Friday, April 18, 2014

Jesus Did

Extended email discussion with a professing Satanist. I urge him to repent and be reconciled to God.
He asks: Who makes peace with their greatest enemy?

I answer: Jesus did.

Romans 5:6For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

1 Timothy 1:12I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, 13even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; 14and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus. 15It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. 16Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. 17Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

How He is merciful and kind! Glorify Him today on the day in which we remember His propitiatory sacrifice!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A public call to repentance of calling people to repent publicly

I'm not sure how this makes much sense. I'm not sure how deeply the author (either Marcus Pittman or Jon Speed) thought about the statement. I'm not sure how deep runs the foolishness, but I know that after months and months of plumbing the depths, we haven't found the bottom yet.

Now we're deleting comments. We have received your response, AHA leaders. We urge you to repent of "Church Repent." When you have done that and are in good standing with your respective local churches...we will talk. Until then...please take the hint and stop commenting here.

(source) (screenshot)

So, let me get this straight. This is a public statement, made by one professing Christian who is a member of a different local church than the persons the author is addressing, to other professing Christians, calling them to repent of and stop calling members of a different local church than the persons the author is addressing to repentance over perceived sin.

In other words, they're publicly calling me to repent of publicly calling people to repent.

Sometimes...just, what do you say anymore?

Really, since that statement makes no sense, Christians who love God with all their mind should publicly call the Gospel Spam guys to repent of publicly calling to repentance Christians who publicly call professing Christians to repentance.

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Nomad

Follow me on the timing of this.

September 11, 2011, Tony Miano joins Faith Community Church.
(source) (screenshot)

~August 2012, Miano "began a process with my elders, the goal of which was to have my elders commission me, through the laying on of hands, to serve Faith Community Church as an evangelist, in keeping with the role of an evangelist as delineated in Ephesians 4:11-14".

~March 2013 - Jon Speed and the Babies Are Murdered Here / Gospel Spam / Street Preacher Guild group publicly dissociate from Abolish Human Abortion because of www.churchrepent.com.
Miano stands with them.

September 2, 2013 - Miano makes the following announcement on his Facebook page.














In other words, Tony Miano announces his intention to engage in a Church Repent activity toward Bethel Church in Redding, CA. Before his church elders have laid hands on and commissioned him to be an evangelist representing their church.
(source) (screenshot)


December 2013 - the elders of Faith Community Church "found aspects of my evangelistic gifting and ministry (namely, open-air preaching) philosophically incompatible with the evangelistic direction the elders have set forth for the Faith Community Church family. That being the case, the elders determined they could not lay hands on me and commission me to serve Faith Community Church as an evangelist."

In between December 2013 and February 2014 - Miano decides to leave that church because they won't officially commission him as an evangelist.


March 2, 2014 - Miano joins Grace Community Church because his other church wouldn't commission him an evangelist like I guess he wanted to be.

March 27, 2014 - Miano publishes his hatchet piece on abolition based partly on the fact that he thinks abolitionists lack local church elder authority to do what we do.
(His article) (Our refutation)

==============

Now, if we were to ask whether Miano's elders at Faith CC thought it was permissible for him to engage in a Church Repent action toward Bethel Church, that would be less than helpful. One of the main thrusts of the criticism of Church Repent from the Babies Are Murdered Here / Gospel Spam / Street Preacher Guild group (of which Miano serves as one of the foremost luminaries and most listened-to voices) has always been that abolitionists have no authority to rebuke or exhort another local church, and that because our elders did not send us out for that specific purpose.

Leaving aside the fact that numerous abolitionists have been explicitly blessed in carrying out Church Repent by their elders, is it possible to escape the conclusion that Miano himself planned to rebuke a church without being sent out by his own elders?
And so he has decided to leave that church and forsake those elders because they wouldn't give him what he wanted - official commission as an evangelist. He could have stayed there and worked through the issues with those elders. He chose to leave and see if someone else would do so.

What's the word for that? Ah, yes - nomadic.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Why Damon Rambo is Acting Like a Pharisee

So Damon Rambo wonders why I deploy the "P" word regarding him.

What sort of extra-biblical, fundamentalist, outlandish rule have I invented? I dared to say that all Christians should be a part of a church, with a recognized membership, and at least one proper recognized and called pastor/elder. I have insisted that those who refuse the local church and its discipleship, fellowship and authority, are living in sin.

But that's not the problem here. He has misunderstood the objection. Let me try to clarify.

Here is his exact quote from before:

Such people are in grievous sin, and until that sin is repented of, further fellowship, discussion, and hashing out of differences cannot be had. Those who deliberately reject the visible expression of Christ's Bride must be excommunicated from any secondary fellowship, until such time as the Lord brings them to repentance.

Emphasis mine.
Look, I disagree that the people in question are in sin. Is Rambo willing to list postmillennialists, continuationists, Presbyterians, or Arminians as being in sin? Maybe he does; I'm just asking. Is he willing to say the same thing about them? Will he excommunicate Marcus Pittman for being Presbyterian and postmillennial? That's two areas in which Rambo disagrees with him.
If not, is he being consistent? What in the Scripture leads him to the conclusion that not having elders at one's church for the moment is something for which we should consider the offender damned and heretical? That's what excommunication is for, after all. It's way past saying "I disagree". We know Rambo disagrees. Disagreements happen all over the place about all sorts of issues. But we are not to excommunicate for minor issues. What is his argument that this differing ecclesiology jumps over the heresy fence? He didn't give one. But the thing is, if you're going to kick professing brethren out and deny them your fellowship, you need to have an argument.

That's why Rambo is a Pharisee - he is imposing this small issue on the conscience of other believers without the benefit of an argument, and in fact directly against what the New Testament teaches.
Who appointed Martin Luther? Zwingli? Calvin? Did they have elders?
Athanasius was removed from his bishopric several times and exiled, yet came back. Does Rambo have some evidence that another elder came alongside and re-appointed him? Does excommunication not mean anything? If church structures are only to be followed in some cases, where is Rambo's definition and explanation?
Acts 11:19-25 - Barnabas goes and helps preach the Gospel in Antioch, and yet doesn't stay to establish elders. Rather, he leaves to look for Paul. And yet there comes to be a church in Antioch (as soon as Acts 15:30). How?
Acts 13:44-52 - Paul and Barnabas are driven out of Pisidian Antioch after only about a week.
According to the qualifications for elders in Titus 1 and 1 Timothy 3, an elder can't be a new convert. I suppose we are to assume that no church existed in Pisidian Antioch at that time? Just... a ragtag bunch of people who loved Jesus?
Acts 17:32-18:1 - Paul sees converts in Athens but doesn't stay to train any elders.
The Epistle to Titus - Paul sends Titus to Crete to appoint elders in all the churches. There were churches there. They didn't have elders. Titus was supposed to appoint some. In the churches that already existed. Even though they didn't have elders at the time.

So that is what Rambo has done to deserve the label "Pharisee".

A few more comments on his article:
Its (sic) hard to throw people out of a group (1 Corinthians 5, Matthew 18) that is just a bunch of people hanging out in a field

1) Elders are not mentioned or even implied to be involved in any special or necessary sense in either of these passages.
2) How did Rambo get from the fact that this one local church in question doesn't have elders at the moment to "just a bunch of people hanging out in a field"? He does not inform us.


Wielding the story of the Good Samaritan like a club, the leadership of AHA insist that they are right, others are wrong...which they wield clumsily like a child swinging a sword

1) But is not Rambo "wielding" the NT passages about elders "like a club" or "like a sword"? Why is it so bad to try to persuade others, or defend one's church against divisive criticisms like that in which Rambo has heartily participated in recent months?
2) Of course we think we are right. Yet we remain open to biblical correction. Does Rambo think we ought to hold to positions we think are wrong? I don't understand the problem here.
3) Are these the words of someone who put a great deal of thought into his article?


any church that does not do exactly what they say in regards to abortion are in sinful rebellion and in need of repentance...ONLY abortion ministry matters

1) This is mistaken on his part. He does not understand the ideology, and I suspect it is b/c he has not done his homework.
2) Is it not true to say that any church that does not do exactly what Rambo says in regards to elder rule is in sinful rebellion and in need of repentance, in his mind?
3) Yet have abolitionists excommunicated anyone in that situation? No. Has Rambo, for his part? Yes.


Abolish Human Abortion calls out, pickets, and dare I say ATTACKS...pro-life churches

1) I don't know why Rambo is defending LifeChurch.tv.
2) It would be nice if he would explain how calls to repentance and exhortation are "attacks". Is this not merely his prejudiced language?


(Perhaps in order to stay in AHA's good graces, you need to purchase their materials? Just asking).

Accusations unbecoming of a pastor. Very unfair of him to say such a thing.


The abolitionist who gets in his car and drives two hours, past stranded motorists, nursing homes full of elderly patients

1) Rambo mistakenly believes that abolitionists think that going to the abortion mill is the way abortion is to be abolished. He is mistaken. It's probably because, again, he is ignorant. Sadly, he seems unwilling to learn what we actually believe.
2) Is it legal and culturally accepted to murder stranded motorists and nursing home residents en masse? Are 3500 of those kinds of people being murdered by their mothers and fathers every day?
3) For my part, if I were on my way to the abortuary and saw a stranded motorist, I would stop to help. Is Rambo being charitable and fair here?


There is only one litmus test for the health of a church, and that is the Gospel.

Preaching the correct Gospel correctly is a necessary condition for a healthy church but it is far from the sole sufficient condition. Holy living, non-heretical views on the Trinity and Christology, pastors that don't fleece the flock and such... these kinds of things also have a very large impact on the health of a church.


you understand that ANY proclamation of the Gospel is a blow against abortion

Agreed. Which is why we wish Rambo would turn his critical attention to the vastly compromised pro-life movement, who show that they do not agree with this statement with every action they take.


Not the Gospel plus abortion ministry done in accordance with AHA's extrabiblical requirements.

Another unfair characterisation of abolitionists' views.


And the Gospel is to be ministered through the local Church.

1) What does this mean?
2) I suspect we will wait in vain for him to argue for whatever his position means from Scripture.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Abolitionist ecclesiology

It should be noted that not all abolitionists agree on EVERY SINGLE FINE POINT of ecclesiology.
Kinda like single-pastor Baptists don't agree with plural-elder Baptists don't agree with Presbyterians, etc. Yet somehow the two latter groups work closely, make documentaries, street preach together and all that kind of stuff. Hmmm. Why are Damon Rambo and his friends so quick to dissociate from abolitionists?

Abolitionists do tend closely to one ecclesiological point, however - we reject quasi-papism such as the type that Speed, Pittman, Miano, and Rambo represent. Take that to the bank.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Damon Rambo makes more of a hash of Scripture

Damon Rambo, a pastor in Texas whom we've seen before around here, decided to add his ever so helpful thoughts to the comment box of Tony Miano's hit piece at Gospel Spam. It would appear that the "Angry Pastor" not only pastors angry, but blogs angry too.

I am not sure why Tony "exited the conversation" but I can say for myself that the first question out of my mouth would have been "Are you preaching under the accountability of a local church, with established elder(s) and a recognized membership." If he said "no," the conversation would have ended right there. Such people are in grievous sin, and until that sin is repented of, further fellowship, discussion, and hashing out of differences cannot be had. Those who deliberately reject the visible expression of Christ's Bride must be excommunicated from any secondary fellowship, until such time as the Lord brings them to repentance.
To give a little background as to what he means, a few good brothers in the Lord have attempted to kick-start reconciliation talks between the Babies Are Murdered Here / Street Preacher Guild / Gospel Spam / quasi-papist / anti-Church Repent and therefore pro-Church Apathy / Pharisee crowd, among whom Rambo evidently prefers to be numbered, and abolitionists against whom the aforementioned Pharisees have sinned in numerous ways. I was party to one of these attempts; the brother started a group Facebook chat which included three abolitionists and three anti-abolitionist antagonists, and posted therein an impassioned plea for a beginning to reconciliation and cessation of social media hostilities. Marcus Pittman left the chat within thirty seconds of the appearance of the chat. Tony Miano exited a couple of minutes later after stating to the organiser of the chat that he'd talk to him privately.





Anyway, from the screenshots and the way that the various sides are talking, it should be clear to any objective observer who is open to God-honoring reconciliation and who is not, who wants to engage in serious discussion exposed to the light of truth, and who wants to cut off discussion and debate.

Damon Rambo, according to his own words here, is another Pharisee who would impose an extra-biblical standard upon others. Here, he lets us know in no uncertain terms that he would have excommunicated Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Ulrich Zwingli, as well as any believers who dared to speak the Gospel to someone else before the apostles appointed elders in their local church in Acts 11:19-25, Acts 13:44-52, and Acts 17:32-18:1, to say nothing of Philip the evangelist who was just sort of wandering around when the Holy Spirit directed him to evangelise the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8, to say still less of the eunuch himself when he went back to his homeland and shared the Gospel with people there. If only Rambo had been around back then! The NT church would have been so much better organised and godly.

As a matter of fact, Toby's church is between elders at the moment. Rambo doesn't know the history of the church, doesn't know what they think about elders or whether they want elders. Why? Because he hasn't even cared enough to ask. He prefers to lob his tirades from afar, uncaring of the effect his dismissal has on the reader. This is not conduct conducive to demonstrating the NT qualifications of elder. Would the Apostle Paul be OK with blogging under the title "The Angry Pastor" or "The Angry Apostle"? Why doesn't 2 Timothy 4:1-2 read like the following?
I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be angry in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great anger and hot-temperedness.

I feel genuinely sorry for the congregation at his church, but then again, his expressions are probably not nearly as evil in person as they are online. It's a learned skill, to be sure. One would think a pastor could manage it. But in my experience, churches usually deserve the kind of pastor they have, which is also a pretty sad thing.

He also speaks out of ignorance when he implies that Toby's church lacks recognised membership. He doesn't know that either. He has no idea what sort of accountability structures are in place there. Notice that to him, "under the accountability of a local church" is code for "elders". When these men say "submitted to the authority of a local church" or something similar, what they have in mind is one or more elders who do what the Lord Jesus and the Apostle Peter said they should not do - lord it over their people.

I find it quite interesting that Rambo, as a Baptist, thinks that dissent from his preferred ecclesiology is "grievous sin", for which one ought to be excommunicated and for which reason one ought not to cooperate on any level of Christian service or ministry. Why doesn't he say the same things about Marcus Pittman, a Presbyterian, again? Where is the consistency?

Who said anything about Toby or any abolitionist "deliberately reject(ing) the visible expression of Christ's Bride"? Does he think that Toby is not a member of his church? What does he know about that church? He doesn't know anything. Apparently, dissent from his preferred ecclesiology is equivalent to deliberate rejection of Christ's Bride. Needless to say, this is an enormous accusation. Can Rambo substantiate it from Scripture? He hasn't yet. Can he show that holding to a differing ecclesiology merits the same treatment as one would show to a material heretic and an unrepentant sexually immoral professing brother? If he can't (and let's be clear - he can't), is Damon Rambo not acting as a Pharisee?

Philippians 1:12-18 -
Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear. Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will; the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice.

Monday, March 31, 2014

The false ecclesiology of Gospel Spam

...as represented by one Larry Bray, a contributor to the Gospel Spam blog.
See if you can count how many challenges and rebuttals he leaves unanswered or simply dismisses and ignores. This is the prevalent attitude with these quasi-papists.

  • Larry Bray Toby Harmon, you go out preaching the gospel....and yet you are not an Elder...please show me in Scripture where someone other than an Elder is called to preach.
  • Larry Bray If God has appointed Elders for His Church...and if Elders are to "oversee" the things of the Church, then how can you justify not having Elders in your church?
  • Venchenza Settles Hey Larry Bray, I'm out at the mills sharing the Gospel with women who came to kill their child. Because I'm not an elder (which is not biblical in anyway shape or form....) does that mean I shouldn't be doing that? I'm asking...
  • Larry Bray The great commission was not given to the general disciples of Christ but to the Apostles only. This is evidence enough that all Christians are not called to preach.
  • Larry Bray Venchenza Settles, all are called to share the Gospel, but that is much different from preaching.
  • Rho Logy Larry Bray,

    With all due respect, brother, please let me correct these things.

    \\Scripture says that we ought not cease from preaching: Act 5:42 And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.\\

    Citing what happenED in Acts as a prescription for today is an exegetical fallacy.

    \\Toby's church says that they have no Elders or Deacons:\\

    They don't have one NOW. They DID until that elder admitted he was unfit and left the church.
    There were three churches and other examples in Acts that didn't have elders, too.

    \\Scripture says that we are to have elders in every church:
    Tit 1:5 This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you--\\

    But don't you see that you need to prove that Paul meant to talk to everyone and not just Titus in that?

    \\A true Church has historically been defined as one that\\

    With all due respect, was the church at Laodicaea a true or false church?
    Why does Jesus call them a true church?
    Also, push back 500 years - someone could have told Martin Luther that "A true Church has historically been defined as one that submits to the Pope" or something.

    \\It is impossible to rightly preach the word if they have no sermons and no Elders to preach.\\

    But how do you know that?

    \\It is impossible to rightly carry out discipline when there is no ecclesiastical authority invested in the Elders.\\

    Elders are mentioned ZERO times in all of the NT's church discipline passages.
    ZERO.

    \\And it is impossible to rightly administer the sacraments apart from Elders administering them.\\

    Please demonstrate from the NT that the sacraments were ONLY administered by elders.
    Why did Philip baptise the eunuch in Acts 8? He was a proto-deacon.

    \\The great commission was not given to the general disciples of Christ but to the Apostles only. This is evidence enough that all Christians are not called to preach.\\

    That is not true.
    Look at Luke 24. It was more than the apostles.
    Acts 1 - same deal.
    Also, the apostles are all dead. You don't believe in apostolic succession, do you?

    \\This is evidence enough that all Christians are not called to preach.\\

    What does "called" mean, here, and what NT passages use that language that way?