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      "Be a Happy, Clappy Christian!"...?
      (White Horse Inn)

      Sunday, December 30, 2007


      The imperative "be happy or you're not a good Christian" as modern evangelicalism holds is just as legalistic as "be circumcised to be made right with God" which was held by the Jews of Paul's day, it's just the former is a bit more subtle. Those who hold to the former still, however, presume that those who are always "happy, clappy" are right with God while those who have Godly sorrow "have done something wrong" (as though those who accuse them haven't done anything wrong themselves.) If you think of it thoroughly and honestly, the "happy-clappy Christian" is really no different in essence than the emo kid who insists on being thoroughly depressed. Both hold themselves and attempt to hold others to the imperative that one has to be in a certain mood constantly in order to be acceptable, it's just that the former takes it to one extreme and the latter takes it to the other.


      What happens when "be happy" becomes a law? What about soberness and lamenting? Is the Christian responsible to "be happy" all the time? What about those who claim that Christians are supposed to be? Are they setting up a law to do? Does this imperative lead to legalism? (ie. "You must be happy or you're not saved.") What's the difference between happiness and joy? Is a believer justified by "being happy" or by faith in Christ's blood? What's the difference between faith in faith (ie. faith in positive thinking) and faith in Christ's shed blood?


      The White Horse Inn addresses all these questions in this episode.



      Part 1


      Part 2


      Part 3


      Part 4

      9 comments:

      Susan said...

      Oh my gosh, AMAZING post! This is what we always talk about, Lane! It has become a law!

      Jeremiah said...

      Just wanted you to know there's no hard feelings amongst brothers. You've made an excellent point in this blog, something that I think most people miss. The "obligation" to smile all the time and hide your true feelings is very restrictive.

      Lane Chaplin said...

      Jeremiah,

      What I say now may seem harsh to you when you first hear it, and indeed it may be if your ears are used to being tickled, but a believer in Jesus Christ does not hold that Muslims who deny that Jesus is the Son of God and who hold that he wasn't even crucified to be "with us if they aren't against us." They are vehemently against believers in Jesus Christ. If you hold to thinking that we're somehow "all in the same boat", you're not a brother in Christ, period. The Holy Spirit convicts of sin, leads unto righteousness, and leads unto all truth reminding believers of what Christ has said. If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is no part of Jesus Christ's. (Rom 8:9) For you to even consider that Muslims are "with us because they hold to the God of the Old Testament, but they are just mixed up on some issues" shows that you do not have this Spirit that leads to all truth. You must realize that the person who loves you the most will tell you the most truth. Those who don't care about you will let you believe anything so I tell you this in love: Repent of your sins and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ who has come in the flesh or perish eternally. I don't say this lightly nor do I mean for this to come across harshly if it does. If you said what you did in the comments on Youtube in ignorance, I understand that, but I also will not allow for heresy like that to be promoted for the weak believers to view who are naive and susceptible to any wind of doctrine that comes along.

      If the case is that you're ignorant of what exactly a Muslim teaches and made that comment in ignorance, then I will unblock you, but I will not allow for comments such as the one you posted to stay without either a rebuttal or a deletion entirely. That's not only for your sake so you will be clear to know what you should believe, but also for the lost sheep who might happen to come across it and somehow derive that Muslims are a Christian's friend. Christ said for believers to love our enemies. Believers must love Muslims by telling them the truth, but we are also to tell those who promote things like you said in this manner, as well. Do you understand?

      Jeremiah said...

      Let me apologize for not being clear. If you look at my last post, you'll see that I said,

      "They have modified it significantly, but the patriarchal basis has remained unchanged. If you read Mark 9:40, you'll find that it says "...for whoever is not against us is for us." "

      The second sentance was supposed to be the beginning of a new paragraph, ONLY in response to your comment that whoever is not for Christ is against him. I did, in no way mean to imply that Muslims are for Christ, only that our similarities in belief (such as our belief in a tendancy towards sin) combined with peaceful efforts, are a good way to open the door for evangelism.

      Your last comment, that "Christ said for believers to love our enemies. Believers must love Muslims by telling them the truth..." is more along the lines of what I was trying to say from the beginning. Thanks for listening.

      Lane Chaplin said...

      Jeremiah,

      I'm glad you cleared that up, but we still aren't agreeing on the essential. John said, "Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son."(1Jn 2:22) Note that John says if one denies Jesus as the Christ, one's denying the father also. Can a believer in Christ deny this as being so and accept the fact that Muslims worship a false God no matter how similar the connotations are? A true believer in Christ does that. A person is not saved by believing in faith. A person is saved by believing in Christ, and anyone who denies that Jesus is the Christ is a liar, plain and simple. They may talk of faith, they may use similar terms, but their entire religion is the antithesis of belief in Christ, as John says.

      We both may use the word "sin," but our definitions are quite different. For example, they declare that anyone who says Jesus is the Christ is cursed. Christians say that to deny Jesus is to deny God. There comes a point where one has to be courageous and say, "No, you're wrong."

      Some Muslims think they do Christ a favor by adding a few letters after his name every time they mention him in writing, yet they deny him as the Christ, the Messiah. A believer having peace with a Muslim cannot happen. It is impossible. What a Muslim believes is the exact antithesis of Christianity. There is no neutrality as Christ's words in the verse you shared about "those who are not with us are against us" declares. The only way that a Muslim can realize this is not by us conforming to their ideas of what a Christian should be, but being bold witnesses as Christians so they denounce every part of their infidel philosophy.

      Note on the last day no one is going to be able to say when they're being judged, "But God, I believed in faith." God will be emphatic, "but you denied my Son." Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
      (Joh 3:18)

      Jeremiah said...

      When all is said and done, I suppose that I feel that Comfort (among others) holds people too strictly and too literally to their words.

      I believe that the "unknown god" of Athens bore no resemblance to Christ whatsoever, but Paul was not lying when he said he knew who he was.

      In that context, it is my opinion that this contract does something similar. Yes, Allah and YHWH are two different entities, imaginary and real, respectively. But I don't believe the intention of the contract was to blend the two, but to put the idea of our God into terms Muslims can understand.

      Evangelizing to Muslims is important, and doing so in truth is key. I in no way advocate watering down the gospel, but I do think that Christian leaders do each other a disservice when they berate one another over thier choice of phrase. I cannot understand the need of some Christian leaders to look for just the perfect phrase to trap someone with.

      Lane Chaplin said...

      Jeremiah,

      I think you'll better understand what the problem is after you read below.

      "When all is said and done, I suppose that I feel that Comfort (among others) holds people too strictly and too literally to their words."

      If someone were to run around town and proclaim falsely to everyone that someone close to you who you care about deeply (mother, girlfriend, wife, etc.) "is a whore," and it devastated the person you care about to the point where she detached from everyone including yourself because of her undeserved shame, would you be upset?

      Jeremiah said...

      Good analogy, and it helps me to understand where you're coming from. It's kind of hard to misinterpret "whore."

      In this case you're giving the benefit of the doubt to Comfort while I'm granting it to McLaren and others. And I think that's the difference. While you see it as Comfort being (rightfully, if true) upset about various people insulting Jesus, I don't see them doing that. Take Bishop Spong for example: he speaks blasphemy (that Jesus either wasn't God or didn't exist). Pressau claims that unless you're a Universalist, you're not a mature Christian. Those kinds of things I could not tolerate. In this situation, however, I think we're talking something that's a cry from relativism or blasphemy. Is there a specific instance in that audio clip where either is obvious?

      And why do I get two or three notices every time you post once?

      Lane Chaplin said...

      Jeremiah,

      I'm not sure why you're getting two or three notices. Sometimes when you post a reply I receive one when you post and another when I approve it. It may be doing the same for you.



      I'm glad to see that you're in agreement with the Scriptures on issues such as Spong's and Pressau's views, but what I think you may still be somewhat confused on is what exactly our differences are in interpretation. I've heard and read much of what McLaren says, and from that, I can affirm that his motives are not from the Lord because they often contradict Scripture. I think the problem you may be having with this is understanding that it's not a matter of me siding with Ray, and you siding with McLaren, but it's definitely a Scriptural issue as to where both Ray and I agree that the Scriptures are God's revealed Word and can be interpreted properly and McLaren (and yourself if you adopt the same view) hold to the notion that they are rather obscure and are not capable of fully sharing what God has already revealed. It's really not an issue of me siding with one person and you siding with another, but it's an issue of me sharing in a high view of Scripture with Comfort and others and you (if you adopt that view) sharing a low view of it with McLaren and others. I realize this may be understood already, but there's a need to stress this point.


      For example, one thing that McLaren states is that we can't really be sure of what the Bible says is true about homosexuality. Mark Driscoll has even come out and said that he spoke with Doug Pagitt, and Doug said that Christianity is compatible with homosexuality. The Scriptures, however, say, "You shall not lie with a man, as with a woman: it is abomination."(Lev 18:22) Now regardless if you agree with what the Scriptures say about the issue, you would be foolish to not admit that someone saying "we can't know for certain what something says about something" and the thing they are referring to saying exactly what they deny is a contradiction. So the question that follows is, "who's your authority?" God as revealed in the Scriptures says one thing, and McLaren, Pagitt, and others say another. It's painfully obvious that if one sides with McLaren and company that they are denying God because two statements cannot contradict and both be true. Hopefully this helps you understand better why I take the stand so vehemently against "liberal" thought. Don't misunderstand me, though. There is plenty that needs to change in evangelicalism. With that, I agree with McLaren and others, but straying from God to honor subjective opinion instead of God isn't helpful to the situation. As Christ said, "He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathers not with me scatters abroad." (Mat 12:30)



      In this situation, however, I think we're talking something that's a cry from relativism or blasphemy. Is there a specific instance in that audio clip where either is obvious?

      Are you referring to the clip on Youtube?

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