A Young Atheist’s Look at Young Fundamentalists

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Book Review of Lauren Sandler’s Righteous

Neither Richard Dawkins’ God Delusionnor Sam Harris’ Letter to a Christian Nation held me with even the remotest interest, but young Lauren Sandler’s book, Righteous: Dispatches from the Evangelical Youth Movement (New York: Penguin Group, 2006), did. The intellectual, literary elitists and cold empiricists could probably learn something from this gal. At least she, like Jeffery L. Sheler (Believe: A Journey Into Evangelical America) and Monique El-Faizy (God and Country: How Evangelicals Have Become America’s New Mainstream), is willing to mingle with those loathsome evangelicals.

At the beginning of her book, Lauren frankly shares a little about herself with us:
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Broken Boughs and Falling Cradles

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Note: This article was originally posted November 21, 2005.

by Pastor David Deets

Most all of us know the lyrics to the well-known nursery rhyme of “Rock a Bye Baby.” However, most of us probably do not know its origin or meaning. It is commonly held that this lullaby actually came from a young pilgrim boy. He had spent much time observing the Native American practice of suspending children from tree branches in cloth and basket cradles. This practice enabled the baby to be rocked while freeing the mother to attend to other matters. While this lullaby is an observation, it also gives us a warning! Be careful what kind of tree branch you hang your child from. As can be seen from this lullaby, there are drastic consequences for hanging your baby from the wrong bough. In modern America today, we have a lot of broken boughs (homes), and we have lots of falling cradles (casualties among children and teens). The problem is that the child does not get to decide which bough he is hung from. He has no choice as to which home he is given to or which parents he has. He simply has to do the best he can with where he is. So the great problem faced by a lot of teens and children today is, “How will I respond to my home situation?”
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Chapter 8—I Just Love Rules, Don't You? Part Two

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Note: This chapter is from Damsels in Distress and is reprinted by permission from P&R Publishing (Phillipsburg, NJ). This chapter is being reprinted in two parts. This is part two.

by Martha Peace

Legalism

What Legalism Does

There are many problems with legalism. Consider the following list: Read more about Chapter 8—I Just Love Rules, Don't You? Part Two

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I Just Love Rules, Don't You? Part One

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Note: This chapter is from Damsels in Distress and is reprinted by permission from P&R Publishing (Phillipsburg, NJ). This chapter is being reprinted in two parts.


by Martha Peace

Legalism

Our daughter, Anna, attended a well-known Bible college back in the 1980s. At that school they had a rather thick rule book. To her dismay, she broke four of the rules before she even had time to read the book! Not being a rebel in her heart, Anna had no problem keeping the rules once she knew what they were, but what she did have a problem with were those students who loved the rules so much that they became like self-appointed, private investigators looking to trap and turn in students who broke or appeared to break the slightest rule. These students became like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day who were religious in a bad sense. The students and the Pharisees became amazingly creative in their ability to make up religious rules that they thought saved them or made them more pleasing to God. Usually accompanying those self-imposed standards was a disdain for those who did not follow their rules, a sense of superiority over others, an unbiblical view of grace, and fear of consequences if they did not do everything just right.

The modern-day legalist is a lot like those students and the Pharisees. The legalist is drawn toward unbiblical thinking—so much so that there are strong Scriptural warnings against such man-made religion:
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Appreciate Your Pastor

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One of the side benefits of owning a site like SharperIron is that I get to scratch an itch that is a major burden of mine: helping pastors and church leaders. Outside of pastoral ministry, nothing in ministry gives me more satisfaction. Hearing their struggles, listening to their rebukes, directing them to resources, and getting to know them better have been some of my greatest joys of the last two years. However, my burden for them has increased ten-fold. I have come to believe that pastors are America’s greatest, yet most under-valued and under-appreciated, men. It’s no longer in style to respect the man of God. After all, with Swaggart and Haggard, why should anybody respect the clergy? I hope to answer that question.

On Paul’s second missionary journey, he wrote a letter to the Thessalonians. He addressed many areas, including the need to be faithful amidst persecution, to encourage them regarding those who have already passed away, and to address errors. He hit on moral laxity and laziness, and then he addressed their tendency not to respect their church leadership. The problems of the Thessalonians are present in today’s church as well. I believe every church member should appreciate his pastor.

Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13, “And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves” (KJV).

Darrin Patrick, pastor of The Journey in St. Louis, in a recent podcast reported on a recent study by Focus on the Family. He reports the following: Read more about Appreciate Your Pastor

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Pillsbury Baptist Bible College

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In The Nick of TimeThey say that any publicity is good publicity, but that may not be true. Pillsbury Baptist Bible College has recently received some rather unwelcome attention. First, a prominent pastor in Indiana has publicly narrated a pejorative but largely fictitious account of his expulsion from Pillsbury during the 1970s. Then a blogger from back East published a negative report complaining that the campus coffee shop wasn’t open at night and he was bored while visiting the college. He named another Bible college, then asked, “If Pillsbury and ________ are the same price, why would anyone ever go to Pillsbury?”

That question is worth answering, not because Pillsbury is necessarily better than every other college, but because it has its own strengths and character. The truth is that Pillsbury should appeal to some students. Not every collegian will want to go there, but prospective students from fundamental churches should at least consider it.

Why go to Pillsbury?

First, because Pillsbury is a small-town school. It has the benefits of a city without having the crime and congestion. Pillsbury doesn’t need to keep a coffee shop open at all hours, because Owatonna has lots of places that sell coffee. You can get a cup any time you want! Owatonna also has a Wal-mart, a Target, a Mills Fleet Farm (the “men’s mall”), and a Cabella’s. There is an outlet mall nearby, and there is plenty of industry in and near the town.

If you want to go out to eat in Owatonna, you’ve got real restaurants from which to choose. If you want to go shopping, you can find real stores, and even real malls. If you’re looking for a job, you can get hired for a decent wage. If you get sick, you’re within about half-an-hour of the world famous Mayo Clinic.
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Paul and Logic, Part Three: Grace-Gifts

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My wife knows when I want to eat. When she says, “I bet you want something to eat,” I don’t wonder if she has some weird link to my hypothalamus. She has reasoned. She bases this on many things that she knows about me. Among those things: 1) When I don’t eat for a while, I get hungry; 2) I hate bananas.

—Logically:

Premise 1: He wants to eat something when he doesn’t eat for several hours.
Premise 2: He hasn’t eaten for several hours.
Conclusion: He wants to eat something.

—And:

Premise 1: He does not like to eat things that have bananas.
Premise 2: This item has bananas.
Conclusion: He will not want to eat this item.

What, then, would my wife say if I have not eaten for 10 hours and there is only banana cake? If I am hungry enough, perhaps I will eat even the dreaded banana. Would that mean that the second principle and syllogism are false? No, they are still true, but in a relative sense. I don’t like bananas—generally. In fact, both conditions (“time since eating” and “amount of banana”) may be true to a greater or lesser extent.These conditions vary independently. They each may vary alone, together, or in opposite ways. I might have eaten minutes ago or days ago, regardless of whether the item I am offered is banana-free or 5 percent or 50 percent banana.

Neither of these principles is presented with the other as an exception. For instance, the second argument did not read:

Premise 1: He does not like to eat things that have bananas unless he is hungry.
Premise 2: This item has bananas.
Conclusion: He will not want to eat this item unless he is hungry.
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Spurgeon’s Library in New Hands

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NOTE: This article is reprinted with permission from As I See It, a monthly electronic magazine compiled and edited by Doug Kutilek. AISI is sent free to all who request it by writing to the editor at dkutilek@juno.com.

by Doug Kutilek

And speaking of Spurgeon—early Sunday morning October 22, instant, I was watching a televised sermon by Dr. Phil Roberts, President of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri, who was speaking at a church here in Wichita. In his introduction, he naturally discussed the seminary and its progress and growth (like all Southern Baptist seminaries, it is once again in conservative hands). And then he stated that, after two years of negotiation, MBTS had as of “last Tuesday” (October 10, 2006, if I figure the date correctly), signed a contract to purchase Spurgeon’s entire extant library from William Jewell College, and would take actual possession of it by November 15 of this year. He stated that some of the books need restoration, and this would be done right away, and the whole would be catalogued electronically.
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