Slacktivist: The Last Judgment as “Secret Sins Film Festival”

Those of you who grew up in the world of evangelical youth camp probably had the experience (multiple times for at least some of you) of the youth pastor describing the last judgment as an event where God takes a highlight reel of your life and shows all your secret sins, lusts, etc. to all your closest friends and everyone else in the world.  Doubtless the effect of this was to use this mortifying prospect as a motivator to keep you on the straight and narrow during those tumultuous adolescent years.

But Slacktivist turns this on its head and turns it into a means of grace.  You see, it won’t be just you having your secret sins broadcast on the heavenly jumbotron for all the world to see.  You will also be watching everyone else’s secret sin highlight reel on the heavenly jumbotron.  After a few of these, some patterns will emerge.  Well before you reach the halfway point, you will have seen so much that you won’t be shocked by anything.  You will come to the realization that all these sins are basically the same at the core, the only differences are superficial matters of time and place and circumstance, that there is nothing in your own secret sin highlight reel that is essentially different from anyone else’s.  You will be overwhelmed by the sheer revulsion of it all and the resulting need for grace; you will begin to get a picture of how God sees us.  With everyone knowing everything there is to know about you and you knowing everything there is to know about everyone else, you will be in a much better position to freely extend grace to others even as grace is being extended to you.

Read:  Heaven as Secret Sins Film Festival by Slacktivist

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Fr. Stephen Freeman: The Wisdom to Know the Difference

Today I give you a post from Fr. Stephen Freeman.  Freeman is one of the most influential Orthodox bloggers, and he blogs at Glory to God for All Things.

His post is entitled “The Wisdom to Know the Difference” and the big idea is that change is a constant in our culture but we always assume that all change is good without ever thinking about whether that is really the case.  For every change there are unintended consequences that we cannot predict or manage.  He looks at some places where this spills over into church life, such as the discussion surrounding the ordination of female deacons and changes to the liturgy.  His idea is that these things are part of the tradition that is handed down to us and we should proceed with caution when talking about changing them–merely because a practice is inconsistent with the spirit of our age may be the poorest reason for changing it.

Read:  The Wisdom to Know the Difference by Fr. Stephen Freeman

Mohler: Judgment Has Come to the SBC

We are living in very strange times indeed.  It is not very often that I find myself in agreement with Al Mohler.  This is one of those times.

Mohler writes an excruciatingly agonized reflection about the state of the SBC in the wake of the Paige Patterson scandal.  Patterson, former president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, TX, was shepherded into retirement a couple of weeks back when a pattern of wrongheaded counsel given to women in abusive marriages emerged and made him too toxic to keep around.

I remain opposed to Mohler’s theological commitments of inerrancy and complementarianism.  Mohler takes excruciating pains to show that these commitments can’t possibly be to blame for the crisis facing the SBC, which I find hard to believe.  But at least he is willing to admit that there is a problem and that change is needed.  The #metoo movement has come to American evangelicalism, and the day of reckoning is coming.

In Romans 1:18 we are told: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.”

This is just a foretaste of the wrath of God poured out. This moment requires the very best of us. The Southern Baptist Convention is on trial and our public credibility is at stake. May God have mercy on us all.

Slacktivist Says “Burn It Down”

Today I give you this post from Slacktivist.  This speaks for itself; I don’t need to say too much about it.

Slacktivist cites this item from the Pew Research Center as evidence that something has gone horrifically wrong in evangelical discipleship.  While I would say it is a bit of an exaggeration on his part to say that that alone is sufficient reason to declare white evangelicalism an unmitigated failure–there are enough other issues out there that when one looks at the big picture, his judgment holds.  It is becoming increasingly and abundantly clear, in this age of Donald Trump, that the Christian movement which Jesus founded, or at least the white American version thereof, has become the very thing that Jesus came to earth to replace.  Especially when this is a thing:

Amen.  Come Lord Jesus.  Burn it down.  Burn it all down to the ground.  Sweep away whatever is left, and start over again from scratch.

Morgan Guyton: Has Patriotism Secularized White Christianity?

Answer:  It has.

Morgan Guyton is a Methodist college pastor in New Orleans, Louisiana.  He blogs at Mercy Not Sacrifice.

In this piece, Guyton looks at the obsession white evangelicals have with respect for the flag, so much so that it has, for many, become a quintessential part of a Christian value system.  He says that this is very nearly the equivalent of offering the obligatory pinch of incense to Caesar, a thing which many early Christians died horrific deaths to be able to refrain from doing.  If you are going to argue that an essential part of your Christianity is doing something which the early Christians died for not doing, then your Christianity has become secularized.

Read:  Has Patriotism Secularized White Christianity?  by Morgan Guyton

Shane Claiborne Is A Menace to Your Children

This is real, people.  This is happening.

Shane Claiborne and other evangelicals like him are a menace to your children because they are not wholehearted, unmitigated supporters of Donald Trump.

ICYMI:  Shane Claiborne and a group known as “Red Letter Christians”, so called because they attempt to follow as closely as possible the words of Jesus, which appear in red in many Bibles, held a revival service this week in Lynchburg, VA, home of Liberty University and a bastion of unmitigated support for Donald Trump.  The university and its president, Jerry Falwell Jr., one of Donald Trump’s most vociferous evangelical supporters, banned Claiborne and the Red Letter Christians from campus, threatening them with a $2,500 fine if any of them dared to set foot on Liberty University property.  They forbade the student newspaper from covering the event.  Falwell refused to answer any correspondence from Claiborne.

Why?  “An organization has a duty to the parents to protect their kids”, said Rev. Jonathan Falwell, Jerry Falwell’s brother.

Only about 350 people attended the event, including a dozen or so Liberty students.  (Some of you might be curious about that.)

From the New York Times writeup (“FAKE NEWS!!!!!!!!!” cried all the Donald Trump supporters who have long since left the room):

Mr. Claiborne still wanted to lead a group onto the Liberty campus and hold a prayer vigil — or at least leave a gift for Mr. Falwell, who had just opened a new $3.2 million gun range on campus. Mr. Claiborne had ready a hand plow that he made from a melted-down handgun, a literal following of the Bible’s instruction to “beat swords into plowshares.”

They decided instead that the Liberty police would not dare arrest an 83-year-old. So that afternoon, the Rev. Tony Campolo, co-founder of the Red Letter Christians, entered the front door of Thomas Road Baptist Church, and left a red box with the bewildered receptionist.

Inside the box, tied with a ribbon, was a stack of prayers, written on index cards, from the participants of the revival.

“Dear Liberty, I am praying for your campus,” said one. “The Jesus in the Bible speaks of love and acceptance. I hope you learn to speak of this too.”

Michael Spencer: What You Can’t Say Around Other Christians

Today I direct your attention to a Michael Spencer post from several years back.

There are some places in evangelicalism where it is safe to think independently and speak one’s mind.  Yet, as Michael says, “There are still doors in Christendom where the truth needs to be nailed, and some of them aren’t far away from where you are.”  In an age where it is becoming increasingly dangerous to say that Golden Showers, Stormy Daniels, shithole countries, grab ’em by the %&*@#!!, “they are animals”, and all the rest is not the heart of Jesus Christ for our nation and for the world–this post is just as timely and relevant as ever.

Read:  What You Can’t Say Around Other Christians by Michael Spencer