Daily Archives: 17 Apr 2018

The Lies ‘Focus on the Family’ Tells, for Money

Focus On The Family told the IRS that its 600 employees are ministers and its cafeteria is a “place of worship.” The IRS’ resisted, but then agreed to call it a church, with all the tax advantages. Incredible document trail found by @bluemir @peoplefor – Laurie Goodstein

Unbelievable.  These charlatans will tell any lie for cash.  They think a business is a church and a church is a business.

Rest in Peace, Mrs Bush

Jeb Bush Campaigns With Mother Barbara Bush One Day Before SC PrimaryBarbara Bush, the best of the family (in my view) has died.  May she rest in peace.

Was Stormy Daniels’ Thug Tom Brady?

Come on, man, look at him.  That’s Tom Brady!

A New Way for Steven Furtick to Inflate his Fake Baptism Totals

A recent youth “Spring Kick-Off” pool party at pastor Rod’s house was revealed to be a covert attempt to inflate the church’s baptism numbers, a source close to Growth Church revealed Tuesday.

The event was pitched as a fun time for the youth to get to know each other, swim in the youth pastor’s pool, and develop crushes on one another in a complex web of opaque relationship statues comparable to those in an HBO drama series. But new evidence suggests it was something more sinister: an opportunity for the church to pad its baptism statistics, counting every youth who dunked himself in the pool as a baptism for the church’s annual report.

Partway through the event, a deacon was spotted in a nearby bush, marking down each youngster who cannonballed into the pool as a baptized church member. Witnesses claim he even counted people who jumped in more than once as separate baptisms.

“In response to current reports, we can confirm that anyone who was fully immersed in the pastor’s pool Saturday night was in fact counted as a legitimate conversion, profession of faith, and baptism,” the church’s vision casting pastor said in a statement. “Anyone who takes issue with that should have read the fine print in the release form the parents had to sign before the event took place. It clearly stated that we reserve the right to count literally anything as a baptism.”

“Our final tally for the night was 343 baptisms—not a bad night for the kingdom of God,” he added.

At publishing time, further investigation had revealed the church counted as a baptism anyone who got wet participating in the water balloon fight, battling in the Super Soaker war, or washing their hands before the hot dogs and burgers were served.

Watch, Furtick will do it.

A Few Observations on the #Exvangelical Movement

Having had fairly extensive discussions with members of this movement over a period of months, both on twitter, facebook, and privately via email I have observed the following:

  • The movement is right to distrust ‘Evangelicalism’.  Evangelicalism, as a term, has been emptied of all meaning and by rights everyone who adheres to an understanding of Christianity that isn’t tied to the far right of the Republican Party should identify with subsets of Christianity which do not call themselves ‘Evangelicals’.
  • The movement is made up of a number of people who identify as Gay or Lesbian persons.  Feeling ‘unwelcome’ in traditional Christianity, they distance themselves from it by adopting the hashtag.
  • The movement is also made up of persons who have been, in various ways physical and emotional as well as spiritual, hurt by a person or persons in a local church.
  • In responding to the Church some of these persons adopt an attitude of open hostility.  They despise the Church because of ‘what it did’ or because ‘it makes them feel excluded’. Some adopt an outlook of sadness in that they mourn for the disconnect they feel and wish things were otherwise.  And some simply walk away from the Church without looking back.

The interesting thing about the movement, to me, is the response offered by some to anyone who defends the Church.  The response tends to be hostile, and in some instances, downright rage-filled.  Anger at the Church becomes, for some, all consuming.  Now it isn’t a person or persons who hurt them or excluded them or whatever, it is, writ large, Christianity itself.  Their anger is displaced.  Instead of being furious with their particular abuser/mistreater they now behave and speak as though every Christian who has ever lived has done them wrong.

And the most interesting thing of all is that the attitudes of some display a more than fascinating attribute: i.e., that if things had been done their way, in their time, as they wished, then they wouldn’t have anything with which to fault the Church at all.  As one person wrote (and I have to congratulate her for her blunt honesty), ‘If my church had accepted that I was a Lesbian and if they had accepted my wife, I wouldn’t have ever left’.

In sum, what I heard from this young lady and from numerous others was that the Church should see things and do things the way the #Exvangelical wished.  Had they, all would be well.  The problem with this of course is that it betrays a certain self-centeredness and self-absorption that could find better expression in finding a congregation which held similar views rather than in anger at those whose views you do not share.

Which brings me to my central take-away from recent discussions: anger is widespread.  Whether justly or unjustly; whether at individual Christians or at all of Christianity;  anger is the chief characteristic of the #Exvangelical movement.  Anger that mistreatment occurred (when it did occur anger against it is perfectly justified).  Anger that personal preferences weren’t adopted.  Anger that others don’t see the situation in the same way.  Anger.  #Exvangelicals are mad as hell.  And I’m not sure that’s either healthy or sustainable.

Anger will only get those in the movement so far.  And then they will either have to abandon their anger or it will consume them.  They will burn up with and in their anger at _________________ (fill in the blank) or they will move beyond it to positively engage in the change they so loudly demand.

#Exvangelicalism will either remain a movement of the angry, and accomplish absolutely nothing (because in fairness it has to be said that, as a movement, it’s presently accomplishing nothing at all except loudly bemoaning what’s in the past) or it will grow beyond anger and become the counterpoint to the sorry state of Evangelicalism- a movement itself so besmirched by political entanglements that it can no longer serve the Kingdom of God.  To put it crudely, #Exvangelicals can either keep bit****g or they can make a real difference through constructive pursuits.

#Exvangelicals can make a difference.  The question, if they’d face it, is whether or not their members are willing to stop being mad.  Only they can answer that, and they may not even want to.  After all, some people love the drama of anger.

Spiderman window washer sentenced to 105 years for child porn

The world we live in

A Nashville man was sentenced Monday to 105 years in prison for producing and distributing child pornography involving an infant and a toddler, according to U.S. Attorney Don Cochran for the Middle District of Tennessee.

“The sentence imposed by the Court should insure that this defendant will never have another opportunity to inflict his perverted sexual desires upon another innocent child,” said Cochran.

36-year-old Jarratt A. Turner befriended families and then offered to babysit these children, according to reports.

Pictures and video produced by Turner in his basement apartment included a toddler girl on 10 different occasions and infant boy on six different occasions, said Cochran.


Christians Have But One Savior

No Christian could hold such a view.

It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in man.  It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in princes. (Ps. 118:8-9)


Do not put your trust in princes, Nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help. His spirit departs, he returns to his earth; In that very day his plans perish. Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, Whose hope is in the LORD his God (Ps. 146:3-5)

So, no, Christians don’t think Trump, or for that matter Hillary or Bernie or Pence or anyone else can save the world.  That’s just idolatry and Christians refrain from that.

Go to This if You’re in Zürich

The Israeli Army and Palestinian Children

The more you know…

Perchance to Dream

Perchance to Dream: Dream Divination in the Bible and the Ancient Near East
Edited by Esther J. Hamori and Jonathan Stökl, ANEM 21, 2018
download paperback hardcover

You can download it for free.

Ireland and the Reception of the Bible

There’s an interview on the contents of a new volume over on the T&T Clark blog.  It will be of interest to many of you.

Free Access to Essays in ‘Dead Sea Discoveries’

Via Brill-

A second batch of 5 articles from Dead Sea Discoveries has become available for free, to celebrate the journal’s 25th anniversary with you, our readers. Enjoy!  http://www2.brill.com/Dead_Sea_Discoveries

Be Sure to Give The Theological Verlag of Zurich’s New Webpage a Look

It’s really quite nice.

It’s Time For Christianity to Say ‘This is Who We Are: Take it Or Leave it’

The chief weakness of Christianity is and always has been its sometime willingness to acquiesce to the demands of society in order to find acceptance, ‘tolerance’, or whatever.  From time immemorial, as soon as the Church has agreed to the world’s terms, it was weakened.   As Adolf von Harnack noted, the Church’s mission was to go into the world but instead the world came into the Church (in the era of Constantine the Foul), and that was when disaster struck.

In our own time churches are caving in to the cravings of culture and ‘giving the people what they want’ instead of what they need- the Gospel.  Nothing could be less appropriate, or less Christian.

Accordingly, it really is time for Christianity to say to the World: this is who we are, this is what we believe, this is how we behave, and if you don’t like it or want no part of it, good riddance.

Enough of the pandering and the whining and the capitulating; enough of the lying!  The Church needs to be the Church and remember that as the Bride of Christ the very gates of Hell cannot prevail against it.  Why, then, should a whiny Millennial?  Or a sniveling ‘seeker’?

Church, just be the Church, and to Hades with those who demand you surrender.  The world needs the Gospel.  The Gospel doesn’t need the world.  Pastors need to be Pastors, not capitulaters.