Thursday, April 28, 2005

The Best the Emerging Church Movement Has to Offer

I recently finished reading Radical Reformission by Mark Driscoll. Mr. Driscoll is part of what has come to be known as The Emerging Church Movement. In sum, this movement seeks to integrate "relevant" culture into the local church (by "emerging" or changing) so that the local church will be attractive to unbelievers in our "emerging culture." They believe that once people are immersed/connected into a local church, they have better chances of converting to Christianity. Radical Reformission has finally given me the desire to read a couple of the most influential works promoting The Emerging Church Movement. I will then be able to respond more fully to the movement. In other words, expect further articles on this subject down the line =)

Driscoll's work was very disappointing overall. He claims Calvinistic beliefs yet fails to apply them consistently to his ecclesiology. From the outset of his book, he bases his argument on misunderstandings about the purpose and function of the gathered assembly (the local church). He believes that it is primarily the local church's responsibility to evangelize during the gathered meetings. Driscoll could not be more wrong. The local church is comprised of believers, not unbelievers. Therefore, the local church does not need to adapt its services to unbelievers. Certainly unbelievers are welcome to attend services. But we will not dumb down our messages for them. We will not change our singing style to 101.5 FM simply because that is what they are familiar with. We will not dress down to make them feel like we're at the beach. If an unbeliever shows up, members should go out of our way to preach the gospel to them - not make them feel comfortable.

Furthermore, why is Mark Driscoll, a professing Calvinist, acting like an Arminian? As a Calvinist, why does he believe that our church services need to attract unbelievers for them to be saved? Why are we trying to impress unbelievers with flashy lights, the best sound systems, singing styles, and the list goes on.

You know what movement seems analogous to the Emerging Church Movement? Seeker Sensitivism - that we must be sensitive to those who are seeking. Is this not what the Emerging Church Movement is trying to do? ... Attract unbelievers to our churches so that they will first convert to the church community, then to Jesus Christ?

I suppose I should note that like ALL movements, not everything about this one is bad. They have an earnest desire to see people saved. But their view of the local church and of evangelism is out in left field.

Leading Emerging Churches: Vintage Faith Church, Saddleback Church, Willow Creek. Emerging Church authors I shall force myself to read: Rick Warren, Brian McLaren, Dan Kimball, and others *sigh*. How sad that I have already finished the best of all the Emerging Church books. Even then, it's a terrible book. Movements come and go, but Christ's Church will not be shaken.

"Good afternoon, American Family, this is Casey, how can I help you?"

My Tuesday was going along fine. Went to skewl. Then was at work. All is well. Unsuspectingly, I answered the telephone with my usual greeting: "Good afternoon, American Family, this is Casey, how can I help you?" The innocent voice on the other end began by coolly explaining her situation: "Yea. I have a problem. I'm really late on making my payment this month, and wanna know what we can do to fix that..."

Thinking nothing of this all-too-common situation, I immediately asked (on instinct) for the woman's last name so I could look up her billing account. Suddenly, the woman begins to giggle. Now, I understand that it can be a little embarassing to be way late on a payment. But I thought I recognized this client's name, so I asked if the last name was " ****** "?

This strange woman began laughing uncontrollably! Okay, now I'm confused. *What's so funny about being late on your payment?*

"Casey..." she said, "ooooh my."

"So this is Miss ******?" I asked.

"Casey ... this is Janet," she said, followed by more uncontrolled laughter.

Yes, Janet Wolfe was the culprit. LOL. We had a good laugh. She totally had me going.

(Oh, and if anyone else wants to call me at work, please, control those urges, and just call my cell phone. Otherwise, the boss might have something to say about it) =)

Thanks for the laugh Janks.

Mediums, Spirits, Demons, and Things

I was reviewing my Greek to English translation from 1 John 1:1-10 at Bucks when I was pleasantly interrupted by a long-time regular, Chris. I met Chris approximately four years ago. The Lord has provided many opportunities for me to discuss the gospel with him. He had a worried expression on his face as he asked me to talk with him outside. Chris informed me of his fears that his life was being ruined by Demons or evil spirits. He believes that his life has gone down hill ever since he screwed around with a "weegi" board back in 1995. He has consulted numerous mediums, spiritists, and Roman Catholic priests that might free him from his turmoil. Chris asked if I would pray for him. I, of course, said I would.

I was then able to show Chris some Biblical truths about his current situation. From Job, I showed how God is in control of all events in time: "Then Job answered the LORD and said, 2 'I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted'" (Job 42:1-2). Job declares this after all God put him through. Surely, the greatest lesson we learn from Job is that the Lord gives, and the Lord takes away - all according to His good pleasure. I told Chris that everything happening in his life was according to the plans and purposes of God.

Next, I told him that as long as he remains an unbeliever, he would be subject to Satan and his demons. We looked at Ephesians 2:1-3, "And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest." I pointed out Paul's argument that unbelievers are slaves to their sinful nature, and to the Devil's will.

Chris was in complete agreement with what I was showing him from Scripture. He told me that he feels empty all the time. He is not satisfied with his life, and feels terribly alone. "I know that if I believe the gospel, the Holy Spirit would always be with me. I just wish God would help me to help myself," he said. I followed with: "God demands that you worship Him how He wants, not how we want. For as long as you continue in your sins, you will continue to feel that emptiness. You will not receive the Holy Spirit until God saves you from your sins. You need to beg that God would grant to you the ability to turn from your sins and trust in Jesus Christ alone to save you. You will only find peace, and peace with God through Jesus Christ."

I encouraged Chris to read the book of Romans to learn more about the gospel. He currently does not own a Bible, so I said I would get him one. I wrote down a few passages for him to read later on (Romans 1-4, Ephesians 2). All in all, it was a beneficial conversation. Be praying that God might be pleased to save Chris and free him from the captivity of demonic influences and from his sinful nature.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

The Greatest Compliment

Bucks was rockin last nite. I was fairly productive, for being at Starbucks =).

After an enjoyable conversation with Patrick about education, Robert and I had another pleasant discussion about the Gospel. We focused on Rome's view of punishments being imputed to the sinner, and not to Christ. I emphasized a couple passages:

Romans 3:24-25a, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith.

Redemption was accomplished by Jesus Christ. This is not a theoretical, uncertain redemption. Christ has redeemed His people and will save them from their sins (Matt 1:21). The redemption of Christ is not dependent on the creature to be effectual. Notice also that this redemption is a propitiation by satisfying the wrath of God.

Next, we went to my favorite text in the Bible, Romans 4.

Romans 4:6-8, "6 just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: 7 "BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN, AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED. 8 "BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT.""

Double imputation. I love this truth. Really, I do. Christians receive the righteousness of Christ, and Christ bears our sin. For the sake of last night's discussion, I emphasized verse 8: "BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT." The word for "account" there is logizomai, meaning to impute, reckon or consider. The Apostle Paul argued that our sin is not imputed to believers. Where then is our sin imputed? The answer to this question takes us to our next passage: Isaiah 53.

Isaiah 53:4-5, "4 Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed."

Our Messiah bore our griefs and sorrows. More than this, He was piereced for our transgressions, and was crushed for our iniquities (guilt, punishment for iniquity). This led me to ask Robert: "If Christ has accomplished redemption for His people by covering them with His righteousness and bearing their sin in His body, thus satisfying the wrath of God, even against all guilt and punishments brought about by sin, why do you believe that the punishments and the guilt of your sin is imputed to you?"

Our conversation ended as Patrick pulled up in his car (Robert and I had migrated outside once Starbucks closed). Patrick asked us if we had resolved anything yet. Robert told him that we were still hashing things out. What Robert said next made me proud to be a Christian ... "Casey sure is hard headed when it comes to what he believes, but he's a good guy." Inside, I was beaming =). I could not have been given a greater compliment by anyone. I have been witnessing to Robert for a long time now. We have spent countless hours examining the Scriptures going over the Gospel of Peace. Amidst our many discussions, I have done my best to not compromise the Gospel, and to set a godly example. I am honored to know that he has recognized my committment to my Gospel ("my Gospel" like the Pauline usage).

Robert and I have become good friends and I hope to remain a true friend to him for as long as we both love Starbucks and Personal Computers (jk folks, come on. gooOOSH) =).

Might God be merciful to my buddy, Robert. If it be the Lord's will, I pray that He be delivered from the enslavement of the Roman system, and brought into the grace of Christ. I will always be praying for him.

Until we meet again,
Case of Base

Tuesday, April 19, 2005


Simon and I were at Jonathan's house (the house of Jonathan) for our Lindy lesson when this song came on.

Jonathan was kind enuf to burn it to a disk for me, and I've been jamming away. You know me, I just haaaad to share this =). And verily, much w00tage did thus fill the land

On a more serious note, I'll post on the Pope later tonight, Lw.

"I want that ship, not excuses" -- Darth Vader. LOL


Case of Base

Begun the Poop Wars have

Sunday afternoon both my dad and mom were bugging me to wash my truck. It was filthy. But more than just the usual dirt and leftover rain spots. This time there were numerous bird droppings all over the hood.

I decided to clean up "Leia 2" (that's Leia, the Second). When I had finished, she was glimmering in the sunlight. Mmhmm, she looked good!

The next day my dad informed me that a bird had messed up my truck's hood AGAIN! I had to see it to believe it. Some loser bird pooped on the passenger side, which I would not have seen unless my dad pointed it out to me. When did this happen? Were these birds from the park near school? Or the palm trees at work? More questions, no answers.

I went to bed last night trying to figure out which birds I would have to shoot down. As I rushed out to my truck to head to skewl this morning, I saw more remains from an attack. War has begun. The mystery was solved! Black birds around the house are the culprits. Shoot them, I must.

Those little critters left me with no choice but to drive to skewl, then to work with my damaged vehicle. I'm sure Leia2's feelings are hurt - sorry Leia2.

Anyways, pray for Leia2. We both appreciate it.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Question about Apostasy

I received an email regarding apostasy and thought you might benefit by reading my response. Here is the original question:

Is it possible for someone to truely come to saving faith and then reject that faith? Thus intentionally rejecting their salvation?

My response:
Hello Chuck,

The Apostle John deals with this very issue in his first epistle:

1 John 2:19, "They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us."

"They went out from us" - First notice how John distinguishes "they" from "us." To make sense of the text, we must have a proper understanding of just who the "they" and the "us" are in this letter.

John begins this letter:

1 John 1:1-3, "What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life-- 2 and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us-- 3 what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. "

As you follow the pronouns, you discover that John is clearly writing to the Church, to fellow believers. John continues:

1 John 2:1-3, "My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 2 and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. 3 By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments."

John is addressing his "little children," admonishing them to not sin. Although, if they do sin, they ought to confess it, and God will be faithful and just to forgive them their sin (1:9).

As you read through the letter, notice how John consistently refers to believers as "we" and "us." Therefore, when we reach 2:19, we see that John distinguishes the "us" from the "they." How does John distinguish between these two groups?--"'they' went out from us." That is, "they" went out from the fellowship, from the Church.

It is at this point that John chose to address the issue of apostasy. What about those who were once members in the congregation and then abandon the faith they once professed? John answers this question by stating: "...but they were not really of us;" All along, they were not really of us, John informs us. They were not really believers in Jesus Christ. But John is not finished with his explanation. He continues, "...for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us." In so many ways John communicates to us the nature of true believers: they remain steadfast in their faith, and remain in the Church.

We can then safely conclude from this text that the one in possession of saving faith will not abandon that faith. He will persevere and run his course until the end.

John's teaching is also in line with the rest of Scripture. As an example, the Apostle Paul taught that salvation, from beginning to end, is God's work; and God will perfect His work in the lives of His elect (Phil 1:6).

The people of God should rejoice then, being comforted in the promise that God will perfect the work that He began. Christians have the same confidence as Paul when he wrote:

Romans 8:33-39 33, "Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written, "FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG; WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED." 37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

In Christ,

Casey Ryan

Monday, April 04, 2005

Episode III. See it, I must. Excited, I am

Because we all hate not having control over background music on weblogs, I have two short audio selections for download. First, click here(218 kb). When finished playing that one, click here(2.48 mb). Enjoy!

May 19th. That's the date. The day the Star Wars saga will be drawn to conclusion with the release of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (that is, until Lucas begins production on episodes 7-9 hehe).

Since elementary school I have been a hardcore Star Wars fan. Over summer break before 6th grade I watched a Star Wars movie every day. Oh, and how could I forget to mention that the original trilogy were re-released in theaters when I was in junior high. How glorious it is to see them on the BIG screen. I was a freshmen in high skewl when Episode I made its debut. How exciting to see George's dream come to life with the greatest Jedi battle scene so far. Four years later as a freshmen in college, Episode II was released. I waited all day in line to see it - I was first in line. I have a picture of it somewhere... It was exhilerating to see Anakin get that much closer to the Dark Side of the force.

NOW, May 19th, 2005, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith will rock the world.

The teaser trailer was okay. The official movie trailer r0x0rz! This weekend I noticed is showing 3 TV ads online.

I am about to reveal my true geekiness. Please, read with caution.

Friday nite, Adam and I left Applebee's when I suddenly realized that it was midnight!!!!!!!!!!! ... !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What, you don't understand why I was excited? It was April 2nd, and on April 2nd, all the Star Wars toys, posters, and books were released at any 24-hour Walmart Supercenter. I immediately drove over to Walmart. I arrived at 12:08am. I hurriedly walked inside and made my way to the toys. I joined an existing large crowd surrounding all the Star Wars stuff. Joined in, I did, mmm hhmmm mmm hmmm *laughs*. Everyone there had an instant connection: we were Star Wars fans. They smiled at me. I smiled back. Heck, I was smiling before I got to Walmart.

I picked up the Star Wars Trivial Pursuit game (which is a lotta fun, btw) and walked towards the check-out. On the way I encountered the greatest temptation I have faced in a long long time. You see, I discovered Revenge of the Sith, THE BOOK!!! I stood there for a long moment. A battle raged inside me. Do I buy it? Do I want to read it before the release of the film? Can I at least pick it up? What I felt must have been analogous to Luke Skywalker's experience in the cave on Degobah. Before thinking any further, I turned and quickly walked away from the stack of books. *whew* Yoda would be pleased.

Later on that day I was at Walmart to pick up a card, aaaaaaand I decided to go look at the new Star Wars area again =). During my adventures I met an older couple (probably in their 60's/70's) who happened to be gathering every piece of Star Wars merchandice in the store. We had a quick conversation until they noticed that I was holding a book that they couldn't find (yes, I caved and bought two Star Wars books during that visit - I better not go back or else run the risk of buying more).

Before the release of ROTS (Revenge of the Sith), I will watch the other five episodes a few times each. At least one or two times all in a row (which is an all day event). In between my regular non-fiction reading, I am reading SW novels. The Star Wars universe is such an intriguing place, a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away =).

Oh, I found this picture of a poster being displayed in Greece. My Greek professor got a kick out of it:

Here's my current desktop wallpaper:

You can d/l this, and other Ep3 wallpaper at

The next 6 and a half weeks will seem like an eternity. But I shall await it patiently. Impatience leads to frustration, frustration leads to agony, and agony leads to illegally downloading a copy of the film before it is released =). (Not to worry, I won't do such a thing).

Lord Vader: arise!

May the shwartz be with you,

The Church of Rome at the Center of Attention

If you are at all connected with civiliazation, you know that the Roman Pontiff has died. The media has done nothing but praise the life and ministry of Pope John Paul II, at least for the time being. As usual, I favor FoxNews ("Fair and Balanced News. We report; You decide."). I will admit that it has been difficult to watch priest after priest praise the "Holy Father." Add to that the amount of time they've broadcast raw footage of the crowds at the Vatican singing worship songs to "our Lady" (Mary).

We heard our President say the following about John Paul II: "The Catholic Church has lost its shepherd, the world has lost a champion of human freedom, and a good and faithful servant of God has been called home" (emphasis mine). This kind of disappointing statement is representative of the evangelical response to the Pope's passing. Why disappointing? Because there is one issue being avoided: the Gospel. John Paul II may have fought against social injustice, but did the head of the Roman Church honor God by proclaiming the Gospel found in Scripture? So far, Protestants have yet to address this "controversial" yet vital issue.

It is amazing to interact with Protestants (at least ... professing Protestants), utterly ignorant of Roman doctrine arguing for the salvation of the Pope, and Romanists everywhere. My question to them is: "Can a false gospel save sinners? Because I believe that Rome has a false gospel, unable to give sinful men true peace with God." Here's the all-too-common response: "But I have Catholic friends, and they're saved! They trust Christ for salvation. How judgmental of you, Casey, for being so harsh. It is people like you who cause disunity in the body of Christ..." Hehe. Where to begin? The one who makes such a comment reveals his unfamiliarity with the Roman Catholic Church and everything she believes about the gospel. As a Christian, I believe in the 5 Solas of the Reformation: Sola Gratia, Sola Fide, Solus Christus, Soli Deo Gloria and Sola Scriptura.

Sola Gratia - We are saved by free grace alone.

Sola Fide - We are justified before God by faith alone.

Solus Christus - We are saved by Christ alone.

Soli Deo Gloria - God alone is glorified in our salvation.

Sola Scriptura - We believe all this on the Bible alone.

Since the Reformation, these great truths have been forcefully proclaimed and defended by Protestants. In response, the Roman Church held the Council of Trent to further define her views of the gospel (Trent was held during the period known as "the Counter Reformation"). The Council contains 16 chapters and 33 canons condemning various teachings, including those of the Reformers. The decree began,
"Since there is being disseminated at this time, not without the loss of many souls and grievous detriment to the unity of the Church, a certain erroneous doctrine concerning justification...the holy, ecumenical, and general Council of expound to all the faithful of Christ the true and salutary doctrine of justification...strictly forbidding that anyone henceforth presume to believe, preach or teach otherwise than is defined and declared in the present decree."

Dr. James White summarizes Rome's denial of justification by faith alone:
" is claimed that a person cannot be justified without accepting the definitions just put forward by the Council. In the canons that follow, anyone who would present Paul's doctrine of the bondage of the will (Romans 3:11) is placed under the anathema (by Canons 4 and 5); anyone accepting the truth of Romans 3:28 that justification comes by faith alone, is cursed by Canons 9, 12, and 14. Eternal predestination is anathematized in Canon 17; the concept that good works flow from justification, but are not the cause of its increase is condemned by Canon 24; belief that the forgiveness of sins includes the punishment is banished by Canon 30; any who would reject the idea of merit being attached to works is condemned by Canon 32; and finally, anyone who would assert that the Roman Catholic doctrine on justification 'derogates in some respect from the glory of God or the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ...let him be anathema' (Canon 33)" (White. The Fatal Flaw. Pg. 33).

Canon 9 from the Council of Trent:
"If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema."

Rome likewise denies the other 4 Solas of the Reformation.

Getting back to our ecumenical friends ... after a cursory review of Rome's denial of Justification by faith alone, it is plain as day that Rome's gospel cannot save sinners. "But, but you're just not loving!" they say. Dr. White writes in response:

"It is this writer's position that the Roman system does not know the grace of God, nor the power of the completed and finished work of Jesus Christ. The "gospel" as presented by Rome, then, is not the Gospel taught in the New Testament. Rome has gone far beyond anything the Judaizers in Galatia ever dreamed of. If this be the case, then how can I betray the example given me by the New Testament and sit idly by while millions of Roman Catholics continue to think that what they have been taught will save them? And what of those many Christians who are being deceived into thinking that there really isn't any difference between Romanism and Christianty? It is my belief that the greatest act of love I can show for those involved in Roman Catholicism is to warn them--loudly, clearly, and for as long as God wills--that any system that rejects the completed, finished, and utterly unique way of redemption in Jesus Christ is not going to save them. Such a system does not know God's power, and certainly does not have God's blessing. Full and complete salvation is to be found in Jesus Christ and in Him alone, not in a system that gives place to man's works and by so doing destroys the work of Christ, setting it at naught (Galatians 2:21). This is a wonderful message--a joyous message--that redemption has been accomplished once and for all in Jesus Christ! But before such good news can be accepted, bad news in the form of false teachings must be removed. This I shall seek to do in the following pages." (White. The Fatal Flaw. Pgs. xiii-ix).


If we love Roman Catholics, we will inform them that the gospel of Rome cannot save them, and then bring them the Gospel of Peace. The absolute WORST thing we can do for Romanists is to let them think they are Christians.

My encouragement to my readers is to stand firmly for the truth of the Gospel. As our politically-correct culture demands that we join them in their post-modern attitude towards Rome, we must continue to proclaim our message to Roman Catholics - who are in desperate need of the Gospel.

If you are unfamiliar with the Roman Catholic Church, I recommend the following books:

The Roman Catholic Controversy, The Fatal Flaw, Answers to Catholic Claims, and Mary, Another Redeemer by Dr. James White.

As you prepare to clearly communicate the Gospel to Romanists, spend some time studying Sola Fide:

The God Who Justifies by Dr. James White, and The Justification of God by John Piper.

1 Peter 3:15, "But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;"

Jude 1:3, "Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints."

Sola Fide,
Case of Base