Posted in beth moore, bible teaching, dignity, discernment, ethics

Photojournalism and an undignified Beth Moore

I was formerly a news journalist, working at my own weekly I’d started and also worked as a features writer and photographer for the Athens daily. I was big on journalism ethics. One of the things I’d seen happen increasingly over the years is that when a reporter, photojournalist, or editor didn’t like the person being reported on, they would deliberately use disparaging adjectives, or if in a photo, select a photo that showed the person on a bad light or with a goofy expression, or in some other way, undignified.

What I understood as proper photo-journalism ethics is reflected in this excerpted photo ethics statement from the National Press Photographer’s Association

  • Be accurate and comprehensive in the representation of subjects.
  • Be complete and provide context when photographing or recording subjects. Avoid stereotyping individuals and groups. Recognize and work to avoid presenting one’s own biases in the work.
  • Treat all subjects with respect and dignity. …
  • Editing should maintain the integrity of the photographic images’ content and context. …

I personally believe that journalism and photography ethics should be applied to bloggers, including lay-bloggers with no journalism associations. And ethics is always the watchword for Christians. (Psalm 25:21).

When a newspaper publishes letters to the editor which are opinions from readers, they don’t publish all of them. A large city newspaper might receive hundreds of letters to the editor or emails opining on a recent report. Did you ever wonder how they decide to publish this one and not that one? They take the preponderance of opinion and publish a representational number. If there’s an election coming and 100 people write in that John Q. Politician is good, and 30 people write that John Q. Politician is bad, they might publish 3 of the good and one of the bad. It’s representative of the situation. That’s what newspapers do, reflect the general situation.

What I try to do when representing a person I’m blogging about in photography is find a provided head shot the subject has proffered, or some other representationally accurate photo. By that I mean it is a photo showing the person of his correct age and represents the usual stance or expression of the person. In other words, paparazzi try to find the ONE photo of a celebrity where they are in dishabille, or wearing casual clothes that make them look worse than they usually do. How does the person usually look? If you are blogging about a person regarding their work, then show them in work clothes. If you are blogging about a stay-at-home mom, then casual clothes and home setting is appropriate. Et cetera and so forth.

Representationally accurate….and now we get to Beth Moore.

Five years ago I wrote my first blog critical of Beth Moore and her teaching. As a brief rabbit trail I’ll say that back then it was one of the earliest essays anywhere on the internet critical of Beth Moore. Her teaching was bad but more subtly bad back then, and I remember having an excessively difficult time finding other essays, especially written by men, that confirmed what I saw and understood to be negative about her teaching. Five years later we all see the devastatingly satanic decline in her teaching. In this essay I’ll double down on one of the most troubling things that has declined, her teaching style.

Five years ago I’d written in part 2 of the series, “Troubled By Beth Moore’s Teaching” that I was troubled by her lack of dignity in teaching. Of all the things I’d written negatively about, her legalism, twisting scriptures, lack of transparency etc, my critical words about her teaching style drew the most heat from Moore supporters. I was excoriated for even daring to say it. Many women who wrote to me said it was unfair and improper even to rate her on style.

No, I’d pushed back, the Bible has much to say about a woman’s dignity in public. Comportment is addressed for each gender and at every age, and is especially important for leaders and teachers. This issue is specifically addressed in multiple verses.

Instructions specifically to be dignified:
Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, (Titus 2:7)

The Greek word for dignity in the Titus 2 verse means:

“solemnly respectable.” reflects what has been transformed by God and exhibits “moral and spiritual gravity (gravitas)” – like what attends a deep, godly character.

Instructions for Ministers:
A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;” (1 Timothy 3:2-3)

Instructions for wives of ministers:
Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.” (1 Timothy 3:11)

Instructions for aged men:
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.” (Titus 2:11-12)

Instructions for aged women:
Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips, nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may train the younger women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be self-controlled, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.” (Titus 2:3-5)

Do you get the idea that the church leaders, teachers, and elders should be dignified? I hope so. These and other scriptures are clear on the subject. Anyone who has seen a Beth Moore clip knows that her self-control and circumspectness is less than optimal. Her bio says she ‘teaches with energy and passion.’ She even calls herself obnoxious. I call it undignified. And undignified teaching is a poor witness.

Lately I’ve been seeing photos of Mrs Moore in strange and wild positions, gesticulating madly like she’s beating wasps. She stands in a hula hoop. She zanily sweeps the stage. She has participants come on stage and hold placards. She cuts up. She’s undignified.

But these photos, are they doing a Christian disservice to Moore? Let’s take a look at a few.

I decided to scan through a number of recent Moore clips. I chose different venues. I looked at Moore on a large-venue stage, intimate setting, and being interviewed. I looked at 11 or 12 of them, and noticed the same thing in each. The preponderance of her teaching style now is zany and undignified. And worse, remember that Mrs Moore is a 58-year-old grandmother. We cannot attribute her teaching style to over-exuberant youth. She should be applying Titus 2 verses to her life and her teaching behavior so as to demonstrate it to the generation coming up. Sadly, Mrs Moore completely fails in this regard.

To be fair and ethical, I looked at an equal number of clips from Kay Arthur, whom I consider to be a dignified female Christian teacher. I looked at an equal number of settings Mrs Arthur was teaching in as well- the interview, an intimate setting, a large-venue. In none of them did I find Mrs Arthur zanily sweeping the stage, standing in a hula hoop, or otherwise using inappropriate props for a Bible lesson or a Christian speech. In none of them did I see her facial expression veer to the clownish and comical, and in none of them did I see wild gesticulations like beating wasps or arms flailing as when walking into a spider web.

I also looked at Martha Peace giving a The Master’s College lecture on the subject of women discipling women, and a Susan Heck lesson. Ditto. No zaniness in sight and all those aforementioned women were dignified, comporting themselves as the Bible says an elder female teacher should.

Are there times when Beth Moore is standing behind a podium speaking in a dignified manner? Of course. Her undignified approach to teaching is not 100% saturated with zaniness every minute. I am speaking of the preponderance of time, and I am speaking of frequently, and I am speaking of representationally. Remember, in 1997 in an interview with Baptist Press, Moore herself said she is obnoxious. She has not calmed down since then, and is in fact, worse.

Now when I see a crazy photo or screen shot of Beth Moore, I have determined for myself that it’s representative of her usual teaching style. In my little exercise comparing Moore with Arthur, Peace, Fitzpatrick and Heck, it was startling to see Moore’s antics compared to the other teachers. Dignity. Sisters, dignity is a highlight of any Christian woman. No, I’m not saying that we can’t laugh or joke or have a good time. I’m not saying never to use props, but I am emphatically against them most of the time. The Bible is the only visual we need.

Christian women and especially teachers should be mindful of the grace that was bestowed on us and comport ourselves with dignity. A dignified posture is to be sought at all times, but especially when we are teaching about the Lord, who is the expression of dignity itself.

Posted in dignity, sin, weaker vessel, widows, women

Our roles as woman in the faith: We are vulnerable to satan in specific ways. Part 1

This is a three part series about women in the faith. In this part I’ll show from scripture that women have particular vulnerabilities to satan. We will look at what those are and how to avoid being used by satan to bring shame on the family and slander to the faith.

In the second part I’ll look at where the modern woman is doing her dark work against Jesus: it’s not just inside the church anymore. Mommy bloggers and online amateur theologians have grown to be an enormous network outside the church and thus often operate outside their husband’s watchful eye and usually outside their pastor’s eye. Much mischief happens on mommy blogs and amateur online theologian platforms and satan uses these to filter back to the church, to our detriment. I myself am in the amateur online theologian category so definitely don’t take what I write at face value but test it.

Third, I’ll look at the most famous female false prophet, heretic, and worker of iniquity today: Joyce Meyer. Meyer is representative of the female false teacher doing very much harm to the women of the church. Under her umbrella are women like Beth Moore, Anne Voskamp, Kim Walker Smith, and other newcomers who are spiritual daughters of Meyer and Moore and are being used by satan in exploitation of the particular vulnerabilities I will show in part 1.

Would they target a Christian book to men titled
“Eat the hot dog, buy the tie”? I think not
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In the bible there are groups of men listed and also individual men listed by name who were causing dissension or harm to the faith. Of the groups, Paul rebuked the Circumcision group (Galatians 2:11-14) and Jesus rebuked the Nicolaitans. (Revelation 2:6). Paul also names individual men who he rebuked or wrote about in a negative light,

  • Demas who left the faith, an apostate (2 Timothy 4:10).
  • Phygelus and Hermogenes who deserted Paul, apostates both. (2 Timothy 1:15).
  • Alexander the metalworker, he did Paul harm and opposed the message of Christ. (2 Timothy 4:14).
  • Hymenaeus and Philetus, irreverent babblers, leading people into ungodliness (2 Timothy 2:17, 1 Timothy 1:20).
  • Alexander made a shipwreck of his faith and handed over with Hymenaeus to satan to be taught not to blaspheme (1 Timothy 1:20). Unsure if this is the same Alexander as above or a different Alexander (a very common name then, as was Mary).
  • Diotrephes, rebuked by John, a man who “who likes to put himself first,” “speaks wicked nonsense” and “does not recognize our authority” (3 John 1:10).

Not to be outdone, women are named too. Jesus names a group in Revelation 2:20, a false prophetess named ‘Jezebel’ and her followers. She is a false teacher whom Jesus said He will throw into a permanent sickbed in hell if she did not repent.

In 2 John 1:4-11, John gently corrects a specific but unnamed woman who needs to watch herself, to walk in love, and to refuse to receive false teachers into her house.

Albert Edelfelt (1854–1905) Women of Ruokolahti outside the Church

Another general group receiving a warning are Gossiping widows. They are a group named in a negative light. GotQuestions explains,

Another group who were (and still are today) known for indulging in gossip is widows. Paul cautions widows against entertaining the habit of gossip and of being idle. These women are described as “gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to” (1 Timothy 5:12-13). Because women tend to spend a lot of time in each other’s homes and work closely with other women, they hear and observe situations which can become distorted, especially when repeated over and over. Paul states that widows get into the habit of going from home to home, looking for something to occupy their idleness.

Younger widows also were mentioned in a mild rebuke because of their potential to give the adversary an occasion for slander. These women are loaded with passions and “some have already strayed after Satan.” (1 Corinthians 7:9; 1 Timothy 5:14-15)

Women in general were told to remain silent in the churches, especially regarding tongues, interpretation of tongues, and prophesying. This is the section where Paul was rebuking the Corinthians for having disorderly services, and women were a large part of the reason the services had become chaotic. (1 Corinthians 14:34-35)

Women who were specifically named were Euodia and Syntyche (Philippians 4:2-3). These women were causing disunity due to their disagreement with each other. Paul asked his loyal yokefellow to help these woman agree in the Lord.

You notice that there is a general difference between the men listed and the women. The men were mostly false believers. They tended not to be in the body of Christ. You notice stern warnings of the men, who were all obvious heretics and shunned or told to be put out. (One exception is that Paul rebuked Peter and of course Peter was a true believer. Alternately Paul rebuked a demon possessed slave girl and of course who was a false professor of the faith).

The women who are mentioned, however, were mostly believers in the church. Their spiritual crime caused disruption, division, and chaos in church circles. Gossip, idleness, and easily being drawn into false teaching were the issues at play here.

“Galicnik Wedding by Marjan Lazarevski” A Macedonian bride. CC

Women are the weaker vessel. (1 Peter 3:7). Some women are weaker than others. (2 Timothy 3:6). Satan attacked the woman, Eve, first, didn’t he? Genesis 3:1 says that satan was the craftiest creature in the garden. That means he didn’t just come up with a spur of the moment plot and threw spaghetti at the wall to see what would happen as he chatted with Eve. Crafty means “clever at achieving one’s aims by indirect or deceitful methods.” Crafty means that Satan had a method in place, he thought about it for a while, watched Adam and Eve, and came up with a plan. Point number one on his plan was “Approach the woman.”

Knowing this, satan sends false teachers who have the appearance of godliness but denying its power, to seduce women with their false doctrines.

He also uses women in their vulnerability (the younger ones with passion and the elder ones with gossip and slander) to spread discord and gangrenous doctrines.

He targets the women and he uses the women. So, how can women avoid being used by satan who wants to exploit our vulnerability?

First, recognize ourselves as weaker. (1 Peter 3:7).

Labeled for reuse

Second, submit to authority. If married, submit to husbands. Raise your children. If having a question, ask the husband outside of church services. Wives should adorn their husbands as a jewel, busy herself with the home, and remain quiet. (1 Timothy 5:14, Ephesians 5:22, Titus 2:5, 1 Corinthians 14:34). Doing these things will not give satan as much of an opportunity to exploit your vulnerability.

In the same vein, elder widows with children or grandchildren should “show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God.” (1 Timothy 5:4)

Elder widows without family should “set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day,” (1 Timothy 5:5). Anna did this and was revered for it. (Luke 2:37-38).

Third, be busy. Elder widows should be “having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work.” (1 Timothy 5:10). 1 Timothy 5:13 speaks ill of idle women, so keeping one’s self spiritually busy in true service will also stave off satanic attacks and keep us thriving on the narrow path.

A silly woman at Mard Gras, by acedout. CC

Fourth, rein in passions. Younger widows tend to be passionate and flighty. They set their minds on marriage again so Paul said they should marry. (1 Timothy 5:11).

Self-indulgence in women is severely rebuked. Paul said “she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives” (1 Timothy 5:6). Idleness is rebuked because it tends toward disruptiveness (1 Thessalonians 5:14; 2 Thessalonians 3:11).

Women loaded with passions have a huge target on their back. Paul wrote, “For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions,” (2 Timothy 3:6). So obviously one way to remain spiritually fit and stave off satan’s wiles is to repent frequently when we do sin and resist sin when it presents itself.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I hope these words help you, whether you’re a young wife or an elder widow. Women are women, and we all have the same vulnerability in our weakness to satan and his attacks. These attacks don’t hurt merely the family, they disrupt the church, as we saw with Euodia and Syntyche, the disorderly prophesiers, and the idle widows. Pettiness, idleness, gossip, slander, division seem to be the unique set of negative characteristics we possess in our sinful state that Jesus revealed to us women. He gracefully shows us through scripture how to combat this. In so doing, we can receive high commendations from our Father, our Lord, our Comforter!

In Proverbs 31:30-31 it says, “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.”

Proverbs 3:15-18 “She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called blessed.”

Judge Mary Margaret Bartelme,
a most dignified woman. WikiCC

Widow Anna was commended. Mary was called favored by God. (Luke 1:28). Eunice and Lois were commended by Paul as having great faith and raising Timothy well. (2 Timothy 1:5, 2 Timothy 3:14). Dorcas was lauded for all her good works and charities. When Dorcas died, “All the widows stood beside him weeping and showing tunics and other garments that Dorcas made while she was with them.” (Acts 9:39b). “All” the widows! Dorcas was loved, and when she died, many pleaded with Paul to raise her to life. If you were to die, would all the women in your circle cry and beg for you to be returned to life? Or would they be relieved to see you go? In Dorcas’ busy-ness I am sure that satan had little opportunity to worm his way in and cause her to bring shame to the church.

Please ponder these things. Check the scriptures and test all that I’ve said. We have an important role to play, that much is obvious. Satan wants to use us in disrupting the church and be a carrier of false doctrine in our silliness and rebellion. That can easily become our role if we do not pay attention. Our role should be an important work for Jesus in unifying the church when we repent of our sins, and stay on our God-given path. Let us please Him as His precious women of faith, working and striving and contending and being a helpmeet to the men in our lives, whether they are fathers, husbands, or pastors.

___________________

Further reading

What does it mean that women are the weaker vessel

Bible Gateway: All the Women of the Bible

Essay: Widows in the church, part 1

Should you leave a church if it has a woman pastor? 

The Proverbs 31 Woman 

Posted in antics, beth moore, circus, dignity, ed young, gramling, inappropriate, Rod Parsley, sober, worship

Men of the Church: Are You Sober?

When you read the New Testament you’d be surprised to read how many times men (and women) are called to be sober. And most time when the word sober is used, it means not only ‘not drunk’ of course, but mentally alert, sharp, thinking clearly with right judgment. Women are called to be sober as well. In many cases for both sexes, particularly church leaders, it’s meant as a call to be dignified. (Proverbs 31:25; 1 Timothy 2:2).

Three years ago, when I first posted about Beth Moore and the trouble I was having with her teaching, one of the things I took issue with is that she isn’t dignified when she teaches. I’d written,

She isn’t dignified. Yes, that’s what I said. Beth Moore is not dignified on her stage. She moves around a lot, quickly delivering scriptures and her interpretations in rapid-fire fashion. She will use tricks like having a wastebasket prop to “throw away” negative behaviors, she presses participants to wear bracelets that supposedly mean certain things (I read this from three blogs) and she will contort, kneel, dance, and generally cut up, sometimes while holding the bible. Laughter is frequent.

A bible lesson is not a comedy routine. I am all for laughter. Our pastor says some funny things sometimes and the congregation will of course laugh. I am among those who laugh loud and I’m sure even the choir can hear me from where I sit. But teaching the bible with respect requires some gravitas. It requires some dignity. It isn’t a prop or a party trick. I shun antics as the main behavior of the teaching session. Funny sometimes, yes. Zany bible teachers? No.

Call me staid (Decorous? Sedate?) but I don’t think Paul hung “I AM” posters
around the necks of hapless volunteers in the synagogues
when he was reasoning with them

Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things.” (1 Timothy 3:11)

I took a lot of flak from people about that rebuke. Many people thought I was being too picky, or too staid, or too Northern. Most of those people who said I was wrong had overlooked the clear commands in the bible about behaving soberly in church and out. Even though I posted them, lol. But it’s pretty simple. We’re commanded again and again to be sober.

Many people these days don’t like it when we remind ourselves of a doctrinal standard. (2 Tim 4:3). They really hate it when we remind ourselves that there are behavioral standards, too. ‘Who are you to judge how someone should act?!’ Etc. But it’s not me, it’s God. They are His standards, both doctrinal and behavioral (moral).

As you read all the verses in the NT which mention sobriety, you begin to notice a pattern. Sobriety in behavior comes first because we are clear in our thinking. ‘Be sober-minded’ ‘Exercise sober judgment’. ‘Don’t be drunk, so you can think clearly.’ Like that. We are called to act this way because we hold Jesus up as the highest and most important Person in the universe, worthy to be worshiped. We are serious about this and we are dignified about it too. We want to think clearly, witness accurately, show self-control, love, and patience, and be serious about the King so we can make good decisions. We also do this because we do not want to be a stumbling block to the weak. (1 Corinthians 8:9, Romans 14:21).

With all this in mind, let’s take a look at the spectacle that Christian worship services have become. Are these men sober-minded? Exercising good judgment?

Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness…” (Titus 2:2)
source

In the above picture, ‘Pastor’ Troy Gramling set himself ablaze to demonstrate something from his preaching series “Daredevil.” (Why any Christian would want to say he is anything like a devil is beyond me…Christ bought us away from the devil). When Paul wrote to Timothy about the behavioral qualifications of pastors, and thought he had covered it with ‘exercise good judgment ‘ and ‘be sober,’ I don’t think he would have thought he’d have needed to spell it out: “Do not set yourself on fire.”

In the photo below, ‘Pastor’ Ed Young decided to preach about sex. Young and his wife Lisa staged a 24-hour bed-in on the church’s roof to discuss truths about sex before a live Internet audience. When Paul wrote the following words to Timothy…

As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:5)

…I am sure he did not think to include prohibitions about silly stunts in the sun and sex talk in front of the world. ‘Fulfill your ministry by being immodest, a stumbling block to the young and intemperate, and say  things in public that would embarrass your mother. G’wan. Jesus is ‘kay with it.”

‘Pastor’ Rod Parlsey is pastor of World Harvest Church, a large Pentecostal church in Columbus, Ohio. As Stand Up For the Truth describes the now deleted video, “Is it a bird? Is it Tom Cruise? No, it is a pastor! Rod Parsley of World Harvest Church is raising some eyebrows by releasing this now-viral video of himself zip lining through the air over his cheering congregation, and landing onto his pulpit. His band is playing the “Mission Impossible” theme music to kick off its “Mission Possible” sermon series leading into Easter.

Easter!!!

source

The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.” (1 Peter 4:7)

At the revelation of Jesus Christ, do you think the Head of our church will look favorably on the ziplining pastor making a mockery out of his House of Prayer? Well, how did He like it the first time? (Matthew 21:13)

Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:13)

In this next example, we’re told not to think more highly of ourselves than we should, but ‘Pastor’ Steven Furtick thinks just as highly of himself as Jesus thinks of the Father.

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” (Romans 12:3).

source

Furtick is building the church? I thought Jesus was doing that. Building it upon a vision Furtick had? I thought the church was being built on the fact that Jesus is savior. And uniting around Furtick’s vision? I thought we were supposed to unite around the Spirit. (Ephesians 4:3)

Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. … And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:16, 18)

Blasphemy. And remember, Furtick was the one who perverted the worship service by seeding planted people in the audience to manipulate congregants into coming forward for a baptism he called spontaneous, but was anything but. It was a total manipulation from start to finish, including the music, teaching the planted people how fast or slow to walk down the aisle and what to say to the baptizees coming forward. Spontaneous, my eye.

“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” ~Inigo Montoya

Strong’s numbered Greek words in the lexicon explain that in most cases in the above verses, ‘sober’ means for the believer to “think shrewdly”, reflecting what God defines is true moderation. In the other cases, it means don’t be drunk. ‘Be sober, unintoxicated’ refers to having presence of mind (clear judgment), enabling someone to be temperate (self-controlled)”.

Jesus is the head of the church. If we can’t picture Jesus doing something or saying something behind the pulpit, then His under-shepherd shouldn’t do it.

I’m not talking about never smiling, never having fun, or never relaxing. In fellowship or casual settings away from church, sure, have fun. Even then, don’t be so wild as to give cause to the unbelievers to slander us. (1 Tim 5:14). But in church or in bible teaching settings, such antics have no place. Why? Because of this verse:

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12-13)

Obey. Fear. Trembling. It is all joined at verse 13- ‘for it is God…’ God is in us, working out His will and plan and we work out our salvation because we obey in fear and trembling. Why? Again, because He’s God.

We feel utter joy in knowing He is God and utter gratitude for our salvation. We do feel joy and love and we exhibit it, but it is all rooted in the fear and trembling because He is God, and there is no other. We aren’t flippant, casual, irreverent, zany, ‘devilish’, foolish, or outrageous. Our joy comes from the fear and trembling, the fear of sinning against the Lord, of not being active in our sanctification, and fear of loss of rewards

If you would like to listen to an excellent sermon on the Christian life centered around an exposition of the above Philippians verse, please do so. It is by Dr Steven Lawson, “Christian Living 101: Part 1” Here it is

Meanwhile, remember worship is not a party! Be sober, be mindful, be dignified. This will please Jesus.

Posted in bible, dignity, prophecy

Has today’s church said "dignity shmignity"?

I enjoy a good laugh as much as anyone. I love fun, a good time, being with friends, and yukking it up. However, I do not believe those things are appropriate for church, for bible study, for ecclesiastical conferences, or for prayer meetings. The call to dignity is both overt and inferred in the scriptures.

In the first essay I wrote about my concerns with Beth Moore’s teaching, I wrote that one of the issues is that she is not dignified on stage. I am not speaking of a personal preference, though I do have biases in this area. The scriptures in that piece speak to how we must act when in the position of teacher or elder. She uses signs, tricks, volunteers, personal anecdotes, jokes, innuendo, and more. When she teaches the bible, she is not dignified.

Mark Driscoll is pastor of the Mars Hill Church in Seattle Washington. He is well known for his casual approach to preaching the Sunday Services, in demeanor and in apparel. He readily admits that his sermon delivery is influenced by stand-up comedians like Chris Rock. I saw the first and only clip of Mr Driscoll a week or so ago. He was speaking of the Twilight novels and movie release in culture and how it is affecting the young girls of today, like his own daughter. I posted the 10 minute video on my blog here, and I fully admit that it is hilarious. He strode about the stage in tennis shoes, jeans, and untucked flannel shirt, making funny remarks and it was a good ten minutes of  punchline delivery that Chris Rock would envy.

I believe that demeanor is important when one is delivering a teaching on the greatest information ever imparted to Man. I am not a fuddy duddy, but the clear call to present the Gospel of Jesus and Him crucified means deliver it with dignity.

How many pastors today forgo a jacket and tie on Sundays anymore? How many over-rely on media such as video, loud music, dancing, casual attire, and any and all things that actually distract from the bible as the central focus?

Venerable evangelist Paul O. Nichols wrote in 1997,

“YOU ARE STANDING ON HOLY GROUND”
“Today if there is ever a time when a man is on “holy ground” it is when he is preaching Christ and Him crucified. Qualifications are specified. The inspired writer says, “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (2 Tim 2:2). Peter demanded, “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God” (1 Pet 4:11). Preaching and teaching the word of God is a serious matter. The pulpit is no place for frivolity and merrymaking. Theatrics and foolishness are as out of place in the pulpit as a cowbell in a musical concert, and beneath the dignity of a faithful representative of the crucified Christ. No man has a right to profane the pulpit while representing the Saviour of the world. Cuteness and slang may provoke a laugh from the less spiritual, but the more serious disciple of Jesus demands sincerity and evidence that Christ lives in us (Gal 2:20).”

Do you demand sincerity and evidence that Christ lives in us from your church, your pastor, your services? I hope so. Dignity is an old fashioned word these days, much maligned. But while there is a place for frivolity and fun, guffaws and jokes, there is also a place for dignity. The two places are not the same.

The lowering of standards of pulpit behavior is indicative of the lowering of the place of Jesus in the heart of one who is treating Him so casually. It belies an internal attitude that Jesus is lower than He is, which is consistent with the attitude of many of today’s pastors who preach man higher than he is. The lowering and heightening will eventually meet as level after the rapture. It will soon after that find its ultimate culmination in the Man of Sin. Finally, satan (for a little while) will live on earth as the king of earth where Jesus is below man. But not for long.

When the time is fulfilled and the transgression is finished, (Dan 9:24) Jesus will appear as KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS! “These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful.” (Revelation 17:14)

There is none higher and all the enemies of Him are under Him at the footstool. “A Psalm of David. The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.” (Psalm 110:1)

You can be a joint heir with Christ, (Romans 8:17) or under His feet when He comes. He leaves the position you want to occupy up to you. Repentance and belief brings the former. Rejection of His pardon brings the latter.
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