Archive for the 'Updates' Category

Mike Ratliff does a fourth part in his series of blogs called The Abomination of Easy-Believism. Here is his rebuttal to our earlier post.

My brethren, is this passage of the thief on the cross an example of what we are calling Easy-Believism? No, it isn’t All along we have been saying that God will save His people even when the one sharing the Gospel with them messes up. The tragedy of Easy-Believism is the validation to untold numbers of professing Christians that they are really saved even though they are not surrendered to the Lordship of Christ nor are they able to walk in repentance. Those who are doing this will have to answer to the Lord about this. Let us not make that mistake. [emphasis mine]

So this means that when Rick Warren “messes up” on his gospel presentation, God still saves people and they come to faith. Plus, Rick Warren does tell his congregation that Jesus needs to be Lord of their lives, we should assume that he has done all he can to help get people to the place of salvation. Just thought I would make that clear. And, since we cannot sort thru who is really saved and not in that moment, we should validate all of them are beleivers after they have made the commitment (i.e. acknowledging that 500 came to faith at Saddleback this weekend) and let the spiritual cards fall where they may. Glad we cleared all that up.

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We probably all know now that the apprising site is now back up. I must admit that it was a relief for my own ministry to have it down for a while. It just seems that we will have to contend for truth and a pure faith for a while longer. For the most part I sat back and watched the action on all of this, and was really proud of how CRN.info handled this situation. It seemed that there was a fair assessment of the situation, taking into account both R.A.’s and K.S.’s responsibility in the matter.

Having that said, I find it strange that all of the featured articles on the new apprising site are about raising money. In one post Silva mentions that he is soliciting churches to give him money out of their missions budget. Does Ken really see his work as evangelistic?

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Ken Silva put out a short notice to his readers today. In it he addresses the Ray Comfort issue that has divided the ODM community all together. I found this quote particularly interesting

All I’m going to do is simply remind everyone that we were only critical of his decision and not of Ray personally or his ministry. So please do not let this issue become divisive us for us here or in the larger Body of Christ. I said what I felt led to say and Ray Comfort, who is a brother in Lord, has said what he felt led to say. Therefore we leave the issue is now in the hands of the Lord

I wish that same grace would have been extended to Rob Bell, Rick Warren, Erwin McManus, etc. when they partnered with people of questionable theology. It is interesting how our tone changes when we have to deal with people and situations closer to home. It is no longer “us vs. them”, but now “us vs. us” in the ODM camp.

I found it even more ironic that the next paragraph was Silva asking for prayer as he pursued more secular speaking engagements. This was then followed by a request for money, and an a paragraph in which he has to explain his often over-the-top tactics.

However, in today’s world this is often confused for personal attack and/or my being unapproachable and/or mean-spirited. But while I am very direct, anyone who has made the time to approach me quickly finds I am hardly mean-spirited but rather committed to God’s Truth as I see it.

It appears that as Apprising and CRN struggle for money in this failing economy, they must back track a bit in their methods. While Silva’s close friends may know the kinder and gentler Ken Silva, most of us only know the fiery writer/prophet that often leaves little to the imagination when it comes to his feelings about certain individuals in the Christian community. In my opinion, it may be too late to recover his reputation in order to finance his ministry

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In the controversial post below, Chris Lyons pointed out how Ingrid was so encouraged by a listener who wraps and sells flowers for a cult in the evening. We get the full story in this article later, that this man was unable to find work and was forced to do this job at night for the Moonies.

My first thought was “I wonder if she would extend the same grace to a purpose driven pastor that was unable to pay the bills and took this job.” I could see the headlines now… “purpose driven pastor supports cult practices.” I really think this is a matter of showing grace where you want to, and upholding the law where you want to. It is acceptable for a believer to work for a cult until they can get a full time job, but Rick Warren can’t partner with secular organizations to help eradicate human poverty. No one is saying that it is wrong for this guy to enjoy VYC America’s programming –not any more wrong than a Buddhist monk enjoying the teachings of Rob Bell.

A year ago, Brian Gordon, the well-known new age energy coach, cited some writings of Erwin McManus on his blog. He definitely tweaked McManus’ words to fit his own ideas and philosophies in the process. Well, the ODMs went nuts over this! They went on and on about how this new-aged energy coach has similar theologies as McManus, and how he was really teaching unbiblical energy philosophies. All of it could not be further from the truth. In fact, when Gordon read what the ODMs were writing, he immediately contacted McManus, ashamed of the negative publicity he had brought him.

It’s amazing how certain groups are unable to see past their own logical processes. For example, if you follow the link in the original article to the VYC America webpage, you will find a video that says

Music Till Dawn will provide a relaxing contemplative atmosphere, where the Holy Spirit can speak to quieted hearts

relaxing contemplative atmosphere? If that was on Doug Pagitt’s website, he would be speared to death by the ODMs for it. There would be all types of arguments as to why we shouldn’t have contemplative prayer where God speaks to us individually. Sola Scriptura! But, somehow contemplative spirituality is ok for VYC America. I am just wondering when the double standard is going to be recognized.

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bottleRemember in scripture where it tells us that God will provide holy men to feed the lowly spiritual peons. And that when the spiritual peons are spiritually hungry, they are to go to the holy man, the one who can truly fill them up. But, if the spiritual peaons are not getting spiritually fed (whatever that means), then it is the fault of the holy man. mmm… that passage really spoke to me.

I find it really hard to believe that people still believe this stuff. I mean, that should have flown at the window when Luther presented the biblical idea of the priesthood of beleivers. When most people say that they are not getting fed, it usually doesn’t mean that their souls are suffering due to what is happening at church. It usually means that they just want more theology taught to them from a hired holy man, to hide the fact that they really don’t have an actual relationship with the living God. Really what we have created is a spiritual consumer culture. I come. I get fed. I leave. If my spiritual life isn’t vibrant, it must be because the man who has the seminary degree isn’t feeding me right.

I am absolutely disgusted with what we have created — an obese community of beleivers. We have so much knowledge of God, so many resources available to us, and so many freedoms to pursue our faith… but we still cry out “FEED ME!” to those who have studied the exegesis of Hebrew and Greek texts (and I graduate on Friday with one of those degrees, so I can say that). AS if they have some magic spiritual food that will make everyone full. What we need is pastors who don’t see it as their job to feed people. We need pastors who make a living out of making people HUNGRY enough for God, that they go on a relentless pursuit of Him.

And for the last time… where in scripture does it say that exegetical preaching is going to save the world?

by the way, if you haven’t checked out this blog, you absolutely MUST!

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Today is the opening of the film “Expelled” on Intelligent Design and the uncoordinated effort of atheistic science to blackball scientists (be they Christian or not) who believe in some sort of Intelligent Design.  Because I believe this is a topic that should be in the public eye (rather than arguing over literal 6-24-hour-day creation vs. atheistic evolution in a dualistic manner), I have put up an ad for the movie in our sidebar.

As a number of frequent readers know, none of the writers are in this to make money.   Aside from the Amazon search box, we do not have any commercial ads on this site, nor do we accept donations for numerous reasons – primarily that this is something we believe in strongly, and we don’t want any revenue pressure that might influence the content of the site – in any direction.

The ad that I’ve posted is simply to promote the movie – we do not get ANYTHING for having it up.

Nothing.

If you want to donate money, there are a number of missions which help flesh-and-blood people, and we can direct you to them.

That is all :)

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While we spend most of our posts here discussing the heresy hunting of the full-timers - the ODM’s, periodically I like to lurk around and see what the part-timers are up to… one posting ground site is the Rapture Ready bulletin board.  For those who moderate and post at the RRBB their motivation is purely eschatological, in a hyper-Dispensational scenario there must be a Great Falling Away before the rapture.  Therefore the writings of the ODM’s are often applauded and reposted as proof.  I go to sites like this to see how the ODM’s are quoted on the street.

Recently I read a few reviews of a a new book by Bishop Tom Wright on the afterlife: Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church.  Since I too believe the Bible teaches an eternity spent, not in heaven, but on a new earth – I think I’ll read it.

Then these two streams came together: a news story about Bishop Wright posted and commented upon at Rapture Ready.  The really amazing thing are the reactions.  Of course, anyone who does not believe in a pretrib, premill, rapture is suspect at rr-bb.  He also carries the suspisious title of “Bishop.”  So I expected them to dismiss him.  But I was truly amazed at the comments: one calls him a heretic, another hopes he repents and gains an intimate relationship with Jesus… others just delve into ad hominem attacks and mock his appearance.

So, maybe my eyes are foggy as well – but where in this article does Bishop Wright promote heresy?  Of what, exactly, does he need to recant and repent? 

I think my favorite response was:

1. The Dude Looks Crazy…
2. What is he Talking About I Couldnt understand a word he was saying it was like he was talking another language!

Now that’s logic that’s impossible to dispute!

UPDATE: It was correctly pointed out by Chris L., that my original distinction between “Professional” and “amateur” was insulting to those who really are professional about discernment… so I have substituted the terms for “full-time” and “part-time,” respectively.

 

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I think this article by Ingrid presents some good definitions of biblical mediation.  I would only have two things to say

  1. I don’t know of too many people who would say that as a Christian, our goal is to empty our mind in meditation.  Even most of the big bad emergents that she has criticizes for their meditative technique, including youth specialties, would say that the goal is not to remove everything from our minds.  In fact, the opposite would be true… to fill our minds with the scriptures and the person of Christ.
  2. Having that said, how do the meditation practices of those she criticizes err from her definition?  Repeating the Word of God, thinking about the attributes of God, praying while meditating are all included in the meditation of those written about.  I don’t see too many people calling for us to chant to the spirit-beings, emptying our souls to find nirvana.  No one is asking us to channel our chi and focus our chakra.
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Ingrid’s rebuttal to my recent article

Read this piece regarding Mosaic’s Erwin McManus and his views on Christianity and you will understand why Nathan Neighbour from his “Creative Arts” team has such a dim view of his fellow believers—(”hundreds of abortion clinics have been bombed”, he says, and adds that people in Christian glass houses shouldn’t throw stones at Islam). The young man has been discipled by McManus and it clearly shows.

for the record, I have a very high view and even higher hopes for the community of faith called Christianity. I believe that the church and my fellow beleivers are the only hope for the world. I throughly ascribe to Mosaic’s core convictions of

  • The local church is God’s agent for redemptive change.
  • Every Christian is called and gifted by God to serve the Body and seek the Lost

The difference between Ingrid and I is that I am able to objectively look at our faith history, admit that there have been good and bad times, and still say that we are a dynamic and living force in a lost and dying world. Ingrid believes that even admitting fault means that you have a “dim view” of the people in our faith. That really says alot about the ODMs ability to see and express reality clearly. But when you are going to go out of your way to criticize another faith’s inconsistencies in belief and practice, you better make sure the fingers can’t be pointed right back at you.

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In the recent post The Sexuality Obsession, there has been a heated debate over the issue of a Christian’s role in legislating morality. Ingrid wrote

I’m amazed at those who make the statement that you can’t legislate morality. Someone’s morality is always legislated, the question is always, whose? Right now the morality of the child-killers has been codified into law. We have 50 million dead babies because of this. Chattel slavery was the morality codified into law here in the United States and in Great Britain. It took a William Wilberforce, a Christian, to spearheaded moral opposition that changed the law (politics, Henry) to free blacks in England and a civil war to end it here in America where Christians had made peace with slavery.

All I want to say is that fighting for basic rights that all humanity should have (life, freedom, food, etc.) is one thing. Fighting for all humanity to act as we would like them to is a whole other ballgame. Calling for humans to not be sold as property is not the same as calling for everyone to have sex as we would like them to. Ending the genocide in Europe is not the same as fighting for our morals to be made laws in America. We Christians in the United States fight so hard for our moral freedom. But, as soon as someone else wants to exercise their moral freedom, not even asking for us to curb our beliefs, we react with vicious words and actions.

Look, I believe the scriptures. I believe that homosexuality is a destructive and ultimately godless lifestyle. I believe that having sex inside the context of heterosexual marriage is the only acceptable context for it. I believe that God longs for people to honor His instructions for sexual practices. However, I also believe that adultery is biblically wrong. I believe that marriage is exclusively between one man and one woman for life. I also know that more people commit adultery in America (14-22%) than live homosexual lifestyles (1-3%). If we are so concerned about legislating our sexual morality, why are we not strengthening the marriage contract? Why are we not fighting for making adultery illegal? Of course, we can’t stop there in being the moral majority. We will have to make it illegal to not attend church. We will have to enforce coveting with the law enforcement. We can force people to give 10% of their income to the church.

If we are going to be the group who controls everyone’s morality thru the government, we have to think thru the long term ramifications. Are we really called to do this? Or, are we just picking and choosing our battles to keep our comfort levels at their peak?

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