IN A RECENT Annual Conference briefing in a district, one participant wanted Standing Committee members “educated” as to what a query is and make sure they understand. The person indicated that a query shouldn’t be about an agenda or a political statement. It is a question directed to the Annual Conference.
Would that that had been said to a certain congregation in 2008 when it directed a question related to the 1983 Human Sexuality paper. At any rate, for some it would appear that it is others who have the agenda, while they merely have “honest” questions.
IN RELATION TO THE BOY SCOUTS, let us ask the obvious questions: What interest does the homosexual community have in an organization of underage boys? Furthermore, on what basis shall a child, too young to engage in sexual activity, claim to be homosexual? What is appropriate about an adult leader making his sexual preferences and proclivities a part of his identity in relation to those underage children?
What would it be like if the shoe were on the other foot. That is, what would be the response to these administration scandals if Mr. Bush rather than Barack Obama were in the Oval Office?
For example, during President Bush’s term, there were all these “anti-war” protests. Now we have a different president of another party, the country is still at war, and where did the “anti-war” protestors go? They weren’t really “anti-war” protestors. They were “anti-Bush.”
IF ONE TEACHES AT A ROMAN CATHOLIC SCHOOL, the least that could be expected is that one uphold Roman Catholic moral teaching. There is a similar case in Indiana where a teacher at a a Roman Catholic school tried to use in-vitro fertilization, again in contravention of Church teaching.
GOVERNMENT ENTITY SEEKS to suppress free speech. Always remember, “public” schools are governmental agencies.
Related: A government supported university tries to expel student for Facebook comments. Any college or university, if it gets a penny of Federal aid (whether research grants, Pell grants, or Federally-subsidized student loans, etc.), is subject to the same restrictions as the government (i.e., First Amendment).
CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN PASTOR RUNNING for Virginia House of Delegates in a special primary this evening.
MICHAEL KRUGER DECONSTRUCTS Rob Bell’s latest book. As the Reformation 21 folks say, “Like shooting fish in a barrel.”
In the end, my overall concern about this volume is a simple one: it is not Christian. Bell’s makeover of Christianity has changed it into something entirely different. It is not Christianity at all, it is modern liberalism. It is the same liberalism that Machen fought in the 1920′s and the same liberalism prevalent in far too many churches today. It is the liberalism that teaches that God exists and that Jesus is the source of our happiness and our fulfillment, but all of this comes apart from any real mention of sin, judgment, and the cross. It is the liberalism that says we can know nothing for sure, except of course, that those “fundamentalists” are wrong. It is the liberalism that appeals to the Bible from time to time, but then simply ignores large portions of it.
Bell’s book, therefore, is really just spiritualism with a Christian veneer. It’s a book that would fit quite well on Oprah’s list of favorite books. What is Rob Bell talking about when he is talking about God? Not the God of Christianity.
It is the same old story with the radical emergents–they think they are coming up with something new, when really this stuff has been around for a hundred years or more.
THE NEW LEGALISM: How the push to be ‘radical’ and ‘missional’ discourages ordinary people in ordinary places from doing ordinary things to the glory of God
Today’s millennial generation is being fed the message that if they don’t do something extraordinary in this life they are wasting their gifts and potential.
For too many millennials their greatest fear in this life is being an ordinary person with a non-glamorous job, living in the suburbs, and having nothing spectacular to boast about.
Sad to say, a lot of churches are being fed this message as well.
WHEN PERUSING the lineups of speakers at Church of the Brethren national conferences–be it the Junior High one in June, Annual Conference, the Older Adult Conference in North Carolina, or the Youth Conference–one is struck by the general lack of evangelical and conservative voices, unless they be of the Hispanic variety. For our Hispanic Brethren, often their evangelicalism is seen as a cultural artifact, and not as a core part of who they are.
FROM THE RELIGION OF PEACE DEPT.: Islam — Silence, Please.
BRETHREN CONGREGATION GETS CREATIVE with Scriptural language, receives controversy. Maybe “edgy” isn’t where the Church needs to be after all.
A PREDICTION FROM EARTH DAY 1970
“The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years. If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.”
• Kenneth Watt, Ecologist
I guess that didn’t work out.
THE OTHER DAY, pundits were saying that the Boston bomber likely was some right wing anti-government Tea Partier. Now that more is known, will they backtrack on that? Not likely. Some news outlets are having a hard time evening mentioning that the suspected bombers are Muslim. Hmm. Wonder why? Fort Hood, anyone? Anyone? Anyone?
Tea Party violence–0; Muslim violence–lost count. There is a pattern here.
A SAME-SEX MARRIAGE SUPPORTER ADMITS, “Now on to polygamy.”
The government is now saying it understands marriage as a long-term legal commitment between two people who are assumed to have a sexually attached relationship to each other. Gender is irrelevant; marriage is simply a paired relationship. It’s a big deal when social institutions change this way, and if conservative heterosexuals feel their marriages are affected, they’re right, even when the way they phrase their complaints is wrong.
I DO RECEIVE thoughtful comments that I sometimes post on the Journal. Note: If you absolutely don’t want your name used, or your comments shared, please note that in your e-mail. I make no guarantees, though. If you really, really, really don’t want it published, don’t send the email.
WITH SAME-SEX MARRIAGE (APPARENTLY) COMING CLOSER, now the call is to legalize polygamy. But of course. But the pro-SSM crowd has denied this up and down as the next step. Already we are hearing serious discussions on the Bible’s support for polygamy. But the essential text is Matthew 19, where Jesus endorses heterosexual marriage of one man and one woman for life.
Thoughts for Daily Living
By Paul W. Brubaker, 224 pp., clothbound. Suggested donation, $15.00 plus $2.00 per copy postage & handling.
In this book, Paul Brubaker has included devotionals he has written over nearly forty years. These one-page essays were all printed in the bi-monthly “Witness” sponsored by the Brethren Revival Fellowship. Many of the devotionals Paul gleaned from his own life’s experiences, or from reading and hearing about the experiences of others. A sampling of “Bread Basket” titles include:
Needed! More Talking Donkeys
I Love Me!
Drowning in a Ditch
The Last Spanking
Atonement at Auschwitz
The Cow Went Dry!
Dead Men Don’t Bleed
The Witch of Wall Street
Of Kangaroos and Emus
Preaching to the Blackboard
The Funeral Cookies
Chasing Two Rabbits
Dealing with In-Laws
Of Ants and Oleic Acid
Remembering to Forget
Paul Brubaker is a husband, father, grandfather, ordained minister, retired banker, churchman, writer, pianist, singer and oil-painting artist. He and his wife Evy have lived full and enriching lives and reside in Ephrata, Pennsylvania.
As you read “The Bread Basket: Thoughts for Daily Living,” may you be inspired, informed, challenged and maybe even amused.
“IT’S A BAD TIME for press freedoms,” says the former general counsel of The New York Times.
Could you talk a bit about President Obama’s approach to classified information and press freedom?
Antediluvian, conservative, backwards. Worse than Nixon.
From the Biblical Inspiration and Authority statement of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference, again explicitly recognizing inerrancy as an operative view of the Brethren:
Some Representative Positions
First, there are Brethren who believe the Bible is the divinely inspired word of God, completely without error in the King James Version. God controlled the writing so that each word and phrase should be interpreted literally and followed exactly. The Bible’s authority is absolute and it is not open to challenge from any source.
A second group’s position is similar to the one above but with a more Anabaptist, traditional Brethren point of view. The Bible is without error in the original autographs and any conflicts within the text are only seeming discrepancies due to our own lack of understanding. The King James Version is not the only English translation considered reliable. Scripture passages are studied in light of their context, the laws of grammar, and the form of biblical writing they represent. The total Bible is uniquely inspired and has the highest authority for life.
These two inerrantist positions are among five recognized in general. Additionally, the paper later states:
We affirm that the Bible, rightly interpreted, is a fully trustworthy guide for our lives. In this sense we reaffirm our historic understanding of scripture as an infallible rule of faith and practice. [emphasis noted]
To say that the Scriptures are an infallible rule of faith and practice is actually a stronger position than to say they are inerrant. “Inerrant” means that the Scriptures do not err; “infallible” means that the Scriptures cannot err.
And as I wrote one year ago,
What the 1979 paper did, then, actually was recognize the validity of the conservative inerrantist position as a Brethren viewpoint. While it is hard to understand as that now, it was actually understood at the time to represent a big victory on the part of conservatives and evangelicals.
So instead of abandoning inerrancy in 1979, the Church of the Brethren –for the first time explicitly– acknowledged inerrancy as a modern Brethren perspective and called for its representation at all levels of the Church of the Brethren. The ascent of evangelical perspectives into national COB life traces its beginnings to that paper.
BRO. LEE SMITH RESPONDS to a letter in Messenger that argues that the earlier Brethren didn’t believe in the trustworthiness of Scripture. Apparently the letter writer is unfamiliar with the 1979 Annual Conference Statement on Biblical Inspiration and Authority, which explicitly recognizes inerrancy as an operative view of the Brethren.
UPDATE: The man who wrote to Messenger saying that none of his Sunday School teachers or Bethany professors taught inerrancy is kind of like film critic Pauline Kael, of whom it was reported saying after Mr. Nixon was re-elected President in a smashing victory, “How can that be? No one I know voted for Nixon!”
CONFESSIONS OF a counter-revolutionary.
How do you know if you are a counter-revolutionary? You sense that you – not just your opposition to “fundamental transformation” — must be destroyed.
It’s that simple.
One gets that vibe from the current cultural elite all the time.
ATTACK ON A CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN REPELLED by armed citizens.
RICK PHILLIPS on the “moral consensus” of society.
There is no doubt that many non-Christians are kind and caring people. In the context of the current debate, I should probably note as well that a great many practicing homosexuals are kind, caring, and delightful people. My point pertains to a society that self-consciously rejects the authority of God’s Word, substituting its own malleable standards in the place of the Bible’s standards, and exalting a human consensus to the place of sovereignty that God demands for himself. When this happens, moral chaos and a plummeting depravity are certain to result.
At the A Cappella Gospel Sing in Goshen, Indiana.
2013 District Bible Study
Westernport Church of the Brethren
Sunday, April 21, 2013
3:00 to 5:30 PM
THEME: What Do Brethren Believe and Why Do We Believe It?
When we say: “The New Testament Is Our Only Rule for Faith and Practice.” What does this mean? Our district has a Statement of our Core Values. What does this mean?
What do we believe about:
- Anointing for healing?
- Feet Washing?
- The Fellowship Meal?
- The “Bread and Cup?”
- Going to War?
- “No Force in Religion?
- Are we who we say we are?
- People of the “Book?”
- People whose “word is our bond?”
- People who choose peace and not war?
- People who oppose “oath taking?”
- People committed to the Great Commission and the Great Commandment?
Kendal Elmore, our Executive Minister, is to lead us in discussing the Scriptural basis surrounding these questions. Bring your Bible, your curiosity and be ready to be both comforted and challenged! A light fellowship refreshment time will follow in the Church Fellowship Hall. An Offering will be received to support District Ministries.
ATTENTION PASTORS: .25 CEU’s will be available
THE 40th ANNUAL BRETHREN BIBLE INSTITUTE WILL BE July 22 – 26, 2013 on the campus of Elizabethtown College, Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania. Eleven courses will be taught. Continuing Education Units are available for ordained Brethren ministers, and some courses may apply toward District training programs for licensed ministers. Application forms must be received by June 26, 2013.