Christ emphasizes again and again in the Gospels that nothing serves as a better barometer of our love for His Kingdom than our attachment to the things of this world, especially our attitude toward money.
Here's a cool story of a young man who is living as Christ commands, giving away without looking to receive, out of love of Christ.
Adam Bruckner is assistant coach of the Philadelphia Kixx professional soccer team. He helps the homeless of Philadelphia. In December alone he gave $2,000 away to the homeless. May God raise up more like him, and may God keep him faithful.
Normally I erase such E-mails, but seeing they continue to be sent out around the world, I've decided to post this one as a warning to those of us who are malcontents and gullible enough to think that the answer to our love of mammon has arrived--from Kuwait, no less!
This is a scam so don't even think about responding. Instead, think about what it is in us that causes us to desire the quick buck.
An essay I was reading this morning by Dr. Wayne Martindale, professor of English at Wheaton College and elder at College Church in Wheaton, might be helpful addressing our sin in this area. Originally published in Touchstone under the title, "Samuel Johnson on the Runaway Imagination," the piece opens up Johnson's wisdom concerning our susceptibility to our imagination "conjuring more pleasure than life can deliver."
Johnson shows the cyclical and addictive nature of bondage to the imagination, writing "(W)e desire, we pursue, we obtain, we are satiated; we desire something else, and begin a new pursuit."
The solution? Near the end of his essay, Dr. Martindale excerpts this section of Johnson's poem "Vanity of Human Wishes:"
Still raise for good the supplicating voice,
But leave to heav'n the measure and the choice,
Safe in his pow'r . . . in his decisions rest,
Secure whate'er he gives, he gives the best. . . .
Pour forth thy fervours for a healthful mind,
Obedient passions, and a will resign'd;
For love, which scarce collective man can fill;
For patience sov'reign o'er transmuted ill;
For faith, that panting for a happier seat,
Counts death kind Nature's signal of retreat;
These goods for man the laws of heav'n ordain,
These goods he grants, who grants the pow'r to gain;
With these celestial wisdom calms the mind,
And makes the happiness she does not find.
If you're interested in reading the full essay, send me a note and I'll pass your request on to Dr. Martindale.
Now for the E-mail itself, reproduced exactly as I received it with only the names of the guilty changed:
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)
Dad Taylor had a disconcertingly dismissive attitude towards cars. They were vehicles for transport--only.
My Dad, on other other hand, approached them with a slight touch of the romanticism typical of American culture. This meant that when Bayly cars approached 100,000 miles, we could expect a new car in the driveway, soon. Nothing snazzy, yet Dad took delight in each of them. Most memorable for me was the 1967 VW Bug Dad bought new that went from him to my older sister, Deborah; then finally to me. When he brought it home from the dealer, Dad was proud of that car. I don't think he ever said it was cute but that was the feeling you got as you watched the proprietary sparkle in his eyes. It was red and had a sun roof.
But Dad Taylor had a completely utilitarian philosophy of transportation. The way he figured it, a car was a deal if you put $1,000 or less into it each year. So budget the $1,000 and you're done with the business. This meant that a car with 150,000 miles on it that took less than $1,000 a year to keep running was a bargain no matter what it looked like. Until the last year or two, Dad drove a very old--what, Buick or Chevy?--that looked like it had sat in the desert for ten years and then been resurrected.
And Mom? She drove Honda Civics for the last fifteen years or so, and when the first one was passed down to a grandson it was no plum of a gift. It had been well used and still is--my son, Joseph, now drives it and you see the picture of it above. Granted, it didn't look quite that bad when Mom first gave it to Chris, but it was well on its way.
Mom and Dad never gave in to materialistic idolatry, not even in the cars they drove. Thoughts of a car suited to their station in life never entered their brains, so far as I know. Back in the eighties, one of Dad's executives bought a Mercedes and parked it in the Tyndale House parking lot each day, often quite near Dad's latest jalopy. It might be that ten years of seeing that Mercedes gave Dad an idea he'd like one too. So in the late eighties or early nineties Dad went out and bought a brand spanking new Mercedes Benz. The next day he returned the car to the dealer and nothing more was ever said about it (other than something about it not having enough acceleration).
No wonder, then, that Dad and Mom supported so much of the Lord's work around the world. Completely unpretentious yet never miserly, they were extravagant only in giving to the Lord and they disciplined whatever desires they had. Dad returned the Mercedes Benz.
So far as I know it was the only new car he ever owned.
by David and Tim Bayly on December 12, 2006 - 11:24am
How shall we fashion to us friends from mammon, if we love it so much as not to put up with its loss? We shall perish together with the lost mammon. ...To exhibit impatience at all losses is the Gentiles' business, who give money the precedence perhaps over their soul... But (Christians), according to the diversity by which we are distinguished from (Gentiles), it becomes to lay down not our soul for money, but money for our soul, whether spontaneously in bestowing or patiently in losing.
-Early church father, Tertullian
For years, Arthur C. Brooks made his living playing the horn (yes, French). His most prestigious gig was with the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra. Now he's a scholar, currently serving as Professor of Public Administration at Syracuse University.
Brooks just released a blockbuster book that torches a liberal conceit that conservatives oppose tax increases and government programs because they're Scrooges. This smear has been around for ages, but it's just that--a smear. The truth is religious conservatives are hugely more generous than non-religious secularists, in every way. They donate more of their time, more of their money, and even more of their blood. Brooks puts it this way...
by David and Tim Bayly on October 7, 2008 - 11:55am
(Tim) What's the connection between denominations, denominationally-affiliated Christian liberal arts colleges, a denomination's church planting demographics, and Mammon?
When Mary Lee and I were first married, we joined a church newly
planted by the Reformed Church in America (RCA) in Madison, Wisconsin. Soon after arriving there, I
saw a denominational flier thumb tacked to the church bulletin board
that explained the denomination's church planting demographic vision. It said
something like, "We have done studies of our denomination's
constituency and find that RCA church plants do best in upper middle
class, highly educated neighborhoods and communities."
Our small congregation of 75 or so was filled with souls who fit the RCA church-planting mold much better than Mary Lee and I. Three who stand out were Del Smith, Senior Telecommunications Counsel at Jones Day; the philosopher Keith Yandell; and the historian of science, David Lindberg. Of course, our church building was on Madison's far west side and included several who lived in Shorewood Hills.
Do you ever find yourself wondering if what Jesus said is still true today--that those who would follow Him must deny ourselves and take up our crosses?
by David and Tim Bayly on October 21, 2008 - 4:15pm
For we are not like many, peddling the word of God... (2 Corinthians 2:17a) (Tim, w/thanks to Jeff) You couldn't make this stuff up, could you? One company's peddling an "Illuminated" Bible that "looks more like a gossip rag you'd find in a dentist's office than a
Bible... (and) features intense pictures of violence and death
around the world along with the people who are working to find
solutions for many of today's problems."
Intense pictures of violence and death? Maybe it has color images of aborted children's body parts next to a photo of Judie Brown, Joe Schiedler, or Justices Thomas, Scalia, or Roberts?
Not missing a beat, Zondervan's released a Green Bible that "highlights more than 1,000 verses about the earth in
soy-based green ink" and contains "essays by religious leaders and other resources on
eco-justice." The Green Bible's editor, Michael Maudlin, reports that environmental concerns are "a big part of the Christian agenda
today, especially among the youth."
Also, this: "Matthew Sleeth, a doctor who's been pushing fellow evangelicals to go
green in recent years, writes in his introduction to the Green Bible
that the biggest problem in the world is that the planet is dying."
Over seventy million babies slaughtered each year by medical ghouls and the mothers and fathers who paid them, but bad doctor Sleeth breathlessly reports the imminent death of the planet itself. Or maybe I should say, "the planet herself."
by David and Tim Bayly on January 31, 2009 - 8:05am
(Tim) Many believers gamble, some in the stock market, others playing bingo or the lottery, and still others in casinos. So posting this from David Wegener, our Africa correspondent, is no exercise in a well-worn public policy debate, but rather a pastoral warning to me, you, and every believer. Thank you, David, for passing this on.
* * *
We got some new books for the Theological College of Central Africa library, recently. Now they are being processed to go into the collection and I was reading one of them this morning. The book is, John H. Leith, 2001, Pilgrimage of a Presbyterian: Collected Shorter Writings, ed Charles E. Raynal, Louisville: Geneva Press. On pages 208-13, there's a short article he wrote in 1956 titled, "Gambling--What's Wrong with It?." Here's a summary:
1. "Gambling encourages the belief that a man can enjoy the advantages of a prosperous society without making a significant contribution to that society."
2. "Gambling arouses false hopes and gives little in return."
3. "Gambling is parasitic by nature. It creates no new wealth and performs no useful service. At best, it merely redistributes wealth from ... the many ... to the few."
4. Gambling is an attempt "to escape responsible work..."
But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the market place before the authorities... (Acts 16:19)
(Tim, w/thanks to Lucas) A Greek Bible web site used by lovers of God's Word around the world has been shut down by the German/United Bible Society. Why?
Because they are intent upon defending the stream of money they've lived off for many years, now, provided by the Greek text of God's Word they've assembled. They claim their text is the closest anyone can possibly get to the original autographs inspired by the Holy Spirit.
So think about this. The better they do their job, the closer they will be to claiming copyright for the very word of God. In an e-mail, my son-in-law, Lucas, put it this way:
I was trying to figure out what, exactly, the UBS was copyrighting when they produce their version of the Greek New Testament. My only guess is that when they produce a Greek New Testament, they are copyrighting their specific choice of words. In other words, their copyright is not so much on the words themselves, but on the precise sequence of Greek words in their version of the Greek New Testament.
Their ultimate goal, of course, is to produce a Greek New Testament that is *exactly* the same as the original. But here's the crazy part: If they succeed in their goal, they will have succeeded in copyrighting the *actual* text of the Greek New Testament--not a translation, but the real thing.
Is that not crazy? If I'm right, then you can state it another way: the goal of the UBS is to copyright the *original* text of Scripture.
(Tim) President Obama's charitable contributions prior to being elected to public office a couple years ago were less than one percent. Less than one percent, folks!
And now, occupying the White House with a recent household income in the millions, his giving is lower than other presidents who have preceded him. (Probably with this public embarrassment, his giving will go up in future years.)
Turning to Vice President and Mrs. Joseph Biden...
(Tim) In the middle of a list of ten ways to save money during these difficult times, Money magazine recommends, "Turn off the TV." Here's their rationale:
Television viewership is up in this down economy, which isn't all that
surprising. TV is, after all, a cheap form of escapism. But before you
tune in to tune out the realities of recession, remember that
prime-time TV is full of pretty people and even prettier things. All
this glamour affects how you think about your position in the world.
to Boston College sociologist Juliet Schor, "Television viewing results
in an upscaling of desire. And that in turn leads people to buy." Her
study found that every additional hour of TV viewing per week boosts
spending by roughly $200 a year. So a handful of sitcoms and a reality
series or two can cost you more than a grand a year...
(Tim) My good brother, Bob Patterson, recently did a piece for National Review Online (NRO) that I commend to our readers. In an e-mail to friends, Bob summed up the argument he makes this way:
The decline in marriage and fertility rates among the Baby Boom generation stands at the heart of what presently ails the American economy. After noting the demographic concerns of former Fortune columnist David Goldman, I suggest that national GOP leaders can no longer ignore the interplay between social and economic issues if they want the party to make a comeback in 2010 or 2012.
Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus. (Acts 4:13)
(Tim) Ministering in a university community clarifies the real faith of Christians. If the altar we place our money and children on indicates anything, our help is in education, degrees, and the Academy--not the Name of the Lord.
The Holy Spirit says, "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be, also."
Before she walks across the platform, we (along with taxpayers and rich donors) will have spent enough on our daughter's college degree to go a long way toward buying her a nice starter home. Unite two of our children in holy matrimony and the total spent on both of them for their undergrad and graduate degrees quite often exceeds $100,000. One couple from our church had a combined total of $450,000 in undergrad and graduate loans (admittedly, the highest I've come across), and another couple my wife and I were talking with this past week had $160,000 (quite normal).
Soon after entering the ministry, I was listening to one of those endless discussions concerning denominational identity we've all sat through, and I remember hearing a mainline PC(USA) leader adamantly state that the reason for the existence of Presbyterianism was...
by David and Tim Bayly on September 9, 2009 - 9:06am
(Tim) Before everyone forgets about it, here are a couple thoughts about the announcement by Zondervan and Biblica that they're scrapping their TNIV product.
I've spent my life inside the world of Christian publishing, particularly the Bible publishing world. And the thing everyone must understand is that it's an exceedingly rare Bible translator or publisher who is unaware of the money that can be made or lost on Bible sales. And usually made--not lost. We're talking hundreds of millions of dollars per year, and the necessity of keeping an eye on the mammon is as applicable to men like Don Carson who have been paid to translate gender-neutered Bibles as it is to the women like Moe Girkins who have been paid to head up gender-neutered Bible publishing corporations like Zondervan.
So, for instance, we all know Zondervan has canned their TNIV product because its sales have been pitiful. Looking more deeply into the matter, we find...
by David and Tim Bayly on September 24, 2009 - 8:29am
(Tim) If you're looking for excellent furnishings for your sanctuary or
classrooms and you want to get them at rock-bottom prices, here's a
bought our chairs from Save Your Church Money, a business started by
Pastor George Kreger who serves New Hope Community Church in Bryan,
Ohio. George and my brother, David, are longtime friends and David
suggested we get in touch with George.
And now, a couple years later, we are as
pleased as we can be with our chairs. They're very comfortable. But as
an old church custodian, I'm most impressed by how well they stack and
what a small space they fit into...
by David and Tim Bayly on January 14, 2010 - 5:21am
(Tim, w/thanks to David D.) Let us pray for Haiti, and give. Here's a prayer circulated within our presbytery. I don't know its origin.
We are able to see a small glimpse of the devastation and human tragedy that has been visited upon this desperately poor nation of Haiti. The anguish on the faces of mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and neighbors speaks volumes. O Lord, you alone know how many lie dead in the streets and under the rubble...
(Tim, w/thanks to Luther) It's cute, but the thing I noticed was the cost of the facilities the video incidentally documents. So I looked it up and the parents of those Dutch students at the preeminent Reformed college in our nation, Calvin College, will pay $33,395 for tuition, room, and board in 2010/2011--up 21% from Calvin's $27,510 cost during the 2006/2007 academic year.
Reformed men will spare no expense getting the educational credentials for their children that are at the heart of our religious faith. Back in the mainline PC(USA), I once heard a pastor...
(The PCA needs to) provide safe places to talk about new ideas to advance the PCA’s faithfulness to biblical belief... (The PCA needs) more seats at the table; especially younger generation, women, ethnic leaders, global church representatives... e.g. advisory voice on committees, (S)essions, Boards, speaking at gatherings, consulted by presbyteries; employed in non-ordained ministries.
-Strategic Plan for the PCA
(Tim) I've been sent a number of links to discussions of the Strategic Plan for the PCA and I think it's time we do what is necessary to provide for the work of the Stated Clerk and the Office of the General Assembly in a way that relieves them of the indignity of begging for our support. The men and women who serve in these areas are essential to our well-being as a denomination and, in my experience, carry out their duties faithfully and with real wisdom. If it requires a change in the amount or method of payment to attend General Assembly to fund these works faithfully, let's do it.
However, there's no need for all the philosophical and sociological and political and metaphysical and ontological accretions and gnashing of teeth being tacked on as riders to the bill. Fund the OGA well and stop at that. All the rest of what's known as the Strategic Plan is simply jeopardizing this one thing we should all agree is necessary...
the center of her post were three questions she recommended to her
readers in connection with the decision whether or not to go to college:
What is the purpose? What is this education preparing me for?
What are my motives? Am I pursuing education for the sake of
education itself, a profession, money, status, the glory of God?
How much will it cost? Is it a wise investment of time, money, and
energy? If God leads me in a different direction two years down the
road, will the debt incurred prevent me from obeying God’s call?
Pretty calm, huh? It's hard to imagine these questions eliciting
screeches and howls--from women who claim the Name of Christ no less.
But elicit they did. May I say how much I admire the women of our
congregation? If you read the comments under Michal's post, you'll
better understand why. For one thing, what grace under fire!
So what about ye olde college education?
I've read all the screeches and howls, and this is by far my favorite...
by David and Tim Bayly on November 3, 2010 - 8:00am
(Tim) Speaking of the goose that lay the golden egg, each year Zondervan pays Biblica royalties of around $6,000,000. It's out of these royalties, I suspect, Doug Moo and his colleagues on the Committee for Bible Translation are paid.
And keep in mind these royalties are not Zondervan's profit.
by David and Tim Bayly on November 4, 2010 - 7:59am
(Tim) In an earlier post on the marketing of the just-issued New International Version 2010, I made a point of specifying the profit Biblica makes off Bible royalties paid by Zondervan each year, and that it's likely Doug Moo and his colleagues on the Committee on Bible Translation are paid for their work from this profit. To which one reader responded: "The problem isn't that Bible translation committees get paid."
To which I respond:
My point wasn't that paying scholars is wrong, but that every product that's a matter of life and death or supported by tithes and offerings or tied to peddling the Word of God should be subject to full disclosure. So, for instance, if Don Carson writes a book speaking ex cathedra...
by David and Tim Bayly on January 10, 2011 - 1:24pm
(Tim, w/thanks to Michael for finding the text) Yesterday, our sermon text was 1Corinthians 4:7-16. Here the Apostle Paul rebukes the Corinthian super-apostles for bragging about their gifts and using them to diss Paul: "For who regards you as superior? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?"
During the sermon, I mentioned this closing section of Edwards'' sermon, "Christian Charity: The Duty of Charity to the Poor Explained and Enforced," in which Edwards answers common objections to sharing our gifts with others. Note particularly Objection IX and Edwards' answer. Since first reading it thirty or so years ago, I've never forgotten it.
Incidentally, note Edwards doesn't answer Objection I from an unregenerate man by exhorting that man simply to meditate on, and trust God's grace. Rather, he exhorts him to keep God's Law, trusting that Law to serve the man as his schoolmaster to Christ. This is the opposite of our pastoral method and preaching today in Reformed churches (at least)...
by David and Tim Bayly on January 21, 2011 - 1:23pm
(Tim, w/thanks to Kamilla) Remembering that our Dad, Joe Bayly, was director of Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship's staff on the Eastern seaboard, publisher at Inter-Varsity Press, that both he and my father-in-law, Ken Taylor, served as editor of I-V's national magazine His, and that for decades Dad served on I-V's board, our readers will understand it's sad for us to admit Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship and Inter-Varsity Press would both do well to stop collecting money from church's missions budgets and Christian book distributors, and we all would do well to stop giving them money. The attacks upon the Word of God coming from their employees, conferences, and publications far outweigh any good this or that staff worker, speaker, or book may still be doing. Each of them are only the exception that proves the rule.
For instance, here's what IVP says about one of their newest products titled The End of Sexual Identity: Why Sex Is Too Important to Define Who We Are:
Concepts like "gay" or "straight" are relatively recent developments in human history. We let ourselves be defined by socially constructed notions of sexual identity and sexual orientation, even though these are not distinctly biblical or Christian ways of thinking about sex.
Anthropologist Jenell Williams Paris offers a Christian framework for sexuality that accounts for complex postmodern realities...
"Across my lifetime I've been voting for men who claimed to be anti-abortion but after taking office did nothing to oppose the slaughter. I'm tired of it. I don't want to be lied to any more. Daniels isn't lying to me."
(Tim) Readers will remember my basic rule about voting: I won't vote for a county dog-catcher who isn't pro-life.
That said, if I were to make an exception, it might be for our Governor Mitch Daniels. A few months ago I got a call from an Iowa man long involved in Iowa politics asking my thoughts on Daniels for president? A couple friends work in the Daniels administration and since that conversation I've been thinking about a potential Daniels candidacy quite a lot. Here's a piece from the Wall Street Journal that has it about right...
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels believes he faces a taller challenge as he ponders a White House run: Could voters warm to his message that the country is doomed unless it slashes its debt and radically revamps the popular Social Security and Medicare programs?
In any other year, a campaign platform that gloomy would render a politician toxic. Today, with concerns over the nation's fiscal health on the rise, the Indiana Republican's wonkish bravado is making some think he is a good fit for the moment.
If the time is indeed right for Mr. Daniels's get-tough message, the angry budget standoffs in states such as Wisconsin, Ohio and New Jersey are also shining a new light on his credentials as a messenger. Mr. Daniels rescinded collective-bargaining rights for state employees six years ago—long before Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker caused a firestorm by putting the same issue on the table.
Mr. Daniels also cut spending, trimmed the state work force to its smallest in decades, and turned a yawning deficit into a surplus, with only scattered outbursts of popular anger along the way.
He has emerged from all this with high marks from voters, and a profile that sets him apart from the other Republicans mulling a possible 2012 run. An array of conservatives, including former Vice President Dick Cheney and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, would like to see him enter the 2012 race.
He's the only potential candidate "who sees the stark perils and will offer real detailed proposals," Mr. Bush said last week in praising Mr. Daniels before a Florida business group. Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey on Thursday heaped almost identical praise on his Indiana counterpart.
So would I vote for Governor Daniels if he ran?
Daniels' commitments concerning what he calls "the social issues" are clear and firm...
by David and Tim Bayly on March 21, 2011 - 10:06am
(Tim) Pastor Doug Wilson wrote comparing the limitations on risk that missionaries are provided through our present missions support system maximizing the number of supporting churches and individuals to that same limitation of risk provided investors through diversified mutual funds. Doug wisely points out that this system leads to diffusion of responsibility, and that's bad for both missions and their sending churches. I'd add it may also be intentional.
Anyhow, I commented under Doug's post and sent the link on to several friends who are missionaries. In response, I received the following comments from a brother who's a thirty-year missionary to an Eastern African country where he's focused on training church officers. My friend's Dad also gave his life to planting churches in that same country, so there's a lot of missions experience behind his response.
My brother, David, and I have often talked about the tragic condition of missions, today. It would take a book, but as one instance, Operation Mobilization has turned its back on the Word of God, intentionally promoting the leadership of women over men. And this promotion of feminism is rife within Evangelical missions agencies. Sadly, the PCA's Mission to the World is moving in this direction, also. It's more obvious in the European fields, but like all viruses, it will spread.
This betrayal of God's Order of Creation by missions is simply one indication of the rejection of Biblical doctrine that is pervasive within the American church, herself, and therefore exported around the world through our American missionaries. We're not talking about nitpickey details, either. It's central doctrines of Scripture like whether churches even matter at all, whether Jesus is the Only Way, whether the Sacraments are too divisive to be administered, and so on. These commitments are being jettisoned after 2,000 years of universal affirmation by the Church.
But getting at these issues is almost impossible given the view held by most believers that missionaries have piety and have made sacrifices that pastors and elders haven't, and therefore are above questions or review, let alone admonition or accountability.
Not only are many, many missionaries bad, doctrinally, but they're also overwhelmingly committed...
(Tim) On the floor of Ohio Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church of America, my brother, David, moved that the presbytery overture General Assembly to cut off the gravy train for the denomination's tiny circulation magazine, bYfAITH. The motion which easily passed calls for bYfAITH to be moved toward being self-supporting with all denominational funding to be cut off in 2012. bYfAITHresponded this week with a piece leading one reader to comment: "The article is an excellent example of 'advocacy journalism,' albeit quite subtle, ecclesiastical-style."
Brother David made the motion because the denomination's administrators at the PCA's Atlanta headquarters have been pouring money into this failing venture year after year, all the while complaining that churches have not been faithful in funding their work. Turns out their shortfall each year has been about fifteen per cent of their budget, precisely the amount they have chosen to sink into a tepid, house organ that speaks only for the denomination's power brokers and the hip children they've spawned.
bYfAITH quoted David saying he didn't seek the end of support for bYfAITH because of dislike for bYfAITH. The motion had been written by others and was being taken before Central Indiana Presbtery. David was sent a copy of it, thought it had merit and when another church in Ohio Presbytery called for a study committee to address all AC publications and spending, David suggested the Indiana overture as a better alternative. It seemed like a good way to solve the chronic shortage of financial support the PCA's denominational apparatus suffers. Ohio Presbytery agreed and sent it on to General Assembly where the commissioners will watch as the Bills and Overtures Committee is lobbied by the good-old-boys and buries the overture.
So beyond its complete failure, financially, what's wrong with bYfAITH?
(Tim: this is fourth in a series of posts [one, two, three, four, five, six, seven] responding to to InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's promotion of sodomy at a Indiana University campus forum they sponsored the evening of Monday, March 28, 2011.)
“The unique Divine inspiration, entire trustworthiness and authority of the Bible.” - InterVarsity’s Doctrinal Basis
Sola Scriptura is a cornerstone of Protestantism. From the beginning, Protestants have objected to the idea that we can know God and what He commands from any source other than His divinely revealed Word. As the Westminster Confession puts it: “The supreme judge by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture” I.10
Of the many things that were wrong with the event “Jesus and the end of Homophobia” hosted by Indiana University’s InterVarsity chapter, the most disturbing was the silencing of God’s Word. As a Protestant, Evangelical organization, InterVarsity is supposed to be committed to the Bible. It is supposed to be committed to the Bible because it is in the Bible that God speaks to us most clearly. If we have a question about Who God is and what He requires of us, the Bible is where Protestants turn for the answer.
But that is not what happened at last week’s event. Last week, InterVarsity sponsored an event where the Bible was not allowed into the discussion. God was not allowed to speak through His Word...
(Tim: this is fifth in a series of posts [one, two, three, four, five, six, seven] responding to to InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's promotion of sodomy at a Indiana University campus forum they sponsored the evening of Monday, March 28, 2011.)
ClearNote Campus Fellowship is, with IU/InterVarsity, an Evangelical campus ministry working on the campus of Indiana University. CNCF's pastor, Jacob Mentzel, has written a response to InterVarsity's promotion of homosexual sin, along the way making some good suggestions for how InterVarsity should correct the scandal.
(Tim: this is sixth in a series of posts [one, two, three, four, five, six, seven] responding to InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's promotion of sodomy at an Indiana University campus forum they sponsored the evening of Monday, March 28, 2011. Pic on right.)
This past Monday, April 4, 2011, Jacob Mentzel and Lucas Weeks met with Mark Abdon, InterVarsity's staff worker for their undergraduate chapter here at Indiana University, to state their concern over InterVarsity's promotion of homosexuality at an InterVarsity forum the previous week, and to ask Mr. Abdon and InterVarsity to issue a public correction. As a courtesy to InterVarsity and its staff, prior to this meeting with Mr. Abdon InterVarsity's office of the president had been called and informed this meeting was going to occur later that day.
The following account was written the same day as the meeting and edited for accuracy yesterday (4/5) and today (4/6). It's posted here as one more part of the historical record.
An Account of Our Meeting With Mark Abdon
by Jacob Mentzel and Lucas Weeks
On Monday, April 4th, we met with Mark Abdon, the undergraduate staff worker for InterVarsity at Indiana University, to discuss IV's recent forum on homosexuality. Mark had an undergraduate woman present with him who plans to go on staff with IV this coming year. It was obvious Mark knew what we wanted to talk about, so we asked him about how the decision was made to have former IV staffer, William Campbell, speak.
Mark told us the majority of the planning for the week's forums belonged to one of his undergraduate students and that the planning began in May of 2010. He made it clear IV's goal from the beginning was to live at peace with the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgendered Queer (LGBTQ) community in Bloomington. InterVarsity partnered with Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Equality (SAGE), a LGBTQ student advocacy group on campus, to sponsor the event. Mark did not mention the involvement of any other student groups. He noted InterVarsity campus groups were being expelled from universities around the country over the issue of homosexuality, and he was very concerned that the Bloomington chapter not face the same fate.
Because of these concerns, InterVarsity had adopted a policy that the event would be viewpoint neutral. It was decided there would be no "theological content" in the forum...
(Tim: this is seventh in a series of posts [one, two, three, four, five, six, and seven] responding to InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's promotion of sodomy at an Indiana University campus forum they sponsored the evening of Monday, March 28, 2011.)
Below is a statement issued privately by InterVarsity yesterday, April 7th, in response to some who expressed their concern over IV's recent forum at Indiana University titled, "Jesus and the End of Homophobia." An individual who received this statement from IV kindly forwarded it to us and we post it here for the record (downloard a PDF). We will have a post responding to this statement in the next day or so...
(Tim: this is eighth in a series of posts [one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, and eight] responding to InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's promotion of sodomy at an Indiana University campus forum they sponsored the evening of Monday, March 28, 2011. This post was written by Pastors Tim Bayly, Jacob Mentzel, and Lucas Weeks.)
"The decision to pay Campbell to speak at the event was made by a number of upper-level InterVarsity staff and, following the event, InterVarsity's staff workers who were present had no problem with what Campbell had said."
This Wednesday, April 6, 2011, InterVarsity e-mailed a statement to some of the individuals who had expressed concern over their recent presentation, "Jesus and the End of Homophobia," here at Indiana University. The statement was not published on any public forum.
According to InterVarsity Headquarters, the primary failure of their "Jesus and the End of Homophobia" event is that "some who trust InterVarsity" were led into "confusion" about InterVarsity's "position on the compatibility of ministry leadership and homosexual practice."
So what is InterVarsity's official position on homosexuality?
Who knows? Go to their web site and try to find it. With many others, we've searched and we couldn't find it anywhere. As we said to an InterVarsity vice president this past week, IV has carefully hidden its position behind its firewalls. This is the fear of the world's disapproval and shame of Jesus Christ that led IV into this predicament in the first place...
by David and Tim Bayly on April 18, 2011 - 11:50am
A couple months ago, brother David took part in a discussion on the floor of Ohio Presbytery (PCA) concerning the chronic deficit faced by the denomination's administrative headquarters in Atlanta. Some of the denomination's better-known men had joined together to try to get amendments to the Book of Church Order passed that would put in place a per/member tax on individual churches that, for all practical purposes, would be mandatory. Their effort was repudiated by the presbyteries, though, so it's been back to the drawing board.
As other less-drastic solutions were being considered, someone discovered the denomination's online and print magazine, byFaith, was losing money hand over fist and the money lost each year came from the denomination's administrative headquarters. Further, the amount of money headquarters was providing byFaith each year is roughly equivalent to headquarter's deficit.
In the midst of a debate over how to address the situation, brother David brought a motion to remove the funding the PCA headquarters was providing byFaith, and the motion easily passed. So now there's an overture coming to this summer's General Assembly calling for byFaith to find its fuding somewhere else and it's likely this will mean byFaith will either have to gain subscribers or stop publishing.
If they stop publishing, it won't be much of a loss...
Because hundreds of millions of dollars are given each year to Christian missionaries and missions organizations who are ashamed of and hide--or often, simply oppose--what is commanded in the Word of God, Baylybog works hard to expose those organizations. Churches, missions committees, and individual Christians give money to organizations like InterVarsity with faith these organizations will use the money to advance the Kingdom of God and His Church--not the Kingdom of Satan. But who will tell such godly givers and their churches when InterVarsity is using their money to pay the salaries of staff workers who are betraying God and His holiness?
Back when J. Gresham Machen was working for reform of the Presbyterian church, the battle lines formed around the church's missions. Missionaries and their missions organizations were betraying Jesus Christ in the Name of Jesus Christ while being supported by naive church members and missions committees who were clueless. So Machen joined forces with other godly men to put a stop to it.
The message went out far and wide that Presbyterian missionaries were betraying Jesus Christ and His Word. This infuriated denominational and mission executives...
(Tim: this is ninth in a series of posts [one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, and nine] responding to InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's promotion of sodomy at an Indiana University campus forum they sponsored the evening of Monday, March 28, 2011.)
One man wrote a week ago to thank us for our series on InterVarsity's promotion of sodomy in the Name of Jesus Christ, saying he wished he'd known about the commitments of the individuals mentioned some time back when he made a decision to financially support one of the InterVarsity staffers. There are many good things that happen when evil is rebuked, publicly. Sadly, the church is no more tolerant of it today than it ever has been. For instance...
An interesting sidenote to the articles is the refusal of the editor in chief of one of the major Evangelical magazines to publish any news about InterVarsity's failure here at Indiana University. This same publication did stories on the faithfulness of InterVarsity at Tufts University over a decade ago, but now chose not to say a word about IV's betrayal of the Word of God here at Indiana University.
This is a common failure of Evangelicals. Through the years I've noticed this magazine (like many others) saves its prophetic word for unbelievers, the business world, Hollywood, and government, while running puff pieces about Christian organizations. With them, judgment may only begin outside the household of God.
Can two walk together, except they be agreed? -Amos 3:3
In their recent outreach meeting featuring former staff worker William Campbell promoting sodomy, InterVarsity enlisted the campus organization Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Equality (SAGE) as a co-sponsor of the event.
This past week SAGE sponsored another event titled "GenderF**k." Billed as "a gender-inclusive drag show with no restrictions on gender presentation, sexual orientation or birth sex," the audience found it all quite delightful. Argenta Peron gushed, “It’s awesome because of the fact it’s not just a drag-show. It expresses a vision of what gender really is.”
We haven't heard if InterVarsity co-sponsored this event, also.
(TB: this is tenth in a series of posts [one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, and ten] responding to InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's promotion of sodomy at an Indiana University campus forum they sponsored the evening of Monday, March 28, 2011.)
No doubt readers have noticed I've been trying to take Doug's advice and "stop throwing rocks at the moon." He's so wise.
But occasionally I howl, and tonight you may hear me after some idiot sent me to JT's blog and I saw this ad. Twenty percent off? How can a man resist? Talk about preaching to my heart! And you pomos aren't scandalized!
Preaching has become a commodity and we consume it as if it were yogurt or socks.
The Indiana Daily Student promoted SAGE's event "Gender [you know what]" held in celebration of sexual immorality and perversion with twoseparate articles. Then they refused to publish this protest of that event submitted to them as a letter to the editor.
Such intolerance of diversity is what these young students supported by our tax dollars as they edit the IDS are being taught by their Indiana University School of Journalism professors (shall we make the point once more?) whose salaries are paid by our tax dollars...
Here's an excellent article by Brian Carpenter that's filled with wisdom for all of us, but particularly those of us learning how to raise our children in the Lord. Read it. Then ask your wife and children to read it and discuss it around your dinner table.
Under this post appears the following comment from Drew, a PCA pastor. Click through to the second page for my responses. (I've made some significant additions since first posting it.)
* * *
Drew writes: So I'm new to this blog and confused. What is the problem with positive job prospects for women? And competition for men? Is it unbiblical for women to work? For men to share in staying at home and raising children? Aren't jobs outside of the home the result of a post-industrial revolution economy? Does the Bible really address this topic directly? If it does, isn't the woman in Proverbs 31 at least sharing in shouldering the household's economic burden? Doesn't it look like she is working outside the home?
Bottom line, how do we know that YOU haven't just adopted the unbiblical attitude towards gender roles that developed during the course of the 1800s, and that what we are experiencing in the workplace today is actually one positive aspect of our contemporary culture? [not everything is doom and gloom after all...just a lot of things]
I'm not trying to poke your eyes, these are honest questions offered in the spirit of furthering the conversation...
Well-known feminist Carolyn Custis James will be in Fort Collins preaching to the women and men of Campus Crusade for Christ International this coming week. The occasion is Cru's National Staff Conference and this is one more indication of the necessity of Christians doing the hard work of removing Cru from their church and individual mission giving.
Egalitarian feminism is another Gospel. Let Ms. magazine and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and nonChristians for Biblical Equality and the National Organization of Women support Custis James, her husband Frank, and Cru. It's wrong for believers to use the tithes and offerings of the People of God to support those who turn the Scripture on its head, making a big show of their respect for God and His Word while promoting rebellion against them. (TB)
by David and Tim Bayly on August 19, 2011 - 5:04am
The American Spectator's "Another Perspective" just ran an excellent piece titled, "What Would Reagan Cut?" The author is Bob Patterson, a close friend who served as the stated clerk of Northern Illinois Presbytery (PCA) back in 1991 when I transferred with my congregation from the mainline PC(USA) into the PCA. Since then, Bob has moved into writing on public policy matters and currently serves as editor of the Rockford Center's very helpful quarterly, The Family in America.
Two reasons to read this piece: first, everyone thinks cutting Social Security benefits is the only realistic way to address the deficit, but did you know that the payments you and I make into Social Security have long served as one of Washington D.C.'s principal cash cows? Bob reports that Social Security has long been producing a surplus...
by David and Tim Bayly on August 29, 2011 - 6:21am
Warren Buffet's Bank of America deal is good for him, but likely at the expense of everyone else. The Holy Spirit says, "Is it not the rich who oppress you and personally drag you into court" (James 2:6b)? (TB)
Along with a number of other dear brothers (Ron Scates, Gary LeTourneau, Jim DeCamp, Terry Schlossberg, Ben and John Sheldon), my friend Rev. Marty Radcliffe continues to languish in the heretical PC(USA). Pray for him. Marty was a godly encouragment to me in the work of the ministry back in the early eighties when we both were ordained and served within the PC(USA)'s John Knox Presbytery up in Wisconsin.
Marty just commented under the post, "Death of an eighteen-year-old brother...," that he'd recently listened again to my Dad's final sermon given from the pulpit of College Church in Wheaton a few weeks before he died. After Dad's death, I had three-hundred cassettes of this sermon duplicated and sent them out to many friends.
This is the sort of preaching almost completely absent from the PCA and other conservative Reformed circles today. And it's tragic. Out of fear of being labelled a "pietist" by godless hypocrites who persecute those pursuing the sanctification without which no man will see God...
by David and Tim Bayly on November 2, 2011 - 10:48am
Another of the disciples said to Him, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.”
But Jesus *said to him, “Follow Me, and allow the dead to bury their own dead.” (Matthew 8:21, 22)
Recently, a brother has been faulting me for writing that InterVarsity ought no longer to receive support from our missions giving--whether personal or congregational--and we ought to stop patronizing InterVarsity Press.
As he sees it, such recommendations display a number of spiritual defects in me including especially arrogance and overgeneralization. He points out that InterVarsity has many good chapters that have not yet evangelized for the sodomite perversion in the Name of Jesus and many staff workers who are still the old style of Evangelical Bible-believing Christian. As he sees it, I'm wrong to call for the end of InterVarsity and InterVarsity Press when there's still so much good being done by individuals on their payroll. So here's a short response that goes beyond the shorter responses I've made to him already.
InterVarsity has an illustrious past that includes both my father-in-law and my father holding key positions at the top of the organization. And even after leaving InterVarsity back in the early sixties, Dad sat on the board until around 1982. Then he resigned because he could no longer support the direction the organization was taking. That was thirty years ago and across those intervening years InterVarsity has gotten much worse. In what ways?
InterVarsity Press has been allowed to publish many heterodox and heretical books. Principally, InterVarsity Press has become a consistent advocate of the feminist heresy. It's not simply a matter of an occasional work here and there that pussyfoots around the boundaries on this issue, but rather a clear commitment to opposing God's Order of Creation. I've been party to several private e-mail exchanges between IVP's publisher and pastors and elders expressing concern over this rebellion deeply lodged in IVP's list for decades now, and the publisher has been dismissive of those concerns and the church officers expressing them.
This is no surprise since his parent organization, InterVarsity, has for decades been a proponent of the feminist heresy. IVP is simply a reflection of InterVarsity in this matter. Starting with my friend, Tom Dunkerton, back in the eighties, InterVarsity's presidents have been committed to rebellion against the Word of God's command that woman not teach and exercise authority over man...
by David and Tim Bayly on December 19, 2011 - 12:44pm
Here are a couple responses to questions asked under the post of the ESV committee's video. First the question, then my response. (TB)
Is every use of the word "slave" now going to be changed to "servant"?
No, they are doing this gradually. Words indicating the ownership of men will be removed from Scripture at about the same rate as words indicating the federal headship of Adam (male inclusives such as 'adam' and 'adelphoi'). As mentioned above, footnotes often show...
by David and Tim Bayly on December 27, 2011 - 12:11pm
See what just entered my e-mail inbox. It's Wheaton College pleading for even more money. They say their president, Phil Ryken, is convinced Wheaton is "positioned to serve as an increasingly vital base of operations for the global dissemination of the Gospel."
Yes, yes; of course. Everywhere I look, one more sign of Wheaton's service as an increasingly vital base of operations for the global dissemination of the Gospel smacks me in the face. Like this alumnus, Rob Bell. Surely we all see how the degree Bell bought from Wheaton's profs is the foundation of his creation of an increasingly vital base of operations for the global dissemination of the Gospel? If I were Dick Chase or Duane Litfin, I'd be thumping my chest in pride.
Ryken's hucksterism reminds me of Richard Lovelace returning to campus from an invitation-only meeting of PC(USA) liberal and conservative muckety-mucks back in 1982 or so...
by David and Tim Bayly on January 11, 2012 - 11:54am
I don't write much about Indiana politics and government but it's caused me no small sadness to contemplate the term-limit-departure of our fiscally excellent governor a little over a year from now. Gov. Mitch Daniels will have completed his second term and will have to leave office.
If I am comforted in our loss of Mitch's magnificent fiscal leadership, my comfort comes from this: that his likely successor is a man, Representaive Mike Pence, who promises to govern with the same fiscal commitments while adding a theological framework to those commitments that promises to extend far beyond fiscal discipline, on to principles concerning many other areas of governance including the battlefields on which the destroyers of our nation and its states are focussing their revolution: sexuality, the Image of God in man, the origin and nature of sexuality and marriage decreed by our Creator in His Order of Creation, and so forth.
As you read through Daniels' penultimate State of the State Address delivered yesterday evening, you will gain a hint of why I respect him. He has been unflinching in disciplining the educationists of our state by a host of private initiatives that have finally brought competition into public education. True, he brags about over half of our state budget going to edcuation, and he seems to see higher education as an unqualified good. I disagree with both things as I disagreed with President Bush on similar matters. Mitch Daniels is not a wild-eyed enthusiast. He's a realist who really changed our state. Definitively. And reading, you'll see what difference it makes to each citizen of the state.
But there's something else I want to say, here.
Some thirty years ago, I was at the Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly to oppose their denominational abortion policy. My dear Mary Lee was pregnant and, since we were in the habit of having home births, I'd called the midwest representative of the PC(USA)'s self-funded independent medical insurance plan to ask if they'd cover the cost of our midwife? It was awkward. He hemmed and hawed and said he didn't know and would have to get back to me on it...
by David and Tim Bayly on February 21, 2012 - 6:04am
Les traductions ressemblent aux femmes – lorsqu'elles sont fidèles, elles ne sont pas belles, quand elles sont belles, elles ne sont pas fidèles. - French proverb
Since first seeing an early proof (pre-publication) of one of the new translations being done by renowned Evangelical Bible scholars like Don Carson and Gordon Fee back in the early nineties, it became clear to me that the English-speaking church's blessing of many translations was about to become a curse. All through these proofs, words inspired by the Holy Spirit had been changed or deleted. And the ordering principle was fear of offending groups with certified victim status in the Western world--principally women and Jews.
If the original Greek was 'men,' it was removed and the gender-neutered 'those' took its place. If the Greek was 'brothers,' it was removed and the gender-neutered 'Christian friends' (and later 'Christian siblings') took its place. If the Greek was 'Jews,' it was removed and 'they' or 'Jewish leaders' took its place. If the Hebrew was 'adam,' it was removed and the gender-neutered 'human being' took its place. It's all a project called the removal of "phallogocentricism in language."
Today, almost twenty years later, Evangelicals have been betrayed by their Bible scholars and are reading, preaching from, and memorizing Bibles that have, in countless places, betrayed the Greek and Hebrew inspired by the Holy Spirit. And now we read that...
by David and Tim Bayly on February 22, 2012 - 12:09pm
(DB) In the 1980s I couldn't take John MacArthur. Every time his voice came on WMBI in Chicago, I turned it off. My mother would say to me that he was a better man than I thought. I didn't care. Something snide and self-assured seemed to emanate from from the radio when he was preaching.
And then in 1985-86, I spent a year in Fullerton, CA, as a pastoral intern under Paul Sailhamer at the Fullerton Evangelical Free Church while Chuck Swindoll was senior pastor there. As part of the year, Paul took the two interns to visit significant California churches. We did a trip to San Diego (on which Chuck accompanied us) and a northern trip to the Bay area.
We also went to visit Grace Community Church, where Paul, Dave Butler and I had breakfast with John MacArthur.
During breakfast I asked John if he was willing to preach on abortion. I had a private interest in the question: I had been trying to convince friends at Fullerton that Chuck should preach on abortion, something he hadn't yet done (he did the following year). Fullerton was willing to have then-surgeon-general C. Everett Koop preach on abortion, but not Chuck. So I secretly scored a point when John answered emphatically, "Yes, I'm willing. I've already preached two series on it."