Trying to Sound Trenchant

  04/23/15 , by Dissidens, Categories: Evangelical culture

It is difficult to imagine any religion less appealing, less attractive, less edifying than contemporary Christianity. And I say this as one who grew up in it; it’s not as though I bring a naïve, alien’s repugnance to it. This used to be my home.

I suppose it is theoretically possible for us to make things worse: I can think of a few remaining things that haven’t been sufficiently desecrated, Evangelicals haven’t yet turned all the world’s entertainments into illustrations of redemption, not quite every square inch has been colonized by the shallowest minds, certainly we could squeeze a few more weekday ditties into the Sunday Morning Cirque du Fils, with a minimum of effort a few more of our ignoble desires could be attested in God’s word…but if it weren’t for Islam, Christianity would look like the least healthy worldview one might choose from a rather unattractive list.

And now this religion appears to have huddled up into fuggy little focus groups devoted to publishing their own flair in god-thinking. One of those groups is the Gospel Coalition, and this is what the locals are thinking these days.

You’ll notice they are heavy on celebrities, snapshots, soundbites, and twitter feeds. This is, I guess, the Coalition’s idea of doing the work of the ministry. Take a good, long, hard look at it and peer into your future.

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A Risen King

  04/05/15 , by Dissidens, Categories: Poetry

See the tomb where death had laid him,

Empty now its mouth declares;

“Death and I could not contain him,

For the throne of life he shares.”

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Every Square Inch

  03/31/15 , by Dissidens, Categories: Evangelical culture


It also helps that jazz has gained respectability. The “smoky bar image” of old has been replaced, now that jazz is taught at the university level. And some jazz musicians, such as Duke Ellington and Mary Lou Williams, performed sacred music in the jazz style, so York isn’t alone in jazzing up hymns.


A lot of things are being taught at the university level: Marxism, queer theory, Darwinism, witchcraft…but it’s nice to know Pam York still has some concern for “respectability”. At least she has that going for her.

Respectability is one of those gifts of the Spirit that doesn’t get preached much anymore.

If you think all the naïve, bumpkin Christians attend Charismatic and Fundamentalist churches, you just haven’t been paying attention.

I just pray before I perform that the music would be to the glory of God—that regardless of how I’m feeling, the Lord would be honored in my work. 

—Pamela York


Let’s give a warm welcome tonight to the Sons of The Holy One Jazz Trio. We have John Knox on piano, Theodore Beza on drums, and William Farel on bass.



“Were My Name Not Attached”

  03/23/15 , by Dissidens, Categories: Evangelical culture

I take personal ownership of this inflammatory rhetoric. This reckless statement was made in the heat of a political controversy 35 years ago. It is antithetical to my theology and my 50 years of preaching a redeeming Christ Who came into the world not to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. Upon now reading these long-forgotten words, they seem to me as words belonging to a total stranger—were my name not attached. 

—Bob Jones III


Desperate times call for desperate measures. With Fundamentalists’ schools shutting down and Fundamentalist leaders languishing in prison for some pretty unsavory behavior, it seems an opportune time for BJIII to do right.

I say “seems” because this apology does not appear to have sprung from a repentant heart as has so often been the case in the history of heartfelt confessions. It is offered at a politically vulnerable moment: some sexual perverts have been harassing the world’s most unusual university for some time. And in response to political pressure this is what we get.

BJIII is not apologizing because his statements and attitudes are shamelessly inconsistent with Scripture, completely uncharacteristic of Christ’s ministry, and entirely contrary to St. Paul’s doctrine, he is apologizing because they are antithetical to his own theology and 50 years’ worth of his own pulpiteering.

This was a “reckless statement” and “inflammatory rhetoric” made in the heat of political controversy.

(Unlike the present moment.)

Reckless statements and inflammatory rhetoric have pretty much been a hallmark of Fundamentalist culture, so it is worth a moment’s reflection on the nature of Fundamentalist leadership and the character of the movement itself.


Gimme Dat Ol’ Dynamic Synergism Thing

  03/13/15 , by Dissidens, Categories: Evangelical culture



“Well I think it comes down to mission. Why are we here? What are we trying to accomplish? And the commonalities between these two schools and our mission is the greatest aspect for the partnership just having dynamic synergism.”

—Dr. Steve Echols



There will come a day, though I expect it will come only after certain malefactors are tooling around in their retirement village golf carts (or safely incarcerated in prison—away from the children), when those with functioning memories will wonder, “What on earth were those guys smokin’?!”

The Northland International Overarching Entity Massacre seemed—to me—to be the perfect moment for people to wake up and smell the rotting corpses. Why was such utter nonsense tolerated in our leaders? How did we get to this point where our leaders could speak rubbish with such impunity?

What sort of dementia are we looking at here? It’s not just that the power centers of Fundamentalism are melting away like a North Texas snowfall, it’s the ridiculous and implausible explanations that are offered.

It is painful to watch a couple of inarticulate dweebs, like NFL commentators and their on-camera hand-dancing, trying to use choreography to establish some credibility.

I heard Lee Roberson preach a few times, but I can’t claim to have known him. I knew some Tennessee Temple grads; award-winning crackpots, in my view. Charles Stevens was a professor of mine, and my wife is a long-standing family friend. I can say with certainty that neither he nor Roberson would ever have blathered on in public about the commonalities between these two schools and our mission is the greatest aspect for the partnership just having dynamic synergism. I’m sure both families would have each of them committed to an institution devoted to their rest and convalescence.

When will this cup of embarrassment be full?

You should ask yourself:


  • What purposes did Bible colleges serve? and what will serve those purposes now?
  • What functions did they perform? What will happen when they are gone? Who will miseducate your children now?
  • What services did they render?
  • What direction did they provide? and where will that direction come from now?


If you have children or have friends who do, if you attend a church, or if you call yourself a Christian, these are important questions and ones that will need to be confronted sooner or later.


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