Saturday, June 21, 2014

what is Destiny Image doing, putting out this book?

A while ago, I did something crazy, and joined Destiny Image's book review club, or whatever it was at that time. Hey, if I'm going to read NAR junk and put reviews of it on Amazon, it may as well be for free. I've tried to be fair and my reviews, and some have even had a slight positive side to them, but overall...yeah, garbage.

Anyway, DI did change things recently, and now they simply offer e-books for free or on sale on Amazon, and send e-mail notices about them.

So, a few days ago, I got one of the e-mails. There was a bit of an ad for a book they will release soon. What got my attention about this ad was the quote from someone whom I guess had read the book, and liked it. Here's that quote and the person who is credited for it.

"This book may just save Christianity from us Christians"--Frank Schaeffer.

I don't do it much, for reasons of health, but I know that I have opined about Schaeffer a few times here. For example, Schaeffer is the one who gave us such gems as "...BEHOLD REPUBLICANS WILL NOW OWN EVERY CHILD KILLED BY A GUN". Please note, I did not add the all-caps, that was Schaeffer's doing. Or, these paragraphs...

The terror unleashed on Norway - and the terror now unleashed by the Tea Party through Congress as it holds our economy hostage to extremist "economic" theories that want to destroy our ability to function -- is the sort of white, Christian; far right terror America can expect more of.

Call this the ultimate "Tea Party" type "answer" to secularism, modernity, and above all our hated government. Call this the Christian Brotherhood. From far right congress people, to far right gun-toting terror in Norway and here at home, our own Western version of the Taliban is on the rise.

Foreigners, visitors from another planet and Americans living in a bubble of reasonable or educated people might not know this but the reality is that the debt ceiling confrontation is by, for and the result of America's evangelical Christian control of the Republican Party.
 Please note, yes, I have linked to my own articles above. You can find links to the sources for those quotes on that page, but, frankly (pun intended), I have little desire to stomach any more of Frank Schaeffer's hate-filled nonsense then I must, and so will not link to his words any more than I must.

So, Destiny Image is proudly putting a blurb of this man's words in an ad for a giveaway for this book, Undiluted, by someone names Benjamin Corey. Take a good look at the book's cover, and you'll see that there are a few words in praise of the book at the bottom of the page, by one Brian McLaren. Yep, the same man who has pretty much denied every cardinal doctrine of Christianity.

Now, since the book's page has the author's website, I made a quick little visit, and was certainly not surprised by what I saw, given Schaeffer's and McLaren's words of praise. Basically, it's a blog in favor of progressive --ianity (that may be my new word for it, as there is basically no Christ in it at all).

So, in other words, Destiny Image is proudly promoting a book put out by someone on the far left. Yeah, let that sink in.

If you want to find basically any book on bad Charismatic theology, Destiny Image is your source. So, don't (repeat: DON'T) be surprised at Destiny Image and charismania going to the left. This isn't the first time I've seen this in charismatic writers, and why should it be a surprise? Consider that both charismatics and progressives put much more emphasis on hearing a supposed voice of God inside themselves, over what is actually taught in the Bible. Since both get their guidances from the same source, why should a meeting of their minds not happen?

Saturday, June 14, 2014

book review—The Power of Uncommon Unity by Joey Letourneau

fairy tale theology

I got a copy of this book when the publisher offered it for free.

This book is far too long. If someone had made him to cut out all the needless repetitions, this book may well have been about half it's current size.

I hardly know where to begin in properly critiquing the unholy mess that is this book.

First, I seriously think that this author has never read the Bible. Oh, he has his pet verses he hauls out ad nauseam, thinking they prove his points when they actually don't. But any hint of a serious study of what the Bible teaches is missing in the book, and his conclusions have little if anything to do with what any passage says.

For example, his mangling of the story of Jacob in this book is enough to disqualify him from any pretense of being a Christian minister. “Jacob received the blessing from his father, Isaac, and became a renewed person.” (p. 8). Where does the account of Jacob tricking his father tell us that he became a renewed person? It ain't there. “Jacob was about to leave to begin blazing the trail that was alive within him when his father, Isaac, blessed him again:” (p. 9). This is laughable! Jacob left because Esau was making plans to kill him for his trickery. And blazing the trail that was alive with him? What kind of nonsense rhetoric is that! “But we see that Jacob arrives at Bethel and he is at rest. He is not striving to prove himself or create significance.” (p. 11). It was night! Jacob was sleeping, what most people do at night! This guy's attempts to read his ideas into Jacob's life are so pathetic, that they cross over into the comedic!

Oh, and what he does to the account of Jesus raises Lazarus is, if anything, even worse. “Lazarus was wearing grave clothes, probably could have been considered unclean and in need of some help before he could go forward in life. Even Martha, who so eagerly waited for the miracle she wanted, couldn’t help but focus on the stench of death.” (p. 49). When Martha spoke about the smell, it was when her brother was still dead. “Rather, Jesus called out the life in Lazarus knowing that death would be left behind as Lazarus began to live forward. Jesus spoke to the potential of life within him, “Lazarus, come forth!” (John 11: 43).” (p. 50). What??? There was no life in Lazarus! He was DEAD!!! He had been DEAD for a few days! Lazarus didn't begin to live forward (whatever that means), he was brought back to life. There was no potential of life in him, Jesus himself made a dead man alive again.

Shall I go on? He tries to say that we have to be “shaken”, because of something that happened to a small group of people in the account in Acts 4. That is never taught in Scripture. “How many of us are waiting to be lifted into the same palace of our calling as Joseph was? That palace is waiting for you too, but it might not be where you thought it would be.” (p. 66). The account of Joseph is not intended to tell us that we all have some kind of real or metaphorical palace just waiting for us, any more than the account of Moses tells us we have to leave the palace and go into the wilderness.

This guy's main idea is unity. That's all well and good, but for all of his words in this too-long book, we get very little notion of what that unity is to be built around. And Christian unity is built around certain things. Read the epistles, and you'll see that those who tried to come into the churches and teach against sound doctrine, for example saying that Gentile Christians needed to put themselves under the Mosaic law, or that Christ had already returned, or attempted to add any works to salvation, were decried in the harshest terms. The early church was hardly a big tent.

But this guy's rhetoric is postmodern. “Unity in the Spirit is a seemingly misaligned alignment held together by the One who celebrates our diversity and created us to come together not in spite of, but because of our differences.” (from the Introduction). What diversity are you talking about? “The Father’s Blessing changes this; it embraces the differences in our lives and releases us to approve and empower the differences in others.” (p. 6). What differences are you talking about?

This isn't just a nitpicky set of questions. One of this author's other books, Revolutionary Freedom, has a positive review in it from Shane Claiborne, who is a part of the Emergent Church, someone way far to the left on theological and social issues. Any “unity” that welcomes someone like Claiborne is not Christian unity. The author favorably quotes Bill Johnson in this book. Any “unity” that welcomes Bill Johnson is not Christian unity. The author writes of the nonsense that happened in Toronto as if it were from God, which is wasn't. Any “unity” that says that is not Christian unity.

In the end, this book is more fairy tale than theology. As I've shown in a few examples, this guy doesn't tell us what the Bible says, he creates his own ideas and adds a little seasoning of biblical verses to make it seem like biblical teaching. His rhetoric about some special generation reveals him to be an NAR dominionist, but one with a postmodern twist. It's not the first time I've noticed the young NAR types sliding to the left, and it's not surprising, given that both the NAR and progressive theology are build on foundations of extra-biblical thought and whatever feels nice.

very interesting comparison

Charismatic teaching is breeding spiritual havoc

This man spoke at last year's Strange Fire Conference, and spoke well about the kinds of lunacy taking place in far too many churches in Africa. In this post, he makes some very good points about how, if the charismatics are going to focus on secondary things, then it is any wonder that the people will react as they do.

For instance, there is the view that God still speaks to us independent of the Bible. Drink this milk for a number of years and you will soon be attributing to God the inner voices coming from your fallen self. 
This is so common as to be accepted almost without thought by those who are not in charismatic circles. Teachings about "God's still small voice" are everywhere, and none of it is biblical, because the Bible doesn't teach us to strain to hear any kind of quiet, inner voice.

Perhaps his most interesting statements, though, come when he compares charismatic reactions to the lunacy that happens in charismatic circles to how some people in Islam speak of their religion.

There is a creepy similarity between this phenomenon and what is happening in Islam. There seems to be a fear by many people to state that Islam is the cause of the current mayhem in the world.
He goes on to note that, just as the actions of Muslims, even Muslim terrorists, may be indicative of something in Islam itself causing those actions, so too might the lunacy in charismatic circles be caused by teachings and practices in charismatic churches.

I've given a very little bit of this man's blog post, and recommend that you go and read it yourself. Very thought provoking.