Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Redefining the Faith?


If any of you have ever read "1984" by George Orwell, you will remember that poor Winston Smith worked at the strangely named "Ministry of Truth." The main job of the place was basically pro-regime propaganda, even to the point of constant re-definition of terms to be sure things fit the official line. When an inconvenient truth happened to pop up, it was placed in a "memory hole," where it burned up in a flash, never to be remembered again.

There are times when I feel that this is happening within evangelicalism to a certain extent. Perhaps an extreme example, but you'll get my point. A ruthless regime is out to replace biblical Christianity with a new one, changing word meanings and long-held biblical doctrines to buttress their position. Read this excellent column by Dr. Al Mohler, and you'll see what I mean. Dr. Mohler does a tremendous job showing how a cadre of "theologians" has over time attempted to change the very nature of biblical Christianity.

I can almost see Brian McLaren as "O'Brien," and a whole host of these revisionist types engaging in a "Two Minutes Hate" daily at those who want to preserve the true faith "once and for all delivered to the saints."

Yeah, maybe that's an unfair comparison for the time being, but let's wait a while. I hope it doesn't end up that way.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Poor Arkansas!


I guess you've arrived when universities etc. begin doing studies on you and popular music references you. Then again, maybe not.

Check out this rather interesting piece" on why Arkansas can't seem to shake its hillbilly, redneck image.

Like most Southern states, the culture has changed there somewhat from earlier days. People have moved in from other parts of the country due to the scenic beauty and lower cost of living than you find in major urban centers. New people slowly bring changes to things and not always for the better. Case in point, last year a grocery store in Mountain Home, AR, caved in to homosexual activists after a row in which the store tried to remove magazines and tabloids showing same-sex couples kissing etc, especially because children are often in grocery stores with their families. In earlier days, the activists would have been shown the door, and then some. In this day and age, the store caved. The times they are a'changin in the Land of Opportunity.

For the record, there is much more to Arkansas than the occasional redneck. It's a great state and I hope to retire there someday in the region from where my family hailed originally. I still have family there. They're not hayseeds and rednecks either.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Yay for Al Mohler and NPR!


We conservatives tend to pick on National Public Radio (NPR) quite a bit, but I want to give them kudos today for this discussion on the reliability of Scripture. Basically, it was a liberal professor from Calvin College debating Genesis etc. with Dr. Al Mohler, whom regular readers of this blog know I hold in very high respect.

Usually, when the left-leaning media choose evangelical spokespeople for venues such as this, they're typically ones who come across as hillrods or make you wince in other ways. Dr. Mohler represented conservative, evangelical Christianity very well in this dialogue, and starkly illustrated the issue at stake when people who identify themselves as Christians began softening on the reliability and authority of Scripture.

Today, good for NPR! And thanks to Phil Johnson of Pyromaniacs for the heads-up on this interview.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

An Apology for Kelo and Eminent Domain


It's been a while since I waxed eloquent on the subject of eminent domain, and how the U.S. Supreme Court's infamous Kelo decision has allowed local governments to abuse eminent domain, i.e. taking private property and giving it to private business for "economic development." A horrible precedent.

Now there's an interesting development. According to this Courant.com story, a state Supreme Court justice who helped set the stage for the U.S. Supreme Court decision has apologized to Suzanne Kelo, the plaintiff in the original case.

What will be the long-term impact of this? Who knows. But I hope it helps lay the groundwork for the Supreme Court to make things right and reverse its ridiculous Kelo opinion.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Pat Robertson Strikes Again


Televangelist Pat Robertson is the gift that keeps on giving, and I say that with tongue firmly planted in cheek.

Apparently, (go check out the Christian Post for the original story), Pat gave carte blanche for someone to divorce a spouse who is suffering from Alzheimer's Disease. In this separate Christian Post column, Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention (pictured right) issues one of the most powerful rebuttals I have seen. I truly believe he hits the nail right on the head.

I know living and caring for sick loved ones can be difficult. I've lived it myself for the past couple of years. But the notion that someone can divorce a spouse because mentally "they're not there anymore" seems to me to violate the very core of what Christ expects. We're not talking adultery, infidelity, fornication or even physical abuse. We're talking illness.

What in the world was Pat thinking?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Hyper-Fundamentalism


Thanks today to head Pyromaniac Phil Johnson for putting us aware of a new anthology with a contribution by Kevin Bauder. In his book, he discusses eight characteristics of hyper-fundamentalism. In this instance, we're talking hyper-fundamentalism of the Christian variety.

Many people don't realize that there is a difference between Christian fundamentalism and evangelicalism. But there is. While conservative, Bible-believing evangelicals share many if not all of the core doctrinal positions of fundamentalists, most evangelicals do not go to some of the lengths many fundamentalists do in terms of "separation" and other legalistic requirements.

No doubt this will poke a stick in a hornet's nest, but sometimes it's worth doing precisely that.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Media Birds of Prey?


Long time readers of this blog know that I take the conservative, biblical position on homosexuality and most social issues in general. Today, the folks over at WorldNetDaily posted this thoughtful piece on Chaz Bono, the mannified name of the former Chastity Bono, daughter of Sonny and Cher. Chastity has been undergoing sex change therapy to become a man. As Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association points out, the surgery and therapy will do no good. She will still be a woman no matter what.

I posted the photo of Sonny, Cher and Chastity, because that is the Chastity I remember from her long-ago television appearances - a sweet, smart little girl. She obviously grew up a very troubled young woman. I posted the link to Bryan's column because I think he's on to something. Aside from the sin of homosexuality and all the heartbreak that often attends those who fall into it, there is also the sin of a media who loves to feed on this kind of thing for all sorts of varying agendas. Profiteering on tragedy and wickedness. It's no different than the Coliseum entertainment of yesteryear. Bread and circuses for the masses to help distract people from the real problems of society.

Today, they're celebrating and promoting perversion. Next they'll make a spectacle out of ridiculing people who stand for truth and righteousness. And ridicule will only be the beginning. In fact, it's already started. I'm waiting for them to throw Christians to the lions again. It's coming, because we will never approve of what the media culture approves.

What's ahead for our culture unless the Lord intervenes in His grace and mercy? The Apostle Paul gives a pretty sober warning:

And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them (Romans 1:28-32).

Note the last line? "Give hearty approval to those who practice them." Reminds me of another Scripture. "Woe to those who call good evil, and call evil good."

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Abortion in the UK


American Sensationalism?

The BBC carried this rather disturbing article this morning on an abortion-related battle taking place in the British parliament.

Tory MP Nadine Torries has been pushing for changes in how women receive abortion counseling in the UK, and this has generated quite a firestorm, although Ms. Torries herself insists she is "pro-choice" on the subject of abortion.

The accusation I found curious and bothersome was that of introducing "American sensationalism" into the discussion.

American sensationalism? Abortion is the same tragedy no matter where it happens. I realize Europe is more liberal than the U.S. on many social issues, but I hardly think the pro-life cause is being ginned up solely from America. There are conservative Christians born and bred in the UK who object to abortion on moral and biblical grounds, and who are quite vocal about it. They need no prodding from their American brothers and sisters.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Coarse Culture


For today's post, I am linking to a column written by One News Now columnist Marcia Segelstein. In this article, she discusses Laura Ingraham's new book "Of Thee I Zing."

Sounds like it's worth reading.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Creation, the Emergents and Biblical Truth


Once again, Dr. Al Mohler performs a tremendous service to the church.

In Christian Post article, Dr. Mohler discusses the renewed debate over creation, the historicity of Adam and Eve, and why it is so important to the overall message of the Gospel.

Figured prominently in this most recent discussion is Emergent guru Brian McLaren. After reading his comments on this subject, it amazes me all the more why anyone claiming to be an orthodox Christian pays him any mind.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Christian Celebrity Culture


Something has been on my mind a lot of late as I observe “Christian culture” at large, and going back even into the 1980s when we had the televangelist scandals. It's about time that I posted something, so here goes.

I really believe we have too much of a celebrity culture in the church. I say that as someone who has been in the public eye for a long time, and as someone who’s had the chance to be around people who are considered really, really “high profile.” My late stepfather told me of an incident when he was out in California working as a custodian at a popular ministry often featured on TBN — and this particular ministry is now defunct after the leader was caught up in a scandal. My stepfather personally witnessed high profile speakers coming in, and after events, briefcases with thousands of dollars would be put into the trunks of limousines when the speakers would depart. And many of these guys off camera would be some of the most arrogant people you could imagine.

I would watch the same speakers in public appearances or on television/radio, and they would typically be on the receiving end of effusive praise. “Oh, you’re such a gift from the Lord. Oh, what a powerful message from a powerful man of God. Oh, you’re so talented and gifted. Oh, you’ve changed my life . . . “ and so on. Once in a great while, someone might actually give a little credit to the Lord, for which He could have said, “Thanks for the crumbs from your table, Mrs. Dives.”

I’ve seen the same thing myself over the years up close and personal, and not just on media. I’ve seen it in churches with pastors and speakers/teachers. It really gets nauseating after a while, and all the more so because it is such a trap to the human ego. People love being stroked and praised. At first, it starts out with no doubt genuine pleasure that someone has been blessed through their ministry. But after a while, the praise and hero worship becomes like an addictive drug. And the One being robbed of His glory is God. In the end, He ends up having to kick the slats out from under the one doing the robbing, because He will not give His glory to another.

This is a serious problem to which we all can be susceptible, even if we are not in a high profile role. So much of this could be solved and resolved if we would just hold our praise and give it to Whom it really belongs. If you’ve ever been blessed by anything I’ve done, taught, written or said, wonderful. Praise God. And I do mean — PRAISE GOD. Not me. When someone begins gushing over me, the first thing I’m tempted to do is to follow the example of Barnabas and Paul in Acts 14 and “tear my robes.” Trust me, that would not be a pretty sight if I actually followed through!