Jul 152014

imagesThe Western church was a mess.

The papacy was staggering under the weight of political machinations and avarice.

The bishops and clergy were the instigators and profiteers of corruption, both financial and moral.


Church offices were purchased with the expectation of future profits…the practice of simony.

The people in the pews were feeling disconnected from the church…and used and abused by its leaders.

The feudal system was collapsing, the masses feeling crushed economically, and the poor no longer believed the church was there for them.

Theologically, the last century had seen the birth of “humanism” a call back to the original sources both in the church and in philosophy.

In the providence of God, publishing was making Greek manuscripts available from the East that challenged the integrity of the Vulgate and the printed works of Augustine were bringing the greatest father of the West back to prominence.

The Waldensians and the Hussites,the followers of Wycliffe and Tyndale , the erudition of Erasmus…all these proto Reformation ideas and martyrs were suddenly brought to new light and influence.

A perfect storm was brewing that would explode into the Protestant Reformation.

It was Martin Luther that would come first, bearing the thunder.

It is with him that we will begin our study in our next article.




Jul 152014

timthumb.phpWhen you feel helpless…

Is evangelical morality still acceptable in America?

What happened to the 12 apostles?

Can we still believe the Bible?

When we misinterpret God…

Hell has frozen over…I post a good word about Glenn Beck.

A child was bored in the service…

Mars Hill member demanding an accounting of Global Fund donations…

Church of England affirms women bishops…

Finding the good in terrible people…

Archie to die saving gay best friend…

Is the Christian life more like Colorado or Nebraska?

The next big church thing…

Romans 13 and the immigration crisis…

Wenatchee the Hatchet with a look at Mark Driscolls sex narrative…

The irrationality of Calvinism…

Was Luther a Calvinist?

What Western Christians don’t understand about the Palestinian conflict…

Driscoll’s flip flops on T.D. Jakes…

Many Americans don’t believe Jesus supports their political views…

A church for exiles…my favorite link of the week.



Jul 142014

1. The lack of attention given Saeed Abedini at the Calvary Chapel Senior Pastors Conference was unconscionable to me.

Greg Laurie has stepped up to the plate today, however.

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2. The only thing more frustrating to me than some Christians attitudes toward immigrants is when the government won’t allow Christians to minister as Christ would to the stranger among us. The church all over this country is attempting to help the children on the border…but is being rebutted at every turn.

3. The preaching of holiness without grace appeals to the flesh as much as as the prosperity gospel…and is just as warped.

4. The shortening of our attention spans is breeding a hatred of complexity and reducing issues to binary opposites. This is more deadly than any virus or war that could befall us.

5. Many observers, (including me) believe that God did a work at CCSPC 14. What most haven’t acknowledged is that it never would have happened if Chuck Smith were still alive. The final test of a great leader is to know when to pass the torch…

6. The difference between being hopeless and hopeful is the object of your hope. 

7. God gave Martin Luther the revelation of the doctrine of justification by faith 1500 years after the birth of the church. I have a hard time believing that God ceased giving revelation from the scriptures after that point…the study of Scripture with fresh eyes and open hearts must continue until He returns.

8. Here’s some incentive to be an intercessor…think about it.“And the LORD restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends.” (Job 42:10 ESV)

9. I believe that God allowed there to be many denominations and traditions within orthodox Christendom because no one group can express all He is. I also believe that focusing on those differences rather than on Him inevitably leads to worship of the differences, rather than Him.

10. Miss Kitty came to me as a stray. I adopted her, loved her and provided for her. She’s not a stray anymore. She was very grateful at the beginning, but lately, she’s changing. She sits in front of the house and guards the driveway from other strays…she is fat and healthy and tears them up in their weakened condition. She has also taken to beating up the other cat in the home…who was here before she was. If I leave food out for the other strays in the neighborhood, she walks around the property and eats it before they find it…while wailing like a banshee for her own dish to be filled. She used to be full of affection and joy, but her vigilant defense of what she’s been given takes up most of her time and energy now.

She’s forgotten where she came from…and that all she has is a gift she couldn’t possibly earn.

Make your own application…



Jul 122014

thumbnail.aspxLord God, heavenly Father, I ask and would be assured that my petitions shall and must be nothing less than yea and amen. 

Otherwise I will not pray nor have intercession made for me.

Not that I am righteous or worthy, for I know very well and confess that I am unworthy. 

I have earned Thine eternal wrath and hell fire with my great and many sins.  

But in this that Thou dost command and constrain me to pray in the Name of Thy dear Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, I am still somewhat obedient.  

Upon this challenge and consolation of Thine infinite goodness, not on account of my own righteousness, do I kneel or stand before Thee, and pray what is upon my heart concerning those who are in need of Thy help. 

 If Thou dost not help us, O Lord, Thou wilt offend and dishonor Thy Name.  

Thou wilt surely spare Thyself, lest the world would say Thou wert an ungracious and dreadful God. 

Preserve us from such a misfortune.  

Remember, dear heavenly Father, how Thou hast at all times supported and helped Thy people. I will not cease to knock but will continue to cry aloud and to plead to the end of my life.  


Martin Luther



Jul 112014


The very word conjures up tranquil feelings and placid mental images of delicate and graceful creatures of the forest.

Everyone loves deer.



We have lots of deer in Southern Oregon and the more we move into their habitat the more they become part of our lives here.

In one local city, they even feed them.

We love deer.

Well, most of us.

“They’re worse than rats and stupider than chickens…and in Ashland they’re feeding the damn things!”

The coach at Trey’s camp did not like deer and he was letting us all know that.

We all hate rats and most believe chickens are brainless.

He was obviously exercising restraint in his language because young people were present…but he loathed deer.

One had jumped in front of him on the road and knocked him off his motorcycle…he was banged up pretty good, but he could have been killed.

He wanted some action to thin the herds and was very angry about people feeding them in the city limits.

He damned the deer and the idiots that love them.

He has a point…and so do those who us who like deer.

They are beautiful, graceful creatures…and there are too many of them.

We have ruined their habitat…but we live here now.

Feeding them attracts more of them…but we’ve been feeding them for some time now.

They can be dangerous to drivers, but drivers who live here need to be cautious.

Both sides have good points…both sides should talk to each other about finding solutions everyone can live with.

On my Facebook feed some call the children on the border “refugees”…some call them “invaders”.

Make your own application…

Jul 112014

960x440SrPastors2014-The last day of the conference ended as it should…with something old and something new.

That was Greg Laurie’s theme for the conference, but one that hung in the balance before the event began.

A few weeks ago in Philadelphia, Joe Focht and Don McClure tested their vision for the movement out on the pastors at the the Calvary Chapel East Coast Pastors Conference.

It was a vision of a return to old line, hard line, CC distinctives and a rejection of the “progressive” ways of the West Coast, particularly Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa.

It was well received by most in attendance.

To be honest, this observer believed that they would be successful in taking the movement “back”…I expected a behind the scenes bloodletting with an “old” CC emerging from the war with McClure and Focht leading the way back to the 1970′s.

This would have led to some quiet and not so quiet departures from the movement as a whole.

That’s not what happened.

Brian Brodersen, Laurie, and the CCCM staff put on a tour de force of  “new” ideas and a new openness combined with the familiar marks and faces of CC that simultaneously reassured traditionalists and excited those ready to move forward.

They did so…while letting the whole world watch.

If you knew what I know, you’d venture the possibility that The Holy Spirit moved in an unexpected and dramatic fashion in Santa Ana this week.

Alistair Begg presented the “new” at the conference closing…that being a willingness to fellowship and learn from those who are from other tribes.

Ricky Ryan then officiated over communion, an old guard guy who had been caught in the middle of the crossfire for a few months.

The issues we’ve discussed with Calvary Chapel in the past for so many years have not been resolved.

What happened this week is that those who have given an ear to reformers and critics in the past are in a much better position to effect change than at any time in the history of the movement.

That gives me hope.

I saw the Spirit move…that means our hope is sure.

We’ll talk more about all this next week…




Jul 092014

960x440SrPastors2014-The day opened with messages from Skip Heitzig and Joe Focht.



I will let others speak to Heitzig’s message…in my opinion he’s been disqualified from ministry for years and I’m simply not interested in hearing him lecture on anything spiritual.

Focht’s message was old school CC and it may have been helpful to someone with a vested interest in the affiliation.

The most eagerly awaited event on the schedule was a Q & A session on theology…a lot of pastors have questions about the theological direction of the movement post Pastor Chuck.

The chat was led by Don Stewart, who also has been disqualified from ministry (in my opinion) and who sorely needs a haircut.

They still have those questions as there was little theological discussion and no questions from outside the panel.

The closest to anything approaching an answer to those questions was when Brian Brodersen stated that there were no plans to change the eschatology or soteriology of the movement…and no women pastors.

There was a strong undercurrent through the conference of re affirming the doctrine of the pre-tribulational rapture of the church, though reports are that the new “Left Behind” movie screening was a bomb.

The most interesting thing about that panel discussion was when Brodersen told the assembled pastors that he had allowed the Murrieta conference center to be a temporary shelter for the refugee children that had been moved there from the border.

He was bold in his reasoning and in his decision…and I thank him publicly and loudly for his choice.

He closed the night with a message that encouraged pastors to focus on what God is doing through the Spirit instead of what on the enemy is doing.

“Turn off Fox News”.

Brodersen has grown into a formidable and respect worthy leader.

One gets the impression that he does not care what his opponents think or do…that he is comfortable with who he is and how God is leading him.

Chuck Smith put Brodersen through hell…and the lessons learned in that crucible are paying dividends today.

Not bad for a guy who ten years ago I wrote would be the assistant pastor in Boring, Oregon if he had married some one else…

Jul 092014

1426163_10152538970789156_1955504315_aTo the pastors gathered at the Calvary Chapel Pastors Conference;

One of your brothers is in a an Iranian prison.

Today, you can make statements and take actions to advocate for his freedom.

To your shame, many of you have not been at the forefront of seeking his release, though some have been involved.

I would ask that those speaking today and for the rest of the conference would embrace the cause of the brother who cannot attend this year…

So, today, like every Wednesday, we 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.



Jul 092014

960x440SrPastors2014-This isn’t what I (or many others) expected.

The expectation was that some of the old guard would take control of the movement at this conference and begin to impose their template on it’s future.

That template looked a lot like CC’s past.

It isn’t happening…at least not yet.

What is happening is that things that have usually only been spoken of in private conversation or late night calls to the Phoenix Preacher are being broadcast to the whole affiliation.

For all the accolades that are carefully spoken about  Chuck Smith, those who privately chafed under his rule and feared his wrath are truly realizing that he’s not here anymore…and they can be themselves.

Watching Brian Brodersen and Greg Laurie, there is an almost giddy undercurrent of freedom being expressed.

The emphasis yesterday was on youth in the ministry and reaching the younger generation.

It’s a familiar theme behind the scenes and one I think is being over emphasized, but I’m not CC…so my opinion doesn’t count.

Levi Lusko spoke to the matter in his message and there was a long Q & A session on it as well.

Don McClure’s session was his usual mix of Alan Redpath quotes and piety, but he either toned down his comments or ran out of time before he could get rolling on how he sees the future of the movement.

Pancho Juarez ended the day, but I have no idea what he said, though some of it sounded good.

There is a huge disconnect at this conference again however, and the long term health of the group will need to see it addressed.

When Laurie talks about his multi sites and Levi Lusko talks about returning from Europe to see the Tour De France, it doesn’t ring the chimes of the guy with 50 people in his church or the guy who’s at the conference trying to decide if he can keep the doors open another week.

The average CC pastor is in his late forties to fifties with a couple hundred in attendance.

He’s not going to get any younger, but he’s not going anywhere either.

He’s tried to faithful…speak to his needs.

The other nonsensical meme is that “Jesus will run run the movement”.

Jesus uses men and structures to work through and at some point the men of Calvary Chapel will have to decide what structure and which men will have that responsibility.

The status quo may be preserved for another year…but it does have to happen at some point.




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