Cultural Engagement

The posts below attempt to deal with cultural issues that Christians face which may or may not be directly related to the church, but will most likely have an impact on Christian living.

A Facebook Comment Could Render Wheaton College’s Statement of Faith Meaningless

A Facebook comment could render Wheaton College’s statement of faith meaningless if the member faculty council gets its way and the administration withdraws its efforts to fire Dr. Larycia Hawkins. I previously explained that Wheaton professor Larycia Hawkins was not suspended for wearing a hijab. Rather, she was suspended over the theological implications of stating that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. While Wheaton’s administration began the process of firing Hawkins, the faculty council disagrees potentially bringing more controversy on the school. In fact, Wheaton’s faculty council recommends the move to fire Hawkins be withdrawn. Now, Sarah Pulliam Bailey, writing for …keep reading »

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Ethics: Black Baby Jesus in the Nativity Scene

What would you do Wednesday! Christmas is here and it is time to check out all the Christmas lights and decorations. You decide to head over to your local city park. The park has a huge Christmas tree and several decorations including a nativity scene. As you are walking around checking out the park’s decorations, you hear some unusual commotion by the nativity scene. Curious, you walk over to what sounds like complaining – about the nativity scene. You figure someone is upset that the city actually put up Christmas decorations. You hear a white guy shout, “But Jesus wasn’t …keep reading »

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The Wheaton College Professor Suspension Is Not About the Hijab but the Nature of God

Wheaton College, an Evangelical school, recently suspended Dr. Larycia Hawkins, Associate Professor of Political Science. Two issues are in view in this suspension: 1) she wore a hijab standing in religious solidarity with Muslims and 2) she claimed Christians and Muslims worship the same God. The Chicago Tribune gets it wrong by seeming to focus on Hawkins wearing a hijab. USA Today gets it right by focusing on Hawkins’ same God comment. Wheaton College did not suspend Dr. Hawkins because she wore a hijab, but over the nature of God. Her claims that Christians and Muslims worship the same God do not …keep reading »

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Ethics: School Announces Students Will Engage in Religious Activity

What would you do Wednesday! Religious disagreements in public schools is a hot topic today. People get upset over various issues from a school is forcing non-Muslims girls to wear a hijab, allowing a “Walk a Mile in Her Hijab” campaign, or banning prayer. What if your child came home with a notice that, in the name of religious tolerance and understanding, all students will participate in the “John 3:16 Challenge” which has the following theme. 16 “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not …keep reading »

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Ethics: Muslim Friend Attacked While Having Lunch!

What would you do Wednesday! OK here is the scenario. In an effort to reach out to a Muslim friend in light of all the anti-Muslim sentiment, I took a Muslim friend to lunch. I hoped to get his perspective on the anti-Muslim attitudes, see if he has experienced any hate, and, most importantly, share the gospel with him. While I have only known him for five months, he has been in the U.S. for about five years. He assumes most Americans identify as Christians or have some connection to a church. We decided to meet at 11:30 to beat …keep reading »

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Ethics: Syrian Refugee Family Moves Into Your Neighborhood

What would you do Wednesday! There is a lot of division over whether or not the United States should receive Syrian refugees who have been driven from their homes by ISIS – radical Islam. While there is some balance in the discussion, much of debate seems a black and white, yes or no response. Like it or not, some of the refugees are being settled here in America. What if a refugee family moved into your neighborhood? You have just finished reading news reports that there is a vetting process in place that attempts to ensure the refugees are not radicals …keep reading »

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Pastor Robert Jeffress On the Paris Attacks and Radical Islam

Dr. Robert Jeffress, Pastor of First Baptist Dallas, shares his view of how Christians should respond to the Paris terrorist attacks. He addresses the government’s role in protecting its citizens and how radical Islam (ISIS) should be bombed. In this short clip, it is not clear that Jeffress shares his thoughts on every aspect of the Paris attacks including its effect on the refugee crisis. Christians, per Romans 13, expect the government to seek justice on radicals like ISIS et al. Yet, caught in the middle are thousands of Syrian refugees who have been driven from their homes. These refugees …keep reading »

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Starbucks’ Terrible War on Christmas

Starbucks’ terrible war on Christmas has recently been revealed. Some guy made a video exposing this terrible war by rhetorically asking, “Do you realize that Starbucks wanted to take Christ and Christmas off of their brand new cups? That’s why they’re just plain red. In fact, do you realize that Starbucks isn’t allowed to say ‘Merry Christmas’ to customers?” Thankfully, he explains how to win this terrible war. Simply tell the Starbucks’ barista that your name is Merry Christmas forcing them to say your “name” out loud. This is like trying to get someone to say a sinner’s prayer and …keep reading »

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Jay Z: The Bible and Qu’ran Speak of the Same God

    The above clip is from an episode of Oprah’s Master Class which features “stories you’ve never heard from the people you thought you knew best.” Basically, the show is famous people sharing personal stories. And Jay Z shares an interesting belief about who God is. He thinks that “however you find God, that’s a fantastic thing” and “people that are reading the Qu’ran and people that are reading the Bible are really reading about the same person.” Sadly, Jay Z is wrong about God and he is influencing many. And even more with Oprah’s reach. If people simply …keep reading »

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Beware: John Boehner Quotes the Bible

Many who are first to cry separation of church and state recently celebrated a visit by Pope Francis to speak at the White House. While cheers for the Pope still echoed in the air, Speaker of the House, John Boehner, announced his coming resignation. Many of Boehner’s fellow Republicans have been critical of his leadership or lack thereof. He has been equally critical of his critics even calling Presidential candidate Ted Cruz a jackass. But beware, as Boehner begins walking toward retirement, he rips conservatives in his own party again, this time by quoting the Bible. “The Bible says beware of …keep reading »

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Kim Davis is Not the Problem with Evangelical Christianity

Fellow Southern Baptist, Pastor Russell Williams, gave three reasons related to Kim Davis’ case for why Evangelical Christians are losing. He begins: Since I am a pastor of a southern Baptist church please allow me to weigh in on the case of Kim Davis, the lady in Kentucky who refuses to issue a marriage licenses to a same sex couple. I am a licensed Southern Baptist Minister which means I can legally marry people (not that this makes my position more authoritative). I simply disagree with brother Williams and do not believe Kim Davis is the problem with Evangelical Christianity.  Below …keep reading »

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Conscience Vs. Constitution: Stephanopoulos Grills Huckabee, Overlooks When Obama Ignored Constitution

Mike Huckabee was recently interviewed about Kim Davis’ jailing by George Stephanopoulos on “this Week” on ABC (video below). The interview went well for Huckabee who made some good points about law making, the Supreme Court, and the Constitution. Stephanopoulos asked a gotcha question attempting to pit Huckabee’s conscience against the Constitution while overlooking President Obama’s actions when he ignored the Constitution in favor of conscience. At about the five-minute mark, Stephanopoulos plays a clip of President John F. Kennedy discussing conscience vs. national interest. Kennedy explained that were he to face a dilemma that pitted his conscience against national interest, …keep reading »

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Hillary Replaces Jesus and President Obama Is Inserted Into a Hymn

Voices from the Heart, a women’s alternative chorus, recently changed the words for a Christian hymn replacing Jesus’ name with Hillary Clinton’s. According to a Facebook post, they sang this alternative hymn to about 1,200 people. I would understand if this were a Weird Al Yankovic tune – there would have been some creativity and humor. But these women were serious! Yep, this chorus took the African-American hymn Woke Up this Mornin’ which is about Jesus and made it about Hillary. This alternative hymn certainly comes across as Hillary worship. I wish I were surprised, but I’m not. People have been worshiping …keep reading »

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If Chick-fil-A is Denied a Lease, Will Christians Have to Stop Sharing Their Views Publicly?

Denver City Council members have placed a Chick-fil-A lease at the Denver International Airport on hold over its LGBT positions. Apparently, some council members do not like the Christian positions CFA president, Dan Cathy, shared three years ago. The backlash from Cathy’s comments energized supporters to hold a Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day giving the company huge revenues. But the Denver council members believe a moral issue is in play if they allow CFA a place in the Denver International Airport. One of the members is concerned CFA profits would be used to promote discrimination. (Despite the fact that CFA allowed itself to …keep reading »

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National Protest Planned Parenthood Day Marietta, GA with Dr. Alveda King

On the morning of August 22, 2015, my wife and I attended the National Protest Planned Parenthood Day in Marietta, GA. We had a mixture of around 600-700 people. I jumped on Periscope and recorded live video on the scene and captured Dr. Alveda King  speaking. Dr. King spoke against abortion and in favor of defunding Planned Parenthood. A couple of pro-Planned Parenthood folks slipped in with their signs behind King while she was speaking. This gave King a chance to address those folks, share her story about her two abortions, and set the record straight about her uncle, Martin …keep reading »

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Men, You Are Only A Few Clicks Away From Being Josh Duggar

Josh Duggar has been caught in yet another sexual sin once the hacked Ashley Madison database was leaked. (His responses noted below.) On one hand, I am surprised at this revelation. On the other hand, I am not surprised because, sadly, any of us men are only a few clicks away from being Josh Duggar. It Could Have Been You Do you think you are better than Josh Duggar? Do you think nothing like that could happen to you? Think again. We live in a culture that is saturated in sexuality. Sex appeal was discovered long ago to be a key ingredient …keep reading »

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Ethics: Customer Requests White Delivery Driver

What would you do Wednesday! For today’s scenario, you are middle management at a home improvement store. In your position, you are responsible for several stores in the district. The store managers in that district answer to you. A customer calls and places an order for $1,000 worth of flooring. The store manager gets called to the flooring department by the employee taking the order because the customer has an unusual request. The customer demands that a white driver deliver her order to her home. He explains to the customer that her request is discriminatory and he very uncomfortable with …keep reading »

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Another Planned Parenthood Undercover Video

Planned Parenthood has been caught on video in another undercover sting. If you thought past undercover videos were bad, this time the Senior Director of Medical Services for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America has been caught selling body parts of aborted babies. Dr. Russell Moore, president of Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, weighed in on the video. Sadly, some have reported his article “Planned Parenthood and the Atrocity of Corpse-Selling” to Facebook as abusive thereby blocking the link. Dr. Moore writes: I must admit I was speechless for close to an hour. I saw a video …keep reading »

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Ethics: Same-Sex Married Couple Come to Faith and Repent

What would you do? The recent SCOTUS decision to legalize same-sex marriage will bring new challenges to local churches. One of the challenges may involve a same-sex married couple who comes to faith in Jesus as in the scenario below. Similar questions have been raised about advising an unbelieving transgendered person who comes to faith. Let’s think about it! A same-sex couple made up of two men begin attending your church. You get to know them after the first two months. You have shared the gospel with them, explained Christianity, and invited them to your small group. Six months pass. …keep reading »

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The SCOTUS Ruling Reveals Christian Hate for Homosexuals

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) recently ruled that gay marriage is a right legalizing such marriages. thereby redefining marriage. The support for this decision among professing Christians has been striking but so has the backlash. The reaction to the SCOTUS ruling from some Christian circles has revealed a kind of hatred for the homosexual community. Let me explain. Jesus commanded Christians to love others. In fact, he taught that one of the greatest commandments is to love our neighbor as ourselves. But that was the second greatest commandment. The first is to love God with all our …keep reading »

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Ethics: Pastor Flies Confederate Flag on Church Grounds

What would you do Wednesday! The recent racist and tragic killing of 9 African Americans by a white man at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston has brought up a national debate over states flying a Confederate flag. Emotions run high on all sides of the Confederate flag debate. What would you do if, upon arriving at church Sunday morning, you noticed a Confederate flag hanging from a wall-mount at the corner of the front of the church? Then, you notice your pastor standing at the front doors so you ask him about the flag. He asks that you wait for him …keep reading »

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Ethics: Parents Disagree on Attending Son’s Same-Sex Wedding

What would you do Wednesday! As the same-sex marriage debate continues among some Evangelicals, tough decisions among families are bound to arise. How about when those tough questions come between husband, wife, and child? Consider the following scenario. Five years ago, the son of Evangelical Christians finally told his parents he is gay. Today, that son is planning a same-sex wedding with his partner. His parents have strongly disagreed with his lifestyle though have always welcomed him and loved him. The son has invited the parents to his same-sex wedding. The parents are admired and known in their community for being leaders …keep reading »

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Loving Bruce Jenner

Bruce Jenner, the 1976 Summer Olympics men’s decathlon gold medal winner, recently declared himself a woman and changed his name to Caitlyn. As you might imagine, reactions from those supporting Jenner, as well as those disapproving, has been intense. I am one who disapproves. Yet, I have been praying for him. At the same time, I wonder how an Evangelical Christian, like myself, might love Bruce “Caitlyn” Jenner? There are at least three reasons: 1) he is made in God’s image, 2) he is a sinner, too, and 3) he needs the Savior, too. Jenner is made in God’s image …keep reading »

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Ethics: Should Wife Tell Her Husband About 8 Year Old Affair?

What would you do Wednesday? The issue of whether or not to tell one’s spouse about an affair, past or present, is a question some in the church may eventually face. There are many facets to consider in such a situation. You might be the one hiding the affair or the one it is being hidden from. Let’s think about the following scenario which is loosely based on a real situation. It is Tuesday night and your couples discipleship group has just begun. The topic being discussed is the confession of past and present sins to one’s spouse. Also being …keep reading »

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Wheaton Drinks the Kool-Aid by Larry Farlow

Wheaton College, a leading evangelical university, now sponsors a student group for homosexuals. This group, called “Refuge,” is designed to provide a “biblically faithful community” for homosexual students. According to an article on the Christian News Network: …the Wheaton Chaplain’s Office hired Julie Rodgers, a “celibate gay Christian,” to lead the group as student counselor. Rodgers believes God uses her homosexuality to glorify Him. “As God has redeemed and transformed me, he’s tapped into those gay parts of me that now overflow into compassion for marginalized people and empathy for social outcasts—he’s used my gay way of being for His glory …keep reading »

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Ethics: Would You Rent from a Racist Landlord?

What would you do Wednesday! NYMag.com recently ran an article titled “‘I Put in White Tenants’: The Grim, Racist (and Likely Illegal) Methods of One Brooklyn Landlord.” Consider what you would do if you discovered your landlord was racist like the one in the article in the following scenario. You recently moved your family into a newly updated neighborhood. A new job brought you to the area along with a good school system for your kids. Plus, the house you decided to rent seemed to be in the safest neighborhood around and there was not much to choose from. One …keep reading »

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When Don Lemon Does Not Understand Ryan Anderson’s Arguments for Marriage

In the above clip, CNN Anchor, Don Lemon, debates Dr. Ryan T. Anderson, Fellow at The Heritage Foundation and author of What Is Marriage?: Man and Woman: A Defense, over same-sex marriage. However, Lemon does not seem to understand Anderson’s points. Specifically, Lemon does not grasp that 1) same-sex marriage is not illegal, 2) SCOTUS is deciding on redefining marriage, and 3) children do best when with their married parents. Same-sex marriage is not illegal Anderson’s point is that two people of the same sex will not be arrested for marrying each other. The “marriage” may not be recognized, but the …keep reading »

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Refusing Service to a Same-sex Wedding is About Marriage Not Homosexuality

When a Christian baker or florist refuses service for a gay same-sex marriage, the issue is marriage not homosexuality. Apologist Greg Koukl has made this point several times and I agree. But is the claim true? Yes! Barronelle Stutzman, for example, owner of Arlene’s Flowers, refused to provide flower for the same-sex wedding of her gay friend, Rob Ingersoll. Stutzman provided flowers for Ingersoll for years despite him being gay. The issue clearly was not simply about his homosexuality, but her Christian convictions about marriage. I would further assume that Stutzman (and other Christians of the same convictions) would have …keep reading »

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Ethics: Should a Christian Blogger Give Away an “American Sniper” DVD?

What would you do Wednesday! I got some push back for doing an “American Sniper” giveaway on this Christian blog. I thought it might be interesting to see what others thought by doing a Wednesday ethics post on the topic. In today’s scenario, you are a Christian blogger who has not read American Sniper nor seen the movie based on the book. You get approached to offer a blu-ray/DVD pack giveaway of American Sniper. Part of the promotion is to let people know that Warner Bros. will donate up to $1,000,000 to Wounded Warrior Project®. The movie is not in anyway Christian-based, but …keep reading »

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Ethics: Would You Tell Muslims They Are Passing Out Anti-Islamic Books?

What would you do Wednesday! Today’s scenario is based on a recent true story of a Mosque giving away anti-Islamic books. Actually, they were giving away a Christian book meant to help evangelize Muslims. Let’s see what you would do. You are with a group from your church at the yearly local festival. The festival provides a place each year where local businesses, groups, religious organizations, etc. set-up booths to meet the community. The festival also has live music, food, arts and crafts for sale. There are also many giveaways. Your church has a booth with the intent of sharing the …keep reading »

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Ethics: Participate in Gay Pride Parade or Be Fired

What would you do Wednesday! The following scenario is based on a true story. So far, I have only heard one such story. There may be more, or similar, situations out there. And there may be more to come. How would you handle the situation? A company email arrives in your inbox about an upcoming local event. The event is a local gay pride parade which your company sees as a way to embrace diversity and gain some politically correct good will.  The email states that attendance is mandatory. You speak with your manager about getting excused from attending. You …keep reading »

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Ethics: Unmarried Couple Requests Room from Christian-Owned Hotel

What would you do Wednesday! In light of the nationwide disagreements over Indiana’s (and other state’s) Religious Freedom Restoration Act, let’s play the role of a Christian hotel owner. Consider what you would do in the following scenario. You are in your office at the hotel discussing Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act with a friend. You both agree that private business owners should have the right to refuse service to anyone whose requests would go against your Christian moral positions. In fact, since you have a Christian-owned hotel, you believe you should be able to deny a room to a same-sex “married” …keep reading »

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Ethics: Friend Called to Online Discernment Ministry

What would you do Wednesday! A friend and fellow church member comes to you with a ministry idea. He recently spent quite a bit of time studying church history and apologetics. Believing God gifted him with discernment, he decides to start an online discernment ministry so he can use this gift. He wants to be known for standing up for and promoting truth! However, you have concerns from knowing him for several years and observing his Facebook interactions. You ask if he is the humility, temperament, and biblical grounds to start such a ministry. You also ask what he will …keep reading »

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Ethics: 50 Shades of Grey at a Sunday School Outing

What would you do Wednesday! Most Christians I know – every one actually – has no plans to watch 50 Shades of Grey. In fact, they do not think Christians should watch the 50 Shades of Grey movie. However, how would they, and should they, respond if they were caught in the following situation? Friday night is here and your Sunday School class is having an outing. The plan was to catch movie around 5 o’clock. The movie was to be picked out together at the theater. Then, you all would have a fellowship dinner to discuss the movie, life, your walk …keep reading »

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Ethics: Christian Alabama Probate Judge Receives Same-Sex Marriage Application

What would you do Wednesday! Judge Roy Moore, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama, recently defied orders from a federal judge telling Alabama probate judges not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Moore took his stance arguing that the decision to issue Alabama marriage licenses falls under his authority. For today’s ethical situation, you, dear reader, play the role of an Alabama probate judge. You are a judge who is also a Christian with convictions that homosexuality activity and same-sex marriage are sins. You just received Judge Moore’s orders the previous day not to issue marriage licenses for …keep reading »

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Ethics: Seminarian Knows a Church Would Not Hire Him

What would you do Wednesday! A friend of yours is in seminary. In fact, he is in the senior class working towards a Master of Divinity (M.Div.). One Sunday afternoon you catch up with him over lunch. The conversation turns toward ministry, seminary, etc. You ask him how long he has before finishing his M.Div. He explains it will probably take him about 1.5 years to finish given he works full-time and has a family. Then, you ask about his future plans, “What are you going to do vocation-wise once you have your M.Div.?” He answers explaining that he probably will not …keep reading »

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Ethics: Bible College Student Can’t Get Over Fiance’s Promiscuous Past

What would you do Wednesday! A friend of yours is in Bible college. He is 23 years old and became a Christian when he was 20. He met a great Christian lady who is also in Bible college. They recently became engage, but he has a dilemma. His fiancée is also 23 and saved at 20. Before becoming a Christian she was a bit promiscuous. In fact, your friend was also promiscuous before coming to the Lord – maybe more so than his fiancée. The fiancée understands their promiscuous past has been forgiven and is behind them in their old life. However, …keep reading »

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Ethics: Christian Friends Disrespect the President on Social Media

What would you do Wednesday! During the latest State of the Union speech, several of your fellow Christian friends showed a lot of disrespect toward President Obama. They took to social media sharing many sarcastic and bitter comments toward the President. You think Scripture demands is a better way to think about the President even though you do not agree with his politics. For your own thought life, you look up a few Bible verses to consider how you will think about the President. 1 Tim. 2:1-3 says that it pleases God to make “prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made …keep reading »

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Ethics: Pastor Asks Congregation to Donate for Best-seller List

What would you do Wednesday! Almost a year has passed since it was revealed that Mars Hill Church spent over $200,000 to put Mark Driscoll’s book Real Marriage on the New York Times best-seller list. In the following scenario, I would like to explore your reactions to your pastor directly asking for money to get his book on a best-seller list. Let’s think about it. Sunday morning announcements are about to start as you make your way to the pew. You greet some friends around you as your family settles in. Your pastor steps up to the podium. He has a special request …keep reading »

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Ethics: Transgender Teen Refuses Christian Counseling

What would you do Wednesday! In the follow scenario, you, the reader, face questions from the parents of a transgender teen. The parents are part of your Bible study group. The teen is a boy who believes his true gender is female and wants to live as a girl. The parents have recently shared with the group their son’s growing resistance against meeting with a Christian counselor. After meeting with a counselor for a month, their son now says he will not meet with him anymore. He claims the Christian counselor is trying to change him – to keep him …keep reading »

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3 Sacred Cows in Preaching that Need to Be Tipped by Jared Moore

Guest blogger Jared Moore is the pastor of New Salem Baptist Church in Hustonville, KY. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Below is an excerpt from his book 10 Sacred Cows in Christianity That Need to be Tipped which is currently free on Amazon Kindle – get it while it’s free! A ‘sacred cow’ in the church is a tradition that has been exalted to a position of normalcy without Biblical warrant. It’s time for some cow tipping in the local church. Here are three sacred cows in preaching that need to be tipped. . . Sacred Cow #1 Entertaining Sermons There is …keep reading »

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Ethics: Unbelieving Children Practice Communion in Sunday School

What would you do Wednesday! It is the Sunday School hour at church on Sunday morning. There is a special class for unbelieving children this morning. You take your 9-year-old son to the class deciding to stick around to see how the gospel is presented, etc. Since none of the children present professed faith in Christ, the teachers explain that Jesus is God the Son who died on the cross to save sinners. They explained sin and putting faith in Christ alone for forgiveness of sin and salvation. Then, the teachers taught on the Lord’s Supper – by practicing taking …keep reading »

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Ethics: Transgender Student Elected to Homecoming Court

What would you do Wednesday! Recently, here in Metro-Atlanta, a local CBS news headline tells a story that will most likely become more common in the days ahead. The headline reads: Transgender student at Metro Atlanta school elected to homecoming court. Some may be surprised to find out that the high school in question is in a very conservative area. In this post, I would like Christian parents to consider what they would do if they found their kids in the scenario in the above story. Your son comes home from school excited. You ask him, “What’s up?” He tells you that …keep reading »

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Ethics: Son’s Scoutmaster Comes Out as Gay

What would you do Wednesday! Last year, the Boy Scouts lifted a ban on openly gay youth allowing them to participate in their organization. However, there is still a ban on openly gay scoutmasters. At least one scoutmaster has recently come out revealing his homosexuality. The sponsoring church were this scoutmaster serves is standing by him causing the Boy Scouts to revoked their charter. Today’s scenario deals with the situation where your son’s scoutmaster reveals he is a homosexual. A little over a year ago, your son got a new scoutmaster. He’s been a great scoutmaster for the troop. The kids love …keep reading »

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Ethics: Church Rejects Pastor Over His Race

What would you do Wednesday! Today’s scenario will be considered from the perspective of a deacon (though church member would work too). In case anyone is wondering, yes, the following scenario, or similar, has happened – sadly. The senior pastor has been serving in your church for 20 years. The time has come for him to retire. As a deacon, you helped put together a pastoral search committee. However, two weeks ago, before the committee could be formed, the executive pastor of the last seven years asked to be considered for senior pastor role. The executive pastor’s desire was discussed …keep reading »

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Ethics: Millionaire Gay Couple Sues to Make Your Church Hold Their Wedding

What would you do Wednesday! In the United Kingdom a Millionaire gay couple is suing to force a church to hold their wedding. If the couple were to win lawsuit it would not directly affect the United States, but it could motivate some Americans to pursue similar lawsuits. This post offers a similar scenario American churches could face someday. What if a similar lawsuit were happening here in the U.S. and it was against your local church? What if a millionaire gay couple were suing to force your church to hold their wedding? The congregation eagerly sits in the pews waiting. …keep reading »

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Ethics: Pastor Changes Views on Homosexuality Over Son’s Sexuality

What would you do Wednesday! It is Sunday morning. You are at the regular worship gathering with your local church. Your pastor is preaching on the topic of grace – that we are all sinners in need of God’s grace. You sit listening. As you listening, you think about how big God’s grace is that He received and redeemed a sinner like yourself. Your mind runs through all your horrendous past sins, current sins, and recent temptations. Your lips muster a silent, “Amen!” as you humbly listen. The sermon turns to a personal of grace in the pastor’s life. He …keep reading »

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Ethics: Stop Sponsoring World Vision Children?

What would you do Wednesday! Consider the recent World Vision fiasco in light of a fellow Christian friend who wants to cut-off support to the three children he sponsors. When the news of World Vision’s policy change hit social media you reached out to a friend you highly respect. Since he is not big on social media so he does not often get breaking news within Christendom right away. The two main reasons you asked for your friend’s opinion is: 1) he is one of the most faithful Christians you know who is always present on Sundays, actively shares the …keep reading »

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Does World Vision Hate Homosexuals?

Update: World Vision reversed its decision discussed below. I think they have answered my question that they do not hate homosexuals, but love them enough to not affirm same-sex marriage. They love God enough to have their mistake corrected by the authority of Scripture and to stand on the biblical view of marriage.  World Vision president, Richard Stearns, recently announced a policy change to accept gay same-sex married couples. Given that World Vision identifies itself as a Christian humanitarian organization, this move causes me to ask: Does World Vision hate homosexuals? Stearns would not probably not answer affirmatively calling the …keep reading »

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Ethics: Church Members Do Not Feel Connected

What would you do Wednesday! Today’s issue is relatively common in the church as far as I can tell. So I’d like to  offer a scenario and ask the Christian blog readers what they would do. I am also curious how common the following issue actually is. Maybe (hopefully) I am wrong about its frequency. Fellow church members, a married couple, have been sporadic in attendance over the last three months. You noticed the lack of attendance and involvement when it started, but wanted to make sure it was a pattern that might continue before saying anything. You run into …keep reading »

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3 Reasons Why I Am Encouraged By Mark Driscoll’s Open Letter Apology

I am going to share a couple of reasons why I am encouraged by Mark Driscoll’s leaked open letter apology (copied below). And it is not because he and I share the same first and middle names, spelling and all. Seriously though, I was just about to close twitter when I saw a link to the letter in my twitter feed. I was going to come back to it later, but decided to click the link instead of clicking close. Not sure what to expect, I was encouraged by Driscoll’s letter. So, instead of second guessing Driscoll’s motives and picking …keep reading »

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Must Christian Art Be Evangelistic?

Over at the Gospel Coalition, Alex Medina asks in the title of his post Must Art Be Evangelistic to Be Christian? Since the question is really about art made by Christians, let me re-phrase the question. Must Christian art be evangelistic? Or, a fuller version of the question from a Facebook friend, “Does a Christian who does music have to talk about Christianity or anything about the gospel in their music?” I emphasized the words “must” and “have to” above to set-up my brief answer. No, a Christian artist does not “have to” only produce evangelistic art. Evangelistic art is …keep reading »

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The Missing Cross of the Christian Right?

It is no secret that Conservative Christians sometimes blur the line between their faith and politics. At times you might think Jesus had changed the good news from believing in him to voting Republican. David Rogers recently shared some good thoughts about this topic in his post The Worst of “the Christian Right”. Rogers basically points out the wrong-headed call for Christians to put political strategies over biblical mandates. He also asks the essential question, “Where is the cross of Jesus here?” Is the cross of Christ often missing in the politics of the Christian right? Consider the quote below …keep reading »

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Ethics: Pastor Calls Married Couples to Abstain from Sex for Lent

What would you do Wednesday! The Lenten season is here for the Christians. While Lent has mostly been a tradition observed by Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox, more Protestants are participating. This year is no different except your Protestant pastor actually made some appeals from the pulpit. While not attempting to make any spiritual requirements beyond Scripture, your pastor thought a challenge or two for Lent may be good for the congregation. He thought practicing some spiritual discipline during this time may be healthy for everyone. Among the Lenten exhortations of sacrificing and self-denial, he had a very interesting suggestion for …keep reading »

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Ethics: Church Member Requests Church Building for Gay Marriage

What would you do Wednesday! You are on the Building and Grounds Committee for your church. This committee handles all requests to rent the church building for various events. In recent months, the committee has come together to revise the stipulations for who can rent the facilities. Now only church members may request to use the facilities. The main concern is possibly being forced to allow usage of the facilities for a same-sex marriage given the recent legal troubles of a Christian t-shirt printer, bakery, photographer, and florist. Ironically, the first request ever to use the church building for a …keep reading »

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Ethics: Asked to Start a ‘Celebration Creation Ministry’

What would you do Wednesday! You desire to get more involved in the ministries of our church. You want to help – to serve more. In your desire as a faithful member, you set a meeting with one of your pastors. At the meeting, you ask where the church can most use your service. You tell him you’re ready to help in any place, but especially those areas where the need is high. Your pastor says he has just the place for you. You would be a perfect fit. You pastor explains that leadership has been putting together a new …keep reading »

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Using Movies in Evangelism

The Son of God movie will be in theaters soon. So far, this movie has not been near the spectacle Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ had been. In fact, it may be said that the lack of success of using The Passion in evangelism may be the reason Son of God is not getting much press. Maybe this lack of success means Christians should not use movies as part of their evangelistic outreach. Tim Challies wrote about this issue in his post Writing Checks to Mel Gibson. Tim was thoughtful without condemning. However, Tim quotes a follow-up Barna …keep reading »

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Valentime’s Day Again?

Valentime’s Day is what I used to call it as a kid. I thought people were saying time. I would occasionally hear tine, but I just thought people were talking too fast. Calling it Valentime’s Day made more sense to me because it sounded like it was time for something to be celebrated. I had no idea what a tine was so time made more sense to me. Of course, then I wondered what a Valen was and what I was supposed to do with it. So, as a kid I didn’t understand Valentime’s Day. As an adult, I have a …keep reading »

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Ethics: School Serves Watermelon for Black History Month

What would you do Wednesday! In the United States, Black History Month is observed in February – this month. The month is observed in various ways. Sometimes the so-called observance is offensive, even racist. The offence is even carried out in public schools. For example, School sorry for Black History lunch menu of watermelon, fried chicken. Today, I’d like to ask what you would do if your child’s school planned to “observed” Black History Month by putting watermelon on the lunch menu. Your child comes home with a flyer about Black History Month (BHM). The flyer was given out last week, but …keep reading »

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David Platt on Sports and Idolatry

I get what Platt is saying. I wish we (yes, me) would be more excited about our Sunday times of worship and fellowship. I wish we Christians would learn how to relay the excitement about our weekend fellowship just as we would after seeing the latest box office hit. Anyway… Your thoughts? Here I blog… Mark

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Why Donald Miller Should Worship God by Singing

Donald Miller caused a ripple in the Christian blogosphere with his post I Don’t Worship God by Singing. I Connect With Him Elsewhere. He claims the reason he does not often attend Sunday worship is because he is a kinesthetic learner – he learns by doing. Contrary to Miller’s claims, he should attend Sunday worship because he is a kinesthetic learner and in spite of this excuse. Let’s explore why. Kinesthetic Learning Kinesthetic learners are people who learn best by, as Wikipedia states, “carrying out a physical activity, rather than listening to a lecture or watching a demonstration.” Among the studies …keep reading »

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Free Live Debate: Bill Nye Vs. Ken Ham

Update: The debate is over, but you can watch the recording below. The comments are disabled on YouTube, but not here if you have anything to share about the debate. Also, you can order the debate: Uncensored Science: Bill Nye Debates Ken Ham Order your DVD copy today! On Tuesday, February 4, 2014, Bill Nye debates Ken Ham on evolution vs. creation. The debate is free and will be live streamed online at 7 PM ET. Sign-up here -> Bill Nye Debates Ken Ham Live Streaming FREE*! While there may be churches in your area streaming the debate, my Sunday School class and …keep reading »

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Ethics: Illegal Alien Considers having a Baby to Stay in the U.S.

What would you do Wednesday! You begin a conversation with an acquaintance of yours after worship service one Sunday morning. The lady has only been attending for a couple of months so you don’t really know her very well though you have talked to her on occasion. Even though you know you don’t know each other well there’s a certain level of trust that she has for you. She tells you that she enjoys coming to this church because the people have always been friendly and come across as non-judgmental. But she doesn’t really know anyone. Noticing she is upset, you …keep reading »

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Considering La Shawn Barber on the Theological Beliefs of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr. is an American icon who is rightly remembered for giving his life working to advance Civil Rights. He was also a Baptist pastor though it seems not much is known or said about his theological beliefs. Below, King’s beliefs will be noted as La Shawn Barber laid them out in her article Assessing the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Her piece will help answer the question – what where Martin Luther King, Jr.’s theological beliefs? First, Barber’s whole article is worth reading to get a good sketch of King’s life under the following subtopics: “Kings Life …keep reading »

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The Catch 22 of Keeping Your Christian Faith Private

In various debates on social and political issues, Christians are often told to keep their faith out of the public forum. And that faith has no place in the public decision making process. Not only is it impossible for Christians to put away their faith as if it is something carried around in a portable first-aide kit, but it puts them in a catch 22 if they ignore their faith. One one hand, when Christians are public about their faith by expressing that the foundation of their decisions are faith-based, they may be scoffed at. They are told by opponents …keep reading »

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Free Sanctity of Human Life Bible Studies

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan designated the third Sunday in January as the National Sanctity of Human Life Day. This designation continued with the presidents who followed Reagan. The third Sunday of January is upon us and LifeWay Christian Resources would like to help us think biblically about the sanctity of human life. The sanctity of life is something we should think about everyday. In fact, everyone thinks about the sanctity of their own lives everyday without realizing it. Each of us subconsciously act in ways of self-preservation because our lives are important to us. Self-preservation actions include visiting the doctor …keep reading »

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Ethics: Graduating Seminary Student Admits Breaking Covenant 4 Years Ago

What would you do Wednesday! For the following scenario, you will be part of a seminary’s leadership. You are part of those who decide how to punitively apply the seminary’s code of conduct to students who break the rules. In this post, you think about what to do with a student who broke the moral covenant they signed when entering seminary. A particular seminary student is set to graduate in a month with his Master of Divinity (M.Div.). He visits you in your office to talk about graduation preparation. He also wants to talk a bit about his future. You …keep reading »

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Ethics: Seminary Student Chews Tobacco in Dorm

What would you do Wednesday! This scenario involves a fellow seminarian as you play the role of a seminary student. You are on campus for the week for accelerated classes. The classes involve plenary sessions that include Q&A at the end as well as break-out sessions held in individual classrooms. You check in and are given a dorm room with three to a room. The three of you are distance students from surrounding states. You do not know each other prior to this week. The first night, you all have some great theological conversations as you get to know each …keep reading »

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Duck Dynasty Rebrief: Phil Robertson Is Not My Spokesman

Below is a brief response to Trevin Wax’s article at the Gospel Coalition site titled Duck Dynasty Debrief. I am in basic agreement with most of Trevin’s piece. However, I am going to respond to a few items under the subtitle “Phil Robertson Is Not Our Spokesman.” If you have not heard of Duck Dynasty you probably have not been to Kroger, Walmart, social media, or almost anywhere on the internet in the last month or so. The Duck Dynasty brand is showing up on various products including candy, motor oil, bedding, jewelry, t-shirts, etc. Seeing the brand everywhere is …keep reading »

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Conspiracy: How to Use the Media to Control Citizens

Maybe I’ve read Behold a Pale Horse one too many times, but the scripted news below exposed by Conan O’Brien fits nicely into a conspiracy theory. OK, confession: I haven’t read nor owned the book in over a decade. I also have not been a Free Mason in over a decade. Yet, Conspiracy theories are fascinating on many levels. I don’t really buy into conspiracies, but the amount of truth that seems sometimes found in them can be scary. For example, watching the humorous videos below from Conan showing scripted news reports is a little frightening. Sure, it is funny …keep reading »

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Duck Dynasty: A&E Tolerates Phil Robertson…Sort of

Duck Dynasty patriarch, Phil Robertson, was suspended from filming by A&E on December 18th. Now, 10 days later A&E has removed the suspension. Phil is again filming the show with his family. A&E released a statement to The Hollywood Reporter explaining their reversal. The network stated, in part: “We at A+E Networks expressed our disappointment with his statements in the article, and reiterate that they are not views we hold. But Duck Dynasty is not a show about one man’s views. It resonates with a large audience because it is a show about family… a family that America has come to love. As …keep reading »

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Ethics: Regift from Grandma on Christmas

What would you do Wednesday! Christmas is here which means Grandma is too. Every year Grandma comes to stay with the family a few days before Christmas. She normally stays a few days into the new year. The kids are always excited to see Grandma as she comes bearing gifts! This year something different happened. While opening gifts Christmas morning, your 12 year old opens their gift from Grandma. It is a pretty, silver cross necklace. It is the same necklace the family got Grandmas for Christmas two years ago. Before your child can say anything, Grandma interjects, “I picked …keep reading »

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Santa Claus was Never a Savior

Some Christians refuse to lie to their kids by telling them about Santa Claus. Other Christians do not see harm in teaching young children about Santa to put some fun into Christmas knowing they will some day reveal the jolly truth. Yet, there is a way to tell your kids about Santa Claus with all the fiction and fun without lying to them. There are Christian parents that will not teach their kids about Santa Claus and all that comes with him. These parents worry that teaching their kids about Santa is actually lying to them in violation of Scripture. …keep reading »

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What You Believe About Homosexuality Matters

One United Methodist Youth Pastor, Tyler Smither, stated his position that What You Believe About Homosexuality Doesn’t Matter. He wrote the article in light of the recent Phil Robertson GQ interview and  Frank Schaefer’s defrocking over performing his son’s same-sex marriage. Smither is wrong that it does not matter what someone believes about homosexuality. The importance of what is believed on the subject is easily seen, for example, by how it divides each side, both for and against. The big issue Smither raises is the one he uses  as the reason why one’s position on homosexuality does not matter. He asserts that calling homosexuality …keep reading »

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GLAAD Spins Louisiana Poll Claiming Robertson Family Out of Touch

In light of the recent controversy staring Phil Robertson and A&E, GLAAD ( Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), is claiming Duck Dynasty’s Robertson family is out of touch with their fellow Louisiana citizens. GLAAD quickly spoke out against Robertson’s comments from his GQ interview. Now the the group is inaccurately using a Louisiana poll against the Robertson’s. Their headline reads Vast majority of Louisianans support LGBT legal protections. The author, Alexandra Bolles, cites a recent Louisiana poll stating that: Despite Robertson attempting to pass off his anti-LGBT sentiments as objective and theologically-rooted, it seems that the people of Louisiana would beg to differ. How, exactly, …keep reading »

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AETV not Happy, Happy, Happy with Phil Robertson

Christian free speech is under attack again – this time from the A&E television network. A&E has suspended Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson for comments he made on homosexuality in the GQ interview “What the Duck?” Ironically, A&E’s current theme is “Be Original,” yet they shut down Robertson for not conforming. Granted, Robertson’s ideas, in a sense, are not exactly original since the started with God. While I do not fully agree with Duck Dynasty theology, we certainly agree that God created Adam and Eve, a man and a woman, as the proper order of marital and sexual relations – in that order. Of course, …keep reading »

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Ethics: Christmas Gift for Wife or Give to Family in Need?

What would you do Wednesday! Christmas is here once again. It is a great time to receive and, especially, give gifts. As much as you would like to get all of your loved ones everything they ask for, there is never enough money for everything. (And everyone probably does not need everything they ask for!) As a husband who cares for and loves his wife very much, you really wanted to give her something special this year. It has been a trying year for her, especially, with the miscarriage back in May. In fact, May is when you started slowly …keep reading »

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Ethics: Man Leaves Church, Invites Former Church Members to Bible Study

What would you do Wednesday! A man has been at your church and in your Sunday school class for several years. He is known and liked among the people in Sunday school. Then, over a series of two months he begins having some differences with the church leadership and direction. You are one of the few people in class he confides in. You try to encourage him, but he is not as excited as he once was. He as come to a point where he is ready to move his membership to another church several miles away. Even though you tried …keep reading »

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Preach Us a Sermon

Preach us a sermon, Preacher, But don’t preach very long; Just tell the story of Christ’s love, But don’t condemn the wrong. Say not a thing of doctrines false, Lest others be offended. Then they’d turn away from us, And call us narrow-minded. Preach us a sermon, Preacher, But don’t preach very plain; Let others guess at what you mean; Don’t ever call a name; We’ll sing your praises loud and long, And keep you many a day, But make it clear, and you will hear, “Brother, be on your way.” Preach us a sermon, Preacher, But say nothing of …keep reading »

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Ethics: Do You Keep the Unclaimed Lost Money?

What would you do Wednesday! One busy day while picking something up at a shopping mall, you find a green envelope full of $20 bills. The parking lot was full, but no one was around at the moment. You count the money and find that there is $1,500 total. Instead of keeping it, you do the right thing and turn it in to the police department. The police give you a receipt. They then explain that if you no one claims the money after 30 days you can bring the receipt in and claim it yourself. You wonder if this …keep reading »

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How About a CROSSmas Tree for Christmas?

How about putting up a CROSSmas Tree for Christmas instead of a Christmas tree? A what? A CROSSmas Tree! You know, the tree that stands 6 ft. tall x 4.5 ft. wide that’s shaped like a cross? The tree Darren Howard created to bring attention and remembrance back to the whole purpose of Christmas – to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the Savior. Watch Darren tell his story in the video below. Learn more about the CROSSmas Tree and how to get one at CROSSmasTree.com. Also, check out the CROSSmas Tree Kickstarter page to help fund this project. Spread the …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Grief in Wisdom

“In much wisdom is much grief; and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.” Ecclesiastes 1:18 What kind of wisdom causes grief? What kind of knowledge is it, that increases sorrow? Perhaps it means the knowledge of the world, its vileness, its vanity, its futility, its uncertainty — to have learned that all its show is vain, and all its pleasure is fleeting. This causes grief to those who see its vanity. God’s people mourn it. And worldlings oftentimes disgusted with themselves and all around, and having nothing to sanctify the feeling — are filled with bitter disappointment. Also to know …keep reading »

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Ethics: They Brought Tofu Turkey for Thanksgiving!

What would you do Wednesday! In light of Thanksgiving being here, I thought I would have a little fun with today’s ethics post. You are having Thanksgiving dinner for the first time with a couple from church who you are trying to get to know better. You are responsible for side dishes while they are bringing the turkey and ham. Another couple, who are long-time church friends are bringing the desserts. Thanksgiving day has arrived! You are looking forward to the wonderful sides and, especially, some good, fresh-baked turkey. You begin setting up the table as the afternoon dinner guests …keep reading »

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Trueman on Christian Celebrity Culture

Carl Trueman writes about the recent dust up between Janet Mefferd and Mark Driscoll in If the Top Men take over, who will ask the hard questions? He touches on the pass that celebrity Christians often seem to get versus that of ordinary Christians. Trueman points out that “celebrity culture” has “corrupted the young, restless and reformed movement.” However, such an infection goes beyond the YRR movement, as I can personally attest to as a Southern Baptist who received threats over a recent article. Ironically, I know a few men who would probably be considered celebrity Christians in certain areas of …keep reading »

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Ethics: Christian Assigned to Sell Pro-Gay Marriage Apparel

What would you do Wednesday! Today, I want to think about Christians who are in compromising situations in their employment. The scenario is that you, a Christian, are working full-time at a local department store. The store is a large, national chain. You have been working there for six months enjoying the job so far. The job has benefits and flexibility. In fact, the manager knows you are a Christian who attends church on Sundays. When you were hired the manager agreed to give you Sundays off so you could worship and be with your family. Recent news named your …keep reading »

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Russell Crowe: Surprised by Noah?

Yesterday, I posted the official movie trailer of Noah which stars stars Russell Crowe, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Jennifer Connelly and Emma Watson. I even posted brief insights about the stars’ religious views. I wondered about the biblical accuracy of the movie. I think Russell Crowe in the interview blurb below partially answers my inquiry. Crowe believes the audience is going to be surprised to find out what kind of person Noah is…. Ironically, Crowe implies that the movie is what teaches us the truth about Noah. He says: At one point in the story the son says, “I thought you were chosen …keep reading »

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Noah: Official Movie Trailer

The official movie trailer for Noah has been released. Noah stars Russell Crowe, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Jennifer Connelly and Emma Watson. It will be in theaters March 28th, 2014. The synopsis: After visions of an apocalyptic deluge, Noah, the world’s only righteous man, is chosen to undertake a divine mission to build a massive ark to save his family and all of creation before the impending rains fall and the flood waters rise. Check it out! Looks like a fantastic production with top rated actors. However, I am sure many of us will be watching closely for biblical accuracy. Whenever Hollywood …keep reading »

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Ethics: Blogger Writes Ethics Posts Based on True Stories

What would you do Wednesday! A blogger writes a weekly ethics post from a Christian perspective. The ethical and moral issues covered concern the Christian life and range from individuals to family and from church in general to church leadership, etc. One day while reading the weekly ethics post you stumble upon a situation that sounds familiar. As you read, you realize it sounds familiar because the details are somewhat similar to something that happened in your own church that involved you. However, the details are vague, some changed, and nothing close to a real name of either persons involved …keep reading »

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Imitating Church: Atheists Engage in the Sincerest Form of Flattery

“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” wrote Charles Colton in 1824. Today, Colton’s words are possibly being lived out in the most ironic fashion – Atheist ‘mega-churches’ take root across US, world reports Gillian Flaccus in the AP. The AP reports that “several hundred people” attended or, more specifically, USA Today‘s version of the story states “more than 400 attendees.” The problem is that 400 people does is not enough to meet the definition of a megachurch. The numbers to qualify as a megachurch is attendance between 1,600 to 2,000 plus. But it is a catchy headline. Not A Church Next, the biblical definition …keep reading »

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Creating Persecution: Bus Driver Pastor Fired for Praying with Students

The StarTribune is reporting that a Pastor loses bus driving job for praying with students in Burnsville, Minnesota. George Nathaniel, a bus driver and pastor, was fired for praying with students on his bus after being warned not to. When I read the story I thought – why create this kind of controversy or persecution? Granted, the news report Mr. Nathaniel complained of persecution over his firing. Yet, this is certainly a controversy that could have been avoided. The StarTribune reports the termination letter stated: “There have been more complaints of religious material on the bus as well as other complaints regarding performance. In accordance …keep reading »

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Ethics: Friend to Start Missionary Dating

What would you do Wednesday! A single friend from church has some exciting news to tell you about his dating life. He wants to tell you over lunch after the Sunday morning worship time. You are excited to hear the news since you have been praying that he find a godly, Proverbs 31 woman. While at lunch he starts to tell you the news – his new revelation on dating. There is a woman who wants him to ask her on a date. And the attraction is mutual. However, he has been hesitant because she is not a Christian. But …keep reading »

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Would You Let Your Child Wear a KKK Costume for Halloween?

Every year kids’ Halloween costumes seem to more resemble what should probably be adult costumes. Even so, for years children have dressed up like Satan, demons, murderous movie characters, vampires, pirates, wicked witches, etc. In recent years there were news reports of sensual costumes for little girls – is that even possible? This year, there are reports that one popular costume is based on a celebrity musician made popular by her shocking stage acts. Of course, there are more innocent, fun and silly costumes too. Yet, all kinds of costumes exist that represent immorality, evil, lewdness, death, etc. They all …keep reading »

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Preach Off: Making a Mockery of the Church

Apparently, the guys from the Preachers of L.A. TV show had a “preach off.” A preach off is like a bad version of a rap battle for preachers. It has all the workings of stand-up comedy improv without the humor. I have no idea what someone is supposed to win in a preach off. Preachers preach the gospel to feed the sheep and win souls to Jesus Christ. Scripture also warns about the content of preaching. For example: For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of …keep reading »

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The Annual Christian Debate Over Halloween Post

As soon as candy in the trick-or-treat bag rings, a smile on a child’s face sings. It is Halloween again in America. Christians will discuss and debate whether or not they can or should participate in Halloween. In this post, I will offer some brief thoughts on Christians and Halloween. One thought that crosses my mind is: if Paul could eat meat sacrificed idols with a clear conscience Christians can take their kids trick-or-treating to get candy for fun. Some Christians object to Halloween regardless of whether or not some form of satanic promotion is involved. The claim sometimes made is that …keep reading »

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Ethics: Divorcing Pastor Preaches on Marriage

What would you do Wednesday! It is Sunday morning and you have just found your spot in a pew. You have brought two friends with you – a couple – who is struggling with their marriage. This morning’s message is supposed to be on marriage. You thought your friends would benefit by hearing a sermon on marriage – they agreed as they work through their marital issues. The worship service progresses. It is now time for the sermon. The pastor stands behind the pulpit and makes an announcement before he begins the sermon. As has been announced over the last …keep reading »

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Warren Cole Smith and Pete Kaliner Discuss Steven Furtick’s $1.7 Million Mansion

Warren Cole Smith was on the Pete Kaliner Show discussing the recent controversy over N.C. Pastor Steven Furtick, of Elevation Church, spending $1.7 million to build his new 16,000 square-foot mansion. Smith and Kaliner begin the show talking about pastors’ salaries in light of accountability, transparency, and living sacrificially. Kaliner brings up Furtick’s answer to critics that he makes his money from book sales and conferences. And that Furtick and his board of advisers speak at each other’s conferences and events promoting each other.Smith argues that the church is what gave pastors like Furtick their platform for success. He then points to …keep reading »

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Ethics: Pastors Refuses Baby Dedication

What would you do Wednesday! It is Sunday morning just after announcements during worship service. The pastor stands at the pulpit and calls some families up for baby dedication as is done in some Baptist churches. Eight families go forward and are standing side-by-side facing the congregation. A young lady in her 20’s, sitting right in front of you, stands up and takes her 1-year-old baby forward. You know the lady’s first name, but don’t really know her otherwise outside of chatting on Sunday mornings. The lady stands with her baby whispering back and forth with the pastor for a …keep reading »

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Liverpool Care Pathway, Obamacare, and Death Panels

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare as some call it, is in the process of being implemented in the United States. As the ACA moves forward concerns over death panels have increased. Some dispute whether or not death panels truly exist in the ACA. Yet, even some Democrats are concerned: ObamaCare ‘death panel’ faces growing opposition from Democrats. The issue is that someone outside the family – bureaucrats – would have the power to make life and death decisions. Will the ACA be similar to The Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) healthcare program in the United Kingdom?  The LCP gives power to health …keep reading »

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Can Cuss Words be Used to Share the Gospel?

I recently challenged Christians to boldness by not shying away from biblical language when talking publicly. I made the challenge using worldliness as an example explaining What Christians Can Learn from a Carefree Cussing World.  Jake Swink asked an interesting question in the comments on that post. The question also took into account cuss words, but from a different angle. Given the current societal moral decline in this ever-changing landscape of evangelistic opportunities, I thought the inquiry was worth a look. Jake commented and asked: What do you think overall if using cuss words can be used for sharing the gospel?? …keep reading »

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What Christians Can Learn from a Carefree Cussing World

A few years ago at a football game at my daughter’s high school I was blessed with some free profanity. While walking to the car, five teenage boys were walking together close by cussing generously and loudly. Also walking close by was a family with two little kids. After about the third blessing from the teens, I spoke up telling them to watch their language. Thankfully, they stopped. When I was a teenager I rarely cussed, but when I did, I certainly did not do it in public or around adults. I had too much respect for people to freely …keep reading »

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Ethics: School to Celebrate Muslim Appreciation Month

What would you do Wednesday! It is a normal day at home. Your middle-school child arrives home from school. Your child tells you they have some information for next month’s school theme. Your child – who can’t remember – then asks the difference between an Abayas and a Thobes. “An Abayas and a Thobes?” you wonder. You take a look at the paper your child just handed you about the school theme. “Please join the school staff in encouraging your child next month as we celebrate Muslim Appreciation Month. In an effort to help society become more sensitive, understanding, and tolerant of Muslims, we …keep reading »

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6 Questions for Atheists, Unbelievers, and the Unchurched

Below are questions that were part of one of my assignments. I thought the questions very interesting as were the answers I got in reply. The answers I got were from a face-to-face meeting, but I thought it interesting to get some online answers. The exercise involves simply getting answers and not arguing or debating the answers. I hope to get some online feedback on these questions. One atheist answered me and his answers are below the following questions. 6 Questions 1.a. If you believe in God, what is God like?  Describe God. 1.b. If you don’t believe in God, …keep reading »

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Would Jesus be a Democrat?

In his own entertaining style, Alfonzo Rachel answers the question – would Jesus be a Democrat? He makes some interesting points. What do you think?  

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Ethics: You Find Out the Church Pianist is Gay

What would you do Wednesday! The church pianist has been playing during Sunday worship for the last two years. Sometimes he sings and plays the piano. He is liked by all and has been a faithful member always present and always serving others. The pianist is single. And you wonder when some lucky lady is going to catch this great servant. One night on an Evangelical Facebook page you are discussing homosexuality and Christianity. There are a few who support gay Christianity and same-sex marriage. You notice two comments that the homosexual life-style is acceptable within Christianity that are from …keep reading »

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Ethics: Kicked Out of Church for Touching the Pastor

What would you do Wednesday! There is a mega-church in the next town over where your neighbor attends. The church has a young, hip 35-year-old pastor whose church has grown to around 10,000 in a few years. Your neighbor has been trying to get you to visit the mega-church with him for a while. He promises you the message will be good, the people friendly, and the atmosphere worshipful. You give in and decide to attend one Sunday morning with your neighbor. The Sunday morning agenda is to attend the first of three services and then go to Sunday school. …keep reading »

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Rob Bell and Andrew Wilson Debate Homosexuality

Rob Bell and Andrew Wilson debate the acceptability of homosexuality within Christianity on the Unbelievable Radio Program. The Bell – Wilson exchange below is fascinating – fascinating because Bell never directly answers Wilson’s question about the biblical foundation for accepting homosexuality in the church. Bell makes general statements about Scriptural interpretation without naming general Scripture. Toward the end of the video, Bell makes emotional appeals about Christian fellowship around the disagreements over homosexuality. Bell says he and Wilson are brothers and would take the Lord’s Supper together. Wilson doesn’t say whether or not he would break bread with Bell. Check …keep reading »

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Preacher Arrested in Scotland for Street Preaching

Josh Williamson, pastor of Craigie Reformed Baptist Church in Perth, Scotland, was recently arrested in Scotland. The charge? A breach of peace. Some allegedly complained he was preaching too loudly. He wasn’t even using an amplification system. The arrest was captured on video. Read the whole story at: Jailed for Preaching Jesus in Scotland! Here I blog… Mark

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Ethics: Would You Call This Youth Leader to Repentance?

What would you do Wednesday! Your church has an active youth ministry due in part from reaching out to the many low-income families within a mile of the church. An additional 50-80 kids attend from these families.  The youth are a large part of both Wednesday evening and Sunday morning services. The downside of this thriving youth ministry is a lack of parental involvement. Some parents are reached through their kids and join the church, but a majority of the youth grow up in the church without their parents. Now, an issue comes up with one of the youth lay leaders. …keep reading »

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How Miley Cyrus Could Really Shock the World!

Given that her name seems to pop-up just about everywhere these days – I was thinking about how Miley Cyrus could really shock the world. It seems every other day Miley Cyrus is a top twitter trend. She is one of the top searched people on Google. One of her recent music videos broke a record for most views in 24 hours. Cyrus has seemingly shocked her way to attention with her recent actions. Many fans and onlookers tuned in and continue to do so with every new sexually suggestive Cyrus performance. And everyone is shocked! But why is everyone shocked? …keep reading »

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What a Great Christian Testimony?

Christian testimonies can be powerful. They are often used in powerful ways to share the gospel. Imagine someone gave you the following testimony about the gospel of Jesus Christ. “You may be someone searching for truth and answers. The gospel of Jesus Christ has them. Regardless of your background, your lifestyle, or your current belief system, the gospel of Christ is for you, and you can accept it wherever you are. The truths found in the gospel of Jesus Christ will change your heart and give you the courage and strength to make good and needed changes in your lifestyle …keep reading »

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Ethics: Men Invited to Evangelize at Strip Club

What would you do Wednesday! This scenario is directed at Christian men. Christian women are welcome to comment and probably have just as much insight on this topic, especially, if married to one of the men at the following prayer breakfast. Men, your alarm sounds at 6 am Saturday morning. It is time for the monthly men’s prayer breakfast at church. As much as you’d like to roll over, you enjoy the much needed Christian fellowship more than the extra shut-eye. As usual, the breakfast starts with brief prayer before eating followed by a testimony or two. After testimonies are …keep reading »

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Facebook Unfriending: Shaking the Digital Dust

Jesus sent his Apostles out to visit homes to proclaim God’s kingdom taking nothing with them. At those homes where the message was rejected, Jesus told them to shake the dust off their feet as they left. Shaking the dust off their feet was a sign of judgement against them for rejecting God’s message. Christian do not witness door to door as they once did. However, many Christians go from digital door to digital door in this age of social media. Sometimes Christians on social media have an encounter from which they must shake the digital dust and move on. …keep reading »

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Always Remember

I will always remember the September 11, 2001 attacks (9/11) that took place 12 years ago today. I will always remember the big screen TV I was watching in my office as the attacks were happening. I shared this information in 2011 in Never Forget. A lot has happened in the United States in the past 12 years since 9/11. That attack united Americans – for a short time anyway. No doubt we will express feelings that we are again united on this anniversary of the attacks. During our time of mourning and recovery, religions that do not go together …keep reading »

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Ethics: Twins Marry Each Other!

What would you do Wednesday! Today’s situation is unusual – beyond unusual. The scenario involves twins who married each other. Keep reading. A married couple from church who confides in you is coming to dinner. They have something very important to share. They also need your advice. It is dinner time. While at your dinner table the couple brings up a very difficult issue to discuss asking this be kept in complete confidence. They begin discussing their marital back ground. They have been together three years with the first being the dating/engagement stage. In fact, it was just last month …keep reading »

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But Jesus Hung Out with Sinners!

Sometimes Christians disagree over participating in certain activities. One Christian may be convicted that a certain activity is sin or at the very least the appearance of evil so they avoid it. Another Christian may come to a different conviction about the same activity and feel free to participate. For example, the recent news out of Oregon where Christian bakery owners felt they would not be honoring the Lord by providing food for a same-sex wedding. (An event that inspired a recent post.) Since the owners refused service to the gay couple’s wedding, some in the LGBT did all they …keep reading »

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Ethics: Pastor Retires But Starts Another Church Down the Road

What would you do Wednesday! Your pastor has been serving your local church for the last eight years. One Sunday morning in the pulpit he announces that it is time for him to move on. He has enjoyed serving everyone during his time, but he believes the Lord has other plans for him for the next season of his life. He plans to retire from the pastorate in the next 60 days. He wanted to give everyone time to adjust to his coming absence and make a slow transition. Since he is only 55 years old he is not retiring …keep reading »

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Labor Day 2013: Your Work Matters

Labor Day has an interesting history. Some trace its beginnings to the socialist Robert Owen, who claimed May 1, 1833, as the day for the beginning of the millennium. But the first May Day or Labor Day celebration occurred in Paris on May 1, 1889. Most of the countries that observe a labor day do so on May 1. In the Soviet Union it is an official holiday. Canada and the United States have fixed the first Monday in September as Labor Day, and in these countries it is a national holiday in which all classes, not simply workingmen, participate. …keep reading »

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Praying to the Abortion God

When the battle over the separation of church and state rears its ugly head, it is normally Democrats who are attempting to keep the church  from participating in state issues. At times, the fight is to remove prayer from political gatherings. Given the types of prayers recently promoted by some Democrats in Iowa, it is easy to understand why some want the church separated from the state. Why? Seems some Democrats and pro-abortion activists have their own god to pray to! The prayers in the video may not be clear enough to understand. Let me help. (HT: Robert Laurie) “We …keep reading »

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Ethics: Fiancée Disagrees with You on Female Pastors

What would you do Wednesday! A friend brought the question up on Facebook recently of marrying someone with whom you disagreed with about female pastors. I thought the subject would make an interesting WWYDW topic. You met at the local church you have both been members of for a few years. You had been courting for about a year. But the courtship is now over and you are engaged. The date set for marriage six months away. Biblical marriage counseling begins with the pastor. While the pastor explains the biblical roles of men and women in the home, the topic …keep reading »

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Worship Video: Keep Yo Business off Yo Facebook

Facebook has now infiltrated a local church through a praise song of sorts. The song offers a much needed warning message for Christian Facebook users. The proverbial joyful noise warned the congregation – “Keep yo business off of Facebook, Sunday you actin’ like a saint, But yo Facebook status say you ain’t, Keep yo business off of Facebook.” While it is unclear which gospel musician is going to turn this hit song into the next Grammy, I hear next week’s social media Sunday sensation will be titled – Don’t Be Tweetin’ Yo Trashtags. Whether you love or hate the song, …keep reading »

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Ethics: Pastor Requires Women Wear Head Coverings!

What would you do Wednesday! As far fetched as it sounds, a Texas pastor banned weaves in his congregation. No doubt we church folks certainly do some weird things sometimes. Banning weaves in church is pretty far-fetched, but what about pastor requiring women to wear head coverings? Well…. One Sunday morning your pastor begins a new sermon series starting in 1 Corinthians 11. He explains that while preparing the series he came across a new movement – The Head Covering Movement. He began to read and dig deeply into the topic of head coverings. He came to some new – …keep reading »

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Extra: Martin Luther King Uninvited from Own Event!

The above headline is not beyond imagination were Martin Luther King, Jr. alive and scheduled to appear at a recent event from which gospel singer Donnie McClurkin was uninvited. McClurkin was set to appear at a Martin Luther King Jr. memorial concert, but was uninvited over his views on homosexuality. What I will show below is that McClurkin and King have similar views on homosexuality. And if McClurkin was uninvited there is good reason to believe that King would also have been uninvited. Ironically, McClurkin is a former homosexual who was delivered from the curse of homosexuality. I understand that …keep reading »

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Ethics: National Religious Entity Not Representing Its People

What would you do Wednesday! Let’s think about Christian leaders who are supposed to nationally represent the people  they serve, but don’t. This idea comes from a piece Mark Tooley wrote at The American Spectator  in response to Jonathan Merritt on immigration reform. The topic here is not specific to immigration reform (though it could be an issue). Rather, we want to consider Tooley’s idea that leadership may be out of step with the people it represents. For example, in Evangelical Grassroots versus ‘Grasstops’ Tooley writes: Perhaps there is an expectation, based on stereotypes about evangelical docility, that churchgoers will …keep reading »

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Should Pastors Try to be Uncool?

Should pastors try to be cool? was published on the 9Marks ministry website. In response, I will provide a different perspective by asking the question – Should pastors try to be uncool? 1. Being an uncool pastor is not the power of God unto salvation—the gospel is. If your evangelistic success is thought to depend on a cultivated uncool image, your trust may not ultimately be in the Holy Spirit working through God’s word; but in the ability to attract people to said image because it is outwardly different from everyone else. 2. Being disconnected to the culture is a …keep reading »

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Why Christian Lawsuits?

So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? But you yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers! (1 Corinthians 6:4-8, ESV) Why are Christians suing, or threatening so …keep reading »

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Reeder on Christians Skipping Church for Ball Practice

“Pastor Reeder,” they explained, “we want to honor the Lord’s Day, but our children’s sports programs are on Sunday.” We sat down and I listened to their story. Their local recreation league scheduled ball practice on Sundays. Should their families skip worship for ball practice? Should they pull their kids off the teams? Eventually they decided, appropriately, that obedience to Scripture and family worship on the Lord’s Day was far more important than team sports. That may seem like an obvious choice to some readers, but it is not the norm. In the child-driven families of today’s culture, it took …keep reading »

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Ethics: Unchurched Christian Tries to Take Girlfriend Out of Church

What would you do Wednesday! You notice that one of your friends from church recently began dating again. She has been part of your local congregation for about three years. In fact, you are in the same Sunday school class. While she has brought her new boyfriend to church a couple of times in the past two months, you don’t know much about him. After Sunday school one Sunday you ask about her new boyfriend. She says he’s a good guy and a Christian who was raised in a Christian home, etc. They are at a point where they are …keep reading »

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Of Genealogies and Charter Church Members

While definitions may vary slightly, a charter church member is basically someone who was an original or founding member of the congregation. In some churches, charter members are celebrated, looked up to, or held in special esteem. Often, their family members share some of this esteem. There is no such celebration of charter church members in Scripture. However, Scripture does not precisely lay out every atom of church practice. However, there are thinks Scripture prohibits and charter church membership just may fall into one of those categories. In Sunday school this past weekend we studied Titus 3. After class, a …keep reading »

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How Should Muslims Beat Their Wives?

Watch below as Islamic cleric, Dr. Mahmoud Al-Denawy, answers the question, “What’s the Islamic view on the beating of wives?”

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Ethics: Get a Tattoo to Better Share the Gospel?

What would you do Wednesday! Today’s scenario involves a Christian friend who is thinking of getting a tattoo to help them better relate to unbelievers and share the gospel. A friend comes to you Sunday morning before worship service starts. Your friend has been doing local prison ministry lately. After visiting the prison and spending time with some of the prisoners all day Saturday, your friend gets an idea. ‘Maybe I should get a tattoo to help me relate to the prisoners so they might be more open to listening to me to help me better share the gospel?’ Your …keep reading »

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Why Did Reza Aslan Write ‘Zealot’ – A Book About Jesus?

The interview below from the FoxNews show Spirited Debate between host Lauren Green and author Dr. Reza Aslan has lit an internet fuse. Green, a Christian, interviewed Aslan, a Muslim, about his book Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. The question has been asked if this is the worst interview Fox has ever done. Some charge Green with holding double-standards when comparing this interview to another she did with a Baptist who wrote on Islam. One of the reasons for Green’s questions was to allow Aslan to address criticisms from Christians. The bigger picture is that Dr. Aslan …keep reading »

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How Racist Are Americans?

The verdict in the George Zimmerman trial has given Americans a view of the racial division and sensitivity that exists in this country. There is no question that racism exists in America, but many have wondered just how deep that racism runs. The question, “How racist are Americans?” may be difficult to answer accurately. However, we can get an idea of how racist Americans are perceive to be by one another. Rasmussen Reports provides such a perception in More Americans View Blacks As Racist Than Whites, Hispanics. Thirty-seven percent (37%) of American Adults think most black Americans are racist, according …keep reading »

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Ethics: Male Friend has Lunch Frequently with Female Coworker

What would you do Wednesday! While out at lunch one day during the week you spot one of your friends from church. You walk over to his table to say hello. Spotting an empty chair with a half eaten lunch, you ask if he is having a business lunch. He is having a business lunch with a coworker. He mentions that the coworker is a manager in another department. He admits, “I am hoping to build some goodwill with the manager. So, for the past three months we have had lunch together a few times per month.” Just as you …keep reading »

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From Gangster to Christian Soldier

Below is a video introduction of the Tommie Scott story. Brother Tommie first sent me a video link of himself addressing Al Sharpton about the George Zimmerman trial. He certainly has a different perspective given his background. I then found his testimony on his YouTube channel and decided to share it. I hope his testimony blesses you! Here I blog… Mark

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Ethics: Anti-Calvinist Evangelist Passes Out Tracts at a Church

What would you do Wednesday! I don’t write on Calvinism much anymore though I am a Southern Baptist who understands there is unnecessary tension over Calvinism among Southern Baptists. I think Southern Baptists can, should, and do work together for the gospel. The purpose of this is not to fan the theological flames, but the core of this post is based on a true story. A story I would not favor whether a non-Calvinist went into a Calvinist church to pass out tracts or vice-versa. So, let’s talk about it. An evangelist friend asks if you want to go pass …keep reading »

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Loving Matthew Vines

Matthew Vines promotes the acceptance of “gay Christianity.” His approach includes changing Christian teaching on homosexuality by offering re-interpretations of long-standing biblical views on the subject. So how might Christians respond to Matthew Vines? How might the church love him? First, I am aware of two thorough responses to Vines’ interpretations promoting gay Christianity. The responses are listed below and they provide great apologetic responses worthy of study to correct Vines’ agenda and interpretations. Matt Slick at CARM offers a written response – Matthew Vines. James White at Alpha and Omega Ministries offers an audio response – Gay Christianity Refuted. …keep reading »

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Ethics: Christian Friend Wants to Sue Pastor Over Copyright

What would you do Wednesday! Today’s scenario is inspired by Ergun Caner’s lawsuit filed against Jason Smathers claiming copyright infringement on videos obtained by Jason from the U.S. Marines. (More on the lawsuit here: Ergun Caner Has Sued Witnesses Unto Me) However, this post is not about the above lawsuit – only inspired by it – so please comment accordingly. A friend, who is an adjunct professor at a seminary, comes to you for advice. He is thinking about suing a pastor who posted a video of him on YouTube. His goal is to claim ownership of the video and have …keep reading »

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I Am Not Proud To Be An American

Today is July 4, 2013 – American Independence Day. And I say Happy Independence Day, but I am not proud to be an American. I did not choose to be born in America. In fact, I had no choice in the matter. Therefore, I find is hard to raise the flag of pride for something I had no hand in. However, I understand Americans are a proud people. We united around pride after the attacks on 9/11 for a time – a short time. The power of pride to unite Americans was short-lived. The sword of pride cuts off others …keep reading »

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Ethics: Should Church Reject Million Dollar Offer for Property?

What would you do Wednesday! Today’s scenario is inspired by the current negotiations of the city of Atlanta to buy Friendship Baptist Church. More information on the negotiations can be read in this article: Friendship Baptist rejects Atlanta’s $13.5 million offer for stadium site. In this scenario, you are a church board member. The board has just sat down to review an offer from the city to buy the church property including the land and building. The city wants the property to build a sports complex which will grow the area economically and bring many visitors. The church owns property …keep reading »

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Ethics: Pastor Throws Fit from Pulpit!

What would you do Wednesday! Today’s post is a based on a true story. In fact, let’s use an actually story that has recently been making rounds. I’ve provided the text and video below. The pastor is preaching Sunday morning. He pauses and throws a fit going into the following rant. Son, don’t sleep when I’m talking. Hey, hey, hey! Don’t you lay your head ba..I’m important.  Now you might do your English teacher that way, but I’m not teaching English. I’m teaching eternal life. I love you. You know I love you. Have I convinced you that I love …keep reading »

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Ethics: Pastor Forced to Resign for Unknown Reasons

What would you do Wednesday! One year has passed since the congregation voted to affirm your pastor. He is one of five pastors who have equal authority in the church through the congregation. But he is also functions as the preaching pastor who has preached 95% of the sermons in the pastor year. Today’s sermon was different though – the preaching pastor just resigned at the end of Sunday’s sermon. Church members were called to the planned order of business after the time of worship. One of the pastors explained that issues over the last two months have caused four …keep reading »

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Christianity: the New Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell?

Could Christianity become the new don’t ask, don’t tell in the U.S. Military? If what Todd Starnes reports in Obama ‘Strongly Objects’ to Religious Liberty Amendment is true, the answer is – yes! Starnes gives the following sample list of “Christian service members and chaplains being punished for their faith.” The Air Force censored a video created by a chaplain because it include the word “God.” The Air Force feared the word might offend Muslims and atheists. A service member received a “severe and possibly career-ending reprimand” for expressing his faith’s religious position about homosexuality in a personal religious blog. …keep reading »

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Man of Steel: 20 Reasons Superman is Not Jesus

Ross McD over at Metro blogged Man of Steel: The top 20 reasons why Superman is Jesus. Some of the comparisons are silly and some are loose parallels. I get the comparison to Jesus which could be made in some sense anytime a singular hero saves the world. Life is filled with the creation, fall, redemption theme starting in the book of Genesis. Man’s sinful passion is to be God. Or more so – to be better than God. Superman is not Jesus though he may be a super man; he is not the God-Man. Jesus did not need a …keep reading »

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Ethics: Group of Pastors Leave 5% Tip After Meal

What would you do Wednesday! The Southern Baptist Convention takes place this week in Houston, TX. I was not able to go, but I have been able to listen (mostly) and follow the events on twitter. And on twitter is where I can across this tweet from “Fake J.D. Greear” that inspired today’s post. BREAKING: in advance of #SBC13, 1000s of Houston waitresses daydream about what they'll do with those extra 25 cent tips. — Fake J.D. Greear (@FakeJDGreear) June 10, 2013 I laughed. I cried. I hope the joke did not come true. I digress. We’ve talked about Christians …keep reading »

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Baptists, Boy Scouts, & Homosexuality

Many Southern Baptists have decided to cut ties with the Boy Scouts of American since the Boy Scouts have officially welcomed openly homosexual scouts beginning 2014. Cutting ties over homosexuality is understandable, but ignores the larger, overlooked gospel issue of pluralism. Southern Baptists (I am one) passed a resolution in 1992 supporting the Boy Scouts for their “refusal to allow homosexuals as Scout leaders and its commitment to maintain references to God within its oath and literature.” As far as I know, these are still the Boy Scouts’ positions. Of course, they folded on allowing openly gay scouts (not leaders) …keep reading »

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Ethics: Openly Gay Scout in Son’s Boy Scout Troop

What would you do Wednesday! I thought the following scenario would be interesting since the Boy Scouts of America recently changed their policy to accept openly homosexual scouts. Your son gets home from his latest Boy Scout Troop meeting. He is dropped off by the father of a fellow scout. The father calls you over to the car to say hello. He also has a concern. He explains to you the Troop tonight was introduced to two gay scouts who, in light of the policy change, decided to open up about their sexuality. They were tired of hiding their sexuality …keep reading »

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Who is Causing Americans to Lose Their Religious Influence?

On May 29, 2013, Gallup released the results of a poll concluding that Most Americans Say Religion Is Losing Influence in U.S. One question from the poll asks: At the present time, do you think religion as a whole is increasing its influence on American life or losing its influence? The results were that 77% affirm religion is losing its influence on Americans. Another question asks: If more Americans were religious, would that be positive or negative for American society? The answer was that  75% of Americans believe more religion would be positive for America. So, there is a 2% …keep reading »

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When Tolerance Attacks

While thinking about tolerance I decided to poke around online. I found the incredible video embedded below. It’s incredible in the sense that it is hard to believe how awful the  American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) volunteers were treated by same-sex marriage advocates. The video is ironically titled – Attacked By “Tolerance”. I don’t know much about the TFP group, but they appear to be Roman Catholic. As a Protestant, I tolerate TFP’s theology while standing with them on marriage and family (best I can tell). But what is shown in the video is clearly …keep reading »

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Tolerance: Person Vs. Idea

The world is full of ideas because the world is full of people. Many of us are professing Christians whose ideas differ from that of other professing Christians. We don’t always tolerate non-Christian worldviews very well. But many non-Christians are quick to return the favor – and then some – as they don’t always tolerate us. Getting along in certain circles can be difficult because tolerance become intolerance object of this intolerance moves from the idea to the person. My observation is people today don’t seem to do well tolerating others when they can’t tolerate others’ ideas. In fact, it …keep reading »

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Ethics: Transgendered Person Becomes a Christian

What would you do Wednesday! Today’s scenario is inspired by an ethics situation Russell Moore mentioned in a sermon. He made up the situation for for future pastors for an ethics test. I altered the scenario to be applicable to any Christian. Pat, a single mother, moved into the neighborhood a year ago. Since she moved in you have made friends with and invited your new neighbor to church. She has always politely declined the invitation until two months ago. Pat attended church with you twice last month and twice the current month. On the second visit Pat responded to …keep reading »

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What Was Awesome About Your Weekend?

It was a normal Monday. A co-worker asked about my weekend though it could have been a friendly acquaintance, office neighbor, etc. Before I could get a word out my co-worker unloaded telling me about the “best movie of year” – Star Trek Into Darkness. There never seems a shortage of new movies being released and Star Trek would have been among my top three guesses. But Star Trek was his number one. He was excited to tell me about it. He talked faster than the Micro Machines Man. I felt like I watched all two hours of the movie in 10 …keep reading »

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Ethics: Pastor Called to Church is on Third Marriage

What would you do Wednesday! There are differing views within Christianity on marriage, divorce, and re-marriage. Some are black and white on these issues while others take into account when the people involved became Christians. And there are those who question whether divorce and/or re-marriage is ever permissible for pastors. That said, I thought this would be an interesting topic for today’s scenario. The situation takes place in a Baptist church which uses a pastoral search committee. The committee has agreed upon a candidate who has accepted the nomination. The next step is for the congregation to vote to invite …keep reading »

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Ethics: Pastor Ignores Matthew 18 Over Facebook Offense

What would you do Wednesday! Given the widespread use of social media the following scenario is bound to happen if it hasn’t happened all ready. It’s a normal day on Facebook. Some people are sharing pictures of their kids and their food. Others complain about or praise something going on in their life. And many people share political and religious pictures and postcards – both funny and serious. On your wall, you decide to post something expressing disagreement with a relatively well-known Christian speaker. While you did not necessary disagree doctrinally, the real issue was his crass approach to the …keep reading »

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Fallacy Journal II: Piers Morgan Edition

I’ve got to do a fallacy journal (for a class) based on 15 informal logical fallacies.1 The fallacies are to be pulled from every day mediums such as reading, TV, social media, etc. I first shared some fallacy findings in Fallacy Journal I. I will share a few more findings in the same-sex marriage debate below featuring Ryan Anderson versus Piers Morgan and Suze Orman. And if anyone cares to explore these fallacies further here is an online fallacy list. Division – argues without warrant what is true the group must be true of its parts. Morgan uses this approach …keep reading »

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Ethics: Traditionalist Baptist Seeks Pastorate of Calvinist Church

What would you do Wednesday! Today’s post is especially for Southern Baptists as we think through how to get along as Calvinists and non-Calvinists working together for the gospel of Jesus Christ. There are some of us who believe Calvinists and non-Calvinists can serve together in a local church under the Baptist Faith & Message 2000. There are others who don’t believe such unity is, or should be, possible. Let’s think about Southern Baptist unity in terms of today’s scenario. You have a pastor friend who affirms the recent Southern Baptist Traditionalist Statement. This statement goes somewhat beyond the current …keep reading »

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The Problem is Repentaphobia Not Homophobia

Much debate as ensued in the current push to redefine marriage as accepting same-sex couples. This redefinition of marriage is touted as a “homosexual rights” issue. Within this current climate of said debate a new mile stone for homosexual rights activists has come to pass – the first active male professional athlete has come out admitting he is gay. That athlete would be, of course, NBA player Jason Collins. OK, great! Now let’s play ball, right? Not so fast because – for some reason – the conversation quickly turned to religion. It appears that Collins claims to be a homosexual …keep reading »

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Chris Broussard Answers Questions on Homosexuality and Christianity

Today, on Power 105.1 FM, Chris Broussard, Christian and sports analyst for ESPN, called into the Breakfast Club radio show. He began explaining that he is not perfect, but strives to be Christlike. He then explains the mark of a Christian in light of falling into sin, willful sinning, the repentant, and the unrepentant. When challenged about the Bible condemning homosexuality, Broussard briefly explains where Christians stand in Christ today under the New Covenant vs. adhering to particular laws under the Old Covenant. Broussard handled himself well and was a great witness for the Kingdom despite some of the crass comments …keep reading »

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Ethics: Retired Pastor Pushing Advice on New Pastor

What would you do Wednesday! Today, dear reader, you get to be the confidant of a pastor. This pastor, who is a close friend, was recently called to a new church. This new church needed a new pastor because the former pastor retired after leading this particular congregation for 20 years. The back story is that your friend was called away from the first church he led where he served for five years. He had not planned on leaving his previous church. However, a well-known pastor who served one church for the last 20 years was about to retire. This …keep reading »

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Homosexual Activist Agenda: Destroy Marriage

A friend recently pointed me to a radio show on which LGBT rights activist and journalist Masha Gessen was a guest. Gessen, herself a lesbian,  made some interesting admissions about the homosexual agenda. While some may deny that such an agenda exists, she was very clear that those pushing for same-sex marriage lie when they don’t admit that such a marriage would change the institution of marriage. (Thanks to the Illinois Family Institute for the transcript.) “It’s a no-brainer that (homosexual activists) should have the right to marry, but I also think equally that it’s a no-brainer that the institution …keep reading »

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Ravi Zacharias on the Acceptance of Homosexuality in Christianity

Ravi Zacharias is asked, “Is it possible for a man or a woman to live a sincere Christian life as a homosexual?” Zacharias was very interesting because frames the answer by placing sexuality in the sacred category. He does this by sharing a story of someone asking him why Christians treat racism differently than homosexuals.  

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Bad Girls Club Meets the Gospel: A Sample of American Christianity?

The video below is an interaction between pastor Jon Speed and Rocky, a cast member of the reality TV show Bad Girls Club. Speed originally shared the video in his post asking the question – Is Rocky Your Convert, Pastor? Brother Speed encountered the reality star while street preaching. Speed points out in his post what Rocky claims to believe and the easy believism that goes along with her profession. Before you get too upset with Rocky, please read Speed’s P.S. in his post where notes that he spent 20 minutes explaining the gospel to Rocky. What I fear about …keep reading »

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Ethics: Child Forced Into Same-Sex Kiss at School

What would you do Wednesday! This post is inspired by the recent Christian Post article, “Parents Upset After Middle School Girls Forced Into ‘Lesbian Kiss’ at NY School Read.” It’s a regular Friday evening. Nothing out of the ordinary until you sit down at the dinner table and your two kids begin an unbelievable story. Your son and daughter broke down – nervous and ashamed – that they each had to kiss someone of the same-sex in school! Apparently, the middle school they both attend, had all grades, 6th – 8th, go through homosexual sensitivity training. The goal was to …keep reading »

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Ethics: Former Oneness Pastor Will Not Publicly Confess Trinity!

What would you do Wednesday! Today’s scenario involves a former Oneness pastor who is also a comedian. Your church has hired this comedian to come in and do a fundraising show for a mission trip. While you had heard of this comedian, curiosity lead you to do an online search about him. Your search lead you to several Christian apologetic sites which claimed that this comedian denied the Trinity. The evidence seems to clearly show this comedian is a Oneness Pentecostal. His parent church (the one that planted his current church) has clear anti-Trinitarian statements on their website. The current …keep reading »

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Interview: ThaKidd Jopp on His Letter to Lecrae

ThaKiddJopp (Rickey Joppy) recently released the hip-hop song My Letter to Lecrae (listen below). Joppy’s song was written out of concern for Christian rapper, Lecrae. However, some folks are concerned about Joppy’s motives or possible missteps in writing the song. So, this Saturday, April 13, 2013 at 7pm EST/6pm CST, Rickey Joppy will be on His Word His Way radio show with Saiko Woods to explain why he wrote the song to Lecrae.  Follow the link to tune-in and even call-in with your own questions and concerns. The Interview Mark: I want to make it clear to the readers that you …keep reading »

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Instant Tweet Resources to End the Gosnell Media Blackout!

Why was I invited to the Facebook event Break the Gosnell Media Blackout – TweetFest Public? First, the event page provides the following background on Gosnell. Kermit Gosnell is currently standing trial on 7 counts of first degree murder for killing newborn babies delivered during abortions. Gosnell has also been charged with one count of third degree murder for the overdose death of his abortion patient, Karnamaya Mongar. If convicted, Gosnell could face the death penalty. The problem is the main stream media seems to be avoiding the case. So, let’s get #Gosnell trending on twitter. I’ve taken the suggested …keep reading »

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Ethics: Accept the Invitation to Son’s Same-Sex Marriage?

What would you do Wednesday! I don’t know any Christians who have faced today’s scenario of being invited to their gay son’s same-sex wedding. However, I’m sure there will be Christians who have and who will face such a dilemma. So let’s think about it…. You are a Christian who believes that marriage is something only between people of the opposite sex. You raised your three kids with this belief about marriage. This is the position on marriage from both the Bible and from a natural law perspective. Not only have you taught you kids that same-sex marriage is actually …keep reading »

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Fallacy Journal I

I’ve got to do a fallacy journal (for a class) based on 15 informal logical fallacies.1 The fallacies are to be pulled from every day mediums such as reading, TV, social media, etc. I thought I would share some of my findings. Below are a few recent fallacy finds in no particular order. In case you want to explore these fallacies further – an online fallacy list! Appeal to Pity ( or Ad Misericordiam) – tries to persuade due to a sense of pity rather than an actual argument. I posted a link on Facebook the allegations that Auburn University …keep reading »

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Is Liberty University a Gay-Affirming School?

To ask whether or not Liberty University is a gay-affirming school seems like an odd question given the reputation of its founder, Jerry Falwell. Many conservative Evangelicals today would not go as far as Falwell did in certain areas, for example, calling one of the Teletubbies gay. Given Liberty U’s “Reprimands and Consequences” in the code of conduct, one may even wonder how well Jesus would fair as a student. Nonetheless, I ask the question of gay-affirmation and Liberty based on Brandon Ambrosino’s story in The Atlantic. Ambrosino shares his coming out story in Being Gay at Jerry Falwell’s University A former …keep reading »

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Ethics: Christian Rapper Teams Up with Snoop Dogg

What would you do Wednesday! A few Christian hip-hop artists have moved to secular record labels. Some Christian rappers are now performing in the same venue with secular artists. This type of affiliation is seen by some as being missional and/or as breaking the sacred-secular divide. But what happens when your son’s favorite Christian rapper goes on tour with Snoop Dogg and does a couple songs with him? Rapper X, arguably the top Christian rapper at the moment, is your 10 year old son’s favorite artist. Your son owns all four of his albums which listens to daily. Your son …keep reading »

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11 Year Old Defends Marriage

Eleven year old Grace Evans defends marriage. 11 Year-Old Girl Bravely Defends the Sanctity of Marriage from sharethemessage on GodTube.

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Why Don’t They Ever Stomp on Muhammad?

Earlier this month, FAU instructor Deandre Poole told students in an intercultural communications class to write the word “Jesus” on a piece of paper, throw it on the floor and stomp on it. Ryan Rotela, a junior at FAU’s Davie campus, later complained he was thrown out of class when he refused to participate. So reports Tia Mitchell at the Miami Herald in the article ‘Jesus’-stomping incident at FAU draws rebuke from Rick Scott. Florida Atlantic University has apologize for the incident after Rotela, a Mormon, complained. So far, no one was fired for the incident. When I read about …keep reading »

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Ethics: Complementarian Pastor Invited to Mother’s Pastoral Ordination

What would you do Wednesday! Today’s scenario is difficult. The dilemma puts a Christian pastor in a situation where he must decide in favor of his family or his biblical convictions. Is today’s post based on a true story? That’s for me to know and you to guess. A pastor gets a formal invite from his father in the mail. The invite is for the pastor to bring his family to his mother’s ordination; her pastoral ordination. He closes his eyes and prays for wisdom. Chills sweep across his body. The problem is this pastor is a strong complementarian. He …keep reading »

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The Starbucks CEO, a Shareholder, Same-Sex Marriage and Grande Lies

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz was recently alleged to have said that he does not want business from those who oppose same-sex marriage and support traditional marriage. But did Schultz really say that or is someone passing out grande lies? Let’s briefly consider what Schultz allegedly said on gay marriage and investing in Starbucks, what he actually said, and why the shareholder is still invested in Starbucks. The Allegations. A shareholder noted that Starbucks sales and earning were disappointing the quarter after the National Organization for Marriage boycotted them for supporting same-sex marriage. Howard Schultz is alleged to have answered the …keep reading »

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Bet Your Pastor Can’t Do This!

No Comment.

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Ethics: Christian Cuts Unbelieving Family Members Out of Life

What would you do Wednesday! I have no idea how often something similar to today’s scenario happens, but I know it does. While catching up with one of your fellow Christians, you ask about their family.  Your friend says,”Most of them are well, but I’m not sure about my sister since we aren’t talking anymore. She’s pretty much out of my life now.” Pausing, you ask, “What in the world are you talking about?” Your friend explains that for years the relationship with their sister has not been the most fruitful. There has always been some underlying, unidentified tension, but …keep reading »

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Why “Preachers’ Daughters”?

A&E has a new reality TV show named “Preachers’ Daughters”. The hashtag for the show was trending on twitter. While I was reading what people were saying about the show on twitter to my wife I went to the Facebook page that was linked on twitter. The Facebook page describes the show as, “Lifetime’s provocative new reality show, “Preachers’ Daughters,” follows the lives of three families for a behind-the-altar look at what happens at home after the sermon concludes.” The show got even worse and we had not even watched it. Out of curiosity, I pulled up episode 1 on …keep reading »

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Is Facebook Becoming the Mormon Police?

Facebook friend Aaron Shafovaloff, who writes at the excellent Mormon Coffee blog, recently had his Mormon Research Ministries Facebook account blocked for 30 days. The images above are screenshots of the warnings he received. Note, he was replying to a Mormon explaining a Christian perspective on an aspect of salvation. As you can see, all he wrote was: “God, I promise you nothing. Help me.” Jesus prefers that over temple vows. That’s all it took to get him banned. There are many more offensive items on Facebook than Aaron’s statement. I’m not even sure how that is offensive and violates …keep reading »

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No Pope for All Christians

“Why believers of all stripes should care about the new head of the Catholic Church,” begins Timothy C. Morgan in his Christianity Today article A Pope for All Christians. Historically there has never been a pope for all Christians and there is not today. Rome begs to differ, of course, claiming themselves the one true church that holds the keys to the Kingdom making the pope head of all Christendom. According to Rome, all other churches are not even true churches. Morgan claims the health of Roman Catholicism affects all Christians because of globalization. Globalization is knocking down walls that …keep reading »

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Ethics: Popular Preacher Cancels Podcast Due to Small Audience

What would you do Wednesday! The following scenario is based on a true event. The names have been changed to protect the guilty – and the innocent! A friend of yours is the pastor of a church plant. In addition to his pastoral duties he also hosts a podcast a couple times per week. The church faithfully supports and endorses the podcast where your friend addresses theological and cultural issues. Sometimes on the podcast another man from the church will teach the Bible. Other times, another pastor or author will be a guest where they can discuss a current book, …keep reading »

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Blog Brief: The Golden Rule and Same-Sex Marriage

According to President Obama the Golden Rule was his reason supporting same-sex marriage. Is this a justified position from a Christian perspective as Obama posits? I don’t think so. Ed Stetzer wrote a piece on the latest research that, sadly, 64% of Americans believe legalization of same-sex marriage is inevitable. Stetzer reminded us of Obama’s Golden Rule comment. What Obama actually said was quoted in a 2010 USA Today article. The President stated that he and Mrs. Obama are: both practicing Christians and obviously [same-sex marriage] may be considered to put us at odds with the views of others but, …keep reading »

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Another Ban on Christian Prayer

Nick Provenza at The Seattle Times reports that praying in the name of Jesus Christ is no longer allowed at Longview City Council invocations. The ban was enacted due to a atheist’s complaint. LONGVIEW (AP) — Ministers should refrain from invoking Jesus Christ in invocations for City Council meetings, Longview Mayor Don Jensen said. Jensen told the Kelso-Longview Ministerial Association last month that such prayers were not acceptable because they could expose the city to a lawsuit, The Daily News reported Tuesday. “It’s not my choice to stop this, but I don’t know how we can put our citizens at jeopardy …keep reading »

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Ethics: Finding An Envelope Full of Cash!

What would you do Wednesday! Pamela North Holloway, a part-time Atlanta airport employee, recently founds an envelope stuffed with $7,000.1 Holloway’s story is the inspiration for today’s scenario. You work part-time, unable to find a full-time job yet. Monthly bills are piling up. Most of them going on two months late. This is the first month that your mortgage may be late. Though money has been tight, it is really only the last few months that have set you back. Unexpected car repairs, a higher than normal gas bill, gasoline prices and the like have been your nemesis. You haven’t …keep reading »

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Ethics: Fellow Christian Recommends 50 Shades of Grey

What would you do Wednesday! Today’s scenario is between two Christians who are friends and fellow church members. You catch up on each others’ lives during a regular luncheon with a church friend. You try to have lunch a couple times per month for prayer, encouragement, and fellowship. While having a spiritual conversation you ask about their spouse. Since so many marriages have spiritual struggles in this age of busyness and information overload discussions about each others prayer and devotional life within the marriage is always a topic. Today, your friend tells you that their prayer and devotional life is …keep reading »

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Video: Pastor Jeffress Speaks on Tim Tebow Controversy

Toward the end of the video Pastor Jeffress names several Evangelicals who have supported him during the controversy of Tim Tebow’s scheduled speaking appearance and abrupt cancellation. He then comments about those men who stood with him. “I am grateful for men of God like these who are willing to stand up and act like men rather than wimping out when it gets a little controversial and an inconvenient thing to stand for the truth. God bless men like that.” Now, there are some people who would say, “Well, God’s given me a different ministry. God has calle me to …keep reading »

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Church? No Thanks, Hypocrite!

People often dismiss the church because they claim Christians are hypocrites. And all non-Christians have a perfect symbiotic relationship between belief and practice, right? Wrong, but Christians need a better answer than, “You do it too!” A comment about Christians being hypocrites came up yesterday while teaching Sunday School. I was teaching from James 3 on taming the tongue. The gist of the comment was that if Christians would tame their tongue (through the power of the Holy Spirit) and stop gossiping, etc. unbelievers would not call us hypocrites. Generally speaking, are Christians really hypocrites? I don’t think so. First, …keep reading »

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Thoughts on FBC Dallas and Welcome Back Tim Tebow

Yesterday, I wrote Farewell Tim Tebow? in response to Tebow canceling his appearance at First Baptist Church of Dallas. Today I want to say welcome back – I think. I also want to briefly address some of the charges leveled against the theology of FBC Dallas showing that the church fits into generally held Southern Baptist positions. FBC Dallas released a statement in response to Tebow’s cancellation. In part, the church wrote: Mr. Tebow called Dr. Jeffress Wednesday evening saying that for personal and professional reasons he needed to avoid controversy at this time but would like to come to …keep reading »

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Farewell Tim Tebow?

A few days ago I wrote about some who called on Tim Tebow to cancel his upcoming appearance at First Baptist Dallas. The post was – In Light of Tim Tebow Invitation Baptist Church Answers Anti-Gay, Anti-Semitic Charges. Not once did I think Tebow would give in to the critics. Apparently, I was wrong. Tebow shared his reasons for canceling in four tweets. Hat tip to Denny Burk for putting those tweets together. While I was looking forward to sharing a message of hope and Christ’s unconditional love with the faithful members of the historic First Baptist Church of Dallas …keep reading »

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Ethics: Adult Toy Seller to Sing at Church Event

What would you do Wednesday! Today’s scenario is based on the true story of Kandi Burrus as reported by the Christian Post.1 According to CP, Burrus is a reality TV star, sells adult toys online and recently recorded the gospel song “Stay Prayed Up”. For the past several months your church has been planning a gospel music event. The event is well advertized, open to the public, and church members encouraged to bring friends and family. You have invited friends and family to the event some of whom include your neighbors. The whole night is planned out including coffee with …keep reading »

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In Light of Tim Tebow Invitation Baptist Church Answers Anti-Gay, Anti-Semitic Charges

Todd Starnes at Fox News documents anti-Christian attitudes against First Baptist Dallas in light of Tim Tebow’s upcoming appearance in his article Southern Baptists Defend Church Smeared by NBC. Starnes gives details about First Baptist Dallas being labeled as anti-gay and anti-Semitic. Because of these improper anti labels some have called on Tebow to cancel his appearance. Starnes also published the church’s response which I’ve quoted below. Recent media reports regarding an appearance by New York Jets’ Quarterback Tim Tebow at First Baptist Church of Dallas have grossly misrepresented past comments made by First Baptist’s pastor, Dr. Robert Jeffress, specifically …keep reading »

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Jesus is My N*gga?

I recently questioned the words used in Sho Baraka’s song “Jim Crow aka N*gga Island”. Imagine my surprise when I find out this morning that Sho is not the first Christian to use n*gga in a hip-hop song. (I’m using “hip-hop” loosely. Read on.) While tuning in to Power Talk, my favorite black talk radio show, the host and callers are discussing a recent YouTube video (embedded below) called “Rappin’ for Jesus” aka “Jesus is My N*gga”. What?! I listened closer. I even called in. The host asked for input about the song wondering if the song would be acceptable …keep reading »

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Ethics: Pastor Says Tithe Even If You Can’t Met Monthly Expenses

What would you do Wednesday! This week’s ethics post is inspired by Dave Miller’s recent post The New Testament Standard of Giving at SBC Voices. A couple from church have been missing for a few Sundays. You wonder where your friends have been so you give them a call one Sunday afternoon. Your friends tell you that they have been struggling financially and have not been able to give 10% of their gross income; their tithe. They have fallen on financial hard times. The economy is down, the husband took a pay cut, the wife was injured in an accident …keep reading »

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Westboro’s Phelps Family: America’s Most Hated Family in Crisis

Louis Theroux of the BBC does a video expose of Westboro Baptist’s Phelps family. I hate calling them a church and hate calling them Baptists though I know those are empty labels. Also, see the previous article about Westboro on this site: Westboro Baptist Revealed: Evangelized, Interviewed, Reviewed. – Remember as you watch – If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to …keep reading »

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Ethics: Pastoral Candidate Preaches Salvation through the Sinner’s Prayer

What would you do Wednesday! The following scenario is based on a true story that was submitted through the contact page. What follows is the blog reader’s main concern in this church’s path to find a new pastor. The following scenario gets to the heart of the concern while not precisely describing every aspect of the situation. A deacon friend comes to you with concerns over the pastoral candidate most of the search committee favors. He is also on the search committee along with two other pastors and three other deacons. The former pastor gave a five month resignation notice …keep reading »

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Should Males Make Decisions on Abortion?

There is a pro-choice abortion argument that states men should not make decisions or laws on abortion since they are male. Since only females are anatomically designed to carry and give birth to a child they are the only ones who may have a valid say on abortion. Pregnancy and abortion will never physically affect a man the way it they do a woman so men should be silent. There are several angles in which to frame this argument. Some, like recently retired libertarian radio talk show host Neal Boortz, even blamed President Obama’s recent victory on the position taken …keep reading »

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Note to Christians: Tip Well or Don’t Eat!

Of course, the story of “pastor” Alois Bell scratching out the 18% mandatory tip on the receipt and writing in “I give God 10% why do you get 18?” is all over the internet now. I first learned of the story when my friend Marty wrote “An open letter to a fired waitress: I’m sorry we are so stingy.” Bell has explained herself in an interview (see below). One waitress, who did not wait on Bell, posted an image of the receipt on the atheism section of reddit which set off the current viral firestorm. Bell left out of her …keep reading »

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G3: Paul Washer – Penal Substitution – The Core of God’s Saving Plan

I had to slip out and tend to some family matters so brother Len blogged this for me. Find him on twitter: @OneOver99. I appreciate his help. —- Pastors raise your hands. He read a passage about being established. He said he is blessed to be here and to hear these men preach. Some of the best in the ministry. He says pastor, if you are faithful you are worth your weight in gold. Pastor,  He will come one day…and you will see…your labor was not kn vain. The entire ocean in a cup of water. All the sand of …keep reading »

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G3: Paul Washer – The Priority of Prayer for Christian Life, Ministry, and Mission

This is a live blog of the G3 Conference. I will be updating along with the speakers. You can follow the line-up at: G3 Schedule. Some of what’s written are paraphrases of quotes that I am unable to catch. Pastor, if you truly want you people to serve you then present Christ before them crucified. It is the mystery of all godliness. Truly converted people do not need a whip, but need to know the justice and mercy of God. Every minister that preached at this conference could have preached on the same text, used the same manuscript and it …keep reading »

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G3: Donald Whitney – When God Turned His Back on Jesus

This is a live blog of the G3 Conference. I will be updating along with the speakers. You can follow the line-up at: G3 Schedule. Some of what’s written are paraphrases of quotes that I am unable to catch. Open the Bible to Matthew 27. Whitney opens with thankfulness for the conference. Those who accuse Christians of simply believing in God with a blind faith are totally unaware of how many times we question God. We wonder why God is doing what He is doing. We continue to trust in Him and His sovereign care despite circumstances. Though we do …keep reading »

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G3: Voddie Baucham – Doctrine Matters – Getting the Gospel Right

We hear much talk about the gospel. In some ways the gospel has become a fad. When something becomes a fad some people jump on the bandwagon and have no idea about what they are involved in. When some people say gospel they are celebrating social gospel. Others, when they hear gospel they are excited because they hear all the moral teachings of Jesus. Legalism. There’s another form of legalism going around – love God, love people. Love God, love people is actually an abbreviation of Jesus’ teaching on the two greatest commandments. The two greatest commandments are a summary …keep reading »

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G3: Joel Beeke – What Really Is the Gospel?

Turn to 1 Tim 1:15-17. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. (1 Timothy 1:15-17 ESV) Five facets of answering the question – what is the gospel? [I lost …keep reading »

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G3: Friday Q&A Panel Discussion

Q: If substitution atonement is the true biblical doctrine does it provide any room for a universal atonement that Jesus died for the whole world without exception? Washer: I’m going to answer the question without really answering it. When he thinks about the glorious doctrine such as the atonement it upsets me that some people only think about it when they want to argue over Calvinism. The doctrine is best used proclaimed to the masses that Christ died and to call all men to repent. Even John 3:16 is not to argue a particular doctrine of the atonement but to …keep reading »

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G3: Steve Lawson – The Preaching of John Calvin and What We Can Learn

This is a live blog of the G3 Conference. I will be updating along with the speakers. You can follow the line-up at: G3 Schedule. Some of the words are paraphrases of quotes that I am unable to catch. Lawson explains that no man more loved or more hated or most misunderstood than John Calvin. Even so, Calvin is the most influential. To omit John Calvin from the history of western Christianity is to read history with one eye shut. Calvin stood at the top of the movement that shaped history. He has been estimated to be greatest theologian since …keep reading »

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G3: Tim Challies – Mission in a Changing World

This is a live blog of the G3 Conference. I will be updating along with the speakers. You can follow the line-up at: G3 Schedule. Tim begins by rightly making fun of how the South shuts down at the mere mention of ice and snow. A preemptive shutdown he called it. Tim going to speak about how the way we communicate the unchanging gospel will change. What are the specific challenges that come to us as Christians in a changing world? We are in the middle of a massive shift in communication – computer to internet. There has been a …keep reading »

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Is Abortion the Answer for Unwanted Children?

Sometimes a pro-abortion argument is made that it is best not to bring unwanted children into the world. That argument is actually a case for contraception not abortion. First, abortion is not contraception. Contraception is something done to prevent conception or pregnancy. By the time a woman is pregnant it is too late to use contraception because a baby has all ready been conceived. So contraception is one way, as long as it does not fail, to prevent bringing an unwanted child into the world. The best prevention is abstinence. Now, to the question at hand. Is abortion the answer …keep reading »

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Is Mark Driscoll (@PastorMark) Right on President Obama?

On the day of President Obama’s inauguration, Mark Driscoll sent out the tweet below. There was mixed reaction to the tweet. A lot of people agree with Driscoll and a lot disagree – probably, much like the divide in the country. Regardless of personal feelings, is Driscoll right biblically in his comments on Obama? Why or why not? Praying for our president, who today will place his hand on a Bible he does not believe to take an oath to a God he likely does not know. — Mark Driscoll (@PastorMark) January 21, 2013

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Ethics: Pastor Offers Money to Attend His Church

What would you do Wednesday? Today’s scenario may be the weirdest yet! And it’s based on a true story…or is it? You are at lunch sitting in a local restaurant with a few friends one Sunday after worship service. A pastor of another local church walks by. Though you are both Baptists this pastor is adamantly opposed to your theology which leans more on the side of the Protestant Reformers. Despite disagreements you are always cordial to each other and consider each other brothers in Christ. The pastor does not see you as he walks through the restaurant so you stop …keep reading »

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Vigilante Muslims Enforcing Sharia Law in London

Below is a video shot by some vigilante Muslims in London trying to enforce Sharia Law in what they are calling a “Muslim area.” Will we soon see something like this in America?

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Ethics: Pastor Won’t Reveal His Salary

What would you do Wednesday! Money is a touchy subject for most people; especially, their own money. Even many Christians are adamant that they know exactly where every dime they give to the church is being spent. There are times when churches need to raise additional funds so they have a special plea for members to give. Some members give more, some give the same, and some don’t give at all. Though it might be argued that Christians in general don’t give sacrificially anyway. Today’s scenario is one in which your church needs to raise a bit of extra money …keep reading »

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Does Sho Baraka’s Song “Jim Crow” (aka Nigga Island) Harm the Gospel?

Chrisitan hip-hop artist, Sho Baraka just release his latest album Talented 10th. Prior to the album release the single “Jim Crow” was released at Hip Hop DX. The official name of the song seems to be “Jim Crow,” but many also refer to it as “Ni**ga Island.” The title of the song alone is bound bring disagreements, especially, from a Christian artist. You can read the lyrics and listen below, but here is the hook: I feel I’m trapped in a crazy place. Asking the Lord for amazing grace. I see the masses wanna change me. I’m waiting for someone …keep reading »

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Sadly, Giglio Withdraws from President Obama’s Inauguration

Jonathan Capehart is joyfully reporting at the Washington Post that Louie Giglio has withdrawn from President Obama’ inauguration.1 Just yesterday I defended Giglio from an attack by a Liberal at HuffPo. So I post with sadness that Giglio has removed himself from Obama’s inauguration. I know Christians are divided (what’s new?) over whether or not an Evangelical should participate in an event like the Presidential Inauguration. However, many of us saw Giglio giving the benediction as a great gospel opportunity. Maybe another Evangelical will replace him who is also not ashamed of the gospel. The full text of Giglio’s reasoning …keep reading »

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Intolerant Liberal Targets Louie Giglio

The liberal attacks against Louie Giglio are already starting.  Paul Brandeis Raushenbush at the Huffington Post goes after Giglio in his article “Obama, Inaugural Prayers and the Evangelicals Who Don’t Like Him.”1 As I’ve previously noted, Giglio has accepted President Obama’s invitation to give the benediction at his inauguration. Giglio is a Conservative, Evangelical Christian and some liberals like Raushenbush are not happy with the President’s choice of Giglio. Below I will quote and comment on the pertinent part of Raushenbush’s article showing his misrepresentation, inconsistency and political broad brushing. Rev. Louie Giglio, the conservative evangelical pastor of Passion City Church …keep reading »

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Ethics: Parents to Put Child on ADHD Medication

What would you do Wednesday! Friends and fellow church members are contemplating putting their kid on ADHD medicine. Your pastor is very outspoken against any type of ADHD medication. In fact, the pastor has made it clear that any church member who believes their kids need ADHD medication are simply not doing their jobs as parents. Those parents lack a biblical model of discipline in the home. He has asked that any parent considering such mediation seek biblical counsel by talking to him first. Your friends explain that they decided to have their kid tested by a psychiatrist in stead …keep reading »

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Louie Giglio to Give Benediction at President Obama’s Inauguration

The Hill is reporting the that civil-rights activist Myrlie Evers-Williams and Evangelical pastor Louie Giglio will participate in President Obama’s 2013 inauguration.1 Evers-Williams will give the invocation and Giglio is set to give the benediction. The last Evangelical to participate in Obama’s inauguration was Rick Warren of which I shared some thoughts at the time. (See: Apostle Paul On Inauguration Day) It’s interesting that Giglio is not only Evangelical, but also a Calvinist. I am glad, yet cautiously optimistic about Giglio’s participation. Events like the President’s inauguration tend to be highly ecumenical. Surely, Giglio will carefully choose his words while facing …keep reading »

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Ethics: New Years Eve Party, Alcohol and the Pastor

What would you do Wednesday! Christmas has just passed and the new year is almost here. You make plans all week for a New Years Eve fellowship at your home with some friends from church. As you invite friends you make sure they understand that you will have champagne for the happy new year toast. The annual champagne toast is a reminder of the freedom in Christ there is to have a drink of alcohol. It is also a celebration of coming out of the cult of Mormonism where alcohol is forbidden based on Joseph Smith’s ‘Word of Wisdom’. Friends …keep reading »

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2012 Thoughts on Blogging, Life and Stuff

The sand in the hour glass of 2012 has almost run out. Time sure seems to go by fast these days. The end of 2012 means another year of blogging also ends. All is not lost since a new year, 2013, begins – Lord willing. I’ve been blogging for several years. Yet, I do not know if I would consider myself a successful blogger. I’m not sure if I am even a good blogger, but I know my writing has improved. Hopefully, my content has also improved. Personally, 2012 was the most spiritually difficult year while also the most spiritually …keep reading »

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If Government Mandates Prayer in Public Schools

In light of the tragic Sandy Hook massacre, one of the reasons given for such incidents is that God has been kicked out of public schools. One argument for inviting God back into public schools is to reinstate prayer. I am not arguing whether reinstating government mandated prayer is right or wrong. But I am wondering something…. If government mandates prayer in public schools who faith will lead the prayers – a Muslim, a Jew, a Hindu, a Buddhist , a Sikh, a Jehovah’s Witness, a Mormon or a Christian? Which prayer would please God and actually invite Him into …keep reading »

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One Question for Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan)

In the above video, Piers Morgan says to Rick Warren, “The Bible and the Constitution were well-intentioned, but they are basically, inherently flawed. Hence, the need to amend them. My point to you about gay rights, for example, it’s time for an amendment to the Bible. You should compile a new Bible.” Since Morgan is all about equal rights and fairness, as he defines them, I thought it only proper to include our Muslim friends in on the conversation. Let’s be fair to Islam in this discussion and give Muslims equal time and consider the state of the Qur’an alongside …keep reading »

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Top 10 Ethics Posts for 2012

In July 2010, I started the Wednesday series called “What Would You Do Wednesday!” In those Wednesday posts I try to come up with real life situations faced by Christians in order to help us think through how we might react and apply biblically based ethics. Sometimes the situations are based on actual events as people started contacting me with situations in which they have been involved. Of course, I would never reveal who is submitting these situations. Often those who submit a situation are curiously seeking advice with a wider audience than they might have otherwise. The goal is …keep reading »

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A Blogger’s Night Before Christmas

To blog before Christmas when all through the ‘net, Watchbloggers were reading for their appetite to whet. Drafting a post to spread cheer – a Christmas song, But wait – someone on the internet might be wrong! The blog readers wonder and wait with baited breath, For the next post to be published to their RSS. That’s what he tells himself this Christmas Eve, His true presents come with the comments they leave. Hearing clatter outside, he jumped out of bed, But then thoughts of blog stats ran through his head. To check for new comments and stats he did …keep reading »

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Because We have a Black President?

Sometimes while driving to the office I flip the radio over to local, liberal, black radio on am 1390 WAOK and listen to Powertalk with Lorraine Jacques-White. This morning was one of those times. I heard an amazing assertion by a Christian caller whose politics got in the way of reasoning. As I turned to the station to 1390, a man called in who quoted Genesis 1:26 asserting that it taught there is more than one God. Host White rightfully corrected him and gave an analogy defending the Trinity. The next caller also corrected the man by defending the Trinity. …keep reading »

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Ethics: Christmas Tree Vs. Fellowship

What would you do Wednesday! The following scenario takes place during the first week of December which means Christmas is around the corner. A friend called a wanted to come over to discuss Christmas trees. While reading about Christmas trees online, as a Christian, he became uncomfortable with them. A week later he stops by your house. Since you last talked he has come to the clear conviction that Christmas trees have some sort of pagan origins; therefore Christians should not put them up to celebrate the birth of Jesus. On your living room floor he notices a box packed …keep reading »

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Death, Murder, Hope

Death Death is one of the few parts of life that is unavoidable. Death comes in various ways from natural to accidental to sometimes murderous. All death is sad, especially, to those close to the deceased. Yet, it is normally less difficult to mourn a natural death than an accidental or, especially, a murderous one. What happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School was neither natural nor accidental – it was murder. Pure evil. It is time to pray for all of those affected by the murder of the six adults and 20 children. Pray for the family, friends, and acquaintances. …keep reading »

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Is Erick Erickson Right on the Evangelists’ Failure?

Conservative political blogger and talk radio host Erick Erickson, in his article “The Evangelists’ Failure“on RedState.com, shares what he sees as one of Evangelical America’s biggest failures. Erickson is more than a conservative political pundit. He is also an Evangelical of the Presbyterian persuasion. I have listened to Erickson many times on the local radio station while sifting through Atlanta traffic. He is a sharp, insightful, and fair brother. Based on some of the information he provides to his listeners, he is also politically well-connected. I appreciate brother Erickson’s insights on culture and politics, but I’m not convinced of his conclusion …keep reading »

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Coexist: Truth or Fairytale?

 

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Ethics: Pastor Threatens to Call Out Facebook Posts from Pulpit

What would you do Wednesday! The following situation is based on a true story. Though I don’t always note when an ethics post is based on a true story, but I thought this one a bit odd so I mention it in case anyone wonders if I just made it up. The concern stems from Facebook posts and made its way to the pulpit. Your teenage son is on Facebook. Like all good teenaged Facebook users he updates his wall often. Your son shares his feelings on his wall about various issues in life. If he is struggling, frustrated or …keep reading »

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Field Trips and Work Detail

I want to make two general observations of the attitudes exuded by Christians ministering in the church. Those Christians range from pastor to deacon to those who sneak in late and sit on the last pew. The types of ministering ranges from preaching to teaching to walking an elderly lady to her car. Some Christians give the impression that they are on work detail when ministering to others. It’s as if they force a joyless smile just to get through a laborious task. Their motivation seems to flow out of a love for God as they dutifully serve their neighbor …keep reading »

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Embarrassing the Kids

If you have kids or have ever been a kid then you know what it’s like when kids are embarrassed by their parents. Kids may feel embarrassed at any given time they are around their friends or simply in public. Kids feeling embarrassed by their parents is not a new or isolated idea. Such embarrassment is portrayed on TV shows and in movies. Sometimes kids make up any excuse or walk longer distances to avoid being picked-up, dropped-off or escorted somewhere in front of their friends. Sometimes parents catch on and, in good fun, purposely embarrass their kids. Why are …keep reading »

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Genius the Movie Featuring John Lennon

Living Waters ministry has put a new video called Genius. Check it out below!

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Ethics: Sermon Illustration Used as Real Personal Experience

What would you do Wednesday! It’s Sunday morning just before worship service begins. As you talk to some friends, you remember the joke you read on a blog last night about a pastor, a rabbi and a priest fishing together. You begin telling the joke, but the music starts so you have to finish afterward. Worship service begins and a wonderful time of worship feeds your soul. Toward the end of sermon the preacher begins an illustration to help make a particular point. The illustration turns out to be a joke – the same joke you read last night on …keep reading »

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The Reach of Pornography in the Church

Denny Burk quotes Heath Lambert on pornography from the latest issue of JBWM. Pornography is the defining sexual sin of our day. In Christian circles adultery and homosexuality often capture more headlines, but I am persuaded that in terms of sheer numbers they cannot hold a candle to the devastation of pornography. Last year I counseled six people struggling with homosexuality and around eighteen caught in adultery and fornication. I don’t know exactly how many I helped who were locked in pornography, but the number is in the dozens. As bad as that number sounds those people are not the …keep reading »

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Todd Friel Graciously Answers Critic During Open-Air Preaching Event

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Contentment: Philippians vs. Black Friday

Black Friday and all of its craziness has come and gone for another year. Now it’s Cyber Monday’s turn. It is a good thing that Black Friday has passed because of all of the crazy things it makes people do, right? Wrong. Black Friday isn’t the cause of peoples’ sinful behavior, but an avenue that draws it out. Black Friday allows people to show, to an extent, where many find contentment. Some people like comfort foods, some people like comfort buying. There is nothing inherently evil about Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Rather, it is people acting on their evil …keep reading »

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Black Friday: Depravity on Display

The above image of Black Friday headlines are from Drudge Report. They show violence, theft and ridicule – all over trying to buy stuff at a better price. Funny, all of those people can live without the stuff they are fighting over. They did not have any of those things on Thursday, the day before the Black Friday emotional and physical plight for stuff began. Thankfully, not everyone who shops on Black Friday are part of those headlines. There is nothing wrong with having more stuff in the right perspective. Sure, there are a few things I’d like to have …keep reading »

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Thankful Poem

Thankful Lord, I am thankful for so many things. You gave me new life of which my soul now sings. I am closer to going home with each breath. On my final day – eternal life through your death. Thankful Lord, I am thankful for so many things. I can trust you each day no matter what trouble it brings. When I am overcome and my soul in despair. You do not let me go Your saving hand is there. Thankful Lord, I am thankful for so many things. Until I reach Your presence You keep me on eagles’ wings. …keep reading »

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A Reply to the Danger of Calling Behavior ‘Biblical’

Recently, Rachel Held Evans’ article “My Take: The danger of calling behavior ‘biblical’” was published on the CNN Belief blog.1 I’m going to reply. My goal is not to take hammer to fingers, but to point out inconsistencies in her positions. My assumption is that, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17 ESV). Therefore, the Bible does have something to say, directly or indirectly, on most life issues. There should be no …keep reading »

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Ethics: Mormon Neighbor Asks You to Help Feed People on Thanksgiving

What would you do Wednesday! It is Thanksgiving morning. You stand in the front yard admiring God’s creation thinking about the gospel. There is nothing to be more thankful for – nothing more important – than the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel that saved you and shapes your worldview. It’s going to be a great day! “Good morning,” your neighbor yells from across the yard. After exchanging a few words your neighbor asks if you’d like to come help serve food to people in need for a couple of hours. He explains that his church serves food for Thanksgiving …keep reading »

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After Nearly 60 Years Nativity Scene Denied in Park

Funny, the actual Federal American holiday is Christmas, but some don’t want a Nativity scene displayed about the holiday. Maybe some Christians can take turns standing in the display spots and sharing the gospel via the Christmas story to passersby.

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On How Christians Engage Each Other Online

If you have spent any amount of time engaging Christians on any type of social media it is not hard to conclude that some Christians have the gift of the cyber-hammer. Feeling the smashing blows of the cyber-hammer are unmistakable no matter how many internet connections away you may be. My fellow Christians, this ought not be since we are to live at peace with all while praying for our enemies (Rom. 12:14-21) and do good to all, especially, our fellow Christians (Gal. 6:10). I admit, I am guilty! I am also repentant. I am hoping the way I respond …keep reading »

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Ethics: Homosexual Couple Comes to Bible Study

What would you do Wednesday! It’s Friday evening. You just got home from work, pulled into the driveway, and turned off your car. Running a little late for the dinner date with your spouse, you hurry toward the house so you can turn around and get to the restaurant on time. While heading for the front door your new neighbor, whom you’ve not officially met, says hello. He notices that your are carrying a Bible (it had been left in the car). Being new to the neighborhood, he mentions the Bible and says that he wants to talk to you …keep reading »

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Music Minister Fun: Hymn Sung in Various Musical Styles!

The music minister in the video below, Rob Mills, has some fun singing the hymn “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” in various musical styles representing different musical eras. While the hymn was written in 1887 by Eli­sha A. Hoff­man, Mills begins with a 1940’s style of music and moves a decade at a time ending in one of today’s hip-hop styles. Enjoy!

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Ethics: New Friends Serve Lord’s Supper at Dinner Date

What would you do Wednesday! A new couple moved into town two months ago and joined your church. In order to get to know you better, they invited you and your spouse over for dinner. Something unusual happened during dinner. All of the food set on the table was covered; presumably to keep it warm. Your new friend, the husband, asked that you all bow your heads to give thanks for the food. He ends his prayer reading about the Lord’s Supper in 1 Corinthians 11:23-29. For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the …keep reading »

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Election Thoughts: Christians Live Among Evil Choices

During this 2012 Presidential election cycle many Christians feel they are left with only two voting choices: a liberal, professing Christian and a non-Christian, Mormon. Therefore, many Christians feel they are left with a choice to vote for the lesser of two evils. Other Christians will not vote at all or choose a third party candidate effectively giving their vote to one party or the other. The overlooked issue? Christians often daily choose between the lesser of evils. Even though Christians often choose between the lesser of evils it seems that this dilemma only matters during Presidential election time. Two …keep reading »

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Video: Mitt Romney Speaking Passionately About Mormonism

Jan Mikelson of WHO-Iowa discusses Mormonism with Mitt Romney. Mikelson challenges Romney’s Mormon faithfulness. Mormon eschatology and values are discussed including views on abortion. Romney is tired of defending and talking about Mormonism because he “is not running as a Mormon.” (HT: Chad Miller)

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Did Mike Huckabee Warn that Voting for Obama Will Send You to Hell?

The following video narrated by Mike Huckabee is called “Test of Fire.” The video challenges Christian voters in the 2012 Presidential election. Some are claiming that Huckabee is assigning those who vote for Obama to hell. What did Huckabee just say? Again, at about 42 seconds he states: Christians across the nation will have an opportunity to shape the future for our generation and generations to come. Many issues are at stake, but some issues are not negotiable: The right to life from conception to natural death. Marriage should be reinforced, not redefined. It is an egregious violation of our …keep reading »

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Are All Black People Going to Hell?

Imagine if I or any white Christian stood up in front of a group of people in a church building and said, “All black people are going to hell!” Can you imagine the standing ovation with thundering applause that would follow? Yeah, me neither. In fact, if any Christian said such a thing I would expect lots of deserved public and private rebuke. So, when 91 year old, Civil Rights icon, Joseph Lowery recently said that all white people are going to hell1 – I would hope for the same type of rebuke. Lowery is a professing Christian, a United …keep reading »

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Ethics: Neighbor Will Not Attend Church Over Racism

What would you do Wednesday! Today’s situation deals with a white Baptist Christian who invites his unbelieving black neighbor to church. You, a white Christian, have been neighbors with a black unbeliever for the past year when he moved into the neighborhood. The two of you have built a pretty good relationship. You have borrowed tools and other items from each other. You’ve been there for each other during car problems, yard work, house sitting, etc. The level of trust has been established in many everyday areas except spiritual in issues. You have tried to talk with him about Jesus, …keep reading »

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Christians Should Cherish the Opportunity to Vote

For the Christian, involvement in the political realm is as mandatory as involvement in the other ordained institutions of God. If “righteousness exalteth a nation” (Proverbs 14:34), then the righteous must be involved. It is through godly influence of righteous citizens that a city prospers (Proverbs 11:11). The Creator of heaven and earth is also the Creator of social institutions, and He wants His people involved in these institutions. He wants us to bring Him honor and glory by our involvement. A classic example of such involvement is provided by the Apostle Paul, who was not ashamed to be a …keep reading »

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I was Almost Born this Way

It was a nice warm day like most days. I’m not sure if the sun was out or not. I have not actually experienced the warm glow of the sun – yet. I looked forward to it though. I heard so many things from the outside. I could only guess what they were. I looked forward to them all. Oh, I yearned to experience a life filled with love. I just knew that life was coming soon with the way you cared for me and fed me. I was so warm and comfortable all the time on the inside. I …keep reading »

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Ethics: Sponsoring a Female Church Planter

What would you do Wednesday! The following situation is based on true events…. Your church recently made contact with a husband and wife missionary team who are back home in the U.S. to raise support. They have been missionaries in a poor country for five years. The couple is known for starting house churches in the poor country though not a lot organizational or procedural details are known. Your church has been promoting a missions theme during the current month. Every Sunday morning missionaries get to share what they are doing on the mission field for a few minutes before …keep reading »

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Matt Chandler Responds to Criticism of ‘David, Goliath and the Gospel’

In the video below Matt Chandler attempts to explain how the gospel runs through the David and Goliath story in a mere 3.5 minutes. Dr. Eric Hankins raised concerns about Chandler’s interpretive approach in the video in his recent critique of ‘Christ-centered homiletics’.1 However, back in January Mike Riccardi, using Chandler’s explanation in the video as an example, wrote a very thorough and gracious explanation of the problems with such an interpretation.2 Chandler was contacted for a response to Riccardi’s article and he replied. “Thanks for your encouragement and email.  I read Mike’s critique and agree with most of it.  The …keep reading »

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Ethics: Paralyzed Christian Wants to Die

What would you do Wednesday! This situation is inspired by the tragic situation of Grace Sung Eun Lee, a 28 year old paralyzed Christian, who is ready to die.1 Her parents believe removing the breathing and feeding tubes would be suicide sending her straight to hell. Today’s situation will be slightly different than Lee’s, very sad, real life situation. Six months ago a 30 year old friend was paralyzed. Your friend has been in the hospital for the last six months and is kept alive by breathing and feeding tubes. You visited your friend frequently for encouragement and prayer. Your friend’s …keep reading »

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9Marks Workshop in Atlanta: Register Today!

9Marks is bringing a conference about the church and for the church to Atlanta, GA. The following topics will be covered: theological vision, preaching & biblical theology, gospel, conversion & evangelism, membership, discipline & discipleship, leadership, covenanting together. Each session ends with a Q&A. More info and registration below. When? Monday, October 29, 2012, 9 am – Tuesday, October 30, 2012, 12 pm. Who is speaking? – Mark Dever – Matt Schmucker – Aaron Menikoff – Zach Schlegel How much? – General Registration: $45 – Student Registration: $35 Where? Mount Vernon Baptist 850 Mt Vernon Hwy NW Atlanta, GA 30327 …keep reading »

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Muslims Protest at Google Offices Over Anti-Islam Video

The Telegraph reports that “Muslims protest ‘age of mockery’ as thousands descend on Google HQ.” Many Muslims are understandably offended by the anti-Islam video ‘The Innocence of Muslims’ published on YouTube. They do not care about free speech and plan to protest until the video is banned. At least one of these Muslim leaders wants to shut down free speech and the spread of ideas contrary to Islam. He even redefined terrorism to include hurt feelings and calls Google’s right to free speech anarchy. One of the speakers, Sheikh Faiz Al-Aqtab Siddiqui, told The Daily Telegraph: “Terrorism is not just …keep reading »

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Heroes in Black and White: Precious Puritans Vs. Martin Luther King Jr.

Christians are not immune to racial, cultural, or theological bias and blindness. Those types of bias and blindness may be more apparent in Christendom for the Puritans and Martin Luther King, Jr. – cultural and theological heroes to many Christians. Precious Dust Up The dust up over Christian rapper Propaganda’s lyrics in his song “Precious Puritans” recently brought some of these issues to the surface. Propaganda charged the Puritans, broadly defined, with certain racial moral failures charging white privilege against some pastors who quote the Puritans. Some Christians argued that Propaganda defined the Puritans too broadly and unfairly charged them. …keep reading »

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Ethics: Too Fat to Enter the Ministry

What would you do Wednesday! A friend is told by his pastor that his weight is keeping the pastor from signing off on his seminary application. A good friend of yours approached his pastor about going to seminary and entering vocational ministry. The pastor knew of his ministry aspirations. They finally met to discuss the pastor’s approval and endorsement on the seminary application. A point in the meeting was reached where they discussed the pastoral qualifications in 1 Timothy 3. Your friend read verses 1-7 out loud. Your friend then asked the pastor if he thought there were any apparent …keep reading »

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Introduction Video: The Gospel According to Barack

Check out the video below and my interview with Dr. Breshears: Five Questions with Dr. Breshears on His Book: The Gospel According to Barack. Author Jefrey D. Breshears gives a brief introduction and excerpt from his new book, “The Gospel According to Barack,” which sets out to answer the question – where did Barack Obama get his ideas about Christianity?

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Ethics: Visiting Non-Member Friend Wants to Take Lord’s Supper

What would you do Wednesday! LifeWay’s recent survey on the Lord’s Supper practices among Southern Baptists has incited some discussion in Baptist blog world. So today’s situation is in the context of the Lord’s Supper being served in Baptist church that practices closed communion. An old friend is in town staying with you over the weekend. While catching up over dinner Friday night your friend begins a spiritual conversation. He admits something that has been spiritually weighing him down – he had some unresolved anger toward you and decided not to take communion until after this visit where he could …keep reading »

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Church Sign: Pet Blessings?

I snapped pictures of these two interesting church signs in Metro-Atlanta over the weekend. Is this a new kind of seeker-centered outreach? I wonder if anyone showed up and how they “blessed” the animals. By the way, I blessed my steak last night – does that count?  

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Ethics: a Pastor Secretly Records Conversation with Another Pastor

What would you do Wednesday! The following scenario is inspired by actual events as told by Peter Lumpkins.1 Please note that inspired by does not mean an exact, actual portrayal of said events. Rather, the scenario is loosely based on the actual event. Okay? OK! Pastor Friend calls you and tells you about an interesting conversation he just had with Pastor Blogger. Pastors Friend and Blogger just happened to be eating lunch in the same restaurant so Friend approached Blogger to challenge him on his approach to blogging. A conversation ensued. Friend tells you that the tone of the conversation …keep reading »

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Does Dr. Jason Allen Meet Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Presidential Profile?

The Baptist Press reported that Dr. Jason K. Allen was chosen as the nominee to be Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s next president,1 but does he meet their ‘Presidential Profile’? While questions have been raised about Allen’s qualifications, questions have also been raised about Allen’s theology and the Midwestern Trustees’ silence on their vetting process. Below I will briefly comment on the Presidential Profile, trustee silence and Allen’s theology. The Presidential Profile Midwestern’s website lists the “Key Responsibilities of the Next President” with the following major points which conclude with their ‘Desired Qualifications’.2 Spiritual Leadership Institutional Leadership Fundraising/Enrollment Leadership Academic and …keep reading »

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Ethics: Beth Moore Unexpectedly Guest Preaches Sunday Morning

What would you do Wednesday! Popular Southern Baptist author Beth Moore recently preached at Passion City Church on Sunday morning. The video of Beth Moore preaching at Passion City Church is still online. In light of her recent sermon – let’s consider how you might react if Beth Moore were to unexpectedly preach at your church on Sunday morning. The scenario. Your church has advertised for the past two months that Beth Moore is visiting soon to lead a Sunday School class. She is visiting to teach, promote a book, answer questions, etc. Several of your friends hear that Moore …keep reading »

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John Newton: Christians, True Patriotism and Government Involvement

John Newton (1725 – 1807), well-known for penning the hymn “Amazing Grace,” wrote a letter to a friend giving his views on Christian involvement in government affairs. Newton briefly defines true patriotism from a Christian perspective. Would Newton title his position today as – Gospel-Centered Patriotism? Dear friend, Allow me to say, that it excites both my wonder and concern, that a Christian minister such as yourself, should think it worth his while to attempt political reforms. When I look around upon the present state of the nation, such an attempt appears to me, to be no less vain and foolish, …keep reading »

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One Million Porn Free Christian Men?

Southern Baptist Pastor Jay Dennis has started a movement to address the problem of pornography in the church. The movement and website is called One Million Men Porn Free. Christian counselor Harry Schaumburg comments show the seriousness of the church’s pornography problem. For the last twenty years thousands of men from across America struggling with sexual sin have come to our intensive counseling workshop. Over half were pastors and missionaries. I wish our experience was unique. Several years ago a seminary professor told me: “We no longer ask our entering students if they are struggling with pornography, we assume every …keep reading »

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Freedom From Religion Foundation Shuts Down High School Football Game Prayer

Haralson County High School has been praying before football games for 50 years. Frank and Sarah McIntyre, parents of a Haralson County football player, complained that the prayer was unconstitutional. The McIntyre’s, who claim they are not atheists, were surprised that a larger than usual crowd attended the football game after prayer was removed. TALLAPOOSA, GA (CBS ATLANTA) – For more than 50 years the Haralson County High School Rebels have been praying before football games over their public announcement system. For the first time since the prayers began all those years ago, the loud speaker was silenced. In their first …keep reading »

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Ethics: Pastor Uses Company for Sermon Preparation

What would you do Wednesday! Today, I’d like to find out what people think about pastors using sermon preparation companies like Docent Research. Docent will be used for illustrative purposes to show that a sermon preparation service actually exists and to show what they offer. Always curious about what your pastor is reading you browse the books on his desk while waiting to meet him. While shifting one of the books in order to get the title of another book an envelope falls to the floor. “Oops,” you mutter as you bend down to pick it up just as your …keep reading »

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Why Do You Call Yourself a Christian?

Why do you call yourself a Christian? I said a prayer. Why do you call yourself a Christian? I walked the aisle at church. Why do you call yourself a Christian? I believe in God. Why do you call yourself a Christian? I read the Bible. Why do you call yourself a Christian? I pray everyday. Why do you call yourself a Christian? I feed the homeless and the hungry. Why do you call yourself a Christian? I take care of widows and orphans. Why do you call yourself a Christian? I’ve been baptized. Why do you call yourself a …keep reading »

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Friday Fun: Undecided Voters Video

A cartoon reflects life. Though a better title may have been ‘Partisan Voters’.

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Ethics: Female Pastors Volunteer at Complementarian Church

What would you do Wednesday! Your church financially supports and hosts an after school Bible club. The club is interdenominational, but has doctrinal parameters to which volunteer teachers must agree. One of those doctrines is complementarianism which states that a woman cannot hold the office of pastor. It just so happens that two local female Methodist pastors volunteered to help with the Bible club. The pastor found out about the female pastors and explained to the Bible club director that having female pastors goes against the club’s doctrinal agreement. The pastor further explained that if the church cannot continue supporting …keep reading »

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Yes, a Pastor Should Have Close Friends in His Church

Yes, is my answer to Dave Miller’s question asked at SBCVoices.com, “Can a pastor have close friends in his church?”1 I’ll explain why my answer is yes that a pastor should have close friends in his church even if he feels like he cannot. Note my subtle switch answering whether a pastor can have close friends in his church with whether or not he should. My answer is based on three premises: 1. pastors are members of the local church too, 2. pastors must be known for the congregation to know they are biblically qualified, and 3. pastors must be …keep reading »

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Celebrate Labor Day: Work to Rest

The first Labor Day was celebrated Tuesday, September 5, 1882. However, it was not until 1894 that Congress made Labor Day a legal holiday on the first Monday of every September. Over 100 years have passed since the first Labor Day and the United States is still celebrating. It is tough to imagine much celebration in parts of America with the official unemployment rate charting over 8%. Celebrating Labor Day when there has been no labor to celebrate might seem ironic. Americans, however, have always been a resilient people who fight to recover and restore what has been lost. Even …keep reading »

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Catholic Priest Blamed Victims in Abuse Cases

In an interview with the National Catholic Register, Benedict Groeschel, a Roman Catholic Priest, claimed that “in a lot of cases” the “youngster is the seducer” in cases involving priests and sexual abuse. The link to the original story is still active, but the offending interview replaced with an apology. However, Catholic columnist Matt C. Abbott capture part of the interview and reposted it with commentary. Some of Groeschel’s disturbing comments follow. [Interviewer]: Part of your work here at Trinity has been working with priests involved in abuse, no? [Father Groeschel]: A little bit, yes; but you know, in those …keep reading »

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Five Questions with Dr. Breshears on His Book: The Gospel According to Barack

Dr. Jefrey D. Breshears was gracious enough to answer five questions about his timely book, The Gospel According to Barack: Where Did Barack Obama Get His Ideas About Christianity? (available on Amazon). He also generously provided a copy of his book to giveaway – so check back tomorrow for a chance to win a free copy. (Click here to enter the giveaway.) Dr. Breshears is a Christian historian, apologist, and the founder and president of The Areopagus, a Christian education ministry and study center in the Atlanta area that offers seminars and forums in Christian history, apologetics, Christian spirituality, and …keep reading »

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Ralph Reed: Republicans Don’t Need Southern Baptists

Ralph Reed, founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, had a chat with Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Political Insider, blogger Jim Galloway. Reed spoke about bigotry against Mormons coming from the left. When chatting about “anti-Mormon prejudice” Southern Baptists came up. It’s okay – Southern Baptists don’t matter much anyway. Galloway noted Reed’s position that, “Not that Southern Baptists have changed their mind, Reed said. But politically, they don’t matter as much:” ”Remember, if you’ve got a grandma sitting in the third row of an independent Baptist , white sideboard church who can’t bring herself to vote for a Mormon because …keep reading »

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Ethics: Your Pastor Asked to Pray at Republican National Convention

What would you do Wednesday! The Republican National Convention (RNC) kicks off this week. It is no secret that Mormon Mitt Romney is the Republican Presidential nominee. As with most national political events prayers will be offered. In fact, the NY Times reports that prayers at this years RNC will be given by a Jewish Rabbi, a Roman Catholic and “a Hispanic evangelical Christian, a Sikh, a Greek Orthodox archbishop and two Mormon leaders.”1 Today, think about how you would react if your Protestant pastor were invited to pray at the 2012 RNC given the above information. Your pastor has …keep reading »

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Fire Church Too Nice – LGBT Group Cancels Protest

On Sunday, August 26, 2012, a LGBT group cancels protesting Fire Church in Concord, NC. A local NC LGBT group set out to protest at Fire Church in Concord, NC. Fire Church is pastored by Scott Volk and is home of Dr. Michael Brown. Brown is a Christian apologist who is no stranger to LGBT issues. Many in the gay community are probably aware that Brown wrote A Queer Thing Happened to America: And What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been and has addressed the pro-homosexual lifestyle numerous times on his radio show, The Line of Fire. The LGBT group …keep reading »

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4 Minutes on Mormonism with ABC News (with Christianity Comparison Chart)

Will exposing Mormon beliefs and practices affect voting decisions for some Americans? Who will be helped most in the upcoming Presidential election by reporting on Mormon beliefs – Obama or Romney? How many national news outlets covered black liberation theology outside of President Obama’s relationship with Jeremiah Wright? Media bias? Brief Comparison between Mormonism and Christianity Mormonism Christianity God More than one god. God the father is an exalted man   who was as we are now and has a body of flesh and bones. God There is only one God who is spirit and eternal. Trinity The father, son and …keep reading »

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Ethics: Your Pastor Takes Away Sunday School Material

What would you do Wednesday! It is no secret that Pastor Ralph Green is dissatisfied with the new LifeWay Sunday School curriculum, The Gospel Project.1 It is also no secret that many disagree with Green’s criticisms. Green’s criticisms have inspired today’s applied ethics post. I’d like to bring a similar situation to your local church. I know that pastors and laity read this blog so there could be some interesting perspectives offered. The situation. New Sunday School classes started three weeks ago. An SS teacher brought in some new curriculum which he told the pastor about. The pastor wanted to …keep reading »

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What if All Parents Rapped Like This?

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Decline in SBC Baptisms: Three Critical Invitation Factors?

One of the books assigned to read for one of my classes is Pastor’s Handbook by John R. Bisagno which offers a lot of practical advice. The advice is mostly pragmatic seemingly from a consequentialist perspective. That is, Bisagno writes from experience with little Scriptural support for his advice. Bisagno’s advice is not intrinsically good or bad, right or wrong, but at times questions arise when experience seems to be his authority. Previously, I commented on Bisagno’s perspective on extending the gospel invitation during corporate worship.1 Below I will comment on the three reasons he offers a partially contributing to …keep reading »

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Racism, Not Religious Freedom

It is not racism if someone does not want to vote for Barack Obama and wants him out of office because of his politics. It is racism if you tell a black man that you do not want him bagging your groceries because he is “negroidal”. This really happened in Big Sandy, TX. BIG SANDY — A Hawkins man is claiming his civil rights and religious freedom were violated earlier this year when a black man sacked his groceries and a Big Sandy grocery store owner banned the customer from the business. DeWitt R. Thomas filed a federal lawsuit in …keep reading »

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If Pat Robertson Were Jesus

Be glad that Pat Robertson is not the Savior Jesus Christ, but imagine if he were. A female viewer wrote into The 700 Club with a question. This lady is a mother to three adopted children from foreign countries. She wanted to know why the men she dates always leave once they find out she has three adopted children from three different countries. Host Pat Robertson provided…an answer. “you just never know what’s been done to a child before you get that child; what kind of sexual abuse there has been, what kind of cruelty, what kind of food deprivation” …keep reading »

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Ethics: Church Pressured to Support Burned Down Mosque

A Mosque in Joplin, MO recently burned down possibly due to arson. The St. Louis Post-Dispacth reported that churches in Joplin joined together to support a Mosque that burned down.1 Not only did churches come together to support the burned Mosque, but the article states that they will participate in an Islamic spiritual practice – iftar. They’ll be taking part in an “iftar,” which is a meal to break a fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.  What if a Mosque burned down in your town and your church was pressured to help? Several churches in your town, civic …keep reading »

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Pray for Late Term Abortion Day

Kelly Clinger at LifeSiteNews shares a heart-breaking story about a woman who aborted her twins when she was about 20-weeks pregnant.1 Clinger reports that the abortion took place on a Wednesday – late term abortion day – at Orlando Women’s Center. The only mother’s warmth those twins had known was taken away from them by their mother. The woman also has daughters who will never know their twin siblings. How will her daughters react to the abortion? What will mom tell them? What do mom’s actions teach the daughters? Admittedly, the mother does not want her daughters. Those poor daughters, …keep reading »

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Register Today: 9Marks Workshop in Atlanta!

9Marks  is bringing a conference about the church and for the church to Atlanta, GA. The following topics will be covered: theological vision, preaching & biblical theology,  gospel, conversion & evangelism, membership, discipline & discipleship, leadership, covenanting together. Each session ends with a Q&A. More info and registration below. When? Monday, October 29, 2012, 9 am – Tuesday, October 30, 2012, 12 pm. Who is speaking? – Mark Dever – Matt Schmucker – Aaron Menikoff – Zach Schlegel How much? – General Registration: $45 – Student Registration: $35 Where? Mount Vernon Baptist 850 Mt Vernon Hwy NW Atlanta, GA 30327 …keep reading »

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Do Christians Pray for Barack Obama’s Death and Spiritual Disembowelment?

Walter Rhett at the Democrats for Progress website claims that some Christians are wrongly using Psalm 109:8 to pray against President Obama.1 Is there something unbiblical about praying Psalm 109:8 for Obama which states (ESV), “May his days be few; may another take his office!”? That verse alone does not seem problematic to pray for someone whom a Christian deems as a poor leader for the country. However, Rhett paints a wider picture in his criticism by noting the context of verse 8 as if one must pray verses 7 – 15 also. When he is tried, let him come …keep reading »

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Ethics: A Pastor’s Disobedient Children

What would you do Wednesday! Unfortunately, the following situation is based on actual events. Your wife and kids got to spend the day with your pastor’s wife and kids. Although four kids, ages 9 to 12, can be a handful, your wife came home surprisingly frustrated. Your wife explains that the pastor’s children were very rude and disrespectful to her outside their mother’s presence and even to their mother directly. The children were even disrespectful to their father, your pastor. Your children confirm your wife’s frustrations. After asking your children if they had fun with Jack and Diane, your pastor’s …keep reading »

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An Observation: If Gay is the New Black

Some who fight for the acceptance and legalization of same-sex marriage not only attempt to redefine marriage, but frame the topic as a civil rights issue. One of the more persuasive arguments for same-sex marriage is to contend that the issue is conceptually/ideologically the same as black Americans’ fight for civil rights. In other words – gay is the new black. Brother Voddie Baucham recently penned the article – Gay is Not the New Black.1 Bauchman begins with the following statements concerning same-sex marriage and civil rights. The idea that same-sex “marriage” is the next leg in the civil rights …keep reading »

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Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day Photos

I enjoyed a Chick-fil-A #2 combo today for lunch on Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day. By the time I was able to get lunch it was 2 pm; Chick-fil-A was packed! I asked the young lady who took my order how long the place has been this busy. She replied, “Since 11.” Inside the restaurant was shoulder to shoulder and a police officer was directing the two drive-thru lines. There was even a lone protester outside walking back and forth on the sidewalk carrying a little boycott sign and a rainbow flag. So I snapped a few photos with my trusty iPhone …keep reading »

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Ethics: Excommunicated During Sunday Morning Worship?

What would you do Wednesday! Unfortunately, today’s scenario is inspired by true events. Consider the situation below. Explain why the pastor(s) should or should not carry out excommunication during the Sunday morning worship service on a church member who is under church discipline. Background Three months ago, a husband’s illicit affair was uncovered. The man admitted to a five year affair. He has been married for 15 years and has two kids. He has been in counseling with his pastors. Despite the counsel for the man to repent and reconcile with his wife, he has decided to leave his wife for …keep reading »

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Tapping My Way into the Freelance Writers Den

Are you ready to see me tap dance? Even I would pay to see that! Sorry to disappoint my dear readers, but that is not the kind of tapping I am talking about. I’m talking about the tap of a keyboard – that little noise the keyboard makes as I pump out prose on the digital screen. Some of the tapping is from the backspace key, but we won’t talk about that. I am moving forward with my writing – which brings me to the Freelance Writers Den. In short, the Freelance Writers Den (FWD) is a place where writers …keep reading »

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What do LGBT Rights Group Equality Illinois and Westboro Baptist have in Common?

LGBT Rights Group Equality Illinois wrote a petition against Chick-Fil-A and plans to have a “Kiss-In” where “LGBT supporters will show their disdain for Chick-Fil-A’s policies with public displays of affection in front of their restaurants.”1 The infamous ‘god hates fags’ Westboro “Baptist Church” that seems to protest just about anything American that draws attention to themselves.2 What could these two opposing groups possibly have in common? A few thoughts. Both act against God’s word. Both are intolerant of opposing views. Both need the gospel. OK, what else?  

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Ethics: Church Member Tries to Get Rid of Calvinist Pastor

What would you do Wednesday! Inside a Southern Baptist Church the following is taking place at a congregational meeting. (Not Southern Baptist? Play along anyway!) The time has come for church members to speak about any praises or concerns on their hearts. One member says that he has a concern and moves to the microphone. Member: I have a concern about our pastor! He has been our pastor for three years and within the last year he started preaching out of the ESV Bible. In the last eight weeks alone he has quoted John Piper, RC Sproul and Augustine. My concern …keep reading »

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Was the Zimmerman-Martin Tragedy God’s Plan?

On February 26, 2012, in Sanford, Florida, George Zimmerman shoot and killed Trayvon Martin during a physical altercation.1 Media attention to the details surrounding this case seem to change daily and it has once again gained popularity by raising the question – Was Zimmerman’s killing of Martin God’s plan? Recent attention has focused on Zimmerman’s comments about the event being part of God’s plan, but both sides of this tragedy have mentioned God’s involvement. First, Zimmerman’s recent comments from his interview with Sean Hannity. HANNITY: Is there anything you regret? Do you regret getting out of the car to follow …keep reading »

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Ethics: Pastor Leaves for a More Prominent Church

What would you do Wednesday! Today’s scenario is set in a congregational meeting. Regular church business took place including announcements, comments on church life, etc. The pastor has said he has a special announcement to make, but first the deacon chairman had a few words to share with the pastor. The deacon begins, “Pastor, it has been a good eight years since you came to shepherd us. Last night, the deacon body and several other leaders in the church got together to pray over today’s meeting. We prayed for you and your family and discussed how thankful we are for …keep reading »

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Husbands Test Your Wives!

Christian husbands ought to give their wives a short biblical test every now and then. This post suggests the kind of biblical test husbands may want to take their wives through. (Hint: The test is really aimed at the husbands!) I recently took my wife through this test during our devotion time. This test may be easier for wives than for husbands; try it and see. Ready? To get started you will need: a Bible or two, a blank sheet(s) of paper, and a pen or pencil. Open your Bible(s) to Ephesians 5. Pray for this time together. Read and …keep reading »

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Christian Kindle Books Under $5

Amazon.com Widgets

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Ethics: Anti-Calvinism Resolution at the Southern Baptist Convention

What would you do Wednesday! The annual Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) meeting is two months away1 so a situation that could take place during this meeting may provide an interesting discussion. In order to help those who are not Southern Baptists better participate in this topic, a few citations expressing Southern Baptist positions are provided below. Southern Baptists have prepared a statement of generally held convictions called The Baptist Faith and Message. It serves as a guide to understanding who they are.2 There is nothing in the Baptist Faith and Message that excludes Calvinists nor is the aim to do …keep reading »

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Three Times in Modern History the Word “Person” Has Been Redefined

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Fred Luter on Race Relations in America

Pastor Fred Luter, who will probably be the first black president of the Southern Baptist Convention, spoke to PBS recently on race relations in America. Below is an excerpt of the interview. Watch Rev. Fred Luter on Race in America on PBS. See more from Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly. I have not heard the whole interview, but will offer some thoughts on the above excerpt. I agree with brother Luter that America still has a long way to go in race relations. However, he has couched his insight into the need for racial reconciliation based on the way President Obama …keep reading »

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Ethics: Leaking Confidential Meeting Details

What would you do Wednesday! The characters: You are one of twenty board members of a local Christian school. You have a friend who writes an online column for a local newspaper. The situation: Your friend has recently written critically in his online column about some of the recent decisions of the Christian school. You have mostly agreed with your friend about his concerns and have worked within your capacity as a board member to correct these recent decisions. A recent board meeting discussed some of the details about one of the school’s recent decisions. You shared those confidential details …keep reading »

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‘The Exchange’ with Ed Stetzer Live Today on this Blog

I will be hosting Dr. Ed Stetzer’s (President of LifeWay Research) webcast “The Exchange” as part of a test syndication. Tune in today! Today on “The Exchange” Pete Wilson, pastor of Cross Point Church in Nashville, discusses his newest book Empty Promises: The Truth about You, Your Desires, and the Lies You’re Believing. Philip Nation, Director of Ministry Development at LifeWay Christian Resources, will be guest-hosting. Click the image below to start the webcast at 2pm cst/3 pm est!

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Congratulations Bubba Watson for Winning the Masters!

Bubba Watson has won the 2012 Masters golf tournament. This is Watson’s first win in a Major golf tournament and only his fourth on the PGA Tour. Watson won in a dramatic play-0ff against South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen. Both men hit errant drives at the second play-off hole. However, Watson’s ball landed in a tougher spot to play from than Oosthuizen’s though Watson was around 50-60 yards closer to the hole. Watson preceded to hit in incredible golf shot by hitting the ball out of the woods and curving it to land on the green. The shot was incredible! It is …keep reading »

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Ethics: George Zimmerman Secretly Visits Your Church

What would you do Wednesday! The tragic shooting death of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman that happened in Sanford, FL has taken over the internet recently.1 Passionate replies have been poured out from both Martin and Zimmerman supporters. Many in the court of public opinion have already tried Zimmerman and found him guilty of murder. Others believe that Martin may have brought the confrontation and shooting upon himself by causing Zimmerman to act in self-defense. Yet, what seems to be a minority of responders have decided to wait until all of the evidence is presented before a judge and jury …keep reading »

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Ethics: Pastoral Search Committee Asks for Online Passwords

What would you do Wednesday! Today’s topic comes at the suggestion of  a Georgia pastor friend. He tweeted an article to me titled Want a Job? Fork Over Your Facebook Password, Employer Says.1 The suggestion was to substitute ‘search committee’ for ’employer’. Great idea! Sitting before a pastoral search committee during what will most likely be the final interview the committee members believe they have a bit more due diligence to conduct. On behalf of the whole committee, one member inquires. Mr. Potential Pastor, you have told us that you have both a Facebook and a twitter account. In this …keep reading »

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Ethics: Betting On NCAA March Madness Brackets

What would you do Wednesday! It’s March and NCAA March Madness is here! March Madness inspired me to a little blog madness for today’s ethical scenario. Of course, we all know that Christians should not only not play the NCAA brackets, but we should especially not play those brackets with money… …or should we? March Madness inspires a little office madness as the bracket sheets circulate just begging for everyone in the office to join in the fun. Bracket Bob, the person organizing the bracket sheets, asks you to participate. You really enjoy March Madness and following your own brackets …keep reading »

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Megachurch Wal-Mart Effect

I came across an interesting observation in a book I am reading for one of my classes. In the book Shepherd Leader, author Timothy Witmer points out what he calls the “Wal-mart effect” among megachurches. The truth of the matter is that much of the growth of megachurches is drawn from smaller churches in the region. This is what I call the Wal-Mart effect. What happens when a Wal-Mart moves to town? Many small “mom and pop” businesses are forced to close because they can’t compete with the prices, variety, and “one-stop shopping” of Wal-Mart. Likewise, small churches are depleted by …keep reading »

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“Zombie Muhammad” and U.S. Sharia Law

In October 2011, atheist Ernest Perce dressed in a Zombie Muhammad costume for a Halloween parade. Perce was attacked by Muslim Talaag Elbayomy for wearing the Muhammad costume. Perce and Elbayomy went to court in Pennsylvania over the situation and a Judge Mark Martin ruled in favor of the Muslim, Elbayomy. What did the judge say during his ruling? And Mr. Thomas [Elbayomi’s defense lawyer] is correct. In many other Muslim speaking countries – excuse me, in many Arabic speaking countries – call it “Muslim” – something like this is definitely against the law there. In their society, in fact, …keep reading »

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Ethics: Baptist Professor Drinking Beer in Public

What would you do Wednesday! Today’s scenario involves a Southern Baptist seminary professor who is seen by a student drinking beer at a local restaurant. As always, anyone is free to comment. You, dear reader, are a seminary student out to dinner with some friends who are visiting for the weekend. While being seated at the restaurant you notice one of your professors. You also notice what looks to be a glass of beer in front of the professor. However, you remember the ethical conduct statement you signed as a student which is similar to the statement signed by seminary …keep reading »

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Brief thoughts: Abortion and Reproductive Rights

The pro-abortion, pro-choice crowd argues that abortion is a reproductive right. However, there is a problem with this line of reasoning. In order to have an abortion, reproduction must have already taken place i.e. a human life must exist in order to abort it. A right to reproduce, or have offspring, is not the same as a right to abort, or terminate the life of said offspring. In actuality, abortion is a counter-reproductive action since it kills a human being that is already living. It is possible that babies in the womb would like the same reproductive rights that others …keep reading »

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Friday Favorites 03/09

My new timeline – I recently updated the blog Facebook page to the new timeline format since I was going to be forced to anyway. It’s growing on me. A Baptist defeats gluttony – Amazing story of Baptist professor Mark Rathel’s 180 pound weight loss. I last saw Mark about 1.5 years ago. I didn’t even recognize him. Baptist theology past/future part 1 & part 2 – James Leo Garrett, Jr. shares some interesting historical insight concerning Southern Baptists. Part 2 has an interesting note on the recency of dispensationalsim. Note: I am not endorsing the other articles on the …keep reading »

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Ethics: Pastor Introduces ‘Kings Way’ to Reach Muslims

What would you do Wednesday! Today’s situation is inspired by the recent Christian-Muslim relationship controversy surrounding Rick Warren. Warren has attempted to set the record straight concerning the recent reporting of his position on Christian-Muslim interaction.1 This post is not about Rick Warren although the information used below is from sources affiliated with the Christian-Muslim relationships in which Saddleback Church is involved. So we begin… During the Sunday morning announcements your pastors presents a plan to get the congregation to reach and work with their Muslim neighbors. He explains that he is inspired by what Saddleback Church is doing in …keep reading »

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Whither the Baptist Faith and Message?

In recent years, two Southern Baptist Churches in Georgia have been disfellowshipped due to having a female pastor. While some may question disfellowshipping a church over such an issue, having  a female pastor is in direct violation of the statement of faith around which Southern Baptists cooperate in ministry. The action is based on a vote by the convention in November 2000 affirming the 2000 Baptist Faith & Message as the state body’s doctrinal statement. The document includes the phrase, “While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men …keep reading »

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Letter to the editor of ‘The Christian Index’ by Marty King

Editorial not worthy of editor or Index Dear Gerald, As a former Georgia Baptist, I appreciate you and your service as Index editor. But, your Feb. 10 editorial was not your best. The level of research, organization, and writing are simply not up to what Georgia Baptists have come to expect. Let me share with you three concerns. 1. The editorial seems intent on fear-mongering, and is poorly sourced and organized. Although you admit in the article that “many great preachers and theologians have embraced Calvinism through the years,” you imply readers should be afraid of Calvinists, as evidenced by …keep reading »

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Franklin Graham on President Obama’s Christianity

Below is a one minute clip cut from a longer interview (see below) where Franklin Graham is asked whether or not he believes President Obama is a Christian. Check it out. The MSNBC hosts call Graham out for inconsistent answers. On the one hand, Graham will not definitively say whether or not he believes Obama is a Christian, but leaves the question for Obama to answer. On the other hand, Graham has no problem believing that Rick Santorum is a Christian. However, the above clip does not tell the whole story. In the actual interview Graham says the following. [Obama] has …keep reading »

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Ethics: Leaving a Gospel Tract for a Tip

What would you do Wednesday! I’m sure many Christians have handed out gospel tracts. There are a variety of tracts and some are even made to look like money. There is a million dollar bill tract which, of course, does not look real, but there are a few in lower denominations such at $10 and $20 bills that look like real money at first glance. Usually, these $10 and $20 gospel tracts look like a bill folded in half with a gospel message on the inside. Today’s scenario will involve a $10 gospel tract being left at a restaurant as …keep reading »

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Woody Harrelson On Christianity

GQ magazine published an interview with actor Woody Harrelson. In the interview, Harrelson is asked about the Gospel and his Christian upbringing.1 He was raised in church studying the Bible and preached his first sermon at age 17. GQ: Can you tell me about when you preached the Gospel as a child? Woody Harrelson: I was very religious growing up. My mom still is. We went to church all the time, went to Bible study; we even did Bible study at my house. I went to a Presbyterian college, you know, I was in….all the way, and so I remember …keep reading »

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Ethics: Seminary Student Preaches Someone Else’s Sermons

What would you do Wednesday! Today I’m going to pick-on set the situation within the realm of Southern Baptists since I are one. It is also more culturally acceptable to use your own as an example, right? (Don’t worry, non-Southern Baptists may also comment.) The created situation involves a seminary student who preaches someone else’s sermons. The question will be two-fold by considering the person as a student and then as a pastor. Your pastor. For this scenario, the seminary student (SS) will be using, let’s see, sermons by – eeny, meeny, miny, moe, choose a preacher and let’s go …keep reading »

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Ethics: the Deacons are Freemasons!

What would you do Wednesday! Freemasonry is not as active as it was in the past. It was already on the decline when I left the lodge 13 years ago. Although I imagine the Shriners, of whom all are Masons, are still pretty active. Freemasonry was once a concern in Southern Baptist life. In fact, the North American Mission Board’s apologetics website has a few resources on Freemasonry under “New Religions and Cults.”1 A 1993 Southern Baptist study on Freemasonry concluded with a list of items showing where Freemasonry and Christianity were not compatible. However, the report also acknowledged: That …keep reading »

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Ethics: Church Discipline Contract Issued

What would you do Wednesday! Today’s situation deals with the uncomfortable issue of church discipline. To make the situation more uncomfortable a church discipline contract will also be involved. The scenario is inspired by real circumstances surrounding a former Mars Hill Church member named Andrew who was issued a church discipline contract to sign.1 Imagine that you (or a friend if you wish) has just confessed and repented of being sexually involved with a fellow church member who happens to be the child of one of the church elders. The confession took place in the covenant group that you are …keep reading »

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God is Doing Amazing Things!

God is going to do something awesome. God is going to do something amazing. God is doing something incredible. God is doing something awesome. God is doing something amazing. God is doing amazing things. It’s going to be awesome. Let’s change the world. God will prosper you. Fly with the eagles. Listen to the Spirit. It’s all about love. Lives will change. God is working. Look to Jesus. Praise God. Amen. Such sensational words are sometimes used in preaching for dramatic emotional effect. Yet, the words themselves must be attached to something or they stir empty praise and emotion. What …keep reading »

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On Public Rebuke

As far as I know, being rebuked is not something to which most Christians look forward, especially, being publicly rebuked. However, Scripture says it is good for rebuke (2 Tim. 3:16). Scripture even includes the well-known example of one Apostle publicly rebuking another Apostle (Gal. 2:11, 14). Today, there is no shortage of Christians rebuking one another online. Though direct, public rebukes in person is not often carried out. Occasionally, one might hear a public rebuke about  a particular person, but the more popular route is to address poor teaching in general leaving the teacher unnamed. In the past, I …keep reading »

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Ethics: Prominent Pastor Plagiarizes?

What would you do Wednesday! The question of plagiarized sermons comes up every now and then. Whether or not one should preach someone else’s sermons has been debated in the blogosphere, too. Selling sermons must not be too bad of a business considering the eight sites listed on Sermon Source that continue to sell sermons. There are probably more than just these eight sites selling sermons. Of course, buying someone else’s sermons does not mean that they will be delivered as original work from the pulpit. However, this does happen to the extent that one pastor recently stepped down over sermon …keep reading »

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Jimmy Fallon on Tim Tebow: Comedy or Blasphemy?

Last night on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Fallon did a parody song by combining Tim Tebow to David Bowie and producing the singer Tebowie (Tim Tebow + David Bowie = Tebowie). Fallon sung as if a dialogue were taking place between Tim Tebow and Jesus Christ to the tune of Bowie’s song “Space Oddity” (lyrics below). Did Jimmy Fallon go too far? If you think he went too far: Tweet him that he should apologize. If you think it was just right: Tweet him that he was funny. The Lyrics Tim Tebow to Jesus Christ. (x2) Commencing fourth down, …keep reading »

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Ethics: Church to Lose Funding Over Homosexual Adoption

What would you do Wednesday! The New York Times reported that Roman Catholic charities in Illinois must comply with a new requirement to “consider same-sex couples as potential foster-care and adoptive parents if they want to receive state money.”1 Catholic bishops claim that these requirements infringe on freedom of religion. Catholic charities in other cities have closed their adoption services rather than comply with the new requirements. The article also states that five Catholic Charities in Illinois get 60 – 92% of their revenue from the state. For today’s scenario, let’s move the above situation to your local church. Your …keep reading »

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What God is This? Osteen on Oprah

This clip is riddled with unbiblical conclusions. Toward the beginning, in reference to Osteen’s prosperity preaching, Oprah asks, “What god would want you to be poor and miserable?” Osteen does say that prosperity includes peace of mind and a healthy body rather than just material wealth. Osteen also says that there is a belief that says, “You’re supposed to suffer more and be poor and to show your humility.” He then mentions that Jesus died to give us an abundant life in order to be a blessing to others. Further, he claims that he cannot be a blessing to others …keep reading »

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Elephant Room II and TD Jakes’ Oneness Association

Elephant Room II is only 20 days away. T.D. Jakes is still on the schedule.1 Several of us disagreed with Jakes being a participant2, including Mark Dever who withdrew3, but I did suggest some questions for Jakes.4 Although I am still not very excited about Jakes participation, I am interested in what he will have to say, especially, in his session with Mark Driscoll where the following issues are supposed to be addressed. What are the ‘majors’ of Christian doctrine that cannot be diluted or denied for a person to be a Christian? How can we help one another move …keep reading »

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Top 10 Posts for the Second Half of 2011

The following top 10 posts are those that received the most traffic from July 2011 through December 2011. The amount of attention some of these topics received on the web at the time they happened is amazing. However, thinking over the topics now is like thinking about ancient history that happened years ago. We really do live in a soundbite society. Here today, cached tomorrow. 1. TD Jakes: Association Lacking Discernment? – A reply to James MacDonald’s defense of using discernment and association for inviting T.D. Jakes to Elephant Room II. The post includes interesting quotes from T.D. Jakes giving …keep reading »

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Friday Photos: Civil War Reenactment

It has been said that, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” though I have also read somewhere that,”Beauty is in the eye of the beerholder.” Whichever you are, I hope you enjoy a few pictures from my wife’s photo shoot at the Civil War reenactment that took place in Richmond Hill, GA at Fort McAllister. The cannon fire photo is my favorite.

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Ethics: Renting to a Homosexual Couple

What would you do Wednesday! The Michael Medved Show recently covered the topic of the discrimination lawsuit filed against Aloha Bed & Breakfast by a lesbian couple. The B&B owner, Phyllis Young, allegedly denied the couple a room due to her Christian views on homosexuality. The lesbian couple is suing claiming a violation of Hawaiian law by discrimination based on sexual orientation. Young is being legally represented by the Alliance Defense Fund, an organization which defends religious freedom. This should be an interesting lawsuit to follow. As a Christian, would you do the same as Young? As I understand it, Young actually lives …keep reading »

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What Will You Do with the Christmas Gift?

Another Christmas has come and gone and a new year is around the corner. A year lies ahead both to use this year’s Christmas gifts and think about next year’s. However, some gifts are all ready used up although some are advertised as gifts that keep on giving. There is only one gift that keeps on giving. This gift was given to all, but did you receive Him or reject Him? What will you do with the Christmas gift? The Christmas gift given, but not received by all is Jesus Christ. Yet, His birth is celebrated by millions on Christmas …keep reading »

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Happy Holidays?

During Christmas time it is not uncommon to hear phrase Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. Of course, many people still say Merry Christmas. I prefer Merry Christmas and will even reply as such when people say Happy Holidays to me. Depending on the worldview there are people who not only prefer one phrase to the other, but are offended when his or her particular holiday greeting is not used. In recent years, some large department stores moved away from using the term Christmas to using Holiday instead. This move upset many Christians who complained to those stores. Many of …keep reading »

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Ethics: Don’t Quote Me, Bro!

What would you do Wednesday! Today’s scenario is an interesting one involving blogging, although it could be applied to any online writing. The online exchange of words and ideas is amazingly fast. If a blogger has any kind of audience and he posts something that challenges that audience there is probably going to be a response. The large technology and political blogs certainly get responses, but a blog need have a huge following to get feedback. Even in the small world of Christian blogging one can get into some pretty heated discussion. So what if one Christian blogger asks another …keep reading »

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Is Tim Tebow a Religious Hypocrite?

In his article, “Tim Tebow Trivializes Religion” Bill Press uses Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:5 to call Tim Tebow a hypocrite. 1 In light of Press labeling Tebow a hypocrite he also wishes that Tebow would “STFU”.2 Press, a Roman Catholic, attended a Catholic university and earned a degree in theology.3 The 71 year old Press, then, would be considered an older more learned man than Tebow who, it seems, should have some wisdom to share. Did someone say hypocrisy? In Matthew 5, Jesus did say: “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love …keep reading »

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Ethics: Pastor Opposes Tim Tebow Preaching

What would you do Wednesday! NFL quarterback Tim Tebow gets a lot of news coverage because of the way he and the Broncos are winning football games and, more specifically, for his outspoken faith in Jesus Christ. It could be argued that his Christianity has become more of a story than the last minute wins. Today’s hypothetical scenario might bring Tim Tebow to your church. In an upcoming Sunday, your church is holding a youth outreach event that will be held after the morning service. The church youth have been encouraged to invite friends and neighbors.The whole church was asked …keep reading »

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Kicking Off the Atheist

The clip below shows atheist Dan Barker of the “Freedom from Religion Foundation” appearing on Fox Business Network’s “Follow the Money” with host Eric Bolling. First, Barker made some unfavorable comments about Christianity. Then, Bolling stopped the conversation and kicked Barker off the show for “denigrating the name of Jesus Christ.” Would you have kicked Barker off the show? Why or why not?

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Friday Photo Sharing by My Wife

I asked my wife if I could post some of her recent photos. She said “yes” and gave me some of them. I think they’re great, but some might say I’m biased. What do ya think?

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Ethics: High School Football Practice Changed for Ramadan

What would you do Wednesday! In one of the episodes of TLC’s new TV show All-American Muslim a local high school football team changed their practice time for the observance of Ramadan.1 Ramadan is a month of Islamic fasting where “Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, smoking and sex during daylight hours.”2 Today’s scenario is based on the above true story. Your son’s high school football coach sends notice home with each player that practice is changing for the month of Ramadan. The notice is sent a month before Ramadan begins. Instead of practicing at the usually time immediately after school …keep reading »

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Ethics: Pastor Admits to Homosexual Orientation

What would you do Wednesday! Thanks to my friend Rhology for this week’s topic. Your main preaching pastor is about to offer a Sunday morning pastoral prayer. Before praying one of your associate pastors steps up to the pulpit to make an important announcement and asks everyone for prayers on the issue. He begins. As you all know I’ve served as a pastor here for several years. You also know that I have remained single the whole time. What I am about to tell you is not easy to openly admit. The fact is that my sexual orientation…is…homosexual. But please …keep reading »

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The Gospel in the Liquor Store

The following true story is about a seminary student sharing the gospel in a liquor store. The student is an acquaintance and the story is shared with permission. This is all that will be revealed of this student. One of the most divisive disagreements among conservative Christians is the subject of Christians drinking alcohol. Tim Challies highlighted and commented on some of the recent disagreements about Christians and alcohol.1 Challies provides a big picture view of the subject with a caution to younger Christians to use their freedom wisely when it comes to alcohol. I pray the following story is …keep reading »

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Ethics: Christian Converts to Islam to Marry Muslim

What would you do Wednesday! TLC’s new TV show All-American Muslim recently had an episode where a Roman Catholic converted to Islam so he could marry a Muslim woman.1 My wife and I had some interesting discussions about this situation. The Roman Catholic mother and father did not seem to be bothered as much as I suspect most people would be over their son’s conversion to Islam. Today’s scenario is along the same lines as the above situation. A married couple who is a long time member of your church comes to you with a dilemma. Their child who has …keep reading »

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Occupy My Vote?

I’ve gotten some questions since being a finalist in the Blogging Scholarship and asking for votes so that I might win $10,000 which I would use to pay for seminary.1 I suppose with all of the Occupy Wall Street2 stuff going on people leery of someone else asking for something. Or people probably just want to know things like – Who’s asking? Where would the money go? Does my vote really matter? Does he deserve it? First, it is a lot easier to occupy a vote for me than it is to join the Occupy Wall Street movement. You can …keep reading »

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Scholarship Voting Reset: I Need Your Help Please!

OK, folks. I recently asked for your vote for the $10,000 Blogging Scholarship which, if I won, I would use to pay for seminary.1 Some people were getting votes that were off the charts in comparison to the amount of monthly website visits they get.  A few of us on twitter noticed this trend of what seemed to be an unusually high number of votes for some of the contestants. Well, things have just changed! The scholarship administration just sent out emails to the contestants informing us that some changes have been made to the contest due to “ballot stuffing.” …keep reading »

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Help! I’ve Got a Serious Problem

My buddy Frank says I’ve got a serious problem.1 But then my buddy James says that I’m good folk.2 Are they just playing good-friend/bad-friend? Who are you going to believe? Hint: They are both friends who are trying to help me with the same cause. And I need your help too! I recently wrote an entry essay which was accepted for the 2011 Blogging Scholarship contest.3 Last year I participated in the contest and by the grace of God I came in third. The competition was steep last year and looks to be stronger this year. The winner gets a …keep reading »

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So You Want My Daughter?

I’ve always been intrigued about why a Christian would want to date or marry a non-Christian. A solid biblical case can be made that a Christian should only date or marry another Christian.1 In a mixed dating situation the Christian is not trusting Christ nor finding Him sufficient, but is looking elsewhere to satisfy certain needs. Of course, as with many areas in life Christians fall short and there is always places in their lives where Christ is not primary. This is an admission rather than an excuse for Christians to date non-Christians. As one friend of mine said about …keep reading »

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Blogging Scholarship Entry Essay 2011

Last year I wrote an essay in an attempt to apply for the Blogging Scholarship contest.1 My entry was accepted and I was entered into the contest. The competition was tough. I was very thankful that though I did not win, ultimately ended up getting enough votes to win third place.2 It’s that time of year again and I could use your prayers and possibly your votes soon. I shared last year’s entry essay so I’m sharing this year’s too. Blogging Scholarship Entry Essay 2011 I would love to be able to say that I started blogging to change the …keep reading »

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Happy Veterans Day 2011

Those who live today remember those who do not. Those who know freedom remember today those who gave up life for freedom. Today, in honor of the dead, we conduct ceremonies. We lay wreaths. We speak words of tribute. And in our memories, in our hearts, we hold them close to us still. Yet we also know, even as their families knew when they last looked upon them, that they can never be fully ours again, that they belong now to God and to that for which they so selflessly made a final and eternal act of devotion. We could …keep reading »

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Are Christians to Blame for Gay Teen Suicides?

John Shore created the video below and used it to ask if Christians have some culpability in gay teen suicides in an article at the Huffington Post. 1 The question of whether or not there is a gay teen suicide epidemic has also been raised.2 The video did not make me mad, but it did annoy me. The caricature of Christians portrayed in this video annoyed me more than anything. I can say that I don’t recall ever having a conversation with anyone like the one portrayed above. But then I thought of a few other things. Is this really …keep reading »

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An Interesting Occupy Wall Street Exchange

Peter Schiff, CEO and Chief Global Strategist of Euro Pacific Capital Inc., engaged some of the Occupy Wall Street protesters at Zuccotti Park. Or maybe it should be said that he attempted to engage them. Schiff asked questions to about their cause trying to find out what would satisfy some of the protesters. His questions were straight forward, but the answers were not. Amazing!

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Ethics: Whether or Not To Leave a Church Over the Pastor’s Sermons

What would you do Wednesday! Today’s scenario is based on a real life dilemma from a reader who is struggling with how he or she should remedy their situation. I will give the gist of the situation, but the reader who sent the inquiry will remain anonymous. Let’s see what advice you would give your friends. A married couple who are personal friends have been attending and serving their local church in as many ways as they can. They have been involved in this church since moving to the area a year ago. They love the church and love serving …keep reading »

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Hating Viki Knox: A Missed Opportunity in First Amendment Rights

Viki Knox, a Union Township New Jersey high school teacher, was recently suspended with pay for comments she made on her Facebook wall. In her comments she criticized the lesbian, gay bisexual, transgender history month display at her school. (This display is pictured at the right.) Although the Facebook comments have been removed a New Jersey LGBT rights group, Garden State Equality (GSE), has posted a PDF copy exchange.1 GSE is active on their Facebook page calling for Knox to be fired from her teaching position. Their petition for the school to act against Knox is titled “No Hate In …keep reading »

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Ethics: Pastoral Candidate Answers Questions on the Trinity

What would you do Wednesday! For years T.D. Jakes has been unclear when challenged to give his position on the Trinity. His most recent answers to questions on the Trinity are from a radio appearance in 2010 which I’ve transcribed.1 Even though he mentions that he believes that God exists in “three Persons,” he offered an unexplained qualification by stating that he believes this in a “way that Persons is a limited word for the Godhead.” I would like to bring Jakes’ answers on the Trinity to your church by way of a pastoral candidate. During a pastoral search, your …keep reading »

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What I Wish TV Hosts Would Ask Christians

Trevin Wax has an excellent post on how he wishes the homosexuality debate would go between TV hosts and pastors.1 Trevin offers an example of good dialogue with the Christian re-directing the conversation so it is not concentrating on homosexuality. The dialogue could actually work with a dose of patience, focus and enough time. I wish the homosexuality debate would be as Trevin described too, but I also wish something else. TV show hosts like to press on hot button. Some of the on going hot button issues are just about anything on homosexuality, on whether Mormonism is Christian, or …keep reading »

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An “in Christ” Mindset

Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:1-2 ESV) Notice how Paul begins the letter to the Philippians. He calls Paul and Timothy “servants” or “slaves” of Jesus. He then refers to the rest of the Christians at Philippi as “saints.” Paul sees them as having their identity in Christ. Paul’s approach makes me think about how those in one’s local and extended church families should be addressed. And …keep reading »

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Ethics: Deacons Call for Pastor to Resign

What would you do Wednesday! Joe McKeever has a sad post about a real life situation with a great outcome over at SBC Today.1 McKeever describes a call he got from a pastor who was informed by his deacon board that they voted he should resign. Not only should the pastor leave, but he should do so silently without informing anyone of the role the deacons played in his resignation. Imagine this happened to your pastor, but he did not resign. Instead, he brought the issue to the congregation. During a congregational meeting your pastor explains what happened. The deacons …keep reading »

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iHeaven: Steve Jobs (1955-2011)

The creative genius of Steve Jobs has left its mark on the world. Jobs’ ideas and implementation of those ideas raised the bar significantly in technological advancement. He left us with Apple products that have changed the ways information is used, accessed and shared. His ideas will live on and most likely continue to spur competition providing continued advances in technology. These advances will continue to change the way many work and live. It might be said that Steve Jobs left us with an iHeaven. The idea of iHeaven is one of here and now because it will not be …keep reading »

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Are Metro-Atlanta Schools Promoting Islam?

At least one parent of a Metro-Atlanta middle school student is concerned that his child’s homework promotes Islam in the classroom. Is he right? Watch the video below and decide. As stated in the video, the curriculum was given to the school by the State of Georgia as part of a Middle Eastern studies program. It is possible that more schools across Georgia are using this curriculum though this Georgia resident has not heard any reports of such wide-spread use. The Marietta Daily Journal, a Metro-Atlanta paper, reported on the story and shared a portion of the school curriculum in …keep reading »

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Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in Class

Fourteen year old Fort Worth, Texas high school student, Dakota Ary, was suspended from school for stating his personal opinion that homosexuality is wrong. Dakota is an honor student who has never been in trouble at school. His one summary sentence sums up the event. We were talking about religions in Germany. And I said that I was a Christian. I think being homosexual is wrong. Hey Dakota, just remember Jesus words, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33b ESV) I wonder if this school would suspend someone for religious …keep reading »

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Does “Southern” Give Southern Baptists a Bad Image?

The above wordle was created in 2009 by Thom Rainer, President and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. The wordle is composed of the 140 character replies to Rainer’s twitter question – “What do you think when you hear ‘Southern Baptist’?” Thom Rainer’s son, Sam, categorized the unscientific twitter results stating, “About 60% of the respondents gave a negative association. Another 30% were positive, and 10% were neutral or unclear.”1 Some thoughts were shared on this site too.2 Fast forward to today where SBC President Bryant Wright has assigned a task force to investigate changing the the name of the Southern Baptist …keep reading »

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Why Bryant Wright Will Succeed in Changing the SBC Brand

The following is a guest post by Nathan Creitz. Nathan is originally from the South but now lives with his wife and two children as a missionary in New England. Nathan makes disciples and teaches New England churches and ministries how to fulfill the Great Commission in their town. He blogs about making disciples in a post-Christian context at nathancreitz.net. Bryant Wright is making a bold move in his second term as president of the Southern Baptist Convention. According to the Baptist Press, Wright announced yesterday that he has formed a task force to study a name change for the …keep reading »

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Ethics: Baptism by Pouring-Joining a Baptist Church

What would you do Wednesday! The following scenario takes place in a Baptist church. However, non-Baptists may give share their perspective too. The situation has to do with new members being brought before a local Baptist congregation for membership affirmation. The congregation is gathered and five new members and one family are being affirmed. The first two have all ready been introduced, gave their testimonies and were accepted into membership. The to be affirmed is a family of three. They are introduced and stand up to give a brief testimony. They moved from a town an hour away where they …keep reading »

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Never Forget

I will never forget September 11, 2001. I was sitting in the office with my colleagues waiting for the stock market to open watching the news on the big screen TV. Around 8:45 am the news channel’s focus moved from stock to shock as it reported that a plane had hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. We were glued to the TV not understanding what just happened. About fifteen minutes later we watched the second plane hit the South Tower. We sat stunned not knowing that at that moment the U.S. was under …keep reading »

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Would You Pray at Ground Zero?

An interfaith prayer vigil will be held at the National Cathedral for the tenth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks. It seems that no Evangelicals were invited to participate along side the “dean of the Cathedral, the Bishop of Washington, a rabbi, Buddhist nun and incarnate lama, a Hindu priest, the president of the Islamic Society of North America and a Muslim musician.”1 Should Evangelicals have been invited? Carl Trueman addressing Southern Baptists seems to think that not being invited is a good thing since no invitation means no compromise.2 Mike Horton weighs in with a thoughtful response asking …keep reading »

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Ethics: New Church and a Pastor’s Affair

What would you do Wednesday! The scenario for this dilemma takes place with the reader just moving to a new town and visiting a new church. The situation involving the church and its pastor is, sadly, based on a true story. Upon taking a recent promotion your company moves you to a part of the country that you’ve never even driven through. Not only have you never visited this new town, but no one you know is familiar with it either. Your biggest concern is finding a new church home. An internet search for a church prior to moving turns …keep reading »

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Ethics: A Death and the Age of Accountability

What would you do Wednesday! Dr. Lemke recently wrote about the age of accountability.1 In the comment of that post Lemke mentioned that the Presbyterian position which denies the age of accountability has “always been a bit embarrassing pastorally — or as the saying goes, it won’t sell in Peoria.” This post will use age of accountability in a pastoral situation involving a father and the death of his son. (Note: Anyone may share their thoughts whether from a pastoral perspective or that of a friend, etc.) The situation is that  a man has just lost his almost 13 year …keep reading »

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Israel, A Christian Idol?

In the following video Mormon Glenn Beck sits with Evangelical David Barton who introduces hyper-dispensationalist, prosperity preacher John Hagee1. These men are together for the sake of supporting the modern day state of Israel. Supporting Israel is not a bad thing, but are they supporting Israel in a biblical sense? For starters, Hagee, a professing Christian, asks God to bless Glenn Beck, a professing Mormon, for their work together supporting Israel. I, too, ask God to bless Glenn Beck though in a different manner. I pray God would bring Beck to repent of his Mormonism and believe the true gospel …keep reading »

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Ethics: Church Leader Publicly Drinks Alcohol

What would you do Wednesday! There has been a lot of blogging about Christians and alcohol lately. Today’s scenario will follow suit and deals with seeing a church leader drinking alcohol in public. It’s Friday evening and you’re out to dinner with a few friends from church. Dinner is in an open area where several restaurants have outside eating areas that allow the patrons to see one another. The area was set-up to encourage community interaction where many people and families walk around and socialize both before and after dinner. While getting ready to eat laughter coming from a table …keep reading »

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Servant Evangelism: Gimmick or Grace?

Steve Sjogren is know for what is called Servant Evangelism which, as I understand it, is a way of doing outreach through acts of kindness in hopes of sharing the gospel. At SermonCentral.com Sjogren has an article titled 94 Servant Evangelism Ideas for Your Church. The ideas he lists are certain good, kind things to do for your neighbors. How should we think about such acts in light of evangelism? When this topic comes up it reminds me of something I call Amway Evangelism. This involves churches hosting events to draw non-Christians and then at some point unexpectedly springing the …keep reading »

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Preaching: Young, Restless and Four?

Paul wrote to Timothy and stated, ” Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12 ESV) I don’t think Paul had a four year old preacher in mind as one way this Scripture may be applied. Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy Starting at the 1:44 mark the clip shows four year old Kanon preach: Hallelujah. I’m preaching about…I’m preaching about the one God. Like a man’s church to the man’s church of Pentecost…of Pentecost…of …keep reading »

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Brewing Controversy: A Respectful Disagreement with John MacArthur

[The following reply is a guest post originally published on spencernix.com (hyperlink removed the site is currently hacked) by friend and fellow blogger Spencer Nix. Spencer is a north Georgia native and Lead Pastor of Isaac’s Keep in Canton, Georgia. He enjoys connecting with people and their story and living life simply and beautifully in his corner of Creation, the intersection of north Atlanta and Southern Appalachia.] Or it’s more Puritan title: Brewing Controversy: A 12 Point Respectful Disagreement to the Estimable Rev. John MacArthur over the subject of Beer, which We Greatly Enjoy and Hope He Someday Will, too. …keep reading »

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Alcohol: Of Greeks and Barbarians

There has been enough talk about alcohol on Christians blogs lately to make readers drunk with words. While alcohol is always a favorite topic on Southern Baptist blogs1 one of the well-esteemed pastors of our day, John MacArthur, also felt the need to address the topic2. MacArthur was answered by the accused, Erik Raymond3 and Spencer Nix4 (who happens to be a friend) which resulted in another reply from MacArthur’s ministry5. In discussions like these two items always seem to come up. Item one, a point which MacArthur makes, is that the wine in biblical times was not like that …keep reading »

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Church Sign of the Week: King James Only

This photo was taken in the Smoky Mountains while on vacation. We had just driven onto Cherokee land when we passed this church sign. So we turned the car around and took a picture of it. The church name is included in the original picture, but I cut that part out. For the record, the church is not a Southern Baptist church, but an Independent Missionary Baptist church. Enjoy!

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Anders Breivik Needs to be Crucified

After Anders Breivik went on a killing spree various media sources identified him as a fundamentalist Christian. Many Christians rejected that claim, not only because of his actions, but because of the words he wrote in his manifesto. I even quoted Breivik’s manifesto in Was Anders Breivik a Christian? to refute the claim that he was any kind of Christian. Defending the name of Christ in light of those claiming Breivik was a believer was the right thing to do. Yet, in defending Christ many of us missed an opportunity in the moment. Of course, Breivik is still being talked …keep reading »

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Ethics: Female Pastor Presented to Preach Sunday Morning

What would you do Wednesday! The inspiration for this week’s post comes from a real issue that happened in a local Southern Baptist association. Surry Baptist Association in North Carolina disfellowshipped Rocks Baptist Church for calling Bailey Edwards Nelson, a female, a their pastor. Then, Dave at SBCVoices asked – Are Churches with Female Pastors Southern Baptist? (I’ve even offered my own take on the issue.) In light of Dave’s post a similar scenario will be presented. The scenario takes place in a conservative Southern Baptist church. The church uses the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 as its official statement …keep reading »

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IMB Missionary Interview for LovingMuslims.com

The International Mission Board (IMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention recently launched a website to encourage Christians reach out to their Muslim neighbors. The website is LovingMuslims.com and the timing of the launch was no mistake as the 10 year anniversary of 9/11 approaches. I had the privilege to send a few question to the person behind the vision for the website. That person is, Lil Brooks, the IMB Project Coordinator for Loving Muslims. Lil Brooks may be reached via the email linked here. I pray the interview is helpful and the website useful to help Christians reach their Muslim …keep reading »

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Ethics: Adding Alcohol Abstinence to the Church Covenant

What would you do Wednesday! Your pastor recently read John Piper’s article Alcohol and Church Membership that explains why Piper pushed to have the phrase on abstaining from the use of beverage alcohol removed from his church covenant. Upon further consideration your pastor decided to do the opposite of what Piper did. He proposed to add a phrase to the church covenant calling for all members to abstain from all beverage alcohol. The abstention from alcohol would extend to all church staff, members, and those seeking membership. At the congregational meeting your pastor presents the following phrase to be voted on …keep reading »

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Discipleship Through Judgement

Look at the word discipleship. There within it is the word disciple, which is obviously related to the word discipline. In view of the next section on corrective church discipline, I would point out that discipleship is the other side of the coin—it is formative church discipline. These words, discipleship/discipline/ disciple, all connote ideas of training, and all training sometimes feels like punishment (cf. Heb. 12:7–11). The training in view here involves being taught to obey everything Jesus commanded. The commands of Jesus 4 often go against our instincts, impulses, inclinations, and desires. Sometimes they seem to make no sense. …keep reading »

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The Church Tomb of George Whitefield in Pictures

Some friends of mine were recently in Maine visiting family. While there they visited the Old South Church which was founded by George Whitefield in Newbury, MA. Not only did Whitefield found this church, but he is also buried there below the pulpit. I asked for the pictures so I could share them here and they gladly obliged. So a big thank you goes out to John and Shannon for the following pictures. I hope you all enjoy them. This is the front door of Old South Church. A stone tablet about the Old South Church. The cenotaph, or empty tomb, …keep reading »

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Ethics: Southern Baptist Pastor Becomes a Calvinist

What would you do Wednesday! All week anticipation of this Sunday’s sermon has been high since the planned topic is election. One of your fellow church members has recently embraced Calvinism so you’re hoping the pastor gives some good biblical arguments to discuss with him. Last year in a sermon your pastor made it clear that he was not a Calvinist though he was not hostile to them. He just disagreed with Calvinism though has no problem calling them brothers in Christ and working together with them in ministry. Recently, you’ve read two posts by a non-Calvinist SBC pastor –What I …keep reading »

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On Frivolous Prayer and Reverence

Given the discussions on the recent NASCAR prayer both here (A NASCAR Prayer, Parody or Blasphemy?) and elsewhere the commentary below from Calvin offers helpful perspective to consider on prayer. In the first quote, Calvin addresses the state of the mind and reverence to God in prayer. Let the first rule of right prayer then be, to have our heart and mind framed as becomes those who are entering into converse with God. This we shall accomplish in regard to the mind, if, laying aside carnal thoughts and cares which might interfere with the direct and pure contemplation of God, …keep reading »

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A NASCAR Prayer, Parody or Blasphemy?

Below is a transcript and video of the invocation “prayer” that Pastor Joe Nelms of Family Baptist Church in Lebanon, TN (near Nashville) recently gave at a NASCAR event. I’m not sure how to respond other than to scratch my head and think of this in light of the state of American Christianity. Of course, he had to be Baptist, but atleast he’s not Southern Baptist as far as I can tell. So was Nelms offering a prayer, a parody or blasphemy? Heavenly Father, we thank you tonight for all your blessings. You said in all things give thanks so …keep reading »

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Was Anders Breivik a Christian?

My prayers go out to the people of Norway and all of those affected by the vicious murders of Anders Breivik. My intention is not to make less of what happened in Norway, but to explain that his murderous actions were not of the teachings of Christianity. I expect to see reactions from other conservative Christians denouncing Breivik’s actions while offering prayer and empathy for those suffering grief and loss from his terrible act. It is a good time to remember Jesus’ words. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take …keep reading »

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Is God the Author of Evil?

Is there any sense in which God can be said to be the author of evil? In the quote below one author answers yes. See if you agree. God is the author (is in sovereign control) of everything that happens. Evil is something that happens. So God is the author of evil. If this is correct, then even if God is not the author of any evil “thing,” would He not still be the author of evil events? In which case, God would still be the author of evil.1 The author then quotes several Scripture passages involving God’s sovereignty. He …keep reading »

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Dear Same-Sex Marriage

Dear Same-sex marriage, May I call you SSM? Thanks! So, what are you? And what have you done with marriage? Actually, you haven’t done anything with marriage. I’m here writing you. Yes, this is Marriage sending you a note. I’m a little upset that you’re trying to do away with me by re-defining me. However, I am not some novelty act, but a staple of society. Men and women use me to build families by bringing children into the world who then repeat the cycle. I am still here today, but not if it were up to you, SSM. For …keep reading »

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News Show Host: Mitt Romney Is Not a Christian

“Fox & Friends” co-host Ainsley Earhardt made a passing remark about Mitt Romney’s faith when talking about viable fund raising avenues for Republican presidential candidates. She said that that “Romney, obviously not being a Christian” would not be able to raise money from the Christian Coalition. Interesting and presumably accurate if Romney hold’s to his Mormon institution’s teachings. Also interesting is that in the past, as I recall, reports, news anchors, etc. seemed more likely to defend Romney’s Mormonism as Christian. I wonder if the tide is changing.

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Jim Wallis and Richard Land Debate Morality and the Deficit

The video topics break down as follows: Why the budget is a moral document (02:34) What’s the real cause of the deficit? (05:04) Debating taxes for the wealthy and entitlements (08:14) Jim: The poorest shouldn’t bear the brunt of balancing the budget (03:03) Does baby boomer retirement make means-testing necessary? (05:11) The parable of the British piano tuner (06:44) Land and Wallis begin agreeing that debt is a moral issue. Wallis says that the spending on the poor is not the cause of the deficit and wants the faith community to provide a “circle of protection around the poorest and …keep reading »

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Popping Off Is Not Pastoral

Christianity in America seems to be in a constant state of decline rather than a constant state of repentance. One sign of this decline is the way in which celebrity rather than Scripture seems to have become the lens through which certain pastors are evaluated. This type of bias undermines the witness of the Church to nonbelievers. One recent example is when well-known pastor Mark Driscoll posted a flippant comment on Facebook which gathered over 600 comments in response. Offended blogger Rachel Held Evans responded and the flame Driscoll lit spread across the online Christian community. (Note: Driscoll has replied with …keep reading »

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Ethics: If Your Pastor Says You Suck?

What would you do Wednesday! As you roll out of bed Sunday morning to get ready for church the memory of an uncomfortable conversation with the pastor earlier in the week takes over your thoughts. “I never complain. Maybe I shouldn’t have complained about the music,” you think, “but our recent worship songs have been more like ‘God is my girlfriend‘ songs than they are Christ-centered. Maybe I was a jerk. Overly critical. I tried to offer biblical reasoning in my critique. I love my church and my brothers and sisters in Christ which is why I’d prefer more God-centered …keep reading »

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Top 10 Posts for 2011 at the Halfway Point

The Shack Review – I’m amazed at the visits (and sometimes comments) that this post continues to get. I may soon be giving away a copy of Burning Down ‘The Shack’: How the ‘Christian’ bestseller is deceiving millions. A Look at Passion City Church – The comments here come with some emotion and healthy discussion. I think they’ve finally started meeting regularly which is why the activity has been so high. I was even contacted to ask where “we” meet assuming I was part of Passion City. Dynamite Sermon Illustrations – I am not as surprised by this one given …keep reading »

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Atheist Hopes for Brokeback Mountain Moment

Steve Walsh on the CNN religion blogs reports that New atheist movie ‘The Ledge’ evangelizes godlessness. The film is written and directed by outspoken atheist Matthew Chapman. Apparently, Chapman wants to make an an atheist character into a Hollywood hero with a Christian being the bad guy. Chapman is pushing for a form of atheist evangelism or at the very least a wider acceptance of atheism. “My hope was to make an emotional appeal,” says. He hopes it’s a “Brokeback Mountain” moment for nonbelievers. Chapman believes that a successful film with an atheist hero will influence people to more readily accept …keep reading »

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Mini-Movie: Bahnsen vs. Stein on the Laws of Logic

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Ironic Church Sign of the Week

The above picture was taken by one of my pastors right down the road from our church building. Can you spot the irony?

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A Response: Patriotism and Christian Worship

Pastor David Brumbelow recently posted Patriotism and Christian Worship at SBC Voices. I will admit upfront that I disagree with Brumbelow on this topic. I’ve even written about patriotic worship in the past on more than on occasion. Christians will probably continue to disagree about this topic this side of heaven. Make no mistake that even though I disagree with Brumbelow on patriotic worship, I am not anti-American. I love America and am very thankful that I was born here. I will say the Pledge and sing patriotic songs with a warm heart. I just won’t do so during corporate …keep reading »

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Freedom: More Than An American

Christian, what will be at the forefront of your mind during corporate worship this 4th of July weekend? (HT: John Strickland)

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Transcript and Commentary: Al Mohler On Homosexuality at the SBC

Dr. R. Albert Mohler, President of Southern Seminary, recently answered a question from Dr. Peter Lumpkins concerning alleged comments he made about Evangelicals and homosexuality. The question was answered from the floor of the 2011 Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting during his report on Southern Seminary. Dr. Mohler confirmed that the statements in question were his and further expressed some of his views on the topic of Evangelicals and homosexuality. His answer has attracted much attention in parts of the internet world. For example, Al Mohler’s Response to Peter Lumpkins: The Complete Video at SBC Voices received over 350 comments …keep reading »

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Ethics: Which Pastor, Anger or Homosexuality?

What would you do Wednesday! The following scenario was built upon an actual question that was asked to a group of Christian men about which pastor they would choose in a given situation. Read on. I also believe that a measure of homophobia has existed in many Southern Baptists. My evidence? I asked a group of professing Christian men in my town this question several years ago: Suppose your church has been searching for a pastor. After months of meetings and interviews the final two candidates have been selected. At this point in the pastoral search process it is time …keep reading »

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A Teenager On Youth Ministry

I’m recycling a post about a teenager named Erica who was given an assignment to write an editorial on the subject of her choice. She choose youth ministry. Youth ministry is difficult. Questions are often asked about how to best reach and minister to youth. It can be hard to get into the mind of a teenager. Adults may be surprised of the wisdom that may be found in those young, developing minds. The article offered below may be one such surprise. Erica’s editorial is republished below exactly as it was sent to a friend of mine who is also …keep reading »

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NFL Star David Tyree On Gay Marriage

A few highlights and comments. At the beginning of the video Tyree offers a question which all Christians can apply to their lives regardless of profession. He asks, “Do our fans mean more than our position in eternity?” He then explains that marriage is the “only relationship that actually mirrors a relationship with God. It’s very unique in that way.” He also states that society permeates three things on males 1) sexual conquest, 2) economic prowess and 3) athletic prowess. Further, he explains that those three things aren’t intrinsically bad, but they can become that way if they are the …keep reading »

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The Southern Baptist Phantom Menace

Imagine for a moment that a church friend comes to you and expresses his frustration over another member of the church. Your friend mentions that he is tired of Sunday School at various times. He does not like the way things are taught sometimes or some of the methods used in the lessons. In his frustration he mentions that he may just stop tithing for a while and maybe stop attending Sunday School too. Realizing that you are in the same Sunday School class and that you sometimes teach, you think to yourself, “Who or what exactly is he talking …keep reading »

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Southern Baptist Church Offices, Elders et al. (Update)

Update below. A simple Google search will yield discussions concerning Southern Baptists and the subject of having a plurality of elders/pastors in place in the local church. It is understandable that there are biblical interpretive disagreements on how a church ought to fill its offices, on congregational involvement, etc. Hopefully, all local congregations seek to be biblical in setting up a church government. Various denominations have various guidelines stemming from their theological convictions. What about Southern Baptists? The official website of the Southern Baptist Convention has some faqs under the ‘About Us’ section. Question 14 asks,” What is the SBC’s …keep reading »

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Friday Favorites 06/03/11

What Is the Gospel? for 99 cents! – The Kindle Edition is $.99 right now for this great book by Greg Gilbert with the Foreword by D. A. Carson. [another] Open Letter to John Piper – Frank Turk writes another open letter to Piper concerning his interview with Rick Warren. Thinking About Rick Warren & John Piper – Tim Challies offers some gracious thoughts including some concerns on a recent interview. The Pitfall Of Perfectionism – Tullian Tchividjian shares some insightful stories about Christian perfectionism. Why The Message is an untrustworthy Bible – William Dicks does a side-by-side comparison of …keep reading »

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Did the Gay Clergy Lie?

The StarTribune reports that Presbyterians to allow gays to be ordained ministers. Note: Those Presbyterians would be of the PCUSA branch. I’m sure many would call them PiNO’s (Presbyterian in name only.) Thankfully, some in the PCUSA spoke against the newly affirmed policy which will now allow openly gay and lesbian members to be ordained clergy. Something caught my eye while reading the story. OK, several things caught my eye, but one thing in particular. A few quotes will be provided in order to show the point in asking – Did the gay clergy lie? First, what the new policy …keep reading »

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Did Mark Richt Make Me A Dawgs Fan?

Being a graduate of Georgia Southern University (GSU) hasn’t really influenced me to be a Georgia Bulldogs (UGA) fan. I was actually not a fan for a few years after I got to see how poorly Dawg fans treated GA Southern fans when played against each other. See, UGA and GSU play each other every four years in what is essentially a money game. GSU is a smaller school and so UGA is expected to win, but a lot of money is raised and the smaller school gets larger than normal exposure. At the game I attended you would have …keep reading »

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Sermon: Drinking Is Not Drunkeness

Eddie Exposito, a pastor friend from Louisiana, preached a sermon about the biblical approach to alcohol. The sermon, linked below, is called Drinking Is Not Drunkenness. He addresses some of the unbiblical approaches to alcohol that are prevalent today and offers a corrective, biblical view. I thought some of you would appreciate this sermon. Drinking Is Not Drunkenness

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Lord’s Day 05/08/11 Spurgeon On Mothers

Happy Mother’s Day! Below are some excerpts from the section “Early Religious Impressions” found in Charles Spurgeon’s Autobiography. I thought they would be appropriate for Mother’s Day. Yet I cannot tell how much I owe to the solemn words of my good mother. It was the custom, on Sunday evenings, while we were yet little children, for her to stay at home with us, and then we sat round the table, and read verse by verse, and she explained the Scripture to us. After that was done, then came the time of pleading; there was a little piece of Alleine’s …keep reading »

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How Would Jesus Tax?

Lawrence O’Donnell vs. Rush Limbaugh: Biblical lessons from the media? Or – How to do eisegesis? Guess which one argues for the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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Ethics: Christian, a Former Muslim, Wants to Burn Qur’an

What would you do Wednesday! This week’s situation has to do with a current controversial subject, Qur’an burning. This scenario is a different from the Qur’an burning by Terry Jones that took place in Florida. The person in today’s scenario has a different perspective and reason for his position although he hasn’t quite made up his mind. Let’s think. A man in your church has been a Christian for eight months now. Not only is he a new Christian, but he is also a former Muslim. His conversion to Christianity has been life changing. In a conversation recently, he shared …keep reading »

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Universalism: Rob Bell and Paul Dean

Even before the release of his latest book, Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived, Rob Bell set the blogosphere ablaze. The biggest charge against Bell is that of him being a universalist. In a recent interview with Newsweek’s Lisa Miller, Bell first states, with qualifications, that he is not a universalist. Then, moments later denies the charge again. (Thanks to Denny Burk’s partial transcript.) Miller: So this sort of universalism that you are preaching that’s exclusive and inclusive… Bell: That I just denied? Yeah, that one. Okay. Kevin DeYoung does …keep reading »

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Advanced-Objective-Relevant Conference?

Beyond the Basics? Advanced, Objective, Relevant? I can across the above conference advertisement today. It looks like an interesting conference, doesn’t it? Great graphics. Would you attend? Wait! What kind of conference? A Christian conference? What do you think?  

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“Live the Gospel” Charles Spurgeon Advised

Can anyone but Christ live the gospel? Disagreements on the answer to this question can be seen from Open Letters to The Fear of Antinomianism. I wonder if the disagreements lie within what one means when challenging others to “live the gospel.” I don’t know of anyone who uses this phrase to mean that Christians should literally live Christ’s life. Nevertheless, it is interesting that Spurgeon used this phrase on a few occasions. Some (all?) of these occasions are quoted below, bold emphasis mine. To be prepared for the coming conflict, we have only to preach the gospel, and to …keep reading »

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Wisdom of Solomon, Obama and Abortion

Obama and Solomon1 There has been much past discussion about Obama concerning his stance on abortion.  This discussion is not going to end anytime soon and rightly so.  I’ve made the point and so have two other bloggers recently that as Christians we must pray that Obama seeks God’s direction and changes his position on abortion.  The wisdom Obama has shown thus far is what he said at a Planned Parenthood event earlier this year. “The first thing I’d do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act” (source) I don’t see any wisdom in that statement.  For more …keep reading »

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What If Governor Robert Bentley Instead…

Newly elected Alabama Governor Robert Bentley made headlines recently while speaking at a church in celebration of Martin Luther King Day. His words were delivered right after he was sworn in as governor. There may be more of a timing issue here because though he was speaking at a church, the offending words were his stating the exclusive claims of Jesus reported as: “Anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I’m telling you, you’re not my brother and you’re not my sister, and I want to be your brother,” Bentley said Monday, just moments into …keep reading »

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Church Sign: Gospel or Moralism?

In a message this morning about post-modernism the church sign pictured above was put up as an example of what post-modernists are rebelling against in the modernist Christian culture. The question that crossed my mind is whether this picture is an example of reaching out with the gospel or with moralism?

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A Word for the New Year and My Top 10 for 2010

First, I leave you with some words of encouragement to take into the 2011 New Year from Thomas Watson’s A Body of Divinity. Then, my top 10 popular posts for 2010. How diligent and zealous should we be in glorifying God, that we may come at last to enjoy him! If Tully, Demosthenes, and Plato, who had but the dim watch-light of reason to see by, fancied an elysium and happiness after this life, and took such Herculean pains to enjoy it, oh how should Christians, who have the light of Scripture to see by, bestir themselves that they may …keep reading »

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Book Review: The Purity Principle

Alcorn, Randy. The Purity Principle: God’s Safeguards for Life’s Dangerous Trails (LifeChange Books). Sisters: Multnomah Books, 2003. Randy Alcorn is a well-known Christian author and speaker. He has written over 30 books which include both fiction and non-fiction. He is the founder and director of Eternal Perspectives Ministries (EPM) through which he has ministered to people in many countries. Prior to founding EPM Alcorn was a pastor for 13 years in the state of Oregon. Much like the name of his ministry, in The Purity Principle (TPP), Alcorn seeks to address sexual purity from an eternal perspective. That is, from …keep reading »

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A Grinch Alert?

I’m convinced that the celebration of Christmas is always going to be a point of contention somewhere. Whether it’s from anti-Christian secularists, Christians who are convicted that it is not a holiday to be celebrated or corporations that embrace the holiday season in general simply as a means for revenue. Scripture gives Christians no direct command to celebrate or not to celebrate Christmas, or the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ if you will. So why not take advantage of the holiday as Christians? People will always attempt to steal Christmas here in the U.S. It is a Federal …keep reading »

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Six Megaproblems and the Gospel Ain’t One (via Barna)

Yesterday, Barna posted the results of a the study – Six Megathemes Emerge from Barna Group Research in 2010. The six points are numbered below in bold. The research is based research conducted throughout 2010. I’m unsure how many polls or people in total were involved. It gives me no pleasure to read these conclusion, but I am also not surprised. There is a lot that could be said about the six points, but I will only comment briefly on each one. It seems that points 2 – 6 all fall back on the problem in point 1.

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I’m A Christian by Tim Hawkins (Bon Jovi Tune)

This is probably my favorite Tim Hawkins parody song (if you can call it that since there’s no joking). It’s sung to the tune of Wanted Dead Or Alive by Bon Jovi. The title is either I’m A Christian or What I Believe. Either way it’s a keeper.

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Contentment and Pride

Another rule is, that those in narrow and slender circumstances should learn to bear their wants patiently, that they may not become immoderately desirous of things, the moderate use of which implies no small progress in the school of Christ. For in addition to the many other vices which accompany a longing for earthly good, he who is impatient under poverty almost always betrays the contrary disease in abundance. By this I mean, that he who is ashamed of a sordid garment will be vain-glorious of a splendid one; he who not contented with a slender, feels annoyed at the …keep reading »

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Friday Favorites 12/03/10

Repentance is a grace of God’s Spirit whereby a sinner is inwardly humbled and visibly reformed. – Thomas Watson I got nothin’ – My friend Frank Turk shows that the cult of personality is still alive in Christiandom. Should Every Christian Have A Blog? – Nathan Bingham provides an interesting perspective on Christian blogging. Germans more negative towards Muslims than other Europeans – I wonder how this compares to American attitudes toward Muslims. Evangelizing Ourselves – Mark Galli explains that the gospel is for Christians too. How Biblical Counseling Affects Preaching – Ed Welch writes, “Counseling will make your preaching

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Friday Favorites 11/19/10

Build your nest upon no tree here; for you see God has sold the forest to death. — Samuel Rutherford Meet the ‘Cheapest Man Alive’ – He drives a 1992 car, packs his lunch, reuses paperclips and is worth millions. Four Reasons You Should Resist the New TSA Security Procedures (and How You Can) – Ed Stetzer gives some advice on the hot topic concerning TSA. Sanford Airport to opt out of TSA screening – Ken Tyndall reports on an airport that seeks to replace TSA. Could this be a trend? 50 All-Time Funniest Church Marquee Signs – Tim Dalton …keep reading »

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Ethics: Should Pastors Accept Gifts from Members?

What would you do Wednesday! This weeks question deals with the subject of pastors accepting gifts from church members. Depending on the gift, some may see accepting certain gifts as inappropriate. For example, in 2009, a story broke where there were allegations of inappropriate monetary gifts to a pastor. Tom Rich started a blog over concerns that his now former pastor was taking inappropriate gifts and misusing the church’s money. One online ministry offers a Pastors’ Code of Ethics which states in part that pastors:

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Evangelical Identity

I wonder if description below would be true of evangelical Christians as they are known today. If not, I wonder if this should be the description and if it’s a place worth trying to get to. Conclusion: Evangelical Identity Evangelicals believe, first of all, the gospel as it is set forth in the Bible. The word evangelical is derived from the biblical term euangelion meaning “good news.” It is the Good News that God became man in Jesus Christ to live and die and rise again from the dead in order to save us from our sin and all its …keep reading »

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Friday Favorites 11/12/10

Congratulations to Jason Smathers for winning the Amazing Grace DVD giveaway. Book (Giveaway) Review: Washed and Waiting by Wesley Hill – Aaron reviews and is giving away a copy of this book which deals with Christianity and homosexuality. Do Our Church Testimonies Empower Satan? – Russell Moore asks an intriguing question. what’s wrong with your pastor? – Dr. Chuck DeGroat offers some useful insights and advice about having a divided life. Obama Teaches Hindus about Islam – David Wood shows how much Obama does not know about Islam. The homeless commute – Gene Edward Veith asks if the $1.8 million spent on …keep reading »

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Ethics: Your Pastor Reveals He is Gay

What would you do Wednesday! It was a normal Sunday morning worship service. Everything was moving along as usual until the pastor began his sermon. He stood up and began what seemed like a sermon introduction. Instead of preaching he began explaining that he needed to come out or confess something to the congregation. His confession is much like that of Jim Swilley in the video below. His confession? He is gay. Although he and his wife divorced several months ago, he plans to remain a celibate. He also plans to stay as the pastor of the church. What would …keep reading »

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The Blogging Scholarship: Thanks, Thoughts, and Cheating

The 2010 Blogging Scholarship contest is over. I had a good run and ended up placing 3rd. I’d like to say thank you to some folks, give some brief thoughts about the competition and look at the cheating allegations. Thank you! I’d like to thank those who promoted me on their blogs (I tried my best not to leave anyone out) such as  Frank Turk, Tim Challies, Aaron Armstrong, Joel Taylor, Dave Miller, Nathan Bingham, and Michael Newnham. I also greatly appreciate all of my twitter and Facebook friends who campaigned and voted for me. None of this would have happened without …keep reading »

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Friday Favorites 11/05/10

Amazing Grace: The History & Theology of Calvinism – DVD Giveaway – A reminder that this giveaway ends Monday unless I extend it. Christians and Drinking Alcohol – JD Greear’s take on this controversial issue. Do you agree? Almost Christian: Q&A with Kenda Creasy Dean – Terrace Crawford interviews the author of an interesting new book. Wordwise Hymns – Robert Cottrill discusses the history and biblical themes of church hymns. Don’t Waste Your Life Download – Download Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper free download this month at

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Ridiculous Item: ‘Jesus was HIV Positive’

Apparently, South African pastor, Xola Skosana, has claimed that Jesus was HIV positive to raise awareness about how poorly churches treat people who are HIV positive. This report comes from the Daily Mail Reporter story ‘Jesus was HIV-positive’: South African pastor sparks outrage with bizarre claim. A bizarre claim and then some. ‘Wherever you open the scriptures Jesus puts himself in the shoes of people who experience brokenness,’ the Pastor told the BBC. ‘Isaiah 53, for example, clearly paints a picture of Jesus who takes upon himself the infirmities and the brokenness of humanity. ‘Of course, there’s no scientific evidence …keep reading »

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Ethics: Church Member Invites You To R-Rated Movie Night

What would you do Wednesday! It’s Friday night and your husband has already left for a deacon retreat for the weekend. He’ll be home Saturday night so you’ve got Friday night and Saturday free. You will miss him, but know that you will only be apart for one day and it will allow you to spend some time with friends. One of the other deacon’s wives calls. She asks if you want to come over and have a movie night. She tells you that the movies are a surprise and you will have to come over to see what they …keep reading »

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Work: A Cure for the Monday Morning Blues

When you have had one of those take-this-job-and-shove-it-days, try this. On your way home after work, stop at your pharmacy and go to the section where they have thermometers. You will need to purchase a rectal thermometer made by the Q-tip Company. Be sure that you get this brand. When you get home, lock your doors, draw the drapes, and disconnect the phone so you will not be disturbed during your therapy. Change to very comfortable clothing, such as a sweat suit and lie down on your bed. Open the package containing the thermometer, remove it, and carefully place it …keep reading »

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Friday Favorites 10/29/2010

Can you ethically invest in unethical companies? – Felix Salmon attempts to answer. Procrastination – David McRaney dispels the myth that procrastination is due to laziness and poor time management. The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach – Michael R. Licona has a new book out defending the resurrection. The Doctrine of the Word of God – John M. Frame’s 1000+ page book on Scripture is available for pre-order. What I said about “Over Churched Children” – Tony Kummer shares his thoughts from a pastoral and parental perspective. Who Really Needs to Come Out of the Closet? – Thom …keep reading »

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Heaven, Hell and Politicians

Below is a story using a politician and his choice between heaven and hell illustrating the tactics some (many?) politicians use to get votes. I thought it interesting so I decided to share it. The author is unknown at this point. I will be glad to attribute it if someone can tell me the author’s name. While walking down the street one day a Corrupt Senator was tragically hit by a car and died . His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance. “Welcome to heaven,” says St. Peter. “Before you settle in, it …keep reading »

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Ethics: The Abandoned Husband

What would you do Wednesday! Bob married Martha eight years ago, and they quickly had three children.  After six especially tumultuous months, Bob came home from work one day and found a note taped to the refrigerator: “Dear Bob, I can’t keep giving anymore.  I need some time for myself.  Good-bye for now.”  The financial stress on Bob has been great since his factory wages only partly meet the needs of the family.  Bob has lost his home, and the children have moved in with his parents.  Two years have gone by and after repeated attempts to find her, Bob …keep reading »

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10,000 Reasons to Vote for Me?

I asked for help for The Blogging Scholarship and shared my essay. You answered. Guess what? Praise the Lord, I made the top 10! Please CLICK HERE to vote for me, Mark Lamprecht, to help me win a $10,000 scholarship to help pay for seminary. That is 10,000 reasons to vote for me and I’d really appreciate your help. It’ll only take a moment. Thank you!

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Poll: Is the Reformation Over?

Reformation Day 2010, October 31, falls on this coming Sunday. In light of this, I thought this would be an interesting question to ask. Are the theological positions of the Protestant Reformation and the Council of Trent now reconciled? Or are we still divided? Does it matter? What do you think? Discussion welcomed.

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Friday Favorites 10/22/2010

Johnny Hunt, Calvinism, and the Past Ten Years of My Life – See the gospel at work in a young Calvinist. I appreciate Tim’s post. He is a friend and brother in Christ. I Want Your Money – A new documentary that releases this weekend by Ray Griggs that looks at government spending by contrasting words and actions of Barack Obama and Ronald Reagan. How do you teach a newly married man to disciple his wife? – Brian Croft offers some great practical steps for husbands. Reduced staffing, greater efficiency and focus key to NAMB’s future – Joe Westbury reports …keep reading »

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Religious Freedom: Jesus vs Islam

Religious freedom in this country seems to have taken a turn. Maybe a new definition is in order. Religious freedom: mention religion and you’re free to find a new job. Examples of this can be found in situations where Jesus or Islam have been mentioned. The mention of both have resulted in some form of job loss. As far as mentioning Jesus, several years ago I pointed out that a Chaplain suspended for sharing the Gospel. And this year a Chaplain in the N.C. House of Representatives was fired for praying in Jesus name. What about Islam?

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Ethics: A Church Member Wins the Lottery

What would you do Wednesday! While away visiting relatives in another state one of your friends from church bought a $1 lottery ticket at the influence of his cousin. He never plays the lottery and hasn’t thought much about it. He figured that it was only $1 so what could it hurt? It turns out that your friend ended up winning $5 million! He comes to you for advice on what to do. He’s not sure how the folks at your church may react. He’s not sure if he should tell anyone or not. One of the first things he …keep reading »

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Is Your Church White?

Is your church white? That is the disturbing question what was email to a church in Apex, NC. Ken Keathley recently shared this inquiry over at Between the Times in his post A Shocking Question. The context of this disturbing question was: We know the Lord loves all of us, but we believe in honoring the Culture the Lord gave us, so we are seeking a traditionally ‘White’ church as opposed to Multi-cultural. Is your church White? Read the whole post to find out how the pastor answered this disturbing question. A question that I’m mostly surprised about, but not …keep reading »

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Scientific Deconstruction of Science

All of us tempted to swallow this popular pill, cunningly served up with our secular education, should appreciate that the empiricists have not shown that the Creator has not spoken in his creation or in the Christ of Scripture. In the process of their argument they annihilate empirical science itself, the very thing that they have put their faith in. Science depends upon the nonempirical ideas of uniformity in nature and the predictability of future events in order to function or teach us anything. But empirical verification must apply only to a particular time, place, and entity to be examined. …keep reading »

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Christians Are Jerks! Update

Jennifer Johnson on The Examiner offers more insight of this story in Local church makes headlines. She quotes the people behind the billboard, Pastor Chris Beard of Christ Covenant Church. “We actually blew up a lot bigger than we ever expected,” Beard told The Examiner. “We talked with (CNN’s) Headline News today (Oct. 15). We wanted to reach out to the community and send the message that as a church we messed up – and it looks like we’ve got people’s attention. Really, we want a chance to say that all the things people say about Christians can be true, …keep reading »

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Friday Favorites 10/15/10

Enter To Win 1 of 3 “Crucial Questions” Sets by R.C. Sproul – Nathan has a good RC Sproul giveaway going on. It that ends Tuesday, October 19th 2010. Confessions of a Recovering Legalist – Bob Gonzales shares a healthy dose of repentance for all of us. Matt Chandler: The Village Church, Flower Mound, Texas – An interview with Matt Chandler on his ministry experience. LaHood Weighs Urging Ban on All Driver Phone Use in Cars – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood want to ban all cell phone usage while driving. Google Cars Drive Themselves, in Traffic – Yep,

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Positive Thinking With Apostle Paul

For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but …keep reading »

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Atheist Christopher Hitchens Debates Christian Brother

Hitchens brothers debate if civilization can survive without God Editor’s Note: CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor Eric Marrapodi files this report from Washington, DC. Brothers Christopher and Peter Hitchens squared off Tuesday in a debate over whether civilization can survive without God. Christopher, the older of the two, is a renowned atheist thinker and author. Peter, the lesser known of the two, is a practicing Christian and also a well-regarded author. Christopher Hitchens is going through a very public battle with cancer, a subject that came up often during the debate. Michael Cromartie from the Ethics and Public Policy Center, moderated …keep reading »

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Ethics: A Yoga Class Starting at Church

What would you do Wednesday! Sitting down in the pew on Sunday morning you open the bulletin that you just grabbed on the way in. You look through for anything new going on in your church. One new byline reads: New Outreach Opportunity: New Yoga classes starting, twice a week. Sign up at the church office. Invite your friends!

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Friday Favorites 10/08/2010

My take: Fred Phelps is wrong about the gospel, right about the law – Wayne Grudem explains. A Letter From Hell – Luke 16:19-31(MP3) – Pastor Jeremy Rhode preaches how a letter from hell from the Rich Man may read. For the Fame of God’s Name: Essays in Honor of John Piper – A 542 page festschrift honoring the life and ministry of John Piper which includes 27 essays from his close friends and colleagues. When Writing about Those with Whom You Disagree – Ken Keathley offers three thoughtful points on this topic that even he has not followed in …keep reading »

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Ethics: Terminal Care for an Elderly Cancer Patient?

What would you do Wednesday! Eighteen months ago, a seventy-one-year-old Christian woman developed cancer in a kidney.  Physicians removed the kidney.  Now, however, the cancer has spread to other parts of her body, including her brain, so she has become permanently unconscious.  Her second kidney is now failing, and she needs dialysis.  Dialysis might keep her alive for six to nine months.  Without dialysis, she would probably survive a couple of weeks before drifting off into a relatively painless death caused by the buildup of toxins in her body.  An experimental drug that

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Friday Favorites 10/01/10

Walking Through the Valley of Vision – Joe Thorn offers a way to enrich your prayer life. I love the idea! Why Pastors Fall Into Moral Sin – JD Greear re-posts some insights on this topic given the recent sexual allegations against Bishop Eddie Long. Why I Can’t Stand Justin Bieber – Carla explains why. An Open Letter to My Pastors on Glenn Beck – Nancy Guthrie has a different, thankful perspective on some of the issues surrounding

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A Six-Word Memoir of the Christian Life

Legend has it that Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to write a six word short story. The result was: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” That’s quite a story in six words. Along that line of thought, SMITH Magazine, who believes everyone has a story, challenges people to tell theirs in six words or less. A six-word memoir is an interesting concept. I figured I’d give it a try

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Friday Favorites 09/24/10

Engaging the Culture – Phil Johnson offers a biblical view of cultural engagement. Calvin the Evangelist – An article by Dr. Frank James explaining the missional aspects of John Calvin’s work for the gospel. Justin Taylor on a ‘tragic mistake’ – WorldMag’s Mickey McLean posts Justin Taylor’s response to Andrée Seu’s seeming embrace that Mormon Glenn Beck is a Christian. What the Prosperity Gospel Does to the Gospel – Brandon Smith makes

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Ethics: Aborting Your Anencephalic Baby

What would you do Wednesday! You and your spouse have found out in the last few weeks that the child with whom you are pregnant has been diagnosed with anencephaly, a fatal genetics disorder in which the cerebral cortex of the brain does not develop at all. The skull is somewhat flat and quite deformed looking. Only the brain stem, which controls all the nonvoluntary actions of the body, such as heartbeat, respiration, and digestion develops. The child will be born in a permanent vegetative state and is not likely to live longer than a few months, though some have …keep reading »

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Friday Favorites 09/17/10

Thirty Letters to Calvin, Preacher to the Genevans: And Sixty Signs of the Kingdom of the Antichrist and His Revelation Which Is Now at Hand – Michael Servetus’ Latin writings now translated and put into a 175 page book. ‘Draw Muhammad’ cartoonist changes name, goes into hiding at FBI’s insistence – Molly Norris will have her identity wiped away with the help of the FBI. What Constitutes an Accurate Translation? (Monday with Mounce 75) – A word on Bible translation with Bill Mounce. Are You a Nominal Christian? A Diagnostic Test –

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Church Greeting Teams and Hand Sanitizer: Good Idea?

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Ethics: Potential Deacon Struggling with Pornography

What would you do Wednesday! This week’s scenario involves a deacon candidate. One of your friends tells you he has been called to be a deacon. Soon he is going to meet with your pastor(s) and a few of the deacons who will talk to and evaluate his qualifications to be a deacon. The problem is that he has been struggling with pornography for the past three months. And you know this! You’ve been there to help him through this sin. You’ve prayed with him, called him to account and now you’ve explained that he must confess this sin to …keep reading »

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Friday Favories 09/10/10

American Civil Religion and the Gospel of Jesus Christ – David Rogers shares some research and insights. A Good, New, Non-Arminian, Arminian Book – James gives more thought and insight to a review and response of Whosoever Will. The Nines – Welcome! – Frank shares the text of his talk at The Nines. Military burns unsolicited Bibles sent to Afghanistan – Bibles that were printed in two most common Afghan languages were burned for fear that they could be used for proselytizing and possibly anger Muslims. Two good articles against the Koran burning:

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Ethics: Burn A Koran Day In Your Community

What would you do Wednesday! There has been a lot of discussion about Islam lately. As Sept. 11 approaches I can only imagine how talk of Islam will draw many emotional responses. We’ve talked a bit about the Ground Zero Mosque.  Understandably, it continues to be an issue. An issue on which Christians disagree. Today’s scenario is in the context the current issue of Koran burning. Many people have stood up for the legal right

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Friday Favorites 09/03

Disconnected Faith – My metro neighbor Leonce offers some advice for Christians feeling disconnected from God. Is There a Hole in our Gospel? – Andrew reviews this book and finds some troubling theology. Prairie Memories: Songs of Home, Life and Faith – This is a new CD from my friend Clyde Bauman. You can hear samples at the link. When Facebook and Twitter are Gripped by the Gospel – Matthew offers an interesting look at the two most popular mediums. Infographic: Beck vs. King

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Ethics: Excluding A Single Parent from Church Membership

What would you do Wednesday! The scenario is that a single mother is a member of your local church. For several years she seemed to be living faithfully for Christ. She was present on Sunday morning and often during other church events. It was difficult for her at times and the church even helped her financially and with food when she needed help. Then, to your surprise she

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Thoughts on Moore on Glenn Beck and the Gospel

Glenn Beck as been a recent driving force for (neo?) Conservative politics in America. His big push is to bring God back to the center of American life both politically and socially. I understand his sentiment. There is a sense in which I agree. In recent times when Glenn Beck has spoken on the issue of putting God back into American culture he mentions God, Jesus, the atonement, etc. On the surface, these sound like something Christians should embrace. And they should

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Friday Favorites 08/27

Giveaway: A Pastor’s Sketches by Ichabod Spencer – Don’t forget about the giveaway! Reinvesting Pain – A week late on my part, but Rozie gives another well written, insightful piece on suffering. (In case you miss the sermon she linked to – it’s here.) Kiss Me? Addressing God in Worship – Matt Redman encourages us to think carefully about the language used in worship. African-Americans, Women and Southerners Talk and Text The Most in the U.S. – A cellphone usage survey by the Nielsen Company which analyzes more than 60,000 U.S. cellphone bills each month. Driver’s ed value doubted – …keep reading »

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Don’t Waste Your Life Sentence Livestream Tonight

Don’t Waste Your Life Sentence Voices from the Louisiana State Penitentiary This video will be streamed live tonight at 7:30 CT/ 8:30 EST. Click here for the live stream location. I’m looking forward to it. If you want to know more about this powerful trailer, below is the description from the Desiring God website. The Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, LA is one of the largest and historically one of the most bloody maximum-security prisons in the USA. In 2009, Desiring God and John Piper were invited to Angola to learn about prison life, hear from men who have been …keep reading »

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The Ground Zero Mosque An Artificial Controversy?

There has been some interesting back and forth in Christians and the Ground Zero Mosque. I’m not sure a consensus will ever be reached even by Christians. Meanwhile, a friend sent me an article that offers another perspective on the Ground Zero Mosque. It’s from the Independent Institute whose mission is to boldly advance peaceful, prosperous, and free societies grounded in a commitment to human worth and dignity. The article is Histrionics Over the Mosque: Symbolism Crowds Out Reality by Ivan Eland. He opens with: The American media, and to a lesser extent the world media, focus on symbolism at …keep reading »

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Friday Favorites 08/20

United States Marines duped by pretend jihadist, Ergun Caner -Jason provides videos of two training sessions that Ergun Caner gave to the U.S. Marines on April 15, 2005. I wonder if those who criticized Driscoll for his language will follow suit with Caner. Clearing the Smoke – Joe clears the smoke and shares the gospel in a cigar shop. National HHS Study Not Released by Obama Administration – A note on how the National Abstinence Education Foundation

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Driscoll: Discerning the Current Vampire-esque Teen Books

What books are being promoted for teens and pre-teens to read these days? Better yet, what books are they actually reading? Are there underlying spiritual issues involved? How do parents handle it? Are parents discerning enough? As a parent, I am concerned. This brings me to Mark Driscoll’s video below. I appreciate what he has to say. It’s a short clip from a recent sermon. Some have called it a rant. Love him or hate him, here he is. Do you agree?

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Update: Christians and the Ground Zero Mosque

UPDATE: Daniel linked an article by Raheel Raza and Tarek Fatah, two Muslims who are on the board of the Muslim Canadian Congress, entitled – Mischief in Manhattan: We Muslims know the Ground Zero mosque is meant to be a deliberate provocation. This article shows that there are atleast some vocal Muslims who get it. There has been much talk (and I’m sure a lot more to come) over whether or not a Mosque should be built two blocks from Ground Zero. Though popularly called the Ground Zero Mosque it may more accurately be called an Islamic Center. Not that …keep reading »

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Frank Turek Refutes Judge Walker’s 10 Gay Marriage “Facts”

Frank Turek of CrossExamined offers a refutation of 10 of Judge Vaughn Walker’s finding of “facts” used to overturn Proposition 8 in order to legalize gay marriage. Turek writes – Second, Prop. 8 doesn’t violate the Fourteenth Amendment because every person in America already has equal marriage rights. We’re all playing by the same rules — we all have the same right to marry any non-related adult of the opposite sex. Those rules do not deny anyone “equal protection of the laws” because the qualifications to enter a marriage apply equally to everyone — every adult person has the same …keep reading »

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Friday Favorites 08/13

Giant Brazilian Temple Replica Panned as ‘Mockery’ – A controversial Brazilian Pentecostal church plans to build a $200 million Holy Temple replica. What Do I Have to Believe to Be Saved? – John Piper answers the question. Captured: America in Color from 1939-1943 – An awesome photo blog from the Denver Post. Christian-Themed Movies in ‘Holy-Wood’ – Interesting comments by

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Does Literally Carrying A Cross Spread The Gospel?

‘Deeds, not creeds’ brings a connotation with it that Christians’ actions carry more weight than their verbalized beliefs.  An older, more popular version is the out of context quote of Francis of Assisi – Preach the gospel always, if necessary use words. (Some question whether he really said it or not.) There is some wisdom in these ideas, but as stand alone ideologies they don’t actual proclaim the gospel. They do more to show the effect of the gospel in changing lives. People do still need to hear the gospel. This brings me to the CNN video story below of …keep reading »

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Will HPOA be Christianized?

The word HPOA (HOPA?) is going around the internet. Depending on who you read it either means ‘someone who is half-Japanese’ (HOPA version), ‘highly professional office assistant’ or something else that is going around the web that is more vulgar. I’m not sure if the half-Japanese reference is meant to be insulting or not. Please do not take my usage as such. It is interesting is that the more vulgar phrase

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May Christians Vote Using Religious Principles?

An interesting conversation has been taking place in one of the comment threads. The back and forth is between an atheist and a Christian. Another atheist recently stopped by to comment. His name is Quinlan and he made some assertions to the Christian, Howard, in that thread. Quinlan objected to Howard using “religious principles” from which to base his position on abortion and homosexuality.  It’s as if a Christian is suppose to cease being a Christian outside of their home and worship service. Or at least in the realm of politics. These types of charges are nothing new to Christians. …keep reading »

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Friday Favorites 08/06 Anniversary Special

First, today is my 5th wedding anniversary! So it’s special. How does my wonderful wife manage? Maybe this limerick will help her. I know you can’t believe that it’s been five years. But you made it through without many tears. Since it’s all foreordained, just pretend that you’ve gained. It will help get you through the coming years! The Amazing Hubris of the Ruling Class Judiciary – James White comments on the overturning of Proposition 8 and the homosexual Judge Vaughn Walker who had a hand in it. The Five Minute Money Manager: Taking Your Lunch To Work – The …keep reading »

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Art! Drama! Worship?

J.D. Greear has written Artistry, Excellence, and the Mission in which he asks – What is the role of artistic excellence in a local church’s “production”? This is not a new question in today’s culture. Nor will it be going away anytime soon. The production factor in the lives of Americans continues to increase. Millions of dollars are spent to produce special effects for movies as a lure to fish for more of the almighty dollar. But should it be a way to fish for people for the Almighty God?

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Robbery Ends After Talk of Jesus

Wow! Christians seem to have a tough time talking about Jesus in everyday causal settings, but at gunpoint? During a robbery? I wonder how many others would react this way. Makes me wonder a lot of things… Are you convicted? (HT: Ray Ortlund)

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Friday Favorites 07/30

Forsake Not The Assembling – Ben Davis offers a great quote from John Owen on the importance of coming together for corporate worship. identifying “anti-adoptionistic” corruptions of scripture – Rafael Rodriguez critiques Bart Ehrman’s remarks on anti-adoptionistic corruptions of Scripture. Vitaminwater Isn’t Healthy, Rules Federal Judge – The title of this article By Carey Alexander says it all. Morals are relative, agree or be expelled. – Jason Smathers breaks down Augusta State University’s attempt to force a Christian

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Hell, Are You Offended?

Last week I mentioned that Christianity Gives Atheism Life. Some atheists have gained much by their push against a God they don’t believe exists. In a similar vein, some people who don’t believe in hell are offended when others believe they are headed that way. Why?

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Friday Favorites 07/23

Yancey Arrington just released what looks to be an awesome new book – TAP: Defeating The Sins That Defeats You. The WP On Faith blog has a very interesting ethical dilemma concerning twitter – The Executioner’s Tweet. The CNN belief blog notes some interesting exchanges in Congress debates biblical stance on immigration. Ed Stetzer has a helpful post explaining

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Christianity Gives Atheism Life

hristianity sure gives many atheists something to live for. This can be seen by the way many atheists argue, debate, write, sue, form societies and organizations, etc. all to fight against God. But it is God that drives these actions! Some atheists such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens have become famous for their beliefs. Yet they continue to rail against Christianity. It is ironic that they continue to gain meaning and motivation in life both from and for the very Being they deny exists. In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts …keep reading »

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I Write Like Who?

There is a cool new site called I Write Like which allows you to – “Check which famous writer you write like with this statistical analysis tool, which analyzes your word choice and writing style and compares them with those of the famous writers.” Many people who write desire to become better at it. I’m no different. I thought maybe this analysis tool would give some insight to my writing besides just being fun. I pasted four different articles, two on the same topic, and got the four different results listed below.

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Ethics: Unwanted Pregnancy

What would you do Wednesday! A fifteen year old girl was invited by your daughter to a youth outreach event at your church. Her boyfriend had just broken up with her. She was really upset and needed to get away and thought a church event would be something nice to go to. The gospel was shared with here and she came to faith in Christ during this event. This young Christian has been

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Friday Favorites 07/16

Reminder: The giveaway of A Theological Interpretation of American History ends Monday. Steve Hays answers What does the unbeliever know? for the apologetic minded. Rozie answers Liberty University students that ask what can they do about the recent issues with their former Dean Ergun Caner. Jason at Witnesses Unto Me provides new legal documentation

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Ethics: To Pray In Jesus Name Or Not?

What would you do Wednesday! Consider being in a situation similar to that of Pastor Baity when he was recently fired for praying in Jesus name. Baity got to say one prayer before the N.C. House, but then he was not invited back. He is protesting his firing and the N.C. House prayer guidelines are being looked into. The situation to consider:

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Fired In Jesus Name?

On May 31, Pastor Ron Baity was relieved of his Chaplaincy prayer duties before the N.C. House of Representatives after he prayed in Jesus name. Baity is the pastor of Berean Baptist Church in Winston-Salem and was filling in as a guest Chaplain. I first read this story from FOXNews’ article Pastor Yanked From Capitol Over ‘Jesus’ Prayer. Kudos to Pastor Baity for his prayer and protest over being fired. It’s understandable that people are offended by Jesus’ name. Jesus said such things would happen. Continuing with the story the Winston-Salem Journal reported

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A Sign of Judgment Day?

Someone is always predicting the end of the world. It reminds me of the chorus from that Telsa song Signs. Signs, signs, everywhere there’s signs

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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

My wife and I watched the movie The Boy in the Striped Pajamas this past weekend. In a way it was sort of fitting that we watched it during the Fourth of July weekend. The movie was a great reminder of the freedoms of this great Nation. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is set in World War II in Germany. The two key characters in the movie are two 8 year old boys. One of the boys, Bruno, is the son of SS Commandant Ralf. The other, Shmuel, is a Jewish boy, in striped pajamas, imprisoned in a concentration …keep reading »

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Will A Christian Nation Earn God’s Favor?

Dr. Michael Youssef answers the questions, “How can you say America is a Christian Nation? How can a country be Christian?” in Can there be a Christian nation? He answers that it is the individuals, not a country or culture, that are Christian. He explains that people refer to America’s Christian heritage by the moral virtues as seen in its laws and ordinances. He then goes on to write about evoking God’s response with the following:

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The Political Gospel of Glenn Beck and Liberty University?

Glenn Beck recently gave the Commencement Speech at Liberty University’s 2010 graduation. In light of Liberty’s statements of being Christ-centered and how this relates to their goals, mission, vision, etc. I wrote critiquing Beck’s speech in Liberty University, Glenn Beck and the Gospel. Beck’s speech had more theology than some sermons in the pulpit on Sunday. It was very disturbing for a Mormon like Beck to speak theologically as he did at the world’s largest Christian university. Some have said that it it not uncommon for places like Liberty to have a non-Christian conservative speak at such events. This is …keep reading »

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SB1070: Take illegal immigrant to church, get arrested?

Is it possible to get arrested for driving an illegal immigrant to a church service under Arizona law SB1070? This is what E. J. Montini proposes at The Arizona Republic in his article Church, state clash coming under SB 1070. Montini begins: “The first person arrested under SB 1070 might not be an illegal immigrant, but your pastor.” Why?

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Father to Father to Father

A Father’s Day Limerick At this time of year I’m not sure what to say, A time to honor dads in a special way. So I think really hard End up buying a card, All just to say “Happy Father’s Day!” I wrote that limerick for my father inside his Father’s Day card. It’s hard to know

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Touchdown Jesus delay of game

A huge statue of Jesus, some call Touchdown Jesus due to the way the arms are raised signaling a touchdown, will be delayed in fulfilling its original purposes. As the AP reports: 6-story Jesus statue in Ohio struck by lightning. “MONROE, Ohio — A six-story-tall statue of Jesus Christ with his arms raised along a highway was struck by lightning in a thunderstorm Monday night and burned to the ground, police said.” This statue has been part of the 4,000

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Christoga: Christian Yoga?

So, I’m browsing Netflix. I search the term “Christian” just to see what comes up. One of the results that comes up is Christoga: Christian Yoga. Apparently, I missed the boat on this by a few years. It’s dated 2007. I’m sitting there wondering if I had been transported to bizarre-o land. Well, maybe I had since I was on the internet. I’m still wondering though. What in the world… What is Christian yoga? Do I really want to know? Yes! For some odd reason, I do want to know. When someone tells you how badly something stinks, you’ve just …keep reading »

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Liberty University, Glenn Beck and the Gospel

On April 23, 2010 Liberty University announced that Glenn Beck would deliver the Commencement speech for Liberty University’s Class of 2010. The graduation took place on Saturday, May 15. Beck’s speech can be viewed online at The Rightscoop. Success came early for Beck when just before his speech, Liberty conferred an honorary Doctorate of Humanities degree upon him. Beck then went on to speak to the more than 4,000 students present. The result of the Commencement speech? “Best commencement we’ve ever had,” said Jerry Falwell, Jr.,

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Twitter is down! Can life go on?

At the time of this post Twitter has been down for 60 minutes. The Twitter Status site says there are site availability issues: We are experiencing site availability issues — additional latency and errors — this morning. We’re working to address these issues. A mere 60 minutes can seem like a life time for those who live online, especially, for a service like Twitter. That’s an hour of frustration and aggravation some folks will never get back. Just think of what you are missing! Now think about

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Black Church White Church

Below is a hip-hop song dealing with something we are all familiar with. Racial segregation on Sunday morning in our local churches. The song is from Voice’s new album Christ the King. Black Church White Church by avoice Below is the third verse of the song. Whatever version of American English you speak, whatever your

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A Memorial Day Prayer

Heavenly Father, as an American, thank you for this great country. I am not proud, but humbled, that in Your sovereignty I was born in such a Nation. Thank You for those serving in the military that you have used to help raise up and protect America. Thank you for those men and women in our military who were willing to give their lives and who gave their lives to fight to keep this country free. It is a great service to lay down one’s life for others. Father, as a Christian, this is a great reminder of the incomparable …keep reading »

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Mercy Ministry: Church or World?

In 2006, Modern Reformation Magazine provided two articles from a series entitled Mercy Ministries: Two Perspectives. The articles were written by William H. Smith and Randy Nabors. I’ve numbered them I and II, respectively, and linked them below with selective quotes and bullet points. In article I, Smith argues that the mercy ministry of the church is primary to its members. He explains that the church’s service is to one another in word and sacrament rather than serving the world in word and deed. In article II, Nabors argues that the church needs to focus outside of its walls to …keep reading »

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A note on selfishness

How many times does a mother say,”Billy, share your toys with Bobby” or “Bobby, you musn’t grab toys from Billy like that”? As Billy and Bobby grow older, they learn that such obvious acts of selfishness are socially unacceptable, so their selfish acts become more subtle, but

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Is Islam special?

Emily Belz at World Magazine writes a feature about Islam in The special religion. The article is worth a read. Special or not, there seems to be  a level of special treatment for Islam. Several things stand out and are a bit disturbing. One of them is cowardice in the FBI toward Islam. Cowardice? Really?

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My take: On fear, faith and being a sinner

The CNN Belief Blog recently published My Take: On fear, faith and being gay by Jennifer Knapp. So I thought I’d give my take. As a young boy I learned to take risks. Climbing trees and jumping ramps on a bicycle will do that to a boy. Falling down from a tree or flying off the bicycle in the air ties the stomach in knots as the ground approaches to stop the fall. But I learned to rely on myself and try harder. Climbing 10 feet up and jumping from one tree to another or jumping a ramp stacked three …keep reading »

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All things to all people?

First, go to Seeker-centered Buddhism and watch the modern outreach methods some Buddhists are using today. Would that inspire you to become a Buddhist? Now watch the video below. The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c God Smacked www.thedailyshow.com Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party Would that inspire you to become a Christian? What’s the difference between the Buddhism and Christianity presented here? Does one decide based on the appeal? Name your preference? To some the appeal is apparently to find comedy material. I wonder if this means a comedy church would win …keep reading »

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Vindication of popular ministers

How dare you speak of him that way! Do you know who he is? Do you know what he’s done for the Kingdom? Look at all the people he’s ministered to! So goes the argument. It’s been stated before. It’ll be stated again. It recently reared its head in the blogosphere. But what argument is that? The vindication of popular ministers! Take any controversy of any popular person in ministry and

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Ethics question: Capital Punishment Vote

The death penalty has been in the news recently. A tough subject to be sure. Consider the three recent news stories below and then the ethical question on the issue. High Court refuses to hear appeal of woman on death row – Linda Carty was convicted of the 2001 murder of Joana Rodriguez in Texas. She is waiting on an execution date. Texas: Death Penalty to Be Sought in Fort Hood Case – The death penalty will sought for Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan who is charged with killing 13 people. Unabomber brother making anti-death penalty push in N.C. – David …keep reading »

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Three Questions

As I consider my upcoming attendance in the 2010 Band of Bloggers, the topic Internet Idolatry and Gospel Fidelity really stick out in my mind. Why? Because it’s so easy to create idols using the internet and live in infidelity to the gospel. Is this especially so over the internet? Maybe. Which brings me to the three questions.

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Open letter to Miley Cyrus

I was recently directed to an interview with Miley Cyrus in Parade. The interview reveals some thoughts on her move away from a young star branded as Hanna Montana into maturity and a more private life. More revealing is the fact that she was baptized in a Southern Baptist church in 2005 and gives some insight into how she sees her Christian faith. As a Southern Baptist, or more importantly, as a Christian I am concerned about Miley’s statements on Christianity. I have this observation about American Christianity summed up with this statement – American Christians have freedom to their …keep reading »

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Don’t vote for Pedro!

Vote for me! Please? Join in the Southern Baptist blogger fun – click here: SBC Blog Madness 2010 and go to the West Division and vote for Here I Blog! I will really appreciate your help as I’ve got some tough competition. If you vote for me, all of your wildest dreams will come true. ~Pedro

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Thinking about American Christianity

What do you think of when you think of American Christianity and the American church? Just stop and think about that for a moment before reading further. Think a little more… OK, ready? Below is a quote from

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How often church attendance?

In a recent post I asked two questions in relation to the Super Bowl and church attendance. The comment thread turned into a debate over Sabbatarianism and the place of the Lord’s Day in the Christian’s life. This is understandable to a point, yet I did receive some off-line comments which would have added to the discussion. While I did not argue for either, one point stood out and brought some other questions on church attendance to mind. The term legalism came up in the above post though not as a direct charge. However, I’ve seen it argued that those …keep reading »

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Church attendance and the Super Bowl: two questions

Every year during the Super Bowl the question of church attendance arises. Should a person skip church for the Super Bowl? If he/she skips their regular Sunday evening church service are they sinning? There seem to be two main positions on this. Those who are more sabbatarian minded fall along the lines of a person is sinning if they skip their church service for the Super Bowl. Those who skip church service may be charged with antinomianism. Corporate worship is a Christian duty

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Defining Missional

What exactly does the term missional mean? Attempts to answer this question can be found in books, videos, sermons, blog posts, theological ejournals, conference presentations, magazine articles, etc. Depending on who you ask will depend on the answer which may be good, bad or ugly. You get to decide which is which. Where do we go from here? Is missional something

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Poll: Does “success” mean God is honoring a ministry?

Many times a ministry/person is defended, regardless of their teachings, because they are popular or successful. Not only are ministries defend as such, but they also come to a place where they can do no wrong. They might be betrayed as above any type of criticism or biblical correction. Such ministries might be defended in various ways such as:

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Seeker-centered Buddhism

Buddhism’s numbers are apparently shrinking. They aren’t growing. They’re answer? Hip-hop and alcohol? “This is an old, old story, a fantasy and longing cosmology. Hey, hey, what’s the story about? It’s about the Buddha, yo. Hey brother, listen carefully! You got it? No? You don’t? Okay, baby, no problem.” That is one hip-hop (can we call it that?) verse as reported by CNN – Buddhist monks use hip hop, alcohol to attract followers. Isn’t that funny to think about and watch? I wonder where they got the idea? Think about this… Christians, is this video, and the approach itself, make …keep reading »

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A letter to Francis Chan

In Francis Chan’s sermon Beware of Good Liars, he reads a letter from a single mother seeking his advice. I’m curious how others would respond. I won’t comment yet. Just read it. Pastor Francis, I made a covenant promise to a ministry [a TV ministry] in January for $100 a month. I’m a single mom with

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True aim of Roman Catholic ecumenism

Ecumenism today can be seen in social/political change in the name of the ‘greater good’. Or in doctrinal statements drafted and signed by different “Christian” sects. When dealing with such issues many Protestants speak up when it seems the Gospel is at stake. Other Protestants don’t always take to kindly to this. It seems no big deal to them to partner with others such as Roman Catholics. Some Protestants have even endorsed books by

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Was Jesus a victim?

Taking the position of the victim is a popular offensive today. It is a way to turn the tables and draw sympathy from others. Kevin DeYoung posted a great article on this very subject – Why Are We So Offended All the Time? (cross-post). In his post he made the following statement. As Christians, we worship a victimized Lord. His post was very good in pointing out how the victim card is often played in today’s culture. DeYoung encouraged Christians not to be so easily offended and play the victim. Very encouraging words, but when it comes to Jesus being …keep reading »

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New Year’s Unity

On January 1, 1865, Charles Spurgeon preached a sermon entitled True Unity Promoted. Given the recent disagreements over signing The Manhattan Declaration this is a very interesting sermon on unity. In the first paragraph Spurgeon states, “It is an old saying that England never prospers so well as when the Pope curses her. I hope to see

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Merry Christmas: Christ is King

Santa has come once again. He comes in Jesus’ name. If there were no Christmas there would be no Santa. Yet, Santa remains popular regardless. The Christ in Christmas is Jesus. Yet, it is Santa who gets the focus and even makes the cover of The Wall Street Journal (Dec. 24th). Why is Santa so popular? If a Santa jingle was written about Jesus is might sound a bit like this. He knows when you are sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. He knows that you’ve been bad, not good! So repent for Jesus sake! No wonder Jesus message isn’t …keep reading »

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Convert or die?

I’ve often wondered if Christians in the USA have freedom to their detriment. There are so many churches that they can leave one for another for whatever reason they like. Many start campaigns and stand against national department stores for not saying Merry Christmas. It is easy to complain about the world not holding to a Christian standard found in this phrase during this national holiday. For some reason Christians do not start national campaigns to hold Christians

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A Few Christmas Gift Ideas

I wanted to throw out a few Christmas gift ideas. Like comedy? From Christians even? Here are two with different styles. A friend of mine known as Mylo Hatzenbuhler, The Original Rock and Roll Farmboy, offers a very unique style of musical comedy. A wonderful singer when serious, yet ready to entertain you! A different, yet more common comedic approach can be found

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I am Tiger Woods

‘I am Tiger Woods’ is a popular slogan repeated by several kids in a Nike commercial. Given Woods’ recent transgressions that phrase is even more true today. Except the adults are missing. GASP?! It’s true, as I mentioned in another article, Tiger Woods and the Cross, he is just like the rest of us. I am not talking about the money or the golf. I am talking about the transgressions. The sin. Woods’ sin might look different in manifestation than yours, but your sin is still sin. Even the slogan ‘I am Tiger Woods’ can push people to idolatry and …keep reading »

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On serving others

Fellow Southern Baptist and blogger Trevin Wax tweeted something today that really stuck. The world estimates your importance by how many people are serving YOU. God estimates your importance by how many people YOU are serving. First, the world does measure one’s importance by their popularity in one vein or another. Tiger Woods is a recent example of this. (I pray Tiger Woods would turn to Christ.) If Woods was just some local golf club pro no one would really care. That is, except his family and those closest to him which actually speaks on the second part of the …keep reading »

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Congregational Prayer Requests

Can asking for prayer ever be a burden? That might sound like a strange question. It just might be right now, but hear me out. I am not talking about prayer requests that turn into gossip. Those requests that ask for prayer for uncle Bill’s and aunt Martha’s marriage only to go on to give intimate details of the problems. No. Not those kind. The potential burden comes from people asking

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Tiger Woods and the Cross

Tiger Woods makes news. Usually it is a victory or an amazing golf shot. Sometimes it is a loss. Recently, the news has been about loss. Maybe the biggest loss of his career. Unfortunately, this loss is not a golf tournament. While it is uncertain if this will cost Woods’ any future sponsor earnings, this loss affects Woods’ family. It may cost him his family. The loss is Woods’ integrity in his marriage covenant. He betrayed his wife and kids with extramarital affair(s). This loss is not like a loss where Woods’ did not perform as well as somone else. …keep reading »

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Internet fellowship

The internet can be used for good, bad, stupid, indifferent, etc. like many things in life. The more sinful people get involved with these things the more we mess them up. Please, don’t look around the internet. Take my word for it. Funny, we still cannot stand in God’s way. God sovereignly works through the internet where Christians

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Church is boring

Church is boring. Right? No matter what setting one is in the same basic activities are done each worship service. Sing, pray, Scripture reading, announcements, some sort of preaching, fellowship. Did I mention singing? However a worship service is set-up it is most likely going to be similar week after week. Even if worship time is more varied people will still think it boring at times. Whether it is boredom or some other

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Thanksgiving Grace

Life. It is busy and demanding. Each day can bring new challenges. Some easy and routine. Some hard. Others life changing. How these challenges and demands are received can make all the difference in one’s attitude and thought life. During this time around Thanksgiving Day every year people are asked to think about life and to have an attitude of thankfulness. While this might seem routine, it can be hard to be thankful depending on life’s circumstances. Even during “normal”

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To Sign Or Not To Sign

To sign or not to sign the Manhattan Declaration(MD)? That… is a good question. For the most part it seems to have been received on a positive note. There has been some push back though. For example, Albert Mohler felt the need to explain why he signed the MD. Fellow blogger Frank Turk explained why he did not sign. I will attempt to lay out my stance on this document. (Which basically agrees with those in the update below.) As it is now, I stand more in agreement with Turk. It is not that the MD is not seeking noble causes.  …keep reading »

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Do Scott Hahn’s Book Endorsements Offer Protestants Validity?

Covenant and Communion: The Biblical Theology of Pope Benedict XVI by Scott Hahn has a few Protestant endorsements. The biggest stir was caused by Michael Horton’s endorsement. People are asking – Why endorse such a book? Would the Apostle Paul have endorsed a book on metaphysics by Aristotle? Dr. Horton has responded in his post Horton on Hahn. He explained that

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Christmas On 20 Bucks

You might be thinking – Can I really do Christmas for 20 bucks? Yes, you can. You can do it for someone else. Children. Children in need. The Christmas list for these children does not include an Xbox, Wii, iPhone, Karaoke machine, laptop, remote controlled helicopter, a robot, DVD, etc. etc. They will not complain nor be disappointed if they get clothes instead of toys. These are Compassion children and you can read the story, Giving Christmas Back, about how a small (by our standards) gift made a difference. Read more in the archived stories area. It is tough to …keep reading »

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Poll: Can Evangelism Be An Idol?

In An Idol Called Evangelism Dr. Roy Hargrave states that evangelism rather than the glory of God is driving many churches today. That might be too strong a position for some to fathom. Maybe unbiblical for others. It is not often that evangelism is spoken of in terms of idolatry. It is an uncomfortable question. Evangelism is very important, but people are good at making just about anything into an idol. So – Could there be a valid concern in this area? Dr. Hargrave understands that evangelism is the “highest and loftiest” in importance for fulfilling the church’s mission. The …keep reading »

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A la blog list 10/23 Update

Reformation Day UPDATE! In celebration of Reformation Day The Listener’s Bible is offering a FREE down load of Martin Luther’s – Here I Stand read by Max McLean. David Powlison helps with how to break porn addiction – Part 1 and Part 2. Jonathan says to Beware Your Seminary Professors, they are not your church elders. (Excellent!) The Reformed Forum discusses church membership with Guy Waters. Maverick Philosopher on global warming – definitions examined and then some questions. (I could have used these sooner.) Tullian Tchividjian uses the five solas to show how to identify a reliable preacher. Catholic site …keep reading »

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Blog Action Day 2009: Climate Change

Today is Blog Action Day 2009. The topic this year is climate change. The most talked about in this area may be global warming. Global warming is here to stay. The question becomes – What are we going to do about it? Global warming is here, but not necessarily in a literal sense. It exists as an assertion both politically and socially. Recently, Al Gore was asked some inconvenient questions

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One Nation Under A Mormon God?

The painting One Nation Under God by Jon McNaughton promotes a Mormon author. My initial reaction to the painting was that another Christian is using Jesus and the Bible for political propaganda. It seems I was wrong. The evidence points to the artist, Jon McNaughton, as being a Mormon. The name Jon McNaughton can also be found as a speaker at several Book of Mormon Prophecies Conferences. The photo on the left is taken from McNaughton’s online image of the painting using the zoom feature. As the caption indicates the book on display is The 5000 Year Leap by Mormon …keep reading »

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Poll: Does Christian Hip-Hop Harm the Gospel?

My friend and brother Nathan and I have had a short twitter discussion on whether Christian hip-hop harms the Gospel. This issue came up in reference to Mark Dever’s recent interview with Christian rappers Shai Linne and Voice. I actually interviewed Christian hip-hop Artist Sho Baraka. Then, I attended the the Don’t Waste Your Life tour concert and posted a review. This should give the readers an idea of where I stand. The verdict? I do not think Christian hip-hop harms the Gospel. However, Nathan believes that the medium of hip-hop music contradicts and is inconsistent with the message of …keep reading »

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Gospel Then Morality: Lesson From Abortion Counseling

What can Christians learn about the Gospel and change from abortion counseling? I recently attended a fundraiser for Cobb Pregnancy Services (CPS). It was a great night of fellowship and celebration of what God is doing at this organization. A young pregnant lady gave her testimony of how God used CPS to convince her to return to Christ and keep her baby. Great news, but she

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Tullian Tchividjian to Stay at Coral Ridge: Lessons?

Tullian Tchividjian will stay as pastor of  Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church per a congregational vote of 69%-31% this morning. “I’m staying!!,” wrote pastor Tchividjian in the title of today’s blog post about the future of his pastoral role at Coral Ridge.The pressure on this new pastor must have been unbelievable in anticipation of this vote. A great example of trusting God can be seen in a previous post saying, “I am not afraid.” in reference to today’s vote.  His mission is

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Book Review: Christianity in Crisis The 21st Century

Christianity In Crisis: The 21st Century By Hank Hanegraaff.  Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2009. 432 pages. Hank Hanegraaff has updated the 1993 edition of Christianity in Crisis to keep up with the “Word of Faith” movement and its teachers. The author exposes the continued growth and danger of these teachings. The book is divided into seven parts and three appendices. It is well documented with 54 pages of footnotes and 17 pages of bibliography. In his usual style, the author provides several acronyms to help the reader remember key themes. In this edition, Hanegraaff leaves

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Westboro Baptist Revealed: Evangelized, Interviewed, Reviewed

If the messages on the signs are not disturbing enough, how about the people holding them? They are children! My heart breaks to see a picture like this just hoping it is a photo-shopped picture. Unfortunately, it is not. Last week I wrote Westboro Baptist To Share Hate In Atlanta to give folks a heads up. There are several recent church plants in Atlanta that are trying to save the city, so to speak, that it is sad that the Westboro folks come here allegedly in the name of Christ. It just ruins the witness of what Christians are seeking …keep reading »

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Poll: Should Christians Just Say No?

Should Christians feel guilty about just saying ‘no‘ when asked to do something for the church/member? When the answer is ‘no‘ is an explanation needed? Do you feel an explanation is demanded? Do you feel like you’re sinning if you just say ‘no‘? Do you feel the need to explain every detail of the last week of your life to explain why your simple answer is ‘no‘? Must we explain ourselves? I’m curious. What do you think? Feel free to share your feelings too! ~Please answer the poll below~

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Great Night: Don’t Waste Your Life Concert

It was an awesome night! We took some of our youth group and they really enjoyed it. One of my pastors even attended who is a few generations removed from the hip-hop era. It was a good night of Christ-centered music and fellowship – it was the Don’t Waste Your Life Tour. The Don’t Waste Your Life Tour Atlanta took place Saturday night August 29. The artists accomplished sharing their music and, more importantly, sharing the Gospel. As Sho Baraka expressed the music and its content, the quality of the night’s music was excellent and the content Christ-centered. The diversity of the crowd certainly showed the …keep reading »

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Lord Kill Me If I Don’t Preach the Gospel

So I’m driving. I hear “Lord kill me If I don’t preach the gospel.” What? Did I hear that right? Rewind! Again. Yep! That line really hit me. It made me think. Imagine singing that in church to the tune of Amazing Grace. This was not from a hymn though. (Maybe we can add it somewhere?) “Lord kill me If I don’t preach the gospel” is the first verse in Lecrae’s song Go Hard from his album Rebel. Lord willing, I will be at the Don’t Waste Your Life concert this weekend hearing it live. That’s right, this not-so-old yet …keep reading »

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Interview with Christian Hip-Hop Artist Sho Baraka

Sho Baraka shares his insights about his mission and the Don’t Waste Your Life (DWYL) Tour. DWYL is a hip-hop tour. This is no ordinary hip-hop tour; it’s a mission for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. While growing up in California Sho Baraka was exposed to hip-hop early on. He was involved in what some might call the stereotypical view of hip-hop culture which involves gang life and violence. He started rapping in high school until that fell apart and he experienced death and imprisonment of friends. This all took place before Jesus Christ saved him from his sins through the Gospel. Sho’s life …keep reading »

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Senator Ted Kennedy Dies at 77

Senator Kennedy has left this world to face whatever is next on his path. He was 77 years old. Was he really old? He wasn’t young. Life is fleeting. It’s here today and you wonder where yesterday went. I have almost 40 years before I reach 77, if the Lord so allows. Seems like a long time. How many of us feel like just yesterday we were 18 or 25 or 35 or 45? Where did the time go? What will you do with the time left? Of all the battles in life Sen. Kennedy fought this last one had …keep reading »

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Writing Opportunity with Examiner.com

Examiner.com currently reaches 110 cities across the county. It is a growing community with a national reach. This is done through the many local examiners it employees through those 110 cities. The examiners cover issues in each city under 25 different topics. They have openings so I applied. Guess what happened? I are one now! I am officially the Atlanta Evangelical Perspectives Examiner. Cool, huh? Well, I thought so. The plan is to write 2-4 articles a week. If any of you Metro Atlanta folks have any thing you deem news worthy please let me know. Even cooler? It pays! …keep reading »

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Les Paul Will Strum On

The great Les Paul has passed away at 94 years old. He leaves behind a list of accomplishments and a name that will seemingly never fade away until the Lord’s return. He left quite a legacy. Even up to the end where he won two Grammys for an album he released after his 90th birthday according to this Fox News article. I suppose he didn’t waste his retirement if he even had one. Mr. Paul certainly used the talents and gifts that God gave him. He used them to the very end. Now other people will continue to use and …keep reading »

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Free Hip-Hop Mixtape from Reach Records

There is a hip-hop (rap music for you older folks) movement that is reaching places with the Gospel that the traditional church has not gone. Much of the music is filled with deep theological lyrics that shame much of modern praise music. I’ve pointed out two examples of such lyrics in the past. One on the Trinity and salvation. Another praising the Triune God with biblical references. Reach Records is one of those organizations leading this theological Hip-hop movement. I’ve mentioned Reach before promoting their very creative website that presents the Gospel. Sometimes they offer free downloads like this one: …keep reading »

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A La Blog 8/4

Just for fun. Are dogs smarter than cats? Dr. Britta Osthaus says yes. Dogs win after conducting three tests using string. The string probably threw the cats off. Unfortunately, Southern Baptist news of NAMB president removal hit’s the Atlanta Journal. The secular news makes us sound too much like a big business. The Gospel could have been mentioned. On a positive Southern Baptist note, new website PRAY4GCR.com has launched. This is short for Praying for the Great Commission Resurgence. Please join us in prayer. You’ve heard of Netflix, now you’ve heard of Purtian Picks. You read that right! Puritan Picks …keep reading »

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De-baptism Thoughts

The title of a recent USA Today article says it all Atheists choose ‘de-baptism’ to renounce childhood faith. I’m not sure that Hemingway could have said it better. When a person becomes a Christian they repent and believe the Gospel. There is a renunciation of the previous life and a proclamation that we belong to Jesus. I imagine this is why we see this reverse of events as far as these de-baptisms go. This is actually another borrowing of the Christian worldview by atheists. Of course, they had another religious element, a de-sacrament.

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Write Your Own Message Bible

What do I mean write your own Message Bible? First, The Message Bible is a paraphrase Bible written by Eugene Peterson.  I’ve often found myself gently saying, “It’s not a translation it’s a paraphrase” when references to The Message would come up. Many folks like The Message.  To a point that’s fine if it’s used for what it is, a paraphrase.  People have told me that it’s great to use during devotions though I wouldn’t recommend it for deep Bible study.  Actually, I don’t think you need to use The Message at all.  Let me explain.

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Book Review: Godology

Godology: Because Knowing God Changes Everything By Christian George.  Moody Publishers, January 1, 2009. 176 pages. What first caught my attention about this book was the foreward by J.I. Packer.  Right away this made me want to look further into Godology. Godology is a book explaining the attributes of God in more modern terms.  The author creatively engages the reader using many modern illustrations and then leads into explaining God’s attributes. 

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Gospel Coalition or Assertions?

David Fitch has asked if we agree or disagree with his views on the work of The Gospel Coalition (TGC).  His views are expressed at Christianity Today’s Out of Ur blog post: Gospel Coalition or Expedition? How effective will The Gospel Coalition be in post-Christendom? One of the problems with Fitch’s approach can be seen in his introduction. 

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Be Happy God Says

Did you know that God commands you to be happy? Serve the LORD with gladness! Psalm 100:2 Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4 The best news in the world is that there is no conflict between your greatest possible happiness and God’s perfect holiness. Being satisfied with all that God is for you in Jesus magnifies him as the greatest treasure and brings you more joy—eternal, infinite joy—than any other delight ever could. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of …keep reading »

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Fatherhood: Appreciation, Humility, Ministry, Reflections

Another year.  Another Father’s Day.  A useless holiday that we made up to spur the economy i.e. to get people to spend money.  That’s just about what I used to think anyways.  Not so much anymore. Today when I think of Father’s Day I think of my father, myself as a father and my heavenly Father. 

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Who Is Watching Your Life?

Ride to Live, Live to Ride is the motto you’ll find on biker t-shirts.  It’s really a cool saying.  The motto can be changed to reflect whatever is primary in your life from riding motorcycles to sports to your job.  In reality the motto is about self.  The primacy of me we might say.  So what do you say?  How about something better? 

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Should “Celebrity” Pastors Offer Disclaimers?

Warning.  Caution.  Disclaimer.  These are popular words.  We see them on everything and everywhere today.  They are good, bad, indifferent and life saving.  Should we have something of those words at our Christian conferences where “celebrity” pastors and theologians speak?  Maybe. There are many good, Gospel-centered conferences offered these days.  I was at one of the last week.  The Advance09 Conference.  I even took notes.  I did think about the issue of the men speaking, who speak often, and if some sort of spiritual caution or reminder is in order. Two men more qualified than I have broached the topic.  …keep reading »

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Advance09 Makes Local News

How awesome is it to for a Christian conference to make the local news?  The final day was good.  I’m too tired to write out any notes.  I hope to have some final reflections on the event soon.  I was certainly blessed by the messages and fellowship.  Check out the news story. There’s about 2,900 miles between Mike Anderson’s home in Seattle, Washington, and Durham. But something drew him here this weekend. “I think God’s doing some things that are pretty special right now,” he said. “He’s both focusing on theology, which lots of times has been kept in the …keep reading »

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Advance09 Day Two

Today was day two at Advance09 here in Durham, NC.  It was another good day.  To catch up you can find all of the uploaded audio for you to download here: Advance09 Session MP3’s. Order of Events

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Advance09 Day One

I’m having a great time at the Advance09 Conference.  A great time of learning and conviction.  I’m rooming with a brother named Kris from NC who also put some notes up. I’m going to give you today’s line-up and some highlights from my notes.  You can go over to DesiringGod.org and download The First Three Advance09 Messages. The Line-Up Mark Driscoll – What is the Church? Tyler Jones – Decline and Resurge Bryan Chapell – Communicating the Gospel Through Preaching Matt Chandler – Preaching the Gospel to the De-Churched Q&A Panel

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Book Review and Giveaway: Taking Three

Yesterday, I interviewed Mark McCallum, author of the novel Taking Three.  Check out the interview if you haven’t.  Today, I will provide a short review and a way for readers to get a free, signed copy. Review Taking Three by Mark R McCallum. Sense of Wonder Press. Rockville, 2008. 256 pages. Comedian Robin Williams once joked about getting pulled over for speeding in a small town in the South.

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Interview with Mark McCallum Author of Taking Three

Today we’ll be talking to Mark R. McCallum. He is the author of the new book Taking Three, a supernatural thriller about Death coming in threes. Mark is a brother in the Lord, friend and fellow church member. He serves us every Sunday morning by arriving extra early to make sure the coffee is brewed and ready to drink before everyone arrives. Let’s get to it! Give us a little background about yourself. Where are you from? I grew up in the Atlanta area and currently live in Covington. Attended Presbyterian College as an undergrad and the University of Georgia …keep reading »

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Top 9 Posts for May 09

Below are the most view posts for May 2009*. Memorial Day 2009 Worship Service – I give some thoughts on patriotism in the church during worship service.  The comments will provide some insight as to why I keep blogging. Divine Rape and Forced Love – A response to an SBC pastor who offers some poor arguments against Calvinism. Dear President Obama – No! – John Piper’s video on abortion addressed to Barack Obama.  Good conversation in the comments.

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Dynamite Sermon Illustrations

As the story goes, we get our word dynamite from the Greek word dunamis.  Dunamis means power.  This can be a powerful illustration in a sermon where we read about the power of God in the Bible. We can actually see the dynamite of God!  Powerful!  Right? 

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Considering Death

Do you consider death?  After death?  It’s not the most comfortable thing to think about even for Christians.  It’s even tougher to talk about.  There is one such talk that you want to hear,  Rachel Barkey’s.

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Kindle My Blog

I thought I’d try out Amazon’s new and really cool service.  That is, the ability to add your personal blog to Kindle.  Yes, there is now a Kindle edition of this blog.  I’m sure I’ll be retiring tomorrow from all the subscriptions! If you can afford a Kindle I’m sure the $.99/month won’t kill you.  Reading this blog might, but that’s free! Check it out here: Here I Blog (Kindle Edition) You even get a free 14 day trial. If  I only had a Kindle… Mark

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Bodies The Exhibition Visit

It was something my family wanted to do.  I wasn’t sure if I wanted to though.  I almost felt like I would be observing something wrong.  The thought of going made me uncomfortable.  Well, I ended up going anyway. This past Saturday I took the family to visit the Bodies: The Exhibition gallery.  It was fascinating.  It was more than I imagined.  Actually, viewing the bodies was not something I could accurately imagine.  A text book just doesn’t give the insight I was about to experience.

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Memorial Day 2009 Worship Service

It was a mostly normal Sunday morning.  My wife and I left for church wondering if it would happen.  It did.  The Pledge of Allegiance was said.  The National Anthem was sung.  Everyone stood.  We sat.  It was uncomfortable, I admit.

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Dear President Obama – No!

Amen! Spread the word. The world needs to watch.

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Angels and Demons A Novel Idea

The folks at Westminster Seminary have shined some light for truth.  They’ve put together a great new site responding to the movie “Angels and Demons” based on Dan Brown’s novel.  The site is The Truth About Angels & Demons.

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A La Blog 5/15

Michael DeBusk asks if Henry Blackaby is right about evangelism? I don’t think he is. What do you think? Jim Duggan wants to know that at which you’re staring. Is it Jesus? It better be! (BTW, who ever heard of Ty Ty, Georgia?) Eric Carpenter stumbles upon a crack pot King James Only website.  This enlightens him to the deadly translation that is the New King James Version.  Should he keep using it?

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Blog Relaunch With Thesis DIY Theme

So I decided to re-design my blog.  I’ve thought about it for a while. I wasn’t sure.  I went for it!  I decided to go with a new theme, new look and change the name. New Theme I looked and looked and looked some more for a new WordPress theme.  I finally decided to go with the theme named Thesis from DIYThemes.  There are so many themes from which to choose. 

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Uncommon Prayer Requests

It’s Sunday morning.  Sunday School has started.  It’s time for prayer requests.  What do you think about?  What is your prayer request going to be?  The common habit is to ask for healing for illness, disease, broken limbs, etc.  These are good prayer requests.  However, we can expand our prayer lives. There are greater things to pray for while not neglecting hurting and suffering.  The Kingdom of God is much bigger.  Bigger than us. I want to offer some other ideas for prayer requests.  Often these requests are uncommon as your focus is elsewhere.  I offer these for encouragement.  As …keep reading »

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Book Review: The Noticer by Andy Andrews

The Noticer: Sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective by Andy Andrews.  Thomas Nelson Publishers. The Noticer is a great story about a mysterious man named Jones. The story is set in a small town where Jones is about helping people with their lives’ perspectives. I appreciated how the story moved along. It kept me wondering what will happen next. Since I grew up in a small town I really connected with the characters. I could really see and feel how they were connected and related to each other. As the story moved along it a picture of …keep reading »

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Wanna Be A Christian Blogger?

Well, do ya? Fellow blogger Matt Svoboda, and soon to be co-blogger (sshh!), is looking for some folks to contribute to two blogs. The first is SBC Voices where Matt just took over as editor. (Congratulations!)  SBC Voices is looking for theologically conservative Southern Baptist contributors. Second, is Evangelical Village which is a community blog that Matt founded.  The applicants may be theologically conservative Baptists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, etc. I can’t guarantee that you will get the position just because you apply.  However, you have a much better chance if you do apply. I’m not sure how Matt wants to be …keep reading »

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Prayer and Devotion Online

I can’t believe that I will have been blogging for five years come June 2009.  Blogs and websites come and go.  I’m not sure how or even why I’ve perservered so far.  Looking back, I’ve come a long way.  Looking ahead, I’ve got a long way to go. Two Quick Items There are so many great Christian resources online today.  I just keep giving my small contribution to whoever will have me.  I continue to try to improve my writing skills and, more importantly, edify those who stop by for the body of Christ.  I want to share with you …keep reading »

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Upcoming Book Review And Project

I have a few book reviews on the way.  The next one up is not the typical book I would read.  The book is The Noticer: Sometimes, All A Person Needs Is A Little Perspective By best selling author, Andy Andrews.  I received my review copy from Thomas Nelson last week and will be releasing the review on April 27.  I wanted to try something different and review a book like this that I wouldn’t normally pick up.  Here’s part of the book’s description from Thomas Nelson’s site. Fortunately, when things look the darkest – a mysterious man named Jones …keep reading »

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Life of a Watchblogger

I just couldn’t resist.  And the HT goes to Frank. It’s his fault.  Oh, there are watchbloggers covering every area of life not just Christianity. (Original source)

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10 Reasons You Might Be A Watchblogger If

10 Reasons you might be a Watchblogger if… 10. You constantly Google yourself. 9. You Google your spouse’s name to try and win an argument. 8. Family devotions consist of reading your kids your recent blog posts so they can meditate on “truth.” 7. Your two-week vacation consists of taking your laptop to Starbucks to keep your blog going. 6. You have HRESY HUNTR tattooed across your knuckles, in temporary ink, of course. 5. You are glad James, in chapter one, didn’t mention “blogging” when he wrote, “quick to listen, slow to speak.” 4. You have a separate cell phone …keep reading »

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Christ Our Righteousness Is Risen

We have finished the doctrine of Christ’s humiliation, wherein the Sun of righteousness appeared to you as a setting sun, gone out of sight; but as the sun when it is gone down to us, begins a new day in another part of the world, so Christ, having finished his course and work in this world, rises again, and that, in order to the acting another glorious part of his work in the world above. In his death, he was in a sense totally eclipsed; but in his resurrection, he begins to recover his light and glory again. An angel …keep reading »

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What About This Blog?

There’s been quite a few new visitors here lately.  I’m sure it’s not too hard to tell what this blog is  about by clicking around.  However, as part of the Build a Better Blog Challenge day 1, the challenge is to briefly tell what the blog is about. And my answer to what this blog is about? The theme is: Christian theological insights on culture, religion & the latest news from a Southern Baptist for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I try to think through and reply to various issues from a Christian perspective with the Bible as my guide.  …keep reading »

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Proposition What? Rick Warren Did Not Lie

If  you watch this video: News & Views 10/23/2008 Part 3 (Prop 8 ) at about the 30 second mark you will hear the following. “We support Proposition 8 and if you believe what the Bible says about marriage, you need to support Proposition 8.” If you read this transcript Interview with Pastor Rick Warren (Aired April 6, 2009) you read: PASTOR RICK WARREN, DELIVERED PRAYER AT OBAMA’S INAUGURATION: Yes, you know, Larry, there was a story within a story that never got told. In the first place, I am not an anti-gay or anti-gay marriage activist. I never have …keep reading »

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Financial Omniscience

Below is a great quote by Ben Stein on knowing the future, especially, the future of financial and economic markets. I am bemused because I have long noticed that almost all economic pundits and soothsayers – whether on television, in newspapers, or at brokerage firms and conferences, are asked to tell the future. And most of them agree to try to do so, and the really successful ones actually say they can do it – and they say it with extreme conviction. Some of them are stunningly well paid for their efforts, even though they are wrong decade after decade. …keep reading »

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Wisdom From A Teenager On Youth Ministry

A teenager, named Erica, was recently given an assignment to write an editorial on the subject of her choice. Her topic? Youth ministry.  Below is the editorial exactly as sent to a fellow blogger who is also a family friend of Erica.  Did I mention that she is only 15? Wow! ——————————————————— A new phenomena is going on in churches these days. Picture this: You enter into the youth group of a church on a Sunday or Wednesday night. You see at least fifty kids around. Some are off talking or playing a game, but most are in a circle …keep reading »

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Twitter Church and Classroom

Life is full of distractions.  Reading this blog right now might be one of them.  Though I hope it’s not.  Aside from whether or not you actually like this blog, it really depends on prioritizing as to whether or not something is a distraction.  In our sinfulness it’s easy enough to make time for prayer and Bible study secondary in our lives.  Between playing and watching sports to movies, TV and video games we manage to squeeze God in here and there. Think about it: How many times have people (you too!) been unprepared for Sunday School?  Yet when there …keep reading »

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Ask John Piper: Pornification of the Pulpit

John Piper is taking questions again: Ask John Piper a Question on Twitter (Note: you don’t have to use twitter, check the link.) My question via twitter is: @desiringgod #apj Pastor John, what did you think of Phil Johnson’s recent sermon on “Pornification of the Pulpit”? Why ask this?  If you aren’t familiar with this “controversy” go and listen to Phil Johnson’s sermon from almost two weeks ago at the Shepherd’s Conference.  Download it here: Sound Doctrine; Sound Words Titus 2:7-8. Phil Johnson tackle some of the current issues surrounding some of the language and imagery used in the pulpit …keep reading »

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My Birthday 2009

Today,  I am officially one year older.  Yeah, it’s my birthday.  My awesome wife came through again and gave me a great gift.  Her gift is my enrollment in a class: Pastoral Theology with Tom Ascol.  I pray this will be a gift that will keep on giving.  More on this later as I give myself an annual check up.  (Okay, so it’s really more than just annual.) I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting lately.  There’s a problem though.  The problem is that much of the reflection was simply me staring back at myself.  Why is that a problem?  …keep reading »

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Apostle Paul Shunned By Christians

A while back I wrote Could Jesus be a student at Liberty University? I took a look at some of the reprimands and fines for certain activities of Liberty students.  I ran across something along the same lines over at The Sacred Sandwich site which is a brilliantly accurate portrayal of today’s Christianity. If Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians was Published in Christianity Today Below are some snippets from the “letters to the editor.” …I have to say how appalled I am by the unchristian tone…How arrogant…it is very Pharisaical…I’ve seen other dubious articles by Paul Apostle…Certainly I commend him…the …keep reading »

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Shut Up Christians!

The movie is actually called Speechless: Silencing the Christians.  Just watch the video and ask yourself – Is there a pro-homosexual agenda at work?  If so, is it affecting families, our nation, and religious freedoms? In the video you will also see reference to and quotes from the book After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the 90’s by Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen which does seem to spell out a pro-homosexual agenda. What do you think? Is there an agenda? Mark

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A Story of Conversation, Witnessing and Theology

In light of my recent post on contextualization, I wanted to share something interesting that happened on the way to work last week. I got to talk to an unbeliever where I interjected theology into our conversation.  This opened the door to witnessing.  OF course, theology and witnessing should go hand in hand, but I’m making distinctions to remind folks to not be afraid of theology.  Don’t be afraid to think about it nor speak about it. The Scene As I pulled out to drive to work I saw a man leaving my neighborhood. It looked like the same man …keep reading »

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Talking Theology with Non-Christians: Contextualization

Mention the word contextualization today and that spark ignites a fire among the evangelical crowd.  Christians do need to be able to communicate with non-Christians.  There may be some forms of what people call contextualization that go too far though.  Whatever you call it I believe Van Til expresses well our need to bridge the communication gap.  While Van Til is speaking within the realm of apologetics proper the quote below is applicable for all Christians when engaging non-Christians. Men in general do not use or even know our theological terms.  But, to the extent that they are educated, they …keep reading »

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LifeWay Reads With Discernment

Update: The Baptist Standard reported that LifeWay backs off ‘read with discernment’ label for books. Apparently the label was irrelevant to their customers. So all of the links below have been removed since they were dead. LifeWay, the Christian bookstore of the Southern Baptist Convention, has a new warning label out. It’s called Read With Discernment.  You can read more about it at their Read With Discernment page where they explain what they’re doing. Our Challenge to be Discerning We want you to know that the authors of books marked Read with Discernment may have espoused thoughts, ideas, or concepts …keep reading »

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Miss America Interview

On Feb. 10, Pastor Wilken interview the new Miss American, Katie Stam, on the Issues, Etc. radio show.  I’m assuming Wilken got the interview because Ms. Stam is a Lutheran and her mother teaches at a Lutheran school.  Though I may be wrong.  I wanted to make a few observations about the interview. Slight Rant I think Wilken asked her some good questions.  He even asked her if the Miss American Pageant exploits women.  As tempted as I am to go there I don’t want to spend time on this topic.  Stam’s answer is a “no” here because of the …keep reading »

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Get Outta My Face! – Book Review

A review of Get Outta My Face!: How to Reach Angry, Unmotivated Teens with Biblical Counsel by Rick Horne. Wapwallopen: Shepherd Press, 2009, 176 pages. The book is divided into three main parts:  I. What You Must Understand to Connect with You Teen, II. What You Must Do to Help Your Teen and III. How to Make the Changes Stick.  These parts are further divided amongst 11 chapters.  There is also a handy Helpful Reminders appendix that summarizes each of the three sections as a quick reference guide. This might seem like a lot of information to cover in only …keep reading »

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Instant Millionaire!

When I first got the email I’ve share below I was just going to post it to show share the attempted scam.  It’s either a scam or someone is actually willing to give me $4.5 million!  Yeah, I’m holding my breath.  I’ve seen stories on investigative reporting shows about such scams.  Then I thought, why do people continue mailing and emailing these fraudulent requests?  Why did so many people fall for the current Wall Street scandals?  Why do people attempt to commit this fraud to begin with?  The main reason these things happen is because the perpetrators and the victims …keep reading »

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Apostle Paul On Inauguration Day

There’s been mixed reviews of Rick Warren’s Inauguration Day prayer (a transcript) for President Barack Obama.  The reviews have been critical and grateful.  Like the mixed reviews I have mixed feelings.  I don’t want to talk about my reaction though.  I read what Mark Driscoll said and thought about one of Driscoll’s points. If you want to criticize him, of course you can. But remember, if you lived your life under the scrutiny that he does, you would likely be even easier to criticize. (Source) I have other issues concerning what Driscoll wrote, but to the above I thought, “scrutiny?”  …keep reading »

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The Shack On Issues Etc

This week Pastor Todd Wilken took some time to review much discussed book The Shack. He plays the sounds clips from the audio version of the book and comments.  I’ve provided the audio below.  It’s definitely worth listening to Pastor Wilken’s excellent comments. While Pastor Wilken mentions a few good aspects of the book he finds a four fold problem with The Shack. 1. A distorted view of the Trinity along the lines of patripassianism. 2. Problem of authority and revelation of the Bible.  The Bible is essentially put on par with natural revelation. 3. An author trick.  The main …keep reading »

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Top 100 Theology Blogs: I Made It

Jessica Merritt has posted a list of the Top 100 Theology Blogs (http://www.christiancolleges.com/blog/2009/top-100-theology-blogs/).  I made the list at # 17 and want to say thank you.  I can’t believe it, but I appreciate it.  How did I make it?  I don’t know, but if anyone is going to put my blog in the top 100 of anything I’m grateful. Check out the list.  You may find it useful.  It’s broken down into the categories: General Theology, Criticism, Politics, History, Academic, Clergy, Society & Culture and Writings. Some days I wonder if it’s worth keeping the blog going.  Lists like this …keep reading »

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A Song For A Calvinist Wife

Michael Dewalt posted a performance of the song I Think My Wife’s A Calvinist by its author Brandon Milan.  Too funny! I’ve transcribed the lyrics below and here is an mp3 download of the song.  I’m going to play it for my wife without telling her about the song. I can’t buy my wife roses She doesn’t care a thing for them Instead she likes Tulips Cause they’re approved by John Calvin She doesn’t read that Beth Moore book I bought her She’d rather read St. Augustine If she wasn’t a Baptist preacher’s daughter I think she’d be Presbyterian I …keep reading »

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Christmas Jingle: Jesus Christ Is Coming To Town

I’ve (attempted to) put together a little Christmas jingle this year.  It is sung to the tune of Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Jesus Christ is Coming to Town You better repent You better have faith Better not relent So you will be saved Jesus Christ is coming to town He’s writing a book And it’s a book of life He’s gonna write down who is justified Jesus Christ is coming to town He sees you when you’re sinning He knows when you forsake He knows if you’re still under the curse So repent for your soul’s sake Oh, …keep reading »

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Santa Nicer Than Jesus?

The last post with quotes from Michael Horton is similar to these below from Dr. Packer.  They both deal with a misunderstanding and even neglect of who God is.  Below Packer points out that the severity of God is passed over in favor of viewing God as only delivering goodness.  In all of the things taught to kids about Santa Claus it all boils down to being good and get something or be bad and get nothing.  Even Santa has standards of “bad” with the standard being a type of moralism.  The “bad” from Santa never really comes since most …keep reading »

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Jesus and Santa Claus

Does evangelicalism have a problem of treating Jesus like He is Santa Claus?  The quote below from Dr. Horton are not addressing this, however, I believe they are applicable to this topic.  In a way, I think Santa Claus gets more respect.  At least with Santa the morality of being good or bad is in view.  Granted, this morality is ultimately about serving self with the consequences being either getting something you want or not.  On the other hand, Jesus is just supposed to give all you want regardless of what God commands in His holiness. As we lose a …keep reading »

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Christian Criticism

I’m not very good at receiving compliments as my wife can attest.  I’m equally not very good at receiving criticism.  I suppose this makes me like a wooden dummy that just spits out information where people are listening or not.  Thankfully, the Lord sanctifies me and conforms me more and more to be like Christ.  I’ve grown in these areas, but I still have much growing to do. Funny thing is, I don’t really mind the criticism…later on.  In other words, it’s the initial receiving that can give me a hard time.  This makes a really good case for keep …keep reading »

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Christless Christianity Q and A With Michael Horton

On October 31 Michael Horton appeared live on washingtonpost.com’s Viewpoint.  Horton was answering questions about his new book Christless Christianity that was released on November 1.  The book has been doing well selling over 7,000 copies and the live chat at Viewpoint was the best so far.  This is great news!  It would be nice if a book like this would have some impact in the same way Warren’s Purpose Driven Life.  For some reason though, I just don’t think I will be driving by various churches with Christless Christianty Study displayed on their signs. If you’re unsure about getting …keep reading »

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Ten Indictments Against the American Church by Paul Washer

A practical denial of the sufficiency of Scripture. An ignorance of God. A failure to address man’s malady. An ignorance of the gospel of Jesus Christ. An ignorance of the doctrine of regeneration.* An unbiblical gospel invitation. Ignorance regarding the nature of the Church. A lack of loving and compassionate Church discipline. A silence on separation. Lack of children being taught in the home. Praise God for men like Paul Washer who aren’t afraid to preach such truths attacking the elephants in the room. Mark *Mr. Washer said “fourth” twice so I am re-numbering them accordingly. 🙂

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Giving Thanks

O Lord, remember not, How I once stood. Before mine own reflection, Worshiping what I thought was good. Long did I look, For life’s answers I sought. Only emptiness grew, Only death was I taught. I saw death as inevitable, A hopeless situation. Laboring for self in this life, This was my salvation. Grabbing hold of my sin, Oh, how it was glorious. Accepting my flesh, How I felt so victorious. One day without warrant, My vision re-arranged. God’s perfect Law came, My reflection was changed. My victory was over, As I clearly saw. How black my heart was, Against …keep reading »

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Obamanians: Thought I’d Seen It All

I’m driving home with my family this past Saturday. We’re a few miles from home and in astonishment, I say, “Did you see it?! Do you all see it?!” I was pointing to the car just in front of us and to the right.  My wife and daughter didn’t see it and were asking, “What?!” in a frustrated tone since I was so stirred up about what I was showing them. So I speed up, passed a car to come along side the vehicle I was pointing at. So just what did I see? I saw the most unbelievable license …keep reading »

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A Calvinist Missionary and Other Notables

When it comes to missions and evangelism in the Southern Baptist Convention today’s hot button is Calvinism and it’s resurgence among younger Southern Baptists.  Is the concern that Calvinism does and will stifle missions and evangelism in the SBC valid?  The answer seems to depend on who you ask.  Regardless of theology, it’s a Gospel issue and  a sin problem.  One of my dead horses is a concern of pelagianism which I’ve mention recently. So what does a Calvinist missionary say ON BEING A SBC CALVINIST (& MISSIONARY)? Patterson gave me Calvinism When I entered The Criswell College in 1990, …keep reading »

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Southern Baptist Pastors: A Must Read Letter

Open Letter to All Pastors of Churches in the SBC Dear Pastor, Let me first clarify that this letter is for Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) pastors in general. I am well aware that what you are about to read does not include all pastors – at least not in totality. …What is really so remarkable about the question of SBC decline is not the decline itself, but rather the simple answer that is so obvious no one will talk about with any seriousness openly in the SBC. Read the whole thing!

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President Obama: Another View of the Election

The United States has elected it’s new President.  A President election that marks a milestone achievement concerning race in this country.  Our first black, or African-American, President.  I hope this will help in the healing process of race relations in this country.  However, for myself and many other this election was never about race. It was about who, either McCain or Obama, would best serve this country and her people.  I hope that was atleast one main point of focus!  The main point of contention is that Obama was thought to be the most pro-abortion candidate ever.  He even referred …keep reading »

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A Healthy View of Church?

“Because people like me come from professional backgrounds, and we want churches that reflect our backgrounds. I don’t want to be opening my home to people. I don’t want to get involved in people’s lives. I don’t want needy people in my church. Before people like me went into Christian ministry, we were lawyers, doctors, businessmen. And when we get involved in ministry we bring those values with us. We want to lead growing churches with professional people, church administrators, healthy budgets. We want church to be a well-run organization with polished presentations.” Chester, Tim, and Steve Timmis. Total Church. …keep reading »

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Obama, Higher Taxes, Selfish Virtue

I want to offer an idea that is atleast a step in the right direction for those who favor Obama’s tax increase.  I read the article where is quoted concerning taxes and selfishness Obama. “John McCain and Sarah Palin they call this socialistic,” Obama continued. “You know I don’t know when, when they decided they wanted to make a virtue out of selfishness.”(Source: ABC News) So if someone believes the government should work a bit differently when it comes to raising taxes they are trying to make selfishness a virtue?  The government is an entity made up of people and …keep reading »

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Reformation Day 2008: Protestant Courage

I remember several years ago while talking to a Roman Catholic about doctrine.  Though she had just left the convent and would no longer be in process to become a nun, she was a devout Roman Catholic as far as I could tell.  She left the convent and married a friend of mine.  We were all having dinner and I don’t quite remember what exactly we were talking about, but I can tell you how the conversation ended.  After a few minutes of dialogue, in her frustration, she finally said, “We’re Catholic, we don’t use the Bible!” Today, I fear …keep reading »

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Highway to Heaven

While driving on the interstate across state lines you never know what you might see.  While driving behind a semi on the doors to the trailer we saw two things.  On the left was a very large Icthus aka fish symbol.  On the right door were the words “Psalm 22:19.”  In the NASB, that verse reads: But You, O LORD, be not far off; O You my help, hasten to my assistance. Then, as we passed the semi there was a quote in very large letters on the side of the trailer.  I thought it was sort of interesting. If …keep reading »

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Deeper Conference, First Baptist Woodstock: Paul Washer

In a previous post I blogged about the Deeper Conference.  I didn’t get to attend as I’d hope, but below is one of Paul Washer’s presentations that is quickly becoming very popular. Play the audio above or download MP3 here. Enjoy! Mark

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Piper On Christian Voting As Though You Were Not

How should Christians think of voting as that time is upon us in the USA?  John Piper unpacks this with something we can often forget about during times like these.  Scripture! Voting is like marrying and crying and laughing and buying. We should do it, but only as if we were not doing it. That’s because “the present form of this world is passing away” and, in God’s eyes, “the time has grown very short.” Here’s the way Paul puts it: The appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they …keep reading »

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Blog Action Day 2008:Poverty

What is poverty?  How do we fight poverty?  Can we do more?  How do we do more?  What is particular day all about? What is Blog Action Day? Today thousands of bloggers will unite to discuss a single issue – poverty. We aim to raise awareness, initiate action and to shake the web! (click the banner for more info.) The Issue Like many things the answers to the above questions depends on who you ask.  I imagine the most basic elements that define poverty would be people who don’t have enough food and water on a daily basis with maybe …keep reading »

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And If Obama Is Elected

Change! Change is what we keep hearing about that Obama will bring if elected president. I’m hoping for change too. I hope I at least to get a little change back from my income taxes due to the poor Congressional policies, unethical business practices and irresponsible consumers that led to this huge bailout. And what will happen if Obama is elected?  Steve Hays has given the correct answer below.  It’s just too good of a line to let go without honorable mention.  Especially, since Triablogue moves so fast.  To hear some people talk you might think this isn’t too far …keep reading »

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Roman Catholic Evangelism

My last post was to make folks aware of Michael Horton’s forthcoming book Christless Christianity.  I believe this will be an important book for evangelical churches.  This post is about another forthcoming book that I am not excited about.  One that Horton’s book should be in opposition to.  Frank Beckwith’s Return to Rome: Confessions of an Evangelical Catholic (RtR) which is set to be published in November 2008. The publisher of RtR, BrazosPress, has released some endorsements for the book.  To my surprise there are some protestants endorsing the book. Should I be surprised? Protestants are endorsing a book about …keep reading »

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Christianity Without Christ?

What happens when we take Christ out of Christianity?  That’s the question Michael Horton asks in his new book Christless Christianity.  This book follows this year’s theme of “Christless Christianity” on the White Horse Inn radio show.  I was excited when I first got the email about the book.  Then I read that this discounted offering includes a two DVD set as well which has four sessions.  I imagine that this package could be an excellent small-group (or large) resource.  For more information including audio and sample video go to the Christless Christianity website. Is it possible that we have …keep reading »

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Thank You Issues Etc

The best I can tell is that I have been listening to Issues, Etc. since sometime in 2004. That is the date that my oldest mp3’s I have of the program.  And I have been appreciating the show since I started listening. As many listeners know this show was canceled by KFUO AM earlier this year. There was an online petition put together to try and get the program back on KFUO AM.  The petition has 7,629 signature as of today.  Since then enough money was raised using the internet and other sources to get the program back on the …keep reading »

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Issues Etc vs KFUOAM Stats

Recently, on the Issues, Etc. Radio Program, Pastor Todd Wilken, the host, and Jeff Schwarz, the producer, went over answers to questions as to why their radio show was canceled. Those answers were given by David Strand, the LCMS Executive Director on the Board for Communication Services. Issues, Etc. is a great radio show. One of the best out there dealing with world issues, etc. from a conservative theological perspective. If you listen to the Q&A as reviewed in the show (listen below), you will hear the admission that there really was no way to track the “success” of Issues, …keep reading »

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Vote To Beat The Pyromaniacs!

Vote for my blog here! A friend of mine, we’ll call him Frank, has asked for votes for the Best Religion Blog, 2008 for the PyroManiacs blog. Can I get more votes than the PyroManiacs?  YES!  Is the probability very high that I do?  NO!  It could be fun though if enough people play. I did think about something though since this is an election year.  I wonder if there are enough friends and foes out there of PyroManiacs to get votes.  What I mean is that we so often hear that people vote just as much for one candidate …keep reading »

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The Visibility of Barack Obama

Dr. Bruce L. Fields1 of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School writes in the latest Themelios Journal2 about Barack Obama’s presidential candidacy as it relates to his racial identity and who people actually see. In his article, Barack Obama: The Quandary of “Selective Invisibility”3 Dr. Fields touches on what is visible about Obama and what needs to be invisible about him and his appeal. A major tension in walking the thin red line between the camps is that invisibility before either orientation may put Obama on a collision course with what it means to be an African American man, one who is …keep reading »

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Are Megachurches Healthier?

Are megachurches healthier than smaller churches?  According to the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University as reported by the Washington Post 1 the answer seems to be yes.  According to the article megachurch congregations tithe more, are committed to attendance and build better relationships.  This seems to be contrary to how many people envision life in a megachurch. Unfortunately, I’ve been unable to find the actual study so all there is to go on is highlights from the study as told in the article.  I attended North Point Community Church with Pastor Andy Stanley for a while and …keep reading »

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The Shack Is Only Fiction?

I wanted to take a few moments to respond to some of the comments from one of my posts The Shack Review. Interesting review. Unfortunately, I think it not only misses the point of the book but seems to find criticism for the sake of criticism. Advice to Christians to be discerning is excellent. However, understanding must accompany discernment. The review seems short on understanding. Criticism is found for the sake of being accurate as to how God has revealed Himself through Scripture.  It seems that those promoting and praising The Shack seem to be short on understanding discernment.  Even …keep reading »

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Big Bang Recreated!

Look at the screen at the bottom left.  See the small white spot in the center?  That’s the Big Bang in action!  You can read the whole story and watch the short video by going directly to the article: Scientists cheer as protons complete first circuit of Big Bang machine This has got to be a very exciting experiment for many, especially, for those involved.  At a cost of £3.6 billion I certainly hope so.  For those of us in the U.S. that’s about $6.36 billion.  As the article states this is the “biggest and most expensive civilian experiment in …keep reading »

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Obama, Abortion and Pay Grades

Christianity Today’s morning article Obama says abortion comment at megachurch forum too flip has some interesting quotes from Obama speaking about his answer to when a baby gets human rights at the Saddleback Forum.  Remember, Obama first said that this question was “above my pay grade.”  One immediate problem with that is many people are voting either for or against him based on this very issue.  And it is clear that he also has an opinion on the issue based on his voting record and his own words.  If he really thought it were above his pay grade he would …keep reading »

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The Metaphorical Safety of The Shack

So far I have two reviews of The Shack posted.  One, The Shack Review, by a dear brother and fellow church member Wayne Elliott.  The other, Uncovering The Shack, by local yet widely known Pastor Michael Youseff. Now, I have another dear brother who I recently had a good Southern Baptist dinner with.  For folks not in the know, that’s Wednesday night dinner in the fellowship hall.  This brother understood the nuances and concerns of The Shack.  He kept this in mind while reading The Shack and, therefore, enjoyed the book without worrying about heretical persuasions.  I certainly appreciate this …keep reading »

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Flew Names Dawkins A Secularist Bigot

The God Delusion by the atheist writer Richard Dawkins, is remarkable in the first place for having achieved some sort of record by selling over a million copies. But what is much more remarkable than that economic achievement is that the contents – or rather lack of contents – of this book show Dawkins himself to have become what he and his fellow secularists typically believe to be an impossibility: namely, a secularist bigot. (Helpfully, my copy of The Oxford Dictionary defines a bigot as ‘an obstinate or intolerant adherent of a point of view’). Read the whole article. Flew …keep reading »

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Should A Woman Be Vice-President?

There’s been some discussion from the conservative Christian perspective as to whether or not Sarah Palin should be able to be Vice-President due to the fact that she’s a woman.  I would just like to high-light some good posts addressing this subject. Jason Robertson over at Fide-O writes about Work From Home Moms. Christians who have sound theology have a high-view of the family. Thus the prospect of Sarah Palin becoming VP and possibly even the President of the United States has caused some Christians to ask if that is such a job a mother should want. It is a …keep reading »

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Southern Baptist Double-Standard?

David Waters post Southern Baptists and their Gender Double-Standard over at On Faith claims that Southern Baptists have a double-standard when it comes to the new republican VP pick.  His claim is basically that Southern Baptists shouldn’t promote and vote for Sarah Palin, a woman, since we wouldn’t let her pastor a church.  So what’s his argument and objection? Now that Southern Baptist leaders are embracing the idea of a woman leading this nation, will they rethink their rejection of the idea of a woman leading their congregations? Probably not. Since Baptist Faith and Message 2000 states the position that …keep reading »

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Uncovering The Shack

My fellow church member bro. Wayne whose review of The Shack I recently posted informed me of another review of The Shack.  Michael Youssef, pastor of Church of the Apostles, one of our neighboring churches, has reviewed The Shack in a recent sermon. Dr. Youseff’s review, Uncovering The Shack, can be downloaded directly on mp3 here.  There is also an iTunes feed if you’re interested.  He actually stopped in the middle of a sermon series to review this book because he thought it was that important. Dr. Youseff begins, “In the 33 years since I’ve was ordained to the ministry, …keep reading »

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Roman Catholic Baptist?

Peter Smith of the courier-journal out of Louisville gives us an interesting story morning Married, ex-Baptist minister to become Catholic priest.  Sad, but interesting story about former baptist pastor David Harris converting to Catholicism.  So why the question “Roman Catholic Baptist?”  Smith’s story begins. David Harris never considered his conversion to Catholicism six years ago to be a rejection of the Baptist faith that nourished him from childhood in Eastern Kentucky. How does a man with an M. Div. from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary  come to this conclusion?  I understand that there are areas in our seminaries that need improvement, but …keep reading »

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Sin Sells But Who’s Buying?

Sin sells, but who’s buying?  If we were to answer this question based on the recent success of Katy Perry today vs. Katy Perry Hudson several years ago, I’d say that many are buying.  Just consider the two Christianity Today articles from back in 2001 and today in 2008.  It seems as though Hudson, though appealing in her music, came and went.  While Perry spent some time at no. 1. Who cares, though, right?  I do for one.  And, well, her parents apparently do according to the recent Christianity Today article linked above.  Quoting the artist’s mother. I hate the …keep reading »

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Faith and Reason

Without faith reasoning becomes impossible.  So do I believe this on the basis of reason or faith?  Well, it all depends on how you want to state it.  I believe it on the basis of faith, but faith which saves reasoning and, therefore, it’s the most reasonable thing to do.  So that’s my reason for having faith.  Is my intellect my ultimate authority then?  No, faith and the word of the Lord is.  And my reason for holding to that is, reason itself is destroyed if you don’t. Do you have faith or do you have reason, Dr. Bahnsen, for …keep reading »

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“The Shack” Review

A friend from church wrote a brief review of The Shack that touches on some key points as to why we should be cautious about this book.  Or maybe even disregard it all together.  He gave me permission to share this review. SHACK ATTACK – OR A CALL TO DISCERNMENT? “Discernment is not simply a matter of telling the difference between what is right and wrong; rather it is the difference between right and almost right.” -Charles Spurgeon At the encouragement of friends, I recently read The Shack by William P. Young. A national bestseller widely embraced by some churches …keep reading »

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Sermoneutics

I would like to introduce you to my first official sniglet, sermoneutics. sermoneutics (ˈsər-məˈnü-tik) – n. The art of interpreting Scripture in a sermon by giving its meaning as an abstract, peripheral idea that is not the main point of the text. My motivation for the above word is Dr. John Walton’s post Hermeneutics and Children’s Curriculum. He lays out “five basic fallacies that appear repeatedly.” 1. Promotion of the trivial 2. Illegitimate extrapolation 3. Reading between the lines 4. Missing important nuance 5. Focus on people rather than God This is a very good article that I hadn’t seen …keep reading »

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Beckwith The Protestant Roman Catholic

The much awaited book by both Roman Catholics and Protestants is here.  It is none other than former President of the Evangelical Theological Society, Dr. Francis J. Beckwith’s new book Return to Rome: Confessions of an Evangelical Catholic. Quite the title, huh?   This is the reason this book will appeal to both Catholics and Protestants.  We all want to see, “What happened?”  Most likely, Catholics will want to see what they can learn from Beckwith’s journey that will help them evangelize Romanize Protestants.  We Protestants will want to know how to keep such a “return” from happening and address …keep reading »

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Talk to Ravi Zacharias

Our friend Chris Arnzen, host of the Iron Sharpens Iron Radio Show, is having Christian apologist, Ravi Zacharias as a guest. As I understand listeners will be able to call in with questions and a downloadable mp3 will be available after the show. He will be speaking on the theme of his book NEW BIRTH Or REBIRTH? JESUS TALKS WITH KRISHNA . WHEN: Monday, July 14, 2008, 3-4 PM est WHERE: Listen Live by clicking here CALL WITH QUESTIONS: 1-631-321- WNYG (9694)] CLICK HERE for full details. SDG, Mark p.s. What are the odds that I call in and get …keep reading »

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Proper understanding of Roman Catholic salvation?

Monsignor Lorenzo Albacete He reads Paul in his context? On Buddhist salvation, the Buddhist will get to heaven “probably faster than I will.” How about an atheist? Just watch. Not sure what it’s worth… Mark

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What Hymn Is This?

Below is a song that is full of biblical theology.  Is it a hymn?  What kind of song do you think it is?  I recently got the current album of this musician from iTunes. Can you guess where lyrics below come from? TRIUNE PRAISE LYRICS VERSE 1 Praise God the Father, the Immortal Creator (1 Cor. 8:6) For Your glory you made us (Is. 43:6), You’re the Sovereign Orchestrator (Eph. 1:11) All that You decree will most surely come to happen (Is. 14:24) You’re awesome as can be and Your glory none can fathom (Ps. 104:1) Nothing could ever stain …keep reading »

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Friday is for fun: Yankee or Dixie?

A friend from church sent me a test that’s described below. Yankee or Dixie? Check on your dialect and see if you might have crossed over to the “other side”! Simply click on the correct answer. As you go, the quiz will automatically interpret each answer to show you what your answer implies about you. When you are done, press Compute My Score. Your score will be calculated as a percentage: 0% is pure Yankee and 100% is pure Dixie. You can join the fun and take the quiz now! Click here to see my results! 81% (Dixie). Did you …keep reading »

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Of Cavalier Attitudes

I was recently left a very cavalier comment by a pastor.  You may read it here.  I will leave the comment for now although I don’t really want to clutter that particular page with such exchange.  So I will reproduce the comment here with some interaction.  I will try not to trade insult for insult though my wife was none to happy about the comment. I do not like the cavalier way you approach the Bible and Christian issues. I am Dawson Morrison Pastor of Mountain Home Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. People like you run around collecting up unholy …keep reading »

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Fox in the Pew Forum

There seems to be some disagreement between FOX News FOX Forum contributors Cal Thomas and Father Jonathan Morris.  The disagreement stems from the recent Pew Forum report on Religion and Public Life.  The disagreement is over the position which came out in the Pew Forum report as follows: Most Americans agree with the statement that many religions – not just their own – can lead to eternal life. Cal Thomas was upset, and rightly so, that the majority of conservative evangelical Christians believe this statement.   Jonathan Morris responded to Thomas and he, wrongly, doesn’t agree.  Morris is more in …keep reading »

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Patriotic Worship

Brother Stan has posted some great thoughts over at the Reformed Baptist Fellowship blog about patriotic worship services. A typical patriotic service might include a presentation of the American flag, singing of patriotic hymns, and a message centered around the Christian roots of the United States and a call to return to them. Are these services God-honoring? Are they wise? Read the whole thing: Three Hymns for the Red, White, and Blue: Thinking About Patriotic Worship Services I’ve always cringed when patriotic songs have been sung during a time when the congregation comes together to worship God.  We have six others …keep reading »

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Summarizing the Gospel?

Our friend Andrew has asked a couple of good questions over at StrangeBaptistFire in his post “God loves you and Jesus died for you.” Is this the gospel message we must proclaim? The title of the post is very telling as to what his questions are. 1. “Is the statement, ‘God loves you and Jesus died for you,’ an accurate summary of the gospel?” 2. Given a very brief amount of time to explain the gospel, should we tell non-Christians, ‘God loves you and Jesus died for you’? These questions make me think of Tom Ascol’s question Have we lost …keep reading »

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Christians Laugh Too

My wife and I watched Tim Hawkins not too long ago.  He was absolutely hilarious! Among other laughs the above video clip will help men to know what NOT to say to your wife! This clip gives you a little insight about Tim leading “worship” before he was a Christian. Those are from his Full Range of Motion DVD and it’s definitely worth buying! No, I don’t get any commission, but I will gladly take some!  🙂 Mark

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Dangers Church Members Face

As church members we are often in danger particularly when we don’t understand how to live. From being overly concerned about how we look to over analyzing the words we use in prayer to getting caught up in the snare of thinking that we don’t spiritually measure up to everyone else, we have a tendency to act no different than the unsaved. We so easily slide into the double-standard of holding others to biblical standards of behavior while ignoring how much we ourselves violate them. And sometimes we even create our own standards that not only God Himself has given …keep reading »

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Views on homosexuality

LifeWay has just released research on views of homosexuality from a telephone survey.  The groups included in the survey were Americans in general, Roman Catholics, Protestants and another called “born-again, evangelical or fundamentalist Protestants.”  I’m not quite sure of the distinction of the last group from the Protestants. A quote from the article by friend and Research Director, Ed Stetzer. “Almost a third of Americans and almost half of those who do not attend a place of worship – the people we are trying to reach – say our view of sexual morality would negatively impact their decision to visit …keep reading »

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Southern Baptist Convention: on tips and alcohol

I just wanted to relay this true story from a good friend of mine.  He was a messenger at this years annual Southern Baptist Convention.  He tells me this story about eating dinner in Indianapolis. He goes to have dinner at a restaurant.  He asks the server if she has been busy due to all of the Southern Baptists (SBs) in town.  She said they’ve noticed a little more business, but nothing overwhelming. He asks how tipping has been with the visiting patrons.  Her answer is that they’ve not been too great and that a co-worker had just been given …keep reading »

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Death of the Elephant God

In an effort to explain religious truth a popular fable entitled The Blind Men and the Elephant has been used by various religious leaders. Are all religious truth claims equally valid as this story purports? I think not. And once this elephant dies another must take its place. Here is a modern version from Lillian Quigley’s The Blind Men and the Elephant. The first blind man put out his hand and touched the side of the elephant. “How smooth! An elephant is like a wall.” The second blind man put out his hand and touched the trunk of the elephant. …keep reading »

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Do Hard Things

The brothers Harris, Alex & Brett, who run the very popular teen blog, TheRebelution have written a very practical Christian book for teens, Do Hard Things. I recently picked up this book for my daughter. Of course, I had to read through it myself first. The book is easy to read and lays out a journey of the challenges and accomplishments of real young men and women. The journey of these young people pave the way as the brothers Harris unfold their challenge to their peers to do hard things. In the excerpt of chapter one we find the foundation …keep reading »

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Deeper Conference in Atlanta: Paul Washer

UPDATE:  Paul Washer in Atlanta/Woodstock audio here! No, the above video isn’t from the Deeper Conference. It’s the famous (infamous?) shocking youth message that Paul Washer delivered. It’s a kind of preaching that you don’t hear so much of and it’s good for the soul. If you’ve never heard or watched the above I encourage you to do so. On October 17 – 18, 2008 here in the Atlanta area the Deeper Conference will be held at First Baptist Woodstock. I appreciate all the men and their topics to be presented. But there is just something a little unique about …keep reading »

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Courage to Be Protestant: Marketing the Gospel

“That is where this gospel really parts company from the way in which products and services are marketed in our modernized world. These products and services are nothing more than products and services. They are simply there for our use. The gospel is not. The gospel calls us not to use it but to submit to the God of the universe through his Son. A methodology for success that circumvents issues of truth is one that will rapidly emancipate itself from biblical Christianity or, to put it differently, will rapidly eviscerate biblical faith. That, indeed, is what is happening because …keep reading »

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Dawkins Converts Corner

Richard Dawkins has a place on his website called Converts Corner. He states: Please write in to Converts’ Corner if you have lost your religion (or have been encouraged to come out of the closet) as a result of reading The God Delusion or other Dawkins books. If you read through the stories it seems there is an underlying common theme. People aren’t actually looking for a reason to believe in God, but for reason not to. If someone is buying a book that seeks to establish and encourage atheism to help convince themselves further, I propose they are already …keep reading »

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Pope Says No More Pedophiles

In an AP news story Pope Benedict XVI is quoted. “It is a great suffering for the church in the United States and for the Church in general and for me personally that this could happen,” Benedict said. “It is difficult for me to understand how it was possible that priests betray in this way their mission … to these children. “I am deeply ashamed and we will do what is possible so this cannot happen again in the future,” the pope said. I say that’s great! But I also say that it’s about time. During the time the events …keep reading »

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Who Are They Really Angry At?

In James White’s debate this weekend against Muslim apologist Jalal Abualrub, Mr. Abualrub said the following: So don’t think you can come here and act you’re angry, because we are angry. Because Allah doesn’t have a son. He told you so. Jesus never said I am Lord, I am divine, I am the God, the Creator, worship Me as you worship God, the Holy Ghost is God. While driving last night I mentioned this to my teenager. I always ask her if she remembers Dr. White. She remembers him well and usually calls him, “that Dr. White dude!” So I …keep reading »

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Was Abe Lincoln a Christian?

In a new book Did Lincoln Own Slaves? there is some unveiling of Lincoln’s religious beliefs.  Below is an excerpt from the Change of Subject blog. The answers to questions about Lincoln’s church membership are not the ones that most people are hoping to hear. He was never a member of the church you attend, or any church. His religious beliefs were dynamic, complex, and powerful, but not conventional. He wasn’t a Baptist, despite being raised in a Baptist tradition. He wasn’t a Presbyterian, although he attended Presbyterian services much of his adult life. He was not a Catholic, contrary …keep reading »

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Tim Keller on the Laura Ingraham Show

Today, Tim Keller was interviewed on the Laura Ingraham Show about his newest book The Reason for God. I only picked up the conversation towards the end so I will have to go back and listen to the podcast. I usually enjoy her show when she engages politics and such although sometimes that stuff just wears me out. She wears me out in her talk about the Pope, mass, confession, etc. Laura asked Dr. Keller about the pope’s book Jesus of Nazareth and he said he appreciated some aspects of it as I recall. She was mentioning common Christian themes …keep reading »

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Before You Die: Hip-Hop Outreach

I thought this was creative, interesting and very well done. I’d be interested in hearing how this is received in all communities including hip-hop and non hip-hop as well as by believers and unbelievers. Mark (HT: Lionel)

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Dividing Line Listeners: Math Made Easy

If you are a listener to James White’s radio show The Dividing Line and you don’t live in Arizona and aren’t good with math, time and clocks then this post is for you. As Dr. White so frequently reminds those of us who like to play with our clocks twice a year, clocks in Phoenix don’t change! So to keep up with the Dividing Line in your own time zone iGoogle makes it easy! Once you have set-up and signed into your Google account, go to iGoogle and just chose the “World Clocks” gadget. The change the settings, one clock …keep reading »

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Young Life: Doctrine Divides Staff?

There has been an internal disagreement that has caused all 10 staffers of Young Life at the Chapel Hill, NC office to leave voluntarily or otherwise. It seems that more than disagreements were heating up as the article on CT Gospel Talk was having a server overload earlier. You may also read an article about this subject over at The Christian Century just in case CT goes down again. The dust up is over six non-negotiables on the manner the Gospel is presented put out by the Young Life leadership. Their is a link to the Non-Negotiables of Young Life’s …keep reading »

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Joel Osteen and becoming a better Mormon?

Our friends Steve Camp and James White has recently pointed out Joel Osteen’s answer to whether or not a Mormon is a true Christian. They’ve documented and said what needs to be said on the topic. The transcript reads as follows: WALLACE: And what about Mitt Romney? And I’ve got to ask you the question, because it is a question whether it should be or not in this campaign, is a Mormon a true Christian? OSTEEN: Well, in my mind they are. Mitt Romney has said that he believes in Christ as his savior, and that’s what I believe, so, …keep reading »

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The Story of Jesus’ Birth by Martin Luther

I. The Birth of Jesus Christmas Text: Luke 2:1-14 The Story of Jesus’ Birth 1. It is written in Hag 2:6-7, that God says, “I will shake the heavens; and the precious things of all nations shall come.” This is fulfilled today, for the heavens were shaken, that is, the angels in the heavens sang praises to God. And the earth was shaken, that is, the people on the earth were agitated; one journeying to this city, another to that throughout the whole land, as the Gospel tells us. It was not a violent, bloody uprising, but rather a peaceable …keep reading »

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The Assembly Interview: A Pastor with a Church in Need

I met a couple of pastors, Charlie Scalf and Adam Fann, at the Southern Baptist Building Bridges Conference a few weeks ago. They pastor a church called The Assembly Baptist Church in downtown Johnson City, TN. I met them through my good friends John and Shannon Jordan who I have known for several years. I also got to meet the Jordans’ pastor, Reggie, who you will read about below. Reggie was nice enough to buy us all Tom Schreiner’s newest book on baptism. After spending a few days with sitting with and eating with these guys I got to know …keep reading »

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Paul Washer Highlights: Conviction

This video is called “Paul Washer Jam” and it’s a great short video of clips. This is not your everyday preaching. Talk about conviction!

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Eat on $32 a month!

Can you eat on only $32 a month? “Impossible,” you say? It may not be possible for you, but let me tell you about a some people for whom it is possible. The children that you can sponsor at Compassion is who they are. This is not about what just over $1 a day gets you. It’s about what it can get a child in need. Educational opportunities Health care and supplemental nutrition, if necessary Church-sponsored activities that build social skills Most important of all, the opportunity to hear the gospel, receive Christ, and grow in faith. Disclosure: We sponsor …keep reading »

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WDJD

The WWJD acronym took Christian marketing by storm, had it’s 15 minutes of fame and still lingers and reappears at times. In my experience, most of the time when “WWJD” is brought up it’s in the context of being kinder, gentler and nicer to those around us. Or to a certain situation currently being dealt with. It’s not necessarily a bad question to ask, but is it the right one? The title “WDJD” isn’t a misprint, but a new acronym for “What did Jesus do?” Why the new question? I believe it’s needed because that is what Scripture is focused …keep reading »

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Hard but true words from John Piper

In other words, in this research the term “born again” refers to people who say things. They say, “I have a personal commitment to Jesus Christ. It’s important to me.” They say, “I believe that I will go to heaven when I die. I have confessed my sins and accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior.” Then the Barna Group takes them at their word, ascribes to them the infinitely important reality of the new birth, and then blasphemes that precious biblical reality by saying that regenerate hearts have no more victory over sin than unregenerate hearts. The New Testament Moves …keep reading »

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Vote for Timmy’s question for Mark Driscoll

If you don’t mind, would you give your votes to Timmy Brister’s question to Mark Driscoll at his Ask Anything blog. Go here to vote and give him the 10 votes you’re alloted per day. His question is: Do you believe that the Scripture not only regulates our theology but also our methodology? In other words, do you believe in the regulative principle? If so, to what degree? If not, why not? Please and thank you, Mark

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Darrin Patrick on the Emerging Church at Covenant Seminary (Update II)

It looks like the audio of part 1 (are there more parts?) of Darrin Patrick on the Emerging Church is now available. The interview is part of the Fall 2007 Francis A. Schaeffer Lectures entitled A Dialogue on the Emerging Church. The MP3 is available. I haven’t heard it yet, but I look forward to it. I know at least one friend was waiting for this audio to be available. Update: Part two is now up at Darrin Patrick’s church website though it’s not up at Covenant Seminary just yet. It is also available in MP3 format and it’s called …keep reading »

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Southern Baptists and a Great Commission Resurgence?

Beyond Calvinism This post will refer to cleaning our house beyond Calvinism though it stems from talks from Calvinism. Last week I attended the Southern Baptist Building Bridges Conference and Dr. Danny Akin in his presentation said we need a Great Commission Resurgence. Tim Rogers who I had the pleasure of meeting at the conference has a good summary of Dr. Akin’s position. I think Denny Burk summarized the main point very well and we we should all take heed. If you care at all about the future of Southern Baptist cooperation, you must not miss this message. It was …keep reading »

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The Final Apologetic

At the recent Southern Baptist Building Bridges Conference I sat and listened to Tom Ascol deliver one of the closing sermons. He mentioned Schaeffer’s “Final Apologetic” in reference to those of us of different theological perspectives should love and treat each other. He is part of this topic by Schaeffer to reflect on. The Final Apologetic But there is something even more sober. And to understand it we must look at John 17:21, a verse out of the midst of Christ’s high priestly prayer. Jesus prays, “That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me …keep reading »

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Heaven, it’s easy!

Family Christian is selling this little number for $9.99. Isn’t that great? I really hesitated to include the link, but I did least someone think I made this up. The marketing of Christianity is unbelievable today. I told my wife and she was disgusted. She wondered how someone could say this and added that dying to self isn’t easy. I agree with her, of course. I don’t really even know what “Heaven is easy” actually means, but I do think it’s the wrong message to send in such a simplistic manner. How easy was Christ’s death on the cross? Not …keep reading »

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Southern Baptists Building Bridges: Reflections

The Building Bridges Conference was a great experience. By now most people probably know that the audio is online at Lifeway.com and presentations are available at Ed Stetzer’s blog. I would have gotten to this sooner, but I could not get my friends router to connect with my wireless card. I decided not to try to live blog once I found out the audio would be available online. I am thankful for this since I could not do justice to the actual presentations. Not to mention the limited space that I needed to keep my laptop plugged in. I know …keep reading »

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Southern Baptist Building Bridges Pic of the Week

I just want to give a quick update since I am back home and about to go to church. I will hopefully have a larger post sharing some thoughts on the conference. I talked to Ed Stetzer just before I left and he said he had all ready posted this pic, but that’s okay. He also asked why I didn’t blog the event. I had some computer and space issues. So on the back of a pick-up truck of one of the attendees who is from Texas was the picture below. I was actually driving behind this truck for several …keep reading »

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Georgia Baptist Blogging Resolution

Last week in Augusta, GA I was a messenger to the Georgia Baptist Convention. Two resolutions passed one on appreciation and another on blogging. Fellow Georgia Baptist blogger Roger Ferrell recently commented on this resolution over at sbc IMPACT! I pretty much agree with his observations. I also appreciate that Timmy Brister has chimed in as well. The resolution on blogging is below. Resolution on Blogging Submitted by Rev. Wayne Bray and Rev. William Harrell Beulah Baptist Church, Douglasville, GA WHEREAS, the American people have the distinct privilege of freedom of speech as provided by our United States Constitution, and …keep reading »

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Muslim-led Interfaith Service Unwelcome

Fox News reports. A Muslim-led interfaith Thanksgiving service in Austin, Texas, was forced to move to another location at the last minute after a Baptist church objected to non-Christians worshipping on its property. Apparently Hyde Park Baptist Church didn’t realize that “interfaith” meant different religions rather than different Christian denominations. When the leadership realized they essentially said “no” and definitely didn’t want non-Christian prayers promoted on their facilities. I thought “good for them” and I still do. It’s their right to make that decision. But then I thought…what if the pastors asked for their own time to share the Gospel …keep reading »

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Piper, Justification, ETS and Theories

A theological issue came up on Justin Taylor’s blog in his blurb about ETS from Christianity Today’s interview about ETS’s annual convention. In the interview, Francis Beckwith and the upcoming papers at ETS are mentioned about which I had my own blurb. The topic that came up on Taylor’s blog, of course, was justification and rightly so. His short post has so far generated 89 comments. In these comments James White and others get some uncomplimentary responses from Beckwith himself, other Roman Catholics and at least one protestant, Michael Bauman. Okay, now we’re caught up. At the ETS meeting we …keep reading »

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Does Justification Matter at ETS?

Earlier this year Frank Beckwith stepped down as president of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS). His actions were the right thing to do as he returned to the Roman Catholic Church, IMO. But maybe I and others who agree with me were wrong. Upon reading CT’s short q&a State of the Society with ETS’s current acting president, Hassell Bullock, I can’t help but wonder if it would really matter had Beckwith stayed in office. When asked about the current debates on justification and the hopeful outcome. Since the doctrine of justification was the “watchword” of the Reformation, and thus the …keep reading »

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John MacArthur’s Truth War

I picked up The Truth War by John MacArthur on CD. So far I’ve only gotten through the first of three CDs. For the folks who think MacArthur is somehow mean and unloving maybe listening to him read his book will change your mind. For that matter, just listening to his sermons should help understand his demeanor. I think sometimes when people write things we don’t like or agree with that we develop a certain tone in how we read to ourselves in these instances. My understanding is that John MacArthur is not writing out of hate with a tone …keep reading »

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MO Southern Baptists: Towards an Unbiblical Position

The annual Missouri Baptist Convention just wrapped up.  Tim Townsend of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that there was talk and debate about the topic of, what else, alcohol.  Now I don’t know if alcohol was taking over the Missouri Baptists, but apparently, Rodney Albert of Hallsville Baptist Church has a great quote that made the article. “2007 was the year Missouri Baptists became soft on alcohol abstention,” he thundered to loud applause. “We must fight the alcohol fight and keep it out of the convention.” Boy, that’ll preach!  It sounds good and probably got the emotions flowing, but is …keep reading »

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Reformation Day 2007: The Sinner’s Justification

Today, we don’t hear as much about sin from the pulpit as was once popular. I’m not talking about just preaching hellfire and damnation either. I’m talking about our actual biblical stance as a sinner before a holy God. I know it’s not PC to talk about sin in such a way because it’s not peaceful, welcoming nor comforting to the unbelieving world. As the world listens we must tell them we are sinners just as they are while pointing to the cross. And there is nothing good in any of us to earn favor with God, but they, like …keep reading »

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Seeker-obsessed Willow Creek Repents?

Recently, the net was buzzing about the article Willow Creek Repents? with mixed feelings. I was happy at first and then unsure. Now, BlogOManiac PyroManiac, Phil Johnson, has responded to a criticism of the style of his criticism towards Willow Creek. I, like others, think Willow Creek is just going to replace their old programs with new ones. Aside, that is, from telling or training the more mature believers to be “self-feeders” which doesn’t seem to be biblically warranted. Of course, this has been the complaint all along that all the “programs” and ministry haven’t been biblically warranted. So did …keep reading »

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Rain

Rain. We try not to go out in it or drive in it if we can help it. We put on special water proof clothes and use umbrellas to keep from getting wet from it. But at the same time we can’t live without the water it brings. Water is a sustainer of life and even the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ gives “living water” which brings eternal life. Like many here in the U.S. land of plenty who take this living water for granted dare I say we also take our everyday water even more for granted. How often …keep reading »

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The Weight of Gluttony No More

Not long ago I posted Southern Baptists and the Weight of Gluttony.  And God has blessed me from that post through a commenter named Jane.   She went through the course I listed in the above mentioned post and has a great testimony I thought should have it’s own entry and I don’t want to take away from that by saying too much.  For your consideration I do want to provide two recent articles reporting on the effects of obesity: The Global Problem of Obesity and Brits Find Obesity Deadlier Than Smoking. Let’s read Jane’s testimony that she has graciously allowed …keep reading »

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Mike Corley blogs Emergence Conference

Over at The Expositor Mike Corley has two brief posts on the 2007 Emergence Conference he just attended in Austin, TX.  Mike gave his insights about days one and two.  He was challenged by an emailer to give specifics of his criticisms.  Mike plans on doing this on his radio show Monday which I hope I can catch. I  appreciate what Mike has posted and hope that he will offer some good gracious insights to think about in this area.  I’m really surprised there aren’t many comments on his blog. I wouldn’t mind hearing the conference myself, but it seems …keep reading »

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Bush vs. Carter: Theological Differences?

Very recently at Emory University former President Jimmy Carter gave a talk about faith. The difficulties of being theologian and chief international religious conflict came up. On the topic of international religious conflict, President Carter referred to his term in office. “I was president once, in ancient times,” he joked, adding, “I had some difficult discussions at Camp David with people of different faiths, but we acknowledged that we were all children of Abraham.” The recently President Bush had an interview with Al Arabiya at the White House. Well, first of all, I believe in an almighty God, and I …keep reading »

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Southern Baptists, Investing and Morality

The ChristianNewsWire has an interesting story Investments In and Profits from Abortion and Pornography Loom Large for Protestants/Catholics Alike that reveals investments in companies that are somehow involved in immorality. The world’s two largest “ultra-conservative” denominations currently invest hundreds of millions (if not billions) of dollars in companies that profit from and/or promote what their own doctrines describe as two major sins – abortion and pornography. As Southern Baptists, should we be concerned? Take a look at GuideStone’s portfolio holdings and sort through them if you wish. You will find companies like Johnson & Johnson that are named in the …keep reading »

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Worship and the Theology of the Cross In One Sentence

I just want to share some thoughts as we prepare for the Lord’s Day. Why are we going to worship the Lord tomorrow or any other day? Are we going to get an experience out of it like a trip to the zoo? Are we to seek an emotional experience like you get at the end of watching Old Yeller? Sinners that we are I believe these attitudes can creep in and we can think like that which is a reason that our journey doesn’t end when by God’s grace we come to faith in Jesus Christ. It begins. At …keep reading »

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Joel Osteen’s AIROST: Your Best Flight Now

Now this is too brilliant not to post here, especially, given my recent post about Joel Osteen which included his “confession”. AIROST: Your Best Flight Now This is my airplane: I am seated where I am supposed to be; I have what I’m supposed to have; I can do only what the flight attendants say I can do. Today, I will be flown above the clouds. I’ll boldly confess. My mind is alert; my heart is calm; I will never be the same. I am about to leave the leave the ground, take to the skies, and take wing on …keep reading »

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Habits resulting in death?

We all have habits both good, bad and indifferent.  One of my habits that may fit into any of those catergories on any given night is that while channel surfing I see someone like Joel Osteen “preaching” so I stop and listen.  I did this last night and just in time to hear Joel’s “This is my Bible..” confession.  So I got to hear about how people are basically good and it’s just our bad habits that we need to change. Osteen mentioned a list of “habits” that most Christians would normally understand to be “sins” as my wife reminded …keep reading »

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Southern Baptists and the Weight of Gluttony

As the annual Southern Baptist Convention meeting draws near a resolution on gluttony may be proposed and I hope it is.  This resolution is written in the spirit of and response to last years Resolution 5 on alcohol.  There have been various responses around the blogging world and then some which you can easily search and find. If it is appropriate to go beyond Scripture and bind the conscience of people by prohibiting even a glass of alcohol then sure we can address the real problem of gluttony and obesity in the Convention.  Our missionaries must meet certain body mass …keep reading »

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Rick Warren Vs. John Piper on the Gospel

First, I think Godtube is cool and I hope WordPress will allow their videos to be posted. I went there to see Dr. White’s videos he posted. And I also wanted to see the site after hearing about it in a news report today. I got to browse around a little. Then, I read centuri0n’s post on Rick Warren. He got the material from Adrian Warnock who also posted on Warren. Which brings me back to browsing around Godtube and this comparison. In this video, John Piper talks about the Gospel for about six minutes. In this video, Rick Warren …keep reading »

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Engage: Scot McKnight at North Point

Last Saturday I spent the morning at a seminar called Engage. It took place at North Point Community Church where Andy Stanley pastors. I got to listen to Dr. Scot McKnight speak about engaging the culture. He has blogged about the event too. First, I want to say that Scot McKnight is a man of great hope. This was apparent because he is obviously a huge Cubs fan and, well, that should explain the aspect of hope. Upon arrival everyone got nice name tags and a shoulder bag with a copy of Dr. McKnight’s Embracing Grace: A Gospel for All …keep reading »

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Mark Driscoll on the White Horse Inn

The latest White Horse Inn show features and interview with Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA.  The guys on the WHI are known for addressing theological issues head on.  The interview was nice and cordial and it would be interesting if Driscoll were on again to tackle some more questions. Give it a listen. Mark

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N.T. Wright and Leonard Sweet and A Radio Show

It looks as if the local Atlanta Christian talk radio station 970 & 1400 AM WNIV will have at least two special guests on next week. Leonard Sweet and N.T. Wright will be interviewed on these stations on the John Young Show. Currently, there is no show archive, but the show repeats a few times over the weekend. So all of you who are not local to Atlanta you will have to listen online. I don’t know the order of the interviews and if I remember right I think John Eldridge is also going to be interview. Agree or disagree …keep reading »

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What if the Super Pastor left?

I ran into an old friend the other day.  We caught up a little bit about our churches and some of the churches in the metro Atlanta area.  He brought up a certain church that has three campuses in addition to its main church location.  The campuses will play videos of sermons from the main church pastor.  My friend thought that he might be tempted to stay home and watch a sermon on TV as a good alternative to attending one of the campuses. Then, he asked two interesting question, “What if the pastor left?  What would happen to those …keep reading »

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How do Americans view Mormons?

I wish the unfavorable numbers were higher, but they are better than expected as “46 percent of Americans say they have an unfavorable opinion of the Mormon religion.” So reports The Christian Post according to this article which references a Gallup poll of 1,018 people. Now get this.  Liberals are more likely to have an unfavorable view 62% vs. 45% of conservatives.  So who is the real liberal here anyway?  My suspicion is that far too many conservatives align themselves first with conservative political ideologies superseding their religious convictions. Even so, my guess is that Romney still has as good …keep reading »

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Will Anglicans Become Roman Catholic?

The Timesonline has reported that Churches back plan to unite under Pope. It looks as though this path may be offered as a solution to the liberalism that plagues the Anglican church. The Anglicans will attempt to resolve their differences today by publishing a new Anglican Covenant, an attempt to provide a doctrinal statement under which they can unite. So some in the Anglican leadership are willing to forgo their stance on the canon, salvation, justification, Supererogation, purgatory, etc. as less important than uniting over the ordination of homosexuals and women? This doesn’t add up for me. I am no …keep reading »

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Is Madonna doing the work of Christians?

It is said from time to time, and maybe more frequently lately, that those doing charity work are doing the work of Christians.  That Christians are not doing enough in the world to reach out to the poor and needy.  That we are too judgmental of the world and it’s ways.  That we should reach out more across cultural lines and work with non-Christians in hopes that the Gospel may be seen in our actions or maybe even verbalized.  I believe there is some merit to these concerns, yet how far are we willing to go? In a recent interview …keep reading »

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The Altar Question: Southern Baptists and Others?

I have mostly heard and seen this in Southern Baptist churches. I am not talking about altar calls where unbelievers are being called forward which is another topic for another time. I am talking about going forward to pray and/or renew your commitment to Christ. I have asked about this practice before on this and other blogs with no real answer. Emotionally, I can understand the purpose this may serve. This practice can really get one emotionally charged up and feel like really doing better this time. This is my observation through watching as well as hearing from others. Often, …keep reading »

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So this is Christmas

The Baptist Press has reported Poll: Americans want to see ‘Merry Christmas’ in stores.  This is preferred to simply saying ‘Happy Holidays’.  Wonderful, right?  Yes, maybe, but why?  I really wish the poll had included a “why” section.  I would like to hear the reasons.  I want to make a couple of general observations and then appeal to the Christian with a few things to think about.      Selling Christ What is it that a store is celebrating?  Whether a store is advertising with ‘Merry christmas’ or ‘Happy Holidays’ what they mean is ‘Come shop with us’.  I’m sure there are …keep reading »

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Pro-abortion: Honoring Christ’s Teachings or Obama’s?

In many news and blog articles Rick Warren is being criticized for having Senator Barack Obama speak at Saddleback’s AIDS Conference.  The controversy involves Obama’s pro-abortion position which is in opposition to Warren’s position and, of course, against the biblical position.  I want to take a look at a brief response by Obama from an article reporting Rick Warren’s defense of having him speak at Saddleback’s AIDS conference. “Many people of faith have strong views about abortion, and I deeply respect their beliefs,” Obama said in a statement. “While we will never see eye-to-eye on all issues, surely we can come together …keep reading »

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I’m Thankful…

Lately, I’ve been thinking more about ways and opportunities to share the Gospel. And I do mean verbalize it with actual words that don’t begin and end with “Why don’t you come to church?” I’ve been lamenting my past and potential future short comings in this area. Sure, sharing the Gospel isn’t necessarily “easy” but it sure is simple. It all my thoughts and prayers about the whens, wheres and others’ possible perceptions of me I often forget that I should be so greatful that I can even so easily share the Gospel. Here in the USA I can speak …keep reading »

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Sharing the Gospel with Buddhist

In my recent post about sharing the Gospel both Laura and Paul comment with some interesting real life examples.  Laura touched on some of the things I’ve thought about when looking to put together some type of servant evangelism projects.  As we reach out as a church to build and help people out in some way how are we going to share the Gospel?  Are we even going to share it?  Is the evangelism part missing if we dont’ share the Gospel?  I agree with Laura that we need to say “something” when were helping hurting and lost people. Paul …keep reading »

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Thanksgiving Day 2006

As I thought about making a Thanksgiving Day post I really wasn’t sure where to go with it.  I have so much to be thankful for, but it’s so much easier to look at all that I “want” that I don’t “have” rather than looking at all that I “have” that I don’t “need”.  Isn’t that the American way?  It’s beyond the American way it’s the sinful human way.  Poor me!  Isn’t it all about me?  No, we know better than that.  It’s a shame that it takes one national holiday called Thanksgiving Day to make us slow down, reflect and be …keep reading »

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Jesse Mercer’s Eternal Concerns of a Slave

In Nathan Finn’s recent post 19th Century Baptists, Slavery, and Christian Civility: Some Lessons from the Past in he tells of a new book he is about to publish entitled Domestic Slavery Considered as a Scriptural Institution.  Read his post for more information.  It’s looks to be an interesting read and will shed some light on two opposing positions from the past.  I agree with Nathan that such a form of slavery in the early U.S. was sinful, much like the kind that continues today in places like Sudan. Upon reading Nathan’s post I thought about a book I recently …keep reading »

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Volunteering for Dave Ramsey

I spent this Saturday from 9am to 8pm (7-8 was dinner) volunteering for a Dave Ramsey Live event at First Baptist Woodstock.  My wife and I donated our time for this event. It was long and tiring, but more than that it was fun and rewarding. We arrived, signed in and changed into our cool, free “I See Debt People” t-shirts.  Then we went to an introduction presentation and onto more specific training.  But not before Dave himself walked in and said a few words to us.  You’d be surprised how relaxed and serene Dave is before his presentation. Then, as we …keep reading »

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Agreeing with Al Sharpton about the Gospel

You read that right! Al Sharpton and I agree about an aspect of the Gospel. There are not many times that Al Sharpton and I fully agree. And since I’ve never heard him preach nor speak clearly about theology this was a suprise to me when I discovered this last night. There was a story on the local Fox network last night about preaching. The story featured in interview with Creflo Dollar of World Changers Church. I suppose “church” is a very broadly defined term these days. So Fox got an exclusive interview that Creflo, if I remember rightly, has …keep reading »

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Hollywood and the Gospel

ScrippsNews has a short interview called The gospel according to Stephen Baldwin. The article starts  Actor Stephen Baldwin (youngest of the acting Baldwin brothers) has become an impassioned Christian after living the wild Hollywood lifestyle. In his New York Times best-selling book, “The Unusual Suspect: My Calling to the New Hardcore Movement of Faith” (September 2006), he explains how his life turned around.  I read the article and think, “Is this the best we’ve got in Hollywood?”  Then I wonder if more people in the church think like this than not.  The church is full of clichés such as “the …keep reading »

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Arab Vision, Is Ours Clouded?

I recently listened to and spoke with missionary and one of the founders of Arab Vision. It seems as though we, as local churches, are neglecting the Arab world in our missions and evangelism. If I remember correctly, something like only 22% of the Arab world has heard the Gospel. If I am wrong please correct me. I will also try to find the number. Regardless of that number the Arab people have been ignored. The very place where the church father Augustine pastored hardly has any Christians left. You can read more about some of these issues on Arab …keep reading »

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Article Rich with Sadness and Poor Theology

The Miami Herald’s article A rich Jesus? Debate flares over his finances gives us the same ole story about the WoF prosperity “gospel”. The article states: But when the Rev. Creflo Dollar looks inside that manger, he doesn’t see a poor baby. He sees a baby born into wealth because the kings visiting him gave him gold, frankincense and myrrh. He sees a messiah with so much money he needed an accountant to track it. He sees a savior who wore clothes so expensive that the Roman soldiers who crucified him gambled for them. Same song with the same performers …keep reading »

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Ideas on Sharing the Gospel

I’m going to admit upfront that I don’t share the Gospel as much as I can or should.  I’m going to guess, correct me if I’m wrong, that this is common amongst the brethren (I don’t mean inviting someone to church).  We have a hard enough time living the Gospel much less actually sharing it which is the very reason we need it.  Voddie Baucham said in a sermon that Christians think they can just “live” the Gospel to a point that people around you will see your example and eventually ask you for it.  Yeah, Voddie didn’t buy that …keep reading »

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Reformation Day Reflections 2006

The famous quote attributed to Johan Tetzel, “As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs” probably doesn’t mean much to many in the church today. If it weren’t for my own studying and reading, as a layman, it probably wouldn’t mean much to me either. The struggle today is similar to that of Luther’s day in that it is internal though not necessarily against Rome. Oh, there is still a battle with Rome, but few people in the pews even know the difference between Protestantism and Roman Catholicism. The battle is so far off …keep reading »

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Blog bites: Voddie Baucham at the Piper Conference

First, listen to all of the conference: Desiring God Conference 2006. I am working my way through and am listening to Voddie this morning. He said something that we should think about as Christians. He was address the question of “Why are we here?” It will make us reflect on God’s grace and love and just make you wonder. Voddie said But I’m not going to answer the question until you ask it correctly….You’re not asking the question properly….How do I ask it properly?…Here’s how you ask that question properly…You look me in my eyes and you ask me this …keep reading »

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Worshiping with Ed Stetzer

This past Sunday my best man at my wedding, Russ, and his wife were in town. I was also his best man at his wedding. Neat, huh? We met and worshiped with Ed Stetzer at his church plant Lake Ridge Church which is about a year old. I found out the people was very welcoming. Ed greeted my family and me as we walked in a few minutes late and found our friends. I could refer to him as Dr. Stetzer, but after meeting him I think he’d say “Ed” is just fine. I could be wrong though. He was …keep reading »

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The Segregated Life

In my previous post I encouraged folks to see the movie The Second Chance which touches on race relations in the church and neglect of those needing Christ in our own backyards. In the blog world I came across something that goes on the black community that I don’t know much about. It is a very telling video produced by 16 year old Kiri Davis called A Girl Like Me. (HT: Marty Duren) Quote about the film. For my high-school literature class I was constructing an anthology with a wide range of different stories that I believed reflected the black …keep reading »

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The Second Chance on dvd: watch it

Last night my family and I watched a movie I rented upon recommendation from a friend at church. He said it was a great movie so I made a special trip to Blockbuster and rented it. They actually had several copies and only two were in. The movie is called The Second Chance starring Michael W. Smith and Jeff Obafemi Carr. Yes, that Michael W. Smith and regardless of what you think of his music, watch the movie. What’s it about? Well, go to the website and read. You will find “Same faith. Same city. Different worlds.” Segregation Sunday in …keep reading »

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Blog bites: Warrenism Splits Church

Yes, that’s Warrenism named after Rick Warren. I wondered if anyone had used that term before so just Google it and see. When I say Warrenism splits church I am referring to a story by Suzanne Sataline in the Wall Street Journal entitled A Popular Strategy For Church Growth Splits Congregants. It was only a matter of time that the seeker driven methods get critiqued in the media, but I would not have guess that it would make the Wall Street Journal. I don’t even know if the evil theology of Calvinism has made it that big. My favorite quote …keep reading »

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Blog bites: Reformed Gangstas

Check out this rap. There are some local, metro area black reformed Christians. Mark

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Southern Baptists & the Alcohol Resolution: How?

There have been numerous bloggers writing on Resolution No. 5 On Alcohol Use in America from this years Southern Baptist Convention. The first “RESOVLED” of this resolution says, “RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Greensboro, North Carolina, June 13-14, 2006, express our total opposition to the manufacturing, advertising, distributing, and consuming of alcoholic beverages;” My question is how is total opposition to alcohol to be expressed as said above aside from urging that “no one be elected to serve as a trustee or member of any entity or committee of the Southern Baptist Convention that …keep reading »

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Lord’s Day Reflection

Last week I bought John Piper’s DVD set Blazing Grace. We’ve been watching it as a family and he really breaks down God’s glory and sovereignty in a way that my teen daughter or anyone else for that matter can understand. I mentioned it to the youth minister and he wants to borrow it when we’re finished watching it. It would be great if he ended up using it for the kids. In the first lesson Piper is telling the youth about God declaring His glory throughout creation. And how God is God centered which he touches on more in …keep reading »

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Blog Bites: The Gospel and a Baptism

I was talking with friend Frank today as we normally do when we get to actually talk. We touched on all kinds of subjects and I thought of something that I would really like to see. I explained to Frank that what I would really like to see if only once in my life time is the Gospel command followed immediately by repentance and baptism in front of the whole congregation. I could just imagine the Gospel going out from the pulpit in a Whitefield, Edwards or Spurgeon-like style. What an awesome sight just thinking of it in terms of …keep reading »

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Rome and Evangelicalism: Cults with the Same Gospel?

On a recent program of Issues, Etc. that is worth listening to host Todd Wilkin said something very interesting. The show is from Tuesday, July 25 entitled “Audio Open Lines: The Journey Home Broadcast Featuring a Roman Catholic Convert from Lutheranism”. Actually he said many true and interesting things. I want to quote one here and ask “What say you?”. He says this around 45 minutes so you can get the full context. This is in response to a caller’s question and Paul in Galatians. If I am going to call Rome a cult then I am going to have …keep reading »

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Frank Page and Alcohol Use: Heart of the Disagreement

First, I don’t believe anyone has been clearer nor dealt as exegetically with the issues in this debate in the SBC of alcohol abstinence vs. moderation than the material by ConcernedSBCer. This issue has been dealt with on this blog without using the iron fist in the lace glove technique. Brad Reynolds has quoted an article by new SBC President, Frank Page. Read the article for yourself. I don’t believe there is really anything new in it. One comment did stand out to me as I read Dr. Page’s article. I have bolded the part below. Personally, I believe that …keep reading »

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End of the Spear preliminary thoughts

There has been talk about the blog-o-sphere concerning the lead character in the new movie End of the Spear. In “real life” the actor who plays this character is a homosexual. I should say their are disagreements over whether or not a homosexual should have played this part. I just want to ask one question for those supporting a homosexual in this role. How would you feel if your favorite theologian/evangelist (i.e. Luther, Calvin, CH Spurgeon, Edwards, Knox, Wesley, Augustine, etc.) were potrayed in a biographical movie by Hugh Hefner?

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The 50 Most Influential Christians?

To my five readers. Thanks and yes, I’ve been away and have been very busy. On with it… The Church Report has put out a list entitled The 50 Most Influential Christians in America. Who are these Christians? Are they Christians? And what are they influencing in America? Let’s take a quick look at the top ten: 1. T.D. Jakes 2. Joel Osteen 3. Billy Graham 4. Rick Warren 5. Bill Hybels 6. Paul Crouch 7. Joyce Meyer 8. George W. Bush 9. James Dobson 10. Chuck Colson Very encouraging, right? Wrong! The list was made from The Church Report’s …keep reading »

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Desperate Housewives for kids

I couldn’t believe it when my wife was at the store shopping for the daughter. She was looking for something specific and I was on the phone with her. She then saw something that she just couldn’t believe. I asked her what it was and she told me about the Desperate Housewives Dirty Laundry Game that was in front of her. Looking at the online description we read: Welcome to Wisteria Lane. A neighborhood where things begin with a secret and end with a scandal. And everyone’s trying to hide their dirty laundry. So don’t bother knocking. Just open a …keep reading »

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Dr. James White vs. John Shelby Spong on homosexuality

The 2006 AOMin Cruise’s theme is Pulpit Crimes: The Criminal Mishandling of God’s Word. As usual, a day or so prior to the cruise a formal debate takes place. This year it will be Dr. White debating Bishop Spong. The debate: IS HOMOSEXUALITY COMPATIBLE WITH AUTHENTIC, BIBLICAL, ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY? will take place on November 3, 2006 at 7pm. Should be a great one!

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Grace No More

In a recent Barna Group article the title One-Quarter of Self-Described Born Again Adults Rely On Means Other Than Grace to Get to Heaven says it all. It’s an interesting read. The article states Overall, 80% of adults in the U.S. call themselves “Christian.” In comparison, the phrase “a committed Christian” is embraced by two out of every three adults (68%). The words “born again Christian” are adopted by just less than half of the population (45%). Why should these three descriptions have different connotations? I do understand to a point since we do use qualifiers in language. But c’mon! …keep reading »

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50 Cent 50 Shekel

One of my co-workers sent me something about Jewish hip-hop yesterday. I just remembered tonight that one of these groups was called “50 Shekel” so I googled it. Here is some of his testimony. MY TESTIMONY Note: For those of you who have already read this page before I put this note up and made the assumption that because you see that I had “1 bad experience in Orthodoxy” and that is the reason that I left “Judaism” please not that for 29 years I have been experiencing what “Judaism is” on many levels (Orthodoxy to Conservative to Reform to …keep reading »

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Keeping Christ in Christmas so we can sleep in?

I just Googled “Christ out of Christmas.” With quotes I got 88 results and 1,950 without quotes. There has been much talk of companies taking Christ out of Christmas. Talk done by governments, news organizations, department stores, etc. Many of these places are replacing the Christmas tree with “Holiday” tree or have rules which forbid employees from saying “Merry Christmas”. This has frustrated many Christians and been deemed unfair. I don’t really like it either, but it’s not as if these organizations actually had Christ in Christmas as it were. He’s been missing as the center of attention for quite …keep reading »

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How not to disagree with your pastor. Even if he is WoF.

Apparently one guy in the church service didn’t like what Billy Joe Daugherty had top say so he punched him. I was watching Fox News and saw this story. So far I have not come across a reason as to why Daugherty was attacked. Well see…story below. Caught on Tape: Pastor Attacked During Church Service Ouch! It’s an alter call one pastor won’t soon forget. A man attacked his pastor in the middle of a church service – and it was all caught on tape! Pastor Billy Joe Daugherty was standing in front of a prayer group in Tulsa when …keep reading »

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Purpose driven crystal meth?

Earlier this year Brian Nichols was in custody at the courthouse in downtown Atlanta and about to go to trial on rape charges. Nichols got free, killed four people and escaped. He ran to a suburb and ended up at Ashley Smith’s apartment. Smith talked him into giving himself up and allegedly used Rick Warren’s book The Purpose Drive Life to get through to him. A couple of excerpts: For some reason, the one with the gun untied her and let her go get the book, and like a kid sharing something newly discovered, Ashley ran and got The Purpose …keep reading »

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Chaplain suspended for sharing the Gospel

The Washington Nationals suspended a volunteer chaplain and distributed an apology from outfielder Ryan Church yesterday, two days after Church was quoted in a front-page Post article as suggesting that Jews are headed for eternal damnation. Note the first paragraph, “suggesting that Jews are headed for eternal damnation.” And the problamatic issue as reported in the same article: An article in Sunday’s paper about Baseball Chapel quoted Church as saying that he had turned to Moeller for advice about his former girlfriend, who was Jewish. “I said, like, Jewish people, they don’t believe in Jesus. Does that mean they’re doomed? …keep reading »

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SBTS, Mohler & Moore: Alcohol &

First, I want to thank my good friend Russ for pointing me to this issue over at Steve McCoy’s blog. And thank you, Steve and all the others for the good and brotherly insight and engagment on this issue. Dr. Russ Moore opens with a wonderful prayer and thanks all for being there and being part of the forum. He talks about the importance of the issue with which I agree. He starts off positioning the issue from the cultural perspective and questioning how we should best handle alcohol. He touches on the effects alcohol has on today’s culture and …keep reading »

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The report is that the White vs. Crossan debate went well.

No, unfortunately I wasn’t there and nor was I able to go on the cruise this year. James White briefly mentioned the debate on his blog and a few others commented on it in #prosapologian. During last night’s debate Dr. White told Dr. Crossan that he’d make a great Calvinist. I heard the expression on Crossan’s face was priceless. Only for Crossan to go on to say, “”I don’t think I’ve ever been called that before.” Reports are that all went better than planned from the Christian perspective of James White’s side. It seems that Dr. Crossan had not been …keep reading »

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The Albert Mohler Program

I listened to The Albert Mohler Program episode entitled The Pope: Taking the Measure of the Man. This is just a part of the program where he answers a caller’s question about the Pope’s salvation. Mohler said some interesting things and did not sacrifice the truth in order to be politically correct. Dr. Mohler said that we are justified by faith alone and not faith plus works or anything else. And that the only righteousness that will save you is the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ. While defending sola fide he also said that we don’t believe we are saved …keep reading »

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Ravi Zacharias at the Mormon Tabernacle?

This past weekend Zacharias spoke at the Mormon Tabernacle. It was a joint effort together with Greg Johnson’s Stand Together Ministries. I don’t know a whole lot about this ministry, but from what I’ve read it seems too “ecumenical” towards Mormons if there can be such a thing from the Christian perspective. So far the only article I have found on this past weekend is from the Salt Lake Tribune. I hope to get a copy of Ravi’s presentations once available. As the article states this is the first time in 105yrs. that someone other than a Mormon spoke at …keep reading »

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CRI, Roman Catholics and Salvation

Hank Hanegraaff recently wrote an article entitled Catholics and Salvation. Whenever I hear Hank or CRI talk about Roman Catholics I am reminded of the debate I have between Dr. Bob Morey and Elliot Miller called The Ecumenical Debate. Elliot Miller was and maybe still is (I don’t know) the editor-in-chief of The Christian Research Journal which is CRI’s magazine. Dr. Morey is a Reformed Protestant who can be found at http://www.faithdefenders.com/. Dr. Morey’s position was (is) that Rome is a false church with true teachings and Miller took the opposite position. It’s an interesting debate and Morey really came …keep reading »

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40 Days of a new Reformation?

During Rick Warren’s recent appearance on the Today Show he made the following statement. “I believe that we are possibly on the verge of a New Reformation in Christianity and another Great Awakening in our nation,” said Warren. “The signs are everywhere, including the popularity of this book.” Interesting that the popularity of Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life (PDL) is our gauging of whether or not a “new Reformation” is coming. I would prefer a resurgence of something like an increase Bible sales and theology books if we were to use books to gauge a new Reformation. I guess since …keep reading »

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Church History

Recently, I have been thinking about the role that Church History plays in Biblical authority, sola scripture, etc. And also, how do the classic creeds and confessions of Christianity play into this. In the January issue of the Reformed Baptist Theological Review there was a great article by Sam Waldron entitled The Meaning of Sola Fida for Luther. Recent discussions among Christians on the doctrine of justification by faith alone are numerous, which is a good thing, and this article was very interesting. I would like to reproduce a section here from Mr. Waldron’s article. “Church History is not able …keep reading »

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Morning has broken

I listened to a couple songs from Derek Webb’s new House CD today on the way to work. This CD is several of his songs with a few previously unreleased which are recorded live in front of small “house” audiences. Listening to Derek introduce his previously unreleased song I Repent was interesting. I listened to the song and reflected. The man has a way with words. Then, I listened to Derek talk about Wedding Dress and how the song speaks to how unworthy he is and how he struggles to believe. That song is something else. I know a lot …keep reading »

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Dan and Tom’s “excessive” adventures

June 9, 2004 — DAN Rather and Tom Brokaw work for different networks but agree one thing — coverage of Ronald Reagan’s death has been excessive, they say. Well, what constitutes excessive? Now there may be a time when the coverage of Mr. Reagan’s untimely death becomes excessive. Who knows?! However, at the moment, it’s not even been a week since the gentleman has passed so how about a little more respect? I don’t care if you agree or disagree with his ideologies and/or politics. A few examples of what should be deemed as “excessive” media coverage was the OJ …keep reading »

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Random babble

Update: If you happen upon this page please see the blog relaunch and redesign post for an update – Blog Relaunch With Thesis DIY Theme. As I was thinking of a name for the blog I asked the folks I was chatting with in #prosapologian. My friend TheHinge came up with names like “TheologicalGRITS” while DrOakley mentioned something to the effect of blogging or theology “in the Georgian Outback”. Finally, I came up with what you see now – “Sweet Tea & Theology”. I first had “Iced Tea & Theology” even though I was thinking about using “Sweet Tea” instead. …keep reading »

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