Friday, November 30, 2007

Emegent Village Idiots Part 3

I was listening to missiologist/church planter Ed Stetzer speak last week and he referred to a stream in the emerging/emergent church as the "Pajama Jihadists." He was referring to spoiled brats, living in their parents basements or dorm rooms, who have never worked a real job and spend their "free time" (which is abundant) attacking orthodox Christians. Mark Driscoll was more blunt a few months ago at Convergent referring to them as "bloggers who live with their moms."

I have to concur. I'm not one who usually encourages ad hominem attacks (even though I enjoy them!) but perhaps one must fight fire with fire. You see, the overwhelming majority of "leaders" in the more liberal stream of the "emerging conversation" (i.e., Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, Tony Jones, etc) do not engage in healthy conversations with those outside of their own "tribe." They simply attack. When Bell has been challenged he has responded with "You don't have the right to ask that question because..." or "I'm just upsetting your power structure." Tony Jones has "responded" by attacking his interlocutors mode of thinking or half-responded to criticisms such as the radical postmodern denial of objective truth with "I do believe in truth" but when asked if he feels anyone know that they know the truth he ducks the questions and falls back on attacking the mode of thinking (despite the clarion call by most leading philosophers in Europe that post-modernism is dead!).

Now, as many of you know, I am a former member of the "liberal emergent stream of the emerging church." Its not all bad. There is something to be said for reading the signs of the times and challenging old assumptions. There are also fine thinkers like Miroslav Volf, Scot McKnight and N.T. Wright within this "stream." I may not agree with most of what they assert but they are well worth your time. I still read everything Walter Brueggemann writes even though I think he's a total spaz. Yet, a "conversation seeking truth" is useless if it is limited to a select group with pre-conceived notions and shared prejudices who grab their ears and hum like children when challenged by "outsiders", who in this case are orthodox Christians.

So, until the Pajama Jihadists grow up, get real jobs and are mugged by reality, they had better learn that when you engage in cheap ad hominem attacks that they tend to boomerang right back at ya'. BUT if you truly want to "converse" about important theological concepts then brew the coffee, light the candles and let's go. I'll take real coffee black while you kiddies sip your lattes and mochas before hustling back to mom's basement or your dorm room.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Peace in the Middle East?

Christianity Today online reports that eighty evangelical leaders have signed some sort of petition calling for a "fair" two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Wow! If only someone would have thought about this before?!? (Note sarcasm).

This is another example of well-meaning people not know what they are talking about. Ironically, theologians often complain that people who have barely read the Bible or spent less than a few minutes thinking about a complex issue have the temerity to lecture them about the Bible or said issue. Yet, these same theologians have read hardly anything of any depth on foreign policy, economics or even modern history.

A liberal rabbi wrote a piece in The New Republic about seven years ago arguing that peace between Israelis and the Palestinians will not happen until there is a true consensus among both people for peace. Heads of state can sign anything they want but without the support of the people it will come to naught. In other words, yet another top-down agreement will simply vanish like vapor in a matter of months or years. There must be a strong majority in each "state" before peace is possible and such a majority does not exist at the moment.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

What Would Jesus Buy?

Morgan Spurlock (the mutton chops behind the documentary "Super Size Me") has produced a new flick entitled "What Would Jesus Buy?" The film follows the Rev. Billy (no, he's not really a minister or even a Christian) and his Church of Stop Shopping as they crusade against box stores and consumerism in general.

WWJB has received favorable reviews although it has raised the eyebrows of many Christians who think that the Rev. Billy is making fun of their faith. For the record, Billy, the son of a Dutch Calvinist minister, insists he is only making fun of televangelism (which is fine with me) while making a political point.

I will probably watch WWJB (even though I thought that Supersize Me was overrated...if you want to see a truly funny documentary then check out Michael Moorer's Roger & Me (1989)) but its premise is ridiculous.

Don't get me wrong, I'm against materialism but the idea that stopping box stores, etc. will actually help America has proven false time and again. A return to a high-tariff, protectionist, so-called "fair trade" approach will also fail to fix any of our country's ills (and we have fewer fiscal ills than any other country in world) and will hurt the economies of poorer countries. Ask a person in New Delhi what they think about making $5 American a day? I have. You might be surprised by the answer.

Don't get me wrong, I think they should be paid more too but poverty has dropped in these countries because five American dollars goes a lot further in a third-world country then it does here.

It still amazes me how few so-called well read Americans have actually perused a book on economics. Try Thomas Sowell's Basic Economics or even P.J. O'Rourkes "Eat The Rich" or, heaven forbid, something truly weighty like "The Road To Serfdom."

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Save Me From This Book

I was really looking forward to reading Brian "Head" Welch's autobiography "Save Me From Myself" but boy do I wish I had the time I wasted on that book back!

For those of you who don't know, Brian Welch (or "Head") was the lead guitarist for the nu-metal band Korn. He left the group just as they were about to sign a huge multi-million dollar deal because he had become a Christian and no longer felt that he could write and play the type of music that made Korn famous.

His conversion was world wide news as was his dramatic baptism in the Jordan River. He stated in interviews that once he accepted Christ, his addictions to alcohol and speed disappeared as did the constant depression that once enveloped him.

I was a huge Korn fan. They are heavy, unique, talented and boast the best bass player since Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers emerged in the mid-80's. It was exciting news that one of them had been saved and I eagerly looked forward to reading the book which has sat in my "To Read" pile for months.

Yet, the book is a major disappointment. The first half is the typical Behind the Music fodder that has just become boring and the second half is clearly the rantings of a very immature Christian. To be fair, he has only been a Christian for a few years but that's why there are ghost writers and/or co-authors! Head, his nickname comes from childhood taunts about having a disproportionally large noggin', arrogantly advocates praying in tongues and searching your dreams for prophetic announcements rather than studying scripture and engaging in other spiritual disciplines. Don't get me wrong, I'm not against tongues and certainly if God wants to speak through dreams then that's His business, but many secular Korn fans who pick up the book may be misled by Head's version of charismatic legalism.

I certainly am glad that Head has come to Christ and, as a former Korn devotee, I eagerly await his debut Christian Metal album (which is already well overdue) but do yourself a favor and skip the book. Hopefully in 10 years he'll write another one that's a little deeper and more reflective.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Need for Atonement

The dishonoring of God's holiness by our sin merits death. Eternal death. A life must be given in order to avert God's great wrath. The blood of bulls, goats and lambs as required by the Sinai Covenant was not enough (see Hebrews 9-10). Thus, the very son of God became THE Passover Lamb. Jesus' sacrificial death is described by John, Paul and the writer of Hebrews as a "propitiation", which means "a turning away of anger" (Rom. 3:25; Hebrews 2:17; 1 John 2:2, etc.). Christ not only took the sin of the world upon himself, he also took all of God's wrath upon himself. This is a necessary component of the doctrine of "the atonement" or the bring of God and us "at-one."

The prophet Isaiah stated that it actually pleased God to offer His son to be "crushed" (Isa. 53:10). Again, not easy teaching and one we will return to later.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

We Are Sinful and This Angers God.

The Bible teaches that all people have sinned. There are a number of Greek and Hebrew words that we translate as "sin." Sin is rebellion. Sin is evil. Sin is darkness. We all sin and this angers God. In fact, God hates sin so much that the unrepentant sinner (i.e., one who wallows in sin without attempt to turn from it) becomes God's enemy and is cast into eternal torment.

Paul Washer preaches that God tells the planets to spin and they obey. He tells the stars to explode and they obey. He tells the mountains to rise and they obey. He tells the seas to stop at the shore and come no farther and the seas obey. But he tells us to obey and we say "no."

Such a response dishonors God and is an affront to His great Holiness. Such an affront carries the death penalty.

Not an easy teaching but a true one.

More later.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Holiness of God

There is no harder theological task then accurately describing the "holiness" of God. Various Greek and Hebrew words are translated as "holy" and each word can be used various ways depending on context. Holy can be mean "separate" or "not common" or "morally perfect" or "unblemished", etc. but none of these really does the job.

God's holiness is such that it creates earthquakes when His presence intensifies, evokes such fear in an individual that he or she instinctively falls to their knees and hides their faces (hence, our normal posture for prayer) and even strikes those dead who dare to dishonor it.

God is holy and there is no concept more difficult to understand until we stand at the throne.

More later here and from CCC this weekend as this subject is the second prong of my sermon on "The Lamb of God."

Hope to see you there.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Lamb of God

Sometime in the first half of the first century A.D., John the Baptist was out in the sticks of Israel yelling at people (I'm not the only one whose loud when they preach) and then holding some of them under water when he saw his cousin Jesus walking by and screamed:

"Look! There is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" John 1:29b

John is most certainly referring to the sacrificial lamb offered during Passover. During the 10th day of the Hebrew month of Abib (roughly April), a Jewish family would buy a spotless lamb and take it home. For 4 days, this lamb would hang around their house. Maybe they would tie it to a post in their back yard. The kids would want to play with it and pet it and feed it. Then on the 14 day of Abib the family would take the lamb to the Temple, lay their hands on it, pray over it and then slit its throat over a basin.

Horrific huh?

Why? Because God is holy, we are sinful and the product of sin is death. More on this later. Preaching on it this weekend.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


I'm thankful for so many things this year. My salvation is always first and foremost. My beautiful wife and amazing son are second and not far behind are my parents (better known as Scott & Alice Kaye). My parents have worked so hard to escape poverty and near poverty, respectfully, put 5 kids through college (and in some cases grad school) while serving as God's instruments to build a church of 1000+ attendees in a town of roughly 20,000 (that's a better percentage than Smilin' Joel Osteen).

More importantly, they have modeled Christ for me (and many others) for decades. They have taught me that life is not about degrees or material goods but about shining the light of Christ into the darkness and standing before the throne as loyal warrior of God (albeit still relying on grace through the cross).

I am thankful not only for the grace of the cross but for the great grace of having been born into a home where Christ is rightly viewed as King.

Which reminds me, many people ask me when my parents are going to slow down and retire into the "good life." I tell them that I hope they never retire! Their ministry may change but they should never stop (On this topic, see John Piper's great book "Don't Waste Your Life"). Perhaps my father will hire an executive pastor and do nothing but preach and teach or maybe the opposite (I don't know of anyone who is better at running the day-to-day operations of a church) or who knows what God will call him to do. Perhaps my mother will oversee a team of women's ministers or take up some type of social justice or outreach ministry but God forbid they ever retire! They have been called by God and need to follow that call all the days of this life.

Don't be surprised if 20-25 years from now they're sitting in wheel chairs with Bibles in hand teaching in a "retirement community" like Francis Schaeffer did up to the day he went to worship before the Throne.

Praise God for them both.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Preaching This Weekend

Everyone have a happy Thanksgiving. I'm taking the day to hang with the fam esp. my son and lovely wife but then will be back at it Friday as I prep to teach Acts 5-6 at the Early Morning Men's Bible Study and preach on the Lamb of God this weekend.

Everyone have a great one and God bless,

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Leondard Sweet Predicts the Future

Check out Phil Cooke's podcast from last May featuring Leonard Sweet on what the church will be facing 5-10 years from now. I listened to it last night on my way to Columbus and thought 1/3 of it was goofy but that 2/3 may darn near be prophetic.

Take a listen here (episode 4: Reach 2007 episode):

Monday, November 19, 2007

Piper Rocks! (part two)

I was listening to John Piper preach this morning as I rolled into my law office and was amazed at what I heard. In 2003, Bethlehem Baptist Church, where Piper preaches, averaged 2700 every weekend. In 2006, the weekly attendance increased to 4000. Two weeks ago, Bethlehem hit the 5000 mark.

Think about this--a 60-year old Calvinist preacher who preaches for 45 minutes after a service with an old school choir, etc. has led a church in one of the 3-4 most unchurched areas of the country to nearly double its attendance in 4 years.


Missional training, multiple campuses and, of course, great expository preaching about the Holiness of God, the sinfulness of man and atonement that can only be found in Christ.

I'll say it again, Piper rocks!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Speaking of Fasting...

Yesterday, I spoke to CCC's youth group about fasting and then ran across a book review of "Starving Jesus" by the Craig Gross (co-founder of the XXX Church) and J.R. Mahon over at Relevant Magazine's web page. The book documents their 40 day fast and Starving Jesus Tour. Check it out--

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Strengths and Weaknesses of N.T. Wright

I have a love-dislike relationship with New Testament scholar and Anglican Bishop N.T. Wright. What I appreciate about Bishop Wright is his vigorous defense of the historicity of the Gospels (esp. the resurrection), his emphasis on the Kingdom of God and his strident attempts to see the Bible as one, continuous narrative (not to mention his refusal to latch on to pacifism, which is an over reading of the Gospels, an under reading of Paul and a total refusal to deal with the Hebrew Bible).

However, Bishop Wright's theology is not without its problems. His push for "mono-covenantalism" (contrasted with the classical Reformed bi-covenantal position or the dispensational view--see earlier post) has led him to embrace the so-called New Perspective on Paul, which wholly redefines the Church's 2000 year old understanding of "justification" (see Thomas Oden "Justification: A Reader" and Alister McGrath's "History of Justification"). Wright has also embraced a modified post-millennialism in which the church will redeem the world. One can even argue from works such as "The Crown and the Fire" that Wright somehow sees the Lord's Supper as the "Second Coming." Such positions are naive and so radically different from historical orthodoxy that one wonders why Wright doesn't see the serious theological problem of asserting that the church's eschatology has been wholly misguided for two thousand years.

I praised Bishop Wright this morning at Bible Study and someone asked me which one of his books they should read and I recommended "Simply Christian" with some hesitation. Not since Karl Barth has a theologian been so powerfully on target and woefully misguided at the same time.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Village Idiots Part Two

As I confessed in a previous post, I once considered myself a part of the "emerging church movement." I hung around in coffee shops discussing books by Walter Brueggemann, N.T. Wright, Marislov Volf, etc., dissing "narrow minded evangelicals" and cussing up a storm.

I, like Mark Driscoll, now realize that I was a part of these "cohorts" because it felt trendy and different = more "authentic" because it is "mine." In other words, it was pure arrogance. As far as I can see, the overwhelming majority of "emergents" still fall into this category.

I also used to believe that the "emerging/post-conservative/post-liberal/post-modern" church was THE future. Rob Bell's success in Grand Rapids and Tim Keel's success in Kansas City seemed to confirm this belief.

Well, that was then and this is now.

Outreach Magazine's latest "101 Fastest Growing Churches" list was published last month (thank you, Mike Peters for the head's up) and not one "emerging church" made the list. Four years ago, Mars Hill Church was near the top of the list having grown from 3000 to 12,000 weekly attendees in about 5 years. Now Mars Hill has not only fallen off the list but appears to have lost roughly 2000 members as its pastor, Rob Bell, continues to embrace every theological fad that blows through seminaries and "spiritual" book stores.

This has occurred while many conservative (even Reformed) churches have exploded. The most impressive may be the church that Jerry Falwell built in Lynchburg (Thomas Road Baptist) whose membership had slowly eroded sadly along with the elder Falwell's health. His son, who is just as conservative, has ascended to his father's puplit and led the charge to increase its attendance by roughly 4750 over the past year.

Most impressive, according to missiology guru Ed Stetzer, is that many of these churches are reaching the unchurched while Emergent Cohorts continue to "explore" heresy and recruit angry Christian kids who never got the chance to properly rebel in high school.

101 Fastest Growing Churches & 100 Largest Churches

Outreach Magazine Updates List of Top 100 Largest & Fastest-Growing U.S. Churches

Hispanic megachurch Iglesia Cristiana Segardores de Vida in Hollywood, Fla., has been named the fastest-growing church in America on the Outreach 100 Fastest-Growing U.S. Churches list, published Sept. 27, 2007, exclusively in Outreach magazine's second annual Outreach 100 Special Issue. The magazine's cover features Ruddy Gracia, co-pastor with his wife, Maria, of Segadores de Vida. Since the Gracias launched the church in 1992 in their apartment living room, Segadores de Vida has grown from a small group to almost 6,000 attendees. From 2006 to '07, the church grew by 2,800 attendees.

This year, Outreach partnered for the first time with Dr. Ed Stetzer, director of LifeWay Research and missiologist-in-residence, who served as the researcher for the report. Stetzer and his research team contacted more than 20,000 churches to gather the self-reported data used to compile the lists.

For the first time, a new methodology was used to calculate the Outreach 100 Fastest-Growing U.S. Churches list. This year, the list rankings reflect an amalgamated number, factoring in both numerical and percentage growth. Previously, growth ranks were determined by numeric growth alone.

"We believe this change increases the list's utility and meaning," said Lynne Marian, executive editor and publisher of Outreach magazine. "While numerical growth in large churches is an important factor, percentage growth in attendeesis also critical. The change in methodology provides a more accurate picture of a church's growth."

The corrected Fastest-Growing list reflects changes in the growth rankings of the churches; however the numerical growth figures and percentage growth figures remain the same as on the original list. All of the numerical growth figures are correct and reflect self-reported data from the churches on the list as of June 2007.

The growth rankings are based on an average of the numerical and percentage growth figures. The sortation of the original list was incorrect, and the error was not caught until after the issue was printed. Some church growth rankings remain unchanged; however most have shifted from their positions on the original list, some significantly. Rankings shifted both up and down.

The length of the list has also changed from 100 to 101 churches. As a result of the new rankings, one church moved onto the list. The Largest U.S. Churches list published in the same issue remains correct with no changes."Outreach magazine strives for accurate, responsible journalism and it is in this spirit that we now report and amend the list," said Lynne Marian, publisher and executive editor of Outreach magazine. "On a personal note, I am grateful that attendance figures, list rankings, or even embarrassing publishing errors cannot diminish God's work in and through His Church. It's our privilege to share these stories in each issue of Outreach in hopes that they will inspire churches to reach their communities for Christ--and we will continue to do that."Marian continued, "We also stand by the good work of our research partner Dr. Ed Stetzer and our friends at LifeWay Research. Together we are investigating this problem and will ensure accuracy of our report in the future."

In addition to the publication of the Outreach 100 lists, Outreach's special issue also includes a report on the trends driving today's megachurches (2,000-plus attendees) and a comprehensive analysis of the growth trends represented by the two Outreach 100 lists.The issue also features profiles of four of the churches on the Fastest-Growing list, offering transferable principles and insights into their growth. These churches include Segadores de Vida in Hollywood, Fla. (No. 1); Mariners Church in Irvine, Calif. (No. 52); Salem Baptist Chicago (No. 50); Central Christian Church in Las Henderson, Nev. (No. 20) and our One to Watch: Granger Community Church in Granger, Ind. The growth rankings reflect the corrected list.

In his analysis, Dr. Stetzer identifies five key church growth megatrends that will continue to impact churches of all sizes across the United States:Megatrend No. 1 – Rapid growth Megatrend No. 2 —Multi-site technology Megatrend No. 3—Political action in new ways Megatrend No. 4 – Ethnic diversityMegatrend No. 5 – Return to discipleship.

Fast Facts on the Top 100 Largest & Fastest-growing Churches in America (includes revised growth rankings)1) The state with the most churches on the Largest list (22) is California. Texas has 16.2) Some 1,016,926 people are represented by the combined attendance of the Outreach 100 Largest U.S. churches. More than a half-million people attended a Fastest-Growing church in 2007.3) The youngest church on the Fastest-Growing list is Elevation Church, Charlotte, N.C. (No. 8), founded in 2006. 4) The youngest churches on the Largest list are Gateway Church, Southlake, Texas (No. 74); NewSpring Church, Anderson, S.C. (No. 50); and The Rock Church, San Diego (No. 76). All were founded in 2000. 5) The oldest church on the Largest list is The Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral, Jamaica, N.Y. (No. 20), founded in 1837.6) 11 churches on the Largest list have sites in different states than the church's main campus. 7) One church on the Fastest-Growing list has an international site: Flamingo Road Baptist Church, Cooper City, Fla. (No. 10), opened a site in Lima, Peru.8) The 101 churches on the Fastest-Growing list grew four times faster than the 100 churches on the Largest list grew. 9) From 2006 to 2007, the average growth of the 101 churches on the Fastest-Growing list was 1,385 attendees.10)

The largest increase in attendance at any one church on the Fastest-Growing list was 4,750 attendees at Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Va. (No. 9).Top 10 Largest U.S. Churches 1) Lakewood Church, Houston Texas, Joel Osteen, pastor (47,000)2) Willow Creek Community Church, South Barrington, Ill., Bill Hybels (23,500)3) Second Baptist Church, Houston, Ed Young Sr. (23,198) 4) Saddleback Church, Lake Forest, Calif., Rick Warren (22,000)5), Edmond, Okla., Craig Groeschel (19,907)6) Southeast Christian Church, Louisville, Ky., Dave Stone (18,013)7) North Point Church, Alpharetta, Ga., Andy Stanley (17,700)8) Thomas Road Baptist Church, Lynchburg, Va., Jonathan Falwell (17.445)9) Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Bob Coy (17,000)The Potter's House, Dallas, T.D. Jakes (17,000)Top 10 Fastest-Growing U.S. Churches (includes revised growth rankings)1) Iglesia Cristiana Segadores de Vida, Hollywood, Fla., Ruddy and Maria Gracia (numeric growth: 3,050, percentage growth: 109%)2) Community of Faith, Spring, Texas, Mark Shook (growth: 2,200, 163%)3) Valley Bible Fellowship, Bakersville, Calif., Ron Vietti (growth: 3,600, 52%)4) Community Christian Church, Naperville, Ill., Dave Ferguson (growth: 2,230, 81%)5) The ROC (Richmond Outreach Center), Richmond, Va., Geronimo Aguilar (growth: 2,100, 100%)6) New Life Church, Conway, Ark., Rick Bezet (growth: 2,000, 108%)7) Living Hope Church, Vancouver, Wash., John Bishop (growth: 2,223, 75%)8) Elevation Church, Charlotte, N.C., Steven Furtick (growth: 1,965, 444%) 9) Thomas Road Baptist Church, Lynchburg, Va., Jonathan Falwell (growth: 4,750, 37%)10) Flamingo Road Baptist Church, Cooper City, Fla., Troy Gramling (growth; 2040, 51%).

The 2007 Outreach 100 report on America's largest and fastest-growing churches appears in the Outreach 100 Special Issue of Outreach magazine. Issue copies are available to news media on request.San Diego, California-based Outreach magazine offers the ideas, insights and stories of today's outreach-oriented church. First published in January 2003 by Outreach, Inc., Outreach is one of the fastest-growing periodicals for church leadership based on circulation. Outreach is available by subscription or in many Christian and general periodical retailers through Ingram Periodicals Distribution. For information, subscriptions or advertising, visit The Outreach 100 lists were compiled by Dr. Ed Stetzer in association with LifeWay Research and include only Protestant churches--as defined by the American Religious Data Archive--that opted to participate in the study. All ranks and attendance statistics based on self-reported data from denominations/networks and individual Protestant churches compiled June 2007. All rights reserved. Outreach 100 Fastest-Growing U.S. Churches. All ranks and growth statistics based on average of self-reported annual numerical and percentage growth compiled June 2007. All rights reserved. Revised List publication Oct. 8, 2007. Research compiled by LifeWay Research. Outreach and LifeWay are not responsible for errors/discrepancies in self-reported data or churches not opting to report.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

How Far Have We Fallen?

Need more reasons to attend church and learn to be a missional Christian? Driving down Route 23 tonight I witnessed a man openly relieving himself by the side of the road and a man on an electric wheelchair pulling a dog in a child's wagon through a carry out drive-thru. How far is Southern Ohio from this?

This and many other worthless stories can be found over at one of my favorite Chrisitan sites--Relevant magazine.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Village Idiots

There are only two movements within Christianity that are attracting young people ages 18-35. One is the new Reformed movement (kind of a younger, hipper Evangelical Calvinism) and the other is the Emerging Church movement with its most liberal wing led by an organization known as The Emergent Village. Check out the following links to learn about it. The first is the obligatory Wikipedia article and the second is a talk given by pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle. Driscoll is part of the New Reformed Movement but was a leader of the "emerging church" at one time (at one point, I considered myself part of it as well but we have both since repented). Oh, and as far as my thoughts on very afraid.

Monday, November 12, 2007

John Piper Rules!

Pastor-Scholar John Piper is a former professor of New Testament at Bethel Seminary, the Senior Pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minnesota, the head of Desiring God Ministries and an award winning Christian author. The web page for Desiring God was already one of the best web sites on the net featuring an extensive archive of audio resources and articles by Piper but now many of his award winning books are online as well. Among the free titles available for download are "Desiring God", "What Jesus Demands from the World" and "Don't Waste Your Life."

They are all well worth reading although some of them, like "The Future of Justification," is tough going if your not familiar with the current state of Biblical studies.

Check them all out here:

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A Golden Compass That Only Points South?

While I'm blogging about movies, I guess I might as well weigh in on The Golden Compass. The film, which is to be released in December, is an adaptation of author Phillip Pullman's novel of the same name. Pullman is an outspoken atheist (and a preacher's kid...what is it about them!) and his "Dark Materials" is a series of stories that the author has all but admitted are a secular humanist reaction to C.S. Lewis' pro-Christian children's books.

The novel The Golden Compass questions the validity of belief in God but the film's distributor, New Line Cinema, promises that these elements have been stripped from the movie's screenplay. One of the stars, Nicole Kidman, has also stated that she would not participate in an anti-Christian film as she is a practicing Catholic. Some evangelical leaders have asked their fellow Christians to take a "wait and see attitude."

Other Christian leaders, however, fear that, regardless of how the film is scripted, the movie will lead to increased sales of Pullman's books, which will not be redacted--this seems to me to be a well grounded concern. My son will not watch the film and the book will never set page in my home.

However, all of the controversy has generated buzz for the film which will undoubtedly lead to increased ticket sales. I'm not sure how to address the issue without "stirring the pot" but it is an unfortunate side-effect.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Pro-Life, Pro-Family Chick Flick

The new film "Bella" has received standing ovations from test audiences and praise from men such as James Dobson because of its pro-life message. The movie is a tear-jerking "chick flick", so take your better half and a wad of tissues. Read more about it here.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Unborn In The USA

A documentary on abortion just released on DVD promises to be the first truly fair, even-handed treatment of the subject. "Unborn in the USA" can be ordered now (ask your video store to carry it or go the Netflix route like I do).

An interview with the filmmakers can be found at Christianity Today's Movie page. Link below.

Check it out.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Meet Pastor Tim Keller

To the left are videos featuring Pastor Tim Keller of Redeemer Church in NYC. Pastor Keller has managed to help build a megachurch of largely single, unchurched young people in Manhattan. His insights are invaluable. I also encourage you to download a few of his sermons from Redeemer's web page. You can find the link to your left as well.

If you missed last month's video, "The Good Soldier" featuring Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church then you can easily find the video on Youtube.

God bless,

Friday, November 2, 2007

Ben Stein to the Rescue

Actor, comedian, law professor, pro-life activist and former Nixon speechwriter Ben Stein is helming a new documentary on the prejudice proponents of intelligent design face in acedemia and elsewhere. Checkout the link