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 12/3/15 at 4:26 PM | Todd Friel

Somebody Needs to Set Jesus Culture’s Worship Music on Fire

From Chapter 8 of “Judge Not.” Available at www.wretched.tv

Listen to many of today’s hit worship songs and you will notice a lot of fiery references. Why? Because Charismatics love the word “fire” and Charismatic groups like Hillsong, Vineyard, and Jesus Culture are the most powerful influences in contemporary Christian worship music.

The Bible typically defines fire as actual fire or a symbol of judgment. Either way, you do NOT want God’s fire to fall on you.

Charismatics seem to use the term “fire” to describe a warm, passionate feeling about God. If Jesus Culture gets their wish, they will either be scorched by flames or judged by God. But that doesn’t stop Jesus Culture from asking God for lots of fire.

You will also notice that fiery Jesus Culture music has romantic undertones to it. Here is their romantic flamer “Fire Never Sleeps.”

I see that hope is coming so pull me from the ashes, ignite my soul Please, burn away the darkness cause love is like a furnace where Your fire never sleeps Burn oh my soul; set me on fire Burn oh my soul; light up the fire Burn oh my soul FULL POST

Posted 11/18/15 at 11:27 AM | Todd Friel

Ten Problem With Manipulative Altar Calls

From Chapter 10, “Judge Not” by Todd Friel,available now at www.wretchedradio.com/store/judge-not

The music weeps, the preacher pleads, “You have a God-shaped hole that only Jesus can fill. Won’t you please ask Him into your heart?”

Then comes the predictable, “Who is going to break the ice? Who will be the first to come to this altar and make Jesus your Lord and Savior?”

As souls shuffle to the front of the church, we celebrate another successful harvest. But not for long.

Three months later, nobody has seen our new “converts.” The fol- low-up committee calls them and encourages them to attend a Bible study, but to no avail. They have no interest in the things of God. We label them backsliders and get ready for the next service.

Maybe it’s time to rethink the nineteenth-century invention we affectionately dubbed “the altar call.”

Ten Problems with Manipulative Altar Calls
  FULL POST

Posted 11/11/15 at 3:15 PM | Todd Friel

Youth Group Madness

By Todd Friel Excerpted from “Judge Not,” available Nov. 16.

How low can evangelical youth ministries go?

• A mega-church youth pastor put peanut butter in his armpits and had the kids lick it out.

• Kids at youth groups were coerced into drinking Coke through their friends’ used socks.

• Kids at youth groups vomited as they ate brown blended food out of a baby’s diaper.

Tragically, these scenes are not anomalies. They are part of a long-established church trend called “Youth Group Gross-Out Games.” This is the modus operandi of countless juvenile youth groups led by juveniles.

If you think I am exaggerating, here are just a few of the gross-out games recommended at one youth ministry website. These are the actual descriptions.

Banana Barf: Have two or three volunteers put a whole banana in their mouth, instructing them not to eat it. Then put a pair of panty-hose over each volunteer's head. Have them squish the banana through the tiny holes in the hose into a trash bag. This game is hilarious, because when you take the pantyhose off the students' heads, the banana still stuck in the hose is smeared across their face! FULL POST

Posted 11/4/15 at 1:56 PM | Todd Friel

Embracing Christian Celebrities

Don’t get me wrong, I love Kirk Cameron as much as the next guy, but the desperate evangelical embrace of Christian celebrities is, well, desperate.

Big celebrity or minor celebrity; it makes no difference to us. If an extra from a 1992 episode of “Golden Girls” hints she is now a Christian, we fire up the presses and spread the news, “She’s one of us!”

We get downright tingly when we hear about any celebrity making some sort of profession of faith. Consider this brief list of celebrities the evangelical community has welcomed with open and undiscerning arms:

Mel Gibson: We loved Roman Catholic Mel, but our affection cooled when he made Jewish slurs while being arrested for drunk driving.
Tyler Perry: Hailed as one of us, Tyler publicly gave one million dollars to modalist TD Jakes while speaking a prophecy over him.
Justin Timberlake: We gobbled up the rumors that JT was raised a Southern Baptist; and then he brought sexy back while smoking pot.
Ryan Gosling: This popular actor appears on the lists of several Christian celebrity websites. Apparently they forgot to Google him and discover he is actually a Mormon.
Justin Bieber: It wasn’t just teenaged girls who were breathless for the Biebster; evangelicals were absolutely giddy when we discovered he had a Jesus tattoo on his calf. I wonder if the police took a picture of it when they booked him for driving under the influence and resisting arrest. FULL POST

Posted 8/21/15 at 6:01 PM | Todd Friel

Duggar Disaster II: This time, the world is right

The first Duggar disaster was a lesson in Gospel-ignorance. Neither the world nor the church seemed to understand that a young perv could repent, trust Jesus and have his sins forgiven; even the sin of sexual assault. The world thought Josh was just another Christian hypocrite because he committed heinous sins prior to conversion. They were wrong. That time.

This time, the world is right. By his own admission, Josh is a first-class phony. His hypocrisy has been revealed in a Technicolor explosion. The first Josh Duggar disaster involved the sin of someone who made no pretense or profession of faith. The second disaster is a completely different story; these sins were committed by a professing believer.

That, unfortunately, invites unbelievers to doubt the Gospel. Does faith in Christ really result in a changed heart and life?

Christianity confirms two realities; the reality of justification and the reality of sanctification. If justification is a reality in someone’s life, then the second reality, sanctification, will also be present. It appears that the second reality does not exist in Josh’s life, which leads us to raise legitimate concerns that the first reality doesn’t exist either. FULL POST

Posted 6/15/15 at 11:33 AM | Todd Friel

Bruce or Caitlyn?

There are two Biblical principles that should guide us through the most recent brave new world scenario: what should a Christian call the decathlon winner who once appeared on a box of Wheaties?

What is the truth?

From a scientific standpoint, a person’s body may be altered, but DNA never changes. A man can call himself a tomato and paint his body red, but he will never be turned into a bottle of ketchup.

From a theological standpoint, there are three Bible verses that point us in a helpful direction:

1. Genesis 1:27 tells us that God created two distinct genders: male and female. Jesus affirmed this in Matthew 19:4. Gender is important to God.

2. Psalm 139: 13-16 tells us that God assigns a gender to every human He knits together.

3. Deuteronomy 22:5 tells us that God wants men to present themselves like males and women to present themselves like females. Although this verse speaks specifically about clothing, the principle can be applied to nomenclature. Males should present themselves with male names and females should present themselves with female names.

While every society determines which names are masculine and which are feminine, Bruce is a masculine name and Caitlyn is a feminine name. Honesty demands that I call a person with XY chromosomes by an XY moniker. That goes for pronouns too. FULL POST

Posted 5/22/15 at 4:27 PM | Todd Friel

The Duggar Disaster

There are two groups of people who should not be shocked to discover that a member of the Duggar family is a sinner: Christians and non-Christians. Surprisingly, both camps seemed to be surprised by this revelation.

That is what makes the Josh Duggar story a disaster.

Christian surprise

The subject line from an email sent by a popular Christian website stated: “Christian world rocked.” Really?

Based on his own admission, Josh sinned, repented and got saved. Why in the world would Christians be appalled to discover an unregenerate 14-year-old boy acted wickedly?

According to Josh himself, “I sought forgiveness from those I had wronged and asked Christ to forgive me and come into my life.” Sounds like a pretty typical conversion story to me.

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.

Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God (I Cor.6:9-11). FULL POST

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

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