Archive for April 30th, 2007

A lying watchdawggieIn one of Ken Silva’s recent miss-ives, “The Emergent Church Hates the Light”, he once again (expectedly) lies and slanders brothers and sisters in the “emerging church” movement, presenting equal amounts of slander from Phil Johnson and Johnnie Mac.

In this article, JMac states:

One of the big issues is homosexuality in the emerging church; they don’t want to take a position on homosexuality.

This is a lie (amongst others in the article).

As we have noted in the past, this is not a product of the ‘emerging church’ – as many do not endorse participation in a homosexual lifestyle.  The EC is too diverse to say “this is what the Emerging Church believes about homosexuality”.  Why?  Because the ECM is a similar response to post-modernism coming from multiple denominations, where many of the underpinnings are those which came from the original denominations.  Do some EC churches (incorrectly) condone homosexual conduct?  Certainly.  Do other EC churches welcome homosexuals (as guests) but require an change in their lifestyle if they want to become a Christian?  Just as certainly.  In fact, most of the big-name “EC” churches fall into the latter camp than the former.

Bob Hyatt, the lead pastor of an EC church in Oregon, writes:

I think our stance would be what Stan Grenz called “Welcoming, but not affirming.” If people do not know Jesus, I don’t much care who or what they are sleeping with when they come to our community. I want to welcome them and tell them about Jesus.

When they become a follower of Jesus, however, the story changes somewhat in that there are many things that God wants to change in us, our sexual ethic included. Though our elders have decided to take an individual case-by-case approach with everyone and their situation, our general stance is that same-sex sexual behavior is not compatible with being a Christ follower and needs to be left behind.

[...]

By the way, I can name at least one well-known emerging church that has no issue with committed same sex sexual relationships… but I honestly don’t think they are representative.
However, many individuals who identify with the emerging church movement, whose background is the mainline church will share this view…

But I agree- the broad stroke “the ECM” believes this is silly. It’s a nonsensical statement most of the time it’s made, since on other issues and this one in particular, at least half of the “ECM” people you ask will express a different view.

I suppose it’s like saying finding a group of southern baptists who are KJV Only and assuming the Rev Silva must be as well. Or saying that since Mosaic and Saddleback are SBC, that Silva must be down with McManus and Rick Warren.

He snorts, but this is the type of thing he does to the emerging church all the time.

We’ve written about this topic before, refuting the slander, but Ken doesn’t care – he’s got mouths to feed, and if that requires lying about brothers in Christ, so be it…

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[Reader Warning: Frank discussion of a sexual nature likely in this article and discussion thread.]

Watchdawggie Living a Double LifeIssue: How should Christians respond to pornography and addictions to porn?

Slice/CRN Take: No doubt they see pornography as clearly sinful (as do we).   The solution: avoid it.   If you’re addicted to it?   Get help by going to a good (aka Reformed) church.

What about ministries like xxxChurch?   Mock them for their tactics, offer no real alternatives.

My Take: While I think that Craig Gross, founder of xxxChurch, sometimes takes it too far in driving home his message (like with the inflatable phallus), I think that we often go too far the other direction in not discussing (or even acknowledging) the issue, which creates even more problems in rooting out and dealing with this sin.

Pornography is 100% wrong.  This is clear in scripture.  THAT is what these guys are confronting.

I find it to be a good thing, though, that men like Mr. Gross confront this multi-billion dollar industry which is leading millions into hell, and that they are willing (and able) to confront them on their own turf, while maintaining personal purity and giving a Christ-like witness:

While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ’sinners’?”

On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:10-13)

I have recommended the X3Watch software, available from xxxChurch, to a number of men, who I know use it with their accountability groups.  Here is how it works:

Let’s say you’re browsing the Internet and you’re looking at porn. The software makes a log of the porn site, and then every two or four weeks your two designated accountability partners will get an email listing all the skin sites you’ve been on. Oh no-busted! Now that’s what we call real accountability. No more secrets!

I also know men who have used xxxChurch’s online’s recovery program, along with attending the Celebrate Recovery program, developed by Saddleback and run at hundreds/thousands of churches, to help men and women escape addictive behaviors – leaving them behind while growing closer to Christ.

The guys from xxxChurch have also been criticized for going to all of the porn conventions in the US and Europe, where they have a booth that gives out Bibles and answers questions from people attending those conventions.  They also have a program to help people in the pornography industry to escape from it.  (I also find it interesting that the same crowd that oozes love for open-air confrontational preachers has disdain for Christians whose very presence in the “lion’s den” is confrontational).

Would Jesus have done this?  Actually, he did.

When Jesus took his disciples on a 16-mile (one way) hike to Caesarea Philippi, he took them to a place that all of the Jewish religious authorities of his time forbade people to go (read more about the context behind this story here).  From the context of the account in Matthew and Mark, it also appears that he was actually within the city complex, which sits at the foot of a cliff called the “Rock of the Gods” with a huge cave in its face, from which a stream flowed, called the “Gates of Hades”.

Caesarea Philippi, culturally, was a place most like the Greco-Roman pagan cities of Asia Minor to which Jesus’ disciples, likely aged 12-20 at the time, were within walking distance.  The open air shrine to Pan, at the base of this cliff, and a goat-woship shrine next to it held pagan rites in which men and women would have sexual relations – in plain view, if we are to believe writers from the time – with each other and with goats.  And what did Jesus say here?

But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. (Matthew 16:15-18)

When these young men went out into the world, they went to places far more disgusting that this to reach people caught up in the filth of that world.

Apparently, there is an event coming up where Craig Gross will be debating a prominent figure in the world of pornography.  This event is, predictably, being mocked by Slice 2.0.  I think that events like this, and the “porn and pancakes” breakfasts where Gross works with Christian men to get them to confess their problems with porn and to help them confront and repent from this behavior.  While some of their methods do seem over-the-top, this issue is such a deep-rooted (and often well-hidden) problem that this may be what it takes to expose and confront hidden sin so that it may be dealt with and removed from those it is killing.

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What makes something Christian; not someone, but something? 

What makes someone Christian is obvious, but what makes a non-personal thing worthy of the adjectival “Christian?”  We use it all the time; Christian fellowship, Christian website, Christian music, Christian business, Christian this, Christian that, Christian the-other-thing… but what presuppositions allow us to add “Christian” as an adjectival modifier to a noun or verb?

In some cases it’s easy. A bookstore carries only Christian books (rats – “I did it again, used “Christian” as an adjective for a noun) – some bookstores carry only books written by Christians about Christian themes “ therefore we call them a “Christian Bookstore.”  In other scenarios it’s more difficult. A company that sells widgets was founded by a Christian man who runs it on Christian principle, and as far as the law allows employs mostly Christians. We call this a “Christian Company,” but why? Widgets are neither inherently good nor evil; in fact they could be used to either end.

Taking an even more emotionally controversial subject – music. What makes music “Christian?” Some would say if the musicians are writing to the glory of God it is Christian music.  Others would say being written by a Christian is not enough, to be Christian music it must overtly glorify the Lord. Some would argue any style of music may be employed to glorify the Lord and therefore is a candidate for the coveted modifier. Others would say that certain styles of music are inherently evil due to their beat or the culture from which they arose. What qualifies music as “Christian music?”

How you answer this question will have a far-reaching domino effect on how you view the interaction between Christ and culture and particularly what elements of a culture are “Christian” and those that are, nor cannot become “Christian.”

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