So Nimm Denn Meine Hande...

Friday, March 23, 2007


Okay. I will admit that being at Grace Community Church and dating a girl at Bethlehem has brought me into the "nouveaux reformed" circles and I really like these circles. People in these circles have good theology, actual preaching, mature faith and skill at living (i.e. wisdom). I've had people say "Man, you should meet so-and-so, he's/she's such a godly man/woman" and they actually were godly. (honestly a new experience.)

But, I have also forgotten how bad things get out there and how horrible some people have it, as far as pastors and teachers go. I learned that some buddies from Briercrest are coming through SoCal this weekend and are playing at a local, famous megachurch. Being admittedly not super familiar with this certain church, I decided to check it out. I am currently half watching a streaming video of their service from February 11, 2007 and I cannot believe this ding-dong stand up comedy is somehow supposed to be passing for preaching.

The text is John 17 (whole chapter) and over the course of the hour, he commented for approximately 1 minute on verse 5-9, 11 and verse 24. The whole rest of it was his own completely speculative heresies regarding demonology, the hypostatic union, the trinity, eschatology, missions, soteriology, how salvation is a free gift where "we've got to do our part of the bargain" and he whole end of salvation is getting a weight lifted off our shoulders and going to heaven (*barf*) and every other Christian doctrine. Plus, he's spent around 50% of the time making jokes about AT&T, the silly things kids pray for, his wife's computer, his temper (which is somehow excused), his bad fashion sense, etc. It's honestly stand up comedy that makes a shift onto spiritual topics and then builds up to him getting intense and trying to be convicting.

And according to him, what does John 17:24 mean? According to this guy, it means that life is short and we're on earth for a short season, but "while you're here, while you're passing through earth, could you be my witness?" (direct quote) and "listen to what this anonymous person wrote...this isn't biblical, but I think it applies". Commentary on biblical passages from pop music that talks about how God is "crazy about you"? (Or it would, if the song was sung about God's love for us and not some boy band's love for a girl...sheesh!) What the heck? Talk about NOT seeing the forrest for the trees?

Few things make me actually angry, but garbage psuedo preaching and shallow eisegetical teaching are two of them. Any preacher who stands up in front of thousands and tells jokes, peddles their opinion with prooftexting and doesn't think the Bible is important enough to pay serious attention to is in horrid peril. I honestly fear for that guy having to face an angry God one day and I am so angry that his congregation is getting fed rotten brussel sprouts and told that they're getting steak. If the word of God is not worth actually studying closely and preaching precisely, why even waste time with it?

I cannot fathom someone trying to shepherd the people of God and spending time studying the Bible. Then again, I know that pastors like this don't really study the Bible. From experience I know that many preachers like this spend like 4-6 hours on sermon prep...and you can definitely tell when he says something as idiotic as "The word 'keep' in verse 11 comes from a Greek word which means 'to keep or guard'"...(The word "keep" means "keep"? sheesh...)

Watching that absolute gong ringing dung makes me both really sad for him and his people (for he probably doesn't know any better and his people most likely will never encounter anything different) but also just kranking to prep all the more and only preach the text when I preach at USC on the 19th or April.

"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth." - 2 Tim 2:15

"In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry." - 2 Tim 4:1-5

Let it rip.

Until Next Time,

The Armchair Theologian


Blogger Dusto said...

Rip it up Brother! I am SO with you!!

4:19 AM

Blogger Michael said...

You've obviously been hanging around quality churches too long. Church snob. ;-)

Heh, I totally know what you mean. I had a real hard time finding a worth while church around here (where there is no Grace Community or Bethlehem Baptist). When I visited the ultra hip church in our town the sermon was very similar to the one you describe. Well, except he talked even less about the Bible (he only mentioned 4 verses briefly) Otherwise he just told cutesy feel good antic dotes and tried his hand at stand up comedy. What a waste of my Sunday morning! If I wanted entertainment I would have been better off staying home and watching the early football game that day . . . [End rant]

1:01 AM

Blogger C.W. Graham said...

you guys got to move to the south! Every other church here exposits! ;)

Altough, ots not always very.... good... exposition...

The text says "all" three little letters, pan in the greek, three little letters in the Greek. It means "all" and that's "all, all means"!

as you can see this careful word by word treatement is "very" helpful...

But at least we are wrestling with the text! LOL

The real question is, "Do you know, that you know, that you know, that you know... that if you died today, you would be in heaven with Jesus? This is the most important decision you can ever make. We're not like some that say Jesus didn't die for everyone. That's a lie from the devil! Jesus died for every one in the world. As we sing the last stanza, for the sixth time, walk up front here where our pastors and counsellors are waiting to pray with you, men with men, women with women....

If you are not a part of a bible teaching church, and live within fifty miles of here, and God is leading you to join this local church, come forward as we sing,

If you were a believer, and you have wondered far from God, it is never to late to come back. ...

"come, just as you are
Hear the Spirit's call
Come and see
Come believe,
Come and live,
forever more!"

"There are several familis coming right now, and many have done the same this morning. 50 families joined the church this week, see that handicap boy coming now, the Spirit is not limited by anything. We're going to sing one last time. Do not leave here without knowing for sure"

Now tell me does YOUR church preach that message "EVERY" week at "ALL" services? How then could you be at an "evangelical" church?!

10:14 AM

Blogger Michael said...

C.W. - I suppose that sort of church has its own sort of problems as well. =P But like you said, at least they're using the text . . .

The only thing I remember about the "sermon" "preached" at the church I mentioned was that that "pastor" apparently got a really good deal on his new (well new to him) Dodge Durango because it was only two wheel drive and had no air conditioner. He had to fly to Las Vegas to get the shiny, white Durango, but the price break made it worth it, so now he can cruise around on dirt roads with its high clearance or just drive to pick up his kids from school in comfort. (I wonder if he got advertising dollars for pushing Dodge that day in his sermon? . . .)

Oh, the only other thing that stuck with me about his "sermon" was how he used 4 different Bible versions (including The Message™) for his 4 verses. Man, I wish I would have stayed home to watch the Seahawks instead that day.

1:46 PM

Blogger Curtis said...

It's sure easy to criticize the church, isn't it?

It is unfortunate that the church isn't solely made of pre-fall Adams (the 15,000lb squatting, flock working, donkey riding, six-packed ab section, nicely complimented with the ideal innie belly button, Adam)and pre-fall Eves (the kind that can handle the pre-fall Adam as a companion of upwards to approximately 900 years, AS WELL AS be his bench and squat spotter). If that were the case, how then could we complain about the church?

Maybe Adam wasn't up on the poop-and-scoop method with his wild dogs. Yeah, maybe a ruckus could be raised over that.

9:57 PM


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