November 30, 2005

IMB and Baptism, Round 2

OK, so in my other post about this, I mentioned my concern with the location of the baptism that the IMB was saying was unscriptural. Reading more about the decision, I have a LOT more concerns.

There is a concern that the IMB is overstepping it's boundaries. It is, in effect, telling churches that baptisms that they have accepted as Biblical and proper are, in fact, neither. The International Missions Board of the Southern Baptist Convention has decided to tell churches what constitutes scriptural baptism and what doesn't.

There is a concern that the majority of the trustees of the IMB didn't vote at all on this issue. The meeting conflicted with some state conventions, apparently, which makes me wonder who was responsible for the scheduling in the first place. It does seem that the deck was stacked, to me at least.

There is a concern that this will expand to other areas. What happens when this is extended to other areas of Baptist polity -- ordinations, for example. I may not be ordained by the Southern Baptist Convention. I was baptized in an independent Baptist church, not a Southern Baptist church. My church has determined that my baptism is scriptural. The IMB would disagree, it seems. But that's not their responsibility.

I think that it's great that the SBC is moving away from the liberal influences of its past. I'm thankful for the conservative resurgance. But this is an area that we are wrong on. A missionary board has no business telling churches that the baptism they have declared Scriptural aren't good enough -- especially a mission board that is funded by those churches. If memory serves, the Soutehrn Baptist Convention was formed because of a disagreement about the qualifications of missionaries. Maybe the IMB folks need to read their history books a bit more.

{And I haven't even started about the "private prayer language" thing. Maybe that's one for another post.}

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Profanity, Language, and Christians

Tim Challies started something. In an innocent movie review, Tim remarked about the amount of profanity:

Before I continue allow me to provide a bit of a warning. I was quite surprised at the volume of swearing in this film. Usually I would not be surprised to find bad language in a war movie, but was surprised at this one primarily because the people who recommended it to me made no mention of it. Thankfully, because of the subject matter, it was not a film we decided to watch with the children present.
Joe Carter brought the discussion to my attention the next day with his "Christian Critique of Swearing." Joe does a great job of assembling all the relevent posts, and firmly holds a middle ground between extreme legalism and extreme license.
more...

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November 29, 2005

Go Read This Right Now

Ryan DeBarr has written something that needs to be read by a lot of people. I told him to send it to Baptist Press, but he doesn't think they'd run it. I've read it twice so far, and it really has a lot to say about the state of the church, and evangelicalism in general.

And for some reason, Ryan's feed isn't showing up on the SBC aggregator. I'll have to try to figure out why. Anyway -- go here and read. Comment. Tell other people.

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Podcasts Going Mainstream?

One of the most attractive things about podcasting is the "pirate radio" attitude -- WITH decent production values. You can listen to niche podcasts about anything at all. Podcasting builds community, and artists benefit. It's also cheap (free) PR, and some folks are starting to get that idea.

Now mainstream radio is jumping in, using podcasting as a revenue source.

With radio trying to find new revenue streams, this is one of the obvious ones,” said Matt Feinberg, senior vp of national radio for Zenith Media, who has bought podcast advertising for a client.
Anyone who is podcasting right now is laughing. Podcasting? Revenue Streams??!! There are people who are generating money with their podcasts, but after their expenses I figure they might be breaking even. I know I'm not making a dime on my own podcast, and wouldn't dream of trying to make money on the church podcast. And that's not why I'm doing them. It's not why the majority of podcasters are doing their podcasts.

We podcast because they're fun. I did radio in college, and it's like owning your own radio station. I'm even starting to get demo CDs sent to me from bands around the country, asking me to play their stuff on the podcast.

Podcasting has changed the way a lot of people listen to music. But right now there are FAR too many professionally-done podcasts that are free for radio stations to even be thinking about subscription-based podcasts. They're going to have to do some serious value-adding to make that model go.

By the way -- if you want to hear some great music podcasts that are professionally done, check out a few of my fellow members of AMP. Right now, we're running a contest to rename iPodderX -- you can win some incredible prizes.

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November 28, 2005

Advent Blogging

Advent actually started on Sunday, but I didn't have time to post -- I was preaching at First Baptist South Shore in South Shore, Kentucky -- just on the other side of the Ohio River from me. If I'd had a boat, it probably would have been quicker to get there just by crossing the Ohio than driving WAY out of my way to get to the bridge, but I digress. . . .

I talked about Advent before, and how I see it as a time of anticipation. In fact, the Advent calendar I have on the computer has Psalm 80:14-15 as the verse for the 27th (even thought they say 15-16) -- Psalms 80:14-15 Turn again, O God of hosts! Look down from heaven, and see; have regard for this vine, the stock that your right hand planted, and for the son whom you made strong for yourself.

We prepare ourselves for Christmas, and we prepare ourselves for the return of Christ.

Others are blogging about Advent:


(I sure wish that someone at The Henry Institute would set up an RSS feed. I keep forgetting to read over there, and I miss stuff!!!) {EDIT -- OK, I somehow missed the great big RSS graphic at the very top of the page at the Henry Institute. I found it, and am subscribed. And embarrassed.}

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On Baptism

A tip of my nonexistent hat to Steve at the Missional Baptist Blog for this one. From the Baptist Press story:

Regarding a candidate's baptism, trustees voted by a 2-1 margin to establish a guideline that specifies (1) believer's baptism by immersion; (2) baptism follows salvation; (3) baptism is symbolic, picturing the experience of the believer's death to sin and resurrection to a new life in Christ; (4) baptism does not regenerate; and (5) baptism is a church ordinance.

The guideline establishes that candidates must have been baptized in a Southern Baptist church or in a church of another denomination that practices believer's baptism by immersion alone. Also, the baptism must not be viewed as sacramental or regenerative, and the church must embrace the doctrine of the security of the believer.

Well, it's pretty clear to me that the "baptism must be in a Southern Baptist Church" shouldn't refer to physical location -- after all, we baptize people every year at the national convention, and have at many of the state conventions I've been to. It has to do with support. Candidates for baptism must be supported by a local church -- at least that's the way I understand SBC polity.

IF they are saying that a legitimate, Scriptural baptism has to take place INSIDE a church, then I have a HUGE problem with this language, and someone at the IMB needs to examine Baptist history, because indoor baptisms were not a part of early Baptist practice. Baptisms were public, performed in streams or rivers -- not in churches. Location does not, and should NEVER, matter -- what matters is that the subject of the baptism is a believer, and that he is being baptized under the guidance and authority of a local church. If THAT is what the IMB is trying to affirm, then I don't see any conflicts.

I've been planning on doing a series of posts concerning Baptist "distinctives," which would touch on Baptist polity issues such as church ordinances and offices. I've been holding off until I had a chance to take Dr. Moore's Systematic Theology III class at Southern (because ecclesiology is NOT my strong suit), but I think I feel a rush of independent study coming on. Maybe in a couple weeks.

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November 25, 2005

A New Christmas Poem

Not long ago, I reviewed Tim Bete's book In the Beginning, There Were No Diapers. Tim is a great person, and a very funny guy, and I get the occasional email from him letting me know about his book or something else he's written. He sent me permission to use this poem at the beginning of November, and I've saved it until now -- the beginning of the Christmas season.
more...

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Black Friday: I Survived

OK, I said I wasn't going out. I did.

I wasn't happy about going out, but I went because we took my daughter to see Santa Claus today. We got a 5x7, a CD, AND the copyright to the picture for a decent price. And I learned something interesting.

Black Friday at about 3PM is a perfect time to visit Santa. No line, no crowd. Santa talked to my daughter for quite a while (no line!) and posed for several pictures.

I didn't buy anything. My wife attempted to get one of the cheap laptops that WalMart was selling, but she was too late. She heard from employees that security had to be called because of people cutting in line. Some people actually called 911 to report line-cutters.

Tim Challies has an excellent post touching on this American phenomenon called Black Friday. You need to read the whole thing, but pay special attention to this part:

While I am somewhat envious of American Thanksgiving I am in no way envious of Black Friday. In fact, one could make the argument that the entire long weekend is a celebration not of thanksgiving, but of excess and gluttony. On Thursday people eat far too much and follow that on Friday by spending far too much. Excess: it's the American way! Wouldn't it make for a nicer weekend if, instead of shopping, people went out and shared what they had rather than spend it?

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November 23, 2005

Liberty Football

Wow, this one is WAY far afield of what I usually post here, but it touches on something that I've talked about before, and I'll get to that in a second.

On the 19th, Jerry Falwell fired his football coach and two assistant athletic directors. The AD resigned. And the condemnation began.

Now, a bit of important background. LU's football team makes my own Pewie Podcasters look talented. Liberty's football team is the only team at LU that isn't competative. Hasn't been in a long time. When I was at Liberty, the team was good. Competative. Had a tight end go in the first round to Pittsburg (then it turned out that the Christian influence at Liberty really hadn't taken hold on him -- he was busted for drug violations. I still have the rookie cards). Got some national attention.

But not recently. Losing seasons have piled up, and frustrations have built among LU fans. And when the football team is losing, what do you do?

Clean house. And the coach got a good severence package, as did the assistants, so there wasn't anyone left broke and penniless. But the sports writers have piled on.

One example is here. Cook takes advantage of the situation to ridicule Liberty for it's rules, especially the dress code. Hey -- he should have seen the dress code when I was there!! One section, though, really shows what upsets me.

That Falwell would fire a good part of his athletic staff over something as relatively unimportant as wins and losses, when it seemingly undermines his Christian values, shouldn't be all that shocking, and not just because that's what college presidents do. You don't start with a little Baptist church in rural Virginia and make it the underpinning for America's conservative Christian movement, probably the most influential political movement of the last 25 years, without an eye on wins and losses.

So Falwell, whether his coach and athletic directors are good Christians or not, is not going to countenance losing in his organization, whether or not anyone believes that firing the coach and athletic staff is not WWJD. God may forgive them; Falwell will not. If you're going to coach the Flames, Falwell will tell you to give him Liberty victories, or he will give you death.

So Christians better not worry about results if they are employers. Don't fire someone because they can't do the job. Wins and losses aren't important -- give people jobs because they need jobs. Results shouldn't matter to Christians -- we are, after all, the world's charity.

This is probably the stupidest thing I've ever read. You hire people to produce results. If results aren't produced, they are replaced by people who can do the job. That is a fact of life. There are ways that Christians should do this that differentiate us from the rest of the world -- generous severnce packages are a start, which all three men who were fired received. Not talking trash about them is another -- Jerry simply said that there was a difference in vision.

People enjoy holding Christians to a higher standard -- as long as they get to make that standard. Bob Cook has decided that Christians cannot do business and succeed in that business if it means that they have to fire anyone. Bob Cook has earned the coveted View From the Pew Get a Clue Award (also known as the Clewie. Congrats, Bob.

{ function(){q=document.getSelection(); if(!q){void(q=prompt('Wikipedia keywords:',''))}; if(q)location.href='http://en.wikipedia.org/w/wiki.phtml?search='+escape(q)})()">Here's a great take on the whole controversy}

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November 21, 2005

Advent Week 1

I've been thinking a lot about how we celebrate Christmas, and how to make that celebration more joyful and fulfilling, while still focusing on Christmas as the birth of Christ. My wife and I have been talking about a family celebration of Advent for a few years now, and I think that this year is the year to start it.

more...

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No-Shopping Friday

Why I will not be out shopping on Firday, in spite of the "great deals" that the stores have every year.

From the time I left college until about five years ago, I worked retail. There is a reason people call the day after Thanksgiving "Black Friday" -- it is. I never had that day off -- in fact, I drove from Florida back to Atlanta on Thanksgiving day more than once so I could be at work at 6 in the morning on Black Friday. Most places won't have actual lunches scheduled for their employees -- they will have some food brought in (most places I worked found it was worth it to have local restaurants cater, but once we did pot luck) and employees will eat and run back to the floor, to be greeted by mobs of people whose only concern is what they have been wanting to buy.

I swore to myself that I'd never be a part of the mobs, and with a few minor exceptions I never have. I enjoy the Friday the way the Pilgrims did -- feet up, munching on leftovers. I may do some online shopping, but that isn't a sure thing. It's a tradition I plan on sticking to -- they really don't need my money badly enough for me to go out on Friday.

Unless someone is selling laptops for under $100. Then I might be interested.

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November 19, 2005

News and Notes

First, thanks to everyone who has emailed me about my wife's surgery. I didn't mention it here, but I talked about it on the podcast this week, and many of my regular readers here listen to the podcast.

For those who missed it (and you really SHOULD listen to the podcast, it's good music!), my wife had her gallbladder removed on Monday. We were afraid that she had appendicitis, so we ran to the hospital even though we've got no insurance -- we've applied, but hadn't heard anything -- figuring that if it WAS her appendix, we needed to do something. After two trips to the ER, they found out it was her gallbladder. Her gallbladder was extremely inflamed -- so much that they couldn't do the surgery laproscopically (I hope that's spelled right ...). So she has a rather long incision and about 15 staples in her right now. But she's home (as of Thursday) and resting comfortably -- but I'm now in charge of the housework (and you can imagine what that means for the state of our house right now!).

But through it, God showed how He takes care of us. Monday afternoon, when we got home from the hospital, in the mailbox we found .... our new insurance cards. Coverage dated to November 9 -- the day before our first trip to the ER. Wow. That's all I can say about that one.

And speaking of the podcast, the promo for View From the Pew Radio aired today on the Podcast 411 podcast. If you've ever thought about podcasting, Rob's site has a great how-to showing you how to get everything set up to make a great-sounding podcast.

Also, a new addition to the blogroll. Discoshaman has returned to the blogosphere, and so the ling to Le Sabot Post-Moderne is back in the blogroll. Go there, read that, 'nuff said. Of course, if you're just finding out about this now, you don't read too many other blogs ...

I haven't posted much Blogger Football League stuff recently because I'd sound like a broken record. The Pewie Podcasters are currently 2-9 for the season. The hockey team is doing much better -- I'd be winning this week if I had remembered to set my roster up Monday and Tuesday (I was a little busy -- see the first point above ;-) ).

I've got book reviews and CD reviews to write for a bunch of places, and I have more coming, so you'll get to read those in the next week or so. And I've got other things planned -- including the Mark Study I've been neglecting. So stick around -- it'll be worth it, promise!!

{Edit -- I just re-read this (11/21) and am ashamed of the amount of typos in this post. I'm VERY sorry to everyone who had to try and read this the first time.}

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November 17, 2005

Someone Needs an Attitude Adjustment

I've been a bit absent from blogging lately, because my wife has been in the hospital after having gallbladder surgery -- and not the laproscopic kind, either. Nice, big scar across her belly right now. She's home resting right now, and I have a chance to get caught up on some posting.

I have been reading -- thanks to my RSS reader I didn't have to spend a lot of time roaming the 'net, but I still was able to keep up to date. And, unfortunately, someone linked to this idiot. Specifically, his loving tribute to a brother in Christ who was tragically killed. {For those who don't get it, that was sarcasm.}
more...

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November 15, 2005

In Memory: Dr. Adrian Rodgers

September 12, 1931 - November 15, 2005

It is with great sorrow that Bellevue Baptist Church announces the passing of her beloved Pastor Emeritus, Dr. Adrian Rogers. For 32 years, Dr. Rogers taught the Bellevue congregation the Word of God, displayed the character of Jesus, and showed us how to trust, love, and follow the Holy Spirit. With his guidance, Bellevue experienced tremendous growth in numbers and maturity. One can encapsulate Dr. Rogers' service to us in one brief statement: he taught us how to love Jesus. For that we are eternally grateful. His accomplishments are many; his reward in heaven eternal. We will continue to remember Joyce and the family in our prayers and Dr. Rogers in our hearts.

We thank the Lord for sending us a dedicated servant. He fought the good fight and finished the course. We echo the words of our Heavenly Father, "well done, good and faithful servant."

Dr. Rogers' body will lie in state Wednesday from 5:00-8:00 p.m. and Thursday from 1:00-6:00 p.m. in Bellevue's sanctuary. Visitation with the family is 4:00-6:00 p.m. Thursday in the sanctuary. The funeral service will begin at 6:00 p.m.


The family kindly requests that any memorials be sent to the "Adrian Rogers Pastor Training Institute" to go toward the continuance of his ministry and vision to train pastors for the furtherance of the Gospel here and around the world.


Gifts may be sent to:

Adrian Roger Pastor Training Institute
c/o Love Worth Finding
2941 Kate Bond Road
Memphis, TN 38133

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November 11, 2005

Soda Club -- The Review

So I promised everyone that I'd review my new toy here. My original review is at Blogcritics, but I've had the machine longer now.
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First of all, the flavors are great. I've tried everything they sent me except the diet cola, the diet pink grapefruit, and the sports drink, and everything tastes really good.

The thing is simple to use. Hook a bottle of cold water up to the machine (you have to use their bottles, but that's OK), hit the carbonator button (on the top) three times or so, and add the soda syrup. It takes all of a minute to fix, if you keep the water in the fridge. I've been keeping a couple bottles in the fridge at all times, ready to be turned into soda.

It's also cheaper than I said in the BC article -- they have a machine that's less expensive than the Edition 1 that I got. You can get a starter kit for less than $100.

And I can't stress how convenient it is. You don't run out of sodas. YOu don't suddenly say "Wow, I'd love to have an orange float, but I don't have any orange soda." Or rootbeer float. Or Coke float. Or whatever.

I'm not sure that I would have ever bought one of these things. I probably never would have seen one if I hand't read the press release that Blogcritics got, and requested a sample to review. But I'm glad I did. And I think this is something that's worth the money.

If you camp or boat, this is actually being marketed to you. Most boating stores and camping stores carry them now -- judging from the web site, they're in just about every Boaters World store in the country. A lot of diet and health food stores are getting in on the act, too. And you can get them at the Soda Club website, of course. Check them out -- I know I'll be buying some more flavors in the near future.

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We Remember

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

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Holy Misquote, Batman!

Everyone knows I'm not a defender of Pat "Foot in Mouth Tastes Great" Robertson. But this time, I have to say something about the coverage of what he said -- and didn't say.

Associated Press

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson warned residents of a rural Pennsylvania town Thursday that disaster may strike there because they "voted God out of your city" by ousting school board members who favored teaching intelligent design.

But is that what he actually said? In the same article
"I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover: If there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God. You just rejected him from your city," Mr. Robertson said on the Christian Broadcasting Network's 700 Club .
So it sounds like Robertson was telling the people that if you reject God, don't come running back to Him when things get bad -- not that God was going to lay the smackdown on them. I disagree with Pat -- the examples in the Bible show me that God will answer people when they call on Him regardless of what they thought of Him before. But I really wish that the poor man could get quoted correctly. He says enough stupid things on his own without the Associated Press misquoting him.

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November 10, 2005

Debate or Discussion

So Drs. Mohler and Patterson aren't going to debate, they are going to discuss. Glad that was clarified.

I can remember when debate was what intellectual people did when they discussed. A debate is (according to Dictionary.com)

1 To consider something; deliberate.
2 To engage in argument by discussing opposing points.
3 To engage in a formal discussion or argument.
Ironically, the obsolete definition is given as "To fight or quarrel."

Unfortunately, we've missed the point of debate. Debate is about us vs. them, our side against their side. We go into debates not to learn, but to win. So now, when we want to emphasize our respect for "the opposition," we discuss.

Fine. I still think this discussion will be incredibly valuable for the SBC, as we try to establish exactly what things we are willing to separate over, and what things we aren't.

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November 09, 2005

THIS is What Happens ...

... when you put motivational speeches before the study of God's Word.

This is what happens when people get too focused on a messenger. When they never hear 'hard preaching' on topics like sin, repentance, and Hell. They have to pledge their allegiance to their preacher. They have to make themselves readily identifiable to others of their group, so they know that they are the ones who listen to the truth.

What I mean is that each one of you says, "I follow Paul," or "I follow Apollos," or "I follow Cephas," or "I follow Christ." Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
(1 Corinthians 1:12-13 ESV)

The rip on the What Would Jesus Do is telling. Rip one marketing program to create another. But while the WWJD thing actually had some potential before it became trite, IWJO says nothing.

Or maybe it says a lot. Maybe it says "I watch powerless preaching." Or "I don't like it when a preacher preaches about sin all the time. It makes me feel bad."

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
(2 Timothy 4:3-4 ESV)

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November 08, 2005

Someone Tell Me WHY We Aren't Mad About This!!

"The wackos get their information through the Christian right, Christian radio, mail, the Internet and telephone trees," Scanlon wrote in the memo, which was read into the public record at a hearing of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. "Simply put, we want to bring out the wackos to vote against something and make sure the rest of the public lets the whole thing slip past them."
The sad thing is where I found out about this. GetReligion didn't have it. It wasn't in The Pearcey Report, either. Haven't heard about it from Christian or conservative bloggers. I heard about it at Blogcritics. Then I read about it on Salon. I just checked my RSS feeds, and there's nothing bloggy about this topic at all.

And, to be fair, it's not a big news story. There are other things that we have to talk about. But this actually helps me support one of my favorite soapbox issues. more...

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