Thursday, July 31, 2008

Revolution Update and Don't Waste Your Time

Later today, check out my bro Justin Clark's post on what you can do to help Revolution. Link is below. Be sure to make it one of your favorites.

Ryan Rolfe, leader of the World's Most Dangerous Praise Band, will post tomorrow.

Revolution launches August 31st in Portsmouth, Ohio at a location to be disclosed later.

Check back soon for updates.

Finally, many of you know that I think it is largely a waste of time to read most of the stuff that Christian book publishers are pushing these days. I've already begged and pleaded with you to put down McLaren and Bell and dig into a good Bible, like the ESV Literary Study Bible, or something that will help you better study your Bible like Fee and Stuart's "How To Read The Bible For All Its Worth."

May I also humbly recommend anything and everything by John Piper. Even Rob Bell writes in a footnote in Velvet Elvis that everyone should read everything by Piper!

The good news is that many of Piper's books are online for free! Go to Desiring God ( and click on "Resource Library" and look to the left for "online books." I recommend that you start with the modern classic "Desiring God" and then peruse "What Jesus Demands From The World" and "Don't Waste Your Life" but its all good and its all free.

God bless.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

River City Revolution and Dwight Schrute

Check out my bro Eron Elswick's post re: Jesus and the poor over at the new River City Revolution Blog. Posts forthcoming from Justin Clark and Ryan Rolfe this week.

Click over to

Be sure to add it to your favorite list as it will be updated every weekday by a member of the leadership team of Revolution which launches on August 31st in Portsmouth.

Once again, I will be shutting down River City Redemption in the next few weeks but in the meantime I'm going to have some fun.

For example, here are my favorite quotes from one of my personal heroes, Dwight Schrute from The Office.

1) "I am faster than 80% of all snakes."

2) "Women are like wolves. If you want one you must trap it. Snare it. Tame it. Feed it. "

3) "I don't have a lot of experience with vampires, but I have hunted werewolves. I shot one once, but by the time I got to it, it had turned back into my neighbor's dog."

4) "If I could menstruate, I wouldn’t have to deal with idiotic calendars anymore. I’d just be able to count down from my previous cycle. Plus, I’d be more in tune with the moon and the tides."

5) " I am not a security threat. And, my middle name is "Kurt", not "Fart.""

6) "Why tip someone for a job I'm capable of doing myself? I can deliver food. I can drive a taxi. I can, and do, cut my own hair. I did however, tip my urologist, because I am unable to pulverize my own kidney stones. "

7) "I have been Michael's number two guy for about five years. And we make a great team. We're like one of those classic, famous teams. He's like Mozart, and I'm like...Mozart's friend. No, I'm like Butch Cassidy, and Michael is like...Mozart. You try and hurt Mozart, you're gonna get a bullet in your head, courtesy of Butch Cassidy."

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Gods Aren't Angry? and a Shout Out to Mrs. Pistole

I just finished watching The Gods Aren't Angry, which is the new Rob Bell DVD. Where do I begin?

Charles Colson told a pastor friend of mine that he believes Bell to be the most dangerous teacher in America today. He may be right.

I'm sure that Bell means very well because I did when I believed and taught exactly the same thing to several churches and youth groups while I was an Emergent.

Bell very subtly denies the great Christian doctrine of propitiation (Rom. 3:25 and 1 John 2:2 and 4:10...look them up in a good translation like the ESV or the NASB) and, therefore, the awesome doctrine of double imputation. Bell takes the Abelardian position that everything is about expiation i.e., that God doesn't need blood and that sacrifice is all about your conscience. Such a view greatly waters down the holiness of God and the great evil of sin.

Now, like I used to do, Bell is simply following the proponents of the New Perspective on Paul set forth by one of his heroes N.T. Wright. Read 2 Corinthians 5:21 and think about it a very long time. I can tell you that the adherents to the New Perspective, like Wright (and Bell) have never adequately dealt with it.

Bell also trumpets the theory of religion outlined most notably by another Bell hero, Ken Wilbur, who is a tantric, Mayan Buddhist. The Bible is very clear that other religions are not the product of organic responses to "forces beyond our control" but are, in fact, demonic (see Lev. 17:7; Deut. 32:17; 2 Chron. 11:15; Psalm 106:35-37 and 1 Cor. 10:20-28).

Bell goes on to deny that God is angry because He is a "god of love" but is that Biblical? Romans 5 and Colossians 1 teaches that before repentance and faith we were "enemies" of God and Philippians 3 teaches that He will crush all of His enemies under His feet. Revelation 14 teaches that the judgment of the unrepentant by Christ will be as if they were stomped in a giant winepress until the blood runs as high as a horse's bridle. Sounds pretty angry to me, Rob!

Bell fails to see that anger and love can and must be reconciled. For example, I hate abortion because I love children. One is often contingent upon the other. God must be just and the justifier (Romans 3:26).

Pray for Rob Bell. Pray that he repents from the culturally acceptable, narcissistic "gospel" that is really all about us and doesn't seriously factor in the great and awesome holiness of God and justice of the sovereign ruler of creation. It is, as R.C. Sproul wrote, as if Bell has only been converted to one person of the Trinity and that is tragic.

Okay, all that heavy stuff aside, here is a shout out to my sister in Christ (and Revolution core member) Mrs. Tiffany Pistole who is having oral surgery this week. Get well soon and I'll be praying for you.

ALSO please note that the River City Revolution blog is up and running with a post from yours truly and the one and only Pastor Dave Dunham on being a dude for Christ. Coming soon, posts by my bros Eron Elswick, Justin Clark and Ryan Rolfe (i.e., the heralded leader of The World's Most Dangerous Praise Band). Check it out here:

Friday, July 25, 2008

Revolution and Xenos Summer Institute

River City Redemption will be shutting down very soon but fortunately you can click on to the new River City Revolution Blog here.

Thanks to my bro Dave Dunham for getting it up and running.

Xenos Christian Fellowship's 2008 Summer Institute focused on the Emergent Movement and contained a few surprises including Mark Driscoll rebuking the crowd for not praying for Brian McLaren and Rob Bell. Gary Breshears, a professor of theology and co-author of Vintage Jesus, gave a seminar on the works of McLaren (who he has met and conversed with) and spent a good deal of time congratulating McLaren on energizing so many for social justice. The biggest surprise was that the best and most moving speech was given by D.A. Carson on Thursday night. His lecture (really a sermon) entitled Experience and Truth from Psalm 1 and 1 John was amazing. I encourage you to get the CD from Xenos.

The speakers did indeed take Bell, Pagitt, McLaren and others to task in the mold of John the Baptist, Paul and King Jesus himself but there was a great emphasis on praying for these brothers who have gone astray.

I agree and repent of the harsh language I have often used to describe them. I remember when I was Emergent and downplayed the holiness of God, scoffed at the the need for atonement and portrayed sin as largely corporate and political. It helped me feel independent at first but an empty smugness followed that nearly destroyed my faith and my family. I thank God that His Spirit is working on me and helping me to repent every day and to say that Jesus is Lord.

We must still strongly contend for the faith for Satan has always been more successful at twisting God's Word then outright denying it but we, and especially I, must do so with a better attitude.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Taking A Break...

No real post today. I'm taking most of the day off to listen to Mark Driscoll talk about Emergent this morning (which is great because I'm preaching about it this weekend at CCC as Dad, Rick and I take a tag team approach to the sermon) and then I get to listen to D.A. Carson speak twice about postmodernism and Emergent and then sit in on a workshop re: the works of Brian McLaren with Prof. Gary Beshears. Driscoll and Dennis McCallum did a good job last night and I'm really looking forward to hearing Don Carson. I'll blog about the conference tomorrow. Until then....

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Part Two of Books You Must Read RIGHT FRIGGIN' NOW!!!

Okay, so you go out and buy a good Bible (ESV or NLT) and you dig in only to discover that you don't know what in the frick is going on. I mean, you get over the talking donkey and some dude opening a can with the jawbone of an ass (don't send me emails that's a quote from ye ole King James Version) but then you get into the prophets and really weird crap is happening and you read the Gospels but you can't figure out who Jesus is pronouncing judgment upon and then you get to the book of Revelation and you haven't heard anything like it since your roommate in college rambled on after hitting his wizard shaped bong and a VHS copy of Fantasia. So if the Bible is God's inspired word then what do you do?

Fortunately there are number of great resources available to help a dedicated Christian study Scripture without chucking a spaz. I recommend "How To Read The Bible For All It's Worth" by Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart. The little book gives Christians an overview of each applicable ancient genre contained in Scripture so that they can better understand their Bible.

However, if you really want to dig in deep then I recommend "Grasping God's Word" by Duvall and Hays, which is a great textbook designed for Bible college students.

So, if you are dedicated and willing to let your geek flag flythen buy one or both and be the first kid on your block to actually understand what the @#!* the book of Daniel is about.

Part One of "Books You Must Start Reading RIGHT NOW!!!!"

Okay, so anyone who reads this blog knows that I cannot stand "Pagan Christianity" or "The Shack" or most emergent drivel.
So, in my estimation, what books don't suck?

How about we start with the Bible? Heard of it? I know, I know...a little long, some of the characters are hard to care about, you feel like you're reading a children's book when animals start talking, etc. etc.

Yet, if you truly have God's Spirit working within you to slowly "depervertifisy" you (does that sound George Bush like?) then you cannot go long without reading Scripture.

Yet, if you walk into a Christian book store (not that I recommend it! So much crap in there makes me want to go Jesus in the Temple and...okay, I digress...sorry) then you will notice a hundred different choices and some of them not even ye King James! I would recommend a good study Bible and access to, which has dozens of English translations available. I think that every serious Christian needs a good study Bible and access to other translations in order truly dig deeply into the Word of God.

The best reader friendly translation available is the New Living Translation. If you can afford it then you should grab a copy but if not then don't fret you can find it online at Biblegateway. I always recommend that Christians read whole books of the Bible in as few sittings as possible and not just engage in "read a verse and pray devotionals." In fact, the best way to study a book of the Bible is to read it through in one sitting beginning with a reader friendly but theologically accurate translation like the New Living Translation. Eventually, however, you need to slow down and study the book by breaking it down into smaller chunks and this requires a good literal translation and I define "literal" as a work that strives to stick as close to the original Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek as possible.

I think that the English Standard Version (or ESV) has surpassed the New American Standard as the best literal translation on the market and the best version out there is the Literary Study Bible. You should find one in a store and flip through it or peruse one online and see what you think but keep in mind that two new study Bibles will hit the market this fall and may easily rank as the best one-two punch out there--they are the ESV Study Bible and the New Living Translation Study Bible, which, by virtue of the scholars working on them, promise to be extraordinary.

So, if you decide to wait on one of the two study Bibles or if you feel the need to grab the ESV Literary Study Bible today then please...please...please...put down your crappy Tim LaHaye, Ted Dekkar, William Young stink pickle and just start reading a good version of the Bible!
Because if I run across one more so-called Evangelical Christian pushing some pile of poo that they think is "revolutionary" then I'm going to have to resort to extreme measures...think something like the picture to your right...I mean it...don't mess with me...I'm a lawyer and therefore have no heart!!!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

My Alma Mater Does It Again!

I went to seminary at Abilene Christian University which is a strange place. It is a church of Christ school which was birthed as a sectarian fundamentalist Bible college but has now become a left leaning, emergent friendly place with a serious case of Duke, SMU, Harvard, Yale, Princeton envy. I knew that when I was there and when I left the place as a little emergent neo-neo orthodox pastor but I hoped that it would change. I love the faculty there and hoped and prayed that they would repent of following mainstream denominations and seminaries into the land of blur.

But this past week I received my quarterly alumni newsletter focusing on the seminaries upcoming lectureship (a huge deal to the folks at ACU) only to discover that the featured speaker is none other then Brian Mclaren...Brian friggin' Mclaren!!! The ex-Jesus Freak hippie who, with the help of Doug Pagitt, shifted the "conversation" among the Gen-X pastors of the Young Leaders Network from how to reach the lost among the Gen-X and Gen-Y crowd to how to jettison 2000 years of orthodox Christianity.

Now this is a really strange turn for ACU because it prides itself (to a sinful degree, in my estimation) on its rigid academic standards and here it is inviting a self-confessed "non-theologian" with no seminary training and a flair for poorly argued positions to highlight their most cherished event.

After I left ACU with my M.Div. in 2001, I was a Mclaren, Bell, Grenz, Barth, N.T. Wright Emergent. I preached nice little "God loves you, so recycle" sermons and fed my congregations' worst instincts wrapped in a nice liberal, feel-good package that ignored the holiness of God, the sinfulness of man and the need for substitutionary atonement. Yet, despite hours of prayer, fasting and "conversations" about such "deep thinkers" as Brueggemann and Moltmann I was an absolute miserable mess. It was only after God took me, smacked me around and introduced me to the Gospel preached by Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards, Augustine and...well...the Apostle Paul that I found true peace.

So, after staring at Mclaren's mug in my alumni mag, losing my mind and repenting (a few times) I will start praying that ACU either truly turn from leading students down the same liberal, narcissistic path it led me or that God will move to close its doors before it does too much harm.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Weekend Post: Tim Keller on Missional vs. Evangelistic

Why Revolution? Frankly we will be the only missional church in the area in so far as it understands that we are living in a post-modern, post-Christian, post-"you name it age." That's why.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Blogging Slowdown

Sorry that posts have been few and far between this week but I've been travelling through upstate New York with the fam. Will begin regularly scheduled blogs next week until I hit Columbus on Wednesday for the 2008 Xenos Summer Institute featuring D.A. Carson and Mark Driscoll. Anyone interested in attending the Wednesday night session should contact Christ's Community Church at 740-353-1633.
Will be back with more on Revolution, must read books, kick tail music (have you checked out This Fire's Embrace new one?) and other stuff that will probably torque off a lot of fundamentalists and liberals. Until then...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Revolution Blog

River City Redemption Project will be shutting down soon (sad times), so that I can focus solely on the new Revolution blog, which will be manned by a team and not just yours truly. New address and more coming soon...stay tuned.

Monday, July 14, 2008

"So, What Are Supposed To Do Einstein?"

As I was sitting here in my hotel room outside of Buffalo, New York, it hit me that after reading my last few posts, you may raise the objection, "So, what do you think the church is supposed to look like, Einstein?"
I'm going to spend a lot of time unpacking that here and there over the next few months but in short here it is: (1) the church is, was and shall always be the worldwide collection of those called by King Jesus to fulfill his command found in Matthew 28:16-20 and known as the Great Commission i.e., evangelism and discipleship; (2) the church has a hierarchy of leadership that is and will held accountable to the King. The idea that the early church was a loose, spirit led democracy is clearly undercut by Acts and Paul's letters to Timothy and Titus. If nothing else, read Acts 15:1-21. Notice that James the Brother of Judas makes a decision for the whole church! (3) the church fulfills the Great Commission by proclaiming the Gospel, which is possibly best summarized in 1 Cor. 15:1-11); and (4) the church is a community where God's reign (or His Kingdom) is seen clearly in acts such as believers taking care of one another (see Acts 2:42-47). This was the church that was the instrument of the Holy Spirit to create disciples who praised God while being fed to the lions.
Now granted, this is a grossly oversimplified list that will need to be unpacked at length (although not as short as Calvin's who defined the church as the place where the Gospel is heard and the sacraments administered) but I wanted to start to toss some things around lest you think I'm just throwing rocks at the heretical butt pirates who have given the faith a bad name...not that I won't throw rocks at them in the future. I really enjoy it too much to give it up!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The More Things Change...

I've spent the day in Ithaca, New York with the folks from the church I helped pastor for three years while I attended law school. The church sits in the shadow of Cornell University (known since the 19th century as "godless Cornell") in a town which boasts that it is the "pagan capital" of the east. Talk about missional!

A few conversations I had last week along with the time I spent with my former comrades today has sparked a lot of thought about the state of Jesus' church in the world. It seems to me that the religious landscape among "God's people" has not really changed all that much since our King ascended back to His throne.

In the first century there were essentially four groups within Judaism--the Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes and Zealots. One may argue that the Zealots were more politically centered than theologically so but, in James Carville's words, "let's not complicate the simple."

First, there are the Pharisees who, while knowing in some sense that grace precedes and accompanies election, still easily lapsed into harsh legalism in the hopes of earning God's favor once again. The Pharisees were not unlike many within evangelicalism today who think of the faith in terms of exchange, whether its the Joel Osteens & purple haired freaks on Trinity who preach that if you show up in church and get the right attitude then God owes you a paycheck or the meanspirited King James only folks who believe that if we just all stop cussing, drinking beer and watching "Superbad" then God will reward our country with full employment, G-rated movies and women folk who know how to cook, clean and keep their gob shut.

Second, there were the sadducees who in their desire to "get along" with the powers that be decided to cut the Bible up in order to get rid of all that king and resurrection talk. The sadducees tended to be wealthy and hang out with government officials at cocktail parties talking about politics and the art. Sound familiar? Like liberal mainliners and certain emergent streams who decry the "religious culture" while being fully enveloped in another religious culture that is equally unbiblical i.e., like quietly lusting to be accepted by the elite.

Third, there are the Essenes who are the sectarin nut jobbers who have written the world off and care only about their own spirituality. Go ahead and lump both certain fundamentalists who have bomb shelters, automatic weapons & every Tim LaHaye book next to chicks with napkins on their heads and, again, certain emergents who have given up on evangelism and are "just trying to be faithful" by withdrawing to coffee shops and pubs where they read Volf, Brueggemann, etc. without actually speaking to anyone about issues related to salvation.

Finally, there are the zealots. These encompass both the Jeremiah Wright liberation theology types and the angry, pudgy, buzzcut, middle aged dudes who voted for Tancredo and volunteer to patrol the borders to keep out hungry foreigners in the name of Jesus!!!

King Jesus please come soon or, at the very least, Lord, please save us from your followers!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Your Weekend Post--"Dumb Bell"

Thanks to the Gospel Coalition's Resources, I was listening to D.A. Carson talk about the Emerging Church and he brought up Rob Bell. Carson had not previously tackled Bell because when he wrote his book "Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church" Bell had yet to follow the voices of McLaren and Walter Wink into the Land of Blur!

Carson made a couple of good points: (1) Mars Hill would not be as successful outside of a place like Grand Rapids. Carson echoed something I have heard many of my friends in or near western Michigan say which is that the overwhelming majority of Mars Hill attendees are torqued off white kids who are bitter about being raised in Grand Rapids many stiff necked churches; and (2) Bell's NOOMA videos and presentations are only "deep" if you have a Christian background to read into them. Indeed, I remember showing a NOOMA film to a non-Christian and he thought it was "new age, Oprah-esque fluff." AMEN!

Moreover, Bell is not really that creative. He is essentially a fairly uncritical plagiarist. I have yet to see "The Gods Aren't Angry" but almost everything in "Everything is Spiritual" is lifted from texts like Walter Brueggemann's commentary on Genesis and Lee Strobel's "Case for a Creator." About the only thing original in "Everything is Spiritual" are the bad jokes!

Before Bell went on an extended summer vacation, he was preaching through Philippians and was lifting nearly all of his sermon material from Peter O'Brien, N.T. Wright and folks like Richard Horsley.
Bell even repeatedly made a mistake that would get a freshman Bible College student in trouble by stating during every sermon in the Philippian series that Paul was in prison for saying "Jesus is Lord" instead of Caesar. Not true. Read Acts 24:1-9. The charge was disturbing the peace by allegedly defiling the Temple. Paul even made it very clear in Acts 25:8 that he had not committed any offense against Caesar. Please note that this is a verse that Wright, Crossan and others who Bell is parroting do not deal with or butcher in order to fit their preconceived "political reading" of the New Testament.
This is in addition to the numerous mistakes Bell makes in citing "Rabbinic authority" to interpret the New Testament because most of the works he cites are from the 3rd or 4th century, which is like looking to today's New York Times to figure out what Abe Lincoln believed! It is literally that kind of time gap! Ben Witherington at Asbury "took Bell to the woodshed" over this but was apparently ignored. A shame. Lord help us. When will the rain of dook that passes for "evangelicalism" come to an end?????

The Rebelution Tour :: Promo 2008

Josh Harris' younger bros are on the road as part of the "Rebelution" Tour promoting their book "Do Hard Things." I have heard nothing but great things about the tour and the book. Finally, a full on push by many evangelical leaders to transform student ministries from holy babysitting which treat teens like horny little retards with "lessons" consisting of lots of "don't or else" to actually challenging them on every level--about friggin' time!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Good Soldier

I still have too much to do to post so I'm pulling the lazy route of uploading vids. Here is Mark Driscoll on successful church planting. For those involved in Revolution, it is well worth your time. Enjoy.

The Ordinary Radicals - Trailer

My blog freaked out last night and I'm too busy preparing for a trip to New York to deal with it or to really post but here is the trailer to the forthcoming documentary "The Ordinary Radicals."

I strongly disagree with a lot of what Shane Claiborne says and does but I do admire the guy for living out his convictions. If nothing else, this forthcoming documentary about folks like Claiborne, who are attempting to follow hard after Jesus, should be interesting.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Gospel Coalition

I just discovered from Justin Taylor's Blog, which is one of the few blogs worth reading every day, that the Gospel Coalition's web page is now up and running ( with a lot of goodies for doctrine dorks like me.

Included are free audio downloads from board members like the great New Testament scholar D.A. Carson (whom I'm looking forward to hearing in person in a few weeks at Xenos in Columbus), information on their Christ on Campus Initiative and Themelios, a free on-line journal that looks very promising.

The Gospel Coalition's Preamble is worth reading and is copied below in full:

We are a fellowship of evangelical churches deeply committed to renewing our faith in the gospel of Christ and to reforming our ministry practices to conform fully to the Scriptures. We have become deeply concerned about some movements within traditional evangelicalism that seem to be diminishing the church’s life and leading us away from our historic beliefs and practices. On the one hand, we are troubled by the idolatry of personal consumerism and the politicization of faith; on the other hand, we are distressed by the unchallenged acceptance of theological and moral relativism. These movements have led to the easy abandonment of both biblical truth and the transformed living mandated by our historic faith. We not only hear of these influences, we see their effects. We have committed ourselves to invigorating churches with new hope and compelling joy based on the promises received by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

We believe that in many evangelical churches a deep and broad consensus exists regarding the truths of the gospel. Yet we often see the celebration of our union with Christ replaced by the age-old attractions of power and affluence, or by monastic retreats into ritual, liturgy, and sacrament. What replaces the gospel will never promote a mission-hearted faith anchored in enduring truth working itself out in unashamed discipleship eager to stand the tests of kingdom-calling and sacrifice. We desire to advance along the King’s highway, always aiming to provide gospel advocacy, encouragement, and education so that current- and next-generation church leaders are better equipped to fuel their ministries with principles and practices that glorify the Savior and do good to those for whom he shed his life’s blood.

We want to generate a unified effort among all peoples—an effort that is zealous to honor Christ and multiply his disciples, joining in a true coalition for Jesus. Such a biblically grounded and united mission is the only enduring future for the church. This reality compels us to stand with others who are stirred by the conviction that the mercy of God in Jesus Christ is our only hope of eternal salvation. We desire to champion this gospel with clarity, compassion, courage, and joy—gladly linking hearts with fellow believers across denominational, ethnic, and class lines.

Our desire is to serve the church we love by inviting all of our brothers and sisters to join us in an effort to renew the contemporary church in the ancient gospel of Christ so that we truly speak and live for him in a way that clearly communicates to our age. We intend to do this through the ordinary means of his grace: prayer, the ministry of the Word, baptism and the Lord’s supper, and the fellowship of the saints. We yearn to work with all who, in addition to embracing the confession and vision set out here, seek the lordship of Christ over the whole of life with unabashed hope in the power of the Holy Spirit to transform individuals, communities, and cultures. You will find attached both our Confessional Statement and our Theological Vision for Ministry—a vision rooted in the Scriptures and centered on the gospel.

So, check it out and, if possible, donate some $ to a worthy group. I plan to do so.

Am I Just Too Darn Loud?

Why do I scream like a friggin' maniac when I preach? Why do I use "raw language" when I preach like calling people "self-absorbed, materialistic perverts?" Aren't I supposed to correct with gentleness?

Okay, first of all, no I don't always preach in that manner. It depends on the text and context of where and when I'm preaching. Second, to paraphrase Mark Driscoll, when someone criticizes your preaching then pray about it and reflect upon it and if the critic is right then repent humbly but if they are wrong then ignore it and get over it. So, I have and will do so.

However, please keep all of the following in mind, if we let the Bible define the Bible and speak to us today as God's Word then we need to keep a few things in mind: (1) Jesus used "raw" language and called people "the children of the devil" i.e., your momma shagged Satan. Paul also used such language calling people "dogs" or "whitewashed walls" which are the modern equivalents of things I can't blog about without getting blocked by a lot of filters! (2) the greatest revivals in history have been sparked by preachers proclaiming the Gospel with all of its rough edges. Do yourself a favor and Google Jonathan Edwards' classic sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." Heck, pick up any collection of sermons from the 1st or 2nd Great Awakening and see what I mean. John Wesley himself claimed that he didn't preach grace until he had everyone in tears over their sins!

Also, my bros & sisters, just read your Bibles. I know that we have all grown accustomed to soft, pleasant sermons that are essentially "How to Succeed in Life without really Trying" or pats on our spoiled, soft narcissistic heads. Whether its Rick Warren or Joel Osteen or Rob Bell, as different as they all are theologically, they still all preach the "Gospel Light" that appeal to different base instincts but Scripture simply does not support such an approach.
Then again, maybe I'm just too darn loud and nasty or perhaps you're all just self-absorbed, materialistic perverts!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Apologetics--The Reports of Its Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

My seminary profs, along with many emergent leaders, predicted that the discipline of apologetics, i.e., the rational defense of the Christian faith, was dying a quick death.

Yet, Christianity Today reports that apologetic conferences are hotter than the hinges on the gates of hell and that seminaries are turning away students in droves seeking to earn degrees in the subject. So much for my profs' prophetic vision!

This month arch apologist Dr. William Lane Craig released his 3rd edition of the modern classic "Reasonable Faith" while Dr. Tim Keller's book "The Reason for God" is still flying off the shelves. Do yourself a favor and pick-up both. Also check out the audio resources at and Dr. Craig's new youtube channel featuring many of his debates with prominent atheist scholars (search for drcraigvideos). Enjoy.

Dealing with Christian Doubt

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July!

Here's to bros like David French who are serving honorably overseas.

I know that it is popular, especially among the torqued off honkies in the Emergent movement, to view our country, and especially our founding fathers as, purely secular. Funny that the founding fathers themselves didn't see it that way.

Take the two least religious founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, and consider their actions.

For example, look at Thomas Jefferson who was the author of the so-called separation of church and state (by the way, the phrase is not in the Constitution, Jefferson did not have a hand in authoring our Constitution, the letter containing the phrase is attached to the Free Exercise Clause not the Establishment Clause and no Court interpreted it as remotely relevant until 1947).

Did you know that Jefferson attended church every the Capitol ! In fact, the Capitol housed more than 2000 church attendees every week. Where did they get permission to use the Capitol as a church? From President Thomas Jefferson! That's not all. Jefferson ordered the Marine Corp Band to serve as the church's band!!!

Also, after the purchase of the Louisiana Purchase, Jefferson sought federal funds to evangelize Native Americans and have church buildings built for them! Not even Jerry Falwell would have done that!

What about Ben Franklin? During the Constitutional Convention, the delegates found themselves at an impasse and here is how Franklin interceded:

Mr. President:

The small progress we have made after 4 or five weeks close attendance & continual reasonings with each other -- our different sentiments on almost every question, several of the last producing as many noes as ays, is methinks a melancholy proof of the imperfection of the Human Understanding. We indeed seem to feel our own wont of political wisdom, since we have been running about in search of it. We have gone back to ancient history for models of government, and examined the different forms of those Republics which having been formed with the seeds of their own dissolution now no longer exist. And we have viewed Modern States all round Europe, but find none of their Constitutions suitable to our circumstances.
In this situation of this Assembly groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the contest with G. Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the Divine Protection. -- Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a Superintending providence in our favor. To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? or do we imagine that we no longer need His assistance.

I have lived, Sir, a long time and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth -- that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings that "except the Lord build they labor in vain that build it." I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall be become a reproach and a bye word down to future age. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments by Human Wisdom, and leave it to chance, war, and conquest.

I therefore beg leave to move -- that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the Clergy of this City be requested to officiate in that service.

So, Jefferson ordered church services in the Capitol and federally funded evangelism. Franklin's response to an impasse at the Constitutional Convention was to call for prayer (which was heeded with 3 days of prayer and fasting).

So, did the least religious founding fathers misunderstand their own Constitution or have secular jurists twisted it by their own Machiavellian instruments?
I may not be as conservative as I used to be but I do believe that our country is headed to the way of France, Germany and Canada i.e., secular socialism, largely based on an ignorant view of our Constitution and founding. God forgive us and have a happy 4th!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Ben Witherington on Pagan Christianity

Ben Witherington is one of my favorite Arminians. Ben is a professor of New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary, a master of early Christian history, author of a few of the most valuable Christian reference works in print and maintains a widely read blog.
Lately Witherington has been analyzing the book "Pagan Christianity" chapter-by-chapter. Check it out here--

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Shack

I received like the 50th email on "The Shack." I haven't read it. Don't know if I'll have time to read it but here is Driscoll on it. Would also read Challies review as it seems to encompass both the praise and criticisms I've heard from Christians of all stripes.