My name is Ralph Petersen and I approve of this message.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
A General Reminder To Those Who Wish To Leave Comments
Saturday, September 27, 2008
If You Let Caesar Educate Your Children, They Will Become Romans
The Truth About... SOCIALIZATION
I’m sure that all of us, as believing "home training" families, have all been asked the question many times, "What about socialization???" Many of our well meaning relations have brought up this subject numerous times and have needed to be reassured with a satisfactory answer for the sake of our beloved children. We have come to the conclusion that the only answer you can give to this question is that socialization is not a term that Christians should even consider or worry about!!!
Davis Dictionary of the Bible states that "the word WORLD is frequently used for the inhabitants of the world." In other words, "world", as used in the Bible, is in regards to SOCIETY.
Socialization is simply learning to conform with today’s society or world!
Each of us that were trained by the public education system of our time grew up with the idea that, after a long day of being in school, we could go and play with the neighborhood children or friends we made from school. There was never any question as to the desirability of our companions as we had to all get along in our neighborhood!
Much of our upbringing has overflowed into our home training lifestyle and we need to reexamine what is "normal" to us... and if it is scriptural.
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE HAVE TO SAY ABOUT CONFORMING TO SOCIETY?
John 15:18-19 says, "If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, (or paraphrased - you are not to be socialized!) therefore the world hateth you!"
Romans 12:2 states, "And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
As believers, we should know that our children will be HAPPILY different than other children... Our children will be raised up with a love for God and a respect for God and His family of believers here on earth.
Are we afraid to stand for the Word of God? Are we so far damaged by the result of our own selves being socialized that we LISTEN to the whispers of humanism and accept these thoughts as TRUTH without ever searching in the Scriptures as what the Lord would say? It is our duty as children of God to find out what HE would say in response to socialization.
THE MISSIONARY CONCEPT REGARDING OUR CHILDREN HAS KEPT MANY CHILDREN FROM BEING TRAINED UP BY THEIR PARENTS AND ARE STILL IN PUBLIC SCHOOL TODAY AS A RESULT.
What happens with this philosophy is that the children are then allowed to mix with children that are not being trained up in God’s Holy Word with the thought that THEY will be a good and righteous influence upon those that are devoid of truth. Does this thought line up with God’s Word? The belief that children of good moral character befriending and training those that are of a bad character (or that character which is trained up in worldliness) is contrary to sound Biblical teaching:
1 Cor. 15:33. Be not deceived; evil communications corrupts good manners.
According to the Strong’s Concordance COMMUNICATIONS means companionship; association together; company!
Prov. 9:6. Forsake the foolish and live.
Prov. 13:20. He that walketh with wise men shall be wise but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.
Here is an allegory that one brother came up with. He worked at the Olympic Training Center and was talking about the way the athletes lived. They were put on very rigorous schedules and very disciplined diets, some for years and years, during the time that they were preparing for the Olympic tryouts. During this time, they were only allowed one goal in their minds, and that was to win the opportunity to compete in the Olympics! Nothing else was allowed to be focused upon in their lives.
To NARROW. To initiate or discipline. Dedicate; Train up!
Dear believers, if the world regards training so seriously today in an effort to win such a prize as an Olympic medal, why do we not regard as seriously our race that Paul preached about....
1 Corinthians 9:24-27: Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air; but I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection; lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
One of the goals of socialization is to BROADEN the minds of our children and not have them be "narrow-minded"! A very popular bumper sticker that is seen on the rear of many cars reads: "CELEBRATE DIVERSITY" ! It is a very sad thing to see many religious organizations accepting this same philosophy. We have accepted as "normal" perversity! Another bumper sticker recently read: "CELEBRATE PERVERSITY?"
SOCIALIZATION ALSO HAS BEEN CHRISTIANIZED SO THAT MANY HAVE BEEN DECEIVED INTO LETTING THEIR CHILDREN BEFRIEND THE WORLD...
The scriptures teach us to GO into all the world and preach the Gospel, but does this mean that we go and BEFRIEND the world? Did our examples, the apostles, befriend the world? What did they have to say about this?
James 4:4. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
This belief has pressured many of us to allow our children to play and associate more often than what we should with others children. This is where we need to question this belief and line it up with the Word of God. First of all, what does the Bible have to say about children?
Prov. 22:15. Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
Prov. 29:15. The rod and reproof give wisdom; but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.
THE FAMILY IS WHERE BIBLICAL SOCIALIZATION STARTS AND ENDS...
The following are scriptures that admonish us in who is necessary in the training of our children. Please note that there is not one scripture throughout the whole Bible that says peers are needed in this training. Read 1 Kings 12:1-16 that tells us what happened to King Rehoboam because of peer pressure and influence.
Deut. 6:6-7 & 11:19... And thou shalt teach them (God’s Statutes) diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
This scripture says to DILIGENTLY teach our children and then goes on to say that during each moment of our lives we are to teach them... not just speak them but also teach through our actions... CONSTANTLY. It doesn’t sound here as if the parents were allowed too much "time for themselves"!
Prov. 22:6. Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Prov. 29:17. Correct thy son and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.
Eph. 6:4. And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath; but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
SOCIALIZATION HAS HAD AN AFFECT UPON BELIEVERS THAT WERE BROUGHT UP IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS AND ARE NOW RAISING CHILDREN.
Public school has done a very good job in influencing most of the parents today. The aspect of socialization has caused many of us to be afraid to stand up and do things a little bit differently. But this is what SOCIALIZATION was meant to do! It is to ensure that people follow along with what society says is NORMAL! When people lift up their eyebrows when you say you "home teach" your children, their reaction is only because they were not trained this way and they wonder if another way could be successful.
Socialization is not just a simple thought that children must play with other children. It runs much deeper than that. When humanism declared that all children must interact it was part of their belief of reconstructing and reforming the mind set of America. It is a way to have the people in society keep an eye on the rest of society! It causes people to never step out and think for themselves and never weigh society’s teachings with what God’s Word is saying!
We do not know how much longer the Government will tolerate believers home training their children. We pray that God will soften the hearts of those in authority over us... We need to keep on the alert and watch! Socialization is not a Christian philosophy. Rather, it is totally contrary. Many people do not realize this and so are allowing their children to have influences in their lives that are harmful to their spiritual growth. Many of these influences come through the guise of homeschooling. Many through the influence of television.
1. Do they have a deep love and respect of the Lord and His Word?
2. Do they choose not to conform to this world as in Romans !2:2 & John 15:18-19. (This is a very sensitive subject as different families have different beliefs as to what conformity is. The head of each family should decide for his own offspring what their standard will be. Also, be charitable and remember that all of us are in different states of growing with the Lord and to look at the openness of people in their attitude to God’s Holy Word.)
3. Do they have attitudes of respect for one another and operate through a character of brotherly kindness and love?
Beware, dear saint, that we do have an enemy, and this enemy definitely wants the hearts, minds and souls of our children. Do not underestimate him, but be watchful and alert!
1 Peter 5:8-9 "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour; whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Mourning the Loss of a Loved One
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
The Perfect Presidential Candidate
Monday, September 22, 2008
Chubby Checker's "Twisted" Self Esteem
In 2002, this 66-year-old “has been” ran a full-page ad in Billboard magazine in which he pompously boasted that he was one of Rock and Roll’s most important figures. And then he went on to complain that he is the most under-appreciated of all rock stars. So in an arrogant, open letter to the whole entertainment industry, he demanded that a statue of himself be displayed in the courtyard of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland. Furthermore, he threatened that if he didn’t get the statue, he would refuse induction into the hall of fame even though he hadn’t yet been voted in.
“I want my flowers while I’m alive. I can’t smell them when I’m dead,” he whined. “I will not have the music business ignore my position in the industry.”
Chubby Checker’s worth is pretty much summarized by a statement once made by Billy Graham. “The smallest package I ever saw was a man wrapped up wholly in himself.”
“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” Rom. 12:3
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Friday, September 19, 2008
****Stupid Attorneys and Angry Axe Wielding Judges
I was on this trial for several days over a period of about three weeks. It was a child molestation case involving at least three girls.
Continuing on, he “axed” us if there were any among us who knew what a child molester looks like. Could we spot one in a line-up? He pressed that line of questioning to determine if any of us might have a problem being fair just because his client was “Mexican-American.”
I have to admit, it was hard for me but I managed to hold my tongue even though I was personally insulted. I wanted to jump up and respond with something like, “No, I don’t believe that a Mexican is automatically guilty any more that I believe that a black defense attorney is automatically intelligent.”
When he was finished, the prosecuting attorney had his turn to address the potential jurors with his own line of dumb questions.
He proceeded to instruct us, that, if there is only the testimony of one believable witness, we must return a guilty verdict. At that point, he scanned the jurors looking for affirmation of his inane expectations. “Do any of you have a problem with that?” he asked. Most of them responded. I sat there like a bump on a log, expressionless and unresponsive. He looked at me and said, “Mr. Petersen, you have been kind of quiet up there. How about you? Will you be able to bring a guilty verdict if all I have is the testimony of one witness? Do you have a problem with that?”
Now I was digging in and the debate was on. “Well yes,” I said, “I would have a problem trying to decide a case on the basis of only one testimony. But I think the operative word in your question was ‘believable.’ I would have to consider that witness’s credibility and objectivity and reliability but I would still be very careful and reluctant to make a judgment to convict someone, solely on the basis of one witness without some supporting evidence.”
So then he smugly attempted to trap me with this hypothetical example. “Suppose you were walking down a dark street and some big thug jumps out and beats you and steals your wallet. Would you say that a crime was not committed because you were the only witness?”
“Well, of course not.” I responded. “But I would think that my bloodied face and missing wallet would provide sufficient EVIDENCE to support my testimony. The judge has already instructed us that the law presumes this man innocent until proven guilty. And, as far as I know, it’s your job to convince us all beyond a reasonable doubt with stuff like EVIDENCE.” At that point I heard several snickers from the jury pool and courtroom staff and I glanced in the direction of the judge and saw him laughing.
The defense attorney replied, “Well, maybe that was a bad example.”
I could see that I humiliated him and figured I was done. Surely I thought he would call for my dismissal. He didn’t and I was stuck for the duration.
Just for the record, regardless how I felt about the idiots running the show, My responsibility was to give the guy a fair shake, presume his innocence until proven guilty, and consider only the evidence provided when we convened for deliberations. At least the defendant was at the mercy of a jury and not dependent on dumb attorneys.
In the mouth of two or three witnesses, let every word be established. Matt. 18:16, II Cor. 13:1, I Tim. 5:19, Heb. 10:28
orig post 9/18/08
Thursday, September 18, 2008
God Loves Even Those Whom He Hates
I have been informed that another word has been banned from my vocabulary. I am no longer allowed to say “hate” because I now have grandchildren who are not allowed to say it. OK so I'll guard my tongue around them so they don't pick up any inappropriate verbal habits.
But what about this thing called HATE?
I have heard over and over again and again things like, “Christians should not hate,” “It is a sin to hate,” “God is love and He loves everyone,” and “God hates the sin but He loves the sinner.”
Sure, God loves everyone but His love for the reprobate is a different kind of love than that for the redeemed. Phil Johnson has an interesting and helpful post on this subject at PyroManiacs. He says, "I believe Scripture plainly teaches that there is a true and significant sense in which God loves even those whom He hates."
Now I know this will really irritate some people but, if your god does not hate, then your god is not the God of the Bible. But without appealing to someone else's writing or even my own opinions about what I think God is like, I will just offer some verses of scripture and let God's Word speak for itself.
God HATES evil.
- “These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,” Proverbs 6:16-18
- “These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.” Proverbs 6:16-19
- “The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.” Psalm 11:5
God is sovereign and just in choosing whom He will HATE for His purpose.
- “As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” Romans 9:13
“What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:” Romans 9:22
There is a time to HATE.
- “A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.” Eccl. 3;8
Those who love God must HATE evil.
- “Ye that love the LORD, hate evil:” Psalm 97:10
- “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.” Psalm 101:3
- “Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.” Psalm 119:104
- “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.” Proverbs 8:13
It is reasonable and right for God’s people to HATE God’s enemies with perfect hatred.
- “Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.” Psa. 139:21-22
In a philosophy class I took in college, the concept of love was presented in a way that must be balanced with hate. Love and hate are opposite ends (they say) that coexist on a continuum of sorts. It is impossible to have one without the other.
I really don’t know anything about philosophy and I know very little about theology BUT, I do know that it is wrong to present a lopsided view of God to a world going to Hell.
The real Gospel is not a message about poor Jesus, standing outside of our hearts, waiting for us to open the door and let Him come in. It is not about what He can do for us. It is not about inviting Him to share our lives so that He can be our lover, our best buddy, or our homeboy so that we can go to a fun place when we die and get lots of good stuff.
The real Gospel is the good news that Jesus suffered a brutal and horrible death and was forsaken by His Father who exacted His wrath for our sins on His Son instead of us. He is a God to be feared. He is a fierce and mighty God to be reckoned with. He is a God who, with perfect justice and in perfect righteousness, will condemn all, who will not come to Him on His terms, to eternal damnation.
The God of the Bible is a God of perfect HATRED as well as perfect love.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
My Very Own Caustic, Obnoxious, Negative, Critical and Sarcastic Blog
My wife agreed with my critic. She doesn’t appreciate sarcasm as a form of wit either and suggested that I should minimize it. But I really find that hard to do. Although this blog is my venue for posting stuff that I find interesting or amusing, along the way, this is where I take my best potshots at the things I think are inane, outrageous, and idiotic.
[Warning!!! The next paragraph is intentionally sarcastic and should be understood as humor. Please DO NOT read any further if you are prone to being offended.] Sarcasm is my talent and my gift; sarcasm is what I do best; sarcasm is one of the services I offer; sarcasm is the soul of my humor and the essence of this site. To cut out the sarcasm would be to end my blogging.
But seriously, sarcasm is a legitimate form of humor and a useful tool of literature that I employ to make a point and much of the purpose of this blog site is to lampoon ignorant and liberal religious and political ideologies and to poke fun at foolishness when and where I see it. Admittedly, that in itself is negative. I really don’t know how to do that in a positive way. That would be like a guy I know who once told a girl, “You don’t sweat much for a fat chick.”
So why is the negativity important? At the core of ecumenical, evangelical accommodation (that ideology that drives much of the seeker-friendly, purpose driven, “make everybody feel good,” church programming), is the "name it and claim it," "blab it and grab it," positive confession, self-esteem, me-centered gospel (which is NOT a gospel at all).
The whole concept of positive thinking, by its very nature, excludes all negative thinking. Important terms and subjects such as sin, repentance, judgment, wrath, hell, deception, false prophets, false religions, the Antichrist, the False Prophet, Satan, persecution, wrong, suffering and tribulation are minimized so that people will not be caused to feel uncomfortable. The positive, feel-good gospel is one that attempts to make all people think that they are alright and welcome to come into the presence of God just as they are because He wants to be their best buddy and give them lots of good stuff.
The true Gospel message of the Bible must always be antithetical to the gospel of positive thinking. It is an incomplete, dishonest and unbalanced false gospel that presents the love of God and ignores the wrath of God. There can be no Truth without the identification of error. There can be no forgiveness without repentance. Salvation is impossible without atonement. There is no real Heaven to embrace without a real hell to fear.
This blog is my venue to laff at liberal lunacy, to deride intellectual dishonesty and to ridicule inane religious absurdity so I will just continue with my negative and sarcastic rants. And, just because I can, from time to time I will inject some miscellaneous rhinoceros noise just for the fun of it.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
How Unhappy Whiners And Easily Offended Victims Misuse Matthew 18
It happened again not long ago. It was implied that I had sinned against some weaker brothers because of some harmless, innocuous, and impersonal bit of sophomoric humor. It seems that, even though it had nothing to do with them, they just didn't appreciate the levity. They claimed that they were "OFFENDED." So I was scolded for the humor. Well, I suppose I could have been offended by that but, guess what; NOBODY really cares when conservatives are offended.
I am neither an etymologist nor a theologian so I really can’t speak authoritatively on this subject BUT, I think crying “offense” and employing Matthew 18 everytime you don’t like something is a sloppy and inappropriate application of the biblical principle. Not only that, but it makes you look like a whiney little cry baby.
Unfortunately, here is a contemporary definition of the verb, offend: “To hurt somebody’s feelings, or cause resentment, irritation, anger, or displeasure.” Did you see that? In our overly sensitive, sissy culture, an offense occurs whenever our actions cause resentment or irritation or anger or displeasure or wounded feelings. In my case, the offended persons' feelings were wounded simply because I happened to hold DIFFERENT IDEAS from theirs about a particular issue. Too many weak people today feel offended about almost everything. For that reason, we can’t even decide whether or not we should wear cologne. Either way, someone might be irritated or displeased. But I really don't think that is what Jesus had in mind when He talked about offenses.
Our contemporary definition is NOT the biblical definition of the word “offend.” As near as I can tell, when Scripture warns us about offending a little one or a weaker brother, it always refers to actions that cause them to sin or to depart from the truth or to weaken their faith. On that subject, John Wesley commented this way, “…see that ye offend them not; that is, that ye turn them not out of the right way, neither hinder them in it” (emphasis is mine). That kind of real offense, either by our doctrine or our liberty, has the affect of doing great (sometimes irreparable) damage to the faith of an immature person to the end that it may cause relational difficulties with God, result in judgment, or may even result in adverse consequences (like eternal damnation). For that reason, Jesus said of the offenders that it would be better for them to be publicly executed.
So, while some brothers were supposedly, "seriously offended," I wonder how many of them were genuinely lured into sin or eternal damnation by a little harmless jocularity.
On the other hand, there are several things that frequently occur in the church today that really are offensive. Here are a few:
- Easy believism. It is offensive when we encourage people to repeat a simple, anemic, unrepentant prayer to ask Jesus into their lives and then convince them that they are saved and safe and eternally secure when there has been no real new birth.
- Cheap grace. It is offensive when we allow people to believe that they can be positionally right with God while continuing in their sins without consequence; that Jesus paid the penalty for all their sins without telling them that God expects them to stop sinning.
- Unscriptural or irreverent worship. It is offensive when people are led to believe that God is pleased with them just the way they are and that they can approach Him with mindless, “touchy feely” emotionally stimulating expressions of so called worship without an awesome fear of His sovereignty and apart from obedience which is His requirement for true worship.
- Ecumenical accommodation. It is offensive when we do not identify and separate ourselves from false doctrine and false teachers but join hand in hand as we skip down the ecumenical happy trail of brotherly love singing Kum Ba Yah with legalists, apostates, modernists and liberals.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Dangerous Youth Pastors
“So, how do you know that?” I asked. I wasn’t just trying to be obnoxious; I really am curious about how people evaluate the people who have so much influence in the lives of their children.
Her response did not surprise me at all. In fact her response is very common but I think it should be quite alarming to responsible, thinking people. She replied, ”My kids love him; they think he’s great.”
When she said that, my mind immediately raced back in time to an event that occurred about 25 years ago. A good friend of mine reported a horrible crisis that had just impacted his church. They had become aware of some illicit activity in their youth department.
It seems that, under the direct authority and leadership of their youth pastor, the group had been regularly using illegal drugs in their weekly youth meetings. According to some, they were just “getting high on Jesus.”
And to make matters worse, the youth pastor had organized a prostitution ring using some of the girls to pay for the drugs. Apparently, the popular youth activities had been going on for several months.
I asked my friend how that could happen for so long without anyone knowing about it. He told me that nobody ever looked in on their activities. The youth pastor was well-liked by all the kids, the group was growing larger and the parents were all happy that their kids were involved in the youth activities.
So, that’s it! The value and effectiveness of his ministry was measured solely on the basis of numerical growth and how much the kids liked him.
Parents have the final responsibility for their children in matters of their church youth activities. And that responsibility is not just to find a place where their children are happy or entertained. The responsibility is for their good, not for their pleasure. I remember many years ago, a situation where several young people had engaged in some behavior that I thought needed to come to the attention of their parents. The youth pastor said to me, “My responsibility is to protect these kids from their parents.”
That was the WRONG ANSWER! The parents have a right to know.
And the responsibility of the parents and the church is to look over his shoulder and hold him to account. He must be called and held to the same standards and qualifications that a church would place on a senior pastor. And his ministry must be evaluated by the spiritual growth of the young people in his charge; not by how likeable he is or how much much fun they have.
Many people know very little about their youth pastor’s character, doctrine, or scriptural qualifications for pastoral ministry. And, unfortunately, they know even less about his practices. All they know is that he must be a good guy because their children like him.
Friday, September 12, 2008
Church Growth War Casualties (Part 3)
"I am a Husband of 20 years and a father of two children. I served God as a Deacon and a Sunday school teacher in my Southern Baptist Church. With my church family, under the leadership of my pastor, I prepared for the 40 day Purpose Driven Life program.
It was in that preparation and study, I became alarmed at the edification of Catholicism and the total omission of the work of the Holy Spirit. When I expressed my concerns to my pastor, whom I greatly respected and admired, I was asked to give it a chance.
I did, but continued to research the issue. During the following twenty months, I shared the evidence of the erroneous teachings and made several requests to meet with him and his staff to discuss the issues. There was no response.
I was told, by my pastor, that if I did not back down, I would be prohibited from teaching my Sunday School class. Subsequently, I was banned from attending the Sunday School class.
When asked, I told the class that I was removed for challenging the pastor’s authority. Allegations made against me included accusations of breach of confidentiality and bold-faced lies. In blind, unquestioning fashion, the deacon body defended the pastor at all cost.
A state association mediator was called in but the deacons abruptly terminated the arbitration process. Ignoring the guidance and concerns of two other 50 year members (one an ordained SBC minister) the deacons officially determined that they found nothing wrong with the Purpose Driven Life material or the actions of the pastor and his staff.
Those who resist unbiblical movements and teachings in the church are NOT the problem. Those guilty of divisiveness are the ones (including pastors) who teach or make provision for false doctrines and unbiblical practices. In fact, the following passages (along with others) indicate that not all disunity is wrong. Factions and divisions are ordained by God for the purpose of identifying true disciples.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Delusional, Illiterate, Evangelical Simpletons, Idiots, Nut Cases, And Screaming Loons
If you want to know why people use terms like idiots, nut cases, delusional, illiterate, simpleton, and screaming loons to describe evangelicals, it's probably because so many evangelicals act like delusional, illiterate, simpletons, idiots, nut cases, and screaming loons.
Francis Schaefer recognized and lamented this error of evangelical accommodation in his insightful book, “The Great Evangelical Disaster.” In the early days of evangelicalism, for the most part, “evangelicals” were basically fundamentalists who had sincere passions for reaching the lost with the Gospel. But with their passion for evangelization, they neglected the necessity of separation from error and unbelief.
I have developed a real disdain for the term. It seems to me that it has become too widely employed and broadly applied to almost everything that calls itself Christian. If it means everything, then it means nothing. Parenthetically, I guess the same thing could be said about labels like “Christian,” “born again,” “Bible-believing,” and “believers.”
Other perfectly good terms like “fundamentalist,” “reformed,” and “Calvinist” have been unfairly defined and subsequently vilified or demonized by the majority of the Christian community.
Is there a name that we can use that has not been co-opted or denigrated by the new, angry, emerging, ecumenical, all-encompassing breed of worshipers of a boutique god of their own design?
Yes, I think there is. It is Scriptural. It is used by God in reference to His people and it was used by Jesus Christ in reference to His sheep. But it is a term that is sure to irritate, abrade, and anger most nominal Christians. The term is “ELECT.” Use it if you dare and be prepared to get beat up.
God's Grace And Difficult People
Robert was, what you might call a “burr under your saddle,” or a “pain in the neck.” He was self-centered and self-serving and he had the ears of upper management. And he was always on our backs. He was unreasonable, very critical, and constantly engaged in ugly and hurtful gossip and inuendo. None of his co-workers or those whom he supervised could get along with him and, one by one, good men would quit the company. Eventually I resigned too. Surely, I thought, life would be better without Robert. It wasn’t!
Over the years, I have made several career changes and even relocated to different cities but I have never been able to escape Robert. He will dog my trail to the grave. I have seen him in every school, every work place, every community and every church; he’s everywhere I go. He just wears a different face and goes by a different name. Maybe you know and have to endure him too.
They say that misery loves company. In my misery, I found sympathetic company with the Apostle Paul. He wrote about his own “thorn in the flesh.” Some people think that it may have been a physical affliction (perhaps poor eyesight). I disagree. By comparing Scripture with Scripture, (eg. “…scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes" Joshua 23:13, “…pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides" Numbers 33:55, "…thorns in your sides" Judges 2:3, “…though briers and thorns be with thee” Ezekiel 2:6) i
So I think Paul’s “thorn in the flesh" must have been a person like Robert. Paul refers to his “thorn” as a messenger from the devil sent to torment him. Three times, Paul begged God to take this “thorn” out of his way.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
The Horns Of A Rhinoceros
Thursday, September 4, 2008
The Church Office
The Last Sopper - Reinventing Christianity
I have been examining the serving utensils (you know, those gaudy, liturgical trays) for possible ways to alter them so that you could pass juice and bread simultaneously in the same tray.
One suggested solution was to just set a bowl of wafers in the center area of the juice tray so that both elements could be passed at the same time. But on second thought, I'm not sure that would work for two reasons. First, the bowls would likely sit too high to allow the trays to stack. Second, once people started removing the juice cups from outer perimeters, there would be no way to prevent the bread bowl from sliding around on the surface of the tray unless they were glued in place. One possible solution would be to cut a circle out of the center to cradle the bowl.
However, each of those solutions would necessitate doing irreparable damage to the serving implements. Some of those stiff old traditional deaconesses would probably come unglued if you desecrated their sacred, over-priced, imitation silver trays.
And then, there are the obvious, inevitable difficulties for many people, especially the very young and very old or the just plain clumsy or uncoordinated folks, who would have a hard time juggling two items at one time and still pass the tray without spilling something in their laps.
The whole problem was really starting to frustrate me until I was out last week having lunch in my favorite Mexican restaurant. While I was sitting there munching on chips dipped in salsa, the answer suddenly came to me in a vision.
The solution is DIP!
You could pass the communion crackers in a chip and dip server with grape juice in the dip bowl. As people take their crackers, they would simply dip them into the juice. That would really simplify the whole process and the ceremony would be abreviated as everyone receives and consumes both elements at once.
Now, I know that some might initially balk at this idea but look, I think you might be able to convince your people that there is some scriptural precedence and justification for it.
Historically, the Hebrews in Bible times were not nearly as sophisticated as we are and they did not use utensils to eat their meals. Instead, they used the sop which was a piece of bread used to dip in the soup or broth which sat in the center of the table (Do you see how symbolically appropriate this is? The dip bowl is in the center of the tray).
In the book of Ruth (2:14) there is an interesting anecdotal precedent for this kind of form in our celebration of the Passover meal. Boaz extended an invitation to Ruth to, “at mealtime, come thou hither and eat of the bread, and dip thy morsel in the vinegar.”
Furthermore, dipping the sop was an historic fact at the last supper. According to John, Jesus, himself, dipped the sop and gave it to Judas (John 13:26). And if, perchance, some may be uneasy with the association of Judas in your communion service, it might be reassuring to remind them that, according to recent discoveries reported on the Discovery Channel, Judas was really Jesus’ closest confidant and His most obedient servant. In other words, he has had an undeserved bad rap for a long time but recently he has been exonerated by the Pope and has a special place in Heaven.
So, I’m sure you will agree, with historic scriptural precedence, with the example of Jesus, and with the approval of the Pope, you could proceed confidently with a revolutionary new streamlined version of a boring, traditional sacrament that should be acceptable to and easily adaptable by a modern, fast-paced, multi-tasking generation.
And, one more thing - you could change the name of your service to “The Ordinance of Sop-Dip,” or “The Last Sopper.”
I trust you will embrace these suggestions and make them part of your lovefests. I am starting to work on a new and more enjoyable way to do baptisms. I’ll keep you informed about how it’s going.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
FWGDI - The Fellowship of Well-Meaning Gentlemen With Different Ideas
When I started this blog site I knew that, in spite of the satire and occasional nonsense, it would, in fact, be a place to articulate “Ideas.” “Christian Ideas;” “Conservative Ideas;” “Fundamentalist Ideas;” “Traditional Ideas.” They are not new ideas but, in the mixed-up world of pragmatic, contemporary Christianity, they are considered “DIFFERENT IDEAS.”
Those DIFFERENT IDEAS are held by few and despised by many. Those kinds of ideas are not embraced by the overly sensitive, touchy-feely, warm and fuzzy, tolerant, huggy types because they are not the ideas born of emotionalism, accommodation, and compromise. Those ideas are not the products of conversations or dialogs. They are anchored in knowledge and in principle and in absolute Truth.
Ideas have consequences. So what exactly were the DIFFERENT IDEAS held by those men who were denigrated that day? They were simple fundamental ideas of ministry leadership.
They were IDEAS that are rooted in the concept that legitimate Christian ministry has a purpose, not presented by a seminar speaker, but established by God. And that purpose cannot be discovered in four little booklets; it is precisely defined and limited by the Word of God.
They were IDEAS rooted in the concept, that true Christian ministries belong to God and must be controlled by Him.
They were IDEAS based in the understanding that He requires His ministries to be carried out His way by His called people doing His work to accomplish His purposes for His glory.
They were IDEAS that were submissive to the commands, precepts and principles of His authoritative Word when managing His ministries.
They were IDEAS that recognize that the safety and security of any legitimate Christian ministry must be totally dependent upon His approval, His protection, His provision and His blessing.
Ralph M. Petersen
Chairman, Founder, and Charter Member, FWGDI