Monthly Archives: August 2009

Catholic AND Evangelical

This Thursday, September 3, a special "Catholic AND Evangelical?" presentation by Dr. Francis Beckwith and Dr. Timothy George will occur in Wheaton (IL) at 7:00 p. m. I plan to be present and invite any of you from the Chicago area to join me.

"Exploring Christian Identity: Can You Be Catholic and Evangelical?" will be hosted by the Center for Applied Christian Ethics and The Penner Foundation. The event begins at 7 p.m. and ends at 9 p.m. It will be at Edman Chapel on the Wheaton College campus.

This event will be moderated by my good friend Rev. Chris Castaldo of College Church in Wheaton. You can see more details at Chris's Facebook account.

By |August 31st, 2009|Categories: Roman Catholicism|

I Am Somtimes Surprised That I Am Still Here

Images My friend Steve Brown recently recalled that Malcolm Muggeridge—the British journalist, author, satirist and Christian—once said when he was an old man that he sometimes awoke in the morning with one foot on earth and one in heaven. “Sometimes,” Muggeridge said, “I wake up surprised that I’m here.”

I not quite to this point yet but I can picture it if I live long enough. I do know, along with Steve, that I wake up at the end of August saying, “I’m surprised we are still here and doing this mission of ACT 3.”

Don’t misunderstand me. I am not surprised that I am still able to minister. I will do ministry whether ACT 3 succeeds or not. But God clearly has shown us that he has a continued purpose for this mission that we formed back in 1991 in my family room in Carol Stream. There have been times, however, when I really wondered.

By |August 31st, 2009|Categories: ACT 3|

The Dark World of Michael Savage

520x Of all the conservative talk show hosts on radio the most bizarre of them all has to be Michael Savage. I admit I have listened to him just enough to realize how disturbed and nutty he actually is. What is even more amazing is how well his books have sold. There clearly is a deep angst in many conservatives who feed on the anger and dark world of this man.

Kelefa Sanneh, writing a recent piece on Savage in the New Yorker magazine, says he lives in a "dark, apocalyptic world." The talk show host, who has an audience of  8 million listeners, says, "Twenty-one hours a day I live in misery. Three hours a day I'm happy." Having listened to a little of this man while in my car I found this to be exactly what I would have expected. Callers who try to converse with Savage have little chance to say anything of substance. He attacks people, interrupts them and bullies them, and

By |August 30th, 2009|Categories: America and Americanism|

Mascot Madness in Chicago

Readers know that I love baseball. I decided this summer, due to the recession and the difficulty of getting to games in Chicago, to limit my baseball experience to a nearby minor league team, the Kane County Cougars. I get two inexpensive tickets for about 13 games a year and take friends with me to see a game and spend a relaxing evening together. This week the Cougars season (sadly) winds to a close. I will miss these boys of summer and the pure delight of hearing the crack of the bat and consuming baseball park delights with good friends.

Bark in the Park Last week Anita and I took our dachshund Neo in the “Bark in the Park” parade at the Kane County stadium. Stacy also brought along her dog, Latte. It was a real delight for all of five of us. (We think the dogs enjoyed it!) The fans pointed at the doxies and laughed with us, or was it at us?

By |August 29th, 2009|Categories: Humor|

Is Extremism on the Rise in America?

Politics in America has tended to move toward a deeper expression of extremism over the last few decades. Opinions differ about what started this negative trend. Some think it began with the Watergate mess. Others think it became even worse during the Clinton era, especially when conservative ministers tried to discredit Clinton with a number of lies. This culminated in the impeachment trial. Still others think this only got worse in the wake of 9/11 and the bitter opposition that grew in response to George W. Bush. Now it seems to have reached an even higher level of intensity with the bitter reaction of many conservatives to President Obama.

The presidency of Ronald Reagan may have been the only time, and perhaps the four years of the President George H. W. Bush right after him, when we have not had fierce extremism in the popular culture since the 1960s. Could Reagan's humor, and his upbeat spirit, have helped him overcome some of this? But even then extreme liberals despised Ronald Reagan and tried to find various ways to discredit him

By |August 29th, 2009|Categories: America and Americanism|

Rev. Ike & the Posperity Gospel

I sometimes say that the most original gospel message America ever gave to the world was the "health and wealth gospel" of the media evangelists. No one was more flamboyant in preaching such a message than the late Frederick J. Eikerenkoetter II, or "The Rev. Ike." For Rev. Ike the love of money was not the root of all evil. Salvation, for him, was found in personal success and material prosperity. He used to say, "Don't wait for your pie in the sky, by and by. Say I want my pie right now—and I want it with ice cream on top!" Money, he often said was, "God in action." The man sure knew how to turn a phrase.

Alg_ike1 I suppose most readers under 40 would have little or no recognition of the name of Rev. Ike. For my generation he was just odd enough to capture our interest in the 1970s. Born June 1, 1935 in Ridgeland, South Carolina, Frederick Eikerenkoetter was

By |August 28th, 2009|Categories: Wealth|

The Promise of America's Cities

Top_081109 Mayor Michael Bloomberg is a significant leader of great interest to many Americans. It was rumored, in the last election cycle, that he might run as an independent candidate for president. I still think he may run such a campaign in the future. I listen to Michael Bloomberg whenever he talks about our cities and their future. He plainly understands the infrastructure of big cities and how they can thrive in a modern context. Bloomberg recently shared some great insights, in Business Week (August 24), into what makes a recessionary economy a time of real opportunity for true growth.

The mayor started a new technology company in an earlier recession and then ended up incredibly wealthy in the process. People told him that he was crazy to invest big money in a start-up during a bad economy. He proved them wrong. Later he was told that he was crazy to run for the mayoral office. He says, "Human achievement is built on the

By |August 27th, 2009|Categories: America and Americanism|

The Present Devaluation of Christian Doctrine

Christian doctrine has been devalued for the last one hundred plus years. Liberal teachers continue to devalue it by inverting the relationship between Scripture and secular thought. They allow secular insights to interpret the Scripture. Evangelicals devalue doctrine by treating it as something that has little or nothing to do with living faithfully. ("It is not practical and only divides us anyway!") I have heard evangelicals say, most of my life, "Doctrine divides us but love unites us!"

A good example of this devaluing process, at least on the liberal side, is what we presently see happening regarding sexual ethics. The seventh commandment is quite clear. If you read what Christians teachers have said about this commandment since the first century the response would have been very, very consistent. But now, less than one decade into the twenty-first century, there is a huge debate about same-sex marriage. There really shouldn’t even be a debate. This debate can only thrive in a context where the role of Scripture has been inverted.

The

By |August 26th, 2009|Categories: Biblical Theology|

What is Christian Doctrine and Why Does It Matter?

Doctrine is the revealed truth of God defined and taught by the church in conversation with the Bible and the whole Christian tradition. Doctrine is for the growth of believers as well as for the whole world. The Latin word doctrina literally means teaching. Indeed, our English Bible most commonly translates the Greek word for doctrine with our word teaching. If a person teaches then they are communicating doctrine. It may be bad doctrine or good doctrine but it is doctrine. This is why I am always puzzled by people who say, "Just teach the Bible. Do not teach us doctrine."

The church, at least on the pages of the New Testament, appears as a community of learners. Some of these learners became teachers of the early church. All Christians were to be engaged in the lifelong task of taking in, meditating upon, and living out Christian doctrine. The most important of all Christian doctrines is the gospel of Jesus Christ, the good news. This doctrine most feeds our minds and hearts so that we can know and

By |August 25th, 2009|Categories: Biblical Theology|

An Interview with Satan on Church Unity

The-screwtape-letters-csl Check out this interesting video that humorously captures a great deal of the spirit of my faith and practice. It is quite clever and makes some exceptionally good points about Satan's desire to divide and separate us. Remember, C. S. Lewis rightly suggested that the devil cannot handle humor since it exposes him in a clever way and he likes to keep things that are clever all to himself. I tend to think that this is why he wrote his classic Screwtape Letters.

By |August 24th, 2009|Categories: Unity of the Church|
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