Time for a retirement party?

Pat Robertson seems to be having some trouble lately getting his foot out of his mouth.  Am I alone in thinking he’s way past retirement?  The graceful thing to do when aging is to retire from public speaking once dementia kicks in and for Robertson, it has been kicking quite hard recently.

In this clip Robertson says God didn’t create the earth as stated in the bible in six thousand years and dinosaurs are the proof.

Earlier this year he offered some pretty weird marriage advice

Here he gives quite odd advice to parents of adopted children.

Retire Pat – now – before you embarrass yourself any further.

Most churchgoers don’t read bible daily

 

“Bible engagement has an impact in just about every area of spiritual growth,” said Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research. “You can follow Christ and see Christianity as your source of truth, but if that truth does not permeate your thoughts, aspirations and actions, you are not fully engaging the truth.
“God’s Word is truth, so it should come as no surprise that reading and studying the Bible are still the activities that have the most impact on growth in this attribute of spiritual maturity,” Stetzer said. “As basic as that is, there are still numerous churchgoers who are not reading the Bible regularly. You simply won’t grow if you don’t know God and spend time in God’s Word.”

Where do I begin?

Maybe grief would be the best place to start.  Excuse me while I put on my sackcloth and ashes and cry before God concerning the state of His church. If these kind of statistics don’t break your heart I fear you may be in the 80% who say with their mouth that they want to honor Jesus but really don’t care enough to read what He wrote.

If we divide the survey into two groups – those that read more than once a week and those who read less – it’s roughly 45% vs. 46% (40% of whom read it less than once a month or never) – we can see that our churches may be the biggest mission field for discipleship.  I would even question whether someone who reads the bible less than once a month is even truly born again but that may be for another blog post.

Why?

The Scriptures are more available in more ways today than ever before in history. Our forefathers in the faith – Tyndale, Luther, Wycliffe – wrestled with empires and kings to bring us the bible in the language of the common man. Today most people with smartphones carry enough computing power to run study bible apps with commentaries, dictionaries and graphs that would fill a small library.

The recent trend in bible translations has been the dumbing down of the readership.  No longer are people expected to read a good translation such as the ESV, NKJV or NASB, instead we have bibles in story format, movie script format and even one that promises to only take one minute of your day (The One Minute Bible).  Yet no matter how childish and watered down they make it – people still refuse to read it! Can you imagine a professional musician who only practiced one minute per day? Or a professional football player who said “Ok coach, I’m here at practice but only for one minute.”

What can we conclude?

If it were up to me, I’d round up the 55% who aren’t reading the bible at least several times per week and start preaching salvation to them.  I honestly don’t think you can be truly born again and not love the Scriptures.

Next, I would start emphasizing the bible as the basis for everything.  Every political view, every sociological view, every business practice, every interpersonal dynamic should be held up to the bible as the standard by which we live.  Every time an opinion is expressed – we should be asking “what chapter and verse do you have for that?”

If we profess to be Christians, reading the bible is step one.  Until we accomplish that, there is no need for a second step.

Wycliffe still doesn’t get it

This from Charismanews: (my comments in blue brackets)

Medieval pastor John Wycliffe continues to cause a stir among churches—even in the 21st century—as his Bible translation ideas upset Christian leaders once again.

In the 14th century Wycliffe used indigenous language to convey Scripture. He angered church leaders with radical moves like replacing the Latin Deus with the English God.

Today’s Bible translators follow in his footsteps, using alternative terms for the Trinity and heavenly beings to reach new audiences—and they’re encountering the same resistance Wycliffe did.

[Wow.  Just wow.  Comparing yourself to Wycliffe and saying your opponents are the mean, nasty Catholics who oppose the truth. What happened was Wycliffe (the bible society not the man) got caught watering down the word of God to make it more acceptable and less threatening to Muslims.]

The most recent controversies surround an artistic retelling of the New Testament by Thomas Nelson,The Voice, and an Arabic Scripture linked to Wycliffe Bible Translators and Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL). The two separate initiatives use different words to convey Scripture to their audiences.

Written in a screenplay format, Thomas Nelson’s version uses the Voice instead of the Word; sometimes Eternal One when it refers to God; and messenger of the Lord instead of angel. Meanwhile, the Arabic text uses Allah instead of Father and Messiah in place of Son of God, to connect with readers in Muslim cultures.

[Voice and Word are two totally different words in the English language.  This is not a matter of translation but of rewriting.  Allah is not the equivalent of Father nor should it appear in any translation of the bible because of its use by Muslims.]

Fierce opposition has come from the Assemblies of God USA and Presbyterian Church in America. The Presbyterian Church has condemned removing references to God as Father or Jesus as Son.

“Our colleagues in SIL are taking a brave step in suspending the publication of Scripture in parts of the world where controversy has been stirred up,” says Eddie Arthur, executive director of Wycliffe Bible Translators, noting that the headline-making translations are a “tiny fraction” of Wycliffe’s 1,400-plus programs. “We look forward to the outcome of their period of global consultation.”

In the meantime, scholars from both sides of the Atlantic have expressed concern about these controversies. They’re challenging Christians to grasp the issues and consider the challenges facing translation teams.

[The critics are telling Wycliffe not to desecrate scripture!]

“There are many issues in Bible translation,” says Nick Ellis, managing editor of BibleMesh Biblical Languages. “We are communicating an ancient text into a new culture. It’s not an easy job.”

[Culture has nothing to do with it.  Language is language and what Wycliffe has done is compromise the word of God in an attempt to appease Muslims.]

For example, the argument supporting the Arabic text is that father and son imply a sexual relationship with Jesus’ mother. Yet these tensions aren’t new; they reflect an old debate of how to describe the first and second Person of the Trinity.

“It’s not just a problem of translation, it’s a theological problem,” Ellis says. He encourages these questions to lead to “contemplation and medication” on key issues like the Trinity with a spirit of love. Ellis’ prayer is that fundraising for the translation community will spike in the wake of this type of debate.

[Read – we hope our source of income doesn’t dry up since we goofed big time.]

Jon Riding, leader of the linguistic computing team at U.K.-based Bible Society, agrees that the translation community is a set of people honestly trying to do their best—and they need prayer support.

[Repentance would be good too.]

Focusing on the general issues surrounding translation, Riding says the word Allah comes from the Semitic group of languages. Close to Hebrew and Syriac, it is the equivalent of theos in Greek.

[Allah is the name of a pagan moon god not the name of the Creator of the universe.  God’s proper name is YHVH]

“If you’re going to translate Scripture for a culture that has a strong Arabic influence, you need a really good reason to give God a different name from the one He has. Otherwise, you’re importing a foreign god,” Riding says. “And that’s potentially unhelpful.”

[Allah being the foreign god that is being imported into the bible here.]

Similar challenges can be seen in conveying Psalm 23 to Eskimos. “The Lord is my shepherd” has no meaning for a culture that better understands “the Lord is my husky team handler.”

The scholarly view is that there could be unnecessary alarm over particular issues taken in isolation. “People want a conspiracy,” warned Ellis. “They want a smoking gun. We need to be working together as a church.”

[Unnecessary alarm? Are you kidding me?  Conspiracy? (slapping my forehead here in amazement) The only conspiracy is that Wycliffe caved into fear of Muslims and perverted the scriptures in a weak attempt at appeasement.  The alarm was raised by bible believing Christians and now Wycliffe is whining.  End of story.]

The TBN War

From the Christian Post:

By Audrey Barrick, Christian Post Reporter

July 1, 2012|4:53 pm

Trinity Christian Center of Santa Ana (which conducts business as TBN) is petitioning the court against former employees Michael and Brittany Koper for failing to settle their dispute outside of court.

The Kopers, according to the court filing by TBN attorney Douglas L. Mahaffey, have failed to file any timely response to their demand for arbitration. TBN claims that the Kopers are refusing to arbitrate because they believe “their hush money agenda was advanced by the public forums.”

“The reasons for the Kopers not participating have been strategic,” according to the petition. “Since their termination, the Kopers have pursued ‘hush money’ by a media campaign to undermine the mission and reputation of TCCSA by making baseless allegations against TCCSA’s principals.

“Taking advantage of their access to financial and employment files, the Kopers absconded with large quantities of TCCSA corporate records, and now are systematically disclosing to the news media and other information-based organizations confidential information and trade secrets.”

Brittany Koper is the granddaughter of TBN founders Paul and Jan Crouch. She previously served as the chief financial officer, director of finance, corporate treasurer and director of human resources while Michael Koper worked with TCCSA’s general counsel.

The former CFO filed a lawsuit earlier this year, claiming that the board of directors at the Christian company illegally took advantage of more than $50 million in “charitable assets” for their own good. The lawsuit wasn’t against TBN, however. It was against attorneys of Davert & Loe who do some work for TBN. Koper claimed that the attorneys advised her to falsify public financial disclosures and government records after she discovered illegal financial practices taking place

The Orange County, Calif.-based TBN has made its own allegations against the Kopers. The broadcasting company, which has over 5,000 television stations, alleges that the couple made “illegal use of the corporation credit card of the president of TCCSA,” embezzled funds, and stole and converted to their own use property and assets of TCCSA.

In the latest court filing, TBN argues that the Kopers had entered into a written comprehensive arbitration agreement during their employment and have breached the terms of the agreement.

All disputes were to be settled outside of court.

“All efforts by TCCSA to move forward with arbitration and terminate the disclosure of internal records have been stonewalled by the Kopers who refuse to move toward a resolution of the disputes between the parties,”the court document states.

TBN is seeking a court order stating that the Kopers are in default, and enjoining any filings by the couple of counterclaims.

Here’s how to read this news story between the lines.  TBN hires all family for key positions to keep a centralized power base thinking family will be loyal and keep secrets. 

The gospel that TBN claims to preach actually reached out and transformed one family member making her an ethical and responsible Christian.

This lone Christian tries to do the right thing and get the books legal.  Grandma Jan pitches a fit.  Uncle Matt was caught with his hands in the cookie jar.  Granddaughter must be fired!

Now the TBN lawyers want to keep granddaughter from disclosing any more wrongdoings at the old TBN corral so they are filing motions to keep their “trade secrets.”

If I were on the jury, I would want to know just exactly what kind of “trade secrets” does a Christian organization have?  This is way better than a soap opera don’t you think?

The Fall of TBN

Many of you have been keeping up with the OC Register’s breaking news story about Brittany Koper, the granddaughter of Paul and Jan Crouch, and the continuing saga of their implosion.

Koper, who worked for Trinity from 2007 to 2011, has accused the mighty Christian broadcaster of playing fast and loose with the ministry’s millions, and provided internal documents to back up her claims. She says itunlawfully distributed charitable assets worth more than $50 million to the company’s directors (her family members); bought a$50 million jet through “a sham loan to an alter ego corporation” for the personal use of the Crouches, as well as a $100,000 motor home that’s used as a mobile residence for her grandmother’s dogs; falsely reported “multiple residential estates” as guest homes or church parsonages to avoid income disclosures;  doled out meal expenses of up to a half-million dollars per company director; paid personal chauffeurs with Trinity funds disguised as medical payments; and engaged in “multiple cover-ups of sexual and criminal scandals.”

She has provided documentation to law enforcement and the Internal Revenue Service, and said she is cooperating with their inquiries (though neither the IRS nor the Orange County District Attorney’s office will comment).

I remember moving to Tulsa in 2007 just as the Richard Roberts/ORU scandal was beginning to unfold.  A lot of people didn’t want to believe it at first, including myself, but too many of the accusations had a ring of truth to them.  Eventually the whole story came out and Richard Roberts resigned in disgrace.

This situation has a similar feel.  What is ironic is that teaching young people about Jesus can have some remarkable consequences – like when they grow up, get an MBA and come to work on your finances when you aren’t being above board with them.

Something good has already come out of this mess – Brittany Koper.  She learned enough about the truth to stand for it even when it cost her family relationships.  Now we can pray that Paul and Jan will also learn the meaning of the real gospel, repent of their ways and be restored.

Mohler vs. Warren

To those of you not in the know, here is a brief synopsis of this week’s events:

Item 1: Andy Stanley, Pastor of North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, GA, recently preached his sermon “When Gracie Met Truthy,” in which he strongly left the impression that he does not consider homosexual practice to be a sin on the level with adultery (which he also, apparently, construes somewhat more narrowly than Jesus did). Stanley’s message unmistakably suggests that open homosexuality is compatible with both membership and leadership at North Point. Note: There is no way to link directly to this sermon, but “When Gracie Met Truthy” is sermon number 5 in the series “Christian” and is merely one click away from the first message in the series, which is available here. Hat-tip to Peter Lumpkins, whose blog was the first I saw bringing this to the world’s attention.

Item 2: In response to Stanley, Dr. Albert Mohler posted on his blog yesterday an article (rightfully) criticizing Stanley’s message. Mohler gave his essay the provocative title, “Is the Megachurch the New Liberalism?” Mohler’s is a solid and helpful treatment of the issues raised by Stanley’s sermon.

Item 3: In response to Mohler’s response, Rick Warren challenged Mohler, not to much to defend Stanley as to reject the analysis that Stanley’s waywardness is about megachurches rather than being about something else. Warren was incensed that thousands of other megachurches are implicated by Mohler’s essay.

Does anyone besides me find it hilariously funny that none other than Rick Warren should be the one to find offense at a doctrinal rebuke of megachurches?  Wasn’t it Rick Warren who last year had three non-believers teach his congregation shamanistic and occultic techniques to help them lose weight?

Wycliffe to submit new translation for review

From the Washington Post:

One of the largest Bible translators in the world is undergoing an independent review after critics claimed language in some of their translations intended for Muslim countries misses the essential Christian idea of Trinity: the father, son and the holy spirit or ghost.

Critics argue that using words like “Messiah” instead of “Son” and “Lord” instead of “Father” badly distorts the doctrine, in which God is said to be one being in three persons.

“If you remove ‘son,’ you have to remove ‘father,’ and if you remove those, the whole thread of the scriptures from Genesis to Revelation is unraveled,” said the Rev. Georges Houssney, the president of Horizons International, a Christian organization that works extensively with Muslims and himself a translator of the Bible into Arabic.

Orlando, Fla.-based Wycliffe Bible Translators argues the translations have never been about avoiding controversy, but choosing words that most accurately reflect the Gospels: Some concepts relating God to family members don’t make sense in some cultures, so the language needs to reflect that.

There is a word for what Wycliffe has done and that is appeasement. As has been often quoted:
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last. ~ Sir Winston Churchill
Because Islamists are so violent and bloodthirsty and prone to outrage over the least little offense, Western civilization has taken the stance of appeasement – hoping if they don’t offend the Muslims, then they will get beheaded last.  To wit, Rick Warren and his efforts to find common ground with a religion that is diametrically opposed to everything Christianity stands for.

Wycliffe, Tyndale, Luther and other Church fathers died or were martyred defending the faith that today’s milquetoast Christians are so willing to compromise.  If there was any doubt that The Apostasy is now here – let it be banished.

2 Thess 2:3 NASB 3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,

Understanding The Times 2011

This past weekend I drove up to Minneapolis, MN to attend the conference hosted by Jan Markell’s ministry Olive Tree Views.  Grace Church in Eden Prairie was the host and was a wonderful facility.

Mark Hitchcock kicked off the conference by talking about 2012 and the doomsday prophecies about the world ending because of the Mayan Calendar. Joel Rosenberg followed and talked about the Day of the Lord (Joel 3), the implications of dividing the land and the recent move by the Palestinian Authority in trying to unilaterally declare a state.  On Saturday morning, Joel finished by discussing replacement theology and how we can best help those in the Middle East.

WITG_LGCaryl Matriciana introduced her new video Wide is the Gate (Vol. II) and showed a 15 min clip from the movie.  I had the privilege of meeting Caryl in the lobby afterward and was blessed by her genuine warmth and graciousness.  During the movie clip several well known ministries were shown as examples of the current apostasy in the church.  More on this in a moment.

Brannon Howse then presented a subsection of his teaching on the Trojan Horse focusing on Fabian Socialism and the push for a world wide universal church.  He too mentioned several well known ministries that fall under the apostasy label.  His message though was hard hitting, accurate and biblical.  Meeting Brannon and Caryl at the conference were highlights for me.

After lunch, Bill Koenig talked to us about the role of think tanks in Washington D.C. and how the game is played inside the beltway.  Eric Barger finished up the day with a presentation on Chrislam.  Eric’s presentation was well documented and nailed the blatant hypocrisy of churches hosting Chrislam events but not one mosque doing so.

Before the last session, Jan mentioned that several people had expressed some displeasure over the hard hitting expose of apostasy in the morning sessions. Perhaps these people had never heard Jan’s radio program before where she tackles these issues or perhaps their toes were still smarting from being stepped on – in any event, Jan handled the situation with grace but stood firm on the truth.

I recommend that if you aren’t familiar with Caryl Matriciana or Brannon Howse that you look them up and avail yourself of some of their materials.  Thank you to Jan Markell and Olive Tree Views Ministry for hosting the event.