Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Machines

The machine
The endless march of the machine
The tireless march of the machine
The mindless work of the machine
The cogs turn and are turned
They turn out glory from week to week
Some greater, some lesser
Always some glory
And always some minor glory for everyone
The reward of labor
The carrot to inspire
The feeling of belonging,
Of purpose,
Of achievement,
Unreplicable on their own
Perhaps.

Their purpose-
The machine.
Their life-
The machine.
Their battle-
The machine.
All who cannot wage this war,
Or live that life,
Or assume that same purpose,
Are the dreaded enemy.
Two options for these:
Assimilation or Annihilation.
There is no middle ground of evil compromise.

We all work within a machine.
A machine of our own making,
Or another's.
My purpose is your purpose
When your purpose is my purpose.
My heart is yours
When your heart is mine.
When the machine is more important than you and I
We can't share heart or purpose.
When we can't share heart or purpose,
The machine is too important.

The machines in my past
Are all out of batteries
But still making noise.
The dreadful noise of distance,
Of erstwhile causes greater than ourselves,
Causes that consumed ourselves,
Until we no longer knew ourselves,
Until we harmed ourselves,
Until we consumed ourselves,
Until we vanquished ourselves.
I'm still alive.
Should I be?

Monday, October 23, 2006

Religion

What do I choose to do? Who do I choose to contradict? Who becomes my enemy?
They say you shouldn't talk about religion and politics.
I was raised to build my life around religion.
A religion that built its essence around Christ, allegedly.
It provides the flavor of Christianity.
It is convincing.
It is embracing.
It is prescriptive.
It is manageable.
It is methodical.
As a representation of Christianity it takes its place.
It holds a grip.
It molds the life.
It shapes a mind.
It conditions the Spirit.
Everything is it's representation to those who merely observe.
Those involved hold up the representation for their own ends.
There is no substance,
For man is the substance
And his works like a mist create a sense of substance.
Those who observe are beholden to those who are involved
Because they are the substance.
The observers seek to the involved for substance,
And are given the vain lives of the involved in return.
They thus feel strengthened,
When they are merely emboldened.
From these emboldened
Come the next group of the involved,
Who carry on the substance
Of the vanity of the last generation
Rooted in nothing but their own conceit.
These so called righteous
Claim the souls of men,
And capture the minds of men,
Passing on the bundle of fleshy death
Wrapped as life.
For this they are heroes.
For this men fight valiantly,
For this men war constantly,
Out of this men plan their destiny
And the destiny of their children
Who will live on to fight.
This is religion.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Carter on the Fundamentalist Mindset

"The fundamentalists believe they have a unique relationship with God, and that they and their ideas are God's ideas and God's premises on the particular issue. Therefore, by definition since they are speaking for God anyone who disagrees with them is inherently wrong. And the next step is: Those who disagree with them are inherently inferior, and in extreme cases -- as is the case with some fundamentalists around the world -- it makes your opponents sub-humans, so that their lives are not significant. Another thing is that a fundamentalist can't bring himself or herself to negotiate with people who disagree with them because the negotiating process itself is an indication of implied equality."

- Jimmy Carter, Interview with SPIEGEL Magazine 8/15/06 "The US and Israel Stand Alone"

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Soul to Squeeze

Where I go I just dont know
Ive got to got to gotta take it slow
When I find my piece of mind
Im gonna give ya some of my good time
[...]
Oh, so polite indeed
Well I got everything I need
Oh make my days a breeze
And take away my self-destruction
[...]
Its bitter baby, And its very sweet.
Im on a rollercoaster, But Im on my feet.
Take me to the river, Let me on your shore.
I'll be coming back baby, I'll be coming back for more.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

More Wit & Wisdom from Agatha Christie

From the title "Death Comes as the End":

"'Fear is only incomplete knowledge,' said Hori. 'When we know, Renisenb, then there will be no more fear.'"
-From Chapter 16

"'Nothing is unbelievable,' said Esa. 'That at least I have learned in the course of my life. Kait is a thoroughly stupid woman and I have always mistrusted stupid women. They are dangerous. They can see only their own immediate surroundings and only one thing at a time. Kait lives at the core of a small world which is herself and her children and Sobek as her children's father. It might occur to her quite simply that to remove Yahmose would be to enrich her children. [...] She would see only one simple thing- not various possibilities or probabilities, and since she did not want Sobek to die, it would never occur to her that he might come back unexpectedly.'
"'And now Sobek is dead and Yahmose is living! How terrible that must be for her if what you suggest is true.'
"'It is the kind of thing that happens to you when you are stupid,' said Esa. 'Things go entirely differently from the way you planned them.'"
-From Chapter 16

"There had been a time when Teti had looked so like Khay [her father], pushing out her underlip, turning her head sideways, that Renisenb's heart had turned over with pain and love. But now not only was Khay's face dim in Renisenb's memory, but Teti no longer had that trick of head-turning and pushing out her lip. There had been other moments when Renisenb had held Teti close to her, feeling the child still part of her own body, her own living flesh, with a passionate sense of ownership. 'She is mine, all mine,' she had said to herself.
"Now, watching her, Renisenb thought: 'She is me- and she is Khay....
"Then Teti looked up, and seeing her mother, she smiled. It was a grave friendly smile, with confidence in it and pleasure.
"Renisenb thought: 'No, she is not me and she is not Khay- she is herself. She is Teti. She is alone, as I am all alone. If there is love between us we shall be friends all our life- but if there is not love she will grow up and we shall be strangers. She is Teti and I am Renisenb.'"
-From Chapter 17

John Meyer - Waiting on the World to Change

me and all my friends we're all misunderstood
they say we stand for nothing and there's no way we ever could
now we see everything that's going wrong with the world and those who lead it
we just feel like we don't have the means to rise above and beat it
[...]
and when you trust your television
what you get is what you got
cause when they own the information,
oh they can bend it all they want
[...]
it's not that we don't care,
we just know that the fight ain't fair
so we keep on waiting waiting on the world to change
[...]
that's why we're waiting
waiting on the world to change
we keep on waiting
waiting on the world to change

Monday, July 17, 2006

Wit & Wisdom from Agatha Christie

From the title "Peril at End House":

"'Providence,' I murmured.
"'Ah! mon ami, I would not put on the shoulders of the good God the burden of men's wrongdoing. You say that in your Sunday morning voice of thankfulness- without reflecting that what you are really saying is that le bon Dieu (the good Lord) has killed Miss Maggie Buckley!'
"'Really, Poirot!'
"'Really, my friend! But I will not sit back and say 'le bon Dieu has arranged everything, I will not interfere.' Because I am convinced that le bon Dieu created Hercule Poirot for the express purpose of interfering. It is my metier(work).'"
-Chapter 12, "Ellen"

""...But there you can't tell with women. It's darling-darling-darling-all the time-and 'damn you' would probably express it much better....'"
-Chapter 15, "Strange Behavior of Frederica"

Friday, July 14, 2006

KJVO Issue: How important?

From http://www.sharperiron.org/showthread.php?t=1470:

"I have found that this issue greatly affects their philosophy of missions. As I was reading over a doctrinal statement recently I saw the “1611 KJV only” statement at the bottom of the page. This led me to ask questions of the missionary, who by the way was a Bible Printer for foreign fields. So I began to ask him about how he could be a KJVO and print Bibles in other languages – not KJV. The discussion went on for a while until I asked him this question: “What do you tell the person in Romania when you give them their Bible that you believe is not God’s Word?” His reply was that their goal for missions would be to teach their mission field to speak English so they could use the KJV. I was speechless."
-Bob Nutzhorn

"When I was on deputation, I had phone conversations with several pastors who were of this line of thinking. They asked me, "What version do you use?" I explained that in English settings, I preach from the KJV (although I am not a KJVO), but in Spanish I preach from the Reina-Valera 1960 which was translated from the same Hebrew and Greek texts as the KJV (as I understand it). These pastors then proceeded to tell me, "No, you teach them English and preach from the KJV." I kindly said, "Pastor, you don't want me in your church then. Thanks for your time." Probably have me marked off as a heretic, but that's alright with me."
-Shawn Haynie

"I can remember asking my pastor about the issue years ago. Although he is a scholarly man, trained in the original languages, he did not offer a textual or theological answer. He told me a story. Once he attended a preachers fellowship that had two speakers. The first, he said, preached a marvelous message on the preeminence of Christ from Colossians. He said it was one of the most stirring messages about the Savior He had ever heard. The men in attendance, he said, sat stoicly, listening quietly. The second preacher brought a message on the King James Version, championing the KJV-only position and attacking all modern versions as being liberal assaults on the faith once delivered. The preachers at the conference were shouting "Amen," and even waiving handkerchiefs in their enthusiasm. My pastor then told me, "I decided right them that we had a problem. One man preaches on the glories of the Savior and men seem unresponsive; but when another man preaches on the Bible version debate there is a very energetic, enthusiastic response. There's something very wrong with this.""
-David A. Oliver

Defending myself

...I do that a lot, I realized today.
There is an old saying to the effect, that in replying to accusations, your enemies won't listen and your friends won't care. Oh how I wish I could get this through my head!
Several major mistakes on a personal level, recently, have been due to my desire to defend myself.
Now, when I say that I need to stop defending myself, I am not implying that I am left defenseless. Nor am I implying that accusations don't need to ever be answered.
Take, for example, the idea of the pre-emptive strike. We pre-emptively invaded Iraq, before they would have had a chance to develop WMD.
What I am saying is harmful, is what I might call pre-emptive active defense. In other words, you percieve that someone is against you in a particular way. However, you have not been approached directly about it. You pre-emptively move to answer for yourself.
This causes problems for several reasons. First, you may have a mis-perception of the "threat". Secondly, you may lock yourself in certain engagements/arguments that would have never come up anyway. Thirdly, your "pre-emptive active defense" may be very well taken as an offensive move on your part. Fourth, it implies that you are guilty because you believe you have something to worry about. Fifth, it ensures a battle where there might have been none.
Sort of like telling your mother you didn't knock over the cookie jar before she finds out about it. Didn't I learn that lesson already?
Now, I am all for pre-emptive _passive_ defense. In other words, preparing to defend yourself should you be approached, or positioning yourself to avoid accusation. In other words, most times it is best to wait for the confrontation to happen before defending yourself, if you can't avoid the confrontation entirely.
This is a problem for me because I am a worrier. So it is easy for me to pull out my "guns" and deal with something the way it appears to be, without waiting for the "threat" to present and thus define itself.
Even a fool, when he holds his peace, is counted wise.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A Baptist on Bible Versions

From http://www.kjvonly.org/doug/kutilek_john_gill.htm :

"In all that study, the single best statement by far that I have discovered about the relationship of Bible translations to the original text is that written more than 200 years ago by John Gill (1697-1771), Baptist pastor in London and predecessor of Charles Spurgeon. In his Body of Divinity [the full title is: A Complete Body of Doctrinal and Practical Divinity: Or, a System of Evangelical Truths], (London: Mathews & Leigh, 1839; Sovereign Grace reprint,1971; The Baptist Standard Bearer reprint, 1984 ), pp. 13-14, published only a year or two before his death, Gill addresses the subject as follows:
"Fourthly, This [i.e. inspiration] is to be understood of the Scriptures, as in the original languages in which they were written, and not of translations; unless it could be thought, that the translators of the Bible into the several languages of the nations into which it has been translated, were under divine inspiration also in translating, and were directed of God in the use of words they have rendered the original by; but this is not reasonable to suppose. The books of the Old Testament were written chiefly in the Hebrew language, unless some few passages in Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezra, and Esther in the Chaldee language [note: Esther is in fact entirely in Hebrew]; and the New Testament in Greek: in which languages they can only be reckoned canonical and authentic; for this is like the charters and diplomas of princes; the wills or testaments of men; or any deeds made by them; only the exemplar is authentic; and not translations, and transcriptions, and copies of them, though ever so perfect: and to the Bible, in its original languages, is every translation to be brought, and judged, and to be corrected and amended; and if this was not the case, we should have no certain and infallible rule to go by; for it must be either all the translations together, or some one of them; not all of them, because they agree not in all things: not one; for then the contest would be between one nation and another which it should be, whether English, Dutch, French, &c. and could one be agreed upon, it could not be read and understood by all: so the papists, they plead for their vulgate Latin version; which has been decreed authentic by the council of Trent; though it abounds with innumerable errors and mistakes; nay, so far do they carry this affair, that they even assert that the Scriptures, in their originals, ought to submit to, and be corrected by their version; which is absurd and ridiculous. Let not now any be uneasy in their minds about translations on this account, because they are not upon an equality with the original text, and especially about our own; for as it has been the will of God, and appears absolutely necessary that so it should be, that the Bible should be translated into different languages, that all may read it, and some particularly may receive benefit of it; he has taken care, in his providence, to raise up men capable of such a performance, in various nations, and particularly in ours; for whenever a set of men have been engaged in this work, as were in our nation, men well skilled in the languages, and partakers of the grace of God; of sound principles, and of integrity and faithfulness, having the fear of God before their eyes; they have never failed of producing a translation worthy of acceptance; and in which, though they have mistook some words and phrases, and erred in some lesser and lighter matters; yet not so as to affect any momentous article of faith or practice; and therefore such translations as ours may be regarded as the rule of faith. And if any scruple should remain on the minds of any on this account, it will be sufficient to remove it, when it observed, that the Scriptures, in our English translation, have been blessed of God, either by reading them in it, or by explaining them according to it, for the conversion, comfort, and edification of thousands and thousands. And the same may be said of all others, so far as they agree with the original, that they are the rule of faith and practice, and alike useful.
Here I cannot but observe the amazing ignorance and stupidity of some persons, who take it into their heads to decry learning and learned men; for what would they have done for a Bible, had it not been for them as instruments? and if they had it, so as to have been capable of reading it, God must have wrought a miracle for them; and continued that miracle in every nation, in every age, and to every individual; I mean the gift of tongues, in a supernatural way, as he bestowed upon the apostles on the day of Pentecost; which there is no reason in the world ever to have expected. Bless God, therefore, and be thankful that God has, in his providence, raised up such men to translate the Bible into the mother-tongue of every nation, and particularly ours; and that he still continues to raise up such who are able to defend the translations made, against erroneous persons, and enemies of the truth; and to correct and amend it in lesser matters, in which it may have failed, and clear and illustrate it by their learned notes upon it."
"Gill's statement is entirely in harmony with the uniform views of prominent Baptists in the centuries before and after him, including Henry Jessey, Benjamin Keach, Andrew Fuller, William Carey, John Broadus, J. P. Boyce, Basil Manley, J. R. Graves, Thomas Armitage, Alvah Hovey, B. H. Carroll, Charles Spurgeon, and A. T. Robertson, to name only some whose writings I have mined for information on this subject. I have found no exceptions among prominent Baptists. Gill, then, in effect summarizes not only his own view but that of Baptists historically."

An Original Fundamentalist on Bible Versions

"Nor is that original parchment so remote a thing as some suppose. Do not the number and variety of manuscripts and versions extant render it comparatively easy to arrive at a knowledge of its text, and does not competent scholarship today affirm that as to the New Testament at least, we have in 999 cases out of every thousand the very word of that original text? Let candid consideration be given to these things and it will be seen that we are not pursuing a phantom in contending for an inspired autograph of the Bible."
"Consider what the apostles directly teach upon the subject. Peter tells us that “No prophecy ever came by the will of man, but men spake from God, being moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21, R.V.).[...]As this verse is given somewhat differently in the Revised Version we dwell upon it a moment longer. It there reads, “Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable,” and the caviler is disposed to say that therefore some scripture may be inspired and some may not be, and that the profitableness extends only to the former and not the latter. But aside from the fact that Paul would hardly be guilty of such a weak truism as that, it may be stated in reply first, that the King James rendering of the passage is not only the more consistent scripture, but the more consistent Greek. Several of the best Greek scholars of the period affirm this, including some of the revisers themselves who did not vote for the change. And secondly, even the revisers place it in the margin as of practically equal authority with their preferred translation, and to be chosen by the reader if desired. There are not a few devout Christians, however, who would be willing to retain the rendering of the Revised Version as being stronger than the King James, and who would interpolate a word in applying it to make it mean, “Every scripture (because) inspired of God is also profitable.” We believe that both Gaussen and Wordsworth take this view, two as staunch defenders of plenary inspiration as could be named."
FROM CHAPTER 19 OF "THE FUNDAMENTALS": THE INSPIRATION OF THE BIBLE — DEFINITION,EXTENT AND PROOF
BY JAMES M. GRAY, D. D., Dean Of Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, Ill.

Independent. Fundamental. Baptist.

What does it mean?

Independent - committed to the autonomy of the local assembly, being free from denominational or other outside control.

Baptist -
Biblical authority
Autonomy of the local church
Priesthood of all believers
Two ordinances
-Believer's baptism
-Lord's Supper
Individual soul liberty
Separation of church and state
Two offices
-Pastor
-Deacon

OK. So we have "Independent" and "Baptist" down. What about "fundamental"?

Ah, this one is sort of tricky because of all the _baggage_ associated with fundamentalism nowdays. We have enough splinter groups among IFBs with their own distinctives that it is easy to get confused.
If we are to be honest, historically, we recognize fundamentalism as the response to the modernism prevalent at the end of the 19th century. The basic affirmations of fundamentalism in response to modernism can be found in the Confession of Faith produced at the Niagara Bible Conference of 1878:

1. The verbal, plenary inspiration of the Scriptures in the original manuscripts.
2. The trinity.
3. The creation of man, the fall into sin, and total depravity.
4. The universal transmission of spiritual death from Adam.
5. The necessity of the new birth.
6. Redemption by the blood of Christ.
7. Salvation by faith alone in Jesus Christ.
8. The assurance of salvation.
9. The centrality of Jesus Christ in the Scriptures.
10. The true church made up of genuine believers.
11. The personality of the Holy Spirit.
12. The believer’s call to a holy life.
13. The souls of believers go immediately to be with Christ at death.
14. The premillennial second coming of Christ.

Nothing yet about KJVOism. Aside from the general call to holiness, we don't see music or dress as touchstone issues, either.

So we see what it means to be IFB at it's core. Actually, "fundamentalist" and "evangelical" refer to the same thing.
Then there is the rise of the new, or "neo-" evangelical. The issue over this split was ecclesiastical separation. Not holiness/personal separation. Thus the confusion over what a neo-evangelical was/is. The idea of the neo-evangelical was to infiltrate modernist churches and so cause them to see the truth, but it didn't work. In the process, holiness/personal separation was unquestionably compromised, but this was the result, and not the aim.

So we do have to add one thing to the list of what it means to be IFB- ecclesiastical separation. Such is the lesson of history.

More later, perhaps.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Oh My! Urban Legends and the Shock Factor

OK so I'm upset on this one. I heard a guy preaching the other night, who claimed that the record companies gave part of their profits to Satanists. Now, there was no support given for such an outlandish claim. My own quick search on Snopes.com turned up nothing. I can't find anything at all! More than likely, he got confused with the urban legand about Proctor & Gamble giving part of their profits to the church of Satan, which is false.
(http://www.snopes.com/business/alliance/procter.asp)
Now let me point out why he can get away with this- the ends apparently justify the means. There are some IFB preachers out there that will make the harshest, most unsupported claims, including slander, in condemnation of what they are against. Everyone figures that when it comes to rock music, well, if they're all connected with Satan himself it must be right because rock music is bad anyway. Even if it is not right it might as well be right.
First, what about the truth? What about fairness? Aren't we Christians? Don't we have an obligation to tell the truth no matter what? Shouldn't vengeance be left to the Lord?
Second, observe the circularity. They say rock music is suspect because the record companies give to Satan. But we don't have evidence that all the record companies give to Satan. They say that well, it might as well be because rock music is wrong. We say, why is wrong? They say, well don't you know the record companies give to the church of Satan! and on, and on, and on...
Third, even IF this were true, it is not a valid criticism. It is what is called an ad hominem attack (see sidebar for link), specifically, guilt by association. This kind of attack ignores the subject content and attacks the subject source. It ignores the fact that anyone can do and say the right thing even if on accident. And- it betrays the weakness of the attack by implying that the person can't deal with the subject matter at hand.

So I'm supposed to be happy with this? I don't think so!!

One more urban legend dispensed from the pulpit was that the Eagles' song, "Hotel California," is about Satanism/Hell. See
(http://www.snopes.com/music/songs/hotel.htm)
Yet another false story. From the article:
"The real Hotel California is not a place; it is a metaphor for the west coast music industry and its effect on the talented but unworldy musicians who find themselves ensnared in its glittering web."

Do I deny that some rock musicians have been associated with the church of Satan? No! However, let's be truthful, specific, well-sourced and focused on the issues, not the people.

Until next time.

Unspoken Requests

I have to say that the prevalence of "unspoken" requests is, at it's core, a symptom of how today's churches are too large and disconnected to be families that truly care for each other and bear burdens.
On the one hand, it doesn't need to be everybody's business. One the other hand, I do need people to help me bear my burden and provide support, both practically and in prayer.Is there any point to submitting an unspoken? If you know a person truly cares about you then you can share the information. If you can't share the information with a particular person, does that person care enough to pray for you effectually? Is everyone just _pretending_ that everybody else cares by swapping "unspokens"?The fact is, beyond a certain level, only so many people can get in on the situation before it becomes a gossip item- people who know about the situation but don't truly care. This is probably one of the reasons that "big church," the "church-wide service," has seemed contrived to me for some time. Too many people don't have relationships with too many other people for me to honestly sit there and feel like we are accomplishing something together. But we're all focusing on the platform so it doesn't matter to most.
I don't think beyond a certain size, a group will have relationships with everyone else. It is at this point that a group meeting becomes more of a show of numbers or "let's all listen to the head pastor" than anything else.
Not that we should dismantle the main service. However, churches need to enourage small groups and/or Bible studies, IMO. This is a way the church can regain it's footing where it comes to interpersonal relationships and members truly caring for each other because they have gotten to know a circle of people that are friends they can rely on.
It doesn't always happen naturally.
So, like a said at the beginning, "unspoken" requests are a symptom of disconnectedness. I'll continue to send mine though, if nothing else as a rebuke to the facelessness of today's congregations.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Talking with Friends

Here's an interesting short video that makes you think about how your ability to communicate with a friend tests the importance that friendship has in your life.

Prioritaire (Leah Dieterich) on Transbuddha

Missing Verses

One argument for the KJVO point of view is that newer translations are missing verses, and leave out the blood, the name of Christ, etc., etc. What about the KJV? These might be new to you:

Acts 4:25
KJV: Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?
NIV: You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:" 'Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?"
I could fault the KJV for "deleting" the Holy Spirit.

Jude 25
KJV: To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
NIV: to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
I could fault the KJV for "doing away" with "Jesus Christ our Lord"!

Rev 22:14
KJV: Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
NIV:"Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city."
I could fault the KJV for teaching works salvation. In addition, John Gill tells us: "The Alexandrian copy reads, "that wash their garments"; and so the Ethiopic version, and also the Vulgate Latin, which adds, "in the blood of the Lamb," " So I then suppose I could lump the KJV with all the other modern versions in a conspiracy to take the blood out of the Bible!

One response might be that, well, the KJV removed whole _verses_; bear in mind that verse divisions were designed around the Byzantine text-type and, being a fuller text-type (more words), this state of affairs would automatically position any text-type of less fullness right in the crosshairs of this objection. So I don't know that it is fair.
I would also encourage you to start at Matthew and compare the KJV with the NIV throughout the NT and you will find Christ's name present in many places in the NIV were it is not in the KJV, and vice versa. The point I am making is not that the KJV is inferior, or that the NIV is superior; I hold that the KJV is superior. I am against the double-standard being applied by some.

Discernment and Teachers

From the My Two Cents blog (http://tinyurl.com/j7ycz)

"...I was and am concerned that older fundamentalists have sometimes misrepresented these men (think "MacArthur is a heretic") and have ignored the fact that they are offering much good meat. I fear that some have so misrepresented these men and others like them that when fundamentalists of my generation have discovered that most of what these men say is right, they are prone to write off fundamentalism and separatism as dishonest and out of touch. I lament the fact that fundamentalism has too often black-balled these men rather than teaching discernment by pointing out their strengths and warning of their errors. ..."

Throwing the Baby Out

From the Extreme Fundamental Makeover blog:
(http://tinyurl.com/sxt4s)

"...I pastor an independent Baptist church and I am a fundamentalist (though not hysteric). What has been sad to see over the years are those who have completely abandoned the faith because of their bad experiences in hysteric fundamentalism. Many have nothing to do with church today of any kind and are now raising families that are basically secular in essence. This is truly sad. Our responsibility as leaders and pastors is to help these people understand that there is life after militant fundamentalism and that there is a wonderful life of joy in the service of Jesus Christ. It also makes us wonder sometimes if they were ever truly regenerate or just the product of one of the many manufactured professions that fundamentalism produced in its hey days of mass numbers.
What I find troubling is the antithetical response that many have had towards the IFB movement when coming out. Many have thrown the baby out with the bath water. Sadly, we read of many who grew up in strong IFB circles now buying into everything the church growth movement teaches. Even more dangerous than that has been the new threat of the Emerging Church which is what I believe to be the ultra strong reaction towards hysteric fundamentalism. The Emergent Church has basically filtered down hysteric fundamentalism so much that when you are done, you have nothing more than a Jesus that cares nothing about your soul other than the fact that your soul has become happy and content with what made sense to you. We need to keep in mind folks that the fundamentalist movement had as its springboard combating against those who would have been very comfortable in the Emergent movement – theological liberals.
But what has become of this now??? Today we have many former IFBers who have completely done away with separation, propositional truth, evangelism, missions, and the local church altogether. Yes, they had legitimate concerns about a movement that started strong and has now been hijacked by the militants that have made culottes, the KJV, music styles, worship styles, tapered hair cuts, pants on women, cheap grace, and theological ineptness the benchmarks of their movement. This is sad but nevertheless not everything that fundamentalism stood for and still stands for today should be done away with.
We still have a biblical mandate to “earnestly content for the faith”. My prayer is that we do this with an emphasis on our inability and God’s grace to enable us to do this. Will we get back to a fundamentalism that reflects biblical Christianity more than militant hysteria? That is the question that we as young fundamentalists must answer."

Hmmm. Actually talking about the issues and inviting me to the table. Rather than labeling me a neo and telling me to leave.

Incubus - Drive

...So if I decide to waiver my chance to be one of the hive
Will I choose water over wine and hold my own and drive, oh, oh, oh
It's driven me before, and it seems to be the way
That everyone else gets around
Lately, I'm beginning to find that when I drive myself, my light is found
Whatever tomorrow brings, I'll be there
With open arms and open eyes yeah
Whatever tomorrow brings, I'll be there, I'll be there
Would you choose water over wine
Hold the wheel and drive...

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Sword/Hammond IFBs and the KJVO Issue

It is a little publicized fact that while what could be properly identified with today's KJVO position extends back into the 1800's, as IFBs "descended" from John R. Rice and the Sword (and ultimately, the SBC) such doctrine this was not always a major feature of our churches.
As a matter of fact, before the early 1980's the proper term in our circles for KJVOism was "Ruckmanism." Rice avoided Ruckman and Hyles followed his lead. I have been told (but unable to verify) that a student (by the name of "Black" if I remember correctly) was campused at HAC in the late 1970's for pushing "Ruckmanism."

In Ruckman's first editions of his book "Problem Texts" he documents for us the fact that Hyles and HAC were not, in fact, KJVO at the time. Present day editions of this book, now titled "The Errors in the King James Bible," contain a footnote to remind us that Hyles changed his position in 1984. In a 1984 issue of Ruckman's "Bible Believer's Bulletin," he ran a headline article on Hyles now standing up to the "Alexandrian Cult."

In 1979 John R. Rice ran an article in his Sword of the Lord paper entitled "Questions for King James Fans" (see http://www.kjvonly.org/other/jrrice_some_questions_for_%20king_james_fans.html) in which we see his stand against KJVOism.

One little known fact is that Bob Gray (FL) and Curtis Hutson were invited to be on the overview committee of the NKJV. Curtis Hutson accepted. (see http://www.afcministry.com/NKJV_Translators.htm)

After John R. Rice's death and especially starting in the mid-80s, FBCH began to attract it's own circle of churches who looked to the leadership of Jack Hyles. These churches trended to KJVO along with Hyles. Other churches in the Sword conference were affected and began the migration to full-on KJVOism until the publication of Riplinger's book, New Age Bible Versions, in the early 90s which had the effect of settling the "truth" of KJVOism for almost all involved. Interestingly enough, Curtis Hutson evidently did not become KJVO until shortly before he died of cancer, and at the personal urging of Jack Hyles (unable to verify).

Who are you really?

If the saints are equipped
to defend the truth we have nothing to fear from openness and polite
argument where disagreements are handled with respect and
understanding.

I have heard it said that the four things that
distinguish IFBs from neo-evangelicals are the KJV, music, dress,
and worship style. If these are as big as claimed, why shouldn't our
people be able to interact with the opposition and vigorously defend
them? Instead the solution offered is to close your mind to all
discussion and, like the was _specifically_ said, if someone wants
to argue, just shrug your shoulders and say I don't know. CAN YOU
HONESTLY TELL ME THAT THIS IS WHAT PAUL HAD IN MIND WHEN HE SAID:
2 Tim 2:24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle
unto all [men], apt to teach, patient,
25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God
peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the
truth;

What we have done is decided we are so right there can be no
chance we are wrong so we won't even give the time of day to those who
disagree. Think about that for a minute. Where is the meekness and
humility? Nowhere to be found. That's why you always hear other
denominations and their men shamelessly knocked from the pulpit. That
is NOT Christlike.

And, not all IFBs agree on the four issues mentioned. As a
matter of fact, the four issues mentioned are ACTUALLY MAJOR
ISSUES OF DISAGREEMENT among IFBs. To understand that statement
you have to understand that, rather than being general IFB
distinctives, these four things are distinctives of our circle of
churches gathered around FBCH(Hammond) and the SotL(Sword). We have in
effect labeled all other IFBs as counterfeits, or at a minimum soft
and weak, so we can claim that we are "IT".

A majority of these other IFBs use the KJV, and have conservative
music, dress, and worship standards. But they don't blow it out of
proportion and take it extremes. For this they are called weak. I
rather call it, humility and meekness. And wisdom.

One thing you MUST learn no matter the outcome. Do not allow
anyone to override the Holy Spirit of God in your life. You alone will
stand in judgement before God one day. To that end you have every
right to decide for yourself. More than that, you have a divine
_responsibility_ to think for yourself. You cannot and must not allow
yourself to get trapped by labels, even if that label is Baptist. The
truth is more important. Buy the truth and sell it not.

I think on my own; that makes me dangerous, a heretic, a
troublemaker. Most of the time I try to apply the principles of
Respect, Understanding, & Compromise, but it doesn't
always work. I try not to start stuff but sometimes it happens.

It all makes sense when you realize that as humans, we are
fallible. As fallible humans we can't hope to perfectly understand the
infallible. So then how is it we can be so dogmatic and harsh and
judging among other Christians? This is the basis for tolerance.

A Greek philosopher, Aristotle, said, "It is the mark of an
educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."
Well whoops I must be a heathen I just quoted a pagan Greek
philosopher. Come on, now. I think you can see the truth of what he is
driving at. For example, to be tempted is to entertained by thoughts
of sin, otherwise, where is the temptation? But temptation is not sin,
giving into it is sin. So likewise, to consider an opposing viewpoint
is not to accept it.

Fact and Faith

The first issue is, what is the relationship between fact/logic and faith?We bandy about facts and reason and logic as if they could change minds. They don't, really. The best argument fails unless it deals with the passion, heart, and emotion behind the opposition.A man can hold a belief completely contrary to the facts and you will never convince him, because his belief is a response to a heart issue or some circumstance in his life.This is not to say we shouldn't clearly defend and discuss the facts and logic surrounding the issues, but such discussion/argument is not necessarily an effective way to change people whose core belief differs.You may say, I changed my mind after reading Scripture and learning facts from Scripture. Well, perhaps you did. But you wouldn't have _changed_ your mind unless the Holy Spirit impressed upon you the truth and importance of those Scriptures on your heart.My journey from IFBx towards the other end of the IFB spectrum was not purely a response to fact and logic. The catalyst for my change was a number of incidents that affected my heart and trust, which either forced and/or freed me to look elsewhere for true spirituality. My quest may have been reactionary in some ways but I was merely responding to the bad fruit I saw.Given this reality it is tempting to lapse into relativism. This is not the solution, though. However, any organization or group that relies on complete ideological homogenity is set for problems, or at least ensures the misery of it's members, because it cannot accept and deal with the varying heart conditions of it's people.The solution I think lies in four Biblical principles. The first, that we should be ready to give an answer. Whatever doctrinal statement God would have us adhere to we need to know why and be able to discuss it. Secondly, we should be fully persuaded in our own mind. It will not do to cast about in the most convenient direction of the moment, or to be unsure of where you stand, or to take a position you have uncertainty about. Thirdly, iron sharpeneth iron. We need to be _willing_ to discuss our differences with a teachable spirit and without trying to force others to change- that is the Holy Spirit's job. Fourth, grieve not thy brother with thy meat. We need to know when to shut up and back off and give in, at least on a practical level. As Kenny Rogers might say, "you gotta know when to fold 'em".Violation of any of these principles results in conflict, heartache, and tension. What these principles do is to show us that, while there really should be no gray area for the individual, there must be grey area collectively. My black and white differs from your black and white. That is grey area, in which we must have measures of respect, understanding, and even -gasp!- compromise.

The second issue is that of how do we know what to put our faith in.My answer to this question has pretty much always been, that if you can find it in the Bible, then you need to have faith in it. For example, I am not certain that I understand all the reasons that homosexuality is an abomination, but I believe God when He says it is and it is sin. I am steadfastly against it, because God is _clear_ about it in His Word. (FTR, if anyone cares to disagree I would be willing to elaborate!)Of course, differences in interpretation are going to result in different "Biblical" beliefs. But that is a matter for Christian discussion as I outlined above.

The third issue is when can faith be proven false?This is difficult because faith, which is belief, is tied to the heart. You can literally destroy a person by conclusively and irrefutably showing them that their core beliefs are absolutely false and contrary to the facts.Nonetheless, false faith deserves exposing for the benefit of those who might be disposed to enter into that particular error, and for those who would not be enticed into that error but need to help others understand it.Faith can be proven false when it either is1) inconsistent. Given the premises the conclusion should follow and harmonize with the rest of what is being believed. If not, the faith is false.2) implausible. If what we see not only contradicts our faith but leaves little to no room for alternate explanation, then our faith is false. Of course, whether something is implausible or not can be somewhat subjective.

We must not forget that faith & belief are primarily heart/emotion issues, not fact/mind issues. We should deal with them accordingly.

Hootie & the Blowfish - Innocence

What else can I do when the tears have all been wasted?
And the only voice you choose to hear
Sings the songs of our hearts breaking.
Say your dreams, they all have changed.
Well, my smiles, they all have faded.
And the thoughts that used to seem so pure in my heart,
They now feel jaded.

Because I wanna feel like I did.
And I wanna feel innocence.

What else can it be except this pride Im sick of drinking.
Storm clouds all have gone away.
Can we stop this thing from sinking?

Because I wanna feel like I did.
And I wanna feel innocence.

And I want you to know,
And to feel in your soul,
That someone has come and gone.
I'm stuck up here with you.
I never thought we'd get this high.
I used to be afraid of falling.
Now I'll spread my wings and I will fly.

I wanna feel like I did.
And I wanna feel innocence.
I wanna feel like I did.
Oh, and I wanna feel innocence, oh, I...

[not giving up, BTW :I ]

Friday, June 02, 2006

Sunday School and Singles

Recently I was approached about taking a singles' Sunday School class at my church. I prayed about it and taking an adult class did not seem like something I ought to do. I did have some ideas as far as activities and outreach, though, so I was somewhat dissappointed to lose the opportunity entirely.I have seen problems before with singles' classes in church. Mostly, it has to do with unstated restrictions on who may attend and be a part, specifically with regard to age and previous marital status. As I have said before, many conservative Christians' ideas on marriage carry alot of baggage in terms of prejudice and pre-concieved ideas, which I see as detrimental to the best interests of Christian singles, but more on that later, perhaps!In addition, the need for a singles' class has to be questioned. For one thing, I see the over-segmentation of adult classes in terms of age and status as harmful to the vibrance of the church. I see a great need for the younger people to interact with the older people, as a matter of fact, this seems to be Paul's idea when he admonishes the older women to teach the younger and so forth... and I don't think this concept is adequately implemented by putting a lone older teacher over a group of younger adults. This issue is thus connected with the second- which is to ask whether Sunday School classes in general are effective in fostering the type of "community" that holds people together. I flatly doubt it. Community is found when you create a network of individuals and that network is created when you create individual relationships. Individual relationships are created through personal one-on-one interaction, so our goal should be to facilitate that kind of interaction.To go a little further, I think the most effective type of ministry within the church is that which takes place within the community, the web of individual relationships. Oftentimes we focus on what goes on up on the platform to the point of downplaying what goes on with others. We call the pulpit, pastor, and choir "church" when really the "church" is in the pews, silent, watching the same performance, and somehow believing when the last prayer has ended that they have truly experienced church. For me, the actual "service" is probably the part of church that is the least beneficial to me, and in most ways.So the question of Sunday School is really the question of community.
As concerns singles, I think seperating them out from the rest of the body at church service times only serves to focus them to an unacceptably high degree on their condition of being single. For most singles who desire marriage, the fact that they are single is already on their mind a large part of the time. The greater need for singles, perhaps, is to focus outward to others, because the tendancy is to focus on their own need.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Good not to touch...

Got to get back to posting! Lord, help me post what I ought, as I ought, when I ought, and give me diligence.

1 Corinthians 7:1 (KJV) Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.

This verse what brought to my attention recently by a relative who was using to teach the idea that I should not touch friends of the opposite sex. Of course I didn't feel that this was the intent of the verse so I figured I'd look at it a bit...
First, it is obvious that this verse can't be taken literally, if touching is to be understood as any physical contact. How would I hug my mother, or my sister (if I had one), or my aunt? If I had a daughter, I suppose I wouldn't be able to change her diaper. That is absurd, obviously, but it makes the point. In addition, v.1 makes no exception for marriage. To interpret the verse as forbidding physical contact between a married couple would be an even bigger absurdity, but it is the logical conclusion if you take the verse all by itself. The point is, if you use this verse to forbid physical contact between unmarried, unrelated persons of opposite gender, this verse give you no warrant to limit your restriction to that.
Taking the verse in context yields a different explanation. Both the ESV translation and John Gill's commentary have this verse as referring to sexual relations. Gill specifically understands "touch" in the sense of "use," similar to Romans 1 where we are told that homosexual men have left the "use" of women. So "touch" can represent this, although it is misleading and archaic by modern usage. Consider the statement that someone should not "touch" alcohol. Obviously this statement is not saying that someone shouldn't get the drink on their hands; what we are saying when we make that statement is that someone should not "use," or drink, alcohol. So it is the same with the word "touch" in I Cor 7:1.
This interpretation also has contextual support. Vs.1-2 are parallel to Paul's admonition in vs.6-9 that it is better not to marry, but that marriage is the right option if needed. As a matter of fact, an honest reading of I Cor 7:1-9 would make evident that this passage is in fact concerned with sexual relations specifically, not mere physical contact- the verses in between, vs. 3-5, concern the rights of each partner pertaining to sex.
I really wish people would stop twisting scripture to teach their rules. I could respect the idea of "no touching" more if it were presented to me as a wisdom matter subject to the situation, rather than a Biblical command, which it is not. Unfortunately, IFBs confuse "wisdom" issues with Biblical commands all the time and guess what--- they end up with children WHO NEITHER UNDERSTAND THE BIBLE NOR RESPECT THE WISDOM. Grrrrr.
So as a purely practical matter, is it wise to never touch someone who is unrelated and not your spouse? I would point out, that this is a decision between two people. If an unmarried couple can respect and abide by a decision to not touch, why may they not touch and make a decision as to how far they will take it? From a standpoint of merely physical desire, both options present equal opportunity for temptation.
From the standpoint of a dating relationship, obviously the introduction of physical contact both signifies fondness and takes the relationship to a new level. Is this a bad thing? In my opinion, dating could be defined as the mechanism whereby a couple makes the transition from acquaintances to partners over the time span required by current social expectations. For example, in the Bible, dating is not really an issue because marriage was a property transaction.
No wonder we spin in circles trying to understand what it means for Christians to date, or whether Christians should date at all. The current courtship/emotional purity teachings are an attempt to take the process back to the simplicity of Bible days, but it ignores the reality of modern society.
So the issue of touching would not be an issue in Bible days, really, because the man would either be doing one of two things, paying the dowry for the girl to get her as his wife, or else trying to have an illicit relationship. If not, her father would probably press the man into a decision or run him off.
These days, where we expect an extended "getting to know you" phase, we are in Biblically uncharted waters with regards to the progession of affection and affectionate acts between an unmarried couple. Here is where wisdom comes in- the couple has to look at their situation and, if they have serious feelings, decide what the best course in the matter would be for them, given whatever time period is required by parents or the circumstances. While I reject the teaching of SM Davis on courtship/emotional purity, the excellent take-away point that the mainstream dating crowd needs to get is that while actual marriage may be in the future, the discussion needs to happen sooner rather than later, so that there is an understanding and expectation between all parties and "elders" in the family and church can provide more accurate guidance and support. Or else, the couple can move on.
Unfortunately, marriage has become a scary thing to people. You mention the "M" word and all sorts of imaginations and prejudices rise in people's minds. On the other hand, those in support of heading towards marriage, including the couple, fear sharing this with those who care because of it. A burden rests on the "elders" in such cases to encourage or detect marriage interest between a couple- and take it seriously, and provide support, counseling and a framework by which the couple can eventually glorify God in a pure marriage.
This is the other side of the equation when it comes to physical purity. Unfortunately some of the churches in which physical purity is taught the most are the least conducive for pairing couples in marriage. How is that helpful?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Revolution - Beatles

You say you'll change the constitution
Well, you know
We all want to change your head
You tell me it's the institution
Well, you know
You better free you mind instead
But if you go carrying pictures of chairman Mao
You ain't going to make it with anyone anyhow
Don't you know it's gonna be all right

Music Video...