Wycliffe: Oh No We Didn’t

Wycliffe:  Oh No We Didn’t

Wycliffe Bible Translators denied allegations that it removed the terms “father” and “son” from Bible translations meant for Muslim countries and said any problematic texts are no longer being distributed.

Russ Hersman, senior vice president of Wycliffe Bible Translators USA, told The Christian Post that many of the works that critics like the organization Bible Missiology have pointed to as changing familial terms for God and Jesus have either done no such thing or have already been pulled from circulation.

Read more here from the Christian Post…

Driscoll: Interview was Disrespectful, Adversarial, and Subjective

Driscoll:  Interview was Disrespectful, Adversarial, and Subjective

Mark Driscoll is no stranger to controversy.  He’s also no stranger to media interviews.

But one he did recently with the UK’s Christianity Magazine is, according to Driscoll, the most “disrespectful, adversarial, and subjective” he’s ever experienced.

Driscoll says that the interview that was supposed to be about his new marriage book released this month… but the interview rarely mentioned the book, but instead the questions centered around “any controversial thing I’ve ever said in the past 15 years with a host of questions that were adversarial and antagonistic.”

The interviewer, Justin Brierley, has released an audio tape of the interview, that he defends.  The publisher of Christian Today also is saying that the interview was fair:   “Justin’s interview with Mark Driscoll was robust and fair, and I utterly reject the claim that it was adversarial, disrespectful or subjective… We took great care to ensure that his quotes were in context, and gave him the opportunity to talk about his new book, as well as his life and theology.”

So… what’s got everybody, including the normally calm Driscoll up in arms?

Driscoll says his quotes are taken out of context.  Here is what the pre-article release quoted Driscoll as saying:

On the state of the church in Britain:   “Let’s just say this: right now, name for me the one young, good Bible teacher that is known across Great Britain. You don’t have one – that’s the problem. There are a bunch of cowards who aren’t telling the truth.”

Another quote:  You’ll never attract young men to church as long as there are “guys in dresses preaching to grandmas”.

Hear for yourself with the whole interview audio:

You can download the MP3 here or go to the article author’s to listen to this entire interview.

You can read Mark Driscoll’s response to the interview here.

You can read Christianity Magazine’s response here.

HT:  Andrew Warnock for the link to the audio…

Take a read and a listen and let me know what you think.  Is Driscoll right to scream FOUL?

The Elephant in the Room

The Elephant in the Room

So… you’ve heard about the Elephant Room, right?  Last year, James MacDonald gathered a group of his friends together to talk about the big issues facing the church.  Topics included dicey things like cultural engagement; the landmines of compassion ministry; and what was in Perry Noble’s head when his church worship team started a service with the song “Highway to Hell”.

The idea was to get some top leaders together in one room and have conversations about what the scriptures actually teach.  In fact, the purpose statement of The Elephant Room says that “to advance Christ’s call to unity we must do what men have always done, we must push and prod and challenge and sharpen each other’s beliefs and methods.”

So, the elephant room was born.

And the people complained.  How could this person AND that person share the same stage?  Why would these two people be having these discussions in the first place?  And if there was no declared ‘winner’ in a discussion or argument about ministry matters, then truth is somehow compromised.

The rumblings were at first subdued, and primarily came from those from the more conservative theological bent.

But the real controversy came with the announcement of the speakers for this year’s Elephant Room.  When T. D. Jakes was announced as one of the speakers, some people went ballistic.  One other speaker who was invited and had accepted the invitation, decided not to support the event after all because he didn’t want to share the stage with someone as different as Jakes.

To be honest, the criticism of James MacDonald and The Elephant room has been the most brutal from the more conservative folk.  Brutal AND personal.

Let me go on record as saying… I just don’t get it.

First of all, the Elephant Room is not a pulpit.  No one is speaking in somebody else’s church… in front of someone else’s congregation.  There are no endorsements, no kissy-kissy ‘I’m ok, you’re ok’ talk.  In fact, the event is exactly the opposite.  Each person involved, whether it’s James MacDonald, Steven Furtick, T. D. Jakes, Mark Driscoll or any of the other speakers, has signed on to make this a lively, spirited discussion on the implementation of ministry ideas.  No wavering.  No sidestepping.  No excuses.

You’re not going to see Steven Furtick and Mark Driscoll agree on a lot of things.

T. D. Jakes and James MacDonald will disagree pretty strongly at times.

And that drives some people absolutely crazy.

Not me.

Events like this sharpen me.  They give me greater perspective.  And they allow me to search scripture to see areas that I may need to take a second look.

That scares some people.
Why would I want to listen to someone who doesn’t agree with me?

Seriously?  I actually WANT to listen to people who don’t agree with me.  It allows me to sharpen my own beliefs and thought processes.

But it’s much easier for many, rather than joining in and giving a fair shake with those they disagree with, to tear them down before they even have a chance to speak.

But some people say T. D. Jakes is a modalist.  Mark Driscoll has a potty mouth.  And don’t even get them started on Steven Furtick’s hair.

The premise of the Elephant Room is that there is a lot we can learn from the conversation.  But the truth is… some people aren’t interested in having the conversation.  It makes them too uncomfortable.

In my work with Leadership Network, we’ve also faced criticism for some of the speakers we’ve chosen for events. We warn people at the beginning of each online event that we do that they will hear a lot of great speakers, and agree with a lot of things said.  They’ll also hear from some folks that they won’t care for, or will actually disagree with.  That’s fine.  Learn what you can.  Take away what will benefit you in your ministry. Simply disregard the rest.

I grew up in a very conservative church.  And we would have nothing to do with anything like the Elephant Room.  In fact, we wouldn’t have anything to do with most people.  So, believe me when I say that I understand the whole ‘separation’ issue.  But what it did to many around me was make for a group of very distrusting, angry, confrontive people that eventually shut out everyone that wasn’t just like them.  What a shame.

This paragraph of The Elephant Room purpose statement really resonated with me.  I absolutely agree with it:

What if we created a new ‘tribe?’ A tribe based on being humble enough to listen and reconsider what the Scriptures actually say. A tribe that holds the essential tenets of the faith with a ferocious intensity and is open handed with everything else. Maybe, together, we can create a new center?  A place where we are for everything the bible demands and demand nothing that scriptures are silent about.  Look for guests from all places and belief systems.  Don’t be surprised if you hear a conversation with someone that offends you or denies the faith as you see it.  Don’t be shocked if you hear conversations with world religion leaders, or criminals or sinners of every variety, “such were some of us.”  If the conversation can be helpful, clarifying, insistent or illuminating, or if we hope it will be . . . you will find it in the Elephant Room.

Wouldn’t that be great?

I hope you’ll join me for the Elephant Room… it all happens again next Wednesday, January 25 in about 65 locations across the country.  During this week, I’ll be sharing some of the highlights from last year’s event.  I think it’s something that you would really enjoy attending… and there’s bound to be one reasonably close to where you’re at right now!

In fact… check out a little more to see if this gets your interest:

QUESTION:  Do YOU think the concept of the Elephant Room is controversial at all?  If so… why?  Are you planning on attending?  Which location?

Driscoll’s Real Marriage

Driscoll’s Real Marriage

Mark Driscoll’s new book hits the shelves today.  It’s called “Real Marriage” and if you like Driscoll, you’ll like this book.  I got a preview copy a few weeks ago, and did enjoy reading it.

I won’t do a long book review (I rarely do here), but here are a couple that you may find interesting:

Tim Challies (really didn’t care for the book that much)

Denny Burk also provides commentary here.

The most interesting (and controversial) part of the book is the chapter on specific sexual practices.  Here’s how Mark introduces the chapter:

If you are older, from a highly conservative religious background, live far away from a major city, do not spend much time on the internet, or do not have cable television, the odds are that you will want to read this chapter while sitting down, with the medics ready on speed dial… If you are one of those people who do not know that the world has changed sexually, read this chapter not to argue or fight, but rather to learn about how to be a good missionary in this sexualized culture, able to answer people’s questions without blushing…

Driscoll then talks about specific sexual acts and behavior and answers the question as to whether or not that act is permissible in marriage.  (I haven’t read anything so blatantly detailed since Tim and Beverly LaHaye’s “The Act of Marriage” book).

Whether you end up liking the book or not, you’ll find that Mark and Grace are very vulnerable throughout.  They share personal details about their marriage and life that you don’t get in most books.

For that reason, while some people won’t agree with everything in the book, they’ll at least be able to relate.

You can order a copy of “Real Marriage” from Amazon.com right here…

Paula White Causes Protest

Paula White Causes Protest

Some members of an Orlando area mega-church spent their Christmas protesting the possible appointment of a new pastor.

Churchgoers at New Destiny Christian Center are concerned over the possibility of Paula White replacing the church’s late pastor, Zachary Tims.

Last week, the group passed around petitions and asked board members to resign. They claim the church’s board has ulterior motives.

The petitioners said Tims’ ex-wife, Riva Tims, should be the pastor.

“The majority of the congregation does not want Paula White. We want our mother back, and our mother is pastor Riva Tims,” Mary Walker said.

White began serving as the church’s temporary pastor after Tims was found dead inside a New York City hotel room.

New Destiny board members have not not confirmed whether they plan to name White the permanent pastor. White currently serves as the senior pastor at Tampa’s Without Walls International Church.

The board’s decision on a permanent replacement for Tims is expected to be announced on New Year’s Eve.

via WESH Orlando.

Uh… wow.  This would be a fascinating story without Paula White in it.  Add Paula and you’ve got something.

By the way… I’m hoping I can get my new Lead Pastor to take a publicity shot like Paula’s.

She’s not just here to look cute, you know.







The Cult(ure) of Christmas

The Cult(ure) of Christmas

How do you feel about this song? I find the message to be off-putting. We are working to share the good news about Jesus with the whole world. Material like this only widens the gap between Christ and the world that he died to save. The mall does not define my relationship with Christ. Biblical liturgy is not associated with some advertising-advent. It is ironic that the mission of God could become hijacked by “Merry Christmas.”

You are free to shop wherever you wish; it is a matter of conscience for you and your family. If you dont say merry Christmas in your window I want to meet you. I want to have a relationship with you and welcome you to walk right through MY door. If fact, you can come to my church. Both you and Santa would be welcome to hang out any time of the week.

Brent Colby is a pastor at Evergreen Christian Community in Olympia Washington. You can track him down at brentcolby.com

Cash for the Ladies

Cash for the Ladies

Churches could get cash for bringing in women candidates for senior pastor under a plan by a group of Missouri churches that has cut or loosened ties with the Southern Baptist Convention.

The plan by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Missouri offers to pay costs for such things as travel and interviewing by a female candidate — even if they’re not really top candidates.

The aim is to drum up interest in hiring women as pastor, reflecting concern that even though many churches in the Missouri and national CBF still have men in the top post, even though the fellowship was formed 20 years ago in part due to splits among Southern Baptists on the very issue of whether women should be pastors.

The aim is to encourage search committees to “include a woman candidate in the process – treating her as a top candidate even if she isn’t actually one of the top candidates,” said Associate Coordinator Jeff Langford of the Missouri group.

“Even if the church isn’t ready, the search committee may discover a remarkable candidate along the way that changes their perspective, either for the current search or for a future one,” he said.

via Cash for interviewing women pastor candidates? | Faith & Works.


Seems like a bit of an ‘affirmative action’ plan for women pastors.

Should we incentivize interviewing people who are really ‘not top candidates’ just because of their gender?

I wonder if this is possibly an intended slap in the face to the SBC (who the Cooperative Baptists broke away from)?

Would you take a cash incentive from ANYONE to interview someone to pastor your church?

I’d love to hear your comments.




In the old translation of the world’s most popular Bible, John the Evangelist declares: “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar.” Make that “brother or sister” in a new translation that includes more gender-neutral language and is drawing criticism from some conservatives who argue the changes can alter the theological message.

The 2011 translation of the New International Version Bible, or NIV, does not change pronouns referring to God, who remains “He” and “the Father.” But it does aim to avoid using “he” or “him” as the default reference to an unspecified person.

The NIV Bible is used by many of the largest Protestant faiths. The translation comes from an independent group of biblical scholars that has been meeting yearly since 1965 to discuss advances in biblical scholarship and changes in English usage.

Before the new translation even hit stores, it drew opposition from the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, an organization that believes women should submit to their husbands in the home and only men can hold some leadership roles in the church.

The council decided it would not endorse the new version because the changes alter “the theological direction and meaning of the text,” according to a statement. Similar concerns led the Southern Baptist Convention to reject the NIV’s previous translation in 2005.

At issue is how to translate pronouns that apply to both genders in the ancient Greek and Hebrew texts but have traditionally been translated using masculine forms in English.

via New Bible draws critics of gender-neutral language.

So… do YOU have a beef with the NIV2011?  I haven’t heard as much about it this time as last.  Maybe Rob Bell took all the fight out of people on this one.  What do you think?  Will you use the NIV2011 in YOUR church?



Good Christian Bitches

Good Christian Bitches

An ABC pilot called “Good Christian Bitches” has religious and women’s groups up in arms over what they describe as an extremely offensive and distasteful show title, according to FoxNews.com

The dramedy, based on Kim Gatlin’s novel of the same name, will be brought to life by famed “Sex and the City” and “90210” executive producer Darren Star. The plot centers on the life of reformed “mean girl” Amanda, played by “Talladega Nights” actress Leslie Bibb, who returns to her hometown of Dallas to find herself fodder for malicious gossip from the women in the Christian community.

Still in the early stages, the pilot has not been guaranteed a spot on ABC’s lineup. And though the show’s title may change before it goes to broadcast, “Good Christian Bitches” is already causing uproar.

Christian publisher Tessie DeVore told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column that the show, which features the tagline “For Heaven’s sake, don’t let God get in the way of a good story!” could put Christians in an unfairly bad light.

“I find the title offensive. I don’t think those two words should be combined,” she said. “A show like this can damage perceptions [of Christians in this country].”

via FoxNews.com.

Personally, I disagree with Tessie.  I think a show like this reinforces rather than damages what many people outside the church see as reality.

And… the truth hurts… what many people sometimes see that are ‘inside’ the church.

That said… I hate the title.  And there’s little doubt in my mind that it won’t be changed if and when it makes it to the TV screen nearest you.  It’s just too good a title to replace.



My Sex Life…

My Sex Life…

Probably the most provocative sermon graphic I have ever seen…

Your thoughts?

The graphic:

The video:

It keeps getting more graphic.

It need not.

Your thoughts?


HT:  Jesus Needs New PR

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