Sketchy Duel

I think there’s something in this little video for every Christian to take to heart.

HT: Matt Steen

August 03 2012 | Blog | Comments Off on Sketchy Duel

Resolving Everyday Conflict Free Audio Book

9780801013867mThis Fall our church is going to go through a study in Home Groups called Resolving Everyday Conflict. The study is put out by Peacemaker Ministries and I believe is one of the most important studies that any Christian will ever do.

That’s why I was so excited to see that Resolving Everyday Conflict is Christian Audio’s free book of the month this month. That means that if you go to right now, you can order and download a copy of Resolving Everyday Conflict for free.

May 06 2012 | Blog | Comments Off on Resolving Everyday Conflict Free Audio Book

Pastorals (Home, part 2)

This is the fourth post in a series of posts titled “Pastorals”.  One of the things that I have begun to realize about myself is that I tend to forget things quickly.  My goal in this series is to continually remind myself of the lessons that I have learned in ministry.

France_Riviera_Nice_Watcher One of the great privileges of my life has been to serve the local church.  I love the church and with each passing day that I serve the church I grow to love her even more.  The church is the bride of Christ and her Husband paid a terrible price to purchase her salvation.  As one of His undershepherds you too must love His bride and cherish her.

While I deeply love the church, the sad reality is that the church can be a hard place to serve at times.  Emotions seem to run much deeper when something is as personal as ministry and the cost to your own soul will be steep.  I remember a conflict many years ago where a parent of one of my High School students was so furious with me over a decision that I had made that he called me on my cell phone and literally yelled at me for 30 minutes, while I was driving around planning a youth retreat.  Several weeks later this same man gave me the tongue lashing of my life on the church patio, on a Sunday morning, 5 minutes before I had to get up and lead worship.  So, while undershepherds must love the church deeply, we must also be realistic about what it costs to love the church.

What I would like to address this morning is not so much the matter of loving the church even when she hurts you, but more specifically, where is the minister to go with those hurts?  The most natural answer to this question is that he should go to his wife and while this is sometimes true, it certainly deserves a little more thought.  Far too many shepherds bring home baggage from the ministry that they leave with their wife, or even (sadly) with their kids.  The end result of this practice is a wife and children who are bitter at the church for hurting their dad or her husband.  So, what do you tell your family about the ministry?  In short, all of the good things.  Tell them about the joy of studying, the new insight that you received today, the precious moments by someone’s side in the hospital, and the man who gave his life to Christ in your office.  The point is to tell your family all of the good things that happen and especially never to speak ill of anyone in the church.  You need not fear that this will present them with an unrealistic picture of ministry.  Your countenance at times, or the slump in your shoulder will be testimony enough to the battles that you have fought.  You need not supplement these silent testimonies with anything else.

The question still remains, “to whom shall you go?”  The most tangible answer to this question is to other pastors who can shoulder the burden alongside of you.  In addition, it is appropriate at times to speak with your wife about some of the hard things, but you must be especially diligent to guard her heart and to keep her appraised of the situation until its completion (don’t just leave her hanging).  Finally, cast your cares upon the Lord (1 Peter 5:7) and trust the Chief Shepherd to care for you.

‘Til Sin is Bitter Christ Will not be Sweet,

Drew Buell

May 04 2009 | Pastorals | Comments Off on Pastorals (Home, part 2)


Since I don’t have anything else to post today, I thought you might enjoy reading the final bit of the conversation over the Prosperity Gospel. For clarity’s sake, Apryl is my sister-in-law and her daughter suffers from a pretty serious issue with her colon.

Apryl Van Boven-Van Groningen at 2:32pm February 5
I found this all very interesting. As a high risk neonatal nurse I have seen the worst of situations where healing did not occur. I have seen life begin and end in a day and all I had to offer to the parents was praye, faith and hope in the Lord. I have seen my daughter Ava go through more pain, suffering and surgery than I will ever experience probably in my life. Arlin and I have had faith in God that he will get her through this and maybe some day she will be healed. To Mark and Jim–what do you say to me? Do you really think that her suffering and pain is from my lack of faith and belief in God? If so, I really don’t think that I could live with myself knowing that God holds me responsible

Erin Hockaday at 3:04pm February 5
Apryl, I’m sorry to see the pain you’ve endured. I understand the helplessness you feel when you see someone die as well. That is the reason why I have dug deep in God for answers. Though I don’t claim to have near enough of them I believe I can help here. first of all, we have much to be thankful about as we see the mercy of God displayed through the wisdom that has increased in these last days. Daniel prophesied that wisdom would increase in the end. Thank God that doctors are making such great strides and able to help as they do. We all have benefited from them. But as I’m sure you know, I have been there when the doctor said “that they can do know more.” At that point, is there supernatural help? Let’s set a few boundaries first. God never changes! If He is good then He is not bad. simple but important. Good things come from above.(Js.1:17). Job had a limited understanding and very limited revelation of God. He thought God gave one minute and the next He took it

Erin Hockaday at 3:13pm February 5
all away. However, we are able to see into the story of Job and see that it was Satan who did the stealing and killing. Just as Jesus said, “the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy”. So you must settle it in your thinking that God is good. If He is then redemption must be for our benefit. Ps 103 How then are we able to make the connections to see change in this world? Is it all chance, or is God just waving a wand and doing all the decision making? Number one, there are absolutes in God and number two, there is a response necessary from us to receive God’s will. His will is not left up the the circumstances, it is predetermined in the mind of God. consummated through the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. For instance, God doesn’t pick who will be saved and who won’t. Christ died for the sin of the world-plural. How come the world is not all saved? Because they must receive it to experience the wonder of God. God told Moses to choose life or death. Notice, life and death

Erin Hockaday at 3:20pm February 5
don’t have the choice do they? We Do!! Jesus said that you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. the emphasis is on know the truth. truth cannot set you free if you don’t know it. This is why we preach, so people can know about, salvation, healing, even prosperity or you could say the well-being of God for your entire life. We must again settle on something. You cannot believe with faith unless something first exists and is absolutely so. For instance if I don’t know for sure that God saves I will be unable to trust God for it. Or If I am unsure that God will save me this time, then I am unable to trust Him again. If I am to believe with my heart which will automatically illicit a response then I must be sure that what I am believing God for is real and that I can obtain it now. Remember, Momma doesn’t call you to the dinner table until the food is ready. What Jesus did for us in His finished work is the finality of God’s will for your life, every time and

Mark Boer at 3:29pm February 5
Hi Apryl, How’s everything?To answer your question about lack of faith and belief in God…first of all those words originally came from Drew, not us. That is typical of that belief system to think the problem is either the will of God or it is a lack of faith in God. Actually, their are other variables in situations like these. However, it would be important to note that faith in God should be clarified. Some have faith that He is their savior and comforter, while others have faith that He is also their healer, protector, provider, etc. The Word of God speaks of having faith in His name, faith in the power of God, etc., not just a generalized faith in God. If a person is never taught these truths, it would not be possible trust God in those specific areas. In other words, If am told that God will forgive my sins, I can easily trust Him for that. If I am told that healing may or may not be His will, it is impossible for me to trust Him for that. It doesn’t make me a bad…

Mark Boer at 3:32pm February 5
…person, but my lack of knowedge in that specific area will effect what I am able to receive from the Lord.Who is to blame for your daughter’s problems? None of us think for a moment that you would not do everything in your power to change it. I wouldn’t blame you at all. But, just as that would potentially question your love for her, what does it do when we blame God for this? If we would give good gifts to our children, how much more our Father in heaven. This is where we run into Drew’s extreme sovereignty of God theology that basically says that God does whatever He wants and His will always happens. That belief throws out all faith, prayer, obedience, and anything else that is our side of the equation. Drew, I know you wanted to end the discussion, but I wanted to answer Apryl. (However, I couldn’t have answered if it wasn’t God’s will, right?) 🙂

Erin Hockaday at 3:36pm February 5
all the time. What Jesus did for us is done. We can’t change that. PTL – we are honored to experience all that was accomplished in the death, burial and resurrection. Do you understand how important it is for you to settle on whether or not it is the will of God that we are healed? Do we wait to see if our prayer worked to believe if God wanted us well? I can tell you from years of experience that those prayers never work. If our spouses told us to meet them at a particular place because it was important, wouldn’t we make the effort with an expectation? Of Course. Because we trust them and know them to be honorable to their word. How much more so should we be with God. I could write for ever and show you through the word healing in the old and new testament. But the best way to determine whether or not healing is in our covenant is to look at the ministry of Jesus. He was after all the expressed image of His Father. He said Himself that if you have seen Him, then you have

Erin Hockaday at 3:45pm February 5
seen the Father. In His ministry Jesus always healed except in His own home town. Mark 6 is the story where Jesus commented after He had tried to do mighty miracles and could not. It didn’t say, He would not, but could not. Why? because of unbelief. It takes just as much energy to unbelieve as it does to believe. It’s not too late to see great change in your family. Let’s except the fact that Jesus wants you and your children healed and well. Taking our infirmities and sickness was at the same time where Jesus took our sin. This is sealed through the blood of Jesus in our covenant agreement. It is available all the time. Healing is something that should be working in us at all times. Let me know how you’re doing with this and then we can go further if you want to. Drew, I am blessed to talk with you and Apryl about these things. It is good to sharpen one another with the word of God. I look forward to seeing you at the next family meeting. JIM

Apryl Van Boven-Van Groningen at 5:23pm February 5
I really appreciate both of you getting back to me. I needed to clarify what you both were saying. I did not mean for it to be an us against you ! Looking forward to seeing you all again sometime!!

Drew Buell at 5:38pm February 5
Seeing as we’re kind of rounding things out…again…I’ll throw in my 2 cents (I don’t have enough faith for more than that :-)One glaring observation from all of the recent hullabaloo is that neither Jim nor Mark actually answered the question that Apryl asked. You both spilled a lot of proverbial ink but without giving any kind of a real answer to the issue. Either Apryl needs more faith or not, if not your gospel is hypocritical, if so it is just plain cruel.On the positive side you have both made it very clear that you do not believe in the sovereignty of God. You are essentially Open Theists who believe that God is very well intentioned but ultimatley powerless to deal with the suffering of this world, unless he is somehow able to tap into his children’s faith. As Bruce Ware has so aptly stated about Open Theism, “Your God is too small”. You put God into a box where he must meet our every demand, lest we accuse him of not being good.

Drew Buell at 5:44pm February 5
You leave those suffeirng with no alternative but to blame themselves, or the devil, or some unseen force that has caused their suffering, but this does not offer them hope. I’ll close in a fitting way with what John Piper said in the video, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him, even in the midst of loss…not prosperity.” If you guys would like to continue the conversation I’m going to reccomend that we move over to my blog ( or some other kind of forum. Let me know if that would be helpful or interesting to you.

Erin Hockaday at 5:56pm February 5
I was really hoping that from the conversation that I wrote we could proceed with some respect. Obviously not. Your whole tone is contentious and I don’t care to fight you. Question: Have you ever prayed for someone and experienced them receiving a supernatural healing? Not with doctors, but by the power of God. Have you ever prayed for yourself when sick and experienced the power of the Lord to heal? If not, then who in the world do you think you are to question Mark and I who are trying to gently lay some foundation so you are able to understand how to get beyond the frustration that Apryl shared? If you couldn’t understand what we have shared today, then we have too much to cover with you to help you to see God as He really is. Our trust in the grace of God is the reason why you will live in the abundance that has been provided. Your point of view is purely religious. Paul said having a form of religion, but denying the power there of. You say that you have hope, but it

Erin Hockaday at 6:05pm February 5
did you no good. did it? I have witnessed thousands of people receiving bona fide miracles with doctors proof and you tell me my God is cruel. What about your gospel which provides no real cure but leaves people in the same mess while they in turn blame God with the sovereignty issue. The truth is, God is sovereign but not as you think. He set forth His Word as His sovereign will in the earth. As man believes and walks in the light, he will experience God’s best. It would be very difficult for your faith to receive anything because your believing is so misplaced. (I’m done—this is a no end street as long as you think you have a leg to stand on. Too bad.) We would really like to see things change with your children. And Erin and I will pray the Ephesians prayers over you and your family. Respectively, JIM

Erin Hockaday at 6:15pm February 5
Apryl’s faith? She received all the faith she could ever use at her salvation. The faith of Jesus Christ. Yet her faith works based on the knowledge of the word of God. So you don’t need more faith, you need to know the will of God concerning healing.

Drew Buell at 9:28pm February 5
it seems that I recall similar words from most major cult leaders…

February 06 2009 | Blog | Comments Off on Seriously…

The rest of the story…

I wasn’t going to post any more of the conversation between myself and the prosperity gospel advocates, but these comments give so much insight into what they really believe that I think they’re worth sharing. For clarity’s sake, the comments by Erin are actually from her husband Jim who is a prosperity gospel evangelist. You can find his website here. Tim Vaughn is a good friend from the church, as is Collin.

Erin Hockaday at 7:39am February 3
Hi Drew, this is Jim, Erin’s husband. I found your thoughts very interesting. They bring back many memories that I have, as I have argued from the same perspective. This is too big a subject to address on a facebook, I agree. I will comment briefly, I used to believe also that the troubles of life including sickness and poverty were apart of the suffering that must be endured by the Christian life. We always prayed “according to your will” when trying to believe in something good from God. Those prayers never worked! From this we then accepted our trouble as God’s will. Interesting however, we would turn right around and seek help from man to reverse what we had just accepted as Gods will. For instance, if I accept that this sickness is from God, why then would I go to the doctor to try and get well? A contridiction don’t you think?Really Drew, understanding what Redemption is and what it is not is what we are discussing.

Erin Hockaday at 7:50am February 3
Before commenting further I do want to make an observation. If I were not saved and looking at this facebook and had listened to the message of John Piper I would certainly be turned off from Christianity and the Idea that maybe God was a good God. That message was the most appalling message that I have heard in a very long time. The idea that God is glorified by a child flying through the windshield of a car, are you kidding? Of course we always find comfort in God and we never wander from our love and devotion to serve Him no matter what. But come on here, nothing about the child dying is good. So, don’t blame God for that. Yes, God is always good, He never changes, but that child dying is not of God. Can’t you see from an outsiders point of view that John Piper and even your comments are fighting for the right to suffer through the disasters of life and accept this as God’s will? We have been presenting to you the goodness of God experienced in this lifetime as evidence to

Erin Hockaday at 8:02am February 3
His resurrection. And this again is why understanding what Redemption is is really the topic. If you believe that being poor is a blessing then so be it. If you believe that being sick is sometimes of God, then you will need good doctors to help. Thank God there are some good doctors now adays. However, God created us to live a supernatural life. One where He was evidenced in all that we do and say. One where the finished work of Jesus was portrayed through the life of the believer. Everything about a christian should be different. From the change of heart through our salvation to the way we conduct ourselves to the way we handle adversity. Lay down as a door mat and let the devil walk all over us? I don’t think so. Resist the devil and he will flee! Now we are sounding like new testament christians. I have cast devils out of people growling like a lion or having a fit on the floor just to see them in there right mind moments latter accepting Jesus as their savior. I have

Erin Hockaday at 8:15am February 3
personally witnessed thousands healed from all types of sickness and disease before my eyes. I have witnessed the magnificence of the real prosperity message as people have increased financially. From not paying bills to paying them with something left over to walking in abundance. Just because someone spends two hours taking up an offering doesn’t mean I do that. Sure there are excesses in the body of Christ. But that should not minimize the truth of the word of God from working in each one of us. Being in Love with Jesus for who He is connot be separated from what He has done. He is the savior, the redeemer, the deliverer, the healer, our sustainer, our comfort and even our abundance. Time doesnt permit how much could be written and quoted from scripture to validate the few things that have been said. I could tell you testimonies all day long and wouldn’t exhaust them all of the real goodness of God. One thing I do know, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”

Mark Boer at 8:48am February 3
Drew, your comments about this so called prosperity gospel and Jesus being simply a means to that end is not something I’m familiar with. I am curious if you (or John) personally know anyone who believes and walks in Biblical prosperity. I think if you did, you would not find the money hungry people you envision. Prosperity is certainly a perk of the covenant, but not the primary reason we serve Him. Eternal life is knowing the Father and the Son. As I’ve come to know Him, I’ve discovered that He is an abundant provider. He does exceeding abundantly above all we could ask or think. Most people that believe and live in God’s provision (prosperity) do so in large part so they can be a blessing to others. You can’t give what you don’t have. If we want to win the world to Jesus, it sure helps to have the financial means to fund the spreading of the gospel.

Tim Vaughan at 9:30am February 3
I suppose Luke 18:22 might add some clarity to this debate; when Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still need to do one thing. Sell everything you have and give the money to the destitute, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come back and follow me.”He isn’t promising the young ruler health and wealth while still on earth, but that his wealth will be found in heavenly treasures (if he obeys Jesus’ command). A good friend once noted that nowhere in the NT does it promise us happiness here on earth. On the contrary, we will be deemed a peculiar people, worthy of persecution and ridicule. Does Jesus want us to find joy in this life? Yes, but joy in Him and in knowing that we will be free from poverty and disease for eternity as we reign with Him in heaven. Jesus only wants us to be obedient to Him. Obedient in trying to live a righteous life, obedient in sharing the gospel, obedient answering the effectual call. We have no part in our salvation. We cal only calle

Drew Buell at 11:01am February 3
Seeing as this comment thread has grown to well over 20 comments, I’d like to kind of close things out here, not because I’m not enjoying myself but it seems obvious that we’ve reached the real point of impass between the prosperity gospel and what I would call the gospel according to Jesus. The issue is the sovereignty of God. As Jim noted, the prosperity gospel does not allow for a God who allows or even causes suffering and this is the great impass. I believe that for God to truly be sovereign, He must reign over health and sickness, prosperity and poverty. As Job noted, “shall we accept good from the hand of the Lord and not adversity?”Like we’ve all noted, facebook probably isn’t the best place to flesh out the details of our view of the nature and character of God or redemption (although Jim, I do believe that is a critical issue in the discussion). Perhaps at our next family gathering, we can chat in person and make some more progress (as long as I’m still invited :-).

Collin Vander Ark at 11:56am February 3
Awesome video Drew.

February 04 2009 | Blog | Comments Off on The rest of the story…

A Very Interesting Conversation

On Sunday I posted the John Piper video on the Health-Wealth Gospel to my facebook page, in case anyone missed it from the blog. As I mentioned on Sunday, I have several relatives that are raelly into the prosperity gospel…what I had forgotten was that they are on facebook as well. The following is a copy of our conversation that I thought you might enjoy reading. For clarity’s sake, Josh is a good friend from EBC, Linda is Amy’s aunt and Mark is Amy’s cousin who is a prosperity gospel pastor.

Josh Peterson at 9:35am February 2
good video!

Linda Boer at 1:07pm February 2
Bad video!!!!!!!

Linda Boer at 1:26pm February 2
How can we say we hate the prosperity and health message when the Bible teaches both

Drew Buell at 1:35pm February 2
I guess that’s really the issue Linda. Nowhere does the Scripture teach that God’s children are guaranteed health, welath or prosperity. To the contrary Jesus himself said, “the Son of man has no place to lay his head.” He was the child of an extremely poor family, brought up in a poor community and crucified as a common thief.

Linda Boer at 2:04pm February 2
Jesus bore my sicknesses and pain on the cross so thats a guarantee for me that his will is health!!!!!

Josh Peterson at 2:52pm February 2
Not to jump in on the conversation, but i believe he died for our SINS on the cross… not sickness and pain… His will is that i be sanctified, not healthy.

Linda Boer at 3:58pm February 2
Is. 53:4 says Jesus bore our griefs and sorrows which in the original Hebrew means sickness and pain.

Mark Boer at 4:58pm February 2
So, is it the will of God that we be sick and broke? Aren’t those listed as curses in the Old Testament? Wasn’t Jesus made a curse for us? How did Jesus respond to the sick in His earthly ministry? Did He ever turn someone down? Did He ever say it wasn’t His will or the will of the Father? How do we know the will of God? Jesus is the express image of the Father.

Drew Buell at 7:48pm February 2
Hey guys, sorry to be away from the conversation for so long but I had appointments all afternoon and just got the kids to bed. I think the best way for me to answer will be in a series of seperate posts addressed to each of you.First of all, Josh makes a great point that Christ’s death was to atone for our sins, not to take the pain out of life. Frankly to teach that the death of Christ was no more than a means to the end of removing pain and poverty from the lives of his people trivializes the crucifixion of Christian and makes Christ’s death of no more effect than the economic stimulus package (assuming that it works).

Drew Buell at 7:53pm February 2
Linda, I am glad to see you appealing to the original languages to make your case. It shows that you have a high regard for scripture, which is wonderful. However, in this case you have taken two Hebrew words (Halanu and Macebanu) and misapplied their meanings. It is true that these words can mean “sickness and pain” however these words can and frequently do mean “grief and sorrow”. Ultimately the context of the passage must determine its proper translation. In this case the context of the crucifixion as detailed in the second half of the verse makes “grief and sorrow” much more likely. However, even if these words are translated sickness and pain that doesn’t even come close to validating the prosperity gospel. The emphasis of Isa. 53 is the suffering servant suffering for our sins, in this case grief and pain (or sickness and sorrow) are the result of that sin which Christ’s death atoned for.Again, to look at the crucifixion as a means to my prosperity is to trivialize…

Drew Buell at 7:54pm February 2
the cross and polute the gospel

Drew Buell at 7:59pm February 2
Mark, of all the comments I have to say that I find yours the most confusing, so I will do my best to answer what I think you are asking.Your questions suffer from the dillema of false alternatives. You asked if it it is God’s will for us to be sick, if it’s not God’s will for us to be healthy. That’s like assuming that someone drives a BMW, just because they don’t drive a porsche. The point is that there are a lot more options than that. As John Piper talks about in the video, God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him, not in the things that He gives us.Secondly, just because sickness was occasionaly a curse in the OT, does not mean that all sickness is a curse. Again, very bad logic. Paul suffereing from a thorn in the flesh, yet it was an illness of some sort sent to him directly from God.Finally and most significantly, what you are proposing trivializes the cross. It makes the death of Christ a means to an end (the end being your own prosperity)…

Drew Buell at 7:59pm February 2
rather than the all consuming passion of one’s life.

Drew Buell at 8:06pm February 2
To everyone, here is my great concern with the prosperity gospel from a pastoral point of view. As a shepherd, it is unconsianable for me to think of telling a parent with a sick child that that child’s sickness can be cured by more faith. If that child is to die, this teaching makes the parents responsible, due to their lack of faith. What would you say to my niece who is suffering from significant issues with her colon and has to wear a bag right now? What would you say to my son who was in the hospital with crupe yesterday? The only hope for those suffering with sickness is the Savior who died to take away their sins and to one day make all things right that are wrong in this world.

Mark Boer at 8:20pm February 2
Drew, although it would be easy to show that healing is the will of God from Genesis to heaven, I chose to keep it very, very clear by pointing to the ministry of Jesus. He simply didn’t teach or do what you suggest – that sometimes sickness is good or comes from God. It is, in fact, always a curse. Only in church would a person believe the contrary. (I say that to our shame). How does acknowledging that healing and prosperity are part of the good news trivialize the cross? Have you considered how many times that the healing of the body and forgiveness of sins are mentioned in the same breath in the Word? Poverty and sickness didn’t even exist before sin came into the world. Does it not glorify God when we walk in the full benefits of His provision? (Psalm 103) What a tragedy it is if Jesus paid the price for an abundant life, yet all we agree to receive is part of it.You made the comment about scripture not guaranteeing health and prosperity…

Mark Boer at 8:24pm February 2
Well, it doesn’t guarantee salvation. What the Lord did was make provision for our lives – spirit, soul, and body. We do have a part to play in this. We must believe and receive what He has provided.There is so much more…Paul’s thorn…Sickness? Wow! Sent by God? Double Wow! (When did Jesus ever teach that?) I guess that can be a subject for another time.

Mark Boer at 8:30pm February 2
Ok…after reading your next post…let me just add that we should not get our understanding of God from what we see in others or have even experienced ourselves. You have to go outside of the words of Jesus to come to some of the conclusions that you have. What would we say to…parents, etc.? The question is, what would Jesus say? I want to say the same thing. And, even more than just saying – 1 Corinthians 4:20 For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.

Drew Buell at 9:38pm February 2
Mark, acknowledging that healing is part of the good news does not trivialize the cross, however what the prosperity gospel does is make the cross a means to the end of prosperity. The point is that the goal of your gospel is not a restored relationship with Christ, the goal is prosperity as something that you can get from Christ. That is a false gospel. Your gospel exalts prosperity and health over Christ.As you’ve already alluded to, there’s more here than either of us can fully address in a facebook conversation. I’ll simply comment on a few more things and call it a night.
As far as Paul’s thorn in the flesh, yeah wow!
As far as how you live out your theology in the hospital room, I suppose that I’ll have to leave that to you. As for me and my study of Scripture, I know exactly what Jesus would say and John Piper summarized it very well in the above video.

February 03 2009 | Blog | Comments Off on A Very Interesting Conversation

Letters to the Editor (Part 3)

I just checked the Skagit Valley Herald website and found another letter about myself. You can find it here.

July 24 2008 | Blog | Comments Off on Letters to the Editor (Part 3)

Letters to the Editor (Part 2)

This is the second installment of the “Letters to the Editor” series. This morning’s Sunday paper had a letter from Mr. Larry Ragland. I thought Larry did a great job of summarizing the situation at MVHS:


Pastor Buell was invited to the Christian Club meeting apparently with the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) also voluntarily in attendance. The subject was homosexuality. Buell was asked to speak on the subject of homosexuality. Buell delivered the truth in love from God as stated in the Bible.

That is exactly what happened.

I also really apprecaited his closing comment: I am thankful for men like Pastor Buell who have the courage to speak the truth in love. I am also thankful for the MVHS Christian Club and its search for the truth.
You can find the whole letter here.

July 20 2008 | Blog | Comments Off on Letters to the Editor (Part 2)

Letters to the Editor (Part 1)

In what I suspect we’ll be an ongoing series (at least for a week or two), this is the first of my “Letters to the Editor” posts. I got a call this morning from one of the members of our church asking if I’d seen the morning newspaper yet. Since I hadn’t, I scooped Micah up drove over to the grocery store and picked up a copy. Inside there were two letters to the editor regarding the article that was recently published about me. Both were very kind and well written. Here’s a quote from one letter:
This pastor, in my opinion, was done a great injustice. By asking him to come and give a speech on what God has to say about homosexual behavior, then banning him from future participation because he quoted God’s Word is unfair. I think an apology is in order. – David H. Bates
You can find both letters here (they are titled “MVHS Owes Pastor an Apology” and “Let’s Clarify ‘we’ in Methodism”).

July 18 2008 | Blog | Comments Off on Letters to the Editor (Part 1)

Controversial Quote

The following quote is taken from J. Greshem Machen’s “Christian Scholarship and the Defense of the Faith.” It is not so much controversial as it speaks to the nature of controversy.
Men tell us that our preaching should be positive and not negative, that we can preach the truth without attacking error. But if we follow that advice we shall have to close our Bible and desert its teachings. The New Testament is a polemic book from beginning to end.
Some years ago I was in a company of teachers of the Bible in the colleges and other educational institutions of America. One of the most eminent theological professors in the country made an address. In it he admitted that there are unfortunate controversies about doctrine in the Epistles of Paul; but, said he in effect, the real essence of Paul’s teaching is found in the hymn to Christian love in the thirteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians; and we can avoid controversy today, if we will only devote the chief attention to that inspiring hymn.
In reply, I am bound to say that the example was singularly ill-chosen. That hymn to Christian love is in the midst of a great polemic passage; it would never have been written if Paul had been opposed to controversy with error in the Church. It was because his soul was stirred within him by a wrong use of the spiritual gifts that he was able to write that glorious hymn. So it is always in the Church. Every really great Christian utterance, it may almost be said, is born in controversy. It is when men have felt compelled to take a stand against error that they have risen to the really great heights in the celebration of truth.

July 15 2008 | Blog | Comments Off on Controversial Quote

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