Archive for the ‘Standards’ Category

I’ll Be Over Here:

So coming back to this particular blog doesn’t seem to be happening anytime soon. However, the other blogs to which I’ve been contributing have been revamped and that’s where I’ll be spending most of my blogging time. Hope to see you over there!

Re: Fundamentals KJV Only Debate Blog

Dirt Devils and the Appearance of Evil

ddlogoSitting on a table in my bedroom is one of those ultra chic Dirt Devil Kones that was given to me as a gift after I had expressed my fondness for it at a department store. It is pretty cool, but it has an annoying light that stays on for as long as you have the vacuum plugged into its base. So I have to make sure it’s not connected. Oh, and I really don’t use it.

Anyway, a new believer recently asked me if it was evil for a Christian to own a Dirt Devil. His inquiry had nothing to do with the fact that I owned one – he has no idea. But he was very sincere. He wondered if owning such a brand was “marketing the devil.” 

I sympathize with that kind of sensitivity. I believe that all Christians are called to be careful to please God in every area of life. We are to abhor the evil and cling to the good. But there has to be a point in which our standards enter into the arena of ridiculous. I’d hate to live life with the Pharisaic attitude that everything is unclean and unworthy of my acceptance while I make sure that I tithe from my spice rack. Things ought to be considered, but should ever tying be so super-analyzed? I mean, if we begin to try to find every minutia of godlessness in every kind of product, we’d be forced to throw it all away.

I realize, though, that this isn’t just a problem with new believers. Seasoned Christians can oftentimes make rash decisions but they attempt to back them up scripturally. I want to make sure to say on the onset here that I’m not opposed at all to anybody’s personal standards for living. The problem comes when those standards are imposed on others and used as a basis for judgment. One of the most popular verses from the Bible to support a hyper-sensitive position on personal holiness is:

1 Thessalonians 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

The argument made from this verse is that we ought never do anything that appears as though it is evil. Does that mean the Bible says I can’t own a Dirt Devil vacuum cleaner?

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What is Worldliness?

heart_globeIn Tim Challies‘ recent review of the new book, Worldliness (edited by CJ Mahaney; Challies offers a less-stellar-than-usual review ), he summarized the view presented of the term “worldliness:”

“He biblically defines worldliness saying that this world we’re not supposed to love is ‘the organized system of human civilization that is actively hostile to God and alienated from God.’ Worldliness is a love for this fallen world and, specifically, ‘to gratify and exalt oneself to the exclusion of God.’ Mahaney is careful to point out that worldliness is not extrinsic to us but intrinsic, inhabiting our fallen hearts. Worldliness does not consist of outward actions (though such actions can certainly be evidence of worldliness) but instead is a heart attitude that rebels against God. The antidote to worldliness is the cross of Christ. ‘Only through the power of the cross of Christ can we successfully resist the seduction of the fallen world.’ Worldliness dulls our affections for Christ and distracts our hearts from him. Hence it is so serious ‘because Christ is so glorious.’

I believe the Bible leaves little room to doubt that definition or something close to it. Worldliness is more a disposition than a style

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Halloween Poll

Halloween is here again. This weekend, millions of dollars will be spent on candy in order to appropriately celebrate. For Christians of any stripe, however, Halloween poses a loaded dilemma – to ‘trick-or-treat’ or not to ‘trick-or-treat’. The question is obviously multilateral and all the options are open for debate.

So you tell us. How are you dealing with Halloween this year?

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Honest Hymns

I realize I’m not the first to think about this topic, but it’s interesting to visit the arena of church music, especially to pay attention to the lyrics. As fundamentalists, we’re often hard pressed to strive for purity in all areas of life. When it comes to music, one could accurately say this issue is one of the top issues of controversy. And that’s fine – too many churches have incorporated worldliness into their services. But, of course, the issue of music isn’t just about the style itself. Lyrics must also be considered.

Now I don’t intend at all to take a look at every common hymn and dissect it for error. These were all written by men and as a result, error is prone to happen. But what is very interesting to me is that there seems to have been a shift in evangelical hymn writing – a shift from hymns about God to hymns about self. Rather than using a hymn to praise God, newer hymns seem to emphasize us: our faith, our love for God, our holiness, our willingness to serve, etc. Now, I know the Bible contains psalms about self, but they are normally psalms of mourning or cries for help. If we are going to incorporate “I”, “me”, “we”, and “us” into hymns that we sing to the Lord, we’ve got to be honest.

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Double Standards in Fundamentalism Today, #5: Me

Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

Galatians 4:16
 Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?

True friends tell you what you need to hear. As much as I covet those comments in which people say, “great website!”, I need much more to hear about the things I need to change. Those things have been brought to my attention, and it seems like I’ve been one of the biggest Double Standards all along. I hope now to articulate some of the problems, and offer some possible solutions.

(No, that’s not really me in the picture.)

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On Headset Microphones. . .

Yes, headset microphones – those oh-so-liberal looking devices of the devil! They have done almost as much damage as screens being employed in the services. No self-respecting fundamentalist would ever be caught preaching with one of those!

Or so we’re told to believe. But all sarcasm aside, the headset microphone has taught me a few valuable lessons.

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How The Information Age is Changing Fundamentalism

In 1993, Gail Riplinger contributed her infamous book, New Age Versions to the world of fundamentalism. The work claimed to contain “exhaustive documentation” that proved that the occult was really behind all those new translations of the Bible. Despite the “acrostic algebra” and conspiracy theories (including one about the Titanic sinking because of it being a part of the Whitestar line), Riplinger’s book was well received in non-Ruckmanite circles, because it offered a fresh look at the issues. After all, it contained hundreds of footnotes and this mysterious G.A. Riplinger was apparently well educated. However, in time, the Information Age got a hold of the situation. Fundamentalists learned that her book was not trustworthy. This became documented even by other KJVO fundamentalists. Now Riplinger has been pushed into her rightful place – the radical wing of the fundamentalist KJVO movement, right beside Ruckman himself, Texe Marrs, Jack Chick, and Samp Gipp. Fundamentalism benefited from the Information Age because the works of these vitriolic conspiracy theorists could not pass the scrutiny of evidence. Thankfully, they cannot enter a church, bring a PowerPoint presentation, and make mind-boggling assertions without some members of that church going home and checking things for themselves. 

We’re going beyond Berea here. Not only is it imperative for us today to search the scriptures daily, it is our responsibility to be good stewards of the Information Age. When special speaker so-and-so comes to town to prove his point of view, he is coming with a ton of extra-biblical sources. You and I would love to trust him, but the sad truth is fundamentalists have lost credibility here, as will be shown. So it is now our obligation to check those sources, and in doing so, change the face of fundamentalism.

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Why John Piper Continues to Teach Fundamentalists

He never ceases to amaze. He has influenced untold scores of people across various doctrinal persuasions. He has helped bring an emphasis of personal love for God that is much needed in our time. He is John Piper, evangelicalism’s very own rock star. His impact has been felt not only in evangelicalism, but within the ranks of fundamentalism. And this is not a circumstance that everyone can agree with. In fact, some fundamentalists despise him.

Yet, John Piper continues to exude Christian maturity with a charitable spirit. His recent blog entry highlights 20 reasons why he does not take potshots at fundamentalists. Reading his response about those who have criticized him the most certainly is thought provoking. I could only imagine his biggest critics reading it, staring at the computer with their mouths wide open like the time Jesus said, “let him without sin cast the first stone.”

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The Blind Man Sees, The Pharisees Overlook

Such would be the title of a newspaper article which covered the events found in John 9. In verses 1-7, the Lord Jesus and His disciples passed a man who had been blind from birth. The disciples questioned the Lord as to the cause of the man’s blindness: his parents’ sin or his own. The Lord was able to reveal great insight as to the purpose of His miracles by answering, “neither.” Reality was that this man was blind so that Christ would be able to work through him and reveal His glory, as well as the Father’s, to the blind man, as well as to the disciples. This was the purpose of all of Jesus’ miracles – “…that the works of God should be made manifest….”

After being healed, the ex-blind man was then brought to the Pharisees by his neighbors (vs. 8, 13). Here’s where it gets interesting (as if it weren’t before). It was obvious to the people that something miraculous happened. So, they brought the man to the guys who, of all people, should have been able to understand and appreciate what took place. However, the Pharisees took the fact that this miracle had been preformed on the Sabbath and declared that Jesus was “not of God, because He does not keep the sabbath day.” Amazing! The thing that the Lord did in order to prove that He was sent from God, they used it to prove that He was not sent from God! As in verse 39 of this chapter, the blind saw and the seeing was blind.

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Apologetics vs. Polemics vs. Both

Just an Illustration

One of the most enjoyable aspects of working in the field of Christian education is coaching sports. While there is the immediate enjoyment of the competition, there is a much more fulfilling prospect of seeing the kids walk away from a particular sport with life lessons of eternal value. What’s not as apparent, however, is the benefit a coach can gain from the whole situation. Coaching high school basketball this year, I had a reoccurring thought throughout the season that changed the way I think about certain spiritual issues.

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Double Standards in Fundamentalism Today, #1: Separation

Does this seem like a far-fetched scenario?

“I heard the church down the road had Pastor MacDonlad come to preach for ’em. Sure, he’s a good preacher. But, I heard he goes home and listens to CD’s with drums in em’! Also, his sister-in-law’s dog groomer’s cousin is involved in the occult! Now, I don’t care who they think they are, if it were me, I’d kick Pastor MacDonald out soon as he come in these doors! We ain’t supposed to tolerate any kind of compromise!”
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Why I Wear a Suit to Church

This may seem like a strange thing to write about…because it is. It is even crazier to preach about, but those of you who have been involved in the modern fundamentalist movement like myself know just as well as I how much the subject of dress standards has been at the top of the list of must-preach sermons for many “fundamental” preachers. In fact, some probably would call Dress Standards a fundamental of the faith. I’m serious.

Well, the issue of dress standards will probably be addressed more as I (hopefully) continue this blog.

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