Archive for the 'What Can You Say?' Category

There is a blog writer out there — we’ll call him Gary.*

Gary started out a recent post by stating that he had great reluctance to write it. It was about the shooting at Sandy Hook and lots of people had already written about it; for a while, he didn’t see value in adding his perspective. But eventually, he came up with some (IMHO) helpful and unique thoughts, and so he wrote them down.

One of the other reasons that he cited for his reluctance was that he was tiring of blogging. While he is a self-deprecating sort (which earns him points in my book), his tiredness was not so much that he did not feel that he was having impact, but more personal reasons and a shifting of priorities. Not surprisingly, several of the comments by his “fans” — and even a close friend — told him that he should not stop blogging.

What was frightening was the fact that — while briefly ascribing to him value in his writings — all such comments focused on the impact that his quitting would have on the reader.

What was disgusting was the fact that — without exception — every such comment used the word “ministry” to describe his blogging. Now, while I have no doubt that his writing ministers to others and could legitimately be called ministry, that word is not some magic talisman. Just because you do an activity that ministers to others does not obligate you to continue to do that activity in perpetuity.  Yet this was exactly how the word was employed every time.

I love my pastor and I hope that I have the opportunity to sit under his teaching and leadership for years to come. But if God told him tomorrow that he was supposed to go back into cabinet-making, and he rejected this idea because he is ministering to a lot of people as a pastor, I would be sorely disappointed in him.

Colossians 3:23-24 tells us:

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.

While the context is addressing slaves, the applicability of this truth is universal. The bumper sticker may be a tad cheesy, but it’s true, nonetheless: my boss is a Jewish carpenter. The Christian’s obligation is to the Lord in all of his efforts, including ministry.


* That’s not actually his name, but my post is about an issue, not a person, and (unfortunately) many of Gary’s “fans” are not capable of the distinction. In the event that one of them stumbles across this, I’d prefer that the issue be weighed by its own merits.

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(with apologies to Jeff Foxworthy, for riffing off his meme)

If you automatically assume that someone honoring another person in stained glass is venerating them and conferring sainthood on them, youuuuuuu might be a Roman Catholic.

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Caveat 1: That’s not a typo, but a pun that jumped out at me, given the topic at hand. Had I declined to use it, I surely would have been disinherited.

Caveat 2: This is not a pop on all cessationists — some of my best friends are cessationists. It is, however, a pop on those who feel that they must beat the dead horse into the ground with a stick as part of their ministry of criticizing continuationism (that list of links spans less than a month, and yet doesn’t even include the post about which I wish to talk).

Over at TeamPyro (where one can have one’s comments purged for the horrific offense of quoting the Bible), Dan Phillips has climbed back on his hobby horse of bashing continuationists. The latest installment contains several interesting aspects on which I’ll briefly touch before getting to my main point:

  • Phillips starts by noting that we all have blind spots, however there’s no indication in the context of the post (or the favorable comments or Phillips’ response to them) that this could be one of his, but rather that this is one that others have which he has identified.
  • We are assured that this post is not a blanket criticism that impugns the “Gospel soundness” of all continuationists, some of whom are “splendid preachers of the Gospel”. I’m sure that this is of great comfort to those people, as Phillips never actually refers to them as “continuationists”, but always uses the highly derisive term, “Leaky Canoneers”.
  • Noting that something occurred to you “while I was praying today”, when prayer has nothing to do with your topic, seems like a violation of Matthew 6:5-6 to me (see also, “I thank thee that I am not like these continuationists”).
  • Phillips’ overall thesis is “that there is a parallel between the Leaky Canon position and the false gospel of moralism”. This is an “interesting” idea, at least in my experience, as the vast majority of the moralists that I know are cessationists.

But, all of those observations aside, the implications of Phillips’ “proof” of his argument are terrifying (or at least an epic fail in logic), and one doesn’t even need to subscribe to any particular belief in the cessationism/continuationism spectrum to see the problem.

Phillips premise is that since Christianity does not perfectly teach nor practice the 66 books in the Canon (I’ll certainly buy that), that the last thing we need is more revelation from God to further condemn us.

If you aren’t nauseated by that last sentence, go back and read it again. If you still don’t get it, read on.

Phillips’ contention is that the purpose of Bible (and/or further words from God, if you embrace such a thing) is to provide a means by which God communicates to us how much we suck.  And no, that is not my analysis extrapolated from his statements. Rather, witness these words, direct from his keyboard:

More words from God, given our failure to be faithful to what we already have, and absent repentance, would simply mean more failure and more faithlessness.

If that’s Christianity, would someone please direct me to the nearest mosque?

UPDATE: It has been pointed out to me that if the occurrence “while I was praying today” is not a violation of Matthew 6:5-6, then one must come to the conclusion that God extra-biblically communicated to Phillips while he was praying. Which, ya know, pretty much destroys his whole post.

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As you are likely aware, Chuck Colson died on Saturday. There have already been many glowing eulogies written about the man from all corners of Christendom.

In slight contrast, a friend of mine remarked that it’s sad that most of the articles in the secular press focus on his Nixon/Watergate years. One such article even (essentially) admitted to having to consult Colson’s web site to see what the man had been up to for the last 35 years. In one sense, this is sad. But in another sense, it’s a good thing. Though Colson was a prominent figure in the “culture wars”, he apparently did his fighting in such a way that he was not the focus.

Put another way, when John Doe heard the name “Chuck Colson”, he had one of two responses — either (1) “who?” or (2) “oh yeah, that Watergate guy.” He didn’t respond with, “oh yeah, that bigoted, homophobic and misogynistic jerk.” What does that say about who (or should that be “Who”) was most obvious in Colson’s life?

OK, to be fair, one John Doe did have that response. But Franky Schaeffer has a history of selling entire books that bash on dead guys (like his own father) in order to prop up his own agenda. So one measly blog post is hardly noteworthy.

Outside of special cases like Schaeffer, the only people who seemed to have a major beef with Colson were from a segment of Protestantism that was far too uncomfortable with his work with Roman Catholics on ECT and the Manhattan Declaration. Now, it has been well established that Online Discernment [sic] Ministries [sic] are wildly Romophobic. So, I cynically asked some friends recently if they wanted to start a pool on which ODM would be first to dump on Colson for his associations with Catholics. After all, they have a history of using not-yet-cold dead guys to prop up their agenda, too.

Ya know what? As far as I can tell, none of them “went there”. Kudos to them.

So that’s all I have to say. I just wanted to praise the authors for not …

Wait …

What ?!?!?!

(And you thought this post was over ….)

There’s a very prominent Christian blogger out there — we’ll call him Tom.

As is my wont, I’m not giving his real name. My issue is with the actions/attitudes, not the person. Though I don’t have any real desire to give the person any Google juice either.

Several years ago — I think it was in a comment thread on iMonk’s blog — someone referred to Tom as being “irenic”. At first I thought that was a typo, but “ironic” didn’t fit the context, so I hit an online dictionary and found this definition for “irenic”.

favoring, conducive to, or operating toward peace, moderation, or conciliation

And I thought, “yeah, that’s a good description of Tom”.  While he had no “Randy Alcorn” moment of major reconciliation, Tom is (was?) a very even-keeled guy who would seek to get rid of the dividing lines in Christendom when they weren’t of primary theological importance. Further, while not specifically addressing their Romophobia, Tom had — on more than one occasion — spoken out against the ODMs for their tendency to wantonly bash their brothers and sisters in Christ.

Heck, he even once had a meal with Rick Warren and came to the conclusion that he is not the anti-Christ (contrary to what ODM authors seem to believe). Tom disagrees with Rick on several issues, but he did not let that stand in the way of genuine fellowship.

So it was rather surprising (and massively disappointing) to watch Tom throw that irenic nature out the window and go for Colson’s jugular. In his article, he expresses “surprise” that others’ remembrances of Colson are uniformly positive. While giving Colson some credit for some of his work, Tom then accuses him of working “against the Lord’s church”, laboring for “outright sinful causes” and “undermin[ing] the gospel”. All of his accusations revolve around Colson’s work and alliance with Roman Catholics and those of the Orthodox faith.

Sigh.

Now — ya want to take the irony up another few notches?  Another definition of “irenic” is:

a part of Christian theology concerned with reconciling different denominations and sects

Yeah, I think we can stop applying that word to Tom from now on.


UPDATE: Since I started writing this, one of the ODMs did “go there”. But it’s pretty obvious from the ODM article that Tom’s article was both the impetus and inspiration for the ODM article. So Tom still retains a good bit of his uniqueness.

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On Febraury 11, 2010, the Rapture Ready bulletin board banned me for two years (apparently for dragging God into a conversation) and informed me that I am not saved.

If you’re reading this, that means that the world has not ended yet, and I am over there renewing my membership and finding out from those gracious people how to be saved before I’m eternally damned.

And if you believe that last line, when I return from RR, I want to talk to you about a bridge in New York that I can sell you for a really good price.

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Some time ago, I noted some problems with Why We’re Not Emergent by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck. One of the more ludicrous issues was the ex cathedra declaration that it was fair game to lump all emergent leaders together:

when people endorse one another’s book and speak at the same conferences and write on the same blogs, there is something of a discernible movement afoot.

Never mind that none of these actions — either separately or together — really mean anything, let alone that they constitute “a discernible movement”.

More recently, on his post about the term “Young, Restless and Reformed”, DeYoung states that he is

afraid the label is often used in a way that makes YRR sound like an organized movement with official standards and spokesmen.

He then goes on, in detail, to show how it is not.

Four years ago, he declared that A+B+C=D.  Now “D” (by that declaration) applies to his team. And he doesn’t like it.

Changing horses mid-stream is a tricky thing.

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Just for clarification purposes, Sanballat is one the Bad Guys, and the “me” here is Nehemiah (one of the Good Guys):

Nehemiah 6:5-8
Then Sanballat sent his servant to me as before, the fifth time, with an open letter in his hand. In it was written:

It is reported among the nations, and Geshem says, that you and the Jews plan to rebel; therefore, according to these rumors, you are rebuilding the wall, that you may be their king. And you have also appointed prophets to proclaim concerning you at Jerusalem, saying, “There is a king in Judah!” Now these matters will be reported to the king. So come, therefore, and let us consult together.

Then I sent to him, saying, “No such things as you say are being done, but you invent them in your own heart.”

  • I won’t shoot the “open letter” fish in a barrel
  • Theoretically basing your accusations on what others are saying
  • Really pulling them out of your left armpit
  • Telling others what their innermost motives are
  • Oh, and being wrong about the whole darn thing

I’m not naming names or anything, but …

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Commenting on Jesus’ sacrifice for me and how others apparently think that He did it wrong.

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I was writing this up as a post, and it just wasn’t coming together. So I tried a video instead.

Here’s the link that I reference (to the actual interview): John Piper interviews Rick Warren

I’ll note that if I hated Rick Warren with a passion, I’d still only have to change about 5% of this video. So a laundry list (given in the comment thread) of his errors will not be germane to the OP. Not that that’ll stop anyone. I’m pretty darn good at derailing myself. Just sayin’…

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John 12:20-26 (NKJV)
Now there were certain Greeks among those who came up to worship at the feast. Then they came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him, saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”

Philip came and told Andrew, and in turn Andrew and Philip told Jesus.

But Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.”

If it had only been Martin Bashir instead of Andrew and Philip, I bet this evasive Jesus guy would’ve been nailed down.

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