Truth from Arkansas! Sunday Sermon Series, #67

It’s Two-fer-Tuesday, my friends, which normally means two new sermons from the brethren down in Arkansas.

We do have Pastor Roger Copeland at Northern Hills Baptist Church in Texarkana preaching from Luke 1:67-80 on “The Benedictus.” This sermon was delivered on Sunday, January 3rd.

However, there isn’t a sermon from Pastor Cody Andrews for that particular Sunday because services at Holly Springs Missionary Baptist Church in Star City were suspended due to an outbreak of COVID-19.

Pastor Roger Copeland – The Benedictus

Kazan Redux Resumes!

Nope, I’m not a movie fan by any stretch of the imagination (especially Star Wars movies! 😖), however, I’ve been a student of film and theater director, Elia Kazan (1909-2003), for fifty years. Some of you younger readers may have never heard of him, but back in the late-1940s and 1950s, Kazan was widely considered to be the most influential film and theatrical director in the United States. Many of the topics he tackled in his movies and plays were very controversial at the time. Kazan loved to expose the foibles and hypocrisies of humanity/society and I enjoy culling spiritual lessons and applications from his material.

I had previously reviewed all of Kazan’s nineteen films over the period of December 2016 to December 2017. If you blog long enough, you’re liable to repeat yourself, so in January 2020 I got the bug to re-watch and re-review all of Kazan’s films, but I only got as far as #11, “East of Eden,” back in July. What prompted the long pause? I forget, but my email inbox has been flooded with demands to get back on track! 🤭 Not!

One of my blogging resolutions for 2021 is to resume the Kazan Redux series where I left off and finish the eight remaining films. Hopefully, I’ll publish the first of the re-reviews next week. Once I’m done with this series, folks, I seriously don’t foresee a Kazan re-redux series down the road.

Below are handy links to my 2020 Kazan Redux re-reviews of the director’s first eleven movies:

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945) – 5 Stars – A family clings to hope despite the ravages of alcoholism – featuring Dorothy McGuire, James Dunn, Joan Blondell, and Peggy Ann Garner

The Sea of Grass (1947) – 2 Stars – A cattle baron competes with homesteaders – Spencer Tracy, Katherine Hepburn, Melvyn Douglas, and Robert Walker

Boomerang (1947) – 4 Stars – A district attorney resists pressures to prosecute an innocent man – Dana Andrews, Jane Wyatt, Lee J. Cobb, Arthur Kennedy, Cara Williams, and Karl Malden

Gentleman’s Agreement (1947) – 4 Stars – A Gentile journalist feigns a Jewish identity in order to expose anti-Semitism in the U.S.A. – Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire, Celeste Holm, and John Garfield

Pinky (1949) – 4 Stars – A bi-racial woman navigates bigotry in the Deep South – Jeanne Crain, Ethel Waters, and Ethel Barrymore

Panic in the Streets (1950) – 5 Stars – A New Orleans medical examiner must stem a virus outbreak before it turns into an epidemic – Richard Widmark, Paul Douglas, Barbara Bel Geddes, Walter (Jack) Palance, and Zero Mostel

A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) – 5 Stars – A distraught and desperate Southern Belle enters into what she believes is a safe harbor only to discover it’s a cobra’s den – Vivien Leigh, Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, and Kim Hunter

Viva Zapata! (1952) – 4 Stars – A Mexican revolutionary fights for the peasantry – Marlon Brando, Jean Peters, and Anthony Quinn

Man on a Tightrope (1953) – 4 Stars – A ramshackle circus attempts to escape Soviet Eastern Europe – Fredric March, Terry Moore, Gloria Grahame, and Cameron Mitchell

On the Waterfront (1954) – 5 Stars – A longshoreman takes on his corrupt union – Marlon Brando, Eva Marie Saint, Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb, and Rod Steiger

East of Eden (1955) – 5 Stars – A rebellious son tries to win the affection of his unloving father – James Dean, Julie Harris, Raymond Massey, Richard Davalos, and Jo Van Fleet

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 1/16/21

Female Catholics are already being utilized as “lectors” (photo above) and “eucharistic ministers” here in the United States, but Francis standardized the practices worldwide via official modifications to Canon Law. This is a preliminary step to women eventually being ordained as Catholic deacons. Missing in all of this inclusive posturing is the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.

As the EWTN Catholic media conglomerate veers increasingly towards the religious-political far-right, it’s shedding supporters of progressive pope Francis and propagators of “wokeness.”

Behind the veil of serenity that’s presented to the credulous membership, Catholic priests, prelates, and laity fiercely battle amongst themselves over the “authenticity” of various alleged Marian apparitions. It’s all a deception.

Catholics and liberal Lutherans under the umbrella of the Lutheran World Federation have been striving for unity since the publication of the nebulous “Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification” in 1999.

Roman Catholicism teaches Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus and even atheists are able to merit Heaven if they are “good” and “follow they light they are given,” so there is zero motivation for Catholics to proselytize anyone to their false religion.

Gospel Christians aren’t concerned about the salvation of theoretical aliens when there are so many unsaved souls right here on Planet Earth, including Roman Catholics. When this priest speaks of “redemption,” he’s referring to Catholicism’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit.

Roman Catholic news sources are boasting that Catholics are disproportionately represented in Congress as well as on the bench of the SCOTUS. President-elect Joe Biden is also a Roman Catholic. This would have been a serious concern one-hundred years ago, when the Vatican still propagated militant Catholicism in league with authoritarian civil governments, but the threat of Catholic hegemony and authoritarianism is no longer a serious consideration. Catholic prelates can’t even get their membership to attend obligatory mass on Sunday (pre-COVID) let alone “take over” the country.

The conflation of faith and politics/nationalism has always been a temptation for American evangelicals, going back to the Puritan immigrants in the early 1600s, but Jerry Falwell Sr. and his Moral Majority took it to a whole ‘nother level beginning in the early-1980s. The nadir of this religious-political-nationalist mindset was the protest in Washington D.C. on January 6th, which culminated in the violent assault on the U.S. Capitol Building. There are great spiritual dangers that come with mixing the Gospel and politics. Many unbelievers in this country now wrongly assume that Gospel Christianity equates to Trump-ism, MAGA-ism, and pandemic-denial-ism.

Evangelical scholars examine Roman Catholicism with spotty results

Roman Catholicism: Evangelical Protestants Analyze What Divides and Unites Us
John Armstrong, General Editor
Moody Bible Institute, 1994, 345 pp.

3 Stars

In 1994, with American society increasingly heading towards secularization, influential evangelical para-church leader, Chuck Colson, and Roman Catholic priest, Richard John Neuhaus, founded Evangelicals and Catholics Together (ECT), an ecumenical initiative meant to bridge/overlook/minimize theological differences and unite both groups against the perceived common threat. The effort elicited a wide range of responses within evangelicalism. Faithful pastors and theologians countered that the differences between Roman Catholicism and Gospel Christianity were far too wide and even irreconcilable. Others were increasingly open to Catholic overtures, which began thirty-years earlier at the Second Vatican Council when the RCC radically altered its approach to Protestants, from militant confrontation to conciliatory rapprochement.

This book from Moody Press was published shortly after the release of the first ECT accord. Thirteen evangelical scholars examine the doctrines that continue to divide Catholics and evangelical Protestants. There are a myriad of un-Biblical Catholic doctrines that Gospel Christians could not submit to (e.g., papal authority, sacred tradition, baptismal regeneration, sacerdotalism, transubstantiation, Mariology, purgatory, etc.), but the opposing views on justification stands as the prime difference. Martin Luther famously argued that justification is the doctrine on which the church stands or falls.

Gospel Christians believe a person is justified/made righteous before God only by trusting in Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone and thereby receiving the imputed (alien, extrinsic, objective, forensic) perfect righteousness of Christ. Catholicism, in contrast, teaches that its sacraments infuse saving graces into an individual’s soul. By then “cooperating with grace” (i.e., obeying the Ten Commandments, performing acts of piety and charity) a person can become increasingly sanctified (personal, intrinsic, subjective) and can hope to “possibly” merit* salvation at the time of their death. Okay, let’s forget the theological terminology. Evangelicals believe they are saved by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. Catholics hope to be saved by sacramental grace and obedience to the Ten Commandments (impossible!). The two views are diametrically opposed and cannot be reconciled.

Several of the writers acknowledge that Roman Catholicism’s doctrine of justification is NOT the Gospel, yet still conclude that the RCC is a Christian institution and that Catholics are “brothers and sisters” in the Lord. This is a dichotomous accommodation that defies rationality and theology. In his article, Alistair McGrath goes to great lengths in an attempt to prove that the contrasting “approaches” to justification are two sides to the same coin. To his credit, McGrath also points out that in contrast to ecumenical “dialogues,” where Catholic representatives readily assent to theoretical “salvation by grace through faith,” Catholicism continues to teach such things as purgatory, indulgences, and masses and prayers for the dead, which reveal the RCC continues as a works-righteousness religious system.

The articles by S. Lewis Johnson, Kim Riddlebarger, Michael Horton, William Webster and John Armstrong are faithful to the Gospel of grace and do not make accommodations to Rome’s false gospel of sacramental grace and merit. This book is a mixed bag, but valuable for revealing evangelicals’ increasingly accommodating attitudes towards Rome twenty-six years ago. There’s no doubt that ecumenical compromise and betrayal of the Gospel has made further inroads since then.

Chapters:

  1. One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church – Thomas J. Nettles
  2. How Did the Church in Rome Become Roman Catholicism – D. Clair Davis
  3. What Really Caused the Great Divide? – W. Robert Godfrey
  4. Roman Catholic Theology Today – Robert B. Strimple
  5. Mary, the Saints, and Sacerdotalism – S. Lewis Johnson
  6. Is Spirituality Enough? Differing Models for Living – Donald G. Bloesch
  7. Unhelpful Antagonism and Unhealthy Courtesy – Harold O.J. Brown
  8. Evangelical and Catholic Cooperation in the Public Arena – Ronald Nash
  9. What Shall We Make of Ecumenism? – Alister E. McGrath
  10. No Place Like Rome? Why Are Evangelicals Joining the Catholic Church? – Kim Riddlebarger
  11. What Still Keeps Us Apart? – Michael S. Horton
  12. Did I Really Leave the Holy Catholic Church? The Journey into Evangelical Faith and Church Experience – William Webster
  13. The Evangelical Movement? – John H. Armstrong

*Back in the 1960s, when I was a young Catholic, the Roman church had no reservations about using the term, “merit,” in association with attaining salvation. Since then, the term has fallen out of favor (partly as a concession to evangelical proselytization) and Catholics will insist that they absolutely are not attempting to merit their salvation. However, the church’s catechism reveals merit is still the bottom line of Catholicism’s salvation system:

“Since the initiative belongs to God in the order of grace, no one can merit the initial grace of forgiveness and justification, at the beginning of conversion (i.e., baptism). Moved by the Holy Spirit and by charity, we can then merit for ourselves and for others the graces needed for our sanctification, for the increase of grace and charity, and for the attainment of eternal life.” – CCC 2010

Throwback Thursday: Rick Warren and Rome

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on March 4, 2016 and has been revised.

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Rick Warren’s Dangerous Ecumenical Path to Rome
By Roger Oakland
Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2015, 20 pages

Popular Southern Baptist, mega-church pastor, Rick Warren, aka “America’s Pastor,” has been courting the Roman Catholic church for many years. But even Rome-friendly, evangelical ecumenists were somewhat taken aback by Warren’s unabashed and forthright endorsement of Catholicism in his 2014 interview on EWTN (Catholic) television (see link below).

In the interview, Warren stated his personal fondness and endorsement of Catholic contemplative mysticism, the pope, ecumenical social projects, Catholicism’s New Evangelization program, spiritual directors, EWTN television, and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.

In this short booklet, evangelical apologist, Roger Oakland, examines Warren’s shocking statements in comparison to God’s Word and the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. The Catholic church teaches salvation by sacramental grace and merit, a different “gospel,” but that’s definitely not a problem for Warren who is quite comfortable throwing correct doctrine out the window. He nebulously states that as long as you “love Jesus, we’re on the same team,” whatever that means.


World Over hosted by Raymond Arroyo
EWTN
4/10/2014
Guest, Rick Warren
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVCY8pW-ACs

Rick Warren’s comments on Roman Catholicism
Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry
https://carm.org/rick-warren-and-catholicism

Note: “Rick Warren’s Dangerous Ecumenical Path to Rome” is out-of-print, but other materials about Roman Catholicism from Lighthouse Trails Publishing can be found here.

Catholic talk radio host, Mother Miriam, advises her listeners to “oppose” pope Francis

I don’t get a chance to listen to Catholic talk radio like I used to, but back on December 8th, I was driving down the road and I tuned into the local AM Catholic radio station. The program being broadcast at that moment was “Mother Miriam Live,” hosted by Catholic nun, Mother Miriam (aka Rosalind Moss, photo above). Miriam is a protégé of über-conservative cardinal, Raymond Burke, and a propagator of traditional, militant, pre-conciliar Catholicism and an outspoken critic of the Catholic progressivism being disseminated by pope Francis and other liberal prelates and priests. She often criticizes pope Francis on her show while dichotomously feigning fealty to the papal office.

Halfway though the December 8th program, Mother Miriam read an email from a discouraged listener regarding pope Francis’ recent Fratelli Tutti (All Brothers) encyclical. I’ve transcribed Mother Miriam’s remarks below with the listener’s written words italicized:


“We have an email from Frank who writes, Dearest Mother Miriam, I am very troubled by pope Francis’s latest encyclical, “Fratelli Tutti” (All Brothers). This encyclical seems more like a communist manifesto rather than a call to holiness. We’ve not talked about that on this program. I’m going to read Frank’s email because he describes why he has said that. I think it’s important that we do read it because so many people are confused if not distraught by it. Frank says, The Holy Father outlines his recipe for rebuilding a post-pandemic world beginning with a complete restructuring of politics and civil discourse in order to create systems prioritizing the community and the poor rather than individual or market interests. The pope criticizes heavily democratic forms of government that value individual and personal freedom and favors a socialist form of government where globalist elites look out for the common good. Communists always love the masses, but disdain the individual and want to control their lives. The pope seems blind to this reality. Now this is Frank writing. I don’t know, I wouldn’t personally say the pope is blind to this reality. Frank continues, This encyclical seems more concerned on the false promise of creating an impossible utopia on earth instead of a focus on the true promise of how to obtain eternal life for our souls in Heaven. Sadly, Frank continues, there are also, it seems, direct shots against President Trump. For example, where the pope laments, quote, the concept of popular and national unity influenced by various ideologies is creating new forms of selfishness and a loss of the social sense under the guise of defending national interests, endquote. Frank says, I pray for the Holy Father, but would appreciate your thoughts on how faithful Catholics may respond to this latest encyclical. God bless you always, Frank.

“I even hesitated reading Frank’s email because I agree with Frank and it’s very, very difficult. The way we’re going, the Holy Father together with, what Frank calls, some elites in the world, billionaires who are striving for a one-world government and really to control the masses. Much of what’s going on with COVID, COVID is real, but much of what’s going on is to, I remember Hillary Clinton and others saying, Let’s not waste a good crisis. And so they’ve used the COVID crisis to further their agenda for a one-world market and controlling the masses. So, I agree with you, Frank. What are we to do? How do faithful Catholics respond to this encyclical? I think by simply countering what is not Catholic and speaking of what is Catholic. God’s plan for us is not an earthly utopia, but a Heavenly one, eternal life, to repent, to be saved, to embrace Christ, and to be part of His church. The only way to get to Heaven is to be part of His church on earth. These sorts of encyclicals, and plans, and ideologies are leading us away from that and we cannot have it. We must cling to Christ, to the church, to the teachings of the church, which have not, will not, and cannot change, and to the Scriptures, and I would say our response to the pope’s encyclical is to triple our Catholicity, to begin to live your Catholic faith beyond anything you’ve lived before. To be strong and steadfast and be fully Catholic and oppose anything that is not Catholic, that will not get you to Heaven.”


Fascinating!

Catholic conservatives and traditionalists are caught in a tortuous (for them) Catch-22 bind. One of their most cherished tenets is absolute fealty to the pope, the alleged “Vicar of Christ” on Earth. Yet, progressive pope Francis is subverting their beloved church doctrines and propagating progressive political views. What does it say about the Roman Catholic church when conservative Catholic prelates, priests, nuns, and lay leaders are advising their followers to ignore and even oppose the pope? In practice, they have appointed themselves pope over the pope! Keep in mind that neither side in this Catholic tug-of-war, neither the progressives represented by pope Francis or the conservatives represented by Mother Miriam, teach the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. Both sides disseminate the RCC’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit.

Below is the video of the 12-08-20 program in question. Mother Miriam’s critical remarks about pope Francis’ Fratelli Tutti (All Brothers) encyclical begin at the 31:00 mark.

Truth from Arkansas! Sunday Sermon Series, #66

It’s Two-fer-Tuesday, my friends, which means two new sermons from the brethren down in Arkansas.

First, we have Pastor Roger Copeland of Northern Hills Baptist Church in Texarkana, preaching from Luke 1:46-56 on “Three Reasons to Magnify the Lord.”

Next, we have Pastor Cody Andrews of Holly Springs Missionary Baptist Church in Star City preaching from John 18:1-8 on “The Story Didn’t End at Christmas.”

Both of these sermons were delivered on Sunday, December 27th.

Pastor Roger Copeland – Three Reasons to Magnify the Lord

Pastor Cody Andrews – The Story Didn’t End at Christmas

Huh? Back to work?

Some of you are aware that I was unemployed for a very long stretch. Today, I have a good news update!

After working at Eastman Kodak and one of it’s offshoots, Kodak Alaris, for a total of 43 years, I was laid-off in September 2019. I had just turned sixty-three and was not in a position to retire outright. See my post about that event, here. Around the same time, my wife was forced to leave her job for medical reasons and go on short-term disability.

Kodak Alaris provided a three-month severance package, including three months of free “career transition” training, which I took advantage of. I learned how to search and apply for jobs using all of the latest tools and resources and began seeking employment in earnest. The economic picture here in Western New York is bleak, to say the least, but I applied to many jobs (eventually 130 total) and had several phone and in-person interviews, but no offers. There’s no doubt that my age was a huge liability. When the severance ran out, I applied for unemployment benefits. Then COVID-19 hit in March 2020 and millions joined me in the virtual unemployment line. New job postings slowed down significantly because of the pandemic. I kept applying, but began to resign myself to the fact that I probably wouldn’t work again. Thankfully, unemployment benefits were extended several times because of C-19 and my wife was also eventually granted long-term disability. We were able to pay our bills without dipping into our retirement savings.

Then, in early-December 2020, a recruiter from Company H reached out to me via email asking if I would be interested in a particular position. I had previously interviewed with Company H for a similar position, but I was rejected and I did not wish to go through their wringer again, so I ignored the email. Yes I did! But the recruiter, bless her, was persistent. She subsequently called me on the phone and I relented and went through another series of interviews with multiple H managers.

Incredibly, Company H offered me the job in mid-December! I accepted and was then kept busy going through the pre-employment hoops and finally reported to work for the first time this past Saturday. My schedule is Friday thru Sunday, 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. That’s certainly not an “ideal” schedule, but I’m so grateful to have a job. H is a very good company, probably the best of the two or three top-tier manufacturers remaining in Rochester. Thank you, God!

Much thanks to all my friends here at WordPress who prayed for me during my unemployment. I’m very conscious that millions upon millions of workers have lost their jobs as a result of C-19 and are facing serious financial challenges (not to mention the 374,000 C-19 related deaths in the U.S. alone).

One of the blessings of unemployment was being able to devote time to blogging. With my new job, I definitely won’t have as much time, especially Friday thru Sunday, so I anticipate posting a bit less frequently.

Thank you, again!

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 1/9/21

The big news this past week was obviously the assault on the U.S. Capitol building. Following the violence, I noticed that several of the news reports, including the article above, referred to the mayhem as a “sacrilege” and a “desecration” of the Capitol building. In American civil religion, certain government buildings and monuments are revered as religious temples. I’m very grateful for our democracy and I gladly offer proper respect, but man-made government/political institutions are not “sacred” or “holy.” For more on American civil religion, see here.

While on our last visit to Martinshöhe, Germany (pop. 1768) in 2016 to see our grandson, my wife and I took a walk around the village and noticed that the vast majority of houses had an inscription above the door written in chalk: 20*C+M+B+16. I had no idea no what the inscription meant, but subsequently found out.

The letters are an abbreviation of the Latin phrase, Christus mansionem benedicat: “May Christ bless this house.” The “*” represents the star of Bethlehem. The “+” signs represent the cross, and the “20” at the beginning and the “16” at the end (changes with each new year) mark the new year.

Catholics in Germany and other European countries mark their doors with this inscription at the Feast of the Epiphany (first week of January). Most German Catholics don’t bother attending mass on Sundays, but they zealously continue to mark their front door, superstitiously believing it will protect their home.

Protestant literature of the 19th century included many “convent escape narratives,” which presented first-hand accounts of abuse within Catholic convents by former-nuns. Catholic spokespersons of that era dismissed the books as sensationalistic fantasy and “Protestant porn,” but investigative journalism over the last twenty years has vindicated the allegations of widespread abuse among the “celibate” Catholic clergy.

German Catholic prelates are the vanguard of progressive Catholicism. This past October, Pope Francis shocked Catholic conservatives when underhandedly announced his support for same-sex civil unions via statements in a documentary. The Germans will continue to push the envelope even farther.

Great to see many are turning to God’s Word because of the C-19 pandemic.

Evangelical pastor and scholar, Leonardo De Chirico, presents interesting and informative articles examining Roman Catholicism at the beginning of each month.

I’m offering the above article, not because I’m in agreement with it, but because it recalls a controversy the first year I began this blog. Back in 2015, Larycia Hawkins, a professor at Wheaton College, sparked an uproar by expressing solidarity with Muslims and advocating Universalism. Hawkins was subsequently fired. I love Muslims, but they need Jesus Christ just like every lost religionist. Schools like Wheaton are drifting into theological liberalism.

Revisiting the Sword of the Lord

I’ve published several posts over the years that referred to “The Sword of the Lord.” The bi-weekly newspaper was once an important resource for a large faction of the independent fundamental Baptist (IFB) movement here in the United States. The Sword of the Lord was first published on September 28, 1934 by evangelist John R. Rice, who edited the paper until his death on December 29, 1980.

The first Gospel-preaching church my wife attended after we were saved in 1983 was an independent fundamental Baptist (IFB) church that offered complimentary copies of the Sword on its information table. I subsequently subscribed to the Sword and enjoyed the sermons, editorials, columns, and news bites. The Sword heavily promoted Christian nationalism, a VERY popular viewpoint within the IFB movement and conservative evangelicalism, then and now.

We gradually became exasperated with the teaching at our IFB church and finally left in 1991. The legalistic harangues from the pulpit were beyond burdensome. I had also let my subscription to the Sword run out several years previously for the same reason.

This past summer, I wrote several posts about the IFB that rekindled my “arms length” interest in the movement (although I could never again attend an IFB church). I even resubscribed to the Sword of the Lord. I enjoy most of the contents, although I consume editor Shelton Smith’s columns and news bites propagating Christian nationalism with a very large grain of salt. The principle of “chewing on the meat and spitting out the bones” applies each time I read the Sword.

On page 10 of the October 2, 2020 issue of the Sword I noticed the annual circulation statement that’s found in all periodicals. The statement said there were currently 41,774 subscribers to the paper. Hmm. Interesting.

The biography, “John R. Rice: Man Sent from God” (1981), featured a table on pp. 130-131 showing the circulation of the Sword peaking in 1974 with 288,184 subscribers. There’s now only 42K subscribers? Wow! That’s quite a decline. That’s an indicator not only of the growing unpopularity of print media, but also an indicator of the decline of the IFB.

As I was writing this post, I asked myself if I would rather attend an IFB church where the Gospel is clear, but members must contend with the legalistic harangues and shamings from the pulpit or attend a hipster, seeker-sensitive mega-church, like the one we attended from 2015 to 2019, where the Gospel is shrouded by the laser light shows and amplifiers? Ach. That’s an impossible choice, like asking yourself which poison you would prefer.