Archive for the 'Updates' Category

Where to start?Back when I was a kid, we had a sandbox in my back yard. From time to time, it would get wildly messy, with sand spilled over the edges, ditches down to the bottom of the box, and piles of the stuff on the seats. At times like these, my mother would give me a little plastic rake, which meant it was time to straighten out the sandbox…

I’m no longer a child, but it seems this metaphor is in order as I observe the workings here at CRN.info. While I believe we are doing many of the things we set out to do, a little bit of raking is in order – as I hinted at this past Thursday morning before heading back to teach a class in claymation at the Legacy camp in Ignacio, CO. After reading the comment section in my article, it seems that my hinting needs to be much stronger.

So – for the raking:

1) Since our struggle is not with ‘flesh and blood’ – I am asking all CRN.info writers to write articles in such a way as to address ideas rather than singular critics. In doing so, for the next 30 days we will not provide critique of any specific individual, by name (particularly writers on SoL/C?N/AM). While we will, as is part of this blog’s purpose, defend individual Christians and/or groups of Christians who are unfairly attacked, we will try to address specific criticisms of them – if they exist – or reveal the logical fallacies in blanket criticisms.
2) We will continue to allow ANY and ALL comments. To my knowledge, aside from auto-filtered spam, we have only deleted three comments since this site was created – two duplicate posts and one comment that should not have been deleted, for which an apology was given. It is our position that the selective acceptance of comments only serves to create a fallacious air of ‘proof by assertion’ and an atmosphere of intellectual dishonesty.

3) Threadjacking is getting tiresome, and it will be dealt with in a number of ways. There is no need, for instance, to drag previous discussions – say, on Calvinism vs. Arminianism – from previous threads onto current threads which have nothing whatsoever to do with the old conversation.

Where this becomes a problem, I will first post a warning within the particular discussion and ask for the participants to either drop the tangent, or move it back to the topic under which it belongs (if such topic exists…) Next, if it continues, I will email specific individuals – even if they are writers here – and ask them to drop it.

If my requests go unheeded, the offending individuals will go on the ‘moderation list’ (which is currently empty) for a short duration of time. The ‘moderation list’ is simply a place like the penalty box in hockey, where comments are held long enough to not appear in the right comment sidebar. I have only had to put someone on this list once, and hope to not have to do so again.
Finally, if the behavior continues, I will ban the individuals from this site, but I hope to NEVER have to do this – and you really will have to push me hard to make this happen.
4) Petty sniping between ANYONE is childish. Between Christians, though, is just plain ugly and sinful. I have not been above this, and I have had to apologize for it many a time. Lately, the number of ‘zingers’ and ‘one-liners’ – which I suppose have been calculated to amuse oneself, rather than engage the subject at hand – are tired and old. Certain individuals – I suspect they know who they are – are really wearing the patience of many readers. Please stop.

If you cannot respond intelligently to the topic at hand, or if you only desire to deflect criticism of your position without offering anything rational in your defense, then don’t comment. If you feel your man/woman-hood has been challenged, there are arenas in which to deal with the hormonal issues involved – this is not one of them.

5) Intellectual honesty (primarily to myself and my writers) – When we criticize the watchblogs of certain behaviors and then engage in them ourselves, we are engaging in a game of plank-speck. We need to avoid these pitfalls, and more:
Eisogesis/Prooftexting: When I and others eisogeted Chris P’s comment from earlier this year (”the only cure for AIDS is death”) to cast him as uncaring and insensitive – despite the fact that his broader comment and a later clarification were unsupporting of this view – I was being as intellectually dishonest as critics of Rob Bell are when they eisogete a paragraph in Velvet Elvis and then contend that Bell does not believe in sola Scriptura.

Straw-man/”What He Means Is”: When I re-worded an argument from amy earlier this year to make it say something she didn’t mean to say, and then proceeded to tear the re-wording apart – I was just as guilty of building a strawman as were the Pyromanics a couple weeks back when they did the same thing to Scot McKnight, and just as guilty as 95% of the articles on AM, which are almost wholly built on beating down straw men.

Personal Extrapolation: When we quote commenters from SoL/AM/C?N and extrapolate their views as if they are that of the writers of said sites, we are doing the same thing that we criticize when someone sympathetic to one or more of our contentions writes something bone-headed and it gets extrapolated as if it was our view.

Systematic Extrapolation/Broad-brushing: When we extrapolate views of our critics to extremes beyond what they intend – or when we broad-brush groups of fundamentalist/reformed brothers in certain ways, we are doing the same thing that we criticize when people broad-brush emerging/emergent Christians in unfair, inaccurate ways.

Other logical fallicies: We need to strive to avoid ad homenim, assertion, and other logically fallacious methods of debate. Some of these are easy to fall into, in which case we need to quickly apologize if we do so. In the same way, when we point them out in defense of unfairly maligned brothers and sisters, we need to do so in a way that allows apology.

6) We will continue to attribute all articles to the author of the article, so that the author of each article is easily identifiable.  To do anything else would be intellectually dishonest, and would only lead to confusion on the part of the readers.  As it is written somewhere, we should let our ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and our ‘no’ be ‘no’, which at its basest view includes who it is saying ‘yes’ and ‘no’ in the first place!

FINALLY

Why am I writing this? Threefold:

1) I want to be held to a standard of decency and etiquette which I expect from, but see little of, in the watchblogosphere. Some of our writers and Dan Kimball (I don’t know who was first, and I’m too lazy to figure it our right now) recently wrote a comparison of the opposite of this standard as to yapping poodles. Going one step further, I will engage a pop-culture reference, comparing such behavior to piranha poodles. I don’t want to be one. If I write these expectations down, I expect that even if my friends don’t hold me to them, my critics certainly will…

2) It is hard to move in a direction without first setting the course. I also expect my writers to try to follow the guidelines above, even if those who criticize them or me will not.
3) I am not pro-emergent or anti-fundamentalist, etc. I am pro-Christian. As such, I have this nagging belief that we – all Christians – should have a way of interacting with each other, especially when we disagree, that is unlike what is seen in the rest of the world.

  • Share/Bookmark

I’ve just finished prepping to leave (at 2:00 am), and thought I’d drop in real quick to let everyone know that we here at CRN.info have a new contributor in Tim Reed from churchvoices.com.  I’d say more, but I need to get about 4 hours sleep here before I start my driving day…

Grace and Peace,

Chris

  • Share/Bookmark

Greetings, all.

I am headed out of town, yet again, for a week out west, teaching art and music for the week.  I know that the other guys can hold the fort without me, but I would appreciate any prayers for travel mercies.

Grace and peace,

Chris

  • Share/Bookmark

A watchdawggie experiencing a way made narrower than it ought to be!For some reason, our spam filter has gotten incredibly strict – like an old-fashioned schoolmarm on steroids – over the past week or so.  I’ve gone in and approved (non-duplicative) comments caught up in its clutches, wading through all sorts of ads for prescription medications, personal ‘enhancers’, and other distasteful things to find the well-intended comments.

I will be checking this filter (which is truly vile to moderate, thus my not going into it on a more regular basis) more frequently in the near future to better catch non-spam in its clutches.  If you are having difficulty getting a comment to approve, please drop me a line at slicedlaodicea AT earthlink DOT net, and I’ll see if it’s been filtered…

UPDATE

After a few weeks of no problems, the spam filter is at it again.  I will be on vacation starting tomorrow, but all the writers on CRN.Info have the ability to rescue comments from the throat of the spam-filter-monster, so please be patient if your comment doesn’t immediately appear…

Grace and Peace,

Chris

  • Share/Bookmark

… they are still going at it over the Warren / Murdock issue at CRN! Guess the Christian Tabloid business is slowing down for the summer. Here are some titles posted just in the last 2 days!

Purpose Driven Pastor Rick Warren Claims To Be Rupert Murdoch’s Pastor: Here Are The Facts

What the Bible Says About Discipline

Asking the Right Questions About Warren & Murdoch

Will Saddleback Boycott HarperCollins & Zondervan?

Rupert Murdoch’s Purpose Driven Pastor Rick Warren is Now Way Out of Bounds

Rick Warren ‘Works With’ and ‘Strengthens’ Mormon Churches and Other Non-Christian Sects

  • Share/Bookmark

Check out this tabloid-esque caption from CRN

America’s Mega-Pastor and PDL Pope Rick Warren claims he is also pastor to billionaire Rupert Murdoch who has been steadily expanding his companies further into the distribution of pornography. But wait until you see in this new piece from Apprising Ministries what else our Christian “brother” Rupert Murdoch is responsible for making available to the public.

That compared with this

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Check out the far fetched article. It seems like Ken can’t let this one go.

  • Share/Bookmark

The senseless attacks on Rick Warren continue from Christian Research Network and their gang of watch doggies. The lastest was from our good friend Chris Rosebrough at Extreme Theology. What are they up in arms about now? Five words: Worship, Evangelism, Discipleship, Ministry and fellowship.

Yep! How dare Rick Warren say that true churches hold to those five elements! In Rosebrough’s words, “Maybe it’s me, but this sure does sound like a dogmatic and judgmental statement on Rick Warren’s part.”

Chris adds Mark Kelly’s quote (Purpose Driven Staff)

“…you don’t have to be part of any particular denomination to implement PD principles. There are Purpose Driven congregations in more than 200 different denominations and associations. Our desire is to work with denominations to strengthen their churches. Each church can maintain its own heritage and doctrinal convictions while cooperating with others on accomplishing the five purposes…”

Chris Responds

This seems really odd to me. On the one hand these folks say that any church that isn’t fulfilling the 5 purposes ‘is not really a church”. But on the other hand ANY church REGARDLESS OF DOCTRINAL CONVICTIONS can be Purpose Driven.

Exactly Chris! Reformed Theologians, Arminian theologians, Methodists, Baptists, and even Presbyterians can include Worship, Evangelism, Discipleship, Ministry and fellowship in their churches. It’s pretty simple. If you can tell me which one of these five purposes can be removed, and the church can still function as the scriptures command, go right ahead. You failed to do that in your blog.

Chris Continues

So with these PD folks, the truth of a church’s doctrinal statement doesn’t determine whether or not it is ‘really a church’. But, the thing that matters is whether or not they are fulfilling the 5 purposes.

First off, no one said or implied that. They said that the five purposes work within existing doctrinal statements. The five purposes are found in scripture. They are prescribed by God, not Rick Warren (I hope that we can all agree on that). And, when they are fulfilling the five purposes from a scriptural basis, their doctrinal statements will come. You see, most people live their lives based on a doctrinal statement and find scripture to back up their theology. What Rick is suggesting is that we start with scriptural purposes and allow our theology to be formed from the word, not a doctrinal creed.

So Chris, which of these purposes are optional in a church:

  • Evangelism
  • Fellowship
  • Worship
  • Ministry
  • Discipleship

UPDATED

If you doubted that Ken was not a sore loser with the Porno story, let his last few article titles speak for themselves:

looks like someone picked up his ball, went home and threw a Purpose-Driven Tantrum

  • Share/Bookmark

I looks like we made it to the bad boy blogs finally!  We must have really set him off.  Ken Silva addressed our piece entitled “Dine with the Porn Producers!”  Of course he failed to address any real issues brought up.   But hey, you can’t expect to get everything, right?  Here are a few highlights:

The comments section, at least when they aren’t arguing among themselves, is actually quite enlightening as to how far these who have bought into the new liberal theology of the new evangelicalism will bend over backward to excuse blatant sin.

No Ken, it isn’t arguing.  It is called working through the issues.  We do not support a hit and run ministry such as yours at CRN and Apprising.  We allow and encourage the debate to take place so that we can better understand the paradigms in which we live.  And for excusing blatant sin… maybe you failed to read this line from the blog:

“Do I agree with Murdoch or Gordon’s businesses? No.”

Ken Continues

The main hue and cry is: “It must be dealt with privately.” I guess these new evangelicals forgot to inform God because with no further discussion He struck the ill-fated Century One Real Estate team of Ananias and Sapphira dead for their sin. Very publicly did the Lord deal with this sin”

I love how Ken takes one single incident in scripture and applies it to all occasions.  I am pretty sure that Ken is glad that God does not deal publicly with all of his sin.  Otherwise there would be huge fiasco going down at Connecticut River Baptist.  But seriously, to suggest that all sin needs to be addressed publicly and that God is waiting to strike sinners dead is a very sad view point for a pastor / teacher to hold.  I cringe when I imagine Ken standing from his pulpit and publicly addressing the sins of all of his members.

Here are the facts…  Is what Murdoch is doing wrong?  Yes.  If Rick Warren claims to be his pastor, does he need to speak up, Yes.  Do many of us, thousands of miles away need to stick our nosy heads into this?  No.  Like I said before, thousands of pastors around the nation in more traditional churches are letting sin slip by.  If CRN is called to be the sin police for other pastors, then they have a long way to go from one church in Lake Forest.  Ken has no idea about the situation or relationship between Warren and Murdoch.  Hence, he has no say in the matter.  Once again, it seems that Ken’s ministry isn’t keeping him busy enough over there on the east coast… and idol hands are the devils workshop.

Personally I think they are all just upset that the Web article from the UK was removed  :)

P.S. Oh, and watch out.  The article above ours is addressing Steven Curtis Chapman’s involvement with Warren.   Pretty soon the only music safe from the reaches of the satanic emerging/purpose driven/seeker sensitive church of deceit will be classical and hymns.  But I am sure someone will find a way to make those “booty shakin’ music”

  • Share/Bookmark

So it seems that Ken needs to further validate his position that Rick Warren isn’t a Chrsitian.  He calls in his international friends for spiritual backup.  Apparently his post attacking Warren’s salvation wasn’t enough.  This is a classic case of “SEE!  He thinks so toooo!”  Read the article here.   

  • Share/Bookmark

Ingrid makes a pretty harsh stab at American Idol contestant Phil Stacey. Phil is a Top 7 finalist on American Idol. He is a devout Christian, family man, Navy vocalist, Christian songwriter, and a worship leader in his local church. After his father-in-law writes a letter to the media about Phil’s Christian music, many in the discernment camp fire out insults. This is a dissection of Ingrid’s letter back to Phil Stacey’s father-in-law.

What’s a “devout Christian” doing attempting to become an “American idol?” Is this what Jesus did when he came 2000 years ago? Was he interested in winning a popularity contest by the world, or was He going about His Father’s business here on earth?

This coming from a woman who speaks on a radio show that airs around the world and promotes her show when ever she gets an opportunity. Today they talked about the issues of tax reform in America, specifically attacking the Democratic Party. What exactly is she doing becoming a political activist/analyst? Is this what Jesus did when he came 2000 years ago? Did he want us to be radio talk show hosts or to go about our Father’s business?

Only in America do Christians believe they can have the applause of the world while still obtaining the blessing of God. Christians in North Korea and China and other nations around the world know that following Jesus will cost them everything. Not so, in America. Our American idol (the god of evangelicalism) calls us to be personally successful, popular and all that we can be. The true Jesus calls us to die to ourselves, take up our crosses and follow Him.

Probably one of the most twisted teachings of the discernment party is this concept that is you are not suffering horribly then you are out of God’s will. There is no room to be a successful artist, a influential doctor or anything other than a distressed human being. Here Ingrid basically says that American Christians should not pursue the dreams and plans that God has for us because the church is suffering in North Korea and China. When Jesus calls us to “die to ourselves”, he is not asking us to live some impoverished simple life, but to lay down our own plans and ambitions for His.

So what would that look like with and American Idol? Well, right now American Idol is the most watched television program on the air. Basically Phil Stacy has the largest platform in all of America. He has openly said that he is a believer, and is now interested in sharing his music with the world that shares the truth of the gospel. He has authorized this open letter to the press. I cannot speak for the man, but it would be easy for him to just be an idol… to just soak in the glory and make it all about him. But, he has died to self and is making this a ministry opportunity.

Two things… Why is it not ok for Phil Stacey to pursue this dream, but men like David Crowder, Chris Tomlin and Steven Curtis Chapman pursue it? The music of these men is played all over Mike Corley’s show each week. Is this not a double standard? Also, why are they not attacking anyone in a prominent position in the world… Christian doctors, politicians, lawyers, authors, media personality… why now attack a man who is interested in using the largest public platform in the world to share the gospel.

Ingrid ends with this

When you do that, you will lose the applause of the world, period.

Maybe if you taught the GOOD NEWS of Jesus Christ and not the idea that to follow Christ means to be impoverished, persecuted and tormented, we would not lose so much of the applause of the world.

This quote by Marianne Williamson sums things up for us as Christians

Our deepest fear is not that we are in adequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond all measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us the most. We ask ourselves, “who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?” Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.

There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just some of us; it’s in all of us. And, when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberated others.

PLEASE NOTE:  The author or this blog does not support all of the ideas, philosophies, writings or theologies from Williamson.  All I am saying is that this quote sums up my thoughts.  The end.

  • Share/Bookmark