Friday, April 18, 2014

Tetelestai!

Posted by Christine Pack

From The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus
(John Cross, www.goodseed.com)


 It Is Finished! (Tetelestai) 

The phrase “It is finished” is translated from a single Greek word tetelestai. Tetelestai had many different usages, but the following three have significance to the story:

1. Tetelestai was used by a servant reporting to his or her master upon completing a task: “The job you gave me is finished.”

2. Tetelestai was also a familiar term in Greek commercial life. It signified the completion of a transaction when a debt was paid in full. When the final payment was made, one could say “tetelestai,” that is, “The debt is finished.” Ancient receipts for taxes have been found with tetelestai—paid in full—written across them.

3. The selection of a lamb for sacrifice in the temple was always an important time. The flock would be searched and, upon finding an unblemished lamb, one would say tetelestai—the job was finished.

Quite literally Jesus shouted:

“The work you gave me is completed.....the debt is paid.....the sacrificial lamb is found!”

The Scripture says Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “It is finished (Tetelestai)!”

Sola Experienca?

Posted by Christine Pack


Erik Raymond of the Ordinary Pastor blog has written an excellent article entitled Sola Experienca Is For Real, which challenges a rising tide of mysticism among professing Christian believers. From the article:
"We have a culture awash in a neo-gnosticism that gobbles up personal experience like samples at Costco. We cannot resist them. Then we have people everywhere telling their own stories and then interpreting them with authority. And of course we have a church that goes right along with it to reinforce sola experiencia to the thousands who attend each Sunday morning." 
"I was reading about the new movie to be released this weekend about the runaway bestseller, Heaven is for Real. In this book, as I’m sure you are aware, a 6-year-old boy reportedly went to heaven and then came back to tell us all about it. Our supernaturalist society gobbled up the book. The family is a professing Christian family from small-town Nebraska. I am sure they are nice and truly believe all of what they wrote and say. However, what they are doing is unwittingly contributing to the fog that reinforces the heart’s unsubmissiveness to God and his word."
The article can read in its entirety here.


 Additional Resources 

What Is Mysticism?

Mysticism: Who Needs Crack?

John MacArthur on Spiritual Formation and Biblical Sanctification

The Dangers of Contemplative Prayer

What Is Mysticism? (5-Part Series by Dr. Gary Gilley) - Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5

Mystical Youth Ministry


Biblical Silence vs. Mystical Silence


Jesus Came to Put Religion In Its Place?

Posted by Christine Pack

(Putting Religion In Its Place, Apr 6, screen capture)
Andy Stanley, pastor of the third largest church in the U.S. (Northpoint Community Church-Atlanta, GA) said some confusing things regarding the character and nature of God in a recent sermon. Writes Alexander Griswold in his article entitled Andy Stanley's Troubling New Sermon:
The last place you might expect to hear a call to put “religion in its place” is a church. And certainly the last church you might expect to hear it at is an Evangelical megachurch . But that was indeed the message of Atlanta megachurch pastor Andy Stanley’s message on Sunday, April 6, entitled “Putting Religion in its Place.” Stanley, the pastor of Atlanta’s North Point Community Church, addressed the topic as part of a sermon series addressing why God became human. One of those reasons, Stanley preached, was “to put religion in its place.”
And a curious statement by Stanley from his Apr 6 sermon:
“Jesus’ conscience was informed by compassion, rather than consistency........” 
You can read the entire article by Alexander Griswold here.


 Additional Resources 

Andy Stanley: "The foundation of our faith is not the Scripture."

Deconstructing What Andy Stanley Said (Chris Rosebrough's Fighting For The Faith radio show)

Is This Andy Stanley's Gay Affirming Shot Across the Bow?

Problems at Andy Stanley's North Point Church?

Is The Megachurch The New Liberalism? (Dr. Al Mohler)

Is The Megachurch the New Liberalism? (Chris Rosebrough's Fighting For the Faith radio show)

Homosexuality, Megachurches and Andy Stanley (Apprising)

Pastor Andy Stanley Responds to Questions Over Homosexuality Stance (Christian Post)

Andy Stanley Avoids Gay Issue in Last Sermon of Controversial 8-Part Series (Christian Post)

The Need for Elders Who Guard Their Flocks (Criticial Issues Commentary, Bob DeWaay)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Some Thoughts on Resurrection Sunday and Worldly Wisdom

Article by guest writer Chris McIntyre

Isn't it ironic that there are two things in life that are certain - death and taxes - and that Good Friday and tax season are right now? Do you believe that the dead will be raised? Many don't, even in religious circles. Jesus responded to them, "You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. For the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God: 'I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? He is not God of the dead, but of the living." The Apostle Paul explained in letters in the first century... "If Christ is not been raised, then ... your faith is in vain. We are ... misrepresenting God...And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile...we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead...for as by a man (Adam) came death, by a man (Jesus) has come also the resurrection from the dead." And Paul also said, "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." Saved from what? Physical and spiritual death.

Men have decided that God is dead. Astounding. Man has come to the conclusion after thousands of years of its species that instead of an eternal and all-powerful God, the "Universe" is alive, self-sustaining, eternal, and somehow cognizant, operating things, resulting in millions of years of evolution to produce... us! That's a pathetic result - look at how we damage the earth and produce energy that harnesses destruction, the ripping apart of matter and resulting corruption and harmful output.

It's a lie. This relativistic, naturalistic and humanistic worldview provides not only zero rationale for life, but it spawns death. The system of belief and understanding is inconsistent within itself. It is illogical. It gives no answers to the mind, to the heart. It also defies physical laws.

This weekend, I am reminded that we must understand God's will. "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." He either rose from the grave, or He did not. And if He did, you better repent! And if He didn't, there is no hope for mankind.


photo credit: lady-traveler via photopin cc

An Open Letter to IBLP

Posted by Christine Pack 

A number of Christian leaders have added their voices to the growing public concern over the troubling issues associated with Bill Gothard and the ministry he founded known as Institute in Basic Life Principles. Gothard recently stepped down as president from the organization amid reports of sexual misconduct. According to the open letter, Christian leaders have attempted over the years to address concerns with Gothard, reaching as far back as 1973. From the letter:
Over the years a number of leaders and organizations have expressed concerns over certain IBLP teachings which they have found unbiblical and harmful. Many of them have attempted to work with Bill Gothard to correct and/or drop the more problematic teachings but have been rebuffed, ignored, and on occasion attacked. We believe that some of these teachings are at least partly responsible for the recurring moral failures of Bill Gothard and other IBLP leaders. 
Prior to the sex scandal of the 1980s, Dr Earl Radmacher, then president of Western Theological Seminary, made such attempts and his associate, Dr. Ronald B. Allen had made attempts since at least 1973..... 
These warnings went unheeded then, and in spite of the attempts by these and other leaders and organizations, including Midwest Christian Outreach, Inc. and RecoveringGrace.org, as in prior cases Bill Gothard’s consistent response has been to issue denials, attacks, and even threats from an ever more strongly entrenched position. (Online source)
Some of the signers of the letter include Norman Geisler (Chancellor, Veritas Evangelical Seminary) Paul Carden (Centers for Apologetics Research), Don Veinot (Midwest Christian Outreach), Ron Rhodes (Reasoning From the Scriptures Ministries), Keith Gibson (Pastor, Word of Life Community Church) and Sarah Flashing (Christian researcher/writer).

The letter can be read in its entirety here.

The complete list of co-signers can be read here.

 Additional Resources 

Bill Gothard Legalism

A Beginner's Guide To Bill Gothard (Ron Henzel)

Growing Up Gothard

A Matter of Basic Principles (an excellent expose of Gothard legalism by Don Veinot)

Battered Sheep - a review of Don Veinot's book A Matter of Basic Principles

Bill Gothard Resigns, Duggars Still Slated To Speak at IBLP 2014 Conference

Your Money or Your Kids (Midwest Christian Outreach, Inc. - p. 8)

When Gothard Comes to Church (Midwest Christian Outreach, Inc. - p. 4)

Bill Gothard's Evangelical Talmud (Midwest Christian Outreach, Inc. - all begin on p. 6)
 - Part 1
 - Part 2
 - Part 3
 - Part 4

An Evening With Bill Gothard (Midwest Christian Outreach, Inc. - p. 6)
From the IBLP website

Conservative Leader Bill Gothard Resigns Following Abuse Allegations (Religion News Service)

The Duggars, Bill Gothard, Vision Forum, and The Quiverful Movement (I am aware that some of the links in this article are no longer active, but this article still gives a quick thumbnail sketch of Bill Gothard, the Duggars, Vision Forum, Hyper-Patriarchy and the Quiverfull Movement, and how they are interconnected and overlap with each other)

How God Saves Us In Christ (And The Problems With Legalism) (Pastor Jeff Crippen)

 Secular Articles 

When Having Kids Is A Religious Experience
 (ABC News)

Quiverfull: More Children For God's Army (Newsweek writer Kathryn Joyce)

Inside the Duggar Family's Conservative Ideology (Newsweek, Kathryn Joyce)


 Websites by Former Gothardites 

Recovering Grace


Abuse Allegations Against Bill Gothard, Founder of Institute In Basic Life Principles
 (Dr. John Cornish and Kari Underwood, co-founders of Recovering Grace)

Under Much Grace

Genesis 3:15.....the Protoevangelium

Posted by Christine Pack

“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:15)

photo credit: fullofeyes.tumblr.com


 Additional Resources 

The Gospel in Pictures (Full of Eyes)

What is the Protoevangelium? (Got Questions)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Doug Phillips, Repentance and Justice

Posted by Christine Pack


 Repentance and Forgiveness 

After yesterday's article about the lawsuit alleging sexual misconduct brought against Vision Forum's Doug Phillips by Phillips' former nanny, there were a few on our Facebook wall who took exception to my post.  I was told that writing about Doug Phillips' alleged sexual abuse of Lourdes Torres was a "rush to judgment," and that I wasn't "leaving room for the gospel" and "forgiveness and reconciliation." All I can say is, I just don't see evidence of true repentance on Doug Phillips' part. And while I would certainly not withhold true reconciliation from Phillips, neither should I (or anyone) rush in to offer forgiveness and hugs when he's not truly repentant. I would never do with my own children! If one of my boys has his arms crossed, and he's hemming and hawing, and trying to build his case about sure, he may have done *something* but really, it was all his brothers' fault......no, I'm not rushing in with forgiveness and cuddles while he's being stubborn and unrepentant. Nope. We all know what true repentance looks like.

So then I am told....hey, you just can't know what could be going on behind the scenes. Well sure, I can't, but what I can do is evaluate what I do see. There are a lot of us I think who have been watching this play out, and we're waiting....and waiting......and watching, and what comes forth? A carefully parsed statement about an inappropriate "romantic" and "affectionate" relationship in which Doug Phillips states he never "knew" the woman in the biblical sense. *Shew* went everybody, because gee whiz, it wasn't good, but at least there was no physical component to the relationship. But not so fast. Then came statement #2 from Doug Phillips, clarifying oh wait, yes, did I forget to mention that there *was* physical touching of a sexual nature? And then silence for a long time. And now Camp Phillips, after lawyering up, has finally spoken again through attorney Jason Jakob to say that it was all Miss Torres' fault, *she* instigated the affair (if a circumstance in which the power imbalance was so vast could even be called that), and so therefore it was entirely consensual (again...the power imbalance thing......). So, no, I'm not buying what he's selling. And I'm not seeing repentance. Maybe others are, and if so, that's great. But I'm not.


(Online source)

 Justice 

Justice for the weak and disenfranchised is a big deal. It's a big deal to God, and it should be to us as Christians. I obviously don't mean in a social justice/social gospel kind of way, but rather, in the sense that we ought to look after the members of our church body as if they were members of our own blood families. One concept that was a big takeaway for me the year that I did a study of Isaiah was that God is angry with those who don't seek justice. He also despises those in authority, especially spiritual authority, who prey upon the weak and helpless in their care:
"Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow." (Isaiah 1:17)
"Your rulers are rebels, partners with thieves; they all love bribes and chase after gifts. They do not defend the cause of the fatherless; the widow's case does not come before them." (Isaiah 1:23) 
"Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks, who acquit the guilty for a bribe, but deny justice to the innocent." (Isaiah 5:22-23) 
"Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people,making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless." (Isaiah 10:1-2) 
"This is what the LORD says: 'Maintain justice and do what is right, for my salvation is close at hand and my righteousness will soon be revealed.'"(Isaiah 56:1) 
"No one calls for justice; no one pleads a case with integrity. They rely on empty arguments, they utter lies; they conceive trouble and give birth to evil." (Isaiah 59:4) 
"So justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter. Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey. The LORD looked and was displeased that there was no justice." (Isaiah 59:14-15)
Yes, justice matters to God. So if Lourdes Torres' allegations prove to be true, I pray that she receives justice.


 Additional Resources 

Former Nanny to Doug Phillips' Family Files Lawsuit, Alleges Sexual Misconduct

Copy of Filed Lawsuit
 (Warning: Explicit sexual content)

Doug Phillips of Vision Forum Resigns, Cites Moral Failure

Vision Forum Ministries to Close

Rethinking Vision Forum

Christian Giant Sued For "Using Nanny As Sex Object" (World Net Daily)

Religious Right Leader Sued For Sexual Battery, Treating Young Follower Like A 'Personal Sex Object' (Right Wing Watch)

Woman Sues Christian Right Leader Douglas Phillips for Alleged Sexual, Mental Abuse (Slate)

How God Saves Us In Christ (And Why Legalism Can't Help Us) (Pastor Jeff Crippen)

Why The Law Cannot Sanctify (Romans 7:5-6) (Pastor Kevin Williams)


 Doug Phillips Responds 

Former minister denies allegations that he kept woman as a 'sex object'

Doug Phillips' statement released through is attorney, Jason Jakob