IFB Election Year Political Bingo

Political Bingo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Political Bingo

Independent Fundamental Baptists don’t play BINGO. Why is that? Back in the 50s, Roman Catholics had a reputation for doing it.

Also, IFBs heed the call to ‘comeoutfromamongthemandbeyeseparate!’

But for all the separation, plenty of worldly stuff gets a pass in the IFB coat areas, parking lots and even an occasional sermon. This may be doubly so in a Presidential election year.

So — what things have been or might reasonably expect to be discussed by the IFBs you know … in church … during choir rehearsal break … while you wait for the Sunday School lesson to start … etc.

Friday Challenge — Correcting Compromise:

Compromise

Compromise Revisited:

Two months ago, SFL addressed the political compromise of Liberty University and Donald Trump under the title, ‘Suspending the Rules on Compromise.’ Apparently, some people agreed with us. A number of them are students at Liberty University. Calling themselves ‘Liberty United Against Trump,’ they published a statement censoring Jerry Falwell Jr.

Worse, they’re calling others to give it an endorsement of their own!

The opening paragraph states:

‘In the months since Jerry Falwell Jr. endorsed him, Donald Trump has been inexorably associated with Liberty University. We are Liberty students who are disappointed with President Falwell’s endorsement and are tired of being associated with one of the worst presidential candidates in American history. Donald Trump does not represent our values and we want nothing to do with him.’

Now I would not have written those words. I agree with the words and their sentiment. But I wouldn’t have written them. I would have said:

By consummating their civil union, Jerry Falwell Jr. inexorably tied Donald Trump and Liberty University. As Liberty students, we are disgusted by Mr. Falwell’s utter lack of spiritual sensibilities. We feel outraged and violated that without our consent, we are associated with an openly fascistic narcissist who holds both Christian faith and our system of governance in unmitigated contempt. Donald Trump does not represent our values; and if he represents Mr. Falwell’s values, we want nothing to do with either one of them.’

There is much about the Liberty United statement that is good. For me, the heart of the statement was this:

‘Associating any politician with Christianity is damaging to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.’

Friday Challenge — Correct Them!

Today, you get to ‘set ’em straight!’ This means that you get to rewrite some statement, paragraph or line from this, or another statement that you heard/endured in Fundystan. If you wish, you can reply to something that ought to have been addressed but never was. The use of [brackets] may help to clarify such changes as you intend to make.

Two rules apply this time:

1] Use your own discretion as regarding the use of identifiable names. You’re welcome to address those involved if you want … but you never know who may read it. So, use your own discretion.

2] Make this FUN [or therapeutic, as you wish]. Blessings!

Political Wolves in Shepherd’s Clothing

TriumphalismRemember when Pat Robertson issued that fatwa on Hugo Chavez’ head? Now, James Dobson explains why righteousness, honor and wisdom apparently mean voting for Donald Trump. This leads to two questions.

Question 1:

How is it that though led by God’s Spirit, Christian leaders frequently are so imbalanced and unhinged?

I’ve said that Pat Robertson is as stable as a walrus on a flagpole. In Mr. Trump’s case, the walrus is drunk. For Dobson to depict Trump’s course as the path of righteousness, honor and wisdom leaves me wondering where James finds that totally phenomenal stuff he smokes. Why he puts his name to such a statement defies my mortal comprehension.

I don’t know how to read my own heart let alone others’. But I would be lying if I denied that it ever crossed my mind that Mr. Dobson is a mole — a political operative who courts partisan favor under the language of faith. And yes, I have wondered if that is all the ‘faith’ James Dobson has. But again, that isn’t for me to know or answer.

Question 2:

How much harm is wrought by the civic involvement of faith leaders stuck perpetually in grievous, political ignorance?

Fundamentalists believe that their doctrine, nation, narrative and societal structure is superior to all others and should have supremacy. This means that they are suckers for triumphalism. If they can just align everything rightly, God will pour out his blessing, vanquish enemies, silence critics and elevate them to the status they are convinced they deserve.

Likewise, the USA has a strong, triumphalist bent. The agendas differ at some points, but the basic framework and ideas are markedly alike. This may offer insight as to why the Fundamentalist and Americanist bond is sometimes stronger than the Fundamentalist bond to God and Scripture.

Triumphalism has drawn Fundmentalism toward Americanism. This means it thoroughly secularizes fundamentalism. But it also moves fundamentalism toward political extremism. Early in his article, James Dobson admits to seeing the 2016 race as a one-issue election.  Many will no doubt agree with him. This is where the potential for harm lies.

Why this Matters

As our attention fixates on one or two ‘key’ issues, US/Russia relations have in recent days taken a very dark turn. While very sober, high profile people such as Sergei Lavrov and Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov tell their counterparts in our government — it behooves you to shun the hotheads and to consider very carefully the political import of your actions, our corporate-owned press remains guilty silence. We hear nothing of this.

When Senator Clinton says that her earliest presidential acts would include a review US nuclear policy, Russians hear her to say that the US is ready to abandon its ‘no first-nuclear strike’ policy. Our ‘leadership’ uses blatantly incendiary rhetoric to win domestic support with no thought to the potential consequences their words hold for millions or billions.

It has never been easier to educate ourselves on a global perspective. And even a quick review of the Russian press would add considerable breadth to our perspective. This is not to appeal for acquiescence to the Russian government’s line. This is about being informed and knowing how others perceive our actions. There, we might discover such titles as:

The Russian government helps nothing when it limits Christian activity. But then, were Christians more vocal critics of many aspects of US foreign policy, other nations might be more willing to receive Christians and to tolerate their presence and work in their lands.

Triumph or Disaster

The video discussion may disturb some. If images and discussion of war bother you, don’t go there. There is plenty to which to respond already.

Also, I attempted to split the video and post only the first half. But my aging video splitter program wouldn’t do it. So be forewarned that the second half is partizan. So shut it down if you don’t want it. If the video doesn’t play properly, let me know and I’ll put up the URL.

In the face of impending world war [potentially including thermonuclear holocaust], I find it deeply offensive and profoundly wrongheaded that Christians insist we focus on Supreme Court appointments or the gender alignment of human genitalia. If war is the ultimate blasphemy against Yahweh, silence in the face of such crime has no justification. Christian leaders that cheer us on as we toboggan toward disaster appear to me to be political wolves in shepherd’s clothing.

FWOTW: Meet Cutting Edge Ministries

fundamentally-edgy-stuff

Cutting Edge is an Independent Fundamental Baptist outreach ministry. We know this because they say so.

‘Our Christian organization is a fundamental independent Baptist Church outreach ministry. We are dedicated to the Scriptures as the only revelation of God and His Son, Jesus Christ.’

There website material is carefully organized and presented. Again, we know this because they say:

‘…we know you’ll find what you are seeking in our carefully organized and presented material.’

So what does all this carefully organized and presented material look like?

To see pastor Billy Crone’s website wonder click here! If that isn’t enough, visit Cutting Edge on Facebook. For those heavily into self-flagellation,  find more of pastor Crone at the Get A Life ministries website. And this by no means exhausts Billy’s online articles and videos. Like this stuff…

the-final-countdown-volume-15-summer-prophecy-update-2016-by-pastor-billy-crone-cutting-edge-ministries

And don’t forget the ‘Cutting Edge Newsletter.’

In fact Billy Crone brings together more ‘weird’ than most people see in a lifetime. Readers may need several days to sort through Billy’s wonders, and quirky ‘insights’ on Christian faith and life. Have fun, everyone!

Fundamentally Gnostic

Gnosticism and its influence

Gnosticism and Us

More than we care to admit, we are influenced by platonic thought [the body is a prison to the soul] and Gnosticism [the physical and spiritual worlds are inviolably separate]. And a number of texts can be read to imply such meaning. For example, 2Pe 2:10 speaks of those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires. And Ro 8:3 references ‘sinful flesh.’

In Gnosticism, the physical and spiritual worlds are inviolably separate. Paul addressed Gnosticism in seminal form. A sophisticated belief system, Gnosticism displayed itself in differing forms wherever it was established.

Incipient Gnosticism

In Corinth, Gnosticism took on a very base form. Since the spiritual world [the soul] and the physical world [the body] are separate, it doesn’t matter what you do with the body. ‘Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food’ [1Co 6:13]! Since my soul is hidden with God in Christ, it doesn’t matter what I do with my body.

In Colosse, Gnosticism took on a very ascetic form. Since the spirit is what mattered, the body should be starved of its affections. They delighted in self-abasement [Co 2:18, 21, 23], practiced man-made rules that treated the body harshly — but had no spiritual power.

Someone in the Corinthian church believed incest was acceptable. At Colosse, this would be considered abhorrent. But whether it led to fleshy ‘indulgence’ or ‘denial,’ the common link was the separation of the material and spiritual worlds which is the Gnostic heresy.

gnosticism-fail
And Sunday Services are different because ……………

Gnosticism and Christianity

‘Christian Gnostics’ try to merge these differing belief systems. There are Gnostic interpretations of the gospels and other texts. And there are ‘Gnostic gospels.’ Gnosticism is recognized as an heresy, but the church never quite eliminated it entirely. We’ve never been as good at recognizing Gnostic heresies as say the Arian-Sabellian family of heresies.

Nothing is helped by our ignorance of this belief system, especially since Gnosticism seems to be undergoing a resurgence. Yet a strain of Christianity still regards the body as a prison of the soul. There, the ‘gospel’ serves to free souls [‘save’ them] from the corruptions of the flesh. And Fundamentalism seems particularly vulnerable to this.

Gnosticism Today

If you’ve ever heard, ‘forget feeding the hungry and save the soul,’ if you’ve ever heard ‘the body is for a few years, but the soul is for eternity,’ those are Gnostic ideas. If you’ve ever heard Col 2:21 mishandled to affirm ‘do not handle/taste/touch’ rules, the same applies.

Shaming and/or treating the body unsparingly and demanding a practice of strict asceticism — all this would get cheering Gnostics on their feet.

Paul is utterly clear that such man-made rules/religious precepts have NO value to restrain fleshly indulgence [Co 2:23]. Myriads of fundamentalist sermons contradict this and make Paul a liar. Were an intelligent Gnostic well studied in the Gnostic interpretation of the Bible to align with an IFB sect, few preachers would sense anything wrong with their belief system.

Answering Gnosticism

The obvious answer to Gnosticism is Jesus Christ in whom ‘all the fullness of deity dwells in bodily form’ [Co 2:9]. In the incarnation, God who is spirit assumes flesh. But if so, Gnosticism is finished. While Christian Fundamentalists confess Jesus’ incarnation, few have any clue what this means theologically. They’ve no idea how to use the incarnation to ply apart the spirit/material dualism selling Gnosticism as Fundamentalism.

Further study

While I’ve not read the whole thing and won’t vouch for every argument made, an intelligent and insightful paper looks more extensively at the similarities between Gnosticism and Christian Fundamentalism. Fundies who review it may the discussion of Gnosticism strangely familiar.