Friday, December 30, 2016
Tuesday, December 27, 2016
In fact, confusion over it and related concepts can be found at the heart of many of the disputes and issues tearing at the fabric of the early twenty-first century world. In “I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist”, Norman Geisler and Frank Turek analyze why it actually requires more effort to remain an unbeliever and provide a number of tools the Christian can utilize to defend the faith in hostile situations before skeptical audiences.
Often, Christianity is downplayed and its influence minimized by secularists in the broader culture through the claim that the system is not objective. From this conjecture, critics diverge into two branches.
Older Modernists will argue that their perspective, superficially free of any prior faith commitments and extolling science as the ultimate foundation for truth, is the only objective viewpoint. Postmodernists, having grown weary of maintaining such a facade, dump the illusion of objectivity all together by postulating that every perspective is merely a matter opinion with no viewpoint being any more universally authoritative than any other. In “I Don't Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist”, Norman Geisler and Frank Turek endeavor to show how Christianity is the best faith alternative for successfully balancing the tensions between the objective and the subjective.
Whether the detached skeptic --- often holding a tenured university chair --- wants to admit it or not, everyone (including himself) holds to some kind of religious position. In their analysis, Geisler and Turek classify religious worldviews into the three broad categories of Theism, Pantheism, and Atheism (23).
The authors define the first category of Theism as the belief that a personal God created the universe but that He is distinct from it. Examples of theistic belief systems include Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
The second worldview category is Pantheism, the idea that the universe as a mystical totality is God. To better understand this and the differences with Theism, Geisler and Turek provide the following example.
In Theism, God is analogous to an artist and the universe His distinct artistic work that is separate from Him but with which He interacts. In Pantheism, God is the painting. Major pantheist faiths include Hinduism, Buddhism, and the New Age movement.
The third worldview category is Atheism, which denies the existence of God and often a spiritual or immaterial component of reality all together. Under this category, Geisler and Turek have included Religious Humanism because --- even though differentiated from its secularist cousin in that it gives lip service to the existence of a power beyond the material realm --- Religious Humanism still looks to man rather than God as the final authority.
The Modernist and the Postmodernist have further skewered the discussion in their favor by creating barriers between the notions of belief and facts. Geisler and Turek write, “Despite its apparent persuasiveness, the claim that religion is simply a matter of faith is nothing more than a modern myth --- it’s just not true. While religion certainly requires faith, religion is not only about faith. Facts are also central to all religions because all religious worldviews --- including atheism --- make truth claims, and many of those truth claims can be evaluated through scientific and historical investigation (23).”
There is indeed a degree of correlation between what a person believes and the world beyond the self. One only needs to point out that insane asylums and mental wards are full of people who for various reasons and as a result of assorted circumstances have had their minds severed from reality. And though we as a society must exercise vigilance and even vociferously oppose those who would infringe upon the freedom and dignity of those whose outlooks run counter to prevailing perceptions but do not pose a definitive bodily harm to those around them, Christians should advocate for their worldview as the perspective that best harmonizes the inner and outer worlds.
By Frederick Meekins
Friday, December 23, 2016
She has been accused of spoiling her offspring and even abusing them.
Busybodies in both the social and mainstream media have decreed that she should instead teach her children about the true meaning of Christmas by redirecting the gifts towards charity.
Perhaps the amount spent is a bit excessive.
But is it PROPER (to invoke a term the British like to articulate) to invoke the specter of abuse?
For in overly regulated quasi-police states such as the United Kingdom, the phrase “abuse” usually serves as the bureaucratic pretext to justify intervening in a home for the purposes of subjecting a family to a variety of investigative and surveillance techniques.
Have the British become so totalitarian as to produce actuarial tables detailing what number of presents are allowed before anti-social tendencies begin to set in?
And if it is unacceptable for a parent to spend $1800 at Christmas, why is it acceptable for the Queen to have so many corgis or Prince Charles to have an even greater number of sports cars despite his insistence that he is an environmentalist?
Gifts piled high probably aren't the meaning of Christmas.
But neither is the Pavolian reflex endemic throughout Northern European social democracies that what the nanny state decrees to be excess wealth should be confiscated and bestowed upon the chronically destitute with no strings attached.
It has been claimed that the extravagance $1800 can accumulate will spoil these children.
But what about those making their livelihoods from institutionalized penury demanding increasingly sophisticated levels of luxury instead of expressing a modicum of gratitude for what private or public generosity they have been extended?
Are BBC “news readers” interviewing academics or policy analysts warning of the dangers that might take place as result of too many unearned entitled programs?
Anyone doubting the legitimacy of such a concern or observation only needs to be reminded of the British jihadist born of immigrant parents that not only murdered a member of that nation's armed forces in a ditch alongside the road but also proudly uploaded a video glamorizing the shocking atrocity.
Perhaps that is the subversive element that this concern regarding the consequences of incorrectly reared youth ought to be focused.
By Frederick Meekins
On Christmas morning many will go around bragging about all of the gifts they have received and share with everyone the things they have been given. It seems however, that there is one gift many forget to mention. It is the best and most perfect gift of all. It didn’t come to us by a fat man driving a sleigh pulled by reindeer. It came to us in a manger over two thousand years ago. It is a gift that once we receive it, is always ours, but at the same time it is one that we must share and give to others. What is this gift that I speak of some may wonder? It is the gift of the greatest news ever, the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
The world, however, has rejected God, His teachings, and His Son. All you have to do is look around and see how dark and evil a place the world is. A majority of the world has embraced to false teachings and lies of the “god of this world” (see 2 Corinthians 4:4). It has embraced with open arms such evils as homosexuality and the form of mass murder and serial killing known as abortion. We have seen this very same ungodliness finding its way into the church and even into the clergy itself, corrupting the 100% pure teachings of God, under the guise of tolerance, progressiveness, Etc.
This Christmas season, as we all should be doing with every day, we need to stand up against this evil and share with those who are lost in the world and its ways, the gift that God has given us. We must tell the world of the true teachings of God as found in the Holy Bible. We must rebuke all false teachings, no matter how innocent they may see, to be.
As Christians, that have been born-again in the blood of Christ, we must stand up against false teachings and expose them for what they are (see Ephesians 5:11; Ephesians 5:6-13; Romans 16:17; Titus 1: 13). We must continue to resist the devil and all of his works in all we say, think, and do (see James 4:7).
We must all stand firm and never under any circumstance compromise of the Word of God. We must be completely loyal to Him, especially for all He has done for us. He gave His one and only Son for us, so we must be willing to do all for Him. This Christmas season we must go forward and share with an unbelieving world what the one and only true meaning and purpose of Christmas is for and about.
No matter what may come in our way we must do as command by Christ Himself, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28: 19).
May God watch over and bless each and every one of you. Share the gift that God has given you. Each time you share this gift with others it will always give back to you.
Dr. Bradley Carey
Thursday, December 22, 2016
Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Monday, December 19, 2016
Saturday, December 17, 2016
One hundred activists have been arrested in Rotterdam for demonstrating in the streets against a fictitious character named “Black Pete”.
For those having no idea who that is, in Scandinavian folklore Black Pete is the sidekick of Santa Claus. But instead of distributing toys and treats, Black Pete dispenses punishment in the form of the dreaded lumps of coal in the stocking.
Tolerancemongers are tossing their typical tizzy because Black Pete is depicted with a blackened face, red lips, and what is perceived as an Afro wig.
One theory holds this is because Pete is believed to be a Spanish Moor while others insist it is simply because he is covered in soot as a result in trafficking in hydrocarbon residue.
It is claimed such a depiction is racist.
Before this subversive impulse dissipates, these radicals bent on tearing down centuries of Western tradition (as Black Pete's supporters insist that the character is part of their cultural heritage as an integral component of their Christmas tradition) will condemn the Santa motif in its entirety for imposing the standards of the chronologically advanced upon the recently nascent.
After all, who are the bourgeoisie to impede the vanguard destined to bring change and transformation through violent upheaval?
If defenders of the Western way of life do not say enough is enough, soon it will be more than those expressions of culture formulated in less socially aware times on the line.
For example, elsewhere in Western Europe at a Woolworth's store in Germany, Christian decorations were removed just days after they were put up.
The reason given was that the retail establishment was now a “Muslim store”.
Die hard freemarketeers of the sort that think that it is a good thing when pewee athletic coaches berate the kids and even smack them around a little will likely respond that a merchant should be allowed to sell whatever the business desires. That is of course unless the products in question that an establishment doesn't want to sell happen to be birth control related and then suddenly the concept of proprietary discretion is tossed into the conceptual remainder pile.
But do not customers have the right to demand that assorted enterprises provide desired goods and services?
If the heathen can pour across the frontiers of the West demanding under threats of and actually committed acts of violence demanding that these besieged populations alter a variety of longstanding norms and practices, the civilized peoples of the Earth are well within their own rights to withhold financial patronage of such non-responsive merchants.
If Woolworth's fails to comply, perhaps that name in Europe will become like it is across large swaths of North America as a defunct retailer relegated to the proverbial annals of business history and remembered little more by a quickly depleting pool of shoppers.
It should be interesting to see if this alliance between multiculturalists and free market purists will remain united and intact regarding a development in Saudi Arabia.
It was announced there that the private schools for internationals residing within that particular Islamic kingdom would be forbidden from celebrating Christmas.
The prohibition even forbade schools from even altering examination dates in the attempt to give students a bit of a surreptitious break.
Will there be similar outcry from the voices insisting that celebrations in primarily Christian and Caucasians lands must be altered for the purposes of establishing the ballyhooed safe spaces for minorities and that whatever choices these protected demographics might make within their own COMMUNITIES must be affirmed in a celebratory fashion by the broader society?
The Constitution warns that enemies can be both foreign and domestic.
As such, one of the most pernicious of threats is this paradoxical situation where many of diversity's most enthusiastic acolytes demand that we as Americans eliminate the cultural expressions of the faith that has guided the nation throughout much of its history while looking favorably upon the very creed whose most fanatic practitioners have few qualms about physically mutilating those with whom they disagree.
By Frederick Meekins
Friday, December 16, 2016
Thursday, December 15, 2016
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Monday, December 12, 2016
Saturday, December 10, 2016
That in no way prevented the expositor from invoking the text in the attempt to beat the listener over the head with any number of assorted guilttrips.
In the story, Abraham details for the servant the process to find a bride for Issac.
Of this, the homilist remarked that Abraham showed more faith in his servant than most modern Christians do in their pastor.
To craft an appropriately contextualized phrase, what does that have to do with the price of petroleum in the Levant?
In the case of Abraham and Issac, this was to be the genetic line that would result in the Israelite people in general and the Messiah in particular.
However, any Baptist worth his communion grape juice will admit that God for whatever reason does not intervene as explicitly at this point along the time line of redemptive history.
Anyone desiring this degree of pastoral oversight in their lives to the point of selecting the spouses of their children is only asking for trouble on par with the cult tragedies of Jonestown, Waco, and Heaven's Gate.
By Frederick Meekins
Friday, December 09, 2016
Interesting. A homicidal tyrant that has in effect built a wall of security for the purposes of keeping his people imprisoned is praised by typical liberals but a president elect that promised to keep out those having no right to be here is the first place is condemned.
There are two suspected assailants in the attack on an Ohio college campus. Wonder how long until the unapprehended second attacker disappears into the ether and his existence vociferously denied to the point of law enforcement threatening violence against witnesses continuing to insist otherwise?
It was alleged on a Christian talk radio program that those on the Right are often guilty of arguing from the extreme. So does that mean come next October this ministry won't rant and rave that children that Trick or Treat are prone to becoming Satanists or practicing witches?
A pastor remarked that it is humanocentric to be worried about people going to Hell and theocentric to be concerned that God is not receiving the worship that He deserves. Maybe so. But if this was God's primary concern, perhaps He shouldn't have created sentient beings so aware of or motivated by pain and misery.
A pastor remarked that, in order to destroy the idol of materialism, the Christian must become a giver. Wonder if the pastor would sing the same tune if the philanthropy was directed towards any worthwhile charitable effort but the one he administers or others in his theological or ideological orbit.
In a sermon against idolatry, a pastor said that, during the holiday season, the congregation was being provided with a list of organizations to which they should consider giving in the attempt to squelch the influence of materialism over their lives. The catch was that this eleemosynary was not to come their usual tithe or offering. In other words, the minister was insistent that he still wanted his usual cut of the usual proceeds.
In a sermon, Pastor Sean Harris of Berean Baptist Church remarked in reference to John D. Rockerfeller that anyone that gave away 60% of their income couldn't be an idolater. I cannot necessarily speak to the state of John D. Rockerfeller's soul. However, the pastor's conclusion doesn't necessarily fly. For example, having all that one could desire in terms of possessions, often those of immense wealth fund an assortment of organizations for the purposes of advancing their own reputations or to remake society in compliance with their particular image. Likewise, what about Communist revolutionaries that might forgo the accumulation of personnel possession for their particular cause? They might not wallow in luxury, but they are no less materialistic as the most debauched hedonist. After all, the philosophy underlying Communism is itself called dialectical materialism.
DC Mayor Muriel Bowser lamenting the strain caused by increasing numbers of indigents streaming into the city because of its generous social welfare benefits wants to tighten the residency requirements that must be met before shelter is offered. So how is such a proposal appreciably different than Trump wanting to toughen border security for assorted reasons? And if bleeding heart liberals want to maintain the distinction, why are foreigners more deserving of American assistance than actual Americans?
On The Five, Greg Gutfeld says most prefer community to calamity. From my experience, each of these is pretty much identical.
A pastor warned that your spouse or your children can become an idol in that an idol is anything that can compete with your affection for God. If a pastor fails to list the organized church among that warming, there is the likelihood that the pastor has made an idol of formalized religion.
A pastor complained that, for every $100, the average Christian gives only $2.50. The remark must no doubt mean into the offering plate. But if we are going to operate under the assumption that the family is the first and foremost charity, isn't every dollar a parent spends to take care of a child in essence a dollar spent on charity? And isn't the amount increased substantially if the Christian has their offspring in a Christian school as they have been admonished to by a wide variety of reputable teachers and ministries? And to those that might not have any children, it has been suggested that creation care itself qualifies as a form of ministry. As such, wouldn't every dollar one spends on pet food contribute to the care of God's creatures? It might be responded but children and pets are entities from which we derive enjoyment. Tread carefully, dear pastor. For the ultimate outcome of that line of argumentation would conclude that those attending your congregation should instead send their offering dollar to the congregation across town or down the street that they do not attend.
In a sermon on idolatry, Pastor Sean Harris of Berean Baptist Church used the illustration of a little girl with three dolls in her arms that would still want additional dolls in her embrace if she could get her arms around them. Given the photo of his church facility on SermonAudio, are that many flagpoles at one church the most prudent use of tithe dollars especially since the pastoral staff is on the record in numerous uploaded podcasts expressing just what little regard they have (actually bordering on spiritual contempt) for Old Glory?
If your church is on the verge of financial ruination, isn't it about time to cut back on the foreign missionaries to an extent?
If in a sermon on tithing it is claimed that those that tithed ended up with more money, how is that appreciably different than Osteenian propaganda?
It was said of 100 faith promise giving program pledge forms, a previous year only nine were completed and returned. But if it is emphasized that this campaign is distinct from the Biblically compulsory tithe, who is to say that it wasn't the Holy Spirit that restrained some believers from participation?
On an episode of “Stand For The Truth” addressing racial issues, broadcaster Mike Lemay lamented how often the response on the part of Conservatives and certain Christians is to point out that things have improved considerably over time. Instead, succumbing to the intellectual contaminate of liberal White guilt, he suggests that we are to join the chorus of how things still need to improve. Perhaps if he fails or refuses to realize that this response on the part of Conservatives is to prevent additional government intervention and wealth redistribution, perhaps what he himself has worked to accumulate will be among the first assets seized. Better yet, if he feels Holy Ghost conviction regarding these matters, why doesn't he surrender his microphone to a minority and instead take up manual day labor as a way to do penance?
Elites are unsettled that Donald Trump might have strong armed United Technologies into keeping in the U.S. over 1000 jobs the corporation had intended to transfer to Mexico. How is this anymore disturbing than the courts compelling small scale Christian businesses to provide services for gay weddings against their will or Obama imposing an assortment of broad mandates upon American enterprises nowhere authorized by Congress or even ordered by the courts?
In response to the AltRight, homeschool activist Kevin Swanson insisted that the Bible allows for the immigrant or stranger to enter the land. If we are going to be that hardcore Old Testament, don't these Old Testament passages about the stranger abiding in the land also admonish the stranger to abide by the laws and customs a determined by the host country and to an extent renouncing the ways of their homeland.
In his criticism of the AltRight, Kevin Swanson insisted it is not a sin for immigrants to attempt to preserve their cultural identity when they come to live in the United States. Then why did the homeschool activist dedicate the podcast in which this sentiment was expressed to propagating the notion that it is a sin for America as its own distinctive culture to take steps in order to do so?
In condemning the AltRight, Kevin Swanson warned that there can be the possibility of more than one ditch. By this, the podcaster meant that, just because something is opposed by the Left, that does not necessarily make it correct. Why doesn't the same principle apply to education? Just because public education at this point might be beyond repair, it does not follow that the only alternative is a form of home education where the future life paths of young women especially are severely curtailed and restricted to the point where they are discouraged from pursuing higher education and even pre-marital employment outside of their parents' home.
Home school activist Swanson denounced as reprobates those not keen on fellowshipping with groups of people. But why are we obligated to attend gatherings where one is going to be bored out of one's mind, where others hardly interacts with you, and where one is reluctant to open one's mouth for fear of it being a religious gathering you will likely be berated with Scripture or if in secular company the outcome could very likely result in a beating or your property destroyed.
Obama in the oration where he brownnosed himself for how the war on terror was conducted during his regime how America was founded so that one could practice one's religion as one saw fit. That is, of course, unless one differs from the prevailing herd mentality regarding homosexual matrimony.
NASA posted "Godspeed, John Glenn." Why shouldn't the official invoking deity in this instance be occupationally terminated like the Jet Propulsion Lab functionary dismissed over confessing a belief in theistic intelligent design? Yes, the modifier "theistic" is necessary because there is probably some egghead at that facility who believes the Intelligent Designer is an extraterrestrial and the directors of the facility have no problem with that belief.
Isn't Brian Williams about the last mass communicator that should get on his establishmentarian media high horse against “fake news”?
Regarding those outraged over the legitimacy of the Pizzagate scandal. Were they as quick to condemn the rush to judgment regarding nebulous allegations of carnal impropriety leveled against Herman Cain and Donald Trump?
In his condemnation of the so-called AltRight, home school activist Keven Swanson insisted that sin, not immigration or cultural preservation, is the root cause of the nation's problems. Technically so. But that is the Sunday school answer. If Swanson really holds to Reformed theology, he ought to admit that it is God's plan for different people to tackle the manifestation of such in different social spheres or cultural arenas. Perhaps Swanson ought to be criticized for focusing a significant percentage of his efforts towards education. It must be admitted that there are some in the AltRight that probably take the issues that they emphasize too far. However, this subset of Conservatism has only gained a degree of notoriety because of the many religious leaders that downplay the concerns of everyday Americans (usually Caucasian) while overlooking ethno-supremacist activism when such manifests itself among assorted minorities.
An appellate judge has suggested that the “arms” of the disputed Peace or Victory Cross World War I Memorial in Bladensburg, Maryland could be removed in order to make the edifice constitutionally compliant. So it can, what, look like a giant middle finger thrust into the face of God?
By Frederick Meekins
Thursday, December 08, 2016
Wednesday, December 07, 2016
Tuesday, December 06, 2016
Monday, December 05, 2016
Sunday, December 04, 2016
On his website, Russell Moore published a column titled “What The Church Can Learn From Justice Scalia's Life”. For the most part, the analysis is an approving appraisal and explanation of Scalia's philosophy of jurisprudence. However, there are points at which Moore can't resist the urge to get in slight digs.
For example, Moore writes, “One can disagree with Scalia on these principles, and one can argue that he occasionally seemed to contradicted them.” But the same criticism could just as easily be said regarding Russell Moore.
For example, Moore sits on the board of the National Hispanic Leadership Conference. Would Moore sit on the board of an organization titled the National Confederate Leadership Conference?
From there, Moore proceeds to invoke the death of Justice Scalia as a platform and a pretext from which to bash his fellow Evangelicals.
For example, Moore praises Scalia's prescience to foresee or extrapolate where the judicial rulings of the present might nudge the moral developments of the future. Moore contemplates, “Why were evangelicals so slow to advance the pro-life witness? Why were evangelicals caught so unaware by the shifting family structures in the United States?”
Moore answers these questions that he raises rhetorically by noting that the shortcomings he has pointed out in Evangelical social thought were the result of failing to see ahead of time how culture moves and for in part accommodating the “divorce revolution”. Maybe so, but the answer in part goes beyond that.
Many Evangelicals failed to see the direction in which culture moved because for generations probably up until the time Francis Schaeffer came into prominence and in some circles even later most Evangelicals had been indoctrinated and conditioned to have as little to do as possible with the culture whatsoever. The good Christian, it was often expounded from the pulpit, did not seek to investigate the issues and challenges of the day on their own.
Instead, you were simply expected to accept whatever your pastor was willing to tell you about them. An interest in anything beyond the casseroles at the church potluck supper was considered “worldly”.
Media and forms of art were considered evil not necessarily on the basis of content but rather in and of themselves. You can't really subject the students in your Christian school to a curriculum consisting of not much more than grammatically diagramming Bible verses and where about the only professionals exhorted as examples to emulate are missionaries to foreign fields and then sit around dumbfounded as to why so few graduates from such settings go on to careers in strategically important fields such as law, medicine, government, or media.
Russell Moore really strives to bore the assembled a new one as he moves towards the conclusion of his analysis. In particular, Moore praises Scalia's aptitude to befriend his opponents.
Of this tendency, Moore writes of Scalia, “He was certainly one of the most combative justices in print and in argument in history. Even so, he had a strong friendship with liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Was that an inconsistency?”
Moore answers his rhetorical question, “No. This was confidence. He knew that his ideas could prevail, so he didn't see the persons who opposed him as those to be avoided or shunned. He knew that his convictions were clear, so he didn't play tribal politics by isolating himself with an ideological cocoon.”
Speaking of “tribal politics”, once again, it must be asked, if Russell Moore enunciates that phrase in such as say as to imbue it with negative connotations, why does he sit on the board of the National Hispanic Leadership Conference? Moore is likely nothing more than the organization's token gringo. For outfits with such ethnically explicit names are all about tribal politics and don't give a rodent's hindquater about good of the nation as a whole.
Justice Scalia is to be commended for his many contributions in the effort to preserve what little remains of America's constitutional liberties. However, in light of the circumstances surrounding his passing, as with all who achieve lofty status or position (including Russell Moore most likely as well) one will find that his ultimate loyalty was probably to the elite and its continued perpetuation rather than a set of enduring principles necessarily.
For example, the hunting lodge from which Justice Scalia transitioned into the Afterlife was owned by the International Order of St. Hubertus. According to the Washington Post (a mainstream media institution and not Alex Jones mind you), the International Order of St. Hubertu is an order where its exclusively male membership gathers to prance around in silky green robes while slaughtering animals not so much for subsistence hunting but rather for the thrill of taking another creature's life.
Even worse, this organization is itself believed to have ties to Bohemian Grove. For those not familiar with that particular term, that is a place deep in the woods of California were many elites thinking they are so much better than the rest of us that they are the ones that will determine the course of our lives gather before a giant owl statue ritualistically pledging to bring about the New World Order. The ceremonial proceedings usually conclude with drunkenness, occasionally orgies, and (if certain conspiracy theorists are to be believed) sometimes even a human sacrifice or two.
Pastor Moore could have attributed this observation to just an aspect of Scalia's personality that enabled the jurist to find that murky balance between standing for one's principles and the degree of compromise necessary to prevent the political or judicial process from getting eternally mired in interminable gridlock. Instead, Moore utilizes the point to once again bash the mere pewfiller over the head.
Moore writes, “If our friends and acquaintances are all those who agree with us or our politics, then it could be that politics is our god. And if our friends and acquaintances are all those who agree with our theology, then maybe our talk about mission is just talk.”
If this is how Evangelicals in general and Baptists in particular act in Moore's estimation, much of that fault lies in how the leaders of the movement have indoctrinated their respective congregations, followers, and students (not necessarily in error) over the past several decades.
Among churches of a more doctrinally rigorous nature, it is simply not enough to earn the status of good or even satisfactory Christian by attending worship on a semi-regular basis and to attempt to apply what is taught in such gatherings in the normal course of life. Instead, formal organized religious exercises and church attendance are to become the focal point of one's existence.
For example, you are also obligated to attend Sunday school, Sunday evening, and possibly even a variety of small group studies during a given week if your church is sufficiently large enough where these cell groups are not necessarily so much about studying objective doctrinal content but more about confession and denunciation of shortcomings in a manner not surprisingly different from what might take place in a prisoner of war camp. But if your church isn't large enough to provide an assortment of such groups, fear not. For yours will likely include a midweek service.
This will likely be marketed or specifically presented as a “prayer meeting”. Pewfillers will also be shamed of manipulated into attending from the pulpit as well. The common rhetorical set up for this will begin with explaining how prayer is simply talking with God and who doesn't enjoy talking to or spending time with those we hold most dear. As such, it is concluded, if you fail to show up for prayer meeting, you must not really love God all that much.
But the thing about that conversation is that it really needs to be a two way exchange if the train of thought and ongoing dialog is to consist of more than the equivalent of a telepathic voice message. Furthermore, often what transpires is that pastorally led prayers end up being a combination of an extension of the sermon and newsletter announcements by other means. But at least when the sermon and newsletter announcements are made as sermon and newsletter announcements rather than as extended prayers, you don't have to sit there with your eyes clamped shut for fear of being called out for it by the pastor who must need the privacy to quickly pick his nose.
This extended exposition must seem like an unrelated tangent. However, it does provide a bit of explanation as to why the Christian probably doesn't have much time to hobnob with reprobates outside of the church.
Of course Justices Scalia, Ginsberg, and even Elena Kagin are probably going to hit it off. Though most aren't going to have the courage to say it, both Roman Catholicism and Judaism are two religions that love their booze. So what exactly are upper class Jews supposed to bond over with blue collar Baptists that have had it drilled into their heads their entire lives (and possibly even rightfully so) to avoid alcohol at all costs? A love of pork barbecue that the Jew isn't even supposed to eat unless they are of the variety that invokes that particular identity not so much because of a devotion to Old Testament teaching but rather as something to invoke quickly to justify an often noticeable hostility towards anything even remotely Christian?
In this situation of whether to interact or separate, the mere pewfiller cannot hope to prevail in terms of avoiding some manner of verbal chastisement. For often these clergy live by a double standard that they would not approve of if they saw it manifested in the lives of their fellow believers.
For example, in Spring 2015, there was a bit of ecumenical excitement in the air as it was announced that NBC planned to broadcast a dramatic miniseries titled “AD”. The purpose of the drama was to provide the viewer with a bit of narrative insight into what the early Church centered around the Apostles might have had to deal with following the Resurrection of Christ.
But instead of supporting this undertaking as a respectful attempt by the entertainment industry to present the founding of the Christian faith even if not entirely accurate down to the tiniest painstakingly exact detail but in a way that might spark the curiosity of an individual to investigate further if so inclined, a number of ministers and theologians openly criticized the production. Interestingly, instead of pointing out where the narrative might have strayed from the Biblical record, Pastor Randy White on an episode of “Standing For The Truth” droned on and on about the producer of the miniseries Roma Downey being a Roman Catholic sympathetic towards the New Age movement. White continued on by calling into question Evangelical leaders such as David Jeremiah that set aside differences with this competing system of theological interpretation to emphasize the common first century heritage shared by these distinct brands of Christianity.
From the vehemence of that particular episode, the average listener might come away with the impression of the importance of limiting one's exposure to Roman Catholics if one wants to be considered the kind of person that puts faith first in one's life. But apparently that is the kind of rule Pastor White expects everyone else to abide by with the exception of himself. This particularly seems to be the case when it comes to individuals that can advance Pastor White's own career or rather ministry (to put it in terms that sound less secular and more pious).
For example, on “Standing For The Truth” (the very same program on which nearly one year prior he condemned fellow Evangelicals that had cooperated with a Roman Catholic in terms of promoting a cinematic production inspired by Biblical sources), Randy White deliberately name-dropped how highly he thought of his good friend Brett Baier who just happened to be a Fox News anchor. White also confessed that Baier also happened to be Roman Catholic but one whom White was proud to call his friend because of Baier's sincerity to do the right thing despite the theological differences that White went out of his way to downplay in this instance. So why can't Roma Downey and her husband Mark Burnett be thought of in a similar fashion as an alley with whom Evangelicals can at times cooperate regarding shared aspects of the faith?
Towards the conclusion of his tirade, Russell Moore pontificated, “And if our friends and acquaintances are all those who agree with out theology, maybe talk about our mission is just talk.” In essence, you, average Christian, are to be chewed out from the pulpit if you associate with people that are now Christian as defined in a narrowly dogmatic manner and you are going to apparently be chewed out nor if you don't have any friends that are not Christian in a narrowly defined dogmatic manner.
In response to Dr. Moore's catch 22, is it really the average pewfilling Christian that talks so much about mission? Or is that more so those that run or administer the church and related paraministries?
Missions does have its place in the life of the church and by extension the life of every believer. However, it is the occupational ministerial class that has placed what could legitimately be considered a disproportionate emphasis upon formalized missionary outreach to the exclusion of many other as legitimate Christian undertakings.
For example, back during what seemed the verge of a pending ebola epidemic, Ann Coulter dared question why couldn't those inclined towards acts of piety try rescuing their own homeland from the perils of spiritual destruction for a change rather than these backwards lands from which a single microbe hitching a flight on an unsuspecting airliner could potentially lay waste to much of the industrialized world. For enunciating such insightful speculation, professional religionists castigated and condemned Ann Coulter much more vociferously than they ever did for her apparel of questionable modesty.
If professional clergy such as Russell Moore want to talk up missions but do nothing about it in terms of their own lives, then it is indeed a problem and they should be criticized for it. However, if the average believer hears these admonitions but after reflection conclude that the Holy Spirit is leading them to focus upon other callings and areas of ministry just as essential to the fulfillment of God's will in this world, there really is not anything regarding this matter that the Christian ought to feel guilty about.
Justice Scalia will be remembered as one of the great minds of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. It is too bad the lesser minds of this era have invoked this jurist's name for the purposes of manipulating those over whom they have been granted a modicum of authority and influence.
By Frederick Meekins