Friday, September 30, 2011

Yes, I do think there is an Elephant in this room

This explanation of his explanation from James McDonald is nothing short of shameful.  The Elephant Room guys want so very badly to have a conversation with TD Jakes that they want you to pay $99 to watch remotely, that they simply can't bring themselves to admit there is another elephant in the room with them.

As their revised purpose statement has it, the idea of the Elephant Room is that, "the best way forward for the followers of Jesus lies not in crouching behind walls of disagreement but in conversation". 

Teensy problem here.  If TD Jakes is a"follower of Jesus" at all, he is a secret follower who disagrees with his own public teaching.  The problem is not just that Jakes uses what some want to dismiss as merely a poor word choice in his church's theology statement.  He uses classic modalist language.  The members of the Trinity are not merely manifestations (the word Jakes uses), they are separate persons.  There is no getting around Jakes's heresy and for McDonald to attempt to do so by saying he does, "not believe [modalism] represents Bishop T.D. Jakes’ current thinking" is to admit he either lacks basic theological discernment skills or he has had his head in the sand for the last decade and a half.

In brief, Jakes holds his ordination from Higher Grace Always Abounding, a Oneness Pentecostal/Modalist group.  Over the years he has been given repeated opportunities and public platforms to repudiate the heresies of his ordaining body - or - to embrace orthodox trinitarian language.  He has steadfastly refused to do either.  When he responds at all, it is with further obfuscation.

In addition, Jakes has acted as a shill for the execrable TBN, heavily promoted Paula White and is also a dyed-in-the-wool "Word of Faith" proponent.  Given such a stew, there is little hope that he regularly encounters orthodox language, teaching or practice and no reason whatsoever to presume "his current thinking" has changed since his ordination.

Over ten years ago, when Jakes was featured as a headline speaker with Promise Keepers one year, a simple phone call was made to one of their board members apprising him of Jakes' heresy.  I don't know if they heard from more than one person on the concerns about Jakes.  I do know that, squidgy as they could be on doctrinal matters, they had the sense not to invite him back in the following years.

For more on the history of Jake's and the modalist heresy see here and here as well as here and here.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Joshua 24:15b, Egalitarian Eisegesis Expanded version

But as for me and my house . . wait, family meeting in progress:

Joshua: Matilda, as my co-equal and mutually submitting spouse, I must ask you who we should serve?

Mrs. Joshua: Joshua, don't be silly.  It's the white sale tomorrow morning and I must get in line for the best sheets.

Joshua: Children, I will consult you as well.  Who do you say we should serve?

Akin: Dad, I want to go to that place where they serve your hamburger to you at the chariot window.

Brakin: Do I have to serve?  I'm playing Donkey-pong!

Hartt:  Whatever!

Joshua here again, you Israelites.  I'm afraid our family meeting is in recess.  We simply can't come to a consensus after I have consulted each member of my household.  Since I have consulted them and there is no consensus, I cannot speak for who we will serve.  Sorry, folks.

EEEv commentary on this verse:

Do you really think that Joshua could speak for others in his house on this matter of faith without discussing it with them beforehand? Each person’s faith is a matter between themselves and God, at least according to the Bible.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Herodias Syndrome: Women, Contraception and Priestly Timidity

Herodias knew the kind of carnal shame that is intuitive for women, one to which men may well be oblivious.  Like Lady Macbeth, she resorted to violence to force her husband to see her shame.  In the 80 years since the first Christian church body allowed the use of contraception for married couples (Lambeth, 1930), we have seen study after study about the ill effects of birth control on everything from a woman's long term health, to her choice of marital (or not) partners -- extending even to widespread effects on the natural environment because of the flood of hormones being flushed down our toilets on a continual basis.

In the face of this unnatural practice, women are resorting to violence (abortion, unilateral divorce) to place their shame before the face of their husbands and paramours.  And yet our pastors rarely preach on this, our elders rarely teach us about the evils of contraception.  Is it ever mentioned in marital counseling?  Ever counseled against in marriage preparation classes?

Our pastors and elders must not shy away from excising the shame -- for only then can repentance and true reconciliation be effected.

read the original article here.

Evangelicalism: Roy Rogers style (or, Reason #697 for Why I Am Not an Evangelical)

I am sure you will realize which song, popularized by Roy Rogers, I have in mind when you read the following snippets from Rachel Held Evans's blog.  They come from the two-part reflection on her week of silence.  The week was part of her "year of biblical womanhood" project.

RHE, on visiting a Benedictine monastery:

My inner voice was right. Sure I tell the news media I’m an evangelical, but the truth is, I don’t know what I am. I’m a religious misfit. I don’t have a home.


At lunch I confessed to one of the monks, Brother Brenden, “I know it doesn’t work this way, but I wish I could take the pieces I love from each tradition—Catholic, Orthodox, Mennonite, Methodist, Evangelical, Anglican—and cobble them together into a home church.” He smiled sympathetically, but in a way that said, “Yeah,it doesn’t work that way.” 

Kacie wrote, in response:

 I'm cobbling together bits and pieces from here and there. And you know where I end up? As an evangelical. Because an evangelical is undefined. Whereas in all the other corners you clearly know when you're in and out and I'm out because I don't totally agree.... I feel like Evangelical is sort of a Christian who doesn't fit any other boxes. We're the misfits. We don't always like each other because we've all cobbled together our faith differently and we don't fit. Evangelicalism is undefined. I think we sometimes fall into it because no one else takes us.

RHE, part 2 on a Quaker meeting:

As we sat in silence together, I remembered something William James said: “Our lives are like islands in the sea, or like trees in the forest, which co-mingle their roots in the darkness underground. Just so, there is a continuum of cosmic consciousness, against which our individuality builds but accidental fences, and into which our several minds plunge as into a other sea or reservoir.”

It occurred to me that the distinctions between Catholics at Quakers that seem so pronounced on the outside are but accidental fences in the endless continuum of God’s grace. Perhaps my frantic search for a denominational “home” was an attempt to build fences where there needn’t be any.


I think that ever since our church plant failed, I’ve been trying to recapture the sense of belonging…no, control… I had when I was such an integral part of creating our community’s identity. Now, when I visit other churches, all I can see are the fences—the doctrines, traditions, and idiosyncrasies that rub me the wrong way and make me feel isolated from my fellow Christians.

But the truth of the matter is, I can’t make my own tradition in my own image. I tried that, and it didn’t work. However, I can connect to the Holy Spirit and to the people with whom the Holy Spirit resides at every wayside shrine I encounter along the way. And I can cobble together an eclectic assemblage of favorite hymns, rituals, images, service efforts, and theology to adorn the little sanctuary in my soul.

The point of the Church has never been uniformity, but unity.

Respondent Dustin comes closest to the problem with RHEs imaginary fences:

Yes. In fact, I think that's true for most of us. What do you think is the key to moving past these imaginary fences? And, on another note, how do you tell the difference between an imaginary fence and a REAL fence?     


The problem Evans is unable to recognize is that the fences are real.  Does she imagine the fences around her marriage are imaginary?  Unnecessary?  When was the last time she encouraged Dan to sleep with another woman to explore the unity between people prevented by the imaginary fence of marital monogamy?

I'll eat my socks if that has ever happened.  Why does she imagine God is any less jealous of His church than she is of her marriage?  In fact, marriage is the overriding biblical image of God's relationship with us.  His pursuit of us is woven throughout the Bible:  from his calling Abram to Hosea's marriage to the unfaithful Gomer.  And then there is our establishment as Christ's body, His Bride, and refinement during the Church Age -- at the end of which we will celebrate a wedding feast. 

As Chesterton has reminded us, we ought not go about tearing fences down until we know why they were put up in the first place - nor should we pretend they are imaginary.  Quakers deny the sacraments, Roman Catholics hold a high view of them and the fences between the two groups are very real and proper.  Evangelical churches have a lower view of the sacraments, but even there the communion table is fenced against Buddhists and Zoroastrians.  The fences exist to define what is before us, and instruct us about its significance.

The fences of Christianity are the fences of a playground.  Without them, we run the risk of running into road traffic in our enthusiasm for play. 

**emphasis as in original in quotes from RHEs blog.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Perhaps it was the Hound of Heaven instead?

Ellen Painter Dollar has been fired from CT

I just have one question:  Who does she think is rejoicing? 

I am certainly thankful that she has one less platform from which to lead innocent souls astray.  But really, if she thinks her firing is a matter for rejoicing, she truly doesn't understand what is at stake here.  Nor does she understand her opponents.

Please Pray for her.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Weekly Writing Reminder

  1. Never open a book with weather.
  2. Avoid prologues.
  3. Never use a verb other than "said" to carry dialogue.
  4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb "said”…he admonished gravely.
  5. Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose.
  6. Never use the words "suddenly" or "all hell broke loose."
  7. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.
  8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
  9. Don't go into great detail describing places and things.
  10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.
My most important rule is one that sums up the 10:

If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.