Archive for January 30th, 2008

This is a very strange post from Ken Silva over at CRN.  Apparently, evangelist Brian Culver found an inappropriate bulletin from a girl back in his home town.  Was the MySpace bulletin inappropriate?  Very much so… but who does he blame?  The parents?  The school system?
The Seeker-Sensitive Church, of course!  So he takes to opportunity to air some rather public and strong rebuke to a fellow pastor that he obviously knows:

PASTOR! YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE. YOU HAVE IGNORED SIN TOO LONG IN YOUR CHURCH. YOU HAVE TURNED A BLIND EYE FOR THE SAKE OF NOT OFFENDING ANYONE. DO YOU SEE WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DO NOT CONFRONT SIN? LITTLE GIRLS SEE NOTHING WRONG WITH PROMOTING SEX ON THE INTERNET. (THIS IS NOT THE FIRST TIME IT HAS HAPPENED IN YOUR CHURCH!) HOMOSEXUAL BOYS FIND NOTHING WRONG WITH THEIR LIFESTYLE. ADULTS THINK IT IS OKAY TO FLIP PEOPLE OFF AND JUST SAY, “I AM SO HAPPY THAT GOD FORGIVES ME WHEN I DO THAT!” WHEN YOU DO NOT HAVE ANY CHURCH DISCIPLINE IN YOUR CHURCH, YOU ARE OPENING THE DOOR FOR WEAK AND WIMPY CHRISTIANS TO LEAD THE FLOCK. YOU HAVE A HOMOSEXUAL BOY IN YOUR YOUTH GROUP AND ALL OF THE OTHER YOUTH ARE FINDING IT AS AN ACCEPTABLE THING.

he later says (yes, in all caps)

PASTORS! DO YOU NOW SEE WHY TELLING JOKES AND A BUNCH OF STORIES IS NOT THE WAY TO GO FOR A CHURCH SERVICE? DO YOU NOW SEE THAT GOD’S WORD IS TRUE AND IT IS A LAMP UNTO OUR FEET. IT WILL DIRECT OUR PATHS. WE DO NOT NEED MULTI-MEDIA AND HIP HOP MUSIC AND A LOT OF STARBUCKS COFFEE AND DONUTS. WHAT WE NEED IS GOOD OLD FASHIONED BIBLICAL PREACHING. PREACHING GOD’S LAW AND THE NEED TO REPENT OF SINS. WE NEED TO HEAR HOW TO PUT OUR TRUST AND FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST AS OUR LORD AND SAVIOR. WE NEED TO HEAR THE NEED TO BE OBEDIENT TO GOD’S WORD. AND WE NEED TO SEE PASTOR’S WHO ACTUALLY DO ALL OF THE ABOVE!!!! THAT IS WHAT IS MISSING. OBEDIENT PASTORS!!!!!!!! THEY SAY THE RIGHT THINGS, BUT THEY DO NOT DO THE RIGHT THINGS. IF YOU HAVE SIN OPENLY DISPLAYED IN YOUR CHURCH BY A LEADER OR EVEN A MEMBER, YOU NEED TO PRACTICE CHURCH DISCIPLINE. THE IDEA IS TO SET THEM APART SO THAT THEY CAN REPENT OF THEIR SINS AND COME BACK INTO THE BODY. YOUR WORDS ARE NOT EDIFYING THE BODY IF YOUR ACTIONS ARE NOT CONSISTENT WITH SCRIPTURE. HOW MANY PEOPLE DID YOU WITNESS TO TODAY? ARE YOU FULFILLING THE GREAT COMMISSION. MOST PASTOR’S I KNOW, THE ANSWER IS A BIG AND TERRIBLE NO!

I am not too sure how he connected one girl’s personal MySpace bulletin with pastors telling jokes, drinking Starbucks and listing to hip-hop.  I am definately unclear as to how he could jump to the subject of homosexual teenagers being accepted in a youth group.   However, I find it sad that these grown men find it appropriate to give such anonymous personal information and rebuke on a very impersonal blog.  That’s up there with dumping your girlfriend via text-message.

I also find it amazing how these ODMs are able to connect practically anything with a seeker sensitive/emerging/purpose-driven church.  If you asked this girl if what she wrote was wrong, she would more than likely reply with “yes.”  But somehow all of this is not the parent’s fault, but the pastor’s (even though she know the biblical thing to do).  I am amazed at the length these men and women will go to publicly call out fellow ministers, air their dirty laundry, and then connect any sin in the congregation to their preaching/ministry methods.  If we went around exposing the sin in traditional churches, we might also be able to make some outlandish claims about the effectiveness of that method.

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Without opening a can of worms, can someone please explain how this is not essentially fatalism?

Doesn’t the analogy of the graveyard make evangelism completely irrelevant, futile and unnecessary?  I mean, if you are preaching the gospel among the completely unresponsive dead, are not all evangelistic efforts simply busy work that God has us do?  Essentially shouting at graves?

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Both CRN and slice are up in arms once again over Rick Warren’s peace plan.  As expected, this global movement towards ending hunger, AIDS and poverty is getting lots of attention from many media outlets.  These ODMs cannot understand why a Christian would ever want to partner with someone of a different faith or sexuality to end such a horrendous problem in the world.  I wonder why the ODMs did not protest churches working alongside non-believers to help clean up Katrina or bring aid to the tsunami victims.  Surely, they too were advocating universalism.  Or could it be that simply because Rick Warren is behind this movement, it must be inherently heretical?

Recently CRN boiled down Warren’s message to this

Global Crisis Requires Global Spiritual Unity for Global Good

This could not be further from the truth.  Spiritual Unity implies that we all need to be unified in our faith to combat this crisis.  I challenge any ODM to find where Warren has said that we all must share the same spirituality to combat this.  Never once has he called for spiritual unity, but for people of all faiths to work together, which does not require spiritual unity.  You see, this is not a spiritual issue, this is a human issue that we are facing.  Christians, Muslims or Hindus are not dying everyday , humans are dying everyday.  The phrase should be altered to say

Global Crisis Requires Global Human Unity for Global Good

I truly believe that most ODMs have a hard time not seeing people in one of two categories:  the non-elect and the elect.  They cannot simply see people as human.  I mean, this issue should appeal to our basic human compassion.  Almost every culture in the world agrees that certain actions, such as murder, poverty and disease epidemics, are horrible atrocities.  But, this is why you will hardly ever see an article on CRN that addresses the suffering of HUMANS in Africa, or the genocide that is taking place in Darfur.  If it doesn’t have a “Christian” label and theology attached to it, it is worthless.

Now, I will say this, because I know the rebuttal is coming, our primary message is to preach the gospel.  However, a hefty portion of Jesus’ teachings were on feeding the hungry, caring for widows and praying for the sick.  It is not an either/or situation;  It is a both/and.  I challenge the ODMS today.  Are you against Warren’s peace plan because he is truly calling for a “Global Spiritual Unity”, or are you against it because it is simply Rick Warren?

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Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

Such are the words of Paul in his letter to the Romans, as he describes ways we are to be loving of all of those around us, who walk with us in this life. In my days of working in Leadership Development, I became acquainted with all sorts of quotes, but one that stuck with me was one by Rudolph Guiliani in his book on leadership:

Weddings Optional, Funerals Mandatory

Basically, his advice was that when people are celebrating that it is important to let them know that you are happy for their good fortune, even if there are conflicts which prevent your physical presence. In the case of someone in mourning, though, not only is your empathy/sympathy important, but your physical presence is, as well. In Guiliani’s advice, your time and presence demonstrates to a mourner, far and above anything else, your love for them.

In the first century, when a loved one died, it was customary for them to be placed in a 2-chambered tomb. One chamber held the body of the deceased, and the other was for the close friends and family of the deceased to sit in mourning for a week after the death. In many cases, the burial chamber was sealed after three days (as was the case with Lazarus), due to the smell, but the mourner would still remain. This allowed time for news of the death to spread to the outlying communities, and for well-wishers to comfort those who were mourning.

Upon reaching the tomb, the comforters would weep with the grieved, and tear their clothes.

This is part of the image I believe Paul is painting in his advice for Christians.

Sadly, there are those who claim the Christian faith who have turned Paul’s advice on its head, out of a sense of Schadenfreude (taking pleasure in the misfortune of others), who mourn for those who rejoice and rejoice for those who mourn. If you want an example of an anti-Christ spirit of today, you need look no further when something like this happens.

What has become incredibly odious is the practice of using someone’s death as a political or religious platform – whether the death of soldiers overseas, a political figure, a religious leader (or the wife of a disgraced religious leader), or a famous actor. Such an occasion is NOT the time to score political points. Such an occasion is a time to demonstrate love.

Heath Ledger

Last night, I was heartened to find out that Chris Rosebrough was choosing to speak out againt the actions of some falsely acting in the name of Christ, specifically Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church, in their plans to picket the funeral of actor Heath Ledger.  Why Ledger?  Because of a gay character he played in Brokeback Mountain (which I’ve not seen), and – most importantly – because his funeral will get lots of press coverage.

Here’s a video (HT: Chris R.) with Phelps’ own words:

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Rosebrough writes:

Therefore, We’d like to ask you to pray AND find a way to combat this hate by sending messages that share Christ’s love with Heath Ledger’s family and loved ones. If we don’t take a stand against this type of hate done in the name of Christ then we will become silent accomplices to Westboro’s gross and inhuman sin.

I could not agree more, and I am doubly blessed that this was written by Chris R and that we agree on this matter.  I would hope that the message received by Ledger’s family about the love of Christ is not the one preached by Phelps and the WBC, but the one preached by Paul and affirmed by those truly demonstrating Jesus’ love…
If anyone has contact information of where to send condolences to Ledger’s family, please post it in the comments, as I couldn’t find any online.

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