Sep 222016
 

1239846_10151650297553068_340225993_nChuck Smith’s legacy is taking a big hit…from former friends.

This wouldn’t have bothered me except that it’s being tarnished for the wrong reasons…in truth, factually inaccurate reasons.

Roger Oakland goes right to the edge of relating some truth in his last rant, then veers off to Fantasy Island to try to support his eschatological views.

From the articleThe Hijacking of the Calvary Chapel Movement into the Coming One-World Religion” ;

“Chuck Smith, the founder of the movement, seemed to be biblically sound and determined to serve the Lord throughout his many years of ministry. Toward the end of his ministry, it appears there were strange bedfellows planted around him who in earlier years he would have avoided. So what happened? The purpose of this commentary will be to answer that question.”

If that was the purpose of the screed, Oakland failed miserably.

Let’s walk through this mess…

“Those who were situated near the epicenter of this multimillion-dollar big business definitely knew about some major problems that were quietly concealed. A number have pointed out that the Achilles Heel of the Calvary machine was Chuck Smith’s passion for the Moses Model. Ask anyone who ever bucked the system and dared challenge this style of leadership. The exit plan was the door, and they were given the left hand of fellowship without any alternative.

While the motto around Calvary made the claim that agape love was flowing over, many a disillusioned servant of God was buried in an unmarked grave throughout the network of Calvary Chapels. And what happened at Calvary Costa Mesa did not stay at Calvary Costa Mesa. An enormous machine of abuse was born, and many were maimed throughout the growing movement. Pastors cloned the model, and the spirit of heaviness was exported. Thousands were hurt and then shunned as happens in organizations that use cult-like control tactics.”

That statement is true.

It was true when I started writing about it years ago and people like Oakland called me a liar.

Times have changed…

The question that Oakland implicitly raises is “What were those “major problems that were quietly concealed”?

Oakland doesn’t answer the question directly because he knows what the backlash would be if he did.

However, after presenting a case made from whole, shabby, cloth that there was “apostasy” creeping into the movement, he says this;

“It was at that point that the light went on for me. Chuck Smith, as powerful and influential as he was, was under the rule of others who had become more powerful than he was.  If there were wolves in the movement, why did he not remove them according to the Moses Model, I wondered. There are legal words to describe more adequately what I am referring to when human beings are manipulated and controlled by others and cannot comment in a public fashion. Why would that be?”

There you have it…the first public claim that Chuck Smith was being blackmailed…of course, without really saying it.

Let me help gain some clarity around this claim.

Chuck Smith was never “under the rule of others”.

That’s almost funny.

The truth, (as Oakland and scores of others have known for decades) is that Smith was covering up an affair from the seventies.

This left him vulnerable to exposure from those who knew…which included the vast majority of the first guard of CC pastors.

Many used that information to their advantage until the day he died.

There have been allegations for years that the people he was most vulnerable to were in his own family…

What Oakland wants you to believe is that one of the ways he was manipulated was in doctrinal matters and forced associations with people that he never would have associated with had not this been the case.

That is completely and utterly false.

Smith’s life long fear of exposure impacted the Calvary Chapel movement in many important ways that I will discuss at length in my book…but this was not one of those ways.

The primary doctrinal distinctives of CC were never in question for any any reason.

In my opinion, the study and understanding of this situation is important on many fronts, (both current and historical)  and it is beyond wrong that it is being used to perpetuate a false narrative.

It is too complex a situation for a blog article and too important to ignore, which is why I chose to spend the effort necessary to write a book about it.

What is sub Christian in any case is to hint around at the matter without naming it, and to use it to further a false agenda.

Oakland ends his article with this;

“Finally, as I conclude this commentary, do you not think there is something wrong in the Calvary Chapel movement? What about Brian Brodersen himself? What about Cheryl Brodersen, Brian’s wife and Chuck Smith’s daughter. Do they echo words of warning about the coming onslaught of ecumenism and the march to the Coming One World Religion? Are the cardinals of Calvary Chapel speaking out? “

“Their silence is deafening.”

The only thing louder is the misinformation Oakland is spreading.

I’ll respond to this more in a later article.

Sep 222016
 

tshirt_design_our_fatherIntroducing the Lord’s Prayer: Thy Kingdom Come – Part 1

“Thy kingdom come.”

 In this second petition, we pray that God’s kingdom will come.

 “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15)

At the heart of Jesus’ preaching was his announcement of the arrival of a new kingdom. Matthew’s Gospel frequently (but not always) labels it the “kingdom of heaven,” while Mark, Luke and John’s Gospels always label it the “kingdom of God.” Virtually all commentators agree that both labels refer to the same kingdom, but they differ in their explanations for why Matthew alone often labels it the “kingdom of heaven.”

A common explanation is that Matthew used “heaven” as a paraphrase for his original Jewish readers so they could avoid pronouncing the name of “God.” However, that explanation fails to account for many places in Matthew’s Gospel where the name of “God” remains. While we may never know for certain, one reason for why we see “kingdom of heaven” frequently in Matthew’s Gospel may be to emphasize that Jesus brought a kingdom “not of this world.” (John 18:36)

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)

Just what and where is this kingdom of God? The Scriptures point us to Jesus. The kingdom arrived through the incarnation of the eternal Word. Jesus personifies the kingdom: He is the resurrection and the life (John 11:25); He is the way and the truth (John 14:6); He is the vine in whom we the branches abide (John 15:5); and He “became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption” (1 Cor 1:30).

Therefore, the locus of the kingdom is in Christ. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Cor 5:17) “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Col 1:13-14)

The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matt 20:28)

As the One who personifies the kingdom, Jesus is its King. What distinguishes His kingship from all earthly kings is that Jesus reigns by serving His people; not by receiving from His people, but by giving to His people. His greatest service was laying down His life for our sins. “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.” (Isa 53:5)

 “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Rom 14:17)

Paul described life in the kingdom as: righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. Jesus won these gifts for us on the cross. The Holy Spirit delivers us these gifts through the proclamation of His Word. Let us take a brief look at these gifts:

Righteousness. Jesus gives us righteousness (2 Cor 5:21). Quoting David, Paul describes this righteousness: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” (Rom 4:7-8) Jesus connects righteousness to His Word and faith: I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” (John 5:24) Righteousness signifies both God’s declaration of right standing before God and adoption into His family.

Peace. Jesus gives us peace (John 14:27). This includes peace with God through Christ (Rom 5:1). Paul urges us to let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts. (Col 3:15). Peace is the fruit of the Holy Spirit. What distinguishes the peace of Christ from the world’s peace is that His peace is eternal, not transitory. His peace enables us to live with a clear conscience before God and to endure temptations and hardships, because we have forgiveness in Christ and nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ.

Joy in the Holy Spirit. Jesus gives us joy (John 17:13). Joy also is the fruit of the Holy Spirit. We rejoice that Jesus defeated death and “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31) for our benefit, and because He is present with us in His Word and through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

“I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.” (1 Cor 15:50-52)

The kingdom of God that we experience here in time (sometimes referred to as His “kingdom of grace”) is Christ’s reign in our lives through His Word and faith. This kingdom is not a temporal or geographical kingdom. Christ has promised us something infinitely greater at His second coming: the resurrection of the body and everlasting life; a new heaven and a new earth; the removal of all evil; and the cessation of all mourning and suffering.

At His second coming, Jesus will sit in final judgment. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” (2 Cor 5:10; see also Matt 25:31-32) Christians look forward to the final judgment for the removal of all evil which currently blights our world. Christians do not fear the final judgment because in Christ (i.e., in His kingdom) we have the forgiveness of sins.

Next week in Part 2 we will look at how His kingdom comes.

“For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved.” (Rom 8:22-24) Amen.

 

Copyright © 2016 Jean Dragon – All rights reserved.

Sep 212016
 

thumbnail.aspxThis past weekend, Penn State University commemorated the 50th anniversary of Coach Joe Paterno’s first game as head coach of Penn State football. 

There were various festivities before and during the game and the weekend included the honoring of past teams and players along with a video tribute of Paterno during the game.  It has now been almost five years since the child sex abuse scandal rocked the University, resulting in Paterno losing his job and quickly followed by his death only a couple months later.

As was expected, there was national debate as to whether or not such an event should take place.  On campus and in the Penn State community and family where Joe Paterno is still very much revered, the event was largely enthusiastically welcomed, although there were sure to be some who felt differently.  The video tribute to Paterno drew much cheering and applause, while some of those in attendance from the opposing Temple University Owls turned their backs in protest.

I have written here before about this horrifying scandal and its relation to Joe Paterno.  We may never know the whole truth of exactly when and how much Paterno knew and what he did or didn’t do about it, or even tried to cover up.  At the very least, it would seem that if one is able to lay aside all biases they would surmise that Paterno should have done more.  The Coach admitted as much himself.  He was the most powerful man on campus and he knew to at least some degree that there were some potentially very inappropriate things taking place under his watch and he chose to do very little about them.

Now, as I also have written before, Paterno did much good for the university and the football team and in the lives of many players and others associated with the team.  More so than most other coaches and big-time college football programs, he stressed academics, staying out of trouble, and doing things right.  Although he still made out well, he long collected salaries significantly less than what he could have demanded, he donated much money back to the University, and he lived a modest life.  And of course there was his success on the field where he won two national championships and more games than any other college football coach ever.

So how do you honor a man who did much good but ended his career with a very significant black mark?  A black mark that potentially stretched back as far as 35 years before he lost his job.  Do you honor at all?  Ever? 

He’s already had his statue taken down at the football stadium and his legacy will forever be tarnished.

For some the answers are easy and obvious.  You don’t ever honor a man such as this who played a significant role in allowing such horrendous crimes to occur.  For others it’s a no-brainer that you honor such a man.  A man who has done so many great things and has never been proven to be definitively guilty of the many things of which he is accused.  And then for others there is a jumble of conflicted feelings as to what should and could be done about Joe Paterno.  For them, there are few easy answers.

George Whitefield, the great evangelist of the 1700’s, was and is widely admired in many Christian circles.  He is credited for playing a major role, if not the most critical human role, in The Great Awakening and other revival activity in Great Britain and America.  He is viewed by many as a great hero of the faith.

But George Whitefield was pro-slavery and he owned slaves. Not only this, but he was actually a major advocate for legalizing slavery in Colonial America.  Whitfield used his power and influence to help bring about the abhorrent institution of slavery in America.

Martin Luther, the great Reformer, did many great things in standing up to the wrongs in the Church and bringing about much needed change.  Later in life, Luther said some pretty nasty things about the Jews, influencing others to think the same.  John Calvin, another great Reformer, no matter how one views it, had his Servetus issue.  Moses disobeyed God in front of all the Israelites and struck the rock and took credit for the miracle.  David had Bathsheba.

So what do we do with all of this?  Do we steadfastly shun the recognition of any person who has ever done unrighteous things?  I don’t think so, lest we will never recognize anybody.  Yet at the same time, nobody in a right mind should ever want to honor an Adolf Hitler or Charles Manson or Jerry Sandusky….. no matter how many good achievements some of them may have had.

Discerning how to best handle each and every one of these situations is not always easy.  The truth is that we are all a mixed bag.  We cannot be honest by denying the good or the bad that each individual person has done.

Thus, how do we decide when it is appropriate to honor someone or speak reverently of them and when it is not?  Do we ever honor a Joe Paterno for the good things he accomplished or do we keep his legacy stuffed in a closet along with his statue, never to be spoken about again?  Do we never speak of Luther or Calvin or Whitfield as being greats in the faith because of their varied failings?

Moses and David have their indiscretions documented in Scripture and yet they are later honored in the “Hall of Faith” in the book of Hebrews.  Same goes for Noah and Rahab and others.

In some cases, we may decide that the bad is just too bad, or too hurtful to others, that we choose not to honor.  In other cases, we decide that everyone has their faults, but the good carried out by this person is just too important to ignore.  Through it all, it’s probably best if we can honestly admit and recognize that even our heroes have their failings and those we find to be reprehensible may very well have done some good.  If we can do this, it may go a long way in our decision making and in how we relate to others when making such decisions.         

Sep 202016
 

timthumb.phpWhen men are silent…

The end of religious liberty as we know it?

Christians: the despised of the world…

Why the church dumped wine for Welches at communion…

Coffee is the beverage that fuels the church…

Why hasn’t Jesus returned yet?

9 Marks attempting brand enhancement…

Plagiarizing sermons…

Why deeds and creeds matter…

Gratifying the flesh eating monster…

Complementarian conspiracy at ETS?

How a Christian tycoon used his depression to help thousands…

They unchurched the churched…

Some churches teaching kids to be fake Christians…

Is the Bible foundational to Christianity?…engaging with Andy Stanley…

The Bible verse that created one Calvinist…

Three terrible pieces of life advice people keep sharing…

Three examples of gender politics in the new ESV…

Don’t let non Christians write your liturgy…

The wrongness of being right…

Slavery and the Bible…

Luther 500

A family affair…

First child euthanized in Belgium…

A vote for honor…

Nutcase American pastor deported from Africa…

David Barton says Christians must vote for Trump…

Huge thanks as always to EricL…support him at top right…you won’t regret it…

Sep 192016
 

thinking-pic1. Historians will note that the decline of Christianity in this country coincided with the embrace of the god of pragmatism…

2. When sacraments become ordinances and community becomes virtual, the only job of the preacher is a good performance…

 

3.The 20 minutes I spent showing grace to a “bad” kid yesterday has more potential for real cultural change than the next year of my blog articles….

4. We’re real close to being a culture that chooses where to worship based on political rather than doctrinal differences…

5. When we’re done tearing everything down and everyone apart, who will we consider qualified to knit whats left back together?

6. There is no greater satisfaction in life than in seeing your kids be better people than you are…

7. We have pretty much abandoned the concept of virtue…the god of pragmatism careth not about such…

8. I feel guilty that I love football to the degree that I do…but I have hardened my heart and will not repent as long as the Vikings are this good…

9. I confess…if you truly love God and your neighbor as yourself I don’t care what Christian tradition you embrace…

10. You grow old when you refuse to forget what’s behind and press on to what will be….you must be more excited about tomorrow than you are fond of yesterday if you truly want to live…

Sep 172016
 

O Changeless God,

Under the conviction of the Spirit I learn that

The more I do, the worse I am,
The more I know, the less I know,

The more holiness I have, the mores sinful I am,
The more I love, the more there is to love.

O wretched man that I am!

O Lord,

I have a wild heart
And cannot stand before thee;

I am like a bird before a man.

How little I love thy truth and ways!

I neglect prayer,

By thinking I have prayed enough and earnestly,
By knowing thou hast saved my soul.

Of all hypocrites, grant that I may not be an evangelical hypocrite,

Who sins more safely because grace abounds,
Who tells his lusts that Christ’s blood cleanseth them,

Who reasons that God cannot cast him into hell, for his is saved,
Who loves evangelical preaching, churches, Christians, but lives

Unholily.
My mind is a bucket without a bottom,
With no spiritual understanding,

No desire for the Lord’s Day,
Ever learning but never reaching the truth,

Always at the gospel-well but never holding water.
My conscience is without conviction or contrition,
With nothing to repent of.

My will is without power of decision or resolution.

My heart is without affection, and full of leaks.
My memory has no retention,
So I forget so easily the lessons learned,

And thy truths seep away.
Give me a broken heart that yet carries home the water of grace.

Taken from The Valley of Vision edited by Arthur Bennett

Sep 172016
 

Christianity tourism destinationsMatthew 9:14-26

John’s Disciples Ask About Fasting

14 Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast but your disciples do not fast?”

  • Jesus was so perplexing – not only to the Pharisees, but also to the disciples of John the Baptist.
  • Jesus is about to give them a pretty good answer.

15 And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.

  • Jesus has not been fasting – in fact this question seems to come at the conclusion of a big blowout party with Matthew & the ‘sinners’.
  • The time of salvation has come – the messianic age is here – the time of fasting is over.
  • Salvation is here – fast no more – eat – drink – TRUST (Faith)
  • How is this – it is kind of like the bride fasts to fit into her wedding gown but at the wedding party it is feast time.
  • But the day will come that he will be taken away – what day?
  • Back to fasting.

16 No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made.

  • Anyone have this experience mending clothes?
  • This is going to be a lesson of out with the old and in with the new.
  • The kingdom of heaven is here and something new is happening.

17 Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.”

  • Summary = Jesus’ person and his deeds reveal that the messianic reign of the last days as promised in the OT has come (Isaiah 2) = “in the last days”
  • 1 This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem: In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. Come, descendants of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the Lord.
  • So, his birth, ministry, death and resurrection – what does it mean?
  • It means the dawn of the arrival of the new age and brings about as Isaiah prophesied – New Things
  • ) a paralytic healed – forgiveness of sin
  • So Jesus is not just a patch that can be sown over the clothes – the work of our own piety.
  • What has to pass away now that Jesus has come?
  • The temple – the sacrificial system – the High Priesthood – anything that is associated with those. – gone – out – finished.

A Girl Raised to Life and the Healing of a Woman

18 While he was saying these things to them, behold, a ruler came in and knelt before him, saying, “My daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.”

  • From the other gospels, we know this to be Jarius
  • Again, supreme belief / trust – just come and do it.

19 And Jesus rose and followed him, with his disciples.

  • Here someone tell Jesus to come and he does. It is usually the other way around.

20 And behold, a woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment,

  • Poor Jesus can’t just make a bee line to his next destination without people stopping him along the way.
  • This woman is desperate – whatever the blood issue is, she has been “unclean” for 12 yrs. A social outcast.

21 for she said to herself, “If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.”

  • Luke 8 tells us she had spent all her money looking for cures “43 And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians she could not be healed by anyone.

22 Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well.

  • Note here that Jesus does not disagree with Paul on the issue of faith.
  • He declares that faith heals.
  • Look at the difference from what comes before – the Pharisees come in unbelief and get nothing – Jarius and this woman come in faith and get what they asked for.
  • Again note the difference between doctors and Jesus – Immediately!!!

23 And when Jesus came to the ruler’s house and saw the flute players and the crowd making a commotion,

  • He finally gets to Jarius’ house.
  • He sees the band playing, the flute players, the “for hire” mourners – and he kicks them all out.

24 he said, “Go away, for the girl is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him.

  • Go away!
  • Jesus knows the whole story – the others know only enough to laugh at Jesus.

25 But when the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose.

  • Just his touch – she gets up.

26 And the report of this went through all that district.

  • The news spreads all over
  • Just preach Jesus and the word will spread – it will get out.
  • I wonder what the word was that went out?
  • Was it “here is another healer – another shaman or…?
  • Here is one who is God – he heals and forgives sin.

 

Sep 162016
 

etnxxozu26oegzwz0ir3“When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them.And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne,and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel.Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.”

(Revelation 8:1–5 ESV)

A read receipt is an email or text notification delivered when a recipient opens (and presumably reads) a message you send. The receipt confirms that the recipient saw your message and records the time.

I wish prayers came with one…

Wouldn’t it be nice to know that , at the very least, your petition had been heard?

Yes, we walk by faith and not by sight, but sometimes that walk is like staggering through a pitch black forest where you trip over anything you don’t simply smack into face first.

I really don’t care what the mystics and the holy among us say… prayer can be hard and frustrating, especially when the need is great and the wait seems interminable.

We pray…and silence.

The bad news is that this waiting also happens in heaven.

The passage above is part of a longer vision…and is an answer to prayer that has been long awaited.

Earlier, saints that had been martyred on earth ask God how much longer they have to wait before he answers their prayers for justice.

Their prayers hadn’t been answered while they were alive and now they are still asking in the eternal state.

They were told to wait.

They had been doing that already…

After all that wait they think He’s finally going to answer, and then…silence.

Silence.

Waiting for an answer in the silence of God is discouraging and frustrating…but it is not without reward.

The good news is that you have been heard.

“And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.”

(1 John 5:14–15 ESV)

Sometimes…the silence means that God is getting ready to do something awesome.

In this opening passage, all of the prayers that asked that God’s kingdom come and His will be done are answered…all of them…none of them have been lost,neglected, or ignored.

It’s the most spectacular read receipt ever delivered.

The moral of the story, the application to be made, is that the silence of God does not necessarily signal either His deafness to your need or His denial of your petition.

It may mean that He’s getting ready to answer in an astonishing and wondrous way.

Keep walking in faith…even if you’ve already face planted into a fir tree.

Keep waiting… and keep looking for that read receipt.

It may be only a half hour more that you have to wait…

Make your own application…

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