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34 Responses

  1. Jean says:

    Thanks Michael!

    Mars Hill Giving Update…

    “Net margin per adult was ($25.21)”. How sad. This gives a whole new meaning to term “takers”.

  2. Kevin H says:

    I remember Bart Campolo speaking at a chapel at my Christian college many years ago. I can’t remember the specifics of the talk at all, but I do remember leaving with an uneasy feeling as if he was saying love was more important than truth. Now I’m not trying to put down the importance of love at all, just that it shouldn’t trump truth. (Just as vice versa we shouldn’t hold to truth only while lacking love.) While I have some theological disagreements with his dad, I have never felt uneasy about Tony. But I did that day about Bart. Looks like he has now sadly decided to ditch the Truth altogether while seeking love only.

  3. Paige says:

    Thank you Michael….Busy day for me, so I won’t read most of the links til later…What I made time for is Steve Brown’s words of hope. Always a source of life, hope and strength. What a contrast to most all of the other ‘preaching’ and ‘teaching’ that I hear….

    God bless you.

  4. Paige says:

    OK…read one more….. the Widow’s Mite. Hallelujah. Hallelujah. Gonna get Pentecostal on that one. Amen.

  5. Neo says:

    Thank God for Steve Brown.

  6. Nonnie says:

    Amen, Neo!

  7. Rob says:

    I once attended a local church for a couple of years. At one point, I calculated what it cost me every time I walked in the door (tithe + special offerings/# of services I attended). I realized I belonged to a very expensive club, from which I received very few benefits.

    All in all, the church wasn’t that great. I realized it really had no impact on my life whether I attended or not. I quit. Never regretted my decision.

    So, I did find the giving per adult member an interesting way to view the finances of Mars HIll.

  8. PP Vet says:

    “I realized I belonged to a very expensive club, from which I received very few benefits.”

    I wish I had an answer to that.

    If a local church is truly part of the establishment of the kingdom on earth, with lives changed and community impacted, then it would seem to be a good thing to support that with your participation. I think some are.

    If it is just a money pit, you have a point.

  9. Xenia says:

    There is a lot I could say about “Orthodoxy’s Identity Problem” but it would bore you all to tears.

    Here’s the problem in a nutshell:

    Because of immigration, the Orthodox church developed along ethnic lines in America. Rather than “The American Orthodox Church” we have outposts of the Greek, Russian, Bulgarian, Serbian, Antiochian etc. churches. Because of this, each geographic area and city will have several bishops. Some think this is a scandal. I don’t.

    We are all in communion with each other.

    Some groups are more concerned with their ethnicity than others. To be blunt, it seems to many non-Greeks that the Greeks are more interested in promoting Hellenism and their food festivals than evangelizing the lost. While this is certainly not true across the board, it is true enough that more traditional Orthodox Christians are happier in non-Greek parishes. This was true in my case. If the Russian Church is the dark beer of Orthodoxy, some regard the Greek Church in America as Bud Lite.

    All these bishops (Greeks, Russian, etc) meet periodically to talk about reorganizing under one jurisdiction, which in theory is a lovely idea but the problem is that the Greeks assume it will be under their leadership, and this doesn’t sit well with the more conservative jurisdictions.

    I personally was very happy to have the Russians to escape to when I had had all I could take of Greek dancing and Casino Nights.

    There are plenty of American converts to Orthodoxy who want to see us united under one USA jurisdiction, sort of a One Ring to Rule Them All mentality. They go on and on about how the Lord said we should be one and how sinful it is that San Francisco has probably five or six bishops and so on. Yet we are all welcome at each other’s parishes and can take communion. There are plenty of pan-Orthodox opportunities, such as my own school (Sts Cyril and Athanasius Institute for Orthodox Studies.)

    Eastern Orthodoxy is not organized like the Roman Catholics. We have no Pope. The Ecumenical Patriarch (the EP) is “first among equals” but that’s it. He’s not infallible or anything remotely like that. For example, the Church or Russian has its own Patriarch and only pays attention to the EP (Bartholomew) to be polite (it seems to me.)

    If it ever comes to pass that we Americans are all under the jurisdiction of the Greeks, which means the Ecumenical Patriarch in Constantinople (as we still call it), there will be serious problems in Ortholandia.

    That’s it in a nutshell.

  10. JoelG says:

    Thank you for the Steve Brown link! Awesomeness

  11. Xenia says:

    The article, by Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick, someone I like very much, isn’t too bad. He’s more the the “it’s a scandal!” POV than I am but he didn’t go overboard in his article. He’s more optimistic about those yearly bishops’ meetings than I am but he’s an optimistic person.

    He made a very good point about people hopping jurisdictions if they don’t like the [small letter “t”] traditions of the one they are in. I certainly did this myself and don’t regret it. But he is thinking more along the lines of church discipline, I think.

    My teacher, who Nonnie met in Oxford, is in the link’s photograph.

  12. Alan Hawkins says:

    De-conversion is not surprising. I will have to take a look at his testimony. But it is endemic in the culture we are in. Expect many more such testimonies. The antichrist spirit of the academic world and the media world barrage young people with and unending spew of dogma to indict the church, to indict the Bible and to indict God himself. So we are seeing what happens when the dragon vomits on the offspring of the woman. Let it come. Let the flood flow. Let the boat turnover and let’s see who walks on the water.

    You see we now have to perforate our Bibles because there is too much saying no to petulant children who have decided to play in the traffic. So we run from the Old Testament then we run from Paul, then we run from the other apostles and all we have left is Jesus. Then we take an honest look at Jesus and see that he is pretty narrow minded about his kingdom and has some of the same ideas as Moses had in Deuteronomy so he has to be remade.

    Touring Boston today I went into an historic church that is now a Unitarian building, I heard a tour guide speaking about the Mather’s like they were a demonic horde loosed on the masses and I read about the Great Awakening in which Jonathan Edwards preached in a way that brought a more inclusive season. God made us in his image and we are returning the favor. We are constructing a God that is acceptable to us. He is pretty tame and plays nice with the kids but I do not think he can rise from the dead.

  13. Michael says:

    Alan,

    That was one of the best comments here in years.
    Really well said.

  14. Alan Hawkins says:

    Like the children of Israel the God of the Bible has spoken from the mountain. The thunder the lightening and the earthquake have convinced us that we will die in the presence of this deity. So we have asked him not to frighten us. Strangely enough he is willing to leave us without ears to hear and eyes to see if we just ask nicely.

  15. I find that deconversions like this are not really well thought out and usually involve some moral failure – in Bart’s case, I have no reason to think differently.

  16. Alan Hawkins says:

    The Hatchet drowns us in words. Is there a reader’s digest or cliff notes on this barrage. Basically it sounds like the Jason the blogger is telling us that the MD alternates between bravado wand whining because it works. How am I doing?

  17. I found the deconversion story of Bart Campolo overwhelmingly sad. Maybe it’s because I’m a dad and I hope that’s not my kids in 10-20 years. Maybe it’s because I wonder why people want to be authors and famous speakers when their kids don’t believe in God. Maybe it’s because the world seems so oppressively strong at times.

    I do know that it makes me, more and more, focus on the core of the gospel with my kids and with myself. We are sinners and are saved through Christ. Sin. Salvation. Period. The rest is details, albeit sometimes important details, but still just details. And yet evangelicalism seems to want to get you saved and focus on those details for the rest of your life, and it’s so easy to lose the core.

    It’s why I end up places like here and Fighting for the Faith and listening to Tullian Tchividjian, etc. – people who focus on the core of grace in a world of sin. Everything else, from Mark Driscoll to Ken Ham to Doug Phillips to RC Sproul to Franklin Graham to everyone else just leaves me supremely disappointed.

    But then why should I be surprised or disappointed? The message is the same. We’re all sinners and we all need a Saviour. Praise the Lord Jesus Christ who saves us ALL from our sin when we turn to Him in faith. What a gracious God who loves us…

  18. Dude says:

    Steve Brown…..awsome stuff.
    The teaching …how to achieve perfection is junk.

  19. London says:

    Deconversions don’t always stick

  20. Alan Hawkins says:

    Sooner or later we have to admit that the moral teaching of the scripture does not sanction the way Western “christians” insist on living. We are reaching a breaking point at which people have to abandon what they already do not believe. Unconverted hearts do not have the law of God inscribed upon them. They insist on calling good what God calls evil. The project to remake a god that we can approve gets so much pushback from the church that these de-conversions must happen. When you look upon people and decide that you are more merciful to them than the god you have ascribed then you have to scrap the thing.

    We have an unconverted church who says that anyone who takes the Bible seriously is unloving and is a religious fraud. So here we go into the abyss.

    This blog always takes on the issue of religious abuse of authority. It is a grievous evil. The other side is a constituency that refuses to accept God’s authority over them.

  21. randallslack says:

    Sounds like the people of Mars Hill are starting to wake up. It is a difficult thing to admit that those who you have trusted with your spiritual life, training and the money you gave to God have actually betrayed you. It is a sobering truth that the naïve cannot know.

    Most of these claim to teach the word, but in reality teach only what they consider important. As a result, those who do not search the scriptures for themselves will always be victims. And there will always be those who blissfully remain ignorant. Hopefully, not all the way to hell.

  22. PP Vet says:

    Modeling Christ in a way that makes Him just about irresistible to our children is the great challenge of parenthood.

  23. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    alan, the tag this week is the best synopsis for the recent stuff, “mark driscoll and the power of the sob story”.

    Writing teachers love to say “show don’t tell”. A lot of people for and against Driscoll are telling a lot but showing too little. That people this year claimed Mark said Gayle Haggard let herself go when this is easily disproven is a sign of how lazy many still are. But so much material has been purged in the last year, let alone of ten years, that it’s a part-time job just preserving all the primary accounts so that people can see for themselves what was said and done. That’s probably both the strength and weakness of Wenatchee The Hatchet, a lot of primary source material is presented with pretty much no concessions made to new, casual, or outside readership. MHC has been purging so much material this year that simply preserving primary source materials has been a part time job. So that will admittedly make a lot of the material too dense to read and understand. But here’s a stab at a cliff’s notes summary of recent stuff:

    From 2007-2011 Mark basically defined and defended his ministry approach through a sob story. Poor Mark nearly died from all the stress of trying to run the church and grow the church while the leaders held him back through inexperience or ill-will with a few exceptions. From 2012 on the sob story changed–Mark was no longer directly pleading for audience sympathy but sharing how to improve his relationship to Grace and be there for her he had to change everything about the church. But when this sob story is seen for what it’s been, a justification of how MD runs things whether formally or behind the scenes, the more awkward and obvious it becomes how MD has altered the story in ways that are painfully obvious for people who were actually at MH in the first fifteen years. Showing that takes time and is probably just not something outsiders may be able to keep up with. It’s unfortunate but if you were to have a hint of how much MD and MHC material has gotten purged this year you could understand why so many of us behind the scenes have simply scrambled to preserve things as they’re purged at the expense of making it easy for outsiders to understand. That may get fixed down the road but it will take time and Wenatchee probably isn’t going to be the ideal person for the job. 🙂

  24. I guess Ken Silva died today.
    http://apprising.org/2014/09/30/pastor-ken-silvas-passing/

    Michael won’t miss him, but I think he did a pretty fine job.

  25. Andrew says:

    I would always check what Ken Silva was saying. He seemed to be on top of stuff, like know one else and really cared about the truth. However sometimes I think he was overly critical at times especially with Catholics or anyone who supported them.

  26. Michael says:

    I will refrain from speaking evil of the dead.
    I won’t miss him.
    My condolences to his family.

  27. brian says:

    You know, in the real world many who knew me back as a full fledged Christian thought I would apostatize many years ago, and that would be a good thing for the Church. I haven’t, I cant even get that right.

  28. brian says:

    “During the month of August, we received $1,552, 817 and expenses were $2,222,274, so our net over expenses (loss) after depreciation and capitalizing assets was ($647,768). Our income target was $1,842,414 and we missed this target by almost 16%. The average giving per adult attendee per week dropped in August to $39.08 from $44.16 in July.”

    Exactly and this is how it should be, good to see they are being upfront about what is really important.

  29. Neo says:

    Michael….what transpired between you and Ken Silva? He seemed pretty much like a religious you know what to me, but that’s just from a distance.

  30. He just had different targets than Michael. 🙂

  31. Michael says:

    Neo,

    I’ll probably write about it soon.
    He declared me an apostate and a tool of the devil and basically ran Rich Abanes off the internet and out of apologetics.

  32. To be fair. at the end Rich Abanes was pretty upset with the Phoenix Preacher crowd (me included) – and this was after a bunch of us had lunch with him.

    I used to communicate offline with Rich – but it wore on him being the chosen mouthpiece for Rick Warren. I like Rich – perhaps I will see if i can make contact.

  33. Nonnie says:

    I’ve often wondered about Rich. He just suddenly disappeared .

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