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Posts Tagged ‘DESTROYING RELIGION’

0824122008

Yep, nothing says Salvation like a handy-dandy tract strategically located on your basic “American Standard” wall urinal.

Here we have your basic Semi-Pelagian* religious tract attached to a “Pisseth against the Wall” toilet device.

Doing one’s soul winning doody.. er.. I mean duty, by trolling public restrooms with religious tracts will earn you points with gid in heaven… you have his Word on it.

*http://the-highway.com/pelagian_Sproul.html

The Tract text can be referenced here:

http://www.fellowshiptractleague.org/tract_html/english/134/page_flip/134.html

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Christopher Peterman has been expelled today, just days before he was to graduate from BJU.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151561551900506#!/DoRightBJU

Watch his statement on video here:  https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151561551900506#!/photo.php?v=10151561551900506

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“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”

This arose as a quotation by John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, first Baron Acton (1834–1902). The historian and moralist, who was otherwise known simply as Lord Acton, expressed this opinion in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton in 1887: (1)

Lord Acton took a great interest in America, considering its Federal structure the perfect guarantor of individual liberties. During the American Civil War, his sympathies lay entirely with the Confederacy, for their defense of States’ Rights against a centralized government that, by all historical precedent, would inevitably turn tyrannical. His notes to Gladstone on the subject helped sway many in the British government to sympathize with the South. After the South’s surrender, he wrote to Robert E. Lee that “I mourn for the stake which was lost at Richmond more deeply than I rejoice over that which was saved at Waterloo.” (2)

In 1870 came the great crisis in Roman Catholicism over Pope Pius IX’s promulgation of the doctrine of papal infallibility. Lord Acton, who was in complete sympathy on this subject with Döllinger, went to Rome in order to throw all his influence against it, but the step he so much dreaded was not to be averted. The Old Catholic separation followed, but Acton did not personally join the seceders, and the authorities prudently refrained from forcing the hands of so competent and influential an English layman. It was in this context that, in a letter he wrote to scholar and ecclesiastic Mandell Creighton, dated April 1887, Acton made his most famous pronouncement:

“I cannot accept your canon that we are to judge Pope and King unlike other men with a favourable presumption that they did no wrong. If there is any presumption, it is the other way, against the holders of power, increasing as the power increases. Historic responsibility has to make up for the want of legal responsibility. Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or certainty of corruption by full authority. There is no worse heresy than the fact that the office sanctifies the holder of it.” (3)

_______________________________________________

I apologize for the history lesson but I felt is was necessary to lay a foundation for the argument I stated in the title. In this history of Lord Acton’s dictum we see that he makes application both in the political realm and the religious. Given today’s socio-political climate I could just as easily argue from the political angle showing the relevance of his statement to 2010 America, but I would rather persue my own leanings and follow the Religious path.

We see that Lord Acton himself made a stand against the corruption in religion that results from an unhealthy accumulation of power. In Lord Acton’s day it was a stand against the man-made notion of papal infallibility. Here today I wish to take a similar stand against a parallel crisis. Whereas the Roman Catholic system has a centralized Pope which Lord Acton recused for such a power grab as papal infallibility, I wish to make the same accusation against modern Christianity where the Local Pastor is infact a defacto local pope. Unlike Acton I will step over the Theological line and call into question the Protestant (and Baptist… for those Landmark folks who claim the Baptists were never protestants) use of the leftover Clergy/Laity system that came over from Roman Catholicism and whether such a system can be defended biblically.

My premise is that any man who is given authority over others will, if left unchecked, make full use of that authority for both personal gain and personal power. The amount of corruption by this person will ultimately be decided by the amount of power that is available. As Lord Acton says, “Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or certainty of corruption by full authority.”

In modern Christianity most church congregations are based on a simple design. The authority is vested in the persons of the (so called) clergy, usually at the consent of, or at least the tacit agreement of the (so called) laity. This Catholic Idea of Clergy/Laity came from the teachings of Ignatius, Irenaeus, Cyprias, and Augustine who created and promoted the whole “Christian” class/ caste system. While not addressing the theological issues of this problem Lord Acton actually does a marvelous job of attacking just such a system, “There is no worse heresy than the fact that the office sanctifies the holder of it.” As true today as when Acton said it.

In Ephesians 4: 11-16 it says, “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”

In this passage we do not see offices to be filled but gifts that are given to “equip the saints for the work of ministry…”

Yet, by and large, most “churches” see the gifts as offices and positions to be filled. This idea of ecclesiastical offices would have been reinforced in the King James translation of Scripture especially since, thanks to Henry the VIII in 1534, the English monarch was also the head of the English church. The translators would be sure to frame their wording to reflect the offices of the church in deference to their King. Therefore, we see that the offices of the clergy were firmly established in a translation that was Authorized by a political ruler who was also head of the English Church at the time. This is the beginning of the protestant veneration of the person who holds the office rather than the service and the doing of ministry by the gifts given to the body of believers. This kills the spirit of service and produces professional “office holders” that I refer to as hired guns.

“There is no worse heresy than the fact that the office sanctifies the holder of it.” This has become a real problem in the churches of America today. Most churches today have a “pastor” who oversees the entire opperation, and there may be a deacon board that is either working with the pastor or against him… either way it is doubtful that either “office” is operating biblically. With the advent of the Professional Clergy there has been a rise in the cult of personality as well. The Professional is seen in a light that is clearly not biblical and we see that wheather by “influence” or by acquired “authority” these men rise to prominence. Even the small rural churches are patterened after this and the pastor is looked on as a man of authority over the congregation. And there is the rub.

The man holding the office is elevated above all the rest and his position is considered more sancitfied, more holy, and more powerful simply because of the office. This is heady stuff even for the best of men to guard against. The drug of power is very seductive and there are few men who do not succumb to it’s influence. At some point men holding these offices begin to believe in their own positions and begin to use both the assumed authority that the office brings and the power and influence it affords, for their own purposes. The Christian world is replete with tales of those who have abused their (so called)”offices” just as often and just as wickedly as any of the pedophile Priests in the Catholic church. That is the problem, the office creates a caste system where the Clergy is the ruling caste and the Laity is the subordinate serving caste reinforcing the political framework in the religious setting. At best men succumb to the evil over time; at worst men of poor character seek the office for the very reason we are discussing, to acquire power. Once the seduction with power begins the level of corruption will be commensurate with the level of power that is available.

Is there a cure? I believe that there is but it is so radical I doubt very seriously it would ever be adopted. The first step would be, to do away with the professional Clergy. Practically speaking this will never happen. The established Clergy and the pattern for their existence is too powerful. Never, of their own free will, would any of the professional “pastors” ever give up their position of power.  Even the meanest paid rural “pastor” would not willingly give up “his power” over even the smallest group of people. It is not about the money, heaven knows many, if not most, small congregations pay at or below the poverty level. No, it is about power to influence and control a group of people and mold their worldviews.(This is the danger of the passive approach to worship where a one-way conversation takes place.  The only view allowed in these meetings is the pastor’s.  This affords almost total control by the speaker to inject his own views as ‘god breathed’.  Whatever the “anointed”, “man of god” says while behind the “sacred desk” will be seen as, and accepted as, the “word of God”.) That is an especially strong allure for men of lesser character who are drawn to such positions. I have no doubt that there are good men who are trying to do what is right in these positions and I commend them and pray for them but the position itself is the enabler, the seductress; and even the best of men will, sooner or later, succumb to the temptation of power. We see a picture of this in J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings Trillogy”.   As a Ring Bearer, Frodo Baggins had an awful burden to carry yet, even he failed in the end and succumbed to the power of the ring; unable to destroy it he claimed it for himself.  The thread through-out the tale is about power, the use and the abuse of it.  Many who would have taken the ring would have done so out of a nobel purpose but would have been corrupted by it’s power and their corruption would (like Sauron) only be limited by the (unlimited) power of the ring.

1. http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/288200.html
2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Dalberg-Acton,_1st_Baron_Acton
3. Ibid.

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I link to this article , “Welcome To The Church Barbeque” and I am reminded of the past 38 years I have spent in the IFB movement.  I firmly believe that the Independent Fundamental Baptist movement has done more harm in the past 100 years than it has good.  It is exponentially greater in error and legalist traditionalism than Galatia ever approached.  The clergy/laity approach to the way church is performed is unbiblical and creates the passive pew-Christian that is unable to exercise the Gifts God has given regarding the preisthood of every believer.  The local Pope attitude of the hired professional, full-time, “man of God” has created a cult practice that has more to do with the personality of the man behind the pulpit than it does with God and His word.   Churches define themselves not by the Word of God, and the Biblical mandates found in Scripture but by the personality, and the dictates of the “self-anointedman of God who tells the passive pew dwellers what to think, how to think, and is considered a good preacher if he can stir their emotions and make them feel something, or manufacture the presence of God so they have an experience to get them to the next meeting.  Just like junkies in search of their next fix the IFB crowd is in serach of their next “sweet spirit” experience, looking for the ultimate religious high, the Revival!

In the article Bruce states, “In Independent Baptist Churches the pastor is god. He is the law. What he says goes. The Church CAN fire him but it often very hard to do.  After all, in many cases the pastor started the Church. He often has a following no matter what he says or does.

When the pastor stands up and preaches whatever he says he taken to be the gospel. A good Church member hates what the pastor hates and loves what the pastor loves. To go against the pastor usually meant you were looking for another Church to attend.”

I can say that (3) three of the (4) four “pastors” I have sat under the past 38 years are defined by that statement. And they had egos to to match their delusions of godhood.  At the very least they considered themselves to be no less than the Pope. If you did not agree with them then you were ran off in suble ways (multiple messages preached explicitly at you, just like Bruce’s examples) and sometimes not so subltle outright public confrontations where the Pope-ette’s word was final.  Even to manipulating and entire congregation to support the “man of god” and publically declare their love and support for him, even when he knows that he has committed a crime and is facing conviction.  In this case “the man of god” manipulated the entire local IFB area-wide system of  “pastors” and churches to come together in support of this poor martyr and show the local authorities how much he was loved and supported.  (I have no doubt this influenced a plea deal that kept him out of jail at that time.)

I have watched several generations of young people become disillusioned with “church” and God then completely abandon the church after they get old enough to make their own decisions.  They have seen the shallowness of the religion that the IFB practices.  God may be preached hot and heavy but the hypocracy that is found in the IFB movement is untenable.  The movement has nothing once you get past the facade of “faith.”  The IFB battle cry is, “all you need is faith.”  There is no need to go to school and learn anything more than is necessary to get you to seminary, to the mission field, or to teach in a Christian school.  Seminary is actually frowned on in the IFB circles because no-one wants the preacher to be too smart… if he is then he must not be a good preacher since he is not in the class of Acts 4:13

Yes, faith is the litmus test of the good IFB prosolyte and Anti-intellectualism is considered godly.  If you think too much then you loose your blind faith and that is a mainstay of the IFB movement….blind, unquestioning faith.  The “man of god” requires loyality from his flock and demands it from the pulpit.  To question the “man of god” is to attack, come against the “Lord’s anointed.  (of course this would mean that the “man of God” is either a king of Israel or Christ himself)  Don’t raise your hand against the “lord’s anointed” or you will be cursed…  and yes I have actually heard visiting IFB evangelists refer to the local “pastor” as the Lord’s anointed when they come in to hold “revival” (remember what I said above regarding “revival.”) services and set the congregation straight on who is to be the boss around the church. 

Well I’ll leave off here for now.  Again this is a De-Construction article I am not offering solutions at this point.  I am in the process of de-constructing 38 years of traditionalism that has been paraded as good preaching and ligitimate Christian faith.  It is neither.  I believe there are good well meaning people who sincerely love God in this movement.  I also believe these same people are brainwashed to not think for themselves and blindly follow the leader who himself has been programmed by the movement.  I also believe that the way the system is arranged, the unaccountable, business model way of practicing “church” corrupts even the best of men.   Like I said, I am not offering solutions at this point I am deconstructing all the garbage that has been built up as an edifice to IFB style of churchainty.

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What is Church?

I have been struggling with this issue for several months now. Our congregation is currently without a Pastor (or Preaching elder) and one candidate we interviewed asked us, “Why do you exist, or why should the doors remain open at your building and not merge with another Bible-believing church?” That really started me to thinking and the only answer I could come up with, is, “If all we are, and are going to be, is another Independent Baptist Church in a sea already polluted with Independent Baptist Churches then we have no purpose and I cannot find justification for our continued existence.” I have wrestled with that question long and hard which naturally led me to the other question you have to ask, “What then IS Church?”

I know more about what it is ‘not’ right now, than what it is. It is not the bunker where “Christians” gather in order to “be ye separate” nor is it a place where we invite ‘sinners’ in so that that they might get under the “sound of the gospel” preached by the “man of God.”

First: The assembly of the saints of God is for their edification, exhortation, and a time to be built up in the faith through the word, fellowship and most of all worship of the one who is worthy, our Lord God Jesus Christ and God the Father thru whom, in whom and by whom all things exist. (a bit preachy but true). The Assembly is not to be made into the primary source of evangelism that it has become in so many American “Churches”.

Second: The “sound of the gospel” is such a cop-out. That is the mantra of lazy so-called Christians who have thrown off their primary roll as priests and ambassadors. Each and every one of us who name the name of Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour are called to be witnesses and be ready to give to anyone who asks us, reason for the hope that is within us. To drag a lost person to “Church” so that they get under the “sound of the gospel” is nothing less than Roman Catholicism re-dressed in some other denominational camouflage. Every believer should be able to tell anyone who asks what we believe, why we believe it and tell what Jesus Christ had done for us. (Nowhere in scripture does it say we have to be “deal closers” as if we are part of some divine marketing campaign.)

Third: there is the whole “man of God” issue. Last time I checked everyone who is Born again is a Child of God and that makes us, men and women of God. The very idea of Clergy and Laity came out of Ignatius, Irenaeus, Cyprian, and Augustinian teachings that created the whole “Christian” class/ caste system.

I recently read, Jim Petersen’s “Church Without Walls.” there is much I learned in this book about what Church ought to be.  There is so much more that I will have to read, research and pray about but I know for myself I have already jettisoned the normal version of the American church, along with most of the pop-dispensationalism that comes with it. I have come to the conclusion that the pre-mil/pre-trib rapture theory is deadly to the health of a church, because it soon settles for becoming a bunker where everyone is content to merely “occupy” until Jesus comes. And then every disaster and calamity that makes the news is heralded as “you know we are living in the end days” and “it can’t be long now…” and many churches climb in the bunker and close the hatch… then the world around us no longer sees a people of God who have good news… but members of an increasingly irrelevant sub-culture.

The answer is out there…  so on I go…

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http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704013004574517453919024722.html?mod=wsj

What really disturbed me, was when I visited their web site they were bragging about what a success the event was and how they had prayed for rain to keep the protestor and media turnout low. These folks used Acts 19:19 to justify burning these books, where the Verse talks about those who had used the curious arts were burning their books… this group in NC seemed to be bragging about using curious arts to bring about the burning of books they disapprove of.   What these wahoo’s were doing had nothing to do with what is presented in Acts 19.  Taking text out of context is intellectually dishonest and lends itself to cult type practices.   This is clearly the culmination of  the anti-intellectualism that is so pervasive (especially) in the Independent Fundamental movement here in America. The rusted buckle of the Bible belt is becoming more and more a tragic comedy and less and less about biblical Christianity.

Well, it turns out they didn’t “burn” the books after all… they just ripped them up and threw them in a garbage can.  This is Orwellian in the worst way.  God was not honored in this display of self-righteous hypocrisy.  In fact, just the opposite took place, God was dishonored and His word was desecrated.  Behaviour such as this makes a mockery of Christianity, but these self appointed Pharisees have taken it upon themselves to be the wielders of the Law for everyone. 

Here is a quote from the video they made of the event, “… (here’s)the Living New testament.. ( begins tearing the book apart) it’s not living it’s dead, it’s all a lie… there’s only one book living… the King James Version.”

(found on the video at 10:00 minutes to 11:00 minutes… You can download it from this link:)

http://amazinggracebaptistchurchkjv.com/downloads/Book%20Burning/Book%20Burning%202009%20Destroying%20Garbage.wmv

It’s all a lie..”??? Then when the living NT talks about Jesus dying on the cross and the resurrection it is a lie?  Do these people know what they are saying!!?? I just read the NLT account of the trial, crucifixion, burial and Resurrection… if that account is a lie as these people declare… then all similiar accounts are equally a lie. Grrrrrrrr! what intellectual suicide these people practice! 

Burnt Offerings – WSJ.com
online.wsj.com
A church throws copies of Scripture into the flames.

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THE MOST DANGEROUS THING A CHRISTIAN CAN DO…

 

Recently, I have been having a “crisis of religion.”  I have been examining my life, my beliefs, and my behaviours.  I have discovered the single most dangerous thing a Christian can do.  It is absolutely devastating to one’s religion.  This single act has the ability to completely demolish one’s view of religion and change how you approach religion for the rest of your life.

Think about it for a moment.  Ask yourself the following questions.

 

1)      a. What is salvation?

b. How is one saved? 

c. What does it mean to be saved? 

d. What is my roll in my own salvation?

2)  a. What version of the Bible do I hold to?

      b. Why?

3)   a. When I go to church does everyone look like me?

      b. Are there any from the outside?        

c. Would we tolerate someone with tattoos?  Long hair?  Dirty clothes?  Where      would/do we draw the line when it comes to who we will let in?

i. If we claim we would allow everyone then where are they?  “Oh, they just don’t want to come here.”  Why not?

ii. “They can’t handle the truth.  It is obvious they are sinners and don’t want to hear the truth.”  What truth is that?  Your doctrine or Biblical doctrine?

 

There you have it.  You have just engaged in the single most dangerous thing a Christian can do… and that is to “Think.”   Think about what you believe and why you believe it.  I challenge you to examine your beliefs.  Why do you believe what you believe?  Are you going along with the herd or can you defend your beliefs and behaviours with sound contextual Biblical teaching. Do you have to take text out of context to “proof” your beliefs?  Do you take scripture and interpret it in the light and context of 2008 in order to get your doctrine?  Think about it?  Do you believe it because you have studied it out or because the denomination believes it and it has always been done this way? 

 

If your beliefs cannot withstand such examination then what good are they in the first place?  If they only bring you comfort and do nothing for your soul or your relationship with Christ and your relationship with others then what good are they?  If your beliefs are based on error and you do nothing to discover the error and correct it… guess what… you will be held responsible for that error on the Day of Judgment.  This is especially, most extremely, important when it comes to salvation.  That is why Scripture warns us to examine ourselves to show we are in the faith, and to make our calling and election sure.  It is of vital importance to be certain we are holding to Biblical doctrine and exalting Jesus Christ and not the doctrines of men and our imaginations.

 

There you have it.  The most dangerous thing a Christian can do is to “Think” and be able to give a reason for the hope that is within him. 

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