The first point of wisdom is to discern that which is false; the second, to know that which is true.
– Lucius Caelius Lactantius link
My elderly stepfather had a medical emergency this afternoon that necessitated medical visits. I will need to spend the night with him since he might have to be hospitalized, so this post is not going to be polished off in the way that I hoped. However, I still think it will provoke some discussion! I cannot wait to hear what you all think about a couple of items.
We are continuing with the topic of discernment. We, along with others, have been accused of being a "discernment" blog which, if I read the meaning correctly, is not good. However, we know that there is "discernment" going on all the time by famous Christians who love to talk with the nation's news media. They also write books(and more books) and promote their websites and blogs for general evangelical consumption. These Christian news makers appear to get a pass from the fawning evangelical paparazzi whose enterprises depend on the goodwill of said leaders.
Here is my working premise. If Christians admire/follow a preacher and theology, (s)he is "godly" and "recommended." If they do not admire or follow a preacher and his theology, (s)he is barely a Christian and "not recommended."
I will preface the following with two "discerning" observations.
1. I am opposed to "famous" Christians discerning the intent of the Almighty whenever a disaster occurs. The last time I checked, knowing the mind of God was way above my pay grade. But, if one is to believe "theological rock star" Christians, they have a hot line to the Spirit who informs them as to "who" the Almighty is punishing with every drought and tornado out there. Can we say theological "hubris?"
2. When terrorists flew their planes into the World Trade Center or a tornado struck a Lutheran convention discernment pundits let us (and the entire news media know) that it had something to do with the decline in American values which allowed abortion and gay marriage. So, why didn't God punish Sweden, which has one of the highest living standards in the world, allows abortion and gay marriage and is most supportive of the Lutheran church which was the state church until 2001? Why not Amsterdam which is considered a rather "swinging" place with its legal drugs and legal prostitution? Why Minnesota and not the brothels in Nevada? Could it be that we Americans Christians are utterly convinced that it is all about us? And could it be that they are wrong? If so, does anyone dare call them on the carpet for it?
Let's take a look at some of these knowledgeable and very sure Christian leaders.
When Both John Piper and Pat Robertson "Know"
John Piper perceived why a tornado hit a Minneapolis. It was due to the Lutherans. Read here for his full statement.
(A tornado struck) during the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America's national convention in the Minneapolis Convention Center. The convention is using Central Lutheran across the street as its church. The first buildings on the downtown side of I94 are the Minneapolis Convention Center and Central Lutheran. The tornado severely damages the convention center roof, shreds the tents, breaks off the steeple of Central Lutheran, splits what’s left of the steeple in two…and then lifts.
The tornado in Minneapolis was a gentle but firm warning to the ELCA and all of us: Turn from the approval of sin. Turn from the promotion of behaviors that lead to destruction
Pat Robertson understood why God caused Ariel Sharon's health to decline. here
Robertson's reaction to the 2006 stroke that debilitated Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon hurt him, both in the public eye and in his wallet. After he noted that Sharon's sudden decline in health could be ascribed to his policy of "dividing God's land" by ceding Gaza to the Palestinians
Throughout the evangelical community there was, and is, a general condemnation of Pat Robertson because it is cool to be disparaging of old Pat. However, there appears to be a glowing approbation and sage nodding of heads when John Piper does the same thing.
Jerry Falwell knew why God caused 911 here.
I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen.
Mac Brunson grasped why God caused 911 and Hurricane Katrina link.
"If [God’s] blessings won't get our attention, then maybe buffeting will…what to me was an embarrassing moment in American history was the scandal of Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky….and what did we do as a nation? We made jokes about it and we laughed about it and did not repent. Not following far behind that came 9/11 and according to George Barna that had an impact on this nation for approximately 4 to 6 weeks. Then behind that came Katrina, wiped out an entire city. What did we do as a nation?…What did we do? We do NOTHING in the midst of all of it! Nothing! And thousands of people have lost everything, an entire city wiped out. How much louder does the voice of God have to get to America?
“We end up in an oil crisis where families can't afford to put $4 a gallon gas in their cars and now in the past week we've had the largest drop on the Wall Street in its 112 year history…. …You think God hadn't been actively doing something? God says 'I've been active all this time. I've been active putting into place all these things. I've been actively seeing how high I can get gasoline for you Americans. I've been actively seeing how I can cause the economy to crash, because if you will not turn to me in my blessings on you, I will take them away, as Hosea took away the blessings of Gomer. And nobody, the bible says, will be deliver you out of My hands."
Al Mohler told the news that people did not support CJ Mahaney because of his "strong"spiritual direction. (Do not bring up that icky stuff with kids.) link
Mohler added: “Any time you’re going to take on the role of leadership, you’re going to have critics.”
Mohler also supported Sovereign Grace’s highly centralized leadership structure in its churches, with “very strong pastoral direction” and internal discipline.
“It’s something clearly called for in the New Testament,” he said.
Mohler said he knew this practice has had online critics for years.
“Basically there are people who are very uncomfortable with the strong kind of spiritual direction that comes through the Sovereign Grace Ministries,” Mohler said. “It’s very hard to criticize it on biblical terms, as you’ll see on most of those Web sites. It basically comes down to the criticism, ‘I don’t like that.’”
Discerning Reader link discerns who is honoring God in the Christian book world and who is not! Read this partial list carefully!
Discerning Reader is a site dedicated to promoting good books–books that bring honor to God. At the same time, we hope to help Christians avoid being unduly influenced by books and teachers that are not honoring to God.
We do not seek to be harsh or judgmental. Rather, we seek only to be discerning as we compare books to the written Word of God. We let the words of authors speak for themselves and simply hold the books up to the light of Scripture. In doing so, we are building a database of reviews which we feel cast a discerning light on the books that are found in Christians homes, churches and bookstores.
Who/what are some of the authors/books deemed NOT honoring to God? (The numbers indicate the number of books by that author that were reviewed.)
- Max Lucado x1
- Phillip Yancey x2
- Rick Warren x3
- Dallas Willard x1
- Roger Olson x1
Who are some of the authors who ARE honoring to God? (Interestingly, the site declares that Mark Driscoll is one of the most viewed authors but there are no books currently under his name. Were they deleted or was he never reviewed?)
- CJ Mahaney x 6
- Carolyn Mahaney x2
- Doug Wilson x5
- Joshua Harris x4
- John Piper x22
- Nancy Leigh DeMoss x7
- John MacArthur x14
- Kirk Cameron x1
- Ann Coulter x1 (!!!!!)
- Poor CS Lewis only rates 3 recommends while Mahaney gets 6?
Anne Graham Lotz let us know why 911 as well as the time frame for the Second Coming.
All I knew that God was attempting to get the attention of his people, including me."
"I also saw a humiliating vision of my own sin."
"I spent days on my face before God, confessing my sin and receiving his cleansing.
"From Hurricane Katrina to the record breaking floods, forest fires, tornadoes, droughts,and snow storms; to the collapse of major financial institutions,to the economic recession, to the inability to win the war in Afghanistan. The alarm keeps resounding because so many people have not heeded, or even heard, the warning."
It is time to repent and invite God back into our lives,” Lotz said.
“The signs that Jesus gave us in the Bible and the headlines in the news are coming together in a dramatically sobering way.”
Lotz, now 63, says she profoundly believes that if she lives out her natural life, she will live to see the physical return of Jesus to earth."
Kevin DeYoung, Carl Trueman and Ray Ortlund declare CJ Mahaney "fit" for leadership link (Guess they didn't see the lawsuit coming which does raise a question about discernment.)
We do not believe C.J. Mahaney’s confessed sins have disqualified him from Christian ministry. Or to put it positively, from all that we have seen, heard, and read, we believe C.J. Mahaney is, at this moment in time and based on those sins which he has acknowledged, still fit to be a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ and a pastor to others.”
I had a myriad of other examples but I must end it here. However, I do find it amusing that Ann Coulter is considered "honoring to God" and "discernment bloggers" are considered "gospel" deficient. That is something to ponder this weekend.
Lydia's Corner: 1 Samuel 1:1-2:21 John 5:1-23 Psalm 105:37-45 Proverbs 14:28-29