Frederick Meekins is an independent theologian and social critic. He holds a BS from the University of Maryland in Political Science/History and a MA in Apologetics & Christian Philosophy from Trinity Theological Seminary. Frederick holds a Doctor of Practical Theology through the Master's Graduate School Of Divinity in Evansville, Indiana. Dr. Meekins is pursuing a Ph.D. in Apologetics through Newburgh Theological Seminary.

Saturday, February 27

Headline Potpourri #84

Pastor Jason Cooley in a SermonAudio homily counseled Christians celebrating Christmas that the holiday is not a hill to die on. Those insistent upon continuing to do so only look foolish. As opposed to what? That particular pastor's own brand of legalism elevating his own idiosyncrasies to the level of a clearly delineated dogma?

In a SermonAudio oration on the myth of nonessential doctrine, Pastor Jason Cooley insisted that the Emergent Church movement is the child of Fundamentalism because of the Fundamentalist movement's propensity towards compromise. However, it is also the result a wing of Fundamentalism to clamp down on things where there is no clear mandate provided by Scripture other than individual conscience.

Often in their repeated emphasis about children being born inherently sinful and wicked, it would be helpful if these particularly rigorous Reformed theologians would clarify that such a soteriological observation is not being invoked to justify the mistreatment of such unsuspecting youngsters. For from the manner and in the contexts in which this reminder is proffered one almost takes away the impression that the ones making such verbalizations would enjoy nothing more than beating a small child senseless for the smallest infraction in the eyes of some aging prune neurotically obsessed with finding as many faults as possible.

An episode of Generations Radio addressed the topic of “Why Science Fiction Authors Tend To Be Atheists”. For one thing, Christian youth that might have skill in that genre are not often encouraged by their private school educators to pursue opportunities in such areas. About the only vocational guidance they are given regards the foreign mission field. That is fine and dandy that there is concern for the Pygmies and Hottentots. But what about outreach to Americans through their own cultural idiom for a change?

Shouldn't there be greater outrage at President Obama speaking at a mosque with ties to Islamic terrorism/extremism than presidential candidates that spoke at Bob Jones University in the days when the school forbade interracial dating?

What did Ben Carson think that other candidates and media pundits were going to speculate as he rushed back to Florida to do his laundry as the caucus process was reaching its crescendo? Makes you wonder how many times he pulled something similar in the operating room. More importantly, it also gives one pause to consider if he can handle the pressures of the Oval Office is a campaign where no lives are directly on the line causes near exhaustion or an emotional breakdown.

Regarding the schools that are requiring students to telework during snow days. Are the schools going to pick up the tab for Internet access or tech support?

Contrary to what was insinuated from a pulpit, there are dangers in the contemporary church other than a critical spirit. Isn't it an example of the critical spirit to be critical of the critical spirit? And perhaps most importantly, at times isn't what is viewed as a critical spirit actually discernment?

In a sermon illustration, a pastor poked fun at a hypothetical parishioner that spotted the alleged shortcomings of others at the worship service such as immodest dress and signs of inebriation. But isn't that Christian merely applying that they have been indoctrinated regarding for years by the kind of pastor now spoofing such exercise of judgment. There is rarely any winning at this sort of thing if you are a mere pewfiller.

On SermonAudio, a pastor remarked that a person ought to abide where God has placed us. In other words, one ought to simply obey and not question those invoking a higher status over and above you.

In a sermon, Gideon was mocked for hiding in a wine press. What is so wrong with hiding from an adversary tactically superior in number to you prior to your receiving direct revelation from God regarding what to do about the situation. There is no winning with these kinds of ministers. If Gideon had decided he had had enough and was going to slay any Mideonites coming in his direction, we would have been subjected to an endless number of homiletical expositions about vengeance being the Lord's and why Gideon was in error for failing to instead appeal for the intervention of the civil magistrate.

It was said in a SermonAudio podcast that most people like themselves too much in terms of self esteem. As proof of this out of control ego, the theologian presented the example that most people clothe and feed themselves. Are we supposed to sit passively and wait for the church consistory or deacon board to determine the privilege of what provisions with which we are to be bestowed?

In a discussion of the impact of talk radio upon the political process, home school activist Kevin Swanson suggested that the believer should be leery of the hosts such as Glenn Beck, Michael Savage, and Rush Limbaugh that are divorced. It was a wonder such a fanatic did lump in Laura Ingram or Monica Crowely for simply being female. There was no divine mandate from Heaven barring access to the airwaves or the First Amendment those than have been divorced. Mass communications is not an explicitly church office. And what about forgiveness? If these figures are to be banned from non-ecclesiastical occupations on the basis of divorce, should the radical Christian Reconstructionists or Dominionists ever seize power, what is to prevent them from implementing a religious caste system similar to that found in Hindu India that would ban all but the most doctrinally rigorous from certain professions?

In condemnation of talk radio that he categorized as secular, Kevin Swanson warned that hosts must be careful to obey the admonition of not mocking rulers or dignitaries. But America, the authority is actually the Constitution; not the occupant of a particular office or even the office itself. So just how debauched can the offices be that we are obligated to respect? Must Hugh Heffner and Larry Flint be respected as the dignitaries of their respective firms (that being their respective businesses and not the assorted carnality they peddle)? Does this deferential respect also apply to the Anti-Christ and False Prophet which are just as much offices as they are personalities?

In condemnation of radio talk shows that might be considered more secular in that the programs do not constantly beat you over the head with direct Scriptural quotations in regards to every issue addressed, homeschool activist Kevin Swanson criticized the medium for the failure to emphasize that it might be God's sovereignty to turn the reigns of government over to the tyrannically reprobate. So does that mean when the jackboots come to ravish and debase the daughters of homeschoolers that the truly godly such as Pastor Swanson would encourage surrender to and applaud such defilement?

Towards the end of the Dec. 23, 2015 issue of Christian Century, readers are urged to click through to Amazon.com from the publication's website. By surfing that particular route, the Christian Century will earn a percentage of anything purchased. But isn't that part of the capitalism that the religious left any other time denigrates as systematic oppression and undermining face to face COMMUNITY exchange?

In condemnation of Donald Trump, Cal Thomas during a Chicago radio morning show interview castigated the assembled at the candidate's rallies as mostly old and mostly White. But can you really get much older or Whiter than Cal Thomas? By the standard appealed to by Thomas, was the widespread destruction of property in Baltimore and Ferguson mitigated by the predominance of minority faces in the mob? Does Thomas now flagellate himself for the White privilege that has played a role in enabling him to become, as he bills himself, the nation's mostly widely syndicated columnist if such racial pandering has now become part of his stock and trade.

Instructive, Donald Trump confessed that he is capable of transforming into anything that he needs to.

In a campaign commercial, Hillary Clinton assures the child of illegal aliens during a loving embrace not to worry about the disposition of her parents and to leave that to Hillary. Will similar gestures of comfort be extended to the distressed offspring of members of the Bundy Militia or those whose parents have been financially ruined for failing to comply for reasons of conscience with gay marriage mandates? For is not violating immigration law as much a violation of the duly promulgated laws of the land as these politically incorrect causes?

In an examination of President Obama's 2015 National Prayer Breakfast remarks comparing recent Islamic violence with that committed by Christian's centuries ago, homeschool activist Kevin Swanson observed that both Islam and Roman Catholicism have both made the error of being faiths inordinately concerned with power and its accumulation. And Swanson's own theological persuasion of Calvinism has been immune from this particular temptation? Servetus might insist otherwise. Swanson, ministering with the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, would no doubt likely align himself with Christian Reconstructionism or a Postmillennialism that insist that a feckless Christ is not able to return until optimal sociopolitical conditions are achieved. So apart from power (the ability to make people do that which they would not otherwise often under threat of violence or actual violence), how does Swanson intend to implement his sect's particular peculiarities?

In his tremendous consumption of fossil fuels and the expansion of his carbon footprint, Pope Francis appeared on the border between Mexico and the United States as part of a staged pity party on behalf of the swarms of illegals violating the sovereignty of American territory. He went as far as to insinuate that Donald Trump was not even a Christian. Does this mean that the Pope will celebrate the conspicuous disrespect of Vatican property and decorum? Let's see if the Pontiff remains similarly broadminded if he is awakened in the middle of the night by raucous music and the uninvited wantonly urinating on the floor of St. Peter's Basilica.

“Pete's Dragon” is being remade. But from the trailer, it looks like this interpretation won't be a family musical. Instead, the narrative looks to be constructed as a serious fantasy. Just wait until “Mary Poppins” gets a similar treatment. No longer will the chimney sweeps be depicted as happy-go-lucky as they dance across the rooftops of London. Most likely these laborers will be depicted as oppressed proletarians suffering a variety of chronic health problems. And forget about the tunes “A Spoonful Of Sugar” or “Feed The Birds”. Child nutrition and animal welfare activists will probably put an end to these beloved classics.

Greta Van Sustern is celebrating her 3500th episode on Fox News. I remember back when her primary focus was serial killer of the week.

In a recitation of his sins at the National Prayer Breakfast, NASCAR personality Darrell Waltrip enumerated among these transgressions being aloof. Aloof is defined as being emotionally distant, reserved, or unwilling to take part in things. This might be an era where one of the primary modalities of Christian fellowship consists of regurgitating the contents of one's inner being for group condemnation on a level just below that of what would take place in a Marxist prisoner of war camp. However, so long as you politely nod to those greeting you as you saunter through the church narthex Sunday morning, I've yet to find a Scripture condemning those that primarily stay to themselves.

In reference to Donald Trump, Marco Rubio hypothesized that, if a candidate despised by nearly fifty percent of the party wins the nomination, the Republicans will implode as they turn on one another. So why are Trump supporters obligated to betray their convictions and fall in line dutifully behind Rubio? Why shouldn't the Marcoists be the ones to stifle their dissent and relent to Trumpian preferences?

By Frederick Meekins