6 Links That REALLY Internetted is dedicated serving up the highest-quality, insanely-fresh, linkiest-links on the internet. Super smart and Oprah-approved Rob Bell dominates the news, but Bartman is getting a World Series ring and New Testament (N.T.) Wright is a heretic.


“Bartman received the ring before noon Monday in Ricketts’ office. Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein and President of Operations Crane Kenney were also present. Ricketts then showed Bartman around Wrigley a bit, so he could see what was new since he’d last been to the park.”

Steve Bartman receives 2016 Chicago Cubs World Series Championship ring


“What brings real comfort to the hurting? That’s an important question in a world filled with pain and Rob Bell believes he has the answer.

In a glowing profile at CNN on the former evangelical pastor’s book promotion tour, Bell responds to an audience member who confesses to doubting God when doctors told he and his wife that their unborn baby may not survive.”

Rob Bell’s Promise of Comfort


“But Heaven forbid that my fellow Christians would come alongside me now, in my first unwelcome months as a widower, and offer casseroles and tears without also offering me the comfort of knowing that my suffering (and that of my beloved wife) has a purpose.”

Rob Bell Revisited: Nine Christians Reflect on Personal Suffering and Romans 8:28


“The hatred of many in the media for the Bible shouldn’t be a surprise to those who hold reverence for it; much of the media is leftist, and the Left’s positions are quite often completely antithetical to the Bible. But some lies the media promulgates about the Bible are so egregious and their attempts to smear the Bible are so abundantly clear that they are simply staggering.”

Media Trumpets That Bible Is Wrong. Oops.


“As the summer months are upon us the Christian blogosphere has taken upon itself the task of rallying to their respective “modesty” camps. Some advocate for liberty of conscience for women to dress as they please, chiding anyone who would seek to cover up skin with either general guidelines or quite strict rules. The other camp are purveyors of those tacky ‘Modest is hottest’ memes. We live in a perilous time of attack upon the objective meaning of language and symbol. In the area of clothing, Christians are in danger of going along with the mindset that believes in the ‘relativity of truth’ and doing so in the name of Christian liberty.”

A Sentence Made of Fabric


“If you want a quick-but-tedious way to separate some of the shallower evanjellyfish from the more theologically-serious evangelicals in your circle of friends, here’s a simple method: call N.T. Wright a heretic. It’s quick because the blowback you will surely experience can be timed in microseconds. It’s tedious because you will be subjected to a series of overweeningly shrill diatribes, accompanied by confident insinuations that anyone who says such a thing is a divisive dolt.But a more effective method is difficult to find.

N.T. Wright is a heretic. There, I’ve said it. Let the ranting begin.”

N.T. Wright’s Long Farewell

 

Advertisements

Michael tried so hard to be one of them. It was a sad and funny and oddly relatable moment if you’ve ever had that awkward experience of walking into a lunch room full of people, trying to find a decent spot to park your big old caboose, not finding said comfortable spot, and settling for a seat by yourself.

He was “The World’s Best Boss” just trying to be one of the guys, but it wasn’t working for him. It was weird. For years, Michael Scott sat in his office alone, eating his potato salad sandwiches. Changing his routine on a whim was strange. Nobody liked it. It made everyone clam up and act…awkward.

I wish I could remember which episode of The Office this moment was from — maybe one of my trusty readers knows, but the point was clear: Michael didn’t fit in. He was the boss (a pretty bad one), trying to be friends with his employees. He was like Oprah-approved, dude-bro millionare Rob Bell trying to help a suffering man who lost a loved one by telling him his tour would be back in Atlanta someday and it would all be okay by then. It’s really difficult to speak into somebody’s life if you a) you hate God’s Word like Rob Bell, and b) you haven’t worked to genuinely relate to them. That’s just a fact.

Take, for instance, the 40-year-old mega pastor who wears skinny jeans and probably maybe is on steroids. His congregation is entertained by him and perhaps really enjoys his motivational speeches, but they don’t understand grace. Sure, they leave wanting to improve themselves. They totally want to be as successful in their fields as the pastor is in His — but they aren’t encountering Christ, they are encountering…the pastor.

So, Christian who is really concerned with the Gospel and the authority of God’s Word: what do you see in these three completely arbitrary examples that may or may not help make my point? You see frauds, don’t you? If Michael Scott really wanted to be “one of the guys” he’d take a demotion and a smaller paycheck. If Rob Bell really wanted to reach that suffering man, he’d quit his Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Tour, sit with the dude in the midst of his agony, and point him to truth. If Steven Furtick was really doing the work of a Shepherd, he’d look and smell like his sheep and point them to the Chief Shepherd.

He also wouldn’t sign a lucrative contract with Lakewood Church. JKJKJK.

The point: Are you taking a group on a short-term mission trip to another country? You all will look and feel like the Michael Scott, Rob Bell, or the Megachurch Pastor with ‘Roid Rage.

You’ll feel that way because you’ll be treated that way.

You don’t know the language, you don’t know the culture, you don’t know the people, and, by their third-world standards, you’re rich. They live hand-to-mouth, and only have a couple changes of clothes. You have a different change of clothes every day! Your teeth are white, your skin is…probably white. You are not one of them, but you sure have it all together. Like the Megachurch pastor’s congregation, they want what you have, so whatever steps it takes to reach your level, they’ll go for it. They get to be friends with a rich American dude!

Without long-term relationships, you’re Rob Bell on his tour. You’re Michael Scott trying to fit in. You’re Steven Furtick with all the answers.

Sharing the Gospel in another country without knowing the culture is dangerous. You simply don’t know what theyre hearing when you say things like “sin,” “Jesus,” or “God.” To the people I worked in overseas, sin was just refraining from beating your wife too much, or abstaining from the MaryJane, or breaking Kuman social norms. Are you taking a mission team to another country hoping to share the Gospel or do some street Evangelism? I promise, you’ll get lots of confusion, decisions, and raised hands, but not for the reasons you think.

Trust me, if you want to make a positive difference overseas with a mission team, dig a septic hole, put up some gutters, bless the missionaries. These people are on the ground, have deep lasting relationships, and know the heart language and culture.

You do not.

Update 4:10PM: Tweetsman @MrJohnHooper alerted me of my Defcon Scale ignorance. I have linked my Defcon Scale reference to the appropriate website, but have not corrected it in the piece for humor’s sake.

I’m back in the old blogger saddle — man that sounds so lame. Not that I’ve ever written anything real significant or important, nor have I ever blogged consistently enough to be called a “blogger” anyways — but it’s been way too long, and there’s a contoversy reaching Defcon 7. I’ve been watching the stupid thing on the sidelines and it’s time to throw my all-important two-cents in. It’s sort of like an itch that I haven’t been able to reach for weeks and I’m sort of just tired of being, well, itchy. It’s time for this relatively irrelelavent blogger to scratch his itch, is what I’m saying.

Something has been happening inside the Evangelically-Reformed universe that feels…well…not so Reformed. It almost feels a bit, dare I say it, Arminian. Not Armenian, that would be at least a little interesting — but Arminian.

Somebody’s…no…some people’s — plural — some people’s Anthropologies are showing.

Dr. James White, a man to whom we all owe a debt of gratitude, sat down with a Muslim to talk about the differences between Christianity and Islam. The goal was, of course, to reach as many Muslims with the Gospel as possible, as well as open the door for more Christians to talk to Muslims in the future. You see, James has been doing this his entire adult life. He’s debated Muslims, Catholics, KJV-Only Cultists, Mormons. He’s used those cordial relationships to reach people who are dead in their sin, condemned before God, suppressing the truth, and are hopelessly depraved.

Speaking of hopelessly depraved: I lived in an unreached people group in the jungles of Papua New Guinea working tirelessly to learn their language and culture so I could proclaim the Gospel to them as clearly as possible.

It was insane.

I also had some internet access that allowed me to listen to these debates, which, you know, helped me fall asleep while drunks were wandering aimlessly and wife-beatings were circling our house. James White was my jam, and I can’t tell you how many times I silently pumped my fist with joy as I heard James explain their strongest argument, earn his right to be heard, dismantle their strongest arguments, and then proceed to give them their only hope for salvation.

You see, in a strange way, though we were thousands of miles apart, that dude felt like another co-worker. We were doing the same thing. I was studying the Kuman’s language and culture so I could preach the Gospel as clearly as possible, he was studying Mormons and Muslims so he could speak to them with understanding. This is exactly what wisdom demands, right (Prov. 18:13)?

By God’s grace, I wanted to think like a Kuman so, like Paul wanted, God’s truth could destroy every one of their beliefs that comes against the knowledge of Christ. James White and I were both doing the work of a missionary: taking the Gospel across cultures. He of course got to wear bowties and I had to kill pigs and constantly buy anti-diarrhea medicine, but we were doing the same work. We were kind of friends during that time, you know, in an odd, stalker-ish kind of way.

But then, out of nowhere, some guy I’ve never heard of named Brannon Howse started calling Dr. James White a useful idiot who was being used by Muslims to accomplish Sharia Law in the US! What an accusation! According to Brannon and his ex-Muslim entourage, White is being used to Make America Muslim Someday (MUMS… I just made that accronym up). Yes, the Muslims are wearing their metaphorical MUMS hats and are trying to take over the US and White is a fool for playing their little game, and helping them WIN!

Traitor.

This got me thinking. Those gears were a’turning in my incredibly hard head. Of course: I understand why Brannon would act so Arminian, because he’s, well, Arminian. But why would Janet Mefferd and Steve Camp act so Arminian?

What I mean is, when did we Reformed people decide to stop sharing the Gospel with those who want to take power away from us? Since when did we stop sharing the Gospel with people just because they waned to be their own gods and rule their own domain? Was there some sort of document that we all signed that confined us to sharing the Gospel with people only if they came to us on our own terms?

“There is a large swath of people in your community that wants to take over America? No, I will not treat you as an image-bearer of God and give you the only thing that will change your totally-depraved heart.”

Something about this seems so Arminian to me.

Look at Romans 3

“None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God…”

Wait for it..

“Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

Here’s where there might be a little inconsistency with Brannon, Mefferd, and the Ex-Muslim’s Anthropology: Evil, depraved people do evil depraved things. Liberals want to take over America and make us do liberal things. Mormons, if given the chance, would love to take over America and make us do Mormon things. Republicans want to take over America and make us do Republican things. This, of course, is true only if what the Bible says in Romans 3 is true.

Don’t you see? In Adam, we are all quick to shed blood, Muslims, Catholics, and *gasp* Republicans. Nobody knows the way of peace. All man is confined in sin — that is, until the Gospel is preached with clarity. 

Brannon Howse, his ex-Muslim friends, Janet Mefferd, and Steve Camp have an inconsistent Anthropology. We don’t stop preaching the Gospel to people just because they want to use us to accrue social and political power. If that’s our critera for who is worthy to hear the Gospel, then nobody can hear it.

I’d be honored to be called a “Useful Idiot.” I’d wear that badge proudly, because that means that I’m actually in the game. I’m interacting with fallen, totally-depraved people. Of course they want to use me.

The Kuman used me all the time. For social and political power too. In order to actually get somewhere, I still had to function in that relationship, and I work hard to understand where they were coming from. By God’s grace, I acted with compassion and gentleness knowing that is the only way they could live, because they were dead in their sins.

By believing Republicans, Mormons, and Liberals have a more acceptable depravity — they are at least more stealthy in their blood-thirstiness — Howse, Meffered, and Camp have adopted an American Anthropology, not a Biblical one.

J.C. Ryle was a Reformed writer and pastor who was dubbed by his contemporaries as “A Man of Granite with the Heart of a Child.” Some of his most popular works include Practical Religion, Christian Leaders of the Eighteenth Century (1869), Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (7 vols, 1856–69), and Principles for Churchmen (1884).

Here are Ryle’s 7 tips when reading the Bible:

1) Read the Bible with an earnest desire to understand it.

2) Read the Scriptures with a simple, childlike faith and humility.

3) Read the Word with a spirit of obedience and self-application.

4) Read the Holy Scriptures everyday.

5) Read the whole Bible and read it an orderly way.

6) Read the Word of God fairly and honestly.

7) Read the Bible with Christ constantly in view.

Practical Religion, “Bible Reading”, [Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1998], 131-33.

“Look unto the Lord Jesus Christ; look unto him as he hung naked, wounded, bleeding, dead, and forsaken upon the cross. Look unto him again as he now reigns in glory, possessed of all power in heaven and in earth, with thousands of thousands of saints and angels worshipping before him, and ten thousand times ten thousand ministering unto him; and then compare your sins with his blood, your wants with his fullness, your unbelief with his faithfulness, your weakness with his strength, your inconstancy with his everlasting love.”