Writers write for all sorts of reasons, of course.
I write to inform a generally small audience that will “get” what I’m selling. I remember thinking 20 years ago I could go to work for a major Christian ministry and be a cog in that wheel.
But the thought sickened me.
A decade ago, I formally left the book-publishing world and started down a path to independence as a writer. I decided to stay mostly in the community of conservative, Bible-believing readers and writers and researchers.
I’m glad I did.
Today, I blog for a few platforms. I research. I speak here and there. Mostly what I do is observe what is going on within American Evangelicalism. It requires frequent naps, Pepto Bismol, and a resolve to continue.
Many of the people I write about – Jonathan Merritt, Dr. Russell Moore, Rick Warren, various anti-Semites – block me on Twitter. They refuse interview requests.
Some I watch more from a distance. Take Steven Furtick, for example.
The Pastor-Fuhrer of Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina has cranked-out a succession of (in my estimation) mediocre books. I could even go so far as to call them crummy.
He leads thousands each week, as the CEO visionary of a new breed of … I guess you’d call it church. Awhile back, he got in some hot water for producing a creepy coloring book for the church’s children in which they were manipulated into pledging full support to Pastor Steven.
When the necessary media backlash occurred, he retreated to his Berchtesgaden-like new mansion on an expensive wooded lot in Charlotte. The fuhrer-furor died down.
Now, Pastor Steven has come out with a new book, “Unqualified.” The title is a breathtaking, narcissistic response to a comment made by John MacArthur, in which the famed preacher, when referring to Furtick, called him “unqualified” for ministry. MacArthur was basing his assessment on the New Testament criteria for preachers, mostly as recorded by Paul.
Pastor Steven, who once produced a super-weird video aimed at his critics (“Hey, Haters”) – it was, well, hateful – then did an interesting thing.
Getting wind of MacArthur’s negative assessment, Pastor Steven wrote/dictated/channeled his new book and called it … “Unqualified.” In other words, he doubled-down on MacArthur’s rebuke, and arrogantly plotted his own course for pastor qualifications.
Except his book doesn’t really address biblical concepts for pastors. It only addresses Pastor Steven’s thoughts, dreams, visions, and declarations.
(And don’t forget the torrent of pithy, sometimes nonsensical platitudes in the book; these are a hallmark of today’s modern “preacher.”)
The Oracle from Moncks Corner, North Carolina regularly serves up his own brand of Christian self-help and slops it on the plates of his parishioners, as they then dutifully return the plates laden with cash.
As I’ve written several times in this space, much of modern Christian publishing is all about creating product to sell. It doesn’t really matter at all if a “lead pastor/visionary” of a large church or ministry has something worthwhile to say. Heck, he often doesn’t have to make sense.
The point is, he’s a cash cow for his publisher, and he in turn brings in plenty of personal dough.
For more on some of the mind-blowing nonsense penned by today’s seeker-driven CEOs, get a load of Brandon Hatmaker’s May 17 tweet: “You cannot amputate your history from your destiny, because that is destiny.” Come again?
Hatmaker, who pastors a church in Austin, Texas, is the husband of rising lefty, quasi-evangelical “Jesus Girl” Jen Hatmaker. His above tweet was also in the network of Beth Moore, whose mystical spirituality is still anchored in the Southern Baptist Convention, with nary a peep from denominational leaders who are too busy counting cash under hot lights in a back room.
Speaking of the SBC (I believe Furtick’s Elevation Church is a Southern Baptist plant, no pun intended), Dr. Russell Moore is another modernist masquerading as a conservative. When he’s not tweeting his hourly rant against Donald Trump, Moore is busy helping organize things like the annual conference for the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, which he unfortunately leads.
Okay, get ready to chortle. I warned you.
Guess what the theme of the ERLC’s conference is? “Onward.”
Whoa, that’s also the title of Moore’s latest book! How did that happen? Wow, I’ll bet the ERLC is embarrassed nobody caught this goofy, crazy coincidence!
What? You mean you think it’s part of an elaborate marketing package from the Southern Baptist leadership, including the publisher, B&H [Broadman & Holman] Publishing Group, the publishing arm of the SBC?
But, wait a second. Didn’t the SBC recently have to pull the financial support for a thousand foreign missionaries?
Amid all the gathering of this plunder from the people, evangelical leaders today absolutely have their jaws wired shut when it comes to informing the public about the real dangers in our culture: the legacy from a radical leftist president; heretical teaching within the Church; Marxist thought in our schools.
What bizarro world do we live in?
Did you ever think you’d live to see the day when a Big from the Southern Baptist Convention would daily roast the current president even as he took every opportunity to post photo-ops at the White House with Obama?
The truth is, compromise with the left opens up lucrative opportunities for ministry “leaders” today. If you don’t teach the Bible, à la Steven Furtick, you can construct an Itching Ears Curriculum that will make you wealthy.
If you curry favor among political elites, you can head an “ethics” and religious liberty commission, name your conference after your own book, pen op-eds for the New York Times and Washington Post, and lunch with the ex-prez.
All the while, you have a license to give the finger to your critics within the Church.
There are some real dogs within Christian ministry and publishing. And these Hounds of Silence have no intention of standing for truth and principles.
After all, who wants to trade in the Escalade for a Pinto?