Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Misplaced Outrage?

I think it is disingenuous the way the media is portraying the crazy pastor in Florida who wants to burn the Koran in protest on 9/11. Yes this guy in Florida is pulling a media stunt, and getting attention; but the fact is that this will be seen as more repulsive by our media and get more attention than the honor killings of the Said sisters by their "moderate" Muslim father in Texas. Since the holy month of Ramadan began there have been 192 terrorist attacks in the name of Allah with over 900 dead. Where is the outrage? The outrage is over some fundamentalist Christian in Florida wanting to burn books. This is a world gone crazy. I’m not trying to defend this guy, I don’t like burning books because after all the Nazis burned books; however, let’s not make burning Korans the moral equivalent of burning 3000 people in the World Trade Center bombings.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Anne Rice leaves Christianity?

I guess I'm behind in the pop news because I just found out Vampire author Anne Rice left Christianity. I guess it was a couple of years ago that Anne Rice was featured in World magazine with an article about her return to Catholicism. During her tenure she wrote a couple of historical fiction books about the life of Christ. I never read them, I believe the first was titled Out of Egypt the second Christ the Lord; however, my wife read them and said they were hard to read as a Baptist because they were so full of Catholic mythology and mysticism. Since my wife is a former Catholic, I suppose she would know. The article from the Los Angeles Times stated that Anne Rice left the Catholic church because of gay rights issues, pro choice and woman's issues, etc. Bottom line is Anne Rice is a religious person who I believe to be lost. There are many people who call themselves Christians who are lost, and as Paul states in Philippians are actually "enemies of the cross". One who is "born again" does not quit Christianity. Christ himself ordained the church. In 1st John 2:19, the Apostle states: "they went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us." We need to pray that Mrs. Rice does not find a new religion but finds a relationship with the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ, not the mystical christ, nor the cultural christ but the real GOD-MAN
who loved us so much that He sacrificed Himself for our sins as a substitute taking God's wrath upon Himself, and is going to come again to judge and make war. Now is the time to receive Him!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Creation Myth?

Spent some time this morning reading articles by Darrell Falk professor of Biology at Point Loma Nazarene College. He is a theistic evolutionist. Theistic evolution is the idea that God created the "world" or at least the building blocks of the world and then allowed the process of Macro-Evolution to produce the results guided of course by the Big Biologist in the Sky aka God. In one article, he was responding to Stephen Meyer, a Cambridge trained philosopher of science. Falk, first of all in syrupy language, talked about how great a philosopher Meyer was, but then slammed him as having no right to critique a biologist. Why is it that people automatically think that just because they have a diploma they are above criticism. I've heard the same arguments from teachers complaining about mothers who home school, or physicians who won't listen to their patients. The attitude is "I've studied; therefore, who are you to tell me anything." Nowhere can this attitude be found with such vigor as in institutions of higher learning. In my field as a theologian and pastor, I would be run out of the church if I took such an attitude. There are smart people who don't have diplomas hanging on the wall but whose faith can move mountains. I believe the attitude of "I know more than you- so shut up" is detrimental not only to fair debate but to the growth of the person with said attitude.
Then Falk went on to quote scripture saying he believed in Romans 8:38-39 and that he was sure Meyer also believed this in order to facilitate common ground. However, here is the real crux of the issue: is the bible true or not. The theistic evolutionist must be selective in what he believes is true in the context of scripture for the fact of the matter is that the first chapters of Genesis have to be myth according to Falk. The Genesis creation narrative must be understood or "explained away" by making it man's account (though a far better account than other creation myths) in which to convey things for a human perspective that at the time where unexplainable. The problem is that the Apostle Paul states that "all scripture", not just the New Testament, is "God breathed" or "inspired by God" (2 Timothy 3:16). Therefore, the Genesis account of creation is not man's explanation but God's revelation. The Genesis account itself claims to be history in chapter 2 verse 4 which means in layman terms: it should be interpreted literally and not figuratively or mythologically. If we say Genesis 1-3 is myth, why not Mathew through John; they too are full of miracles and even resurrection accounts, how can that be any different then interpretationally? No, the creation account of Genesis is not myth any more than the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ; otherwise, our faith would be useless. Theistic evolution is completely incompatible with orthodox Christianity and it undermines the faith of scripture.
The other problem was that Falk intimated a stupidity on the part of Meyer when he said there was biological evidence contrary to Meyer's stated opinion to the contrary. However, it is interesting to point out that where evolutionists see chaos and chance often times creationists see purpose and intention. Ultimately it is a matter of faith not biology. So the Philosopher Meyer is right to criticize the Biologist Falk. As a theologian, my advice to macro-evolutionists is "repent and believe".
If you want to know more see

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Great Commission Resurgence

Here are some thoughts about the SBC Great Commission Resurgence Task Force proposals. I am all for focusing on the great commission; I believe that often the SBC has fallen to a numbers game that has lost sight of making disciples. I don't think any of the changes proposed will address this issue. I believe that the SBC should be streamlined and maybe even redesigned for a more effective role in the 21st century, but here are some problems:

1. the SBC is being led by Mega church mentality, which doesn't represent the smaller churches or rural areas.
2. the current trend seems to be marginalizing the state conventions and NAMB which will result in the death of a lot of ministry outside the Bible belt.

If we focus more on the IMB, then there are a couple things that can be cut in order to funnel more funds to IMB: the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission-get rid of it! I mean they proved their idiocy by endorsing Mitt Romney, a Mormon who has a track record of being pro-abortion and pro-gay marriage while there was a viable Baptist candidate with conservative values. Bottom line- the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission is incompetent and a waste of money. Another thing we could cut is the support of the SBC Seminaries. Do we really need six Seminaries? Maybe they should sink or swim...just some thoughts.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Philosophy or Phantasy

Over the past couple of years I have been formulating an idea which I call Process Predeterminism. It centers around the phrase "when an event goes in motion/process the outcomes are predetermined". I'd like others to chew on this and spit it back at me (some southern tobacco lingo meaning think about it and let me know what you think). I'm not going to tell the whole development of my thought to see if others intersect or take up a new direction...more later.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Monday, March 29, 2010

Learning the hard way

Last Thursday in my rush and excitement to get some shooting in between my busy schedule, I got to the range, put out my target and blasted three rounds with my M4 carbine (new gas piston version mind you) and lo and behold I forget a very important piece of equipment- ear protection. After about 30 rounds, I realized I had ruptured my ear drum-ouch. You would think after 30+ years of shooting I would remember something that important. Which reminds me of something that we as Christians often forget, and that is applying the armor of God through prayer. We are in a fierce and desperate spiritual battle and God has provided us His armor and His chosen weapon the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:10-18). But how often do we step out into the fray forgetting these very implements that will keep us safe and win for us the battle? I would say more often than not- even those of us who have been walking with the Lord for 20,30,40+ years. Prayer and the Word of God: don't leave home without it! And if your going shooting bring your earplugs.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Bob Larson: the real exorcist?

I used to listen to Bob Larson's radio show back in the 80s. I found it entertaining, and Larson seemed to be knowledgeable and had an uncanny way of reading people. The show degenerated to a constant plea for money and I quit listening. He has also authored some interesting books: Larson's Book of Cults, Satanism, the Seduction of America's Youth, etc. However, his detractors claim these where written by ghost writers; I don't know if this is true. What put him on my mind lately though is a new reality show on the SciFi Chanel called Possessed. Being a student of Biblical Demonology, I was intrigued by the trailer. He claims to be the real exorcist and goes around casting out demons. My problem with many of the deliverance ministries is that they focus on the devil and convince Christians they are possessed, something I don't believe the New Testament teaches. The other thing is they charge outrageous fees for their services- Larson is no exception, his website has a charge for everything. Glamor and Hollywood seem to me inconsistent with a "real exorcist". And a huge red flag popped up for me when I looked at Larson's doctrinal statement on his website, at first, it seemed very orthodox evangelical- that is until I read his statement on the resurrection. He states:"God raised Him from the dead body." What? Is he denying the bodily resurrection of Christ? If this statement stands as read, it does deny this important tenant of Christianity. I could not recommend Bob Larson's ministry on several points, but this takes the cake. Beware the "real exorcist".

Monday, March 1, 2010

Ho hum

I haven't posted in a long time thought it was about time...
My wife has me on a diet -counting calories. Unfortunately this week girl scout cookies were delivered, broke diet, though I do give God the glory for Thin Mints.

Today is a ho hum day. Even though there is lots going on: counseling appointments, visitation, etc., it is just one of those Mondays with the weather overcast and my secretary and the associate pastor out of the office, I feel very unmotivated. How do you turn a ho hum day into an exciting day? Spend time with God. This verse keeps coming to me: "Be still and know that I am God". Prayer, meditation and solitude with God seem to take a backseat with the hectic, busy lives we lead, but days like today remind us that we need to make those Christian disciplines a priority. In doing so, God is glorified and we are blessed, and the ho hum becomes the got something done. Next time don't wait for a day like today but make time alone with God an every day meeting.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Giving Credit

just a note... I uploaded the last post from an article I had written in word perfect and my footnotes did not come through. So let me give you the sources for post: New King James Bible; The Counter Terrorist, The Official Journal of the Homeland Security Professional, Dec. 09, Counter Terrorism, The Journal of Counter-terrorism and Homeland Security International, Winter Issue 09, Security!? In A Church?, The Last Crusade weblog.

I don't want to be like those preachers who quote without citation...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Church and Counter terrorism

It wasn’t just another Wednesday night. The 170 students who were meeting at the Wedgwood Baptist Church were joyful for the chance to have shared their faith at the annual “See you at the Pole” event. Every year students meet at their school’s flagpole for a time of prayer for their school, teachers, fellow students and country. Tonight was the icing on the cake so to speak, as the joyful students gathered at the church to listen to the praise band belt out anthems to Christ. It also wasn’t just another Wednesday night for another reason. Just before 7pm, Larry Ashbrook walked in carrying two pistols. In the foyer, he began his shooting spree. When he walked into the sanctuary, no one had heard the gunshots because of the loud music, and he began firing into the crowds of youth while shouting obscenities. Pandemonium soon broke out as students began screaming and ducking for cover. Larry fired three magazines full of ammunition and threw a pipe bomb before he sat down on a pew and put one of the pistols to his own head ending the terror. In the aftermath, 4 teenagers, 2 college students and 1 adult had been murdered, seven others wounded and the gunman dead by suicide.
Unfortunately such shootings are not uncommon. Between 1999 and 2009 there have been 274 violent incidences at churches/ministries resulting in 241 deaths. The counter-terrorism community acknowledges churches as ‘soft targets’. Soft targets are those people, places or things that are unprotected and vulnerable to terrorist attack. There is usually little or no security at most churches, and this writer would venture to add that most churches do not have a disaster preparedness plan or even an evacuation plan. Christian theology holds that God is sovereign and that God can take something evil and bring good out of it. This writer wholly agrees, but this should not be used as an excuse for being unprepared for such evil.
There are legitimate concerns over how far a church should go in protecting itself. Jesus has called his followers to be peacemakers. He also tells us to “love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” Because of Bible verses like these some churches adopt a totally passive and pacifistic view concerning church security. Others, however, point to the fact that Jesus used violence to defend the Temple from thieves and peddlers (Mark 11:15-17). Jesus also exhorted his disciples to take provisions with them as they went out including a sword in Luke 22:36. And, some will argue that Christ tacitly approves the use of force within the context of defense and war when he offers no advice to the Roman soldiers who believed in Him to lay down their weapons or choose a different occupation. As a Southern Baptist, my denomination has been predominantly of the later thinkers. Southern Baptists have served in the military, been police officers, intelligence officers and everything in between. Usually, Baptists have no problem in the use of force to defend people and property especially in the context of the United States, which still allows such means legally. In a recent church shooting in Colorado, an off duty police officer, who was providing church security, shot and stopped the attacker. Though the attacker killed two people, undoubtedly the death toll would have been higher without the armed intervention of the volunteer church security guard. This writer believes that churches should take a closer look at security weather it is a very proactive security such as armed guards or if a pacifist mindset exists the church should still provide less aggressive means of protection and planning.
Most of the acts of violence at churches and ministries in the United States have to do with mentally disturbed individuals and are not political. However there exists an increasing threat to ‘soft targets’ because of the growing radicalization of Moslems in the U.S.

Threat Assessment of Terrorism

There are three disturbing trends within the United States that have increased the threat level for political and religious terrorism. One is the radical Islamic movement within U.S. prisons. Radical Islamic clerics, usually of the extreme Wahhabi Islam, have targeted U.S. prisons as prime recruiting grounds. These clerics take advantage of the First Amendment freedoms of the Constitution to gain access and provide literature to prisoners. Because of the current “political correctness” within our government, it is difficult to weed out the jihadists. “The pervasiveness of the radicalization of Muslim chaplains needs further study because many are not from a supremacist mindset, but the problem is certainly profound.” “The former head Muslim Chaplain for the New York State Department of Correctional Services, Imam Umar, said he found that prisons ‘are a powder keg’ and ‘the perfect recruitment and training ground’ for his Wahhabi ideas and radicalism.” Umar also stated that the U.S. would face a war that would “be carried out by prison inmates converted to radical Islam.”
The second trend is the founding of Islamic training camps across the country. Jama’at al-Fuqra is an Islamist organization in the United States that means “Community of the impoverished.” Mubarak Gilani founded it in 1980. Two front groups for this organization are Muslims for the Americas and the International Quranic Open University. Basically these groups are missionary and training centers for radical Islam. They maintain about 20-30 compounds across America where converts can learn radical Islamic ideology and train in terrorist activities. Radical Islamic converts from the prison system have been trained at some of these facilities. “The Wall Street Journal reports that U.S. investigators are discovering that more and more young Muslims are vanishing from mosques, madrassahs, and Islamic centers. The disappearances, the Journal notes, are raising grave concerns among FBI and Homeland Security officials who fear that an onset of jahadi activity will take place on American soil in the near future.”
The third and final trend, that is taking place exacerbating the terror threat level in the U.S., is the conversion and training of Mexican and South American drug cartels. The Iranian backed terrorist group Hezbollah, has established itself in Venezuela with the help of President Chavez. They have training camps and are using drug money to fund terrorism. Latin American gangs MS-13 and MS-18, former rivals, adopted a peace deal in 2007 . “The success of this treaty is demonstrated by the growing number of schools in Honduras, Panama and Venezuela where gang members are taught Arabic and instructed in Islamic fundamentalism while the terrorists who are waiting to be smuggled into the U.S. are taught Spanish and Hispanic culture.” This could be the greatest of all the threats to the U.S. Islamic fundamentalism coupled with the Latin American narcotics trade may provide the very instability that our enemies want. By coupling these two, it provides an endless supply of drugs, money, and weapons and the ability for terrorists to strike into the heartland of America.

Counter-terrorism for the Church

Counter-terrorism is the practices, strategies and tactics employed by organizations to respond to terrorist threats or actions. Given the risks of terror activity to the United States, churches, which are vulnerable to attack as proven already by the increased violence over the last ten years, should adopt strategies in order to mitigate the effects of terrorism. Here are some examples of churches that may be at higher risk for terrorist targeting: 1. Churches in close proximity to military bases and who have many military families in attendance. 2. Churches that are located in close proximity to radical Moslem populations. 3. Churches who specifically and effectually target Moslems for evangelism and conversion. 4. Churches who are outspoken in regards to support of Israel. There are other factors that may come into play but these four have been listed for consideration. However, the greatest risk factor for churches is the fact that they are soft targets and they stand in opposition to an Islamic rule. Churches can take simple steps to begin security. Here are some ideas: 1. Train ushers to watch for weapons. 2. Organize and share with the congregation an emergency exit plan. 3. Install cameras to watch parking lots and exits (with the increased technology, particularly web cams and computer systems, this type of security is less expensive and easier to operate today). 4. Muster volunteer security (off duty police who attend the church or military members are a good place to start). 5. Hire professional security. 6. Contact security consultants who specialize in dealing with churches. 7. In a church leadership meeting, bring up the topic, get ideas and find out the pulse of your churches leadership regarding security and counter-terrorism. In the United States, we still have the constitutional right to freely practice religion and we should be pro-active to protect this right and to make sure our congregations have a peaceful and safe place in which to worship God.