You cannot serve both God and Evangelicalism...

Unless the bugle-notes are clear who will be called to arms? (1Corinthians 14:8; J. B. Phillips)

(Tim, w/thanks to Steve) Rick Warren is a bellwether for middle of the road religious people in these United States. He's scrupulous about sodomite marriage, then equivocates by his casual references to "gays and straights" and his fawning over lesbian gay rights activist, Melissa Ethridge. He's pro-life, but to him this means more concern for the environment, world hunger, and AIDS. The slaughter of unborn children isn't even an afterthought.

He's a master of self-promotion but it's difficult to see how his leadership causes the Kingdom of God to advance even an inch. His books sell in the tens of millions but, after the wave passes, things pretty much proceed as they were before. Idolatry, state-sanctioned murder, materialism, divorce, fornication, feminism, envy, child molestation and abuse, self-satisfaction, pornography, and pride suffer little to no repentance. Yet there in the national limelight, larger than life, stands a Southern Baptist pastor sprinkling holy water on us all.

So what's in it for Evangelicalism's chief priest? Well, for starters, a mountain of mammon. Don't ever forget it.

But it doesn't stop with mammon...

After your net worth is in the scores of millions, there are other larger fish to fry. So Pastor Warren has now turned to celebrity status: trumpets blowing in the street announcing his arrival, Larry King appearances--that sort of thing. Then he hit the jackpot.

President-elect Barack Obama invited Pastor Warren to give the invocation at his Inauguration.

Bingo! It all paid off, didn't it? Pastor Warren explains his success:

Three years ago I took enormous heat for inviting Barack Obama to my church because some of his views don't agree (with mine). Now he's invited me.

Men of God, if the Holy Spirit has made you a shepherd of His flock, be vigilant against the influence of such men corrupting you; and through you, your flock. Guard your heart.

Don't cast a longing eye at the world. Put to death--a bloody death--all your hankering after the world's baubles. The love of this world and its treasures destroys the love of God. You cannot serve both God and mammon. You cannot serve both God and the American Empire. You cannot serve both God and Zondervan's royalties. You cannot serve both God and the bitch goddess of success. You cannot serve both God and Wheaton. You cannot serve both God and the Academy. You cannot serve both God ahnd the rich folks in your church. You cannot serve both God and Babylon, the Great, who soon will be fallen, fallen, fallen.

Here's a good discipline. This Christmas, obey Jesus' direct command:

"For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." And (Jesus) also went on to say to the one who had invited Him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, otherwise they may also invite you in return and that will be your repayment. But when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous" (Luke 14:11-14).

Comments

>Warren also talked about singer Melissa Ethridge, who performed earlier in the evening. Warren said the two had a "wonderful conversation" and that he is a huge fan who has all her albums.

>The openly lesbian gay rights activist even agreed to sign her Christmas album for him, he said.

Somebody slap me and wake me up.

Mark,

Does that really surprise you? Is it anything but "ho, hum, so what's new?" for a pastor who gives his pulpit to a pro-infanticide politician to admit he is also a fan of lesbian love anthems?

Kamilla

I have one word for Warren and his pretentiousness: Yawn.

He predicted the "The Passion of the Christ" would be the greatest evangelistic tool in over 100 years. Did I miss the huge influx into the Church?

You're right. "The Purpose Driven Life" sold its millions and make Warren a millionaire, but what has been the observable long term effect? Zero. It's like "The Prayer of Jabez."

Evangelicals have very, very short memories. Now excuse me, while I go watch my Beta VHS of "Left Behind."

OK then, what were people's views as to Warren's, "The Purpose-Driven Church"?

For my thoughts on the invocation and the AP interview, see http://rasmusen1.blogspot.com/2008/12/rick-warrens-invocation-for-obama.... (trackback isn't working for me)

Here's what I think is hilarious about Obama picking Warren to offer an invocation at the inauguration. Sodomites are furious, and Barney Frank (best known for the sodomite prostitution ring that operated out of his home) blasted Obama for the choice.

Despite all of Warren's mealy-mouthed, wishy washy attempts to be "moderate", sodomites (and a large number of Leftists) still despise him. Leaving aside the political lessons here, the lesson for Christians is that if you cling to a Scriptural truth the world hates, no amount of "moderation" is going to make them hate you less.

Isn't it possible to enjoy the music or work of an unbeliever, to appreciate them as made in the image of God, and to disagree with them respectfully in regards to their unbelief? Isn't faith or unbelief the real divide between "us" and "them"?

Second, I am no Rick Warren fan (he needs to do something about the gluttony issue, amongst other things), but there may be more to this than fame and mammon, as you suggest. You need to look at his personal spending, which is highly regulated by the elders of his church.

Any way, you guys seem to be a wee bit over balanced in the weapons department.

Sincerely,

Chris Zodrow

Oh, you guys are in the PCA.... right. The denomination that loves to preach the effects of the Gospel, and simply forgets the Gospel. Kind of explains the attitude.

Cheers,

Chris

Chris, huh?

Ross, the best writing I've seen on Warren has been done by Bob Dewaay. He goes into Warren's Gospel minimalism, his faulty use of bad Bible translations, his attempts to apply franchising models to the church (classic church-growth nonsense), his political pandering, etc. Here are a series of radio shows.

http://www.cicministry.org/radio_series.php?series=redefining

Jack's Pipe Guy,
This is in regards to the comments made about Melissa Etheridge: "Isn't it possible to enjoy the music or work of an unbeliever, to appreciate them as made in the image of God, and to disagree with them respectfully in regards to their unbelief? Isn't faith or unbelief the real divide between "us" and "them"?

I always thought this was in fact reformed thinking, as Herman Dooyeweerd, Van Til and others have suggested. But hey, maybe I am wrong, at least any more.

Sincerely,
Chris

PS- It is nigh impossible to not be a self-promoter in some shape or form. No one wants to be ignored, especially those who have blogs and other forms of public media. To deny this is just, well, a kind of blindness. Warren may just be better at it than you are.

Dear Chris,

Yes, my brother and I are jealous of Rick Warren. I was certainly hoping you wouldn't make that particular point, but I can see that you're more than a match for me.

And Kuiper would have been a huge HIM fan.

You're so very perceptive, dear brother. Maybe we could have you come and give seminars to the young men of our churches? Are you free weekends? What kind of honorarium would you require? And how would we market you?

Insincerely,

Tim Bayly

PS: This ridicule is my Christmas present to you. If you're wise, you'll thank me for it.

I have been visiting this blog for several months now and really enjoy it but it seems Rick Warren is gone after more than any other minister. I defintely don't agree with everything he does but it seems that every move he makes is scrutinized and it many cases criticized. He is taken to task for doing the invocation yet we don't even know what he is going to say. Could be a Nathan, probably not, but I will give him the same support I would give any believer. I don't know his heart on why he took the job but I do know I need to pray for him to do right. Have we on the blog taken the time to pray for him? Mr. Warren defintely has temptations that most pastors don't have. He may be self promoting to many believers but only God knows his heart. The people I have met from his church are for the most part rock solid believers that love the Lord and would be a blessing to any christian church. It doesn't mean Mr. Warren is above rebuke but he must be doing something right to tick off so many unbelievers. Everytime I click online there is some group upset that OBAMA has chosen him to give part of the invocation.

FYI, world pastor Rick has won over Melissa (and soon will win over her wife) after they met at a Muslim event for which Rick was keynote speaker. Melissa writes about her warm and fuzziness at the Huffington leftPost here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/melissa-etheridge/the-choice-is-ours-now_b...
Never mind:

“Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! 23 Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets."

>Mark,
Does that really surprise you?

Kamilla, I want this to be a dream.

>Isn't it possible to enjoy the music or work of an unbeliever, to appreciate them as made in the image of God, and to disagree with them respectfully in regards to their unbelief?

Yeah but there is this minor thing called God's Law. Concerning practicing sodomites, we ought to be respecting them by praying for their repentance on the way to the gallows.

Dear Chuck,

>it seems Rick Warren is gone after more than any other minister

Actually, we've had a couple recent posts on Rick, but usually don't pay him any attention. When we do pay him attention, though, it's not with the slightest bit of animosity, but spiritual opposition to his leadership and the naive sycophancy of evangelicals it feeds on.

>The people I have met from his church are for the most part rock solid believers that love the Lord and would be a blessing to any christian church... Mr. Warren ...must be doing something right to tick off so many unbelievers.

There are many Christians in the Roman Catholic church. So what? Many godly believers, in fact. So what?

There were many godly believers under the authority and led by the chief priests and elders of Jesus' day, submitted to their leadership and honoring them. So what?

We don't honor men because they have lots of followers--or at least we oughtn't to. Unless, of course, we're evangelicals. Then the number of people following them and buying their books, combined with their celebrity status, is precisely how we decide who God has blessed and chosen to work through. But nothing could be further from the truth.

God's leaders are never popular. This is why Jesus commanded us to "beware when all men speak well of (us)."

Point blank, evangelicals think Jesus was wrong. So we've changed a warning against those spoken well of by all to a warning against those who refuse to get on the bandwagon. You know, "Beware when you're the only one who doesn't speak well of him! You must be one more nay saying PCA man, you monster, you."

Scripture's plain, so we turn it on its head and make a big show of honoring it. Any tool will do: "Hey, can't you see! Look at how many people are angry at Pastor Warren giving the invocation at the Inauguration. He can't be doing everything wrong, can he?"

Well no, he doesn't do everything wrong. But my first clue that Pastor Warren was a good placeholder for evangelicalism's delusional infatuation with the bitch goddess of success was this interview, which was, I think, the first time we posted on him:

http://www.baylyblog.com/2005/10/rick_warren_the.html

Since then, things have been crystal clear to me. If they're not to you and others, then God bless you.

But I plan to continue to warn God's people against such men and all the merchants and paparazzi who live off of them.

>Have we on the blog taken the time to pray for him?

Not recently, but thanks for your rebuke. I will.

Love,

> Melissa writes about her warm and fuzziness at the Huffington leftPost

Some egal/inclusive seasonal sign-off: "Peace on earth, goodwill toward all men and women... and everyone in-between."

Les, did you see the Dec 23 link at the bottom?

~~~

"Rick Warren Scrubs Anti-Gay Language From Website"

John Aravosis of Americablog noticed on Friday that Rick Warren's church website explicitly bans gay people "unwilling to repent of their homosexual lifestyle" from membership at Saddleback. (They are allowed, however, to attend services.)

Now Warren has removed the anti-gay language from the church website.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/12/23/rick-warren-scrubs-anti-g_n_153...

Tim,
Everyone does "marketing". But was I suggesting that you and your brother were jealous... umm, no. Parse my words and I am not implying that. It is the bifurcation that is suggested by the attack on it that is impossible to maintain. You can't escape doing it. That was my point. And, yeah, some people do it better than others.

Ridicule? Well, I am not so adroit at it. The Wilsonian style you use is kind of too intelligent for me.

PS- Dooyeweerd disagreed with Kuiper. They had different systems. Who mentioned Kuiper anyway?

Truly sincerely,
Chris (and yes, that is actually my name)

Dear Chris,

We get comments like yours all the time, along with the suggestion that we write what we do out of jealousy. ("We all market ourselves, and you're not as good as Pastor Warren at doing it. Too bad.") Glad to hear you were the anomaly.

For the purposes of your point about reformed men, it doesn't matter which reformed theologian you're talking about as long as it's not the spirituality of the church men or those who claim to honor them. The rest all would agree with your point that engaging with culture is good Kingdom work.

So, forget the name and consider the point. Is there any engagement that's illegitimate? Any at all? Suggesting the only distinction that matters is that between believers and unbelievers is crazy. The fact that a man is making snuff movies, composing music that glorifies sodomy, or doing ethics that deny man alone bears the Image of God is anything but immaterial.

D & T,
Of course I would agree with you. There is an ethical judgment that needs to be made when observing the behavior of people, and this includes the work of their hands. But to outright deny the goodness of a work when it in fact possesses goodness simply because it comes from the hands of someone who denies Christ is crazy as well. Calvin said that this is a denial of the Holy Spirit's work in the world. This was asserted in a couple of the posts, and is implied in the attack on Melissa Etheridge. I am not a fan of hers, but it would be a difficult thing to deny the presence of beauty in some of her compositions. The image of God is not totally obliterated in anyone.

I am not following you on the "as long as your not..." thing. But I get the impression that the principle you assert here doesn't apply to you when speaking to someone who is not a church man- like myself. You feel free to launch into a smart-ass tirade when it comes to non-churchmen.

Honestly, I don't write on your blog with a smirk on my face. I am not judging the attitude of your heart in regards to jealousy. Warren, and others do a better job of marketing than most evangelicals. This is just a fact, and it is really too bad. Mark Driscoll is an exception, as he and his guys have it together in regards to this stuff. Call him a fame monger, but the fact is reformed (albeit baptist) theology is going public because of his hard work.

Paul dealt with people who had the wrong motives, but were preaching Christ. His attitude was a bit different than yours. Deal with false doctrine, including the weaker brother and his propensity to make adiaphra law, but if Christ is preached- well...amen.

Finally, it seems that sometimes the "we are hated, rejoice" passage is used as a smoke-screen. It is possible to be deluded into thinking that all this public hatred and violent response to a preacher is because he is so faithful to Christ. But there is the possibility that he is just an ass. Jesus will clear all that up when He comes back.

-C

"Warren, and others do a better job of marketing than most evangelicals. Mark Driscoll is an exception, as he and his guys have it together in regards to this stuff. Call him a fame monger, but the fact is reformed (albeit baptist) theology is going public because of his hard work."

Is it really possible to think that Jesus or John the Baptist or the Apostle Paul would have spent a great deal of time on marketing themselves? It's kind of hard imagining them working on glossy photographs or putting together a Madison avenue ad campaign, or trying to come up with a catchy jingle.

I must say that if Christianity of any form catches on because of Marketing I am fairly certain it will be a Christianity that the Church will have to wage war against precisely because this kind of success is so shallow and lasts only until the next religious movement comes up with a better Marketing scheme. Has the "success" of the extension of Christianity descended to the point that we are dependent upon a slick marketing campaign? God help us if it has.

This idea scares me because a part of me sees it as being the reality in which we live. Look around and you'll notice that the guys that are known in the Church are the guys who have engaged the Marketing machinery. For the most part those who are well know have crap for brains but they know how to steam up the marketing machinery.

I'd rather not be a part of a Church where Jesus is followed because of 21st century propaganda techniques known as "marketing."

The whole notion makes me want to vomit.

"But to outright deny the goodness of a work when it in fact possesses goodness simply because it comes from the hands of someone who denies Christ is crazy as well. Calvin said that this is a denial of the Holy Spirit's work in the world."

This is a legitimate point but I have a hard time imagining Calvin bragging about how chatty he had recently been with Servetus or that he actually had a book that had been signed by Servetus.

My problem with Warren in the whole Etheridge dynamic is not that he likes Etheridge music (lots of Christians like aesthetically obtuse music) but rather my problem is that Warren seems to be suggesting that his intimate friendship with Etheridge provides bonafides that he's not one of those narrow-minded Christians who are so against perversion that they can't have social intercourse with lesbians. Where the problem lies is that IMO it suggests that Rick Warren has no problem with lesbianism in general. Now, to be sure, Rick has said he doesn't want them being able to marry but anything short of that is acceptable to Rick. He may not like it but it is acceptable. ("Hey, its so acceptable to me that Melissa and I had a great conversation and I have them over for lunch all the time.") I think the position of most biblical Christians would be that they don't like it and that it isn't acceptable at all in private or in the public square. Now Christians should befriend Lesbians, just as they do with assorted other sinners, but always with a view of pointing them to Jesus.

That's the way I read Rick ... FWIW

Chris,

"Preaching Christ" is exactly what Warren isn't doing, if you mean by that Law and Gospel. It's telling that you consider this public hatred. It's similar to the same old messages we see every time there's a post on feminism. Warren has a track record.

As for him being a better marketer, well that is exactly the problem. Who saves people, us and our worldly wisdom or the Holy Spirit working through Word and sacrament?

Bret has a very good post. I heard Warren say tonight that he just wants to show that Christians and non-Christians can engage in civil conversation.

Great, and that passes for virtue? I've shared many conversations with committed homosexuals myself. I'm friendly with them. Can I get a shout out here? It's hard to reach my own back.

The reason these homosexuals hate Warren is because he hasn't (at least not yet) abandoned the idea that homosexuality is perhaps not quite what God intended. It's really amazing that he of all people is the one on whom they've vented their anger.

The fact is that you can be as civil as possible, but eventually you need to exercise true love by telling people they're going to hell if they don't repent. And they aren't going to like that no matter how many times you take them to lunch.

>it would be a difficult thing to deny the presence of beauty in some of her compositions. The image of God is not totally obliterated in anyone.

No one said it was, Chris.

>You feel free to launch into a smart-ass tirade when it comes to non-churchmen.

Ridicule is not "smart ass," Chris. And I have no idea who is a church man here, since I understand church-man to refer to Christian men who are commited to the church, rather than the parachurch or aloneism. If by church-men, you mean pastors and elders, I'll assume you're indicating you aren't a pastor or elder given what you've now written. But if so, it's news to me. I don't know you from Adam, other than that you report your first name to be "Chris."

>I am not judging the attitude of your heart in regards to jealousy.

Yes, I know. I'm sorry I thought you were, and only rehearsed past experience so you might understand why I'd make that mistake.

>(When pastors do poor marketing) it's really too bad.

This is where we differ. I've known some of the best evangelical marketers, a number of them personally. Such pursuits are almost always destructive to biblical commitments in a man's ministry and in a church. Don't get me wrong--I'm not saying that faithful pastors and churches never market. But they do it realizing the grave dangers it poses.

Our church markets itself, for instance; but it's consciously chosen to have marketing a very low priority in our mission. We are building a sign--and a nice one, to boot--but it's been a year since we've been in our new building and during that year we've had a very ugly sign. Bad?

Well, to you, sure. But to us, no. It's a discipline that we've put ourselves under to keep us from sin. We're a bunch of aesthetes, musicians, and graphic designers, and our elders have chosen not to kowtow to the marketing instinct within each of us.

>Mark Driscoll is an exception, as he and his guys have it together in regards to this stuff. Call him a fame monger, but the fact is reformed (albeit baptist) theology is going public because of his hard work.

Actually, not. It's gone public in the Pacific Northwest urban world. But Lynden and other surrounding communities knew of reformed doctrine long before Mark was in diapers.

You see, it all depends on what you mean by "going public." I'm grateful for Mark's commitments, and that I can know about them without living in Seattle. So I guess you can say I've benefited from some of Mark's marketing. But if I could protect Mark's heart and the heart of his congregation by pulling the stopper on Acts 29's hype, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

And concerning the marketing of Mars Hill's music, I'll let our musicians address that in a future post or comment. You there, Jody or Phil or Mick or Andrew?

BTW, no one's called Mark Driscoll a fame monger. Please don't put words in our mouths. Rick Warren's one thing, Mark Driscoll something else entirely. I want to protect Mark--not expose him.

>It is possible to be deluded into thinking that all this public hatred and violent response to a preacher is because he is so faithful to Christ. But there is the possibility that he is just an ass. Jesus will clear all that up when He comes back.

Yes, this is important to keep in mind as everyone points to the opposition Rick Warren is getting right now as he prepares to pray at the Inauguration. As you say, opposition is no proof of being on the narrow road.

Yours in Christ,

In the context of marketing, playing to the crowds, and similar notions, the blog Little Green Footballs reports that pages on Saddleback's website detailing the church's commitment to a literal creation and opposition to homosexuality (because it is sinful) and evolution (because it expressly denies Holy Writ) have disappeared.

Read LGF's report here:

http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/32252_Saddleback_Church_Deletes_...

At the same place, you can find Google cache copies of the now-missing pages.

“Isn't it possible to enjoy the music or work of an unbeliever, to appreciate them as made in the image of God, and to disagree with them respectfully in regards to their unbelief? Isn't faith or unbelief the real divide between "us" and "them"?”

“Oh, you guys are in the PCA.... right. The denomination that loves to preach the effects of the Gospel, and simply forgets the Gospel. Kind of explains the attitude.”

Chris

You say that PCA men “forget the gospel”, implying that this is what Tim and David are doing here.
What is the gospel Chris?
Are you sure that you know?
Melissa doesn’t profess, Barack does.
What would you say to either of them?
Barack says that he believes. What gospel does he believe? Yours?
True faith is always accompanied by specific obedience and, conversely, unbelief (including false faith) is never separate from specific disobedience.
If you were as faithful as the prophets in giving the gospel to them, what would Melissa and Barack think of you? Would they speak well of you? Would they invite you to pray at their inauguration?

We are not to disagree respectfully with the sinner’s unbelief; we are to say “No” to their flagrant acts of disobedience. (Unbelief itself is an act of disobedience)
Why do we say “No”?
We say “No” because God says “No”. He doesn’t “disagree respectfully”. We say “No” because we are God’s servants in the “church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.” We say “No” because we are suppose to.
The Christian who will not say “No” is simply the salt that has lost its savor.

(Matthew 5:13)
“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.

Even if we say “No” to sodomy and the slaughter of the unborn because we are further motivated by our appreciation of one “made in the image of God”, one who will die of a wasting disease or be ripped from his mothers womb, evangelicals today won’t give a damn. They won’t care about any motivation we may have. They will only be angry that we used the word “No” and therefore, as Rob Bell is fond of saying, we paint them in with ourselves as being unreasonable.
Rick Warren is catching flack for opposing sodomite marriage. Why not match their bet and raise the stakes. Why not call a press conference and announce that you refuse to pray at the inauguration because of Obama’s (who claims to be a Christian) commitment to sodomy and child murder. You could further say that it isn’t appropriate for God’s prophet, declaring God’s eternal decrees, to simply be another voice opposite the pro-sodomite UMC minister doing the benediction.

American evangelicalism is tasteless.

T & D,
Great conversation. I am still getting my t's crossed and my i's dotted, so sword play helps. Thanks.

Brett,
Calvin was in fact incredibly chatty with Servetus, even up until the time of the latter's execution. Calvin visited him quite frequently in his cell.

CS Lewis' tobacco instrument guy,
I see no distinction between Law and Gospel. Unless you mean the subjective state of a person. The whole of Scripture is the Gospel. Your dispi or Lutheran underwear are showing.

David,
The Gospel? Do you want the Catechism answer? I probably couldn't satisfy you any way. But here is a short answer: Christ is the propitiation for my sin. He stood in my place, and took what I deserved, and because He was raised from the dead I now live, and will live forever with Him.

Merry Christmas to ya'll.

CZ

T & D,
I am being sucked into the blogosphere, something I try and avoid. But, nevertheless, I forgot to reply to the marketing stuff. Yeah, I agree with you, but like I said there is bad and good marketing (a better word might be differentiation, rather than what sounds like a selling term). I don't like the idea of the marketplace in the church, but the notion of "publishing" is really what it is about.

As far as Lynden, WA.... well that is a Dutch community and up until the fall of Apartheid in ZA they mirrored the attitude towards blacks. It is written into their city constitution to this day that no blacks can settle there, and has not been fully purged. Not a good example. Faith PCA in Tacoma is better, with Dr. Rayburn, but even there a cloistered attitude prevails. Dr. Rayburn is genius though.

"Calvin was in fact incredibly chatty with Servetus, even up until the time of the latter's execution. Calvin visited him quite frequently in his cell."

LOL ... ROFLOL ...

What do you want to bet that he wasn't trying to prove to Servetus how "cool" he was or he used his conversations to prove to the "I love Servetus" community that he could get along well with Christ haters.

If Rick was visiting Melissa with the same purpose and the same words that Calvin was visiting Servetus I can assure you that unless Melissa was visited by the Spirit of Christ Melissa wouldn't likely keep receiving Rick.

You'll have to do better than that Chris to rescue your point.

>As far as Lynden, WA.... well that is a Dutch community and up until the fall of Apartheid in ZA they mirrored the attitude towards blacks...

Chris, the whole northwest is utterly whitebread. Hip coders and marketing mavens can cop a posture of superiority towards racists up there because it will cost them precisely nothing. Let's see, what's the cost of being racially enlightened in Portland or Seattle, not to mention Bellingham?

Absolutely nothing.

So don't confess Lynden's sins for them. It's patronizing.

Furthermore, anyone who knows the Dutch community knows their temptation is only to the same racism/selfism each one of our ethnic groups or social classes indulge in, constantly. It's called pride and selfishness and I'm pretty certain you have it as much as any other believer. You may look down on PCAers or people without a high school diploma or people who are old or people who use PCs or people who listen to Melissa Etheridge, but I guarantee I could tell you within a half hour's conversation whom you despise. Maybe just five minutes.

When the Dutchman says, "If you're not Dutch, you're not much," he's talking the native language of us all. Every last one of us.

>It is written into their city constitution to this day that no blacks can settle there, and has not been fully purged.

So you think it's been fully purged from your own heart? I tell you, there's not one of us who doesn't suffer from a terminal case of racial or occupational or creative or sexual or class pride, and chooses where we sit and who we associate with on that basis.

>Faith PCA in Tacoma is better, with Dr. Rayburn, but even there a cloistered attitude prevails.

"Better"?

>Dr. Rayburn is genius though.

Rob is a friend, but...

Today, we all need fewer ministers of the Word and Sacrament who are geniuses and more who are shepherds of God's flock. Men who warn their flock from house to house, day and night with tears.

Warmly,

>>The whole of Scripture is the Gospel. <<

Chris, you may want to check out the Westminster Confession of Faith sometime.

To Tim - your comments about the Dutch - I have also come across the attitude of "If you're not Reformed, you're not much" from various of Reformed persuasion; though not, I hasten to add, on this site or from your good self. Thanx.

Seriously, I don't know how we should be connecting with our culture in a way that will mean that they do get to hear the Gospel, but I get the dreadful feeling that no-one is doing it well. Either we try to keep up with the totally cool, and lose our edge that way, or we withdraw into our various Reformed or Fundamentalist bunkers and no-one gets to hear anything. Is anyone these days making a decent fist of their evangelism?

Tim,

I suspect this has actually been true for longer than many of us suspect. I am reading Pamela Cochran's history of Evangelical feminism and from her descriptions of the actions and issue advocacy of Nancy Hardesty and Jim Wallis (among others) which prefigured and surrounded the founding of Evangelicals for Social Action and the Evangelical Women's Caucus, it seems to me the contention that you cannot serve both God and Evangelicalism has been true for more than 30 years.

Kamilla

>Today, we all need fewer ministers of the Word and Sacrament who are geniuses and more who are shepherds of God's flock.

I'm confident this is not a suggestion that one can't be both or that there is something inherently wrong with being extremely bright. Acumen is, after all, a gift like any other that one is expected to use to the glory of the giver.

At least in America, today, within the conservative reformed church, we've forgotten that Christ chose Apostles who were unschooled, ordinary men. The Apostle Paul is the exception that proves the rule. The others weren't slow, of course, but they certainly weren't academics.

No, I don't think pastors should be ignorant or stupid, but I do think we need less stress on the intellect and more on pastoral gifts. So when someone tells me this or that pastor is (a) genius, I wonder at what would cause a man to commend another shepherd in such a way?

Love,

"No, I don't think pastors should be ignorant or stupid, but I do think we need less stress on the intellect and more on pastoral gifts."

Just curious ... when we say "pastoral gifts" do we mean "relational skills"? Are we saying we need less stress on the ability to properly handle a text, or craft a sermon, or catechize our congregation and more stress on how to speak to somebody in adultery, counsel people who are grieving over the death of a loved one, or be winsome in presenting the Gospel?

>Are we saying we need less stress on the ability to properly handle a text, or craft a sermon, or catechize our congregation...?

Dear Brett,

Yes, of course that's what I'm saying. You didn't even need to ask, did you?

Disgusted,

Tim Bayly

Dear Readers,

Some may be scandalized at my signing off "disgusted" above, but please don't be. Pastor McAtee has been reading this blog for quite some time, now--way too long to ask such a foolish question.

With love,

We *are* all fundamentalists now!

:-)

Tim,

You can be disgusted all you please. It was a serious question given this quote of yours,

"No, I don't think pastors should be ignorant or stupid, but I do think we need less stress on the intellect and more on pastoral gifts."

I was simply trying to get you to be concrete in what you meant by less stress on the intellect and more stress on pastoral gifts. Is it a crime to ask you to be concrete? What does less stress on the intellect mean, concretely speaking, if it doesn't mean the kind of examples I gave? OK... so stressing less the intellect apparently doesn't mean stressing less, "properly handling a text, or crafting a sermon, or catechizing our congregation." Could you tell me (us) what it does mean? Does it mean less stress on "Biblical Theology," "Church History," or "Biblical sociology," and more stress on pastoral skills like comforting the afflicted, hospital etiquette, and proper funeral decorum?

Tell me Tim, is an example of stressing "pastoral gifts" telling somebody that their sincere question is foolish?

Fondly and Warmly,

Pastor Bret L. McAtee
Charlotte Christian Reformed Church
Charlotte, Michigan

Dear Brett,

There are better ways of engaging a brother than imagining the worst possible construction on his words,

In our Lord,

“I probably couldn't satisfy you any way.”

Chris,

You say that your answer probably couldn’t satisfy me. There could only be two reasons for your saying this:

One would be that I couldn’t be satisfied because I am censorious and therefore I simply lust for argument. It is true that a pastor must guard against his sin causing the gift of discernment to transform into a censorious spirit, just as a soldier or executioner must not allow his killing to morph into simple blood lust. Unfortunately, even though his motives are often (perhaps always) mixed, both the pastor and the soldier must continue in his duties.

The other reason would be that I am discerning but that you are deaf to, or opposed to, my point.

The scripture says that discernment is acquired through practice; the senses must be trained to discern good from evil. It requires discrimination. This necessitates having the willingness to reject and to be rejected. Discernment is almost completely absent from evangelicalism today. Therefore, when it is practiced the one who exercises it is quite often seen as censorious, a ‘freak’ or a ‘meanie’. I have a friend who is sometimes heard to say, “In the land of the blind the one eyed man is a monster.”

When I asked you if you knew the gospel, I wasn’t asking for a good doctrinal definition, I can get that from many websites including those of liberal mainline churches who still post the Westminster Confession as a doctrinal statement. When I asked you if you knew the gospel I was asking if you knew the gospel as one who has been bloodied by your identification with it.
Jesus doesn’t say we carry the salt and throw it around; He says we are the salt. He makes this statement immediately after saying, “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Matthew Henry expounds it this way:
“"Ye are the salt of the earth." This would encourage and support them under their sufferings, that, though they should be treated with contempt, yet they should really be blessings to the world, and the more so for their suffering thus.”
“The doctrine of the gospel is as salt; it is penetrating, quick, and powerful (He 4:12); it reaches the heart Ac 2:37. It is cleansing, it is relishing, and preserves from putrefaction. We read of the savour of the knowledge of Christ (2Co 2:14); for all other learning is insipid without that. An everlasting covenant is called a covenant of salt (Nu 18:19); and the gospel is an everlasting gospel. Salt was required in all the sacrifices (Le 2:13), in Ezekiel's mystical temple, Eze 43:24. Now Christ's disciples having themselves learned the doctrine of the gospel, and being employed to teach it to others, were as salt.”
“Christians, and especially ministers, are the salt of the earth.”

Open your eyes.
All is not well in ‘Positive Alternative’ land.

>Tell me Tim, is an example of stressing "pastoral gifts" telling somebody that their sincere question is foolish?

Certainly in some circumstances. Pastoral doesn't mean soft and squishy.

Tim and/or David,

Although you may not have thought it just for Bret to pose the question s he did, I for one would find it very enlightening to have you provide a good summary statement of what you believe pastoral gifts include. Surely a scanning of the various posts could give one a hint of what you think them to be, but a summary statement is better for at least two reasons: 1) It saves the reader from scanning the voluminous posts you have already posted, and 2) It allows you to avert potential misinterpretations based upon what a scanning might otherwise provide.

~Joshua

>a summary statement is better (because) it saves the reader from scanning the voluminous posts you have already posted...

Dear Joshua,

We haven't written this blog as a pursuit of vanity or royalties, but to serve the church--particularly her fathers (pastors, elders, and deacons) and mothers (Titus 2 women). As such, it is intended to be read beyond what's current, so I have no desire to save readers from reading old posts. In fact, I desire and expect them to.

Concerning this particular inquiry, I suggest you read the category titled "Pastors." And you might begin with two posts titled, "Father Hunger and Pastoral Ministry" and "Wise Advice for a New Small Town Pastor."

Two other suggestions: close reading and meditation on the Apostle Paul's description of his faithful shepherding in Ephesus found in Acts 20 has been one of the most helpful things in my ministry; also, I devoured Richard Baxter's "The Reformed Pastor" along with his autobiography in my first year of ministry. Today, I can think of no sustained work that comes even close to Baxter's "Reformed Pastor" for the proper emphases in pastoral ministry.

Warmly in Christ,

Dear Bret,

As you know, the pastoral gifts are listed in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. One in a long list is "able to teach" and "holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict." What of the others, many of which have to do with godly character and would indeed lead one to excel in "comforting the afflicted, hospital etiquette, and proper funeral decorum"...and many more things.

Given your posts here on Baylyblog, I've often wondered what your pastoral ministry looks like at Charlotte CRC. The impression you have given from your writing here on this blog is that you excel in arguing about words and lack in certain of the pastoral gifts that I consider important. I understand that your persona here on the blog may be different than your persona there in the church...but perhaps it shouldn't be.

In Christ,
Andrew

"As far as Lynden, WA.... well that is a Dutch community and up until the fall of Apartheid in ZA they mirrored the attitude towards blacks. It is written into their city constitution to this day that no blacks can settle there, and has not been fully purged. Not a good example."

Chris,

I realize it is somewhat tangential to the main flow of this comment thread, but I am a pastor in Lynden and I am interested to know the basis of your comment.

I have asked a couple of elders, one of whom is a city council member and an amatuer history buff of Lynden. They have absolutely no knowledge of such a city constitution let alone this particular article. But you may know something they don't. As I am preaching on the sin of racism, pride and prejiduce in January I would like to know more about your source of information. Thank you.

"As such, it is intended to be read beyond what's current, so I have no desire to save readers from reading old posts. In fact, I desire and expect them to."

Fair enough, and it is your prerogative. I'll check them out.

"Two other suggestions: close reading and meditation on the Apostle Paul's description of his faithful shepherding in Ephesus found in Acts 20 has been one of the most helpful things in my ministry; also, I devoured Richard Baxter's "The Reformed Pastor" along with his autobiography in my first year of ministry. Today, I can think of no sustained work that comes even close to Baxter's "Reformed Pastor" for the proper emphases in pastoral ministry."

I was able to download the audiobook of Baxter's work, and I'm sure I can find the others. More books for my queue!

Thanks,

~Joshua

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