Wretched
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Todd Friel

Todd Friel studied to be a pastor for four years but neglected to actually get saved. He abandoned church ministry plans and did secular TV, radio and stand-up comedy for 6 years. But God then saved him.

Posted 8/8/14 at 5:31 PM | Todd Friel

Twelve Lessons from the Mark Driscoll Explosion

Photo: Flickr/ Urs Steiner - Creative Commons

An explosion has occurred in Evangelical Christianity. Mark Driscoll has been expelled from the movement that he himself founded: The Acts 29 Network.

If you have not read the widely circulated letter that has been made public, you may read it below. There is much to be learned from this explosion.

  1. Mark Driscoll is in big trouble. Reading this letter was like hearing an excommunication announcement in church. While this letter does not state this, it is clear, Mark’s spiritual condition is perilous. When a thoughtful and prayerful group of Christian friends asks you to“step down from ministry for an extended time and seek help,” you are in spiritual danger.
  2. This is no time for piling on. While we can be grateful to the leaders of the Acts 29 Network for their Biblical actions, a man who professes to be a follower of Jesus Christ is in trouble. It is clear he is not fit for ministry at this time, or ever. Worse, there are clearly some on-going sins that need to be dealt with. This is not the time for “I told you so.”
  3. Mark’s family has been rocked. Nobody wishes that on a wife and children.
  4. Mark’s church has been rocked. Souls have been damaged and some bruised reeds will be bent.
  5. The Board of Acts 29 has acted boldly, wisely, thoughtfully and courageously. Would that more evangelical organizations did the same.
  6. Accountability is good. Cowboy Christians typically end up like Wild Bill Hickok.
  7. Immaturity, the root of Mark’s problems, can be a disqualifying character flaw for a pastor.
  8. John MacArthur, Phil Johnson and others have been proven right in their critiques. We would do well to listen to older, wiser, experienced men in the future.
  9. For Mark’s sake, those of us who are watching from a distance should stop: listening to his sermons, recommending him to others, attending his events, buying his books, reading his articles. Let the full weight of this land on him that he might genuinely repent. Perhaps for the first time.
  10. Virtually everyone in leadership with Mark should be examined to determine their fitness for leadership also.
  11. Celebrity Christianity is a dangerous category.
  12. We will learn much about evangelical Christianity as the days pass and blogs are written. Will they be written with the difficult but commanded blend of “truth and love,” or will they be snarky? This is a test for us too. May we not sin in response to Mark’s sins.

This is a day of mixed emotions. Godly men acted courageously, but a man is in perilous danger. We should be grateful and horrified at the same time. Let us remember to “take heed, lest we too shall fall”. (I Cor.10:12). FULL POST

Posted 5/9/14 at 10:15 AM | Todd Friel

Lessons from the Scandal of the Century

Yep, Donald Sterling is a racist old man. Racism is a sin, therefore, Donald Sterling is a sinner. Now there’s a shock.

What can we learn from the scandal of the century? Lots.

1. Secularists are stunned that the LA Clippers owner (for now) is racist. Christians aren’t. Racism is another symptom of the fall. Furthermore, the core of racism is arrogance. No Christian in his right mind should be throwing the first stone at Mr. Sterling.

2. The world is more eager to condemn than forgive. Christians are fast to forgive. Christianity is a nicer world to live in.

3. Christians seem to have forgotten that racism is not the granddaddy of all sins. The following terms were used by evangelicals to describe Sterling’s racist remarks: utterly disgusting, horrifyingly racist, deplorable, crude, repulsive, reprehensible. What words do we have left to describe the Holocaust, or Rwanda, or the sex trade, or Kermit Gosnell?

4. When was the last time you heard a preacher describe the cross on which Jesus was crucified as being an “utterly disgusting” act?

5. There is a new “morality sheriff” in town. Christianity no longer sets the course for morality, secularists do. FULL POST

Posted 12/21/13 at 1:39 AM | Todd Friel

What Does the Fox Say? You're Stupid

Photo: World Affairs Council of Philadelphia - cc
Bill O'Reilly

What does the Fox say? You're stupid.

The number one conservative talk show on television just sent evangelicals a Christmas present. It's a box of antipathy wrapped with condescension with a card that says, "You are a moron." No exchanges allowed.

In response to the Duck Debacle, Bill O'Reilly judged Phil Robertson for judging homosexuals. The irony was caught by everyone but TV's number one pontificator who mangled Scripture beyond recognition to inform us Jesus would never judge anyone. That is true, except for the temple merchants, Zaccheus, the woman at the well, the Pharisees, the disciples and one day, the entire world.

Bill claims that Christians cannot tell anyone that they are going to hell. He must not have studied Matt. 18:15-20 for "Killing Jesus."

Bernie Goldberg chimed in by calling evangelicals and the Apostle Paul himself, "ignoramuses." He seethed that we are ignorant and so is the Bible. FULL POST

Posted 9/18/13 at 1:56 PM | Todd Friel

The Dignity of Christianity, Part 3: Ten More Ways Christianity is Better Than Secularism

Photo: Flickr/Paul Downey - Creative Commons

Christianity is better, smarter and more dignified than humanism. Here are ten more ways:

11. Language and Grammar: It might be LOL, but language and grammar will continue to erode under secularism. Why? There is no reason to have rules of grammar if there is no rule-giver. God is the author of language and the author of clarity, not confusion. Without God, we have little need for either rules or clarity.

12. Art: Certainly there is a degree of subjectivity, but unless there is an objective standard of what is good, pleasing and lovely, then art is meaningless.   

13. Dating: The world’s model for dating: meet, have sex, break up, repeat. Biblical “dating” is loftier, safer and more thoughtful. By promoting abstinence before marriage, Christianity can save a broken heart, an “unwanted pregnancy” and disease. Which system is better?

14. Marriage: Biblical marriage is a picture of the relationship between the Creator of the Universe, Jesus, and His bride, the Church. The point of secular marriage is…well, I don’t know what the point is.

15. Parenting: Secular parenting is mostly done out of instinct and the hope of much reciprocal love. Biblical parenting is the opportunity for an adult to raise a fellow eternal soul-bearer to love the One who made them both. One system is selfish, the other transcendent. FULL POST

Posted 9/12/13 at 1:34 PM | Todd Friel

The Dignity of Christianity, Part 2: Ten Ways Christianity is Better Than Secularism

Photo: Flickr/Paul Downey - Creative Commons

It is 2am when you wake up with a headache that demands your attention. You weigh the options, “I can be lazy and stay in my nice warm bed until sleep returns or I can get my carcass out of bed, stub my toe on the way to the bathroom and take some Tylenol that will guarantee sleep and a pain-free noggin.”

You roll over.

It is 4 am when you re-awake to a headache that increased in ferocity. This time you get up and schlep to the bathroom and take your medicine. What changed? Sometimes we need to feel pain longer to motivate us to seek relief.

I wonder if that is exactly what is going to happen in the USA. As we lurch further and further down the road of secular humanism, there is no doubt that people will grow increasingly sin sick. Perhaps they will seek a cure after they have felt enough pain.

Pain inevitably follows sin.

Too much alcohol creates a hangover.

Sex outside of marriage creates disease.

Re-writing morals creates heartache, broken homes, hurt children, devastated lives.

The First Century

The first century had felt the pain from their godless lifestyles for hundreds of years and even the most brilliant philosopher could not grant them relief. Enter the Gospel! FULL POST

Posted 9/5/13 at 2:59 PM | Todd Friel

The Dignity of Christianity, Part 1

Photo: Flickr/Pop Culture Geek - Creative Commons

Ugh:

17 year old Boy Scouts attracted to 14 year old boys can now share a tent. What could possibly go wrong?

The Hub Networks latest cartoon aimed at 2-12 year olds is about a guy named Guy who finds a super-power ring. He puts it on and becomes a female crime-fighter named She-Zow. Who is most upset by this? Transgendered people who do not feel this is a good representation of them.

A woman in San Francisco recently married a building in an effort to save it from demolition. She called it a lesbian wedding because she claims the building is female. Guess who is mad? You got it, lesbians. They think this opens them up to ridicule. Um, yeah.

Do we need more evidence that we are living in a post-Christian world?

The Brilliance of the Bible

Unlike the Koran, the Bible is not stuck in a particular century. The Koran gives very explicit rules for all people for all times based on the culture of the 7th century; hence, the burka. The Bible is far more sophisticated.

The Bile presents historical biographies, theology, proverbs and letters to specific people and then asks the reader to apply those truths to their particular context. Brilliant! But that does not mean it is easy. The Christian must take an ancient book and learn the context in which it was written and then rightly apply the truths presented in our century without understanding the text differently than the original audience. FULL POST

Posted 8/28/13 at 11:47 AM | Todd Friel

Forget Miley, What About the "Man" on Stage With Her?

Photo: Flickr/Ambika - Creative Commons
Robin Thicke at a Canadian concert in 2007

Why is Miley getting all of the negative press for her Video Music Award performance? Did you notice there was another child of a celebrity on stage who was just as filthy?

Robin Thicke is the son of Growing Pains dad Alan Thicke. Why isn’t anyone complaining about his sexual gyrations with Miley on national TV? Why isn’t anyone lamenting how perverted his performance was?

Pretty typical actually. When a teenager gets pregnant, we always talk about her behavior and her choices, but we rarely bring up the other party: the man.

When a woman dances in a provocative and sensual way, we call her a wide variety of names that indicate she lacks character: cheap, floozy, tawdry, prostitute, loose, etc. Have you ever heard a man called any of those names when he dances like a tramp? Nope. Those words are reserved for women.

It seems that we have been downplaying the perversion of men for decades under the banner of “boys will be boys.” Why are we repulsed by Miley but completely overlooking Robin?

Two Crises

If “twerking” is what Betty Friedan fought for, then we haven’t come a very long way, Baby. The Miley debacle demonstrates that feminism and women are in a crisis. But there is a second equal or greater crisis: a man drought. FULL POST

Posted 8/22/13 at 1:22 PM | Todd Friel

Is Your Church on Prozac?

Photo: Tom Varco - Creative Commons

People are depressed. According to the CDC, one in ten Americans struggles with depression. That means one in ten Christians struggles with depression. Are they comfortable in your church?

The modern day church has jettisoned many traditions and customs in an effort to contemporize and not resemble the misnomer “dead orthodoxy.” With little thought, we have ditched pulpits, robes, organs, choirs, hymnals, liturgy, etc. This is not to suggest that all modernizing is a sin, I am merely pointing out that we have made radical church changes without debate or recognition that preceding generations were not morons.

Permit me to suggest that many churches have undergone a more subtle shift that perhaps deserves a rethink.

 Attitude

While George Barna has not done a survey on this…yet…I fear that many evangelical churches have decided that the tone of the church must be untiringly HAPPY.

Church growth ministries advise churches to make their guests feel welcome by placing the cheeriest greeters at the front door.

Congregants are directed to put on their happy faces to make church a more welcoming environment.

The pastor is coached to bound onto the stage with a big smile and cheery, “Good morning, Church!” FULL POST

Posted 8/14/13 at 12:54 PM | Todd Friel

The United States of France

Photo: Flickr/fdecomite - Creative Commons
The French Flag

Cicero warned, “To be ignorant of history is to forever remain a child.” Is it possible that the United States is following in the footsteps of Revolutionary France because so many Americans are ignorant of history?

There are twelve similarities between the France of 1789 that led to the French Revolution, the Reign of Terror and the beheading of thousands of people and the United States of 2013.

The Zeitgeist of 1789 France

The mood of the people was: change. As in, “fundamentally change our country.”

Intellectuals had grown ashamed of their country, history and institutions. Have you seen your child’s history textbook lately?

French theaters were turned into instruments of propaganda by liberal anarchists. Hooray for Hollywood.

King Louis XVI’s efforts to lower taxes and create a free market economy were blocked by the nobles. Paging Barack Obama.

The news media admired agitators and never discussed the church without scandal nor the government without criticism. They relied on outrages of the court. They distorted, lied, colored and mis-reported. Nice work, Diane Sawyer.

France had a major debt-crisis that led to the crumbling of their economy. Does the number 17 trillion ring a bell? FULL POST

Posted 4/15/13 at 3:26 PM | Todd Friel

Bill O’Reilly, Bernie Goldberg and a Goat

In his latest effort to look out for us, Bill O’Reilly advised Christians to stop “thumping the Bible” if we hope to win the gay marriage debate. Oh really?

Bill claims that the compelling argument is on the side of homosexuals, “We are Americans, we just want to be treated like everyone else.”

A fourth grade homeschooler could deflate that appeal to emotion with one swift poke. Would we let a thug get away with murder by simply stating, “I am an American, I just want to be treated like everyone else”?

Unfortunately for Bill and the many Christians who would agree with him, Bill’s desire to ban Bible thumping was exposed as foolishness when Bernie Goldberg told Bill, “If society has a consensus that it is OK for Lenny to marry his goat, then we can have that conversation at that time.” Yikes.

Who defines what is moral?

Option 1: Consensus. According to Bernie, when 51% of the public decides bestiality is OK, then open up the barn door. One wonders, would that be true of other issues like, say, cannibalism.

After all, on the island of Boingo Boingo, consensus says that noshing on Uncle Joe, while chewy and needing BBQ sauce, is acceptable. Who is right? Americans or the Boingo Boinguesse? FULL POST

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