Monthly Archives: October 2012

Presidential Debate After-Thoughts; Did That Really Happen?

I hesitate to write a blog about politics because it is easy for people to get worked up and get personal. Don’t do it. OK? This isn’t an endorsement, it’s simply my debate after-thoughts. I have a love-dislike relationship with politics, and I mostly dislike it because people just get crazy about it. One of things that people dislike most about politics is the divisiveness that leads to impasse. So don’t add to it.

Now, on to my post-debate reflections.

Most people seem to think that Governor Romney won the debate last night (67% in a CNN poll) and many people were struck by how unprepared President Obama was. Even former Vice-President Al Gore, inventor of the Internet, must have thought Romney won because he blamed the high altitude for President Obama’s lackluster performance. Another example of the outcome is this article from expresses the bewilderment as to why President Obama didn’t say some of the things that would have helped him. Words Obama Did not Say.

Here are possibilities I’ve thought:

  1. President Obama let his confidence get the best of him and so he didn’t prepare well and wasn’t ready. After all, many have already assumed his imminent victory based on polling and recent Romney blunders. When you are supposed to win, it is hard to get ready to win. I had even read that Mr. Obama said debate prep was a drag, so maybe he didn’t fully give himself to it. If this is what happened, I can assure you that it won’t happen next time.
  2. President Obama did it on purpose for “strategery”. (In case you forgot, strategery is a President Bush word.) Let’s face it, based on the feedback by cable news channels, including the left-leaning MSNBC, Mr. Obama was out-debated. And based on that analysis, there’s only one way to go as far as debate performance – UP! It can only get better for President Obama. This seems plausible to me since he knew this debate was going to be tough because of the facts on the ground concerning the economy; Unemployment at over 8% (at the time of debate), the deficit not cut in half as he had promised, wanting to raise taxes in a weak economy despite saying 2 years ago in a week economy that taxes shouldn’t be raised because the economy is week. Additionally, I can’t figure out why he didn’t hammer Romney on the “47 percent” blunder or Bain Capital. If this is the case, I expect President Obama to release an all-out salvo in the next couple of debates.

I just can’t believe that Obama tanked the debate like it looked. He is smarter and better than that – or maybe he just got caught flat-footed. Maybe Gore’s right; he couldn’t breathe. What I do know is that there are two more debates and Romney still has a lot of work to do, and I certainly can’t see Obama doing any worse than he did last night. The question in my mind is: “Why did he get beat by a man who’s strongest and most popular line was about Big Bird?”

My final thought is this and I think it is one we can all agree on – I’ll just be glad when the whole thing is over. And then we can have a two year break before campaigning starts up again. You realize don’t you, this will never end until Jesus comes back. So pray with the Apostle John: “Come, Lord Jesus.” (Rev. 22:20)

I’m Brent Prentice, and I approve this message.

The Danger of a “Malbrain and Unlearned Idiot”

The Apostle Paul writes in Galatians 1:6: “I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel.”

This morning I was reading Martin Luther’s  (1483-1546) commentary on Galatians and his thoughts about Galatians 1:6, and more specifically concerning the phrase, “that you are so quickly”. Luther writes:

That work which is built up of long labour, may be overthrown in a night.  A man may labour half a score of years to build up some little Church to be rightly ordered, and when it is ordered, there creepeth in some malbrain, yea, a very unlearned idiot, and he in one moment overthroweth all.

Luther doesn’t beat around the bush and I like that about him. And though his choice of words might seem offensive, being an “idiot” is the least of a person’s problems who distorts the gospel, because in Galatians 1:8-9 Paul says that the malbrain who teaches a false gospel is damned or cursed.

The presence of malbrains and idiots who disturbed (V. 7) the Galatian chuches and who continue to this day to disturb other local churches, begs many questions for me. For instance, why is a “malbrain” and “unlearned idiot” in the position to “overthroweth” sound doctrine in any church? Why is he/she tolerated? Who gave this person a platform? Why is he/she a member of the church?

There is no uniform or easy answer to any of these questions because every church and situation is different. What we can learn though Paul and Luther is that we should be very protective of our churches by proactively teaching sound doctrine.

Here are some ways we can protect the church:

  • We must thoroughly know sound gospel doctrine ourselves. It’s hard to imagine a malbrain would be very clever, but the idiotic error that harms the most is the error that looks the closest to the truth. Leaders must excel at gospel details and discernment to protect the church.
  • We must be diligent in equipping and training others. Perhaps the malbrain was never rightly trained in sound doctrine. Maybe the church was never trained and that is why they allowed the malbrain to have a platform of influence. Either way, equipping in sound doctrine is the work of the church and it must not be neglected. Additionally, if the leader(s) equips and trains others in sound gospel doctrine then the leader(s) won’t have to fight the malbrain alone.
  • We must take local church membership seriously. This is why we do interviews at Eagle Heights; to protect the front door. We want to protect our faith family by being careful about who has member responsibilities and privileges.
  • We must determine to please the Lord and not cower to the opinions of people. In our hyper-sensitive and non-judgmental culture, I believe one of the greatest challenges we face is the challenge of doing the right thing and accepting the criticism that will come with it. Standing for the truth will put leaders at odds with people, and the leader must be willing to stand for what is right, even if it cost him his ministry life. I’m not saying other people’s opinions don’t matter. We should listen to people, but if their opinion is at odds with the truth, then we must stand for God’s truth.

The sobering thing about the Galatian churches is that Paul probably did all of these things and error still crept in and corrupted. We are in a war and all we can do is be faithful with the time that has been given us. But we better do it with urgency and do it thoroughly with the strength that God supplies (1 Peter 4:11). Because no right-minded Christian wants a malbrain and unlearned idiot deceiving people and leading them to be damned.