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Posts Tagged ‘evangelical’

Well, so you’ve probably heard that the largest body of Presbyterians in the U.S. have voted to allow gay clergy.    I’m not actually going to delve into that here because it is clear to me that mainline Protestantism is busy destroying itself from within.   The situation reminds me of the book of Judges which tells us what happens to the people when they have no king, and each man decides for himself:

In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what he thought best.  Judges 21:25

Now, the really funny thing about this quote and why it matches the situation with the Presbyterians so well is that it comes immediately after, and by way of explaining, the previous chapters concerning the tribe of Benjamin.  If you haven’t read it before, I won’t ruin it for you.  Suffice it to say that the chapters concern homosexuality, licentiousness, abuse, rape, murder, more murder, lies, cover-ups, chaos, mayhem and evil. 

In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what he thought best.

So…this is what the great reformation has wrought.  Everyone, every denomination doing what he thinks is best, and moral relativism’s grip gets tighter.

Oh, but I said I wasn’t going to discuss the Presbyterian Church situation, per se.  Right.  Okay, back to the point of this post.  What I want to talk about is the response to the Presbyterian Church situation, at least insofar as other more orthodox Protestants view it.  Which brings me to today’s article in Christianity Today, the magazine of Evangelical Christians.  In an article entitled, The Road to Gay Ordination in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), a Reformed Presbyterian theologian by the name of Dr. S. Donald Fortson III addresses the voted change to that denomination’s constitution.  Dr. Fortson is a Professor of Church History and Practical Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary—Charlotte. He is an ordained minister in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, which (I learned from reading his article) broke away from the main body of the Presbyterian Church in anticipation that it was only a matter of time until the main body fell to “a pro-gay agenda relentlessly pressed until at length Presbyterians officially landed in the gay ordination camp”.   

The article itself is brilliant in its linguistic and theological acrobatics to say how wrong this decision by the PC(USA) is, how unbiblical and outside of tradition…without of course, admitting that the entire Protestant Reformation was…<ahem>…unbiblical and outside of tradition.  And of course, to make his point, this Reformed Presbyterian relies on the Church Fathers of the Catholic Church to make his case.  It’s a brilliant use of equivocation.**  Really, it’s brilliant

Here are some examples of Dr. Fortson’s theological heroics:

And church history is crystal clear: Homosexual practice has been affirmed nowhere, never, by no one in the history of Christianity. The church fathers insisted that doctrine and practice must be tested by Holy Scripture. In addition to careful exegesis, another test was catholicity, that is, what has been the universally accepted scriptural interpretation passed down in the church. (emphasis mine)

To what church is he referring?  the Presbyterian Church?  Or that other one

I kinda think he means this one

He continues–

When novel teachings were shown to fail both the careful scrutiny of Scripture and the consensus of the orthodox Fathers, heretical ideas were doubly condemned.

Um, gosh, could the ‘novel teachings’ he refers to be something like, I dunno…sola fidesola scriptura?  If you remember your history, they both failed the careful scrutiny of Scripture and the consensus of orthodox Fathers, not a one of whom supported either.  The reformers were the ones who championed these novel teachings.

He goes on to quote SAINT Vincent of Lerins (without “Saint” naturally) —

… if anyone wishes, to detect the deceits of heretics that arise and to avoid their snares and to keep healthy and sound in a healthy faith, we ought, with the Lord’s help, to fortify our faith in a twofold manner, firstly that is, by the authority of God’s Law [Scripture], then by the tradition of the Catholic [universal] Church. …[W]e take the greatest care to hold that which has been believed everywhere, always, and by all.'”

Um, Dr. Fortson, I know you are a scholar and like a teacher of kids as well as an actual historian so I’m sure you realize that (this is embarrassing) but uh, you do realize that you misquoted a church father, right?  I am sure that you did not mean to suggest that St. Vincent, the Catholic monk said, “the univeral church” because of course, he didn’t.  He said, the Catholic Church.  Changing the name of the church would seem sorta like you are hiding or obfuscating facts and of course as a Professor of Reformed Theology…I know you wouldn’t do that.  I mean, it’s not like he was just some presbyter schmoo.  He was a monk.  So I’ll just correct it for you.  Here, let me correct your mistake.

‘… if anyone wishes, to detect the deceits of heretics that arise and to avoid their snares and to keep healthy and sound in a healthy faith, we ought, with the Lord’s help, to fortify our faith in a twofold manner, firstly that is, by the authority of God’s Law [Scripture], then by the tradition of the Catholic Church. …[W]e take the greatest care to hold that which has been believed everywhere, always, and by all.'”

Yes, yes!  ‘the greatest care to hold that which has been believed everywhere’…yes, the Presbyterian Church has been taking great care to hold onto that which has been believed since the time…er…well, since the time that it formed itself in defiance of that which was believed everywhere, always, and by all.  But I will take your word for it that since the time of their rejection of the universal beliefs of the universal church, they have been really really good at holding onto that which has been believed everywhere.  (So that is, what?  1541 or so?)

Dr. Fortson, now on a roll, heads toward his conclusion–

Christianity is a tradition; it is a faith with a particular ethos, set of beliefs and practices handed on from generation to generation. The Christian tradition may be understood as the history of what God’s people have believed and how they have lived based upon the Word of God. This tradition is not only a collection of accepted doctrines but also a set of lifestyle expectations for a follower of Christ. One of the primary things handed down in the Christian church over the centuries is a consistent set of …

I’m sorry!  I need to take a break.  Laughing too hard.  BRB!

kk, sorry, where were we?  oh yes…haha, we were talking about the Christian tradition, some of us more seriously than others.   Dr. Fortson now makes his dramatic and unintentionally Catholic and/or seriously hilarious conclusion regarding the matter at hand–

Revisionist biblical interpretations that purport to support homosexual practice are typically rooted in novel hermeneutical principles applied to Scripture, which produce bizarre interpretations of the Bible held nowhere, never, by no one. (emphasis mine)

So there you have it.  Typical Reformed Protestant absconds with Patristic Fathers, rewrites what they say to make them agree with his Protestant theology, and equivocates his way into agreeing completely with the position of the Holy Mother Church circa 1520 all the while still assuring himself and his wayward, defiant Protestant flock that while it is meet and right to condemn homosexuality via the tradition of the Holy Catholic Church, because, well, you know, those Papists got it right on that one, but hey, don’t come waving your authority in my face!

Hahahahahaha.   I wish I had an nth of the intellect and scholarship of someone like Dr. Michael Barber who I know would see layers here that I do not.  Nevertheless, I  find this whole article ripe for satire and abuse.  I wonder if these earnest Sophists ever realize how absurd and hilarious they are!  God bless ’em. ***

**a quick lookup of the word “equivocation” reveals that its synonyms are misrepresentation, deceit and doublespeak.  To be charitable to Dr. Fortson, we are only using the definition of equivocation in the philosophical use, meaning a fallacy.

***and my original response via the comment section may not have been as charitable.  Mea culpa.

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Even much of the visible Catholic Church itself has defected from its duty of evangelizing, which begins with transmitting Catholic teaching to children. Ignorance of Catholic doctrine in the “American Church” is now both a scandal and a terrible tragedy.

Joseph Sobran in an article on why the world still hates Christ and his teaching, commenting on the state of catechism in the Church, particularly in America.  I think he sums it up well. 

No wonder Catholics can’t defend their faith; in large part, we don’t know it and we cringe when it’s said aloud.  I have commented before on my own (lack of) catechism before (like here). 

Read the whole article for food for thought.

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I’ve been in conversations with my Protestant friends lately, particular one young evangelical I love.  I’ve been trying to get them to read the Bible.  Does that sound funny?  It strikes me as being not a little ironic, for the Catholic mom to be urging young Evangelicals to read the Bible.  They all own one…I’m just not sure how much actual reading goes on.  If you don’t count the apps that send a little out-of-context verses to their phone or the daily Scripture passage widget on their high-tech church websites (because we are evangelizing through the media, you know), I’m not sure they actually ever read the Bible. 

So, here we have Christians who genuinely love Jesus, profess a great faith, who ardently defend sola scriptura, and who do not read the Bible

So what is forming the faith of these youngsters?  What understanding do they have of their beliefs?  of Christianity and their own particular denomination / sect / bible church?  Well, where they are getting their religious beliefs from seem to be mostly two-fold:

  1. Church services which are a lengthy sermon (usually not much theology there) and worship music
  2. Contemporary Christian Music and … uh…more worship music

So the majority of the doctrinal teaching for many Protestant youth (and most Evangelical kids) is — as far as I can tell — worship music.   And today’s worship music either lacks doctrine or (in a surprising number of instances) contains bad doctrine.  There, I said it.  Modern Christian worship music is bad theology.  I used to think it was sort of repetitious and bland, saccharine and, um..repetitious.  Then I began to think more deeply about it and realized that actually, the music oftens conveys a bad theology.  It’s leading our Christian youth and young people down a bad path.  (I know I’ve promised the post about the dangers of the rising popular Christian music industry a gazillion times.  This is still not that post.  Sorry!)

The above tirade is my rambling way of introducing the real subject of this post, which is that our protesting Protestant brethren are still trying to bring Catholic practices into their Protestant lives.  It’s funny really. 

Here are three articles in this month’s Christianity Today:

COVER PACKAGE
Practically Theological
How churches are teaching doctrine—and finding eager participants.
Sarah Pulliam Bailey | posted 3/15/2010 09:33AM

COVER PACKAGE
The Lost Art Of Catechesis
It’s a tried and true way of teaching, among other things, Christian doctrine.
J. I. Packer and Gary A. Parrett | posted 3/12/2010 10:31AM

COVER STORY
The Mind Under Grace
Why a heady dose of doctrine is crucial to spiritual formation.
Darren C. Marks | posted 3/12/2010 10:30AM

Although I’m being facetitious in my introductory comments, I want to make sure that I make it clear that I am actually very relieved to see that CT is tackling the problem of the lack of doctrinal teaching among Protestant Christians, particularly in the Evangelical movement.  I actually know one Christian young man who does not seem to understand that we believe in a Triune God.  Yes, yes, we need to love God, we need to burn for Him.  But we also need to know God.  Faith AND Reason.  If I hear one more time, “isn’t it really all about loving Jesus?” or “let’s not get hung up on non-salvation issues” or “it’s about Jesus NOT religion“, I’m going to throw my copy of the Catechism at their head.  All that love and fervor, yet no real understanding of the credos of their faith just leads to heresies and Joel Osteen. 

Yeah, I know — Go work on my big post I keep promising.  Meh.

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When my oldest son first started to attend a preschool/daycare, I chose for him a little preschool at a local Evangelical church.  I could have chosen the fancy new daycare attached to the mega Methodist Temple, or another daycare at a similarly large Bethel Christian church.  But no, I fell in love with the slightly rundown but very sincere daycare at the little Evangelical church.  I clearly did not do enough research though because unbeknownst to me, that little church was building what I later dubbed, The Gigantic Gymnasium on the Plains…yes, a megachurch.  Within the year, we were moved out from our charming little house daycare center to this hospital-sized structure that needed wall mounted maps to direct us where we were going.  /sigh

I learned alot about that style of Evangelicalism though.  Enough to know that this video is hilariously spot-on.  Enjoy!

*What if Starbucks marketed like churches? 

I suppose it is beyond ironic that this video is created by folks intent to sell their church marketing ideas to the ‘culturally strategic church’.  Thank you again God, for allowing me the great gift of being born into a Catholic family!

see also this.  Are these made by Protestants, cause…they surely are hitting the Evangelicals hard.

h/t Catholic Youth Ministry Blog  Javalleluia.

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Therefore I say to you, be not solicitous for your life, what you shall eat, nor for your body, what you shall put on. Is not the life more than the meat: and the body more than the raiment? Behold the birds of the air, for they neither sow, nor do they reap, nor gather into barns: and your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you of much more value than they?  And which of you by taking thought, can add to his stature one cubit?  And for raiment why are you solicitous? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they labour not, neither do they spin.  But I say to you, that not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these.  And if the grass of the field, which is today, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, God does so clothe: how much more you, O you of little faith?
Matthew 6: 25-30

Just a reminder to me – God can’t work if I don’t let go. 

…from the awesomely positive guys at LetGodWork.com.   Check them (and their gear) out.  (My car has their symbol and I have this teeshirt.)

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Word on Fire now has a blog.  If you haven’t seen it, hop over and take a look!

In a video posted there, Fr. Barron draws a comparison between the pre-papacy work of Karol Wojtyla and the story of Noah and the Ark.  In the brief time, he makes a sweeping analogy relevant for our efforts today in the New Evangelization.  Honestly, the intellectual gifts of Fr. Barron and his talent for making these insights understandable to lay people is incomparable.

His speech hit home with me because I sometimes feel like I am bursting to “let the life out.”  Ironic, too, because I have not been ‘hunkered down’ preserving the faith.   Rather, I have spent most of my adult life living in defiance of that faith.  Unhappily, I might add.  Okay….miserably – to be brutally honest.  But now that faith …it wants out.  It wants my evangelization. 

Perhaps – to extrapolate from what Fr. Barron was saying – perhaps this is part of what God intends. 

I’ll have to wait and see.  He’s not finished with me yet.

=)

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I read this article and all other articles like this and I must confess to you:   my response is that we should just let these people alone.  Am I experiencing “white guilt” over the conquering of the Americas, and the Church’s role in it?  I don’t know.  Perhaps.  But my gut feeling is that God will save these people without having heard the Gospel and that in trying to reach these very ancient and unprepared indigenous peoples, we irreparably harm them, Gospel or no.  I sometimes think that the call to evangelize our world should be limited to societies and tribes that are somewhat on par with our own, equals to equals.  History has shown repeatedly that forcing indigenous peoples into modernity has disastrous effects on the indigenous society:  disease, alcoholism, poverty, depression, loss of culture and heritage, and a general breakdown of society. 

As the catechism teaches, God will save those who live in ignorance of Him, through no fault of their own.  But..I dunno.  We are called to bring a light into the world. 

 This is a great conundrum to me, and a source of heartbreak.  Thoughts? 

Last member of 65,000-year-old tribe dies, taking one of world’s earliest languages to the grave

The last member of a 65,000-year-old tribe has died, taking one of the world’s earliest languages to the grave. Boa Sr, who died last week aged about 85, was the last native of the Andaman Islands who was fluent in Bo. 

 Named after the tribe, Bo is one of the 10 Great Andamanese languages, which are thought to date back to the pre-Neolithic period when the earliest humans walked out of Africa. 

 Boa was the oldest member of the Great Andamanese, a group of tribes that are the the first descendants of early humans who migrated from Africa about 70,000 years ago and who arrived on the islands around 65,000. Other groups went on to colonise Indonesia and Australia. 

 She lived through the horrors and hardships of the 2004 Asian tsunami, the Japanese occupation and diseases brought by colonisers in the 19th century. 

 Boa described the moment the tsunami struck: ‘We were all there when the earthquake came. 

 ‘The eldest told us “the Earth would part, don’t run away or move”. The elders told us, that’s how we know.’ 

 Professor Anvita Abbi, a linguist who knew Boa, said the tribeswoman had been losing her sight in recent years and was unable to speak with anyone in her own language. 

 Boa had no children and her husband died several years ago. 

 ‘Since she was the only speaker of Bo, she was very lonely as she had no one to converse with,’ Professor Abbi told the Times. 

 ‘Boa Sr had a very good sense of humour, and her smile and full throated laughter were infectious.’ 

 Professor Abbi managed to speak with Boa using a local version of Hindi and Great Andamanese, which is a mixture of all ten tribal languages. 

‘We had an odd relationship, but also a very intense one,’ the professor said. 

 ‘I spent a long time with her in the jungle and shared many moments with her. She was very proud to be the last member of the Bo.’  

Boa was born in the jungle of the northern Andamans and grew up in traditional society, learning to gather wild potatoes and hunt for wild pigs, turtles and fish. 

 In 1970, the Indian Government moved the Great Andamanese tribes to the tiny Strait Island near Port Blair.  

 Boa lived in a concrete and tin hut provided by the government and survived on state food rations and a pension of about 500 rupees (£6.80) a month. 

‘She always said she wanted to go back to the place where she was born,’ Professor Abbi said.
 

Alcohol was a big problem. It was killing them one by one.’ 
The Bo are believed to have lived on the islands for as long as 65,000 years, making them one of the oldest surviving human cultures.  

The king of the Bo tribe died in 2005, leaving only a handful of elderly members who also died over the next five years.
   

The Great Andamanese once numbered more than 5,000 and were made up of 10 distinct groups each with their own language.   

But today, after more than 150 years of contact with colonisers and the diseases they brought with them, the Great Andamanese number just 52.   

The only indigenous tribe that is relatively intact is the Sentinelese, who ban any contact with outsiders.
   

They were famously photographed firing arrows at an Indian helicopter after the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004.
   

Professor Abbi said that Boa often told her how she envied the fact that the Jarawa and the Sentinelese had managed to avoid contact with outsiders.
   

She recalled: ‘She used to say they were better off in the jungle.’   

Stephen Corry, director of Survival International, a group that campaigns for the rights of indigenous people, urged the Indian Government not to resettle any the Jawara or other indigenous tribes.   

‘With the death of Boa Sr and the extinction of the Bo language, a unique part of human society is now just a memory,’ he said.   

‘Boa’s loss is a bleak reminder that we must not allow this to happen to the other tribes of the Andaman Islands

   

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1248754/Last-member-65-000-year-old-tribe-dies-taking-worlds-earliest-languages-grave.html#ixzz0egLeSK4l

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