But that doesn’t stop people, even famous ones, from saying that he did… Please stop it.
μή μου ἅπτου
In an altruistic act meant to help Americans currently being bombarded with extremely cold weather, Joel Osteen personally offered to warm up the entire country with his lungs’ nearly inexhaustible supply of hot air.
Osteen stated he would plant himself in the middle of the coldest parts of the country and simply begin preaching one of his feel-good messages, the hot air wooshing from his mouth being almost guaranteed to warm up everyone in the nation.
“Frankly, we’re likely to see some extreme heat after Osteen starts preaching one of his inspirational messages,” one climatologist told reporters. “We’re a little frightened of the possible effects on our fragile ecosystems.”
One projection suggested that a simple 30-minute message on Jeremiah 29:11 preached by Mr. Osteen would be enough to melt the northern polar ice cap, all of Antarctica, and even potentially the polar ice caps all the way over on the planet Mars.
At publishing time, the impressive show of hot air had compelled the showrunners of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade to get Joel Osteen on retainer for this November, so that he could blow up each float before the parade began.
“We must remember that the terms of our calling are that we should be faithful, not that we should be successful.”- J.I. Packer
When you gain a friend, gain him through testing, and do not trust him hastily. For there is a friend who is such at his own convenience, but will not stand by you in your day of trouble. And there is a friend who changes into an enemy, and will disclose a quarrel to your disgrace. And there is a friend who is a table companion, but will not stand by you in your day of trouble. (Sir. 6:7-10)
With friend or foe do not report it, and unless it would be a sin for you, do not disclose it; for some one has heard you and watched you, and when the time comes he will hate you. (Sir. 19:8-9)
Every friend will say, “I too am a friend”; but some friends are friends only in name. Is it not a grief to the death when a companion and friend turns to enmity? (Sir. 37:1-2)
And in each instance, he is correct. Many who call themselves friends really aren’t and though it’s sad it’s best not to open your heart to any but family, because even those you think friends will betray you and, accordingly, wound you.
“If your brother sins against you, go and rebuke him in private. If he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he won’t listen, take one or two more with you, so that by the testimony of two or three witnesses every fact may be established. If he pays no attention to them, tell the church. But if he doesn’t pay attention even to the church, let him be like an unbeliever and a tax collector to you. (Matt. 18:15-17)
Jesus is quite clear: if your brother sins against you there are three steps you must follow in order to bring about reconciliation or at least, a solution to the problem of interpersonal relations gone awry. First, talk about it privately. This is critical. The offended believer must take the initiative and go to the offender and explain the problem. If this is not done; if the problem is handled in some other way, reconciliation will NEVER occur. Second, if there is no resolution, then ask two or three trusted persons to go with you to talk to the other, in Christian love. But if the offender refuses to repent, then the matter is to be taken to the whole church so that the sinful act becomes public knowledge. If no repentance is forthcoming, the offender should be treated as though an unbeliever: with love, and Gospel caring- but as an outsider to the faith.
Every interpersonal problem in every Church can be solved if these three steps are followed because the sinful deed is either repented of or the sinful actor is treated as an unbeliever. Where these steps are not followed, sin attaches itself and more problems erupt.
The Church, by and large, has not followed these procedures and as a consequence Churches across this country are immobilized by more and more sinful behavior.
Jesus, you see, has standards. And the Church must strive to meet them, or it becomes something other than a Church. And there are already too many ‘other-than-Church’ churches in this world. Don’t let yours be one of them. Heed Jesus, the Lord of the Church.
If you, like me, and Jonathan, and James, and others, weren’t able to make it to Nottingham for SOTS 2018 Winter Meeting, you can keep up with what’s going on via twitter by following #SOTS2018, or by watching the SOTS facebook page- https://www.facebook.com/groups/24086983875/
Some great sounding papers have already been given.
“During the mid-1970s, John Howard Yoder embarked on an experiment in sexuality, devising his own guidelines and selecting his own subjects, whom he called ‘sisters.’ Following a three-year term as president of Goshen (Ind.) Biblical Seminary, he developed ‘the notion of a distinction between two dimensions of sexuality, the familiar and the genital.’ Yoder speculated that people plagued either by inhibitions about sexual intercourse or by promiscuity would have difficulty attaining what he termed ‘the freedom of the gospel,’ which he linked to Jesus’ encounters with women. In a series of essays that he circulated on the seminary campus and beyond, Yoder speculated about Jesus’ sexuality as a model for his disciples, for the men who followed in his path. Nearly two decades later, in 1992, a denominational task force established by leaders in Yoder’s congregation, Prairie Street Mennonite Church in Elkhart, Ind., confronted him with 13 charges of sexual abuse.”
It’s simply fascinating the twists and turns the mind will make in order to justify the most perverse behavior. If you want to see that kind of twisted mind in action, read the whole essay. Stunning. Not only because of what Yoder did, but because so many turned a blind eye to it.