The Legacy of Derek Prince

“…But the hearts of men are easily corrupted… And the ring of power has a will of its own.” Lord of the Rings- JRR Tolkien  

 

 

 

  Peter Derek Vaughan Prince is arguably the most recognized member of the “Fort Lauderdale Five”. The “Fab Five”, as they have been called, have the dubious distinction of being credited with establishing the Shepherding Movement.   Derek Prince was born in India in 1915 to British parents. He was a highly intelligent man who was educated at Eton College and Kings College, Cambridge. While he excelled in Greek and Latin, he chose to study Philosophy, focusing on logic. His MA dissertation earned him a fellowship at the age of 24.  

Prince became an international Bible teacher who was most revered in Pentecostal and Charismatic circles, although his Bible teaching is considered to be non-denominational. During his lifetime, his ministry adopted the slogan: “Reaching the unreached and teaching the untaught.”  

Here’s what the Wikipedia article on Derek Prince has to say about his first marriage:

“While serving in Palestine, Prince met Lydia Christensen, a Danish woman who ran an orphanage in Ramallah and who had adopted eight girls (six of whom were Jewish). Despite Lydia being 25 years Prince’s senior, they married.”   According to a biography on Derek Prince, written by Stephen Mansfield, this is how Prince came to reside in Fort Lauderdale prior to the establishment of the Shepherding Movement (as retold in the Wiki article): “In 1957 he and Lydia moved to Kisumu in Kenya, where he became a school principal and adopted a Kenyan baby. He claimed to have been instrumental in raising two people from the dead during this time. In 1962, the Princes moved to Canada, and from there to a pastorate at Peoples Church in Minneapolis, becoming US citizens. From here they moved to Broadway Tabernacle in Seattle where he ministered along with James A Watt whom he had met in Canada. During this time Prince was becoming widely known through his cassette-tape Bible lectures, and he became involved with the Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship International. This led to a move to Faith Tabernacle in Chicago, and then to Good News Church in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. In May 1971 Derek Prince Publications opened offices in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.”

Why did the Princes relocate to Fort Lauderdale? The Wiki article (I know some of you don’t respect this online encyclopedia, but these facts are well documented) reveals that Derek Prince joined the “Holy Spirit Teaching Mission (HSTM)” in 1968, which connected him to three other Charismatic Christian pastors who were living in Fort Lauderdale. These men were Don Basham, Bob Mumford, and Charles Simpson.

According to the article:  
The HSTM had been founded by businessman Eldon Purvis; but after the discovery of Purvis’s homosexuality the leadership team of the HSTM asked Basham, Mumford, Prince, and Simpson to help in managing the crisis.”

They responded to a moral failure in a charismatic ministry in South Florida. Is this the moral failure that led these four men to establish the Shepherding Movement? Keep in mind that Ern Baxter would later be added to make it the “Fab Five”.   Surprise, surprise! These four men changed the name of the ministry from HSTM to “Christian Growth Ministries (CGM)” in 1972. CGM worked hard to counter what were seen as excesses within the Charismatic movement by putting greater emphasis on discipleship and pastoral care.

The Wiki article explains that

“CGM continued with the publication of the New Wine magazine which began under the HSTM in June of 1969. David Moore, author of The Shepherding Movement, states "Essential for an accurate history of the Shepherding movement is a complete collection of New Wine. The magazine, published from 1969 through 1986, was the principal publishing voice of the five teachers and the movement." The group was joined by Ern Baxter, and the five men became known as the Fort Lauderdale Five. Their ministry became known as the Shepherding Movement. Different factions of the movement began to emphasise submission and authority.”  

As we have discussed before, the relationships that were formed became known theologically as “covenant relationships”. Those involved had to be submitted to a “shepherd”, who in turn were submitted to the “Fab Five” or their representatives. Sounds an awful lot like a pyramid scheme, doesn’t it? Multi-level marketing comes to mind…

Some have estimated that as many as 100,000 individuals across the United States were involved in these Shepherding networks.   It is extremely important to point out that Prince’s wife Lydia strongly disapproved of CGM’s over-emphasis on submission. Sadly, Lydia died in 1975 – just a few short years after the Shepherding Movement began. Now widowed, Prince had met a woman named Ruth Baker, who was fifteeen years his junior. Ruth had been married and then divorced due to her husband’s infidelity. She was struggling to raise her three children on her own. Ruth’s first husband was Jewish, and after the divorce she was struggling with her Jewish identity. Then in 1970 she became a Christian.   Some time after Lydia’s death, Prince wanted to marry Ruth Baker; however, his fellow shepherds forbade him.

Want to know how shepherds operate in their “covenant relationships”? Here’s how Derek Prince was counseled by the other four men, according to Prince’s biography:

“Later that evening, Derek explained that he now had to check his feelings for Ruth with his brothers in Ft. Lauderdale. "We've agreed not to make major personal decisions without consulting one another," he explained. "For that reason I'm not free to go any further with my commitment to you until I've spoken to my brothers. [. . .]" It did not go well. When Derek explained to Basham, Simpson, Baxter, and Mumford what seemed so obviously God's will to him, they saw only problems. [. . .] The men would not approve the marriage. [. . .] He thought seriously of casting aside the counsel of his fellow leaders and pressing ahead with what he believed was God's will. Yet to do so violated all that he had taught and all that their movement was built on. He relented. He called Ruth and told her what had happened. Later in Jerusalem again, he sat with her and explained all the objections the other men had. "I feel we need to break off all contact with one another," he explained, "except the contact we can have by prayer." Ruth agreed, and when Derek saw her drive off in a taxi, he felt a bit of winter return to his soul. [. . .] Unable to let the matter rest, Derek continued to press the men to reconsider. Some of Derek's friends took this as a godly appeal. Others thought it was arm-twisting, an unrighteous attempt to wrest consent where it had not been given.” (243-244)  

It wasn’t until 1978 that Prince’s “shepherds” finally gave him permission to marry Ruth. Some time after that Derek Prince left the group and repented in public for his involvement in the Shepherding Movement.   In preparation for this post, I came across an excellent explanation regarding the Shepherding Movement, which I believe is crucial to share with our readers. Here it is:

  “At the height of the cultural revolution of the 1960s, some hippies started getting saved. Soon, through the powerful anointing on Lonnie Frisbee and the organizational skills of Chuck Smith, this became a major movement now known as the Jesus People or Jesus Movement. The Spirit of God literally swept the youth of the nation from coast to coast as kids who had left their parents for “freedom” found it wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be. In this context, a group of older, more experienced charismatic ministers came together to bring a corrective. The occasion of their meeting was a moral failure of a ministry in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Believing themselves to be equally vulnerable to moral failure apart from better accountability they mutually submitted themselves to one another. When this happened, they described themselves as having a supernatural experience binding their ministries together for life. Initially the group was made of Derek Prince, Don Basham, Bob Mumford, and Charles Simpson. Eventually, former Branham campaign manager Ern Baxter was added to the group, and they became known as “The Fort Lauderdale Five.”

The five very talented men immediately began to teach on authority, submission and discipleship. Although there were a number of important doctrines, the central doctrine—the one that reshaped the church—was that every person must be submitted to another person (Shepherd/Pastor/Discipler), and that all of your major life decisions should be submitted to this person. Effectively, if unintentionally, this put the individual in the position of having two masters– Jesus and a personal shepherd. With time the personal shepherd gains more power, as Jesus gets less. And in time, this creates a system where those who have unquestioning obedience to man are promoted. All kinds of ungodly things came in through these doors.

Several books have been written detailing the kinds of abuse suffered as a result. The scary thing about the whole system is that it started out with the intent of promoting accountability, and eventually enslaved people. When someone says “Who is your covering?” They are asking the basic Shepherding question. Ironically, Jesus was asked this same question by the Pharisees: “By what authority do you do these things?” His ministry was not submitted to them, and they didn’t like that so they tried to shut him down, but the work of the Spirit was the validation of His ministry. Paul deals with the issue more theologically when he says “the head of woman is man, the head of man is Christ, and the head of Christ is God.” The covering for a man of God is Christ himself, and the covering for a (married) woman is her husband. The second dangerous doctrine had to do with “Covenant” relationships or “Spiritual Family.” If being absolutely submitted to another person was an imprisonment, then the covenant relationship was the iron padlock on the door. The idea here is that when you enter into these discipleship relationships, they are permanent, and more broadly that your association with a specific group of believers is permanent. You were in a “Covenant” and if you left the relationship or the fellowship group, you were breaking a covenant. This quickly becomes a very dangerous situation: no matter how terrible your experience becomes with a group or person, you can not leave, and if you do, you believe that you’ve broken a covenant with God, so to get right with God you’d have to go back to the abuse! You slowly become enmeshed with the other members of the group and separated from the outside world. Your “spiritual family” becomes more important than your natural family or other believers you’ve had relationship with. You slowly become more and more isolated and more and more dependent upon the group or leader. At a certain point if your leaders do not check the pattern, it becomes a full fledged cult. Normally, however this pattern is held in tension with Biblical expectations so these groups rarely become true cults, while still exhibiting cult-like features. Scary.”  

Another blogger, who started a website called “No More Shepherding”, had this to say about the Shepherding Movement.  

“I believe that the entire premise of shepherding is wrong at the very root, and that it will always go too far. Those who are familiar with the next generation of shepherding-discipleship movements, including the one I was involved with, may, even if they don't agree, at least understand how and why I believe this since the same excesses often crop up again and again and again even years later. I recently heard a second-generation leader in one of these movements say, "I thought we cut the head off this monster 15 years ago," but I contend that it's more like weed-whacking. If you cut the top off the weed, it will look ok for a while, but it will eventually grow back because it's still very much alive below the surface. Pull it up at the root though and it's gone for good. And in order to do this, one first has to acknowledge that the root is there in the first place and that it won't just magically grow into a cultivar next time instead of the same old ugly weed.”  

This blogger goes on to review Derek Prince’s biography, which was published a couple years after his death. Here’s part of his commentary:

  “People who were hurt by shepherding, particularly those who were required to submit marriage partners for prior approval or those who are in marriages initially arranged despite their wishes will certainly find this scenario painfully familiar. Yet, Prince concluded, "I must say that I believe that God ordained the Discipleship Movement, but that the response of some people to it was very carnal. It was right in its original motivation, though. Ultimately, selfish ambition destroyed it" (223). In sharp contrast, Prince's first wife, Lydia, outright called it a "cult" among other things (223). Reflecting on when I left my former church, knowing that it was very possible my husband might be convinced to choose loyalty to our church's leaders over me and stay behind, Lydia's words struck my heart at the core… "They've got my Derek" (223). "They've got my Derek." That says it all.”  

There were several commenters who chimed in about their involvement in the Shepherding Movement. Here are just two of them.

Walking Wounded said: “I grew up in the Shepherding movement. Just like any one who has grown up in abuse, perspectives of what is normal, loving and correct are skewed. Healing has come so very slowly. This movement affected four generations of my family, my grandmother, parents, an aunt and uncle, myself, cousins and my children. The wounds are deep and serious. It has felt like we have been so wounded that we needed a spiritual ICU, but there isn’t one. My older child is now practicing non christian beliefs, wanting nothing to do with Christianity. My cousins have battled drug addiction as a means to try to forget. A day does not go by that I do not feel the searing pain left on my soul. The Shepherding movement was not of God in any way shape or form. If the Bible states we will know people by their fruit I would have to say that there certainly are a great many bad apples that went on to injure others that might otherwise have been good fruit”.

Susan8101 said:

“Hard to even talk about this still without weeping. Our church was a wonderful growing Spirit filled church where one was fed richly! Then one Sunday and for every Sunday for 6 months the sermon was on rebellion! We started to wonder why the pastor kept on and on. The Shepherding doctrine was then introduced and we were told to disobey was REBELLION! And discipline would follow (disfellowship) women and children were told what they could and could not do without any biblical support, in short we were treated as lowlife. I knew that this whole thing was a perversion of biblical truth taken to the extreme and I tried for two years praying and attempting to get my hubby to see that this wasn’t a good thing. Final straw was the adultery of my hubby. I was not mature enough to take this, yet another uppercut, my love grew frozen for both my hubby and God! I went back into the world and was divorced. The toll this Movement and my “rebellion” took on my family (3 kids) was disasterous and still is. Jesus has truly saved me now but my three children want nothing to do with Christianity. I pray the Lord in His Sovereignty changes this. I have left out much for brevity and this is the first time I have told my story. May God have mercy on us!”  

Derek Prince died in 2003, and now his teachings are being broadcast to half the world’s population through a daily radio program called Derek Prince Legacy Radio. However, it’s extremely important to point out that Prince has another legacy. It’s the shattered lives of those who have been spiritually abused by the destructive Shepherding Movement. Lest you think this is a sad chapter from the past, think again… The Shepherding Movement went underground in the 1980s and is slithering through many congregations today. Stay tuned for further “revelation” about one of Satan’s most powerful tools in the 21st century church. Lydia's Corner: Numbers 2:1-3:51 Mark 11:27-12:17 Psalm 47:1-9 Proverbs 10:24-25

Comments

The Legacy of Derek Prince — 151 Comments

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  2. As a former member of several different churches that were in direct relationship with Prince and some of the ministries related to his (like that of Mahesh Chavda), all I can say is … I believe everything written here is true.

    Lydia Prince was right.

  3. I was a member of a church in the Shepherding Movement in the late 1970s and early 1980s. When our church disintegrated, I joined a SGM church where I am still a member today.

    I have heard Derek Prince speak many times and it is definitely true that he taught that sharing communion was an expression of commitment to the local church as well as to Jesus. He gave Judas as an example of what happens when a member shares in the Lord’s Supper and then is disloyal to his shepherd. Many members were afraid to leave because of this. Prince was probably the best of the Fort Lauderdale 5 at logically explaining the Shepherding Movement teachings in terms of Scripture.

    Regarding SGM, there are significant differences between my experience in the Shepherding Movement vs SGM. In the Shepherding Movement tithes were paid directly to the small group leader (“shepherd”) of the member. This practice resulted in many shepherds trying to control members in order to gain a higher income. In SGM, tithes are paid to the church instead, removing a big incentive for abuse. Also, SGM does not teach Shepherding principles publicly now, though there is evidence that some leaders may believe them.

  4. I am torn between two thoughts after reading this post.

    One- this is sad, tragic even. It is horrible what happened there and in countless other places. People replacing God and His Holy Spirit. People turning away from God after the abuse they experienced, supposedly in His name.

    the other thought- 25 years younger?!?! Wooo hoooo, you go girl!

  5. Thankfully I never had experience with the Shepherding movement (although I did with a similar accountability movement that I think became abusive).

    But when I was about 10, my family went to a series of services led by Derek Prince. As I recall — remember, I was young and very impressionable — Derek Prince was casting out demons from people who were shrieking and running around the church, and it took several men to control one wispy woman who was screaming and trying to get away. To my mind, she certainly looked possessed, although now I wonder if she was mentally ill. (Or maybe she simply had been paying attention to the sermon, but she looked more disturbed than that.) I have since talked to people who work in psychiatric wards who testify to the power of adrenaline even in small people. (I used to be told that only a demon could account for such strength.)

    Anyway, I’ve always wondered about something that happened at that service during the healing portion. Someone came for healing and told Derek Prince he had back trouble. He told him to stretch out an arm, close his eyes and start praising God. So he did, while Derek Prince went on to pray for other people. The man’s arm started to lengthen unnaturally, then contract almost back to his chest, then out, then back. Somehow this was supposed to be healing his back. Has anyone seen anything like this? I have an open mind to the miraculous, but as I didn’t know the man, I also wouldn’t be shocked to learn there was some sort of chicanery going on.

    Also, did anyone ever see Derek Prince lengthen people’s legs so that they were even? Apparently many people have uneven legs.

    Remember, these are memories of a kid from a long time ago. Generally I think I have a reliable memory, but I sure never saw anything like this before or since, and I spent many years in the Pentecostal/charismatic world.

  6. “Lest you think this is a sad chapter from the past, think again… The Shepherding Movement went underground in the 1980s and is slithering through many congregations today. Stay tuned for further “revelation” about one of Satan’s most powerful tools in the 21st century church”

    They are simply cult tactics disguised better today. You can see them in changing church bylaws or calling disagreement ‘gossip’.

  7. Lydia,

    You are so right! Changing church by-laws should be a red flag. It’s becoming all too common, and congregants need to wake up and realize how the power is being shifted away from the church members.

  8. It’s been quite remarkable to watch Egyptian leaders try to control the citizens by restricting the free flow of information.

    Check out this article “Egypt cuts off internet access”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/jan/28/egypt-cuts-off-internet-access

    “That has caused concern among observers who believe that internet access – which the Egyptian government limited earlier this week by cutting off social networks – is essential to ensure that government acts responsibly towards its citizens.”

    The internet is a powerful tool to inform and educate, just like the Guttenberg Press. This should serve as a warning to anyone who attempts to control people.

  9. One of the more subtle influences that these movements have on Christians today is through some of us older believers that were around back then and exposed either indirectly or directly to their teaching. People get some of these wacky principles ingrained into their theological underpinnings and they walk out their faith as if, for example, “being married to the local church” is a foregone conclusion.

    We as older believers must continually look hard at what we assume to be true in light of scripture and discard what is excess theological baggage. It is like when you get older and you move to a smaller house. You sell, give away or throw away a ton of unnecessary stuff. As we get older in the Lord, we realize that there is a ton of extra theological junk that we have accumulated, much of it actually distracting us from what God is calling us to do. Maybe some things were good for a season, but are no longer needed. We may have enjoyed a latte or two together and had great fellowship over them, but on our sojourn to our true home, it would be ridiculous to pack a cappuccino maker into my backpack.

  10. PS

    Loved the humorous line about the woman who had simply been paying attention to the sermon. I almost spit my coffee out.

    Here is an even more difficult challenge to you and the rest of the readers. The atheists have a site called “God hates amputees.”It is a good one that really makes us Christian think. Here is the question. Why have we not seen people whose legs/arms have been amputated prayed for and the limbs restores? I am struggling with this one.

  11. SGM single

    In two weeks Deb is going to review Charles Simpson, one of the Fab Four, Five , whatever. He has NEVER renounced shepherding, NEVER apologized, and still runs (at least early on in last decade) a ministry. Guess who invited him to speak? You’ve guessed right. SGM. It isn’t as subtle as you might believe.

  12. Stunned

    This is the second time this morning I almost spit my coffee out. You readers are the bomb-25 years younger-there’s hope yet, eh girl?

  13. Dee,

    Isn’t there irony in the fact that many well known Christian leaders make fun of bloggers in their pajamas and even associations bring out resolutions against blogging.

    These same leaders call themselves conservatives who love Liberty. Yet, they fear the free exchange of information so they call it sin. Don’t think for a moment they would not pull the plug if they could. We often see them make the claim of copyright violation if someone analyzes their published sermon on a blog!

    For the Egyptian government and Christian leaders in the US, it is about one thing: Control over people.

  14. All I ever knew about Derek Prince was his radio program which I never listened to all the way through. The intro was arresting. I always thought he sounded like Vincent Price.

  15. Lydia,

    I can’t believe we actually shared some information here that you didn’t already know. And I mean that as a compliment. Dee and I have learned a tremendous amount from you!

  16. Stunned said:
    “…25 years younger?!?! Wooo hoooo, you go girl!”

    Yep, pretty incredible! So Lydia Prince could be labeled a “Cougar”.

  17. It’s amazing that so few can look at a story like this and not see that this has been and always will be the story of the church from it’s earliest days forward. It has always been about control, wealth and power. Oh sure, there are the sheep who innocently and naively continue the practices of their religion, but the real reason for its existence is to provide a base of support and power to those at the top. It has little to distinguish it from a Tupperware or other pyramid scheme.

    How is the Church like a vampire you ask? Because they can both look into a mirror and not see themselves.

  18. One of the tragedies of this (imo): Derek Prince himself. He was a highly articulate, intelligent man and – I believe – well-intentioned, for the most part.

    But he certainly was fixated on demons – wrote quite a lot about them.

    Not to make sweeping generalizations, but isn’t it “interesting” how men tend to create and control these kinds of movements? (Am *not* saying women couldn’t or wouldn’t do things equally bad – we’re all sinful humans, after all – but it does make me wonder…)

  19. Numo said,
    “…isn’t it “interesting” how men tend to create and control these kinds of movements?”

    I made a similar comment to Dee a few days ago. And women are the ones who are “gullible and easily deceived”?

  20. I didn’t include information about Prince’s view of demons, but here’s what Numo is talking about:

    “As a Pentecostal, Prince believed in the reality of spiritual forces operating in the world, and of the power of demons to cause illness and psychological problems. While in Seattle he was asked to perform an exorcism on a woman, and he came to believe that demons could attack Christians. This was at odds with the more usual Pentecostal view that demons could only affect non-Christians. Prince believed that his deliverance ministry used the power of God to defeat demons”.

    The above quote is taken from Prince’s Wikipedia article, but here is where the information was found:

    Derek Prince. Blessings or Curse: You Can Choose! (Chosen, 1990, They Shall Expel Demons (Chosen, 1998)

  21. KArlton, I loved your last line. But I Have to ask, how can you read the above and somehow miss the part about the woman who adopted 8, later 9 kids?

    I would get it if the story was all about the abuse. Then you could say that it has all ever been about power but you can’t read all that and see only part of the story, can you? She is a much part of the church as those jer… Errr… Men were

    (If you missed it, there was also a hot, single,European woman who went to another country and loved, cared for and mothered a bunch of kids.)

    Now that I think about it she also gave warnings about the diuch… I mean the 4 other men. Id say maybe you also see in part what fits your theory. (I do the same thing. Notice how I focus on the hit single woman who

  22. opps, got cut off. I was saying I can focus on my favorite parts of a story, too. Thus me liking the woman who not only loved kids, but who had no problem seeing when the men were being stupid. Too bad for countless people that these stupid men didn’t listen to the woman.

    I’d say that if you’re looking at the entirety of this story, then the moral is that there are a bunch of power hungry jerks (what you see) and there are also some good people who actually love this God they believe in and they are not about power but about love.

    Gotta look at both sides, even when it doesn’t fit our agenda.

  23. PS. Like how I assumed that she was hot? She coulda been not at all. Coulda been a dozen other reasons he and she got together. But I still like the version in my head, best.

    PSS. (Cause clearly I can’t shut up right now. I’ve tried to find marriage dates for when he married his first wife and dates for when he met and fell in love with his second wife and both are extremely vague. I can’t help but shake the feeling that there is something fishy in both circumstances. Is it only me?)

  24. Hi Wartburg,
    Having been involved in a most wonderful fellowship group for a few years since my conversion to Christ, the leader decided that Shepherding was the way to go forward -and he took most of us with him – sadly I was one of them. The leader was then involved with DP through a intermediary from the States.

    Things started to change and the one time ‘heaven on earth’ fellowship I belonged to became a nightmare for most of us. Before, the young members (we were all under 20 years old) would have served one another out of love, now we were forced to do it through emotional manipulation and would often do it with a bad attitude as well as having an ulterior motive to look good in front of our shepherd, so called.

    Washing our shepherd’s car, windows, doing shopping, baby sitting for free, tithing plus giving offerings to a fellowship which now was doing all the taking and no giving unless you include the ‘wise counsel’ they gave ( which was really control) and the erroneous teaching they gave out, declaring that if we had a problem with it we had a problem with God-strong stuff!

    To be sure thinking about this things brings me great heart pain, the feelings of being spiritually raped and abused by those who said they came in the name of the loving Saviour.

    The author of the other book that you were reviewing which was about recovery from abusive churches sent me a questionnaire to complete about my experiences. Sadly I could not fill it in due to the emotions that welled up inside me. For ten years we endured such abuse from about 1975 and sadly some only got out in the last few years.

    For years I could not listen or look at anything by DP. Only recently I have and have found some things beneficial as he got rid of the Shepherding teaching. They did not however really address the harm they did – a few words does not bring healing especially to those who were abused more than myself. But the Lord is good and the positive emotion He has put in me is a desire for the lost, the broken, the captives and the poor without Christ. Also, forgetting those things which are passed and pressing forward to those things which are before, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

  25. “I can’t believe we actually shared some information here that you didn’t already know. And I mean that as a compliment. Dee and I have learned a tremendous amount from you!”

    I know very little about the Shepherding movement. I can remember, vaguely, some stuff about the Jesus People because a few drifted through our lives when my brothers were very involved with YFC and doing inner city stuff. They were the hippie Christians and we all liked them very much. They would stay with us for a few days and they always played the guitar. They always had dramatic testimony’s.

    But what is interesting to me is to read details of the shepherding movement such as “accountability groups” and the focus on authority, etc, and see how they have been applied in supposedly mainstream groups. I see the same stuff happening in many :”religious” institutions. In fact, I see the rise of ESS playing into this to affirm the authority part.

    I can see this play out at certain SBC seminaries where if you are not on the team, you are going no where in ministry. There is no “higher learning” but only indoctrination on secondary issues presented as salvic. They are churning out little popes faster than we can blog about them.

    A friend wrote me today about the goings on at a regional SBC conference. She said these young pastors sounded like little girls at a Justin Bieber concert gushing over the celebrity Christian speakers and enthralled to the point of idol worship. They are taught this. It is nothing but group think. And it is cultic.

    It is simply a repackaging of the Shepherding movement. They have thrown the Royal Priesthood out the window. And the Holy Spirit with it since they have taken over that function for their followers.

  26. “They did not however really address the harm they did-a few words does not bring healing especially to those who were abused more than myself. ”

    Walking wounded,

    This is the problem. It is never really addressed as they move on. And they leave a trail of blood and tears behind.

    That is why we love blogs. It is our duty to make sure that people know the negative truths.

  27. Hi Dee & Deb,

    Love the way you guys put the info out here. It’s almost like y’all gotcher own version of Wikileaks goin’ on!

  28. Muff,

    Seems kinda like Wikileaks because your average Christian is clueless about the information we post. The difference is that most of what we publish can be accessed by anyone on the internet, and we do our best to document what we share.

    Glad you’re enjoying the topics covered here at TWW.

  29. Muff
    Third good laugh I have had to day. I wonder if I would have a good camera presence as they hauled me off to the evangelical version of Guantanamo. Hmmmm where would that be? SBTS or at the little used Pastors College at SGM?

  30. Lydia

    Are they still having the main guys autograph the ESV? Frankly, I think that is one of the most bizarre things I have ever heard. I have never once thought about having anyone autograph my Bible. The Spirit has already done that.

  31. walking wounded

    First, I am so glad you have commented here. My husband called us the walking wounded after our little dust-up with our church. Its interesting to think about being broken. When a bone is broken, it heals with extra strong bone that forms over the wounded part. So, the broken area can sometimes be stronger than before. However, as my recent foot surgery proved, it takes time for the healing to occur.

    Someday, if you would like to speak of your trials, let us know. You can post it here. But, no pressure- not now or later.

    I will be reviewing Orlowski’s book at length over the next couple of weeks. She is still interested in having contact with those who have been abused. Perhaps the review of the book will be beneficial to those who read here.

  32. And how are Atheists like potatoes ask? Because they both have eyes but cannot see God all around them. :)

  33. @Deb: “I made a similar comment to Dee a few days ago. And women are the ones who are “gullible and easily deceived”?”
    Don’t worry, we can still blame you all for 7th Day Adventism and the Shakers… =D

  34. (Note: not necessarily classifying SDA as a cult, but I have heard a fair bit about abuse in their ranks.)

  35. Garland

    However, the Shakers had really cute furniture which just goes to show the women were doing something right.
    I have heard the same thing about SDA. Need to do a bit more reading.

  36. Junkster

    This is a joke an atheist friend told me.

    How many atheists does it take to change a light bulb?

    Two. One to actually change the bulb, and the other to videotape the job so fundamentalists won’t claim that god did it.

  37. Junkster

    And moving on up the ladder from the atheist we reach the Unitarians:

    How many Unitarians does it take to change a lightbulb?

    We choose not to make a statement either in favor of or against the need for a light bulb. However, in your own journey you have found that light bulbs work for you, that is fine. You are invited to write a poem or compose a modern dance about your light bulb for the next Sunday service, in which we will explore a number of light bulb traditions, including incandescent, fluorescent, three-way, long-life and tinted, all of which are equally valid paths to luminescence.

  38. OK, in “light” of the current discussion, I’d like to share my favorite joke about changing a light bulb.

    “How many members of the government does it take to change a light bulb?
    Members of the government never change light bulbs, they prefer to keep the public in the dark.”

  39. “However, the Shakers had really cute furniture which just goes to show the women were doing something right.

    There is a historical shaker village about an hour away from me that we used to use for training site. No phones or tv’s in the room or wi-fi. It was a great place for serious indepth training. They even had sheep we could pet during breaks.

    Ya’ll know they died out because they did not marry and procreate. I bet they did not have problems with comp doctrine.

  40. “Are they still having the main guys autograph the ESV? Frankly, I think that is one of the most bizarre things I have ever heard. I have never once thought about having anyone autograph my Bible. The Spirit has already done that.”

    Man worship. Groupies. What bothers me is that the celebs would sign it. That tells you all you need to know.

  41. Having minor celebrity preachers sign Bibles was something I encountered in Independent, Fundamentalist Baptist circles. I never witnessed it or heard of it in Southern Baptist or Calvinist circles until some friends of mine reported on it from T4G in 2010. I suspected that it was due to the IFB heritage of many of the attendees of T4G.

    I agree that the more troubling thing is that speakers would agree to sign a Bible. I’d like to think that if I were in their shoes, I’d refuse to do such.

  42. I remember Derek as an outstanding bible teacher. It seems like Derek is getting a bum rap, somewhat, for a lot of other people’s nuttiness. It is commendable that he had a hand in starting a movement that would bring a level of accountability to Christians’ lives, when there was none, and when so many were lacking spiritual discipline, guidance, and were falling into sin. I have often seen things start out on track with good biblical foundations, only to see them misconstrued by younger, carnal Christians and abuse sets in, not by the originator, but by someone else who is off track.

    Then, go to just about any church, USA, and you’ll see married couples getting divorced, ruining their whole family. You’ll see people that are openly living as homosexuals, men are looking at pornography, people are overeating like pigs, kids are getting drunk, doing drugs and sleeping around. And all these things are accepted with nothing said; no accountability; no church discipline. We all want to do whatever the heck we want to do and not be accountable to anyone. After all, how dare anyone tell us that the consequences of our sin are hurting other people.

    We all need accountability. We just don’t need to be accountable to immature Christians who are abusive and who think they have authority that they really don’t have.

    It says a lot to me that Derek recognized how his well-intentioned movement got out of hand, out of balance, and apologized for it. But, I don’t think he’s to blame for everyone else’s nuttiness.

    I appreciate you pointing out the dynamics of this movement because I am still seeing residual tendencies in some churches to have a diluted version of this movement. But I do see the biblical wisdom behind some of it taken to extremes by immature people, without understanding.

  43. Michael,

    I appreciate what you have shared. I’m sure Prince had the best of intentions when he began the Shepherding Movement with the other leaders. However, there were signs early on that it was extremely harmful. Did you know that Pat Robertson and Kathyrn Kuhlman spoke out against it, as did other Charismatic leaders. Why did Prince delay until the 1980s to renounce it?

    It’s a very sad chapter indeed. So many were spiritually scarred for life.

  44. Michael,

    I think problem with any teaching like shepherding is that the Holy Spirit makes a much better discipler than man does. When we think it’s our job to make other Christians walk the straight and narrow, then we are forced to make judgments about people that we are simply unable to make. We’re also prone to look for sins that may not be there, and soon start “building a fence around the law.” Such a system by its nature will also attract people who get something sick from correcting others.

    It may be well-intentioned by it quickly goes downhill.

  45. “I think problem with any teaching like shepherding is that the Holy Spirit makes a much better discipler than man does”

    R, You beat me to it! I agree with you but would go one step further to say that most people in the pews and on stage are most likely not really saved. And I say that will full trepidation for what will ensue here from daring to say it. Truth is that the full Gospel is not taught. Most do not know what it means to be saved, including many pastors who urge people to say a prayer, walk an ailse and get Baptized. I thought I was saved for years based upon what is considered mainstream understanding of salvation. Boy, was I wrong.

    We are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. Most pew sitters have no clue of the work or function of the Holy Spirit in a believers life. They do not understand that true believers have godly sorrow for sin and cannot continue in willful sin with knowledge of truth. (Hebrews 10). True believers are in constant repentence and growing in Holiness. (spirtual maturity)

    We have taught a dumbed down Gospel for so long that most do not recognize what a true believer would look like. I do, however, think a case can be made for the ENTIRE Body of Christ to discipline another member of the Body. Paul makes the case in 1 Corinthians 5. He did not direct the elders or pastor to do this but the entire church who was looking the other way and accepting sin in a member they should not have. Paul said to turn him over to Satan so he could be saved. That is significant. Paul assumed he was not really saved.

    Church is a business. Movements are cultic in nature. What is really scary is to think we should be accountable to a few people who are really growing a business or a cultic operation.

    Many are perveting the grace of our Lord with their behavior and false teaching. This is the same as to deny Christ as Lord. To sin in the Name of the Lord is serious business.

  46. Lydia,

    I honestly have no idea how to assess if another person is saved. In certain cases, I can see that a person is not behaving as a church member should and agree that a church discipline process should be started. I also have no idea how many people in the pews are really saved. I suspect it is much more than people with strict views of church discipline believe, but significantly less than the number on the membership roster.

    However, I can say that there are certain things I would never trust a church to tell me: such as whom to marry, what job to take, what house to buy, etc. I see absolutely no evidence in Scripture that the church is given those roles. Of course there is a place for mentoring and for seeking counsel. But ultimately only Jesus will be standing beside us when we face the Lord on Judgment Day, not our pastor, our wife (or husband), or care group leader, or any other person.

  47. Deb:

    I’m not sure how to answer that Kathryn Kuhlman spoke out against it when she probably could have benefitted from it, having committed adultery, marrying a man who had left his wife and children. She did this against the wise counsel of her friends and congregation.

    R:

    “the Holy Spirit makes a much better discipler than man does.”

    Of course we are discipled by the Holy Spirit and no one can match what He can do in our lives. That same Holy Spirit, through Jesus, said to go into all the world and make disciples. So, it is every Christian’s calling to make disciples. Furthermore, R, please review what the word has to say about making judgments. We are not to judge the world. But, we are to make judgments concerning other believers. The passage that Lydia correctly references, regarding the entire church bringing discipline to an immoral believer, ( yes, he was a believer), rebukes the Corinthians for NOT judging him. Paul said that he already has judged him. There are other passages where believers are to make righteous judgments concerning other believers.

    Lydia:

    I agree that many churches are run as a business and have agendas that oppose our Christian walk. However, God has made us to walk in community. That involves some level of accountability to one another. I am not referring to one acting as though he has authority over one another, though. There is wisdom in seeking counsel from others, understanding that there is no obligation to take that counsel. And there are places where we speak into another believer’s life, again, understanding that there is no obligation for them to take that advice.

    Am I to assume that we don’t need anyone in our lives and the Holy Spirit is the only one allowed to tell us anything? Am I to assume that no one should ever talk to the homosexual who is blatantly walking in our midst in open rebellion, professing Christ? What about the immoral person or the wife who is leaving her husband? Should no one hold them accountable to God’s word or should we just let them go on sinning, while we turn a blind eye and continue to fellowship with them like nothing is happening?

  48. Michael… to me, your posts seem a bit over-focused on other peoples’ lives, almost to the point of gossip.

    I am afraid that I hear a lot of judgment but little mercy in your statements.

    There are other, better ways to go about this (dialogue, that is).

    And I really do NOT want to know about peoples’ affairs!

  49. The purpose of this post on Derek Prince was to point out that the Shepherding Movement was WRONG. The Holy Spirit was squelched and the power brokers took over. Recent church history has proven this to be true.

    By focusing on Prince, we are trying to educate our brothers and sisters in Christ about this ungodly practice so that when permutations of it are implemented by those in leadership they will be able to recognize it.

    I am in no way suggesting a laissez faire attitude toward sin among believers. 1 Corinthians 5 needs to be implemented more in the body of Christ – no question about it. But micromanaging people’s lives is wrong.

  50. “Am I to assume that we don’t need anyone in our lives and the Holy Spirit is the only one allowed to tell us anything?”

    Well, that is taking my point to an extreme. I did speak of 1 Corin 5 but I guess you missed that part.

    The problem is finding an actual true fellowship of believers. What got people sucked in, in the first place, is believing they were accountable to “people” and they were not taught about the indwelling Holy Spirit or they would all be Bereans.

  51. “The passage that Lydia correctly references, regarding the entire church bringing discipline to an immoral believer, ( yes, he was a believer), rebukes the Corinthians for NOT judging him. Paul said that he already has judged him. There are other passages where believers are to make righteous judgments concerning other believers.”

    If he was a true “believer” as you state, why did Paul tell the Body to turn him over to Satan so he could be saved?

  52. Here is more information on how the Shepherding Movement came and went. The final sentence explains why we are focusing so intently on this destructive movement.

    http://www.spirithome.com/movements.html#shep

    “Shepherding Movement

    Led by Bob Mumford, Ern Baxter, Don Basham, Derek Prince, and Charles Simpson, they formed a tight-knit leadership group which held each other accountable. There were others revolving around them (‘shepherds’) who had the task of holding others responsible for their beliefs and behavior, using the model of the five pastors’ own pact. The shepherds soon started to govern an ever-wider part of those they were shepherding, and did it in very direct and sometimes crude ways. The shepherded were to pay close attention to their shepherds, since the shepherds were people whose walk with God was such that God would even speak personal words to you through them. (The teachings of Chinese Christian writer Watchman Nee also had elements of this.) A structure like the Shepherding movement had virtually begs to be abused, and indeed abuse became rampant, as many of the sub-shepherds set themselves up as authorities over each detail of the followers’ lives, and the followers were led not to think or act for themselves. Their approach was strongest among non-denominational churches, but they had some influence on Lutheran and Catholic charismatics. Shepherding ideas found a ready audience in those who studied the Chinese writer Watchman Nee.

    This movement had New Wine magazine as its mouthpiece. Its influence was strongest in the 1970s, but came under heavy attack by many evangelicals, and then most publicly by Pat Robertson. The “Fort Lauderdale 5″ had officially broken up by 1986 due to differences in approach, and their influence was mostly gone by 1990. Most of them have altered their positions somewhat, even renouncing several of their most core beliefs about the way the church is to be structured. But the ideas behind the Shepherding movement are still out there being practiced by some house and cell churches.”

  53. R, As to who is saved, scripture teaches that we will not know who is saved in the end. But for those who profess to be, we can look at fruit. Otherwise Paul was wrong to make a judgement in 1 Corin 5 (and other places).

    I will reiterate that most professing Christians have not been taught the function of the Holy Spirit in their lives. They think that walking the ailse saved them.

    I predict we will one day see missionaries from China and India (for example) come to the US to share the FULL Gospel with professing Christians here.

  54. Michael, if DP started out well with this, then why did his own wife at the beginning warn these men? From what I can tell, she died long before her husband repented. No, if it started out as a good thing, she would have not had to say anything.

    Can you give any other account to why she saw this as an unhealthy thing early on? Only thing I can make out is because it IS an unhealthy thing that takes oureyes of God and puts them on ourselves and others.

  55. Numo:

    I’m not really sure how you think I’m almost gossiping or judging people. I’m simply stating, generically, what goes on in all our churches. If you don’t want to know about peoples’ affairs, just look the other way or bury your head in the sand. Your reaction here seems to exemplify exactly what my posts are about.

  56. Deb:

    I understand what your purpose was, regarding Prince. When someone characterizes and sums up years of behavior, not just of one man, but of tens of thousands of people over years, into two words, Shepherding Movement, then calls it wrong, I have no choice but to disagree. That’s very simplistic, wouldn’t you agree?

    I’m very aware of some people’s tendency, regarding other matters, to look across decades, point out a small percentage of negative incidences out of hundreds or thousands of interactions, and declare the whole thing as evil, even though the vast majority of interactions were positive or beneficial. I don’t see the world that way; so cut and dry.

    I agree with you that micromanaging people’s lives is wrong. I would add that ALLOWING someone to micromanage your life is equally, if not more, wrong. They won’t be able to do it if you don’t allow it. That’s called personal responsibility.

    I have seen some of the things Deb referred to in the church we attend. But what seems to be very clear to me is that a leader puts forth some wisdom about how we can interact with one another, then a younger immature person takes it out of balance. Then people are hurt, not because of the valid truth, but because of the misappropriation of it. I’m willing to bet that a significant amount of this is what happened in the so-called movement. Therefore, I don’t think Prince is to blame for a significant amount of it. Much of the blame can also be placed on the immature believers who subjected themselves to this abuse of so-called authority.

  57. Lydia:

    I did take your point and others’ to an extreme, on purpose, to show that, while we must ultimately be accountable to God, only, we can’t ignore how the Holy Spirit uses people in the process of correction, exhortation, encouragement, etc. I did not miss your point regarding I Corinthians 5. I agreed with it. I think others, here, missed it though.

    The point of that was, Paul rebuked the entire church, not just some leaders, for not judging this person’s actions and taking the steps of giving him the boot. While that man was ultimately accountable to God, the people were the one’s responsible for implementing God’s correction. Why did the people have to get involved? Because the guy was ignoring the Holy Spirit regarding his sin.

    Paul tells you why he turned him over to Satan, for the destruction of his flesh so that his spirit may be saved. Then, I believe he refers to this in 2 Corinthians 2, where he implies that the guy repented and they should comfort him and show him love. In other words, church discipline is to correct in hopes that one repents and can be accepted in the fellowship. It worked like a charm in this case. If he was not a believer, they had no room to judge him, and he would not have been a part of their church, since churches were mostly made up of believers, then. They were not having “seeker sensitive services” back then, to my knowledge.

  58. Stunned:

    Are you using as an argument that, because the wife warned against it, then it must have been wrong, as though she is the authoritative opinion here? Are you trying to build a case that wives are never wrong, and this is more evidence to that?

  59. Michael said, ” did take your point and others’ to an extreme, on purpose, to show that, while we must ultimately be accountable to God, only, we can’t ignore how the Holy Spirit uses people in the process of correction, exhortation, encouragement, etc.”

    Michael, I didn’t read anyone say that we should “how the Holy Spirit uses people in the process of correction, exhortation, encouragement”. I also don’t think anyone intended such a thing at all. I believe, however, that they are saying that it is a dangerous and unhealthy thing once it becomes institutionalized and taking WEEEEELLLLLLLL beyond the framework which the bible sets out. (Which is exactly what the Shepherding Movement did.)

    Let me give you an example of what I am takling about. I have spent many years getting to know my best friend, and she me. She has been an encouragement to me in following the Lord and I have her. She calls me out on stuff, warns me and again, I her. BUT this kind of a relationship didn’t happen over night. It took a long time to come to trust and respect each other enough to KNOW that when this person was speaking into my life, she was worth listening to. She KNEW me and I KNEW her. This kind of a relationship CANNOT happen between one (or even 7) pastors and an entire congregation. Nor can it happen between one homegroup leader and a homegroup. (Heck, even two homegroup leaders.)

    For me to be able to value and trust her insight, it took me KNOWING that she KNEW me and isn’t just making up some stupid role/rule for EVERYBODY to follow. (Like SGM’s “modesty mirror” that all homes were supposed to have right inside the front door so that when the wife left the house, she coudl see that her skirt feel to the right length and other crazy stuff.)

    Now I am NOT saying that if a couple is having sex and that couple consists of a woman and her step son and they are carrying on openly, then the church shouldn’t speak to them about it. (As you’ve said, it’s not just the leaders here.) But the Shepherding Movement went WEEELLLLLLLLLL beyond the things that the bible speaks to us specifically about. They told people who to marry and who not to marry. They told people what to eat and not to eat. They told people how to manage their money. Where to live. How to live. How to dress. How to speak, behave. Everything pretty much short of breathing.

    PS. You never did answer my question above.

  60. Michael,

    I appreciate your kind response. It seems that you don’t think that many people were hurt by the Shepherding Movement. Please correct me if I’m wrong. I would encourage you to Google “Shepherding Movement” and see page after page of links. This was a HUGE problem in the 70s and 80s with many people being spiritually abused. Sadly, it continues in various other forms today.

    It’s not that simple to say that people shouldn’t have allowed someone to control them. The Shepherding Movement followed the Jesus Movement, so many of those affected were young, new Christians. They were absolutely trusting of their “shepherds”.

    As you know, we’re trying to educate the flock on what Shepherding looks like so the will recognize it and reject it.

  61. Stunned:

    I think I did answer your question. To put it another way, Prince’s wifes opinion is just that, and is not our standard for truth.

    Your first paragraph makes me think you missed what I was trying to say. My comment about the Holy Spirit using people to encourage, etc., was to deal with other comments that implied that only the Holy Spirit can bring any type of correction to people, which is ridiculous, of course.

    I agree with your example that people we know are the best sources for correction, encouragement, etc., in our lives. I also agree that man-made rules and micromanaging lives is not the good news of Jesus Christ.

    My main point is, God uses people to bring correction and give advice, and that Prince is not to blame for all the imbalances and nuttiness of immature believers who take to the extreme things that are wise. People will make a system out of anything spiritual.

  62. They are sort of fun to observe outside their natural enviornment. Particularly when they encounter women they cannot control.

  63. ‘If he was not a believer, they had no room to judge him, and he would not have been a part of their church, since churches were mostly made up of believers, then. They were not having “seeker sensitive services” back then, to my knowledge.”

    This is where I think you make your mistake. The early church did have phoney believers. We see this mentioned throughout the NT from Matthew 7 to Jude to Galatians and those who should emasculate themselves, in Acts 20 where Paul warns of wolves coming in to the letters to the churches in Rev warning them to turn from their wickedness or to be cold or hot not lukewarm or He would spew them out of His mouth. And much more including the Judaizers.

    You are assuming everyone in the Body in the NT was a Born Again believer.

  64. “I think I did answer your question. To put it another way, Prince’s wife’s opinion is just that, and is not our standard for truth.”

    Unfortuantly for many people, Derek Prince agreed with you about his wife’s opinion. Too bad he did not respect her enough to listen to her.

  65. Hindsight is always 20/20.

    Lydia Prince was right, and her husband was wrong. End of story.

    So much for women being “gullible and easily deceived” as I read in an article over at CBMW.

  66. “So much for women being “gullible and easily deceived” as I read in an article over at CBMW.Z”

    It really is an insult to our Savior that the Cross was not enough to deal with all women being gullible and easily deceived even when Born Again. According to CBMW, women must will always be easily deceived and gullible….even long after they are saved and growing in Holiness.

  67. Don’t some CBMW folks teach the eternal subordination of the Son in order to justify their patriarchal teachings?

    The concept of thanking Jesus for all He’s done by conceptualizing Him as eternally submissive boggles my poor gullible and easily deceived mind.

    Really, folks, just where do you think that concept originate? Between the grey wrinkles of our CBMW folk? Somehow, I doubt it. From the pit of hell? More likely, in my opionion. Which would render which group deceived?

  68. Michael,

    I never said that we cannot or should not ever judge. I believe that we should do so. What I object to is the notion that we have to make a concerted effort to always be judging our brothers and sisters. How about making judgments when situations present themselves?

    I would also note that verses like “You shall know them by their fruits” refer to leaders, particularly FALSE PROPHETS. Men who teach one thing but produce the opposite are not to be trusted as true prophets. Are they saved? God can judge that; my job is to show some discernment in who I listen to. In my experience, people who are keen to judge others generally produce fruit that is opposite that of what the Spirit produces.

  69. Lydia:

    Did you catch my word, “mostly,” in the comment you reviewed? So, I’m not making a mistake in what I said. I know there were some who professed Christ, but were not born again. However, to reiterate, there is no indication that he was not saved and his repentance gives an indication that he more than likely was. So, I disagree with you regarding the man’s salvation in I Corinthians.

    “Unfortunately for many people, Derek Prince agreed with you about his wife’s opinion. Too bad he did not respect her enough to listen to her.”

    If Prince agreed with me that his wife’s opinion is just an opinion and not our standard of truth, then he’s a discerning man. It might surprise you, but I have found that a wife’s view is sometimes wrong. But, Lydia, the fact that he disagreed with her over this issue is not supporting evidence that he disrespected her. That’s quite a leap, in my opinion. It means nothing more than he just disagreed with her.

  70. R:

    I agree with you. It does not serve us well to set up systems where we intentionally judge each other. What bondage. I also agree regarding people who are keen to judge others. They tend to be guilty of the very things they judge others on.

  71. Deb:

    “Lydia Prince was right, and her husband was wrong. End of story.”

    In your opinion. And just declaring such doesn’t make it so.

    I don’t think it’s the end of the story. It’s barely the beginning of the story. The story goes on to tell of thousands of Christians who lacked discernment, because they either didn’t understand God’s word, or they ignored the promptings of the Holy Spirit to stay far away from that movement. I mean, if Lydia rightly acknowledges the faithful working of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers, then the Holy Spirit must have been warning these people to stay away, right? And if so, they ignored the warning. So, they are just as much to blame, if not more so.

    And if there are comments about Derek not heeding the warning of Prince’s wife, leaping to conclusions about not respecting her, then HOW MUCH MORE should there be these comments about those who did not heed the warnings of the Holy Spirit to stay away from this movement. How much more disrespect is shown to the Holy Spirit, who is NEVER wrong, as a wife can be, from time to time?

    He may have started the movement, but they fully and willingly participated in it. Nobody was twisting their arms.

    Having said that, I am not agreeing that things in the movement were good. But, I’ve seen way too many times that immature Christians take what mature Christians say, and distort it into things that do not resemble the truth that was originally taught. We’ve all the played the game where one person whispers something into someone’s ear. Ten people later, the last person says out loud what had been passed down. So many times, someone along the way messed up and passed along the wrong words. Are we then to condemn and blame the one who started it? Of course not, it was someone else. So, to place the blame on Prince for a movement that went off track, just because he was involved in launching it, well, it’s just not well thought out, in my opinion. How would you and Dee like to take the blame for all of the unbiblical, nutty posts by all on this blog? I think it would be more credible to take teachings we know came from Prince and criticize those, if unbiblical. But as far as I’m concerned, I agree that some of the things in the movement that Dee brought up are off track biblically. But, I don’t think a good job has been done connecting the dots back to Prince.

  72. Michael, I think we’re talking past each other.

    Thousands of people were harmed by the shepherding/discipleship movement.

    Some of them post here.

    As for gossip and judgement, I have seen it in some of your replies to previous posts, but hey… I don’t think any of us are going to be able to persuade you of our convictions – and vice versa.

  73. “However, to reiterate, there is no indication that he was not saved and his repentance gives an indication that he more than likely was. So, I disagree with you regarding the man’s salvation in I Corinthians.”

    I was wondering how many Born Again believers you think should be turned over to Satan so they can be saved. Those were Paul’s words…so he can be saved. And if it is the same guy in 2 Corin, then he was saved AFTER being being turned over because he was sorrowful for his sin.

    If he had been saved, Paul would not have said, “So he can be saved”.

    Guess I am flummoxed as to what else that could mean if he was saved.

    “f Prince agreed with me that his wife’s opinion is just an opinion and not our standard of truth, then he’s a discerning man. It might surprise you, but I have found that a wife’s view is sometimes wrong. But, Lydia, the fact that he disagreed with her over this issue is not supporting evidence that he disrespected her. That’s quite a leap, in my opinion. It means nothing more than he just disagreed with her.”

    On this issue she was right. We are back to your problems with women, again. So, let’s follow the timeline. Lydia Prince sees the problems, her husband ignores her and plows on. Lydia dies. Prince meets a new woman but his own group exercises power over him about marriage. He waits a long time for their ok. Finally they give it……AFTER that, he sees the problems with the movement and its excesses.

    So, he did not respect his first wife’s spiritual discernment to listen to her. He had to be personally affected before he woke up. This sounds just like a typical patriarchal scenerio.

    Michael, your bias toward women and spirituality is showing. Can’t have any spiritually mature women…that is the man’s job.

    My standard for truth is truth of the Word. Lydia was right so SHE had the right standard for truth. Derek did not but later on agreed with Lydia when it affected HIM.

  74. “Derek did not but later on agreed with Lydia when it affected HIM.

    AFTER she was dead, of course

  75. The main thrust coming from the Fort Lauderdale five (see Derek Prince’s book ‘Discipleship Tithing and Commitment’ which was later withdrawn by him) was
    1. If you disobey your shepherd you are disobeying God because God put him there: If you don’t obey him you are a rebel.
    2. If you break bread with the group then leave you break covenant. You will also not survive when you leave.
    3. You are to serve your shepherd – wash his windows etc. Even though it may be painful God is training you to be a servant. If you are faithful in natural things i.e. looking after your shepherds things , serving him in any way, God will then give you spiritual things i.e. home group, ministry etc.
    4. If you don’t tithe you are robbing God and it must be to your fellowship where you attend.

  76. Shepherding Survivor,

    That was a pretty incredible list. I’d love to see Prince’s book you mentioned. Wonder where I could get a copy.

    Have you ever heard of Dr. Steven Lambert? He wrote extensively on the Shepherding Movement and its harmful effects on the flock. Here’s what he wrote about the “sheep” in an article called “Charismatic Captivation”.

    http://www.cephasministry.com/shepherding_fab_five.html

    “Finally, there were the “sheep” themselves. All of the former comprised the superior class of “Shepherds,” while those submitted to their care in their churches were the “sheep.” In many cases, this metaphorical moniker attributed to the saints of God was not used in the same affectionate sense as it is used in the Bible and even by Jesus Himself to describe the very special personal and caring relationship between a shepherd and his sheep that typically exists among nomadic sheep-herders. Rather, many of the Discipleship/Shepherdship adherents came to maintain a very condescending and demeaned view of believers as “just dumb sheep,” as many came to call them, dumb sheep, whose ability to reason was next to non-existent, which prevented them from knowing what was best for them. Therefore, it was the role of the shepherd, under this widely-held concept concerning “underling” believers, to tell the dumb sheep what to do, where to go, and to basically make their decisions for them, because the sheep were just too stupid to be able to do all this for themselves.”

    BAAAAAAA…….D !!!

  77. Hi Michael, thank you for taking the time to respond. Can I be honest with you? I believe I judged you. I am sorry. I was wrong. I think I misunderstood some of what you were saying. Your more gentle than expected answer gave me some pause and hopefully I am understanding you a bit more now.

    So this is just me responding to what you said.

    You said, “To put it another way, Prince’s wifes opinion is just that, and is not our standard for truth.”

    Oh, I never for one moment meant to imply that she is our standard for truth. (Again, you didn’t really think I thought that, did you? If so, you must think I am either an idiot or… an idiot. ;-) ) I was saying that at the end of the ball game, DP went, “Wow, guys, we were wrong.” I thought you had said that it started out good but others made it wrong. I was saying that if Lydia (I think that is his wife’s name) could see at the get go that it was not good and warned him, then later on he goes, “Yeah, this was wrong” then it probably was clear to her from the beginning that it was wrong ’cause it was. (Again, I am curious how you can explain that she was right (’cause DP even ended up agreeing with her in the long run) yet still state it was OK to start with.

    Maybe I’m not making myself clear so let me try it another way. A person is driving down a road. They come upon a sign that says, “Bridge Out Ahead” but they decide that they don’t agree with the sign maker and continue to drive. They go around a bend, and boom, hit the water. Their car floats down stream a bit. They eventually crawl out, get to safety and have to have their car towed.

    Now do they say, “That sign maker was still wrong. There was a bridge there when the sign told me that the bridge was out, but the bridge mysteriously disappeared the second I got around that corner.”? No, pretty good chance it turns out the sign maker was right all along. DP came to see that.

    Michael, you also said, “Your first paragraph makes me think you missed what I was trying to say. My comment about the Holy Spirit using people to encourage, etc., was to deal with other comments that implied that only the Holy Spirit can bring any type of correction to people, which is ridiculous, of course.”

    Wait, are you saying that the Holy Spirit CANNOT bring any type of correction or are you meaning to say that the Holy Spirit is not the ONLY way God uses to correct people? If it is the second, I did not read anyone here saying such a thing at all. Maybe this is a man-woman speak situation, where you are thinking people are saying something that they are not. Am I wrong here, the rest of you? DID anyone say that ONLY the HS can bring correction and it is wrong for all others to? Or am I way off entirely in understanding what you are saying, Michael? (could be either.)

    “Prince is not to blame for all the imbalances and nuttiness of immature believers who take to the extreme things that are wise.”

    Again, I don’t think anyone here is blaming Prince for the imbalances and nutiness of immature people. They are pointing out the problems of what HE did and of what HE repented of. I don’t think he repented of the sin of others. He repented from what HE did. Which would probably indicate that HE did something wrong in the whole mess. And I’m sorta gonna take his word for it and not assume that he wasn’t wrong. (Though I did like the guy and listen to him for a long time. But i can also see the negative fruit in my life that I reaped from following DP’s example. I don’t blame him for what i did. But, boy, do I regret giving his words the time of day. Ah, if only i could have those years back.)

    “People will make a system out of anything spiritual.” I totally agree with you on this one!

  78. Deb,
    No I have never heard of Dr Lambert.The quote is certainly true.Certainly Jesus who said ‘whatever you do on to the least, you do it on to me was not a memory verse that we had to learn and have foremost in our minds. Rather it was ‘obey your leaders’.';
    The book I mentioned can be bought second hand from Amazon at the at the link below. It is a small thin book which was ultimately wthdrawn when DP changed his mind.By that stage the great ocean liner was in full swing and could not be stopped or turned around before many more years of spiritual manipulation was to take place.For those who did survive it made us very aware of the new waves of ‘Christian’ teaching that would arrive from who knows where-Kansas city prophets, Paul Cain, Toronto blessing, Brian McLaren and hs New Kind of Christianity etc, etc.

    http://www.amazon.com/Discipleship-shepherding-commitment-Derek-Prince/dp/B0006XNN6O/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1296571726&sr=1-2-spell

  79. “Prince is not to blame for all the imbalances and nuttiness of immature believers who take to the extreme things that are wise.”

    Which things were wise?

  80. Shepherding Survivor,

    Thanks for the link. I’m grieved that you and so many others were hurt by the Shepherding Movement. Unfortunately, it has morphed into other forms, as you have explained.

    Let’s continue to get the word out about the devastation shepherding brings to the lives of those involved in these misguided ministries.

  81. Thanks Michael, I almost always appreciate your well thought out, moderate responses. (Maybe because I agree with most of them) You seem to be able to look at both sides of the issue and draw logical conclusions – keep talking.

    It is sad that many thousands have been hurt by those people and movements that are talked about on this blog. I agree with Michael, however that those that stay and allow themselves to be “shephereded” bear some resposibility. I understand that these are powerful and manipulative men (and women), but as adults we are ultimately responsible for our decisions. (Remember Adam saying “the wife you gave me…….” Or Saul blaming Samuel for not coming sooner)

    I also think that there were probably many that grew in Christ while they were in the movement. And there are people growing in Christ currently in SGM. I know some wonderful people that currently attend or have attended Household of Faith in OR who have good things to say about what God has done in their lives. I met a woman the other day that said she was saved through the “Jesus Movement”. Those were her exact words – and I thought it was interesting since I have been reading here for the past couple of weeks and here was someone who had a good experience. I think just like when you read reviews on a business or something those that have a negative experience are much more likely to review than those that had a positive experience. I think the general ratio is about 1 negative response represent 10+ people that have had a positive – even though they didn’t share the positive. Probably because emotions are high and people want to share their experience.

    God will hold these leaders accountable for how they have led – to a higher standard then lay people. He will also hold individuals accountable for their decisions. They will not be able to stand before God and blame someone else for lack of faith or lack of growth.

  82. Numo:

    I’m not sure what you mean by talking past each other.

    I have heard through the years that many have been hurt by the shepherding movement, so I have no argument there. I certainly have sympathy for those who have been hurt, either by abusive treatment of self-serving leaders, or by their own destructive behaviors. Fortunately, as we continue to surrender to God, He is very faithful to use, even these negative experiences, to work a glorious work in us. Trust me, I know, since I have been on the receiving end of very abusive pastors and leaders.

    “As for gossip and judgment, I have seen it in some of your replies to previous posts…”

    It would be hard for anyone to answer that kind of statement, since it doesn’t point out any specific thing I’ve said that is judgmental or gossip. Who am I gossiping about and what did I write that you consider gossip? Where have I judged someone in such a way as to condemn them? If you can point me to some specific quote, I’ll respond. Otherwise, I’ll have to just disagree with you. If you can show me that I have sinned by gossiping or judging unrighteously, I’ll be grateful and will be happy to repent. If you can’t do that, then I’ll appreciate you stop making broad and baseless accusations. I simply will not tolerate that and I’ll confront you vigorously concerning your accusations, because that is abusive, itself.

  83. Hey all

    I have a problem with blaming the victim. Many were introduced to Christ in abusive movements. Instead of being taught the grace and freedom of Christ, they were taught legalism and rules. They didn’t know any different. Read my post today. i think Orlowski and her research will help fill in a lot of gaps. This was research, not guesswork.

    I heard of one girl who was raised in a home where she was beaten into submission and was told that Jesus wanted this. She cannot hear the word, Jesus, without trembling. Whose fault is that?

  84. Lydia:

    There probably are many born again believers who could be turned over to Satan, for the destruction of their flesh, so their spirit may be saved. I knew a believer who sinned and died of AIDS. His flesh was destroyed as a result of his sin. He reaped what he sowed, physically. However, I knew that he was a Christian, yes, even before he sinned, causing this destruction.

    If your concept of believers is that they never sin in destructive ways, and don’t reap judgment as a result of their sin, physically or emotionally, then I will have to disagree with you. I have no problem believing that this guy was a believer before the church exercised discipline. Paul didn’t say, “So he can be saved.” He said, “so his spirit may be saved…” He contrasted judgment with regard to his flesh vs this man’s spirit. I can see where you’re coming from, though, and you may be right. Maybe he was saved later.

    “On this issue she was right. We are back to your problems with women, again.”

    She very well may have been right. I don’t know. That’s not the point, though. The point is, that is not a compelling argument, for me, providing evidence that the movement was wrong. If Dee had written that his wife thought it was wrong, pointing to a scriptural reason why some practice Derek was promoting was off track, then that would be a substantial and compelling argument. But, to say that his wife said it was a cult, without referencing what exactly she was referring to is just not enough information and doesn’t prove a darn thing to me.

    Lydia, I don’t have a problem with women. Your accusation is baseless. I think you lose credibility in your statements when you continue to leap to conclusions without supporting evidence and make false characterizations about people. Again, just because Prince disagreed with his wife doesn’t mean he didn’t respect her views. But, thank you for making the unfounded leap again, concerning Prince, proving that your statement about me having a problem with women is a pattern of you simply making leaps that don’t make sense and have absolutely no foundation. Nice try.

    To the contrary, much of what I have learned came from spiritual mature women whom I greatly admired and respected.

  85. Stunned:

    Thank you for your comments in your first paragraph. I appreciate it.

    “Again, I am curious how you can explain that she was right (’cause DP even ended up agreeing with her in the long run) yet still state it was OK to start with.”

    My comment about his wife’s warning was just that I did not feel like it was a convincing proof of the wrongness of the movement. Proof of the wrongness of the movement, or more accurately, some things within the movement, would have to be supplied from scripture, dealing with a wrong practice, for me to be convinced. The only thing that his wife’s warning proved was that she was right and he was wrong.

    I don’t remember whether I said it was ok in the beginning. What I recall writing was that I am well aware of things that start out okay with good intentions and are based in truth, but get lost in translation and end up being misapplied truth, ending in behavior that is off track.

    Your example of the bridge and the sign maker is a good one. I, on the other hand, remember deferring to my wife on several occasions, out of respect for her, when she told me of the directions she read, only to find out that she was telling me to go in the exact opposite direction of where I should be heading. You see, sometimes people can disagree about the direction and only time will reveal who was correct. We don’t know what their conversations were like. For all we know, they were half way down the road before his wife made her comments, after observing the behavior that was off track. All that to reiterate, it’s not a compelling argument for me to determine that the movement was wrong, simply because she gave her warning, because if she had given her approval, the movement still would have had wrong behaviors in it.

    “Wait, are you saying that the Holy Spirit CANNOT bring any type of correction or are you meaning to say that the Holy Spirit is not the ONLY way God uses to correct people? If it is the second, I did not read anyone here saying such a thing at all.”

    I am saying that the Holy Spirit can teach us directly and that He also uses people to correct us. I was responding originally to the comment by R saying,

    “I think problem with any teaching like shepherding is that the Holy Spirit makes a much better discipler than man does” (which I may have misinterpreted to mean that R meant that we should stay out of it and just let the Holy Spirit do His work).

    Then Lydia responded,

    “R, You beat me to it! I agree with you but would go one step further to say that most people in the pews and on stage are most likely not really saved. (As a sidebar, I find the statement Lydia makes about MOST people in the pews and on stage are not really saved, lacking judgment).

    Yet, the Holy Spirit told us to go into all the world and MAKE DISCIPLES! WE make disciples, which requires us to be intimately involved in the lives of others.

    It seems to me that the weight of all the mistakes were placed on Prince. Maybe I’m reading that wrong, but that’s my impression. I have to give him credit, though, for caring enough to start something to help believers walk out a holy life, even if the methods went off track. I also have to give him credit for admitting where he was wrong, since many abusive, narcissistic leaders never do admit their mistakes.

    Finally, I am confident that the years you consider wasted, the Lord considers them a part of the process in the work that he desires to do in and through your life. They are stepping stones to God’s redemptive work and you will be all the more Christlike as a result, if those years are surrendered completely to Him.

  86. Lydia:

    Which things are wise? Well, I think it is wise to enlist others in the body of Christ to help us walk out our salvation. I think it is wise to seek the counsel of others who are more mature in the faith. I think it is wise to learn how to serve others and not live only for oneself. I think it is wise to show how service can be done, when someone may not understand what that looks like.

    I’m confident that there was a lot of biblical truth and wisdom in various areas of this movement. It is a shame that those good intentions got perverted, somehow.

  87. Micheal, we will have to disagree about willful consistent sinning while knowing the truth (Hebrews 10:26-31).

    “Well, I think it is wise to enlist others in the body of Christ to help us walk out our salvation. I think it is wise to seek the counsel of others who are more mature in the faith. I think it is wise to learn how to serve others and not live only for oneself. I think it is wise to show how service can be done, when someone may not understand what that looks like.”

    None of these things are wise when in a shepherding cult. And the reason is because the cult teaches them to interpret scripture through them. They should be encouraged to study on their own and be free to analyze interpretations. They should always be free to question leaders.

    “I’m confident that there was a lot of biblical truth and wisdom in various areas of this movement. It is a shame that those good intentions got perverted, somehow.”

    We know how. Following man instead of Christ.

  88. Deb:

    I knew when I wrote my post that it was simply a matter of time before someone would bring up their problem with blaming the victim.

    Your story about the abused girl adequately shows a true victim. She was powerless to walk away from her situation and, therefore, was the victim of abuse. That, however is not true concerning participants in the so-called shepherding movement, in my opinion.

    You can’t have it both ways. If we are to believe Lydia, regarding the magnitude of the Holy Spirit’s working in our lives, then we can rest assured that the Holy Spirit would warn people to stay away from a movement that is abusive. After all, God cares more about us than anyone. And if that’s the case, then the so-called victims had ample opportunity to leave. They were not under the control of people. And even if there was a perceived control, who are they to honor more, their, “shepherd,” or the Holy Spirit? If not the Holy Spirit, then there is a heart problem and they are victims of their own making.

    On the other hand, if they need the proper teaching and care of others in their lives for them to make a right decision, then you would be validating the need for, “shepherding,” to some degree.

    “Many were introduced to Christ in abusive movements. Instead of being taught the grace and freedom of Christ, they were taught legalism and rules.”

    You are correct. However, have you given any thought to the fact that many of the perpetrators were, themselves, victims, having been taught a form of legalism, and they were lovingly teaching what they had been wrongly taught?

    My conclusion is, having observed people in churches for a long time, many are being victimized as a result of their own complacency. They don’t care enough to draw closer to God to the degree where they can hear the promptings of the Holy Spirit. And when they do, they often are unwilling to do what it takes to obey Him, because it requires sacrifices they are unwilling to make. They want to be told what to believe. They want to sit back and watch the show. Most of us are exactly in the places in our lives that we have CHOSEN, spiritually, financially, physically, and emotionally. Until we realize that, we’ll always play the victim card.

    I’m against abuse just as much as you are. But, in our effort to communicate and warn about abusers and abusive treatment, our message has to equally be about personal responsibility and our God-given power to reject abuse, which involves hearing and obeying, at whatever cost, the leadings of the Holy Spirit.

  89. Michael,

    I don’t understand your need to defend the Shepherding Movement or Derek Prince. I’m not laying all the blame at his feet. Others in the Fab Five were equally responsible, along with their underlings who carried out their plan to lord it over the flock. A week from Friday I will provide an indepth look at Charles Simpson, who has never renounced this teaching.

    The Shepherding Movement was rotten to the core because the Gospel was twisted to empower those “in charge”. Those who do not learn from history are destined to repeat it….

  90. Michael
    You were quoting from my comments. I have spent time watching videos, reading books and so forth. Loving is not how I would describe some of these individuals. They were harsh and strong, often beating down the sheep. They enjoyed their positions and therein lies the issue-power. They loved being the “guy in charge” even if it was for a small following.

    Were some of them abused? Maybe- don’t know. But the same goes for them. Why didn’t the Holy Sprit show them-weren’t they listening? But, these guys did admit to abuse except for Simpson. Their ideas were incorporated into today’s church authority structure and it continues to haunt us to this day. Maybe we are all not listening to the Holy Spirit or maybe this blog is one way the Spirit is using us to speak.

    I attended some of these meeting in my youth. I look back and realize that they were based on emotions, feelings and this was encouraged by the leaders. Emotions are so much easier to manipulate. Shepherding went down the wrong road and their are lots of bodies that were hit by Mac tucks along the way.

  91. Lydia:

    Read the context of the entire book, as well as the context of the chapter and the verses you referenced.

    The context is the author’s contrasting of the temporal nature of OT sacrifices versus the permanent nature of Christ’s sacrifice. The old left a reminder of sins, because there always remained another sacrifice. The latter leaves the worshiper with no consciousness of sin because there no longer remains a sacrifice and the worshiper has been made perfect, having his sin removed. And because there no longer remains a sacrifice, if you reject His redemptive work, there is no hope for salvation, because another sacrifice is not going to be offered next year. Either accept the work of Christ or reject it. Rejecting it is the sin.

    Verse 29 …trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the spirit of grace.

    The sin he refers to is the rejection of the blood of Christ and His complete redemptive work. He’s NOT talking about the person who has some habitual sin that he keeps falling into, thereby losing his salvation. That’s precisely what he’s arguing against. We’re not saved by how much or little we sin. We’re saved by grace through faith in Christ’s perfect life, sacrifice and resurrection. There is absolutely no context in Hebrews for what you’re implying.

    “None of these things are wise when in a shepherding cult.”

    Cult is your characterization of the movement. I agree that it was cult-like, based on my limited knowledge of it, but I disagree that it was a cult. Remove your characterization of it, and all these things I mentioned are wise. I’m sure Prince was not saying, “Let’s see, I think it would be wise for people to seek counsel of mature Christians within a cult.” So, what might have started out as a good idea, became error in the way that it was misapplied.

    You’re right, they should be encouraged to study scripture on their own and to question leaders. And you’re correct that the way things get perverted is to follow man instead of God.

    As a side note, my name is spelled MichAEl, not Eal.

  92. MichAEl (funny, I would have spelled it with lower case letters ;-) ), thanks for straightening me out in my questions. I had thought at the beginning that you were saying that the Shepherding Movement started out OK then got off the tracks. That is the thing I was responding to in regard (or is it regards?) to his wife. I was simply saying that there musta been problems from the beginning if she was saying, “Bridge out!” Now I understand that you weren’t specifically saying the Shepherding Movement started out great but that sometimes things can and then go wrong. With that, I agree entirely.

    I was wondering if I could make one little suggestion to you that may help others to understand and hear what you are trying to say? If it would be too forward of me, feel free to tell me to bug off. I don’t mean to be a thorn in your side but I think I may be able to help both you and this blog on what may seem like a small thing, but may in the end see less harm caused and may help with smoother communication. (Again, feel free to tell me to bugger off or give me the go ahead. Totally your call.)

  93. Deb:

    Trust me, I won’t be repeating their mistakes. I’m not defending the movement. I just don’t think it’s as simplistic as it’s presented here.

    As I mentioned earlier, I see permutations of some of these ideas in my church. Dee did an excellent job of pointing them out. I understand what lies behind some of these teachings and some are biblically sound. However, I have seen the younger, less mature people misapply these truths. One of three things usually happens at this point. Some leave to avoid what they perceive to be controlling behavior. Some stay and wrongly submit to some small level of control by others. Some, like our family, recognize the immaturity on behalf of the young, immature, leaders, and wait for an appropriate situation to arise that would allow us to bring correction. None of the issues involve anything major, or we would have already dealt with it.

    Where you don’t go far enough, in my opinion, is to spread the blame even further to include those who willingly subjected themselves to this type of behavior. If they hadn’t allowed themselves to be controlled, then the movement would have dissolved much faster than it did. They gave power to the ones in power. They have to own up to that and the story is not complete until they do.

    I agree that it was rotten. I’m just not sure if it was the core that was rotten or the fringes that were rotten.

  94. “You were quoting from my comments.”

    I’m not sure what you’re referring to.

    From your post, you wrote that this movement began as a result of learning that another minister fell into homosexuality. I understood that they were implementing a level of accountability to help believers live holy lives. That doesn’t translate to power-hungry people to me. That translates to love, even though misapplied.

    I’ll repeat to you what I wrote to Deb. The story is not complete until you point out, not just the error of those abusing, but the error of those who allowed themselves to be subject to it.

    I understand that you observed emotions and feelings in these services and agree with you that emotions are easier to manipulate. And while I believe that these types of emotional services can be contrived, I tend to prefer them over the services of so many churches that are so emotionless, without feeling, that tend to display some dead religion. Emotions and feelings are good and if we love our Savior, I hope that we can adequately express our love to him and experience that emotionally. My observation has been, not that those services have been based on emotion, but instead, emotion has been displayed based on the people’s love and praise for their Lord.

  95. Michael:

    Well, there are comments left by you on a post on this blog calling women undergrads at Baylor “whores.”

    I’ll just stop there and leave the rest up to Deb and Dee.

  96. numo:

    As I stated earlier, I will vigorously confront you when you make baseless accusations. If you would spend just a couple of minutes to research the facts, you will find that I NEVER called those Baylor women, “whores.” In fact, it was Dee, herself, who used the word, “whores”.

    In contrast to Dee’s post I contrasted girls I went to school with, who DID sleep around and DID get drunk, etc., with the girls she was writing about. I was simply stating factual events that occurred. I did not mention any names of girls who did that, because I was speaking generically, thus, there was no gossiping. Furthermore, I was not pronouncing condemnation upon them, judging them unrighteously. You know, pointing out factual information is not judging. If that is your standard, then most of the authors of the books in the bible were guilty of gossip and judging, just by sharing facts, And they actually used names! Again, look it up. I never called those girls, “whores.”

    So, again, if you can show me a specific example where I actually have gossiped about someone or have judged someone unrighteously, I will be happy to repent of that sin. If you can’t do that, then stop making the false accusations. In fact, if you can’t recall, right now, any specific incident where I have gossiped or judged unrighteously, then I want your apology for your sin of making false accusations in front of these people. So, what’s it going to be?

  97. Michael/Numo

    here is my comment. I try not to use such language except in context. I was responding to Michael, attempting to help him see the implications of his words.

    “You condemn all girls who go to college as whores-abortions, sleeping around ,etc. That is unbecoming to paint everyone with your broad brush. You need to look deeper. So, it is just the women who will not respect their husbands? How about the men who do not love their wives as Christ loved the church and so beat them around. I know lots of those as well.”

    Enough of demanding apologies. Let us be quick to forgive,eh?

  98. Dee:

    This has nothing to do with forgiveness, I made it clear that if numo had some specific incident that numo could point to where I gossiped or judged someone unrighteously, I am willing to repent.

    Numo made false characterizations that are baseless. Numo can’t defend the comments because they relate more to numo’s general feelings instead of factual information. Then, when challenged, numo brings up something that numo doesn’t even have facts straight on.

    And frankly, Dee, I’m surprised at your response, here, considering how many times you have brought up how people don’t hold wrong-doers accountable, and ask the ones wronged to quickly forgive, calling that abusive.

    But, I don’t hold any unforgiveness in my heart toward numo. I did not demand an apology. I said I want an apology if numo is making unfounded characterizations. I think it’s plain for all to see that numo is guilty of the very thing numo wrongly judged me about. I guess numo needs to take the plank out, first, so numo can see clearly to judge righteously.

    Thanks for clarifying, that it was not me who called the girls whores, but you were the one who used that characterization. The difference in what I said and what you said is, I described what the girls DID. You, attached a name to them saying what the girls ARE, trying to attach that characterization to me. Huge difference. But I never made that judgment. I defended that then, and I am reiterating it now.

    Finally, Dee, in addition to exhorting us to quickly forgive, where’s the exhortation to be quick to apologize? Is it because you feel that numo can’t stand on his/her own and need you to rescue?

  99. Enough of demanding apologies. Let us be quick to forgive,eh?
    Good thoughts, Dee… And I really appreciate your clarification.

    My apologies for bringing up something that’s past and done.

  100. Michael-

    Were you ever a leader in a church that taught or practiced shepherding principles? By leader, I mean paid pastor or volunteer leader (worship, small group, accountability).

    Thanks-Doubtful

  101. Michael-

    Let me say in advance, that I find it odd how much you protest the “one sided” reporting of leaders abuses….it reminds me of Shakespeare’s-

    “Me thinks thou does protest too much…”

    Just saying-I’ll be curious to hear your thoughts.

  102. “Thanks for clarifying, that it was not me who called the girls whores, but you were the one who used that characterization. The difference in what I said and what you said is, I described what the girls DID. You, attached a name to them saying what the girls ARE, trying to attach that characterization to me. Huge difference.”

    Huge difference? Let’s use another example. Let’s say you accuse a group of people of stealing. No proof just a blanket accusation such as the one you used for girls who go to college. We say, so they are thieves?

    Now, you claim you did not call them thieves…you just described what this group did.

    I guess one gets piety points for not describing them all as whores but as a group that sleeps around?

    We also took note you only spoke of the young women initially. I guess young men are just being young men but the young women are just Jezebel’s who enticed them.

  103. “The sin he refers to is the rejection of the blood of Christ and His complete redemptive work. He’s NOT talking about the person who has some habitual sin that he keeps falling into, thereby losing his salvation. That’s precisely what he’s arguing against. We’re not saved by how much or little we sin. We’re saved by grace through faith in Christ’s perfect life, sacrifice and resurrection. There is absolutely no context in Hebrews for what you’re implying.”

    You have been taught very wrong. Most have because people cannot stand what is taught there and do not think it can mean what it says. I NEVER once said we are saved by how little or much we sin. That is YOUR attempt to twist it into a works salvation.

    He is talking to professing BELIEVERS and this is about perservering in the faith. IT IS A WARNING. It is about living in willfull consistent sin with knowledge of truth and still claiming to be a believer. He gives this warning right after talking about believers encouraging one another, meeting together, etc. It is a serious warning we should take very seriously.

    There are people deceived out of ignorance and those who deceive on purpose. (See 1 Tim). Paul puts himself in the former category even as a hunter of Christians. But he was SAVED. He no longer lived in willful consistent sin. Remember, there is a difference. If one lives in willful consistent sin, they have no godly sorrow and are not growing in Holiness. They are not saved.

    Are you saying that those who deceive on purpose are saved? You know, some even think that what Simon the socerer said meant he repented and had true godly fear and sorrow for his sin. But he did not. Justin Martyr wrote about him starting one of the first new gnostic sects of fake Christianity.

    No, Hebrews 10 is talking to professing believers. Not people who have rejected Christianity. A bad mistake that keeps you from understanding how serious Holiness is for a believer. It is not a “work” as in keeping your daughter home from college because she might sin like the other girls. It is a HEART CHANGE which brings forth natural good works from the heart and growing in Holiness. We hate the sin we once loved. We cannot live in willful consistent sin and believe there was ever a sacrfice. Because it means the Holy Spirit is NOT indwelling within us.

  104. Michael

    Numo did not make a false characterization. His/her conclusion was the same as mine.

    Michael, I know we have all disappointed you in this discussion. We share a different perspective about Prince and the Shepherding Movement. I know you agree with us in part, not in the whole. It really doesn’t matter. prince is dead and gone to meet His Maker and therein lies the reality.

    What happened in the Shepherding movement was horrible and many, many people were abused and some were chased away from the faith. Surely you can understand that.

    We are trying to war people of these same tactics being used in today’s churches. We also want to show that nothing is new under the sun. So whether it is called Shepherding or SGM or FBC, it is still the same pain and sin. Perhaps with the advent of the internet, we can get the word out more efficiently.

    I apologize for anything that I have said that has caused you pain. Vigorous debate was my intent.

  105. doubtful:

    No, I was never associated with the shepherding movement in any way. I have also never been a paid pastor anywhere. I used to travel full-time throughout the country, singing concerts in churches, mostly Southern Baptist churches, but also many of the Calvary Chapels, Fellowship Bible type churches, and various other evangelical churches, both charismatic and noncharismatic. So, I have a unique perspective and have seen church dynamics in hundreds, if not thousands, of churches and dialoged much with many ministers.

    In addition, I was also unfairly and unbiblically kicked out of a church when I confronted the manipulations and lies of a narcissistic heavy-handed pastor, backed up by a bunch of yes men. So, I was more on the receiving end of abuse. We should have left the church long before we did, but it’s difficult to make those tough decisions. So, I know what I’m talking about when I speak about personal responsibility. If we had left earlier, which we were in the process of doing, we would not have experienced most of the abuse we did.

    Finally, because of the complacency of people in that congregation, they empowered the abusers, because they were not willing to experience any discomfort and they idolized the man, even though they were very displeased with much of what went on.

    Doubtful, let me make it clear, I am against abuse in any form, and I am against the controlling and micromanaging that went on in the shepherding and other movements. But, I disdain the willingness of church goers to remain immature and uninvolved, allowing the abusers to remain in power and in control. That is why I am hard on people here to tell the rest of the story. It’s real easy to blame the abuser, which is right to do, but it’s useless if you don’t also provide the solution, which is for believers to mature and not allow the abusers to stay in power.

  106. Lydia:

    Good point that you are making. However, I believe that good people can make mistakes. Some of these girls made mistakes although they were believers, so I view their nature as Christ would view it, not whores, but new creations in Christ, even though they wrongly slept around for a very brief time in their lives.

    So, yes, HUGE difference! Of course, I’m sure you’ll come back with your self-righteousness and say they all were not Christians and deserve Hell. Whatever.

  107. Lydia:

    No, I’m not wrong nor was I taught wrong. This is not something I got from someone else’s teaching. You need to read Hebrews a view more times to truly understand the context.

    However, I agree with you on many of points. There is a heart change when one is a believer and a desire to walk in holiness and he is writing to believers. And his conclusion was, I’m convinced of better things concerning them, and they are of those who DO endure to the end.

    Lydia, you’re way, and I mean way off here. He is NOT talking about some habitual sin after someone has been saved. That’s absurd. However, if one is not being transformed, then you would have to question whether or not someone had actually been born again. If their heart was not to desire holiness, then you would have to question whether or not one was saved. But those of us who have been saved, how much more will we be saved through His life, having been reconciled to God through His death.

    No, the sin is that they reject the blood of Christ.

  108. Dee:

    “Numo did not make a false characterization. His/her conclusion was the same as mine.”

    The false characterization being referred to, Dee, is numo’s characterization of me as a gossip and judgmental. That’s what I confronted numo about. Are you saying that you agree with her? Please clarify.

    I’m all for vigorous debate and not offended by it. But when someone accuses someone of the sin of gossip or unrighteously judging others, they dang well better be able to prove it, or not make the accusation. If they make the accusation and it’s unfounded, then they need to repent. That’s why I asked her to apologize if she can’t substantiate her false characterization of me. If she could, then I’d be happy to repent.

  109. “He is NOT talking about some habitual sin after someone has been saved…..No, the sin is that they reject the blood of Christ.”

    You need to study it in depth. You have it wrong, my friend. The author never tells us he is changing the subject to unbelievers. You are making it sound like those who publicly claim to be unbelievers are in the Body. That is simply not so. They would not be there.

    The author is talking about RECOGNIZING those claiming to be saved but are not. They are fake Christians. It is a serious warning that we cannot live in WILLFUL, CONSISTENT sin knowing the truth and claim to be saved.

    Contrast this teaching with 1 John and “walking in the light”. This is significant because John also says if we say we do not sin we are a liar…so what is the deal? Walking in the light, denotes a lifestyle. It is not a lifestyle of consistent willful sin. It is a life that is striving to grow in Holiness.

    But John later says (most do not read far enough:

    4 Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God. 5 And you know that Jesus came to take away our sins, and there is no sin in him. 6 Anyone who continues to live in him will not sin. But anyone who keeps on sinning does not know him or understand who he is.

    7 Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it shows that they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous. 8 But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil. 9 Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life[a] is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they are children of God. 10 So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the devil. Anyone who does not live righteously and does not love other believers[b] does not belong to God.

    Also see Jude. These are written to professing believers. Like in Galatians.

    By the way, go ahead and call me self righteous. I believed as you did for many years:Sin is normal state for believers. It is ok and expected of us. I have seen tons of evil done to others in the Body because of that belief. Then it comes down to who defines what is sin?

    We will never obtain sinless perfection on earth because we are born in corrupted bodies. Even our thoughts are sinful and we are admonished to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Jesus Christ. So, when we sin in ACTION consistenly willfully while knowing the truth of the Gospel, we are only proving we are not really saved. Our thoughts are bad enough…as in lust being the same as adultery.

    Jesus Christ raised the bar on sin…He sacrifice did not make it OK to sin. We are not keeping laws. Our hearts are changed when we are saved. We now hate the sin we once loved.

  110. Michael-

    My apologies….thank you for your reply and for a little bit of your history with abusive leaders. I appreciate your willingness to stand up, even when it cost you.

    I admire that….

    doubtful

  111. Michael

    Gossip is a difficult word. Much of what is understood is the result of many reports of untoward experience, apologies from main players, and research after the fact. One then can form an opinion from all of the input. I my experience and reading I believe that shepherding was an abusive movement-don’t really care if it was intended or not.

    Absolute proof is difficult but where there is a tremendous amount of smoke, one must assume a fire at some point-according to my expert firefighter daughter.

    Gossip is stuff like- so and so was gay or so and so was a rapist. If those things cannot be proven, then it is gossip.

    To me, there is enough anecdotal and research info to believe the shepherding movement, along with Prince, we involved in spiritual abuse. You disagree and that is fine but that does not mean I cannot come to this conclusion.

    Once again, I apologize if I have said anything in this that was unkind as directed towards you. I know i am being harsh towards the “shepherds.”

  112. Lydia:

    My first reaction is, wow, you’re all over the map contradicting yourself. First, if we go on sinning, we’re not saved. But, those who are saved, sin.

    I agree with you that those who are saved have a heart not to sin. But, as you’ve admitted, they do sin. They will never reach perfection here on earth. They also sin willfully. You can’t tell me that when we sin, it’s not done willfully. That’s denying responsibility.

    So, your conclusion is, I think, that those who, after hearing the truth about Christ, and who continue to willfully sin, are fake Christians. They may profess Christ, but they are not actually saved. Is that what you’re saying? Are you saying this is a passage to believers to show the difference between real Christians and fake ones? Or, are you saying that if you are a true believer and continue to sin willfully, that you will actually lose your salvation? Or, are you saying that there are some who actually believe they are true believers, but never really received Christ by faith, and continue to walk in faith, therefore, continue to sin willfully, with no regret or godly sorrow, and wouldn’t repent if you asked them to?

    Okay, so, since Christians and fake Christians ALL sin, is there a number of sins that we cross over where we are declared that we are not in Christ? How many 10, 11, 576, 20,493? When is it determined that we are not believers, since we ALL sin, after all? Or, are you going to tell me that you sin, Lydia, but never do it willingly? Because if you do sin willingly, then you must not be saved, right? And if you continue to sin willfully, meaning more than once or twice, Lydia, I guess you’re going to Hell, right? So, are you a fake Christian, yourself?

    Or, are you saying it’s just a matter of the heart. We all sin, but Christians don’t want to and non-Christians do want to? I know Paul said he did the things that he did not want to and didn’t do the things he did want to. And, no, I don’t need to hear the bologna about, “Well that was before Romans 8, where he really overcame and walked flawlessly in the Spirit for the rest of his life.” Hogwash. But I have known Christians that had besetting sins that acknowledged their behavior as sinful and wanted to stop. I have known others who had the same besetting sin that would not call it sin, didn’t want to stop, and felt like God made them that way, yet still professed to know Christ. If you are saying the first person was a Christian and the second was most likely not, I would fully agree with you. If you’re saying that both were not in Christ, I would adamantly disagree with you.

    But, finally, even if they are fake Christians, whatever the heck that means, the bottom line is, those who are not saved have not received, appropriated, by faith, the perfect redemptive work that Jesus Christ did by shedding His blood and being raised from the dead. Those who trust in HIS work and not OUR ability to not sin are the ones who truly are saved. And those who reject HIS work, relying on their own ability to not sin, are the ones who sin, by trampling under foot the blood of Christ, by not receiving His forgiveness.

    The point is, however you want to get there, it ends up at the same place; you either trust in Jesus Christ to save you, by faith, receiving His forgiveness, or you reject his work. And those who do receive His forgiveness are IN CHRIST, and He most assuredly WILL save them, and they most assuredly, being in Him, will walk out their salvation with fear and trembling. And if while we were sinners, we were reconciled to Him through His death, HOW MUCH MORE will we be saved through His life in us?

    Lastly, I still think you are not even beginning to understand the context of this passage, which involves what he has been talking about since the beginning of Hebrews, contrasting the old with the new. My salvation is sure and permanent, which is contrasted with the temporal nature of Old Testament sacrifices.

  113. Dee:

    I don’t think you are on the same page or understand what I’m saying. The apology I wanted from numo related to her basically calling ME a gossip and judgmental. I asked her to show where I had gossiped. She couldn’t. I did not ask numo to give proof of gossip or being judgmental in the shepherding movement, I asked her to give proof of ME gossiping or being judgmental. She couldn’t, so, I asked her to apologize. That’s it.

    The point is, I am not going to have someone wrongly, therefore, sinfully characterize ME here, without confronting them about it. I said I am willing to repent if it was pointed out that I had gossiped or was judgmental. You know, I’ve certainly apologized in the past for behavior I thought was wrong, that I did. So, since numo basically accused me of gossiping and being judgmental, without providing evidence, because there is none, then she should repent.

  114. doubtful:

    Thank you for you kind words. No apology is necessary, from you. Confronting the pastor and being kicked out of church was one of the hardest things my family has ever had to go through, mainly because it effected my wife so much.

    But, when someone whose very job description involves getting in a pulpit and telling the truth, and gets paid for it, but then he lies there, purposely manipulating people, how can we not call him on it?

  115. Michael-

    I agree wholeheartedly and have lost a share amount of my friends for doing the same thing (this was over 10 years before I decided I no longer believed in the Bible)-so I truly understand the pain you describe.

    But the sad truth is, that websites like this exist because so few people are willing to call pastors out when they lie……

  116. “My first reaction is, wow, you’re all over the map contradicting yourself. First, if we go on sinning, we’re not saved. But, those who are saved, sin. ”

    Not at all. Let’s look at an example. A pedophile becomes born again. He continues to have bad thoughts that he constantly fights. He has complete sorrow for his sin, confesses publicly and takes the consequences. He does not molest children ever again after being saved. So, his bad thoughts are sin..technically…but he does not act on his sinful thoughts which are becoming more and more infrequent as he grows in Holiness.

    Now, could he claim to be Born Again WHILE consistently and willfully molesting children while knowing the truth.

    According to your interpretation, the answer is yes. So, one wonders what being a New Creation and Born Again really means if it does not change our hearts and our view of sin and it’s wages.

  117. “Because if you do sin willingly, then you must not be saved, right? And if you continue to sin willfully, meaning more than once or twice, Lydia, I guess you’re going to Hell, right? So, are you a fake Christian, yourself?”

    Yes.

    The passage says ‘willfully’ and ‘consistently’ while knowing the truth.

    Hopefully someone will love me enough to tell me to work out my salvation with fear and trembling because I cannot live that way and expect to see Jesus Christ in eternal paradise. I would be walking in darkness. That blood was not cheap.

  118. doubtful:

    It saddens me, really, to hear that you no longer believe in the bible. I’ve had many discussions with people about the perceived imperfections of the process of how we arrived at the bible, but still acknowledge God’s sovereignty in the process;Perfection working through imperfection.

    I know one thing without a doubt, the bible has always, and I mean always, when I applied the truths therein, been dependable in my life and has proved to be true. But, even without the bible, God has always proven true to me, and the core message makes sense. I heard Tom Nelson of Denton Bible Church say, even if it wasn’t true, our lie far exceeds anything else. Wow. So true.

  119. Lydia:

    I’m talking about you, not someone else.

    “And if you continue to sin willfully, meaning more than once or twice, Lydia, I guess you’re going to Hell, right? So, are you a fake Christian, yourself?”

    Your response –

    “Yes.”

    So, you’re admitting that you are going to Hell. Because one thing we know for sure, you do sin. You do it willingly, knowing you’re doing it. And, you are doing it consistently; I suggest that you probably have some sin that you do at least every few days or once every several weeks, etc.

    Example: A lady knows it’s wrong to gossip. One day, she’s at her prayer group and tells the ladies to pray for her friend who needs prayer, because she is entertaining the idea of having an affair. She was told that in confidence. She just sinned, becaused she gossiped about her friend. A couple weeks go by and she’s in a circle of three friends talking about various people in the church, discussing how certain people are gluttons. Then, a couple of weeks go by and she’s talking to her Christian roommate from college. They start talking about their other roommate who is getting a nose job, but who told them not to tell anyone. Yet she does. After each incident, the Holy Spirit pierces her heart and she recognizes that she has indeed gossipped. She confesses her sin and acknowledges God’s forgiveness in her life, based on the sacrificial work of Jesus’ death and resurrection. So, She’s a fake Christian, going to Hell because she willingly and consistently sins? I don’t think so.

    However, I agree with you, that if she is a true believer, the Holy Spirit’s continued work in her life will bring about holiness to such a degree that gossipping will become less frequent and will eventually disappear. If she was cold to the Holy Spirit’s conviction, did not acknowledge it as sin, didn’t care that she was gossipping, then I would certainly question whether or not she was a true believer.

  120. “And if you continue to sin willfully, meaning more than once or twice, Lydia, I guess you’re going to Hell, right? So, are you a fake Christian, yourself?”

    Your response –

    “Yes.””

    And I meant it. I knew you were talking about me. If I continue to WILLFULLY and CONSISTENLY sin, then I am not saved. Even my thoughts are sinful which I fight daily. If I am “committing” outward willful and consistent sin, then I am really in trouble and need to assess my salvation.

    And I can tell you I said I was saved for years when I really wasn’t. I was actually willfully ignorant…following man instead of Christ. A person who willfully and consistently sins is not really repentent in the true definition of the word. Not the definition bandied about today.

    Your last paragraph finally brings us to agreement in this. There is a reason that believers have the indwelling Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit convicts us our sin and we are in continual repentance growing in Holiness.

  121. Lydia:

    Okay, I see where you’re coming from, if we’re in agreement on my last paragraph. Let’s leave it at that. Thanks.

  122. Michael-

    So you admit that the Bible is imperfect and also admit that your faith really is not rooted in whether the Bible is truly the inerrant Word of God?

    It’s the best lie out there is not a truth…it is moral relativism. And as an Agnostic, I want to know the truth…

    Your statements are breathtaking to me….in an earlier post you confirmed that I would be going to hell, yet you can seriously say that Christianity may be nothing more than the best lie out of many…

    Sorry, I’ll take another helping of truth please….

  123. doubtful:

    Please read my comment again. I said I’ve had conversations about the PERCEIVED inperfections of the PROCESS of putting the bible together. God, being perfect, has the ability to work within imperfection, (humans), and produce a result that is still divine. It’s not too far from His ability to take the stupid, hurtful things we do, or which are inflicted upon us from others, and still manufacture a divine, perfect outcome in our lives, when we submit those things to Him.

    So, although there were politics and agendas that were at work within those involved in the process of producing the bible, I believe that the result was sovereignly guided and produced by God. The bottom line, it’s true, it’s truth. It has never failed me.

    Nelson said, “Even IF it wasn’t true,” but, he knows and believes passionately, as I do, that it IS true.

    My earlier comments are based solely in what the bible says the outcome is for those who reject the blood of Jesus Christ and do not have faith in His work.

  124. Michael-

    I understand what you’re saying, I’m not trying to be argumentative…but I do find it breathtaking that you could be so sure of my eternal destiny and then say things like it would still be a great lie, even though you are sure it is not.

    What you are saying (at least as I see it) is that your faith in God is rooted in your experience as a Christian and not in the Bible. I just don’t get why you would say that if you b

  125. Sorry….hit the preveiw button by accident and couldn’t edit.

    Anyway-I don’t get why you would strongly argue from your experience instead of the truth of the Bible. It smells like moral relativism to me….just saying.

    respectfully-doubtful

  126. doubtful:

    I’m not sure why you’re locking onto that quote. His point was that,

    1. we have the truth
    2. some people, (not us), think it’s not the truth, (so it would be the same as a lie to them)
    3. but even if it was, which it’s not, it far exceeds everything else

    He’s saying a ridiculous statement, which his audience knows is ridiculous, to show how much greater the truth of the bible is than anything else.

    Nelson, and I have our faith firmly based on what the bible says, not on our experience. But, the result of our faith, when lived out, has produced experiences that affirm what the bible says, additionally affirming our belief in it’s truth.

    Doubtful, regarding your eternal destiny. I’m not your judge. I don’t know you and don’t know what your eternal destiny will be, because I can’t see from now to the end of your life. You asked an honest question in an earlier thread. I presumed you wanted an honest answer, not based on someone’s opinion, but but based on the truth described in the bible.

    I’m not going to be like some of the others begging you to receive Christ and watering down God’s word and giving you some false sense of security. That’s not love. That’s an insult to the magnitude of what Jesus did for you. God didn’t ask us to repent, (literally, to change our mind), He demanded it. He didn’t ask us to love Him. The first commandment, I said commandment, is to love God.

    From what I’ve gathered, you have many issues with the bible. In my opinion, although I believe the whole bible to be true, it’s all a gift. He could have given us probably 10 verses from the bible, and it would be enough truth for us to be saved. Even if you only read John 3:16 and I John 5: 10-13, it would be sufficient for someone to be saved. So, change your mind, and believe in Him.

  127. Michael,

    Out of curiosity, which version? There were seven books removed from the Bible
    around 1517. The same people that chose which text to use when compiling the good book for the Constantine, felt led to keep these in. So the whole thing was re-done during the reformation, and actually has had quite a few major tweeks over the centuries.

    Paragraphs have come and gone as well.

    Truth is most of the Parables used in the new testament are old Egyptian sayings that pre-date christ by 1500 tears or more. (Nothing wrong with
    using a familiar analogy to make a point)

    Which one is the definitive word?

    I’ll take the answer here – Does not matter as long as you believe that Christ was the son of God, and died for your sins. That is all we need to know.

    If God is who he says he is, we should not be shocked to learn that we are most likely 99.9% wrong and mislead about the who and why of God. Otherwise we would not be human.

    Just a thought

  128. Unassimilated:

    Like I said earlier, all we need is several verses from the bible to have sufficient means by which we can be saved. The rest is a gift. What we have is more than enough, even with seven books left out and paragraphs changed, etc.

    If people want to go down the road of validating their unbelief by picking apart everything they can, who am I to stand in their way and waste my time. They won’t allow themselves to be convinced.

    I’ll give you an example. My wife loves me. But there is evidence I could find, if I scrutinized her behavior enough, to prove that she doesn’t love me. I might latch onto a time where she was in a bad mood and treated me rudely. I might consider the time that she was selfish and didn’t share her french fries with me. So, since she does not perfectly love me, never wavering, I could build a compelling case that she, in fact, proven by her behavior, does not love me. Well, in fact she does love me.

    I think you could nit pick the process of the bible compilation to death, to prove whatever your unbelieving presupposition is, if you want. I, on the other hand, could find sufficient evidence, even within a few verses, to validate my belief that the bible is sufficient to bring me to salvation. In fact, I could easily make the case that I don’t even need the bible at all to have enough truth to be saved.

    God is so great, some argue, that He is unknowable. But a God who does not have the ability to make Himself known to peanut brains like us, who would get 99.9% wrong, on our own, is not God. It is His ability, not mine, that allows me to know Him and actually get it right, and that with, or without, the bible.

    Let’s get real. Everyone knows the truth deep down inside. Some reject it. And for those who know the truth and choose to reject it, I’m not going to convince them about anything concerning the bible. They need the perceived imperfections to validate their rejection of the Truth.

  129. “Let’s get real. Everyone knows the truth deep down inside.”

    I believed that three or four years ago. Now I’m not sure *I* even know the “truth” deep down inside. This is what “spiritual abuse” does to a person.

  130. Michael-

    Your 3rd point is non-sense….if it is a lie, and Islam is true, than you will suffer eternally from the judgement of Allah by ignoring his word by his messenger Mohammed.

    How could a lie be better than the truth….you’re only confirming my agnosticism with this sort of nonsense.

  131. I could nit pick either side I suppose. Between seminary, Latin studies, too many years of ancient Greek, and having studied in both Egypt and Israel, I have been presented with many of the facets and arguments about the text in its current form. In the end, Christ either was or wasn’t who he claimed. (Know that I am not trying to pick, or posture, just thinking out loud and was interested in the perspective)

    God gives us a choice and opportunity. What we do with that rest on us. Love, if it is not something one chooses, is really just servitude.

    Abusive ministries take that relationship out of the realm of choice, love, and faith, and turn it into obligation, submission, and judgment.

    I would hope that we would all know deep inside, but there are times where I too could relate to R who said, “Now I’m not sure *I* even know the “truth” deep down inside. This is what “spiritual abuse” does to a person.”

    When one spends years immersed in the works and manipulations of man, being told it is God at work, one can lose that inner compass. Even if one doesn’t loose that compass, it is beyond difficult to embrace God when he seems to allow his name to be used for such abusive endeavors.

    I have literally buried friends who took their own lives from the “loving pursuit”
    and high requirements these shepherding merchants unleash. I had a top
    apostle ask me to keep an event, that disqualified him from leadership, secret as to, “Not unnecessarily tempt” the membership.

    Someone once said that Christians themselves are both the best argument for Christianity, and the best argument against Christianity.

    I suppose that is why Christ always pointed to the Kingdom above, while correcting & rebuking the institutions of “God” here on earth.

  132. Unassimilated/R

    I believe that the priesthood of the believers have a grave responsibility to be a light. Many Christians want it both ways. We want to be the light but, when we spread darkness due to our own neglect then we want to blame others for not seeing God who is “so obvious.”

    I believe the shepherding movement, along with today’s hyper-authoritarian pastors and legalistic sheep have done serious harm to the cause for Christ and I think, one day, we will know just how badly this has hurt those who might seek for the truth. And yes, their have been some who have turned to suicide. If that doesn’t strike a pain in your heart, then I wonder about your faith.

  133. doubtful:

    You’re not thinking clearly. You’re not getting it. IT IS NOT A LIE. let me repeat. IT IS NOT A LIE! How many ways to I have to say it. It is not a lie.

    My third point was “but even if it was, WHICH IT’s NOT, it far exceeds everything else.

    Let me rephrase, IT IS THE TRUTH, anf the truth far exceeds everything else. Now, you can deal with that.

    I’m not confirming your agnosticism. Your unbelief is on your own head.

  134. Unassimilated:

    Great points and well thought out.

    I couldn’t help think of Watchman Nee and others who suffered real abuse, remaining in prison for two decades, but remained strong in faith. I understand that he was abused by those who did not believe, instead of those who did. I guess when you receive abuse by those who say they believe, acting contrary to what they say they believe, it become’s confusing, and the association drawn to the belief gets muddy.

    However, I wonder why some question their belief in God when it’s man, not God, who abuses. I experienced some abuse, as well, but it did not even touch my belief in God. I just became more aware of how sinful leaders can be, and all the pedestals will kicked out from all leaders.

  135. R

    I understand the darkness that can come with having the wool pulled over your eyes from someone who is supposed to bring truth, love and grace, yet become the violators instead of the protectors.

    I still believe that you know the truth deep within, although it may seem hard to embrace it, now, because of its close association with those who hurt you. I’m truly sorry for your pain and the experiences you’ve gone through.

    When I was kicked out of church, my wife could not even eat or get out of bed for days. She was so depressed. Life seemed hopeless and all the friends we relied on were cut off from her. She was in dispair. My daughter would read the promises of God from the Psalms, and that began to bring hope to us again.

    Those Psalms told of how God would recompense those who do evil, which brought us comfort. They spoke of vindication. They told of how God would bring us into a broad place and bring healing. And they spoke of God’s forgiveness, His healing, His love, His faithfulness, His truth, and His grace. We came through it, although the pain still sticks up his ugly head from time to time. But, I want you to know, that all those things we read about in the Psalms came true for us. God is true to His word and we are experiencing joy again.

    I pray that this will be true for you. God taught us a great deal during the past few years.

    First, He taught us that our allegiance is not to a church, it is to Him alone. Second, our family takes priority over anything to do with a church, because we are the first church, me, my wife, and children. Third, we want to be part of a community of believers, but having the first two lessons firmly rooted in our hearts, we can walk away anytime. And that allows us to be involved, but not care so much about the church politics and doctrines that we know we disagree with. We can disagree with them in silence because we don’t really care enough about their politics to make them conform to all that we believe.

    Finally, Romans 1 says that which is known about God is evident within all of us. I believe that. I hope that you will look past those who have hurt you, in fact, forgive them, because they really didn’t know what they were doing, spiritually, (they, themselves, were deceived), and look to God for healing and truth. A word of warning, if you don’t forgive them, things will not go well for you.

  136. To anyone who has difficulty understanding why people might feel that they do not know who God is; that he has deserted them; that they are overwhelmed with doubt:

    please read the Psalms. The psalmists are among the most eloquent voices (ever, I think) in describing what the depths of pain, suffering and doubt feel like.

    The thing is: these are normal human emotions and experiences. In the face of great losses, of betrayals, of the death of relationships – we can all feel profoundly alone, even forsaken.

    I think that’s one of the reasons the Psalms are there, and also one of the reasons that Jesus quoted one of them while he was on the cross.

    Perhaps it takes the death of a loved one, or the disintegration of a marriage, or losing a job and being impoverished as a result, or a bout with clinical depression and/or other physical or mental illnesses, or.any number of deeply painful and profoundly life-changing events for one to be able to understand why God might seem far away, or academic, or just simply not there.

    I believe that God is there in the depths, but it can be very hard to believe that at times.

    And I not only believe that he knows that, I believe that it’s more than OK with him.

    We have this treasure in earthen vessels, after all, and earthen vessels can spring a leak, get cracked – even shattered altogether.

    One other thought: it’s one thing to know about suffering on paper – in other words, to observe it and know that it exists. It’s another thing altogether to experience it oneself (includes the suffering of those very close to a person).

    Dare I say that God is not worried about our times of doubt and despair?

    Yes. He loves us in all our humanity. If he did not, Christ would not have chosen to become incarnate.

    Think about the ramifications of that for a while….

  137. Michael and stunned: aw shucks! And thanks, too.

    It felt good to be able to put those feelings into words, and I hope those words will help others.