Thursday, May 12, 2005

Comments from Dr. Gary Sweeten

Gary Sweeten emailed me this response following yesterday’s post. I didn’t realize people were having problems posting comments. I’ve added a new tool that allows you to post comments and for other websites that reference the post to track back. You should be able to click on “comments” at the bottom of the post – a new window will open and show all the current comments – and at the bottom will be an opportunity for you to make your own.

Anyway – I’ve included all of Gary’s email, b/c I thought it was pretty wonderful (I have added links to places Gary references.


The blog would not take my comments so I am responding on e mail.

Blogs are as much for writers as for readers for they require some thinking and self evaluation as we write. last week i wrote an article but, upon thinking, decided that I was unduly hasty in criticizing a particular group. Thankfully, I can go back and edit out my intemperate statements. So, even if no one else is keeping me accountable I am forced to evaluate what I say.

I have been doing some work with the Underground Railroad Freedom Center recently and my study of Christian Abolitionists had led me to the conclusion that they were well read, well spoken and well written. In addition, they were red hot in rhetoric and passion. They strongly pressed their points of view based on scripture and love and finally won the day.

This inspires me to think about ways I can also communicate my concerns and compassionate drives to influence a wider audience and I want to learn how to write my blog more persuasively and thoughtfully. I have been on Christian radio for over 15 years and people evaluate my performances by listening and responding to what I say. I can tell when i touch a sensitive chord.

Allow me to make one comment about mega churches and what they teach. It seems to me that many of them have learned how to talk about and act out the message of radical grace in a fairly wholesome manner. Steve Sjogren's theology was solidly Lutheran with some special Vineyardian approaches but his approach was a practical approach to Luther.

Many of the newer movements have not been around long enough to find their balance and have emphasized gracious evangelism over discipleship and the deeper things of theology. Perhaps that is their call in the family of God and should never abandon it. On Easter Sunday, Dave Workman gave an "altar call" and some 400 people came forward to receive Christ. I find it difficult to criticize any group that is bringing that many new babies into the family.


Dr. Gary R. Sweeten

Praise God for the Vinyard, and for Dave Workman (one of the gentlest spirits I’ve met in this town). We too did an “altar call” (as a good Presbyterian, I called it a time of recommitment), and dozens of people came forward simply to recommit themselves to Christ.