Wade Burleson and Pete Briscoe: Two Pastors Who Really Get It!

We cannot lead anyone else further than we have been ourselves. John Maxwell

North America Nebula-NASA

North America Nebula-NASA



The other day, TWW received a comment from “Casey” that our blog needs to be more “balanced.” We have asked him to clarify but to no avail. In the past couple of weeks, TWW has been doing a series of articles based on current events. The posts were based on issues that have been raised during the month of October. For example, last week, Al Mohler gave a lecture at the rather dubious “Creation” Museum. So, Deb researched what was said and shared it with our readers. Monday’s post, on fundamental evangelicals rejecting reason, was based on an NPR show and a New York Times article, both of which occurred in October, as well.

We both scour our newspapers and daily scan various news sites for items of interest. However, we are always open to suggestions for story ideas. We are currently reviewing a number of stories in order to continue to discuss psychology and the church. We are also gathering information on the neo-dominion movement (we think we may call them Domionistas). But, these involve extensive reading and research.

On Monday, I read a comment on FBC Jax Watchdog by “‪Thy Peace “ which led me to a post written by Wade Burleson in 2009 here. It was titled Lessons in Dealing With a Disgruntled Member

In this post, Wade transparently explained how he dealt with a difficult situation involving some members of his church who were having secret meetings which revolved around their dissatisfaction with Wade. In other words, a rebellion was mounting. Can you imagine how Sovereign Grace Ministires would respond to such a thing? How about Mark Driscoll, Steve Gaines or Mac Brunson?

In fact, Burlseon contrasted his response to the response of Mac Brunson who poorly handled a similar situation in his church. TWW has extensively covered the First Baptist Church Jacksonville/Mac Brunson/Tom Rich debacle and our new readers can begin reading about the situation here. We declared this fiasco, The Story of the Year for 2010.

Although, I had read this post a couple of years ago, somehow it hit me right in my heart and I teared up. Since my initial reading in 2009, TWW has learned of many, many situations in which pastors have given the right boot of fellowship to any member who would dare ask questions about the pastor’s salary, his method of leadership, etc. One only has to look at the incredibly sad saga of Sovereign Grace Ministries to see what appears to be the heavy hand of retribution applied to members who raise concerns about a church.

So, in the interest of balance, we would like to present two pastors who we believe are doing it right.




Pete Briscoe: Bent Tree Bible Fellowship (BTBF), Carrollton, Texas 

  • Church link
  • Blog link (Shared with his parents-Jill and Stuart Briscoe)

Pete ruined me, plain and simple. You see, he handled conflict so well that I was forever changed, believing that all pastors would be like him. I attended BTBF for about 7 years, ending in 2001 when I returned to my beloved North Carolina. In the ensuing years, I was involved in watching another church handle a conflict in such a poor manner that I felt I had entered the Twilight Zone. I was soon to learn that Pete was one of those rare pastors who truly “gets it.”

While at BTBF, we became aware of a situation, which involved a third party (not us) that was unresolved. In fact, we became so concerned about it because we believed it could have serious ramifications for the church. I am not at liberty to share the details but it did not involve any moral, legal or financial failing. In fact, the action itself was justified but was handled in such a way that outsiders could make assumptions that might be reasonable but were not true.

Yuck. So, after much prayer, my husband and I decided to approach both Pete and the elders in confidence. At first, their response was somewhat negative yet they decided to dialogue with us. We requested they meet with the involved party and us to discuss the matter.

What transpired at that meeting still brings tears to my eyes. Everyone was tense and there was obvious disagreement on all sides. Suddenly, Pete sat bolt upright in his chair, held both his hands up and said something to the effect of “I get it! You are right. This needs to be corrected immediately.” We were all stunned at his insistence on doing the right thing, even though, superficially, it did appear that the church leadership had responded appropriately.

And they went out of their way to do the right thing, over and above what was required. No one in the church, outside of our little group, ever knew what had transpired and unity was restored. All parties were able to continue to worship together. And, if I might add, everyone had a little spring in their step because all was well.

Pete went a step further, demonstrating, forever, his incredible humility. We were attending a large leadership meeting at the church. My husband and I were taking notes since Pete was speaking and his teaching is awesome. He stopped and pointed the two of us out. He said, “See those two taking notes. They did something for me that helped my ministry. They took a risk and did the right thing and I am thankful.”

Why mention this? Pete could have kept the whole incident quiet. We had been so grateful for his response but he wanted to admit it publicly. Why? He is a truly humble man. At that moment, I saw the beauty of an organic body, loving and supporting one another, through thick and thin. And this vision will give me strength until I rejoice in unity with the saints in glory.

So, our readers might be able to imagine my surprise that my next church did not respond in a similar fashion. Instead of humility, they decided to hide behind a façade of “authority” and have never fully dealt with the ramifications of their actions. However, I am grateful for this former church’s response. Had they not behaved in this manner, I would never have believed the many sad stories that have been shared with us at TWW. We can truly say that this former church may have responded shabbily but God used it for His purposes in this blog. Now, we, too, are part of the Fellowship of the Wounded and get it.

And until the day we lay down our computers, we will never stop writing about those abused by churches.


Wade Burleson Pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church, Enid, OK.

I am taking a chance that Wade will not mind me reprinting part of his post here. You can read the full post at the link previously provided. Once again, this post caused me to tear up in thanks that such a pastor is out there ministering, not merely preaching (which he also does extremely well).

Secret Meetings and Secret Complaints

There was man at Emmanuel who was not happy with the hiring of a particular staff member. He felt that the staff member displayed personal qualities unbecoming of a pastor (i.e. "impatience," "sarcasm," etc . . .), and the disgruntled member and his wife began to meet with three or four other families to "pray" for this staff member and our church. During the meetings which were held at the home of the dissatisfied member, other issues began to be discussed, issues involving me personally. The leader of the group felt that the hiring of this staff member reflected poorly on my pastoral leadership. Others began to question my salary and ask if the Senior Pastor was making too much money. A couple of the church members had heard that I was a member of the local Country Club and wondered if the church gave me that benefit, etc . . . They decided that they would meet on a regular basis, invite others to join them, and pray for our church.

Eventually someone told me about the meetings. Immediately, there was a mental decision that I had to make. Were these disgruntled members who were questioning my decisions, salary and benefits, and other matters as important to the Lord's kingdom as those church members who express appreciation for my pastoral leadership? I gave an immediate "yes" to that question in my mind.

As a result, I had to ask myself a second question: How can I affirm the people who were secretly meeting and how can I encourage them spiritually, while at the same time not reacting defensively to either their attitude or their questions? The person who had told me about the meetings had been invited himself to attend, and he knew that the group was going to ask others to come and be a part the following Friday. There was obviously an intentional effort to make the dissident group larger. Yet, I had to settle in my mind and heart that my goal could never be to prevent, control or dominate these people in any form or fashion. Jesus came to set people free, and that means disgruntled church members should be free to dissent and disagree with their pastor – and tell others of it! And, I should be free to accept it as from the Lord. It's a little like King David when Shemei was cursing him and Abishai, David's servant said, "Shall I go cut that dead dog's head off?" King David said, "Let him alone. God has bidden him to speak." As pastor, I see every event, even the difficult ones, as God refining my character.

Compassion, not Confrontation

I decided the best way to approach the disgruntled member was to personally contact him and let him know that I knew of the meetings, and that I affirmed all the members' rights to participate. Further, I determined that I would volunteer to meet with them, if they desired, to try to answer all questions they felt important. I also wanted to express my appreciation for their prayers for our church.

And that is what I did. Nobody else was involved. Just me. I expressed to the disgruntled member all of the above and told him I would be more than happy to attend the next meeting and answer any and all questions if he would like, believing that it is always best to communicate directly when there are differences or disagreements.

The disgruntled church member was a little taken aback. Later he told me that he was most surprised at my affirmation that he and the group had every right to meet. He also was taken aback at my expressions of love for him, especially knowing that I knew he was attempting to lead a growing group of dissidents to question my leadership. He would later tell me that this knowledge did not diminish the love and grace I displayed for him personally, and that this was what most impressed him.

Transparency, not Terseness

During our conversation I sought to answer any and all questions he had. We talked about the hiring of the staff member and I explained the process under which he was hired and assured him that any concerns he might have about a pastor at Emmanuel not relating with church members in a gracious manner was an important concern. I shared with him how that particular issue had already been addressed with the staff member in question and how it would continue to be addressed if needed. We then discussed my salary. Our church places all salaries into one lump sum when the budget is presented, and Emmanuel's Finance Committee had made this a practice long before I came as pastor. My preference would be that all salaries be broken out individually within the annual budget, but I have been overruled by the Finance Committee members. However, it is church policy, and a wise one at that, that ANY member who desires to know the salaries of staff members, including the pastor, only has to ask. He demurred and said he really didn't wish to know, but I told him my salary and benefits anyway, believing it was an important question for him to have answered and he was just too embarrassed to ask me.

Then we talked about my membership at the Country Club. I told him that the church does pay the $300 monthly dues, but I pay all my expenses, including meals and guest fees. I also explained that I knew in Enid that some might view my membership at the Country Club as exclusive, but we had a very particular reason for the membership – the people there need Christ as much as the poor. I related how I had been able to build multiple relationships through meeting peole at Oakwood Country Club, and had been asked by many non-churched Enidites to perform funerals for family members, had been able to lead several to faith in Christ, and through my contacts, many Christian family members had become members of Emmanuel. I also told him I loved the golf course (a Perry Maxwell course, no less!).

He laughed a little with me and we discussed a few more issues, and I spent about an hour talking with him about any and all his concerns. I ended the conversation in this manner:

"I may have not been able to answer your questions completely, and even if I have, you still may not agree with my decision making. Please know that your disagreement with the pastor of Emmanuel is not only all right, it is healthy. The main thing you should know is that you have every right to question me, and even if you think I make too much money, shouldn't be a member of the Country Club, or shouldn't have led the Personnel Committee to hire a particular staff member, our disagreement will never be, in any form or fashion, an impediment to me loving you and being a pastor to you. Feel free to relay what we have discussed to those you are meeting with, and know that you have my complete support in continuing to meet. You can invite anyone and everyone you desire to join you, and if you have more questions, I will be happy to come meet with you. If, after evaluation, you feel you can't worship with us because of a disagreement, please know that you have our blessing and full support to join another sister church and we will recommend you with Christian love and grace. Bottom line, I'm never above questioning, nor are you are ever beyond my desire to see our mutual walk with Christ strengthened."

The man teared up a bit. Thanked me for visiting with him, and we parted.

When Leadership Cares About People

Two weeks later, in church, he stopped me. He thanked me for taking the time to contact him, expressing his sorrow he had not contacted me before he had talked with others. He thanked me for answering his questions and addressing his concerns and said that after listening to me preach for 15 years he should have known that I would have responded with grace and transparency to any questions he had. He then expressed his love for me and mentioned how much he respected me. He said the group was no longer meeting, and all of them voiced at their last meeting that they wanted their families to be a part of a church where leaders affirmed them, even when they disagreed.

To this day, this man and the three or four families that met with him those few times remain faithful members of Emmanuel.”


Why the Fellowship of the Wounded should continue to hope.

Sometime, in the last year, I made a comment on Wade’s blog in which I said that he reminds me of Pete Briscoe. I become more and more convinced of this every day.

Both of these men clearly:

  • Exude love
  • Show transparency
  • Are courageous
  • Exhibit humility
  • Pursue peace
  • Put others above themselves
  • Demonstrate patience
  • Model perseverance 

Many of our readers have been so hurt by the church that they find it difficult to believe that there may actually be loving and Godly leaders out there. If Pete and Wade exist, there are bound to many more. And finding such men (and women) is worth the search. In fact, I know one or two others but their stories are for another time.

In the meantime, I would suggest that you tune into their websites and listen to their sermons online while you continue to search.

This is a shout out to these two men. Thank you for doing it well. We pray for both of you and know that one day you both will hear “Well done, good and faithful servants!”

Lydias Corner: 2 Chronicles 19:1-20:37 Romans 10:14-11:12 Psalm 21:1-13 Proverbs 20:4-6


Wade Burleson and Pete Briscoe: Two Pastors Who Really Get It! — 50 Comments

  1. Dee,

    Thanks for this encouraging example of God at work when “all” humbly submit to one other and those involved aren’t looking for “sin.” No “lording it over the flock” detected in this example.

    Regarding Casey – it might be that because of the nature (reason) of your blog (or possibly the nature of the “Church” right now? – ick), the articles seem to be of a negative tone, possilby because the issues are not very pleasant. Then, again, most of the news (current events) we get in the paper are of a negative tone. We hear about things when they have gone awry, but not so much when there is something “good happening.” I guess good/positive news isn’t as exciting?

  2. Bridget
    When we first started this blog, we found that we received no comments on the “nice”posts. I began to understand why. Most people can find the good stuff Way too many churches like to pretend that “it is all good.” I think people are looking for others who have thought in similar ways so they know they are not alone. This is a place for those who are looking for, as CS Lewis would say, “What, you too?? I thought I was the only one!”

  3. So glad to hear about this. Our pastors have also exhibited the same qualities in the face of dissension. And we attend an SGM church! For now. The Lord is still on his throne. And we are still to say with Joseph (when his brothers feared for their lives in Egypt), “Am I in the place of God?”

  4. Dee –

    I completely understand the viewpoint for the content in the blog. But I don’t know why you initially started it or how long ago (2009?).

  5. debtortomercy –

    I’m in the same boat in an SGM church. People tend to wonder about our staying. If it wasn’t for our local pastor and what is going on locally, I wouldn’t want to stay. Some of what I have learned on the blogs these past months has been, well, astonishing to say the least. I’m thankful for a pastor who was in ministry for years before SGM and pastor’s college, plus he went to seminary school. Thankful God has spared us much (but not all) of the issues. I am very concerned about the carnage left around the country and the lack of integrity being exibited, along with many other lacks!

  6. Wow! Wade Burleson’s response was amazing. It gives me hope that there are still wise, humble, courageous pastors out there whose hearts are in the right place.

  7. Bridget
    We started this blog about 2 1/2 years ago. Before we started, we had planned to look at stuff in the news and evaluate them from a faith perspective. However, a nasty little incident happened at a former church while we were in process of starting the blog. It totally changed our perspective. Now, although we look at stuff in the news, we often assess how this affects the average guy in the pew. We give a hoot about how people are being hurt by the church . So we look at what causes people pain, evaluate the theology, and call it as we see it. As you can see from a recent comment below this-some people who have their idols questioned are not happy.

  8. Dee-

    Our pastors have had discussions with some of the leadership in SGM. I don’t know what’s been said. Our pastors’ conference is coming up, and it should be interesting to hear some of what takes place there.

  9. I grew up in a series of (mainly) pentecostal/charismatic oriented churches. It’s my experience that most p/c’s tend towards fundamentalism, while claiming “freedom in Christ”. (you can believe anything you want, as long as its what we believe…)

    Our last church was a Vineyard associated church, and while the people there are lovely, I’d drifted considerably left-wards, and hadn’t been happy with a lot of what passes for “charismatic” church for a long time. My wife was happy there, so we stayed, and I mainly kept my mouth shut (but rolled my eyes a lot) 😉

    A bit over a year ago we left and ended up at yet another somewhat conservative, yet Pentecostal church.

    After about six weeks there I realized during a service that I didn’t feel defensive. Like that moment when you realise the hiccups are gone, I realized how defensive I’d felt, and for how long. And we were happy…

    Then a few months ago, I ran into someone from our old church, who asked where we were going to church. When I told her, she let loose with a lengthy rant about the church, and some fairly specific and serious accusations about the church (as above, no moral failings). So, nervous as all get-out, I went and had a chat with the assistant pastor.

    He was open, and transparent, and explained as far as he could (without breaching any confidence) the other side of the story. I’d expected to be stonewalled, and was instead invited to be honest, and ask any questions I needed to about the leadership.

    A couple of months ago, they played a short video during the service from athe leader of a very conservative Christian lobby group; afterwards, one of the leadership got up and agreed with the video, and also stated that “this was the position of the church”. I found this unnerving, not so much because I disagreed, but what would be the outcome were the leadership to find out that I didn’t hold to the same position? Would I be asked to change my mind or leave?

    So I approached the pastor after the service and was straight up with him. I was told that it was ok. They didn’t expect every member to hold every position of the church, and I wouldn’t be asked to leave.

    Finally, a few weeks ago the evolution/creation discussion came up with a couple of other guys after church. One of them is an elder, and was previously the senior pastor. The younger guy (a friend of mine!) started to ridicule people who believed in evolution or an old earth. The elder then explained that he was an old-earth creationist, and that the creation wasn’t so much the point, as Who was responsible. Since I’m both old-earth and lean towards theistic evolution, I was finally able to relax… Even if I did have to point out to my friend that I’m one of “those people” he was ridiculing 😉

    It’s nice to feel like I’m safe in a church after all these years.

  10. Warwick

    Thank you for sharing your story. It is so important for others to see that there are still some “good guys” out there. Sometimes I weary when people tell me that no church is perfect. Believe me, I know, since I am a member and I know how imperfect I am. (You know the old Woody Allen saw-I wouldn’t want to be a member of a club that has me as a member..)

    But, I contend, within that imperfection, there must be humility and kindness. So, your story showed exactly that. “they played a short video during the service from athe leader of a very conservative Christian lobby group; afterwards, one of the leadership got up and agreed with the video, and also stated that “this was the position of the church” Their response: “So I approached the pastor after the service and was straight up with him. I was told that it was ok. They didn’t expect every member to hold every position of the church, and I wouldn’t be asked to leave.”

    I find showing such a video in church ridiculous. But, they encouraged you in your dissent . That is very hopeful.

    One thing about your story makes me so sad. The fact that any church would “ask someone to leave” over differences of opinion seems the antithesis to the ministry of our Lord. I am not talking rank sin here. I can tell you that at Pete’s church, people of all sorts of secondary leanings are not only welcome but are an integral part of the fellowship. And that is how it should be. May you find continue to find safety and acceptance along with peace in your new church.

  11. I must say it is so nice to hear of pastors who “get it.” Our last two church experiences involved questioning one pastor regarding the churches “vision.” He told us that if we didn’t agree with it we just needed to find another church. The second pastor (of a separate church) would have never gone for any questioning. After all, he was ordained by God to be in his position, therefore, we could not question.

  12. Dee –

    Thanks for the snipit of history on Wartburg. It’s helpful to know what shaped your decision to write what you write. Thanks for being willing to take on some of the contraversial (sp) issues that are out there. I find that most people don’t even want to talk about issues much less blog for all to read. There just seems to be a lot of judgement AND fear in people. And those are two areas addressed quite often in the Bible.

  13. I read this post when it was originally posted on Wade’s site. I agree with the way he handled the situation.

    I also agree with the way the member responded. Wade’s approach obviously helped in that regard.

    But I have found that most difficult situations to resolve are those where there is an honest disagreement about particular issues.

    If a church changes its governing structure, or makes salary decisions that others do not agree with, can’t live with AND they have a method to try and reverse those decisions, and they decide not to leave, but press the issue. That’s when things get really tough.

    But it sure does help on the front end for there to be this kind of openness.

  14. “to be a part of a church where leaders affirmed them, even when they disagreed”

    I long for that type of church leadership. As a member of Ed Young’s Fellowship Church for 10 years, I was always aware of those who disagreed with one thing or another, and the common response from Ed and his senior staff was always, “then this must not be your church. Go somewhere else, we need your seat.” So, knowing that was the likely outcome to any ‘concern’ I might have, I always played it safe, never really coming out of the shadows, liking the role I played at the church more than the likely outcome should I raise my hand in question.

    Finally, I raised my hand, I commented, I questioned, I raised the red flag of ‘really? this is your position’ and, as so many before me, apparently FC needed my seat. Authority is everything there. Ed’s insecurity is blinding, but his authority is untouchable. There is an ounce of humility, but that is all, one single solitary ounce. And when I read about Burleson and Briscoe, what I see is a foundation of humility. And I can’t wait to live in that world again. Very soon.

    Thanks Dee for all you write about. Sometimes I am wildly interested and other times just sort of interested, but all the while intrigued.

  15. Dee, wonderful, inspiring post. As a former SGMer looking for a new home, I have been so discouraged by so much of what I see and hear about in the conservative evangelical/fundagelical movement, that I wonder if there is any humble leadership left in the arena. So nice to know that there are godly men and women practicing the kind of Christian leadership that is so sorely needed and sorely lacking in authoritarian SGM. I could go on and on about this post, but there are others that are bound to say it much better than I can, so I’ll stop now and just read their comments. 🙂

  16. Debtortomercy,

    I’m glad you feel your SGM leaders are like the ones above. I, however, cannot be but a bit dubious at that declaration. I’m NOT saying you are lying, I only think that SGM pastors do a great job of acting like they are humble, without backing it up with any kind of tangible, identifiable changes in function or doctrine. I have been involved with three SGM churches, and I cannot fathom for a minute that they would ever allow a group of suspicious and concerned members to gather together, alone, apart from “leadership”, or CG members, and have it actually be encouraged that these “disgruntled members” freely invite others to join and to discuss whatever they see fit. I simply can never see that happening in this universe. These members would be berrated from the pulpit and drummed out if they did not change.

    Are we talking about the same SGM church group? The kind that forbids the reading of Brent’s documents, labels all anti-SGM bloggers as slanderer and gossipers who’s faith and salvation should be called into question?

    If indeed it is true that your SGM pastors are like those in this post, then they need to advise SGM on the right way to behave and respond, and if SGM does not respond, I suggest your church leave that movement immediately.

  17. My wife and I were greatly blessed by a pastor who “got it” when we were first married. He had founded the church, and exemplified those characteristics of love, transparency, humility, peacefulness, deference, patience and perseverance mentioned above. AND he never compromised in preaching or counseling the truth. AND he encouraged “every joint” in the body to “supply”, recognizing his role as “equipping the saints for the work of ministry”. As has happened elsewhere, some folks eventually took advantage of the great freedom we were given. My family and some others had moved out of state on a sort of homeland mission, and this pastor spared no time or expense to help us all survive. Back home, where another pastor had assumed responsibility, some “health and wealth” teachers came in. Many people longed for God to do something greater than we’d seen through the “foolish” “word of the cross”, and the founding pastor was eventually forced out with no retirement.

  18. Anonymous
    Do you know how rare a response like this is? I have become quite rattled by the number of churches which employ heavy handed authoritarian, “my way or the highway” leadership. In my one bad experience, a pastor told me, get this, that his elders disagree with him only twice in 28 years!!! It would be laughable only some people got really, really hurt in this church.
    If that pastor has responded in a loving fashion, actually dialoging with the legitimate concerns of the people involved, things never would have progressed the way they did. Instead, he slipped a lawyer incognito onto his investigation committee, asked the people to meet with them to tell their stories without notifying them there was a lawyer present. The Catholic church pulled a similar stunt by having defense attorneys take the hot line calls the church established to help victims of pedophile priests!Thank heavens for Google!
    We need to have more pastors like Briscoe and Burleson.

  19. Kathi
    Unfortunately, your experience is very common in today’s authoritarian churches. In some respects, they did you a favor. They admitted their sin up front and you were able to escape it. Far too many hide and then abuse people who have grown to trust them.

  20. Argo
    I pray that you will find an awesome pastor with a humble heart. They are out there but the search can be difficult. And you say things very well! What are you talking about?!

  21. Argo

    I agree with your your comment to debttomercy. I, too, am a bit suspicious. How would some really good guys survive in that hot house of authoritarians? If such strange birds exist, their story would be worth telling.

  22. FormerFellow

    Having attended the your church for a couple of years, I believe and affirm your story. We exited stage left and landed in Pete’s church. It was so different, I was almost in shock. I am so glad we gave up our seat when we did.

    Ed had different fish to fry with this church. He, and Lisa, got what they wanted-lots of money, fancy clothes, a very, very expensive espresso machine, complete with barista lessons, and a group of admirers who protect them from reality.

    Believe this. You are not alone in your rejection by Ed. There are many, many others. You are now part of the Fellowship of the Wounded. And God is merciful to those who have spiritual pain in this world. (Blessed are the poor in sprit). You have friends here as well and we have all, in one way or another, been hurt. Please read our Wonderland series to get an idea of what we mean.

    Someday, Ed will stand before God and see all the people he hurt. And maybe, he may see it in this life as well. Eventually, if he knows the Lord, he will find it hard to sleep at night. You can deceive yourself for only so long before the Spirit starts pounding on you. Pray that his eyes may be opened.

  23. Wow, what examples of humble pastors not stroking their own ego. It contrasts what I experienced at Covenant Life Church under C.J. Mahaney. And earlier this year, I questioned my pastor about a few incidents, and was very quickly told that he didn’t feel comfortable with me as a leader in the church, and maybe it was time for me to look around for another church. In a few weeks, all my friends had left the church after conversing with him. I have no interest in ever being pastored by a narcissist again!

  24. David
    I despise the health and wealth gospel! It is a scourge on the faith.
    I am so sorry for your pastor. Yet, he follows in the footsteps of the disciples who, except for John, left this world as martyrs. Some day he will see the face of God. I wonder about those prosperity preachers. I think they may see the face of the one who spawned this false gospel and realize what a drastic mistake they made. They are looking for their reward in this world. They may not get any in the next.

  25. Former CLC

    I would like to write a book about truly humble people. CJ’s book is NOT an example of humility. I think someone should consider writing a book about some wonderful people like these two. The world could use some really good examples. You were smart to get the heck out of there. Never, ever stay in a church in which a pastor treats the priesthood in such a derogatory manner.

  26. Yay, finally a positive article. One positive out of 100 or so doesn’t exactly make it “balanced” but it is nice to have a break from the negative. Someone stated:

    “it might be that because of the nature (reason) of your blog (or possibly the nature of the “Church” right now? – ick), the articles seem to be of a negative tone, possibly because the issues are not very pleasant.”

    Yes, the nature of what is being shared is not good, however the spin is very negative in tone. It seems that there is nothing good or right to be found in the Southern Baptists, Sovereign Grace Ministries, Young Earthers, Homeschoolers, etc. etc. I just don’t believe that. God can and will use very flawed people and situations to bring “good to those who are called according to His purpose.” He is a God of grace and unfortunately I don’t read much grace on this blog. How sad.

  27. strawberry red

    Have you read out articles on Francis Chan, David Platt, Hugh Ross or Francis Collins? How about our Easter message, Christmas posts, 9/11 posts, Veteran’s posts?

    Also, this blog is all about grace, counteracting the authoritarian churches who demand obedience. It’s all a matter of perspective.

  28. “Have you read out articles on Francis Chan, David Platt, Hugh Ross or Francis Collins? How about our Easter message, Christmas posts, 9/11 posts, Veteran’s posts”

    Actually, yes I have read most of those posts, but a few in the midst of many still doesn’t make it “balanced”.

    I fail to see how “counteracting the authoritarian churches who demand obedience” displays grace. Writing a negative article about them doesn’t read “grace” to me. Unless you have a different understanding of grace than I do. Please help me to understand your perspective.

    The other point I was trying to make was that even though these groups might be doing many things wrong there are good things to find if we take the time to look. God is still at work among the SBC and SGM etc. believe it or not.

  29. It is sad that what can be written about many churches and their “ministry” is that their polity is authoritarian and hierarchical (contrary to scripture), their leadership is narcissistic, and their church discipline abusive of the weak and injured. This occurs while they preach and teach about humility and grace.

    BTW, the Calvinista definition of grace is that God decides to whom it is provided and that the recipient has no choice to receive the “gift”. A forced acceptance is not a gift and so it is not grace at all.

  30. Dee:

    I really do not know how common that is.

    I have had the blessing of having good pastoral examples.

    I have noticed that in a church that had an open, town-hall style, democracy, that the political stakes were high, and that there were often small “movements” to do this or that, and to build the necessary political support. Maybe churches like that have more instances like this because political power can be exercised to vote the pastor out and such.

    But that would not explain one writer above referencing Ed Young, Jr. I thought he had an extreme corporate structure, with “Elders” or Board Members actually living out of state or something.

    What’s he got to be nervous about?

    It’s good to be the king! (as Mel Brooks would say).

  31. “But He gives more grace. Therefore it says ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble’.” James 4:6

  32. Strawberry Red and others who are looking for a nice blog

    I have spent some time thinking about your criticism and have decided that I think you need to redirect your efforts if you are looking for a “nice” blog. When we started this blog, we had a vision. And that vision has been born out in this blog. If you want something nice, I would suggest that you go to the following blogs since you are looking for the “good” things.

    -CBMW-as long as you are a nice complementarian and believe in the patriarchy and don’t talk too much-all is well
    -SGM-they say they are best church planting organization with awesome anointed pastors
    -Al Mohler-smartest guy on the planet and best buddy to Ken Ham and CJ
    -CJ Mahaney-he is so humble and gives lotsa money to SBTS
    -Answers in Genesis-all is very well in the past 6000 years over there
    -Anyone at SBTS-as long as you are for the Calvinists you are awesome
    -Anyone at SWBTS-as long as you are for the Arminianists, you are great
    -Girltalk-as long as you love flower arranging, you will be thrilled. Although Carolyn has been a bit testy of late
    -The panoply of blogs at the Gospel Coalition-there is nothing negative in Reformed land so long as you love Piper and, as an added bonus, Thabiti is into salsa dancing. However, no negative comments or Bible verses referring to anything negative are allowed (and we have some very specific info on that),
    -Then, go to many churches on Sunday and listen to the pastor who is “in authority.” -Just be sure to shut up and tithe and go on cruises with the pastor and his wife
    -Go to Christian radio and listen to all the nice presentations from all the pastors. Everyone is doing things wonderfully! They are all making lots of money and everyone is getting healed.

    You will find exactly what you want and much, much more. They write about all the “nice” things. Then you will not have to trouble yourself about this blog which deals with the nasty, negative stuff and attracts hurting people. Better yet-start your own blog and write about all the wonderful things going on out there. Who knows-your passion for us really may be a calling for you.

    This blog is a voice that is not commonly heard in churches or “conferences.” TWW exposes the pain experienced by many people when they attended the “nice” churches. And we evaluate the “nice” theology that leads to this nonsense.

    There is no need to worry about us. We are just one small voice saying “Hey wait just one darned minute” in the midst of a self congratulatory “anointed” club. We are small and insignificant. However, we seem to have attracted a lot of attention but we are very easy to ignore. We are not influential because we are not related to Mahaney, Patterson, Piper or Mohler. We are women and as you know, many of the “nice” churches think we are gullible and easily deceived. Did you know some guys actually learn things over here so that makes us really, really suspect? This very fact means this blog is guilty of one of the biggest “au courant” sins-teaching a man.

    I bet we could never write enough “nice” stuff for you to be satisfied and I wonder if we have been negative about one of your particular “people or entities.” So, unless we write something “nice” and apologize for our trespasses, we will not be able to satisfy you.

    So, here is the bottom line. We felt called to write this blog. We have a vision. We assess it regularly. We get input from some friends and we are now getting some national input. If you could see the emails that we receive, you might understand. Our goal is to pick up the bodies who were on the receiving end of the “nice” churches who are doing all the really “nice” things out there. We actually care about the people who visit this blog. You will never know how many nights I lie awake in bed and pray for the people, by their pen names, who visit here. This isn’t just an idea place. It is the Fellowship of the Wounded and we give a hoot. I wonder if they do that over at the GC?

    Oh, and this blog is a voice for those who have had no voice in churches. Many of them have tried and are shown the door. They can come here, speak out and get support.We even let those who have turned away from the faith to comment here. In fact, everyone is welcome, even those who don’t like our blog. Just try that over at the Gospel Coalition blogs.

    So, we will occasionally write something “nice.” But we look at things very, very differently and we think we are going down a path we were intended to go on. Who would have thought that two middle-aged women who lived lives as insignificant homemakers could have started a blog that anyone would want to read? We sure didn’t. We hoped that maybe a small group of people would read us and we could develop some relationships of likeminded folks. It grew much bigger that that and shocked a few of our early detractors. So, perhaps there is a bigger purpose and a working Spirit behind this after all.

    And it you do not think we demonstrate grace on this blog, I know that we will never get through to you. You see grace only in one way- a “nice” post. There is something deeper afoot here.

    So, back to picking up the pieces and calling it as we see it. And we are a small voice “balanced” by all the “nice” blogs out there.

  33. One definition of the niceness of some societies (interbellum Germany, pre WWII Soviet Union, Gaddafi’s Libya) and perhaps some churches: “When they are sticking the knife between your ribs, they smile, ask about your family, and say thank you.”

  34. Wow……..

    Must have hit a nerve. I apoligize if I offended, that was not my intention. I also don’t think that you should quit doing what you are doing. I LOVE truth, and have appreciated much of what you have “exposed” – things that I wouldn’t have known about if I had not read your blog. It is mostly the tone of the articles that I object to at times. If we want people to change, lamblasting them usually doesn’t help. God commaned us to confront in love, but I can see that you are convinced that you are doing the right thing and there is no way anything I say will convince you differently.

    Again, I apologize for offending.

  35. Argo-

    I’ll post a reply to you, just in case you are looking for one. I’d prefer not to give too much info that would identify our church because of its history and the people involved. Firstly, when Brent’s docs came out, my husband had a discussion with our Sr. pastor. He had no problems with the fact that I was reading them. He told my husband he had concerns of his own. When SGM/AoR asked for input from all members, he encouraged us to participate.
    When some time ago, some of the members had concerns about our own church, members meetings were held and people were free to express their concerns. The result was confession of sin by the pastors from the pulpit, and some changes in the leadership structure. I have to add that our pastors are not young men fresh out of pastors’ college. They are mature Christians who are relatively new to SGM. I believe that accounts for the difference in our own church. And believe me, from everything I’ve been reading online, I believe God has been very gracious to us. I have major concerns for SGM as a whole, and the leaders in particular.
    All of this having been said, I know our church is filled with sinners, including myself and our pastors. I don’t want to give the impression that it’s been all roses. But I’ve been a Christian over 30 years, and attended churches from other denominations over the years, and doubt I will ever find one on this earth that doesn’t have some troubles.

  36. Debtortomercy –

    Did you see my post above? I’m pretty convinced we are in the same church 🙂

  37. Dee-

    Strawberry red quoted me a bit out of context there. I didn’t mean to offend with my questions. From your responses to me, I didn’t get the impression that I had caused any ruffled feathers, just checking. I’m glad you’re out here. Definately a bit of balance on the scale.

  38. Bridget
    My response was to strawberry red and her comments to me. I did not know you had said anything pertaining to the direction of our posts.You have always been so supportive. Thank you.

  39. strawberry red

    i know that people will always disagree with us. Heck we disagree with lots of folks and write about it. Also, strong disagreement and lively repartee is the lifeblood of a successful blog that stimulates those who choose to spend their precious time there.

    TWW is committed to exposing theology and church practices that we believe lead to the pain and suffering of the ‘little guy” within the system. We are also concerned when church leaders misrepresent the Gospel, and in so doing, cause people to run in the opposite direction. When a person appears to be more concerned about the church leader, who has tons or admirers and support, and does not mention the little guy, who does not have the same overwhelming support, we tend to be less than excited with the comment.

    Secondly, tone is very difficult to assess in face to face communications, even more so in blogs. I remember writing what I thought was a thoughtful note to a family member. She was quite angry with me with what she said was my “tone.” I was flummoxed. I was in a good mood while writing to her and was trying to explain a simple theological point that was not even that important to me or to her. It took several phone calls to help her to see what I intended.

    Same goes for blogging. We may be strong but not angry. We could be playful, not sarcastic. We could be downright angry. What one person takes as mean, another would take as humorous. If you would please tell us exactly what we said that you disagreed with, we might actually have a dialogue.
    Apology accepted.

  40. Bridget2-

    I did read your post and wondered the same thing. Now you’ve made me think we probably are!

  41. Bridget/debt

    This is not the first time this has happened on this blog. Hmmm, two radicals in one church,,,,

  42. Dee/debtor –

    God just made some of us this way from birth – in His Sovereignty!!

    BTW – Wasn’t Jesus a radical ?!?!

  43. FormerFan-

    I sympathize with you. I would love to sit down for a long talk with you and Argo, and discuss our lives with each other. There are lots of good people and good leaders still in our churches, but even they are always going to let us down at some point. All I can say here is that our focus needs to stay on Jesus, because he is the only one you will ever find who always exhibits the qualities you are looking for. I don’t want to sound preachy, or holier than thou. I still get disappointed by people, and sometimes it takes a while to get over that. And I know I have disappointed people. But I look forward to the day when we will be in that perfect place forever. I really look forward to it, and want all my family and friends and neighbours and everyone I know to be there too. Including you.

  44. I would like to add to/rephrase my last comment. I should have given it more thought. I think that often when people lose their faith, it’s because they’ve been putting their faith in people rather than in God. We are commanded to love and care for people, but our faith is to be put in God alone. He alone can meet our deepest needs. That is not to say we don’t need other people, but we should never make idols out of people, because they cannot stand on that sort of pedestal.

  45. debttomercy

    However, there are pastors who disappoint us a lot less than some. For example, I would never get anywhere near a church in which CJ Mahaney, Ed Young Jr, or Mac Brunson were pastors.

    This blog is dedicated to varying points of view and anyone who has been on this blog long enough knows that. For the last several months this blog has been targeted by a serious troll who comes on this blog, as well as many others, in order to undermine the blog. Each time we realize it is the same person and refuse to approve comments, we, the editors, are barraged with a number of vile comments addressed to us. You never see them because we are now fully moderating. The names we are called we will leave up to your imagination but it is hard for us to believe that this person could say he/she is a Christian and use such language.

    This person has used a number of names. But, more importantly, uses proxy servers in order to disguise the origin of his/her IP address. Unfortunately he has done this to other blogs who have been in contact with us regarding their own experience. For that, we at TWW are grateful.

    So, we are continuing to track this individual. However, if we are suspicious that this person is back on and the person is using a proxy server, we will delete his/her comments without warning.

    If we feel we are being seriously threatened by this individual, we will contact the authorities. We have kept all of these comments in case such an action is necessary.

    Now back to regular programming.

  47. Dee –

    I wondered about that post from FF. Hmm – it’s sad when Christians (?) appear to persecute their brothers and sisters in Christ.