Jan 312018
 

Here is the full legal complaint filed against Calvary Chapel Honolulu pastored by Calvary Chapel Association board member Bill Stonebraker.

 

Based on the information I have, I would expect this case to be settled quickly and quietly with a non disclosure agreement.

Based on interviews I’ve done with attorneys and business people in the know, we’re going to see a bunch of lawsuits like this in the coming year.

The social climate has changed dramatically around these issues and more people who have been abused are willing to step out because of the support of social media.

When I started this blog, the accusers were generally thought to be the guilty party…not so now.

This is a good thing.

While we may finally see justice done in many places where injustice has occurred, I would also bring a note of caution.

The people who profit most from these lawsuits are lawyers…and some lawyers will take advantage of the current climate to sue where there has been no real injustice, but settlements are available from churches and companies who want to spare themselves the negative publicity.

In any case, I strongly suggest that all churches examine their hiring and labor practices along with how they “counsel”…because there are going to be a lot of rugs lifted to see what has been swept under them.

Jan 302018
 

We’re back…

Phil Naessens and I discuss how pro sports and the church both lapse into tribalism, the need for memorial stones, and the case of reporter Emilio Gutiérrez Soto.

For more information on Emilio and the story I referenced on the podcast, click here .

CNN’s recent story is here

Jan 302018
 

Cyber self harm…

Bloggers called “hateful”….

You can’t have ethics without stories…

Ten things you should know about Pelagius and Pelagianism…

Charisma says we’re in another civil war…

Ten things you should know about suffering…

How you know Jesus has left your church…

Don’t waste your sin…

The Anglican “via media”…

The “one thing” behind the Genesis debate…

“Slain in the Spirit” as a religious experience…

Demonic cheese and immortal peacocks…Augustine does science…

New Bible translation war…

Piper wants women teachers out of seminaries…

Why Craig Keener almost left evangelicalism…

Political exegesis: On mulligans and turning cheeks…

How to spot sexual abuse in your church…

Growing up Christian in secular America…

A review of “Genesis: Paradise Lost”…

I know how to be abased and I know how to abound…

“You’re egalitarian…you’re fired”…

A monks manifesto…

Rebranding Christianity: what the mark of a true Christian should be…

Love that never grows cold…

Pew poll on transgender issues…

Anna of Asher…

Knowing vs.knowing about…

On the Eagles,the Super Bowl, and the idols in all of our cities…

If your sexual ethics are limited to consent,this is what you get…

When someone you admire does something disgusting…

Huge thanks as always to EricL for the link help…support him at top right…

 

Jan 292018
 

Josh the Baptist posted this earlier today…

“I asked a question in my adult class yesterday morning and it elicited such a touching response that I asked the youth class the same question yesterday evening. Their answers were even better.

So I ask all of you:

Think back to before you were saved, through all the years of your Christian life, and up to the present day.

What difference does Jesus make in your life?”

Great question…hopefully it will bring great responses…

Jan 292018
 

1. Sometimes the only way to assure the building of a new bridge is to burn the one you just crossed…

2. The lack of the authentically supernatural in my Christian walk is a stumbling block to me…

 

3. I think this is my new “life verse”…So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?”Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go?” (John 6:67–68 ESV)

4. When evangelicalism tossed out private confession, absolution, and penance it tossed out one of the best ways to receive the assurance that our sins are forgiven…so often we walk about hoping our sins are forgiven without the assurance that they truly are. Calvin agrees with me…”I will speak briefly of the rite of the early Church, … By the order observed in public repentance, those who had performed the satisfactions imposed upon them were reconciled by the formal laying on of hands. This was the symbol of absolution by which the sinner himself regained his confidence of pardon before God, … I consider that ancient observance … to have been holy and salutary to the Church, and I could wish it restored in the present day.” (“Institutes,” IV, 19:14)

5. Always use a little Luther or Calvin if you say something too “Romish”…

6. We may use the Bible, the early fathers, the creeds, etc., but most of our theological conclusions are based on “that seems right to me”…

7. I would love to do a series where people can discuss what orthodox doctrines they struggle with the most…but I’m not sure this is a safe enough place and we’d all have to post under pseudonyms…

8. The study of eschatology is now the study of when Jesus shall appear to kill my political enemies…

9. Amazon is an anti-Christ tool of the enemy used to destroy one historical aspect of communal living…the marketplace. I love Amazon. I prefer the term “paradoxical” to the term “hypocrite”…

10. “Grace” is one of the most important concepts in Christendom…and I’m not sure most Christians even have a working definition of it…

Jan 272018
 

Almighty and everlasting God, you govern all things both in heaven and on earth: Mercifully hear the supplications of your people, and in our time grant us your peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Jan 272018
 

Revelation 2:12-17

To the Church in Pergamum

  • 50 miles north of Smyrna – 10 miles in from the Aegean sea
  • At one time the capital city of Asia.
  • A large library of 200,000 volumes – in my town the library boasts of 70,000 volumes.

People like to give nicknames to their favorite cities. In America, we have the Big Apple, the Windy City, the Motor City, the Big Easy, Sin City, the Mile High City, the Queen City, and the City of Progress. Most city nicknames try to highlight a memorable aspect of that city’s history or lifestyle. Most cities are proud of their nicknames, although many have derogatory alternatives like Cleveland’s “Mistake by the Lake.” Even Las Vegas revels in its otherwise shameful nickname.

The ancient city of Pergamum received a nickname from Jesus that it would surely not agree with or appreciate. Jesus referred to Pergamum as the city “where Satan dwells.” This nickname reveals much of what the Christians in this city were facing at the time John wrote these words.

12 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: ‘The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword.

  • The Christological identifier comes from 1:16, the 2nd
  • Again all of the letters are flowing from the image of The Son of Man – his characteristics and titles. We see fragments of the chapter one descriptions flowing into each letter.
  • The 2 edged sword – God’s word – Law & Gospel
  • Sword = word of God. This is the way we conquer, by keeping God’s word out front like a sword.
  • It is Jesus who will execute judgment at the end. This will look like Rev 19:15

13 “‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.

  • Hopefully we too today as times get tougher; we will not bend the knee. They hung on; pray that we do the same.
  • Where Satan’s throne is – people would come from all over Asia Minor to visit the temple of Asclepius.
  • This was the center of healing (a temple of healing).
  • The rod of Asclepius was a snake wrapped around a pole – sound familiar? Numbers 21:5-9 – Satan continually imitates God.
  • In this temple, they had an altar to Zeus. (Satan’s throne) – Interesting “where Satan’s throne is” – I thought Satan lived in Smyna?
  • This is an interesting take on ‘The Faith’. Is my faith in my Jesus? Look what Jesus commends. My name – holding fast to his name and not denying HIS faith.
  • What is The Faith? It is his faith, and his faith is his word. The faith of Jesus and the word of Jesus are one and the same.
  • We must be careful – we do not hold on to MY Jesus – but The Jesus.
  • Who is Antipas? We don’t know – there is only this one reference to him. We know it must have been a notable killing – the people know him and Jesus knows him… by name, as he knows all of us. We can assume he is the example of one who did not deny Jesus.

14 But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality.

  • But then… same story, false prophets = false teachings. In Ephesus it was the false teaching of the Nicolaitans.
  • False teaching is to be recognized and called out.
  • What about Balaam: Numbers 24:15 ff – see also 2 Peter 2:14-15. (this is must read stuff to understand what is going on here.)
  • All false worship leads to spiritual adultery, which leads to physical immorality – but in the end, it is all to distract us from God.
  • Idolatry = cheating on God
  • Balaam wanted both God and money. He is the poster boy for Matt 6:24
  • Balaam is in it for the money, a prophet or pastor for hire. If you want the people to fill the coffers, tell them what they want to hear.

15 So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans.

  • The Nicolaitans preached cultural accommodation – you Christians need to chill out and compromise with society some so we can all get along.
  • The church was being encouraged to have the freedom to accept the more modern way – shed some of your old cultural thinking, even if it conflicts.
  • So God’s charge against them was 2 fold – hanging on to the false teachings of Balaam, and the false teachings of the Nicolaitans.
  • Where do we see this today? The ELCA – Her Church in SF – The Episcopal Church during the leadership of Katharine Jefferts Schori and the notoriety of gay Bishop Gene Robinson earlier on.
  • The practices of other religions begin to creep into the church and soon you have traces of paganism. An important point is that paganism etc does not just creep into the church – they are first led in by “other” christians (note the small ‘c’.)
  • We see it anywhere the Bible is clear but the church questions relevance.
  • Many of these churches can follow the liturgy and have a Christless, culture driven message. You wonder why they even ‘do’ church or ‘call’ it a Christian church. They long to feel they are caught up in the divine and are a part of something that is ancient.
  • So, these churches, what do they think of scripture? They do not view the scriptures as authoritative. Their attitude is more like “well that may have been the way Paul expressed his faith in his time and in his local, but not what we do.”
  • When they say resurrection, they do not mean physical bodies coming out of the ground – they mean the resurrection of the human spirit, the fight for life, to embrace the good.
  • This all sounds good but it is nonsense if you are going to call it Christianity.
  • Remember as I said earlier, even this is the devil’s attempt to keep you from Christ.

16 Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth.

  • The Cliff Notes version of this verse? Cut it out and repent!
  • The call to the church is to repent – it is always to repent.
  • These are harsh words from Jesus – repent or face judgment. What is the judgment? He will come and war against them.

17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.’

  • These promises are to be treasured but they are a bit difficult to understand.
  • Is the hidden manna a Lord’s Supper reference? It seems that Jesus prepared them for this in John 6 – written by the same author.
  • A white stone could be a reference to being declared innocent. Some literature suggests that courts voted with colored stones.
  • A new name could be a baptismal reference as baptism was also a naming ritual.
  • When we get to heaven we can share with each other what we got.
  • Repent!

 

Jan 262018
 

Life can be really, really hard.

Last night I found myself in the local veterinary emergency room for hours.

T’s beautiful, wonderful, cat had been mauled by dogs and needed help now.

He made it through the ordeal and will be fine…but I didn’t know that when I arrived.

The staff was prompt and courteous and kind, they responded to the emergency like one would hope they would.

The reason I’m writing this is that they were also wise enough to know that it wasn’t just the cat that needed care.

I was a mess.

Distraught, exhausted, and overwhelmed.

Really distraught.

Over the next few hours they not only cared for Bo, the cat, they cared for me.

I’m not going to tell you that I enjoyed the experience, but I was certainly blessed by it.

They weren’t just caring for me and my cat.

There was a parade of people and animals in need of care.

A cat that had been shot, a dog with a bad spider bite, more than one dog who had eaten the owners marijuana edibles which are toxic to them.

Everyone was treated as we were, with a steady stream of compassion and concern.

Which brings me to here and to the church.

We always say that the church is a hospital for sinners.

The problem is that it doesn’t always feel like a place to heal.

Sometimes we end up in worse shape than when we entered.

We treat our animals better than we treat each other.

This site started as a place for those who came to the church wounded by life and then by the church.

I never want it to become a place where you have to meet a list of requirements to be treated with compassion and concern.

I do want it to be a place where those of us who have healed enough to help someone else can bring others who are distraught, exhausted and overwhelmed.

I want it to be a place of both healing and growth.

We’re all as different as the animals I watched come through the door last night, with different sorts of problems needing help…all waiting to see the Great Physician.

The veterinary doctor received all who came to him last night.

So does Jesus.

So should we.

Life…can be really, really hard.

Make your own application…