Inclusion of a resource/presentation does not indicate endorsement of the contents. Provided for educational purposes regarding perspectives in the fields of theology and religious studies. Issachar Bible Church is conservative Trinitarian not affiliated with any organized denomination at this time.

Saturday, June 25

Headline Potpourri #88

One of the murdered at the Orlando night club was a 49 year old mother of eleven. It was tragic that she was murdered. But shouldn't she have been at home taking care of her children instead of partying in a sleazy bar until the wee hours of the morning?

The transcripts of the Orlando terrorist's call to 911 have been released, but not without delay and controversy. Interestingly, in his tirade not a word was uttered against homosexuality. This raises a number of concerns for Christians as our freedoms are continuously curtailed in the name of security and social cohesion. For example, how long until believers are accused of anti-gay hate speech for merely saying all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and that Jesus is the way and the truth and that no one comes to the Father but through him without even referencing a particular lifestyle orientation?

There is no pleasing some people. In a commentary transcript posted on his website, columnist Cal Thomas confesses that he has grown weary of the constant attacks on the part of certain conservatives in general and Christians in particular against Donald Trump. How soon some forget history, including their own. For not long ago, was not Thomas at the head of the pack lamenting the danger of the American electorate seriously considering a reprobate like Trump? Thomas writes, “The virtue of critics is supreme.” It has certainly earned Thomas a comfortable living. Apparently so much so that the pundit quite regularly brags about his vacation home in Ireland. In “Blinded By Might” did not Thomas warn of the dangers of Christians compromising and diluting their principles for the sake of short term electoral advantage? Perhaps Thomas ought to explain why this is apparently no longer the case within the span of a few short weeks.

In saying that the best defense against terrorism is love and unity, what Attorney General Loretta Lynch is really saying is that we aren't to vocalize opposition to either Islam or homosexuality or question the incompetency of the Obama Administration.

The church pastored by Stephen Anderson has lost its lease over callous remarks he articulated regarding the Orlando terrorist attacks. Stephen Anderson is often a buffoon. However, in this instance, that is secondary. Why should this business be allowed to take a stand for its principles but a Christian baker can be financially ruined for failing to provide the cake for a wedding that is just as much an affront to their particular convictions? Secondly, if one landlord can refuse to no longer rent to a particular church, what is to prevent another landlord from refusing to rent property to a mosque? Furthermore, if this is to be allowed, why should those in the real estate market be required to do business with racial minorities that the person for whatever reason might not be all that fond of?

If Second Amendment rights can be abridged by the placing of a citizen on a watch list, what is to prevent the government from placing alleged subversives on a “No Food List” or a “No Utilities List” in the name of maintaining social order and public safety?

Congressional Democrats not getting their way staged a sit in on the floor of the House of Representatives. You try refusing to obey the rules that the body imposes upon you and see what happens to you.

Regarding the Democrats that staged a sit in on the floor of the House of Representatives. Deny those old coots and biddies access to the toilet and see how long such foolishness would last in light of aging bladders and decaying prostates.

Interesting. The phrase "new world order" was articulated on Fox News over Britain's leaving the European Union. Yet if one invoked the phrase in relation to the formation of that transnational bureaucratic monstrosity you would be dismissed as a conspiracy theorist.

A Washington Post headline asks, “Is White Rage Driving Our Racial Divide?” Those weren't blond Swedes that flew the jetliners into the World Trade Center. Likewise, those weren't freckled Irish redheads that looted wig shops and liquor stores in Missouri.

Liberals ranging from Bernie Sanders to Loretta Lynch are insisting that we will never know why Omar Mateen went on a homicidal rampage in an Orlando nightclub. If so, don't they have to retract the allegations that the atrocity was a hate crime? For by its very definition, a hate crime is determined on the basis of motivation. It has been claimed that Mateen frequented the establishment. For all we know, given that he had a documented temper, he might have flown into a rampage because the proprietor watered down the booze.

The National Cathedral is to remove depictions of the Confederate Flag from its stained glass windows. The previous dean of the establishment considered himself a “Christian atheist”, meaning he's not to fond of God but doesn't dislike the Heavenly Father enough to give up his posh salary. Coupled with the fact that the Episcopal Church is well down the road of outright debauchery in terms of a number of moral and theological issues, how long until the edifice's Christian symbolism is also removed for offending the denomination's allied heathens?

If as a child you enjoyed playing with the Cobra toys over the G.I. Joe ones in that particular collection, will that be enough to land you on the no fly or gun registries?

Speaking on the depraved nature of Afghanistan, homeschool activist Kevin Swanson remarked that Jesus has not been pronounced there for centuries and that the land is in desperate need of missionaries. But as an Orthodox Presbyterian, doesn't he have to admit that, according to his own soteriology, if Jesus has not been there for that long isn't that the way the Savior wanted it with Him having little interest in Afghan souls?

In regards to the Attorney General's insistence that the best defense against terrorism is unity of opinion, did not Hillary Clinton once screech like a banshee that dissent was patriotic?

By Frederick Meekins

Saturday, June 18

Will Russell Moore Become A Theological McLarenite?

It is often remarked that history appears cyclical in nature. By that, it is meant that, if one watches long enough, one can detect certain patterns that come back around from time to time. And with certain social currents seeming to speed by faster than ever before, often these “temporal ebbs” pour over a society or movement before those watching are even aware.

Today, Brian McLaren has branded himself as a Christian that advocates a number of positions that many other Christians would have a hard time accepting. For example, one can follow his spiritual path from a stance downplaying the relevance of the Afterlife such as the eternality of Hell and that the Kingdom of God is not so much about everlasting life in Heaven but rather about establishing utopia here on Earth to co-officiating at his son's gay wedding.

However, about 25 to 30 years ago, one would have probably have had to have been quite skilled at socio-theological forecasting to predict how far McLaren would have fallen off the deep end. For at around that time, McLaren was an academic with a specialty in literature laboring to establish a post-denominational church with the desire to get back to the simplicity of the Gospel truth all sincere Christians profess.

Those wanting to get in on what is near the ground level of a similar phenomena only need to watch Southern Baptist Commission On Ethics & Public Policy President Russell Moore. For while at the moment holding to a foundational theology sounder than Brian McLaren's, one can now hear Moore's articulation of a certain number of beliefs that is setting him down a path not all that markedly different than the one Brian McLaren has previously trodded.

This is evident in the column published by Russell Moore titled, “Why This Election Year Makes Me Hate The Word 'Evangelical'”. In those remarks, Dr. Moore announces that he no longer wants to be known as an “evangelical” because the connotations that have accrued surrounding the term subverts the cause of Jesus. Instead, Moore clarifies that he is a “Gospel Christian”.

As in regards to the other word games played by those in the arenas of public policy, who could possibly object to the term “Gospel Christian”? For such a phrase, much like the founding motivations of McLaren's Cedar Ridge Community Church, brings to mind the primary narrative of Scripture though which the remainder of divine revelation is understood and brought to life in the heart and soul of each professing believer.

But as in the case of other terms bandied about in the media such as “choice”, “equality”, and “tolerance”, those invoking the term “gospel” often do so for the purposes of imbuing it with meanings altered enough to undermine the traditional understanding as well as support for those one must view as one's opponents or adversaries.

Moore writes, “Part of the problem is that more secular people have for a long time misunderstood the meaning of 'evangelical', seeing us almost exclusively in terms of election-year voting blocs or our most buffoonish television personalities.” Moore is himself tottering close to becoming one of these if he is not careful.

What is so wrong if activist Evangelicals are seen primarily as a voting bloc and why is it the fault of the average Christian that realizes that now is the time for all good men to come to the aide of their country? For apparently Dr. Moore has no problem with reducing Evangelicalism or “Gospel Centered Christianity” to a set of platform positions when it apparently advances the agenda preferred by Russell Moore.

Moore continues, “The other problem is the behavior of some evangelical leaders. I have watched as some of those who gave stern and windy speeches about 'character' in office during the Clinton administration now minimizing the spewing of profanities, .... race-baitingm and courting white supremacists ... [and] debasing public morality and justice through the casino and pornography industries.”

Have not Moore and his closest associates not done the same thing? Donald Trump has verbalized gruff things that have gone over the line, particularly in reference to Megyn Kelly, Karli Fiorinia, and Heidi Cruz. However, at no time did Donald Trump “race bait”.

In regards to “race baiting”, all that Donald Trump did was call for the enforcement of U.S. immigration law and proffer as suggestions a number of proposals such as a wall that might protect the lives of Americans living in what has become a dangerous area. How is this any different than the policies implemented by the Jewish State of Israel which so many Evangelicals are so chummy with that they conveniently overlook the hostility of this competing world religion to Christianity's most fundamental tenet that Jesus is both Messiah and God?

If Russell Moore is going to stand rigorously by the principle that it is essentially sinful for ethnic groups or nationalities to advocate policies that are more favorable to the particular group in question, instead of sitting on the board of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, shouldn't he resign from that position and publicly repent of the organized ethnocentricism he goes out of his way to condemn when it is supposedly engaged in by White people? For in his column, Russell Moore condemns Donald Trump for courting White supremacists.

Mistaken as that pernicious ideology is on a number of points, perhaps disaffected Conservatives and even Evangelicals have decided to give that disreputable element a hearing because many average Americans that have never done a thing to injure a Black person or another minority are fed up with churches and denominational leaders that live higher up the socio-economic ladder beating the mere pewfillers over the head about how horrible Black folks and illegal aliens have it. That message is further compounded by the assumption promoted that somehow the average American is at fault for the misery allegedly endemic among these supposedly oppressed demographics when in reality such is often the result of many in these particular ethnicities failing to exercise self control and a little delayed gratification.

The sincere Christian is obligated to admit that Donald Trump is hardly a role model when it comes to important aspects of his individual character. However, it seems that bold “Gospel Christians” such as Dr. Moore are as guilty of the selective outrage that he has accused his coreligionists of when it comes to certain celebrities and public figures.

Some Christians might have gotten a little cozy with a candidate that wasn't quick enough to distance himself from those perceived as White supremacists (which in this era run amok in political correctness can be defined as little as failing to commence the automatic self-denunciation for simply being White as command of entrenched elites and social engineers). However, a number of Southern Baptists with whom Moore is closely associated are disturbingly reluctant to distance themselves from C.J. Mahaney.

To say that C.J. Mahaney is a controversial pastor would be an understatement. Not only under Mahaney's ecclesiastical leadership did child molesters get by relatively unscathed. He also ran the Covenant Life Church he pastored in Gaithersburg, Maryland along the lines of a cult.

For example, it was not enough for members to show up regularly for the Sunday morning and even the Sunday evening services. They were also expected to participate in a number of prisoner of war style encounter groups referred to as discipleship meetings where they were to spill their innermost secrets included as to how they kept their homes.

Moore writes, “We have been too willing to look the other way when the word 'evangelical' has been coopted by heretics and lunatics. This sort could deny creedal Christianity and gospel clarity with impunity, as long as they were on the right side of the culture war. Thankfully, this sort of evangelicalism is not the future.”

Perhaps Dr. Moore might prefer an Evangelicalism where believers are to overlook any number of abuses on the part of those that articulate not only the required doctrine but also a number of additional peculiarities to let it be known in the process how much they despise the traditional American way of life. Usually such statements take the form of detailing how horrible White people are and how the institutionalized church ought to exercise direct control over areas of your personal life over which God did not originally provide much detail other than a few broad principles He'd probably rather you figure out on your own how to implement.

Like Brian McLaren that went down this path before him, Russell Moore possess the ability to articulate his particular understanding of the Christian faith before a number of generational demographics. It is just unfortunate that each of these figures has grown increasingly liberal as this ability has earned each of them wider circles of acclaim.

By Frederick Meekins