Monday, December 16, 2013

The Cripplegate: wrong about Santa being a lie

In his post on Santa, Clint Archer, writer at the Cripplegate, has a few choice words against Santa.

His argument is as follows:
  1. "Misinformation has a way of taking root in our memories."
  2. By late childhood, a young child exposed to the lie of Santa has already been damaged.
    This is because once the idea of 'my parents lie to me' has been implanted, there is no logical stopping point for it. Which means...
  3. Such damage will be manifested ultimately in the rejection of Jesus Christ. 
  4. Therefore, the only logical course is to toss Santa early to ward off apostatizing.
The discerning reader will jump in at this point and say, "Wait a minute! Santa is fiction, therefore what you are really against is fiction. You might as well ban Chronicles of Narnia and Christmas Carol." Archer has anticipated this:
  1. "There is a thin line between fiction and fallacy." He's saying, as one of the commenter said, that pretend fun is okay, as long as it doesn't cross the line into 'pretend reality.'
That's his argument. Now it's my turn.

First, I'd like to see someone who fell away for the reason, and that reason only. Bring forth the man who rejected Christ because Santa was a lie, told, for fun, to him while he was a child. "My parents played silly children's games with me when I was four. When I was eight I had it figured out those games were made up. Therefore I don't believe in God." Show me that person. Prove it. Otherwise this really wild fear falls into the admonition Jesus gave when He said "Do not worry" right next door to "I'm worried they will get autism if I vaccinate them."

Second, the argument rests on the notion that children have no power to discern between imagination and reality. If children do have the power to discern between play and reality, then the whole structure collapses. I think a reasonable person can make that argument, that children can just say "Ah yes, Santa is a fun play game, Jesus is real."
But let's grant them this, that children until teenage years, cannot discern fiction and fact, and that Santa causes apostasy. The problem here is that Santa is a figment of our imagination, which means it's ultimately fiction that causes apostasy. Therefore fiction must go, totally, and fully. Praise God for those farsighted people who banned Harry Potter and Star Wars, for we must have no half hearted semi-agreement, either Santa is to be tossed along with all the kids books, cartoons, games, or he's not. No tea parties, no pulling off your thumb to show them Daddy magic. No talking monkeys that they chase between your legs. No dollhouse. No reading them Robinson Carusoe. Nothing. Let's be real, if you are going to argue that imagination is the tool of the devil, then mean that argument. Own it. If it's true, then it changes absolutely everything, and we ought to man up and abide by it's results. You too parents. No more science fiction, no hypothetical arguments, no television. Should you be any less concerned about your own souls than theirs? In his argument Clint gives no reason for why all fictitious games should also not be banned when he 'proves' some fiction is deadly.

Third, that children cannot discern between magic and reality does not necessarily mean Santa is evil, but rather that Santa's poison is harmless. In the eyes of a child Santa shares a place in that land of wonder along with everything else. Take him out and you still have the whole world still remaining in there to deal with. That child's mind of joy regarding Santa is also shared with halloween, candy, swimming pools, and staying up late for the occasional movie night. Swings at the park, real maple syrup, ball pits, and Jesus are all in there. How do you separate Jesus from that magical world of wonder kids live in? You don't. Your job is not to disabuse them of their wonder, but to join them it in. As an adult are any of those things less magical because you enjoyed them as a kid? Rather, they are more so. As we age the wonder deepens, ripens, and grows into something more splendid.The feelings remain, but as we mature we add to it knowledge. Your teaching them is to take that little sapling of joy and add to it light and water so that it bears for them delightful fruit. Teach them to continue to look at the world, not to quit.

If I understand the Cripplegate terrible argument correctly, the real fear they have is getting Jesus out of that stage of wonder before it collapses and destroys everything in it. But maybe, we shouldn't. We should feel wonder, and fresh awe, any time we consider Jesus, the God-Man, being born in a manger in Bethlehem because the Romans had commanded everyone from the line of David to go there. The maker of the infinite reaches of space had no room and yet there was no room for him at the inn. We should feel a since of magic at the wise-men gazing into the heavens until the time was right, and He was revealed in the stars. We ought to feel awed, if we feel awe at anything, that Jesus was born as a helpless baby that needed to be carted out of danger by Joseph.We need to exercise our muscles in this regard.

Choose not to do Santa by all means, but let's at least be honest and be done with this small minded notion of 'lying' to our children.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

AWANA high school ciriculum change

1 Cor 14 is getting changed to be more inclusive and tolerant toward the Assemblies of God regarding the gift of tongues.
Great.
Just great.
Maybe we can just appeal to the largest number of "Christians" by removing the rest of the ugly doctrines that mark baptists as distinctive.
I hear Arianism was really popular for awhile too, Athanasius should have just split the difference there in order to reach the highest number of Christians.
Dumb Athanasius.

What does Noah and Blood have to do with Jesus

Noah was forbidden from having blood since the life is in it.
Moses and Israel were not to have it either.

But Jesus has us take and drink His blood, which was poured out for the remission of sins.

Why then would God withhold having people consume the blood until the time of Christ? Was He keeping it back and making it special until the mystery was revealed? I wonder.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Knowledge vs Experience

The more I thought of it, the more convinced I am that we should be seeking knowledge of Christ, and not experience of Him on Sunday mornings. We need a faithful man to get up there and give us knowledge and doctrines, even if it's hard.
I want to know Christ, and the power of His rising, share in His sufferings conform to His death, that by any means I may know, and attain to the resurrection of the dead.
After all, God said "My people are destroyed for lack of knowedge." And "They know how to do evil, but of good they know not."

Oh Pastor, set your course to knowing, that your congregation may know. They need epignosis, the real deal stuff, they don't need to experience. They need to know.
Animals experience, men know.

"This is My prayer, that they may know you, just as I know you."

The Plague of Baby Christians

Hitler showed us the way: to grow to a massive size you must find what every tribe has in common, and then appeal to that. Growth is no more, and no less than finding the lowest common denominator. For Hitler, this was the criminal element, and his brownshirts were nothing more than thugs and criminals.

Now this isn't necessarily a nefarious strategy, TV news people in the 1970s did the same to appeal to as many Americans as they could. The political parties do the same to build as broad a coalition as possible. This is, in fact, a universal principle that has been around since mankind began to congregate. But it became a real problem when the church started taking the lesson and applying it accordingly in appealing to the lowest common denominator. Serve milk and baby food and round up as many new believers as you can. Presto! Mega church.
The tacit principle that nobody is speaking aloud here (but I will) is that doctrines are divisive. As soon as you start teaching people about baptism you are going to divide the hearers into padeos versus credos. Teach them about predestination and you divide them into monogerists vs synergists.Best to avoid this, keep your coalition large by not saying anything, or at least, nothing worth saying.

Horton called this Christless Christianity, a faith devoid of the cross and the work of Jesus, but I'm not sure that that's accurate. Yes those hard words like "take up your cross and follow me" get neglected in favor of "come you blessed." No question. But it's not that there is no cross, it's that it's a children's one. All of the adult stuff, propitiation, satisfaction, sanctification, justification, gets thrown out, and what is left is translated into kid speak. "Seek pleasure, avoid pain. Don't get a spanking, don't make God put you on time out." The bible isn't taught in depth, it's skimmed, because that hard stuff would go over the heads of most "busy, hardworking, ordinary people, who have lots of other things to do." All this to say the people in the chairs are treated as children.
As an aside, this perfectly characterizes the churches of Christ while at the same time is characteristic of the mega churches. These are places not devoid of truth, nor are the people who go there totally ignorant, some are even thirsty for truth, it's just they are just mostly ignorant and going to stay that way.

What does this look like? It looks like the purpose driven church. It looks like Blackaby. It looks like survey driven Willow Creek. Find out what the listeners want, and give them that. They like entertainment? Give them that. They want videos? Give them videos. They want Bible? Give it in small doses and only in a shallow manner. Don't jeopardize your coalition.