Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Updating blogs

I had several articles and have done research on topics for several years. Since this site is relatively new, and I am still updating my evangelism site, it might be a little longer until more articles appear.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Puritan Challenge

What a better way to begin 2009 than with an abitious reading project? Heritage Books issued a challenge in 2008: Read one of the great Puritan Writers every month for a year.

This is a suggested reading schedule for reading one Puritan paperback per month this year. In partnership with Timmy Brister from the blog Provocations and Pantings Heritage Books offered a special price. I don't know if they will do that in 2009. So, if friends and family are asking you what you would like for Christmas, perhaps this would be a suggestion. Check out the link below for special pricing.

January- Sibbes, Bruised Reed

February- Flavel, Mystery of Providence

March -Watson, Godly Man's Picture

April -Brooks, Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices

May -Bunyan, Come and Welcome

June -Owen, Mortification of Sin

July -Bridge, Lifting Up

August -Burroughs, Rare Jewel

September- Bolton, True Bounds

October -Guthrie, Christian's Great Interest

November -Baxter, Reformed Pastor

December -Alleine, Sure Guide one year.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Shack- Run, Forrest, run!

I just recently heard some friends I regularly chat with online reading a new book called “The Shack.” Uh, I just checked it out and am shocked and deeply troubled.

What's up with this African-American woman representing God, some Asian chick representing the Holy Spirit and some Middle Eastern dude in his 30's representing Jesus?

I did some internet research to support what I discerned. This is NOT a good book for Christians to be reading at all! It really falls along the New Age line of thinking and also appears to embrace Universal Reconciliation which is a big point in the Emergent Church movement. I searched and indeed found a PDF stating the exact concerns I had with the book. This was written by Dr. James B. DeYoung, a professor at Western Seminary. http://theshackreview.com/content/TheShackReview2Page.pdf

I thought maybe I was being too harsh, but after reading Albert Mohler's quote (President of Southern Baptist Seminary) calling it "undiluted heresy," I didn't believe I was harsh enough. He maintains there is no way it can seriously address the issues of Christian faith.

Here are some problematic excerpts: This father-god-woman thing informs Mack, "I don't need to punish people for sin. Sin is its own punishment, devouring people from the inside. It's not my purpose to punish it; it's my joy to cure it."

WHAT?!!!!! You've got to be kidding!!! This is heretical and blasphemous! Heretical in that it does not teach what the scriptures explicitly state and blasphemous because it speaks against MY God's character. Read what it REALLY is saying here- If God empties out hell then He is good and if He doesn't then He is bad!! Don't call my God, who gave ME what I did not deserve (GRACE instead of hell)-BAD!!!!!!

If I were to murder someone and then stand before the judge and say, "Judge I was having a really bad day that day. But, I give to the United Way, I pay my taxes and I'm a really good person and I'm really sorry and I won't do it again. I know you're a good judge and you'll let me go." The judge, IF he is truly GOOD will say, "You're right, I AM a good judge. And, because I'm so good, justice demands that you be punished-not freed!" The family members of the dead victim would cry out the same thing too. If the judge was good then he will NOT let that person go. If he DID let the person go then everyone would protest and say, "That judge is not a good judge at all." This concept that ALL are reconciled to Jesus (even those who don't accept him and that hell is emptied out) is not only heretical but it is one of the main concepts being taught in the Emergent Church movement. I have done my own research on the emerging/emergent church movement for several months. Besides the fact that no one can seem to agree on a definition of this "movement" it is deceptive and is seeping into churches all across America because the church is so anemic! Bryan McLaren is one of the largest proponents of "Hell being emptied out." Folks, it ain't so. Here are some names to become familiar with: Doug Padgett, Don Scott, Rob Bell, Leonard Sweet- beware of these false teachers!

Another point to consider is that it is so easy for us to break the 1st commandment reading and adopting the philosophy of this book and excusing the imagery it presents by saying, “It’s just another way to think of God.” Remember, "You shall have no other God's before me."? The 2nd commandment says, “You shall not bow down to any graven images (idols).” It is so easy for us to "make" a God that we want because our version is much more palatable than the REAL, SOVEREIGN GOD! It's easier to believe that there is a God that empties out hell because that is one of the main "wars" raging within us as Christians. We want to make a God in OUR image- one that we like. This is wrong. This god-woman (Papa) harkens back to the Babylonians and their goddesses and goddess worship.

Then, the scene where the Indian princess sacrifices herself, Mack never says that God the Father had nothing to do with this pagan legend or that God and the "great Spirit" aren't the same. It is just thrown out there and left for you to decide. However, if you are Biblically illiterate as the majority of Christians are today, it is easy to believe that this isn’t really a bad statement, but to instead believe it to be plausible.

Here is a link Olive Tree Ministries' website (Jan Markell) which has several resources http://www.christianworldviewnetwork.com/print.php?&ArticleID=3680.

If you're looking for a tear jerker, Young writes a good book. But what he is writing is heretical. I can't believe that Eugene Peterson, the guy who wrote "The Message" Bible (which I love as a paraphrase Bible), endorsed "The Shack" by saying on it's front cover, "This book has the potential to do for our generation what John Bunyan's 'Pilgrim's Progress' did for his. It's that good!"

These two works aren't even in the same league and can't possibly be compared! I'm shocked!!

I met Tim Challies at a conference in Dec. 2007 and have come to respect him and his reviews. They are usually spot on. Here is a link to his review of the book which is far more in depth than mine is http://www.challies.com/archives/book-reviews/the-shack-by-william-p-young.php
Tread very carefully if you choose to read this book. My friend originally said that she was reading this book because her counselor recommended it. Is this counselor a Christian? She should be very careful recommending a book like this to people who are in true need of healing from very real pain. I just had to speak the truth and warn that this is not what it is being made out to be. Christians can say, "Well, I KNOW the truth and it's just a good read." Well, I counter with why would you even want to expose yourself to this false teaching which can be brought up by Satan in a time of weakness to deceive you? Unless you are doing a scholarly research paper on this book, I'd stay away.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Suffering is a Privilege

I just got done praying this morning and hadn't really had an occasion to weep... until now. My friend just learned that her daughter had recently been sexually abused by a relative. She is also going through a very difficult trial at the church her husband pastors. She is so discouraged by the trial she is going through right now. Here is the advice I gave to her in light of what we have been going through over the past two years and what I believe the Lord has revealed.

Dear Sister, I'm going to say something that may sound strange but please consider meditating on this thought as it is what I have been doing ever since this word from the Lord was given to me. Here it is: The suffering you are going through right now is a privilege.

As strange as it sounds, but through the extreme suffering that you are going through right now, have you ever had a moment in your life that you could identify with Christ more than right now?! He had things said of Him that were untrue, could not to defend himself, and had right called wrong and wrong called right to His face and behind His back?! This is the very situation you are in now- Are you identifying with him yet? My husband and I are being taken through a refiner’s fire with our double house payments and challenges of parenting a wounded child. But over and over I have seen that my mistake was asking Christ to make me more like Him! LOL! (Just trying to lighten the mood with my goofy humor because I know you're dragging, sister).

Right now, you are going through the refiner's fire. I'm sure you're well acquainted with the references throughout the Bible. But, let me remind you about the refining process. When they smelt the gold they turn the fire up and the impurities rise to the surface and then they are scraped off. Then they increase the temperature of the fire even more! The last few impurities that have been lurking in places that were unseen, but would definitely ruin the gold at a later point if not removed, are brought to the surface. The smelter knows when the gold is PURE, REFINED, and without CONTAMINATION when he can look and see his reflection in the surface of the gold as clearly as a mirror.

Our Heavenly Father is looking at you, His gold, and refining you and making you pure! What a PRIVILEGE to be drawn closer to the Father at HIS request!!! Hold on to this for it is Biblical and not feel-good theology. Today's churches are so obese with feel-good theology that they wouldn't know something BIBLICAL if it jumped up and slapped them in the face! We are in the days of the church of Laodicea where all they want is what their itchy ears want to hear. They can't be disciplined because they can’t handle it! They are false converts lurking in the house and the Lord is cleaning the house. But, we sometimes get refined in the process.

I ask that He refresh you while you're going through this fire and that you not miss the opportunity to receive the depth of knowledge and experience that are wrought only through suffering of this magnitude! WHAT A PRIVILEGE THIS SUFFERING IS!!!!!

Spurgeon said it best when he said, "I do not think that we ever pray with such fervor of supplication in our prosperity as we do in our adversity. And then how precious the promises become!...I might talk on forever about the sweet uses of adversity, and not exhaust the subject...You will find that, if you want the most Christ-like saints and the most deeply experimental believers, and the Christians who are best acquainted with the Word of God, you must look for them among those who are the most intimately acquainted with the fiery furnace and its burning heat."

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Books and Websites for researching Emergent Church

Bibliography of Emerging Church Research
Books used in researching the Emerging Church

1) Carson, D. A., Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan), 2005.

2) Gibbs, Eddie and Bolger, Ryan K. Emerging Churches, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic), 2005.

3) Jones, Alan., Reimagining Christianity, (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons), 2005.

4) Kimball, Dan.,

a)Emerging Worship, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan) 2004.
b)The Emerging Church, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan), 2003.

5) McLaren, Brian.,

a) A Generous Orthodoxy, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan), 2004
b) Everything must change, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson), 2007
c) Finding Faith: a Self Discovery Guide for your Spiritual Quest, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan), 1999.
d)The Last Word and the Word After That, (San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass), 2005
e) The Secret Message of Jesus, (Nashville, Tenn: W Publishing Group), 2006.

6) Pagitt, Doug and Jones, Tony

a) An Emergent Manifesto of Hope, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books) 2007.
b) Church Re-Immagined, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan), 2003.

7) Phipps, Brian. ed., The Church in Emerging Culture, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan), 2003.

8) Smith, R. Scott, Truth and the New Kind of Christian, (Wheaton, ILL: Crossway Books), 2005.

9) Sweet, Leonard. ed., The Church in Emerging Culture: Five Perspectives. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan), 2003.

10) Webber, Robert. ed., Listening to the beliefs of Emerging Churches: Five perspectives, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan), 2007.

11) Yungen, Ray, A Time of Departing, (Silverton, Oregon: Lighthouse Trails Publishing Company) 2006.

Websites used in researching the Emerging Church

taken from Matt's bibliography citations from CARM