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Why churches should avoid the trends that drive temporary faithfulness

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Why churches should avoid the trends that drive temporary faithfulness

There are two schools of thought when it comes to building and maintaining a congregation. One believes that anything that can draw in more people and more activity is worthwhile as long as it stays close to the pure Gospel. The other believes that quality supersedes bulk, so staying true to the Gospel is more important that spreading it to more people.

Both perspectives have some merit, but I believe the latter is by far more valid. It’s been difficult to put into perspective because everyone has a story about a disinterested secularist who came to a church event for one reason only to be brought into full-throttle belief over time. They’ll tell the story that they would never have found God had they not been lured in through “cooler” pretenses. An argument can be made that this isn’t true, that true believers being predestined before the foundations of the earth mean that at some point everyone who is supposed to believe will be unable to avoid seeing the truth, but we’re going to stick to less controversial reasons for now.

Now is not the time to debate Calvinism versus Arminianism. That comes later.

The biggest risk to being a “cool” church is if the message is watered down by secular sensibilities, which seems to happen invariably at churches trying to be to “cool,” then the important parts of the message can be lost. It’s all a matter of how far a church goes before it starts getting too diluted. The messages of salvation through belief, belief through repentance, baptism by water and the Holy Spirit, faith defined by works – all risk getting caught up in the rock n’ roll mentality prevalent in churches that are progressive and bent on doing good things in this world instead of preparing people for they must face in order to make it to the next world. Faith is empowering but it can also be a hindrance in relations to the messages promoted by many of these churches.

Is it wrong to approve of gay marriage? According to the Bible, yes it is. That’s not to say gay people shouldn’t go to church; the gap between the proper perspective of loving the sinner but hating the sin and the hateful teachings of “churches” like Westboro Baptist are negated in the eyes of many secularists. To them, if you’re opposed to gay marriage, you’re identical to the bigots who hold signs condemning pretty much everyone to hell, signs held by anti-Biblical professors of a faith that is nothing like the faith of the true Church.

Society has made so many fear he label of bigotry that they go out of their way to avoid anything that can be construed as such. But just as Jesus and his disciples were called heretical in their day, so too will those of us adherent to a Biblical faith will be called bigots. Gay marriage is just one example.

When these progressive churches play for fun and promote a gospel of total inclusion, they’re delivering the wrong message to people who desperately need to hear the truth. We have enough challenges fending off the false teachings of the prosperity gospel. The last thing we need is a lukewarm church that is accepting of everything in the name of inclusiveness.

Just because there are example of progressive churches bringing atheists to the faith doesn’t mean conservative churches are bad. If anything, the harsh message of reality heard by few is more powerful than the weak message of inclusiveness heard by many.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Timothy Phelps

    April 3, 2019 at 9:31 am

    “Now is not the time to debate Calvinism versus Arminianism.” With one short sentence you forfeit the only relevant subject of the entire conversation. Arminianism is heresy. If that is not the very first … up front … wearing on your sleeves … hill to die on … conversation, then you are only collecting goats into what is supposed to be a sheepfold. The church is supposed to be the pure body of the Bride of Christ … a chaste virgin … not a slut that will spread her legs for every false doctrine that passes by. This is exactly why the falling away referenced in 2 Thessalonians chapter two is in full flower … the nominative “Christian” preacher has utterly quit the field before the requisite spiritual battle even begins. Shame on you!

  2. Nicole

    April 3, 2019 at 6:48 pm

    Of course it’s wrong for Christians to approve of a sodomy ceremony which celebrates an abomination and perverts the sanctity of marriage. Why do Christians adopt the enemy’s lies? There’s no such thing as “Gay Marriage.” Using Satan’s terminology only obscures the truth. Why should Christians enthusiastically rush to welcome the pet-sin of homosexuality into the church? Who are we trying to impress God or the world?

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Culture and Religion

Sometimes it’s the little wrongs that stick

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Sometimes its the little wrongs that stick

I was a pretty cocky kid.

It’s something that I get to hear a lot lately, especially when connecting with old friends from high school and college. I remember thinking that I wouldn’t be that guy, the one who looks back while on the second half of a standard life and calls himself stupid, but that’s exactly what I’ve started doing. I was a cocky, stupid kid.

There are several instances that I can recall that had an effect on the way that I grew and would eventually point me to dedicate my life to Christ. One of those events was very small, so small that the person I “wronged” likely doesn’t even remember the incident.

I was managing a steak house in Oklahoma City. I was the youngest of the managers of what was supposed to be a summer job and ended up supporting my young family for three years. I was cocky (and did I mention I was stupid as well?) and took pride in my ability to diffuse situations. It wasn’t a fancy steak house. In fact, it was a two-story, 550-seat monster that served hundreds of steaks every night.

One particular evening I was helping one of the servers by taking the order. It was a special day for the patriarch of the family and they were celebrating – what exactly I don’t recall or perhaps never knew. The special day man had one important request – no Texas toast. His wife (or daughter, couldn’t tell for sure) said that he was extremely allergic to anything that had bread and I assured her that no bread would touch his plate. I plugged in the order, put the special instructions in all caps (NO BREAD NO BREAD NO BREAD) and went on to see to the hundreds of other guests as well as the staff.

I was walking by the table, just checking in, when the food came. Time went into slow-motion mode as the plate was put down in front of him with a big, buttery piece of Texas toast right smack dab on his 14 oz. ribeye. The look on the wife/daughter’s face has always stuck with me. It was pure disappointment, shock, and even a little bit of fear all flashing before me in technicolor slow motion.

Instantly, I reached down and grabbed the plate, but the man grabbed my arm. His fury was clear. I told him that I would get him a new steak, but refused to let go. He wanted to keep that steak hostage to make certain that we didn’t just take it to the back, pull of the bread, and serve him the same steak. I assured him that we wouldn’t do that but he was firm. He didn’t believe me and that made me mad.

In the same situation today, I wouldn’t have tried to take the steak back. In fact, I would have left one more instruction on the ticket – “Page ME for delivery”. I would have made certain that the bread didn’t go on his plate. Instead, I allowed myself to get angry. I took it out on the staff that couldn’t read instructions. I took it out on the table that had a special occasion ruined. I didn’t even comp the meal because of my petty, stupid, cocky anger.

For all I know, they never thought about it again. For all I know, the man was emotionally unstable and hurt someone that night due to my mistakes. His grip was very strong, the type of grip that one can’t get by working out. It only comes from working through life with your hands.

It’s the fear in the wife/daughter’s eyes that I’ve never been able to shake for two decades. Mad – understandable. Disappointed – who wouldn’t be? Fear – that’s something that was distinct. She wasn’t looking at me. She was looking at him. She was waiting for his response. I don’t recall if I truly saw it out of the corner of my eye or if it has emerged through my imagination over the years, but I think she even looked up at me with a subtle, desperate shake of her head as I tried to pry the plate from his grip as if she was warning me that this many might kill me over the mistake.

We never know the effects of our actions. We don’t know what little thing we might do that causes someone to snap, something bad to happen, or something life-changing that could have been avoided by being a little less stupid, a little less cocky, and a lot more like a believer in Jesus Christ should act.

I never had the chance to apologize properly to the family. Maybe that’s why it stuck with me for all of these years. The slow motion look of mixed, terrible emotions – I pray that my little act of defiance didn’t cause pain to anyone.

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Culture and Religion

Do not presume to know if someone is saved, even if they’re pro-abortion pastors

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Do not presume to know if someone is saved even if theyre pro-abortion pastors

This could very easily turn into a discussion about Arminianism versus Calvinism, but that’s a topic I’m still not ready to tackle on this site. One thing I will tackle is the presumptive nature that guides many people to make calls about who is a Christian and who’s a false-Christian as if they’re baseball umpires calling balls or strikes.

It’s something I’ve faced on literally hundreds if not thousands of occasions over the years. People will read my bio on the various social networks, then use my proclamation of being a Christian to call out my posts. Heck, it happened twice today on a reply I sent to Kamala Harris on Twitter that had absolutely nothing to do with faith. I’ve grown used to it, and I try my hardest to never let it get to me on a personal level. I’ve found that many who call me out for a Tweet or Facebook post are simply disagreeing with the content and trying to shame me by saying it’s not very Christian-like. This is a common tactic, folks, so be mindful of it if you face similar complaints.

But today I’d like to discuss a similar situation. Should Christians call out other’s who profess to be Christians based on actions or perspectives that are clearly non-Biblical? The answer to this question, in my humble opinion, is yes and no. Yes, I believe it behooves us as Bible-believers to call out the actions of others, particularly if they profess to be Christians. No, I do not believe we should be claiming people are not Christians because of their misguided beliefs or actions. That’s a call that’s way above our pay grade.

For example, there was a lot of controversy over a letter by 150 Christian leaders who support a pro-choice stance. As most Christians know, abortion is not a Biblical practice and is spoken against in the Bible itself. We should definitely be calling on those who are supportive of abortion and who also profess their faith, but we shouldn’t be telling them they’re going to burn in hell over their perspective, that they have no Grace, or that they’re not really Christians. I said it before and I can’t really say it enough – such things are above our pay grade.

We know from the Bible what God disapproves of, but we are not capable of known WHO God approves of, as in who He considers to be saved as a Christian. When we tell people who believe they are saved that they’re actually not saved because they believe in abortion, we’re presuming to know God’s Will on such matters. We do not.

If we want to call out the sin, that’s proper. If we’re telling a sinner they’re condemned to hell because of their sin, it’s like taking on the role of passing eternal judgment. That is not our calling. Mind your tongues, folks. God does.

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Culture and Religion

Michael J. Knowles on the reality of ‘white privilege’ and intersectionality

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Michael J Knowles on the reality of white privilege and intersectionality

There’s a strange contradiction that’s been essentially taking over the mentality of many leftists for some time now. The contradiction has to do with bigotry and is framed around the concept of “white privilege.”

If you’re white, you instantly have privilege in their eyes. If you also happen to be a straight male, you really, really have privilege. This characterization by the left does two things. It paints those who are straight male Caucasians as not being capable of experiencing the types of hardships experienced by others and it forces anyone who is not a straight male Caucasian to embrace their victimhood if they’re going to be part of the leftist tribe.

This is, of course, all ludicrous. White privilege is a myth in today’s America. There are enough safeguards to protect those who aren’t straight white males from persecuting the rest of us, and those safeguards have been working. But that’s not enough for the left. They aren’t looking for equality. They want the status they place on people of having “white privilege” to work against them.

Michael J. Knowles and Andrew Klavan from the DailyWire took to Texas A&M to discuss some of the challenges leftists force onto people, particularly at college campuses in America. The event, hosted by YAF, yielded an extremely interesting series of discussions. You can watch the whole event here.

Knowles was asked about “white privilege” and gave a thoughtful response. Here’s one important quote from his answer:

“Ironically what this ideology does is it turns privilege into victimhood and it turns victimhood into privilege, and that’s the upside down world of the left, and it’s why they go after you on immutable characteristics such as the color of your skin and your biology and your chromosomes.”

Will there ever come a time when the left is willing to look past our gender, religion, sexual preference, or the color of our skin and simply see people as who they are? The way things are going, it doesn’t seem like it.

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