My name is Paul and I live in Canada. Here are some things you might infer:
- Paul is a Canadian
- Canadians have a love affair with the game of hockey
- Therefore, Paul loves hockey.
In actual fact, my affiliation with the game is something that kicks in around playoff time, and like NBC Sports, my full attention isn’t really there unless it’s a deciding game. I guess when it comes to sports, I’m not much of an athletic supporter.
Now here’s the same kind of logic at work:
- Rick Warren condemns the narrow mindedness and legalism of fundamentalists.
- Fundamentalists believe in the five fundamentals: The inerrancy of scripture, the virgin birth of Jesus Christ…
- Therefore, Rick Warren does not believe in the inerrancy of scripture, the virgin birth…
Do you see the absolute absurdity of this? Fundamentalists don’t. They gravitate toward books which condemn anything and anybody which isn’t part of their tightly knit club. But here’s the thing:
They want the rumors about the apostasy of others to be true.
It gives them a reason to get up in the morning; a reason to eat breakfast and brush their teeth. They thrive on the discovery that any successful Christian author, any prominent Christian broadcaster, any popular Christian pastor may in fact be full of doctrinal error, which is defined by the phrase, “doesn’t believe the same as we do.” Even if they have to use flawed logic in order to infer it.
In fact, even though I have no problem with God enacting incarnation through virgin birth; even though I trust the inspiration of scripture… etc.; just by writing this I am written off.
Their doctrine is: Love believes the worst about everyone.
And of course it truly is love if you are pointing out the error of someone’s ways, right? I write all this because the January, 2007 book, Dark Side of the Purpose Driven Church by Noah W. Hutchings (Bible Belt Publishing) is about to be reissued by Defender Publishing. Ultra-conservatives actually love this sort of thing, they never consider the possibility that the reports may be sensationalized or blatantly false or logically flawed.
And who is behind the promotion of Mr. Hutchings book? None other than televangelist Jack Van Impe, the Michigan pastor whose recent rant against Warren and Robert Schuller got a repeat broadcast of his TV program censored by TBN’s Matt Crouch, resulting in JVI pulling the program and its related financial input from the TBN schedule. Highlights from the Beliefnet story:
…Earlier this month, Van Impe named California megachurch founders Rick Warren and Robert H. Schuller as proponents of “Chrislam,” which he defined as “a uniting of Christianity with Islam.” TBN pulled the episode before a repeat broadcast could air…
…“Although I understand, and actually agree with, your position that you ‘will not allow anyone to tell me what I can and cannot preach,’ I trust you understand that TBN takes the same position with its broadcast air time as well,”[TBN president and founder Paul]Crouch wrote in a letter to Van Impe…
I relate all this today because I think it’s important for people in the Evangelical mainstream to recognize that we cannot allow the fundamentalist fringe to set the agenda moving forward. Van Impe starts to make outrageous statements and support authors who write books which are devoid of logic, and it just diminishes him, putting him in a category with Harold Camping, Terry Jones and even Fred Phelps.
Plus, we’ve got to stop bashing each other and start worrying about our common enemy. For years, Canada had no Christian radio stations because of a feud that erupted nearly a century ago where early Christian radio pioneers devoted all their airtime to contracting and condemning each other. Or maybe just stop bashing, period, and simply use the airtime to tell people about Jesus, and allow his words and story to draw people to Himself.
Furthermore, perhaps it’s time the U.S. adopted some of the Canadian understanding that radio frequencies are public property and are to be used responsibly. TBN acted well in this instance and put principle over profit.