Monthly Archives: February 2009

Video of the week

Well lets see if I even remember how to do this.

HA! Excellent. Anyway this is a video I found …well its more like an audio with some pictures but it will do. I have decided to take a good look at what folks call the emergent church. I figured Brian Mclaren would be a great place to start. Now it seems to me that this interview gives us a good glimpse into some of this man’s thoughts, not only on Hell but on the atonement itself.  The fact that no one in the scriptures speaks of Hell more frequently or vividly than Jesus Himself should bring some of Mr. Mclaren’s comments into question immediately. The idea that somehow the Kingdom of God is not brought to earth without violence is in my opinion errant, simply because there is nothing more violent than hanging naked from a tree that you have been nailed to, while bleeding to death from one of the several beatings you have received the hours before you were to be executed. The idea that Hell is somehow a doctrine of a God who resorts to violence if He can’t get His way ignores the biblical truth that God violently hates sin and is a just God. Now I personally think that Brian is smart enough to understand what repentance is.  Not to mention what unrepentant existence would mean in the face of a Holy God who offers one such expensive mercy. I’m just not so sure he could sell it as well.

Any thoughts?



Filed under Uncategorized

What dreams may come

First off I would like to thank IHOP for making their copy right the right to copy. I thought this might generate a bit of conversation and I would love to give it a bit of running commentary. With that said my comments will be in bold print in parentheses . Without further ado I give you Mike Bickle’s dream!


Prophetic Dream: Victorious Church in the End Times (Rev. 12:7-12)


A.    I was speaking at a conference in a baseball park inside a large fairground. About 40,000 people were present—many leaders from different “charismatic” streams, and people from all these groups. I saw one particular leader who was representative of other leaders in the Body of Christ who seek to walk in God’s power and who have an excellent spirit. We were enjoying warm fellowship together.

B.    I preached on prayer, God’s power and end-time judgment. I spoke at two afternoon sessions. In the break between the sessions, people were debating what I was preaching. Some IHOP-KC people debated each other, while others were speaking to believers from different ministry streams. They were discussing God’s power and His end-time judgment in a friendly way; there was no hostility, only sincere dialogue with humility and love. It was enjoyable and intellectually stimulating but none of the different points of view stirred up real faith or revelation.

C.    Immediately as I finished the second session at 5 PM, I saw a token of a few of the events that John prophesied in Revelation 12:7-9 when war breaks out in heaven between Satan and Michael the archangel, resulting in Satan being cast to the earth at the beginning of the Tribulation.

(I thought Jesus said he already saw satan fall from heaven after he sent forth the 72…oh well my mistake obviously the war has yet to break out in heaven and Satans fall begins the tribulation hmmm…more on this later)

7 And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8 but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. 9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan…he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him… (Rev. 12:7-9)

D.    I did not see Satan—I saw demonic principalities being cast to the earth. They looked like large snakes (over 100 yards long and 50 feet thick), each having a huge head that looked like a dragon, and many of them were coming from the sky down to the earth.

E.    Everyone at the conference was filled with panic; most were terrified. No one had understanding or faith that was mature enough to respond in the power or confidence that I had just preached on, myself included. I ran as I felt the terror of the event. The leaders and their people were terrified; everyone wanted to get out of the fairground quickly. Most people were in confusion, including those from IHOP-KC.

F.    These snake-like demonic principalities and the demonic hosts with them were filled with rage against the people. They were angry and even humiliated about being confined to the earth. Satan’s rage is related to the short amount of time he has before going to prison (Rev. 20:1-3).

12 Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath (fury), because he knows that he has a short time…17 The dragon was enraged… he went to make war with the rest…who have the testimony of Jesus… (Rev. 12:12, 17)

G.    Soot like wet, muddy, thick ash was raining down from the sky. It darkened the sky as it fell on the people who were running. I ran out of the vast fairground to the park offices at the entrance. Wet ash was all over me as I ran. Many did not get out; they were bitten by the large snakes.

H.    There were evil policeman at the entrance. They told me, “You have to go back into the fairground or we will put you in jail.” They were callous about the danger I would face if I went back into the fairground. Then I understood that they were part of the Antichrist’s system. I was in a dilemma. I thought, “I just escaped from the most intense danger imaginable and now I have to go back in!” There will be no natural way out of this crisis—the only way will be by the power of the Spirit.

I.    When standing by the police I thought, “I wish IHOP had taken the events in Revelation 12 more seriously in the early days, and had prepared more urgently when we had time. I said to myself, “The debate about power is much bigger than the power we actually walk in.” I woke up with an urgency that the IHOP leadership needs greater zeal to walk in the things of the Spirit. (Catch this phraseit is an important one)

J.    After I woke up, I understood that fear and confusion will NOT be the condition of the entire Body of Christ when the events of Revelation 12:7 literally occur. Many will have understanding and be in a place of mature faith. The Lord was showing me what it would be like if these events happened today with the Church in its current condition (being unprepared in understanding and faith).

K.    The message of the dream was that we at IHOP need to be more urgent in going deep in our walk with Jesus, in growing in faith to operate more in the Holy Spirit right now, and in “eating the scroll” in order to have much more understanding now and in that specific hour.

( still not ready yet ?This omega generation is getting older see,and the things promised to it aren’t taking place so we have to chalk it up to their immaturity and lack of depth. Better watch your kids folks the next generation has got to be the deeper chosen they will get it right eventually. I will say this  he is right in Ihop needing to grow in its understanding of things.)

20 The anger of the LORD will not turn back until He has executed and performed the thoughts of His heart. In the latter days you will understand it perfectly. (Jer. 23:20)

L.    I felt strongly that IHOP and other streams in the Body of Christ have “empty” arguments about power and their insight into the end-time drama. Most arguments, in either direction, do not actually prepare people to go deeper in Jesus, His Word and Spirit. They are not helpful—rather, they are empty.

(here you have it Ihops arguments are empty there is no basis to believe anything they say their arguments have for the endtimes and for their version of “power” are empty and dont take you deeper with Jesus)

M. In this dream, the Lord was warning me to set my face toward Him and His Word and to refuse the temptation to invest time in seeking to look wise to others. What is coming is so much more intense than we imagine. Even those with the most insight do not understand the intensity of the events in Revelation 12:7-12.

N.    The point of the dream: neither the IHOP leadership nor I are mature enough in our understanding to entertain debates and casual arguments that will arise much more in the Church in the future.

(In which case you are not mature enough to truly lead. This is just another cop out for not wanting to give an answer for poor doctrine and practice. Its empty, its wrong, but we have no maturity for disscussion on these matters.)

O.    The “now” word of God must be confirmed with power. The only way to be culturally relevant in society is to move in power to confirm the Word. Without this, many in the Church are looking for ministries with trendy language and clothes, interesting technology, or to talk about current affairs together. Many are trapped in an abyss of entertainment.

P.    We will only penetrate that bubble by power and the real fear of the Lord. People will not get free from the vice of our pop culture without it. People must walk away from their gatherings knowing that He is involved in their lives in power. We must experience manifestation of His majesty that makes us tremble, and be moved to repentance and servanthood by His kindness.

(Jesus said blessed are them that do not see yet believe. faith based on power encounters can very often prove shallow and unable to sustain itself without seeing more signs. I think we witnessed that with the Lakeland phenom. The miracle of regeneration is the only true power that can ensure the preserverance of the saint of God. KNOWING HIM is the only way to escape the bubble for knowing Him is eternal life not seeing His power alone but knowing God as He reveals Himself in Jesus Christ.)


A.    Some teach that the war in heaven described in Revelation 12:7 occurred at the cross and that Satan is now confined to the earth. Satan’s host operates in the heavenly places in this age.

12 We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities…against the rulers of the darkness…against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Eph. 6:12)

B.    Christ defeated Satan at the cross. However, the full scope of His victory has not yet been fully manifested on earth. This is the “already and not yet” paradox of the kingdom in operation. At Christ’s ascension, Jesus was seated at God’s right hand, far above all authority (Eph. 1:20-22). Jesus disarmed the demonic powers and made a public spectacle of them (Col. 2:15).

C.    The windows of  heaven will be opened and demonic principalities will be punished. Demonic spirits and evil kings will be put in prison, like Satan, as prophesied by Isaiah.

18 The windows from on high are open, and the foundations of the earth are shaken. 19 The earth is violently broken…the earth is shaken exceedingly…20 Its transgression shall be heavy upon it…21 In that day that the LORD will punish on high the host of exalted ones (demonic principalities), and on the earth the kings of the earth. 22 They (demons and kings) will be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit (bottomless pit), and will be shut up in the prison (Rev. 20:1-3); after many days (1,000 years) they will be punished (Lake of Fire)…the LORD of hosts will reign on Mount Zion (Millennium)… (Isa. 24:18-23)

D.    One of the most unique dynamics of the Tribulation is that Satan and all his demons will be cast to the earth (Rev. 12:9) and Satan will give his throne to the Antichrist (Rev. 13:2). Hundreds of millions of demons now in the bottomless pit will be released (Rev. 9:3, 16). Billions will be engaged in Satan worship. There will be more demonized people on earth than at any time in history.

2 The dragon (Satan) gave him (Antichrist) his power, his throne … (Rev. 13:2)

21 There will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world…22 Unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved… (Mt. 24:21-22)

E.    The saints will overcome Satan in the Tribulation by the blood of Jesus, by their testimony and their commitment to Jesus, even unto death.

10 I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren…has been cast down. 11 They overcame him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. (Rev. 12:10-11)

F.    The praying Church will overcome Satan and the Antichrist (Rev. 12:11; 15:2; 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21; 21:7). The miracles of Exodus and Acts will be combined and multiplied on a global level. Fear need NOT dominate our spirit and extinguish our faith. We need not fear the Tribulation as powerless victims seeking to escape it.

(the word says clearly that it will be given to the beast to overcome the saints for a time. sorry no false promises truth is the beast will overcome the church and kill us, but when Christ returns his little party will be over. Christ not the church will defeat the anti Christ which is fitting i think. what is going to happen when all these miracles Mike is talking about don’t happen and the church is getting its face kicked in by the beast.? where will all the triumphalism be then? who will feel abandoned by God in those days when by His decree the beast begins to overcome the church. this man promises peace when there will be no peace.)

12 The works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do… (Jn. 14:12)

G.    End-time believers will engage in the prayer of faith to bind and loose according to God’s will. This passage will be fulfilled on earth in the Tribulation by a victorious Church operating in power:

18 On this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. (Mt. 16:18-19)

H.    The Antichrist will be the greatest oppressor the world has ever seen. Isaiah 42 is one of the main passages about the Second Coming; it emphasizes justice. People do not rejoice in judgment until an oppressor is in power. Jesus will bring justice to the earth in the context of the Antichrist’s oppression.

I.    Jesus will only confront the oppressor to the measure that the prayers of the saints ascend in faith. (this is not what scripture says notice how he adds words to scripture in parentheses to help you see his interpretation. When Jesus confronts the beast it is in response to His triumphant return the idea that He wont come back till we fill the bowls is not biblical the day has been preordained by His father from the beggining. Why then does Jesus ask “but when the son of man returns will he find faith like this on the earth?” according to Mike not only will Jesus find it but He will find it in abundance. silly Jesus for asking such a ludicrus question.)

4 The prayers of the saints, ascended before God…5 Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth… (Rev. 8:4-5)

7 Shall God not avenge (bring justice) His own elect who cry out day and night to Him…8 I tell you that He will avenge them speedily (in the Tribulation). (Lk. 18:7-8)

J.    The most dramatic events in world history will occur in the context of the greatest prayer movement contending against the greatest oppression, to see the greatest justice movement fulfilled across the whole earth. What will be released in fullness then is released in part now.


A.    The message of Revelation 14 is that Jesus will supernaturally anoint the Church to walk in victory.

B.    In Revelation 14:1-5, Jesus will stand on Mount Zion in Jerusalem with 144,000 prophetic singers. Revelation 14:6-13 reveals four prophetic promises and proclamations that the Spirit will release conviction on; He will confirm them with signs and wonders to strengthen His people.

1.    In Revelation 14:6-7, we will receive angelic assistance and great power that we might succeed in preaching the gospel to all nations in the presence of hostility (Mt. 24:14; Rev. 7:9).

2.    In Revelation 14:8, the anointed proclamation of the defeat of the Harlot Babylon stirs our faith.

3.    In Revelation 14:9-11, the anointed proclamation of the certainty of eternal judgment coming on all who worship the Antichrist will embolden the saints to resist, even unto death.

4.    In Revelation 14:12-13, the anointed proclamation of the certainty of receiving eternal rewards for being faithful will strengthen the Church.

5.    In Revelation 14:14-20, we see two separate end-time harvests that will be released by prayer: the harvest of souls is seen in Revelation 14:14-16 and the harvest of sin in Revelation 14:17-20. These two harvests demonstrate the effectiveness of prayer in releasing power for salvation and the removal of evil.

be in bold letters .


Filed under charismatic, ihop, prophetic

What Drives the Gospel?

The good news both moves the church and is what the church uses to move others.  It is both petrol and Porsche…so to speak.  Now, where do we see the church test driving its power to evangelize?  The book of Acts.

What is Acts?  Its basically a book about what the apostles did—mostly Peter and Paul. But, even though these guys are doing all the stuff…Acts is more about the work of the Holy Spirit IN these men and IN a newborn baby church. These apostles saw Jesus, but no one sees the Holy Spirit. Remember what Jesus said about the Spirit in John 3:8—He’s like the wind.

Anyway, the book of Acts is a story (the scholars like to refer to that as historical narrative). But think of it like a bridge between the gospel accounts and the epistles—it provides the history behind the epistles.  Acts ties the NT together. It is the beginning of the fulfillment of Matthew 28.18-20.  Acts is a record of the work of the Holy Spirit.

Interestingly enough, this Spirit wants to work, move, live, and empower humans.  This is not a force but an intentional Person moving according to an intentional framework of activity.  Therefore, if you are looking for an outline for the book of Acts (Us bible teacher type people are big on outlines) then you can just read Jesus’ last words in Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Boom…there’s your outline.

I.  Witness in Jerusalem (1.1–8.4)
II.  Witness in Judea and Samaria (8.5–12.25)
III.  Witness to the end of the earth (13-28)

Realize that Luke is also one of these witnesses that Jesus is talking to here, even though he probably wasn’t actually there when Jesus said those words. Luke was a doctor (Col 4.14 Paul refers to him as ‘the beloved physician’) and therefore had a specific interest in recording disease, healing, and acts of mercy.  So, as one of these witnesses Luke was a smart guy—he was a doctor and so he had a PhD or whatever the equivalent was….the way he wrote his (Greek) grammar, (all that “most excellent Theophilus” stuff) shows that he could hang in a very formal, scholarly style…but he chose to write the majority of Acts without a lot of literary fanciness.  Luke knew his audience was mostly made up of women, slaves, soldiers, children, beggars, and other outcasts.  So, we can see God’s hand of mercy first in just how straightforwardly this book is written. Although Luke was a doctor YOU don’t have to have a PhD to understand Luke/Acts.

One more thing about Luke, he was a Gentile. But as a Gentile who knew something (actually a lot) about Jewish history. He saw God’s mercy. Not only that, but physicians have a unique perspective about our anatomical similarities as humans (both Jew and Gentile). I think God may have used this knowledge in Luke’s writing to pay special attention to the spiritual similarities between both Jew and Gentile.  Luke notices the human condition, more importantly the neediness which characterizes such a condition.  This is what drives his writing…the Good News of Jesus Christ setting things right between a merciful God and sinful humans.

As mentioned before, Luke noticed mercy. And, as a believer in Jesus he saw God’s mercy.  As a Gentile (dog) now being included in God’s family he saw mercy, as a doctor he had the skill and desire to show mercy, and he took time to show mercy even to us as God used him to record the words of life in the Book of Acts.

So, speaking of mercy notice a parable by Jesus which…well…you’ll know….. Luke 10.25-37.

Luk 10:25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

Luk 10:26 He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?”

Luk 10:27 And he answered, “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.”

Luk 10:28 And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”

Luk 10:29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

Luk 10:30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead.

Luk 10:31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side.

Luk 10:32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.

Luk 10:33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion.

Luk 10:34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him.

Luk 10:35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’

Luk 10:36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?”

Luk 10:37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

And there it is.  You’d think Jesus would let the Priest or Levite be the hero.  That’s the logical rhetorical device to present an object lesson on mercy to a congregation right?  Make the protagonist someone they can identify with.  Jesus has already given the lawyer a way out earlier when he asks him about his attendance to the law…he shows his ignorance by instead of saying, “Uh, no one can do all that perfectly Jesus” saying “Yeah, I already do all that stuff.”  So, Jesus brought forth the radical ethical teaching which he always does to these guys.  This teaching characterizes the heart of the 2nd Adam.  He is the teacher.  This is his lesson.  Since I’m going to be referring to the parable of the Good Samaritan a lot I’m going to just call it the “PGS”. But by now, maybe you’re wondering (or maybe not, I don’t know) what the PGS has to do with a study of Acts?

Well, first off Luke wrote them both. Secondly, Luke’s gospel is the only one where the PGS shows up. Thirdly, Samaria is specifically mentioned by Jesus as a place for apostolic witness…… remember the outline. But honestly, the book of Acts just picks right up where Luke’s gospel ends. It’s like a package, sort of like a luncheable—what would the little mystery meat be without the cracker? Luke and Acts go together. Luke shows the big picture here…..we get to see the teachings of Jesus (like the PGS) lived out in the 1st century church. If you do read Luke/Acts you’ll see Samaritans popping up a lot, but definitely a lot of conflict between Jews and Gentiles. They were kind of like Jews and Palestinians are today.

Anyway, in the PGS Luke records Jesus explaining a New Testament lifestyle; in Acts Luke shows how the gospel spreads through a powerful mercy which is applied for neighbor, stranger, and enemy with no strings attached.

That’s right, a powerful mercy.

A powerful mercy, what is that?  While it is certain that the power that the Holy Spirit gives manifests in various ways.  A key ‘power of the Holy Spirit coming upon you’ is one that enables the believer to have PGS style mercy. A guy named Harvey Conn called this “lordship evangelism”.   “All the believers were one in heart and mind.  No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.  With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all.”Acts 4:32-33

O.K. remember the PGS? Well, look at the way these new believers in Acts 4 are living out what the priest and the Levite failed to do in that parable.  Tim Keller notes that, “This economic sharing had to be conspicuous and amazing to outsiders.  Apparently it helped give the preaching of the apostles even more power.”  You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. So, what kind of power is Jesus talking about here?

Part of the power of evangelism is showing mercy to one another. But, while mercy does drive evangelistic endeavor. Mercy is not moralism.  Its not just all about doing nice things for people. Get this, mercy is both an indicator and a vehicle for the activity of the gospel. And we can talk about what that means in this forum.  I’d like ideas.  I’d like honesty.  I want to hear what you think about the power of God to witness through a PGS mindset which truly drives down the Jericho Road of Asheville, NC; Columbia, SC; New York, NY; wherever you may be.


Filed under devotional, Uncategorized

Slammed on ‘Stuff Christians Like’

Right off, I’d like to say:  I am a blunt communicator within the realm of digitaldom.  I’ve experienced the gamut of couched rebuke tossers, passive-aggressive high road takers, and even the occasional vein-popping ‘them’s fightin’ words’ pugilists who express their distaste for both my style and content.  However, I am quick to give credit where it is warranted…just as quick as critique. Unfortunately, for Jon Acuff–the self-proclaimed rip-off artist (Check out post #1 Putting a God Spin on Popular Secular Ideas) behind the successful blog ‘Stuff Christians Like’–credit and critique are mutually exclusive…or at least morally irreconcilable.  This is demonstrated by following material from a few weeks back (he blogs one entry a day) where Jon reprints a critical statement I entered several months ago.  Mr. Acuff goes so far as to create an entire post around my very short (although obviously pithy) opinion of his methodology/motivation in creating ‘SCL’.  The sad part is, Jon completely misuses my comment to illustrate a point about backbiting (a ‘phenomenon’ he likes to label BHHS or Bless Her Heart Syndrome—I’ll stick to the biblical category, though, which places backbiting as sin).  It is neither inappropriate nor backbiting to publicly express an opinion concerning a matter of taste using emphatic language.  I really do believe that the blog ‘Stuff White People Like’ by Christian Lander is better fare.  To state that the blog or the book Stuff White People Like: A Definitive Guide to the Unique Taste of Millions is simply more original, then to go on to urge Jon Acuff toward greater ingenuity within his own demographic must have hit the target.  If so….here here!  I require no recognition, however, I believe that clarification is warranted.  The public and pointed nature of my comment is the antithesis of Mr. Acuff’s BHHS.  Unfortunately, Mr. Acuff is content in his sympathy garnering tactics as opposed to cries for self-examination.  To make matters worse I’ve been completely brushed off by Mr. Acuff both in the thread proper and through e-mail communique when making the important distinction I proffer here….again:

Hi,My name is Nathaniel Ruland. I’m that guy. The hater. The seminary student who had the gall to make a pointed and acerbic comment concerning your (self-admitted) ripoff artistry. Nice post Jon, that was a while ago, I must have really gotten under your skin. I’d have to agree with one of the comments which noted the ‘brilliance’ of your retort…and with another which noted a hint of passive aggression.But, at the risk of poking the anthill further…the ‘bless her heart’ phenomenon really only applies when you’re talking about someone else. I aimed my comment directly to you. I meant what I said (even the ‘I’m sure you’re a nice guy and I hope you do well bit’) and the comment was neither sinful nor backbiting BHHS . I critiqued your work…I did not personally attack you or slander your character in any way.

However, I’ve certainly enjoyed the conclusions that your supporters have proffered concerning my person, character, motives, etc. Some good points were made all round. Perhaps you’re fans may enjoy judging someone as glaringly judgmental as myself. So be it. However, they don’t have the luxury of doing it anonymously anymore. If you (or they…as one concerned redhead made it known) desire further dialogue with me they can feel free to check out my website or even e-mail me at


Nathaniel Ruland

At any rate, here is the post where Jon gets his revenge on the hateful seminary student whom he still refuses to name…all in the name of pacificm as you will see.

Remix #2. Saying “bless her heart.”

Recently a seminary student shared his thoughts with me about Stuff Christians Like:
“stuff white people like is much better than this lame blog. its really sad that tongue in cheek christian schtick even rips clever pop culture. Clander (the author of the book Stuff White People Like) got a book deal because his stuff is original. but, you’ll probably get one because his stuff is original too. i’m sure you’re a nice guy and i hope you do well. but seriously, create don’t ape.”

There are a number of things I’d like to dissect in that comment but to do so would just perpetuate the cycle of “Christian on Christian Web Violence.” But there is one thing I can’t let slide, if only because I am guilty of it too. I am referring of course to the second to last sentence in that comment, “I’m sure you’re a nice guy and I hope you do well.”

That is such a great example of the “bless her heart syndrome” (BHHS) that I can’t leave it alone. For those that didn’t read the original post, BHHS is when you verbally slam, gossip or attack someone else and then try to save face by throwing in a comment like “bless her heart.” In the south I’ve heard it called “giving someone a piece of vinegar pie.”

The fake kindness in comments like that is easy to point out, but the reality is that sometimes other Christians are better at disguising it. Sometimes people, including me, will be a little more subtle at executing Bless Her Heart Syndrome. Here are four other variations you need to watch out for:

1. “I don’t mean to be ugly”
Sure you do and you know you’re about to be ugly or else you wouldn’t have thrown out that disclaimer at the start of the sentence. Often, if you have to explain why something you’re about to say is not hateful, you’re about to say something hateful.

2. “In Christian Love”
Most of the time people do the BHHS behind your back. But sometimes, they’ll drop some BHHS right in your lap. For instance, if anyone says, “I hope you can receive this in Christian love,” get ready to be hated on. Seriously, no one ever says, “I hope you can receive this in Christian love, but you’re doing a really good job leading that ministry” or “I find the dresses you wear to church to be both appropriate and awesome.” It’s usually an insult thinly veiled as advice or love. Not always, but usually.

3. “God laid this on my heart”
Oh snap, you just threw God under the bus. (I find myself saying “Oh snap” a lot lately, perhaps as a tribute to Biz Markie?) You just prefaced something mean you’re about to say about somebody by blaming it on God. And although I do think that sometimes God gives us messages for other people, I have a hard time believing He ever asks us to gossip about other people, “I need you to be a jerk for me. I need you to be my rod of punkitude. I need you to be my vessel of gossip.”

4. “I’m just concerned”
This is the one I am most guilty of. Sometimes in order to look smart or wise, I’ll gossip about someone else’s problems, give my insightful solution and then try to gift wrap the whole gossipy mess with the phrase, “I’m just concerned.” But the truth is I’m not concerned about the person I’m talking about. If I was, I would be talking with them, not about them. There’s a huge difference between those two words.

I think there are probably a million other variations of the BHHS. But please tell me that if we’re ever in a conversation and I tell you that “I am concerned about this other blogger…” please immediately respond, “No you’re not, you’re just jealous and now you’re trying to disguise that jealousy in nice words that make you look smart and kind.” And then give me a handful of Good n’ Plenty candy. Those are disgusting. You think they’re going to be delicious like Good n’ Fruity, but they’re not. They’re just sad little pieces of licorice wearing a candy coat shell that tastes like pepto bismol. It’s the only way I’ll learn.

Have you ever experienced Bless Her Heart Syndrome?

Or, have you ever committed the sin of backbiting?  Because, that is the reality of Mr. Acuff’s category…bless his heart.  In conclusion, yeah I’m a meany, but, I’m not a backbiter…and the moral of the story is…wait for it, wait for it, yesssssss!  Choose your own ending (to continue with the pomo trend of reader-response meaning) as follows people:  “BHHS is real and seminary students practice a sophisticated form of it”, “BHHS is something Christians like”, or maybe, “Cool Christians who bookmark ‘Stuff Christians Like’ aren’t mean”, or maybe simply, “Christians shouldn’t be mean”, or (final option) “Christians shouldn’t say WHAT they mean.”


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The Grey Coats challenge…

Here is my challenge to all our prophetic following brethren.

There are 3 books I want you to read.

1. Is Counterfeit Revival by Hank  Hanegraaff

2. Is the book of Jeremiah.

3. Is Charismatic Chaos by John MacArthur

This is not heavy reading in any way shape or form but over the years I have been surprised with just how much our critics don’t know about the roots of their movement or the Bible itself.

I am asking you folks to take the challenge. Many of you won’t, but all of you should.

If the prophetic movement is true then it should be able to hold up against a few sound arguments here and there. We have read the books your teachers have written, we have heard your arguments for quite a while. Now, I am asking you to do the same. Take the Challenge. You might just come to some new conclusions. You might . Ya never know.


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