Archive | Lisa Robinson

On Shai Linne and Judging False Teachers

(Lisa Robinson)

In case you haven’t heard yet,  Christian hip-hop artist Shai Linne has released a single through Lamp Mode Recordings called Fal$e Teacher$.  The track is on his upcoming album, Lyrical Theology: Part I.  As you can guess by the dollar signs, this tune goes for jugular on prosperity teaching. Even if you don’t like rap, this is worth the listen (also check out his Attributes of God album – very rich!). But what makes this track so bold is that he actually does some name dropping. Take a listen.

Now I suspect there will be those who will be horrified that he has name dropped and will question who is he to make such assessments. I suspect that there will be some who will say that he is creating division in the church. And I question if the right criteria will be used to make such assessments against what this song speaks to.

But I get what he  is trying to do. As one who has spent many years formerly embracing the teaching of those on this list, I feel somewhat qualified to speak on the subject.  When I came to faith in Christ my first year in college (early 80s), I was a member of Fred Price’s church then called Crenshaw Christian Center. At the same time, I was also part of a small campus fellowship that was an outreach extension of an independent cult-like church in Los Angeles (of course I did not realize that at the time). And I also had a love for God’s word though it would be many years later until I was able to read it well. But for 2 1/2 years at CCC, I pretty much heard the same message: your faith needs to be increased so that you can believe God for blessings. Blessings are proof that you are favored from God. Poverty is not God’s plan and is a defeat to real Christianity.  You need to speak over your circumstances so that they align with God’s favor, which comes in the form of material blessings. It was all about the blessings. And if you weren’t experiencing them, it was your fault for not having enough faith.

Now here’s the thing. He used the Bible. He read from the Bible. And he twisted the Bible.  The reason Job suffered was because he didn’t have enough faith. Jesus wasn’t really homeless. Loss and suffering are the work of the devil. Jesus died on the cross so we could reign with him and claim our blessings. This is not the Christian message of Scripture.

While I did not realize that at the time, I did realize that the more I read the Bible the more I became aware that there must be more to the Christian life than pursuing blessings. So I ended up leaving CCC to go to the cult-like church, had a brief stint in another independent non-denominational church and eventually stopped going to church altogether for 13 years. It was a rebellious time away from the Lord primarily because I wasn’t taught properly about the all sufficient sacrifice that Christ made and sanctification. Continue Reading →

My Hope for the Resurrection

(Lisa Robinson)

In a nutshell, my hope for the resurrection is that it be prioritized, remembered, embraced and identified for what it truly is – our Christian hope.

I hope it is prioritized…

In a week, that the Supreme Court examines DOMA and the gay marriage agenda is at the forefront, I fear that holy week has taken a back seat. Whatever challenges this hot-button topic brings to bear on the church it pales in comparison to remembrance of the signifying event in Christianity.

And it is our priority because the resurrection shows that God is sovereign over the events of this life.

I hope it  is remembered…

The resurrection gets so much attention at Easter time. But afterwards we go back to the cross. We embrace the cross, look to the cross, cling to the cross. Christ paid a tremendous sacrifice on the cross, serving as the subtitutionary sacrifice for our sins. It is there that the penalty of sin was paid. But our hope is in the resurrection because that is where our forgiven sins is truly expunged and new life experienced. As Paul reminds us,

Therefore, we have been buried with him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in the newness of life. For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of his resurrection. (Romans 6:4-5)

I suspect that the resurrection gets buried in the shadow of the cross because of what Tim Challies writes here, that we become more focused on putting off our sin than putting on the new man. But that is where are hope for Christ-likeness resides – in the new man, which comes by way of life in Christ because he is risen and sits at the Father’s right hand. That is resurrection!

This Christian life is one of continually putting off the old man with all its traits and putting on the new man. But our ultimate desire is not to be not-sinful but to be truly godly. We are not to aim at being not-sinful but to aim at being marked by Christian character. We experience the greatest success in battling sin when our desire is not only to stop sinning but to have our lives marked by the opposite character trait. The thief needs to do more than stop stealing; he needs to learn to be generous. The porn-addicted young man needs to do more than stop looking at pornography; he needs to learn to love and honor younger women as sisters. The angry mom needs to do more than stop lashing out at her children; she needs to learn to display patience and kindness. In each case the aim is not to stop sinning, but to be a display of Christ-like character.

Let’s keep the resurrection at the forefront after Sunday to put on Christ.

I hope it is embraced…

The resurrection of Christ points ahead to our bodily resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:20-49) and acknowledgment that what is experienced in the present is not all there is. If there’s anything that the pains of contemporary society should reveal is that creation is groaning and longing for new life (Romans 8:19-22). And so we groan, in the already-but-not yet, “even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.” (Romans 8:23-24). So we embrace the resurrection looking forward to the day when groaning, pain, death, dying, disease, evil, discouragement, tragedy and every form of godless evil ceases (Revelation 21:1-4)

Because it matters so much…

Even at a time when at a time when we should be most hopeful, we can be endlessly distracted, discouraged or fearful. But my hope is that we look to the resurrection of Christ…because it is our hope.

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So What?: A Question on Blogging and Edification

(Lisa Robinson)

Yesterday, I got into a discussion with one of my classmates about The Bible mini-series. I wasn’t able to catch the first episode but I received some not so great feedback from multiple sources.  Sure enough, my classmate wasn’t impressed either and gave me his reasons. He noted how a number of people were commenting on Facebook about it but then indicated that he didn’t want to post anything about it because he didn’t want to be ‘that guy’.  You know ‘that guy’. It was the person who decided to give their two cents about everything that was wrong with the production. He observed that a number of folks were providing positive feedback and seemed to edified by it. Why burst their bubble? he reasoned.

It made me think of that post I had mostly written for my blog and intended to finish. It was a post about a very popular movie that probably every Christian has seen except for me though I have seen many clips. I wanted to write about why I could not bring myself to see the movie and why I thought the focus was wrong. Yet, the more I wrote the more I hesitated. So during the course of this conversation with my classmate, it hit me that maybe the reason my hesitation increased was because I would have deflated some enthusiasm from what most people found edifying. Now I believe my reasons were valid. But just because I could doesn’t mean I should, especially if it would have dimmed somebody’s hope unnecessarily.

It made me cognizant of asking the ‘so what’ question – what is the purpose of writing this? In the world of instant publishing of thoughts, ideas, challenges, instruction, critiques, etc. I think this is a question that must be at the forefront of posting. It is easy for bloggers to become ‘that guy’, making sure the audience knows everything that is wrong with a statement or a position or a person or a ministry. I’ve been ‘that guy’ (or rather that chick). Justification is easy enough because people need to be informed and it is our duty to inform them. Or so we reason. Continue Reading →

Do We Really Need to be Culturally Relevant?

(Lisa Robinson)

Every Sunday morning, I am transported to another place in time. There are no contemporary aesthetics, only architecture and relics that scream “church”. The pastor does not stand on a stage with cool graphics flashing in the background and deliver his sermon from a little round cafe table or no table at all. He stands behind a big wooden pulpit, you know the kind that churches used to use. The music consists of a blend of hymns (sung classic style) and more contemporary songs…well contemporary for 40 years ago. There’s no big screens to follow along, only hymn books and our worship guide. And there is an organ! When the pastor preaches, he does not bring up props or gimmicks and try to make the message cool. He exposits from a carefully selected text and preaches the word. He’ll use personal anecdotes only sparingly as it assists in the explanation of the text.

Now admittedly, I am new to the church. But I’ve been at this type of church before – small and seemingly unappealing to contemporary sensibilities (some differences in affiliation).  Yet, these two churches are probably the best I’ve encountered for progress in the faith. Why? Because I believe the focus is where it needed to be – on feeding the faith of God’s gathered people through gospel-centered preaching, rich biblical studies and the provoking of genuine fellowship. It hit me a couple of weeks ago that if someone who is accustomed to cool, hip, “culturally relevant” churches were to come into these folds, they might be turned off and wonder why the church is so far behind. There might be the question of how these kind of churches will attract people to them since they don’t have any symbolism of contemporary culture.

Tim’s video on not competing with the Superbowl plucked at some strings that have been bothering me for some time, which is this observation: there seems to be this prevailing mindset that if we don’t make the church culturally relevant that we might lose people. It can become the driving force. Buildings must look aesthetically pleasing. There must be the latest technology flashing cool graphics. Sancturaries…oops I mean worship centers must situate people comfortably and look modern. Preaching is designed to connect people through language and stories that appeal to our human sensibilities. Topical preaching is designed to show people how to cope with life in ways that are relevant, preaching relevant topics as one my friends said today on Facebook “series about raising children, spiritual disciples that I fail at, character improvement that I can’t muster up, a new series about erasing world poverty, based on the latest book that the pastor is reading.” Continue Reading →

Avoiding Theological Gossip

(Lisa Robinson)

whispering in ear2Frank Viola posted this article on his blog, written by Jon Zens. The article talks about the insidious nature and impact of gossip. Here’s his definition

Gossip is second or third hand information that someone dumps on you without your prior consent and without the consent of the person being gossiped about. Gossip can be true, partially true, or completely false. It can be motivated by good intentions, but it’s always negative personal information about another that puts them in a bad light.

Zens then goes on to say how gossip usually involves slander, “The Bible defines slander as accusatory speech that is injurious to a person’s name and reputation. It’s essentially character assassination . . . the act of smearing someone. And of course there is a plethora of verses that admonish us about engaging in gossip.

To be honest, I don’t know of too many people who have not on some level been sucked in to the wiles of gossip, either directly as the gossiper or indirectly as the recipient of it. I confess to being a party to it more times than I care to admit. I found the article particularly convicting in that regard. As the article rightly points out, gossip can have devastating consequences for the individual (s) being smeared and to the health of the body of Christ, especially when it occurs within our church circles.

Since I read the article this morning, I’ve contemplated why gossip is such an easy lure that entices us into its harmful web. I suspect that it feeds our humanity that seeks the moral upper hand and self-righteousness justification. There’s something about tainting the character of the other person that validates us and puts us in the superior position when we engage in gossip. Continue Reading →

The Voice That Binds

(Lisa Robinson)

It is quite common today to hear Christians say that God spoke to them or that they are seeking to hear God’s voice for some type of guidance. No longer under the purview of Charismatic circles, this concept has seeped into the fabric of mainstream evangelicalism. Therefore, to address how God speaks today must expanded beyond a continuationist vs cessationist  paradigm, although ultimately the premise that God does not speak beyond scripture is clearly a cessationist position.

One of the issues related to God speaking is identifying how he speaks. The evangelical position would state that God speaks in scripture; scripture is the divine voice in which God reveals himself. But once it moves beyond scripture, how do we take his voice? No reasonable regenerated person is without the subjective experience of impressions and hearing that voice in our head. Well, I suppose that makes sense since we are indwelt with the Holy Spirit who permeates all our faculties. So the reason to be filled with the Holy Spirit is to be influenced by the Holy Spirit. But I’m going to suggest, that is different that God speaking

I believe that the more appropriate way to consider the voice of God is related to general vs special revelation. General revelation is where God makes his presence known through creation.  In this way, his presence is his voice. Consider Romans 1:18-20 and Psalm 19:1-6.  I came across this neat article here that talked about lessons from a lady bug on and how God used a lady bug to remind her of what he has already spoken through scripture. It is why we can watch a movie that has themes of the fall and redemption and be reminded of God’s loving acts through the sacrifice of his Son. And I would say even that voice we hear in our head is a product of general revelation. Special revelation is related to how God speaks with respect to knowledge and obedience of him.  This necessarily entails faith in Christ and his Word.

Here’s the question I’ve been asking lately: how hearing the voice of God relates to obedience to him. In other words, if you are looking for God to speak to you for guidance and you believe that he speaks outside of scripture, then you are obligated to obey what you believe he is commanding.  The cessationist says that God’s speech ceased in the revelation of Christ and whatever commands he has given are provided in scripture.  So special revelation is restricted to scripture. That does not negate the subjective nature of general revelation, that may even include hearing “that small still voice” in our heads. Continue Reading →

Lessons From the Runway: Delusions and Community

(Lisa Robinson)

I don’t care for many reality shows but I confess to being a Project Runway fan. It’s a welcome diversion from my the crime drama genre I like so much.  If you are not familiar with the show, 16 aspiring designers are given challenges each week to show their proficiency and creativity as a designer.  The ultimate goal is to win the prize of $100,000 to start their own line, a spread in a popular magazine and the notoriety that goes with it  Having just concluded it’s 10th season, there is something about the combination of watching the creative process and the human dynamic unfold with each episode. Most of the designers come with some pretty well established experience. Some have worked with well known designers. And all of them think they are the next best thing out there.

The human dynamic that emerges on the show is fascinating. Some are consistently good and their work speaks for itself.  They may toot their own horn and even sound obnoxious in the process. But when their work product stands up to their words, it is validated.  For the most, however, there exists a fair amount of delusion among many of the contestants about the greatness of their work. They may also frequently criticize other designers and their supposedly inferior work. Naturally, it’s related to a comparison to show how great a designer the criticizer is.

There is a mentor and fashion guru who lends a critical eye to designer’s products while they are in progress. Sometimes he has to tell that overly confident designer that there is something not working right with their design. He gives them some suggestions on how they can rethink the design to something that is more likely to wow the judges. For the most part, I have found myself in agreement with his input. The camera does not lie. If something doesn’t look right, it doesn’t look right no matter how much the designer engages in self-exaltation.

Some of the designers listen to him. They step back and engage in a critical self-assessment of their work. Sometimes, they might ask other designers for feedback on the mentor’s assessment. But then there are others who are so consumed with their own importance, their own adulation of their products and commitment to their design aesthetic, they refuse to listen to critical input.  It’s really telling when the designer meets the same criticism from the judges and they cannot understand why the judges are being so critical. Some have refuted the judges verbally and basically tells them “I disagree”. I find it really interesting when I go on the Project Runway Facebook page only to hear a community chiming in and basically in agreement. Everyone can see it except for that delusional designer. Continue Reading →

Do I Need to Ask God for Forgiveness?

(Lisa Robinson)

That question sounds radical, I know. But bear with me and hear me out. For all of my Christian life, when I’ve sinned I’ve asked the Lord to forgive me. And observing the landscape I know I’m not alone. How many of you do that when you sin? Lord, please forgive me. I’ve been thinking about this for a while and examining this concept against the breadth of scripture and have come to the conclusion that maybe asking forgiveness is not the best approach.

Why do I say this? Consider these verses

“In Him [Christ] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses according to his grace, which he lavished on us in all wisdom and insight” (Ephesians 1:7-8)

“Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in the newness of life” (Romans 6:3-4)

As a believer, I am united to Christ through the Holy Spirit (cf 1 Corinthians 12:13; Galatians 3:27). And if I am united to him, then Ephesians indicates that in Christ is the forgiveness of sins.  Meaning, the forgiveness is already there. But here’s the passage that really got me to thinking about this;

“By this [Christ doing the will of the Father and offering himself as an atoning sacrifice for sins]  we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all…for by one offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:10,14) Continue Reading →