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Because I'm a comedy writer...

I realized some time back that the comedians we love and watch are perfectly described in Scripture as "scoffers" and "mockers". I was browsing the internet this evening when the point really hit me in the gut in a passage from the Wikipedia entry on Seth MacFarlane. For those who don't know, Mr. MacFarlane is an "actor, animator, comedian, writer, producer, director, and singer," and he's responsible for shows such as Family Guy and American Dad. Here's what Wikipedia had to say about his September 11, 2001 brush with death:

What is the Trinity? (part 1): God is love...

(Note from Tim Bayly: This is the first in a series of articles written by Craig French for Christ the Word's newsletter. At my request, Craig is allowing the series to run here on Baylyblog. Thank you, Craig, for your faithful work in our behalf.)

Many Christians find it difficult to apply the doctrine of the Trinity. Truth be told, even the most orthodox Christians stumble trying to articulate how this teaching is relevant; yet early on in the Church, godly men died to preserve this doctrine.

How have we gone from dying for truth about God to scratching our heads about its importance? Probably too long of a story with rabbit trails every three feet causing us to become distracted. The short story, I’m convinced, is that we are very Trinitarian...we just don’t realize it. That’s not something I came up with...

Drab homes give birth to art idolatry...


(NOTE FROM TIM BAYLY: A large part of this post has been removed. A young man objected that I was replacing one idolatry with my own more sophisticated one, and I thought it best to pull the post rather than allow readers to conclude that I am promoting idolatry.)

Here's an interesting explanation of the worship of artists spreading through the PCA by way of Covenant, MNA, and Redeemer clones. George Bernard Shaw points out that this worship has its origin in artless homes and childhoods...

Hide it under a bushel, yes! I'm gonna blur the lines...

(Tim, w/thanks to Tenile: One blogger produced a very, very rough transcript of Martin Bashir interviewing Rob Bell and I asked Tenile Victorsen if she'd give us a good one. Here it is. If you find an error, please let us know and we'll correct it. Interspersed in the text are a few comments of my own in black text between brackets, italicized.)

Bashir: One mega church pastor has ignited a theological firestorm by suggesting that our response to the Christian message in this life will not necessarily determine our eternal destiny. In his book Love Wins: Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived, Rob Bell says that ultimately all people will be saved, even those who’ve rejected the claims of Christianity. He argues people will eventually be persuaded by God’s love, postmortem, in the life to come. [Note how straighforward Bashir is stating Bell's thesis. As we enter the murkiness of Bell's words, we must remind ourselves of this straighforward warning from God:  " is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment..." (Hebrews 9:27)] Pastor Rob Bell joins us now. Good afternoon, sir. Before we come to talk about the book, just help us with this tragedy in Japan. Which of these is true? Either God is all-powerful but he doesn’t care about the people of Japan and, therefore, they’re suffering, or he does care about the people of Japan but he’s not all-powerful? Which one is it? [Do we really have to choose between these two, Mr. Bashir?]

Bell: I begin with the belief [Let the listener understand he means no offense to those with a different belief.] that God--when we shed a tear, God sheds a tear. [Hallmark card sentiment, but the scale of the senitment doesn't match the scale of the horror. Pastor Bell trivializes the massive death and destruction of the earthquakes and tsunamis, or the terrible suffering of the Japanese people. Just one tear? Whole cities destroyed and "a tear" for Pastor Bell and "a tear" for God?] So I begin with a divine being [Speaking to the Areopagus surrounded by the pantheon of gods, the Apostle Paul declares: “The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth..." (Acts 17:24). Speaking to the world today in the midst of our pantheon of gods, Pastor Bell can't even bring himself to use the definite article to refer to his god. It's not "the God Who is there" but "a divine being."] who is profoundly [Adverbs weaken arguments but strengthen sentiment. Pastor Bell adores adverbs.] empathetic, compassionate and stands in solidarity with us. [Actually, God stands in solidarity only with those who, by faith, are "in Christ" and His Church. Concerning all others, the ax is at the root. Thus note how, by leaving "us" undefined, Pastor Bell denies the distinction between the Church and the world. This denial of distinctions is central to his false prophecies and is a defining prejudice of post-moderns--Pastor Bell's target audience.] Secondly, the dominant story [To speak of the work of redemption recorded in Scripture as a "story" reminds me of what everyone said when the planes took down the World Trade Center on 9/11: "It was just like the movies." The false images of movies helped our mind's eye to see...

The cosmic killjoy...

(Tim: this from Pastor Dave Curell on the ClearNote Fellowship Blog)

...There’s always that one guy who not only attacks the morality of

the film, but also claims an absolute authoritative

understanding of what is morally acceptable. He doesn't simply imply

that, in his view, something is right or wrong, but he claims his view is the authoritative view. And by this piece of chutzpah,

he becomes the worst of the killjoys—the dogmatic one. Why? Because his

conviction calls into question every piece of entertainment we consume. Nothing's sacred or safe any longer. Seriously, if he casts down Avatar, won’t Star Wars soon fall along with


Christians hate such killjoys. They're cosmic bummers.

Why doesn't someone throw them down a well. (read the post)

TBN's false shepherds and Thomas Brooks' "Seven Marks of False Shepherds"...

(Tim) One of the themes in Scripture is false shepherds--those men (and women) who claim to speak for God when God hasn't called them and their message isn't from Him, but from the Evil One. As pastors, we should make careful note of the identifying marks of false shepherds, first for our own flock and souls, that we not be found to be false shepherds, ourselves. And as it is our duty to protect our flock from destruction at our own hands, it's also our duty to defend them against the hands of others. The good shepherd lays down his life in defense of his sheep.

A dear friend who's a missionary to Africa tells men there that he'd rather his children look at pornography than Trinity Broadcasting Network. They're strong words, but travel through townships and neighborhoods in Africa and see how many homes have it on. You may turn to strong words yourself if you love the souls under your care.

Trinity Broadcasting Network is the real deal--a group of men and women who claim to speak for God but speak for the Devil. They are false shepherds and shepherdesses, and every one of us who's been entrusted by God with a part of His Flock ought to have gone on record in our pulpit condemning TBN's heresies as well as their fleecing of their sheep. Without mincing words--think Jude or the Apostle John's Letters to the Seven Churches.

Here's a Facebook group intent on exposing TBN for what it is...

Tim Tebow and Jim Dobson: "He was my friend, faithful and just to me"...

He was my friend, faithful and just to me:

But Brutus says he was ambitious;

And Brutus is an honourable man….

When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept:

Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:

Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;

And Brutus is an honourable man.

(Tim, w/thanks to many) Like Allan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind, Jim Dobson's breakout book, Dare to Discipline, was rejected by many publishers before one gave it a try--in Dobson's case, my father-in-law's Tyndale House Publishers. Later, Dad Taylor gave money to Jim to do a radio show, and the rest is history.

I am not ashamed of Dr. James Dobson. Rather, I've long expressed my deep gratitude for Jim's work on the air and in print. Few men have contributed so much Biblical instruction to my flocks. When the history of the late twentieth century is written, it will become clear Jim was one of the most courageous warriors for truth and mercy and justice in these United States.

You may have noticed on this blog that I've never mentioned the name of that publication in Wheaton calling itself Christianity Today. One reason is their sotto voce attacks on Jim Dobson. Among Wheaton's detelligentsia, it's hip to smirk when Dobson's name comes up, and CT has taken its cue and place among the pea-shooters.

This has been very discouraging for Jim; it's hurt him, his wife Shirley, and their children.

I can hear the exclamations: "Hello! How does Tim Keller feel about your criticism, dude? Something about the splinter and the log!"

Fair enough...

"Joy and purpose and passion and pleasure and enthusiasm and hope and joy..."

(Tim, w/ thanks to Craig) Several years ago at the Acts 29 Lead Pastors Conference in Boulder, I heard Mark Driscoll talk about the irony of being invited to preach in the Crystal Cathedral and being embraced by its founding pastor, Robert Schuller.

Why would they want bad-boy Mark when they know he's going to punch them in the face with the Word, right?

Mark talked to sixty of us or so about how he'd not back down or compromise. He'd give it to them straight and see what happened. Robert Schuller posed no threat to his integrity.

So I was interested to be sent a link to his sermon given this past Lord's Day at the Crystal Cathedral. But before preaching, the prince of positivism, Robert Schuller, did a short interview to elicit Mark's credentials for speaking to his cosseted congregation in behalf of the Holy Spirit:

Robert Schuller: Your church has how many members?

Turn off the TV...

(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...

From one Christian monarch to another: amusing ourselves to Hell...

(Tim, w/thanks to Kamilla) If you want to begin to understand our day--the switch of the central currency of cultural engagement from the Bible to moving pictures, the use of film clips in Gospel preaching, the building of congregations around virtual images of themselves on the movie screen each Lord's Day employed by men like Mark Driscoll and John Piper, and the gift our head of state and his wife gave the Queen, recently--only two things are necessary: first, read the Second Commandment; and second, read Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business.

And while we're talking about the gifts the monarchs exchanged...

Books, a crackling fireplace, and Mother...


(Tim) I have tender childhood memories of sitting in front of the fireplace roasting my back, my two younger brothers lying on the floor falling asleep, while Mud (affectionate diminutive of Mother) read to us. Dad was on the road speaking at conferences much of the time those years, and when he was gone our evenings had a certain leisure. Not that we lived under joyless discipline when Dad was home, but like most men, Dad was sort of daddish.

So the Life without Father routine was that, following dinner and devotions, a fire was built, and as it crackled, Mud read to us by the hour.

Books were the main course in our home, just as they were in the homes of three other families whose children were all growing up at the same time within the same congregation, College Church in Wheaton: the Ken Taylors (Mary Lee's family), the Ken Hansens (ServiceMASTER's founder), and the Hudson Armerdings (Wheaton's prez). All the children of these homes loved to read.


Because none of our parents were willing...