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Posts Tagged "hope"

On War Stories

November 29, 2023
By Nathan Northup, former dialectic Bible teacher

This article was written in March 2020 by Nathan Northup, Rockbridge Academy Bible teacher. He went to be with the Lord on November 2, 2023. His legacy will live on through the hundreds of people he loved, served, and counseled, both in his ministry to the church and in the Rockbridge community.

“Kick in the gates of hell! I’ll see you on the other side!” is the charge I imagine a great military commander bellowing out to his troops as they storm forward with swords raised high to take captive the great fortified city: Death. The Lord Jesus Christ said that the gates of Hades (death) will not prevail over His Church. As Christians, we know that we have been delivered from the dominion of sin and death and into the glorious kingdom of our Lord and thus enlisted as soldiers in the great battle, not against flesh and blood but against the principalities in the heavenly places.

In particular, here at Rockbridge Academy, our very motto is to TAKE EVERY THOUGHT CAPTIVE and make it obedient to Christ Jesus. The principle is clear throughout the Christian Scriptures that WORSHIP IS WARFARE when we consider all the oddly warlike language used to describe our journey. Every baptism, prayer, song, sermon, sharing in the body and blood of Christ, hearty joyful giving is an act of war. This war is waged with faith, hope, and love. We’ve been given weapons for offense and elements for defense. We desire that God destroy all of His and our enemies by capturing their hearts and adopting them into His family, enlisting them in His army, converting them to change their allegiances. We pray and preach and praise to this end. So then, when we gather as God’s New Covenant people for corporate worship, we have drawn our battle lines, and we go to war. All who are in this battle were once on the other side of the field and were graciously conquered by our triumphant King who leads us in His glorious procession.  

This is why, every Monday in the Dialectic Bible classes, I ask for war stories. These war stories are testimonies of what God was doing in their life during the battle in the previous Lord’s Day corporate worship. Most of the time, the students testify to the Word of God given by their pastors, but we also hear stories of baptisms, confirmations, first communions, missionary testimonies, and more. I will sometimes jest that very rarely, if ever, have I had someone come back from the battle and testify to what a great encounter they had with the only true and Triune God during the tithes and offering portion of the service.

When all is said and done, I desire for my students to see the hand of God working in their midst and to rejoice in what He is doing as He works through them to destroy evil in our lives and the world around us. When we head off to worship Christ our King, let us kick in the gates of Hell so that when we have overcome on that great Day, we can look back across the battlefield and raise our swords and glasses to the One who has overcome and trampled down death by death giving us His very life that we may conquer and live with Him!  

When all is said and done, I desire for my students to see the hand of God working in their midst and to rejoice in what He is doing as He works through them to destroy evil in our lives and the world around us.

Posted in Worship

How Should We Then Live - An Economist's Perspective

January 19, 2023
By Amy Boswell

We at Rockbridge intend to continue to use our economics course as one means to foment hope, right relationship with God, and to create a spark in our students that will drive them into conversations, courses, and careers that support not only Godly market relationships, but that also champion truth, beauty, and goodness in any environment.

The Rockbridge Academy economics course policies document states our overarching goal for learning for the year: “The market economy is a gift from God for orderly procedure in a fallen world. Your understanding of this truth and ability to contrast Biblical truth with economic fallacies will be essential to successful navigation of the course.” This statement is distilled from what we at Rockbridge Academy state as our purpose in teaching economics:  “The twelfth grade study of economics affords the student the opportunity to sharpen rhetorical skills by integrating a broad range of course formation from mathematics, Great Ideas, and history. The course cadence flows with the first trimester and a half devoted to in-depth study of economic theory and policy as well as training in discerning economic fallacy, both from historical context and relative to current events. The remainder of the course is devoted to history of economic thought, tracing the effects of cultural presuppositions on all aspects of economic behavior, starting with evidencing biblical economics and ending with the modern era of econometrics. The students’ rhetorical skills are honed through instilling the economic way of thinking  by reading primary sources, textbooks, and periodicals. 

At Rockbridge Academy, we have learned that economics, taught rightly and well in a Godly framework, can be life changing for our students. We make a concerted effort to undo the damage wrought by enculturating the subject of economics as the dismal science. This term was coined by Scottish essayist, historian, and anti-abolitionist Thomas Carlyle in the nineteenth century. Carlyle was influenced by TR Malthus' gloomy prediction that population would always grow faster than food, dooming mankind to unending poverty and hardship.

Clearly, neither Malthus nor Carlyle seems to have been rightly inspired by the Dominion Mandate as stated in Genesis 1:28: “God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’” Blessed with these commands, placed here in the earthly kingdom, how could we fail to call economics anything but the hopeful science? Here in Genesis 1:28 we see applied economics–how we should live.

Fast forward a couple of tumultuous millenia. We find ourselves faced with real upheaval. Upheaval aptly summarized in a July 2022 essay for World, penned by author Brad Littlejohn. The essay states, “No sooner had the long shadow of COVID-19 begun to recede into the rearview mirror than a new set of clouds gathered on our national horizon. Not since the Great Recession of 2008–2009 have Americans had so much cause to worry about the economy. Inflation has soared to levels not seen in more than four decades and shows no signs of slowing, with the conflict in Ukraine acting as an accelerant to a price spiral that was already threatening to get out of control…” That’s some dismal stuff there. Maybe the idea of economics as a dismal science is not far off the mark.

The author doesn’t stop here with this dismal tirade. He goes on to say, “Most depressingly of all, there now seems no way for policymakers to rein in inflation without making it harder for struggling Americans to borrow and for investors to protect their current savings, much less make a profit. For the time being, at least, most of us can expect to see our savings keep shrinking and our cost of living keep rising—and the worst part is that no one knows how long this season will last.” Yet the author sees something behind these storm clouds, and he invites us to use a hopeful lens to take another look: “…these clouds do have a silver lining. In the midst of an increasingly hostile culture, it can seem harder and harder to make our faith seem plausible and relevant, but the current economic gloom actually presents a powerful opportunity for Christian witness—if we can have the courage to capitalize on it.”

The author chose a key economic term–capitalize–to call Christians to action to be arbiters of hope in a world clouded with gloom. To capitalize means ‘to take the chance to gain advantage from.’  The essay implies that we have a chance to profit from these seemingly disastrous times. Not the type of profit that can be deposited in the bank, but the profit resulting from evangelizing the truth that sets us free to live in right relationship with our creator God. We at Rockbridge intend to continue to use our economics course as one means to foment hope, right relationship with God, and to create a spark in our students that will drive them into conversations, courses, and careers that support not only Godly market relationships, but that also champion truth, beauty, and goodness in any environment.

Littlejohn Brad, Money and Christian witness https://wng.org/opinions/money-and-christian-witness-1657278541

Amy Boswell has been working at Rockbridge Academy for nearly two decades, and she currently teaches Economics. She has four children who all attended Rockbridge Academy.

Posted in Upper School

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