Monday, January 26, 2009

Amusement Church U.S.A. (and Canada)

Sung (with an extra verse added) to the tune of Amusement Parks U.S.A. by the Beach Boys. To find the original version and lyrics, go here, dig out an old vinyl copy of the Summer Days (and Summer Nights!!) album, or look for that album on a "twofer" CD with The Beach Boys Today!

HT: Slice of Laodicea

Let’s take your car and do Amusement Church U.S.A..

On Christmas Eve at Willow Creek the trapeze artists are flyin’
The "Christmas in Mayberry" skits at Bear Creek will keep you smilin’
A Connecticut pastor preaches from Dr. Seuss,
At Church by the Glades they put an elephant to use
Let’s take your car and mess around at the church all day

The ‘80s theme at Granger slakes a spiritual thirst
The '70s New Year’s Eve dance is worth a trip to Elmhurst
Victory Church fashion show can really get you bad
At New Life the comedy will make you laugh like mad
Let’s pick up our friends and do Amusement Church U.S.A.

Hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry, folks
Step right up to the megachurch circus, the best little show in town
Just one tithe, folks, one withdrawal from the banking machine in the foyer
Come on and take the 30-day sex challenge (is it real?)
See the pastor preaching from his bed (he looks like a fake to me)
(Let’s go see it) (costs too much!)
Hurry, hurry, hurry, folks
See the pastor, he shimmies, he shakes...

The Pleasant Valley Baptist motorcycle jump’s all the rage
You’d better run if your pastor drives his bike up on the stage
There’s no evening service on the night of Super Bowl
If it’s wrestling you like, Connection has Pastor Cole
Let’s take your car and mess around at the church all day

In Canada a church may have a murder mystery night*
The mosh pit might collapse if you’re dancing at Central Heights
Father’s Day we’re gonna spend at Church on 99
‘Cause that’s when they have an "outreach" called the Show and Shine
Amusement Church isn’t limited to the U.S.A.

* At Beulah Alliance Church in Edmonton, Alberta, a Young Marrieds Murder Mystery Dinner Party (at $10 per person) was scheduled for July 28, 2006, and advertised in the church bulletin for several weeks beforehand.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Raising the dead in British Columbia, Mozambique, and Ukraine

Another church where Jason Upton has performed (see post below) is The Harvest in Kitimat, B.C., yet another New Apostolic Reformation church. Go here and you’ll see that they claim to have raised someone from the dead. However, these guys are pikers compared to some others...

Go here to find out how many people have been allegedly raised from the dead in Mozambique (and notice the mention of Todd Bentley--before he became infamous). A Zimbabwean pastor currently working in Ukraine, Henry Madava, claims to have raised seven himself. Oddly, none of these miracles seem to have been reported in the media; why is that? As they used to say in Get Smart, "I find that very hard to believe."

I prefer pastors who are adults

More from the former Paramount Theatre in beautiful downtown Edmonton; I suspect the female speaker is a blonde. It’s also, like, you know, an excellent argument against keeping a journal.

Universalist drivel from contemporary "Christian" performer Jason Upton

If you want to hear a really stupid message, go here and listen--if you can make it all the way through. I have no idea what Hebrews 8:10-11 has to do with what passes for his message; and I didn't know that not using one's imagination made one a heretic. This is what happens when you take your theology lessons from 3- and 8-year-olds. If you go to Mr. Upton's blog, you'll find that he's promoting the usual suspects such as Henri Nouwen, Thomas Merton, Brad Jersak, etc. I liked City Centre Church better when it was the Paramount Theatre.

Your sin will find you out

...and be sure your sin will find you out. Numbers 32:23b

When Billy Graham visited Edmonton in 1980, he preached a message on this, and offered some amusing examples. The Lord has brought that brief passsage of scripture to my mind many times over the years, preventing a lot of sin. Here's an example of someone who apparently hasn't read it.

Jesus condemned it, Rick Warren commends it

God's To-Do List: 103 Ways to Be an Angel and Do God's Work on Earth is a book by Ron Wolfson, published in 2007. Dr. Wolfson is president of Synagogue 3000, a movement dedicated to drawing Jews who may have strayed from the religion back into the fold. Modern Judaism is really modern pharisaism, rejecting Jesus as Messiah, and believing in works-based righteousness. For examples of what the Lord Jesus Christ had to say about this, read Matthew 23 (the entire chapter); Luke 11:37-53; and John 8:12-58.

The following is from the ad for Ron Wolfson’s book, but it reads as though it comes from Rick Warren:

You Are God’s Partner Put on This Earth to Do God’s Work
"What on earth are you here for? To do the tasks that God has for you…. You can call someone who is lonely. You can visit a friend who is sick. You can read a book to a child. You can comfort a mourner. You can volunteer your time. You can make a difference. You can give of your self—a self that is infused with godliness."
—from the Introduction

All human beings are made in the image of God. But for what purpose were you made? The biblical answer is clear: you are to imitate God in order to bring God’s presence into your life and the lives of others.

This practical guidebook to repairing the world—often in simple everyday ways—details the biblical accounts of what God does, not what God says: God creates, blesses, rests, calls, comforts, cares, repairs, wrestles, gives and forgives. For each of God’s actions, this provocative resource suggests what might be on God’s To-Do List for you, the many ways you can make small and great differences in the lives of others and find the ultimate source of meaning for your own.

An inspiring gift to uplift your spirit and share with others, whatever your faith, you can do God’s To-Do List.

Amid several endorsements from rabbis comes this from Rick Warren:

"This book is built on a great premise: Figure out what God does and then do that with other people! Simple but profound. I loved this book!"

January 20, 2011 update: The book no longer seems to be offered by All Judaica, as you will have found out by clicking on the link above. I've decided to leave the link in the post as a record of what was once available.

As late as 2006 Synagogue 3000 was offering, on its website, videos of Rick Warren's messages from his meeting with the S3K leaders on June 16, 2005. Joshua Avedon, S3K Director of Communication, said, "S3K invited Warren for a conversation with the S3K Leadership Network to specifically discuss the techniques and strategies pioneered by megachurches in building spiritual community." I couldn't find the videos in a recent search of the S3K website, but in 2006 I downloaded the following from their site:

Video Resources
Featured Videos:
Randy Kramer, master greeter.
Rick Warren meets with the S3K Leadership Network
On June 16, 2005 Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church, the author of the bestselling "Purpose Driven Life" met with the S3K Leadership Network - Spiritual Leadership Working Group. Over the course of an hour and a half, Pastor Warren discussed the challenges and strategies of building a compelling spiritual community. His advice spoke directly to the mission of S3K, and his interplay with the S3K leaders demonstrated the common issues facing both churches and synagogues in attracting new members while serving the existing community.

All video is in Quicktime format. Download the latest version of Quicktime.

Topic Speaker Date Size
"Belongers and Believers" Rick Warren June 16, 2005 3.13M
"The Parameters of Faith" Rick Warren June 16, 2005 4.14M
"Congregational Transitions" Rick Warren June 16, 2005 16.2M
"Worship and Fellowship" Rick Warren June 16, 2005 4.42M
"Service vs. Serve-us" Rick Warren June 16, 2005 14.3M
"Doubt and Belief" Rick Warren June 16, 2005 10.1M
"Insiders vs. Outsiders" Rick Warren June 16, 2005 3.13M

Rick Warren's kingdom is "not of this world"?

Pope Rick I (pbuh) occasionally takes a break from telling half-truths in order to tell outright lies:

I am neither religious left. I’m not a religious left because I don’t believe in big government for one thing. I’m not secular left. I’m not religious right, and I’m not secular right. I happen to be in the kingdom of God. My kingdom is not of this world.

"Not religious left"? Who's done more to yank evangelicalism way to the left than RW? "My kingdom is not of this world"? What about his membership in the Council on Foreign Relations and Oxford Analytica? If that isn't "of this world," what is? And what about that trip to Syria a couple of years ago that he lied about? He didn't go there on behalf of Jesus Christ.

What they say...and what they really mean

Mad magazine, in its never-ending effort to poke fun at hypocrisy, used to publish articles titled "What They Say...and What They Really Mean."

What Rick Warren says:

The idea is really around civility...
Right now civility is a losing battle. It's easy to demonize from a distance. When people sit behind a screen they lose all civility. The anonymity makes people more ad hominem. One of my three life goals is to help restore civility to civilization. I just think the Internet has made us ruder.

What he really means:

Shut up and get with the program!

There's a man named Richard Abanes who acts as an attack dog for Rick Warren, trolling the Internet for negative comments about RW or about Mr. Abanes himself, and attempting to completely shut down sites that he doesn't like. Just ask Ken Silva at Apprising Ministries.

"Civility" is not necessarily a virtue. The Lord Jesus Christ himself probably wouldn't pass Rick Warren's civility test; just read Matthew 23 (the whole chapter); Mark 11:15-17; Luke 11:37-52; and John 2:13-16, 8:39-55.

Friday, January 23, 2009

We know that "Dr." King is in heaven?

A couple of tidbits from Rick Warren's invocation at the inauguration of B. Hussein Obama:

And, we know today that Dr. King and a great cloud of witnesses are shouting in heaven!

Really? How does RW know that MLK is in heaven? Alan Stang provides a succinct lowdown on "Dr." King here and here.

...but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. Hebrews 13:4b

Also: I humbly ask this in the name of the one who changed my life...

The reader will notice that RW doesn't refer to the Lord Jesus Christ (in fact, RW doesn't refer to Him as the Lord Jesus Christ) as the One who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29), and before whom every knee will bow (Romans 14:10-11), but in typical man-centred evangelical style, merely as the one who changed his life. That seems to leave it open to the listener to let his life be changed (or not) by Jesus--or anyone of the listener's choice. Not that this is unusual for Rick Warren--just listen to his TED talk from 2006:

Obama the Butcher

Just three days after taking office, U.S. White House occupant B. Hussein Obama issued a memorandum reversing the Bush administration's policy of refusing to provide federal (i.e. taxpayer) funding for organizations that support and provide abortion in other countries. It's ironic that Halfblack Messiah, who is of Third World background himself, supports a policy that will have the effect of killing untold numbers of unborn non-white babies in the Third World. Obama, like Hitler, isn't wasting any time doing what he said he would do.

I haven't seen any public statement on this by the fat liar from Brokeback Saddleback Community Church (let's call him "Rick Warren"). As the saying goes, the silence is deafening.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

About those 30-day sex challenges...

HT: Lighting the Way

Barry Smith of Impact Community Church in Sacramento, California is the latest pastor to issue a challenge to married couples in his church to have sex for 30 consecutive days. This is yet another church that claims to use "cutting edge techniques," but in this matter they're so 2008.

It was in February 2008 that Pastor Paul Wirth of Relevant Church in Ybor City, Florida issued the same challenge to his congregation. I'm not aware if any follow-up has been done to see if there has been a baby boom at Relevant Church in the last couple of months. The statement of Relevant Beliefs provides more evidence that you can't be a satirist anymore. The reader of these "beliefs" may notice that there's no clear statement that either Jesus or the Holy Spirit is God.

In November 2008, Pastor Ed Young issued a 7-day sex challenge to his congregation at Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas. I suppose that Texans figure that they can accomplish in 7 days what it takes the softies in Florida 30 days to accomplish. The results of Pastor Young's challenge have yet to be determined.

These "pastors" talk about sex with all the maturity of 12-year-old boys who equate naughtiness with courage. I hereby challenge the above-named pastors and others of their ilk to refrain from talking about sex from the pulpit for 30 days; it would be a refreshing change. Those of us who are single and trying to live lives of obedience to the Lord aren't getting much help from churches.

"Christian Nymphos"?

The url says it all: There's more indecency in the church now than there was in the world when I was a kid.

It would be better if these women would exhibit the characteristics mentioned in Titus 2:4-5 and Proverbs 31:10-31.

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. Proverbs 31:10

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Flaming Sword: A prophetic novel?

With Halfblack Messiah about to be inaugurated as President of the United States, interested readers might want to search for The Flaming Sword, the last published work from my favourite politically-incorrect novelist, Thomas Dixon. Mr. Dixon was best known for his trilogy of novels in the early 1900s that dwelt on racial themes: The Leopard's Spots (1902); The Clansman (1905); and The Traitor (1907). These novels, particularly The Clansman, served as the basis for D.W. Griffith's epic film The Birth of a Nation (1915).

The Flaming Sword, published in 1939 when Mr. Dixon was 75, was a story about a Communist conspiracy to take over the United States, using Negroes as dupes. In doing research for the book, Mr. Dixon examined all the newspaper accounts he could find of race riots in the United States from 1900-1938. Mr. Dixon was out of fashion by 1938, and The Flaming Sword was published by a small firm called Monarch Publishing Company in Atlanta (which may explain why The Flaming Sword is much harder to find than Mr. Dixon's earlier works). I haven't space here (or the inclination) to post excerpts from the book, but I will say that Mr. Dixon mixes real historical figures (e.g. W.E.B. Du Bois and Marcus Garvey) with the fiction, in an entertaining (and sometimes disturbing way). Any resemblance between Thomas Dixon's fictitious speculation in The Flaming Sword and the presence of Halfblack Messiah in the White House, is, of course, coincidental--or is it?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Campus Crusaders, sodomites, and potheads together

And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. Ephesians 5:11

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? II Corinthians 6:14

It came as no surprise to this blogger to read that the Campus Crusade for Christ ministry at University of Central Florida is partnering with the campus sodomites and lesbians in an HIV/AIDS education campaign. Ingrid Schlueter has a good post on this item at Slice of Laodicea.

This is one of the results of the "new paradigm" that Campus Crusade announced in May 2006 (an example of which may be found here--when I read such language in the '80s, I knew I was reading something by a New Ager). To see the extent of the current influence of dominionism on Campus Crusade for Christ, go here. The whole emphasis seems to be on what we must do to change the world, rather than on what God has done to change individuals. Campus Crusade for Christ's current mission seems to be to boldly go where the liberal, mainline churches have gone before (about 30-40 years ago).

If, as Milton Friedman said, sincerity is the most overrated virtue in America today, "compassion" may be the most frequently mislabelled. What's compassionate about affirming people in a lifestyle that God condemns? And why are you considered to be lacking in compassion if you hold to a Biblical position on homosexual behaviour, while you aren't likely to face similar criticism if you criticize sinful heterosexual behaviour? It must be kept in mind that the Lord Jesus Christ upheld all of the teachings of the Old Testament on sexual behaviour. When these teachings are upheld in the New Testament epistles (see, for example, Romans 1:18-32), the apostles are writing with the full delegated authority of Jesus Christ.

On December 31, 1983, at the Campus Crusade Christmas Conference in Kansas City known as KC ‘83, Howard Hendricks issued a warning to young evangelicals that maybe the greatest weakness that they would have to come to grips with was their strong desire to please:

"That has a strength and it has a weakness to it. The strength is that if you ever caught on to pleasing God, you'd have it made. But the danger is we spend all of our time wetting our finger trying to find, 'You like this, oh that does, oh, that offends you, oh ho ho', and we get bent out of shape."

25 years later, it's obvious that Campus Crusade for Christ isn't heeding the warning.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

"Who won the bloody war, anyway?"

You Can’t Do Business with Hitler was the title of a radio series produced circa 1942 by the Radio Section of the Office of War Information of the United States government. Single episodes may be downloaded free here. The series took its title from a book by Douglas Miller, who was commercial attaché to the American embassy in Germany for 15 years, the last six of which were spent dealing with the Nazi regime. The content of the radio series is slightly different from that of the book; the radio programs are slightly more current, and cover a broader range of subject matter.

Mr. Miller finished writing in May 1941, shortly before Germany invaded Russia, and seven months before the United States entered World War II. Mr. Miller’s book was mainly a warning to American businessmen of the dangers of trying to conduct business with the Nazis.

I recently finished reading the book (the University of Alberta library has a copy), and I thought the most interesting part was the section titled "The New Order in Europe," where Mr. Miller was predicting what business would be like if the Nazis were to win the war (and at the time he was writing, it seemed as though they might win). What Mr. Miller predicted in the event of a Nazi victory--overwhelming centralized bureaucratic control--seems amazingly similar to what is actually the case today under the European Union; just substitute Brussels for Berlin. I haven’t space to provide quotes here, but the reader is invited to look for the book to check it out.

The Lord Jesus Christ is nowhere to be found in The Message

A search for the phrases "Lord Jesus" and "Lord Jesus Christ" at Bible Gateway turned up the following results (try it yourself). The number denotes the number of times that the phrase is found in the particular version. The reader may draw his own conclusions.

The author of The Message, is of course, Eugene Peterson, whose glowing endorsement of The Shack appears on the front cover of that book (see post below).

"Lord Jesus"
King James Version: 115
New American Standard Bible: 101
New International Version: 101
NIV-UK: 101
Today’s NIV: 102
New KJV: 115
21st Century KJV: 115
New Living Translation: 102
American Standard Version: 103
English Standard Version: 100
Contemporary English Version: 109
New Century Version: 104
Amplified: 109
The Message: 0

"Lord Jesus Christ"
KJV: 81
NASB: 63
NIV: 60
NIV-UK: 60
TNIV: 60
NKJV: 81
21st C. KJV: 81
NLT: 60
ASV: 65
ESV: 61
CEV: 59
NCV: 64
Amplified: 75
The Message: 0