Archive for the 'ODM Responses' Category

It seems if there’s one thing that keeps many Evangelicals up at night, it has to be defining exactly who is and who isn’t an Evangelical.  There’s been all sorts of attempts to craft different statements of faiths and covenants that spell this out.  A couple famous examples are the Lausanne Covenant or the NEA Statement of Faith.  One of the newest attempts to define the boundaries of Evangelicalism is a document entitled “An Evangelical Manifesto“.  Now in and of themselves, these documents don’t bother me too much.  Most of them are vague enough that a majority of people who call themselves Evangelicals wouldn’t have much of a problem agreeing with them.  But then again, if that’s the case, why are these documents need at all?  Why do the framers of these documents feel compelled to draw these proverbial lines in the sand?

This article from the online publication, Patrol Magazine, attempts to answer that question.  And the answer the author gives is largely a negative one – it is out of a sense of desperation and a last ditch effort of self-preservation.  It’s perhaps best stated in the following paragraph:

The fight to define evangelicalism in its latter days also operates on the mistaken premise that an imagined theological purity or conformance to a “lost” orthodoxy, rather than an emphasis on ethics, spiritual discipline and mystery, will revive the power of the Christian church. It is astonishing that so many intelligent Christians seem to believe there is a deficit in emphasis on evangelism and scriptural literalism, and that, if the hatches are just battened down on a more solid “worldview,” evangelicalism can resume explaining the universe to new generations of believers. In this respect, evangelicalism’s true believers resemble the faction of the Republican Party that asserts with a straight face that returning to “core principles,” and not a radical restructuring of priorities, will bring waves of Americans back to the right wing.

I find a lot of truth in this statement.  It seems that whenever a group spend a great deal of time and energy in defining it’s boundaries it is inevitable that the original mission and values get lost to some extent.  In attempting to ensure that people say they believe the right things, it become very easy to push doing the right things to the back burner.  Perhaps this is why it is so difficult for these types of organizations to maintain the same level of influence from generation to generation.  The values that one generation recognizes as life changing simply become words and statements that the next generation is expected to sign on to.  Whether a person has wrestled with and come to terms with these values is of secondary concern.

So am I advocating that we do away with all statements of faith and creedal confessions?  Of course not.  I believe that having a common starting point for discussion is an important element within churches.  But I also believe that we need to be careful that are creeds and statements of faith serve the purpose of bringing Christians together rather than keeping the outsiders out.  If anything, reciting a historical creed should make us remember out brothers and sisters who have gone before us and struggled with the deep questions of their time, and we should remember that many of their deep questions are questions that people are wresting with today.  Additionally, we would be wise to remember that no creed or statement of faith can replace a real encounter with the living Christ.

Grace and peace.

HT: The Internet Monk

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It was discovered recently that a publisher (whose name I won’t dignify by citing) is releasing a book critical of Sarah Palin with a cover that is very similar to that of her forth-coming autobiography. Here are the covers of her book and the critical book, side-by-side.

Sarah Palin - book covers

This is some pretty amazing bait-and-switch, and should offend anyone of any intelligence, regardless of their thoughts on Palin or their political affiliation. The cover (of the critical book) says “My message is so lame and weak that it can’t stand on its own.”

OK, good and riled? Or at least annoyed?

Now tell me, how this is any different.

Other than, ya know, the implication that God’s message it too lame and weak to stand on its own.

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ZIBBCOTSo I’m reading Superfreakonomics these days (one of the books I’m evaluating for a workplace “book club”).  I found a couple of quotes thatstruck me as relevant to some of the conversations we have here, from time-to-time.

This quote brought to mind some of the Christian distinctives and the beauty of the One true God, as noted by Rob Bell in The gods Aren’t Angry:

“Like all the best religions, fear of climate change satisfies our need for guilt, and self-disgust, and that eternal human sense that technological progress must be punished by the gods.  And the fear of climate change is like a religion in this vital sense, that it is veiled in mystery, and you can never tell whether your acts of propitiation or atonement have been in any way successful.” – Boris Johnson

The second quote reminded me of the Ingrid Schlueter’s of this world for whom 1963 seems to be a watershed year (with thanks to Brendt for the link to this awesome blog):

It is a fact of life that people love to complain, particularly about how terrible the modern world is compared with the past.

They are nearly always wrong.  On just about any dimension you can think of – warfare, crime, income, education, transportation, worker safety, health – the twenty-first century is far more hospitable to the average human than any earlier time.

I realize that a premillenial dispensationalist view requires that one believe everything is (literally) going to hell in a handbasket (as a prerequisite to parousia), but Christians engaging in woe-is-me, the-devil-is-hiding-behind-everyone-who-doesn’t-believe-100%-like-me-ism are just pathetic.  And, in the face of all evidence to the contrary (cherry-picking outlying outrages as “proof”), they make a fool of themselves – and the One they claim to serve – in the process.

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For those of you who ever wondered what Joe Cocker was really singing about at Woodstock, I present this captioned version of With a Little Help from My Friends. Enjoy!

Birthday Greetings from Joe Cocker

Regina | MySpace Video

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I saw this post linked to by someone recently, and the guy who wrote it says that Christian men are big sissies.  According to Mr. Daubenmire, we need man up and be more like Braveheart, John Wayne, and Clinton Eastwood.  He puts it this way:

Needless to say, I am swimming upstream on this one. All day long they are taught in school to “act like Christians.” That is the problem, I tell them. Stop ACTING like a Christian and start BEING one.

But we don’t even know what that means. WWJL…What Was Jesus Like? I promise you this. He was all MAN. He confronted evil, challenged the status quo, upset some apple-carts, and spoke what was on His mind. He was the original “Braveheart.”

Come on now. Look around at the Christian role models our young men have to look up to. Most don’t even look like men. What is the word that pop culture has given us…metrosexuals…? Modern Christian men are the ultimate metrosexuals.

So, what say you? Are Christian men too metro?  Too sensitive? Big weenies?  More importantly, what does it actually mean to be a Christian man?  How important is our masculinity as it relates to our identity in Christ?  Of course, I have my opinion, but I’d be interested in hearing what others have to say (which probably makes me a sissy for asking, of course… :-) )

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One of the staff’s favorite bloggers to read, here at PPP.Info, is Brant Hansen (of Kamp Krusty fame).   We’ve interviewed him on our old Podcast and covered him in other posts, and I follow him in a couple of his blogs and on Facebook.  Basically, he’s a very cool guy working in Christian radio who likes to ask questions that tend to make you squirm – and laugh.

Brant left this past week on a mission trip to Afghanistan (not necessarily a place at the top of my list), and this morning he gave this update on Facebook:

They dressed me up with a white coat today so I wouldn’t freak out the Kabul patients… but they didn’t clue in the doctor they assigned me to watch. So he kept asking my opinions of his diagnoses. In Dari. People here think I’m an Afghan M.D. He finally asked my specialty: “Uh…radio.” “Radiology?” “No. Like, playing songs and stuff.”


Please keep Brant in your prayers, and let us look forward to the touching and/or funny stories he will share with everyone when he gets back.

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Recently, in the modern worship service at my church, we have introduced a “new” song – How He Loves Us, by John Mark McMillan.  Since it was on the new David Crowder Band album, I was familiar with the song, itself, and the lyrics, and thought they were quite moving.  Playing the song (I am the keyboardist in our worship band), I think the most difficult thing with How He Loves Us is that the picture it paints of God and the way the final crescendo focuses on His love and grace, I really want it to keep on going (and going), but (as a musician in a band) I’ve got to stay with the other guys and bring it to an end.

Somehow, in times like that, I think about Moses.  Not the Moses, leading the children of Israel.  The Moses leading a bunch of sheep in the desert, coming across a burning bush and discovering the presence of God – in direct communication with Him.  In his talk with God, Moses sounds so tentative and reluctant to carry our his mission, coming up with all sorts of excuses to stay out in the wilderness.  And I wonder – was it all reluctance to do what he was asked, or was it partially a reluctance to leave the direct presence and communion with God, there with that burning bush?

And I think about John – the “disciple Jesus loved”.  John, a kid who was probably only 15 or 16 when Jesus was crucified.  John, whose Gospel did not just seek to recount the events of Jesus’ life, but whose Gospel stands apart from the other three – an attempt to theologically explain Jesus through a lens of intense devotion and love.  John – the only disciple to die of old age.  How he must have longed for his short time on earth with Jesus to have never ended.

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It’s easy to see the ills of the sin of partiality when we think of differentiating between fellow believers based on race or wealth or appearance in the context of our own communities, those we actually see or with whom we interact.

But how should the command to show no partiality as we hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ (cf. James 2) affect our view of those we never see… of believers who are commies or wear towels on their heads?

The title of this post is a chant I heard in a movie. In the context, men were training for the military. The implied question was “How long will we need to fight?” And the answer – “…until all the commies and towel-heads are all dead!”

The obvious offensiveness of the reference aside, it’s easy to understand how this attitude is spun in the context of a Cold-War or War on Terror. And certainly nations such as ours have the need to defend themselves.

Yet, as we study the application of our faith and the command to treat all believers with equal respect and dignity – it makes me wonder how the church, how American Christians, should think and react when our nation undertakes policies that a) benefit us as believers in THIS country while b) adversely effecting believers in THAT country. And do I even think of the ramifications to them? Where is the balancing point between being citizen of a country and a member of a body?

This need for balance is aptly illustrated by the monumental work One Nation Under God, by Jon McNaughton. The work is truly monumental, and the thought McNaughton put into his work impressive… if not thoroughly unbiblical and misguided. I would offer a rebuttal, but Greg Boyd offers what I think is a fine rebuttal in his post “Painted Idolatry.” Boyd has other views that render him controversial, that said, his rebuttal to the idolatry and quite possibly the blasphemy of McNaughton stands on it’s own merit.

While supporting my country and its right to exist without threat… while celebrating the good that my country has done and even God’s involvement in that – I am challenged to remind myself that I am not so much an American Christian as I am a member of the Body of Christ who happens to live in America. The difference may be nuanced in semantics, but the ramifications should be far reaching.

UPDATE: If you follow the link that says you can ask the artist a question he has a rebuttal to Boyd. And while McNaughton makes some good points about people defending their freedoms – he fails to address Boyd’s (and my) objection to his tying the Savior to nationalistic endeavors.

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Love your neighbor...[This is a repost of an article from a couple of years ago]

Marty is a fairly nice guy.

Certainly, he has his foibles: he drinks a bit, is harsh on the kids, has some problems with racial bigotry and the like. For many years, he was married to an unfaithful spouse. She slept around and was quite disrespectful of the entire institution of marriage. Finally, enough was enough, and Marty divorced her.

Years and years have passed, but every year on the date of the divorce, October 31, he pulls the family together for a rip-roaring divorce anniversary. It’s such a grand occasion where everyone in the family can come together and remember what a whore his ex- was, and how great it is that he traded her in for a new model (who, arguably, is not much better than the previous one, but just not as blatant about it).

Sounds like a grand old time, eh?

I have lots of friends who have gone through a divorce, and not a one of them do I know who consider the anniversary of their divorce to be a time to remember, let alone celebrate. Marty and his family, though, they revel in it, creating entire ceremonies around how great it was to give the old skank the boot.

Obviously, I’m dealing in allegory here, but I find it completely unsurprising that the same folks who celebrate the day of the greatest ‘divorce’ in church history, Reformation Day, are the very same ones who are pretty much tone-deaf when it comes to hearing Christ say ‘love your neighbor as yourself’. It all fits in the same flawed ’system’ they bought into when they traded one flawed spouse for another.

I also find it funny that these same folks will curse the harvest festival celebration which falls on the same day because of its ‘goulishness’, yet they will dress up and give out candy as an historical German figure known for writing such things like:

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Lately we have been discussing the very important issue of irony, among other things. There’s been no small amount of tension. I regret tension because it inhibits learning.

Well, we all need a break every now and again, something to smile about, something to join hands around, something to protest as it were. So, in the spirit of the good fun and humor, I present you this Halloween Gift:

Amazing Grace Baptist Church (Canton, NC): Book Burning Not Cancelled!

Great Preaching and Singing

We are burning Satan’s bibles like the NIV, RSV, NKJV, TLB, NASB, ESV, NEV, NRSV, ASV, NWT, Good News for Modern Man, The Evidence Bible, The Message Bible, The Green Bible, etc. These are perversions of God’s Word.

We will also be burning Satan’s music such as country, rap, rock, pop, heavy metal, western, soft and easy, southern gospel, contemporary Christian, jazz, soul, oldies but goodies, etc.

We will also be burning Satan’s popular books written by heretics Bruce Metzger, Billy Graham, Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, John McArthur, James Dobson, Charles Swindoll, John Piper, Chuck Colson, Tony Evans, Oral Roberts, Jimmy Swagart, Mark Driscol, Franklin Graham, Bill Bright, Tim Lahaye, Paula White, T.D. Jakes, Benny Hinn, Joyce Myers, Brian McLaren, James White, Robert Schuller, Rob Bell, Erwin McManus, Donald Miller, Shane Claiborne, Brennan, Manning, William Young, Will Graham, and many more.

We are not burning Bibles written in other languages that are based on the TR. We are not burning the Tyndale, Geneva or other translations that are based on the TR.

We will be serving fried chicken, and all the sides.

Well, I’m glad to know there will be fried chicken!

HT: Jennifer Taylor

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