Matthew 18: Misunderstanding and Misuse in Conflict Resolution

Misusing Matthew 18

The Misuse and Abuse of Matthew 18

The heavy-handed application of Matthew 18:15-20 leaves a trail of pain, broken relationships, and human carnage among God’s people. Controlling authoritarians use Matthew 18 to silence dissenting speech, prophetic criticism, and to label people as trouble makers–sources of contamination in the assembly that must be purged.

Continue reading

Confessions of a Christian Idiot: 'Reprinted from Christianity Without the Religion Magazine - February 2019'

Christian Stupidity

Confessions of a Christian Idiot

Have you ever known someone who is a zealous reforming advocate for some cause that they were once part of themselves, like alcoholism or drug addiction? In their newly found zeal they are often overbearing. I was that person in the early days of my Christian experience. I had a hard case of Christian idiocy. It is a relationally toxic and unsafe mix of sincerity, ignorance, zeal, and self-righteousness.

Continue reading

It’s 2019 and God is Not Taking You to New Levels

Manipulating People wioth New Levels Language

God is Not taking you to New Levels in 2019

Every year about this time, social media is saturated with naïve and manipulative Christian “blessings” and “predictions” like this:  “In 2019 God is going to take you to new levels!”

That kind of language is not just associated with New Year promises, but it is also stock and trade language in many churches. Well it is 2019, and here is my prediction: God is not going to take you to new levels. Why? Because there is no such thing.

Continue reading

The Hidden Idolatry in Charismatic Worship: 'Feeding the "Worship Experience" Beast'

Prophets of Baal

Prophets of Baal Worship Their God – J.J. Tissot

I have been a Charismatic believer for forty-two years. I was a weekly “worship leader” in Charismatic, “prophetic and apostolic” environments for thirty-five of those years. I get the picture as someone who has been on the inside for a very long time. I thoroughly understand the history, theology, values, beliefs, and practices behind Charismatic praise and worship expression. I also have had serious concerns and uneasiness about the theology and practice for a very long time. 

Continue reading

City-Wide Unity: Reality or Romanticism

Unity – What the Real Thing Looks Like: 'Romanticism or Reality at a City-Wide Level'

So you believe in “city-wide” Church unity?

Saying you believe in unity is like saying you believe in gravity: It is self-evident and doesn’t mean much. It is in the making of unity where the real work lies. Programmatic and event-based attempts at church unity are at best temporary relief for our nagging conscience. They rarely produce lasting results. Why? As long as leaders and churches cling to their right to these things there will never be John 17-type unity:

Continue reading

The Cult of Success: 'Learning to Dream Small'

Dream Small: How to Have Success in Ministry

Dream Small: How to Have “Success” in Ministry

If you have spent any time at all in Western/Evangelical/Charismatic Christianity, you have heard things like these:

  • God is big, you need to dream big.
  • God has big dreams for you.
  • Your faith needs to be big.
  • You need to be a dream chaser.
  • Your faith is too small.
  • You are destined to be a world changer.
  • Overcome your ministry limitations.
  • Take your ministry to the “next level” . . . and so on. 

American cultural values of success: size (numbers in attendance), finances, and fame (sff) –bigger is better–more is “God,”  have spread through Western (American) popular Evangelicalism like a bad outbreak of athlete’s foot fungus in a men’s locker room.

Continue reading

Spiritual Covering: 'Stop the Nonsense'

stopsignSpiritual covering is a biblically illegitimate, bad idea, that just won’t go away.

Continue reading

Church Refugee Sanity Guide – Part One: 'What is Happening to Us?'

Next to death of a loved one or a divorce, fewer things are more emotionally and psychologically challenging than changing a “church” association. Often when people begin to question their church experience and consider “leaving,” they feel alone, misunderstood, accused, disoriented, and perhaps even crazy or thinking they are losing their mind. They often feel unloved and unsupported.  In this first session of an  eleven-part series called the Church Refugee Sanity Guide, I introduce the topic and provide a frame of reference for understanding that you are not alone.

Continue reading

Where Should I go to Church?: 'You are asking the wrong question'

Where should I go to church? You are asking the wrong question.

Where should I go to church? You are asking the wrong question.

I often get asked: “Where should I go to church?” It is the wrong question to ask. Lurking in it are likely inappropriate and unrecognized presuppositions and motives. We need to ask a “who” question, not a what and where question. The correct answer to that question will be found in understanding God-assigned relationships. Relational reality in God-assignments is where you will find your “church,” no other way.

Continue reading