Archive for the 'Chris Pajak' Category

Armchair Weed EatersFollowing on the heels of Tim Challies, Michael ‘iMonk’ Spencer has truly outdone himself with a beautiful metaphor that I wish I could just steal and claim as my own.  Weed eaters.

Spencer writes:

There’s nothing quite as empowering to a middle school boy as to be given a weed-eater of his very own. Armed with the machine, safety glasses and an orientation, they come marching across the campus taking on weeds and untrimmed grass like Sherman’s march to the sea.

If there was ever any tentativeness in these weed-eating workers, it all vanishes when they get their first taste of the power of the weed-eater. With a squeeze of the trigger, the power to eliminate weeds replaces the fear of what might happen in using such a dangerous device. Lazy middle school boys are transformed into the scourge of weeds and untidy lawns everywhere.

As I read the article, I can remember my own days as a freshman at a Christian college, incredulous that there could even be a Young Democrats chapter at a Christian college.  What an oxymoron, right?  And the zeal with which I argued and debated friends and rivals, alike, on the evils of alcohol – because teatotalling is right next to godliness.  And the folks who believed in anything other than literal 6-day, young earth creationism?  Make way, you godless heathens, wolves in sheep’s clothing!

There is, unfortunately, a not so charming side effect of this transformation. In the ensuing attack on weeds and sidewalk scruffiness of all kinds, most of the other flora and fauna of the campus is put at some risk from overenthusiastic weed warriors.

So in addition to a tidy campus and well attended faculty and staff lawns, there are frequent attacks on flower beds, gardens and much loved decorative hedges and bushes. Small fences are no obstacle to a boy convinced that some stray sprig of wayward grass is attempting to survive the Day of the Weed-eater.

Flowers and other decorative plants are at real risk when the power of a gang of boys go out into the neighborhood to do good. They are armed and dangerous. The neighborhood will be improved.

Zealousness is not at issue, which I believe sometimes I (and other writers at CRN.Info) am mistaken to be against.  We are called to have zeal for the Lord and to do His work with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength.  Where that becomes a problem is when we start assuming the place of God, in judging the hearts of others, or the Holy Spirit, in convicting them.  We may effectively ‘whack some weeds’, but who knows how many beneficial plants we damage in the process.

Spencer acknowledges this dark side of ‘zeal’ -

So as I get older, I see many of my zealous brothers and sisters armed with the Bible, heading out into the church to do what they believe is a good work of killing weeds.

The results are predictably predictable.

Be less enthralled with your ability to trim the grass brothers, friends. Be less certain that you are qualified to tell the difference between a weed and a flower that has yet to bloom. Learn to use your power equipment carefully. You can do a lot of damage. All does not depend on you cutting down every unknown and out of place plant. You are not saving us from the arrival of the jungle.

And this is where I often find myself.  Reminded of Jesus’ admonition to serve and to love his bride – even the parts I may not personally like.  In a place of a concerned steward protecting gardens and flower beds from undiscerning, yet possibly well-intentioned youths, armed with their shiny new weed-eaters.

iMonk concludes:

It was the Pharisees that Jesus criticized for their weed-eater mentality. They were obsessed with separation. They were tithing their spices. They were experts in staying on the case until the weeds were revealed.

Jesus wants us to be gardeners, but we do have to deal with weeds. Did any gardener ever say “Let the weeds grow” except for Jesus?

Some of us have set our sights (sites) on being full-time weed eaters and we’re having a very good time. The body of Christ needs a few. But only a few. And be careful, please. Very careful.

And I would wholeheartedly agree.  This is why we support true, professional discernment ministries like Reasons to Believe, Christian Research Institute, and Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.  While we recognize that these ministries may not always agree with one another, nor always we with them, they are managed by Christians who understand that there’s a place for weed eaters, and there’s a place for more careful trimming.

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When I saw Chris P. was going to post his argument(s) against a universal application of the Imago Dei I was intrigued… this is such an assumed doctrine in Christianity that I was stunned the first time I read someone write that only those who are born-again have the Imago Dei. After reading part one I was disappointed and not a little bit confused at the non-sequitur logic.

Here are some excerpts with my comments and/or rebuttals.

There is a lot of teaching that all men currently exist as God’s image and likeness., i.e. that “divine spark” is found in all men. There are those who teach God exists in all creation. Everything, and everyone, is essentially good. Everything is beautiful in its own way……….What exactly does that mean? – CP

Here we find the first flaws in the argument. It is sort of a straw-man. That some teach that there is a divine spark in all humans, that others teach that God exists in all creation, that still others teach that everything and everyone is essentially good is true. It is also moot to the question. The misapplication of a doctrine, the misinterpretation of a passage bears no weight on the doctrine or the passage itself. The Dispensational claim that Covenant Theology may lead to anti-Semitism neither argues for Dispensationalism nor against Covenant Theology. It is moot, and not a good start.

God made man in His image and “likeness” by creating him as male and female, and then giving “them” dominion over creation. So man is like God in being male and female, and in asserting dominion, or rule, over creation. CP

Maybe. Genesis 1 describes how humans were created subsequent to God saying “Let us make man in our image…” – but it does not follow that the descriptions given (male, female, have dominion, etc.) define what “in our likeness” means. These may be descriptive; they may just be the order in which things happened. Therefore any argument built on this interpretation is only as strong as the interpretation itself.

God does not exist in the created things around us. He does not exist within fallen man. That is what Romans 1 is all about. God only exists in the new creation, i.e. Jesus Christ the head (chief authority), and in His Body, the ekklesia, and ultimately in the new heavens and new earth. – CP

The teaching that God exists in all creation, or that all creation is part of God is called panentheism (god in all) and pantheism (all is god), respectively. And it is false. But does God only exist within the new creation? Of course not. God exists separate from all creation – current or new. Jesus Christ is the head of the church and he will be the ultimate authority of the new heaven and new earth, but this is not another way (cf. the i.e.) of saying God only exists in the new creation. God is separate from creation, now and forever.

So death is the state of all mankind who are outside of Christ. Therefore Christ’s atoning death on the cross not only satisfies the requirement of the Mosaic covenant regarding sins, forgiveness, and deliverance,, i.e. the Passover, it also fulfills God’s (His Law) judgment on man, based on Adam’s transgression of the covenant, which is death. -CP

What death are we referring to in Adam’s transgression – physical, spiritual, both? It cannot be physical, i.e. that only those born again will be physically resurrected since all will be resurrection, those in Christ and those not… some to everlasting joy others to everlasting punishment. To say otherwise, to say only those in Christ are physically resurrected would be to embrace annihilationism.

The resurrection then is essential, which is why Paul defends it as fact so aggressively in 1 Cor 15. It is through the death and resurrection that we exit the old creation, and enter the new. Jesus said, in answer to the Sadducees trick question, that God is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, so he is the God of the living not the dead. That would mean that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are participants in the resurrection and thus the new creation. (1 Peter 4:1-6)They are “the living”. So are we who are now called the Sons of God because of the second Adam.- CP

OK – no problem there… but I need to include it because of…

This would the mean that “imago dei” is found only in Christ, the new creation, and in His body the church. We, who are “born again” are imago dei. Imago dei is not found in unregenerate mankind. Unregenerate man is dead (literally) in the sins of Adam. (Romans 6: 4-13) He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. God is only found in His Son, who is alive forevermore, Amen.

What’s that noise I hear? Oh, it’s your transmission fallen apart as you grind the gears shifting too fast from one thought to a supposed conclusion. Where is the connection between the need for the resurrection and the Imago Dei only being found in believers, in the new creation, in the church? That God is the God of the living proves that He is the God of the living. That the resurrection is necessary proves that the resurrection is necessary – no connection was made to the Imago Dei. I suspect no connection was made because there is no connection to these truths and the residence of the Imago Dei.

So, part one fails to prove that only the regenerate possesses the image of God. It fails because it is built on a spurious interpretation of the meaning of the Imago Dei. It fails because it relies on the buttresses of the false and straw-man doctrines of pantheism and panentheism both of which are moot to the argument. It fails because it claims God exists only in the new creation – which is not only false, but is itself panentheism in the future. And it fails because it never makes the connection between God being the God of the living, the need for the resurrection and the limited Imago Dei.

Maybe part two will be more convincing.

*** UPDATE *** June 30

Chris P. has posted part 2 of why the Imago Dei resides only in the regerate.  It consist with a list of Scriptures interspersed with commentary and “The conclusion is that Imago Dei is seen only in the new creation. Those who are born again from above, i.e. the Body of Jesus Christ.”  It was rather an odd process to read the Scriptures Chris P. posted, agree with a lot of his commentary on them, then reach the summation that it all proved his conslusion… maybe if I try a little harder I’ll see the link.  Usually I can follow an argument even if I disagree with it.

Bottom line, I am still unconvinced (but now confused at the flow of logic or lack thereof), and dissappointed that he never dealt with Genesis 9.

I think Chris P. confuses good works that reflect the Father and/or Christ with the Imago Dei… I’ll have to think about that.


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Made of fail!

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The apostle Paul wrote, inspired by God,

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

As many of you know, I am working this week on the Ute reservation in southwest Colorado with The Legacy, teaching art and music to Native American jr. and sr. high school students.  So, aside from this brief post, this is why you aren’t hearing anything from me this week.

Something you probably don’t know is that last night, my wife and I had a truly wonderful dinner with a Christian brother and sister here in the Four Corners area, Chris Pajak and his wife. 

Several weeks ago, Greg Boyd guest-preached at Mars Hill (Grand Rapids), and commented that ‘if something is made of flesh and blood, it is not our enemy’, hearkening back to the words of Paul.

I would like to report to you that Paul’s words, as reiterated by Dr. Boyd, are as true today as they were when they were written.  And in being so, I have experienced a deep lesson, I wish I could share with you.

As many of you know, I am a rather strong proponent for understanding the context of scripture when reading and interpreting it, for the very reason that without that context, we are only left to supply our own – which is likely very different from the culture and context in which it was written.

In the same way, I believe that when we tend to agree or disagree with someone, we supply a sympathetic or antagonistic context to their words when we read them – ESPECIALLY if we have never met them.  Having met Chris P, listening to him and experiencing his ‘context’, I realize that the context I have supplied has more often than not been wrong.

I am sorry for that Chris.

Please, please, please – let us keep Paul’s words in mind.  Our struggle is not with flesh and blood – but with principalities and powers – words and dominions of this world.  While we may disagree with a much of what is written on CRN, and probably more/most of what is on SoL/AM, our disagreement is not with Chris, Ken, Ingrid, Dwayna or others – it is with ideas on how to serve in the Kingdom of God.

If we are serious in our belief in balancing orthopraxy and orthodoxy, an independent brother or sister should be able to read this blog and see WHY it is different than those it criticizes.  A non-believer should read our disagreements and see a respectful disagreement unlike any experienced in the non-Christian blogs of this world.

We are not there yet.  I am not there yet.

But I hope that we would strive to move in that direction.

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Watchdawggies at work... do not disturb!If it wasn’t already apparent to discerning and non-discerning readers, alike, there is very little research actually conducted at the “Christian Research Network”.  In fact, about a third of what gets passed off as research is little more than glorified gossip, at best.

As one peruses this pothole in the information superhighway, he or she may be struck by the “balance” of three types of postings:

  1. Reporting the Obvious: Articles documenting things that really don’t require all that much ‘discernment’ – Mormonism is a cult, the press hates Christians, the health & wealth gospel is a sham
  2. Spiritual Encouragement: Always a good thing, though there’s a number of better places to go.
  3. Gossip/Slander disguised as ‘Discernment’: Articles which either mock other Christians over tertiary doctrine or differences in taste/style, decry brothers as ‘heretics’ and ‘apostates’ based on opinions and isogesis, or – most often – which completely distort quotes from brothers in Christ and then slander them as if this were the sum total of their ministry.

Were the metatopic of CRN “Physical Science” instead of Christianity, this balance and “depth” of research would be something like this:

  1. The Obvious: Water is wet, the sky is blue, things tend to break when dropped from great heights
  2. Encouraging Words: Recycling tends to save natural resources; Don’t litter; Flowers are very pretty during the springtime
  3. Near or Utter Falsehood: Cold fusion really works – you just don’t understand it correctly; Galileo was wrong about heliocentricity because he couldn’t see supernovae 6 billion light years away; There are tall people who live on the moon (oh, wait, that was actually taught by LDS founder, Joseph Smith!)

As it pertains to Category #3 and “Research”: At CRN, it has become fairly obvious that Dwayna has no connection to reality when it comes to research; that Chris (”the only cure for AIDS is death“) Perjak is all about sound and fury – lots of long seemingly-unrelated Biblical text with ‘unusual’ literalistic interpretations followed by general broad-brush invective; and that Ken Silva has never met a logical fallacy he didn’t embrace.

Red Hot BashTo wit – we ALL have our faults.  Among mine, blog-wise, is a chief overuse of sarcasm, verbosity, and beating dead horses.  However, I would never deem to teach people how not to be sarcastic, how to write concise articles, or how to allow a subject to just drop and to leave it alone.  An old boss of mine called this type of behavior “leading with your glass chin”.  Perhaps this is a lesson that could have been taken into account before choosing “research” as part of the title of your “ministry” (as tenuous a proposition as it is that CRN/Slice can actually be referred to as such).

When average Joes (all of us – not just Joe) like the writers here can so easily eviscerate what passes for “research” at CRN, one really must wonder what defines “research” over there.  In the immortal words of Inigo Montoya, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”  While even the best minds sometimes get pwned, it seems to be becoming a common occurance to directly disprove Slice claims with written or photographic evidence.

And so it was yesterday, when commenter ‘Matt’ provided photographic evidence (left) of Ken’s rush to slander Mark Driscoll over the name (”Red Hot Bash” New Years’ Eve celebration) as if it were some sexual slang or innuendo for church-sponsored sleaze.  Unfortunately for Ken, there’s an entire Flickr photoset to dispute his smear.  I wonder if there will be an apology made to Driscoll and Mars Hill (cue chirping crickets).

Perhaps it’s just time for CRN/Slice 2.0 to end the charade and update their URL to – at least then there would be truth in advertising.

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Source: Bob Blog
Comments: Bob Hyatt notes that it took only 3 or 4 seconds to be named a Heretic on Slice after his Next-Wave editorship was announced there.
Memorable Quotes:

Personal note: Mom, whatever you do, do not click that link, and do not under any circumstances leave a comment!! Seriously!

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Source: Verum Serum

Comments: Here, Scott dissects the Slice (in particular Ingrid) view of music within the church.  This is probably one of the best articles on this subject, as well.  The comments (there’s almost 100) meander a bit, but also end up drawing Ken and Chris P. into the fray, as well.
Memorable Quotes:

Going back over the last couple months, Ingrid and her peeps have thrown up many posts that reference music in one way or another. Most, if not all, of these slam contemporary music and worship styles in favor of the “good old music” of hymns (and hymns pre-1850 seem to be their songs of choice). Ingrid typically makes a statement like this:

When I hear of churches comprised of Christians with mohawks, body piercings, and worship music that sounds like a rehearsal for hell, I am concerned.”

Or this:

This music is hatched in hell itself. It is the sound of spiritual revolt against all that is holy and true. It is spiritual rebellion against God.

Or this (in reference to the worship leader at Saddleback Chruch):

What does it take to be a “top worship leader”? Does it mean that your congregation has the coolest worship moves? Does it mean you have the biggest attendance, the best riffs on the guitar? The best bump and grind moves up there with the house worship band? The hottest selling CD or the most downloads on the web? … There are no band leaders mentioned, no jiggly females, no writhing and twitching and no screaming audience members throwing their fannies and their arms around.

Call me crazy, but I’m guessing that any music that wasn’t composed for a church organ makes Ingrid nervous. Or perhaps she has forgotten that at some point, even the church organ was viewed as the “worldly interloper” into the sanctity of the church.

Deceptively, SLICE throws up the occasional example of the ridiculous (such as their recent posts regarding Showbread and Zombie Gutz) in an effort to portray most/all contemporary Christian singers/song writers as shallow, brain-dead morons with little or no talent. Ingrid points to the fringe in an attempt to condemn the entire genre. And of course, as always Ingrid and her SLICE-posse use this fringe (which are admittedly sad, lame, and even dimwitted) in an attempt to draw some sort of connection to the Seeker Sensitive/Emergent Church and movements.

Christ the Lord is Risen Today was written in 1739 by Charles Wesley when he was 32 yrs old. He wrote this hymn in celebration of the first service held in London’s first Wesleyan Chapel. This chapel was also known as the Foundry Meeting House, because it was created out of an abandoned foundry and metal works. Wesley purchased the building to house his growing number of converts to the Christian faith. Many in the “establishment” objected to his use of such a “worldly” building for the purposes of God, but he proceeded with his plans anyway.

(Interesting that the SLICE peeps don’t have a problem with a foundry being converted to a church, but they sure do take exception to a movie theater being used for the same purpose.)

One last time…by the SLICE standard, Isaac Watts would have missed the mark. He was young, advocated the personalization of the worship experience, advocated a departure from the traditional forms of worship (the Psalms), was denounced by church leaders on both sides of the ocean, and was the cause for church splits rooted in the controversial and radical use of his new ideas.

[Chris L. commenting] The article you linked to is another one that just follows Ken’s current kick of using “letters” from “other people” to try and make his points (since he has been woefully short of any new anti-Bell material, of late). Apparently quoting dead theologians is no longer as “convincing” as quoting nameless letter-writers. (When he actually named a writer earlier this year, he was embarrassed when the living, named person criticized him for taking his words out of context.)

[Chris L. commenting]  Laz writes:

so you don’t agree with her that there might be (however minute) anger and hatred towards Bell in your theses?

I guess the better question would be, is there love in your rebukes?

Ken writes back:


We’ll have to let the Lord be the judge of that but thanks for your feigned concern.

And to answer your question: I am expressing the same love for Bell’s doctrine as expressed by John the Baptist here:

[contextually abused/misused KJV quote omitted]
[emphasis mine]

And so it is that Ken automagically makes an ad homenim attack on Laz, assuming that his concern is a false one.

I went and checked out Laz’ blog, and I would hazard a guess from the posts (and Slice on the blogroll) that Laz might agree with Ken some of the time, and that his concern was probably real.

I guess when you’re a misguided pit bull, you’ll bite the friendlies along with everyone else.

[Reposted comment from Slice] This posting and most of the comments thereafter are a perfect microcosm of this website. It is very difficult to argue with this kind of logic:

“I know what the scripture says and how to interpret portions that others disagree about or struggle with. God has told ME clearly what is right and wrong. The Holy Spirit has revealed to ME what is truth and heresy. Anyone who disagrees with ME (because God has told ME these things) is therefore in disagreement with God.

“No one has a more revealed, truthful perspective than ME, and if anyone disagrees with ME then they are obviously disagreeing with God. Knowledge of Truth is only obtained through methods I know about and agree with and if I disagree with your methods, it must be because God disagrees with them. God’s logic is perfectly understandable to me; it has become my own logic.

“God spoke to certain historical men clearly and completely, but He does not speak to other men clearly or completely today, unless they are men whose perspectives agree with ME. I read the Bible literally except where God has revealed deeper meaning to ME.

“If you are a person with whom I generally disagree or if you are associated with another person or movement whom I have already deemed to be heretical, then I will examine your statements and tell you what you mean, even if my interpretation was not your intended meaning. If we disagree, I will not give you an opportunity to answer questions, but instead I will immediately begin proclaiming your heresy from the highest rooftops. I know what you mean better than even you know what you mean, because God has revealed this all to ME.

“If you and I disagree, I am obviously right because I know God better than you know God. I know God’s nature, methods, and Spirit better than you know those things. God has given ME and those who agree with ME the ultimate discernment to pronounce Truth and denounce heresy. I will quote Scripture and tell everyone if God has shown me your interpretation of the same Scripture is incorrect.

“I will make generalizations about people and groups because God has revealed to ME their true natures. I will see the motives of people’s hearts just as God sees those motives, and I will tell everyone what I see. Perhaps you do not even know your own secret motives or deceptions, but I can see them and I will reveal them to you because God has revealed them to ME.

“I will be the champion of the faith and preserve the traditions that God has shown ME to be correct.

“Do not disagree with anything I have said, because the Bible is MY final authority and if you argue with ME, you are disregarding the Bible’s authority and are, therefore, a heretic.

“You are obviously not correct, but I AM.”

[ASIDE: Is this not the ultimate pride? If I hold these inflexible views, do they not place me in violation of Commandment #1? Perhaps having no other God before God does not include the God of SELF, when I proclaim that my own understanding, logic, and truth are those of God himself?]

“If you post something on my website which disagrees with ME or anyone with whom I agree, I will delete it as God has labeled it a dissention among our bretheren.”

I guess we’ll see how long this stays posted.

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Source: Fishing the Abyss

Comments: Chris P. and Ken Silva both, within a short period of time, suggest the Jesus was trying to confuse people with his parables. Chris P. gives an awful exegesis (based upon a literalist hermeneutic which treats the Bible as if it fell out of the sky, disconnected from time and space) in a Slice thread giving the same faulty interpretation of the use of parables. Chris L. at Fishing then posts a proper interpretation of the synoptic passage in question and the Isaiah portion referred to in prophecy.
Memorable Quotes:

Person A will use one of Jesus’ parables, to which Person B – in order to avoid addressing Person A’s point – will quote Luke 8:9-10 (or a synoptic equivalent) and declare that we can’t know what Jesus meant, because Jesus told parables to hide the truth from people!

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