On Demon Possession

Yesterday I was in a conversation with someone. Our conversation centered around demon possession. Last week he had told me that when his church’s youth group went on a mission trip to Mexico, some of the students became demon possessed. The story plagued my mind over the weekend.

I had always been taught that Christians couldn't become demon possessed. My friend broke it down into our bodies having three parts - the body, the spirit, and the soul. He said that when we are a Christian, the spirit is God's but our soul can still be taken by demons. It devolved into a discussion of what makes an individual into a Christian. He conceded that a "good" Christian cannot be demon possessed. I conceded that I don't think "Christians" who could be demon possessed are Christians. This was all before I had researched anything.

I doubt we will resolve the topic here. One of my favorite books, which I love to look controversial issues up in, Hard Sayings of the Bible, says, "Whether believers can be possessed by demons, however, is still being debated by tehologians." So we will just educate ourselves a little without the presumption that we surpass the theologians and come to a completely solid answer. As with all things, when I decide on something, I am willing to change if someone else shows me the truth.

Let's look at what a website has to say about it.

Can A Chrsitian Be Demon Possessed?

First, I must laugh. They have real audio soundbytes of deliverances at this website. That seems rather strange. Okay, I take that back. After going to the link, I couldn't find any audio soundbytes of delverances. They just advertise that they have them there. All they had were sermons on the subject.

Now to their points.

He quotes Zechariah 3:1-2 which says, "Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. The Lord said to Satan, 'The Lord rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?'"

The writer of the website argues that if Satan could be at the throne of God, then he can surely be in our bodies since they are only his temple.

I can't buy this because of the method of interpretation used in interpreting Zechariah's vision. Visions are not meant to be taken literally. For instance, right before this passage is the vision of the surveyor. Zechariah sees a guy going to measure the temple mount. Does God really need a surveyor to measure an area? It is just figurative.

Back to their points.

A man named, Clarence Larkin, around the turn of the 20th century compared an individual with the tabernacle of God. This is probably where my friend received, albeit indirectly, the belief of the three seperate parts of man. "The Tabernacle was constructed of an Outer Court, a Gathering Place (Holy Place), and an Inner-Sanctuary (Holy of Holies). Man is constructed of a body (soma), mind/soul (psyche), and spirit (neuma)."

For starters, I am hesitant to believe anything that has come about in the last 1 or 200 years. The test that time places on a new concept usually breaks it.



The Greeks tried to seperate one's body into different parts. Jesus looked at the body holistically. We don't have a mind that is seperating from our heart which is seperated from our soul that, in turn, is seperated from our strength. Jesus' statements here are to combat the belief that you can worship God with one and not the other. A Christian has given his whole being to Christ. There is no longer any part of it that is not in His hands.

Luke 10 is the most clear-cut passage on how we inherit eternal life in Scripture.

"And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, 'Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?' And He said to him, 'What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?' And he answered and said, 'YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND; AND YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' And He said to him, 'You have answered correctly; DO THIS, AND YOU WILL LIVE.' But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, 'And who is my neighbor?'"

This is then followed by the story of the Good Samaritan. Eternal life is to be had if we love God with our whole being and love our neighbors. That is the formula Jesus laid out.

The conversation I had with my friend devolved into what are the basics of being a Christian. He thought that we could have parts of our life that aren't surrendered to God and still say we are a Christian. I argued that being a Christian is an act of loving God with your whole being, that nothing can be held back. When I tell someone what it means to be a Christian, I tell them it is them dying to themselves and living for God as Christ did. You can't partly die. If you do, you're still alive. If I get in a car wreck and the lower have of my body dies, the rest of my body still lives. We can't pass into Christianity and keep any part of our old life alive. It's not possible.

Back to the article.

"You need to call temptation for what it is. It is demonic activity." He goes on to tell the story of a pastor who wound up sleeping with a woman in his church because he became possessed by a demon.

They seem to not have any concept of a plain, old-fashioned temptation. Everything in the author's world is demon possession. It almost seems like you cannot be tempted unless you are possessed.

If we're just saying that temptation is possession and arguing over semantics, then I really think this is a silly discussion. And it very well may be.

Here is another excerpt from the site:

"And the Lord said, 'Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.'" Luke 22:31.

"It is really clear from this passage that Satan can sift you anytime he wants. He CAN control you! He did Peter. But was Peter demon possessed? To this I will only answer: 'Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.' Matthew 26:41."

I am not convinced. I do agree that Satan can tempt us any time that he wants, but tempting and possessing are two different coins. I wouldn't even say they are the opposite sides of the same coin.

I'm going to be done for the day, but if you want to read more stuff on the topic. Here are a few websites that discuss the topic.

Against Demons possessing Christians:
In Considering Deliverance Ministries and Demon Possession

For Demons possessing Christians:
Christians and Demon Possession

Watch out for the potholes, especially today.

Mentally Worn Out

I'm going to take a day off from writing anything important today. I have to mow my yard. I had a fun time at the church wiffle ball game yesterday. I've been having nightmares a lot at night.

That's it.

Next Sunday I am going to be teaching on "How do we learn what God wants us to learn from what is happening?" It's a new subject, so any thoughts or resources would be much appreciated.

Watch out for the potholes.

The Gospel is the Kingdom

What is the good news of the New Testament? That is a question I always thought had a simple answer: "Jesus died on the cross for our sins, so that we might have a proper relationship with him." Although, that statement is true, it is not the good news. Now before you pull out the marshamallows and prepare to stone me to silliness, just hear me out. Read through the passages and decide for yourself. If I'm wrong, let me know because I like to know the truth.

I will post a verse and then follow that up with some obvious commentary if I feel the need. The asterix marks more "significant" verses.

Matt 4:17 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near”

Early in his ministry Jesus started talking about the coming kingdom. This kingdom had been what people throughout the Old Testament had been waiting for. This kingdom would be a blessing to the world. It would finally be the fulfillment of God's promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3: "Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father's house, To the land which I will show you; and I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing; and I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." The kingdom that would bless the whole world was near! Now that is good news.

Matt 4:23 “Jesus went…preaching the good news of the kingdom”

Jesus' message could have so easily been the message of his death and the forgiveness of sins, but that isn't what he focused on. He focused on the good news of the kingdom.

*Matt 6:33 “But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well”

Our striving needs to be for things of the kingdom, not for selfish spiritual things or our own enjoyment. Our lives should not be about us but about the kingdom.

Matt 9:35 “Jesus went…preaching the good news of the kingdom”

Did he go around preaching grace? Maybe. Did he go around preaching faith? At times. But what does this section of Scripture show that he preached - "the good news of the kingdom." Up until two years ago, I never heard, or at least consciously acknowledged hearing, the message of the kingdom of God. It is what Jesus taught, but we think we have better messages, ones that might be more relevant or palatable to our souls. I think we need to get back to discovering what the message of the kingdom is and start living it and proclaiming it from the rooftops, soapboxes, and pulpits.

*Matt 10:7 “Preach this message: ‘the kingdom of heaven is near’”

Jesus has the twelve and he is getting ready to send them out for the first time. The dew is on the ground. Simon Peter still hasn't combed his hair. It's group huddle time. It's time for that final motivating speach. Jesus recaps the important stuff for their first journey out, so they don't screw it up. It's crunch time. His mission on earth rests in the hands of these twelve. And Jesus tells them to preach the message of the kingdom of heaven. Maybe, we should take some pointers from that.

Mark 1:14-15 “Jesus went…proclaiming the good news of God. ‘The time has come…The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news.’”

*Mark 9:1 “There are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.”

I always thought that this was just one of those verses that didn't make sense. Jesus told people that the kingdom of God will come before some of these people tasted death. Well, it appeared to not happen. We're still waiting for that kingdom to arrive, so maybe some of these people just haven't died. Maybe 2000 year olds are walking around the eart waiting for the kingdom. I just didn't know how to make sense of it.

However, now I do (Or at least that is what I think). The kingdom has come. Jesus brought the kingdom of God to earth when he established his church. The church is the kingdom, and we are part of the kingdom when we become part of the church. The event everyone in the Old Testament was waiting for has happened. We are blessed to be part of it. These people that Jesus talked to saw the kingdom of God come with power.

Mark 11:10 “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David”

*Luke 4:18-19 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

These are elements of God's kingdom. In God's kingdom the poor will hear the good news. The blind will receive sight and the oppressed will be freed. Sometimes we might think that we do not see these events happening here on earth as they should in God's kingdom. Some day will come when God's kingdom will arrive in its complete fullness. Right now, we are left with the kingdom being one of many kingdoms on earth. As much as possible, we need to bring about the kingdom as much a possible while here on earth. We need preach the good news to the poor. We need to help the blind see. We need help free those who are oppressed. We need to be God's kingdom.

*Luke 4:43 “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God…because that is why I was sent”

Jesus is so bold to say that the reason he was sent was to preach the good news of the kingdom. I thought the reason he was sent was to die on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. However, that isn't what he said. He said that he came to preach the good news of the kingdom. His death on the cross is part of that bigger framework. We should not make his death and resurrection the framework or else we miss the larger picture. The death and resurrection are glorious things indeed, but they are not why Jesus was sent. Jesus was sent to preach and bring about the kingdom.

Luke 8:1 “Jesus traveled…proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God”

Luke 9:11 “He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God”

Luke 9:60 “Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

Another example of Jesus telling another person to go and proclaim the kingdom of God.

Luke 9:62 “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Being part of the kingdom of God is the goal. That is what people were worried about being part of.

Luke 10:9 “Tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you.’”

Luke 10:11 “The kingdom of God is near”

Luke 16:16 “The good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it.”

*Luke 17:20-21 “Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, ‘The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ For, in fact the kingdom of God is among you.”

Ding. Ding. Ding. This goes back to the reply to the comment that I made yesterday. The kingdom of God, the kingdom we are residents of, is "not coming with things that can be observed." That's quacky. Here's what I would have said, "You mean to tell me that you're going to start a kingdom but that kingdom isn't going to be visible. That's no kingdom. It's already here? That's what you say. I see Roman soldiers just down the street. How can you say the kingdom is here among us?" Then I would've left the crazy man.

But God doesn't always do what is viewed as "rational". He had Gideon lower his army from 32,000 to 500 before invading another nation. He had Joshua march around Jericho blowing trumpets in order to defeat them. He saved the world by having Jesus die on a cross. In hindsight his acts are glorious, just like his kingdom. But at the time, they seem to be a little off.

However, the kingdom of God was there among them and is here among us. Although I might live in America, my true residence is in another kingdom. All of us who profess to follow Christ need to realize that we are part of a kingdom that is among us. Our nationality belongs to the kingdom of God, not to any of the kingdoms of this world. This kingdom is unlike any other.

Luke 18:28-30 “I tell you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not get back very much more in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.”

People will do things for the sake of the kingdom of God. By this point I'm sure that you are, if you didn't already, realizing that the kingdom of God is a message of importance to Jesus.

*Acts 1:3 “He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.”

Jesus comes back. This is really the final huddle. It's the last play in the Super Bowl. The quarterback has just a short time to motivate his players. Their whole season depends on it. The quarterback will remind them of the most important thing. What did Jesus remind them of? It wasn't the theological significance of his death on the cross. It wasn't his miracles. It wasn't his resurrection. Those things all fit in the context of the message of the kingdom of God. One last moment with the people he placed the future of his mission to, and the Bible records that he spoke about the kingdom of God.

Acts 8:12 “He (Philip) preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus.”

The message of the kingdom begins to be preached by those who are just followers.

Acts 19:8 “Paul…arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God.”

Paul preached about the kingdom of God.

Acts 28:23 “From morning until evening he explained the matter to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the law of Moses and from the prophets.”

Acts 28:30-31 "And he stayed two full years in his own rented quarters and was welcoming all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered."

We see more examples about Paul preaching the kingdom of God. That was the goal of all the stories of Jesus' life. That is the good news that Jesus himself preached.

Rom 14:17 “For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

*I Cor 15:24-25 “Then comes the end, when he (Christ) hands over the kingdom to God the Father, after he has destroyed every ruler and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put al l his enemies under his feet.”

It's at the time when the kingdom is handed to the Father that the kingdom will be here in its fullest. Until then, we will live in a kingdom that has no boundaries, a kingdom that is just a foretaste of the greater kingdom to come.

*Rev 1:5-6 “To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father.”

We are priests in this kingdom. There are no soldiers, no union workers, no corporate executives, no janitors, no policemen, just priests. Since we are supposed to be priests, we will get into their role more in the future.

Rev 11:15 “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign forever and ever.”

What a glorious day this will be!

Watch out for the potholes.

Christians and War

An anonymous person posted this reply to my previous post.

"I think God used war in the Old Testament as a punishment or an award for nation of Israel's behavior. I don't think he had used it in the New Testament. We, as Christians are a new Israel. Unlike OT Israel, this kind of Israel is not confined within the realms of borders, countries or governments. It is transient. 1 Cor 12:13: "For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free--and we were all given the one Spirit to drink." And again, in Gal. 3:28 "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."

If one argues that God still uses wars for punishment/awards, I think, one would have to see Christians as a single nation, such as Christian Exodus. And it all comes down to the philosophy that this nation is great because it enjoys the blessings of God and thus, if this country wants to continue to enjoy the blessings, it must turn back to God. I disagree with that, as a Christian and as a foreigner."

In order to believe what you say, I would have to believe that God has completely stopped working with nations and that he does not appoint leaders. Nations are just a collection of individuals, and we have no problem saying God works on individuals. He actually killed some individuals in the New Testament, so that does show He is willing to kill them. Maybe the problem lies in believing in a collective guilt. I don't have an answer for that yet because I am also probing that question. However, the Bible is clear that leaders are in their positions of leadership because God wants them there and He will remove them when he so desires.

Romans 13:1 states: "Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God."

Revelation 10:8-11 says, "Then the voice which I heard from heaven, I heard again speaking with me, and saying, "Go, take the book which is open in the hand of the angel who stands on the sea and on the land." So I went to the angel, telling him to give me the little book. And he said to me, "Take it and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey." I took the little book out of the angel's hand and ate it, and in my mouth it was sweet as honey; and when I had eaten it, my stomach was made bitter. And they said to me, "You must prophesy again concerning many peoples and nations and tongues and kings."

The Revelation passage, obviously, comes after the time of Jesus, yet God still seems to be concerned with kings and nations.

I do feel that the whole point of my original post was ignored. I did say Christians should not fight in wars, a point that the anonymous reply completely missed. Apparently, I wasn't clear enough, so I will try to clarify what I said. Christians should never take up arms against another person whether in war or at home. I know that's a little radical, but I do believe the "Turn the other cheek" passage is literal and not a suggestion. I expected more disagreements with the non-violent stance than with the stance that God uses nations for war.

Step two of the post was the belief that Christians should not fight in war, but God will use unbelievers to bring about His will - through war if necessary. He was working on me before I knew him. He is at work in everyone and everywhere. I do not believe His work is limited to Christians.

I don't see why God would have changed from preparing the world by using pagan nations for His purpose. God used pagan nations in the Old Testament to bring about his will and it wasn't always in direct relation to Israel. As a matter of fact, I don't believe his work in Old Testament times was limited to Israel. God was at work anywhere people were receptive to Him. A good book that deals with this is Eternity In Their Hearts. Maybe I will deal with it in another post another time.

God cares about the spread of His Kingdom, so why wouldn't he prepare the leadership of nations and grow or shrink a nation's domain to spread His message? Could you or anyone please explain that to me?

"If one argues that God still uses wars for punishment/awards, I think, one would have to see Christians as a single nation, such as Christian Exodus."

I want to also bring attention to this phrase because you hit the nail on the head. Christians are a single nation. I am part of the nation (or kingdom) of God. My fellow citizens are located in Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Syria, China, Russia, France, and every other nation in the world. We are the nation of God. My allegiance is to God above any state. I will agree with you that a person would have to see Christians as a single nation; however, I view that nation as a nation without boundaries. It is a nation that we aren't willing to kill for but are more than willing to die for. We are aliens in this world because the nations we live in aren't our nations. We are residents of an eternal nation without borders or armies. All we have are priests.

I think the church has lost the message of the kingdom, so we will be checking it out tomorrow. I just couldn't wait till then to respond to this post. It's interesting that this reply came today. I couldn't ask for a better framework for tomorrow's post.

Watch out for the potholes.

Individual vs. Group - who are we?

As a wrap-up on the Christian Exodus discussion, I thought I would include a little portion of something John Nugent wrote me. He summed it up by summing up an article written by John Howard Yoder.

"What follows is simply a summary of John Howard Yoder’s article “Original Revolution” published in a book that bears that title.) The Sadducees represent one strategy. They got in with the Roman power brokers located in Jerusalem and through strategic alliance with them sought to carve space for Jews in Palestine on Rome’s terms. Then there are the Pharisees who gave up on political leverage. Instead they created Judaism to be something mostly concerned with individual piety. Regardless of who is in charge, if everyone just focuses on personal piety, they will be right with God and will share in the resurrection. Then there were the Zealots. They would not tolerate Roman occupation of “their land” without a fight. So they employed violence, subterfuge, and revolt in order to topple the enemy. These three strategies are employed in various ways by various groups and religions in America today. I leave it to you to connect the dots. But a fourth strategy seems most analogous to the Exodus movement. These are the Essenes or Dead Sea community. Their strategy was to quarantine themselves off from the contamination of wider society, to do things right on a strictly in-house basis, and to patiently await God’s call to take the next step whatever it may be."

Significantly, Jesus rejected all of these strategies. If either of them were basically right, it seems that Jesus would have allied with them and taken control of their already gathered ranks. Instead he begins a movement that is genuinely new and draws adherents from various of these camps. His strategy was to form a people who would exist among the people but would not live according to their ways. Instead they would order their life together to bear witness to God’s kingdom. His strategy should not, however, be confused with the Pharisees. Jesus did not ask them to focus primarily on their individual spiritual lives. He gathered them into a people whose corporate life together was a large part of their witness (e.g., light of the world, city on a hill, salt of the earth, etc). It was crucial that they be a visible-political body, ordered according to the politics of God’s kingdom, and it was crucial that this people would exist in and among the other peoples of the world—not off in relative isolation as with the Essenes. If the Essene strategy was right, all Jesus would have had to do was join them and tweak their teaching to align with God’s kingdom. Interestingly, however, John the Baptist seems to have left this group to be used by God to prepare the way for Jesus among the people of Palestine. Anyway, you know how the story goes. Jesus gathers this people, dies, rises, re-gathers them, and commissions them to await the HS who would empower them and send them out on their worldwide mission. The HS comes and Jesus’ followers decide to huddle in Jerusalem (re-Babel-ification). Then the HS sends persecutions that scatter the Jerusalem Christians out into worldwide mission to people of all ethnic groups. But this dispersion, according to the letters of the NT, had to take a certain kind of shape. In keeping with Jesus’ vision, they were to form messianic communities ordered according to God’s kingdom and located among the nations as a witness to them. Their status was that of aliens, strangers, exiles, and ambassadors. They were resident aliens—residing among the people but of alien citizenship. A great online article that highlights these themes in 1 Peter can be found here."

So we really have the option of being five types of people.

1. People trying to change the political structure for God.
2. People focused only on individual spirituality.
3. People focused on removing the "sinners" from their land by force.
4. People focused on isolating ourselves from the world.
5. People who live together in such a way that their life together is a witness to the world.

I can see the possibility of Groups 1, 2, and 5 working together. Then I am reminded that the blunt end of Jesus' criticism landed on groups 1 and 2, the Sadducees and Pharisees.

Now, if you're new to my beliefs on individual spirituality, let me have a little go at explaining them. The main verse we hear on a "personal relationship" with Christ is John 17:3, "And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent." Jesus requests in that same prayer that we are to "be one" three times (John 17:11, 17:21-22). God wants his people to be one. As Ephesians 4:4-7 states: "There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift."

A brief summary of my stance is this. It is important for each individual to make a commitment to follow Christ - that is the entry into the Kingdom; however, that commitment does not lead them into personal spirtual ecstasy land. That individual commitment leads them to the body of Christ. Romans 12:5 says, "We, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another." When you become a Christian, you begin to share your life with others.

It is tough to believe in the importance of being a collective group in a society that worships the individual. But we need to be careful. When our beliefs parrallel that which the pagan culture around us strongly adheres to to, we need to make sure that we carefully scrutinize those beliefs.

Tomorrow, I will post the lesson that was handed down to me by John Nugent and then revised each time that I have taught it. It has been taught a total of three times in all since the night that John showed me Scripture to put a foundation on what was stirring in my heart. It explains the importance of the concept of the Kindgom of God against the concept of individual spirtuality.

Watch out for the potholes.

Compromise Your Faith?

Hello again. My wife was supposed to leave my Gameboy at my parent's house. She didn't. I'm waiting till 7:00. Then I get to go to the ballpark, which is right outside the back door, and watch a boy, whom I taught how to throw a curveball on Monday, pitch. He won on Monday night and is back at it tonight.

I am going to respond to the comments to the Ryan Dobson interview left by Ben Brown.

"On Christian's and the Political Process:

Are we to compromise? Christianity in general, I would say, is not a lifestyle of compromise. Most things of great importance are relatively cut and dry (in general, let's not get too specific). So when electing leaders are we to compromise our beliefs in order to get someone elected who fulfills some of our beliefs? I don't know that I will be voting for president this year. I may vote on particular proposals, etc. if there are any, but I don't know if I can give my vote to either presidential candidate with good conscience."

I share your disillusionment. That is why I liked Alan Keyes so much. I felt I didn't have to compromise on any of my beliefs in voting for him. I'm sure if I looked hard enought I would find some disagreement, but overall I love the man and his beliefs. Now, I feel I am left with the lesser of two evils.

"Bush: yes he says he's a christian, yes he talks about God, yes he stands up for many things he believes in, but at the same time he sanctions the killing of hundreds of people, and is willing to talk about it openly. Say what you will about national security, I'm just not sure killing is ok anymore given God's provided grace. Bush's willing to ruin natural habitat's (God's good earth, and creatures) to dig up fossil fuels that are only going to prolong our dependence on them."

I'm sure I will more thoroughly address the topic of Christians and war in the future. Here is the cliff notes version of where I stand right now. War is fine. There will be war. God uses war to furthre his cause. God could be wanting America to go to war right now. God used pagan nations to punish other nations, even His nation of Israel, in the Old Testament. War is not out of God's will. Maybe one could argue that it used to be in His will but in the New Covenant it is no more. I would have a tough time buying that.

I feel God is trying to bring the whole world to a point of redemption. If that means removing a regime from power, then he will do that. If that means removing a group of people from the face of the earth, then He will do that. He is worried about the redemption of the whole world, not just one small people group.

When it comes to Christians, I have a different stance. I believe a Christian should never kill another human being. I do not believe Jesus' stance on turning the other cheek was allegorical. We are called to be the priesthood of believers. What sort of priesthood goes around killing people. We are called to be the religious element in every nation. We are called to intercede on behalf of all of the lost. We are called to be the kingdom of God. In so doing, we have no nation that we would be willing to die for. God's people are no longer a physical nation but a physical church.

How do we know whether the person on the "enemy's" lines is not also a follower of Christ? What message of love are we showing to those that we are firing bullets at? The world will take care of itself. God will call nations to remove those who are in the way of the expansion of His kingdom. I do not think he would call Chrstians to be the one's to do the bloody work. As always, I could be wrong.

On to Bush. He might be a Christian. I don't know. However, I do have trepidation concerning Dick Cheney's association with Halliburton and their role in Iraq. As a matter of fact, our Christian President's right hand man just told someone today to go F themselves.

"Kerry: Ok with abortion, ok with "gay" rights (Regan, you should get John N's take on the current concept of homosexuality, it's way cool), etc. But at the same time I would be willing to pay his 50cent gas tax if it meant getting rid of gasoline in 10 years."

I don't think I could ever vote for John Kerry. His statements about how his relgion is personal and would not ever interfere with his public life scared the crap out of me. (That might not be the best link, but I have to go to the baseball game. Although this is near the middle of the post, it is the last thing I typed.) As I said before, I think it is completely fine for the church to influence the government. I do not believe that the government should ever influence the church.

"Does mostly good outweigh some bad or visa-versa? How do I vote for someone that doesn't represent... or rather how do I vote for someone who consciously makes decisions that I view as unethical, even unChristian? Voting for someone who sanctions killing (soldiers/cilivians or fetus's) is something that's hard for me to swallow. I'd be more comfortable voting for a completely faithful Christian with no chance of getting into office than I would compromising and allowing someone who would do 'a few little' unChristian things in the midst of greater good. Wouldn't that be more intolerant?"

The very nature of a democracy says that a Christian is unlikely to get elected because he represents more than just Christians (at this point, maybe this is where the Christian Exodus has a leg up, I don't know).

I agree for the most part that we should be more intolerant, but I'm taking my intolerance along with me to the polls if and when I go. Why should I tolerate bad policy?"

Here. Here.

I agree 100%.

"p.s. Regan, you would make a great defense attorney. You come up with so much material that it makes it almost impossible to even respond to your thoughts. Does your brain ever hurt?"

I do get headaches sometimes. They have gone down tremendously since I quit the caffeine.

Watch out for the potholes.

Studying Christ and Learning From God Through Hollywood Movies

Tomorrow night is our first high school movie night for the summer. I thought we would get together every week, watch a movie, and discuss the themes of the movie for 10-20 minutes afterword. This morning I'm working on a list to hand out to parents, so they will know what we're watching when and why we're watching it.

However, we are not just focusing on Christological themes, those are themes that show us about Christ. Theological (study of God), Ecclesialogical (study of church and community) themes or, for that matter, any other themes make the grade. As long as they have something to talk about that can be brought back to the Bible it is a go.

Here is the list of movies and the dates we are watching them. If you can think of a better theme to discuss in them, please let me know.

June 25 – Field of Dreams – How far will we go when God calls us to something?

July 2 - Unbreakable – Rated PG-13 for violence and mature themes. How can we be a hero in our world?

July 9 - Chocolat – Rated PG-13 for mild sexual content that we will skip. Why do people feel that the church isn’t loving?

July 16 - Dead Poets Society – Rated PG. How can we make our lives extraordinary?

July 23 - Gattaca – Rated PG-13 for mild nudity that we will skip. How do we discriminate? What are the consequences of playing with God’s design for the world?

July 30 - K-Pax – Rated PG-13 for Violence and slight language. What would an outsider see as our flaws?

August 6 - Signs - Rated PG-13 for frightening moments. Christians seem to have a lot of coincidences. Is God watching out for us?

August 13 - Mr. Holland’s Opus – Rated PG. How do we deal with our dreams being squashed by events around us?

August 20 - Dancer in the Dark – Rated R for violence. What does it takes to truly make a sacrifice? If you’re in question about allowing your child to see this movie, feel free to see it beforehand or talk to me. It is a very traumatic movie that will help all of us see what true sacrifice is.

Here is a list of movies that didn't make the cut this year. If movie night goes over well, they might next year.

Didn’t quite make the cut yet:
Shawshank Redemption - Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord. Where do we find hope?
Secondhand Lions - Haven't seen it yet. Just thought it might work.
Cocoon - How do we experience life to the fullest? Having more prosperity only leads to exaggerating our faults?
Cool Hand Luke – Not rated due to it being released in 1967. How do we respond when we feel that God isn’t communicating with us?
Truman Show – Rated PG. How do we view God?
Contact – Rated PG. How do we relate to the world? Is there a God?
With Honors - recommended. haven't seen.
Bruce Almighty - recommended. haven't seen.
Radio Flyer - recommended. haven't seen.
Big Kahuna - How does the world view Christianity? How can we be more loving?

Watch out for the potholes.

American Religion or Turning America into a Religion - The Perils of Patriotism - Praying for Hussein and Osama

A friend emailed me, "Once the war in Iraq took place, it seems, most churches began praying for 'the world's leaders' and the troops. I've always wondered how many churches were praying for Bill Clinton when he was a President."

I really doubt that most churches actually started praying for the world's leaders. They probably just prayed for the leader's of the world that share our stance in the world. I have yet to hear a prayer for Saddam Hussein or Osama Bin Laden in church.

I do remember my youth group praying for Bill Clinton during his presidency. I do not know if that was the case everywhere. I do think we have a tendency to pray for those we like and not pray for those who disagree with us. If we do pray for those we dislike, it is usually to heap condemnation on them.

I believe we need to take seriously the calling to be a people of God without national borders. It is probably easier for immigrants to realize that our nation is not God's nation. God's nation is the church. We are aliens in this world no matter what nation we are in.


Ephesians 2:18-22 states: "For through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household, having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit."

We are aliens in this world. We have no borders to defend. Our citizenship is in heaven.

Romans 13:1-2 states: "Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same."

The key word is "subjection". We would not have to be in subjection if we were in agreement. Subjection implies we do not like what is going on. Here is a good essay I read on the subject.

I want to leave with a story. When I was a youth pastor in Alma, there was an American flag that stood on the stage in the front of the church. I was disgusted by it. Not because of a hatred of America but because America - the land of abortions, annihilation of the Indians, and many other acts that are disgrace to associate with the will of God - doesn't deserve a place in the church. The minister agreed with me. One Saturday night we moved the flag from the sanctuary up to the storage closet. It stayed there for around six months. During that time, the minister that helped me in the secret mission left and we hired a new minister who was an armed forces veteran. It became a semi-big stir after another veteran brought up that he missed the flag. I was asked if I knew where it was. I told them the story of the secret mission in the dark of night and its top-secret location. (I wish I had infra-red goggles. All I have is a gasmask.) The flag was returned to the sanctuary where it stands proudly to this day.

The moral of the story is that when you want the flag to be out of the sanctuary, burn it. (That's also sarcastic.)

I believe in the seperation of state and church. The church can influence the state as much as it wants, but the state should never influence the church. I think it is a slight different view than the seperation of church and state. We can't have a healthy government without godly men and women passing godly laws.

Disclaimer - I like America. I like that I can go to a house of worship without the risk of getting arrested. True, some psychotic lunatic could walk in with a toothpick, pocket knife, machete, or an automatic weapon and do us in, but we do not have the government to worry about. I like some of the overplayed patriotic country songs. I've liked some of the Presidents we have had in my lifetime. I like apple pie, but I can't have wheat because I'm sensitive to it. I like baseball, but I threw my arm out somewhere along the road and can no longer play. I like fields of grain except during allergy season. I like sunny skies except when I get too much sun and have a sun burn that itches like the poison ivy I have right now. Poison Ivy, I tell you, that grew out of American dirt. I could keep going, but I really do have to quit. Today's post was supposed to be brief.

On a serious note, there are many changes that need to be done if this nation wants to be pleasing to God. Maybe someday, I will make a list. I love blogging.

Disclaimer #2 - God could've been punishing the Indians through America for all of their years of paganism. That is always a possibility with God. I do not presume to know.

Watch out for the potholes.

Confront Certain Sins? Never. - A Discussion on Gluttony in the Church

Aleks Tapinsch, who has his own website focused on his native country of Latvia, All about Latvia. If you wonder what is the news in Latvia or just wonder what Aleks is up to lately, check out his site.

Aleks had this to say in response to the discussion on what laws would be in a Christian nation.

"But what should be done with the sin of gluttony in the country of Christ? It seems Americans are suffering from it the most. And not only food, but also gluttony for stuff.

How can we talk about the sins of homosexuals when majority of our church members are obese and what's worse they don't even care? When was the last time you heard a sermon on gluttony?

Sloth should also be outlawed, shouldn't it? Anyone who does not work should not eat. We should scrap all those government programs providing financial help to the needy, the unemployed and the poor. They're just lazy, after all.

And what are we going to do about liars in Christian Exodus? Burn 'em."

My question would be, what should be done with these problems now in the church?

I believe we are to hold one another accountable on spiritual issues so that we can be where God wants us to be. As Ryan Dobson said in his interview with me, holding one another accountable is what we do if we actually love one another. Also, we are disciplined by God because of his love for us (Rev 3:19, Heb 12:7). We need to work on developing relationships with one another and being humble enough that proper Scriptural discipline can occur without conflict in our midst.

I have a tough time finding Scripture that condemns gluttony. There are 2 in the Old Testament (Deut 21:20, Prov 23:21) that would be adequate. But the principle of Christian Freedom is large enough and firm enough to stand on concerning gluttony (Gal 5). We are called to be free from anything that controls our lives besides Christ (Rom 6:5-23). Christ came to make his people a free people. If we are controlled by our flesh, then we are limited in how much we are controlled by Christ. If we truly love our brothers and sisters in Christ, we will try to help them overcome anything that controls them besides Christ. Unless, of course, we aren't focused on being the people God wants us to be and want to blindly adhere to our nation's religion of tolerance.

Now onto the "anyone who does not work should not eat" comment. It seems almost like Aleks was quoting Scripture. 2 Thessalonians 3:10-11 states: "For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone will not work, neither let him eat.

For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies." We are called to be loving and feed the hungry in other parts of Scripture (Isaiah 58:5-12, Matt 25:34-46, Rom 12:20). Romans even goes as far as saying we are to feed our enemies. Thessalonians offers a balance to those passages, a harsh balance that my body wants to say is unacceptable. However, it is when we submit to beliefs in Scripture that grate us the wrong way or stop doing something we love because Scripture condemns it that we know we are truly following Christ. For even the people that don't know God follow their hearts and do what they please. We are called to follow God's heart and do what he pleases even when it isn't or heart or our pleasing. So when we see a hungry person we should feed him. Then we should try to find him a job to feed himself. If he refuses to work, then we should refuse to feed. Harsh, Yes. Scriptural, Yes.

And liars. That one is the worst because it is so divisive and destructive to relationships. A glutton or slothful person only hurts himself. A liar destroys those around him. There is nothing that will be disciplined more harshly in my children than lying. Proverbs 19:22 says, "It is better to be a poor man than a liar."

Slothfulness, gluttony, and lying are things we should be dealing with now as a brothers and sisters in Christ. We don't have to wait until we have governmental authority behind us (and I would be scared if we did) to help those stuck in sin around us. Nor do we have to wait for governmental authority to crack down on us in order to overcome our sin. We are called to be like Christ.

Watch out of the potholes.

Interview with Ryan Dobson - On Homosexuality, Abercrombie, Baptism, and Broken People

Hi. And welcome to the first interview to be posted on "Pulling Weeds out of Potholes." I was torn with the fact of whether to edit the interview down. I decided not to. However, I did decide to make headers for the different topics discussed to make it easier if you want to skip over things. One of the advantages of the internet is that we are not limited to a certain page space. I think there are some real gems in there if you read the whole thing.

Also, I would like to welcome all of the people coming here for the first time. Although you will get personal updates on my life on here, the majority of this blog space will be used for religious discussions. Feel free to post a reply in the comments. But beware, I will probably respond. I look forward to hearing from all of you.

If you like what Ryan Dobson had to say in his interview, you should check out his first book, Be Intolerant: Because Some Things Are Just Stupid The last chapter of the book is definitely worth the price of admission for believers. And if you're not a believer, then the rest of the book explains why Christianity makes sense. It is a great apologetic book for a new generation.

The interview took place as we watched the skateboarding competition at Blast!, a Nazarene teen youth convention. Some other people were standing around or came up and talked to Ryan. Sometimes I included what they had to say and his response. The setting definitely made for a unique interview.


Regan – After reading the last chapter in your book, I had a question. I have workers under me who do immoral things. How do you think someone should approach them? They know I think it’s wrong. I’ve had conversations with them before. But I should I tackle it continually?

Ryan – That’s a tough one. That is why I wrote the last chapter in my book. You can’t continue beating a dead horse. Continue living in a way that is pleasing to God. If it comes up, you should just continue talking about it in a loving manner. We have to understand that those who don’t have a moral foundation don’t behave the way we do. I think sometimes we are like, “Well, you know, I won’t let people work for me who do things like that.” We’re not reaching the lost world. What are we telling people? That’s a tough thing.


Regan – I Corinthians 5 tells us to cast the wicked people out from among us. However, it also says that we should not condemn those that are committing sins in the world. We should only be focused on the sins of those among us. Politically speaking, How much should Christians push to make abortion illegal?

Ryan – Totally involved.

Regan – How do you reconcile that with that passage? Are we judging non-Christians? Is that what you get out of that passage?

Ryan – I think that passage in Corinthians explains how we are to deal with people that are in your church that you have gone to and talked to. You have explained your position as a church body. The person continues to sin and be involved in the church. That’s where the church needs to separate themselves as a body from them.

As a group of believers in America, last election, 25 million Christians didn’t vote. I don’t know why Christians are so afraid of public policy. All morals are based on morality of some kind - ultimately it’s to God – and why are we not getting involved in outlawing abortion and partial-birth abortion or fighting for a marriage amendment so same-sex marriage and same-sex unions aren’t legal? These ought to be a huge priority to Christians. If I get married some day, I want it to mean something. And if it means everything, then it really means nothing at all. The studies show that countries that legalize same-sex unions and legalize gay marriage don’t have a giant influx in gay marriage. They have a huge decline in heterosexual marriage. Why get married if it doesn’t mean anything? I could put three glasses out. One has water. One has vinegar. One has gasoline. They’re all going to be clear. They’re all going to be liquid, but they’re not all going to be drinkable. You can’t have something mean everything. It has to be something. I want it to be a special sacred bond between me and whomever I marry officiated by my church and ratified by the state. If you make it mean everything, then why get married in the first place. It doesn’t mean anything at all. We ought to fight for that strongly.

Regan – Bush does seem to…

Ryan – He’s a good guy. I met him on the National Day of Prayer. Solid, solid man. I’ve heard people have their complaints and you can have yours. Is he a perfect man? No. Can you imagine where our nation would be now if 9/11 happened under a Gore leadership? We would be in shambles right now. We needed somebody with a backbone, with a moral foundation, a moral fiber to lead our country through that. And Kerry, I can’t even believe that. That’s where you go to flip flopper.com and look at John Kerry’s positions.


Regan – Concerning Christian Exodus and our American government. Christian Exodus states that we have a “Christian” President and attorney general. We have a Republican Senate and House, yet we still aren’t seeing a push to try and stop abortion. Is it just because of the Supreme Court? The partial-birth abortion ban has been enacted, but nothing else.

Ryan – Having a Republican House and Senate doesn’t mean we have a Christian House and Senate. They are very different people. You have Log Cabin Republicans who are gay Republicans. That doesn’t mean Christian by any means. That doesn’t mean they are going to fight for the things that we fight for. We ought to have people that follow what we believe. If a Republican doesn’t follow what you believe, then don’t vote for them.

Regan – In the past the Christian Coalition used to publish a list that said what politicians stood for on issues that were important to Christians. Is there a place that does that now?

Ryan – Family Research Council.

Regan – The Christian Coalition actually considered gun control an issue that Jesus would care about. I know you care about guns from your sermons. But I don’t think Jesus would make a governmental issue on the topic of gun control.

Ryan – Saying that Jesus cared about gun control is a little silly saying there was no guns back in the day. Is it something I’m concerned about? Yeah. Cause in my freedom as an American, I think one of my freedoms ought to allow me to own a gun. Is it a Christian issue? I don’t know if it is or not. Someone could argue for it, but I think it is an issue for conservatives. If that is your viewpoint or philosophy, then you ought to go for it. The Republican party today isn’t a Christian party. I think more Republicans are Christians than Democrats are Christians. But I think it is a mistake to say that the Republican party is a Christian party.

Christians have a vote. Abercrombie & Fitch were promoting and using pornography for years and years and years. This is a clothing company for kids and their catalogs are only for 18 years and older. They had porn stars being interviewed in their magazines. Christians finally said enough is enough. Christians boycotted Abercrombie & Fitch. Their stock went down a bunch. They lost millions of dollars and changed their tune. Christians are a strong group of people. Why do we act like such a bunch of wimpy babies over this stuff? “Oh, we can’t vote. We can’t get involved in public policy.” We can take over. We don’t because we’re like, “Oh, well.”

Regan – What do you think prevents us from doing that?

Ryan – People think that politics is a dirty game; therefore, I’m not going to get involved in it. It’s the pendulum theory. Either people swing to one side of the pendulum or not. It’s things like, “If something might have the potential for a problem, then we shouldn’t do it at all.”

Another guy standing around – In Christianity, a lot of people take Romans 13 out of context. A lot of people have decided that God put this political person in office. Do you think that is taken out of context?

Ryan – I think that it is totally taken out of context. Do you think that if we vote to put somebody into office that God didn’t put them into office? It is our civic duty to be involved in taking care of the sick and the poor.

We took a break to watch some of the skateboarding competition, which a kid from my youth group won.


Regan – Christians don’t discipline anymore. Until recently, I have never heard of church discipline being done in a proper way. Why do you think that is?

Ryan – I think our society has just ingrained a tolerance mentality into us. We are so afraid to discuss, put somebody down, or tell someone that they might be wrong. Society has ingrained it into us so strongly that our churches are starting to feel the effects of it now. We’re afraid that it might split the church. So what if it splits the church? It’s okay to split a church doing the right thing. It’s never wrong to do the right thing. It’s never right to do the wrong thing, yet we tend to do that all the time.

Regan – I was involved in a church split. (I explained some of it to him. Things I don’t want to air online yet.)

Ryan – I had a pastor that had an affair. He, obviously, had to step down from ministry. He went through a whole reconciliation and restoration process. It was five years of counseling, meeting with church board members and accountability partners until he was restored back to a position of ministry if he so chose. Not at our church – But if he chose to get into ministry again the church felt that he had been restored. He was restored with his wife and they’re doing great now because of the way the church handled it. The church grew because of it too.

Regan – We miss out, as a church and individuals, on a complete opportunity to grow when we don’t discipline. Your last chapter talks about being loving enough to discipline.

Ryan – If you love somebody, you’re going to tell them what’s going on – not out of a sense of pride, but out of sense of love saying, “Listen, I’m bringing this up because I care about you.”

Regan - Like, when I tell my wife that her outfit is ugly.

Ryan – Yeah. You got to be careful on that.


Regan – Your current book is about discipling one another. What are other teachings that you feel the church ignores that they need to focus on in order to be what God intended the church to be?

Ryan – Being a true, real Christian. So many times we run away from things that, maybe, we might get in trouble with. Take the whole dating thing. There are people who believe you shouldn’t ever date.

Regan – Like the book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye.

Ryan – He’s published by my same publisher, so, you know. Josh is a great guy. I just don’t believe in the courtship process. Can you get your heart broken in dating? Yeah. But it’s okay. It’s fun to date. It’s fun to go out. Just because you might get in trouble with something doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. It means you should be really careful with it.


Regan – What issues are worthy of church discipline?

Ryan – I think you have to go on a case by case basis. Infidelity is a huge one. It’s not just church discipline as a whole but Christians coming to one another and being open and honest to themselves and with other people saying, “You know what, I see this going on.” It’s not ignoring the log in your own eye when you have accountability partners and small groups.


We stopped recording at this time and watched the second round of skateboarding. However, during the round a guy came up and introduced himself. His first question probed where Ryan goes to church. Ryan answered that he used to go to Saddleback and now goes somewhere else. I can’t remember where that somewhere else is right now. That’s what a tape recorder is for, and I didn't have it on at the time. Then the guy asked Ryan if they are a post-modern church. I asked part way through his reply if he minded if I turned on the tape recorder because he was saying some good stuff. He gave the ok.

Ryan – There is a website. I don’t know if it is emergingchurch.com, but they are so mad over my view of post-modernism as a thought theory (against being a worldview). There’s a semantical difference. That’s all it is. It’s like saying “gay” means “happy” rather than “homosexual”. That’s all the difference is. And they’re so upset by it because they view post-modernism as people in a post-modern time. Not as the traditional theory of post-modernism as a thought process. Post-modernist thought is relative thought. It’s more relativism as a whole. And because they (churches) have chosen to call themselves a post-modern church, people respond by saying, "You believe there isn't absolute truth."

The other guy – So churches shouldn’t call themselves post-modern?

Ryan - They shouldn’t get mad when people think they teach relativism. It’s like if I had a gay church and said, “Oh, no. It’s a happy church.” People are going to assume I mean something else, so you can’t be upset by that. It’s okay if you believe that and just explain to people when they come into contact with you. “Our church is a post-modern church.” “Oh, do you this?” “No, we just live in a post-modern time and are part of a post-modern movement.” I wouldn’t call a church post-modern unless you believe truth is relative. If you do, then it seems pretty consistent.


The other guy – (He said something about Post-Modernism is just a label we put on it. It was hard to hear because he was standing a distance away from my tape recorder.)

Ryan – Our church is a younger church. We have lots of community involvement. We have tons of small groups. We have a real Bible-believing pastor that preaches from the word, from his heart, and where God leads. Our church is interesting. Our teaching pastor, the one who preaches on Sundays, is not our head pastor. Our worship leader is our pastor. It allow our teaching pastor to focus 100% on weekend services.

The other guy – Isn’t that the way a lot of churches are heading?

Ryan – I think it would be great if they did. Not a lot of pastors were meant to be managers, administrators, or fundraisers. They were born to preach. To allow them to do what they were called to and allow someone else, who is a good administrator, to do that part of it, it’s awesome. I’m a speaker. I’m really bad at organization. I have an agent who does all my contracts, bills, accounting, and contracts. If I had to do that, who knows if I would get to any events. It’s great that way. It allows me to do what I was called to do.


The other guy – Do you sit down and write it all out when writing a book?

Ryan – My dad and sister do that. They sit down and actually write an entire book out. I’m a much better speaker than writer, so I work with a writer. The first time we meet we spend four days up at a retreat and I talk about what I want to write on. We record the whole things just like this. Then it gets transcribed. And then we put it in chapter outline. Then the co-writer starts sending me questions. I used to type my responses, but I can’t type fast enough. Now, I record everything. Someone transcribes my answer. We use them for the book.

An aside - The guy who he was rooting for in the skateboarding competition at this point was out there trying to do moves that he just couldn’t land. Ryan kept saying you have to focus on things you can get done rather than constantly failing. It seems to be a good philosophy to follow not only on the skate park.


Regan - Your last comment was about the log in your own eye.

Ryan – I think that is the process. It’s kind of like accountability partners. I have friends who aren’t perfect, yet they still ask me if everything is okay. If they see me doing something that is out of control they say, “Hey, dude, you’re doing something that is a mistake here.” It’s not like I reply, “Oh, yeah. But what about you.” It’s because I am honest enough and know that this guy cares about me. We have a relationship.

I used to travel with a guy named Bob DeMoss. He talked about media, music, and things like that. He talked about certain standards that you set for your family. He said, “Listen, now that you are beginning to set a standard for your family it is not okay to go home and take you kid’s entire CD collection back. You have not earned that right yet. You have to earn the right. As a parent you have to say that you haven’t been great at this yet. Now, we are going to have a family standard. We’re going to have a buy-back policy. Buy the CDs from them, so they can turn around and buy CDs that are appropriate. This way you’re earning the right to be heard." And that is the thing with church. When you hear about the sins of someone at your church that you don't know very well, you can't just go up to that person and attack them. You haven’t earned the right to be heard. Now, if you’re a pastor and this person has chosen to be at your church and this is in the area you’re a leader in, then you have earned the right to be heard. It is just doing it in the right way.

Regan – Do you think there needs to be a renewal of the meaning of church membership? So many people just come to church and become members, but membership never really means I’m going to be held accountable.

Ryan – If you have a membership process that people are going through, it out to mean something. If people are coming casually to your church, they have still chosen to let you be a leader over them.


Regan – With your dad being Dr. Dobson, what was your biggest struggle growing up in that type of environment?

Ryan – People thinking I’m supposed to be something I’m not supposed to be. People thinking I’m a smaller version of my dad. My parents never put that pressure on me. They never said you have to go into the ministry. I never planned on going into the ministry. It just worked out that way. But everyone else thought, “Oh, you ride a skateboard. What do your parents think about that?” “I don’t know. They bought it for me.” “Oh, you dress this way. What do your parents think about that?” It’s kind of that thing. It’s a “we thought you were going to be something you’re not” kind of a thing.

Regan – Have you ever talked to Jim Bakker’s son?

Ryan – I’ve not talked to Jay. He has a great book called “Son of a Preacher Man.” If you haven’t read that, it is a phenomenal book on grace. I might actually see him next weekend in Atlanta. He has a good ministry going on. Reading that book is one of the greatest things someone could do because it shows what a hypocritical church body does to its members. The way that Jay and his sister were treated because of actions of their parents ought to be criminal. The people who did that ought to be accountable for their actions. And they will be some day. Jay is still wounded by that. He’s a good, solid guy. I just did an interview with Biola’s alumni magazine. They asked Josh McDowell’s son, Sean, Rick Warren’s daughter, Amy, Lee Strobel’s son, Kyle, and me to get together. It was good seeing different kids like that, seeing how they have been raised, and how we share struggles having parents do what our parents do.


Regan – One of the stances from the background that I came from is “In essentials unity, in opinions liberty, in all things love.” In your book you try to clarify three essentials to being a Christian. Are you comfortable saying those are the essentials of what Christianity is?

Ryan – All the essentials? That was just three that I chose. There are probably more. Believing that the Bible is true and the inspired word of God and that Jesus is who he says he is - that’s super important. I’m drawing a blank on what my third one was, but I’m sure it is important to.

Regan – It’s the second one, actually. God exists and is the way the Bible describes him to be. One of the debates in the church of Christ has always been what are the essentials to have unity on.

Ryan – It’s funny. As I travel across the country people always come up. I was somewhere. I don’t know what denomination it is, but they believe you have to be baptized to be a Christian.

Regan – Church of Christ.

Ryan – I gave a gospel presentation and they complained because I didn’t say baptism. And they were like, “You know the Bible says that you have to be baptized.” And I go, “Obviously, I disagree.” They were so shocked that I didn’t want to debate them on it. They finally said, “Why do you say that?” I go, “Listen, when Christ was on the cross and the thief next to him said he believed in God. Jesus responded to him that today you’ll be in Paradise with me. I don’t know if there was a whole baptism service going on right there. He said, 'Today you are going to be with me in Paradise.'" I tend to take Christ at his word. People can debate that. It’s hard because there are certain denominations that believe that baptism is an absolute essential and I don’t; therefore, they believe I’m leading people astray because I’m making them feel like they are going to heaven yet they haven’t been baptized.


Regan – (I clarified that not all church of Christ was that way. Maybe that makes you happy or angers you.) In your book you write about a friend, Mike, who fell away. Last week we had a guest preacher at our church. He shared a thought that he had about Judas. I don’t know if it is true or not, but it was interesting. Judas wasn’t chosen by Jesus because he was going to fail. He was chosen because he was great spiritually and had potential. What do you think causes good Christians to fall? What can be done to help prevent that?

Ryan – There are a lot of things that you can do to prevent yourself from falling. Accountability and other things like that. I think the Lord uses broken people. Look at the disciples. He’s using tax collectors that are totally crooked and dirty. He’s using uneducated people, fishermen, and other people like that. If you look at the Bible, he is using flawed, broken people. He could use perfect people. He could’ve used only Pharisees. It still would’ve proved He was good. But because he uses somebody like me who is clearly a sinner proves that he is great. God is great shows in the people that he uses. He could’ve just come as Christ and not used anybody. He would still be good. But he is great by using people that are broken. It also opens the door to speak to anybody. When God uses broken people, others respond, “Oh, you’re a sinner.” “I am a sinner. God still loves me and wants the best for me.” It’s an amazing thing to know. I think that is an important thing for Christians to know. Shame is okay to an extent, but guilt is a product of Satan. When I get up to speak and Satan is like, “You know what you have done in the past.” That’s not the Lord speaking to me. When I speak on abstinence I know without a shadow of a doubt that someone in the crowd has already messed up. There are probably others in the crowd that have STDs. They feel like damaged goods and that nobody is going to want them. That is not what God is saying. God is saying, “You’re a perfect human being in my eyes. There is someone that is going to love you, cherish you, and treat you right for the rest of your life. If not a person on earth, then certainly Me." Saying you’re damaged goods, you’re broken, and that nobody is going to want you is a trick of Satan. That’s not true. It’s Satan talking.


Regan – On communication. One thing that you did, which was effective, during the sermon that we’re taught not to do in preaching classes is use stories that are totally irrelevant at times. Why do you do that?

Ryan – Part of it is keeping the attention. A lot of the stories that seem irrelevant at first have a hook in the end. The opening story had nothing to do with what I was talking about. I always say intro is everything. If you can get somebody’s attention in the first couple of minutes – I watch stand-up comedy like crazy. I like it because they keep your attention and they keep changing it up. Different speakers pull you in at the very end. You think where is he going with this, and then they pull you in. You will see that tonight even more. I try to do that in tonight’s stories even more.

Regan – So you would advise a speaker to use irrelevant stories to get the audience’s attention?

Ryan – Maybe once or twice. My dad always told me: “Tell stories that make your point. Don’t make points.” People want your stories. They don’t really want to hear points. If you go “my first point is…” and that is all you’re saying, you only need to be up there five minutes. But if you’re going to be up there for 45 minutes to an hour, tell stories. That’s what Christ did. He told parables. He was a great storyteller. I try to follow that philosophy.

Your Grace is Cheap - A Christian Nation would be a Libertarian Nation

I just passed 200 hits on my blog. That makes me happy. Thanks to all of you who have spent some time here. The crazy thing is that the only way people have heard of this is through Tom Flammer's blog. I haven't emailed my email list about it yet. I was waiting until I show complete commitment to blogging. I think I might be there now.

I will take time out now to discuss the anonymous post to one of previous posts. Ms. Anonymous had this to say with interruptions by myself and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, that inconsiderate dead man.

"From what I gather from my liberal humanist lawyer pen pal, The "Conservative Christian" movement that started when Reagan was president would suggest that Christians have tried to implement their morals into politics without any effort whatsoever to try and explain those morals to people who don't agree with them, in doing so many many people have come to completely detest Christianity or at least it's political agenda. They see Christianity as a bunch of rules being forced on them to stamp out any and all diversity because of narrowmindedness. They don't see the loving society taking care of both insiders and outsiders that we should be."

If it offends someone by my saying that homosexuality isn't a lifestyle that is pleasing to God, adultery is not ok, abortion is murder, or any of the other things that are out of God's will for humanity then let the offending begin. Christianity is about living under the law of Christ (Rom 8). It isn't about cheap grace. It's about living a life that is no longer mine (Mark 8:34-38). It's about be a complete and living sacrifice to the will of God (Rom 12:1).

Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote in the Cost of Discipleship: "Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate. Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will gladly go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble; it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him."

I have rearrived at my conclusion concerning politics that I shouldn't turn someone off to Christ because of my political beliefs. There isn't a political party that is completely in line with the will of God. But if my moral beliefs that are based upon the teachings of Scripture turns someone off to the gospel, then they are turned off to the gospel by the gospel itself. Part of the gospel message that we sometimes fail to teach is holiness. We are called to live a holy life. That is what Christ is calling everyone to. However, we need to be careful that we are not obnoxious in our holiness but allow our example along with loving conversation to do the convicting.

"Concerning abortion, my heart bleeds when I think about it, and I will never agree with it. I would like every unborn child to have a chance in this world. I think in a truly Christian society it would be easy to outlaw it not only because every one would agree with it but because people would not see it as necessary, people would be taking care of each other and each child WOULD have a chance to have a good life. However this doesn't happen in America's government as it is right now, giving people the idea that we NEED abortion because it's best for some children never to experience life than to experience a bad life. In the end, however, outlawing abortion would seem to assume that women have no choice about what happens inside their bodies (even more so if we outlaw birthcontrol). The fact is each woman makes a concious or unconcious decision about what happens to their baby whether or not it is legal. Should I become pregnant I make a choice, concious or not, legal or not as to what happens to that child from that moment on. If I smoke I'm making a decision that my pleasure comes before the childs health. If I chose not to go to the doctor, not to take vitamins, to drink, these are all choices that I have to make, simply because God gave me freewill, that can lead to injury, underdevelopment and even death for unborn children. So my point is, at long last, in a christian government what do we outlaw and what do we keep as personal decision? How many laws would we really need if we assume that everyone is trying their best to follow God's will? Wouldn't adding laws assume that no one can follow God's will unless they are forced by threat of punishment? And, are people Christian if the law says they are or if they make that decision for themselves? If law can't make us Christian, can law make us moral? How does a Christian nation enforce the laws it creates?"

A nation's responsibility is to equally uphold the rights of all. Abortion should be illegal in America because we care about the rights of everybody. But that is a different subject than the point that was really the main subject. Abortion was just the illustration.

What laws should there be in a Christian nation and where do we draw the line? I will take a shot at the idea that there would be no need for laws. It is like the church. If a brother or sister in society notices another in sin, they should approach them. If that doesn't work, they should bring another with them. If that fails again, they should bring it to the church. At that point, the option is still open that what the "sinner" is doing might not be wrong. The church could say so. We would have more laws than could be written and all that would matter would be the spirit of the law. There would be no loopholes.

We would all be trying to live out our Christian lives to the fullest, so the only law should be the law of the Spirit of Christ. Maybe that is a little too radical, but that is what we do in churches. Although I will say that some churches don't do anything at all.

A lot of the comments about Christian Exodus would also condemn Christian communes. I hope to discuss that soon.

That topic brings us to my interview with Ryan Dobson. I hope I get it completely transcribed today and post it tomorrow.

Watch out for the potholes.

More on Christian Exodus - The Dilemmas Raised in Attempting to be a Christian Nation or State

Well, at the risk of beating a dead horse I am going to talk some more about Christian Exodus. This time using the comments of Eric Vitz to springboard off of.

But before that it is a time for an announcement.

I will be away until Saturday. My diligent posting will probably end unless I have access to computers at Mount Vernon Nazarene University. I am taking the high schoolers at my church there for an event called Blast! The exclamation point is there's and not mine. It is different from all of the church events I have taken a part of as a church of Christer. They have a spiritual conference surrounded by a bunch of sporting and other events. They have poetry contests, basketball tournaments, weightlifting, etc. It would be a great idea for any Michigan Statewide Teen Convention planning committee member to take a serious look at this. I'll let you know what my thoughts on it are after it is over.

Last night, out of the blue, Isaac told Lindsay and I that he wanted to go to John Kerry's house. I thought it was crazy. After today I am thankful he said John Kerry instead of George Bush. I was sharing the story with Tom McCoy (my helper at the story) and one of my comic regulars, Mr. Butts. I did not know that Mr. Butts (that's his real name) was a die-hard Dubya hater. So I was able to hear to a man rant and rave about Bush being in Iraq for money and how the unions are going to sue the government to get their Social Security. I wonder what he would have talked about if my son had said he wanted to go to President Bush's house that time. He does some times say that.

Now onto Eric Vitz's comments and my replies.

"The Christian Exodus website states the problem as, "Christians have actively tried to return the United States to their moral foundations for more than 20 years."

Do you agree with this assessment of the problem? Do you agree that we, Chrisitans, have ACTIVELY tried to return our country to its moral foundation? Or, do you feel we, as Christians, have become too tolerant. As the Bible warns against, we - for too long - have not only lived IN the world, but have become a part OF it."

This is a struggle with me. As I said in an earlier post, I have not been asking questions Socratically. I really don't know where I stand. You are getting a glimpse at the inner workings of my mind while I deal with this.

It is tough to figure out government and laws when the New Testament doesn't directly deal with the issue. But I am a little hesistant to force unbelievers to have the morals of Christians. This comes from I Corinthians 5:9-13. "I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters; for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he should be an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler-- not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES." So the struggle is how far do we go in our quest to live in a moral society. Do we forbid people from having abortions to protect the innocent? How can we go about changing the nations stance. Right now, as Christian Exodus, points out, we have a "Christian" President and Attorney General and a Republican House and Senate. Republicans say they are against abortion. Christians, on the whole, are against abortions. So what more can we do to change the laws to protect the innocent? And there has been political groups, Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority and Ralph Reed's Christian Coalition, (although I feel they have given Christianity a bad name) standing up for the Christian positions on abortion. However, they might have lost some of their message when they also took a stance on gun rights. I'm sure Jesus would have been very concerned about the right to bear arms.

I really don't want to get into a fight with non-believers. I don't want to force them to live their lives the way God wants them to. Maybe that is wrong of me. What I want is to live my life in a society that wants to follow God's principles. I want to be able to take my child to the mall without driving by a strip (or should I say gentleman's) club, hearing music that is inappropriate, or seeing soft porn out the windows of Victoria's Secret.

But I agree that Christians have fallen prey to the American religion of intolerance being the greatest sin. Doesn't the Corinthians passage teach that we are to have tolerance to the world? However, we ignore that it seems to say that we are supposed to correct one another to the point of kicking someone out. I have only recently heard of one example of a church that has gone that far in loving a member of the body of Christ. That's only one time in my whole life that I have seen church discipline function properly if at all. We have many problems amongst ourselves that do need to be fixed. Maybe we should work on that before moving to South Carolina and starting a new nation.

"I would proffer, we win the nation one soul at a time - not "one state at a time". (Besides why South Carolina - it only has 8 electoral votes - why not California with its 55?) Ask anyone...we are not brought to Jesus because a church or state or group is like-minded - we are brought by our parents, or best friend, or someone who cared enough to share with us."

I agree that personal evangelism is the most effective evangelism, but we also have lost the concept of group evangelism. There are nations in the past that have become Christian because their leader told them to do so. I wager that many people were authentically converted in this way.

I assume their are reasons to choosing South Carolina. I would have to register to get on their message board. I didn't want to give them any of my information. Here are my guesses. Some states currently give more money to the federal government than they receive back. If a state was chosen that had that financial position, they would actually have more money to spend on roads, education, health care, and other infrastructure. Bob Jones University is located in South Carolina, so maybe a large number of Christians already reside there. South Carolina is in the south and still has an independent spirit. I don't know all of the reasons for choosing South Carolina, but they have a section on their message board dealing with the rationale of secession being possible.

"We also cannot look past how this "exodus" will be perceived. I will grant you, we cannot always be concerned with how others perceive us, but when that perception does more harm than good, perhaps there's a better way. If nothing else, this Christian Exodus site has sparked discussion which may prod many of us to stop allowing the world to mold us."

I am also glad of the challenge to my thoughts running across Christian Exodus has been. I do think that we need to always choose the road God has called us to. If it will be perceived badly, then God is big enough to deal with it. This might be simple, but I do believe it is true. We do need to be wise in considering what is the right course. J.I. Packer wrote, “Wisdom in Scripture always means knowledge of the course of action that will please God and secure life, so that the promise of James 1:5 –‘if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God who gives to all men generously and with reproaching, and it will be given him’ – is in effect a promise of guidance.” I do not believe the will of God in our lives is as elusive as we sometimes make it out to be. God wants to guide us down the right path for his glory. Is that not what David thought in Psalm 23:3? "He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake." God is wants to receive glory, so he will guide us to the place where he will receive the most glory from our lives.

Well, I'm getting tired and have to wake up in 7 1/2 hours to drive four hours.

I know I have had gramatical errors. This one probably has more because I am too tired to proof read.

Watch out for the potholes and please pray that we all grow spiritually on this trip.

The Difference Between a Nation of Christians and a Christian Nation

Ben Brown gave a great reply. One that I mainly agree with. However, I still don't think I could convince somebody that Christian Exodus is not something God would call people to. I'll go through and reply to Ben's comments. It will be like I'm talking to him, but don't feel like you're invading our privacy by reading. This is the internet after all. And Ben, if you want to reply to my reply in your blog I'll put a link to that post in here.

"The difficulty(s), I think, would form along "denominational" lines. Christianity isn't necessarily suited to the democractic model. There are denominations that consider abortion ok, there are denominations that think women cutting their hair is sinful. If we tried to form a Christian nation it couldn't be 100% democratic. People would try to find biblical basis for their own view, but as most of us know people can find "justification" for just about anything if they know how to look."

Two issues here that I would like to talk about. First, I would agree that democracy probably isn't the government that would allow people to be led by God moreso than some other form of government. It does appear to be the form of government where people reap what they sow a lot quicker than they would in another form. If we are a stupid and shallow people, we will elect stupid and shallow leaders. If we are God-fearing people, then we would elect God-fearing leaders. So if a nation that is democratic is filled with genuine Christians, then the nation would be on the right track.

Now onto "denominational" lines. I do not know of a Christian whose life shows they are seeking God, who holds the Bible up at the foremost authority, and still thinks abortion is ok. There are disagreements when it comes to the life of the mother amongst Christians, but I do not think there is any disagreement otherwise. Christian Exodus would not attract those who believe that the American government has already made all of the right decisions anyway. And as for the more legalistic branches of Christianity, Christian Exodus has already stated what they believe. Either you believe these things and hop on or you don't believe them and stay where you are. Here is their statement of faith. I have a problem with one of them, but that is another topic for another day.

So far I am not convinced Christian Exodus is unbiblical or out of God's will. We'll continue on.

"Then the problem becomes dissatisfied people breaking off and forming their own groups. The precedent has already been set by breaking off into the larger group of Christians, what's to stop a smaller group from doing the same thing if they don't like the brand of Christianity that's currently predominant. It's a logistical nightmare. When the kingdom comes it's not going to be a democracy, why try to cram it into that hole now?"

This wasn't a problem during the time when America was colonized (or taken over depending on your perspective). There were many places for different groups to go and live together. I don't Christian Exodus is saying they are trying to bring the kingdom of God about through government. I think they are saying what I said in another post - being godly in government should not be something excluded from the being godly list. We accept that we are to be godly in our families, careers, and church life, but when it comes to government we shut the godly meter off. Saying they are trying to be the new Israel or the kingdom of God is a misrepresentation of their stance. They just want to live in a nation where they don't have to continually wash their hands of their nation's perpetual sins. A nation will sin. Just like it is for individuals, sins are much worse when they are conscious and continual. I feel guilt for our nation's sin of abortion every time I think about it because I am an American. I am partly responsible because we live in a democracy and I have a say in what happens.

"I don't disagree that God makes all things possible, but just because something is possible doesn't necessarily mean it's a good idea. We're call to be "in the world, but not of the world." By separating ourselves we're not really doing that. Also, how much less are we a witness to those around us, when we're not even around. You asked whether it would hurt our witness, and I am left wondering if our witness would still exist. Would we live, work, fellowship, wholly exist within this new nation? If so why leave? We'd send out missionaries to the outside world, but then how is that any different from what the church is doing now. A few doing the work that the many should be doing."

I could use the same arguments you used for subjects such as house church to home schooling to going away on retreats. Why take all of the good Christians out of the institutional church? How can you children be a witness to the world if they aren't in public school? How can you be an effective Christian if you are going into isolation for a period of time? Sometimes things have to happen that separate us from those around us, whether for a moment or a lifetime, that will enable the Gospel to grow. Our witness is not limited to our personal relationships. Although I believe in personal evangelism, I do believe many Christians have the tendency to use our relationships as manipulative tools rather than for authentic friendship.

An example of effective evangelism is found in the book Celtic Way of Evangelism. It talks about how Ireland and Northern Europe was won to the Lord.

The general concept in their evangelism was the monastery. Don't think of what the monastery has become, but realize what its original intention was. I think this illustration parallels the goal of Christian Exodus. Technology has made people in a state like South Carolina just as close to the rest of the world due to all of the improvements in communication and transportation just as people who once lived in Europe outside of a community were close to the community they wanted to minister to. In a weird and maybe unhealthy way, I am closer to people who live around our nation than I am to people who live 100 yards from me. In Celtic Way of Evangelism, George Hunter describes how the Christians would move to a location outside of a community, establish a monastery, and start living out the Christian life together. It wasn't about evangelism; it was about being real Christians living together. As a result of this, the communities they were living outside of saw God's love and were eventually included into their communities. Before long, the people in the other community were living out the Christian life, realized this, and decided they were Christians. The book focuses on the difference between Christianity being a lifestyle to be lived compared to a set of belief statements to be acknowledged.

I strongly believe that the greatest evangelistic tool Christians have is just being authentic Christians living together. That was the drive that encouraged me to start the church in Lansing. That is the drive that penetrates my ministries now. There is no apologetic trick or evangelistic method that will create real Christians besides us being real Christians.

A person's witness is not limited to their personal relationships. As a matter of fact, William Bradford, who lived in the 1620s, just witnessed to me today. I wanted to read the Mayflower Compact to see whether it was overtly Christian or not. It was. The whole purpose of starting the colony appears to be to bring glory to God. This is where I have a problem saying Christian Exodus is wrong. Although, I agree partly with everything you wrote. I understand the fear of separating the people of Christ from the world. I don't think democracy is the form of government God intended for the world. I fear the continual fragmentation of Christianity. However, I still can't say Christian Exodus is out of God's will. It appears to be a continuation of His will. He has sent people to start nations in the past, from Abraham to John Calvin to American colonists, and will probably continue to do similar things in the future. But I get the feeling that everyone around me is saying this is not something God would do. How can it not be something God would do if it is something God has done? Please let me know why and where my logic is faulty. I want to know the right answer.

Christian Exodus might not, in God's mind, be a witness for today. It might be for tomorrow. God is at work for the redemption of the world. And if Christian Exodus can somehow bring about that, He is all for it. I still don't see where it exacerbates problems that are already occurring. It seems like it would fix some while being a light for the world of how people who claim to follow God should live together.

Also, some non-Christians will still live in South Carolina, so it isn't like they will be living in a Christian bubble.

"I'm at work, so I need to go, but I think it's a pipe dream to think that a christian nation could even exist. And a bad idea if it ever came to fruition."

I think I would agree again. But I do think there is a difference between a Christian nation and a group of people who are Christians that comprise a nation. A Christian nation would be arrogant and proud. As a matter of fact, I think America makes this claim. A nation of Christians would be humble and serving. Quick to help the rest of the world in an instant. Loving in every way possible. It wouldn't accept sin while at the same time trying to reform the sinner. It would be everything a good church should be because it would just another ministry of the church (God's people). The kingdom is God's. We are just caretakers for a temporal time.

Watch out for the potholes.