Monday, March 06, 2006

The Next King a Bishop?

Now that the Coretta King's funeral has past into our memories, some are beginning to analyze what messages have been left in its wake. One such person is Dr. Robert M. Franklin, Jr., Distinguished Professor of Social Ethics at Candler School of Theology at Emory University. Apparently, Dr. Franklin was not impressed with Bernice King's attempt at passing the mantle of Black Leadership from her father, M.L. King Jr. to her bishop Eddie Long. According to Franklin, the use of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church as the funeral site sent mixed messages to a world in need of the pathos and vision of a Dr. King. Dr. Franklin has many other points to make in his Reflections on the Funeral and the Future of the Movement.


Anonymous said...

Okay, I get what Dr. Franklin is saying; but is lacks validity. New Birth holds 10,000; Ebenezer holds less than 1,000.

I received in no way that Elder King is passing the torch to Bishop Long. I think that many people just don't like Bishop Long because he has some of the same qualities as Dr. King. Bishop Long is no Dr. King. Dr. King is no Bishop Long.

People like Dr. Franklin just need something to say as it regards to the theology that Bishop Long preaches and teaches.

ajcarter said...

Thanks for your comments, Anonymous. I am not here to defend the comments or character of Dr. Franklin. I just wanted to pass along his take on the preceedings - a take which I found interesting considering the source. However, I do have one question for you, if you would be kind enough to indulge me. You say "People like Dr. Franklin just need something to say as it regards to the theology that Bishop Long preaches and teaches." Could you tell me what the theology is that Eddie Long preaches and teaches? Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

I guess I didn't mean to say theology. I really wanted to say basically just the way and what Bishop Long preaches and teaches. Bishop Long teaches the Word of God. Many people have linked him with what they call "Word of Faith" and "Prosperity". Other people considered to be a part of it are preachers like Creflo Dollar, TD Jakes, and Joel Osteen.

Bishop Long is not liked because the sermons are real. When what is preached isn't what we like, we tend to not embrace it. We in turn criticize it and go against, even though it is the word of God.

Most people want the pastor or the bishop to teach specifically on one subject, but they don't.

I can't not say what theology Bishop Long preaches and teaches, because I can't get my hand on what theology actually means. I just kind of define it as the study of God.

Most seminary and theologians are not even Christians. Seminaries teach you the natural view of the Bible. They don't talk about salvation and deliverance. So what gives theologians the right to discuss Christian issues?

Way off topic, but something I thought I would throw out there.

ajcarter said...

You are right. In the narrow sense theology is "the study of God." And in this sense we are all theologians. It takes a theologian to criticize a theologian. So when you say that most seminaries and theologians are not Christian, your are making a theological statement.

The common criticism of Eddie Long is not because he preaches the Bible, but because he does not preach the Bible. The issue is not whether a sermon is real, but whether it is true, biblically true. It is whether the message glorifies God or glorifies the messenger.

Eddie Long definitely has a theology that he is preaching and teaching. We all do. We must be diligent and concerned enough to make sure that that theology is based upon the Word of God, and not the imaginations of people. Unfortunately, Eddie Long is long on imagination and short on biblical truth.

Honestly, if you would just sit down and prayerfully listen and check what Eddie Long is saying by what the Bible actually says. And if you would do this, not just once (because anyone could be right or wrong once) but do it over a length of time, I am sure you will get an idea of Long's theology and would find that it does not match the theology of the Bible nor the Church.

Committed to theological truth and experience, just as you are.


Anonymous said...

I would respectfully disagree with you as it regards to Bishop Eddie L. Long preaching the Bible. Everybody does have their opinions and criticisms, but that is all they are.

I don't think Bishop Long is long on imagination, but long on revelation. There are things that God pours into the spirit of his man to tell his people. What is being poured into man is typically seen as Biblically untrue, but beneficial to the struggling believer.

The enemy is out to destroy God's work. And what better way to do it than to destroy the credibility of the message. People are now saying, "that's not God's word." Okay, that is your opinion.

I sometimes wonder. With all of these megachurches around large cities like Dallas, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston; I ask myself this.

Would God lead hundreds of thousands of believers to churches every Sunday to be decieved?

The answer is no. But satan would decieve us.

One last thing. You asked if I would just listen carefully to what Bishop Long says and I would find the error. That is the problem with the believer. When you listen to a sermon, you don't listen to what __________(fill in the name) has to say; but what God has to say. To many Christians go to church to hear the man, instead of God.

Now, not by no means am I calling the man of God, God. But God is speaking through the man of GOd. When you listen with a critical spirit, you can't have a receptive heart. Both can't co-exist at the same time.

And plus, if satan knows that you are coming to hear the man mess up; he'll make sure something comes across wrong.

ajcarter said...

Thank you, so much for your input to this discussion. I am seeing more clearly where you are coming from and I appreciate that. However, I would like a little more clarification if you don't mind.

You said that we all have our opinions. How true you are. Nevertheless, one's opinion may be right or may be wrong. What we are called to do is not just let opinion be opinion, but to test that opinion by Scripture to see if one's opinion matches God's word, which is always infallibly right.

For example, surely you would say that Paul and Silas were "Men of God" and yet the Bible says that the most noble men in Berea, listened to what Paul and Silas taught and yet searched the Scriptures to make sure what Paul and Silas was saying was true (Acts 17:10-11). They were not listening with a critical spirit but with discerning hearts and minds. This is all I asked you to do. This is what I teach our people to do. Surely if what Paul and Silas said must be tested by Scripture, then what Eddie Long or I or anyone else says must be tested by Scripture. Eddie Long nor anyone else is beyond our examining to see if what they say is true.

Besides are we not commanded by God to "test the spirits" (1John 4:1)? What are we to test it by? By the Word of God of course. Do you belong to a church where you are not allowed to question or test what the pastor says according to the Word of God? If you have a faithful pastor he would surely say that you don't go to such a church.

When I say that Long is wrong, I am saying that what he teaches is not consistent with what the Bible says. Now if that is just my opinion, then so be it. But then again what Long says is just his opinion and yet you call that "revelation". How do you know its revelation? How can it be revelation if it goes against the Scriptures. Just because it "helps the struggling believer." There are people being helped all the time by the Mormon Church, Jehovah Witnesses, and but that does not mean that these people are receiving revelations from God, does it? I hope you would answer no.

I am of the opinion that the Mormons and the Jehovah Witnesses are wrong. I hope you are of the same opinion. Yet it is not our opinion that makes them wrong or right, but it is the fact that we have tested what they teach by what the Bible teaches and have found them to be in error.

Last question: If you found that what Eddie Long taught to be in contradiction to what the Bible taught, and Eddie said that he received this by revelation from God, which would you believe, Eddie Long or the Bible?

Anonymous said...

What can I say? You are completely correct in everything you said. I am for real when I say this. I got from your first posts that you were listening with a critical spirit instead of a discerning heart. You are right. I was wrong in my judgement.

I do listen with a discerning heart at my church. I have always done this, it just didn't come to mind when I wrote my last post.

I want your opinion. What would you say to a person who starts a ministry or a church? Is it biblical for a TD Jakes Ministries or Eddie Long Ministries? Is it biblical to start a Soul Glow Baptist Church? Is the denominational church biblical?

I would say these are things poured into to the spirit and birthed in the womb of the believer. What I am trying to say is that God sometimes says things to his people that seem unbiblical, but very biblical.

I am not saying the Word of God has flaws, because it doesn't. But the word of God doesn't talk about cars and cell phones, but yet we drive and carry them.

And to answer your last question. I would believe the Word of God over anything or anybody. But if God revealed something to you, would it be in the Bible? Because if it was already in the Bible, it wouldn't be revelation; but discovery.

ajcarter said...

Indeed, my brother, it appears that we are nearer to each other than we both supposed. This is great! I am so glad to hear that you listen with a receptive and yet a discerning heart. I am sure that your pastor appreciates knowing that as well.

I tend not to be too impressed, and even bothered, by those would be so bold as to place their names front and center in the ministry that claims to be for the Lord. My Bible reminds me that God is not interested in sharing His glory.

Furthermore, I can not get over how people place their faces on huge billboards advertising their churches. Are we supposed to be more inclined to come to a church simply because we see a made-up larger than life preacher on a billboard. Nothing could be more arrogant and presumptuous.

When you say that the Bible does not talk about cars and cell phones you are right. However, what you are seeking is not revelation on these or other contemporary issues. What you are asking is for application. The preacher today is not to expect to receive some revelation from God that is not in the Bible, but to study as to understand what the Bible says and then make application of that truth to our present context.

Actually, it is a power play, and an ungodly one at that, to stand up before people and say that God has given you some special revelation that is not confirmed in the Bible. How are we to test it to see if it is true? How are we to judge it.

When I preach, there are three test that I am always trying to pass: 1. The test of Scripture. What I say should be found clearly in the Bible. 2. The test of History. I should not expect to be the first one to have found something in the Bible. If it is new, it usually is not true. If it is true, it usually is not new.
3. The test of experience. What I preach, I would hope that my people find it true in their experiences. So I would not preach that God wants every Christian healthy and wealthy. Not only is it not biblical, nor historical, but we know that their are faithful followers of Christ all over the world today who are sick, crippled, and/or without much money. Yet their joy and service to the Lord out shines the wealthiest of us.

I hope you do understand where I am coming from. I do enjoy conversing with you and hope you have been as encouraged as I have.

Peace in Christ Alone.

Anonymous said...

I understand completely what you are saying. We do have a lot in common, which is cool. That is what the Word of God will do, bring two unique people to an agreement.

I will disagree with your take on huge billboards that may feature the preacher or pastor. I don't see it as advertising, but more as sharing information that there is a church in this neighborhood. If that is the case, why have church websites and tracks with the pastors name on it.

In my opinion, I think it is good that people use there popularity to draw people to God, for his glory. I don't agree in using your popularity for your own glory.

And lastly, about revelation; thanks. We do take God's word and apply it to our present situations. We shouldn't be making up something new. I did know that. But I think I wasn't making myself clear. God can say something to you that he has shown you in the Word, but others might say that isn't what he means. For example God says to Minister Jawbone, "I need you to go to the strip club and pull some people out. They are members of the church living the wrong lifestyle. Go get em'." You tell that to the congregation that God said to you go to the strip club and take them girls out. The congregatio ooo's and aaah's. They don't believe God said so. But you read where God says, "I will make you fishers of men. Launch your nets out into the deep." Jesus isn't talking about catfish and salmon, he is talking about people to you. He is saying the deep represents those dark places like clubs, parties, and gambling shacks.

You get what I am saying. YOu read it one way and someone else received another way. But God said in his word to you. Do you say they just don't get it, or is it okay to say the preacher is making it up.

I enjoy conversing with you also.

ajcarter said...

Concerning billboards, you say, "I don't see it as advertising, but more as sharing information that there is a church in this neighborhood. If that is the case, why have church websites and tracks with the pastors name on it."

But sharing that information is advertising. I don't recall saying that advertising is wrong. Nor did I say that websites and tracks were wrong, I simply made the point that what is being advertised is not so much the church as much as it is the personality of the pastor. What are we communicating with a larger than life picture of ourselves? What do we think of ourselves? The sad state of affairs in modern day Christianity is that it has become a cult of personality. This is exactly what Paul was arguing against in Corinth (see 1Cor. 1:12-17). Worldliness in the Church is when the church becomes like the world. Well the world is personality driven, and so too now is the church. This manifest a morality in the world that is ungodly and debauched. It manifest itself similarly in the church as we find ourselves infatuated with persons and less infatuated with Scripture and Christ. I wonder if John the Baptist would have a billboard with his picture on it seeing that his testimony was "He must increase, but I must decrease" (Jn. 3:30).

Also, the example you gave of revelation, is more in keeping with application. A pastor who reads that we are to be fishers of men, correctly makes application that he is called to go seek out his members who are engaged in self-destructive behavior. It takes no special revelation knowledge to know to do that. It is just making application of what God has already said in His Word.

Beside that, I would ask some specifics concerning God's conversation with Rev. Jawbone. For example, God said: "go to the strip club and take them girls out."

What time of day did God tell Rev. Jawbone to go to the strip club? Did He tell him to go in the middle of the strippers performance? :-) Or did He tell him to go to her house on the day she has off or during her off hours? Did He tell Rev. Jawbone to go by himself or to take along a companion or two?

As you can see, claiming special revelation can be a tenuous matter. What if Rev. Jawbone tells you God told him to go in the middle of the night to the club, would you believe that when the Bible clearly tells us that we are to avoid every form of evil (1Thes. 5:22) and that were are not to allow our good to be spoken of as evil (Rm. 14:16).

The issue in this case, and others, is not revelation, my friend, but application and the discernment that comes from spending time with God in His word in knowing how and when to make application of His commands.

Be blessed my friend. God's word is sufficient unto all things (2Tim. 3:16-17).