Monday, February 26, 2024

Screwtape Gets Us

My Dearest Wormwood,

The Enemy's followers are always coming up with new ways to try to spread their message and take people away from our side. With each new advance in human media technology, while some of them will balk at its use, claiming it comes from the depths of our domain, others will find a use for it in their efforts to enlist more people in their cause. 

To defeat the Christians in their attempt to use media and technology to recruit more people for the Enemy's side, a direct frontal assault is not as effective as it used to be. While some of our captives will still pay heed to our denials of any validity to the Enemy's message, it is becoming more and more difficult to keep humans thinking on a purely naturalistic level. Our propaganda campaign with the "New Atheism" of the past generation, rather than convincing more people that the only thing that mattered was physical life, backfired, ultimately having the opposite effect. While people may not have converted to the other side, many individuals did end up thinking more about eternal matters, and some of them defected from our ranks. It's better for us if humans stay completely in the dark about the eternal component of their existence.

Book Review: Strange Religion by Nijay Gupta

I recently read Dr. Nijay K. Gupta's latest book, Strange Religion: How the First Christians Were Weird, Dangerous, and Compelling. This book is a very readable account of what stood out about early Christians in the Roman Empire and set them apart from the cultural norms of the society that surrounded them. Gupta takes rigorously researched academic material and presents it in a way that is accessible to anyone interested in learning about early Christianity, with plenty of relatable analogies and illustrations that help the reader create a vivid mental picture of what was going on in the first century. 

Friday, February 16, 2024

Do All Lost People Hate Jesus?

The day after Super Bowl LVIII (and the He Gets Us ad that ran during the game), someone posted the following on Facebook:

Lost people hate the real Jesus. I did when I was lost, and the Bible states that everyone else that’s lost does as well. If anyone preaches a socially accepted Jesus, they’re not preaching the true Christ, they’re actually preaching an anti-christ who appears as an angel of light, but is actually sinful, wicked, and affirming of sin, destruction, and exists to make people feel good about who they are and whatever they do.

Along with that text, they shared this screen capture from Shane Pruitt's X (Twitter) account:

Thursday, February 8, 2024

When the Gifts of the Spirit are Abused and Used for Show

Let me start out by making it clear that I believe all the charismata are still distributed by the Holy Spirit as He wills. I'm not only a Pentecostal by lineage (fourth generation Assemblies of God on both sides of the family), but by experience as well, having experienced the baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues. I am an ordained A/G minister, and obtained my MA in Theological Studies from the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary.

All that said, I realize that some in the Pentecostal/Charismatic sector of Christianity may not like this article, feeling that it plays into the hands of the cessationists, possibly giving them more ammunition to use against those of us with a continuationist pneumatology. But I feel that one of the reasons cessationists have been able to launch such large-scale attacks against Pentecostal/Charismatic beliefs is because we have failed to "police our own" and curb the excesses (many times possibly out of fear of lending aid to the cessationist position). 

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Is there any substantive difference between these things?

What do the following scenarios have in common?

The Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention saying that dealing with the accusations of clergy sexual abuse among SBC ministers would be a "distraction" that would take time and financial resources away from the mission of world evangelization.

Former Mars Hill Church founding pastor Mark Driscoll, when facing allegations from the elders of Mars Hill concerning attitudes and behavior that would be disqualifying from the ministry (and being offered a plan of counseling and restoration), claiming that God showed him in a vision that an attack was coming from people that would try to take his ministry away from him (and then resigning rather than answer the charges).