Father, we confess that we are sinners and that we have sinned. We are guilty of having itching ears. We have failed to receive and proclaim the truth; we have wandered off into myths; we have listened to and preached a false a gospel of self-improvement, self-reliance, and self-righteousness because it suited our passions. We cry to you now for mercy and forgiveness. Fill our hearts and minds with a passion for the gospel of redemption through Christ alone. Teach us to be faithful witnesses of your grace and to serve each other humbly, compassionately and faithfully. In the name of our crucified and risen Savior. AMEN.
The above is from a corporate confession of sins that is a part of my church’s worship service that we recite on occasion. Every time I recite this confession in worship I always think how it is fitting for us “flag-waving” “American” Christian.
For the most part, our country is a country of churches made up with heretics, and Joel Osteen fits this persona well. My prayer is that true Christians in this nations would cry out to God for mercy and forgiveness.
Below is a hook to a post by Matt Walsh, which is brilliant, brilliant, brilliant on Americans and we love heretics. Enjoy:
Joel Osteen and his wife are heretics, and that’s why America loves them
Sidebar: I’m only one sentence into this post and already I’ve been forced to use sarcastic quotes three times. For simplicity’s sake, I will, from here on out, drop the quotes with the understanding that the quotes are implied. Joel Osteen is only a pastor because anyone can call themselves a pastor these days, and his church is only a church because anything can call itself a church these days. I happen to be of the old fashioned school of thought that believes a pastor should be, in some ways, distinguishable from Tony Robbins or Oprah, and a church should be, in some ways, distinguishable from a basketball arena on game day. I’m not saying that all churches need to be adorned with stained glass windows and incense (although I’m a fan of both), but I am saying that maybe all churches should have, like, a cross or something somewhere, maybe. God forbid a house of worship be arranged in such a way as to make it clear that we are specifically worshipping Jesus Christ and not the smiley fellow on stage giving the vaguely spiritual pep talk.
In the clip, Mrs. Osteen implores the audience to “realize that when we obey God, we’re not doing it for God… we’re doing it for ourselves.” As her proud husband nods approvingly, Osteen continues. “Do good for your own self. Do it because God wants you to be happy. When you come to church, when you worship Him, you’re not doing it for God, really — you’re doing it for yourself, because that’s what makes God happy. Amen?”
Amen! What wonderful blasphemy! Worship God for yourself. Do good works for yourself. Take up your cross, suffer the slings and arrows of the Enemy, and die with Christ for yourself. (OK, she didn’t say that last part, but only because the Osteens have a strict “don’t talk about Jesus” preaching policy).
In more primitive times they burned heretics at the stake. Now we greet the blasphemers with . . .
Time to rethink the difference between worship and ‘National Holidays’
Proving that my grandfather was right when he told me I don’t have the sense God gave baby chickens, I’d like to say a few words on the slightly controversial subject of flags in the sanctuary. Three words, to be precise: take them out. Or, leave them out. Whichever you prefer.
Having perhaps won that bid for your attention, allow me to elaborate. Many churches believe that displaying the American and Christian flags in the sanctuary honors both God and our country, placing love of country within the context of love of God. Flags in the sanctuary can also represent the freedom we enjoy to worship as we feel led, and they can help us remember those who died in defense of that and our other freedoms. All of these are unequivocally good and worthy goals. I want to be entirely clear on that point: when Christians display their country’s flag in the sanctuary, it is because they want to say things that we as Christians need to say.
We just need to find another way to say them.
Why? Because the sanctuary is where worship takes place, and we need to remember the reason we come together for Christian worship in the first place. Worship is that moment when we devote our whole selves to God, when we set aside the distractions of the week and focus our attention solely on God. For that period we seek God and God alone, forgetting all the other things that compromise our mindfulness of God’s presence the rest of our time.
When we decide what symbols to place in the sanctuary, we ask whether they will contribute to that mindfulness. Actually, the church has had a majority and a minority opinion on this question. The majority point of view—embodied in the great Gothic cathedrals of medieval Europe—says that we place symbols of Christian faith in the sanctuary to help focus our minds and hearts on God. Elements like crosses, doves, and the various Trinitarian symbols serve as visual and tactile reminders of God’s presence in our midst.
The Church in general and Christians in particular have made many mistakes. But if you are going to criticize Christianity, stick to the facts. Here are eight myths about Christianity that are common.
Religious wars have killed more people than any other cause.
Christianity is anti-science.
Christianity is anti-reason.
Christians interpret the Bible literally.
Christians hate all non-Christians.
Christians want to force everyone to live a Christian lifestyle.
All Christians are hypocrites.
Christians do good deeds because they are afraid of hell.
YOU HAVE NO doubt been reading (or hearing) about a little theological dust storm stirred-up about Tullian Tchividjian.
Tullian have been carrying the cross of being accused of being antinomian for a long time, but these last few weeks the controversy regarding his teaching has really started to heat up. The source of the latest accusations seems to come from Dr. Mark Jones, who has written a book on the subject: Antinomianism: Reformed Theology’s Unwelcome Guest?
After Dr. Jones threw-out the accusation that ole Tullian’s rhetoric has “antinomian tendencies,” (my interpretation of Dr. Jones comments), and after Dr. Jones posted Tullian’s Trench on reformation 21 blog, the proverbial SKUBALON hit the fan!
As a reformer, I understand the importance of understanding law/gospel in proper balance, but right now, I am so envious of Tullian that I can’t stand it! I will repent of this sin later because I have used up my Three Free Sins a long time ago.
I am envious of Tullian because I think that he has been accused of being an antinomian when he is NOT, and to be falsely accused of this heresy is a badge of honor. I should make a T-Shirt for Tullian that says, “Accused of being Antinomian, and Proud of IT!” I would wear it.
I think when one has been accused antinomianism when you are not is when you get true Christianity. My daily goal is to be accused of being an antinomian, when I am NOT, and I know it is tight rope that I have to walk because slightly swaying to right (legalism), or to the left (antinomianism) is HERESY! And that is theologically dangerous.
Because of this controversy, I started to watch YouTube videos of Tullian’s sermons and conferences speeches, and after I watched the speech posted below this post, my reaction to Dr. Jones (and his theological circle) was, “Antinomian? My ass!” Tullian REALLY gets law and gospel better than most “Christians.”
With all due respect Tullian’s critics like Dr. Jones, they haven’t really listen to him, or you are picking and choosing his statements to spin their criticism to promote their books and blog post.
PLEASE WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW, IN ITS ENTIRELY!
I think most will conclude that Tullian is NOT an antinomian.
This is hilarious! Please read the entire article on the source page.
The latin phrase reductio ad absurdum is a reference to a certain style of argument whereby an opponent’s position is pushed to its logical conclusions, and those conclusions are shown to be incoherent or ridiculous. It is to reduce an opponent’s views to absurdity.
This particular style of argument was a favorite of Cornelius Van Til (1895-1987), former professor of apologetics at Westminster Theological Seminary, where he taught for 43 years. Rather than seeking to “prove” the Christian worldview directly, Van Til would often take a more indirect route by performing a reductio ad absurdum on the non-Christian worldview, showing how that worldview, if followed consistently, would destroy all meaning and intelligibility.
RTS Charlotte professor of theology and philosophy, James Anderson, has taken this method of argumentation and applied it ever so effectively to the radical homosexual agenda that is so prevalent in our country today. And he does it with a good dose of British humor, wit and satire (again, note that the following is satire; it isn’t a real news story!):
Company Sued over “Homophobic” Catalog
An electronic component supplier is being sued over allegedly homophobic terminology in its product catalog. Daniel Everett, a resident of Burlington, Massachusetts, is seeking nearly $100,000 in damages from Portland-based Posnex Components for emotional distress he claims was caused by images and descriptions in the company’s Spring 2014 catalog.
Everett, an interior designer who recently married his long-term partner Kevin, first became aware of the offensive material while visiting a relative who is a DIY electronics enthusiast. “I sat down at his kitchen table and there was a Posnex catalog lying open at the section for audio and video connectors,” he explained. “As I glanced down the page, the terminology of ‘male’ and ‘female’ caught my attention. But as I looked more closely at the photos and the product descriptions, I became appalled at what I saw.”
Everett described how he felt “shaken and sick to the stomach” as he began to examine the other pages in that section of the catalog. “I’m no expert when it comes to electronics, but I know prejudice and bigotry when I see it. It was crystal clear from the images and descriptions that the ‘male’ and ‘female’ components had been deliberately designed only to connect with each other. The obvious insinuation was that other forms of coupling are dysfunctional. I felt utterly humiliated . . .
“[I]f Satan took over Philadelphia, all of the bars would be closed, pornography banished, and pristine streets would be filled with tidy pedestrians who smiled at each other. There would be no swearing. The children would say, “Yes, sir” and “No, ma’am,” and the churches would be full every Sunday . . . where Christ is not preached.”
– Donald Grey Barnhouse
“I’ll never forget the look on the Sunday-school superintendent’s face when I took my son – a 2nd grade Sunday-schooler – withdrew him from the Sunday-school. I took a look at what he had colored that morning and it was a picture of a Midwestern backyard where there was leaves all over the place and a rake leaned against the garage and you could see mother with a stack of dishes, washing dishes. And the caption underneath it was, ‘What do you think Johnny could do right now to show how much he loves Jesus.’ And, I said, ‘That’s it! He’s out.’ And the blessed little lady said, ‘Do you mind telling me why you want your son out of our Sunday-school?’ And, I said, ‘Because you’re going to make an atheist out of him; it’s just going to take a few years.’ And, she had no idea what that was about, but Sunday-school can be dangerous.” – Dr. Rod Rosenbladt
I too say AMEN! And AMEN!
Some of the best, mind-blowing paragraphs I’ve ever read on grace come from Robert Capon. The following sentences on preaching made me sing:
I think good preachers should be like bad kids. They ought to be naughty enough to tiptoe up on dozing congregations, steal their bottles of religion pills…and flush them all down the drain. The church, by and large, has drugged itself into thinking that proper human behavior is the key to its relationship with God. What preachers need to do is force it to go cold turkey with nothing but the word of the cross–and then be brave enough to stick around while [the congregation] goes through the inevitable withdrawal symptoms.
But preachers can’t be that naughty or brave unless they’re free from their own need for the dope of acceptance. And they wont be free of their need until they can trust the God who has already accepted them, in advance and dead as door-nails, in Jesus. Ergo, the absolute indispensability of trust in Jesus’ passion. Unless the faith of preachers is in that alone-and not in any other person, ecclesiastical institution, theological system, moral prescription, or master recipe for human loveliness–they will be of very little use in the pulpit.
There are way too many “good, religious kids” in the pulpit these days pushing the idea that is most naturally comfortable to all of us: “proper human behavior is key to [our] relationship with God.” May God raise up a generation of preachers who fearlessly storm the gates of . . .