This phrase by Pat Buchanan about American media, in a recent Politico article, perfectly captures #progressives in the church: “they are vessels flying flags of neutrality while carrying contraband.”
ADJUSTING THE BIBLE
In the October 22 edition of The (Nashville) Tennessean, Heidi Hall, former religion editor, published a piece in the “Faith and Values” column of the newspaper that carried the headline, “Nashville publisher’s new release isn’t your mother’s Bible.” On the day the column appeared I made some comments about it on my Facebook page, but want to add to those remarks in this edition of “Hugh’s New & Views.” Continue reading
If the letter had spoken of the need for every heart to judge himself to see whether he permits himself to be bigoted and racist, I would have appreciated it; but the merciless pointing of fingers speaks as much of the accusers as the accused.
In 2006 Davis Guggenheim produced a documentary film of former vice-president Al Gore’s campaign to educate people about global warming (more recently referred to as climate change). The title of the documentary was “An Inconvenient Truth.” Regardless of one’s view about the subject matter of that documentary, it is a fact that the Bible sets forth truth that many find inconvenient and which they wish to evade or “explain away.” Continue reading
We don’t often post editorials over on Brotherhood News. Nor do we often post them on controversial topics, at least, that I recall, nor as lengthy as the one that appears today. So this rare bird might just be worth your while.
The Lord’s church is blessed not to be a company, nor to have a hierarchy where men lord it over others, nor even to have means to settle an issue across the brotherhood, but I play with the idea of naming “culture” as the word of the year, as one dictionary publisher has just done.
The wisdom of God has not lashed us together in such a way that if a few go astray, all sink with them them. What does unite us is the Lord Jesus Christ himself, who is our center and who permeates the whole out to the very edges. So my Forthright Magazine editorial goes, from yesterday.
Our times seem critical, but each age possesses its challenges. I long ago tired of presidential elections touted as being the most important ever, with more at risk than before. Perhaps. Or perhaps it’s a mere election tactic. Let us not fall for our own fearful thoughts that our age is worse and more critical than at any other time in history. Let us meet the progressives and counter as we may their influence, while we rejoice in the faithfulness of God toward his people in this and every age.
Two sad stories, of very different kinds, on Brotherhood News today, one from Tenn., another from Ala.
THE DESCENT OF THE MODERNISTS
Ed Bragwell and I were fellow students at Freed-Hardeman College back in the mid-1950s. Ed has preached the gospel for all or parts of at least seven decades (as have I), and only in fairly recent months has he retired from full-time ministry. He continues to edit a publication, “The Reflector,” and is kind enough to send me a digitized copy of it each month.
Ed is a good writer, and while he and I disagree on a few matters, I appreciate his commitment to the divine inspiration and authority of the Scriptures, the great fundamentals of “the faith once for all delivered to the saints,” and the undenominational church set forth on the pages of the New Testament. Continue reading
Just from the book title and description, it seems the author of this book needs to get over himself and his arrogant ideas, in order to submit to the will of God.
As Churches of Christ leave the isolation that too often has characterized our past and move into fellowship with other Christ-followers, can we really escape the doctrines that have imprisoned us? Is it possible that what we have thought of as our marks of identity are really signs of self idolatry, the tendency to put our beliefs, our ideas, even ourselves on the same level as Jesus?
This short book takes a look at the logic that has trapped us inside our own beliefs and suggests that in order to follow Christ, we need to get over ourselves.
Google, I believe I wrote earlier, is working off an ancient functional idea for its format: the 3×5 card. Simplicity rules. Except in the Lord’s church, where not a few want to complicate by innovation.
¶ Speaking of which, last night in our home reading group, we read all of 1 Corinthians 4, in which Paul apparently makes yet another application of that well known rule among Christians: “Don’t go beyond what is written” v. 6. Continue reading
Progressives have always hung around the church. Keystones of the progressive agenda have been, and continue to be things like: (1) instrumental music in worship; (2) gender neutrality (read: women’s role in the church). Progressives really want one thing: control. And since they don’t have the satisfaction of God’s approval, they desperately crave yours. But they can’t just ask for it, so how do they get it?
Progressivism is sleight-of-hand. Progressives like to harp about things being archaic and outdated. They propose freedom from the shackles of religious tradition. They know the old saying, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” so they break things, and patent the fix. Watch carefully now, or you’ll miss the trick. Here’s how it works:
- Take an authorized biblical practice (a capella music in worship)
- Redefine it (label it “archaic tradition”)
- Design, package and sell a “better” product (instrumental worship)
- Put the icing on the cake: dub this “scholarship” (of course, anyone who disagrees is a dunce, and outdated.
This little trick will work on any doctrine or practice a person no longer endorses.
It’s not as if we weren’t warned:
“These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud- mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage. But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, ‘In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.’ It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit” (Jude vv.16-19; cf. Php. 3:18-19)
—Rick Kelley, Prestonsburg KY church bulletin
“Progressives Christians love to talk about grace except when they have to extend it to someone who has offended their political reality.” [Maria Dixon].
Sadly, that is true. People on both ends of the political spectrum have their politics tied too closely to their Christianity. BTW, this quote comes from a thoughtful essay by a Southern Black woman on the Paula Deen situation.
“Appeasement does not protect one from danger; instead, it fortifies the danger itself.” —Jose Maria Aznar
When will some elders learn this truth?
A modest contribution to the audio department is a sermon I preached Mar. 10 on evangelism. My text was Ep 4.6, a verse which has neither the word evangelism nor the term gospel in it. The last of the seven ones. So how did I manage that? You’ll have to listen to figure it out. Is only 24 minutes. Or will I have to compete with Duck Dynasty for your time?
• Speaking of audio, I have a head cold, or something, that has sent my voice range into the lowest possible range of human hearing. Lower than my son The Middleman’s envious bass. Volume I don’t have, but James Earl Jones has nothing on me. Last night, I decided not to cancel our home Bible reading, and “bravely” muddle through the hour. (Was that a slight in disguise?) One participant told me she liked my new voice. But in a day or two, it’ll be back to its normal tenor.
• What baffles one rings another’s bell. I think Twitter’s cool (seven years old today, this service), others still say they’ve not figured it out. What baffles me is LinkedIn.com. I’m on it, but question whether it has any useful purpose. Must have, considering how many use it. I’ll chalk it up to my obtuseness.
• Earlier in the day I watched the live broadcast of Jonathan Last speaking on the decline of the birth rate, on the Heritage Foundation site. Quite interesting. Wondering what implications it might have for the church and its mission. There are going to be fewer people around, says Mr. Last. There will be fewer in the church too unless we’re bringing more in. (Wouldn’t his surname be a great one for a disciple?)
• A recent lesson: I’d like to think that the faithful people of God show solidarity to their own, without coverups of sin. No straggler left behind. No brother or sister left to fend for themselves, or defend themselves without support. I’ve seen the good side of it, and hope and pray it’s a general trait of ours. I try to remember to do that, but I sometimes feel it’s from a distance, and feeble.
• A brother asked me how the favorite-verse project was going. It has stopped, basically. I invited, instructed, helped a number get registered and going, but I don’t have time nor inclination to cajole, wheedle, or pamper. What’s there, written by some Very Good Guys, is very good. Just a shame everyone hasn’t done their piece.
• A lesson about why politics is not for Christians: Ohio Sen. Rob Portman comes out in support of same-sex marriage after his son revealed he’s homosexual. Preibus, RNC chair, supports Portman. Not a few voices recommend change of the Republican Party to push same-sex marriage. The few times I’ve ever considered joining the Republicans, they do something stupid and immoral and remind me why it’s better to stay away.
• I want to like the ESV, but renderings like this make me wary: “I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress” (Psa 17.3c). That’s awkward. And very close to the KJV, more so than the RSV from which the version was tweaked. Much better is the NET: “I am determined I will say nothing sinful.” Continue reading
by Johnny O. Trail
A sermon provided from an online church source seeks to expand the role of women in the worship assembly. It is incredible to consider the lengths that some are willing to go to legitimize unscriptural practices. The error contained in this series regarding the role of women in worship is legion in nature and space would not allow an adequate refutation of doctrines espoused by the one proclaiming the message. One or two comments deserve some attention.
In arguing for expanding the role of women, the speaker says, “Jesus saves and not our doctrine.” In another place, the same speaker says that we are “safe in Jesus not in law keeping.” The implication of these statements seems clear—doctrine regarding practice and observance of worship is not important. Students of God’s word beg to differ. Continue reading
by J. Randal Matheny © 2012
We are tired of the hymns, with the limits we’re bored,
So let’s dance in the aisles, as we sup with the Lord,
We will tear up the carpet and throw out the old,
In this city where everything’s big, we are bold.
The young women are swooning, the men good to swing,
Play a tune with a beat, we refuse just to sing.
You’ve not seen it all yet, we’re not done as we change,
We reject what’s familiar, and import the strange.
Swing the doors for the crowds, tweak the church to the max,
In with gospels and grace, down with crosses and Acts.
We’re all brothers in Christ, matters not what your group,
What’s important is staying in a bigger world’s loop.
We’re progressives for Jesus, nothing heavy — we’re hip,
As we travel to heaven, on one big, happy ship.
We’ll be bigger fish swimming in bigger fish ponds,
So we dive for the new, as we cut the old bonds.
We got love overflowing, with sinners we’re cool,
But no patience with fogies—out with rules is the rule!