Friday, March 23, 2007

CRYBABY CHRISTIANITY

The "downfall" of yet another well-known SBC Preacher and Evangelist has tipped me over the edge. I haven't posted about this in the past, but I will now. Mostly because I know this man, and lots of my friends go to the church he founded.

He's even been an evangelist of some repute, receiving compliments and accolades from respected and wise people. I won't name him, but since it's public, I can refer you to the article I just read, if you really want to know. You'll hear soon enough, trust me. In the meantime, please pray for his family and church, and he himself. He needs all the prayer support he can get, and then some.

I have heard SO many lessons and sermons telling us how hard it is to lead a Christian life. Walk the straight and narrow. Avoid all them ugly sins. Well, I don't buy it. Jesus said His burden is easy and His load, light. So why do folks say things like how hard it is to "live up to" a true Christian walk? Simple.

We don't want to.

Think about it .. how many times have you heard the question "Is it all right for a Christian to ___________?" (Fill in the blank with your favorite dubious activity). What that question is really saying is "How much like the world can I be and still be a Christian"?

Put another way, rather than asking "How much like Christ can I be and still be in the world?", the question becomes "How much like the world can I be, and still be in Christ?" Friends, that just won't wash.

I do not see any part of the Christian life as being all that hard, if you want to do what you're supposed to. Getting up early on Sunday morning, starting early to be there on time, being faithful to your spouse, tithing, using your Spiritual gifts in His service, praying, the giving of offerings, all of it is easy if you want to do it. But it's anything but easy, if you don't.

My commitment to my wife is non-negotiable. That is a pre-made decision on my part, and there has never been a woman drawing breath that could change my mind. Not because I'm a hero, not because Peg is all that whatever, but because that's what I want to do. And as I've grown, I become more zealous of that and unwilling to let anything even threaten her security. I'm not perfect, but heck, this is something I CAN do!

Is this desire of my own doing? Nope, I think it came from God. Like ... He said so. Do I need God's help to continue that? Of course. Will difficulties arise therein? Sure. But none of that will change my mind.

A lot of ink has been spent on men and lust. Well, I'm glad. But God said resist the devil and he WILL flee; and when confronted by sexual temptation, RUN FOR YOUR LIFE! Those are things we CAN do ... unless, of course, we don't WANT TO. And that's a decision process in our mind, and we do have control over it.

Other temptations? He told us how to handle them; we just need to take the escape route promised in 1 Corinthians 10:13. But we have to DO that!

As a side note, I think this and the other famous "outings" we've seen lately are another sure-fire sign that these are the end times. Paul stated that Jesus gave Himself up for His church, so that He might present her to Himself as a spotless and radiant bride. Well, I think the spot-removal and radiation treatment is under way.

I'm not all that holy. But I am convinced that the "crybaby attitude" I see among too many Christians, and taught by too many teachers, leads people to think they cannot really succeed at living a holy and sanctified and abundant life that's worthy of emulation by others.

Paul said he did, and if he could, so can we.

Or so says God, anyway.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Opinions Are Like Derrieres

Everybody's may be a little bit different, but everybody's got one. Particularly about the matter of the SWBTS and Drs. Klouda and Patterson.

Note to Marty Duren: A derriere is not a small handgun like John Wilkes Booth used, nor is it the atmosphere where they process milk.

There are a lot of issues involved in this one. F'rinstance:

The theological question about women teaching men in a school of theology.

The factual question as to whether teaching men Hebrew is, in fact, teaching theology.

The question as to whether the EEOC laws apply to a "religious institution".

The question as to whether a Seminary is, in fact, a "religious institution" along the lines of a church, at all.

The factual questions as to whether Dr. Klouda was told that her job was secure.

The theological questions about is teaching men "exercising authority", is teaching men forbidden everywhere for all time or was Paul sending a corrective to Corinth, etc.

Should Christians never sue a Christian, no matter what; is suing an institution the same as suing someone, etc etc.

Well, I don't care a lot about that, here. I just want to give my views. And if you want to argue, be sure and read the masthead caption on my blog, first.

First, corporations are not people. They exist only under the law of the state. They are not born, they are created under the law and exist only when, where and for what purposes as the state says. They do not exist until the law says they do, and they cannot die until the law says they die. And the differentiation should be crystal clear, from the very fact that real people operating as corporate representatives are normally exempt from personal liability for such actions. There is obviously a difference!

Dr. Patterson was acting as an officer of the corporation when he made the decisions that he did, and should thus be protected from personal liability. That seems true in Alabama, and I have not heard that the "corporate shield" has been done away with.

Corporations are not Christians. That's reserved for people. So suing a corporation is not suing a Christian. And, if by some chance the suit goes to trial and the Seminary loses, Dr. Patterson would rightfully claim corporate immunity, which would in itself be an acknowledgment that the judgment was not against him, the Christian, but rather against the creation of the laws of the state.

Incidentally, I'm not a lawyer so pick out your favorite legalese disclaimer and recite it here.....

On another front, we're admonished to confront someone if they wrong us, alone at first and then with witnesses. If they will not repent, haul them before the church, and if they will not repent, treat them like a pagan.

Anybody know a command not to sue pagans?

Neither do I.

A wrong done by the SBC, or an SBC entity, wrongs all SBC'ers, IMO. And SBC'ers in some number have attempted to confront Dr. Patterson and SWBTS itself (via the Chairman of the Trustees), to no avail. And the instruction to haul them before the church mandates you're in the same church, IMO. How could I, for instance, bring someone in Fort Worth, Texas, before FBC of Pelham, Alabama? Certainly the ecclesia has been a venue of confrontation over this. Again, to no avail.

So we have a corporation that has wronged (from what I can discern) a professor who was lauded as exceptional until the day she was called a mistake, and has exhausted all avenues save the very one under which the corporation must exist if it is to exist at all. And critics are legion.

So the church is to be recognized by the love we show? I have information I deem reliable indicating that about 15 people came forward, and three churches, to help Dr. Klouda with her financial disaster. Fifteen. Three Churches. About $5,000 was raised. I pray blessings on all those who contributed, and I am sure the funds were helpful and hopefully a blessing to Dr. Klouda. But Fifteen? Three churches? I don't care what numbers of SBC members are, or who's plateauing, and has or hasn't baptized anybody. That's pathetic.

Pathetic!

There's enough informed opinion out there to warrant serious consideration to women teaching men. Among other things, Paul said HE did not permit women to teach. Is there any other area of instruction where he was so roundabout in telling Timothy (or any others) what THEY were to do and not to do? I don't recall any. And, in fact, he'd previously said women were forbidden to even SPEAK in church!

Gee ... if women couldn't speak in church, they'd have a tough time teaching.

His explanation re: teaching? Eve was deceived. Try that one on your wife some time, you husbands. See where that gets you now. But we'll hide behind that, particularly when telling others how they ought to do things.

Is it possible that Paul was somewhere women speaking in church would not have been acceptable, but Timothy was elsewhere?

Said all that to say this: there's enough question that it seems outrageous to me to throw out an excellent professor, who is only teaching a foreign language, based solely on Paul's not letting women teach 2,000 years ago.

Outrageous! Yet we have no moral outrage about that. We wail and moan and carry on about lots of things, and when this fine lady's life is nearly ruined, we pontificate about it.

Oh yes ... does anyone else find it interesting that almost all the pontificators against women ever teaching men, seem to be men?

Where is our shame?

Here we have arguably the most powerful man in the SBC, the "architect of the conservative resurgence", who has allegedly done a gross injustice to a professor, based solely on her gender. She faces financial ruin because of what she says he told her and then did. And we treat this like some theological class exercise, and spit in the face of Romans 14:4, which asks "Who are you to judge another man's servant?".

Who are we, indeed? Who are we?

We are sinners, saved by grace, who ought to be ashamed. That's who we are.