Racism and Critical Race Theory Part 3, Biblical Investigation

Volume 27, Issue 3, March 2021 Part one in this series on racism and Critical Race Theory (CRT) was an introduction to the current conversation, while part two addressed past roots and present areas of social unrest. This part will provide a biblical investigation of CRT, identify three major ways that CRT is having a negative impact on evangelical Christianity, and part four will offer a response drawn from Scripture.  Biblical Investigation of CRT We now turn our attention to investigate the claims of Critical Race Theory, racism, and social justice in light of Scripture, including how unbiblical answers color our understanding of the gospel, the church, and the Scriptures. The question must never be if an ideology is popular or trending, but whether it stands the test of the Word of God.  Looking at the big picture, we can quickly see the contrast between the CRT worldview and...

Racism and Critical Race Theory Part 2, Social Unrest

Volume 27, Issue 2, February 2021 In Part One of this series on racism and Critical Race Theory (CRT), we examined the current conversation, including many of the terms now in vogue, to try to get a handle on the worldview of critical theory.  As stated at the close of that article, once a person accepts CRT, it becomes the lens through which he or she views and understands all social justice issues, and in many ways all of life in Western culture.  According to critical theory, only the woke will be able to grasp the meaning of racism, intersectionality, whiteness, and all related concerns, and only by becoming woke is there hope for our society and churches.  We need to shine the light of Scripture on these theories in order to discern whether they are congruent with the Word of God. But before doing so, it would be...

Racism and Critical Race Theory Part 1 The Current Conversation

Volume 27, Issue 1, January 2021 Among the most pressing issues of our times are those surrounding systemic racism. I write this even in light of an extremely important Presidential election and being engulfed in the Covid-19 pandemic because, as important as these other two issues are, racism has become so divisive and explosive that it has the potential of shaping our world for years to come. Volumes have been written and spoken on this subject from every persuasion, and my comments will likely add little.  However, as issues concerning racism are not only cultural but also spiritual, it is important that we examine how racial debates and disagreements are affecting Christians and the church.  In trying to get a handle on the recent social unrest and the factors behind it, we will approach the subject in four steps: Examine the current conversation, including an understanding of terms being...

Biblical Discernment in Christian Literature

Volume 26, Issue 4, August/September 2020 Biblical discernment today, if not at an all-time low, is surely bumping along at the bottom of the pond, and nowhere is that more evident than in Christian literature.  Most people, if a book or blog post is written by a credentialed Christian author, and published by at least a semi-respected Christian publishing house, let down their guard and accept unquestionably whatever is disseminated. This is true not only of the average believer but also of many in leadership. For example, Subversive Sabbath, the Surprising Power of Rest in a Nonstop World by A. J. Swoboda, won Christianity Today’s 2019 Book of the Year award in the spiritual formation category, and thus would presumably represent spirituality as understood by mainstream evangelicalism today. Written by a pastor/seminary professor, the book’s strength lies in its reminder that the believer needs rest as grounded in the...

The Enneagram Part 2

Volume 26, Issue 3, June/July 2020 In the first article on this subject, I began by developing a case for biblical authority and sufficiency, stating that anything that attempts to by-pass Scripture as the source of truth for Christian living is deficient and should be viewed with suspicion at best.  Any system which claims to offer a pathway to either salvation or sanctification, which is not derived directly and completely from the Word of God, is a fallacy.  Not only are such systems to be avoided (2 Tim 2:16; 3:5), they should be exposed (Jude 3-26).  The Enneagram is just such a system. In the first article I also addressed the origins of the Enneagram, its modern face and what it proposes to accomplish, which is self-knowledge and a deeper relationship with both self and God. In this paper we will revisit the origins, identify some popular promoters, briefly...

The Enneagram – Part 1

Volume 26, Issue 2, April/May 2020 If you have not heard of the Enneagram yet, you will soon.  According to Wikipedia it “is a model of the human psyche which is principally understood and taught as a typology of nine interconnected personality types. As a typology the Enneagram defines nine personality types (sometimes called “enneatypes”), which are represented by the points of a geometric figure called an enneagram, which indicate connections between the types. The Enneagram of Personality has been widely promoted in both business management and spirituality contexts through seminars, conferences, books, magazines, and DVDs. In business contexts it is generally used as a typology to gain insights into workplace interpersonal-dynamics; in spirituality it is more commonly presented as a path to higher states of being, essence, and enlightenment. Both contexts say it can aid in self-awareness, self-understanding and self-development.” The Enneagram figure or diagram looks like the following. Before I jump into the midst of the fire swirling around...

Girl, Wash Your Face A Critique

(Volume 26, Issue 1, February/March 2020) The best lies, the most potent lies, are rooted in deception. Obvious lies seldom get out of the starting gate, while well-disguised lies are racing around the track.  John 1:5 informs us that Jesus is the Light that shines in our dark world, while Satan, according to 2 Corinthians 11:14, manifests himself as an angel of light. Few would be attracted to Satan and his schemes if he appeared as an angel of darkness, but masqueraded as an angel of light, as one very similar to the true Light, he is able to entice multitudes to his worldview.  Those entrenched in satanic schemes, or doctrines of demons as Paul calls them in 1 Timothy 4:1, mirror the same techniques as their master, and infiltrate the globe as “false apostles,” spreading their erroneous teachings throughout the world.  Their most effective method is to dress...

Music and Worship

(Volume 25, Issue 7, December 2019/January 2020) As a pastor, I have long been an interested observer of the ever-changing ebb and flow of music as related to the church and, specifically, worship.  As a Baby Boomer, I have personally experienced the birth of “rock and roll,” the “English invasion” spearheaded by the Beatles, and all that has followed.  This radical shift in secular music in the 1960s and 1970s was quickly mimicked by the Christian community in the late 1960s as believers attempted to reach a generation that was “turned-on and tuned-out” to the values and lifestyles of past generations.  It was assumed, first by a few but eventually by many, that the best way to engage this new, rebellious generation was to accept and adopt many of its philosophies, methods, and especially its music.  What would later be termed Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) was born on the...

Poor Analogies and Illustrations Used to Teach the Trinity Which May Teach Heresy Instead

(Volume 25, Issue 6, November 2019) Without question, the Trinity is one of the most complicated, mysterious and difficult doctrines for God’s people to comprehend.  The core doctrine of Old Testament Judaism was monotheism as expressed in the Shema in Deuteronomy 6:4: “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!” And while there are scattered references to the three members who composed the Godhead in the Old Testament, those references are better understood in the light of New Testament revelation.  We look back now with clarity and recognize the Father, Son and Holy Spirit all are present prior to the incarnation, but it is doubtful that many Old Testament saints grasped the idea of a Trinity, at least not with the precision that Christians do today.  So it is not surprising that when the Patristics attempted to understand and define the Triune God that there...

It Is Time to Kiss the Church Hello

(Volume 25, Issue 5, September/October 2019) By now the details about Josh Harris’s divorce and apostasy is old news and every cheesy pun associated with his best-selling book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, has been trotted out ad nauseam. I thought I would attempt a positive pun instead,–“It is time to kiss the church hello,”–because I think ultimately the focus is on the wrong issue.  Follow my musings for a moment. Harris experienced the world of evangelical celebrity at a very young age.  As a youth he assisted his parents in their leadership in the homeschooling movement, traveling to home school conferences and selling his father’s materials.  Still, in his teens, Josh was speaking at these conferences and produced a magazine for homeschoolers called New Attitude.  At the ripe old age of 21, he published his signature book, which not only sold over a million copies but also launched a...