MInTheGap

Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.

Should a Church Be Incorporated?

September 30th, 2006 Viewed 4788 times

Harry Bethel has the following as part of his checklist to show us why there are no God-Ordained ministers in our churches today on his site BethelMinistries.com:

A God-sent pastor would accept and apply the doctrines of separation from the world and would not seek a charter from a state or other government, nor would the “church” be incorporated. We are in the world, but we are not of the world and the civil governments should have no control over, or sanction, a scripturally organized local church.

Certainly he’s right when he says that we are in the world but not of it.  However, there’s also this interesting passage in Romans 13:

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves [dang]ation.

For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to [execute] wrath upon him that doeth evil.

Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.

Strip District building morphs from nightclub to church each weekend

September 30th, 2006 Viewed 1742 times

What better place for a church than in a strip district?  I have long thought that we have not reached out to those that would most be receptive of the Gospel.  I’ve postulated before that we spend a lot of time trying to reach those that believe that they have no need of God and therefore have to be taken to a place where they find that need.  And yet this is not something I would have tried:

Between Saturday night and Sunday evening, the former St. Elizabeth Church in the Strip District transforms like a theater set between acts — from The Altar Bar nightclub to the Steel City Church. It’s the mission of a 31-year-old pastor who offers a new take on what the Christian life, and nightlife, can be.

The Steel City Church held its first service Sunday for about 250 people. Earlier in the day, the pastor, Damian Williams, and his wife, Anne Williams, carried sofas and chairs from the wings and configured them around an empty dance floor for the 6 p.m. service. It was a cross between coffee house and talk show, with a rolling video presentation and food.

Of five churches he has planted nationwide, this is the first urban, multicultural setting and the least recognizable as a house of worship, its stained-glass windows dwarfed by a giant sound system. The church rents the space on Sunday and will open early for congregants to watch Steelers games.

“We want to create a new form to break down barriers that have kept people from connecting with God,” he said. “We chose the Strip because every kind of person goes there and relates to it.”

Paul commands us to be in the world, but not of it.  Though he told us it was ok to eat meat offered to idols, I don’t find it anywhere in the passages on Christian liberty where we are to actually turn temples to idol worship into a church for one day a week.  Granted, had this been a church building with a testimony, that might be a different issue for me, because I could see a mission (albeit a tricky one due to the kind of sin that is present there!) to reach those people in that location, but not in camouflage.

Should Women Keep Silent in Church?

September 29th, 2006 Viewed 14306 times

Paul makes an interesting series of statements in I Corinthians 14:34-35 that have been debated many times, I’m sure.

Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but [they are commanded] to be under obedience, as also saith the law.

And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.

We already know Paul talked about the fact that women should wear head coverings when prophesying or praying, and that he also advised women to have long hair; however, this is the broadest statement that he has made so far regarding women in the church– that they should be silent in church, and learn from their husbands at home.

It is here that we may have found the first true failure by the ordinary Pastor to live up to Harry Bethel’s checklist:

A God-sent pastor would accept and apply the truth that women are not to speak in the congregations, they are to remain silent, and if they have a question they are to ask their “man” at home.

We can easily discern why this could have been a problem in the time period in which Paul was in. First, we know that the church in Corith was having trouble with all sorts of spiritual gifts being used out of order. Second, during that time period, men more than ladies had education in not only reading but in culture and religion. They would definitely have more questions as they had new status as equals in Christ.

But is this something for today?

Parents Try to Force Abortion

September 29th, 2006 Viewed 4575 times, 2 so far today

KampfsThose of us in the pro-life camp argue long and loud about a parent’s right to know about a daughter’s pregnancy partly because we believe that a child is under the parent’s protection, partly because we think it may be something that a child should make alone or just with a boyfriend, and partly because we are hopeful that the parents will support life. Then there are parents like the Kampfs’ here that decide that they need to physically force their daughter into having an abortion against her will.

A Maine couple upset that their 19-year-old daughter was pregnant tied her up, loaded her in their car and began driving to New York to force her to get an abortion, police said.

The daughter, Katelyn Kampf, escaped Friday at a shopping center and called police, who arrested her parents, Nicholas Kampf, 54, and Lola, 53, of North Yarmouth, Maine. They were jailed on a kidnapping charge and were being held on $100,000 bail each.

-snip-

“Her parents chased her out into the yard, grabbed and tied her hands and feet together,” Salem Police Officer Sean Marino wrote in a court affidavit. “Katelyn states that her father then carried her to their car and they headed toward New Hampshire.”

Investigators said rope, duct tape, scissors and a .22-caliber rifle were found in the Kampfs’ Lexus and Nicholas Kampf had a loaded .22- caliber magazine clip in his pants pocket.

The Kampfs were upset that their daughter was pregnant by a man who is now in jail, police said, and before leaving Maine on Friday they had an argument at the parents’ home.

“Katelyn stated to me that upon her parents finding out that she was pregnant, they told her she had no choice but to get an abortion,” Marino wrote in his court affidavit.

How are You and Debt?

September 28th, 2006 Viewed 2063 times

Virtuous Blonde and I sat down again this past weekend trying to figure out, for this month, what we should do with the money that the Lord has entrusted to us.  It’s a big responsibility.  At one point in our life, we allowed ourselves to go into debt on a couple of cars.  Then we tacked on part of a payment for a new roof.

The question came down to what is important as far as priorities in our house.  You see, we picked up a copy of Dave Ramsey’s book, the Total Money Makeover.  What was most eye-opening for me was two concepts.  The first, the sheer amount of money that we make in a life time– and just how much we are blowing in interest.  The second goes along with Harry Bethel’s next list item for pastors:

A God-sent pastor would accept and apply the truth of Romans 13:8 to not owe any money or finance anything including houses, automobiles, furniture, appliances, church buildings or have business loans or loans for anything else. He would not use or have credit cards. He would trust in the Lord to provide all his needs. He would accept the truth that the borrower is slave to the lender (Proverbs 22:7).

Yes, Proverbs 22:7 is a powerful verse– the borrower is a slave to the lender.  This is exactly the reason that you should not lend money to family.  It should be a gift, but I digress.  We should desire to be “slaves” to Christ alone, and as Christians we should want to stay away from debt.

High School’s Dances Grind to a Halt

September 28th, 2006 Viewed 2174 times

I never went to a dance at my high school and I barely survived the dance lessons we had to endure in physical education class (which we still called “gym class”).  Then again, I also claimed not to have any kind of emotional desire to have a girlfriend until I was in my late teens– so call me strange.

I was asked if I was going to attend dances, especially the prom, on various occasions.  Each time I turned it down.  Not only was it something I didn’t think that good Christian young people did (and this was a public school), but I had no desire to be seen dancing with someone!

Do You Fit the Qualities of a Disciple?

September 27th, 2006 Viewed 4408 times, 1 so far today

In Luke 14:25-33 we find that the Lord places some high standards on those that would follow after Him and be His disciples.  Jesus had just finished a parable in which the master of the house had decided to have a great supper and invited many to come, but one by one the people that were asked to come had excuses for why they could not come.  One had just married a wife, one had some land that they had to and one had some oxen that they had to break in so that the man of the house instructed the servants to go and gather those from the highways and byways to and to bring them into the feast.  He then says that how if a person wants to come after Him and be His disciple, they must love Him and seek Him so much that it would appear that (in comparison) he hates his family.

Harry Bethel claims that there are not God-ordained pastors because:

A God-sent pastor would have met all three conditions in order to be a disciple according to Luke 14, one of which is to literally forsake all that he has to become a learner (disciple) on this higher level like all the disciples and many of the early Christians (Luke 14:26-27, 33; 18:22, 28; Acts 2:45, 4:34-35).

I assume that he’s implying that none of the current pastors do this.  And yet I wonder how many he’s talked to and knows.  I know of many pastors, including the one that I have at my local church, that have left their homes and families to minister in places that are hours and days away from home.  I know of pastors that have sought after God and ministering to God’s people so that it looked like they cared for God’s people more than their own family!  I know of Pastors that take up their cross daily.

A Family Need Not Be an Island

September 27th, 2006 Viewed 1033 times

Why is it that Families tend to have trouble once children grow up?  Each generation has its own thoughts about what is good and what is not.  I’m aware of many families that have different (sometimes radically different) ideas about everything from the number of children a family should have, to where the family should live (close to his family, close to hers, equidistant), to how the husband and wife will act with each other.

Bethanie brought this out in a post last week where she mentioned how she was just helping her husband by getting something for him as well as herself at her mother’s house and the mother spoke condescendingly of her action.  I would respond that as long as she’s doing what the Lord wants her to be doing, her horizontal relationship with her spouse and her vertical relationship with God are her primary importance.  And yet how do we show honor to our parents?

Must a Pastor Be Spirit-Filled?

September 26th, 2006 Viewed 1889 times

The first thing that Bethel uses to try to get us to leave the church is to try to shock us into believing that there are no God-ordained pastors in the ministry today. None. Zero. Nada. This is what he says:

There are many so-called “pastors” who are born again, but there are none who have been sent by God to be pastors. One thing that obscures this fact is that God obviously uses many pastors to minister to congregations. God used a fish and a worm to accomplish His purposes with Jonah, a jackass to accomplish His purposes with Balaam, and Satan to accomplish His purposes with Job. The mere fact that God uses a “pastor” to accomplish His purposes does not mean that the Lord sent him (or her) to be a God-ordained pastor. There are many women “pastors” today that minister to congregations, but God does not send women to be pastors. There are even practicing homosexuals that serve as pastors, but God does not send homosexuals to serve in that capacity.

So, basically this premise rests on the following: God can use any vehicle He chooses despite the vehicle. However, God would only choose ones that would meet Bethel’s checklist, and so there must not be any one that has been sent. (One wonders where Bethel himself fits on this list?)

So, let’s look at his first qualification on the checklist.

X Rated Font

September 26th, 2006 Viewed 1934 times

Read this article (I’ve posted it in full here), and then I have a question:

MONROE, N.Y. – School officials apologized after an X-rated font was used on a third-grade spelling packet handed out to parents. The font showed male and female stick figures in provocative poses to form the letters of the alphabet.

Officials with the Monroe-Woodbury School District in Orange County apologized last week after parents at Pine Tree Elementary School were given the spelling packet at an open house.

Administrators said the teacher did not use the font intentionally.

Monroe is about 45 miles northwest of New York City.

Why is it that a teacher has an X rated font on the school’s computer?  Is it just me, or is this probably the wrong place to have downloaded, installed, and have been using the font for any reason, let alone in a third grade spelling packet.  I mean, what word processing program randomly chooses a font rather than whatever the default or last font that was chosen.

I guess I don’t understand why the teacher, regardless of his intentions, was questioned as to why he even had that font installed, and why the teachers in this school didn’t question whether a person with that kind of font installed would be the right person to be entrusted with being the leader of a group of third graders.  If anything, I would have expected him to lose his job or go to some kind of therapy or something, wouldn’t you?

MInTheGap

Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.