Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Lack of balance and monovision in James White

No, I don't actually think James White lacks balance or has monovision.

However, his most recent Dividing Line focused solely on responding to a British charismatic Christian about same-sex marriage.

If someone were to listen to only one single Dividing Line broadcast like that one, which focused on narrowly-focused subject matter,


if someone were to refuse to listen to any rebuttals on his part or search out whether he has written or spoken on any material that's not related to conservative Christians talking about same-sex marriage,


one could say that James White is an "unhinged little micro-group" (after all, there are two men that run AOMin, which is a very, very small group, but still a group) that lacks balance vis-à-vis his churchmanship. After all, I didn't hear him say anything about his church membership or anything during the entire Dividing Line broadcast. Not even once! He had a whole hour to talk! He could've even done a jumbo or mega DL, thus taking longer than an hour.

Could not one say that he is a "one-string banjo, zealous for the one note he has learned to play on what is supposed to be the orchestral symphony of God's truth"? Couldn't one conclude that his narrow focus is "just sad"?

Again, don't bother me with evidence of the other things he has said or written about. I'm only going to pay attention to a small slice of life and intentionally and willfully ignore the rest. I'm going to insist that White is a caricature so that I can dismiss all the other things he says and pretend he has monovision on this topic of what British charismatic Christians think about same-sex marriage. Then I'll berate him for being a one-string banjo; that way I can be safely pre-insulated from anything else he might say that might ever convict me or persuade me to change my ways.

And if you still cry foul, I'll just say that I learned my method from White himself.

Monday, May 18, 2015

A/the church/Church

Here's a chart I created to help people understand how to use the phrases "a church", "the church", "the Church" (and its close cousin "The Church").
It's not exhaustive, but it offers some clear thinking on the topic. It's hard to find people who use these words correctly on a consistent basis.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

I Allowed the IMB to Make a Mockery of Baptism

*Editorial Note: Pulpit & Pen continues in unrepentant sin and enabling of the ongoing sin of Jordan Hall. While it is my understanding that P&P does not plan to take down the content I contributed, any role I can play in reducing their traffic until they repent, I will. Thus I migrate this article here. 

…the International Mission Board (IMB) Board of Trustees voted to open new pathways of service by, among other things, removing previous restrictions that had been developed a decade ago. In 2005, the IMB BoT created restrictions to missionary service that included barring anyone from service who …had been baptized by immersion in a church that did not teach eternal security or that was not in line with the Baptist perspective on perseverance even if they were members in good standing of SBC churches today… Today, those policies have been changed…

In 2006, I was freshly returned from a year as a tent-maker missionary in southern Japan and very zealous to get back on the foreign mission field once again. Having been a member of a Southern Baptist church for six years that was always in the very upper echelons of per capita giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering (the big funding drive that provides a very significant portion, if not the majority, of IMB’s annual budget), the logical, obvious, and highly encouraged choice was to apply to IMB. The perquisites were equally obvious – official SBC pedigree, seminary discounts, well-established support structure. And, I can confidently say as someone who has by 2015 attempted (and failed) to raise his own missions budget, the salary, which means there’s no need to raise one’s own support, was the main attraction.

The salary means the missionary doesn’t have to “waste” his time networking and getting to know lots of people and churches and can instead focus on the actual mission work, the actual project at hand. It’s pretty compelling, to be honest, even though IMB missionaries still take the same kind of home furloughs as those do who have had to raise their own support. More could be said about that, but I’ll move on for now.

So my wife and I applied. We wrote down all the testimonies of our salvations. We got all the references and church information in place. We recounted our life histories, education, whether we were Calvinists, whether we had debt, whether we’d been divorced, etc. (Just kidding about the Calvinist thing.)

Then, the question to the effect of: In what church were you baptized?

Let’s step back in my personal history for a moment. The Lord saved me out of a fairly liberal Methodist family; one day, just before I turned 16, I just realized I was going to serve Jesus and be hated for His name, and that was that. A year later the Lord arranged that I meet some very charismatic high school seniors when I was a sophomore, and (despite my retrospective dismay at some of their sometimes very weird charismatic distinctives) their lack of the fear of man and of regard for others’ negative opinions became a powerful and mostly positive influence on me. I am thankful for them, even though hanging with them made me into a charismatic for around six years.

When in university some years later, I regularly attended Sunday morning service at a charismatic non-denominational church, and one day in 1998 I became convicted that my head-sprinkling as a baby at the hands of the Methodist pastor was not actual baptism. Wanting to obey Jesus, I asked that church to baptize (immerse) me (same thing), which after examination they did, at a Sunday evening service in the presence of friends and witnesses. These were people who give a credible profession of faith in Jesus and just as much evidence in my view of loving Jesus as anyone in most any SBC church.

Fast forward eight years, I am applying to IMB, and I discover the policy that IMB only accepts applicants who have been baptized in a church that at least affirms eternal security (or, in a pinch, the perseverance of the saints). Quite unhappy with that, I decided to try to avoid it by contacting my old charismatic church. On the phone with a staff member, I asked if by chance they affirm eternal security. They laughed “Of course not”, which turned into a brief but interesting conversation.

Thus thwarted, I reported the bad news to my pastor, who fully supported my wife’s and my desire to go overseas with IMB. He recommended that he (re-)baptize me. His reasoning can be condensed as follows:
  • The SBC is a loose confederation of churches with non-identical beliefs regarding what constitutes real baptism
  • Some of these churches who contribute to the Cooperative Program think that you have to be the right kind of Christian to apply baptism legitimately
  • They are the weaker brother and so you can in good conscience accede to their weakness
  • It’s worth it to get on the foreign mission field
So to my shame I conceded and was re-baptized a few weeks later. The pastor prefaced my re-baptism with an explanation to the congregation why a respected longtime member and a leader of a Sunday School class and community group was up in the baptistery. I held my nose, literally and figuratively, and got wet to satisfy the short-lived and short-sighted compromise that the IMB made with legalists.

One wonders how the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8) or the disciples of John the Baptist (Acts 19) would answer the question “In what church were you baptized?”. I guess they’d have to get re-baptized too.

It’s hard to picture the Apostle Paul requiring people baptized by, say, John Mark (before their subsequent reconciliation), Barnabas (after their rift), or Demas to be re-baptized before they could join with him on missionary outreach.

It’s difficult to imagine the Apostle Peter holding one set of requirements for becoming a part of his local fellowship but reserving more stringent requirements regarding one’s past associations for “serious” Gospel work.

I can’t see the Lord Jesus finding no fault in a man’s work, confession, or doctrine such that he is called a son of the Most High, but telling him that a ritual he once engaged in wasn’t done by someone whose doctrine was quite as good and so remains entirely incomplete.

I allowed the IMB to use me to illustrate to my entire church body at the time the hypocrisy and compromise into which the Cooperative Program has had to enter for the sake of a “greater good”. I performed a shameful act in order that I might get in good with an organisation who would later bring my wife and me out to a candidate orientation, lecture us about nonsensical things like a “call to missions“, judge our personality based on nothing more than a few hours of observation, and never contact a single one of our references, church leadership, or friends to ask what kind of people we were.

I acceded to worldly wisdom in pursuit of a godly aim. Now the IMB is relaxing that requirement. Will it attempt to bear fruit in keeping with repentance in explicitly re-educating people against the hypocrisy and compromise in which it was until recently engaging?

I repent. I call on the IMB to repent.

Friday, May 08, 2015

"Be lukewarm and spewed"

Steve Hays renews his ill-advised critique of immediatism by... branching off into all sorts of issues that are not all that pertinent to immediatism.
\\It's revealing how abolitionists think their agitation gives them bragging rights\\

It's an uncharitable and in fact incorrect interpretation of my words to think that I/we have some sort of bragging rights.
Yet let the Lord protect us from such an attitude, to be sure!
Perhaps Steve thinks that the Apostle Paul was trying to claim bragging rights in Philippians 3 or 2 Corinthians 10-11.

\\Abortion isn't the only important issue that Christians need to be involved with\\

Nobody has said it is. Yet we have made the case again and again why the murder of 60 million and counting humans over the course of 42 years and counting should take a very, very high priority over even something like whether the gaystapo gets to tell 501c3 organisations whom they should marry.
Euthanasia - get back to me when it's legal to shoot senior citizens in the head willy-nilly and the death rate surpasses a few thousand a year. I'm not trying to sound callous here, but I actually think Steve is the one who is being callous and turning a blind eye toward child sacrifice. Nobody is saying that we should do nothing about those other things - those ought to be combated with immediatist calls to repentance and the Gospel of Jesus Christ the same as abortion ought to be. The Word of God is the weapon.
Steve also misses the fact that all of these are intertwined in many ways. Attack the powers of darkness in one area and you diminish it elsewhere too. But you have to use godly weapons and wisdom, not the worldly kind.

\\We need to resist secular totalitarianism in its various manifestations.\\

Ironic that Steve says this in defense of the pro life movement, which "resists secular totalitarianism" while teaming up with atheists, papists, eastern conciliarists, and other pagans.

\\the church has different body parts. Different members have different gifts. All Christians don't have the same duties or calling\\

Have this kind of discussion long enough with people and you can see this coming a mile away.
Steve runs afoul of the Bible at this point.

"Calling" is not the same as "gifting". And Steve needs to prove, not assume, that
1) variously gifted people can't address abortion with the Gospel
2) variously gifted people shouldn't address abortion with the Gospel
3) certain giftings mean you don't have an obligation to love your preborn neighbor who is being murdered down the street.

\\There's a need for Bible scholars, ethicists, and apologists.\\

A few, sure. Most churchgoing people are not in position to be those things, and that majority is too busy watching movies, amusing themselves, and "attending services" to do much of anything about anything, let alone sacrifice for the good of their neighbors being taken away to death.

\\Anti-abortion activism isn't the only way of loving your neighbor. \\

What about your preborn neighbor, 1.2 million or more of whom will die this year alone?

\\Visiting shut-ins and nursing home residents is a godly activity. Or caring for enfeebled parents.\\

Is Steve assuming these are mutually exclusive?

\\Moreover, it's very time-consuming just to be a breadwinner, as well as a husband and father\\

1) What does this have to do with immediatism, again?
2) Don't I know it! I have three children, one a newborn with Down Syndrome, two jobs, a 35 mile commute to the main one, and all the worries and difficulties of anyone else. I make time to speak up for my preborn neighbors, and all around me I see armchair QBs like Steve who whine they don't have time.
3) And this:

Alexandra and accusations of lying

In which someone posts on the AHA page, says a bunch of nonsense, then reveals herself to be nothing more than a troll.

We have had both T. Russell and Toby on our page recently. They are both cowards. They both lie. They acknowledge that your group is made up of many criminals who have had their children removed from their homes, all while trying to control women. They fight churches and communities with no thought of a reconciliation. Why work with people when they can get press and money for being liars? And, most importantly, they have admitted that this is not a charity. All money for merchandise or donations goes to them. Directly to them. No rules applied. Love the sheep that accept this. Good luck to you idiots!
Like · Comment · 
  • Rhology @Alexandra Stone, this is a very serious set of accusations. I am part of the same church that Toby and Russell are, and if what you are saying is true, I would very much like to call them in front of the church and rebuke and discipline them for their lies. Lies are not fit for the mouths of those who claim to serve Jesus, and Jesus is not pleased with those who lie. The Bible says that all liars will have their part in the lake of fire, and because I love Toby and Russell I want them to repent of whatever lies they have told so that they may perhaps escape the lake of fire and find forgiveness. 
    Please provide evidence of these lies so that we may examine the situation more closely. Thank you.
    Like · Reply ·  · 1 hr
  • Rhology Just a couple of other things also, since the truth is so important, as it clearly is to you:

    \\They acknowledge that your group is made up of many criminals\\

    I'm afraid you've misunderstood quite a lot. 
    1) AHA is not a "group". 
    2) My particular abolitionist society, as well as the one of which Russell and Toby are a part, has exactly one convicted criminal - Toby - and Toby makes no secret of his past sin and of his repentance of that past sin. His life is totally different than his past sinful way of living, and it has been for many years. 
    3) You may be thinking of other repentant criminals who call themselves abolitionists, like Michael Plaisted and Jered Ragon. That makes three total, but you said "many". I'm not sure what you could mean. Four or five out of hundreds isn't exactly "many". 
    4) Michael and Jered are also open about their past sin and their repentance and rejection of that past lifestyle, just as Toby is. I don't understand why you would try to use this as a rebuke of abolitionists or abolition. Did you know that Jesus Christ forgives repentant sinners and washes them clean? 

    \\who have had their children removed from their homes\\

    I can think of three people who call themselves abolitionists of whom this is possibly descriptive. One of them is currently deep in sin against other abolitionists, and I have publicly rebuked them for it. Another has done no abolitionist work in over two years, and another for over one year. I'm not sure to what you refer. 

    \\all while trying to control women\\

    I'm afraid I have no idea what this could mean. Why does proclamation of Jesus as Lord and the reiteration of His law against murder equal controlling women? Help me out, please. 

    \\They fight churches\\

    I'm afraid I don't know what this means, either. If you mean that abolitionists call churches that are sin to repentance, well, it's true we do that, but that's not fighting. That's loving. Please read the New Testament. 

    \\most importantly, they have admitted that this is not a charity.\\

    Well, that's right. I'm unsure why you seem to think this is a problem. 

    \\All money for merchandise or donations goes to them. Directly to them. No rules applied. \\

    I hate to break it to you, but that sentence applies to charitable organisations as well. And the rules that apply are those that apply to running for-profit businesses, so the AHA Gear store has to run its business transactions honestly and forthrightly and provide the agreed-upon goods or services in exchange for whatever payment the customer pays. 
    This isn't rocket surgery, Alexandra. I'm really afraid that your blind hatred of what we stand for is leading you to all sorts of unfair and wicked statements. Please back up, repent, breathe, and examine us in fairness. Feel free to ask any questions you want. I will answer them openly and honestly, as long as they are reasonable and don't, for example, pry into things which you have no business knowing like deeply personal matters or something.
    Like · Reply · 1 ·  · 1 hr
  • Maddie Davis What page is it that they're commenting on?
    Like · Reply · 1 hr
  • Maddie Davis Rocket
    Unlike · Reply · 2 · 1 hr
  • Rebecca Wood you really put all the money you make back into your own pockets?

    I did not know that. Why aren't you donating to charities that help pregnant women or something?
    Like · Reply · 47 mins
  • Rhology Rebecca Wood Thanks for the opportunity to clarify. The answer is no - the Gear store actually puts virtually all its "profits" back into making more gear. The goal of the store is to seed the culture and aid abolitionists. 

    \\Why aren't you donating 
    to charities that help pregnant women or something?\\

    We talk about that fairly often. 
    1) Most charities collude with enemies of the Gospel. 
    2) Tons of them will go with pragmatic interests instead of being faithful to the Word of God. 
    3) A 501c3 status is highly morally problematic. 
    4) People ought not to pay a third party to love their neighbor for them, whether it's individuals paying or churches paying. 
    5) And these charities enable that sort of thing, because it's a major part of their ability to exist. 

    Everyone ought to be contributing to their churches and their churches ought to be sacrificially loving people in need, not paying someone else to do it for them while they comfortably pursue the latest and greatest lights and video equipment.
    Like · Reply · 2 · · 39 mins
  • Gideon Athenagoras Alexandra Stone,

    When people who are wrong realize that they are wrong and have no ability to prove themselves right or convince others to be wrong with them they turn to just bold faced lies and accusation. 

    When people cannot answer the questions of their opponents or defend what they believe in the face of critical opposition, they turn to slandering their opponents in hopes that people will just be led away from the truth by their lies.

    This is what you are doing right now.

    Its weak and pathetic and any body with any sense at all sees right through it.
    Like · Reply · 22 mins
  • Alexandra Stone "convince others to be wrong with them they turn to just bold faced lies and accusation. "
    Like · Reply · 13 mins
  • Alexandra Stone Except Rho unwittingly just backed up everything I said.
    Like · Reply · 12 mins
  • Rhology \\Except Rho unwittingly just backed up everything I said.\\

    What are you talking about?
    Like · Reply · · 12 mins
  • Rhology Alexandra - evidence please. You made an accusation. Please provide your evidence.
    Like · Reply · · 11 mins
  • Alexandra Stone Other than the bizarre semantics of "group", he has verified that there are multiple criminals, verified that they take the money and spend it how they wish, etc.
    Like · Reply · 11 mins
  • Alexandra Stone "We talk about that fairly often.
    1) Most charities collude with enemies of the Gospel.
    2) Tons of them will go with pragmatic interests instead of being faithful to the Word of God.

    3) A 501c3 status is highly morally problematic.
    4) People ought not to pay a third party to love their neighbor for them, whether it's individuals paying or churches paying.
    5) And these charities enable that sort of thing, because it's a major part of their ability to exist.

    Everyone ought to be contributing to their churches and their churches ought to be sacrificially loving people in need, not paying someone else to do it for them while they comfortably pursue the latest and greatest lights and video equipment."

    As for this cop-out, I call balderdash. And it is topped with the point that people should give to the church. Gee, what tax exempt status do many churches have?
    Like · Reply · 10 mins
  • Alexandra Stone Ah, the "morally problematic" one. Good for the church, but not good enough for AHA.
    Like · Reply · 10 mins
  • Rhology \\ he has verified that there are multiple criminals\\

    Not in "our group", though. So you're wrong there. 

    \\verified that they take the money and spend it how they wish\\

    I didn't say that either. I said what I said and anyone can read it. 
    Alexandra, I'm getting the feeling you're not engaging in good faith here. Please provide the evidence that Russell and Toby lied. False accusations like that are against our page rules, so please provide the evidence or you will be banned.
    Like · Reply · 10 mins
  • Alexandra Stone Nice try, Rho. You are right, anyone can read it.
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 9 mins
  • Rhology \\As for this cop-out, I call balderdash\\


    \\And it is topped with the point that people should give to the church. Gee, what tax exempt status do many churches have?\\

    1) Not to "the church". I don't even know what "the church" means. Which church? There are good ones and bad ones. 
    2) The astute reader will note that I obviously don't think churches ought to be 501c3. Why else would I say "A 501c3 status is highly morally problematic"?

    \\Ah, the "morally problematic" one. Good for the church, but not good enough for AHA.\\

    This makes zero sense. Nowhere have any of us said that we think churches ought to be 501c3. We frequently say the exact opposite. And that's why no abolitionist society or group is 501c3. 
    I don't know what's unclear about this, for those who want to see the truth.
    Like · Reply · · 6 mins · Edited
  • Rhology Alexandra, since you're obviously also watching this thread closely right now, I must insist you provide your evidence BEFORE you post anything else. 
    Fair enough?
    Like · Reply · 7 mins
  • Rebecca Wood Oh. So only people that believe in God deserve help.

    I understand now.
    Like · Reply · 1 · 7 mins
  • Rhology \\So only people that believe in God deserve help.\\

    Rebecca Wood Blatant misrepresentation and word-twisting like that are otherwise known as "trolling" and violate our page rules. Do not do so again or you will be banned.
    Like · Reply ·· 6 mins
  • Rebecca Wood Why doesn't AHA donate it's money to it's church of choice that it trusts so that it can be given to people that need help? 

    You aren't selling your T-shirts at cost. There is profit being made. If you want to end abortion so badly, why not help the pregnant women in need so they don't feel they need abortion? 

    Is spreading your message THAT much more important than saving a preborn child?
    Like · Reply · 3 mins
  • Alexandra Stone Sorry, Rho, unlike your sheep I don't follow your orders. Feel free to block me. I have found that is generally what this page does with truth and dissent. And ask your "brothers" about their lies. Although, based on their track record, I wouldn't expect a full accounting.
    Like · Reply · 2 mins
  • Alexandra Stone "So only people that believe in God deserve help.'

    Unless you are Catholic, lol!
    Like · Reply · 2 mins
  • Rhology \\Why doesn't AHA donate it's money to it's church of choice that it trusts so that it can be given to people that need help? \\

    AHA doesn't have any money, since AHA is an ideology and not a group or organisation. Please pay attention. 

    If you're asking about individual abolitionist societies or whatever, ask each one. In the case of the AbSoc of Norman, we don't know any churches in our area that we would entrust with that, and there's only 30 of us, so we use the resources we have to directly help women. 
    Why would we outsource loving our neighbor to someone else?

    \\You aren't selling your T-shirts at cost.\\

    1) Actually, recently they HAVE been doing just that. 
    2) Nowhere has anyone claimed that the store is non-profit. It has to make some money to invest in creating new resources. 

    \\why not help the pregnant women in need so they don't feel they need abortion?\\

    We do. It must be so embarrassing to keep saying false things instead of asking for the actual facts of the matter so you can make an informed and fair judgment.
    Like · Reply · · Just now
  • Rhology \\ unlike your sheep I don't follow your orders. Feel free to block me.\\

    Like · Reply · Just now