Friday, March 18, 2011

Opening statements:

If an orthodoxy cannot withstand questions, it is already dead.

Teachers will face a double judgment

Yes I have Rob Bell's book, and no i haven't finished it. But the conclusions of the book are already in grave doubt because of the methodology of his arguments.

  1. His exegesis is terrible. He heads into using word studies as a way around difficult biblical realities. He often pulls texts from their paragraph because the paragraph itself wouldn't support his conclusions. He also simply ignores major texts that would work against his argument.
  2. He starts the book with a presupposition and reaction. A presupposition that God is so loving that Hell cannot possibly be what the bible and historical orthodoxy postulate that it is; and he didn't like what someone said in a note at his church art exhibit.
  3. His trying to lump Origin into being a representative of orthodoxy is suspect at best. Universalism is not part of the great big stream of historical orthodoxy.
  4. His use of questions as a rhetorical device is deeply manipulative and a dodge of responsibility. "Have you quit beating your wife," sort of questions. 
But this is simply the increasingly complex difficulty with theology today

Postmoderns / Emergents

  1. Don't do a good job with exegesis. Their logical and theological fallacies are often terrible.
  2. They use word studies and find obscure definitions to dodge difficult realities.
  3. In trying to be relevant they avoid the fact that the cross is a stumbling block.
  4. They don't like Gods wrath (and other things) so they seek to remove them.
  5. They quote historical [Ancient / Future] texts conveniently and often out of context.
  6. They say "i'm just asking a question" like it gives them license to speculate on anything.
  7. While deconstructionism is all fine and good for paradigm shifts, this group increasing tells you what they are against and don't like while being unable to clearly articulate their dogmatic doctrines.
but: lest the sword not be shared equitably

Emerging / New-Calvinists

  1. Ignore the Corinthians passages about love
  2. Ignore Matthew 18
  3. Gossip and slander through blogs and justify it through rationalizing it as truth telling / prophetic thus showing them to tip their hand that the means does justify the ends. They have no sense of ethics in how they accomplish their inquisitions and can justify almost anything with a defending-truth mantra of some sort
  4. Rarely show compassion in their confrontations
  5. Ask for repentance but show no initiative of reconciliation
  6. Are smug, arrogent, and prideful concerning truth in ways that are very ugly to those inside and outside the church
In short, younger evangelical Orthodoxy is in terrible shape because of both these movements

1. Errors on doctrine and truth
1. Errors on love and relationship

Both damage Orthodoxy deeply. 

1. Damages the head
1. Damages the heart
Both damage the gospel.

So while i have a soft spot for people to be able to question things, there is also a need for me to be an elder in Christianity. And while there are grey areas of conscience and opinion and paradox and culture...the gospel is not one of them.

Christ died for sinners, of whom I am chief. He atoned for my sin by facing the full wrath of God on the cross. There is only one name by which men can be saved, and that is the name of Christ.

There are vague scriptures that do allude to other possibilities, but they offer us only speculation. And speculation cannot offer hope. The hope of the nations and the world is Jesus.

but what about those who never heard
what about those who have a limited IQ
what about an infant who dies

yes yes I know the questions
and yes there ARE possible speculations
but I trust these people and these questions to the character of Christ

and he hasn't clearly answered these questions

so we CAN speculate...there are some groovy things he says

i have flocks you know not of...?
he descends to hell to preach and set captives free...?
the light one has been given argument from Romans...?

but we must be very careful to not give false is just that...speculation

I write this while sitting in a catholic monastery with my brothers in Christ who I disagree with about a host of things.
I write this still having learned a ton from other Rob Bell books and Nooma videos that i will still recommend.
I write this loving Rob Bell...and...loving John Piper
I write this knowing Augustine said "I have erred but I am not a heretic"
I write this trusting Jesus and not Calvin, Bell, Driscoll, McLaren...though i learn from all of them

I want love to win
I want truth to win

But in order for Jesus to win

we must speak the TRUTH.....IN......LOVE

so if your looking for guidance:

Read the book...and take every quote and go back to the paragraph it came from, it's not like there isn't some good points and questions in there...there are!
Read every verse in the Bible about wrath, vengeance, atonement, and hell

Pray for Rob and his enemies [or his brothers that have mistaken him for an enemy]. Rob isn't the anti-christ and don't let anybody tell you he is. Rob is asking questions, but he is also deconstructing orthodoxy with the way he is asking and answering those questions. Give him grace and space, while still confronting him.

finally i read something from Thomas Merton's journals today that cracked me up.

He is writing in the late 60's and basically he lists a few books he has written and says they are good and that God was in it, and then he lumps the rest together and says they were crap.

i laughed. 

laugh a little. and move forward carefully. 

if you hate careful...if you say "you fool" you may be in danger of hellfire [Jesus said that]
if you love careful...he may not be using the Bible as carefully as he should

and remember Rob is more of a pastor artist...sadly...he has painted himself into a corner. I will not throw stones, but i will seek to help him out. and I must help others to not go where he has gone.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Appetites for destruction

Catalyst tension 2010

Our appetites, sex, sleep, etc are high motivators in our lives
Desires are the drivers of our lives
Each appetite creates tension...because we always want more

Leadership tensions

Respect / Recognition / Fame / to be envied...jealousy

God created them and Sin distorts them
Never fully and finally satisfied
Always whisper NOW and never later

Step 1 admit your reality

Your reaction to your appetites that are never and fully satisfied will determine the path and destination of your life

The internal battle must be won before the external war can be fought

Gen 25 Jacob and Essau
Both have appetites that are out of control

Birthrights and blessings deeply desired
Finances and inheritance
Position and respect-given authority over the rest of the family
Blessing...anointing and unique connection to God assumed

Essau: mans man fight club
Jacob: metrosexual, making dinner

Older bro never need younger bro
Younger bro always wants and needs something from older bro

But when the older bro needs something... The younger bro says hey let's pause while I figure out what I can get out of this. Negotiation trade.

The stupidest trade ever...because of inability to defer gratification
Who would throw away....for .....
Because we can't wait we want it now

Without this I will die! Bull... The appetite creates a brain impact bias and magnifies it completely out of proportion. Survival instinct on crack! Brain is lying to you and this is why you will have buyers remorse. And the brain does focalism where we see 1 thing and blur and forget everything else.

This happens every time an appetite gets provoked

This decision / these decisions are what Destroy the future!

Now decisions: good and bad are unleashed into the future like a bullet from a gun

The future essau: Moses lineage, Jesus, MatthewS gospel...
Look at your bowl again
It would be better if you died than if you did this
You are about to lose your future

YOU must mature enough to reframe your appetites

And God let's this happen.. Because the responsibility is OURS
This is the privilege and responsibility of freedom

If the appetite gets control
You will compromise everything to get it

10 years from now...
What do you want to see...desire to b an elder is a good thing
Control how you get there

What is your bowl of stew?

What are you desperate for to create excitement or ease the pain?

Talk yourself off the cliff?

What is not illegal or immoral that you do but you wish nobody ever found out about?

Make no private decision that can't stand up on a public stage

This pushes the appetite back into the right context

The Jonathan Edwards reality
The resolutions
The graveyard

And you are not just trading your stuff you are trading others hope, faith, etc.

And maintain

Or lose to good plans God has for you!

Friday, August 27, 2010

practical atheist week 1

So here's the deal. Your computer is depressed, it's slow, it;s sad, and frankly it's depressed. You've tried to install patches, a new OS, and even some new security features. But it still just won't work right. So you go to some online forums to get some advice, but nobody really gives you anything new. Finally, after coming to the conclusion that you can't fix it yourself you make a cell-phone call to service. They tell you to go to a chatroom and they walk you through a bunch of stuff that doesn't work either. Then the worst thing happens, you get a virus and it just messes with everything. You don't know what you did wrong to download the virus but nothing you try gets it out and everything is screwed up. Now there is only one thing left to do. But you don't like it. There is a service where you go on-line and let a remote host have access to your computer. It's kind of freaky because you can see the disembodied mouse moving around on your screen doing whatever it wants to. Plus it makes you feel stupid watching it, because it will write weird coded stuff on black pop-up screens and actually change the software; all that stuff us mere mortals don't know how to do. At  first it's not to bad, but then the operator asks for some passwords for some protected parts of the machine. You know; bank account stuff, internet history, and some other places that you aren't sure you want to open up. So you lie, and say you'll have to be back to them because you can't remember those pass codes right now. And then you sit there and are just stuck. Because while all this stuff sounds mechanical, intellectual, and scientific the fact remains that you will have to trust this person before anything changes. And we don't like trusting some ethereal and faceless stranger with our pass codes, secrets, bank account information, and web history. So now you will have to sit back an weigh your options. A new Mac is too expensive. Staying with the way things are is increasingly impossible. But am I willing to risk trusting this person? A person who if i let them in to total access could fix or destroy everything.

You walk away to think and feel your way through that decision.

It's so weird to let a stranger into your house. But then to let them access the fridge, and your checkbook is even weirder. What if they...?! And when it gets really weird is if they sneak into bed with you, yikes! And then...worst case scenario...they can even read your thoughts and feelings and motivations. Epic-weirdness!

my point?

These are all freakishly bizarre scenarios. So let me make it even stranger. What if this person loved you in spite of all the crazy stuff they have discovered about you. What if they had completely pure motivations and wanted into your life not for what they could get out of you but for what they could give you? Would you let them in, would you trust them, would you risk it?

This is after all, all about you and God. And God is both patient as well as intrusive in these sort of things. He wants into your hardrive. HHe wants into your checking account. And yes, he wants into your web browsing history. He wants remote access to all those password protected areas because of the virus that is infecting everything [the trojan horse we call 'sin'.] He wants full disclosure, full access, and full administrator rights and privileges. And as you sit in your seat you are gonna have to decide if you trust him or not. Not just a reaching-in-faith towards belief trust; but a rubber-hits-the-road of reality trust. In a good way, Jesus wants to go viral in you. He wants to shine his love, hope, power, peace, grace, discipline, truth, light...into every square millimeter and milibite of your life.

What's a practical atheist? A practical atheist is someone who believes in God but acts like He doesn't exist. Or to put it another way, they let God unto the computer but keep massive sections out of his reach. Places like sex, money, painful memories, etc. The sort of relationship where we say we have a relationship with God but really we are just acquaintances that chit chat from time to time.

So here is what I suggest you do when you get back to that computer that's busted up in epic-fail mode. I suggest you go all-in and trust the disembodied techie and let them have remote access and control of everything. Let God have it all. He will be patient, and we will try to keep him out. But simply choose to hand him they keys to every room of your life. And i'll promise you something. This "stranger" will become trustworthy   to you. Because trust is earned, and it can only be earned if we risk. Every great story of faith is a story of risking trusting God. 

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


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