May 012017
 

1. The new hot issue around the Christian internet is about who Christian bloggers are “accountable” to. Let me help with the word count…the answer is whoever the blogger chooses to be accountable to. This means there may be a high level of accountability or none at all. “Accountability” is not something treasured in the information age…but that may be the cost of a free and open internet.

I have always had people who I chose to let speak into my work here…but that has always been my choice.

It’s a discussion worth having…but not one that will change anything.

2. The big discussion in sports over the weekend was around the issue of what to do with players accused of violence toward women. While the spotlight was on one young man whose crime was captured on video, a half dozen other players with similar issues without video evidence were drafted before him and others after him. The reality is that the only thing the NFL was worried about was the reaction of advertisers…who have been quiet on the issue. We’ll be having the same conversations about the same issue for years to come…because in every corner of the world, talent triumphs over virtue. To be blunt, if you can put asses in the seats, you’re good…which makes asses of us all…

3. I remember the day when if we talked about “experiences ” in the church, we were talking about charismatic gifts. Today, we’re talking about the quality of the performance…

4. There is no one I distrust more than one who claims to understand all the mysteries of God…

5. The real world does not come with trigger warnings…

6. On my list of things that threaten the health of society,the lack of shared experiences is high on the list. We all lead boutique lives now…everything is so catered to individuals that the idea of a common good becomes more and more foreign to us…

7. The unspoken premise of the online discernment ministries is that they have grasped the truths of the Bible without error. In an age of tens of thousands of denominations, that is truly laughable…but evidently, comforting to some. I am in a place that fits me, but I don’t claim that it’s built on Sinai…

8. I keep reading the numbers about dwindling church attendance, always with  someone disclaiming any fault on the part of the church. Evidently, we’re just going to wait until the buildings are empty and blame each other…

9. If the heart of the Bible is the cross of Christ, then suffering is an expected state for the disciple…

10. My two Swiss Army knife prayers…”I believe, help my unbelief” and “Lord, have mercy”….

 

  108 Responses to “Things I Think…”

  1. Welcomed return of the favored “Things…” post

  2. I think there is little doubt in America that the church is going into decline. We are experiencing a huge pendulum swing. In the 70s the boomers were racing back to church and only conservative churches were growing. A series of very public scandals, the church’s loud acclaim of AIDs as the judgment of God, second coming fever burnout, rethinking the nature of the Gospel as pertains to essence, the secular ascendancy in the academic realm, the public education of our children into unbelief with our own tax dollars, colossal moral failure within the church … the list goes on. Everyone tends to see the problem as poor execution of millennial sensibilities but it is much deeper than that.

    So as Michael Sattler said of the Turks so say I of the secular implosion. Let them come, resist them not, simply preach the true and living Jesus and let the whole of Christendom fall into the sea.

    Of course I don’t really want to see that… but I would rather let the church collapse than make it acceptable to the vacuous values of the most ardent critics whose only converts are other frustrated believers.

  3. Nine and Ten. Gold – discovered and experienced at the Throne of Grace while in the fires of adversity.
    Thanks!

  4. BD,

    I appreciate the kind words.

    While there is some truth to your list of ills, I would suggest that the greatest secular implosion has happened when the church wed itself to a particular political ideology…which has competed with the Gospel as being the message of the church.

    The Gospel lost…

  5. Thank you, vic!

  6. 10. My two Swiss Army knife prayers…”I believe, help my unbelief” and “Lord, have mercy”….

    Amen and amen.

  7. #3 – No joke. It’s kind of disgusting. Reminds me of this quote I read on Eugene Peterson’s twitter feed.

    “The vocation of pastor(s) has been replaced by the strategies of religious entrepreneurs with business plans.”

    There is a tremendous irony here which would require me to name names to explain, but I’d rather not. Suffice it to say that a religious entrepreneur can have his head turned by anything like anyone else, even by something good, only to go back to business plan mode.

  8. Number Three –

    Michael, I do hope that you’ve bought your fog machine…

  9. Corby,

    The question before the house would be if “great experiences” bear spiritual fruit…I don’t have the answer…

  10. Duane,

    Some say I think in a fog already… 🙂

    I remember when I visited a mega church that had just spent 1.25 million on lights and cameras…with a benevolence budget of zero…all for the “Gospel’…

  11. “I remember when I visited a mega church that had just spent 1.25 million on lights and cameras…with a benevolence budget of zero…all for the “Gospel’…”
    doesn’t that pretty much sum up the big problem right there? at least what has corrupted our churches…
    it does seem that the outside world gets more effective in their scorning the Faith with each passing generation…
    there seems to be smoke and mirrors within and without… or so it seems to me – dunno, tho, do i?

  12. John 20:29,

    They took those cameras out a couple of years later and replaced them with HD cameras…the show must go on…

  13. Where I live, the more left-leaning mega church is the one with all of the fancy multimedia. I attended part of one evening service and was thinking, “how much does the production alone cost per service?” Not counting the staff salaries.

    I think the influence of secular culture (i.e., “the world”) can’t be underestimated. My kids attend the local K-12. There is an initiative called “Peacebuilders.” Based upon the principles, my conspiracy-minded spidey senses were alerted. Was this some UN/globalist thing? From what I can tell, it kind of is. The Pledge is something like:

    “Praise People
    Give Up Put-Downs
    Seek Wise People
    To Notice and Speak Up About Hurts I have Caused
    To Right Wrongs
    To Help Others

    I will build peace at home, in school and in my community each day.”

    In a way, this is like The Second Greatest Commandment. Nothing wrong there. Given such a social rubric, building peace is good enough. Where does God fit into the equation? Who needs church?

    I took my then Kindergartner to an assembly in the quad before school last year, First, they did the pledge of allegiance to the US flag. I thought that was interesting given all of the political hoopla which gets attention. Second, the kids raised their arms collectively to the sky showing the universal peace symbol and recited that pledge, it felt very Children Of The Corn to me.

  14. Michael @ 9 – Many many things have the capacity to bear spiritual fruit, if one limits that responsibility/definition to someone genuinely coming to faith and it stops there. “But people are getting saved!” Are they? Some are, but not all. I say that from personal experience of going down the aisle with a friend who was no more saved the next day than the day before and still isn’t.

    There isn’t much we cannot do as the church, or as individuals, to reach the lost. “All things to all people” and all that. There is no single best or right way. That being said, one could argue it’s a question of stewardship. Stewardship of the time gathered, of the message given, of the new believer, not to mention the money being given spent.

    They key thing to me is the confusion between experiences and genuine Holy Spirit activity. I’ve seen first hand the confusion people have with being busy at/for church and being spiritual. Then there is the age-old confusion of a dynamic group experience as opposed to and genuine move of the Holy Sprit. If the music was good and the preacher passionate, then it must have been the Spirit, right? Wrong.

    What really bugs me is that it’s a counterfeit, or perhaps a pacifier. Most of the time it is benevolent. No one is trying to trick or hurt anyone long or short term. But what is “experienced” is not at all the norm of someone following Jesus with their whole selves. There are good people doing good work, who do get it in these environments, but it isn’t the normative thing, and they don’t even know it because they stay where the cool kids are.

    It’s a topic I’m passionate about and constantly consternated over it, to the point that it is really hard to find a local church to connect with. Probably to a fault, but that’s where I’m at at the moment.

  15. Corby…what are the signs you look for in a local church…and what are the red flags that keep you home?

  16. Victor,

    I would have rejoiced at such a “pledge” in the local school…sounds a lot like pursuing righteousness.

  17. FWIW
    I think different types of churches appeal to different types of people.And at the same time, different types of churches serve different types of roles in someone’s development spiritually. I personally have no problem with the “experience” language for a worship service. At best, a believer’s gathering should be people experiencing God. I also realize that there are people who large church preferences and those who have small church preferences

    For me, I think the “privileged” position of what is right and best is silly (even for my privileged position). At best, God uses it all. At worst, our judgments further divide the body of Christ.

    I heard a pastor say, “it’s impossible to rock the boat when you are busy rowing it.” Whatever church you are connected to (large, small, house, etc) just pick up a oar and be part of it. Just my thoughts.

    For a long time, I didn’t appreciate the diversity of the body of Christ. I liked what I liked and felt that everyone should like the same thing. But God loves me too much to leave me in such an elitist place.

  18. #6 lack of shared experiences…

    I believe that is spot on
    Our entire society is autistic, experiencing fear and insecurity at the opinions and practices of others, because we have shallow or non-existent basis for our beliefs.

    The core need of any truly autistic child is to maintain joint attention in play, and so share in the experience of play even though children differ in what they take from it.

    So it is in society and church especially, imo. We can’t even get in the game, so to speak, for fear of leaving the faith we are assured we have gotten right, betraying our consciences, and assuring our place amongst those Christ says He never knew;
    for fear of having to lie about our motives and beliefs an for fear of betraying our friends.

    So we feed on the biases our market driven society has on hand under the warming light, wait for our order, and maintain a sense of normalcy from our monistic little incorporated bubble. Hillary fan? There’s a church for that. Gun rights advocate? There’s a church for that. Calvary Chapel-ite? We’ve got four flavors, CGN, CCA, This Party Pay As You Go,
    and the not-so-vanilla Adulterated Flavor.

    If this is the end of the church, it can’t come soon enough.

    Meh.

  19. #7 I’ve always been wary of “self appointed experts.”

  20. This Party = 3rd Party.

  21. Re 1., wasn’t the debate Frank Turk had with iMonk back around 2009 about whether or not bloggers should be able to hold a pastor accountable, a la Mark Driscoll in particular?

  22. #1… sometimes it seems to me that it is not the blogger who bears the accountability burden, so much as it is – or should be – the reader of said blogger…

    if you can read with discernment, a little skepticism and a lot of grace, it is amazing how much you can learn… including what you can learn about the blogger

  23. WTH,

    I remember that vaguely…

  24. em,

    We have responsibilities as bloggers…and there would be a lot fewer of us if people did as you say.
    It would be addition through subtraction…

  25. Michael @ 15 – That’s an excellent question. If I were to boil down what most churches (that I’m interested in) offer it would be into three main categories in no particular order;
    – Music
    – Teaching
    – The vibe of the place and the people
    – Discipleship

    What I’m looking for and red flags.

    – Music. I’m looking for music that isn’t too bad nor too good that it’s distracting, both in quality and in content. I can’t handle Brother Fred on his guitar and doesn’t know the fingerings to minor chords, nor do I want to go to a concert with Jesus People. I’ve gotten more “worship” experience (there’s that word) our of listening to recordings in the background while I work than from any church service in a long time.

    – Teaching. My wife and I watched an old video of one of our favorite Bible teachers whom we have not watched or heard in some time. My wife said something interesting, “It’s nice not to have your mind wander while listening to someone.” When you are thinking about anything but what the person is talking about and constantly checking your watch, something is wrong. The good way for the mind to wander is to be reminded of parallel passaged and ideas. I don’t need a great orator nor a clown to keep my attention. I need someone to talk to me and share God’s heart from God’s word in such a way that the Holy Spirit does the rest inside of me.

    – Vibe. I don’t want to go into a place and it’s obvious that they want me to buy into the culture they are trying to create. Catchy slogans, banners with purpose statements, etc. Nor do I want churchy people who are wearing a Christian subculture costume. I hate Christian subculture. I want normal people who love Jesus, not churchy people who are acting the way they think they are supposed to act because they love Jesus. I’m not looking for authentic because that doesn’t mean what it’s supposed to mean anymore. I am looking for genuine.

    – Discipleship. A church that values and practices intentional discipleship as a normal thing, not a next-level super Christian exercise. They have some kind of plan for it and push people in that direction. To them, one of the measures of success is the noticeable and continuing transformation of people into the image of Jesus. Basically, they are doing and you can see Romans 12:1-2 happening. People can testify to it.

    My wife and I put it this way. We are looking for something between ridiculous and pathetic. Church size is less relevant, but the medium to larger churches tend to lean toward the ridiculous which means everything is over the top, markety, experience-driven, designed to be consumed easily which means it has no growth-material in it. Smaller churches tend to lean toward the pathetic. This means that they do what they do because it works for them, they know they are going to die off eventually, but, oh well.

    I know that there are churches in between these out there. I’m having a hard time finding one where I live.

    You might notice that I didn’t specific anything about theology. For the purpose and context of this thread, I’ll just leave it at a church that agrees with the apostles creed, and the rest is negotiable. It’s easy to find lots of churches that have the same basic/core theology, at least on paper. It’s harder to find ones that want to disciple people in it.

  26. Corby,

    Thank you for that response…I’ll be curious to see if you find what you’re looking for…

  27. #8, #9, #10
    Love the Swiss Army Knife prayers…. indeed. Mine too…those and praise and thanksgiving are about it.

    We are attending a church that is exploding at the seams, so the decline of church population isn’t happening for our realm.

    #9 and suffering. That is a message that is desperately needed. “let those who suffer ACCORDING THE THE WILL OF GOD, commit their souls to a Faithful Creater, who will do right”. 1 Pet 4:19.
    There is so much guilt being tossed into the laps of those who are suffereing, that somehow they caused it by lack of faith, confession, etc… quintessential ‘shooting the wounded’.

  28. consternated corby observed, “…..I hate Christian subculture. I want normal people who love Jesus, not churchy people who are acting the way they think they are supposed to act…..”
    i just can’t help but think that what he describes would draw in all the wanderers and bring souls to Christ, also… we just weren’t willing to stay the course back in the day – we should have

  29. I have to admit I kinda hope Corby doesn’t show up at my church. He’ll be disappointed on so many levels.

  30. hmmm, I go to church and act the way I think I am supposed to act.

    Can I see a show of hands of anyone who does NOT act the way they think they are supposed to act?

  31. Corby and anyone else who value what is being referred to as “discipleship” opportunities, can you provide a couple positive examples of what good discipleship opportunities might look like or consist of?

    Thanks.

  32. #30 – I don’t act like I think I’m supposed to act according to Christian “culture”. I smoke ( I know, I know…I’m going to work on it), enjoy a beer or two once in a while, cuss once in a while, I don’t speak “Christianese”, I’m not up-beat, positive and enthusiastic most of the time. I have doubts about myself and my faith sometimes. I don’t raise my hands during worship. I hate the meet and greet during the service.

    But I love the Lord.

    I think I get what Corby is saying.

  33. I would also like to add I don’t listen to Christian music on the radio. I can’t take Christian movies. I don’t like small groups.

    Ok I think that covers it. I’m not good at being a Christian. It’s why I need Jesus.

  34. People who listen to Christian music and watch movies need Jesus too. I think backing away from a supposed Christian su culture is not a sign of loving Jesus.

  35. You’re right MLD. These are my own hang ups. Its why I have a heart for outsiders that see a middle class Christian subculture and don’t see themselves able to be a part of it.

  36. I will never take part in a “Benedict Option” as I think it’s in full effect now. It’s called the Christian bubble. Where they don’t drink smoke drink and chew or go with the girls that do but have self righteousness up the ying yang.

  37. Joel, do you ever take your Pastor out for a beer or to a cigar bar? I do.

  38. No I go to a large church. Haven’t even met him. I bet if I was still at the Lutheran church he might. I don’t know. But my wife wouldn’t come so I have to settle for the large evangelical church.

    I think it’s great that you have that kind of relationship with your Pastor.

  39. It’s not that I am that close with him, which I am, but that he is comfortable enough to drink a beer and smoke a cigar with the lay guy.
    (It’s actually the associate pastor as pastor had an issue and had to give up drinking.)

  40. Well I’m sorry if I offended with my rant. Like I said, I have hang ups and I need to give my pious brethren grace. Lord knows I need it.

  41. Joel – no offense to me – I was speaking more about pastors and how they stay in the bubble instead of being out with the people … chugging a few beers and puffing on a fatty (Jesus style).

  42. I guess I should clarify what I meant when I said, “I hate Christian subculture. I want normal people who love Jesus, not churchy people who are acting the way they think they are supposed to act because they love Jesus.”

    Christians are supposed to like all the Christian movies. Christians are supposed to listen to The Fish. Christians are supposed to be Republican. Christians are supposed to like all the bands that tour with the Rock And Road Worship Tour (or whatever its called). Christians were supposed to be into Mark Driscoll until all that went down. Christians are supposed to read all the books by the hip young pastors. Christians are supposed to love everything by Jeremy Camp, Matt Redmond, or Bethel.

    These are examples of the Christian subculture that really have nothing to do with being a follower of Jesus. But if you don’t do them you aren’t in the club. I’ve been in the club. I got out of the club because it was a way to tell me what to think, not how to think. I have nothing against people who are into those things (except Driscoll). But when people start to consider my devotion to the church or Jesus based on whether I like or have heard of any of those things, I have a problem with that.

    It’s like the CC phenomenon of wearing Hawaiian shirts because Chuck did. I don’t like those shirts. I never owned nor wore them. But you were supposed to at the senior pastors conferences because that’s just what you do. Nope, pass.

    We all act the way we think we are supposed to act, for the most part. Some people know better, and some don’t. What I’m talking about is the equivalent of Christian peer pressure. When you’re a kid in school, generally you dress the way you do because of the culture of the kids at school. It might not be how you would want to dress, but you don’t know any better so you follow suit (pardon the pun). What I see is people in churches or parachurch ministries who don’t know any better, aren’t being taught any better, and are following the heard, being shown what to think, not being taught how to think.

    That is more or less what I meant.

  43. 🙂

    The shepherd should smell like the sheep.

  44. Corby,

    Earlier Jean asked:

    “Corby and anyone else who value what is being referred to as “discipleship” opportunities, can you provide a couple positive examples of what good discipleship opportunities might look like or consist of?”

    What do you think?

  45. Corby,
    “That is more or less what I meant.”

    You are still swinging and missing. That is not ‘Christian sub culture’ at all. What you describe is Evangelical sub culture – and the way you describe it is just a bastardization of the Christian faith.
    In worldwide Christianity, Evangelicals are really just the proverbial fly on the elephants butt – they seem to have relevance only because evangelicals control the media – Christian TV, Christian radio and the Christian publishing houses – it is these media outlets that dictate and control ‘Evangelical’ life and lifestyle — not the scriptures.

    At least that is what I meant to say. 😉

  46. Honestly though, MLD, Corby or whoever…do you really know anybody like Corby describes in his second paragraph of #42?

    I suppose I am evangelical, being devout Southern Baptist. Still, a quick survey of his list:

    Christian movies – Nope.
    The Fish? – Never heard of that.
    Republican – No way.
    Rock and Road Whatever – No clue what that is.
    Mark Driscoll – I was writing negatively of him when Everyone was still defending him.
    Hip Young Pastors – I read John Phillips. Never hip, and 7 years dead.
    Jeremy Camp, Matt Redman, Bethel – I’ve liked a few of Redman’s dongs. Wouldn’t be able to pick the other two our of a lineup.

    I’M NOT THAT UNIQUE!!

    Maybe you guys are fighting a stereotype that doesn’t really exist?

  47. Josh – I think many here have done like you and pulled away from that evangelical subculture because it has been exposed as fraudulent here on this blog. However, most of evangelicalism does not read the Phoenix Preacher and are still goose stepping along.
    Tune into any evangelical TV or radio station – not just the programing but listen to the commercials – who are they marketing to? I shouldn’t suggest this because good Christians will lose their faith, but go into any generic Christian bookstore – see what they are marketing and to whom.

    I am glad you have driven a stake into the heart of American Evangelicalism – but for a huge American population it still resides on their altar.

  48. I disagree. I was never part of that, nor are most of the people I know.

    What you have described is like watching the Jefferson’s then saying, Ahhh, now I know how all black people act!

    Mass media is always gonna be dumbed down and pointed towards a particular audience. It is market tested crap. So you guys aren’t really fighting against evangelicals, you are fighting against whatever market that TBN is trying to reach?

  49. Josh,

    You said in #46 that you’ve liked a few of Redman’s dongs. Is that something you could elaborate on in mixed company?

  50. So riddle me this – if the broader evangelical community is not what I portray, why don’t we see Christian TV, radio and book publishers / bookstores marketing to this supposed huge ‘regular’ evangelical crowd – why would they continually run to the minimal margins?

  51. Josh – You’re right. There are evangelical churches that have their priorities straight. We have found one. You just have to know what, or I should say Who you’re looking for. The more a church emphasizes the Table and historic creeds the better.

  52. Jean – you’ve got me screaming laughing. That was quite the unfortunate typo.:)

    @ 50 – So these TV, bookstores, and radio stations must be doing huge business then? Nope. They are in the toilet. They aren’t marketing to the masses, they are marketing to a small niche of a niche that they think will actually buy their product.

  53. Evangelical sub culture is pretty much like it’s music

    It won’t stop repeating itself

  54. I don’t know why I keep getting sucked into this argument. I just feel like you guys could be happier and more productive if you weren’t fighting ghosts.

  55. Descended – Yes indeed. And if we don’t respond in an extroverted manner during worship then “our wood is wet.” Gotta be on fire baby!

  56. Josh,
    We have all described American evangelicalism by how it manifests itself. You and some others claim (1) to be evangelicals and (2) put up the defense that evangelicalism cannot be defined – so I go for the manifestations of those who make the claim.

    The fact that TV, radio and bookstores are down is not because the ‘evangelical’ community isn’t interested. Like all in those industries – people get their content elsewhere – so the evangelical stuff is now marketed through YouTube content – podcast content and online publications.

    Its still floating around … I take it back, it is still flying high.

  57. Have you ever met anyone who is like Corby described in that paragraph?

  58. Josh,
    Yes – I think me and all of SoCal are / were that person.

  59. Oh, well shame on you guys. Cut it out. 🙂

  60. Corbys description was classic CC…very Southern Oregon and Southern Californian…

  61. Jean’s #49 is still the best comment here.

  62. I think all of you may suffer from being inside a nasty little bubble. Lots of wonderful Christ-loving people out here.

  63. “Lots of wonderful Christ-loving people out here.”

    I don’t think anyone is denying that….

  64. All we read about is these horrible evangelicals though.

  65. Josh – my point to Corby early this morning was that this phenomenon is not a Christian sub culture but an evangelical sub culture.
    You don’t find the EO, RCC, Lutherans, Anglicans and many others not only falling for this jive, but bringing it directly into the church.

    Even wonderful Christ loving folks can fall for it.

  66. Josh,

    I’m trying very carefully to hear your concerns…and I agree that there are many fine evangelicals and evangelical churches.

    However, it is also the pit from which springs all manner of god awful things.

    How do we fairly address both truths?

  67. I don’t know why I keep getting sucked into this argument. I just feel like you guys could be happier and more productive if you weren’t fighting ghosts.
    ———————————————–
    I’m jumping in for Josh’s sake…because I love the guy. And I second what Josh wrote. Most (largely ALL) of Corby’s description is unheard of at our place and we are right in the heart of Southern California – and we are not that unique either. Frankly, we lose people to those churches (they are out here) – but that does not make us any less than fully “evangelical” by the common description.

    I just got into a beef on FB with the most foolish of arguments that all of us evangelicals are living in a legalist bubble (that’s why millennials hate church) and not getting out into the world to rub shoulders, living in isolation and “not reaching anybody” and it is so wrong as to be laughable if one just looks at our little church. And again, we are not unique.

    My shepherd’s heart and passion does not laugh though, because rather than just insulting me for my pastoral allegiances or “false teaching” (per some in this community), it is an insult to the many very faithful, loving, servants of Christ that I personally know and am privileged to pastor. People doing a whole lot more in our impoverished, dying community than just typing on a keyboard, bitching about evangelicals.

    It insults Christ’s Bride. Insults of Brides that I care about don’t go far with me. I wonder how Jesus feels about it.

    Duane describes his story above and all of the unfriendly, closed hearts, doors, and attitudes, and it is “an unfortunate experience” at a particular church that is not being run wisely.

    Duane does not ID his church, but it certainly does not sound like the modern evangelical subculture church being discussed elsewhere – what with the architecture, the homily and Eucharist.. Why is Duane’s experience not simply the personification of “non-evangelical culture” that we can then tarnish multiple thousands of churches with. You all know there are plenty mainline denominations just like the one Duane describes (I know…because I used to have the occasional need to visit them with friends as a lost sinner…Unfriendly, dead churches with hateful leaders in pretty buildings. I stayed lost too and had no desire to involve myself in the Christian religion).

    Let’s call the occasional MLD church in Arizona handing out coffee mugs the exception….and call Duane’s church experience the norm.

    Or would that be fair to blanket a massive number of (diverse) people (and would it be accurate?)

    Jumping out now. God bless you, Josh.

  68. labels don’t serve well, so why do we continue to use them?… there are horrible Lutherans and Roman Catholics and Presbyterians…. just not enough of them to merit a label beyond “horrible,” i guess
    why don’t we just call the “horribles” horrible? distorted, presumptive horribles – could we call them “Christian horribles?” dunno… 🙂

  69. “I remember when I visited a mega church that had just spent 1.25 million on lights and cameras…with a benevolence budget of zero…all for the “Gospel’…”
    just think how many mugs (tasteful blue with gold lettering), pens and pieces of cake they could have bought with that money
    … sorry

  70. Steve,
    Are you suggesting that we can identify the evangelicals as those who oppose “what with the architecture, the homily and Eucharist.”

    I can run with that for a while.

  71. We must remember that it was an evangelical and not the confessionals who brought up all the sub culture nonsense.

  72. Love you too Steve 🙂

    And he makes a fantastic point in regards to Duane’s church experience.

    “How do we fairly address both truths?”

    Not as us and them. I can’t number the awful hings that have come out of the roman catholic church. My friends who were missionaries to Ukraine could tell you the ugly side of the Orthodox church. Anglicans have come out with all sorts of nonsense. And Lutherans gave us MLD 🙂

    If the ones we are speaking of are Christians they should be treated as brothers. We should talk about issues, and not random groupings of millions of people. I will gladly join in the chorus to keep fog machines out of worship services. I won’t allow myself to be condemned because someone once labeled Evangelical used a fog machine. I never have and never will. None of my peers do. Furtick probably does. The Elevation’s of the world are about 1 to every 500 non-Elevation type church.

  73. And seriously, look at Corby’s #25. I don’t want to pick on the guy, because at least he was honest. But read his list and tell me a church that he will be happy at? There isn’t one. He has the whole thing backwards.

  74. This is funny. It would be like me saying Lutherans do not baptize babies because I once ran across a Lutheran church that did not — therefore you cannot broad brush all Lutheran churches as baby baptizers — come on – and I will agree with all that Josh says about all the other non evangelical groups – but please stop denying that the description in Corby’s post is foreign to you.

  75. MLD – read my answer at # 46 – Not ONE of his descriptors sticks. And that goes for me and my church and my seminary. All evangelical, none of what Corby was talking about.

  76. I think we all love Josh…

    Here’s how I see this…

    I am a political liberal and a Democrat.

    Having said that, I don’t like much of what passes for liberalism and I don’t like the whole Democratic platform.

    I am out of lock step with two groups I self identify with.

    Thus, when I see general criticism of both groups I often have to acknowledge there is truth in the criticisms.

    I’m thankful for those who are not in lock step with broader evangelicalism even if they self identify as one.

  77. “I’m thankful for those who are not in lock step with broader evangelicalism even if they self identify as one.”

    I agree, and that fits me…but I think too that the caricature we put forth is not in line with what most evangelicals are. I guess I think it is an unfair stereotype rather than an accurate portrayal. Absolutely, there is a lot of stuff within the wide scope of evangelicalism that I don’t agree with. I’d rather talk about those actions or behaviors than “evangelicals”.

  78. This is the “Christian” Top Ten Best Sellers.
    Confessional Christians aren’t buying this stuff…how would you describe those who are?

    Rank (Prev) Title Author ISBN Publisher Pub Date List $ Award
    1 (3) THE SHACK-Paperback WILLIAM PAUL YOUNG 9780964729230 WINDBLOWN MEDIA, a division of Hachette Book Group USA Jul. 2008 $15.00

    2 (6) THE SHACK-Movie Edition2 WILLIAM PAUL YOUNG 9781455567607 WINDBLOWN MEDIA, a division of Hachette Book Group USA Nov. 2016 $15.99

    3 (2) THE 5 LOVE LANGUAGES GARY D. CHAPMAN 9780802412706 MOODY PUBLISHERS Jan. 2015 $15.99

    4 (5) THE MAGNOLIA STORY CHIP AND JOANNA GAINES 9780718079185 THOMAS NELSON PUBLISHERS Oct. 2016 $26.99

    5 (8) JESUS CALLING-Hardcover SARAH YOUNG 9781591451884 THOMAS NELSON PUBLISHERS Oct. 2004 $15.99

    6 (14) THE SHACK-Movie Edition WILLIAM PAUL YOUNG 9781455567614 WINDBLOWN MEDIA, a division of Hachette Book Group USA Nov. 2016 $9.99

    7 (9) UNINVITED LYSA TERKEURST 9781400205875 THOMAS NELSON PUBLISHERS Aug. 2016 $16.99

    8 (4) JESUS ALWAYS SARAH YOUNG 9780718039509 THOMAS NELSON PUBLISHERS Oct. 2016 $15.99

    9 (7) THIS LIFE I LIVE RORY FEEK 9780718090197 THOMAS NELSON PUBLISHERS Feb. 2017 $24.99

    10 (29) COP UNDER FIRE DAVID CLARKE 9781617958571 WORTHY PUBLISHING Feb. 2017 $21.99

  79. Several of those I do not know. I do know that many “evangelicals” have called 1,2,5,6,7 and 8 heretical.

    So you’ll have to help me out on this one.

  80. Hey, does this mean we get to turn this into another thread about The Shack? 🙂

  81. KevinH…no!

  82. Where is the confessional Christian top-ten?

  83. I was looking around for a list that may be more relevant, and could only find Lifeway’s best sellers from November.

    To answer your question of who is reading those books…turns out Southern Baptists 🙂

    http://blog.lifeway.com/shelflife/2016/11/30/november-best-sellers-4/

  84. Because we confess different things, we don’t sell enough of anything to list…

  85. #67 Steve Wright

    Indeed, it was not an evangelical church. I think it is important not to stereotype either evangelicals or the mainline… both are in trouble. I will say again what I said on the other thread, it is about empathy, love and building relationships. Yes, I know first it is about preaching the Gospel, but what then? Are we demanding that they become part of a club – whether evangelical or mainline? Are we saying, “Just As I Am”, or are we saying, “Just What We Want You to Be”. Before we can disciple people, we have to care about them. If we’re going to care about them, we have to build a relationship. And that relationship is built on love… love for them and love for God. It is not just the pastor’s job. It is for all of us to do. It’s also what I miss seeing and experiencing in church, whether evangelical or mainline.

  86. And I think there is your issue. Evangelicals confess many multitudes of different things so a top ten list could mean anything or nothing. I’d be shocked though if Anglicans and Lutherans didn’t read the Shack though.

    That particular list (the lifeway one) seems particularly bent towards the stay at home mom crowd. I think a better gauge would be what books are being taught in our churches. Still, being such a diverse group, that would be hard to gauge.

  87. Well said, Duane.

  88. “a better gauge would be what books are being taught in our churches.”

    What books are being taught in your church?

    I just finished teaching the book of Matthew and will begin the book of Philippians this Sunday — both are contained in THE best seller. 😉

  89. I’m finishing Matthew in the next couple of weeks.

  90. We use Lifeway’s Explore the Bible curriculum. It’s pretty good:

    http://www.lifeway.com/n/Explore-the-Bible?intcmp=BibleStudy-MTX-Tiled-ETB-20161208

    In fact, I’d say if you scan this page, for better or worse you’ll get an idea of what is going on in Southern Baptist churches:

    http://www.lifeway.com/n/Bible-Study?IntCmp=LWMain-BibleStudy

  91. Amen Duane @85.

    I strive for that myself, and to model it as a leader @ CCLE

  92. Hey, I’m finishing Matthew too. I’m in the middle of chapter 26 at present.

  93. I was 29 months in Matthew

    I was going to do Philippians with 1 introductory lesson and then 4 weeks for the 4 chapters. I think I have prepped 4 weeks just in chapter one. 🙂

  94. Me too Steve. Taught the Lord’s Supper last week.

  95. Bet you didn’t teach it right! — just kidding 😉

  96. I have four more weeks in Matthew – This week is Jesus and his sleepy disciples in the garden.

    After that, I’ll be in Psalms for a while.

  97. I was just thinking what a great lesson it was, and how you would HATE it 🙂

  98. Josh, I taught that just last Sunday. If you want a little extra prep….MLD would hate it, so you might get a lot out of it. 🙂

    http://calvaryle.org/Matt%2026_31-46.mp3

    MLD, April finished my 16th month in Matthew, I’m guessing at least 2 more months before I finish. I could have taken longer….but I do try to cover a significant “chunk” each week, even if it means not getting as detailed as I otherwise might.

  99. I probably took at least 3 months off during that time – so perhaps 26 months if it was straight through.

    But hey I had to spend time developing the real presence in the Supper which takes longer than just passing it by 😉

  100. Steve – mine were 60 -75 min classes but we have a lot of discussion, questions, flipping back and forth to OT prophecies etc – not to mention the too frequent rabbit trail.

  101. But hey I had to spend time developing the real presence in the Supper which takes longer than just passing it by
    ————————————————
    Of course it does….since it is not in the text and you have to add so much extra stuff to “develop” it.

    🙂 (smile)

  102. Steve Wright

    “It insults Christ’s Bride.”

    You’ve a good point, there. God forgive me for my chasm of stupidity I call a mouth.

  103. #85 – ” Are we saying, “Just As I Am”, or are we saying, “Just What We Want You to Be”. if ever there was one sentence that is chock full of food for thought, Dr. Arnold just posted one… IMHO, of course
    has anyone else noticed that one can walk into a church as a declared Christian and be ignored at best, but most likely suspect? on the other hand, if you come in to that same church and get saved there, everybody is going to be all over themselves to welcome and mentor you?

  104. Steve, as soon as I hit send I knew I left myself open for that open — you got me 🙂

  105. Fighting ghosts? Probably yes. I admit I have a sinful prejudice against some Christians. Ironically I do to them what I fear they do to me. Growing up I always despised church. Not God or Jesus, but people. I feared them, I’d come to church and go right out the back door when my folks went their own way. I never saw myself as one of the cool Christian kids. I still carry some of that with me now. I associate “good” Christians with something I will never be. It’s not a good thing. But the Lord isn’t finished with me. Until then I will try to keep my belly-aching on the PP to a minimum.

  106. Great post Joel. I totally understand where you are coming from.

  107. “Daniel Akin‏ @DannyAkin
    I am grateful to lead @SEBTS & @CollegeSE that are proudly confessional. We want @SBCCP & all to know where we stand & what we believe!”

    That was tweeted this morning by Danny Akin, President of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

    I just found his wording…interesting, given Michael’s exchange with me yesterday.

  108. Thank you Josh. Those are healing words.

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