Oct 312014

Screen-shot-2013-12-04-at-7.18.39-PMThe group of Mars Hill churches will either become independent churches or disband as of January 1, 2015.

Christianity Today coverage

Warren Throckmorton broke the story

According to CT;

The lead pastor of each current site has three options to choose from by January 1:

(1) becoming an independent, self-governed church

(2) merging with an existing church to create one independent, self-governed church

(3) disbanding as a church and shepherding current members to find other local church homes

Meanwhile, Mars Hill as an organization will dissolve in four steps:

(1) All of Mars Hill’s existing church properties will either be sold, or the loans on the individual properties will be assumed by the independent churches, subject to approval by the lender

(2) all central staff will be compensated for their work, and then released from their employment

(3) if any funds remain after the winding down and satisfaction of Mars Hill business affairs, they will be gifted as seed money to the newly independent churches

(4) the existing Mars Hill Church organization will be dissolved”

Oct 312014

IMG_0027I was in the middle of an early morning meltdown, Miss Kitty was sound asleep.

As is my habit, I was checking my email with my first cup of coffee.

Two polite, but curt, emails informing me that my services were not needed by two different companies had sent me spinning into loud despair.

Miss Kitty stretched, yawned, and strolled over to her dish.

Time for breakfast.

The chime my phone makes when I have a message sounded…I was overdrawn and could I make a deposit today to cover it?

No… no I can’t, I exploded at no one actually present.

Miss Kitty chirped to remind me that she was sitting by her dish and it was time for breakfast.

Stupid cat…don’t you know we are in a crisis here?

She just looked at me…perhaps I was in a crisis, but she was just waiting for breakfast.

Breakfast was coming, I would serve it, and there was no doubt in her mind that I would serve it as I have always served it.

She simply sat and waited, utterly unperturbed by the racket coming from me.

I pounded through the rest of my email, growing more and more agitated over the crisis that I already knew about and imagining worse ones coming.

She still sat by her dish, waiting.

Having deleted all the email I rose…and fed her.

She never had a whiskers width of doubt that I would.

She knows and trusts her master.

In her feline mind, I’ve always cared for her and I always will…even if she has to wait a while.

When I’m traveling she sits by her dish or in my chair…and waits.

She waits, not with fear, but with expectation.

I will come and I will provide.

She finished her breakfast and jumped up on my lap as if everything was going to be alright.

She has it good I thought…and left her to go to the post office to check for more bad news.

Inside my box was an envelope with a check…enough to make that deposit to cover.

How did Miss Kitty know?

Make your own application…

Oct 302014

crusadesThe history of American celebrity evangelicalism is a history laced with sensational frauds who knew how to pluck the emotional strings and wallets of the gullible faithful.

In the mid twentieth century it was a coterie of faith healers who roamed the country with their tents and an assortment of leg braces and wheelchairs allegedly left behind by those healed.

The seventies and eighties were the decades of the demon busters like the fraudulent “former Satanist” Mike Warnke.

While there is still money to be made plowing those old fields, the fake de jour of our time is the “former terrorist”.

Ergun Caner had this gig down to an art form until he was exposed for the liar he is.

This brings us to one Walid Shoebat.

Shoebat, like Caner claims to be a former Muslim radical who converted to Christ.

Also like Caner, there are grave doubts about the stories he tells to prove it.

Both have found itching ears and easy honorariums inside Calvary Chapel and other independent sects because of their support of Israel and dispensational eschatology.

This would not be worth writing about except for the fact that Shoebat is calling for a new Crusade to wipe out Islam and spread Christianity at the point of a sword.

“True love is never settled by compromise, but through bloodshed. Christ said,  “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:13) And the Christian militias who have risen up to fight the torrent of the Islamic sword that seeks to destroy their friends, their brethren, these are the ones who exemplify this eternal passage in the purest fashion.

These Christians are part of The New Militia, or the militia that foreshadows The New Crusade that is to come, in which Christendom will revive and destroy the enemies of God and the haters of the Cross, and establish the holy light over the wretched shadow of Satan’s darkness.”

Shoebat conflates two separate issues…the right of self defense and the spread of the Gospel.

We would affirm the right to self defense, though that is itself a doctrine that has been debated through the  centuries.

We would not affirm the spread of something called “Christendom” through violent conflict.

That is what Shoebat is promoting using some of the most twisted exegesis of the biblical texts ever seen.

Awaken, holy Christendom!

Blossom with your beautiful pedals in the spring of the holy fray!

Take your inheritance, O holy Christendom,

From the pagans who stole it away!

Conquer with Cross and Sword!

Fight for Heaven and Your Lord!

Drive out the Muslim!

Drive out the Sodomite!

Drive the devils away with all your might!

With zeal we fight for God

And all the saints of holy martyrdom

For the blood of glorious martyrs

Awaken, O Christendom

My concern is that he’s recruiting young people into this bloody mindset…and doing so in many otherwise orthodox churches.

When will we learn?

Oct 292014

1406945347865If you’ve read here any length of time you know that I’m a big fan of Jerry Lee Lewis.

Friends and family will tell you I’m more than a fan, that the music and the attitude behind it have been the sound track of my life.

Many of you have written me over the years to tell me how wrong that is.

I didn’t write you back.

Now, Jerry Lee has answered for me.

When word came out a couple years ago that Jerry was co-writing his autobiography I expected he would would hire a sycophant to co-write with him and intimidate him into writing what he wanted people to hear.

It was even more likely that he would quickly tire of the process, fire everyone, threaten to shoot someone, then go play a song for whoever showed up at the next concert.

The Killer suffers no one gladly…

Instead, he found a man who understands the music, the dirt, the Holy Ghost, and him and this is now the definitive biography of the “last man standing”.

You can’t understand Jerry Lee Lewis without understanding Pentecostalism and the American South, without understanding that heaven and hell met in a mans hands and soul and tore him asunder.

The co-author, Rick Bragg… understands.

The Pulitzer prize winner is a son of the South himself, a master story teller weaving an almost biblical tale together.

The result is a great book that not only captures Lewis, but is an opened time capsule about the South and the music that came forth from it and changed the world a lifetime ago.

All the dirt is here and Lewis apologizes for none of it.

He asks God to forgive it.

He’s an old man now, in his eightieth year…and he’s settling accounts with the Giver of his prodigious gifts.

He wonders if there’s grace to cover it all.

Now and again, thunder still rolls from his left hand.

You can hear it in the pages of this book.

Available now in The Phoenix Preacher bookstore.

Oct 292014

1426163_10152538970789156_1955504315_aToday, like every Wednesday, we will remember Saeed Abedini.

We do more than just remember, however…we stand with him by using our social media to advocate for his release.

We ask that you change your Facebook profile picture to his and that you “like”  the “Free Saeed” Facebook page and participate in some of the activities that promote his cause.

We ask…that you remember him and his family in prayer…and that you refuse to give up on efforts to secure his release.

An update from Nagmeh has been posted here…

Oct 282014

timthumb.phpTim Kellers rules for prayer…

Can we still believe the Bible?

What set apart the early Christians?

Urban ideologies…

Serving God in the business of death…

Addressing spiritual abuse in the church…

The state of theology…

Libertarianism vs. Catholicism.

Social media activism will get you killed in Mexico…

Why friends and family struggle to believe the Gospel…

Evangelicals favorite heresies…

15 “signs of the times” indicating judgment…included only so I can mock it at my leisure..

Top books that influenced John MacArthur…

Majoring in fear…

The conversion of J.I. Packer…

The softer face of Calvinism…this fellow reflects my brand of Calvinism

Steve Wright speaks on the biblical qualifications for the ministry…

Oct 272014

thinking_man_ape_wood_3d_sculpture_thinker_think-480x3251. When all the smoke clears and the legal maneuvering is done my guess is that the churches that once comprised Mars Hill are all independent and Mark Driscoll takes the brand with him. He is the brand…one that is doing about as well as “New Coke”.



2. Rumors were flying that Driscoll could end up teaching one night a week at Costa Mesa on his comeback tour. My sources called those rumors “foolish”. I concur…

3. I’ve become one of those people who believe that their cats not only understand English, but actively seek out conversation with their owners. If I start scanning the TV listings for episodes of “The Golden Girls” I’ll seek help….

4. What Richard Baxter was to the theology of pastoral ministry for centuries, Eugene Peterson is today…

5. I’m far more afraid of the people who are really afraid than I am of what they are afraid of…

6. I was harshly reminded once again that prospective employers (including state and federal governments) Google the names of prospective employees. I note also that “Google” is now a verb as well as a name…I digress. Take care of your online reputation and remember that everything online is online forever.

7. I will never understand the evangelical mindset that believes that all negative trends and events are harbingers of the Second Coming…and act like thats a bad thing.

8. I‘m having a hard time believing that the online rage I see in ever increasing measure will stay only online. 

9. Your Facebook posts speak as much about your view of God as any theological profession of faith…

10. If when you teach about the grace of God your listeners don’t believe it’s too good to be true, you’re teaching heresy.

In case you missed it, here’s last weeks Calvin’s Corner.

Oct 262014

thumbnail.aspxSometimes it seems as though you have given us eyes so that we cannot see,

and ears so that we cannot hear,

and hearts so that we cannot know,

and we miss it.

Work on our ears today.

Clean them,

circumcise them,

turn them so that they may tingle with the ways in which you have turned loose among us the powers of death and the forces of life.

Grant that we should not live in the safe middle ground,on the surface, but push us to the edge, where the action is.

Your action, where you cause all those terrible Fridays and all those amazing Sundays.

Give us Saturday ears for your tingling.

We pray in the name of your Saturday child.

Walter Brueggemann. Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth: The Prayers of Walter Brueggemann (p. 58). Kindle Edition.