Persecution or Narcissism?

If you don’t like being knocked down, then stand for nothing:

“Are they servants of Christ? (I am talking like I am out of my mind!) I am even more so: with much greater labors, with far more imprisonments, with more severe beatings, facing death many times. 

Persecution“Five times I received from the Jews forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with a rod. Once I received a stoning. Three times I suffered shipwreck. A night and a day I spent adrift in the open sea. I have been on journeys many times, in dangers from rivers, in dangers from robbers, in dangers from my own countrymen, in dangers from Gentiles, in dangers in the city, in dangers in the wilderness, in dangers at sea, in dangers from false brothers, in hard work and toil, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, many times without food, in cold and without enough clothing.

“Apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxious concern for all the churches.

“Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not burn with indignation?”

~ Paul, 2 Cor. 11:23-29 (NET)

If your life is generally free of conflict and opposition, then are you honestly standing for what’s true, right and real?

On the other hand…

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Everyone Loves…

 

Everyone loves the poor, until asked to share a meal in their home with one.

Everyone loves mercy, until they have to embrace the actual mess of inconvenient victims.

Everyone loves justice, until it disturbs their comfort zones.

 

Everyone loves the prophetic, until it exposes sin among them.

Everyone loves grace, until it calls them to repent.

Everyone loves love, until it speaks truth.

 

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A Simple Cure for a Terminal Condition

Is it any wonder that a generation raised to believe it’s all about them has a hard time grasping that it’s all about God?snake-oil-salesman

They are easy prey for those peddling God’s amazing grace, love and acceptance, while rejecting repentance, truth and change.

The greatest deceptions, however, involve half truths.

Unfortunately, there’s just too much of this going around these days, and it’s terminal when it comes to healthy believers and healthy ekklesia.

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God Fads

“The more I read, the less I admire modern theology. The more I study the productions of the new schools of theological teachers, the more I marvel that men and women can be satisfied with such writings. There is a vagueness, a mistiness, a shallowness, an indistinctness, a superficiality, an aimlessness, a hollowness [in] the literature of the ‘broader and kinder systems’, as they are called, which to my mind stamps their origin on their face. They are of the earth, earthy.”

~ J.C. Ryle (written in 1864, but how much more true today – especially among those who push their faddish theology under the disingenuous claim that they have no theology, other than their own existential perceptions of Jesus!)

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Pendulums and Plumb Lines

the_pendulumThe Christian Pundit published an interesting article, Young Evangelicals Are Getting High.

It claims that the trend among young people now is towards “high church”, including Catholicism and Anglicanism, where they can find “a holy Father who demands reverence, a Saviour who requires careful worship, and a Spirit who must be obeyed. They are looking for true, deep, intellectually robust spirituality…”

This a clear reaction against the recent fad of Christian existentialism – in all its many forms.

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Bart Breen and Frank Viola – Lies, Sex Abuse and Cover Up

Last updated 9/2/2014

Lately, some guy named Bart Breen has been attacking folks, with increasingly shrill and outlandish behavior, to protect a network of sexual abuse and cover-up – of which he’s a part.

Bart Breen

Bart Breen

That group centers around author and so-called “apostolic worker” Frank Viola, who has a history of using his leadership roles in churches to sexually prey upon young women and teenagers.

Rather than protect others from his misconduct, Mr. Breen and Viola’s network of other self-appointed “apostles” at House2House Ministries (including Felicity Dale, Jon Zens, Milt Rodriquez, Keith Giles and Ken Eastburn) have engaged in an ongoing campaign of intimidation and cover up.

In return, Frank Viola concurrently promotes them (including Bart Breen), and their writings, on his own somewhat popular blog.

Collectively, their mutual promotion network is desperately trying to silence all victims and witnesses regarding the abuse that’s happened among them.

They know that if people learned the facts about Frank Viola and their complicity in covering up his sexual predation, their own ministries, book sales, self-appointed “apostleships” and influence would take a big hit – especially given their own history as little more than Frank Viola mini-me’s (including their shared, repeated failures at successfully being part of, or starting, viable lasting churches).

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Honesty

This morning, in response to my series on “Is the Holy Spirit a Liar?”, Christopher Kirk publicly called me a liar on his blog – after telling me I am not allowed to respond on his blog.keeping_it_real

This crosses the line from a vigorous and needed debate on the important issue of scripture’s status and authority, into personal attack with no opportunity to directly respond.

More fundamentally, though, Christopher Kirk has now borne false witness – against himself.

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Is the Holy Spirit a Liar? (Part 2)

Yesterday, I posted a debate I had on Facebook with those who claim that their personal “revelation” and “inspiration” can trump scripture, and that scripture is not the Word of God.

Existentialism

Existentialism or Scripture?

In that debate, Christopher Kirk, a longtime “organic” voice and blogger, finally made clear what he and many of the “old guard” in the organic/simple church community believe: “The bible is NOT the Word of God” and “God can tell you to go directly against scripture“.

The fellowships I’m part of are organic/simple churches. We are not big or flashy, but daily we see the transforming power of God as He works through everyone in dynamic functional community and open, participatory meetings.

Unlike the organic church “old guard”, we are growing, multiplying, and seeing folks move forth in authentic spiritual power. Many are coming to Christ, and their lives and whole communities are being transformed.

Why? Because we fully embrace a vibrant relationship with the Living Word, while submitting to the discipline and authority of His written Word.

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Is the Holy Spirit a Liar? (Part 1)

On April 1st, I posted a statement on Facebook (what a wild and wooly place!) in opposition to some postings by Christopher Kirk in his blog, notesfromthebridge.

Word_of_God

Is Scripture God’s Written Word?

In his blog, Chris creates a dichotomy between scripture and “living by the Spirit” – as though what the Holy Spirit says in the Bible can’t be trusted, or lacks validity, absent some additional deeper, personal revelation.

In his blogs, he also claims the right to personal revelation and inspiration which contradicts and is more authoritative than the Bible.

Along those lines, his blogs suggest that we cut out significant parts of the Bible because he disagrees with their content (including most of Paul’s epistles); say that the Bible is not the Word of God; and repeatedly attack the plenary authority of scripture (“plenary” means we must submit our own contrary opinions to the authority of scripture).

As Christopher Kirk confirms below in his own words, “the bible is NOT the Word of God” (it’s interesting that those who hold this position never seem to esteem the Bible enough to capitalize it) and “God can tell you to go directly against scripture“.

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A Timely Warning by Steve Hill

The Seven Great Lies in the Church Today, by Steve Hill

Amen and amen. I stand shoulder to shoulder with Steve Hill on this important article.

If you’ve read Crossroad Junction for very long, you’ve seen me also tackle most of these same, out-0f-balance issues. I’m glad to see others raising identical warnings, now to a broader audience, regarding:

  1. Overemphasis of Prosperity
  2. Exaggerated View of Grace
  3. Antinomianism
  4. Deification of Man (or, as I put it, creating Jesus in our own image)
  5. Challenging the Authority of the Word
  6. Rejecting Hell
  7. Universal Reconciliation

Really, folks, it’s kind of simple: He defines what is ultimately true, real and right, not us.

He’s God. We’re not. Get over it!

~ Jim

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The Fractured Logos

Fracturing The Logos of the Gospel:

This is another timely and important blog by Miguel Labrador.

As he points out, the “Christ is All” crowd has a fractured view of Jesus and scripture.

As I’ve discussed in my own blogs, those who follow existential authors like Frank Viola and his fellow itinerant “workers” like Milt Rodriguez, Jamal Jivanjee and Jon Zens, often create a Jesus in their own image based on their own sensibilities.

They then elevate their very postmodern Jesus over His own written word of scripture, under the mantra that “Christ is All” – such that Christ (or at least their perception of Him) trumps scripture.

As a result, they sever the Living Word from His written Word.

When called out, they make feeble assurances that they have a “high view” of scripture and think it is “inspired”, while nonetheless rejecting its plenary authority.

In fact, they follow the existential “theology” of Karl Barth, which elevates our own perceptions of Christ as higher revelation than God’s own chosen revelation of scripture. The result has been a pattern of anemic churches, introspective faith, weird doctrines and practices, manipulative and at times exploitive “leadership”, and self-referential “truth”.

In essence, they eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil – by choosing their own subjective perceptions of Christ and His Church over His sovereign authority to objectively define what, in fact, is true, real and right.

Fortunately, more and more are looking behind the curtain and seeing what’s what.

I look forward to Miguel’s new series on keeping the Messenger integrated with His message – and us in sync with both!

Beyond Scripture? (Part 3)

The low view of God in the Old Testament, found among those touting a so-called “Christocentric hermeneutic”, comes from too high a view of themselves.

The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil

They often take personal offense at how God dealt with humanity in the Old Testament – including His sometimes fierce display of holiness and punishment of sin and rebellion.

So they make God in the Old Testament an aberration. They substitute their own perceptions of Christ – rooted in their post-modern sensibilities – for the totality of scripture, and make their resulting “Christology” higher revelation than God’s own external Word of scripture.

They have joined Adam and Eve in choosing the moral autonomy of deciding for themselves what is right and wrong, and have the further hubris of then imposing it on God Himself.

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Christocentric Buffoonery

Those with the hutzpa to claim that their personal perceptions of Christ are more accurate than His written word of scripture deceive themselves. They have rebelled against God’s own chosen revelation, and worship at the feet of postmodernism instead. I would rather that my sensibilities shatter against the rock of God’s Word than subvert Christ to their subjective, existential angst. 
 
Here’s a little song about the dilemmas facing my existentially-consumed friends:
Beyond Scripture? (Part 2).

Tyranny and Murder by Presidential Decree

In America, we’ve lost the right to be born, the right to practice our faith without government dictate or penalty, the right to proclaim moral sanity in the public square, and now the right to due process of law against a president who thinks he literally can pull the trigger and execute fellow citizens at his whim.

Who's Next?

Who’s Next?

In a bizarre “legal memo”, President Obama has asserted that he can target and assassinate Americans – at will – simply on his belief that they are subversives.

The memo’s specific focus is Americans who President Obama has unilaterally concluded are affiliated with al-Qaida (not that this makes it right), but its rationale and justification can now be applied to anyone else who he likewise concludes is a non-combatant subversive.

America was once a great nation, ruled by law under a Constitution that was consciously written to embody a Judeo-Christian worldview.

The bedrock of our constitutional republic – rooted in Biblical principles articulated by men like James Madison and his mentor John Witherspoon – was the liberty to pursue virtue by imposing checks and balances against the evil of unrestrained government power.

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