Jimmy Carter, who most people would say is the only President in modern times in the running with Obama for “Worst President” just proved one more time why he is a contender!
Here are some quality reflections from my new friend Dave Duncombe!
Barth on Freedom in the Spirit
Karl Barth was a neo-orthodox thinker who, in response to rampant liberalism, integrated existential thought with Christian theology in order to create a new dynamism in Christian thought and life. His pneumatology emphasizes the Holy Spirit’s role in the individual believer as the source of divine love, hope, and faith. In this week’s readings, I was particularly interested in Barth’s observation that the Spirit is the Christian’s source of freedom or liberty. As Barth puts it, “…the Spirit, working in the ambiance of divine freedom, creates human freedom.” (Barth, Evangelical Theology)
According to Barth, we experience freedom in the Spirit in various ways. First, we are freed from bondage to human religion: “Woe be to us, if from the summits of religion there pours forth nothing but religion! Religion casts us into the deepest of all prisons: it cannot liberate us. Flesh is…
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Typically, Evangelicals who have believed in a Pre-Trib Rapture have considered something the Bible calls “the great tribulation” (Revelation 7:14) to be a period of time synonymous with the seven year treaty made by the anti-Christ written about by Daniel in Daniel 9:27. That verse also speaks of an event which will occur at the midway point of the seven years called the “abomination of desolation.” That event is also referenced by Jesus in Matthew 24:15-21, by Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4, and by John in Revelation 12-13.
In Matthew 24:15-21, Jesus told His disciples that when the abomination of desolation occurs (which from Daniel we know will happen at the midway point of this seven year “treaty”) THEN there will be great distress like the world has never seen nor will ever see again–the “great tribulation.”
Fast forward to Revelation chapter seven where John sees a great multitude that…
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It is not uncommon to hear athletes, movie stars, and famous musicians opine their disagreement concerning their role model status. Charles Barkley may have put it best when he purportedly said,
“I’m not a role model… Just because I dunk a basketball doesn’t mean I should raise your kids.”
There is an important truth to acknowledge in Barkley’s statement (a statement that gets recycled, reformed, and freshly expressed in every generation). It is true that any parent who would allow their kids to emulate or be exposed to a person who is morally bankrupt (I am speaking in general terms here; I do not know the moral status of Charles Barkley) is foolish. It isn’t Charles Barkley’s fault (or Miley Cyrus’s, or Justin Bieber’s, or Ariana Grande’s or Alex Rodriguez’s, etceteraahh, etceteraahhh) if parent’s are foolish and negligent and themselves morally bankrupt. However, this does not let him or anyone of us off the hook.
Every person is an example of how one can live his or her life. What we do in public (and in private for that matter) represents who we really are! Only arrogance and moral ignorance would sincerely ask and expect people to compartmentalize their behavior and idolize them for their talents but make no comment on their corruption. We are all influencing those who come to an awareness of our choices and we are models available for emulation.
Perhaps what Barkley and the rest are really saying is, “Thank you for the money and the privilege but I don’t care if you or your children go to hell (either figuratively or literally). Give me money and I promise to entertain you, but don’t expect me to care if I see you lying bleeding in the alley.”
Forgetting the debate about a person’s privacy, what is done in public is fair game to be recorded, repeated, criticized, or imitated. And like it or not, our children, teenagers, and young adults are influenced by what they observe. And while it is a parent’s responsibility to protect and to lead their children, those in the public arena should care whether they are someone who endangers or edifies those who are following their examples.
ONE LAST THOUGHT: In our culture it seems that we send the message that perhaps it is not good for children to see certain things. We devise rating systems based on what is appropriate for children, teens, those who are seventeen and older, etc. But our ratings seem to imply that, as adults, we reach an age where everything is OK. But, barring some isolated examples, if it is not good for a young persons morals to observe bad behavior, it’s also not good for adults!
1 Read more at brainyquote.com
I would not give up what I know and have experienced of God for the foolishness of Jackals evolving into whales!
See also this Google search
The Existence of the ideal is evidence of its possibility…
The existence of the ideal is evidence of its possibility.
Ever been inspired by a movie because of the values it portrayed? The story was challenging and beautiful, moving and uplifting. Then you come back to “reality” and realize that the players are just actors, the movie is based on a novel, and you realize that it is just a story. This self-inflicted “balance” between idealism and reality is aided by our own exposure to shattered dreams, burst bubbles, and unmet expectations. It’s what Rod Tidwell (from the movie Jerry Maguire) meant when, referring to single moms considering a new relationship, he said:
“They’ve been to the circus, you know what I’m saying? They’ve been to the puppet show and they’ve seen the strings.”
We face this type of exposure to reality all the time. In fact, it begins to seem that everything and everyone has a seamy underside;
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I found this article very interesting. It was written, of course, by an atheist but should be of great interest to thinking Christians. So, I would ask Christians, what brought you to belief in Christ? Is it reasonable to demand that God reveal Himself on our terms? Is there something to the Augustinian precept of “believing that we may understand”? Read the article and respond here to my questions or begin a dialogue with atheist John Zande.
The answers, perhaps predictably, have been less than convincing; each ultimately falling back on the cultural bedrock of childhood indoctrination, as opposed to any rational or verifiable evidence acquired in adulthood. Simple indoctrination, though, is proving a disastrous policy for the religious as “faith” (unjustified belief) cannot win in the marketplace of ideas. In his book, The Great Evangelical Recession, John S. Dickerson, notes: “260,000 [US] evangelical young people walk away from Christianity each year.” Those numbers are far higher in every other advanced country on the planet where reason has already supplanted superstition.
Following on from Ark’s investigation, I’ll ask the naturally accompanying question: What would you, the atheist, need to believe? What would convince you of…
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Here comes more of what we are going to see a whole lot of: Christian ministries, organizations, publishers, and business leaders trying to thread the needle of compartmentalization between what they say they believe and what they are actually practicing or willing to endorse. In the last three weeks, there have been three notable instances demonstrating the struggle that is coming and which, in fact, is already here.
First it was the World Vision fiasco when the decision was made to hire same-sex couples for the U.S. World Vision staff (See the Christianity Today article). Though the decision was reversed, it revealed some startling logic from its president, Richard Stearns. After “the World Vision board had prayed for years about how to handle the issue” of “recognizing same-sex relationships,” World Vision decides to look the other way and hire same-sex couples saying, “We have chosen to defer to the authority of local churches on this issue,” as though that was a good thing. Not only does such logic fail to realize that by making the choice to hire same-sex couples, World Vision was siding with particular churches, but it also demonstrated World Vision’s willingness to check its spiritual and theological integrity at the door for the sake of the operation of its mission.
Chic Fil A and Dan Cathy
Then, it was Dan Cathy who, in the midst of a campaign to promote his new food line and push his business ventures into the gay-rights holy ground of New York, who told USA Today,
All of us become more wise as time goes by . . . .We sincerely care about all people. . . . I’m going to leave it to politicians and others to discuss social issues.
Once again, the idea that it is a noble gesture to “pass the buck” and defer to “politicians and others” to decide what is right and wrong. I’m not saying that a person has to take his beliefs and create a media storm as Cathy did when he publicly stated that he supported the traditional biblical view of marriage. But now, though his views have not changed, he seems to have retreated for the sake of “customer service.”
Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group
Finally, WORLD magazine reports online that,
Convergent Books, a publishing imprint under the same corporate umbrella and leadership as the evangelical WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, is scheduled to release God and the Gay Christian by Matthew Vines next Tuesday. Vines, a 24-year-old former Harvard student, attempts to refute biblical passages that declare homosexuality a sin (Can a divided publishing house stand?).
Waterbrook Multnomah publishes such authors as John Piper, David Jeremiah, Kay Arthur, and David Platt. Steven Cobb heads up both Waterbrook Multnomah and Convergent. In fact, according to The Christian Post, the two publishers or imprints are virtually the same: same leader (Cobb), same staff, same everything. Just a different name. The CP also reports from an inside source that
Multnomah is now consciously trying to hide from NRB [National Religious Broadcasters] and its members the fact that it is putting out this new project. Insiders are reporting threats should they release any such information outside the company…
Essentially, Steve Cobb is asking traditional evangelicals to ignore the fact that he is also willing to publish titles that are pro-gay Christianity. More compartmentalization. It is hard to imagine that someone in a board room did not at one point say, “Wow! There’s a whole new market with gay Christianity! Evangelicals aren’t going to like it if we publish gay Christian material but there is too much money at stake if we don’t. So, let’s publish the material under a different name. Maybe no one will notice.” We noticed!
Yet Another Example: Thomas Nelson Publishers
Last year, I expressed concern to the Thomas Nelson Publishing company my concerns about an author they endorse, Rachel Held Evans. (Not that they had published a pro-gay Christian book, but that an author they publish also endorses gay Christianity, and by implication, Thomas Nelson.) Just visit Evans’ website and soon you will realize that she is a liberal Christian trying to reform traditional evangelicalism. In part I wrote,
I have always held Thomas Nelson in high regard, assuming it to be a trustworthy publisher upholding evangelical beliefs and values, I am greatly disturbed that you have chosen to stand with an author who openly supports gay Christianity, the Gay community, and by association at least, same sex marriage. . . . The issue is not about the church’s need to lovingly embrace those who are struggling and need the love of God. The issue is that she accepts gay Christianity on its own terms and thereby the whole “Christian LGBT” agenda and perspective. She directs her audience to the Gay Christian Network and others who support the gay “Christian” lifestyle. Am I to assume, by association, that Thomas Nelson also supports the same?
A rep. from Thomas Nelson replied, in part,
The personal opinions and political views expressed by an author are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect that of the company. Thomas Nelson publishes products written from a Christian worldview, and we respect our author’s right to express their personal opinion. We cannot comment on anything concerning Ms. Evans other than the book that she has published through us.
In other words, We only want to be responsible for what we publish. If one of our authors stands against traditional Christian values, we kindly ask you to forget that while you are reading her books that we publish.
Failing The Smell Test
Back when Bill Clinton was elected the first time, he astutely realized that if he would focus on the economy (“It’s the economy, stupid!”), Americans would look the other way and ignore his Jennifer Flowers discretion if they thought it would help their pocketbooks. He was right. Then, after the Monica Lewinsky scandal, he was able to stay in office, even though he was impeached by the House. Is this where the country began to get comfortable with compartmentalizing personal indiscretions as long as publicly the job gets done? Maybe. But when did the Church get comfortable with turning a blind eye to a person’s character or beliefs just so long as they don’t sin around us? It’s like saying to someone who is accusing a man for beating his children, “Hey, he’s never beaten his children around me so it’s none of my business.” Whether it is raising money for the needy, selling chicken , or selling books, it seems that some of the leaders and influencers looked up to by traditional evangelicals are willing to suspend or table their convictions for the sake of business.
In fairness I thought it would be useful to share this link to an article written by Bob Rogers, pastor of Evangel World Prayer Center in Louisville, Ky. He is apparently a close personal friend to Cho and claiming that Cho’s troubles are due more to a lack of paying attention than to anything wicked or corrupt. Still, Rogers must answer Ha Sang-ok, a former church elder, who said:
“A sect leader might violate the commandments and do as he wishes, but a pastor cannot do that. Over the past 14 years, I have met with Rev. Cho many times to try to persuade him to repent and return to being a great pastor, but the corruption has continued. That’s why I had no choice but to disclose it to the outside world (Huffington Post article).”