Christian Stockholm Syndrome

This week’s podcast is up! What happens when you believe in an all powerful God who strips you of your identity, motivates you by fear and threats of eternal torture, and then spares you? You end up with Christian Stockholm Syndrome. You become a captive who develops positive feelings for your captor because his lack of abuse is perceived as an act of kindness. Any moron can tell you a relationship based in fear is anything but healthy. Do we really think the author of relationships utilizes fear to win our affections? This is what David and Loren discuss in this controversial podcast.

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Christless Causes

The following paragraph from an article by C.J. Werleman, an Australian born atheist author, neatly sums up the misdirection that so many Evangelicals have embraced since the early ‘80s.

“Ironically, the rise of the Christian Right over the course of the past three decades may well end up being the catalyst for Christianity’s rapid decline. From the moment Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority helped elect Ronald Reagan in 1980, evangelical Christians, who account for roughly 30 percent of the U.S. population, identified their movement with the culture war and with political conservatism. Michael Spencer, a writer who describes himself as a post-evangelical reform Christian, says, “Evangelicals fell for the trap of believing in a cause more than a faith. Evangelicals will be seen increasingly as a threat to cultural progress. Public leaders will consider us bad for America, bad for education, bad for children, and bad for society.””

“Evangelicals fell for the trap of believing in a cause more than a faith.”
In Revelation 2:1-6 Jesus commends the church in Ephesus for their hard work, perseverance and their lack of tolerance for wicked men who rule over others. But he warns them that they have left their first love. Essentially their focus turned from Jesus to a cause; exposing wickedness and promoting a “righteous” agenda. The outcome of their hard work and perseverance in fighting evil was that they were about to lose their witness to the world.

A sure sign that one has left his/her first love is the need for a cause. Common causes in Evangelicals today can range anywhere from church growth to pro-life to anti-gay marriage to turning America to God. Yet Jesus never started a movement or promoted a cause. He wasn’t interested in moral issues or in preserving what good may have remained in society during his earthly pilgrimage. He came for one purpose; to offer himself as the Way, the Truth and the Life to a world that he loves. “For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”(John 3:17) Jesus Christ came to redeem people, not cultures, societies or systems. It is impossible to be both in Christ and a part of the worldly systems. There is no way to merge the two, no truth outside of the person of Christ and no life apart from his.

But God loves all who inhabit this planet and has provided a Way for those joined to him to be in the world but not a part of its systems. Those who are in love with Jesus are building a kingdom that is not of this world. They become leaven that impacts every level of society through love that cannot be contained in any specific culture or identified with any movement. It’s a love that does not discriminate between right, wrong, good or evil people; a love that never stops flowing weather it is received or rejected. It’s a love so powerful that when his people are joined together in trusting Christ they are filled to the measure of all the fullness of God!

“That power is like the working of (God’s) mighty strength which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age, but also in the age to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” (Ephesians 1:19-23) (See also Eph. 3:17-19)

How ridiculously futile are the causes the wayward “church” pursues in the light of the truth above! But does anyone truly believe the inspired words of Paul? When Jesus returns will he find faith on earth? Will his bride be distracted by so many things when only one thing is important? Yet for good or bad, a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough. There are untold numbers of mostly unseen believers around the world that are living and growing in the power of love, and one day every knee shall bow in heaven, and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the Glory of God the Father.

David Fredrickson

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Are You Ready For The End of the World?

Have you heard? Today is the end of the world! It’s the day of the super blood moon eclipse. Some popular Christian “leaders” have been saying that this is it, the end of the world. I posted this on Facebook today:

“I’d like to wish all my friends who believe this super moon eclipse is the sign of the end a happy end of the world. You can tell me all about it tomorrow at work.”

I’m sure for most of you reading this the day has already come and gone with no significant events other than a pretty cool lunar display and the pope visiting Philadelphia. (Somehow I don’t think that’s what Christians meant when they said this will be the day of his return.”) Of course many of the responses to my Facebook post were hilarious, saying things like, “Wear clean underwear!” and “The survivors can feast on my left over canned goods from ‘Y2K.’” But a few of them posted by some folks I love and respect caused me to see just how much my views on Christ’s return have shifted over the years. They wrote things like, “And if it is? We are ready!” and “I say bring it!” I totally get where they’re coming from. A decade or so ago I probably would’ve either said something similar or replied with a hardy, “Amen!” But now my first thought was, “Are we really ready? Do we really want to ‘bring it on’?” Allow me to explain why. And it’s not for the reasons most are probably thinking.

When most of us respond that we’re ready for Christ’s return we’re thinking about our own spiritual condition.  More specifically, we see ourselves as ready for Jesus to come back because we believe in Him. So when I ponder whether we’re ready most immediately assume I think most Christians don’t really believe in Jesus or are living in immorality. But those aren’t the reasons I don’t believe we’re ready.

Dr.Stephen Crosby often points out that the individualistic western mentality of which most of us are so accustomed was completely foreign to the first century Middle Eastern world in which Jesus lived. They lived in a dyadic culture in which one received his/her identity through the group. As Crosby put it, “Our sense of being comes from ‘I think therefore I am.’ Theirs was: ‘I am, because the group (the other) says so.’” This is one of the reasons the letters written by the early apostles often end up being so terribly misinterpreted. They’d make statements that we interpret and apply to ourselves individually while they were thinking of the group. For example, look at 1 Peter 2:9. “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” Today in the West we interpret that as, “I’m a chosen person. I’m a royal priest. I’m a citizen of a holy nation.” Although there is truth to that, the writer’s intent based on their culture and world view was a plural “you.” You, the group, are chosen. You, the group, form a holy priesthood. You are a holy race of people (like the Jews in the Old Testament). So when Jesus and the writers of the New Testament spoke about being ready for His return they weren’t talking about us individually. “Go get Jesus in your heart and live a good life!” They were talking about US as a group, His church, His body, being ready.

Revelation speaks of the bride having made herself ready and being beautifully dressed. Who is the bride of Christ? Just you? Just me? Just a bunch of individuals doing their own thing? Of course not! It’s His entire church, all who follow Christ. Do you still think we’re ready? Are you still set to “Bring it on!”? Do you think the church is done making herself ready for His return?

Just the fact that many good hearted believers tremble in fear at the very thought of Christ’s return reveals we’re not ready. Darin Hufford, author of The Misunderstood God, asked how would you feel as a groom showing up to marry your bride only to find her cowering in the corner terrified of you? That’s a bride who is not ready.  She doesn’t even know the heart of her lover. Do we think Jesus is going to show up for a bride that feels that way about Him? He’s coming for a bride who is going to run into the arms of her lover. She’ll be like most brides are on their wedding day: bursting at the seams with joy, excitement, and stomachs full of butterflies.

The church has a long way yet to go. We are not yet ready my brothers and sisters. We’re getting there, but we aren’t there yet. And this is not a message of condemnation. I’m saying it’s time we drop the “I’ll fly away oh glory” nonsense and start thinking like King David preparing to build the temple – long term!  This isn’t a “are you going to heaven or hell?” issue. It’s a “are you living for the Kingdom?” issue. That’s just it. For too long has this, “I-got-Jesus-in-my-heart-unlike-those-unbelieving-jerks-who-are-ruining-my-comfort-zone-get-me-out-of-here-now!” attitude has prevailed in the church. It’s time to knock it off and grow up! Many Christians look like workers sitting around a construction site doing nothing hoping the whistle will blow to go home before they have to pick up a hammer. King David knew the construction of the temple wasn’t going to happen under his watch. So he spent much of his time and energy making preparations so that his son Solomon would have everything he needed to get the job done.

It’s time to stop selfishly looking at ourselves and start thinking of the generations to come. What tools and preparations are we leaving for them? Are we doing our part to beautify the bride? Do we love one another? I don’t just mean being nice on Sundays. Are we making sure none of our brothers or sisters are in need? Do we love the outcasts, the foreigners, and the rejected? Are we feeding the poor and speaking up for the oppressed? Are we taking the lead on these things or constantly lagging behind until the world pressures us to do something? (As has been the norm for the last several decades.) In other words, are we preparing the foundation upon which others will build? I believe THAT is the question that pertains to our generation. It’s not “Were you ready to fly away?” but “Did you leave the next generation the foundation and tools of Christ on which they can build?” Stop thinking like a rapture freak and think like Paul and the other apostles. Labor for those who are yet to come.

Several years ago my wife, Lilly, had a vision. She and I were standing on a dock fishing but we were only catching a few fish. Then she noticed there was a shark in the water that was eating most of the fish. She then saw me grab a knife and dive in and kill the shark. I climbed back on the dock and we returned to fishing. We began to pull in bucket loads of fish. Then her vision changed and we were no longer on the dock.  She saw our daughter standing there fishing and she was catching tons of fish; far more than we did. Father showed us that in her vision the shark was religion. Religion is what has been making the body of Christ so unfruitful. Once religion was slain we began to see amazing productivity and results. But this didn’t end with us. What we accomplished was passed on to the next generation who saw even greater results. This my friends is where I believe we stand as the people of God. We need to stop goofing off and indulging escapist mentalities and start thinking long term and labor for the Kingdom so the next generation has some foot steps to follow; something on which to build.  We have to be the generation that kills that nasty shark of religion that has been doing nothing but stealing from us and rendering us virtually unproductive for centuries. It’s time to take out the knife, and without mercy, slay that foul thing. Let’s clear the waters so the generations to come will see the results in the Kingdom of which we dreamed.

Loren Rosser

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Twisted Words

A new episode of “Untangled” is up!  “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” said Inigo Montoya in the movie The Princess Bride. There are several common words and phrases used often by Christians but the meanings attached to them are a far cry from the New Covenant. This has resulted in paralysis and damage to the Body of Christ. Loren discusses how phrases like, “the presence of God,” and “compel them to come in,” and words like “church,” “fellowship,” and “worship,” are scriptural but now have meanings attached to them in the minds of most Christians that cause them to miss the boat big time!

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The Gatekeepers

A new episode of “Untangled” is up! Much damage has been done to the body of Christ because of the establishment of man-made authority structures that determine who is “worthy” to minister and who isn’t. Believers often find themselves jumping through hoops and having to please people in positions of authority in order to be able function in the church. Loren and David discuss how this is a far cry from the way the body of Christ was meant to function.

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The Sin of Sodom

A hard hitting episode of Untangled is up! “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” (Ezek. 16:49 NIV)Hey! That’s not what I was taught was the sin of Sodom! That scripture hits way too close to home! David once again joins Loren and the two discuss a hard hitting blog David wrote that boldly confronts the compliancy and misdirection of the church in America today.

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The Sin of Sodom

“‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” (Ezek. 16:49 NIV)

It should be alarming for any true follower of Christ to note what most Evangelicals are passionate about in this hour. Christians are being killed in other nations, sex trafficking is rampant in our own cities and the poor are crying out in the streets while most Christians are focused on politics and related issues. Anger towards the president, the government in general, and every law that infringes upon our “rights” seems always to be seething just beneath the surface. Evangelicals are the main supporters of an arrogant, undisciplined, clownish candidate because he expresses their fears and concerns.

I won’t repeat earlier blogs in which I pointed out the false identity motivating Christians who embrace nationalism based on the false assumption that this country was founded and blessed “under God.” But the stand many take on the current issues being addressed by presidential hopefuls exposes the giant chasm between God’s ways and those who are “arrogant, overfed and unconcerned for the poor and needy.” Whether the issue involves illegal immigration or same sex marriage, compassion is trumped (no pun intended) by prideful indignation and fear of losing a lifestyle that keeps most Americans overweight, saturated in entertainment and out of touch with the physically hungry and the spiritually impoverished.

The issue is not the right or wrong of same sex marriage nor the illegality of undocumented immigrants to this country. Neither brought judgment upon Sodom. But considering the 1-3% of overall income that the average church spends in reaching out to the poor at home and abroad, perhaps we shouldn’t be so concerned when undocumented aliens find jobs here that nobody else wants. How can Christians self righteously condemn homosexuals or campaign for whatever they think best preserves middle class America with no regard for those who aren’t so privileged? One cannot align themselves with the world system and still remain available to be the hands and feet for a loving Father who has always been the advocate of the poor and needy.

Christ walked the earth during a time where every form of immorality was rampant. Rulers were claiming to be God while persecuting Christians. Yet Jesus never addressed those issues, nor did he ever make a political statement. His kingdom was not of this world. He came not to turn Israel as a nation to God, but to call out a people who would humble themselves before him and be transformed into his nature by the power of love made available through the cross. He came for the poor in spirit and the downtrodden of society. He never compared sins, but rather dealt with the root of sin at the cross.

Those that followed him were called out of darkness into the light. They were to be in the world but not a part of its systems. Jesus demonstrated this by breaking many cultural and religious rules. He dashed the political aspirations of his disciples and laid out an economical philosophy that defied human reason. With every move he made and every word he spoke, Jesus made it clear that the kingdom of God has absolutely no relationship to the kingdom of the world. This means that kingdom priorities, values and goals are the antithesis of earthly priorities, values and goals and are realized through opposite ways and means. Those who continue to fight for earthly goals with earthly weapons while neglecting what matters most in the kingdom will have lived their life in vain.

I must confess that I need more compassion for the downtrodden and less concern for my own needs and desires. I don’t relish posting blogs such as this one, because every word will be tested. But I hope those reading this that can identify with my lack will join me in submitting to the heart enlarging work that the Holy Spirit is ready and willing to do in each one of us who call him Lord.

We cannot effect change in the religious or other worldly systems, nor are we called to do so. But if God is the advocate for the poor and needy, it would follow naturally that followers of Christ are to be those that represent him with our actions. We can visit the lonely and those in prison, help feed the hungry, volunteer our services and/or support valid ministries that rescue victims of sex trafficking, rehabilitate prisoners and addicts, etc. We can make ourselves available to the opportunities that God is faithful to bring our way when our hearts and hands are willing. In doing so, we will live with the joy of knowing that so much as we’ve done it for the least of them, we’ve done it unto him.

David Fredrickson

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The New Testament Prophet: Part 2

Loren continues his discussion with Dr. Steve Crosby about his fantastic new book, “The New Testament Prophet: Understanding the Mind, Temperament, and Calling.” What are the struggles and frustrations New Testament prophets deal with? How does God prepare prophets to live and function effectively? Steve points out it’s not about one member in the body being better than another, but integration in the body of Christ for the benefit of one another and the world. You can pick up Dr. Crosby’s book at

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The New Testament Prophet: Part 1

A MUST HEAR episode of Untangled is up! What is a New Covenant Prophet? Is there such a thing? Some have been taught that prophets don’t exist anymore or that prophecy is the same as teaching. Others have encountered all kinds manipulative, controlling, and cultic practices that have been presented as being prophetic. Loren interviews Dr. Stephen Crosby about his fantastic new book, “The New Testament Prophet: Understanding the Mind, Temperament, and Calling.” His book lays out a grace-based and new covenant perspective regarding the function of prophetic ministry in the New Testament era. This isn’t a “how to” or “predicting the future” book. Rather, it’s about relational wellness and integration AS prophetic people, WITH prophetic people, and AMONG the diversely gifted and configured body of Christ. You can pick up Dr. Crosby’s book at

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Father is Doing Something Remarkable

Father is doing something remarkable in rural Kenya. A few years ago, a typical missionary family from the states was living Kenya. They were trying to serve God using the usual methods they were trained in from the institutional church to reach out to the community they were in. During that time, something just wasn’t sitting right with them, and Johnny Brooks was writing about it on his blog. He shared his frustrations of how Christian religiousness was running rampant as a clever money making scheme for the local ‘pastors’, and how the truly needy were being taken advantage of.

As we were developing our FRM website and blog, I was often online doing searches for other blogs that were talking about life outside of the institutional church. Part of our vision for this site was to share what others were doing, and to help tell the story of their experience living loved and following Father’s heart. One of my searches led me to Johnny’s blog Pure Christianity. We began to communicate back and forth via e-mail and in 2008 while Johnny is in the states, he had the opportunity to visit me and stay in my home for a couple of days. I even introduced him to his first In and Out burger. We discovered that we were both on the same page.  We both sensed that Father had a bigger plan beyond how the institutional church had been doing missions for the past 100 years. There was a genuine hunger to engage in a more relational organic way of doing missions as the church in Kenya.

Jumping off the page

This was the first time I had encountered anything like this. We had interviewed folks for our Church Outside the Walls video series that were doing ministry outreach outside of the traditional methods of the I.C. (institutional church) in their communities. These folks were here in the states with their own jobs supplying their financial needs, but a missionary family seriously considering stepping away from the I.C. and its obvious financial support while living 10,000 miles from home, was all together new. They were jumping off the pages of all the blogs and the conversations in podcasts about living relationally with Father. Easy to talk and write about, but to be immersed into the reality of  completely being vulnerable to the need of financial support?  That takes guts, and putting to the test the strength of the relationships, love and support of their friends and family that believed in them.  And what about the people who left the I.C.? Would they even bother to give to them, since they were now free from the religious obligation of the tithe, and no longer being marinated in guilt from the pulpit? Would anybody even know they were there?

They prayed about it and chose to leave the ‘church planting’ model, and follow their passion for the plight of the orphans in the city the live in. Instead of building an orphanage, they added 9 orphaned/abandoned girls to their family of 5. It’s so easy to wrap your head around institutional things like orphanages, church plants, schools, and so on, but how do you communicate a need for financial support for relational things, without obligation?

Enter social media and crowdfunding.

I have been with the Brooks since they’ve left the I.C. and lost their primary funding source. My friendship with Johnny and Kate has grown ever since. We have journeyed together on this path of missions outside of the I.C. I have tried to communicate and expand the awareness of their mission through social media and crowd funding, since they are no longer have the luxury of a captive audience on a Sunday morning raise support. It hasn’t been easy, or smooth, but there has been growth and expansion, and Father has been faithful. Each year we run a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for their very real needs, and to grow the awareness of their mission. Take a look at it and learn more about A Future and a Hope, and consider giving to it.  Click here: Campaign

God is writing a story of love and hope that astounds me. This is his church. He can really be its head. What can happen in this world as people simply listen to him and do what he asks of them. He truly does all things well!

Bob Humphrey

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