Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Become A Fellow Wretch

Are you tired of lame sanitized Christian media that refuses to be combative about anything going on in the world around them? Are you frustrated at the tough questions that your pastor refuses to answer as well as his unwillingness to sit down and reason from Scripture? Do you have theological alarm bells going off every time you attend your local "church". Can you tolerate media personalities that are theologically sound, with a strong satirical bent, politically incorrect, overtly provocative, and with a very short attention span? Then Wretched Radio/TV is the outlet you've been looking for.

I make no secret of my affection for the Wretched gang and the programs they transmit. It has actually been the biggest part of my Christian education since I awoke from my seeker-sensitive slumber and started asking the right questions about the Christian Gospel. I am not suggesting it as a substitute for seminary level education (unless you attend a seminary like the one Rob Bell went to) but the breadth of subject matter and theological insight serves as a wonderful stepping off point into the amazing world of sound Christian teaching. Most of the preachers I download, books I read, and sources I tap into stem from Wretched's broad sweep of the evangelical landscape where they are so great at harvesting the gems and pouring mockery on the psychobabble trying to masquerade as Christianity. It is your one stop discernment shop. I love this program so much that Todd Friel isn't even paying me very much to say these superlatives.

Todd Friel, the host, is a shock to the system for the average church goer. Todd is what you get when you have solid theological knowledge, excellent apologetics, weird humor, and attention deficit disorder, and then throw it all in the blender! You can read my profile of Todd here.

In a "Christian media industry" plagued with over sensitivity and an unwillingness to talk about many of the hot button issues that persist unresolved, Todd charges at them like a bull at a gate. But he is no theological slouch and Wretched is an arena for all those who love to reason from Scripture. Does he always get it right? Will you agree with everything? Will you always love Todd? The answer to all these questions is no - but that is not the point!!! You will engage your mind and the biblical text and get pointers to help you find countless wonderful Christian resources that your local sissy boy seeker sensitive dude will never tell you about. To their immense credit, the gang at Wretched have been at the forefront of speaking out over the current big issues on the conservative evangelical landscape - like the willingness of many Christians to partner with Glenn Beck, Rick Warren's message at this years Desiring God Conference, and people who are politically conservative but not Gospel-centered. Todd has spoken on these issues with much needed clarity and insight. Thank you Todd for bringing some perspective to the table and keeping it always about the Gospel.

This willingness to speak out comes at a cost and let's just say that Todd and the gang (Lutheran Boy, Brainiac, Hip Hop, The Adult etc) are not on everyone's Christmas card list. With this in mind Todd Friel wrote recently:

Through a series of not so coincidental coincidences, it seems best to us to begin a new Wretched chapter. We are no longer going to be under the protection of a major ministry, but as of (gulp) Nov.1, Wretched is going to be standing alone, alone, all, all alone.

While this is scary (there are a lot of bills), we trust that God will provide through His people. We have decided to not ask for gifts (i.e. money). Instead, we have determined to create products and ministry opportunities that we hope will benefit you. It is our hope that you will consider these IF they will help you grow…and IF you have the funds.

I want to ask all my readers today to consider supporting Wretched by subscribing to their club for about $6 (USD) a month and/or checking out the unique products in their store. The thing I really like about their store is that many of their products are unique and fascinating and teach on topics that few are willing to address whether it be how to practice good hermeneutics when reading the Bible, a spicy atheist debate, full on witnessing encounters, drive by systematic theology, amazing evangelism tools, or retracing the steps of the reformers - there is something there for the serious Christian (and unbeliever). It is not a regular thing I do to give a big plug to support a ministry but because of Wretched's unique and distinctive voice in the overly sanitized world of Christian media, and their willingness to sacrifice popularity for the sake of the truth, I ask you to consider becoming a "fellow wretch"!


blindsay said...

I know this is a tangent to the main point of your article, but I wanted to comment on this tangent: "I am not suggesting it as a substitute for seminary level education (unless you attend a seminary like the one Rob Bell went to)."

A quick search in Wikipedia reveals that Rob Bell's higher education mirrors that of John Piper. Both graduated from Wheaton College and then went on to Fuller Theological Seminary.

My friend's brother just recently graduate for Fuller, and I don't think it's departed from the truth of the gospel. Did you really mean to slight that seminary?

Marsha said...

Good on ya' as Todd would say! I am a huge fan of Wretched, a member and listen daily. My teenage son even loves it. I agree that we need to support those who are willing to voice truth and this is definitely one of the few sound voices in the compromised evangelical landscape today.

Cameron Buettel said...

Blindsay, the comment was a satirical poke at the heretical nonsense that Rob Bell sprouts after his seminary level education.

But I don't have a problem calling both Fuller and Wheaton liberal. It is not uncommon for seminaries to start out well and then slide into compromise. This definitely seems to be the case with Fuller. Take a closer look, it has gone very liberal in some departments. I think you'll find their president Richard Mouw signed onto the ECT document and has been quite ecumenical and conciliatory towards Mormons. Fuller is a very big animal and you will find some good stuff in there but there are alarm bells going off all over the place. Piper might have gone there but I think you'll find that was quite some time ago and Piper would be grieved over some of the things going on there, especially their positive connections with many leaders in the emergent movement.

And as for Wheaton, they invited ultra liberal communist Jim Wallis to deliver lectures to their students. That's like giving a fox the keys to the chicken coop.

Southern baptist seminary in Louisville on the other hand was a liberal cesspool of gross immorality in the 80's and early 90's until Al Mohler came in and cleaned house. Southern Baptist Theological seminary is now a shining light for biblical authority and the Gospel.

blindsay said...

I watched the video of your critique of Rob Bell's video on the story of Peter walking on water. While I believe that Bell had a point to be made, the text he used doesn't support it and what he ended up saying was not theologically sound. Your critique was dead on.

You may be right about Fuller and the direction it's heading. You are definitely right about Southern. I live near Southeastern and have heard stories from professors there.

However, as a recent graduate from Wheaton with a degree in Theology I have to say you are wrong about Wheaton. You pointed to Fuller's president, let me point to who Wheaton hired as their new president — Philip Ryken.

In regards to your statement about Jim Wallis, I'd like to make 3 points:

1. I don't think you could find a better setting than an education institution like Wheaton to be exposed to and discuss various positions / beliefs / ideologies.

2. As for the lecture you are referring to, it was sponsored by the Center for Applied Christian Ethics (which also sets up various debates) and was open to the public. ( They did not invite him to join the faculty nor was he a visiting professor.

3. I'm not familiar with Wallis and his beliefs, but you labeled him as an "ultra liberal communist", but what does his political beliefs have to do with his theological beliefs? Granted they influence each other, but most "ultra liberal communists" I know hold those political beliefs because they believe that form of government / economic system would result in alleviating poverty and oppression. I think they're wrong in that conclusion, but their aim is informed by the same Gospel.

To comment on the main thrust of this post, I'd not heard of Wretched before, but I like what I've seen so far.

Cameron Buettel said...

Blindsay, I hope you're right about Wheaton - I really do. Can you tell me if they hold to a literal view of Genesis and the six day creation? Also where do they stand on female eldership? They are usually the first two compromises on the road to liberalism.

As for Jim Wallis and his liberation theology/non-gospel scroll down on my blog in the right hand column until you see "labels", keep scrolling down and click on "Jim Wallis".

blindsay said...

Looking at the post for Wallis, they seem to all be about politics and he only shows up briefly mentioned in a list with people like Tony Campolo. I didn't see anything about liberation theology specifically, but your points on the new "religious left" actually playing politics but claiming to be above politics are well taken. They have replaced the gospel with political activism. As a political conservative, however, I have become frustrated with the religious right for the exact same reason.

As for Wheaton, there is a divide in the theology department when it comes to the issue of female eldership. I can see room here for serious debate and would disagree that believing the Bible doesn't forbid female eldership is a compromise. That being said, if one argues that the verses in the Bible that may limit female eldership aren't relevant because they represent the patriarchal society that we do not find ourselves in today, then you are on the road to compromise.

In terms of Genesis 1, I had John Walton for a class on Genesis, and his main point is that if we are to truly take Genesis 1 literally, then we must read it as God's revelation to the ancient Israelites and understand it from their perspective. That means that Genesis 1 isn't so much a description of creating the physical universe but about preparing it for man. This view complements that of John Sailhamer (which is the position John Piper ascribes to, see

In my mind, the main points the Bible teaches in Genesis 1-2 is 1) God created everything 2) The world was created and ordered for us and 3) God specially created mankind. How old the earth is is irrelevant, not being a concern of the Bible.

As a side note, when I was there (6 years ago), while Wheaton would hire old earth creationists, they would not hire theistic evolutionists for the Biology department (and I think the sciences in general).

Hope that helps to shine some light on your questions.

Anonymous said...

From Todd Friel on "How to Find a Good Church?"

16. Do you believe in a literal 6 day creation?
Jesus did (Matt.19:4).

It does not matter what Cameron, I, you, or John Piper believe. What matters is what the Lord teaches as truth.