Monday, November 19, 2007

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Two Great Books on Legalistic Christianity


Book One:
A Matter of Basic Principles

Never heard of Bill Gothard? With his three ring binders and nationwide seminars he swept the US starting in the early 1970s teaching a high view of authority and step-by-step methods for being a Godly Christian. Started as the Institute for Basic Youth Conflicts (IBYC) he reached out to a new market: parents who felt threatened by the counter-culture and needed the old certainties proclaimed afresh. This Bill Gothard did- and more. Gothard's rise paralleled and intermingled with that of fundamental Baptists throughout the 70s and much of the 80s, for one simple reason: they both legislated pre-counterculture culture in an attempt to restore the order that was shattering before them. This legislate-what-was-in-order-to-guard-against-the-new mentality was given up by many fundamental Baptists by the close of the 80s as American culture was returning to some sort of equilibrium-- but others along with Gothard persisted, becoming the new legalists.
This is why this book is so important. In dealing with with Gothard's teachings it also deals with the legalism at large that has crept into many of our conservative churches.

Book Two:
The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse

A highly legalistic Christianity is also highly authoritarian. Authoritarianism and legalism are twin brothers. This book explores the authoritarian aspect of legalism and the group dynamics that result. You can pull yourself from legalism; this book will enable you to break from the legalistic system itself.

Wondering about Winter Wonderland

"In the meadow we can build a snowman,
Then pretend that he is Parson Brown
He'll say: Are you married?
We'll say: No man,
But you can do the job
When you're in town."

At first glance this "innocent" Christmas carol seems to mock marriage. Back when this was written such a question as "Are you married?" would be asked of couples who were engaging is public physical displays of affection; the important thing being that only married people were to behave that way.
The flippant way in which the snowman builders "respond" to Parson Brown treats marriage lightly and with little respect. I mean, come on- "No MAN???" or "you can do the JOB???"
So for the last couple of years me and this time-worn Christmas carol have been at odds. However, as the holiday season (or winter break, or whatever it should be now days) comes upon me yet again I find myself considering alternate interpretations which might solve the impasse.

Wikipedia gives some insight:
"In the period when this song was written, parsons (now known as a Protestant ministers) often traveled among small rural towns to perform wedding ceremonies for denominational followers who did not have a local minister of their own faith. It is therefore likely that the children are pretending that their snowman is a parson with the surname "Brown" who would be visiting the town again in the future."

Now- combine THAT with the possibility that the snowman builders WANT to get married and their "response" to Parson Brown actually carries the emotion of enthusiasm rather than mocking. In other words, since the Parson only came around every once in a while, these two were fantasizing about the opportunity to be married and phrases like "No man" and "do the job" are used because the couple feel that marriage vows are the only thing separating them from fully enjoying each other's love. Thus, they are actually saving themselves for marriage!

While that seems to be the most persuasive vindication of this verse of "Winter Wonderland" there is another unexplained detail to be considered. Just WHO are these two? Most people ASSUME it is a male and female, but that is not necessarily the case. An intriguing possibility is that these are two young ladies, who see in Parson Brown a potential husband. Again, we have the emotion of enthusiasm at work as these two vie for his love. Under this scenario, the conspiracy being cooked up by the fire is how to get the Parson to marry one of them.

If the two characters in the song are actually men, it becomes really interesting. We have a depression-era example of gay rights advocacy! However, in 1930s America there was no way to get THAT kind of "job" done. So it doesn't really work out unless the "job" being referred to is not actually marriage but something else.

So take your pick. This carol is still dangerous in my book but as long as I can apply a morally respectable interpretation I am free to enjoy it, I guess. Right?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Churches with Issues

Spiritual abuse is anytime a person in a leadership position misuses that position to dictate the spiritual life of the follower.

I would also note that such an environment would necessarily have a lack of emphasis on the Holy Spirit even to the point of virtually substituting the leader for the Holy Spirit. Because of this, personal sanctification is stunted or non-existent, being replaced with legalism. Legalism, as a wholly ineffective means of controlling the flesh, produces conceited individuals who keep the rules but lack any real fruit of the Spirit.

Because of this, when you examine any form of legalism you will be able to trace the specific legalistic teachings back to a specific man or group of men, who did not fully understand the doctrine of the Holy Spirit.

Legalistic leaders are not always spiritual abusers. It takes a certain psychological profile or personality to be an abuser, to insist on that level of control. So while legalism (and a general lack of the fruit of the Spirit) is one characteristic of a spiritually abusive leader, a personality marked by insecurity and/or arrogance is another. This insecurity or arrogance may be a result of childhood issues. Arrogance may also be the result of training at any number of far-right fundamentalist colleges which confuse conviction with stubbornness and passion with anger and aggressiveness.

So a simple checklist for determining a spiritual abuser would be:
Is he or are his people legalistic?
Does he expect people to let him make their life decisions or vice versa? If not, do the people give him "veto power?"
Does he and the congregation display the fruits of the Spirit in deed, word and attitude?
Does he or his people seem insecure or arrogant (a brusque and/or know-it-all attitude)?
Is he a product of a Bible college, or does the church associate with a Bible college or major national church, which is known to reflect any of the above characteristics?
Does the bookstore stock a good portion of its material from such men?

************************************************** ****

That is not the only pitfall to watch out for when looking at a church. The other is when a church is not driven by people but programs. At a local church here in San Diego that I do not attend but have in the past, in this last week when the fires were raging throughout the county the music director complimented those who showed up for mid-week choir practice by saying they had the "character" to show up.

Now hold on. Homes are being destroyed, hundreds of thousands are being evacuated, families are coming together to help each other, and there is much in the way of human need and grief to think about. To insinuate that those who did not show up for choir practice during such a week did not have "character" is patently uncharitable, and therefore patently unchristian.

But it makes sense when church is about ministries and programs. When the church is not so much about the people but the organization. The Biblical "church" refers to people, not an organization. A new church starts out developing a fellowship of core people who support each other.

After a time, this core group decides they want to "do something for God" and start building the organization through increasing the number of ministries and programs, instead of committing themselves to one-on-one ministry to those around them. After a while, the organization takes preeminence and the people in the church find their spirituality measured by how active they are in the organization AKA the ministry. The pastor becomes a CEO and faithfulness to his "vision" also becomes another measurement of spirituality.

The church is thus hollowed out and made cold. The church is alive and yet dead. They are a great edifice of ministry and programs, but the community of believers is no longer an organic church- the organic church which existed at first has now been pressed into the service of the organization. This is the fate of the "successful American 'church'".

As the normal church constructs conform to the needs of the ever-expanding organization there is an inevitable increase in pure pragmatism. This manifests itself in preaching being less expository teaching to a more topical motivational style, even to the point of converting sermon time into a time for the pastor as CEO to "cast his vision" and promote a ministry. Easy-believism and legalism creep in as sound theological content no longer flows from the pulpit.

The lack of a true organic community apart from individual involvement in the organization combined with increasing pragmatism means Biblical church discipline is never practiced. This results in church members engaging in sins, sexual and otherwise, and not being dealt with, even when others in the congregation know. The only time such a church practices any form of discipline is when it threatens the organization and even then it is not Biblical... it is hush-hush behind closed doors with the pastor asking the person to quietly leave. As a result, you will see people get asked to leave for open disagreement with the pastor where another might sleep around and never be given any trouble for it.

So in spite of the "success" of the organization, drug use, suicide, sexual sin, and worldliness are to be found to an alarming degree especially among the young people. And people wonder why, since they have such a great "church" and dynamic ministries and a charismatic pastor. When really, the true Biblical church, the organic church, the community of believers, disbanded long ago- pressed into the service of the organization- a counterfeit church.

So a simple checklist for determining a organization "church" would be:
Is the church so large you can't shake the pastor's hand after the service?
Does sermon time get used frequently for "vision casting," ministry reports, and fundraising, especially around promotion Sundays?
Perhaps you have been going awhile... when you sit in the auditorium do you still feel disconnected or lost in the audience?
Do you feel like the only way you can really begin to form friendships is by getting involved in a ministry?
Are church promotions gimmicky?
Do they neglect to practice Biblical church discipline?
Does the church appear to revolve around programs, ministries, or promotional days?
Is there a lack of Biblical/theological substance from the pulpit? Not feeling fed?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Take Me Back: My history- in music!

Music has always had the ability to take me back. We all can hear a certain pop song and have it bring up old, almost forgotten memories of the distant past. I decided to do a rundown of these "defining" points in my life, musically. Should be interesting!

#1
Artist: UB40
Album: Labour of Love
Song: Red Red Wine
Year: 1983




When: 1987-88, Ages 9-10
Where: Imperial Beach, CA
Exposure: Radio- the station being played by the neighbors in the alley had this one in the rotation for a while.
Story: My mother has just gotten remarried and we had moved into a newly constructed apartment building just around the corner from my school, Bayside Elementary. Most of my fun was had in the alley way behind the apartment complex, where I made friends with some older kids who were into skateboarding. I used to sit there with them as they wore their Vans skater canvas shoes and read the skateboarding mags. It was in their company I said my first cuss word- one of the skateboarding parks reviewed was called S--t Ditch.
I also can't help but recall the redneck bare-chested dude who lived at the end of the street... I raced around the corner in my bicycle one day and smashed his tail light. He told me he wasn't going to do anything as long as I told my (newly adoptive) dad. I didn't even know my dad knew this guy. Of course I didn't tell!
Another interesting feature of this part of the neighborhood was that, opposite the redneck dude's house was the bayfront. Not a very glamorous stretch of bayfront, and obstructed by an industrial building, but bayfront nonetheless. As my elementary school was in line with this industrial building you could look through the playground fence and see the bay. Sometimes, the bay water would get close to the fence, and one time it trickled through. Us kids got in trouble for playing with the water.
That fence also was the site of the incident that got me pulled out of public school for good. Apparently one of the boys had found scraps of porno mags near the fence and the school did not handle the situation good enough for my parents. They couldn't afford to send me to private school so I home schooled the last half of 5th grade. By 6th grade we had moved to a new apartment.


#2
Artist: Real McCoy
Album: Another Night
Song: Ooh Boy (you'll have to hit up rhapsody.com to listen to this one)
Year: 1995




When: 1997?
Where: Chesapeake, VA
Exposure: Radio- I don't know where I first heard this song or exactly when. This was a tough one to look up since MANY other musicians have covered this song besides Real McCoy.
Story: From 1995-1998 I worked summers for my grandad's business- propeller repair. I didn't do the propeller repair but just worked in the office. There was a vacant storefront up in the front of the building which my grandad rented out for many years to an auto parts place. I remember when I was little helping one of his employees switch out a fuse in his car stereo system. He gave me a few dollars and asked me to go to the auto parts store and by him a certain amperage fuse, if they didn't have that, he said, get the next higher- it would just make the sound louder. Well he shouldn't have told me that! I wanted to see exactly how loud I could get his stereo to go so I ran over to the store and got a much higher fuse. He looked at it an asked me if I was sure this was all they had- I lied and told him yes. I don't remember if his stereo was damaged but he figured out what I had done later.
Anyway, by 1997 the auto parts store was long gone and the storefront was rented to a pawn shop. This was the perfect addition to the neighborhood- a nightclub named "Double Deuce" was across the street and a stripper joint was next door.
It was at this pawn shop I searched for a found, with much pleasure, the CD with this song on it. It was very catchy to me and I despaired of ever getting the CD. I bought the CD, listened to it a little, and then hid it in the business filing cabinets so my mom wouldn't know I had it. This was the first pop music CD I had ever bought- I was raised that "rock music" was bad and kept more or less shielded from the wicked "world", thus the fairly long interval between "Red Red Wine" and "Ooh Boy."
Unfortunately, the CD came up missing from the file cabinet. My best guess is that the main secretary found it and kept it.
I could tell stories all day long (quite literally) about that place. Like the guard dog that my grandad bought and fed hot Hardee's sausage biscuits to every morning. But I must move on...

#3
Artist: TLC
Album: Crazysexycool
Song: Waterfalls
Year: 1994




When: 1997
Where: Bethel, Alaska
Exposure: CD player at work
Story: After completing a year and a half of Bible college (which my mother pushed me into) I ended my last semester with the Sunday School bus captain (of the route I helped run) throwing me out on my ear, so to speak, for criticizing the pastor of the church.
This incident caused my mom to forbid me from going back, so, off to Alaska I went. My adoptive father had just spent time at a faith-based drug addiction home in Corpus Christi, TX during the time I was in college, and my mom was ready for them both to move on.
Originally I wanted to go back to college, even attempting to secretly wire money from my account in Virginia so I could buy plane tickets to run off. But, alas, I did not specify the proper bank branch for it to go to and so that didn't work. I settled in to life in Bethel, Alaska- in the tundra- in the great Western half of the state you will never see in the tour guides. The half of the state that isn't all about great forests and bears... just flat, mucky, wind-swept tundra.
I started work at a local grocery store as a stocker. The cashier played TLC all the time.
I remember walking home many times with a native Eskimo lady who was a single parent. She told me her story of how the father was a truck driver who left her once she got pregnant.
Then there was the mysterious bagged powder we started selling that I was sure was illegal drugs- then found out it was some kind of filler the native Eskimo people used when rolling cigarettes.
I guess I was sort of sensitive to that as I had my first drug offer while working there. The dealer told me that wanting the drug is like wanting a Coca-Cola. I didn't buy it. I had watched my adoptive father struggle with drugs too much to get wrapped up in that.

#4
Artist: Blessid Union of Souls
Album: Home
Song: I Believe
Year: 1995




When: 1997-1998
Where: Bethel, AK
Exposure: CD player at work
Story: The grocery store job wasn't cutting it for me. They were working me during church and I hated stocking. So I went to the cafe in town and found a job. Now this place wasn't the best place in town but it was the place in town where EVERYONE came through... characters reputable and disputable. You see, "downtown" Bethel was a huge grocery store next to the post office next to the bank. And when I say "the" I mean THE. The one and only post office and bank in this tundra outpost of several thousand residents. The cafe was at a perfect spot- at the entrance to the grocery store just down from THE post office and bank. I was in there before when I was still working at the grocery store and my manager walked by, drunk, publically exclaiming what a s--tty job I did on the floors. Hmph.
Being a small town, we also sold cakes and the woman of the guy who owned this cafe also ran a flower shop. They were both Christian (Assembly of God) and made sure I had Sundays off since they knew I went to church.
A girl by the name of Jessie came to work there. She happened to be a vegetarian and when she found out I hated coffee we made a deal: she would eat a burger if I drank a cup of coffee. She was rather sick afterwards and that coffee was absolutely disgusting!
The owner bought a full-service restaurant down the street and I was called on to work down there sometimes. Some weeks I put in over 40 hours between both places but because they were separate businesses I wasn't entitled to overtime. Grrr. The cake operation, along with the cake decorator, moved down to the new place. The Blessid Union of Souls CD was his. He and his wife made a great couple and I was sorry to see him quit for a grocery store bakery across town.
The owner and his wife were very nice to me... when my adoptive father left my mom for the town whore and I quit to leave Alaska she gave me an extra couple hundred bucks as a gift.

#5
Artist: Goo Goo Dolls
Album: A Boy Named Goo
Song: Name
Year: 1995





When: 1999
Where: Virginia Beach, VA
Exposure: Radio- Got played alot. Or else it just stuck in my brain.
Story: After leaving Alaska and not finding a job in San Diego my mom and I moved to Virginia. For a number of previous summers while in Virginia we went to a church and so we decided to start going there. I asked for a volunteer ministry position and got put on a bus route with someone who was to become an extremely close friend, Andy. We not only worked the bus route but we hung out together. A new family came to our church and he started a relationship with their daughter. On Sunday afternoons after bus route Andy and I would go over to this family's house for lunch and I would chill while he spent time with his girl. I remember one Saturday night we were over there and I slept on a couch in another room until 1 or 2 in the morning while he was spending time with her.
Every Sunday morning he would get up early and drive 15 miles to pick me up for the bus route. Some mornings I was just getting up as he was arriving but he never got mad at me just sat there and talked to my grandmother, who we were staying with at the time.
His girl's family got crosswise with the pastor over the balance of authority between church and home and as a result the preacher tried to get Andy to give up his relationship with this girl, ultimately bringing an accusation of improper touching, which I could not believe. When he wouldn't budge, he was kicked off the bus route and out of the church. I got placed on a new route.

#6
Artist: Phil Collins
Album: Hits
Song: True Colors
Year: 1998




When: 1999-early 2000
Where: Virginia Beach, VA
Exposure: Radio, then bought the CD
Story: I was working at Gateway in technical support. I absolutely hated the job. I hated dealing with frustrated customers all day long. I was on the verge of quitting and going to work at a fast food place. In addition, my mom had been saying she wanted to move back to California. Now, I liked Virginia, I never wanted to move. But, mom really wanted to move on and I wanted out of my job and so I took a transfer to a service center in Palmdale, CA. I remember the rainy day I thought about this song and felt rather sad because I knew I was leaving and I didn't really want to move.

#7
Artist: The Offspring
Album: Americana
Song: Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)
Year: 1998





When: 2000
Where: Palmdale, CA
Exposure: Movie Trailer
Story: The move to Palmdale was fun! Cross country trip all by myself- woo hoo big boy now!!! New place, new faces, new church. The new church was a place where my old high school friend William was finishing up his Bible college so I got to go out with him again. Sweet!
Now I had become a Christian as 5, professing faith in Christ. Then, I doubted when I was 7, so I professed again, and have never doubted since. It was at this time I felt convicted to be baptized... if I was truly saved at 7, my baptism didn't count, as I was baptized a few weeks after my profession at 5. So I went forward and was baptized.
I always pretty much made my friends at church. However, this church had a policy that you have to be there a year before you can volunteer for work. So I spent my time with my co workers from the Gateway store. I went to a lot more movies too, and this is where I saw the trailer for the movie "Loser", which featured the song from Offspring. I liked the sound so much I went to see the movie only to be disappointed to find the song wasn't in the movie, only the trailer.
And this was the official start of my attachment to rock music. I count Offspring's "Pretty Fly" as the first song I didn't feel bad about deciding I liked. My co workers introduced me to Creed and Lifehouse and many more.
I did make friends with three people at the church, but they happened to be involved in ministry so I only saw them occasionally. I remember buying lunch for one of them once when they were unemployed.
My mother had just undergone surgery and didn't move out with me until the week before I lost my job and, moved back to Virginia. I must've spent 10 mo in California. She came out to visit me around thanksgiving of 2000 and we decided I would just quit and go back to Virginia given the my inability to assimilate into the church, but she chickened out on that plan.
If you were involved in the church, you were incredibly busy from what I could tell. One disheartening moment came while I was out on church-wide visitation and we met a newer member who wanted to see if the church could spare a bus to pick up people from old folks homes to bring them in for special Christmas services. It never happened; according to the staff all our resources were tied up or they couldn't afford it or whatever.

#8
Artist: Dave Matthews Band
Album: Everyday
Song: The Space Between
Year: 2001




When: 2001-2002
Where: Chesapeake, VA
Exposure: CD player at work
Story: After moving back to Virginia I immediately took a job at a local pizza chain as a delivery driver, to offset my bills. We went back to the church where my friend was thrown out- why we did that I do not know. But we did. I found a new IT job which afforded me a lot of free time and it gave me the chance to search out some things. So from the comfort of my desk I dropped my King-James-only viewpoint, my no-pants-on-women viewpoint, and, while I had given in to rock already I justified my abandonment of music "standards" fully and completely. Interestingly, getting past what I had been brought up with on music was harder than the rest.
The brouhaha concerning the family who got crosswise with the pastor spilled over into condemnation and outright persecution of home schoolers in the church. We happened to be friends with a family in the middle of this- can you say deja vu?
Work became a place to me where I could get away from church, and all the crap.
My introduction to the DMB was courtesy of the guys at the pizza place who were big fans of his. They went to all the concerts and what not. I didn't join them the time they watched "Orgasmo" in the stock room, though!


#9
Artist: Pat McGee Band
Album: Beautiful Ways
Song: Beautiful Ways
Year: 2004




When: 2004
Where: San Diego, CA
Exposure: Heard over the radio at a store
Story: I moved back to San Diego after hearing about a job opening where a friend of mine, Conan, worked. It took me 2 months to get the job after I moved out there due to the incompetence of the HR department.
For the first few months I rode the trolley and bus to work. It was pretty fun I guess. You get to see a lot of different people. But mostly you are interested in not having to stand and being able to find a seat.
After those first initial months I moved in next door to Conan and rode with him to work every day. We always had thoughtful discussions while riding around, and I would often accompany him on errands. One errand involved buying a special ice cream scooper for his wife at a Bed Bath & Beyond, and that's where I heard this song. His wife was big on ice cream!
It was nice living next door to him. I could help him with his computer and we could hang out often. I was also right across the street from the church which made it easy to get to things there. I dragged my laundry to the laundromat across the street which was next to a small grocery store. I got hooked on a hole-in-the-wall Mexican place there called La Canada. You buy a burger from this place, it comes with lettuce and salsa! Sounds gross but it is actually good.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Custom Ringtones for Verizon Phones

...and others too!

Here are the steps:
1. Take your audio file, convert it to mono, and save it as Microsoft PCM .wav file. Audacity 1.3.3 is a free and easy tool for this.
2. Use PureVoice to convert to a .qcp file.
3. Rename the extension from .qcp to .MIDI
4. Send as attachment to your phone 1234567890@vzwpix.com
5. Message could take up to around 30 mins to reach your phone
6. Your phone, while on the message, may only play the first second or so. Save as a ringtone, then go to your ringtones and play it and you should hear the whole thing.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Another GREAT comic from ASBO Jesus

Absolutely genius!
From http://asbojesus.wordpress.com/ :

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Income Tax

Those who protest the federal income tax like to ask whether you have ever seen the law that requires you to pay federal income tax.
Well now you can say yes.
Click here for the law (26 U.S.C. §1).

And who is required to file a return?
Nearly everyone with any kind of a steady income.
Click here for the law (26 U.S.C. §6012).

You might not like it but there it is.

One Way to Look At It...

From http://asbojesus.wordpress.com/ :

Saturday, August 25, 2007

NWA: Express Yourself

Nothing I love better than well-crafted propaganda that flies in the face of those who dream of pre-civil-rights America.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Walketh Not in the Counsel of the Ungodly

A thought from Psalms 1.

1Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
2But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
3And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

Those that have treated us without Christian Charity are guilty of ungodliness. Those leaders that fall into sin and cover it up and those that aid them in the cover up are sinners. Those preachers who speak proud and boastful taunts against mainstream evangelicals (however wrong they may be) are the scorners.
We are not FOLLOW them (walketh not in the counsel), WALK with them (standeth in the way), or join in their SPIRIT (sitteth in the seat).
We are not to allow their dictates to rule our lives- it would be walking in the counsel of the ungodly! Their lack of Christian Charity has nullified everything else they have said- they have become, as Paul put it, a tinkling cymbal.
What do we do? We turn to the Scriptures and meditate, or think, on our own. If we will do so because our delight is to know Him, then we shall be like a prosperous tree planted.
Truly they who have cast us out and proclaim some future harsh judgment from God on us "know not what Spirit" they are of.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I am independent and fundamental and baptist- just not an IFB

Sometimes the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
I speak against IFBs so much you may begin to wonder WHAT I am.
To the extent that IFBs redefine and add on to being independent and fundamental and baptist, I am against it.
I have already written a post on I, F, and B here.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

IFBs and the Seventh-Day Adventists

A side thought
For as much as IFBs talk about the men leading the church and the home, in my experience, what the "Mrs." wants, the "Mrs." gets. The women don't hold _positions_ of power, but they make up for that with their _attitude_ and _influence_. Is it a reaction to a feeling of suppression? Or is it just merely the outworking of their hearts' desire in the only form available?

A word on the roots of KJVOs
In response to the point that modern KJVOism started in the 1930s. It is often pointed out that a group of men called the "old conception" were present in the mid-to-late 19th century that held KJVO views. This is, in fact, the case. However several points need to be made:
1. These men never caused any of the denominations or Baptist groups to change their position
2. By 1920 the "old conception" men had died off having never left enough of an impression any group for their views to be carried on

So when, in 1930, a Seventh-Day Adventist by the name of Benjamin Wilkenson put forth the KJVO position in his book, Our Authorized Bible Vindicated, he did so independently. Not only is this evident from the time-line of the "old conception" movement, but it is also evident from the scope of that movement, which would have had no dealings with the SDA, especially given that the height of the movement was during Ellen White's adult lifetime.

Furthermore, men like Ray, Fuller, and Ruckman did not reach back in their quotations and defense of KJVO to the "old conception" men; they reached back to each other and ultimately, to Wilkenson.

For KJVO IFBs, they reach back to Hyles, who took from Ruckman initially.

And this is not the ONLY major fighting doctrine IFBs inherited from the Seventh-Day Adventists.

6-day/24-hr day creationism as an essential doctrine
Now let me say, from the outset, that I subscribe to the gap theory. Gen 1:1, then perhaps the creation of angels and the earth as their habitation, the resulting destruction as a result of Satan's fall, and then v.2, the recreation of a void earth for man. As such, I do believe in a miraculous 6-day/24-hr day creation.

Is it a point of no-compromise for me? No. I don't see why IFBs have to have a problem with theistic evolutionists. My mom has an atheist friend who says she can't accept Christ because she can't accept a literal, 6-day/24-hr day creation. This shouldn't be the case.

Truly the grandfather of the modern-day YEC (Young Earth Creationism) movement is Seventh-Day Adventist George McCready Price. In 1902 he published what was the first attempt to harmonize a literal reading of Genesis 1 with new scientific findings, titled "Outlines of Modern Christianity and Modern Science". From the "Reasons to Believe" website:

"Shortly after the turn of the century the self-instructed Adventist geologist George McCready Price began advocating a scientific version of White's views that he called "the new catastrophism," "the new geology," or simply "flood geology." According to Price, a correct reading of Genesis 1 ruled out any notion of "creation on the installment plan," that is, creative acts interspersed over millions of years, which he regarded as a "burlesque" of creation. The gap theory required too much verbal "dodging and twisting" to conform to his standards of biblical literalism, and the day-age theory seemed even more egregious."

So we see that the predominant theories among Christians at the time were the "gap theory" and the "day-age theory." Into this Mr. McCready began to fight for a straight, unassuming, literal reading of Gen 1, and in 1925 published "The New Geology," in which he laid out scientific arguments for YEC, many of which are still used today. In the famous Scopes trial, Williams Jennings Bryan quoted some of Price's arguments and his opponent Darrow said, "You mentioned Price because he is the only human being in the world so far as you know that signs his name as a geologist that believes like you do . . . every scientist in this country knows [he] is a mountebank and a pretender and not a geologist at all."

Among those who borrowed directly from Price are Dudley Joseph Whitney in mid-1930s, and ultimately Henry Morris, the founder of ICR(Institute for Creation Research) out of which came Ken Ham of AiG(Answers in Genesis). Of Price, Mr. Morris said that reading "The New Geology" was a life changing experience.

It's a small world

KJVOs who know about the old conception men quote WB Riley for proof that these men existed as late as 1917. In the extended quote, Riley says "I think it would be accepted without fear of successful controversy that such fogies in Biblical knowledge are few, and their funerals are nigh at hand." Riley was AGAINST KJVOism himself, and as it turns out, believed in the "day-age" theory of creation. Our friend Mr. McCready spoke of Riley and said his "day-age" theory was "the devil's counterfeit."

Riley was a Baptist, and the pastor of First Baptist Church of Minneapolis, MN for 45 years from 1897-1942.

More on YEC and Ellen G. White

According to the website of the Ellen White estate:
"Although Ellen White uses the phrase “unity in diversity,” and stated “Instructors in our schools should never be bound about by being told that they are to teach only what has been taught hitherto,” she maintained that the landmarks and pillars of Adventist truth were to remain. Concepts that impact the science of geology which she “was shown” to be identified as permanent include six literal, empirical, historical 24-hour days of creation, culminating with a literal 24-hour Sabbath day of rest, and human life on earth non-existent before the literal creation week described in Genesis. Recognizing that all truth in a fallen world is vulnerable to distortion, Ellen White continually repeated her clarion call to elevate Scripture over humanity’s ideas of science. True science, in her view, must always be brought to the test of the unerring standard of Scripture.

"Ellen White was aware of ideas similar to the uniformitarianism of James Hutton. She was also aware of the scholarly scorn leveled against the notion of a recent historical creation week, similar to the scorn offered by Schleiermacher’s caricature in 1829 that only “gloomy creatures” believe in ancient literalism. In this milieu of Genesis reconstruction with its converging concept of “deep time,” she could state both, “The work of creation cannot be explained by science,” and “True science and the Bible religion are in perfect harmony.”"

Apparently, a literal reading of Gen 1 was a non-negotiable for White, and in this context it is easy to see why an SDA teacher such as Price would have fought in its defense.

America in Prophecy

I attended an IFB church in the south bay area of San Diego, CA from age 5-13. This church had Hyles in just about every year until the mid-90s. During the time I was there, they passed out the book "America in Prophecy." I remember as a young boy thinking, well that's exciting, to see America in the Bible. Of particular interest was something in the book referring to a heavenly purification starting in 1844. That peaked my interest because evidently the Bible had a prophecy with a modern date! I never made sense of it then.

Now, I know that the 1844 Investigative Judgment is a peculiar doctrine of the SDA. I also know that America in Prophecy is merely another name and packaging for Ellen White's "The Great Controversy."

I think the church just didn't realize it, at first. But the material drew them. What is it with IFBs and the SDA?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Places where the KJV follows the Septuagint over the Masoretic Text

Posting this here because I could not a find a list like this elsewhere on the net. The information is taken from the notes of the NET Bible and could be confirmed by consulting Benton's translation of the Septuagint.
I am sure it is not a complete list but it is a start. I left out KJV sidings with the LXX where no modern version reads with the Masoretic.

Leviticus 18:28
KJV-LXX: "nations"
NASB-MT: "nation"

Ruth 3:15
KJV-LXX: "then she went"
NRSV-MT: "the he went"

I Samuel 28:1
KJV-LXX: "go out with me to battle"
NASB-MT: "go out with me in the camp"

II Samuel 3:18
KJV-LXX: "I will save"
NLT-MT: "I have chosen David to save"; MT is literally "he will save"

I Chronicles 1:6
KJV-LXX: "Riphath"
NASB-MT: "Diphath"

Ezra 8:14
KJV-LXX: "with them"
NAB-MT: "with him"

Job 41:6
KJV-LXX: "banquet"
NASB-MT: "bargain"

Proverbs 13:1
KJV-LXX: "heareth his father's instruction"
NASB-MT: "accepts his father's discipline"

Proverbs 18:24
KJV-LXX: "shew himself friendly"
NASB-MT: "comes to ruin"

Ezekiel 11:13
KJV-LXX: "Ah Lord GOD wilt thou make a full end of the remnant of Israel?"
NET-MT: "Alas, sovereign Lord! You are completely wiping out the remnant of Israel!"

Micah 1:9
KJV-LXX: "wound"
NKJV-MT: "wounds"

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Hard-liners and Personality Cults

I watched the movie "Archangel" tonight, which is based on a novel where a long lost son of Stalin comes back to rally the people back to communism, promising them a return to the glory days of the USSR, back before the shift to free-market capitalism brought vice and unemployment.
I became interested in it and got online to read up on the fall of the Soviet Union. Due to the stagnation of the Soviet economy in the mid 1980s, Gorbachev's implemented economic reforms under "perestroika." This freed many enterprises from state control. However, many failed and turned back to government for support, which brought the economy down even further. This in turn caused some of the states of the USSR to agitate for succession and independance, and resulted in the communist party losing some of its iron grip.
Even after the Communist Party gave up its monopoly on government in 1990, and the popular election of Boris Yeltsin to president of Russia, the "New Union Treaty" advanced by Gorbachev and others would have maintained a communist state. The draw back for nationalist conservatives is that it would have turned the USSR into a confederation of independant states.
The hard-liners did not want to let them go. They wanted to consolidate the power of the USSR. It was these hard-liners who sunk their own ship by staging a coup d'etat against the government in 1991 in an attempt to stop the signing of the treaty.
In the aftermath, no one would listen to Gorbachev- he was powerless. Yeltsin began to ban the Communist Party altogether in Russia.
It is interesting to watch how a hard-line no-compromise militant stand can be its own worst enemy. Reform-minded Gorbachev was on track to preserving communism, albeit at the cost of a more autonomous confederation. This was not good enough for the hard-liners.

I also noticed a blurb for "de-Stalinization." What is this I wonder? I came across Khrushchev's so-called "Secret Speech" to the 20th Soviet Congress in criticism of Stalin. Khrushchev practically preaches against what he calls the "cult of the individual." I could not help but think of some pastors I have known. Read for yourself...

Excerpts from the "Secret Speech" given by Nikita Khrushchev, Feb 24-25, 1956:

"After Stalin's death, the Central Committee began to implement a policy of explaining concisely and consistently that it is impermissible and foreign to the spirit of Marxism-Leninism to elevate one person, to transform him into a superman possessing supernatural characteristics, akin to those of a god. Such a man supposedly knows everything, sees everything, thinks for everyone, can do anything, is infallible in his behavior."

"Because not all as yet realize fully the practical consequences resulting from the cult of the individual, [or] the great harm caused by violation of the principle of collective Party direction and by the accumulation of immense and limitless power in the hands of one person,the Central Committee considers it absolutely necessary to make material pertaining to this matter available to the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union."

" In a letter to the German political worker Wilhelm Bloss, [Karl] Marx stated: "From my antipathy to any cult of the individual, I never made public during the existence of the[1st] International the numerous addresses from various countries which recognized my merits and which annoyed me. I did not even reply to them, except sometimes to rebuke their authors. [Fredrich] Engels and I first joined the secret society of Communists on thecondition that everything making for superstitious worship of authority would be deleted from its statute. [Ferdinand] Lassalle subsequently did quite the opposite." "

"While ascribing great importance to the role of the leaders and organizers of the masses,Lenin at the same time mercilessly stigmatized every manifestation of the cult of the individual, inexorably combated [any] foreign-to-Marxism views about a "hero" and a "crowd,"and countered all efforts to oppose a "hero" to the masses and to the people."

"Fearing the future fate of the Party and of the Soviet nation, V. I. Lenin made a completely correct characterization of Stalin. He pointed out that it was necessary to consider transferring Stalin from the position of [Party] General Secretary because Stalin was excessively rude, did not have a proper attitude toward his comrades, and was capricious and abused his power."
"Stalin acted not through persuasion, explanation and patient cooperation with people, but by imposing his concepts and demanding absolute submission to his opinion. Whoever opposed these concepts or tried to prove his [own] viewpoint and the correctness of his [own]position was doomed to removal from the leadership collective and to subsequent moral and physical annihilation."

"Stalin originated the concept "enemy of the people." This term automatically made it unnecessary that the ideological errors of a man or men engaged in a controversy be proven.It made possible the use of the cruelest repression, violating all norms of revolutionary legality, against anyone who in any way disagreed with Stalin, against those who were only suspected of hostile intent, against those who had bad reputations. The concept "enemy of the people" actually eliminated the possibility of any kind of ideological fight or the making of one's views known on this or that issue, even [issues] of a practical nature."

"An entirely different relationship with people characterized Stalin. Lenin's traits --patient work with people, stubborn and painstaking education of them, the ability to induce people to follow him without using compulsion, but rather through the ideological influence on them of the whole collective -- were entirely foreign to Stalin. He discarded the Leninist method of convincing and educating, he abandoned the method of ideological struggle for that of administrative violence, mass repressions and terror."

"When Stalin said that one or another should be arrested, it was necessary to accept on faith that he was an "enemy of the people.""

"You should have seen Stalin's fury! How could it be admitted that he, Stalin, had not been right! He is after all a "genius," and a genius cannot help but be right! Everyone can err,but Stalin considered that he never erred, that he was always right. He never acknowledged to anyone that he made any mistake, large or small, despite the fact that he made more than a few in matters of theory and in his practical activity."

"In this connection, Stalin very energetically popularized himself as a great leader. In various ways he tried to inculcate the notion that the victories gained by the Soviet nation during the Great Patriotic War were all due to the courage, daring, and genius of Stalin and of no one else."

"Comrades: The cult of the individual acquired such monstrous size chiefly because Stalin himself, using all conceivable methods, supported the glorification of his own person."

"Comrades! The cult of the individual caused the employment of faulty principles in Party work and in economic activity. It brought about rude violation of internal Party and Soviet democracy, sterile administration, deviations of all sorts, cover-ups of shortcomings, and varnishings of reality."


Ciao.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Pragmatism

"Many of the pulpiteers of the past fifty years acted as though the first and last object of their calling was the salvation of souls, everything being made to bend to that aim. In consequence, the feeding of the sheep, the maintaining of a Scriptural discipline in the church, and the inculcation of practical piety, was crowded out; and only too often all sorts of worldly devices and fleshly methods were employed under the plea that the end justified the means; and thus the churches were filled with unregenerate members. In reality, such men defeated their own aim.

"The hard heart must be ploughed and harrowed before it can be receptive to the gospel seed. Doctrinal instruction must be given on the character of God, the requirements of his Law, the nature and heinousness of sin, if a foundation is to be laid for true evangelism. It is useless to preach Christ unto souls until they see and feel their desperate need of him. "

-AW Pink, Why Doctrinal Preaching Declines, 1939

Friday, June 22, 2007

Think

Written by "Christ Vestal":
I pray that you will read the Word of God and discover what it says for yourself. It is obvious that your only knowledge of the Bible is the few snippets you hear misquoted in your “three to thrive” attendance at a Baptist church. If you take a look-see, you will read that Jesus tells us to “Judge all things…,”“Test the spirits,” and that we will “judge angels.”(Since the “Dr.” Mutchler says that wherever the Bible says angel it means pastor I am merely taking this to its logical conclusion) The passage to which you mistakenly refer says that IF you judge, be prepared to be held to the same standard, and I am more than ready for that. The Bible says to be blameless. (...)
Is Jack Schaap blameless when in his book “Marriage: Divine Intimacy”(Published 2006 by Hyles publications), in chapter 3 claims that the Christian is the female in the salvation relationship and that when a Baptist partakes of Holy Communion he is having “Spiritual Intercourse (read sex) with God?” Or when – in the same chapter – he posits that when a wife lays back and accepts her husbands seed during sex, she is by that action telling Jesus Christ (the Second Person of the Trinity, Almighty God) that she wants to receive Him in like manner? Maybe, abc, you are in agreement with the venerable “Dr.” Schaap when – later in chapter 3 – he claims that in Psalm 119 when David uses the word “laid” it means that David physically lusts after God’s law, and that the word “stuck” means that David (under inspiration of the Holy Ghost) was so in love with the Words of God that he wanted to penetrate them?
I think that YOU need to stop relying on what a “man of God” says, and start reading the Word of God for yourself. God will speak to you clearly without being filtered through a self-styled preacher, a “man of God.” I pray that someday you will wake up and realize that the Bible says what it means, and it is no light thing to send people astray as a majority of the Baptist dogma does. DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE GOD’S GRACE, and do not try to fit the Bible into your doctrine, fit your doctrine to the Bible. Remember, Scripture – not Jack Hyles, Mike Mutchler, First Baptist, or Grand View Baptist is the final authority.
I pray that God will bless you and your family and keep you safe there.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Bible College Indoctrination

If a person is spiritually weak then they don't need to be at bible college. When we depend upon bible colleges to mass disciple our young people the bible colleges respond by shifting to a more indoctrinating and consequently shallow course of education.
The majority of Christian parents expect to "auto-disciple" their kids by ensuring their involvement in a church and Christian school. So then when that PREDICTABLY fails, they assume their child needs MORE of the same and pack them off for what most fundamentalist parents today insist on, the obligatory YEAR of Bible college.
When that fails, the parents finally admit their OWN FAILURE as they watch their young person fade to carnality.
Meanwhile, the kids whose parents ENSURED their discipleship don't get the advanced learning they deserve, and the spiritually weak who DO SUCCEED in the indoctrinating environment in many of today's fundy Bible colleges become prideful narrow-minded ideologues.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Ephesian Fundamentalists

From this site:

EPHESUS:
today would definitely be fundamentalist type Christians. Commended for their "works" and "labor" for His name's sake, and that they "canst bear them which are evil" (the 'godless'), and "have tested those which say they are apostles and are not, but have found them liars" (the 'cultists'/'heretics')etc. They have rightly been concerned about compromise (Nicolaitans—see Pergamos) and an emphasis on pleasure in the modern church. But they have "lost their first love"—Jesus Himself! In criticizing the modern church and secular world, the fundamentalists have totally distorted the Gospel into moral perfectionism and hatred of people, rather than the world SYSTEM the scriptures they base their hatred on refer to. (e.g. they condemn society's materialism and hedonism, but think the capitalism that promotes it is God's system) They exalt the past (when their brand of Christianity had wide power in society) as being pure (ignoring all the problems), an act as if the Fall occurred in 1960's America. All of this comes through in the debates over contemporary Christian music, Bible translations, psychology, politics, etc., with the traditional ways being the God ordained pattern for all of man, whether biblical or not. Thus they deny the doctrine of sin as much as the contemporary Church they have been so critical of. You never see them admit to any sin in their lives, it's just how everyone else fails to measure up. They are critical of any movement that exposes the dark sides of their glossed over past ("historical revisionists", secular media, therapy's methods of dealing with past pains, etc.) So for all of their good works, they wind up getting one of the worst warnings of all the churches— to have their candlestick removed! This equals the shiftless Laodiceans, and far surpasses the 'compromisers' they love to criticize. This shows us a lesson many have not seemed to learn; that all our righteousness is "as filthy rags" to God. (Isaiah 55). It is only by grace that God accepts us.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Clarification

In my previous post I quoted Gal 1:8. What is the Gospel? It is found in the Scriptures. This was my point, not that we should tolerate those who teach another gospel. My intended scope was things beyond salvation that Christians often disagree on.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Random Use of Scripture

Those who teach and preach topically, and those that love the topical style, are often prone to use scripture out of context. Here is presented is one example of a random use of Scripture.

Rom 16:17
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

The application is that if someone comes around with beliefs different that those which are taught by your church, you shouldn't have anything to do with them.

First of all, the person making this application would find it unacceptable in its consequence if they thought it through. A Catholic, for example, could cite this verse. He would say he learned Catholicism and so you are teaching differently therefore he won't listen to you or have anything to do with you.

That observation sets the stage for understanding the verse in context. Ask yourself WHO it was that the Romans Paul was writing to learned their doctrine from. The answer to this question would be one of the Apostles, or one of the Apostles representatives. The teaching the Romans received was that of direct revelation through one or more of the Apostles. Paul was entirely justified in telling them to shun anyone who taught differently because the Romans had their doctrine "first-hand."

How does that apply today? Ask yourself WHERE you might find the teachings of Christ and the Apostles today. You will find it in the New Testament. Understood in its context, Rom 16:17 would be understood today as referring to the Scriptures. So then if anyone brings any doctrine contrary to the Scripture, let him be shunned.

This same understanding also applies to parallel verses such as Gal 1:8:

But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

"We" is referring to the Apostles and this true gospel is found today in the Scriptures.

Now here is the difficulty. Everyone interprets the Scripture differently: Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, you name it. However if you talk to them they will all give Scripture to back up their positions so none of these groups have the right to take a verse like Rom 16:17 and shun members of other groups over it UNLESS they are intentionally causing offense and division.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Authority and Responsibility

If you have been affected by Gothardism or know someone who is you will benefit from this post.

Let me start by saying, that there are some who believe that someone's authority is valid merely because they hold a position of authority. I do not believe that. It should be obvious that the position defines the extent of the authority and does not permit unbounded authority.
When we speak of position we think of privilege; however, we know this privilege comes with responsibility. In carrying out the duties of the position a person discharges their responsibility.
Is authority part of the privilege or the responsibility? As the level of privilege is tied to the level of responsibility, the level of authority is also tied to the level of responsibility. Authority and privilege are independent; both are tied into responsibility.
Responsibility is the most important part of position- authority second, and privilege third. The reason for this should be obvious- privilege is a by-product of position. Position exists for the discharge of responsibility; people who use position as a means for personal privilege are rightly said to be abusing their position.
The person who holds any position has as his first and foremost objective the discharge of responsibility wherein he or she enjoys some level of privilege as a by-product.
Now to our main issue, which is, how does authority fit with position? The areas of responsibility confer the requisite level of authority to the person in the position. The authority, in turn, is used to discharge the responsibility.
And here is the important conclusion: authority which is not tied to responsibility is invalid authority. When invalid authority is exercised over people, it is called tyranny.
With this in mind, let us consider a parent-child relationship. This is a case where the position remains the same; but the responsibilities change over time. Therefore, the parents' scope of authority changes over time as well.
A normal parent wants their children to become more and more responsible. Hopefully, this happens. What is the parent looking for? The parent is looking for the child to exhibit two things: a willingness to take responsibility, and the capacity to perform the responsibility. As the child demonstrates these two characteristics they assume greater and greater responsibility.
And greater and greater authority. To take a simple example, lets say a child demonstrates a willingness and capacity to clean his room. Along with that comes the authority to decide how to organize toys on the shelf and what time of day he wants to tidy up.
As the child moves into adolescence they begin to make lifestyle choices. Very eagerly a teenager shows a willingness and capacity to make choices concerning dress and music and beliefs. They become their own person- very possibly a different person than their parents or siblings. In these years the parents are often uncomfortable with the choices and attempt to exercise authority where the child has already assumed responsibility. The teenager rightly points out that the parents are trying to run his life. His parents are tyrannical and he considers himself justified in rebellion to invalid authority.
A child's personality is 75% set by the time he is 15 years old. It is only natural and right that the child should assume such responsibility around this time. In very many cultures around the world a boy is considered a man by this time. In Western culture we school them until 18 and in doing so create a period where the child is becoming an adult psychologically and mentally but not often recognized as such.
We look for our children to demonstrate the willingness and capacity needed to shoulder responsibility but when the responsibility involves who they are becoming as people we turn 180 degrees, exert our position as parents, put our foot down and create rebellion. We exercise invalid authority.
One reasonable solution would be house rules. The parents provide food and shelter. In the discharge of this responsibility they have the right to exercise authority concerning conduct inside the house. No rock music in the house... when you have your own place you may play it all you want. Too often though we insist on what we want based on our position and not on our responsibility. BIG MISTAKE.
Once the child is no longer supported by the parents responsibility drops to zero. So does the authority. But for the parent who is high on their position as a parent they insist on the children submitting their decisions for parental approval. They ignore the fact that authority is rooted in responsibility and start demanding things like "respect" and "honor" when what they really mean is "submit." They twist Bible verses to demand submission where it is not warranted. They attempt to exercise authority where they have no responsibility. Their adult children are sometimes already cowed from listening to parents twist verses like Eph 6:1 or the "leave and cleave" verse during their teenage years. They good-naturedly submit where the responsibility is theirs, not their parents.
What's the harm? Children who take much longer to become the INDIVIDUAL God wants them to be. Children who look to their parents for direction instead of God. Children who will one day be judged by God for how they discharged their responsibilities as young adults when they basically turned decisions over to their parents. Perhaps the greatest torture: Children becoming depressive because they do not feel like they will ever be their own person. And all the while their parents told them that submission was the God honoring thing to do.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Pragmatism

Forget the arguments about KJVO and standards for a minute, and look at this list of problems with all IFBx churches, which should concern you:

1. Lack of formal church discipline (inward pragmatism)

2. Sermons that lack teaching substance

3. Outward pragmatism in evangelistic ministry.

4. Over-emphasis on human authority within the church

5. Lack of any real accountability for leadership

6. Uncritical adaptation of the methods of "more successful" ministries within the group

7. Over-emphasis on outward "performance," appearance, and behavior. (personal pragmatism)

You know what one word sums up these 7? Pragmatism. The only difference between this type and the type practiced by mainstream evangelicals is that mainstream evangelicals accept modern cultural developments. Pragmatism in any form is an affront to God by placing man's perceived need above God's decree.

It is this common undertow of pragmatism that repels me from both the IFBx crowd AND mainstream evangelicals.

When your ministry is _pragmatic_ it may produce the right _results_ but it will not produce proper _fruit_. The fruit it does produce is that which shares your outward goals- for now.

When the ministry is centered around God's _decree_ it will be focused on _teaching_ and discipleship and will produce the proper fruit because it calls for _commitment to God and His commands_ rather than a specific _result_. It is a ministry that has enough _faith_ to leave the results up to God.

What we are talking about here is _sanctification_. The very fact that IFBx churches talk about "separation" to a much greater degree and almost to the exclusion of "sanctification" is a symptom of the utterly rampant pragmatism that has seeped in even to the point of affecting personal holiness.

Long-dress, shirt-and-tie, IFB high school graduates FLOP because they were raised in a pragmatic ministry that did not sufficiently equip them through teaching. Teaching and exposition are so often regarded as dead and dry but it is what the Bible explicitly says is required for the successful Christian! The issue isn't the standards or the Bible version it is the commitment to God's word and the expression of that commitment through teaching and discipleship, and trusting God for results.


Often people are attracted to pragmatic ministries who have been in smaller churches that don’t conduct frequent promotional outreaches. Where was their walk with God? Why wasn’t their Christianity complete without an endless stream of big days, cantatas, friend days, and conferences?

Why does “doing something for God” mean more buildings, more attendance, and more programs?