(I hope that one will realize that much of this is no longer an issue to me. The people who did most of the initial attack have dropped off the map or have gone on to discredit themselves by losing jobs in their attacking of me and others. I hope the reader will not just read this post but go on to read other things I have written.)
I find it rather strange how some will demand perfect doctrine from others…
Recently I received a post I did not let through because the person is so full of hate towards the emerging church and myself I just saw it as not healthy for the discussions going on… I am sure if one wants to read what this person says and they read my blog they will put 2 and 2 together… and know who he is… In fact I am reluctant to even post this as I am sure he will be perversely encouraged that he has gotten a raise out of me. Yet, in fact he has not… I did want to point out as I have at time before some basic things about this blog.
It is now a chronicle of over two year’s journey of my faith. So I hope one might see:
1. I may have grown over that time
2. That I might have written something once and then have either sharpened the original thought or even have changed my mind
3. Written something and not “notated” a source ( this is a blog not a doctorate thesis btw)
4. Written something in hopes to be controversial to spark a discussion.
5. Written something that I hoped would cause some to think and dig deeper.
6. I hope that one would realize I do not want anyone to just take my word on things but search out what God says. (Be like the Bereans!)
7. I have written some things and tried to be open, honest and even vulnerable… in that I have been called a liar… Yet, I am only a human with frailties so please don’t expect me to be perfect… only God is perfect.
8. I may not have fully developed a thought, but omission does not mean I am a heretic… but it does mean someone who is HYPER critical of me may not have all the facts!
9. In areas of Theology I admit fully I am looking at many things and thoughts. If I quote Barth or Spurgeon it does not mean I approve 100% of their thoughts or ideas. This goes for MacArthur or McLaren as well.
On the Bible I am accused of not believing in inerrancy of the Bible.
I am certain that the original manuscripts were without error… yet any scholar or basic bible student will know that we do not have those original hand written manuscripts or can verify if we do that that is the one that Peter or John hand wrote themselves… we do have thousands and thousands of manuscripts that allow me to be certain that what we have is God’s written word. Yet as I read scripture I see that Mark will say Jesus said something and quote Him and in Matthew or Luke Jesus will be quoted just a bit different. Some will say that it is because Jesus may have said it one way in one place and another in yet another place… yet that is never stated in the Bible and is pure speculation. I see though that the core of the statement is intact and the intent of the teaching or statement is most important than the exact quote. I do not believe in an “inspired translation” only inspired “original” manuscripts… I do hold that the bible is God’s written word and does hold authority… Yet even saying that the authority is there only because Jesus is the Living Word. Without Jesus as the LIVING WORD to back up what is taught in the Bible, it would not have any authority. Authority is only given by a person… and words on a page do not have authority in themselves. That is what set Jesus’ teachings from the other Rabbi’s in His day… He taught with authority. Though I have not stated all of this in one place if one reads everything I have written (even the comments!) one will see that this is true and consistent. I recommend also reading the article I link to as it will go further than I may have in explaining my position on some things. Though on occasion I am relating an article to draw out more conversation from my readership.
What I see most from those who critique me, is that they will pull a partial sentence or statement and go, “I got you!” then use that to prove I have lied… or have taught false doctrine. That is why I have no problem when I do let a hyper critical person post a comment of giving their blogs address even when they are too cowardly to post their own links to their blogs. I know my readers are more sophisticated than these guys realize.
I have let their posts through to show their true love for me and others. Of course that is tongue in cheek I had hoped they will read themselves and realize they are not being Christ like… yet it seems to not work so I may be changing that very soon and not letting any HYPER CRITCAL voices through as they do not add to a conversation but distract and divide and are often abusive which is not edifying to me, and especially my readership. I will let those who disagree with me… respectfully… post and will be glad to clarify/work through/ pray with/ and anything else we can do in order to fellowship and edify each other.
Steve is a new commenter on my blog and in the recent postings on John MacArthur has pointed out I am misrepresenting JM… We may disagree and soon I am sure I will be off the JM kick and on to better things. Yet, Steve has been a shining example of respect and gentleness. He has been very Christ-like and I truly appreciate his thoughts. I have even gone over things even more closely and have tried to be open to all sides. In Fact I have stated I agree with JM on many things.
(I have said that many of the critics of JM are not accurate especially Ryrie who is one of the harsher critics of JM and goes way overboard in trying to discredit JM. Again I am not out to discredit JM but I am looking at his doctrinal statements as he has the EC and I am finding things I do not agree with.)
If someone wants to discredit someone (which seems a bit weird someone would be so fascinated by me and hate me so much to try to harm me and my ministry) they can find much I am sure… If one of my critics was not so cowardly and had opened his life to his readers (instead of his perverted version of mine) I am sure anyone could go post by post, line by line and construct heresy and false doctrine from him also… in fact he is so busy saying things I have not said, or twisting things I have to mean totally the opposite I am not sure how he has time for much else in his life… but I guess we all have to have a hobby.
I am sure he will bring up the “little card that says I am a reverend” that was twisted by another critic that I was saying it “proved” I was one… In fact I said that tongue in cheek not knowing that person had no sense of humor… Then another person took it and went even farther with it… so here is the story and connection with UCMI (About UCMI) which I am ordained through. (Though I am still ordained through UCMI as I have no need to be now... I am active in the local Vineyard Church plant updated: 4/27/2007). My calling is not from man but God. I walk in the gift of “pastoring” for a pastor is that, a gift to edify and build up the Body.
These people state I am a fraudulent Reverend do to my connection with UCMI. I have explained why I connected with them which was to be able to be accountable as I was in the process of planting a church in Billings MT. UCMI was different than many of the “get ordained” sites as they had a few more things going for them. They had a school and a support system in which if I needed I could attend and talk to others in ministry as I see isolation is the major issue all churches today… it causes things like Ted Haggard and such to not be accountable. And I wanted to be accountable not just to my direct congregation… but to an outside source that could revoke my ordination if I strayed outside of preaching the gospel of Christ.
I was placed on a year’s probation, in which I could not do weddings… which I had no real interest in doing. In this time I was to fulfill certain ministry obligations such as “bear fruit” in some aspect and also pursue some educational recommendations. After the years probation in which I had gotten to know some of the people in leadership and such I was required as I am every year to submit my goals for the year and to show what I have already accomplished for that year. If one does not do this they will be put on "inactive status". I am still in "active status". They ask for support which would be 3% of what your ministry brings in... Which is about what most denominations require. They have never demanded nor told me I had to send money or lose my status. Over all I have been treated professionally even more so than when I was a Youth Pastor in a major denomination. I viewed them as a correspondence school… I never cared about accreditation as I see things much like Moody did (he declined ordination as he believed he did not need man’s approval on his calling) I agreed and again, I did it not for approval, but for accountability. The accreditation was not that important to me as I know that many major denominations are not accredited and have produced some top teachers and preachers… such as Calvary Chapel. Many denominations ordain within their own denomination and have non accredited schools… I will say that as I looked into UCMI “accreditation's” I think that they are not trying to be dishonest, but rather be honest and show they are accredited… yet I think those that have may not be that great of “accreditors”. Again, I do not believe this is out of dishonesty rather it may be just bad judgment and would be better to just say they are not accredited. I say this as I have gotten to know the people and know that God is using them… I do not see them as “con men”. People make mistakes and to one HYPER CRITIC's credit he has given me at least that benefit of the doubt… in which I do not rule out any possibility that I could be duped. I really do not believe this to be so.
As far as “the little card that says I am a Rev.” I received the card after the year’s probation… I never “paid for it” and I receive a new one as I renew my ordination… which does not cost me more than the time to fill out the annual report I am required to do every year. (This quote about the card was stated as a bit of a joke on my part and then taken to mean something entirely different... that the card somehow qualified me to have more credentials...LOL! since I no longer have a card and am active in the Vineyard this is all really mute)
Again, I have not even sent in for a “parchment” nor have ever thought I needed one. In fact I see that I have received much more from UCMI than I have ever given… which is sad to say not much as income has not been a stable thing for my family. These critics argument would be like me saying I did not agree with the SBC so did not accept any ordinations their fellowships gave to their Pastors. It is based only on that these people do not see UCMI as credible.
In the 6 years I have been an official ministry… (Word of Mouth Ministries) I have received only $540 total… any other cost has come out of my own BTW as far as a registered ministry WoMM is registered as a ministry in Montana (we have a EIN). It is not registered as a non profit (though we make no profit) or rather we do not have 501(c)3. Again, I have been up front with that.
I have never used my ordination for personal gain… I had it on my page just because I am proud of the fact of my calling. Yet since then things have changed… and were changing at the time these HYPER CRITCS began their attack on my character.
I met Allen Hodges of Vineyard and we have become good friends. I have shown him the “blogs” and he has laughed… I am at present an Intern in the Billings Vineyard Church. I am on the leadership team… neither of these are positions I have pursued… they have been offered to me by Allen. As a new fellowship we have been growing steadily and have just moved into a building after meeting at Allen’s house. There are some really exciting things happening. I see God moving in a mighty way. I have dropped the “ordination” for two reasons.
I am not planting a church so am not in the one as far as position
I am “pastoring” but have not been given the “title” from Vineyard, so will not us that “title” in that way. I am still an ordained “minister” in good standing with UCMI.
As far as education, I have always been up front I do not have much formal education and what I do have, I would never brag about. I have never studied nor claim to have studied Greek… I always point out I am using a Strong’s Concordance… I also have friends who have M. div and Dr Div in which I have run past some of the things I do talk about using Greek or Hebrew… With that if they disagree I will usually not write about the topic until I work out the kinks a bit more… of the things like “Ekklesia” I have talked extensively with my friends with higher education and have gotten enthusiastic thumbs up. (One is a SBC pastor who is not in the EC). The issue is that one person thinks that I add too much to the word Ekklesia as I see it as defined as “Called out Ones” or “Ones Called out to Perfection”, disagrees with the latter as he does not see "perfection" connected to the word “ekklesia” in the Greek… I do and others do… I veiw the Church being Christ's Body a Living Organism... as Christ Lives, so does His Body. I see that in the "ek" part of the "ekklesia" which is:
Strong's Ref. # 1537
Romanized ekPronounced ek
a primary preposition denoting origin (the point whence action or motion proceeds), from, out (of place, time, or cause; literal or figurative; direct or remote):
KJV--after, among, X are, at, betwixt(-yond), by (the means of), exceedingly, (+ abundantly above), for(- th), from (among, forth, up), + grudgingly, + heartily, X heavenly, X hereby, + very highly, in, ...ly, (because, by reason) of, off (from), on, out among (from, of), over, since, X thenceforth, through, X unto, X vehemently, with(-out). Often used in composition, with the same general import; often of completion.
This is from Strong's definitions... and I see in that portion of the word the "higher calling" that Jesus used the word to mean something more akin to "perfection". This is a richer word than "a meeting place". Even if one may not agree with that being specific in it's meaning, the rest of Scripture teaches that we are called to that very purpose, to be perfected in Christ.
These guys get much nastier than this simple disagreement… I often wonder if they think that they are fighting against flesh and blood by using the worldly weapons to attack me with.
I have pointed out one of these people denies that a relationship is needed to be saved. He is a false teacher if he teaches that and JM would not agree at all. Yet, his word is believed over mine because he is aligned with people at SOL.
I have publicly forgiven both these men in their slander… and will continue to. I will also continue to pray for them as I see that they are sincere in their belief they need to defend God… I do not hate these men… I do get frustrated in having to give defense… in that this will be the last time I address them, unless they repent from trying to harm me and apologize for their sin. For me I will live at peace with them the best I can and walk in Christ’s forgiveness for the power to forgive them. I will not address them if they continue to lie and slander me… in that I turn them over to God to deal with them.
Please in no way think this means I am censoring people because I disagree with them. The issue is that these people no matter what I say just plain hate me for whatever reason… I believe even if I was to “repent” and begin to believe and act like them, they would still call me a liar. So, I don’t think engaging THEM is of any real value or edifies the Body of Christ is a true manner. I do not have an issue with disagreement. In fact I enjoy “friendly” debates and think discussion on theology as challenging and fun… I do not care for name calling... (Which I know I am guilty of and have apologized for in the past… and will again as I am sure I will inadvertently do it again…. As I said I am just a human being and not perfect!) But I will not keep engaging in these peoples open sin and rebellion against the scriptures prohibition concerning judging others not will I allow myself to be pulled into defending myself again because of their slander and lies… they can contend with God on those things. I will continue to pray for them and I know that God is faithful and will finish the work He started in these men… I am content with God doing His works in and through them… according to His great will and purpose. If they want to know what I really do teach the blogger links below will connect one to all the (Answers to my Critics) I will not give them any more of my time or energy as I have greater things to do than try to show someone how "Christian" I am. I will not have anything to do with these divisive men. (Titus 3:10)
This next year I hope will be exciting and another growing experience. I have already begun studies on knowledge and will be posting those in the next month (Jan). I am also hoping to be able to take a class in Greek that my pastor will be teaching at Vineyard so pray for me as I have not had much luck learning other languages.
My prayer is to be a blessing to those who read my blog… and to grow in understanding in each other as we all grow in the Knowledge and Grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.