Friday, August 28, 2009

McLaren: A Wolf in Wolf’s Clothing
I agree with much of the flowery language hides cutting remarks, though I’m not sure that McLaren often falls into that category. Which, to me, is more of a point that identifying McLaren’s views/beliefs are sometimes more difficult to ascertain than nailing jello to the wall. I agree with Dr. Burk that he is a wolf. Most notably because he is a teacher (woe to you who desire to teach…) and consistently refuses to give a reason for the hope that he has. And continues to see Christ as more of an add-on to your current religion. Or so it would seem. I think there are a great number of things we can learn from how he converses. And I (or we or whatever), as a conservative, should certainly learn from the shortcomings McLaren identifies (the Church often falls too far out of society) in the same manner that David learned from his enemy’s rebuke. That’s the thing, I think that he leads his flock away from Christ as the center and makes me the center or makes other people the center. It seems to show that he puts relationships with others and our own beliefs before God, thus I think he is not preaching biblical Christianity but (I liked the line) syncretistic gobbledy-goop that is no longer recognizably Christian.

I think that, for this specific context, I think Charlie said it best.

And, after saying all of that, Hitler.

New Comment

You raise, in my mind, two questions. First, what are your thoughts of Mr. McLaren’s observance, essentially, of Ramadan? I know you disagree with one of the commenters here, but the blog itself didn’t state that. Or were you sweeping the author in with your generalization, too?
Second (and this is more of a general question to anyone), is there a difference between the example you cite* versus the Qur’an’s teachings on (violent) Jihad (which seem to be interpretations, not outright statements of killing infidels)? From my very limited knowledge set (stress limited), I would say so, but....?

* - old testament governances on theocratic law (homosexuals condemned to death) and New Testament condemnation (of homosexual sin) but no longer bound by theocratic law

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Thanks for the response. Just a point of clarification, the commenter is DennyReader, not the author of the blog that made the comment to which you referred. Dr. Burk would post as Denny Burk, I doubt he broke form here.

WRT the second part, I know that you were referring to the (incorrect) broad sweeping notions that every muslim is a terrorist. My question was more along the lines of the fact that violent Christians (or even violent speaking folks like Phelps) are fringe Christ followers (at best). Christian doctrine promotes peace (but zealous faith to Christ). That’s complicated, though, in that theocratic Israel had capital punishment for adultery, beastiality, homosexuality (and a host of other sins), but people will use those fringe folks to broad-brush all of Christianity. Whereas the Qur’an specifically calls its followers to wage war. Thus moving from a fringe sect to a larger movement (I’ll let Darius and ep sort out those details). My question is whether or not letting 1-in-6 or nearly 1/2 determine your view is different than a fringe (orders of magnitude less) determine your view. I suppose it’s that, while I don’t agree with McLaren that we should help the Corinthians Muslims stay in their stew, I don’t agree that all muslims promote violence, I do think that we zealously defend Christ, I do think that there are very large numbers of muslims who do want to commit violence to all non-muslims. That number of potentials is simply to point out that the war on non-muslims is written in their book. It’s not an interpretation (how far to take that is, however!). So while all muslims don’t learn violence from the Qur’an, a significant portion indicate that one of the teaching points is war (and, thus, we get terrorism).

And after saying all of that, I have to say that it does seem like there is a much more peace-seeking wave beginning to take root in the muslim community. Unfortuantely, it also seems that the movement seems to be in non-middle-east locations. But I don’t much care for peace. I care for Christ to be preached and His word to be sown. Which is why I am so dismayed when something like this (with McLaren) happens.

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A commenter (on Wilson's site) named Michael Hutton had a good word:
I do agree that not eating in front of Muslims during Ramadan is respectful, and I would support and encourage those who rub shoulders with Muslims to do so. But as for keeping Ramadan in order to build a bridge, How can you do works for merit in order to help free people from the slavery of working for merit? How can you observe the religion Christ died to set them free from?

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Friday, August 14, 2009

Too Complementarian?

In this dialog, Pastor John was answering a specific question. “Do you think complementarianism is so important to some people that they deny women more opportunities than the Bible denies them?” It wasn’t a defense of biblical complementarianism.

Your emotional response is well noted, I hope, with all complementarians. We should uphold the truth as Piper indicated. However, to shy away from the truth because some may pervert it is foolish. Saying What did Piper do to give back to that woman her lost years is akin to saying what have I given back to [insert people] who were harmed or put into hiding during the Inquisition. Piper stands for the truth, not what that husband did. I would stand for the truth, not justifying violence because someone is not Christian. Taking biblical complementarianism and adding falsehoods to it as the man to whom Piper was referring simply means that we can take any of God’s truth and turn it on its head.

Why is it so important to choose the one thing that is spoken against? Why not champion the areas where Paul speaks clearly about what women can do? It’s our nature to focus on what we don’t get. Why focus on the one tree in the garden from which we cannot eat rather than the entirety of the rest of the garden?


I would say the command is repeated and reflected. 1 Corinthians 11, 1 Tim 2, 1 Tim 3 (and 5 indicating teaching) and Titus 1. All of which is also reflective of Ephesians 5, Colossians 3 and 1 Peter 3.

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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Keeping the Courts out of the Marriage Debate
I think what Matt S was indicating was that the LGBT who proclaim Christ are calling dark light and evil good. The bible is very clear about this sin. The bible is very clear that we are all rebellious. Meaning I sin and fall short of the glory of God. It is another thing, however, to say that my sin is OK and acceptable in God’s eyes. No one will arrive at judgment without sin, we all stand condemned. What is in question is standing on the word of God or saying that God was a liar when He condemns homosexuality. And, perhaps I should restrain, but Paul said that the Athenians were deeply religious people, too, spiritual, religiosity and Christianity are not one in the same.

As far as the equal rights part, we live in a country where we have a say in the laws. As bible-believing Christians, we’ll continue to fight for biblical commands, but, in the end, we will obey authority in the absence of disobeying God. However, just to quickly address the rights question and reiterate a question asked often, what is the difference between the right of two men (or women) marrying versus three men or three women and one man? In the sliding scale of "equal rights", do you have an eternal measuring stick for those?

Didn’t this conversation
already happen in a way?

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Wow, Matt. I think that, in order to prevent a straw man argument, I would say that….

  • Standing by a biblical condemnation of homosexuality does not mean standing by a continuation of Levitical law (Christ fulfilled the law).

  • I can’t speak for anyone else, but I never said anything about not having LGBT people around my family. I also don’t avoid adulterers, the promiscuous, thieves and gossips. I don’t avoid them and I reach out to the lost in my community. I also try not to shy away from fellow believers who revel in their sin.

  • I believe in obedience to God’s commands. Just because I have an innate urge, a chromosomal tendency for pornography, for stepping out on my wife, for gossiping, etc., it does not invalidate my command to obedience. Unlike many of my brethren, I don’t discount genetic links (I see them as products of the fall). I don’t believe they hold the water that is desired, though, as a tendency is not an absolute (i.e. those who are blind are those who truly don’t have a choice).

  • As far as society goes, any argument made will eventually break down. Society is a fleeting wind that passes and changes with time. The word of the Lord stands forever. The arguments you linked there are mostly emotional. The other are simply rehashes of how to introduce something into the text that’s not actually written.

In the end, I support God’s biblical command. Legally, I’ll support it. When the law diverges, I’ll still obey it provided it doesn’t violate God’s commands.

Just out of curiosity, would you support legalized unions and civil rights with a legal definition of marriage as man and woman?

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How Should Christians Feel About Healthcare Reform?
Interesting link:


You’re kidding if you think that the manufacturing demise in the US is due to healthcare. It’s due to a lot of things, but they were in place long before health care became problematic. Maybe a final straw so to speak.

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My personal feeling about Government health care is that it’s thieving, debt-producing and (as Lindsay pointed out), results in a continued reliance on someone else to do my caring for me. But as for the socialized health care versus fee for service, an interesting note that I hear. In one country, it’s weeks for an MRI but for pets, you can pay to have it done the next day. Funny and very sad (more that there is actually a high enough demand for the latter).

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Well, I was trying mostly to avoid appearing as one of the many that decry the great health care plan to the north, but since you query, the source was the 20/20 report. It cited Canadian vets giving a 24-hour turn around on MRI’s for pets.

I didn’t cite anything about dying, but if you wanted stats on death, here are a few (related to healthcare):
* - Breast cancer mortality is 52 percent higher in Germany, 9% higher in Canada than in the United States, and 88 percent higher in the United Kingdom. Prostate cancer mortality is 604 percent higher in the U.K. and 457 percent higher in Norway, 184% higher in Canada. The mortality rate for colorectal cancer among British men and women is about 40 percent higher. (Concord Working Group, U.S. Cancer Statistics, National Program of Cancer Registries, U.S. Centers for Disease Control; Canadian Cancer Society/National Cancer Institute of Canada)

Or preventative (June O'Neill and Dave M. O'Neill, "Health Status, Health Care and Inequality: Canada vs. the U.S."):
Nine of 10 middle-aged American women (89 percent) have had a mammogram, compared to less than three-fourths of Canadians (72 percent).
Nearly all American women (96 percent) have had a pap smear, compared to less than 90 percent of Canadians.
More than half of American men (54 percent) have had a PSA test, compared to less than 1 in 6 Canadians (16 percent).
Nearly one-third of Americans (30 percent) have had a colonoscopy, compared with less than 1 in 20 Canadians (5 percent).

The MRI wait time is a microcosm of the challenges with socialized medicine. When someone is diagnosed with cancer, they don’t have time to wait for 6 months to get an MRI to confirm it.

I agree that many church goers failed (you definitely have that pegged). I would say, though, that is not a failure of the Church. Most churches here have a very strong benevolence ministry (or several). The couple of Christians I know who are doctors do the free clinic work (my sampling is 2 and both do, so in my study, 100% of Christian doctors give of their time ;-). We send medical mission trips as well (though those are abroad, not local in the absence of a Katrina). The challenge is people to actually put in the effort for it (and, as a sidebar, the fact that many don’t want anything to do with “church” at all). The culture has saturated the church in that manner. Why should I go and help, there’s welfare and assistance programs and childcare available…….etc. Why go help when we can throw money (especially when most of it is someone else’s money). Socialized healthcare just reinforces the idea that it’s OK, someone else will take care of this problem for me. It is not a dichotomy to be against the currently proposed socialized healthcare and continue helping the less fortunate.

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