Posts Tagged ‘Christianity’

OD Today: 19 January 2009 (early edition)

January 19, 2009

Many many links and we try to catch up from a week off. The anti-Obama crowd is stepping up rhetoric ahead of tomorrow’s inauguration (see also the Gene Robinson stories), and accusations against Sovereign Grace Ministries are not going away. Other than that? Emergents and Nazis, but not in the same story.

  1. Religious Right Watch alerts on Blogs for Life, also notes an article about Rick Warren at The Nation accusing him of tax fraud. “The facts were simple: in 1993 Warren deducted $77,663, his entire Saddleback Church salary that year, as a housing expense–and paid no taxes at all on that salary.”
  2. Chris Rosebrough connects the Emerging Church to John Shelby Spong. Rosebrough spent most of last week and a couple of days before that on this topic, both at his weblog and on his podcast. I will put together a summary if I have time. “The Emergents claim that they are a ‘third way’ or a synthesis and middle ground between liberalism and conservatism. Yet, they are coming to the same conclusions as “modern” liberals. The Emergent movement is nothing more than a Post-Modern form of Liberalism.”
  3. Chris Rosebrough calls out Rick Warren for making a passing reference to Hitler Youth (and devotees of Mao Zedong) as an example of dedication to a cause. I can’t agree with Rosebrough’s parsing of Jesus’s message (I don’t see the dichotomy between meeting felt needs and making disciples that Rosebrough sees), and I don’t agree with Rosebrough’s parsing of what Warren says, but I have to agree that modern Christians need to get as far away from Nazi narratives and imagery as possible. Not only that, but it reminds me of repeated references to exactly the same language used by e.g. Doug Coe (of The Family) fame, as cited by Jeff Sharlet in his book The Family. Note that Warren does not actually praise the Nazis (YouTube). “Lifting up Nazi passion and commitment and asking Christians to have that same passion and commitment is not just tacky, it is out right creepy. Is Warren building an army?”
  4. Robin Brace takes on the question of whether Christians need to observe the Sabbath. “The common Seventh Day Adventist error is in failing to notice the difference between the original institution of something and the point at which a particular divine prescription comes into effect.”
  5. Thomas Heringer interpolates some comments from Barack Obama, returns to the common theme that Obama is preparing the United States for a place in a global government. “If what is meant in the bold type, that Obama means for those of us who still believe the Bible should give it up to a global ideal, then I have a problem with it.” There are really two strands here that are fairly common among conservative Christians with an ODM bent: Christianity as a religion among other religions, and global government. These are related ideas but they’re not really the same.
  6. Russell Moore hates Sanctity of Life Sunday. “I hate Sanctity of Human Life Sunday because I’m reminded that we have to say things to one another that human beings shouldn’t have to say. Mothers shouldn’t kill their children. Fathers shouldn’t abandon their babies. No human life is worthless, regardless of skin color, age, disability, economic status. The very fact that these things must be proclaimed is a reminder of the horrors of this present darkness. … I’m reminded that there are children, maybe even blocks from my pulpit, who’ll be slapped, punched, and burned with cigarettes before nightfall. I’m reminded that there are elderly men and women languishing away in loneliness, their lives pronounced to be a waste.”
  7. Kris at Sovereign Grace Ministries Survivors picks up the question of whether SGM pastors bug their offices and meeting rooms. “And then someone sent me a snippet of an email that had been received from someone … who reported positively ”knowing” that some of the things shared here on this site were inaccurate, because he’d had access to the “transcripts of conversations” between the SGM member and his/her SGM pastors, and the SGM member sharing his/her story on this blog had relayed false information, based upon a comparison with the “transcript” to which this SGM staff person had access.”
  8. Christine at Talk Wisdom picks up the “Obama is a one-worlder” theme again.
  9. Miriam Franklin offers a recap post on Chuck Pierce and his complete line of Christian charm bracelets, complete with pictures. “It ain’t just the merchandising and false prophecy that is wrong in this case. This is pretty blatant stuff – are “Christians” really so naive as to be taken in by it? And are they really so superstitious?  I guess so, as Chuck’s ministry has brought out more than one range of this type of jewellery.”
  10. Phil Perkins announces a series in which he will be taking on Frank Turk regarding usage of gender in Bible translations.
  11. Miriam Franklin parses an upcoming New Ecstatics meeting including John Crowder. “John Crowder is also known to dress sometimes in brown monk’s habits, use the Latin Vulgate, quote Catholic mystics and heretics, and use Gregorian monk chants as background music to his videos. As well as to heavily promote ecumenicism.”
  12. Timmy Brister parses Gene Robinson’s theology. “nothing is said of the nature of this god, and nothing is asked in reference of him doing what only a god could do.  The prayer is fundamentally ethical, not theological.”
  13. Mollie Ziegler Hemingway offers an omnibus post on press coverage of tomorrow’s inauguration. Have I said lately how much I love MZH? Catch her also, occasionally, on Issues, etc.
  14. Rick Frueh warns against interpreting contemporary events in the light of eschatology. “Let me say that any nation has the right and responsibility to protect its citizens, however that is not the concern of the church neither is it our message.”
  15. Ingrid Schlueter comments on Gene Robinson. “Fox Religion Correspondent, Lauren Green, has a column on sodomite rebel, Rev. Gene Robinson, who is scheduled to pray at an Inaugural prayer event. Robinson, who lives with his gay lover, is just “horrified” over aggressively Christian prayers. Yeah, Gene, well, some of us are “horrified” at what passes for Christian clergy these days.”
  16. Sharon Lindbloom parses a recent sermon by Thomas Monson. “Amazingly, Thomas Monson took the clear and powerful Word of God — a revelation wherein God declared His divine initiative in blessing His people — and misapplied it to teach his followers that God’s blessings are bestowed according to human attainment.”
  17. Ingrid Schlueter takes up the story of Edward Purvis, who defrauded Christian investors in Arizona and twelve other states by promising them big bucks for funding a ministry. “It takes two sides to make a fraudulent financial scheme work—a criminal or criminals on the one side and greedy, simple-minded people on the other.” I for one applaud Schlueter’s focus on profiteering in Christianity, and look forward to her bringing up the topic the next time she welcomes an author who visits Crosstalk to push a book.
  18. Stephen Shields at Next Wave gives a history of the Emerging/Emergent Church, with quotes from all the usual suspects. Thanks to Jonathan Dodson.
  19. Ingrid Schlueter pulls an Obama two-fer: following Concerned Women for America in calling Barack Obama the most virulent pro-abortion President, and joining Joseph Farah in praying Obama fails. “Joseph Farah, I, and millions of other believers are praying for the failure of Barack Obama in his attempts to widen access to child-killing in abortion clinics, grant full legitimacy to homosexual relationships through civil unions, and establish a socialist economic system in this country.”
  20. Michael Newnham calls out C. J. Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Ministries, particularly for suggesting that he/they are apostles. “we can assume that the “apostles” are going to stonewall the situation unless forced by bad publicity to do otherwise. Side note here…when your church is run by men who call themselves “apostles”…run.”
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OT Today: 23 December 2008

December 23, 2008

Here are the online discernment links for December 23, 2008:

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OD Today 22 December 2008

December 22, 2008

I picked up a bunch of new links over the weekend, but right now everybody seems to be focused on Christmas and their personal celebration thereof, so links are a little light.

  • Brannon Howse distributes Chuck Missler on The History of Christmas. I can’t find the original at Missler’s website.
  • Brannon Howse distributes Steve Camp on church discipline. I think this is a reference to the Rebecca Hancock story, but it’s hard to tell.
  • Brannon Howse distributes Matt Barber on “the gods of liberalism.” This looks like his Baalism post from World Net Daily a couple of days ago.
  • Brannon Howse distributes a piece by Mark Creech; this is a fairly standard A-B-A piece calling America to repentance, with Christmas as a backdrop.
  • Michael Davis links and comments on edited Christmas carols in the United Kingdom. I had been wondering where the War on Christmas stories were. See also Orrin Judd on Christmas carols edited in deference to modern sensibilities, including the plight of Palestinians.
  • Joseph Farah‘s open letter to Rick Warren; he asks him to call abortion “evil” during the Obama inauguration invocation. Ingrid Schlueter links and agrees.
  • This is the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.
  • the Christ within all of us.” He cites a local disc jockey, but doesn’t name the station or jockey.
  • Reformata.org links to a Steve McConkey editorial/press release at Christian Newswire, correctly says “promotes Mormon Glenn Beck” instead of “promotes Mormonism.” McConkey: “Some of the false doctrines of Mormonism include polytheism, an attack on the trinity, that Jesus was the spirit-brother of Lucifer, that God the Father is married to Mother God, temple baptisms for the dead, the Bible has missing parts and many errors.”
  • James White takes issue with Darrell Bock’s reported comments reported by Fox News regarding Rebecca Hancock and most churches wanting to handle the matter more privately, says the church should speak from a position of holiness, also talks about homosexual “hatred for God’s law.” No transcript available.
  • What Lila discovered was a pattern where Planned Parenthood employees violated state parental consent laws and statutory rape laws by downplaying the age of the fictitious man, while encouraging her to obtain a secret abortion by crossing state lines.” Strictly speaking because there was no act (there was no 31-year-old boyfriend, and Lila Rose is not thirteen years old) Planned Parenthood technically did not violate parental consent/statutory rape laws. I’d guess they could be convicted of conspiracy, though. Her website is here. The YouTube video is here.

Also, professional religion reporter Rachel Zoll covers Rick Warren’s stands on various issues in an economical number of words.

OD Today: 17 December 2008

December 17, 2008

Here’s a summary of the day in online discernment:

  • Ingrid Schlueter links to Dinesh D’Souza’s account of his debate with ethicist Peter Singer.
  • Ingrid Schlueter joins Jeffrey Whittaker at Herescope in criticizing William Young’s novel The Shack. He takes Young to task for mixing fact and fiction and by implication portraying Jesus’s Crucifixion as just another story; she says evangelical Christians value their emotions over the truth of Scripture.
  • Ingrid Schlueter scolds New Life Church in Elmhurst, Queens, for having a Seventies themed New Years Eve party.
  • Ingrid Schlueter me-toos Ken Silva in calling out Rob Bell/Mars Hill over homosexuality; apparently Silva wrote Mars Hill asking about Rob Bell’s position on gay Christians and got a form letter in return.
  • John Baker raises the spectre of hyperinflation and says we’re on the brink of The Very Great Depression.
  • John Baker links to an article in the Jerusalem Post saying Messianic Jews Jamie and Stacy Cowen were detained by the Israeli Interior Ministry for proselytizing, which is illegal under Israeli law.
  • John Baker links to an article from The Christian Post quoting a BeliefNet.com interview with Rick Warren where he refers to the social gospel as practiced by the mainline denominations as “Marxism in Christian clothing.” Warren also calls out evangelicals and fundamentalists for ignoring felt needs.
  • La Shawn Barber updates the Lila Rose/Planned Parenthood of Indiana case, including an investigation by the Indiana Attorney General.
  • Dwayna Litz says Jason Upton is teaching universalism.
  • John Sexton links to a UPI story saying there is evidence of arson at Wasilla Bible Church in Wasilla, Alaska.
  • John Baker links to a Times Online article in which Pope Benedict is quoted as saying that Philippians 4:4-5 and 2 Thessalonians 1:7-8 refer not to the Last Judgment, but rather that “love is near.”
  • John Baker links to an article by Gene at End Times Disciples on “Bootleg Faith.”
  • Ingrid Schlueter says Phyllis Tickle wants to pull evangelicals into the influence of occultists.
  • Ingrid Schlueter takes Rick Warren to task for appearing at Obama inaugural and gives her take on his social gospel/Marxism interview, saying nobody better embodies the social gospel than Rick Warren.
  • Ingrid Schlueter links to a couple of Yahweh Yoga video clips.
  • Ingrid Schlueter links to a US News/World Report story quoting David Gushee saying backers of Richard Cizik are looking for a like-minded replacement to follow him at the National Association of Evangelicals.
  • Ingrid Schlueter links to a frame at Christian Worldview Network for this YouTube clip, a Catholic News Agency (TV) clip about a gay marching band scheduled to participate in the Obama Inaugural parade.
  • Dwayana Litz sends an update on an outreach in Tel Aviv.
  • Ken Silva says Jesus taught Sola Scriptura.

And finally, as a bonus: Brannon Howse visits with Vic Eliason, discussing the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Wikipedia page for the Lord Our Righteousness Church.

what are ODMs?

December 17, 2008

ODMs are Discernment Ministries that have gone online.

Some have an offline presence: they pastor churches, write books, give invited talks, or host radio programs, but I’ll mostly focus on their online presence: weblogs, websites, email lists, and podcasts: mostly things I can quote, link, summarize, and contextualize.

What is a discernment ministry? Historically discernment ministries are countercult apologists. Walter Ralston Martin is the prototypical countercult apologist: a mildly ecumenical Baptist who focused his attention on groups on the perimeter of evangelical Protestantism, including Seventh-Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons. These are groups are largely or nearly Christian, but differ doctrinally in some important way, and correspondingly Martin’s focus was primarily doctrinal, as opposed to focusing on groups with fairly mainstream doctrine but peculiar behavior (e.g. separatists).

Similarly today’s ODMs focus on groups within Christianity that in their minds are (or are becoming) heterodox. They sometimes focus groups that are within mainstream Christianity but of a different tradition (Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox) and groups that mix and borrow between traditions. They rarely focus on actual cults (e.g. Branch Davidians, Jim Jones‘s People’s Temple) or directly on new non-Abrahamic religions (New Thought, Scientology).

As a footnote, there are probably online doctrine experts blogging about creeping heterodoxy in Roman Catholic or Orthodox Christianity, but I don’t currently know what they call themselves or how to find them.

There’s a second major theme in ODMs concerned with broader cultural issues in (mostly) the United States. This is a more complicated problem since it isn’t strictly speaking a doctrinal issue, and it’s related to the question of whether one considers the United States a “Christian nation.” This is a prickly position, rife with implications, and I’ll try to deal with it carefully when it arises.

Finally: it’s reasonable to ask in what sense these groups are ministries, or these people are ministers; I don’t have a good answer for this question yet.