Someone Tell Thom Rainer that The Love of Money isn’t a Christian Virtue

LifeWay Christian Resources, the publishing arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, has sued its former president and CEO for violating a non-compete clause in his contract that forbids him from working with competitors.

Thom Rainer, who announced his plan to retire as president and CEO in 2018, still serves as Chief Advisory Officer for LifeWay. Under terms of a transition agreement, he was prohibited from working with a competitor for 12 months after his retirement, LifeWay claims in a suit filed in Williamson County, Tennessee on Monday (Sept. 28).

Rainer, 65, was earning the same salary he received as president, plus a car, which he could keep after his term as Chief Advisory Officer concludes Oct. 31, according to the transition agreement he signed with LifeWay in 2018.

This is why I hate knowing that SBC churches contribute to Lifeway.  They waste more money and produce more garbage than any denominational publisher ever has.  Lifeway should sink or swim on what it can sell and not on SBC money.

But in April, the suit alleges, Rainer and Tyndale, a publisher of Bibles and other Christian books, reached “a multi-book, multiyear agreement” for publishing Rainer’s books, which LifeWay says violates the transition agreement.

“Tyndale is ecstatic about our long-term partnership with Thom Rainer and Church Answers. Thom is a gifted leader, teacher, and communicator whose personal mission aligns perfectly with Tyndale’s,” Tyndale senior VP and publisher Ron Beers was quoted saying in a press release.

Rainer, a prolific writer, runs a business called Church Answers, which is intended to help church leaders with “resources, experts and community” through the ups and downs of church ministry. A lifelong Southern Baptist and Alabama native, Rainer received his Masters of Divinity and a Ph.D., from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.

LifeWay claims Rainer’s agreement with Tyndale gives that publisher “a significant competitive advantage.”

“It is inevitable that he will disclose to Tyndale confidential information about LifeWay’s products, processes and services,” the lawsuit says.

Consultant.  What a farce.  If your church needs a consultant, close down.  You aren’t a church, you’re a business.  And if you’re being paid for doing nothing like Rainer is, and being given a car to boot, you aren’t in ministry, you are a con man who loves money more than ethics.

Selective Morality is Immorality

It’s interesting that many of the people defending the tax schemes of the President* – because it’s ‘legal’ to do what he did, are the same people who decry abortion in spite of the fact that it’s legal.

Let me explain:  abortion is legal but, in the minds of many, immoral.  Tax loopholing is legal, but in the minds of many, immoral.

When you favor a position you tend to defend it as ‘legal’ without referencing the morality of the act.  And when you disfavor a position you tend to defend it as ‘moral’, without referencing the legality of the act.

And that, plainly put, is selective morality, and that, plainly put, is immorality.

If you want to defend one act because it is ‘legal’ then for consistency sake you must defend all acts that are legal.  And if you denounce one act because it is immoral, you must denounce all immoral acts.

Otherwise what you are is a hypocrite exercising selective immorality.

Fun Barthian Facts

After Charlotte von Kirschbaum moved into Barth’s house, Barth signed his notes to her in the following ways1:

  • ‘I am having such joy! And I love you so much!’,
  • ‘I just love you so much’,
  • ‘I am so happy! I l. you so much’

or, later, simply

  • ‘I l. y. s. m. (sure? sure!)’ or ‘Oh you…..’, ‘Oh you!’, ‘D. L. … you know’,

from 1931 occasionally:

  • ‘I am constantly thinking of you and I love you much more, even much more than…

for example, on 1 August.

  • Although already then I liked you quite a lot, after all. You!’.

In 1934, he writes from Rome:

  • ‘Be, dearest, a thousand greeting and kisses, by your d. Karl’,

and finally, in a language style of a modern text message, apart from ‘I l. y. s. m.’ once also

  • ‘L. d. L. I l. y. s. m.’.

1Biography and theology. On the connectedness of theological statements with life on the basis of the correspondence between Karl Barth and Charlotte von Kirschbaum (1925–1935), by Susanne Hennecke

Current Events, God, and The American Way of Life

Americans, in spite of any of their protestations to the contrary, have no interest in God.  So God has left Americans to their own devices. We see the results all around us.

Don’t believe it?  Ponder this:

Trust in the LORD and do what is good; dwell in the land and live securely. Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act, making your righteousness shine like the dawn, your justice like the noonday. Be silent before the LORD and wait expectantly for him; do not be agitated by one who prospers in his way, by the person who carries out evil plans. Refrain from anger and give up your rage; do not be agitated– it can only bring harm. For evildoers will be destroyed, but those who put their hope in the LORD will inherit the land. – (Ps. 37:3-9)

Americans, particularly American Christians, don’t trust in the Lord, they trust their guns and their military.  They don’t take delight in the Lord, they delight in sports.  They don’t commit their way to the Lord, the ignore him in their every plan.  They aren’t silent.  They do not wait for his guidance.  And they don’t refrain from anger.  If attacked, they retaliate, violently.

No, let’s be honest, Americans might talk a good game, but God is as far from their real lives as possible.  ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.’  And that’s why America has become the country it has become.

Why People Seem Bothered

I think that what offends people about Trump’s tax story is the fact that a billionaire is able to pay less taxes than a teacher or a farmer. If that doesn’t bother you, fairness doesn’t matter to you.

Just because something is legal does not mean that it’s moral. Why don’t Trump supporters seem to understand that?

Why Mention Trump?

It’s a fair question. His followers will always be loyal no matter what he does. Literally. There is no evil too low for their applause. And they will not be persuaded by facts.

Why mention Trump? It’s not to persuade his loyalists.

So why do it? Put simply, to retain our own decency. Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. We cannot be silent.

To be sure, again, his followers will always follow. It is the nature of the cult.

We aren’t speaking out for them, but for ourselves and history. Those to come may see that we lost, but they will know that we did not bow the knee to Baal or kiss Nebuchadnezzer’s statue. History will know that women and men of courage stood up to evil.

They will know we stood against the mob and shouted ‘You shall not pass’ to the demon from hell’s deepest pit. And they will respect us for it.

Advice From Our Friend Jerome

jeromeI love Jerome.

The burning lust for women is a passion bordering on insanity. To gratify this sense we languish, grow angry, throw ourselves about with joy, indulge envy, engage in rivalry, are filled with anxiety, and when we have terminated the pleasure with more or less repentance, we once more take fire, and want to do that which we again regret doing.

Assuaging Rhegius’s Doubts

zwingli_ducatZwingli’s book on Original Sin had appeared in August of 1526.  His friend Rhegius read it but had some questions about it and was concerned that persons of less than adequate intellect might find in it hints of Origenism.  On 28 September of the same year he expressed these thoughts to Zwingli.

Zwingli replied in a letter of 16 October, 1526 as follows:

Recte putavisti, excidisse nobis, doctissime Urbane, Origenem in hac fuisse sententia, quem ante omnes olim diligentissime in his saltem, quae hodie circumferuntur, legimus. Sed oblivionis haec arbitror causa fuit, quod cacodęmonibus quiddam promittere videtur, quos in rationem nostram non admittimus. Hi enim per Adamum non corruerunt, igitur neque resurgent per Christum. Verba Marci [Marc. 16. 15f.] synecdochica sunt, ac de iis modo intelliguntur, qui audito euangelio non crediderunt.

Praecessit enim: “Praedicate euangelium”. Qui ergo praedicato euangelio credunt, inter beatos locantur; et contra, qui praedicato euangelio non credunt, diris mancipantur. Neque hoc electioni praeiudicat. Nam et qui ad Christum veniunt, per patrem huc trahuntur: haec est electio; et qui ad patrem veniunt, ab ipso eliguntur. Sic tamen, ut per Christum, salutis pignus, ad se tandem veniant, cum eis fruendum est perpetuis bonis.

Firmam enim esse oportet electionem, etiamsi, qui eliguntur, per unicum Christum adducantur. Eligi enim oportet eos quoque, qui ad Christum veniunt, et electos per eum in gloriam regni ingredi. Ipse enim est via, veritas et vita [Joh. 14. 6]. Sic et iste locus, quod sine fide impossibile sit aliquem deo placere [Hebr. 11. 6], synecdochicôs intelligi debet, de his modo, qui verbum audiunt, ac resiliunt, aut qui audiunt, ac recipiunt.

Qui vero per aetatem non audiunt, his universalibus non continentur. Apud illos enim nulla est praevaricatio, cum nulla sit apud eos lex. Si vero ex Christianis prognati sunt, iam virtute testamenti filii dei sunt; sin ex gentibus, iam nihil decernimus.

He has much more to say but that gives you a sense of his reply.

Quote of the Week

Reminder of Some Forgotten Facts

  • Just because you’re a man doesn’t mean you should get what you want.
  • Just because you’re a woman doesn’t mean you’re telling the truth.
  • Just because you’re Black doesn’t mean you’re a criminal.
  • Just because you’re Hispanic doesn’t mean you’re an illegal immigrant.
  • Just because you’re a Muslim doesn’t mean you’re a terrorist.
  • Just because you’re White doesn’t mean you’re in charge.
  • Just because you’re a child doesn’t mean you’re incompetent.
  • Just because you’re an adult doesn’t mean you have sense.

The General Populace…

Das Publikum ist eine Kuh,
Die grast und grast nur immer zu. –
David Friedrich Strauss

Das lesende Publikum. In: Gesammelte Schriften, Band 12: Poetisches Gedenkbuch. Gedichte aus dem Nachlasse. Hrsg. von Eduard Zeller. Bonn: Strauß, 1877. S. 162