Tag Archives: Orthodox

What repentance looks like: successful pick-up artist converts, unpublishes his books

A long journey through the night
A long journey through the night

Many of you will know about a very successful pick-up artist named RooshV. Roosh has many written books about how to bed women in different countries. But something funny happened recently… Roosh converted to Orthodox Christianity (large O). I blogged about it, and I was very cautious, but also hopeful. Well, some time has passed since that first blog post, and there is some big news.

Read this from his blog:

In May of last year I unpublished 11 of my books because they were leading men directly to sin. That action was not enough. Today I have unpublished several more books, including my top seller Game, along with numerous articles, videos, podcasts, and forum postings.

The prospect of banning Game last May was too difficult, even though my conscience was bothered by the contents… It made sense to ban all my Bang books, which explicitly instructed men how to have casual sex, and it wasn’t that hard on my wallet since they were older books that had passed their sales peak, but if I were to ban Game as well, my income would be wiped out. I prayed on the issue, asking God to help me make the right decision.

He explains that “Game” is a recent book that is his biggest source of income, but he didn’t like what was in it:

The book… trained and steered men for the main purpose of achieving bodily pleasure through casual sex. In some ways, it even wired men’s brains to view women as objects to be won purely through knowledge, effort, and physical attractiveness. Even my book Day Bang, which has no sexual content, trained men to see women as objects to be won for pleasurable ends through the mathematics of approaching a lot of women in the hopes of finding one who was horny and loose. When faced with a hard life decision, I would pray for guidance, but this decision was easy: the books had to go.

Now, I don’t think that Roosh is saying that all women are just wonderful and pure as the driven snow. I think he would agree with me when I say treat good women well – good women who love God, and prefer good men to bad ones. For the ones who prefer bad men and don’t want God, just avoid them. It’s never OK to treat any woman as “prey” or objectify them. They’re made to know God too, just like the men, and we need to treat them like that.

I really like this part below. We should all be thankful that God doesn’t ask us for more than we can bear. Because Jesus lived among us, he understands our weaknesses. The Holy Spirit draws us gently, letting us choose to resist his leading or to not resist it:

[…]I lament more the colossal amount of time I wasted on these works than monies lost.

Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? —Mark 8:34-37

It’s worth noting how patient God was by not compelling me to complete a change I couldn’t handle. The first round of book unpublishing felt exceedingly stressful, and I wrestled with the issue for many days. God saw my distress and allowed my conscience to remain clear upon banning only some of the books, which still fell short of His expectations. He let me complete the [speaking] tour with no worries about where my future income would come from. Once the tour was completed, and I rested for a month, he deemed me ready for the next step. He enlightened a fellow Christian to help re-activate my conscience, and then allowed me to complete the job of removing the rest of my books when I was spiritually stronger and more able to handle the prospect of not earning a sufficient income. This time around, I was only mildly afflicted for one night before becoming overjoyed at the prospect of making an honest living. I’m happy to announce my retirement as a peddler of sex.

Isn’t it crazy to think that someone is taking the Bible seriously on issues that will cause him so much financial distress? But that’s how God is. God isn’t our cosmic butler, or our boyfriend. Jesus says that he wants to be number one in our hearts, and that if we desire other things more than we desire him, then we can’t have him. Roosh’s thorough repentance is a pretty rare thing to find, even among many “conservative” Christians. It’s certainly a challenge for me to be that good. How did Roosh re-prioritize his life so well after a life of recreational sex? Because God reached out to him, just like Paul said in Acts 17:24-27. We are saved by grace, and not through our own efforts.

In the rest of his post, he explains what practical adjustments he is going to make so that he is able to keep his conscience clear. Men are good at making ends meet so that we can be who we really are, and not compromise our convictions. We don’t allow our feelings to distract us, so that we end up in a place where it is too difficult to keep to our principles.

We should always be thankful when someone turns back to Christ after a time away. People who turn back to God can have strong convictions and make a huge difference. It shows the power of God to transform those who have turned away from him. Whenever things look grim in the world, always remember that God has the power to lead non-Christians to repentance. Hope is never lost, God is always actively seeking a relationship with every single one of us.

By the way, it would be worth it for you to ask God to continue to lead Roosh, and to make a difference to the people who respect him. He has a large following, and now Roosh has something even better for them than what he had for them before. It’s good for a man to control himself so that he can turn off his selfishness and kind to a good woman. It’s good for a man to stop grading women with his eyes, and instead look to help the ones who are open to turning away from themselves to instead grow in their faith. Ignore the bad ones, help the ones who are willing to serve God.

Brian Auten interviews C. Michael Patton on theology and apologetics

Brian Auten interviews Michael Patton of Credo House Ministries. (Click the link for the MP3 file)

This a must-hear interview.

Details:

Today’s interview is with C. Michael Patton, president of Reclaiming the Mind/Credo House Ministries, a ministry of theological development for lay-people. He blogs at Parchment and Pen and is also responsible for the development of the Credo House of Theology, a theological coffee house and bookstore. He talks about getting theology to the layperson, the relationship and interface between theology and apologetics, theological equipping for apologists, the importance of wresting with theological issues, pitfalls from neglecting theological training, advice for those considering seminary, the importance of community, important lessons and advice for doing theology and apologetics, and more.

I liked the point he made about how apologetics isn’t just about defending theological claims to other people. It’s about thinking these things through yourself and defending these things to yourself. I honestly do think that anyone who has been a Christian for any length of time should be engaged in learning basic apologetics – not for others, necessarily, but for themselves. The more you think through Christianity, the easier it is to act like a Christian.

Believing Christianity is not the result of trying to believe them by sheer will. It’s the result of studying them – when you will to study, you find out what is true, and that forms the basis for acting consistently with what you say you believe. Christianity is about puzzling things out and scheming out plans on how to put what you believe into practice. It’s not about rituals and believing things that you don’t even know are true! It’s a grave mistake to just believe what any organization or leader tells you to believe without checking things out for yourself in the Bible, history, etc.

Is Oprah Winfrey a Christian?

Consider this article from CNN.

Excerpt:

Lofton, a professor of U.S. religious history at Yale University and the author of “Oprah: The Gospel of an Icon,” was intrigued that Winfrey had mentioned Jesus, since she had used his name sparingly on air.

“Early on (in her career) she was more comfortable in saying that but over time began to use this more universal language of ‘spirit,'” said Lofton, who wrote about Oprah’s final show for CNN’s Belief Blog.

Lofton says Winfrey wants to be viewed as someone who “translates and understands herself as a Christian woman” but reflects a modern attitude about religion and religious institutions.

And that has angered a few folks.

In 2008, Winfrey endorsed the book “A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose,” helping it sell more than 3.5 million copies after the talk-show host selected it for her book club. Winfrey and the book’s author, Eckhart Tolle, took part in a webinar in which she angered some Christians by saying that Jesus didn’t come to die on the cross.

“It really was about him coming to show us how to do it, how to be, to show us the Christ-consciousness that he had and that that consciousness abides with all of us,” she told the audience.

One viewer even asked the question on the Oprah.com message boards: Is Oprah a Christian?

Pistis07 wrote: “I was surprised because I had always thought she was a Christian but after flicking through her website and watching clips of more shows where she seems to be promoting a type of New Age religion and books from ‘New Age spiritualists,’ I really doubt that she is a Christian in the way Jesus explained and most Christians understand. Or perhaps she’s just confused about the nature of God.”

It was an issue her critics seized on. They said she wasn’t promoting the God of the Bible but instead was indoctrinating her audience into a New Age spiritualism.

Authors Josh McDowell and Dave Sterrett say as much in their book, “‘O’ God: A Dialogue on Truth and Oprah’s Spirituality.” Sterrett told Crosswalk.com in October 2009 that Winfrey “reflects the common American practice of choosing whatever beliefs seem most attractive and leaving the rest.”

Her message in the final years of her show was that the truth of life was within the individual, several commentators have said.

“Christians aren’t people who have gotten in touch with their inner selves, but those who actually have Christ living inside of them through the Holy Spirit,” McDowell told Crosswalk.

What Winfrey tried to get across is her belief that there wasn’t just one right way to be connected to God, Lofton argues.

“The only right way is the way that she herself articulates and embodies, which is multiplicity,” she said. “You can be many things. There are many paths to God, she says. It’s that multiplicity which very much marks contemporary religious life.”

Some people evidently think that she is not. And I agree with those people.

Consider this article by William Lane Craig about salvation and religious pluralism.

Excerpt:

“There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4.12). So proclaimed the early preachers of the gospel of Christ. Indeed, this conviction permeates the New Testament and helped to spur the Gentile mission. Paul invites his Gentile converts to recall their pre-Christian days: “Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2.12). The burden of the opening chapters of Romans is to show that this desolate situation is the general condition of mankind. Though God’s eternal power and deity are evident through creation (1.20) and the demands of His moral law implanted on the hearts of all persons (2.15) and although God offers eternal life to all who seek Him in well-doing (2.7), the tragic fact of the matter is that in general people suppress the truth in unrighteousness, ignoring the Creator (1.21) and flouting the moral law (1.32). Therefore, “all men, both Jews and Greeks, are under the power of sin, as it is written: ‘None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands, no one seeks for God…'” (3.9-1 1). Sin is the great leveler, rendering all needy of God’s forgiveness and salvation. Given the universality of sin, all persons stand morally guilty and condemned before God, utterly incapable of redeeming themselves through righteous acts (3.19-20). But God in His grace has provided a means of salvation from this state of condemnation: Jesus Christ, by his expiatory death, redeems us from sin and justifies us before God (3.21-26). It is through him and through him alone, then, that God’s forgiveness is available (5.12-21). To reject Jesus Christ is therefore to reject God’s grace and forgiveness, to refuse the one means of salvation which God has provided. It is to remain under His condemnation and wrath, to forfeit eternally salvation. For someday God will judge all men, “inflicting vengeance upon those who do not know God and upon those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They shall suffer the punishment of eternal destruction and exclusion from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might” (II Thessalonians 1.8-9).

It was not just Paul who held to this exclusivistic, Christocentric view of salvation. No less than Paul, the apostle John saw no salvation outside of Christ. In his gospel, Jesus declares, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me” (John 14.6). John explains that men love the darkness of sin rather than light, but that God has sent His Son into the world to save the world and to give eternal life to everyone who believes in the Son. “He who believes is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God” (John 3.18). People are already spiritually dead; but those who believe in Christ pass from death to life (John 5.24). In his epistles, John asserts that no one who denies the Son has the Father and identifies such a person as the antichrist (I John 2.22-23; 4.3; II John 9). In short, “He who has the Son has life; he who has not the Son of God has not life” (I John 5.12). In John’s Apocalypse, it is the Lamb alone in heaven and on earth and under the earth who is worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals, for it was he that by his blood ransomed men for God from every tribe and tongue and people and nation on the earth (Revelation 5.1-14). In the consummation, everyone whose name is not found written in the Lamb’s book of life is cast into the everlasting fire reserved for the devil and his cohorts (Revelation 20.15).

One could make the same point from the catholic epistles and the pastorals. It is the conviction of the writers of the New Testament that “there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all” (I Timothy 2.5-6).

Indeed, it is plausible that such was the attitude of Jesus himself. New Testament scholarship has reached something of a consensus that the historical Jesus came on the scene with an unparalleled sense of divine authority, the authority to stand and speak in the place of God Himself and to call men to repentance and faith.{1} Moreover, the object of that faith was he himself, the absolute revelation of God: “All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him” (Matthew 11.27) .{2} On the day of judgment, people’s destiny will be determined by how they responded to him: “And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God; but he who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God” (Luke 12.8-9).{3} Frequent warnings concerning hell are found on Jesus’ lips, and it may well be that he believed that most of mankind would be damned, while a minority of mankind would be saved: “Enter by the narrow gate, for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:13-14) .{4}

A hard teaching, no doubt; but the logic of the New Testament is simple and compelling: The universality of sin and the uniqueness Christ’s expiatory sacrifice entail that there is no salvation apart from Christ.

The Bible is very clear that belief in Christ’s atoning death on the cross is required for a right relationship with God. I find it interesting that so many Christians, especially Christian women, have so much respect for a person who is not even a believer. Can you really rely on a non-Christian to give you advice about morality and spirituality? Is she an authority on the Bible? An authority on logic? An authority on science? An authority on history? Has she debated her views with scholars who disagree with her – as might be done in a courtroom where evidence trumps feelings? Shouldn’t you rely instead on the Bible, and the work of authentic Christian scholars who accept what the Bible teaches?

Obama golfs in Hawaii as Iran seeks uranium and murders protesters

Story here from Fox News. (H/T Hot Air)

Excerpt:

At least 15 people were killed during massive anti-government protests in Tehran when opposition supporters clashed with security forces in the streets, Iranian state television reported Monday.

The report said 10 people killed during Sunday’s fierce clashes in the Iranian capital were members of “anti-revolutionary terrorist” groups, apparently referring to opposition supporters.

The other five who died were killed by “terrorist groups” in a “suspicious act,” the report said, without elaborating.

Iranian security forces stormed a series of opposition offices on Monday, rounding up at least seven prominent anti-government activists in a new crackdown against the country’s reformist movement, opposition Web sites and activists reported.

And in the UK Telegraph:

In the six months that have followed, Barack Obama’s high-risk engagement strategy has simply encouraged more repression from the Mullahs, as well as ever greater levels of defiance over Iran’s nuclear weapons programme. As Con Coughlin noted in an excellent piece for The Wall Street Journal last month, Obama’s Iran diplomacy isn’t working:

“Iranian human-rights groups say that since the government crackdown began in late June, at least 400 demonstrators have been killed while another 56 are unaccounted, which is several times higher than the official figures. The regime has established a chain of unofficial, makeshift prisons to deal with the protesters, where torture and rape are said to be commonplace. In Tehran alone, 37 young Iranian men and women are reported to have been raped by their captors.”

Now once again huge street protests have flared up on the streets of Tehran and a number of other major cities, with several protesters shot dead this weekend by the security forces and Revolutionary Guards, reportedly including the nephew of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, and dozens seriously injured. And again there is deafening silence from the Commander-in-Chief as well as his Secretary of State. And where is the president? On vacation in Hawaii, no doubt recuperating from his exertions driving forward the monstrous health care reform bill against the overwhelming will of the American public and without a shred of bipartisan support.

Iran is also attempting to import 1350 tons of uranium – enough to make many weapons of mass destruction. (H/T ECM)

Excerpt:

Iran is close to clinching a deal to clandestinely import 1,350 tons of purified uranium ore from Kazakhstan, according to an intelligence report obtained by the Associated Press on Tuesday. Diplomats said the assessment was heightening international concern about Tehran’s nuclear activities.

And as Muddling Towards Maturity notes, Iraq’s Christians are facing persecution.

Excerpt:

…Iraq’s dwindling Christian communities are still being targeted on the basis of their faith. That is especially the case in Mosul, long the most lawless and violent place in Iraq. By an unhappy coincidence, Mosul is also located in the ancestral heartland of Iraqi Christianity, and is thus the last refuge (short of exile) for Christians fleeing targeted violence in Baghdad, Basra, and other places.

Mosul is therefore a target-rich environment. In December alone, at least seven churches, convents, and schools have been bombed, claiming dozens of lives, including the latest holy innocent, an eight-day-old baby girl. Iraq’s central government deserves credit for dispatching some 3,000 additional police after a similar spate of bombings and attacks in October, but their presence has brought little improvement as Christians continue to flee Mosul for overcrowded and underdeveloped villages such as Qaraqosh in the adjacent Nineveh plain. Meanwhile, the situation around Kirkuk, also in northern Iraq, remains nearly as dire for Christians caught up in the Arab-Kurdish struggle for control of the area’s oil fields.

While the Iraqi government has belatedly taken some modest steps to ease the suffering of Iraqi Christians, the U.S. government’s consistent policy of studied and shameful indifference forms rare common ground between the Bush and Obama administrations. It is an indelible stain on American honor that two administrations did nothing to assist, much less protect, a beleaguered religious minority.

It’s a dangerous world. This is not the time for playing golf in Hawaii.

Catholic, Orthodox and Evangelical Christian leaders sign Manhattan Declaration

Story here from LifeSiteNews.

Excerpt:

A group of prominent Christian leaders and scholars unveiled a manifesto Friday declaring firm opposition to current and future laws infringing upon the sanctity of life, marriage, faith, and liberty.

The 4,700-word  “Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience” was drafted by Dr. Robert George, Dr. Timothy George and Chuck Colson and signed by more than 125 Orthodox, Catholic and evangelical Christian leaders, including Focus on the Family Dr. James Dobson and National Association of Evangelicals president Leith Anderson.  15 Roman Catholic bishops, including Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York and Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., were among the signatories.

[…]The document lays out the groups’ arguments against anti-life, anti-family, and anti-religious public policy as contravening “foundational principles of justice and the common good,” in defense of which the group says they are “compelled by our Christian faith to speak and act.”

In asserting Christians’ right to conscientious objection to such policy, the declaration says it is “ironic” that those who advance as “rights” various immoral practices “are very often in the vanguard of those who would trample upon the freedom of others to express their religious and moral commitments to the sanctity of life and to the dignity of marriage.”

“Because we honor justice and the common good, we will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia, or any other anti-life act; nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family,” it concludes.

Chuck Colson one of the evangelicals, and he writes: (H/T Muddling Towards Maturity)

Having reminded readers about why and how Christians have spoken out in the past, the Declaration then turns to what especially troubles us today—the threats to the sanctity of human life, the institution of marriage, and religious freedom.

[…]The response to this kind of assault on the sanctity of human life requires what the Manhattan Declaration calls the “gospel of costly grace.” This starts with the willingness to put aside our comfort and serve those whom the broader culture would deem outside the scope of its concern and legal protection.

The cost may be higher. Christians may have to choose between the demands of what St. Augustine called the “City of Man” and the “City of God”—which, for the Christian, is really no choice at all.

This kind of principled non-cooperation with evil won’t be easy—there are signs of a reduced tolerance for that most basic of American values, religious freedom. As we’ve discussed many times on BreakPoint, Christian organizations are losing tax-exempt status for refusing to buy in to homosexual “marriage.” Some are going out of business rather than cave into immoral demands—such as placing children for adoption with homosexual couples. Conscientious medical personnel are being sued or being fired for obeying their consciences.

Looks like we are waking upon social issues.

But there is still nothing in the statement about fiscal conservatism or getting serious about defending the faith using reason and evidence. As long as we have Christians continuing to vote for big government and neglecting the life of the mind, we aren’t going to change the culture one iota.

The response to this kind of assault on the sanctity of human life requires what the Manhattan Declaration calls the “gospel of costly grace.” This starts with the willingness to put aside our comfort and serve those whom the broader culture would deem outside the scope of its concern and legal protection.

The cost may be higher. Christians may have to choose between the demands of what St. Augustine called the “City of Man” and the “City of God”—which, for the Christian, is really no choice at all.

This kind of principled non-cooperation with evil won’t be easy—there are signs of a reduced tolerance for that most basic of American values, religious freedom. As we’ve discussed many times on BreakPoint, Christian organizations are losing tax-exempt status for refusing to buy in to homosexual “marriage.” Some are going out of business rather than cave into immoral demands—such as placing children for adoption with homosexual couples. Conscientious medical personnel are being sued or being fired for obeying their consciences.