Linkathon! Uncategorized Add comments Jan 242017 God wears a mask… More from Scott McKnight on why he is an Anglican… Your pastor is a sinner… Free to be honest… Why the celibate priesthood is in crisis… A Call to Faithfulness from Os Guinness… Are all sins equal to God? Why fake news makes us look stupid and harms our witness… Why the church won’t recognize abuse… Hundreds of congregations have joined the sanctuary movement… 145,000 kid sponsorships shut down in India… The king who weeps… God wants you to get some sleep… Six statements that could kill a church… Saving Calvinism… Fraudulent Authority… When Jesus advice is hard…lose it. Christian identity crisis… Does the Reformation still matter?… Three ways churches grow without getting bigger… Frances and Lenny…dying well. Paula White… How to hope in God when life gets hard… Fear, anxiety, and the power of self fulfilling prophecies… Praying for Christian unity… On being a Christian and a feminist and belonging nowhere… A plan for being a faithful citizen… Nobody likes a jerk… Huge thanks to EricL for the link help…support him at top right! Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)MoreClick to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like Loading... 85 Responses to “Linkathon!” Bob Sweat says: January 24, 2017 at 10:46 am Guess I have to stop quoting the Babylon Bee. 🙂 So happy to see such a great theologian (Paula White) as an advisor to the POTUS. 😯 Bob Sweat says: January 24, 2017 at 10:47 am BTW, FIRST! Kevin H says: January 24, 2017 at 11:12 am Bob, So are you now telling me that Nicolas Cage really hasn’t been pardoned?!?! 😯 Bob Sweat says: January 24, 2017 at 11:46 am Kevin 😉 Anon says: January 24, 2017 at 12:28 pm Sad that President Snowflake has allowed the false prosperity gospel into the WH. http://www.rawstory.com/2017/01/president-snowflake-internet-points-and-laughs-as-sean-spicer-tells-media-to-stop-demoralizing-trump/ Michael says: January 24, 2017 at 12:32 pm New rule. We will not be using denigrating language for anyone on either side of the political chasm. The name calling does nothing but inflame people and moves us farther away from productive,civil, discource. I will be merciless in moderating both friend and foe…period. Jean says: January 24, 2017 at 12:44 pm Michael, Thank you including the article about fake news. It is more than a scandal that Christians are willing to ignore lies and fake news put out by the President and his team because they support him. It is the epitome of idolatry. And to our youth, it makes Christianity appear like a farce. dusty says: January 24, 2017 at 1:03 pm Michael, i appreciate you.still praying for you. Duane Arnold says: January 24, 2017 at 1:19 pm #7 Jean Had a talk with a younger musician friend who attends a nearby mega-church. On Sunday he heard large numbers of people criticizing the press and saying they believed Spicer. They then went on the demonize the Women’s March. My friend had attended the march. He no longer feels his church is, in his words, “a safe place for me”. Victor says: January 24, 2017 at 1:29 pm I can tell you that some church leadership understands the complexities of domestic abuse, but sadly, many more leaders are doing incredible harm to female and male survivors. DV, now called IPV (Intimate Partner Violence) is certainly a complex issue. It doesn’t help that movements within Evangelical circles denigrate the entire mental health industry, which is a key player in supporting victims (and children!). There is nothing wrong at all with grace or prayer, but isn’t religion pure before God which helps widows and orphans? Don’t IPV victims fall under that rubric? Is grace in danger of being idolized for its own sake rather than being used to help (love) those that need it? My ex has battered her husband two clear times now (the first time, she showed me her hand three days later and the entire top of it was bruised because she punched him so hard— I was about to report this since it was in front of our children, but she admitted it to our daughter’s therapist). Her husband’s answer was to pray more and post Bible verses on Facebook. I counseled him as I would any IPV victim: don’t escalate arguments, step away when necessary, and have a safety plan. There is nothing wrong with that in conjunction with prayer, but not the latter at the expense of the former. Everybody needs to be safe, especially when little children are involved. It isn’t a lack of faith, it’s reality. Victims need support, and to be centered to take appropriate steps (which may or may not involve leaving) and not to act rashly. Victims need compassion and support, rather than judgment. Jean says: January 24, 2017 at 1:31 pm Duane, Michael might have said this previously, but the evangelical (and many in my camp admittedly) support of “alternative facts” and ignoring the public immoral statements of the new administration may very well be the final straw that brings down evangelicalism in America. Let me ask you: How can a pastor preach God’s Word regarding not lying, immorality, fornication, adultery, etc., but then go defend and actually promote candidates engaging in that very behavior and speech without at the very least condemning that behavior and speech? The cognitive dissonance is remarkable. Will people believe God’s Word and not their pastor, or their pastor and not God’s Word, or will they eventually throw up their hands and say the whole church enterprise is a bunch of hooey? dusty says: January 24, 2017 at 1:48 pm Well said jean Ms, ODM says: January 24, 2017 at 1:53 pm Just checking to see if I’m still under moderation Michael says: January 24, 2017 at 1:54 pm Thank you, Dusty! Michael says: January 24, 2017 at 1:55 pm Ms. ODM, You were never under moderation… Duane Arnold says: January 24, 2017 at 2:04 pm #11 Jean Today I was reading the report of the magistrate Pliny to the Emperor Trajan (I was clearing out old files) asking for advice about persecuting Christians. This is what he said about their practices: “They asserted, however, that the sum and substance of their fault or error had been that they were accustomed to meet on a fixed day before dawn and sing responsively a hymn to Christ as to a god, and to bind themselves by oath, not to some crime, but not to commit fraud, theft, or adultery, not falsify their trust, nor to refuse to return a trust when called upon to do so. ” Kind of basic, but I think some of our friends have forgotten that there is a moral basis to our faith and that there should be a moral basis to our judgements… Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 24, 2017 at 2:57 pm I like the article “God Wears a Mask”. When I came to the Lutheran Church it was like receiving Jesus’ promise “… and I will give you rest.” Every evangelical church I was at, the mission was to get through your family activities and regular job so you could come and do your ministry. Nathan Priddis says: January 24, 2017 at 9:05 pm “Then said Paul, I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest: for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people.” And in the original.. “Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people.” It’s going to be a lonnnnggg….and for me, a carefully articulated term of office. Jean says: January 25, 2017 at 7:02 am Here is a nice short article on the issue of “fake news” from a Christian perspective. https://blogs.lcms.org/2017/fake-news Disillusioned says: January 25, 2017 at 7:30 am So what are some of indicators of Fraudulent Authority within Christian organizations and churches? Wade Burleson lists ten of them: 1). There is never any freedom to question leaders 2). Leaders often make claims of having special insights from God, insights that others are unable to possess. 3). Disagreement with leaders is deemed a sign of the devil’s influence in one’s life. 4). Events are designed to bring attention and praise to leaders rather than equipping others to do the work of the ministry. 5). Any concept of equality is immediately labeled rebellion or the result of a “liberal” demian of the Bible. 6). Authoritarian leaders are only comfortable around like-minded leaders; thus, there is an unofficial ‘speaking tour’ where only imperial, authoritarian leaders share the platform with each other. 7). The measure of success becomes the number of people who follow the leader (“It must be God! Looks at how many come to hear me speak!”) 8). If a person leaves the community or church, the problem is always in the person who leaves, not the leadership. 9). Leaders who wrongly perceive themselves as those “with authority” insulate their lives by demanding absolute loyalty through giving large financial benefits to their closest ‘advisors.’ 10). The ultimate end of this kind of Christian leadership is always more; more money, more power, more followers, more publicity, more, more, more… Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 25, 2017 at 7:37 am And yet as we have seen so many times — almost 100% of the times, these people leave the abusive church / situation and then put themselves right back into an identical church — and testimony on the Boise threads have shown us some up to 3 – 4 consecutive times. What’s up with that? Duane Arnold says: January 25, 2017 at 8:04 am #19 Jean Good article. As to your earlier question (#11), I believe that I’ve already said in another place that evangelicals have sown the wind and will reap the whirlwind. To be honest, as I’ve encountered evangelical pastors who consider DJT as an answer to prayer, the conversation ends. To haul the political into the Church and sanctify it, demeans the Gospel – especially in this case. We are already losing an entire generation. There will be more losses to come. There are sociologists who feel that the complicit role most churches engaged with fascism in Europe in the 30s and 40s led directly to the secularization that took place in the 50s, 60s and 70s. Because the the majority of churches aligned themselves with nationalist/authoritarian regimes, they no longer had a believable voice when those regimes fell. When we deal in half-truths, fake news, conspiracy theories or what other name you wish to attach, we become purveyors of gossip rather than heralds of truth. Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 25, 2017 at 9:10 am “We are already losing an entire generation. There will be more losses to come.” This is such an interesting comment / topic. Does God know that we are losing his people? Is he not able to act? Has God been paralyzed in this generation? In the end, is anyone saved because of my actions? Is anyone lost because of my actions? Jean says: January 25, 2017 at 9:18 am “This is such an interesting comment / topic. Does God know that we are losing his people? Is he not able to act? Has God been paralyzed in this generation? In the end, is anyone saved because of my actions? Is anyone lost because of my actions?” So much for God working through means (i.e., the preacher). God is acting, but in ways that are not perceptible in the things that have actually happened. (Heidelburg Disputation, Theses 19). Someone might want to brush up on a few things. 🙂 Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 25, 2017 at 9:20 am So if I do not act, even if I refuse to act, then that person is lost? Duane Arnold says: January 25, 2017 at 9:23 am #23 Not engaging in pedantry… Jean says: January 25, 2017 at 9:29 am “So if I do not act, even if I refuse to act, then that person is lost?” “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 25, 2017 at 9:30 am Duane, that is fine, don’t engage – . – but that is the accusation you make. Because people voted for Trump, because there is fake news, because the church side with fascists etc – a generation of people are going to hell.I find the doctrine of conversion fascinating but almost completely ignored today (make no mistake, this is not political at all on my part – this is a common challenge thrown out to guilt people – I see it all the time on TBN, if people don’t send in their money…) On the other side, if I am a faithful witness, people may still go to hell because of the previous unfaithfulness of others. Jean says: January 25, 2017 at 9:32 am I’m sorry MLD, but all roads and all ideas do not lead to God. Why do you think that St. Paul was so vociferous against false teaching? Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 25, 2017 at 9:34 am Jean, That is a fine quote – and I agree. So if I turn someone off by my disgusting vote or associations, someone else will come along who can speak with them. But no one is left dangling over the flames of hell because of me. A generation has not be lost by bad politics. Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 25, 2017 at 9:36 am Jean, False doctrine was not the issue – my support of a different Prince than Luther supported was the difference 😉 Jean says: January 25, 2017 at 9:37 am “A generation has not be lost by bad politics.” Now you’re confused. Duane never said that. He said this: “To haul the political into the Church and sanctify it, demeans the Gospel – especially in this case.” Then he gave a plausible hypothesis for the secularization of Europe resulting from ‘the majority of churches aligned themselves with nationalist/authoritarian regimes, they no longer had a believable voice when those regimes fell.” Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 25, 2017 at 9:44 am Hey, I don’t want to mess with this. I will drop it at my doctrine of conversion is different from yours — and I won’t even claim mine is right 😉 Politics in the church is not a sign of a bad church – it is the sign of an apostate church (check out Revelation) Xenia says: January 25, 2017 at 9:44 am In a paradoxical manner, our actions DO effect the salvation of others. Yes, it is God who does the saving of souls. Yes, my actions do figure into this. This is just one of many facets of Christianity that won’t conform to linear thinking. Scooter Jones says: January 25, 2017 at 9:45 am A whole generation is going to be lost (go to hell) because Trump was elected president of the United States? Please elaborate. Jean says: January 25, 2017 at 9:48 am Scooter, If someone shows up with that assertion (#35), I hope he/she answers you. Xenia says: January 25, 2017 at 9:52 am If God uses means to save people, this involves more than sending missionaries to Africa. It also involves behaving like Christians. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” – Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Duane Arnold says: January 25, 2017 at 10:00 am MLD – You are changing the premise. Nice debate technique, but wrong. Jean got exactly what I was saying. And, yes, our actions do effect others in terms of both faith and salvation… might try reading the last sections of Luther, On Christian Liberty… Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 25, 2017 at 10:01 am Xenia – so there are people who will be in hell because of your bad acts or because of you lack of action? Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 25, 2017 at 10:08 am Duane, I did not change anything – I quoted you. Duane Arnold says: January 25, 2017 at 10:20 am #40 I see no quote in #28, just the twisting of a comment and clear meaning to suit your own purpose. As below… “…but that is the accusation you make. Because people voted for Trump, because there is fake news, because the church side with fascists etc – a generation of people are going to hell.” Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 25, 2017 at 10:27 am Duane, I quoted you at #23 – which I found to be an odd comment on the doctrine of conversion. I had hoped it would have stayed there. Michael says: January 25, 2017 at 10:33 am I find these discussions bizarre. We have documented studies that show a dramatic change in the religious makeup of the “millennial ” generation. Whenever we bring up this data the response is that “nothing has really changed” or “it’s not our fault” in that we have done nothing to turn off an entire generation to the faith. When you read the studies, or better yet, engage with some of these “nones” you get an entirely different picture. I have no idea how the doctrine of election works itself out in these matters…all I know is that I have deeply loved ones who reject even hearing about the faith because of what they believe it represents culturally. Duane Arnold says: January 25, 2017 at 10:40 am #42 MLD When I spoke of losing a generation, I was speaking of the vast numbers of “religiously unaffiliated” young people pointed out by the last Pew Study. When I spoke of more losses to come, I was referring to the tarnishing of our witness as evangelical Christians by the sanctifying of our current political leadership. By using the example of Europe, I was pointing out that historically our actions have consequences. To be more specific, when I spoke of “lost” I was indicating those who will discount what we say in regard to the Gospel because of the sanctifying of unsavory politics – not, as in your hyperbole, “going to hell”… Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 25, 2017 at 10:42 am And yet we see how people cozy up to the message (or non message) of a Joel Osteen. I think (and it is only me perhaps) that the Trump issue – or any political dealings just gives these folks cover so they do not have to come out directly and say “I hate God.” Look at Rev 6 at the end – unbelievers would rather be killed in an avalanche than be with Jesus – that is pretty radical. Duane Arnold says: January 25, 2017 at 10:42 am #43 Thank you, Michael… Michael says: January 25, 2017 at 10:54 am “I think (and it is only me perhaps) that the Trump issue – or any political dealings just gives these folks cover so they do not have to come out directly and say “I hate God.” This problem precedes Trump…he is just the exclamation point on the end of a very long sentence. We know that some will refuse Christ because they hate God…but the Scriptures also tell us that how we present Christ and what He stands for matters. “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.” (2 Corinthians 5:20 ESV) Duane Arnold says: January 25, 2017 at 11:36 am #47 “I also would have steered clear of politics. I’m grateful for the opportunities God gave me to minister to people in high places; people in power have spiritual and personal needs like everyone else, and often they have no one to talk to. But looking back I know I sometimes crossed the line, and I wouldn’t do that now.” Billy Graham, 2011 Xenia says: January 25, 2017 at 12:05 pm MLD, what about what Jesus said? Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 25, 2017 at 12:26 pm “MLD, what about what Jesus said?” I don’t know, what did he say? I know that he said that churches that mix with politics are apostate and that their lampstand will be removed. I don’t know where he said if I or my church give a bad witness that he will send someone else to hell. If you have the verse, I will look at it and change my ways. Xenia says: January 25, 2017 at 12:31 pm I did post the verse; here it is again: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” – Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ John 20:29 says: January 25, 2017 at 12:41 pm cause and effect… unfortunately we mortals try to blend the mortal and the eternal IMHO… can we Believers turn people off and make them peel off from or never even enter into an examination of the Faith? of course we can and that’s on us – we WILL be held accountable for our actions… that said, no one will miss out on eternal forgiveness and life because of what we Believers do…. that’s on God and He’s got it covered … somehow … when we read that He is not willing that any should perish, that doesn’t mean that anyone falls thru the cracks due to God’s limited abilities… i’m here to say (FWIW) that we go to heaven (whatever defines God’s eternal Kingdom) or we go to hell on the strength of our own decisions or lack of same – IMNSHO – again (not, repeat *not,* trying to bait a Lutheran into a discussion on omnipotence and/or free will – been there done that a couple times… wastes space 🙂 ) Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 25, 2017 at 12:44 pm Xenia – I understand that, and we should all do that. However, if in a time of my rebellion, I chose to willfully ignore that command someone else goes to hell? I have lost one of God’s own? Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 25, 2017 at 12:48 pm Em’s got it. (even if we disagree on the free will thing) – but the fate of others is not in my hands — and the whole world says amen to that. Jean says: January 25, 2017 at 1:04 pm In the churches in Rome there were some Christians (probably Gentiles) who were “strong” in the faith, who, knowing that the pagan gods are false gods, were at ease of conscience eating meat which apparently was originally slaughtered in a pagan temple ritual and later sold in a market. This offended other Christians (probably Jews) who were “weak” in the faith on this particular issue. Paul perceived this difference in views as a threat to the Church and therefore gave the Church this direction: “Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble.” (Rom 14:20-21) Paul recognized that Christian behavior can indeed have negative consequences on the faith of other Christians. Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 25, 2017 at 1:13 pm “37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Except my eating a cheeseburger – 😉 Duane Arnold says: January 25, 2017 at 1:13 pm #55 Jean Luther recognized the same in Concerning Christian Liberty (98)… Duane Arnold says: January 25, 2017 at 1:23 pm Jean and MLD I think we’re speaking two different languages here. In the Lutheran Confessions there is nothing about “evangelism” as an evangelical would understand it. They were written for a different time and circumstance. If we (as evangelicals) speak of “conversion”, a Confessional Lutheran will speak of “baptism”. It is simply two different languages… John 20:29 says: January 25, 2017 at 1:26 pm two different things here… our presentation of the Christian way of life (heart) to the unredeemed and our responsibility to not intentionally or, maybe even carelessly, stumble a fellow Believer (Saint)… i think the latter may be greater, not sure…. heaven help us if we ostracize – or worse – fellow Believers for not lining up with our tangential interpretations of the CWL (and we know from wounds that folks relate on Michael’s web-site that this is happening today)… John 20:29 says: January 25, 2017 at 1:31 pm #56 – or worse, a bacon cheeseburger! you’ve upset the Jew twice, the Adventist twice and that person over there who says that you should have given the price of that burger to Gospel for Asia… err something… time for me to go find some lunch Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 25, 2017 at 1:56 pm “In the Lutheran Confessions there is nothing about “evangelism” as an evangelical would understand it.” If I were a wise guy – I would say “In the Lutheran Confessions there is nothing that an evangelical would understand.” — but I am too gentle for that 😉 Seriously, at least to a Lutheran, evangelism comes only one way – through the spoken word. Duane Arnold says: January 25, 2017 at 2:09 pm As an LCMS professor said, “We’re confessional, not missional…” Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 25, 2017 at 2:16 pm This is most certainly true if you define missional the way the modern day evangelical does. The LCMS has missionaries and church plants all over the world – but missional today has a whole new meaning … just like evangelical in the days following Luther vs evangelical today in the days after the Jesus movement. Chris Long says: January 25, 2017 at 2:42 pm “This is most certainly true…” Spoken like a true Lutheran! 😉 🙂 Duane Arnold says: January 25, 2017 at 2:51 pm #61 MLD By the way, studied it, understood it, even admired it… just couldn’t buy the t-shirt… Xenia says: January 25, 2017 at 2:52 pm Suppose we have people who are already believers. Can we at least say that our behavior matters here? That by behaving poorly we chase people out of our churches? And since MLD and I both believe that one must “Keep under the spout where the glory comes out,” if we chase people away from “the spout,” then have we, by our actions, caused some to fall away from the faith and then go to hell? Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 25, 2017 at 2:57 pm For those who may not understand the Confessional vs Missional divide that Duane brought up – this is a pretty good discussion. http://issuesetc.org/tag/missionalism/ Duane Arnold says: January 25, 2017 at 2:57 pm #66 Xenia I would agree with all but the last five words. That determination is way above my pay-grade! Xenia says: January 25, 2017 at 2:57 pm I have relatives who were raised evangelical and that’s the only kind of Christianity they understand. Yet they will not attend the local evangelical fellowships, largely because of the Right-Wingerism they find there. The crazy conspiracy theories, the adoration of guns, and so forth. They don’t attend church anymore and their faith grows weaker every year to the point that one has become an unbeliever. If these churches just stuck to the Gospel, I bet they’d still be in attendance. But they feel coerced by peer pressure to accept things they hate so they stay home. Xenia says: January 25, 2017 at 2:58 pm …. and then go to hell<<<< Do unbelievers go to heaven? God makes the determination. Duane Arnold says: January 25, 2017 at 3:04 pm #69 Xenia – Agreed, I’ve seen the same. #70 Xenia – Agreed, “God makes the determination”. Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 25, 2017 at 3:12 pm Do the people who leave the right wing evangelical churches then ignore the promptings and convictions of the Holy Spirit? Jean says: January 25, 2017 at 3:25 pm Duane and Xenia, I have pretty close contacts with a evangelicals that match your descriptions. The way I process the issue, I think that many churches have lost faith in the power of proclamation of the Gospel for the salvation of sinners. Paul specifically uses to word “power” in first chapter of both Romans and 1 Corinthians. Because they don’t have faith in the power of proclamation, these churches seek to create and/or exert power from elsewhere in a combination of man made sources, such as political activism, emotion driven worship, and cultivating a celebrity pastor culture. All these things are designed to attract and retain people. The liberal mainline churches failed from a similar attempt to locate power in a social justice gospel. Xenia says: January 25, 2017 at 3:37 pm You would simply not believe the FB page of a former CC pastor I used to know. (Not my regular CC pastor.). It is one continual stream of absolute craziness: Conspiracy theories, calls to action, etc. No one in their right mind would want the kind of Christianity this guy is promoting. Yet ex-evangelicals usually won’t go to a more sane liturgical type of church because they have been taught all their lives they are dead repositories of “vain traditions of men.” Anglicanism or Lutheranism does not seem like an option for them. These kinds of churches are off their radar. So they stay home and forget about God. Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 25, 2017 at 3:45 pm Xenia, I think Jean hit the nail. If that same church had preached the gospel – especially in the evangelical style that is mainly for the seeker and the newby Christian – after 2 years would have been bored and left the church. Probably why the pastor spiced it up. Jean says: January 25, 2017 at 3:51 pm MLD, please don’t fake agreement with me only to misrepresent me. Your statement at #75 is somewhat incoherent, so I’m not even sure what you’re saying, but I’m pretty sure it’s not what I said. Duane Arnold says: January 25, 2017 at 3:57 pm Jean A very salient point. I want to think on this for a bit. It is very much along the lines of rather than having a coffee hour, let’s have a cafe like Starbucks, because somehow that must be better… Again, it’s just missing the point of what Church is meant to be… Martin Luther's Disciple says: January 25, 2017 at 4:08 pm Jean, ” I think that many churches have lost faith in the power of proclamation of the Gospel for the salvation of sinners.” Isn’t that what I said in the first half of my statement? Then you said “Because they don’t have faith in the power of proclamation, these churches seek to create and/or exert power from elsewhere in a combination of man made sources, such as political activism, emotion driven worship, and cultivating a celebrity pastor culture” Which is what I said, that because it wasn’t working and the fact that people were probably bored and left – the church then corrected course by adding what you stated to juice it up – and I am talking about Ultimate Warrior juiced up.. Jean says: January 25, 2017 at 4:27 pm MLD, I tracked you better at #78. Thanks. But I think the Gospel does work and isn’t boring. In fact, I hunger for it each week and am satisfied after receiving it. John 20:29 says: January 25, 2017 at 5:28 pm in Xenia’s # 66 – “if we chase people away from “the spout,” then have we, by our actions, caused some to fall away from the faith and then go to hell?” i have to take exception… while i do not want to get into side issues here such as eternal security, i have to say once again that we cannot cause someone to go to hell… that does NOT mean that God won’t hold us accountable for driving someone away from the flock (doesn’t that make us wolves and not sheep?) i know chickens will turn on their wounded, but do sheep do that? nevertheless, we will be held accountable if we exclude a brother (generic) at the risk of being accused of proof-texting … we all know Matthew 7:1-2 just saying – cuz Michael still lets me do that 🙂 John 20:29 says: January 25, 2017 at 5:48 pm out of my limited knowledge of history, let alone the history of the Church, something just came to mind… so many of what we’re now calling ‘evangelical’ churches had their roots in the very thing that, as i read here, now seems to be eroding them… long ago (how many centuries, i’m not sure at the moment) the common man began to leave their State churches of their homelands, Anglican, Lutheran, some Roman Catholic because those churches began to cater to an elite and influential/ruling class… as i understand it, you even had to buy your pew… but these were hard working, down and dirty get the job done peasants and they found themselves along with their styles of worship encouraged to migrate into other lands including the New World, at least this part of the New World… now this century’s New World seems to be the internet and the wounded Saints find their place at the table here? hmmm…. maybe…. just thinking, wondering… Duane Arnold says: January 26, 2017 at 8:13 am #73 Jean I had time to think about it overnight, and I think you may be close to the truth in your observation. However, I don’t think it is a conscious decision. When you move from worship, study and service to entertainment, it all changes. To entertain you have to keep adding new attractions. Moreover, the celebrity status of the pastor has to be maintained and enhanced. What better way than by being connected to political power, by being a “leading voice” on hot button topics of the day… You see what I mean. The whole process becomes addictive, because you always have to have “more” – more of everything. Writing this makes me wonder. Is what we’re seeing now just the start? Jean says: January 26, 2017 at 8:38 am Duane, You asked: “Writing this makes me wonder. Is what we’re seeing now just the start?” I had an evangelical pastor tell me that one of his challenges is creating something “new” each week to keep people excited. The concern is that after a while the service will get boring. (Apparently, if a church goes down the path of providing entertainment, it must be refreshed constantly (and perhaps enhanced) to give people a fix. Otherwise, they might look elsewhere to spend their Sunday morning or perceive that the Holy Spirit is not blessing them like before. Duane Arnold says: January 26, 2017 at 8:57 am #83 Jean Yes, and then there is the issue of power which works on so many levels – “Our pastor speaks and the mayor (governor, senator, congressman, President) listens”. The ego of the pastor is stroked, the people perceive his/her “importance” and they feel important as well. Any who question this are not just questioning the issue at hand, they are questioning the church, the devoted followers, the pastor and, ultimately, God, whom they believe is “blessing” this arrangement. It is a dangerous and explosive cocktail being mixed here… John 20:29 says: January 26, 2017 at 11:46 am “It is a dangerous and explosive cocktail being mixed here…” i apologize for jumping into the middle of this discussion, but i think that comment is very insightful… up here in the mountains i’m not witnessing an addiction that i hear folk are developing – total dependence on their iphones or whatever you call them… they must be fed mindlessly, living on impulse and emotion… is the Church in danger of getting sucked in also, so that we “move from worship, study and service to entertainment” mentioned above? if so, i hope Jean and Duane’s conversation is just the beginning of sounding the alarm Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your Comment You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> Name (required) E-mail (required) URI Notify me of follow-up comments by email. 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