May 222013

anglicanIT is not necessary that traditions and ceremonies be in all places one or utterly alike; for at all times they have been diverse, and may be changed according to the diversity of countries, times, and men’s manners, so that nothing be ordained against God’s word. Whosoever through his private judgement willingly and purposely doth openly break the traditions and ceremonies of the Church which be not repugnant to the word of God, and be ordained and approved by common authority, ought to be rebuked openly that other may fear to do the like, as he that offendeth against common order of the Church, and hurteth the authority of the magistrate, and woundeth the conscience of the weak brethren.

Every particular or national Church hath authority to ordain, change, and abolish ceremonies or rites of the Church ordained only by man’s authority, so that all things be done to edifying. 

This article is deep. There seems to be an authority assumed in the church that many of us may not like. Michael said of the last article that there are things assumed of scriptures that simply do not exist in this culture. Like, shunning from the church being a horrific thing.

Another thing this article makes me think of is traditions in the modern church that at the time of this article would probably be considered “repugnant”. Maybe those things would be “afterglow” or “worship service”?

Just tossing that out there for discussion. Think out loud on this one, I am seriously interested in what folks have to say.

 Posted by at 8:33 pm
May 212013

The performance at Pulse excluded Roger Waters, but this was one of Dave’s best performances. I have a list a mile long, but I have to get back to work.


 Posted by at 7:06 pm
May 202013

21tornado8-articleLarge-v6I saw the initial reports on Twitter when I was picking up my son after school.

The tornado had hit the town hard, but all were accounted for at the elementary school.

I prayed a silent thanks and took my boy, safe and sound, to his martial arts class.


We have a big tournament coming up this weekend…

Then another report came in…there was another elementary school.

It was devastated…and there were dead children.

I prayed again, but had no words.

My son was the first to ask “why”?

Why if God is good did he allow this to happen?

All Christian traditions have a theodicy, an attempt to explain the existence of evil and pain.

Mine has one too…but theology is small comfort when fitting a casket for a child.

I explain it to an 11 year old…and to myself… this way.

This creation is good, but broken.

“For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”

(Romans 8:18–23 ESV)

Sin has broken it and it groans…it cries out for the day when all things will be recreated and set right, just like we do.

In that state of brokenness and corruption and bondage to sin the creation acts like it’s inhabitants often do…and tragedy is the result.

We are broken, the earth is broken, it’s all broken…but we know in our spirits that’s not the way it’s supposed to be and we dare confess it’s not the way it will always be.

We groan together under the burden of of sin and the damage it has done and those groans are the cries of our souls for the Creator to return and do His good work over again.

I know that God is truly good, because my spirit knows that all of this is so truly bad…His spirit testifies to mine that this is not how it should be.

Some will speak this morning of judgement and mercy and sovereignty and glory and other things of God… but I will not listen to them speak.

These things are too lofty for me to understand, too fearsome for me to ponder.

I will not pretend to understand.

I will groan and I will weep with those who weep.

I will thank God that I will hug my child and put him on a bus and pick him up and go to practice and if God’s willing we have a big tournament this weekend.

I will know that the plans some will have for this weekend will be for funerals…and I will shiver and hold him all the closer.

That is the best I can do…the theologian is no match for a grieving parent.

Maranatha…come quickly, Lord Jesus.

May 202013

thinking_man_ape_wood_3d_sculpture_thinker_think-480x3251. Last week I posted the amended lawsuit against Sovereign Grace Ministries that alleged sexual abuses and the coverup of the same. Since then much of the suit has been thrown out on grounds of the statute of limitations. Recently,one of the defendants released a statement denying the charges and proclaiming his innocence.


We don’t believe him.

The question before the house is this…is that unbelief righteous? Is it always righteous and fair to believe accusations against clergy before all the facts are heard? Do those of us in online media have a responsibility to be as zealous in pursuing the truth on both sides of an issue as we are in advocating for victims? Why or why not?

2. The goal of church discipline is always rehabilitative and restorative, not retributive. The church isn’t in the business of being punitive. If yours is, you’re in the wrong church.

3. The reason homosexuality is poised to become an even bigger issue in the church is that this is the first time that the culture has declared an established tenet of the faith to be potentially illegal.

4. Any liturgy that speaks of people as “worms” doesn’t understand the biblical doctrine of adoption.

5. The SGM mess isn’t an indictment of Calvinism…it’s a reflection of what happens in any denomination when there is no mechanism for justice and the power is centered in a network of a few.

6. I do wonder if the complete stifling of any female voice adds to the institutional problems in places like SGM and CC…

7. “It is important to tell at least from time to time the secret of who we truly and fully are – even if we tell it only to ourselves – because otherwise we run the risk of losing track of who we truly and fully are and little by little come to accept instead the highly edited version which we put forth in hope that the world will find it more acceptable than the real thing….” – Frederick Buechner

8.“For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.”(2 Corinthians 1:8–11 ESV)

For those of you (like myself) who find ourselves being crushed on every side, listen up. You need to stop relying on yourself and rely on God…who has the power to raise dead dreams and dead hopes as well as dead people.Those  resurrections happen…and are happening and will certainly happen.  The more of us who pray for each other, the more people who will be giving thanks when God answers.

9. There is no amount of power or money that could move me to cover the abuse of a child. Period.

10. Nobody in the last 500 years of Western culture has a more undeservedly bad reputation than John Calvin. The reason for this is that two of his enemies wrote scathingly slanderous books about him and those books have been quoted as gospel ever since. How much more power do we have today to build and destroy a persons reputation in a world where once something is online it is online forever?

May 182013

thumbnail.aspxYours—we gladly attest—is the kingdom, the power,
and the glory.

Yours—we gladly assert—are the heavens and the earth.

It is you who made all that is,
sun, moon, stars,
rivers, forests, fish—
and us.
We say, “in your image.”


Yours the kingdom and the power and the glory—and then us.

You do not will us to be powerless either,
so you endow us with power to work
to rule
to govern.

We reflect you in our working
in our ruling
in our governing.

Ours is the chance for justice and/or injustice
for mercy and/or rigor
for peace and/or war.

We grow accustomed to our power,
sometimes absolutizing,
and then are interrupted by the
doxology on which we have bet everything:

Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory. And we are glad.

Walter Brueggemann

May 172013

qandaI have a stack of email that I have neither the time nor the interest to answer individually so I’m going to do so here with some oft repeated inquiries.

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.”

(Isaiah 42:3 ESV)

May 162013

anglicanThat 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?

 Posted by at 4:01 am
May 142013

imagesAn amended lawsuit has been filed against C.J. Mahaney and other SGM leaders alleging sexual abuse and/or failure to either report or discipline the perpetrators.


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.

You can read the lawsuit here.

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…




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