26 thoughts on “News/Politics 4-18-17

  1. Apologies if this has been discussed before…

    http://www.wnd.com/2017/04/bible-answer-man-converts-to-greek-orthodox-church/

    You may have seen Hank Hanegraaff, “The Bible Answer Man,” converted to Eastern Orthodoxy. That was truly a shock and truly sad to me. For about a decade before I first heard The Bible Answer Man on the radio, I thought Evangelicals (or Evangelical/Protestant doctrine) were pretty monolithic in their beliefs. I naively thought true Christianity was just premillenial dispensationalism. (So naive! Embarrassing.) After I listened to a few BAM episodes, I realized there were some significant doctrinal differences among Protestants, and eventually evolved out of my own pre-mil dispy beliefs–although I continued to like BAM contributor and dispensationalist, Ron Rhodes.

    Anyhoo, it wasn’t until I listened to Hanegraaff that I learned there is far more intellectual meat to Christianity than I had previously thought. On one show, Hanegraaff recommended R.C. Sproul’s book, Chosen by God. After reading that and stumbling across Sproul, himself, on the radio, my understanding of the faith took a Reformed direction, and has continued and deepened in that regard, so much so that I came to reject a fair number of the things Hanegraaff would say on his show, even though I still found it generally edifying. But I hadn’t listened to it for 15 years or so when I heard about this conversion of his. It’s too bad.

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  2. SolarP, I know many conservative, Bible-believing Christians who have converted to become Eastern Orthodox. Most were formerly evangelical Episcopalians.

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  3. I grew up around the Greek Orthodox Church. Would someone please explain to me what is wrong with it?
    In my opinion people are tired of any ol’ anyone declaring themselves a preacher, getting ordained on line and starting a church. I personally want to know there is a doctrine of the church and there are safeguards in place to keep any one person from getting a little nutso and forming their own doctrines

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  4. Yesterday in News/Politics
    “michelle | April 17, 2017 at 6:43 pm
    FYI. The author is a close friend: https://amgreatness.com/2017/04/15/obamas-chaos-strategy-case-irs-ied/” .

    My niece is an Conversational English teacher in China. She didn’t know when her second semester would start. When it did she had a completely new set of students. This was a one year class the year before. None of the students or teachers ever know which day or date the classes will start.

    This “chaos” was part of the Communist control of Soviet Russia. No one ever knew when the secret police would come for them. People were kept in a low level fear about the Communist secret police; they might come for you anytime, usually at night.

    Have I ever mentioned that I don’t like Democrats?

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  5. Ricky, this is neither here nor there, really, but you know “many” conservative Christians who converted to Orthodoxy, and not all of them were of one major denomination? Like, how many people are we talking here? Whatever the case, it speaks to the dearth of sound catechizing in the American church that there would be an exodus from evangelicalism, and a subsequent lack of discernment to move to the Orthodox church.

    Michelle, I agree wholeheartedly the Spirit moves where he will. A few years ago, Frank Schaeffer–son of Francis–left Protestantism for the Greek Orthodox church. Somehow, this was a work of God, although it appears to be–so far, at least–to Schaeffer’s detriment, as he has since moved even further from sound doctrine and denies numerous critical Biblical teachings. God’s will be done.

    Kim, there is much in Eastern Orthodoxy to be commended, IMO. The Greek Church was instrumental in maintaining the true faith, especially regarding our understanding of the Trinity, in early centuries of doctrinal controversy. Chrysostom and Martyr are a couple of the great EO fathers. But while they had momentum at one point, the stopped growing (again, IMO). The Reformation taught us, among other things, that the question of justification had not been satisfactorily settled in the church at large. EO preserved a right understanding of the deity of Christ when that matter was in question–that’s a huge contribution to the welfare of the invisible church–but by the time of the Reformation, the EO had ceased pursuing the important subjects, which, as in the case of justification, has led to a stunted (and in some cases, plain wrong) teaching on serious doctrines. And I can tell I’m rambling. Let me leave this article, although it’s a little lengthy…:

    http://www.christurc.org/blog/2016/12/9/searching-for-the-historic-christian-church-the-allure-of-eastern-orthodoxy-1

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  6. I will only say this Solar, I am much more comfortable in the Greek Orthodox church than I am in a knee slapping, hand clapping, emotion filled warehouse of a church. There is a church here that has 3 or 4 “campuses” with two of them only being a few miles apart. There is a coffee bar in the lobby and people come as they are so to speak. There is no structure to the worship. It is contemporary in form, message, and music.
    I don’t like to be crowded in with 500 or 600 people for worship. About 100-150 sounds good to me. I want to know people. I want to form relationships.
    As Linda once stated about church history, “we are throwing the baby out with the bath water”. There is much to appreciate in what the Orthodox church preserved.
    The deepest truth of what I am saying is that I have trust issues. I want to know that there are written doctrines to the faith that I can find published in a prayer book, or other books, or on line somewhere telling me that I won’t be expected to (gross exaggeration) handle snakes or dance naked in the moonlight. I want to know the clergy attended a reputable seminary and received sound biblical teaching that is agreed upon by the majority of the faith over a really long time.
    I don’t trust Billy-Bob the Preacher Man and his flavor of Christianity.

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  7. I agree on a lot of that, Kim. An untaught or poorly-taught ministry is very detrimental to the welfare of the church. I also agree about the merits of a concrete formulation of doctrine to which a church member may subscribe. “No creed but Christ” is no creed at all. I believe the EO holds to the early ecumenical creeds, just as Reformed churches do. In *my opinion,* the Westminster Confession is the single most thorough, and beautifully written, statement of the Christian faith ever articulated. My point earlier is that *I believe* the EO stopped maturing when it hit a certain stage, and has unfortunately missed the benefits of development that came with the Reformation. At least the EO and Reformed churches have both denied the Roman Antichrist.

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  8. Here’s an attempt to explain why some are leaving evangelical churches for the Orthodox faith. It mentions Frank Schaeffer . . .

    “Frank Schaeffer, son of renowned theologian Francis Schaeffer, also joined the Orthodox Church in the late 1980s. (Ironically, Frank has significantly strayed from Orthodox beliefs since then.)”

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2017/april/how-should-we-respond-to-hank-hanegraaffs-switch-to-orthodo.html?utm_source=ctdirect-html&utm_medium=Newsletter&utm_term=9474712&utm_content=507395540&utm_campaign=email

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  9. Schaefer contacted me personally about a blog post I wrote concerning his mother. After two exchanges, I concluded he has problems not connected to his church attendance and I’ve avoided anything to do with him ever since.

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  10. Kizzie, I can’t disagree with the article. I do disagree with some. I liked what he said about everyone interpreting the Bible in their own way. I do think we should be held to guidelines about what the Bible does and does not say.
    I do no feel comfortable in some less “formal” churches. I appreciate the liturgy. I appreciate the eucharist.
    I don’t “feel” like I have been to church when I go sit in a auditorium and listen to someone bang on the pulpit and then go home.
    But you know what??? That’s why we have differences and if that is where you feel comfortable and where you meet God on Sunday, then I am not about to question or judge you for it.
    I don’t understate the uproar about this man converting. It is really between him and God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

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  11. Kim H, I’ll just challenge you on a couple things you’ve repeated.

    1) It isn’t the case that the only alternative to liturgical Orthodox churches are fire and brimstone charismatic megachurches.

    2) Degree of comfort isn’t the ultimate criterion for where a person ought to attend church; or to put it another way, none of the marks of a true church are “creating a comfortable environment.” And to counter what you may be tempted to reply, I’m not suggesting a church deliberately *cause* discomfort in the congregation (beyond conviction of sin to drive us to Christ).

    There are various reasons for the uproar over Hanegraaff’s conversion:

    A couple articles have been posted in here about the soundness of EO teaching; more can be found online. It’s a farther leap than going from Presbyterian to Baptist. It raises some theological concerns. Those concerns may not be important to you, but considering the gulf between Evangelicalism and Orthodoxy, they’re important to some.

    It speaks ill of the broader evangelical church’s teaching that someone of Hanegraaff’s stature should forsake evangelicalism for something so different. Skeptics may rightly ask, “What’s so wrong with evangelicalism that one of its most prominent defenders has broken from it?” [This touches on Hanegraaff’s lack of formal education, in my opinion, but that’s another issue].

    Hanegraaff was not especially public about his conversion or his path to get there. But he’s been the head of a prominent *Evangelical* organization for decades. This announcement probably comes as an unpleasant surprise to CRI’s evangelical donors and employees. Is that a betrayal to the donors? Do CRI employees, including writers, need to embrace, to some degree, the teaching of the Orthodox church? Will readers wonder how much content is biased to EO? To my knowledge, BAM continues on the air. Now he has converted to EO, how are listeners to hear him? Through what filter?

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  12. Thank you Michelle. Hawthorne is correct and we might not have too long to get this right before we reap the whirlwind. I will save these 2 articles and pass them on.

    We can’t and shouldn’t judge Obama by our standards. He was/is evil.

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  13. 2. My comment was more about the decorum and respect shown in church. The respectfulness of being in God’s house.
    1. I have chosen the liturgical church. It is what I like and I like the soundness of the doctrine. We have churches around here that are associated with the Methodists or Baptists, or some other established church but his the fact by calling themselves something like Jubilee, Circles, City of Hope, etc. All have grown into mega churches (at least mega for this area). I don’t like the “praise band” being so loud I feel like I am at a concert not church.

    It it is what you prefer, then I shall not try to change your mind and I shall not judge you. I have said recently that I am hanging out with the Baptists in town these days because the Guy I work with and his family have started attending my church and I just don’t want to have to deal with him on Sunday too. I cannot sit in church seething with anger and worship God at the same time. I am attending a Sunday School class at First Baptist and the new preacher’s wife is hanging out with us. I like her a lot. Will I ever join the Baptist church? Probably not. My soul longs for the beauty of the church and the liturgy and communion. I can’t say for certain because every time in my life I have said I will NOT do something…well, I have done it.

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  14. Totally understood, Kim. I should mention that I don’t attend a megachurch with the rock band and all that stuff. I attend a church that sings Psalms only (acapella even). It happens to be that that style suits my preference, but even if it didn’t, I would choose it over the rock band thing for a simple reason: I believe Psalms only, acapella, is Biblical, and man-made rock band worship songs performed in a service is not. I don’t even believe it’s Biblical (proper) to sing the most sacredly-regarded uninspired hymns in the worship service. If the Bible has made anything clear, it’s that God is very particular about how He is to be worshiped. I think it’s a grave mistake for anyone to choose a church based more on personal *preference* than how much a church orders its services, government, and practices according to Scripture.

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  15. When we talked about Hannegraf the other day, Solarpancake, I observed that I’ve come to view denominations as worship preferences–as long as they are focused on the Bible and Jesus as Lord.

    I’m like Kim–I’ve attended six different denominations (or not) of churches over my 45 years as a Christian and find far more peace and ability to worship in a liturgical setting.

    I am, however, a musician and a writer–words and music, art and senses enhance my worship. Loud praise songs create unnecessary distractions for my personal ability to worship.

    God leads us to different places at different times in our lives–or at least that was true of us with all our Navy moves. We moved from a high Episcopal spirit-filled church in New England, for example, to Calvary Chapel in California. Both, however, fed my soul at the times I needed them to.

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  16. Hi Michelle. It can be hard to have these conversations online, sometimes, because in trying to make an argument–clinically, without being able to communicate various nuances–a person can come across as just mean. But that’s not my intent, and I’m not judging any person, only agreeing with or disputing ideas related to the topic at hand.

    I agree with the sentiment in your post that exalts Christ and the Bible. Where I may not be able to agree is that that sentiment gets us all that far, in and of itself. As soon as we start trying to assess whether a church is focused on the Bible and Jesus as Lord, we’re necessarily making doctrinal judgments. Is the preaching Biblical? is the church government Biblical? Are the sacraments properly administered? Biblically, when it comes to how we are to worship God, there’s a whole lot of “thus says the Lord,” and very little “if you prefer.”

    I also recognize that we can only seek and settle for the best church available to us in whatever location God has put us. I should also add that if I were a member of, say, a rock band church where the Gospel was faithfully preached, and the church generally practiced sound doctrine, and the congregation was loving and encouraging, I wouldn’t leave such a church over the matter of song singing style or content; at least not immediately. If I felt it was serious enough an issue, I would approach the elders with any disagreements, and take it up the chain of command. If I couldn’t persuade anyone of my views, I would peaceably and respectfully ask the elders to allow me to seek membership elsewhere. I would still expect to enjoy fellowship with brothers and sisters from that church in different settings. But our circumstances don’t change what the Bible has said about what God calls for, allows, and prohibits in worship. That’s the context of my comments here.

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  17. Solarpancake – As you said, tone of voice does not come across well online, so please know that I ask this question respectfully, not argumentatively.

    What do those, like yourself, who believe in only singing the Psalms think about the verses in Ephesians & Colossians that tell us to sing psalms, hymns, & spiritual songs? Or the verses in the psalms themselves, where we are told to “sing a new song”?

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  18. Now that we have moved, we are visiting my son and daughter-in-law’s church (The Village Church where Matt Chandler is the pastor). Interestingly, the church used to be First Baptist Church of Highland Village, but was somewhat non-traditional even before calling Chandler as pastor.

    The primary music minister seems like a real nice guy and a dynamic leader, but his preferred style of music sounds a lot like Nirvanna. The assistant music minister likes to sing old hymns accompanied by loud electric guitars and drums. A couple of weeks ago I felt like John Fogerty singing “Holy, Holy, Holy”.

    Solar P, It was in the 80s and 90s that a lot of Bible-believing Christians in the South realized that their mainline denominations were largely being led by heretics. Pastors and laymen were looking for Bible-believing churches. Entire Episcopal congregations became Eastern Orthodox. During those days I knew a number of lawyers, doctors and other professionals who made the switch. Some stayed EO, some became Catholics, a few went back to their Episcopal or Methodist or Presbyterian roots. A few joined Bible churches. During those days laymen enjoined picking each other’s brains and enjoyed discovering that there were indeed ‘small o’ orthodox Christians in virtually every denomination.

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  19. Kizzie, I may need to get more into that question tomorrow, but it’s a good one. The quick answer is,

    The Psalms, *themselves,* were referred to variously as psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Further, consider “spiritual” songs. That should be Spiritual, capital S. No man-made song can claim that kind of inspiration apart from the inspired Psalms. [Also consider: God gave us 150 PERFECT, INFALLIBLE songs to sing. Why do so few churches actually sing from God’s Song Book?]

    A “new song” reference doesn’t mean new in the sense that it has never existed before. What if that really were the case? Each Lord’s day, we’d have to compose “new” songs to sing! I’ll get more into that when I have a bit of time, if you’d like. Those are good questions, and I appreciate the tenor of your asking them!

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  20. If I had been “around” today, I’d have joined in on this discussion, since I have a good link to share and some thoughts on the matter. But since I’m just now reading this thread, I’ll wait till tomorrow to enter the discussion.

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