By Dr. Ted Baehr, Founder/Publisher
From India to Africa to the Philippines to South America, there are many different conditions that contribute to the problem of poverty, but the one problem that is common to all these countries is the ownership question, because ownership guarantees freedom. The companies rightly complain, “Why should we invest if our plant, property or machinery may be taken away by the government?”
Karl Marx espoused the politics of envy and condemned private ownership, but the outright ownership of property is the basic building block of all economic success.
The Bible protects ownership with commandments like “Thou shalt not steal” and “Thou shalt not covet.” This protection is not to protect King Ahab or the government, but to protect little Naboth’s vineyard from Queen Jezebel’s greed. When Naboth can own and work his vineyard, he can prosper. If he is only temporarily residing on the vineyard, he will be deterred from investing his energy and resources. After all, if he makes too many improvements, the owner may take the vineyard away from him. Moreover, if Naboth is not naturally industrious and/or if he feels oppressed by the owner (whether the owner is the state or another party), he may just let the vineyard go to pot rather than expend any energy or resources on it.
This is the pattern in too many countries where the ultimate owner is the impersonal, transitory state that imposes undue legal and tax burdens on people’s private property, as well as constantly threatens to seize people’s property for its own nefarious, misguided purposes. Of course, the state is usually not as brazen as the wicked Queen Jezebel, but the effect on Naboth is just the same, and the ultimate effect on the economy is just the same.
Before any country can proceed toward the road of prosperity, it has to discover something that the late great Western Civilization discovered many years ago: that fee simple ownership of property gives the individual peace, security, the ability to pursue happiness, and the freedom to make the best of what he and his family owns. Of course, not every individual will take advantage of this freedom, but the incentive is there, an incentive that’s missing in all other systems.
At the famous Battle of Agincourt, the English yeomen under Henry V beat the overwhelming French forces that were at least ten times more numerous in part because the English were fighting for their property, not some abstract hierarchical scheme of big government.
Naturally, the importance of private property doesn’t only apply to third world nations. Regrettably, it now applies more and more to first world nations like England and the United States.
Already, some of my neighbors have lost their property to increasing taxes. One neighborhood family, who had lived on their property for generations, had their property devalued by zoning.
When your neighbors are losing their property to the state, you can see the handwriting on the wall. You begin to ask yourself, “Have we lost the clarity of vision of the Founding Fathers and the Ten Commandments? Have we been so consumed by the politics of envy that we are going to go the way of other socialist societies - sacrificing fee simple ownership and inalienable rights for mobocracy and statist oppression?”
The excellent book THE POVERTY OF NATIONS by Wayne Grudem and Barry Asmus (Crossway, 2013) offers one of the clearest, best-researched, and most comprehensive comparisons of economic systems. It explores what makes a country rich or poor and realizes the answer to that question is more than a measure of wealth or property.
Grudem effectively communicates the difference between teaching someone to fish versus giving them a fish, although he doesn’t use those simplistic terms. He supplies a tremendously detailed overview of economic systems including mercantilism, subsistence, feudalism, socialism, and communism – all supported by rock solid research.
THE POVERTY OF NATIONS shows that the free market system is, by and large, the best system to help a country flourish. Furthermore, it demonstrates how virtue and morality are essential to a free market.
In their article, “The only way for poor to escape from poverty” (published January 24, 2014FoxNews.com), Barry Asmus and Wayne Grudem note:
“The only way any nation has ever escaped from poverty is by gradually producing its own prosperity. Japan grew from being a poor agricultural economy in the early 1900s to the world’s second-largest economy in the late 20th Century by manufacturing cars, computers, TVs, cameras, steel, and ships.
“South Korea went from being one of the world’s poorest nations in the 1950s to the twelfth richest nation today by manufacturing products like TVs, cars, and microwaves.
“The only way any nation has ever escaped from poverty is by gradually producing its own prosperity. . . .
“No nation has ever escaped poverty by means of foreign aid. Foreign aid that is given through the governments of poor countries usually does more harm than good because it entrenches corrupt rulers in power, fattens their personal bank accounts, and foments civil wars over control of the big prize: access to the nation’s treasury and all the aid money.
“Forgiveness of a poor nation’s debts is not the answer either because it is just more foreign aid carried out by a two-step process (first the loan, then its cancellation). . . .
“Abundant natural resources are not the answer for poor nations today because many African and Latin American nations have immense resources but they remain poor, while nations such as Japan, Taiwan, and Singapore, all lack significant resources but have become wealthy by creating productive economies. They have produced their own prosperity.
“But the key question remains: What must a nation do to become more productive and move from poverty toward increasing prosperity? Because human actions have complex motivations, the answer is multi-faceted and includes multiple changes in three areas, changes that can only be implemented by heroic leaders in the poor countries themselves:
“1. The only economic system that will lead to national prosperity is a free market system with effective rule of law, not a welfare state or socialism or communism.
“In addition, to keep the market genuinely “free” (in other words, based on voluntary transactions), government must punish crimes like theft, fraud, selling defective goods, violation of contracts, and violence.
“2. A government that leads to prosperity is one in which leaders are not acclimated to systemic corruption but are committed to using their power for the benefit of the people as a whole. (3) At a deeper level, there must be good and wise cultural beliefs.
“We believe the Bible is the best source of such beliefs. To become truly productive, a society must share a widespread belief in not stealing, telling the truth, working productively and diligently, conducting business transactions so as to benefit both parties, using time wisely, and developing the earth’s resources with wisdom, not with superstition or fear.
“We do not believe that material prosperity is the most important issue in the world, for Jesus taught that love for God and love for neighbor are the two greatest commandments (Matthew 22:37-39). However, if we are talking about how to solve world poverty, the solution can only come through increased economic productivity within poor nations themselves.”
To produce prosperity, a nation’s economic system must honor: 1) a free-market economy; 2) fee simple ownership of private property; 3) a stable currency; 4) a limited government; and, 5) low tax rates.
To have a limited government, a nation needs to have a separation of powers, impartial justice, accountability, religious freedom, and a police/military that protects citizens against crime, foreign enemies, and a despotic government. Furthermore, a nation needs to respect the freedom to buy and sell goods, the freedom to work, the freedom of employers to hire workers of their choosing, and the freedom of workers to be rewarded for their labors. Finally, a nation must hold that individuals are responsible for their actions; that private ownership of property be respected; that marriage is between a man and a woman; that the natural resources are treated respectfully; that a higher value is placed on saving than on spending; and that society honors productivity and discourages sloth.
Of course, the rule of law presupposes a moral authority, derived from higher principles. Belief in God, rooted in the basic principles of the Bible and biblical tradition, has been the bulwark of guaranteeing our freedoms and rights. Even the king is under God and His law. This is, of course, the Christian teaching of the state. Making the king and his officials subject to God and God’s Law in the Bible is an essential part of any true and good society. It’s also the one that has made the West so successful, fair, free, and prosperous.
In those nations where the rulers are above the law, however, society becomes not so good. Under such government, corruption, bribery and graft are endemic, and the masses usually remain impoverished. On the other hand, in nations with a well-established rule of law, the rulers themselves are kept in check. Indeed, limited government is crucial here.
God is very much concerned about wealth and poverty, and wants us to help those who are trapped in deprivation, hardship, and poverty. On an international level, the principles enunciated and detailed in THE POVERTY OF NATIONS will help to achieve those ends, offering sustainable solutions to these perennial problems.
The graph following chart from THE POVERTY OF NATIONS (pages 320-321) shows the importance of values and prosperity:
|Religious background to culture of nations||
Per capita GDP
Only an informed electorate can stem the terrible tide of socialist, totalitarian tyranny. Thus, we must redeem the values of the educational institutions, churches, and mass media outlets who have become part of the destructive socialist juggernaut.
We also must become better ambassadors of the Good News of Jesus Christ. Following the Ten Commandments and protecting the private property rights ordained by God doesn’t mean we have to abandon the poor, the disabled, and low-income workers to debilitating poverty, but helping the poor, the disabled, and low-income workers does mean we mustn’t hand over our freedom, and our money, to misguided socialist bureaucrats led by phony limousine liberals, radical leftists, crypto-commie traitors, and confused marshmallow moderates.
The real solution to poverty is so simple – the Bible is the answer. The Word of God tells us that voluntary charity, vocational training, and private education by churches, businesses, families, individuals, and private groups working through the Holy Spirit can greatly reduce poverty, if not eliminate it. Let us go forth and be willing to preach and practice this divine message of hope in spirit and in truth, in boldness and in grace.
Photo: A scene from the Battle of Agincourt in the 1944 movie HENRY V starring Laurence Olivier.
By Dr. Ted Baehr, Publisher
The heartfelt opening prayer for the traditional readings for the worldwide church this Sunday following the Annual Faith & Values Awards Gala & Report to the Entertainment Industry is:
“Set us free, O God, from the bondage of our sins, and give us the liberty of that abundant life which you have made known to us in your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.”
What a poignant cry:
“Set us free, Oh God, from the bondage of too much work, grievous mistakes, selfish desires, intentional harm, and much more that traps us day after day.”
Isn’t this the prayer of most of us?
Don’t you want to be free?
Shockingly, the prayer continues, “Give us the liberty of that abundant life!”
Don’t you want the freedom of that abundant life? Who would dare ask for so much?
The Scripture readings for this particular Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014, tell us how we can achieve this freedom, because God wants to answer this prayer.
Isaiah 58:1-12 seems at first to set a different tone.
God calls Isaiah to confront the hypocrites who make a show of their worship and are outwardly religious, but in fact, they exploit people and are unjust, quarrelsome, and oppressive.
Even so, they expect God’s blessing and tell God how good they are. They resemble the so-called “Sunday Christians” of today. Let me illustrate:
When I came to know Jesus Christ, who set me free from a debauched life, I was living in New York City. I had grown up with a father starring in Broadway plays. My mother, a former beautiful Hollywood star, died when I was a young teenager, so I started looking for love in all the wrong places and indulging in a lifestyle of drugs, alcohol and license. After a wonderful older woman, who had come to know Jesus Christ at the 1957 Billy Graham Crusade in New York, asked me why I was so anti-Christian, I read the Bible to prove her wrong, but instead God freed me from self-destruction.
After studying theology at a seminary in New York, I was elected by the denomination to be the president of their radio and television division to help them produce THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE for CBS Television. That division was in Atlanta, Georgia, so I moved with my wife, Lili, and son, Peirce.
Of course, we needed a car in Atlanta, so I went to a major dealership near where we lived. The salesperson noted from my card that I was a minister and enthusiastically told me he was a Christian and where he went to church. He guaranteed that the used car he was showing me was in excellent condition.
The next day, as the sun’s heat beat down on the red Georgia clay, I discovered that the air conditioning in the car didn’t work. I brought the car back for return or repair and faced the wrath of this “good churchgoing” man.
The moral of the story and the heart of this passage of Isaiah is that God is never pleased when we observe the forms of worship and religion without a heart of love for Jesus and for others.
On the other hand, God tells Isaiah that if you love God and your neighbor, then God will bless you. More than that, you will be a light unto others, because you will be joyous, prosperous, and saved by God. You will bring your light, as manifested by your God-given faith, gifts, and the fruit of the Holy Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control) to help others. He will guard you and answer you. Best of all, He will turn your problems into prosperity.
At this point, the reading in Isaiah refers to the living water who is Jesus, nearly 700 years before Jesus Christ came to live among us. Isaiah says that the Living Water will heal, restore and revive you when you love Him and your neighbor as yourself.
Psalm 112:1-10 asks, What do you do to find happiness or to delight?
My grandfather sought happiness in money and was written up on the front page of the New York Times when he died because of his wealth. Even with all his wealth, happiness escaped him.
My father sought happiness in fame. As Bob “Tex” Allen (aka Ted Baehr), he was a famous Hollywood star who won the Box Office Award for the biggest box office in 1936, but now he’s largely forgotten.
Some of my close family members sought happiness in power, but, after illustrious careers, they grew old and were relegated to the sidelines.
I sought to delight in drugs and serial relationships, but discovered myself trapped in a self-destructive lifestyle.
When Jesus Christ set me free, I found real happiness. Life made sense. Peace reigned in my heart and mind.
Furthermore, the Psalmist says that our children will be mighty. In spite of my debauched past, my children Peirce, Jim, Robby, and Evy are blessed and a blessing to me and my wife, Lili.
The Psalm even promises that when we love God and our neighbor we will have wealth and righteousness, because we delight in God, not riches. He will light our way, and we will be generous and just, letting our light shine the way for others.
If our heart is right – if we trust in Jesus – then we will triumph and be blessed.
These promises are very difficult for me since my parents had been in many superstitious cultic movements. So, when my mother died, I rejected nominalistic, magical thinking. Yet, God’s promises came true at the Annual Faith & Values Awards Gala & Report to the Entertainment Industry, so we gave away lots of money prizes and gave a party that exemplified the lifestyle of Hollywood while proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ.
In 1 Corinthians 2:1-16, Paul, who was brilliant and well educated, says he simplified his message to be all about Jesus and Him crucified.
Why did Paul do that?
Because that is how Jesus set us free. Jesus paid the penalty that I owed for all the pain and suffering I had caused others. Jesus ransomed me with His blood from the penalty for my debauchery. Jesus redeemed me forever.
Jesus cared enough to give His most valuable life, the life to the Creator of everything, for my insignificant life and for your life.
Paul cared enough to tell the Good News, because, when we are inspired by God’s Holy Spirit, caring is the only daring.
Paul said that he proved the Good News of being set free not by words, but by the POWER of God.
However, Paul cautions that, without faith in Jesus, you will have no understanding and no power.
With faith in Jesus, we have the mind of Christ Jesus. We have the power of the Holy Spirit! We have the liberty of that abundant life!
In Matthew 5:13-20, Jesus says that we are salt; so, like salt that improves the taste and preserves, we make everything better and stop decay.
Do you want to make everything better and stop the decay?
Again, as Jesus has said throughout these readings, He says that we are the light, to light the way for others.
Jesus calls you and me not to legalism, but to the Spirit of the Lord in Jesus’ name, by loving God and by loving our neighbor.
Then, God will answer your prayer and set you free, and you will have the liberty of that abundant life.
Do you want that abundant life?
Then, pray to Jesus and let Him free you from whatever binds and entraps you and give you that abundant, Spirit filled life.
Pray to receive His Holy Spirit and His gifts: wisdom, knowledge, discernment, prophecy, tongues, interpretation, apostleship, teaching, evangelism, pastoral ministry, leadership, encouragement, faith, healing, miraculous powers, administration, service, giving, fruits, and mercy.
Affirm Jesus Christ’s call to you.
Join the great thanksgiving.
Live in the freedom of that abundant life.
By Fr. Michael Carl, Contributing Writer
Ask anyone who’s been to school and they’ll tell you the same thing: Teachers go over the same things again and again. Everyone in my generation remembers how our teachers in elementary school drilled us on the multiplication tables. 7X1=7, 7X2=14, 7X3=21, and forth.
As tedious as that process may seem, it’s incredibly effective. What is it? It’s repetition.
Well, the Bible uses that method also. In the Bible, when Jesus spoke to His disciples, He would often say something like ‘”Truly, truly, I say to you…”’
In the Greek New Testament, the word translated as ‘Truly’ is the word, ‘Amen.’ So Jesus was literally telling His disciples up front that what He was saying was true and deserved their attention.
In all the times Jesus uses “Truly,” He only says it twice.
So, what’s the point?
Throughout the Bible, the only time an adjective to describe God is repeated is the one that describes God’s character – Holy.
In Isaiah 6, the seraphim sing to one another saying, “‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts. . .”’
We don’t read in Scripture about God being, “Love, love, love,” or “Mercy, mercy, mercy.” However, in Isaiah, when the prophet got a look into the throne room of Heaven, he heard the seraphim chant, “Holy, holy, holy.”
This is the character of our God. He is supremely, perfectly, and unendingly holy. In fact, His holiness is the one that truly describes the ultimate nature of His character. His holiness defines who He is.
His holiness is so glorious and powerful, it radiates from Him and overwhelms anyone His holiness touches. So powerful, so amazing, so daunting, and so overwhelming is His holy glory that whenever anyone in Scripture encountered Him, they were awestruck. They were even afraid.
In Exodus 33, Moses asked to see God’s face. God told Moses “No,” because, “No one can see My face and live.”
God wasn’t being a spoilsport; God was actually protecting Moses.
So, God said to Moses in Exodus 33:22,23, ‘“Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.”’
Moses got that desired glimpse of God’s holiness, but when he came down from the mountain, his face so powerfully radiated God’s holy glory that the people were afraid to look at him. God is so gloriously holy that the “fallout,” if you will, of Moses seeing God’s back caused Moses’ face to glow.
Returning to Isaiah, Isaiah’s exposure to God’s holiness prompted him to fall to his face and admit that he was unworthy and unholy. That’s what happens when we encounter God’s holiness. We see who we really are and fall to our faces and weep because we realize how unholy we are.
Yet, after Isaiah’s encounter, the prophet was drawn to God. That’s another effect of coming into contact with God’s character. His holiness is also beautiful and we’re drawn to Him as a result. We know this because Isaiah was hanging around and drawn to God’s throne. In Isaiah 6.8, God asks whom He can send to deliver His word. Isaiah was close enough to the throne of God that He heard the question and volunteered, ‘”Here am I. Send me!”’
So where am I going with this?
At an encounter with God, the boldest men weep. The strongest men grow weak, and the most prideful of men admit they’re nothing. At an encounter with the holiness of God, people fall to their knees, or to their faces, and repent of their sinful ways and find new life in Christ – a refreshing of their souls and newness in their lives.
These encounters bring revival and a new Great Awakening.
At this moment in our nation history, this nation needs a fresh encounter with the holiness of God more than ever.
In the history of nations, whenever a revival has truly broken out, those nations changed for the better. England avoided another revolution. Wales was cleaned-up. And this nation saw improvements in its social ills and political corruption when revivals hit.
One way to see this wonderful change happen is for there to be a move of prayer. Every evening at 9 p.m., why don’t we ask God to send us a fresh touch of His holiness? If we would pray for at least five minutes at 9 p.m., and ask our friends to do the same, the Lord might just hear our heart cry and send a fresh encounter with His holiness.
That’s when our refreshing will begin.
Editor’s Note: Fr. Michael Carl is the priest and pastor at Christ the King Church, 4 Railroad Avenue, Suite 309 in Wakefield, www.ChristtheKingNorthShore.org. For more on revival, see www.awakenfest.org.
By Samuel L. Blumenfeld, Contributing Writer
Editor’s Note: Samuel L. Blumenfeld is one of the foremost experts on reading and writing in the United States. His books can be bought through the Paradigm Company at http://samuellblumenfeld.com.
Dyslexia is an exotic word, concocted from the Greek dys, meaning ill or bad, and lexia, meaning words. It was invented to describe a condition that affects many normal and intellectual youngsters who, for some reason that seems to baffle most educators, parents, and physicians, can’t learn to read.
The difference between a dyslexic and a functional illiterate is purely social. Dyslexics are usually adolescents from middle-class or professional families whose parents assume that their child’s reading difficulty is more of a medical or psychological problem than an educational one. The child is too smart to be that dumb.
The functional illiterate is simply someone who has kept his reading problem to himself and goes through life pretending he can read, avoiding situations which involve reading, choosing, jobs which do not reveal his reading disability. He assumes he’s dumb, not sick or mentally disturbed.
However, in the last 10 years, with the growth of federally funded Special Education and the proliferation of early testing, more and more children with reading difficulties are being labeled “learning disabled,” or LD, in the first grade or even kindergarten. These children are being “diagnosed” as suffering from minimal brain damage, minimal brain dysfunction, neurological impairment, perceptual impairment, attention deficit syndrome, or dyslexia.
What are the symptoms of dyslexia? THE ACADEMIC AMERICAN ENCYCLOPEDIA (Vol. 6, page 320) gives us as good a summary of the disease as we shall find anywhere. It says:
“Dyslexia refers to an impaired ability to read or comprehend what one reads, caused by congenital disability or acquired brain damage. Dyslexia is independent of any speech defect and ranges from a minor to a total inability to read.”
Specialists used the term specific dyslexia to refer to inability to read in a person of normal or high general intelligence whose learning is not impaired by socioeconomic deprivation, emotional disturbance, or brain damage. Psychologists disagree about whether specific dyslexia is a clearly identifiable syndrome. Those who think it is clearly identifiable note that it persists into adulthood despite conventional instruction; tends to run in families; and occurs more frequently in males. It is also associated with a specific kind of difficulty in identifying words and letters, which dyslexics tend to reverse or invert (reading p or q, for example, or on for no). Competing theories exist about the causes and nature of dyslexia.2
Although there is disagreement among “experts” over the causes of dyslexia, there is general agreement that the most effective “cure” is remedial programs that stress phonics.
Dr. Orton’s Findings
But it is somewhat puzzling that there should be so much disagreement over the cause of dyslexia, when, as early as 1929, a leading physician attributed its cause to a new look-say, whole word, or sight method of teaching reading that was being introduced in the schools of America. In February 1929, there appeared in the Journal of Educational Psychology an article entitled “The ‘Sight Reading’ Method of Teaching Reading as a Source of Reading Disability.” written by Dr. Samuel T. Orton, a neurologist at Iowa State University.
Dr. Orton, a brain specialist who dealt with children’s language disorders, had been seeing a lot of children with reading problems at his clinic. In diagnosing the children’s problems at his clinic, he came to the conclusion that their reading disability was being caused by this new instruction method. He decided to bring these findings to the attention of the educators, and he did so in as diplomatic a way as was possible. He wrote:
“I wish to emphasize at the beginning that the strictures which I have to offer here do not apply to the use of the sight method of teaching reading as a whole but only to its effects on a restricted group of children for whom, as I think we can show, this technique is not only not adapted but often proves an actual obstacle to reading progress, and moreover I believe that this group is one of considerable size and because here faulty teaching methods may not only prevent the acquisition of academic education by children of average capacity but may also give rise to far reaching damage to their emotional life.”
This warning to the educators was quite explicit: This method of teaching will harm a large number of children. D. Orton expected the educators to respond to his findings. They did – negatively. In fact, they accelerated the introduction and promoted of the new teaching methods throughout the primary schools of America. And it didn’t take very long before America began to have a reading problem.
The Disease Spreads
Although Dr. Orton went to become the world’s leading authority on “dyslexia,” and in effect created on of the most effective remediation techniques, the Orton-Gillingham method, his 1929 article is nowhere referred to in the literature on the subject.
I came across it quite by accident while doing research for my book, THE NEW ILLITERATES, which was published in 1973. But why the experts on dyslexia have not found it, I don’t know. In any case, dyslexia was virtually unknown in this country until the 1940s when, suddenly, millions of American children were coming down with the disease. Life magazine reported in April 1944:
“Millions of children in the U.S. suffer from dyslexia which is the medical term for reading difficulties. It is responsible for about 70% of the school failures in the 6- to 12-year-age-group, and handicaps about 15% of all grade-school children. Dyslexia may stem from a variety of physical ailments or combination of them – glandular imbalance, heart disease, eye or ear trouble – or form a deep-seated psychological disturbance that ‘blocks’ a child’s ability to learn.”
The article then described the treatment for dyslexia given a young girl at Chicago’s Dyslexia Institute on the campus of Northwest University: “thyroid treatments, removal of tonsils and adenoids, exercise to strengthen her eye muscles. Other patients needed dental work, nose, throat or ear treatment, or a thorough airing out of troublesome home situations that throw a sensitive child off the track of normality.”
Enter Dr. Flesch
In 1955, Dr. Rudolf Flesch published his famous book, WHY JOHNNY CAN’T READ, in which he revealed to parents the true cause of the reading problem. He wrote:
“The teaching of reading – all over the United States, in all schools, and in all textbooks – is totally wrong and flies in the face of all logic and common sense.” And then he explained how in the early 1930s the professors of education changed the way reading is taught in American schools. They threw out traditional alphabetic-phonics method, which is the proper way to teach a child to read an alphabetic writing system, and put in a new look-say, whole-word, or sight method that teaches children to read an alphabetic writing system, and they put in a new look-say, whole-word, or sight method that teaches children to read English as if it were Chinese, an ideographic writing system. Flesch contended that when you impose an ideographic teaching method on an alphabetic writing system you cause reading disability.
Dr. Orton had said as much in 1929, but in 1955 Flesch could cite millions of reading-disabled children as substantiation of what he was saying. Naturally, the educators rejected Flesch’s contentions. Most people, of course, don’t know the difference between an alphabetic system and an ideographic one. But one must know the difference in order to understand how and why look-say can cause dyslexia.
Ours is an alphabetic writing system, which means that we use an alphabet. What is an alphabet? It is a set of graphic symbols – we call them “letters” – that stand for the irreducible speech sounds of the language. In other words, alphabet letters are not meaningless configurations. They actually stand for something. Each letter represents a specific sound, and in some cases more than one sound. All alphabets are the same in that regard. The Russian, Greek, and Hebrew alphabets all stand for sounds of their respective languages, and the English alphabet stands for the sounds of the English language.
How does one teach a child or anyone else to read an alphabetic writing system? For hundreds of years it was done very simply in three steps. First, the child was taught to recognize the letters of the alphabet; second, the child was taught the sounds the letters stood for; and third, the child was then given words and sentences to read.
How was the child taught the letter sounds? Usually it was done in the simplest mechanical way possible. For example, the child was taught the consonant sounds and then drilled on the consonant-vowel combinations arranged in column form, such as ba, be, bi, bo, bu; da, de, di, do, du etc. the purpose of the drill was to enable the child to develop as quickly and easily as possible an automatic association between letter and sound. Developing that association is at the heart of learning to read an alphabetic writing system.
Pictographs and Ideographs
The first alphabet was invented about 2,000 B.C. Prior to that invention, the earliest form of writing we know of is pictograph – the pictures represented objects and actions. You didn’t have to go to school to learn to read pictographs, for the symbols looked like the things they represented.
However, as civilization became more complex, the scribes had to begin drawing pictures of things that did not lend themselves to easy depiction. For example, how would you draw pictures of such concepts as good, bad, dream, reality, persuasion, confidence, memory, intent, liberty, justice, etc? You can’t. So the scribes drew symbols, none of which looked like the concept they represented.
Thousands and thousands of such symbols – called idiographs – were created. And now you had to go to school and be taught what all these symbols meant. The result was that literacy was limited to a small class of scholars, scribes and priests. Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics is an ideographic writing system, and so is modern Chinese. The Chinese use 50,000 ideographs, of which 5,000 must be mastered if an individual is to be able to read a Chinese newspaper. Thus, ideographic writing is cumbersome, difficult, and time-consuming to master.
However, somewhere around 2,000 B.C. someone in the area of ancient Phoenicia (today’s southern Lebanon and northern Israel) made a remarkable discovery. He discovered that all the human language, everything we say, is actually composed of a small number of irreducible speech sounds arranged in endless combinations. It occurred to him that by creating a set of symbols to stand for the irreducible speech sounds of the language, he could create a new form of writing based on actual transcription of the spoken word. And so alphabetic writing was invented.
Advantages of the Alphabet
And now for the first time man had an accurate, precise means of transcribing the spoken word directly into written form, and an equally precise means of translating the written word back into its spoken form. It was the most revolutionary invention in all history. It did away with hieroglyphic and ideographic writing and accelerated the speed of intellectual development. It also made learning to read simple and available to the population as a whole.
The invention of the alphabet also had great spiritual significance for mankind. It permitted the word of God to be put down on paper accurately and precisely in the form of the Scripture. It made the word of God accessible to the human race. Clearly, alphabetic writing had enormous advantages over ideographs: It permitted greatly increased speed and accuracy in communications, it was easy to master, and it facilitated a tremendous expansion in vocabulary, permitting the human mind to develop ideas hitherto inconceivable.
In the light of all these advantages, it seems strange that professors of education in the 1930s would decide to teach American children to read English as if it were an ideographic writing system. How could you possibly teach children to read that way? To a logical mind the whole idea seems not only absurd but insane. Yet, that is what the professors did.
Their idea was that it was better for children to look at whole words as pictures and have them associate them directly with objects, actions and ideas rather than have them learn to associate the letters with sounds. And so they eliminated step two in the three-step alphabetic learning process and had the children go directly from step one to step three; sometimes they would even skipped step one and started out with whole words.
Essentially, the method works as follows: the child is given a sight vocabulary to memorize. He is taught to look and say the word without knowing that the letters stand for sounds. As far as the pupil is concerned, the letters are a bunch of arbitrary squiggles arranged in some arbitrary, haphazard order. His task is to see a picture in the configuration of the whole word – to make the word horse look like a horse.
Of course, the word horse does not look like a horse. So how does a child remember that the word is horse? Anyway he can. There isn’t a professor of education anywhere in the world who can tell you how a child learns a sight vocabulary.
The only research we know of that addresses that question was done by Josephine H. Bowden at the elementary school of the University of Chicago around 1912. A description of the studies was given by Prof. Walter F. Dearborn in 1914 as follows:
In the first study of pupils, who had had no instruction in reading, were taught by a word method without the use of phonics and the problem was to determine by what means children actually recognized and differentiated words when left to their own devices. The following quotation indicates the methods employed by the experimenter: “First, incidents; for example, one day when the child was given the cards to read from, it was observed that she read with equal ease whether the card was right side up or upside down. This incident suggested a test which was later given. Second, comments of the child; for example, when she was asked to find in context the word ‘shoes,’ she said that ‘dress’ looked so much like ‘shoes’ that she was afraid she would make a mistake. Third, questioning; for example, she had trouble to distinguish between ‘sing’ and ‘song.’ When she had mastered the words she was asked how she knew which was which.
“Her reply was, ‘by the looks.’ When questioned further she put her finger on the ‘i’ and the ‘o.’ These three types of evidence correspond to introspection with an adult. The fourth type of evidence is comparison of the words learned with the words not learned as to the parts of speech, geometric form, internal form, and length. Fifth, misreadings; for example, ‘dogs’ was read ‘twigs,’ and ‘feathers,’ ‘fur.’ Sixth, mutilations; for example ‘dogs’ was printed ‘digs,’ lilac’ was printed ‘lalci.’” Some of the conclusions may be cited, first as regards the kinds of words most easily learned on the basis of the word form. Four out of six children learned more ‘linear’ words, i.e., words like “acorns,” “saw,” in which there were no high letters, than of any other group. In but one case were the “superlinear” words more easily recognized Misreadings or the mistaking of one word for another occurred most frequently in these early stages, first when the words were of the same length (which again controverts Messmer’s findings); secondly, when words had common letters, the “g” and “o” of “igloo” caused it to be read as “dogs”; thirdly, when the initial letters of words were the same; and fourthly, when the final letters were the same. Words were recognized upside down nearly as easily as right side up, but [only] two children noticing any difference. The word seems to be recognized as a whole, and as the author notes, recognized upside down just as the child would recognize a toy upside down. The general conclusion of the study may be quoted:
“The comments and the questions, as well as misreadings, seem to show that children learn to read words by the trial and error method. It may be the length of the word, the initial letter, the final letter, a characteristic letter, the position of the word in the sentence, or even the blackness of the type that serves as the cue. . . . There is no evidence that the child works out a system by which he learns to recognize words. That he does not work out phonics for himself comes out quite clearly in the transposition test. Furthermore, only once did a child divide a word even into its syllables. There is some evidence that the child is conscious of letters, though there is none that he analyzes the word letter by letter, except in the case of “E,” who so analyzed the word “six.” Sometimes, when the child seems to have made a letter analysis, he failed to recognize the word a second time, and in some cases did not learn it at all.”
And so it was obvious to the professors as far back as 1914 that the sight method was a totally horrendous, inefficient and illogical way to teach a child to read. And despite Dr. Orton’s warning in 1929 that the method would harm many children, they proceeded to put their new reading programs in all the schools of America.
Of course, they beefed up their sight vocabulary approach with a battery of “word recognition strategies.” They provided configuration clues – putting sight words in frames; picture clues – loading the page with illustrations depicting the words; context clues – inane stories in which the word could be easily guessed on the basis of context; and phonetic clues – teaching initial and final consonant sounds to reduce some ridiculousness of some of the guessing. It is important to note that teaching phonetic clues is not the same as teaching intensive, systematic phonics. The latter helps the child develop an automatic association of letters and sounds and teaches blending. The former simply teaches isolated consonant sounds with no connection to the rest of the syllable.
That this method of teaching can cause symptoms of dyslexia is not difficult to surmise. What are the symptoms? Dr. Harold N. Levinson, founder of the Medical Dyslexic Treatment Center in Lake Success, New York, and author of Smart But Feeling Dumb which he dedicated to “40 million dyslexic Americans,” lists the symptoms as follows: (1) memory instability for letters, words, or numbers; (2) a tendency to skip over or scramble letters, words, and sentences; (3) poor, slow, fatiguing reading ability prone to compensatory head tilting, near-far focusing, and finger pointing; (4) reversal of letters such as b, d, words such as saw and was, and numbers such as 6 and 9 or 16 and 61.
Most of these symptoms sound like the very mistakes made by those children back in 1912 who were trying to learn a sight vocabulary. Some of those children even read words upside down!
But it is obvious that if you are told to look at words as a picture, you may look at it from right to left as easily as from left to right. You will reverse letters because they look alike, and you have not been drilled to know them by sound as well as by sight. You will be a poor speller because the sequence of letters seems completely arbitrary, with no rime or reason. Of course, to a phonetic reader the sequence of letters is most important because it follows the same sequence in which the sounds are uttered.
Other symptoms include transposing letters in a word, for example, abroad for aboard, left for felt, how for who; confusing words with others of similar configuration, such as, through, though, thought, or quit, quite, quiet, guessing at unknown words.
Dr. Kenneth L. Goodman, America’s top professor of reading, calls reading a “psycholinguistic guessing game.” And that’s exactly what it is for most American children in today’s primary schools. The result is an explosion in Special Education, which has become the growth industry for educators so worried about falling enrollment. The primary schools create the learning disabilities, and the federal government is funding a new industry to deal with them. In the 1976-77 school year there were 976,000 learning disabled students in Special Education.
In 1983-84 there were 1,806,000. Dyslexia is booming!
Obviously, the prevalent teaching method causes dyslexia. I have visited many American cities on my lecture tours and have seen for myself the look-say basal reading programs being used in today’s primary classrooms all across the country. You can imagine my feelings when I know that the minds of millions of American children are being permanently crippled, their futures handicapped, their self esteem destroyed by educators who should have known better. This criminal malpractice is going on right now in your community. And yet there is little one can do about it. The professors of education won’t listen – after all, they write the textbooks. The book publishers publish what the educators want and what the textbooks committees adopt. The classroom teachers, as a whole, know no other way to teach; the professional organizations promote look-say; the principals, administrators, and superintendents leave the teaching of reading to the “experts.”
Circumventing the System
But there is some hope. There are a growing number of private and church schools that are teaching children to read by alphabetic, systematic, intensive phonics. Also, the home-school movement has largely adopted phonics as the technique to teach reading. And here and there one finds a teacher in public schools who uses an alphabetic-phonics approach or even a school district that has adopted a phonics-oriented basal.
However, for the nation as a whole, there is little hope that the vast majority of schools will change their teaching methods in the foreseeable future – unless a group of well informed top business leaders make the teaching of reading a top priority issue and force the educators to change their ways. But considering how poorly informed our business leaders are and how difficult it is to reach them, let alone brief them on this rather complex subject, there is little likelihood that they will act effectively on behalf of the children entrapped in the public schools. (The quotation from Dr. Dearborn is from The Psychological Researches of James McKeen Cattell: A Review by Some of His Pupils, Archives of Psychology, No. 30, 1914, pp. 40-41.)
Note from Internet Publisher Donald L. Potter, March 24, 2009
“It gives me great pleasure to publish another essay by Dr. Samuel Blumenfeld. I have known Sam since about 1993 when I began teaching his highly effective phonics-first program, Alpha-Phonics. Sam not only writes on the causes of dyslexia, but he has published the leading phonics method that has prevented countless children from developing artificially induced whole-word dyslexia. Sam’s smaller book, HOW TO TUTOR, is a compact source of all the information a parent needs to teach phonics, handwriting, and basic arithmetic. His earlier book, THE NEW ILLITERATES, was a brilliant, detailed analysis of the look-and-say method of teaching ‘reading.’ By carefully examining the teacher’s manuals, Mr. Blumenfeld was able to infer the logical outcome of the method. Basically when you teach a sound-associational system with a sight-associational method, you get associational confusion, known as artificially induced whole-word dyslexia. Or, as Blumenfeld explained it, “When you impose an ideographic teaching method on an alphabetic writing system you cause reading disability.”
“The article by Dr. Orton mentioned in Mr. Blumenfeld article is available on my website, www.donpotter.net. The late Mr. Charlie Richardson of Long Island, NY sent me a copy. For your convenience, I am including a copy in reduced print at the end of this article. The article Sam mentioned by Josephine H. Bowden is available on my web site. My friend, Paul Luwaski, sent me a copy in April 2005, Bowden, Josephine Horton. “Learning to Read.” The Elementary Teacher. University of Chicago Press, September 1911, pp. 21-23.
“I especially recommend articles by Helen Lowe and Raymond Laurita on my web site. Lowe recorded over 10,000 reading errors that she neatly classified into logical categories, demonstrating clearly that the source of the errors was the sight-word teaching method. Mr. Laurita also kept records of errors and noticed how they grew out of the sight vocabulary method.
“For more information on the history and psychology of the sight-word vocabulary method of teaching reading, I recommend the books and essays by Miss Geraldine Rodgers.
“Blumenfeld’s Alpha-Phonics is currently available from www.chalcedon.edu. It is the finest intensive phonics program available anywhere at any price.”
Source: Movieguide® and www.ebizmba.com, January 2014.
Conservatives may dominate talk radio, but the statistics on the Top 10 Political Websites show a more mixed result, with the radical leftist site The Huffington Post dominating the market share of online traffic with a commanding 54 million unique visitors per month.
Following The Huffington Post is the Drudge Report with 23 million unique visitors, Glenn Beck’s The Blaze with 21.1 million, The Politico with 10 million, NewsMax with 9 million, the Christian Science Monitor with 8 million, the Washington Times with 7.9 million, and WorldNetDaily, the conservative website, with 7.35 million unique visitors.
UNIQUE MONTHLY VISITORS
|The Huffington Post||
|Christian Science Monitor||
|World Net Daily||
|The Daily Caller||
Dependence on government is at an all-time high in the United States, according to statistics from various sources.
The percentage of Americans on food stamps is approaching 15%, or 47.3 million people. Also, half of Americans, 47% or 148 million people, depend at least partly on government handouts for their living expenses, which is paid for by the other half of Americans who pay income taxes (more than 49% of Americans don’t pay any income taxes, compared to 34.1% in 2000, 12% in 1970, and 23.7% in 1962).
At the federal level, in fact, there are 12 programs providing food aid, 10 housing assistance programs, 10 programs funding social services, nine educational assistance programs, eight programs providing cash assistance, eight vocational training programs, seven medical assistance programs, and three energy and utility assistance programs.
More than 70% of federal spending goes to cover dependence programs.
Furthermore, Medicaid costs increased nearly 8.8% to $273 billion annually from 2009 to 2010 alone, according to the Office of Management and Budget.
Finally, as of 2010, 91 million Americans were government employees or participants in aid programs.
“Last year, 41% of all babies born in the U.S. (including 53% of babies born to women under 30) were illegitimate, growing up without their own fathers,” writes Phyllis Schlafly, president and founder of Eagle Forum.
“The problem of marriage absence is now costing the taxpayers even more than national defense,” she added. “Politicians who say we can ignore social issues, or avoid talking about them, are really saying that they have no plan to cut federal spending and the growing national debt.
“Welfare spending is a failure; it doesn’t advance us toward any constructive goal, such as helping recipients to get on their feet economically. It merely increases dependence on government handouts and increases votes for big-spending politicians.”
- Sources: The Heritage Foundation and Eagle Forum, March 2012.
A study has found that children of same-sex couples are more likely to be raped, consider suicide, suffer mental problems, engage in premarital sex, and be unemployed, according to a University of Texas study of 3,000 young adult children of homosexual parents, published by the journal Social Science Research.
The New Family Structures Study found that 5% of those with married heterosexual parents had considered suicide compared to 12% of adult children with lesbian parents and 24% with homosexual fathers.
Also, just 8% of those with married parents had ever been forced to have sexual relations against their will, compared to 31% with lesbian mothers and 25% of homosexual fathers.
In addition, the study found that only 8% of young adult children with married heterosexual parents were in therapy compared to 19% of children with lesbian or male homosexual parents. Three times as many young adults of lesbian parents than married heterosexual parents were currently living together, 24% compared to 9%.
Finally, young adult children of lesbian parents were four times more likely to be on welfare and three and one-half times more likely to be unemployed.
- Source: Mike McManus, Marriage Savers, 06/13/12.
By Dr. Tom Snyder, Editor
As President Obama gives yet another speech defending his tyrannical takeover of America’s healthcare system, news reports now say that “income inequality” will be a big part of his and his party’s campaign for the 2014 Congressional elections.
President Obama and Democrat leaders are bringing out the same tired old mantra about an alleged income gap between the Top 1% and the Bottom 20% in society.
Obama and his party’s leaders get all this liberal, crypto-commie claptrap from leftist extremists like Robert Reich, President Clinton’s former Secretary of Labor.
Movieguide® (www.movieguide.org) recently reviewed a documentary (INEQUALITY FOR ALL) produced by Reich and his friends at the Weinstein Company, who are huge supporters of the Democrat Party, including huge supporters of Mr. Obama.
INEQUALITY FOR ALL is a one-sided, simplistic documentary featuring Reich. The movie basically offers Reich’s Neo-Marxist, socialist attack on the free market and conservative solutions to economic downturns and the current economic malaise. It offers none of the counter arguments and facts against Reich’s position, so it’s not a real “documentary.” Instead, it’s really just deceitful propaganda. Other than higher taxes, stronger labor unions, more money for education programs that haven’t worked, and more welfare, the movie points to a website for ways to support and enact these general solutions. The website also wants to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour(!!!), which will just raise prices and increase unemployment.
Reich’s mantra throughout INEQUALITY FOR ALL is to stand up for those he feels are being “economically bullied” in the U.S. economy, the poor, the middle class, and workers. He purports that a strong middle class keeps an economy stable, which is true enough. But he wonders why, then, does there seem to be a growing disparity between the average worker’s income and that of the Top 1%? Reich also points to a statistic showing that the average money income level adjusted for inflation has remained flat since the late 1970s while that of the Top 1% has skyrocketed.
During INEQUALITY FOR ALL, Reich asks three questions: 1) What is happening with the distribution of wealth in America? 2) Why? 3) Is it important? As he begins to answer these questions, various people are interviewed who are either in the middle class, unemployed, or in the Top 1% of the wealthiest people in America. He claims that many middle class families are struggling – even those in two-income households. Over the years, he claims, the middle class has tried to cope with this income stagnation by 1) women going to work; 2) men and women working more than one job and/or longer hours; and, 3) borrowing more, going into higher debt, and taking equity out of their homes.
The production quality in INEQUALITY FOR ALL is good. However, the filmmakers don’t interview even one expert who disagrees with Reich and can support their position with logical arguments and other facts. Two of the best in that arena, of course, are two top black economists, Thomas Sowell, author of ECONOMIC FACTS AND FALLACIES (Basic Books, 2011) and BASIC ECONOMICS (Basic Books, 2010), and Walter E. Williams, author of MORE LIBERTY MEANS LESS GOVERNMENT (Hoover Institution Press, 1999) and RACE AND ECONOMICS (Hoover Institution Press, 2011).
Sowell points out in ECONOMIC FACTS AND FALLACIES that people who make up the Top 1% changes from year to year as people move in and out of that bracket. The same thing goes for the Lowest 20% that Reich mentions, Sowell notes. For example, he says, between 1996 and 2005, more than half of the people in the bottom 20% had left the Bottom 20% (page 140). Sowell also points out that, while money income adjusted for inflation rose only 6% from 1969 to 1996, the average real income per person rose by 51%? How can this be, he asks? Because the average number of people per household has declined over the years! In fact, higher real incomes allow people to live on their own, away from relatives. There also has been, of course, a decline in the birth rate. Americans are simply having fewer children. Sowell adds that all of these income statistics leave out the amount of money, subsidies, loans, etc., people receive from their state government and from the federal government. They also tend to leave out health insurance and retirement benefits people receive. Finally, Sowell notes that, if you set aside executive salaries in the financial sector, which tend to be among the highest because they’re based on stock performance, executive salaries aren’t as high as Democrats like Barack Obama and Robert Reich say. He also notes that none of these politicians, or their radical liberal friends in Hollywood and in professional sports complain about high salaries for Hollywood stars and studio/network executives or football, baseball, and basketball superstars (see Chapter 5 of Sowell’s book, on the myth of income inequality, including high executive salaries).
In an article published in the Deseret News on Nov. 9, 2011, “Raising corporate taxes ends up hurting the workers most of all,” economist Walter Williams specifically addresses Robert Reich’s opposition to reducing America’s high corporate tax rate, which is giving an unfair advantage to our competitors in other countries with lower corporate tax rates. Williams rightly notes that high corporate tax rates are not only passed along to consumers. They are also passed along to shareholders in the form of lower dividends, and many of these shareholders are actually retired people over age 65. Higher corporate taxes also depress worker wages, Williams notes, adding, “A number of economic studies, including that of the Congressional Budget Office, show that workers bear anywhere from 45 to 75 percent of the corporate tax burden.” You can read Williams’ argument against Robert Reich’s defense of high taxes on the rich, including capital gains taxes and corporate taxes, at www.deseretnews.com/article/700196001/Raising-corporate-taxes-ends-up-hurting-the-workers-most-of-all.html?pg=all. See also “Robert Reich’s War on Global Capital” by Jon N. Hall at American Thinker at www.americanthinker.com/2013/06/robert_reichs_war_on_global_capital.html.
One-sided, deceitful leftist documentaries like INEQUALITY FOR ALL and leftist liars like Robert Reich are extremely dangerous. They mislead many, many people. The social policies of socialist lefties like Reich have created poverty and destroyed societies, even to the point of mass murder. Contrary to what Reich says, tax cuts have been a great benefit to millions of Americans, in the 1920s, the 1960s, the 1980s, the 1990s, and the first decade of the 21st century. They actually created more jobs, higher salaries, better benefits, and much prosperity.
If you don’t believe me, look at the unemployment figures following the 1990s tax cuts pushed through by Republican Newt Gingrich and the tax cuts under President George W. Bush in the previous decade. Unemployment went to 4.4% in 1998 and even 3.8% in April 2000. Under Bush and the Republican Congress after 9/11, unemployment went down to 4.4% in December 2006 before the Democrats took over Congress with the super-majority that passed Obamacare (http://portalseven.com/employment/unemployment_rate.jsp?fromYear=1980&toYear=2013). In the wake of Obamacare, unemployment has wavered between the current 6.7% to 10% in October 2009. Furthermore, despite the decreasing unemoployment rate, the Guardian newspaper in England reported on Jan. 10 (http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/jan/10/us-economy-adds-74000-jobs-december) that the number of Americans looking for work is at its lowest level since the 1970s. You do the math!
Also, regarding education, the federal government has spent billions more on education in the last 10 years, but test scores have remained flat (see www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/03/us-test-scores_n_4374075.html). In fact, as author and professional pundit Dennis Prager recently noted, if you get a high school diploma, get a job, get married, have children, and go regularly to church or synagogue, your chances of leaving the Bottom 20% and becoming part of the middle class skyrockets enormously. I would add that hard work helps too. As Proverbs 10:4 says, “Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth.” Or, consider Proverbs 14:23, which says, “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” And, education is useless if it’s not accompanied by God’s wisdom and a heart that’s Born Again.
Thus, it’s not the free market that causes poverty, much less some kind of alleged “income inequality.” No. The free market actually creates jobs, creates prosperity, and helps people get out of poverty. It also created the American economic engine that won two world wars and ended the Soviet Union’s socialist oppression of Eastern Europe. It also created such economic powerhouses as Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
In contrast to all that, President Roosevelt’s socialist government programs extended the Great Depression in the 1930s and President Johnson’s Great Society in the 1960s halted the decline of America’s poverty rate. And, President Obama’s spending increases and convoluted healthcare law have extended the current economic malaise.
As Dennis Prager pointed out, it’s not the free market that creates poverty, halts prosperity, or stops people from leaving the Bottom 20%. It’s bad values!
Parents need to know what kind of people teach their children and teenagers in the public schools and at college. Sadly, Robert Reich now teaches at the University of California at Berkley. Even more sadly, Barack Obama is going to be president until January 2017.
Of course, parents also need to be aware of what movies their children watch, whether in the classroom, at the movie theater, or on home video. Only Movieguide® (www.movieguide.org) has the kind of information on which parents and their children can rely.
The mass media creates the culture that shapes and controls society. So, please join Movieguide®’s crusade to change the entertainment industry, fight bad movies like INEQUALITY FOR ALL with good movies, and transform the culture with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, including its defense of private property mixed with private charity, hard work, personal responsibility, and family values.
Can Pictures of Aborted Children Help End Abortion?
By Ben Johnson, Contributing Writer
Not really, but we’ll talk about them.
Abortionists perpetrate unspeakable crimes against unborn children, but some believe it is those who display pictures of their handiwork who are the real extremists. At times, even those in the pro-life movement have accused those who use “graphic images” of “extremism.” <http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/21/us/anti-abortion-forces-second-guess-tactics-after-ballot-defeat-in-albuquerque.html?ref=todayspaper&> Do such images help or hurt the cause?
I confess, I have struggled with the role such images play in the pro-life movement. Despite the deep emotional impact such images had on me the first time I saw them as a young man, the other side characterized them as violence pornography <http://www.unmaskingchoice.ca/faq/aren%E2%80%99t-graphic-abortion-images-pornography-isnt-considered-obscenity>, and I feared widespread use might scare children or desensitize viewers to the horror of abortion.
But none of this gets at the heart of the question: Is this tactic effective?
Since scientific polling data are hard to come by – a fact that should be changed – we can ask ourselves what history tells us about the usefulness of “graphic images.” Heartbreaking images of dead children compelled two national figures to speak out on the issue – and, at least once, directly led the president of the United States to change international policy.
One of those figures was Martin Luther King, Jr. <http://therightswriter.com/2009/10/mlk-was-no-conservative/> . According <http://books.google.com/books?id=HecWJnClV3wC&dq=Martin+luther+king+vietnam+1965]&printsec=frontcover&source=in&hl=en&ei=L7zWSoWiLZKMMuCOgN0I&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=14&ved=0CCsQ6AEwDQ#v=onepage&q=r> to numerous <http://books.google.com/books?id=Q_71R9mdYTgC&lpg=PA179&dq=#v=onepage&q=> biographers <http://books.google.com/books?id=FnFT9JpG8VsC&pg=PA258&dq=martin+luther+king+vietnam+1965&client=firefox-a#v=snippet&q=ramparts&f=false>, King decided to more stridently oppose the war in Vietnam after seeing a photo essay <http://books.google.com/books?id=gM2WRhLGPyIC&pg=PA72&dq=martin+luther+king+vietnam+ramparts&client=firefox-a#v=onepage&q=martin luther king vietnam ramparts&f=false> of Vietnamese children bombed by napalm. It was entitled “The Children of Vietnam” <http://nla.gov.au/nla.cat-vn2540986> and published in the January 1967 issue of Ramparts, the New Left periodical edited by Robert Scheer <http://www.truthdig.com/staff/robert_scheer> and, later, my old co-author (and neoconservative) David Horowitz.
King read the issue while dining in the Miami airport. King’s aide, Bernard Lee, wrote:
When he came to Ramparts magazine he stopped. He froze as he looked at the pictures from Vietnam. He saw a picture of a Vietnamese mother holding baby, a baby killed by our military. Then Martin just pushed the plate of food away from him. I looked up and said, “Doesn’t it taste any good?” and he answered, “Nothing will ever taste any good for me until I do everything I can to end that war.”. . . That’s when the decision was made. Martin had known about the war before then, of course, and had spoken out against it. But it was then that he decided to commit himself to oppose it.
MLK later told <http://books.google.com/books?id=5jf6K9MMcSUC&pg=PP7&dq=ramparts+magazine+editors&hl=en&sa=X&ei=ul6BUojcB5H54AO-qIGYCA&ved=0CD4Q6AEwAw#v=snippet&q="children of vietnam"&f=false> a meeting of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1967, “I picked up an article entitled ‘The Children of Vietnam,’ and I read it, and after reading that article I said to myself, ‘Never again will I be silent on an issue that is destroying the soul of our nation and destroying thousands and thousands of little children in Vietnam.’”
King did not live to see the end of the Vietnam War but his opposition, couched in moral terms, was influential.
Others whose consciences were pricked by images of suffering were able to have a direct outcome on policy.
Fifteen years later Ronald Reagan’s deputy chief of staff, Michael Deaver, attended a series of National Security Council meetings about the Lebanese civil war. In an effort to drive the PLO out of Lebanon, Israel lay siege to Beirut, and the bombing took a heavy civilian toll on women and children.
“For the past week, I had seen pictures of the bodies piling up in Lebanon, and now my mind couldn’t escape those images of the carnage,” Deaver wrote in his memoir.
He confronted President Reagan in the Oval Office, threatening to resign if the Gipper didn’t take action to stop the killing. “I can’t be part of this anymore – the bombings, the killing of children,” Deaver told <http://books.google.com/books?id=d9DOoB33ENsC&printsec=frontcover&dq=michael+deaver+drummer+reagan&hl=en&sa=X&ei=-7ZgUtC3I6614AOGt4D4Ag&ved=0CC0Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=beirut OR lebanon&f=false> the president. “You’re the one person who can stop it,” he said. “All you have to do is tell [Israeli Prime Minister Menachem] Begin you want it stopped.”
Reagan immediately telephoned Begin in Tel Aviv.
“Menachem, this is a Holocaust,” Reagan said. Begin objected and cajoled, but Reagan insisted that the bombings stop. Ultimately, Begin ordered Defense Minister (and future prime minister) Ariel Sharon to end the attacks <http://books.google.com/books?id=C1kvsToagGEC&pg=PA124&dq=#v=onepage&q=> – and then reduced Sharon’s authority in the cabinet <http://books.google.com/books?id=K0LJu7wr1IEC&pg=PA4&dq=#v=onepage&q=> for having ordered them.
Showing the victims of injustice shows its full brutality and inspires public backlash, while tyrants conceal grave crimes. The American people have a deep-seated revulsion of the Nazi Holocaust in part because its atrocities have been exposed in textbooks and covered by an increasing number of heart-tugging films every decade.
But Hollywood – where Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, and Hugo Chavez are considered modern-day heroes – has produced not one big budget film on the Holodomor <http://www.euronews.com/2013/11/22/ukraine-s-enduring-holodomor-horror-when-millions-starved-in-the-1930s/>, the Soviet campaign of genocide and forced starvation carried out against Ukraine’s Orthodox Christians. It claimed the lives of 7 to 10 million <http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/holodomor-statue-unveiled-for-saskatchewan-legislature-1.2427280>. The same is true of Mao’s Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution (Mao claimed 45-60 million victims <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2017839/Madman-starved-60-million-death-Devastating-book-reveals-Maos-megalomania-turned-China-madhouse.html> ) and the Spanish Red Terror (perhaps 50,000 in one summer, including 6,832 Catholic clergy and religious <http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/261121?uid=3739864&uid=2&uid=4&uid=3739256&sid=21102929605347>). Only one film has been produced about the Khmer Rouge’s attempt to return Cambodia to the Year Zero (at the cost of 1.7 million deaths <http://therightswriter.com/2010/11/anti-american-globalists-defend-u-s-at-the-un/>, nearly one-quarter of the population), THE KILLING FIELDS. The Armenian genocide <http://therightswriter.com/2011/04/will-obama-betray-armenian-christians-on-easter-sunday/>, in which Muslims killed 75 percent of the nation’s Christians, has been the subject of one film, ARARAT.
Hollywood studios and America’s academic institutions may as well be run by historical revisionists who believe these atrocities never occurred. Thanks to their silence, the average American hardly knows these events transpired.
Concealing the suffering of these victims consigns their plight – and the evil of its perpetrators – to the memory hole. The same holds true for abortion victims.
Yes, viewing these images can be hard, both on the passerby and the committed activist. This, too, is true of other graphic images. “King wasn’t the only one moved by [Ramparts' “Children of Vietnam”] piece,” one chronicler of the Sixties wrote <http://books.google.com/books?id=5jf6K9MMcSUC&pg=PP7&dq=ramparts+magazine+editors&hl=en&sa=X&ei=ul6BUojcB5H54AO-qIGYCA&ved=0CD4Q6AEwAw#v=snippet&q="children of vietnam"&f=false>. “Many staff members were in tears while working on the spread, and it gave art director Dugald Stermer nightmares. He later said it was ‘just about the nastiest job I’ve ever had.’”
Pro-life activists may need to limit their exposure to such images. No less a pro-life leader than Randy Alcorn has written <http://oregonfaithreport.com/2013/11/are-graphic-anti-abortion-ads-appropriate/>, “To be honest, I sometimes look away now, because I don’t need any more convincing. I know for sure that this is the killing of the unborn.”
“But even as I say that, it’s healthy for me sometimes to look because it is good to be disturbed again,” he added.
In truth, abortion images have the power to profoundly disturb their viewers for the same reason other graphic images do: They are supposed to. The mistreatment of another living human being should scream at our sense of humanity until we are spurred to stop it.
Are such images effective? Until a more conclusive report is available, I’ll say yes.
Why? Because everyone has a conscience, and everyone has influence.
Some, like King, can shape how the masses think about a topic while others, like Deaver, can spur the most powerful man in the world to end the wanton killing of children. If only Valerie Jarrett <http://therightswriter.com/2009/09/valerie-jarrett-the-next-van-jones/> were shocked by the Douglas Karpen photos. If only Obama were committed to protecting babies – even babies born alive – instead of bragging that he is (and I quote) “really good at killing people.” <http://www.jillstanek.com/2013/11/obama-im-really-good-at-killing-people/>
Apparently Kermit Gosnell’s actions, or the thought of a child struggling for life on the table after a botched abortion resulted in a live birth, cannot move our current president. But they can and have moved an unknown number of Americans to demand greater protections for the unborn. They demanded individuals use their influence to attain what their conscience tells them is right: that all unborn children are human beings endowed by their Creator with the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
When conscience sets influence to work on behalf of righteousness, justice prevails.
1. Monica Migliorino Miller has written a well thought out apologia for the use of such images in the September issue of New Oxford Review, which I would commend to anyone.
2. The piece, written by William Pepper, grossly overstated the number of Vietnamese child casualties <http://books.google.com/books?id=gM2WRhLGPyIC&pg=PA72&dq=martin+luther+king+vietnam+ramparts&client=firefox-a#v=onepage&>. It claimed U.S. soldiers had wounded or killed one million Vietnamese children by that time. Most experts place the number at perhaps half that much.
3. Recorded in David Garrow, Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Council (New York: Harper Collins, 1985), 543.
4. Deaver, A Different Drummer, pp. 101-2.
5. Two if you count two brief scenes sandwiched between repulsive, self-indulgent monologues in Spalding Gray’s Swimming to Cambodia.
6. Despite decades of viewing abortion victim photos, and having a pretty rugged constitution, the pictures of Doug Karpen’s victims forced me to stop and weep.
Editor’s Note: This article is republished from The Right’s Writer, http://therightswriter.com. The Right’s Writer is an online archive of articles by Ben Johnson, conservative journalist, editorial writer, media guest, and frequent Media Matters target. Ben is U.S. Bureau Chief of LifeSiteNews LifeSiteNews.com and guest host of Nthing But Truth with Crane Durham on AFR Talk. His writings have appeared in The (UK) Guardian, Human Events, and have been cited by CBS News, “The Rush Limbaugh Program,” Sean Hannity, Michelle Malkin, and many others. His insight and quick turn-of-phrase have landed him regular appearances on The Michael Savage Show, The G. Gordon Liddy Show, The Michael Reagan Show, The Alan Colmes Show, and a host of programs across the nation.
An Example of Excellence
Dr. David Livingstone is an example of excellence. His life, legacy and literature continue to speak to us today. The challenge of David Livingstone is most relevant to our times.
If Dr. David Livingstone was here today, what would he say to us?
We do not need to guess. We have his writings and published statements available. We can know exactly what David Livingstone would say to us today. It is what he said to the people of his generation:
“The Salvation of men ought to be the chief desire and aim of every Christian!”
“All men have the right to hear God’s Word. No nation ought to hoard the Gospel like a miser!”
“Can the love of Christ not carry the missionary where the slave trade carries the trader?”
“If you have men who will come only if they know there is a good road, I don’t want them. I want men who will come even if there is no road at all!”
“We must be uncommon Christians, i.e. imminently holy and devoted servants of the Most High. Let us seek that selfishness be extirpated, pride banished, unbelief driven from the mind. Every idol dethroned and everything hostile to holiness and opposed to the Divine will crucified; that holiness to the Lord may be engraved on the heart and evermore characterise our whole conduct.”
“We have still a debt of gratitude to Jesus… and there is no greater privilege on earth, than after having our own chains broken off, to go forth and proclaim liberty to the captives, the opening of prison to them that are bound.”
A Vision of Victory
Dr. David Livingstone was inspired by an optimistic view of the future. Like most of the missionaries of the 19th century, Livingstone held to the Eschatology of victory:
“Discoveries and inventions are culminative… filling the earth with the glory of the Lord. All nations will sing His glory and bow before Him… our work and its fruit are culminative. We work towards a new state of things. Future missionaries will be rewarded by conversions for every sermon. We are their pioneers and helpers… let them not forget the watchmen of the night, who worked when all was gloom and no evidence of success in the way of conversions cheers our path. They will doubtless have more light than we. But we serve our Master earnestly, and proclaim the same Gospel as they will do.”
“A quiet audience today. The seed is being sown, the least of all seeds now, but it will grow into a mighty tree. It is as if it were a small stone cut out of a mountain, but it will fill the whole earth.” Daniel 2:34-45
“We work for a glorious future which we are not destined to see, the Golden Age which has not yet been, but will yet be. We are only morning stars shining in the dark, but the glorious morn will break – the good time coming yet.”
An Understanding of History
“The dominion has been given by the power of commerce and population unto the people of the saints of the Most High. This is an everlasting Kingdom, a little stone cut out of the mountain, without hands, which will cover the whole earth. For this time we work.”
“By different agencies, the Great Ruler is bringing all things into a focus. Jesus is gathering all things to Himself and He is daily becoming more and more the centre of the world’s hopes and of the world’s fears.”
A Harvest of Souls
Today there are over 500 million people in Africa who claim to be Christians. This includes: 150 million Protestants, 50 million Anglicans, `140 million Charismatics, 60 million Pentecostals and 100 million Independents. David Livingstone ploughed in stony ground and sowed the Gospel seed that has produced this great harvest.
“All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before You. For the Kingdom is the Lord’s and He rules over the nations.” Psalm 22:27-28
David Livingstone Changed my Life!
The life and legacy of David Livingstone changed my life. As a new Christian, I imbibed many of the pre-suppositions and tendencies of churches in the 1970s. I read The Late Great Planet Earth and There’s a New World Coming, Satan is Alive and Well on Planet Earth and other date-setting, end-times, rapture fever publications. I was Saved. I love the Lord. I was enthusiastically involved in Evangelism. But my understanding of Biblical doctrine was actually quite shallow.
End Times Obsession
I imbibed the prevailing prejudice against Calvinism and was convinced that we were living in the last days. Therefore I could not at that time consider marriage, or children. There was not enough time! I could not allow myself to be distracted by such worldly matters as family and raising children. I needed to devote the last few days on earth to snatching souls from the fire. The rapture was coming, surely before the end of that year! I was completely closed to the idea of Theological training. What is the point? The Lord will have come before I can finish my studies! Better to stay in the field winning souls in these last few days remaining.
The Puritan Hope
Then I read The Puritan Hope – Revival and the Interpretation of Prophecy, by Iain Murray, published by Banner of Truth. This book informed me that all of the pioneer missionaries of the 19th century missionary movement were Calvinist and post-millennial! I had no idea what post-millennialism was, but when I read that the Father of Modern Missions, William Carey, and the best friend Africa ever had, the great missionary pioneer Dr. David Livingstone, were both Reformed and post-millennial, I determined to read up more on these matters.
Sanitised and Censored
Earlier I had read a thin, modern biography on David Livingstone. It did not seem too extraordinary, because, like many modern books, it had been sanitised. All controversial, or politically incorrect, details had been omitted. The modern censored version of Livingstone’s life did not mention the ravages of the Islamic slave trade, which David Livingstone confronted, documented and fought against. It left out his Calvinist convictions and post-millennial eschatology of victory. The modern biographies left out the fact that David Livingstone carried a six-barrelled revolver and a double-barrelled rifle. His violent confrontations with Islamic slave traders and bold initiatives to set thousands of captives free were also apparently deemed too controversial to include in these modern sanitised, abridged versions of Livingstone’s life!
Back to Original Sources
However, I have always been a bookworm and had a love for history. Finding most of the books available in the average book shop today to be quite shallow and predictable, I have developed a preference for scouring through second hand bookshops finding rare old first editions of these missionaries and pioneers.
Livingstone’s Travels in Mozambique
I was reading Livingstone’s Missionary Travels as I was following in much of his footsteps in Tete Province of Mozambique in the Zambezi Valley in 1989. That was when I and the medical team I was leading were captured by Russian forces and imprisoned in SNASP security prison in Machava, Maputo. What I learned from the writings and from the exemplary life and extraordinary legacy of David Livingstone transformed my life and ministry.
What Did I Learn from Livingstone?
I learned from David Livingstone the importance of discipline. He was disciplined in reading and in exercise. He was self-controlled. Livingstone abstained from alcohol for life. He was temperate, duty orientated and hard working.
Livingstone’s work ethic is a rebuke to us all. From age 10 he worked 14 hours a day, 6 days a week, walking an average of 34km a day, much of this in a crawling, or stooping position, amongst and under the machinery, or balancing over it. Imagine the tremendous physical training this was for his later transcontinental expeditions throughout Africa. This he did in the steamed heat and humidity considered essential for the production of thread.
Hunger for Knowledge
David used his first week’s wages to purchase a book on Latin. Less than 10% of the children who worked in the cotton mills ever learned to read or write. David not only learned to read and write, he taught himself Latin, Greek and Hebrew. Each night, after work, he would attend a night school, 8pm to 10pm. Then at home, he would study, often until midnight. Each morning began at 5:30am and his workday at 6am.
When he was studying Medicine and Theology, he would walk from Blantyre to Glasgow, refusing every offer of a ride on horse carts passing by. He preferred the four-hour walk, often in the snow, in order to strengthen his muscles for his chosen career in Missions.
Overcoming His Disadvantaged Background
Livingstone never accepted charity. Although being brought up in the poorest of circumstances, where a family of seven were forced to live in a single room, 10 feet by 14 feet, without any electricity, plumbing, or running water. He worked and saved up to put himself through both Medical school and Theological College. David was the first worker from the cotton mills to receive a university education. And nobody gave it to him. He earned it and passed with high honours, receiving his Doctorate from the Royal Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons, November 1840, and ordained as a Congregational Minister, 20 November 1840. Against all odds he achieved far more than any would have thought humanly possible for someone born into such a poverty stricken and disadvantaged background. He did not wait for someone else to open up Africa, to invent 4WD vehicles, to build the roads and bridges. He drew the first maps of the Zambezi. He did not have an attitude of entitlement. David Livingstone had a Protestant work ethic.
To achieve what he did, Livingstone was decisive, goal orientated and inflexible. Reformed Theology put doctrinal steel in his backbone. He was a man of integrity. A man of his word. He meant what he said and he said what he meant. He walked many thousands of miles across difficult and dangerous terrain to return his porters to their village.
Holy Spirit Fire
David Livingstone understood the power of prayer. He had Holy Spirit fire in his heart, soul and mind. He prayed and sang the Psalms daily.
Love for God’s Creation
He had a great love for God’s creation, for nature and for wildlife. His books are filled with intricate sketches and fascinating details on animals and vegetation.
David Livingstone was inspired by the post-millennial eschatology of victory. He had a Kingdom vision.
Ministering to Body, Mind and Spirit
David Livingstone understood the greatness of the Great Commission. He worked to comprehensively fulfil the Great Commission, ministering to body, mind and spirit. As a doctor, he ministered to the body, as a teacher he minister to the mind, and as a preacher of the Gospel, he ministered to the spirit. Wherever he went he used his medical knowledge and training, his breadth of reading and learning and his deep faith and knowledge of the Holy Scriptures to enrich and empower the people of Africa.
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
David Livingstone teaches us that actions speak louder than words. He was described as: “A man of resolute courage”; “Fire, water, stonewall would not stop Livingstone in the fulfilment of any recognised duty.” Indeed he did not let swamps, rivers, deserts, or mountains prevent him from opening up Africa for the Gospel.
The Great Commission Was His Supreme Ambition
David Livingstone was determined to make a difference. The Great Commission was his supreme ambition. Christ’s last command was his first concern. He wrote: “I hope to be permitted to work as long as I live, beyond other men’s line of things and plant the seed of the Gospel where others have not planted.”
In His Steps
“I am a missionary, heart and soul. God had an only Son, and He was a Missionary and a Physician. A poor, poor imitation of Him I am, or wish to be. In His service I hope to live; in it I wish to die.”
“I shall open up a path into the interior, or perish.”
“May He bless us and make us blessings even unto death.”
“Shame upon us missionaries if we are to be outdone by slave traders!”
Battling rains, chronic discomfort, rust, mildew and rot, totally drenched and fatigued, and laid low by fever, countless times, Livingstone continued to persevere across the continent. Trials tested the tenacity of the travel-wearied team. Often Livingstone endured excessive and unnecessary suffering and deprivation, hacking through dense jungle on foot, because lack of funds prevented him from affording the “luxury” of a canoe!
“These privations, I beg you to observe, are not sacrifices. I think that word ought never to be mentioned in reference to anything we can do for Him, who, though He was rich, yet for our sakes, became poor.”
It is a Privilege to Suffer for Christ
The challenge of Livingstone rings out to us today: “Can that be called a sacrifice, which is simply paid back as a small part of a great debt owing to our God, which we can never repay? …it is emphatically no sacrifice. Say rather, it is a privilege!”
Sacrificial Service is More Eloquent than Sermons
David Livingstone emphasized that sacrificial service is more powerful than eloquent sermons. We need to put feet to our Faith.
Exposing the Islamic Slave Trade
Livingstone also alerted the world to the cancerous sore of the Islamic Slave Trade. It was Missionary explorer David Livingstone whose graphic descriptions brought the ravages of the East African slave trade to light. His Missionary Travels and Narrative of an Expedition to the Zambezi exposed the horrors of the slave trade: “Two of the women had been shot the day before for attempting to untie their thongs. One woman had her infants brains knocked out because she could not carry her load and it; and a man was dispatched with an axe because he had broken down with fatigue… those taken out of the country are but a very small section of the sufferers. We never realised the atrocious nature of the traffic until we saw it at the fountain head, ‘There truly Satan has his seat.’ Besides those actually captured thousands are killed and die of their wounds and famine, driven from their villages by the internecine war waged for slaves with their own clansmen and neighbours, slain by the lust of gain, which is stimulated, be it remembered always, by the slave purchases of Cuba and elsewhere.”
Courage to Confront Evil
David Livingstone taught that you cannot be neutral in the battlefields of life. He had the courage to confront evil. His fearless faith fought the good fight of Faith and set many thousands of captives free!
“Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
Patience and Perseverance
David Livingstone is an example of extraordinary patience and perseverance. He overcame every obstacle. Walking across the continent of Africa. He walked from Delgoa Bay (present day Port Elizabeth), up all the way through Graaf Reinet to Kuruman, in what is today the Northern Cape. He walked across what is today Botswana and all the way back across the Cape Colony to Cape Town, to place his family on a ship to return to Britain. He walked from Cape Town across the whole of the Cape Province through what is today Botswana, Zambia and Angola through to the Port of Luanda. He walked from the Atlantic Ocean across the continent of Africa, crossing what is today Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique to the Indian Ocean. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
The Zambezi Expedition
He came back and explored much of the Zambezi River, the Shiri River and the Ruvuma River, walking across much of what is today Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:37
Walking Across a Continent
On his third great missionary journey he walked across the whole length of Tanzania, much of Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, the Congo, Burundi and finally died on his knees in prayer in the province of Luapula in Northern Zambia. In his 30 years of dedicated missionary service in Africa, he walked from coast to coast, across, what are today, 12 vast countries. He walked across a continent that did not yet have roads, bridges, or purified water. “I shall try to hold myself in readiness to go anywhere, provided it be forward!”
The Power of the Printed Page
David Livingstone teaches us the power of the printed page. It was books that he read, such as Practical Christianity by William Wilberforce, which channelled much of his life in dedicated labours to eradicate the slave trade and open up Africa to the Gospel. Livingstone wrote Missionary Travels, the Zambezi Expedition and his Journals, which inspired generations of missionaries to dedicate their lives to winning Africa for Christ.
Livingstone’s steadfast example inspired Mary Slessor to devote her life to Calabar (present day Nigeria), and Peter Cameron, to launch the Africa inland Mission. Peter Cameron had returned to Africa in failure after his first Mission. However, when he read the inscription on the tomb of David Livingstone in Westminster Abby: “Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring and they shall hear My voice.” Cameron was rebuked, inspired and resolved to return to Africa.
Livingstone knew the power of the printed page and of public speaking tours. He also focussed on the universities as strategic for mobilising Reformers and Missionaries to fulfil the Great Commission. Livingstone saw rivers as God’s highway to reach Africa for Christ. As all communities need access to water, rivers are a strategic artery which missionaries should utilise to fulfil the Great Commission.
David Livingstone believed in Leadership training. His vision was to establish Bible Colleges for Africans to be trained as Evangelists, teachers and missionaries, to disciple the nations.
Lessons for Life
The life and legacy of David Livingstone has taught me the importance of discipline, exercise, reading, a Christian work ethic, temperance, self-control, self-denial and to be duty orientated. His Reformed Theology has put doctrinal steel in my backbone. He has taught me the importance of being a man of my word, a person of integrity, and most important a student of God’s Word.
Great Commission Vision
The post-millennial Eschatology of Victory of David Livingstone has inspired me that we not working at uncertainty. The Lord who gave us the Great Commission will ensure that it is fulfilled. His promises and His power are fully sufficient to empower His Church to fulfil His Great Commission, making Disciples of all nations, teaching obedience to all things that He has commanded.
Raising the Standards
David Livingstone’s comprehensive vision of fulfilling the Great Commission, ministering to body, mind and spirit has raised the standards of missionary service for all of us. It is a rebuke to religious tourism.
How to Change Your World
Actions speak louder than words. Sacrificial service is more powerful than eloquent sermons. We must put feet to our Faith. We must recognise that we are in a world war of worldviews. Islam is a threat to Faith and freedom. You cannot be neutral. Confront evil. Fight the good fight of Faith! Be bold. Be brave. Be courageous. Be patient and steadfast. Persevere. Overcome every obstacle. Go forward in the Faith. Never forget the power of the printed page. Invest in books. Invest in your mind. Read. Teach your people to love reading. Readers make leaders. A reading Christian is a growing Christian. Do not forget the schools, colleges and universities. They are strategic. We must disciple the next generation to be faithful to God’s Word and effective in God’s service. Think strategically as to how to reach the nations for Christ. Make your life count for eternity!
In the words of C.T. Studd: “Only one life, it will soon be past. Only what is done for Christ will last!”
As William Carey declared: “Expect great things from God! Attempt great things for God!”
What would David Livingstone say to us today?
“I beg to direct your attention to Africa. I know that in a few years I shall be cut off from that country, which is now open. Do not let it be shut again! I go back to Africa to try to make an open path for commerce and Christianity. Will you carry out the work which I have begun? I leave it with you!”
“Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: ‘Whom shall I send and who will go for Us?’ Then I said, ‘Here am I! Send me!’” Isaiah 6:8
Africa for Christ!
Dr. Peter Hammond Livingstone Fellowship
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa Tel: 021-689-4480 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This message was presented at Victoria Falls on the 16 November 2013, at the Livingstone Memorial service in Zambia on the anniversary of Dr. Livingstone sighting, mapping and naming of Victoria Falls.
The full message can be listened to on Sermonaudio.com.
The audio CD of the message can be obtained from:
Christian Liberty Books, PO Box 358, Howard Place 7450, Cape Town, South Africa, tel: 021-689-7478, email: email@example.com and website: www.christianlibertybooks.co.za.
You can also view our new PowerPoint, The Family, Faith and Upbringing of David Livingstone on Slideshare.