Saturday News Roundup #96

Worth Knowing

  • Marty Funderburk: Songwriter Marty Funderburk had quadruple heart bypass surgery yesterday. According to the most recent updates on his Facebook page, he has come off of the ventilator and the heart monitors show evidence that he came through well.
  • Swanee River Boys: Buford Abner, member of the Swanee River Boys from the 1930s through 1970, passed away on November 19th. He is as remembered today for his songwriting; two of his songs that have been recorded in recent years are “Up to the House of Prayer” (Dixie Echoes, Poet Voices), “Worrying” (Bishops), and “I Get Happy” (Blackwood Brothers, Inspirations). John Crenshaw wrote an excellent biographical obituary, posted here.
  • Kingsmen: Brandon Reese and his wife Shannon were expecting a baby girl, to be named Ava Bentley Reese. Facebook comments indicate that she has been born. Reese is manager of and former drummer for the Kingsmen.
  • Kingsmen: Ray Dean Reese’s prostate cancer surgery was two and a half weeks ago; according to this update, he is on the road to recovery.

Worth Reading

  • Somewhat off topic, though discussion of both C.S. Lewis and Rob Bell has been making the rounds in Southern Gospel circles lately: Credo House’s Parchment & Pen blog poses the question, “Why do we love C.S. Lewis and hate Rob Bell?” Author C. Michael Patton answers the question by saying that Lewis’s body of work is more focused on the central truths of the Christian faith. But while getting there, he makes a fascinating point: Focus aside, when you actually compare their doctrines, Lewis embraced even more heresy than Bell.

Worth Watching

Since their latest album came out, the Collingsworth Family has evidently started opening concerts with this classic hymn:

Worth Discussing

It’s open thread Saturdayโ€”you decide!


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45 Letters to the Editor

Southern Gospel Journal welcomes letters to the editor. We will post the most thoughtful and insightful submissions. Ground rules: Don't attack or belittle groups or fellow posters, or advance heresies rejected by orthodox Christianity. Do keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic.
  1. The inerrancy and evolution things aren’t really looming issues (even though I think theistic evolution is kind of all wet). But he’s probably no worse off than Rob Bell there.

    I’d have to explore the Pelagian thing.

    It does appear that he may have had a confused view of the atonement. However, this may be partly due to his being an adult convert. And admittedly, the exact nature of the atonement IS a little strange and mysterious. Then again, we can’t say he’s any worse off than Rob Bell here, because Rob Bell tries to deny the whole purpose of the cross.

    The inclusivism thing. A lot of people get confused about this. Yes, the story of Emeth does lead people to jump to the conclusion that Lewis thought everybody would get a second chance. I think that’s an exaggeration and a misconception, because while under Rob Bell’s thinking, Emeth could say “Hey, I got here by believing in Tash,” that’s impossible under Lewis’s thinking. Emeth MUST worship Aslan when he sees him, or else he cannot have eternal life. But he does. He sort of defines the noble heathen. Now, there is obviously controversy over whether God gives the noble heathen a chance to worship Him in the after-life, and that’s a debate with a long history. In fact, Martin Luther even hinted at the possibility. However, what Bell has done is far worse. He’s calling into question the existence of a Hell at all, and he’s implying that there really can be more than one way to Heaven. He’ll take what Martin Luther said and then run with it and pretend Luther’s view was closer to his than it actually was.

    Ah yes, I almost forgot praying for the dead. Well, then there’s the question of whether you can believe Catholic heresies and still be saved. I think you can (even though of course I don’t, as a good Protestant), but some might disagree. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m going to say that even if this is officially a heresy Bell may not embrace (so Lewis technically has “more”), it’s not as [edit!] as what Bell is promulgating.

    • Evolution is more significant than many realize. But then, regulars around here already knew that. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Someone asked my mom if she had “hangups” about evolution. Her icy response: “I prefer to call them ‘doubts’.”

        He lost that argument.

      • Hey, um, just to clarify, I used the word “[edit]” in a very serious sense there. I wasn’t swearing, I was giving it its proper biblical weight. Just so people don’t sit there wondering “what did he edit???”

      • Sorry – even in the form of an explanation, that word will not be used on this website.

      • But it’s a biblical term. I was talking about eternal [edit]. I wasn’t swearing.

        I think we have a failure to communicate here.

      • Yes, there is indeed a failure to communicate. So permit me to be more clear: Even though the word can be used in a theological context, most of the time it is used (in the USA, today), it is used as a swear word. Therefore, it will not be allowed on this site.

  2. Is it not a word that’s in the Bible, though maybe not that form? If it’s the one I’m guessing, I’d consider it perfectly appropriate; our pastor and my dad have occasionally used it in church. As in, you better take this really serious, because it can send you to hell forever.

    On the original point of C S Lewis, I can’t buy into him yet. Even your defense YGG didn’t do anything but make me raise my eyebrows. ๐Ÿ™‚ Although I used to hear Ravi Zacharias quote some good stuff from him. I’ll stick to John Wesley.

    • It does appear in some translations.

      • Gehenna.

        Hades.

        Just seeing if this would get through.

        Completely tongue-in-cheek.

    • It’s everywhere in the Bible. It appears constantly in major books of the New Testament.

      Mind you, I don’t have a lot of time or patience for people who say “Well hey, Paul used a crude Greek word for excrement, so that means we can use a strong English profanity ‘cuz it’s ‘biblical.’ ” This isn’t the same thing.

      • That is completely dependent on the translation used. It does not appear in most translations from the last century or twoโ€”because its primary meaning today is no longer cultural. We now use a non-swear word that has the same theological meaning.

    • Amy, if it helps, the author of the article was somewhat misleading in that he implied Lewis’s view of the atonement to be settled. There actually wasn’t any one “view” that he preached as definite. He had a hard time understanding the atonement, and he offered a couple models that he found helpful, but that doesn’t mean he was closed to other models.

  3. Ygg, i understand your point cause I’m a KJV guy all the way. And Daniel If we cant use words because people have turned them into swear words then Hell and even God would be off limits as well. And I’m sure the biblical word for donkey is WAY off limits. Daniel’s blog and He makes the rules but I dont look at ygg’s use of the word as swearing no more than I look at the uses of Hell in previous post as swearing.

    • I know that YGG is among a very tiny minority that would disagree, but most reasonable people agree that languages do change over time.

      • Daniel, we agree with you that language changes over time. It’s just that many reasonable people disagree with you about specific applications of that principle. You seem to be implying that Amy, her pastor, myself, and others who would have no problem with using the word in its proper biblical context are unreasonable.

      • Based on comments you’ve made in the past, I am surprised to hear you admit that – pleasantly surprised, but surprised nonetheless.

      • If this weren’t such a serious conversation, I would find this statement humorous. Because of its nature, however, I’ll call it ironic instead. Ironic that, Daniel, my friend, you are comfortable with the fact that “languages do change over time”–to the point that you disallow and frown upon the usage of words that are in the vernacular for Christians and used with only their intended Biblical meaning–but think that it is damaging to and disadvantageous for a church if that organization chooses to use a contemporary or altered melodic and rhythmic structure of “Amazing Grace” WITHOUT CHANGING THE WORDS.

        Inadvertently (I hope), it seems as though you have placed a greater importance on the melody of a hymn rather than preserving the integrity of the words of scripture stemming from THE original English translation.

      • Jordan, before being so pronounced in expressing your disagreement, it would help to have your facts straight. There were several English-language translations prior to the King James Version, and I happen to have three sitting on my own bookshelf – Wycliffe, Tyndale, and Geneva. (And those weren’t all!)

      • My apologies, and thank you for the correction.

        The fact that the KJV is not the first English translation has little relevance on the discussion here however.

        To each his own, though. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • It does, which is why I had been wondering why you brought it into the discussion. ๐Ÿ™‚

        I still read the KJV in my daily devotions! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I think I know the word and I would have to agree with YGG and others. In fact, Jeremy brought up the points I was going. Granted in the donkey thing, except in church setting, I would use another choice. As far as hell, there really isn’t much of a substitute. In particular in the usage of Eternal you know what (I presume it ends in “nation’) I would think that isn’t so much used as a swearword. The part without “nation” or that with “ed” added on and such CAN be used as curse words, but so can others. In fact, my pastor did use that word (with apologies) in a Sunday night sermon to say that when people curse with that, they are taking Christ’s place who is the only one who has the right to do such.

      The thing is, satan corrupts what is and that can include words. In fact, one could argue that men and women shouldn’t sleep together because it can be used as evil. We shouldn’t own TVS or radios because they are used for evil.

      With that said, choosing other words when we can is probably a good idea and Daniel has the right to set the standards here (even though we disagree). I do have to wonder how that particular word gets it while hell doesn’t and if the synonym for donkey would. (I probably know the answer to that one). I also wonder if the Bible verses were quoted here or songs like “What Child Is This” were quoted including the original part with the other word for donkey.

  4. In the spirit of this being an open thread:

    Merriam-Webster defines “blasphemy” as “the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God”

    Question: When a secular singer who is unsaved records Christian Christmas carols proclaiming Jesus Lord, and doesn’t mean a word of it, is that blasphemy?

    Is it foreshadowing the day when every knee will bow and every tongue confess Jesus Christ as Lord?

    Or… is it both?

  5. The bible says let everything that has breath Praise the Lord. So I don’t think it is blasphemy. I think a majority of these people singing these songs have been deceived into thinking as long as they believe in God they are saved. But the bible says even the devils believe and tremble so I don’t think just saying you believe is good enough. It is about how you live your life as well

    • But if they are singing words they do not mean, is that genuinely praising the Lord? Or is it just lip service (if that)?

      • How do you know if they are unsaved or are singing words they do not mean?

        I’m not ready to assume that all secular singers are unbelievers. Are teachers at a Christian school any more of a believer than teachers at a public school?

      • Re-read what I said: “When a secular singer who is unsaved”

        – the fact that I added that qualifier indicates that I do not believe that every secular singer is unsaved. If every secular singer was unsaved, I would not need to add that qualifier. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Good point, must’ve skipped over that part

      • OK – whew! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. I forgot to add as well that the bible also say let everyone that nameth the name of the Lord depart from iniquity, so it is more disobedience than blasphemy in my opinion.

    • Is that a command given to the saved/believers, or the unsaved?

  7. I understand your point and I agree it is lip service but I dont think it is blasphemy. Blasphemy is the one unpardonable sin so I don’t use that term lightly. And Jesus never told anyone to stop worshiping him no matter what their spiritual condition was so I think praise is never out of order.

  8. Well the scripture reference is II Tim chapter 2 where Paul is referring to two people who have been teaching that the resurrection had already happened and he is warning that if you name the name of the Lord you need to live and teach right so my point was if you shouldn’t name the name if you don’t followingn His teaching, but I don’t
    that raises to the level of blasphemy.

  9. Sorry for the typos. Typing on iphone… Will try to proofread better…

  10. Excuse me. This conversation saying someone non christian that sings christian Christmas Carols proclaiming Jesus is lord. Isn’t that still taking the message to the prople. You don’t tell a rocker he can’t listen to Opera. Or Mozart. They are classics meant to be enjoyed by everyone.

    If the message of a Christian Carol got through to one person isn’t worth it. People make to much out about whether it is right or wrong they miss the point of what is important ant is taking the word out there. No matter who sings it.

    And what’s wrong with just enjoying a beautiful song?
    Do I believe it’s that simple? Yes I do.

    • >>And whatโ€™s wrong with just enjoying a beautiful song?

      If the highest value in the universe is beauty, then there is nothing wrong.

      If the highest value in the universe is the glory of God, then it is possible that enjoying a song we might perceive as beautiful may not be to God’s glory.

  11. In answer to the question โ€œWhy do we love C.S. Lewis and hate Rob Bell?โ€, I’ve not read much of either so can’t say that I love C.S. Lewis. I don’t know. I do know that I read a variety of authors and, even if I disagree with an author theologically, if the book is not total heresy, I can usually hang in with it. From what I know of Lewis, I think his books were written to encourage people to think and ponder deeper truths of the Christian faith and I’m sure some were written while he was searching. I did hear part of an audiobook of “Screwtape Letters” and it was excellent.

    When Christ returns, everyone will be judged for every word they say (or write). The little I’ve read of C.S. Lewis didn’t seem to be leading people away from God. Not sure I can say the same of Rob Bell.

  12. Great article. I’ve long been a reader of Lewis’ works. I believe it was fairly written and provided some insight. I am aware of his evolution thoughts (and at this time, in Britain, Gap Theory was an acceptable view…personally, I don’t think it’s twisting Scripture to hold this view, although I do believe in a literal 6 day Creation), and the innerancy clip, but I was surprised these writers wrote about his view of Substitutionary Atonement to mean something else. Of everything I have read and studied about the man from, either his own writing and biographers and people that knew him, I have never gathered that exactly, at least to dismissing it altogether.

    I have understood it as the New Perspective on Paul, or NPP, held by Cranfield, Dunn, and most notably N.T. Wright. But that’s all making the distinctions and connections between rightly communicating what is truly at the core.

    But as the article indicates, some theological subjects are primary. And some are secondary. Rob Bell has slipped with the primary things.

  13. Great job by the Collingsworth family!! They are fantastic!

  14. The KJV is the version of a European king. Why is everyone so opposed to hearing it in a way I can understand and properly apply?

    • It isn’t that much trouble to learn a few older words. Yes, language changes, and yes, a few of the words’ meanings have changed to the point that they are no longer used in polite conversation. But it really isn’t that much trouble to learn a few thees and thous!

  15. And, it isn’t that much trouble to accept updated language that can reach a larger number of people with the message. To have to explain the message AND the “thees and thous” to a new convert is not only bad stewardship of time, but also of resources. To insist on the KJV only – one should also insist that the Inspirations sing only Gregorian chants.

    • I would be able to see my way clear to that position rather easier if it weren’t for the far wider base of textual support for the traditional text.

  16. “textual support for the traditional text” . . . hmmm..

    I guess we will have to let the discussion stop there due to lack of discussual support. ;0)

    • ๐Ÿ™‚ True. Support for the reading of the traditional text comes from 80% (low end) to 99% (high end) of the witnesses available in any given passage, from witnesses that are virtually always as old or older than the earliest for the critical text, and from witnesses with a broad base of geographic support (while the modern/critical text’s support is so predominantly Egyptian that it’s sometimes called the Alexandrian text).