .. Posting the Ten Commandments in the public square does not save. Christ saves.

    The shift in the culture of the United States away from a more Christ centered one is a symptom .. not a cause. Fixing the symptom is not going to fix the problem. Fixing the symptoms does not take the core problem away. IMHO, the core problem (from a Christian perspective) is the failure to acknowledge the Lordship and sovereignty of Jesus Christ. This core problem is evident not only in the lack of conversion to Christ but also in many who do claim to be Christians. A tour through Dr. Throckmorton’s blog reveals many leaders who carry the name of Christ who are using deceit and slander to advance their political agenda.. The use of slander and deception is not a Christlike / biblical trait. The advancement of a political agenda is, at times, rather questionable as well. It is my personal opinion that the use of slander and deception on the part of Christian leaders in this culture war is evidence that they have abandoned reliance on God and His sovereignty and are instead relying on self. When you rely on self instead of God’s way and will in your life it becomes idolatry. It (the burden of the world) then all becomes the individual’s burden .. not God’s burden. And then people get desperate and resort to nonbiblical approaches. However .. scripture is clear that the world is God’s problem ..God’s burden. Scripture is clear that God is sovereign .. and that God *is* working out his will and purpose in the world… that God sets the time and seasons of nations and kingdoms .. (not conservatives .. not liberals). The world is hungry for people that show faith in a power outside of themselves.. people that have a hope outside of themselves … outside of this world. The same old same old of a culture war with lies and slander is *not * showing a power and hope outside of this world. We look like desperate people without hope. As Jesus says .. we are to be the salt of the world .. we are to be the light of the world .. but if the salt loses its taste… how can it be made salty again? It is good for nothing. (Matt 5:13)

    Foster’s comments look to me to be more in line with self reliance than reliance on God. They reflect the culture war … not the great commission. While the question of mental illness and what a person is legally responsible for if they are mentally ill is a worthy discussion to have… his black and white view of mental illness fails to recognize a more nuanced approach. Mental illness .. like end of life decisions, medical ethics decisions, and many other issues are not directly covered by scripture. This does not make them biblically invalid questions nor instantly rejectable. Rather, issues such as these require careful thought and much prayer combining the principles of what we do have from scripture with the situation at hand. This is not a liberal nor conservative view .. this is a reality of the Christian life as we encounter life situations not directly covered by scripture. The missional incarnational approach I mentioned earlier does not consider the culture to be an enemy but, instead, enters the culture as Jesus did with compassion and understanding. This approach should look incredibly thoughtful and different from typical worldly responses. All this is incredibly lacking in Foster’s statements and in the statements of folks similar to him.

    Blessings,

    Dave

    P.S. I am aware of the ability of Jewish women in the O.T. to own property .. but the issue remains .. that it took 2000 plus years for the church to catch up to equality for women. Even today, I know of churches where women cannot vote or serve in certain ministerial positions. People do not all interpret the bible the same way. I used to think as you do but then became aware of some more extreme groups which .. though they sounded like they were espousing what I believe .. had some real problems .. Look up ‘dominonist’ or ‘theonomy’ on this blog or google them for more information

  • mom2three

    Dave, I appreciate your response. Just wanted to prevent an assault on the character of a man I feel believes strongly in the great commission and uses every opportunity to preach it. I personally believe that the power of Scripture (and thus the posting of the 10 Commandments above our “doorposts”) can in fact bring about salvation which of course must always be through Christ. The Bible points us to Christ and the presence of the Bible within a culture (or lack thereof) will have consequences. It’s a powerful book and is God speaking to us allowing us to learn more about Christ and His purpose. All of it useful! Take it out of a culture that previously embraced it (however superficially) and you will see real consequences. No question that is a symptom and not the root cause. No question that only Christ can perform the transformation… Foster has also repeatedly stated this. Where you and I and the dominionists (they are extreme but not all are spewing “lies and slander” as you seem to think? I wish the average church leaders had half the education and intelligence of these men. I might find church more entertaining. :) Sigh. I don’t know any famous dominionist female writers yet. ) would agree I think is in discussing God’s Sovereignty. And that is a very good foundation to build upon.

  • Richard Willmer

    This terrible tragedy notwithstanding, it is the case that the homicide rate in the USA has dropped by around 50% since 1991.

    My worry about Foster’s statement is that it may be designed more to ‘advance a reconstructionist agenda’ (which I, like Dave, do not see as a ‘solution’ to the problems we face) than to facilitate a genuine and wide-ranging quest to make such tragedies less likely in the future. Simply ‘closing down’, by the use of what appears to some of us to be ‘knee-jerk dogma’, discussion of mental health issue is IMO not in the least bit helpful. Of course we should take man’s sinful nature (which affects all of us) seriously, but we should also look long and hard at all possible ways of mitigating its most destructive manifestations.

  • Richard Willmer

    Also, I have to admit that I completely fail to see any link between the curriculum currently followed by the children who so tragically died and Lanza’s actions. (I seem to remember reading that Lanza was ‘home educated’ for a time.) Am I missing something here?

    (Incidentally, the US murder rate in 1912 was a little higher than that in 2012 … though I must stress that I do not suggest that this in any way mitigates the almost indescribable horror of what happened in Newtown, CT on the morning of Friday 16 December 2012.)

  • Richard Willmer

    Apologies, I meant ‘Friday 14 December’.

  • mom2three

    He was in the public school system until at least 15, possibly 16, at which point his mother became very concerned and may have pulled him out. If this is true, clearly she felt that the system was not working for “him.” But as I home school my 3 children and take my job very seriously, I would hate to have my freedom to do so colored by this tragedy. Like many parents I have investigated and visited many schools. The curriculum I have reviewed has been scoured of any Biblical reference that is positive, and good teachers are being asked to forward an agenda that runs contrary to my God and my beliefs without my consent, and indeed mock my faith. As Christians we are to be salt and light, but I will not send my children into what I view as hostile territory for 8 hours a day as a test of their faith. That would be foolish and selfish of me to do that without arming them with a firm foundation in the Bible. College will give them plenty of chances to sculpt and form their own opinions, believe me. I don’t think that the main cause of this tragedy is or was the school system though. Sandy Hook sounds like an idyllic school district compared to the ones I’ve encountered. We probably will never know what really incited Lanza to act so heinously. The school system is not responsible for the character and actions of my children. I am. And I think there will be a huge movement towards school choice (and parental involvement) in the coming years.

    Most theonomists would argue that God has been systematically omitted from our society over the last 150 years with publicly funded governmental education being the primary tool used to achieve this. That would put 1914 right there in the bracket. I am not a theonomist however. I would just argue that over the last 20 years the culture has become obviously hostile to my Christian “lifestyle” choice. :) 20 years ago the neighbors next door wouldn’t have their 4 year old playing video games so violent my eyes water at the thought of it. Now it seems to be commonplace. Something is changing and it worries me that the church is so ambivalent about it. I don’t think Jesus would be.

  • Richard Willmer

    I was not suggesting that home schooling is in any way responsible for the tragedy. As for the reason for Lanza’s mother withdrawing her son from school: my reading of the reports in the British press suggested to me that there were concerns over bullying (with Lanza being the [alleged] victim of the same).

    What I am questioning is the claim that there is a connection between the curriculum followed by the children and the actions of their killer. I don’t see it. I regard it as mere supposition, and unhelpful supposition at that.

  • Dave

    Some brief comments ..

    The wisdom of man is foolishness to God. And when intelligence (a trait you claim to admire among certain dominionists) is used against the will of God it is not something to be admired but should be regarded as what it is .. Sinful rebellion against Christ and His commandments. I would add that not all the lying and slandering is coming from the Christian dominionist camp. But when intelligent and respected people fall into the trap of using carnal weapons rather than spiritual ones they present more of a danger to the way of God .. because unsuspecting people are more likely to follow them in thier folly. If you want to see how bad it is you will need to do some research with your eyes wide open. For myself .. if I did not have a multi-decade relationship with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ .. I would have abandoned Christianity over it. I shudder to think what effect it might have to those who are new to the faith or to those who are outside looking in. Again .. we need to be salt and light .. if we fail at that .. all the political wins in the world will be meaningless with regards to the kingdom of God. 2000 years ago .. Christ’s harshest words were to the leaders .. not the common folk. If He were to come today I suspect we would see the same.

    Blessings,

    Dave


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