Archive for September 11th, 2007

I have a lot of issues with Juanita Bynum’s ministry.  There is a lot to be said about her theology, teachings and even her current marital situation.  Having that said, this attack at CRN is simply unfair.  Bynum is divorcing her husband after he attacked her in a hotel parking lot.  There was apparently a history of abuse.  Now, if this was anyone else, the advise would be to get out as soon as possible before you are in serious danger.  However, the ever so elusive “editor” at CRN slips this little jab into the beginning of the story

“I hate divorce,” says the LORD God of Israel. (Malachi 2:16)

This is a classic case of using the scripture to passively and cruelly abuse people.  It’s not that this scripture isn’t true.  But I wonder if Ken the editor would barge into a battered women’s home and proclaim this over the bruised and battered women there.  It’s sad when the ODMs have to make underhanded attacks for headlines.  This one has nothing to do with the Word of Faith movement (as this article is categorized), but keeping their opinions about Bynum fresh.

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I do feel sorry for Ingrid’s loss with Slice 2.0, but I praise God for one less voice of unmerited and often unbiblical discernment on the web. In her fair well address to her Slice readers, Ingrid says that she has never “had worse insults hurled at [her] at a personal level and from men who claim that they love Jesus.” She then continued with, “When you pour your heart and soul into something and this is the response from “fellow Christians”, cheap shots that ignore the countless sermons, devotionals, hymns and encouragement posted, it can be devastating.” I found this to be so ironic.

I am part of a community that was often attacked by Ingrid. I too often wondered how fellow Christians (without the quotation marks) like her could make such cheap shots and ignore the countless biblical sermons, podcasts, devotionals and encouragement that radiate from my church. It never seemed like the character of the God we both serve. I had the privilege of encouraging many pastors via email that were attacked in the same way by Ingrid. When you pour your heart out into a ministry and see lives transformed by Christ, it is hard to swallow the intense “discernment” from people who have never even stepped foot in your community of faith.

Again, if I was to look at this thru the theology of the ODMs, it is the Lord’s predestined plan that Slice should not exist. Who knows if that is the case. I just know that I am glad one more ODM is taken offline.

RIP
SLICE OF LAODICEA

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Matt.11:19 – The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold, a man gluttonous and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners.

Do we as the church sometimes become our own self fulfilling prophecies? In the past twenty or so years a phenomenon has arisen around almost every community. There now are gay churches that have gay preachers and accept the gay lifestyle. Yes, I know they are unbiblical and fly directly in the face of God’s truth so let us not pretend that is God’s will.

But I can remember several decades ago when the evangelical movement seemed to gather energy by confronting the ever growing homosexual community with sometimes vitriolic and hateful language. Protests and sermons dedicated to labeling, naming, and pronouncing judgment of all those that claimed to be gay were commonplace, and conservative organizations grew at least in part by the common disdain for homosexuals. They were mocked and castigated and generally treated as special objects of God’s wrath. Some of that same sentiment continues today.

Here is my question which I am sure will bring anger from some quarters: Could it be that some in the gay community felt increasingly empty and began to feel hungry for God, and when they recognized they were not welcome in our churches, they started their own misguided fellowships? Could we have embraced them apart from their sin and prayed that the Spirit would gain access into their hearts and change their eternity as well as their lives, all while in the warmth of a loving fellowship of believers? So how do we love and embrace sinners, even to the point of eating with them, and still have them realize that we do not condone their sin?

I do not know the answer to that question fully but I do know Jesus went to parties held by sinners. And while never partaking of sin he partook of sinners. I am sure He did not stand off in a corner mocking and rolling His eyes in disgust, no, He was the light of the world and darkness was His forte. While always guarding against appearing to condone sin, I’m not sure we can ever really show Christ’s love to sinners without being accused of condoning and partaking of their sin. Did not they accuse our sinless Savior of just that? I fear we worry too much about what others will think and not what God’s heart desires. What do you think?

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Joe Carter over at Evangelical Outpost brings us an observation concerning the 60s (the setup here is that Christians were extensively involved in the cultural upheaval of the 60s, but that there is virtually no coverage of it in the secular or Christian press or histories):

Note, too, that just as chroniclers from the left want to preserve the zeitgeist of the ’60s from any contamination by the Holy Spirit, so chroniclers from the right–conservative Christians in particular–are wont to cast that decade as a time of dramatic national apostasy, a turning away from God, the bitter harvest of which we are now reaping. To acknowledge that the reality was much messier–that the Bergstroms are as well suited as Jim Morrison or Janis Joplin to represent the spirit of that time–would require these pundits to start from scratch.

This goes right back to the reflexive idolizing of the past the church, for whatever reason, has had for as long as I’ve been alive. The church has collectively denied any involvement in the social upheaval of the 60’s in order to maintain the view that the root of all evil in America traces to those damnable hippies. As neat and tidy as that narrative is, it just isn’t true. Christians were involved, and not every evil can be traced to the 60s. In fact in many ways the 60s corrected some of the sins of American life. Consider the example the author gives of the Bergstroms:

Like many children of the ’60s, Arne and Marie Bergstrom rebelled against the expectations of their middle-class families. In 1970, halfway through their undergraduate studies at the evangelical Bethel College in St. Paul, Minn., they dropped out, got married, sold all their possessions and went to do God’s work. Their journey took them to Papua New Guinea, Sudan and the Philippines (where they adopted two girls; they had two sons as well). When they settled back in the U.S., Arne’s beat was disaster relief: He went to Rwanda, Kosovo and Turkey (after a massive earthquake), to refugee camps at the Iran-Afghanistan border. Marie became an award-winning fifth-grade teacher.

A couple of months ago, our church in Wheaton, Ill., had to bid the Bergstroms goodbye. They were moving again, close to Seattle, where Arne took a position at World Vision, the Christian relief and development agency. If you had seen them standing in front of the congregation, you could hardly have failed to recognize them as aging hippies–Marie’s long straight hair, Arne’s grizzled beard–and they are both runners, thin as rails.

If that’s not a life lived in worship of the living God, than what is? And it happened as a direct result of the effect the 60’s had on this couple.

Is it really so important to the church that we glamorize the past at the expense of truth? How long can we keep looking longingly back to the 50s as a panacea? At some point we need to face up to the fact that there were problems in both the church and society in every age? That tracing every major problem to the hippies of the 60s is a lie, and it fosters a sinful attitude of “not my problem”. Even if it were true hippies caused every problem we have today, the church is not Pier One, there is no “you break you buy it” policy in place. Instead there’s a “its broken, now do the work of the gospel” policy in place.

Its time to stop looking in the rear view mirror, put the car in drive and start moving forward.

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