Forum Summary: The Demise of the West

Estimated Reading Time: 3 min.

In his recent forum, Dr. Douglas Winnail spoke on the West experiencing a degradation in its quality of life.

Businesses are failing, morality is loosening, millions are fighting for the right to kill their unborn children, and Marxism is becoming an increasingly popular school of thought in our society. “Ideas have consequences,” he said, following that statement by explaining that our nation is slipping due to a lack of a proper understanding of the Bible.

The Missing Biblical Perspective

Over the years, the Western nations have been subjected to many leaders, both political and ideological, who have spread their disruptive ideas throughout the world. Dr. Winnail listed several figures and their respective works and ideas that have shaped our the thinking of our world, stating that they have become the “new gods of the mind.” He began with Voltaire, who fought against monarchy and religion, and was one of the greatest philosophers of the French Revolution. Charles Darwin doubted the teachings of his former church. Without using hard evidence for his ideas regarding evolution, he was still able to convince the majority of people that he was correct. Karl Marx wrote The Communist Manifesto and caused millions of people to die because of his beliefs. From the perspective of today, we can see the influence these men had on our culture and society. Simply stated, ideas have consequences.

The Frankfurt School

After Marxism failed in Europe, the Marxists then packed their bags and brought their ideologies to America. Ultimately, the followers of their philosophical ideologies became known as the “Frankfurt School” of belief. This is the kind of mindset that has caused public schools to teach radical sex education and promoted homosexuality and gender-fluid bathrooms. All these ideas are the product of Satan, and Revelation 12:9 states that he “deceives the whole world.” His ultimate goal is to hinder God’s plan to expand the God family, and Satan will attempt to divide society in any way possible; he uses all the devices that he can get his hands on, not excluding these misguided ideas and leaders that have impacted millions.

Why is This Happening?

Dr. Winnail pointed to Genesis 12 to talk about the promises that God made to Abraham and how the nations that would spawn from him would be great, eventually giving us America and Europe through the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh. He also read from Leviticus 26, which states that if the people of Israel obeyed and worshipped God, they would be blessed; if they disobeyed, however, they would be ruled by those who hate them. Western nations are becoming further divided because their peoples have turned their backs on God, who then allows these leaders to misguide them in return. If our nation was to turn to God, we would experience easier lives and truly enjoy a land of prosperity. While we wait for a better time when the Kingdom of God will be established on the earth, we will see the western nations draw closer and closer to their demise.

Nathan Kroon is one of the Student Leaders at Living Education. He originally hails from Washington State, and is a 4th generation Christian. Currently, he works at Headquarters as a Video Editor, and is the Lead Landscaper at the LivingEd dorms. His hobbies include playing guitar, listening to music, drawing, and watching movies.

Student Life: A Day at the Beach

Author: Kaleb Johnson | Student, Living Education – Charlotte, 2022-23


Estimated Reading Time: 2 min.

On a beautiful, sunny Sunday, the LivingEd-Charlotte students took a trip to Sunset Beach and enjoyed big waves, good rays, and ocean spray; a good day away from the fray. 

Our morning began bright and early. We got on the road by 7:30 and arrived at the beach by 11:30, and we wasted no time getting the fun started. The beach was picturesquely white and wide, and the water was warm and welcoming. We soon found ourselves lost in wild waves in a blissful blurr. We crashed in, out, under, and over the rolling ripples. When we had our fill, we took back to land and ate the packed lunch. We threw a football around; we lounged in the sun and read books. Some of us even played chess on a sandy board beneath the shifting shade of the canopy. 

We paralleled the serene sea on a wandering walk as we all began to feel the fatigue that comes from swimming all afternoon. We watched the obdurate ocean continue to churn. It was a fine chance to get away from the distractions and expectations of day to day life. It invigorated and inspired us, and we left recharged and ready for the next week. 

All the LivingEd students evacuated Sunset Beach with fond memories, illumined hearts, and exhausted muscles. Before we piled into the mobile vehicles again, we stopped to finish all the food and snacks that had been brought. A few of the students even threw a frisbee around, seeking to enjoy every last drop of fun. 

Forum Summary: God is a Family

Author: Kaleb Johnson | Student, Living Education – Charlotte, 2022-23


Estimated Reading Time: 2 min.

The Living Education students in Charlotte recently had the privilege of hearing from a minister serving as the area pastor for Southeast Asia and India, Mr. Rajan Moses.

He serves members of God’s Church in seven countries and has learned much from his experience covering such a large region. Mr. Moses began by stating that God is a family. When he came into the church 50 years ago, Mr. Moses had to prove to himself, and then defend to his family and others, that God is not a Trinity. “To understand that concept,” elaborated Mr. Moses, “it took many years to really come to grasp how God is a family.” It is a profound truth that carries many pertinent lessons for us right now. Ultimately, God is reproducing Himself to expand His family, and the physical family is a type of this. We in God’s church today are to look at one another as brothers and sisters, preparing for the coming time when we will be born again into God’s family. 

Family and the Church of God Today 

Mr. Moses proved the Truth to much of his family, and many of them are in the Church too. But this is not a singular event. We see through the Bible that God works with families. Today, the Church is filled with these families with whom God has worked, and the area Mr. Moses covers is no exception to this. In Southeast Asia and India, many congregations are one or two families, often large families, who strengthen and support one another. Mr. Moses then took a moment to tell the students about our spiritual family in an area quite far away from Charlotte. 

The Expansive Family of God 

Mr. Moses showed the students a map of Southeast Asia with all its congregations as dots, telling us about the members who were there and some unique bits about each place. He showed a map of India and Sri Lanka and mentioned the members and congregations there. We learned that these parts of the world are home for many members of God’s Church, our brothers and sisters. And here, too, God works with many unique families and people. These members of our spiritual family come out of mainstream Christianity, Isalm, Buddhism, and Hinduism, which is an example of God calling people all around the world from all backgrounds. The Work is still increasing in this part of the world.

congregations Southeast Asia photo

A Challenge for Us All

Our brethren in Southeast Asia face difficulties and challenges that we may not realize. Mr. Moses told us how getting off work for the Sabbath and Holy Days can be a bigger challenge than we are used to in the United States. Even some schools require children to attend on Saturdays, so parents in the Church have to get special absence approval for their kids. But, God works these problems out if we have faith in Him, as our brethren in these countries can testify. With the recent military coup in Myanmar, some brethren have been forced to flee villages and even the country. Mr. Moses told the story of one member’s son, a police inspector who was told by the military to execute “rebels.” He was forced to flee Myanmar altogether and escape to Thailand! It is imperative for our members to trust in God. “We all live by faith…. Whenever we face these types of trials, we rely on God, and God opens doors.”

While these members face difficulties that many of us do not, we all have a common challenge. We have to fulfill the admonition given by Jesus Christ (John 13:34-35). Do we have a genuine love, like the love a family has for one another? Would someone outside the Church see us showing love for one another plainly? Or would they not? As Paul said in 1 Corinthians, we must suffer together, rejoice together, and eventually we will be glorified together (12:24-26). Mr. Moses gave a specific challenge to the LE students: “Talk to them [older church members]; ask them how they came into the Church and about their experiences in the past.” The trials the older generation faced are very similar to the ones that this generation is and will face! We can learn from their experience. We all must do our part to bring this spiritual family of God, prospective members of God’s divine family, together in unity. Mr. Moses concluded by saying we must all practice and radiate the love of God as one unified family to prepare for the soon-coming time when we will be sons and daughters in the family of God. 

Forum Summary: Good News!

Author: Kaleb Johnson | Student, Living Education – Charlotte, 2022-23


Estimated Reading Time: 2 min.

Is There Good News?

Mr. McNair began his forum for the LE students by asking, “Should we watch the news?” As Christians, we want to limit the involvement we have in the politics and concerns of this world, yet the proverbs admonish us to increase knowledge and pay attention to what is going on around us (Proverbs 1:5), and Christ told us to watch for the end of the age (Luke 21:36). We rely on news sources to deliver us this information.

Bias of the News

Mr. McNair then delved into the subject of news sources by asking, “Where are we getting our news from?” Younger audiences get their news from social media and online sources, primarily. On the other hand, older audiences often use television. These different news sources are fully aware of their audience’s demographics, and they use that information to provide articles and segments that appeal to their viewers. If we are not careful, we can be entertained by the news and not educated. We must seek knowledge and not foolishness (Proverbs 15:14). In addition to just demographic divides, news sources have political and topical divides. Some only address politics or economics, but every source presents information through the lens of what they deem relevant. 

How to Get Good News

The challenge we face is sifting through incomplete, biased, and inaccurate information. We have to understand the political and topical bias of the news sources we use. As a result, it is necessary to vary our sources from time to time to ensure we are getting multiple perspectives. Mr. McNair then outlined four tips for us to bear in mind when approaching the news: 

  1. Understand the system. The news is meant to get attention and keep it.
  2. Find the source. Whenever possible, look at the original source. Oftentimes, one piece of information is posted on one news source and then is proliferated around due to that initial publicity. Examine the bias of the source as well. 
  3. Understand the slant. No news source is right from God’s perspective, and they often have an obvious and intentional slant on the information they present and the light in which they present it. 
  4. Know yourself. Examine your personal bias. Be aware of what concepts appeal to you and how they can affect your intake of knowledge. 

If we apply these four principles, we can find knowledge through the foolishness, narratives, slants, and systematic influences that exist in news sources, and we can be wise and fulfill our admonition to always watch. 

Student Life: A purr-fect activity

Author: Kaleb Johnson | Student, Living Education – Charlotte, 2022-23


Estimated Reading Time: 2 min.

The students in the Living Education program had a lot going on over Labor day weekend.

There was a drive-in movie night on Saturday night and a black and white movie night on Sunday night. By the time Monday came around, one might think that we had run out of activities to do. Yet We most certainly had not. One of the students had the grand idea to go visit a Cat Cafe.

A Day in a Cat Cafe

Cat cafes are little coffee shops that have a lounge area for cats. People can come in and look at cats while enjoying beverages. Most often, these are used to help adopt-out kittens and young cats that are sociable and well-trained. And they raise awareness for a particular shelter that is associated with the cafe. They have become fairly popular in cities these days, and the LivingEd students wanted to see what they were like. We had reserved an hour for just our group at a cat cafe downtown, so we piled into our cars and drove into Charlotte. 

We arrived in the Arts and Entertainment District in Charlotte, NoDa, where the cat cafe is located. It was a short walk from a parking lot to the story-two building that houses the cafe. We entered the building and walked up the stairs to the second floor. The door to the Mac Tabby cat cafe was a modern design with glass and etchings, yet it congealed well with the older building. After we all plodded through the door into the cafe, we glanced over at the cat lounge, which was separated by a glass wall, and we saw about 8 cats either strolling or strewn about the room. After we made our way through a glass door into the domain of the cats, I made my way to an oddly shaped chair that resembled an egg with a collapsed top portion, a rather contemporary design. The room was kept at a brisk 45 degrees (or so it felt to me) for reasons I can only speculate on now. Perhaps it is better for the cats at that temperature with all their fur and whatnot. Maybe it makes the cats more sociable. Maybe they turned the air conditioning way down just to see what visitors would do. 

Cats! (not the musical)

The cats never swarmed us nor overpowered us with affection. Rather they reflected our own energy level, mildly exhausted and desiring sufficient time to warm-up to an environment rather than just jump in. Gradually, the cats condescended to become acquainted with us. One decided to take up camp on my lap, which was rather convenient as we were not allowed to pick them up, and I was cold. I sat and sipped my drink, quietly taking in the environment. 

The cats were given quite adorable names like: Kevin, Babe (as it was the youngest), and Ulf Ekberg, my personal favorite. Then, there was the cat named Jem.  This black cat just sat in his bed, located on top of a cat tower, and slept the entire time we were there. He poked his head up a few times and seemed to enjoy being pet, or at least did not actively hate it. Yet, he never moved from his cozy bed and slept the vast majority of the hour we were there. On the other end of the energy spectrum, there was the rambunctious adolescent cat, Babe, who played vigorously with all the toys that were spread out around the lounge. The staff at the cafe gave us a laser pointer. Then we took turns seeing if we could get Babe to jump on people by pointing the laser at them. It worked quite successfully on multiple occasions. 

Never a Dull Day

When our hour was up, we all said goodbye to our newfound feline friends and made our way out. Overall, it was a great trip, one that illustrates one aspect of the living Education experience: you are always up to something. This was not an activity planned by the Living Education program, but something the students in Living Education decided to do on our own initiative. Truly, there is never a dull moment at Living Education – Charlotte.

Forum Summary: Character is a Choice


Estimated Reading Time: 3 min.

In his recent forum, Mr. Lambert Greer wished to express the importance of keeping godly character, especially in today’s world. 

The world realizes that people today all need good character in order for the world to become a more peaceful place, but most are unwilling to make the choice to change. People stipulate that Americans make up their own laws, and reflect their character in this way. Mr. Greer brought up how the most looked-up word on the internet in 2005 was “integrity,” which is likely a result of our nation questioning its leadership within government offices at the time. This means that the average citizen values the character of our leaders over many other leadership qualities.

The Definition of Character

Mr. Greer stated that character is who we are at heart. He also used Romans 8:7 to explain that the carnal mind does not subject itself to the law of God, which is why we need to constantly evaluate ourselves to make sure we are avoiding situations that can lead us to making irrational decisions.

Foregone Devotions

Today, nothing seems to be seen as sacred anymore. Many marriages today end in divorce. While the statistics may show you that divorce rates have actually decreased in our country recently, what they will not show you is that fewer and fewer couples will even choose to be married anymore; they see it as a burden. Commitment and sincerity is no longer a priority in peoples’ morality. Even work ethic seems to be long gone.

A Man of Principle

Seeing all this moral corruption around us, Mr. Greer decided to read out the moral code of Benjamin Franklin to show us what a man famous for his values had kept closest to his heart.

The list consisted of 13 different values. In order, they were temperance, balance, order, resolution, frugality, industry, sincerity, justice, moderation, cleanliness, tranquility, chastity, and humility. He would make these values into a checklist every day and would make sure to check off all the ones that he had kept intact every day. 

Challenge Yourself

Mr. Greer also instructed us to set goals that would challenge us. He recalled the first time that he and Mr. Weston were directors for the Living Youth Camps. They had discussed how they could implement ideas to keep the young campers in line. He explained that they had to make some difficult decisions, because they realized that keeping the teens and pre-teens obedient would have to come down to how the leadership acted. They started by making rules and restrictions on themselves, activity directors, and other staff, and they were initially met with some complaints. Hearing these, they decided to hold fast and stick with their decisions. At the end of that first camp, those who had made such complaints told them that it had turned out to be the best camp that they had ever been to. This instance further cements the importance of godly character in our leadership.

Unbroken Bonds

Mr. Greer told us how Christ would act today if He had continued to exist as flesh and blood: He would continue to preach the word of God until the end. Just as Christ is, we must also be strong in our convictions and boundaries, and be careful not to break them. We will be expected to make difficult choices in our lives, and to make them with godly virtues in mind. Mr. Greer pointed to 1 Samuel 16:7 to emphasize that God looks in the hearts of man rather than their physical appearance.

With these points in mind, Mr. Greer expressed to his audience that we all must pursue godly character. We must follow the example of Jesus Christ. If we do not make the choice to change our character for the better, then that change will not happen.

Nathan Kroon is one of the Student Leaders at Living Education. He originally hails from Washington State, and is a 4th generation Christian. Currently, he works at Headquarters as a Video Editor, and is the Lead Landscaper at the LivingEd dorms. His hobbies include playing guitar, listening to music, drawing, and watching movies.

Forum Summary: Be a Giver

Author: Sabrielle McNair | Student Leader, Living Education – Charlotte, 2022-23


Estimated Reading Time: 3 min.

Mr. Gaylyn Bonjour began the forum with the statement, “God’s way is the way of giving…I want to focus on what I can give you, and what you can give to others,” and He’s teaching us to love one another through giving.

He emphasized that every speaker and teacher is doing their best to impart wisdom and knowledge to the students. In a post-speech interview, he explained that this topic was inspired by a member’s actions of giving that he had recently witnessed. Mr. Bonjour then stressed the points that; each presenter and teacher over the next nine months will be giving of themselves, every student giving of themselves to the best of their ability would be following the example set by God the Father and Jesus Christ.

Give like God

By drawing on John 3:16, Mr. Bonjour explained that God gave His most precious possession to humankind, and in doing so, exemplified the type of giving He wants us to show. Mr. Bonjour gave the point that each day is a clean slate–our sins are wiped, and given a ground zero to try to stay within God’s ways. Yet because of God’s mercy towards us, mercy and forgiveness is what is expected of us towards our fellow man. Quoting Romans 12:10, Mr. Bonjour explained the passage, “Preferring one another [means] esteeming others higher than ourselves. God wants us to see the value of other people and put them first.” He pointed the students towards a question that focuses the mind, by asking yourself, “How can I help you to move forward, (or) be a better person?” That’s an opportunity from God to give to one another.

Learn to Give to Others

Mr. Bonjour also emphasized the importance of giving to those around us. “You are created for the benefit of other people.”  Each person has the ability to have an impact when they learn from God’s example of how to love one another (1 John 4:10-11). We have to change how we treat different people according to their requirements. Yet he also reminded students that different abilities are given to us by God. We each have different ways we can reach others and we should take advantage of that. By asking the question, “Can we help those around us to have a little better existence?” that’s caring as God does.

Overcome Obstacles 

Mr. Bonjour told the students, “Every obstacle that you face is an opportunity to overcome,” and how you do that is through processes established by God. Citing Matthew 18 as the format we can all follow to gain our brother, God puts these systems in place for a reason. He wants the individuals to deal with each other, reason together, and understand each other. Mr. Bonjour then gave the point that self-evaluation is the key for how we can give of ourselves continually,  “If we would judge ourselves we would not need to be judged. If we would look at ourselves and correct ourselves, when Jesus Christ comes back he won’t have to correct us because we’ve done that through the Holy Spirit and His word.” We can then change as we allow God to work in our lives. 

Make a Difference 

God has given you a situation from which you can gain. Every individual that comes through here wants to give you something for you to take away, to grow in the graciousness and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. “What you do today and how you are with society will speak in the future because God’s called you and you do make a difference.” Though we cannot change others, if we begin the process of making ourselves as lights to the world, people will notice. Mr. Bonjour emphasized the fact that as young people, we aren’t perfect, but God is not yet done with us.

Student Life: Le Cinema Noire

Author: Kaleb Johnson | Student, Living Education – Charlotte, 2022-23


Estimated Reading Time: 4 min.

The Plain Facts of the Case

The Living Education students finished their classes on Friday, September 5th. The classes ended at a normal time, but this was no normal day. They had begun to pack up their belongings when they were startled by an announcement. Two student leaders, Ellie and Kezia, burst into the classroom. The students paused and gave them their attention. Kezia spoke first. There was going to be a movie night the following Sunday. The students were shocked. Some laughed, some cried, but most were silent. 

To understand how this event came to be, we need to rewind a few hours. Kezia and Ellie were conspiring together to torment the new students. They wanted the students to engage with the local singles scene (a terrifying prospect), and they had plan. 

After they informed us of the activity, Ellie and Kezia began to delve into the details. 

We were instructed to invite a date to attend with us, and they gave us special invitations to persuade prospective. However, there would only be that night and the following Sabbath to find someone. It was going to be a tall order. After the fact, Kezia explained to me their reasoning. They were using this event as a catalyst to “normalize” dating widely and to bring in more young people from the Charlotte congregation. In the moment, it was madness, pure pandemonium. The students became delirious. The girls stressed and said: “how do you even ask someone out?” The guys asked, “what if they all say no?” Kezia and Ellie eventually managed to restore order and explained the additional detail. The movie was to be a 1930s film—a mystery thriller: “The Thin Man.” To maximize the fun , the students, and their dates, would have to dress in black and white to match the movie. 

The Event in Question 

The Living Education students set about finding dates. They scoured the singles Bible study that night and at church the next day. Many were obliged to talk with unfamiliar brethren, and through diligent effort, most found suitable companions.

Sunday evening rolled around. The movie night was happening at the girl’s dorm, and they were a whirlwind of activity while setting up. Some of the guys showed up early to help too. By time the guests arrived, the venue was lavishly decorated, and the students offered the guests different falvors of popcorn, black and white moon cookies, and some fruit drinks (tastefully named “Murder Mystery Mocktails”). 

Once all the guests got their snick-snacks, we took our seats, and settled in for the movie. The students and guests were charmed by the film and laughed all through the evening, and the element of mystery and thrill added to the mood. The fun did not just end with the movie, but we kept conversing with our dates long afterwards. By the end of the evening, there was only one mystery remaining: when will we be doing this again?

Student Life: Orientation Trip 2022


Author: Kaleb Johnson | Student, Living Education – Charlotte, 2022-23


Estimated Reading Time: 4 min.

Living Education–Charlotte does orientation a little differently than most places.

Rather than beginning classes immediately like most learning institutions, Living Ed. has an “Orientation Trip” to Blowing Rock, NC. This was a welcome difference for me, and I found this trip much more engaging than the orientations I had been to during my time at university. In this post, I’ll share with you what we did on this trip and why I found it much more enjoyable than most orientations.

Leaving for Blowing Rock, NC.

On Sunday afternoon, nine students, along with student leaders and faculty, piled into three cars, and we took off on the three hour trip from the dorms in Charlotte to the cabins we were staying at in Blowing Rock. Fortunately, the staff are all excellent drivers, and we did arrive safely and intact. To our delight (or at least mine), we found that dinner had been prepared, and we had a fine meal together in the main cabin allowing us students to get to know each other and to get to know the staff. 

First Day of Orientation 

On Monday morning, we had breakfast and then headed up to a conference room for the instructors to talk to us about the program. Mr. McNair began by introducing the principles of the program, and then Mr. Frank gave us the frank history of education in the Church, highlighting its importance. Following this, Mr. McNair gave us tips on succeeding in this program and in life. Miss Ross then introduced the role music has in the program and gave specific advice to the ladies in the program. Before lunch, Mr. Ruddelson focused on serving the local Charlotte congregation and each other and gave us practical advice for living together in peace. And then we took a break for lunch. 

In the afternoon, Mr. Tlumak shared some of his life experiences and told us how to get the most out of the next nine months. Then, Mr. McNair showed us a motivational speech, explained the program’s expectations from each of us, and then challenged us to really embrace the program and grow as much as we can. 

The Blowing Rock Tour

After being sufficiently informed and motivated, we went to tour the Blowing Rock park. When we got there, we found a slight issue with the weather that day. We could not see anything. The fog was so thick that we could only see about thirty feet in front of us! This supplied an endless amount of jokes regarding objects we could “see” on the horizon, and the visit ended up being a great experience that all of us students share. 

Whitewater Rafting 

On Tuesday morning, we all had breakfast together again before we cleaned up our cabins and left them tidy. We packed into the three cars again and departed for Boone, NC, for Whitewater rafting. Mr. McNair politely informed us that the water would be a little bit cold. When we got into the water, we discovered that it was indeed a little bit cold, about 40℉ to be precise. All the students, Mr. McNair, Miss Ross, and Mr. Ruddelson divided up into two rafts and shoved off into the frosty rapids. We felt every splash of water and relished every break in the sun on the way down. Despite the frigid temperature, we all jumped in the water and swam around, and the two rafts engaged in some friendly splashing and water gun fights. After we pulled the rafts out of the frosty river, we changed into dry clothes and then departed for the dorms in Charlotte. 

Conclusions

Living Education – Charlotte doesn’t immediately begin with classes with the expectation that the students will build friendships along the way, despite all the stress and distractions that come with the beginning of a semester. Rather, this program begins with a little adventure. This experience allows the new students to get to know each other in a stress-free environment, lets the instructors introduce themselves as individuals and not just teachers, and gives the new students a shared memory that they can use to establish relationships between each other that they will continue to build over the course of the year. 

Forum Summary: What are your pillars?

Author: Kaleb Johnson | Student, Living Education – Charlotte, 2022-23


Estimated Reading Time: 4 min.

In his recent forum, Mr. Smith educated the Living Education–Charlotte students on pillars and how they affect our view of the world.

He explained how we could examine ourselves to identify our current pillars, and what beliefs the students need to prioritize in their lives. He shared his top three pillars of belief and encouraged the students to use the time in this program to examine themselves and build a strong foundation. 

Finding Our Pillars of Belief

Mr. Smith began by asking the students to make a list of five basic things we believed were true. The students obliged him and produced a list ranging from the mundane to the profound. Mr. Smith then proclaimed a startling truth: Every belief we have affects how we view the world around us.“[Worldview is] a collection of things that help your mind to interpret everything you look at. What’s good; what’s wrong; what’s true; what’s false.” These things are facts, misunderstandings, experiences, and assumptions that we have made through our life, and they affect our understanding of reality.

We may not comprehend why we have certain opinions about an object or behavior, but our perception of that object or behavior is based on beliefs that we possess. As Mr. Smith said, “Every belief we have is a pillar; it just may not be supporting much.” He then told the students, “The challenge for you, at this age, is to create as accurate a worldview as you can so that you see the world rightly.” Society tries to convince us that there is no objective reality, but true Christians must strive to see the world as God does. This means examining all our worldviews to see if they are in line with God, and then uprooting the beliefs that support erroneous worldviews. In addition, we need to strengthen the pillars of belief that support a godly worldview so they are solid enough to endure the trials and temptations that will attempt to shake them. 

Choosing the Right Pillars

Again, Mr. Smith had the students write down beliefs, but this time we were to write down three beliefs that we considered to be “load-bearing” pillars, meaning supports that were most essential to our interpretation of reality. Then, Mr. Smith revealed the three foundational pillars he had derived over years of consideration. His first pillar is the belief that God exists. As Mr. Smith elaborated, this pillar is critical as it supports so much of his worldview and conduct of life. If it were to fall, many other pillars would crumble as well. Thus, it is imperative that a true Christian strengthen and solidify this belief.

Then, he moved on to his second pillar—Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Mr. Smith put this as the second most important pillar, citing John 17:3 and the criticality of knowing Christ. Furthermore, these two beliefs can support one another. We can trust what Christ reveals about the nature of God, and we can prove that Christ lived and was raised from the dead, a miracle which requires a God.

For the third pillar, Mr. Smith brought forward his belief that the Bible is the word of God. Any doubt on this third pillar can be cured by the first two, as Christ said that “the scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35). And by extension, much of the life of Christ and the nature of God is delineated within the Holy Bible. Further Godly beliefs are important and necessary, but these three pillars build a structure that bears much of the load of an accurate and godly worldview.

Strengthening and Refining Our Pillars

Mr. Smith concluded by encouraging the students to strengthen these load-bearing pillars by putting in “time, effort, prayer, and meditation.” As he said further, “These are things that are deserving of our time, and yet we rarely give them that kind of time.” Mr. Smith admonished the students to use this time, while we are still young, to consider our beliefs, our worldview, and the strength of our convictions. Trials will come in life and challenge one’s beliefs, and these godly pillars of belief must be strong. A true Christian must uproot those pillars that support bad and faulty worldviews as they manifest themselves in that Christian’s life.