October 19, 2017

The IM Weekend File: 11:08:08

Weekend file time! No politics allowed!

I’m fascinated by the tendency of a lot of evangelicals to pass the pulpit down father to son. Biblically, it’s nonsensical, but practically it can be the difference between staying afloat or sinking as a ministry.

I recently listened to Matt Haggee, John Haggee’s son. Haggee himself has always fascinated me. Where else in the world of Pentecostal/Charismatic Christianity do you have fundamentalists reading their sermons from manuscripts with applause cues throughout, just like a political speech. Matt is a clone, with the exception that he’s dropped about 120 pounds at least. As this sort of preaching goes, he was pretty good. It’s prosperity gospel lite, with a better than most presentation of the Gospel. (Osteen should take a note, especially from Daddy John. When he’s not being apocalyptic, he can preach the evangelical Gospel dead on.)

I want to train my students to applaud on cue. Any hints, Matt?
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The fundamentalists who run the Southern Baptist Convention are after the Calvinists again. Obviously despairing that the “Building Bridges Conference” didn’t give the right preachers the opportunity to call Calvinists the right names, and faced with nagging possibility that out and out lies don’t go over as well when the guys you’re lying about are present in large numbers, the fundamentalists had a “John 3:16” Conference at SBC President Johnny Hunt’s church. Speakers preached about the five points of Calvinism and straightened everyone out.

No recordings are posted, but Calvinistic live-bloggers were present (See their posts at Challies.com). My favorite part is the Caner Contention; the continual denial that Southern Baptists have any theological heritage at all except what the Bible says. We aren’t Arminians or Calvinists or anything else, they say. We’re just plain ‘ol Bible believing Baptists. Biblicists.

Bring up those crickets, Van Til. Thank you.

That’s a lie from anyone who says it. Not ignorance. Lying. They all know better.

I’m not a Calvinist, and some Calvinists ought to be put far, far away from the rest of us. But in general, the Calvinists in the SBC are more Gospel-centered and missionary than the rest of the convention. (Guess what seminary has sent the most IMB missionary candidates to the field the last decade? Yep, Southern. Where, of course, they can’t believe in missions. (jn)

The John 3:16 crowd is a sloppy bunch when it comes to scholarship, as Justin Taylor deftly and embarassingly demonstrates on his blog. Just about their every sentence at this kind of meeting makes an informed student of theology pause and wince. But they have Jerry Vines on their side, hawking his products and telling you what the greek really means.

Really, this is silly. Just silly. Calvinists in the SBC are doing far more good than harm, and the truth is that the fundamentalists need someone to blame for the fact that Jerry Falwell-style Evangelicalism is falling apart. One live-blogger said that 90% of the audience was middle-aged and over. That’s your problem old white guys: younger SBCers aren’t even listening to you anymore. You are talking to yourselves. Read Acts 29 🙂 Well….except here in SE Ky where I live. Here it’s 1962 and holding.
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I need a Catholic priest to write me at michael@internetmonk.com. No, I’m not converting. I have some questions about single clergy and married parishioners. Too hot to post about here, so help me out.
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Speaking of Roman Catholics, looks like IM will be acquiring a RC book publisher as an advertiser very soon. I’m excited. Watch for an additional sponsor on the sidebar in a few days. Then I will be the only blog in the world with Lutheran and RC advertisers. C’mon Orthodox, emergers, Baptists….don’t be left out. The IM audience is 400,000 unique visitors this year and 1.5 million page views. Contact me if you want to be part of the ecumenical fervor or gang fight or whatever we’re going to have.
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On the podcast, I asked if anyone would like to help me acquire ESV study Bibles for all my chapel preachers here at the ministry where I work. We’ve received 3 and have the promise of 2 more. So to fill the bill on the guys who preach on Sunday, I need one more. (I’m trying to get tru-tones, either color, for all of them.) If I have more than one, I’ll start giving them to the guys who teach Bible in the middle school and preach in chapel during the week. The IM audience has always been great about this kind of help to our school. If you want to participate, write me at michael@internetmonk.com, and you can have the Bible sent to us.
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Ready to rethink your views on Christians and politics? (OK. I’m cheating) Sometime when you have the chance, read this piece by the Lutheran Church in Australia on the Two Kingdoms. It’s outstanding. Then listen to John Macarthur’s two messages on “The Christian in a Pagan Society” from his series on Titus (All Macarthur’s stuff is now free btw.)

Give it some thought.

Your Internet Monk says have a great weekend.

Comments

  1. Geoff Downs says:

    Well if your gonna break the rule on no politics allowed , I heard that Obama’s gonna force all Evangelicals to drink Miller Genuine Draft , gamble at their nearest casino, force them to vote for Nancy Pelosi in her next re-election campaign, read from a gender nuetral bible, have liberal lesbian militants supervise all homeschooling activities ,and make us listen to Metallica and Snoop Dog.Guess I,m gonna have to move to Petra.

  2. obama is gonna force us to drink watered-down, cheap, american beer? this must be stopped!

  3. Geoff,

    I heard he was going to tax churches to pay for same sex weddings.

    It’s also amazing some of the things the SBC has been foreordained to do.

  4. You don’t have to post it… but I had to laugh at the typo in:

    “The John 3:16 crowd is a sloppy bunch when it comes to schoalrship”.

    Perhaps I should sign myself,

    Typo Man.

    P.S. Generally your posts are grammatically far superior to mine. 🙂

  5. Regarding your first comment about nepotism: I have no trouble with a pastor’s kid inheriting his daddy’s church… provided the kid actually continues to preach Jesus, unlike Joel Osteen.

    I’ve heard a bit of bellyaching from various associate pastors about how they were suddenly “shoved aside” in the leadership of their church because the pastor’s kid just graduated from bible college and is being groomed as a successor. They argue that the kid doesn’t deserve it. I argue that the grace of God means that none of us deserve anything. No associate pastor (or, to be fair, pastor’s kid) deserves to be the successor to the senior pastor. If that’s your attitude, you lack the very humility God demands of His pastors, and shouldn’t lead anyone.

    Fact is, nepotism was mandated in the Aaronic priesthood, and every Christian is required to raise Christian kids who are to likewise minister to one another and the lost. Nepotism is normal. Not hiring your kid to succeed you means you or your kid seriously messed up somewhere.

  6. Nice post on Calvinism. I agree that the most missional, evangelistic people I know are Calvinists. Kinda funny, since the caricature I always heard was the frozen-chosen, you’re-going-to-hell-and-I-don’t-care type. It seems that most real Calvinists I encounter don’t have any of that going on. What’s up with that?

  7. KW:

    Do you really believe that a pastor’s kid should not just be a Christian, but a pastor?

    ??

  8. Lots of pastors’ kids succeeded their fathers in the last few decades: Rex Humbard’s, John Osteen’s, Robert Schuller’s, Jerry Falwell’s, Earl Paulk’s, and Jimmy Swaggart and John Hagee probably have it in mind as well.

    Yes, there seems to be a pattern here, and the lesson might be that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Or maybe it’s like father, like son. And that’s a good thing. Or not.

    But we are told not to touch God’s anointed. I guess we need to trust God to take care of it.

    I am incoherent before breakfast.

  9. Then there are the pastors whose sons also become pastors — Charles and Andy Stanley come to mind, and Paul and Mark Walker — but that is not the same thing as “inheriting the farm,” I think. That is more akin to leadership by example.

  10. >but we are told not to touch God’s anointed.

    Please tell me you were being facetious.

    I don’t think local church pastors are the Kings of Israel.

  11. I was being facetious. But only sort of.

    How do you decide when a passage of Scripture has only localized historic application and when it might have application for you and me, today? Over at that other popular Christian site that shall remain nameless, they’re very big into both/and, not either/or.

    I’m seriously asking. How do you decide?

  12. I don’t think there is a flawless way to know. If you want that kind of certainty, visit our friends at the RCC in your neighborhood.

    I think we look at the consensus, realizing that there’s no perfect consensus. Agreement is closer as we look at the center (ecumenical creeds), and less as we more out to the edges (denominational confessions.)

    That’s the way it works. That nameless blog has their own version of the RCC method, but even they would admit they have no flawless interpretations.

  13. Thank you for answering my question (it’s no longer “the weekend” but I wanted to respond).

    Your statement that “agreement is closer as we look at the center (ecumenical creeds), and less as we move out to the edges (denominational confessions)” is actually quite helpful to me personally this morning in a way I didn’t foresee. I grew up as a Methodist but left them 40 years ago (or maybe they left me), and yesterday afternoon I attended my second-oldest grandson’s baptism and confirmation in the Methodist church, and his parents (who were raised Pentecostal and Southern Baptist, respectively) were received as new members also. Although the whole program seemed somewhat dry and lifeless to my way of thinking (a little too methodical, maybe?) and the method of baptism used included no mention of being buried with Him in baptism and raised to walk in newness of life, inwardly I did react positively to the parts of the Apostle’s Creed the confirmands gave as answers to the questions Do you believe in God? Do you believe in Jesus Christ? Do you believe in the Holy Spirit?

    Reading your statement this morning was as oil poured on some needless concerns. I believe God has everything under control.

  14. It seems more than a little hard to believe that the call to the ministry is familial. The best explanation for churches being passed down to the children is that the ministry has become a family business. It’s not personal, it’s business. It’s not primarily about God it’s business.

    I thought this was the impetus for celibate clergy in the early centuries. If a married priest has a son, and the priest’s job is full time, what trade has the son learned other than to run the parish?

  15. Bob Sacamento says:

    I’m fascinated by the tendency of a lot of evangelicals to pass the pulpit down father to son. …

    I recently listened to Matt Haggee, John Haggee’s son. …

    If John H. really and his church really believe that Jesus could come at any moment, why are they even thinking about what son Matt might be doing in a few years in the first place?

    And, K.W.,

    Not hiring your kid to succeed you means you or your kid seriously messed up somewhere.

    Say what??????

  16. David duPlessis once said, in reference to the need for each individual to be born again, “God has no grandchildren.”

    I believe this also applies to pastors. The call to preach is *not* passed down to family members. God calls each person individually.

    But what about priests in OT times? What about Levites? Weren’t those “family” callings? Am I missing something?

  17. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    I’m fascinated by the tendency of a lot of evangelicals to pass the pulpit down father to son. Biblically, it’s nonsensical, but practically it can be the difference between staying afloat or sinking as a ministry.

    Hereditary aristocracy, authority and power inherited from father to son. Except this Aristocracy is within the churches.

    I understand that was one practical reason why my Church (Catholic) enforced celibacy in the Middle Ages. No married clergy, no legitimate heirs to inherit Church offices and positions by Right of Birth, no hereditary aristocracy forming within the Church.

  18. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    My favorite part is the Caner Contention; the continual denial that Southern Baptists have any theological heritage at all except what the Bible says. We aren’t Arminians or Calvinists or anything else, they say. We’re just plain ‘ol Bible believing Baptists. Biblicists.

    Question, IMonk. How does this differ from the Salafi movement within Islam, trying to return everything to the plain ol’ Koran and its plain ol’ Shari’a?

  19. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    Well if your gonna break the rule on no politics allowed , I heard that Obama’s gonna force all Evangelicals to drink Miller Genuine Draft , gamble at their nearest casino… — Geoff Downs

    Too late, Geoff. Focus on the Family already beat you to it.

  20. If not hiring your kid to succeed you means you or your kid seriously messed up somewhere, then what does hiring them and then kicking them to the curb a few years later mean?
    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,444085,00.html

  21. Wow! I was not aware of the Schuller split until clicking on Jeff M’s link. It didn’t get much airplay around here, apparently.

    Here’s my answer to Jeff’s question: If not hiring your kid to succeed you means you or your kid seriously messed up somewhere, then hiring them and then kicking them to the curb a few years later also means you or your kid seriously messed up somewhere.

    Jamie Bakker’s ministry and attitude seems to have had a somewhat salutary effect on Jim Bakker. Bob Schuller fils‘s ministry and attitude seems to have had the opposite effect on Bob Schuller pere. Just one guy’s opinion.

    It’s all about the power and the glory, but whose?