Defeating the Ostrich Spirit’s Cruel Kicks

ostrichDuring a deliverance session at Quickening House of Vision I heard the Lord say something I had never heard before: “Bind the ostrich spirit.”

I hesitated for a moment because I was not familiar with that demon, but I obeyed. I took authority over the ostrich spirit, commanded it to cease and desist its operations against the woman, told it to leave her home and stop its harassment in the name of Jesus.

That night, she wasn’t jarred awake at 3 a.m. like most other nights. She slept soundly for the first time in a long time. I decided to study out this ostrich spirit because I believe in attaining Scriptural backing for what I hear in the Spirit.

Since the spirit world is more real than the natural—and since spiritual things often manifest as natural things—I decided first to seek understanding on what an ostrich is. What I discovered intrigued me: an ostrich is a big, flightless bird. Although they are big, they’re flightless, which means they can’t fly because their wings are small and unable to lift their weight.

Even though they can’t fly, they can run really fast. Their strides can be anywhere from 10 to 16 feet when they move. And their legs can be formidable weapons, even killing an enemy with one blow of their foot.

Understanding Ostrich Motives

Are you getting the picture of how this spirit works? Let me break it down for you. A bird in Scripture is a symbol of a hateful religious spirit (Revelation 18:2). A fowl is a symbol of a fat lazy person (1 Kings 4:23). The Bible offers us clear warnings of both these evil doers, and the ostrich has characteristics of each.

The ostrich is flightless, so in its fat laziness, it has lost the ability to reach its full potential as a bird. It is easily angered, and strikes out against anything it perceives as threatening it. According to myth, ostriches stick their heads in the sand, believing they are hiding from danger when in reality they are not and remain fully exposed.

The ostrich is mentioned 10 times in Scripture and it’s almost never good.

In his distress, Job called himself a “brother of jackals and a companion of ostriches” (Job 30:29). Job 39:14,16, tells how ostriches are terrible mothers, abandoning their young and treating them cruelly. Isaiah 34:13 says that when God brings judgment, he turns houses into the “haunts of ostriches.” Jeremiah 50:39 speaks of how ostriches live in the desert and places that will never be inhabited again. And Lamentations 4:3 says that ostriches are cruel and mean.

An ostrich spirit, then, will usually attack at night and is associated with the spirit of desolation. It’s a fake bird spirit, in a sense, as it’s a big, stupid flightless bird. An ostrich spirit sets out to put you in a cage, operates in the realm laziness, and works to make you fat. The ostrich spirit wants to bring you into desert places, destruction and ultimately death. It assails you with its nocturnal attacks, constantly kicking you while you are down with its big meaty leg.

Overcoming the Ostrich Spirit

Ultimately, you overcome the ostrich spirit like you do any other spirit. You submit yourself to God, resist the devil and he will flee (James 4:7). In this case, you do that by pleading the blood of Jesus over your life, taking authority over ostrich operations.

You must be careful not to give heed to lying voices attacking your mind, not to isolate yourself in a wilderness place while you are under the ostrich’s attack, and stick your head in the hot sand. Beware the ostrich may chase you after an onslaught of other spirits that have left you wounded or left you for dead as the ostrich comes in and kicks you over and over again.

Pray this prayer to help overcome the ostrich spirit: Father, in the name of Jesus, I thank You for Your protection. I repent for any open doors in my life that allowed the ostrich spirit in. I was really, really dumb to leave that door open to let ostriches wander in from the outside. I thank you, Lord, that I am free from the kicking feet of the ostrich. I know who I am in Christ and He is in me. I submit myself to You and resist every manifestation and attack of the ostrich, in the name of Christ.

ostrich2In case you were wondering, this article is complete parody, taken from this ARTICLE which is regrettably not parody.

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Lame Arguments Liberty Drinkers Should Avoid

I originally wrote this post back in 2011 after John MacArthur stirred the dander of the 30-something pastor set who love to play like they are sophisticated metropolitans or who want to “take dominion over and reform drinking booze.” He wrote an article basically telling them to put down their beer steins and wake up to the fact that there is more to Christian liberty than the unshackled, William Wallace shout of freedom with drinking micro-booze.

When I engaged the critics of John’s article, I quickly discovered they made some of the lamest arguments for liberty drinking I had ever encountered. I wrote up a response to each of their key talking points. Since then, new arguments have been put forth, and seeing that this is an issue that is still a problem in local churches, I wanted to update my initial post.

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Allow me to start off by affirming to my readers that I am not a teetotaler. I would never advocate for being a teetotaler. I probably have just as much disdain, if not more, for the legalistic social mores binding undiscerning Christians to classic American fundamentalists.

In fact, I like a good wine. I may have a glass if I am on vacation with my wife and we have opportunity to stay at one of those fancy Pacifica hotels dotting the coast of California. Recently, I have started taking a Coke Zero and rum in the evening, which I find delicious. When Costco has a case of that fruity, alcoholic beer-malt liquor stuff on sale, we’ll pick one up. And during the holidays we splurge a little and buy a bottle of Bailey’s.

However, I am also aware of the fact that alcohol in any form is viewed by the majority of American Christians as being “sinful.” Yes, I realize they are mistaken about that, but reality is reality, and that attitude is not changing anytime soon, in spite of anyone’s efforts to the contrary.

As long as beer and wine is perceived as a terrible vice used by party people on spring break, rowdy tailgaters at a football game, and tavern brawlers whose mugshots appear on the Smoking Gun website, it is not a wise idea for Christian ministers to foster alcohol consumption among their people. My life is lived in front of many folks, and it is to those people I am responsible for ministering Christ. Making it a habit of obnoxiously flaunting my liberty with alcohol consumption is not helpful for them, and will only generate more confusion than is necessary.

Now, with that being stated, there are individuals who insist Christians should not only express their liberty with drinking, they have anointed drinking as a spiritual virtue. Anyone who opposes their outlook is mercilessly ridiculed and condemned. The arguments they put forth, however, are not well thought through. So, let’s look at the lame arguments I have encountered defending Christian liberty drinking.

Martin Luther and/or the Reformers and/or the Puritans brewed beer and consumed wine.

That is generally the immediate response to my position of cautious moderation. “Well, Martin Luther and/or the Reformers drank beer, so why can’t we?”

Keep in mind that Martin Luther lived 500 YEARS AGO!

While we certainly applaud Luther and express our heart-felt Christianly thanks for him defending the timeless truths of the Gospel, that does not mean we are to automatically emulate him, or any other Reformer for that matter, and his various social convictions.

Think about it. What is more important? That we reform ourselves according to biblical standards or historical standards? What was a normal part of society in Germany 500 years ago may had been acceptable, but was it necessarily biblical? Even if it is just American Christians who have weird hang-ups with alcohol because of the old prohibition days still doesn’t mean we need to be like German Christians today. It may not be the best use of liberty for them either just because they live in Europe and have no connection to our prohibition past.

The same can be said about the other Reformers as well. Do we adopt all the social conventions of the Reformers and the Puritans just because they did them? Several Reformers practiced astrology, like Phillip Melanchthon. That’s not to say everything Melanchthon wrote stinks of new age mysticism. He was just as much a complex sinner as the rest of us. But his belief in astrology does reflect a common, historic practice among many Protestants during his time. So, who is ready to reclaim and take dominion of horoscopes from the Fundies and reform them for the glory of God?

jeane

The more bizarre use of the “Luther drank beer” argument is the appeal to Puritans, who supposedly were quite the bar flies, or at least one would think according to their beer drinking defenders. But we’re talking about the Puritans. Those were the guys who thought wedding rings were popish and outlawed Christmas during Cromwell’s Protectorate. Will we “reform” according to those convictions?

And just a closing word about the absurd claim that a brewery was the first building the Pilgrims built upon arriving in the new world. That is an urban legend. If you and your people are sick and dying and winter is coming on in a strange land, do you waste time building a brewery? Or will it be basic shelter?

obesity

Food is abused by way too many people, but you don’t hear Christians crying out about gluttony. Yet there are more people in churches who overeat than there are alcoholics and drunkards. No one rebukes those gluttonous Christians for their reckless overindulgence in food.

The biggest (no pun intended) problem with this argument is that gluttony is not just overeating. It is especially NOT overeating in the sense of a guy eating an entire large pizza in one sitting or scarfing down Chili’s 3,200 calorie “Freakin’ Onion” appetizer all by himself.

Gluttony is always tied to drinking in the Scriptures. What we know to be a drunken, debauched lifestyle. One may say overeating is a part of the debauched lifestyle, but it is the idea of out-of-control, riotous living that makes “gluttony” sinful. This is not super-sizing your McDonald’s order.

Consider Deuteronomy 21:20: And they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’

If you look at the entire context, you have parents – PARENTS MIND YOU!; you know, mama and daddy – bringing their son before the elders to be judged because he is basically a thick-headed good for nothing who spends his time and money (family’s money) on riotous living. The word “glutton” has the idea of a vile, worthless person.

Notice what happens with this son. He is brought before the elders of the town so they can pass judgment upon him and if they judge against him, he is stoned to death. That’s the death penalty, folks. He is not executed for being 60 pounds overweight and having lunch at Jack in the Box every other day. (See my further study HERE).

scooterThe Health Consequences associated with eating recklessly is no joke. Just ask anyone with diabetes. Overeating should be treated just as seriously as alcoholism.

Related to the “gluttony” argument is the “obesity is just as bad if not worse than alcoholism” argument. This one is usually put forth in the combox after a teetotaler lists a bunch of statistics telling how many people die from alcohol related deaths, or how many women and children are abused by alcoholic husbands or parents. As a rebuttal, it’s dogmatically proclaimed that obesity is just as bad if not worse of an epidemic and social problem as alcohol.

That is a profoundly ridiculous comparison. The societal impact of alcoholism and obesity is incomparable. That is because alcoholism has the greatest potential to destroy innocent lives.

Many. innocent. lives.

In fact, alcohol has destroyed those lives unmercifully. There are no Mother’s Against Obese Driving organizations advocating against 350 pound people driving automobiles. There are no laws against driving under the influence of fried chicken. A cop won’t stop a guy and ask him if he has been eating, and then give him a breathalyzer to test his blood-gravy level. And there is a good reason for this: Obesity only hurts one person. No man, after leaving the Macaroni Grill has ever gotten into his SUV, and under the influence of the Mama Mia! chicken Alfredo platter he consumed 30 minutes before, crossed into on-coming lane and killed a family.

Now, just so I am clear. I am not saying obesity is a good thing. Being overweight does have considerable health problems for the individual. AND I would say Christians should make eating healthy a part of their spiritual lives. My point here is to merely show that obesity is no where near being the societal problem associated with the consumption of alcohol. No where in the ball park. Obesity is a result of bad lifestyle choices. Much like smoking, another vice liberty drinkers tend to encourage.

ed youngSex is abused just like alcohol. Are we going to forbid sex as well?

That objection falls flat because Christians are not equating the flaunting of liberty drinking with drunkenness and alcoholism, the common idea when one speaks of  “abusing alcohol.”  Christians who are troubled by those who flagrantly parade their liberty drinking from the pulpits, and among others at church, are simply saying that such behavior is profoundly immature and wildly inappropriate.

Married couples are certainly at liberty to make out with a bit of PDA if they so choose. They are also free to touch one another in an arousing fashion that would lead to sex. Not one person is forbidding them from partaking in the act of sexual relations.

But I think we can all agree that it would be grossly unseemly, not to mention a bit icky, if that couple were to have one of their big PDA make out sessions at church in front of the single folks. I think we would all say the same about them sharing explicit and graphic details about their sexual experiences at a Bible study fellowship.

grass

Why do we want to be so legalistic about alcohol when it is such a blessing to mankind? God created wine for us to enjoy the bounty of His earth. The prohibition is against drunkenness, not consumption.

Again, no one is condemning the consumption of distilled spirits. We are all on the same page with the prohibition against drunkenness, not consumption.

The faulty logic of this claim suggests that because wine is processed from grapes, and alcohol is a natural derivative of fermented grapes, that places alcohol in a special category of blessing. Additionally, it is argued that passages like Deuteronomy 14:26 and Psalm 104:15 proves that God not only blesses the consumption of alcohol, but commands it.

Of course, that line of argumentation ignores the overwhelming multitude of biblical passages that warn against the consumption of alcohol. Certainly the prohibition is against drunkenness, not consumption, but seeing that the Bible speaks so pointedly against the dangers of drinking alcohol, why would God’s pastor want to use a pub as a setting for a men’s Bible study?

Moreover, that is the exact same argument I have heard from Christians who seriously think God has blessed the smoking of pot. I kid you not. I once had one fellow, with a stern conviction in his voice and passion in his eyes, explain to me that God gave ALL the grass and green herb of the field for man to use, and that means cannabis. I reckon, by extension it would also include opium and the coca plant. And before anyone tries to “rebut” me by saying “but the grass and herbs were meant to be for FOOD, not SMOKING, duh,” keep in mind that pot can be baked in brownies.

Lookit

I realize a lot of the liberty drinkers were saved in one of those smothering, fundamentalist Baptist churches who regulated every behavior and activity with an iron fist of legalism like a draconian-driven HOA board of directors. I mean, a person couldn’t even wear short pants in the church building, let alone dream about drinking a beer. I sympathize with those folks. I really do. But honestly, is drinking beer really THAT important?

When the in-laws were in town for the holidays, there were times we would go to Sunday brunch at some fancy restaurant. My wife had a niece who would only eat macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets. She had an entire buffet laid out before her, and she obsessed on the mac N’ cheese. I remember telling her, “You have this wonderful banquet of food and all you are eating is mac N’ cheese? You know, there is much more to life than mac N’ cheese.”

Likewise, there is much more to Christian liberty than sitting in pubs drinking micro-brews.

Dispensationalism, Hal Lindsey, and Typology

mark

Shortly after I posted my article exploring the facepalming misuse of Scripture by many in the Reformed camp with the overuse of a typological hermeneutic, I had a dear pastor friend of mine leave a blistering comment on Facebook. He wrote,

There is rich irony in being lectured about typology by dispensationalists who regularly see Apache helicopters in the book of Revelation… Not saying you do, but lets be careful not to over-generalize. Both sides have their fair share of abuses in regard to typology.

Additionally, another commenter wrote,

It’s true that many who over-spiritualize are from the Reformed camp, and A.W. Pink is a good example of that. But I still see it as a problem of certain individuals and their tendencies, and not limited to only people from a Reformed background. On the other end of the spectrum, I have seen (from Arminian Dispensationalists) those who give similar bizarre treatment to various Old Testament passages or New Testament parables, in order to ‘prove’ the pre-trib rapture of the church.

Both of them make a good point. In fact I had other folks tell me that their Independent, Fundamentalist Baptist pastors pulled out all kinds of fancy conclusions from stories in the OT. IFB pastors tend to swim in the Dispensational waters.

I certainly agree that I have heard my fair share of crazy eisogesis. I recall once hearing a pastor spiritualize the events surrounding the sinking of the Titanic. The Titanic is like the person who will not heed God’s warning to steer clear of danger, etc., you get the picture.

But is it accurate identifying those imaginative interpretations regarding the parables, or helicopters, or even the Titanic, with a typological hermeneutic? I don’t believe so.

It may be helpful, then, if I define the terms. What exactly is typology and a typological hermeneutic?

Probably the clearest definition for the concept of biblical types is given by Donald K. Campbell in his old BibSac article, The Interpretation of Types. His working definition defines them as, “…an Old Testament institution, event, person, object, or ceremony which has reality and purpose in the Biblical history, but which also by divine design foreshadows something yet to be revealed.”

There are several instances I would imagine most readers can think of off the top of their heads, like the passover lamb, the mercy seat in the tabernacle, and the great high priest all pointing to the work Jesus Christ did on the cross. Abraham sacrificing his only son, Issac, pictures the crucifixion of Jesus, whereas the lamb caught in the thicket next to them, the substitution Christ made on behalf of His people, and Jonah in the fish for three days picturing the death, burial, and Resurrection of Jesus.

With each type, however, there will be the “fulfillment” with what is called an antitype. Generally, the antitype is clearly stated and obvious in the NT. In other words, the reader of Scripture doesn’t have to engage a Bible study with a clever imagination and an interpretative treasure hunt of “Let’s Find the Type!” in order to see the type.

Additionally, types need to be distinguished from symbols. A symbol will be a graphic representation of an actual event, or person, or object, or even a biblical truth. For example, a lion symbolic of strength, or a sword symbolic of the Word of God, or a dragon symbolic of Satan, or a mother bird covering her chicks symbolic of God protecting His people. There can also be symbolic acts performed by the prophets. For instance, Ezekiel cooking with cow dung or Zechariah making crowns of silver and gold for Joshua the high priest.

It is also important to keep in mind that types are divinely orchestrated, apart from the one who is the type, whereas a symbol is not. In other words, Abraham did not think to himself, “I am a type, picturing the Father’s giving of his son for the salvation of the world,” when he offered Issac like God told him. Only the Lord knew what he was to picture which was yet to be revealed as revelation progressively unfolded into the future. However, when Isaiah prophesied about the work of substitution by Christ, he intentionally spoke of a lamb, an animal all Jews would immediately recognize, as symbolic of the person of Jesus and the work He would do.

While it is certainly true preachers can be given over to describing ridiculous comparisons that are pure imagination and totally miss the point of the passage they may be preaching, that is not the application of a typological hermeneutic.

Consider my pastor friend’s complaint about Dispensationalists seeing Apache helicopters in the book of Revelation. That happens to be a favorite example I hear from Amillennialists any time I defend a literal grammatical-historical hermeneutic when reading prophetic books of Scripture. It is taken from prophecy guru, Hal Lindsey, who was the first theologian of sorts who turned a significant profit from the various pot-boilers he wrote on Revelation and other related prophetic themes.

While I am certainly not a fan of Hal Lindsey’s sensationalized approach to biblical prophecy and the book of Revelation, his non-Dispensationalist, Reformed critics, unfairly pillory his work. It is not nearly as crazy as they make it out to be. Plus, he definitely presents material that is much more doctrinally sound, actually taught in biblical context, and is overall saturated with Scripture compared to really goofy current-day writers allegedly in the same vein as Lindsey, like Jonathan Cahn or John Hagee.

The idea of Apache helicopters comes from Lindsey’s brief paperback overview on the book of Revelation called, There’s a New World Coming, published originally in 1973. He walks through the book of Revelation, obviously as a Dispensationalist interpreting the text, and he intentionally adjusts his commentary to a general, post-Jesus People era audience who would be new to studying the Bible, particularly biblical prophecy.

The comment about helicopters is taken from his commentary on Revelation chapter 9 regarding the locust coming out of the pit with stingers in their tails and their ability to torment men. Lindsey gives the standard commentary about the locust but then concludes by writing,

There are diverse opinions among Bible teaches as to whether these creatures are actually going to be a supernatural, mutant locust especially created for this judgment or whether they symbolize some modern device of warfare.

I have a Christian friend who was a Green Beret in Vietnam. When he first read this chapter he said, “I know what those are. I’ve seen hundreds of them in Vietnam. They’re Cobra helicopters!”

That may just be conjecture, but it does give you something to think about! A Cobra helicopter does fit the composite description very well. They also make the sound of “many chariots.” My friend believes that the means of torment will be a kind of nerve gas sprayed from its tail. [138-139].

Notice that Lindsey says that the Cobra helicopter idea may just be conjecture, but most importantly, given what we outlined above regarding types and symbols, he didn’t even come close to a typological interpretation. He is just conjecturing, not claiming the locust are Cobra helicopters!

As much as non-Dispensational haters wish it were so, Lindsey’s amusing anecdote about Cobra helicopters is not the employment of a typological hermeneutic that is so prevalent in Reformed camps. It certainly is not the one I am particularly alarmed about.

As I noted in my first article, the problem with the the Reformed hermeneutic’s use of typology has to do with reinterpreting the OT narrative to make practically every event, person, or situation, a type of Christ. Again, the entire book of Song of Solomon is supposed to be a picture of the love Jesus has for the church, or the nation of Israel being the OT church or the Church the NT Israel.

Reformed proponents have often argued that there are key, overarching theological themes that override the details of the exegesis and the natural reading of the text in question. But is that how we are to ready and study Scripture? The absolute worst instance currently with so-called theological themes overriding the details of exegesis is the trend to reimagine the creation account of Genesis.

John Walton, for example, in his, The Lost World, sees the creation as a picture telling theological truths about mankind, the world, and ultimately redemption. God is not telling us how he formed the world as he is providing a picture, or type, of how the narrative is to function theologically in the remainder of Scripture. G.K. Beale in his book, The Temple and the Church’s Mission, likens the garden of Eden to a cosmological temple that is patterned in the tabernacle in Exodus, another illustration of how theology trumps the details of the text.

While it may come across looking pious and sounding really, really spiritually deep to emphasis the theological types over the plain reading of the text, in taking that approach, the intended meaning is stripped from the text and misses the point the original author intended to convey.

“But God is the ultimate author of Scripture!,” is the usual response to my objection, “so that is what he intended to convey to begin with.” But the LORD used a human author who wrote down what He wanted to say and the original audience did not read it in that gobbledygook fashion. That only puts a person committed to a typological/theological hermeneutic in perilous danger of calling God a lying deceiver when He originally revealed those portions of Scripture.

Jesus and Wine Theology and the Reformed Hermeneutic

Jesus Drank ReislingTheology that is really cool and fun and stuff

At the risk of receiving a severe wedgie from a number of my Reformed acquaintances who run around my game circle, I wanted to respond to a discussion that took place at the ReformCom 2016 with the guys of Apologia radio, N.D. Wilson, and Darren Doane.

I specifically want to focus in upon the bizarre ramblings from Doane regarding what I call his “Jesus is wine theology.” Doane’s “theology,” if we can even call it that, perfectly highlights the horrendous abuse the historical Reformed, typological hermeneutic rains down upon the Bible when a person studies it.

I’ll begin with a bit of background.

Doane is a commercial video director, as well as a filmmaker.  He is known for religiously themed work such as Unstoppable, a movie addressing the problem of evil with Kirk Cameron, Collision Course, a documentary that follows around Doug Wilson and the late Christopher Hitchens as they debate in various venues, and Saving Christmas, that carries a 0% at Rotten Tomatoes and has the honor of being the winner of the 2015 Razzie award for worst picture.

So much for taking dominion, but I digress.

I tussled once with Doane on Twitter in the months before his award winning Saving Christmas was released. I even stated that I thought the trailer looked fun when I was defending Kirk’s promotion of the movie on a Catholic radio program against some finger-wagging discernment folks. I wrote about that HERE.

Where I took exception with Saving Christmas was with Doane’s excessive overuse of typology. For instance, in our Twitter exchange, he insisted that Christmas trees are talked about in the Bible because God was the first one to bring a tree into His house. He likened the lamp stand in the tabernacle with us putting Christmas trees in our homes. I wrote about out exchange HERE for those interested.

Doane has since moved from spiritualizing Christmas trees to now spiritualizing wine. At the ReformCon2016, he participated on a live podcast interview for Apologia Radio where he enthusiastically discussed the topic of wine and Jesus and drinking for the Christian. The audio can be heard HERE. His comments begin at the 56:06 mark. Or watch the Youtube portion HERE.

I’ve written out a loose transcript of the relevant portions I wish to address. Keep in mind that I have slightly edited his remarks removing the “…and ums,” along with smoothing out the excitable effervescence that bubbles from his talk.

When I became a Christian I didn’t drink, which is even better because I was double-holy. I not only became a Christian, but I was like super moral. Like double-anointed portion.  I don’t drink. This is fantastic, I was the sober guy.

When I became a Christian, the last thing I even thought about was alcohol. I mean, I just received salvation. My sins were forgiven. My interest for the word ignited. I dug into the Scriptures because I wanted to nail down what the Bible taught on important points of doctrine. I couldn’t have cared less about determining the limits of my Christian liberty with drinking a beer or scotch. There were deeper, more profound truths that occupied my heart.

And who was he hanging with as a new Christian? He gives the impression all his friends from church were a bunch of frat party drunks and he was the designated driver taking them home from a Sunday night fellowship.

Skipping to the end, as he wraps up his musings about Jesus and wine, he explains that even after he had studied out wine from the Bible, he still did not drink. That was until an acquaintance asked him why and then remarked, “Whose gonna teach your daughter to drink?” implying, “how is she gonna learn to drink?”

When I heard that, I thought, “Eh?” Christian parents are obligated to teach their kids how to drink? Your kids have to be taught how to drink? What exactly does that entail? Them watching you regularly down a rum and coke? Spirited dinner table discussion of the state drinking age limit? Or what is the best way to age whiskey? Honestly? What is the bizarre fixation with neo-Reformed folks and drinking booze? I’ve never understood it. It’s like a little kid who is now potty trained and has to tell everyone he is wearing big boy pants.whatwouldjesusbrewBut let me move along to what I wish to address specifically and will get me into trouble,

Years later, because I love theology, every year I would sort of pick something to dive into. One year I picked wine. Jesus did say “I’m Wine;” so I thought I would dig into the Bible on “wine.” So I spent almost a whole year going through the Bible, looking at how wine was used.

Jesus said “I’m wine?” Searching my Bible Works, I can’t find any where in the Gospels when Jesus said such a thing. Maybe he has in mind John 15, where Jesus says “I am the vine and you are the branches?” While it is true that wine comes from grapes that do grow on vines, that is not the same as Jesus saying “I’m wine.” Or it could be when Jesus talked about putting new wine into old wine skins, and he assumes the “new wine” is Jesus. Who knows?

Moving along,

When you start digging into something it gets super fascinating. Like when did wine first appear? When did fruit first appear? In fact in creation it’s at the end of day three and that ties into end of day three of Jesus’ Resurrection, there some cool stuff going on there. What is wine? With wine, you actually have to take grapes and kill them and you have to smash them and you have to kill it, you have to bury it. And put it into somewhere dark then after time it comes out. It’s totally new. It’s glorified. You have this Jesus-picture thing going on. It’s like in theology this is getting really cool and fun and you’re going through this stuff.

And then something hits me about communion, and that’s what theology does, it does everything, it rolls, it starts going, it starts paradigm shifting, all because of theology, right? … And then all of the sudden it hit me that wine burns. [pause here for dramatic effect]. You take grape juice. It’s sweet, it’s fun. My kids love it. But you take wine, Wooo. It burns. It’s fire. God is a consuming fire. Oh Darren’s on the skinny branch right now, he’s just reaching. But you go back and look at fire in the Bible [another dramatic pause] That’s. What. Theology. Does.

I can imagine the scruffy-bearded young folk in the audience listening to that nonsense for the first time thinking to themselves, “Oooohhhh, That’s so deep. I never thought about all those connection between Jesus and wine before.” Well yeah. No one else has either. What he presents is borderline neo-orthodoxy gobbledygook. (I chuckle when he says wine burns and is like fire and you need to go back and look at fire in the Bible. Someone has. It doesn’t mean what you think).

Let’s break down that theology:

God created the seed-bearing plants on day three.
Grapes are seed-bearing plants.
You have to crush and squeeze and essentially “kill” grapes to make wine.
Jesus said he was the vine and we are the branches.
Jesus was crushed and squeezed and killed.
But was raised to life three days later.

See? God creates plants day 3+grapes being crushed=Jesus in the tomb 3 days! Wine! THEOLOGY!

brewing companyDoane’s theology is no more theological as that tongue speaking 13-year old girl telling everyone God says in the Bible that he wants them to be a funnel to receive His blessing. The only difference is that Doane gets a pass from the folks at RefCon because he hangs with Doug Wilson and says he is Reformed and Calviney and of course, drinks wine.

Now I can hear my detractors complain, “Fred, that is Doane’s views, and he is a little whimsical when he reads the Bible.” In fact, during the Facebook comment discussion when I reviewed Saving Christmas, even R.C. Sproul Jr. chimed in telling me that Doane’s imaginative interpretations are unique to a small number of individuals in the theonomy camp like James B. Jordan (who is no longer a theonomist as I understand it). That sounds like a reasonable clarification. It’s inaccurate to impugn a majority of individuals based upon the weird ramblings of a few.

I believe that objection is problematic, however.

Here is where my observations will stir up with my Reformed acquaintances the kind of excitement generated when one throws a live squirrel into a gymnasium filled with 250 yellow labs: The tendency to spiritualize and abuse Scripture with heavy doses of typology is endemic to the Reformed hermeneutic.

The Reformed hermeneutic claims that because Jesus is the fullest revelation from God, the Apostles, as they wrote the New Testament, were led by the Holy Spirit to spiritualize the Old Testament. They would, for instance, redefine the recipients of the OT prophecies that were originally given to the people of Israel, as now pertaining to the Church. The Reformed hermeneutic teaches that the NT has interpretative priority over the OT. Thus, Reformed interpreters believe they are at liberty to utilize a typological/spiritualized hermeneutic when reading the Bible.

The degree to which typology adversely effects the meaning of Scripture will vary from person to person, but it is certainly there among the Reformed. One need merely to look over the few Reformed commentaries on the Song of Solomon to see what I mean. Guys like John Gill and John Collinges, wrote massive, encyclopedic works on Song of Solomon simply to say it is a book about Jesus loving the Church. A.W. Pink, who has always been a favorite of mine, was also notorious for his heavy typological emphasis in his various gleaning series, and even the 1689 Federalism Baptists emphasize typology almost to the exclusion of other hermeneutical elements necessary to the reading and understanding of Scripture. The worst is with folks like John Walton, who turns the creation account of Genesis into some theological picture about the temple of God or whatever.

I certainly believe God presents pictures and types in the OT that are fulfilled with an anti-type in the NT, but the writer of Scripture tells us what is going on. He doesn’t leave it to us to creatively find the type/anti-type connection. A good example would be marriage originally intending to picture Christ’s love for the church and the church loving Christ. The thing is, however, Paul tells us in Ephesians 5 that marriage was meant to be that picture.

Types become a problem when enthusiastic Christians begin seeing types when none really exist. One that just drives me crazy and is often appealed to by Reformed folks is 1 Samuel 17 when David defeated Goliath. I listened to one Lutheran pirate, who will remain unnamed, spiritualize that entire story as a type of Jesus defeating Satan. David was Jesus, Goliath Satan. He went so far as to claim the five smooth stones David gathered from the brook before he met Goliath in battle were the 5 wounds of Jesus on the cross, the nail prints in his hands, his feet, and the spear wound in his side.

facepalmI’m Sorry. That deserves a Jesus facepalm

Though it sounds all pious and spiritually insightful, it misses the entire point of what 1 Samuel is trying to convey. It’s merely contrived fancy to say it is all a big story about Jesus defeating Satan.

Where types don’t really exist, any that are discovered become subject to the interpreter’s imagination and it ultimately strips the real authorial intent from the meaning of Scripture. Bible study is turned into a free-for-all, and the true understanding of the text is lost. If you take that approach to reading the Bible you will always be out bobbing around out on the skinny branch with Doane.

Rachel Held Evans Then and Now

Sibylline Oracle, Rachel Held Evans, September 7, 2012,

God’s name is not something to use to score political points.  It’s not something to throw around lightly or to use as a weapon against a political opponent. God and Our Political Platforms.

God’s little sweetheart, Rachel Held Evans, November 19, 2012,

This, I believe, is the real evangelical disaster—not that Barack Obama is president and Mitt Romney is not, but that evangelicalism has gotten so enmeshed with politics, its success or failure can be gauged by an election. The Real “Evangelical Disaster”

Rachel Held Evans, January 30, 2016,

Rachel Held Evans, Appointee for Member, President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships

Rachel Held Evans is a Christian blogger and the author of Faith Unraveled, A Year of Biblical Womanhood, and Searching for Sunday.In addition, Ms. Evans speaks at retreats, conferences, universities, and churches across the country. She has been featured on NPR, Slate, The BBC, The Washington Post,  The Huffington Post, CNN, The View, and The Today Show, and in 2012, she was named one ofChristianity Today’s “50 Women to Watch.”  Ms. Evans received a B.A. from Bryan College.

President Obama Announces Key Administration Posts

Remember kids, Christians and politics is bad and makes Jesus cry when conservative, evangelical Bible-believing Christians are involved. But enlightened, faith-building when leftist, pseudo-Christian bloggers are involved.

Tim Tebow and His Ex-Girl Friend

tebowSo I saw on Facebook’s news feed that Tim Tebow’s girlfriend, a former Miss USA, Olivia Culpo, broke up with him because he refuses to have sex with her.

My immediate reaction was, “good for him! Way to stand up against temptation and sin.”

Speaking as a red-blooded male here, given that she is, in the currently popular Red State evangelical vernacular, “smokin’ hot,” maintaining his integrity and staying true to his commitment to save sex for marriage was probably a difficult achievement, especially if Ms. Culpo willingly and readily made herself available.

However, as I reflected upon the various media articles linked in my FB feed, I began to wonder why Tim Tebow, a professed Christian who has shown the public, at least in my opinion, that he is semi-serious about his faith, would be pursuing a woman who is the moral equivalent of a diamond encrusted sow ear.

I am only going off the reports, and we all know how media reports can be wildly inaccurate and lopsided, relaying only partial, one-sided facts; but according to friends who know the guy, he expressed genuine care for her by sending her gifts and writing her notes. Sure, note writing and gift sending is a nice thing to do, but a guy generally doesn’t write notes to a lady or spend money to purchase her gifts unless his intentions is for moving the relationship a bit deeper.

Obviously she was willing to fornicate with him, so again, that begs the question as to why he would be chasing a woman of ill repute? But I suppose if I were a single guy, and a Miss USA winner was showing interest in me, I may go a little stupid as well.

I would think, though, that my resistance to such feminine wiles would be much more than just a really strong belief in abstinence. I mean, anyone can choose to be abstinent. Golly, the Catholic Church, and even Buddhists, have like entire religious orders of both men and women who live cloistered together in rural, isolated communities who are abstinent.

I would hope that if I was a major, public figure and the choices I make with my sex life as a single young man were to come under the ridiculing scrutiny of atheist hacks on the internet, it would be a bit more than just “I’m committed to the principle of abstinence.”

I remained abstinent before marriage not because I thought it was the best way to prevent STDs and pregnancy, but because I had the holiness of God as my first and foremost objective in my personal life. I wanted to honor Christ. Honoring Christ was living a sanctified life set apart to him. Was it difficult to stay singularly focused on the Lord? Yes, it was, even with the help of the Holy Spirit. And I didn’t even have a “smokin’ hot” Miss USA winner begging me for sex.

My exhortation to Tim if he should happen to stumble upon this obscure blog and read my post is to make sure folks understand your convictions are born out of a love for Jesus Christ and His holiness. Anyone can pursue abstinence; but the vague principle of abstinence doesn’t save anyone. Point them to the Lord who saves, not a worthless, stand alone morality.

Thank You Mr. Atheist for Your Loving Concern

from the Hip&Thigh archives

 

Found in my in-box,

To: fred@fredsbibletalk.com
From: *****
Subject: RE: [QUAR][Barracuda] Bible inerrant

 

Fred,

I accidently [sic] ran into your internet site and read your article about an inerrant Bible.

I won’t go into the area of screwed up translations.I will copy and paste some of your statements and comment on them.

Paste from your site: Anything He does will be untainted with error, and because He has breathed out scripture, the scripture is then tied to His purity and holiness and can correctly said to be inerrant. 

From me>>To believe your bible in any translation(or original manuscripts) is inerrant & god breathed, here is what you must believe.

#1.A snake can talk(remember the snake was cursed to crawl on it’s belly & eat dust.

#2.A donkey can talk.

#3.That man was so stupid back then that he actually thought he could build a tower to heaven.

#4.You have to believe against any logical thinking that all those animals,incl,snakes & all different kinds of insects and enough food to feed all of them(different kinds of food)for almost one year would fit on an ark that size,which is impossible.

#5.You have to believe there was food for them to eat when they came off the ark even though the whole earth was supposedly covered in water.

#6.You have to believe in a flat earth because these supposedly inspired by god people said so back then.

#7.You have to believe the earth is 6 to 10,000 years old despite overwhelming proof it is much,much older,even if not 4.5 billion years old.

#8.You have to believe all those heavenly bodies out there that they are still finding were created in one literal day(morning & evening)that is despite the fact that even now they are finding suns,stars just now beginning to form.

#9.You have to believe god made the sun stand still when it already stands still or believe god stopped the rotation of the earth which anyone should know would be a disaster in many ways for earth.

#10.You have to believe Lot’s wife turned into a pillar of salt which is unbelievable.

#11.You have to believe Lot had intercourse with 2 of his daughters on 2 different nights and knew it not.

#12.You have to believe Jesus was concieved [sic] without human intercourse this despite the fact that at least 20 other dying & resurrecting savior sun gods had this claimed of them long,long before the supposed time of Jesus,you claim them a myth but the same tale about Jesus true.

I could go on about the impossibilities you claim to be inerrant in your bible.The names of authors of the whole Bible is unknown the names claimed to be the writters was guessed at by Hebrews(O.T.) and Christians(N.T.)no one ZERO knows who wrote one word in the bible.Only a brainwashed,mind controlled christian could ever believe the Bible inerrant,it’s to obvious that it is not for any thinking person.

Greetings ____,

I want you to know how much I appreciated your email. I was touched by the fact you took the time to express to me your concerns in writing. I am a rather obscure and unknown internet presence with a small time blog that maybe gets 250 visits a day, half of which are people looking for joint pain medication. I am no where in the league of a Steve Hays, or the guys at Creation Ministries Internationalor even that pseudonymous J.P Holding. In the grand scheme of things, I am a guppy in a big, big pond of much larger, more significant fish.

Yet you thought enough of me, someone who is a total stranger to you, to offer your help with straighten me out. Most atheists are not even as considerate as you, but instead lace their correspondence with rude, insulting remarks and scurrilous comments.

You far exceed the hacks from the Rational Response Squad. That is what I particularly like about your email. It contained none of the snarky arrogance common place among atheists. You even took the time to list some examples where you believe I have intellectually derailed.

First off, I must confess my overall dismay. Your email really shook me up. I mean, in the entire 2,000 years of church history since apologists have been answering critics with their polemics, I don’t believe I have read any biblio-skeptic offer the examples you provide here. You must be praised for originality and freshness with your criticisms. And certainly I haven’t read a Christian book attempting to answer them.

Take some of the Bible verses you pointed out.

You mean to tell me what I learned in 3rd grade Sunday school class,via a felt board, that the Tower of Babel was just a large temple and the expression “whose top reached to the heavens” a way of saying it was used for unifying humanity around a false religion, is truly mistaken? You mean to tell me it was a mythical story describing a structure designed to take men into heaven itself? Say, like a giant space elevator or something? Yes, I guess I can see how that is a bit silly and anti-science.

spaceelevator
Oh, and to think I just presupposed the fact that since God is God, then miraculous, one time events like a talking snake, or a talking donkey, or Lot’s wife turning into a pillar of salt (assuming the expression is not a way of saying she died in the judgment of sulfur and brimstone) could be expected to happen. Gosh, I had no idea I was suppose to look at all reality only through material naturalistic uniformitarianism as a philosophical filter. Thank you for clarifying that for me.

Then, I also am gladdened your email was devoid of any phony, educated condescending huff and puff. Many atheists I have encountered in the past carry on with their criticisms about the reliability of the biblical text as if they have genuinely studied history and textual criticism, but in reality, they are ignorantly repeating 3rd, maybe 4th hand sources as they type away in their mother’s basement.

But you are different. You seem to draw from a deep well of information and personal experience when you point out any belief in the inerrancy of Scripture has zero evidence and no thinking person would adhere to such a belief.

Golly, I have only been studying the Bible for more than 20 years, a good half of that time at a seminary. I learned just two years of Greek and a year and a half of Hebrew. You must have really studied those languages a lot. How long have you been a student of textual critical principles?

I’m guessing now, since reading your email, that I have wasted my time heavily immersing myself in the critical studies of many of the brilliant textual scholars the world has known. Men like Constantine Von Tischendorf, Johann Bengel, Robert Dick Wilson, E.J. Young, D.A. Carson and Daniel Wallace, a man who actually handles and documents the original texts often under consideration when we speak of inerrancy.

In fact, my church put on a conference attended by 5,000 plus men just on the subject of how the Bible is inerrant. Those guys all claim the historical documents are overwhelmingly trustworthy and reliable and provide for us an almost 100 percent accuracy when it comes to the veracity of the biblical text.

I reckon the same goes for biblical creationism. You really left me scratching my head, because I don’t believe I have read any one who has ever addressed the star light problems you raised in your email.

At any rate, you have really caused me to take a step back. I now have to return to evaluating what I have learned thanks to your thoughtful exposure of these non-thinking and brainwashed dolts.

So thank you for your loving concern. I am in your service, for you have saved me much embarrassment.

Fred

The Real Reasons Why Youth Are Leaving Church

youthI hadn’t planned writing a follow up to my previous post, but I started thinking about what I wrote and I thought I should offer a more comprehensive reason why I believe people are leaving church.

I say just people, rather than “young people,” because currently, alarmist types want us to believe it is college aged young people freshly set free from the concentration camps of their stifling and non-thinking fundamentalist churches and rigid homeschooled families who are running away from Christianity in vast numbers. But people of all ages leave church on a regular basis. In fact, generations of “young people,” upon leaving home for college or moving away from their parents after getting married stop attending church, so it’s not like this is a recent epidemic or something.

There were a ton of kids in my youth group at the church I attended when I was in high school. They were all actively involved, because simply put, mama and daddy made them go, and I am sure the food and games had an appeal as well. Most of them were phony anyways, because when they weren’t at church participating in puppet shows or singing in the youth choir, they were throwing down at the weekend kegger party and engaging in various forms of teenage debauchery.

If I had to guess, I would say maybe just a handful of my high school youth group peers acted the least bit “Christianly” throughout their high school experience. Of the 20 or 25 friends at my group, I’d imagine just 2 or 3 still attend church today in any serious manner. A few more may have returned once they had kids, but for the most part, while they may live externally clean lives, they are practically irreligious and remain unchurched.

So what are the real reasons the so-called Christian youth are leaving Christianity? Contrary to the polls of self-appointed experts on American youth culture, their departure really has nothing to do with those typical tropes like coming from a sheltered home-schooled family, or not having the right apologetic thinking, or the church being “anti-science,” or Christians rejecting gay teens.

Let me lay out 7 thoughts to show you what I mean:

1. The kids aren’t saved. It’s too simple, I know; but that’s reality. They are not regenerated, and thus do no possess saving faith. Hence, when they are confronted by the culturally brutal and harsh world, their non-existent faith is exposed as just that, non-existent.

No amount of feeding them the right apologetic answers to skeptical critics of Christianity will help that at all. If the kid isn’t saved, it doesn’t matter if he knows all the proofs of God’s existence, or can defend the historical Gospels, or shoot down the Zeitgeist youtube movie. He has no love for Christ; and when sin confronts him, he may resist at first, but will eventually give in and it’s all down hill from there.

But is it more than just saying the kid isn’t saved? Certainly. There could be a number of factors that have converged to have driven the kid away from church.

2. The kid comes from a moralistic family. In other words, the family may indeed attend church, perhaps be involved to a degree, but the faith of the parents and the kids is no more than a set of conservative morals untethered from Scripture and the worship of God. Morals alone are not enough to keep a young person faithful to Christ. Only a regenerated heart can do that.

3. The parents are self-righteous hypocrites. By that I mean they pretend to be spirit-filled, serious-minded Christians at church, but at home, it’s an entirely different matter. Mom and dad bicker and snip at each other, they complain about everything, maybe are dishonest with their dealings with others, gossip about people and situations at church. They basically instill an attitude of disrespect in the hearts of their children toward not only church, but even themselves.

4. Church leadership intentionally avoids difficult subjects. They won’t talk about those subjects that supposedly clothesline the young person when he gets out in the real world. They mistakenly believe young people would be bored with their discussion, or perhaps the subjects are way over their heads and raise too many hard questions their little minds can’t handle right now.

Instead, they focus on teaching simplistic things like keeping your virginity before marriage, figuring out God’s will for your life, and what spiritual gifts you may have. Any difficult topics they leave for the occasional expert to handle. That expert who usually comes in the form of a prepackaged DVD message on Wednesday nights. Many times those experts are really unlearned and inexperienced, and hardly know what they are talking about.

5. Church leadership is lazy. If they don’t intentionally avoid difficult subjects, they won’t even take the time to educate themselves on those topics that will challenge their young people. Paul told Timothy that godly men must prove themselves workman (2 Tim. 2:15). The important word in workman is work. Studying the Scriptures, exegeting the Scriptures, applying the Scriptures, teaching the Scriptures takes hard work.

Today’s youth need leaders who will do the hard work of shepherding them, confronting them, teaching them the Word of God, especially when it comes to those difficult subjects they encounter or will encounter. They don’t need leaders who will only put forth minimal effort feeding them pablum, while providing them soft beds to cozy up in. They need to come face to face with the holy God of Scripture who will rock their world, but will also save them through the blood of Christ. That experience only comes when leaders shake off the stupor of laziness and do the hard work of lifting high the God of Scripture by taking the time to handle it rightly.

6. The youth pastor is basically a young, inexperienced and spiritually immature guy. All my life as a churched kid, practically every youth director has been an early 20s something post-graduate. He’s probably no more than 5 or 6 years older than the oldest kid in the youth group. Not to disparage a person’s youth, or even youth groups for that matter, because I happen to know a number of mature thinking young guys in their early 20s, and there are churches with great youth groups teaching their kids to think biblically. Regrettably those are the rare exception and sadly not the rule.

The vast majority of youth pastors are placed in the positions because the church, as well as parents, mistakenly believe only a young guy can “relate” with their kids; plus they are expecting nothing more than sanctified baby-sitting. The youth pastor is merely required to create an atmosphere of wholesomeness that includes directing fun activities, so they are not necessarily known for being theological giants. In fact, the youth pastors are notorious for being the gateway for introducing wack-a-doodle heresy into the church, along with immature behavior on the part of the kids, and that is due primarily because he is a spiritually immature and unlearned novice.

preciousAdditionally, if the youth director happens to be a mature young man who wants to bring substance to the youth group, when the teenage goats begin leaving because they hate the teaching of God’s Word, the parents freak out and accuse the young man of quenching the Spirit. He’s then kicked out and replaced by a more pliable hireling.

I remember once at my college church when our youth pastor had a guest speaker come in to preach at the high school group. That evening, they were particularly rambunctious and rowdy, and the guest speaker told them that he believed most of them were lost because they had no respect for the teaching of God’s Word. He was absolutely correct with his assessment. Now guess what happened? Did the kids become gripped with conviction upon hearing those words, repent of their sins, and beg to be saved? Do you think their moms and dads were mortified as to what happened and dealt firmly with their teens? Of course not! Don’t be silly! The next week, the poor youth pastor was deluged with mobs of angry parents demanding a reason why he let such a horrible man tell their precious hellions that they were lost, because they know their little devils asked Jesus into their hearts after they walked the aisle when they were four.

7. The Church leadership and youth pastor doesn’t evangelize the kids. Oh, don’t get me wrong. They “evangelize” them in the sense that they preach to them an anemic, “God has a wonderful plan for your life, Jesus wants to be your buddy and make school great for you” false gospel, or a gut-wrenching “Red Asphalt, kids die in car wreck after a drinking party and get dragged straight to hell” presentation that is designed to emotionally manipulate an aisle full of sobbing teenage girls to pray a prayer to accept Jesus into their hearts. Decisions are certainly made after those evangelistic presentations, but they are theologically vapid, empty of any serious biblical content, and not empowered by the Holy Spirit to save souls.

Now.

Having said all of that, can a kid come from a household of hypocrites, attend a church with lazy leadership who coddle the youth group with a 20-something rock climber guy as the pastor who preaches a lame Gospel message? Yes. God is great and transcends all of those problems. However, if we consider those reasons, I think a case can be made that what college age kids are leaving isn’t necessarily biblical Christianity, but some syrupy sentimental version of the Christian faith. That would only mean that the vast numbers of college age kids never really left Christianity and church to begin with.

Those Dastardly Young People Leaving Church

hipsterThe last few years have seen a crush of hand-wringing, panicked stricken articles and books bemoaning how today’s youth are abandoning traditional churches and Christianity altogether once they reach college age.

The authors of these garment rending laments are often self-appointed pop cultural analysts who believe they are on the front lines of the modern culture war assailing Christians everywhere. They are anyone from parachurch apologists to popular youth personalities, and they are sounding the alarm about the exodus of young people from Christianity who were raised in loving Christian homes whose parents took them to church regularly, taught them the Bible, and in many cases enrolled them in Christian schools or homeschooled them.

Once they leave home for the first time, those fresh young people are genuinely exposed to the “real world” and their naivete is dashed up against the rocks of secularism. They come to recognize the folly of religious faith and rapidly become embarrassed by their parents devotion to their sad traditional Christianity.

As our cultural crusaders rightly point out, the phenomena of Christian kids leaving the faith is certainly something to notice; and I would add, the church needs to consider why that is happening. A number of explanations have been offered, but the reasons suggested, I believe, are wildly off target.

With that stated, I want to respond to this article posted recently at CharismaNews Online. (BTW, CharismaNews is swiftly becoming a gold mine for quality crazy stuff on the internet that makes for excellent blog fodder, but I digress).

6 Reasons Young Christians Abandon Church

The article is a summary of a book written in 2011 by a guy named David Kinnaman called You Lost Me: Why Young Christians are Leaving Church and Rethinking Church. I’ll let you search it out on Amazon.  According to the article, Kinnaman, who oversees the research arm of the Barna Group, identifies six significant themes that explains why millennial hipsters are dropping traditional churches faster than a cup of Maxwell House instant coffee. The article then proceeds to lay out those themes and offer commentary as to why Kinnaman’s analysis is so revolutionary and cutting-edge, and why we old dinosaurish Christians need to take him seriously.

Because I believe the good bulk of such scaremongering commentary is vapid and needlessly hysterical, along with being misdirected, I thought it would offer my rejoinder.

It is important that we begin by considering who it is who wrote the article. There isn’t one individual person named, but apparently, it’s an anonymous theological hack from the group called Biologos.

The folks at Biologos are in essence evangelical atheists. They exist for no other reason than to push anti-supernaturalism, theistic evolution, and to be a hub for where bitter, cranky anti-creationists gather daily to hurl insults at Answers in Genesis and ICR.

The one truly bizarre thing about this article is it is published on Charisma’s website. The fact that a charismatic driven website, where the claims of God’s miracle power are posted everyday, would publish an article by a freakish religio-secular hybrid like Biologos, only continues to affirm to me the profound lack of spiritual discernment at Charisma’s editing board.

But heaven forbid I be accused of “ad hom.” I certainly wouldn’t want that. I mean, I should just ignore the source of this article. What matters are the arguments put forth, right? Who cares about those pesky presupposition filters?

Reason #1 – Churches seem overprotective. It is suggested that churches are “hiding” the truth of the world from their youth. That they are only concerned about rock music, R rated movies, and pre-marital sex. So that when the little simpletons leave home, the secularist eat them for breakfast the first day of community college class.

If by protective, they mean to say churches don’t expose their young people to every whim of doctrine, crackpot theology, and wack-a-doodle idea out there, well, I certainly want a church to protect their young people from foolishness.  They should be taught to be suspicious of seducing spirits and they should be trained with the ability to properly discern, even if the scold writing this article thinks it keeps them out-of-touch.

Reason #2 – Teens’ and twentysomethings’ experience of Christianity is shallow. I actually agree with the point here. Regrettably, the modern experience of Christianity for not only young people, but nearly everybody across the red state, evangelical spectrum is shallowness that is the proverbial mile wide and foot deep. That includes the lame worship services led by a knock-off of the local coffee shop folk band, pre-fab Sunday school lessons that teach a Scripturaless morality, and the preaching, which amounts to nothing more than a life coach giving his congregation a spiritualized TED talk.

This point captures the primary reason Christians are leaving church: the church has become the equivalent of a Vegas show and that gets boring real quick.

Reason #3 – Churches come across as antagonistic to science. The idea of “antagonistic to science” is Biologos codeword for, “Christians believing in a literal, historical Genesis, a real, historical Adam and Eve, and a young earth.”

I’ll admit right now that I love science. I love my car, my ipod, my computer, my wifi, my air conditioning, my cough syrup, and the many other uncountable areas where my life is greatly improved by “science.”

But this point is deceptive. Contrary to our dishonest author, I can affirm a historical Genesis, a real, historical Adam and Eve, and an Earth under 10,000 years of age, and still do science. One cannot, however, deny a historical Adam and the historicity of Genesis only for the purpose of accommodating Darwinianism with the Bible and remain an orthodox Christian.

One humorous note about this point is how it is posted on a website that in the side bar there is a link to an article talking about a guy raising people from the dead and trumpet sounds in the sky being indicators of Christ’s soon return.

Reason #4 – Young Christians’ church experiences related to sexuality are often simplistic, judgmental. In other words, young people don’t like being told they have to be married to have sex, and specifically to a person of the opposite sex, and they have embraced the empty headed histrionics of homosexual advocates defending same sex marriage.

Reason #5 – They wrestle with the exclusive nature of Christianity. Under this point, one of the reasons young people struggle with the exclusivity of Christianity is that “churches are afraid of the beliefs of other faiths.” Why would young people wrestle with a concept of exclusivity? Jesus made some rather strong, exclusive statements about Himself, about God, and a number of other issues that are clearly delineated in Scripture. How exactly is that a problem?

Why would young people be troubled that their churches uphold the biblical claims of exclusivity? Are they completely oblivious to the intellectual disconnect they’ve created? On one hand they’re complaining about how shallow church is (see #2), but on the other, if the church just so happens to be deep with their affirmation of biblical Christian orthodoxy, they wrestle with that because it’s supposedly a bad thing? I don’t get it.

It seems like to me they have fallen prey to the folly of postmodern, relativistic thinking. Affirming one’s faith as exclusive is something orthodox Christianity has historically maintained and is hardly something to wrestle over. Even the progressive Christians makes claims of exclusivity when they abandon an exclusive understanding of the Christian faith and then proclaim that it is stupid.

doubtReason #6 – The church feels unfriendly to those who doubt. Honestly, the reason why a church may feel unfriendly to those who doubt, is because those who doubt are generally insincere about their so-called “doubt.” If a young person begins to express his “doubt,” more than likely he was already at a personal place of hostility with the church leadership. When any effort is giving to offer answers, the kid doesn’t want those answers, and then turns around and claims no one answered his questions. Such a person either becomes a radical skeptic, or a militant gay activist, or some other smug malcontent who complains how the church is unfriendly.

Now. I don’t want to dismiss all of those points entirely. There is some truth lurking behind them. But rather than concluding that local churches have failed in meeting the false expectations of young people that only in turn pushes them out the door and into secular irreligiousity, the primary reason they abandon the faith and leave church is that they didn’t have faith to begin with. They were never regenerated and never believed savingly upon the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. It really has nothing to do with them being overly protected or a church being anti-science. They never had faith, and college only reveals that fact.

That is not to say churches didn’t have a hand in their abandonment. The second point above rings true: If a church manufactures a shallow, atheological, abiblical, moralistic atmosphere, hardly anyone is going to be saved. Any preaching, teaching, and activities geared only towards moralistic entertainment, will only beget entertained moralists who will be exposed as fake Christians when they encounter the world.

Suicide Solution

I wrote this up several years ago when Earth Day was becoming a social media phenomenon. Still relevant and timely.

molech

A group calling itself the Optimum Population Trust claims humanity is having way too many babies.

All the extra children are badly ruining the carbon offset of our planet and hence having an impact upon global warming.

The math is simple: More babies = higher CO2 levels = higher global temperatures = more displaced polar bears floating around on itty-bitty icebergs.

The solution to this problem offered by the OPT is for people to stop having babies. If you must have a baby, maybe one is okay; possibly two, but certainly not three.

My family, by the way, has already broken the quota.

The fine folks of the Sea Shepherd Society also believe humanity has become a disease of sorts upon mother earth. Like a raging flesh eating staph infection or an Ebola outbreak, the presence of all these people is causing the earth to break out into a fever.

I must say I believe this is a disturbing ideology, but I see such suicidal tendencies as a logical conclusion to radical, secular humanism. When a worldview places the material world in higher value over human life so that one is willing to deprive him or herself of the blessing of children, and their own existence, nihilistic atheism has reached its end game. The final step is to ask for volunteers to sacrifice themselves for the earth by committing mass euthanasia. If none are prepared to come forward, and this environmental death cult were to have governmental power, they could always extinguish any extra children by force.

I didn’t know environmentalists were so down on kids.

Soylent Green is People!

In truth, an environmentally friendly, child-free world is becoming a reality. This suicidal humanism has already taken firm root in the hearts and minds of Europeans and is slowly doing the job suggested by the Optimum Population Trust. In a society totally abandoned to cradle-to-grave welfare, living carefree lives, working no more than 28 hours a week, attending nude beaches during that paid, month long, mandatory vacation, having children around can really cramp your style.

Couples are having no more than one child as it is. If the trend continues, Western Europe will have bred itself out within 40 to 50 years. That mindset is growing here in the good old U.S. of A. as well, particularly in the finger waging from our university elite. So, Americans are slowly coming up from behind and closing in our European kin.

I believe the environmental global warming scare is the secular atheists pagan religion.

The physical earth is the god worshiped. It is a god that can be proven, because it is a tangible object men can physically witness and test.

Evolution is the religion used to explain this god, how it birthed life and takes care of its creatures. Occasionally, the god acts displeased and displays its fury against the sinful creatures by means of storms, floods, and famine.

However, specific, often self-appointed holy men or prophets, say for example Al Gore, claim to have special knowledge about how the god has been sinned against. The only thing that will appease the god is a sacrifice of some sort. In this case, the appeasement is a radical change in our standard and way of living, including the sacrifice of a the third child if necessary.

But this god is capricious and fickle and certainly unpredictable when it comes to issues of morality. Why should I even obey it in the manner the Optimum evangelists preach? If suicide is the only viable solution to appease this god, I think I will enjoy the love and laughter of my extra kids and take my chances.