Friday, July 31, 2009

More Old Testament Zingers

In light of my Word of Faith experience, The Message's paraphrase of Old Testament writings is right on target.

It's funny how well some of it matches not only the WOF but contemporary church as well.

It's also very disturbing.

Amos 2:6-8

(Speaking of Israel )
They buy and sell upstanding people.
People for them are only things—ways of making money.
They'd sell a poor man for a pair of shoes.
They'd sell their own grandmother!
They grind the penniless into the dirt,
shove the luckless into the ditch.

Amos 6:1-7

Woe to you who think you live on easy street in Zion,
who think Mount Samaria is the good life.
You assume you're at the top of the heap,
voted the number-one best place to live.
Well, wake up and look around. Get off your pedestal.
Take a look at Calneh.
Go and visit Great Hamath.
Look in on Gath of the Philistines.
Doesn't that take you off your high horse?
Compared to them, you're not much, are you?

Woe to you who are rushing headlong to disaster!
Catastrophe is just around the corner!
Woe to those who live in luxury
and expect everyone else to serve them!
Woe to those who live only for today,
indifferent to the fate of others!
Woe to the playboys, the playgirls,
who think life is a party held just for them!
Woe to those addicted to feeling good—life without pain!
those obsessed with looking good—life without wrinkles!
They could not care less
about their country going to ruin.
But here's what's really coming:
a forced march into exile.
They'll leave the country whining,
a rag-tag bunch of good-for-nothings.

Amos 6:13
And yet you've made a shambles of justice,
a bloated corpse of righteousness,
Bragging of your trivial pursuits,
beating up on the weak and crowing, "Look what I've done!"

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Amos 5:21-24 from the Message

I can't stand your religious meetings.
I'm fed up with your conferences and conventions.
I want nothing to do with your religion projects,
your pretentious slogans and goals.
I'm sick of your fund-raising schemes,
your public relations and image making.
I've had all I can take of your noisy ego-music.
When was the last time you sang to me?
Do you know what I want?
I want justice—oceans of it.
I want fairness—rivers of it.
That's what I want. That's all I want.
Amos 5:21-24

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Narcissistic Pastor in Action

The Where is Character blog has a great article on the activities of a narcissistic pastor as he railed against a rival church.

The narcissist pastor of the church my family attended spent time for many weeks talking about rival preachers stealing his congregants.

Sounds like paranoia to me.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

It's Simple

I was reading a Abu Dauod's blog who is a Christian of Arab background who lives in the Middle East (hope I have that right). He happened to bump into a mercenary named Steven and were discussing Steven's experiences as well as events in Iraq. As the conversation took on a more spiritual tone, he makes a simple and profound statement about Christianity.

Stephen said "he was in Nashville once, and had nothing to do, and the only book around the hotel was the Bible, so he started reading it and found many contradictions…

I said, traditionally, I would ask you what those contradictions were and try to explain each of them away. But let me tell you that my experience is that Christianity works because I lived it out. When I became a Christian, I just did what I was taught: respect your parents, or, be kind to those whom no one else likes or respect—the unpopular kids at school. So I started trying to live out these Christians teachings, and saw that they really worked. So, it’s kind of like a puzzle—you don’t need to solve the whole puzzle before you can understand what it portrays."

I think that says it all, doesn't it?

Feedback Outside the U.S.

Can those of you who read The Autonomy of the Believer outside the United States recommend any blogs that deal with similar topics originating in your country? Even if they are not written in English, I would like to know about them in order to network with others, as you can translate web pages into English.

Also if there are bloggers in closed/restricted countries, I would love to know about them.

On either account you can e-mail me at .

Sunday, July 5, 2009


At the Word of Faith church we attended for 10 years, we were regularly encouraged by our pastor to read Kenneth E. Hagin’s books. Our pastor closely imitated Kenneth Hagin and continually sought to increase his stature within Hagin’s organization. The Word of Faith is big on the philosophy “Be a good leader by being a good follower” so we followed our pastor as he followed Brother Hagin.

We noticed early on that our pastor seldom mixed with the congregation. He had an engaging, folksy on-stage persona again similar to Hagin’s but was distant when it came to personal contact. I have commented before that my family had little contact with him during the 10 years we were there. The pastor even commented himself from the pulpit that people said he was aloof and untouchable. But he added that Hagin also endured such criticisms. The pastor usually drove up to the church either shortly before the service or had little contact with anyone if he was there early. And once his portion the service was over, he was out the back door with his usher escort and was gone in a flash.

The pastor was also famous for his disdain of personal counseling. It seemed like anything that looked remotely like contact with the people he avoided and disliked.

You can imagine our dismay when we read Hagin’s He Gave Gift Unto Men. In this book, Hagin explains various aspects of the “Five-fold ministry gifts” (well, four out of five: apostles, prophets, pastors and teachers). In chapter 12 Hagin discusses “the office of the pastor.” In the WOF ministers are held in great reverence. Yet, in this chapter, Hagin discusses at length how shepherds (pastors) needed to be among the sheep (congregants) and know them. He gave an example of how one pastor would leave church building just as soon as his services were over and would not spend time with his people. That sounded exactly like our pastor! Over a period of time, we would re-read that chapter and we’d listen to the pastor and observe his behaviour from our distant vantage point…and we couldn't explain it away. Our exalted pastor was not in line with the modern-day prophet Hagin! What would we do? Well, for a while....we did nothing. But this was where we began to entertain thoughts that maybe, just maybe the pastor was the problem with our church.

Once the extent of manipulation and sin that had taken place over the years at our church was exposed, there was much reading of the prophecy against the Shepherds of Israel in Ezekiel 34, as our "Pastor" was no shepherd.

Ezekiel 34

1 Then the word of the LORD came to me saying,

2 "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel Prophesy and say to those shepherds, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Woe, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flock?

3 "You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat sheep without feeding the flock.

4 "Those who are sickly you have not strengthened, the diseased you have not healed, the broken you have not bound up, the scattered you have not brought back, nor have you sought for the lost; but with force and with severity you have dominated them.

5 "They were scattered for lack of a shepherd, and they became (I)food for every beast of the field and were scattered.

6 "My flock wandered through all the mountains and on every high hill; My flock was scattered over all the surface of the earth, and there was no one to search or seek for them."

7 Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD:

8 "As I live," declares the Lord GOD, "surely because My flock has become a prey, My flock has even become food for all the beasts of the field for lack of a shepherd, and My shepherds did not search for My flock, but rather the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock;

9 therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD:

10 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will demand My sheep from them and make them cease from feeding sheep So the shepherds will not feed themselves anymore, but I will deliver My flock from their mouth, so that they will not be food for them."'"
The Restoration of Israel

11 For thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out.

12 "As a shepherd cares for his herd in the day when he is among his scattered sheep, so I will care for My sheep and will deliver them from all the places to which they were scattered on a cloudy and gloomy day.

13 "I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries and bring them to their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the streams, and in all the inhabited places of the land.

14 "I will feed them in a good pasture, and their grazing ground will be on the mountain heights of Israel There they will lie down on good grazing ground and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel.

15 "I will feed My flock and I will lead them to rest," declares the Lord GOD.

16 "I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken and strengthen the sick; but the fat and the strong I will destroy I will feed them with judgment.

17 "As for you, My flock, thus says the Lord GOD, 'Behold, I will judge between one sheep and another, between the rams and the male goats.

18 'Is it too slight a thing for you that you should feed in the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pastures? Or that you should drink of the clear waters, that you must foul the rest with your feet?

19 'As for My flock, they must eat what you tread down with your feet and drink what you foul with your feet!'"

20 Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD to them, "Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep.

21 "Because you push with side and with shoulder, and thrust at all the weak with your horns until you have scattered them abroad,

22 therefore, I will deliver My flock, and they will no longer be a prey; and I will judge between one sheep and another.

23 "Then I will set over them one shepherd, My servant David, and he will feed them; he will feed them himself and be their shepherd.

24 "And I, the LORD, will be their God, and My servant David will be prince among them; I the LORD have spoken.

25 "I will make a covenant of peace with them and eliminate harmful beasts from the land so that they may live securely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods.

26 "I will make them and the places around My hill a blessing And I will cause showers to come down in their season; they will be showers of blessing.

27 "Also the tree of the field will yield its fruit and the earth will yield its increase, and they will be secure on their land Then they will know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bars of their yoke and have delivered them from the hand of those who enslaved them.

28 "They will no longer be a prey to the nations, and the beasts of the earth will not devour them; but they will live securely, and no one will make them afraid.

29 "I will establish for them a renowned planting place, and they will not again be victims of famine in the land, and they will not (endure the insults of the nations anymore.

30 "Then they will know that I, the LORD their God, am with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are My people," declares the Lord GOD.

31 "As for you, My sheep, the sheep of My pasture, you are men, and I am your God," declares the Lord GOD.