#MyChurchIsSoWhite…

white church

So last night a bunch of us played a hashtag game called #MyChurchIsSoWhite.

There were a LOT of good ones thrown out there.

dc-talk

black kids

I-Like-to-Clap

segregation

It’s actually normal to be drawn to people who are similar to ourselves and our own style and preferences. We get into trouble when we start thinking that our way of doing things needs to be the norm for everyone else. We get into trouble when we start seeing anyone else as “other than.”

In Christ, we’re all part of the same family.

🙂

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Calvinist Heretics and Their Heretical Heresies

Burn her

Now that all of my Reformed friends are up in arms, let’s talk.

This post is the result of a conversation I saw the other day in which a group of Calvinists (I presume, at any rate) were discussing the false teaching and heresy of Arminianism.

Not being a Calvinist I took umbrage at the conversation. There is much to be said for Reformed theology. I very much appreciate its view of the supremacy and sovereignty of God. Too often Xians have such a small view of God and try to live life as though we ourselves are sovereign. We aren’t.

While I wouldn’t call myself a hard-core Arminian, I do believe that God’s initial action towards humanity requires a human response. In that sense, we are free to decide to respond positively towards God in faith or we can choose to reject the Gospel.

The biggest problem I had with the conversation I saw was the fact that these Xian brothers were labeling a position contrary to theirs as false teaching and possibly heresy. This was disheartening, for I have never thought of my Reformed friends as heretics or false teachers – simply people who disagree on some points of Xian theology.

We can still join together as Credal Xians and proclaim:

I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth:
And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord:
Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary:
Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried: He descended into hell:
The third day he rose again from the dead:
He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty:
From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead:
I believe in the Holy Ghost:
I believe in the holy catholic church: the communion of saints:
The forgiveness of sins:
The resurrection of the body:
And the life everlasting.
Amen.

But labeling me, a pastor who leans towards Arminianism, a false teacher and heretic, removes me from the shared faith we proclaim in our creeds. It creates a barrier between good Xians who share a common core belief. I still preach Christ crucified, buried, and resurrected. I still preach Acts 4:12

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.

We are often too quick to label anything that disagrees with us as heresy. We then quickly set up walls to separate ourselves from those who disagree with us. What I find humorous is that the Greek word for heresy (hairesis) developed in the Bible to mean schism or faction. Thus the Apostle Paul seems to suggest that a heretic is a person who is divisive or factious (see Titus 3:10).

So the Calvinists who seek to be divisive are being heretics…in the Pauline sense, of course. 😉

All said and done, I have no beef with Reformed Xians. I have found them to be good people who take faith seriously. But, while some people fear the word ecumenical, to some degree there needs to be leeway for us to disagree on elements of faith and theology while still holding to the essential core of Christian doctrine.

Because, to someone else, we’re all heretics in one way or another.

I Didn’t Know Statutory Rape Was Illegal

moron

Have you ever read something that got under your skin so much you simply couldn’t keep quiet about it?

That’s how I felt today.

Let me introduce you to Jack Shaap.

jack schaap

Jack used to be a pastor. Until he seduced (read statutorily raped) a teen, was fired, and is now in prison. He’s appealing to have his sentence reduced – seems he thinks 12 years is a little to long for his crime. Jack “also claims his sentence violates his constitutional rights because it is cruel and unusual punishment, and the sentence should be reduced because the girl was sexually experienced.”

But what really got under my skin was where Jack, who did plead guilty, told the judge he did not realize his actions were illegal.

if-my-calculations-are-correct-youre-an-idiot

He certainly isn’t showing any remorse or repentance.

This guy gives all pastors a black eye. Throw the book at him.

Put him away for life.

Using Kids as Pawns in Theological Battle

pawn1

The title sucks, I know. It’s long and dry – not the kind of click-bait social media craves and gets from Upworthy – but it’s what I want to talk about.

Every once in a while you’ll find someone online who has a special thing for criticizing a single person. It’s not always bad or negative. Sometimes the critic is going after an unscrupulous leader who seems to be untouchable. So the critic comes against the leader time and again in an effort to show people the truth. On Twitter you can see people do this against Fundamental Baptist leaders. I’ve had an occasional Tweet or dozen about Mark Driscoll under #DriscollSchoolofEthics

But in most of the cases I’ve seen, those of us who try to call attention to the dealings of people in power talk about the people themselves.

We don’t use their kids to attack them.

Unfortunately, we’ve just seen this very thing happen.

JD Hall has a special fixation on bringing to light the errors and misdeeds of Ergun Caner. I’m not an expert on the matter. I don’t personally know either man. Caner certainly seems suspect in some of his claims. From an outsider’s perspective, though, it seems Mr. Hall’s fixation goes beyond revealing Mr. Caner’s behavior – Hall is determined to ruin Caner.

Then yesterday it took an terrible turn.

When called on pulling Caner’s son into the fray, Hall defended himself with:

The problem as I see it is that Hall wasn’t calling out poor behavior in a young man for the sake of rebuking the young man or correcting his behavior. The only reason Hall for bringing a minor into the picture was as a launching pad to further his argument against Ergun Caner.

In a blog post defending himself, Hall writes:

Furthermore, there was no “attack.” There was no “going after.” Much of the vitriol was in response to the characterization of my tweet as an “attack” or “going after” a “child.” Again, consult the Twitter feed. There was no such thing. I pointed out public error – error that Caner himself should have pointed out to his son a long, long time ago.

Yet I doubt that Hall points out public error in all young men who do stupid things on social media. Rather, these remarks were directed towards the man he is intent on bringing down. The specificity of the error pointed out speak to the truth – that Hall is utilizing the actions of a minor as a springboard to further his attack on the father.

Hall claims 1 Timothy 3:4-5 as biblical grounds for using the son to attack the father:

4 He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? (ESV)

But Paul doesn’t really go into great detail about what this kind of parenting looks like or how to handle good, godly men and women who have children who behave poorly. No matter what we do as parents, children will ultimately walk their own path. Too often I have seen this very passage used to batter Christian parents.

It is poor justification for bringing the teen into the mess. The astounding immorality he refers to simply isn’t. The boy’s Twitter feed might have been scrubbed, but from what I see it is not astounding immorality. Hall is making mountains of molehills.

Don’t get me wrong – this is not a defense of Ergun Caner – this is a critique of JD Hall’s methods.

This should not have happened.

What do you think?