Category: church

Wood, Hay, Stubble, and Fire.

Who is the guy behind “Tips for Jesus”? Also, Faith Driven consumers reject Noah, Nuns in prison, Scientists read their Bibles, and being Saved as though through fire.


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Show Notes:

1. The mystery diner who’s been leaving large tips in the name of Jesus is rumored to be former PayPal Vice-President Jack Selby. According to San Francisco Chronicle, the tipper has left some $130,000 in gratuities in more than a dozen cities in the United States and Mexico during the last six months.

2. Faith Consumers’ Don’t Want Biblical Movies Not Based on Bible”. According to a report in the Christian Post, a new survey of “faith-driven consumers” finds that 98 percent would not be “satisfied with a biblically themed movie – designed to appeal to you – which replaces the Bible’s core message with one created by Hollywood.” This news is said to be bad news for Paramount Pictures, which is set to release the Movie “Noah”, starring Jennifer Connelly and Russell Crowe on March 28th. The project has been scrutinized by Christians for over two years ever since an early draft of the screenplay was leaked online. Heads at Paramount are said to be in full Damage Control mode, since the movie has cost over 125 million dollars to produce.

3. Pastor Jamie Coots, snake handler and co-star of the popular reality television show “Snake Salvation” died Febuary 18th after being bitten by a snake during a Saturday night church service. He was 42. The pastor of the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name in Middlesboro, Ky was bitten at the church and had passed out, but when emergency workers arrived his family is said to have refused medical care. Pastor Coots, along with long time friend and John Wayne “Punkin” Brown, first came to national fame after being profiled in the book “Salvation on Sand Mountain”.

4. An 84 year old nun who broke into a Nuclear facility in July of 2012 has been sentenced to 3 years in prison. Sister Megan Rice and two others were convicted last may of breaking into the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge and could have received up to 20 years a piece for the crime. “Please have no leniency on me,” Rice told the federal Judge in the case, “To remain in prison for the rest of my life would be the greatest honor you could give me.”  

5. Four South Korean Christians on a Pilgrimage to the Holy Land were killed in a suicide bombing. 14 others were injured. According to a report on thespec.com, the group from a Presbyterian Church south of Seoul, were touring biblical sites in commemoration of the church’s 60th anniversary when a bomber pushed through into the bus and detonated explosives, killing the driver and three others. The group was to have visited Egypt, Israel, and Turkey over a 12 day period.  

6. North Korea has arrested another Christian Missionary. The New York Times reports that Australian John Short, 75, was arrested in PyongYang on Sunday the 18th after he entered the country from China with religious materials that had been translated into Korean. The arrest of Mr. Short comes a little more than a year since Kenneth Bae was arrested under similar circumstances. He was sentenced to 15 years hard labor for “hostile acts” against the nation. This was Short’s second trip to North Korea

7. Pastors in central Kenya marched on the governors office of Nyeri county to protest a Finance Bill that would charge preachers for speaking outside of their churches. Christianity today reports that hundreds of pastors representing 1200 churches in the county attempted to contront governor Nderitu Gachagua because of provision in the bill that would have charged pastors 10,000 Kenyan shillings ($117) per day to preach in a stadium, 8000 KES ($93) outside a stadium and 5000 KES ($58) in rural areas. Nyeri county is not the first to consider such measures. A proposed law in Nairobi County would charge churches up to 50,000 KES (580) per day for use of public parks in Kenya’s Capital. 

8. 2 Million U.S. Scientists Identify As Evangelical!! According to an article in Christianity today, Sociologist Elaine Howard Ecklund reported that a study of Scientists found that 17 percent identified as evangelicals. Ecklund authored the book ‘Science vs. Religion: What Scientists Really Believe’ in 2010 said that the both her book and this new study by a pervasive assumption that science if the enemy of religion. Interesting factoids from the study include that evangelical scientists are more likely to attend church and read religious texts, in other words… Read their Bibles. 

9. And in a follow up story from last week, Pastor turned Atheist Justin Vollmar has been described by his former church as a “vengeful, pathological liar” for statements Vollmar made in a CNN article this past Monday. Christian Post reports that Terry Michael (boo kholes)Buchholz, senior pastor of the Hampshire View Baptist Deaf Church in Silver Springs, Md., can prove that Vollmer’s claims that he was made to work 60 hours per week for “little pay” while the senior pastor was paid $80,000 per year, are untrue. Vollmer also said that the way he was treated at the church is what began his fall into unbelief. He said in the article, “”I resigned my position and was shunned by the church. My faith in God was severely shaken. I started to have doubts about the Bible’s claims. I questioned whether God’s love, which is supposed to reside inside Christians, was real.”  
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Confusion about abuse.

Over Christmas I was listening to an edition of The White Horse Inn titled Sexual Abuse and the Gospel of Grace.  I have to say that I agree with Mike Horton and authors Justin and Lindsey Holcomb the Gospel of the Grace and Mercy of God in Jesus has a lot to say to sexual assault victims.  I’m glad the tackled this subject, in fact, because this has been on my mind a lot lately. 

But I’ve noticed also that where Lutherans and the Reformed are often pretty good at announcing the grace of God to people, when it comes to application they usually fall down.  You see, we in this post modern age, have a habit to try and distill everything down to slogans and formulas while convincing ourselves that doing so is the right way to go about learning and application.  We tend to latch onto great statements like “grace through faith because of Christ” and learn those statements as if they are the application.  But of course, if you do that, you can very quickly turn a gospel statement into a law or principle statement meant to followed rather than believed.  This is a bad thing and the result of our having intensely short attention spans.

So getting back to this podcast.  Everything went well until the last question was asked by Mike Horton, where he said, “of course grace for the victim, but also grace for the victimizer”.  On it’s face, I can agree with this statement, after all, who among us is without sin and doesn’t want mercy for the sins we ourselves have committed?  All well and good so far.

It all began to go wrong when Mike Horton used a hypothetical example of a situation where a pastor or elders would say, “This situation is under the blood of Christ, so it never happened.  Therefore you need to go back to your husband who is abusing you.  The Lord has changed his heart.  He really understands the Gospel now.  And sometimes in cases of raping children, grace is enough.  You don’t need to turn that person in, you don’t need to call the police”.

Justin, in response, did a pretty good job of talking about how both the victim of abuse who is a believer and the victimizer who is a believer can easily forget the gospel and what a joy it brings to both parties.   But he went on to talk about a hypothetical situation (at least I hope it was hypothetical and not a breach of the confessional) about a husband and wife where the wife has been suffering abuse at the hands of her husband, comes to talk about it with someone in the church but doesn’t want to file a police report and turn the guy in.  He went on to say that after talking to the husband and saying “if you really get the gospel, you’ll turn yourself in.  Let’s call the police”.  They go to the police and tell what happened and when they ask the wife if she wants to file charges, the wife says “no”.

That sounds like a nice story, but it only sounds that way because people don’t understand the mindset of a person who has been traumatized in a relationship.  Often, the victim blames themselves and when pressed they wont report or file charges against the person who abused them.  In fact, if cornered, they’ll often deny anything is going on at all and recant the story. When Justin recounted that the wife first didn’t want to file a report, and then even afterwards still refused to press charges, shivers went down my spine.  The husband may have gotten the gospel, but the wife is still in trouble. 

What’s worse, Justin seems to think this was a good outcome when it is not.  What they did for the wife was likely provide a way in which she could sweep the whole thing out of her mind and forget what happened.  They now have them go to separate churches, which is nice, but what about the rest of the time?  Is she still living with this guy?  Is she now, having gone down this route of denying what happened, now also living in denial that anything is wrong at all? 

Don’t get me wrong, I like WHI a lot.  But this way of handling abuse situation is more of the same attitude that we’ve been seeing in churches for quite a while now.  Wives don’t want to turn their abusive husbands in for a variety of reasons.  They often blame themselves for the abuse, as do rape victims.  Children who are sexually and physically abused by a parent often blame themselves as well and try to curry favor with the abusive parent.  They don’t know any other way of getting themselves out of the situation.  And what’s more, the church often sends all of them back to the abuser instead of doing what’s right. 

Yes, a repentant victimizer needs to hear the gospel as much as the victim.  However, we need to be more careful not forget how tough it really is for a victim to come forward.  I applaud the WHI and Justin and Lindsey Holcomb for being brave enough to talk about this subject.  I really do.  But we all need to realize that the broken nature of someone who is a victim of any domestic abuse is a truly profound brokenness that needs deep care from us. 

The Kingdom of God Gospel

He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!

The most common way of evangelizing these days is to ask this question of people: If you were to die tonight, where would spend eternity. In this show we submit to you that this is categorically the wrong method of persuasion. In fact, I personally think that the approach of asking “where will you spend eternity” does nothing but appeal to our narcisim. But this is exactly the problem. We’ve been trained by the world to think of things in terms of how it benefits us, how it impacts our lives, so much so that any other way of thinking is deemed as backwards and irrelevant. But how do you begin to offer a corrective to this viewpoint? How about proclaiming “the kingdom” like Jesus did?


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