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Archive for the ‘Christianity and culture’ Category

Does Christ, the humble and unashamed preacher, matter?

The danger of the hip and cool prosperity movement–one of them is Hillsong and its pastor Carl Lentz, who attracts many celebrities from Justin Bieber, Bono, Vanessa Hudgens, Stephen Baldwin, Kevin Durant, Ja Rule; to name but a few. He has been called the “Apostle of Cool” and the “Jesus Christ’s Superstar.”

If this is the new generation of superficial preachers who water down the Gospel in order to make it palatable to man and to be viewed by man as hip and cool–then we as a generation are to be most pitted. We need men who truly love souls; men who preach with moral imperatives, not, “I don’t knows” when it comes down to topics of morality; especially urgent and controversial ones. For example, in an interview with Katie Couric, Lentz was asked to address the topic of gay marriage. Instead of addressing it clearly and boldly, he simply said,

“‘Often people want you to make these big statements about things [such as gay marriage] and I don’t believe it’s fair,’ said Lentz to Couric when asked about tolerance and gay marriage. ‘I don’t think a public forum is always the best place to talk about something that’s so sensitive and important to so many because in a public forum there’s no discussion there.'”

These are just one of the many spineless comments that Lentz makes when it comes down to questions of morality. It is no wonder his church attracts so many people. Sinners need a divine confrontation of the holy, just, and loving God. If not, how do we expect genuine conversions? It is vastly different from this pastor who models the heart of Jesus, Apostle Paul, and the writers of Scripture. Please see:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dspKqCPtdRQ

Really, when was the light of truth not meant for the public forum (Luke 14:23)? We are a light that sits on the hill. We are not a light that stays stationary only in our own little comfortable rooms or ivory towers. The church is to be the agent of truth that bellows out answers to a dying world. And that means even saying it to the public media when asked for moral imperatives. This man is a contradiction to the office of an elder (presbuteros; see 1 Peter 5:2; 1 Timothy 5:17-25; Titus 1:5-9).

Dr. Albert Mohler says this about this movement,

“It’s a prosperity movement for the millennials, in which the polyester and middle-class associations of Oral Roberts have given way to ripped jeans and sophisticated rock music,” said Mohler Jr. to NY Times. “What has made Hillsong distinctive is a minimization of the actual content of the Gospel, and a far more diffuse presentation of spirituality.” ~ Dr. Albert Mohler.

To read more, please see http://www.christianpost.com/…/r-albert-mohler-jr-calls-h…/…

Many who promote this ministry, including their music for public worship need to be aware of what they are promoting. Their goal is to have a heavy presence in North America. I pray that God will raise up a strong reformation and more Martin Luthers to prepare the way, not entertainers who tickle the ears of the goats. The more we promote them publicly, the more we feed the beast.

“A time will come when instead of shepherds feeding the sheep, the church will have clowns entertaining the goats.” ~ Charles Spurgeon – The Prince of Preachers

I am also thankful to my friend who provided this other insightful quote from Spurgeon:

“Avowed atheists are not a tenth as dangerous as those preachers who scatter doubt and stab at faith” – CH Spurgeon Sword and Trowel, Aug 1887

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mom-beats-rioting-son-baltimore-riots

My prayers tonight is with the people in Baltimore with the riots going on.

I saw a clip of a mom trying to stop her son from participating in the protest/riot.  Have you seen it?

This display of tough love moved me.  This verse came to mind:

Better is open rebuke
Than love that is concealed. (Proverbs 27:5)

I’m just thinking out loud right now: What if every mom and dad, guardian, grandpa and grand ma, brothers and sisters, mentors, local pastors, and community leaders in these kids lives went all out to the streets tonight and lovingly and passionately appealed to these kids to stop will it make any effect?  I’m not taking away personal responsibility nor am I naive to deny that in some instance there will still be the need for law enforcement to step in.  But what if love–not just cheesy cardboard one dimensional vanilla feelings we often call love–what if genuine, raw and uncut tough love were to be applied at a macroscale by nonstate actors–would it make a difference?  A dangerous question to ask because all kinds of questions follow about families, the church and the community’s role and their faithfulness to each of the sphere’s respective role.

The Church must live out its role of making disciples.  The consequences of that impact is huge.

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And Then There's This How Stories Live and Die in Viral Culture

Get it on Amazon

I am reviewing this book from the standpoint of a Christian worldview though the book is not Christian. This is a book about the internet and internet sensation, what today people refer to as something “going viral.” The author was the founder of “Flash Mob” and his account of how it began, his planning and reflection was an unexpected part of the book–and I think this alone is worth reading the book! What I took away from this book is the fact that things on the internet can come and go at a much more vicious cycle than in other past culture–one can overnight be an instant celebrity mentioned as a household name and searched on google by millions of individuals in a manner of hours, only to have people forget about you just weeks later, as the internet moves on to other “nanostories.” At the time of this writing, I wonder if a few years from now people will know of Susan Boyle of “Britain Got Talent” fame and Charles Ramsey who freed Amanda Berry (or even in a few weeks!). The book reminded me of the theme from the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible about “vanity” and how everything moving on and fade like a mist which accurately capture our internet viral age. Even one’s legacy is something one can’t control especially in the viral culture since events and individuals can easily get imposed upon with a story or spin online to fit a larger narrative something the author discusses. The book also talks about how this viral culture on the internet has allowed a level playing field of regular people to blog and become a celebrity of sorts in their own rights, and also individuals to be pundits whom in the day of traditional media would have not been able to make an impact of hundreds and thousands of people. Think of blogs. Think of twitter. Sometimes the mainstream media end up covering the news of what’s going online on social media! And no doubt this very review online is an example of that. Very interesting work. The author is quite insightful, witty and makes you reflect about the age we live in. I highly recommend this work–and I don’t want to take away from this work, but this book got me thinking about “The Next Story: Life and Faith After the Digital Explosion” by Tim Challies which is an attempt at a Christian theology of technology.

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We haven’t been very political lately on Veritas Domain but I want to share some quick thoughts.

Taking Obama at his word, what does this administration’s Bengazi cover-up, the Justice department AP phone record grab, the IRS political targeting and the Gun-running for the Mexican drug cartels have in common? A president that didn’t know his own administration were doing these things.  And that really doesn’t help him either.   If it’s true then this is a sign of leadership failure.  This is true of any area, be it the corporate world, the military, law enforcement, etc.  How much more so is it for the highest office in the land.

I think this picture from Fox News is appropriate with all the scandal in the news the last week or so.

SEEKINGCOVER_20130516_134851Very symbolic.  The political storms are coming and Obama is seeking shelter.  And he’s not going to be responsible for it while others take the fall (and I’m not talking about raindrops).

This was from a White House press conference today with the president of Turkey as you can see from this youtube clip.

You know the Memes are coming so I thought I make some myself.

As a former Marine, I can’t resist making this one:

Obama Semper I

And a theologically appropriate for our blog.

Obama common grace

The last one reminds me of the context of Matthew 5:45 begins with verse 44:

But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may [a]be sons of your Father who is in heaven;

Even if you see Obama as the enemy (seeing his policy alienate and demonize Christian conservatives, even as potential terrorists), we ought to pray for him appropriately that he does the right thing.

For our memes by Veritas Domain, like us on our facebook page.  We just started Twitter too.

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Since this is election year, I thought this free short Kindle book for a limited time by Wayne Grudem might be a good work for readers to know about.

You can download it by clicking HERE.

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It’s Francis Schaeffer’s 100 years anniversary!

His apologetics works has shaped much of Evangelical life and worldview.

You can have a chance (for a limited time, how long I don’t know) to win a complete set of his work by clicking here.

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Should Christians participate in Halloween?

As a Christian, I do not think dressing up and wearing things that glorify death, murder, violence, the occult and the magical is a thing that glorifies God.

As a Marine who have seen death and gore in Iraq, I’m sometimes more shock at people wanting to glorify such gory violence and think it is neat.

However, I think someone knocks on your door, that’s a God-given opportunity to share the Gospel of Jesus–that we are sinners, that Jesus died for those sins of those who would trust in Jesus as LORD and SAVIOR, that this is by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone–whether they are Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons and people selling you something.

Thus, I believe Halloween is a great time to give out candies–and the Gospel by giving them gospel tracts.

This is a great opportunity to share the Gospel!  This is a picture of what we are doing:

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Troy Davis has just been executed tonight by the state of Georgia for the crime of murdering a Police officer.

From the news, I can see there were people protesting the execution.  No doubt, some of those protestors do so on Christian grounds.

I thought it was interesting that the same night Troy Davis was executed, another convict name Lawrence Russell Brewer was also executed.  Lawrence Russell Brewer’s sentencing receive less publicity, but his crime was notorious: the car-dragging murder of a Black man.  What a gruesome crime.

Tonight, I don’t want to comment so much on the particular of each case but wish to comment more about whether the death penalty in of itself can be opposed on Biblical grounds for those who wish to make a Christian argument against the death penalty for murderers.

The death penalty for murderers is grounded in the Noahic covenant.  Genesis 9:6 states,

6 “Whoever sheds man’s blood,
By man his blood shall be shed,
For in the image of God
He made man.
7 “As for you, be fruitful and multiply;
[f]Populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it.”

This is an everlasting covenant according to Genesis 9:16.  In the same way that God will never destroy the earth by water ever again due to the eternal condition of the Noahic Covenant, the requirement of the Noahic covenant for the death penalty stands to this day.  The participants of the Noahic Covenant includes everybody and every creature.  It is universal in scope and not just for Israel and what have you.

Who should carry out the death penalty on murderers?  I don’t think it’s every individual citizens that should practice vigilante justice.  The New Testament does speak on this subject, in Romans 13:4.  Speaking of the government, Paul writes,

for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.

The “sword” as an instrument is not only for protection of the magistrate.  This passage makes it clear bearing the sword is not just “for nothing.”  The agent of the state in pursing justice is a minister of God and brings wrath on those who practices evil using his sword (or whatever modern tools in his disposal).

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For most people the nature of film allows one to be less discerning concerning the message and underlining worldview that is being communicated through the movie itself.  Sometimes parents think that just because a  film  is rated G or PG that would mean that it would automatically safe or great for kids.  While a kids movie might not have certain sins shown, that does not mean that there is not an underlining worldview behind it that’s being communicated.  Take for instance the Pixar hit Cars, and it’s sequel Cars 2.

American Vision has a review that I thought was pretty good of the first Cars, several years ago:

This is a review of Cars II:

Last but not least, what one secular writer thinks which parents should consider, of how Cars II might encourage kids in the wrong way.

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Knowing history is important.  Especially in the discussion of the role of faith in public policy, justice, social entertainment and culture.  A good case study of the intersection between all four can be seen in the situation of Roman’s cruel gladiatorial games:

“Human life was regarded as cheap, and murder was justified on the assumption that such people deserved to die, indeed had already forfeited their place in human society.  But can a society that took pleasure in such degeneracy be called human?  More debased than the gladiatorial combat between two men, one armed with a net and trident spear and the other with a sword and rectangular shield, or the combat between men and beasts, were the pairings of the gladiatores meridiani described with Seneca.  Jerome Carcopino summarizes: ‘The pitiable contingent of the doomed was driven into the arena.  The first pair were brought forth, one man armed and one dressed simply in a tunic.  The business of the first was to kill the second, which he never failed to do.  After this feat he was disarmed and led out to confront a newcomer armed to the teeth, and do the inexorable butchery continued until the last head had rolled in the dust.’

It was the Christian gospel that finally put an end to the horrid games in the amphitheaters.  The butcheries of the arena were stopped by Christian emperors.  In 326 Constantine effectively dried up the main source of supply of gladiators when he issued a decree that forbad the condemnation of criminals to the beast.  By the end of the century, gladiatorial games ceased to exist in the East; and in 404 Honorius issued an edict forbidding gladiatorial combat in the West.” (John McRay, Archaeology & the New Testament, 62-63).

Here one see the practical implication of Biblical anthropology that forms the basis of critiquing a culture’s entertainment and solidifying one’s public policy.

As a general direction, Christians ought to do the same today where our entertainment is so much more “omnipresent” than ever before, in a world of Internet, Netflix, cable and Blueray.

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