The inconvenient truth

“Allow me for one to say that I am sick of the ‘Christians are anti-science’ bullshit that the left loves to harp on while giving the environmental movement a free pass. You will notice, if you are honest, that the areas where even the most fundamentalist interpretations of the Bible conflict with modern scientific work are in areas that Christians have an ethical objection to the way that life is manipulated or ended or in how things came to be on some level. The environmental movement on the other hand is generally wildly antagonistic to everything from GM foods to many promising alternative energy sources to nanotechnology.” Slashdot comment by MikeRT

Prosperity theology

“What remains is a materialism framed in a kind of Tony Robbins positivism… Jesus is front and center but not his Crucifixion, Resurrection or Atonement. There are chapters on overcoming trauma and a late chapter on emulating God’s generosity… But there are many more illustrations of how the Prosperity doctrine has produced personal gain, most memorably, perhaps, for the Osteen family: how Victoria’s ‘speaking words of faith and victory’ eventually brought the couple their dream house; how Joel discerned God’s favor in being bumped from economy to business class.” TIME.com, on megapastor and best-selling author Joel Osteen’s ‘Best Life Now’

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Worldliness in the church

“The Great Commission is not a marketing manifesto.” John MacArthur

Moving people on to God’s agenda

“The averaged Baptist pastor stays in his church for only about 2.5 years. There is a reason for this. Although most Baptist churches are board led, they are for all intents and purposes congregational in their polity. Thus, in many churches, even the most inane proposal must be but through a relentless series of committees and votes. This kind of governance does not tolerate strong leadership very well. If the pastor has a vision from God, he must communicate that vision and trust that the Holy Spirit will confirm it in the hearts of a committee system. This assumes that everyone on all those board and committees is listening to God and is seeking God. In reality, the pastor gets something else; he gets an agenda that is set by the least spiritual, most obstinate member of the congregation.” Robert Wynkoop

The great fundamentalist hoax

“Christianity as it exists among fundamentalists isn’t about behaving like Jesus. It’s all about faith—about believing the story. The underlying message seems to be: you can behave any way you want as long as you believe the story and say you’re sorry before you die. Following the teachings of Jesus is much too demanding, whereas with the Christianity of fundamentalists all you have to do is shut your mind off.” Philip Slater, Huffington Post

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“The gospel message is a confrontational message. When you remove the confrontation–or soften, downplay, or bring it in through the back door–you have compromised the message. The modern pulpit is weak, not for a lack of witty messages, but because men fear to speak the hard truths of God’s Word powerfully and with conviction.” John MacArthur

Don’t just talk, live it

“I ask you, do we pray for our loved ones, do we love our enemies as we love ourselves? Do we comply with God’s Word? Love your enemies and pray for those who hurt you! If God is really within us then we can move mountains and move people to reach out to our people for the glory of Yeshua. Believe me, brothers and sisters, the Muslims are not the enemy and the Arabs are not the enemy; Satan is the enemy. He is the one who destroys and kills. Pray for the Arab people and call them to come to your homes and show them the love of Yeshua that is inside you. If Yeshua’s love is in you, it has to show. Don’t just talk God’s Word, but live it so that people will see it.” Taysir (Tass) Abu-Saada, former Fatah fighter

What happens next?

“What kind of society are you building if you have the right to offend and to hate? What kind of society do you want to build just to prove you have the right to offend someone and then knowingly do so. What kind of democracy is that? How do you hold on to things like respect for others, dignity, and pluralism? And, what happens next? If you’re going to push this, and religion is not going to go away, then what?” Anthropologist Munir Jiwa, on the secular tolerance of blasphemy

Shallow

“I had a bottle of water and an apple in my backpack that I gave to this one little girl, she might have been 5 or so. I think it was the first taste of clean water she had ever had in her life, and she didn’t quite know what to do with the apple. Had she ever seen a whole apple? Ever? I started thinking about what her life had been like, and how she must have felt about some foreign white guy suddenly showing up and giving her this crystal clear water and a fresh red apple. I cried. You would have to have been there I guess. I cried again that night, but much deeper. I realized how shallow life is for us fat Americans, and how something as simple as a bottle of spring water and an apple can be such a huge deal to someone.” $robert, on his ‘95 short-term missions trip to Guatemala

The new alternative

“Yet people agree, too, that the novel appeals because it offers a different way of seeing Christian tradition, particularly issues of patriarchy and women in the early church. This appeal has helped spur new subcategories in the publishing business… with each season bringing new books on Mary Magdalene and on what’s now called ‘alternative Christianity.’” Christian Science Monitor, on the Da Vinci Code