Joel Olsteen vs Billy Graham

Is there a difference between these two? You judge…

Joel and Billy are arguably two America’s most influential Christian leaders…

The Extreme Middle Heresy

We must be careful about the words and expressions we use. One of those examples is the expression “we must be balanced”. Lately when I hear the word “balanced” or some form of this expression, I often react.

In our culture “balance” or to “be balanced” means to be in the middle, the mainstream, to be moderate, not too extreme this way or that. Oftentimes this expression (depending on the context we use it in) pre-supposes a “compromised middle ground“ and in our “democratic” culture this is seen as positive, the reasonable position to hold or place to be.

We as Christians should ask ourselves why, is being balanced “right” or “good”?

Should we want to be in “the mainstream”?

Are we afraid of being”too extreme”? And is this fear of being “too extreme” really a cover for being a coward?

In my concern, I am not saying that we are never to be “mild” as opposed to “extreme” when it comes to certain issues of faith and practice. God has placed deliberate tensions in His word and not everything in scripture is black or white, but this doesn’t mean it is gray either – sometimes we are to be both black and white on “the issue” at the same time. Jesus was “full” of both grace and truth and not somewhere in-between.

Christians can and have many times gone beyond the scriptures or can even be more demanding than God himself, think of legalism or asceticism. These are problems with putting the “boundary” or the “antithesis” in the wrong place, and going beyond the commandment, not a problem with being out of “balance”, but of a faulty scriptural understanding.

To use a bad anecdote, lets say the speed limit is 75 mph. To go 100 mph is going way beyond the limit, being “extreme”. So lets say for arguments sake, if going 100 mph is being “extreme”, being “balanced” now means that going 50 mph is “right”. 50 mph now becomes what is “right” and and 75 mph is now “out of balance”. Do you see the problem with this kind of thinking? An even greater problem arises when we use this “being balanced” approach as a theological paradigm for discerning truth. Often, we as Christians get “out of step” with God’s commandments when we do this, we become negligent when we should be careful and stringent when we should be lenient. I have seen this all too often and it can be crippling to faith and practice, especially to our theology because idea’s do have consequences – what we “believe” affects how we live.

As Contemporary Christians we must not be somewhere in-between today’s “mainstream” and God’s commandments. If God tells us to be extreme, we should strive not be “balanced”, but we should strive to obey Him.

In this world true Christianity is relevant. It is relevant because it provides the only true and living answer to people’s real needs and real problems. By the Church becoming “balanced” we have become irrelevant in today’s culture. We have used the culture as faulty gauge, a faulty standard by which we calibrate God’s word, and in doing this we are in danger of become salt that has lost its flavor, good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.

In conclusion I leave you with three quotes on this “Extreme Middle Heresy”:

“It is everywhere proclaimed that we are all right; that though one says God loved his people from before the foundation of the world, and the other that he did not; though one says that God is changeable and turns away from his people, and the other, that he will hold them fast to the end; though the one says that the blood of Christ avails for all for whom it was shed and the other, that it is inefficacious for a large number of those for whom he died; though one says that the works of the law are in some measure necessary, or at any rate that we must endeavor to improve what we have, and then we shall get more, while the other says, that “by grace we are saved through faith, and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God,” yet both are right.

A new age this, when falsehood and truth can kiss each other! New times these when fire and water can become friendly! Glorious times these when there is an alliance between hell and heaven, though God knows, we are of vastly different families. Ah! now, who cares for truth except a few narrow-minded bigots as they are called. Election—horrible! Predestination—awful! Final perseverance—desperate! Yet, turn to the pages of the Puritans, and you will see that these truths were preached every day. Turn to the Fathers; read Augustine, and you will see that these were the truths for which he would have bled and died. Read the Scriptures, and if every page is not full of them I have not read them aright, or any child of God either. Ay, laxity of doctrine is the great fault now; we solemnly protest against it. You may fancy that I am raising an outcry about nothing at all. Ah! no; my anxious spirit sees the next generation—what will that be. This generation—Arminianism. What next? Pelagianism. And what next? Popery. And what next? I leave you to guess. The path of error is always downward. We have taken one step in the wrong direction; God knows where we shall stop. If there had not been sturdy men in ages gone by, the Lord would not have left to us a remnant even now; all grace must have died, and we had become like unto Gomorrah and unto Sodom. Oh, church of the living God, awake! awake! Once more write truth upon thy banner; stamp truth upon thy sword; and for God and for his word, charge home. Ye knights of truth, and truth alone, shall sit king over the whole world!” (CH Spurgeon)

“We have heard about the extreme right and the extreme left, but it is the extreme middle we need to expose as being extremely deceptive, extremely disobedient, and extremely dangerous.” (Rev. Hayes Minnick)

“The middle-of-the-road man is the theological menace of the twentieth century. In the battle between truth and error, (good and evil) neutrality (moderation) is no virtue. Beware of the “betweenites”!” (Dr. W. B. Riley)

In today’s age of confusion, I believe we must be careful with the way we use words or expressions especially when we seek to clarify Truth. So today I challenge you to be very careful about the way you use the word “balance”…

Lar

For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!

2 Corinthians 11:2-4

Are You Sure You Want to Send Your Kid to a Public School?

A “dress policy” is the solution?

If your place of work was like this would you even show up?  

Why would anyone send their kid to this kind of a war zone?

Oh, I see…  Its not in your neighborhood school (are you so sure?)

We’re expecting 5″ to 7″ of snow tommorow!

snowman.jpg

Do you ever wonder if we can be manipulated?

Sometimes I wonder if it can happen today.

Even if you don’t think so, you’ll enjoy this video!

Lar

We’re for Ron Paul

If you don’t know it already, Sandy, Lucas, and I are Ron Paul supporters. We don’t necessarily agree with everything Ron Paul supports (Lucas disagrees with his position on the war) but Dr. Paul in our opinion is a political breath of fresh air.

Ron Paul is not your typical pandering politician he, as one blogger said “wakes up in the morning knowing what he thinks, and what that is, is a function of his reading and study. He has real positions that were not handed to him by his staff.”

Dr. Paul is a pro-life Christian, you can read his statement of faith here. For 20 years in the House of Representatives Ron Paul has been the most principled consistent politician I have seen. Do a Google search and on his record and you’ll see what I mean.

Lately many Christians have been coming out in favor of Mike Huckabee. My problem with Huckabee is he is a typical “Big Government” insider.

Huckabee is Socially Conservative except on education in which he is a liberal and a big NEA supporter, he is a fiscal socialist who is called by some the “The Biggest Big-Government Conservative. Huckabee will empower the already over controlling Government establishment.

What many Christians don’t get is that our religious liberties (liberty of conscience) are directly related to the power and size of our Government. Bigger and more powerful governments that restrict “civil liberties”, will also restrict “religious liberties”, the two go hand in hand. If we as a people want to preserve our liberty and if you as a parent want the liberty to raise your children according to your convictions, than Mike Huckabee is a step in the wrong direction.

As a multi-generational thinker this is what scares me most about Mike Huckabee. Generation by generation we are creating a totalitarian state with unlimited power, power to control the church and family, is this the political heritage we want to leave to our posterity?

You might not agree with Dr. Paul on everything, but if you love your religious liberty, Ron Paul is as close to a Christian constitutional statesman that we have seen in a long time.

Dr. Paul has the experience and track record to prove it and can win!

Elgin Staples story of God’s Providence

The Sunday before last Pastor Wayne opened his message with this amazing story of God’s Providence.

The story is taken from The Grand Weaver: How God Shapes Us Through the Events of Our Lives by Ravi Zacharias

If you haven’t heard it, enjoy…

In the book Finding Your Way, Gary LaFerla tells an amazing story, gleaned from the records of the United States Naval Institute following the Second World War. The USS Astoria engaged the Japanese during the battle for Savo Island before any other ships from the U.S. naval fleet arrived. During the crucial night of the battle, August 8, the Astoria scored several direct hits on a Japanese vessel but was itself badly damaged and sank the next day. Here’s how LaFerla tells the rest of the story:

    About 0200 hours a young Midwesterner, Signalman 3rd Class Elgin Staples, was swept overboard by the blast when the Astoria’s number one eight-inch gun turret exploded. Wounded in both legs by shrapnel and semi-shock, he was kept afloat by a narrow lifebelt that he managed to activate with a simple trigger mechanism.
    At around 0600 hours, Staples was rescued by a passing destroyer and returned to the Astoria, whose captain was attempting to save the cruiser by beaching her. The effort failed, and Staples, still wearing the same lifebelt, found himself back in the water. It was lunchtime. Picked up again, this time by the USS President Jackson (AP – 37), he was one of 500 survivors of the battle who were evacuated to Noumea. On board the transport, Staples hugging that lifebelt with gratitude, looked at that small piece of equipment for the first time. He scrutinized every stitch of the lifebelt that had served him so well. It had been manufactured by Firestone Tire and Rubber Company of Akron, Ohio, and bore a registration number.
    Given home leave, Staples told his story and asked his mother, who worked for Firestone, about the purpose of the number on the belt. She replied that the company insisted on personal responsibility for the war effort, and that the number was unique and assigned to only one inspector. Staples remembered everything about the lifebelt, and quoted the number. There was a moment of stunned silence in the room and then his mother spoke: “That was my personal code that I affixed to every item I was responsible for approving.

Have a blessed Christmas Day!

Lar