20 August 2010

Chasing Cool and Becoming Merely Lukewarm

by Phil Johnson



t the moment the Relevant Magazine website is featuring an article titled "Why Our Generation Doesn't Care About Prop 8." It purports to explain why young people who self-identify as Christians "aren't fighting against gay marriage."

The article is irritating on several levels. In the first place, while listing "tired rhetoric" as one of the reasons "the younger faithful have left the conversation altogether," the article reads like a syllabus of shopworn shibboleths gleaned from a table of remaindered Zondervan/Youth Specialties books from 2004. You know: kids today are much more thoughtful and more charitable than evangelicals have ever been. "Young people confront this issue with respectful dialogue rather than angry argument." Tired rhetoric, indeed.

In the second place, the article totally misses the most obvious reason for the Relevant constituency's apathy about moral issues. Evangelical young people have been systematically indoctrinated with the notion that being cool is infinitely more important than being doctrinally sound or morally upright. Relevant Magazine is one of the chief culprits in that campaign.

To be clear, what frustrates me most about the Relevant article has nothing to do with gay marriage in California (or anywhere else). I don't think I have ever blogged or Twittered on that subject myself. In fact, if I were assigning the articles at Relevant, I would have asked instead for an article titled "Why Our Readers Don't Seem to Care About Justification by Faith," or "Why we seldom deal with serious biblical issues."

But just look at relevantmagazine.com's front page and you'll have the real answer to the question of why the Relevant generation doesn't care about gay marriage, sound doctrine, or any other biblical or moral issue (unless it's something that is already being promoted by the hip and famous under the rubric of "social justice").

Here's a sampling of what Relevant Magazine actually does care about: Michael Cera's new movie; Will Ferrell's new movie; dumpster diving for spiritual relevance in Mad Men; the Jet Blue flight attendant who took "that big inflatable slide to freedom" (he "was a hero to all of us"); Wyclef Jean's bid for the presidency of Haiti; and so on.

In short, regular readers of Relevant are relentlessly force-fed topics, values, and perspectives borrowed from sources like People and Us. They aren't being taught the importance of having a biblical position, even on something as central to our faith as the gospel—much less on a moral issue like gay marriage.



That's the inevitable trajectory of radical contextualization. It's been a dangerous drift for three decades or longer. Now it's a deadly rip tide. And yet the Internet and the airwaves are filled with more voices than ever demanding more radical contextualization and an even more reckless and worldly quest for "relevance."

Go figure.

Phil's signature

95 comments:

Venkatesh said...

how do you make such good images? I am curious

Venkatesh

Lane Chaplin said...

Everytime I hear the name of the magazine and read the topics it covers, all I can think of is the person who says, "I have faith." 'Faith in what?' is the real question, though. "We're relevant." Relevant to whom? Oh, I see. People who think exactly like you. It's funny how a lot of these people rail on fundamentalism (as the term is used modernly), but they share many of the same characteristics they deplore.

Zaphon said...

I hate to act surprised(I'm not really),but...Goodness!

To think of what this means for near future generations that will have to step up the battle for the inerrancy of Scripture. IF the concept of "battle" even survives that long in evangelicalism.

YnottonY said...

"Evangelical young people have been systematically indoctrinated with the notion that being cool is infinitely more important than being doctrinally sound or morally upright."

This point really needs to be addressed more and more, I think. Even seminary professors can pursue "coolness" in their own variety of wanting to be thought of as an intellectual, refined and sophisticated; therefore they avoid anything that remotely seems like fundamentalism, such as (or especially) talking about hell the way Jesus plainly, graphically and courageously did. Where are the respected philosophical theologians among us who at any time speak of a place of eternal conscious torment where "worms do not die" and where there is "gnashing of teeth"? They don't exist, no not one. Such talk is not "cool," in their own sense.

bou2010 said...

I agree that Relevant elevates cool to new levels. Ironically, in seeking to be relevant they become irrelevant because if I want to read that stuff, I can pick up a copy of Entertainment Weekly, which does that stuff better anyway.

re: Gay Marriage

Can a Christian believe that homosexuality is wrong and that they need Jesus, while still allowing for gay marriage in a pluralistic society? Are not the values of the city of God different than the values of the city of man?

In as much as we need laws to protect people (do not kill, steal, etc.), then we legislate morality. But what about behavior that does not infringe on another's liberties?

Why do we think it will change anything if we keep homosexuals from marrying? They'll still go to hell, married or not, without Jesus.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

"The article is irritating on several levels."

Spoken like a grumpy old man.

"Young people confront this issue with respectful dialogue rather than angry argument."

And what's wrong with that?

unless it's something that is already being promoted by the hip and famous under the rubric of "social justice"."

Hey man, what's your beef with social justice?

Dude, social justice is biblical and relevant. Don't create false dilemmas.

(tongue in cheek).

Jason Kanz said...

Phil,

I like you.

That's all.

Jason

DJP said...

Perfect graphics choice.

If it weren't reactionary, someone ought to fund an opposing mag named "Timeless."

wordsmith said...

(Love the phrase remaindered Zondervan/Youth Specialties books and the image it conjures up.)

It seems that "relevant" is synonymous with "worldly." Not that Relevant appears to care, mind you. Anything is better than possibly being mistaken for one of those stuffy old troglodyte Bible thumpers, ya know.

David said...

If you have to tell people you're relevant, guess what?

Word verification: shloc

Craig said...

Agreed about the "cool" thing - Christian leaders especially look pathetic when they are trying too hard to appear "in touch".

The bigger question with the gay marriage issue (and I know it is not PJs main point) is this - how much effort should Christians expend on political activism, as opposed to preaching the gospel? Banning gay marriage isn't going to bring anyone to heaven.

The prop 8 thing reaction might reflect the fact that younger Christians are jaded and cynical about things associated with the "Christian right" (the activist political movement, I mean) rather than apathy on the issue of homosexuality itself.

Anyway, end of digression...

dbowman said...

Great title, Phil. I might steal that for a Sermon Title sometime.

It is discouraging to see so many young people go astray. What saddens me most is that I am seeing young people leave strong, conservative, Gospel preaching churches to go to churches that fit more in line with the "relevant" genre. We need a mighty move of God in our day.

Frank Turk said...

bou2010 said:

Can a Christian believe that homosexuality is wrong and that they need Jesus, while still allowing for gay marriage in a pluralistic society? Are not the values of the city of God different than the values of the city of man?

My suggestion is that someone asking that question think about whether a pluralistic society should allow that lying. For example, some people cannot obtain a loan for a house (excuse me: a home) without lying about their credentials and credit. Doesn't the city of man abhor homelessness?

In as much as we need laws to protect people (do not kill, steal, etc.), then we legislate morality. But what about behavior that does not infringe on another's liberties?

That's an interesting question -- if you think liberty is an unquestionable value. I think every citizen in any country which is actually a country and not in anarchy recognizes that "liberty" is not their chief social end: justice is far more meaningful to the common citizen than liberty -- for example, it's not "liberty" which causes you to be paid for your work each week, but justice; it's not liberty which keeps other men from molesting your wife, but justice.

My opinion is that reasoning from liberty to moral conclusions is untennable -- because liberty has nothing to do with morality except that it be limited by morality.

And that is at the heart and soul of this question of what constitutes a marriage.

Why do we think it will change anything if we keep homosexuals from marrying? They'll still go to hell, married or not, without Jesus.

The irony is that it doesn't change anything if homosexuals are forbidden to ape marriage. They have always been forbidden to marry. The change happens when they are not forbidden to ape marriage. Something has changed, and it is not the "rights" of homosexuals. It is whether justice has been served.

Terry Rayburn said...

Phil,

Price of Relevant at Border Books: $4.95

Cost of a subscription to Relevant: $22

Your blog post title: Priceless

Robert said...

I'd like to see how people who write/read magazines/websites like that interpret James 4:4 or 1 John 2:15-17. Or how about Ephesians 4? Do they not understand that Satan rules the world during this age (limited rule under God's authority)?

I really think the biggest problem in "churches" today is that they don't emphasize the importance of knowing God's Word (ALL of it) and its authority. Many church movements and denominations have become more like the world because they don't follow Scripture...which means they either don't really know Scripture or they reject its authority. I could write for weeks about how this is manifested in the world today.

donsands said...

"Why do we think it will change anything if we keep homosexuals from marrying?"

Even if the world, and magistrates, say two men can become husband and wife, and to women can become husband and wife, God says they can't.

Basically, these worldlings want to redefine marriage, and the young cool church is hip to this happening.

Sad.

Great post.

If a soul is not eating the Word, and pondering the truths of the Word, but instead eating small portions of the Word, and picking through the Word, and is at the same time devouring the words of man, and even doctrines of deamons, then the fruit will be rotten at best, if any fruit at all is produced.

"..I find my delight in your commandments,
which I love.
I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love,
and I will meditate on your statutes." Psalm 119:47-48

"Your words were found, and I ate them,
and your words became to me a joy
and the delight of my heart,
for I am called by your name," Jer. 15:16

And this is just the OT Word. How much more now with the NT Word! Praise the Lord for His Word, and for giving us such a precious treasure. Amen.

Protoprotestant said...

Not to make excuses for the lukewarmness and lack of doctrinal interest on the part of the semi-apostate Evangelical and Emergent youth movements...

But,

Is it not possible there are a significant number within the younger generation rejecting the Constantinian/Sacralist models of Christendom? Probably not, I admit, but there are some....

If so, it completely shifts one's view of society and social issues...not to the left as some may think, rather rejecting the whole paradigm that's been given. It's a rejection of both the Christian Right's version of Constantinianism as well as the Wallis/Campolo Christian Left version. Both sides have an activist/political model.

Homosexuality was rampant in the first century...where did Paul emphasize Christians should try and do something about it socially or legislatively? Abortion was rampant too, violence in the gladitorial shows etc....

Roman society had a completely different view of marriage, incompatible with the Biblical concept of it and yet....life went on. The Church didn't seem to think what the pagans did affected them.

You want to change marriage? First, we need to reform the Church, because right now it doesn't know what it is or what it's doing.

Is the Word of God enough or do we need something else in order to complete the mission of the Church?

Is this about commitment to the Kingdom or to America?

John A.

Eddie Eddings said...

So many churches and Christian publishers ignore the "relevant in the room". I am glad you don't.
Too many are cool with the lukewarm.

bou2010 said...

John A. You kind of nailed it, in terms of how I see it.

And some will judge my commitment to Christ, love for the Word, etc.

But I see the Gospel is the answer and a radical, Gospel-centric, Christ-exalting lifestyle is the only possible answer.

Rampant homosexuality is only a symptom. The failure to spread the Gospel is the disease.

bou2010 said...

FT: My suggestion is that someone asking that question think about whether a pluralistic society should allow that lying. For example, some people cannot obtain a loan for a house (excuse me: a home) without lying about their credentials and credit. Doesn't the city of man abhor homelessness?

Bou: Well, I think that falls under the category of justice. Is every person entitled a home? No. But if a person cannot afford a home, it is unjust to make the bank pay for it through a bad loan.

FT: That's an interesting question -- if you think liberty is an unquestionable value.

Bou: I don’t because I think it needs to be balanced by not infringing on others liberty.

FT: I think every citizen in any country which is actually a country and not in anarchy recognizes that "liberty" is not their chief social end: justice is far more meaningful to the common citizen than liberty -- for example, it's not "liberty" which causes you to be paid for your work each week, but justice; it's not liberty which keeps other men from molesting your wife, but justice.

Bou: Is justice not a concept that occurs between two parties? Like in the OT, God says to stop being unjust and oppressing the poor. Or that imbalanced weight is unjust. Etc. How are you or others affected by allowing gay marriage?

Not only that, but the idea of molesting my wife would naturally fall under the things prohibited because they infringe on my wife’s liberties.

FT: My opinion is that reasoning from liberty to moral conclusions is untennable -- because liberty has nothing to do with morality except that it be limited by morality.

Bou: Oh, I agree. So I ask, why should we be concerned about making others moral through laws, in as much as is necessary for law and order?

I would be interested in you or some others presenting a Gospel-centric idea of how a Christian relates to a democratic society. I searched, but didn’ t locate any posts. I am working through this issue myself and would love your thoughts sometime.

Forgive me for the format. I do not know how to highlight as you have. =)

Kim said...

Ah, Phil, you are so concise. You get to the point without a lot of blah blah blah. Thanks!

Brad Williams said...

I have to disagree. The three kids smoking, well, I will take that kind of cool over the kind of cool promoted these days. Those kids probably had jobs, were punished if they didn't do their chores, and would never carry a man purse.

donsands said...

"Is this about commitment to the Kingdom or to America?"

I pray in faith that I may seek always first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. And yet as an American, and I have a love for this nation, I live my life as an American, and will fight for my freedom if necessary, and speak out aginst foolishness, and hopefully never, ever, not put forth the Gospel first and foremost.

Being an American Christian is a blessing, but it is difficult, and as such one can receive a lot of internal criticism.

It would be a lot easier in some ways to be a Christian in North Korea.

Mike said...

Sweeter than Yoohoo...

Travis said...

As entertaining as this blog may be it is not without concern.

It is true that some of the articles on the front page of the on-line version of Relevant cause an involuntary roll of the eyes (especially by middle aged adults who still uses words like “rad” and “gnarly”). However, if a reader digs deeper (and not much deeper) they see issues of missions, “Have missionaries lost their chariots of fire?” It addresses the questions of purpose in missions. Are we no different now than NGO’s (it is encouraging that young people know what NGO’s are)? Where is the balance between words and deeds? This is a biblical issue. It is not enough to just give someone a cup of cold water and hope they come to saving faith. Another concern is that of misquoting.

“The Jet Blue flight attendant who took "that big inflatable slide to freedom" (he "was a hero to all of us")…”

In the attempt to cause tension, this is a gross misrepresentation of what the article was discussing. The author was not setting up Slater as some Proletarian hero, he was warning us of the dangers of pride especially pride from ones who profess to be Christians. It was a reminder to us that we not only have been Slater, but also the one who allegedly caused him to take those steps. This is a biblical issue; it is a question of pure doctrine. Let our actions be above reproach and match our words (Titus 2:7).

Let us be careful not to write magazines like Relevant completely off as worthless. If this is what the youth are reading to form their Christian worldview than we have a responsibility. It is to teach them the biblical answers to the questions that are brought up in magazines like Relevant and not just use it as blog fodder.

Sarah : ) said...

I had recently reconnected with an old friend from high school on fb only to find that he is now living as a gay man with his "husband". I don't think I'm that old (I'm still in my twenties), and I became so concerned for his salvation that each day I was and am praying for ways to witness to him. I simply started messaging him about spiritual things to try and find out what he believed. I limited my points to simply quoting Scriptures about the Law of God,our sinfulness, the judgement for sin, and salvation only found in Christ. I never once said anything directly about his homosexuality. I didn't have to, because the Word of God convicts and enrages our natural sinful self. He has since blocked me as a friend on fb, but he has heard the gospel and knows what the Word of God says, and I am still praying for him and the other man.
I am not afraid to tell him or anyone else what God's Word says about anything. It's not being judgemental, because the Bible tells us what has already been judged by God to be sinful, so it's His judgement, not mine.
As far as being "relevant", there's nothing more ridiculous. My husband and I are in youth ministry and I'm disgusted by the attempts people make to reach kids with the gospel. There's nothing more pathetic than someone in their thirties or forties trying to act and dress like they're fifteen, and the kids see through that. As someone who went through years of youth meetings and events, I can tell you that if you really want to glorify God and kids to be saved, then open your Bibles and study the Word of God openly and honestly, preach the gospel to them with sincerity and live it in all that you do. The last thing they need is more entertainment or worldly influence, they already get that 24/7.
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek."-Romans 1:16.
The power of God (who is omnipotent) is in the gospel. The gospel is found only in the Word of God. If you want your ministry to be powerful, go to the source: the Bible.

Sarah : ) said...

I get what you're saying Travis, but am guessing most of the readers of "Relevant" aren't kids but adults trying to be relevant to the kids. It would never be "cool" as a teen to read it, lol.

C. M. Sheffield said...

Neo-liberalism. Plain and simple. Old error in new (and more relevant) packaging.

Frank Turk said...

Bou2010:

Define marriage, and I can answer the rest of your questions.

David said...

I'll go Eddie Eddings one step further:

Pick a top 10 city. Then google SBC churches in that city. At random, pick any church from that list and look at their web site. Read their sermon titles. See what they do - and don't - feature on the home page. Try to find "Justification by faith" beyond their Salvation beliefs abstract.

Not defending Relevant Mag by any stretch. But you get my point.

Phil Johnson said...

Travis: "Let us be careful not to write magazines like Relevant completely off as worthless"

I say rather: Let's not succumb to the types of rationalisms Travis employed to defend the hipster status quo and thereby miss the point that magazines like Relevant aren't merely "worthless" in some passive, neutral way. The philosophy that has given us Relevant, Emergent religion, and a host of other postmodern "evangelical" sideshows is positively dangerous and counterproductive to the spiritual health and growth of adolescents and young adults.

Lynda O said...

I didn't know about Relevant magazine, but it doesn't surprise me, as this is all part of the "hip" evangelical culture that really just reflects the mass immaturity in our society, even among Christians, of so many people who don't think or act like responsible adults -- entertainment is more important to such a mindset than anything of serious consequence.

As for prop. 8, as long as judges continue to make the real law, and the overall culture continues to decay, I'm not optimistic that this country will continue to uphold law and order, including in the matter of the sanctity of marriage. As Phil said (at the spring 2008 Shepherd's Conference), the political-Christian right has failed miserably in attaining its stated goals, even its primary one of the overturn of Roe v. Wade.

Chris said...

Excellent post Phil!

The magazine title says it all, and it makes it clear where they stand. They are indeed "relevant"...
relevant to the culture in which we live, to the doctrines of demons, to hell itself, to postmodern relativism, to pagan priorities, to rejecting the sufficiency and authority of scripture, to apostates and heretics, to carnality and/or desires of the flesh. Okay, now that is clear. What they are NOT "relevant" to is the kingdom of God, TRUTH, clarity, or the attributes of God they find uncomfortable, such as His Holiness, His sovereignty, His Justice, and the inerrancy of His Word!

Our Lord was not "relevant" nor did he desire to be so; the apostles weren't relevant either. The true Church of Christ has never been relevant, but quite to the contrary! The gospel genuine Christians embrace and are willing to die for is perhaps the most irrelevant set of beliefs the culture around us has ever heard--Paul and the Lord Jesus made this point explicitly clear.

So, let THEM be relevant while WE truly follow Christ by His grace.

I might also add that a foul magazine like Relevant would not have the readership it does without the aiding work of so many apostates in so many heretical "Christian" colleges and seminaries out there.

Chris said...

Travis:

Scripture knows of actual, true MISSIONARY work, not the postmodern wordplay that has produced non-biblical concepts (codewords really) like "missional" or "missions" so popular today among the "relevant"--those folks who love the idea of simultaneously "reaching" people with (some form of) the "gospel" whilst sucking-down a few brewskis in a bar, getting tats in the name contextualization, using their favorite choice words from the gutter, and generally trying to present what they think is the gospel in the most undignified forms imaginable.

Chris said...

BTW; Relevant = worthless

(c:

Strong Tower said...

How are you or others affected by allowing gay marriage?

Yes, unequivocably so.

For one thing it changes the definition of marriage. That in turn redefines society. Beside the obvious social costs, i.e. a truncated life expectancy half of heterosexuals, major health problems, there are the attendant psycho-pathological problems to the life-style. And while some might blame those on societal disapproval, how can society be blame by the obvious cognitive dissonance of a non-procreative relationship wanting to raise children. Or even, wanting to be just like heterosexuals? That is just plain insanity. It is contrary to all that homosexuality means to want to be like hetersexuals or to want to have children.

If homosexuality was not a major issue, affecting me personally, would I be paying for gay studies in publicly funded education programs k-16? No. But, I do.

In every facet of the issue each individual and whole groups are affected. You cannot say, for instance, that gradeschoolers are not psychologically impinged upon when on the one hand they are taught human reproduction and the normalcy of it and then are befuddled with the legitimacy of a non-reproductive relationship that is call normal and assert that they have the same rights to raise children as any. How can you explain that to a child without creating a cognitive conflict, or a conflict of values?

The propaganda has been that there are no costs associated, that it is only between the two conscenting persons but the elephant facts don't support that. Their own apologists state that a committed monogomous homosexual relationship is so rare that it is a near myth.

The effects of condoning homosexuality is so clearly evident that it proves that the propagandists have succeeded in many ways in obscuring the truth. Unless you can prove that it never goes beyond the bedroom, you've failed to convince anyone that it does not affect society at large. The mere fact that we are having the "conversation" should demonstrate that it has. Beside that, that either side is expending effort and billions of dollars to defend or defeat the meaning of marriage should inform anyone that it has done great harm already.

Define marriage, and I can answer the rest of your questions.

Zackly!

St.Lee said...

"Bou: Is justice not a concept that occurs between two parties? Like in the OT, God says to stop being unjust and oppressing the poor. Or that imbalanced weight is unjust. Etc. How are you or others affected by allowing gay marriage? "

Well, how was Lot affected by living in Sodom?

How will my grandchildren be affected by living in a country which teaches its children that gay marriage is perfectly acceptable, and by extension that the Bible is wrong?

Chris said...

Regarding the gay marriage issue, of which I intentionally ignored in my previous comments, I would just like to add this:

from all of the comments I read here expressing (very legitimate) lament and even agonizing frustration over the fact that we have sunk that much deeper into an irreversible dark hole as a nation, the fact remains that we as Christians are pilgrims here, living amongst a PAGAN society that HATES our gospel, our God, our scriptures, and/or our Truth. I know that everyone who has expressed their frustrations over these recent court decisions probably knows this intellectually, but it is high time to embrace the reality and begin to live in it. In other words, it is time to accept the fact that the decades-old, pseudo-Christian America that provided so many comforts for true believers is slipping away rapidly and is being replaced with at least a more honest reality of who is for Christ and who is against Him. We should long for this, if we are honest, when we consider what a pathetic mess evangelicalism has become in recent years and decades. It is time we begin living (or at least thinking) like our brethren in Christ around the globe who live with real opposition to the gospel and real dependence upon the Lord for His provision (i.e. historic Christianity). The good news, in such an environment, is that it is quite easy to see that Christians are Christians (a very narrow road) and pagans are pagans, regardless of how diversified they may be. So, in such an environment, Relevant sits right on the same shelf as People magazine and Christians should find both publications entirely IRRELEVANT to their lives.

Tyler Wallick said...

John A - exactly!

donsands - I regularly have this discussion with a good friend of mine. He thinks as you do, where I am the opposite. Where we live is irrelevant - I truly do not understand patriotism at all from a biblical perspective. It is not a biblical quality (that I can find) that I should pursue, yet it is difficult to find anyone who isn't gung-ho for "America". I am thankful that I live here (most times), but not always for the reasons that glorify God. I see no value or Scriptural suggestion whatsoever in "fighting" for/against anything this country purports/allows. I am not saying it is wrong per se, but I certainly do not get it.

Blue Collar Todd said...

Who says leadership does not matter? This country is also having a renewed debate about President Obama's "Christian faith". Obama has an incoherent view of sin, claiming sin is a violation of his personal values. He also denies Jesus is the exclusive way of salvation. This ties into the social issues, because now it seems morally acceptable for Christians to tolerate infanticide and promote the sin of homosexuality just like our President. Here in California, the nation's attention is on Proposition 8 and the attempt to normalize homosexuality. How can a sin like that be normalized without serious consequences to the faithful Body of Christ?

stratagem said...

Whoa - going to Relevant magazine for Biblical truth is like going to a donut shop for a nutritious meal.

Maybe the subtitle on their masthead should be "Worldly wisdom with a Christian veneer"

??

Larry Geiger said...

Ok Travis.

I was maybe following you up to here: "If this is what the youth are reading to form their Christian worldview than we have a responsibility." It looks to me like the phrase "their Christian worldview" is some sort of relevant speak about some sort of christianity. Finding a "worldview" has little to nothing to do with "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him."

Chris said...

Tyler:

I empathize with you, but--on the same token--we should always be quick to recognize that America is and has been the greatest example of freedom and democracy the world has ever known. We should also be quick to recognize that such blessing came as a result of those commitments to God's Truth by so many founders (of course not all of them, and not all biblically sound, either). There is no coincidence that the rapid abandoning of our biblical heritage as a nation runs parallel with our rapid decline in so many areas. However, I like what John MacArthur has said: "who knows, America just may be the greatest recovery story in human history." We ought to pray ever more earnestly for revival in this nation.

stratagem said...

PS: The very name of the magazine, "Relevant", implies that the Bible isn't relevant unless it is coated with worldy coolness. But God's truth is truly relevant, and in light of it, everything else is irrelevant.

trogdor said...

Stratagem,

You might try the egg white turkey sausage flatbread from Dunkin Donuts. Less than 300 calories, 21g of protein against only 8g fat (3g saturated), and surprisingly tasty.

Is this off-topic? It's no less relevant than Relevant magazine.

Strong Tower said...

Like Biker Bibles, Cowboy Bibles, Surfer Bibles, et cetera, a Cool Bible doesnt really have anything new in it except for the hole where the battery powered fan is found.

stratagem said...

That sounds way too nutritious to be Relevant. Maybe a big ball of cotton candy would be appropos?

donsands said...

"I see no value or Scriptural suggestion whatsoever in "fighting" for/against anything this country purports/allows." -Tyler

How the freedom for our children, and children's children, not to mention our wives, friends and fellow Americans.

I hope you read my whole comment, for there is more to it than this, but this is part of my inheritance as an American.

America is not the Church, but it is nation under God, and in the beginning the Bible.

There's a lot more to my thinking, but it would take us way off topic.
There were great American Christians who fought for freedom, and they loved Christ.
It's possible to do.

Phil said...

Stratgem - that's actually a good analogy that gets back to what Phil Johnson was saying.

Babies need milk to survive; imagine what would happen if we crammed our newborns and infants full of cotton candy and then vigorously defended our actions by saying "well there is nothing inherently harmful about cotton candy." It would be laughably stupid if it weren't so deadly.

RomansOne said...

Candles are most visible in a dark room -- and it's getting darker with every court ruling. Candles aren't "relevant" to the darkness around them, because light and darkness can't mix. Though, bottom line, candles are *totally* relevant to the darkness, because light is just what the darkness needs (but doesn't want).

stratagem said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
stratagem said...

"Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people."

So maybe God does care what our nation allows or "purports" (sic)?

bou2010 said...

FT: Define marriage, and I can answer the rest of your questions.

Bou: I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I don’t believe that’s an opinion, I believe that is the objective, absolute truth and it extends from my belief in a Christian biblical ethic.

Strong Tower: Yes, unequivocably so.

Bou: All the things you mentioned happen right now. People won’t become gay if gay marriage is legalized. They already are. They’re already living today, sharing medical insurance, adopting children, etc.

I do agree that I don’t want my children exposed to homosexual propaganda, but that stuff is in public schools already, and I would advise you to withdraw your children and homeschool or send them to private school if you haven’t already.

Strong Tower: Unless you can prove that it never goes beyond the bedroom, you've failed to convince anyone that it does not affect society at large.

Bou: It’s already outside the bedroom in every way you think.

St. Lee: Well, how was Lot affected by living in Sodom? How will my grandchildren be affected by living in a country which teaches its children that gay marriage is perfectly acceptable, and by extension that the Bible is wrong?

Bou: Our country is as decadent as ever. But my greatest desire is for my children to plant a flag for Jesus Christ and live in such a way that they would be willing to die for the precious truths of the Gospel.

Here’s where I think that we all disagree:

Trying to legislate Christian principles (apart from what is necessary for law and order) is like looking at the dead body of a man who has been shot through the head and putting a bandaid on the hole in his head. He doesn’t need a bandaid; he needs to be resurrected, and only Christ can do that.

And this whole argument breeds an “us versus them” mentality. I know because I have many homosexuals friends that I want to see come to Jesus. They know I think their homosexuality is wrong, but they also know I love them dearly.

wordsmith said...

Amazing how many who identify themselves as Christian seem to think it no big deal to redefine "marriage," as if they can improve upon the Lord God's definition - who, as Creator, alone has the right to define what marriage is.

What hubris on the part of man.

(Not to mention that quaint little notion of earthly marriage being a picture of the relationship between Christ and His Church.)

For those Christians who say "What's the harm of letting gays marry?": What do you suppose two men or two women "marrying" each other does to this symbolism?

Is it really "no big deal"?

John said...

"I have to disagree. The three kids smoking, well, I will take that kind of cool over the kind of cool promoted these days. Those kids probably had jobs, were punished if they didn't do their chores, and would never carry a man purse."
ROFL
@Chris - Good word.

Mike Riccardi said...

1. The purpose of the civil government is to promote the general good and well-being of the society and to restrain the evil therein to the best of its ability (Gen 9:6-7). Therefore, the government should not sanction that which the Lord of the Universe expressly forbids, because violating God's Word is never the best thing for any society, as long as Jesus is Lord.

2. If the Creator and Lord of the Universe has clearly defined marriage as being between one man and one woman, then to sit quietly by while our government (which we have been blessed to participate in), in rebellious, treasonous fashion seeks to redefine that given definition would itself be an act of treason against our King.

3. Even so, our opposition to the legalization of gay "marriage" cannot be based solely on those two things. What it should be based on is the fact that it distorts the picture of the Gospel that God created the institution of marriage to be. Marriage is given to human beings in order to point us to the reality of Christ's covenant-keeping grace with His people; the husband pictures Christ and the wife pictures the Church. You mess with that, and you obscure the picture of the Gospel.

St.Lee said...

Let's see bou2010, you asked "How are you or others affected by allowing gay marriage?" leading me to assume that you believe no one else is affected by gay marriage. I answered by asking two rhetorical questions: How was Lot affected by living in Sodom, and how will my grandchildren be affected by living in a country that teaches, in effect, that the Bible is wrong.

Your answer to that is that our country is as decadent as ever? Wrong. Our country is becoming more decadent by the day.

And even if justice is a concept that occurs between two people as you claim, then I and my grandchildren are suffering an injustice in having to live in a more decadent society. In fact are not each of the parties involved in the gay marriage being unjust to the other in placing them in a position of greater condemnation?

This will all seem more relevant on judgement day (just wanted to get back on topic)

Mike Riccardi said...

I probably should have addressed my above comment to bou2010 and Protoprotestant. Just in case it wasn't clear, fellas, I was responding to your questions and comments.

Chris said...

Mike,

I get all of these fine, biblically-supported points you are making, and wish so dearly that we were living in a different reality. However, despite the fact that this "should be" issue is indeed one of enormous proportions and the implications of such a decision--of which has not been made by any people group anywhere on the planet throughout history--are sure to be devastating and entirely horrendous, it is nonetheless where we as pilgrims in this utterly wicked and pagan society find ourselves in 2010. You of all people here know our sovereign Lord has full control over even the decisions (court rulings) of pagans, even when they seem utterly haywire to us. Of course, the legalization of murdering the unborn through abortion is equally as horrendous before our Holy God, and the commonplace practice of unwarranted divorce, even within the professing Christian community, grieves the heart of God. So, at the risk of sounding too simplistic or redundant, in light of my previous comments, I just have to say that we will simultaneously need to prepare for living faithfully to scripture under a great deal more oppression from the pagan world and for the return of our Lord in power and glory. On that day, all of these issues will be brought into perfect focus and everyone who has not been for Christ will be brought to light as being against him. The folks over at Relevant will undoubtedly see this event just like the folks over at NBC will see this great day of the Lord--as utterly IRRELEVANT to their lives. Sadly, it will be eternally relevant.

Mike Riccardi said...

Chris,

I understand and agree with what you've said. Did my comment give the impression that I didn't?

Chris said...

I'm a day late and a dollar short, Mike. (o:

Oh well, that's what I get for writing such a long comment.

Chris said...

No, not at all. I had yet to see your point of clarification. In terms of your comments, it did not seem as though you didn't, but I could feel the sense of frustration in your tone...or maybe it was a tonal misread??

Mike Riccardi said...

Tonal misread, lol, I love it.

Maybe what came across as frustration I intended to be firmness.

Besides, as I said, I probably should have just addressed my response to those I was responding to; namely:

Protoprotestant: Roman society had a completely different view of marriage, incompatible with the Biblical concept of it and yet....life went on. The Church didn't seem to think what the pagans did affected them.

You want to change marriage? First, we need to reform the Church, because right now it doesn't know what it is or what it's doing.

Is the Word of God enough or do we need something else in order to complete the mission of the Church
?

bou2010: Can a Christian believe that homosexuality is wrong and that they need Jesus, while still allowing for gay marriage in a pluralistic society? Are not the values of the city of God different than the values of the city of man?

In as much as we need laws to protect people (do not kill, steal, etc.), then we legislate morality. But what about behavior that does not infringe on another's liberties?

Why do we think it will change anything if we keep homosexuals from marrying? They'll still go to hell, married or not, without Jesus
.

Robert said...

I'm on board with Chris and Mike on this. We have to meet people on a personal level to deliver the gospel to them. Yes, we should be praying for our country and for revival, but I keep thinking that I need to follow Jesus' example and pray for God's will, not mine.

I don't know His will as far as the whole country/world is as far as a timeline goes. I do know what the Bible spells out in explicit terms as His will for my life (borrowing from a MacArthur sermon):

1) Be Saved (1 Tim. 2:3; 2 Peter 3:9, John 6:38, 40)

2) Be Spirit-filled (Ephesians 5:17-18)

3) Be Sanctified/Separated from Sin (1 Thes. 4:3)

4) Be Submissive (James 4:7; Ephesians 5; 1 Peter 2:13, 15)

5) Suffer (1 Peter 2:20, 3:17, 4:19; 2 Timothy 3:12; 2 Cor. 12:9-10)

6) Say Thanks (1 Thes. 5:18)

My point is that these are all personal things that we can do and encourage others to do. And if we and others are doing this and it spreads, then we'll see changes in the nation around us. Don't count on government to do it and don't think affecting change in government will save people...it won't. The gospel is the power to save people and that only spreads through evangelism. However, I'd still point back to James 4:4 and 1 John 2:15-17 as guidelines for making sure we don't approach the world in the wrong way.

bou2010 said...

Mike,

as Christians we are to reflect the Gospel in everything we do. I'm not so sure Gospel pictures must be reflected by the heathen.

Further, how is it that we are not as strong proponents of legislating against easy divorce? I don't see the campaigns, the protests, the big money on those laws that violate the Gospel picture. That breaks the picture as well, but you'd be hardpressed to find churches preaching against unscriptural divorce.

Personally, I'd much rather see us work on getting the church to reflect the Gospel and stop having serial marriages, than trying to get unbelievers to reflect it, before they meet Jesus. As Henry Blackaby says, "Don't curse the darkness for being darkness. That's what it is."

Judgment begins with the house of God, no?

Rachael Starke said...

What frustrates me over and over and over again whenever this topic comes up in various holes in the Reformed blunkersphere (blog+bunker) is the way people go so binary so fast.

If you express any interest in, or support for, engaging in the political aspects of the discussion (saying "yes" to the traditional definition of marriage by voting for candidates or referenda which support it, working toward that end in any legitimate political way, etc.), some automatically assume that you've given up on the gospel.

OTOH, if you express ambivalence or outright hostility toward the effectiveness of the political process to effect true, Biblical change in society, the other side assumes you're just heading for the cultural hills with your water purification tablets and your MacArthur ESV Study Bibles to wait for Jesus to come back.

It's a both/and issue. When someone asks us, through a ballot or a T.V. interview or whatever else, what marriage is, our very union with Christ as His children should compel us to answer. And when we catch heat for it, our union with Christ as His children should compel us to bless those who curse us and pray for those who persecute us. Then, regardless of the outcome, we can say that we have done what we should.

The challenge with issues like this is that they do not lend themselves to soundbites, magazines headlines or tweets. They do lend themselves to avenues, like,oh, say, Sunday mornings and evenings, in the midst of gospel-soaked, Christ-focussed sermons on Genesis and Romans and Hebrews and Hosea. For example. That's relevance.

Rachael Starke said...

bou2010,

Judgment begins with the house of God, no?

Absolutely. Ask your pastor if he'd be willing to preach through Hosea, for a start. :)

Rob Bailey said...

"donsands" -

I am not as ardent follower of this blog to pass any judgment of you, your faith, your beliefs,your past postings, or your education. But the concept of "American" origins implied by your comments @ 12:00pm are naive, to say the least. Our country was built on rebellion. Rebellion against government, rebellion against scripture, and rebellion against God. There were those that held to a biblical view of obedience to government and the believer's role; but they were silenced by those who screamed for "freedom." Nothing about our rebellion even smells like biblical. Yes, there were true believers who fought. But there was nothing biblical about the revolution. 'been studying Samuel and American history.

donsands said...

I don't think I'm "naive, to say the least", Rob.

Been studying some Patrick Henry.

"Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not [Jer. 5:21], the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth;" -Patrick Henry 3-23-1775

We can certainly disagree. If we were both back in the day, you would have been loyal to England and tyranny, and I would have fought for my freedom.

"For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. .....

It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace-- but there is no peace [Jer. 6:14]. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle [Matt. 20:6]? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"

Mike Riccardi said...

as Christians we are to reflect the Gospel in everything we do.

So when we participate in the political process -- not because we believe it to be the principal means of change but because we want to be good stewards of the privilege we have as citizens of (at least what used to be) a democratic republic -- we should participate in such a way that reflects the Gospel. That would include me voting against rebels who want to take something God created and redefine it to suit their own perversion of others of His gifts.

I'm not so sure Gospel pictures must be reflected by the heathen.

Unless you want to argue that only Christians should get married, God gave marriage to unbelievers as well, with no less an intention to be honored and glorified by their participation in His gift.

Further, how is it that we are not as strong proponents of legislating against easy divorce? I don't see the campaigns, the protests, the big money on those laws that violate the Gospel picture. That breaks the picture as well...

When there's a piece of legislation presented to the public to vote on making divorce more difficult, I'll be as vocal about that as this. Right now the issue at hand is the redefinition of marriage to meet the homosexual agenda. It's a red herring to bring up anything else.

...but you'd be hardpressed to find churches preaching against unscriptural divorce.

So? That's a problem for those churches to deal with. Surely because some people do something wrong somewhere, doesn't mean that we can't do what's right here and now regarding the issue at hand. Again, unbiblical divorce is simply not the issue. It certainly is a big deal, and something the church shouldn't put on the back-burner. But you're not seeing campaign signs because right now the issue at hand is gay "marriage."

Personally, I'd much rather see us work on getting the church to reflect the Gospel and stop having serial marriages, than trying to get unbelievers to reflect it, before they meet Jesus.

Same issue. Somebody somewhere else is doing something wrong, so we can't do something right.

Nobody's talking about not getting the church to stop having serial marriages. And nobody's talking about getting unbelievers to reflect the Gospel before they know Jesus. What we're talking about is a matter of law, presented to us who are given a stewardship of how our citizenship as Christians should be benefit to those who are in the position to be benefited by our citizenship as Americans.

And as I said before, the government exists to promote the general good and well-being of the society and to restrain the evil therein to the best of its ability Therefore, it should not sanction that which the Lord of the Universe expressly forbids, because violating God's Word is never the best thing (neither the most loving thing) for any society.

As Henry Blackaby says, "Don't curse the darkness for being darkness. That's what it is.".

So, what? Call evil good? Or just remain indifferent? Good ol' Blackaby.

Robert Warren said...

I hope Wyclef Jean is elected President of Haiti. At least then I will know what he is famous for.

Johnny Dialectic said...

But there was nothing biblical about the revolution.

There are four references to God in the Declaration of Independence, as a matter of authority and justification for a new government. The revolution was not about "rebellion" per se; it was about where rights come from.

David Alves said...

Seeing little snatches of this at my college...so sad to see so many youth deceived into being cool and popular and relevant in the eyes of men and not God.

One of our professors, incidentally, is pastor of an Emerg***[copyright Daniel Phillips]congregation in the area. A lot of horrid things being spewed by him.

Thankfully, the Lord has been very kind to send me many close friends who are all very string, conservative, orthodox believers--even when it isn't cool. He also brought me to one of the few faithful churches in the city, which is bustling with Word-hungry souls.

The former is fodder for mourning and fighting. The latter are fodder for praise, and hope.

Strong Tower said...

Well then bou you answered your own question. It does affect you just as it affects us. You want your friends to come to Christ but the hangup is their lifestyle. You tell them it is wrong, but just what affirmative action have you taken? Sharing the Gospel? How about the second step? If they reject your message you're to move on. That you want to keep them as friends is your hangup. By continuing your relationship with them you are really demonstrating your contempt for them. At some point, if you loved them, you would tell them that you cannot have anything to do with them, and why. Faithful are the wounds of a friend but it appears that you don't want to thrust in the sword. So it affects you. It effectively destroys the witness that you think you are.

This I agree with. The boogeyman was let out of Pandora's Box fourty years ago. It ain't going back in. We will have to deal with it. But that cannot be by silence or passive rejection. To the contrary we will have to refuse societies overtures to normalize it and soundly denounce both homosexuality and same-sex unions of any kind, clearly articulate the problems and not succomb to the propaganda machines of the media and the institutionalized sin force fed those in public schools. It will have to be done by refusing to be partakers of the in-group, as you are. It will have to be done by removing children from harms way, by clear denunciation from the pulpit, and yes, where there is a need to, in the political arena.

If you are adamant in your beliefs, even if you wish to remain friends, if you are honest, forthright, your friends will soon leave you. My guess is that you cherish their friendship more than the truth or it would be "if you will renounce your homosexuality, then we can continue our relationship." If that has not become your bottom line after explaining the Gospel to them, you're failing in living the Gospel. You will keep your friends but they will never have the incentive to leave their lifestyle, because they have nothing to lose by not.

Double up on Mike's link. It is not the loving thing, as DJP pointed out, to enable your friends sin by condoning it through the maintenance of your relationship. In fact it will lead you away, it will not lead them to Christ.

Eric said...

"If we were both back in the day, you would have been loyal to England and tyranny, and I would have fought for my freedom." ~ donsands

I can think of another group who lived under much worse political tyranny: Christ, Paul, Peter, et al. You show me one place in any of their teachings that called Christians to throw off the tyrannical government, and I'll consider your position. Funny, the Apostles were tortured, imprisoned and executed by their government for preaching Christ, yet not once did they uphold "political freedom" or "freedom of religion" as the sine qua non of true Christian living.

The Declaration of Independence states "That whenever any form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the RIGHT of the people to alter or to ABOLISH it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as TO THEM shall seem most likely to effect their SAFETY and HAPPINESS."

In contrast, God says: "Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people."

Sound the same to you?

Pooka said...

Eric said:

"In contrast, God says: "Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.""

And when that government, in the eyes of the people, ceases to do just that? Men can, by God's grace, see and figure out when it's time to change. It's not like the Founding Fathers were like the hyenas from The Lion King, chanting "No King, No King, Lalalalalala."

walsingham said...

The youth pastor at the church I attend subscribes to Relevant and leaves copies in the foyer. Teeth-grindingly maddening to see this tripe being given a place in my church.

William Dicks said...

Great post Phil!

You definitely have a way with words!

I don't know how you can read through stuff like that. It simply makes my blood boil!

These PoMo's and relevantizers are the way they are because they do not have any convictions, since they are theological ninnies.

It is not that they actually believe that stuff (or do they?) It is a fear driven ideology because people may disagree with them if they say that anybody is going to hell, or those that do not follow Christ are damned.

In their minds it is something like: "DAMNED are those that are not damned!"

bou2010 said...

Mike, it's not a red herring.

Jesus said "Remove the beam before pointing out speck." If you want to call the issue of the beam a red herring, you are free to do so, but not without disagreeing with Jesus. Obviously, this doesn't mean we need to be perfect to point out sin, but it does mean we need to be somewhat right with God in the issue at hand. For the American church, we are not in any way right with God in this issue.

Strong Tower: My guess is that you cherish their friendship more than the truth.

False dichotomy. I can cherish both. I also do not see any biblical mandates to break fellowship with unbelievers because they don't accept the Gospel. I do see biblical mandates to break fellowship with Christians who refuse to repent of gross sin after appropriate warnings, but not for unbelievers.

Obviously, my level of intimacy and friendship with believers outweighs anything with unbelievers because of our bond in Christ, but that does not mean I have no friends who are unbelievers.

(Good discussion, gentlemen. I enjoy your thoughts and the dialogue we are having. =)

trogdor said...

That whole church discipline thing in Mat 18? Don't worry about it until you're sinlessly perfect. Identifying false teachers and wolves? Don't bother unless your own doctrine and practice rival the apostles. Certainly that must be what Jesus meant!

Rob Bailey said...

donsands-

"We can certainly disagree. If we were both back in the day, you would have been loyal to England and tyranny, and I would have fought for my freedom."

There is no precedent in Scripture to disobey the government because you want your freedom. It is absolutely the opposite. There is no way around it. I have studied Paine, his hermeneutic approach to the Scripture he used was way off base. I say again, Scripturally, there is absolutely no way to justify the founding of America. "Fighting for my freedom." Exactly. You would have used your own desires to trump scripture. Your loyalty would have been with your own self importance, your own rights, not freedom. My loyalty would not have been with England, as you implied, but with scripture. God's commands. They are not ambiguous. They are not fuzzy. They are not confusing. They do not lend themselves to manipulation. I do not like the way England ran the colonies. But that is no reason to disobey God's commands. I do not like the way our current administration is running the country. In many ways I think it is worse than the situation faced by the colonies. But we don't load our guns and go after the government. Just read the Bible and put it all in perspective.

Strong Tower said...

"I also do not see any biblical mandates to break fellowship with unbelievers because they don't accept the Gospel."

Matthew 10:14

And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town.

Mark 6:11

And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.

Luke 9:5

And wherever they do not receive you, when you leave that town shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them.

Okay, what ever you say.

Chris said...

Walsingham:

Run, don't walk, from that church! Shake the dust off of your feet and don't look back. Tell others in the congregation why you are leaving and persuade them to do the same.

I've been in such a situation myself in no less than three churches that were all either shamelessly compromised and/or going down the emergent road a few years back. I remember the aggravations I experienced every week, and throughout the week, as I couldn't reconcile the blatant disregard for truth and the twisted approaches to preaching I was hearing. Attempting to speak with the pastors about concerns led nowhere, as they had no desire to reassess anything they were doing, change anything they were teaching (even in light of biblical clarity to the contrary), nor consider anything I had to say--no matter how "conversational" my approach was at the onset. Sadly, my family and I had to depart in animosity because I ultimately needed to leave and give my reasons for doing so, which took the form of a rebuke. We were called divisive because we encouraged a few friends--people who loved the truth and seemed unlikely candidates for "relevant," postmodern approaches to Christianity--we made in those churches to do the same and leave with us.

In retrospect, perhaps we should have silently slipped out the back door, ran from those places, and simply never returned, as the approach I took was messy. Still not entirely certain about the right way to view those departures, as I find support in scripture for both: bold confrontation in the prophets, apostles, and the Lord Jesus, while Matthew 7:6 (not casting pearls before swine) is a strong argument for making a silent departure (along with some appropriate Proverbs).

Nonetheless, it sounds like your pastor is aggressively pushing his relevant agenda, and you should pray about getting far away from that place. Furthermore, when you arrive at a biblically-solid church where the leaders love truth and seek to honor God's Word in everything they do, you'll be amazed at how quickly all of the angst and frustration (distraction from the truth, actually) you must be experiencing now just dissolves away because you know there are faithful shepherds at the helm!

Chris said...

Walsingham:

I overlooked the word "youth" before pastor. Well, this changes things a bit. Don't run just yet. I'd go to the senior pastor or the elders. However, what I've seen in the leadership that brings one of these young postmoderns on board, fresh out of an apostate seminary most likely, is a spiritual dullness that can hardly be remedied. They are likely in the same spiritual condition as their newcomer, so I wouldn't expect a big difference. They obviously see nothing wrong with the literature this man disseminates amongst perhaps the most vulnerable members of the church.

donsands said...

"Funny, the Apostles were tortured, imprisoned and executed by their government for preaching Christ," Eric

If that's what you want Eric, you can go live in Iran, or North Korea.

America is a different nation under God than Rome.

But, we may end up dying for our faiths, or at least be incarcerated for preaching the truth. It could be coming to this nation.
We can stand up and protest against abortion in America, as we also preach the Gospel.
Can't do that in China. Well, you could, for a short time, until they took you away. They have forced abortions on China.

And the Gospel is going forth big time in China.

There's a lot to understand about being a Christian, and being an American.

We disagree. You don't like the Declaration of Independence, I do. It's not the Word of God, but it and the Constitution were based on the Bible.

It's a good document for a nation, I think.

donsands said...

"But we don't load our guns and go after the government."

Nope.

But if the government comes to my door, and demands we give up our freedoms, then I would fight. As I said before, for my family, my children, and children's children.

Do you think it was right to fight against Tojo and Hitler?

Just wondering.

donsands said...

"There are four references to God in the Declaration of Independence, as a matter of authority and justification for a new government. The revolution was not about "rebellion" per se; it was about where rights come from."-Johnny D

Thanks for sharing that JD.

bou2010 said...

Strong Tower: Those were specific instructions given by Jesus for a specific purpose.

Some other commands in that passage that might suggest that those were specific commands to the disciples:

1) The command only to preach the Gospel to the Jews.

2) Only take the clothes on your back, nothing else, in your ministering

3) He gave them authority to heal people (depending on your view of charismatic gifts).

4) He told them to raise the dead (depending on your view of charismatic gifts).

That was a specific task Jesus gave to the disciples and as such, he gave them a timetable to work with. If they're not receptive, leave.

Are you really advocating breaking off friendship with those who don't respond when you give them the Gospel?

Mike Riccardi said...

Mike, it's not a red herring.

Jesus said "Remove the beam before pointing out speck." If you want to call the issue of the beam a red herring, you are free to do so, but not without disagreeing with Jesus. Obviously, this doesn't mean we need to be perfect to point out sin, but it does mean we need to be somewhat right with God in the issue at hand. For the American church, we are not in any way right with God in this issue.

Dude, you've got to be kidding.

The Church needs to equip its members with what the Scriptures teach about marriage, specifically in the realm of biblical and unbiblical divorce.

Because that's true, individual Christians are not permitted to decry and denounce a perversion of the gift of marriage because of (1) its sinfulness, (2) its taking the right to define marriage out of God's hands, and (3) it distorts the Gospel.

If that's really what you're saying, you just jumped the shark. Thus, you've made it fairly clear that your comments aren't worth interacting with.

Trogdor illustrates that beautifully. So much so that I'm reprinting what he wrote:

That whole church discipline thing in Mat 18? Don't worry about it until you're sinlessly perfect. Identifying false teachers and wolves? Don't bother unless your own doctrine and practice rival the apostles. Certainly that must be what Jesus meant!

Certainly!

walsingham said...

Chris, thank you for your comments. It's sad to watch the decline of my church as truth is sacrificed on the altar of post-modern, seeker-sensitive pragamatism. You pretty well nailed it in regards to your comments on church leadership, and on how encouraging other true believers in the pursuit of absolute truth is perceived as divisive or judgemental behaviour. While I am not at the point yet of having to leave, the decisions being made by the pastors, elders and deacons may soon well make it impossible for me to have a place to serve in my church. Whether or not this would be a silent or 'noisy' departure remains to be seen.

bou2010 said...

Mike: The Church needs to equip its members with what the Scriptures teach about marriage, specifically in the realm of biblical and unbiblical divorce.

I agree.

If that's really what you're saying, you just jumped the shark. Thus, you've made it fairly clear that your comments aren't worth interacting with.

Well, I'm sorry you feel that way. I believe Christians can disagree on this and still be brothers.

Trogdor illustrates that beautifully. So much so that I'm reprinting what he wrote:

I didn't respond to Trogdor, because I already qualified my statement, but in an effort to destroy a strawman, he said that. I would hope you would have interacted with what I said rather than just a casual dismissal as many older people do. It's sad. How will us young people learn if you older people don't articulate a coherent reason for your belief instead of "you're not worth interacting with."

Mike Riccardi said...

if you older people...

I'm 24.

...don't articulate a coherent reason for your belief...

Again, you've just got to be kidding.

How about the three reasoned points that I originally posted that you seem to be ignoring?

How about the two posts I linked to that further elaborated on my points?

How about my explaining (reasoning) to you that someone's doing something wrong somewhere else should not keep me from doing something right in my circle?

In fact, it's you I don't see any reasoning from. Just a terribly handled eisegesis of Matthew 7.

You've only given further indication that you indeed are not worth interacting with. After being offered multiple reasoned arguments, you throw an out-of-context verse at me and accuse me of not reasoning.

And I'm the one not engaging.

Move it along.

Mike Riccardi said...

Also,

I think it was disingenuous of you to quote only half of my summary of your position as if it was what I was disagreeing with. Here's what I said, summarizing your argument:

Because that's true, individual Christians are not permitted to decry and denounce a perversion of the gift of marriage [notwithstanding] (1) its sinfulness, (2) its taking the right to define marriage out of God's hands, and (3) it distorts the Gospel.

If you believe that the Church's failing in one area requires us to fail in another, I say you're dead wrong.

I also think it's disingenuous of you to imply that because I don't think you're being reasonable -- and thus are not worth extended interaction -- that I don't think you're a Christian. I neither said said nor implied that. You're putting words in my mouth.

bou2010 said...

Mike, you're not offering coherent answers. You haven't demonstrated any reason why we should advocate unbelievers demonstrating the Gospel picture. You also haven't demonstrated why it's not hypocritical for the church to do this. Because you see it as such in your mind does not make it such.

In a sentence, here's what I believe and I then will leave:

Reforming Babylon is not the answer; building New Jerusalem is.

Tim Bushong said...

"Reforming Babylon is not the answer; building New Jerusalem is."

So let's say (for the sake of the discussion)_ that you have a legislative pen in your hand- by what standard to you write?

Pragmatist? Majority opinion?
God's Law?