Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Welcome!

So evidently my blog has shot to the top of Google search results concerning the Schaap Fugate KJV controversy. Now I wish I had a counter on my blog so I could keep track of the traffic! But that's ok.
If you are new here, welcome! I used to be in churches that associated themselves with men like Hyles, Schaap, Gray, Chapell, Sexton, etc. You know, the KJVO IFB super-seperate crowd, so I still sometimes keep track of what is going on in those circles.
One day as a good IFB I realized that the branch of Christianity I was involved in was merely a small fringe of fundamentalism, and that I was massively to the right of almost everyone else who claimed the name of Christ. Heck, even Bob Jones and Jerry Falwell were liberals to my crowd!
The leaders of our churches told me that all these others were apostate and liberal and compromising, and they certainly weren't Bible believers.
This didn't sit well with me, it didn't make sense that the only Christians God was pleased with were our brand of KJVO ultra-seperate IFBs.
In 2002/3 I researched all the hot issues like translations and music and dress and came to the conclusion that they were all preferences without Biblical mandate.
For awhile I considered myself a progressive fundamentalist. But I realized that I was not willing to be as strongly against those to the left as they were, as a matter of fact this type of attitude is what got me started down the trail away in the first place.
So, in 2008 I came down on the side of conservative evangelical- for better or for worse. Every label has it's abuses, and I doubt this label is entirely accurate. But it works.
In closing I would refer you to the letters to the churches in Revelation. I believe strong IFB types fit the mold of Ephesus. They judge them that say they are apostles and are not- they diligently seek out truth and right doctrine and test every self-proclaimed teacher.
But what was their need? They left their first love. No, this doesn't mean they left soulwinning, despite what any IFB preacher has told you. This means the first and second greatest commandments: Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and mind; and love your neighbor as yourself. THESE are to be our first love- according to I Jhn 4:20 they are the same love. Truly the church at Ephesus worshiped in truth- but not in spirit. They were willing to judge hardly and assure themselves that they had the truth with little regard for being totally Christ-like to those who weren't up to their level.
The book of Ephesians affirms this... whereas with the Corinthians Paul had to correct errant doctrine and unholy living, with the Ephesians Paul had to stress unity and reconciliation within the body. Nowhere have I seen the principles of Ephesians (especially chapter 4) violated so blatently as within the IFB movement.
Finally, consider what else Christ had to say to the church at Ephesus:

Rev 2:1
"Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;"

Christ had to remind the Ephesians that ALL churches are His- He holds them in His hand. He is the One Who walks among the candlesticks, He will judge each one. Ephesus, like all the other churches, must get right with God, or run the same risk of becoming nothing- of being removed.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bob Gray of Longview Baptist Temple Resigned... Sort Of

So I learned that Bob Gray resigned in Dec 2008 due to health reasons. This is the second bit of IFBx scuttlebutt I have heard recently. I had almost forgotten I was only one really-stretched link away from this crowd. And boy is the wire hot lately!
As it turns out, due to declining health, Bob Gray decided he wanted to focus on promoting the college/school and speaking engagements. But there was a string attached to his departure... the church body had to vote in his son, Bob Gray II, as pastor, before his resignation would be effective. There is also a one-year transition period were they will both be in charge.
Evidently Bob Gray Sr. felt like Hammond made a mistake moving from Hyles to Schaap, and has been critical of Schaap. (It seems that most big-name IFBx preachers have hopped on that bandwagon, see my comments on Fugate.) So this I'll-resign-if-you-vote-in-my-son-but-I'll-still-hang-around-for-a-year routine is supposed to avoid that "pitfall."
The final vote to instate Bob II under these conditions was 96%. The 96% isn't suprising- the 4% is. Having spent time there personally I would have expected the vote to be 98%+. This is a place where the pastor's word is God's, and you don't move or change jobs unless pastor says it's ok. I sympathize with the 4%, but they need to get out and stop dreaming about reforming the system... they are only hurting themselves and their families.
As such the question of whether or not Bob Sr. should have been the one to pick his successor is moot, because the inner core of LBT does his bidding anyway.
We look on this from the outside and wonder why Bob Sr. is holding on as tight as he is. I assure you however, that to the people there it makes sense and feels natural, given what they believe about pastoral authority.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Fugate's 2002 Patriotic Rally

On Jeff Fugate's 2002 patriotic rally, from this website:

"On July 2, a patriotic rally was held here in Lexington at Applebee's Park, with its Jewish patron Alan Stein and his wife, State Rep. Kathy Stein, and their family present and unknowing what was to come. The program included numerous politicians and patriotic speakers, a fly-over by Black-Hawk helicopters from the Kentucky National Guard, a color guard from the four branches of the Armed Forces. I doubt few people present noted the irony in the singing of "My Country 'Tis of Thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing."

"Near the end of the rally, the pastor of the Clays Mill Road Baptist Church which sponsored the event, Jeffrey Fugate announced that non-Christian immigrants "should leave their religions, their bibles [sic], and all the other things back where [they] came from. [Lexington Herald-Leader, July 14, 2002, page A1, "The Truth As He Sees It, by Frank E. Lockwood]. Blasting what he called "politically correct" Americans, Fugate, who has no college degree, and was educated in a church-based school from the 6th grade onwards, said: "You're a thief and a liar if you change American history and leave God out of it…You cannot separate God from America without forming another nation." [Lexington Herald-Leader, July 3, 2002, page B1, "Faith in America", by Frank E. Lockwood]

"Fugate's blending of patriotism with his evangelical fervor to save people for Christ, and his deep conviction about the inerrancy of Scripture are not unusual. All across the United States, people who share his theological beliefs were outraged by the 9th Circuit Court's ruling on the Pledge of Allegiance, largely because they believe also that America was founded to be a Christian nation. Just this past Sunday, in surfing cable TV, I came across Pastor Fugate again, preaching to his congregation and saying that his "patriotism was not founded on pluralism, or cultural diversity," but on truth; not tradition, but on the very "Word of God." His patriotism, he said, was based on the fact that the founders of this great nation came here to propagate the gospel.

"In one respect, he is not wrong: many of the early settlers from Europe who came to America, from Christopher Columbus on, did so seeking an opportunity and space to propagate the gospel as they understood it and wanted to practice it, in addition to a desire to free themselves from the shackles of European economic and political constraints of the time, and to find new ways to generate wealth for themselves and their benefactors.

"Fugate's mistake comes in his logic: just because many of the early immigrants to these shores were Christian, and came to practice their religion free from state religion of Europe, just because the leaders and educated among them frequently quoted the one book they were likely to possess-the Bible, one cannot make the inference that they decided to make the nation constitutionally Christian, once they got around to that task. It is a non sequitur."

The Fugate/Schaap KJV Controversy

So my wife heard from her sister that Jeff Fugate (Clays Mill Road Baptist Church) is separating from Jack Schaap (First Baptist Church of Hammond) because Schaap doesn't believe the KJV is the inspired word of God.
Wow that's big news. It made me realize how irrelevant the IFB crowd is to me and how well removed I am from even the news of their shenanigans. I am very thankful for that!!!
I was going to a moderate fundamentalist site called SharperIron were I might have heard a little about it but I stopped going there months ago.
I searched around online and figured out what's going on. But first, let's use some common sense. The KJV is not inspired. The originals were inspired. Most people who are KJVO believe that the inspired character of the originals exists in KJV because of divine preservation, as they have traced it up through the MT/TR. So they can say that the KJV is the inspired word of God, but not that the KJV is itself inspired. This happens to be exactly what Schaap said, so Schaap's take on this should alarm nobody who is KJVO, unless they happen to be a Ruckmanite.
The fact that anyone in non-Ruckman IFB circles has a problem with this, exposes a massive level of ignorance. To see a major figure (at least in IFBx land) like Fugate get up in arms about it, and even go so far as to devote an issue of his "Church Bus News" to it, is absolutely astonishing. The IFB movement is on a sure, steady track to decimation and utter irrelevance. I have said that within a generation, KJVOism will go the way of the dodo bird, and it is happening right before our eyes, and part of the fault lies with "defenders" of the KJV like Jeff Fugate.
At least Tom Neal and Mark Turner had something real to complain about as concerns Schaap's equating the Lord's Supper with sex. (I looked up Mark Turner and he evidently resigned from his pastorate of Foothills Baptist Church in Moreno Valley, CA a while back). Fugate also cited this issue as another reason he is separating from Schaap.
Some of the more cynical commenters out there see this as a case of sour grapes on the part of men who thought they should have succeeded Jack Hyles, and now they have something they can try and bring down Schaap for. I believe this could be a part of things.
Fugate may be a good man personally, but his own understanding of doctrine, theology, and the Bible suffers from the same malady as everyone else is IFBx land- too much philosophizing, topical preaching, anti-intellectualism, pragmatism, etc.
Anyone who separates from Schaap because of this is shaming themselves and their ministries by displaying their complete ignorance. It will be interesting to see the fallout.

P.S. My wife's mother is friends with one of the people who proofread each issue of Fugate's Church Bus News. I am assuming they are all taking Fugate's side. I don't know and I don't care except out of curiosity. My wife and I are safely removed from those circles now. The old Hyles crowd has been on the verge of splitting down the middle for a while now, with some feeling that under the Schaap administration, Hammond is a little too "liberal" for their tastes! (Go ahead, stop and clean up the coffee that just shot out of your nose!) These people have tended to trend towards figures like Jeff Fugate and Eric Capaci, so this could be the battle that finally "splits the convention," if you will. No word yet on where Capaci stands in this KJV dust up.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

GRRRRRR

Three customers. That's right people. I had THREE CUSTOMERS today that didn't know the difference BETWEEN THE SEARCH BAR AND THE ADDRESS BAR!!!!!!!!!!
OK I feel better.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Important Thoughts for 2009

Contentment is the attitude that
"God has given to me exactly what I need.
He is the One Who has met my needs.
There is wisdom in what I have."
"If you don't think God is treating you fairly you will never be content."
-James White

I remember a preacher giving an illustration once... he worked in North Carolina for Duke Energy. At one point he feared losing his job and his wife said something like the following:
"Your employer doesn't take care of us,
God does, and He is using your employer to do it.
If your employer goes away,
God will use something else."

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

How I Remained a Christian

A commenter (DT) mentioned that many who leave extreme right-wing Christian fundamentalism often leave Christianity altogether. It is true! I have now ended up in a "Bible" church, and although God has given me the grace to keep the faith, I am now utterly apostate in the eyes of the crowd I came from.
I suppose for many such people the inability to maintain a Christianity that is authentic and honest with what they know and at the same time be accepted as a "real" Christian by their friends and families leads them to give up. If you are going to be a second-class citizen anyway, why struggle to be a good Christian? It's just too discouraging.
Another reason is over-broad generalization. The faults of their old extreme right-wing group are faults of Christianity in general. This is truly throwing the baby out with the bath water.
When I realized the faults of my extreme right group I knew we were but a small fringe segment of Christianity. Yet the "doctrinal distinctives" of my group locked me out from even considering participation in those other groups and churches. It smelled fishy and I went off to investigate, and I haven't come back. You might consider it a birth. It wasn't easy, but I came out. I know my roots, but I am not going back.
The discouragement of being considered a lesser Christian, especially the fighting going on between not only evangelicals and fundamentalists but between fundamentalists themselves, tempted me to give up on Christianity.
However I could not shake my conviction that there was a God, and that he had a hand in creating this world in some way or another. I was not persuaded by logical reasons offered by atheists. I also felt there was too much evidence to become agnostic.
For a certain period of time I considered becoming a deist, but I believed in the Biblical and historical accounts of Christ's coming to earth, and I believed He was God in the flesh. For those who claim God wound things up and let them go- Christ is the ultimate intervention in affairs. To become a Deist would require me to deny Christ came to earth or else deny His Divinity. I couldn't do either of those things.
So I am a Christian who has had the opportunity to realize that Christ is truly the author and finisher of our faith. Without Him there is no point to Christianity, but with Him it is the only true way.
So began the process of deciding what kind of Christian I was. I decided I didn't want to be any KIND of Christian, and I was and am opposed to labels, camps, etc. The message of God come in the flesh as Jesus Christ to die for the sins of the world and rising again in victory for us is the whole concept of Christianity. It was this concept that formed the unshakable core of my faith. This is what matters. You accept that? Then I accept you as a spiritual brother.
Other than the commands in the New Testament to be holy and pure and the offices and functioning of the church, it's all preferences. Even these basics are written in pen: Here I stand, you may disagree. There is only one thing written in blood, the core message of Christ: I will fight for that. The rest is pencil.
I still hate being despised by many for where I am at. Because of the tremendous negative experience in the extreme-right I have taken the liberty to write a few more things in pen for my sake: rejection of KJVOism, rejection of pastoral dictatorship and discipline, rejection of most topical preaching, rejection of program-driven churches, rejection and identification of legalism as works-based sanctification, and insistence upon full church discipline, among other things. Again, you may disagree and we can still have a relationship. But many of those who disagree with me in these matters will not relate with me. So there is no relationship.
One of my other commentors (Vincent) posted on his blog that he avoids Christians who despise other Christians. I think this is a good rule. If you hate your brother and say you love God, you are a liar, according to Scripture. Some Christians like this avoid using the word "hate," but they do "despise," and will say publicly that they just don't like someone. But God knows the heart, and man can see the fruit.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Another SQL Server Install Resolution

SQL Server 2005
Error in C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\90\Setup Bootstrap\LOG\summary.txt:

(COMPUTER NAME HERE) : Unknown article Result.

Resolution:
1. Try to start the Workstation and Server services. If they won't start, make sure your computer name only contains alphanumeric characters- no spaces, dashes, exclamation points, etc. If it does, change the name and reboot- this was the problem.
2. If that didn't work, copy the following script into a "fixwmi.cmd" file and run it:
@echo on
cd /d c:\temp
if not exist %windir%\system32\wbem goto TryInstall
cd /d %windir%\system32\wbem
net stop winmgmt
winmgmt /kill
if exist Rep_bak rd Rep_bak /s /q
rename Repository Rep_bak
for %%i in (*.dll) do RegSvr32 -s %%i
for %%i in (*.exe) do call :FixSrv %%i
for %%i in (*.mof,*.mfl) do Mofcomp %%i
net start winmgmt
goto End

:FixSrv
if /I (%1) == (wbemcntl.exe) goto SkipSrv
if /I (%1) == (wbemtest.exe) goto SkipSrv
if /I (%1) == (mofcomp.exe) goto SkipSrv
%1 /RegServer

:SkipSrv
goto End

:TryInstall
if not exist wmicore.exe goto End
wmicore /s
net start winmgmt
:End

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Misquoting Jesus

I just finished reading the book "Misquoting Jesus" by Bart Ehrman. Of course, there has been no shortage of controversy surrounding this book- I have read articles and listened to debates over this material. So I was glad to get a first hand look at what he had to say.
Having been raised in a King James Only background and then coming out of that by way of study, I am pretty familiar with the history of our Biblical texts and the evolution of textual-critical methods over the years, so I was familiar with much of what he said.
There are certain factual issues in his book which I would have a problem with, but it is important to focus on his conclusion... namely, that the doctrine of inspiration is falsified by the level of textual variation in our texts. However, he also says it is probably going too far to say the originals are inaccessible. It appears he is trying to be radical without being too radical. These opposing conclusions were highlighted in Ehrman's debate with Dan Wallace. Dr. Wallace pointed out that book's conclusion to average person was that the Biblical text is ultimately unreliable, while Dr. Ehrman pointed out that he said no such thing. While Dr. Ehrman is technically correct, Dr. Wallace's reading of the book is inescapable. If Dr. Ehrman were not trying to say what Dr. Wallace alleged, then he is merely repeating what evangelicals have been saying all along- textual variants exist, but the mass of MS evidence gives the Bible tremendous attestation and the originals can be reconstructed to high level of accuracy.
I would like to know what Dr. Ehrman's authority is. Where does he get his doctrine from? If the Bible is a purely human book, how can he know the truth? The question of authority is one that is presented very forcefully by King James Only adherants. If you hold to sola scriptura, you must have a reliable scripture to go back to. The King James Only crowd will come along and say, well, you can find some text-critical reason to excise some passage from scripture, so then you don't have to believe it.
And yet most text-critical decisions made in our major versions of Scripture are made by groups of scholars from different backgrounds. You don't have one group conspiring to change the text wholesale and getting away with it. Texts from different geographical locations and traditions (Alexandrian, Byzantine, etc.) give us independent witnesses. This is the history of our Biblical texts in a short summary. This is why I can turn to the KJVO crowd and say with confidence that we really don't have anything to worry about.
It is also the answer I can give to Dr. Ehrman. Does this resolve all variant questions? No. Does it leave the Biblical text in major confusion? No.
I respect the desire to determine what is scripture and what is not. If Dr. Ehrman has reasons to say a certain text is not Scripture, I want to know. And he does this a number of times in his book. (I also will be examining your changes to see if you have a particular bias or bent.)
Which is why I was puzzled that Dr. Ehrman was willing to dismiss inspiration without dealing with or even mentioning II Tim 3:16 or I Pet 1:21, common proof-texts for inspiration. He didn't grapple with their interpretations or even try to tell us why they shouldn't be considered scripture. I pulled out my HarperCollins NRSV study Bible to see if I could get some insight from a "liberal" point of view. The notes for II Tim 3:16 referred me to I Pet 1:21, and the notes for I Pet 1:21 referred me to three old testament passages were inspiration was not discussed. It feels like a game where you have the bowls and put a ball under one of them, then shuffle and guess where it is. While my NRSV study Bible challenged the Pauline authorship of both books, and Dr. Ehrman challenged the Pauline authorship of II Tim specifically, they both fell short of suggesting they be removed from the canon.
But if liberals have a problem with ignoring inspiration, evangelicals have a problem with ignoring preservation. Dr. Wallace has written in defense of providential preservation, as opposed to the KJVO concept of verbal, plenary preservation. However, evangelicals have not stressed the issue enough, and have not staked a really strong stand on it. They have been content to allow the proliferation of modern versions without explaning and teaching why the scriptures remain trustworthy after two millenia. They have not acknowleged the importance of standing firm on the issue of preservation and providing a consistent answer. Until they do so, the Dr. Ehrman's and KJVOist's of the world will continue to push their unorthodox views to a Church who has not been adequately informed.