Archive for December 3rd, 2008

…smoke gets in your eyes” – so the song goes.  In a recent set of posts the editor of CRN? attacks a youth pastor for asking a tactical ministry question: “Have you ever taught a dedicated lesson to your whole group on stealing or have you limited it to when it comes up in other contexts” – [my paraphrase].

The point of the fire and smoke metaphor is emotion can cloud your judgment.  I hope this has happened to the Editor at CRN?, either that or this post is premeditated deception.  Those are the two options I came up with; either the editor is purposefully (pun intended) twisting and misrepresenting what was written in the pastor’s blog, or his/her disdain for anything Saddleback has so clouded the mind that clarity of thought and true discernment is no longer possible.  When your heat is on fire smoke gets in your eyes.

The title of the post shows the deception or confusion: Saddleback Youth Pastor Uncertain If He Should Teach Against Stealing.  A casual reading of the title might make you think that Joshua Griffin, youth pastor at Saddleback, is uncertain whether or not stealing is a sin, or if this sin should be taught against.  In the article itself the editor asks “Has Youth Pastor Josh ever heard of the Ten Commandments?!?”  And goes on to scold him since “Apparently the Biblical mandate against stealing was not enough to convince Youth Pastor Josh from Saddleback Church that stealing should be addressed to the whole ministry.”

Of course, a simple reading of the original blog, which is only one paragraph long immediattly dispels any issue.  It is simply a question of tactics in teaching… nothing more.

This is either a case of gross misunderstanding (smoke in eye) or a gross case of pure deception… for the sake of the editor and the cause of Christ, I hope it’s the former.

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Sometimes Guilt by Association is enough and no further comment is needed.  On CRN? the “editor” posted an excerpt of a story about Evangelicals adopting Advent.  When I followed the link, I discovered it was not an excerpt but the whole story.  The story is simply “Evangelicals are adopting and adapting Advent rituals.”  No reason is given by either the editor or the watcher why this is an issue except the tag that these are Roman Catholic rituals.  Apparently GBA stands on its own.

What both sites fail to do (as usual) is to exercise true discernment and investigate how Advent is being adopted and adapted by Evangelicals… What meanings are being taught, what practices are being adopted, how are they being adapted to take them from a Roman Catholic ritual into an evangelical experience…?  but then again, that’s probably moot – if the Catholics do it (or ever did) we should not.

When you focus on external behaviors regardless of meaning, when you assume that your way of doing things is the only true way regardless of biblical teaching, when you narrow the method of true worship to a certain time and a certain place… you are forced into a pretty narrow (and extra-biblical) definition of what is orthopraxy – acceptable practices.

It’s a shame to see the worship of God limited to the praxis developed by a Western Culture in a period after the 16th Century but before the 1960’s – anything before this period is too Roman… anything after is too everything else… What a burden they bear, to constantly lift their own cultural praxis to the level of orthpraxis while also constantly making sure the immutable God does not escape from the box they have created for him.

BTW – our thoroughly evangelical and orthodox church has been observing advent for 17 years… I guess we’re ahead of the apostasy wave… who knew?

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