"Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ." - Jerome

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Entertainment-Driven Church?

Patton of Parchment and Pen wrote this reflection after visiting an evangelical Anglican service and then a non-denominational evangelical service. It just put into words what my reaction was when seeing big city evangelicalism in Dallas. Just made me want to ask if there was a place to return my "Evangelical Card." A friend of mine gave up the label a while back and was looking for something new to call himself. He settled on "Classical Christian." I'm fine with "Reformed" or even "Reformed Catholic" just to confuse people.

But as for "Modern Evangelicalism," will the last one out, please turn off the lights?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Sin List

Many believe the Bible is the guide to Christian ethics. The problem is, the Bible takes a lot of time talking about stories, grace, Jesus, and stuff, and doesn't really give us enough of what we should be doing to make us Christians. So what are the Christians who want to be a cut above, who want to earn a few more merits, supposed to do to earn those points?

One respected influencial Christian leader gives as guide for Christian ethics (when you have all the ethics from the Bible down): " if I were to be doing [something, and] somebody would stumble over it, I don’t do it"? This leader was giving us an interpretation of Romans 14:21, which talks about not making a brother stumble. The passage is talking about wine and meat eating, but with his interpretation this can be extended to everything, since in fact he was saying this of Card Playing. [note: this leader is a bit of a hypocrite on this though since he does take his interpretation to the point of abstention from wine but not vegetarianism]

This interpretation of "stumble" means that, basically, if a group of Christians think something is a sin, it becomes a sin for everyone, because someone would "stumble" over it. Jackpot! So, I would like to keep a list, so that fellow Christians can know what they are not allowed to do, consume or think, because a group of Christians think it is a sin. And remember, Joy in Christ!:

Play Cards

Eat Pork

Eat Meat

Watch Star Wars

Drink Caffeine

Practice Psychology

Take Psychiatric drugs

Proselytize Jews

Watch Cartoons

Engage in War


Have sex, (at all)

Celebrate Easter

Celebrate Halloween

Celebrate Christmas

Drink Alcohol

Listen to Rock Music

Observe the Sabbath

Not observe the Sabbath

Go to the movies

Swimming with the opposite sex

This is not comprehensive, in fact I would encourage others to help [with a website], so we make sure we have every doctrine of man here, so as not to offend or cause anyone to stumble, and along the way, give ourselves grounds for boasting!

[By the way, yes this is sarcastic and a break from my fast of not criticizing Christian leaders. And if it seems negative, I have already stated briefly what my philosophy of ethics is here. But in short, "stumble" in the Bible is not just doing something that someone else decided is bad.]

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Danger!: Baptists teaching the Bible!

Christianity Today has a story about Baptist pastor Joe Elam complaining about the rise of Calvinism in Southern Baptist seminaries. In the story, Elam reported this shocking story:

Though forbidden to do so, a former youth pastor at his church secretly taught predestination to teens, Elam said, sowing seeds of lingering division among several families.
How dare a pastor teach the biblical doctrine of predestination! What next? Will justification be secretly taught?

Do these pastors not even know the traditional teaching of the Baptist churches? In their 1689 confession, Baptists confessed that:

God hath decreed in himself, from all eternity, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely and unchangeably, all things, whatsoever comes to pass
In the story, the SBC President Page goes on to worry...

...that extremists could undermine the SBC's emphasis on outreach. He isn't impressed by arguments that most convention founders embraced Reformed ideas.
Sounds about right, the worst extremist neglectors of missions have to be those frozen chosen Calvinists like William Carry, and Adoniram Judson, and Calvinistic preachers like Spurgeon and James Boyce barely ever preached the gospel.

The Southern Baptists would be well advised to be conservative about their founding principles, rather than think the last 50 years of drift from their roots is actually their heritage. Word is that Al Mohler, a Calvinistic Baptist, was put up as a potential candidate for SBC president. Might be an interesting year for the SBC.
Page ends the article on the most mind-numbing note:

"The totality of history shows the vast majority of Baptists have not been [Calvinists], so why go back to the founders?" Page said. "I think we need to go back to the Bible."

That's the point.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Awesome Article

Michael Horton impresses me the more I read him. Check out this awesome article from Modern Reformation that begins with this paragraph:

What would things look like if Satan actually took over a city? The first frames in our imaginative slide show probably depict mayhem on a massive scale: Widespread violence, deviant sexualities, pornography in every vending machine, churches closed down and worshipers dragged off to City Hall. Over a half-century ago, Donald Grey Barnhouse, pastor of Philadelphia's Tenth Presbyterian Church, gave his CBS radio audience a different picture of what it would look like if Satan took control of a town in America. He said that all of the bars and pool halls would be closed, pornography banished, pristine streets and sidewalks would be occupied by tidy pedestrians who smiled at each other. There would be no swearing. The kids would answer "Yes, sir," "No, ma'am," and the churches would be full on Sunday ... where Christ is not preached.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Rediscovering our heritage

An interesting article on neotraditionalism in US News and World Report. Also cites a DTS prof:

Daniel Wallace, a professor of New Testament studies at Dallas Theological Seminary, which trains pastors for interdenominational or nondenominational churches, says there is a growing appetite for something more than "worship that is a glorified Bible class in some ways."