Simple Organic Church and the Existential Fringe

Haven’t the repeated failures by the existential fringe of the “organic” church movement – with authors like Felicity Dale, Frank Viola, Milt Rodriguez, Jon Zens, Keith Giles and their buddies – made it abundantly clear?

Without the plenary authority of Scripture, simple participatory churches don’t succeed.

Snake Oil SalesmenThese fringe authors dismiss the plenary authority and discipline of Scripture – and in some cases even deny that the Bible is His written word – to peddle a Jesus of their own perception.

Their false Christ – who is little more than a projection of their own “deeper life” angst, post-modern sensibilities and trans-Biblical agendas – inevitably leads to dysfunctional, insular and anemic “communities”.

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Elders

I get it: A confused generation of young millennials raised to believe they’re the center of the universe keep trying to create a Christ of their own perception by shunning the plenary authority of His written word.

What I don’t get are those who should be old enough to know better, but don’t.

It’s time for those who do know better to start acting like grown ups once again in the Body of Christ.

~ Jim Wright

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Non Sequiturs of a Postmodern Jesus

Non sequiturs¹ Jesus never said …

(But are implicit among those who jettison scripture to create a postmodern² Jesus of their own perception):

Non Sequitur

Non Sequitur

“It’s about relationship …

So forget obedience.”

“All scripture points to me …

So your own perceptions of me trump any scripture that offends you.”

“I am the living word …

So you no longer need to submit to the authority and discipline of my written word.”

“‘Be holy as I am holy’…

Now means ‘I am postmodern as you are postmodern’.”

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Sound Doctrine and Snake Oil Theology

My prayer for the Church in this age of itchy ears and false teachers …

Lord, raise up true elders – “grown ups” among us who serve your people in their local communities – to teach sound doctrine and confront those who redefine:

Snake Oil SalesmenFaith as doubt;

Grace as excuse;

Love as license;

True as relative;

Real as subjective;

Moral as optional;

Community as conformity;

Church as unassembly;

Diverse gifts as distractions; and

Mission as introspection.

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Why Is Bart Breen Stalking My Wife?

I need your help to stop a stalker who has been harassing and threatening my wife.

Bart Breen - Stalker

Bart Breen – Stalker

For over a year now, an obscure blogger named Bart Breen has been acting on behalf of a cult that’s upset and trying to silence me (and others) for daring to warn folks about their history of sexual predation, abuse and cover up.

As more and more people learn the truth about that cult – centered on narcissistic “Beyond Evangelical” author Frank Viola and his mutual promotion network of self-proclaimed “apostolic workers” – they’ve become more and more shrill in a desperate attempt to hide their history of shame, failure and abuse.

As a result, Mr. Breen is now stalking my wife in a perverse bid to silence me. He’s even openly boasted about it on Facebook and in his various blogs.

Why? By harassing my wife and publicly boasting about it, Bart Breen and Frank Viola are sending their victims – and those who stand with them – the clear message that they too will be attacked if they don’t toe the line and remain silent about what has been going on within their “Beyond” Cult.

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Stories of Redemption

Yesterday, after a seven month hiatus to care for my dad and deal with some of my own health issues, another local elder and I visited the jail to check on a church I previously had been helping.

taking-up-your-crossThe first thing I noticed was around twenty new men were now in that fellowship, with only two of the original brothers still around (the others, as is normal in a jail environment, had been released or transferred).

The church, I was thrilled to see, had not only survived but thrived during my absence – with them showing a wonderful continuity of life from when I last saw them.

As I then listened to them openly share their hopes and struggles in the Lord with each other, and watched them encourage one another to love and good works (Heb. 10), I cried silent tears of joy.

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Presuppositions

Getting down to basics…

Without external revelation on what is truly true, really real and rightly right – by one with the authority to define all because He created all – you are trapped in the meaningless absurdity of circular logic and self-referential perception.

Some ask if God has validity apart from their own logic and perceptions. The more relevant question, however, is if logic and perceptions can ever have validity apart from God? This is the question existentialists and atheists cannont answer. ~ www.CrossroadJunction.com

The Great Divide: Biblical Absolutes and Relativism
http://www.crossroadjunction.com/2010/11/12/the-great-divide/

Men With Chests

C.S. Lewis bemoaned, in The Abolition of Man, that the West was becoming a culture of men without chests – meaning we have either lost the courage of our God-given convictions or in many cases denied those virtues altogether.

moneychangers

Offending the Offensive

This is amply illustrated by relativistic “tolerance”, which has been used for too long as a counterfeit “virtue” to attack what is true, beautiful and moral.

Lately, however, those who rationalize Jihadist atrocities in the name of “tolerance” – and who then protest that we must not “offend” Islam – are causing more and more people to reject the moral bankruptcy of their squishy relativism.

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Legalistic Goodism

doing_goodThe old legalism of “be good” (God is all about me being moral) …

Was followed by the current legalism of “do good” (God is all about me doing good, like helping the poor) …

Which rapidly is being replaced by the new legalism of “feel good” (the existential fad that God is all about affirming me, filtered through my own hurts, needs and sensibilities) – as its devotees now diss anyone or anything that doesn’t feed their need.

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It’s All About A Relationship …

The Existential Jesus

The biggest lies involve half-truths, like the current fad of saying that “it’s all about a relationship with Jesus.”

But that begs the question: A relationship on whose terms?

Yes, Jesus wants a relationship and for us to feel His presence – as our Lord, on His terms, as we obey Him by doing the will of His Father.

Any other “relationship” is a lie and the day eventually will come when He declares: “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matt. 7:21-23)

Jesus: He’s more than a feeling.

~ Jim Wright

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Truth, Justice and Church Sex Abuse

Finally, the truth comes out and justice prevails.

Over the last several years, Marianne and I have ministered through Nathan’s Voice to five families devastated by abusive church leaders at Sovereign Grace Ministries and it’s network of churches – including Covenant Grace.

Now one of the abusers has received a 40 years sentence, after years of denial, cover up and shunning of his victims by the leadership structure at SGM. See Child Sex Abuser from Gaithersburg -area Sentenced to 40 Years in Prison.

House2House Ministries and Magazine

Lies, Cover Up and Abuse

Let this be a warning to all who respond to leadership abuse in the Body of Christ with the same kind insular mentality that “circles the wagon” through denials, cover up and attacks to preserve their own power, influence and ministries.

Just like what we saw over the years with SGM, the so-called “apostolic workers” and their “Beyond Cult” over at House2House Ministries (including Felicity Dale, Jon Zens, Milt Rodriquez and Keith Giles) have done the same thing.

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Felicity Dale, Hypocrisy and Power

Author and “simple church” advocate Felicity Dale over at House2House Ministries is personally charming, and I generally agree with her views regarding simple church and gender equality within the Body of Christ.

But my own experience with her over the last year has been very troubling – especially when it comes to the contradiction between her public positions and private actions.

Sex abuse and cover up: C.J. Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Ministries, Frank Viola and his band of "apostolic workers", Bill Gothard and his Institute of Basic Life Principles... When will we ever learn?

Felicity Dale: Do as I say, not as I do.

Felicity Dale is part of the self-appointed accountability team of Frank Viola, who is an author, an itinerant church leader and one of her fellow so-called “apostolic workers”. He also has a troubled history of sexual predation against young women and teenagers.

After Frank Viola rebuffed all efforts to communicate directly with him by those with detailed knowledge of the facts, some of us contacted Felicity Dale last year in an effort to resolve our growing concerns about Frank Viola’s history of abuse.

She also was given a lengthy private statement on behalf of one of Frank Viola’s multiple teenage victims, with details about how he abused that young woman and others.

That victim’s statement fully confirmed the separate warnings issued against Frank Viola by his former church. Among other things, his past church established through multiple witnesses and documents his pattern of predation and abuse – including his long-running exploitation of a teenager in that church who was half his age and a former high school student of his.

This new written statement, however, involved an additional teenage victim.

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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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Hospitality and the Kingdom of God

Playing Chicken Feet

 
Yesterday, like we often do, we had family and friends – some old, some new – over for supper and fellowship. Marianne cooked the main dish, I put on a big pot of coffee, and they brought everything else.

Because it was Easter, we opened our home to folks who didn’t have family in the area and invited them to spend the day with our family. They included guys from several fellowships we’re linked to, and some not in any church.

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