Monday, March 31, 2014

A 7th Grader's Speech on Abortion

Call this 12-year-old The Bus Driver 'cause she just took everyone to school.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

R. C. Sproul on How to Convince a Person Sin is Real and He Needs a Savior

I don't endorse this action but it certainly gets the point across.  After all, what is "righteous indignation" but an acknowledgment that sin exists?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Ministry Wisdom

Over the years I've gained important insights about how church "works."  Here are a few principles that may not be on paper, and may even be unspoken, yet they are true from my experience.

1. There is no secret to church growth.  Most people begin attending a church because a family member or friend invites them.

2. People officially vote by ballot.  However, they also unofficially vote by checkbook and feet.  If people are unhappy they may withhold their money.  If a church has a Sunday evening worship service and few attend that means most have voted with their feet not to have one.

3. There are two types of leaders in the church: official ones with a title and unofficial ones that may, in fact, yield more power than official ones.  Figure out who the "real" leaders are—official or not—and convince them of needed change.  The congregation will follow.

4. Show me how Christians spend their time and money and I'll tell you what really is important to them, regardless of what they may say.

5. If a pulpit committee promises something to the pastor-elect, get it in writing.

6. Pick your fights; you will want to tweak/change many things.  Decide what issues are crucially important, pick those fights, and release the rest into the grace of God.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Peanuts: Charlie Brown and Snoopy Will Come in 3D

I hope this is a clean picture with no innuendo or crass jokes.

Interesting trivia: Charles Schulz, the late creator of Peanuts, attended a Church of God (Anderson, Indiana) congregation for a while as a young man in Minnesota.  In fact, he even tried his hand at some preaching.  It was his pastor who encouraged him to shop his cartoons.  The rest is history.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

The "Jesus Never Said Anything About" Fallacy

You may run across people who want to justify homosexual behavior (or many other things) or by saying the following:

Jesus never said anything about _______.

Such a person may call himself a "red letter Christian."  That is, he wants to talk about what Jesus (didn't) say about the issue.  Such a conversation isn't recorded in the gospels?  Well, end of story for him.

There are many problems with this view.  Let me stream of consciousness some out:

1. It's presumptuous to demand that only the Christ of Christianity can prohibit it when God spoke not only through his Son but also through regular people.  It places an unwarranted wedge between God and his official leaders and is an anti-historical tone.  Moses spoke the the abomination of homosexual acts (as well as other sexually sinful ones).  Are there people today who would say that Moses isn't a recognized leader of God's Israeli community?  Try floating that one by a Jew today.  Paul spoke of the sin of homosexual behavior.  I am aware of no scholar (even a flamingly liberal one)  who denies the existence, the conversion and the apostolic ministry in the early church of the Rabbi Saul of Tarsus.  Whatever the scholar today may think of him personally, he will admit that Paul was an early and influential church leader and that Christians believed him then.  
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor male prostitutes, nor passive nor active homosexual partners, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor slanderers, nor extortioners will inherit the Kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
To say, "Moses and Paul have no authority to deliver binding revelation from God to me," is just arrogant.  And where did Jesus say his was the only voice to be used in establishing Christian doctrine?  Who are we to tell God how to write his Bible?

2. There was no foreseeable need for Jesus to be on the record about the issue.  He preached primarily to a first century Jewish audience (that is to say, Second Temple Judaism).  The Jews of the day wouldn't have remotely thought that homosexual behavior was legitimate.  Even though some Jewish authorities denied Jesus they did not deny Moses.  Hence, they would've taken Moses' Torah instruction to heart and condemned homosexual behavior.  

It would be like me getting up in the pulpit Sunday and declaring that incest is sinful.  I have no need to preach that Sunday because everybody in the audience would already know that.  (Give it a few years and, given this society, it might not be a truth just taken for granted.)

The New Testament writers tended to write about things that needed correction.  That is, we get Paul's views on things that people were messing up.  I wish Paul said a lot more about everything but he didn't.  He crafted his letters to fit the occasion of writing.

Jesus didn't have to talk about homosexuality because it wasn't a problem.  He did have to address heterosexual divorce and remarriage because that was a problem in the Jewish community.

3. Besides, how do we know that Jesus never said anything about it?  Maybe he did.  Maybe he spoke about gentile sexual sins in passing but it just wasn't recorded in the Bible because the Holy Spirit didn't direct the gospel writers to write it.  As John himself says,
Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. (John 21:25 ESV)
There it is.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Demonic Possession?

KDKA's Andy Sheehan investigates:

Bob Cranmer and the Demon of Brownsville Road

Ex Alleghany County Commissioner, Bob Cranmer, shared that from 1988 to 2006 he and his family suffered at the hands of a demon in their home.  He is finishing up a book to be released this summer called The Demon of Brownsville Road.

What I find sad is this bit from The Blaze:
At the time, Cranmer and his family were evangelical Christians. They went to their pastor to report the occurrences, but said that the Baptist faith leader wasn’t quite sure how to help them. 
And that’s when Cranmer said the Catholic Church stepped in to assist — involvement that he says resulted in a lengthy two-year process that ultimately rid the house of the demonic force. 
The family later converted to Catholicism.
We Evangelicals must do a better job at helping our saints gripped by bondage.  But why did it happen?  Another Blaze article said that long before the Cranmers lived there the house was once an abortion mill.  This reminds me of the story of a demoniac found in Mark and Luke.  (Matthew adds there were two demoniacs):
Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. When Jesus had stepped out on land, there met him a man from the city who had demons. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he had not lived in a house but among the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell down before him and said with a loud voice, "What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me." For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many a time it had seized him. He was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert. (Luke 8:26-29 ESV)
It would seem that demons love death.