Sunday, November 20, 2016

It's Time For Him to Step Down . . .

Folks, it's time for him to step down.

He's had a lot of success in a career that spans 30+ years, and he should be lauded for the things that he has accomplished, but it's time we started preparing for the future.

And as hard as it is to say it, the future does not include him.

He is a kind, gentle man who has earned the respect of everyone he has come into contact with over the years, but lately we have had reason to question his leadership and determination.

Many times over the past year or so he has been shown to be in over his head. Many of us have watched uncomfortably as he appeared unorganized and overwhelmed in the midst of performing basic tasks.

Just this past Sunday, October 18th, 2009, another man was officially installed to take over critical aspects of his job that he is no longer able to perform effectively.

It is truly time for him to step down – and if he won't do it voluntarily, he should be forcibly removed from his position for the good of all.

Scroll down to see the man who, though he has much to celebrate about the past, must be removed from leadership so that we can all move forward . . .

I'm talking about . . .

. . . of course . . .

Jim Zorn
Head Coach
Washington Redskins

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Priest Used Church Money to Live Lavish Double Life That Included Male Escorts

The Republican-American website has an interesting article about a priest gone bad. Not exactly news these days, but it does provide me the opportunity to make a pithy, ironic observation at the end.

It seems beloved and respected 64-year-old Rev. Kevin Gray was living an extravagant double life that his parishioners knew nothing about:

Detectives say they discovered Gray, a well-respected Catholic priest and former leader of several city parishes, siphoned roughly $1.3 million from Sacred Heart to pay for a lavish lifestyle usually reserved for the wealthy.

Investigators claim this money went to pay for male escorts, $200,000 in restaurant bills, and hotel stays in the lap of Manhattan luxury.

. . . expenses amassed by Gray and paid for with the church's money

Furthermore, Gray had apparently told his congregation he was battling cancer. Investigators have determined that Gray has never had cancer and they believe he was using this ruse to explain his absences from the parish.

It's interesting to me how the police were tipped off that Gray was dirty:

Police have investigated Gray since May, when the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford came across financial "discrepancies" during an internal investigation. Archdiocese officials presented their findings to police, who say they've confirmed Gray embezzled the funds.

Now, there's where Gray messed up. He messed with the church's money, and NOBODY messes with the church's money.

If he'd just been molesting children, the church would've covered for him . . .

Monday, July 5, 2010

Puppet Pastors

On July 1, President Obama gave a speach on immigration reform at American University, an event to which he invited several key pastors and national church leaders. Pastor Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Church in Illinois introduced the President.

This prompted Dave Welch over at to write a commentary sounding off on politicians using nationally known pastors as props for their agendas. He calls them props, I call them puppet pastors.

Here are a few choice tidbits from his article:
. . . clergy have been used and abused by politicians as props as long as there have been politics.

. . . well-known in the political world – shared and confirmed by Chuck Colson – is how Richard Nixon would "wine and dine" key pastors, give them the red-carpet treatment and send them home to be good mouthpieces.

When highly influential pastors like Hybels and Joel Osteen (e.g., his giving thanks to God for "raising up" activist lesbian mayor of Houston, Annise Parker) give cover to reprobate politicians, they yield not only their own moral high ground and influence, but that of pastors all over the nation whom they are perceived to represent.

We need patriot pastors holding elected officials accountable to God's standards, not serving as pawns by enemies of our faith and our country

Truth is, this article speaks not only to the issue of reprobate politicians, but also to the current condition of a lukewarm, man-pleasing church.

Included in the article is this reference that I found troubling:
. . . Erwin Lutzer illustrates magnificently in his must-read book, "Hitler's Cross," [how] the theologically shallow and nationalistic nature of the German clergy proved easy pickings for Hitler.

Although there are some who would argue with me, I don't think Obama is a Hitler. But the description of the German clergy as "theologically shallow and nationalistic" is a frighteningly accurate description of the popular American church.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Are You One of the De-Churched?

Over at the Out of Ur blog, there's an interesting article about a new segment of Christianity that has been labeled and is currently being discussed in seminars all over Christendom.

For a while we've known about the churched and the unchurched. The churched are the ones who've got it right and their mission is to bring the unchurched into both a saving relationship with Jesus, and a tithing relationship with the local church.

But there is now a new group: the De-Churched. These are people who were at one point involved in a local assembly, but have left the conventional structure of church and are now experiencing God in a different way.

Now, don't get all judgmental; sheathe your Sword of Rebuke. They've not abandoned the faith and they haven't forsaken the assembling of themselves together, they're just burnt out on the church machine and they're doing it a different way.

This article over at Out of Ur explores several different reasons people are leaving the church in alarming numbers. First, referencing the below video of Mark Chandler, pastor of the Village Church near Dallas, the exodus of young people is attributed to:

. . . the proclamation (explicitly or implicitly) of a false gospel of "moralistic deism." This understanding of the Christian life says that if you obey God's rules he will bless you with what you desire. This represents a form of the prosperity gospel . . . The problem arises when God's blessing doesn't come-or doesn't come in the form we want. Divorce, illness, poor grades, failed relationship-virtually any hardship has the potential to destroy one's faith in Christ and the church that represents him. So, according to Chandler, people walk away. They enter the ranks of the de-churched.

The article goes on to explore other reasons why so many of the churched are becoming the de-churched:

These Christians have simply lost confidence in the institutional structures and programmatic trappings of the church. For them the institutional church is not an aid in their faith and mission. Rather it's become a drain on time, resources, and energy. It feels like a black hole with a gravitation pull so strong that not even the light of the gospel can escape its organizational appetite.

I'd love to know your thoughts.

So, what are these de-churched people doing to express and grow their faith? In the next post we'll look at the burgeoning Simple Church movement.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Skeptic Month: Hey, Babe, Shut Your Pie Hole!

Continuing with the skeptic theme here at Pastor Kip, we come now to a very uncomfortable section for the conservative fundamentalist: the issue of a woman's place in the church. According to the critic, this one issue deals a serious blow to the Bible's claim to both relevancy and inerrancy.

The Declaration
In 1 Timothy 2:11-12, the Apostle Paul clearly states that he does not allow a woman to teach or have authority over a man, She must be silent and learn in quietness and full submission. Paul remains consistent on this teaching in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, going so far as to say it is "disgraceful for a woman to speak in church."

The main reason for the woman's subordinate role, and a passage that you'll rarely hear preached on, is that, while man was created in the image and glory of God, woman wasn't. She is the glory of man. This according to 1 Corinthians 11:7-9.

As you can imagine, this ruffles quite a few mother hen feathers.

The Response
The Biblical inerrancy crowd has several different reactions to this one. Some take it for what it says and do not allow women to hold authority over men in a church. It's fine for them to change diapers, run the children's ministry, and oversee the activities of the Women's Auxiliary, but their privilege of service ends there.

Then there are those more progressive types who teach that Paul's admonition isn't applicable today since it dealt with a situation specific to the culture at that time. Women, emboldened by the liberation given to them by Christianity and apparently insensitive to the most basic sense of decorum, had begun to ask questions of their husbands in the midst of the church service. This was distracting to say the least, since (according to some sources) men and women were seated on opposite sides of the room, the questions had to be shouted across the aisle.

Then there are the liberals who teach that, ages ago, church officials actually changed the language in the Bible in order to subjugate women. They claim that wherever the word "man" is used in this context, it should more appropriately be translated "husband". In other words, Paul was merely setting forth the order of accountability in a Christian home, not the administration of church leadership. I sat under a pastor who taught this, and I asked him if he was bothered that this might bring the whole authority of Scripture into question. He admitted that it was a risk, but he felt it was worth it to correct the teaching.

The Critic's Response to the Responses
The first response is both the least acceptable and the most honest. These people teach the inerrancy of Scripture and are determined to follow every jot and tittle in spite of social and political objections. And why shouldn't they? They are following the word of God.

The second response of cultural differences must then concede that, at least on this issue, the Scriptures do not apply to this day and time. In other words, the infallible word of God has failed to be relevant to our culture.

The third response is the most damaging to the integrity of the Scriptures. The preacher who holds to this teaching - that the Bible has been vitiated by human bias - has seriously weakened his ability to teach anything from Scripture with any authority. He cannot honestly claim to believe in the inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture.

Finally, not one of these last two responses deals with the basic reason Paul gave for the woman's subordinate role: she was created subordinate.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Skeptic Month: Giants, Josephus, and More Giants

Here at Pastor Kip we’re continuing on with Skeptic Month. Today we’re looking at a remarkable event described in the book of Genesis that critics say gives credence to the idea that the Bible is on a par with other ancient books of mythology.

In Genesis 6 we’re told that the Nephilim were on the earth in the days of Noah. Nephilim is rendered in some translations (such as the revered KJV) as “giants”. We’re also told that the sons of God were attracted to the daughters of men and had children with them. These children became “. . . heroes of old, men of great renown”.

Sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? Sounds a lot like Greek mythology, doesn’t it? We learned in school that the Greek storytellers told of how the gods intermarried with humans and had children by them, and we call those children “heroes”.

Hercules was a hero – son of the god Zeus and the mortal Alcmene.

Now, Christian apologists like to quote the Jewish historian Josephus as an extra-Biblical source proving the existence of Jesus, because he mentions Jesus twice in his work Antiquities of the Jews. It bears mentioning that one of those references (called the Testimonium Flavianum) is highly suspect because it makes overtly Messianic proclamations that Josephus did not espouse.

But did you know that Josephus also mentions Hercules? Yep, three times in fact – here are the references: 1.15; 8.5.3; and 10.11.1. Now, to be fair, one of those (8.5.3) is a reference to the temples of Hercules, but the other two speak of Hercules as a historical figure.

You’ll hear many sermons quoting Josephus on Jesus, but you’ll never hear an evangelical preacher mention Josephus’s references to Hercules. Why? Because it makes it easy to argue that Jesus is on the same level as Hercules. If, as it is sometimes alleged, Hercules was a true historical figure around whom many mythologies were constructed, why couldn’t the same be said about Jesus?

And what about those giants? We’re told in Genesis 7:21 that all creatures other than Noah and his family were annihilated in the flood, but then these giants show back up in Numbers 13:33. Where did these Nephilim come from?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Skeptic Month: Holy Postpartum Discrepancies!

Only two of the Gospels record Jesus’ birth – Matthew and Luke. They come at the story from different perspectives and there are no real problems between the two, until we read about the events that came after the birth.

In Matthew’s account, there is some major stuff going on! The wise men come to see the child in Bethlehem, and are warned in a dream to not return to Herod because he’s planning an outrage of epic proportions. Likewise, Joseph is told to take his family and flee to Egypt because Herod is looking to destroy the child.

Joseph, Mary, and Jesus flee to Egypt and Herod slaughters all the male children under two years old in Bethlehem and surrounding areas. Once Herod dies, Joseph and his family return to Nazareth. Matthew points out that this was done so that the word of the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled: "Out of Egypt I called My Son."

In Luke’s account, Jesus is circumcised eight days after the birth and they remain in the area of Jerusalem for about forty days (to complete the time of purification) and then they take Jesus to the temple to present him to the Lord. When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Nazareth and the child ". . . grew and became strong; He was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him."

No dramatic flight to Egypt. No devastating slaughtering of the children.

Why the difference? Did Luke simply choose to leave out a few major details because he didn’t consider them germane to his purpose in writing the story? Or was he ignorant of the additional stories in Matthew?

Are they reconcilable? Or are these just two versions of the same myth?

To understand what's going on this month at Pastor Kip, click here.