Repent.

Kevin DeYoung is a terrific pastor who wrote a great piece on repentance: Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven Is at Hand.  I encourage you to read it all.  It is a key part of Jesus’ message that is so easy to leave out.

Revelation 9:20-21 “The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.”

God’s word to the peoples of the world is not only an offer of grace, nor even less simply a call to live rightly, nor even less still a promise to make all our dreams come true if we just have faith. We have not heard all that God wants to say to us unless we have heard his command to repent.

Ezekiel said “Repent and turn from your transgressions” (Ezek. 18:30). John the Baptist said “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 3:2). Jesus said “Repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). Peter said “Repent and be baptized” (Acts 2:38). And Paul said God “commands all people everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30).

Repentance has never been easy. No one likes to be told “Die to yourself. Kill that in you. Admit you are wrong and change.” That’s never been an easy sell. It’s much easier to get a crowd by leaving out the repentance part of faith, but it’s not faithful. It’s not even Christianity. Of course, there is a whole lot more to following Jesus than repentance, but it’s certainly not less. “Repent,” Jesus said, or “you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:5).

If you don’t repent, you will perish.

His section on how repentance isn’t remorse, embarrassment or apology is important, because we often confuse those things and think we’ve repented.

. . . So regret is easy, embarrassment is easy, and apology is easy. Repentance, on the other hand, is very hard and, therefore, much rarer. Repentance involves two things: a change of mind and a change of behavior.

Repentance means you change your mind. That’s what the Greek word metanoia means– a changed (meta) mind (noia).

You change your mind about yourself: “I am not fundamentally a good person deep down. I am not the center of the universe. I am not the king of the world or even my life.”

You change your mind about sin: “I am responsible for my actions. My past hurts do not excuse my present failings. My offenses against God and against others are not trivial. I do not live or think or feel as I should.”

And you change your mind about God: “He is trustworthy. His word is sure. He is able to forgive and to save. I believe in his Son, Jesus Christ. I owe him my life and my allegiance. He is my King and my Sovereign, and he wants what is best for me. I believe it!”

Repentance is hard because changing someone’s mind is hard. In fact, when we’re dealing with spiritual matters of the heart, God’s the only one who can really change your mind. People are simply not predisposed to say “I was wrong! I was wrong about God and about myself. My whole way of looking at the world has been in error. I want to change.” That’s repentance. And it’s amazing when it happens.

. . .

Repentance also involves a change of behavior. It’s like a train conductor driving his train down the tracks straight for the side of a mountain. It’s one thing for him to realize and admit that his train his going in the wrong direction. It’s another thing to stop the train and it get it going in the opposite direction.

. . .

If we preach a “gospel” with no call to repentance we are preaching something other than the apostolic gospel.

If we knowing allow unconcerned, impenitent sinners into the membership and ministry of the church, we are deceiving their souls and putting ours at risk as well.

If we think people can find a Savior without forsaking their sin, we do not know what sort of Savior Jesus Christ is.

There are few things more important in life than repentance. So important, that Revelation, and the gospels, and the epistles, and the Old Testament make clear that you don’t go to heaven without it.

Is Christianity too narrow?

Shouldn’t there be other ways for God to save the world?  John recently asked if there were Too few means to salvation?

One common complaint against Christianity is the doctrine of exclusivism.  The teaching that there is only one true God and only one true religion is something some people just find objectionable.  Whether they find this to be arrogant, narrow-minded, elitist, or worse; they think the idea that there is only one way to God in order to be saved is distasteful.  But what if Jesus wasn’t the only way and there were more than one way to salvation?  How many would be sufficient?

It is a logical question to ask, especially in our culture.  Even many of those filling church pews each week sit in judgment of God and his word and think that the truth that Jesus is the only way to salvation is too restrictive (because there are “only” 100+ passages affirming that truth).  They are ironically exclusive in demanding that others be inclusive.

And of course, if Jesus isn’t the only way then He isn’t a way at all.  If Christianity — and Jesus himself — claimed that He was the exclusive way to salvation, then if even one other religion is correct then Christianity is false.  Those who claim the name of Christ while saying that other paths can lead to salvation should reconsider their views.

It is hard to imagine something more obvious than this: You must meet the creator of the universe on his terms, not yours. He starts off perfectly fair, giving all what they deserve. Then He becomes extremely unfair by offering grace to those who accept the sacrifice made on their behalf.

God is completely inclusive in the sense of offering salvation and forgiveness to all who come to him on his terms. Any type of sinner, any age, any culture, any gender, etc. is welcomed.

God is completely exclusive in that if you reject his terms then He will reject you.

1 John 5:11-12 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

Complaining that there is only one way to salvation is the height of ingratitude and another symptom of Romans 1-style rebellion and suppressing the truth in unrighteousness. If God offered two ways, then people would complain that there aren’t three, and so on.

Just get on your knees and thank him that there is a way at all!

One of the commenters at the link said this:

Of course, it is difficult enough to exonerate god for the behavior of god (such as described in the Bible).

He expressed the typically incoherent thoughts of atheists. They insist on the fantasy that the universe came into being without a cause, that life came from non-life, that life evolved to caterpillar/butterflies, elephants, humans, etc. and that there is no ultimate accountability for your actions. And then they can’t go three sentences without making moral judgments! If they were slightly consistent with their worldview they’d “know” that Darwinian evolution was the sole cause for all religions, including Christianity and my conversion from atheism to the belief in the evidence for the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. So why are they critical of the products of evolution? Why do they make moral judgments when they would “know” that there is no such thing as universal morality that and that we would agree with or even care about their standards? These Romans 1 poster children tip their hands at every turn.

Romans 1:18–20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

More bad news: You’ll be judged on the standard of Jesus, not by comparing your best traits to your neighbor’s worst traits. All your deepest, darkest secrets will be brought to light and judged by a holy and perfect God.

Romans 2:15-16 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

It is foolish and rebellious to think that you get to define whether God exists and what He must be like. Repent and believe while you still have time. Eternity is a mighty long time to suffer for your foolish pride. Seek God on his incredibly gracious terms and not only will your past, present and future sins be completely forgiven, but you will have the righteousness of Christ imputed to you.

Jesus — fully human and fully divine — came to live the perfect life in your place and to die for your sins.  That is worth celebrating.

Paul vs. Jesus? Not exactly.

A favorite updated for your reading pleasure.

A thread over at the false gospel-preaching Sojourners Blog had multiple accusations against a commenter about whether Jesus and Paul taught the same Gospel, saying things like:

. . . the question of whether the Gospel according to Paul agrees with the Gospel according to Jesus seem largely ignored.

A commenter there referred to someone quoting Paul as a “Paulian” instead of a “Christian” and a commenter here literally said that “Jesus trumps Paul.”  Another one kept saying that “Paul didn’t know about committed same-sex relationships,” as if the Holy Spirit didn’t know either or wasn’t involved in the writings.  And there have been whole TV shows and analyses about the alleged differences between Jesus and Paul.  But is this really the case?

The “Jesus vs. Paul” debate is what is known as a false dichotomy, or a false dilemma.  It implies that you have to choose one side or the other, when there are actually other options.  Please consider this:

1. Jesus is God.  The Bible is the word of God.  Therefore, it is all the word of Jesus.  The original writings turned out just like He wanted them to, including Paul’s letters.

2. The “red letters” (direct quotes of Jesus sometimes printed in red ink) carry no more authority than any of the other verses, let alone the ~3,000 verses saying, “God said,” “The word of the Lord came to me,” etc.

3. Roughly 10% of the “red letters” quoted the “black letters.”  Jesus unapologetically and frequently quoted from the Old Testament, including the most controversial parts such as Adam and Eve, Noah, Jonah and Sodom and Gomorrah.

4. Peter referred to Paul’s writings as scripture.

5. None of the people making this argument seem to question what Luke wrote in his Gospel, so why do they question what Luke documented about Paul in the book of Acts, including his encounters with Jesus and his acceptance by the other Apostles?

6. Unless you think Paul made up his whole story — which would raise a whole new set of issues — then his claims are just as authoritative as the Gospel writers.

For example, Luke was not a direct follower of Jesus but was a careful historian and under the tutelage of Paul.  Mark leveraged Peter for his Gospel.  But Paul heard directly from Jesus.

7. Think about how much you know about the concept of grace and where that came from.  Do you really want to toss that out?

8. Jesus and Paul don’t disagree.  The clear trumps the unclear, but a Gospel writer’s presentation of Jesus’ teachings doesn’t trump Paul’s presentation of Jesus’ teachings.

9.  Much of Paul’s writings pre-date the Gospels.

So I don’t think Paul disagrees with what others documented directly and indirectly about Jesus, and even if they did you wouldn’t necessarily go with the Gospels.

Quoting Paul doesn’t make one a “Paulian” instead of a Christian, it just means you are quoting the word of God.  Don’t let anyone dismiss your claims because you quote Paul.  And be wary of those arguing against Paul.

Just quote scripture, in context.  It’s all good.

The Telephone Game and the Bible

phone.jpgMany people are familiar with the telephone game often used with kids to show the challenges and importance of clear communication.  It usually works with a message being given to one person, who has one chance to pass it along to another person, who does the same for the next person, and so on.  By the time it gets to the end the message is usually hilariously (?) garbled.

Sometimes skeptics will use the telephone game analogy to criticize the writings of the Bible, and of the Gospels in particular.  Their premise is that the message was transmitted orally for at least a couple decades (and, by their often convoluted reasoning, many decades), so of course it got changed many times before it was put to paper.

But that game is different from how the oral transmissions that make up the Bible in many key ways:

  1. The Bible wasn’t translated just one-on-one.  There were many witnesses and many people who heard and recounted the events.  People would catch errors instantly.
  2. They didn’t get just one try.  In the telephone game you only get one chance, but in real life – and especially with the New Testament – Jesus probably gave the same message many times, and people repeated it many times with overlapping audiences.  Again, errors would be caught quickly.
  3. Transmitters were well trained in memorizing stories.  People in that culture – especially Jewish men – were trained to memorize things well.  Many Muslims memorize the whole Koran even in our times.
  4. The message being transmitted wasn’t insignificant.  These people thought they had the words of life, and they worked hard to communicate it carefully.  And they often risked their lives to communicate this message. A good analogy I heard was that if a group of cancer patients went to hear someone describe how they could be cured, they would be inclined to pay close attention and to collectively document the information accurately.
  5. The New Testament writers had the benefit of the Holy Spirit to guide them.  I don’t think the Holy Spirit is actively involved in too many instances of the regular telephone game.
  6. Paul’s letters and others were firsthand accounts of events, so no oral tradition was involved.  And we can be highly confident that the original writings were accurately transmitted to us.

A more detailed perspective is available here.

I was surprised to see an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies note that he actually uses this game to teach college students about the Gospels (a link came to my site from his blog via the “related posts” section).  I didn’t realize his background before my first comment, then read more after he responded.  Here’s one of my replies (his words are in italics):

—–

I’ve used the telephone game to teach the gospels a number of times, but it troubles me.

A college prof thinks that is a good way to teach anything? Sad.

On the one hand, of course teaching the gospels by playing the telephone game makes perfect sense: what we have in the New Testament today does not reflect what actually happened in 0 to 35 C.E.

Hmmm . . . if you know what “really” happened perhaps you could enlighten us as to what that was and how you “know” it.

Second, even after they were written down, the stories were copied by scribes who altered the text—textual transmission is just as subject to changes as oral transmission.

False. Even pagan skeptics like Bart Ehrman concede that we know with > 99% confidence what the originals said. The system works, that’s why most Bibles footnote that the ending of Mark and the story of the woman at the well were not in the earliest manuscripts.

Ehrman just makes up a new rule that says that if every copy wasn’t perfect then the originals couldn’t have been inspired (we call that “making God in your own image”).

If you take the two most divergent manuscript streams you still get the same thing: Orthodox Christianity.

However, it is worth nothing that textual transmission may leave alternate editions that permit comparison—to my knowledge historians won’t be able to compare existing texts to oral tellings until they have time machines.

Of course. That’s why you should always assume the opposite of anything ever recorded by anyone.

One can illustrate this point by playing the telephone game: read just a single verse from one of the gospels and have the students pass the message up and down the rows by whispering it to one other.

As noted in my first comment, that is not how the Gospels were transmitted. In theory, you could go to a professor of religious studies and they’d enlighten you as to how it really worked.

So, for instance, we shouldn’t read the gospel of Matthew with an eye to the extent to which it preserves the original message of Jesus, but with an eye to the problems his community was facing some 40 to 60 years after Jesus died, and how he hoped to resolve those problems by writing up some new propaganda.

First, that dating is all wrong. It is easy to demonstrate that the most logical case for the NT datings has the Gospels being written before 70 A.D.

Second, it is hard to imagine someone actually reading the Gospels and coming to that conclusion. Over 25% of the Gospels focus on the Passion Week. How does that represent some solution to an unrelated problem?

The problem is that we are sinners in need of a Savior and Jesus is that Savior. His death on the cross paid the price for us.

You might want to trade in the religious studies gig for fiction writing.

Best. Playlist. Ever.

I’ve really enjoyed a new Bible playlist on a my iPhone.  It took some time to set up but it was worth it.  It covers the entire Bible in 150 days (with Proverbs repeating every 30 days — one chapter a day except for the first day, which has two).  It includes a variety of areas each day.  It is roughly 36 minutes per day, which is about the length of my morning commute.

Each day has:

  • 1 chapter of Proverbs
  • 1 Psalm
  • 4-5 chapters of the Old Testament (I used the chronological version)
  • 1-2 chapters of the New Testament (basically in order, though I spread the Gospels out so it has Matthew, then Acts, then some letters, then Mark, then some letters, etc. and ends up with John)

For example, day 1 had chapters 1-9 below, day 2 had 10-17, etc.  To state the obvious, you could still enjoy the variety even if you don’t listen to 8-9 chapters in one day.

itune

You can get free audio Bible downloads in a variety of translations at Faith Comes By Hearing.  You can also contribute to them to help get the audio Bible out in hundreds of languages around the world.  This is vital for people who can’t read.  If you ever go on a mission trip be sure to take some of their Proclaimer audio devices.

If you haven’t tried listening to the Bible, give it a try — even if it is just a chapter per day.  Redeem your commute, or your workout, or your chores, or whatever else you do!

Roundup

Obama’s Snooping Excludes Mosques, Missed Boston Bombers – This the most heinous thing of all with their un-Constitutional searches.  Just as with airport security, they deliberately avoid those most likely to be guilty.

The Art of Leading Congregational Worship — good tips.

1. If we, the congregation, can’t hear ourselves, it’s not worship. Christian worship is not a concert. . . .When the amped sound of the praise band overwhelms congregational voices, we can’t hear ourselves sing–so we lose that communal aspect of the congregation and are encouraged to effectively become “private,” passive worshipers.

2. If we, the congregation, can’t sing along, it’s not worship. … And so your virtuosity gives rise to our passivity; your creativity simply encourages our silence. And while you may be worshiping with your creativity, the same creativity actually shuts down congregational song.

Worship leaders, if you look out over the congregation and you see that we are not singing with you, something has gone wrong. Are you jamming alone up there for extended periods of time? Are you changing well-known melodies just enough to surprise us and make us hesitant to sing out, and/or adding flair that we can’t follow? Are you choosing soloistic songs with complicated melodies rather than musically simple ones designed for group singing?

False teacher spotlight: Rachel Held Evans gets a lot of play in the media posing as an evangelical Christian, but she is anything but.  I don’t care for any false teachers, but I at least prefer those who don’t pretend to be on our side.  Via A Response to Rachel Held Evans on the Today Show | Denny Burk (read it all to see how badly she mocks the  Bible and creates a god in her own image):

4. Redefinition of “evangelical.” Both Natalie Morales and the author identify Evans as an evangelical. I have already written about this elsewhere at length, but I will reiterate here. Evans’ definition of evangelical misses the mark on a number of points. Evans denies the inerrancy of scripture and says that “as a woman I have been nursing a secret grudge against the apostle Paul for about eight years.” As a young adult, she says that she stopped believing in the “Bible’s exclusive authority, inerrancy, perspicuity, and internal consistency.” She came to the conclusion that “the Bible wasn’t what I’d once believed it to be.” Evans has also pressed the case for inclusivism—the view that says people need not have conscious faith in Jesus Christ in order to be saved—and she rejects exclusivism. In a recent post, she defines the gospel without reference to the death and resurrection of Jesus and adopts the reductionism of counterimperial interpreters who say that the “good news” is “Jesus is Lord and Caesar is not.” She supports gay marriage, and she has served communion to practicing homosexuals. We could go on, but that is enough to make it clear that her definition of “evangelical” is strained at best. At worse, it’s not anything close to approaching evangelical. She is not a representative of evangelical faith, despite the assumptions of the reporters at the Today Show.

The One Thing Liberals Fear You Will Do – Abandon government education.

New study: health benefits of marriage are unique to opposite-sex unions – They still aren’t equal.

Students Taught about Homosexual Foreplay Disguised As Tolerance – Oh, but they aren’t trying to indoctrinate anyone!  Right.  These people should be in jail.

An interesting thought exercise I saw on Facebook that exposes the ridiculous idea of people picking their “real” gender.

Extend the “gender identity” idea to race: imagine the outrage if someone declared their “race identity” was black or Native American and demanded, say, affirmative action in the form of scholarships, “even if it isn’t the one that matches their biological [race] at birth?”

And this as well:

Something I don’t understand: If your body actually is male and your mind says it is female, why do we assume that means there is something wrong with the body instead of something wrong with the mind?

If you have an emotional problem with your body’s gender, it seems like common sense that we need to address the emotions which contradict reality instead of the gender which is perfectly fine.
-Caleb Jones

The Last Place You Look for New Members – A great post about preaching the Gospel at funerals.  I heard someone once say they didn’t want the Gospel preached at their funeral.  I thought, “Are you kidding me?  That is the last time many of those people will think about me and what I cared about.  While I’ve got their attention I certainly want them to hear the Gospel.”

I’m learning that the Word of God is more than sufficient for every occasion, including—if not especially—funerals. This is why Paul so often declared he wasn’t ashamed of the good news, for it is God’s power unto salvation (Rom. 1:16). For timid Timothys like me, it seems a bit frightening to bring this otherworldly power and wild grace to grieving family members in a funeral service. And yet, not once has someone complained to Tim. On the contrary, even unbelievers and nominal church members appreciate and admire his courage. Perhaps people respect a potent and passionate faith more than a watery and universal hope, even if they don’t agree. And maybe they are even less inclined to so easily dismiss it on their way to the graveside service.

Stan on the “least of these” — the passage actually refers to the least of these my brothers, so it is about fellow believers, not everyone on the planet.  That doesn’t mean you can’t help non-Christians, but that isn’t what Matthew 25 is about.

I saw that misquoted dozens of times (literally) at the Leftist Sojourners’ blog this week.  And of course, these people were helping the least of these with other people’s money and they were pro-abortion (i.e., they voted Democrat and none disagreed with their unrestricted, taxpayer-funded abortion platform), which is a peculiar way to care for the “least of these.”

Gore Says Obama Needs To Get Serious On Dealing With Hotcoldwetdry

Alternate headline: Man with massive “carbon footprint” and lots of money at stake says other man with largest “carbon footprint” in the world needs to Do Something about no statistically significant warming in 15+ years.

The war on young girls: Obama administration approves Plan B morning after pill for young girls

Janice Crouse, also of CWFA, responded: “Once again, those who yell the loudest about caring about the nation’s children and youth applaud a decision to place our kids in a special interest experiment. Plan B, popularly called the ‘morning-after pill’ is a much-higher-dosage version of the regular birth control pill (which used to require a doctor’s prescription and continued doctor’s supervision). It is irresponsible to advocate over-the-counter use of these high-potency drugs, which would make them available to anyone – including those predators who exploit young girls. Mark my words, it will not be long before we see girls and women forced to purchase Plan B for their abuser to keep them and others enslaved. This is a pimp, predator, and pedophile’s dream – unlimited access to Plan B.”

She added: “This is a political decision, made by those who stand to profit financially from an action that puts ideology ahead of the nation’s girls and young women. Where is the scientific data and solid reasoning behind a decision that endangers minors?”

Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life of America also weighed in on the decision.

She told LifeNews: “President Obama is waging a War on Girls by allowing young children to get Plan B without a physician or parent’s care or knowledge. The morning after pill is a megadose of the birth-control pill, which has been categorized by the World Health Organization as a Group I carcinogen. That’s the highest possible ranking – cigarettes are also in Group I. So why are drugstores required to put cigarettes behind the counter and ask for a photo id to stop minors from purchasing them, but President Obama is now ordering the morning after pill be sold over the counter, next to candy bars and packs of gum?  This is not reproductive justice, this is child abuse.”

Just to be clear, according to the drug manufacturer, Plan B does cause abortions in some situations by preventing the implantation of a fertilized egg.

John Lennon Stopped Yoko Ono From Having Abortion of Son Sean

Equal rights!

Book recommendation: Cold-Case Christianity

Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels by J. Warner Wallace was even better than expected.  I figured it would be a good refresher on some basic apologetics, but he offered a lot fresh angles and was very interesting to read.

A few highlights  . . .

He noticed how John’s Gospel never refers to Jesus’ mother by name, and then points out how that would be logical given that Jesus asked John to take her as his mother.  He wrote the Gospel a few decades later, so it might have been odd for him to call her by her first name.

The differences between the Gospel writers made so much sense when the texts were analyzed forensically.   For example:

Mark used specific titles to describe Peter, gave him priority in the narrative, uniquely included information related to Peter, and copied Peter’s preaching outline when structuring his own gospel. These circumstantial facts support the claims of the early church fathers who identified Peter as the source of Mark’s information. By hanging on every word, we were able to construct a reasonable circumstantial case for the gospel of Mark as an eyewitness account. When combined with the testimony of the early church, this evidence becomes even more powerful.

He does a great job of annihilating the conspiracy theory angle of skeptics.

Don’t get me wrong, successful conspiracies occur every day. But they typically involve a small number of incredibly close-knit participants who are in constant contact with one another for a very short period of time without any outside pressure. That wasn’t the case for the disciples. These men and women either were involved in the greatest conspiracy of all time or were simply eyewitnesses who were telling the truth. The more I learned about conspiracies, the more the latter seemed to be the most reasonable conclusion.

As a VP of Internal Audit, one of the roles of my team is to investigate thefts and other issues, so I found the interrogation and evidence-gathering parts to be fascinating.  I have a 70 yr. old investigator who is amazing at what he does.  He is a committed Christian and will enjoy this book!

Roundup

Good news: Five reasons to believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead – it isn’t just that I love the “minimal facts” argument for explaining why Christianity is true and supportable by facts and logic, this article was actually in the Washington Post.  Hopefully it got lots of people to reconsider matters of eternal importance.

Professor Gary Habermas had the following piece in the Washington Post (of all places).  It’s not often that a politically-left leaning media outlet allows content which shines positive light onto Christianity.

(Washington Post) – I will assume nothing special about the New Testament writings whatsoever. I will use only the historical information that is accepted as historical by virtually all scholars who have studied this material today-no matter how skeptical or liberal they are. That means, for example, that I will only cite New Testament passages, ones that pass the customary skeptical standards and are recognized as such. Using only these “minimal facts,” I will still maintain that Jesus’ resurrection is the most likely explanation for what we know.

[...]

(1) Most scholars agree that Jesus’ tomb was discovered empty shortly afterwards. With almost two dozen reasons favoring this report alone, what best explains this? Other hypotheses do not account for all the data.

(2) Many eyewitnesses assert that they saw the risen Jesus, both individually and in groups. Even apart from the Gospels, we can establish this totally from just two passages in Paul’s “undisputed writings”:

–Paul told the Corinthians that he had received the Gospel resurrection report from others (1 Corinthians 15:1-8).

–The consensus critical view is that Paul probably obtained this material in Jerusalem, when he visited the eyewitness apostles Peter and James, the brother of Jesus (Galatians 1:18-24).

–Paul returned to Jerusalem 14 years later and specifically checked out the nature of the Gospel message, again with eyewitnesses Peter, James, and now John (Galatians 2:1-10).

–All the apostles agreed that Jesus appeared to them after his death (1 Corinthians 15:11).

Ten Q&A on Same-Sex Marriage Canards and Evasions – this is a pithy yet thorough list.  You mainly need the first three.

1. What’s love got to do with it?

Nothing.  Romanticizing this debate by claiming that any two people in love should have a civil right to civil marriage is a foolish distraction.  Neither judges nor legislators have any business discussing “affection” as a factor in defining civil marriage.  Clergy who bless marriages have a legitimate and separate role in discerning the internal dynamics of couples.  But not the state.

2. What is the state’s interest in marriage?

First, to recognize the union that produces the state’s citizens.  Second, to encourage those who sire and bear the citizens to take responsibility for rearing them together.  That’s all, folks.  Proponents of genderless marriage often answer this question with non sequiturs such as property rights (irrelevant), civil rights (extraneous to the question), and “love and stability” (not a function of state involvement).

3.  Why should state interest in marriage be about children if not all marriages produce children?

It’s thoroughly irrelevant that many heterosexual couples lack children because of intent, infertility, age, or health.  Claiming that this is relevant to the case for genderless marriage suggests the “fallacy of composition“: inferring that something must be true of the whole from the fact that it is true of some part of the whole.  Citizens of the state can exist only through the female-male union, no matter how the union occurs — whether traditionally, artificially, or in a petri dish.  That’s the only fact that provides any grounds for state interest in marriage.

And here’s a great summary:

It violates the rights of children by serving to deprive them deliberately of biological parents.  It violates everybody’s civil right to religious freedom by setting up a collision course in which conscience protections will be trumped by a nonsensical legal definition of marriage.  It violates our freedom of association by removing the buffer zone of family (and all mediating institutions) that insulate all individuals in society from abuses of state power.  It violates freedom of expression by requiring Orwellian Newspeak of everyone, especially those accused of hate for objecting to same-sex marriage.

In the end, the primary beneficiary of this social experiment is a tyrannical minority hell-bent on controlling every aspect of our lives and eventually dictating all of our personal relationships.

From the “This is a piece from the Onion, right?” category, Hiring Lifeguards Who Can’t Swim in the Name of Diversity:

More than 90 percent of the students at Alhambra High are black, Latino or Asian. On a recruiting effort there over the winter, the city’s Melissa Boyle tells students she’s not looking for strong swimmers. Like many under-resourced schools, Alhambra doesn’t have a swim team.

“We will work with you in your swimming abilities,” Boyle says.

Vandalism of pro-life display at The Ohio State University:

Pretty bizarre.  So she is apparently only for abortions by mothers who are poor or on drugs and she thinks middle class and above drug-free people shouldn’t be able to have abortions.  That’s an interesting branch of fiscal conservatism!  My guess is that she’s really pro-abortion all the way, including taxpayer-funded abortions without restriction, but she’s just posing as caring for the poor.

‘Billions and Billions and Billions’: Biden Has No Comment on Fisker Failure – Just one more reason we need to let the free market pick the winners and losers.

“This is seed money that will return back to the American consumer in billions and billions and billions of dollars of good new jobs.”
– Joe Biden, Oct. 27, 2009

“With the help of UAW lobbying efforts for advanced vehicle manufacturing and federal dollars, the plant will become a production facility for Fisker Automotive, a new American car company that plans to produce 100,000 electric hybrid vehicles per year by 2014.
“GM’s former Wilmington [Delaware] assembly plant was selected for its primary global production facility based on its size, production capacity, access to shipping ports and rail lines, and skilled workforce.”
– United Auto Workers, February 2010

“Once again, the American public lost when the Obama administration attempted to pick ‘winners and losers’ in the free market. Today the electric car company Fisker Automotive, which received nearly $200 million in taxpayer money, is laying off three-fourths of its U.S. workers.”
– Sarah Palin, April 5, 2013

I started to read The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire based on the recommendation of the Bumbling Genius.  But after the most excellent summary on Winging It maybe I don’t need to . . .

In Volume 1, Chapter 9, Gibbon describes for us what he calls “barbarians”. What makes a “barbarian”? He starts with the premise that they are not masters of letters. Without a firm grasp on the written word, he argues, they cannot learn and pass that learning on to subsequent generations. Written communication is key. And I look at the texting and facebooking and Twitter stuff that today’s younger generation is using and ask myself, “Do they have a firm grasp on the written word?” The number of times I see their own generation ask, “What are you talking about?” suggests that they don’t. But he goes on with a very interesting next characteristic. He says that barbarians are lazy and yet energetic. Huh? Well, he says, they aren’t really interested in doing any industrious work, but they are inexhaustible in their efforts to find the next big sensation. They lived for big experiences. You know, like extreme sports. Oh, wait, no, that’s our time. Oh, wait … could it be that we are headed toward being barbarians in Gibbon’s view?

Gibbon argues that Rome fell for a few basic reasons. First, they were strong as long as they had wars to fight and places to conquer and enemies to subdue. They got soft when they got rich and comfortable. Gibbon argues that, just as humans live under a “no pain, no gain” sentence, so also do civilizations. Second, in their rich and comfortable decline, they experienced moral decline. They indulged every whim, outsourced their work to other places (yes, that’s one of his observations), surrendered any sense of civic virtue, and pursued pleasure as the ultimate good. Now if that doesn’t describe America, I don’t know what does.

Ben Carson: White Liberals Are Pretty Darned Racist – Yep.  Get back on the plantation!  If you don’t agree with the White Liberals then you are obviously an Uncle Tom.  Haven’t you seen how well our policies have worked out in Detroit?

(Mediaite) On his radio show last night, Mark Levin had on newfound conservative “hero” Dr. Ben Carson to discuss all the lashings he’s received from the “left-wing media” over his views on gay marriage and religion. While discussing his being a black conservative, Carson told Levin that, in his experience, white liberals are the “most racist people there are.”

“They need to shut me up, they need to delegitimize me,” Carson told the radio host while explaining why he believes the media has scorned him for lumping homosexuality in with unsavory sexual acts like bestiality and pedophilia.

Levin added that the doctor has been attacked by “white liberals” because he is a black conservative, to which Carson replied: “They are the most racist people there are. Because they put you in a little category, a little box. You have to think this way. How could you dare come off the plantation?”

They forgot to mention “racists.”

I grew up thinking the entire world called the grass between the sidewalk and the street the “devilstrip.” Apparently this term was unique to the NE Ohio area and especially Akron.

“Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels”

Update: This is no longer free, but still a great read!

Go to Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels to get a free Kindle version.  Even if you don’t have a Kindle you can read it on your PC or tablet.  Whether you are a skeptic or a believer you should study this topic.

Go now!  I’ll wait here.

Written by an L. A. County homicide detective and former atheist, Cold-Case Christianity examines the claims of the New Testament using the skills and strategies of a hard-to-convince criminal investigator.

Christianity could be defined as a “cold case”: it makes a claim about an event from the distant past for which there is little forensic evidence. In Cold-Case Christianity, J. Warner Wallace uses his nationally recognized skills as a homicide detective to look at the evidence and eyewitnesses behind Christian beliefs. Including gripping stories from his career and the visual techniques he developed in the courtroom, Wallace uses illustration to examine the powerful evidence that validates the claims of Christianity.

A unique apologetic that speaks to readers’ intense interest in detective stories, Cold-Case Christianity inspires readers to have confidence in Christ as it prepares them to articulate the case for Christianity.

The book was even better than I expected it would be.  I figured it would be a good refresher on some basic apologetics, but he offered a lot fresh angles and was very interesting to read.

A few highlights  . . .

He noticed how John’s Gospel never refers to Jesus’ mother by name, and then points out how that would be logical given that Jesus asked John to take her as his mother.  He wrote the Gospel a few decades later, so it might have been odd for him to call her by her first name.

The differences between the Gospel writers made so much sense when the texts were analyzed forensically.   For example:

Mark used specific titles to describe Peter, gave him priority in the narrative, uniquely included information related to Peter, and copied Peter’s preaching outline when structuring his own gospel. These circumstantial facts support the claims of the early church fathers who identified Peter as the source of Mark’s information. By hanging on every word, we were able to construct a reasonable circumstantial case for the gospel of Mark as an eyewitness account. When combined with the testimony of the early church, this evidence becomes even more powerful.

He does a great job of annihilating the conspiracy theory angle of skeptics.

Don’t get me wrong, successful conspiracies occur every day. But they typically involve a small number of incredibly close-knit participants who are in constant contact with one another for a very short period of time without any outside pressure. That wasn’t the case for the disciples. These men and women either were involved in the greatest conspiracy of all time or were simply eyewitnesses who were telling the truth. The more I learned about conspiracies, the more the latter seemed to be the most reasonable conclusion.

As a VP of Internal Audit, one of the roles of my team is to investigate thefts and other issues, so I found the interrogation and evidence-gathering parts to be fascinating.

The “social gospel” vs. the real Gospel

False teachers must not read the Bible, or they are so jaded that they pretend that they can be Leopard Theologians and just pick the spots they like.  Those who preach a “social gospel” should know that by definition they are now accursed:

Galatians 1:8–10 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

That seems pretty clear.  Preaching a gospel of one’s choosing isn’t just a little different, it is the opposite and a profoundly bad thing.  People like Jim Wallis who say that “the Gospel is all about wealth redistribution” are mocking this passage.

Yes, the real Gospel will lead to all sorts of good deeds.  But the good deeds aren’t the Gospel.  If you tell people that they must be good to be saved, that’s the bad news, not the good news, because we will always fail.  Without Christ, our good deeds are like polluted garments to God (Isaiah 64:6).

The real Gospel is Jesus dying for our sins and rising from the dead.  If we focus on sharing that, then transformed lives and cultures will follow and you’ll get all sorts of authentically good deeds.

1 Corinthians 15:1–11 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

So if you really want to improve the world, share the real Gospel.

Bait & switch = bad idea. Forgetting to switch = really bad idea.

Worldly thinking has led countless churches to avoid many truths of scripture lest they offend non-believing visitors.  And when the churches grow to serve the larger numbers they get caught in a trap of their own making.  If they shift to focus on the entire Bible, they will lose members.  Then they won’t be able to keep the doors open.  That forces them to rationalize continued diluted or false messages.

The Bible teaches that we should not use trickery to share the Gospel.

1 Thessalonians 2:1-6 You know, brothers, that our visit to you was not a failure. We had previously suffered and been insulted in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in spite of strong opposition. For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts. You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed—God is our witness. We were not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else.

Sadly, many churches water down the Gospel to avoid offending people.  They just want to get them in the door and plan to get around to the whole truth later.

Of course, we don’t want to add to the offense of the Gospel, but we shouldn’t distort it to avoid the legitimate offense.

But as bad as the bait & switch strategy is, the bigger problem is that the churches using this strategy forgot to make the switch.  And they used the bait for so long that they now think that is all they need to do.  They never get around to sharing the whole Gospel.  If your message never offends (in the appropriate Biblical sense) then you are preaching the wrong message (Hello, is Joel there?).

We shouldn’t dilute the message just to grow the numbers.  Hey, if youth groups offered free beer & p*rnography that would probably increase attendance, but are those the numbers that count?

And consider the mainline churches that continue to see declining figures.  The more “inclusive” they are the smaller they get.  They offend the world less, I suppose, but they have nothing left to offer the world, either.

I think it exhibits a lack of faith when we don’t trust God enough to preach his word in an undiluted fashion.  Does He really need us to edit it for him?

Consider this from a friend’s Facebook page:

‎The greatest revival in history took place among the most wicked people in history- the Ninevites. The message they heard was destruction was coming in forty days. Jonah impacted the whole city with this message and they responded by repenting. He had mega growth (in less than 40 days) without using mega growth methods. Here is a biblical model that worked with no problems -100% response. Jonah didn’t want to see these results but God did. Unless we learn the principle that God has not called us to be a success, but to be faithful to his message we will never learn the real meaning of our being God’s servants.

That can’t be right. What the people need is theater-style seating, entertainment and to be told how swell they are.

It is sad that people just think of the great fish when they think of Jonah, but there is so much more to that book. A reluctant preacher saying the real words of God means infinitely more than man’s “wisdom” in how to reach people.  No props, no gimmicks, no pandering, no appealing to people’s “felt needs” (unless that it is the felt need to be forgiven of one’s sins against a perfect and holy God).

Don’t distort the Gospel in an attempt to gain the whole world yet forfeit your soul.

High pressure sales tactics or “take it or leave it?”

I’m not saying it is all one or the other, but what do you think the biblical model of sharing the Gospel is more like?

A. High pressure sales tactics
B. Take it or leave it

I submit that it is more like “B.”  Of course we pray for people and earnestly hope for their salvation, but ultimately it is between them and God.  We’re on the Great Commission, not the paid commission.

When Jesus encounters the rich young ruler and tells him what he must do to attain eternal life, the man walks away sadly.  Then Jesus runs and tackles him and preaches to him some more.

Oh, wait, that last part never happened.  The man walked away and we never hear of him again, even though Jesus loved him.

And consider Paul’s journeys.  While he sometimes stayed in the same place for a while, the typical model seemed to be: Preach, get beat up, leave.  Or, at best:

Acts 17: 32-24 Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, “We will hear you again about this.” So Paul went out from their midst. But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them.

On the flip side, the book of Hebrews does say three times that:

So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice,  do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert . . .

So there is nothing wrong with conveying some sense of urgency to the appeal.

But some evangelism models involve pressuring people to decide, and they border on manipulation — or they jump across the border.  As the saying goes, if I can manipulate people into professing belief based on worldly techniques then someone else can talk them out of it.  And Satan is smarter than I am.  False conversions harm the person and the church.

Consider how few of the typical “converts” of revivals stick around:

 In the Assembly of God’s 1990s “Decade of Harvest,” out of the 3.5 million supposedly converted, they showed a net gain of only 5 new attenders for every 100 recorded professions. When one considers all of our supposed converts, including those who refuse to follow Christ in baptism and who never join our churches, our numbers are much the same. Doesn’t anybody see that there is a serious problem here?

I want to point people to the Bible and let the Holy Spirit do the work.  I reflexively work in key themes to spiritual conversations and am glad to unflinchingly affirm doctrines about the authority and accuracy of the Bible, the divinity and exclusivity of Jesus, the existence of Hell, the minimal facts, etc.  But it is all with an aim to get them to read for themselves.  I trust God to do what He promised:

Isaiah 55:10-11 For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

I also think that in terms of how the world views the church we come across as much more confident in our views if we just lay them out in a rational way instead of using emotional tricks.  People are bombarded with ads and gimmicks and we shouldn’t be a part of that.  2 Corinthians 4:1-6 explains this well:

Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

No tricks or high pressure, just sharing the truth in love.  Only God can make spiritually dead people alive.  We just want to be obedient to his model.

Finally, there are the pearl holding / dust shaking teachings of Jesus.  He told us not to press the issue with those who aren’t interested.  We need to be bold but also to trust his timing.

If you have the gift of evangelism, then get out and preach.  If you don’t, then be ready to fulfill your jobs as apologists and ambassadors to share the truth in a winsome way to a world that desperately needs it. Don’t sugarcoat the truth, but don’t feel the need to win every soul you encounter.  You are being obedient to God regardless of whether the person converts or not.  

Said another way, if you are an Arminian then high pressure techniques are counterproductive.  If you are Reformed, then they are unnecessary.

Spread the Gospel in persecuted countries and help widows and orphans at the same time

One of our favorite organizations is International Cooperating Ministries, a “non-profit, trans-denominational Christian organization that works toward the mission of nurturing believers and assisting church growth worldwide. With our partners, we leverage simple church growth principles to see our vision of growth in the faith of individual believers, the number of people within each church, and the number of churches within a nation-truly actualizing Christ’s commission to “make disciples of all nations!””

They primarily build churches (roughly $8,000 each) and church/orphanages (roughly $25,000).  The church/orphanages are exciting projects because they not only help the local church and the orphans, but the widows who take care of the orphans as well.  And of course they share the Gospel.  Almost sounds kinda biblical . . .

Here is their basic model:

When a church is built in a poor village, it more than stands out among the surrounding mud and thatch huts … it shines!  And that’s just the beginning of the community’s transformation when a new church is opened…

• Worshippers abandon the shady tree that previously served as their Sunday sanctuary.

• Curiosity draws unbelievers to the new church and the congregation doubles.

• Weeknight small group Bible studies are started using the Mini Bible College.

• Church members share their faith with neighbors, citing God’s miraculous provision of a beautiful new church.

• Weekdays, the building is filled with eager children who now have a school.

• The village leader holds community council meetings in the place where Christians worship every Sunday.

• Visiting doctors and nurses use the church as a temporary medical clinic during their humanitarian missions.

Soon, the pastor is raising up young leaders and they each start new churches in neighboring villages where they meet under a tree – and the whole process starts over again.

When a church is built in a poor village, it more than changes lives, it transforms a community … and reaches a nation!

The transformation begins . . . with your help!

They use a “web” approach, so that each church that receives a building needs to help 5 other churches start in their vicinity.

They offer a “mini-Bible college” to help the churches have sound doctrine.

One of the things I like about them is that their administrative costs are paid for by a foundation, so 100% of what you give goes straight to the projects.

They build churches around the world, including many countries where persecution is rampant.

Check out their web site and see what you think.  You might want to donate or get a group to raise funds for a church.  Perhaps you’ve been seriously blessed and could pay for a whole church yourself!  Think about that for a while.  It is a great way to encourage other believers, help widows and orphans, and spread the Gospel!  Who knows, you might get to go visit them someday in this life, but if you are a believer you can be sure you’ll catch up with them in Heaven someday.

As Jesus said, where your treasure is there your heart will be also.  When you donate to projects around the world your heart will go there as well.

Integrated apologetics

I’m a big fan of apologetics (the defense of the Christian faith), but I don’t think we should always treat it as a separate enterprise.  It is good to have whole sessions on apologetics, especially because it is so often ignored in churches, and I’m a huge fan of sites like Apologetics315 and people like the Wintery Knight.  But I prefer to integrate it into most of my lessons so people can grasp the basics and see that it is part of the fabric of our message.

We may not all have the job of evangelist, but as 1 Peter 3:15-16 notes, all Christians are to be apologists.

but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.

But that doesn’t mean apologetics can’t be a regular part of our lessons and sermons.  For example, when teaching anything in church, or even in general conversations as appropriate, I aim to reflexively weave in basic apologetic themes.

  • The minimal facts: “Virtually all historians agree on key facts about Jesus and his followers, such as Jesus death on a Roman cross, his followers’ belief that He rose from the dead, and Paul’s conversion and his authorship of key books attributed to him such as Romans.  We have good reasons to infer that Jesus rising from the dead is the best explanation for these facts.”
  • Distinctions about biblical faith: We don’t have blind faith; we have a faith grounded in evidence.  See how the Gospel was shared in the book of Acts.  Over and over it was based on references to Jesus’ resurrection, not appeals to believe without evidence or reason.”
  • The robust transmission process of the texts: “Even atheist textual critics will concede that we know what the original writings of the Bible said to 99%+ accuracy, and 100% on major doctrines.”
  • Our simple claim: “The original writings of the Bible turned out exactly the way God and the writers wanted them to.  Yes, men can make mistakes, but they don’t always make mistakes.  Our biblical claim is that God directed the process.”  You can go on at length about the Bible being inerrant, infallible and inspired — and I agree with all of those — but I’ve found that the simple summation gets people to realize that if God can do anything He can surely communicate his original texts to us the way He wanted to.

Note how simple and brief those are.  They can lead to deeper conversations, but those alone can help change people from the errant “blind faith” mindset and get them to think more carefully about apologetics.

I do the same thing with the basic Gospel message.  No matter what I’m teaching, I try to note how we are saved by grace, through faith, and not by works.  This needs to be a constant reminder.

I urge you to weave these simple apologetic and Gospel concepts into your lessons and conversations.  Even if it doesn’t lead the hearers to deeper apologetics studies, at least they will have clear reminders of the basics and will hopefully keep them from saying incorrect things.

What simple themes do you seek to work into lessons and conversations?

Where do they get these things?

A theological liberal made the following comment on this massive thread:

As to the documents, I prefer the oldest and assumed to be the most authentic of the 4 gospels, Mark, from which the others drew a lot of material. It was placed second in order behind Matthew, however, by the patriarchs, in hopes that it would be less often read, and it has worked out that way. Because as you know, it ends with the execution of Jesus for threatening the state with his teachings–there is no resurrection. That part was added at a later time.

I responded with the following points.

1. Christians know that all the Gospels are authentic.

2. If the early church was trying to hide the Gospel of Mark, they would have left it out, not “hidden” it behind Matthew.

3. The resurrection is in the earliest manuscripts of Mark. The potentially late additions are verses 9-20 (just check your footnotes).

And He didn’t threaten the Roman state with his teachings.  He was brought to the Romans by the Jewish leaders.

Regarding Paul, she said:

To his credit, he never even claimed to have known Jesus, only to have had visions about him during his mysterious spasms.

Where does she get her biblical information?  Does she have documentation for her claim that the patriarchs were trying to hide Mark, or is that just groundless speculation?

It is sad that she has been so wildly misinformed. I encourage her and others to actually read what the Bible says instead of just repeating sound bites from their “pastors.”

Chuck Currie of Westar Institute breaks irony meter

False teacher Chuck “Jesus is not the only way” Currie was correct in pointing out the wrongs of those protesting Mars Hill church in Portland, but he misses the irony. See via The Mars Hill Church Portland Protest UnChristian:

About 20 protesters lined Southeast Taylor Street carrying banners and shouting obscenities as church-goers left when the service ended.

That’s business as usual for the pro-gay groups.  Emboldened by false teachers like Chuck, gay domestic terrorist groups are getting violent.  They know that politicians and police fear doing anything in response because they’ll be called “homophobes” and possibly lose their jobs.  Many gay pride parades — and presumably those that Chuck took his 6 yr. old daughters to — exhibit behavior that should result in arrests, but police look the other way.

And that:

The protesters, some of whom wore kerchiefs to cover their faces, shouted profanities at adults and children.

There could not have been a more ugly and inappropriate display.

Mars Hills Church preaches a messed up and warped version of the Gospel, no question.

LOL at false teacher Chuck calling Mars Hill’s Gospel warped just because they believe, correctly, that homosexual behavior is a sin.  Remember, Chuck is the guy who says Jesus is not the only way to salvation (despite the 100+ verses that disagree with him), the Bible is hopelessly full of errors, that Jesus is pro-abortion, etc. — and we’re supposed to care about his definition of the “real” Gospel?  (He’s part of the non-Christian Westar Institute that represents the “Jesus Seminar.”)

A quote from the newspaper:

“Shame on you bigots,” one woman yelled at worshippers as they left. “Shame on you homophobes. You’re not welcome here. You’re going to burn in hell.”

Sounds like Fred Phelps to me!  I wonder if the woman is a Democrat like Fred and Chuck?