Hanging up my hat.

After five years, one week, four days, and 2,567 posts, I have decided that it’s time to finally hang up my blogging hat.

Each of our lives are filled with chapters, and this chapter in my life is coming to a close.

Blogging has taken far too much of my time away from my family and has been the source of countless contentious disagreements in the blogosphere; many unnecessarily so. (Also, the two separate stalkers and the occasional threats of lawsuits by professing Christians didn’t exactly make blogging life a walk in the park either.)

There were several occasions over the years where I considered throwing in the towel but every time I pondered doing so I would receive a timely e-mail of thanks and encouragement from a reader for the work being done on DefCon, and that would always be enough to persuade me to remain on the front lines.

I am now, however, beyond weary with battle fatigue and in need of a hiatus (even while on vacation from work for the past half decade I was never on vacation from the blog).

The amount of time needed daily to approve or reject incoming comments, to answer questions, to reply to comments, to respond to complaints, to find and post important articles, to write and publish new material, and the overall maintenance of the blog itself, has taken its toll.

Although arduous and laborious, it certainly hasn’t been all bad. Many great things have come from this labor of love including the friends that have been made and even support for missions work in Liberia, West Africa which has come from faithful readers like you.

I even grew a lot over the years; learning that not every hill was worth dying on and that there’s much value in being gracious and kind to everyone, even those who disagree with me.

I will surely miss blogging, but I am certain that one day–if the Lord affords me time on a deathbed–I will experience greater regret having missed precious time with my family and raising my children in the Lord, than the fact that I missed out on one more debate on the Internet.

So, at this point,  you’re probably asking yourself what will become of DefCon. Have no fear, it will still be here, but with a new captain at the helm. It is with great honor that I announce that the new pilot of DefCon will be my dear friend, faithful brother, and fellow writer, Chris Hohnholz.

I am certain that he will do a great job with the blog (in whatever direction it goes) and all for the glory of God.

Saying goodbye is not easy. The idea of walking away from what I’ve poured so much time, energy, and effort into for half a decade is very bittersweet, but I take comfort in knowing that the torch will be passed into good hands.

I’d like to conclude by saying thank you to all DefCon’s faithful readers and commenters who have been an encouragement to me in this endeavor, as well as to all DefCon’s writers who–like me–have sacrificed their time over the years contributing to this work. I have learned a lot from all of you and I hope that you have learned a few things from me as well.

Please continue to keep me and the writers of this blog in your prayers. You will all be greatly missed.

Stay the course and never compromise.

Sincerely,
– Pilgrim

“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”   Jude 24-25

How to stagnate the church: A dictator’s manual.

Dear atheistic, communistic dictator: Having trouble with that dastardly underground church spreading like wild fire?

No matter how much you seize, imprison, torture, and execute those Christians, the church still keeps flourishing?

Christians getting in the way of your nation’s “progressive” progress?

Looking for a way to stamp out the spread of Christianity in your Orwellian utopia?

Well look no further than this blog post. That’s right. In this post I will show you in just two easy steps how to limit the spread of the church in your country in one generation so you can continue to build your effervescent dystopian society unhindered.

But, dear dictator, it is essential that you first understand two things before we proceed: 

Firstly, up to this point you’ve been doing it all wrong.  The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church and history has proven that persecution only grows the church. 

Secondly, God’s ultimate sovereign will and His predetermined plans will never be thwarted by any man, including you . . . with all due respect of course, dearest comrade.

If you can resign yourself to the fact that your current approach has been ineffective, and that you will never completely stamp out Christianity, then you’re ready to follow the two easy steps outlined below to begin stagnating the spread of the church in your country.

Let’s begin.

STEP ONE:

You must legalize freedom of religion. I know, I know, this sounds counter intuitive, but trust me on this.

Combined with step two, legalizing freedom of religion will ensure that the tares will greatly increase among the wheat since there’s no longer a sacrifice associated with “becoming a Christian.” Once the tares begin to outnumber the wheat, you will know that success (achieved without a single shot fired) is just around the corner.

STEP TWO:

In conjunction with step one, open up Christian bookstores in every city and flood the market with two waves of books. In the first wave push books by the likes of Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, Robert Schuller, Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyer, and Beth Moore to skew their concept of what Christianity is. Simultaneously make available to them such television channels as TBN to tell them that God’s greatest desire for them is to be healthy and wealthy and that anything less means they are lacking in faith.

After the masses have consumed and adapted to a positive, self-help version of the gospel, then hit them with the second wave of book by the likes of Rob Bell, Dallas Willard, Doug Pagitt, Jay Bakker, and similar Emergents to encourage them to doubt everything the Bible says (or at least doubt what the Bible says about the sins they like to continue engaging in).

Allow Christian radio stations to function uninhibited. Encourage stations to fill the airwaves with their sugary, Jesus-is-my-boyfriend, contemporary, Christian pop music along with all the “positive and encouraging” Bible verses to boot (avoiding verses like Psalm 5:5, Psalm 11:5, Matthew 7:21-23, and Hebrews 10:31), offering contests to win theme park tickets, movie theater tickets, concert tickets, backstage passes, autographed CDs, day spa visits, and cruises, cruises, cruises.

All of this will drive these Christians to seek after increased comfort and greater self-preservation over and above everything else. This “laying down of one’s cross” to seek after comfort, security, and prosperity, of course, is the very opposite of what the Christian should be doing and is the antithesis of a “revolutionary.” A revolutionary, need I remind you, is one who would be willing to sacrifice everything to overthrow an oppressive government such as yours. The less revolutionaries there are, the greater your chance of retaining your power becomes.

Remember, your goal is not to make these people irreligious, because that simply doesn’t work (which is, after all, why you’re reading this). No, your goal is to inoculate them to the true gospel of Jesus Christ, the only religious faith that truly poses an ideological threat to your fragile utopia.

If you properly followed the above steps, then your subjects will not only have moved from the true gospel to a false one, but they’ll even reject the true gospel and not even be able to recognize it when it’s presented to them. This biblical ignorance will certainly spread like a cancer and be passed on to the next generation, ensuring your safety and security from an uprising or revolution for many years to come. 

Left to human nature, men will inevitably take the path of least resistance. No dying to self and carrying a cross for them, only happiness, security, prosperity, and ease. And once on the hook, they will then follow whoever promises to continue to provide those comforts, even if they follow that leader to the gallows he has prepared for them.

Do you still doubt that my two-step plan will work? Do you still desire proof of its effectiveness? Then I need only to direct you to where this two-step process has been implemented already as proof that this works every time it’s tried: Look no further than the churches in Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.

The two hardest words for a Christian to say.

Anyone who’s been around the church for any length of time will no doubt be able to recall a time when they were hurt by a fellow Christian. It’s not something that we ever expect to happen among those that are called to love even their enemies, but when we’re dealing with fallen human beings it is inevitable.

But what’s more troubling is that there seems to be a vital component in human relationships today that is utterly lost, and sadly, it’s even missing from those relationships within the Body of Christ. What I am speaking of is our inability and unwillingness to say the two hardest words in the human language: “I’m sorry.”

It’s amazing when you think of it. “I’m sorry” struggles violently to be liberated from our mouths while almost anything and everything else we say flows off our tongues without any restraint whatsoever (and is often the impetus behind many of our reasons we need to say sorry).

We are quick to displace blame, justify our actions, or simply ignore the hurt that we’ve caused another, but consider how much progress could be made in our relationships if we would simply bring ourselves to sincerely utter those two humbling words. And oh, how the gospel of Jesus Christ would be beautifully displayed.

The refusal to admit wrong is a burden that both parties have to bear. The wrongdoer for their wrong that has gone unconfessed, and the one wronged who now struggles to remain forgiving toward the wrongdoer and fights vigilantly to prevent animosity and bitterness from taking root in their hearts against the wrongdoer for not only the wrong, but also for the wrongdoer’s refusal to simply say that they’re sorry.

The wrongdoer may be able to sear their conscience enough to move on after the incident as if nothing happened, but the one wronged has to not only forgive the one who wronged them, but will spend a lot of time guarding themselves from the bitterness and resentment that will be ever-creeping at the door of their heart because the one at fault simply will not say, “I’m sorry.”

Ingrid Schlueter wrote a poignant piece on this very subject entitled I’m Sorry. Here’s an excerpt from her blog article (which I highly recommend):

“The words ‘I’m sorry’ when said honestly are the most healing in the human language. It seems sometimes like I spend an inordinate amount of time having to use those words for one reason or another. But I’m not sorry about that. Relations among professing Christians are in a shameful state because so few can bring themselves to say it and mean it. So unresolved issues lie there like rotting corpses, bringing a spiritual stumbling block to the offended, and a hindrance between God and the unrepentant offender.”

Is there someone you have offended or hurt (it does not matter whether they are a fellow believer or not) that you still have not told that you’re sorry or asked forgiveness of? If so, before you do anything else, humble yourself and do what needs to be done.

If you don’t know of anyone you need to ask forgiveness from, then seek the Lord in prayer and ask Him to show you if there is someone that you’ve hurt and didn’t realize it, then go and make it right.

“By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35

Atheist hypocrisy (Part 2)

I frequently hear anti-theists lament the hypocrisy they see in the lives of professing Christians, oftentimes citing such hypocrisies as part of their reason for rejecting Christianity. But there is a glaring hypocrisy that frequently comes from the anti-theist camp that seems to escape their own notice. Although this hypocrisy is abundantly present in many of the anti-theist rants against Christianity, I have yet to see anyone bring attention to it. So allow me to point it out.

Anti-theists spend an inordinate amount of time devoted to expressing a hatred toward, and the mocking of a God they claim doesn’t exist (chew on the rationality of that for a while). They also spend a lot of time mocking Christians who actually live according to the principles set forth in Scripture; those Christians who strive to follow the commands of Christ.

So many times when an atheist sees a Christian being obedient to the commands of Christ (i.e. practice what they preach), they get mocked as “fuddy duddies,” “prudes,” and “fundies” by pretentious anti-theists.

Now the hypocrisy comes:

As soon as some anti-theists observe legitimate (or perceived) hypocrisy in the lives of pseudo-Christians, they wail that this somehow not only “proves” that God doesn’t exist, but that the behavior of these professing Christians justifies these anti-theists’ continued willful enmity toward God and Christianity.

“You Christians are hypocrites; you don’t practice what you preach, and that’ just another reason why I reject the existence of your God.”

So which is it, dear atheist? You can’t have it both ways. You can’t on the one hand accuse Christians of hypocrisy for not practicing what they preach, and then, on the other hand, mock them when they do.

To be consistent, if the professing Christian not practicing what the Bible teaches is one reason to reject Christianity, then wouldn’t the Christian practicing what the Bible teaches be one reason to embrace Christianity?

So I ask you this day, which would you rather see, Christians following their Lord’s commands, or those shallow, Sunday-only Christians who claim to follow Christ but who live just like you?

Choose this day who you’ll mock . . . then remain consistent.

See: Atheist Hypocrisy (Part 1) here.

An open letter to Rosie O’Donnell.

Dear Rosie:

After watching the exchange between you and the street preacher in the brief video clip below, I felt compelled to respond.

I am not privy to the conversation between you and the men before the video began rolling so I do not know what was said, but honestly, what took place beforehand is irrelevant and does not justify what was said to you by the one with the microphone. How you were treated was appalling, despicable, and reprehensible.

It is obvious that the man insulting you and calling you names was speaking from a position of prideful arrogance and as one who does not fully understand the pit from which God saved him from (although his behavior would lead me to seriously question if he truly has been saved from anything).

On behalf of Christians, I want to publicly apologize for how you were treated. This man does not speak for, nor did his actions represent genuine, biblical Christianity. Instead, he displayed a sinfully self-righteous attitude reminiscent of that of the Pharisees.

I see very little difference between his behavior and that of the clan from the Westboro “Baptist Church.” Both come from a position of I’m superior to you because you’re a sinner, instead of coming from a position of I am a sinner saved by God’s undeserved grace and was facing God’s justly deserved wrath until He saved me for His glory.

God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble (1 Peter 5:5). The man insulting you showed absolutely no humbleness nor concern for your soul, but instead displayed an abundantly self-righteous attitude revealing that the impetus behind his behavior was nothing but sheer pride. His harsh and demeaning words to you exposed not only his utter lack of understanding of  God’s grace and God’s mercy, but it also revealed what was in his heart (Luke 6:45) as well as his astounding ignorance of the very gospel of Jesus Christ that he claims to represent.

I seriously have to question the salvation of any professing Christian who revels and delights in the prospect of someone facing Hell–ridiculing and insulting them–instead of grieving for that perishing soul. For not even God takes pleasure in the death of the wicked, but prefers for the sinner to turn from their ways (Ezekiel 18:23).

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