The Myth of “Fake News”

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There is not a “fake news” crisis. There is an idiot crisis.

Ever since Hillary Clinton was soundly trounced by Donald Trump in the latest presidential election, the cultural gate keepers on the two coasts have been navel gazing for an explanation as to how an individual who, in their minds, is the equivalent of a Jersey Shore Bro with money, could become the most powerful man in the world. They have offered a number of reasons, the most popular being that it was a “whitelash” of sexist, homophobic, racist Redneck Gomer Pyles from Hicksville, USA, who hate Obama.

Recently, the newest, popular excuse they have embraced is the influence of fake news. The idea is that thousands of fake news stories about Hillary having Parkinson’s, or her space mumu outfits were made by ISIS terrorists, or Huma runs a sex cult out of her apartment, etc, became so prolific on Facebook and Twitter, that the Hicksville rubes, who may have internet in those hard to reach places, were too unsophisticated to know what is real news and fake news, and the fake news manipulated their small brains to vote for Trump.

So now, there is what is called a “Fake News Crisis.” The realization of this “crisis” has caused the metropolitan progressive left to fall headlong upon their fainting couches. The “real news” media began issuing nightly reports warning users on social media of the danger of this infectious mind disease and it’s ability to confuse and give the reader bad, non-progressive left thoughts. Even the president lamentably opined that the Democrat loss was due in part to Fox News being on in every bar and restaurant across America.

Democrat operative and government censor, Mark Zuckerberg, formed a task force for Facebook to figure out what would be the most effective way to keep grandma Eloise in Possum Grape, Arkansas, from posting endless fake news links from Screaming Eagle Patriot dot com and Todd Starnes. Brian Stelter, host for CNN’s Sunday’s Reliable Sources program, invited veteran CBS News anchor, Dan “forged documents” Rather, to lecture about the importance of reliable press and honest journalism. (You can’t make this stuff up!)

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Archived photo of Dan Rather reporting “real news”

The National People’s Radio posted an alarming study from Stanford University that finds American college students have a frightening inability to distinguish between real news and fake news. While the pearl clutchers at NPR believe reporting on this story will trouble the nation’s collective soul thus stirring them to action and taking steps to remedy such a tragedy, their report ultimately accomplishes two objectives.

On the one hand, the blame for Trump’s undeserved victory is shifted away from the inconvenient truth that a lot of the reason people voted for him was due in part to the leftist policies the government has been cramming down the throats of normal Americans, and places it upon an imaginary threat. And on the other, it provides an excuse to censor opposing political voices, especially the conservative ones, under the guise of protecting the unwashed from “fake news.”

If I may be blunt: there is no such thing as a “fake news” crisis. It is completely made up. In fact, one could say the “fake news” crisis is a perfect example of “fake news.” What is being labelled “fake news” these days is really just grocery story tabloid journalism that has moved from the checkout stand at the local Kroger to the international platform of social media. The key difference being that the tabloid news, instead of being separated on its own news rack, is mixed with what one might call real news, and it takes a bit more scrutinizing discernment on the part of the internet consumer to identify it.

Honestly, the primary motivation behind the “fake news” crisis is to squash conservative thought and opinion. If a blog article is published effectively critical of some leftist policy, that article can be rightly censored because, well, it’s considered “fake news.” Already, a feminist professor published a list of “fake news” sites, that was picked up by the LA Times. On that list was obvious parody sites like The Onion, Click Hole, and Landover Baptist and conspiracy style sites like Coast to Coast and Info Wars. But also listed was reputable conservative sources like The Daily Wire, RedState, Project Veritas, and The Blaze. Conspicuously absent was foaming leftist loon sites like BuzzFeed, Vox, and Salon.

Back to that NPR Stanford report.

The report spends a considerable amount of space lamenting about how easily duped the students were with believing “fake news.” The researchers were “shocked” “Flabbergasted” and a number of other stunning adjectives. How could our American education system have failed a generation of students?, they wonder. Well, I can help you out there.

You see, those students are a product of the postmodern, liberal educational gobbledygook in which students are indoctrinated with propaganda and group think and the philosophy of “truth is whatever is true for you.” They are taught to feel and emote, not to analyze, use logic, and critically think. If you are going to coddle young adults and treat them like children, they will behave in society as big, grown children. That means they are going to believe anything you tell them.

Couple that with the instantaneous and ubiquitous social media platforms that are ready made for them to “share” and “like” any article, picture, or “news” items that confirms their biases and their social narrative, well of course they are gonna have a hard time distinguishing between real stories and fake ones. That goes for everyone, whether it is aunt Liz sharing the latest Hillary melt down as reported on the Minute Man Warrior or your Bernie loving atheist cousin, Tom, sharing the latest Trump-Putin connection via the Blue State Free Thinkers. They share “fake news” because they believe the “fake news” because it is confirmation bias for their souls.

Until people genuinely care about truth, “fake news” will abound. Censoring it and attempting to silence your critics will only fail.

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Where Faith Journey Theology Takes Us

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A Rant

I’m gonna probably set off all sorts of “trigger warnings” with the pearl clutchers, but so be it.

During the last couple of weeks, it has been revealed that Hillsong Church, NYC, has a festering community of sodomites actively participating in their congregation.

While church officials state that no homosexuals serve or have served on their pastoral staff, the two men at the center of the Hillsong controversy claim to have an active “ministry” at the church including opening their apartment to host Connect groups, which I take to mean the Hillsong version of home Bible studies or small fellowship groups.

A day or so after I had tweeted a few stories about those revelations, I got into a bit of a back and forth with a fellow who says he attends Hillsong NYC. He had responded to something I had tweeted affirming that no homosexuals held any leadership positions at the church. I responded by asking him for clarification

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I then asked him specifically about homosexuals actively participating at the church, and his responses I thought were rather troubling, especially when he mentions Hillsong’s view of church membership and salvation in general:

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I shouldn’t really be surprised with his responses. They demonstrate how a diseased theology has infected the Christian church in America to the degree that would allow outrageous perversion like sodomy and same-sex marriage to be considered a “journey” and Christians willing to tolerate it for the sake of loving others.

As I was pondering that whole twitter exchange, I thought of at least three major problem areas that would lead believers to tolerating faith journeying sodomites actively involving themselves in a local church.

First is what really amounts to a default Arminianism that has saturated red-state Evangelical churches. Jesus died for ALL men without exception, what would be the idea of the grace of God already paying for their sins past, present, and future. That autosoteriology bubbles about in nearly every church across the land and permeates what really amounts to our pseudo-evangelistic efforts. Jesus has died for everyone and it is left up for the person to appropriate Christ’s death. Hence, churches should be welcoming to sinful individuals of all shapes and sizes and vices because they need to hear about Jesus.

Everyone is a sinner, so pushing away any visiting sinners from churches because Christians are all smugly self-righteous and don’t want filthy sinners around blocks their opportunity to encounter the Gospel.

It is an extremely man-centered, atheological philosophy.

Secondly is the mush-minded belief that mass popularity, bustling activity, and big crowds means there is a move of God afoot. Activity and big crowds never equates spiritual things. Those characteristics equate a championship football game, not an awesome church service. Churches should seek godly holiness among the members. Not large, writhing crowds of youth undulating to sappy pop rock music and blinding light shows.

A side effect to that mindset is an unquestioned, ready acceptance of any new person who begins attending the church and showing interest in “helping out.” A person who is hardly known is allowed to lead worship, host Bible studies, direct small discipleship groups. Church leadership could not be any more foolish.

Thirdly is what would be a mere Christianity apologetics that attempts to skin down the Christian faith to the bare bones of some heart warming mental assent regarding Jesus of Nazareth. It is a technique designed to be absolutely unoffensive to sinners so as to at least win them over to hearing your life story about what Jesus means to you. In order to be unoffensive, awkward topics like a person’s sinful habits and wrong-head life choices and God-treasonous, self-destructive worldview are often avoided at all costs lest the sinner shuts down and turns off.

Though it is true that not all apologetic-minded believers go as far as Hillsong with allowing open homosexuals free reign to participate in church activities, taking a mere Christianity approach to defending the faith and evangelism more times that naught leaves sinners in a worse state than when the began attending church. They are now under the impression their sin is not that big a deal with God and there is no hurry to make any attempt to change. If no one around them at church seems the least bit alarmed, why should they be?

Now Hillsong NYC insists they affirm the biblical teaching of marriage and do not in any way affirm same-sex marriage. At the same time, however, the gay couple at the center of all this controversy state rather emphatically, at this point anyways, that they plan to stay at HNYC and fight those backward, fingerwaggers who are attempting to wreck their faith journeying experience.

But I’m actually of the opinion that a more insidious plan may be at play here. I think the underground gay culture at HNYC have it in their minds to change the church for the better. Into a so-called “conservative” but gay-affirming church. That could very well happen because all three of those factors I noted above are present: low view of man’s sin, excitement equals God’s spirit, and the tolerant, mere Christianity evangelism. The homosexuals will exploit those factors to eventually pull that church away from God and into apostasy, and Hillsong’s misguided toleration seems content to let them.

The Hounds of Discernment

uglydogLyndon and I are preparing our chapter reviews of Michael Brown’s Authentic Fire for a possible ebook of our own. The material will be updated a bit and greatly expanded, particularly Lyndon’s stuff. Not sure when it will be available. We have both finished our principle reedit of our posts, and we just recently exchanged our chapters with each other. I am working through Lyndon’s material, offering my insights and suggestions.

One of Michael Brown’s complaints he levels in his book against cessationists is their meanness and vitriol they express when they go after what they perceive is heresy. That attitude is really witnessed among those cessationists who run online “discernment” ministries. I don’t necessarily disagree with Dr. Brown on that point. So-called discernment ministries can be downright nasty at times.

As I was reviewing one of Lyndon’s chapters yesterday, I came across this wonderful rant he offered in response to Dr. Brown’s complaint. I thought it was well stated and worth bringing out for others to consider.

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The “conspicuous lack of love” manifest in cessationist circles is something that I both recognize and condemn openly.  I have, and do, urge cessationists to never hound anyone on Twitter, Facebook, or any other social media (especially if you’ve never had previous contact with them at all).  Some cessationists are absolutely shameful jerks (and far too frequently are even socially handicapped) and that should not be the case.

What’s more, there’s the “discernment ministry” folks out there who somehow think that it’s the business of a person without any sort of biblical office to “call out” heretics on the internet.   Calling for the repentance of random strangers when they don’t know them, aren’t in any of their circles of contact, and aren’t holding any sort of biblical office (namely, an elder in a church) reveals a profound lack of discernment.

What’s worse is that, in my experience, the “discernment ministry” folks (often the most aggressive of the cessationists) who like to hop on social media or their own websites and “call out” random or infamous charismatics tend to respond to criticism far worse than the charismatics they go after.  When those “discernment ministry” folks are faced with something stupid or sinful that they do, they’re frequently violently resistant to correction and attack those who attempt to confront their foolishness/sin.

Yet, they somehow expect people who likely get wheelbarrows of hate mail (i.e. any popular personality in Christendom) to somehow read a few tweets from a random agitator, and then overthrow what’s likely decades of tradition/commitment to a theological position, and repent.  Even worse, more than a few of the “discernment ministry” folks appear to think their duty is done as long as they’ve pointed to any unbiblical idea that someone has ever been associated with and demanded repentance.  Once heretics have been informed of their error, the “discernment ministry” folks appear to feel like their job is done.  In case I’ve been unclear, too many “discernment ministry” folks do far more harm than good.  On this point, I agree with Michael Brown and wish I had the power to teach a cabal of specific individuals some basic social etiquette.

Discernment is one of the things that they claim to have, but more often than not it’s simply a neurotic fascination with people who are in theological error.  It may seem obvious, but 1 Pet. 5:2 is a commission strictly given to the elders in 1 Pet. 5:1.  Titus 1:9 is a directive given to the overseers who are mentioned in Titus 1:7.  1 Tim. 6:20 is a command specifically addressed to Timothy, as is the command in 2 Tim. 1:14 and 2:2 (and basically all the other go-to texts that “discernment ministry” folks use to justify their existence).  More often than not, the passages that do directly apply to them (i.e. Titus. 2:3-5) are being habitually and systematically disobeyed.

Sheep Attacks

sheepbites3A Rant Against Spiritual Abuse Survivor Blogs

Last week I read with head-wagging sigh-inducing astonishment about a pastor leading his congregation to sue an ex-member for defamation and slander against him and the church. Allegedly, the slander was in the form of a negative review the ex-member left on a website.

The ex-member in question, a homeschool mother by the name of Julie Anne, complained of being “spiritually abused” by a legalistic, over-bearing pastor who would threaten church discipline against those who disagreed with him and asked pointed questions. He is also said to have led the other members to publicly shun this gal and her family, and his constant pastoral abuse supposedly drove one of Julie Anne’s daughters away from attending any church at all.

Those are troubling allegations against this pastor and his church. The fact that he has unwisely leveled a half million dollar lawsuit against this woman only serves to exacerbates her charges.

However, I am even more troubled by the way this pastor has been pilloried in the press accounts as being practically a borderline, baby-eating Satanist. Throngs of grievance mongering antinomians have rallied around this woman as if she’s been the victim of a serial rapist who was released on a minor technicality.

Now, I’ll probably agree that the pastor is acting foolishly with this lawsuit, and perhaps he displays an overall bad attitude that negatively impacts his ministry, but is he really deserving of the name calling and accusations of deviancy made by faceless, anonymous blog commenters? And the rest of us are to let such comments slip by unnoticed?

Surveying the host of news articles, so-called “spiritual abuse” blogs, and even this gal’s own “survivor” blog, my “Hmmmm…” alarm began beeping.

I’m sure Julie is as sweet as a plate of cookies, but she comes across, at least to me, as petty and vindictive. The accounts I read is that she and her family exited this church a few years ago, and then at some point after, she was inclined to leave a negative Google review complaining how this church is legalistic and doesn’t live up to the name “Grace” that is in their official title.

Her comment wasn’t particularly slanderous. It’s the kind of whiny comments that are typically found on any Google review page. You have to take them with a grain of salt. I read similar stuff about every hotel I researched when the family made a cross country trip to Arkansas.

But there certainly has to be more going on than just a weepy lady crying about her feelings getting hurt at this church. American evangelicalism is dotted with disgruntled ex-members of such-and-such a church/denomination who would also complain about similar problems that drove them to leave their churches. I could probably be numbered among that group.

The difference is they don’t run to the internet and write hostile reviews or start a “survivor” blog aimed at the church in question. Nor does the church feel the need to take those disgruntled ex-members to court to make them cease their slander. There’s more going on than we probably are aware.

I’ve circled around the ministry block enough times to learn that the folks who start an active “survivor” blog outlining in scrutinizing detail their alleged spiritual abuse at the hands of a pastor or church are generally coming from the fever swamps of tin-foil hat theology. Not saying this is Julie; I’m just saying its been my experience – and I have a lot of it.

Just notice the people who were stirred up to respond positively to the news report of this lady’s pending lawsuit.

First are the atheists and agnostics. Obviously they will chime in because they hate God and Jesus, and I imagine some of them have genuinely been excommunicated from churches.

But the biggest supporters are coming from these hives of spiritual malcontents (nearly all of them women, btw) who maintain various spiritual abuse survivor blogs.

Do any of them attend a Bible teaching church? If so, where? Again, speaking from generalities I’ll admit, the folks who I have encountered who run an active “survivor” blog either don’t attend church anywhere, or the church they do attend is one of these fruiffy emerging style churches with the water-downed doctrine. They’re the ones who are “open” to other points of view on key doctrines like Christ’s divinity and the authority of Scripture. But I digress.

In fact, I am curious as to where Julie and her family attend church. If she does, what does her pastor think of the tactics she has taken starting a “survivor” blog? From what I gather on her blog, she doesn’t attend any church, and in point of fact just recently started “trying” church again. Okay, that’s great; but after a three year’s absence?

Moreover, with all the various “survivor” blogs I surveyed, pretty much everyone of them are overran by anonymous commenters who have a streak of anti-authoritarianism running through everything they write. In my opinion, these are some rather problematic allies. A person doesn’t want spiritually unhealthy individuals informing his or her decisions in matters like what Julie is dealing with.

Now, are there mean, bullying pastors out there? Sure. Do those bullying pastors foster an atmosphere of hostility by encouraging gangs of finger-wagging Delores Umbridge types to stick their legalistic nose in everyone’s business and then rat out any non-conformists? Certainly.

However, is taking to the internet with a blog called “shepherd watch” or “battered lambs” or “such-and-such survivors” the best course of action? No. Honestly, those blogs make a person appear loopy, demanding a double-portion of his pound of flesh at all costs. Their white whale must be destroyed or there will be no rest.

Let me add a closing word on 1 Corinthians 6:1-11 because I am sure someone will ask about it in the combox.

I don’t believe Paul’s words here are intended as an absolute prohibition against Christians involving themselves in lawsuits against other Christians. The primary point is to rebuke litigious oriented Christians whose first reaction is to take a person to court over personal offenses. Just as it is today in our society, Roman society encouraged people to sue one another to protect one’s rights. Matter’s were made worse because the courts favored the wealthy and judicial decisions tended toward injustice against the one who could not defend himself in court.

Additionally, Paul is reminding the church as a whole that Christ’s people should not involve the world in the matters of the church. God’s people have the spirit of discernment operating among them. The world does not. Hence, in severe disagreements between two Christian brothers, the Christian church has the true resources to judge rightly.

At the same time, however, Paul is clear in Romans 13 that the civil authorities exist to maintain the order of society and protect its citizens. Law courts are a big part of that category of “civil authorities,” and depending on circumstances, there may be a need for law courts to intervene in serious matters in order to protect one group of citizens from another. In rare occasions, such situations may involve Christians.

But, coming back to 1 Corinthians 6:7, 8, Paul exhorts all offended parties to take such offenses and lay them aside. As he says, “Why not let yourselves be cheated?” In other words, it is better to let the bad situation go rather than making a mockery of Christ in the eyes of the world and damaging the overall Christian testimony.

That last point applies just as equally with Julie Anne as it does with her ex-church, and to all the sob-sisters “survivor” blogs.

Evangelical Dog and Pony Shows

A Rant

A dear saint emailed me a video over the weekend. It is only six and a half minutes, but I think it is worth the time invested so we can learn some hard lessons about evangelicals and culture.

The story is heart stirring. In fact, I would wager that a few of you got all misty eyed and weepy as the report moved along. A little girl and her father lose mother and wife after a courageous battle with cancer, dad makes a video of little girl singing Amazing Grace and uploads it to You Tube, little girl becomes an overnight sensation, the rest is history, to God be the Glory. Right?

Well.

At the risk of being booed and hissed, receiving frowns and glares, having people wag their heads at me, and accusing me of quenching the Spirit, or otherwise beating up on a little kid. I have to confess I am troubled by what I see here.

“Troubled” with a capital “T” Troubled.

Just so I preempt any misconceptions,

I will say I appreciate how Rhema’s daddy has been an active part of her life after her mother’s death. I was particular encouraged to see how he allowed her to share in her mother’s darkest, agonizing days when she was dying of cancer. It was a move against our hand-wringing, nanny state society who shield our generation of children from real, gritty tragedy and personal trial.

I will also admit she has some talent going for her as an aspiring singer. That fact is certain.

And, it was nice to learn that Rhema and her father appear to be sincere Christians. When I checked around on the internet, they go to what looks like to me to be a water-downed Church of Christ fellowship. I say water-downed, because the congregation isn’t the typical CoC church I am familiar with from that neck of the woods. They have a quasi-charismatic feel to them (I mean, it’s called “the Branch.” Any church named after gardening is typically charismatic or lean heavily that way), they have adopted a multi-site model for their church, and they allow musical instruments to be used in worship at the campus where Rhema and her daddy attend.

Having said all of that,

Let me unpack the concerns.

First, why is her father marketing her like a pop-star? She has an “official website.” What seven year-old has an “official” website? I mean, is it “official” in that there are already non-official sites? I can understand the “Star Trek” franchise having an “official” website, but a seven year-old? A seven year-old who is just famous for singing Amazing Grace on You Tube ONLY has an “official website” if the smell of money is in the air and there’s a need to market a “product.”

And what’s with the glamor shots at the “official” website? Of a seven year-old girl!? I guess you can say the pictures are “tasteful” and “cute.” But honestly, glamor shots of a little girl displayed on a website are odd. I know this may come across harsh, but that’s Jonbenet Ramsey weird. Am I overreacting? I can only hope the daddy is getting some input from family and friends and pastors at their church as to how to go about promoting his daughter.

Yet something is telling me he isn’t getting any words of caution from similar minded folks like me among his circle friends. The reason I say that is because in the 20/20 report, Rhema says she believes God has called her to sing Gospel music and Gospel music can touch people’s hearts.

There you have it: Those three sanctified magic words, “GOD CALLED ME.” They automatically prohibit any criticism by anyone. Especially if that “anyone” thinks what you are doing is not smart at all.

“You know Jerry, I don’t think it is wise to just quit your job to pursue a career in CCM. I know you play the guitar okay for our fellowship class worship time, but hitting a major career as a CCM artist is rare, plus you have a family of three to support, don’t you think you ought to take this whole CCM thing one step at a time and… What did you say? GOD CALLED YOU? Oh. Well, if GOD CALLED YOU, who am I to argue against you taking this leap of faith? I’ll be praying for you.”

This assumes, of course, that God calls seven year-old girls every once in a while to touch people’s hearts with Gospel music on the internet. And if God called her, what self-respecting evangelical pastor will stand opposed to God’s call on a little girl’s life? Plus, God knows the plans He has going for her as that verse in Jeremiah says. If anything goes wrong, God’s to blame. He was the one who did the calling.

Regrettably, what I see here is another evangelical dog and pony show. A few of them happen every year. One or two have some sweetness to them like our little girl here, or they are outright train wrecks like Todd Bentley and pint-sized preachers. The internet makes them even more popular than they normally would be, yet I think it is something of a stretch to say a bunch of sappy Southern Baptists blubbering over your You Tube testimony are being “touched.”

We can only hope the dad exercises discretion with young Rhema. The last thing we need to have happen to her is go the way of Britney Spears shaved head or Miley Cyrus’ Vogue pictures.

Remember, both of those gals claimed to be Christians.

City of the Wymyn Slaves

I’ve been around Grace Community Churchlong enough to have seen an entire cabinet’s worth of crackpots come and go. Some physically protest in front of our church.  Others merely hurl their internet screeds from a distance. Typically, they all have some petty ax to grind with something John either has taught or teaches.The more amusing reactions are from those metropolitan elites who on a whim think touching evangelical Christians will enlighten them in some fashion. Their reaction is precious. Like a bewildered anthropologist stumbling out of the jungle upon a previous undiscovered village of naked pig spearers.

The latest among these culturally diverse elites comes from a womyn named Anne Eggebroton, who teaches on wymyn and religion at a local state college down the road from us a few miles. She is also the founding member of the Evangelical and Ecumenical Womyn’s Caucus. For some unstated reason, she paid a visit to our church back around the middle of May when John was still preaching, before he left for his summer break.

What she experienced will be forever seared into her soul…

The Persistence of Patriarchy

When Anne stepped foot on our campus, she crossed through a tear in the fabric of the space-time continuum that transported her into an alternate universe. Sort of like Agent Dunham in that Fringe show. What she saw with her eyes horrified her beyond all imagination. Religious man tyrants preached from the pulpits and slave wymyn were walking around chained to baby strollers. Even worse, all the wymyn had been lobotomized to value child rearing and homemaking and quilting above all else. Worse still: they submitted and served their husband masters without question.

Staggered by what she was witnessing, Anne began to question the various wymyn she was meeting if our church taught biblical submission. A hearty “Yes!” came from the brainwashed wymyn folk. Making this positive affirmation even more heart breaking for Anne was the fact it came from intelligent professionals; one in particular was a physical therapist womyn.

Yes, Anne. I imagine for the worldly wise person like yourself, Christians who take the Bible seriously as a divine revelation breathed out by the living God, the concept of wives submitting to their husbands, and let us not forget, husbands loving and serving their wives, is a bit perplexing. But for a person who holds up man’s ways above God’s ways, I expect the visceral reaction recorded in your article.

A couple of things you should know about us, however, Anne. First, we genuinely believe our Creator has commanded the male-female relationships of headship and submission because He happens to know what is the wisest and best for His creatures. He wants His people for whom He has redeemed to live lives filled with the Spirit, and that entails providing spirit led regulations regarding male and female relationships. We also think homosexuality is a sin against God, what’s your position on that? But then secondly, we recoil from any notion of molding God into our image when our individual preferences and expectations are not being met in the manner we want. That includes when what God commands of us may be hard. We pray for strength, seek out our fellow Christians for support, and trust God’s providence during those times. Leaving from hard relationships should be a last resort.

Anne could take no more and hurried across the acres of parking lot surrounding our “mega church” to find the portal that would take her back to her reality. She had to quickly warn her sisters to beware.

One has to wonder, though, if Mr. Eggebroton looks across that parking lot at all those submissive wives chained to baby strollers and lets out a long, weary sigh.

BTW: See Al Mohler’s much less snarky article on Anne’s visit.
See Dan’s also.

Lights, Camera, Abortion!

A Rant

A hometown “progressive” blogger I frequent links to a news story about a controversial play being put on by our local community college. The play is entitled Keely and Du and it is suppose to thoughtfully raise important conversations surrounding abortion with even fair mindedness.

How exactly do these folks from the alternate dimension of absurdity we call “the performing arts” do this? What’s the play all about? Well, imagine a story about a group of radical pro-lifers who kidnap an up-and-coming working gal who got pregnant when she was raped and they put her in a locked room and force her to carry her unwanted baby to birth.

Seriously…

Not even seeing the play, I’ll bet a Costco ice cream bar dipped in chocolate the pro-life kidnappers speak with a hick, southern drawl when they quote Bible verses and use lots of “thees” and “thous.”

And this moronic play is suppose to be a “controversial” drama on the subject of abortion? Really? Crazy pro-life kidnappers? Oh yes. Crazy pro-lifers are all the time kidnapping young, pregnant career women. What amazes me is how people sincerely think this farcical fairy tale represents genuine discussion on the subject of abortion.

What is it about leftist playwrights and film makers painting their ideological opponents in cartoonish motifs that don’t exist? That have never existed. Its radical fundamentalist baptists blowing up schools, or killing astronomers (I am thinking of Sagan’s Contact), or burning witches, or creating futuristic societies where abortions are outlawed and blue laws are everyday instead of just Sunday. It’s not only ridiculous, but it’s becoming an embarrassment.

Even more sad is when they present this hokum to the public, folks will stroke their chins, stare off into the distance, and attempt to ponder the depth of what they just witnessed. I’m surprised the story hasn’t been adapted to an “After School Special” complete with teaching guides to lead group discussion.

Will any in their pro-abortion group ever stand up and say this kind of stuff is stupid?

Imagine, however, a play set in the near future, in which federal bureaucrats have succumbed to the propaganda of radical environmentalists who say the world cannot sustain a bulging population and they enact a one child only policy to save the earth. Planned Parenthood supporters are recruited to be neighborhood snitches and kidnappers who take pregnant, stay-at-home wives and force them to have abortions so that they will comply with the policy. One brave woman resists, and with the help of her family, brings forth a second child at the risk of great harm. I be that drama would be controversial.

The frightening thing: That really is a scenario that has come to pass in some countries and could possible come to pass here.

By the way, LaShawn Barber notes a story about a Planned Parenthood eugenicist abortion director who saw an ultra sound of an abortion and has quit the business out of human decency. I guess when you see the horror of child murder up close and personal it stirs up the image of God in man.

Best in Show

A Rant

I must confess that I am emotionally conflicted over this Carrie Prejean situation that has developed over the last couple of weeks.

On the one hand, it is disturbing to see how she has been brutally treated just because her opinion was opposite that of a sexual pervert who happens to have a popular celebrity blog. Honestly, what she said against so-called gay marriage would be nothing if Perez Hilton hadn’t posted a video rant within an hour after the pageant bullying her as to what he thinks she should believe about sexual perverts like himself. In the words of my lovely wife, “He’s a disgusting pig of a human being. It’s like he enjoys wallowing in his own filth.” Judging from what I have seen on his website, that is true.

But seriously. Talk about hypocrisy. This girl is being attacked because she holds the same opinion about marriage as Lord Obama, but she is subjected to crude, sexual ridicule by barking mad liberals? Who really is the hypocrite here? If she had been asked about abortion and she came out as a pro-death advocate for the murder of babies in the womb she would had been lauded as a brave hero and trotted out on The View and Oprah.

It truly is sick times we are living in when a small minority of people, only identified by their deviant behavior, can act as thought police and control discourse in our country. All those goofy futuristic movies like The Handmaid’s Tale or Escape from LA in which a religious right, totalitarian government rules the world with an iron hand are utterly fraudulent. It is the left we should truly fear. They are crazy enough to enact their ideas on our population and eliminate anyone who stands against them.

However, on the other hand, I find it equally troubling how this 21 year old beauty pageant contestant has been turned into this mascot advocate for evangelical Christians families just because she made a 20 second comment supporting marriage being only between a man and a woman. She is being likened to Esther.

Huh? She’s like Esther? You mean like in the Bible? What on earth?

First of all, I don’t get the cultural fascination with beauty pageants. Other than watching half naked women glide across a stage, I have never understood the interest anyone has in them. Even back when I was a hot blooded teenager who was eager to catch any glimpse of half naked women gliding across stages, I thought the participants were narcissistic nit wits.

Oh, I’m sure there is some professor of western history at BIOLA who could go on Hugh Hewitt’s radio program to explain how “Miss USA” is an important institution stemming from our Christian heritage here in the United States that has elevated women more than any other culture in our world. Are beauty pageants really in desperate need of being redeemed?

Even more weird to me is how Christian conservatives have traditionally pursued beauty pageants. It seems like every time I hear a “Miss America” or a “Miss USA” go on her rounds to speak, she will mention God and her “Christian faith.” I guess I am at a loss why a Christian girl would want to pursue a life long career in beauty pageants and modeling when such are oriented towards the flesh and the spiritual darkness of one’s soul.

Which brings me to this Carrie gal.

Would evangelicals have wooed her as a Christian “traditional family” advocate if she had not stated her opinion at all about marriage? Let’s say she was asked about gay marriage and she stated what she stated in response to Hilton’s question. But instead, that bully judge didn’t make his video and she was never personally attacked by barking at the moon liberals in the media. In light of her positive comments in favor of biblical marriage, would Focus on the Family have invited her for two days in a row to talk about her faith and commitment to God? A bikini wearing, sexpot Christian girl for Jesus?

And I have to add that I am a bit staggered how evangelicals are straining credulity excusing her bare chested underwear pictures as if it’s not her fault. “She was just 17.” “They shouldn’t have been released.” “They are photo shopped by her secular enemies.” “It’s a despicable smear campaign to discredit her position against gays.”

People. She did take those picture even if they were not meant to be released. Granted, some of the more nasty ones floating around the web are probably photo shopped just like the bad ones of Sarah Palin. But are you telling me the original photographer just tricked her into taking off her clothes?

Perhaps one can say she wasn’t a Christian then and she regrets this part of her previous unbelieving life (which I have yet to hear her say), but lets shoot straight here (pun slightly intended): If a person were to go to Google and search the image data base for “Carrie Prejean,” there are plenty of sexpot pictures of her AFTER she was 17. By the way, that is just four years ago as far as she is concerned, because SHE IS 21! Moreover, those pictures were meant to be released for promotion purposes, which means she did intentionally take them. Again when she was anywhere from 18 to 20 years of age! That is not the height of mature adulthood. To put how young she is in perspective, she was born one year after I graduated high school.

There is a reason why she is being mocked by the world: Christians, particularly women who advocate Christian family values, are suppose to display modest decorum with their dress, not sexual titillation. Why can Perez Hilton and his twisted sycophants get that, but red state evangelicals excuse it away?

In spite of the obvious disconnect that exists with this whole bizarre episode, why will I not be surprised if I see her Thomas Nelson published biography in Wal-Mart next month? I can already see the title: “Standing Strong: How a Modern Esther Risked All for God and Her Family.”

Geesh.

Glamour Magazine Theology

A Rant

For a bit of background, it may be helpful for uninformed readers to check out these articles (including comments) by John MacArthur posted, here, here, here, and here. If anything, read the last one.

I will confess up front that I am a member of Grace Community Church and I work at Grace to You radio ministries. I would imagine that admission discredits any remarks I may make against Mark Driscoll in the minds of his supporters as the whining criticisms of another sycophantic MacArthurite. I guess that is to be expected; but my reaction is one of a Christian man who loves holiness and has a deep passion for personal holiness in the lives of God’s people, and God’s pastors are to set the example of holiness for others to emulate.

So last week, when I read with stunned dismay the comments left at the Shepherd’s Fellowship blog in reaction to John MacArthur’s articles on the Song of Solomon and his expressed alarm at the recent practice of preachers, most notably Mark Driscoll, to teach sexually explicit messages taken from the book, my passion for holiness was stirred and I had to speak my mind. I apologize in advance if my thoughts ramble. I have been mulling them over in my mind for a number of days, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I will sound coherent. And they are certainly my own and I bear the responsibility for them.

The current trend in American “Christendom” is preachers basically scandalizing their congregations by talking openly about sexual matters from the pulpit. These lurid sermons are suppose to engage the culture by telling worldly people Christians aren’t hung up about sex and God is cool about sex, too. The main culprit is Mark Driscoll, who presented a recent sermon series from the Song of Solomon as ancient sex-tips to spice up the bed room like those articles I see advertised on the cover of Glamour and Redbook magazines. But other pastors also believe they too need to be graphic in their discussions of sex, including the descriptions of anatomy and performed acts.

John is rightly concerned, because in addition to mangling the divine picture God paints in the Song of Solomon of pure, marital love between a husband and a wife by reading into it the most prurient images imaginable, there are Christians who genuinely defend such sex talk from the pulpit and dismiss these type of sermons out of hand as if nothing troubling has taken place. The real trouble maker, according to these people, are folks like John who is an old fuddy-dud man who is living in a past generation that no longer has a relevant thing to offer our world.

Laying aside the exegesis of the Song of Solomon, my rant is aimed at these defenders. Predictably, the vast majority of John’s critics and Driscoll’s enablers are college students or college graduates. They are young men who identify with being the restless and reformed “new” Calvinists. They think because Mark Driscoll also identifies with “new” Calvinism, claims to be orthodox, and has a popular ministry in Seattle, he is to be heard.

A few bloggers even annoyingly attempt to offer thought analysis of the whole Driscoll affair by framing the controversy he generates and the critics, like John who takes the time to respond, as disagreeing over secondary matters as to what methods one should use to engage the culture. Even more galling is how the bloggers will offer their pastoral advice as if they are speaking from a wisdom that transcends everyone who has provided an opinion on the matter, but in reality, their attitude shouts a hubris of symphonic levels. They challenge John MacArthur, a man who has been in ministry longer than any of them have been alive and treat him as if he were a Fundamentalist finger wagger decrying contemporary Christian rock music.

Speaking from personal experience, twenty years ago I was once a young Calvinist, but I sought to keep myself away from being influenced by a sex drenched culture (even in the Bible-belt state of Arkansas) and I would had been appalled to hear this kind of sexual stuff that is passed off as biblical preaching. In fact, I can remember vividly a presentation on pornography I heard at my Church that was similar in content as the messages Driscoll gave on the Song of Solomon. There was a local moral crusader who attended our Church. He believed it was his calling in life to make a nuisance of himself by going to every liquor store, quick mart, and mom-and-pop video rental place and make sure they weren’t selling dirty magazines or X-rated videos.

Some how he managed to talk our pastor into letting him give a presentation on why pornography was detrimental to our society. For 25 minutes or so on this one Wednesday evening, I fidgeted uncomfortably as he graphically described sexual deviancy from the pulpit of my church. Being in mixed company with young children present as he describe porn was bad enough, but what made me sick was him dishonoring God’s people by subjecting them to sinful images just because he thought “we need to know what’s going on.”

With that introduction I have some questions and comments I would like to share with the friends of Driscoll who think this guy is a qualified preacher who is doing much to further the kingdom of God:

– Why is it even necessary for him to graphically address the topic of sex from the pulpit? Take for instance the message he gave at a Scottish church which is the catalyst for a lot of the terse comments left at the Shepherd’s Fellowship blog. Why was it necessary for him to name specific anatomical parts during his talk? Even if he used medical terminology, how exactly is describing reproductive organs a good thing for edification on a Sunday morning?

– Do any of Driscoll’s defenders even care if young children were present with their parents to hear his sexually charged talks? I would imagine not, seeing a good portion of them are probably not married. I happen to be a parent of young boys. My wife and I do all we can to protect them from our sexually perverse culture, but now, parents have to protect their children from a Church service, too? Will church services be subject to a rating system so I can know whether or not I should attend the particular service? I am amazed that parents who would otherwise be outraged if a radical teacher exposed their 10 year olds to sexual material in a public school class room want to give Driscoll a pass on his sex talks because he is supposedly a gifted communicator and has a big ministry in Seattle.

– I am personally troubled prominent men like John Piper and D.A. Carson are not as disturbed as I am with Driscoll’s antics. The first time I heard Piper preach he gave a blistering exhortation for pastors to conduct themselves with holiness in the pulpit. Has he forgotten this sermon? I take the idea of “holiness in the pulpit” as abstaining from the use of sexually suggestive material during a sermon that utilize illustrations of human reproductive functionality.

– I am equally tired of Driscoll defenders claiming his conduct in the pulpit is off limits from public criticism because he has allegedly repented from his crude speech and his supposedly being discipled by men like John Piper. First, I have yet to see any signs of genuine repentance on his part. I am sorry, but the so-called “Spring Cleaning” post where a few links are removed from the internet does not equate biblical repentance. I thought everyone here were Calvinistic in their soteriology. They ought to know what true repentance entails. A complete putting off of sexually charged speech and the putting on of righteous speech demonstrates true repentance. Driscoll has yet to show me he has repented.

Additionally, I don’t care who is mentoring him. He is a public figure whose influence sways thousands and he speaks his sex talk in a public forum. That makes him open for any and all criticism. If Todd Bentley, the grandma smashing evangelist in Florida, were being discipled by a fellow Pentecostal like Gordon Fee or Michael Brown, I don’t believe any of Driscoll’s defenders would insist Bentley was above public scrutiny and would demand we talk with him privately first before we pointed out his ministry was clownish.

– Then lastly, and I say this with sober-faced fear and trembling: I am fearful Driscoll is in danger of rushing headlong to a scandal. I do not wish at all a calamity like that to befall him. I pray it will never happen, because it would be more than just grievous, but could possibly have catastrophic consequences. But let us be frank: many of the major scandals in the past 20 years or so involving pastors falling from ministry revealed later an unhealthy preoccupation with denouncing sexual sin or secret sins in their sermons. I truly hope I am overreacting, but I don’t believe the Proverbs speak in vain on the urgency of guarding our hearts.

I am reminded of what the Scriptures say of Rehoboam in 2 Kings 12:8, But he rejected the advice which the elders had given him, and consulted the young men who had grown up with him, who stood before him. The new king rejected the wise words of his elders and heeded the foolish naivety of his young and restless friends. As a result, the nation was divided and set in motion patterns of rebellion which only plunged the people of Israel into judgment. I do hope these young men who are enamoured with Mark Driscoll’s notoriety will come to hear the warnings of their elders.

How Global Warming Junk Science is Messing with My Life

A Rant

My hide is officially chafed.

I am asthmatic, so I have a prescription for an inhaler. This past week I needed to have it refilled. I called it in to the automated telephone service and the next day I stop by the pharmacy to pick it up.

Now, my insurance co-pay for an asthma inhaler is 10 dollars. I took a twenty dollar bill with me to pay for it expecting 10 dollars in change. I stand in line, I am called to the counter, I give my name to the clerk. He goes and retrieves my inhaler from the back shelf. He then affixes the little sticker for me to sign in the signature book and I sign my name. He then scans the price tag and says,

“That will be 25 dollars.”

I was momentarily confused just for a second. I wondered if I had called in the wrong prescription or if he had picked up the wrong “BUTLER” from the shelf. I asked,

“Shouldn’t that be 10 dollars? It’s just an asthma inhaler.”

He then replies,

“We can no longer sell the previous medication because the gas used to dispense the medication does not meet the environmental greenhouse gas emission standards.”

What is truly amazing is how he said it with such a straight, matter-of-fact face as if such an ridiculous assertion was true.

As what he told me began to sink in, I became agitated and that swiftly turned to seething indignation. Now, I rarely, if ever, get upset in public to where I “make a scene” if you know what I mean. Especially becoming pugnacious. I think the last time was in 7th grade where I had taken all the sass mouth bullying I could from Tom Brown and punched him repeatedly in the face.

I replied to the clerk in my controlled gentle voice and a smile on my face, “Excuse me? Are you kidding?”

“Nope,” said the clerk, “The laws went into play just a while ago.”

This is where my gentle voice became increasingly tense and punctuated with loud emphasis and the pointing and waving of my finger, so that by-standers thought they were on the verge of witnessing a public meltdown that would involve alerting law enforcement. I say,

“You mean to tell me that a gas that I INHALE INTO MY LUNGS and DOESN’T EVEN GET RELEASED INTO THE ATMOSPHERE is now against the law ALL BECAUSE OF THIS ABSURD GLOBAL WARMING JUNK SCIENCE?!!!”

The clerk, clearly now in agreement with my concern for the breakdown of our society at the hands of lunatic pseudo-scientific cranks, says,

“I know man, it’s crazy isn’t it? It’s stupid.” (My wife later told me he was probably told to say that by his manager to prevent any fights from breaking out).

I turned to face the other customers in line, maybe 5 or so, and loudly proclaimed, “This is why I hate leftist values and it will only get worse.”

I would imagine that cryptic comment was lost on them anyways, but do they not understand how a basic health care item just increased in cost 150 percent? That is a significant increase just to stroke the consciences of the nanny state enviro-wackos who sincerely believe people are contributing to global warming by breathing in to their bodies a gas allegedly bad for the planet. Do we not see the absurdity of this farcical policy? Poorer people will now have higher costs to their medical care because of some fraudulent environmental impact beliefs.

Even more stunning will be the people who will genuinely argue something along the lines as, “Well, if everyone had health coverage then they would not have to worry about the personal costs.”

NO, NO, NO, A THOUSAND TIMES, NO!

This is the clearest example of why we need a separation of leftism and state.