When a “Pastor” Embraces Lunacy…

he can justify anything. Chuck Queen is a disgrace to Christendom.

This time, he attempts to make the case for challenging sound doctrine, equating it with challenging Nazism. In so doing, he puts fine preachers like John Piper in the same league as Adolph Hitler. Here is where he steps in it:

When did the church stop thinking? Constantine may have had something to do with it when he made Christianity the official religion of the empire. It was a political move to consolidate power. No longer were Christians persecuted “by” the establishment; they became part “of” the establishment. Once Christianity gained favor and cuddled up to the powers-that-be many Christians simply stopped thinking. The great irony of it: now it was too risky to think for oneself.

When the followers of Christ lived by risk and suffering, they could be free-thinkers. They were prepared for hardship, even death. But when the church started enjoying the comforts and luxuries of the culture the church became soft. No longer were they risk-takers living on the edge. They became too timid to challenge the system for fear of losing their power, place, and position. They enjoyed too much the comforts of the system.

This was the response of the majority of Christians in Germany during Hitler’s rise to power. They feared losing their place and power. Rather than take the risk, it was much easier to adjust their faith to fit the system and ignore the injustice. There were dissidents like Dietrich Bonhoeffer and others who became part of the Confessing Church movement, but the majority of Christians in Germany were complicit in one of the most pervasive domination systems in history.

I wonder how many Christians in towns like ours across the country just go along with the Christianity of their culture, afraid to rock the boat, stir up any waves, or upset their family and friends. They’re comfortable—“at ease in Zion.”

Dare to be different. Think for yourself. In reliance upon the Spirit, come to your own conclusions. Read and discuss interpretations and perspectives different from your own. Allow them to challenge you. Then you might be able say with some meaning: “I was blind, but now I see.”

For one thing, the Church never stopped thinking. We could point to anomalies throughout the ages–the abuses of the Vatican, pogroms against Jews, even the slave trade culture. In each case, the Church overcame these abuses by applying sound doctrine, not disdaining it. One could make the case, in fact, that most of the abuses of Christendom have occurred when we have allowed the Church to depart from sound doctrine.

Queen, on the other hand, has long been an opponent of sound doctrine, and has attacked the high view of Biblical authority. Even by Barthian standards, Queen is a nutjob. So when he calls Christians to “think for yourself”, he might as well be saying, “trust in your own understanding.”

It’s long past time to call him for the false teacher that he is.

Obama’s Prayer Vetting: Mohler Steps in It

Today, SBTS President Albert Mohler weighs in on the revelation that President Obama is vetting invocations that are provided at his public rallies. Personally, I am not surprised, nor should Mohler or anyone else be surprised. Personally, I’m thinking that Mohler’s major beef with this is not so much the vetting, but rather with the content of the prayers he approved. I’ll provide my reasons for this.

Consider the particularities of what the President’s team vetted:

Gilgoff also reported the case of Pastor James Bing of Ft. Meyers, Florida.  Earlier in his report, Gilgoff described the pastor as delivering “a prayer that carefully avoided mentioning Jesus, lest he offend anyone in the audience.”  The pastor self-censored his prayer, explaining:  “For some strange reason, the word Jesus is like pouring gasoline on fire for some people in this country . . . .  You learn how to work around that.”

Mohler’s response, of course, was appropriate, given this apparent censorship of Christian references in prayers sought from Christian leaders:

You learn how to work around that?  How can any Christian pastor justify “working around” the name of Jesus out of fear of offending anyone?  If the Christian cannot pray in the name of Jesus, let someone else deliver the prayer.

Interestingly, White House spokesperson Jen Psaki commented that the practice of vetting prayers had “been standard since the campaign.”  This revelation raises a host of other questions.  What about the prayers offered at President Obama’s inauguration.  Did the administration approve or edit the prayers offered by pastors Rick Warren and Joseph Lowery?

Those indeed are fair questions, as one ought to consider whether religious leaders are in the pockets of our political leaders. (This is true irrespective of who the President happens to be.) If Warren is accepting dictation from Obama, then it would be fair to question what he compromised to get on the platform.

Still, the premise of vetting invocations–or even messages from religious leaders–prior to political events, is otherwise sound. After all, I’m sure Mohler would not be happy if he were the President, and he called upon a preacher to provide an invocation, and that preacher went on to provide an ecumenical blurb that had New Age spirituality wrapped in Christian veneer.

Today, bloggers–from the left and right–stand ready to pounce on every Presidential misstep both real and perceived.

For that reason, while I do question the content that the Obama Administration censors from invocations, I have no personal beef with the premise of censoring content that is to be offered on behalf of his Administration.

“Godly” Men

I have a question …

What does “Godly Man” mean to you?

If someone were to point to a man and say, “He’s a godly man.” What would you think that means?

Do men use the term “godly man” to define certain men? Do you use the term “godly woman” to define certain women?

~Ame~

Mohler Weighs in on Pornification of Culture

Southern Seminary President Albert Mohler spends most of his latest blog ruminating about the prevalence of porn in the workplace. He does make a very interesting point about–in spite of companies spending money on internet controls–(a) 70% of the porn viewed is viewed at work and (b) employees often find ways around the porn-blockers at work.

Where Pilgrim and myself work, the organization uses a product that blocks access to questionable sites. I appreciate it because–since its implementation–I have not been nailed with any porn-based spyware attacks. (Pilgrim and myself had a significant laugh about such an attack on my machine a few years ago. Every 5 minutes–down to the second–my screen would get inundated with porn popups.

Before the state government–for whom we work–started using the blocking software, we did have occasions where employees of some agencies would get fired from time to time. Typically, this was after multiple warnings, although at least one employee–caught in the act streaming it on his machine–was given the immediate option of retirement or termination.

For the ones I can recall who were fired, they had their Internet access taken from them, but proceeded to take their own machines (or other devices) to work.

At the end of the day, Mohler is on-base with his assessment of the problem. The solutions are nebulous at best, as no matter how good your laws are, the porn industry, among the most technologically adaptive of all industries, will find ways to circumvent those laws, with or without the help of government.

And even in the case of governmental regulation, the cure in that case can be worse than the disease, as we would find ourselves dedicating–literally–tens of billions of dollars toward law enforcement assets that would end up intruding on American privacy under the guise of “public safety”. If the government can monitor your Internet traffic, they can monitor every purchase you make, every political site you visit, every view you articulate, and even the way you choose to enjoy your marriage…

Ultimately, the answer is spiritual, not governmental.

1930 Redux

Vox Day has this:

As I said in the AGD study, it really looks like 1930 right now. If I was in the market, I’d be watching out for an impressive bear market rally kicking off soon, then collapsing in the fall once it becomes clear that the contraction hasn’t ended, ala 1931.

I was thinking the same thing when Bernanke was prredicting an economic recovery in 2010. In 1930, the “experts” predicted that 1931 would be the year of recovery, as their interventions–revolutionary at the time–were seen as an appropriate remedy.

Instead, 1931 was the mother of all disasters. What was left of the house of cards came down crashing.

At any rate, we have a set of predictions on the table:

  • Bernanke (Keynesian-Monetarist): recovery will happen in 2010
  • Austrian School (Ron Paul, Vox, Schiff, myself): this will be an outright Charlie Foxtrot.

We will have our live empirical test.

This time, I hope that the Austrian-Schoolers are wrong. Because if we are right, this will be worse than the Great Depression.

“What We Have Here…Is a Failure to Communicate…”

In the interests of fair disclosure: I believe, as a general rule, men ought to take the initiative in pursuing relationships with the opposite sex.

This is not a Biblical command–there is no such command–but rather an expression of practical reality. I would not be comfortable with her doing the pursuing, nor would most men I know. That does not make it a sin for women to pursue men; nor does that make it a sin for men to allow women to pursue them. I’m making an observation, not promoting a dogma.

(I say all this with the assumption of certain cultural paradigms. I provide this qualification for reasons I’ll explain.)

Now, with all that out of the way, I’d say Candice Watters stepped in it here. To her credit, however, she is backpedaling

On the other hand, I see a few larger problems here:

(1) Why is it that she dogmatically insists on certain standards for men, when in fact those are clearly not Biblical requirements?

(2) She is clearly making assumptions about men that are not necessarily true for a number of reasons.

Fact is, I’ve had instances in which I was interested in a gal–and she seemed to be interested in me–but then she was not.

I’ve had other instances in which I was interested in her, she seemed to give me the cold shoulder, which I interpreted as, “No!”, and went on my way (pursuing someone who seemed interested), only to find that she was in fact interested and was pissed at me for not pursuing her.

Could that be a personality issue on my part? Perhaps. Could that be a failure on her part? Certainly. Could it be some combination of all the above? Most definitely.

Still, Candice needs to take a step back and realize that we do not live in the 1930s.

Firstly, we have a corporate culture that puts the proverbial fear of God in men against sexual harassment. While that is a relevant and necessary issue, it is also reality the risks for men in pursuing even legitimate relationships just went up due to that. As a result, men must trod very carefully in the area of workplace relationships.

Secondly, we have a church culture that has made it an order of magnitude tougher on men to pursue women. In the past, churches worked with–not against–singles who wished to marry. Today, a single man is likely to be excoriated for–even discouraged from–such pursuit. “We don’t run a dating service here!”

Thirdly, we live in a culture where men are browbeaten with the truism: “When a woman says ‘NO’, she means ‘NO’.” Unfortunately, that truism does not merely apply to issues of sex versus rape. Ergo, when she attempts to play hard to get and says she’s not interested in marriage, we guys are likely to take her at her word.

(I took that as a shootdown once, only to find out later–after she had married–that she was angry at my rejection of her. You can imagine her consternation when I pointed out that, in fact, I was merely taking her expressed sentiments as a “no”.)

Could it be that some of us–like Cubbie, and even myself–have social skill deficiencies that lead to these misunderstandings? Perhaps.

Needless to say, however, folks like Candice need to think three or four times before attempting to make sweeping generalizations. Fact is, they don’t have a clue.

Fourthly, I’d suggest that Candice has gone on a rabbit trail that has little potential to be productive. She is delving into an area where Scripture is ambiguous, and attempts to impose standards where Scripture does not speak.

In Biblical times, men rarely took the initiative in pursuing relationships. And in the few times they did in Scripture, the ending was not honorable. (Esau and the Hittite women, Samson and Delilah, David and Michal.)

Fact is, back then, most marriages were arranged. Families of both the groom and bride worked together on this. They negotiated a “bride price”; they worked these things out in terms that were amicable. The bride’s family had an interest in protecting her well-being, and the groom’s fammily had an interest in his. All arrangements were certainly not perfect, but the bottom line here is that it was not a case of a man pursuing a woman. It was about families working together!

Am I saying that we need to require that today? No. Again, there is no “thou shalt” or “thou shalt not” at work here. I say all of this to point out, however, that the expectation that Candice is placing on the men in the romance dynamic, is above and beyond the expectation that appears in Scripture.

I am not comfortable with a woman pursuing me. On the other hand, maybe it’s just me, but I’m not good at the “hard to get” game. Some of us guys don’t read the signals.

That’s a risk that the women need to take very soberly today. Jesus said, “let your yes be yes and your no be no.”

While that was addressing the specific issue of oaths, it’s still a legitimate operative standard for interpersonal communication.

Just a thought…