Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Too many leaders pastor their churches in their heads and not in their communities (Ed Stetzer).
I have started two or three blog articles on contextualization. Fortunately, I have always found the grace to resist finishing them, mostly because I am not quite sure I have a good enough grasp on what it means to people who use the word to describe their ministry. (My desire to accurately represent them while not being hypocritical overrides my desire to put another article on this blog.) Here's one thing I am quite sure of: What some fundamentalists have written about contextualization should have stayed private, rather than public, mostly because their objections are sometimes of things that most contextualizationalists (yes, I think I made it up) do not hold to, and sometimes are critiques of things that fundamentalists themselves do. In other words, some have written about something they do not understand and practice in their own lives anyway.

So my intent here is not to defend or critique contextualization. There will be time for that later, I suppose. My point is to point to two introductory resources on the subject by Ed Stetzer. Stetzer is perhaps most known for his books, Planting Missional Churches (formerly Planting New Churches in a Postmodern Age) and Breaking the Missional Code. He also has a website called NewChurches.

The first resource is an article found at The Resurgence website. It gives a good introduction. The second is essentially a verbal presentation of the first, a message preached at the Reform and Resurge conference in May of 2006. The message is from Acts 17, a key passage for contextualizationalists.

So here's my suggestion: Listen to Ed, and read his article to get an introduction to contextualization. You will find somethings you disagree with (I am not offering any complete endorsement of Ed or contextualization as he sees it), but hopefully you will have a better understanding of what it means to those who believe in it. And hopefully it will challenge your thinking about whether or not you are ministering to church in your head or the church in your community.

Monday, January 29, 2007


Many people who blog are only “journaling” in public. Many of their thoughts would probably be best kept private.
(From part 5 of an interview with David Dockery. If I was a good blogger, I would probably give the links to all four parts, but I don't want to subsidize your laziness. I would rather enjoy my own.)

Friday, January 26, 2007

A Man Before His Time?

“We have reconstructed the Tower of Babel and it is a television antenna, a thousand voices producing a daily parody of democracy in which everyone’s opinion is afforded equal weight regardless of substance or merit. Indeed, it can be argued that opinions of real weight tend to sink with barely a trace in television’s great ocean of banalities.” (Ted Koppel, from his Duke University Commencement speech in 1987, cited in The Man in the Mirror, pp. 28-29.)

Monday, January 22, 2007

On Abortion

Thirty-four years ago, in what has become the most famous decision in Supreme Court history, seven American citizens declared abortion to be legal. They found a new right in the fourteenth amendment, a right that had been unknown for the previous 110 years since its ratification. This new right paved the road for the abortion of 45,000,000 babies in the time since January 22, 1973. Today, some 3,500 babies will be "terminated," 3255 simply for reasons of convenience (93%).

In modern America, we have a culture that has separated marriage, sex, and children. We want one without the other two, and sometimes two without the third. Too many people view motherhood as the punishment for having sex.

What's the hope? Must we sacrifice another generation to the gods of convenience and self-gratification? How should we respond?

We must value all life.

According to the biblical evidence, God recognizes the humanity of a child long before its birth. Unborn children, at whatever stage of development, are individual persons with all the rights afforded to other humans. Because an unborn child is in the image of God, we must acknowledge the sanctity of his life. Medically speaking, the unborn child is just as human as a born child is. Therefore abortion is the taking of human life, and is condemned as the sin of murder. Abortion is not the answer to the problem of unwanted pregnancies.

Human life is a gift from God, and its origin in biological terms reflects the order of creation. Specifically, at the point of conception the one-celled human zygote is a person in the fullest sense, an image-bearer of God deserving the same respect and protection that we should afford all human beings.

We must not rely too heavily on government.

The overturning of Roe v. Wade is a constant discussion in political circles. Each election cycle brings it to the forefront again. Court nominees are asked their position on the case under of the guise of searching for a position on stare decisus. We must realize that overturning Roe v. Wade would not outlaw abortion. It would simply return the laws of abortion to the individual states. Then each state could make its own decision about abortion.

Without question, Roe v. Wade should be overturned. But we must realize that will not solve the abortion problem.

We should be consistently protective of life, even in cases of rape, incest, or the life of the mother?

Cases of rape or incest are an easy answer. A child is no less a child because his father is an idiot. While rape and incest are horrible crimes that should be punished to the full extent of the law, it does not provide an excuse to murder the baby produced by that sinful act. We should support the victims of these crimes, including the ones who have not yet been born.

In cases of the life of the mother, it is somewhat ethically more challenging. Some would argue that we should never sacrifice two lives for the sake of one. We should abort the baby rather than risk the death of the baby and mother both. It seems more consistent with biblical teaching to honor both the life of the mother and the baby by leaving them in God’s hands with the best medical care available. God is the one who gives life and takes it. We should not play God with the lives of the mother and baby.

We must be willing to love as Christ loved and get involved in the lives of those in need.

We must provide alternatives to abortion. We need to focus on adoption. I am convinced that, in most cases, a baby is better off being raised by two mature and loving parents who adopt him than by a teenage mother. By bringing loving, Christian couples together with unwed mothers who do not want their babies, we can provide a great service that honors life.

We must provide care and support for unwed mothers. This includes counseling, teaching, and helping to provide for their needs. The gospel of Jesus Christ calls us to do no less. It will require an investment of time and energy, of emotion and sympathy, and even of finances. By reaching out to help these mothers, we can model the love of Christ and honor the life that God gives.

We must teach and model biblical purity. The easiest way to solve the abortion problem is to teach the Bible’s view of marriage, sex, and children. Too often, we have separated those things. By raising young men and young women who see sex honored as God’s gift in marriage, and children as the blessing of God, we can remove the need for abortion.

We must realize that changing laws will not fix the problem. We must strive to change hearts through the message of Jesus Christ. Only Jesus can change our views through the gospel that restores dignity and preciousness to all of life. Picketing will likely do little. Action will do much.

For those who have had an abortion, the great news is that there is forgiveness in Christ. His death for sin covers even the sin of abortion. You need not live in guilt. You can experience the grace of forgiveness.

For those contemplating abortion, please consider your other options. You do not need to go down this road. If you do not want to keep your baby, there are loving, Christian couples who would love to adopt your baby and raise him in a godly home.

For God, all life is sacred because all life is created in his image. As we saw in the Bible, unborn children are clearly recognized as humans and are treated as such, even in the law. As we view life from God’s perspective, it should cause us to honor life just as God does. We must let him be the taker of life, just as he is the giver. We dare not play God on our own, even if we might be inconvenienced.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

What Happened in the Garden - Part 2

Previously, I wrote an article entitled What Happened in the Garden - Part 1. As the sharp readers might surmise, it was intended to have a part 2. I now present that here.

The entrance of sin into the world brought a whole new set of challenges for the newly created humans, the biggest challenge being, "What do I do now?" Since the time of Adam, we have all followed in his footsteps, which reminds us again that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

So what did we learn from Adam about dealing with sin?

We first learn to try to hide it. Adam tried to hide in the garden. How absurd it is to think that he could hide from an omniscient God in the place that God created. Come to think of it, how human it is to think that we can hide from an omniscient God in the world that God created.
Usually, our first instinct with sin is to try to keep others from finding out. We might hide it by hiding ourselves, figuring out that if we are not around anyone, they will not figure out what we have done. Watch for the telltale signs of friends who no longer come around. Watch the person whose church involvement begins to wane. It very often lets us know there is a sin issue being hidden. Watch for your own temptation to withdraw from godly people.

Another tactic of hiding it is trying to dress up so that we do not look guilty. Adam and Eve did this by making their coats of fig leaves. Well, sure, they look pretty, but will they last? The fig leaves may have been among the largest leaves in the garden, but they, like every other leaf after the fall, would dry up and rot, leaving the covered parts not so covered. We dress up by putting on a good face, and saying the right things. But we know we are covering up sin, even if no one around us does.

Why do we hide? Because we instinctively, or through revelation working in our conscience, know that something is wrong. If you have to hide it, should you be doing it?

The irony was that the only person Adam and Eve had to hide from was God. It was not like their pastor was gonna show up in the middle of a marital spat (as I have accidentally done). It wasn't as if their kids might over hear them fighting. It was not like the garden police were speeding to the scene. God was all there was. And he already knew.

We then learn to try to shift the blame. Once Adam realized he was busted, he tried to shift the blame to the woman: "It was the woman."

Kids are great at this. We say, "Why did you hit him?" "Because he hit me first." Really? That brought an uncontrollable reaction from your arm? No it didn't. You simply decided not to control your responses.

But we adults are scarcely better. "Why did you lose your temper?" "Because my husband got upset that the house wasn't clean." "Why did you look at pornography?" "Because my wife wasn't taking care of my desires." Listen for it in the conversations of others ... and listen for it in your own life. We are ingenious at shifting the blame to others. And if we listen close we will hear the echoes of the lazy man who lays in his bed because "there is a lion in the streets" (Prov 22:13). It sounds absolutely stupid except to those who say it and those who share the tendency towards excuse.

But it gets worse. Adam did not simply blame his wife. Even more devious, he tried to shift the blame to God: "the woman you gave me." We have become master blameshifters. People who absolutely deny on their grave the sovereignty of God over all of life will somehow manage to shoehorn God into their own sin problems.

Things like, "God just made me a passionate person" fly out of someone's mouth when confronted about their anger. "God gave me a high sex drive" excuses the sin of adultery or even sexual addiction in marriage. "I was born a homosexual" becomes the reason for sexual deviancy. Hey, folks, God is not to blame. You are the way you are because of your sinfulness.

The third thing we learn to shoot the righteous. Okay, technically (and textually), this wasn't in the garden but track with me here. Cain's response to his own sinfulness was to kill Abel. Think about Abel. All he did was show up to worship God and show up to go to work. And for that, he gets the redline express downtown at the hands of his own brother. Why did Cain go after Abel? Because it was more satisfying than addressing his own problems. If you can get rid of the righteous, the wicked will not look so bad. This is the natural end of blameshifting. When we get caught, we try to implicate someone else, even the righteous.

This is the guy who refuses to go to church because the pastor preached about his pet sin. This is the guy who, when confronted about adultery says, "My wife would only have sex with me three times a day." This is the lady who, when confronted about laziness says, "Well my husband works all day long and never helps around the house." This is the child who, when confronted about rebellion says, "Did Jim tell on me? What a dirty rat. He is such a hypocrite."

Attacking others is always easier then repentance because it does not require the humiliation of admitting and confessing our sin. It feeds our pride and secures our own role as judge of right and wrong. It leads to the destruction of others, both those we attack and those who have the misfortune of having to live with us in our lack of repentance.

The fourth thing we learn is that sin costs us big time. For the serpent, there was a curse. For the woman there was a curse. For the man, there was a curse. (More on this later? Do I smell a part three?) Sin never brings the satisfaction in the long run. Sure, it feels good now. But it doesn't work. It leaves us empty, grasping at the wind.

The fifth thing we learn is that confession is the only hope. Only when we come face to face with our sin can there be forgiveness and restoration. Apart from that, there is no remedy. In pastoral counseling, I have absolutely nothing to offer someone who will not come face to face with their sin and confess it. My best advice is that that "The way of the transgressor is hard," and "He who covers his sin will not prosper."

The last thing we learn is that God always has enough grace to cover our sin. We pass roadkill everyday without a second thought. It becomes the material for jokes. However, the first animal that Adam and Eve ever saw dead was the animal God killed to cover their bodies. It was probably an act of blood sacrifice, not just an attempt to get some better clothes. It was the act of God in grace to cover the sins of Adam and Eve. Every day Adam and Eve passed that bloody carcass, they were reminded of the cost of sin. Every day they put on those clothes of skin, they were reminded of the cost of sin. But every day they were reminded of the grace of God.

God's grace didn't remove the curse. They were still evicted from the garden. The life they desired of being like God never came to pass (cf. Gen 3:5-6). The cute garden home with the white picket fence was never seen again. They witnessed the brutal murder of their son. He worked hard and she had pain in childbearing. They had marital problems. They died. All because they thought they knew more than God did about how to live the life that God had created. Perhaps even their death was an act of grace in that God prevented them from having to live forever with the consequences of sin.

We, as preachers of the gospel, much preach a lot about sin. But we much preach even more grace. We must warn of the dangers of sin, the dangers of coverup and blameshifting, and the only hope of Jesus, the Lamb slain for the sin of the world.

Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more
Romans 5:20

Thursday, January 11, 2007

At the Diner

This morning over breakfast at the diner, I read John Piper's new little book called When the Darkness Will Not Lift. It is an outgrowth of When I Don't Desire God (a book which I have not read). This a short book (79 easy reading pages) but well worth the time, both for the sake of self, and the sake of helping others through times of darkness. If you have never experienced a time of spiritual darkness, you probably aren't alive, either spiritually or physically. Whether you are experiencing darkness now or not, this book will prove helpful, as an encouragement if nothing else.

One thing of note refreshed me again this morning. In Psalm 40:1, David says, "I waited patiently for the Lord." We often read of waiting on God, and talk about patience. But too many times, in spiritual darkness (or in self-absorbed pity parties) we want God to act now. God sometimes wants us to wait patiently. Piper reminds us of the life of William Cowper, whose darkness apparently never lifted, even with the friendship and biblical encouragement of John Bunyan.

In a "gotta have it now" society, patient waiting on God's timing is necessary. We must not short circuit the process of God's work in our lives by finding easy outs for times of darkness.

On to the less important, while I was there, I overheard complaints about Bush sending more troops to Iraq. (It is a notably Democratic breakfast crowd). My mind goes back to the people who complained for four years that we didn't have enough "boots on the ground." Now those same people are complaining that we are sending more.

Well, here's my advice: "Make up your mind already."

What this seems to indicate is that some people will play politics with war. Whether or not we should have gone into Iraq is moot at this point. We are there. Whether or not we should have done it differently is water under the bridge. That ship has already sailed. That bus has left the station. Now, we must win. Sending more troops may help. It may not. But the void of other ideas (short of "let's get out") is huge.

They say that sixty-something percent are dissatisfied with the war. My question is, What do the other thirty-something percent think? That's it's great? I think it is going horribly, and has been for a very long time. The solution is a whole different matter.

Pulling out is not an option, it seems to me. We have to finish the job to give the Iraqi's a reasonable chance at success. Yes, we may have to babysit an infant democracy for a while. But the long term benefits have the potential to be great. Politicians say we need to give our soldiers everything they need for success. Well, how about some help? Will it work? Who knows ... But it seems better than the alternative, at least in the short-term.

The final chapter on Bush's presidency will not be written for twenty or more years, when we see what happens in Iraq. But he decided to stake his presidency on the Iraq war, and as one political commentator said last night, "Tonight, he went double or nothing."

One guy in the diner commented this morning that three thousand American soldiers died for nothing.

How is freedom from a brutal dictator nothing? How is the chance to start a democracy nothing? How is the opportunity to have legitimate elections nothing? How is bringing justice to a man who killed hundreds of thousands nothing?

While every life is precious, freedom is not free. Let's not spit on the graves of soldiers by saying they died for nothing. Life is precious, even if it is Iraqi life half way around the world.

Maybe we should not have been there. But what we did was certainly not "nothing."

I am also reminded that our hope is not in the world. More soldiers in Iraq will not solve the problems of the human heart. It reminds me to proclaim more faithfully and with greater passion the freedom that is in Christ alone.

We as Christians find it easy to discuss politics (which do not matter) but hard to discuss Jesus (who does matter). Does anyone else wonder about the incongruity of that?

Piper reminds us:

Christ is the most glorious person in the world. His salvation is infinitely valuable. Everyone in the world needs it. Horrific consequences await those who do not believe on Jesus. By grace alone we have seen him, believed on him, and now love him. Therefore, not to speak of Christ to unbelievers, and not to care about our city or the unreached peoples of the world is so contradictory to Christ’s worth, people’s plight, and our joy that it sends the quiet message to our souls day after day: This Savior and this salvation do not mean to you what you say they do. To maintain great joy in Christ in the face of that persistent message is impossible (When Darkness Will Not Lift, p.. 65).

Monday, January 08, 2007

On Second Thought

I have no problem with an OSU-Michigan rematch, perhaps in the Holiday Bowl or something. Clearly, neither team deserves to be in the talk about the national championship. When the season ended, I thought OSU was clearly the top team in the nation with USC the second best team. Florida has simply manhandled OSU, embarrassed them, and run them off the field.

With eight minutes to go, I would be surprised if Urban Meyer didn't score another time or two.

Apparently, Meyer is not a politician. He certainly campaigned to get in this game, but then he actually did what he said he would do. Politicians are good at the first; not so much at the second.

Barring some great catastrophe, like the ground opening up and swallowing the Florida team, this game is over.

The Fat Lady is done warming up. She is on the stage.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

One Day He'll Get Lucky

He did it again.
In what has become an annual tradition of prognostications, religious broadcaster Pat Robertson predicted Tuesday that a terrorist attack on the United States would result in "mass killing" late in 2007.

"I'm not necessarily saying it's going to be nuclear," he said during his news-and-talk television show "The 700 Club" on the Christian Broadcasting Network. "The Lord didn't say nuclear. But I do believe it will be something like that."
Let us not forget that "In May [of 2006], Robertson said God told him that storms and possibly a tsunami were to crash into America's coastline in 2006. Even though the U.S. was not hit with a tsunami, Robertson on Tuesday cited last spring's heavy rains and flooding in New England as partly fulfilling the prediction."

I seem to recall something from God about prophets whose words do not come to pass.

You may say to yourselves, "How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD ?" If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him (Deut 18:21-22)

How long will people like this continue to pull the wool over the eyes of weak, untaught believers, along with scores of people who think they are following God because they listen to this kind of nonsense?

One day, Robertson will be right. And it will not be because God told him ahead of time. It will be because he talks too much.

The worst thing is that he uses the name of God in making these silly predictions. This is a direct violation of the third commandment, "Do not take the name of the Lord your God in vain." Robertson, in invoking God's name and using God's name for something God would not use it for, has violated the third commandment. It is good for Robertson that God has more grace than Robertson has theology.

Let this serve as a warning to us all. When you use the name of God, make sure you use it only for what He would use it for. Anything else is false prophecy, vain use, and quite frankly, stupid.

Whether in the pulpit or in the workplace, on TV or in front of the TV, treat the Word of God and the name of God with the utmost sobriety. To do less is to invite the judgment of God and the ridicule of the world on the God you claim to serve.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Jonathan Edwards in the Blogosphere

Well, not really, but bear with me a moment.

I have been reading Marsden's biography of Edwards (the first biography of Edwards I have read ... yes, flog me now). It is fascinating and has provided several pregnant blog articles. I am waiting for them to be hatched.

Marsden devotes several pages (pp. 175-182) to controversy over the ordination of an Arminian, Robert Breck. It seems a controversy between the westerners and easterners (in Massachusetts). The westerners were ill-inclined to grant ordination to Breck because of his arminianism. So a war of sorts was launched in the press, including Boston newspapers. (Can you imagine that happening today? Not the theological war, but refusal to ordain an arminian making the local newspapers?) The westerners even resorted to having Breck arrested.

Of particular interest to me was this paragraph:
That the two sides could launch scathing polemics on an issue of polity and procedure while still remaining allies in the cause of vital religion is indicative of a dimension of the eighteenth century that separates it from our time. It was an age of debate. Higher education was largely learning the art of debate. One could fiercely rail against an opponent's arguments yet see in that nothing personal. In this case, since all the authors remained anonymous (though in such a small world it was not hard to guess who was who), the polemics remained particuarly impersonal—as though they were lawyers' briefs (p. 180).
Though the easterners used ridicule and biting humor in their polemics, Edwards "[used] the weapons of the easterners against themselves, attempting to shame them for resorting to modern techniques unbecoming of the clergy" (p. 181).

In his writing Edwards called on the easterners to "'repair the injuries you have done to us.' 'Don't let us, reverend sir,' he summarized, 'try who can conquer at scoff and jeer, but let our arguments fight it out; not that we glory in the strength of our reason, but we glory in the goodness of our cause" (pp. 181-82).

While Edwards and company weren't in "the blogosphere," in the realm of public debate they were apparently able to separate attacks on ideas from attacks on people. Would that we, in a modern age of nearly instant communication, learn that to attack an idea is not the same as attacking a person.

"The cause" reigns supreme, not the personal sensibilities and sensitivities of the parties involved in the discussion.

In the blogosphere, the "black letter on white pages" (or whatever color scheme you have chosen) does not easily communicate voice inflection, body language, and sincerity. It is far too often that personal offense is taken where none was intended. And too often, the fault is not laid at the feet of the over-sensitive reader, but at the fingers of blogger. It is as if someone assumes the worst: "He mentioned my name and "excellent" was before it. He must be attacking me ... or my friend."

We would do well to read with dispassion and careful interaction. Rather than assume the worst, look for the content.

Let us glory in our cause, the gospel of Jesus Christ. Let ourselves take a back seat so that even if we are personally attacked, we care not ... for we are not that important. Nor let us mistake the addressing of our ideas with the undressing of our person.

Be gracious; let your speech be seasoned with salt; but speak the truth in love.

The Sports Desk

Congratulations to Bob Knight for becoming the winningest coach in Men's D-1 basketball. He passed the legendary Dean Smith with his 880th win. Knight probably got more out of his players than any other coach. It seems he rarely had "great players," aside from Isiah Thomas, but he managed to consistently win (while being a total jerk). Unfortunately for Knight, he will be remembered more for his lack of self-control than his basketball coaching.

Speaking of which, I heard of a furniture store having a Bobby Knight sale ... If you buy a couch, they will throw in a chair for free.

Speaking of free, Michigan fans who stayed in Michigan for the Rose Bowl are probably glad they got to watch that game for free. Even at that, it was overpriced. Of course, several weeks ago, in search of abuse (here and here), I posted that I thought Michigan did not deserve a chance to play for the national championship, having lost to OSU. Should I feel vindicated? It appears, from my angle, that the OSU game was an overachievement. Playing the emotional back of a rivalry game and a "win one for the gipper ... errrr ... Bo" they managed a three point loss after having been pretty well pushed around. Then they show up in Pasadena to be abused ... badly. Not good for Michigan football or Lloyd Carr. Turns out they rode the Notre Dame game a little farther than it should have taken them. They didn't have many impressive wins besides that. Over-rated? That's what the crowd thought last night. And how can we argue with them?

Back then, I thought USC was the second best team in the country. I said,"This is one reason why I think USC has a strong case: Their three non-conference games were Arkansas (#11), Nebraska (#22), and Notre Dame (#12). [Compared to Michigan's Vandy, Notre Dame, Central Michigan, and Ball State). So they [USC] definitely scheduled up, not down." It remains to be seen how well Florida and OSU will play. But USC is not the 8th best team in the country. And Michigan is not the 2nd best.

I asked back then , "If Michigan loses to USC, will you admit that the BCS got it right, even if the method was flawed?" I wonder if someone might offer an answer now? Michigan not only lost, they lost badly. They did not seem to make any adjustments at all. Might it be true that LLLLLLLoyd Carr can't coach the big one?

Speaking of Lloyd Carr. If you remember a few weeks ago, he complained publicly about Florida's campaigning for a spot in the BCS. Now, this just from Michigan Replay:
"As long as you have a president, like they have at Florida, who goes out and campaigns publicly through the media for his school to get in there, rather than allowing the system to work, I think there's going to be a lot of discontent," Carr said of Florida's Bernie Machen, ironically a former U-M provost. "Thank goodness we've got a president at Michigan (Mary Sue Coleman) who is concerned about keeping Michigan as the No. 1 public university in the country."
It appears that Bernie Machen knows more about who deserved to play in that game than Carr did. It seems like "the system" got this one right. The discontent should be directed at Carr for his abysmal coaching performance (not to mention his whining).

Speaking of deserving to play, how about Boise State? I am not saying they should play OSU, but you have to admit, that would be an interesting matchup. Playing in the WAC is not impressive, but beating OU in the manner they did is. It had to be the game of the year. Or at least the ninety seconds of the year. When OU tied it, I thought Boise State would come up with a score to win. When OU intercepted on the first play and scored. I thought it was over. Turns out, I underestimated Boise State. The best was yet to come. Sending the quarterback out wide on the tying score, and then pulling the Statue of Liberty out of the bag of tricks to win the game rather than go for the tie was gutsy. And exciting.

Now we have to wait a week for OSU/Florida? Why? Let's end it now. That game should be tonight.

Memo to self: In 2007, take over college football so it will be done right.

Finally , the dumbest rule in college football has to be the rule that penalties on touchdowns are enforced on the kickoff. When the kickoff goes into the end zone on teh kickoff anyway, giving the kicker fifteen fewer yards is hardly equitable. So here's the new rule: Defensive penalties on scores are enforced on the first play from scrimmage after the kickoff.