Urgent: please respond to the Isle of Man Government’s consultation on introducing so-called same-sex marriage

The Isle of Man Government is conducting a consultation regarding its proposed legislation to permit same-sex ‘marriage’ on the Island. BetterThanSacrifice.org has a post with the details and a comprehensive response. Many of the points covered are applicable to the same-sex ‘marriage’ controversy in other countries.

The consultation closes on 13 November 2015 and is open to all, regardless of where they live. It would be very helpful for the Government to realize that a great many people from all over the world are opposed to the introduction of same-sex ‘marriage’. Here is how you can help:

  • State your opposition (no matter how briefly) in a polite email to Ms Anne Shimmin at equality@gov.im.
  • Leave a message by phone on +44 (0)1624 685202 opposing the legislation.
  • Share the BetterThanSacrifice.org post widely using the Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus buttons at the end of the article.

Thank you!

The invincible ignorance of Newsweek’s Kurt Eichenwald

Numerous scholarly refutations have been made of Newsweek and Kurt Eichenwald’s Christmas polemic against the Bible and historic Christianity. Dr. Michael Brown, whose own detailed rebuttal of Eichenwald’s article was published by Newsweek, subsequently invited Eichenwald on to his Line of Fire radio show.

The resulting two-hour programme is exceedingly frustrating to hear for anyone with even a basic knowledge of Christian history and the transmission of the Bible. Nevertheless, Eichenwald’s refusal to concede his fundamental errors of fact is enlightening. Throughout the show, Eichenwald demonstrates his invincible ignorance by evading every opportunity to engage meaningfully with the arguments and evidence against his position.

Dr. James R. White, director of Alpha and Omega Ministries, has responded to a portion of the Brown-Eichenwald interview in his usual inimitable and sometimes acerbic manner. The relevant segment starts at 47:35 into the audio/video of the 27 January 2015 episode of Dr. White’s Dividing Line programme. It is worth hearing for anyone interested in understanding Eichenwald’s errors.

A debate between White and Eichenwald is clearly warranted, but it seems unlikely that Eichenwald would be willing to expose his arguments to direct examination by Dr. White, notwithstanding White’s exceedingly long track record of engaging honourably in well-mannered formal debate.

Eichenwald is, at least, right about one thing: many self-professed Christians are woefully ignorant about both the Bible’s history and the teaching it contains. Ironically, it is this very lack of knowledge that is exploited by those like Eichenwald who espouse tired liberal unorthodoxy. His article thus demonstrates why Christians need to be informed and educated about their faith, always ‘ready to give a defence to everyone who asks’ (1 Peter 3:15).

A clear summary of early Christian beliefs

In his post One of the Clearest (and Earliest) Summaries of Early Christian Beliefs, Dr. Michael J. Kruger quotes and comments upon a description of Christian beliefs written by Aristides, a converted Athenian philosopher, to the emperor Hadrian around 125 A.D. Dr. Kruger concludes:

This is a surprisingly thorough and wide-ranging summary of core Christian doctrines at a very early point in the life of the church. And it was this form of Christianity that was publicly presented to the Emperor. Once again, we can see that core Christian beliefs were not latecomers that were invented in the fourth century (or later), but appear to have been in place from the very beginning.

A point-by-point response to Christian Today’s defence of Perry Nobel

James Duncan, long-time observer of Perry Noble and NewSpring, has written a detailed rebuttal to a missing-the-point opinion piece by Mark Woods published on the Christian Today website.

The greatest danger facing the church?

James Hamilton, Professor of Biblical Theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, writing on The Greatest Danger Facing the Church:

The greatest danger facing the church is probably not what most of us expect. We expect some sort of direct challenge from without, but it probably comes from within. In our day, it may well come from well-meaning pastors.

How could well-meaning pastors pose the greatest threat to evangelical churches today? Do they deny the truth?

No, the pastors who pose the greatest threat to the church today will confess belief in the right things. They will confess the authority and inerrancy of the Bible, that Jesus saves, and that he is the only way of salvation.

So how can these guys who mean well and make the good confession pose such a threat to the church?

They are a threat because, in spite of their confession, their words and actions treat Christianity as nothing more than the best form of therapy. They treat it as self-help. They treat it as the path to better marriages, better parent-child relationships, better attitudes and performance at work, and on and on.

Phil Johnson releases ‘more proof that Tyndale House Publishers knew the Malarkey book was a fraud’

In a further development of the Boy-Back-From-Heaven scandal that has been covering, Phil Johnson has released additional emails exchanged between publisher Tyndale House and Beth Malarkey, the mother of the boy who is the subject of the book The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven.

The emails released in Johnson’s post, More Proof that Tyndale House Publishers Knew the Malarkey Book was a Fraud, are in accord with the earlier report by The Guardian, a national UK newspaper.

In the same article in which he releases the emails, Johnson – who is Executive Director of John MacArthur’s Grace to You organization – also gives a more comprehensive account of his understanding of the background to the present controversy.

Photo credit: Liane Metzler.

Tyndale’s justification for not withdrawing Boy-Back-From-Heaven book: if we don’t publish, someone else will

National UK newspaper The Guardian has a 3,000 word article on the Boy-Back-From-Heaven scandal that has been covering. This section is particularly noteworthy:

Jan Long Harris, a publisher with Tyndale House, was Beth Malarkey’s primary correspondent. She offered to correct inaccuracies in consultation with Kevin, “since our contract is with him”. According to the emails newly obtained by the Guardian, Harris acknowledged that Beth had presented larger issued [sic] with the book, writing: “I realize that your concern about what you feel are inaccuracies is not the only issue you have with the book, but it is the issue that could be most easily addressed.”

Beth replied: “Revisions are not what will restore what has been stolen from my son, who continues to suffer.” She asked if Tyndale House could break its contract with Kevin Malarkey.

Harris, evidently exasperated, replied:

Even if we could make a case for breaking our contract, the book could (and probably would) be back in print with another publisher within a few weeks. So I don’t think that would achieve your goal.

‘If we don’t then someone else will’ does not seem to be a worthy reason for a supposedly Christian organization to publish a book containing known ‘inaccuracies’.

Harris continued to explain Tyndale’s position:

Also, I’m sure you can understand that we can’t break a contract with an author just because someone else – even if the someone else is the author’s spouse – makes accusations about him. We have to give the author, in this case Kevin, a chance to respond.

The question of breaking a contract should not have arisen, as Tyndale should never have agreed to publish the book.

Tyndale House says that it is ‘substantially owned’ by a foundation whose mission is ‘to spread the Good News of Christ around the world’. One wonders how publishing fabrications and false doctrine assists in spreading the Good News of the One who is Truth (John 14:6).

Photo credit: Liane Metzler.

Phil Johnson on why God gave the Law

Fighting for the Faith has a lecture by Phil Johnson entitled Why God gave the Law (audio). It’s well worth an hour of your time.

Did the earliest Christians believe in substitutionary atonement and imputation?

Did Jesus die in our place, bearing the punishment for our sins? In Did the Earliest Christians Really Believe in Substitutionary Atonement (and Even Imputation)?, Dr. Michael J. Kruger writes:

The average internet-level narrative goes something like this: the earliest Christians had no clear understanding for why Jesus died on the cross and what it accomplished. The idea of a substitutionary atonement is a late invention designed to retroactively explain the (otherwise embarrassing) death of Jesus. In fact, it was not until Anselm’s Cur Deus Homo (Why the God-Man?) in the middle ages that someone came up with the idea that Jesus died in place of sinners.

Of course, such a narrative can be readily refuted just examining the writings of the New Testament itself–particular[ly] the letters of Paul. However, it is also worth noting that this view was held by some of the earliest Christian writers; in this case, by the author of the Epistle to Diognetus in the early second century. Here are some excerpts from the author that affirm key aspects of substitutionary atonement:

Tyndale House responds to what it deems ‘inaccurate statements’ concerning Boy-Back-From-Heaven scandal; Phil Johnson counters

On 16 January 2015, Phil Johnson made public his unanswered June 2014 letter to Tyndale House, publishers of the The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven book that is the centre of an unfolding scandal. Shortly after, Tyndale House Senior Publicist, Maggie Wallem Rowe, issued the following statement:

Due to inaccurate statements currently being disseminated on some social media outlets, Tyndale is providing a further statement on our decision to take The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven out of print.

“Earlier this week Tyndale learned that Alex Malarkey, co-author of The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven, was retracting the story he had told his father and that he recounted in the book they co-authored for publication in 2010. It is because of this new information that we are taking the book out of print. For the past couple of years we have known that Beth Malarkey, Kevin’s wife and Alex’s mother, was unhappy with the book and believed it contained inaccuracies. On more than one occasion we asked for a meeting with Kevin, Beth, Alex and their agent to discuss and correct any inaccuracies, but Beth would not agree to such a meeting.”

Phil Johnson, who is Executive Director of John MacArthur’s Grace to You organization, has published Tyndale’s statement on his own website, together with his email response to Ms. Rowe. In that email, Johnson asserts that Rowe’s statement ‘is demonstrably untrue on several levels’, and provides supporting documentation. He writes that he has ‘many more emails between various Tyndale representatives and Beth Malarkey that further prove the point’, and that he is ‘willing to make them public if that’s what it takes to make the truth of the matter known.’

Johnson concludes his email by highlighting the primary issue, which is why Tyndale House would ever have published a book containing supposed extra-biblical revelation and false doctrine:

I cannot close without pointing out that on top of all that, the book itself tells a tale that on the face of it is highly dubious and in places patently unbiblical. It seems quite at odds with Tyndale House Publishers’ founding principles. Instead of trying to spin the facts and make excuses, Tyndale ought to apologize to Beth and Alex Malarkey, and to the reading public as well, and consider instituting major reforms.

Photo credit: Liane Metzler.

LifeWay issues second misleading statement, is ‘committed to becoming even more proactive’ in evaluating resources

continues to cover the unfolding Boy-Back-From-Heaven scandal that has so far implicated both publisher Tyndale House and SBC bookseller LifeWay.

On 16 January 2015, LifeWay provided radio show host Janet Mefferd with a statement regarding The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven book, which she has shared in a Twitter message. The statement repeats almost verbatim that issued to Dr. Warren Throckmorton on the previous day, but goes further in asserting that LifeWay will be ‘even more proactive’ over the coming months in evaluating the resources it carries.

Here is the statement provided to Mefferd in full:

LifeWay Christian Resources Statement regarding “The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven”
January 16, 2014 [sic]

LifeWay was informed this week that Alex Malarkey has retracted his testimony about visiting heaven as told in the book “The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven.” Therefore, we have returned to the publisher the few copies we had in our Stores.

LifeWay is committed to becoming even more proactive the next few months [sic] in evaluating the resources we carry.

Marty King, Director of Corporate Communications and Spokesman
LifeWay Christian Resources
615-585-0033

This latest statement from LifeWay is, like that given to Dr. Throckmorton, particularly worded. It implies that LifeWay only found out about the book’s falsehood last week, but careful parsing reveals it merely to assert that LifeWay was informed last week, which it was. The statement neither confirms nor denies that LifeWay was also informed previously.

The impression given by the statement, if not its precise wording, is incongruent with the evidence showing that LifeWay’s Dr. Thom Rainer and Dr. Ed Stetzer both knew that the book was false back in May 2014, but chose to keep selling it anyway. It also does not explain why LifeWay ever decided to carry a book that contains supposed extra-biblical revelation and false doctrine.

continues to await a response from LifeWay to our own enquiries. We suspect they may be rather busy at the moment.

Photo credit: Liane Metzler.

Mother of Alex Malarkey issues statement about ‘Boy Who Came Back from Heaven’

has been covering the unfolding Boy-Back-From-Heaven scandal that has so far implicated both publisher Tyndale House and SBC bookseller LifeWay.

Beth Malarkey, mother of the subject of the book The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven, has now issued a statement on her blog:

For at least three years, my son Alex Malarkey has been speaking the truth and pleading to be heard regarding The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven. I’m thankful to the Pulpit and Pen blog for posting Alex’s open letter last week and finally helping his voice to be heard. The sudden interest of the media has meant that many reporters are seeking to investigate the story and I would love to answer every question, but since 2006, I have been Alex’s only nonstop caregiver, and I also have three more precious children to care for. So I’m forced to say no to all interview requests. I hope people understand. The facts of the case are being heard, through sources like the Pulpit & Pen website (http://pulpitandpen.org/) and the Grace to You blog (http://www.gty.org/Blog/B150116/setting-the-record-straight).

I do stand with my son and I’m proud of the courage he has shown. “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” (3 John 4).

I also want to correct one glaring error that has appeared in countless news articles over the past few days: I have not divorced my husband and I am not planning to pursue a divorce. Kevin and I are still married. My hope is that all of this can be resolved in a way that exalts Christ by honoring the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:14). That, likewise, has been Alex’s only aim in all his attempts to set the record straight.

“Now may the God of peace … equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Hebrews 13:20-21).

Photo credit: Liane Metzler.

The Evangelical Industrial Complex – here’s why ‘Christian’ publishers and retailers promote celebrity false teachers

Writing early in 2012, Skye Jethani sought to account for the rise of celebrity pastors and described what he termed the Evangelical Industrial Complex. His thesis rings true, and explains why the billion-dollar financial imperative faced by ‘Christian’ publishers leads to a self-perpetuating cycle where they promote – and then become dependent upon – megachurch pastors and other celebrities whose doctrine is often less than entirely sound. This behaviour is readily understandable from a business perspective, but is utterly tragic and reprehensible when one considers that souls are at stake.

Jethani’s full article is well worth reading, but here is its central argument:

So, what does Eisenhower and the military have to do with celebrity pastors? Well, just as America’s militarism for the last half century is partially the result of systemic economic forces, so is the rise of the present clergy celebrity-class. There is an evangelical industrial complex that helps create, and then relies upon, the existence of celebrity leaders. Have you ever wondered why you don’t see pastors from small or medium sized churches on the main stage at big conferences? Or why most of the best-selling Christian authors are megachurch leaders?

Here’s one possibility (the one people like to believe): The most godly, intelligent, and gifted leaders naturally attract large followings, so they naturally are going to have large churches, and their ideas are so great and their writing so sharp that publishers pick their book proposals, and the books strike a nerve with so many people that they naturally become best-sellers, and these leaders are therefore the obvious choice to speak at the biggest conferences. As a result they find themselves quite naturally becoming popular, even rising to celebrity status.

Is this possible? Yes. Does it happen? Sometimes. Is it the norm? I don’t think so.

Here’s the other possibility (one I’ve seen from the inside): Through any number of methods–powerful gifting, shrewd marketing, dumb luck–a pastor leads a congregation to megachurch status. Publishers eager for a guaranteed sales [will] offer the megachurch pastor a book deal knowing that if only a third of the pastor’s own congregation buys a copy, it’s still a profitable deal. The book is published on the basis of the leader’s market platform, not necessarily the strength of his ideas or the book’s quality. Sometimes the pastor will actually write the book, and other times a ghost writer hired by the publisher will do the hard work of transforming his sermon notes into 180 pages with something resembling a coherent idea.

Wanting to maximize the return on their investment, the publisher will then promote the pastor at the publisher-sponsored ministry conference or other events. As a result of the pastor’s own megachurch customer base and the publisher’s conference platform, the book becomes a best-seller. Or if that doesn’t work, sometimes sugar daddies purchase thousands of copies of the book to literally buy the pastor onto the best-seller’s list where the perception of popularity results in more sales. (Yes, it happens. Not a lot, but it does happen.)

This market-driven cycle of megachurches, conferences, and publishers results in an echo chamber where the same voices, espousing the same values, create an atmosphere where ministry success becomes equated with audience aggregation.

Photo credit: LifeWay Building, Dennis.

President of South Carolina Baptist Convention calls for Perry Noble and NewSpring to correct ‘problematic positions and statements’

Dr. Tommy Kelly, the new President of the South Carolina Baptist Convention, which is in partnership with the Southern Baptist Convention, has issued A Statement by the SCBC President Regarding ‘Problematic Positions and Statements’ by NewSpring Church Pastor. has been covering the events that precipitated this statement.

Writing in the South Carolina Baptist Courier, Kelly states that, notwithstanding Noble’s apology, ‘his 2014 Christmas Eve message and his theological position in that message are evidence of continued problematic positions and statements that are inconsistent with the beliefs of South Carolina Baptists’.

Kelly goes on to exhort SCBC ministers ‘to treat their individual ministry settings as a sacred trust void of coarse, profane language as well as choosing music that is sacred in content’, to ‘engage in accountability groups’ that will ‘hold them to a higher standard morally, ethically and biblically’, and to renew ‘themselves to more sound exegetical study and expository preaching and teaching of God’s word’. Kelly’s exhortations go to the heart of problems exhibited by Perry Noble and NewSpring over many years.

Kelly further elaborates on the responsibility that all ‘church leaders’ have to ‘present well-thought and biblically based sermons and teaching that come from God’s infallible, inerrant Word and lead the lost to Christ’, before issuing a clear warning to NewSpring:

Therefore, we as South Carolina Baptists must publicly state and remove ourselves from these positions and problematic statements and call for NewSpring to correct these positions if it chooses to say that it affiliates with South Carolina Baptist churches.

Phil Johnson confirms that Alex and Beth Malarkey tried to have ‘Boy Who Came Back From Heaven’ withdrawn over two years ago, but publisher Tyndale House would not listen

In Setting the Record Straight, Phil Johnson, Executive Director of Grace to You, gives his perspective on the unfolding Boy-Back-From-Heaven scandal. Particularly noteworthy is Johnson’s testimony that, even as far back as two years ago, Alex Malarkey – subject of the book The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven – had along with his mother been trying to have the book withdrawn:

Shortly after “The Burpo-Malarkey Doctrine” was posted on our blog two years ago, Alex’s mom, Beth Malarkey, contacted me to acknowledge that John MacArthur’s analysis is correct: “These modern testimonies … are simply untrue.” She and Alex had already been doing everything they could to get the word out that The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven told a largely imaginary story, and that most of the details had been greatly embellished and exaggerated in the writing. Publicity about the book had incited a cult of afterlife enthusiasts and hangers-on who wanted to canonize Alex and idolize him as a mystical seer with an open connection to heaven. Alex was uncomfortable with the feeling of moral and spiritual responsibility his sudden fame had thrust on him. Still a child, he nevertheless understood that the truth was more important than his own reputation.

Johnson relates that publisher Tyndale House would not withdraw the book:

The publisher refused to pull or alter the book. Alex’s father, thrilled with the book’s best-seller status, stood with the publisher. Even a pastor from whom Alex sought counsel said he thought the book was “blessing” people. He advised Alex to be quiet and let it ride.

With reference to Alex’s recent repudiation of the book’s claims, Johnson describes how people obstinately refused to hear the truth:

When Alex has tried to make similar statements on Facebook or in other online forums, he has been routinely shouted down, his comments deleted, and his fragile voice silenced. We want to give his testimony maximum exposure, because Alex is right: The truth is more important than how anyone feels about it.

Johnson is in no doubt both as to the danger of books such as these and to the reason why they continue to be culpably sold:

One of the top online reviews of The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven says: “I can tend to be a little skeptical of otherworldly experiences, but when I hear it from the words of a child, I am much more open to the idea. A child is not going to be capable of making up these kinds of images and keeping his story straight for month after month after month.”

That, sadly, is what lots of readers think. What they don’t realize is that there is a massive industry behind books like these, heavily populated with decision makers who care more for filthy lucre than for truth. Employed in that industry are some mercenaries who have no scruples whatsoever about making up tales like these, polishing and embellishing them, and buttressing them with details designed to enhance the illusion of believability. It’s the very worst kind of pragmatism gone to seed. What’s “good” is defined by what sells. Scripture calls it “the teaching of Balaam” (Revelation 2:14).

The knowing production and sale of books containing false doctrine and based upon fabricated stories is a stain upon the Church and an impediment to the proclamation of the Gospel. It is long past time for Christians everywhere to hold those responsible to account. Likewise, Christians who purchase such materials ought to repent of their lack of discernment, for publishers and retailers will not sell materials for which there are no buyers. Nevertheless, Christ died even for sins as serious as these, and forgiveness may be found in Him.

Update: Phil Johnson has also published a June 2014 letter he wrote to Tyndale House.

Photo credit: Liane Metzler.

Emails suggest LifeWay’s Thom Rainer and Ed Stetzer knew ‘Boy Who Came Back From Heaven’ book was false, chose to keep selling it anyway

Dustin Germain is doing stellar work covering the unfolding scandal of LifeWay peddling notoriously unbiblical materials. In his latest article, Germain provides explosive emails from a May 2014 exchange between respected contender-for-the-faith Justin Peters and LifeWay President and CEO Dr. Thom Rainer. This postscript from one of Peters’ emails appears damning:

(PS – if you are not already aware, the book The Boy Who Cam Back from Heaven detailing the story of Alex Malarkey is fiction. It did not happen. I know this because I have exchanged numerous emails and have had personally spoken with Beth Malarkey, Alex’s Mom. Alex does not support the book. His Mom tells me that his father, Kevin, is exploiting his own son for financial gain but is not financially supporting his son with the profits of the book. She is doing everything she can to get the truth out. You might want to pull this, too, if you haven’t already. I know LifeWay used to sell it. I will be glad to give you Mrs. Malarkey’s phone number and email address if you would like to verify that I am telling you the truth.)

Germain reports that Rainer did not respond to this email. For seven further months, until this month’s overwhelming public outcry, LifeWay continued to sell a book containing unsound doctrine that it apparently knew to be based upon a fabricated story.

Germain’s detailed post is essential reading and demonstrates that neither Dr. Thom Rainer nor Dr. Ed Stetzer wished to heed Peters’ appeals. Germain concludes with this plea:

These questions need to be answered. Why did Rainer not seek to stop the book from being sold once he knew the truth? Do Thom Rainer and Ed Stetzer really believe that the experiences conveyed in heavenly tourism books are real and have enough sound biblical character to be passed on and sold to the masses? Why did Lifeway not listen to the messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention in 2014, who repudiated these books and passed a resolution accordingly? Do Thom Rainer and Ed Stetzer believe these accounts to be true? Could not a lot of shame and embarrassment been spared Lifeway if its executives would have only listened to SBC messengers and honored their wishes? Will Southern Baptists hold Lifeway’s executives to account? Will Christian consumers from across the evangelical spectrum hold book publishers to a higher standard?

Brothers, please. We can do better. We must do better. The love of Christ and the faithfulness to the truth and sufficiency of his word compels us to do better.

continues to await a response from LifeWay to our own enquiries.

Photo credit: Liane Metzler.

LifeWay returns ‘Boy Who Came Back From Heaven’ books to publisher. Why, though, was it ever selling them?

On 13 January 2015, Alex Malarkey, subject of the book The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven, definitively repudiated the book’s claims.

In response to a subsequent enquiry by Dr. Warren Throckmorton, Martin King – the Director of Communications at LifeWay – issued a statement saying that LifeWay stores are returning remaining copies of the book to the publisher, Tyndale House:

LifeWay was informed this week that Alex Malarkey has retracted his testimony about visiting heaven as told in the book “The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven.” Therefore, we are returning to the publisher the few copies we have in our Stores.

Dr. Throckmorton also notes that Alex’s mother has been campaigning against the book for some time. Writing on her blog in April 2014, Beth Malarkey explained that the Gospel was missing from the book, that it ‘leads people away from the Bible not to it’, and that Alex’s ‘name and identity are being used against his wishes’. She also recounted how Alex had previously attempted to enlist the support of a ‘pastor’ to have the book stopped:

When Alex first tried to tell a “pastor” how wrong the book was and how it needed stopped, Alex was told that the book was blessing people. Ok … first, Alex said that while he was struggling physically and trusting this person as someone who seemed to be concerned, so the person was invalidating Alex’s feeling while justifying the wrong that Alex was trying to make that person aware of. The person told Alex to “trust” him.

The real scandal here is that supposedly ‘Christian’ organizations – including LifeWay, which is operated by the Southern Baptist Convention – ever thought that such material was fit for distribution. As has previously noted, though, LifeWay continues to sell works by notoriously unsound authors such as Beth Moore, T.D. Jakes and Sarah Young.

Why do Christian retailers and publishers seem to be so persistently and wilfully undiscerning? Certainly, at least in the case of the SBC’s LifeWay, it is not for lack of an illustrious executive leadership team – theirs includes well-known figures Dr. Thom S. Rainer and Dr. Ed Stetzer. These men surely understand the doctrinal issues involved and the deep human cost of false teaching. Sadly, Todd Pruitt, Lead Pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Harrisonburg, VA, offers what seems to be the likely answer:

And yet Beth Moore’s books and studies are published by Broadman & Hollman (B&H) and sold in Lifeway stores. Both Lifeway and B&H are Southern Baptist entities and Beth Moore a member of a Southern Baptist Church. So why does the Southern Baptist Convention publish, promote, and sell teaching that clearly departs from historic Protestantism and is against its own doctrinal positions? Follow the money my friends. Follow the money.

has reached out to LifeWay to ask whether there may be a more charitable explanation.

Update: The Washington Post reports that publisher Tyndale House has ‘decided to take the book and related ancillary products out of print’.

Photo credit: Liane Metzler.

Newsweek publishes response by Dr. Michael Brown to its Christmas hit-piece on the Bible, but says ‘we stand by our story’

Newsweek and Kurt Eichenwald’s ignorant Christmas polemic against the Bible and historic Christianity prompted a number of cogent rebuttals. Newsweek has now published a lengthy response by Dr. Michael Brown. Nevertheless, Newsweek editorial staff insist in the introduction to the piece that they ‘stand by’ their story and ‘disagree with some of Dr. Brown’s points’:

Newsweek’s recent cover story on the Bible, as we expected, proved quite controversial, particularly among the evangelical community. Some agreed with our point, others expressed anger and still others came back with substantive replies. Our hope from the beginning was to inspire debate, and so we invited one our evangelical critics, Dr. Michael Brown, to continue the discussion. While we stand by our story and disagree with some of Dr. Brown’s points, we do not think it is appropriate to publish a reply here. However, Dr. Brown has generously invited the author of the piece to appear on his national radio show next week to resume this important dialogue.

Circus by the Glades

With their cover of Britney Spears’ Circus, Church Circus by the Glades illustrates the point of the article, The Church Growth Movement: innovating like it’s 1894. They write:

For the grand opening of our new building, we launched into a series called Life is a Circus and I’m Surrounded by Clowns. Here’s the performance of “Circus” that helped us get the series started!

One can’t help but admire the Christ-centred lyrics that so clearly proclaim repentance and forgiveness of sins in Him:

There’s only two types of people in the world
The ones that entertain and the ones that observe
Well baby, I’m a put-on-a-show kind of girl
Don’t like the backseat, gotta be first

I’m a like the ringleader, I call the shots
(Call the shots)
I’m like a firecracker I make it hot
When I put on a show

I feel the adrenaline moving through my veins
Spotlight on me and I’m ready to break
I’m like a performer, the dancefloor is my stage
Better be ready, hope that you feel the same

All eyes on me in the center of the ring just like a circus
When I crack that whip, everybody gon’ trip just like a circus
Don’t stand there watching me, follow me, show me what you can do
Everybody let go, we can make a dancefloor just like a circus ahhhhha

etc.

Update: The Museum of Idolatry found additional stills from the show, including these ones from the Church by the Glades Flickr photostream:

Circus!

Come One Come All!

Video and feature image credit: Circus, Church by the Glades.
Additional photo credit: Church by the Glades.

Further analysis from Chris Rosebrough of Perry Noble’s apology

Pastor Chris Rosebrough of Fighting for the Faith offers further analysis of Perry Noble’s apology for teaching that there is no Hebrew word for ‘commandment’. The relevant segment starts at 41:40 into the audio.