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:


Anonymous said...


I think that Todd is completely off base. First, he doesn't even get the point that the young man is stating. The young man is saying that if we are attending church to simply go through the motions then we have a problem. We should not make church the way WE see fit, but to come in and simply worship the Lord and let Him lead the service. He was giving a personal testamony where he came to church out of obbligation and not to worship the King of Kings. Todd is the Preacher of a church, I think he should examine his own fruits from his church before he goes and destroys the work of God.

Dave Brumley said...

Thanks for your comment Anonymous (please provide a name next time). I don't pretend to know Todd's motivations but perhaps he is seeing something that you are not. Remember, the boy said in his "testimony" that "dead, dry" worship was "the devil." If Todd is wrong for his action, how is the boy right? Just as a side note though, the boy discusses "learning church." I would like to know how many practices and camps he has attended to "learn" the dances they do and then state the Holy Spirit is leading them to do. I would like to know if Paul had to take lessons before he could pen the words the Holy Spirit moved him to write. I think that is a valid question.

Anonymous said...

I have to totally agree with Anonymous. I too am church of christ and I feel that Todd Clippard's PUBLISHED article in the Journal Record is offensive to say the least. Is this how we want others to feel about the church of christ doctrine? That we are JUDGING others' religious beliefs? That we are "name calling" and questioning a person's heart? If the events that go on at The Ramp cause one person to turn away from sin, isn't that pleasing to God? If someone who is associated with The Ramp causes one person to turn from drugs, immorality, or other sin, doesn't that give our Savior glory? If it makes these young people feel closer to God to dance around, sing, give testimony, etc. and Todd Clippard jugdes them for doing so, who then is the sinner? As I understand it, many of the young people who attend The Ramp, are looking for meaning and direction in their lives. I find it difficult to understand why this is a bad thing. Let us not forget Matthew 5: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Dave Brumley said...

Anonymous #2 (again, leaving names would be great), thank you also for your comments. Your comment though leaves me wanting to ask several questions;

#1 - What is the "church of christ doctrine?"

#2 - I have personally seen people turn away from drugs and other sins based on the religion of Muslim and Judaism. Were those events "pleasing to God?"

#3 - In my estimation, Mr. Clippard's commentary was a response to the video, not a "judgment." Why are you not calling into question the "judgment" of the young man?

#4 - Why is Mr. Clippard's article "offensive" to you?

#5 - As a member of the Church of Christ, are you satisfied with letting The Ramp be responsible for corraling and saving youth in your community &, if not, please share what you have done about it.

Finally, #6 - You asked if Mr. Clippard's words are how we want others to see the church. Exactly how do you want the church to be seen?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Brumley,
I agree with the previous “anonymous” entries. I have a feeling that any response to this article on your blog will be given in the same manner, as we do live in a small town and I would never offend my neighbor out right with any difference of opinion. Are you saved by the blood of Christ? I am. I am not Church of Christ nor do I have ties with the RAMP. I am a BORN AGAIN Christian. And I am against denomination bashing. No one has the right to point fingers and tell one denomination that they are inferior to another. Not the mention, one person pointing a finger at another person. If “we” are saved by the blood of the Lamb then “we” are in this together. Regardless if one plays music, speaks in tongues, takes communion every Sunday, wears dresses, jeans, or has blue hair. If I am saved by the blood of Jesus Christ then I’m saved. How much more saved can one get? I would hate to know that I had adhered to my “domination or doctorine” to the degree that I was so closed minded that I ended up judging others in my ignorance. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, gentleness, long suffering, meekness and temperance.” Galatians 5:22 Who are the ones practicing what they preach? The Bible doesn’t read, The fruit of the spirit is malice, deceit, hatefulness, and unkindness. How can you support these things? Let’s look at more verses from this chapter in Galatians.
14The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." 15If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. 16So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. 19The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
Particular emphasis needs to be taken with verse 26. Todd Clippard is doing nothing but provoking others. As he has done with you, Mr. Brumley. He has stirred your being using malice, anger, and hatred. In verse 15 it warns you to watch out! Least you destroy one another.

I prefer to be mindful and extremely careful when speaking of others and their work for the Lord. I will only have to answer for myself during the great judgment. My fruits will be considered. I leave you with a bit of advice.

A shut mouth gathers no foot.

Dave Brumley said...

Anonymous 3 (use your name please, anonimity seems to be a license for insincere boldness), thank you also for your comments. Your argument would have credence should you view the discussion objectively. Yet, you failed to address the fact that Mr. Clippard's commentary was a RESPONSE to the boys initial statement(s) in the video. I am not taking sides on this matter but simply pointing out the hypocrisy that seems to beginning to rear itself regarding the boys comments. If Mr. Clippard felt assaulted by this video, a video intentionally placed online for the world to view, then how is the boys commentary less harmful that that which you accuse Mr. Clippard of? The scripture verses you posted are great, but what is this fruit you call "love?" Is "love" to you standing by idly while you watch someone do things that are harmful to themself? I think not.
Thanks for the advise by the way, but I tend to only take advise from credible sources, not anonymous ones. It has been my learning since beginning my blog that anonimity is normally a cloak for dishonesty or other ulterior motives.
It would be great if some of you would answer the questions asked of you after posting as well. Hence, dialogue.

For the record, I think Mr. Clippard is missing the point to state that what he sees as wrong is "Presbyterian." It is not Presbyterian, it is the Emergent Church movement. The battle is one against the Relevant church, not the Presbyterian.

Insincere Boldness said...

Presbyterian?? Where did this come from? That's never been mentioned...

Can you define:
The Emergent church movement & the Relevant church?

Dave Brumley said...

Yikes, I didn't quite notice that. Thank you. I did put Presbyterian but meant Pentecostal. Thank you for correcting that.

Your asked for the emergent and relevant church movement to be defined. I will do this briefly as possible.

The Emergent Church movement refers to an actual movement/organization that has been allowed to creep in and take a strong hold on American "Christianity." They love the world and it is no mistake that the website for this village ( posts in it's mission statement what they are looking for "...seeking to love our world..." Due to their belief and hope that there will be some new spiritual enlightment that has nothing to do with scripture, their leaders have led them to believe in and begin acting in a postmodern fashion. Due to this belief, they believe that American Christianity should be done away with and allow their thinking to take over (see 2 John about "going ahead" to see the reason this is troublesome). Listen carefully to the video posted again and see if you don't hear this idea at the heart of this boys message. What is truly sad is that many of these kids and sadly adults who were raised in truth, do not even realize what they are buying into and the manipulation that is taking place.

The relevant church movement is much less organized but problematic as well. To sum this up I like to use this example. A church goes door-knocking and they ask people "what would you like to see in church that would make you come?" If they answer coffee and doughnuts, then they add coffee and doughnuts to their service. If they answer dancing monkeys then they add dancing monkeys. Sure, this may get the person in the door, but who is the worship for then? God or man? Scripture gives us the authority of worship and to make it as man wants, or RELEVANT to popular culture/man then you are no longer worshipping God, you are worshipping man. Sola scriptura is the concept that has been forgotten by both these movements.

Hope that helps.

Kyle said...

"Emergent church movement & the Relevant church"
In other words it sounds seeker sensitive to me. If I was a local in that community my curiosity would drive me to go see it for myself. At least once. Have you ever been to one of these "ramp" "services" or at least been in contact with any of their "members"?

Dave Brumley said...

Very good. Seeker Sensitive & relevant are basically one in the same. To answer your question, I have not attended there but have seen the message they promote on their website. It is literally chalked full of multimedia that one can learn from. You other question I can answer with a yes, several.

Kyle said...

Thanks. Still curious though. Do you know the official website? How exactly do you define them as seeker sensitive? What are their "member" like?

Dave Brumley said...

Their official website can be found through a simply google search. At this time, I prefer not to provide a direct link to it from this blog.
What makes them seeker? The entire "enlightenment" that they proclaim to be part of is based solely off of worship fit to be pleasing to a generation. Therefore, when they plan, preach, worship, they are asking themselves if their worship service is going to pleasing to those of that generation. Who then is the worship for? Their worship may be proclaimed to be toward God, but it is for the generation. Their worship is sensitive to this generation and they go as far, as in the video referenced in Todd's article, to call worship that is not sensitive to a younger generation, "devil." Man, is that satisfying to the naturally rebellious teen. If you see it differently, then let me know.
You also asked "what are their members like?" The ones I know are good people. Remember, it is not my place to pass judgment. Yet, their leadership is teaching them to view scripture based off of what "they believe" a scripture says. There is an intentional avoidance of deep and challenging Bible study (again, this is based off of the teaching that I have watched come from there and conversations with members there). At the heart of this is a sort of Babylonian (yes, that's the Babylon from Revelation) mysticism that is very intriguing to the seeker. It is something new, fresh, and is based on "your" understanding of scripture, not the Holy Spirit's intentional purpose for breathing those words. How does this understanding come about? If you believe the leaders of this church it is through one-on-one actual dialogue (you talk and God talks back). They have abandoned sola scriptura and many believe that the Bible is a jumping off point to understanding God, not an absolute authroity on who God is and what He demands out of our life. This leads to apostasy and heresy. All the answers are given and Solomon even discussed in Ecc. his worthless pursuit that so many of these people are after. He called it vanity in Ecc. 8 and discussed his understanding that seeking for something higher than what God has already chosen to reveal leads only to frustration. These kids are not being taught to obey scripture and "teach the word (2 Tim. 4)" but something different. How can they be expected to when their leaders don't even teach it?
Let me say this. I don't pretend to know all of God's ways but I do know what the Bible says about Him. There is no example of their worship style in scripture. There is no example of their teaching format in scripture. There is certainly no example of formatting worship and teaching to fit a generational ideal. I am not their judge and as I said before, the kids that are walking out of this place seem to be good kids. Until they are taught the Bible though, they are not armed with the whole armor of God and will be easily pierced with the fiery darts that Paul talks about. Last I checked, good choreography is not part of the armor of God.