June 30, 2008

Less Money Less Ministry

Adrian Rogers developed his "Pickles Have Souls" concept early in his ministry. He graduated from Stetson University in Deland, Florida and continued on to New Orleans Theological Seminary where he earned a bachelor of theology degree in 1958. He returned to Florida to pastor and was not happy with the condition of his alma mater. He pushed for the state convention to drop it's support for the school and though the measure failed to get passed it spiraled Adrian into the ideal that if a school would not preach what he deemed important, Bible inerrancy and morality, then the school's support could be cut off if it did not comply.

Traditionally, Baptists expected seminary professors to expose their students to various theological viewpoints. Baptist teachers were viewed as facilitators who guided students as they studied the scriptures and conscientiously formed their own theological convictions. This approach was in harmony with the traditional Baptist understanding that every believer has the right and responsibility to interpret the scriptures under the direct illumination of the Holy Spirit. It also acknowledged that every believer is accountable directly to God for conscientiously interpreting scripture, forming convictions, and living by them.

The Patterson-Pressler coalition expects seminary professors to indoctrinate their students to a very narrow theological viewpoint. Adrian Rogers (the first SBC president elected by the Patterson– Pressler coalition) said, “If we say pickles have souls, they (seminary professors) better teach that pickles have souls.” Seminary teachers who refused to comply were fired, sought employment elsewhere, or took early retirement. Their replacements are indoctrinators who have usurped the place of the Holy Spirit and now presume to make Southern Baptists accountable for living according to the interpretations and convictions of the Patterson-Pressler coalition.

This discussion is not meant to argue for or against the conservative resurgence but to state that money can be a usurpation of the work of the Holy Spirit. The spiritual agenda of the church is driven by market forces and it should not be that way.

June 24, 2008

Simonization Of Christianity

Simonization is probably not a word but it draws from 'simony' which is trafficking for money in spiritual things. Named after Simon Magus, who appears in the Acts of the Apostles 8:18-24. Simon Magus offers the disciples of Jesus, Peter and John, payment so that anyone he would place his hands on would receive the power of the Holy Spirit. (Wikipedia)

Television evangelist come to mind when we think of Simony. However little is said of the inflated salaries of many pastors of our mega-Churches. Ludicrous compensations serves to hide the extent of the full salaries these people receive. Steve Gaines probably makes over $400,000. Adrian Rogers made about half of that. This would not include compensation packages and out side engagements and royalties. However these are mere guesses since their salaries are unknown to but just a few who handle the finances. When you give to Bellevue coffers you will not be able to know how much staff members are paid. This is for obvious reasons as it would discourage giving.

There is a good blog report of clergy salaries here. Roughly $50 - 60,000 is the median salary for the average pastor not including compensation. So more than likely your pastor is inadequately salaried. Churches need to have an open book policy about staff salaries since their salaries come directly from the tithes and offerings received in services.

Simon wanted to buy the power of the Holy Spirit for his own continuation of greatness in the sight of the people. Today's ministries have found the importance of money replacing the need of the Holy Spirit. This adds an interesting twist to Simony. On one hand the power of the Holy Spirit cannot be bought as Peter informed him. Today the Holy Spirit can be replaced with money. I saw this at work when I attended Bellevue's closing VBS presentation. The money spent on their VBS insured the success without the help of the Holy Spirit. If you invest enough money into a program it will be successful!

Perhaps your Church's VBS was simple and in your closing presentation the kids gathered on stage and displayed what they learned with disorganized but very cute skits and songs. At Bellevue the kids sat with their parents and watched well trained performers with state-of-the- art technology. Through the week the kids were instructed to "scream on cue" which nervous parents were not prepared for. Water was sprayed on the audience and confetti was dropped from the ceiling which thrilled every grandmother in the house! Who needed the Holy Spirit. This is repeated all across America in large Churches. Who needs the Holy Spirit when you have so much money?

The unspoken rule for mega-Church administration is "more money, more ministry." More money...more lost souls saved! Now, why do we need the Holy Spirit? Money buys you the best preacher and the best preacher brings in the souls. Why do we need the Holy Spirit?

June 23, 2008

Viva La Revolution

How has American Christianity grown so rapidly without the assistance of the Holy Spirit? Yes, you read me correctly, without the help of the Holy Spirit! Steve Gaines wrote "When God shows Up" and acknowledged the necessity of having God in our worship services. But isn't that exactly the case for American Christianity? Is God involved at all? You may say, "Charles, the ideal that a large Christian movement can be built without God and at the same time call itself Biblical inerrantist and Christ exalting is absolutely ludicrous." Well my friend it is not!

Liberal Christianity has done it successfully. Ernest Sutherland Bates in the early thirties arranged and edited the KJV The Bible, maintaining the beauty and balance without changing a word of the KJV. He presented the Epistles in the order of their composition and insured the authenticity and lasting importance by eliminating the fourteenth chapter of I Corinthians. This made it a best seller. It was one of the book-of-the-month club selections. It underwent ten printings in the first year alone. It was almost instantly a New York Times best seller. It remained in print for over twenty years and underwent another printing in 1957. I have a 1993 printing. However he eliminated the verse: And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth. I Corinthians 14:25 Of coarse that renders the Bible readable and believable. We sure don't want God to show up in our midst!

Another Liberal book came out a little earlier than Bates. It was the Scofield Reference Bible printed in 1909. As with Bates Bible, Scofield endeavored to print a Bible easy and believable to read. He believed that previous editions of the Bible notes were not based on the latest scientific information (higher criticism). They were fragmentary and disconnected and so he presents a readable and believable reference for serious Bible students. As a liberal edition it follows the same pattern of eliminating the difficult Corinthian passages not by outright elimination but evasive dispensational trivializing. The supernatural working of the Holy Spirit is set aside for the clear exposition of scripture. The New Testament preacher was an "inspired" teacher only while there was no written new testament and is now "merely" a preacher. A mere man with a clear understanding of the text is no less inspired than a New Testament Holy Spirit inspired prophet. (Scofield notes on I Cor 14:1; 1917 ed.) In the words of A. W. Tozer: "If he has a word for a thing he has the thing itself." This liberal book has left American fundamentalism high and dry, spiritually.

In the words of Steve Gaines, the church has placed a "do-not-disturb-sign on the door" and said to the Holy spirit, "leave us alone". "No thanks, we do not need you." This has left the door wide open for an Arminian gospel with it's wide assortments of free offers to whosoever will.
It is a bankrupt message with no power for service. It has the form of godliness: the inerrancy of the Bible, Sola Scriptura, the virgin birth of Christ, the doctrine of substitutionary atonement, the bodily resurrection of Jesus, and the imminent personal return of Jesus Christ. It does not have the power for service vitally needed for true Christian evangelism. It is merely a Church no more spiritually alive than Enron.

The typical large mega-Church has become a spiritual stronghold that needs a radical revolution, not unlike a ghetto up-rising! Strangely Jesus referenced this revolution in Matthew 12:29 when He call for a binding of the strong man and then spoil his goods. In the ghetto riots, regardless if the strong man is bound or not there are store windows broken and expensive items are carted away. The goods that they normally pay inflated prices for the sake of the merchants profit are now looted in mass and carried out into the street.

Peter Wagner writes, "It is my view that sound missiological strategy will take responsible, but aggressive, action to bind demonic strong ones, principalities, powers, territorial spirits, or whatever they might be called, who are serving Satan by keeping large populations in spiritual darkness." Peter Wagner, Blazing the Way (Ventura, CA: Regal Books), 67.

I believe that this spiritual darkness is embedded in American Christianity. An evil entity more sinister than imaginable rules many of these mega-Churches and whether blindly or not these pastors and leaders are doing the devils bidding. Few of these pastors are watching for the Lord's judgment (Luke 12:39) Like the baptized Simon he was still bewitched with his own greatness (Acts 8:9) and the great acclamation of the masses; he thought that the power of God could be purchased. Luke gives us Jesus' own words concerning this bewitching process in 12:48
For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more. As certain as Jesus spoke to the crowds including the massed bystanders and the elite spiritual leaders, He was speaking to the stronghold of Satan himself. Until we, the masses of common men, understand that our problems in America Fundamentalism is rooted in the hold Satan has on our Churches' pastoral staff we will remain in spiritual darkness without the favor of God on us.

To be continued.

June 21, 2008

Gnashing Of Teeth

We normally associate the gnashing of teeth to torment and pain because of the views of tormented souls in hell "gnashing their teeth" in torment. Rather they are gnashing their teeth in rage and anger toward God. They are God haters, along with the devil and his angels. Those in hades honor and recognize God as just and righteous but when they are 'cast' into the pit they are eternally teeth gnashing 'God haters'.

Teeth gnashing is a unconscious habit reflecting inner rage and anger. There are stress related habits of grinding of the teeth, particularly at night and this seems to be different from gnashing of teeth. Gnashing is a clicking of the teeth associated with wailing expressing fierce anger at an opponent.

I have this habit and it drives me nuts! I have ask the doctors and my dentist and the only solution so far short of just breaking the habit is to wear a teeth protector. But this would be inconvenient during the daytime when the gnashing takes place. I have tried chewing gum but I can not chew gum beyond the sugar stage. That also drives me nuts!

This habit has been with me during this blog. I have acquired an inner rage against preachers starting with Paul Williams and Adrian Rogers. It has expanded to 'Arminian' ministries that have created an enormous mess of American fundamentalism. Catholic priest, liberal preachers, Unitarians of all sorts ,on and on, they don't bother me. Free-will preachers, anti-Calvinist preachers who have exploited the masses with their message and built large empires and acquired wealth on the backs of the common man drives me nuts. Those who claim the inerrancy of scripture and the sovereignty of God and yet continue on in their ungodliness. They drive me nuts! Nuts, I tell you. Parents, shield your children from these predators.
Keep a vigilant watch over their souls. These preachers will devour their lives and leave them bankrupt financially and spiritually.

This rage is a righteous rage! It is a precious gift entrusted by God to caring souls. It is only given to common people; simple men who are not entangled with the hierarchy. It is the basis of a just society and if it is deprived from society then that society is doomed to a downfall. When you attend the typical large fundamentalist Church they will insist you abandon this rage or else go somewhere else. This rage is incompatible with their 'peace' and 'unity'. They will exorcise this rage from you! If it prevails their empire will crumble. Slow down Charles, people will really think you are nuts.

Now let me tell you what will happen if this righteous rage goes awry. Steven gets stoned. (Acts 7) Innocent men get destroyed. Heads get chopped off. People are burned.

Yet, America needs this revival. A radical revival that forces these preachers to take notice and know that they will not be able to stand before God in judgement and they should start now in straightening up. May God use this blog to start such a revival!

Do you get the idea I hate false preachers?

June 19, 2008

Surprises In Heaven

"I’ll be kicking up gold dust on the streets of glory.” “this is a win-win for me.“ I am at perfect peace.” These are the final words of Dr Rogers.

However upon arrival in heaven he was informed of the turmoil on earth at his beloved Bellevue.
He had to endure the painful ordeal of his Church split over the way his predecessor handled the Williams situation. He had to endure the pain of his wife and family changing membership to another Church over the leadership struggle. Yes, there are tears in heaven and eventually God will wipe them from our face.

He had to endure yesterday's critique of his predecessor by NASS on New BBC Open Forum 9:00 AM June 18. He should be represented justly by his followers rather they behave badly and reflect his credibility.

What do you think? Will we live consequence-free lives in heaven? Will all our sins and errors be under the blood of Christ? Will we start eternity with a clean slate? Will there be shocking surprises there?

I don't know about you but I have prayed to God that there will not be any surprises for me when I get there. Adrian Rogers reminds me that we can't be presumptuous about the life hereafter.

June 9, 2008

Richard Land, It Is At Bellevue Baptist In Memphis!!!

"In a culture engulfed and submerged in moral relativism, children are particularly vulnerable to the depraved sexual appetites of adults. Loving parents who bond with their children will stop at nothing to keep them out of harm's way, protect them from imminent danger, and rescue them from crisis. Yet the evidence of how America raises her children looks like anything but such loving care.
Child abuse is at epidemic proportions in the United States, at all socioeconomic levels. It is an issue for which everyone must take responsibility, both in terms of reporting and adequate supervision of children. And we all need to examine the societal reasons that have turned this country from the child-nurturing society that it once was to the child-neglecting and child-abusing society that it is now in the first part of the twenty-first century.
Children who have been victimized bear emotional scars and are tormented by the fear they will be targeted again. Too often, their psyches damaged, they pass along the ugly legacy of violence against children." Read the article here. Reaping the Fruit of "Life Devalued"Child Abuse and Neglect by Richard Land

June 7, 2008

What If Adrian Rogers Had Not Died?

What if Dr Rogers' cancer had gone into remission and he was pastor 'emeritus' at Bellevue. It is my opinion that Paul Williams would still be associate pastor today and Chris Williams, his wife and friends would continue suffering in anger that his father was holding a respectable position at the flagship Church of the SBC.

Now I can't establish that as a truth and we can't venture into that eventuality. Is there anyone who can make an argument contrary?

June 5, 2008

Rape of Faith

Chris Williams has suffered a spiritual defeat that he will possibly never overcome. Paul Williams has committed a sin that will not be forgiven on this earth. I John 5:16; Heb 10:26
Paul Williams will live the rest of his life wishing every moment he was dead. As a believer he should have killed himself (Luke 17:2) rather than have done what he did to his son. It would be easier to stand before the Lord for suicide rather than the way he will now stand before the Lord.

Chris will join those under the altar whose "souls" were slain for the word of God, and the testimony which they held. Rev. 6:9-10 When Paul raped Chris, repeatedly for 12-18 months, there was physical tearing and hot spiritual searing. As Chris strives toward eventual glorification he will encounter problems that most of us will never know. Practical sanctification will develop around spiritual scar tissue and he will struggle with grace issues and the fairness of God toward him. He will live with an insurmountable doubt created by his father.

It is useless to pray for Paul. Paul needs to be constantly guarded for the remainder of his days from being around children. Chris will be nagged internally about his own trustworthiness. For Chis this will be a secret struggle he can't share with anyone.

We should pray constantly, without ceasing, for Chris and for his wife who stands by his side.
He holds a special unique testimony and a place under the altar. Chris will be given a white robe and the assurance of the rest he yearned for on this earth.

June 3, 2008

Where WAS The Outrage?

Adrian Rogers would have done the same thing Steve Gaines did about the awful revelation of Paul Williams. However the only difference in my opinion would have been Dr Rogers' recognition that this took place under his watch care. He would not have offered a self justification as to why he was not aware of the crime. Dr Gaines did not partake in the dramatic period and so he was distanced from the responsibility. He was involved in the unraveling stage.

Dr Rogers may not have been able to deal with the pain of knowing such a terrible crime took place right "under his nose." There would have been unbearable shame for him to bear.

However what amazes me is the quickness of Joyce Rogers rushing to call Mike Fleming's afternoon radio talk show prior to Christmas 2006. Baptist Blogger posted: "She explained how challenges to the legacy of her husband brought her from silent grief to express sorrow for friends and strength for the many Southern Baptists who are watching the strife in Memphis from a distance."

Reported by Brooke Sanders:
"Wednesday afternoon, Action News 5 spoke with the widow of long-time Bellevue Pastor, Dr. Adrian Rogers. Mrs. Joyce Rogers said she wanted to set the record straight, and said her husband knew nothing about claims that Bellevue minister Paul Williams molested a child.
"Mr. Williams told me that himself, that my husband did not know," Rogers said.
When asked why it was important that the public knew Dr. Rogers was unaware of the situation, Joyce Rogers replied, "I think it has to do with his integrity, and his manner of dealing with things like this. He would have dealt with it immediately."

There was no expression of outrage or shame directed to Paul Williams rather there was the implication that her defense was concerning the crisis of leadership at Bellevue. Steve Gaines and not Paul Williams was the problem. She contributed to the divide in Bellevue's membership and created a greater problem for Gaines.

What should Bellevue have done? In hindsight the Church from pulpit to pew, from Nashville to Memphis should have expressed shame that they had been unwillingly accomplices by omission to this horrible crime. They bore the guilt by proximity and the people suffering from this crime would have benefited from a gesture of wailing repentance in sackcloth and ashes. There were stiff necked reactions and most certainly Dr Rogers wept from his advantaged view in heaven.

Of coarse this will not go away for me and I continue to express my outrage. I am a lone voice crying in the wilderness.

June 1, 2008

Charles Russell, Dysfunctional Trinitarian

Charles Taze Russell began as Presbyterian and switched to a Congregational Church. At age sixteen he questioned the truths of the creeds and was on his road from functional Orthodoxy to functional Unitarianism. The road from Orthodoxy to Unitarianism is along the path of 12 years of dysfunctional Trinitarianism. Russell was helped along the way with Adventism.

The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania was founded in 1871. Today the Jehovah Witnesses number over six million worldwide. The creeds that once formed Russell's views of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are now displayed like Ephesian ruins lining the Appian way from the Mediterranean port. The Holy Spirit is merely an influence of the Father. Christ is a created being, Michael the Archangel. The only member left is "Jehovah" who is "Almighty God."

However Jehovah is not the God of the Orthodox creeds Russell once worshipped. Jehovah is a God limited by His own determination to judge mortal man who sinned against his law in the garden of Eden. He sits on a heavenly throne awaiting the final failure of man to rule in His stead. He has a perfect rule in heaven and awaits the establishment of an earthly rule on earth.

Russell's "Jehovah" is a man made being created corruptible to accommodate a world pleasing to man. Rom 1:18-23 The roots of this created being are embedded in the minds of struggling teenagers. The lad at 13-15 was known to chalk Bible verses on city sidewalks to draw attention to the punishment of hell awaiting the unfaithful in an attempt to convert unbelievers. At 16 he began questioning the God who would create such a place of eternal punishment. He changed the incorruptible God into "Jehovah" formed from diverse religious beliefs who would never create an everlasting Hell for sinners. This God is not the deterministic God of his childhood but the God who waits on man, yielding to his determination. Men who wish to live as the earthly class determine their own destiny while "Jehovah" determines the destiny of the heavenly class. Grace drives the heavenly class and works drive the earthly class. Christ of the heavenly class rules as King of the earthly class (1914) invisibly and soon visible.

What has this to do with Adrian Rogers? I have spent 2 1/2 years discussing with a Jehovah's Witness his beliefs and I am constantly amazed at the similarities there are to dispensational fundamentalism. Many times I respond to my friend what a good Baptist he would make!

Last week I prodded him again for the answer to the question of the sovereignty of God. "Is God sovereign?" "Yes, he answers!" "Does He know all eventualities", I ask. He said, "No"
He said that if He knew all eventualities then we would not have a choice and God would not be able to truly test and prove our obedience. Our love for God would not be a real love if God were otherwise.

Now this statement is the breakaway statement from Orthodox Trinitarianism, pure and simple. Now how often have you heard Dr Adrian Rogers make this same sort of statement?