Monday, August 31, 2009


The title of this post was the sound I made today as I checked my e-mail and read through some of the Christian publications I receive. As I read many of these publications, thoughts and reactions regarding the death and subsequent memorials for Senator Ted Kennedy this past weekend abounded. I was more than ashamed to be this closely linked to such people. Condemnation, a lack of mercy, and vehement spite were all more than obvious in the lines of these writings. All for who? A dead man that your judgment or knowledge of the truth will not do any good for now was your target.

Was he a murderer? So was Paul the great apostle. Did he commt adultery? So did the great King David? Was he a "bleeding heart" liberal? Peter was viewed as such by the Christians in Jerusalem following his teaching of the gospel to the Gentiles. Am I stating that Ted Kennedy was as great or righteous as these men, certainly not. I am saying that by casting your judgment on this man you are placing yourself on the same level as the Pharisees who plotted and crucified the Lord Jesus Christ. Congratulations, you win the piety of the week award.

These people claim to be living and walking in truth and light but their judgment on this man proves differently. To cast judgment on this man's sins is to claim that you yourself are spotless. Are you? If you answered yes you are in direct denial of the fact that the Bible repeatedly tells us we are full of sin. Are your sins that much less than his or just less publicized? You celebrated Ronald Reagan at his death with no word of his divorce and remarriage yet you literally spit on the grave of Ted Kennedy. Trust me, I agree more politically with Reagan but since when do our political beliefs dictate how we represent the bride of Christ?

Can we call a sin a sin? Yes we can, but not like this. We have the right to use the law of God to point out man's sins when working hand in hand with the gospel. Nowhere in scripture are we given a post-humous license to point out the sins of others though. Last I checked, it is not possible to teach the gospel to a dead man. So then the question as to why to expose and relish in his sins publically or privately is felt needed or appropriate needs to be answered. I personally don't have that answer but I feel shame for being included in a group of people who believe they do. I thought I was only supposed to feel shame as a Christian from those outside the church.

As I type this I think of mistakes I have made in the past and people who may only know me from instances in which my sinful nature was rearing it's head. I wonder if I died today what judgment those people who barely know me would pass upon me and my soul's eternal resting place. Yet, even when thinking about the shadiest and lowest places I have been I can't imagine any of those people celebrating my death or damning my loved ones for memoralizing me. Yet, that is what "Christians" have done today. No wonder Christ preferred to hang out with what the public and most pious Jews cast away as trash.

Has any bill that Ted Kennedy passed ever affected my Christian life in a negative way? Possibly, I don't really know. More importantly though, has my Christian life ever affected Ted Kennedy's? I can answer definitley no. I have never ministered to him. I have never prayed for him. Therefore, my time and right to allow scripture to judge his sins has expired because I have no hope of using God's word to save his soul, if it needed saving. If you have prayed for him or did personaly minister the truth to him, God bless you and have faith that the seed you planted did not go without reaping of some sort. If you didn't, time's up. Just as you are incapable of saving yourself or a dead man, your judgment on this dead man will bring you no closer to God.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Local Church of Christ Preacher Boldly Questions Relevant Church Part 2

As promised in his previous commentary, Burleson Church of Christ preacher Todd Clippard has had published parts 2 and 3 of his thoughts on the relevant church movement in Hamilton, AL. Here is part 2:

Last week, I noted how modern-day Pentecostals were once satisfied to leave everyone else alone to their own practices, but that now a militant and belligerent attitude pervades among them, especially the younger generation. Now they point a finger at us and mock us as if we should be ashamed for not acting like fools during our worship assemblies. By way of reminder, there is nothing unkind or unbiblical about examining someone's teaching and practice in light of the Bible. I welcome such comparisons and questions. Furthermore, I made no accusations against the RAMP that cannot be verified by watching their own videos on YouTube.

As 1 Corinthians 14 is given to regulate the exercise of genuine spiritual gifts, (which in no way resembles the foolishness of practices seen today), it was noted how their practices violated 1 Corintians 14:22-23. This week we continue to compare their practices in light of what the Bible teaches.

Consider the practice of "speaking in tongues" during their assemblies. In the first century (when real tongue-speaking took place), this practice was regulated by 1 Corinthians 14:27-28....

"27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpet. 28 But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God." NKJV

How often have we seen the modern-day babblers all "speaking" at the same time? Pentecostals violate this Bible text in three ways: (1)it is more than two or three, (2) it is never in turn, and (3)I have yet to see the first interpreter. Pentecostal practice and 1 Corinthians 14:27-28 - - three strikes and you're out.

In an article regarding the practice of one of our local charismatic groups, the author and preacher spoke of a service as getting out of control. Worse still, he credited the Holy Spirit for the confusion and lack of control exhibited in the assembly. However, in 1 Corinthians 14:33 we read, "God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all churches of the saints."

Are present-day Pentecostal assemblies noted for confusion or peace? Paul said peacefulness is the sign of the worship assembly of God's people (saints). Yet by their own admission, Pentecostal practice stands in direct violation and contradiction to 1 Corinthians 14:33.

Lord willing, next Saturday there will be a third article in this series of examinations. In the meantime, we welcome your comments and questions.

Clippard, Todd. (2009, August 8). Pentecostal Finger Pointing Part II. Journal Record. p.3

Monday, August 17, 2009

How'd You Not See That One Coming?

I was fortunate enough to get to eat my lunch today with my wife. We went to a local restaurant and my wife discussed her plans to help our children in their spiritual lives. As we were sitting not far from the cash register, we of course had a view of everyone coming in and out of the restaurant. One such person was with a fairly large group of individuals and I noticed him from both his website and other more personal contact. To maintain some degree of dignity, the person will remain nameless but less just say he claims to be a minister and boasts of the "prophetic edge" that his ministry holds.

After they paid, the large party of people departed the restaurant and my wife and I continued our lunch. About three minutes passed until one of the members of the "prophets" party returned into the restaurant. Looking around, he sheepishly asked, "does anyone in here drive a white Saturn?" A young lady eating alone in the corner stood up and said "I do. Do I need to move from behind you." The man's response was "No, we backed into the front of it."

All I could do was look at my wife and say, "Prophet? You'd think he would have seen that coming and warned somebody." Guess he's just a part-time prophet.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Pilgrim's Map of the Day

What am I finding interesting and helpful on my journey:

* This is a very thought-provoking article from Extreme Theology's Richard Beck. Read this discussion about The Bait & Switch of Contemporary Christianity.

* Make sure you take time to read this review of John MacArthur's new book The Jesus You Can't Ignore. I bet this is a great book. Also, to fully understand the reasoning this book is needed, read the links you find in the book review.

* If you are a parent, youth minister, or treatment service provider, I would recommend following this link and registering for the August 25th webinar presented by The Partnership for a Drug Free America and The Boys & Girls Club of America. Entitled Parents: You Matter this should be outstanding. It's free and you will receive some really great materials. It's worth a look.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Remember that God is Enough

I really am blown away by this video that was sent to me today. I am not sure who the speaker is but it sounds an awful lot like John Piper, a wonderful preacher. Take 3 minutes and be enriched by this.

Monday, August 10, 2009

"Will You Tell Them For Me?"

I was honored with the privilege to speak at the Detroit Church of Christ yesterday. The people there are always so friendly and welcoming to both my family and myself. We enjoyed our visit and look forward to returning in the future.

As I studied for things to speak on last week, it dawned on me that this would be the last sermon that some of the kids would hear there prior to returning to school this week. My wife and I often fear the worldview that is presented to our children at school and I avoid the level of piety to believe that we are the only Christan parents who have these concerns. Long story short, through my studies I realized that a good lesson for both the children returning to school, the adults there, and also myself would be a lesson based around how Christians are given the ability to take Christ anywhere they want with them. We can talk to Christ anytime through prayer and we are shown in scripture how to take full advantage of this precious gift. We looked at Christ's models of prayer given in scripture and how quickly we can recognize our God at anytime.

While I tried to make sure the lesson was aimed at all in attendance, I wanted to make sure the children heard what the Word of God said. So, my first act was to have the school age (college too) children move forward to the front pews. I was able to talk to them and I had some trouble controlling my emotions (nothing new there) as I made eye contact with some of these innocent and beautiful children. Rather the Word of God that I repeated to them made a lasting impression, only God knows. I know that God promises great things if we simply teach the word though so I have faith that those who were there will be the exception when people claim that there is no prayer in school.

This brings me to my reason for posting this entry. After church services last night, I was speaking with one of the mothers whose daughter was to begin her very first day of kindergarten the next day (today). Knowing the emotions that any parent feels over sending their child to school, I asked the mother how she was holding up with this change looming. She expressed some nervousness and we talked about how much faith plays a part in being a parent, no matter what age your child or adult child is. The mother thanked me for the lesson from the morning and asked me if she saw what happened with her daughter during the lesson.

One of the facts that I pointed out during the lesson was that there were going to be children in their school who had never even heard of Jesus just like there are adults in the world who have never heard of Jesus. The mother pointed out to me that after I said this, the little girl tugged on her mom's shoulder and asked, "will you tell them about Jesus for me?" The mother said that this really hit home with her and she realized that while her daughter had been in preschool, it was a Christian pre-school and her daughter has never been around people who did not know of Christ. We then joked about how fun it would be to send a note pinned to her daughter saying, "do you know Jesus?" This sweet little girl and her parents were all in my prayers last night and this morning.

I have thought about the little girl's question several times since hearing it though. "Will you tell them about Jesus for me?" Is this not the same request that Christ made (Matther 28:18-20)? Is our sole purpose as Christians not to tell others about our Savior Christ? Is there a child in my children's school who doesn't know about Christ because I have never sought out the opportunity to tell their parents? We want to complain about the public schools not having Christians in them but then those same complainers are doing absolutely nothing to even try and make one more Christian. Sure, we insulate ourselves with Christian brothers and sisters, relishing in the joy of Christian fellowship, and we care for our very own children, but have you ever thought about what would have happened should God have treated His Son the same way?

What would your answer be if your child, grandchild, or any other loved one who is currently incapable of sharing the gospel came up to you and asked "have you told anyone about Jesus for me?" Would your answer be no? Why?

I see Christ in this dear little girl's question. This little girl represents all the children in the world to me. Both the children and more importantly Christ are asking, "Will you tell them for Me?"

Friday, August 07, 2009

Let the Boys be Boys

I have come to the point in my life where I actually enjoy sitting and talking to my parents. This seems like such a far cry from not long ago when I would have done anything to avoid them. However, I now cherish the moments I have with them and try to make an effort to just sit and talk with them as often as possible. Such an occasion occurred earlier this week as I went to their house to help my father move beds. They had just purchased the mattress that you can supposedly set a glass of wine on one end and then jump on the other and it won't spill. They wouldn't allow me to do this test though (oh ye of little faith).

After the work was done, we just sat around their table and talked for a while. My father and I discussed what we had done since we had seen each other last and funny enough, we both had attended revivals at separate churches. The revival my father had attended was one in which a great Christian man, Mr. Levi Sides, was the speaker. If you have never heard Levi speak, you should take the time to do so. I have been fortunate enough to not only hear him this year in my own church summer revival, but also at another church just a few weeks ago. I relayed to my father how the last time I heard Levi speak, he shared a story from the pulpit about the relationship that he and my parents had many moons ago. Our conversation then shifted between Levi and his family and my own son's competitive behavior to learn to ride their bikes. Dad then shared a story with me.

My father told me that Levi had told them a story of embarrassment and revelation when they were all much younger. It seems that when Levi's son was a young and small boy, Levi had taken him to a doctor's appointment. While there, Levi's son was very hyper and acting in a manner that was less than pleasing to Levi. He was climbing, jumping, and doing other things that little healthy and active boys tend to do. Opposite of Levi was another man and his son who was about the same age as Levi's son. This other son was sitting there calm and without fidgeting. Levi saw this and wondered to himself what he and his wife had been doing wrong that this boy could be so well behaved when compared to this still child.

Levi's son's activeness continued and at one point Levi pointed out to his son, the other boy and asked if he did not see how well that boy was behaving. Wanting his son to use that child's behavior as a model Levi asked his son to try and be more like the other boy. Upon hearing the conversation between Levi and his son, the father of the other boy chimed in. In a very meek and humble voice he said to Levi, "sir, please let your son continue. Be thankful that your son is able to do those things and that he does not struggle to move." The man then asked his still son to raise his pants legs. There, in Levi's sight were two prosthetic legs. This boy had no leg below either knee. The man continued explaining to Levi how painful it was for his son to move and how the adjustment to the prosthetics was a long and challenging process. The man pointed out to Levi that he should view his son's behavior as indication that God had given him a healthy and lively child to raise.

Levi, left speechless, found the words to apologize to the man and his son and saw his child's actions in a different way from that point forward. Levi saw that while his son's actions needed refining, there was nothing "wrong" with him. Levi realized just how much God had blessed him and how lucky he was to have a son with no health problems. Levi told my father that this was a pivotal moment in his learning to be a father.

I have thought about this story every time I look at my son's this week. I feel so blessed to have been given three boys, all healthy and active (oh are they active). However, I am learning to view God's gifts to me not as indicators of my deserving of blessing, but as proof of my limitations. God tells Moses in Exodus 4 that it is He who gives man his limitations. It takes a special kind of person to raise a handicapped child and my respect for those individuals who raise those children is beyond words. Just as I look at my children as blessings and I learn lessons from being their father, the lessons that must come from being a parent of a special needs child must be infinite. God has given me exactly what He knew I could handle. Imagine how strong He must see the individuals He gives less than healthy children to.

Tonight, when I look at my children, I will strive to not reel them in just because they are "getting on my nerves" with their hyper activity. Unless they are doing something that I see as a danger to themselves or others physically, and more importantly, spiritually, I will let them be the boys that God created them to be. Of course, if they could do all this outside I will be even more thankful.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009


It would do all well to read the following article posted over at Apprising Ministries today. If you are a Christian, the message that should stand out in this well reasearched and documented writing is welcome to your worse nightmare. It's time to do something....

Click here to read this excellent article about the current state of emergent Christianity.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Is the Gospel Message "Change the World?"

Has it really come to this point? One of two things have happened. Either the church and it's teachers have so let down their guard of the gospel message that Christians are no longer hearing the true gospel message, or the Chrisitans from these churches are either too blind or faithless to realize the lone thing that the gospel message tells Christians to do. Are we so vain that we think that our great God would leave "world-changing" up to mere humans? Here's a thought, let's leave the "world-changing" up to God Almighty. I am pretty sure He is more than capable.

I write this having encountered a Christian movement over the weekend whose justification for their actions is that they believe that through their actions they are going to "change the world." While that is a noble cause that deserves to be commended, what I found in some of these individuals is a level of judgment and dispicable behavior toward those who don't buy into their idea that their actions are going to change the world. When I pointed out that their backing for their relativly new belief system is not in line with scripture and dwells primarily in Old Covenant teaching, their arguments quicky dwindled and mixed into their diminishing pride I was confronted with a level of arrogance that was both new and odd to me.

So, over the weekend I have silently thought and dwelled in Scripture to find if Christ's gospel message, that which He gave His very Life for, was to "go change the world." I of course know the Great Commission (Matthew 28;18-20) but there is a school of Preterist thought out there who believes that the Great Commission was already fulfilled by those apostles to whom Christ was directly addressing. All that being said though, many who would hold that this passage is meant for those of us today can't get past the verb "GO" issued by Jesus Christ and instead change it to "STAY RIGHT HERE," or, in the worse case scenario, make sure you equip someone else to do it later. Not very world changing.

I could write for days on this topic but will stop here. We as Christians are not instructed to "go change the world," and if taken to the root, that is not the mission of many who claim that as their goal. Driven by either socio-political fears, socio-economic worries, or in the worse case scenario, out right fear, people manipulate the gospel to fit whatever cause it is their current non-gospel matching beliefs need. Sadly, when pressed, these indivduals rely solely on law to back their positions and the gospel and faith in a graceful and crucified Savior is diminished to a sidenote. We are instructed over and over by Christ and in the epistles to do one thing in order to please God - teach the gospel. How did the message change from teach repentance and forgivness of sins to "we gotta change the world?" I have my assumptions but will sit on those for this time. There is nothing Christian about changing the world. Can Christians change the world? Yes, if we get our fears, motives, and dogmas out of the way and allow Christ's gospel message to flow from us. The two greatest commandments as pointed out by Christ are love God, love neighbor. How do you intend to "change the world," when you have yet to even knock on your neighbors door to ask if they know the gospel? Let's leave the world changing up to God. Perhaps we will see more of it if we trust in what the gospel can do and stop trying to force God's hand by our own works.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Local Church of Christ Preacher Boldly Questions Relevant Church

I can't remember the last time I read my local newspaper in Hamilton, AL and was surprised by something I read. Word tends to travel fast in this small town. However, as I fingered through the Journal Record today, a commentary, placed off to the side of page three took my breath away. Mr. Todd Clippard, pulpit minster of Burleson Church of Christ in Hamilton, AL has apparently had enough of the relevant movement that has taken place in our little small town and he is ready to do something about it. He has provided the readers of this small publication with a scathing commentary about the wool that many feel are being pulled over the eyes of the residents and children of this little town in northwest Alabama. In a hope that more than just the few who read the Journal Record will get to enjoy this writing, I would like to post his commentary below. Feel free to leave comments as I intend to send a link to this posting to Todd Clippard as well. Enjoy some discernment:

Pentecostal Finger Pointing or,
Not All Ramps Lead Upward

I recently watched some YouTube videos of the foolishness that is passed off as worship at the local RAMP. {find the referenced video below} One young man gave his "testimony" how the Lord had set him free, not from sin or some self-destructive lifestyle, but from (and I quote)"the biggest devil of all... dry, dead, religious tradition & bondage." He went on to rant about how "God wants to act normal again, but God can't act normal because he can't find his church that will act normal."
It must be noted that there is nothing unkind or unbiblical in comparing one's religious faith and practice against the teaching of Scripture. I invite comparisons of my faith and practice with the Scriptures. John warned us not to believe every spirit, but to put them to the test since many false teachers were in the world (1 John 4:1). Paul said Jews had "a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge,... being ignorant of God's righteous" (Rom. 10:2-3).
Pentecostals once practiced their traditions privately and were satisfied to leave everyone else alone, though they privately admitted they thought the rest of us were missing out on "real spirituality." But today things are different. There is a belligerent attitude among present charismatics, especially among younger practitioners. Now they openly and loudly point their fingers at us as if we should be ashamed for not acting like fools during our worship assemblies.
While you may find crude or offensive my use of the word "fools," it is actually nicer than Paul's description of those who possessed (unlike today's false practitioners) but misused genuine spiritual gifts. Writing to the Corinthian church in 1 Corinthians 14:22-23, Paul said,
"Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who believe. Therefore, if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your minds?"
I find it beyond belief how today's charismatics jump around, holler, dance and roll on the floor, and then accuse the rest of us of failing to act normally! Such practices stand in direct violation of the very laws Paul laid down for the exercise of spiritual gifts. Modern day charismatic practice has been divorced from 1 Corinthians 14:22-23 for irreconcilable differences!
Lord willing, our examination of the Bible in view of modern pentecostalism will continue in a follow-up article next week. Until then, we welcome your questions and comments.
Todd Clippard
Burleson Church of Christ


Here is the video that Todd references in his commentary: