Monday, January 28, 2008

Thinking Is A Rare Commodity

"Five percent of the people think, ten percent of the people think they think and the other 85 percent would rather die than think."

Thomas Edison

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Christless Evangelical Christianity

"Judging by its commercial, political and media success, the Evangelical movement seems to be booming, but is it still Christian?

The Bible is mined for quotes but largely irrelevant.

God is used as a personal resource rather than known, worshipped and trusted.

Jesus Christ is a coach with a good game plan for our victory rather than a Savior who already achieved it for us.

Salvation is more a matter of having our best life now than being saved from God’s judgment by God himself.

The Holy Spirit is an electrical outlet we can plug into for the power we need to be all we can be."

Dr. Mike Horton, Westminster Seminary California

From “Christless Christianity And the American Captivity of the Church” at WhitehorseInn.Org

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Fat Liberals - Liberalism Causes Obesity

I have finally figured out why there are so many fat people in America. I never saw this before but the answer is found in the Bible.

Proverbs 11:25 says, “The liberal soul shall be made fat.”

Liberalism causes obesity.
And since liberalism is on the rise, it stands to reason that there is more obesity.

Incidentally, everyone agrees that it is not nice to make fun of fat people. So therefore, I guess I should stop making fun of Liberals.

Or Not!
P.S. *All things being equal, fat people use more soap.

Big Tent Republican Revolution And The Compromise of Fundamental Beliefs

Just a few years ago during a time that many people referred to as the “Gingrich Revolution,” the Republican party gained popularity and, after many years of minority, took back both houses of congress, a majority of state governorships, and the executive branch of the federal government. It was seemingly, a great awakening and a victory for conservatism in America.

One of the descriptive phrases that characterized the party's desire to invite and unite people to the right side was that the Republican Party is a “Big Tent Party.” Under that Big Tent, the party bosses attempted to minimize differences and disagreements for the sake of winning back control.

Good intentions, I’m sure but as with all good intentions, there are often unintended consequences for our actions. I remember some of the well-intentioned mouthpieces in the media who encouraged us all to set our convictions and ideals and principles aside at the voting booth and use the power of the ballot to achieve incremental victories on the road to conservatism.

It didn’t work! Oh sure, the Republican Party won elections but was that really victory for conservatism? The Republican Party today is NOT a conservative party. By erecting the Big Tent, the party has become increasingly liberal and unprincipled to the point that, today, there is a dearth of true conservative defenders and statesmen. The Republican Party is only conservative in that, compared to the extreme liberalism, fascism and socialism of the political left, it is only slightly to the right. Both parties are traveling down the same road; one party just wants to go faster than the other. It was Huey Long who said, “The only difference I’ve found in Congress between the Republican and Democratic leadership is that one of them is skinning us from the toes up and the other from the ears down.” The partisan fighting that goes on today is not about ideological differences; it's about who gets to drive.

Ronald Reagan prophetically sounded the warning but no one was listening, “A political party cannot be all things to all people. It must represent certain fundamental beliefs which must not be compromised to political expediency or simply to swell its numbers.”

Ronald Reagan was very tactful; I am not. My paraphrase of his quote would go something like this; “When you live with pigs, you get dirty.”

Those words are also particularly important and, as a matter of fact, biblically imperative for the Christian Church. The new methods employed to attract non-Christians and the unchurched masses into the Church requires the erection of a “Big Tent.”

And “Big Tent” is an appropriate description; in their attempts to swell their numbers, many churches today have abandoned or compromised fundamental beliefs and have developed programs that resemble three-ring circuses. The result is large groups of attendees who must be constantly entertained and amused. And just like the leftward slide of the Republican Party, the once-fundamental evangelical movement in Christianity has slipped left toward neo-evangelicalism and liberalism.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Turn Your Campus - Biola, Youth For Christ Conference

"Turn Your Campus"
An Annual One-day Christian Conference
for Jr. Hi and High School Students
(A Conservative Christian Analysis)


Turn Your Campus has a website at turnyourcampus.com. Information about this event is limited and sketchy.

The following information was extracted from the Details Page on the website:
Worship Band- NEXUS. No information or description was available nor could it be found on the internet.

DJPROMOTE – (There is a website for this at - djpromote.com). There is an interesting graphic at the entrance to his website. It is the cover of a mixtape of his music titled, “Stick It In Your Ear.” His website has some links to several short video clips of events where he has performed. He bills himself as a hip-hop,“spinner and scratcher” DJ and rapper. There is not much usable info on his site to determine anything about his doctrine or even the philosophy of his music or ministry. He claims that his original music is inspired by God. If a person were able to understand any of the lyrics through the din of the noise, or obtain written transcripts, one might be able to analyze them for doctrinal content and accuracy. He does have a link to his personal site on MySpace as well as a couple personal blogs. I did find a very provocative still photo from a video depicting some scantily clad (lingerie) girls. I did not watch the video so I don’t know what that was about. Also some typical sub-culture vulgar expressions such as his use of the word, “sucks."
PROPAGANDA – is a featured “Spoken Word Artist.” I could not find any information about Propaganda in particular but I did find lots of info available online about Spoken Word Artists. Spoken Word Art is a dramatic presentation of poetry or other prose usually accompanied by music with a great deal of focus on the performer.

Wikapedia has a pretty good article on the subject of Spoken Word Art, including the history. It seems to be a spin-off of the hip-hop genre and is noticeably antagonistic to mainstream culture and values. Just to be fair, this artist in this context might be good but there is insufficient info available to make any kind of informed judgment.

BEN STEPHENS – Keynote Conference Speaker. There is no biographical, philosophical, theological or any other kind of “ical” information provided by Turn Your Campus about this speaker (or about the conference in general). The only thing that can be known about him from Turn Your Campus is that he is the featured speaker. There is no title, no subject, no description and no text provided for this event. However, Ben Stephens can easily be located on the internet. Here are some things about the man that can be discerned by his credentials.

Elder Benjamin Stephens III…currently serves as the Pastor to Collegiate & Young Adults at the West Angeles Church of God in Christ, under the leadership of Bishop Charles E. Blake.

Elder Stephens has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing from Whittier College. While there, he served two terms as Black Student Union President. Elder Stephens holds a Master’s Degree in Divinity from C.H. Mason Theological Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) in Atlanta, Georgia. He is currently a Doctoral student at Fuller Theological Seminary.

Elder Stephens also serves the International Youth Department of the Church of God in Christ as the President of Young Men of Valor and he serves the campus of the University of Southern California (USC) as Chaplain to the Higher Learning Pentecostal Ministries and Advisor to the praise-dance team, Anointed Vessels of Praise.

Here are some excerpts from the website of the Church of God in Christ International.

- …the doctrine of sanctification or holiness is emphasized, as being essential to the salvation of mankind.

- Our Church is commonly known as being Holiness or Pentecostal in nature…

- Our Church… had its origin within the General Association to the Baptist Church.
§ NOTE (The Church of God in Christ, commonly referred to by its acronym, COGIC, was formed in 1907 by Bishop Charles Harrison Mason (1866-1961), who was expelled from his Baptist church in the late 19th century due to his views and teachings of salvation, sanctification, and holiness. Wikipedia)

-
Under Bishop Mason's spiritual and apostolic direction our church has grown…to the largest Pentecostal group in America.

The following excerpts are from the church's doctrinal statement:

…the Baptism of the Holy Ghost is an experience subsequent to conversion and sanctification and that tongue-speaking is the consequence of the baptism in the Holy Ghost with the manifestations of the fruit of the spirit. When one receives a baptismal Holy Ghost experience, we believe one will speak with a tongue unknown to oneself according to the sovereign will of Christ. Since the charismatic demonstrations were necessary to help the early church to be successful in implementing the command of Christ, we therefore, believe that a Holy Ghost experience is mandatory for all men today.

The Church of God in Christ believes in and practices Divine Healing. It is a commandment of Jesus to the Apostles. Healing is still practiced widely and frequently in the Church of God in Christ…

Feet Washing is practiced and recognized as an ordinance in our Church…

Ben Stephens’ Bible education and theological training is from institutions that purposefully identify themselves as interdenominational, some of which have slipped into liberalism and/or apostasy.

The majority of his church, parachurch and academic affiliations and ministries are interdenominational in nature and predominantly and, in some cases, militantly, ethnocentric in origin and purpose.

His church is theologically apostolic and Pentecostal.

There are over 30 workshops listed for the Turn Your Campus event. Here is a sampling of some of the titles:

- Building a Faith That's Your Own
- Building Relationships with Pre-Believers
- Creative Prayer
- Cutters and Self Mutilation
- Drugs/Alcohol/Sex/Self-esteem
- Homosexuality: A Real Discussion
- Jesus and Sex - What is the Connection
- Kingdom of Me vs. Kingdom of God
- Know Your Rights on Campus
- Understanding Islam
- Using MySpace as God's Space/Facebook

There is insufficient information given for any responsible parent or youth worker to make informed judgments about content or appropriateness because there is no identification of speakers or their credentials and no description given for any of the workshops.

There are several organizations cooperating in this venue but the two major sponsors or partners are Biola University and Youth for Christ both of which are moderately evangelical at best and interdenominational in their reach and purpose.

For the sake of clarity and fairness, this youth conference might be good. I don’t know. I have spent over eight hours in the past week researching the event and trying to locate any articles, critiques or reliable testimonials about this event or any of them from the past. I could find nothing substantive.

From what little information there is available about the music and featured artists, a reasonable assumption is that it will resemble the typical, high energy, excessive volume, sub-cultural hip-hop/rap style.

I would hesitate to make any personal judgments about the speaker's racial attitudes or biases if he has any but it is interesting to note that the majority of his ministerial or professional associations are overtly and sometimes militantly, ethnocentric.


From a theologically fundamental, Baptistic Christian viewpoint, I would be suspicious of the interdenominational, liberal, charismatic, Pentecostal doctrinal positions of the speaker and the sponsors especially as they might influence the workshop topics.

As a parent, I would be reticent to allow my children to attend. As a Church leader, I would advise anyone who asked me, regardless of their denominational bent, to not allow their children to attend simply because there is not enough information available for responsible parenting.

And, I would think that a youth worker would not engage or encourage his young people to participate due to insufficient information to make an informed decision about its social or spiritual appropriateness.

From a fundamentalist church leader or pastoral perspective, I would be extremely suspect of this event’s doctrinal or theological safety, accuracy, value or appropriateness to endorse or participate in it unless or until the event promoters are more forthcoming and descriptive in their content, doctrine and purpose.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Rhinoceros With The Bodger On His Bonce

Oh nobody loves the Rhinoceros much
If you ask the reason why,
They will tell you because of his scaly touch
Or his hard and glittering eye;

But should you ask a truthful man
You will get this quick response:
I do not trust that thing on his nose
The bodger on his bonce!

Oh the bodger on the bonce!
The bodger on the bonce!
Pity the poor old Rhino with
The bodger on the bonce!

Yet a sensitive heart the Rhinoceros owns.
If you doubt it, here's the proof;
That thing on his nose is for taking stones
Out of a horse's hoof:

He seldom, if ever meets a horse
(It is this that makes him sad)
When he does then it hasn't a stone in its hoof,
But he would if he did and it had!

Oh the bodger on the bonce!
The bodger on the bonce!
Pity the poor old Rhino with
The bodger on the bonce!

And just to bring pleasure to those Who like
to enjoy the natural scene,
He picks up litter on his spike
To keep the forest clean:

And if one day to his habitat
For a picnic you should roam,
He would open a tin should you
Have left your opener at home,

With the bodger on the bonce!
The bodger on the bonce!
Pity the poor old Rhino with
The bodger on the bonce!

So treat the Rhinoceros as your friend
Though he looks a fearsome sight,
He amply justifies his end
Because his means are right;

And ask yourself, would you do as well
Fulfilling long-felt wants,
If nature had endowed you with
A Bodger on your bonce?

Yes, a Bodger on your bonce?
A Bodger on your bonce?
If nature had endowed you with
A Bodger on your bonce?
A Bodger on your bonce?
A Bodger on your bonce?

Originally from the album 'The Bestiary of Flanders and Swann'.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Debate or Dialogue-Clarity or Compromise

A debate is a conflict which clarifies a position.
A dialogue is a conversation which compromises a position.


John E. Ashbrook, The New Neutralism II

God's Church Growth Plan; The Book, The Blood, The Blessed Hope

I often hear ministers talk about the “call” and usually, I’m not all that impressed. Most of the time I find that those who really are called by God don’t need to convince people of it; it is blatantly evident to people around them. So what is it? How does God call a person to ministry? I think it is more simple than mysterious. It occurs when a Christian makes himself willing and available to do whatever God will require. I have a pastor friend (his name is Tom Hilterman) who told me this amazing but true story.

In 1954, Charles Billington was the pastor of Akron Baptist Temple, a large church with multiple ministries. They had a very successful bus ministry and one of this country’s largest Sunday Schools.

Pastor Billington became aware of a small church facility that had become available in a community about 60 miles away. He saw an opportunity to start a new church and so Akron Baptist Temple leased the property for one year, furnished it with chairs and hymnbooks and assigned one of their associate pastors to start the new church planting process.

After several months of unsuccessful efforts, the associate pastor gave up and returned to Akron. Pastor Billington sent Bob Harrah, one of the church’s young janitors, with a truck to bring back the chairs and books and lock up the property.

When Bob entered the building, he sensed the “call” and immediately telephoned his pastor with a proposal. He asked if Akron Baptist Temple would be willing to continue his janitor’s salary for the remaining time on the lease and allow him the opportunity to try to start the new church. Pastor Billington agreed and Bob immediately started to work.

Bob Harrah was thirty years old when he responded to God’s call and began knocking on doors in the community. At one home he met some ladies with their mother and their aunt. They visited for quite some time and Bob invited them to come on Sunday to the very first meeting of the new church. When Sunday arrived, they were the only ones who attended but Bob conducted the service anyway. He accompanied their singing with an old, beat up guitar. The next Sunday, still, only the six of them attended. But Bob was not discouraged. He continued knocking on doors, inviting neighbors to church and preaching the Gospel. God began to work in that church and, pretty soon, people’s lives were being changed. The church grew to about 350 members.

One of those first six ladies was my pastor friend’s wife, Barbara. During his initial visit to her home, the young pastor suggested that she read Romans 10: 9-10. When Barbara read “…if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved,” she believed God and He saved her.

That was over fifty years ago. At the age of 76, Bob was still pastoring that church and over the years, God has spawned about fifteen other churches out of that ministry. But the most amazing thing about this story is that Bob Harrah had no credentials, no experience, no education and no idea what he was doing. He employed no modern marketing techniques, no Starbucks Coffee, and no opinion polls to find out what the local community wanted in a church. He didn’t even have a clever tweny-five dollar church growth plan published by some megachurch guru.

In fact, he had no books at all. A few years ago, when Tom saw that Bob’s bookshelves were empty, he thought, “Every pastor should have a library to help in his studies,” so Tom gave him some of his own books. The next time Tom visited, he noticed that there were still no books in Bob’s office so he asked where they were. “Oh, I gave them away,” he said, “I have the Bible; why do I need other books?”

And that has been Pastor Bob’s simple style all these years. Every Sunday, he steps up to the pulpit and opens his Bible and begins to read the Word of God and when he finishes the passage, he always goes directly back to Isaiah 1:18 and reads, “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” From that passage he moves the subject directly to the cross and he tells his people how Jesus paid the penalty for their sins and provided for their salvation.

It is a very simple formula and Pastor Bob never deviated from it. He just made himself an available tool in the hand of the sovereign God. He preached “The Book, The Blood and The Blessed Hope,” and he let God do His work.

Stories like this should not surprise us. God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things. And He does it, “…not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit” says the LORD Almighty. Zech. 4:6.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Second Amendment, Tyrannical Government

“The intent of the Founding Fathers was to have an armed population that would ensure the ‘security of a free state.’ The armed population would be able to defend itself from abuses of a tyrannical government or foreign invaders, and would have the means of self-defense against the criminal element.”

Charles Bloomer

Monday, January 14, 2008

Rinos, Liberals, Rush Limbaugh and Jello Republicans

There is an acronym for moderate Republicans. It is RINO which stands for Republican In Name Only.

I have had a long-time affinity for Rhinos. My “crash” includes over 600 collectibles, toys and art. As a conservative and a Rhino collector, I resent the noble beast being degraded as an icon for liberalism (or even queers for that matter).

So I was happy to hear that Rush Limbaugh has accurately applied a new moniker for moderates (which is just another term for liberals who are ashamed of their liberalism). The word is “Jello” and it is appropriate and very descriptive.

The makers of Jello used a marketing slogan several years ago that said, “There’s always room for Jello” indicating that the dessert was light, non-filling and lacking substance. It is just a sugary sweet product with no real value. Just like Jello, moderates are transparent, unfirm, and shaky. They can be filled with puffy marshmallows and processed fruits and nuts. They are moldable. They come in a myriad of colors and flavors to appeal to any preference. And they melt down when the heat is on.

Please leave the poor rhinos alone and let’s start referring to the moderates as Jello Republicans.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Let's Agree To Disagree.

“Let’s agree to disagree” is a phrase being used around the country these days. It is the dialectic in short form. I just tell those who use such verbiage, including deceived Christians, to use that phrase on God on the day of judgment and just see how far they get with it.

Another response, for the here and now, can be, “Oh, I see, you’re one of those unprincipled people.” Anyone who uses the phrase “Let’s agree to disagree” is an unprincipled person since they do not have a position they wish to stand on except ambiguity and all they want is for you to become like them, unprincipled. If you agree to disagree with an unprincipled person you are simply justifying their ambiguity and are participating in the dialectic process yourself—kiss your faith good-bye.


Dean Gotcher,
Institution for Authority Research

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Charles Spurgeon On Sarcastic Humor

"I must confess that I would rather hear people laugh than I would see them asleep in the house of God; and I would rather get the truth into them through the medium of ridicule than I would have it neglected, or leave the people to perish through lack of reception of the message.

I do believe in my heart, that there may be as much holiness in a laugh as in a cry; and that, sometimes, to laugh is the better thing of the two, for I may weep, and be murmuring, and repining, and thinking all sorts of bitter thoughts against God; while, at another time, I may laugh the laugh of sarcasm against sin, and so evince a holy earnestness in the defense of the truth.


I do not know why ridicule is to be given up to Satan as a weapon to be used against us, and not to be employed by us as a weapon against him. I will venture to affirm that the Reformation owed almost as much to the sense of the ridiculous in human nature as to anything else, and that those humorous squibs and caricatures, that were issued by the friends of Luther, did more to open the eyes of Germany to the abominations of the priesthood than the more solid and ponderous arguments against Romanism.


I know no reason why we should not, on suitable occasions, try the same style of reasoning."It is a dangerous weapon," it will be said, "and many men will cut their fingers with it." Well, that is their own lookout; but I do not know why we should be so particular about their cutting their fingers if they can, at the same time, cut the throat of sin, and do serious damage to the great adversary of souls."


Charles Spurgeon

Thursday, January 3, 2008

"The Rhinoceros" by Ogden Nash

The rhino is
a homely beast,

For human eyes
he's not a feast.

Farewell, farewell,
you old rhinoceros,

I'll stare at something
less prepoceros.
Ogden Nash

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Congress: Upstanding Citizens and Respectable Role Models

There are 535 members of the United States Congress.

Among those, 36 have been accused of spousal abuse. Seven have been arrested for fraud. Nineteen have been charged with writing bad checks and 117 of them have either directly or indirectly bankrupted at least two businesses.

Three have been incarcerated for assault, 14 have been arrested on drug-related charges and eight have been arrested for shoplifting. In the last year alone, eighty-four of them have been arrested for drunk driving.

Because of their poor credit history, 71 cannot qualify for a credit card.
Currently, 21 are defendants in lawsuits.

Oh, and one more thing; most of them are attorneys.

This fine, upstanding group of model citizens is the same bunch of geniuses that cranks out hundreds of new laws every year that are designed to keep the rest of us in line. But, hey, I DIDN'T VOTE FOR THEM.

That is why I like congressional recesses and I would favor even shorter sessions. Any day congress does nothing is a good day.

Green Awareness, Carbon Footprints and Saving the Planet

I don't really care who comes from where to march in the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade but this is ridiculous.

The 180 members of the Akashikita High School Green Band received recognition and accolades, not for their performance but for their mission. They "earned" their "green" name by traveling all over the world playing concerts to promote efforts to fight global warming. Last week they were in Victorville and, oh yeah, they went to Disneyland.

So, lets see, 180 bandmembers with their entourage of chaperones and all that luggage (including their band instruments) flying around the world on jet airliners and using ground transportation, hmmm! I wonder how big their collective carbon footprint is.

Oh, I'm sorry. I forgot to mention that they planted a ceremonial tree this week in Pasadena. That must count for some kind of offset; after all, I'm sure that act was useful in raising awareness about global warming.

I suppose I should do my part to raise awareness. I could put a green ribbon on my car and then drive around all day so that people can see my concern. Or better, I could purchase a fifteen foot antenna for my car so I could tie the ribbon to the top. That would "raise the level of awareness" to even greater heights.

I guess it doesn't matter that this is classical, liberal symbolism over substance; no matter that these kids' young, impressionable minds are filled with a bunch of happycrap; it's not important that they are arrogant enough to really believe that "man" can control the temperature of the planet; the important thing is that they all "feel good" about themselves because they really care.