Jun 242014
 

links_image1Mark Driscolls’s demon trials…

How to conduct a demon trial…

Why businesses shouldn’t be called “Christian”…

Society for the study of music and the Bible…

Muslims fleeing Christians…

The aesthetics of prophecy…

Five things to know about ISIS…

The book marketing secrets of David Jeremiah…

Follow the money trail…

Cosmology and creation…

John Piper’s twelve questions to ask before watching “Game of Thrones”…

Learning from Calvin’s company of pastors…well worth a listen.

The value of shame…

New blog on abuse…

How a plague helped spread Christianity…

“Anointed” means unaccountable…

A denomination confronts child abuse…

The Shepherd knows our needs…

Wenatchee the Hatchet has new profiles on Driscoll…

Want to feel awful? Here’s your six month spiritual checkup

Bill Kinnon returns to blogging…I highly recommend all his articles on discipleship

Finally, a lot of us love blogger/author/pastor Matt B. Redmond.

He lost his mom last night, his dad just a short time ago.

Keep him and his family in your prayers.

  161 Responses to “LINKS!”

  1. That Six Month Spiritual Check Up….. funny thing about it. If you think you passed, it’s an automatic Fail.

  2. Wow that six-month spiritual checkup is one of the sickest things I have read in a long time.

    Replace all that garbage with just one question: Do you love?

  3. Six-month checkup – Other than question 10, it reads like a Saturday Night Live parody of performance-based American evangelicalism.

    It belongs on the Onion.

  4. I haven’t watched Game of Thrones, but I agree with Piper. I did read at one time about their incest scenes and figured I was better off with Law & Order reruns.

  5. I find myself in the rather awkward position of agreeing with Piper on this, though I think his Point 1 would have been more effective had it been a little less hyperbolic. But. In that regard. I’m one to talk. 🙂

  6. Six-month checkup – nine questions about leaves, and one about fruit.

    Leaves but no fruit is what got the fig tree in trouble.

  7. The 6 month checkup is funny – written by a guy named Lawless, it is all Law.

    But this runs rampant in evangelicalism … look at me, myself and I. How am I doing?

    I do not check my ‘spirituality’ at all. I open the Bible and make sure that the promises of Jesus are still there and then I can claim “I’m OK!”

  8. Bill,

    So glad you’re back…more, please.

  9. Christian businesses; I have no problem with a business claiming as such. Yes, we ounderstand that the entity of a business in and of itself is not human and so of course the “business” itself cannot positionally become saved or gain salvation. So it cannot be “Christian”, in the real sense of the word of those belonging to the family of God. That being said, if a business owner and/or top leadership is made up of Christians and they want to model their business after Christian morals and values, then I have no problem if they want to attach the word Christian to their business.

    That being said, once a business decides to attach “Christian” to their name, then they are holding themselves to a higher standard than just regular business. Be ready to be criticized all the more so if they fail to be ethical or fail to uphold God’s Word in some sense. (And I’m talking about legitimate criticism here, not those who would be out to get them just because they are “Christian” and would try to make an issue out of every little thing.)

    I worked 9 years for a “Christian” business. It was a rather large company but wouldn’t be well known amongst the public as they didn’t market their products to the general public. There were some very unique things they did there that you wouldn’t find at very many other companies. Opportunities to reach out to employees and their families and to proclaim the gospel in the workplace. However, as the years went on, the hypocrisy really began to get to me. There were four company objectives. The first was to “Honor God in all we do” and the fourth one was to “Grow Profitably”. Far too often I saw objective #4 trump objective #1.

  10. 6 month checkup: Well, according to that, I pretty much suck as a christian. Then again, I already knew that, which is why I need Jesus just as much now as I did the day I put my faith in Him and His work on the cross.

  11. Good morning everyone!

  12. KevinH,

    Here in the valley, if you see a fish on a business card, that means run like hell in the other direction.

  13. Good morning, Dusty. 🙂

  14. Caapt. Kevin, still praying for you my friend.

  15. Dangit…now David Jeremiah has given away the book marketing strategies used by famous celebrity megachurch pastors. Before you know it, American bookstores will be full of this stuff. Oh wait…

  16. 🙂

  17. Based on other responses, I think that I’ll skip the “Checkup” – thank you very much.

    Driscoll ……sigh.

    I saw the Piper piece a few days ago on FB and read comments, and that was … concerning. Now reading Pipers comments it seems to make sense what he’s saying. But what is concerning about the comments on FB was the over-the-top Phariseism that some folks took towards Christians who watch the show. These poor folks were vilified and their salvation called into question. One post by Piper and it seems that everyone who agreed with it had a big stick with which to whack anyone who had a different opinion. And no, I don’t have HBO and haven’t watched the show either.

    David Jeremiah just as much admitted to doing the same thing that Driscoll did for one book.

    Follow the money ….. 🙂

  18. http://theaquilareport.com/leveraging-lunacy-how-bill-gothard-rode-a-wave-of-evangelical-goofiness/

    There’s that term “anointed” again. =(

    I hate that hyper-spiritual mumbo-jumbo loosey-goosey term, more than any other obfuscation to be belched from the whorish woman who masquerades as our religion.

    ChuckSr was famous for using it to describe himself and any of his recognized and affiliated CC pastors, including the guy who hangs out near 36°19′N 119°18′W.

  19. Heart goes out to Matt Redmond and prayers for him and his family.

  20. Praying for Matt Redmond and family.

  21. Spiritual check up.
    I guess I join the I suck at being a disciple of Christ club.
    How wonderful is the grace of God who is with me every moment of the day.

  22. Dude, welcome to the club! 🙂

  23. Thank you so much, Dusty! I know I’ve said it before, but it sure is good to see you around here again!

  24. thank you Capt Kevin. You have been a God send to me….really! ((((hugs))))

  25. @ Captain Kevin & Dude,
    Read the link on Muslims fleeing Christian militants in Sub-Saharan Africa and see what it really means to suck at being a Christian. Cheer up, I’d venture to say you guys are doing just fine.

  26. “And I believe with all my heart that what the world needs is radically bold, sacrificially loving, God-besotted, ‘freaks’ and aliens. In other words, I am inviting you to say no to the world for the sake of the world.”

    Thank you Pastor Piper!

  27. Cosmology and Creation

    I understood about 1 out of 5 sentences in this dense article. But here’s one I got:

    “Although cosmology does not tells us whether there is a Creator; without a Creator there would be no cosmology at all.”

    Don’t ask me why, but I believe it.

  28. My daughter went to cosmetology school at one time and I don’t think the creator came up at all. 😉

  29. Muff Potter
    Life is good…..that posting rubbed me the wrong way is all.

  30. I am sick of McDaniel and Cochran robocalls.

  31. I must have missed that chapter in the Bible with instructions on demon trials.

  32. Johnathan Merritt says “The New Testament never—not one time—applies the “Christian” label to a business or even a government.”
    Mr. Merritt, there are a lot of things the NT doesn’t address. Get over it and quit whining about everything you don’t like about the way Christians do things.

  33. The book marketing secrets of David Jeremiah…
    Make sure the title references prophecy or end times.

  34. I bet none of John Piper’s twelve questions about Game of Thrones includes wondering who George R.R. Martin will kill off on any given week on the show.
    But, those of us who read the books already know most of the answers to that.

  35. Derek, #33, In this country, you can’t use another person’s name for business promotion without their permission. In my opinion, it takes a lot of gall for a business owner to promote his/her business using the name of Christ and his family. Merritt is spot on. Talk about sola scriptura; and that’s just the tip of the iceberg of problems.

  36. Merritt is just in whiny mode which is what a lot of Christians do these days.
    Instead of addressing hard issues they fuss about what other Christians are doing.
    As long as we have other Christians to blame for all the cultural issues we can blame them and say, “Well, at least I am not like the founder of Chik-fil-A. I would never defame Christ like he does by claiming to be a Christian business”
    “See me (insert whoever I want to impress here), I am not like all those ‘other’ Christians. I am far more pious because I would never do (insert action you wish to put another Christian down by).
    How often must we find fault with other Christians instead of seeing the good they do?
    When all the motorists were stranded by ice in the South this year, I didn’t see McDonalds handing out free food to people. It was Chik-Fil-A.

  37. Response to #37: You don’t have to promote yourself as a Christian business to do good in the world. There’s an inherent conflict of interest. Who’s interest are you serving?

  38. There does not have to be a conflict of interest. The only conflict of interest is where we create one by our own judgments.

    Who says a business cannot be “Christian”?
    The Bible does not say one cannot. It merely does not address it.
    The Bible is not something to look at and say “Well it doesn’t say this here, therefore the Bible means we can’t do this.”
    Let’s face it, I said it once before the Bible is not the manual for all situations you may face in this life.
    The Bible is a book about Christ, from OT to NT.
    It is also about how our entire lives and situations are to be continuously conforming to him.
    If one Christian thinks that that means he must run his business as “Christian”, who are we to tell him no. It is before his own master that he stands or falls..

  39. Derek, I apologize if I was unclear. I didn’t say a person should not run a business employing Christian principles. In fact, that’s the only way a Christian should. After all, Christianity is not a part time vocation.

    What I said is that a Christian should not market his/her business as Christian.

  40. David Jeremiah piece: so to become a successful author I should have been a high-paid mega pastor, then I could have had others do the writing for me (using my Sunday ramblings), and then hired others to be pseudo-readers to game the system, and finally done the speaking tour to shamelessly hawk “my” bestseller.

    Instead, I just write the books I can and then do what limited marketing that a normal person can afford. Takes longer to gain success this way, but I will know that it came from my honest efforts.

  41. I have no problem with them marketing it as Christian either.

  42. Same argument applies to me.
    It is before his own master that he stands or falls.

  43. So if a sole proprietor of whatever calling is a Christian, he/she has to keep that a secret?

    Which is about 70% of all businesses in the USA.

    Or should he/she just make all his sales pitches in church to the people who already know of his beliefs, rather than bringing his beliefs as a witness into the chamber of commerce meeting.

    Bizarre thinking to me..

  44. A plumbing company left a flyer on my porch with a big fish on it (obviously this Christian company had no problem littering my porch) and it made me wonder “what is this ad with the fish trying to tell me?”

    Do Muslim plumbers put the crescent moon on their ads?

  45. Throckmorton’s just scratching the surface on Mars Hill counseling but it’s good that he’s finally getting to this set of topics. When I stopped being a member back in 2008 one of the big reasons was a complete loss of confidence in the basic competence and good will of pastors in what came to be called the “biblical living” branch. There were doubts I had about the viability of their fiscal model (which Driscoll would only concede was deeply problematic for the long-term future of MH in mid-2012) and there were some doubts I had about the justness of the 2007 terminations but about the counseling pastors at MH I was able to observe I had no doubt, they had not demonstrated any clear evidence to me they had any business having their jobs. It’s not that I’d never consider them Christian brothers, it’s that a few of them were fast-tracked into having too much authority too soon without a very comprehensive elder vetting process.

    And I’ve largely refrained from really digging into all four hours of the spiritual warfare audio from 2008 which has been removed in the last few months. But they left it up long enough for WtH to feature a few extended quotes from just part 2 of the 4-part series.

    Here’s hoping Throckmorton writes more about this set of topics because if he has the rest of the audio he’ll get to hear Mark opine on how Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is satanic.

    On a still more positive note, it’s encouraging that people who have been at MH are starting to share more of what they’ve seen and heard on the record. This is what I’ve hoped to encourage others to do and to some degree lead by example in doing at Wenatchee The Hatchet over the years. I can’t make anyone decide anything but I can research and share things as accurately as possible so that others may be encouraged to speak up.

  46. I initially skipped the link to Driscoll and read it only after WtH commented in #46.

    Demon trials would be laughable if it wasn’t practiced while inflicting what would seem to be untold havoc into the lives of the mentally ill and their loved ones who get sucked into this nonsense. Yet again we see why people are afraid to step out of the shadows to receive the help and encouragement they so desperately need.

    Even though the last few days I’ve read some whacky stuff concerning the mentally ill I still choose to applaud those who are doing things the right way.

  47. Mark Driscoll like Doug Phillips is a tool. there was a time such allegations would have made the poor sap accused would have been tied to a stake and lit on fire and roasted like a hotdog at a weenie roast. Driscoll seems to not care about this utter nonsense, can we agree it is utter superstitious pathetic childish nonsense? Driscoll is running a franchise business, nothing more all the Jesus rhetoric aside. I get why Mr. Driscoll uses the Satan tripe, it works, that alone justifies its use and twice on Sunday. Is it just me or do you folks get ticked off by these hucksters peddled demonic what ever to the masses. I have more respect for the snake handlers, at least, they put their backside on the line for their shtick.

  48. MLD:

    “Do Muslim plumbers put the crescent moon on their ads?”

    Probably not because they know and support their own.

    We “Christians” are an arrogant bunch. To me it seems we often provide a lesser level of service to our fellow believers and then cry foul when they complain and point out how “un-loving” they are.

    To bad we can’t read the “Law” where God instructs Jews how to treat other Jews when it comes to these things. But of course we’re free from the Law and therefore have no requirement to treat our fellow mankind with the kindness, love and superior service.

    With all that sarcasm my point is this; I would love to hire, frequent and recommend “Christian” business over others, but generally I find many are unreliable, and provide a lower standard of service.

    There’s an exception though, Chick-fil-a. While I don’t find their food a whole lot better than other fast food products, when I stop in a store one thing always happens, and it happens at every store I have ever been in, they make me feel like my business is the most important thing ever. I’ve had my hand shaken, I’m thanked, they come to my table and offer me refills, and even pick up my trash and clean my table (and they do it without hinting at a tip). If their attitude as a corporation is Christian then maybe more corps should pay attention. Oh and if they were Muslim, Mormon, gay, or whatever I would feel the same way.

  49. I googled and found that Muslim businesses publicly advertise as Muslim businesses all over the U.K. I then had a hunch and sure enough, they do in Deerborn, MI too.

    SO maybe in the heart of Republican Orange County where MLD lives, the practice is not found..but that does not mean the practice does not exist.

  50. Bob wrote @ # 49,
    If their attitude as a corporation is Christian then maybe more corps should pay attention. Oh and if they were Muslim, Mormon, gay, or whatever I would feel the same way.

    Thanks for pointing out that values of human decency and hospitality transcend all labels and boundaries, whether they be religious or other.

  51. Steve, it’s irrelevant to me what Muslims do with their advertising. What’s relevant to me is what Christians do. The 3rd Commandment states: “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain”. I’m going to go out on a limb and state that in my opinion if a business owner markets his/her business as “Christian”, he/she is using the Lord’s name. If that’s the case, then he/she better be careful that the Lord’s name is not used in vain.

    So, what is the business trying to convey when it uses the Lord’s name? It pays a living wage and benefits to its employees? It serves a safe and healthy product? It sources its raw materials or parts only from responsible suppliers? It is environmentally responsible? The owners are sacrificial towards their employees? The business pays all its taxes owed? The business serves the poor in its community? Is it actually doing whatever it means?

    Beyond what it may be trying to convey, what is required of it if it invokes the name of the Lord?

    And who is this marketing benefiting? Is this all for the glory of God, or is some part (or all) for the benefit of the owners?

    I just happen to think that as fallen, forgiven people, I don’t know if we can separate our fleshly interests from our desire to glorify God when it comes to business. Therefore, I don’t believe we should slap the Jesus endorsement on our products.

  52. “they make me feel like my business is the most important thing ever. I’ve had my hand shaken, I’m thanked, they come to my table and offer me refills, and even pick up my trash and clean my table (and they do it without hinting at a tip). If their attitude as a corporation is Christian then maybe more corps should pay attention.”

    It would be nice if the Church acted like this. Just saying. 🙂

    Actually, we are thinking of checking out other SS classes at church or maybe even another church. Kind of feeling like we are “on the outside looking in” with the group we have attended the past 3 years or so.

  53. Papias, I hope you find a church home you can trust and feel “at home.”

  54. “Lord’s name in vain” is a reach, especially since Christian refers to those who follow Christ and not Christ Himself.
    But, see we always have to find a scripture to justify it when we try to codify things not even dealt with in the bible.
    Please, enough with the laying on of one conscience over another in matters like this.

  55. Thank you Nonnie!

  56. Derek, who’s trying to codify anything? Not every topic is interesting to everyone.

  57. Plus, just saying you are a Christian business is not slapping a Jesus label on anything.
    Lunch break over. Back to work.

  58. Codify means make law of.

  59. I wasn’t saying that Muslims don’t put the crescent moon on their cards – I was just wondering if they do as I have never seen it.

    Now, I think it is illegal for me to put a fish on my cards, but if I did, what would I be communicating?

  60. “put a fish on my cards, but if I did, what would I be communicating?”

    You’re a fisherman?

    Maybe you could start a show, “The Deadliest Catch”

    Oh it’s been done and now that’s become boring. Darn!

    😉

  61. I am going to do business with someone I get a referral from first and foremost. Without concern for their faith, but if I have two equal referrals and one is for a Christian, why would I NOT want to give my brother or sister my business?

    Jean, I lived this reality and I take it very seriously. I specifically turned down any and all requests from people I had a ministry relationship with when they wanted my services as a businessman. And I did not advertise as a Christian business because I had a 50/50 partner who was not one.

    But if I built up a relationship with others as a brother in Christ, and my family was fed, my church supported due to my income, the idea that I would not want to offer my vocation to believers is ludicrous. I would be doing them a service because I KNOW that I will be honest, hardworking and fair to them – and I grieve whenever I hear of my brothers and sisters in Christ getting ripped off by someone that betrayed their trust.

    Frankly, this discussion reminds me of yet another attempt to simply keep Christ confined in between the walls of the church one hour each Sunday. Keep the light under the bushel and don’t let the world see that Christ calls us to a higher standard in all things, and that one’s vocation is in fact a calling of God whereby we serve our neighbor.

    Either that, or it is another attempt to equate any money actually EARNED by people in the free market as somehow tainted – while we accept with both hands every dollar we can get from some government agency that used the power to tax to take it from another.

  62. Great..some auto-fill put my kid’s dog’s name he uses online in the previous comment. But the above is mine

  63. Steve, I must be doing an awful job of explaining myself. I am all for Christian networking and referring friends who need a service to a Christian they know who provides it. I do this whenever the opportunity arises.

    I am the last person who thinks Christ should be confined inside church. I think just the opposite.

    I am not trying to equate the free market or money with evil.

    Thank you for pointing out any misunderstanding I may have created through my unclear writing.

  64. My question arises from the fish symbol – that is inside baseball christian to christian – like code … so it can’t be a “business witness”

    Now, If a company put on it’s flyers – “we are Christians, hire us and we will show you how a Christian does work in the name of the living Jesus Christ” that would be something else.

    The fish?? Kinda like a secret handshake.

  65. While in sales I met with a company who used the fish symbol in all of their advertising. So I looked forward to a good meeting. The owners didn’t know the first thing about the faith and made no bones about their business methods which stunk to high heaven!! They saw the fish symbol as a way to suck in gullible believers so they could make some $$. They had no clue nor did they care about running an honest business.

    I never put a fish on my business cards. What I did do was learn how to connect with potential clients. As a salesman I hd to fight the stigma that I was a bottom dweller looking to do or say anything to get the signature and check.

    I found that by being honest and looking out for my clients while giving them what they paid for did more for my income than any advertising or sales technique ever could. Why? Because when people experienced the benefits of what I provided they referred their friends to me and so on and so on.

    By allowing my Christian ethics to impact how I did business was the best thing I ever did.

    Now I won’t get into the topic of those who had to then follow me and actually provide the product I sold. That could be a huge nightmare!! 🙂

  66. As a salesman I hd to fight the stigma that I was a bottom dweller looking to do or say anything to get the signature and check.
    ————————————————————–
    I’m with you there. And that stigma was well deserved thanks to the actions of far too many (at least in my industry).

    Which is why I believe so many Christians I met over the years were so eager to give me their business, even without having the first discussion to see if I even knew my business and product.

    When you are 100% commission compensated, for not just your salary but to pay the rent and office supplies and everything else needed for the business….it is hard to turn down easy sales but I did not want my ministry connection to interfere in a business relationship.

    However, if I was 100% business all those years (and now) and that was my vocation on this earth, then I would have gladly and eagerly written every Christian that asked, and would not have hesitated to advertise to churches or other Christians as a brother in Christ.

  67. Steve, I was on the ground floor when our company blew up and it was pure joy to go out and meet business owners, controllers, etc. to share our product. We had an awesome product and easily beat our competitors price.

    A our company grew we were sold to to a large corporation. The last few years before the sale and after it was all about growth. The sad thing was is that we could sell our product but the people whose responsibility it was to then produce it were all minimum wage employees who made all sorts of mistakes which created all sorts of problems for salespeople as what we sold wasn’t provided.

    A team is only as strong as its weakest link and if you go on the cheap to save a few dollars it ends up costing everyone.

    If I had a good product or service I would certainly look to help fellow believers. OTOH if I was required to call all of my friends and relatives to provide them with a unique opportunity….. well never mind! 🙂

  68. You know, erunner, in my line that was the biggest reason why I did not receive new clients I had a ministry relationship with. In addition to wanting to be blameless and not have some think I was using the ministry for my own profit, there was the issue of other people making decisions that I would not be able to change or control, and that might go badly against my Christian client – and with me being the guy who had to tell him.

    No thanks.

  69. erunner and Steve, I really respect the business ethics you guys embody. I would be happy to be your customer.

  70. I hear you Steve.

    Jean, Thanks. Our mechanic doesn’t advertise. He is so honest with people he has their complete trust and they send people his way all the time. In this day and age an honest mechanic is unheard of!

    In sales it seems the thing is to cheat and swindle with so many businesses when all you have to do is provide honest service at reasonable prices.

    The reality is people pay under the table so as to avoid payroll taxes and workers comp. That usually means they didn’t have a good plan or went in blind when going into business. I saw a lot of them fail.

    Also the realities of business makes it difficult for owners to keep their doors open due to tons of taxes and regulations the typical business owner can no longer afford.

    I offered payroll and other services and it was interesting doing work with a few churches as I had to review them before they went out. I thought setting up the tithe as an automatic deduction for paid staff was an interesting line item. 🙂

  71. Things I have no problem with Christians doing:

    1. Owning weapons.
    2. Calling their businesses “Christian”
    3. Having a drink now and again.
    4. Holding conservative positions.
    5. Watching TV shows.
    6. Not being “radical” for Jesus. It is okay to lead a normal life.

    There are probably more, but that is it for right now.

  72. I agree 100% Derek. What in the world could be wrong with holding conservative positions??

  73. “What in the world could be wrong with holding conservative positions??”

    Nothing – when it comes to Christianity any political view is OK – God’s rule in the civil kingdom is for one purpose, to keep order in the society so that I can live out my Christian vocation in peace.

  74. Nothing is wrong with it.
    Just it isn’t de rigueur amongst the hoity toity set in Christianity right now. Therefore, all ills of society must be placed squarely on Christians who hold a conservative position.
    I refuse to fall for that.

  75. IRS finally admits to wrongdoing in releasing donors list of National Organization for Marriage (NOM) to the group Human Rights Campaign (HRC) their political rival.
    This is the biggest scandal out there right now and if a conservative administration had been in power when it happened all hell would be raised.
    But barely a peep about such an unjust use of power.

  76. There is nothing wrong with conservative politics or viewpoints – but I think people are just tires of the Fox News version

  77. I come from the days of William F Buckley who could actually explain conservative positions. Today’s Neo Cons are nit wits and Fox News parades them all.

  78. MLD,
    Your #77 is a good example of what I am talking about.
    They always say “Well, they watch FOX News. Those Christians who are conservative are just mindless zombies to FOX News.”
    I refuse to think ill of my fellow Christian in the way these elite Christians want us all to think.

  79. And this coming from someone who hasn’t watched any FOX News in years.

  80. Ask someone where they get their political views – very few get them from reading books and / or position papers.

  81. There are believers we know who freak because we watch CNN and not exclusively Fox. I have no problem admitting I watch Fox or CNN and once in a while tune in Rush Limbaugh. I think they all have shortcomings but I learn a bit from all of them. None of them impact my faith and I don’t look to them to dictate how I see things.

    I also agree with Derek’s 75 as I’ve seen that attitude here at times.

  82. MLD,
    My point was people’s automatic dismissal of them not the views they hold.
    And see, your #82 does it again.

  83. I don’t see your point – I am a pretty conservative guy – in the Richard Nixon fashion. But to know what Nixon thought, I have read the 6 major books he wrote.

  84. It is okay if you don’t get it. E did.

  85. 80% of those who identify as evangelicals are conservative Republicans.
    The major “Christian” media all are politically conservative.
    My hoity toity little dissension barely is a ripple in the bigger picture.

    I refuse to identify any political affiliation as being “Christian”.

  86. I wasn’t addressing you, Michael.
    I was pretty much summing up my opinion of people like Jonathan Merritt.
    I have no idea why you decided to place yourself in his place.

  87. Evangelicals are conservative for one reason – abortion. So they kiss butt to the conservatives who over the last 30 yrs have done zero for the church.

    I can guarantee that if the Democrats took on a pro life position, many would switch parties in a heartbeat.

    More denominational leaning churches have a nice variety. My church, in the deep heart of Orange County is probably 50 – 50 Repubs and Dems – and no one cares.

    In an evangelical church, if you let on that you voted for Obama (I did not) or Jerry Brown (I did) you almost have to give up your christian card. Even though I am a conservative, I make my CC friends cringe when I tell them in the past I have voted for Jerry Brown, Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein … but I had voted for Pat Buchanan in the past also. Right person for the right job at the right time.

  88. I liked Merritts article because I really appreciated the thought processes and theology he used.
    For me, if I’m going to dispute with an idea, I feel obligated to engage with the argument given…and the theology expressed.

  89. “I refuse to identify any political affiliation as being “Christian”.”
    Neither have I in this thread.
    Merely defended those who are the more often defamed right now.

  90. I did not like his article.
    I saw little theology and no scripture backing.
    I saw someone with an axe to grind.

  91. Derek,

    How can they be the more often defamed when they control the major conservative seminaries and media…and are the overwhelming majority?

  92. Did you just say the media was overwhelming conservative?
    LOL

  93. The “Christian” media is as I said a number of comments back.

  94. Someone please show me exactly in scripture where a Christian is forbidden to call his business “Christian” cause Mr. Merritt did not show me.

  95. Ok, sorry about 94 then.

  96. Derek,

    This is a theological argument based on biblical principles.
    The Bible doesn’t forbid it, but Merritt asks some good questions.

    “In order to understand the term “Christian,” we must first ask what the word means. Conservative evangelicals’ view of salvation is understood purely in individual terms. Only a person can become a Christian and only by repenting of their sins and believing on Christ. Can an organization or corporation be “born again?” The answer is no.”

    That is a theological statement that I believe is true.

    “Additionally, conservative evangelicals believe that a Christian is a person who is actively engaged sanctification, the process of becoming more holy. They accept that this process is accomplished by the work of Christ through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. But a corporation can neither accept Christ nor be indwelt by the Holy Spirit.”

    Another theological statement that I believe is true.

    “So if someone (or something) can claim the label “Christian” without repentance, belief, salvation, or sanctification, what is left? Or put a finer point on it, what makes a corporation “Christian” exactly?

    Some would say that if a business has a Christian owner or founder, that makes it Christian. But by this standard all sorts of non-religious businesses would also be labeled as such. Can you become Christian by proxy?

    Or perhaps we might say that a “Christian business” is a corporation that does Christian things (closes on Sundays, gives money to the poor, prints Bibles, or opposes political policies that conflict with Christian values). But this requires one to essentially accept a corporate form of works righteousness—the idea that we are saved by what we do—something conservative evangelicals reject.”

    To me, these are excellent theological questions.

  97. Someone needs to explain the difference between a noun and an adjective to Mr. Merritt.
    Because he shows he knows what the noun “Christian” means, but then misses the point of the adjective function of that word.

  98. But, he never proves that his theological questions have jack doodly to do with the whole purpose of his article.
    Tenuous and quite frankly looks like an attempt to impose his questions on us.

  99. I think he addressed the adjective form…

    “Some would say that if a business has a Christian owner or founder, that makes it Christian. But by this standard all sorts of non-religious businesses would also be labeled as such. Can you become Christian by proxy?

    “Or perhaps we might say that a “Christian business” is a corporation that does Christian things (closes on Sundays, gives money to the poor, prints Bibles, or opposes political policies that conflict with Christian values). But this requires one to essentially accept a corporate form of works righteousness—the idea that we are saved by what we do—something conservative evangelicals reject.”

    I don’t think this is a big issue, but I see no way to legitimately refer to anything but a business owner as being Christian.

    I have yet to see any theological argument against Merritt’s assertions, or real answers to his questions.

  100. And I see no merit to his argument. He proved nothing.
    If all you have are questions…then you don’t have the answer.
    It is just more rule imposition.
    That is pretty much all I have to say on it.

  101. Well, one more thing.
    When you say: “The New Testament never—not one time—applies the “Christian” label to a business or even a government.”

    That tells me he is using silence to say we can’t do this thing.
    What a weak argument.

  102. Derek,

    If that was all he said it would be weak.
    You don’t want to interact with the body of what he said, so there’s not much point in discussion.
    For me, I would rather hear something of substance about the theological points he made before I reject the article out of hand.

  103. I still go back to “why” would someone want to say their business is Christian. I think it could be sending a message – “Jews stay away.”

    In my business you can’t do that because of equal housing laws.

  104. An employee or employer can ply their trade based on their relationship with God. I’ve seen that played out in many different ways. I described above how I went about that.

    When explaining to clients the difference between sole proprietors and corporations I would tell them a corporation can’t have children. I said that because there are tax breaks for non corps. that a sole owner can take advantage of. One was the ability to put a minor child on payroll to reduce your tax burden.

    If I had opened my own payroll company I’d have trained my employees to work and represent our product as I instructed them too. I wouldn’t hire just believers but the best candidates for the job. But they would represent my company my way or hit the road.

    People that know me would expect a business that reflected my beliefs and would have their eyes on me and my company. I would try to meet realistic expectations.

    My office would be a reflection of me so you’d see a Bible and whatever else I felt like having in there. The office overall would be typical and run professionally. Employees would be free to be themselves. Nobody could proselytize on company time. I would have luncheons and awards to recognize excellence on the job.

    I wouldn’t be able to control how anyone described my company but I would not describe it as a christian company. That conjures up all sorts of ideas depending on the person and would only lead to confusion.

    I realize a typical mormon or atheist could set up a company that would mirror mine. So could any other business owner for that matter. In the long run any of them might be more successful than me due to superior knowledge of the business world, etc.

    And I might blow a few minds by displaying a picture in the office of our president whoever he or she might be.

  105. Michael I read what he wrote…how many times do I have to say he was not convincing.
    Is that what we do take theological questions and elevate them so that we can try to coerce some business owner to not call his business Christian?
    I am sorry I don’t see the need to even do this.
    Are there not real theological matters to wrangle with without imposing theological questions on people?
    I see this in the position of a Christian liberty argument and is up to the individual Christian to decide.
    We had a discussion on one of those kind of arguments here earlier this month on alcohol.
    The teetotalers have a better argument than this guy makes.
    At least being drunk is addressed in the bible.
    This not at all.
    Even Jean, had to find some scripture to try and uphold his argument, but it was weak also.
    Why is the burden on me to “interact” with something the bible does not even address?

    I would also like to know why you seem to be taking this so personally?
    I haven’t.

  106. In today’s environment it might be a total disaster to openly refer to your business as christian. Obviously how a believer runs or describes their business is a personal one and I’d respect that.

  107. Derek,

    I’m not taking it personally.
    It bothers me that we reject things out of hand that seem to cause offense without carefully refuting the arguments that have actually been made.
    This is why dialog gets short circuited at every turn these days.

  108. I read the article and I’m not sure I get the author’s point. I did note he uses conservative evangelicals in his article as a launching point and then asks questions based on the idea of a corporation somehow having personhood. He bases that on the idea some want corporations to have the same rights as people based on their politics. That seems worth discussion as I have no clue what the author means.

    I would venture to guess In-N-Out would lose most of their christian customers if they made a lousy burger and fries and the same would go for Chic-fil-A and their menu. They made it big because they have an excellent product that everyone likes as seen by the business they do. By no stretch is their success based on the number of christians they serve. Chic-fil-A still thrives after a concerted effort to damage their business.

    Again what bothers me is it’s evangelical conservatives who are the ones made to look dim in the article. Also, I don’t put a lot of stock in polls.

  109. E,
    It is obvious to me the guy has a slant.
    When your headline immediately names one group as at fault it is obvious where you are coming from.
    I thought this was supposed to be non-political?
    Yeah, right. As long as you agree with this guys politics.
    This is a culture war article. Just from the liberal political branch.

  110. Derek, I was resting on the sidelines until you brought me back into this. Merritt was questioning whether the adjective, Christian, is a legitimate label for a business; I, on the other hand, was arguing that it’s a bad idea for some of the reasons I gave in addition to reasons given by erunner. And my argument was not weak.

    The guiding principle for me in the public square when reference to Christ or his church is involved is always 1) Is Christ being being glorified by what I say or do? It’s not an issue that I take litely or leave to chance. If an owner calls his business Christian, then that business in some sense becomes a witness for Christ in the eyes of the public.

  111. It’s interesting to enter “define conserve” and then “define conservative” and see how bias really works. I believe I am “one who desires to conserve” and I’m NOT defined by the google/yahoo/bing search term results “define conservative”.
    There is where some real bias is.
    I am resistant to dialogue anymore because the bias is toward defining me not as “one who desires to conserve”; that is – “to avoid the wasteful or destructive use of”, but instead as the tweaked, biased, bigoted, backward, villainous (and wrong) search term “define conservative” (ex: “resistant to change”), some kind of intellectual Luddite.

    My way of thinking – from ethics, morals, values – is being purged from the lexicon of acceptable thought. Formerly inalienable rights and freedoms are easily erased caricatures on a dry-erase board.

    I’m not interested in discussing how I can cede more and more of my freedom of expression. It seems the ‘new wave’ of Christian critical thought about the collision of faith and politics necessitates painting over the possibility of genuine faith in our Christian history and in the history of Christianity in this country.

    I’m not interested in any mandate that demands I disregard the faith of believers in years past, men like Wycliffe, who resisted the culture and the politics and the religion and did not heed Romans 13 the way I’m being told to heed it today. I will not disregard the faith and action of Christian men in the 1760s-1780s who fought and bled and died against tyranny. I will not declare that Christian men south of the Mason Dixon line in 1860 were not really Christian men.

    The argument seems to be that the rhetoric needs to be toned down, but from what I’ve seen in history, crises are being dialed up, not down, and true, identifiable lawlessness is running quite rampant and the historic response (An Identifiable “Christian” response) is an active response. Toning down my passionate rhetoric is an appeasement and I’m simply convinced that to avoid the wasteful use or destructive use of the freedoms I was (by God’s Sovereignty) born into, I would rather follow in the steps of passionate believers through history who have fought actively against lawlessness. I was born into a country with a Declaration of Independence giving credit to inalienable rights given by God, a known course of human history where it becomes necessary to fight lawlessness and then iterates 27 separate reasons to go to war with a wicked government.

    I’m on the side that says we’re past the point of discussing comfort levels under oppression.

    I don’t think I’m alone in feeling this way.

  112. I wonder if John MacArthur opened a christian business and if Jesse Jackson opened a christian business – would they have any similarities?

  113. Rob,

    Wouldn’t the same argument apply to asking people to define the term “liberal”?

    Here is why I keep pleading to tone down the rhetoric.

    There are hard left and hard right people who will be unswayed by any argument.

    There is a huge mass in the middle that want to hear reasonable arguments without the labels or the threat of being labeled.

    There are a whole bunch of us who are wrestling like madmen over what we see as conflicts between the biblical witness and the political climate.

    I don’t think my morals, values, and ethics are different than yours…I think we would agree about completely on those sort of issues…so we should be able to find common ground other than Crater Lake. 🙂

  114. Rob,
    Serious question here – when you say “My way of thinking – from ethics, morals, values – is being purged from the lexicon of acceptable thought. ”

    Are you saying that you think parents, teachers and other regular social figures are purposely teaching people to be less than ethical – less than moral and to hold to no or bad values? I keep hearing this but I don’t see it in action. I pay attention to what takes place at 2 of my grandkids public elementary schools and I think they teach a very high level of ethics, good citizenship and teach strongly on good moral behavior – even if it is just “don’t hit girls”

    I sometimes think those are just stories we tell each other to emphasize “were going to hell in a hand basket … a term used by my parent 60 yrs ago.

  115. Michael, I think that I’m such a hard-liner because I interpret the unfolding of our culture (I’d call it ‘unraveling’ rather than unfolding, ha ha) because I believe “my way of thinking” is the only way that preserves room for “your way of thinking” – and I’m not talking about you and me directly, I’m talking about the collision of two ideas.
    And I’m separating Gospel thought from Civic Discourse. Although “my way of thinking” about Civic Discourse is most likely going to allow for a “free-er” expression of Gospel thought.

    Here’s my anecdotal look at the Civic Discourse – McCarthyism is roundly decried, but the freedoms we are losing today are far more endemic than some actors not getting to make movies anymore.
    And here’s something the literal you and I can agree on: We could live with way fewer movies.
    But today, the ‘pendulum’ shift of blacklisting is obliterating an incredible array of freedoms. If the last five years of legislation, executive orders and judicial finding is revenge literal or karmic for the McCarthyism of the 50s, the battle is lost and the soil salted. The swath of destruction of rights and freedoms makes Sherman’s March to the sea look like, ironically, a Sunday School picnic.

    It seems the tipping point has been reached and exceeded, it’s revolution or captivity, I think. But I’m no historian, I just play one in my mind.

    And Everybody agrees that Crater Lake is awesome.

  116. The most “Christian” business I know of is our Les Schwab Tire centers …incredibly honest, great customer service, fair pricing.
    They will literally go out of their way to help you if you’re a customer.
    I met Les…and he wasn’t a God fearing man. 🙂

    I don’t think Merritt was assaulting Christians in the public square… I think he was asking really good questions about how we label ourselves.

    My concern, again, is that such questions are now assumed attacks.

  117. Rob,

    I’m not an expert on this…but if you go back to the twenties and thirties in this country and see how the unions were busted and the FBI grew in power as no other agency…we could see the pendulum has swung both ways in our history.

    I have a hard time separating the civic and Gospel realms…I tried two kingdom theology on for a while and it didn’t fit.

    What rights or freedoms do you feel you have lost or are losing?

  118. Can’t get to sleep cause I got a lot of stuff at work on my mind.

    In many articles there is a sentence that stands out.
    The sentence either makes or breaks the writer’s argument.
    Reading this article, the sentence jumped out at me.
    I have mentioned it several times here, but know one wants to “interact” with that sentence.
    Here is the sentence again that breaks his argument with his own emphasis included.

    The New Testament never—not one time—applies the “Christian” label to a business or even a government.”

    He emphasizes “never” and includes “not one time” to double emphasize that the NT does not mention as “Christian” the things he talks about in the latter part of the sentence.
    What are the things he says the NT does not mention as “Christian”?
    Business and government.
    Now why were there no Christian nations?
    Could it be that Christianity was new and would not even gain prominence in the Roman government for several hundred years?
    Business. How often does the NT address business practices? I don’t know off the top of my head, but I am pretty sure not much. I do know for a fact that it wasn’t a priority, because it was a whole different culture than America. No corporations and again Christians had little power and I am sure that persecution probably played a part in not wanting to gratuitously advertise your Christianity in such a way.

    See, this sentence is what breaks his whole article.
    He says in effect, “See the NT never talks about these things that weren’t going on anyways.”

    Talk about taking a template and trying to fit it over your argument.

  119. Jean,
    I meant your scriptural argument was weak.

  120. Derek,

    If I let one sentence ruin me, I’d never finish a book.
    His one sentence argument is weak as a stand alone reason…it wouldn’t hold up at all.
    He didn’t stop there though and I can’t think of any reasonable refutation of his theological reasoning.
    I’m open to hearing it if there is one.

  121. I commented on this before to no answer but it seems relevant again. By one stat about 70% of all businesses in the USA are sole proprietorships. Of course, some number of those have employees but most are one-man shops (especially with the LLC popularity once one does start to grow)

    If that man is a Christian of whatever trade, it is certainly accurate and Biblical to say his business is Christian – because his business is him.

    To my knowledge the word only shows up three times in the entire NT – once on the lips of an unbeliever. So I do join in with those who would say that is a tremendously weak argument.

  122. I think the apostle Paul would disagree – for some reason I find it hard to believe that he ever referred to his tent making business as a Christian business,

    However, it is fun to think of what his business card looked like
    Saul’s Tent Making, Inc … with a Star of David —– replaced with a version with quill strikeouts
    Paul’s Tent Making, LLC …with a fish

  123. One other point. The author mentions Hobby Lobby in passing to start the article. The only reason 99% of those who know Hobby Lobby as a Christian business possess that knowledge because the owners were willing to risk over a million dollars a day in fines from the federal government rather than cave on their principles when Obama failed to give them the same exemption he gave his cronies and political backers.

    It’s not as if the CEO has kept what he means by Christian business a secret either. In a very well-known letter he wrote “We’re Christians, and we run our business on Christian principles. I’ve always said that the first two goals of our business are 1) to run our business in harmony with God’s laws, and 2) to focus on people more than money. And that’s what we’ve tried to do”

    Seems pretty simple, and (given the use of Christian as an adjective in our modern language) to make the focus of the discussion the obvious comment that a corp can’t be born again and thus can’t be a Christian (noun) is juvenile.A simple webster’s definition of the word as an adjective should put that to rest.

    Now, if the argument is that we should not conform to cultural standards in language when it comes to Biblical terminology, then I eagerly await the author’s next piece where he tears into all the usage of “gay” by Christians who seek to actually communicate something purposeful in a manner that is understandable.

    And THAT, to me, is why the author of the article is simply grinding a political axe. You don’t just toss out Hobby Lobby without writing a little about their legal issue. At least not a real journalist.

    Seems to me someone like Hobby Lobby who cares about principles more than money, willing to shut down the business rather than cave, is not worth mocking, unless of course those principles clash with Obamacare or some other left-leaning cause celebre

    And as an aside, I have never once heard In N Out describe themselves as a Christian business. Not once in a radio ad, TV commercial, or when you enter a store (and I have many many times). They put verses on cups which is pretty inside baseball for Christians and few else. However, I will say that I know many young people who eagerly desire to work there rather than any other fast food place because of the way the employees are paid and treated.

    Agenda journalism at its obvious, and a rather weak attempt as well. IMO.

  124. As long as we are digging into the article, a final note about the Barna study. The author draws improper conclusions based on a rather irrelevant survey which was mostly neutral anyways (i.e. the majority polled said their decision would have no basis on whether the business/service was run on Christian principles) – So his claim that such companies are motivated by the buck is unproven.

    Are we really shocked that a very few percent say they would NOT shop at a place run on Christian principles. How hardened do you have to be to not pick neutral and specifically say ‘No”

    But phrase the question to include opposition to gay marriage and see what answers you get today.

    The conclusion the author stated was “This data undermines many conservative evangelicals’ claims that “Christian businesses” are placing their companies at risk for proclaiming their values”

    Leaving out the obvious (no reference to any such claims within his article – I’m sure they exist somewhere but again, just poor journalism) – the author needs to understand the difference between someone saying their company is “at risk” versus talking net sales numbers gained or loss (especially again when the poll is mostly neutral)

    Because, as the author should know, all it takes is ONE, ONE person with a hate against Christians and an ACLU attorney to put the survival of a business at risk.

    At risk. Not lesser sales. Not to mention the occasional concentrated effort of harassment, picketing and even vandalism to drive someone away.

    And furthermore his quote mentions “proclaiming their values” – once again, what if one of those values is traditional marriage? (This is where folks who think like the author writes tend to say “Hate is not a Christian value”)

    I bet we could take a poll in most Muslim nations and find a large percentage of people who say that a Christian should be free to practice their faith and live in peace. That does not diminish the very real and serious threat that Christians in such nations feel, caused by a small but very militant minority

    Such is the case in America today. It is not theoretical. It already is happening.

    Any business declaring public support for traditional marriage as a Christian value is putting that business at risk today. No matter how many irrelevant Barna polls might be cited.

  125. Michael,
    It isn’t a book. It is a short article. One sentence can totally ruin it.
    Especially, when the sentence is given such great emphasis and it is placed as his tie together point.
    Let’s face it the article was rubbish.
    I’ll bet this guy rails against Christian business quite often. The only problem is it sounds like he is trying more to convince himself he is right more than anyone else. That happens when you are inventing theological arguments.

  126. I think there are many more Christians who did vote for President Obama then we think there may be. It just they don’t advertise it, due to the backlash they get from the Christians who vote otherwise. I also think that many Christians changed their political affiliation due to this type of backlash that comes across as bullying instead of a civil and respectful discussion.

    Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. The Bible is more than the promises that God has given. It’s about hearing and then doing the Word. Many people who voted for President Obama simply did not want to be identified with Republicans due to the poor example that being displayed among Christians and felt that the issues that most represented what served all the country best were being represented better outside of the Republican platform.

  127. “Conservative evangelicals’ politics often lead them to accept “corporate personhood,” a belief increasingly prominent in capitalistic societies stating that corporations should be granted the same rights as individual human beings. The concept of a “Christian business” springs from this belief. But the term runs into conflict with the group’s theological commitments.”

    As I mentioned above the above totally lost me.

    Does the author have an issue with capitalism?

    Does he have an issue with conservative evangelicals’ politics?

    Does he have an issue with conservative evangelicals?

    Who exactly are conservative evangelicals?

    In what ways do corporations need to be granted rights just like individual human beings?

    It appears pretty obvious the author doesn’t consider himself an evangelical conservative.

    Why not just state that some christians…..as opposed to conservative evangelicals?

    The author asks what does the term christian mean. Really?? Is it just to separate the evangelicals from the rest of the body by bringing politics into the equation?

    From reading the article I come away with a YES for each question I ask that can be answered by a yes or no. And again I’m left wondering why so many people have the need to paint evangelical conservatives in such a poor light especially at a time many in the world would name the author as one simply because he would say he is a Christian.

  128. I would like Christians (including myself) and our faith to be seen by outsiders as good news, both in what we proclaim and also how we live. We are ambassadors for Christ. We can’t determine how other people will see us, but we are called to be salt (yes, preserving) and light. So what the say and do among each other in the public square as well as how we engage the world matters.

    I hear people talking about unfair labels on conservative Christians, but when I remember back to the last election cycle, I remember these sorts of issues being emphasized by hard right politicians and their Christian allies (or maybe it was the other way around – I don’t really know):

    Obama is a Muslim (equals “bad” or worse)
    Obama wasn’t born in America
    The body of a woman who is raped has a mechanism to prevent pregnancy

    Now, if I’m a Christian with an outreach ministry to Muslims, how do I explain to Muslims I meet the rhetoric of some vocal right wing politicians and Christians, when supposedly in this country we have freedom of religion (not to mention that Obama said over and over again that he’s a Christian). When if I merely have a Muslim neighbor who I’d like to get along with and am called to love? How do I explain the rhetoric?

    How do I reach out to educated non-believing women if certain right wing politicians who profess to be Christians are distorting human biology to win a argument? Is that the most effective way to be pro-life? And where is the cognitive dissonance when certain Christians buy into a political platform that wants to save them in the womb, but reduce social services when their born or deport the most vulnerable?

    When certain conservative evangelicals decided to hitch their wagon to the Republican Party as a means of influence, they got the baby and the bath water. Now, many of them are incapable of speaking truth to power on many issues.

    There’s no doubt that unfair caricatures are painted, but many conservative evangelicals are not innocent victims.

  129. So I just watched a story on CNN which clearly prompted the article being discussed. Hobby Lobby doesn’t want to be forced by Obamacare/ACA to provide emergency contraceptives to employees that the owners of the company/corporation believe terminates a human life before birth.

    So the discussion was presented just as in the article. Can corporations have civil rights and so on.

    So if Hobby Lobby wins the threat is there that “religious” corporations are then free to fire single mothers because well… they’re just whores. Yeah.. me being sarcastically blunt.

    No one bothered to bring up the track record of Hobby Lobby. Is there a history of them imposing their owners’ religious beliefs on their employees? Do they have a record of any kind of employee abuse? Or are they a great company to work for.

    After hearing of this story from this blog and then seeing the CNN story settles a few things for me.

    I find it deceitful that the article has a huge picture of In-N-Out at the top of the page and that the author even brings in In-N-Out or Chick-fil-A into his story.

    I come away now believing the article is there because of this Supreme Court case and the author should have mentioned it. Instead he chose not to and I find that to be disturbing.

  130. Jean, I think all of what you bring up is legitimate and believe much of that ground has been discussed here before.

    Where I’m having problems is with the article linked this week we’re discussing. I said my piece in my typical long winded and disjointed way. 🙂

  131. Linda,

    I voted for Obama for exactly the reasons you gave…plus the rhetoric about the immigrant, the unemployed, and the poor that was as hate filled as any attacks on Christians by the other side.

  132. Steve,

    You actually addressed the major flaw in his argument which I appreciate.
    That being the majority of businesses in this country are sole proprietors, thus the business is the person who owns it.

    Game, set, match when applied to that group.

    I think his argument actually is excellent when applied to actual corporations, however.

  133. Hi erunner, Yes, I think you and Steve have uncovered some motives on the part of the author and make valid points. What I would ask in reply is whether Christians can learn anything from opposition in spite of their motives, or whether we should simply discard the entire article if we discover the author had what we consider to be bad motives?

    I heard an author (I think it was Wright) once say about a theology book he had written that he assumes there is 20% which is incorrect; the problem is that he doesn’t know what the 20% is when the book is published. Now this author’s motives are not in question, but the point for me is that I don’t have to agree 100% with an article or book to get something meaningful out of it.

    What is your criteria for studying or recommending an article or book to someone else? Thanks.

  134. Michael, the author has no argument. I think he’s deceitful in how he presented his article and is parroting what I saw on CNN this morning. Why didn’t he present his article as an argument against Hobby Lobby as that’s clearly where it sprung from? I see it as an attack on conservative evangelicals as opposed to what is a christian or what is a corporation.

  135. Why those dirty filthy conservative evangelicals…how dare they (insert imagined offense here).

  136. Jean, I struggle a lot as to what is valid criticism these days. I guess I’m tired of the evangelical broad brush I constantly see employed from the world and more importantly from within the church. I resent being a caricature in the eyes of so many.

    I recognize the dangers of the exaltation of politics etc. That’s legitimate but that broad brush includes me.

    I resent it when God in the OT is portrayed as a monster and what’s presented in the OT are fairy tales. I resent it when believers portray the epistles as less than inspired. I resent it when believers eliminate hell and state that all sincere roads are good enough to eventually enter Heaven. I resent being attacked because I believe homosexuality is a sin. Everything it seems is open for discussion but damn those evangelicals. I’m tired of it.

  137. Jean, as far as the 20% I recall reading that here in relation to finding a church. The idea being it’s impossible to find a church that one can agree with 100% so the realistic goal would be to find a church you can agree with 80%. That hits home for me as I don’t have a church I can call home.

    As far as recommending books, articles, etc. Remember you’re talking to the man who enjoyed the Left Behind series! 🙂 What article, book, person, church or ministry hasn’t been exposed from within the church these days? That’s what I hate. This coming from the man who dissed the article that spurred this discussion?!

    I would recommend anything that I benefit from. Be it from Chuck Smith, Spurgeon, John Bunyan, or a host of other authors. As far as commentaries etc. I like J.V. McGee, among many others. I use E-Sword and use all of the commentaries provided as well.

  138. You know erunner, your #138 exposes a very important point: Much of what each of us believes flows out of our understanding of God. Who is He? How do we hold His attributes together? What is His plan for creation and where do we fit into that plan? How does Jesus reveal God to us? How does the Bible reveal Father, Son and Holy Spirit?

    When we attempt to answer these questions, if we answer too quickly or without reflection we might ignore all the relationships and experiences (the good ones as well as the bad ones) which we’ve had that mediate our beliefs. These past relationships and experiences can produces internal biases of which we sometime are not even aware. I’m sure this happens to me.

  139. Jean, I’m a product of over 30 years spent in Calvary Chapel. I was a CC ditto head if you will. Coming to this blog taught me that the world didn’t begin and end with CC and believe me that was my attitude for way too long. I’ve experienced and heard all of the things so many recoil against and in fact am probably too anti CC for my own good.

    I love reading honest discussion void of hostility but that’s tough to find these days.

    I stand by my last paragraph in my 138 and find it sad that we have to have those discussions as if scripture hasn’t already spoken to these issues. I’m sure my biases are showing but that’s me.

    There’s a difference between people having honest struggles (as we all do) and those who have rejected God’s word and God himself as He has revealed Himself to us.

    I fully recognize I’m very emotionally driven and don’t have the grasp of church history,etc. that many here do. I appreciate you engaging me personally. It means a lot.

  140. @119 – sorry had to beg off discussion last night, my kid got sick. Ew.
    Question asked ‘what freedoms do I feel I have lost’.
    Briefly….
    In CA, I am compelled to serve in jury duty for a court system that has licensed illegals to practice law. That is a violation of my rights and freedoms.
    I am compelled to act as an agent of the state. This state regularly scoffs at, alters, disregards and sets aside rule of law. This state has embraced illegals, or as may be preferred, here, sojourners. Sojourning scofflaws, actually – (http://washingtonexaminer.com/report-90-of-illegals-skip-immigration-court-appearances-135000-will-go-missing/article/2550217)
    while I am threatened with fines and jail time for refusing to be a subject to the court system which holds no rule of law in its own licensing practices.

    I lost my health insurance by Presidential Fiat and was compelled to pay into a new system or be fined. I have paid for seven months into the new system and have no proof of insurance to this day.
    My children were taken out of my own insurance coverage under this new system and given individual insurance policies so that the figures for new enrollments could be artificially inflated. I pay for their new premiums because they don’t have jobs, but under this new health insurance contract, My only mention as any agent under their application and contact information is ‘Emergency Contact’. I am not mentioned as a consulted guardianship over my own minor age children in the course of their medical treatment. I am obviously a tin foil hat wearing conspiracy freak, but this is an overt move by the State to undermine my agency as my kid’s parent.

    My right to free expression is under constant scrutiny. I cannot travel freely from place to place without interruption. I have to furnish identification to any police officer who asks (Patriot Act), unless I am a sojourning scofflaw. My taxes that are to be used for infrastructure, roads and parks are misappropriated at best, in reality, stolen.

    I would go on, but brevity. My status as a citizen of Heaven emboldens me to simply wake up and press on. My citizenship as a resident of this country compels me to decry the injustice and conserve what freedoms remain. That conservation must become increasingly militant or surrendered to captivity.

  141. Rob,

    I understand some of your issues.
    The case of the undocumented alien getting a bar license was new to me, so I looked it up.
    Turns out he’s had a visa application in process for 19 years.
    So, an attempt was made to do this in conjunction with the law…but it has yet to be processed after almost two decades.
    That sounds like more than one thing is broken to me, but I’m only hearing that one is really a problem

    The current administration has deported more individuals than the last three combined.

    There is no doubt that the medical insurance system has been an abysmal failure for some…it appears to me that we’ve simply changed the identity of those who are getting hosed.

    The other issues you bring up have happened under the watch of both parties…

  142. Derek,

    “Why those dirty filthy conservative evangelicals…how dare they (insert imagined offense here).”

    I see the exact same thing coming from evangelicals going the other way.

    Every day, all day long.

    The difference is that I believe we have a higher calling and a greater responsibility to salt our expressions with grace and love.

  143. The current administration has deported more individuals than the last three combined.
    ————————————————————–
    It is my understanding, (and while one will see this far more often on conservative sites I have seen it stated in nonpartisan arenas as well but really do not have the time to look them up now)…

    That the current administration has changed the measure of what counts as a deportation to include turnbacks within 48 hours which previously was not ever included as a “deportation”

    Thus inflating the stats. I recall a quote from Obama himself on this issue.

    I am willing to be corrected if this is in error.

  144. Steve,

    It’s my understanding that even factoring that in Obama has deported many more undocumented people than anyone before.
    There is a very odd misperception that Obama has been a friend to immigration reform and the issues surrounding Mexico and Central America.
    In reality, he’s been the worst leader in recent memory on both counts in my opinion.

  145. Here’s the LA Times on the issue. Certainly not a conservative outlet.

    Expulsions of people who are settled and working in the United States have fallen steadily since his first year in office, and are down more than 40% since 2009.On the other side of the ledger, the number of people deported at or near the border has gone up — primarily as a result of changing who gets counted in the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency’s deportation statistics. The vast majority of those border crossers would not have been treated as formal deportations under most previous administrations. If all removals were tallied, the total sent back to Mexico each year would have been far higher under those previous administrations than it is now.

    http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-obama-deportations-20140402-story.html#page=1

  146. Steve,

    I could get you the numbers but it would take about an hour I don’t have available right now to find them.

    The other thing that has to be factored in to this is that the number of attempted border crossings went down with our economy.

  147. Steve,

    Interesting development.
    I shot my friend who is a expert on these matters an email in hopes of a response…which I got.
    Her view…and she compiles this info all day, every day, as part of her job…is that the deportation numbers have been so skewed by numerous re classifications over the last decade as to make them almost unintelligible.
    She also thinks that it is no longer responsible to cite the numbers I did for deportations under Obama.
    We just don’t have reliable enough info.
    So…I won’t state that anymore.

  148. Derik Thorton

    Spare us the phony “I’m a victim, everbody hates me” crap. Got old long time ago.

  149. Anonymos,

    That’s probably not a helpful way to keep dialog going…

  150. Well, I for one would like to see a good old competition as to which party can more effectively enforce the immigration laws we currently have on the books. I would like to see them post numbers weekly as to which side is winning.

    People need to remember, we are not talking about immigration here – we have fine laws that allow people to come to the god old USA in droves for many reasons … legally. Whenever the immigration issue comes up we need to remind ourselves that we are speaking only of those who have chosen to purposely to thumb their noses at our country … they feel some sort of entitlement.

  151. MLD,

    The lawyer in question tried (through his parents) to go through the legal means to citizenship.
    He has been waiting almost twenty years for that to be processed.
    That’s not a fine law.

  152. Michael,
    I know this is a hard pill to swallow, but some people have to accept ‘No’ for an answer. There are many things in life that I have had to live with the answer No!

    This is why people ‘apply’ for citizenship and do not just buy it out of a vending machine.

    and there is no fair in life — for those who still think there is.

  153. Michael, Thank you for posting the Brueggmann interview. Other than the prayers of his you post, this is my first exposure to him. It’s interesting that he touched on topics running through several threads I’ve been active in here over the past few days. Needless to say, I think he communicated a lot of wisdom.

  154. Jean,

    Brueggmann turned me inside out.
    He’s a liberal scholar who knows God better than I ever will.
    I don’t like how he comes to some of his conclusions, but he has insights on the biblical narrative regarding power and oppression that are incredible.

  155. Anonymous,
    When did I say I was the victim?
    I was stating my opinion and how I see things.

    Sorry, not really a whiny victimized class here.
    I leave that to others.
    Maybe you who seems offended by my words.

  156. The true believers pop out when you buck the trends.
    But, they still lack the courage to own up to a name.

  157. Derek,

    I don’t understand #159…

  158. I was talking to Anonymos.

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