July 26, 2008


My friend and fellow blogger Dean Lusk mentioned a really cool Java App called Wordle that will apparently take all the words from your blog and turn them into a word picture for you. I guess it gives a good indication what your blog is all about. This is really neat to play around with!

Thanks Dean!

July 21, 2008

XXXChurch VS One Coureagous Christ Follower

In a time where false doctrines such as Calvinism and Universalism have almost spiritually bankrupted the church, there are times where courageous men and women do step forward to rebuke or exhort those who are out in the public forum promoting such false doctrines.

The following video is an exchange between a group growing in recent popularity known as The XXXChurch.com and one lone Christ follower. This "ministry" drive around the country promoting their "Christian" website that supposedly exposes the dangers of pornography. The only problem is their website gives the appearance of a actually embracing porn rather than telling people to repent from it. Some of their tactics include putting up a 30 ft inflatable penis in front of churches to promote their ministry! They also go to Adult Porn Industry conventions and hand out "The Message" bible that says "Jesus Loves Porn Stars" on the cover (rather than preaching the gospel they feel by just handing out bibles this alone will bring people to repentance. I guess this is taking "Sola Scriptura" to a whole new level!). You can see another example of their so called "Christian" tactics here. Again on this video they are confronted by some street preachers that tell them their tactics are neither biblical nor honoring the death of Christ and that they need to turn from sin and not embrace this poison of pornography. Let's keep one thing in mind here folks and that is the bible says that it is only through coming to the realization of our sins and allowing that realization to bring us to a point of brokenness, that will led people to repentance.

The following video is what I consider true Christian courage. How many of us would be so bold to confront someone in public of promoting such a false doctrine? I want you to pay particular attention to what the guy from XXXChurch says when confronted about sin - he says he "sins everyday" and that "He Can't help but sin". This guy is simply regurgitating what he has been taught and that is he is "Totally Depraved" and that sin is not a choice but something he is born with - Original Sin. It is the product of Calvinism we have to thank for this type of "ministry" as we can so these folks are simply taking their theology to their logical conclusion and that is one can sin in word thought and deed daily - simply because they have born that way and can not change the will of their hearts and minds. This type of stuff will not end until we as believers start rebuking this false teaching that sin is a birth defect rather than a moral choice.

July 20, 2008

Pagan Christianity: A Hard Look at Why We Do Church the Way We Do.

Early Church Father Tertullian was once quoted as saying "Custom without Truth is error grown old." Personally I have often asked tough questions of why we as the church do the things we do. In other words why is it we have the same order of service Sunday after Sunday? Why is it that only the pastor that gets the liberty of preaching? Why do we have such expensive buildings? Why do some churches require their laity to dress up in their finest every Sunday? Why is it that if you want to be an evangelist or pastor one does not need to go to church, but must go to seminary (where is this ever in scripture??!). Why is it we have "Worship Leaders" but yet worship is supposed to be a lifestyle led only by the Holy Spirit?

For those who have the courage to ask the tough questions of the present day church as to "Why do we do what we do Sunday after Sunday?" then I have a book for you! For those who have always wondered "Is this REALLY the way the apostles and the Early Church Fathers conducted church?" Then there is a book that answers many of these tough and often avoided questions. George Barna and Frank Viola have written an intriguing book that looks at just where most of our church traditions and liturgy come from. The results are alarming and yes may even cause some people to take a collective step backwards and reevaluate how and why we do church the way we do.

Although this post is not a review of the book, I do want to discuss or mention just some of the points Barna and Viola address in the book. It is my hope that my audience here has the courage to go out and buy the book and take to heart what Barna and Viola are addressing and get to the truth of how the true church of Jesus Christ is suppose to look and function.

The Church Building: Was it really Christ's intent that His followers build and own expensive edifices? Was the New Testament church really supposed to meet in such lavish or expensive buildings? To date Christian churches in the United States OWN over $230 BILLION worth of property and buildings - collectively this is more capital assets of some of the top Fortune 500 corporations in the WORLD! Wouldn't it be better served that this money be spent to serve the poor or be used for global evangelism?? Ever wondered why we need to sit in pews or have a stage from which the pastor speaks from?

Order of Worship: Why is it that the "Pastor" is at the very center of every church service? Why is it that the modern day church service seems to choke or make no room for anyone to give a word of exhortation or share an insight, or start a song, or spontaneously lead a prayer?? Why does it seem the service is so set in concrete and makes little or no room for the Holy Spirit to openly work or move?? Why is it we are forced to be a muted staid pewholders?? The answer: Surprisingly most if not all of the liturgy or church service stems from the churches early roots in Roman Paganism and Catholicism. Although the Reformers brought some changes, most of these changes simply shuffled things from being Priest centered to now Pastor-centered. The truth is most of how we do church is not rooted in the bible but from Paganism brought forth by Roman Emperor Constantine.

The Sermon: Why is it that Sunday after Sunday the sermon is delivered by the same person? Why is it that the sermon is required to be given to a passive and muted audience? Why is it that the sermon is more like a theatrical monologue rather than a free flowing dialog between fellow believers? Why is it the sermon is more like a cultivated and prescribed speech (Three points and a conclusion?). Ever wish you could stop the pastor and ask a question or for a further explanation. There is good reason why the current systems does not allow for this to occur.

The Pastor: Why is it in order for someone to "preach the gospel" that individual must have been taught at a seminary or bible college? Is ordination really biblical?? Was all truth really supposed to come from one individual or was the church to operate in a more organic manner? The reality is the present day pastor is really born out of a single-bishop rule spawned out of a Roman Pagan inspired system. A single pastor system essentially elevates one person to unrealistic expectations or responsibilities that is neither biblical or practical.

Sunday Morning Costumes: Just where did the notion that we must put on our "Sunday Best" when attending church? Doesn't the notion of requiring people who want to attend church to put on a suit or their finest clothes contrary to that of the message of Christ?

Minister of Music: Barna and Viola put forth an interesting argument here. They reference 1 Corinthians 14:26 whereby Paul says: "What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, everyone of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification." The interesting thing here is note the use of the word "everyone of you has", doesn't the Worship Leader make this impossible by limiting the headship if Christ in leading his followers into singing praise songs to the Father? When worship is limited to being led by only those who are "talented", this then becomes more like entertainment than corporate worship. Doesn't the worship of Christ belong in the hands of ALL God's people?

Tithing and Clergy Salaries: This has to probably be one of my favorite chapters. Did you know that for the first 300 years of the church did not promote nor require tithing? Did you know if someone wanted to be a pastor or evangelist they took a vow of poverty and were put in the same category as widows and orphans? The amazing thing is tithing applied to the Old Testament era where taxation was needed to support the Levite priests. But yet today this is the only Old Testament Law still upheld by the present day church. Again the only reason the present day church upholds the tithing requirement is it must have some means of paying for its expensive buildings and salaries. But yet didn't Jesus come to do away with the "Temple Tax" or set us free from the bondage of supporting the Old Testament clergy system? Besides, tithing has become a so called litmus test for Christian discipleship. As a matter of fact I have personally known of churches who require their staff or anyone in a teaching capacity to pay tithes. No tithes - no position. But yet where is any of this scriptural? Again, tithing eliminates giving from the heart and again allows an external "righteousness" to be established in the church.

Although these are not all the points addressed in the book, these are for the most part the major issues both Barna and Viola see as things that are limiting Christ's church from truly functioning as an organic entity. The point I truly appreciate about this book is its straight forwardness and courage to take on the current church establishment. Granted, Barna and Viola have received their fair share of hate mail and threats, but yet when we look over the canvas of church history so did many others who where so bold and courageous to approach or question the church establishment of their day - Barna and Viola in my opinion will be found years from now to be considered and recognized as church heroes. It is my hope that you will have the courage to read this book, and to be honest with yourself and address many of their points on how we can honor Christ as an organic body of believers.