Thinking Out Loud

November 16, 2011

Wednesday Link List

Wednesday List Lynx

Link lists are like snowflakes, no two are the same…

  • Lots of video links this week, starting off with the ten minute short film, Change for a Dollar.  Pour an extra coffee and sit back and enjoy this in full screen.
  • So how did all those witches end up in Salem in the first place?  Maybe they weren’t there at all.  Seems much of the story owes itself to a fired-up minister who believed he was doing God’s work.
  • CNN’s John King takes Bob Jones III to task for reopening the whole Obama religion question; and John’s got some fairly solid video clips on his side.  (It’s the video here you should see, not necessarily the article.)
  • Just in time to tie in with the release of his book, Indescribable, here’s a peak at Louie Giglio teaching about Planets and Stars and Whales, oh my!  Listen to the end to sing along with the stars.
  • An Arminian blogger reviews Bloodlines by John Piper, and despite his opposite theological perspective, finds reasons to recommend the book.
  • And then, on the lighter side, a malapropistic (it’s not in the dictionary) look at The Bear Truth About Calvinism.
  • And also at Matt Stone’s Glocal Christianity blog, a 30 second video embed  he subtitled, A Catholic Girl’s Worst Nightmare.
  • Two pastors issue a defense of Rick Warren who is not — repeat definitely not — promoting some kind of Christian/Islamic syncretism being referred to as Chrislam.
  • Also this week, several links to various Christianity Today sites, beginning with this article, John Ortberg is My Dad but Don’t Call Me a PK, by Laura Ortberg Turner.
  • So what about that verse in Matthew 27 stating that after Jesus’ resurrection, many other saints also rose from their graves?  It’s sure open to discussion, but not usually challenged by a Southern Baptist.
  • Because there’s so many of you, here’s another one of a similar list of articles giving five things to look for when choosing A New Church Home.
  • A. J. Swoboda — also the author of today’s closing comment — investigates what it’s like for Ryan Saari to do a church plant in a pub, especially when he’s also working at the pub.  Well, actually he’s ‘planting’ the pub as well.
  • Steve McCoy suggests the next step for some prominent pastors is to take their message and their reputation and hit the road as evangelists.
  • Remember the little word, “Selah” which appeared at the end of some Psalms?   Well, it’s missing from the new NIV.  Scholars aren’t sure what it means, but some think we should leave it in.  (This is an excerpt, the full article’s link wasn’t working at the time of preparing this.)
  • How about An Open Letter to Worship Songwriters detailing what types of songs we’ve been saturated with?  Sample:  #1 — STOP writing about things you haven’t experienced personally. Write out of your own experiences with the Lord and out of deep convictions of your faith.
  • Here’s a look at Jonathan Brink’s new project, the online magazine, Provoketive.  (And he’s looking for contributors!)
  • Another somewhat new blog, Alex Humprey’s former Alex Speaks is now Entreprelife.
  • If you’re a Wednesday-only reader here — and there are some — there’s still time to voice your opinion about a church telling a 30-something to remove his baseball cap during services.  Update: The family actually left the church over this.
  • A no-link item–To the proprietors of GodTube: How is it possible for a video to be both your “Featured Video” of the week, and also be “access denied”???
  • When Dan Kimball preached on the A/C doctrinal differences, he blogged the following T-shirt picture.  I’d seen this before, but didn’t realize that it’s actually the front and back prints of a single shirt. Just think of the implications.  Below it is the best of the comments he received:

I didn’t choose the shirt, but sadly, I was the one who made choices that determined the size I needed ;) ”

June 23, 2011

Fundamentalist I Cor: 13 — “Love Believes The Worst About Everyone”

My name is Paul and I live in Canada.  Here are some things you might infer:

  1. Paul is a Canadian
  2. Canadians have a love affair with the game of hockey
  3. 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:

  1. Rick Warren condemns the narrow mindedness and legalism of fundamentalists.
  2. Fundamentalists believe in the five fundamentals: The inerrancy of scripture, the virgin birth of Jesus Christ…
  3. 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.

Obviously too scary for kids

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.

June 10, 2011

Ya Want Deep Preaching? I’ll Give Ya Deep…

This piece appeared originally earlier in the week at Christianity 201.

There are presently two strains of evangelical preaching emerging. Some preachers, like Andy Stanley prefer the “one thing” approach; providing a rhythm and cadence to their preaching which leaves their listeners remembering a clear message and a clear application. The classic, “It’s Friday Night… But Sunday’s A-Comin'” is a message you’ve probably heard, or at least heard alluded to, that is based on this type of teaching.

The other style is the kind of message that gives you much information about context and history as well as cross-references to at least a dozen related scriptures. There are multiple points and various information sidebars.  While both styles can do verse-by-verse, or exegetical teaching; this exegetical style or expository preaching is considered by some a hallmark as to what constitutes real depth in preaching ministry.

The problem is that sometimes the people in the second camp, feel that the people in the first camp are not giving their people enough “depth.” This came up in the Elephant Room Conference where Steven Furtick used hyperbole to indicate the degree to which he did not want to aim for going deep on Sunday mornings.*

And it comes up here in this exchange between John Piper and Rick Warren. You might prefer to go direct to the YouTube page and click on some of the other subjects covered in this interview series. Some of the clips will also run in playlist form, allowing you to just sit back as the videos play in succession.

“Simple does not mean shallow.” “Simple does not mean simplistic.” What is deep? Warren says he taught series on sanctification and incarnation without actually using the words; do you think that is possible?

*For your interest, here is the discussion between Steven Furtick and Matt Chandler, moderated by James MacDonald. It gives you some insight into how pastors wrestle with the “deep” question.

What’s your definition of deep preaching?

June 8, 2011

Wednesday Link List

Thanks for all of you who voted for us as Top Christian Blog Link List Published on a Wednesday.   Our visitor at right can be purchased as a poster at Zazzle.com, though, truth be told, there isn’t much you can’t buy there.

  • Angela Wyatt — as in Angela Schuller Wyatt — reports at Christian Post as to Why The Selling of the Crystal Cathedral is a Bad Idea.  Highlight: ” In any U.S. corporation, the leadership would be REMOVED in the face of bankruptcy.  As long as the current leadership maintains control, there will be no positive change at the Crystal Cathedral. They’re buying time by hawking one of America’s greatest cathedrals. Their actions will only delay the inevitable. It’s like loaning money to a gambler.”
  • Who better than The Pipe-ster himself to challenge Rick Warren as to whether or not he’s “deep” enough as a preacher.  Piper sits down with the Saddleback pastor and Purpose Driven author for a longer interview.  This YouTube link will actually set you up to watch a number of the topics  continiously in a playlist.   Even though you’re not a pastor, there are some good issues raised here.
  • On the other hand, I’d say this one is deep, and it’s in, of all places, The Washington Post.  Kyle Roberts and Adam Rao contrast popular “rapture theology” with what what they prefer, calling it “Biblical Eschatology,” or if you like, “de-raptured theology.”
  • Here’s a site you’re going to want to bookmark and return to often, though maybe not if you have high blood pressure issues.  Faith and the Law’s Blog highlights stories where churches encounter the legal system in all of its forms (legislation, justice, enforcement, etc.) in various parts of the world; such as, for example, this story where a Charlotte area church was fined $40,000 (US) for improper trimming of their trees.  Seriously.  It was based on $100 per branch.
  • “Hey, That’s Not in the Bible!”   A CNN Belief Blog item about non-existent Biblical quotes has now crossed the 6,000 comment line.  So now there’s a best of the comments item, but it’s crossed the 1,o00 comment mark.
  • Dan Bouchelle reminds us that being a former pastor doesn’t mean that all interest in former parishioners and counselees disappears when the paychecks stop coming.  Basically, it all comes down to motivation.
  • Youth ministry people:  Here’s a new blog from New Zealand that started a few weeks ago and has already received a healthy response.  It’s called Ideas for Youth Ministry in New Zealand but blogger Amy wants to collaborate with people from other parts of the world.
  • This link actually ran here a long time ago, but it’s an excellent article by Craig Groeshel on Generational Tension In The Church.
  • Here’s another one that was still in my files from December of last year.  It’s a longer article on Why C. S. Lewis’ Popularity Still Endures.
  • For this week’s link list cartoon, we return, after a long absence to Dan Lietha and the After Eden comic at the Answers in Genesis site.  (Click the image to link.)

March 16, 2011

Wednesday Link List

Survived the Ides of March did you?  In honor of St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow, we’re in green today!

  • Hands down, today’s top entry has to be Mark Galli’s very balanced look at Rob Bell’s Love Wins at Christianity Today.
  • Here’s Bell being interviewed by Martin Bashir on msnbc.com who, refreshingly, begins by asking Bell for his take on the disaster in Japan.
  • If you read the book Life Without Limits you know the story of Nick Vujicic, a young man born without limbs. What you may not know is that Nick been cast in a Depression-era film The Butterfly Circus, about a limb-less performer in a carnival sideshow.  You can buy a copy on DVD for only $12.99.
  • Here’s a preview of an organization I’m going to be a full profile on sometime soon.  Megavoice is an organization, a Bible translation project, and a playback device that has no moving parts and needs no batteries.
  • The Church Report has a summary of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s forum at Saddleback with Rick Warren in which the former PM discussed the role of faith in a 90-minute Q & A session.
  • Blog discovery of the week:  GraceWorks has archives going back to January of 2000 — that’s eleven years ago.  As Homer Simpson might say, “Was the internet even available for computers back then?”
  • The plot thickens:  In episode three of John Shore’s Smith Family Chronicles, Bob and Betty discuss daughter Jane’s gayness.   But does Bob let something slip out accidentally?  A new episode every Friday. (Also, FYI, some backstory on the series in this article.)
  • When I blogged last week about looking for “something completely different” (obvious Monty Python reference), I got a reply from Anita who blogs at Dreaming Beneath The Spires from C. S. Lewis country, Oxford, England.
  • Good evangelists always have some good stories.  Our latest catch from Stuff Fundies Like is this video, a reworking of the old hymn “I Love to Tell the Story.” A total and complete reworking.
  • Here’s a bonus video link to something at Lance Morgan’s blog (HT Pete Wilson) titled “A Message To The Sound Guy.” This might strike a little close to home for some church volunteers
  • No link for this one, but Thomas Nelson’s Book Sneeze program, by which many of your favorite bloggers get their books to review, is sounding out its membership on the idea of sending review copies out as e-books in order to save money.  Good idea or bad idea?
  • Speaking of books, don’t miss the two book mini-reviews here from the past weekend, both centering in on books with the word “lies” in the title!  (Would I lie?)
  • If you can’t stop wacko protests at military funerals, get The Patriot Guard to cover them over and drown them out.
  • Last month Trey Morgan posted Francis Chan’s Ten Signs You May Be A Lukewarm Christian from Crazy Love, a book I’m finally getting around to reading.
  • That’s all I’ve got time for this week, but suggestions are always welcomed.

October 6, 2010

Wednesday Link List

Here are some highlights from my blog travels in the past week:

  • While you’re link hopping  here, you can stream audio from CCM Gold Radio – Christian music from the ’60s thru the ’80s; though it’s a bit like tightrope walking without a net, because they don’t tell you what you’re hearing, and there are many obscure songs.   Great for Christian music trivia, however; I’m just not sure how many songs actually support the claim to include the ’60s.   I have a 3,000-plus library of Christian music on vinyl, and only a small handful are pre 1970.
  • Then again, you’re going to have to switch media for this one:   Many of you know Pete Wilson from his blog and his new book, Plan B.   But how many of you have been to Cross Point to check out a Pete Wilson sermon?   I thoroughly enjoyed this experience on the weekend.  Go to the page for Pete’s new Empty Promises series, and click on week one, the introductory message.   I promise you 30 solid minutes of distraction-free preaching.
  • Tullian Tchividjian has been busy on Twitter compiling short statements expressing various aspects of the gospel.  Blogger Barry Simmons assembles a couple of lists at his blog The Journeyman’s Files both here and here.   Sample sentence: “When we transfer trust from ourselves to Christ, we experience the abundant freedoms that come from not having to measure up.”
  • Trevin Wax plays transcription stenographer to a recent address by Al Mohler as to how he came to his present position on women in pastoral ministry.   Check out some highlights.
  • What life goals are you working on?  Things you’re trying to cultivate in your life?   Ever feel lost or orphaned?   Kathy Escobar has three words for you.
  • Here’s another take on the new CEB (Common English Bible) translation, which the writer calls a “Good News Glut.”   We learn now that five publishers are involved, and many are motivated by providing an alternative for the NRSV crowd.
  • Just When You Thought You’d Heard Everything Department:  Don’t know if this conversion would actually ‘stick,’ but Delaware Republican Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell says she became a Christian because of her love of Italian food, primarily meatballs.
  • This one’s been in my files for awhile… Author Max Lucado considers things spiritual and things sci-fi and everything in between in a consideration of what the next life might be like.
  • Bene Diction posted this link a few days back to an article by Regent College professor John Stackhouse on the appropriateness of criticizing other Christians in a public forum.   Should we shoot our own?
  • Related?   Here’s a comment from a reader at CT’s article on Rick Warren’s video appearance at the Desiring God conference, and John Piper’s negative attitude toward Warren in particular:  “All of us, including the most intellectual, will be taking a Theology 101 course in heaven…”
  • Author Wayne Jacobsen got an insider’s look at the making of the now-released movie adaptation of Karen Kingsbury’s book Like Dandelion Dust.
  • New music artist of the week is two-time ASCAP award winner John DeGrazio.  Check out his 2010 album Stronghold at his webpage.
  • Michael Belote at Reboot Christianity has a great word picture of a typical gathering in the first century church, but to get there, link here first for a quick eight-question quiz.
  • No actual link on this one, but I’m currently reading Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis … out loud! Working away one chapter a night, and with my youngest (who’s now 16) listening, I figure many of the chapters started out as radio broadcasts anyway, so why not cover the book in its original form.   It also slows me down to catch all the nuances of Lewis’ masterful apologetics.
  • At least one Target store would rather slash women’s clothing to pieces than donate it to an orphanage in southeast Asia.   Why?   They’re afraid someone else might get the product and try to return it for refund.
  • It remains one of my all time favorite cartoons; so I’m thankful to a reader who sent a much better rendering of it than the one I posted… I think you already know the cartoonist’s name, right?

  • And here’s an edgy one appearing September 14th from Tom Pappalardo at The Optimist written in response to the migration of Roman Catholics out of New England, which leaves the northeast with a reputation once exclusively belonging to the northwest:

June 9, 2010

Wednesday Link List

From my computer to yours, here’s just a few of the online adventures I had this week…

  • “The day after we here in the U.S. paused to remember the men and women who had died fighting for our country, the fight continued from beyond the grave. On Tuesday [June 1] in the town of Göttingen, Germany a World War 2 era bomb exploded killing three people and injuring six others.” So begins a short essay by Julie Clawson, “Violence from the Past.”
  • The Rev. Scott Schmieding didn’t let a physical impairment stop him from taking a pastor job — which includes preaching — even though he has no tongue.   This CT story will make you reconsider whether or not you’re letting circumstances stand in the way of calling.
  • Christian author Diana Gresh, aka ‘The Secret Keeper Girl,’ shares a concerned one-parent-to-another open letter to Billy Ray and Tish, mom and dad to superstar Miley Cyrus.
  • Remember that street-preacher in the UK who was arrested for saying homosexuality is a sin?  Here’s actual video of him being placed under arrest.
  • Rick Warren tells the people in his congregation that if they’re just faking Christianity, it’s time to find another church.
  • “Social networking does have its perils. This much is for sure. Loss of privacy, device obsession, check-in overdose … Bad. But this new wave of human communication opens doors that have previously remained slammed shut.”  Read more at BeDeviant.
  • American churches (and other buildings with large auditoriums) have only three days left to convert their wireless microphones over to a new operating frequency.  Many can’t afford to do so.   (First it was the digital television conversion; now this…)
  • A German family receives asylum in the U.S. under rather strange circumstances — they are home schooling refugees.
  • Here’s seven great over-arching principles for Children’s ministry from the blog by Will Mancini.   Pass this link on to your Christian Ed. person where you worship.
  • Flashback to February; the blog is called Sim’s Zone, the piece is short but poignant:  Lent Reflections.
  • Blog discovery of the week:  The Aristophrenium.    Four young men; three Australians and one in Canada; writing on Apologetics; often at a deeper, academic level; and often with with the common touch and bit of heart.
  • Rick Apperson launches a blogapalooza with guest writers all throughout June.  It was good to connect earlier this week with Dawn Fehr who blogs at Blown to Smithereens.
  • Two popular UK figures team up to have some fun writing a book together.
  • Christian news and information blog highlight of the week:  New Church Report.
  • New homes in new neighborhoods constructed with new building materials and  filled with new furniture… equals major indoor air quality issues.   It seems that rapid economic advancement is actually killing young people in China.
  • Have a worship moment (or many) interacting with God’s creation:  If you remember the BBC DVD series from a few years back, Planet Earth, you need to know about the new series, Life.  Here’s a trailer.
  • Internal link from this blog two days ago, in case you missed it, on the passing of CCM veterans Dana Key (DeGarmo & Key) and Kevin Thomson (Sweet Comfort Band).
  • Speaking of Christian music, for my Canadian readers who are into modern worship, CCM, southern gospel or even children’s music — and anyone else who wants to take a peek — check out the redesigned (as of yesterday!) YourMusicZone.com from the Music & Media division of David C. Cook Canada.
  • Our cartoon this week is from Sacred Sandwich:

April 12, 2010

Sorting Out Rick Warren’s Invite from John Piper

When I started this blog it was with the determination to be different.   Although it has the usual “about” page, plus an extra one called “Behind the Scenes,” the real mandate to do this is found on a page titled “Life in the Blogosphere” which is no longer available here.

In that page is a list of six or seven things I wanted to do here, and they’re all fairly general one except for one.   It said, “I don’t really get the whole John Piper thing…”   (I’m actually breaking one of my own blog rules by getting into this!)

When I started reading Christian blogs many years ago, and also when I started writing one over two years ago, it seemed like Piper was ubiquitous.  People were searching online for everything the man had ever said; waiting with bated breath for the lasted video upload from Desiring God; tripping over themselves to cut-and-paste his latest take on some hot-button theological (or not so theological) issue from someone else’s blog to their own; and quoting his words in articles and opinion pieces as though they were the Word of God itself.

That continues to this day — it’s no wonder the guy is taking a few months off; who could live with that pressure? — but I’ve since learned to keep my bookmarks and published blogroll more balanced, so I only see a small percentage of what persists from the reformed (or in some cases neo-reformed) sector of the internet.

People often ask, “Who will be the next Billy Graham?”   Honestly, I’m glad that we are living in a time when no single non-Catholic Christian leader speaks for all of us.  (I think it helps direct the focus to Jesus!)   I’m glad that this particular type of leadership role is somewhat fragmented.    There’s some good and bad in this, as I mentioned in my post, Top Trends Affecting Your Church in 2009 over a year ago:

Trend #10: Conflicting Spokesmen — Who will be the next Billy Graham? It probably won’t happen that the future will see the focus on a single individual who speaks for all Christians or all Protestants or all Evangelicals.  Since many key spokespeople disagree on secondary and tertiary issues, it will sometimes appear to that there is a lack of consensus.

You see this most clearly in the present teapot tempest over Piper’s decision to invite Rick Warren to the Desiring God conference.  (Over 40,000 posts and web articles served on this topic to date. Would you like fries with that?)    People who like Piper don’t like Warren.   (I was going to put a qualifying phrase in there to temper the generalization, but decided to let it stand.)    Take Phil Johnson for example:

I can’t think of anyone who would make a finer poster-boy for the pragmatic, spiritually impoverished, gospel-deprived message of modern and postmodern evangelicalism than Rick Warren. He is shallow, pragmatic, and chameleonic. He is a spiritual changeling who will say whatever his audience wants to hear. He wants desperately to be liked and accepted by Muslims, evangelicals, and everyone in between.

Too bad Phil doesn’t tell us what he really thinks.

Some feel that Warren is well-chosen as the man to fill Graham’s shoes in civic affairs such as the inauguration of a President and see him as the spokesman for the Evangelical church.  (A feeling, I might add, that sits better with me than the choice of T. D. Jakes or Joel Osteen.)

But — recent events notwithstanding — Piper’s followers, who are extremely well represented here in blog-land still see him as the man who has the final word on doctrinal matters.   Warren can offer public prayers and say grace at prayer breakfasts, but it’s Piper they really need to give them direction.   So they aren’t quite sure what Piper is up to inviting Warren, though Scot McKnight is one of many who endorses the decision.

Personally, I think I have a good idea what he’s up to; and I think the invitation and the decision to take a sabbatical are better understood when seen in the context of each other.  (The blog, Black Calvinist presents some excellent insights, as well. while blogger Stephen Macasil thought perhaps it was an early April Fool’s prank!)

But here’s my point:

  • 100 years from now it won’t matter

And here’s my other point:

  • 100 days after the conference it won’t matter, either; perhaps even 10 days later

These things preoccupy bloggers — many blogs thrive on controversy and division — and a handful of Christian periodical writers, but they disappear in the dust very quickly.    Plus there’s this, from I Cor. 3: 4, 5, and 7 —

When one of you says, “I am a follower of Paul,” and another says, “I prefer Apollos,” aren’t you acting like those who are not Christians? Who is Apollos, and who is Paul, that we should be the cause of such quarrels? Why, we’re only servants. Through us God caused you to believe. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us. The ones who do the planting or watering aren’t important, but God is important because he is the one who makes the seed grow. (NLT)

You would that the upcoming conference will change Christianity forever to read the passion of bloggers and those leaving comments on their blogs.   It won’t.

The world will continue.  This will neither usher in a new reformation nor a new apostasy.  The gospel will continue to be preached in all the world for the witness.   Wait and see.   (What’s that verse in I Cor. say?  Love believes the best.)  Speculation just isn’t helpful at this time.

On the weekend, blogger Tim Challies was interviewed during the final hour of The Drew Marshall show.   I didn’t realize that Tim’s background includes time spent in both Warren-type and Piper-type churches, and the subject of the conference was covered.   The April 10th interview will be posted online on Friday, April 16th and you can catch it here.

Video embed of Piper’s response to the critics.

Photos:  The two were sitting side-by-side at the June, 2009 funeral of Rev. Ralph Winter.  (Christian Post)

No “chameleonic” is not a word.   “Chameleon-like” is what he wanted.

By “neo-reformed” I mean to infer not an extremeism (though this does happen) but rather — largely due to the internet —  people who have been recently swept into Calvinism because of various ‘appeals’ who will later, as they work out the nature of God in scripture, find themselves not tethered to Reform doctrine and will gravitate to some other position.   But there’s also Scot McKnight’s definition.  (And Roger Olson’s supplemental piece.)

January 4, 2010

And Now You Know The Rest of the Story

Regular readers on this blog know you can count on me for the latest breaking Christian news.  If it happens, you’ll find it here — unless of course I’m doing something else at the time. But what happens after the story is already posted?

  • On New Year’s Eve, I mentioned that Rick Warren needed $900,000 to meet his church’s year end budget.   He got $2.4 million US (the green ones) dollars.  And still counting.  Original story here.    Follow up story at USAToday.
  • She jumped out of her seat and violently knocked the Pope to the ground at a Christmas Eve service.    Afterwards, she got a hospital (phychiatric ward) visit from one of the Pope’s aides.   Original story here.   Follow up at (again) USAToday.
  • Philip Wise

  • The Salvation Army officer in Little Rock, AK who was shot and killed on Christmas Eve in front of his young, recently-adopted children was laid to rest on Saturday.   The children had been with him and his wife just 18 months.    Original story here (same link as above item).    Funeral service details here.    So very sad.  Philip Wise was 40 years old.
  • The man whose Ponzi scheme defrauded investors out of $14.1 million and nearly brought down the whole Crossroads Christian Television (100 Huntley Street) empire in the process has agreed to “turn over his ‘ ill-gotten gains’ and pay a penalty” according to a December 14th story in the Hamilton Spectator.     But the deal with the Security Exchange Commision (SEC) in the U.S. does not grant immunity from criminal charges.   Original story here.
  • The report I hastily put up here before year-end about James Dobson getting back on radio again after leaving Focus on the Family wasn’t surprising, as Dobson has seemed to be distancing himself from Focus over a period of many months.   Steve Rabey at the blog Get Religion noticed this also and provides some background, noting the potential ‘competition’ that now exists between Focus and the new venture, called James Dobson On The Family.   Continue reading here.

Comments posted containing personal attacks on individuals, including Rick Warren or the Pope, will be quickly deleted.

January 1, 2010

Bottom Drops Out of Donations at Saddleback: $1M Debit Crisis

The bigger they are, the harder it gets during a recession,  as USAToday reports:

Rick Warren, Pastor of Saddleback Community Church

Evangelical pastor Rick Warren appealed to parishioners at his California megachurch Wednesday to help fill a $900,000 deficit by the first of the year.

Warren made the appeal in a letter posted on the Saddleback Church website. It begins “Dear Saddleback Family, THIS IS AN URGENT LETTER.”

“With 10% of our church family out of work due to the recession, our expenses in caring for our community in 2009 rose dramatically while our income stagnated,” the letter reads.

Still, Warren said the church managed to stay within its budget, but “the bottom dropped out” when Christmas donations dropped. “On the last weekend of 2009, our total offerings were less than half of what we normally receive…”

[continue reading the story at USAToday Religion]

Related story at Godvertiser blog discusses the announcement — just one day earlier — that Warren’s magazine is discontinuing its print edition and going digital.

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