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.

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

Oct 242014
 

On this edition of Calvin’s Corner syndicated radio host Phil Naessens  and I talk Fantasy Football, what Mars Hill should do with their former Pastor Mark Driscoll, and answer the questions “What is a Carnal Christian” and “What is the Reformed view of the Charismata”, plus more Christian talk radio.

Oct 242014
 

yioeegryTMy doctor had been my doctor for over twenty years and he knew me, as they say, inside and out.

Literally.

Through all my medical issues, he had never seemed overly concerned.

I remember getting a checkup after my 40th birthday and asking him why I felt so poorly.

“Your warranty is up”.

 

I didn’t appreciate the humor then, but I get it now…

My last visit was different…he was concerned and I could tell.

This was unsettling, and as is my norm when I feel unsettled, a Jerry Lee Lewis song popped into my head.

“I was feelin’ kind of poorly, hadn’t been lookin’ too fine, I just had to found out what was ailin’ this old body of mine

So I went to my family doctor,to get my temperature and set me straight

And the first thing he did was to tell me, to quit eatin’ every good thing I ate

And he told old Jerry Lee to stop smokin’,lay off of that beer and whiskey

He said, son you gonna have to have a little help

And confidentially he looked at Jerry Lee

He shook his head, and then he said

Like a friend he took my hand and he said:

Don’t boogie woogie when you say your prayers tonight

Son, you can’t boogie woogie when you send your prayers tonight

Jerry Lee, you been over-rockin’, you know that it ain’t right

You better turn on Jesus when you switch out the light

Don’t boogie woogie when you say your prayers tonight”

My internal jukebox was silenced when he asked me about my medications…I was supposed to be taking a few, but the prescriptions had run out long ago.

I confessed that I was taking medications that I scrounged from my friends with similar conditions and laid out for him what they were.

He quickly informed me that the medications I was “borrowing” along with my lifestyle had created a toxic mess of my body that could take me out quickly.

What I was putting in my body to heal me, was hurting me…killing me.

I was to cease taking them immediately…he would write me prescriptions for the proper medications.

The cure was two fold.

Stop putting bad stuff in, start putting good stuff in.

Take what was meant for me, put aside what wasn’t.

That would cure my body…but that wasn’t enough.

My mind and spirit weren’t in great shape either and it was affecting my body.

Too much time online, on here, and social media was making my soul sick.

Just as I was borrowing my friends medications at home, I was borrowing their rage online.

I was taking as my own all the anger, confusion, frustration, and grief that is Facebook and Twitter.

It’s toxic.

The cure was two fold.

Stop putting bad stuff in, start putting good stuff in.

Take what is meant for me, put aside what isn’t.

Turn the computer off and engage with what’s here.

Look away from the raging and look up for peace.

Finally and most importantly…don’t boogie woogie when you say your prayers tonight.

Make your own application…

Oct 222014
 

images““If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.””

(Matthew 18:15–20 ESV)

The elders of Mars Hill have followed (to a degree) the prescriptions of Holy Scripture as it relates to the sins of Mark Driscoll.

The evidence of multiple witnesses has been weighed and in the face of continued rebellion, the church has been told.

Now, in light of his refusal to submit to the discipline of the church he must be officially and clearly excommunicated.

This means that Driscoll is to be considered out of fellowship with the entire church and he is refused access to both the  community and the sacraments.

The passage above promises that if this judgment is reached righteously it is affirmed by Christ Himself.

The purpose is true repentance and restoration.

“As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good. If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.” (2 Thessalonians 3:13–15 ESV)

This must be done for three reasons.

One, to save Driscoll from himself. His soul is sick and until he acknowledges this he will not seek the remedy.

Two, to save Driscoll from his famous friends. They will become enablers of his rebellion against Christ and His church by allowing him to evade the process that the local body established. If they participate in such they will find themselves in opposition not only to the local church that sanctioned him, but to God who has affirmed their actions.

Three, it’s the biblical mandate laid out in the Scriptures. To stop short of excommunication at this stage is to make a mockery of the process already completed.

What does it mean to treat someone as a Gentile and a tax collector?

It means that while they are clearly placed outside the church, the church continues to love them and present them with the Gospel.

It means that the “two or more that are gathered ” in prayer are praying for the one under discipline to be reconciled with the church.

God promises that in this context, if these steps have been followed…that He will hear and answer.

This is the loving, forgiving, biblical method of church discipline.

The purpose is always repentance and restoration…God’s discipline of His children is always about rehabilitation and not retribution.

To settle for anything less doesn’t show “love” at all…it shows that Driscoll is not loved enough to care for his soul as the Bible instructs.

For once, the corporation that passes for the church in this country needs to remember it’s in the soul business…

Wenatchee the Hatchet: Now is not the time for self congratulation

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