The first FAQ concerns my own Christian beliefs and tradition…what tribe do I belong to and what do I believe?
I started off life in the Assemblies of God, moved to the Nazarene tradition, left it all for a season, went back to the AoG, went to Calvary Chapel, got ripped into pieces, discovered Calvinism and embraced it, learned to hold that loosely as well, and today I am an independent pastor who has realized that this is a process…a life long process of discovering God.
I don’t believe that I’m ever going to “arrive” at a place where the label fits perfectly.
I’m good with that.
Labels demand that you never grow outside the confines of a tradition and loathe both mystery and nuance…and the older I get, the mysteries I see and the more delicate the nuances become.
If you must, I’m theologically conservative, Calvinist leaning, premill, pre-wrath and still studying it all.
I trust in Christ.
This leads to the second FAQ…why do you allow heretics like “universalists” to post on your blog?
My definition of a “Christian” is really basic and boils down to the essential Gospel or “kerygma”.
If you believe that Christ came, died for your sins, rose from the dead, ascended to the Father, and will return someday to judge the quick and the dead, you’re in.
That leaves a ton of room for some really good or really not so good doctrine to fill in the voids.
However, as I’ve stated already, this is a process.
Because someone is walking in “error” today, doesn’t mean that their discovery process is over.
My job is to provide a place and provide resources where people can safely think through the next steps and hopefully arrive at “orthodoxy”.
The third FAQ concerns why a “Calvinist” would affirm folks that are Eastern Orthodox or affirm “Roman Catholic” authors or speakers.
Because some of them are far better “Christians” than I am. All ‘truth” is God’s truth and I’ll find it where I can.
What do you believe about the Bible?
I believe it’s true.
Why do you mock online discernment ministries? Don’t you believe in the Rapture?
I mock them because nowhere in Scripture do I see the command to rip your brothers and sisters to shreds, the more as you see the Day grow closer.
I find them to be divisive, unloving, and theologically inept.
I believe the “Rapture” and the Second Coming are the same event.
Are you “emergent”?
I don’t even know what the hell that means and I don’t think you do either.
“Emergent’ is now the catch all curse word for “different than me”.
Why do you think you’re so smart?
I don’t…I’m painfully aware of my ignorance and that’s why I committed to being a life long student many years ago.
Why do you put up with (fill in the blank)?
Because Christ puts up with me.
Because I recognize that this is a process, a journey, if you must.
Because people that are challenging the faith are usually folks who have been put through some sort of triggering crisis that precipitated it.
“a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice.”
That person which by open denunciation of the Church is rightly cut off from the unity of the Church, and excommunicated, ought to be taken of the whole multitude of the faithful, as an Heathen and Publican, until he be openly reconciled by penance, and received into the Church by a Judge that hath authority thereunto.
So what do you think justifies excommunication? Do you agree with this article?
I will link to the lawsuit…be aware that the allegations are both graphic and terrible.
If you have been a victim of this kind of abuse it may be advisable not to read the document.
The pattern is familiar.
The institution (and it’s leadership) are valued more than any victim, no matter how horrific the offense.
Offenses are covered in secrecy and shame…even after they have been exposed.
Rather than submit to an open and honest investigation, the courts and online media have to carry the hopes for truth and justice.
As a result, the name of Christ is disgraced and the people of God are crushed.
Jesus wept…but He keeps good records too.
All involved will eventually give Him an account for their actions or lack of same.
On a very minor note, I am seeing these offenses somehow linked to the fact that SGM considers itself a Calvinist denomination.
In reality, according to records we now have of the Genevan consistory, pastors were held to high standards and these matters would have been dealt with immediately and severely.
I know John Calvin…and C.J. Mahaney is no John Calvin.
Calvin wouldn’t have tolerated the silence of the Reformed on this matter either.
The issues would have been dealt with in the church, in front of the community.
What a novel concept…
Right now, it would be Meddle. Last month, it was Animals. I go through phases with Pink Floyd. The Wall will be all I listen to for weeks, then Dark Side. I spent the most time listening to Animals. Even though Roger Waters was not a part of Pulse, I have spent weeks listening to that one as well. Piper At The Gates is one that I cannot shake. I always wind up back at Syd Barrett somehow. But then I land on Wish You Were Here for months. Division Bell is super, followed by Final Cut. But then I get lost in the weird stuff like Zabriskie Point for days on end. For now, it is Meddle.
There are a million more, but just about any Pink Floyd album tops the list.
We can do songs next week, but for today, just albums. Yours?
1. Anne Lamott hates Mothers Day. I saw the article “liked’ all over Facebook by the “progressive” Christian crowd, so I went and read it. Lamott, as always, has some good points particularly in addressing those who may be in mourning over the observance of the day. We can be mindful of them…but do we really have to hate having a day to honor our mothers (or our fathers) because a part of the whole are not able to enjoy it?
Why, all of a sudden , are the exceptions making the rules in our culture?
2. I listened to another debate last might wherein Bart Ehrmann was trying to convince a large crowd that the Bible was an unreliable, uninspired document. Then I heard God ordering millstones…
3. Here’s a helpful health hint from the PhxP. If you find yourself unemployed and out of benefits, but ill and in need of antibiotics…here’s how you get them. Go to the pet store and you can buy amoxicillin over the counter…for fish. Exact same stuff as for humans. My gills are clearing up already…
4. A Calvary Chapel pastor in California incurred the wrath of Chuck Smith on his “World News Briefing”program. The pastor (who I salute) invited a Palestinian Christian to speak to his church. This led to Smith having a conversation with co-host Don Stewart about “where Calvary Chapel stands” on the issue, followed by a legal disclaimer that each Calvary Chapel is completely independent.This raises some questions. So…if each Calvary Chapel is completely independent how can there be a “Calvary Chapel stand” on anything? Are Palestinian Christians less Christian than other Christians? Why would we support a group that rejects Jesus while attempting to stifle a group that believes in Him? Why call out a pastor for trying to educate his flock and not call any out for alleged moral failure? Just askin…
6. I’m totally uninterested in living in a world where there are no differences between men and women.
7. I own about 50 years of studies by J.I. Packer. When he was younger he could occasionally be sharp and polemic. As he has aged, he only becomes sharp when he believes the things of God are diminished and even then his sharpness is directed toward the idea, not a person. May God grant me the same graces as I grow older…cause I’m not there yet.
8. Looks like the end is near for Harold Camping and Family Radio. The creepy part of this is that I completely believe that Camping doesn’t want the network to survive him…if it’s not going to be about him, he wants it to die. Make your own application…
9. The eschatological center of the Bible is the church, not Israel.
10. I awoke this morning feeling some emotional wounds…wounds left by those I counted as friends. When I pondered this I realized that it’s much easier to practice forgiveness with those you love before you move toward forgiving those you dont…
Dear Father always near us,
may your name be treasured and loved,
may your rule be completed in us-
may your will be done here on earth in
just the way it is done in heaven.
Give us today the things we need today,
and forgive us our sins and impositions on you
as we are forgiving all who in any way offend us.
Please don’t put us through trials,
but deliver us from everything bad.
Because you are the one is charge,
and you have all the power, and the glory too is all yours-forever-
which is just the way we want it!
It’s part of the family lore and my grandfathers legend.
It seems that a conflict arose with another man and grandfather hated him.
Hated him… to point of swearing a solemn oath that upon knowing of this mans death he would find his eternal resting place and “piss on his grave”.
Many years later while moving his family from the eastern part of the country to Oregon he drove hundreds of miles out of his way and did as he promised.
While his little family waited in the car in the midst of a New Mexico cloudburst, he unburdened his hillbilly soul and emptied his bladder onto the grave, then proceeded west.
Gas was cheaper then, hate is still the same price.
Had grandfather been born a few years later he would have been able to save all that time and gas because he could have cyber urinated on his enemies grave online.
Upon the death of Dallas Willard, (as was the case when Brennan Manning passed,) you could hear the zippers ripping all over ODM land.
“A man cursed of God..”
“wonder if he took an air conditioner with him…”
“He is now answering to his Creator for all those he led astray. Shudder.”
Oh, the great release…it had been a few weeks since they had been able to damn someone and the pressure was undoubtedly building.
For what sin was he accursed?
Is there now condemnation for those in Christ Jesus?
Why, you unwashed fool… he was emergent.
He practiced spiritual formation.
He taught contemplative prayer.
Now, what these things are in reality is never defined but a full bladder and an empty head need no definitions, just a place to pee.
Preferably, a fresh grave.
Make your own application…
I didn’t immediately go to the computer and put my thoughts about him and his legacy down on cyber paper…because his writings had little impact on my own thinking and thus, little impact on my life.
In fact, I found much I disagreed with theologically in his work and those disagreements were large enough to cause me to pay little attention to his body of work.
Upon further reflection, I believe that even those of us who disagreed with Willard theologically owe him a debt of gratitude.
His brilliance was undeniable, matched only by the humility with which that brilliance was shown to the world, both sacred and secular.
He was an intelligent, Christ centered voice in academia and because of that intelligence and humility, he was heard.
He had that rare gift of being able to communicate with equal clarity both to the academy and the pew and challenge both with the things of God.
Finally, he made us think…think more deeply about what we believe and why, always with the focus on Christ.
For that alone, we should all thank him.
He was a giant…and he will be missed.