Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Cessationist theology rant

This week, I have been looking for the source of a particular quote on cessationism.

It took me a while, but I found it.  I do not have time to source this little post, but enough effort went into the search for a source that I do want to comment. 

Pinnock is right.  The Counter-Reformation was an age of miracles.  The supernatural exploits of Priests and Catholic missionaries were normal post reformation.  Warning, any general statement about millions of people over the vast geography and ethnicities of Europe is probably too specific.  Still, reformers tended to destroy relics and holy sites while Catholics tended to try to promote what was left.  A Catholic missionary would heal the sick, cast out demons, and perhaps even raise the dead.  All of this tended to cast doubt in mainstream Protestantism for the validity of most miracles.  (Wow that statement was too specific.) Pinnock is right that frowning on miracles largely started as a way to discount Catholic missionaries and Catholicism as a whole.

Ultimately, I have found strength in some classic Christian (yes, Catholic too) tests for the supernatural.  Assuming that there will be more false positives for demonic activity than there will be real demonic activity, some developed a series of tests. 
  1. Levitation - Can they fly or make other things fly?
  2. Clairvoyance - Do they know things that they cannot possibly know? Can they find my car keys?
  3. Speaking in tongues - Demons should know other languages than the native tongue of the oppressed/possessed.
  4. Supernatural strength - Contortions or lifting heavy objects
Some of my friends just need to look into people's eyes or see a feat of strength.  I want at least two evidences or hopefully three.   Likewise, if your "word of knowledge", "flag", or prophecy can be replicated by psychics, mentalists, and astrologers, I am going to be skeptical.  Just because you say that it is from God, doesn't mean that I am not going to need proof.  Also, you dream about 14 times a week, about 56 times a month, and about 730 times a year.  I can buy that one or more of them seemed to predict the future and seemed to be from God.  Still, unlikely things happen everyday, so please don't mind my questions. 

The first step to convince me that you spoke in tongues is to get a tape recording of the tongue and the translation.

By having these standards, I am limiting my religious experiences. I don't think that gifts of the Holy Spirit or miracles have ceased, just that most of what is out there is false positives. I don't know if Pinnock would have called this a self-fulfilling prophecy or not. I just want to see some proof.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Me without you

Today, I came across this quote from a fictional rabbi.
Andy. You want an easy answer, go Jesus, go Allah, go atheist. I’m a Jew. My obligation is to wrestle, to engage. It’s not to just blindly believe. That’s how I see it.
I agree that atheism seems like an easy answer.  However, Jesus has been anything but.   Recently, I attended an Awana graduation ceremony.  Their theme song for the older kids was, Liberty Alumni, Toby Mac's "Me without you".  Personally, I cannot stand that song.
I'd be packin' my bags when I need to stay
I'd be chasin' every breeze that blows my way
I'd be building my kingdom just to watch it fade away
It's true
Honestly, I have been told by many that pray for me that I should be packing my bags and I don't need to stay. Earlier this week, a woman who believes that God sometimes tells her the contents of her mailbox, told me God doesn't want me to get comfortable where I am.  Still, likewise some are convinced that I need to stay.

I try not to chase every breeze, but many are convinced that I follow the wrong currents.  While devoted to Christ, I chose a seminary where the former Dean thinks that I am going to hell.  When you sign up who predicts that?  With God things do not seem easier, but like most Christians, I converted before adulthood and don't know how my life would be any different without Christ.

The song sounds frustrating and trite. Given everything, where I need to stay is still as much of a mystery as the contents of my mailbox.  After proving over and over again that I have a lot to learn, sometimes I wonder what I would be without Christ and if I would be better off.

PS - Many have told me that jealousy motivates my blog, tweets, and youtube videos.  There have only really been a couple of people that I have coveted.  Langworthy is one, but for a strange reason.  The guy was a serial child molester and the longest he did not work or volunteer with a church was a year.  It is frustrating to see a serial child molester have such a ministry. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Gospel According to Ergun Caner

5 Point Pagans Snort Like Girls.

I remember there was some sort of Seminary event, right after Ergun became Dean of the Seminary, maybe sometime during the following semester. It must have been a Seminary Chapel, before Ergun combined them with Ministry Chapels. If my memory serves, he only preached one before the combination.

Ergun asked us whether if we were not saved, how many of us would still be good people?  Some of us said we probably still would.  Ergun proclaimed, "Not me". According to him, he just wasn't that type of guy.  If he had never converted, meanness and evil would froth forth.  Almost a decade later, I have been wondering if his conversion did not make that big of difference. 

I have often wondered over the last few years whether I would convert as an adult if I had never converted as an adolescent.  Sometimes given stuff like this, the answer is "no".  Remember, Ergun believes that I am going to hell.  He also claims that his mission is to win me to Christ.  Pardon me if I admit that it is not working.  

PS - Perhaps, I have treated Ergun like he treats others, but I don't think I have.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Christian Etitquette on Social Media

I have been asking around lately trying to get people's viewpoints on Christian social media etiquette.  For some there are major faux pas.  I'll deal with them in no particular order.

Christians are not allowed to judge.  

11Do not speak against one another, brothers and sisters. He who speaks against a fellow believer or judges a fellow believer speaks against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but its judge. 12But there is only one who is lawgiver and judge – the one who is able to save and destroy. On the other hand, who are you to judge your neighbor?. ~ James 4:11
1“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. 2For by the standard you judge you will be judged, and the measure you use will be the measure you receive. 3Why do you see the speck in your brother’s eye, but fail to see the beam of wood in your own? 4Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye,’ while there is a beam in your own? 5You hypocrite! First remove the beam from your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. 6Do not give what is holy to dogs or throw your pearls before pigs; otherwise they will trample them under their feet and turn around and tear you to pieces. ~ Matthew 7:1-6

37“Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38Give, and it will be given to you: A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be poured into your lap. For the measure you use will be the measure you receive.”

39He also told them a parable: “Someone who is blind cannot lead another who is blind, can he? Won’t they both fall into a pit? 40A disciple is not greater than his teacher, but everyone when fully trained will be like his teacher. 41Why do you see the speck in your brother’s eye, but fail to see the beam of wood in your own? 42How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the speck from your eye,’ while you yourself don’t see the beam in your own? You hypocrite! First remove the beam from your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

43“For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, 44for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from brambles. 45The good person out of the good treasury of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasury produces evil, for his mouth speaks from what fills his heart. ~ Luke 6:37-45
These are the basic proof texts that one is not allowed to judge or criticize people (at least other Christians).  First, Jesus said in both Matthew and Luke that the point of seeing the beam in your eye is to more clearly remove the speck from your brother's eye.   This sounds like judging or criticizing to me.  You must judge that there is a speck in someone else's eye even while ignoring the beam in your own.

Likewise Jesus in Matthew talked about "dogs" and "pigs" and what is "holy".  Determining who is the "dog" or "pig" or what is sacred, involves judgement calls.  In Luke, "each tree is known by its own fruit".   "The good person out of the good treasury of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasury produces evil, for his mouth speaks from what fills his heart."  Assessing a tree by its fruit is judging people.  These two gospel passages most likely taught how not to judge rather than to not judge.  Introspection is much better than looking outward at what others are doing.

Likewise, James had the same focus.  More judging means less doing.  If we interpret scripture with scripture, James did not say not to remove the speck from another's eye, but that judging is not one's primary concern.

Let's get to the practical matter.  We judge people everyday.  Some of us are legal mandatory reporters of abuse even when we are outside of work.  If we fail to report abuse there are legal penalties.  The state requires that we judge.  Likewise many of us report crimes to the police, regardless of the religious affiliation of the person that we are reporting.  I know I am going to pull a little common sense theology, but these verses did not teach do not call the police, but nobody is saying they did.

Likewise,  someone who believes it is a sin to judge, judging someone for judging, borders on absurdity.  What ends up happening, in my experience, is that people play semantic games.  One can criticize someone, but they cannot "attack" someone.  One is not judging, they are speaking the truth in love.  I fail to see the difference.

Christians should love each other
 34“I give you a new commandment – to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples – if you have love for one another.” ~ John 13:34-35
True, Christians should love one another, but I am not convinced of what some find loving.  My biggest beef with this one is that there is this whole orthopraxy developing on who one should block on twitter.  Basically it boils down to if we criticize one another that is not loving and the world will think we are no different.  However, some teach that if we block one another, the world will still know that we are His disciples.  I don't get it.  Maybe this is just personal preference, but I find blocking someone on twitter or facebook less loving than criticism.  

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

My apology to Darrell Strahan ‏

Recently Darrell Strahan was kind enough to unblock me on twitter after I chided the idea of a ministry reconciliation when I am blocked.  I mistakenly skimmed his tweets and thought that he was still claiming that I was a Muslim.

There is no better way to say this than I was wrong.  If I had read further down, I would have realized that he was not only no longer claiming this, but he even mentioned that he had apologized. 

I was wrong.  I am sorry. 

PS - Some of my relevant tweets will be deleted.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Win my soul for the Lord

You should see the depressed looks on people's faces when I tell that Ergun claims that LU found he never lied

I don't know which bothers me worse, that Ergun thinks that I am going to hell in a hand basket or
that Ergun would rather block me than try to save my soul.

I don't know if Ergun has figured out who I am.  Google changing youtube has certainly given him ample ways to discover my identity.  If he has, I wonder if his attempts to evangelize me are similar to his attempts to evangelize other unsaved people that he knows. 

So here is the challenge to all those people who think that I am a hell bound sinner. Try to witness to me.  Share your faith.  If you know who I am, invite me to your church.  Try some relational evangelism or at least some door to door.

Quite honestly, if I am not saved, I don't know how to be saved or get saved.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Ergun is continuing to claim that he immigrated as a teenager with a polygamous father

I had an interesting discussion on twitter the other day with a supporter of Ergun's.  This supporter assures me that to the best of his knowledge, Ergun is continuing to claim that he immigrated as a teenager with a polygamous father.  This supporter stands by his Christian brother's word.

I am tired and want to go to bed, so for why this is not true let me refer you to my mother smuggling series.  Still, it is refreshing for someone to say, sure he claimed to those Marines that he immigrated to America as a teenager.  There was no misstatement.

Correction - The person involved in the above twitter discussion has informed me that they are not a "fan" of Ergun's, but a brother in Christ and a supporter. Changes have been made to reflect more accurately their position.