Archive for the 'Editor' Category

Once again, the “editor” has posted a link to an article saying one thing with commentary implying it says another.  This linked article is about researchers trying to find out whether or not homosexuality has a genetic cause.  At no point in the article does it say anything about liberal Christians.  On the other hand, it does mention Stanton Jones, a psychology professor at Wheaton who argues against a genetic cause.

Regardless of one’s opinion of homosexuality, it is clear that the “editor” has attempted to draw something out of this article that is just not there.  Perhaps it would be easier to accept the “editor’s” research if he actually exhibited basic reading comprehension skills.

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Some quick thoughts on the quotes in the CRN article Good Words”

THE WORLD IS NOT IN NEED OF A NEW DEFINITION OF CHRISTIANITY, IT’S IN NEED OF A NEW DEMONSTRATION OF CHRISTIANITY.

Sounds a lot like keep the message but change the method. Couldn’t agree more, Mr. Ravenhill.

WHEN THERE’S SOMETHING IN THE BIBLE THAT CHURCHES/SAINTS DON’T LIKE, THEY CALL IT “LEGALISM.

No, when people place non-biblical (or cultural rules) at the core of their faith and then press them on others, it is legalism. For example, saying that music from the 1890s is the only way to worship God – that is legalism. Saying that there is a correct and incorrect slang to write in (i.e. “dude”, “hot”, etc.) – that is legalism. Saying that you can’t have comfy chairs in church or coffee bars – that is legalism.

“SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT ARE THE DEVILS SUBSTITUTE FOR GOD’S JOY.”

I would not have a problem with this statement if it said “Sports and entertainment can be the devil’s substitute for God’s Joy.” However, Ravenhill makes a definitive statement, saying that these things are inherently evil. I wonder if the “editor” at CRN has ever been to a baseball game. I wonder if he/she/it has ever been to the movies. I wonder if he/she/it would currently feel comfortable taking part in any sports game or entertainment. If they do, then they are substituting God’s Joy for the Devil.

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The Mysterious Editor-dawggieIn a bizarro-world sort of logic, CR?N has posted an article which seems to combine schadenfruede and misplaced belief in the ‘rightness’ of factions within the church.

Referenced is this article in which Frank Page, the head of the SBC, expressed concern over divisions within the denomination:

“There are forces at work today to try to divide and distract Baptists from our primary mission. We cannot allow methodological differences, generational gaps, or stylistic preferences to divide us,” said state convention president Willy Rice, according to Florida Baptist Witness. “We need each other and we truly are better when we are together.”

[...]

“There’s a lot of negativity out there toward religious groups, and certainly toward our group, because we’ve apparently come across as very legalistic and mean-spirited, and I think that’s sometimes accurate, because sometimes we’ve acted that way” [emphasis mine]

You will note that division over doctrinal differences is not what is being addressed, and that it is orthopraxy being self-criticized, not orthodoxy. [To be fair, I would hold some concerns about this particular convention, since Bill Clinton and Al Gore are invited, but that's a whole other topic...] The divisions being discussed are, to reiterate: a) differences in method; b) differences in generational expectations; c) stylistic preferences. Hmmmm… I don’t see ‘heretical doctrine’ in that list.

In addition, it appears that the mysterious “Editor” is using a different Bible than the rest of us.

…for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized. (1 Corinthians 11:20) [emphasis theirs]

When I look up 1 Corinthians 11:20 in my Bible, I get this:

When you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat,

That’s odd. So I did a bit of searching for the passage that perhaps they meant to quote, starting with the query of ‘factions’. Perhaps they meant 2 Corinthians 12:20:

For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder.

Well, the verse number is similar, but the message from Paul seems to be the opposite of what the CR?N writer wishes us to believe the Bible says, though the subject of its criticism fits right in line for that ODM’s like CR?N seem to be striving for.

Perhaps they meant Galatians 5:19-21:

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Well, no, that doesn’t work either, because it again suggests the very opposite of what the “Editor” was suggesting, but fits right in with the turf ODM’s like CR?N frequently inhabit. So perhaps they were using a different translation. So I checked the NASB and found that they were trying to cite 1 Corintians 11:19 (one verse off). Here it is in the NIV:

No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval.

OK. So what’s Paul talking about here? Let’s check this out in context (1 Corinthians 11:17-22)

In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval. When you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, for as you eat, each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else. One remains hungry, another gets drunk. Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you for this? Certainly not!

Hmmm. This doesn’t seem like a discussion on doctrinal differences at all, but rather a rebuke for piggish behavior when the body has come together for a feast in celebration of the Lord’s Supper. The verse in question (number 19) has been suggested by some commentators to be sarcasm, but most see it referring back to the situation Paul refers to in 1 Corinthians 1:10-12, and not to division cause by false teaching:

I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas[Peter]“; still another, “I follow Christ.”

Note what Paul says in verse 10 (emphasized above) – That he desires unity within the church! Well, I suppose I can understand why the “Editor” wishes to remain anonymous after seeing this attempted prooftexting of scripture to support something condemned by Paul.

One of our commenters recently noted that perhaps the only reason more than half of the articles/posters on CR?N hide behind the cloak of anonymity is because we have criticized it, pointing out its lack of accountability and observed abuse. If that is the case, it is just a micro-example of the marcro problem with CR?N and ODM’s like it: the desire to shove one’s thumb in the eye of a brother, when given the chance, outweighs the biblical morality of doing the right thing.

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This article on Carlos Whittaker, worship pastor at Northpoint in Atlanta (Stanley) shows how little discernment goes in to the online discernment ministries or CRN. All that Ken Silva the editor commented on what the style of Whittaker. Well, since it is sho short, here it is

The emerging church and the new breed new evangelicals are busy lowering the standards of what it is to be Christian. Yeah and the great thing is it means we get uber hip worship leading/producer “pastors” with Ragamuffin Soul like Carlos Whittaker, “a musician, blogger, and pastor living in the ATL, Atlanta, GA.” Party on Garth, oops I mean — Rock on 4 Jesus dude!

Do you see anything in this article that refutes heretical doctrine, incorrect ministry practices or mistreatment of the word of God? Probably now, because there is none. This piece basically says “OOH! You’re really cool! You must be all about being ‘relevant’ and watering down the gospel.” I just don’t get articles like this, that attempt to show if you are a normal person in American culture, you are inherently bad. I don’t want to use “culturally relevant”, because that implies that someone is attempting to catch up trends or society, and being a part of a culture that isn’t their own. But just because you dress in modern fashion, speak in the modern vernacular and use modern technology, does not mean that you are trying to be a “uber hip” pastor. I just means that you are living your life out as a normal person. Why can’t Christians just live in their culture without having to being mocked as trying to be culturally relevant or super cool? i find that it is the people who are out of touch with culture that often accuse people like Whittaker of trying to be hip and relevant. Does that make sense?

Carlos has been doing his worship confessionals online for some time now. His honesty as a minister is so refreshing. He shares openly about what goes well and what bombs. He shares his human frustrations and joys in ministry. He gives us a look at the normal stuff that goes into ministry (like how Sunday mornings are run). I have noticed that CRN has been featuring alot more articles that are just plain hit pieces, with no substance, against people they dislike. Where’s the discernment in that?

btw… CRN is all messed up right now.(literally)

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I find it funny that when Barna’s research fits the wathcdoggie’s agenda, he is their best freind.  However, when the research swings the other way, the research organization is no good.  I don’t have alot to say on this article; it fits so well with my last one.  However, there is yet another example of bad logic in the piece

the editor writes

Rick Warren seems to equate the Biblical admonition against homosexuality as crippling: “For some time now, the hands and feet of the body of Christ have been amputated, and we’ve been pretty much reduced to a big mouth,” Warren wrote. “We talk more than we do. It’s time to reattach the limbs and let the church be the church in the 21st century.”

There is no source given for this, so I could not see the context.  Regardless, where did Warren say that biblical admonition against homosexuality was crippling here?  Sounds to me like he is saying our methods used to share with homosexuals has left the church crippled and unable to do anything else.  These guys really need to take a course in research theory and methods.  Come on, this is basic logic.

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I never ceased to be amazed at the arrogance and denseness of the writing staff at Christian Research Network. I will say it, the cowardly and haughty anonymous editor there has written a piece that shows their own spiritual blindness, lack of compassion and severe misinterpretation and misuse of the scriptures. A recent news organization gave an article highlighting the African American religious community coming together over the increasing AIDS crisis in the black community.

over 150 African American leaders proposed the National HIV/AIDS Elimination Act, which they plan to introduce to Congress as early as January. The act calls on the federal government “to declare the HIV/AIDS Crisis in the African American community a ‘public health emergency’” and urges “the Secretary of Health and Human Services to use his emergency authority to redirect resources to address this emergency.”

CRN called this story “rueful”, implying that they were sad or apologetic over the fact that the religious community had come together to fight this disease. In 2005, 49% of the AIDS population was African-American. That sounds like an epidemic worth fighting for. However, the CRN popular whipping-boy, T.D. Jakes, was a part of this movement. The article said that Jakes

“acknowledged that while the group represented different theological viewpoints on homosexuality, he asserted that those differences should not distort the issue. ‘Tomorrow we can save souls but today we must save lives,’ said Jakes.”

The editor said that Jakes was showing his spiritual denseness. He/she/it writes

This is indeed a shocking, heart-breaking and actually quite foolish statement by Jakes who is supposed to be a minister of the Gospel of Jesus— Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring forth… Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away (Proverbs 27:1; James 4:14).

Are you kidding me? They criticize him for wanting to save lives, and why — they say he is boasting of the future! In other words, Jakes’ efforts to heal the sick are boasting about what is going to happen tomorrow. By applying this passage to this situation, they are implying that human life is but a vapor and therefore insignificant, not worth their time, and not worthy of saving. Heck, why attempt to do anything that will affect tomorrow… evangelize, heal, love… it’s all boastful if you tell someone you are going to do it, right?  On top of all the scripture abuse, they add this verse to the opening of the article

Every man’s way is right in his own eyes (Proverbs 21:2)

What?!?  How on earth does this apply at all?  Does it mean that because Jakes has actually read the scriptures and seen that we are to care for the sick, that he is right?  This one easily falls into the “what can you say” category here at CRN.info.

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I know that the watchdoggies hold to the words of Spurgeon just as much as the words of Christ. It seems like the voices of the past are at equal level with scripture. In fact, this latest article is almost comical in its opening line

There are many of those who accuse our Calvinist brethren of being cold-hearted toward evangelizing the lost. Well, apparently Charles Spurgeon missed that memo [emphasis mine]

Aside from the one verse provided, maybe they should have consulted the many scriptures on the subject before consulting Spurgeon and Calvin. However, since we are holding Spurgeon now at such a high level, we will go with his words. The quote provided paints a picture of believers being laborers in a corn field. Our tool is a sickle. And this is what Spurgeon says our work should be:

His communications with the corn are sharp and cutting. He cuts right through, cuts the corn down, and casts it to the ground…The preacher must make his sermons cut. Our sickle is made on purpose to cut. The Gospel is intended to wound the conscience and to go right through the heart, with the design of separating the soul from sin and self, as the corn is divided from the soil.

I don’t recall where we are called to fatally wound people with gospel. I see stories of Jesus being direct and strong with gospel, but never fatally wounding. In fact, the only people he was that strong with, were the religious leaders who were hurting people with the law of God. Unfortunately this example proves the editor’s concern, that Calvinists are seen as cold-hearted when it comes to evangelism. And, so many of the problems that arise in the church today stem from the unbiblical and heartless work that Spurgeon prescribes. There is a fine line between being too accommodating and too strong. It is our job to walk that line carefully.

I have always seen the gospel more like a scalpel than… say, a sickle. It is used to cut, but it always meant for healing. It should not be a tool to simply walk through fields of people, cutting people down that are not well.

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I have to say, with all the talk of man-centered, semi-pelagians running about in pulpits and churches, only attracting people by their creativity and talent I was a bit surprised to see this post praising George Whitefield. After all, Whitefield was the very definition of innovation and creativity when it came to crafting a sermon.

Check it out:

At an early age, he found that he had a passion and talent for acting and the theatre, a passion that he would carry on through the very theatrical re-enactments of Bible stories that he told during his sermons.

Oh, but it gets even worse:

Whitefield was also known to be able to use the newspaper media for beneficial publicity. His revolutionary preaching style shaped the way in which sermons were delivered.

So why is Whitefield admired and praised while current preachers who innovate, create and revolutionize detested by the watchdoggies?

Were one cynical one could conclude that Whitefield is admired by watchdoggies because he hasn’t been around for over two hundred years. A slightly less cynical person might conclude that he gets a free pass because they agree with him. Either way, it’d be nice to see a slightly less subjective view from the watchdoggies.

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This post on CR?N which is in its entirety a Dietrich Bonhoeffer quote, is something I would agree wholeheartedly. I think discipleship is something that churches of all varieties need to focus more on. It is hard to disagree with the “Editor” on that point.

The thing that confuses me is comparing the idea expressed in that post to the ideas expressed in this article from the “Editor” a few days ago. That article linked to this Bob DeWaay post that talks about “pietism” in his words. Now the “pietism” that DeWaay is going after is largely a straw man in my mind, because I know many Christians who are not from the Reformed persuasion, and none of them would say they are saved by works like DeWaay is implying. Also, I don’t think any of them think of themselves as “elite” Christians.

It seems to me that “picking up our cross” as described in the Bonhoeffer quote involves us making a conscious decision; it involves action on our part. God does not just lay it on our backs. So once again, whoever the elusive “editor” is at CR?N, he or she seems to be talking out of both sides of his or her mouth.

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Apparently its only bad manners to call someone a false prophet and infer that they’re in hell if you happened to largely agree with the target of said invectives.

It’d be nice if the author of that piece could give us his thinking on when its “despicable” to apply those terms to individuals, but sadly, the author has decided to avoid any type of scrutiny by remaining anonymous.

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