Friday, September 11, 2009

In Response to Burleson Church of Christ Preachers Commentaries

Over the past month or so I have sporadically placed the three-part commentary of Todd Clippard, preacher of Burleson Church of Christ on my blog. This commentary was written in response to an assault on what Mr. Clippard feels is his style of worship. The assault was one in which the people who posted it were so proud of that they posted it on YouTube (if you would like to see the video, click here). Seeing many of the responses posted on this blog to Mr. Clippard's commentaries, it would appear that many believe that he is on the attack when he is so obviously defending his style of worship and beliefs. At the heart of his argument I see a statement that although he does not speak in tongues, work miracles, or prance to girly semi-erotic praise songs in his worship, this does not make his faith in Christ dead or dry as the video states.

In fairness, I thought it would be a good idea to post one of the commentaries posted by a member of this community in which the commentaries were published. These commentaries were posted in the local newspaper the Journal Record . The published response below is written by on Bobby Barnes, Jr from Winfield, AL and although Mr. Clippard's commentaries in the paper were paid, this was a freely published letter to the editor. Please read below and then my response to this commentary will follow.

Who's right or who's wrong?
I have read both (note that this letter was written prior to the publication of the third commentary by Mr. Clippard) letters to the paper. Are you the pastor of Burleson Church of Christ? If by chance you are, I'm truly concerned. Not one time have you encouraged people or even mentioned Christ. The only time I saw where Christ was mentioned was in the name of your church. Rm. 6:23: For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life thru Jesus Christ our Lord.
Isn't it our duty as Christians to lead people to Christ, not all this finger pointing and religious beliefs? Who's right or who's wrong? That's not gonna get anyone to heaven. John 3:3: Jesus answered and said unto him, except a man be born again, he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. That, I hope, we both agree on. I encourage everyone to love you no matter your commandments. John 15:12: Jesus said: This is my commandments that we love one another, as I have loved you.
Sir, why are you watching these testimonies on youtube? Some interest, maybe? I truly encourage you to turn it off. It would give you a lot more time to win people to Christ, instead of all this negativism. We will never prove who's right or wrong.

Sir, we have teenagers, adults, mothers, and dads committing suicide, teen pregnancies, drug overdose, people killing people. The list goes on and on. That should be our number one goal as Christians to lead the lost to Christ. Make a difference in people's lives, not all this religious stuff.
If you don't agree with the RAMP, be thankful that they are leading our people to Christ, no matter what church you go to. Rm. 10:13: For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. It didn't say that I had to belong to Church of Christ or Pentecostal, or any other denomination.
When I was 13 years old, the Church of Christ and Pentecostals organized a debate over who's right or wrong. That building was full of mad religious people. No one ever decided who was right or wrong. It lasted a week. What is so sad, not one sinner was led to Christ. Not even an invitation on either side. What a waste of time.
People need to hear about Christ. Would you please put all religious beliefs away? Help me and others win the lost.
P.S. By the way, my father is a Pentecostal preacher, has been all my life. Never have I seen him roll around in the floor or act the way you accuse Pentecostals.
Barnes, Bobby. (2009, August 19). Who's right or who's wrong?. Journal Record. p. 4A.
So, there you have it. That is the response to a man attempting to defend his understanding of scripture and the proof it points out. For starters, let me say that I am in agreement with Mr. Barnes. Style of worship or "religion" as he puts it will not save a single person. He states that Christ needs to be our focus but he needs to take it one step further and state that only teaching Christ crucified will save anyone.
Allow me to deconstruct some of what Mr. Barnes has said though. For starters, you state that you are truly concerned over the fact that Mr. Clippard is the preacher of Burleson Church of Christ. On what grounds do you base this "concern?" Have you sat through his sermons to see if he is proclaiming Christ crucified as the scriptures laid out? Is your argument based out of ignorance? You base your argument off of his response to a video that attacked his beliefs yet you fail to point out that in the video there is only one mention of Christ and it is based off of what the boy speaking "believes." Not what scripture says. There will be an upcoming post further discussing the video and the flaws within but allow me to say this. This boy states that he "believes" that there is a generation that "wants to have an encounter with Jesus Christ and Him crucified" so that they may be "set free." This is in direct conflict with scripture and without delving into man's "desire" to follow Christ, I will say that the life of a Christian is not one that scripture defines as freedom. As a matter of fact, the passage you cite Mr. Barnes (Romans 6:23) is the close of a discussion by Paul about being SLAVES to righteousness.
Mr. Barnes asks "isn't it our duty to lead people to Christ?" No, it is not a duty, it should be a naturally flowing work through faith. To look at it as a duty begins a cycle of "look what I am doing for you Jesus, I deserve your blood." This eliminates grace and sets up a belief that somehow we are good enough or deserving of God's forgiveness given through Christ's blood alone. You point out that Mr. Clippard's "finger-pointing" will not get anyone to heaven and you may be correct. It can however give someone the opportunity to evaluate what they are being taught and to possibly "test the spirits" (1 John 4:1) that are inducing their emotions. If you're just there for the show then you are not a sheep and the leaders bringing you in are not shepherds, they are goat-herders.
I also find it funny that you reference John 3:3 to back your point but fail to mention that your system of belief is one that only believes that water baptism is nothing more than an outward sign of your conversion when Christ so clearly explains otherwise just two verses down in John 3:5. How can you, as you say hope to agree on something when you clearly ignore scripture regarding the gift of baptism and it's power.
I could go on but I will end with this. Mr. Barnes points out that our number one "goal" as Christians should be to lead the lost to Christ. This is is the core of the disagreement as I see it. When Mr. Clippard and myself for that matter read scripture, we see how to lead the lost to Christ. It is not through "testimony," irreverent and disorderly worship, and false miracles. The lost can only be led to Christ through the teaching of God's holy and sacred text. Watch the video again and count the number of times that the phrase "I believe" is uttered. For that matter, log onto the RAMP website and listen for that phrase or for "God told me." Where sir is the scriptural authority to teach in this fashion? Where sir is the scriptural authority to take liberty with worship style? Where sir is the scriptural authority for female preaching? If you will look you will find none. I often use the term sola scriptura which means by scripture alone. The bottom line is that some believe that God's word is not the true and final revelation and some do. Those who do look to the scripture for permission and for true liberty, finding what God wants our lives to be. The others feel bound by the scripture and look at scripture as a barrier to overcome in order to become more "free." The Bible is no more and no less than the story of Jesus Christ and God's love for an undeserving and rebellious mankind. Everything we need to know about God is revealed there. Everything we need to know about ourselves is revealed there. To some this for some reason is too hard to accept and just as John warned about in the books of 1 and 2 John, they strive to change it to make it more pleasing to sinful man. If you are going to stand in a pulpit and teach scripture gives permission to teach but one thing, Jesus Christ crucified. That does not mean a fleeting mention of this sacrifice but rather a bold and loud proclamation of the love involved. I implore you to take a look at what Mr. Clippard is discussing and research this yourself. Do you see liberties being taken that are not permissible in scripture. When you answer that question you will have the answer to your letter's title. Who's right and who's wrong.
In respect of open and clear dialogue, I ask that if you choose to respond to this, especially if you are local, have the backbone to post your name rather than hiding behind a moniker of Anonymous or some other made up nickname. If no one can see who is saying what then you are really truly saying nothing and add nothing to this conversation. "Anonymous" postings will not be placed on this particular discussion. Thanks in advance.

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