Archive for August 21st, 2008

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More trash talking on the Granger survey from the ODMs. This time it comes from Way of the Master Radio. Once again, I love how these guys spend so much time critiquing everyone else in the world. As if it was their mission from God to inform the world on the shortcomings of once church in Indiana. They are little better than paparazzi.

It all comes back to this (and I completely agree with Bill Hybels and the pastor at Granger over these results), the job of the pastor is not to feed the sheep. The job of the pastor is to make self-feeders. Here are just a few things going on a Granger in a given week that I picked up from spending one minute on their website:

* Midweek Bible Studies at 6:30pm
* Four Services on Sundays & Saturdays
* Weekly Small Groups
* Core Classes
* Ministry Teams to serve with

Are the ODMs really going to expect me to believe that if someone connects with these services that the church offers, they are NOT going to hear once that Jesus is the only way, or that the bible is the word of God? That there is just fluff and happy feel-good sermons at each of these things. Really folks? Use some logic here. It seems like there are more than enough opportunities to connect to the Word of God and to good Christian people with these events.

Todd asks the question of who is the shepherd and who are the sheep in his broadcast. It’s not the pastor and the congregation, it is Jesus Christ and His people. The truth is that there is a lack of self-motivation and self-initiative in ALL churches today, regardless of theology, style or tradition. While Granger is struggling get people’s theology straight, traditional First Baptist Boondocks may be ignoring the alcoholic father, the apathetic mother, and the kids that do all kinds of nasty every night with their girlfriends. I see it all the time when I travel, and those of you in small town, USA can probably testify to that.

The disconnect between church attendance and biblical living is certainly not reserved for those in seeker-sensitive, purpose-driven, emergent, circus churches. It’s a problem we all face. And, until we get past all of our nice church facades and trying to save the Christian masks we hold so dear, our buildings will be filled with people who hear the Word, but are not transformed.

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Friends,

I’m supposed to be on hiatus this week as I begin moving into our new house and all, but something at SOL caught my eye this morning and I don’t want to let it pass without a comment or two.

Before I object to something in the post, I want to state upfront that I agree with this statement, “You cannot be a Christian and support the killing of un-born babies.” I am opposed to abortion on demand and the wholesale slaughter of children (even as I am opposed to the wholesale ‘putting away’ of the elderly in nursing homes or white vans owned by Jack Kevorkian). Murder, what the Bible calls enmity in Genesis 3:15 and elsewhere, is a terribly heinous sin and is perpetuated as the seed of the serpent goes about the business of trying to annihilate the seed of the woman. I am not, please note, not disagreeing with this particular point of the OP.

Having said that, I also came across this sentence (this quote is from Dave Daubenmire’s article that the author of Slice excerpted) that sort of bugged me. I’m not posting this because I agree or disagree (although I am leaning towards disagreement) at this point, but rather to stimulate some wholesome thinking and hopefully learn something. Daubemire wrote (admittedly, there is no other context aside from what the author of Slice excerpted, but I think I am not misunderstanding what he is saying):

No wonder we are losing the battle for this nation.

Now here’s my question: Is the battle we are fighting really for ‘this nation’? Is that really the war we are engaged in right now? I have to say, with all due respect, because in this instance I am perfectly willing to learn–that is, I’m not entirely certain of my position–that this doesn’t seem to be true. (I could ask if anyone thinks RW should have been tougher on the abortion issue, but that’s another post.) You see, I think here I agree again with Ellul who wrote this: “The church lets itself be seduced, invaded, dominated by the ease with which it can now spread the Gospel by force (another force than that of God) and use its influence to make the state, too, Christian. It is great acquiescence to the temptation Jesus himself resisted, for when Satan offered to give him all the kingdoms of the earth, Jesus refuses, but the church accepts, not realizing from whom it is receiving the kingdoms.” (The Subversion of Christianity, 124)

My point here is that if we are in a ‘battle for this nation’ are we not settling? I mean, is a merely Christian America the goal here? Is that why I wake up and pray every day? Is that why I preach? Is that why I sing? Is it God’s ambition that every business, every corporation, every entity in America, be Christianized? I know, I know: “Your Kingdom come, your will be done…” Yes. But if our vision doesn’t extend beyond the borders of America, are we not selling short the prayer? God’s vision is universal, cosmic, not merely local or national. When we pray, “your Kingdom Come,” does that mean, ‘Your Kingdom come in America?’ as in ’smite all the heretical enemies of America so the truly elect can get on with the business of Eden in America? Is that what Jesus had in mind?

With all due respect to Mr Daubemire, I am not fighting a battle for this nation any more than I am fighting a battle for the community where I live. Mostly I’m fighting a battle within myself (Romans 7) and often I’m losing–more often than I am winning. So my question to you is this: Are we, Christians (or for you good Reformed folks, the Elect), fighting a battle for America? Is that our particular calling at this particular moment in the history of the universe?  Ever? (On a side note, I might ask if RW is really the reason we are ‘losing the battle for America, but again, that’s another post as I don’t happen to think that what goes on at Saddleback is necessarily indicative of what goes on in most churches in America.) And do we really think that abortion is the issue in this battle? It goes back to Genesis 3:15 and the enmity. America is fond of killing in general; we invent ways of doing it; we glamorize it in films and Law and Order reruns; we are obsessed with killing. We have all sorts of reasons for murdering, but they are all murder. Abortion is a symptom and a consequence of the greater problem we have in the world, not a specifically American franchise.

What do you think? Does Ephesians 6 here play any role in this? Is there a battle for the soul of America that Christians are engaged in? (This sounds very political, and I am tres skeptical of the church being involved in politics at any level.) I’ll be interested in reading your thoughts. Please try hard to stay on topic and not railroad this post. Thanks in advance.

Soli Deo Gloria!

PS-please don’t read this and assume that I am either a) pro-abortion or b) anti-America. I am neither and if you accuse me of being so, I will sic merry on you or Rick or iggy or all three at the same time.

PPS-shame on Daubemire for laying all this at the feet of RW! Even if we are ‘losing the battle for America,’ it is hardly just to pile that at the feet of one person, especially RW. Fact is, all of us are guilty at some level. All of us bear the shame and responsibility for the sin of this nation.

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