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Archives for : heresy and screwy teaching….

Court rules against Jericho City of SHAME pastor……

City of Shame because ANY church set up as a business is doomed to fail. Apparently, 1 Corinthians 6:1-8 is not in their bibles.

Background:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/jericho-city-of-praise-leaders-file-dueling-lawsuits-over-control-of-md-megachurch/2011/07/07/gIQAQtt65H_story.html

And the ruling handed down a day or two ago by a judge:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/court-rules-against-jericho-city-of-praise-pastor-in-fight-for-control-of-ministry/2011/10/24/gIQA3piqDM_story.html

Several observations about this mess in:

1. Women pastor (his momma). 1 Tim. 2:11-14, 3 and Titus 1 violation.

2. No one ‘inherits’ a ministry. 1 Tim. 3, Titus 1 set out the qualifications for elder.

3. There is no ‘board of directors’ in scripture. In scripture, churches are run by the elders (pastors/bishops). Not a ‘singular’ pastor with some assistant pastors. Not the deacons (the lower cannot rule over the upper).

4. Fighting in church over the collection plate during a service.

May God shut down all of these 1 Tim. 4:3 houses of entertainment masquerading as churches.

Thoughts on Kim Kardashian, gay marriage and….marriage

There’s been jokes about the brevity of Hollywood marriages for years now. Britney Spears and her 55-hour marriage to Jason Alexander a few years ago still strikes me as incredulous and nothing more than a publicity stunt. It got press, but not much, since it seemed to happen on a whim over the course of a weekend spent partying in Vegas. But it, along with the many other relatively short ‘star’ marriages (usually 2-4 years at most) that continue to happen (and dissolve) among stardom go to underscore a lack of understanding about the seriousness of marriage.

Kim Kardashian’s 72 day marriage to NBA star Kris Humphries has been latched onto by homosexual activists and pro-gay marriage folks as proof that the problem (as purported by conservative politicians and talkshow hosts) is not ‘gay marriage’ eroding the sanctity of marriage.

In part, they are correct.

Gay marriage and the desire of homosexuals to ‘marry’, no-fault divorce, Jada and Will’s open marriage – all of these things aresymptoms of a de-valued view of marriage.  George Takei and Perez Hilton have both commented on their twitter feeds that ‘straight’ people are ruining the institution of marriage just fine without homosexual folks’ help.

Both men have a point – but it’s only a small point. They cannot rightly use Kim’s, Britney’s or any other short-term marriage as THE ‘examples’ of straight marriage that are ruining the sanctity of marriage.   To put it in perspective, one cannot look at Britney Norwood and any other two random black people who commit heinous acts of murder and conclude that they are ‘all’ making it bad for black people as a whole.  Just as Norwood’s actions represent her and not all black people, likewise, Kardashian’s 72-day wedding (with a huge payout for the rights to broadcast the wedding….seems like she just made 18 million dollars easy) doesn’t represent ‘straights’ or ‘heteros’ (as I’ve heard one gay person call us).

Where’d the low view of marriage come from ?

While it’s been the purview of the culture to wax and wane on the sanctity of marriage, it is the responsibility of the church to always uphold it. Ephesians 5:22-33 tells us that marriage itself is a ‘great mystery’ and that this great mystery refers to Christ and His church.  Think of it. Marriage is supposed to be an earthly ‘picture’ of Christ’s relationship to His church.

Marriage was the first societal institution created by God – even before the fall (Genesis 2:25-26).  So, political rhetoric aside, it really is one of the bedrocks and basic institutions of society itself, regardless of what form of government you believe is better (or what form of government you live in).

What happens when the church forgets this fact ? We get adultery allowed and almost encouraged in churches. When the church gives a wink and a nod to a pastor and merely ‘sits him down’ for a bit, but then ‘restores him’ to his previous office (even though 1 Tim. 3 and Titus 1 CLEARLY state that he must be above reproach – see my comments here), the church’s stance on marriage is taken to be a joke at best and the ‘rantings of clearly repressed individuals who are probably gay themselves’ at worst.  Eddie Long comes to mind immediately.

When we add to it cover-ups by other believers or the simple ‘excusing’ of sin under the guise of ‘grace’ (cheap grace at that) without biblical repentance (and where necessary biblical church discipline which may include excommunication for unrepentant sin), and the church indeed becomes no better than the world.

Notice – I’m not separating marriage and sex in this. God created them to be together, just like one does not get a first down by running off the football field and putting the ball on a parking lot line. We may expect the world to divorce the two – which Paul warned against repeatedly in 1 Cor. 5, 1 Thess. 4:3-8 and many other passages. But scripture never does and believers should renew their thinking to match scripture. Hebrews 13:4 reminds us that God doesn’t consider sex to be a bad thing – it’s undefiled in marriage.  Key words: in marriage.  And God defines what marriage is in Genesis 2. God wrote an entire book on the joy of marriage and sex with Song of Solomon.  God gave section after section of scripture to instruct couples how to deal with each other in marriage and what marriage itself entails (1 Peter 3, Ephesians 5, etc….) and how and why to avoid temptation toward unfaithfulness (Proverbs 5-7).

When the church abandons these things as foundation and begins to imitate the culture, homosexual folks coming up and trying tocall something that isn’t marriage ‘marriage’, folks trying to call open adultery a form of ‘marriage’ and so on really become commonplace.  And when the church knows these things, but does not support and proclaim them openly, the same thing happens.

Thankfully, there are men like Voddie Baucham, Bob Lepine, Al Mohler, Mark Dever, Gary Thomas, organizations like Family Life Today and others that seek to purposely proclaim and present a biblically accurate view of marriage, even in the face of society seeking to do the opposite.  As these men continue to step forth and stand in the gap, may those of us taught by them also take up the charge – not to proclaim what we are against as political pundits often do, but to wisely present a biblical case for what marriage really is and moreso – present the person asking with a view toward their need for a Savior – whether gay or straight (remember: 1 Cor. 6:9-10 treats heterosexual sex outside of marriage the EXACT same as homosexuality).

While We’re Waiting: Thoughts on the SGM Controversy (weeks later)

Ah. Yes. This.

Those of you who’ve followed here for a long time know that a few years back, one of my exes was an SGM (Sovereign Grace Ministries) church member (she left there while we were dating).  There were stories she used to tell me about spiritually and emotionally hurt people (herself included) that resulted from not going along with whatever ‘plan’ or program was being promoted at her church.

In addition, my own bits and pieces of independent research (including talking to then-current members and a few former members)  turned up a lot of ‘things that didn’t add up’ (i.e. no mention of Larry Tomczak’s name as helping to start SGM in their official history – not even in the 30 year anniversary DVD with a skit of how their church and ministry started), even though it appears in scholarly works like The New International Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements.

As an outsider, I can’t say that I’ve *always* had red flags about SGM. I haven’t. They’ve been on my recommended list of churches for years now (even on the main portion of this site) because the good there outweighs what I thought were simply a few negative criticisms (after all….no one’s perfect and spiritual hurt occurs even in the most sound of churches). I’ve heard stories of entire care groups taking off from work to help an individual move, come alongside someone who is grieving and even help with cooking, housekeeping and other things as an outworking of what the ‘oneanother’ passages in scripture point to.  So there are some very good things about SGM. God is at work in that denomination (yes, I know they don’t call themselves a denomination….but if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck….name it Donald or Daffy and move on with life).

I only found SGM Refuge and SGM Survivors on accident about 2-3 years ago….visited a few times, read a few dozen posts and a few hundred comments (for perspective) and then got tied up in other things.  So they weren’t an ‘influence’ so to speak, in me formulating my opinion of SGM. My general opinion was that they’re a good church movement, their teachings are relatively solid (only relatively…they are baptists… 🙂 ) and as the leadership in the movement grows more reformed in their thinking, the movement itself will grow more reformed. I do think that theologically, they still had (and this was my 2008 opinion of them) some growing to do in a few areas, but nothing to pull people away from.

I also noticed (and this is me analyzing church culture) that it seemed like all of their churches are clones of the mother church (Covenant Life). There seemed to be a certain personality type that ends up at CovLife (I didn’t notice a real ‘diversity’ of personality types like I would at other churches I’ve visited  and I’ve visited repeatedly at different points between 03 and 06 with sporadic visits between then and 08).  I don’t mean that in a negative way….it’s just an observation I noticed.

Anyway, we fast forward to the present. I may have read about 70-100 pages of the first documents that belonged to Brent D.  The rest of the smaller documents (the 26 and 30 page docs), I read in full, since they tended to summarize the earlier documents.

I’m not too surprised.  Absolute power corrupts absolutely unless your name is Jesus and you’re fully God and fully man.   This isn’t a problem unique to SGM.  Stuff like this happens in other denominations as well, albeit on a smaller scale in most cases. There’s also a certain tendency toward shepherding in some pentecostal movements that SGM’s leadership may have held onto all this time – either knowingly or unknowingly.

I’m also not surprised that a number of Christian men whom I’ve met, talked to and respect very much have jumped to his defense. They are his friends and friends do that for each other.  I personally think it might be smarter of them to belay their public defense of him (notice – I didn’t say their support….just public defense).  The reason I say that is that watching the entire thing unfold on the web as it has (not discussing whether or not it should be up there or not now….it’s there… you can’t unpop a balloon), if the independent panel evaluating Brent’s accusations does come to the conclusion that CJ is at fault, everyone who defended him (and trashed Brent at the same time…see below….) will necessarily be tainted.

That also includes the independent three-man panel (who tried to appear impartial on the issue, but actually have lots of ‘links’ to SGM and CJ in particular) who just declared CJ fit for ministry.

I say that as a caution because of the multiple discrepancies visible in the handling of the situation to date:

  • CJ acknowledges some things as sin and sees deficiencies in his leadership style as well as the style of SGM as a whole.
  • Josh says SGM is being publicly spanked. Rest of the leadership disagrees, Josh decides to leave the leadership board.
  • Others jump to CJ’s defense as if ALL the charges are completely false (in contradiction to CJ’s own released statement). In addition, they (along with SGM leadership) say whatever is necessary to discredit blogs like SGM Survivors and SGM Refuge…along with all of Brent’s documents.
  • Josh, on the other hand, at a family meeting (as well as in the Sunday morning sermon), pretty much encouraged people to go read the documents for themselves, read the blogs and acknowledged that there are some ‘true truths’ in the documents – enough to be concerned about and address as they have been doing.
  • Josh recently (this past Sunday I believe), backtracks on his previous statement (it appears..at least according to reports. I’m listening to the sermon now….) and regrets telling people to read the blogs and documents.

I’ve seen plenty of CJ and SGM defenders pop up as well as CJ and SGM bashers pop up.  Some people are straight speaking out of the pain that they experienced as SGM church members and now this is their time to ‘get even’.  A few out of genuine concern for the movement and the people involved in all of the situations.  Some speak as though CJ can and has never did any wrong and SGM is the ‘most perfect church on the face of the planet’.  A few have just shaken their heads in disbelief and said ‘move along…nothing to see here’. To also be honest, some are popping up simply because they hate reformed theology (which is what I caught a few whiffs of when reading Refuge and Survivors for the first time years ago) and this gives them a chance to ‘blame Calvinism’.

There’s been lots of ‘honest and open dialogue’ now in SGM. I keep reading from current members how their pastors are now discussing issues, failings and shortcomings, seeking out reconciliation with former and current members and much more.  SGM has even (and this is a good thing) allowed negative comments to stay up on their blogposts, with their main media guy (big ups to Andrew for doing such an awesome and gracious job) answering comments as they come in.

Maybe along the path of reforming SGM from a charismatic shepherding-movement/Jesus-people-movement spin-off to a pentecostal/charismatic church with reformational tendencies to a more solid biblical movement, some changes to the leadership structure must happen. God is sanctifying his church. There are a lot of good people in SGM and a lot of good things there.  But apparently, there’s also some things that need to change….otherwise, you wouldn’t have Survivors and Refuge and the hundreds of people who read and/or post there.

I don’t have a horse in this race.  I’m just the random presbyterian guy who has interacted favorably with a few SGM folks, know a few of them and see many “evidences of grace” in the lives of the folks I’ve dealt with (including a few of the leaders that I’ve had passing and/or extended convos with). The last person who I was ‘starstruck’ with was John MacArthur, Jr. at T4G 2006 when I got a chance to shake his hand and tell him ‘thanks’ for The Gospel According to Jesus. All men are sinners – we are saved by grace and without grace, would be nothing more than sinners. Learning that lesson has reminded me not to put people I admire on a pedestal.

Reflecting on SGM’s spiritual trajectory and looking at my own spiritual history down to this point, I see quite a few parallels. Those who know me from my interactions with folks on HCR over the years (and other places) know that I can be (and have been) a really harsh dude at times to those I’ve disagreed with.  Over the years, as the doctrines of grace sunk in deeper beyond the surface, I’ve learned to be more gracious to those I disagree with (don’t get it twisted. I will still call something moronic, stupid and idiotic if it is…and if it’s heresy, I have no beef with calling it lies from the pit of hell).  My theology got solid first and it gave me quite a ‘zeal’, so to speak….a zeal that I’ve grown to learn how to temper (not eliminate or ignore) with mercy, forgiveness, patience and kindness.

So maybe SGM’s going through some of those same growing pains, but as an entire movement and not just individuals (even though CJ is a main focus, since he leads SGM).

I don’t think it’s wise to treat it like a free-for-all-bash-all-things-SGM-related-and-pray-for-their-collapse as I’ve seen some do.  Likewise, I don’t think it’s wise to jump up in automatic defense. I don’t think it’s wise to dismiss all of the documentation that Brent D. has provided (he himself did not put it on the web, but apparently knows who did post it anonymously).  But I also don’t think it’s wise to take only one presentation of the story at face value (Prov. 18:17).

The blogsphere has a tendency to polarize folks on issues like this – thus, I’ve waited until weeks later to post and tried to be as objective on the topic as possible before releasing my thoughts to the general public. My suggestion is to pray for all involved as more things become public, and weigh them with biblical wisdom before simply ‘choosing a side’.  Pray for the men leading the movement and that they would not succumb to cronyism (CJ mentored most of the board members who are now responsible for evaluating him for ministry), favoritism and the ever so tempting tendency to ‘spin’ truth, spin presentations and only appear to be doing something without actually doing anything. Pray for CJ. It’s real easy to resort to defending yourself, ignoring comments of critics in place of your own self-evaluation which seems ‘good’ to you (trust me…been there…done that).

Pray for those hurt by SGM’s practices who’ve left the movement (and even those who have left the visible church altogether). Pray for those SGM pastors left in the movement to exercise wisdom, patience and to discharge their office in a manner pleasing to the Lord.

Pray for those still in SGM’s churches.  Pray that their faith be not shaken, but placed rightly in the Savior first and foremost and not in men.

That’s all for now.  Got a few articles to write for the main site.

-KG

May 22nd Message. For those deceived by Harold Camping….

Part 1.  Part 2 is linked at the end of this video.

On John Piper, Sabbaticals and Rick Warren

Okay, so reading the comments on John Piper’s video where he invites Rick Warren to speak at the 2010 DG National Conference, Piper already predicted a firestorm of controversy for his decision.

Boy was he right.

This happens to come right on the heels of him announcing a nine-month sabbatical to work on his marriage and devote more time to his family. So some people are suspecting it’s a combination of poor judgement in all areas of his life which are leading to the ‘step down’ (just read the comments onthe video above).

Some, like Lane Chaplin, have expressed no further desire to support JP.

Others are simply decrying the decision as poor judgement.

Some are ready to toss Piper to the wolves, as they’ve been calling Piper things such as a ‘Trojan Horse‘ for years now.

I find it a bit interesting that Piper’s topic at Together for the Gospel 2010 (which I won’t be attending) is “Did Jesus Preach the Gospel of Evangelicalism ?“, which, in light of the theme of The Unadjusted Gospel, seems rather contradictory.  Why invite a man to speak at your national conference who actually preaches the very thing that you’re going to be speaking against at T4G ?

Upon giving Piper a listen, I *think* I have a fair idea of what Piper is up to.  It’s real simple.

Listen carefully to what he says to Rick Warren and what he asks Rick Warren to preach on.

When I wrote him, here’s what I said. And he’ll probably watch this video too. I said, “The conference is called ‘THINK: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God. I want you to come. You are the most well-known pragmatist pastor in the world. I don’t think you are a pragmatist at root. Come and tell us why thinking biblically matters to you in your amazingly pragmatic approach to ministry.” I want him to lay his cards on the table. I want him to tell us what makes him tick, because he does come across in much of what he says and does as very results oriented and pragmatic and not theologically driven. And yet, I met him for the first time last year at Ralph Winter’s funeral in Pasadena. And we sat beside each other on the platform for three hours. I like him because he sings. And he sings badly. And anybody who’s willing to sing and sings badly — I like him. And we were talkin’ beforehand and he said to me, “I’m reading all the works of Jonathan Edwards this year. I pick a great theologian every year and I read all of his collected works. I’m on volume 17 of the Yale series of Jonathan Edward’s works.” You’ve got to be kidding me. Nothin’ you have ever said would incline me to think . . . *CROWD LAUGHTER – TEE HEE!* So, these guys are gonna go interview him tomorrow, I think. So you can quote some of these things. I do think he is deeply theological. He is a brilliant man. He wouldn’t have the church he does or the PEACE plan or, uh, all the influence he does and of course the greatest sentence in the Purpose Driven Life is the first one, isn’t it? “It’s not about you; it’s about God.” The glory of God. So, I don’t think he’s emergent. At root I believe he is theological, and doctrinal, and sound. And, what makes him tick? Actively in doing church? Uh, I intend to find out. So, I like him. And I’m frustrated by some of his stuff.”

Folks like Michael Horton have interacted with Warren in the past and share the same theological concerns that Piper does in his last sentence here.

What was Piper thinking ?

I’m guessing the following:

1. For all the people who say Piper’s lost it, think for a moment.  The man has written the best present-day exegetical defense of Romans 9:1-23.  As a single author, he’s probably devoted more work toward answering the errors of N.T. Wright regarding the New Perspective.  He’s not stupid.   So when John Piper says “I think he’s sound”, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and not try to disown him as some have tried to do in their talks.  Piper wouldn’t invite, for example, Joel Osteen to speak at DG.  Why ? Simple – Osteen wouldn’t quote from the WCF.  Osteen also wouldn’t read Edwards (or any other theologian for that matter). Warren at least has degrees from Fuller (when it was still moderately biblical) and Southwestern.  So he has demonstrated the very thing Piper says he suspects of him.   Of course, he’s also contradicted the bulk of that in many of his talks, which brings me to point #2:

2. Piper’s question and speaking topic are HEAVILY loaded and quite blatant.  If Warren answers them honestly and from the suspected ‘theological’ basis sitting underneath of what he claims to privately believe, then he will end up refuting a good 99% of what he’s written in Purpose Driven Church and at least 80% of Purpose Driven Life.

3. Piper’s opening up larger dialogue with Warren and challenging him to grow here. He’s doing what some people say they would do if they had the chance.  He’s doing the opposite of simply spitting and cursing at the darkness – he’s lighting a candle here.

I think it’s a brilliant move and a brilliant gamble on Piper’s part.    Having 2-3 extra days to think on it, I’m not sure it will work, as Warren has proven himself to be a bit of a chameleon (and I’ve been around some of his disciples who do the same).  Part of the reason for that, of course, is that they never stop to think deeply about the implications of the doctrines of grace (or theology in general) and simply file away doctrinal truths as facts.

Piper’s invitation cuts to the heart of that sort of thinking.  I’m waiting to see what the outcome will be in Warren’s speech.

Meanwhile, instead of damning Pastor John as some have done, take the time and pray for him.  Ministry is a hard job and many armchair theologians are a bit too quick to hit the ‘submit’ button on their blogs, but not submit their thinking to a theology of grace regarding others.   At worst, treat him as a brother caught in sin and pray for his repentance.  At best, pray that his intentions for inviting Warren have the desired effect and help to bring Warren face to face with bankruptcy of his own pragmatism.

Front page of TCDC: Vintage ME, circa 1998, on the issue of the KJV.

Okay, so like the site says, I’ve been doing apologetics and theology on the net since 1994 in AOL chat rooms, expanding out to the rest of the internet in 1996.

Digging for some information for a friend on my board, I ran across an old post from me on my apologetics list (thank you Yahoo Groups, for archiving EVERYTHING from 1997 to the present) regarding the KJV-Only issue.

My argumentation has gotten a lot more refined since then (that and I tend to have less tpyos…er…a…typos). I’ve also gotten a lot less harsh.

So without further ado, I introduce you to **vintage** Kerry Gilliard:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/apologetics/message/81

Enjoy.

This post will never die. The comments still keep growing….

Which post ?  This one: http://theologicallycorrect.com/webmaster/blogs/?p=266 on the Soldier’s Outreach/Soul Factory/New Name and Cliché Church run by Deron Cloud.  I’ve been popping in and out on it, but the comments always seem to get more and more interesting as the years roll by.

Cloud seems to have  his following, just like every other gimmick-based-megachurch pastor and they defend him to the end, even in the face of the Bible saying something completely opposite.  Armed with their slogans like “don’t put God in a box” and “Watch God show up”, they continue to fight forward in the face of people quoting the Bible at them.

Oy.

Prayer.

And maybe a bit more patience.  Maybe.

By the way, their website has changed: http://www.thesoulfactory.com/

YouTube. Trinity. Episode 2.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNkM5EA5CUE

:>>

—–

Calvary Chapel says NO to Rick Warren

(HT: Tim Challies )

Calvary Chapel is NOT reformed.

They have no axe to grind here.

So it’s very significant to me (and should be to you too) when they see parts of Rick Warren’s philosophies and approach to ‘church’ as unbiblical.

Calvary Publishing Pulls Rick Warren’s “Purpose Driven” materials.

(Link fixed).

See ? It’s not just ‘the reformed’ that realize Warren’s stuff is unbiblical.

(now if they’ll stop misrepresenting Calvinism, everything’ll be gravy….)

It’s a shame.

It’s a shame that we have to defend the Bible as the only infallible word of God and final authority for believers in all matters of faith and practice…..against professing believers.

After re-posting the transcription from Daniel Philips’ sermon as Christian Soul Food over at HCR, a few folk popped up to challenge it (I followed it up today with the Piper quote immediately prior to this post).

Some of the same cheezy argumentation I see Roman Catholics make to deny sola scriptura are now coming from supposed Bible-believing Christians.

Folk ALWAYS want to add to the Word of God.

I sometimes wonder if the charismatic movement (excluding New Frontiers and Sovereign Grace Ministries) has been more of a CURSE to the body of Christ than a blessing, since the majority of people in it promote an existential-experiential Christianity where ‘what you feel’ is more the arbiter of truth than what scripture says.

I run into well-meaning believers who, though they have good intentions, are sincerely wrong when they drag scripture down to being on the same level as their so-called prophetic hunches and dreams. It disturbs me and saddens me, to say the least.

I understand how a lot of them get there. I pray for folks discernment to grow and their theology to become more solid as well (since too many of them are willing to believe ANYTHING just because someone says it’s “from God”…).