Tag Archives: Evangelicalism

Roundup

Obama’s Snooping Excludes Mosques, Missed Boston Bombers — This the most heinous thing of all with their un-Constitutional searches.  Just as with airport security, they deliberately avoid those most likely to be guilty.

The Art of Leading Congregational Worship — good tips.

1. If we, the congregation, can’t hear ourselves, it’s not worship. Christian worship is not a concert. . . .When the amped sound of the praise band overwhelms congregational voices, we can’t hear ourselves sing–so we lose that communal aspect of the congregation and are encouraged to effectively become “private,” passive worshipers.

2. If we, the congregation, can’t sing along, it’s not worship. … And so your virtuosity gives rise to our passivity; your creativity simply encourages our silence. And while you may be worshiping with your creativity, the same creativity actually shuts down congregational song.

Worship leaders, if you look out over the congregation and you see that we are not singing with you, something has gone wrong. Are you jamming alone up there for extended periods of time? Are you changing well-known melodies just enough to surprise us and make us hesitant to sing out, and/or adding flair that we can’t follow? Are you choosing soloistic songs with complicated melodies rather than musically simple ones designed for group singing?

False teacher spotlight: Rachel Held Evans gets a lot of play in the media posing as an evangelical Christian, but she is anything but.  I don’t care for any false teachers, but I at least prefer those who don’t pretend to be on our side.  Via A Response to Rachel Held Evans on the Today Show | Denny Burk (read it all to see how badly she mocks the  Bible and creates a god in her own image):

4. Redefinition of “evangelical.” Both Natalie Morales and the author identify Evans as an evangelical. I have already written about this elsewhere at length, but I will reiterate here. Evans’ definition of evangelical misses the mark on a number of points. Evans denies the inerrancy of scripture and says that “as a woman I have been nursing a secret grudge against the apostle Paul for about eight years.” As a young adult, she says that she stopped believing in the “Bible’s exclusive authority, inerrancy, perspicuity, and internal consistency.” She came to the conclusion that “the Bible wasn’t what I’d once believed it to be.” Evans has also pressed the case for inclusivism—the view that says people need not have conscious faith in Jesus Christ in order to be saved—and she rejects exclusivism. In a recent post, she defines the gospel without reference to the death and resurrection of Jesus and adopts the reductionism of counterimperial interpreters who say that the “good news” is “Jesus is Lord and Caesar is not.” She supports gay marriage, and she has served communion to practicing homosexuals. We could go on, but that is enough to make it clear that her definition of “evangelical” is strained at best. At worse, it’s not anything close to approaching evangelical. She is not a representative of evangelical faith, despite the assumptions of the reporters at the Today Show.

The One Thing Liberals Fear You Will Do — Abandon government education.

New study: health benefits of marriage are unique to opposite-sex unions — They still aren’t equal.

Students Taught about Homosexual Foreplay Disguised As Tolerance — Oh, but they aren’t trying to indoctrinate anyone!  Right.  These people should be in jail.

An interesting thought exercise I saw on Facebook that exposes the ridiculous idea of people picking their “real” gender.

Extend the “gender identity” idea to race: imagine the outrage if someone declared their “race identity” was black or Native American and demanded, say, affirmative action in the form of scholarships, “even if it isn’t the one that matches their biological [race] at birth?”

And this as well:

Something I don’t understand: If your body actually is male and your mind says it is female, why do we assume that means there is something wrong with the body instead of something wrong with the mind?

If you have an emotional problem with your body’s gender, it seems like common sense that we need to address the emotions which contradict reality instead of the gender which is perfectly fine.
Caleb Jones

The Last Place You Look for New Members — A great post about preaching the Gospel at funerals.  I heard someone once say they didn’t want the Gospel preached at their funeral.  I thought, “Are you kidding me?  That is the last time many of those people will think about me and what I cared about.  While I’ve got their attention I certainly want them to hear the Gospel.”

I’m learning that the Word of God is more than sufficient for every occasion, including—if not especially—funerals. This is why Paul so often declared he wasn’t ashamed of the good news, for it is God’s power unto salvation (Rom. 1:16). For timid Timothys like me, it seems a bit frightening to bring this otherworldly power and wild grace to grieving family members in a funeral service. And yet, not once has someone complained to Tim. On the contrary, even unbelievers and nominal church members appreciate and admire his courage. Perhaps people respect a potent and passionate faith more than a watery and universal hope, even if they don’t agree. And maybe they are even less inclined to so easily dismiss it on their way to the graveside service.

Stan on the “least of these” — the passage actually refers to the least of these my brothers, so it is about fellow believers, not everyone on the planet.  That doesn’t mean you can’t help non-Christians, but that isn’t what Matthew 25 is about.

I saw that misquoted dozens of times (literally) at the Leftist Sojourners’ blog this week.  And of course, these people were helping the least of these with other people’s money and they were pro-abortion (i.e., they voted Democrat and none disagreed with their unrestricted, taxpayer-funded abortion platform), which is a peculiar way to care for the “least of these.”

Gore Says Obama Needs To Get Serious On Dealing With Hotcoldwetdry

Alternate headline: Man with massive “carbon footprint” and lots of money at stake says other man with largest “carbon footprint” in the world needs to Do Something about no statistically significant warming in 15+ years.

The war on young girls: Obama administration approves Plan B morning after pill for young girls

Janice Crouse, also of CWFA, responded: “Once again, those who yell the loudest about caring about the nation’s children and youth applaud a decision to place our kids in a special interest experiment. Plan B, popularly called the ‘morning-after pill’ is a much-higher-dosage version of the regular birth control pill (which used to require a doctor’s prescription and continued doctor’s supervision). It is irresponsible to advocate over-the-counter use of these high-potency drugs, which would make them available to anyone – including those predators who exploit young girls. Mark my words, it will not be long before we see girls and women forced to purchase Plan B for their abuser to keep them and others enslaved. This is a pimp, predator, and pedophile’s dream – unlimited access to Plan B.”

She added: “This is a political decision, made by those who stand to profit financially from an action that puts ideology ahead of the nation’s girls and young women. Where is the scientific data and solid reasoning behind a decision that endangers minors?”

Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life of America also weighed in on the decision.

She told LifeNews: “President Obama is waging a War on Girls by allowing young children to get Plan B without a physician or parent’s care or knowledge. The morning after pill is a megadose of the birth-control pill, which has been categorized by the World Health Organization as a Group I carcinogen. That’s the highest possible ranking – cigarettes are also in Group I. So why are drugstores required to put cigarettes behind the counter and ask for a photo id to stop minors from purchasing them, but President Obama is now ordering the morning after pill be sold over the counter, next to candy bars and packs of gum?  This is not reproductive justice, this is child abuse.”

Just to be clear, according to the drug manufacturer, Plan B does cause abortions in some situations by preventing the implantation of a fertilized egg.

John Lennon Stopped Yoko Ono From Having Abortion of Son Sean

Equal rights!

False teacher spotlight: Rachel Held Evans

Rachel Held Evans gets a lot of play in the media posing as an evangelical Christian, but she is anything but.  I don’t care for any false teachers, but I at least prefer those who don’t pretend to be on our side.  Via A Response to Rachel Held Evans on the Today Show | Denny Burk (read it all to see how badly she mocks the  Bible and creates a god in her own image):

4. Redefinition of “evangelical.” Both Natalie Morales and the author identify Evans as an evangelical. I have already written about this elsewhere at length, but I will reiterate here. Evans’ definition of evangelical misses the mark on a number of points. Evans denies the inerrancy of scripture and says that “as a woman I have been nursing a secret grudge against the apostle Paul for about eight years.” As a young adult, she says that she stopped believing in the “Bible’s exclusive authority, inerrancy, perspicuity, and internal consistency.” She came to the conclusion that “the Bible wasn’t what I’d once believed it to be.” Evans has also pressed the case for inclusivism—the view that says people need not have conscious faith in Jesus Christ in order to be saved—and she rejects exclusivism. In a recent post, she defines the gospel without reference to the death and resurrection of Jesus and adopts the reductionism of counterimperial interpreters who say that the “good news” is “Jesus is Lord and Caesar is not.” She supports gay marriage, and she has served communion to practicing homosexuals. We could go on, but that is enough to make it clear that her definition of “evangelical” is strained at best. At worse, it’s not anything close to approaching evangelical. She is not a representative of evangelical faith, despite the assumptions of the reporters at the Today Show.

The importance of discernment and clear thinking

Ann Coulter makes some excellent points in Beware of Liberals Who Come in Evangelicals’ Clothing:

Any Evangelical promoting the McCain-Rubio amnesty plan has the moral framework of Planned Parenthood. Like the abortion lobby, they have boundless compassion for the people they can see, but none for those they can’t see.

One Evangelical after another told the Times that they no longer believe Americans should have control over who immigrates here on the basis of having met illegal aliens in their pews. The millions harmed by illegal immigration are left out of the equation. They don’t go to church here.

Similarly, the pro-choice crowd is brimming with compassion for girls who have gotten pregnant by accident. They’re in high school, their whole lives are ahead of them, it’s one mistake! The babies don’t count because they’re out of sight.

The Rev. David Uth, head pastor of First Baptist Orlando, said that based on “the stories out there in the pews” from illegals who “have made friends and who have become close with people here,” there was momentum in his church to “do something to address their needs.”

Mr. Uth and his parishioners will never hear stories from the thousands of Americans killed every year by illegal aliens. They won’t be sitting in the pews with those murdered and maimed in Boston last month by a conspiracy of immigrants.

They won’t hear from hospitals and school systems in border states forced into bankruptcy because they have to provide free services to illegals. They won’t chat with farmers and ranchers whose livestock and property are stolen or destroyed by illegal aliens.

It is sad to see people make un-principled decisions just because they feel sorry for someone they know.  I’ve seen countless people switch positions to directly oppose the Bible just because they know someone who is gay and they want them to be “happy.”  Or they become pro-choice because they feel sorry for a pregnant teen.  Or they oppose immigration laws because they know an illegal alien.  It is such a sad case of abandoning critical thinking skills and not thinking about the other victims and about what God says.  As Christians we should be mature, clear thinkers and not let emotions lead us to take immoral positions on these issues.

About all those “I went to Heaven and came back” books . . .

I know these books are popular and have brought comfort to some people, but I encourage discernment in reading anything, and especially popular Christian books.  Here’s a good overview by Phil Johnson about this genre.

Blogger Tim Challies has labeled the genre “Heaven Tourism,” candidly dismissing one bestseller in the category as “pure junk, fiction in the guise of biography, paganism in the guise of Christianity.”  This is not a totally new phenomenon. Various survivors of near-death experiences have been publishing gnostic insights about the afterlife for at least two decades. Betty Eadie’s Embraced by the Light was number one on the New York Times Bestseller List exactly 20 years ago. The success of that book unleashed an onslaught of similar tales, nearly all of them with strong New Age and occult overtones. So psychics and new-agers have been making hay with stories like these for at least two decades.

What’s different about the current crop of afterlife testimonies is that they are being eagerly sought and relentlessly cranked out by evangelical publishers. They are bought and devoured by millions who would describe themselves as born-again Bible-believing Christians. Every book I have named in the above list comes from an ostensibly evangelical source.  . . .

These books are coming out with such frequency that it is virtually impossible to read and review them all. But that shouldn’t even be necessary. No true evangelical ought to be tempted to give such tales any credence whatsoever, no matter how popular they become.

Don’t miss this next point.

One major, obvious problem is that these books don’t even agree with one another. They give contradictory descriptions of heaven and thus cannot possibly have any cumulative long-term effect other than the sowing of confusion and doubt.

But the larger issue is one no authentic believer should miss: the whole premise behind every one of these books is contrary to everything Scripture teaches about heaven.

In an upcoming book dealing with this subject, John MacArthur says,

For anyone who truly believes the biblical record, it is impossible to resist the conclusion that these modern testimonies—with their relentless self-focus and the relatively scant attention they pay to the glory of God—are simply untrue. They are either figments of the human imagination (dreams, hallucinations, false memories, fantasies, and in the worst cases, deliberate lies), or else they are products of demonic deception.

We know this with absolute certainty, because Scripture definitively says that people do not go to heaven and come back: “Who has ascended to heaven and come down?” (Proverbs 30:4). . . .

All three biblical writers who saw heaven and described their visions give comparatively sparse details, but they agree perfectly (Isaiah 6:1-4; Ezekiel 1 and 10; Revelation 4-6). They don’t agree with the Burpo-Malarkey version of heaven. Both their intonation and the details they highlight are markedly different. The biblical authors are all fixated on God’s glory, which defines heaven and illuminates everything there. They are overwhelmed, chagrined, petrified, and put to silence by the sheer majesty of God’s holiness. Notably missing from all the biblical accounts are the frivolous features and juvenile attractions that seem to dominate every account of heaven currently on the bestseller lists.

. . .

Evangelical readers’ discernment skills are at an all-time low, and that is why books like these proliferate. Despite the high profile, high sales figures, and high dollar amounts Christian publishers can milk from a trend such as this, it doesn’t bode well for the future of Christian publishing—or for the future of the evangelical movement.

. . .

Some good news:

Spoiler alert: Heaven’s a lot more glorious than any of these current bestsellers suggest.

If you want an outstanding book on Heaven, read In Light of Eternity: Perspectives on Heaven by Randy Alcorn.  It is fairly short and easy to read but thoroughly biblical.

Oh, and the Bible is a good book to read as well.

Hat tip: Sola Sisters

Yeah, it is worth it.

A post called How to win a culture war and lose a generation posited that the church needs to change its views on homosexuality to increase membership.

This topic is certainly the #1 way Satan is fighting the church, literally splitting denominations and trying to convince people to adopt non-biblical views to cater to the world. But if they read the Bible thoroughly they’d note that God is really, really not worried about being unpopular.

Barna says non-believers don’t like what believers believe? Oh noes! We better hurry up and change our views! /sarcasm

When asked by The Barna Group what words or phrases best describe Christianity, the top response among Americans ages 16-29 was “antihomosexual.” For a staggering 91 percent of non-Christians, this was the first word that came to their mind when asked about the Christian faith. The same was true for 80 percent of young churchgoers. (The next most common negative images? : “judgmental,” “hypocritical,” and “too involved in politics.”)

In the book that documents these findings, titled unChristian, David Kinnaman writes:

“The gay issue has become the ‘big one, the negative image most likely to be intertwined with Christianity’s reputation. It is also the dimensions that most clearly demonstrates the unchristian faith to young people today, surfacing in a spate of negative perceptions: judgmental, bigoted, sheltered, right-wingers, hypocritical, insincere, and uncaring. Outsiders say [Christian] hostility toward gays…has become virtually synonymous with the Christian faith.”

Later research, documented in Kinnaman’s You Lost Me, reveals that one of the top reasons 59 percent of young adults with a Christian background have left the church is because they perceive the church to be too exclusive, particularly regarding their LGBT friends.  Eight million twenty-somethings have left the church, and this  is one reason why.

As Pastor Timothy noted, the real reason 59% of the people left the church is because they weren’t saved to begin with.

In my experience, all the anecdotal evidence backs up the research.

. . .

And when it comes to homosexuality, we no longer think in the black-at-white categories of the generations before ours. We know too many wonderful people from the LGBT community to consider homosexuality a mere “issue.” These are people, and they are our friends. When they tell us that something hurts them, we listen. And Amendment One hurts like hell.

Regardless of whether you identify most with Side A or Side B, (or with one of the many variations within those two broad categories), it should be clear that amendments like these needlessly offend gays and lesbians, damage the reputation of Christians, and further alienate young adults—both Christians and non-Christian—from the Church.

So my question for those evangelicals leading the charge in the culture wars is this: Is it worth it? 

Is a political “victory” really worth losing millions more young people to cynicism regarding the Church?

Is a political “victory” worth further alienating people who identify as LGBT?

Is a political “victory” worth perpetuating the idea that evangelical Christians are at war with gays and lesbians?

And is a political “victory” worth drowning out that quiet but persistent internal voice that asks—what if we get this wrong?

Too many Christian leaders seem to think the answer to that question is “yes,” and it’s costing them.

Because young Christians are ready for peace.

We are ready to lay down our arms. 

We are ready to start washing feet instead of waging war. 

Yes yes yes yes yes yes.  It is worth it.  Standing up for God’s truth is worth it.  Protecting religious freedom is worth it.  Keeping 5 yr. olds from being told how natural LGBTQX behavior is is worth it.  Not lying to people and encouraging them to engage in spiritually, physically and emotionally destructive lifestyles is worth it.

Despite the efforts of those living in Stereotype Land, we can share the truth in love.  In fact, it is profoundly un-loving when we don’t tell the truth.  We don’t have to lead with this issue, but we don’t have to back down from it like faithless cowards.

I don’t think we’ll lose a generation.  I trust a sovereign God to reach whomever He is going to reach, and I trust him to communicate his word to us accurately.  I trust that if I stick to his truths everything else will work out fine.

From the tolerant, loving religious Left: “Screw St. Paul, screw him!”

Via Institute on Religion & Democracy (IRD) – Chasing the Religious Left’s “Wild Goose”.

A recent festival convened by Religious and Evangelical Left leaders served as a mixing pot of liberal political advocacy and emergent church theology. Over the weekend of June 25, over 1,000 self-identified “progressive” Christians flocked to the Wild Goose Festival situated in the rolling hills of North Carolina. This mix of old time hippies and young idealists enjoyed an eclectic blend of art, music, talks, and general dissatisfaction directed at traditional evangelicals.

“Paul, in the Bible, tells my wife to be silent in church, screw St. Paul, screw him!” shouted a visibly angry Frankie Schaeffer during one session of the festival. Schaeffer, son of deceased author and evangelical leader Francis Schaeffer, lamented his family’s role in building the “religious right”, and the gathered audience of disaffected former evangelicals and other religious left groups affirmed his message. Schaeffer’s presentation seemed intentionally designed to offend traditionalists, leading to gleeful claps of approval from the audience.

They clapped for him?  Let’s be clear: The Bible is the inspired word of God, with the original writings turning out exactly as God and the writers wanted them to be.  Therefore, when Schaeffer says, “Paul, in the Bible, tells my wife to be silent in church, screw St. Paul, screw him!, he is really saying, “Screw God, screw him!”  Note to Frankie, the organizers, the other speakers and the audience members who agreed with Schaeffer: Christianity may not be your forte’.

While festival organizers proclaimed a “big tent” of inclusion, speakers repeatedly criticized a wide field of supposed adversaries ranging from political conservatives, evangelical Christian leaders, the United States government and even contemporary praise band leaders. Especially singled out for disdain were Southern Baptists, who were openly ridiculed by almost all of the major speakers.

Ah, you can really feel the love and tolerance!  Makes me want to be a Southern Baptist.

. . . Hoping to attract young evangelicals drawn to biblical teachings to care for the widow, the orphan, and the broken, festival speakers repackaged socialism and called it Regenerate Economies, while daydreaming about ending the nation-state through global environmental governance.

Yep, just your usual socialist / communist politics disguised as religion.  We get the parts about caring for widows and orphans, and do it with our own money.  We also get the parts about not shedding innocent blood, what marriage really is, etc.

Happy for the government to push the Church away from her responsibility to the poor, Sojourners chief Jim Wallis was on hand to offered a healthy dose of fear-mongering.  As I sat in the searing heat of the morning sun, I listened to his lecture, entitled “The Sky is Falling on the Poor.”  Wallis showed that he is well versed in the intricacies of the evil Republican budget but ignorant as to how the debt was created in the first place. Wallis boldly stated to the applause of the audience that “the debt arrived through two wars and tax breaks for the rich.” In classic Wallis style, class warfare is good, but actual warfare, even against terror, is always of the devil.

That’s what you get from false teachers include people like Jim “the Gospel is all about wealth redistribution” Wallis.

Emergent Church purveyor Brian McLaren picked up where Wallis left off. Standing in the middle of a geodesic dome made of branches and twine, he lamented the lack of global environmental regulation and argued that “we must talk about the joy in paying taxes.”

Go ahead, champ!  Pay all the extra taxes you like.  Just don’t covetously ask Caesar to raise them on others and call it giving on your part.

He raged about the “myth” that the church could take over the care of the poor from the government, calling those who believe such so “stupid and idiots…and that’s being nice.” Over 40 years of failures in the federal government’s “War on Poverty” should convince religious statists least to question whether government is always the solution. But few such doubts arose at The Wild Goose.

Yep, just like Jesus taught: Ask Caesar to solve all your problems.

As usual, while usually misinterpreting the verses on giving (they seem to ignore the part about giving “what you have decided in your own heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion”), they ignore calls to sexual purity.  And these “social justice” types are uniformly pro-legalized abortion, the ultimate injustice.

. . . Using a combination of emotionalism and revisionist hermeneutics Peggy Campolo concluded unscientifically “gay people don’t have a choice.”

That’s a fact-free statement on her part.  She is ignorant of ministries like Gay Christian Movement Watch that have helped countless people.

Going to criticize those “hateful arguments that people have change, they actually haven’t. Those people are confused about their sexuality and are probably bisexual.” Not to be outdone by his wife, Tony Campolo stated plainly that since the Church has “become welcoming and accepting” of divorced people and not restrictive to ordination, eventually homosexuality will be accepted as well. Ironically, Peggy and Tony were rebuked by a young gay activist for not affirming those who chose to be LBGTQ.

Run, don’t walk, from the religious Left.

Ugh: “Most Evangelicals Believe Good People are Heaven-Bound”

Sad but true: via StreetFishing: Author: Most Evangelicals Believe Good People are Heaven-Bound

The majority of Protestants and evangelicals believe that good people and people of other religions can go to heaven, according to author David Campbell.

Campbell, who co-wrote American Grace, How Religion Divides and Unites Us, contends that surveys of 3,000 Americans, used to write the book, show that American people of faith, though devout, are very tolerant. So much so that most believers also believe that good people, despite their religious affiliation, can go to heaven.

I wouldn’t describe those people as “tolerant.”  A more accurate term would be “ill-informed,” “wrong,” or even “rebellious.”

The Bible teaches 100+ times that Jesus is the only way to salvation and you can’t flip too many pages in the Old Testament without seeing strong warnings not to worship other gods.  Here is just one of those passages:

1 John 5:12-13 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

Those things aren’t what make the claims true, of course.  We have other evidence for that.  But no Christian should ever claim that other paths lead to God.  At best people who say that are “saved and confused.”

Biblical ignorance in the church is appalling, especially on matters as clear and foundational as this.  It isn’t like I’m expecting people to compare and contrast the various views of eschatology (end times).  This is simple “everyone is a sinner, Jesus is the Savior” stuff.  If churches can’t get that right, then why do they exist?

If you are a Christian, please commit to doing everything you can to study more yourself and encourage others to do the same.