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Update on my mom's health

Thursday, November 23, 2006

As many of you are aware, my mom is currently in critical condition at St. Mary's Good Samaritan Hospital in Mount Vernon, Illionis. I am in Illinois with her and do not have good internet access. Below is the latest update in a series of updates that we (as a family) have been sending out to other family and friends.

Hello friends and family,

This is Frank Sansone. My brother Mike has been sending out the email updates regarding the medical situation of my mom, Sharon Kay Cheek, but Mike and Sue had to leave to get back to Colorado where he is undergoing a test for some heart problems he is having, so I will now be providing the updates.

We appreciate all your prayers as Mom has been making good progress today. She was able to get off of the ventilator (which Mike mentioned in a previous post) and is breathing well without the ventilator. She is still mostly sleeping, but we have seen some responses.

Just before Mike left, when he went in for one last time before leaving for Colorado, it looked as though she looked at him and smiled. This was soon after his last update that he sent out.

At about 2100 CST (9:00 p.m.), Aunt Linda came into the ICU waiting room and said that mom was starting to wake up some more.

Kelly, Rhonda and I hustled into the room to see her. She was moving around a little and we started to talk to her. She opened her eyes while we were talking to her. After that, she did something awesome. For years, we as a family have had a code - an unspoken way to say "I love you". It is not much of a code, but for years, we would squeeze each others hand or arm three times to say "I love you." I told my mom if she understood me to blink her eyes three times to say "I love you" knowing she would understand the significance of that in our family if she could understand. Then, as Kelly, Rhonda, and I watched, she blinked her eyes three times!!! We were ecstatic.

She still is not responding much, but this was a major encouragement. She still needs to rest more and we are hoping that in the morning, more of the sedative will have worn off and she will be able to respond more consistently.

In Christ,

Frank Sansone

P.S. Please pray for Mike and Sue as they travel most of the night and as he gets his heart tested tomorrow. Also, pray for Linda as she flies back out to Virginia tomorrow.


We appreciate all you prayers and ask you to continue to pray.

(I posted some additional information on this thread on Sharper Iron, for those who want to catch up a little regarding this request.)

On My Son's Tenth Birthday

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Yesterday, we celebrated my son's 10th birthday (his birthday is today). It seems hard to believe that Josiah is 10 years old already. We had pizza and a birthday cake that mommy made to look like a soccer ball. Josiah got a lot of nice cards - including one from Mom Mom with a sweet poem about Josiah (I would post it if I were home and had the poem with me - maybe Missy can post it for me sometime this week).

For presents, Josiah got a desk for him to be able to study in his room (instead of trying to study at the kitchen table while there are all kinds of distractions around him). Missy picked up the desk at Goodwill and stripped it and painted. It looks really nice. She did a great job on the desk and he jumped up and down when he saw it. We also got him a number of things to go with the desk (desk lamp, pencils, pens, etc.) and a gift card to Staples so that he could pick out other desk supplies that he wanted. The other major gift that we got him was a Philadelphia Eagles Replica Helmet. He loved it.

As I am on a plane this morning on my way to Illinois to see my mom in the hospital, I have to be away from Josiah on his birthday. The following part is for him.


Dear Josiah,

I love you, bud. I am sorry that I have to be away on your birthday. Please continue to pray for Gramma Big Hug. I will see you soon.

It is hard to imagine that you are already 10 years old. That is a decade! You have been growing up soo nicely. You have outgrown "lizards and sharks" and while it makes me sad to think that you are getting older, I also realize that it is a good thing that you are growing and it is neat to see that growth in your life. You are a good boy and it is good to see you grow up in your maturity and physically, but it is even better to see you grow spiritually. This has been a big year. I love to see your sermon notes after a sermon at church. You usually do such a good job of paying attention. It is neat that Mrs. Tarr is going to let you take notes in chapel now, as well.

It was a blessing for me to be able to Baptize you this year. It was appropriate to me that you were the first one for me to Baptize as Pastor before baptizing the others. I love your zeal for God and your desire to see your friends come.

It has been a lot of fun coaching you and your team in soccer. You have turned into a really good soccer player. I appreciate the fact that you look for your teammates and pass the ball well. You led our team in assissts this year and probably could have scored more goals yourself if you had wanted to be selfish. I am gladfor what that shows about your understanding of the game, but I am even more glad for what that shows about your understnading of life. Life is not about what we can do or the glory we can get for ourselves. It is about loving and serving God first, and loving and serving others.

I wish I was there today so that I could sit next to you with your new Eagles helmet and your Eagles shirt and we could watch the Eagles cream the Tennesse Titans and yell E-A-G-L-E-S, Eagles. (Much to Mommy's chagrin :) ). I wish I could be there tonight and pray with you and kiss you "North, South, East & West."

You be good for Mommy this week and grow up to love and honor God with all of your life.

Love,

Daddy


Missy, Chrissy, and Beka, I love you, too and miss you already. Please keep praying for Gramma Big Hug. I'll talk to you after I can get my phone charged again.

Just my thougthts,

Frank

My Analysis of Dr. Joel Tetreau's Three Lines in the Sand article on SharperIron

Friday, November 17, 2006

Over at SharperIron, Dr. Joel Tetreau, Senior Pastor at Southwest Valley Baptist Church in Gilbert, Arizona and an Adjunct Professor at International Baptist College in Tempe, Arizona has posted an article entitled, Three Lines in the Sand (this article has been broken into several parts and can be found here, here, here, and here). This article is an extension and revision of an article that he published in May of 2005 entitled, A Line in the Sand. The gist of these articles is the establishment of a taxonomy in which various "types" or "moods" of Fundamentalism (or fundamentalism, if you prefer) are described.

I have basically been waiting until the posting of the entire article was completed before making comments. (I did ask one question about Dr. Singleton after the first post, but I have not posted on any of the threads other than that question, I believe.) I wanted to hear Dr. Tetreau out and see what it was he was advocating. At this point, all but the final section has been posted and it my understanding that the last section is going to discuss his "Type C fundamentalism." I admit that I am making these comments without having had an opportunity to view this last section, but based upon reading and interacting with Dr. Tetreau (or Joel, as he would prefer), I am pretty sure I know where he is going with the last section. (I reserve the right to advise and amend my comments if he comes out with something radically different in the last section than what I have been led to believe.)

These articles have been the source of much discussion in the Fundamental blogosphere - at the time of this writing, the three posts written by Joel have generated over 16,000 views and 400 comments alone at SharperIron. In addition to Joel's post at SharperIron, there have at least two "Filings" threads on SI regarding this topic and one other thread - generating another 3,500 views between them. Away from SharperIron, Dr. Dave Doran has given an assessment of the presentation on Pastor Chris Anderson's Blog at My Two Cents and Dr. (almost) Mike Riley, who serves with Joel at IBC has written an evaluation of Joel's presentation as well at his blog (I have not yet had a chance to read Mike's comments, yet, but expect to do so when I get the chance).

As I read the articles, there is a sense in which part of me thinks that this whole discussion is "much ado about nothing." However, when I consider the fact that this has generated so much discussion, I am inclined to think that there may indeed be value in taking the time to consider what it is that Joel has written. Further, as the terms have been thrown around now for over a year and we now finally have an explanation of the terms, it makes sense at this time to evaluate what Joel has written. Finally, even though the articles are very recent, I have already had one person use Joel's Types to ask me about a church that I had recommended to them, so people are already trying to use the Types for labeling churches and I feel that fact alone warrants a response.

Joel seems to be really good guy. As I told the lady who asked me about the church, Joel "is a good old Arizona boy and us guys from Arizona have to stick together - even if I have not been back "home" to Arizona in over 15 years." I genuinely like Joel from what I know of him. He has a good spirit, can be very humorous at times and has even commented on my blog. Please do not take any disagreement that I may indicate in this argument as a personal attack on Joel. It is not intended to be so.

When Joel first posted his presentation last year, I believe I was probably the first one to take objection to what he had written about Types - albeit there were only two types back then. Many of my same concerns from that original discussion are still unanswered in this more lengthy revision. (My post in this regard can be found here.)

My comments here are not being made because Joel has offended me with his post or that he has struck some kind of nerve. (I find it funny that some of the "Type Bs" on SI - to use Joel's Types - have repeatedly tried to use the liberal methodology of claiming that disagreement with something equals fearing that thing. It has been interesting to see them attack Greg as though he is a "Typophobe" because he has had some legitimate questions about the whole taxonomy.)

So, below, for my two or three readers who are still reading, is my assessment and comments about Dr. Joel Tetreau's Three Lines in the Sand.

1. The Types as presented to Dr. Tetreau are too broad

By this, I am not referring to the fact that there are too many people in each group, but rather, that Joel has joined too many unrelated things together into his taxonomy.

If Joel had limited his discussion to an examination of three different views of separation, I believe that this could have been helpful. If he had wanted to address leadership styles or standards or demeanor or any number of things, this presentation may have been more valuable.

A. This broadness results in inaccurate characterizations

As it is presented, the categories include so many different things that it is hard to imagine that very many people completely fit into any one type and this makes the type system more than just unwieldy, it makes it inaccurate.

For instance, Joel has linked a leadership style of "dictatorship in decision making" to his Type A.

I had seen in Type A Fundamentalism a high degree of "dictatorship in decision making." I had been convinced that in the early New Testament church there was mutual submission and consideration in the decision-making process. I saw almost none of that with most Type A ministries. What I did see were pastors who believed they had a right to make the final call on all decisions. I saw (and continue to see with many of the A guys, ministers who believe they are answerable to no one except God). They might take items to the congregation but only if they absolutely have to. I believe that elders (a plurality of them) should oversee the spiritual sphere of decision making, and the deacons should oversee the physical minutiae of decision making.

Included in this view is the idea that Type A's are opposed to shared leadership and that shared leadership (read: multiple elder rule) is something that is connected to Type B. Notice the following statement by Joel:
Type A's typically hate the concept of a plurality of leadership

(See his comments on Chris' blog for more examples of this view.)

Now, regardless of my position on multiple elder rule, the reality is that this issue is not related to a view of separation. The Free Presbyterians and Bible Presbyterians have been known as holding to a view of separation that Joel would characterize as Type A, yet have a Presbyterian form of government. The Ohio Bible Fellowship - again, a group that Joel has characterized as Type A - also have many churches that hold to a multiple-elder rule type of polity. If Joel's connecting these two issues were a legitimate connection, it would seem that one of the most outspoken groups of Type As (the OBF) should at least fit into his taxonomy.

For what its worth, I doubt that you would find anyone in my church who would claim that I am anywhere close to a "dictator in decision making" - if anything, I tend to wait too long in decisions because I want to have a consensus before we move on just about everything.


B. This broadness results in a limited usefulness

By creating categories that are so broad, he has limited the usefulness of his categories. For instance, when the lady asked me whether the church I had recommended to her was a Type A, B, or C church, I could not answer that question without saying things to the effect - they would probably be described as Type A in regard to this issue, Type B in regards to this issue, etc.

Now, I recognize that there are time when it is helpful to be able to say that a golden retriever is a mammal, but generally it much more helpful for someone to be able to at least say that the golden retriever is a dog.

C. This broadness results in unfair "lumping"
One of the consequences of having such broad categories is that people have to be "lumped together" to fit into the broad categories. Doing so results in characterizing people with vastly different personalities, views and ministry styles in a way that makes others think they are the same thing.

Now, to be fair, I have done this myself. In fact, one of the results of this discussion is that I have seen this error in my own approach to others. I have been the type of person who has held on to the designation of "New Evangelical" to describe men like Dever, etc. I have been wrong to do this . I still do not believe it is accurate to refer to them as Fundamentalists, but I do agree that they do not fit into the mold of what Ockenga described when he coined the term. For example, the conservative evangelicals do not question the legitimacy of separation (although they apply it or fail to apply it in a way that I believe is accurate), they do not focus on social concerns, or achieving intellectual respect, etc. I have not changed my position on my issues with this position, but I do see that I have unfairly labeled them by using too broad of a category.

When I look at Joel's taxonomy, I find the same problem. He lumps fine and reasonable men like Dr. Dave Doran with men and ministries who are dictatorial and abusive. The basis for that lumping? Not because there is really that much of a similarity between these ministries, but because they have similar views when it comes to separation from disobedient brethren.

Another example of this comes in the third part of the article, where Joel comments,
Because of their understanding of separation passages, they have developed their own forms of music, literature, even Bible versions.

Here Joel indicates that Type As have developed their own forms of Bible versions. The only thing I can imagine he would mean by this is something to do with the King James Version. The problem of lumping is again seen here, as two of the people he is currently discussing this with - including one he has essentially accused of being the prototypical flagship producer of A clones (Dr. Dave Doran) - uses the NASB. Furthermore, many of the A schools that were listed by Joel were in the Coalition that produced the video in response to PCC's attacks about Bible versions. Again, this is an example of the unfair and inaccurate lumping produced by the taxonomy and explanation that Joel has produced.

2. The Types wrongly connect positions with dispositions.

A second significant issue that I have with Joel's Three Lines in the Sand (by the way, would not there only be two lines in order to produce three groups) is that he wrongly connects a position with a disposition.

While Dr. Tetreau repeatedly comments that being an A is not a bad thing, his words belie the fact that it is indeed a bad thing.

Notice some of the language and descriptions used by Dr. Tetreau concerning Type As.

"The pyramid" refers to the strict and often abusive approach to a centralized and dictatorial approach to decision making found with (IMO) an usually high percentage of Type A senior pastors.


Friends, I am saying that Type A's do have more of these unpleasant distinctives....and in part because of the way your sub-culture has engendered militancy. (ellipses in the original)


Now we disagree with the Type A and Type A+ regular practice of internal strife over ecclesiastical politics (see the history of the MBA from the 60's and 70's).


But I have become very choosy as to which Type A's I will work with. The list grows smaller with each passing year


He will be loyal to "it" and only "it. ("It" being Fundamentalism.)


Type B fundamentalists are almost to the man, painfully aware of the rude image many of their Type A mentors demonstrated throughout years of leadership


The overall picture of Type A that has been painted is abusive, unpleasant, dictatorial, loyal to Fundamentalism instead of loyal to Christ, rude and ungentlemanly.

Now, I will grant you that Joel does make qualifications - it is not ALL Type A, but it is "most", "many", and an "unusually high percentage." Clearly the understanding is that something about the position of Type A (assumed to be their view of separation) leads them to this disposition of being abusive and rude. It may be that it is not the position that leads them to this disposition, but their disposition that leads them to this position. Either way, it is clear that the two things are connected in Joel's taxonomy.

In making this connection, Joel discredits his taxonomy in two ways.

A. This connection is inaccurate.

When I look at the men who are currently living and ministering that have been referred to as Type A, I fail to see how a charge of abuse and rudeness can be made fairly as a general charge against those who hold to a strict view of separation.

For instance, in this very discussion one only needs to look at some of the principals to see that gentlemanly behavior is the norm, not the exception for those labeled Type A. Dr. Dave Doran has been blasted as a Type A in this discussion, yet his responses on this issue (as on all other issues that I have seen) has been very gracious and respectful. Pastor Chris Anderson, Matt Herbster, Pastor Mike Harding, Dr. Rolland McCune and Pastor Greg Linscott have all responded kindly and appropriately - even when being accused of responding out of fear that Joel's taxonomy has hit them where it hurts. Even if I give you that Don Johnson (who seems to be a favorite whipping boy of the Type B guys) may have responded too strongly (a charge I am not sure I agree with - at least not in the initial response by Don that was jumped on), you still have the vast majority of the men who would be labeled Type A by Joel's taxonomy who do not even come close to fulfilling the disposition that Joel applies to them.

When you go beyond this discussion and consider some of the other most frequent posters on SI who are probably labeled "A", you will find the same thing to be true. Christian Markle and Pastor Scott Markle are exemplary gentlemen in everything that I have read from them at SI. Mr. Andy Efting is always gracious and reasonable. Missionary JGleason is a kind gentleman. I am not picking out random people here to prove my point. I went through the top posters at SI and chose out the 10 posters who were most clearly identifiable as or accused of being Type A. Of those top posters, (which also includes Greg Linscott, Chris Anderson, Julie Herbster and Matt Herbster who I have already mentioned) I cannot see anyone legitimately laying the charge of rudeness on any of these men except for possibly me and Don Johnson (and I think that most of Don's curmudgeon reputation is not really deserved).

I would further add to this by pointing out the fact that many of the "Type B" individuals are just as forceful and rude as the "Type A" are accused of being when it comes to the issues about which they are passionate. See the responses on some of the threads where people's salvation was questioned and consider the response to some of the Type Bs on some of the KJVO threads where Type A+s and Type Bs exchanged barbs going in both directions. (I am not excusing the Type A+s that were involved in those threads, I am only pointing out that the supposedly "kinder, gentler" Fundamentalism - oops, fundamentalism with a small f :) - can be "not so kind or gentle" themselves.

The problem with the rudeness or the abuse or the dictatorial leadership, etc. is not a Type problem, but a people problem. All men are sinners and even saved sinners still have a sin nature that can rear its ugly head. It is patently unfair to ascribe the sinfulness of some individuals as a characteristic of a whole group of individuals.

B. This connection builds onto itself.

Not only is the connection inaccurate, but by placing this description as part of his taxonomy, Joel is actually encouraging the idea that this describes these individuals and is causing the perception to be built up even further.

In other words, if something is said by a Type A that could be viewed as mean or insensitive, it is assumed that it was meant as mean and insensitive and is just part of his "A" ness. So, when Don commented about "lengthy meanderings" it was jumped on as "meanspirited" and "small" and a call was made for a moderator. When the moderator did not find anything wrong with the statement, even he got questioned about it. Now, I know a little about "lengthy meanderings" - this post is proof of that. - and while I may not have used the same expression, I don't think it was intended as "meanspirited." I would also venture that if the same kind of comment were made about a post like the post I am currently writing no one would jump at the Type B person who made such a comment to me.

By including the disposition as part of the Type, Joel is encouraging people to think of Type As in this way.

In a post on Bob's blog about two months ago, Bob Bixby (surely one of the prototypical Type B leaders) said rather boldly to Don, "You are not my friend." Can you imagine the reaction if Don had said this to Bob instead of the other way around? It would have been seen as characteristic of his being a "Type A" and his rudeness would have been brought up as another example of Type A.

There are other additional comments that could be made on this. I think Chris Anderson and Dave Doran have both done a good job of addressing some of the things. It is getting late and I have a busy day tomorrow, so I will close this down for now.

Just my thoughts,

Frank

Standards and Fences - Rerun

Saturday, November 11, 2006

There has been a lot of discussion lately about Fences again on one of the blogs that are popular in Fundamentalism. I have not had the time to read all of those posts, yet, so please do not interpret this post as an answer to Tom's posts. (I may have a desire to answer Tom's posts once he has completed all of them - including his explanation - but, this is not it).

Standards and Fences (Originally posted - August 5, 2006)

There are many today who like to equate having standards and guidelines as a form of legalism or Phariseeism and as contrary to the grace of God working in a person's life. The end of this equation is that anyone who advocates that others adopt standards in their lives to help keep themselves from falling into a particular sin is "adding to the Scripture" and is teaching for doctrine the commandments of men.

It seems interesting to me that the ones who I most often interact with on this type of conversation are people who have previously been in Fundamentalism, usually of the more extreme variety. It seems to me that there must be something in leaving the extremes that tends to move you towards the opposite extreme.

In one recent conversation on this topic, one individual commented (not to me) that "You don't have a supernatural religion, therefore you can't keep your thoughts pure without ‘going beyond what is written.'" Another an individual commented that "standards are a human-based solution to a deadness so profound that only God can change it" and "Standards promoters feel it is important to have faith, the correct doctrine, and the Triune Deity, but instead of actually having these things, they may only image (sic - I assume he meant imagine) that they do. The commands and wisdom of the Scriptures must be shored up where necessary by fences and rules. The Pharisees believed in this way..."

So, if I follow this reasoning, the following things are true about those who believe that having and maintaining standards can be a good thing.

1. They do not have a supernatural religion, but a fake religion.
2. Standards are "going beyond what is written" because you can't keep yourself pure with that fake religion.
3. Standards are the result of a profound deadness.
4. Standards promoters do not have faith, correct doctrine or the Triune Deity, just think they do.
5. Standards promoters do not believe in the sufficiency of Scripture.
6. Standards promoters are following the path of the Pharisees.

The reality, of course, is that numbers 1, 3, & 4 (at least) are all the same thing - those who believe in having, keeping, and encouraging others in the area of standards are lost.

I recognize that there are many groups out there who believe that keeping their standards are what makes or keeps them holy. Sadly, those individuals are severely mistaken. We do not merit grace, it is the gift of God. However, there is a large difference between having, keeping and encouraging standards and believing that it is those standards that make me right with God.

I am married. As a result of being married, there are some things that I will not do because I love my wife. There are some guidelines that I have set up so that I will not displease her (even though I am sure that there are plenty of other areas where I do displease her). I follow these things because I love Missy and I do not want to displease her, not because I believe that keeping those guidelines is all I need in order to keep my relationship with Missy what it should be.

Not only are having appropriate guidelines and standards helpful from a practical standpoint, they are also consistent with Biblical teaching about these things.

For instance, the Apostle Paul writes in Romans 13:14,

But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

It seems to me that in order to fulfill that admonition, one must have an understanding of what types of things provide for our flesh so that we can avoid making provision for it.

Even more pointedly, Jesus Christ Himself seems to give a radical view of the seriousness of setting up fences so that we do not fall.

Notice these words of Jesus Christ,
Matthew 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

It seems strange to me that when someone argues, "If having unfiltered internet access causes thee to look after a woman to lust, thou shouldest get a filter on your internet rather than persist in that sin" they are viewed as being legalistic and having a false religion, when Christ says "pluck out the eye" if it causes you to stumble or "cut off that hand" if doing so will keep you from going down this pathway to sin.

Now, I recognize that the "non-standards" people will argue that "well, you are not Christ", but it seems to me that the principle from Christ is still applicable - if there is something we can do that keeps us away from those temptations (e.g. erecting a standard or a practice to avoid the problem - or "cutting off our hand"), then surely this is a wise and prudent thing to do.

Just my thoughts,

Frank

File under - Christianity, Fundamentalism

An Interview of Evangelist Mark Kittrell

Friday, November 10, 2006

Bible Community Church in Mentor, Ohio has been hosting Evangelist Mark Kittrell for a week of meetings at the church this past week. Soon after I began this blog, we had Evangelist Kittrell at our church - Fellowship Baptist Church of Salisbury, Maryland - and I posted a series of reports about those excellent meetings at our church. (Those reports can be found here, here, here, and here.) Pastor Andy Rupert (who is the Assistant Pastor at Bible Community Church in Mentor, Ohio)over at Isle Kerguelen has posted an article and an mp3 of an interview with Evangelist Mark Kittrell - here.

In the interview, Mr. Kittrell discusses some aspects of his personal testimony, some practical questions about life on the road and its effect on the family, the concept of "evangelist" and some questions about Fundamentalism - both its definition and some current issues regarding Fundamentalism.

Some isolated quotes from the interview (of course, listen to the full interview to understand the context):

Regarding the ministry of the Evangelist:
When God's people are perfectly equipped, then God's people will become busy about true ministry and then the entire body will be built up.

It does entail a particular passion and burden for the "good news", the Gospel, seeing people saved.


Regarding Fundamentalism

I think that separation is inherent, almost, with a definition of Fundamentalism.

A fundamentalist, though, is not just a fundamentalist based on his stand on the doctrines, he is also a fundamentalist based on his spirit of holding those doctrines.

Your spirit and your stand must agree.

I can take a strong stand, but I can be very gracious in that stand. I can be firm in believing and adhering to the doctrines of Scripture, but I can do it with the right spirit.


Regarding "Conservative Evangelicalism"
I think we can emulate their desire for exegeting and expositing the Word of God and having a real love for the truth, because we have a real passion for God. But, I should be able to do that as a Fundamentalist.

Regarding the "infamous Frank Sansone"
Frank traveled one summer with our team and did an excellent job.


I noticed that he wanted to move on pretty quickly beyond this question when it was asked :). He failed to mention that once I had traveled with them, they never again took out another team of guys - we were too much of a hassle. (In truth, they never did take out another team, but I think - hope - there were other reasons for that decision - such as the birth of their first child, etc.)

As I think I mentioned on one of those other posts that I referenced at the beginning of this post, Mr. Kittrell is not only a good preacher, but a Godly man who humbly walks with God. Mark and Tammisue Kittrell both had a great influence on the lives of me and my wife and we are thankful for their ministry. (I am hoping one of these days to actually do a web-site for their ministry, but I have not done so yet.)

Anyway, head on over to Isle Kerguelen for the interview.

Just my thoughts,

Frank

Very funny cartoon

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I know nothing about the comic strip Foxtrot, but the one from yesterday (Tuesday, Nov. 7) is very funny. The author manages to combine a few of my favorite things in a short comic strip - theology, football, and alternative word meanings.

You can find the strip at this location.

Just someone else's thoughts,

Frank

How Should A Person Respond to False Accusations?

Friday, November 03, 2006

(In a way, this reminds me of some things that were raised on a previous post about The Rights of the Victims and the Accused that I wrote back in January.)

Most of us have heard about the accusations that have been made against Ted Haggard. I imagine that, in time, we will know the truth regarding these accusations and I tend to think the best way for those not involved in a situation to respond is with a "wait and see" attitude. Over the years, there have been plenty of times in which false accusations have been made. And, over the years, there have been plenty of times when true accusations have been made - including accusations that shocked people.

Now, I am not a fan of Mr. Haggard or of the NAE (I think the inclusivism of the NAE waters down the Gospel, among other things), but I don't think this is the time to deal with those issues - especially if one wants to use this still unproven accusation as a club.

My question, however, stems from the response to this situation.

Well-known blogger Phil Johnson has written an article entitled, "Thoughts on Today's Scandal".

While I actually agree with Phil on much of what he says in this article, I do have a question - not necessarily even a disagreement - about his first point.

Phil states,

If he really didn't do it, he should not have resigned. If the accusations against him were totally false, there was no reason whatsoever to resign—in fact, that would be a totally wrongheaded and completely counterproductive thing to do


The question that has been bugging me is "How do we respond to something like this?"

Let me lay out a couple of parameters and then I would love to have some input on this.

1. Assume this accusation is againts you or against your Pastor.
2. Assume this accusation is totally baseless and untrue.
3. Assume that there is some type of constituency involved that is also being harmed by the mere accusation (e.g. a church, Christian college, etc.)


On the one hand, there is definitely a view out there that to resign or step down is essentially an admittance of guilt. This seems to be the view that Phil is taking here. When I watched Countdown with Keith Olberman (sp?) this morning, (something I have seen maybe three times in my life), he seemed to taking the same view - as have many of the headlines I have seen online.

On the other hand, if you do not resign, the organization you are part of generally gets accused of being involved in a cover-up, etc. It seems that, in general, when there are accusations against police for false shootings, etc., the general policy is usually that the officers in question are placed on some type of "administrative leave" while the investigation is ongoing. If I understand what happened here, it seems like the person in question did not actually resign his church, but temporarily stepped down while the allegations could be investigated.

So, what is the right response? Is there a third response? How would you recommend handling something like this? Assuming (for the sake of discussion) that an accusation like this was made purely for political motives or due to some personal animosity (it would not be the first time), how does this affect the concept of "blameless" and "of good report of them which are without"? (I am not saying it should affect this, I am just asking the questions).

I would love to hear the thoughts of those who are wiser than I on this topic.

Just my questions,

Frank

Don't get an education - get stuck in Iraq

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Caution: The following post is political in nature.

By now, almost everyone has heard the comments by Sen. John Kerry in which he stated that if you don't make the most of your education, you get "stuck in Iraq."

Mr. Kerry now says that this was a "botched joke" that was aimed at President Bush.

Assuming that he is being honest on this, that it really was not meant to be an insult to the troops like it appeared, what about what he is claiming that he was trying to say? It seems that he is saying that President Bush did not "try to be smart" and that this is why we are involved in what he views is a wrong war in Iraq.

For most of my life, I have heard repeated attempts by the liberal elites to paint all conservatives as uneducated and stupid. During my teen years, I repeatedly heard that President Reagan was a populist hack who was only successful because he could speak well from having been an actor.

During the last six or so years, it has often been portrayed as though President Bush is dumb. In 2000, it was Bush is dumb and Gore is really smart. In 2004, it was Bush is dumb and Kerry is really smart.

I will grant you that President Bush probably brings some of this on himself due to time when he messes up what he is trying to say.

However, for Kerry to indicate that Bush is dumb is an example of the pot calling the kettle black and the fact that the media generally aides in this portrayal is preposterous.

When Kerry was in Yale, he received 4 D's in his freshman year out of 10 classes. He had a cumultive 76 for his four years. (By comparison, the man who he is claiming he was trying to say was dumb had a cumultive 77.) So, by Kerry's own claim, he was saying that Bush is "stuck in Iraq" because of a lack of success in his educational experience when Bush actually did better at the same school (Yale). It would seem to me that he, for one, should at least keep his mouth shut before calling other people dumb.

Just my thoughts,

Frank