31 January, 2007
He is known as the often rancorous and forceful defender of the King James Version of the Bible. His books and writings regarding the subject of modern translations and other theological topics are controversial to many, inflammatory to some. He states emphatically and unapologetically that the King James Version of the Bible is itself perfect and inspired. He further opposes any efforts to examine either Hebrew or Greek texts in Biblical exegesis and attempt at a modern translation of the Scriptures. Over all Peter S. Ruckman of the Pensacola Bible Institute is no stranger to a rousing fight.
While most of his opponents are not surprised by his dogmatic statements and assertions, his latest statement has left many with their jaws "hitting the floor."
"After much research and prayer it is my conclusion that there's no such place as Greece and, consequently, there is no such thing as the Greek language." Said Ruckman in his latest book The Conspiracy of the Evangelical Apostates. "Anyone who believes in Greece is part of the Alexandrian Cult seeking to undermine the authority of the Authorized Version of 1611."
Ruckman's book also includes his own "map" of the Mediterranean region which, as he states, gives "irrefutable proof that there's no such place as Greece."
But despite such "evidence" many are not persuaded that Ruckman is correct including Karolous Argyris of Greece.
"I'm not understanding this, is this supposed to be a joke?" Said Argyris. "I don't have time to even acknowledge such things."
Ruckman's assertion serves to support his position that since there is no Greece there can be no Greek language, and thus what we know as "Greek" was, as he states, invented by the "Alexandrian Cult" about 3,500 years ago with the express purpose to undermine the validity of the Authorized Version that would be translated some 3,000 years later in 1611.
"There is no doubt in my mind that this scheme was cooked up in antiquity by Satan to cause confusion and to deceive millions," Ruckman states "and for centuries he's achieved his goal. Now it's time to get back to the real original manuscript, The King James 1611."
30 January, 2007
It is a situation that is becoming all too common. An unsuspecting individual begins to innocently search the internet for information on a particular subject and suddenly finds his or herself faced with the perils of Reformed theology.
"I was helping my ten-year-old son do a report on American Government." Said Kenneth Lyons, a concerned parent. "We were about to research America's election process, so we went to Google and typed in "election." The phone rang and I stepped out for no more than 5 minutes, and when I returned I found Eric reading some article by a guy named R.C. Sproul about believers being "elected" and "predestined" by God for salvation. I just freaked out! I didn't know what to do."
Lyons' story is not unique. Families and entire churches are discovering daily the theological risks of surfing the internet.
"We lost our pastor to this mess." Said Olivia Karnes, a member of Lynchburg Church of God. "We had begun to notice that Brother Smith's preaching was changing. He started preaching through Ephesians every Sunday. The next thing he did was he stopped doing altar calls! Then it all came out one Sunday. They found sermons on his computer from all these Calvinist guys and links to blogs like The Pyromaniacs, and Calvinist Gadfly. There was no choice. We had to let him go. Our church is still healing from this crushing blow."
But it was these kinds of stories that prompted a team of students and professors at Liberty University to develop a software that would protect people from accidentally or intentionally being exposed to Calvinism on the internet. Net Finney, named for the famous 19th-century Pelagian evangelist Charles Finney, effectively filters out 99.9% of Calvinist and Reformed literature and media on the internet.
"We think this is a tremendous step in stopping the spread of Reformed materials." Said Dr. Ergun Caner, president of Liberty University's theological seminary. "Now parents can rest easy letting their kids surf the web without the fear that they will turn into Calvinists."
In addition to blocking Calvinist and Reformed media the software will automatically filter any Calvinistic content out of sermons by renowned 19th-century Baptist minister Charles H. Spurgeon.
"It's an exciting development." Said Pastor James Yeates of New Hope Baptist Church, Lynchburg. "This Calvinism thing is literally infecting our Southern Baptist Churches. I hope this helps put a stop to things."
29 January, 2007
Wilson Hairston's skillful work with the youth of St. Paul's Congregationalist Church is known throughout the community of North Point, New York. For 7 years Hairston has labored as the church's youth pastor, sacrificially giving of his time and energies above and beyond his specified duties to mentor the kids of his youth group. But a recent controversy struck the congregation when Hairston filed a lawsuit against the parents of 15 children in the church suing for full custody of the kids.
"It's not really that complicated." Said Hariston. "I'm the one they come to when they need someone to listen to their problems. I'm the one who goes to all of their sporting and school events. I'm the one who's explained the birds and the bees to all of these kids. I take them out to eat, hang out with them, spend time with them, help them with their homework and get them out of binds. By all accounts I'm already acting as a parent to them. I just want the legal rights that come with that."
Hairston's lawsuit also comes with the full support of the children of the youth group.
"He's, like, so awesome!" Said Mary Katherine Lewis, 15. "He's like the parent every kid could ever want. He, like, really listens to what we have to say, and talks to us about difficult stuff that my parents won't. He's there for us."
Other members of the church's youth group have express similar sentiments. But parents of the kids vow to fight the lawsuit and are confident that Hairston's attempt will fail.
James Carville, father of one of the group's teenage boys was emphatic.
"Look, we hired Wilson to fill in the gaps not to take over our kids lives! I mean, we're busy people. My wife and I both work, and I've got to have some me time every now and then. His job was to be there for them, be someone they could relate to, talk to them about difficult subjects, listen to their problems, help them, teach them the Bible and guide them through difficult times, but NOT be their parent!"
While most parents are angry about the lawsuit they are confident that it will not stand up in court. Still, because of the situation, they want to see Hairston removed from the position.
"He needs to go." Said Carville. "This has angered us all. What's worse is that we're going to have to spend months trying to find another youth minister, and until that time our kids are going to be left out in the cold, with no guidance and direction. That just leaves us parents in a bind. I mean, who's going to teach our children until we find another youth minister?"
27 January, 2007
26 January, 2007
The Reverend Alex Parish of Beaver Creek Presbyterian Church recently resigned amid a shower of controversy over his frequent use of large and complicated words during his sermons, some of which he himself did not understand.
Members of the congregation noted that for about 2 years Parish's sermons had become increasingly more difficult to follow.
"Every Sunday it got worse and worse." said a church member who wished to remain anonymous. "He would rattle off some long strain of words that no one could pronounce much less comprehend."
A recent transcript of one of Parish's sermons revealed the following example of some of his preaching,
"With perspicuous fecundity the plenipetitiarian here in this passage surreptitiously inculcates our acumen by the acculturation of dexterous kerygma. Therefore we must ruminate the whyfors! We must consummate the senses of our devoir!"
"No one could understand a word he was saying up there." Said a church elder. "Finally the session (elders) confronted him about it during our monthly meeting. I asked him, 'Alex, what does plenipetitiarian mean?' and he couldn't tell me!"
As the meeting progressed it became evident that Parish understood little of what he himself had been saying in his sermons. He then confessed to the elders that, in an attempt to "sound educated and knowledgeable" he had been filling his sermons with complicated words that he was looking up in a thesaurus. At the end of the meeting Parish apologized and resigned as the church's pastor.
"It's sad to see things come to this." Said member Greg Bender. "But I hope we can move on now and learn from this. Perhaps the next guy we get here as our next pastor will not be so worried about impressing us with his knowledge and just preach us the word."
25 January, 2007
With the immense popularity of Apple's iPod many fundamentalist, KJV-only kids are feeling left out.
"All of my friends have one" said 15 year-old Rick Morgan. "I know that these things are base, vulgar and worldly, but sometimes, I'll confess, I just really wish I had one."
In an effort to keep fundamentalist KJV-only teens from coveting, Pensacola Christian College announced that it will soon release its first ever electronic item called the ePhod.
The ePhod boasts many of the same features as Apple's iPod but with a number of prominent modifications;
1. The ePhod will not play any songs where the drums are too prominent or there is too much syncopation, hand clapping, or if there are any electric guitars in the piece.
2. Any song that could possibly be danced to will not play on the ePhod.
3. The only pictures that can be uploaded and displayed on the ePhod are pictures of modest clothing or The Rev. Jack Hyles.
4. The only Phod book that can be downloaded and read on the ePhod is the King James Bible 1611.
5. Sermons by John MacArthur, John Piper, Mark Dever, Phil Ryken, and many other prominent Reformed ministers will also not play on the ePhod.
The ePhod's designer, Billy Kline hopes that the new product will catch on fast.
"It's high time we KJV-only fundamentalists move into the modern era," said Kline. "For years now we've been, well, a little behind the times it seems."
When asked how he planned to market the new product Kline responded,
"We are gonna push it hard. To get this thing going we're going to have some revival meetings extolling the virtues of the ePhod and how it's been made without error. We'll also show people the evils of the iPod, how it's a corruption of true technology, how it's Satan's deception to confuse people. It'll be one of the evidences that you're truly saved if you used the ePhod!"
24 January, 2007
Pastor Rick Warren, best known for his books The Purpose Driven Life and 40 Days of Purpose has just had his latest release hit the shelves this past weekend. Forty Days of Porpoises is aimed at addressing the issues surrounding Christians and animal rights.
"I think it's high time that Christians begin realizing the importance of animal rights." Said Warren. "These animals can think, reason, feel and love. If we don't give attention to these amazing creatures we are neglecting a wonderful and beautiful aspect of creation."
The book highlights the needs of Christians to love animals. Part of the forty day plan encourages congregations to make trips to Sea World or other marine life parks or places where Christians can pray for porpoises, feed them and pet them.
Pastor Mark Harris of Abundant Life Fellowship, in Los Angeles is excited about this latest release. "I immediately bought copies for our Sunday School classes." Said Harris. "We want to be the first congregation to participate in this ministry."
Harris further stated that his congregation is planning monthly "pilgrimages" Sea World. In addition, they are trying to arrange an annual "Swim with the Porpoises" day in which members of the congregation will be able to scuba dive with porpoises through a meditative underwater labyrinth.
"We're excited to see what's going to happen." Said Warren. "We know that this will be used to change many people's attitudes towards animals."
22 January, 2007
Known for his aggressive, provocative and often controversial style of "preaching," the Rev. Fred Phelps, pastor of Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, has found his "ministry" faced with a new problem.
"Everyone except us is irreversibly damned." Said Phelps, "I suppose I'm going to have to start examining some members of our own congregation to see if perhaps I can find anything wrong with them to declare them reprobates."
Phelps' church is notorious for their world-wide pickets of politicians, religious figures, and most controversial of all, the funerals of fallen U.S. soldiers. In addition to pickets, Phelps' congregation maintains numerous websites, the most infamous being godhatesfags.com, and the lesser-known godhatesamerica.com, godhatescanada.com and godhatessweden.com.
Recently, though, Phelps has found himself disheartened with no one left to Anathematize.
"It's just a big downer. Everyone is going to hell except us. I mean, I'm glad they're all going to hell, I just miss telling people that. When we anathematized Canada, Sweden, America, Europe, Africa, Asia, South America, Australia, by default everyone in those countries was declared irreversibly damned. I suppose we should have taken things one city at a time, it would have gone on longer that way."
When this reporter mentioned that he had left out Antarctica, Phelps' eyes brightened. "That's right! All those perverts working at science stations down there!"
20 January, 2007
"I was speachless," said Paddington, pastor of the Glen Valley Independent Methodist church, a small congregation of 19 in the rural hills of West Virginia. 'I mean, for the past 25 years we've basically worshipped in a shack, and now we have this amazing new building. It's just such a blessing!"
TNN spoke with the show's producer Ty Pennington about the work that they did on the church.
"When we got their picture and story we knew this was the one. It was going to be a real challenge to modify this run-down old barn house into a flourishing megachurch."
When the remodeling was being done the entire church, the pastor and the 19 members, were all sent on a one week trip to Disney Land. The crew began to brainstorm about how they were going to transform Glen Valley into the church they envisioned.
As the week pressed on the tension mounted as to whether the new building was going to be completed in time for the regular 11AM Sunday Morning worship time, when the pastor and congregation would return from their vacation.
"Once again," said Pennington, "we found ourselves working through the night, wondering if perhaps maybe this time we wern't going to get it done in time. But amazingly we pulled it off."
Amid the excitement there are some concerns that the megastructure in the rural hills of West Virgina may be too much. "Not to sound ungreatful," said Paddington, "but I wasn't expecting something so large. The sanctuary seats 1500, and the entire population of Glen Valley is only just over 800."
In addition to some 1480 seats that are empty on any given Sunday there are a number of other items in the church that aren't being used including the .5 million dollar pipe organ, 35 Sunday school rooms, two nursuries, a choir loft, a $100k sound system, and a church kitchen filled with Kenmore appliances from Sears.
15 January, 2007
For the past 20 years The Church of the Good Shepherd in Phoenix, Arizona has started their Sunday morning worship service the same way;with 15-20 minutes of continuous praise and worship music led by the church's praise band and worship leader Jason Adams. But this past Sunday something happened that no one expected, and now this thriving church of 800 members is faced with a new and possibly divisive challenge.
"Everything seemed like it was going to be normal," said member Mark Curry. "No one would have expected anything out of the ordinary. But everyone got really confused when Jason asked everyone to take our hymals and open them to the hymn O Worship the King. Then we just sang it, like right off of the page while only the keyboard played a basic piano sound. We just stood there holding hymnals in our hands while singing all three verses! I was very confused."
"I was a little taken back by it," said praise band member Alyssa Henderson. "I mean, I don't think that there is anything wrong with singing out of a hymnal, it's just not what we're used to. I think it would be alright to do it, like, every now and then, but not every Sunday. We're just not ready for that."
The church's pastor, Thomas Langly commented on the situation. "Many of our members have come up to me deeply concerned over this issue. It appears that most people are okay with the idea of singing out of the hymnal every now and then, they just don't want it to happen every Sunday. I personally would like to see more of it, but it's not something I'm going to rock the boat about it. I think it will just take time."
While most of the church members we spoke with were very gracious over the issue, some where very upset."The next thing they're gonna want is to bring a blasted pipe organ up in here, and do away with all of our guitars, drums, and keyboards." said member Rick Everett. "They're gonna have us just singing verses out of hymnals with an organ and a piano. I'll be long gone before that day.
11 January, 2007
Despite the hype among a millennialists over the new fiction series by William Paxton entitled No Behind, the first few weeks of sales have proved very disappointing. "We weren't anticipating anything like the sales of LaHaye's and Jenkins' Left Behind, but at the same time we weren't expecting such low sales," said Paxton during a recent interview.
In it's first month of sales Paxton's fictional account of the end times sold only 12 copies. A millennialism holds to a literal Second Coming but sees things such as the 7 years of tribulation as figurative for other things that go on in the world throughout history. They also hold that there will be no "secret rapture" of the Church.
"The position basically states that the church is currently in the millennial period, which is figurative and not literal. This will continue until the Second Coming of the Lord." Said Paxton
"How boring is that!" remarked Stacy McLeod, an avid reader and fan of the popular Left Behind series. "I mean, there's no rapture, no panic in the streets when people disappear, no Slavic guy who becomes the Antichrist. It's just the gospel being preached, people getting saved and Jesus coming back. Talk about dull."
Despite the lackluster sales, Paxton is confident that his new novel will catch on. "We've just had a slow start. I'm convinced that as word gets around more and more people will start checking out the book. I think people want variety in their reading. The Left Behind series presents one view. This is mine."
09 January, 2007
In a bold statement that has upset many the Reverend Pat Robertson, founder of the 700 Club and the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), has claimed victory in the 2008 Presidential election.
"Today, I would like to formally announce that I will win, and therefore have won, the election." Said Robertson at a press conference. "The people have spoken."
During the press conference Robertson, speaking in the past tense, gave a detailed account of how he had received the Republican nomination unanimously, "destroyed" Democratic opponent Jonathan Edwards in two live debates, and finally won the election with 67% of the popular vote and a majority of the votes from the electoral college.
Robertson furthermore, in light of what he called "unstoppable truths," called for all campaigns to end and the 2008 election to be canceled.
"God told me that I was going to be elected to the office of President of the United States. There's no stopping it. Canceling the 2008 election would save our country a lot of time and money, not to mention headaches."
Robertson campaigned unsuccessfully for the 1988 Republican nomination for president, but has since been very involved in politics.
07 January, 2007
In a recent tour of African Countries the Reverend Creflo Dollar of World Changers Church International made a visit to the impoverished country of Chad. When word got around that a missionary from the United States was going to be visiting their country many Christians gathered with anticipation both for hearing the gospel preached and possibly for some assistance and help. Instead the faithful received a scathing rebuke.
"Confession brings possession!" Said Dollar to the crowd. "There ain't no reason you people should be poor. The only reason y'all are sitting around with no cars, no DVD players, and no multi-million-dollar houses is because you haven't claimed the blessing God has in store for you. You haven't given in faith."
As the sermon continued, many in the crowd sat in silence while Dollar's team from the U.S. sat behind him on the stage encouraging his message with shouts of "Amen," laughter, clapping of hands, and occasional strutting across the stage.
"Our hearts were heavy when we heard these words." Said Nagoum Kimot, one of the Christians who had gathered to hear Dollar. "We had not heard of this man, but me and my family thought that surely he would help us. Each day we pray and we struggle against much persecution. Many can barely buy food."
During his sermon Dollar also criticized native church leaders for their lack of faith.
"I can't stand a broke preacher." Said Dollar. "I can't stand being around no broke preacher! They are always hitting up up for money."
At the end of his message Dollar told his listeners that the way to overcome their poverty was to start giving.
"You need to start today. You need to open your pockets and give till it hurts. If you've got 2 cents left, you need to give it all. You'll get it back ten-fold!"
"We did as this man said." Said Kimot after the service. "We gave him what we had. I don't know how I'm going to eat tonight. I gave him all the money I had. Now what will I do?"
After the service Dollar left with his crew in limousines and headed for the N'djamena International Airport where Dollar's charter flight awaited to carry him and his crew to their next destination, Dakar, Senegal.
"There's no reason these people should be broke." Said Dollar in an interview on the plane as he dined on steak and lobster. "Name it and claim it! Take a look at the Bible. You don't see the disciples running around broke. You don't see Jesus running around broke. The Bible teaches that those who are Christians will have a life free from pain and persecution and that they'll receive monumental amounts of money. The only reason these poor people aren't rich is because they just don't give enough in faith."
05 January, 2007
"It's become a major problem for us here," said Rev. Eldridge Greer or Our Savior Lutheran Church in Hannover, MI. "We take communion here on a weekly basis. Many of our parishioners are on these low-carb diets, and those carbs really begin to add up every week."
The exact amount of carbohydrates in communion bread can vary greatly depending on a number of factors. Some denominations use only unleavened bread in small wafers. In these cases the amount of carbohydrates per wafer is approximately 2-3. Grape juice or wine adds another 1-2 carbohydrates, making the total only 3-5 carbohydrates per communion.
But some denominations have a greater cause for concern. Greer's church uses regular leavened bread for communion, and parishioners tear pieces off of the loaf when they come forward to receive the sacrament.
"It's possible that people are getting pieces of bread that contain 6-7 carbs per piece," said Greer. "When they add in the carbs from the wine it can come out as high at 10 carbs! We just don't think it's right to put that kind of stress on our people, especially when some have told me that they're only supposed to have somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 carbs per day."
Greer said that parishioners began complaining to him and the other ministers of the church several months ago, but he never knew exactly what to do in response to their complaints. It wasn't until recently that he and other church leaders began to notice that a large portion of members simply began to not take communion.
"They just quit coming forward to take the sacrament. At first we thought that maybe there was some great trial or sin going on in the life of the church that we had somehow missed. We were very very concerned. It wasn't until we talked to some of our people that we realized just what was going on."
Members of other denominations are also dealing with this very complicated issue. Clergy in the United Episcopal Church, a denomination which also takes weekly communion, have met on a number of occasions to discuss various options. The Right Reverend Ellen McCollough-Hughes of the UEC commented on the issue stating, "We don't want to offend anyone on this issue. We're not saying that carbohydrates are bad, nor are we saying that they are good. What may be right for some of our members may not be right for others. We want to be open to further dialog on this issue."
"This really hasn't affected us here," said pastor Danny Douglas of Falls Spring Baptist Church, Livingston, SC. "We take the Lord's Supper only about 4 or 5 times a year, and we usually follow that with a pot-luck dinner on the grounds meal. I haven't heard any complaints from any of our folks."
Though the weight of the issue seems varied across the denominational board, it has merited enough concern that religious leaders from all walks of life are expected to meet and discuss the issue this summer at a national seminar to be held in Topeka, KS that will be called The Consortium for the Development of Sacramental Dietary Practice.
"We feel it is our responsibility to accomodate our people," said Greer. "So we are going to start offering a low-carb communion line for those on the various diets. We've been able to get a regular supply of low-carb bread and sugar-free grape juice. We've estimated that the average parishoner taking communion will only consume 1-2 carbs."