strong words from ToddonGod

Todd Burus has written a two part “personal” review of the Shack. He pulls no punches on either the theology or the literary style of the book. Entertaining stuff. Now I think that I will have to break down and read it myself.

Here is part 1 where Todd addresses the book as literature.

for example:

So what did I think? Well, just to get it out of the way now, I think as a piece of literature this book was horrible. The author lacks all understanding of subtlety, choosing instead to beat you over the head with certain images he deems important and completely missing the concept of foreshadowing. Things like God’s dislike of Mack’s gun (cf. p.90) or the scars on God the Father’s wrists (cf. p.97) are repeated shamelessly and with the same words, making it perfectly obvious that the author wanted to make a point through them. And even if you were interested in what was going to happen next, there never was much anticipation because the author continually short-circuited himself by giving way too much information or using “suspenseful” sentences eerily reminiscent of the ones my 8-year old daughter uses in her 2nd grade stories about evil elves.

and here is part 2 where Todd addresses the theology.

for example:

Next, consider the other image which Young beats to death in the book, that being the idea that both Jesus AND God the Father bear the scars from the cross. There are two things wrong with this. First, it is inaccurate. It did not scar the Father to have his Son sacrificed. In fact, it was the opposite. Isaiah 53.10 says, “It was the will of the Lord (Father) to crush him (the Son).” The Father was not tortured in doing this; through the sacrifice of his son, God was propitiated, which means that his righteous anger was satisfied. God was satisified by the death of his son. Obviously, this is not a popular message in the era of belief in the “divine child abuse” theory of the atonement, but it is Scriptural nonetheless.

The second reason why depicting scars on the Father and the Son is inaccurate is because this, along with the statement on page 101 that the whole Trinity made itself fully human and limited in the incarnation, advances an old, old, old heresy known as Sabellianism, or modalism. This is the teaching that God exists in different modes as experienced by the believer. It also historically teaches that God the Father suffered on the cross. This heresy has been out of vogue for at least a good millenium and a half, but apparently is receiving a revival in the popular appeal of this book. As a note, if a heresy is so false that it goes dormant for 1500 years, it is probably a good indication that it really is wrong. Yet not only does Young present it, he goes back to it again and again by constantly retelling that the character of God the Father has scars on his wrists like Jesus.

Go read all of both parts linked above. Very entertaining.

I just can’t resist posting the conclusion as well. Sorry Todd.

Anyways, I’ll close with four words: don’t buy the hype. This is not a life changing book, unless of course you read it and embrace all that it teaches, in which case you have just become a heretic. Maybe that is strong language, but when I see a wolf like this coming in and devouring sheep the way it has I can find no better word. Well, maybe one: pathetic. Try reading the Bible instead. It has a lot more to say than this glorified dollar bin crap.

that is some good stuff right there.


Militant Atheism on the March

courtesy of KJL here is an article on the rise in the sale of “de-baptism” certificates.

some bits:

Michael Evans, 66, branded baptising children as “a form of child abuse” — and said that when he complained to the church where he was christened he was told to contact the European Court of Human Rights.
De-baptism organisers say the initiative is a response to what they see as increasing stridency from churches — the latest last week when Pope Benedict XVI stirred global controversy on a trip to AIDS-ravaged Africa by saying condom use could further spread of the disease.

“The Catholic Church is so politically active at the moment that I think that is where the hostility is coming from,” said Sanderson. “In Catholic countries there is a very strong feeling of wanting to punish the church by leaving it.”

In Britain, where government figures say nearly 72 percent of the population list themselves as Christian, Sanderson feels this “hostility” is fueling the de-baptism movement.
Elsewhere, an Argentinian secularist movement is running a “Collective Apostasy” campaign, using the slogan “Not in my name” (No en mi nombre).

Sanderson meanwhile remains resolute. “The fact that people are willing to pay for the parchments shows how seriously they are taking them,” he said.

Isn’t it interesting that these people who profess not to believe in God push so hard against “the church”? Why would something that you think doesn’t exist occupy so much of your time and energy? It reminds me of what Jesus said to Saul. It is indeed difficult to kick against the goads.


Shaun Groves makes a diagram of his life that applies to yours too. then he says:

On your first day on the other side of the grave, do you think you’ll look back on this life and be flooded with gratitude for hours spent watching episodes of American Idol and Lost? Will you wish you’d done more of that? Do you think you’ll look back fondly on the effort and money spent remodeling the kitchen? Will you wish you’d had a nicer home? Do you think you’ll be glad you were up-to-date on the juicy details of celebrity lives? Will you wish you’d read more magazines? Will you regret not spending more time at the office? Will you wish you’d logged just a few more hours every week at work? Will you miss your blog or Facebook? WIll you wish you’d just had a couple hundred more readers, just a few more “friends?”

Me neither.

hat tip to Vitamin Z

pitfalls in planting

over at the Resurgence Blog (where Mark Driscoll has just posted about complementarianism) Barry Keldie is doing a series about pitfalls to be careful of when planting a church. The first two of the series have been posted.

the first one is finances.

When you or your elders have developed and written out a plan (budget, priority spending, etc.), then you should hand it off to someone else to manage. As a lead pastor/church planter you should not give yourself the power to write checks, make changes to the budget, or affect financial records in any way. This is not because church planters are thieves and have a history of spending offerings on Cheetos and new cars, but because it will go a long way in protecting your integrity. Setting up layers of accountability from day one is essential. You have enough to worry about without dealing with accusations that come from poor planning and weak financial structures.

the second one is part 1 on leadership:

Every planter is frantically looking for teammates and help as he plants the church, but don’t install elders too quickly. This usually leads to hiring people who are not qualified or ready to lead, or giving authority to people who are not completely in sync with your mission and values. I know a church planter in North Carolina who hastily installed a group of elders who proceeded to fire him in their first elders’ meeting. Your first elders should be picked with almost as much care as your wife (unless you got married in Vegas)!

emphasis in original

go read the rest at the two links above. I am ready to see part 3.

distractions and self-control

The point is that we all do exactly what we want to do. We eat what we want to eat, watch what we want to watch, listen to what we want to hear, read what we want to read and so on. That is why I wrote The Lie articles and why John Piper pushes the idea of Christian Hedonism. We have to reorder our desires from the lesser to the greater with God’s grace and power and thus become transformed. II Peter 1:3 and II Cor. 3:18

This article about the temptations of being distracted by Facebook instead of reading the Bible or doing necessary schoolwork is a great example of the need for a conscious decision to put the best first ahead of everything else.

Later on that evening, I thought more about my internal battle between Facebook and my Bible. I understand that one of my desires as a Christian should be to know God more deeply; the reality is that I spend very little time actually getting to know Him. Too often, my hours are spent pursuing other human beings through convenient electronic means like Facebook. My life can quickly become all about striving to know my buddies better than my Lord.

Honestly, I don’t think I understand the gravity of my distain [sic] of daily time with God. It’s not an issue of salvation, of course, but I do think that it’s essential to my spiritual health and growth. The thing is, I can spend hours upon hours on the internet browsing Facebook or messing with my electronic devices; I find it absolutely disgusting when this takes the place of God.

What is my true priority in life? I need a serious wake-up call.
Scripture is not only profitable for me, but it’s absolutely essential in order to be competent and to live my life well. Within those sacred pages I find everything that God has deemed necessary to tell me. There is so much depth and wisdom within those pages. Yet I somehow buy into the lie that the Bible is just boring and not worth my time. How would my life look if I poured myself into the pages of my Bible instead of pouring myself into the pages of Facebook? Radically different, I think.

Go read the rest of it.

Hat tip to Challies.

Dr. Mohler’s take

Bryan posted a link to this article in his comment to my recent church planting post. And I wanted to make sure everybody saw both Bryan’s comment and the article.

Al Mohler is discussing Fred Barnes’ article in the Wall Street Journal about being a part of a church plant. Dr. Mohler says:

The only strange aspect of this article is the sense that church planting is a new idea. Church planting is indeed a “burgeoning movement,” but it is not new. As a matter of fact, the church planting movement began in the first century — and was central to the New Testament pattern for the church. If this seems new to some, it is only because they are rediscovering a very old idea.

On the other hand, there is something newly energetic about the church planting movement. Younger pastors are increasingly attracted to the vision of starting a new congregation and seeing it established with solid conviction, deep passion, evangelistic commitment, and strategic focus. They see the need and are ready to take up the challenge.

They also understand the New Testament’s impulse toward reproduction. Christians are to reproduce themselves through witness and evangelism, and churches are to reproduce themselves through missions and church planting. Growth leads to growth.

Dr. Mohler goes on to discuss the need to recover existing churches as well and making sure this generation sees the importance of “leading existing congregations into deeper conviction, bolder vision, and greater faithfulness.”

photo phriday

I bought a well used and very cheap twenty year old film camera and have been taking some pictures on, get this, FILM. Lots of fun.

picture from which the current header is cropped.
Testing the F4

here are my nephew and daughter
28mm on F4e

and more flowers