Why Akathleptos?

Why Akathleptos? Because it means Uncontainable. God is infinite. Hence, the whole universe cannot contain Him. The term also refers to the incomprehensibility of God. No man can know everything about God. We can know Him personally but not exhaustively, not even in Heaven.

Why Patmos? Because the church is increasingly marginalized and exiled from the culture.

Why Pen-Names? So the focus is on the words and not who wrote them. We prefer to let what we say stand on its own merit. There is precedent in church history for this - i.e., the elusive identity of Ambrosiaster who wrote in the 4th century A.D.

“Truth is so obscured nowadays, and lies so well established, that unless we love the truth we shall never recognize it." Blaise Pascal



Sunday, July 5, 2015

"The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crisis maintain their neutrality"



"The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crisis maintain their neutrality" is a quote commonly mis-attributed to the Italian poet Dante. While there is uncertainty as to its origin, it highlights people unwilling to take a clear, unambiguous stand against evil.

“I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth." Jesus Christ to the Laodician church in Asia Minor at the end of the first century (Rev 3:15-16)

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Alex Rowland is a gay lawyer in Atlanta who attended Andy Stanley's NorthPoint church as a teenager. He recently penned an eye-opening op-ed piece on Andy Stanley here. While he writes from a hostile perspective well outside the faith, there are some startling admissions worth reading. To his knowledge, Alex was the "first student to come out of the closet in the youth program at Andy Stanley’s church".  With a maturity way his years and having been on the receiving end, he offers keen insight into theological world of Andy Stanley:
  • "If you’re an adult in a third world country who never heard the word “Jesus” in their life and you die to dirty water at 25, your eternal fate isn’t quite a fiery pit of damnation, but rather, an eternity spent away from God, something you might call, “Hell-lite”."
  • "Andy Stanley’s ability to saran wrap the old Baptist doctrines is magical. To say that his sermons ignore the elephant in the room would not give Andy Stanley enough credit. He ice-skates around them. The heavier the question, the more balloons need only be attached for it to float away. To say that the apex of your faith condemns someone to eternal damnation is not something to be taken lightly, for some, such a God would be a monster unworthy of worship. Members of Stanley’s church troubled by this must leave the rock on that ant-mound undisturbed, or become pariahs for asking."
  • "Where other faith traditions seek to drive to the heart of a matter, Stanley sidesteps in favor of keeping the church appear modern and approachable."
  • "The Christianity there is unavoidably shallow. Believing that Jesus is your savior resolves your eternal fate, but the faith itself is weak to the task of answering serious questions, because the sine qua non of keeping the church modern and approachable is never to ask, or when asked, offer baby-pablum responses"
  • "This watered down faith causes real world disaster, aside from my own ostracism. The church teachings, already 99 percent smashed like British cocaine the moment they leave Stanley’s mouth, only get cut further and further more by those beneath him, especially the youth group leaders, to the point of absurdity. Case in point: I remember girls at North Point Community Church would have anal sex because this maintained their virginity."
  • "Stanley answers deep questions with equivocating, side-stepping, baby pablum."
  • "There’s an unknowingly cruel lack of empathy in Stanley’s words. He said, after recommending that churches lay off the whole gay thing when dealing with gay youth, “If all the Christians for just one year… would quit looking at porn… would quit smoking weed, would quit having premarital sex, would quit committing adultery, would pay their taxes and every church just foster one kid; in one year our nation would feel different.” That’s a lovely, and incredibly popular, equivocation. To say that homosexuality is a sin on equal plane with other banal sins, (that you hypocritical sinners commit every day because we all know you’ve looked at porn!), is a foxhole for the fence-straddling peddlers of a hollow faith."
  • "Stanley’s faith sits safely bookended by bands, it is recorded and broadcast, and even if his pageantry were built on top of matchsticks and playing cards, there is no one on his stage to poke at it with difficult questions. When the music stops, Stanley isn’t there anymore."
The  most interesting admission is that Alex would have preferred Andy's father (Charles Stanley, known for his no-nonsense distinction between good and evil) because "at least you know how his father feels." (echoing Rev 3:15-16)

Alex concludes,

"People want to treat him as a bridge, a modern pastor bringing Baptist Christianity out of the dark ages (of 10 years ago, or now). But Stanley’s Christianity allows for terrible things. To say that it is lipstick on a pig does not capture the harm of giving a shiny new paint job to a belief that condemns the living to a life of self-hatred and ostracism, and the dead to eternal damnation. "

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Pastors who admire Andy Stanley's theology and emulate his approach to sharing the gospel, are treading in quicksand. They may be able to stay afloat for a while, but the disastrous end result is guaranteed.

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