Stick A Fork In It . . .

When one speaks of discouragements, they can always point to what they see going on in the world. Perhaps for most that care about the objective standard of Scripture, you can even step into the churches and easily find examples of things where people are astray and need to repent.

Much of my own blogging efforts and those of many others have documented how the churches have perverted the typical objective worship of Jesus in favor of the man-made churches, perverted marriage from something that glorifies God into something that glorifies women, and numerous other things. Naturally with the nature of man, a blind eye gets put to these things because it derives some kind of wicked benefit in the minds of the people to accept sinful things – people are just reminded to “not judge” or “not be prideful” for their own sin they know they have. Then it happens long enough that it becomes tradition, and people don’t even begin to see it who claim Christ. In this day and age, accepting the world into the church is as natural as breathing.

Take a couple of more cases I’m aware of:

  • A leader of a Christian group who has an open homosexual relationship.
  • A wife that’s been getting one of her children a sex-change operation, keeping it secret from her husband.

My circle, as most people’s isn’t that big. But it’s amazing how many blantantly egregious things I’m aware of that are allowed to stand in this day and age, to be seen as acceptable to Christian standards. Paul reminds us of this with a case before the Corinthians:

It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. (1 Cor 5:1-2)

and the prescription:

But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person. (1 Corinthians 5:11-13)

How many people have been in contact with this and know this and simply don’t care? It’s not so much these things happening that I wanted to address, but the state of the churches in accepting them. Accepting behavior quickly becomes normalizing behavior into tradition, and we have witnessed much of that in our own lifetimes with many things, most notably divorce and remarriage.

One then asks how people can see this stuff as “normal”, and can quickly arrive upon the Personal Jesus as the answer, with the reminder of Romans 1 backing it:

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; … Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. (Romans 1:28, 32)

The whole passage is notable, but this is the part I wanted to focus upon. It’s one thing when those of the world do these kinds of things listed in the complete passage with a clear conscience, but another when people who proclaim Christ are exposed to Scripture through reading and church attendance, and still partake in these things (both doing and giving acceptance) with clear consciences before Him.

But in the Personal Jesus, fear towards the Lord isn’t supposed to be a thing. He accepts all of these things. But the objective Jesus has a different story:

For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? (1 Peter 4:17-18)

I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2 Timothy 4:1-4)

For those that only not sin, but blaspheme His Name in their sin with calloused hearts of flint, what else shall the Lord do with them if they will not repent? There is always hope for that, but alas the sin seems to be piling higher and higher. May the Lord have mercy on us all in His due course!

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Book Review: No More Christian Nice Guy

No More Christian Nice Guy: When Being Nice–Instead of Good–Hurts Men, Women and Children. Paul Coughlin. Bethany House Publishers, 2007.

Much as been written at the old blog about the general effects that both society and Churchianity have held upon men. The goals of traditional marriage and the instilling of traditional gender roles have been incredibly successful, leading to men who have not only given assent to female supremacy, but have bought into the whole concept whole sale by molding themselves into the docile follower, further demeaning themselves in the process. This “going too far” is what Paul Coughlin attempts to address in “No More Christian Nice Guy”.

Coughlin begins by describing the “Christian Nice Guy” (CNG), the typical “gentle, meek and mild” man who fears to live life, and sees his own life as worthless. The author goes on to assign a passive-aggressiveness to this man. Coughlin then describes the natural Jesus to extend from this, a meek and mild submissive Jesus and then contrasts that with an “unchained”, Jesus who was a “law-breaker”. He then describes the messages of the church given in order to reinforce submission and servitude in men towards women. The author then uses his own childhood abuse experience to relay the idea that children are taught to “live small”.

Coughlin then relates the CNG to marriage, describing how his passivity model is molded onto the expectations of men by the typical incorrect message of “sacrifice”. He goes on to explain the false piety connected to sexual expression, and how men are led to denying expression of intimacy that is natural to them. Coughlin then describes the neo-feminist view of masculinity, indicating that taking abuse has somehow been identified as Christian to men. He then moves on to describe the CNG at work. Coughlin then reiterates his points in an attempt to describe the journey from a “Nice guy” to a “Good guy”, provides advice in “facing one’s fears” and practical advice for going forward.

In reading through this book, I found myself frustrated in a number of respects. Coughlin brings up a few good points, such as the feminization of the Church, demonization of male sexuality, and the control of men in the church by women using shame and other tactics. Still, Coughlin retains a timid reserve in both stating them clearly and bringing them to their natural conclusion, betraying a nice guy behind the paper tiger he portrays, and leaving many topics with a non-definitive end. Others are shipwrecked either by contradiction or by plunging into other lies. For instance, the female Personal Jesus replaced with another Personal Jesus fashioned in the image of Tyler Durden. Still others are digressions into places that make no sense, like his diatribe on “family-owned Christian businesses”.

Furthermore, the lightness of Scriptural application and Coughlin’s reading of his Personal Jesus into it (p42), proclaiming Jesus a law-breaker (p47) is quite disturbing. Furthermore, Coughlin’s disorganized and scattershot way of writing (this is why I didn’t remember anything about the book – it took five pages of notes just to capture what he wrote about) services none of his points as much of what he has to say is cut off by himself to move onto other topics.

Overall, while this book had much promise, the goal it had became clear as soon as I read Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s forward. While Coughlin sniffed near a number of truisms regarding the real nature of traditional marriage and gender roles, much was squandered in the attempt to not “rock the boat”. It was quite clear that Coughlin’s “good guy” shares a number of commonalities with the “nice guy”, and to that end the goal was not to emancipate God-given manhood but to reel back the domestication of the male service animal, or for Coughlin to work out his personal issues with his mother’s abuse.

As I’ve seen personally, and as many of the other reviews of the book suggest, there are far better options for these topics than this book.

Rating: 4 out of 10.

Book Cover Image Source: Amazon

Book Review: Revolution

Revolution. George Barna. BarnaBooks, 2005.
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In view of what a number of the churches are doing in this country and the general trends of society, it’s almost expected that people are seeking places where they can find Christ outside of the local church. It is this phenomena that George Barna seeks to describe in his book, Revolution.

Barna begins by contrasting the idea of a person fully seeking a spiritual life with Christ (a “Revolutionary”) with one who is a backslider, and notes a difference exists even though both have nothing to do with an institutional church. The author then describes the preferences that cause true Christ-seekers to seek elsewhere. He then describes a Biblical picture of the church and matches that with what he finds in his research of those who are seeking Christ elsewhere. Barna then relays a survey indicating the state of the local church in terms of the ability to provide spiritual transformation, indicating that connection to believers seeking godliness matters more than church involvement.

The author then describes societal trends and desires that indicate that God is active and working to provide the desire and means for those to seek Him to find Him, indicating some of those means and describing some alternative means that people are using to “do church” that focus on enabling Christian spirituality over institutional goals. He then uses Jesus as an example, contrasting what He did and His focus with the activities of the scribes and Pharisees, showing the difference of character and demonstrating that the governance and control of men can not provide spiritual transformation.

Barna then describes the character, outlook, and practices of those who have found a transformation in Christ, contrasting this with the small influence the institutional churches have on the world. The author describes the impact he foresees in a shift, and the resistance that is sure to come from those steeped in an institutional church focus, addressing some of the chief accusations from that party. Finally, Barna provides some suggestions on how local churches can respond to these trends.

This book confirmed a number of trends I have personally noticed and cataloged in the course of my blogging. Reading of God’s work to set aside His remnant who recognize that man-made church does not save but only Christ saves was especially encouraging. Barna provided a constructive picture through Scripture of the proper function of the Church and the life of the transformed believer.

However, a more Scriptural picture of the scribes and Pharisees, contrasting that with the hearts of those who are seeking after the man-made church would have been beneficial. Especially, the role of God’s truth and the tendency of men to love darkness, using the lens of Paul’s later epistles would have been incredibly welcome.

Overall, Revolution provides an excellent picture of the current bankrupt state of Christianity in the United States for those who have ears to hear. It proves that all things will be known by their fruit (Matthew 7:15-20), and that God will reject the bad fruit while enabling those who earnestly seek bread and fish to find it (Matthew 7:7-10) instead of the stones and serpents that are being handed out in Christ’s name by the institutional churches.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Book Cover Image Source: Amazon

Book Review: Simple Church

Simple Church. Thomas Rainier and Eric Geiger. B&H Books, 2006.
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For those interested in churches and how they work in this day and age, Simple Church comes up in the list of books to consider, and therefore has drawn my consideration. Thomas Rainier and Eric Geiger relay their observations in terms of churches in the United States and their focus and goals. As is the metrics of most in this day and age, the author’s concerns are ones of attendance and giving.

The author’s conclusions are relayed in the title itself. They contrast what they refer to as the “simple church” with the “not so simple church”, in terms of the number of events, programs, and the like. Their argument is that churches that offer fewer programs centered around a clear and specific goal or mission are better. They argue that a church should have a clear ministry blueprint and process by which the members are moved in and through. By doing this, Rainier and Geiger believe that the energy of everyone involved in the church should then be focused on that specific goal, while other activities not related to that goal should be abandoned.

As a tool of the church-growth movement, this book furthers the goal of turning God’s organic gathering into a simple production line, bringing the rudiments of the world into the things of God (Colossians 2:8). Furthermore, it declares the will of man supreme over the will of God. As with any aspect of the church-growth movement, when people are molded into a man-made product of exacting parameters, this produces a legalistic cult, pushing people away from Christ and out the door. In other words, be a cog of the machine or be ground up by the machine. God’s love and grace are not found in Rainer and Geiger’s “simple church”.

From a content perspective, this book offers exceedingly little. Indeed, the entire content of the book is offered within this review. Unfortunately, the content this book does offer, when put into practice, is exceedingly destructive both to those who participate as well as the church overall before God. Its only value is to further document the increasing profanity of the modern church in this wicked age.

Rating: 1 out of 10.

Book Cover Image Source: Amazon