The Word was God

Witnessing to the Watchtower: And the Word was ???

Almost every person reading this article should be able to recall a time when Jehovah’s Witnesses came knocking at his or her door to proselytize.  Anyone who took the time to interact with the Witnesses at their door should have noticed that the Jehovah’s Witness sect has a very peculiar doctrinal stance that separates them from orthodox Christians -Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe that Jesus is God.   This doctrinal stance is perpetrated in the New World Translation of the Bible, which is published by the official Jehovah’s Witness publishing source, The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.  The New World Translation renders John 1:1 as follows:

“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.”

This particular rendering of John 1:1 is almost completely unique to the Watchtower translation of the John.  It is markedly different from almost every other English translation of the same biblical verse.  Some examples from the most popular English translation of the Bible are as follows:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” NASB

 

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” KJV

 

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” HCSB

 

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” ESV

 

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” NRSV

 

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” NIV

Each of the translations listed above are “committee translations”.  A committee translation of the Bible is a translation completed by a group effort of Hebrew and Biblical scholars.  By using a group of scholars, committee translations are insulated from the theological prejudices of individual translators.  Renderings of Greek and Hebrew verses with ambiguous English meanings are the result of scholarly collaboration and not the hypothesis of a single individual, no matter how credentialed he might be.   According to the Watchtower Bible and Society, the New World Translation is a committee translation.   However, the names of the men who participated in the translation of the New World version of the Bible have been kept secret since its publication.   No one outside of the highest echelons of the Watchtower can verify that any of these bible translators are actual biblical scholars.  This includes nearly every Jehovah’s Witnesses who goes out knocking on doors.   To the contrary, the names of the men who translated the other English Bible versions listed above are well-known and their credentials as scholars of Hebrew and Greek are well-attested.   These biblical scholars did not classify the Word as “a god” in John 1:1, whereas the Watchtower translators did.  Why?

Jehovah’s Witness doctrine holds that the man Jesus was actually an incarnation of the angel Michael, a spirit being who had no body before he was born to the virgin Mary in the first century.  According to Jehovah’s witnesses, Michael was the first being ever created by God.  John’s gospel refers to Jesus as “the Word”.  If Jesus is the angel Michael, then “The Word” cannot be God since Jesus isn’t God but the angel Michael.  Thus the New World Translation must render the Greek phrase “Θεὸς ἦν ὁ Λόγος” in John 1:1 as the “the Word was a god”.  This is troublesome given that there is no Greek word for the English indefinite article “a”.  Jehovah’s Witnesses are well trained on this talking point.  Their argument is that the context on John 1:1 demands the indefinite article in English.  However, their argument stands at odds with virtually every credible Greek scholar in the western world.  If John meant to communicate that “the Word was God” the best Greek phraseology he could have used was the phraseology he actually did use.

Conversely, there are numerous ways John could have clearly communicated in Greek that the Word was a lesser god, an Angel, or Michel.  Here they are:

phrases

When evangelizing Jehovah’s witnesses, Christians can use this knowledge to help clear Witness minds of cultic preconditioning.  Here are suggested steps a Christian can take:

  1. Ask the Witnesss if he believes Jesus (the Word) was “a god” as their Bible translation indicates.
  2. Ask the Witness if he believes that Jesus was an angel in the beginning.
  3. Ask the Witness if he believes that Jesus was Michael in the beginning.

The Witness should answer affirmatively to all of these questions.  Then ask the witnesses to help you understand John 1:1.

  1. Ask the Witness the names of the men who translated the Watchtower Bible. (Either the witness will not know that the names are secret and you will have to tell him or he will know and indicate that they are kept secret out of humility)
  2. Inform the witness that the names and Greek credentials of the men who translated the NASB, KJV, HCSB, ESV, NRSV, and NIV are well-known and unassailable. (Maybe ask them a question if they’d like to know that their doctor went to medical school or their lawyer went to law school)
  3. Inform the witness that the translation committees of the translations listed above rendered John 1:1 as “the Word was God”.
  4. Show the witness the alternate Greek phrases listed above. (The phrases should be hand written as Witnesses often refuse to read religious literature from sources outside The Watchtower.)
  5. Ask the Witness why he thinks John didn’t use clearer wording if he meant to teach that Jesus was the Angel Michael and not God.

Be prepared for the witnesses to interject with references to Jesus from other places in scripture.  They may ask how the Father was “greater than” Jesus or how the Word was “with God” if he was God.  These are distractions.  Do you best to stick to one subject; the proper translation of John 1:1.  Most Witnesses are unfamiliar with Greek and many are generally uneducated (the result of a generation of Witnesses eschewing college because of a failed end-times prediction).  Their arguments will not be based on a educated understanding of how Greek works.  Making a Jehovah’s Witness doubt the authority or capability of the Watchtower organization could be the first step of leading a Jehovah’s Witness out of their cult an into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.

For more information on Jehovah’s Witness doctrine and how to witness to them, please see the resources made available by the Watchman Fellowship.  It is also advisable to memorize John 1:1 in the Greek.

*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

 

Prayer-Walk-Our-Schools

Should You “Prayer Walk” the Schools of Bartow County?

Summer is nearing its end, which means that the 2016-2017 school year is just around the corner.  The beginning of a new school year is an important time in the lives of many families, one which requires a significant amount of planning and preparation.   In the midst of buying new clothes, attaining school supplies, and arranging transportation, Christian families are wise to include prayer as a part of their preparation for the new school year.  Knowing this, the Bartow Baptist Association recently sent the following announcement to local ministers:

“Please encourage your people to go to the school of their choice this Sunday to prayer walk from 4-5pm. There will be material based on the movie WAR ROOM to prompt people to pray.”

Prayer is certainly important but why are local church members being encouraged to “prayer walk” at local schools?  A good number of Christians in Bartow County churches may have never heard of prayer walking.  For such people, at least two questions must be asked: “What exactly is ‘prayer walking’?” and “Is participating in it advisable?”   The best place to find an answer to any question about a (purportedly) spiritual practice is in God’s word.  However, those searching the scriptures for examples of the practice of “prayer walking” or commands to engage in it will not find such.   This is because prayer walking is not a biblical practice.  Information about it can be found on the internet, however.  According to the respected Christian-issues resource GotQuestions.org, “prayer walking” is:

“ the practice of praying on location, a type of intercessory prayer that involves walking to or near a particular place while praying…Prayer Walking is a relatively new phenomenon, the origin of which is not clear. There is no biblical model for prayer walking, although since walking was the major mode of transportation in Bible times, clearly people must have walked and prayed at the same time. However, there is no direct command that prayer walking is something we should be doing. To believe that prayers offered in any setting, or while in any position, are more effective than those offered at another time or in another manner is not scriptural.”

That “prayer walking” is not a scripturally prescribed practice should give those Christians who are considering participating in the school prayer walks organized by the Bartow Baptist Association pause.  Certainly there is nothing wrong with praying for local students, teachers, administrators, and schools.  In fact, the Bible says to “pray without ceasing”.  There is nothing at all unscriptural about praying for local schools and their stakeholders; doing so is a fine pastime.  However making a public event out of such prayer is not advisable.  The Lord Jesus commanded his followers not to make a spectacle out of their prayer activities, saying:

 “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”

Organizing a county-wide prayer walk is anything but closing doors and praying in secret.  The intent of the heart of the prayer is of key concern in the context of this planned prayer walk.  Do people want to be seen?  Do they want to show up in numbers to let the school board to know that they vote?  These are not proper motivations for public prayer.  Even those with noble motives would do best to heed the words of the Lord Jesus and go to their “inner rooms” to prayerfully intercede for their community’s schools.  If churches wish to pray corporately for the beginning of the school year, church members should gather together in their church buildings or in together in various homes rather than making a spectacle of marching down the street and walking around school campuses.

Another concern that Bartow County Christians should keep in mind while considering the practice of “Prayer Walking” is Christian Dominionism.  According to GotQuestions.org, Christian Dominionists believe that “Christians should, and eventually will, take control of the government.”  The Pentecostal off-shoot of this unbiblical worldview is known as “Kingdom Now Theology.”  Its adherents, according to GotQuestions.org, focus “on taking dominion of the earth by way of spiritual battle.”  Often times this spiritual battle is spoken about in terms of “prayer strategy” or the “7 Mountains Mandate”.  According to Dominionist thought, “Business, Government, Media, Arts & Entertainment, Education, Family, and Religion” are “7 Cultural Mountains” or change agents over which Christians must take dominion to influence culture.  The identification of these mountains is alternatively identified with Francis Schaffer, Bill Bright, and Loren Cunningham, the founder of Youth With a Mission.  Cunningham, a notorious Pentecostal, claimed to have received these 7 Mountains in a direct revelation from God while on vacation in Colorado in 1975.  These 7 Mountains are on the wall of the Bartow Baptist Association, which has been increasingly participating in mission work with non Southern-Baptist Pentecostals over the last few years.  Bartow County Christians should not be under the misguided notion that they can and should somehow “take dominion” over the Bartow County “mountain” of education by “prayer walking” local campuses or other Pentecostal strategies.  Bible-believing Christians should seek to disassociate themselves from the 7 Mountains mandates, especially organizations such as the Bartow Baptist Association.

Bartow County’s Christians should further understand that the undertaking to prayer-walk local schools is not truly a local initiative.  Baptist Associations across the country will be participating in similar events in the coming days.  National Prayer leaders, whomever they may be, are often talked about in Bartow Baptist circles but their influence extends well beyond the borders of Bartow. There is an overarching idea in the national Christian Community that some sort of “prayer strategy” will somehow put the USA back on the right path as secularism seemingly takes the country by storm.  Often times, this idea results in an unhealthy ecumenism and even industrial profiteering.  It’s apparent that the Bartow County prayer-walking initiative is not purely homegrown, given that materials from the nationally popular movie War Room are to be used “prompt people to pray”.  (Local Baptist Associations are essentially used as marketing channels by LifeWay and the larger Christian industrial complex, as I have written about here).  Surely local Christians are not so distant from communion with their Heavenly Father that they need copyrighted material from a fictional prayer movie to “prompt” their prayers.  Jesus, after all, did teach his followers how to pray in the pages of Scripture.  Are War Room materials and scripted marches really necessary to pray for Bartow County Schools?  Is there anything in scripture about “targeted prayer strategies”?

Battle-Plan-for-Prayer

Simply put, one does not have to be in a given geographic location to somehow pray more effectively for that place.  There is no power in a prayer’s location.  Rather, the power of prayer lies with God, who is omnipresent and omnipotent.  There is no place that His power and influence do not extend.  Before a Christian engages in a “Prayer Walk”, that much should be clear in his mind.  That’s not to say that there is no value in walking and praying.  By physically exploring a location, such as a school, one can visually identify people or things which may need prayer.  It is an absolutely great idea to walk and pray, especially in inconspicuous groups of two or three. “Prayer Walking” in very large groups, on the other hand, is simply wrong-headed.  Hopefully, those who choose to engage in the county prayer-walking initiative will think through the matter and realize as much.  Bartow County schools absolutely need and deserve prayer, but it should be biblical.  If anyone does choose to prayer-walk a local school, hopefully his commitment to the betterment of that place won’t end there.  There are multiple opportunities to be salt and light in local schools.  God has placed his church on planet Earth to be just that.  Outside of single day prayer events, local churches and local schools will hopefully conceive of charitable and evangelistic programs to reach out to the lost at local schools and come alongside Christian teachers providing a Christian witness where it is desperately needed.

https://podomatic.com/embed/html5/episode/8138638?autoplay=true

*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

efm

Pastor Gibson and the Masonic Deacon

The following is the personal testimony of Pastor Stan Gibson:

Not long after I first became a pastor, a deeply troubling circumstance necessitated that I began to consider the compatibility of Christianity and Freemasonry.  Before this incident, I had not given the matter much consideration.  I grew up in a Southern Baptist church which was filled with many Freemasons.  Despite being surrounded by Masons at my local church, I gave little thought to the Masonic order or its activities until well into my adult life.  That would all change as I became responsible for the care of souls.  The year was 1998 and I was pastoring a Southern Baptist Church in a rural area about thirty minutes outside of St. Louis, Missouri.  For a reason still unknown to me, perhaps Providence, an elderly couple brought to me An Encyclopedia of Freemasonry by Dr. Albert Mackey.  At the time I was unaware that Mackey is considered to be one of the most respected scholars of the Masonic craft and was himself a Master Mason during his life.  Upon receiving Mackey’s Encyclopedia of Masonry, I thanked the couple for their gift and placed the book on the desk in my office at the church.  I thought little of the gift at the time but its significance was made clear to me when the church custodian came into my office to do his usual cleaning and laid eyes on it.

Upon seeing An Encyclopedia of Freemasonry on my desk, the custodian immediately snatched it up, tucked it under his arm, and said, “Where did you get this book? Why do you have this book? If you have any questions about the Masons, then you can ask me. I’ll take this book for you.” I told him where I got the book and that I was very interested in reading it for; I kindly asked him to place it back on my desk. He begrudgingly put the book back, doing so reluctantly.  It was obvious from his demeanor that he was very upset with me.  I asked him, “Why does this upset you? It’s obvious you don’t want me to read this book but why?” He simply replied, “If you want to know about the Masons, then ask me.”

“Are you a mason?” I asked the custodian.  He went on to inform me that he was not only in Mason, but that he was presently serving as the Worshipful Master in the local lodge…but he didn’t stop there.  He went on to tell me that I would be a better pastor if I knew the secrets of the Lodge and that there were things that were left out of the Bible that only initiates to the Lodge knew.  He then asked me two amazing questions.  The first was, “Don’t you want to be a better pastor?”  The second was, “If you do, would you like to become a Mason?” I couldn’t believe what I just heard! I replied to him this saying, “Are you telling me that the Bible is incomplete, and insufficient, and that I need to know what the Masons know to make me complete?”

The custodian’s answer was “yes.”

I then asked him, perhaps prompted by the Holy Spirit Himself, the following question, “Is Jesus the only Lord, and is he the Lord over the Masonic Lodge?” He replied, “He is my Lord.” Again I asked him, “Is Jesus the only Lord, and is he the Lord over the Masonic Lodge?” Again he replied, “He is my Lord.” It was clear that he was not going to answer my question; In fact, he was avoiding it on purpose. I asked the custodian, “If Jesus is not the Lord of the Masonic Lodge, then why would you want to be a part of such foolishness?” Indeed, I continued and asked him, “Does it disturb you as a professing Christian to hold the title of ‘Worshipful Master?’” When I asked this question, the custodian, a 67-year-old man, Chairmen of Deacons at the church, plugged both of his ears and ran to his car, which was parked out front. I followed him outside begging him to stay and to talk with me about the matter.  He peeled out of the parking lot and left.   Although he left, the matter was far from over.

I called for the other Deacons and me to meet and discuss the matter with him. Only two of the six deacons chose to be a part of this meeting; the rest refused and wanted to be no part of it. By the end of the meeting, the man had resigned as the chairman of deacons.  As he stormed out of the meeting, one of the other deacons said to him, “If you refuse to sit and talk about it here, I will have to bring this to the attention of the church.” The matter was brought to the attention of the church during the next business meeting; it was an ugly scene. I was accused of tearing down the church by a congregation who had theretofore held this man in high regard. They wanted to hear nothing of what actually transpired and nothing of what the word of God had to say concerning this matter.  Despite the difficulty, the meeting ended with the former Deacon Chair and his wife pulling their church membership.

After the contentious business meeting, a handful of men stayed around to encourage me and pray with me.  All of a sudden, we saw a car sliding into the church’s gravel parking lot.  A man bolted out of the car and sprinted towards the church. It was the custodian’s forty-year-old son. He charged through the doors of the church, grabbed a hold of my collar, and threw me inside my office.  He shut the door behind him and locked it.  The enraged son told me that he would “get me back”. He promised to burn my house, the church parsonage, down and even said he didn’t care if my wife and kids were inside of it when he did it. He vowed to me that my attack on the Freemasons would be vindicated and then stormed out of the church.

The men who had previously been praying with me stood outside my office bewildered by what had just transpired.  I asked them if I should take the threats seriously.  “Yes” was their reply.  I immediately hurried to the parsonage next-door. I told my wife and my two small boys to hurry up and pack because we needed to go. My wife kept asking me if the matter was really that serious.  I assured her that it was and we quickly piled into our van.  I backed out of the driveway into the cold winter’s night and began driving down a very dark country road.   Sure enough, headed towards the church was the custodian’s son; he was driving without his headlights turned on.  I turned off my own headlines and sped by him, accelerating to put distance between him and us.  We reported the incident to the local police but were not taken seriously. We hid for an entire week at a relative’s house.

All of these events caused me to be in desperate, fervent prayer to the Lord. My prayer wasn’t just for protection but for understanding about what the Freemasons truly are.  Less than one week later a former mason (whom I did not know at the time) called me out of the blue and offered all of his lodge books to me.  Right after that, the widow of a very powerful and influential Freemason called and asked if I would like to have all of his books; she gave me sixty of them.  Upon receiving these many books, I diligently studied the Freemasons from their own literature.  After exhaustive examination, I have come to the conclusion that Freemasonry is completely incompatible with biblical Christianity.

It must be confronted within the church.  I have been faithful to the Lord in this conviction to the point of informally debating a group of Freemasons about Christianity in one of their own lodges.  I hope other brothers and sisters in Christ, will, after their own study and under the conviction of the Holy Spirit, begin addressing the issue of Freemasonry in their own churches, calling errant brothers to Christ and standing firm against hardheartedness where necessary.

Stan Gibson is the Pastor of Pacific Baptist Church in Pacific Missouri.
(Edited by: Seth Dunn)

*I encourage pastors of all denominations to reach out to this blog and share their own testimonies of masonic dealings. 

**Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

Christian Values and The Bartow County Magistrate Election – Freemasons Among Us

“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” Ephesians 5:11, KJV

This is a Christian Worldview blog.  Thus, political posts upon it are rare given that ours is a heavenly kingdom.   However, a political blog of local interest to my home county in Georgia is today necessitated.  On July 26th, a runoff election will be held between Brandon Bryson and Bobby Wilson for the office Magistrate Judge in Bartow County.  In investigated the background of the two candidates, it has come to my attention candidate Wilson is a Mason.  His campaign website reports:

Wilson was raised as a Master Mason in 1980 in Emerson Masonic Lodge #738 and served as Master of the lodge in 1995.  He is also a 32nd degree Master Mason.  Bobby also served as Past Worthy Patron of Emerson Chapter #538 Order of the Eastern Star

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Wilson

Wilson’s website also reports that he is “the head usher of Morning View Baptist Church is Acworth, Georgia”  From a Christian worldview standpoint, this is a serious problem for Morning View Baptist Church and Christian values voters of Bartow County.  Freemasonry stands opposed to a Christian worldview.

The Watchman Fellowship is “an independent Christian research and apologetics ministry focusing on new religious movements, cults, the occult and the New Age.”  It publishes a profile notebook which includes 4-page briefings of these  occultic religious movements; this profile notebook includes a briefing on Freemasonry  written by biblical scholar Ron Rhodes.  In this briefing, the secretive occultic aspects of Freemasonry are exposed.  According to Rhodes’ briefing on Freemasonry,

“God condemns all forms of occultism (Ex. 22:18; Lev. 19:26,31; 20:27; Deut. 18:9-12; 1 Sam. 28:3). Many aspects of Freemasonry are thus off-limits to the Christian.”

The Watchman Fellowship is not an obscure fly-by-night organization but rather a nationally respected evangelical Christian ministry.  Its Profile Notebook is required reading for the Cult Theology course at the New Orleans (Southern) Baptist Theological Seminary.  Association with Freemasonry, with its secretive ceremonies, occultic elements, “many paths to God philosophy”, downplay of the divinity of Jesus Christ, and assertion that the true name of God is “Jabulon” is not appropriate for any Christian, especially not one serving in an official capacity at a local church.  Christianity is an inclusive, open-to-the-light-of-day, and biblical religion dedicated to the clear proclamation that Jesus Christ is Lord, God incarnate.  Bobby Wilson is not novice Mason.  Given that he has been a “Master Mason” for nearly four decades, he is arguably not ignorant of many of the occultic rites of Freemasonary.

One of the major initiatives of the Bartow Baptist Association and other local Christian organizations has been Pray Bartow.  Many residents of Bartow County have surely seen the praybartow.com signs prominently displayed in yards across the community.  If Bartow County’s Christian citizens are truly committed to and serious about calling upon God to move in their community, should they elect a professed Freemason, who proudly advertises his masonic lodge affiliation on his campaign website along with this association with Christ’s church (Morning View Baptist)?

Spiritual darkness does not exist only outside the walls of the church building.  There is no shortage, in Bartow County and beyond, of Freemasons on deacon committees, in the pews, or even in the pulpit!  If Christians truly want unity among God’s people, then unbilbical, secretive, and occult practices need to be repented of and put out of our churches.  Nominal Christianity should not be looked upon favorably, especially during the election cycle.

That a local church has produced a free mason as a candidate for local office should be unacceptable in the eyes of Christians.  Vote wisely Bartow County.  Are you truly serious about honoring God in all you do?  Politics aside, I encourage all Bartow County Christians, especially pastors, to exercise church discipline upon the Freemasons in the midst of their local bodies.  Christians should bravely stand for God and oppose all spiritual darkness.  The masonic associations in our midst, as Christians, are bigger than politics because God’s church transcends worldy affairs.  Act like it does.  Don’t stand for masonic affiliations in the body of Christ.

After initially publishing this blog, I found this video from Christian apologist John Ankerberg and have posted it here for reference:

Disclosures and Information

  • The Magistrate court hears civil claims up to $15,000, landlord/tenant issues (evictions), preliminary criminal hearings, sets criminal bonds, issues arrest warrants and search warrants and hears county ordinance violations.
  • In the first election for Magistrate Judge, I voted for Brandon Bryson.  I have served with him on the Homeowner’s Association Board of my neighborhood.  Brandon did not ask me to write this blog and did not know of it’s publication beforehand.
  • At the time of this article was first published, I had not contacted Bobby Wilson or his church about his masonic affiliation.  I later spoke with the pastor of Morning View Baptist Church, who expressed no problems with the activities of masons.
  • I dated Bobby Wilson’s niece for a few months when I was 18.  I’ve met him but don’t remember much about him.  I was not a nice guy to the Wilson family when I dated one of their own and was totally in the wrong before God and them for that.
  • Brandon Bryson has served on the Board of Directors of the Church at Liberty Square.  I offer no commentary on or endorsement of the spiritually or theological soundness of that church body other than to say that I have visited it once for a Sunday service and was made uncomfortable by the speaking in tongues and the slaying of young women”in the Spirit” by the pastor.

*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

ignoble

An Ignoble Ending

Fourteen months ago, I wrote the following plea to the “members”[1] of NewSpring Church:

“For the sake of you, your spouse, your children, and your fellow believers, leave NewSpring Church.”

This was plea was a part of an article critical of Noble’s unsound preaching and attractional methods.  It is not the only critical article I’ve written about Noble and NewSpring.  Just this March, I wrote two.  The first article addressed the tithing money-back guarantee that NewSpring was offering.  In that article, I issued another plea:

“If you know anyone who attends NewSpring or Venue, please approach him, in love, with Bible in hand and explain to him why this Tithing Challenge is a sinful affront to God.”

In my second March article, I denounced Noble as an “entertainer” who “despite being exposed as clearly unqualified to teach from God’s word, Noble (a seminary dropout) remains the head of NewSpring Church.”  Denouncements of Noble are not rare in Christian media.  On the Pulpit & Pen website alone, Noble has been negatively mentioned in an article thirty-three times since November of 2013.  Perry Noble, as a pastor, is an absolute disaster.  Although he draws crowds and makes lots of money, he’s been a reproach to the Christian religion for years.

This week, Perry Noble was fired as the Pastor[2] of NewSpring Church problems for the “overuse of alcohol” as well as marital problems.  His firing comes just four months after he hosted the “Most Excellent Way to Lead Conference” which included himself, Mark Driscoll (who himself had recently been fired from his own multisite megachurch), Steven Furtick, and Dave Ramsey.  Perry Noble, up until his recent firing, was actually considered an expert on leadership in his circles.  He regular released leadership podcasts, he wrote a leadership book, and he put on a leadership conference where he claims to have taught “how to leave a legacy by the impact of your leadership”.

Perry Noble is not the first pastor in history to be fired for moral failings and he’ll not be the last.  Still, it should be noted that the warning signs were there with this man.  Often times, people don’t understand why I write the articles that I do.  After all, I’ll never go to NewSpring church, so what’s it matter to me what they do?  There are hundreds if not thousands money-centric megachurches.  I can’t put them all out of business.

I can warn one person about them, though.  Making an impact on one person’s life is worth the time spent writing and researching an article.

The firing of Perry Noble has, in some way, vindicated the many negative criticisms of him.  He’ll be back though, as sure as Jimmy Swaggart cries on stage, he’ll be back.  Like I said before, Perry Noble draws.  He’ll be back, as will many more like him.  Hopefully, more people will start to heed the warnings about Noble and those like him.  This is a good time to reassess the messages preached and activities put on at your own church.  The chances are that your church is not a mega machine like NewSpring, but imitators are hardly rare and Noble is not the only unqualified pastor who is (or has been as the case may be) employed by a local church.

*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

[1] They refer to themselves as “owners” at NewSpring, not members

[2] CEO seems to be a more accurate term to me.

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#Dunn2016 Stalls Before #SBC16 in St. Louis

As you may have already learned from a recent Baptist News Global article, I am no longer to be nominated for President of the Southern Baptist Convention at the 2016 denominational gathering.  Pastor Allen Calkins of Missouri, who was to nominate me, has decided against doing so.  There were a number of factors that went into Allen retracting his intentions, however, both Allen and I remain committed to encouraging Southern Baptists to disassociate with LifeWay Christian Resources and close the ERLC and NAMB.  Allen hopes to make a resolution to that effect this week and I hope he’ll receive much support.  To provide  insight into our stalled platform, I am providing below the speech Allen was to read from the convention floor to nominate me for President of the Southern Baptist Convention.

My name is Allen Calkins.  I have been the pastor of smaller churches in Missouri since 1991.  I come to you as a Messenger from FBC, Gray Summit, MO to place in nomination Mr. Seth Dunn, ‘Because it is not his turn’.  Seth Dunn is a lay member of Expedition Church, a Southern Baptist congregation in Cartersville, GA.    Seth is also a student at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.   Seth realizes he lacks some of the knowledge and experience traditionally found in Presidential candidates.  But as a loyal Southern Baptist layman and CPA who is concerned about the long-term effectiveness of the SBC, I believe the time is NOW for somebody like Seth to become SBC President.  Radical ‘out of the box’ changes are needed if our beloved Convention is to carry out its primary purpose, International Mission Work, in the rapidly-changing 21st Century world in which we live.  

Seth Dunn is an advocate of ‘SIMPLE SBC’, a proposal which would streamline the SBC by eliminating SBC entities like NAMB and the ERLC that are not part of the historic purpose of the Southern Baptist Convention.  The Southern Baptist Convention was founded in 1845 to facilitate cooperation between like-minded Baptists to fund, mobilize and send missionaries to Gospel needy locations around the world.  Seth believes it is time for the SBC to return to its roots.  Seth believes implementing ‘SIMPLE SBC’ will free up millions of dollars that could be used to bolster SBC international missions efforts, something we believe ALL Southern Baptists are eager to see happen.   

Seth would also lead the Convention to examine the Cooperative Program.  As a funding mechanism that is almost a century old, such a review is long overdue.  Seth’s desire is to open a dialog with SBC leaders at all levels to consider how the Cooperative Program can be modified to be the most effective and responsive missions funding mechanism possible.   

Seth Dunn also believes it is important for the Southern Baptist Convention to wrest long-term leadership from megachurch pastors and members who currently dominate convention life.  As we all know, the average SBC congregation is not multi-staff or multi-campus.  Seth believes this reality needs to be reflected in those we choose to lead us.  

The Southern Baptist Convention has historically respected both Reformed and Traditional Evangelical theology combined with our Southern Baptist distinctives as outlined in 2000 Baptist Faith and Message.   Seth Dunn would make certain as SBC President that ALL ORTHODOX persuasions of Southern Baptists regardless of church size or historical significance have a seat at the table of Convention leadership and oversight.  As a layperson without a vested interest in any SBC entity Seth will not play favorites in any proposed ‘SIMPLE SBC’ restructuring initiatives or recommended changes to the Cooperative Program.   

For these reasons, I place the name of Seth Dunn in nomination for Southern Baptist Convention President.  

As I look forward to the 2017 Southern Baptist Convention, I hope many will get behind these ideas and a candidate (either me or another) who supports them.  I would also like to endorse David Crosby for the #SBC16 Presidential election as he is the only candidate whose church polity does not violate Article VI of the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.  I believe Steve Gaines and JD Greear are different sides of the same coin.  Electing either one, I believe, will only perpetuate the current oligarchy which effectively controls our denomination.

Thank you to all of those who supported by campaign in social media and by donating travel expenses.   I will now begin efforts at my GoFundMe site to refund donations.

Please join me in committing to perpetuate platform above at #SBC17.

*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

 

SBC Giving – Small Churches, Tight Budgets, Represenation

Like small families and small governments, small churches are on a tight budget.  A small church that struggles to compensate its staff and pay its utility bills and rent on time every month, gives to missions in one way – sacrificially.  Whether they give to individual missionaries directly or support  missions via the Cooperative Program, many of these churches may be hesitant to give more (or at all) to Southern Baptist national causes for various reasons.

Money is Tight

What would encourage small, financially struggling churches to send in money to a convention run by wealthy megapastors whose churches are dwarfing theirs?

They Feel Disconnected or Disenfranchised by the Convention 

Stockholders of corporations and Home Owners Association Members are allowed proxy votes.  Why not cooperating SBC churches?

They are Overwhelmed by Bureaucracy

Why does LifeWay need 57 trustees when IBM only has 14?

They Feel Unrepresented by SBC Leadership

When small country churches feel dwarfed by the wealthy movers and shakers who lead the SBC, are they encouraged to cooperate?

Southern Baptist Messengers, make your vote count.  At #SBC16 vote for #Dunn2016.  Because “It’s not my turn.”

*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.