Friday, October 16, 2009

The Theology of YouTube & Why I want to be a Heretic.



Well, I was hoping to go out tonight to a comedy event with my friends.  However, I still have the tail end of this darn cold lingering.  I would feel awful if I gave it to my friends.  Plus, I have to go to the cabin tomorrow and pull in the dock for the winter.  I need to sleep and regain my strength.
     I rarely get sick, and when I do it doesn't last long or do much more than annoy me.  But this cold has been a whopper.  I never had one like it in my life.  It sucked so much energy out of me, that when I was cleaning the house today I had to lay down and take a nap for a while.  I was sweating and exhausted.  So my advice to everyone is to wash their hands and eat plenty of apples.  Since I have to take it easy, I figured I would try and do some writing.

     A friend of mine linked a blog to me today.  I liked it.  As I scrolled down I came across a recent news report about a church in North Carolina.  Take a look at it.

      So what do you think?  Another black eye for Jesus?  It certainly is a novel way to celebrate Halloween.  I like the idea of BBQ.

     Now, if you think that this is the only one like this out there on YouTube, you're kidding yourself.  There are scads of them.  Each one calling a Believer a Heretic for one reason or another.  A good deal of them have to do with someone NOT using the King James' version of the Bible.  I mean, after all it IS the Authorized version, isn't it?
     Just so you know something that most of these folks don't, or at least don't get...the Bible was not originally written in English. (Shocking, I know.) The Old Testament was written primarily in ancient Hebrew.  The New Testament was written primarily in Koine Greek. (Koine was the Common Language that was used by the people in the eastern half of the Roman Empire.  It was not the fancy, classical Greek of scholars & orators.  This makes the New Testament a one of a kind book for it's time)
     All the various translations that are out there are the attempt of Biblical scholars to put the ancient words into a modern tongue that we can understand.  Some are better than others, and most of them have distinct purposes for a particular translation.  I like the NIV myself.  If I want to study the text a bit more in depth, I will use the NAS.  Either way, I always have to take into account the Greek & Hebrew words that were used.
     I also found a newer version that pushes the numbers & chapters over to the side, which makes for a very refreshing read. (When originally written, the Bible had no chapters or verses in it, just so you know) It's called The Message, and it was translated by Eugene Peterson.  It's written in very contemporary English.  I wouldn't use it for in depth studying.  But it's a lot of fun to use as a comparison.   Here's a link to his homepage if you want to know more about him.
     The reason that the King James' version is called the Authorized version, is because it was the first English translation that was legal.  There had been earlier translations, but this one was actually authorized by the King of England.  Some of these folks actually think that when they see the word Authorized, it comes from God or something like that.  Talk about not doing your homework.  By the way, most historians are convinced that King James was also gay.  Whoopie!

     You can go all over the internet and find websites stating that so & so is a Heretic, and will burn in hell for it.  Every single one of these sites are filled with all manner of legalistic, man made, Pharisaic nonsense.  "You gotta do this to be saved.  You gotta jump through these hoops here.  Blah, blah, blah."  All these folks are sure that they will be the only ones in heaven. 
     In fact, one of my favorite sites is Apostasy Alert.  They have a list on one of their pages that states who is a Heretic.  This list includes Amy Grant, Bill Hybles, Bill and Gloria Gaither, (Maybe they just don't like Old-Time Gospel music.) Billy Graham?!?!, Chuck Swindoll, Gordon MacDonald, Jimmy & Rosalyn Carter, (Because obviously no Democrat can enter the Kingdom of Heaven.) John Maxwell, Joni Eareckson Tada, (Maybe they hate handicapped people too.) Madeleine L'Engle, Max Lucado, Michael Card, Michael W. Smith, Newsboys, Rebecca St. James, Rick Warren, (Could you get more Vanilla than that?), Tony Campolo and Brennan Manning. 
     I didn't include all of the list.  It's long.  I also found myself agreeing with a couple of the names they chose.  :)
     Now, if you are unfamiliar with most of these names, it's O.K.  Trust me, these folks love Jesus deeply, and they lives their lives as a testament to their love for him.  It doesn't mean that you have to agree with every single item that they believe.  I never totally agree with any theologian on every tiny iota.  So what?  What matters to me is that they love Jesus with all their heart.

     There is a preacher out in Seattle named Mark Driscoll.  He is a bit to much of a Calvinist for me, but so what?  He has a great ministry through Mars Hill church in a city that is the least evangelized of all large American cities.  Apparently, he also cusses in the pulpit from time to time.  I find that oddly commendable.

     (Check him out on YouTube.  Once a month or so for the evening service, he will have a free-form discussion about sex.  Remember, Seattle is very un-churched, so many Seekers have very raw and blunt questions to ask.  Pastor Mark will take any & all questions completely unrehearsed and try to answer them with Scripture.  It's pretty blunt stuff.  But I find it wonderful that a Believer is willing to step up to the plate and try and tackle stuff that would make most uncomfortable.)
     Pastor Mark says that using the word Heretic is like using the word Rape.  You have to be extremely careful about it.  It is a very serious accusation to make.  Most often, or so it seems to me, the people who use that phrase are saying more about themselves, than they are about the people they are judging.

     That having been said, I caught Pastor Mark slipping up just a bit when he was criticizing the book, The Shack, for it's bad theology.  Now a word about The Shack.  It IS controversial, and for good reason.  Apparently quite a few people are using it to understand the concept of the Trinity.  That would be a huge mistake.  It is a work of fiction.  I loved the book, but I wouldn't use it for serious theological study anymore than I would use The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, or The Lord of the Rings, even though they have deep Christian ideas interwoven through their stories.  I just recognize it for what it is, and I don't waste energy getting all hot and bothered by it.
   Take a look at his speech, particularly what Pastor Mark has to say about 2 minutes into it.

     Pastor Mark condemns the book because God the Father is portrayed as an African-American woman named Papa.  He goes on to say that it is simply wrong to portray the invisible God, who is Spirit, with any type of image.
     O.K., now watch this next sermon.  Pastor Mark is talking about the Emergent Church movement.  He goes on to question my boy, Rob Bell and a guy like Brian McLaren and their theological motives. (Indeed, some of it is justifiable to question.) Take a close look at Pastor Mark's T-shirt.

      Yes, you saw it.  His T-shirt has Jesus spinning turntables on it.  And not just any Jesus.  We're talking HONKEY JESUS!  Oops.  
     In his defense, Pastor Mark would probably say that you get a little artistic license with Jesus because he is the visible image of the invisible God.  Still, Jesus didn't look like a hippie.  And he certainly wasn't Anglo-Saxon.
     The point of all of this, for me at least, is that Believers ought to recognize each other's commonality in Christ, and rejoice with each other over it.

     Also, if it is true that Billy Graham, Rick Warren, andone of my favorite bands, the Newsboys, plus all those other folks are going to Hell, then I want to be a Heretic too.  I like those folks a lot and I want to hang out with them after this life is over.  They are going to have so many awesome stories to tell.
     Actually, if all of that is true, then Satan is really going to suffer once he finally is tossed into Hell. (No, he is not there now.  The Bible clearly states that he will be judged and sentenced to Hell on the final day of judgement.) Can you imagine him having share eternity with Billy Graham?  All of those Believers talking non-stop about Jesus while Satan has to sit there and listen.  Now that's a punishment.
     Just a thought.



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