Thursday, February 20, 2014

Finney's Ghosts and the Furtick Fiasco

I have to assume that any reader here has already heard about and been instinctively nauseated by this and this. (They have pictures!) In light of that assumption, I have just one comment about Furtick, but three about some associated ironies.

1. I'm hesitant to criticize a guy simply for having a huge house. There are all kinds of explanations for that, some of which are legitimate. My beef is with the attitude, the crafted celebrity image, the lack of internal accountability and transparency, and the deceptive, manipulative methodology.

2. As much as I agree with the general sentiments expressed here, I could do without the scoldings from the Baptist-turned-Presbyterian. As a member of a less-personality-driven-Presbyterian-denomination has pointed out, Presbyterians are not without their baptisms under false pretenses. Though I might like to insert a personal footnote that the plastic dolls were every bit as baptized as any live baby.

3. This morning, when I started plotting a post, I vaguely remembered stories of Billy Graham crusade organizers encouraging counselors to step out immediately at the invitation to "prime the pump." As I began to brainstorm what Google search terms would dredge up the facts, one Baptist leader tweeted just what I was looking for. So Furtick is no innovator. Though his antics may be more theatrical than Graham's, the difference is largely a matter of degree. Graham was no Furtick, but I'm struggling to understand how one could be intellectually consistent while criticizing Furtick on this particular point without similarly criticizing Graham.

4. Lest our independent friends find too much glee, is there really cause for rejoicing in the fact that the slick evangelical horror houses manufacture better reproductions of Finney's ghosts than their separatistic cousins'? What year was it when a particular University's drama teams stopped prowling the pews during prolonged invitations to compel closed-eyes-hand-raisers to relent and walk the aisle?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Negligent Pastors, and Their Enablers

The longer I serve in pastoral ministry within a functioning, healthy (and always pursuing further growth) body of elders, the harder it is for me to understand why any pastor would not make every effort to identify qualified men and equip them to share leadership, teaching, and shepherding responsibilities. It's equally incomprehensible to me why anyone who trains pastors would in any way minimize or marginalize this responsibility, let alone build a case intended to excuse those who do not. Why do you think a pastor would want sole responsibility to shepherd a congregation? Why would a pastor disregard his biblical responsibility to identify and train qualified leaders? Why would anyone want to supply an excuse to them? I have a few ideas, but I'm curious what you think.