Archive for June, 2007

thought I would repeat this comment from prophet Silva on a recent article about his language

“No, I have nothing to apologize for. If that language Jesus prompted me to use offends, then let it offend.”

Enough said.

  • Share/Bookmark

I’ve posted a partial transcript of a recent Q&A with Rob Bell at Mars Hill.  There were three Q&A sessions with some overlapping content, which I’ve tried to weave together into a (partial) view of some of the overarching themes over on my blog, Fishing the Abyss.

A couple Q&A’s that may be of interest here:

Q: How would you respond to people who say ‘Will we be sacrificing a message of salvation by serving?’ or ‘what if this is just the pendulum swinging too far the other way?’ or ’If we try to end poverty, will we be leaving Jesus behind?’

A: Those are the questions of someone who is in exile and they don’t even know it.  It’s the kind of question you’re left with when you’ve missed God’s purposes in the world.

Bill Gates is giving millions and millions of dollars to relieve AIDS in Africa, and billions of dollars to great causes around the world because the church didn’t beat him to it.  We are ALWAYS telling people about Jesus.  We are telling them about Jesus with our action and we are telling people about Jesus with our inaction.  So we are always evangelizing.  We are always announcing who we believe Jesus is.  We are always indicating – through everything we do – whether we believe the tomb is empty or not.

I think the term ‘evangelism’ can be very destructive, because it gives people the message ‘I’m supposed to be doing this thing over here’.  But if you’re a grandma and I meet up with you and you have grandkids, it will be within 10 minutes that you will whip out of your purse your wallet with the pictures of your grandkids.  You naturally and instincitively tell people what you love.

If you love golf, I will know in several moments that you love golf, because we naturally talk about what we love.  My experience is that if you are trusting Jesus more and more each day, then your relationship with Jesus and your walk with Jesus… You will naturally witness to this.  How could you stay silent?

So when people say ‘what are you doing for evangelism training?’ I say ‘introducing people to Jesus.  Churches have been giving people artificial – ‘well, there’s three questions I am supposed to ask’, or ‘there’s four points on this pamphlet’ instead of something that is supposed to be this natural, free-flowing ‘I can’t NOT tell you my story’.

The Kingdom of God is wherever God’s rule and reign are expanding, whether that’s your heart, your past, or…  We’ve been inviting people for the past 8 years to trust Jesus.  Jesus can be trusted.  Trust Jesus with your past, with your sins, with your doubts, with your anxieties, with your suicidal thoughts, with your checkbook, with your relationships, with someone who’s hurt you and you need to forgive them.  For eight years we’ve simply said ‘You can trust Jesus wherever you are on your journey.’

And the Kingdom of God is holistic in nature.  It’s everything from the right words spoken at the right time to a glass of water brought to somebody who doesn’t have water.  The Kingdom of God is ANYWHERE things are the way that God intends them to be.

West Michigan is a sick religious culture.  It’s sick.  It’s got all the marks of the Pharisees that can’t encounter something without trying to shove it into a box and labelling it.  he Kingdom of God transcends whatever petty, shallow religious labelling systems we’ve made up.  It’s simply bigger than wider than that.

Q: What would you attribute to some of the criticisms about Velvet Elvis or Sex God, or our view of salvation or heaven and the view that it is here and now and a physical place we go to when we die?  How does Mars Hill decide “what we believe”?

A: First off, I have never, ever, tried to create controversy.  That’s lame.  We’ll leave that to whoever’s on TV right now creating something.  The issue for us has always been truth.

I think some people, when they say ‘well, that’s questionable theology’, they should be honest and say ‘actually, I’ve just never heard that before.’  When people masquerade their ignorance as somebody else’s improper theology, that’s just arrogance and it’s wrong.  We take this very seriously here, and everything is with the elders and leaders here – and lots of leaders within our community.  I will often take a teaching to the elders and have them review a version of the teaching and ask them ‘what do you think?’ and to poke holes in it.  We have lots of friends around the world – great Christians – writers, thinkers, theologians, [and we ask them] ‘what do you think about this’?

I have no interest in having long, boring discussions about what the Bible is.  I would much rather us try to do what it says to do.  There are certain people who, until you say certain things about the Bible – they want to discuss over and over and over again what the Bible is, and we’ll never keep them happy.  I don’t think the point of the Bible is to argue endlessly about what it is, I think the point is to study it and to then do what it says to do.

And our commitment to the Bible?  Every week we gather here and we open the Bible and we study it.  Is there something more?

I also think that with some other folks, it isn’t enough to trust Jesus.  They also want to make sure that everyone else is going to hell.  And so they say it’s faith, but it’s actually fear.  And the scriptures say that perfect love casts out fear.   It is not our job to go around deciding who’s going to hell and who’s going to heaven.  Jesus would have said ‘that is your job’ if that was our job.

Obviously, you can resist grace and the love of God.  We see it around us all the time.  Obviously, people can resist.  But this odd religious impulse – that it’s not enough to trust Jesus, but I need to condemn everybody who’s not like me to hell – is a sick, twisted thing that comes from – I would argue – from a deep despair and a fear that simply has no part in the Kingdom of God. 

Our job is to invite everybody to trust Jesus, and I will never back down from that.

The rest is here.

  • Share/Bookmark

This is just going to be an ongoing article here at CRN.info.  The elusive “editor” at C?N has once again not given his opinion on Rick Warren’s ministry.  And, once again they have dug deep for this one.

Let me first say that not all of the ideas in the article entitled 40 Ways to Increase Baptism were life changing.  Some are a bit superficial, but are good ideas for making baptisms special and prolific nonetheless.  The “editor” over at C?N made this unbiased statement about the article:

note that none include preaching the Word of God or repentance…

However here were some ideas presented from Rick Warren:

1. Mention the value, purpose and benefits of baptism regularly in sermons.

7. Have a required membership class that explains the meaning or baptism in detail.

15. Print a “Why Be Baptized?” brochure. Use scriptures and lots of testimonies.

26. Have a corporate prayer of celebration at the end of each service to thank God for those baptized.

27. Sing a great hymn about the power of God to change someone’s life.

It doesn’t exactly sound like Warren is trying to take the scripture out of Baptism.  Looks like the “editor” had a bad case of digging deep for this one.

  • Share/Bookmark

Having read John Macarthur’s “The Truth War – Fighting for certainty in an age of deception” I came away with mixed thoughts.  I was mostly disappointed – quite honestly I expected to dislike it more.  What he said regarding truth is true; it certainly is based in God and revealed in the Bible.  His warnings against apostates and heresies are timely – particularly in a time when these terms have fallen out of favor under the pressure of political correctness and inclusiveness.  No one can come away wondering where Dr. MacArthur stands.

Unfortunately much of his polemic is vague and nearly pointless.  Not pointless in the sense that his warnings need not be heralded, but pointless in any substantive application. His accusations are often so generic, vague, and broad brushed they become irrelevant.  Throughout the book I kept wondering, who is he talking about, what churches and what movements does he oppose… or is it all of them?  For example, though he varies the nomenclature, MacArthur routinely starts phrases with “In some circles…”, “The typical evangelical leader…”, and “…well-known evangelical leaders…” – followed by the particular accusation.  Sometimes these accusations rang true, other times they rang rather hyperbolic- but there was no place to hang them except on the hooks your own mind created.  If you already don’t like someone – all you need do is insert them.

Dr. MacArthur did interact with the writings of Brian Mclaren.  When doing so MacArthur’s arguments became much clearer, specific and therefore relevant.  He pointed our some significant flaws in McClaren’s teaching.  He brought to light some teachings of McClaren’s that are downright unbiblical.  In this MacArthur created some very specific hooks on which to hang his arguments.  As well, Dr. MacArthur reviewed some ancient heresies such as Sabellianism and Arianism.  Here again he got specific and made a very good case that modern day Oneness Pentecostals are basically contemporary Sabbellianists.

These are the exceptions to the “The Truth War” norm.  He makes veiled and passing references to Emergent Churches, but fails to define or describe who they are or what makes them “Emergent.”  MacArthur quotes Rob Bell in his Introduction, but fails to deliver on the anticipated interaction with Bell’s beliefs.  Mark Driscoll is also referenced in “The Truth War” but only in passing and even then it’s a third-party description of Driscoll.  MacArthur never quotes Driscoll directly nor makes any definitive comments himself. 

Topically, MacArthur takes on homosexuality, women in the ministry, and other such issues.  But like his dealing with the emerging church (I should say “Emergents” since The Truth War is void of any distinctive between Emergents and the emerging church) he speaks out against each, but never adequately deals with just who is promoting what heresy… or even what makes it a heresy in the first place.

Bottom line; this book is neither good nor bad… it’s neither hot nor cold.  If you think anything created after 1956 is probably heretical – this book will back that up.  If you think the evangelical church in America is soft and too focused on doctrinal minutia – nothing in this book will challenge you.  In the Introduction Dr. MacArthur says that he has already written a complete commentary of Jude and that the work in chapters 3 – 4 prompted him to write this book.  I came away feeling that he wanted to get into the mix of addressing modern day heretics and end-times false prophets – so he dusted off his commentary, hastily inserted some generic accusations – and went to press.  This would have been a much better book had Dr. MacArthur taken out half of the repetitive arguments in defense of truth, and inserted more original work dealing with the nuances and actualities of various evangelicals and the emerging church.

  • Share/Bookmark

There has been alot of talk at Slice about inappropriate talk for pastor/teachers.  Is talk about pooping and peeing on the blood of the reformers really any better than words like “dude” and “hot”?  But, I doubt we will see Ingrid calling Ken out for this crude language.

What a raging hypocrite is Protestant pretender Rick Warren, one the most prominent pastors in the Slowly Becoming Catholic–itself the largest allegedly “Protestant” denomination here in pagan America–who urinates on the blood of the Reformers and openly promotes apostate Roman Catholicism as Christian.

This means it begins in spiritual deception and those who follow the Reformation-hating teachings of men like Dan Kimball join him in urinating on the memory of the Reformers who were murdered for their faith.

But where are the voices of outrage at Rick Warren’s own audacity to defecate on the blood of the Reformers?

all of these quotes were taken from apprising.org

  • Share/Bookmark

While on vacation, I had some time to think while driving and enjoying God’ creation.  One of the thoughts that concerns me has been re-impressed on me just in perusing a number of Christian blogs – particular emerging ones and this one – of late.

One of the raps on ‘fundamentalism’, Slice, C?N, AM, etc., is an appearance of inability to discern between what is traditional/external and what is Biblical.  It is my concern that ‘emerging’ thought – when it is no longer emerging – will fall into the same set of traps.  In some cases, it already has in its treatment of tradition as somehow anti-Biblical.  This is just as wrong as the traditional externalist orthopraxy on display with Ingrid, in particular.

We who claim Christ, be we fundamentalist, Calvinist, Arminian, Emerging, Methodist, Reformation Movement, Restoration Movement, Protestant or Catholic, are all part of the Church and I am certain that each of us needs to retain a healthy amount of uncertainty that we ‘have it all right’.  As brothers and sisters, we need to keep that in mind as we write here and elsewhere, lest we fall into the sin of purposeful quarreling and divisiveness. 

In this arena, I would agree that am often the chiefest of sinners – so I write this for myself, first and formost.

I earnestly believe that most of us who write here, who often vehemently disagree with each other, will be spending an eternity together, and as I ‘get back into the groove’ after a long absense (and before another shorter one), I am hoping to try to agree and disagree in a manner that recognizes this…

Maybe this post is really just a reminder for me, but if you think it applies to you, perhaps it does, as well…

  • Share/Bookmark

So we are commanded to love one another right?  In fact, I remember a certain scripture saying, “let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.”  I don’t recall there being a condition on that verse either.  I didn’t say, “let us love one another, unless they are Muslim” or “let us love one another, unless of course they are Hindu.”

Well, it looks like a little leaven has leavened this whole website.  Apparently scriptural principles go into the category of “MOAA (Mother Of All Apostasies)”.  They are up in arms over a shirt that says “can’t we just love one another” using symbols from various world religions.  It did not say “can’t we just accept each other’s religion” and it didn’t say “can’t we just accept one another’s God.”  It simply said “can’t we just love one another.”

This is at the heart of the hyper-fundamentalist religious system at A Little Leaven, C?N, Slice and Apprising.  They only will love people who are like them.  Anyone else needs to first believe what they believe, and then they are worthy of love.  It’s a good thing that Christ loved us when we were following another religion.  And they think WE are the reason Christianity is in church decline.

  • Share/Bookmark

Honestly, how does the woman find the time to get a radio show done. Evidently, Dave A.K.A. movie pastor wrote an offensive post. What was his offense? Well he said his wife of 25 years was “hot.” He also used the word dude, and calls his post “mind dump.” She actually has three different posts up dedicated to this guy. You can find them all at her site with a little research. Here’s some of my favorite quotes from the mad commenters she sent his way.

I can’t see Abraham referring to Sarah about how HOT she was over and over…she was beautiful but he did not need to say it over and over to boost his ego

WOW! I never thought a paster would resort to saying “dude”, or saying his wife is “hot”.

Dude, mentioning Jesus was like 15th or 16th on your list of the coolest things that pop into your head? That’s cool. Your like some kind of pastor dude, so you probably had to fit Him in somewhere, right?

And then my favorite quote is obviously not a follower of Ingrid

Dang Dude, I don’t check your blog for a couple of days while you’re out of the country and I’ve missed all the fun. Where in the world did you post that attracted all of these people? Kind of reminds me of the old Far Side cartoon where the guy steps in a “nest” of wiener dogs. I don’t know why I bother to associate with such a liberal, childish, emergent, Satan pleasing, and without moral compass pastor.As far as your wife goes I think it would be best if you just followed Abraham’s example in scripture and introduce her as your sister. LOL

For an even better time read the comments on Slice. I know Chris L. doesn’t like the term but how can “fightin’ fundie” not apply? Somehow I failed to put a link up to Dave. Here it is.

  • Share/Bookmark

Ingrid goes after XXXchurch yet again. Her main beef is that pastors should never mention porn from the pulpit.What about the woman who is married to a non Christian husband. Doesn’t he need to hear this? What if he has an addiction? What if their children discover daddy’s secret stash, shouldn’t they know it’s a sin?I’ve heard plenty of fundamentalists go after gays and abortionists, why are they afraid to address porn?

Whatever you think about the XXXchurch guys, porn is a sin and needs to be addressed, from the pulpit and in men’s groups. Anyone can be addicted to anything, even Christians. I’ve seen more than a few fundamentalists with food addictions (which is a form of idolatry). Sin is sin, let’s not start saying that it’s ok to be gluttonous and overweight.

By the way, one of the fastest growing trends is women addicted to porn. This effects all genders and ages.

I’m not interested in comments on XXXchurch or it’s antics. Just the issue of addiction and preaching from the pulpit.

  • Share/Bookmark

Ok, I made that up. But that math isn’t all that different from this math. A guy named Eric Bramlet went to a movie with his wife and he “loved it.” Ingrid reports to us about this pastor and the road that he’s on. Ken then takes that post and somehow links it to Molech and somehow blames Rob Bell.

Anything to get the ole hits up, I guess.

Thanks Ken

  • Share/Bookmark