Posts Tagged ‘George W. Bush’

OD Today: 21 January 2009 (early edition)

January 21, 2009

This morning’s update is almost but not quite entirely Obama-free.

  1. Mike Witter explains N. T. Wright‘s New Perspective on Paul: “Wright acknowledges at the end of the interview that Reformed theologians will think that he is “smuggling in works-righteousness” to salvation, but he replies that he is actually just being faithful to Paul’s teaching that Christians “really do ‘please God.’” … Catholic view.  Wright still holds to grace alone, but not faith alone, at least as articulated by Calvin and Luther.”
  2. Henry Neufield offers a post-mortem on the Bush Administration. “But having chosen to go to war, President Bush acted as though there was no need for continued support of the war. There are indications that many in his administration thought the war would be much easier. I have a hard time crediting that level of stupidity.”
  3. Church Relevance offers a list of sixty “top Church blogs.” That’s Church Universal, apparently, rather than local church. Stuff Christians Like celebrates coming in third. Several emergents, no ODMs.
  4. James White offers comment on the Williams/Ehrman debate (from Unbelievable?), as part of an episode of The Dividing Line. I have not yet heard this episode: I’m still about forty hours behind on various audio goodies that accumulated while I was away last week.
  5. Miriam Franklin calls Catholics and various groups represented by the World Council of Churches unbelievers.
  6. Miriam Franklin calls John Crowder demonic. See also Chris Rosebrough, which called Crowder’s behavior satanic.
  7. Dwayna Litz reminds us that Jesus did not come to bring world peace. “I just emailed my friend the following verses for the “New Testament Christian”, which prove that war is in fact part of God’s sovereign plan.”
  8. Kit offers three Zeitgeist (movie)-related posts, including an interview with Jordan Maxwell (1, 2, 3).
  9. Howard Fisher has been reading Michael Horton, and takes on the concept of “time alone with Jesus.” “For years I have interacted with Roman Catholics apologists, who mock the doctrine of Sola Scriptura due to their view of Protestantism, by making the charge that Protestants run to sit with Jesus under a tree all alone. This makes sense to me more now than in the past. When Protestants act as Gnostics in their search for truth (while decrying moral relativism), they feed our critics with much ammo.”
  10. Ergun Caner vs. James White, as recommended by Lane Chaplin (YouTube). Ninety-three minutes; I’m still looking for a free (as in costing $0.00) audio version.
  11. Brian D. offers a batch of links. There’s very little overlap what you’ll see here.
  12. Lane Chaplin/Reformata offers a link for a high-quality video of Paul Washer’s “10 indictments” sermon. This is a biggie, and somewhat to very popular among ODMs. I really should put together a bunch of notes and links for this, since it encapsulates a lot of the claims and rhetoric popular among ODMs.
  13. Boyd Miller offers a check list for deciding if you’re part of the Word of Faith movement. “4. Do you believe God has anointed certain people to collect money in his name?”
  14. Job at Jesus Christology quotes and highlights an editorial from NewsMax saying the now-former President betrayed conservatives. “It should be remembered that, sometime after the invasion, the raison d’etre of the war changed from removing Saddam from power and stopping his weapons of mass destruction program to a dreamy plan of creating a democracy in Iraq.
  15. Darryl Foster offers a video with Samuel Brown’s contrary (that is, positive) opinion regarding gay Christians. “We had a civil exchange but with stark disagreements, so I respect him for his civility in expressing his points. Brown says that he was raised in the COGIC but obviously disagrees with COGIC’s moral stance. What do you think about Samuel Brown’s theology on homosexuality? Is he right, wrong or just another really mixed up gay christian?” (YouTube)
  16. Scott Isebrand/Religious Right Watch/Chris Rodda offer an account of a soldier feeling pressured to applaud at the end of a particular prayer by someone named Rick Warren at a public event yesterday. “…soldiers pressured to conform to commanders’ religious beliefs.” Civil religion, anyone?
  17. Kris at SGM Survivors asks among other things why Sovereign Grace Ministries would want to plant a church in Colorado Springs, of all places. “I know you guys have redefined the word “gossip” to mean any and all sharing of information that you don’t want people to be discussing.  But is it really “gossip” to want to know if one’s senior pastor will soon be swapped out for another guy?  Is it somehow wrong to be concerned about who will be leading one’s “local” church?  Wouldn’t it demonstrate, actually, a strange lack of concern if people did NOT desire to know about these things?”
  18. The Westchester Institute announces a commentary addressing the question “Has the Pro-Life Movement Failed?”

I generally hesitate to be a trend-spotter and prognosticator, but I’m expecting more articles regarding George W. Bush saying, more or less “we’ve been had” now that he’s out of office and no longer the beneficiary of any Pauline commands to be subject to those in authority.

Rick Warren’s tax deductions

January 19, 2009
Saddleback Chur...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

This article surfaced during the links overnight, and I listed it in this morning’s OD Today, but I’d like to return to it now that I’ve had time to look at it a bit more carefully. Jon Wiener reports in The Nation that in 1993 Rick Warren was claiming that his entire salary ($77,663) from Saddleback Church was exempt due to the “parsonage exemption,” which makes a pastor’s housing allowance exempt from income taxes. Never mind

  • The general question of whether income taxes (and income tax exemptions) are moral or ethical
  • The amount Warren was being paid (does your pastor make the equivalent to $77,663 in 1993 dollars?)
  • Any establishment clause issues (Wiener deals with these in the main article)

Claiming a tax exemption for an entire salary stinks. It’s corrupt on its very face, and any pastor who claims his salary is exempt because he’s allowed to exempt his housing allowance should be ashamed of himself. Especially if, as Wiener alleges, Warren’s housing costs were covered by Saddleback Church.

Wiener goes on to say (and this is the main point of his article) that the United States Congress stepped in to give Warren a pass, by passing a law exempting him from back taxes while clarifying that the parsonage exemption should apply only to the fair value of the parsonage in equivalent rent.

The Clergy Housing Allowance Clarification Act of 2002 was approved unanimously by Congress, then signed into law by George W. Bush on May 20, 2002, rendering the IRS case against Warren moot. “I have filed hundreds of briefs in federal courts,” Chemerinsky told me, “and this is the only time that Congress passed a law to make a specific pending case moot.” He added, “It is very rare for Congress to pass a law to make a pending case moot before there was a decision.”

I’ve made every effort to be charitable to Rick Warren on this weblog, especially when ODMs say things I think are unfair or mean-spirited. I still find this troubling.

Jeff Sharlet: The Family

January 10, 2009

I am always on the lookout for journalists in mainstream media who understand contemporary Christianity, who speak passable Christianese and are capable and willing to translate into Americanese, or journalese, or whatever (say) Newsweek or The New Republic or the Wall Street Journal are written in. Sharlet occasionally shows signs of being one of those people, and his articles in Harper’s are typically worth reading.

Sharlet is the author of The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism At The Heart of American Power. I had been looking forward to this book ever since I stumbled across his earlier article in Harper’s (Jesus Plus Nothing (2003)). It forms the first chapter or so of the book, and is nearly sufficient as a substitute for busy readers. It’s about Abraham Vereide, Doug Coe, and what is by turns called The Family or The Fellowship, the people behind the National Prayer Breakfast.

Sharlet visits Ivanwald, a Family retreat in the Washington DC area, and documents what he saw and heard there. And this is the part of the book that should interest the Online Discernment community, because he presents a Christianity at the heart of The Family that is surprisingly heterodox. Surprising because Sharlet calls it fundamentalist, but heterodox because the Jesus that is at the center of it isn’t a Jesus most Christians would recognize: this Jesus doesn’t die for anybody’s sins. He endorses powerful people and their aggregation and use of power. 

Sharlet even offers this quote from a Family planning document: “Anything can happen,” according to an internal planning document, “the Koran could even be read, but JESUS is there! He is infiltrating the world.” This Jesus who is infiltrating the world through the Family is one of the themes of the book, and he doesn’t bear much resemblance to the Jesus of the Bible.

Sharlet goes back to Jonathan Edwards and Charles Grandison Finney to discuss the history of revivalism in America, wanders briefly through the nineteenth century, and then takes up the history of The Family’s founder, Abraham Vereide, on American shores. The idea at the heart of the story: that Jesus works to exercise dominion over the world primarily through powerful people, unfolds through Vereide’s story.

Sharlet clearly sides with labor unions and socialists, and this occasionally causes the story to bog down: he’s not upset with Vereide for selling something not entirely unlike prosperity theology (“Jesus wants you to be more powerful!” rather than “God wants you to be rich!” or whatever), but for selling out strike-breakers. He’s not wrong, he just portrays the struggle as a bit black and white: the union’s rank and file are never wrong, and corrupt union bosses’ flaws are glossed over. He runs into the same problem when the history reaches World War II; Sharlet is full of righteous indignation that the United States sided with West Germany against the Soviet Union after the war, and he portrays many postwar Christians as secret Nazis or worse.

The chapters on the role of The Family in working to project American power overseas using prayer groups for powerful people are probably the most damning; Sharlet portrays The Family as making common cause with Third World dictators, most of whom are not Christian in any way shape or form (e.g. Suharto of Indonesia) for the benefit of nobody in particular: it isn’t even clear how American interests are being served in some cases.

Then Sharlet inexplicably turns his attention toward American Christianity at home, and the book sort of falls apart: he wades into a pre-2006 discussion of Ted Haggard and draws unwarranted comparisons between The Family’s “prayer cells” and New Life Church’s “small groups.” He picks up a theme he’s been developing all along, that The Family is the brain behind more mainstream groups (Campus Crusade, The Navigators), but he makes the mistake conspiracy theorists typically make of mistaking a financial contribution or leadership involvement in third organizations as signs of control. He picks up on war metaphors in small (and probably fringe) Christian groups but doesn’t parse them sensibly. He notes a use of the phrase “armor of God” but doesn’t mention that it comes from Ephesians. He describes an America with New York at one pole and Colorado Springs at the other, but stumbles when it appears that it’s vitally important that the world be made safe for film critics.

There’s a lot more, too, but his ear for contemporary Christian culture is off and the final section of the book doesn’t work. He makes an attempt at drawing the book to a close with a call to arms of sorts, but it’s mostly about liberals and moderates telling a different story about a different America, but there’s nothing stirring about it: he really seems to have bitten off more than he can chew, and by the end he’s just going through the motions.

All that being said I strongly recommend this book (well, up through the first two sections/284 pages) for any conservative Christian who e.g. voted for George W. Bush because he was pro-life and found themselves defending the Iraq War. It’s not a cure for the post-Bush hangover, but it’s helpful for figuring out how things went so wrong. Bush doesn’t figure in the book, but the culture of American civil religion as a co-opted version of Christianity focused on secular power made him possible if not inevitable.

Update: Harper’s offers a follow-up interview with Sharlet (2008). It’s a pretty good view of the whole story from 30,000 feet or so.

OD Today: 9 January 2009 (early edition)

January 9, 2009

There were lots of links overnight, and I’m running behind.

  1. From Mike Wittmer, the last word regarding Ed Dobson. Dobson deals with the problems regarding his appearance on Good Morning America, namely his support for pro-life issues, his voting for Barack Obama and his consumption of alcohol, which is important because of his position at Cornerstone University. Kudos to Dobson, for responding to the questions people raised, and to Wittmer, for relating and responding to Dobson’s words directly.
  2. Steve Knight regarding litmus tests, essentials, and non-essentials. “The very first thing they wanted to know was my stand on homosexuality, my opinions about abortion, and my beliefs about the Bible. I don’t think I passed.”
  3. Phil Miller discusses LifeWay Christian Stores’ new Read With Discernment program. “(I will note, though, that it does seem somewhat hypocritical to continue to sell a product you think dangerous enough to require a warning label).”
  4. John Baker links to a video purportedly showing Hamas killing people at a wedding for playing music, footage of men being rounded up, Fox News footage of people dancing in the streets in East Jerusalem on September 11, 2001, and Islamist propaganda videos (YouTube).
  5. Defending Contending calls out Guitar Praise (a Rock Band knock-off with Christian Music). “I also wonder if this is being marketed to the underground Church in Communist countries.”
  6. Christian Research Net shares a link to Stacy Campbell blessing Todd Bentley (YouTube), “who are Emerging Christ-followers, or any believers in Jesus the Evangelist for that matter, to think this use of Scripture and prophecy by people who “love” Jesus could be wrong.”
  7. Four Pointer at Defending Contending shares quotes from Mormon texts. “The purpose of this post is not to “bash” Mormons, but rather to show them that they have not been told the truth about the history of what the former leaders taught and practiced.”
  8. Ken Silva calls out Billy Graham for being a closet universalist. “Graham announces, and he far from alone is this, “everybody that loves Christ, or knows Christ, whether they’re conscious of it or not, they’re members of the Body of Christ.” Zow-ee; now we even have salvation via osmosis with none of that nasty ol’ preaching of the Gospel.”
  9. Orrin Judd shares a column by Irshad Manji from the Globe and Mail, calling for Muslims to embrace independent thinking. “Still unable to draw the link between self-protection and suicide, I proposed this analogy: ‘If my boss steals my job and I kill myself because something that is mine has been taken away, am I a martyr?’ Horrified, the translator shook his head. ‘No, no, you can’t ask this.'”
  10. Ralph Petersen shares a story of false hope. “I thought about the gospel appeal as described at Tom’s memorial service. What was the object? What was the compelling argument for faith? It was just the hope of heaven and the reunion of the family. There was nothing about Jesus or the forgiveness of sin or his need for a savior. As I looked around the room, I noticed that there were several who had never heard the gospel and this memorial service was a lost opportunity.” Petersen doesn’t give Tom’s last name or identify the pastor officiating at the memorial service.
  11. Jeremy Nelson at Renewing Our Minds shares a couple of clips from the Alex Jones expose of Bohemian Grove (1, 2) and his own video clip about occult symbols, etc.
  12. Dwayna Litz shares quotes from John Shelby Spong. “When you ask about “believing in Jesus Christ as your personal savior” you are using stylized evangelical language. That language has no appeal at all for me. To assert the role of savior for Jesus implies a definition of human life as sinful, fallen and helpless. It assumes the ancient myth that proclaimed that we were created perfect only to fall into sin from which we need to be rescued. It was a popular definition before people understood about our evolutionary background. We have been evolving toward humanity for billions of years. “
  13. E. E. Evans discusses press coverage of the British atheist advertising campaign. “What is a “non-religious belief”? I’d also like to see some independent corroboration of those statistics.”
  14. Phil Naessens continues discussing preterism, asks where the New Heaven and New Earth are. “If righteousness dwells in this new heaven and new earth, as Peter points out then how come there is so much unrighteousness in this new heaven and new earth?”
  15. Chris Rosebrough responds to listener comments, repeats that Barack Obama is a Christian, says George W. Bush and Glenn Beck are not (podcast).
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OD Today: 3 January 2009 (late edition)

January 3, 2009

Some backing and filling, some stray links.

  1. Bruce Prescott, liberal Baptist, on Southern Baptist families and divorce. “SBC leaders leaders still think the solution to the problem of divorce is to tell wives to “submit” to their husbands. “Submissive” wives don’t question their husband’s directions and they hold their tongues when they know their husband is leading the family astray.”
  2. A transcript of Paris Reidhead‘s sermon Ten Shekels and A Shirt.
  3. Orrin Judd links to a Jerusalem Post article on the current conflict between Israel and Hamas, thanking George W. Bush for his support.
  4. Orrin Judd excerpts a couple of articles, one suggesting that reason is insufficient as a basis of government, the other on results from a recent Harris poll regarding American attitudes toward abortion.
  5. Henry Neufield on the case of Keith John Sampson, a student and janitor at IUPUI found guilty of racial harassment for reading Todd Tucker’s book Notre Dame vs. The Klan (see als0).
  6. Michael Davis on Muslim unrest in Rosengård, Sweden. “The problem is that those in the West fail to understand that Islam is far from being just another religion–it is at its core a way of life. A way of life which is in many ways at odds with much of the free societies that it is transplanted in.”
  7. David Hocking relays talking points regarding Israel and Hamas from Shimon Erem of Israel Christian Nexus. “The Consulate General of Israel has asked me to convey some basic points to help you better understand the facts of the current military operation in Gaza. We hope they will assist you in communications with your congregation and others with whom you are in contact.”
  8. Christine at Talk Wisdom links to Mike Rucker’s comments on Israel/Hamas, offers her own comments. “I have often believed that Israel needs a strong leader again. They need a man like Benjamin Netanyahu.”
  9. Howard Fisher on Muslim perspectives on Jesus. “To be honest, I have to wonder if the Muslim mind is able to grasp that Jesus had a purpose which required far more cunning and wisdom than man would ever conceive.”
  10. Chris Rosebrough shares video clips from Patricia King and Joshua Mills regarding “transports in the Spirit,” in this case to China; she also plugs something called the Extreme Plunge Volunteer Program.
  11. John Sexton plugs a Fox News program on Mosab Hassan Yousef.
  12. Kit passes on links to claims that Keith Green was murdered by Catholics.
  13. Ingrid Schlueter, this time at her personal weblog, discusses outrages regarding sexuality and femininity in America. “I recently watched a program on EWTN, the Catholic TV channel. While I disagree on some things, their teachings on family and God’s plan for motherhood is beautiful and helpful, and is utterly absent in freak show evangelical television.

We’d like to wish Ingrid Schlueter and her baby good health.

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OD Today: 2 January 2009

January 1, 2009

Today the new year begins in earnest; let’s hope we’re done with recaps, resolutions, and top ten lists.

  1. Kat summarizes New Age perspectives on the Rapture.
  2. Wendy at Joyfully Growing in Grace takes on the question of interpreting Paul’s writings, particularly Romans 14, using the Torah within the Hebrew Roots Movement. “t’s become clear that the concept is not uncommon among several facets in the Law-keeping community, including but not limited to those in the Hebrew Roots Movement, “Messianics”, Seventh Day Adventism, and Church of God sects.”
  3. Kit shares a link to The Keith Green Story.
  4. Dwayna Litz connects the dots between the New Age group The Fellowship of Friends and contemplative prayer. She also links to an older article where she calls out J. P. Moreland for his endorsement of spiritual disciplines. “Isn’t it clear that ‘practicing the presence’ is for those who are not indwelt with the presence of Christ through the Holy Spirit? There is no need to ‘practice’ a ‘presence’ when the perfect God of the universe dwells within you in all of His perfection.” Her discussion of this issue is as clear and succinct in its elaboration of ODMs objections to contemplation as I’ve seen.
  5. Ken Silva calls out Focus on the Family for recommending The Message via its brio magazine.
  6. Dwayna Litz shares verses for confronting New Agers. “A typical “spiritual” seeker of “esoteric Christianity” would read what he or she likes and not read the verses that convict of sin and tell of the depravity of people apart from Jesus.”
  7. James Swan responds to Patrick Madrid (Catholic Answers Live)’s interpretation of the woman “clothed in the sun” in Revelation 12 as being Mary, the mother of Jesus. “This is a striking example of private interpretation. Rome’s apologists may claim to be part of a monolithic church in which all her devoted apologists are on the same page, but when one surveys their writings it becomes quite obvious such is not the case.”
  8. James White takes on the question of whether Mormonism is Christian; his primary thesis is that Mormonism is polytheistic and Christianity is monotheistic (YouTube).
  9. John Kubicek links to The Farahness Doctrine, Joseph Farah’s Christian Libertarian manifesto.
  10. John Kubicek picks up the story of Igor Panarin and his prediction of the breakup of the United States in 2010 (Wall Street Journal).
  11. John Kubicek picks up the story of Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, two Border Patrol agents George W. Bush has declined to pardon (World Net Daily).
  12. Dorothy Anderson asks what hyper-preterists do with the Devil. “The question is – who or what is/was Satan? Is he still active today? How do they define him/it?”
  13. Dorothy Anderson asks what creeds hyper-preterists can affirm. “What has happened in hyper-preterism is their eschatological (end times) position requires them to redefine, or at best reschedule the resurrection and after 25+ years, they still have no unified solution to offer.”
  14. Jeremy at Renewing Our Minds links to an article about the difference between a recession and a depression, and the question of which describes the current economic climate (Economist).
  15. Jeremy at Renewing Our Minds links to a couple of Gaza-related articles: one on dangers to Israeli nuclear plants, another on Hamas battle plans. With lots of links.
  16. Miriam Franklin summarizes the return of Todd Bentley.
  17. Michael Newnham asks, among other things, why conservative Christian supporters of Israel don’t demand Israel change its religious policies. “Do we deny a part of our faith by not demanding the freedom to proclaim Christ?”
  18. La Shawn Barber parses this news story, regarding a gang-rape. “Then it dawned on me. The races of the gang-raping thugs: three hispanic and one black. I’d venture a guess that the victim is white.”
  19. Cindy Kunsman offers a glossary regarding cults, cultism, and cultic groups.
  20. Jeremy at Renewing Our Minds links to a story claiming Republican National Committee members are considering accusing the outgoing President of socialism.
  21. Mike Ratliff offers an article by Arthur Pink on Present-Day Evangelism.
  22. Watcher’s Lamp links to a document from the Vatican titled “Fighting Poverty to Build Peace,” comments: “Looks like America’s Pastor, Rick Warren, has been echoing the message from the Vatican…” and another article on the head of the Roman Catholic Church offering a prayer to Mary, the mother of Jesus, on behalf of the global economy.
  23. Ingrid Schlueter links to this Yahoo article on inaugural prayers, repeats that the Obama inauguration story is about abortion: “Will God be moved if Rick Warren mouths the name of Jesus while asking for the blessing on America’s radical, pro-death President? What a farce this is.”
  24. Ingrid Schlueter passes on a picture of a large pro-life billboard in San Francisco.
  25. James Hutchens on Israel, Hamas, and proportionate force.
  26. Christine at Talk Wisdom offers a long article by Susan Smith of Life in Israel – One Body. “Because I am convinced the one Church body and Israel are one and the same, spiritually speaking, I changed the name to “Life in Israel-One Body.”
  27. John Sexton parses a Newsweek article on recent relations between the United States and Iran. “I predict that within a year this same idiot will cheer Obama on when we give Israel the go-ahead for preemptive strikes on Iran’s nuke capability. Wait and see. The rules are different for Democrats.”
  28. Bill Wilson on media coverage of Israel/Hamas. “While the news media is clamoring about how Israel is targeting civilians, the story of why some homes are targeted is totally missed. Hamas and the Palestinians house their weapons, command centers and leaders in civilian communities for two reasons…”
  29. Joel Rosenberg on the range of Hamas missiles. “There were growing fears in Israel last night that Hamas missiles could threaten its top-secret nuclear facility at Dimona.”
  30. Ken Silva links to a two-part teaching from John MacArthur on the sufficiency of Scripture.
  31. Chris Lyons comments on recent focus in Online Discernment on Universalism/Christian Universalism.
  32. La Shawn Barber on the Word of Promise Next Generation audio New Testament: “I just find it…wild, weird, and smart!”
  33. James Thomas on Ted Haggard and true repentance. “If we Mis-Represent the work and power of God through true Repentance then we His Church on earth will become the cause of shipwrecking the faith of many of His people, and even worse, lead the lost into the deepest and darkest pit that we ourselves are destine to fall in as we ourselves temble in right beside them.”
  34. Kit offers a response to the Zeitgeist movie.

And finally, another post from Rod Dreher on Arab reactions and rhetoric in Florida to the situation in Gaza. “Thus does jihadism manifest itself (once again) in America, despite the denial of bien-pensants.”

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OD Today: 1 January 2009

January 1, 2009

A new year, the same old struggle in new forms. With new stories and new links!

  1. Michael Davis on an attempt by Michael Newdow and an unnamed coalition of atheist groups to remove any reference to God from the Obama inaugural. “A majority of the framers of the Constitution were alive at the time and many were present at the first inauguration. Not one of them objected to the Prayers or the references to God. Obviously their understanding of the ’separation of church and state’ was considerably different than Dr. Newdow’s et al.”
  2. Jonathan Dodson asks whether attempting to redeem the culture (as opposed to separating or embracing) is biblical. “I think so, but we must be careful not to call the creation of Christian sub-culture redemption of culture; that, of course, is often just bad culture creation and Andy Crouch recently has helped us out with that. I say, redeem, but redeem wisely!”
  3. Jean at The Virtuous Woman shares her testimony: “but God performed a supernatural work in my heart and raised dead bones to life, and behold 5 years later after I had an abortion, I was saved!”
  4. Ken Silva takes on Glenn Beck and Jesus as he his portrayed in Mormonism: “And since the Bible gives us eyewitness depositions aka Gospels from eyewitnesses, the Apostles Matthew and John, we must conclude from the extant evidence the Mormon “Jesus” is not the real Jesus.”
  5. Chris Rosebrough offers the worst moments of 2008 (audio/podcast). This installment of Fighting For The Faith is 112 minutes long, and I haven’t heard it yet.
  6. Jason Garwood offers thoughts on redemption in Scripture. “It is virtually impossible to approach Scripture without presuppositions, and if that is the case, we might as well have some good ones.”
  7. Dwayna Litz shares a couple of Stanley Monteith’s Radio Liberty episodes regarding Jeff Sharlet’s book The Family.
  8. Dwayna Litz accuses Campus Crusade of creeping Dominionism.
  9. Truth Matters relays a link to a section of Paul Washer’s sermon Ten Indictments; he says a firm grasp of the doctrine of regeneration is more important than being a Calvinist, etc. and calls himself a “five-point Spurgeonist.”
  10. James White shares a half-hour video from Phoenix Reformed Baptist Church titled “Christian Contentment in 2009.”
  11. Beaconlight/Peculiar Pilgrim shares part one of a series of book reviews from 2008.
  12. Phil Naessens calls for a day of prayer for Rick Warren on January 15, 2009.
  13. Dan Cella starts a series on what Christians need to know about the American economy in 2009. “Regardless of our political affiliation, we need to be praying specifically for the Obama Administration.”
  14. Defending Contending offers a link to a 1968 debate between Walter Martin and Madalyn Murray O’Hair.
  15. John Kubicek links to a World Net Daily/Drew Zahn puff piece on Ann Coulter. 
  16. Aaron Shafovaloff offers a thought experiment in which a prominent Protestant and/or the head of the Roman Catholic Church switch positions on a controversial issue (e.g. homosexuality) and compares that to the pre-1978 Mormon ban on black priests. “So while you could conceivably hold me accountable for sticking around my local church while my local pastor was doing or saying horrible things, you can’t accuse me of being immoral for refusing to take responsibility for someone like Joel Osteen, Benny Hinn, Ted Haggard (let alone any dead guy), etc.”
  17. Frank Turk declares January 2009 Global Post-Scriptural Parable Month. He offers an example.
  18. Mollie Ziegler parses press coverage of the “virginity pledge” issue. “Here’s Fox News, for instance, saying that this very limited study actually proves that ‘Abstinence-only programs do not delay the onset of intercourse.’ This study didn’t even look at abstinence-only education programs. It looked at abstinence pledges, which may or may not be a part of abstinence-only education programs.”
  19. Orrin Judd comments very briefly on a Georgie Anne Geyer column at the Washington Times about the exit interviews the outgoing President and Vice President have been doing. “He governed Texas as a compassionate conservative, ran for president as a compassionate conservative, governed America as a compassionate conservative, and leaves office proud of his record of compassionate conservatism. What could be more mysterious to the sufferer of [Bush Derangement Syndrome]?”
  20. Orrin Judd excerpts a Larry Elder column giving the history of “Barack Obama as Magic Negro.” “Elections are all about narrative and Mr. Obama just happened to fit the contours of a stock character from our cultural tradition.” For the record, I consider the term “magic Negro” distasteful and hope the ODMs give the whole narrative a miss.
  21. Orrin Judd parses a Mirko Bagaric column about Hamas, Israel, and the targeting of civilians in Gaza and Israel: “In a clash between Hamas and Israel both sides are justified–Israel ought to be allowed to live in piece by neighboring peoples and Hamas ought to be allowed to govern the nation of Palestine–but neither will achieve its aim by fighting the other, so casualties are justified, but inappropriate.”
  22. Julio Severo shares a column he contributed to LifeSiteNews about “contraceptive culture and prophecies in Revelation:” “Sanger also had profound links to Nazism.”
  23. Dwayna Litz comments on the Hebrew Roots movement and links to another article by Wendy at Joyfully Growing in Grace Ministries. Her link is broken, but I think it’s supposed to go here. “these HR followers have been given the true and “hidden” meanings of Scripture, as opposed to what the mainstream church has been teaching down through the centuries, or they profess to be enlightening us to the true meanings of Scripture which have gotten “lost” since the time of Jesus and the first century after His death.” She also deals with Hebrew Roots in an older article here.
  24. Roger Oakland shares his top 25 issues of the year for 2008. Anyone looking for a good primer on ODMs would do well to start with this list and Oakland’s summary.
  25. John Baker links to an article on Eddie Long’s Obama inauguration party.
  26. Dwayna Litz links to two posts by Cindy Kunsman, one on the Council for National Policy and another on Geoffrey Botkin/the Shepherding movement.
  27. Cindy Kunsman discusses two models for cults.
  28. Ken Silva shares email from a contrary point of view and his response regarding Mormon doctrine.
  29. Darryl Foster gives a Top 15 gay christian lies and promises to give Scripture for each item in a later post.
  30. Truth Matters gives quotes from Michael Horton’s book Christless Christianity.
  31. Darryl Foster shares a video from Celebration Church.

What’s new today? The Michael Newdow/inauguration issue, the Hebrew Roots Movement, and that’s about it. I need to do a longer piece on Jeff Sharlet’s book, and another on Dominionism as it is viewed by different groups, but not yet.

Richard Land on George W. Bush’s reading list

December 29, 2008

Richard Land devoted Saturday’s installment of Richard Land Live to a summary of how he nearly came to work in the George H. W. Bush administration, and then reads Karl Rove’s column in the Wall Street Journal devoted to his (Rove’s) annual reading contest with the outgoing President.

He then delves into the (lack of) differences between the college board scores and grade point averages of George W. Bush, Al Gore Jr, and John Kerry.

I guess this means that Land won’t be discussing Bush’s theology on his show. Land is apparently still one of the true believers.

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OD Today: 27 December 2008

December 27, 2008

Today should be a slow news day, but there’s still lots to talk about regarding stories that surfaced over the holiday.

  • Dwayna Litz comments on the Ahmadinejad Christmas message, but stops just short of calling the Emerging Church anti-Semitic.
  • John Baker comments on Melissa Etheridge’s comments regarding Rick Warren, accuses Warren of double-dealing: “This is a game that Rick Warren constantly plays. He speaks one false message to the Non-Christian World, and speaks another one filled with half-Truths to those Christians who follower after him!”
  • Orrin Judd parses Moby-Dick as a metaphor for the United States and its current situation.
  • Ken Silva attacks Henri Nouwen as being “quasi-Buddhist,” mostly via his interpretation of Wil Hernandez’s book Henri Nouwen: A Spirituality of Imperfection. He repeatedly refers to Hernandez as “Fernandez.”
  • Orrin Judd says good-bye to Harold Pinter. “Any enemy of America was a friend of his. Do we really need to know any more?”
  • Ingrid Schlueter criticizes Franklin Graham for his comments on Rick Warren’s critics regarding his decision to give the invocation at the Obama inauguration. “As Joseph Farah put it, God isn’t going to bless that no matter what Warren intones at the inauguration. The Graham family has made a practice of speaking smooth, silky, easy messages to U.S. Presidents.”
  • Ingrid Schlueter picks up a One News Now story regarding Rick Warren’s support of “gay partnerships.” I think this means he supports civil unions.
  • John Sexton links to an article in the Telegraph (UK) by Nile Gardiner at the Heritage Foundation praising George W. Bush and saying history will be kinder to him than we are now.
  • Howard Fisher reviews the novel House, by Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker; says he prefers the movies Signs and Unbreakable.
  • Charismania picks up the story of the pseudonymous “Living Word Church,” republishes this comment about Bob Mumford by Cindy K, both about how the pastor of a cultic church controls an inner circle. For the record, I don’t give stories that use pseudonyms much credit; they don’t and can’t rise to the “two or three witnesses” standard. On the other hand, as she notes in the comment, Cindy Kunsman names names. Bravo for Cindy!
  • Gay Christian Movement Watch calls out Candace Chellew-Hodge for using foul language on her weblog.
  • Brian Thornton links to this article about churches in foreclosure and behind on mortgage payments, asks if churches should be “cash only.”
  • Thomas Turner, one of those Emergent Church types, on the centrality of Scripture in the liturgy: “Christ is Lord of all, and he stands in the center of all as the Word of God enfleshed as Jesus of Nazareth and ever-present before us through his Spirit.” 

Pat Robertson gives Bush a “C-“

December 25, 2008

This has been something of an ongoing story since the election, but it hasn’t gotten much attention: various evangelicals have been admitting they’re unhappy with one thing or another about George W. Bush. I suppose this is necessary if they’re going to endorse whoever the Republicans pick to run against Obama in 2012.

Some are unhappy with Bush’s doctrine; some are unhappy with his last-minute economic and foreign-policy decisions. But this is the most comprehensive dismissal of Bush I’ve seen:

“Well, it’s hard to assess blame, but I, over the years — I hate to be critical, I mean I am a Republican, and this is the president of the party that I’m a member of — but I think we’ve had some serious goofs along the way,” he said on the Situation Room Tuesday.

“The Katrina matter was terrible. The rebuilding of Iraq has been terrible. The [handling] of the economy right now has been terrible. It hasn’t been handled in what I would consider a professional manner.”

Robertson said history may be kinder to Bush than current opinion. “But I believe I would look at about a C-minus right now if I were grading him,” he said.

Looks like nobody’s ready to say “we’ve been had” just yet.

Also, Robertson said some nice things about Barack Obama. The only question I have is whether Ingrid Schlueter will take time today to blast Robertson and remind us that Barack Obama is pro-choice, or wait until tomorrow.

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