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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 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

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

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