December 28, 2008

Ravi Zacharias straying from the fold?

I have gotten a lot of questions about Ravi Zacharias lately, wondering what is up with him and his ministry.

Christian Research Network, Slice of Laodicea, and Apprising Ministries were the ones who seemed to originally break the story of Ravi declaring the apostate Henri Nouwen as "one of the great saints in recent memory."

Several complaints to Ravi's ministry brought the following explanation from a staffer. I hadn't until today read the whole letter... the video of Ravi himself was enough to convince me he is in grave danger. But then I thought, I better read the letter, perhaps there is an explanation. However, the letter is like watching a train wreck. It just gets worse and worse the farther you read.

Article with RZIM response letter

It is so discouraging to see so many Christian leaders falling for this trap. So many look up to them and cannot see that they are heading for a cliff. I know the Lord will preserve his remnant, his church, but that does not remove from his people the responsibility to speak up and refute error from Scripture and all the more so when such influential church leaders are promoting it.

I recently had a discussion about The Shack with someone who insists they were blessed by it. I say BLESSED or just emotionally stirred?

This woman took great issue with the critique posted by Jan Markell, and eventually responded by posting a critique by Lighthouse Alliance church as an alternative.

Both critiques say essentially the same thing, especially concerning the points that this woman took particular issue with. So you can imagine my confusion, frustration, and disappointment to see a mature Christian lady who has been my online friend for years, suddenly making no sense in the area of discussions on the Christian faith.

Phyllis Tickle talking out of both sides of her mouth

Why are we not surprised -- because that is how ALL false teachers speak, while trying to seduce the church. They create an illusion of unity by using deliberate "studied ambiguity" to appeal to both the conservative Biblical members of the flock, and those who at their heart reject the teaching of Scripture.

We have seen that Phyllis Tickle is glad that Sola Scriptura is going the way of the dodo





In my research I came across the Midwinter Conference Schedule for the Evangelical Covenant Church, in which Phyllis Tickle is scheduled to speak. And guess what she is speaking on?

Midwinter Conference brochure

or here for the flash version

Phyllis Tickle
Tuesday Evening Preacher -- "Shaped by the Word"

In preaching on the theme, "Shaped by the Word," Phyllis Tickle explains that "For observant Christians, nothin gis more central to public discussion or private faith than is a clear-eyed understanding of Holy Writ and its formative role in human experience. In this time of reformation and upheaval in American Christianity, there is a great hunger to discover ways of engaging the Word more intimately and more efficaciously. We will look together at why this is so, how it is accomplished, and what are the spiritual and religious results."

Phyllis Tickle is known as an authority on religion in America and is a much sought-after lecturer on the subject.

2 Tim 4:3 anyone? Gathering teachers around them to Tickle their ears? ha! How unfortunate.

In addition to publishing numerous essays and articles, she is the author of more than two dozen books on religion and spirituality, most notably the Divine Hours series of manuals for observing fixed-hour prayer. She was founding editor of the Religion Department of Publishers Weekly, and is frequently quoted in major publications as well as electronic media.

She began her career as a college teacher and served for ten years as academic dean at Memphis College of Art before entering full-time writing and publishing. She received the Mays Award, specifically recognizing her work in gaining mainstream media coverage of religion. She is currently a Senior Fellow of Cathedral College of the Washington National Cathedral. She and her physician husband make their home on a small farm in Lucy, Tennessee, and are the parents of seven children.

If the disparity in what she SAYS she says, vs what she actually SAYS and believes, if that gives you whiplash, well.... get used to it. This is how the most deceptive false teachers operate. We tend to think of false teachers as those who blatantly contradict Scripture, such as Mormons and Jehovahs Witnesses, Jim Jones, David Koresh etc. But false teachers do not gain a large following by being deliberately bizarre and incoherent, at least not at the beginning. Scripture tells us that even the very elect could be deceived in the end times apostasy. Matt 24:24. This is only possible with a lie that is ALMOST true or sounds VERY true.

And the longer you stay and listen when they start going astray, the harder it will be to leave, because they have a spiritually anesthetizing effect. I see this happen with people who stay in a false church for social reasons.

And then there are these gems in the brochure which you might also find interesting:

Dale Keuhne "Is there love to be found in the Biblical Teaching about Sex?"

"This workshop will look at key biblical passages on sexuality (with special emphasis given to Leviticus 18 and 20). It will also tackle the politically incorrect questions that everyone in the pews wants pastors to talk about but who usually don't because of their God-given instinct of self-preservation"

God gives the gift of cowardliness? Of shame for his Word? of Fear of Man?

Scot McKnight: "the Blue Parakeet: Reading the Bible all over again"

"the focus of this workshop will be on (1) how we are actually reading the Bible in the church today, (2) how we can improve our application of the Bible by focusing on story, and (3) how story reshapes the issue of women in ministry.

what on earth does that mean? And why crowbar women in ministry in there? My guess is because they are starting to hear backlash against he idea... but that's just conjecture. I know our ex pastor Todd Ertsgaard would tell people something along the lines of "women can be pastors but not in my church."

"Marjorie J Thompson" "Formed and fed by the Living Word"

"How often do you experience God's Word as 'living and active' (Heb 4:12) in your ordinary routines? How do you invite the Spirit to reviatlize Scripture as a source of "daily Bread"? Learn how to practice depth listening, intuitive linking, and active imagination as keys to unlocking the power of Scripture to address and guide your current condition."

December 16, 2008

Which is more abominable? O Holy Night or O Holy Night?

Recently Tim Kuhl (youtube video has since been pulled) used a recording of the abominable O Holy Night (Listen to audio here) in his church. Kuhl lipsynced the silly version... and not sure why. People (like Todd Friel, Ingrid Schueter, and others) were very offended and rightly so, that this was used in church.

However my contention has always been that the original recording was a parody of show off singers who think that by adding all this "emotionality" and ornamentation. I did some research and found I was spot on.

Back story on the abominable O Holy Night

There is an interview with the original recording artist here
The Abominable O Holy Night - Revealed

So Sunday morning we were on our way to church and managed to flip by AM 1050 from Pipestone MN on the dial. We heard Bill Vanderbush, son of Frank Vanderbush, a local "you can do it" man centered pastor who started Vandenbush ministries or Faith Mountain Ministries.

The sermon was from Dec 14 although the message from Dec 7 is even more offensive and it came from papa Vandenbush. But what really got me was the rendition on Dec 14 of O Holy Night which they played toward the end of the broadcast. It is by David Phelps, performed with the Gaither Vocal Band in 2000 or 2001 according to some youtubers who put it up.

I see our friend Ray Boltz is there in the background... hmm...

And I see ladies in the audience are moved to worshipful poses. Body Prayer anyone? I guess if the audience members look like that it MUST be worshipful music!

But does this equal worship? And worship of whom??

Some people may be blessed by what he is doing up there, but it sure seems to me that that is like saying "some people in a cult may still be saved!" -- they are saved in SPITE of the cult, not because of it. In the same way, if anyone is blessed by this extremely ostentatious showmanship, it is in SPITE of it, not because of it.

For those of you who think it's just a matter of style, I think Renee Fleming is fantastic, but I still don't like her rendition of O Holy Night.

Here are the four Celtic Women singing a better rendition. Less distracting, far simpler.

Josh Groban

However both fairly simple renditions above do not use the line "Truly He taught us to love one another;: His law is love and His gospel is peace." I wonder why.

Nat King Cole

I would love a version of the song by Julie Andrews, but I don't think she made one.