Monday, July 29, 2013

Some time away!

My husband Brad and I are heading to the redwoods.  I will not post until I return or maybe later after all the weeds are out of the garden:

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Heresy: acknowledgement & encounter (part 3)

We should be able to maintain diversity in our midst without including heresy as part of the diversity. What hinders Christ in his person and work hinders the Church. 
My husband and I once invited a man in the church we attended to teach a Bible study in our home. That was many years ago when we were in the denomination my husband was raised in, the Assemblies of God. I don’t remember the reason we invited him, but I do remember the reason we confronted him about his teaching, the reason he left.

 He kept us in the same text, Psalm 1, for weeks and finally, one study night, allowed us into his special knowledge. According to his peculiar theology there are two levels of Christians, children of God and sons of God. The sons, according to this false teacher, are on a higher spiritual level.

He may still teach, somewhere, but never again in our home. The children of God are the sons and daughters of God, the ones who bear the righteousness of Christ alone. Salvation isn’t tendered out in different categories of superiority. Grace is free though costly. Heresy, as I stated in my last posting, always attacks the person and work of Jesus Christ.  The view that there are two levels of Christianity is definitely an attack on the sacrificial work of Christ.

We had gathered ten friends and neighbors to the study. What if we had not confronted the teacher? A few that night did not understand how false the teaching was. Even one person deceived would be a great loss. The church, and individual believers, must acknowledge what they see and hear. Paul gave very stern warnings to the Christians at Galatia:

But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed. (Gal. 1:8-9)
There are at least three prevailing problems in the Church. One has to do with unrepentant immorality, antinomianism. One has to do with the coldness of our hearts toward the Lord of the Church. And one has to do with heresy. The problem of heresy too often grows because of the other two. In our careless and cold attitude toward the Lord, or because some false teaching excuses our own sinfulness we ignore the error.

Beyond all else the church in contending with heresy must draw close to the Lord through prayer, through Scripture and through the disciplines of Christian discipleship.  Jude puts it this way: “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.” (20-21)

There is after this a turning to ministry—having mercy, snatching some from danger, fearfully rescuing those who are polluted while hating the pollution. None of this ministry allows for silence but instead implies that one will love the Lord above all else and speak truth.

“As we deal with truth, so we do with God himself; he that despiseth that, despiseth him. He that abandons the truth of God, renounceth the God of truth.” William Gurnall The Christian in Complete Armour 

Picture by Ethan McHenry 


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Heresy: destroying the person and work of Jesus (part 2)

In the late seventies, one particular evening, I was talking on the telephone with the owner and program manager of what had once been a local Christian radio station. It was an open forum which the owner had set up to discuss the direction the radio would be taking theologically. He hadn’t quite put it that way; he introduced the forum as part of a Bible Study. The group I was a member and director of, Apologetics Resource Center, knew what he was teaching. He made a distinction between Jesus and Christ and offered the possibility that all could be a Christ.
On the phone, using Luke 2:11, I explained that Jesus was always Christ. The owner’s answer, “At that time Jesus was a little Christ.” This is heresy. Changing Jesus or his work changes Christianity.

Taking one of the essential teachings of Christianity and either over emphasizing or reducing its importance leads to heresy, which is a warped version of biblical truth. The beliefs of other world religions or any of their many sects or off-shoots have nothing to do with heresy. [1] Heresy is always about an essential doctrine of Christianity. And since it is about Christianity it will always in some way demote the person and work of Jesus Christ.
There are whole religious organizations such as the Jehovah Witnesses or Christian Science whose founders have established their belief systems on a foundation of false biblical teaching. The founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Charles Taze Russell, wrote prolifically and his Studies in the Scripture were the original basis for their teaching, including his translation of the Bible, The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures.

Jehovah’s Witnesses deny the deity of Jesus Christ and distort the meaning of salvation. They go so far as to claim Arius, an early Christian heretic who denied the deity of Christ, as their church father.
In the same manner the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, who founded Christian Science, are the basis for that organizations teaching. In Christian Science’s belief system all essentials of Christianity are understood in a metaphysical manner. For instance Jesus is separated from Christ, and Christ is seen as “The divine manifestation of God, which comes to the flesh to destroy incarnate error.”[2] Jesus is human and “the Way-shower to salvation,” not the savior.[3]
But these are organizations which mostly proliferated in the 19th century. Some began in mainline churches but after gathering their followers as well as being rebuffed by orthodox Christianity they became separate entities. Some grew out of the 19th century’s health movement, the growing spiritualism movement, new apocalyptic views and a new interest in eastern religions. For the orthodox Christian who adheres to biblical teaching the important point to understand is that the main error of these groups is their teaching about Jesus Christ. (Never argue with a JW about the identity of the 144, 000; always talk about who Jesus Christ is and what his life, death and resurrection accomplished.) And that is true when evaluating the heresy one finds in mainline Christianity including the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The real battle is only about but the person and work of Jesus Christ.

In my last posting, Heresy: a series (part 1), I placed a video of PCUSA teaching elder Jud Hendrix speaking.* In the video he speaks of an experience he had while talking to another teaching elder in Starbucks. He states that for a while he lost his sense of self and felt that he was experiencing all of reality at once. When he speaks of what he learned from the experience his supposed knowledge, from a biblical viewpoint, is heretical. He states:

“Since then I have a sense of who we are. And I’m aware of the veils we walk around wit, and the veil that protects me that I choose to put up in front of me. And I also know who we really are. That we are one, and that we are the sun that we are light and we are all manifestations of God.”

 Several years ago I wrote about Hendrix’s views of Jesus Christ in a post titled, Something Mystical This Way Comes. In a teaching video, Hendrix explained that Jesus realized that he was God at his baptism; it was like being enlightened.  And that, according to Hendrix, was when he became Christ. In other words Christ is something different then Jesus.
The idea that we are manifestations of God is simply a way of saying that we are a part of God but do not realize it. We also need enlightenment. So this idea, that we are manifestations of God, is a part of Hendrix’s views about Jesus. And both ideas, about humanity and about Jesus, twist the biblical understanding that Jesus Christ is the unique incarnation, the One who is fully God and fully human.

I do not know Hendrix’s beliefs about sin, redemption or bodily resurrection. But if one holds to a teaching that we are manifestations of God eventually all of these biblical doctrines will be eliminated or changed. And the Biblical Jesus will, in such thinking, be mangled and eventually turned into a Hindu-like avatar such as Krishna. Heresy is Satan’s attack on the person and work of Jesus Christ.

* I have just received information that Hendrix was removed from the ordered ministry on June 17, 2013, about five weeks ago. The reason is not published.

In my next posting I will write about acknowledging the heresy in our midst and what our reaction should be.
Picture by Stephen Larson

[1] One could see Islam as a Christian heresy since it uses much of the Bible’s narrative as well as the life of Jesus as part of its belief system.
[2]Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, 583,  found in Mind Sciences: Christian Science, Religious Science, Unity School of Christianity, Todd Ehrenborg, Zondervan Guide to Cults & Religious Movements, editor Alan Gomes, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House 195). This series of booklets if still available is excellent.
[3]Ibid, Ehrenborg, Mind Sciences.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Heresy: a series (part 1)

During my early years living in Sacramento and working as a telephone operator one of the places I lived was in an old mansion which had been turned into a rooming house. I was trying to save money to enroll in Bible College but never made it. The first room I lived in was in the basement, the next on the main floor in what must have been the paneled living room or perhaps a dining room. Finally I lived in a room created in the attic where I could look out over the backyard.
There were quite a few bathrooms including one with a deep bathtub with clawed feet and a pull chain toilet. There were several kitchens also, but they were too dirty to use—I ate out thus ruining my idea of saving money.

The people who lived there were quite interesting. One lady was French and claimed she had worked as a nanny for the Kennedys. When she visited my room to see my presents from a wedding shower (the reason I never made it to Bible College) we talked about marriage. She said she could never pick out her own husband. Her father would do so—she might make a mistake and marry a black man! She had an ideology, she was a racist.

My landlady was Mormon. A very nice lady; we did some shopping together and talked quite a lot about marriage. She lived on the second floor and her husband was in the military. He was gone a lot and when he came home they closed the door and were recluses for several days.  And then there was the Jehovah Witness who lived in the room off of one of the kitchens. (It was tiny, filled mostly by a bathtub, which is why he rented it.)

The Jehovah Witness’s personality had too easily merged with his faith viewpoint. He sat in the kitchen one morning laughing at an article in the newspaper. He told me it was about some nuns, in the Congo, who had been raped in one of the uprisings in that troubled country. Knowing that JW’s would not fight in wars I thought they were pacifists and didn’t understand his callousness.

Another fellow roomer was a neo-Nazi who hated Christianity and didn’t particularly like women. He would stand on the steps, sometimes leading upstairs or too often the ones that led downstairs when I lived in the basement. He would rant about various subjects as he stood there. Most of the other roomers were undeclared as far as worldviews were concerned. They were secular and in some cases amoral.
This is all leading to several comments about heresy and the personalities infected by heresy. They are a marriage—sometimes heresy happens because of flawed personalities but on the other hand most people who inhabit various Christian heresies are often very nice people who nonetheless have become entangled in false teaching. I have often been surprised that some Christians believe that anyone involved in heresy is by nature a scoundrel.  It is true that false teaching can affect the way believers see the world and react to those around them, but the heart of the problem is how heresy affects the earthly and eternal wellbeing of the Church and the individual believer.

This will be a series of posts in which I will write about the definition of Christian heresy and why the Church must work to refute and overturn false teaching.
To help the reader understand where I am going with this series I should note that my last posting “The movie I AM: Where is Jesus?” about a movie shown to Christian youth at a denominational gathering is about a movie that was not heresy while those who chose to show it without any warning except, ‘you might disagree with some of this,’ were themselves acting in a heretical way. Probably unintentionally. The movie was not heretical because it never claimed to be Christian. The leaders showing it were acting in a heretical manner because they claimed to be Christian but were offering a different religious worldview without explaining the differences.

The Mormon lady and the Jehovah Witness I wrote about above are involved in Christian heresy, the neo-Nazi, the racist French girl and the secular persons involved in my  scenario are simply non-believers. Sinners who need redemption as we all do, but nonetheless not, as far as I know, claiming Christianity as their faith.
I have named two religious groups when speaking of heresy that are not considered Christian groups by orthodox Christianity although they call themselves Christian. But there are too many in the mainline denominations who are also involved in heresy. That is my main topic. For discussion I am placing a video by a Teaching Elder in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) below. This is a talk given by Jud Hendrix.* It is heretical and I will be returning to the video several times as I write my series.

* I have just received information that Hendrix was removed from the ordered ministry on June 17, 2013, about five weeks ago. The reason is not published.

Epiphany Jud Hendricks from Human Kind on Vimeo.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The movie I AM: Where is Jesus?

One of the gracious gifts the Holy Spirit gives God’s people in Scripture is the I AM sayings of Jesus in the gospel of John. They are clear declarations of Jesus’ deity and his life giving purpose. The I Am statements are supposedly the theme of the 2013 Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Youth Triennium. And certainly they must be a part of the event. But tonight I bought and watched the movie they watched tonight. The movie titled I Am is not about the I AMs of Jesus but about the unity of humanity and it is at its basic core New Age.
There are some good points in I Am, the movie directed by Tom Shadyac. He is asking two questions of various famous people, including one Christian, Bishop Tutu. The two questions are: “What’s wrong with our world?” & “What can we do about it?” Jodi Craiglow, who is ministering at the event, has done a magnificent job of searching out the people Shadyac questions. You can find her review and that information at I AM: A teaser for the 2013 PYT Movie Night. They are mostly intellectuals with a combination of mystical and scientific viewpoints.

The movie’s center or world view is the idea that we are all connected through our consciousness in such a manner that our material world, while real, is founded on an energy that flows from our emotions. One speaker even speaks of our “higher self,” which is the eastern idea that all is one, and that “one” is our higher self which is monism not Christianity.  One statement is “When mass minds become highly focused something about the physical environment changes.” But one gets a clue that not all scientist agree when the same person mentions that this sounds almost like New Age ideas and then says “A lot of scientists will hear what I am saying and dismiss it instantly.”

Besides pushing the idea of monism here are several other reasons that this was not a good movie for Christian young people. (1) There is a persistent claim that humanity’s nature is truly good and that our DNA is wired for compassion. Various tests are cited as proof that in evolution, rather than nature being red in tooth and claw, groups of animals mainly function through compassion and consensus.
What the movie speakers forget is that red in tooth and claw means that diverse life forms prey on other life forms. Until the redemptive return of Christ it will always be so. While doing all that we can to bring healing to the environment, Christians look with hope for the coming of the Lord. Paul in Romans 8, reminds the Christian that all of creation longs for the final bodily redemption of the children of God.

(2)Like most western new age mysticism, the ideas center on the material which creates energy which creates reality. The heart creates emotions for good or evil that physically affect others and the universe. Humanity creates their own universe.  Humanity is the center of the movie; the only thing beyond the material is consciousness.
(3)There is absolutely nothing about our sinful nature and Jesus the God/man who died for our sins. In the midst of a movie that rightly explores the needs of the poor and the dispossessed the core mechanism for helping has to do with right thinking and good works.  Grace does not enter by means of a personal redemptive God who transforms his people urging them into the hurting world. This movie named I Am is a painful reminder of what is too often missing during events in the PCUSA.

Where is Jesus who proclaims, "I Am the way and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but by Me." (John 14: 6) Where is the Lord who stated, “I Am the bread of life; he who comes to me will not hunger, and he who believes in me will never thirst.” (John 6:36) Where is Jesus who proclaimed “I Am the Light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” (John 8:12)
Undoubtedly the young people at the Youth Triennium were meant to find their own identity and the movie was supposed to help. But without Jesus Christ as Lord of our lives-both center and foundation-we will not know ourselves at all. Our reality, our universe was created by a personal Creator who although he is far above us stooped to us in Jesus Christ. In him alone we find our identity.

Picture by Melissa Tregilgas


Monday, July 15, 2013

James Wall, going down a dark road

After having posted my article, James Wall, Debbie Menon and Veterans Today's new anti-Semitic site-Update, explaining that James Wall, former editor of Christian Century, and now contributing editor, had become an associate editor of a new Veterans Today site, I am pleased that Dexter Van Zile of Camera has continued to pursue the issue. First came an article on the Jewish news site, the algemeiner, titled ‘The Christian Century’ Must Remove Anti-Semite from Masthead.
In the article, Van Zile noted that “David Heim, Christian Century’s executive editor has made it perfectly clear that he will not address the issue. “James Wall did a lot for our magazine,” he said. “He deserves to be on our masthead.”  Now Van Zile has written a letter to the Trustees of the Christian Century asking them to remove Wall’s name from their masthead. The letter can be read here, “[To the Trustees of the Christian Century Foundation:]

It is truly unbelievable that Christian Century trustees and the executive editor would want to retain the name of a former editor who is now associate editor of an organization that publishes articles by the former Grand Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke.

In a sense that puts the Progressive Christian Century in bed with—well the former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan as well as a whole assortment of anti-Semites.

James Wall exists as the Henry Ford of our day. He needn’t write The International Jew; he simply approves, applauds and makes official those who do.  He is the person whose past work and reputation will either sway others away from their integrity or cause them to finally wake up and say I will not go with him down that dark road.  

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the PCUSA: check your sources! UPDATE!

I am almost certain that the Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is not into weird conspiracy videos. But who knows.  On July 13th on Twitter the IPMN placed a link and added a “Please Share,” to the link. Since they will not allow me to follow them nor reply to them, I am making my comment here and it will be longer than a reply would have been. Here is their tweet:

iDF mass arrest of Palestine schoolkids *** PLEASE SHARE ***

The video could be about the arrest of Palestinian schoolchildren but it is impossible to tell—there is no solid information to help the viewer understand. And because of the site the video on it is suspect. The You Tube site is “StopFundingIsrael.” The main site that is referred to on the You Tube site is
On the front page is an explanation of sorts:

Boycotting the companies that fund the illegal behaviours of israel will strangle the arterial veins of cashflow that is funnelled into the killing policies of the most APARTHEID REGIME EVER and hopefully starve the bloodthirsty beast that is Zionist Occupation and outright landtheft of ancient Palestine.

The reason the StopFundingIsrael authors give for this is:

When Israel have finished taking over Palestine. They will have a taste for land conquest and your town WHEREVER it may be is not immune from this insidious agenda... It must not EVER be allowed to rule over Palestine, or we are doomed as a HUMAN RACE on PLANET EARTH. StopFundingIsrael is about investing in a collective future.

The explanation goes hand in hand with the demonic red eyed creature on the page.  But going deeper into the site one finds many links with hatred not just for Israel but also for Jewish people. And of course all of the conspiracies lead back to Israel or the Jews including 9-11.

On the You-Tube page are side links to featured channels including Gordon Duff and Ken O’Keefe of Veterans Today.
I was tempted to place a video here by one of the editors of StopFundingIsrael, Steve Johnson. He calls the Australian Human Rights Office in an attempt to get them to say that Tzipi Livni, past foreign minister to Israel, is a war criminal. In the end he insists that all of the western governments including Australia are ruled by Israel. And he even throws in a reference to the Illuminati as a ruling power. But it is trash and I won’t place it on my blog.

My main thoughts here is that when people gleefully place links to a video they believe will help their cause but don’t bother to check out the source they are not aiding anyone except some creepy people who continually spew bile. They are not aiding the Palestinians and they continue to ruin their own integrity. As Christians, as well as Presbyterians, God calls us to truth because we belong to Truth. In the first epistle of John there is this:

This is the message we have heard from him [Jesus] and announce to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth;

But there is a promise:

But if we walk in the light as he himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus, his Son cleanses us from all sin.

May the Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) walk in the light of his truth thus seeking peace for all in the Middle East.

UPDATE: It is necessary to place a large update here:

Not only was the video I wrote about on the very strange StopFundingIsrael site it is in several other places.  One of the places is a Huffington Post World article, “Palestinian Children Arrested In Hebron During Obama Visit To Israel” The author of the article, Eline Gordts, speculates using various groups and other news sources.  The IDF stated that there were stone throwing incidents and information from a Reuter’s article pointed to protests because of President Obama’s visit to Israel.
This is the video:

But there is another helpful video which explains why the IDF arrested the children. This is the video with an explanation by Captain Barak Raz:


 “Published on Mar 30, 2013

On the morning of March 20, 2013, following near daily rock throwing at civilians passing by and security forces positioned in the area, the perpetrators of the rock throwing were apprehended and detained during such an incident. 27 were detained, of whom 7 were transferred to the police and 20 were released.

Contrary to reports and footage of children being "arrested on their way to school," ( THIS is the complete picture of what really happened and what, in fact, led to that arrest.

As we said that morning, this arrest was carried out in real-time during an incident of rock throwing, and following similar incidents that had occurred almost daily.

Unfortunately, we experienced technical difficulties that morning with retrieving the footage, but we did make it very clear that footage made available from that incident only showed the arrest, and not what had led to it. The fact that we had such footage was also made very clear that morning, despite the claims that were made.”

Needless to say, once again the Israel/Palestine Mission Network not only got it wrong, they used the worst possible site to link to a video.
HT to a lady

Friday, July 12, 2013

Questions about religious exceptions & Christian prejudices

I put a link to an article, “3 things to watch during the ENDA markup,” on Facebook. ENDA is the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and has to do with not discriminating against LGBT persons in the work place. I linked to it because I was concerned that some, quoted in the article, wanted to narrow or do away with any kind of exceptions for religion.
Someone did want to argue about my concern—he hoped for no exceptions. And he had an interesting understanding of why I and other Christians are against same gender sex. He wrote in one of his comments:

I have read the Bible numerous times cover to cover and I have never walked away from it thinking, "You know what the most important message of this book is? Stopping gay rights." So when I see Christians obsess so much about this issue I have to wonder if it is driven by a true understanding of Christianity or if they are twisting Christianity to fit their already ingrained prejudices. I believe it is the latter.

I think it is fair to point out that this person was not raised in any mainline denomination but in the Church of Latter Day Saints. Wherever he stands in his faith, I don’t think he understands why most orthodox Christians take issue with LGBT leadership in our places of worship or the possibility of same gender weddings in our churches. And that is what I will address in this posting.
First of all, he is right to say that the most important message in the Bible is not stopping gay rights. But it is because of the most important message in the Bible that Christians are concerned about the changing definition of marriage and the push to add LGBT leadership to the Church.

Yes, it is about Jesus. The important message of the Bible is that God reaches down, entering human history as a means of redeeming our fallen humanity. The promises of a Savior began with Adam, Eve and the serpent who is the voice of Satan. To Satan, God promises (And this is to all) “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.” (Gen 3:15)
In the book of Numbers is a wonderful promise given by God through an unfaithful seer. Speaking of Israel Balaam prophesizes “I see him but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star shall come forth from Jacob, a scepter shall rise from Israel …” And Moses in the book of Deuteronomy prophesizes the coming Messiah, “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him.”

One can go on through the Old Testament filled with pictures and promises of the coming redeemer. Isaiah is the clearest. Chapter 53 the jewel: “But he was pierced through for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our wellbeing fell on him, and by his scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us have turned to his own way; but the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on him. (53: 5-6)   
With the New Testament the promise is fulfilled. Jesus Christ lives, dies and is resurrected for our salvation. But here is the rub. While there are many purposes connected to the redemptive act of Christ, our forgiveness and transformation is the ultimate reason. Many sons and daughters have been and are being added to the Kingdom of God because of Jesus. But biblical Christology, the work of the savior, is denied when sinners call their sin acceptable and turn away from the forgiveness and transforming work of Christ.

Paul is very clear when he writes:

"… do not be deceived neither fornicators, nor idolators, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Cor. 6:9b-10)"
But thankfully he goes on to write:

"Such were some of you, but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. (6:11)"
The message of the whole Bible is that God was in Jesus reconciling the sinner to himself. Jesus is the promise of the Old Testament, the fulfillment of the New. But when sin is denied and transformation (a lifetime experience for the Christian) is put aside for the right to live one’s own life, the purposes of God in the church and in the individual’s life are trashed. The meaning of redemption and the very being of Christ, who calls his people to repentance, is put aside.

Christology, the authority of Scripture and soteriology (salvation) are all at stake when the church gives in to the cultural bent of today’s society. The incense offered to Caesar in our post-modern society comes in many flavors—but because they are offerings to a false god-the god of self, they are no less evil than the offerings given by the citizens of ancient Rome. We are rather to offer our whole self to the Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Therefore I urge you brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2)
The video below is a bit over done for this posting but there is a great line by Nero-a complaint.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Knowing Jesus we know the "vast and unknowable entity"

The Presbyterian News Service posted a beautiful yet troubling article, “Holy Handwriting.”  It is about Phillip Patterson who has handwritten the whole Bible as, what could be called, a sacred act. A photographer, Laura Glazer, has added pictures to his work and they are beautiful, as is Patterson’s handwritten work. But some of his statements about his project are rather strange and one is troubling.
Of his reasons for writing the PNS article quotes him, “I really wanted to know what was in it. The Bible is something that’s in most of our lives. Nobody’s read it. Nobody knows what’s in it…” Well perhaps most have not read it, or only parts of it. But nevertheless it is a beautiful act to write the words out like an ancient monk would have done.

But it was what Patterson discovered that bothered me—that is, part of it. Once again a quote:

“I learned something mostly about love. In spite of the fact that the Bible is filled with violence and all that other stuff, that’s ultimately not what the Bible is about. There isn’t any place in the Bible where it says, ‘Do not love thy neighbor’ or ‘Do not love,’” …“That’s the message that came through to me, that the whole book ultimately sums up: that we should love and that God is a vast and unknowable entity.” 

Yes, that first part is true; “we should love.” But what about the second part, “God is a vast and unknowable entity.” How can we love if we do not know this great God? And isn’t that the whole message of the Bible? After the fall of humanity and the loss of fellowship with the Creator, God prepares a people, through Abraham, through Moses, through prophets and fathers and mothers of the faith—through his written word he reveals himself and comes in his eternal Son to gather us. He redeems us through Jesus Christ.
How can we love without the real love, the sacrificial love of Jesus Christ? We love because he first loved us. And we know this vast unknowable God because Jesus Christ has revealed God.

When Philip, Jesus’ disciple, in despair that Jesus was going away, asks, “Lord show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus answers with questions and truth:
Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? (John 14: 9a)

In both Philip’s request and Jesus’ answer are profound truths. It is enough that we should know the Father and we know the Father by knowing Jesus Christ. And that is possible because of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. The knowing is more than an intellectual knowing. The knowing is a relationship, a union with the Savior.
Speaking of himself, Jesus says:

If anyone loves me, he will keep my word; and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make Our abode with him. He who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not mine, but the Father’s who sent me. (John 14: 23b-24)
I pray that Patterson will begin to know, because of the written word, the living Word, Jesus.  I pray that in loving Jesus, who first loved him, he will know also the Father and the Holy Spirit—that his knowing will be an intimate relationship with that huge unknowable God who is known only through Christ Jesus.

Monday, July 8, 2013

James Wall, Veterans News Now & Deliberation: silent in the midst of evil

It is troubling to write about these things, they are so hateful and ugly.  But I believe it is important to keep pointing out the disturbing connections between James Wall, his blog Wallwritings, his position as contributing editor to Christian Century as well as his position as associate editor of Veterans News Now (VNN), a partner to Veterans Today (VT). The problem is that Wall is now an influence and a contributor to an online organization that is anti-Semitic in the extreme.
After having discovered the VNN site listed as a partner site to VT I looked at one other partner sites listed in the tiny print where I found VNN. The site Deliberation is one of the most bigoted sites on the internet. Although they have a few of the same writers that VT uses, they pull in many others who are horrific. They even have a list of articles, not about Israel or Zionism, but about Jews. If one goes to “Jewish Matters,” there is an abundance of offensive articles.

For instance, one of the articles, “The Judeo-Russian Mafia And The Bloodbath To Come, by Dr Lasha Darkmoon,” is loaded with unbelievable lies and caricatures of the Jewish people. The author even quotes Hitler:

Adolf Hitler once described America as the Jews’ “new hunting grounds”. With remarkable prescience, he saw that the state of Israel would one day develop into organized Jewry’s international crime base from which it would plunder other countries, including America, with impunity:
It doesn’t even enter their heads to build up a Jewish state in Palestine for the purpose of living there; all they want is a central organization for their international world swindle, endowed with its own sovereign rights and removed from the intervention of other states: a haven for convicted scoundrels and a university for budding crooks.”  — Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Chapter 11

In fact, looking carefully at some of the articles on VNN and Deliberation, one will find history repeating itself both politically and religiously.  The German Christians and their turn to heresy and paganism is clearly copied on both sites.
For instance, on the VNN site there is an article by Florence Leone, Abraham is not my Father,”   which, while it does point to recent actions of the Church of Scotland, is basically an attempt to separate Christians from their foundations in the Old Testament. It begins with, “The Church of Scotland has a unique opportunity to take a “new beginning” for the Christian church, and to “pivot” toward their original first cousins, the sons and daughters of Zoroaster, the Aryan people, the people, culture, and values of Cyrus and Iran.”

And there are such thoughts as, “German scholars led by Walther Grundmann in the Weimar, Nazi and post-Nazi eras, sought to develop an understanding of Jesus separated from a Hebrew matrix.” Leone approves.
And on the Deliberation site, Richard Edmondson, the author of “A Man Who May Have Had a Good Idea,” suggests that Marcion, an early church heretic, who refused to acknowledge the Old Testament as basic to the foundations of Christianity, had a better idea than the original church fathers who treasured the Old Testament.  All of this connects to Wall. He needn’t say or write any of the things that others say or write, but his position as associate editor and writer, his connections and his silence about such rot, speak very loudly.

The Jewish news, “,” in their article on Wall quote Dexter Van Zile of CAMERA concerning the executive editor of Christian Century:

In a statement to CAMERA, David Heim, executive editor at The Christian Century, defended Wall’s association with his magazine.
“James Wall did a lot for our magazine,” Heim said. “He deserves to be on our masthead.”
Heim added that he appreciates the different perspectives Wall brings to understanding the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Perhaps now Heim will think again. Wall is no different than any other anti-Semite since his ideological stance allows him to associate with sites whose beliefs are not different than Storm Front.
Paul, in Philippians calls on the Christian to dwell on “whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute.” There is nothing right or pure, nothing lovely and certainly nothing of good repute on any of these connected partner sites.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Hailing satan & the Anchoress's good words

The Anchoress has it just right! This was all over Twitter last night during the demonstrations and speeches of those who are pro-life. They had come to Austin to let the House State Affairs Committee know how they felt about the bill that would limit abortion to those performed before the unborn reach twenty weeks. I watched the video and was uncertain about how to react. The pro-lifers are singing “Amazing Grace.” Those who are prochoice were chanting hail satan.

But as I said Elizabeth Scalia, the Anchoress, said it just right:

You get a gang of already pumped up, hysterical (and in some cases terribly, terribly young) idolators fully indoctrinated to the creed and the church of the Idol-of-I, and start singing “Amazing Grace” you’re striking at a jugular vein of the idol and the hysterics — having nothing to fall back on but the empty creed of self-worship, which contains no grace at all — have no depth in their recourse. All they have left in their bag of tricks is shock and chaos.

Last night they fell back on “shock.” Chaos will come later, and believe me, a mindless, stupidly spiteful chanting of “hail satan” won’t be the half of it.

They know not what they do, though — very likely those who are not being paid to be useful idiots for The Party are members of The Church of What’s Happening Now, who can’t resist an urge to participate in this week’s “be-in”.

The rest is just right also so go and read, “Hail Satan?” The Scud Missile that is “Amazing Grace
The Anchoress has her own beautiful rendition of Amazing Grace. Be sure and listen to that too. But I think I will be more Presbyterian with bag pipes.


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

James Wall, Debbie Menon and Veterans Today's new anti-Semitic site-Update

On April 17th 2012, I wrote an article on the anti-Semitic site Veterans Today. My intention was to clearly define VT’s bent toward anti-Semitic bigotry.  Among other issues, I pointed to one of the more bizarre quotes by VT’s chairman Gordon Duff:

Federal Reserve” means “Rothschild.” “Rothschild” means poverty, hunger, ignorance and, most of all, war. This is all you really need to know. Everything else, the Pentagon, Wall Street, the corporate news, congress, the Supreme Court, the arms industry bandits are nothing but their henchmen, cowards and thieves that sold their souls for cash, the perception of power and vice.

The site has even published an article suggesting that Jewish Rabbis should be hung.[1]
In the posting, Veterans Today: Against the Jewish people, against Christians, and against veterans, I listed some sister sites, and individuals who both write for VT and uphold their deplorable ideology. James Wall, former editor of Christian Century, is an individual whose posts at his blog, Wallwritings, has often been published on VT. And Wall has publically approved Gordon Duff.

Another person I pointed to is Debbie Menon who blogs at My Catbird Seat and lives in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. I was later to note that Menon seemed to have parted company with VT because she was no longer listed there and Gordon Duff was no longer listed on her site, although both sites were still using the same writers and articles.
I have now found that VT is maintaining another site linked to on their friendlier Veterans Today Network.  One can either click on a banner sometimes displayed at the top of VTN or click on a link at the bottom of the page, in tiny print, to go to Veterans News Now.Com.

Much of the material placed on Veterans News Now.Com is as anti-Semitic as the original material on the Veterans Today Site. What is different is that Wall, has now been welcomed as an associate editor and one of the writers. He has undoubtedly been an associate for about a year. Debbie Menon is now the Editor in Chief, one of the managing editors, and one of the writers. Many of the persons on the VNN editorial board are also involved with Veterans Today. Gordon Duff is seemingly not a part of the VNN—at least he is not mentioned as a member of the editorial board. But why is all of this important?

First of all, Wall as a past editor of Christian Century has developed some credibility, and now he not only uses material from VT, he is associated with the vile site. He helps make decisions about the articles posted to that site. Wall is a person whose writings are often used by a denominational organization, Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.); on their twitter page they often link to his articles.

Secondly, since Menon, who lives in Dubai, is in charge of VNN’s editorial board one might wonder how she could possibly be helpful to citizens including veterans of the United States? In fact, her position with VT leaves open all kinds of questions. For instance how can someone who is supposed to be concerned about American Veterans allow such drivel as in an article such as “Earth’s alpha predator: Zionist Mafia” written by Rand Clifford? Here is one quote:

Before 9/11 birthed the “Global War on Terror” (GWOT) to aim American blood and treasure at Israel’s enemies, 189 of Earth’s 196 recognized “sovereign” nations had a Rothschild-controlled central bank. Afghanistan, Libya, Sudan, Iran, Cuba, Iraq, and North Korea were those last seven nations resisting Rothschild enslavement.

Now, only Cuba, North Korea, and Iran remain free. Notice how high Iran and North Korea are on our list of enemies?

One might also ask, why would the former editor of Christian Century, James Wall, allow such material to be published? And why would any denominational organization link to Wall’s writings knowing his relationship to Veterans Today and Veterans News Now. Com?

Update, there is now more information at Snapshots a Camera blog & Stand Firm

[1] Someone asked about a link to the Rabbi's hung statement. I have not been able to find it but here is the source, J. Bruce Campbell, and one of his articles, "Resistance: No Warrant No Entry No Knock No Mercy" at A quote from the article, "to establish a defense against Jewish aggression, the underlying cause of America’s decline. Eliminate Jewish involvement in government, media, law, medicine and education and declare the rabbinical class a national enemy." There are many such statements by the same author at VT.

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Gospel-truly

In the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) we keep trying to define the gospel. We seem to be always referring to ‘Good News’ without saying what it is.  Here is a fantastic poet, rapper, who gives out the gospel like the preacher Peter, or the missionary Paul, or the sweet poet and theologian John. This is the message we should all be speaking because it is the word of God.

“Trying to prove God is like defending a lion only you don’t need to help, just unlock the cage.”