Tuesday, August 29, 2006


I have no idea who wrote this or if it is a true story… but it really had me thinking. I know some may think that it is misrepresenting in some sort of way, yet I can not tell you how many parents and family members of children or sibling with mental disabilities express this sort of idea.

To me this is inspirational… as I look at my own monotonous day often with out joy, but with that feeling of missing “something” and that there has to be more to all of this.


Don't start reading this one until you've got more than 3 or 4 minutes to just "scan" over it.
It deserves a bit of time for some reflection.I envy Kevin. My brother Kevin thinks God lives under his bed. At least that's what I heard him say one night.

He was praying out loud in his dark bedroom, and I stopped to listen, "Are you there, God?" he said. "Where are you? Oh, I see. Under the bed..."I giggled softly and tiptoed off to my own room. Kevin's unique perspectives are often a source of amusement. But that night something else lingered long after the humor. I realized for the first time the very different world Kevin lives in.

Kevin was born 30 years ago, mentally disabled as a result of difficulties during labor. Apart from his size (he's 6-foot-2), there are few ways in which he is an adult. He reasons and communicates with the capabilities of a 7-year-old, and he always will. He will probably always believe that God lives under his bed, that Santa Claus is the one who fills the space under our tree every Christmas and that airplanes stay up in the sky because angels carry them.

I remember wondering if Kevin realizes he is different.

Is he ever dissatisfied with his monotonous life?

Up before dawn each day, off to work at a workshop for the disabled, home to walk our cocker spaniel, return to eat his favorite macaroni-and-cheese for dinner, and later to bed.

The only variation in the entire scheme is laundry, when he hovers excitedly over the washing machine like a mother with her newborn child.He does not seem dissatisfied.

He lopes out to the bus every morning at 7:05, eager for a day of simple work. He wrings his hands excitedly while the water boils on the stove before dinner, and he stays up late twice a week to gather our dirty laundry for his next day's laundry chores.

And Saturdays-oh, the bliss of Saturdays! That's the day my Dad takes Kevin to the airport to have a soft drink, watch the planes land, and speculate loudly on the destination of each passenger inside. "That one's goin' to Chi-car-go!" Kevin shouts as he claps his hands. His anticipation is so great he can hardly sleep on Friday nights.And so goes his world of daily rituals and weekend field trips. He doesn't know what it means to be discontent. His life is simple. He will never know the entanglements of wealth of power, and he does not care what brand of clothing he wears or what kind of food he eats. His needs have always been met, and he never worries that one day they may not be.His hands are diligent. Kevin is never so happy as when he is working. When he unloads the dishwasher or vacuums the carpet, his heart is completely in it.

He does not shrink from a job when it is begun, and he does not leave a job until it is finished. But when his tasks are done, Kevin knows how to relax.

He is not obsessed with his work or the work of others. His heart is pure.He still believes everyone tells the truth, promises must be kept, and when you are wrong, you apologize instead of argue.Free from pride and unconcerned with appearances, Kevin is not afraid to cry when he is hurt, angry or sorry.

He is always transparent, always sincere.

And he trusts God.

Not confined by intellectual reasoning, when he comes to Christ, he comes as a child. Kevin seems to know God - to really be friends with Him in a way that is difficult for an "educated" person to grasp. God seems like his closest companion.

In my moments of doubt and frustrations with my Christianity I envy the security Kevin has in his simple faith.

It is then that I am most willing to admit that he has some divine knowledge that rises above my mortal questions.

It is then I realize that perhaps he is not the one with the handicap . . I am.

My obligations, my fear, my pride, my circumstances - they all become disabilities when I do not trust them to God's care.

Who knows if Kevin comprehends things I can never learn? After all, he has spent his whole life in that kind of innocence, praying after dark and soaking up the goodness and love of God.And one day, when the mysteries of heaven are opened, and we are all amazed at how close God really is to our hearts, I'll realize that God heard the simple prayers of a boy who believed that God lived under his bed.

Kevin won't be surprised at all!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Jesus replied, "And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition" pt 3

Jesus replied, "And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition" PT 3

Part 1
Part 2

Finally I am at part 3 in this series about obedience: point 3

3. Often people confuse where and how obedience works in the life of a believer.

Part 1 We have seen how obedience is tied tightly to “forgiveness”, yet now we do not have a “sin” issue with God, but a death issue. For, we already had a system in place that took care of “sin” with the animal sacrifice. Jesus then came and finalized this “system” with His own blood… He was and is the literal Perfect Lamb of God. Jesus is the reality of the shadow that was the “animal sacrificial system”. Again, the issue is that we are “dead in our sin”. So, even forgiven, we are in need of “Life”.

And that Life is from Christ, for all life came from and through Jesus when all things were created.

Part 2 covered that often Christian and people in general confuse obedience with following the Ten Commandments, or doctrines, or traditions. We learned the purpose of the Law was to point out our transgression… and to add transgression. The issues are that some teach a form of godliness that is based on our performance, and denies the works of Jesus or/and many teach false or unsound doctrine as they are passing down traditions and what someone else taught. This can be generational and denominational… in that many have no idea that their view may not be correct… and in all sincerity they attack out of their own ignorance as they have never tackled the teachings or issues themselves. That often this comes from knowing something, yet not understanding something.

This leads us basically to where we are now.

How does obedience work in a believer’s life?

If obedience is not about performance and trying to please God… as is true with religions outside of the teachings in Christianity, how does obedience work in the life of a believer if it does at all? So many are taught that obedience is how we “please God” yet, the teachings of Jesus are very plain that we are to “be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect”, which is THE STANDARD of perfection we must have to keep favor with God by our performance. So, we must look at what and where obedience is in scripture.

The first place I would start is that Jesus learned obedience… this is important. For if we are to be perfect and the only One Who ever met that standard of perfection was Jesus, then we need to see that even Jesus Who was God in the flesh, “learned obedience” and was “made perfect” by the Father. Hebrews 5:

  1. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9.  and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10.  and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek. NIV

Notice that we often speak of Jesus as perfect, yet here is says, “once made perfect”. Jesus was perfect, yet not “proven” or one could say, “worthy of being called perfect” until after He learned obedience from what He suffered.
Philippians 2: 6.  Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7.  but made himself nothing, taking the very nature  of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross!

Jesus being God Himself in flesh made Himself nothing… and obeyed the Father… even to the point of placing Himself as a man, in obedience to death. Jesus was obedient.

Jesus lived his life in total dependency on the Father (John 5:19-21) … and that was his obedience. This obedience then opened the door to the Resurrected Life of God.

Rom 5: 16.  Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man's sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17.  For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. 18.  Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.19. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. 20.  The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21.  so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

This passage is rich with the meaning of obedience and how it is to be practiced. To me it hinges all on the phrase in verse 19. “…through the obedience of the one man”. That man is Jesus of course. Notice that it is not our own obedience that makes us righteous, which I have heard taught so many times, but through the obedience of Christ… by Jesus’ obedience we are made right with God. To say our own obedience adds favor for us in Gods eyes, is a slap in the face of the obedience that Jesus “learned”. It is HIS OBEDIENCE that pleased God… to the point of Hebrews saying in chapter 2: 9. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. 10.  In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering.

Jesus is the author of our salvation… and the finisher.(Phil 1:4-6) He is the Alpha and Omega. The Beginning and the End.

We are to walk in the obedience of Christ. We are to walk in the commands of Christ… 2 John 1:6-7) John even is kind enough to tell us exactly what this command is…

1 John 3: 23.  And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24.  Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

This is the summation Jesus gave in keeping the Ten Commandments.  (Matt 22:35-40 Rom 13:9-10)

We are to depend on Jesus for everything, just as He did with the Father when Jesus was here on earth. We are to live in total dependency on Jesus for all things… in that we must also depend on Him for our obedience. This obedience is imputed to us by Grace… bought by the Blood of Jesus. To then not love God… or to not love you neighbor, or as 1 John 2 states: 9. Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. 10.  Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him  to make him stumble. 11.  But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him.

As also later 1 John 3: 11.  This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.

That is why when someone disagrees with me I have no problem, yet if one attacks me on a personal level I ask them to check their hearts. For, if they are coming after me in hate, they are breaking the command of Christ to love their brother.

1 John 4: 11.  This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.

That is why we are not to judge, for it is not our own righteousness that is to judge, but Christ’s… in that He then is the judge and we only judge others by our lives.

“For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task?”(2 Cor 2: 15-16)

We are to live humbly not lifting ourselves up… not doing harm to others.  We also must be careful since we are to depend on Christ totally for all things, even His obedience, as we walk in the Spirit we do not place ourselves in opposition to the Law of Love. For if we are not careful we make ourselves the judge over it. In that we have made ourselves equal with God.

James 4: 10.  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.  
11.  Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.

In closing I want to add that one should not strive to be “obedient”, rather to strive to Love as Scripture teaches “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.   God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” Here is the whole context again.

1 John 4: 15.  If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. 16.  And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.   God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 17.  In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. 18.  There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
19.  We love because he first loved us. 20.  If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 21.  And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.

Your walk is not about “you”, but “Christ in you” as He lives in and through you. As one does that God works out our salvation by His good and perfect will. (Phil 2:12)


1 Cor 4: 3 -5

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Hey Dan! Let me clear some points and loose ends

Hey Dan! Let me clear up some points and loose ends

Dan and I have been going at logger heads for some time… he is really a pest… LOL! Just joking!!!!

Actually, I really enjoy Dan’s input on my posts. I have even pulled the comments out to a new post as I think his comments of great value. I consider Dan a friend and though he needs to post more on his blog I think he has some interesting thought there.

Here is the comment on the last post that I was reviewing “A Heretic’s Guide to Eternity”. Though in a way I think the main point of the last post was that I agree with Spencer Burke on much of the topics of he book, I wanted to expound on some of the things Dan has brought up.

A couple counterpoints iggy,

First of all, looking at scripture collectively we see that baptism is a means of salvation (although not necessarily the only way). This is attested to by Christ when he says "He who believes and is baptized will be saved." Some people get hung up on the ordering of believe and baptized, but my point is that in this verse and numerous others baptism and salvation are linked. The most specific verse attesting to the salvific nature of baptism would be 1Peter 3:20-21 which states:

"God's patience waited in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ." That states it pretty clearly.

Throw into the mix that the vast majority of the early church leaders performed infant baptism and that the first case of a child being intentionally withheld from baptism doesn't appear until the 4th century and i think you have a pretty good case for salvific infant baptism.

Secondly, it seems strange that you would throw out the idea of salvific baptism for lack of biblical evidence but then claim a sort of "age of accountability" based upon cognitive ability which has even less in the way of direct Biblical support. I also am a bit perplexed that someone who has spent so much time rallying against the dangers of propositional truth would then base so much of our salvation upon a narrow definition of reasoning (not to mention that asserting that the developmentally disabled are unable to be depraved is insulting and paints the disabled as the cherubim imbeciles, an image that disability rights groups have been trying to eliminate for years. Trust me, developmentally disabled people can be just as depraved as you or I). Let me put it this way. An infant does not cognitively understand love, but would you say that your child does not know that you love them? A gentleman by the name of Hoffman puts it this way, "The child is capable of a “primal trust,” and, where this is not developed but held back, it sustains severe personality damage. This “primal trust” is not first developed through heard or understood articulated words, but in a personal mode which is other than verbal and which can indeed dispense with the verbal dimension. A child “knows”

Anyways, that's all for now.


P.S. I wrote an paper on infant baptism that lays out my beliefs pretty well and give a bunch more evidence for it. If you'd like I could send you a copy.

Hey Dan!

I want to clear up something about “propositional truth”. I aint against it… in fact I went back and put a disclaimer to that post as I think the title is misleading in regard to what I wrote. It set the wrong tone.

I do not think we are to base our understanding on “man’s reasoning” and I do not think man can reason his way to God at least without the “wooing” of the Holy Spirit.

I see that propositional truth must be in “right” relation to Jesus or it is really of no use.

  1. Jesus is THE TRUTH. (One can say He is TRUTH ABSOLUTE)

  2. Jesus is the source of All Truth. (One can say Jesus is the source of All Absolute Truth).

  3. All Truth comes from the source or it is not pure Truth.

  4. We receive this Truth from Jesus as revelation which is then confirmed by Jesus revealing Who He is in the Scripture.

  5. We understand scripture and its truths which are often “propositional” by our relationship with Jesus.

  6. We test this by our experience and by our fellowship with one another to test and prove these Truths with each other.

  7. We live our lives in and through these truths with each other.

  8. These Truths must be universally true or they are not true…

I admit whole hardily that this is not a formula, but rather what I have come to understand from scripture and my relationship with Jesus over the years.

Secondly, I am not perfect, so I may not be right on some things. Somewhere I realized in my walk that God is perfect and that is His job, not mine. Mine is to be the imperfect creation that is loved by Him.

In that I am always looking at my faith and beliefs to see if they square with what I hear God teaching me. Though you and I may not agree with some things, I truly respect your beliefs and know you have not just accepted things, but do challenge teachings. I do not take it personally when you do disagree as I know you realize we both are growing. (I must at least make you think cuz you keep coming back to read my silly posts LOL!).

The funny thing is as I was writing the paragraph on infant baptism, I thought about you for a moment as I know that the Lutherans are not too far off on the Catholic view of infant baptism.

I view the scripture as talking about two specific “baptisms”

  1. John’s Baptism (a precursor and one of remission of sins)

  2. Being immersed in the Blood of Jesus or being baptized into Christ.

#1 was not a permanent solution as it was temporary as the sacrificial system… John even said it was for the “remission of sins” as Jesus was the “Lamb Who would take away the sins of the world”. That was and is the permanent e solution.

I see that other than that, there is no “baptism” that is for salvation as even Paul said that if anyone preaches a Gospel different from himself, let him be accursed. (Gal 1) So, then if the “Gospel of your salvation” (Eph1:13) was preached by Paul… and anyone who preached contrary was to be eternally cursed, why does Paul sound so lackadaisical over baptism?

1 Cor 1: 11. My brothers, some from Chloe's household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12. What I mean is this: One of you says, "I follow Paul"; another, "I follow Apollos"; another, "I follow Cephas "; still another, "I follow Christ."
13. Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul? 14. I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15. so no one can say that you were baptized into my name. 16. (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don't remember if I baptized anyone else.) 17. For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel--not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. (NIV)

To me then if Paul who was so strong on defending the “Gospel” that saves us was not so strong on Baptism, I think that we then can see that baptism was not part of the “salvation equation”.

In fact I have for sometime noticed that as the Revelation of Jesus increased in scripture, the teaching of baptism progressively diminishes. There is either a contradiction or there is a progression as one scripture tell us we have only “One Baptism” (Ephesians 4:5) then in Hebrews we have the verse that says, “Hebrews 6:1. Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, 2. instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.

So we must conclude that there is One Baptism… and one is symbolic of THAT BAPTISM. (1 Peter 3:21) There is one baptism and that is in Christ… as we are baptized into His Life… His resurrected Life. 1 Peter 3: 18. For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, 19. through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison 20. who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21. and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also--not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22. who has gone into heaven and is at God's right hand--with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him. (NIV with my emphasis). I see it as not the water, but the Resurrection of Jesus that saves us. And that we now are baptized in Christ… or placed into Jesus… 1 Cor 12: 13. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free--and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14. Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. (NIV) personally I remember pastor Farina doing the dunking… not the Holy Spirit… as far as “water”. But, I do know that the Holy Spirit has baptized me in Jesus. Ephesians 1 explains how we are immersed in Christ… “22. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23. which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. (NIV)

Notice we are placed under Christ… just as one is placed under the water at baptism. We are baptized in Christ. This is backed up more if one does a study of being the body of Christ. I do not think Paul was talking of water baptism in Rom 6: 1. What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2. By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3. Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4. We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

Rather I see he is saying that since we are now dead to sin, we are now being dead, have Jesus’ death in place of our own. With that as we are immersed in His death, we also will be raised from the dead, and will live a new life. Our sin was taken away, or put to death, so we too can partake in the resurrection of Christ.

Even through I do not see baptism as an essential, I do not see harm in child dedications, though I see this as more of a community of believer that are vowing together to help raise the child in a Godly way. Most the time it is a rather meaningless ritual.

I know the arguments of “the whole household was baptized”… and such, yet again, this is the “symbol” of what now saves us… the water does not do much but get us wet and shows what Christ has done on the inside of a believer.

My main point is that most reformed theologians and Calvinist do not believe child baptism, so deny Calvinism in its purity as Calvin would have taught it. Again, I thought of Luther, then you, and wondered how you would respond.

I am interested in your paper… I would really like to read what you have considered and discovered… I may be missing something.

The main point of the “developmentally disabled” is not that some can not grasp right and wrong, but many cannot understand even some basic teachings of the faith. In that if a child is mute and cannot “confess with their mouth”… or if one is deaf. How can they “hear the message”. I am thinking of my cousins which one is in her 40’s and is mentally still about 5 years old… another has down syndrome and just did a dance routine to “Little Willy, Willy” by Sweet in which she did a rather shocking hip swivel to the embarrassment of her family. I do not think she understood what she was doing… as I do not think she realized that the seductive hip swivel was not appropriate for the family reunion… though it was a bit fun to what my very religious cousins get shocked a bit by it. Both are more than capable of doing bad things, yet there is an innocence still there that is not present in adults. My main thought was not that these do not ever do anything that can be considered sinful, but that God’s grace covers them. In a sense it is like when Paul states, “And where there is no law there is no transgression.” (Rom 4:15) These who cannot understand transgressions, are not held to account of transgressions. They are innocent of transgressions, that is until they come to a point that they do realize they are transgressing against someone else, or God. After that if they continue, God turns them over to a depraved mind… but until then they do not have a depraved mind .


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Review: Heretics Guide to Eternity (pt 2)

Heretics Guide to Eternity (pt 2)

Really I have not come across too much that is that controversial… though I had to put down the book as I read about Spencer’s daughter Grace. I had dealt with the loss of a child a few years back (We had a miscarrage then this year I was present when we found Kyler along with his father)… That is partly why I am not a Calvinist. As to me, in its purity, with Calvinism, one would not have any real comfort over a loss of a child unless one subscribes to infant baptism as part of the "formula" for salvation... which I see not one scripture that teaches that.

Really I subscribe to the “innocent until one sins” view. In that way one has to be conscience of the action… as opposed to an infant or developmentally disabled person. The scripture does not say man is “totally depraved” but it does say, “all have sinned” and that it is by “grace we are saved”. In fact I see that “total depravity" cuts across many doctrines… like the Incarnation… God became a man… from a woman… who if “totally depraved” from birth would have corrupted Jesus as a man… (1 Cor 15: 21) I also do nto see that the scripture teaches “total depravity”. On the contrary it teaches that God “turns them over to a depraved mind.” So a child would not have a depraved mind, nor hopefully some one who is developmentally disabled as they can not grasp the concept of even being depraved.
(I know the argument against this, but it still does not hold water as if Jesus was not, for the Bible speaks more times of Jesus being “a man”, then it does about Jesus being God… it never says Jesus was the “God-man” that so many teach.)

I think if one reads and carefully tries to grasp the different types of “heretics” one will find that not all are bad, in fact if some of the “heretics” of our history did not stand against what was taught, we would not have many of the Reformers of old, let alone, the theologies many hold to today.

Thinking of a Christianity beyond religion is not a new thing… in fact many have been saying for years, “it is not a religion, but a relationship”, which is true, yet still falls short of the “moving beyond”. I see it as the difference of clothing ourselves with our denomination, or institution, or as Spencer calls it, “consensual illusion”. This is where we delude ourselves with what we “think” our faith/religion/God/relationship… (Oh, you can add any number of things to this) is THE REALITY.

In the end it is still just that, an illusion. Not based on reality. Simply a lie.

I sometimes wonder if we have replaced Jesus with a pseudo-religion that claims Him as God, yet really has nothing to do with Him.

I like the example of Copernicus as he spoke against the church of that day teaching that the earth was static… I see a direct correlation with what is happening today. There is a great shift in thought, the paradigm many speak of. Many do not see it has already happened. I am one who does not see God as static… never changing. I see His character never changes and that God is not like men who say something then go back on their word… I do see that God in a sense changes… (Though, if even in our perspective, that in a way is God changing as we gain revelation as He reveals Who He is. I see that God in a sense is ever expanding… as the Kingdom He is spreading expands.) He changed as he created matter; He changed as He engaged man. He changed as he became a man and “learned obedience” (Jesus was God… in flesh… though self limited, Jesus still was God and “learned obedience” as Hebrews 5:8 tells us… that is God changing rather radically to me). So, if God is static, the Father would not have sent the Son, Who was God in flesh and would not have been able to “learn obedience”.

So, if God is not static His Kingdom is not static; then a static religion would not be able to keep this God under control. To me that is what religion is... and attempt to control and contain God in a way that allows man to be in control and then our man made institutions will be as Spencer stated, “the center of the Christian Universe”.

If man, and our religion is no longer the center of the Universe… be it our own illusion, or created reality… then it is imperative to move beyond this non reality into the TRUE REALITY…

So far I am enjoying the book. Again, some things I have already considered before, yet if one is looking for a good primer I would so far highly recommend this one.


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Mark Driscoll: Manly Men and the Point being Missed

Mark Driscoll: Manly Men and the Point being missed.

Remember this quote?

"The problem in the church today is just a bunch of nice, soft, tender, chickafied church boys. 60% of Christians are chicks and the 40% that are dudes are still sort of…chicks. It’s just sad. We’re looking around going, How come we’re not innovative?Cause all the innovative dudes are home watching football or they’re out making money or climbing a mountain or shooting a gun or working on their truck. They look at the church like that’s a nice thing for women and children. So the question is if you want to be innovative: How do you get young men? All this nonsense on how to grow the church.

One issue: young men. That’s it. That’s the whole thing. They’re going to get married, make money, make babies, build companies, buy real estate. They’re going to make the culture of the future. If you get the young men you win the war, you get everything. You get the families, the women, the children, the money, the business, you get everything. If you don’t get the young men you get nothing."

Now, notice the phrases mark used…

  1. “chickafied church boys”

  2. “They look at the church

  3. “All this nonsense on how to grow the church.

The thing that is missing is Jesus… I see Him no where in the quote… If you want to get “young men” to church… you need to live life with them… and show them “Christ in you”.

The real issue to me and the thing that has been bothering me is Mark is out to grow a “manly church”. Good for him… go for it!! Yet, while he does this… I see that real men realize they need Jesus. That is the question Mark should be asking… not:
“ So the question is if you want to be innovative: How do you get young men? All this nonsense on how to grow the church.”

So Mark, be real… and admit you are just out to “market your church”… and may need to refocus on Living Christ’s Life through you. I see that so many are so focused on “church growth” that they lose sight that many might be interested in Jesus, yet not on “church” as they see it and we let them slide straight to hell.

How do we live our lives in a way that will bring “manly men” to Christ? To me Mark is still failing to see and is falling into the trap of being “chickified” if his focus is on church growth. The focus is reaching these young men… with Jesus, then seeing the innovation Mark is asking for. He is putting the cart before the horse.

So what do we do… hire John Jacobs and his Power Team crew to break a few bricks with their heads, (which is pretty cool btw). Do we organize Christian Hunting ministries? How about we have a Christian Monster truck rally? I mean how much more manly is that!?!?

Really maybe we should live our lives and as we do share our faith, values and lives with our “manly men” friends… in that they can see something genuine that will not be taken as “chickified” or worse as just something of being another number in you church growth chart…

Manly men truly care for their families… they work hard… they address real issues… Really, I see that some of the things Mark described are “escapes” from the empty life they really lead. Manly men desire to be a hero… to live their lives in a way that would allow them to be a hero… and the Greatest Hero in History is Jesus…

So manly men, lets go out and introduce more manly men to Jesus… who gave His Life for us, to give His Live to us, to Live His Life through us… to be heroes with our family and communities… then let’s worry about how big our churches are.


Monday, August 21, 2006

Universalism: Why I do not agree

Universalism: Why I do not agree

Universalism has become a major topic… as with hell. The idea of Universalism is I believe based on great compassion. Traditionally and historically that was the origin of universalism in the Christian church.

Though that is commendable… that some taught that we “Saints” had (or will have) such great compassion as to move the heart of God that He decides to purify and bring the unrepentant back to salvation, I see that there is some grave error.

For some brief historical background I recommend that one might look at some of these links ( I may not agree with everything from these websites though I thought some of these pages of interest):



Origen of Alexandria (c.185 - c.254)

Early Church Fathers - Additional Texts

I have personally come across Universalism in the Apocalypse of Peter in which Jesus is showing Peter hell… and at one point seems to insinuate that those in hell will suffer for a time… and be saved after being purified by the fire.

Again, compassion is a great thing. Yet if it is based on error, then it can not lead us in TRUTH.

The issue is to me in 1 Cor 15: 22. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 24. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27. For he "has put everything under his feet." Now when it says that "everything" has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. 28. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all. (NIV)

Now, notice a couple of things here:
1. This is concerning the “end” after Jesus has destroyed “ALL dominion” … in that all kingdoms that are not part of God’s Kingdom… will be destroyed. Yet, even before this Paul is talking about… “so in Christ all will be made alive.”

2.This passage is concerned about those who are “in Christ” and will be raised at the resurrection. So, we must be careful not to take “all in all” to mean those who are not “in Christ”.

Colossians 1: 19. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20.
and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

I see here is one of the key issues. I believe that everything created has been reconciled back to Christ through all things were created. Yet, reconciliation… was by the cross and shed blood of Jesus. I have often expressed that forgiveness and salvation are not the same thing nor to be equated as such… so to say Forgiveness = Salvation is not true based on the teaching so scripture. As I have stated before this thought leads to two paths.

1. Universalism
2. Exclusivism

Neither of these are truly valid and correct in my view as they negate each other much as Armenianism and Calvinism does.

Forgiveness was inclusive and universal… for all! One can find the verses in numerous place… but the best known is John 3:16

Yet, salvation is based on one’s relationship with Jesus. Does one need to know the Name of Jesus to be saved… ahhh… that is another topic for later. In that I am not fully convince one need know “Jesus” as “The Name” as that sort of seems to lead to the error of Jehovah Witnesses.

The other error though is to think that because “all creation” has been redeemed, that included those outside of Christ.

Do I believe the earth, animals and such are redeemed? I do… very much, yet scripture teaches these things fell under the dominion of darkness because man fell… not because creation was evil in and of itself.

(A side note here, some seem to teach “flesh” is evil… and I see that is not true… some fleshly desires are corrupt. Yet, flesh is not evil in and of itself. In fact to believe so is to be more inline with the error of the Gnostics who taught Flesh as evil and Spirit as good. We tend to this in our modern teachings today… even some early church fathers confused this with the misunderstanding of “saved by penance and faith” (CCC 1470) instead of “by grace you have been saved, through faith”… In that we must subdue the flesh and then be justified… Which then nullifies the works of Christ).

Yet again, if one looks closer the verse is about those who are redeemed.

Col 1: 21. Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22. But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation-- 23. if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant. (NIV)

In this passage, it says we once were “alienated from God and were enemies in our minds”… what this is talking about is the regenerated mind… the transforming of our minds… (Rom 12:2)

Yet, of those who are not being transformed… and stay in their corrupt state of mind…

Rom 1: 28. Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30. slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31. they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32. Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. (NIV)

(A side note: I think that anyone who intentionally does the things listed and justify it in their minds and call themselves “Christian” better with most certainly check their hearts and seek God. For in the Letters of John it is clear to “hate your brother” is a sign the TRUTH is not in you. I also see that there are some that justify their actions and commit slander, gossip and go out of their way to harm others… this to me cuts across the teaching of Christ to negate the works of the Cross and deny the Life of the power of the Resurrection. We must as believers in Jesus, seek to be as He described Himself in Matt 11:28-29 “I am gentle and humble in heart”).

To me there is a big difference in those who are growing in the Grace and Knowledge of Christ and having the minds renewed by the Holy Spirit, and those who desire to not accept the gift of Life, let alone the forgiveness at the cross.

In that God is just… and merciful. Yet, when one does not desire mercy, nor grace, God will not force it on them. In many ways He gives them the desire of their heart… or rather “He gave them over to a depraved mind”.

Not a great note to leave on, yet I hope that the TRUTH will set you free to seek God in a richer and deeper way… desiring the heart and mind of God.


Sunday, August 20, 2006

An Episode WBCL's of Mid-Morning program - Topic of Homosexuality

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I have the privilege to be able to play this for you. A good friend is on this show. This will be broadcasted on iggyROCKS! soon. This was originally broadcasted on WBCL on the "Mid-Morning" show. www.wbcl.org

This is over an hour long... just to warn you.


I am on a Journey...

Jauhara said...
I haven't lived in Billings for nearly 20 years, since my twins were born at St. Vincent's hospital in 87. Sort of just stumbled on your blog, and not sure where you are going. I sort of walked out of church on 9/16/2001, when, instead of making some relevent sense about the preceding events of Tuesday, he simply gave us an investment speech on the Christian Themed Water Park in Hungary. I have no updates on that spiritual endeavour. I feel parched in a barren land.


We are all on a journey... some stumble from the start... some never get started... some grow and move on…  

I am on a journey to find Jesus beyond to bondage of the legalistic, commercialize, Americanized, imperialistic, religious, Pharisee (Pharisitic), Gospel, which is not THE GOSPEL.

I am on a journey to go beyond man’s vain religious imagination…

I am on a journey to destroy my own kingdom, to gain God’s.

I am on a journey to exchange my life for His eternal LIFE.

I am on a journey to redeem my faith, to hold to Jesus as THE TRUTH, to find my reality not in this fallen world, but rather in the Kingdom of God.

I am on a journey to free myself from Religion to gain True faith.

I am on a journey of peace… finding True Love form our Creator.

I am on a journey to not be content in this world, but to be content in Christ.

I am on a journey to know TRUTH as a Person… to fall at His feet… to Live the Life of Christ in and through me in my daily living.
I am on a journey to redeem the Church from being an institution to being a living organism.

I am on a journey to separate my faith from man’s vain philosophies, and imaginations.

I am on a journey to… find the Reality which is in Christ Jesus Himself and drink of the Living Waters…


More on Manly Men... (repost and timely best of...)

Check this out...
Are you a manly man?

check out relevant magazine also.



Saturday, August 19, 2006

Mark Driscoll and "Manly Men"...

Mark Driscoll comments rather bother me as they are un-biblical!!!

Mark said: ( here the source, or the quote) Steve McCoy

"The problem in the church today is just a bunch of nice, soft, tender, chickafied church boys. 60% of Christians are chicks and the 40% that are dudes are still sort of…chicks. It’s just sad. We’re looking around going, How come we’re not innovative?

Cause all the innovative dudes are home watching football or they’re out making money or climbing a mountain or shooting a gun or working on their truck. They look at the church like that’s a nice thing for women and children. So the question is if you want to be innovative: How do you get young men? All this nonsense on how to grow the church.

One issue: young men. That’s it. That’s the whole thing. They’re going to get married, make money, make babies, build companies, buy real estate. They’re going to make the culture of the future. If you get the young men you win the war, you get everything. You get the families, the women, the children, the money, the business, you get everything. If you don’t get the young men you get nothing."

Now here is the rest of the story…

Often God chooses boys… Think King David when he is anointed by Samuel.

Often God does not choose the “manly men” …

Genesis 25: 27. The boys grew up, and Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the open country, while Jacob was a quiet man, staying among the tents. 28. Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob. 29. Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. 30. He said to Jacob, "Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I'm famished!" (That is why he was also called Edom. ) 31. Jacob replied, "First sell me your birthright." 32. "Look, I am about to die," Esau said. "What good is the birthright to me?" 33. But Jacob said, "Swear to me first." So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob. 34. Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left. So Esau despised his birthright.

Notice the manly man would go and hunt and was favored by his earthly father… Yet God chose Jacob… the guy who hung out at the tents and COOKED!!!!!

Now, I am neither against hunting, nor “manly men” and to me this whole thing can be summed up as marketing. To me, though some would disagree, I do not see Mark as an Emergent, or really out to reach the Postmodernist… mostly I see he is caught between what he sees as the emerging church he claims, and being a Calvinist. I

recently left this comment on Bob Hyatt’s blog:

“I was a biker... rode a Harley...1990 evo with a shovelhead 4 speed transmission, rigid Santee frame... wide glide front end.... It had a flaming boars head on the front and the license plate that said, "evol hog"... I wore leather and would go bar hopping with the guys, passing cars in the middle of the highway with on coming traffic...Some of my friends died in head on accidents, some went on and joined the Hell's Angels...

I said all that because I was a putz, not a real man, who would face who I was and who I was becoming...

I read Wild at Heart and loved it... some of my friends (now) did not even get through it...

I found a real man can be as Driscoll stated, yet also must grow beyond the selfishness that he is actually describing as being a real man...Driscoll is only talking about some of these men who really are half the people they should be… IMHO.

He is alienated those of us who have decided to really live our values… without realizing he has done this. A real man realizes there is something more… that he is not the beginning and end of the universe… It is a real man who instead of sitting in front of the TV watching football and talking stats, gets off his butt and pursues God, even if it is uncomfortable. I am a man… who has taught Sunday school, and is willing to give up a fishing trip with the guys to be with my family. Am I feminized? I think I am more of a whole person now… then when I worshipped at the alter of Harley Davidson.

Now excuse me I need to go and scratch myself...”

Now, really do we want to be “manly men” or men after God’s own heart?

I found more freedom in Christ then I ever did on a Harley…


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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Pat Robertson is a new convert to...

Pat Robertson is a new convert to….

Global warming? (I had the wrong link up earlier... sorry).

Just thought this was too good not to share…


Inspired thought? Maybe to some.

Inspired thought? Maybe to some.

I had a thought here a moment ago…

You see I was reading over a link that Andrew Jones (TallSkinnyKiwi) in which he pointed to an excellent article about inerrancy of Scripture. (I had for some reason originally called Andrew, Tony... in that I apologize.) : )

I personally never had issue with it until about 4 or 5 years ago when I noticed that there was just no way to honestly say, that the Bible is inerrant and infallible without the original texts to look at. I think that one must be honest in this matter as to truly have integrity.

I believed and in many ways still do believe “inerrancy”. I do not subscribe to the view that a translation, in anyway is anointed or inerrant. Yet, when I read this article I thought it was very good at making the distinction between believing something because it is stated in the Bible, and not believing something that is not stated in the Bible. When we add to the Bible something that is not in it… we must be very careful that we are not adding teachings that where not intended by the author, be it man inspired by God or God writing in some automatic writing hyper spiritual way (I do not see that last one as true though some teach this without realizing it).

Then I had this thought. Why are we more worried about something that is not in the Bible… yet taught and believed, and less worried about something that is clearly taught? My point is over simplified as usual, yet, take Grace for instance.

Paul clearly taught about grace…that we are saved by grace through faith. Yet many in the school of Arminius, seem to cut across the teaching of Paul… Take for example Paul’s very clear statement in 2 Cor 12: 9. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (NIV)

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."

My grace is sufficient for you. Yet, one will in their actions deny this… by teaching that one must “maintain” their own salvation or be lost.

Now, some will say that we need the Bible to be inerrant, to show that it is infallible… so that we can prove that the propositions we base our faith on are true, so that we can prove Jesus was truly God and our Messiah, and…. Without the Bible as our standard, we will not be able to prove these things.
Yet, if something is not in the scripture, or we twist something that is to be something else… so we won’t look “wrong, inadequate, stupid, without proof… etc” then I think we are lacking integrity and honesty… which to me flies defiantly against the truth we are putting forth, let alone defiles the very teachings the Bible contains… and worse… is saying God is not sufficient to be able to carry out His plan without our being able to “prove” Him to others. (Take some time to think about that before you go off and write how far off the mark I am).

If Jesus is THE TRUTH and we are to stand on Truth, I see we must place our faith and be the blessed “who do not see, yet love”, and be content that that is what God desires. I wonder if we hinder the works of God by our attempts to “prove” the Bible, and in essence “prove” God Himself… Lest we fall prey to the arrogance of the Angels that fell for they did “see God face to face and did not love Him”.

Do I believe in inerrancy…? I have faith in the God who inspired the Bible… I have faith in the men God called in the OT and Jesus discipled in the NT… I have faith that God’s power, which is in His Word, is “perfect in weakness”. I would rather be wrong on inerrancy and be weak, than be strong and miss what the power of God can truly do if we just get out of the way.


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

File this under WOW

File this under… WOW!

The Jill Carol kidnapping made news a few months back… I had asked my readers to pray about the situation. Now, here is the story. This to me was a miracle she was returned alive… and even more that the Arab world united in the call to release her.
Some even accused her of being part of a plot to and even have called her the new “Hanoi Jane”.  I saw it as a small glimmer of hope… and now more insight to the mind of terrorist we are dealing with.

Hostage: The Jill Carol Story.

Please be in prayer for the mothers and children still caught in all the hate, war, and death. Pray that Christ Jesus becomes the light to the Fathers… and to their families.


I have found a dear Brother in Christ

I have found a dear brother in Christ… He has brought up some great points to consider.

Thanks for your thoughts. I have been reading a lot, and as one of "the old guys" it has been a difficult thing to get my arms around this whole thing. I tell my youth pastor that I saw this in the 70's, but he insists that it's different. After more reading I would agree. The thing that is different is that now, along with the young adults wanting a genuine relationship with God we also have a battle over absolute truth woven into the debate, so there are multiple layers to deal with, and that has raised a number of red flags from my contempories. I understand that, but I am all for a genuine relationship with Christ pursued passionately based on the truth of the word of God. For all seeking that, I'm with you. If you are willing to sacrifice the truth of the word to get to an experience you can wave at me in your rear view mirror, because we are going in different directions. For all seeking Christ through his word, bless you. I am praying for you. For those who are willing to compromise truth for an experience, I am praying for you, you will find at the end of your journey that you somehow got lost.Iggy, thanks for your thoughts, and help. I enjoy reading your work.I will be praying for you as well.


I agree with you that one must be cautious and not just “be so open minded that our brains seep out”. Yet, in some ways I see the journey in following Jesus a way to weed out those who will follow and persevere and those who will follow then veer off the path, yet both will have a chance to grow and best tested as truly righteous followers then those who have decided to let their faith stagnate in their “faith in doctrine”.

I am accused by some to be against doctrine, yet it is not “doctrine” but “bad doctrine” that I am opposed to. And that to me is any that says we have arrived, and in some elitist way assumes that we are pleasing God in our own way… and that can be bad from modernism, and postmodernism.

The reason I love the Emerging thought is that it is the challenge to find faith in a world that is losing faith in institutions… like science, education, (I know some highly educated professionals leaving to work at convenience stores because they pay better!) politics and gov’t… and yes even the church… and worse… God Himself… as Brian McLaren pointed out… somewhere we have placed Jesus in the doorway to heaven to keep people out, instead of being the door that let’s people in… in fact even when we have done that right, we then take turns in that very doorway, keeping out who we see undesirable…we preach, “whosoever will”, yet our actions are, “but not liberals, or gays or (name your modern day leper).

In a way Brian is like Chuck Smith, who at a time saw that these unclean hippies needed a place, so he opened his church to them… the sad thing is I know of no Calvary Chapel who still lives by this philosophy… I even attended one who would not let children in the sanctuary and defiantly no food or drink… what would they do with someone who has not bathed in quite awhile?

Many of us are disillusioned by what we have seen, many are just seeking and found people that are asking the same questions, yet seek the answer in Jesus… in that I see great hope. I do, see that we must be cautious with looking at universalism and other things that have come up… yet, I am confident, that though some will travel off the path, many of us will come to a deeper appreciation of the “sound doctrine” that has been handed down.

Yet, there must always be that possibility that some will fail to see, if love is to prevail that those who seek THE TRUTH, Who is Christ Jesus Himself, will find truth in Him and Truth will live in them. In that we will be set free by His glorious grace.

What a vision though that you stated… that some will depart from the truth, be that emerging or not, and I too pray for them as “they wave back through the rearview mirror”.

That is why I am a part of the Emerging church… to take the heat, to preach the Gospel and love the “lepers’ of today. To gently bring those who do not even know light exists or can in their own heart, and introduce them to the Living Risen Jesus.


A Heretics Guide to Eternity ~ A Review (part 1)

A Heretic’s Guide to Eternity ~ A review (part 1)

When I first received this email I was about to delete it as I did not recognize the name… (Sorry Mike). But then I saw the http://theOoze.com  and thought I might look at it anyway. My jaw about hit the floor as I read it and even then thought it might be a joke… LOL!

Dear Iggy,

Hello!  This is Mike Morrell, editor with http://theOoze.com.  I wanted to drop you a line today because yours is a blog we keep an eye on.  Spencer Burke (the founder of The Ooze) and Barry Taylor (musician and Fuller Seminary professor) have just written a book that I think you’ll be interested in:  A Heretic’s Guide To Eternity.  We’d like to send you a free limited edition press run copy for review.  Would you be interested?

Here’s what Heretic’s Guide is about in a nutshell:  Following Jesus outside of religion.  What does it mean to be truly connected with God?  Can this happen outside of traditional religious boundaries?  Do our dogmatic views as to who’s “in” and “out” of God’s habitat have more to do with our prejudices and less to do with Holy Writ and divine compassion?  These are the kinds of things explored in the book that Brian McLaren describes as “far better than either beer or religion.”

Curious?  Then let me send a copy to you, on us.  The book is yours, and all we ask is that you blog about it sometime in the next several weeks.  You don’t have to agree with Spencer and Barry’s controversial trajectories on life and spirituality—we just want your honest take. 

If you’d like a copy of A Heretic’s Guide to Eternity, just email me back with your name and street mailing address (I’m sending the books out UPS—not PO boxes please).  That’s it.

Thanks so much,

Mike Morrell

PS:  For more about the book, check this out: http://www.theooze.com/articles/article.cfm?id=1453 

So, I replied and sent my mailing address.  I was still a bit skeptical and figured, “we’ll see when or if it gets here”. I then saw that Steven Shields had some critics that Scot McKnight had written on the book… I tried my best to not read; though I do admit what I did read, worried me a bit.

Now, some of my readers would most probably think, “iggy should know a lot about the topic of being a heretic, he should relate to that book!” LOL! And that might be true.

The word heretic is thrown around Christian circles like a “four letter word” on a construction zone. Funny thing is to me, that some of the most influential people in our faith were “heretics”, from Martin Luther, to Guttenberg and his bible, to recent people like Brian McLaren, to Jesus Himself. So it would seem that to be a heretic may not always be a “bad” thing in and of itself.

Brian McLaren does a nice write up in the foreword of the book, and that may in and of itself be reason to pick up the book (if not buy it) and read what he has to say about “heretics”… the best thought to me was in using “heretic in the title:

“Maybe the risk they are taking won’t be worth it, as scores of serious, concerned people try to take the logs out of the author’s eyes unaware that they might even have a tiny metal shaving in their own. But maybe their risk will pay off – especially if some people do more than react to the scandalous title and actually read this book and realize, not what’s so wrong with heresy (which is obvious to almost everybody), but what’s so often wrong with religion, including “our” religion (which ever that might be).

The serious and concerned religious folks who would be most prone to attack Spencer and Barry for their title should, perhaps, realize that they are doing them a great favor, an act of courage and charity. They are showing those religious folks what about them is turning off and driving away millions of people… often including their own children and grand children. Those being turned off won’t tell them these things because… because they’ve tried it in the past and the results weren’t good. Instead, they just keep their distance and try to be polite, even though they’re usually somewhere between disappointed and disgusted and terrified.”

I am very excited to have been asked to review this book I hope that I am truly up to the task and ask for prayer and wisdom to critic it fairly, and to represent sound doctrine while being open to new ideas.


Thursday, August 10, 2006

What is redeeming of the modern Church?

What is redeeming of the modern church?

RC of http://strangeculture.blogspot.com/ asked that question on the post “Emerging Church Asks Questions the Modern Church Ignores”

Good question.

If Christ is the center, then that is redeeming of any church or organization. One can have a traditional Sunday school and God will honor it if it is Christ centered. The idea though is not a matter of right versus wrong, but rather of values.

Many of the values are different between the modern church and the postmodern church as the needs of people in some ways have never changed, yet in some ways have changed greatly.

I think it is not a matter of what is redeeming, for just as the world changes to a child to a teenager, from a teenager to and adult, our perspectives and needs and values change with us. We take much with us from each stage, yet like a teenager who realizes he needs more freedom to make his own choices, he also knows he is not ready to move out and live on his own. In a sense that is where we are now. We are like that teen who is wanting to grow more in Christ, yet sees some things of value in the modern church, yet wonders of the things that we were taught if they are necessary or if something is being missed.

We read the bible from a different world view and see it in that context. Moderns did the same thing and as modernism grew many fought it tooth and nail… for example the Scopes monkey trials in the 1920’s http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scopes_Trial was about the modern view asserting itself over the pre-modern view of scripture. Does that mean that the pre-moderns were right and the moderns were wrong? In fact I see that modernism was very wrong and the pre-moderns stood up to it… though they lost. So this is not the first time we have gone through the change in values… some good and some bad. Moderns of today are doing it to post moderns. (I am not saying that we are all agreeing with evolution, yet moderns tend to throw out the baby and the bath water as micro evolution does happen... I personally do not see it on a macro level.)

We of the emerging church are basically the church emerging out of the postmodern age, with its similar issues like Darwinism in schools. Yet, we are looking more at things like, how to feed the hungry and how to treat our neighbor as Christ would. We want to participate in the activities of Christ, rather than just go to church and listen to a speech. We are looking at it from the view of what is really worth fighting for and should Jesus be attached to issues as we have done in the past? These things are not even considered by the modern view.

I know I have veered a bit off the question… but there is much “redeeming” of the modern church… but it must be centered on Christ, not man. It must be centered on humility, not on “man made traditions”. It must be doing the purpose of which it was designed, to go to the world and share the Good News and not in an imperialistic way. It must be truly equipping the saints to grow, and not just giving all the answers.

The only real issue I have with the modern church is that it needs to recognize that time are changing and people think different now than they did even a few years ago.

My point is like this for example.

How has your life changed since 9-11?

In some ways it is life as normal, yet if you witnessed the planes crashing into the buildings (I saw the second plane hit live on TV) it had an incredible impact. The word terrorism is now something that is real and here and not over there in some far away land.

Again, what is redeeming of the modern church? Christ if He is the center of it. As far as specifics to me it would have to be the tools of science that if used properly can bring great insight to the scripture, yet again, Christ is needed to understand scripture itself, because these same tools can be used to undermine scripture also.

I know that is most probably not the answer you were wanting and truthfully there are many things good about the modern view of church, but many of the values are just askew.


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Sometimes I am proud (?) to be a Montanan

Sometimes I am proud (?) to be a Montanan…

In case you haven’t already heard there were some terrorists loose in America because of Montana State University Bozeman…. Now, it seems the 11 Egyptians were exchange students and may have gotten caught up in the little town of NYC after they got off the airplane.

I was slightly amused, then embarrassed over the comments that some of my fellow Montanans had to say in their blogs…

I really thought the comment by Jon was a bit… racist. I am not sure he is a Montanan.

“One of the terrorists has been found.”

He does add a link to an article that nowhere says the word that these were “terrorists” instead it says, “The missing students pose no terrorism threat, the agency said.”

Some people are a bit lazy minded if you ask me… sorry to be so blunt!

Wulfgar just runs through his post pillaging in his rant.  It is a bit rough, and sometimes he actually is a good read. Yet, often I am left thinking, “I am proud (?) to be a Montanan.”

I am glad that these students are safe. I hope that they are treated not as criminals but with respect.

BTW if one goes through the posts a bit you will find one on ole iggy here being represented in one of his not so finest moments… it was right during the “apology”… If you don’t understand just email me and I will fill you in, yet Wulfgar’s links should fill you in a bit.


Jesus was not just an objective truth

Jesus was not just an objective truth… He is a person. He is the One in which all Truth came and comes from. One can call this Absolute Truth, yet I prefer simply to call Him Jesus as that is His name.

Jesus taught truth, plain and simple… it is man who then needs to label and then dissect it into a category. Sometimes it is to understand it, which is fine, but often it is then mistaken in it’s many parts that the parts itself are the whole… yet that is not truth. It is then diminished as truth as it is not connected to the whole… or as the Bible says, the Head. The body is the illustration that is used… it has many parts, but it needs to be connected to the Head (Jesus) to have its Life. To say that truth is objective negates the need or rather the ability to bring internally and understand it and live it in ones life… in that one must bring objective truth in to the realm of subjective internalization.

It is to me that Truth is like the River of Life that flows from the throne of God in the Book of Revelation. It flows from the Throne, onto God’s people who then drink it in. If it is just objective it is like a person who just looks at the stream yet does not drink… Jesus says to eat and drink…

That is the problem of the Law, as it is like a mirror that can say ones face is dirty, but do nothing to clean it. James says it like this:

James 1: 22. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24. and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does. (NIV)

We are to internalize it and do it… that is the progression. Jesus told of the story of two sons…

Matt 21: 28…There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, `Son, go and work today in the vineyard.'
29. "`I will not,' he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.
30. "Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, `I will, sir,' but he did not go.
31. "Which of the two did what his father wanted?" "The first," they answered. Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you.

If we view the Truth of Jesus as just objective truth and not internalize it we are like the first son who said, “I will, sir” but did nothing as we have not let the Truth into our life.

John says it so many times that Truth must be within us… Just a superficial look at 1 John will prove that it truth is relational as it must dwell in us… in the person of Jesus. To deny this is to deny scripture.

It pains me to argue with someone over this. To see that one has reduce the Life of Christ to a system of theology… as if they think they can contain God… in hopes to control Him and understand Him… it is as if we think if we can understand God, We can master Him. This is most often not even realized or thought of by so many who are just taught traditions like Calvinism or Wesleyan theology even in Roman Catholicism (just to name a few as there are many who embrace systems without even calling them a system). This is not to be confused with a system of study…

My point though is in the oft taught idea that context means everything… Hermeneutics is a great way to learn scripture yet then God throws out a curve ball! My point is this… early in my walk it was hammered, “Context! Context! Context!” which is not a bad rule, yet then I read Matthew… and he throws that idea out the window as he tells us that “this was done to fulfill the scripture”. He will seem to just use a verse at random in the OT and say it is fulfilled! And I then say, so much for that system!

We need to be open that our ways are not God’s ways and that we can be so set in our own “version” of understanding that we may actually stop growing. We are not to ever stop growing! That is what emerging is when broken down to its most basic understanding is… to grow… to emerge like a infant, to a toddler… from a toddler to a preteen… from preteen to teen… from teen to young adult… you get my point.

If we stop growing we can not achieve maturity in the faith. To say we have “THE SYSTEM” is to say we have arrived… if we arrived then there is not need to continue in our going further on our journey… or in the case of our faith, we no longer need to follow Jesus if we have already arrived. I see though that Jesus is not static, but every calling us deeper in to Himself. In fact I see that we may never fully know the fullness of His love nor its width, depth or height.

It takes true humility to admit one does not “know”… and true faith to continue to trust in spite of not seeing or knowing. So I challenge the reader with this question, do you worship a system? Or do you worship the LIVING CHRIST? No system will save you from hell… Only Jesus is the answer for you salvation.