[Update: ClashChurch no longer exists. The original video was also removed, although it was not exclusively a ClashChurch video. Fortunately, I had the audio of it, and uploaded it above via YouTube. For additional information on Mr. Giles, check out ClashDaily.]
Doug Giles is the pastor of ClashChurch in Miami, FL. You can read his bio from his church’s web site here. (I also suggest checking out his paintings that are available for purchase on the “Shop” link on the church web site – he’s really gifted). Now, I’ve watched some of Doug’s church videos in the past. I’ve watched an interview with him on Fox News. I know some folks that have been to his church. And I am actually starting to go through a book of his entitled, “Ruling in Babylon.” At some point, I’d like to review it here. Lord willing, I will find the time.
In this video, Doug Giles asks a question of his audience: “Got Game?” Normally, I try to not over psychologize titles for videos or articles, but at the same time I realize their importance. And I will readily admit that I have not heard ALL of Doug’s sermons or read all of his books or know him personally. But if I’ve ever come away with any thought concerning Giles, it’s that he seems to try and come off as the “bad boy” of Christianity. And this video is certainly evidence of that. And I have to admit, it’s almost unbearably annoying. Now, I’m sure that Giles would consider me some sort of divisive wuss or something. I’ll admit, I like to hunt and my job is manually laborous, but I wouldn’t begin to pretend that I am some sort of hardcore manly man. Instead of chasing this rabbit too far, let’s just briefly go through some of the stuff that he says in this video.
He begins by saying, “If you are going to find, follow, and finish God’s purpose for your life in this jacked up culture, you need game – I’m talking holy pitbull tenacity, Batman.” A distinction is being made between being a “mediocre” Christian and a “hardcore” Christian – or should we say, “poodle” Christianity versus “pitbull” Christianity. This immediately sounds to me like what I normally hear from purpose driven pulpits. Do you have “same old same old” faith or “audacious, in your face” faith? And the focus and difference falls on your deeds. He then defines what “game” is:
1. The love of battle
2. The ability to endure
3. The capability to absorb pain while staying focused, executing your plan, and having the confidence that you are going to prevail come hell or high water.
This sounds like a pep talk by Chuck Norris or something. Actually, it’s kind of like Rick Warren on steroids. Apparently, according to Giles not many Christians have game. Jesus and His apostles had game too according to Giles – having a “rowdy” spirit and changing the planet for God’s glory and going through trials that the majority of Christians now would run home crying about. I’m not sure how Giles knows that many Christians would go running from the same persecutions. Certainly, there are those who would. But the majority “running home” or “crying about it” doesn’t mean you are less than a Christian. What did early Christians deal with? Being slaughtered. Not sure how you wouldn’t run home and cry about that. Sure, there are awesome stories like Polycarp being burned at the stake and not burning up, or Girolamo Savonarola choosing a bloodstained hat over a cardinal’s hat, or even Huss singing as he burned. But it doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t run home and cry about it or even hide from it.
Martin Luther hid from persecution and ended up translating the Bible into German. That didn’t turn out so bad. John Calvin fled to Geneva, Switzerland. The works of these two men alone have contributed greatly to the faith. Even in Scripture, it wasn’t as though the disciples didn’t get depressed and despair over their persecutions (2 Corinthians 1:8). Peter apparently didn’t have the “cojones” in front of the Jews (Galatians 2:11-14).
He sums it all up by asking what the Christian needs when facing cultural monsters. He answers:
1. A stranglehold on truth
2. “Cojones” (Spanish word for testicles) to proclaim it
3. A deep “gameness” to keep plowing when we hit rocky soil
He says to seek Him for that “rowdy” spirit and to remember “sweetie, that without it, you’re toast and our nation is screwed.” So, in summary, you better be rowdy or you are toast. Have you been rowdy today? You may be on your way to being toast. Do you have “bulldog” faith? Maybe you should make a checklist.
I usually mention that I am a broken record. I repeat myself a lot, but it doesn’t bother me, because I can never get tired of repeating it. God’s big purpose for you as a Christian is for you to believe the gospel. It’s to serve your neighbor in your vocation. It’s to be a good dad or mom. It’s for kids to obey their parents. It’s to work quietly with your hands. It’s to work your job like you would for God. It’s to provide for your family. It’s to not exasperate your kids. It’s to teach them the Scriptures so that they won’t depart form them. It’s for husbands to love their wives, and wives to love their husbands. It’s to tell other’s the gospel and disciple them as you live your life. That sounds mediocre and wussy to a lot of adventure minded folks, I’m sure. And the good news is that when you fail at any of these points, God doesn’t look at you like you are not a bulldog of the faith.
Nope. Christ lived a perfectly obedient life on behalf of those who believe the gospel. And He removed God’s wrath toward the sins of those who believe. At the cross, God poured out all of the wrath on Jesus that was stored toward believer’s sins. Then Christ was buried, and three days later, resurrected. And those of us who believe this awesome news have been raised to new life from being completely enslaved and dead in sin and will one day even be raised physically from the grave together. I think Giles would agree. I know that he has a reformed background. Unfortunately, he comes off as confusing and even burdensome to those who don’t measure up to a bulldog standard. And like too many reformed guys, he calls people to look at themselves for assurance. Don’t want to be toast? Don’t want the country to go to hell? Better get busy with your life change.