March 27, 2009
Hell Freezes Over...AGAIN!!!
I have only two comments about this post over at Mark Driscoll's blog:
1. It is a class act by Driscoll.
2. I doubt that MacArthur's invitation to C.J. Mahanney means he has "softened his position" on cessationism.
It's My Fault
It's all my fault.
What is my fault?
Why, the economic crisis, of course. To hear Brazilian president Luís Inácio "Lula" da Silva tell it, anyway.
Here is his quote, via CNBC:
This crisis was caused by the irrational behavior of white people with blue eyes, who thought they knew everything and now show they know nothing.
That's right. According to Brazilian president Lula, the economic crisis is the fault of white-skinned, blue-eyed people. That would be me.
That the president of a modern, industrialized, civilized nation can make such a racist comment--and get away with it--boggles my mind. Even more mind-boggling is the excuse he gave when pressed on the issue:
I only record what I see in the press. I am not acquainted with a single black banker.
Here is a little reality check for Lula: the country of which you are president, where I live, which I love, is full of white, blue-eyed people. Or perhaps you have forgotten
or Cesar Cielo
In fact, his eyes are not blue, but Lula himself is not exactly what you would call "tan":
But of course none of this matters...so for now, I guess I should keep my incriminatingly blue eyes open for posters like this...
Note: I REALLY like the "Exit Question" given by Allahpundit in his post on this subject over at HotAir.com. Something to think about.
March 26, 2009
In Other News, Hell Freezes Over...
In doing my morning blog reading, I was interested in Mark Driscoll's post about one of his (and my) spiritual heroes, Charles Haddon Spurgeon. Driscoll very helpfully provided a list of links at the bottom of the page to various resources on Spurgeon's life and work. Lo and behold, one of these links was to none other than Phil Johnson's Spurgeon Archive.
If you know anything about these two men, you know that they do not exactly see eye-to-eye on a number of issues. I happen to admire both men: Johnson for his tireless apologetic work on Pyromaniacs and for a sermon I heard him give entitled Dead Right, and Driscoll for the way he takes it to the emergents and for some of his innovative thoughts on church planting in a pagan society. I knew that they were both admirers of Spurgeon, and I wondered if perhaps at some point good ol' CH might reach from beyond the grave and bring them together.
Now I know that the fact that Driscoll linked Johnson's site does not necessarily mean that they are ready to--as Driscoll once said in another context--get matching sweaters and ride a tandem bike. Yet perhaps they will discover that there are more things they have in common.
Exit question: I wonder how Driscoll--who has defined the New Calivnists as non-cessationists--deals with the fact that his spiritual hero was almost certainly a cessationist?
March 23, 2009
Book Review: Christianity in Crisis
The body of Christ has suffered tremendously at the hands of a group of "leaders" who peddle faith as a commodity, preach a "name-it-and-claim-it" gospel, and otherwise wreak havoc on sound doctrine.
In writing Christianity in Crisis: The 21st Century (2009, Thomas Nelson), Hank Hanegraaff has provided the body of Christ with a biblical antidote for this infection. His withering analysis of the Faith movement--covering the span from "old timers" like Kenneth Hagin to current celebrities such as Joel Osteen--shows it for what it is: a doctrinal house of cards that crumbles at the slightest investigative touch.
Christianity in Crisis is written in such a way as to be valuable to three major groups of people. Serious pastors who struggle to compete with the slick TV performances of the Faith "ministers" will find ample material with which to better inform their congregations. Laymen will be brought face-to-face with clear comparisons between what these charlatans claim and what the Scripture teaches. Missionaries will also be given amunition with which to combat the influence of these "faith mongers" in foreign lands.
In the first part of his book, Hanegraaff defines the problem in basic terms, and introduces us to the cadre of shady characters that make up the Faith movement. There are easily recognized names like Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland and Benny Hinn. This update version also targets new kids on the block like Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer.
After introducing the "plot" and the cast of characters (would to God that this were fiction), he spends the bulk of the book elaborating the main points of the Faith movement. These are, in order, a misguided concept of faith, the idea that men are/can become gods, a twisting of the atonement, an emphasis on material prosperity, and denial of God's purpose in suffering.
Hanegraaff is very concerned that his readers understand what it is he is saying. The chapters of his book are filled with mnemonic devices to insure easy memory. For example, the above list is given as F.L.A.W.S. (Faith in faith, Little gods, Atonement atrocities, Wealth and want, and Sickness and suffering). At first I found these to be cumbersome, but as I continued reading, they began to be helpful to me. Almost every chapter is divided into its own neat little acrostic.
After dealing at length with the problems of the Faith movement, Hanegraaff spends the last part of his book sharing basic tools to help his readers gain a biblical worldview. Here I sensed his genuine desire to rescue lay-people from the clutches of these unscrupulous prevaricators.
I recommend this book in the highest possible terms. It should be in every church library, and in the personal study of every pastor, missionary, and lay leader.
On a personal note, I know that the original version of this was published in Portuguese here in Brazil. I should like to see this new version published also. It would be nice if Hanegraaff could collaborate with someone here in Brazil and add some chapters dealing with our own homegrown and wildly successful "Faith preachers"--Edir Macedo, R.R. Soares, and others of their ilk.
A week ago I asked our students to send me pictures from their ministry internships so we could post them on our seminary website. The photos are starting to trickle in. Here are some from Rafael, who works with children at the First Baptist Church in Juazeiro do Norte.
I will post more of these as they come in.
March 21, 2009
Inverted Values 101
I almost blew a gasket yesterday as I read this article published by Reuters. It has to do with a video put out by people associated with YWAM (Jocum in Portuguese) depicting how unwanted children are sometimes buried alive by certain indigenous peoples in the Amazon region. The title of the article?
Amazon Indian infanticide video said inciting hate
So, we have the people who bury their children alive (note that the article does not even try to deny that this happens) and the missionaries trying to save said children by creating public outrage against the practice.
And the villains are the missionaries!!!
The most unbelievable quote in the entire piece comes from one Fiona Watson, who apparently participates in one of the many organizations dedicated to keeping the natives in the Stone Age. She says
The infanticide is not being explained; it's being taken out of context.
Out of context? And in what context would this practice be justified? How are we supposed to explain the systematic burying alive of undesired children?
In situations like these I am reminded of Proverbs 24:11-12
Deliver those who are drawn toward death, And hold back those stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, “Surely we did not know this,” Does not He who weighs the hearts consider it? He who keeps your soul, does He not know it? And will He not render to each man according to his deeds?
The officials of FUNAI, IBAMA, and numerous NGOs who are in a position to do something about this, but don't, will one day be held responsible.
Here is a link to the Hakani project website, and one to the trailer for the video on YouTube. PLEASE NOTE: this video can be very traumatizing. Also, natives are portrayed in authentic native "garb". If you cannot deal with that, please do not watch it. If you can, prepare to have your heart torn in two for these people.
A further note to American readers: We have no excuse to get on our holier-than-thou high horse here, not when thousands upon thousands of
fetuses children are aborted murdered in cold blood every year in the name of economics, convenience, cosmetics, womens' rights--whatever. If we do nothing about that, there is blood on our hands as well.
March 20, 2009
Do You Desire the Word?
Fernando, one of our students here at the seminary, recently gave this report from his ministry internship:
There is a lady in the church who is visually impaired. I almost cried when she sat down in her pew, took her brother's Bible, and simply passed her hands over the pages--demonstrating her desire to read it.
Did this rebuke you like it did me?
March 14, 2009
It has been over now for almost a week, but I figured I would post some pictures from our conference and pastor's clinic.
As I mentioned before, the topic of the conference was Jonathan Edwards' work Religious Affections. As Pastor Muri spoke in English (through a translator--no gift of tongues here) the English-speaking readers of this blog could also benefit from this study. The mp3s of the evening sessions of the conference are available at the seminary website (The three links at the top that read 1ª Noite, 2ª Noite, 3ª Noite)
March 12, 2009
The most popular hymn of all time, as sung by Il Divo, in the Colosseum, where many believers lost their lives rather than deny the amazing Grace that saved them.
ht Tim Challies
March 4, 2009
Close Encounters of a Celebrity Kind
Before he left, he asked people on Facebook to challenge him with pictures for a photo scavenger hunt while he was there. I challenged him to get a photo of a celebrity--thinking that would be the hardest.
I was wrong. Not only did he see Simon Baker from the Mentalist...
He also saw Robin Tunney (not sure why she is famous)...
Of course I know that Daniel is more excited about what he is hearing at the conference than at sighting stars of stage and screen (and Barney). I'm sure he will be blogging about it over at Divine Satisfaction.
Which of course will only increase my struggle with intense feelings of jealousy.