Here’s a ministry idea. Vampire horror fiction writer, Anne Rice, underwent a spiritual conversion to Christianity a few years ago. She still has a lot of liberal ideas, but I find her testimony and some of her right ideas fascinating.
I read in an article that she spends several hours a day answering email. I wrote her a couple of times and she answered me. Go to her website and answer some of her questions to Christians. I’ll be interested to hear what you wrote and how she’ll respond to you.
The following questions are in blue and my answers are in black.
From Anne, May 31, 2007:
THESE QUESTIONS ARE PRINTED OUT AND DISPLAYED RIGHT BY MY DESK. YOU NEED ONLY MENTION THE NUMBER OF THE QUESTION IN YOUR SUBJECT LINE when you answer. I deeply appreciate your response, and…LOOK FOR MORE QUESTIONS IN THE FUTURE.
1 – Do you go to church, and if so why?
For many years, I found it difficult to find a church I agreed with. I was formerly a member of a campus ministry that split up in the early ’90s. I continued in the same vein of this ministry as a writer, editor and publisher of Christian literature in Rusian, Spanish, Chinese, etc. I have since become a producer of teaching videos and DVDs. A few years ago a customer recommended that I attend R.C. Sproul’s church here in the Orlando area — St. Andrew’s Chapel. The tradition of this church is classical Calvinism and is different from what I am used to. However, I feel I am being spirtually “fed” here in ways I haven’t experienced elsewhere. I drive over an hour to attend Sunday services and I don’t make it every week due the distance commitment. Recently, I committed myself to tithing at this church and want to grow with this church in the destiny that God has for me. You are probably familiar with The Last Days According to Jesus by R.C. Sproul. If not, it’s a must read — it picks up in the same vein as J.A.T. Robinson and Kenneth Gentry’s thesis.
2 – Has organized religion brought you closer to God? Has it hurt you in your search for closeness to God? Can you explain?
I was brought to God through the Holy Spirit, but the church has played a vital role in my learning and growth. The church has hurt me in many ways — the very institution Christ left on earth to advance the Great Commission often puts too many restrictions on who may minister, how we may minister and often strives to maintain the status quo. Of course, some restrictions are biblically mandated, but most churches aren’t really involved in equipping the saints for works of service. On the other hand, there are a small minority of great churches who understand that the dominion mandate means fostering self-government and family government first by training individuals to become mature (perfect) in Christ. Then we can be the world changers we were called to be in the ecclesiastical and civil arenas.
3 – Has organized religion helped or hurt you in your own spiritual journey? Can you explain?
Helped mainly. The church is the avenue of everything I do. Well, not really the organized, visible church. Most of my projects and missionary efforts are independent of my local church. I look to the church for teaching, fellowship, spiritual experience in worship. This encourages me and puts me in touch with the Holy Place behind the veil. Otherwise, I would have no vision — neither independant nor within the organized religious structure.
I know that I am supposed to come to the church with an attitude of service and not wanting just to be “fed” — but too often I’ve had a hard time synching with the direction of the local church because their vision seems to be to build the local church. I believe in building the kingdom of God. As we strive to do that, God adds to the church. So I try to fulfill my passion for ministry independently and have stopped looking for an avenue through the local organized church.
However, “the church” as Luther described it — the invisible, mystical body of Christ — is always present whenever I work with my brothers and sisters and in everything I do. The “church” is present as I am writing this email to a sister in Christ and “wherever two or more are gathered in My name.” So in that sense the church is vital.
4 – Catholics: are you concerned about the looming priest shortage? Are you threatened with the closure of your parish? What do you feel isthe solution to the priest shortage, other than constant prayer for vocations?
I am a former Roman Catholic and my wife ands most of my family are Roman Catholic. Actually I am catholic, but just not Roman Catholic. My view of this is that we need good priests, not just more priests. Ditto for us evangelical Protestants. We have a serious shortage of clergy truly trained in biblical study. In fact, my view is that since we are all priests, then it’s the quality not the quantity. American Christianity has become 3000 miles wide and an inch deep. So just having more ministers of any stripe is not going to solve the problem.
8 – All religious readers: Do you have a gay son or daughter, gay in laws, gay friends? How do you feel about what your church teaches about gay people? How do you feel?
Yes, I have friends, co-workers, students and relatives who are homosexuals. I feel that as a Christian I must reach out to all people, love them and hope they will know Christ. My view is that all sex outside of marriage is fornication and those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. The commandment against adultery deals with all sex outside of marriage, not simply homosexual activity. My belief on “gays” is that biblically they do not really exist. It’s not a sin to feel a same sex attraction any more than it is to be tempted to have sex outside of marriage. We all deal with these temptations — so “gays” are not a special category or a “race” of some type. It’s been a big mistake of the church to recognize that there are “gay” people. I think we need to recognize that there are no people who are “born homosexuals” anymore than there are “born heterosexual adulterers.”
The practice of homosexual behavior ought to be condemned. However, a person who is repentant of a sexual sin should bear no stigma or be discriminated against. The key word is “practicing.” All have sinned. Are we practicing sin or striving against it? For instance, the idea of ordaining “non-practicing homosexuals” is ridiculous. We ought to talk instead about ordaining “non-practicing” sinners.
9 – All religious readers: Are you living with a mate outside of wedlock? Do you have a son or daughter who lives with a girlfriend or boyfriend outside of wedlock? Are your parents living together outside of wedlock? Do you have unmarried friends who live together? How do you feel about this? How does your church feel about it?
My pastor, R.C. Sproul, recently started to preach a series on marriage because there are so many couples co-habitating as church members in our culture — and our church is sadly no exception. We have many couples who want to divorce and remarry at will after “no-fault” divorces. I think that biblical illiteracy has caused this problem as well as the refusal of churches to practice church discipline. In fact, if you really want to see the low state of the church, you ought to spend a few Saturdays praying in front of an abortion clinic. I have some friends who do that faithfully, yet don’t get to church every single Sunday. Ironically, it’s a “church” experience like no other. You’ll see lots of Christians with pro-life bumper stickers and license plates (we have “Choose Life” plates in our state) lined up to get abortions on Saturday morning. When local pro-life activists have confronted the pastors of these women and their partners, they’ve basically held the line that abortion is a grave problem and we can’t solve it simply by disciplining these people. We should not condemn them. And so on. Some of our local abortionists claim to be Christians. Many of them think they are doing a service to babies by “sending them to heaven.” So when you write that there is no simple answer to abortion, I disagree. A good place to start would be to simply get the church to stop aborting its children.
«- Another challenge for the Jesus Mythists and Jesus Seminar liberals
- Pro-life Activism
- Abortion Clinic 911 Emergency Calls - Baby Rowan
-» Assumptions of the Higher Critics on the Reliability of the Gospels
Your comments are welcome!
Who is the Real Jesus?
Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.
Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.
The Real Jesus explodes the myths of these critics and the movies, books and television programs that have popularized their views. Presented in ten parts — perfect for individual, family and classroom study — viewers will be challenged to go deeper in their knowledge of Christ in order to be able to defend their faith and present the truth to a skeptical modern world – that the Jesus of the Gospels is the Jesus of history — “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the real Jesus.
Speakers include: George Grant, Ted Baehr, Stephen Mansfield, Raymond Ortlund, Phil Kayser, David Lutzweiler, Jay Grimstead, J.P. Holding, and Eric Holmberg.
Ten parts, over two hours of instruction!
Running Time: 130 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
“Give me liberty or give me death!”
Patrick Henry’s famous declaration not only helped launch the War for Independence, it also perfectly summarized the mindset that gave birth to, and sustained, the unprecedented experiment in Christian liberty that was America.
The freedom our Founders envisioned was not freedom from suffering, want, or hard work. Nor was it freedom to indulge every appetite or whim without restraint—that would merely be servitude to a different master. No, the Founders’ passion was to live free before God, unfettered by the chains of autocracy, shackles that slowly but inexorably bind men when the governments they fashion fail to recognize and uphold freedom’s singular, foundational truth: that all men are created in the image of God, and are thereby co-equally endowed with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
This presentation is a similar call, not to one but many. By reintroducing the principles of freedom that gave birth to America, it is our prayer that Jesus, the true and only ruler over the nations, will once again be our acknowledged Sovereign, that we may again know and exult in the great truth that “where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).
Welcome to the Second American Revolution!
This DVD features “Liberty: The Model of Christian Liberty” along with “Dawn’s Early Light: A Brief History of America’s Christian Foundations.” Bonus features include a humorous but instructive collection of campaign ads and Eric Holmberg’s controversial YouTube challenge concerning Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.
$14.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
“When the lives of the unborn are snuffed out, they often feel pain, pain that is long and agonizing.” – President Ronald Reagan to National Religious Broadcasters Convention, January 1981
Ronald Reagan became convinced of this as a result of watching The Silent Scream – a movie he considered so powerful and convicting that he screened it at the White House. More recently, it was by catching just a glimpse of what this film reveals that Planned Parenthood director and abortion advocate Abby Johnson turned and became a strong advocate for the pre-born.
The modern technology of real-time ultrasound now reveals the actual responses of a 12-week old fetus to being aborted. As the unborn child attempts to escape the abortionist’s suction curette, her motions can be seen to become desperately agitated and her heart rate doubles. Her mouth opens – as if to scream – but no sound can come out. Her scream doesn’t have to remain silent, however … not if you will become her voice. This newly re-mastered version features eight language tracks and two bonus videos.
“…a high technology “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” arousing public opinion just as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 antislavery novel ignited the abolitionist movement.” – Sen. Gordon Humphrey, Time Magazine
Languages: English, Spanish, French, South Korean, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese
Running Time: 28 minutes
$17.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Special Two-Disc Set!
After 40 years of intense study and world-wide ministry, Dr. Francis Schaeffer completed his crowning work of scholarship – to present profound truths in simple film language. Dr. Schaeffer’s brilliant analysis of the past and predictions for current trends have proven so uncannily accurate that this amazing series still feels contemporary almost three decades after its initial release. Ultimately, Schaeffer concludes that man’s only hope is a return to God’s Biblical absolute, the truth revealed in Christ through the Scriptures.
Available for the first time on DVD, this documentary spectacular also includes intimate in-depth conversations with Francis and Edith Schaeffer. With the on-disc study guide, this presentation forms a unique course of comprehensive study. While this series forms an innovative analysis of the past, this outstanding work is more than history. Each episode focuses on a significant era, yet speaks clearly to 21st-century man with answers for modern problems.
$49.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Download the Free Study Guide!
Just what is Calvinism?
Does this teaching make man a deterministic robot and God the author of sin? What about free will? If the church accepts Calvinism, won’t evangelism be stifled, perhaps even extinguished? How can we balance God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility? What are the differences between historic Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism? Why did men like Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, Whitefield, Edwards and a host of renowned Protestant evangelists embrace the teaching of predestination and election and deny free will theology?
This is the first video documentary that answers these and other related questions. Hosted by Eric Holmberg, this fascinating three-part, four-hour presentation is detailed enough so as to not gloss over the controversy. At the same time, it is broken up into ten “Sunday-school-sized” sections to make the rich content manageable and accessible for the average viewer.
Running Time: 257 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)