Archive for the ‘Heresy’ category

Blue Collar Theology 30: The Need (Case Study 1)

May 28, 2008

I know it’s not Monday (when I usually post my BCT of the week), but things have been a little off as of late. Nevertheless, I wanted to post a couple of YouTube videos regarding the latest buzz among Christian literature to reveal how deeply we need a Blue Collar Theology today. The book, The Shack, currently ranks has an Amazon sales rank of #5 of all the books they sell (with over 500 book reviews). While it has only been on the shelves for a little over a year, it produced a massive amount of interest among Christians and non-Christians alike.

So I want you to consider the responses as I juxtapose them here for the purpose of showing how biblically illiterate and theologically incompetent we are today to address old heresies in contemporary garb.

FOR: 700 Club

“When the imagination of a writer and the passion of a theologian cross-fertilize the result is a novel on the order of ‘The Shack.’ This book has the potential to do for our generation what John Bunyan’s ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’ did for his. It’s that good!” –Eugene Peterson, Professor Emeritus of Spiritual Theology, Regent College, Vancouver, B.C.

“The Shack will leave you craving for the presence of God.” – Michael W. Smith

“Love it for lots of reasons. First of all, I love books that touch the emotions and inspire the imagination. This book does that. But it also has an amazing storyline that is really gripping.” – Mark Batterson, Pastor of National Community Church

“Alright, I have to admit- I am usually a major critic of Christian fiction books. They just usually don’t deliver on expectations. But I recently came across a gem- The Shack by William Paul Young. You have to check it out. It will change your perspective and stretch your spiritual paradigm, especially as it relates to the Trinity and God’s desire for relationship with us humans.” – Brad Lomenick, Director of Catalyst Conference

AGAINST: Mark Driscoll

“This book includes undiluted heresy.” – Dr. Albert Mohler, President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY

See also Tim Challies’ 17-page critique.

While the potpourri of heresies in recent years has generated considerable push back by the evangelical world (such as The Da Vinci Code and Gospel of Thomas), one has to wonder if the scent of this fictional book has enough attraction to delude many believers whose theology is no deeper than the front shelves of their local bookstore. Is this not a clear case of our need for a Blue Collar Theology today?!

Blue Collar Theology 23: A New Kind of Accountability

March 24, 2008

One of our modern-day, evangelical methods for holiness and purity in the church has been what are called “accountability groups.” An accountability group takes many forms–two, three, or eight people–who meet regularly. Some groups have a list of questions to go through, while other groups sit over coffee and let words be shared as they come to mind, whatever the topic of the day might be. The majority of our questions revolve around behavioral questions: have you looked at anything you should not have, have you loved your spouse in an honorable way, have you faithfully read the Scriptures this week.

If we are to pursue true holiness, the object that we pursue must be true. That may seem obvious enough, but so many people do not act accordingly.  In an age where “spirituality” is defined by ethereal experience and some kind of nebulous deity, holiness is a foreign word. In some people’s religion, it is a four-letter word. Paul exhorted Timothy to pay close attention to his life and his doctrine. These two cannot be divorced. As A.W. Tozer said, what we believe about God is the most important thing about us. While we pursue holiness as the people of God, we must include, with our questions regarding ethics, questions also pertaining to our doctrine. When we ask if we have looked at something we should not have, instead of including only pornography, we should also include theology that is not considered orthodox. Pornography is not the only moral issue in our lives. We need to remember that wrong views of God (theology) are also sinful. For those that are not as discerning in what they read, we could make the question broader to be: “What have you read over the past week?”

This may seem like a silly issue to even write about when we speak of theology for all people, but it is an underlying problem in every accountability group that is not asking questions related to theology. I am not arguing for a mere group of puffed up minds. Rather, I am pushing on us to become a community of believers, who believe what it true, noble, and pure. If a group of armchair theologians get together for the fun of debate, this is not accountability.

I have been the instigator of too many conversations that merely puffed up. I have touted the latest esoteric book I just finished with no attempt to speak about its conviction in my life. I have tried to glean as much knowledge from people I interact with without seeking to have my life changedAccountability is going further than talking about the sovereignty of God. It is asking what you believe to be limits of God’s rule in your life. Once that is explicated, we then move on to how this has affected you over the past week. Did you go to a website you should not have? Did you think about God’s omnipresent, sovereign rule while you were clicking away?

What I am arguing for is that as community-dwellers, we begin to enter into discussions about theology in such a way that it is not mere academia. If we stop with theology without delving into the depths of the moral implications, we will be clanging cymbals.

If we speak about our ethic without making explicit the theology grounding it, we will become hypocrites.

Our theology must be tested through the fires of community.In the next post I will talk about how we can begin to wed the two – life and doctrine.

What’s the Difference?

November 20, 2007

Just a passing note, but I just got word from out local news that 4,200 tickets for the Hanna Montana concert in Lexington, KY sold out in 30 seconds (no, that is not a typo). Looks like more and more Americans have prayed to receive Hanna Montana into their hearts.

Today I did something I almost never do. My wife came home early due to a doctor’s appointment, and together we watched the Oprah Winfrey show. Today’s show was the Christmas special where Oprah gave away many of her favorite things to everyone in the audience, including a $3,800 refrigerator, $800 camcorder, $150 watch, $900 worth of DVDs, and much more (go here for the entire list). You would not believe the uncontrollable responses of those in the audience. For some of the ladies, fanning themselves was not enough to sustain their hysteria as others came to assist in their weakened knees and tearful eyes. Others lifted their hands and uttered prayers to God, very much like your typical TBN special. Check out this preview for a taste of Oprah worship.

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As this worship and glorification of goddess Oprah ensued, I could not stop but ask myself, “What is her religion offering that the health and wealth prosperity preachers are not offering? Is her “gospel” any different than theirs? The good news is a better life now with the benefits of this life and treasuring of all this world has to offer. I suppose the only real difference is that Oprah actually makes good on her promises and delivers the goods while the prosperity preachers promise something they cannot deliver.

On another note, and across the world, I have a dear brother serving as a missionary in Dhaka, Bangladesh–a country where over one million people are homeless with the death toll rising well into the thousands due to the recent cyclone that hit the country. More are expected to perish due to starvation and diseases such as malaria that will develop due to the terrible conditions. Here’s a recent BBC report:

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I am reminded of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which Luther explains, is one that treasures the infinite worth of Jesus and cries out, “Let goods and kindreds go, this mortal life also, the body they may kill, His truth abideth still, His kingdom is forever.” For those who are citizens of such a kingdom, our worship of Jesus propels us not to install another appliance in our kitchen or trinket on our wrist; rather, our worship fuels us to look into the face of this now homeless child and give him Jesus. He who did not have the comforts of foxes or birds, is preparing a place for us–a place where every tear will be wiped away and every sacrifice will be vindicated in the resurrection of the righteous.

“I Think Jesus Is the Product”

October 14, 2007

Watch T.D. “Christianity Is Big Business” Jakes and Joel “This is my Bible and I will never refer to it again” Osteen on the commercialization of their businesses ministries. A special on Osteen will be on tonight.

Osteen was named the #1 most influential Christian in America for 2007.  Here are some video’s I compiled on Osteen back in January.