About a year ago, I blasted a dude named Jefferson Bethke who made a video called “Why I Hate Religion But Love Jesus,” which currently has over 23 million views and attracted all kinds of criticism and praise — and I was one of the guys who hated on him.
I left a mean comment on YouTube, went wild about it on my blog, and accused him of “thin doctrine” and a “poor choice of words” about the Christian faith.
Only a couple weeks later, I came to my senses and snapped out of it with a semi-apology.
I don’t know Mr. Bethke or anything about his faith and life — but in my arrogant selfishness and a subconscious attempt to piggyback off his success, I called him out on stupid secondary nitpicks that only made me look like an insecure moron.
Plainly speaking, I looked like an ass.
Continue reading “How Jefferson Bethke Showed Me I Was A Jerk”
Many people feel that they have played a game-winning hand when they level the hypocrite charge against Christians, and yet Christians who do not understand their identity in Christ do not understand their hypocrisy. … Hypocrisy for Christians occurs when we sin. Out true identity is as children of God, and it is evidenced when we act like Christ or obey the Scriptures. … It is in moments of self-centered living, idolatrous priorities, and bondage to habitual sin that we are acting hypocritical. Yet because these moments feel so natural or are so often our experience, they seem more like our identity, and transformations seems like the act of hypocrisy.
— Bill Clem
By Bill Clem
Pastor Bill Clem of Mars Hill Church writes a work on defining a disciple of Jesus Christ, an ultimately disappointing book that is far too American and seldom convicting. While there are brilliant sections strewn throughout, the book is neither groundbreaking nor wholly biblical. A missed opportunity for a much needed discussion.
Despite my best efforts and Bill Clem’s best intentions, this is the definition of disciple that I gleaned from his work:
A disciple is someone who looks like Jesus and joins a small group community.
Of course, I doubt this is Clem’s goal. Yet the book is so American that I could never see it working in an urban or third world context. With an almost abstract, self-help style, Clem writes in largely conceptual strokes about mind-molding and relational-sharing, but hardly ever touches on the Great Commission to Go and to Make.
It might be unfair that I expected a book like Radical. David Platt’s seminal work on discipleship felt much closer to the biblical reality of carrying the cross, denying the flesh, and giving your all for Christ. When I read a book about disciples, I expect urgency and adventure, not megachurch-style small groups isolated in an upper-class neighborhood.
While Clem gives a nod to the work of Dietrich Bonhoeffer — the great anti-Nazi preacher who authored The Cost of Discipleship and was hung for plotting against Hitler — in Clem’s work there was never any sense of risk or rejoicing. He instead makes discipleship appear like a nagging grandmother’s task of checklisting spiritual progress and attending church to copy the “stoic” personality of Jesus.
Continue reading “Book Review: Disciple”
An article by Justin Holcomb of The Resurgence.
Using words like “heresy” or “blasphemy” are serious charges, like saying “You hate God” or “You’re spitting in His face.” Let’s be careful using it so casually, or no one will take your seriously. Or just stay out of grown-up conversations.
“The frequency and volume of the accusations suggest that some Christians may have lost a sense of the gravity of the charge of heresy. The time has come to call for a strong dose of humility, restraint, and a clear and informed definition of orthodoxy and heresy.
“The current climate shows that we need to relearn the ability to care about right doctrine and have earnest doctrinal disagreements without proclaiming ‘Heresy!’ over every point at which we disagree. We need a more restrained definition of heresy …
“Such an attitude of humble, charitable engagement stands in stark contrast to the spirit of the blogosphere today. Rather than being fundamentalists who turn disagreement into division, we should contend for the truth with humility and grace. That’s how Jesus treated us.”
Continue Reading at The Resurgence
Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.
— 2 Timothy 2:23-24
— My Faith Is Bigger Than Yours: The Gifted Class Vs. The Boom Boom Class
— Drive-By Guilting: The Typical Christian Rant
— Guest Q&A: Losing Faith in Guilt
— Guilt-Driven Gospel
Absolutely one of the best books on grounding your identity in Christ beyond the troubles and treason of the past, Mike Wilkerson has written a theologically sound work with painful true stories and great application. It’s a masterwork on freedom from idolatrous destruction. His comprehensive overview of freedom from idolatry is for every manner of spiritual stigma, whether it be suffering from sexual abuse, substance addiction, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, or self-harm. It’s a sobering work that is at once gentle and aggressive. Wilkerson also paints a big picture of the Bible that creates a big picture for us in God’s story.
The most effective parts of Mike Wilkerson’s work is the continual gutting of all excuses and rationalizations. In his lifetime of gritty ministry he has seen and heard it all, and the prominent problem is our belief in The Lie. Wilkerson kills lies like a sniper. The best a book such as this can do is talk to you, and I found many lies in my own life that I had to rip out from the roots.
Continue reading “Book Review: Redemption”