Money & stewardship

Pleasure or pain: which would you choose?

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.

(TB: w/thanks to David W.)


The small-minded, lockstep intolerance of the <i>Indiana Daily Student</i>...

The Indiana Daily Student promoted SAGE's event "Gender [you know what]" held in celebration of sexual immorality and perversion with two separate 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...


Welcome to the machine...

JustinTaylor'sAdforTimKellerNo 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.

Money, it's a hit...

(TB)


InterVarsity's partner, SAGE, holds another pro-sodomy event (part X)...

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.)


InterVarsity's Evangelistic event promoting sodomy: news not fit to print (part IX)...

(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.

It's similar with preachers...


Spring housecleaning of Evangelical missions long overdue...

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...


byFaith's powder-puff journalism...

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.

Ding dong!

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...


InterVarsity hedges and obfuscates concerning their IU event promoting sodomy (part VIII)...

(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...


IV issues statement responding to inquiries concerning IU/InterVarsity event promoting sodomy (part VII)...

(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...


IV hierarchy approved William Campbell's leadership at IU/InterVarsity event promoting sodomy (part VI)...

IVCF:Forum:2011 (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...


Another campus minister addresses IU/InterVarsity's promotion of sodomy (part V)...

(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.


IV gags the Bible at IU/InterVarsity event promoting sodomy (part IV)...

(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...


The hens are squawking and the goose is chasing David aross the barnyard...

(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. bYfAITH responded 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?


The need for missions reform...

(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...


Would I vote for Governor Daniels if he runs...

"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...


IVCF and IVP: don't feed the hand that bites you...

(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...


What do I have that I didn't receive...

(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)...


Only the beginning: Bible publishers, Bible society execs, and Bible translators should disclose their pay and its sources...

(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...


NIV 2010: Follow the money...

(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.