by Phil Johnsonhe issue underlying practically every popular evangelical trend we have ever decried here on PyroManiacs is the same moral defect that was the besetting sin of the Pharisees—namely, a craving for human applause. The current ranks of evangelical leadership are filled with men who care far too much about what the world thinks of them. The intellectually sophisticated among our Top Men tend to covet academic esteem, especially from unbelieving scholars. Those who are less—um, cerebrally endowed—just yearn to be admired for being über-cool. Between those two extremes are a legion of evangelical movers and shakers who think they can achieve both goals. Lately, they have sought to do this by cultivating a noisome air of political correctness.Scripture could not be more clear about the value of this world's approval. Jesus said, "Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets" (Luke 6:26). And, "If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you" (John 15:18-19). And, "you will be hated by all for my name's sake" (Matthew 10:22). And, "Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets" (Luke 6:22-23).It's a theme that runs throughout Scripture, starting with Cain's murderous contempt for his own brother's righteous offering, and finally summed up in 1 John 3:13 with this admonition from the Apostle of Love: "Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you."Christians are expressly forbidden to embrace the world's values or seek its approval: "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world--the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions--is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever" (1 John 2:15-17).The world is of course our mission field, so we're commanded to love people (including our enemies) as God does (Matthew 5:44-45). But worldly values, entertainments, and ideologies are full of spiritual poison. The current evangelical infatuation with such things is tantamount to treason against God. That's what James was saying when he wrote, "You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God" (James 4:4).The notion that we must win the world's esteem before the gospel can do its work is, I'm convinced, a spiritually crippling error. But it's also the presupposition underlying most of the trends currently vying for widespread acceptance within the so-called evangelical movement. In reality, for three decades or longer the broad movement has been softening its commitment to (and in many cases totally abandoning) the two most important evangelical convictions—sola Scriptura and sola fide. Those cardinal biblical doctrines are now being replaced by secular dogmas: "wokeness," "social justice" (a liberal counterfeit, not biblical justice), critical race theory, gender fluidity, and an ever-increasing number of ideologies bred and popularized in secular academic circles.That now includes the normalization of LGTBQ perversions by evangelicals who argue that illicit desires in and of themselves aren't really sin; they are morally neutral expressions of one's "sexual orientation." (More on this subject in the days to come.)The "gospel-centered" movement that many of us were so enthusiastic for just one decade ago has gone with the drift. The Gospel Coalition has for some time now shown a pattern of embracing whatever new moral issue or political cause is currently popular in Western culture by arguing that this, too, is a legitimate "gospel issue." They are by no means alone in this. Everything from the latest Marvel movie to gun control legislation has been deemed a "gospel issue" by some savvy evangelical writer at one or more of the most heavily trafficked evangelical websites. But if everything is supposedly a gospel issue, the expression "gospel-centered" is rendered meaningless.As I said in a Tweet earlier today, we must not abandon the focused simplicity of Luke 24:46-47 in favor of a social gospel that encompasses a large complex of racial, economic, and political issues. Every denomination, every educational institution, and every church that has ever made that error has seen a quick demise. I for one don't intend to watch in silence while the current generation repeats that mistake.
by Phil Johnsont's been more than six years since I retired from the blogosphere. For half a decade, whenever someone would ask if I missed blogging, my honest answer was, "Not at all. Never even once." There wasn't a single moment in all those years when I thought, I wish I were still blogging so I could write something more than a Tweet about this issue. In my seven years of blogging, I had posted on practically every issue I really cared about. I ran out of opinions.Some HistoryI began blogging in 2005 because I was concerned about my fellow evangelicals' blithe acceptance of the so-called Emerging Church Movement. It seemed as if every elite evangelical agency—from Christianity Today to the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC)—was foolishly hoping the Emergent Narrative would be The Next Big Thing. They were practically cheerleading for the movement! D. A. Carson was a rare voice of dissent, but his reply to the Emergent idea was (in my view) much too tepid to be an effective critique.I had tried posting some opinions in the comments sections of a couple of popular blogs, but they made it clear they were not interested in dissenting views. One famous blog closed their comments completely when I tried joining their discussion. So on the last weekday of May 2005 I formally opened my own blog. My main goal was merely to articulate and catalogue my own misgivings about the drive to postmodernize evangelical Christianity. I had no expectation that anyone outside my circle of friends (and my Sunday school class) would be any more interested in my opinions than those blogs that had shooed me away when I commented.My first real blogpost went live the day after Memorial Day that year. It was a poke at the "Young, Restless, Reformed" movement, though I wrote it a year and a half before Christianity Today and Collin Hansen gave that movement its name.Right away, readership far exceeded what I anticipated. I immediately realized that I had inadvertently jumped into the deep end of the pool without any floaties.PyroManiacS: The birth of the Group BlogSo six months in, I invited Dan Phillips and Frank Turk to partner with me in the effort. I'd never met either one of them before, but I'd read their comments on line, and I knew 1) that they shared my views about the folly of postmodernism, and 2) that they were gifted writers with minds full of verbal mischief, more than capable of the kind of critique I wanted to level against the Emergent movement. So we launched the team blog in January of 2006.We wrote a lot of good, thoughtful posts attempting to provide Emergents with the "conversation" they were saying they wanted. But we quickly noticed a couple of surprising trends. First, the more purposefully rational and irenic our content, the less discussion our writing evoked. Second, no matter what we wrote or how we wrote it, there were swarms of smug postmoderns prepared to deconstruct our prose, pleading for every kind of "tolerance" other than tolerance of others' ideas, preaching love and kindness while eagerly spoiling for a fight with us.The High-Water MarkFrankly, making fun of postmodernism's foolish inconsistencies did far more good than trying to reason with postmoderns. Looking back, it seems to me that the Po-Motivators® may well have done more to open readers' eyes to the dangers of evangelical postmodernism than all the text we wrote combined. I'd hate to think those posters were the blog's high water mark, but it's true that the advent of the posters marked the turning point after which our postmodern critics dropped some of their trademark arrogance, and some of them actually left the Dark Side and joined the discussion we were having.Anyway, the Emergent movement finally died, and we're thankful for that. When we knew the fad was well and truly over (that the popular movement phase had passed, anyway), blogging seemed less urgent and less appealing. I formally retired in 2012 on my 59th birthday, and most of the evangelical blogosphere breathed a deep, cosmic sigh of relief.At the time, I remarked to anyone who raised the subject that although Emergent was dead and discredited as a movement, it had unleashed countless postmodern ideas and deconstructionist methodologies into the evangelical community, and these would bear some nasty fruit within a decade or less.I see the fulfillment of that prophecy in a myriad of ways today—including the emboldening of Andy Stanley, the rise of a quasi-evangelical brand of Critical Race Theory, eroding definitions of "biblical inerrancy," evangelical waffling on the moral questions raised by people who classify their own "sexual orientation" as LGBTQ, evangelicals still craving academic recognition or popular esteem from worldly minded people, the recent drift of Russell Moore and the ERLC—and other related or similar issues.So Here's the Thing . . .I suddenly have the itch to write about some of these things. Not every day, of course, but from time to time—perhaps weekly or so. Dan Phillips is now blogging to a bigger audience at PJ Media, and Frank Turk is more determined than I to maintain his retirement from controversial social media. Still, I'd love to get occasional contributions from them—or from others, such as Darrell Harrison, Justin Peters, Josh Buice, or anyone else who shares both my passion for biblical Christianity and my contempt for every effort to make the evangelical movement more politically correct. Consider this an open invitation to submit articles you think might be of interest to my readers. If you write enough blogposts that fit, I'll give you a set of keys to the blog and make you an official PyroManiac.Watch this space for my first actual issues-oriented re-entry into the blogosphere. If the Lord wills, I'll post it sometime next week.
God is not a patriotic American.Ã‚Â Before you try to crucify me for making a statement like that, let me explain what I mean.Ã‚Â God has no preferential treatment among nations.Ã‚Â He would be just as pleased to bless Pakistan, South Africa, Ukraine, or America.Ã‚Â It is all the same to Him.Ã‚Â In fact, I believe that Scripture teaches clearly that God would be very happy to bless every nation on earth.Ã‚Â Yet if this is true then why is it that God has blessed America so abundantly as compared to every other nation on earth.Ã‚Â The current international climate seems to indicate that God does favor America...that perhaps God is an American patriot.Ã‚Â Scripture defines two standards by which God judges nations.Ã‚Â Those nations that practice these two principles, he blesses.Ã‚Â Those who ignore these two end up living in the dark ages for thousands of years.Ã‚Â God has blessed America so greatly not because we are the bastion of liberty or because of our national pride, or because he is an American patriot.Ã‚Â He has blessed America only because we have historically followed these two principles.Ã‚Â So what are the principles that either drive nations to great blessing or to their knees?Ã‚Â "Righteousness exalteth a nation..."Ã‚Â ~ Proverbs 14:34 The first principles is our nation's relationship to righteousness.Ã‚Â God has blessed America because our nation has spent great effort promoting righteousness.Ã‚Â Historically many of our nation's laws were grounded in the Word of God.Ã‚Â Historically speaking our nation has been a religious people that promoted doing right.Ã‚Â Now our nation is quickly sliding down the road of embracing immorality and pure ungodliness as right.Ã‚Â On April 27, it became legal to marry men with men and women with women in the state of Iowa.Ã‚Â This only follows the trend of a few other states and helps to pave the way for others to come.Ã‚Â Even our president touts to the world that we are not a Christian nation.Ã‚Â And although you might debate about the idea that we may have once been a Christian nation, I believe that I must agree with our far left liberal president on this issue.Ã‚Â Today we are not a Christian nation.Ã‚Â The truth is that our nation is not characterized by rightousness as it once was.Ã‚Â In the 1800's a man named Alexis de'Toqueville came to America from France to observer and study the American model.Ã‚Â Our fledgling nation was rapidly expanding, our industries were booming, and our economy was strong.Ã‚Â After his study he cam to this conclusion, "Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret and genius of her power.Ã‚Â America is great because America is good.Ã‚Â And if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great."Ã‚Â Would he come to that same conclusion if he were to have made his visit to America today? "And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." ~ Genesis 12:3 The second principle is our nation's relationship to Israel.Ã‚Â Isn't it Ironic that within a week of American diplomats urging Israel to pull out of Gaza our nation was hit with one of the worst hurricanes our nation has experienced.Ã‚Â No friends, I don't believe it is ironic that Hurricane Katrina followed on the footsteps of these events.Ã‚Â I believe that it was the hand of an almight God who was simply following through on a promise that he made to an old man all those years ago.Ã‚Â If our nation continues to turn her back on the people that God has chosen to safeguard, then soon God will turn his back on our nation.Ã‚Â They are currently passing a bill in Congress that will make it illegal for preachers to proclaim the truth about the wickedness of homosexuality.Ã‚Â Preaching against sin will soon be classified as "hate crimes."Ã‚Â The world looks on us as if we are crazy, divisive, and exentric.Ã‚Â They believe that so much, in fact, that they are willing to pass laws to illegalize our preaching against sin.Ã‚Â They must silence us.Ã‚Â Yet they fail to realize this one thing.Ã‚Â We are not the enemies to the government.Ã‚Â We are not the enemies to this nation.Ã‚Â Their sin is.Ã‚Â The preaching of rightousness from the pulpits across this nation is the only thing that can save our nation from total destruction.Ã‚Â We must once again elevate the Word of God and the power of the cross in our churches.Ã‚Â We must stand up, stand up for Jesus ye soldiers of the cross!A new stimulis package is not going to save our economy.Ã‚Â Rightousness will.Ã‚Â Prison reform will not curb crime in America.Ã‚Â Righteousness will.Ã‚Â Increased education spending will not save our nation's youth.Ã‚Â Righteousness will.Ã‚Â Righteousness will.Ã‚Â Righteousness will.In Christ,Nicholas Z. Cardot
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