Thursday, February 23, 2006

James White and Ergun Caner Square Off
Calvinism vs. Arminianism - guess who wins?

This past last week I was part of the comment thread on the Founder's blog hosted by my dear friend, Dr. Tom Ascol, where Mr. Caner was once again venting his abrasive juvenile thoughts against Calvinism and the doctrines of grace. What made his tirade a bit shocking to everyone, is that Mr. Caner holds a position of authority as the Dean of Students at Liberty Seminary. This was completely out of character for anyone in that kind of position. But his rants not only were cantankerous (and I'm being kind here) but surprisingly sophomorically inaccurate. For example: it should be noted that he thought John Gill was a Presbyterian and supported Paedo-baptism; made the outlandish charge that Calvinism is a virus; didn't know how to spell Arminian (he kept spelling it Armenian); said that John Calvin didn't believe in particular redemption; accused John Piper of being a hyper-calvinist; said he [Caner] was Amyraldian, but then denied the historic meaning of Amyraldian when "it flirted" with Calvinism; and personally his attitude was one not marked by humility and strong debate, but rancor and venom.

I have ministered with Dr. Falwell at Thomas Road Baptist and Liberty University in Word and song. I appreciate Dr. Falwell's ministry and his love for God's Word--I have a great deal of respect for him. But, I can't believe that he would approve of the Dean of Students at his Seminary posting on another's blog with the cheap-shottish, careless attitudes that Mr. Caner expressed. You can read the email exchange from the last few days that, as a result, has now ensued between Dr. White and Mr. Caner. It is well worth the investment of your time to wade your way through this important discussion. All in all, it comes down to the fundamental issue of Arminianism vs. Calvinism - an anthropocentric gospel vs. a Christocentric gospel; free will vs. election; cowardice and rancor vs. strength and honor. This is a must read.

Grace and peace,
2 Cor. 4:5-7

Friday, February 17, 2006

The Lack of Biblical Discernment
... a call for prayer and repentance

Martin Luther once said, “I would rather preach the truth with too great a severity, than to ever once act the hypocrite and conceal the truth.”

I fully agree.

But those words ring hollow in our contemporary ears today don’t they? Preach the truth with severity? A hypocrite is one who conceals the truth? Luther was unfamiliar with the tactical methodology of being seeker-friendly, emergent, clandestine, or stealth with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Such language in the 21st century seems almost visceral, arcane, passé, and to some… unchristian.

God has not stuttered beloved, but has spoken clearly in His Word. His Word is sufficient for all matters of life and godliness. There is nothing lacking; it thoroughly equips us for every good work (Psalm 19:7-9; 2 Peter 1:3-4, 16ff; 2 Timothy 3:16-17). But evangelicals have lost their confidence in the Scriptures; and because of displaced affections and loyalty they are “stuttering” when they enter the public arena. Why is that? Is it to further their own name or protect their audience? Is Larry King really that intimidating? (Hardly, he is the King of the shallow, softball interviews). Are box office receipts, retail sales and profits the prime incentive and motivating factor in how bold we are in mainstream media for the Lord? Are some just plain ashamed of the gospel; trying to widen their “Jabezian coastline” and therefore—don’t want to offend any potential “buyers”? Have the pragmatics of our own methods eclipsed our biblical duty and privilege?

Examine Everything
The Apostle Paul says, "But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil. " (1 Thess. 5:21-22). "Examine everything" so that you can rightly determine if it is genuine. It carries the idea of distinguishing between what is true and false, what is right and wrong, what is good and bad; to be able to separate the wheat from the chaff--and it is measured by truth. This process, is similar of Paul's admonition to the Ephesians, is an effort to learn "what is pleasing to the Lord... " to distinguish. As Dr. MacArthur pointedly says, "The word could mean to evaluate everything, distinguish everything and everything means everything - all things. We are to be like King David who was able to discern, says 2 Samuel 14:17, good from evil.

Two Films: One Controversy
In the sovereignty and divine providence of God we are seeing unfold before our very eyes a vivid example of the lasciviousness of a wayward culture and the watered down consumer driven world view of contemporary evangelicalism and we should not miss it.

I am speaking of two films: “Brokeback Mountain” and “The End of the Spear.”

The first of these films is designed to promote what one author now calls, homosexualism—not just a sexual preference, but an ideological world-view that affects every area of ones life. This movie seeks to lower the defenses of people and desensitize them against whatever homophobe feelings there might be to make same sex relationships further acceptable and normalized in our society and culture. The message being propagated here is obvious, bold, in your face, unashamed and unapologetic – it simply is, “all choices that further the personal happiness fulfillment of an individual supercede all other duties, obligations, morals, commitments, and Godly standards. An unquestioned and mutually acceptable egalitarian tolerance must be embraced by all; any deviation from such is bigotry.” This is nothing new, but familiarly catastrophic; it is the reprobate mind given hearty approval by those who reject the standard of God’s Word (cp, Romans 1:24-32).

The second film is one that tells the story about five missionaries who fifty years ago were murdered by a handful of Auca Indians (the Waodani Tribe) in Ecuador. Though they never were able to present the gospel or call the members of that tribe to repentance, their intent was clear: go where Christ was not yet named in order to reach them with the gospel of Jesus Christ. The movie has received much controversy because the gentleman that was contracted to play the role of Nate Saint (one of the five murdered men) is arguably Hollywood’s leading gay activist who not only acts in movies, but produces them to promote homosexualism as well. In fact, a play Chad Allen help produce called Corpus Christi, depicted the Lord Jesus Christ as a homosexual. This is blasphemous beloved. But, both Steve Saint (Nate Saint’s son) and Mart Green of Every Tribe Entertainment were not swayed by this information and ultimately, with full knowledge of Mr. Allen’s homosexualism, signed off on having him star in their “Christian” film. Because of their amazing lapse of spiritual discernment and judgment the End of the Spear and the memory of these five missionaries has been regrettably tainted. In this movie, the gospel is never presented or mentioned; even the Lord of the Gospel, Jesus Christ, is unbelievably not even revealed; and the five missionaries are portrayed more like frat boys than “martyrs” burdened for the souls of lost people. This film is lightweight, ashamed of the gospel, masks the message of Christ, is timid, and cowardice.

Ashamed of the Gospel?
Contrasting the two films, we are left with this heartbreaking conclusion: the world is more sold out to its sin than some Christians are to the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ – and it ought not to be so! The world never apologizes for its sinful portrayals of whatever they desire to promote and market to affect and move culture to their anti-Christian agenda. We all understand that. BUT constantly, we see Christians in the media (Every Tribe Entertainment and Steve Saint the latest example of this) trying to mask the message of the gospel under the guise of faith-based films where “truth is beyond imagination.” They say the film was designed to “plant seeds” and “touch peoples lives that would never come to a church”; and that we don’t think that “the theatre is the proper venue to proclaim the gospel.” Isn't this heartbreaking beloved? To see a great story of these faithful missionaries not told with the same boldness that they lived their lives for Christ and His truth is very sad indeed.

It should be noted at that front end of this article, I tried several times to speak with ETE and Steve Saint by phone and/or through email privately and personally about these matters. I never heard back from Steve Saint (though I did get an email reply from his secretary for which I was grateful); Mart Green of ETE and I played a bit of phone tag and finally I did receive an email from Mart Green--again for which I was grateful. Summarizing, both essentially said this, “we will let the movie speak for itself; what’s done is done and there is no object to further discussion.” In short, I interpreted this in two ways: 1.) they are weary from the onslaught of phone calls and emails they had received already and really didn't want to pick up this "again" with someone new; and/or 2.) they really don’t desire to dialogue biblically about these things with another Christian who is also in public ministry. There is probably some truth to both of these perceptions. Overall, I do not understand not entering into dialogue with another Christian in public ministry. We must all stay teachable and accountable for what we say in the public arena. Anyone who is a frequent reader of this blog will know that to be true of myself and what I pen here. I must remain open, teachable and willing to change my convictions if so demonstrated to me out of the Word of God. But I also realize this, that error never wants to be challenged; but, truth can always stand the test of scrutiny. Their silence to me is telling. I want you and them to know, that my door will always remains open to speak with these men anytime they so desire to.

A Call for Prayer and Repentance
I am very burdened about this beloved and I have wrestled with the writing of this personally for several weeks. Anytime sin issues are confronted it should be with tremendous humility, brokenness, fear of the Lord, a deep sense of our own depravity and spiritual blindness, and grace (Gal. 6:1-3). Please don't confuse the boldness of words in this article with arrogance, pride, pontification, or lack of love. It is with a great love that I write--knowing full well of the sinfulness of my own heart and the weakness of my own flesh. That is my motive in writing this article and the burden for these men behind this film.

Therefore, in light of their purposed silence and unwillingness to dialogue with fellow Christians, I would ask you to pray for them in the following five areas—some of which are sin issues, some are non-sin issues, some reveal an immaturity or pragmatism in their faith; and some demonstrate an unbelievable lack of spiritual discernment. Pray that the Lord would grant them the strength of character and humility of spirit to own these things publicly, repent where necessary, and not spin them any longer to the body of Christ. Their diminutive shattered egos are not at stake here; but the integrity of the gospel, their witness, and the glory of God.

And may we not forget to pray for Chad Allen that the Lord would grant him saving faith (Eph. 2:8-9) to confess Christ as Lord (Romans 10:9-10) and turn from his sin in repentance (2 Cor. 7:8-11) so that he might receive by grace the gift of eternal life for the salvation of his soul (Titus 3:5-7). That would be a great blessing and cause for rejoicing in spite of this film and those associated with it... amen?

How are we to respond publicly to this? And what should a biblical response (not just a visceral one) be towards Steve Saint, Mart Green and the rest of ETE?

This post is both a public call for discernment, prayer and repentance.

1. The failure to do the right thing.
Once they knew Chad Allen was gay and a gay activist promoting homosexualism (even producing a play portraying Jesus Christ as a gay man) they should have rescinded any offer for him to be a part of their movie. Their defense is “we had already offered the part to Chad and didn’t want to go back on our word.” This is juvenile logic at best. You never weaken your commitment to the Lord or His truth to give the appearance of honorable conduct to another in order to avoid dealing with that which you know to be wrong. James 4:17 says, “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”

By all accounts, they considered Chad’s feelings and their own pragmatic concerns above that which honors the Lord. Mr. Allen showed more integrity when he offered to withdraw his services after being offered the role because of his homosexualism. Steve Saint felt good about his decision to OK Chad’s involvement because he said he had a dream about it; and Mart felt good about it because he prayed and felt peace. How existential of them. That’s right ladies and gentlemen, just throw out godly wisdom obtained by applying the standard of God’s Word to any situation; abandon common sense and due-diligence; purposely go against conscience and Scripture to do the wrong thing because of time and money; and justify it all by saying, “I had a dream…”

Bill Ewing, one of ETE’s producers of EOTS, said in an interview when questioned about Chad’s hiring: “Having a gay activist play the lead role doesn’t tarnish this story whatsoever, because we are all sinners.” “It is a question in film making of time and money; Chad did the best audition...” “We believed that Chad was God’s choice; we prayed; we felt that this was the best choice.” Steve Saint has even pointed to the sovereignty of God as the over-arching reason that this choice is justifiable. God's sovereignty, beloved, does not eliminate personal responsibility. "Blaming God" is the most insidious excuse for their actions.

Repent for ignoring and failing to do the right and biblical thing.

2. Their purposed deceitfulness.
Not only did they fail to do the right thing and exercised nonbiblical criteria in their decision making which led to poor discernment in the unfortunate alliance with Mr. Allen, but they were not up front about this information once they were made aware of it to all of the family members of the slain missionaries, to the churches they were using to advance market and soliciting their support to, and ultimately to the general body of Christ.

It’s still hard for many of us to believe that ETE and Steve Saint had no idea who Chad was even after they auditioned him. I’d like to see résumé Chad’s people sent over or handed them before the audition. Didn’t they even bother to “Google Chad” and learn any information about him before hiring him? It’s incredibly hard to believe in our techno-information rich age that they were all totally surprised to find out about his homosexualism. Chad’s homosexualism has been known for years. Again, the play he helped bring to fruition, Corpus Christi, came out a few years before their audition with him.

They came forward publicly only when they were “found out” and forced to do so—they were deceitful.

This is very serious ladies and gentlemen. To not let their “yes be yes, and their no be no” is this situation has caused much grief and is the foundation for any controversy that has since erupted. They alone are to blame for the plight they currently find themselves. The Bible speaks about deceitfulness with great concern:

“Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.” –Psalm 32:2

“What man is there who desires life and loves many days, that he may see good?
Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.” –Psalm 34:12-13

“so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.” –Ephesians 4:14
Repent of this deceit; ask the body of Christ to forgive you for not being honest and forthright proactively about those associated with this film. Own it—don’t spin it. Do not reduce your responsibility as simply a “judgment call” on your part.

3. The purposed omission of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
This is the most serious of all concerns – the clear and purposed omission of any reference to the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ and His salvific atoning work on the cross for the redemption of sinful people is inexcusable. There is no mention in either this film, or for that matter, in the documentary film “The Gates of Splendor” of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. They were timid, cowardly, and not straightforward about the truth of the cross. There is no evidence given whatsoever in either film that the Waodani people were ever “changed” from their savage ways due to genuine repentance by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone through hearing the gospel of sola fide. None. Though this may have happened in real life after the fact, it is never stated in either film that it was the gospel that brought about this change.

Why would men associated with this film, and even the son of one of the murdered missionaries, not want to speak clearly and unmistakably about the gospel of Jesus Christ in a movie about slain missionaries? Why would they not make that message of the cross primary to this film, instead of removing it entirely, considering it was the driving passion of each of these missionaries lives and their families? Why would they not “tell the story” and let it speak biblically? Are they so ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ that they all of a sudden became deaf, dumb and blind spiritually on the gospel of justification by faith when making this movie?

I’ve heard the spin about “not preaching in a film”; about “telling this tragic event from the view of the Waodani people” themselves, etc. But those things don’t hold up under scrutiny and are not true. What’s terribly paradoxical in all this, is that they boast of going to the Waodani people to exercise great care in getting their approval to make this film, for they did not want to dishonor or disrespect them. But when it came to presenting the story, they didn’t demonstrate the same care at all for the gospel, the body of Christ, the five murdered missionaries, and the honor and glory of Christ Himself.

The Apostle Paul does not say, “Woe is me if I do not tell my story…”; “Woe is me if I do not share my testimony…”; “Woe is me if I do not honor the approval of the Waodani people…” He said, “Woe is me if I do not preach the gospel…” (1 Cor. 9:16). Could it be anymore clear?
Repent of your timidity, for denying the centrality of the cross in this film and for being ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

4. They treated the memory and lives of the five missionaries as frat boys and not Christian missionaries with a burden to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Jim Elliot and company (especially Jim) come off as extras from “Animal House” in this film rather than the deeply godly men we have been told and read they were. All five missionaries were portrayed as pacifists on a humanitarian covert mission, rather than as faithful “ambassadors of Christ” to bring the gospel to this primitive people. This film undeniably soils their memory.

Going by what the movie represents, martyrdom would not be appropriate language to describe the tragic deaths of these five missionaries. They were not killed for proclaiming the gospel; they were not killed for calling the Waodani people to repentance from their demonic gods; they were not killed for heralding the God of all creation. The movie depicts them being killed because they chose not to fight as men even in defending themselves. You have six Waodani warriors with spears against five missionaries with guns. I understand fully deciding not to kill the Waodani if attacked, but they didn’t even fire their weapons in warning until it was way too late. They didn’t even try to wound one of the Waodani in order to slow them down. They were portrayed, as frightened, clueless, and surprised. According to the movie’s portrayal, they really didn’t have to die.

This does not add up folks; and certainly doesn’t honor their inimitable intent to go to the Waodani people with the ultimate purpose of proclaiming the gospel.
Repent for misrepresenting the faithful lives of these missionaries and for not portraying clearly and without ambiguity the burden to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to those where Christ had not been named.

5. Lastly, they used the body of Christ as their core marketing strategery—promoting this as a Christian film when there is nothing of Christ and Him represented in this film.
Christians have been used and duped beloved—and they know it. They wanted to market to evangelicals the same way that Mel Gibson did with his Romanist film “The Passion of the Christ.” They mirrored the same techniques even with personal appearances by Steve Saint and Mincaye. It sadly came off as a sideshow to say the least.

The Lord certainly has not blessed their PR efforts to what they had projected: As of February 12th, the “End of the Spear” grossed last weekend only $518,975; and has total box office receipts of only $10,718,950. It will be a very long time, if ever, before they entirely recoup the cost of making this film and the marketing dollars spent to solicit support from the body of Christ. Not even DVD sales can salvage this B-rated film.
Repent for using the body of Christ as a marketing means to promote and support your movie that at its foundations is Christless and gospel-less about five missionaries portrayed more like humanitarians and frat boys than ones burdened with an uncompromised, dying passion to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to where Christ has not yet been named.

May the Lord help us all to guard our hearts from compromise, from the influence of pragmatic methodology, from being afraid to mention the name of Christ in all our endeavors, and from masking or watering down the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ just to appeal to unsaved people thinking that our little insignificant methods add any power or influence to the gospel at all. The gospel itself is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16).

May this be our dying testimony: “But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.” -Acts 20:24

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Evangelical Climate Initiative
...Warren's wacky environmental agenda

Updated (1:30pm, 2/20) I like using humor and sarcasm in driving home a point--it is an effective tool in communication especially when dealing with issues like this. BUT, after receiving some off-forum (and a few on forum) comments from those whose opinions I do value, I have decided to update this article calming down the sarcasm significantly, but still dealing with the heart of this important issue. Please forgive me for the needless offense my original entry caused any of you.

Grace and peace to you all,
2 Cor. 6:3-10

The Purpose Driven Environment?

Rick Warren has written the most successful book in US publishing history--the Purpose Driven Life. He has made a lot of money and since has been involved as a voice for many social causes such as ministering to people with AIDS and world hunger. I have also been involved in both of those issues for several years (18 years with AIDS; and 27 years with world hunger). There is much ministry to be done in both of those fields and I hope that Mr. Warren is not only addressing their physical need, but more importantly, addressing their spiritual need by uncompromisingly proclaiming the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ (sola fide, sola gratia, solus Christus. However, having read much of Mr. Warren's published material, there is no printed evidence that either the gospel he professes is sufficient and the gospel he proclaims is central to his "purpose" even within the social cause.)

But now, Rick Warren is spearheading a global effort called the Evangelical Climate Initiative. There's only one problem with this issue--global warming really doesn't exist. This is nothing but a recycled (no pun intended) left wing political agenda that has infiltrated evangelicalism; and Warren and company more than willing has peppered the ECI with numerous biblical proof-texts (almost all of the scriptures he uses to justify this cause are taken completely out of context--too many to list here. Unfortunately, I still think he's still reading "The Message" rather than a genuine translation of Scripture).

Global warming is a myth beloved. The planet is not as fragile as some make it out to be. What's "fragile" are the politics associated with this "cause." In actuality, our planet has only gotten 2-3 degrees warmer in the last 100 years and not uniformly but in limited regions. Mordantly, I can see why they call this "a crisis!" This is really another attempt to make environmental policy by junk-science, isn't it? One obvious example: at the end of the 19th century the scientific technological indicators for measuring the earth's global temperatures were not advanced or sophisticated, to be considered absolutely trusted as to accuracy and reliability of whatever their findings produced.

But one has to ask of our brother this: is this a midlife crisis or a global crisis? I say that not to attack Warren's person, but follow this progression with me for a minute: He changed the hair; changed the wardrobe; grew the goatee; last summer he announced he was curing world hunger, but patently couldn't; I hope he realizes that addressing the AIDS issue is much more complicated than meeting with BONO and throwing large amounts of celebrity money at it; rather than developing his passion for these issues biblically, he proof-texts them ad nauseam (you have to admit, no one does this better than Rick); and seemingly he isn't content with what his biblical duties as a pastor are (shepherding, discipleship, bible exposition, prayer, church discipline, proclaiming the gospel, etc.). So then, what does one do now with virtually unlimited wealth, a large platform, an eager media, and so many social issues to try and fix? Buy a bright red-turbo-charged-hybrid car? No--too obvious and too easy. Instead, he helps lead and create the Evangelical Climate Initiative.

Global Warming is Prejudiced: It Doesn't Like Poor People
Warren asserts: "Millions of people could die in this century because of climate change, most of them our poorest global neighbors." Ah, there it is... the driving economics behind it all. Playing the poverty card is a familiar dodge in socio-economic political causes. He is more than implying here that inherent to global warming is a bias against the poor regions of this world. This doesn't make any sense whatsoever. If the U.S. is the number one polluter/industrial nation on the face of the earth, why isn't the fall-out of such pollution going to hurt us more than any other nation? And, according to Warren, this pile up of destructive greenhouse gas emissions is purely a human induced plight. Hasn't he or members of the ECI read that the number one affecting agent to our climate is due to the sometimes sporadic solar activity from the sun? And who is going to rid us of this devastating problem facing this world? Rick Warren and his band of merry politically liberal evangelical men. Foolish.

And here is the all to familiar recognizable hypocrisy of this kind of liberal social cause--the rhetoric rarely matches the reality. I.E. - Does Warren and his environmental sycophants all drive electric cars? NO, of course not. Has Warren and all his environmental flatterers stopped flying in jet airplanes? NO, of course not. Do they all live in completely natural home environments free from all manmade power and fuel? NO, of course not. Does this mean that the next time Mr. Warren is going to hold a PDL conference, that we should give him plenty of time to get there, for he must be arriving in the only politically correct vehicle still left to mankind: the horse and buggy? NO, of course not. This does raise an important question though: would he consider the numerous methane emissions by his "purpose driven horse" an environmental risk and danger to the atmosphere and a serious threat to the depletion of the O-Zone and the melting of the Arctic glaciers? I wonder if there is some rumbling on K-Street that Al Gore has invited Mr. Warren to accompany him on his next trip to Saudi Arabia to address the Arabs on this pressing issue? Though said tongue and cheek, don't put it past him folks...

Calvin on the Environment - A Reformed View
For a brief moment I want to look at what John Calvin says about man's relationship with God's creation.

"It is clear," cites Jason Foster, "that for Calvin, the creation is subject to the ongoing sovereign and providential governance of God. Commenting on Psalm 104:4. Calvin says, 'By these words we are taught that the winds do not blow by chance, nor the lightnings flash by a fortuitous impulse, but that God, in the exercise of his sovereign power, rules and controls all the agitations and disturbances of the atmosphere.'(11) Calvin rejects the view that created things are infused with the necessary inherent energy to sustain themselves absent divine providence, and instead, insists upon the necessity of God’s sustaining activity in governing the world.(12) So even though God... commands man in the pre-Fall period to maintain the quality of the creation, it is God who ultimately controls and cares for it, both directly and indirectly."(13) (Reformed Perspectives Magazine, Volume 7, Number 51, December 18 to December 24, 2005 )

11- Calvin, Commentary upon the Book of Psalms, Calvin’s Commentaries, Vol. VI, trans. by James Anderson (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2003), p. 146.

12- Calvin forcefully remarks, “It were cold and lifeless to represent God as a momentary Creator, who completed his work once for all, and then left it. Here, especially, we must dissent from the profane, and maintain that the presence of the divine power is conspicuous, not less in the perpetual condition of the world than in its first creation.” Institutes, 1.16.1.

13 - Importantly, Calvin employs preservation language in describing God’s relationship to nature: “[A]s the world was once made by God, so it is now preserved by him, and that the earth and all other things endure just in as far as they are sustained by his energy, and as it were his hand.” Catechism of the Church of Geneva, Calvin’s Selected Works, Vol. 2, trans. by Henry Beveridge (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1983), p. 40.
Global Luke-Warming: A True Environmental Threat
There is a global warming going on today folks--a global luke-warming. A cooling off from the gospel to pursue tertiary concerns that make the planetary temporal issues preeminent (fabricated mind you) and eternal ones surrounding mens souls of a lessor concern. This whole issue is so incongruous that not even Dr. Dobson (to his credit) and the Evangelical Co-Beligerents are not weighing in on this. Some twenty-two of the nation's most high-profile evangelical leaders, signed a letter in January declaring, "Global warming is not a consensus issue." Among the signers were Charles W. Colson, the founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries; James C. Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family; and Richard Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.

This fascination that Warren has about the planet seems nothing more than the byproduct of BONO's liberal influence over him. I guess Rick "still hasn't found what he's looking for..." Doesn't he realize that the Lord is not only the creator of this earth but its sustainer as well? Paul says in Colossians 1:16-17 "For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things [consist] are held together." Our Lord sustains this earth--we are not that powerful to do so. Are we to be good stewards of God's creation... yes. Don't liter; keep the streams, rivers and lakes clean; protect the air we breathe... not a problem. But global warming lacks the conclusive scientific data to be dogmatic about its potential fallout and destructive effects on mankind. The ECI is playing on peoples fears with unfounded and in many cases, inflated information.

Here is the link you can read for yourself. And another one here. Make sure you check out those "major Christian leaders" who are the signatories on this initiative. Very underwhelming.

Stay in the O-Zone; the Obedient Zone
In the wise words of my friend, Dr. John MacArthur, he says, "if you think we've made a mess of this planet, wait 'til you see what Jesus does to this place one day when He comes back." So what do we do in the midst of this globally fabricated artificially induced raising of the earth's temp crisis that Warren so desperately wants to be the champion of?

Keep on with your biblical duties (begin with the Sermon on the Mount [Matt.5-7]) and then try the following:
-trade in your hybrid cars (they actually cost you more $ in the long run)
-drive an SUV, if you can afford one;
-build a campfire;
-turn up the heat;
-use air-conditioners;
-use oil and oil by-products;
-grill outside more often;
-fill up your gas tanks;
-take long trips with the family;
-smoke cigars and pipes if your conscience allows;
-and continue to fly jet airplanes.
(All for the glory of God of course.)
And continue to ask yourself beloved, in order to save the planet what kind of horse is Rick Warren willing to ride?

PS - Please notice, I'm not completely insensitive to Mr. Warren's environmental concerns. To show my empathy, I chose to use a dark-green color on the subheading titles and blockquote. I'm doing what I can to help Rick in this cause.

For further information, please read the following two articles: We're Not Destroying the Planet by Rush Limbaugh; and The Evangelical Climate Initiative (ECI) was funded by abortion group by Peter C.Glover. Always follow the money beloved--it reveals volumes.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Dr. Russell Moore Addresses "The Cartoon Riots"
speaking the truth in love to Muslims

If you have been as disturbed as I have watching news reports from around the world of the thousands of Muslims rioting in the streets in violent protest against some cartoons a Danish cartoonist drew about suicide bombers and the Muslim faith, you might be wondering how do I address this with friends, coworkers or even Muslim friends intelligently from a biblical worldview? Here is a very helpful place to begin.

Dr. Russell Moore, of The Henry Institute at Southern Seminary, gave an amazing analysis of the cartoon riots by Muslims this past week as guest host on Al Mohler's radio program. It was not only a spot on commentary of this disturbing demonstration by Muslims, but he offers an excellent defense of the gospel of the Christian faith and the one triune God of the Bible that will be a valuable lesson in apologetics to you.

Far from being politically correct, Dr. Moore was brilliant in further helping Christians understand the events of the last few weeks from God's Word. This broadcast will also equip you to be better prepared to enter into this discussion with others and share the gospel with a Muslim in your community.

I highly commend this broadcast to you. You can listen to it here. It is the February 9th program called, "The Cartoon Riots: Speaking the Truth in Love to Muslims." I am grateful for Dr. Moore's ministry as he speaks from the truth of Scripture to help us understand more fully how to respond biblically to our culture.

Grace and peace to you,
Steve Camp
2 Cor. 4:5-7

Sunday, February 12, 2006

"Out of Their Minds" Sidebar
...for your comments

The issues:

1. "The Shambles of an Ecumenical Mind"
Mark Noll is leaving Wheaton College to go to Notre Dame
-2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1

2. Fallout From Pat Robertson?
Chavez forces out NTM missionaries -2 Timothy 1:6-9

3. Purpose Driven Catholics
Warren's PDL ecumenism knows no boundaries
-Galatians 1:6-10

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

'End of the Spear' Doesn't Pierce Hearts
...why? there is no gospel proclaimed

“So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” -James 4:17

“What man is there who desires life and loves many days, that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.” –Psalm 34:12-13

"This is the ministry of the new agreement which God in His mercy has given us and nothing can daunt us. We use no hocus-pocus, no clever tricks, no dishonest manipulation of the Word of God. We speak the plain truth and so commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. If our Gospel is "veiled", the veil must be in the minds of those who are spiritually dying. The spirit of this world has blinded the minds of those who do not believe, and prevents the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, the image of God, from shining on them. For it is Christ Jesus the Lord whom we preach, not ourselves; we are your servants for his sake. God, who first ordered 'light to shine in darkness', has flooded our hearts with his light. We now can enlighten men only because we can give them knowledge of the glory of God, as we see it in the face of Jesus Christ." -2 Corinthians 4:1-8

"Sin is a cheat, a lie, and therefore lurks privily and puts on false names and colors; for if it were to appear like itself--as sooner or later will do to all, either for conversion or confusion--it would frighten men into dying fits, as it did the Apostle, and when they come to themselves they would abhor and hate it, as Paul and the Prodigal did. Men would never be so hardy in sinning but that sin hardens them by deceiving them; so the writer of Hebrews says, 'Take heed lest any be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin' (Hebrews 3:13).

Sin uses all manner of arts, methods and devices to attract us and inveigle us. It uses many tricks on us and has all the knacks of deceiving and cheating us. So I may with truth say that sin has not learnt but taught all the deceits dissimulations, flatteries and false diplomacies that are found in courts; the stratagems of war; the sophisms and fallacies of the schools; the frauds of tradesmen, whether in city or county; the tricks of cheaters and jugglers, the ambushes of thieves, the pretensions of false friends, the various methods of false teachers--these and every other kind of cheat and deception in the world, sin teaches and practices upon us all to make us sin."
-Pastor Ralph Venning, 1662, St. Olave's Church in Southwark, England.

The Need for Repentance; Not Rhetoric
I am about to issue a public call for repentance to Steve Saint and Mart Green of Every Tribe Entertainment for their 'vacant of the gospel' movie called “The End of the Spear.” The “spear” in this movie fails to pierce hearts for it contains no mention nor proclamation of the gospel of sola fide, sola gratia, solus Christus--the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. It comes then as no surprise that there is no mention of the law of God to bring conviction upon men’s souls; there is no call to repentance of any of the Waodani to flee from their sin and their dead demonic idols of worship to follow Christ as Lord and Savior of their lives; there is no proclamation of justification by faith alone.

Jason Janz at at Sharper Iron writes:

"Steve Saint estimates that 430 of the 2000 Waodani have been baptized. The Gospel made a definite impact upon the Waodani people. So, why not share the reason for the change? (emphasis added)

So, in a movie that shares the story of what has been happening among the Waodani over the last five decades, why not share the missionaries’ Gospel-driven motives? Rusty Benson of AgapePress writes, “The authentic and passionate Christ-centered motive of the missionaries is lacking, rendering an incomplete portrayal. In contrast, [Elisabeth] Elliot's book [Through the Gates of Splendor] clearly documents the Gospel zeal that drove the mission endeavor.”
Well said. So why not be true to the historical account of these men and keep the gospel of Jesus Christ central to the theme of the moive? It is obvious that it was the gospel that fueled the flames of missionary zeal to proclaim forgiveness of sins to the Waodani people.

Frat Boys or Ambassadors for Christ
This film further depicts the five missionaries who were killed there--not martyred--(Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Pete Fleming, Ed McCully, and Roger Youderian) more like frat boys on leave from “Animal House” than burdened men of God intent on proclaiming the gospel of grace to lost sinners where Christ is not yet named (Romans 15:20). They are presented like humanitarians, but not ambassadors of Christ who have one goal in mind, "to know nothing among [the Waodani] save Jesus Christ and Him crucified" (1 Cor. 2:2).

Why not be truthful and show the sacred calling and faithful lives these godly men lived that drove them to proclaim the gospel to the ends of the earth--to the Waodanin people? Why not be clear about their motives, message and mandate as missionaries for Christ? I find it very interesting that the despicable gay 'love story' between two cowboys in "BrokeBack Mountain" isn't ashamed of presenting its depravity clearly in their film; but ETE and Steve Saint are not as bold in communicating the gospel of Jesus Christ in their film. It is a profound tragedy when the world is more bold about its sin, then Christians are about the Lord Jesus Christ.

Why Not Tell Their Whole Story?
In giving such a bashful and weak portrayal of their ministry to the Waodani, they dishonor their memory by not telling their whole story; and in light of this, further perpetuate the lingering doubt as to what kind of gospel the Waodani were really given? If Mincaye (one of the Waodani warriors who killed some of those missionaries and who has been traveling around with Steve Saint in promotion of this film) is my brother in the Lord, why didn’t ETE or Steve Saint afford him the opportunity to give his testimony to the gospel of grace in EOTS? Why not let him briefly share his testimony while the credits are running, rather than the condescending anecdotes told by Saint poking fun at Mincaye's primitivism to our "advanced society?" Have any of you heard him [Mincaye] give a clear witness to his faith in Christ in any public appearance? I would be grateful for any evidence to that effect (again, not someone else’s commentary about his testimony, but HIS testimony that HE gives HIMSELF about the saving work of Christ in HIS life).

FYI: Neither in this film or in “Beyond the Gates of Splendor” was the gospel alluded to, presented, declared or proclaimed. And the mention of the name of the Lord Jesus Christ was also strangely absent. The "why?" is the $64,000 unanswered question of the moment.

Doesn't Their 'Google Search Bar' Work?
In addition to the gospel concerns, there was also their less than forthright proactive admission to the church at large of Chad Allen's homosexualism and his production of Corpus Christi, a play, where Jesus is portrayed as a gay man. This is blasphemous beloved. But it's reality left Steve and Mart unfazed in their final decision to still cast Allen to play the lead role of Nate Saint in EOTS (Steve was convinced by a dream and Mart by feeling the peace of God after he prayed that he had made the right decision).

Their severe lack of discernment in casting Allen coupled with their failure to do what was right in rescinding the offer of the role to Allen after discovering that he was a gay activist is troubling (Allen even offered the role back to them for he didn't want to tarnish the message of this film due to his homosexual activism. He showed more integrity than Steve and Mart did on that issue). Do you wonder why they (ETE, Mart, Steve, etc.) didn't check out Allen's character ahead of time? Hollywood is a small community, just like the music industry is. Talk of Mr. Allen's gay activism and homosexualism has been public for sometime. You can read the personal thoughts from one member of Roger Youderian’s family who was absolutely disgusted with this decision here.

Did ETE's 'Google Search bar' not work as it does on yours and mine computers? No one can claim ignorance in today's techno-rich world beloved. They simply didn't do proper front end due diligence and are claiming they were completely surprised by the news of Allen's gay lifestyle (I was born at night, but not last night). In the aftermath of this knowledge, they openly deceived the body of Christ when asking churches and organizations to help promote and recommend this film without first coming forward with this information. They only now have come clean publicly since members of the Christian blogosphere exposed this news.

ETE's own mission statement says, "Every Tribe was founded to bring to life stories of courage and strength of the human spirit. Courage, tolerance, mercy, forgiveness, faith and love." This is possibly why the gospel was not given prime-time by ETE in EOTS - it is courage and strength of the human spirit, not the glory of the riches of the grace of Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:6, 12, 14) that is given preeminence. But more than that, the word "tolerance" is a postmodern buzz word for an egalitarian form of multi-cultural inclusivism. Taken to its logical conclusions, this has disturbing doctrinal implications (under this definition, Jesus is not the way, the truth, the life; but a way, a truth, a life - something I am sure that Steve nor Mart would not embrace, but they must be very careful of when using "tolerance" to describe their companies mission).

A Genuine Repentance
Mart and Steve have much to be accountable to and answer for. I know this sounds strong, but biblically, they need to publicly repent of this unfortunate situation and we need to be quick to publicly forgive.

Please pray that the Lord will bring godly sorrow for repentance in their lives under the weight of conviction of His Word to produce fruit in keeping with their repentance, which, in the words of Charles Spurgeon, “when someone’s repentance is more notorious than their sin, then it is genuine.”

This is very serious beloved and deserves our prayerful attention.

Grace and peace,
Steve Camp
2 Cor. 4:5-7

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

I want to personally thank Stephanie for this wonderful graphic she drew a few days ago... Well done "littlegal" and I am honored you chose to share your talents with all of us here at COT.