Jul 302015
 

MAIN-Cecil-the-LionThere was a lot of rage flying yesterday, as rage is the currency of the internet.

I am older now and rage takes its toll on me, so I have to acquire and spend my own rage carefully.

Others, evidently, need not be so judicious.

 

There was rage over the story of a Minnesota dentist who killed a beloved African lion for sport.

I was outraged at this story and at the pathetic, flaccid, excuse for a human who pulled the trigger.

There was rage over the third Planned Parenthood video that showed us once again the depths of human depravity and the evil that we embrace as a “right”.

I shared in this outrage as well.

There was one more source of rage as well.

That was from people who were outraged at people who were outraged over the death of the lion, but not sufficiently outraged at the Planned Parenthood video.

Now, I have been practicing outrage for six decades and have the ability to be outraged over more than one thing at a time.

The internet has greatly helped me with skill development in this area.

I don’t need to be told what to get mad about.

What we’re missing here is that the Planned Parenthood videos are creating cultural cognitive dissonance at a level never before seen.

For thirty years the culture has been indoctrinated to believe that abortion was simply a “medical procedure”, that it was morally neutral, and that it was simply a woman exercising her right to control her own body.

Never before has the grisly reality of the practice been so widely shown as through the videos circulating today.

The culture has now been led into a room, the door slammed and nailed shut, and we have been forced to see what we have chosen to affirm in all it’s horror.

Millions of women who have undergone the procedure and millions of men who have affirmed their choice are seeing the real result of that decision.

For these people to express outrage over abortion they first have to deal with the guilt and shame of having participated in what they are now supposed to be outraged about.

For this barbarity to end, we have to do more than be outraged.

Shaming people for loving animals is pure folly…we need to focus on extending that love for living creatures to loving human babies in the womb.

Our message cannot be criticism over having a heart for animals, but must be a Gospel message that enlarges the heart of a country with a seared conscience.

We have to speak repentance and grace to those who are dealing with their own complicity in the carnage.

We need to be the church of Jesus Christ who died for abortionists and lion killers.

Changing laws will help, but only the Gospel can change a heart.

We must speak that Gospel in love…some are now ready to listen.

Jul 292015
 

rdozlerDoveWhat does the CCA do?

I’ve been asked this question a lot lately by people who have an issue with a Calvary Chapel.

They write or call the Calvary Chapel Association with that issue assuming that it is the governing body of the movement.

 

 

This assumption comes from a few places where the website speaks of regional authorities who have “oversight” over a group of churches in a geographical location.

They invariably get no response.

It may be helpful to start at the beginning to understand why and what’s happening now.

When the movement was founded it was founded on the principle of the autonomy of the local church.

Chuck Smith would not be told what to do or how to do it, nor did he want that power over others.

There would be no bishops or other oversight, each body would be wholly responsible for it’s governance through elders and the board with the senior pastor always having the final say.

This became the notorious “Moses Model”.

In reality, the “Moses Model” was nothing new in the church

Independent Baptists and others had used a senior pastor centric model before, though without the ridiculous Mosaic explanation.

The movement would not be a denomination, but a group of pastors who “affiliated” with each other on the basis of shared doctrine and vision.

As the movement grew, it became necessary to deal with the flood of pastors who wanted to become “affiliated” with Calvary Chapel.

Thus was born the Calvary Chapel Outreach Fellowship.

That became the agency that handed out the dove.

In time, it also became the enforcement arm of the movement, dealing with issues of moral turpitude, financial issues, and doctrinal fidelity to the “Distinctives”.

That worked…until it became evident that it also created a legal liability for Costa Mesa when one of the “affiliates” got in trouble.

Eventually, Chuck Smith grew tired of “paying for the boys mistakes” in legal settlements and disbanded the CCOF in an attempt to get back to the original plan.

The buck would stop with Chuck Smith and Chuck Smith wasn’t going to have anymore of his bucks going out the door to cover some guys sin, a guy he possibly had never even met.

The affiliates would be liable for their own actions and Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa would only be responsible for it’s own.

That was the case from 2012 to when Smith died.

Smith spoke of no plan for how to govern the movement after his death, so the CCA was formed while he was still around and great efforts were made to show that he approved it.

Whether he did or not is another story, but the CCA was in place when he died.

It was created solely to approve affiliation… the “Leadership Council” would oversee things such as the annual conference and doctrinal statements, but no one was to have any authority over anyone else.

In truth, they don’t.

What the CCA does is type names of new affiliates into a database and removes names that are no longer affiliated for some reason.

Regional pastors submit names, Michelle Wright types them in and the work of the CCA is done.

The harshest “discipline” that the CCA can administer is deleting a name from the CC database.

The leadership is fractured to the point of not even being able to agree on when or where to hold a national conference.

No one wants to or will take on the responsibility or liability for the errors of another affiliate.

No one wants to be sued.

The reality is that for the first time Calvary Chapels are truly autonomous.

If you have an issue with your local CC that can’t be resolved at the church, you’re out of luck.

Period.

It would be helpful and responsible if the CCA website took away any language that indicated that there was any sort of accountability hierarchy within the movement.

It leads people to believe that there is an place to appeal…and there is not.

Any accountability is at the local level…and if there is none there, there is none to be had.

We can debate all day about whether there should be, but at the end of the day we must deal with what is.

This is quintessential American religion…the market will decide if it works.

Jul 292015
 

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.

You can follow Naghmeh Abedini for the latest news on her Facebook page…

Jul 282015
 

61h43xNLRoL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_My friend Tony Brussat has authored a new book examining the faith through the lens of the philosophical construct of “qualia”.

It’s a fascinating and challenging way to think about how God creates and sustains the creation.

If you’re interested in how different thinkers think about the faith, this will be of interest to you.

“Faith is not blind. Our faith has been learned by experience since the dawn of time. Experience has taught us that God has always provided for our needs. Our lives, and the lives of our ancestors, all the way back to the very beginning of life, have been filled with God’s qualia. He has always revealed new secrets, new landmarks and pathways through the landscape, to guide us out of danger. Those who notice survive; those who don’t notice, perish. Our faith, like any trait, is carried on in the survivors and on down through the generations.”

To top it all off it was edited by our own EricL and it’s free till Friday.

Click here for a Kindle copy…

 

 

Jul 282015
 

links_image1The eternal subordination of women…

Accountability for sex offenders in the church…

Boy Scouts drop ban on gay leaders…

Gay rabbi calls Planned Parenthood “God’s work”…

 

Millennials avoid church membership…

Driscoll moves to Phoenix, AZ…

Wenatchee the Hatchet covers the move and some Driscoll purchases…

Franklin Grahams speech could backfire…

Another convert to Orthodoxy…

The future of evangelicalism…

Can God change the past?

Science vs. God in Tennessee…again.

No right to privacy if you butt dial someone…

Third Planned Parenthood video…

The Calvary option…

Adrian Warnock on why he is still an evangelical…

More on the third PP video…

John Walton on Adam and Eve…

Interview with Nadia Bolz-Webber…

Body by God…

The roots of Christianity’s pro life stand…

Huge thanks to EricL for the Linkathon work…support him at the top right.

Jul 272015
 

thinking_man_ape_wood_3d_sculpture_thinker_think-480x3251. Now that the ghastly reality of what an abortion is really like has been thrust in the cultures face, we have an opportunity to speak to the issue from a Christian perspective to people much more willing to listen.

What we say and how we say it will make the difference in how successful we are in persuading people.

The thing that has to be foremost in our intercourse is a message of grace for the millions of women who have already submitted to the procedure and the millions of men who have affirmed a partner doing so.

Only the Gospel can cover the guilt and shame that so many are feeling right now. We must call sin what it is…but we must offer the Savior in greater measure.

2. I might be crazy…but it is my perception that while we have lived through a time of great spiritual deception, God is now opening blinded eyes to those deceptions. We must have the Gospel ready at hand for those who are seeing clearly for the first time. If we do not respond in love and humility, we will be done for at least another generation and the fault will be all our own.

3. My church knows me too well…last night they gave me a sign that read “the more people I meet, the more I like my cat”…

4. In Amos 7 the Lord speaks judgment over His covenant people twice…and twice the prophet intercedes with God on their behalf and the Lord “relents” of the judgment spoken. The true “prophets” of God have a broken heart for those on the verge of judgment, not a spirit of malice. In truth, that may be the mark of a true prophet…and thus the opposite is true as well.

5. I have said this over and over again since we started in 2003. The story of Achan in Joshua 7 should inform us on why we lose battles with the world and the culture. Hidden sin in the camp removes the Lords hand of victory…

6. In that story the covenant people of God took Achan out and stoned him for bringing defeat down on the people. Today we take the ones who reveal hidden sin out to the rock pile and let the sinners stone them…

7. Here’s a fun exercise… whenever you read the name “God” in the Older Testament, substitute the name “Jesus”. Trinitarian theology is the theology of orthodox Christianity.

8. In any discussion of divine sovereignty and the will of man it must be remembered that God works through means…and the main means through which He accomplishes His work is through the prayers of His people. Those prayers result in actions…both by God and his people…

9. I wonder how many churches that support Gospel for Asia have addressed the current issues around GFA with the congregations that actually provide the support. People deserve to know that information. It’s not your money, pastor…

10. I read the letter about GFA written by the Canadian pastor again…and wonder gain why the American pastors are choking silently. It’s a disgrace.

Jul 252015
 

Word of GodHebrews 1:3-5

As a short introductory reminder, the writer is not describing Jesus just for the sake of description, but is making his plea and his case to keep this Christian congregation(s) of Jews from leaving the fold and returning to what they think is not only less persecution, but also “isn’t Temple Judaism just as good as following Jesus?”

3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

  • So we have more descriptions
    • Radiance – Moses just glowed for a few days
    • He is the wisdom and the glory of the Father.
    • The exact imprint – 1 Col 1:15
    • He is the exact representation of his nature and of his character.
    • The sustainer of all things – He holds the universe together. Let’s hope Jesus doesn’t sneeze. Col 1:17
    • Jesus, by the word of his power is the Lord of creation and history.
    • He directs everything so that it reaches its final goal.
  • He is superior to the priests
    • After purifying all things of sin – he sits down
    • The priests had to make their sacrifices continually.
  • Having completed his work – It is finished!!!
    • He sits at the right hand of God
    • Sitting at God’s right hand (God does not have a Right Hand) = Possessing the authority of God
    • Col 3:1 – “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.”

4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

  • Superior to the angels – because of who he is
  • But why the comparison to angels? Who brought messages from God? Angels did and Jesus did.
  • The writer must make the distinction.

5 For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”? Or again, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son”?

  • First is quoted from Psalm 2:7
  • Has any angel ever been called God’s son? Sometimes called sons of God.
  • The same heavenly benediction is pronounced on Jesus at his baptism – Mark 1:9-11 – ““In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.
  • And again at the TransfigurationMark 9:7-8“And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, ”This is my beloved Son, listen to him.” And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only.”

Second quote is from 2 Sam 7:14 – “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men,”

  • Nathan assures that through David, He will build a Temple (through Solomon) – but not just any Temple, but one where the Throne will endure forever.
  • Luke 1:32 – The angel Gabriel says about Mary’s son – “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David,”
  • Matt 12:6 – “I tell you, something greater than the temple is here.”
  • John 2:19-21 – “Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” 21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body.”

So, to end this section, let’s review and wrap up and look forward to the remainder of chapter 1.

  • The end game – Jesus is better (superior is the key word – 13 times).
  • Why go back to something less?
    • The Temple is less
    • Animal sacrifice is less
    • The priesthood is less
    • Caesar worship is less
  • God has spoken – the people know this.
    • Jesus Christ is his Son
    • Jesus is superior to all created things
    • Jesus has completed the work of redemption for all mankind.
    • It is finished – he has sat down.
Jul 252015
 

thumbnail.aspxYou did make to appear the enduring fabric of the world by the works of Your hand;

You, Lord, did create the earth on which we dwell, 

You, who are faithful in all generations,

just in judgments,

wonderful in strength and majesty,

with wisdom creating and with understanding fixing the things which were made,

Who is good among them that are being saved and faithful among them whose trust is in You;

O merciful and Compassionate One, forgive us our iniquities and offenses and transgressions and trespasses.

Reckon not every sin of Your servants and handmaids, but You will purify us with the purification of Your truth; and direct our steps that we may walk in holiness of heart and do what is good and well-pleasing in Your sight and in the sight of our rulers.

Yes, Lord, make Your face to shine upon us for good in peace, that we may be shielded by Your mighty hand and delivered from every sin by Your uplifted arm and deliver us from those who hate us wrongfully.

Give concord and peace to us and all who dwell upon the earth, even as You gave to our fathers, when they called upon You in faith and truth, submissive as we are to Your almighty and all-excellent Name.

Amen

Clement of Rome

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