America’s Unique History of Conversion. Sin Boldly Episode 109

TentHealing8I was joined by Dr. Lincoln Mullen, author of “The Chance for Salvation,” an exploration of various religious movements and perspectives from 19th century America. We look at the Second Great Awakening as well as some less often told stories, including how Christians interacted with Cherokee and slaves. This was a busy time in American religious life and the state of American Christian so early in her history might surprise you.

Why the name “Sin Boldly”? Martin Luther wrote to his friend Philip Melanchthon in 1521: “If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong [sin boldly], but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.” To sin boldly, therefore, is not to seek unholy living, but to follow the course we believe the Bible demands even if the world is against us. And if and when we sin, trust in an even greater savior.

If you want to listen via the podcast feed, that link is here.  That link will take you to iTunes. To subscribe to the Sin Boldly podcast with an Android phone, I recommend the Cast Box app, which easily finds Sin Boldly via search. Your iPhone (or iOS) Podcast app finds it easily on iTunes. If you subscribe to the show, you get the episodes immediately upon release. Otherwise, it may take a few hours from the time of publication until it shows up on the feed. To listen immediately, see below.

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The Church Has Gone Online. And There Will Be Hell To Pay.

finallargeIn an article at Christianity Today, the following breathtaking news was reported in July, 2017: “The influential US evangelical institution Fuller Theological Seminary is closing several of its locations and ‘retooling for a different world’ because of the growing demand for online education and the increase in online enrollment.” The Church, it seems is going online. The camel’s nose that was Internet Seminary Education has, in a matter of a few years, fully entered the tent and upended pastoral formation as we know it. Sirens should be heard and lights should be flashing in your mind. You should be alarmed.

Seminaries and church bodies have officially and irrevocably caved to financial and convenience pressures of maintaining brick and mortar locations. And now, all the blessings of such locations – observation of a student’s character, forming their spiritual habits, having honest discussions that can only be had in-person – will soon be a thing of the past. I am, to be blunt, disturbed by this trend.

Of course, the Internet has many wonderful uses and can ably be used for instruction. I even know people who change out their automobile’s brake pads after watching a DIYer do it on YouTube! While I am barely keeping up with technological innovation, I am not opposed to Internet instruction in theory, even for many professional fields. But for heavens sake: if there is one calling in life that ought to be permanently immune from online instruction, it is the pastorate. Somewhere along the way, a confederacy of every seminary and church body around the globe should have been formed that permanently forbade this camel from the grounds, much less the tents. The seminary marketplace being what it is, however, rendered such a fantasy fantastic.

But consider: with what do we trust our pastors? We trust them to at the very least do the “basics” of handling God’s Word and administering the Sacraments. Shouldn’t that alone be enough to convince church bodies that serious and intensive personal time is mandatory for all would-be pastors? Hello! These are the precious things of God! And while traditional seminaries do not weed out all unfit candidates for ministry, surely they stand a better chance than a few online interactions.

But to what else do we trust pastors? They enter hospital rooms and nursing homes at vulnerable and heart-breaking times. They counsel grieving and distraught people. They hear confidential confessions of sin. They frequently have access to money. They are afforded private time with children. They are the face of congregations and need to be tactful, discreet, and passionate about its goings-on. They are evangelists who need to be good apologists for the faith. They need to be good in meetings and work well with staff. Those are the kinds of invaluable interactions that pastors will need to be effective in ministry. And seminaries ought to be places that evaluates the whole person, be it their professional, personal and spiritual readiness. If I’m right that seminaries ought to do all of the above, do we really believe online schools can achieve that?

Consider this my screed against online theological education. We first allowed it to be a choice; within a few years it will be the norm. And then there will probably be a death spiral for brick and mortar schools in the same way the death spiral comes for churches: expensive properties, not enough people, and the problems compound from there. The online classes have become a financial lifeline for cash-strapped seminaries in the last decade. But soon they will cripple the seminary. The model worked okay as an addendum to a brick and mortar structure. But when we gave people the convenient option and they chose it, the brick and mortar schools will find it difficult or unnecessary to have a building at all! Soon, there may not even be the option to “go to seminary.” Again: how in the world can we train people for ministry among people when we don’t require that their formative years, well, be among people?

But what is equally troubling is the convenience we allow to future pastors as they approach their time of study and ordination. Far be it from me to sound like the bitter curmudgeon, but in my day, those who wanted to be pastors actually pulled up stakes and dared to study away from home for a few years. You know, A DECADE AGO. Sounds crazy right? But that was just the beginning of the commitment to the ministry: you left home as a matter of course, as a matter of the calling. You served the flock by moving, by becoming a nomad, a pilgrim of sorts. It’s part of “the life”.

Since when did we decide to give future pastors the choice of convenience while they study? What kind of tone does that set? “Oh, you don’t want to quit your job or move while you study to serve Christ’s Church? No problem! Stay where you are and study at your convenience! All that is lost with in-person instruction will just be the price we all pay for your convenience.”

“But Pastor McClanahan,” you may be saying, “what about all of those second-career pastors who have families and can’t uproot to go to a brick and mortar seminary? Doesn’t online education offer them a solution?” Good point. Now that I think about it, why in the world are we pushing so many second-call pastors through? It seems this should be a serious wake-up call to start locating young men (and/or women) for the ministry no later than Confirmation and working with their parents on a plan for seminary. Why are we so bashful? The Church needs these servants. All of those second-career folks say things like, “You know I always felt called, I just put it off.” They put it off because we let them. That needs to change.

Or perhaps – just go ahead and get the tar and feathers ready now – we just don’t accept second-call candidates for the ministry if they can’t or won’t relocate for seminary. Again, relocating to the Church for service is a bedrock reality of ministry. If you can’t do it for seminary, what is so magical about your first call?

The Bonhoeffer House is an attempt to offer the best of all worlds: students can get their academic credentials online while living in an intensive community. But unless a church body or other seminaries support that vision, it will never happen. So long as we allow a convenient option for students to stay where they are, there is no reason for them to uproot to a community like it. What is so disappointing is that seminaries and church bodies allow this convenient option. If anyone wanted to know what I would do were I in charge (perish the thought!), I would demand that all seminary students attend or live in a brick and mortar setting so that a full assessment of their gifts can be made.

And in the long run, avoiding that will do serious damage to the Church. Pastors who have sacrificed to be trained will become more rare; pastors who have had serious mentoring and oversight during their formative years will be rare; pastors who understand that their formation is about much more than getting the requisite degree will be rare. And that means that true pastors will become more and more rare. The seminaries, in adopting the Internet model and not demanding in-person formation, are sealing their own fate. The solution to church contraction is surely not giving in to Internet conveniences. Rather, it is raising up pastors who are uniquely qualified, ready, willing and able to lead the church in a sacrificial manner. Nothing speaks less of that kind of sacrificial leadership than Internet training for the pastorate.

Reformation and Revivals with Dr. Richard Weikart. Sin Boldly Episode 108

6152526123_3063544ae4_b1Historian Dr. Richard Weikart joined me for a look at his new documentary (available here) on the Reformation and other Revival movements at the time. We look at the major figures that every Protestant should be familiar with as well as the larger impact of the Reformation on society beyond “just” the church. Many thanks to Dr. Weikart for his important work in this and other fields.

Why the name “Sin Boldly”? Martin Luther wrote to his friend Philip Melanchthon in 1521: “If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong [sin boldly], but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.” To sin boldly, therefore, is not to seek unholy living, but to follow the course we believe the Bible demands even if the world is against us. And if and when we sin, trust in an even greater savior.

If you want to listen via the podcast feed, that link is here.  That link will take you to iTunes. To subscribe to the Sin Boldly podcast with an Android phone, I recommend the Cast Box app, which easily finds Sin Boldly via search. Your iPhone (or iOS) Podcast app finds it easily on iTunes. If you subscribe to the show, you get the episodes immediately upon release. Otherwise, it may take a few hours from the time of publication until it shows up on the feed. To listen immediately, see below.

Can Women Be Ordained Pastors? With Dr. Maurice Lee. Sin Boldly Episode 107

c73448e0ba496cd3b5af2488bb265330I was joined by Dr. Maurice Lee to look at the topic of women’s ordination. Though we are in the same denomination, I admitted that the topic was one I considered carefully and did not take for granted. Because this is a point of division among otherwise friendly denominations, it is one we should be discussing more often. We looked at many of the relevant texts, but this is not an exhaustive biblical exercise.

Why the name “Sin Boldly”? Martin Luther wrote to his friend Philip Melanchthon in 1521: “If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong [sin boldly], but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.” To sin boldly, therefore, is not to seek unholy living, but to follow the course we believe the Bible demands even if the world is against us. And if and when we sin, trust in an even greater savior.

If you want to listen via the podcast feed, that link is here.  That link will take you to iTunes. To subscribe to the Sin Boldly podcast with an Android phone, I recommend the Cast Box app, which easily finds Sin Boldly via search. Your iPhone (or iOS) Podcast app finds it easily on iTunes. If you subscribe to the show, you get the episodes immediately upon release. Otherwise, it may take a few hours from the time of publication until it shows up on the feed. To listen immediately, see below.

How Far Does “Pro-Life” Go? Abortion and Social Justice. Sin Boldly Episode 105

ultrasound4d20I was joined by pro-life apologist Clinton Wilcox and attorney (and high school friend) Bianca McKnight to look at one of the common arguments agains the pro-life community: pro-lifers only care about babies in the womb but not about the child once born, especially if born into less than ideal environments. The conversation also touched on the all-important question of when life begins and even the death penalty. These are important conversations I love to have on the show and after reaching out to “professional” advocates of the pro-choice position and never hearing back, I was glad that Bianca was willing to come on and share a common critique.

Why the name “Sin Boldly”? Martin Luther wrote to his friend Philip Melanchthon in 1521: “If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong [sin boldly], but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.” To sin boldly, therefore, is not to seek unholy living, but to follow the course we believe the Bible demands even if the world is against us. And if and when we sin, trust in an even greater savior.

If you want to listen via the podcast feed, that link is here.  That link will take you to iTunes. To subscribe to the Sin Boldly podcast with an Android phone, I recommend the Cast Box app, which easily finds Sin Boldly via search. Your iPhone (or iOS) Podcast app finds it easily on iTunes. If you subscribe to the show, you get the episodes immediately upon release. Otherwise, it may take a few hours from the time of publication until it shows up on the feed. To listen immediately, see below. 

Disaster: Thoughts on Harvey and Katrina with Dr. Michael Sprague. Sin Boldly Episode 104

51oz1CBaAdL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Dr. Michael Sprague joins me for a bonus episode of the show to discuss his experiences living through Katrina and its aftermath. Given that Houston has just endured Harvey, it was a timely message. He tells incredible story of survival and talks about how disasters can bring the Kingdom of God together in ways nothing else can. Dr. Sprague is the Louisiana Chaplain for the Capital Commission of Louisiana and I was honored that he reached out to me to discuss his book.

If you want to listen via the podcast feed, that link is here.  That link will take you to iTunes. To subscribe to the Sin Boldly podcast with an Android phone, I recommend the Cast Box app, which easily finds Sin Boldly via search. Your iPhone (or iOS) Podcast app finds it easily on iTunes. If you subscribe to the show, you get the episodes immediately upon release. Otherwise, it may take a few hours from the time of publication until it shows up on the feed. To listen immediately, see below. 

Why the name “Sin Boldly”? Martin Luther wrote to his friend Philip Melanchthon in 1521: “If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong [sin boldly], but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.” To sin boldly, therefore, is not to seek unholy living, but to follow the course we believe the Bible demands even if the world is against us. And if and when we sin, trust in an even greater savior.

A Quick Response to the Joel Osteen Harvey Controversy

635711822066456721-GTY-124945350I was asked what I thought about the Joel Osteen Harvey Controversy. I thought I would jot down a few quick thoughts. To get caught up, you can go here. Basically he is personally being lambasted for not being a shelter for Harvey evacuees. Lakewood Church maintains that water surrounded the facility and they were unable to be reached and that their own building was flooding. Just a few things to keep in mind…

  1. It remains true that Joel Osteen’s teachings are false. He does not preach a saving Gospel, though by God’s grace, I’m sure many at Lakewood are true Christians who will be saved. If it was good enough for Paul to preach “Christ and him crucified”, it is good enough for us as well. Many critics of the Prosperity Gospel have pointed out that it has little to say when life happens…like Harvey. So Osteen is naturally an easy target today. My hope would be that this event and seeing our helplessness in the wake of just a fraction of God’s power, would cause all preachers of men’s greatness to repent before God and preach the cross of Christ. After all, what good does such vapid preaching about God’s favor do when the house you worked your entire life for is five feet deep in water?
  2. We all are angry and hurt and need a face to attach to Harvey. It looks like Joel Osteen’s toothy grin will be the face some will choose to be angry with.
  3. Beware the hypocrites! Criticism of Osteen by nonbelievers, who do not share Christian convictions and yet love to hold Christians to their own (perfect) standards, doesn’t impress me much. Christians can always be accused of hypocrisy. And yet, how many times have “Good Samaritans” saved thousands in Houston on their own without any prompting or help from “higher” authorities? Many people hate God. That is a fact. And they will take their shots any chance they get. But their opinion of Osteen should mean nothing to Christians because they themselves have no standard by which to evaluate the good deeds of Christians. Only Christians who share Osteen’s purported conviction that the Bible is God’s Word can rightly judge Osteen. (And by judge I mean accuse him or clear him of un-Christian behavior.)
  4. Most significant roadways are closed in Houston. Even if sections of major arteries are clear, exits are frequently closed. I’m certain that many of the roads around Lakewood were flooded. To what degree is impossible to know right now.
  5. The 8th Commandment (“Thou shall not bear false witness”) and Luther’s instruction are that we are to place people and their actions and words in the best possible light, including those we disagree with. (#1 above was said in the best possible light, by the way.) If Lakewood is saying they were surrounded by water and not ready/able to take on folks in need of shelter, we should believe them and not proceed to slander Joel Osteen. A few Twitter pictures do not paint the full picture of the surrounding area.
  6. As much as I disagree with Lakewood’s prevailing theology, I know they do good works. It would not surprise me if Lakewood does more good that any church in Houston when this is all said and done. Their people are civically good people and, well, obviously quite generous! Everyone in Houston was caught off guard by the severity of the flooding. Give folks a few days to catch up. The critics may be eating their words soon.
  7. Sheltering isn’t as easy as Joel Osteen showing up with a key to the front door and opening the doors. It is complicated if it is a long-term situation you are facing. You need to coordinate with FEMA and probably the Red Cross; you will need volunteers and perhaps they couldn’t get there; you will need staging areas for donations, cots, eating, etc. It is massive effort in the midst of chaos.
  8. It isn’t Osteen’s decision alone. He has an immense staff and I’m sure a Board of Directors or council of elders, etc. He wields the most power, I’m sure, but there is no evidence that he personally said “No” when someone in need was at the door, and that is the image being portrayed. If he is guilty of evil for his actions, most of us in Houston who stayed at home – per instructions – and were not present at church buildings to welcome people in are equally as guilty. We’re just smaller targets.
  9. Osteen’s immense wealth invites this kind of criticism. The false theology of #1 is now bearing fruit against him. I have already said that is wrong. But when Paul told elders to be “above reproach” (1 Timothy 3:2), this is why. Bad reputations of Christian ministers hurts our witness. His theology may justify his wealth but this is the double edged sword that comes with being a wealthy proclaimer of the Gospel.

What Not to Say if AHA Calls on Your Church to Repent

AHA Church RepentThis essay is super niche and will be strange to folks unfamiliar with AHA. But if you’re caught up in the movement – one way or another – I’ve tried to be fair and offer something to do the most good. I realize those who do Church Repent will disagree and at times I’m sure I painted with too broad a brush. If you are part of Church Repent, please read it all the way through. These are simply my suggestions to make the most good out of a situation that won’t change anytime soon. 

Part of the movement/ideology that is Abolish Human Abortion is the Church Repent project. Its aim is to exhort true Christian churches (as opposed to liberal Christian churches which they would not regard as being in the fold in the first place) to cease being apathetic about abortion. They believe that the reason abortion is legal in the land is because the church has not done enough to end it. While this project is relatively limited to a few cities and states, it may very well grow as AHA grows. I have talked with folks involved with Church Repent both on my radio show and online and while I do not claim to have studied all of the underlying theology (which as I understand it is Theonomist, Dominionist and Post-Millennialism in some or most cases), I feel I can offer a way to help bear fruit or expose the differences with relevant clarity.

I begin with things commonly and instinctively said by church members when they realize their church has been chosen by Church Repent. I base this on a number of videos posted of these exchanges. Other things have been said, of course, but these seem to be the most common and most “knee jerk” responses to Church Repent’s presence.

1. “We agree with you and we work to end abortion. We are pro-life.” Saying the words “pro-life” will be fingernails to a chalkboard to a Church Repent participant. They have long since given up on the pro-life movement and view it (in many cases) as guilty of abortion as a “pro choicer”. They believe the pro-life movement exists, at best, to regulate abortion and that the participants in the pro-life movement will continue to raise funds so long as abortion continues…so they don’t mind it continuing. Pro-life legislative “victories” are seen as failures by abolitionists because they never abolish abortion, but simply regulate it. Even if you protest at abortion mills, unless you are as committed to them for abolitionism, and perhaps through Church Repent and AHA, your work to end abortion will fall short of their standard. It will not be worth your time to recite what you have done to discourage abortion as a “pro-lifer.” Best not to even say those words.

2. “We support crisis pregnancy centers.” This will not help your cause. They may encourage you for supporting CPCs but will say that it won’t solve the problem of abortion. The better strategy is to work to abolish abortion, not care for women and babies after a pregnancy has occurred when abortion is still a viable option to the mother. In essence, supporting CPCs will not be enough as it doesn’t abolish abortion and this is the best good worth working for.

3. “Who are your elders?” Some believe they can get the Church Repent folks in a biblical quandary by putting them on the defensive and asking who their elders are. In essence, the argument is that AHA/Church Repent is not of value because they are not organized in a way most churches are: with elders, deacons, pastors, etc. Members of AHA may be accountable to each other, but many are not in “traditional” churches, especially not a 501(c)(3). They do not recognize elders as absolute necessities in church life and you may technically concede that elders are not absolutely necessary in all circumstances. They will just hear you as arguing for the status quo: organized churches who are comfortable and not acting to abolish abortion.

You might try to engage with 1 Corinthians 14 regarding orderly worship. Those who disrupted the worship service were condemned by Paul. This will not change their mind as they can just as easily lift up the biblical model of Jeremiah standing outside the Temple preaching to wicked men there. Which biblical example is the right one?

4. Do not have a mindset of, “What can I do to get these guys to leave?” They will only leave when they are done with you and feel it is time to move on. They have the legal right to be there and they will outlast you. There are no magic words to get them to leave.

5. “Why don’t you protest liberal churches?” In short, they don’t view the liberal churches, i.e. the churches that actually and actively support abortion, as worth their time. Liberal churches have their minds made up and they will not and perhaps cannot repent. They will tell you that they are interested in getting committed Christians to work together and to in essence, pull real Christians out of 501(c)(3) corporations to rebuild a more pure Church. They assume that such real Christians won’t be found in liberal congregations. You might actually agree with them on that.

6. Do not debate politics. Debating Republicans v. Democrats will not impress those who think both parties have sold their souls, perhaps even literally, to the devil. Folks who are as committed to the cause as Church Repent folks are are not going to be impressed by conventional political parties or answers, least of all someone like President Trump.

Those are the most common things that seem to be said to them in confrontations. Here is what I might suggest as more fertile ground to converse on.  

1. “I agree abortion should be abolished.” If you are a member of a conservative congregation that is already “pro-life”, then consider if you might also support abolitionism. Study it and ask yourself if the abolition of abortion doesn’t make the most moral and legal sense. Ask why pro-life organizations do not demand abolition when they could just as easily do that as demand, say, the regulation of abortion clinics. Give sincere thought to abolitionism as a good legal goal and try to find common ground there.

You and I might differ from AHA in that we don’t tend to be as, well, skeptical of the pro-life movement. Perhaps you agree with the philosophy that it is best to get the most done that you can and pro-lifers are not inherently wrong for adopting that point-of-view. Still, first try to find out if abolition is something you are against in principle, and why. That is what they are promoting, so understand it.

2. Try to figure out exactly what kinds of action your congregation ought to be doing – from their point-of-view. Assuming that teaching and preaching against abortion isn’t “enough”, try to find out what legislative action is taking place that you can support. Find out who are the congressmen in your state that are working for abolition. Find out what “pro-life” politicians in your state are doing to end abortion.

3. Ask questions to understand better the theology driving their action. If you hear them say, “We are Dominionists,” for example, ask what that is. Familiarize yourself with Theonomy and don’t have a negative view of it from the start. You might end up agreeing with many of its principles. Or if you don’t, you can at least have an informed conversation about the theology behind the project. They will respect you for that much more than just being a “get off my lawn” kind of guy (which will be your first and most prevalent instinct.)

4. Take their literature. They paid for it and they want you to take it. It will be an offense to them to argue with them without giving them a fair hearing. So just take it already. (I believe, by the way, that some people do not like their literature because in depicting the evil of abortion, the graphic illustrations they use often look demonic themselves. I’m not talking about the pictures of abortion victims here but the graphic typefaces, artwork, etc. AHA clearly has an aesthetic that portrays anything but a fluffy, harmless Christianity. They want to depict the reality that they are at war with abortion. I believe that stark graphic design is, well, a little scary to many people. I think AHA wants to wake folks up, so they don’t much care.)

5. Argue that Christians gathering and receiving what God gives (in Lutheran parlance, Word and Sacrament are God’s means of grace for us) is an intrinsic good. It is not wrong that Christians gather together in buildings they do not pay taxes on. There is no scriptural teaching against that. And argue that Christians receive from God as well as act in His service. Sunday is their time to receive.

6. Recommend designated times when real, less-charged conversations can take place between them and your church’s leadership. If they don’t take you up on it, well, it might help you in evaluating if they really want to change your mind or make a show of it.

A thought on something that may catch you off guard…

When a congregation is attacked for being a 501(c)(3), know that there is a whole lot behind that statement. Some of which you may agree with. You might ask that if the 501(c)(3) is gotten rid of by the congregation, what kind of incorporation they would recommend? You might ask what kind of church governance they endorse? In short, the issues go beyond abortion. Arguing about abortion won’t be enough. You will ultimately be asked to “be the Church” in a completely different way. And you might as well learn something from the encounter because you are highly unlikely to change their mind.

Am I defending the Church Repent project in this post? No. I will defend in principle the idea that congregations need to repent of their apathy towards abortion and ought to do more in its horrible wake. On that point, abolitionists have much to teach the church.

But:

1. I do not agree with the underlying theology of the Church Repent project;

2. I believe only changed hearts and minds will change the world and bring about more social justice, and this may very well harden them;

3. I regard Sunday worship as ordained by God and therefore good and worthy of respect (I know it may be a stretch to call what goes on in some congregations “worship”);

4. I disagree that this methodology is as effective as patient teaching and listening as brothers and sisters in Christ, even if that will be a frustrating and time-consuming venture;

5. I do not believe the Church can be blamed for the evil of abortion, or any other evil as evil is a free choice that man makes in accordance with God’s will;

6. I (sadly) believe that the true Church is so small that it could not overwhelm the powers of darkness in this nation if it wanted to;

7. I share their frustration that evangelical churches often embrace superficial, attractive working theologies;

8. I believe that, among some, what is revealed is not a call toward the Church to repent, but a hatred of the Church itself. This represents a divided house, which will not stand.

So what I am trying to do in this post is serve as a way forward for the good of church repentance and to help those who find their congregation being targeted by Church Repent.  I offer it for what it is worth.

White Nationalism and Christianity: Sin Boldly Episode 103

KKK-Jesus-Saves-Christian-Prayer-MeetingThis solo episode looks, with some perspective now, at the Charlottesville rally and a new book that argues for a link between White Nationalism (or is it white nationalism?) and Christianity. Is there really such a link? Are these truly professing, biblical Christians? I also look at a fascinating article about 19th century American Christianity and its correlation to 21st century American Christianity. Finally, I look at a few bad, but common, arguments for abortion.

If you want to listen via the podcast feed, that link is here.  That link will take you to iTunes. To subscribe to the Sin Boldly podcast with an Android phone, I recommend the Cast Box app, which easily finds Sin Boldly via search. Your iPhone (or iOS) Podcast app finds it easily on iTunes. If you subscribe to the show, you get the episodes immediately upon release. Otherwise, it may take a few hours from the time of publication until it shows up on the feed. To listen immediately, see below. 

Why the name “Sin Boldly”? Martin Luther wrote to his friend Philip Melanchthon in 1521: “If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong [sin boldly], but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.” To sin boldly, therefore, is not to seek unholy living, but to follow the course we believe the Bible demands even if the world is against us. And if and when we sin, trust in an even greater savior.

The Right Side of History, Wrong Side of God. Sin Boldly Episode 102

rightside1On this solo episode, I look at the modern phrase “the right side of history” and ask if such an idea is even possible. I also look at the toxic “call out culture” found on social media, Iceland “eliminating” Down Syndrome via abortion, and ask whether it is appropriate to have drums in worship.

If you want to listen via the podcast feed, that link is here.  That link will take you to iTunes. To subscribe to the Sin Boldly podcast with an Android phone, I recommend the Cast Box app, which easily finds Sin Boldly via search. Your iPhone (or iOS) Podcast app finds it easily on iTunes. If you subscribe to the show, you get the episodes immediately upon release. Otherwise, it may take a few hours from the time of publication until it shows up on the feed. To listen immediately, see below. 

Why the name “Sin Boldly”? Martin Luther wrote to his friend Philip Melanchthon in 1521: “If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong [sin boldly], but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.” To sin boldly, therefore, is not to seek unholy living, but to follow the course we believe the Bible demands even if the world is against us. And if and when we sin, trust in an even greater savior.