International Churches of Christ: A Personal Story of Church Control

“A hallmark of spiritual abuse is treating the person who dares to point out a problem as the problem.” Roger Olson



The Eagle Nebula-NASA


In today's post-evangelcial climate (or, as I call it, the post-evangelcial thicket because every which way I turn, I see people getting impaled by thorns), there is a chorus of hip seminarians and pastors who are trying to convince us that good theology will result in good church practices. Many of the ones who make such claims fall into the Calvinista camp.Take the  current debate over TD Jake's modalism. With the help of the au courant "theologian" Mark Driscoll, Jakes has apparently recanted. All well and good, right?

But here is my dilemna. Driscoll, along with his good buddy and mentor CJ Mahaney, who proudly adhere to Calvinista theology, have been the subject of intense scrutiny as escalating claims of spiritual abuse make their way into the news. So, does theology make a difference in producing well-balanced churches? 

I am going to cause waves with my answer. Churches that abuse come from theology of all stripes. "Correct" theology, if it exists as certain Calvinistas claim, does not prevent abusive churches and pastors. Men like Mahaney and Driscoll exist in every kind of church system. Men like Mahaney and Driscoll also exist in non-Christian systems as well. Abusive individuals always find a place to freely exercise their controlling, undignified and legalistic personalities. 

Today, we present a an unsolicited story from a woman who questioned the system in the International Churches of Christ. I am sure that there will be some theological snobs out there who will say that it is their theology that causes these problems. I say that it runs far deeper than that. It goes to the very reason why we need Jesus. Men seek power. Didn't that happen in the Garden? We wanted to be like God. So, some men who recognize that there is a big God, will invent a little god who, surprise, surprise, happens to be themselves. Then they get to rule in their little kingdoms. And, what makes it so sad is they don't realize how little their world is. 

So, as you read this story, think about your own story of abuse. Thinks about the stories reported from the ministries of Mark Driscoll and CJ Mahaney.Think about the current revelations in the Sovereign Grace debacle. Ask yourself these questions. What causes an abusive church? How do they "suck in" and control the new people?  Does the ability to quote Bible verses prevent being misled? What are the red flags? We will be interested in your answers.

Once again, we know the identity of the woman who penned her story. We shall call her Faith because she persevered due to her faith in Jesus. We thank her for her story. She holds a Masters degree in Library Sciences and her history of the movement is most informative. The more stories like this that are told, the more we can all learn the elements that comprise a potentially abusive church system. I have also highlighted some words that I think are key to the story.


To understand the history of the International Churches of Christ, you have to go back to approximately 1967 and a man named Chuck Lucas. He was a youth pastor who grew up in the Churches of Christ. He became a minister at the 14th Street Church of Christ in Gainesville, Florida and developed a program of discipling that included prayer partners and neighborhood Bible studies, called “Soul Talks”. The church grew, largely due to the number of young people eager to share their faith. 

In approximately 1972, the church moved to a new building and became known as the Crossroads Church of Christ. During the 1970’s, the church grew and they also began their own school of ministry that turned out several ministers who went across the country. It was about this time that controversy and negative press began. Crossroads has been accused of being a cult, of being “cultic”, of being controlling, etc. Several church splits can be traced to the arrival of a Crossroads-trained preacher or to the arrival of members who were trained in what was called the “Crossroads philosophy” or “Crossroads movement”.

I got involved in this movement in 1981 at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. I was a freshman in college. I grew up Baptist but my family stopped going to church when I was in high school. I think it was a combination of getting out of the habit of going and a split that happened in that particular church. My mother has made a few snide comments about “them good old Baptists”. I believed in God and went forward and “prayed the prayer” when I was a very young child, about six, seven or eight. The next week I was baptized. Unlike many young people who turn their backs on religion when they go to college, one of the first things I did was look for a church, and I found a small Baptist one.

In my dorm, I saw signs for a Bible study. I’m unusual in that I came on my own—no one invited me. That was around October, 1981. The next day, I had lunch with a member of the Bible study. Soon afterwards, she asked me to read the Bible with her, and I did. Eventually, the women’s counselor (in charge of women’s ministries) came in on the studies . . . and they got to the subject of baptism. For all intents and purposes, if you weren’t baptized by immersion for the forgiveness of sins, you were not a Christian. And only those who taught that doctrine were Christians . . . and of course, the only people that taught that were Churches of Christ and Independent Christian Churches. In other words, they were the only people who had the truth and everyone else was lost and going to hell, Including me. Of course, that scared me half to death.

I did read the Scriptures they gave me on baptism, and then I looked up all of the conversions in the book of Acts. I found that when a conversion was given in detail, the person was baptized. That got my attention. Eventually, I did decide to be baptized in the Church of Christ. That was November 11, 1981, and I consider that the day I became a Christian.
What was/is expected out of members in the type of ministry I was involved in was:

1. To be at church or church-related activities every time the doors were open. This included: Sunday morning Sunday School and worship service, Sunday evening services, a small-group Bible study during the week, a discipleship group during the week, Wednesday night church service, and a Friday night devotional service for the college students. If special speakers were coming to church, you were expected to be there. If there was a college retreat or a “ladies’ day” (a gathering of women with women speakers), you were expected to be there, no matter how much the retreat/ladies’ day cost. It also included activities such as a spring banquet, an annual “Play Day” (an outdoor activity where we played games), and baby and bridal showers, even if you didn’t know the people being honored.

2. To have a daily “Quiet Time” where you prayed and studied the Bible for a certain time each day. I will say that the emphasis on personal prayer and personal Bible study is good. I did learn about Bible study in this movement and how important it was to pray daily. However, because of my experiences in this group, I refuse to use the term “Quiet Time” any more to refer to personal prayer and Bible study.

3. To get with a “prayer partner” once every week where you talked about how your “Quiet Time” was going, what you were studying in the Bible, what sins you were struggling with, and what non-Christians you were developing relationships with. On the surface, all of that sounds good. I think “partnering” with someone and to have a good friend to share your struggles with is important. But as the Crossroads Movement developed, the “prayer partner” relationship was one of the areas criticized as an area where too much control was exercised over people.

4. To “share your faith” with people daily—and to be honest, “sharing your faith” really meant “how many people can you invite to church each day?” We were expected to invite “everything that moved” to church, Bible study, special events, etc. “Everything that moved” included inviting people in line at the grocery store, the cashier at places of business, the people you had a class with, the people you worked with. This was something you were asked about in prayer partner meetings and discipleship group meetings. You were asked how many people you were inviting to church each day. (Dee note: I now have discovered a new theology-The Everything That Moves School of Evangelism)!

5. To be involved in personal Bible studies (“one-on-one studies”) with people on a regular basis and ultimately, to convert them. I would say “convert them to Christ” because that was what we said we were doing, but really, we were converting them to the church. This was called “bearing fruit”, and those who “bore fruit” were looked upon as “more spiritual” than those who did not “bear fruit”. John 15 was used as the Scripture to “prove” that we were called to “bear fruit” and that “fruit” meant “other Christians”. I was involved in about nine one-on-one Bible studies in five years in college, and as far as I know, NONE of the people I studied with ever became Christians as a result. To this day, I know of no one that I have directly influenced to become a Christian, and I count that as the biggest failure of my Christian life.

6. If you were single, you were expected to go out on dates with other singles. It’s not wrong to encourage Christians to date other Christians. I don’t believe in “missionary dating”. ☺ I had a good time on the vast majority of my dates and enjoyed getting to know other men. It was also good to be in an environment where you weren’t expected to have sex as part of the date. But as time went on, I began to feel that only the “spiritual” sisters got dated—those who invited a lot of people to church, those who converted a lot of people, those who lead group Bible studies—and since I didn’t fall into any of those categories, I didn’t get dated a lot. I began to feel that I just wasn’t spiritual enough to get a date. This is the other painful category from my years in the Crossroads ministry—feeling as if I wasn’t “worthy” of the attentions of other men.

I lasted five years in this ministry. By the end of my time in college, I felt overwhelmed and burned out by the expectations of the movement. Here were some of my personal experiences:

• As part of my undergraduate major, I had to take a class on Wednesday nights. No one made too much of a fuss about it at the time, it was understood that I wasn’t at church because I had a class and that when the class was over, I’d be back. However, about two-three years later, when I was in school for my graduate degree (I have two degrees from Florida State; I graduated with my B.A. and went straight into a master’s program for library science), when the same situation came up, I was told by my prayer partner that, “you’re just going to miss out if you’re not there”. I put off the Wednesday night class—which was a required class for my degree, by the way—so that I could go to church those evenings. Two semesters later, in my last semester of school, the same situation happened—the class I had to have was offered at two different times, once on Monday and Wednesday mornings, the other on Wednesday nights. The Monday/Wednesday section of the class conflicted with an elective class that I wanted to take (a reference class on government documents, my specialization was reference work and I wanted all the reference classes I could get.) I asked the prayer partner and a ministry leader, what should I do? The ministry leader said she’d support me no matter which way I picked. The prayer partner said, it depends on how badly you want the class. The prayer partner, incidentally, was also a library science major and knew exactly what classes I needed. I decided to take the Wednesday night section of the class, and was later informed by the prayer partner that she was “disappointed” in my decision.

• I told this same prayer partner that I wanted to not focus on having visitors so much and work on other areas in my life. She responded with, “I think you should expect to have visitors.” That remark let me know that there was no way out. No matter what, I was going to be expected to have visitors, and I would be rebuked if I didn’t meet the expectation.

• That prayer partner finally got so frustrated with my perceived lack of progress that she finally said, “I think it’s best for us not to pray together until you make some decisions.” No one ever prayed with me again. I think the reason that I wasn’t “reassigned” to another prayer partner was because I was going to be graduating in a few months and they were going to put their energies into people that were still going to be on campus. I felt like damaged, unspiritual goods.

• She also hurled the accusation at me: “You must be really ungrateful!”

• One of the comments often made by a minister from the pulpit was, “We haven’t touched the hem of the garment yet.” In other words, we could always be doing better.

• On one occasion, I asked a particular sister if she or her roommate could give me a ride to the airport because I was going to go home to visit my family. Not only was I told to take a cab, I was also told that “Saturday is our only day to sleep in” and that I needed to be more sensitive to others’ feelings and needs. The two roommates I had asked were both campus ministry leaders. I am still convinced that had the shoe been on the other foot—if they had asked me for a ride and I had given that response as to why I wasn’t able to do it—I would have been soundly rebuked for not being a servant.

• If you liked a brother, or a brother liked you, you couldn’t come right out and tell each other how you felt. You had to play games with them. I got the impression that a particular brother liked me more than I liked him, and I asked my prayer partner (the same one I referred to earlier), should I say something to him? Her answer? No, you’re supposed to let him make the first move. I finally had to tell him that “you like me more than I like you.” And during that conversation, I kept thinking, “I need to run over to so-and-so, ask her what to say, and then come back to him.” (While he wasn’t happy with me at the time, he is now married to someone else and they are happy together.)

• An earlier prayer partner of mine began seriously dating someone, and they rode together up to her parents’ house in another state. Two people of the opposite sex spending a prolonged period of time together alone was discouraged, but it was “allowed” in this case since they were steady dating. I made a reference to that car trip, and was then told that they (the couple) weren’t talking about it that much because they had gone up there alone. IIRC, I *think* the reason I wasn’t supposed to talk about it was that others might wonder why it was all right for that couple to do it but it wasn’t necessarily wise for others to do so.

• That prayer partner also called me on the phone and told me, “Go meet people,” meaning, go around the dorm and invite people to church. She used as Scriptural justification, we have not been given the Spirit of fear but of sonship. To her credit, she did call me the next day and told me, “I told you to go meet people, but I didn’t tell you how to do it.”

• In another conversation with this prayer partner, I said that one reason I had trouble with inviting people (it may have been that, or something else, I no longer remember) was because I was afraid of what people would think. She said, “Oh, it can’t be that!” We “figured out” that it was “fear of the unknown.” At another time, she flat out accused me of being selfish for some reason—I don’t remember what it was.

• Early in my involvement with the movement, our ladies’ Bible study leader came by my room, sat down, and immediately asked the question, “What do you think it is? Why aren’t we getting any people in our Bible study?” Of course, she already had the answer: we weren’t inviting enough people. She ordered me, “Open your eyes, Faith!”

• Another Bible study leader (this time, a male) had said that David wrote Psalm 119. I had a problem with him saying that because David is not identified as the author of that particular Psalm. So I went to him and said, “David didn’t write it,” and was told, “David did write it.” (This particular leader left the ministry after about a year.)

In 1985, Chuck Lucas was fired by Crossroads. There was no major announcement made anyplace. I found this out from someone who’d told me. I found a copy of the Gainesville Sun which said that Lucas had been fired for “recurring sins” in his life. At least one person has stated that the “recurring sins” were homosexual relationships with younger male members of the congregation. I stress that I do NOT know if this is true. Although, given the hyper-controlling attitudes I observed about dating, I would not be surprised if that was the reason.

One of Lucas’ “mentees” was a man named Kip McKean, who was converted in 1972 at the Crossroads Church. Kip entered the ministry a few years later and eventually wound up at a very small Church of Christ in Lexington, MA. They became the Boston Church of Christ. When Chuck was fired, Kip became *very* prominent in the movement. Even before Chuck was fired, the Boston church had been sending out mission teams to a number of areas.

I think it was in 1986 that I got a letter from a good friend who had moved down to Miami and told me that the Church of Christ she attended was doing some good teaching on grace. That was the moment that I decided, I wanted to go to Miami. I got desperate. Getting to Miami and hearing about grace was the main thing that kept me going during the last months in Tallahassee.
I graduated in December, 1986, with my master’s in library science, and I ended up securing a job in Miami as a reference librarian. The church I attended—the church that my friend had told me about—WAS good on grace, and I was relieved to hear it. 

In 1987, all hell broke loose.

Before I got to Miami, the minister at the church I ended up attending had resigned and moved to Boston. A minister from the Boston Church of Christ was sent in to replace him. This was the first time this had happened in a Crossroads-style church . . . and it would not be the last. Two similar takeover attempts were made in Atlanta, Georgia and Tampa, Florida; both attempts ended in congregational splits where a Boston-style ministry was begun. At the same time, a similar takeover attempt was made in Gainesville, Florida, at the Crossroads Church itself. (In 1988, the then-elders at Crossroads made a public apology for things that had happened over the years. The congregation changed its name and is now the Campus Church of Christ.) The Boston Church of Christ then announced that they would be planting “pillar churches” –to make a very long story as short as possible, the Boston Church of Christ had just re-created the structure of the Catholic Church. From then on, we would be hearing stories about the “Boston Movement”. A LOT of people who had been originally baptized in a Crossroads Movement church were rebaptized when Boston-trained ministers took over. One of the people rebaptized was the girl who originally studied the Bible with me.

While Miami was not “taken over” by a Boston-type ministry, many, many of our members left for various reasons. When Miami started emphasizing grace, the “scaffolding” of the Crossroads Movement fell away and there wasn’t really anything to take its place. Without the structure of discipleship groups, prayer partners and Bible studies, everything fell apart.

In 1989, the ministers in charge of the congregation announced that they would be disbanding, and said that they would be starting independent house churches. I decided to go along with the house churches. Now, after looking back and analyzing what was going on, I know exactly why I did it: The leaders said that that was what they were going to do. If you were a leader, you were “spiritual”. If you wanted to be considered “spiritual” you followed your leaders. Of course, I wanted to be “spiritual”, so I followed the leaders into an independent house church structure. While this part of my story isn’t necessarily about Crossroads or the Boston Movement, I do think it is related.

I lasted for five and a half years in about three independent house churches. We went from the controlling legalism of the Crossroads Movement to an atmosphere of “you can do/believe whatever it is you want, and if anyone asks any questions or challenges your beliefs, they’re just being legalistic”. At one point, a member of the house church group talked about how great it was that he could welcome Mormons as “fellow Christians”. I was taken aback by that statement. While there’s much to admire about certain practices of the LDS Church, I have a problem with the fact that they hold the Book of Mormon on the same level as the Old and New Testaments. I said something to that person, about how Mormons added to the Gospel, and his response was, “Do you think that *we* added something to the Gospel?”

On another occasion, we got into a big fight about the interpretation of a passage in the book of Romans. I said that all religions believed that they were the only ones who were right. The response I got was, “No, they don’t.” It’s been my experience that most churches believe that they are right, everyone else is wrong, and they can “prove” it by Scripture. (A book written by L.G. Tomlinson, Churches of Today In the Light of Scripture, does precisely this—it systematically “proves” that no denomination could stand up when examined by Scripture.) Or, if they are willing to admit that other churches just *may* have the truth, they believe that “you’ll have a better chance with us”.

I got married in 1993. Right before my wedding, I told my husband to be that the house churches were not working and that it was time to get out. It took us about a year, but we eventually moved to Atlanta and now worship at what would be considered a “progressive” or “liberal” Church of Christ in the Atlanta area. When we started the house churches, there were about seven or eight groups meeting. When my husband and I left, there were about three groups left—and the group we had been meeting with stopped meeting after we left. I do not think it is an accident that at least four couples I am aware of that were involved in the house church movement are now either separated or divorced (including one of the ministers whose idea it was in the first place to go into house churches!) Of the people that were in the last house church I was in, all but about one or two people have gone back to “organized” churches.

What I know about the movement these days comes from Internet postings I have read. Right around the turn of the 21st Century, a man named Henry Kriete wrote a letter that was the equivalent of the 95 Theses being nailed to the door of the Wittenberg Church. It confronted and exposed a lot of errors and practice in what was now known as the International Churches of Christ. I can’t remember whether it was before or after this letter that Kip McKean resigned from his post of “missions evangelist”. None of Kip’s children have remained faithful Christians. I don’t find that surprising.

Kip, however, didn’t stay out of the ministry long. He took over a church in Portland, Oregon a few years ago . . . and he has now appointed himself as a leader in the International Christian Churches, also known as the “Sold-Out Discipling Movement”. He is trying to recreate history. (Editors note: Does this remind you of anyone in a certain "family of churches?"

The ICOC has stated that “mistakes were made”. I have a relative that is part of the ICOC and she used those exact words. I would feel a lot better if people in leadership would own up to very specific mistakes that were made, make some serious public apologies, and resign from leadership. 

Where has all of this left me? Well . . .I still have a faith in God. I count myself lucky. Many people involved with the ICOC have left and have no faith in God at all. I know of a minister who left the movement and is now an atheist. The prayer partner that I referred to who told me that I ought to “expect to have visitors” also left the movement, joined another religion, and now believes that the New Testament is a lie.

I guess the best way that I can sum up my beliefs at this moment is that while I still believe that Jesus is the only way to God, I am not so sure any more that the Church of Christ is the only way to Jesus. And I find myself with a lot of mistrust of people in religious leadership, even when the people in leadership have given me no reason to mistrust them. My current minister is a wonderful teacher, passionate about God and the Bible—and I find myself wondering, is he *really* telling the truth? And I have *no* reasons not to trust him! I find myself with a lot of mistrust of “does the Bible really say this?” and wondering if there really is any way to find the truth.

In a recent Internet discussion, I asked, what do you say to someone who holds a particular belief (that was being discussed at that moment)? They answered: ask them to show you book, chapter and verse. But that wasn’t the problem. They DID have book, chapter and verse to “prove” what they believed. Just like the Crossroads Movement. Just like the Boston Movement. Just like the ICOC. Just like the Mars Hill people, like Mark Driscoll, and like other people you have profiled on your blog. If everyone believes they are right and can “prove” it by Scripture, how in the world can you figure out who it is that’s telling the truth?

It has taken me about two days to write this. It’s a lot of information and that shouldn’t surprise me, because my history with these people goes back thirty years. If you Google “Chuck Lucas”, “Kip McKean”, “International Churches of Christ”, “Crossroads Movement” or “Boston Movement”, you will find a wealth of information.


Lydia's Corner: Isaiah 48:12-50:11 Ephesians 4:17-32 Psalm 69:1-18 Proverbs 24:5-6


International Churches of Christ: A Personal Story of Church Control — 120 Comments

  1. Hmmm…. a lot of that could have taken place within Campus Outreach Ministries. Not all of it of course but the prayer partner aspect of this ministry really reminded me of my small group leader. She was constantly trying to see how we were growing or what we were not doing correctly.

    Also, we were asked constantly about our quiet times. The only thing odd about CO was that actual church attendance was deemphasized. I’m not saying they didn’t think it was important, it just seemed that they didn’t harp on that the way they did your on spiritual growth. All of these groups may have different theologies but when you make it so subjective, this is what happens.

  2. Virginia
    We will add your resources to the list when we make this post a page for resources this next week. Thank you!

  3. Dee said: “Churches that abuse come from theology of all stripes.”

    I agree with that and have always been concerned that this blog and its commenters have conveyed the idea that it’s only the Calvinistas and Sovereign Grace Ministries that misuse power. Sin is alive and well in the hearts and organizations of men. There is no change; “there is nothing new under the sun.”

    Dee also correctly noted that it doesn’t have to be a church for these things to happen. It’s hard to think of an organization that wouldn’t be guilty of abuse by current standards of victimization.

  4. “Dee also correctly noted that it doesn’t have to be a church for these things to happen. It’s hard to think of an organization that wouldn’t be guilty of abuse by current standards of victimization.”

    Jimmy, this makes me wonder why you enjoy hanging out here so much.

  5. Dee,

    I apologize for not identifying myself, but honestly I am concerned about the backlash I would face. That being said, the quote you have at the beginning of the post is so astute. Today at Justin Taylor’s blog at the Gospel Coalition website he has a post that so exemplifies this problem. Rather than acknowledging that MH and MD could be wrong, he seems to attack those who would dare suggest such a thing.

  6. Scared
    Never apologize for not identifying yourself on this blog.There are many circumstances that might lead one to wish for privacy. That is why we have identified ourselves so that we might defend your right and reasons to be anonymous.

    As for Justin Taylor, he must attack those who are identifying the excesses and unchristian behavior of pompous arrogant men who think they have some special dispensation to act like boorish, ill-bred preteens. I bet it really irks them that Christian women who are not allowed to pray or read the Bible in their churches are challenging the status quo.How he could even begin to defend a man who insults a country of believers and sees “rapes” in pornovision. They are blind guides.

  7. To the Dec 5 ’11 story of SGM rewriting history, I commented:

    Going back to the earliest comments, I suppose an an arminiamista example of rewriting history would be the ICOC. A search on for the founder and former pyramid-top  Kip McKean returns just one result, which doesn’t mention he’s the founder. He was ousted about 8 years ago, and a family member who joined after that time didn’t know who he was for quite awhile. There are many more details (from his perspective) on I believe his roots go back to the same shepherding/discipleship movement as the other guys, just in a “restoration” movement context rather than charismatic. 

    In a way you could say these 2 groups are twins separated at birth.

  8. Dee: “I bet it really irks them that Christian women who are not allowed to pray or read the Bible in their churches are challenging the status quo.”

    Made me smile.

  9. Hey my lovely girls!

    I know a little off-topic but thought I would make you aware of these recent videos made available to us, idol-worshipping one C J Mahaney. You may want to make sure you are not eating food while watching.

    Video 21 – Bob Kauflin’s “worship” song to C J is particularly of note – as well as video 7 – a worship song along the lines of “Jungle Book – I wanna be like you-whoo-hoo”.

    It’d be funny if it wasn’t tragic.

  10. Dan,

    How wonderful to hear from one of my favorite British chaps!

    It’s uncanny that you commented here because I was just watching that ridiculous “Broadway” skit honoring C.J. on YOUR BLOG. I saw it first over at SGM Survivors. When I read your comment, I scooted over to your website. You must have known…

    Thanks for the link to those recently uploaded videos! I plan to watch all of them. I’m sure we’ll be chiming in about them, so stay tuned!

    Blessings to you Dan. You are very special to us!

  11. Churches of Christ are very similar to the Mormon church in at least two ways. Both came into existence in the early 1800s. Mormons had their Smith and C of C had Thomas and Alexander Campbell. Both had leaders that claimed that all other religions were apostate and needed to be restored. To this day both still preach that all religions except theirs have truth and everybody else is hell bound. Any check of their church history will verify this. I think both would meet the definition of being a cult.

  12. Dan!
    So nice to hear from you. Those videos are really very weird. Rumor has it that the head apostle’s wife asked that they keep some conflicts quiet so her husband would get the worship (whoops-kudos) he deserved. This pastor worship thing is getting out of hand. We may try to post these over here. I htink it is time for the doors and windows of the church to open up and let some of the bad air out and the sunshine in.

  13. Typing on my smartphone, this will be brief. Great post, reminded me of my GCI days,thatx great commisjon international . Ditto on qjiet time and accountability being somewhat ruined for me. More later,nice work,sis GregR

  14. Interesting Dee that you should put this post up on the ICOC, Crossroads and Boston movements in the COC. My wife and I now attend a COC here in Knoxville (one she was attending when we met – we were in the SBC while I played organ at 2 different churches. Couldn’t take Baptist anymore as referenced by previous responses/posts) – at any rate the minister at our church mentioned the ICOC, Boston and Crossroads movements in his message last Sunday morning and shared his great dislike for those movements and the damage they have done to the cause of Christ and the COC churches in general – he is no supporter of any of these movements.

    I think it’s important for other COC members to be aware of things should anyone attempt to introduce any aspect of these movements in their churches. Interesting comment is from the lady writing the story (“Faith”) is that she and her husband attend a “progressive/liberal” COC in Atlanta – unless she means something different I have come to realize that a progressive/liberal COC (at least here in Knoxville) is congregation with leaders/ministers who actually preach truth – salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone – big emphasis on grace and faith and less emphasis on baptism. Though baptism is still practiced immediately upon a person’s profession of faith in Jesus Christ it is not the sole deciding factor as in the old hard line legalist COCs that this area is known for. Water itself has no saving power – it’s the blood of Christ that cleanses/washes away sin and a person repenting and placing their faith in Christ alone is the key step and baptism, whether immediately or at a later date, then comes into play whereby we identify with Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. I tend to like baptism immediately following profession of faith – most in the NT did this so I’ve no issue with that.

    Interesting that what the COCs call progressive/liberal is what others would call conservative. Yes there are true liberal COC and Christian (Disciples of Christ) church congregations (more so Disciples churches than COCs) but around these parts and COC that is branded liberal or progressive is one that preaches/teaches truth and is not legalistic. The COC we attend is one of the best I’ve ever been associated with and wouldn’t consider another one unless it taught/preached truth. I made the statement to my wife awhile back that I didn’t know why this church even had COC on it anymore – they don’t adhere at all to the old hard line stuff that the standard COCs around the area do which is the kind of thing my wife grew up in and she nearly lost her faith because of it. Had she not found the COC that we attend when she did (this was before we met and married) I don’t think she would be in church or have anything to do with it at all.

    Must end here since this is an overly long post but I have some COC stories from our early years of marriage as well as the ongoing saga that I have from my SBC background. More to come in time. Thanks again for the post!

  15. Dee,

    I got your message and had already seen Tikatu’s comment about the link to your post.

    BTW, I’m actually at home. 😛 I’ll call you later.

  16. Well – only watch the CLC/CJ videos if you can turn the experience into a good laugh or stomach the nausea.

  17. Bridget2,

    Let’s see, we have Mohler, Dever, and Piper honoring Mahaney in these videos. Did you see Dever talking about how CJ is such a humble man?

    How ironic that Dever endorses Mahaney’s book Humility: True Greatness with these words:

    “C.J. Mahaney is not humble. At least, that’s what he’ll tell you. And that’s one reason he’s so well qualified to write this book” – Mark E. Dever, Senior Pastor, Capital Hill Baptist Church.”

  18. Deb –

    Someone sent the video links to Brent and asked him how he views them. He responded and sent the response via email to Survivors as well. The email response is posted in a comment. The issues were all going on behind the scenes. IMHO-Mrs. Mahaney is no innocent bystander to what has unfolded. Dever and Mahaney are quite the duo now – eh?

    I read the Humility book and gleaned quite a bit from it. Unfortunately, CJ seems to have acquired the knowledge of what humility should look like, but he missed the Spirit-led application of it into his life that might have resulted in some Godly wisdom on the subject.

    BTW – Is their a story in your past yet to be heard? Or, maybe it’s posted somewhere already?

  19. Churches of Christ are very similar to the Mormon church in at least two ways. Both came into existence in the early 1800s. Mormons had their Smith and C of C had Thomas and Alexander Campbell.

    Did the CoC also originate in the “Burned-Over District” of Upstate New York?

    (In the early 19th Century, Upstate New York was the “Weird Religion Capital” of the USA, kind of like California is today. The Spiritualists, Seventh-Day Adventists, and Mormons are just the ones that had some staying power — they were popping up left and right like Anton LaVeys among Hollywood Celebrities, but most didn’t last long. Including the nudist one which lasted until their first Pennsylvania Winter.)

  20. That Mahaney skit really bothers me. What’s next mass Kool-aide toast? — Eagle


  21. Faith

    This was a new one for me. I’m glad you survived – and still walk with Jesus. 😉
    Thanks for your story. It had to bring back a lot of tough memories.

    At the end of the post – You ask…
    “how in the world can you figure out who it is that’s telling the truth?”

    After having trusted too many – Mere Fallible Humans – I NOW put my trust in Jesus. 🙂

    Psalm 118:8-9.
    It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.
    It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.

    My rule of thumb – now – is…

    If it lifts up Jesus – It’s probably the “Truth.”

    If it lifts up man – It’s probably a “Lie.”

    Jesus humbled Himself, made Himself of NO reputation,
    took on the form of a “Servant.” Phil 2:7-8.

    Jesus is the ‘Truth.”

  22. Jimmy—

    If the commenters on this blog, myself being one of them, shared a similar background, as you say, in the corporate world or other arenas of life, I’m sure this blog would be geared towards that. And there are sites to address those issues. But as is common with a niche, this blog is rather a niche–and a necessary one at that–that targets a particular suffering, if you will, of believers. Particularly, believers who have come mainly from “Reformed” and/or “Calvinist” churches. There are many reasons for this and why it’s appropriate that the discussions here focus on such and some of them I can readily point out to be that:

    1. There is a huge insurgence in evangelicalism, particularly one of the largest denominations, Baptist, where these movements are simply trying to take over. That being the case, naturally there will be many people coming out of the woodwork telling their stories of abuse.

    2. (and I should make this the number one reason) the neo-Reformed/Calvanist/SBC crowd are the ones with the loudest megaphones right now screaming how wrong everybody else is on their theology. How fitting that as some of us stopped to listen, we have come to realize that they’ve got a huge set of issues all on their own that don’t make the other “bad guys” they’re yelling about look so bad right about now. The truth is, their issues are almost insurmountable and the truth as they see it is being challenged more widely and rightfully criticized. Before they were hands off. People found it hard to challenge the new reformers, RBDs as we call them.

    So as you wish to point out that there are other areas of life where this is happening, then the are blogs for that too. But you are coming to a blog that deals specifically with spiritual abuse in the SBC and neo-Reformed crowd–BUT has mentioned other branches of Christianity as well. You seem to fail to recognize that although it can be remedied by perusing many of the past posts.

    So you should not be surprised or irritated that those who comment on this blog have found their refuge here from this particular niche of church who, if they’d shut their legalistic and judgmental mouths, wouldn’t have so many paying attention. But even more so, they are turning out survivors by the loads and so this was bound to happen. It was just a matter of time when people would begin to standup for the truth and as real witnesses to what is going on in this branch of Christianity that holds itself in such high regard.

    Any group of people who would spend time picking apart brick by brick a church/pastor/religious organization that’s abusing it’s participants in mockery of Christ is time well spent… Even if to do so until His return, it is a most worthy cause.

    So if you want tales of Wall Street corruption, government corruption and so forth, trust me… There are blogs for that too!

  23. I do see the possibility of this blog becoming a substitute church. As for the “reformed” leaders, characterized as “the neo-Reformed/Calvanist/SBC crowd are the ones with the loudest megaphones right now screaming how wrong everybody else is on their theology,” I actually haven’t see that. They are serious about their theology however. Last time I checked within SBC circles they’re thought to be about 15% or so. BTW, I’ve never heard Mohler, Dever, McArthur or Piper scream.

  24. Jimmy
    There is actual screaming using vocal cords and there is another screaming-proverbial-which can be even louder. Don’t worry about substitute churches. We are only females and are not allowed to even read the Bible out loud in church.

  25. Jimmy–

    Don’t be an ass. If you want to have a discussion, let’s have one. You know what I mean. And I thought you understood figurative language. Literary devices…you know? The ones that the RBDs choose to ignore about the ancient languages in Scripture that do, in fact, contain them to make a point or have an effect on its readers in that particular culture who would naturally understand how it’s being used?? Yep. Those ones.

    And just because you haven’t seen that means absolutely nothing. There are a ton of people who have. I HAVE. I went to Dever’s church for two years. Now either you haven’t and don’t know what you’re talking about, or you have and you’re both blind and deaf. I’ll give you the benefit of the former because the latter is just worse. And BTW: people are here because they take Scripture and Gods word JUST AS SERIOUSLY as your homeboys.

  26. Oh and should this blog become a substitutionary church–then from my mouth to God’s ears “DEAR LORD! LET IT BE!”. In the words of my newest blog of which I am a fan, Matthew Paul Turner, Jesus needs new PR! The church is no longer a refuge for many. May we all find Christ wherever Christ chooses to be, to meet His people and comfort them and to share with them anew THE GOOD NEWS. Amen!

  27. Dee—

    Oh Rev, you’re such a great teacher. I learn fast. But (whispers) I’ll take all the credit for my own smartassness. Which surely might disqualify me for being the Men’s Sunday School teacher as we had originally planned. But of course I see it as a fair trade. I’ll keep my smartassness and just warm the pew and we’ll get Numo to teach the men. Afterall, an encounter with me might leave ones like MD desperately searching for his bait and tackle. Teehee

  28. I’ve been involved in church splits, I’ve left churches I didn’t want to leave, stayed at churches I wanted to leave, have been accused of giving the senior pastor drugs, been indirectly run out of a mega church with a strongly Arminian pastoral staff. As a non-staffer I’ve had hang up phone calls, had my house and front door egged and tomatoed and have had members accuse me of things I wasn’t guilty of. At one time, they were calling my secular place of employment and rebuking me in the name of the Lord. My secretary at that time took great pleasure in posting the rebuke notes on the bulletin board in the main hallway. I have been in church discipline situations on both sides of the coin.
    I think if you’re in leadership all of that comes with the territory. Sometimes it has come without being in leadership. Ironically, I’ve been accused of things not true but not accused of my more egregious ( but less obvious) sins.
    Difficult times were never fun but I bear no grudges. As a Calvinist, it has all served God’s purposes and I have deserved worse than I have received.

    (I remember being in a men’s group one night hearing some guy whining and complaining. Then I had one of those moments of revelation; the guy whining and complaining was me. It wasn’t pretty.)

    I’ve gone to imperfect churches all my life; I’ve always been an imperfect member. Never had a pastor that didn’t irritate me sooner or later but I suspect that says more about me than it does about them. I’ve “assembled” with the fellow believers all my life. I continue to do so. What else is there?

  29. Jimmy–

    Then I’ll never be a Calvinist. Calvin could never do for me what Christ has. Christ simply and always will have and will do more. It’s why we call ourselves CHRISTIANS. Shouldn’t that be enough???! Who else could deserve such allegiance?!? Don’t you realize that by calling yourself after a man who did NOT die on the Cross for you; who’s semiticism I personally find abhorrent; who’s theology is flawed and not God-breathed; who strikingly like other dictators and authoritarian rulers wanted a pure type/class of community; who believes all that happens to you was ordained by God, is simply an idol as it is?

    As a black person whose people suffered over a hundred years in this country from unfathomable injustice, cruelty, inhumane treatment, and planned destruction of a people, I find your/Calvin’s belief that God ordained it for our good to be entirely counter-character to the compassionate and merciful God of Scripture. Yes, God can take what has been done and meant for my harm and redeem me from it. But he does not need evil in order to do good. So you think you deserved worse? Be careful what you ask for, you might just get it. And you might just not believe that little saying of yours so much anymore.

    As a sinner, I have deserved worse, as we all ONCE WERE! BUT…..and I say it again, BUT I am a new creation in Christ. All things were made new in me because of him. Therefore, all goodness that is his is now mine. I am no longer depraved or considered a sinner. Either the blood purifies completely and makes all things new, or it doesn’t. All the more for me to glory in my Redeemer, NOT a bigot like John Calvin. Keep your doctrine and religious heroes; I’ll keep my Christ.

  30. Reasoned article on SBC perspectives.
    While Southern Baptists have stated their general agreement on this doctrine, they continue to debate the specifics of what it means and how it works. Identifying Calvinism as a “second-order” doctrine, Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, noted that “Calvinists and Arminians may disagree concerning a number of vital and urgently important doctrines — or, at the very least, the best way to understand and express these doctrines. Yet both can acknowledge each other as genuine Christians.” (6)

    As a consensus statement, the wording of Article V is general enough to point to the common ground upon which those of a more Calvinistic persuasion and those of a less Calvinistic persuasion can find general agreement for cooperation in those Kingdom ministries which draw Southern Baptists together.

  31. Also, the fact that Christ could only live perfectly without sin; the fact that Christ could never lie; the fact that Christ loved all people and came to condemn no one; the fact that what Christ taught was without error; and the fact that he did what NO MAN could ever do is also why we choose to bear the name “Christian. “

  32. Jimmy
    “have been accused of giving the senior pastor drugs” Now that’s a way to get around accepting the church hired a dud. “He’s on drugs.”

  33. Jimmy

    “Calvinists and Arminians may disagree concerning a number of vital and urgently important doctrines.” Funny, I thought the most urgent was to tell the world of Jesus and make disciples.

  34. “I’ve gone to imperfect churches all my life; I’ve always been an imperfect member. Never had a pastor that didn’t irritate me sooner or later but I suspect that says more about me than it does about them. I’ve “assembled” with the fellow believers all my life. I continue to do so. What else is there?”

    Try this for size:

    I’ve gone to imperfect churches all my life; I’ve always been an imperfect member. Never had a pastor that didnt try and persuade me to forgive the member who repeatedly raped my 2-year-old and allow such pedophile to continue being around children at my church but I suspect that says more about me than it does about them. I’ve “assembled” with the fellow believers all my life. I continue to do so. What else is there?


    I’ve gone to imperfect churches all my life; I’ve always been an imperfect member. Never had a pastor that didn’t use his unbiblical power to manipulate and control members by deciding to practice the Bible literally in all Scriptures that speak of authority and male rule, and women not leading/teaching/ and entirely submitting but understood the figurative and cultural implications of women not wearing braided hair, gold or costly array, but I suspect that says more about me than it does about them. I’ve “assembled” with the fellow believers all my life. I continue to do so. What else is there?


    I’ve gone to imperfect churches all my life; I’ve always been an imperfect member. Never had a pastor that didn’t irritate me sooner or later but I suspect that says more about me than it does about them. I’ve “assembled” with the fellow believers all my life. I continue to do so. What else is there?

    So please mind me to say that your mere church splits and minor irritations are NOTHING in comparrison to the ABSOLUTE abuses of God’s people that WILL NOT be tolerated, as per HIS WORD! Do you think that’s literal or figurative? Jimmy, you need to understand that just because you have allowed yourself to become dull and desensitized insofar as you cannot recognize what abuse really looks like in this so called “kingdom”. You also fail to recognize righteous anger and that God is beyond displeased with it all.

    You ask, after explaining your instances of irritation with churches, “what else is there?” and I say, if that’s your view, the you’ve become an object of my pity. Is this abundant life that Christ is speaking of that we are to experience with fellow believers? Have you even bothered to read the horror stories of abuses here and other sites from these particular leaders you defend so well? Because if you have, then I’d say you’ve had the compassion preached right out of your heart and maybe you should pray for God to give you one of flesh.

    You’ll have to forgive the believer who chooses just not to be mildly irritated with the leaders who have systematically covered child rape and abuse in their churches… You’ll have to excuse the believer who upon deciding to join a predominately white church, experienced staunch racism from so-called believers. You’ll have to excuse the believer who has found that there is HEAPING reward for no longer continuing to assemble oneself with “fellow believers”. You’ll have to excuse those of us who do not see Christ in your Calvanism. And lastly, you’ll have to excuse the Bible for giving us a damn good representation of how loving, caring, kind, intolerant of abuse in His name–that Christ/God is that we will no longer be fooled and settle for being mildly irritated and believing it says more about us. Rather, it says more about how much they has missed the heart if Christ altogether. And as much as they want to seek after purity of doctrine and Scrioture, it’s become apparent to many they fail at teaching the character and love of Christ, if not having failed to meet Him altogether.

  35. Sorry, I forgot to change my third example:


    I’ve gone to imperfect churches all my life; I’ve always been an imperfect member. Never had a pastor that didn’t seek to control me and put my personal issues on blast for the entire church to see, including instructing those who love me and are supposedly covenanted with me to SHUN ME sooner or later but I suspect that says more about me than it does about them. I’ve “assembled” with the fellow believers all my life. I continue to do so. What else is there?

    And the statement you posted by the SBC is right. It is secondary issues–Calvanism and Armenianism. We are all genuinely Christian (although many would beg to differ). If only they had a habit of PRACTICING what they preach.

    Have you not read of how they have fired staff members for not conforming to secondary doctrines? Have you not heard about them challenging others Christianity because they don’t believe in Young Earth? Have you not heard of all the many issues they have become predominately divisive over resulting in that 15% membership statistic you quote earlier? REALLY?! Where have you been??

  36. As Solomon wisely, and sadly, said: “There is nothing new under the son.” We live in a sadly broken world where there is great evil; even within the church. I like Paul McCartney’s “Long and winding road” with the road ending when I come to my final gate where resides the healer and redeemer of all of His children’s hurts, pains and sins.

  37. Jimmy–

    Wrong response. Where’s the buzzer? Buehler?….. Buehler? See, when someone responds to things like what I just shared with you, and I’m sure all the stories you’ve read here, with a response like that–the Christianese glossy coverup, then you have let me know the distinct handicap of your own heart. You simply have not one of compassion. Therefore, I’ll leave you with this hope for TODAY because TODAY this is what you need: a hope that transforms your hardened and stiff heart, to one that weeps with Christ for injustices and absolute abuse done in His name.

  38. Yes, remember your Creator now while you are young, before the silver cord of life snaps and the golden bowl is broken. Don’t wait until the water jar is smashed at the spring and the pulley is broken at the well. For then the dust will return to the earth, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.
    “Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless.”
    Keep this in mind: The Teacher was considered wise, and he taught the people everything he knew. He listened carefully to many proverbs, studying and classifying them.
    The Teacher sought to find just the right words to express truths clearly.
    The words of the wise are like cattle prods—painful but helpful. Their collected sayings are like a nail-studded stick with which a shepherd drives the sheep.
    But, my child, let me give you some further advice: Be careful, for writing books ( or blogs) is endless, and much study wears you out.
    That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty.
    God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.

  39. I love this part: Be careful, for writing books ( or blogs) is endless, and much study wears you out.

    I think I’ll go post that on Challies, Desiring God, 9 Marks, The Gospel Coalition, Josh Harris, Nancy Lee DeMoss… Shall I continue???

    Oh….! Did you mean that for us here? Um… My bad. (insert snark)

  40. Sophia–

    If you build it, I will post. Oh DANG!!! You HAVE built it… (gives self the side eye). I owe two Blog Queens a series of posts which I will also share on your blog. I’ve ordered a keyboard for this here iPad and once that comes in, I’m gonna get started. My fire has been lit! Teehee

  41. Trina
    I have been biting my tongue because I want you tell your story but I didn’t want to become another demanding blog queen. 🙂 Looking forward to it whenever you “feel the spirit.”

  42. Dee–

    Aww! I know. I sorry. Don’t bite it. Just tell me. We will talk offline. Sophia gave me a list of questions that she wanted me to answer. They were very good questions. I told her that maybe each question could be answered in a series of posts. I’ll forward them to you and see what you think about them being the series here as well. I admit, I’m lazy because I’m a perfectionist. Makes no sense, right! I know I will want to do a good job. I’ll email you some thoughts.

  43. Why is it that so many men feel threatened & compromised by strong, intelligent and savy women? I speak of the blog owners and the ladies who comment here. Those of us dudes who’ve been here awhile, cheer for these women who won’t take a backseat to anyone. Stick around Jimmy, ya might learn sumthin’.

  44. Awww, Muff! My cheeks are blushing… Thank you, thank you, thank you. But it takes strong intelligent and confident men to recognize such women and to respect them. We appreciate men like you so much. You are invaluable. I always say that I will get married if only to such a man. Otherwise, it just wouldnt be worth my time ; )

  45. Eagle–

    I got an old cast iron one I love to fry bacon in that’s my grandmother’s and I got this nice All-Clad that I sautéed some spinach with pine nuts, fresh garlic, sea salt and fresh cracked pepper earlier. Mmm…. I can cook. I’m domesticated. But stupid men like them I’d only make bitter brownies. I’d be a fundgelicals worse nightmare; an unsubmissive smartass black woman. I’d only fulfill their stereotypes. How did I ever think one of those weaklings would have chosen me??

  46. Getting a bit weird, are we, Eagle?

    I’d go with this one:

    And then there is this….just another day at the office. My boss pissed me off and Driscoll is an inspiration so I decided to be a real man.

    “FUS RO DAH!!!”

  47. Trina – for you:

    Dee – not just talking salamanders; the Latter Rain movement (Started in western Canada but found a happy home in Guess Which Part of New York? – and spread from there; still – sadly – part of the wacky wing of much US charismatic “theology).

    Try Googling “Joel’s Army” and see what you find… I know more about that than I’d like. (Though it was given other names, what I heard was the exact same weirdness that was started by the modern Latter Rain-ers.)

  48. Trina,

    I have my grandmother’s skillet and my great grandmothers dutch oven with lid that also fits the skillet. My mother decided that her two sons should be able to do household stuff as well as whatever else, so we learned to cook, clean, take care of a baby, grocery shop, mend clothes, launder, iron, etc. At 14, I started babysitting a 2 week old little boy, one night a weekend for the next 3+ years (3 short blocks from my parents). Made good money in the men’s dorm at college with the mending and ironing, btw.

    When I married, God brought a smart, capable woman into my life. I would not have had it any other way. She can learn anything she sets her mind to, and has become a great gourmet cook, a good coach and counselor, and as good a theologian and preacher as any of the many I have met. Does wonderful garden design and execution, and can grow anything.

    Why would any man prefer someone who is not their equal or better to bear and raise their children with them. Marriage must be a partnership of equals, or one or both will be unhappy.

    So stay strong sister. And my prayers are with you that you will find that man who is your match in all respects.

  49. Proverbs 31:10 An excellent wife, who can find?
    For her worth is far above jewels.
    11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
    And he will have no lack of gain.
    12 She does him good and not evil
    All the days of her life.

    The longer I live, the more I’m convinced that the reason there aren’t MORE Proverbs women (who are strong, managers at home and/or managers at business, real estate tycoons, in positions of teaching, etc) is because there aren’t enough Proverbs husbands to go around.

    i.e. there aren;t enough men who trust women and recognize that Proverbs 31 isn’t about: (Eagle) “Many fundagelicals have the June Cleaver view of women. Stay home, bake and clean and oh be chained to a bed. Unless she’s popping out 3 kids a year, then she’s a failure in their eyes.” (Translation: Proverbs 31 is not about laundry and dishes nor is there any mention of sex.)
    The Proverbs 31 woman is a ‘take charge’ lioness who loves, blesses, and protects those she loves and those that God loves.

    While there are men out there determined to reduce women down to June Cleaver, I thank God for the men who see through the conspiracy and who will settle for nothing less that what GOD likes in a woman:

    Proverbs 31:16 She considers a field and buys it; From her earnings she plants a vineyard.
    17 She girds herself with strength And makes her arms strong.
    18 She senses that her gain is good;
    20 She extends her hand to the poor, And she stretches out her hands to the needy. (which would include those abused by churches, marginalized by misogynistic doctrine, etc)
    25 Strength and dignity are her clothing, And she smiles at the future.
    26 She opens her mouth in wisdom, And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. (Because those abused and wounded by the church have already had enough harshness and meanness from Christians. They need some kindness and wisdom to start seeing through the Pharisees and their false doctrines)
    30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. (Because women have heard enough about how important it is to make sure they are ‘hot’ enough to keep their husbands from straying)

    31 Give her the product of her hands, And let her works praise her in the gates.

    The woman who is to be praised by God is NOT: “the June Cleaver view of women. Stay home, bake and clean and oh be chained to a bed. Unless she’s popping out 3 kids a year,” who speaks in a small mousy voice and makes sure she is hot, hot, hot, and can pole dance, and service her husband like Carmen Gettit, the porn star her husband learned all about sex from.

    Thanks to the strong men here, the Proverbs men, who understand and see what is going on and how screwed up “Biblical Womanhood” has become in the Evangelical world.

    May the true Proverbs men and women rise and expose the foolishness of the Pharisees for what it is. Chasing after wind.

  50. Trina


    “grand ronde de jambe avec porte de bras”

    And a ballet dancer also???

    Or was that “ronde de jambe” meant to land on someones bottom? 🙂

  51. Happy Lincoln’s Birthday!
    In 1845, Lowell “prophesied” of Lincoln, in part:
    When a deed is done for Freedom, through the broad earth’s aching breast
    Runs a thrill of joy prophetic, trembling on from east to west,
    And the slave, where’er he cowers, feels the soul within him climb
    To the awful verge of manhood, as the energy sublime
    Of a century bursts full-blossomed on the thorny stem of Time
    Then to side with Truth is noble when we share her wretched crust,
    Ere her cause bring fame and profit, and ’tis prosperous to be just;
    Then it is the brave man chooses, while the coward stands aside,
    Doubting in his abject spirit, till his Lord is crucified,
    And the multitude make virtue of the faith they had denied.
    Then in 1866, Melville compared Lincoln to another Man who gave his life, so many could be free, while warning that The People, coummunist-like, would exert their control.
    There is sobbing of the strong,
    And a pall upon the land;
    But the People in their weeping
    Bare the iron hand:
    Beware the People weeping
    When they bare the iron hand.

    For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

  52. Dave
    Thank you for your wonderful reminder of man who fought for freedom for those enslaved. It is sad when ministries choose to take up the yoke of men’s slavery once again. I prefer to be a slave to the freedom found in Christ.

  53. Bounded

    Don’t forget, it is also Lincoln’s birthday. What in the world is going on with you these days? Everything good?

  54. Mara –

    Thanks for the “real” biblical woman view from Proverbs 31. I have heard teaching, and believe myself, that the woman described there is a very strong, capable person able to take on whatever came her way in life. I don’t think the men today realize what life was like for women – even 75 years ago. Women have often found themselves raising and providing for a family on their own because of the loss of a husband or father, or father and mother. Life has been hard for many throughout the ages. I don’t get this new version of women that many are pushing for. I think they need to get their “real” manhood in line in a biblical sense and not tell women what they should be like. They seem to think their manhood is tied to being in authority. If they would be in relationship with their Father as He desires, I don’t think that they would feel the need for “authority” over anyone. They would be free to have a loving relationship with an equal and the two together would be stronger than the one. They would sharpen each other just as two friends of the same sex can also do. Real men are secure in Christ just as women should be secure in Christ.

  55. Numo
    Oh good night! There are too many kooks around to keep track of. Now, I have to deal with kooks in supposed evangelical churches.
    I now have a new functioning philosophy. I do not take the word of a pastor over the word of anybody else. I just read a blog in which the guy said he got a call from his friend, a pastor of Mars Hill and was told that Andrew is not telling the real story. So, guess what. Said blogger believes him and retracts his blog condemning the discipline. I have news for everybody. Pastors are just as capable of great sin as anybody else and I for one am getting tired of them getting a pass. And that is my rant for this evening!!!!!

  56. Eagle
    We will do a feature of that embarrassment of an event this week. Everyone who took part in that should be hanging their heads in shame. (Who led us into the promised land-CJ!!!!!! I am going to loose my dinner.

  57. Dee –

    On your rant above . . . I agree. Why is the pastor always given the benefit when in doubt? They are not less likely to lie or skew than anyone else. I saw that same retraction.

  58. Dee –

    BTW – the CJ worship videos mixed in with the T4G clips on the upcoming conference would be amusing! I mean – Ceej truly is a celebrity pastor ya know! Worthy of worship – no?

  59. Bridget2
    Yes, let’s see, the pastor called and gave said blogger the “inside” skinny. Look at it this way. Who has more to gain and lose in this situation. Andrew has opened up about his failure, potentially exposing himself to ridicule on the public stage. The “inside” pastor has a firestorm to deal with. They are now on the radar, not for their hip services and microbrew classes but for something far darker. Meantime, Driscoll is shooting his mouth off all around the world, drawing critical attention, not adoring mobs. I think the situation speaks for itself.

    I am sick and tired of pastors getting a pass and the congregation member, the lowly “idiot sheep” as the have been called, are given the boot. Pastors sin as much as members and can lie as well. Look at the CJ Mahaney mess at Sovereign Grace. I think pastors have forgotten their place (and that should cause a few to grit their teeth).

  60. Dee,

    I agree with your comment 8:02 about pastors being able to lie as well as anybody else. The fact that people create these “unable to do wrong because he is a pastor” identities does not mean that is reality. For example, I was perplexed by a particular statement CJ Mahaney made on one of the CJ celebration extravganza videos (number 22). At the 7:50 mark, he starts speaking about his family and their godly, gospel, evidences of grace behavior over the years and how that has served the congregation so well–it was a gift. He then says this statement, “This church has not known inconsistency between my preaching and my and our practice.”

    He is speaking of his life and that of his family, on display for all to see. Who even says something like that? There has not been one inconsistency? Really? What kind of person would even think to declare such perfection in his/her life (much less verbalize it)-even worse announce it to hundreds? He really believes that. Sad.

    If he ever preached about love, or kindness, or evidences of grace being present (to use his bizarre phrase) which I am sure he did, then isn’t the coercion nightmare quite the inconsistency?

  61. diane
    We will be posting on this nonsense today. CJ and the rest of the Calvinistas should be ashamed at themselves but personal shame rarely enters into their paradigm, does it? They looooove to declare themselves the worst of sinner but they rarely admit to any sins, do they?

    So, part of my new strategy for my Prime Directive, part B, is this. OK, CJ, you are the worst sinner in the world. Because of this fact, I believe everyone else over you because the worst sinner in the world would probably be the worst liar in the world as well.

    Now, next week we will do a post on the daughters’ tribute to mom who appears to be the Darth Vader of sin. They talked of their mom staying up late at night, making them deal with their sins and then waking up and do it all over again. These people are nuts! And I cannot wait for some Bible quoter to start throwing our verses to tell me just how “biblical” they are.

  62. Dee and Diane –

    The Lord Jesus did not stay up late into the night to point out sin to his followers. Nor did he arise in the morning to continue where he left off – ugh! The HS indwells believers, afterall. They have little faith that God is able to complete what he began in a man.

  63. Bridget
    Well said. I am glad you caught that stuff as well. It appears that Carolyn groomed the girls to be the next generation of sin sniffers. How sad.

  64. I found this article fascinating.

    I did not know one person or church to whom this author referred.

    But I knew the story. In some small way from my own experience, and in a much larger way from the experiences of others whom I have read.

    The reason that this story is so relatable is that there are certain qualities that are shared with other religious movements. Human nature is the same. The neeed for connection with God. The need for conformity. The need to boss people. The need to have all the answers. The need for community. The fallen nature of leaders and the disappointment of followers. All of it is there – in both religious and non-religious movements.

    And since it occurred in the U.S. the 20th Century, of course this is going to happen in a religious context that is biblically based or oriented.

    The pace and mobility of society and the options that people have, along with the other things that I mentioned, make this such a common story.

    I am glad that she still believes and is involved in an active Christian faith community.

  65. Anonymous
    I, too found it fascinating for some of the same reasons. It is helpful to see these common elements to help others to avoid some of the same traps. Unlike Faith, many have walked away from the church and that breaks my heart

  66. Speaking of Florida cults of the eighties …
    CJ Mahaney’s Knoxville franchise of Sovereign Grace Ministries, Cornerstone Church, rose from the ashes of the Maranatha Campus Ministries International pod at The University of Tennessee.
    Campus minister William Kittrell formed Cornerstone just months after Maranatha disbanded in 1989, unable to disprove the widespread perception that it was a cult. Kittrell,, who started Cornerstone with a few dozen followers in a high school gymnasium still is still the top elder/pastor at a church that sports an average attendance of 900, a 47,000 sq ft facility, and 27 acres of prime suburban real estate.

  67. Kent
    Now that is something i did not know. We are posting some videos from SGM today that, unfortunately, seem to indicate that Cornerstone is part of another rather strange ministry. I had not idea that the pastor came out of Maranatha which also dealt with accusations of cultic behavior. Wow! These apples never seem to fall far from the mother tree, do they? you know, we have been getting more and more reports of strange goings on in a few churches in Knoxville. Do you know if SGM has other ties in that area?

  68. Kent
    It just occurred to me. Do you know if this pastor ever repented from his involvement with such a ministry? I am rather surprised at the number of pastors hanging around that had some ties to ministries that had some serious issues with public perception. Or, do we just change names of the ministry and morph, once again? I am very concerned that some of the tactics of Shepherding Groups, ICOC, CO, Maranatha, etc did/do not fade away but merely changed the exterior. Could this be the reason that there seems to be so many stories of spiritual abuse beginning once again?

  69. The thing about C. Mahaney that’s mentioned above reminds me of … torture. Literally.

    where people are forced awake and made to sit in interrogations. (Sleep deprivation, etc. etc. etc.)

    It’s very alarming!!!

  70. Elastigirl
    You are not the first person to bring up Scientology in this discussion. There are certainly parallels yet these folks would actually think they are “biblical.”

  71. My experience with the Church of Christ came when we attended a Christian church that had a group of Church of Christers who came there after a split. My husband and I both had a Presbyterian background and as such had been baptized as infants. During a Bible study one night the issue of baptism came up. I had been struggling with infant/adult baptism and was eager to hear it discussed. I just sat back and listened and became amazed when the discussion turned into the improbable. For example, what if you became a Christian and died in a car accident before being baptized? Were you saved? They seemed to think no. Finally my husband spoke up. Almost as if he had been waiting for the opportunity, the one man (a former Church of Christ pastor), pulled out a paper and began reading us the riot act. He discredited our beliefs, yelled at us about Calvin (I didn’t really even know much about Calvin but it was guilt by association) and in the end we understood he believed (and others there) that we probably weren’t saved (nor any other millions of people not properly baptized ie. full immersion). It wasn’t long after that we moved away. While the assistant pastor had no idea of this event, he gave us a glowing send off, discussing our service to the church etc. All I could think at the was- “Here he is saying wonderful things and yet a bunch of people in this church don’t even think we’re saved” It felt so terribly awkward, I couldn’t wait to get going!

  72. Dee:
    Thank you for the response, and apologies to all of your guests on this lively and informed thread, which I don’t intend to highjack.
    Since my search of your blog for “Maranatha” came up empty,
    I am delighted to find that you are “catholic” in your approach to the byzantine topic of your blog.
    I am impressed that you ladies know so much more than I do, but moreso by your admission what you don’t know it all. Authoritarians like Mahaney and Driscoll will never understand nor would they ever avail themselves of the humble curiosity or confident integrity that you exude.
    Dee, you raise several questions that are also on my mind.
    Right now the apples here are falling faster than I can catch them.
    Leads in Knoxville are multiplying as the national and local threads of my research converge. I should be able to make sense of the connections in the coming weeks, but I don’t want to speculate prematurely in an open forum.
    You raise a good and fair question about whether Kittrell repented from cult practices– or, I would add– whether his Maranatha branch at UT Knoxville was ever even accused of such.
    Cornerstone’s own website makes it clear to me that this is a very tightly controlled and controlling congregation.
    All of Kittrell’s assistant pastors are graduates of the Sovereign Grace Pastors’ College. All were “recruited” through the subsidiary local campus ministry, which they now call Volunteers for Christ.
    I’m assuming that the only “elders” are the pastors, whose average age is thirty-seven.
    Their site makes it clear up front that they are elder (Pastor-elder? governed) and that the laity will be listened to but never heeded.

    Also of interest, If you Google Cornerstone Church Knoxville, just below the official church site, up pops this insider defense against cult allegations by one S VanDyke:
    Be sure to read the Comments below.

    Dee, feel free to email me with any questions you might have.

    Thanks again.

  73. Addendum:

    This comment below by an SGM Member is telling, probably the Party Line : SGM s not a cult because all of the leading mainstream neo-Calvinist (an oxymoron, I know) preachertainers endorse us.
    Likewise Driscoll’s A29 is “legitimized” by his Gospel Coalition membership.

    >>If Sovereign Grace Ministries was a cult they would be put into the same category of the Boston Church, Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons. The theologians of today would point them out as being a cult rather than write books with them, teach seminars with them and fellowship with them. All one has to do is go to monergismdotcom and see CJ Mahaney listed alongside of John Piper, R.C. Sproul,Tim Keller, Sinclair Ferguson, John MacArthur, Al Mohler, James White, Michael Horton, D.A. Carson, Mark Dever, John Frame, James Boice, J. Ligon Duncan III, Iain H Murray,Arturo Azurdia III, and J.I. Packer. If Sovereign Grace Ministries was a cult, these men would speak up.

    In Christ,


  74. Zech
    Now that is an important testimony! This baptism thing is a belief of the Church of Christ. They believe that salvation is incumbent on baptism. This is one more tactic of abusive groups to limit salvation to their way of interpretation of Scripture. They get to control the keys to heaven.

    All of us must be on guard for those people who have “decided” that they know what certain Scriptures mean. People like Ken Ham also limit Scripture, alluding to the fact that those who do not believe in his limited view of Genesis may not be saved (denying the doctrine of the atonement to quote him).

  75. Kent

    As for the men who don’t speak up, there is a warning in Scripture that even strong Christians will be deceived. And there is a corollary, when there is money to be had, it is amazing ho the lines blur.

  76. Kent –

    Thanks for sharing the info on Cornerstone. I find some of the statements on their website interesting and revealing.

  77. BRIDGET –
    You are welcome. I believe the Achilles” heel of SGM and A29 is their aggressive online self-promotion, which defies the convention of cult secretiveness. By their LINKS and ABOUT US pages we shalll know them .
    RE Churches of Christ–
    As a churches of Christ alumnus, the broadest doctrinal generalization I can make is that the traditional c of C are as dead serious about congregational autonomy as they are about dunking adults specifically “for remission of sins.””
    Any cofC congregation that is directly “networked” with other congregations would not be regarded as genuine by the mainstream.
    cofC also believe in governance by lay elders, who hire and fire preachers.

    Congregational autonomy is not a perfect protection against an authoritarian clergymen or cult practices Jiim Jones got his start in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) next of kin to the c of C, before DoC built s fist national hierarchy. Oddly enough, Allan Fiers Sr, who would become the first President of the DoC, was a mentor
    to Jones. Alan Fiers Jr ., head of Reagan CIA’s Central American Task Force, pled guilty for his role in the Iran-Contra Scandal..

    “amazing ho” … an inspired typo … an apt moniker for Driscoll!!
    Does the thug preachertainer claiming Angry Macho Jesus as his accomplice know about the one thing that drove Jesus to physical violence?

    The strong not speaking up …
    It’s clear to me that the hoary divines of The Gospel Coalition– DA Carson, Tim Keller, John Piper, and Alatollah Mohler in particular- are full-blown collaborators with A29 and SGM.
    Neo-Calvinism, cross-promotion, and a common publishing house give away their game.


  78. Kent
    Sad but you speak much truth in your last paragraph.

    I had a friend in Dallas who left the COC. She asked her dad to come to her baby’s dedication in a great church of which I was a part.. He walked out when the guy began quietly backing up the music with drums. He also believed that the baby’s dedication was wrong.

  79. Who are you people? I stumbled onto this site today and it caught my attention bc I am disenfranchized from organized churches and bc I was, like the author, raised in COC’s. While I would agree that they are cultish, don’t you find it ironic that the very thing they (the COC) do — you are doing on this site??? That is, reading your comments, all I see is “those ppl are wrong bc.. and they make me sick… check out this video to prove how wrong everyone else is…” Jesus was not paranoid. He wasn’t laser-focused on all the sin around him, either. The information on what the truth is NOT – is already abundant. The answer is not abundant. Karl Marx made the same mistake, btw; he was all worked up and angry about the ‘wrongs’ but he ran short on answers – so he ended up making one up that was a disaster. Churches do this. Humans do this – but Jesus avoided it.

  80. Cathy
    Welcome to this site. I would encourage you to read a bit more than a one day look see. Do you remember when Jesus called the pharisees white washed tombs, snakes, etc.?

  81. I can totally relate to the narcissistic environment, how it warped my views of God, how I struggled with depression and anxiety, how the Bible was used against me the 24 years I was in the ICOC.

    Some highlights of my ordeal:

    -I was the only one paying the bills and rent and was expected to ‘give’ in this way, any attempts to push back and I was deemed selfish and not giving like Jesus
    -Roommates involved in theft, permanently borrowing without asking, not able to hold down jobs – but as long as they were ‘cranking’ the ministry it was over looked.
    -With one of my disciplers, I was required to walk behind him and too the right
    -Brothers caught in sexual sins where shamed, demeaned and rebuked in front of whole groups, they were also forced to stand before groups and confess every detail of their sexual sin, one time even out in the open in a city park for women and children to hear.
    -The Old Testament story about Achan’s sin was used extensively as a reason to go on McCarthy witch hunts for ‘hidden sin’ in this ministry, D groups commonly involved yelling, rebuking and even physical threats that could sometime be heard at the other end of the building or house.
    -Once I was deemed unrepentant by my discipler, I was speechless to defend myself, he got so pissed that he grabbed me and started shaking me and yelling at me to repent
    -It was common for people to just drop out and disappear; the ministry was so narcissistic and abusive
    -One year the focus was so severe to convert that we converted 100 people, but the church membership decreased by 2, people were ‘falling away’ as fast as they were converted. But the 100 baptism per year stat looked great
    -Often it was viewed as being spiritual to neglect your personal life (finances, car upkeep, house upkeep, laundry, time with your kids) to push ministry goals and duties
    -Dating was strictly enforced. Any slipups, falling “into sin” and even low performance as a disciple was viewed that you were distracted by the other with threats of the relationship being ended by a decision of leadership etc. My girlfriend and I were told by our disciplers that we would not be allowed to get married unless we meet, studied and converted a replacement single member to replace us. By the grace of God we were able to get married; while at the alter and being pronounced man and wife I felt a sense of relief because no one could no longer use my new wife as a carrot to keep me committed to total commitment, to keep me out of sin, to keep me submissive etc….
    -My wife got pregnant but it turned out to be a mass and so a DNC was required, the only person that showed up at the hospital was my old girlfriend with a meal for us. Not a word from any of the leaders.
    -Stats had to be reported by daily calling in especially during big evangelism pushes by a determined time, failure to call in stats sometimes resulted in bad repercussions even whole groups being herded into a closed room and rebuked at times, at times members even being squared off with by the leader like a drill sergeant with yelling for their disobedience for not calling in or calling in late.
    -Contribution involved group leaders camping out in front of member’s houses until they came home to confront them of their sin and get the money. Leaders also sometimes had to pay the difference out of their own money
    -Special Contribution was the same, paid staff leaders knew that their job was on the line if their group did not make the pledged goal.
    -Any team events like touch football; the leader’s team was expected to be the best and to win the tournament, failure to do so was viewed dimly as a direct reflection of their lack of leadership skills. This was also true for the leaders Bible Talk group, they had to have the most visitors, studies, converts, pledged goals achieved, 100% attendance to all functions etc etc.
    -Yearly seminars where expected to be attended, the only exception was if you where in the hospital dying or having a baby, even then it was viewed as the married couples’ bad timing for the arrival of their newborn during seminar. A whole realm of stats surrounded this event of who was signed up, who had paid, did they have a plan to get there. This was also true for all other functions like marriage retreats, walk-a-thons, crusades, neighbor days, Arts and Media plays, Jesus weeks etc etc etc etc
    -Sometimes leaders meeting or regular church services/meetings it would be decided that all the late comers would be in sin and the doors would be closed and locked, didn’t matter if someone had a good excuse, there are no excuses – you should have been able to tell the future and planned for it.
    -Many times the leaders meetings were harsh with yelling, lines drawn in the sand responses etc etc. Very high performance and high expectations were the norm. Any lack of performance was immediately deemed as sin and was met with sometimes volatile consequence
    -Paid staff leaders were expected to tow the line, if they tried to stand up to the abuse and bad treatment of the lead evangelist of their group or point out the dysfunction, they were deemed un-loyal and sometimes reassigned to a different city
    -One time it came down that all of the fat volunteer ushers where to be dismissed – their sin was deemed obvious. It was deemed that fat ushers in the church service gave a bad impression
    -Single parents were expected to keep the same schedule as single members; this was group that would bear the brunt of catching hell for their ‘poor performance’ with no consideration for the fact that they also are trying to raise their kid(s) by themselves.
    -The non-working single family group leader and cranking his ministry all day would be the one raised up as being the ‘example’ for all to follow because he would have great stats. On the other hand the single parent of 2 kids, working a low paying job, barely keeps his old car running and yet still finds a way to lead a family group with his very limited time would be ignored simply because his stats were not as good.
    -Saw a part singer rushed by a leader and yelled out for not singing loud enough.
    -The children’s ministry leader and the Christmas play leader ended up fighting over a couple for their ministry cussing at each other in the church building hall way
    -Another horrible response by the leaders of sexual sin by a few members; one midweek that was for men only I walked in and started my way to the sound board to turn things on. As soon as I walked into the sanctuary one if the deacons started screaming at me from the front podium “Turn the lights off! We are going to pray! Get those lights out now! Everyone on your knees now! We are going to pray! I what those light out now! EVERYONE GET ON YOUR KNEES NOW!!!” Stunned and off guard I picked up the pace to the sound booth and slammed the light switches off. The deacon then yelled the prayer which was actually a direct rebuke to the group screaming at everyone for their addiction to porn – I started feeling the fight or flight emotion but also was too frozen to leave. Once the prayer was over, more yelling ensued for the introduction of one of the guy who was going to give the lesson – his lesson switched gears as he approached it as someone who had overcome porn and it turned out to be a good lesson. However once he was done, more yelling ensued including the evangelist saying,” All of those who do not repent will be disfellowshipped!!” And that was the end of the midweek – no one was given the opportunity afterwards to share or be vulnerable about their struggle with this – it was repent or else! I turns out that the movie Fireproof had just been released which caused a stir and some of the men’s sins of porn were ‘found out’ – this midweek was the abusive response. I have since learned that if anyone is shamed and demeaned due to this addition, it actually reinforces the addiction!
    -One of our handicapped members was manhandled by a frustrated leader, jerked out of her chair and called a piece of sh*t. Throughout my years these ’weak’ people with ‘issues’ would be the ones that would get singled out in D groups and catch hell for their rebellion, of course these people would react to the abuse becoming more emotional which would only bring more yelling and rebukes. It was common for these poor and weak members to receive the worst treatment by frustrated leaders who themselves were feeling the pressure from the leaders over them to keep their people performing at 110% capacity. Weakness was looked upon as obvious sin, as a direct threat to the leader not being able to achieve his goals etc

    With the help of others I can now look back and see how controlled and blind I was to what seems so obvious now. There are a lot of good people still deceived by this toxic faith which allows this kind of stuff to continue….

  82. FS

    I am sitting in a hotel in SC totally stunned by your comment. Please let me say how sorry I am for your horrible experience with this group. I am so glad that you were willing to speak of this here. I am sure that you have helped many people by your willingness to share your experience.

    If you would like to round out your comment with some background like how you got involved in this group, how you got out and where you are at now, we would love to make this into a post. Please email us at our contact information if you are interested.

  83. Thanks for your note, it is still strange to me to be validated.
    Well, as with a lot of others I was seeking what God was all about, when I encountered this movement in the 80s. I was intrigued with their devotion to God and being a movement that was really trying to do God’s will and their knowledge of the Bible. The first people I ran into were sincere and I believe were in it for the same reason I was – to find God’s will in their lives desperately seeking what God wanted for their lives. As time went on it got slowly twisted into something toxic, I was too young and dumb and lacked the emotional intelligence to detect the dangerous situations I was getting into. Due to my low self esteem I would easily get sucked into, captured and controlled by the toxic ministry. The toxicity would go through phases depending on a lot of events. Each of the 3 cities we lived in the ministries we moved to turned toxic. When it got really bad, enough people would start leaving or get vehement enough to demand change – the ministry would fall apart at the seams. Only then it finally caused changes for the better but a lot of collateral damage was already done.
    Keep in mind that a lot of the volatile events I described afterwards the ‘abusers’ would be shook up and regret what they did, but for others it would take years for people to finally see how bad they had become. We all were in a very wound tight, high strung, hierarchal system that would bring out the worst in all of us in one way or another – the pressure to get good stats and results was enormous and that was backed up with the repercussions I described. This resulted in our conscious being violated and divided that stole our inner peace, always being in turmoil on the inside helped bring out the worst in people. What added to this was when one would loose control by falling into sin, getting emotional, loosing one’s temper etc – the reaction by others of shaming, demeaning, punishing, demanding immediate repentance etc would only reinforce and worsen the turmoil inside. With this cycle repeating it was only a matter of time before a member including leaders would loose it and take it out on someone. Bottom line, hearts were being poisoned and damaged instead of purified.
    Over the years when the volatile situations would happen, I started questioning how this could be from God and slowly started figuring out that something was wrong. When Henry Kriete’s letter came out, big changes were made, bad leaders were dealt with, I had renewed hope that lessons were learned and things would be different and it was for a few years, however I would find out in the last ministry we moved to that things would go back the way it was – just as narcissistic and volatile. The last few points in my previous post were after the HKL.
    I started counseling which helped on the road to emotional intelligence and healing, this helped me to see how I lacked the proper boundaries and how controlled I was. Also certain disturbing events happened that also woke me up to the point that I needed to get out. For me was when the handicapped member was treated badly as I described, for my wife it was when she was the administrator that made obvious how bad the dysfunctional behind the scenes scenarios were. Some of the people that rose up into key leadership roles would not last, they would see the light and they also left. The regular members didn’t know how bad it was behind the scenes until they got involved.
    Somehow God protected our souls throughout the whole experience helping us to learn from each bad situation, it was very hard at times and confusing. We continue to heal and process what we have been through and are stronger and more resilient as a result, that’s the good side of all of this that we now try to focus on. We have our lives back and more importantly our souls reclaimed; we are experiencing peace for the first time in a long time.
    One reason we stayed in so long was the hope things could get better, as we learned from the bad experiences we tried to enact change from with in. Per Edward R Morrow’s quote: “We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it.” However it became clear that a loyal opposition could not change a stubborn and arrogant system that only viewed the loyal opposition as a threat. Questioning the system was simply deemed disloyal. At times we were not perfect in pointing out changes, which resulted in us being viewed as rebellious and in sin instead of having valid points. But then I realize that not even Jesus who was sinless had success against bad religion and he was killed for it. It was not all bad and that there are still good people trying to figure out God’s will for their lives in the ICOC, however good people that lack emotional intelligence and lack the ability to establish proper boundaries can be easily blinded to what’s really going on….

  84. Its a shame to see so much church bashing going on here.

    It is very discouraging to see people like eagle and fs blatantly lying about the ICOC.

    I have been a member for 5 years and never witnessed what crap they are saying.

    It’s sad that fs will spew his crap, and no one in the church is here to counter his lies.

    The ICOC is one of few churches that are on fire for God. All I see is wishy washy Christians here who have unpenentive sin, and a stuck in their pride.

    “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the Kingdom of God”

    Luke 9:62

  85. ptolemy

    Let’s see, you throw in one Bible verse, taken waaaaay out of context, and then you use the word “crap”, and you believe you have been a witness for the ICOC.

    Unfortunately, you have only proven our point. It is time to get you head out of the mud and start seeing what others are seeing. You invite the world to see what “witnesses for the Lord” you all are. Well, we have looked, and this is what we see. Maybe it’s time for a bit of humility and reassessment.

    Also, if you wish to change the minds of people who disagree with you, you need to be able to communicate in an attractive and compelling way. Frankly, you managed to perpetuate a stereotype. Take some time and read this site. You might learn, at the minimum, how to talk to people who disagree with you.

  86. Unfortuntly Dee,

    I did have to shovel through all these pages of posters on this blog church bashing.

    People like Eagle just made an assumption, then backed it up with some half truth, that they assume is right, without ever walking into a ICOC.

    The ICOC is a beautiful and faith filled church. I understand that some weak christians will find this hard, as they just want to commit to a Sunday, tune God out for the rest of the work, and think they are saved.

    The Bible is the Word of God, start follint it, and not just the best parts, you wont grow if you do not study and fellowship with other believers.

    As the blogger here Dee, i would have thought you would have been more mature, then to let people like FS, make up blant lies, that have no depth of truth to it. But thats the way these sites and those like the Rick Ross site operate.

    Make up a lie, and if its big enough the sheep will follow it. You want to know the truth, go to a service, its wonderful, and unlike what some people say.

    The past is the past, it made errors, time to move forward!

  87. Ptolemy
    You have violated our prime directive. You have not acknowledged the pain of the victims of church abuse. We can always tell those who only care about the choice they have made and their choice is, of course, anointed. We do know our Bible and you sound, unfortunately, like an ill-mannered and uneducated individual who is upset that his church got criticized.

    You said “The Bible is the Word of God, start follint it, and not just the best parts, you wont grow if you do not study and fellowship with other believers.” How do you know that we don’t study it and fellowship with other believers? Please do some more “research” and show that you have a basic understanding of this blog before you make such silly statements.

  88. Your words show you do not follow it. People can post whatever trash talk they like, and as history has shown through other forums that through around the cult word, the posts are usually full of lies.

    I am not dragging those who have sincerely felt they are victims of church abuse, I’m referring to those who are obviously lying and you are supporting their lies by not pulling them up.

    I do not know if you are a Christian, but I doubt it with your thinly veiled insult.

    Half of you wouldn’t know what cult abuse is. You cry cult just because a minister asks that you turn from a sin that you don’t want to stop doing.

    I violated nothing. There are no rules posted on how one should act.

  89. Ptolemy

    I am warning you. You are starting to irritate me. You have no right to judge the faith of others. The fact that you do so only draws attention to the denomination that you are representing very, very poorly. In fact, you very words give credence to the testimony of those who have left the ICOC.

  90. My humblest apologies.

    I agree if they want to be fair weathered christians and cant stand biblical discipline then it is not the church for them.

    Take your own words, dont knock the ICOC just because you could not hack it.

    Jesus died on the Cross and was resurrectedwhat have you done for the kingdom today.

    I dont judge, i help people grow. If people choose to close their ears,eyes and heart to the truth,than they only have themselves to blame when they end up in hell.

    Learn to be a soldier for Christ and toughen up.Stop making excuses for them,and pull out that judgement card,which christians do,when they are convicted and refuse to change.

  91. And you’re just a female version of Rick Ross.

    You would not know what a cult is.

    You coddle “victims” who express some sob story, which often contradicts itself.

    So tell me, do you take whatever anyone says as gospel? Do you ever consider, they may be the problem?

  92. ptolemy,

    Your comments are so predictable. We’ve been there and done that. It’s called blame the victim.

    The truth about ICOC has been revealed, as evidenced by the mass exodus from this cultic organization.

    ICOC in Upheaval

    “ICOC Upheaval Spreads. The event has sparked a plethora of problems, criticisms, complaints, and defections from the movement. Insiders and outsiders, including ex-members, have noted a myriad of ongoing problems, including high disaffection rates, financial improprieties, abuses of authority, false record keeping, and member complaints. During the summer of 2003 structural changes appeared headed toward greater autonomy for individual congregations, greater leadership authority for unpaid local elders and deacons, and a sizeable decrease in full-time paid staff and leadership.

    “The ICOC has been controversial since its inception, amid charges that it was exclusivistic, autocratic, extremely controlling of individual members’ lives, doctrinally aberrant, practicing deceptive recruitment techniques, and siphoning huge amounts of funds from rank-and-file members to enable elite leaders to live lives of sumptuous extravagance. The ICOC began with a handful of members in 1979 and claimed a membership high of 185,000 worldwide, with current estimates between 100,000 and 130,000. Estimates of members who have left hover at 250,000.”

  93. Ptolemy
    How can I say this so you will get it? You are a terrible example of someone from ICOC. Now, you are stepping over the line into abuse when you start hurting those who are already hurt. I have put up with your weird comments. If the level of your discussion does not take a major step up, you will be banned from the site. Please try to mimic the pursuits of your namesake, Ptolemy who was a “mathematician, astronomer, geographer, astrologer, and poet of a single epigram in the Greek Anthology.” You could learn something from his pursuits.

  94. Actually Dee,

    My name sake is from the ruling family of Ptolemies, which ended with the suicide of Cleopatra VII.

    So just so i understand people who agree with you are fine, but those who dont get banned?

    i thought you wanted a free discussion not a communist dictatorship.

    but fine for the sake of your communist censorship,il turn it down,but it does show your audience you dont allow people to have a difference in opinion

  95. You go Dee, this is the typical response I would often get while in the ICOC when I would attempt to tell it like it happened, try to protect the weak members or to set a personal boundary against the emotional, mental, spiritual and physical intimidation and abuse – immediate defensiveness, arrogance and sometimes volatile responses to my ‘disloyalty’ in an attempt to re-establish control and discredit my story. Thanks for sticking up for me….

  96. ICOC and MHC have more and more in common as time has gone by. Founders of both churches actually studied Theology in the same classrooms together at Boston U. (Driscoll did not have a Master’s Degree in Theology but co-founder of the church Gunn does)

    It’s a relief people are now making legit comparisons between the two…I thought people may find the above fact to be telling.