The Tyranny of Tolerance

One day soon, you are going to wake up to a new world where your liberty to pursue virtue as an expression of your faith – and your right to proclaim those beliefs in the public square – are gone.

muzzleVice is now using “tolerance” to bludgeon virtue, and virtue is currently losing.

This newest weapon in the war against virtue has met with great success – and, most disturbing of all, the naïve support of many “Christians”.

Somethings, it seems, never change.

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The Problem of Evil

Embrace

Someone asked if it is God’s will when evil happens.

I suspect it is God’s will that we have the right to reject Him and choose evil, because He wants us to have the related ability to freely choose the love, grace and rule He offers us.

I also suspect that He grieves with us at what some have done with those choices.

~ Jim Wright

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Real Grace

Facebook seems to be a hot bed for the new distorted view of “grace”.

taking-up-your-crossThe other day someone posted that through grace, God finds our sin acceptable. He thus no longer “deals” with sin in our lives – and we are free of sin – because it no long exists.

According to their “logic”, sin ceases to an issue in our lives because it ceases to be considered sin by God.

That neat theological sleight of hand was followed by lots of “likes” and “amens”.

To deny the reality of sin and its bondage – and to say God doesn’t deal with sin in our lives or that we are free of sin – is an abuse of grace.

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The Cult of Giftedness

Steubenville and the Misplaced Sympathy for Jane Doe’s Rapists, by Megan Carpentier.

This article addresses a disturbing phenomenon: In America, we have a cultish worship of those who are charming, gifted and inspiring. They are given every benefit of the doubt, and then some.

So it always goes… sympathy and excuses by some for the gifted predator, shame for his “wayward” victim.

As an aside:

Thanks for bearing with us as we take a week or so to focus on these issues. In the Body of Christ, we should be better than this. Unfortunately, we often aren’t.

Eating of the Tree of Life? Watch Out!

A strange new doctrine has emerged over the last decade to support the old dualism of everything being about my personal, subjective relationship with Jesus, to the exclusion of any transcendent, objective moral code or – in some extreme cases – even Scripture itself.

Choosing Moral Autonomy

The new doctrine goes like this:

God wanted us to eat of the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve, however, rebelled and chose instead to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The Tree of Life, they say, is Jesus (which I think is questionable, given that Jesus walked with Adam in the cool of the day and obviously was not a tree, but that’s not my point).

This new doctrine goes on to say that we should only want the subjective, relational attributes of Jesus and not let any objective concept of right and wrong get in the way. This is because, they say, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil represents things like morality, objective standards, Scripture, commandments (again, this is of dubious exegesis, but again, that’s not my point), and anything else that may contradict their feeling-driven experience of Jesus .

Like all great errors in Church history, this one has enough truth to be tempting. But truth out of context is deadly.

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Abusive Church Leaders (Part 2) – How Should We React?

How should we react to an unrepentant pastor who’s used his position of trust and power to prey on women – often after turning to him for spiritual counsel and support during vulnerable times in their lives?

All the theory in the world is great. But one thing I’ve learned from experience is this: Those who want to help these women find justice and closure, and protect others, need an unflinching resolve to stand toe to toe against these predators.

Typically, a predatory pastor is not accustomed to being questioned or challenged by anyone. He often will try to deflect accountability either through intimidation or a charm offensive – or both! These men are master manipulators, and it takes a God-given strength of will to stand firm, force answers, stop the abuse, and expose their evil as a warning to others.

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Abusive Church Leaders (Part 1) – My Personal Angst

Much to my dismay, God keeps bringing people to my door who have been abused by a pastor or other trusted church leader.

Over the last year, I’ve taken on three cases against abusive pastors. Two involve significant embezzlement and fraud by pastors in different churches. A third involves extensive sexual abuse and misconduct by around half a dozen men on the pastoral and ministerial staff at Christ Chapel Assembly of God in Woodbridge, Virginia.

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Helping or Enabling?

It’s hard cut lose a man you’ve been ministering to and let him ultimately bear the full consequences of the mess he’s made of his life – not to hurt him, but to let him finally hit bottom.

I am friends with and minister to men and women who most people, and many churches, shun (except for arms-length “programs”, if even that). Pick a vice – any vice – and I’ve likely come beside and embraced those in bondage to it: former drug addicts, narc dealers, sex offenders, embezzlers, thieves, gender benders, Satanic ritual abusers and even murderers.

Because I’ve been willing to see past the sin and accept the common humanity we all share – not as one who is perfect but as a someone willing to walk with them as we sort out our individual imperfections together under God’s mercy and grace – some of these folk are now following the Lord.

I love such people, because daily I see how God creates beauty out of their ashes.

I am blessed, because I serve a God who, above all, creates. He takes destruction – what has become void and without form, in the words of Genesis 1 – and brings wonder and life and order. . .

. . . and He delights most of all, I’ve found, in redeeming lives that many think are beyond hope.

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Regeneration

A friend posted this short video on Facebook and it’s too precious, timely and relevant to pass up. As you listen, may God mercifully and lovingly wound you in order to heal you.

It’s by Paul Washer, who I first mentioned in a blog back in March (see God Is Not Passive). His burden for the Church touched my heart then, and continues to do so now.

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New Covenant Fellowship? Beware!

New Covenant Fellowship? Beware!

New Covenant Fellowship in Manassas, Virginia, started out as a great church twenty-five years ago under a gifted pastor who’s since left. Under the current “pastor/elders” (the term they choose for themselves), massive numbers of additional people have left as the church sinks into cult practices and cult doctrines. As a result, attendance has plunged from thousands to barely thirty adults on Sunday mornings.

  • Robin Bayles, the senior “pastor/elder”, has been secretly enriching himself with around $200k annually from church funds for a sizable salary, a generous housing allowance, numerous benefits and various other perks amounting to somewhere around a million dollars in total Phonyover the last several years — despite the tiny size of the congregation and the fact that he doesn’t even work at the church but works for an unrelated organization. When his self-enrichment was exposed, he denied it and falsely claimed to have taken only a small fraction of the true amount.
     
  • He has personally acquired and gained wealth from numerous investment rental properties purchased with funds taken from the church. He also has been employed nearly full time for many years — and earns a significant income — from his separate employer. Nonetheless, he has tried to manipulate his shrinking congregation and justify his self-enrichment from church funds with false pleas of poverty.
     
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Leadership Abuses: Private and Public Sins

“Peace if possible, truth at all costs.” – Martin Luther

“Church” can often be messy, especially when ongoing sins and improprieties begin to come to light – maybe even among our leaders. Yet God, I believe, is calling us all to a new level of collective integrity.

Incomplete ManSo how do we handle leadership failings, especially when they go beyond merely personal sin and involve an abuse of position or trust within a church, movement or mission, and hurts others?

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