Archive for April 23rd, 2008

This has obviously been a bad week for Slice and Ingrid’s self declared “gift” of discernment. The writer filed this post under “Apostasy Alert”, effectively declaring that Ravi has fallen away from the Christian faith. Most writers here have a great deal of respect for Ravi Zacharias and consider his ministry a true discernment ministry.

In other news, Mark Driscoll once had lunch with Ravi Zacharias. It sounds like they had a good and healthy discussion about the differences in the emerging church. Does this mean that Ravi is an emerging Christian too, even though he has expressed his concerns about the Emerging church?

Ingrid’s entire post is appalling. Be prepared to stifle your gag reflex.

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Did you ever look back and look your old high school year book photos? Or perhaps peruse the family album? Some of the thoughts that come to my mind when I do this are, “Man, I was young” or “Why did I wear that? No wonder I couldn’t get any dates”.

Years ago I listened to a band called Stryper. They were the first popular Christian heavy metal band. They were known for wearing yellow and black spandex, teased hair, and throwing out bibles to the audience.

People quickly forget just how huge Stryper was (think more popular then Rob Bell). They had two gold albums, one platinum album, and several #1 videos on MTV (back when MTV played music). They played huge arenas and it was ok to tell your non believing friends that you listened to them.

They were also controversial. Many fundamentalists thought they were the biggest threat to Christianity that they had seen in a while. I quickly learned not to bring up Stryper to my fundamentalist relatives because a literal family fight would break out. To fundamentalists, listening to Stryper was almost equivalent of selling your soul to Satan. (For an ODM/KJV-only take on Stryper, full of ad-hominem and gba arguments, go here).

There were even fundamentalist newsletters, books, and tracts, all exposing the evils of Christian rock. Stryper was a lightning rod for this criticism. Some fundamentalists still consider the band a threat to Christianity and have taken their accusation online, full of ODM arguments and tactics, even though Stryper hasn’t released a major record in almost 20 years. (See here, here, and here for only a few examples).

Now I look back at it and I have to admit that I wonder why I listened to them. They weren’t very good musically and they looked goofy. The lyrics were spiritually shallow and just plain dumb (”And we’re fighting,oh wooh wooh – the sin. And the Good Book, it says we’ll win” – Soldiers Under Command) But at the same time, it’s kind of like looking back at that old photo album. Honestly, they were harmless. No one can or has gone back to the annals of church history and proven that Stryper damaged the Church, Jesus, or Christianity. They were stylistically embarrassing but not much more.

There are real threats to the Christian life. Most of the writers here would say that the health and wealth gospel and some extreme forms of charismatic beliefs are great examples.

Then there are overblown, hyped up, “chicken little” threats. Things like the emerging church, PDL, or gospel music (or as Ingrid calls is, “fanny shaking” music) comes to mind. We can and should talk about these things, however, we should do it with humility and love. Over the top, polarizing statements like “McLaren’s Worldview Leads to More Violence, Not Less” only show that one is simply being asinine.

After we got over the 80s, most of us were able to discern that Stryper wasn’t worth the trouble. We can have a discussion about their style, their theology, or their tactics. But, in the end, both Stryper and the volumes of criticism they received was all hype.

I guarantee that the ODM types will completely miss the point of this post. Why are you living for the devil when you should be living for the Lord?

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Sometimes no commentary is needed to illustrate how the ODM’s have the unique ability to twist “news” to fit their agenda.

First from A Little Leaven comes the story of the sorry church

Is the church wrong and judgmental for claiming that abortion and homosexuality are sins and contending against them? Pastor Richard Mark Lee of the Family Church in Sugar Hill, Georgia thinks so. What did he do about it? He apologized to the unchurched for being judgmental during a highly publicized church service.

We think that Pastor Richard should also apologize on behalf of God for destroying the earth by flood because of men’s wickedness, destroying Sodom and Gomorah, plaguing the Egyptians and killing their first born, destroying Korah and those who followed him, killing everyone in Jericho, and killing the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel for their false religion.

And now from the Pastor, Richard Mark Lee, of Sugar Hill Church

“For me, I cannot stand in front of God and tell Him that I did nothing to reverse that perception. It’s important to know that the 18-28 year-olds are not against Christ; in fact, they tell pollsters that they have fond feelings for Him and believe in God. But the bottom line is that the Church is still perceived as judgmental, homophobic, and irrelevant” rather than for our love for them.

“I am 37 years old and I believe the Bible is 100 percent truth without error. But the Bible tells us we are to judge our own lives and not the lives of those outside the faith.

“Today I want to apologize to our community for getting in the way of Jesus. He really is awesome and you’d like Him, even though you may not like those in the Church.”

Lee addressed a variety of misperceptions the Church has given to unbelievers in an increasingly non-Christian society.

“I have picketed abortion clinics, I’ve held the signs and banners and done all those things. I am pro-life but I regret being involved in those things. I am sorry for having a bumper sticker mentality.

“If you have had an abortion recently or even several years ago, I want you to know that I do not sit in judgment of you today. I am sorry if you have sensed a spirit of judgment in the way I presented myself and the gospel.”

Then he addressed the gay issue and individuals in the Church who “have a pharisaical mindset,” apologizing for the way some Christians “have demonstrated prejudice, bigotry, or a hateful attitude.

“We are sorry for acting like the head of the body of Christ rather than like a part of that body. We are sorry for driving you out of church; that is not of God. “I have apologized to God and now I am apologizing to you.

“In my day of arrogance I have laughed at my share of gay jokes but I now understand that participating in such activity does color the way you view people. You can’t avoid it. And while I firmly believe that Romans 1 is true in its discussion of homosexuality I know that it is much easier to condemn when you do not know those in that lifestyle.

“I have recently renewed an acquaintance with an individual who is homosexual and I have come to the realization that I cannot engage in jokes which demean the very person I am trying to reach.

“We have used trite phrases such as ‘love the sinner but hate the sin’ in these instances but we should really love the sinner and hate our own sin. The Bible teaches that love does not find fault, but the hard truth is that the world has seen that we do not love those who are different from us.

“Time and again, Jesus’ words challenged the religious establishment. He taught us to leave the 99 and go after the lost one. But we have not followed that teaching very well and have actually pushed people further away from church.

“In John 4:18 we read that ‘perfect love drives out fear.’ I apologize for driving you out of the church and making the church a place that you fear. While the Bible teaches that we should all have a reverential fear of God, we should not fear those who sit in the pews. I make this apology and genuinely ask you to forgive me.”

Read the rest of the story here.

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