Mark Driscoll – 21st Century Humpty Dumpty?

“Power will intoxicate the best hearts, as wine the strongest heads. No man is wise enough, nor good enough to be trusted with unlimited power.”

Charles Caleb Colton

Bright Red Poppy

Humpty Dumpty

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the King's horses, And all the King's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again!

As this nursery rhyme reminds us, sitting atop a high wall is extremely dangerous!  In hindsight, it is ironic that Mark Driscoll was preaching through one of my favorite books of the Bible – Nehemiah – when he fired two Mars Hill elders, namely Paul Petry and Bent Meyer.  It has been well-documented that Driscoll changed the MH by-laws and became virtually untouchable as the head of his empire. 

Instead of getting hysterical over these unprecidented changes that have occurred in recent days, we prefer to get historical.  Let's take a look at the timeline of recent events involving Mark Driscoll, the Acts 29 Network, and The Gospel Coalition. 

12.31.11  

A segment of Justin Brierley's interview with Mark Driscoll airs on Premier Christian Radio in the United Kingdom.

   1.03.12   

Mark and Grace Driscoll's sizzling book Real Marriage: The Truth about Sex, Marriage, and Life Together is released.

1.12.12

Mark Driscoll takes aim at an entire country with A Blog Post for the Brits.

1.14.12

The podcast of the entire Mark Driscoll Interview is aired on Premier Christian Radio.

1.15.12

Prophetess Dee goes on the record with her post – Mark Driscoll Should Step Down and Acts 29 Churches Should Step Away

  1.24.12  

"James MacDonald, pastor of the six-campus Harvest Bible Chapel, abruptly resigned from the Gospel Coalition on January 24 because of "methodological differences." MacDonald told Christianity Today his resignation was partly prompted by an invitation he extended to popular black preacher T. D. Jakes to appear in a debate event MacDonald sponsors."

1.25.12

The Elephant Room Round 2 takes place.

1.29.12

D.A. Carson responds to Mark Driscoll's rebute of the Brits on The Gospel Coalition website.

1.29.12

Bent Meyer breaks his silence on The Wartburg Watch, which we featured in a post the next day.

1.30.12

Chad Vegas, pastor of Sovereign Grace Church of Bakersfield (NOT an SGM church), announces in a blog post that his church is withdrawing from the Acts 29 Network.   Post is subsequently removed.  However, several commenters confirm this stunning development.  One wrote:  "Thank you for having the courage to leave Acts 29. I, and many others, also appreciated your willingness to speak publicly about this. We obviously regret your having removed your original post, but you nevertheless have our prayerful support."

2.06.12

Dear Acts 29 Members announcement posted.

2.19.12

:-) EChurch@Wartburg Begins :-)

3.07.12

Mark and Grace Driscoll share their view on sex in marriage on The View (we weighed in) and appeared on Fox News and Piers Morgan in the days that followed.

3.19.12

Paul and Jonna Petry break their silence with their blog Joyful Exiles coincidentally on TWW's three year anniversary :-)  We featured a post the next day.

 3.28.12 

Mark Driscoll resigns as president of the Acts 29 Network as communicated in A Note on Some Transitions.

3.28.12

Driscoll Steps Down from The Gospel Coalition Council.

3.28.12

Driscoll posts What's Next for Me  – with "me" being the operative word…


Matt Chandler – Newly Appointed President of Acts 29

Matt Chandler, lead pastor for the Village Church in Texas, may be the best person to lead Acts 29 into the future, but we have expressed our concerns about him in the past.  Please be sure to read Dee's post A Letter to Matt Chandler from a Narcissistic Zero.  While I am hoping for the best for the Acts 29 Network, I, too, have concerns about Chandler.  Here they are:

Matt Chandler will be appearing on stage with C.J. Mahaney in a less than two weeks at Together for the Gospel. Hurry and register by the deadline, which is March 31!  Don't worry if you can't spot Chandler in the photo – the red sticker is covering his face… 

You may recall that Mahaney stepped aside at T4G 2010 and allowed Matt Chandler take his speaking slot to address the attendees about his suffering (from cancer).  Now Mahaney and Chandler can bond because of the suffering each has experienced.

Guess who will be speaking at the Very Last Next Conference (hosted by SGM) in Orlando from May 26-29, 2012…  C.J. Mahaney, Matt Chandler and others.  (Bye Bye Josh Harris).  On the Monday evening of the conference, Mahaney and Chandler will have a "conversation between friends".   Here's our prediction – C.J. "conference planner extraordinaire" Mahaney will likely work together with Chandler to plan the next big event.  He may even talk Chandler into speaking at SGM's upcoming Pastors Conference.  Remember, you heard it here first!


The Sojourn Network

Earlier this year there were indications that problems were afoot in Acts 29.  One such sign was Chad Vegas' shocking blog post, which was promptly removed.  In its place remain these words:  "Where did my controversial post go?  After posting on my blog, something I rarely do but hope to begin again, I was slammed with comments, calls, emails, twitter messages etc. I decided to pull the post and restart my lame blogging career with less controversial posts. So, sorry if you missed it folks."

Not to worry… you can read much of what Chad wrote on another blog – Elephant Room 2 claims first Acts 29 casualty

Chad Vegas, pastor of Sovereign Grace Church of Bakersfield (not an SGM church!), was understandably upset that Mark Driscoll did not denounce Modalism and Prosperity Teaching in the Elephant Room 2.  Apparently, Chad decided that evening that it was time to leave Acts 29.  Perhaps he misunderstood Driscoll's words and actions at that event and was compelled to take down his post; however, the fact still remains that his church is now a proud member of The Sojourn Network, which was established just last year.  Under "About Us", you will find the following information:

"Founded in 2011 by Daniel Montgomery and Brian Howard in partnership with eleven churches, Sojourn Network exists to multiply churches in North America and beyond in order to advance the gospel. The vision of Sojourn Network is to be a network of churches with a shared DNA surrounding common commitments and identities who are passionate about planting more churches."

Here is a brief explanation why Sojourn Network left A29.

"In recent years, Sojourn’s vision for church planting has begun to crystalize around a particular set of philosophical values and practices. We want to multiply a particular kind of DNA and plant churches that are carriers of that theological and philosophical vision. This is not to presume that our particular “recipe” is more pure or better than anyone else’s. Rather, it’s born out of the realization that with our particular leadership skills, our particular vision, and the resources before us, we are most likely to succeed when we invest our resources towards this vision.

Because of this narrowing of our focus, we believed that the best course for us moving forward was to be sent out of the Acts 29 Network in order to launch a new, autonomous church planting network focused on this vision – Sojourn Network. Just as a church planter is sent from a body of believers to plant a new church, we asked (and received) the blessing of Acts 29 to be sent as a new network. We stepped out of Acts 29, both as an affinity network and as members.

After countless hours of prayerful deliberation, we believed that this decision was the best thing for both us and Acts 29. We remain deeply indebted to our Acts 29 friends, and our desire is not to sever those relationships, but to pioneer a new alliance as we grow the Sojourn Network. Our hope, and our firm conviction, is that the fruit of this will be more unity, more strength, and more churches planting churches."

In less than a year's time, 14 churches have joined the Sojourn Network, which is based in Louisville, Kentucky. Hmmm…  All indications are that the Mahaneys are moving to Kentucky – most likely the Louisville area.  It will be interesting to see whether the church that C.J. is supposedly planting will belong to the Sojourn Network and whether the churches that remain in Sovereign Grace Ministries will merge with this group.  As Mahaney is so fond of saying — "Constant change is here to stay."  Only time will tell…

Finally, if you're planning to attend the upcoming T4G conference, you may be interested to know that the Sojourn Network is having a special dinner for those who are interested in finding out about this church planting organization.  Apparently, A29 president Matt Chandler will have some friendly competition at T$G (oops T4G) this year.


I want to thank Justin Dean, Community Relations Director at Mars Hill Church, for contacting me via e-mail earlier today.  He read yesterday's post and immediately checked into the problem with Kaelee's reconciliation request form.  Here is his complete response:

Hi Deb,

I noticed on your post yesterday about Acts29 (http://thewartburgwatch.com/2012/03/28/acts-29-driscoll-steps-down-chandler-named-primo-planter/) that you mentioned there were reconciliation forms that have gone unanswered. I immediately checked into this, as we only received a handful of legit requests through that form and have followed up on each one.

I wanted to follow up with you to inform you that I did find Kaelee's form and for whatever reason it was stuck in our spam filter, so it did not get answered. We are truly sorry for this, have already reached out to Kaelee to apologize and have a pastor from the Ballard church who is ready to speak with her on her terms if she is still willing to meet. We are delighted that she has chosen to reach out to us for reconciliation and we pray that the process goes well. There are several others who also reached out to us via the form who we are currently walking through reconciliation with.

Please let me know if you have any questions or need anything.

Thanks,

Justin Dean

Community Relations Director


It will be interesting to follow the developments with Mars Hill Church, the Acts 29 Network, the Sojourn Network, and other church planting groups that may be springing up.  There's nothing like a little friendly competition to keep you on your toes…

In closing, it was almost three years ago that I shared my lament as a mom about Mark Driscoll.  Of course, TWW was only a month old then, so not many were reading.  We have continued to focus on Driscoll's antics, and he has only himself to blame for the situation in which he now finds himself.  

We leave you with what could be interpreted as the Driscoll version of Humpty Dumpty.   Will he recover from his fall off the A29 wall?   Just remember, C.J. Mahaney stepped down as president of SGM not long ago, and guess what… He's B-A-A-A-C-K!!!

Lydia's Corner:  Jeremiah 49:23-50:46   Titus 1:1-16   Psalm 97:1-98:9   Proverbs 26:13-16

Comments

Mark Driscoll – 21st Century Humpty Dumpty? — 259 Comments

  1. “Please let me know if you have any questions or need anything.”

    See?
    They really are nice people.

  2. Wow, what a shock to find out the Acts 29 guy, Scott Thomas, was the “lead mediator” in the trial of Petry. (who was not allowed to attend his own trial)

    You know, this whole Mars Hill/Acts 29 thing reminds me of a book I read as a teen: The Lord of the Flies.

  3. “Community Relations Director” sounds like a Target employee who will process the complaint. I hope he is more of a pastor than the title implies for the sake of the wounded who might interact with him.

  4. FWIW, Chandler may speak at a lot of conferences, but he has a binding agreement with his primary employer. He is in the pulpit at Village Church 40 weeks a year. He can miss a maximum of 12. I’ve seen preachers from way smaller churches do way worse.

  5. How and why would the output of a specific web form be put to a spam filter? Oh, let me guess, they had no robot filter. I would have used a robot filter on the form – most places have such – I did not try the form – if it has a robot filter (which it should have, I believe) then I am still at a loss as to why it would be spam filtered since it is not e-mail.

    Kinda strange!

  6. Just a comment on Web forms, SPAM, and such.

    SPAM to blogs, email, web sites, etc.. is currently at tsunami levels. And yes many (most) web sites convert web submitted forms to email. (It has to get from the web site to people one way or another.) This would then cause/allow these “forms” (now emails) to be run through SPAM filters on one or more servers then maybe again at the individual computer and/or mail account.

  7. Miquel:

    You said:”FWIW, Chandler may speak at a lot of conferences, but he has a binding agreement with his primary employer. He is in the pulpit at Village Church 40 weeks a year. He can miss a maximum of 12. I’ve seen preachers from way smaller churches do way worse.”

    I’m not trying to be argumentative but how many preachers from small churches that you know of miss more than 12 Sundays in the pulpit preaching, one, two, three, etc in a year.

    Could you name the names of these preachers? If you can please do not.

    My thanks in advance.

  8. Until you posted the link, I hadn’t read Don Carson’s response to Driscoll. It was good, and I’m glad that a guy from the Gospel Coalition, which Mark has buddied up to, has spoken out and corrected him. Good on you, Don!

  9. Carson was polite and good in how he responded to Driscoll’s remarks. I don’t know if Driscoll would have taken it well to have Don Carson politely but clearly spell out where Driscoll’s an ignorant troll on British Christianity in a public setting, though. Driscoll really cares that people correct him in private but sometimes forgets (like, all the time, maybe) that once things get said on record they stay on record.

    There’s been pushback within the Gospel Coalition on Driscoll’s stunts on their site. Tricky thing is, though, that the points are often made so politely and about doctrinal and cultural statements that if a person is looking for TGC to use proper names and stentorian rebukes they’ll miss just how much the GC people have already been expressing displeasure.

  10. Miguel
    I am aware of this agreement. But, I still do not believe that the Sunday sermon defines a preacher. A preacher lives out his life amongst those he is called to serve. One may as well be a professor of soteriology delivering a lecture.

  11. Dee,

    Thought you’d be interested to know that the Sojourn Church Planting Network was represented at SGM’s church planting conference last November.

    “There were also some wonderful breakout sessions with Tim Witmer (author of The Shepherd Leader), Shai Linne, Daniel Montgomery (Sojourn Church Planting Network), Mike McKinley (author of Church Planting is for Wimps), and many other church planters.”

    Hey guys, here’s the SECRET to successful church planting. Just LOVE people as Jesus Christ loves them…

  12. Dee:

    While I am waiting on Miquel to respond to me, do you know of many small church pastors who are out of their pulpit more than 12 weeks?

  13. Mot
    I agree, most aren’t. Howsoever, within this TGC crowd, etc, there seems to be a penchant for going to conferences that are very important. Then, many go off to “inspect and encourage” the missionaries around the world. My guess is that you will see more of this as the megas take the lead.

  14. Mot
    “maybe what is going on with MD is the biblical reaping and sowing.” Sometimes, in this world, we do not reap what we have sown. But someday, in heaven, all will be revealed. MD is not down and out, and as Deb as pointed out, watch the rise, fall and rise of Mahaney. And do not forget he was a mentor to Driscoll.

  15. Mot,

    While I do not know how you define “small” with regard to church size, I would like to respond to your question:

    “…do you know of many small church pastors who are out of their pulpit more than 12 weeks?”

    Some would consider Capitol Hill Baptist Church to be relatively small – everything is ‘relative’ – and its pastor looks like he was away for more than 12 Sundays during 2011.

    CHBC 2011 Sermons

    C.J. Mahaney delivered the Sunday sermon TWICE at Capitol Hill Baptist during 2011.

    Here they are:

    2/27/11 Called, Loved, Kept

    9/25/11 When Someone Doubts

    You know, some pastors are just VERY BUSY!

  16. Dee,

    In 2012, Mark Dever has preached a little over half of the CHBC sermons so far – looks like 7 out of 13.

    2012 Sermons at CHBC

    From what I understand, Dever was busy teaching at Southern Seminary in January. He wears many hats.

  17. Insinuating or assigning guilt by association is a typical fundamentalist attitude that we all have to be careful of. Sometimes, a guy doesn’t speak at a conference because of who he will share the stage with, but because he knows the attendees need to hear something that they will not hear anywhere else because their circle of influential mentors is so small.

  18. Dee,

    I definitely agree, a pastor’s job is much more than the pulpit. Larger churches, though, with multiple pastoral staff, tend to divide up the work and ensure that it is getting done. There are many different approaches to this, and one involves using the most talented public speaker as the face to do most of the preaching because he’s better at it, and giving the administrative work to the pastor who is good at that, the counseling work to the one good at it, etc..

    There’s good corporate sense in playing to your strengths. However, one major drawback of this approach is that the “preaching pastor” is often turned into somewhat of a celebrity, which imo is not good for the health of the church. Think about how many people would leave Village if Chandler quit. I’m a big fan of “lead pastors” who divide up the pulpit time and actually preach much LESS than 40 weekends to give the other guys pulpit time and so they can do a bigger variety of pastoral tasks. Rick Warren and Tim Keller are good examples of this, I believe.

    I wouldn’t label Chandler an absentee pastor simply because he’s on the circuit, but his popularity will prove a challenge to the Village. Will they exploit his celebrity and export his services? It seems that the agreement they have in place serves to allow him some travel time while keeping it under control. It would seem he still honors such agreements and submits to those whose authority he is under (the other elders). For pete’s sake, his book tour is barely for one calendar week. I know pastors who take more time off than that to play golf. This sets him apart from most megachurch celebrity pastors who can do whatever they want. And yes, he does seem to have somewhat of an anger problem. However, I think he really does get it all out shouting in his sermons and doesn’t need to express it by spiritually/emotionally abusing “sinners” in his congregation in order to manipulate them into submission. Check his video on “the rose.” He gets grace a bit more than Driscoll and Piper, imo, and doesn’t hesitate to criticize himself and his own weakness. He isn’t blind to it and doesn’t rationalize/spiritualize it like his colleagues.

    Mot:

    I am sorry to say that yes I can name many of these preachers. In fact, the last church I worked for had an average attendance of less than 75 (it was nearing 200 when the pastor began), but the pastor raked in nearly six figures, missed a minimum of 13 sundays a year, and was literally out of the country/out of town for 25% of the year. Granted, he was traveling a lot for “mission work,” but it seemed like he was merely riding the circuit in the 3rd world. People who questioned this got on his blacklist, and obviously didn’t understand his special version of grace and were only thinking about fleshly things and were not spiritually minded, etc… you get the picture. I know others, but I agree that it probably isn’t best to bring names into this.

  19. TheyS
    I am not talking about some little unknown guy here. I am talking about one of the “au courants.” Someone needs to say something.

  20. Wow Miguel. Except for the “mission” angle, it sounds like we were at the same church. And ours did rake in 6 figures. Everytime someone took over the books, they ended up leaving the church.

  21. Dee: you struck a chord with:
    ” But, I still do not believe that the Sunday sermon defines a preacher. A preacher lives out his life amongst those he is called to serve. One may as well be a professor of soteriology delivering a lecture.”
    And not just them preachers. In his Martian Robotics talk Driscoll described the Sunday school teachers’ task as “delivering age appropriate lectures.”
    I think the “serving by delivering a lecture” concept goes straight back to Augustine, a professional lecturer, but, not so much, to the Bible.

  22. Just to throw something in here:

    “A preacher lives out his life amongst those he is called to serve.”

    This statement is true. There is no doubt…but may we not diminish the importance of preaching/teaching the word.

    There is a reason the Apostles called on some godly people to rise up and “serve tables.” They were concerned with the preaching/teaching of the Gospel.

    There is a reason the Bible calls Elders having a “double honor” when they handle the affairs of the church, ESPECIALLY when it comes to preaching/teaching.

    This is not my observation. This is scripture. Does this mean a pastor should focus on preaching and never interact with the lives of his congregation? Of course not…but there is an emphasis in scripture on preaching and teaching the good news that is apart from serving. The one thing that distinguishes an Elder is his ability to teach the word of God.

    The assumption that these mega pastors have no ability to minister to their church is beyond me. I DO believe Chandler and other Mega’s interact with their community beyond the pulpit..and as Miguel said, I believe they have a structure in their church to reinforce that endeavour.

    A good example of a “mega” pastor that involves himself in his community is David Platt: He speaks at conferences just like Chandler…and Pastors a Mega just like Chandler.. but I do believe he has made an effort to be involved with his community at Brook Hills. He even has reinforced his ability to serve his Birmingham community by downgrading his home…

  23. Seeker
    You will see that we wrote a most complimentary post on both David Platt and Francis Chan
    here

    Although I disagree with their adherence to rigid complementarianism, I am impressed with their lives. My daughter attended and now my son attends Platt’s church. Not only did Platt downgrade, he moved to a difficult area of town to what I heard is a two bedroom house. He is also in the process of adopting even more international children.

    I hope this clarifies our thinking.

  24. Dee,

    The only reason you got your comment posted before mine is because I was trying to hyperlink. :P

  25. Yeah I’ve seen how this reconciliation process goes because I have “Reconciliation Vision”, although it’s not a supernatural gift like “Porno Vision”, but rather the visions triggered from the recollection of firsthand observation.

    Cast:

    Reconcilitors – the elders / shepherds with assumed supreme authority over everyone and also the ones with the greatest need for CYA.

    Reconcilee – the one blindsided from out of nowhere that now finds they are outside the chicken coop so to speak in an extremely stressful and potentially damaging situation.

    The process goes like this.

    Reconcilitors: We sincerely and profusely apologize for the fact that as your shepherds we have allow a situation to occur that has resulted in the conflict we now find ourselves in. We believe this is all a result of sin. Sin on our part which we have just now confessed, and sin on your part which we hope to help you see and then gently guide you also to the point of confession. So, if we do find there to be sin on your part, will you also be willing to confess and take whatever steps we deem necessary to complete the reconciliation process? After all reconciliation is a two way street.

    Reconcilee: huh?

    Reconcilitors: You seem hesitant to submit to this process, why is that?

    Reconcilee: What? You did ____ and it was flat wrong and I thought you wanted to make it right with me?

    Reconcilitors: Well there you have it. What actually precipitated ____ was your initial disrespect of our authority, which we may point out, is now happening again with your refusal to submit to our Biblical reconciliation process. So, now we must begin to uncover your underlying sin issues which are prohibiting you from seeing things clearly and are therefore causing you to question our Biblical authority.

    Reconcilee: Please excuse me; I need to leave now this is just bizarre.

    Reconcilitors (public message regarding situation): We have earnestly and prayerfully sought to bring healing and wholeness to the ___ situation. Unfortunately, reconcilee is refusing to acknowledge their role and take the necessary steps on their part to bring about true goodness. We will continue to pray for ___ in hopes that they will truly come to desire reconciliation in this matter.

    That’s the vision, and I’ve seen it multiple times here in the Pacific Northwest. And yes it is related to the direct influence of MH and A29. Go figure.

  26. Dee,

    It is a PASTOR that lives his/her life out among those who are in the church and in their community, not a PREACHER. The difference is significant. Relatively few preachers at churches with an attendance over 500 on a Sunday actually interact other than from the pulpit (and maybe a handshake line) with the hoi polloi in the pews. That is the responsibility of staff (associate and assistant pastors, or some other title). Those mega church preachers do very little pastoring, except perhaps to the top level of their staff, where they are the boss in an employer/employee relationship.

  27. David
    You know, this comment is so thoughtful and points out the doublespeak, I may add it to today’s post. Well done.

  28. I feel somewhat conflicted here. As a former Fellowship Church (Ed Young) member, I watched carefully as Ed became less and less a pastor and more and more a card-carrying, private jet-traveling, authority-demanding, narcissistic celebrity. Our departure after 10 years was emotional, and as we searched around for another place to attend and plug in, we found ourselves regularly at Matt Chandler’s Village Church.

    Having been there now for about 2 years, I can say that Matt, at least from the observation deck, seems to be humble, reserved, friendly, in-the-midst, outstanding Bible teacher, vulnerable, and not prone to talk about money each and every week. In fact, in almost 2 years, I have never, not once, heard any speaker from the stage talk about the tithe in any manner other than to announce that because the church had exceeded its giving budget over a period of time, the elders had determined to give that excess to several local and farther ministries to forward those works.

    Matt has this tendency, which I sense is truly authentic, where at the final ‘amen’, after a well prepared and superbly delivered sermon, to look the audience in their freshly opened eyes from prayer, say, “I love you guys…”, pick up his own stand, and walk off behind the curtain. Always in that moment, I truly believes he means it, and has great compassion and concern for his local flock.

    All of that being said, I agree with the ladies of TWW that Matt seems to be, or already is, on the line of being or becoming the next ‘rock-star’ preacher and forsaking the local flock for the global flock with its inherent payday. I for one will be watching closely for signs of the exit, ala Ed, and praying that Matt keeps foremost the health and vibrance and effectiveness of the local body he leads. I believe his elder board to be a very conservative and contemplative group of folks, not prone to relish the bright lights of stardom that may be coming Matt’s direction.

    Time will tell. Prayer will help. Surely God did not save Matt from the brain tumor just to have him succumb to the way of celebrity. Surely.

  29. david,

    That sounds a lot like SGM.

    Here on the East Coast we have pastors who shame congregants for bringing up anything to do with church leaders.

    Case in point: Here is the latest post on Between The Times – the blog of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

    Pastorally Speaking: Andy Davis on Gossip and Slander: Poison in the Lifeblood of the Church

    “One final word. The issue of gossip and slander is especially poisonous when it is directed against the elders of a church. The elders lead as much by their character in the eyes of the church as by the Scripture they can marshal. They would not even have become elders if they had not been “blameless” and have a “good reputation with outsiders.” So if the devil can destroy an elders’ reputation, he has gone a long way to destroying that elders’ ministry. For this very reason, Paul commands the church Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. (1 Timothy 5:19) There is this special protection for elders because of their vulnerable and influential position in the church. So, if a church member starts to talk about how an elder (or the elders) did this or said that or should have done the other better or differently, be courageous and stand up for the unity and health of the church. Say to that (we hope) well-meaning talker, “If you think that an elder has done something wrong, you are commanded in Scripture to go personally and speak to him/them.” And whether the issue concerns an elder or not, it is clear that Christ wants us to deal with each other better than the world deals with its own: They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful… (Romans 1:29-30). Let’s live far better!”

    Here’s my question – just how approachable are these elders, and how receptive are they to hearing what their congregants have to say?

  30. Dana, Miguel
    I know of many stories in which a new pastor takes over, gets multiple IPhones, IPads, Macs, fancy sound systems, etc and expect a 6 figure salary. no wonder churches are having financial difficulties. Oh yeah, then they do a bunch of sermons on why it is gossip to discuss things like this. Blech!

  31. FormerFellow,

    Thanks for your comment. I really appreciate your sharing your perceptions about these two churches. Matt Chandler is being pulled in many directions, and it will be interesting to see how he handles it. May God be glorified through his efforts.

  32. I noticed that Mars Hill’s next series after Easter is on the 7 churches in Revelation. At the very last church service that we attended, the preacher was going through this very “series.” He happened to be speaking about the church at Thyatira (Rev. 2:18-29). This was one of their supportive verses for why women are not allowed to lead in the church. We’re easily swayed and manipulated.

    I sat there, red in the face, looking at all of the young women sitting in the audience and wondered if they were ok with what he was saying. They must have been, and that made me incredibly sad and angry. I told my husband that we were never setting foot in that church again and he couldn’t have agreed more.

    It will be interesting to hear if Mark Driscoll says anything similar when he gets to that church in his series.

  33. David:

    Very nice!

    The part that’s missing:

    Reconcilee goes to Reconcilitors because Reconcilitors (multiple choice – and all answers can be correct):

    Reconcilitors never believed they ever did anything wrong in the first place.

    Reconcilitors believe all Reconcilees are all full of anger and bitterness anyway.

    Reconcilitors don’t actually give a rip about you.

  34. Former Fellow
    I do not believe that Chandler is in any way, shape or form like Ed Young Jr. I prayed for him during the brain tumor situation. This is merely a discussion on the role of pastors in relationship to the flock. I contend that churches do better with a pastor who is dedicated to living out his life in the midst of his people. The megachurch concept has taken away personal relationships and substituted a talking head. There is much being written that there is a switch starting to occur in which people are leaving the anonymity of the megas and seeking relationships in a smaller church.

    The mega phenomenon, along with NeoCalvinist theology, does not seem to have increased believers in the US. In fact, there is a slight decline while non-believers are on the rise. There is a new emphasis on authority and church discipline. How does one discipline someone with whom you have little relationship? In fact, megas allow us all to hide behind our smiley face mask, making sure we never let people really know our struggles because we could get pounced on.

    I can assure you that Acts29 thing will not allow Chandler to give more time to the Village but even less time. Is this a net good? I don’t know, but somehow I think something very dear is given up in the process.

  35. Kathi
    I can assure you that Driscoll will steer clear of saying anything that would give someone the idea that women should ever come anywhere near “leadership.” It is rather fun (in a perverse sort of way) to watch these guys proof text. They are so obvious.

  36. dee: Thank you!

    deb: The elders in this case were very approachable until they felt their authority threatened. Then after the situations became “distractions” they went to the folks they had hurt (specifically by their own blatant misuse of said authority) in an attempt to “reconcile”.

    You know it’s really a no-brainer to sense when someone’s confession / apology is coming from true heartfelt sorrow at the pain they have caused and when it’s a veiled attempt to manipulate.

  37. “Can’t you just imagine if many people from Sovereign Grace or Acts 29 cancelled the conferences and donated the money they would have spent to “the least of these?” Now wouldn’t that be REAL Christianity…”

    YES. Thanks, Eagle.

  38. Dee and Deb,

    Thanks for the link! It does clarify your thinking!

    I have the utmost respect for Francis Chan and David Platt. God is using Chan to do some pretty cool things on the West Coast. You should check out something his local church did with a “Banquet to the Poor”. It was a joyful read!

    It is on Chan’s blog. I forgot the name of his blog, but a good search should reveal it.

    I know I am spending a lot of time on here talking about Chandler, but I actually tend to listen to David Platt a bit more than Chandler over the last year or so. Platt is a little less abrasive and blunt than Chandler in his speaking, and as you said, I love the choices he has made in living his life!

    I still think the Megachurch reality is a tough thing to manage when it comes to the church, and is not ideal, but I still believe God can use these leaders of Mega’s to pastor and connnect with their church community and the surrounding areas. David is a good example of that.

    One thing I love about Chan, is he made a bold move to walk away from all that he had to serve in another way. This is not to say that guys like David or Chandler are not in God’s will by staying in the “mega scene”…but it is saying that Chan showed tremendous obedience to Christ in following God’s will for his life.

    And Dee, No Jesus did not wing on it for a lecture series. The point I have been trying to make is that I don’t think this is ALL some Megachurch pastors have done….

    I believe Chandler has done more than this, (and formerfellow seems to allude to some of this), and guys like Platt have too.

    Again, their role over the megachurch is not as ideal as a church of 80-100 people, but I don’t think they have turned a blind eye to the pastoral needs of their church.

    Formerfellow,

    Thanks for your comments. I am glad to see someone who actually attends the Village to speak up. I by no means have all the answers, but I feel Chandler is a different sort of character than Driscoll, and I felt that he is a man of God doing his best to Pastor the Village.

    I don’t have any evidence to support these feelings outside of his words of him and other Elders from the podcasts that I listen too, and the ministries you read/hear about that have taken place…but you have seen more evidence by attending there.

    It DOES concern me that you feel he could be trailing of to a “rock star celeb.” I pray he does not, and will be praying for him and your church. I hope, for Chandler’s sake, that he will not abuse the grace that God extended to him in his healing by abandoning his responsibilities. Prayers will abound. Thanks again for your comments!

  39. Seeker,

    Thank you for your gracious comment. We do try to applaud those leaders that we believe are doing ministry for God’s glory.

    Sadly, there are so many Christian celebrities out there who are doing ministry for their own glory, in our ever to be humble opinions…

  40. Deb,

    I am thankful you and Dee make note of those leaders are doing ministry for God’s glory! I agree with you as well.. Many are out for their own shameful gain.

    By the way: Here is the link for Chan’s blog. http://francisupdates.tumblr.com/

    Scroll down where it says “I’m Finally Obeying, and I love it”

    Pretty awesome stuff!

    Eagle:

    You said,

    “But I don’t get the financial aspect. Think of all the wasted money… Consider:

    1. Renting out a large venue. i.e. arena
    2. All the people who have to travel, rent a hotel room, etc..
    3. All the money spent on gas to drive, and to park the car in an urban area.
    4. Money spent on food.

    Can’t you just imagine if many people from Sovereign Grace or Acts 29 cancelled the conferences and donated the money they would have spent to “the least of these?” Now wouldn’t that be REAL Christianity”

    I can’t really speak for Sovereign Grace or A29…but I think Conferences can be useful.

    I have been to a few as well, and I found them to be very helpful on many levels…Not only edifying me with my relationship with Christ, but bringing awareness to the least of these. If it is a good conference, they will utilize the community to mobilize action for the least of these:

    Case in point:

    Passion Conference 2012. College Students donated into the millions for ministries that support ending Sex Trafficking around the world. This got national media attention, and brought some awareness and action to a major problem.

    They connected with this: http://72daysforfreedom.com/….

    It would be awesome if all conferences could support the least of these like this.

  41. Seeker,

    I watched most of the Passion 2012 Conference via the internet and wrote about it.

    Passion 2012 – A Recap

    Both of my daughters have friends who attended it. I did have a concern about all that money that was collected. I just hope everything was handled properly.

  42. Miguel,

    So what? He’s in the pulpip 40 weeks a year. All that makes him is a consultant. That’s the precise problem with “churches” these days. The “pastor” doesn’t want to be bothered with, you know, people. Sadly, maybe even worse, the sheep…..er…..people in the pews….sorry….folded up metal chairs, have no expectation of any “pastor” being involved in their lives. It’s really quite tragic.

  43. Eagle,

    I agree with you. I have been to numerous large conferences with 20,000+ people in attendance. That was a number of years ago – now I would have a hard time attending a large conference.

    Something almost hypnotic happens when you are in an arena with that many people. The bright lights (often strobing) and blaring music almost puts people in a trance. Something psychological happens, and it makes the attendee more accepting of the message. I don’t know all the psychological terms, but I know from experience that this happens. Maybe I’ll do some research and share it in a post.

  44. Dee and Deb,

    I’ve read your blog for sometime now, and I appreciate that you (and a few others) are asking questions and looking at issues from angles that the established Christian media and the TGC, Challies, Taylor blogs will not explore.

    I hope Sojourn doesn’t go down the dark road that Mars Hill and SGM have. As a former member, my perception is that Sojourn is led by good people who are very committed to their mission and vision, and as a very young church (just over a decade old) may still be finding their way in many areas.

    I certainly saw things in that ministry that concerned me, enough to decide to end my membership there and move on. But I don’t want to start the Sojourn Watchblog, and I want to think the best of them.

    I hope that as Sojourn continues to work with SGM, Mars Hill, Acts29 and other like-minded groups and that it learns from those groups’ mistakes. And not as in “how do we avoid getting caught”, rather “how do we not become like them. How do we treat our people better? How do we love on people better? How do we lead like Jesus?”.

    Sojourn better be asking those questions and learning from their peers by not doing the things that denigrated their peers’ names in the first place.

  45. Dee, regarding your post from 8:24 AM, I offer a hearty AMEN!! You and I and a very small number of others simply have a different definition of what it means to be a pastor. Sadly, not all that long ago our thoughts on what makes a real pastor were very much the mainstream belief.

  46. TheyS, give me a break. That USED to happen, but not these days, and certainly not within the neo-reformed crowd. Despite what was stated, ER2 was strictly limited to guys who all believe the same on pretty much every issue.

  47. Former Sojourn member,

    I appreciate your comment very much. My heart is always inclined toward the members of these movements. I pray that those involved in the growing Sojourn Movement will not get hurt like some have in Acts 29 – specifically through Mars Hill.

  48. Seeker, nobody is saying that these mega church guys don’t have the ABILITY to minister to people. Where did you ever get that idea? On the contrary, I firmly believe they have great ability to do this. But that’s just the issue. They possess great ability to do it, but it appears as though they don’t do it. That’s precisely the problem.

    Funny that you mention Platt. I love Platt. Are you aware that Platt was at Elephant Room 1? The reason Platt was at ER1 was so that Driscoll and MacDonald could rip him to shreads. It seems as though a pastor of a large church who actually ministers to people and believes in serving others presents a great challenge to Driscoll and MacDonald.

  49. Yes, Eagle! Keeping conference attendees up late is definitely a control tactic. When you are sleep deprived, your resistance is extremely low. You will be much more compliant and far easier to persuade.

  50. Alan
    A year or so ago we posted a video with Driscoll and Josh Harris “interviewing” Francis Chan on his decision to leave his church and head to a third world country to work with sex slaves. They both appeared to be irritated at him for doing so. Chan and Platt seem to march to different drummers. So, even though I have a quibble with their theology in regards to the gender thing and some authority stuff, I respect them. I make it a point to go to Platt’s church whenever I visit Birmingham.

    Actually, somebody who attends there told me this story, but I cannot vouch for its authenticity. My daughter, who used to attend (she is now back in Raleigh), said the same thing. Apparently, he wanted to sell their church which is on a beautiful piece of land and donate the money to missions, but the people would not hear of it. What is so neat is he doesn’t like to waste money on fancy signs for upcoming events and so people make their own posters, etc. He is one of the most understated preachers I have ever heard. Sometimes you have to strain to hear him.

    I just hope he and Chan never change.

  51. Seeker -

    “’A preacher lives out his life amongst those he is called to serve.’

    This statement is true. There is no doubt…but may we not diminish the importance of preaching/teaching the word.

    There is a reason the Apostles called on some godly people to rise up and “serve tables.” They were concerned with the preaching/teaching of the Gospel.

    There is a reason the Bible calls Elders having a “double honor” when they handle the affairs of the church, ESPECIALLY when it comes to preaching/teaching.

    This is not my observation. This is scripture. Does this mean a pastor should focus on preaching and never interact with the lives of his congregation? Of course not…but there is an emphasis in scripture on preaching and teaching the good news that is apart from serving. The one thing that distinguishes an Elder is his ability to teach the word of God.”

    I must disagree with you, Seeker, on much of what you say in the quote above. You elevate teachers/preachers to a different level, just as many in the Reformation did. You seem to interpret the Bible through the lens of the Reformation. Although good came from Reformation movement, in many ways they did not Reform enough. They fell to some of the same missteps as the Catholic church. The main difference being that the “preacher dispensing the Word” is now the main focus instead of the the “Catholic priest dispensing the sacraments.”

    The Gospels are a good place to look and see how Jesus viewed leadership/serving, not the men of the Reformation, nor men as early on as Augustine, nor from your neighbor, nor from me :)

    IMO – Jesus did more ‘living amongst’ than preaching/teaching “to” people. He actually taught, doing what he taught at the same time. There does not seem to be a separation in his teaching/doing/living. Since he is the God/man, surely we can look to his earthly life to see how he taught, lived, and did life. BTW – there is no “preacher” in scripture. I believe the term is “able to teach.”

  52. Alan,

    I inferred that from some comments, but if I misunderstood people’s positons..then I apologize.

    I didn’t follow the Elephant Room 1 that much. I have already stated before, I don’t really care for Driscoll (I don’t even know MacDonald)…and even though I have great respect for Chandler, I find Platt to be the most respectful/honorable out of all of them.

    The point I was trying to make, is that although a large majority of mega pastors may not “pastor” their people, I think some do. Platt is one. I belive Chandler is another.

    Eagle,

    I am sorry that is your experience on conferences. Yeah, there is a lot of “flashiness” at some conferences. But in my experience at some conferences, I had communion with God. I felt the close presence of God. God spoke to me through His word in various messages some pastors preach, and I was able to worship Him through song. In addition to this, I was made aware of “least of these” issues I would otherwise not be aware of.

    I get your concern about the brainwashing thing, and I see many conferences out there who do that…but I didn’t encounter that at the conferenes I attended.

    Deb,

    I heard Louie Giglio, the leader of 268 and Passion, address the financial concern. I believe the money was handled wisely. Check out the Do Something Now campaign that I linked up. The last day he also read off the list all the organizations that the money would go to. Recenlty, these organizations shared a video that thanked Passion for the money that was given and how it was used.

    I don’t have time to search for all the links, but they may appear on Google.

  53. Arce
    Great comment “It is a PASTOR that lives his/her life out among those who are in the church and in their community, not a PREACHER. The difference is significant.”

  54. David @ 11:30 -

    That is the same script that has been perpetrated on many wounded in SGM; members, elders and so-called equivalent (a)postles alike.

  55. Alan- Oh, it happens. It happened this year and for the last 5 years at major conferences at least. I was not referring to Elephant Room, which was just a little round table discussion.

  56. Bridget2,

    I see with what you are saying, and I don’t disagree with you. Teaching the word needs to correspond with living and doing it as well, as Jesus did.

    But if we fail to proclaim and teach the word, the Gospel, then we might as well be a charitable organization.

    Serving the needs of people is important and necessary, hence why “works” are mentioned quite frequently in the book of James.

    But I believe the Bible makes it clear that proclaiming the Gospel is highly important! I am not trying to elevate preaching above serving, I am simply trying to point out what scripture has stated about teaching and proclaiming the gospel.

    If this was not important, why would the Apostles find those to “serve tables” and handle the dispute that was going on in the church so they could focus on the teaching of the word and the proclaiming of the Gospel?

    Trust, I have a heart for serving the needs of others. This is why I was so drawn to Platt, but Platt loves to teach about the Gospel as he serves the community around him. I admire that!

  57. Kathi-

    By your comment it looks like you are running the ship:

    “I told my husband that we were never setting foot in that church again and he couldn’t have agreed more.”

  58. Kathi-

    By your comment it looks like you are running the ship:

    “I told my husband that we were never setting foot in that church again and he couldn’t have agreed more.”

    That’s not the way I took it. To me it was a strong woman expressing outrage and discernment, to which any good husband would do well to pay attention (I know whereof I speak, because something similar happened to my wife and me, and she said something close to that).

    I may be a bear of little brain, but I’m glad I have a good wife! *G*

  59. Deb, Eagle,

    Re: your thoughts on the hypnotic / psychological aspects of conferences:

    I agree. I don’t have the time and mental capacity to do true research & soundly articulate, but I did see what came up when I googled “psychology of pep rally”.

    Thought this was interesting (from Minnesota Law & Politics, thoughts on the Republican Convention):

    “We fear, with considerable justice, the mob: its size, its psychology, its raw power. Holm remembered a sentence from an old book: “Beware the single truth. Inside it anywhere on earth is a loaded gun pointed straight at your head.” What, then, is a political convention but an organized mob, we hope with better manners and less violence in its heart?”

    http://www.lawandpolitics.com/minnesota/The-GOP-Pep-Rally/5478838f-4030-4bd5-a6a5-9781b75fbcfa.html

    I think comparisons can be drawn.

  60. Bridget2 & Seeker: “There is a reason the Apostles called on some godly people to rise up and “serve tables.” They were concerned with the preaching/teaching of the Gospel. There is a reason the Bible calls Elders having a “double honor” when they handle the affairs of the church, ESPECIALLY when it comes to preaching/teaching.”

    Somehow, these scriptures get twisted and interpreted to reflect the bias of the professional cleric. Just because some were chosen to wait tables does not then mean that was to elevate others who preach. As for “double honor” – it does not mean “double pay.” To take the scripture and imply that it has to do with monetary renumeration is reading something into the text that is not there. Honor = Honor. It is an honor to be able to teach, and the person teaching receives the honor of the hearers. That is a “double honor.”

    When you hear people justify the salaries of “preaching pastors” using that scripture – grab your wallet and run!

  61. As for “double honor” – it does not mean “double pay.”

    Nor should it include a “get out of jail free” card.

  62. Anon -

    I totally agree. My query was to provoke thoughtful considerstion of what is actually said in those scriptures, not what many men have determined them to mean.

  63. Bridget,

    “7The word of God kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith.”

    This comes directly after the Apostles calling those to serve tables. To answer your question, one can infer that the Apostles did not neglect proclaiming the good news of the Gospel and the testimony of Jesus Christ. They were, in essence, making Disciples.

    Please don’t misunderstand me here…I am by no means saying that they did NOT SERVE or perform ANY WORKS as they taught and proclaimed the Gospel. Obviously, if they failed to do this, that would contradict what the majority of the book of James is about. I AM saying that the importance of teaching/preaching (proclaiming) should not be diminished in any way in the same way as living by the word and serving should not be diminished in any way.

    I guess I just don’t buy into the argument that guys like Chandler and Platt are disqualified as Pastors because they are in a mega church. They emphasize preaching/teaching the Gospel, but I also see where they serve and work for others. Platt is an exceptional example of that.

    Anon,

    Good points…and I agree with everything you said. I don’t see double honor as “money”. And I don’t see these scriptures as promoting a professional cleric.

    I see it as emphasizing the importance of teaching/preaching the Gospel…as we work and serve others in the name of Christ.

    And yes..I agree…Grab your wallet and run! :)

  64. Seeker -

    I agree with the importance of proclaiming the Good News. In fact, it is so important that we are all called to proclaim it. There is no special “preacher” who has the sole responsibility. The Apostles were sharing all they learned and knew of Jesus with all new believers. They were making disciples as Jesus instructed. They were not making offices unto themselves. Servants were raised up in a local and the Apostles usually moved on to a new location to spread the Gospel.

  65. Bridget–

    Agreed…we are all the priesthood of believers. I don’t believe “preachers” have the sole responsibility, but they do need to emphasize that responsibility.

    Thanks for the conversation!

  66. Seeker -

    (Our last comments overlapped in the blogosphere.)

    It’s hard for me to view Mega Church leaders as “pastors” because there is no way that they can “know” all those people. Even Jesus had a small number that he “knew.” He did not pretend to be able to care for all (though he was God). He raised “some” up. They in turn discipled others. They then moved on to other cities. It took the short lives that they lived to reach several areas. The 12 seemed to have different giftings. None seemed to desire a huge following, but instead did the small numbers well. As far as I can tell, preaching as we know it today, came from a scholastic background, not from scriptures. I think we often lose Jesus to the preaching.

  67. elastigirl
    Double honor and double kick in the pants from my reading of Scripture. That is why I am so paranoid when i write about the Bible. I want to get it right. I still remember reading that Driscoll pulled together a sermon in short order while watching the Mariners. It must have been the SOS disaster.;)

  68. Loved the Colton quote at the beginning of this thread!

    Even Frodo Baggins succumbed to the wiles and the allure of the ring.

  69. “…Then there is the Pastor of Technology who needs to do something about the spam folder…”

    Yeah Dee, see if you can get your droid to fix it so I can spell ‘soshalist’ in the normal fashion without it seeing an embedded erectile dysfunction med.

  70. Joe said:

    Kathi-

    By your comment it looks like you are running the ship:

    “I told my husband that we were never setting foot in that church again and he couldn’t have agreed more.”

    When my husband and I were dating (almost engaged), he was involved in a SGM-type church (not SGM but descended from the same group – PDI). I visited twice when I relocated to his town for a job.

    The first time I emotionally and spiritually recoiled when I met the pastor. My spirit discerned immediately something was not right. I went back the second Sunday and did not make it through the service. I felt the need to flee with every fiber in my being. I left about half way through and knew that even if it meant I lost my soon-to-be fiance, I was never stepping foot in that church again. I am socially polite to a fault so for me to walk out of a church service is extremely out of character. That is how badly I had to get out of there.

    Thankfully, my now husband listened to me and did not listen to the people at the cultish church who were telling him he needed to wash me with the word and get me in line before we were married.

    Wise men listen to their wives and, yes, sometimes the woman is more discerning than the man.

    Our entire spiritual abuse story is mild compared to some of what I’ve read lately, but it was very traumatic and, for a time, disruptive to our faith.

    http://sallieborrink.com/spiritual-abuse-fifteen-years-later/

  71. Sallie
    I also hate the word of the moment. Right now there are several “unpack”, “winsome”, Gospel (fill in the blank), speak into(As in He spoke into my life), …I go out of my way not to use it. however, if for some reason i am speaking (of is that speaking into) a neo-calvinista,I sometimes, and this is cruel, I know, I keep repeating a word, such as unpack in every other sentence. They never seem to notice. Now, I need to go and unpack the skirt steak from it’s packaging so i can feed into my family’s life, of course, in a winsome sort of way.

  72. RE: elastigirl on Fri, Mar 30 2012 at 03:22 pm:

    I agree. If the churches would get back to Christianity and go easier on the “Paulianity”, even old Muff might get lured back.

  73. Dee – We’ve gotten the “wash her with the word” from a couple of different angles. Sigh.

    Re: annoying words… Inform. I’m tired of everything informing something else.

    Leverage is another one I grew to despise, but it has fallen out of favor.

    I like your approach of overusing the words in their “proper” context. Sounds just like something I would do. And then I would probably need to repent for my bad attitude while doing it. LOL!

  74. Bridget,

    You said,

    “It’s hard for me to view Mega Church leaders as “pastors” because there is no way that they can “know” all those people. Even Jesus had a small number that he “knew.” He did not pretend to be able to care for all (though he was God). He raised “some” up. They in turn discipled others. They then moved on to other cities. It took the short lives that they lived to reach several areas. The 12 seemed to have different giftings. None seemed to desire a huge following, but instead did the small numbers well. As far as I can tell, preaching as we know it today, came from a scholastic background, not from scriptures. I think we often lose Jesus to the preaching.”

    Some good points and observations! You have me thinking a lot…may have to come back to some of this later…

    The question I have for now is this?

    What do our churches need to do? Do we limit our church sizes to 12-20 people to practice Jesus’ example? Even Jesus taught large crowds at many points throughout his ministry? Was he not “Shepherding” people at that moment?

    Should we disband the innumerable churches all over the world and delegate them to house churches to keep this close disciple intimacy?

    In my community, we have churches that only average between 100-300 people. Not exactly “mega”. But the truth is, Pastors in these churches need support to meet the needs of their congregation. One man, even in these small churches, may find it hard to “shepherd” every member alone. This is why we have deacons, small group leaders, other staff members, etc to support the pastor in his shepherding role.

    Chandler and Platt…both megachurch leaders…have similar support in their church that functions in this way. (On a much larger scale of course)

    Platt, for example, at the Church at Brook Hills, has numerous small groups.

    These small groups are based upon mentoring each other and going out and making disciples. Platt and the other Elders emphasize this in the pulpit and throughout the church. The intimacy you described above with Jesus and His Disciples has transitioned into the Small Groups at Brook Hills?

    The awesome result is that intimate community has been built up in these small groups around the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Want to know the cool part? These small groups have acted on their own to host Bible Studies with their neighbors in their neighborhood, working locally in the community at schools, supporting adoption agencies..and on and on…..This small group intimacy has translated into making other Disciples in the Birmingham area!!!

    I get excited when I hear that. You see, although David is not involved in every small group..(that is impossible)…He is involved with oveseeing and participating in similar acts that these small groups participate in. I am sure Platt interacts and supports as many of his people as he can as their Pastor, but where he cannot, he has the support of the deacons, small groups, other staff members…etc… Even the apostles needed support.

    Should we still disqualify him as Pastor? He may not know everyone…but He is doing everything as the lead Pastor of that church to make sure someone “knows” them. He sees the importance of what you mentioned above, hence why small groups are emphasized. (Check out the Brook Hills website to see what I am talking about)

    I totally get where you are coming from though. One problem I have seen in the Bible Belt area that I am from is the “preaching of the word” is more about imparting knowledge than teaching the Gospel and Living out the Gospel in our lives. It is all about scholasticism! That is why I shout for joy when I see a church like Platt’s succeed where so many have failed in the bible belt.

  75. Seeker
    I am trying to figure out something. I know that the gospel is.John 3:16.But now gospel is the new adjective for everything. How do you define this Gospel in the statement? “the “preaching of the word” is more about imparting knowledge than teaching the Gospel. Most pastor I know preach the Gospel-even the old timey SBC types.

  76. Dee -

    My observation is that the term is now used as “the proper and correct doctrines we teach at this (c)hurch.”

    I almost dislike using the term “Gospel” anymore because of what it means to other people. :(

  77. Alan,

    Right, so we agree that there is more to being a pastor than filling a pulpit. But I don’t think we know that Chandler does nothing else, and I kinda doubt it. I don’t know the extent to which he is involved with real people, but there are a few megachurch celebrity pastors actually do spend time counseling, doing visitation, etc…

    So unless I know for sure he is not involved in the lives of the congregation, then I’m not going to assume he’s a charlatan exploiting the faithful for bankroll (not that we have any shortage of them). Besides, once a church gets large enough and there are multiple pastoral staff, not every lay person should have the senior pastor on speed-dial. There aren’t enough hours in the day; the pastoral responsibilities must be shared, and I don’t really have a problem if a church views it as an extension of their ministry to have some of their leaders speak outside their congregation to motivate, inspire, and encourage members of other congregations.

    But generally speaking, your sentiments are right on. To many pastors seem to desire to be the circuit rider with little accountability or interaction with their own people. It’s sad to see, but I imagine it’s also a hard tendency to fight against when the numbers begin to swell. Some handle it better than others, but I fear our average is abysmal. Time will tell how Chandler handles the pressure of success.

  78. Dee,

    The Gospel..short and sweet….is the good news of Jesus Christ. His atoning work for us on the Cross…the hope we have in the Resurrection. THIS is the Gospel…nothing else.

    I do agree that most pastors preach this Gospel..but how well do they emphasize it?

    For example, where I am from, many pastors emphasize behavior modification. They preach hours upon hours on what God expects of you and what He does not expect from you….and maybe right before the invitation, the pastor will say something like this….”Jesus Christ loves you and died for your sins. If you want to accept Jesus, walk the aisle….OR, even worse…If you want to accept Jesus….repeat this prayer after me!”

    They have watered down the gospel…tremendously. They do not emphasize the Good News of Jesus Christ. David Platt talks endlessly about this..and he would understand…he lives one state away from me…(Yep…I live in the great state of MS…I live in South MS to be exact…the middle of the buckle of the bible belt.)

    I am not saying preachers fail to teach the good news of Jesus. Every preacher here in the South will teach on the cross at some point….But I have seen an alarming trend where the good news is not emphasized..they emphasize so many other things…(Gifts of the Holy Spirit, the Law, Cooperative Program, Alcohol=Run Away, Harry Potter=Satan…you get the picture..)

    In the midst of this…the Good News is watered down. And you can tell.. In my community, there is an epidemic where people fail to understand the good news of Jesus Christ….So many feel the need to get saved again and again and again…Some people think it’s all about church attendance….Most about behavior modification…Some about Baptism…Very little about the Atoning Work of Christ.

    It pains me. I know many try to use the word “Gospel” to mean their specific doctrine..but I am not one of those people…The Gospel is the atoning work of Jesus Christ…the Hope of the Resurrection…

    Sad…but true…

  79. Just re read what I posted..and I ended with Sad but true..

    WHOOPS…wrong place to put that…lol…What is sad but true is the Good News being watered down…NOT the Good News itself!

    :)

  80. Seeker
    However, the Calvinistas are now attaching Gospel to everything. Gospel gender roles, gospel creation, gospel authority, etc. I even saw gospel smoking cessation. There are now classes that teach long time Christian “the Gospel.” it goes on for months and months. This is not merely an understanding of the gospel. I believe the word is being used for even more and the gospel is even being diluted by these leaders in their own way.

  81. Seeker -

    I’m not one to claim all the answers. I don’t like what I see in Christendom for the most part though.

    I have been in small groups, home groups, community groups, life together groups, and “you name it” groups for 30 years. In that sense, I guess you could call me a true “groupie” :) I won’t go into all the nuances of those experiences. I believe in smaller . . . just haven’t seen that worked out in a New Testament way yet.

  82. Dee,

    I believe that when people turn to Christ from hearing the good news of the gospel—their lives are transformed.

    In that sense, this good news affects every area of your life. When we think on the good news, we obey Christ not out of obligations but out of a sense of deep gratitude. When we “get” his great love for us..it is easy to respond to that love in obedience.

    This can affect our marriages, how we serve others, our generosity, our daring to be “radical” for Christ…so on and so forth.

    In that sense, this good news can become something that affects everything.

    The two “Calvinistas” that I respect— Chandler and Platt–as far as I know..would not consider gender roles, pastoral authority, etc as the “Gospel”…I think they may say their interprretation of those things are “Biblical”.

    As far as the classes—I can think of many long time Christians in my community who are still slurping on the “spiritual milk”. They might could benefit to be reminded about the “good news”….I think teaching the Gospel is not something that should be preached on a one time basis to non-Christians or young Christians…I think everyone..no matter where they are…can always benefit from a reminder on Christ’s grace in His atoning work for us on the Cross and the power of His resurrection.

  83. Bridget2,

    I don’t have all the answers either…Hence my name… :)

    I understand your concerns. I am deeply burdened by what I see in the church..Especially churches in my local community.

    Truth is…we may never get it right….Even the Early Church had major problems…

    Guess that is why we need Jesus in the first place… We are really sinful, stubborn people at times. To echo the Saints of our past…”Come soon Lord Jesus.”

  84. “I also hate the word of the moment. Right now there are several “unpack”, “winsome”, Gospel (fill in the blank), . . . )

    I once heard a Christian broadcaster ask, “How can we make the Gospel so winsome?” I want to cringe when I hear that word, because the mental picture I get at the word “winsome” is of someone talking with a very wide, fake smile.

  85. Seeker
    “I think they may say their interprretation of those things are “Biblical”.Hmmm, so if I disagree with them on these issues am I Unbiblical?

  86. I would say no…You have a different take on those things that you consider Biblical. Different interpretations…Same Bible…

    My point in that was I think they would not call those things “gospel.” Those are secondary things they teach from scripture.

  87. Deb
    Remember what I said about DN’s trajectory comment? “Trajectory, I’ll give you trajectory…INCOMING>>>>>>”

  88. Anon1,

    It is the Atoning work of Christ on the Cross. The Hope of the Resurrection. It literally is the “Good News” of Jesus Christ.

    (See above where I responded to Dee)

  89. Curious to why everyone is so curious about what I think the Gospel is.

    In addition to what I said above…The Following is a song with simple lyrics that sort of expresses the Gospel in my eyes:

    “Sweet Jesus Christ, my Sanity. Sweet Jesus Christ, my Clarity. Bread of Heaven, Broken for Me. Cup of Salvation, Held up to Drink. Jesus, Mystery. Christ has died. Christ has risen. Christ will come again”

    See!! The Good News!!! :)

  90. Seeker
    Because many people, Calvinistas for sure, are overusing and misusing that word these days.So, it is important to ask people what they mean by it.

  91. Dee,

    I gotcha. Hope this answers everyone where I stand. The “Calvinista” I have listened to the most–most recently–seems to keep the word where it belongs. I have rarely heard him misuse it.

    That is Platt. Haven’t listened to Chandler in some time..but I never heard him misuse this word. Will be curious to read his book though…

  92. “It is the Atoning work of Christ on the Cross. The Hope of the Resurrection. It literally is the “Good News” of Jesus Christ.”

    Thanks Seeker, That was not a trick question at all. I am finding more and more I need to ask to know where someone is coming from.

    You said earlier: “My point in that was I think they would not call those things “gospel.” Those are secondary things they teach from scripture.”

    Actually that is not the case at all. They are melding secondary doctrines into primary and making them salvic. They would not admit this but if you listen long enough you pick up on the nuance in their teaching/preaching. A few of these secondary things they make primary in subtle ways are: Elder rule. Obeying Leaders. Comp/pat doctrine.

    Just keep your ears open. They use language such as “Gospel marriage”. “Elder rule is biblical”, “Godly authority”, etc. They won’t say they are salvic but your salvation will be questioned if you dare challenge them on it. You never know when you will become the next narcissistic zero. (wink)

  93. Anon1,

    I understand your need to get where people are coming from. Thanks for the warning. I will keep my ears open as I continue to listen to them.

    Will definitely pay attention when I read Chandler’s book in April…

  94.  
    HowDee YaAll,

    MD trying to pervert (C)hristianity with questionable bedroom practices, in his latest tomé, is certainly a identifiable flashpoint, dontcha think? What a filthy thing to do to kind decent folk. 

    Just maybe, Acts 29′s impoverished members facing spiritual abuse at the hands of a errant celebrity pastor will get a reprieve from this type of pastoral behavior now that he has barricaded himself in at Marz Hill. One can only hope. I feel so sorry for the folks in Seattle. May the Lord demonstrate His kind mercy & grace. Celebrity Pastors don’t take defeat lying down.  Ask C.J. Mahaney.

    Thank you Dee & Wanda for assisting in the turning of the tide on this American (C)hristian travesty. May this be a watershed for all future aberrant false shepherds who dress in cheap sheep suits making a loud painful noise signifying nothing of real significance or lasting importance.

    Also Mssr. Thomas Nelson & Co. shame is what you have brought upon yourselves for publishing this filth.  It is about the gospel of Christ, silly company. I feel very sorry for the future of your company. How can it possibly be bright and smooth sailing when you move a (c)hristian publisher to publish such questionable material in a (C)hristian market. Now we have seen it all.  Messr. Thomas Nelson & Co. have you become a spiritually and morally vacant (c)ompany? Sure looks like it when viewed from da cheap seats, huh?

    (Sadface)

    I do not rejoice when folks, dat do bad things, pay for their behavior. Yet therez noth’in to stop me from rejoicing -dat the Lord Jesus, He sits at the right hand of God. 

    He does all things well, dontcha know!

    (grin)

    hahahahahahahaha

    Sopy ;~)

  95. Sopy & Deb -

    From what I can tell, both CJ and MD are simply retreating behind the lines (or hiding behind their front men’s skirts) and retooling “their” ministries. They hope to minimize their losses ($$$) and move forward without cause for real alarm to those who are under the influence. I, like Sopy, feel bad for those who are in the smaller circles. I pray that their spiritual eyes awaken to the darkness they are under. The smaller the circle, the deeper the harm to the ones in that circle.

  96. Bridget,

    DRI$COLL AND MAHANEY MINIMIZING THEIR LO$$E$ DEFINITELY MAKE$ $EN$E TO ME…

    $OMETHING HA$ $UDDENLY GONE WRONG WITH THE “S” ON MY KEYBOARD. :P

  97. Bridget2 – I actually think that a lot of people have lost sight of what it means to be a pastor/to pastor due to the intense emphasis on “preaching/teaching” that exists in many churches and parachurch movements.

    From my perspective (revert to Lutheranism; am a member of the ELCA synod), pastors are supposed to be there *with* the members of the church – you know, visiting the sick, providing counseling when/if needed, just being there.

    *not* being a “star” in the pulpit.

    I have never encountered the kind of adulation for preachers/preaching in the Lutheran church that seems to exist in other denoms. That’s *not* to downplay the importance of preaching; only to say that I think it’s not incumbent upon the pastor (official title in the ELCA) to be some sort of pulpit-bound figurehead who issues official proclamations (or some such; am kind of drowsy and words are a bit elusive right now).

    I mean – nobody is trying to force “teaching” on anyone. If anything, I think the basics are covered very well in the Apostles and Nicene Creeds – and there certainly are opportunities provided for further study and exploration, but nobody *has* to join in – unlike what I have seen and experienced in many other churches.

    On top of all that… the pastor at the church where I grew up knows some of my abusive church story. And there has been *no* pressure at all for me to do anything – quite the contrary. imo, his sensitivity to me (and likely others) who have been in abusive situations is an illustration of what pastoral ministry is *supposed* to be about.

    But then, the setup – which is that congregations choose from pastoral candidates when there is a vacancy (death, retirement, change of job) is a given. so is a church council (members elected annually; voting open to all active members – in this case, “active” = people who have attended a service and/or taken communion within the past 5 years; the elderly and home-bound are exempt from that rule, I think.)

    It’s so very different from the way most nondenominational churches are run – there is very little room for a dictatorship. ;)

    *

    As for mega”churches” – they remind me of Walmart. Huge and generally impersonal and awfully inconvenient if you’re looking for something and can’t find it. And aimed at conformity as well, along with being a franchise big-box-type business.

    Quality doesn’t necessarily correlate with size or quantity.

  98. Deb, thanks. The Mars Hill connections to the church were disturbing to me as I learned more about how flawed MHC was. I’m not sure exactly how similar Sojourn is to Mars Hill, but I know their community groups were structured similarly, and that Sojourn includes the MHC Redemption Groups as part of its ministry.

    Hopefully Sojourn learns from the sins and mistakes of its allies, takes what is truly good and throws out the chaff as it moves on.

  99. “E-x-t-r-i–c-a-t-i-o-n” 

    HowDee YaAll,

    1, 2, 3
    Turn it up

    What?

    Markey_D hav’in a hard time of it?

    hmmm…

    MD: ‘Big blogs keep on churning…forced me home fo I hitz da waste-bin…sing’in songs about my mess-up…

    MD, Think you’ve sin(ed)?

    “…Petry’s paper trail is very courageous, brave, and smart.”

    (wink)

    …and pin-point effective.

    MD out’a TP?

    (grin)

    hahhahahahahaha

    Sopy ;~)
    ___
    Comic relief: “Juz another day at de office…”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76o3jUUtpXI&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    “E-x-t-r-i–c-a-t-i-o-n” : free with difficulty: to release with difficulty from a BIG fopa, or an unpleasant or complicated situation. Synonyms: get da heck out, extract, remove, disentangle, detach, disengage, eject, disconnect, free, rescue one’s self, run n’ hide, duck n’ cover…

  100. “I actually think that a lot of people have lost sight of what it means to be a pastor/to pastor due to the intense emphasis on “preaching/teaching” that exists in many churches and parachurch movements.”

    A few years back when I was looking into the spiritual gifts and defintions of pastor, teacher, etc. I remember reading through the NT for examples of “preaching” that went on in the NT ekklesia and could find hardly any. And the ones I found were indirect. Most “preaching” went on out in the street type places. Once Paul rented the hall of Tyrannis to preach because they would not allow him to do it in public.

    The REformation put preaching center instead of sacraments. It was a step in the right direction but it still has people sitting facing forward listening to one guy and not interacting and testing everything said by several as a sort of 1 Corin 14 model. Not a good thing. It keeps people immature spiritually, I have come to believe.

  101. BTW: Can anyone find the video of Piper saying he LOVES Mark Driscoll’s theology? I saw that someone was looking for it and said it was deleted off the internet.

  102. Anon1 and all who are looking for John Piper’s video-I love Mark Driscoll’s Theology-Bottom Line!

    Well, well, well, someone is acting cowardly and removed this from You Tube-It is now blank on our blog.So is Piper ashamed? If so, he should say so and not play games. This appears cowardly.

  103. Deb : “…each of us is playing a part in revealing the truth.”

    thanx :-)

    …a blog for a stage?

    hmmm…

    to blog, or not to blog?

    huh? (what kinda silly question is dat?)

    Now is the winter of our discontent
    Made glorious summer by this recent turn of events
    And all the flack clouds that lour’d upon Wartburg made of none effect though they bee high n’wide

    Thanks Jesus!

    Sopy 
    ___
    MD: “Lego of ma house…”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjoqMrFXx-k&feature=youtube_gdata_player

  104. Anon 1 and Numo -

    Agree on the preaching vs. pastoring, and there is nothing called preaching in scripture.

  105. Dee -

    I wonder what else will disappear from the internet in the days to come . . .

    These guys are absolute cowards. They take information down that is controversial, that they are ashamed of, yet they make no statements, retractions, or apologies. What an awful example to those following them and to the world at large.

  106. The entire blog and blog archive network for Mars Hill has been down for most of March already. I have a theory as to why but I’m not going to elaborate on it here.

  107. WTH -

    Well that is interesting. The less that can be said the better . . . from MH’s perspective.

  108. “Well, well, well, someone is acting cowardly and removed this from You Tube-It is now blank on our blog.So is Piper ashamed? If so, he should say so and not play games. This appears cowardly.”

    It is VERY cowardly. This is “masculine Christianity”?

    Someone sent me a link to a blog where they are discussing this in the SBC and the YRR pastors are saying we should separate Driscoll from Acts 29. They now have nothing to do with one another as if Driscoll’s influence was never really on Acts 29.

    This is how they do it. They start rewriting and scrubbing history, redefining truth. And so anyone who mentions Driscoll is now sinful and jsut wanting to be divisive.

  109. Actz29 Improvement: “Tool Time?”

    HowDee Ya All,

    Bridget : “From what I can tell, both CJ and MD are simply retreating behind the lines (or hiding behind their front men’s skirts) and retooling “their” ministries.”

    retreat N’ retool’in, huh?

    shishhhhhh! (your gonna blow dar cover!?!)

    Harry hailstone, don’t worry…Mark, it’s juz a little rain…

    …and a lit’l wind!

    nahhh… dat tornado’s nuff’in… :-)

    (grin)

    Hey, Why O’ why would anyone listen to a shop teacher miss’in fingers?

    retool?

    hahahahahahaha

    Sopy ;~)

  110. nahhh… dat tornado’s nuff’in… :):)
    It just be Da Lord, a tryin’ ta get ol’ JP ta lissen ta Him……
    Well, back to the whirlwind book tour.. Uh Oh… Uh Oh…
    Mark, Honey, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.

  111. Do we really need more churches in America? Honestly? Here in the “Bible Belt” there is one on almost every corner. There are over 40 churches in the small town I live in (population 10,200). 40 churches! Could we not get together and discuss amount ourselves how we can combine forces and work together to reach the lost? No, because there are several problems with that:

    1. I don’t get to be in charge.
    2. I won’t always get my way.
    3. I won’t be the “celebrity” pastor.
    4. I will have to play nice with others.

    And so it goes. Meantime, the world looks at us and says, “You can’t get along with yourselves; why should I be a part of that?” Good question.

    Oh, did I mention that a few couples have started another church in my town? Just what we needed…

  112. Randall,
    You’d get the idea that the Lord had said something like,”Pray ye therefore, that the Lord of the churches would send forth churches planting churches.” :(

  113. Eagle,

    Short answer. Yes. As bad as Driscoll (notice not all so called Calvinistas have went down his path…thinking of David Platt and others here) is…he is no Nazi. When he is responsible for murdering millions…come talk to me..

    If this was meant to be a joke, I get it, but that was not really funny…throwing out Nazi and Communist comments, although Driscoll may have similarities with Nazis in his attitude towards disagreements, carries a lot of weight. Driscoll hasn’t installed a concentration camp on the back of Mars Hills yet as far as I know, and he certainly hasn’t thrown the two Elders he fired in a gas chamber…

    And not all Calvinistas act like Driscoll.

  114. “Nope…Positively Not Following Da Boogie Man…”

    HowDee YaAll,

    Dave, (wink)  :-)

    Howdee!

    Because, because, because, because, because!

    Never mind da man behind da elders skirts, huh?

    -snicker-

    Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

    Sopy ;~)
    ___
     Jesus: “Most assuredly, I am saying to you, He who does not go through the door into the walled-in enclosure for the sheep, but climbs up from some other quarter, that one is a thief and a robber. But he who enters through the door is a shepherd of the sheep. To this one the door-keeper opens. And the sheep hear his voice, and he personally calls the sheep which are his private possession by name and leads them out. Whenever he puts forth all who are his very own, before them he proceeds, and the sheep follow with him because they know his voice. But one belonging to another flock they will positively not follow, but will run away from him because they do not know the voice of the others.”

    Comic relief: “Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf?”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3SmmKtR8Bw&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    Sing Along? :-) 
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShE27Hst_NM&feature=youtube_gdata_player

  115. DaveAA
    The tornado in the Wizard of Oz was obviously due the to the effeminate nature of the male munchkins.

  116. “And not all Calvinistas act like Driscoll”

    Amend that to “New Calvinist” and you have a problem. I live at YRR ground zero and I can tell you most of the young YRR are exactly like Driscoll. Go walk the SBTS campus and see. And we are unleashing them out to unsuspecting churches.

    In fact, ask yourself how many young men ACts 29 has trained over the years in “Driscoll style”? We could be seeing another 30-40 years of this authoritarianism and elder rule in churches because we are talking about 20somethings. His reach has been quite far and people are trying to pretend it never happened. Even Piper scrubbing his vid of saying he “LOOOVVES” Mark Driscoll theology….his version of a “masculine Christianity” strategy.

  117. “Do we really need more churches in America? Honestly? Here in the “Bible Belt” there is one on almost every corner. There are over 40 churches in the small town I live in (population 10,200). 40 churches! Could we not get together and discuss amount ourselves how we can combine forces and work together to reach the lost? No, because there are several problems with that:”

    Randall, THANK YOU!

    I thought I was the only one who thought this, too. Did you know that the SBC is going full guns planting churches (with Acts 29) in North America. That has become the focus instead of missions.

    Why? Because they are planting the “right kind of churches”. Real churches. Reformed/NC churches.

    I am with you. In fact, I will go a step further and say this is really a jobs program for young YRR seminary students who want their own church NOW.

  118. “Short answer. Yes. As bad as Driscoll (notice not all so called Calvinistas have went down his path…thinking of David Platt and others here) is…he is no Nazi. When he is responsible for murdering millions…come talk to me..”

    Hmm. Is it better to kill the body or kill the soul?

  119. Anon1,

    I have no doubt his influence has been far reaching, but I am sure not EVERY Acts29 church plant leader act “just like him”. Not everyone coming out of Seminary will abuse their responsibilities as he has. Will some? I am sure…and that is a sad thought.The reformed community, especially nc, have a taste for arrogance and pride that is unsatisfactory…(Chandler himself has addressed this before in a few sermons specifically to his fellow NC crowd…, although his arrogance has seeped through before ala narcissistic zero comment).

    That arrogance and pride will undoubtably lead to abuse, but I am sure many will go a different path…many will follow the way of Christ…not the way of Driscoll. And I still think Chandlers leadership of A29 will be a better era, but time will tell.

    And to answer your question…when one’s soul perishes, it is because of the absence of Jesus in their lives. Driscoll, although his fruit doesn’t match his words at times,, has shared the Good News of Christ to many. In spite of his actions, who knows how many has come to Christ because of the Spirit using this..Sadly, his abuse and arrogance may lead others to turn from Christ. Just as our sinfullness may cause the same result in the people around us. (We need not be so arrogant to think this doesnt happen) In this point, the blood of those people we all will answer for, to a certain degree, as they will answer for their own denial of Christ..Driscoll, as a teacher, will carry a greater weight with this.

    In Driscoll’s case, I believe he, in spite of his failures, is a brother in Christ. (of course, this could also be a wrong assessment on my part,l…His lack of fruit bears the question…but I am looking at a great distance with little intimacy with the man… but God knows) He is no doubt in sin, and needs to publicly repent…

    He is not intentionally damning people to hell IMO…although he has intentionally hurt and wounded many people with his tongue and actions..Hitler and the Nazi party were intentional on their actions of murdering the masses…Cold hardened Killers…as a former college student who majored in history, I believe calling him “Hitler or a Nazi” is a ridiculous comparison. If not over the top. If you want to call him such, then go right ahead…just don’t see any signs of Auschwitz around Mars Hill….

    Driscoll is guilty, no doubt….and will stand before a holy God and answer for all his actions one day….but guess what….so will we! This is why what we reflect and remember this week is so very important…Thankful so much for the Grace of Christ!

  120. Seeker,

    First of all, I have to say that I stand with those who have been spiritually abused by these wolves and hirlings. That is most important. Therefore, I cannot make excuses for those who spiritually abuse and those who support and affirm those that do such things. Piper, Chandler, Mohler, etc do not get a pass for affirming Driscoll or Mahaney. They should know better. They are PAID to be Christians. Think about it.

    We must support those who have been spiritually abused and stop making excuses for those who abuse and those who support and affirm them. For example: The porno divination video has been around for a while now. Not a word from Chandler, Piper, etc. And it is vile heresy. False teaching that is cultic and satanic. Not a word…from any of them except for affirmations of Driscoll.

    We either take ALL of it seriously or we don’t.

    I also cannot turn a blind eye to what is taught. I totally disagree with you that Driscoll preaches the Gospel. All false teachers mix truth with their heresy. If anyone who has believed Driscoll’s teaching becomes saved, it will be in spite of him. In fact, it could take years to reverse the damage done in what they believe about Jesus Christ. IN spite of his blaspheming our Savior and his porno visions.

    Driscoll preaches a false Jesus who gives him total power over people. A Jesus who makes him a “Nicolaitan”. Who wants to break your nose and is a redneck. Who says that you are easily deceived if you are a woman. Driscoll has wrapped up his beliefs in secondary issues into a salvic doctrine.

    I stand with those who have been abused by the system he built for himself. And I know for a fact many young men are attracted to Acts 29 because they like Driscoll’s style. They go to his bootcamp to learn to become like him. And they are out there planting churches in their 20′s. I know several people who have left Acts 29 churches because of the lording it over issue. They learned from the master. And Chandler has been affirming it for years.

  121. If Driscoll et.al. Really do care about people and really are preaching the pure word of truth, why then when I listen to them I get the same oppressive sick feeling that I do when I watch old nazi films. Shouldn’t it feel different? I bet there were a lot of regular German Christians who got this same feeling when they watched Hitler enthrall their masses who were hungry for some sort of leader to tell them what to do. I think Calvinista is not a strong enough word because I think some of them just might proudly wear that t’shirt. I am hoping that nazi is a strong enough word to make them think. Instead of them being angry about our criticism, they should be heartbroken that their behavior and teaching has caused so much pain that anyone would even have the word nazi come to mind when thinking about them.
    The only sermon I have listened to of Mark Driscoll that felt right was his Easter sermon on the Seattle Qwest field last year. I believe that God was not going to allow Mark to mess it up that day. I just pray that all the people who accepted Jesus there last Easter found churches that better reflect the heart of God that Mark preached about that day instead of the one he twists into his own likeness the rest of the year.

  122. At the risk of making a seemingly snarky reply, Patti, the cognitive bias known as the halo effect works in both directions. It can lead a person to assume a broadly good impression or a broadly bad impression based on just a few immediately observable traits.

  123. Anon1,

    I want to be clear here as well..I also stand with those who have been spiritually abused, it is my hope that you inderstand that, and I never want to make excuses for Chandler or anyone who affirms Driscolls behavior. It is my hope that Chandler and others have countered Driscoll many times, as they seem to be friends, although you or I may not see it publicly.

    I had mixed feelings at first about the public scathing Chandler and others should give Driscoll, but the more I research the Elder incident and the documents on the joyful exiles website, the more I research how public the firings got, the more I am convinced Chandler, representing a29, should say something. I never thought he should not confront Driscoll, I just had mixed feelings on how public that confrontation should be.

    I have thoughts on how this should play out, but I am not sharing that at the moment.

    The reason why I came out of the shadows to speak up for Chandler is because I don’t see him as the same man or in the same mindset as Driscoll. These are my feelings from afar based on my years of listening to Chandler on the Village podcast,, and in all these discussions two people from his church spoke up, and they were positive. These people know him far better than i do, far better than most of the sceptics on this blog…Only one shared a genuine concern that he could begin to walk down Driscolls path. Time will tell all this.

    Many on this blog have made their minds up about Chandler already…Many on here lump him in the same category and have written him off based on guilt by association and his lack of public scathing of Driscoll. This may be a legitimate way to deny Chandlers good, but I and many others who have never heard of this blog see a man who legitimately loves Jesus, see man who genuinely cares for the Church, see a man who is urgent about sharing the good news of Jesus Christ…

    It is not my goal to change your mind about Chandler or keep you from questioning his motives…it’s my goal to give a different perspective and take to all of this. This is why I asked many questions relating to all of this. My hope is we would pause before we call something unclean that God may call clean.

    Let me be clear about Driscoll as well. I am not as learned as many of you are about his actions. I stopped listening to him because of his style and irreverent behavior in his preaching many years ago. I have not seen any “porno vision” vid as you keep describing…unless it was the piper/Driscoll vid where Driscoll says he sees God told him a man abused his wife…was there a more complete video I haven’t seen….yeah, that was creepy and weird clip regardless though…I hardly know anything about this recent sex book, and his recent speaking engagements…

    His actions agains the Elder I have just learned about in the last month, and this was just awful.

    I said I believe he has shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ because I have heard him preach on the atoning work of Christ and the resurrection (inhow edgy and irreverent style nonetheless)….and I agree, God has probably used this in spite of his actions and his other crazy teaching..

    All in all, I am learning more every day about this man…the more I learn the more I don’t like….I don’t think Chadler is one and the same, and I don’t think Chandler will follow his same destructive path…I am willing to admit that I am wrong, and I recant my misgivings on Chandler speaking publicly against Driscoll since I have learned more about Driscolls actions against the Elders in full and it’s public reveal..

    My hope is that Chandler, Piper and others have already, on many occasions, confronted him in private about some of this..and if I remember correctly, Piper has confronted Driscoll publicly in the past about his vulgar style from the Pulpit…but I do agree, now is the time to speak up…

    If Chandler does not, then he is most likely in a sin of inaction…I will lose some respect for Chandler in this situation, but I by no means consider him a wolf, false prophet, or Nazi. I will share later, in full, how I think Chandler should handle this from now as leader of A29…

    Driscoll may be a wolf, and his controlling Charisma reminds me of many leaders including hitler, but he is still a far cry from a Nazi. Y again, I think that is a stretch of a comparison…

  124. Seeker, Thanks for the explanation. Just don’t sign any Membership Covenants (loyalty oaths). :o)

  125. “Driscoll may be a wolf, and his controlling Charisma reminds me of many leaders including hitler, but he is still a far cry from a Nazi”

    How about Lenin who had one of his leaders, Trotsky, exiled? :o)

  126. Anon1,

    No membership covenant for me! Happily engaged in a local church in my own community! And the Lenin comparison, in regards to having one of his leaders exiled, is a fair comparison…

    The Petry case is just really, really sad.

  127. Matt Chandler’s Take On Church Membership: What’s Da  Bottom Line? 

    Utilizing a popular pastoral scripture: (Hebrews 13:17) “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”

    Matt Chandler sayz:

    Ground 0. That God’s plan for His church is that we would belong to a local covenant community of faith. This is for our own protection and maturation, and for the good of others.

    1. That a biblical understanding of the local church (begins) around the ideas of authority and submission, and church discipline.

    2. That “pastoral accountability to God”, is a serious matter, that he takes seriously.

    3. (implied) The leaders “an individual Christian obey and submit to” should be clearly defined.

    4. (summary) That “a local church membership is a question of biblical obedience, not personal preference.”

    (Church Membership Unpacked )”If you view church as some sort of ecclesiological buffet, then you severely limit the likelihood of your growing into maturity. Growth into godliness can hurt. For instance, as I interact with others in my own local body, my own slothfulness in zeal is exposed, as is my lack of patience, my prayerlessness, and my hesitancy to associate with the lowly (Rom. 12:11-16). Yet this interaction also gives me the opportunity to be lovingly confronted by brothers and sisters who are in the trenches with me, as well as a safe place to confess and repent.  But when church is just a place you attend without ever joining, like an ecclesiological buffet, you just might consider whether you’re always leaving whenever your heart begins to be exposed by the Spirit, and the real work is beginning to happen.” -Matt Chandler

    Reference(s):
    http://theresurgence.com/2011/07/06/is-church-membership-biblical
    http://www.9marks.org/journal/church-membership-biblical

                                                              ㋡

  128. If all you know about Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church or Matt Chandler and the Village Church has been learned on the internet then do some more homework. Go attend a church service, talk to people who attend those churches, do something other than read blogs. Any journalist knows that if their information comes from one source or one specific perspective then it’s biased and their conclusions more than likely will also be biased.

    I’m just a guy from Seattle who has done the research I prescribe and read plenty of critical blogs too, so I can try to hear the good and the bad. I don’t say this to be self-righteous, but only to encourage you to do good research before making strong worded conclusions about other brothers in Christ. I appreciate guys like WTH who also can speak to both sides of the issue. Just my thoughts so take them or leave them.

  129. “What is your greatest fear for Mars Hill Church?”

    That I would get disciplined by my elders and have to get a real job. So I had my older elders fired, which scared the _______, out of the other guys so much that they all voted to give up all of their legal authority as elders and adopted new bylaws that gave me a lifetime tenure and hiring and firing authority. Second, of course, is that tithing and giving would drop, so we started to take up collections on Sundays, and accepting credit cards and online giving with pledges, instead of leaving it up to folks who felt led to put something into the basket during communion. A little pressure helps the bottom line, you know.

  130. Joe
    We have read all we need to know. Driscoll has run his mouth for so long that the evidence is out there.You just don’t want to believe it.It might mean you will have to give up on something that is important to your self-esteem.

  131. Dee-

    I am just asking you to be a good journalist, which you profess to have experience in. I am asking your readers to be good researchers. You presume you know me, which speaks to a high view of your self.

  132. Joe,

    As Mark Driscoll professes, he is the most downloaded preacher in the 21st century! I wonder if he’s in the Guinness Book of World Records…

    We don’t need to go hear his proclamations from on high at Mars Hill; he makes everything available on the internet – except for those things he removes due to embarrassment.

  133. HowDee YaAll,

    Has Mark Driscoll turned the grace of our God into lasciviousness, with his latest book”—-”. Will Matt Chandler & the new leadership of Actz29 follow Mark Driscoll’s lead?

    What?

    …folks, we are well beyond the “Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin” , dontcha think? Has MD proverbially sodomized himself with his latest tome?

    hmmm…could b

    Sopy 

  134. HowDee YaAll,

    Joe, 

    Hey,

       Tyranny is a cruel taskmaster, friend. The Actz29 tyrannical history is replete with glaring examples. Wherez you been? Those who manage to escape it, demonstrate deep scars. Many never have recovered. Many more never get free. Which one are you? 

    “Ceux qui démontrent une ténacité pour la sottise, apparent jamais vraiment bénéfice des expériences de d’autres.” -Monsieur Sopy

    Did you drop your silver?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_I87e7wslk&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    You have our prayers, fella, you sure do seem likez ya needz um, ah huh.

    Sopy
    ___
    James Fenmore Cooper’s – “The Last of The Mohicans”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2k6pn-XT7JA&feature=youtube_gdata_player

  135. Deb- Looks like your blog commenter Sopy has followed your lead in professing to know me as well. Arn’t you proud?

    Sopy- Not in A29 or MH, just a Christian guy in Seattle who is little closer to the content than most of y’all reading or watching on the internet.

    It always amuses me when people profess to know so much about a church or pastor that they have never experienced except thru the lens of the internet. My prayer is that people would stop criticizing from afar or from their blog perch and actually get to know their brother or sister on Christ. You know? Maybe thoughts like that are too old fashion. I mean when Jesus talked about loving others he probably was thinking liking someone’s FB page right? No way in hell he actually expected people to get to know real human people. That would be absurd!

    Just my thoughts, so take them or leave them.

  136. “It always amuses me when people profess to know so much about a church or pastor that they have never experienced except thru the lens of the internet.”

    Joe, at the risk of pointing out the obvious, didn’t you say you never attended and weren’t a member of MH? Wouldn’t this then mean what you know you’ve learned from the lens of the internet?

  137. Hi Joe.

    I live far from Seattle and will likely never be able to attend church at any Mars Hill campus. But Mark Driscoll would like me to buy his books, download his sermons, and donate to Mars Hill online. He would like me to model my life and my marriage on his principles. Am I allowed, then, to judge the value of his teaching by the copious amounts of material available to me though these formats? Or must I defer to those who can watch a video broadcast at one of the satellite campuses? Or must I attend the Ballard campus, so that I can see Mark preach live? Or must I somehow get into his inner circle, so that I get to know the real man behind the persona?

    Also, should I ignore the accounts of those people who really have had a real-life Mars Hill experience and were treated horribly by it? And should I also dismiss the fact that these accounts share an uncanny pattern? And that more and more of them are cropping up all the time?

    How much information I am required to ignore?

  138. Joe,

    Why don’t ya go ta Teddy’s on 65th and getz youzeself a pint, fella!  N’ chill. Tell um Mark Driscoll, sent ya, K?
    Juz maybe he’ll be there hang’in and play ping-pong!

    (grin)

    hahahahahahaha

    Sopy ㋡

  139. One more question, Joe. You are asking us to be good journalists. This is fair. So, what do you do with all of the articles by “real journalists” from the New York Times, Seattle Times, The Stranger, and elsewhere that are deeply critical of Mars Hill Church and Mark Driscoll?

  140. Joe,

    Just wondering if you’ve read any of the stories over at marshillrefuge.blogspot.com ?

    As a refugee from an abusive church, I can tell you that you don’t have to be a Mars Hill attendee to see the same patterns (of authoritarianism and abuse) being repeated at MH as well as in many other churches.

    Also, just curious: are you a journalist yourself?

  141. Do we really need more churches in America? Honestly? Here in the “Bible Belt” there is one on almost every corner. There are over 40 churches in the small town I live in (population 10,200). 40 churches!

    Oh, did I mention that a few couples have started another church in my town? Just what we needed…
    — Randall Slack

    You do know the Theoretical Ultimate End State of Protestantism, don’t you? Millions of One True Churches, each with only one member, each denouncing all the others as Apostates, Heretics, and False Churches.

  142. Something almost hypnotic happens when you are in an arena with that many people. The bright lights (often strobing) and blaring music almost puts people in a trance. Something psychological happens, and it makes the attendee more accepting of the message. I don’t know all the psychological terms, but I know from experience that this happens. — Deb

    I’m going to get piled on for invoking Godwin’s Law, but that is exactly the same dynamic behind a Nuremberg Rally. (Which some eyewitnesses cited in a 1943 OSS intelligence report DID compare to a revival meeting.)

    Remember the opening and ending scenes in Charlie Chaplain’s The Great Dictator? Everything — the staging, the paegeantry, the music, the pomp, the ritual — all to focus you on the guy on the platform to get swept up in his speech and believe everything he says. (Which is where the impact in TGD‘s closing scene comes from.)

  143. “…One who saves just ONE spiritually abused soul, it is as if they saved an entire world…”

    Joe,

    … Isn’t this like the story of someone who saved the woman, Christ’s Bride, from  a type of poverty, abuse, and spiritual  starvation, and when she got sick and was going to die, the ‘angels’ came to her defense with this claim that one who saves just ONE spiritually abused soul, it is as if they saved an entire world…

    A demonstration of compassion for the aggrieved of Act29 would be a nice jesture, at this juncture…

    Prayerfully, 

    Sopy
    ___
    “Angels We Have Heard on High”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T42ieABEY-A&feature=youtube_gdata_player

  144. WTH-

    I’m in Seattle and have been to Mars Hill occasionally. I’m a connector as Gladwell says, so I have plenty of people I know who are at or have been at Mars Hill in various capacities from current to former pastors to Community or Redemption leaders, people serving throughout the church. I also know people in leadership or attending many of the churches in Seattle. I’m involved in a non MH or a29 church, yet being from Seattle I know the lay of the land, so it’s much more than just the internet than informs me, it’s people.

  145. Rene-

    As I have said before I read the good and the bad on Mars Hill. Hence I’m at the Wartburg Watch which is less than favorable to Mars Hill. From mainstream media to blogs I have read much of it around Mars Hill.

    I would encourage you to lay off making strong conclusions based solely on information from journalists or critical blogs. Try to find out both sides of the story and when possible do your own homework on site with real people. It’s not information you are required to ignore, it’s other information that you should seek out. Just my thoughts, so take them or leave them.

  146. Joe,

    You may remember that Bent Meyer made his first public statements on our blog. We also featured Jonna Petry’s personal account of their experience at MH. Do you not give any credence to their testimonies?

  147. Sopy-

    All the jokes throw me off, so just talk straight. Yeah I get you feel like you are helping abuse victims, which is a noble cause and something Jesus cares about, but I also think Jesus cares about how you do it and the heart behind it. I hear more overtones of hating Driscoll and Mars Hill than I hear about protecting the abused. And your prayers seem pretty self-righteous, so I doubt they are sincere. I do care about the abused, but don’t think sin in response to sin is justified.

    Numo-
    I have read many of the story at MarsHillRefuge or other critical sites. And no I never have claim to be a journalist, but Dee & Deb have, which is why I reference it. I am just a Christian in Seattle who does research. I’m sorry to hear of your abuse.

    Just my thoughts so take them or leave them.

  148. “Try to find out both sides of the story and when possible do your own homework on site with real people.”

    Thanx for de advice!

    Been there done that.

    betta punt fella!  Clock is tick’in…

    Pray harder…we do!

    Sopy

  149. Hi Joe,

    I agree with Rene’s point above that Driscoll and Mars Hill have heavily exported their materials beyond Seattle and their church proper. IMHO when they choose to go beyond their local reach, they choose to open themselves up to critique by people they have never met and never will.

    What they are exporting is having a profound impact on congregations and individuals around the country. It was their choice to heavily market themselves and reap the financial rewards. For quite some time they had people fawning all over them and they loved the positive publicity and income. They also need to realize that there will be pushback from other believers who disagree with what they are selling. It may have taken a bit of time for it to become more widespread, but I suspect many people have been deeply concerned for some time. It is only now after some brave folks have stepped forward that others are daring to voice their concerns as well.

  150. Joe
    Oh dear, I totally forgot. We need to “Try to find out both sides of the story.” Gee, wish I had thought of that sooner. The poor stupid people who come to this blog need to have someone like you to guide them in their reading. Wow, are you one of those people we need to put ourselves under for leadership? We all like sheep have gone astray.

  151. Sallie
    Joe is here to defend Mars Hill. No matter what we say, he will say otherwise. He has been doing this since “Andrewgate” and his protestation of being just an unbiased outsider is highly suspect.

  152. Deb
    Joe is a proMD troll. He couldn’t care less for those hurt. He has a dog in this hunt and it ain’t the lost or let down.

  153. So, Joe, in answer to this “I’m in Seattle and have been to Mars Hill occasionally. I’m a connector as Gladwell says, so I have plenty of people I know who are at or have been at Mars Hill in various capacities from current to former pastors to Community or Redemption leaders, people serving throughout the church. I also know people in leadership or attending many of the churches in Seattle. I’m involved in a non MH or a29 church, yet being from Seattle I know the lay of the land, so it’s much more than just the internet than informs me, it’s people.”

    Provide the other side. Yes, I can see some sarcasm and some anger, but I believe someone has to be forceful about the abuse that is being chronicled. If you know so much, tell us. Are Paul and Jonna Petry lying? If so, what is the truth? Were they just trouble makers who were fired for good reason? What reason?

  154. Sopy
    Keep it up. You have irritated Joe.he is obviously not visiting your inspiring, and sometimes, humorous links. TWW LOVES SOPY!

  155. Bob,

    This is the second time I have asked for Joe’s input about the Petrys. He appears to be ignoring me. Why?

  156. Rene
    Joe will dismiss said journalists because they are obviously biased against his man of the moment. And I have never claimed to be a journalist.
    I don’t even know what I am. I just write. I trained as a nurse and got an MBA. I thought I was a horrific writer. Sometimes passion covers a multitude of sins (and dangling participles).

  157. Deb,
    I could guess, but then I may be fooled into making assumptions that I have no business making. But if I were to guess, I would probably (Hypothetically, that is) say that he has nothing.

  158. Well, Joe, let me explain why a site like this is helpful. I know someone who goes to a church that lost their dear pastor who had been with them for a couple of decades. They hired a new pastor and were excited to have him join their congregation of 200 or so. The first year was fine.

    Then the pastor had everyone study Dricoll’s “Doctrine”.

    Then he had select groups study Dever’s “9 Marks of a Healthy Church”

    My friend’s wife, who had run the missions ministry at the church was told that it was really a position for a man and was replaced. Then my friend’s wife was told that she was only a step away from church discipline. Slowly they found out that quite a few of the long time members were under discipline.

    These people have no idea of what is happening at their church or why. A site like this surely helps people understand.

    So you want to defend Driscoll. Fine. But someone needs to help those who are getting blindsided by this kind of takeover in their churches. They cannot respond properly because they can’t identify what is happening and do not know where it can lead.

  159. Dana
    Joe can barely contain himself. He is a friend of MH “insiders” (make sure you understand that they are important insiders) and is therefore far more informed than the rest of us. Joe is defending MH at the same time saying he does not attend. Something is not right.

  160. Dee

    Yeah, after I commented it occurred to me that Joe might just rejoice to hear the news of an entire church getting corrected in the Calvinista way. Who cares about the collateral damage? They probably weren’t real Christians anyway.

    Sigh. I watched quite a few young people get wiped out financially and personally by an Acts 29 plant. They just mowed through the people and threw away the ones that couldn’t service the pastor in the manner in which he strove to be serviced. It wasn’t pretty.

  161. Ooooh. Joe is a friend to MH insiders. I must have missed that somewhere. Well, if he is a friend to MH’s insiders then that makes him completely objective and puts him in a far better position to judge than any of the rest of us. (Heavy on the sarcasm.)

  162. Joe – about Sopy – he knows what he’s talking about and is pretty well-respected at other blogs that focus on spiritual abuse.

    His posts in this thread have been – in my opinion – very much on point.

  163. Dee,

    Thanx Sis, -tears-

    ….*☆.¸.☆*’
    ….*☆.@@ ☆*’
    .*☆.@@@@☆*’
    ….@@@@@@
    …☆*@@@@`*☆.¸¸
    …….\\\||///.
    ……..\\||//.
    ………ƸӜƷ.
    ……….\|/..♥
    ………..V….

    Jesus, Behold!,  let Thiné friend Sopy, be as a servant…to wash da feet of youze faithful servants in dat big house of yours…Lord!

    Yeah! Lord…Greater love hath no man…

    ……………..(0 0)
    …….oOO– (_)–OOo
    …………….|__|__|
    ………………. || ||
    …………. ooO Ooo

    εїз  …You have ma prayers, one called ‘Joe’, the one called ‘Faithful’ is “Mighty to save”  … I lit a candle foya, soze you canst’ get home o.k. :-)   ✌

    *
    Numo (wink!)
    *

    “le pied de la croix, pour les children…”

    *´¨)
    ¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨)
    (¸.•´ (¸.•` ♥ Sopy *´¨)
    ___
    Jonsi -”Sticks and Stones” 
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jo7W8sWpqww&feature=youtube_gdata_player
    Comic relief: Michael Mcdonald – “Minute By Minute”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_GmuIHL_EM&feature=youtube_gdata_player

  164. Joe, Joe, Joe (sigh) -

    Seriously, hasn’t MD, like CJ Mahaney, had enough support from the Reformed Big Dogs?

    Meanwhile, who allows the victims to be heard? Does Driscoll? Does Mahaney? No.

    And Jesus, what would he do — pat MD on the head and say there, there?

    MD has turned MH into HIS ministry by way of the new by-laws and polity. He is responsible by his own choice. He does not want help from anyone. What he asked for is coming to fruition. What he and CJM did secretly is now being revealed publicly. If it was all done righteously, then what exactly is the problem you have with this discussion? Let MD be the big manly guy he claims to be and explain his position . . . waiting (sigh).

  165. Dee said:

    “Sallie
    Joe is here to defend Mars Hill. No matter what we say, he will say otherwise. He has been doing this since “Andrewgate” and his protestation of being just an unbiased outsider is highly suspect.”

    I understand the frustrations with people such as this. Unfortunately due to the nature of this site, some of the same questions are going to get asked over and over again, day after day, week after week, month after month by many different people. I think it hurts the overall message here if they aren’t answered over and over again.

    I’m sure you are getting many new readers every day. Most of them are not going to go back and read all the threads and all the comments. I come here regularly and I can’t even keep up with everything written here, especially in the comments.

    So if a new reader who is trying to sort this out has similar questions, I think it is in everyone’s best interest that those questions get answered. Yes, Joe already knows the answer. But there might be ten people reading his question who have the same thoughts. They need to hear the straight-forward answer.

    That’s my reason for answering Joe. I know Joe doesn’t need to know. I’m concerned about the others who are just waking up to what is going on.

    I hope that helps.

  166. Sallie
    No problem with answering him. I said that in order to answer all those who have also been following Joe’s comments from the beginning.

  167. Sallie,

    I have asked Joe on two occasions to address the issue with Paul Petry (and by implication Bent Meyer). He refuses to do so.

    I am interested in your recommendations in dealing with a troll like Joe. It appears that he has no interest in carrying on an honest dialogue. How do we deal with that?

  168. Deb asked:

    “I am interested in your recommendations in dealing with a troll like Joe. It appears that he has no interest in carrying on an honest dialogue. How do we deal with that?”

    You have two choices. Ban him (his IP number specifically) or put up with him in Christian love. There’s too large of an audience here to make everyone aware of who the trolls are. If the regular readers become snarky with the trolls, you run the risk of alienating new readers not in the know.

    And, if handled properly, trolls can serve a very useful purpose. They allow you to make the same points over and over again which is useful in educating your audience. And if everyone here continues to hammer the truth over and over again while the trolls avoid answering questions… it becomes apparent to most people what is going on.

    And you will earn many jewels in your crown. :-)

  169. “We Have Not Yet Begun To Fight.”

    HowDee YaAll,

    Joe, 

    On September 23, 1779, Aboard his flagship, the Bonhomme Richard, John Paul Jones fought one of the bloodiest engagements in naval history. Jones struggled with the 44-gun Royal Navy frigate Serapis, and although his own vessel was burning and sinking, Jones would simply not accept the British demand for surrender, replying, “I have not yet begun to fight.” More than three hours later, Serapis surrendered and Jones took command. 

    Sin-cer-i-ty?

    huh?

    Here’s what the well known Pastor John MacArthur had to say about dis here Actz29′s very own Mark Driscoll’s teaching:

    “It is spiritually tantamount to an act of rape” and “Mark Driscoll has boldly led the parade down this carnal path.” John MacArthur -”The Rape of Solomon’s Song” Part 1, Apr 14, 2009
    http://media.sermonaudio.com/mediapdf/417091244255.pdf

    Folks are a talk’in. Folks are a pray’in…

    Folks are tak’in action:

    “Mark Driscoll is a pastor and bestselling author with troubling views on gender roles and sexuality. We in the theraputic community are concerned about the number of people we have seen who have been negatively affected as a result of Mr. Driscoll’s teachings.”

    “Driscoll must be stopped. He is not helping the world and he is not helping women!”

    “The things that this man believes is okay, are unreal and disgusting, he needs to be stopped.”

    “Awful and disrespectful person. I doubt Jesus would be pleased. In fact, this man screams ABUSIVE through his actions and youtube videos that he himself uploads. It is shockingly bad.”

    “Driscoll is the new Jim Jones. If you want a ticking time bomb on your campus please keep him. At best he will cause a scandal that will rival Jim Bakker. Praise Jesus!”

    “As a Liberty alumna, and mental health counselor, I am sad to hear that Liberty is hosting Driscoll. So many people have been hurt and traumatized by Mark Driscoll’s words and actions. Please do not allow him to hurt more because Liberty (University) hosts and endorses him. People trust Liberty and hosting him will act as an endorsement.”

    “Please do not support Mark Discoll’s mysogynist views on marriage and sexuality, as they are deeply troubling and I believe harmful to the Christian community. It’s not only the comments he has made regarding sex that are troubling… it’s also his attitude and message that the wife’s job is to make her husband sexually satisfied regardless of how she feels about any part of it… Please do not support this kind of abusive relationship in a marriage! Thank you.”

    “Spiritual abuse is no joke, no matter how much the audience laughs.”

    “We have a responsibility to our young people to spread the word!”

    *
    …Men and brethren, let me freely speak to you of the bible patriarch David, he being a prophet, and knowing that God did swear with an oath to him, that from the fruit of his loins, He would raise up Christ to sit on his throne. David seeing this beforehand, speaking of the resurrection of Christ, -that his soul would not be left in hell, neither his flesh would see corruption. This same Jesus has God raised up, whereof all the world now has heard of. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he has shed forth this great work which now doth the whole world wrestle. You hear of it now, and one day, the eye shall see… For David said: “The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit here on my right hand, Until I make your foes your footstool. “Therefore let all of God’s house know assuredly, that God has made this same Jesus, of whom I speak, -Him who was crucified, risen, both Lord and Christ.  I don’t think He was wearing pointy shoes but …He did say: It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has put in His own power: But you shall receive power, after the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and you shall be my witnesses, even to the uttermost parts of the earth. 

    The whole world is watch’in…

    Walk therefore in the liberty in which Christ has set you free…

    “We have yet begun to fight…”

    Sopy  ㋡
    ___
    Inspirational : Jeff Gordon – “This Is Who I Am”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXrCrtmefWw&feature=youtube_gdata_player

  170. Sallie,

    Thanks for your response.

    I prefer not to ban folks like Joe. There are too many bloggers out there who do not allow for dissent.

    I will keep your recommendation in mind when responding to trolls in the future.

  171. Dee said: “Sometimes passion covers a multitude of sins (and dangling participles).”

    Dangle boldly!

    ;)

  172. Sopy – I am *very* intrigued by the quotes you posted, and am wondering if you could post a link to the source for the 1st one? (That says “we in the therapeutic community…”)

    Links to the others would be great, too, but that’s a lot of links!

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    numo

  173. Sallie – I must say that it can be *very* hard to respond with patience and forbearance toward people who are here to troll.

    I have tried it myself, and gotten burned more than a few times, so now, I just don’t “talk” to those people.

    It’s stressful and wearying, and I believe I might be speaking for others in saying that.

  174. I am still trying to figure out why Dee or Deb have to go to Mars Hill to see “another side” concerning Driscoll. Does this mean his videos/sermons/books are not his own words?

    Let’s forget Mark’s own words all over the internet and in books for a moment. Let’s look at the logic of such a statement. It would mean I would need to go to the White House and see Obama before I could offer up any criticisms of his words or actions that are public.

    In fact, If Dee or Deb did go to Mars Hill they would be just more spectators in the audience, far from stage…. and Mark has body guards.

  175. Numo,

    Hey, :-)

    …”post a link to the source for the 1st one? (That says “we in the therapeutic community…”)”

    Yes, Sophia  gave it on her Wed, Apr 04 2012 at 11:38 pm comment above. I just gardinered the quotes listed ther so far, from da kind folks post’in there. Good testimony all…

    http://signon.org/sign/hey-liberty-university-1.fb2?
    source=c.fb.ty&r_by=4100534

    Dat quote…hmmm…

    “Mark Driscoll is a pastor and bestselling author with troubling views on gender roles and sexuality. We in the theraputic community are concerned about the number of people we have seen who have been negatively affected as a result of Mr. Driscoll’s teachings.”

    I would gather is from “Sophia’s( own)Voice” 

    Thanx Sophia, nice call (wink!)

    *
    ‘Ombra Mai Fu…’ (by Handel)
    ♪♪Tender and beautiful fronds
    of my (Lord’s) beloved plane tree,
    let Fate smile upon you.
    May thunder, lightning, and storms
    never bother your dear peace,
    nor may you by blowing winds be profaned.

    “Never has there been a shade…”

    A shade there never was,
    of any plant,
    dearer and more lovely,
    or more sweet…

    Than you Numo,

    Blessings!

    Sopy ㋡ 
    ___
    Jackie Evancho –  ”Ombra Mai Fu”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxf5kEX99RY&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qU5wwmlsgYs&feature=youtube_gdata_player

  176. numo said:

    “Sallie – I must say that it can be *very* hard to respond with patience and forbearance toward people who are here to troll.

    I have tried it myself, and gotten burned more than a few times, so now, I just don’t “talk” to those people.

    It’s stressful, and I believe I might be speaking for others in saying that.”

    I agree that trolls are stressful. I’ve dealt with them on my own blog over the years and had to decide what to do with them.

    Trolls are either looking for attention or are trying to disrupt what is going on.

    Again, my concern is that becoming snarky with them really works against what Dee and Deb are trying to accomplish here. The message they are trying to get out is SO IMPORTANT that I hate to see it undermined by snarkiness.

    For the record, I banned some people after ample public warning. When it became clear they weren’t there to participate in a meaningful way, I had no qualms in banning them.

  177. Deb said:

    “I prefer not to ban folks like Joe. There are too many bloggers out there who do not allow for dissent.”

    I think dissent and trolling are not the same. Offering a contrary opinion and adding to the discussion is dissent. Simply being annoying is trolling.

    If someone acts like a troll, he shouldn’t be surprised if he gets banned. He made the choice. If Joe refuses to answer a question after several invitations, then ban him as a troll. That is not silencing discussion. That’s being a good steward of your site and readers who don’t have the time or energy to wade through all the junk they add.

  178. Sallie
    I know you are right but, as many here will attest, I just hate to do it.This policy has,in general, served us well.I get so mad with the Calvinista crowd that pretend they allow for comments yet delete people who disagree with them. I do have to admit, Joe does wear me out. Part of the reason for this is he seems to be playing a game. he pretends not to be part of Mars HIll but in the next breath is calling everyone by their first names. I think he is a plant but I do not know for sure. I will warn him the next time and maybe he will pretend a little harder.

  179. Sallie – I’m with you on banning those who are only on a blog or forum to troll, but can also understand Dee and Deb’s take on this.

  180. Sallie,

    In response to this “You have two choices. Ban him (his IP number specifically) or put up with him in Christian love. There’s too large of an audience here to make everyone aware of who the trolls are. If the regular readers become snarky with the trolls, you run the risk of alienating new readers not in the know.

    And, if handled properly, trolls can serve a very useful purpose. They allow you to make the same points over and over again which is useful in educating your audience. And if everyone here continues to hammer the truth over and over again while the trolls avoid answering questions… it becomes apparent to most people what is going on.”

    I say that you should let them stay, and remind the regular posters to not become snarky. I was a regular poster, for many years at a Christian forum and it degenerated into 3 or 4 regular posters getting more than snarky, almost stalkish, with a couple trolls. But then they started being that way with anyone who crossed them, even new posters who they thought were sockpuppets of former trolls. It was weird. At one time, there were 4-500 daily participants, and it is now about 10-15. I quit that forum. I got tired of trying to scroll through all the bombastic, angry attacks. The Wartburg watch has some sarcasm and some anger, but it has a purpose and it should include the allowance for dissent, even Joe.

  181. Wow!! This blog makes Mark Driscoll out to be a dreadful person. Is he really? I’m sure there’s another side to this story.

    But before you assume I’m a troll, allow me to agree with some of the assessment here.

    While I don’t believe Mark Driscoll to be a dreadful person, he displays narcissistic tendencies in his intent on making himself king over his domain. It’s more disheartening in that his domain is a Christian church organization. What makes him not dreadful, however, is the fact that he believes in Jesus and is redeemable (not for that reason alone).

    His ascendance to that throne, however, is revealing of what is systemic with the American church in general. We are not a persecuted church, so we don’t have that to deal with. We are a church of personality, and that is what is leading the mega-church movement. Mark Driscoll is every much a victim of that mentality as anything else. I’m not trying to minimize his sins; but we have set it up such that charismatic personalities arise; and those who are tempted by those kinds of prospects, do not have an outlet to really deal with those aspirations because we encourage them. Our leadership structure creates pastors who are not themselves pastored. That is sad. The very unique personality of say a Billy Graham is not at the heart of most people who have designs on Christian influence and power. Graham has his own sins, to be sure of; but he exudes humility. That’s a very difficult characteristic to maintain without being at one point, pretty certain of the mission at hand and at another, being completely dependent on God for His lead in the mission. It’s that dependence on God’s leadership, rather than newfangled ministry strategies and techniques, which make the true humble man of God. We don’t encourage that any more. We want our pastors to be some sort of Ubermensch. Most of us would be shocked to discover that the man who first envisioned the Ubermensch was one of the most radical atheists in history. Do we really want to bring about such a vision in our leaders?

    Driscoll has become corrupted by that ever so enticing promise of power and influence, and as we all know “power corrupts; absolute power corrupts…………” but our lackadaisical theologizing on the necessity of Christian purity has only succeeded in producing outward forms of purity to substitute for the inward forms. We want bold leaders who aren’t afraid to take a stand for what is right; and with that focus, we set them up for the power play. There is another, better way.

    Here’s my own take on the whole issue of church planting, the church growth movement, etc…

    There have been many manifestations of organizations that are dedicated to planting churches; many more successful than others in actually increasing numbers of attendance, and not simply shifting and dividing large member congregations out to smaller locations.

    But on the other hand, the idea that you take one large mega-church and dissect it into smaller satellite churches, is actually a good idea. It allows members to have more personal relationships with fellow members. It’s my belief that as churches grow, moving to satellite churches is a natural outgrowth, not something that we plan well in advance by selecting a huge population niche to reach out to. When we become that selective, we neglect the very real needs of the communities to which we represent Christianity. Population niches actually create a very elitist focus for a Church that is supposed to be a shining light to everyone in a community, not a select few.

    What I see as being the main problem with Mars Hill is that the majority of people who attend there seemed to do so because of the personality of the pastor, rather than out of a desire to be involved in something that goes beyond personality; the spreading of the gospel and discipleship of believers. So you are correct in pointing out this cult of personality. Its focus seemed to be in finding a niche to attract a certain unchurched group; and while that is admirable, Driscoll went off the deep end as to what would attract them.

    I’ve been around the block somewhat with church growth movements, having been a Christian since I was in my teens – and over 30 years. Driscoll’s apparent justification for his approach is not only not biblical, but not rational. You don’t lower Christian moral proclivities to attract those with little or no moral proclivities; rather, you maintain an insistence on the purity of the gospel, which attracts those who have ears to hear. That may include those living very openly sinful lives, as well as those who live openly upright lives, but are self-justifiers of their conduct.

    There’s no need for a niche if you’re preaching the Word. People are convicted by the truth when they can no longer justify their actions in contrast to right thinking. We worship a God of truth; a God of rationality, who created a universe that can be understood rationally. Thus, we are convicted when our way of living in the world that God created, does not jibe with that world. We suffer the consequences of sin precisely because God designed the world in such a way as our behavior interacts with that world for better or for worse. We are designed to be social beings; loving each other and God. When we don’t, there are consequences designed into the world to counteract the offense. And God also acts directly to counteract the offense. When people realize that they have sinned and their lives are not really working for them due to the consequences, they become attracted to the church. That seems to be the way it works in my experience. Mega-churches don’t have a monopoly on attracting sinners to the gospel. They simply have a monopoly on filling pews with believers (many of whom were already believers before they joined) and non-believers (many of whom will never believe, despite the sincere efforts of the church). You can get many people to an altar, but that isn’t forcing them to believe.

    If you look at statistics, it becomes clear that despite the presence and growth of mega-churches in America over the last several decades, we haven’t become a more believing country, but a less believing country; and that has occurred at a greater rate over the last 20 years than at any other time in our history. The church is shrinking, not growing. Driscoll criticizes the church in England, but it’s actually making some very good strides. And they have better ideas on how to grow churches; mind you.

    So yeah, I would call on Driscoll to step down, or at least to take some time off and really seek God as to how he can serve him. I would recommend that he actually go on some short term missions trips or something like that so he can get a sense of the true needs people have. He’s been preaching to the choir for so long that he’s out of touch with the way the world truly is. But that’s not likely to happen. He measures his success by numbers, rather than by growing closer to God.

    The best pastors I have met in my lifetime displayed the clear signs that God was working in their lives personally, and they became more and more lovers of God; not at all offended by loving Jesus even if that made them look like a wuss or a sissy. They weren’t, of course. They showed true courage in proclaiming a gospel message that became more and more scorned as our communities became more and more secularized. These are the men and women that have led me to greater faith, along with those who have dedicated their lives to reaching unreached people on the mission field abroad. I’ve never been persuaded by the “super-preachers” of Driscoll’s ilk.

    But there are some mega-churches that are doing great things. I attended an EV Free church for a number of years that had over 3,000 members, and it wasn’t at all personality focused. In fact, the senior pastor was not even an elder. He just preached and ministered, encouraging the congregation towards Christian service. All other decisions were made by the elder board, and by vote of the congregation. But this church, even though it spawned several others, did not have church growth as its focus. It’s focus was ministry in the congregation, the community and abroad, seeking to make us and others Christ-followers. And it continues to grow to this day.

    So my “criticism” is more agreement than criticism. I just wouldn’t count any person out who believes in Jesus, as far as their promise in maturing as believers. Heck, I even believe that Benny Hinn could come to his senses one day. I pray for such things.

  182. Brandon,

    Thank you for your insightful comment. I can say with complete honesty that I at one time respected Mark Driscoll. Of course, I didn’t know that much about him at the time, but I thought he was doing a great job evangelizing the lost culture in Seattle.

    Using that approach cross-culturally just doesn’t work, and it has backfired on him in my view.

    I am sorry that so many have been hurt by what appears to be yet another hyper-authoritarian religious establishment.

  183. HowDee YaAll,

    For those of you who have suffered under the hand of Acts29′ s Church (Christian) leadership run amok, in silence, unable to make your case, or understand how it happened?

    You are not crazy. 

    You are most certainly not alone. 

    Now the rest of the world knows…or do they?

    Get this: Acts 29 Pastor Mark Driscoll sells anal sex in the Christian bedroom in his latest tome, and it becomes a New York Times best seller?  Mssr. Thomas Nelson, the famed Bible publisher, publishes this best selling tome and everyone is o.k. with it? hmmm…

    What is wrong with this picture?

    Then Acts 29 Pastor Mark Driscoll goes on the Christian college circuit to promote this type of atrocity against Christian women’s anatomy in the english speaking world?
    And again, it’s ok?
     
    Again, what is wrong with this picture?

    Then Liberty University, a “Christian University” schedules Acts29 Mark Driscoll to speak at their famed university?  After all it is all right isn’t it?

    Again, what is wrong with this picture?

    hmmm…

    (Twenty-four grand buys your little Jane or your little Jonny what type of education there at LU?)

    Jerry must be rolling in his grave…for shame, the guy expired at his post for nothing? hmmm…could b

    (Sadface)

    Sopy

  184. Hi Deb,

    Don’t know what you mean by “cross-culturally,” but I think the American church has heaped upon us an atmosphere where each “new” method or fad is experimented with to the extreme, until such a point where we finally figure out that it doesn’t work, and it’s very difficult to revert back to what was working before.

    What’s interesting here is that most of us as Christians tend to be politically and socially conservative; yet when it comes to doing church, we are as liberal as can be; anything goes as long as it increases membership. That’s what has to change.

    I adhere to the maxim that “small is good.” Better to have a few who truly love the Lord and are reaching out; than a “purpose driven” mega-church set on permeating the culture with whatever misdirected fad is the latest, while at the same time, neglecting to actually minister. God doesn’t want our (bowel) movements; He wants our hearts. Also, you can assume that whatever fad gets MSM attention (“The View” for example) is something you will want to steer clear of. The churches that get MSM exposure are not the ones you would want to have anything to do with, generally speaking.

  185. Brandon,

    I liked your comment very much – so much truth and so well spoken.

    The pastor from my small childhood church, with whom I still keep in contact with, calls what you described as “Solomon Syndrome.” Give the mega-church pastors enough power and they become besotted with it. And it eventually becomes their downfall.

  186. I liked your comments as well Brandon, although I do believe the church is being persecuted in this country right now; not only by the secular, but by the American post-modern church, as well. We are being persecuted by pastors and elders when we do not tow the line with them and go along with their agenda. Not only is it that abuse is occurring, but wrong doctrine/false teaching is circulated as well. I feel that many in the American Church today are trying to go back to Rome, where penance to priests (or pastors) is required; indulgences are to be paid; icons, relics, mystical practices replace simple devotion to the Lord in Word and prayer; excommunication becomes the practice of mainstream churches, sacraments (Eucharist, etc.) and doing good works (progressive justification through sanctification) for salvation are instituted. This is persecution when those that do not want to be involve will be chastised, rebuked, and shunned. This is all happening right now.

  187. Faith, I agree with you. I came across the link to a blog last night from Alan Knox’s blog, theassemblingofhebody, and have been reading it. What a breath of fresh air to read truth about what is truly how the Body is to operate according to scripture. Enjoy this brother’s writings. He gets a lot right and he is a former institutional church pastor:

    http://jamaljivanjee.com/category/church-leadership/

  188. Brandon – I really appreciated your thoughtful comments.

    I found this link while surfing. The content of the article has nothing to do with what we’re discussing, but if you scroll down to the Twenty-Five Rules of Disinformation, it sheds some light on how trolls operate. http://preventdisease.com/news/10//081010_everything_is_a_lie.shtml

    Dee and Deb – You are doing a great job here. I’m sure you will do whatever you think is best. Thank you for letting me put my two cents in! :-)

  189. Sallie,

    Thanks for pointing out the 25 Rules of Disinformation. I saved them in a Word document, along with the link. We may write about this sometime.

    Some of those tactics have definitely been used here to distract from the topic at hand.

    We could refer to the rule numbers like they do on NCIS. :-)

  190. I was going to let this slide, but… please, let’s not start slamming people who believe in sacraments.

    A lot of your brothers and sisters in Christ (in the US and around the world) do so… and we are as much a part of the body of Christ as those who don’t believe in such.

    If you “purify” the church (in the way that many radical followers of the Reformation did, by destroying stained-glass windows and art and by whitewashing the interiors of existing churches) you are obliterating a good deal of historic Christianity and the faith of those with whom you disagree – on secondary issues at that

    We (collectively – I am Lutheran, but am putting many other denoms into the “we”) have some things to offer, too. (Things that you might find helpful.)

    Truce? (Please?)

  191. numo,

    I didn’t take Faith’s comment to mean that we have to eliminate stained-glass windows, art, etc. in churches. Personally, I love the Bible stories depicted in stained-glass windows. Luther is one of my favorite movies, and I cringed when I saw that rock come flying through the stained glass window depicting Mary and the Baby Jesus.

    Perhaps Faith will clarify what she meant, but I took her comment to mean that we have added to the Christian faith, as has befallen so many that have come before us. The first things that come to mind as far as relics go are conferences, books, etc. – the things that are being “SOLD” to make one more righteous. Sadly, so many are making merchandise of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ instead of serving him.

    Blessings!

  192. Deb – Lutherans believe in sacraments.

    So do Anglicans (including Episcopalians), Roman Catholics, the Orthodox churches, etc.

    We are part of the body of Christ – at least, that is what I believe personally.

    And by no means are we trying to “persecute” American evangelical Protestants!

  193. And yes, I agree that all of us have “added to the faith” in various ways.

    But are all of the “additions” bad, I wonder?

  194. Brandon,

    I wholeheartedly agree with your remarks, and I am so glad that others have, too. I believe smaller is better as well. I attend a small church, and the pastor knows practically everyone in the congregation. It is a sweet fellowship, and I can’t imagine the abuses we have described here being tolerated.

    By cross-cultural, I simply meant that not all cultures are the same as the one found in Seattle, which Mark Driscoll loves to describe and use to justify his WACKO teaching. For example, Southern culture doesn’t look at all like the Seattle culture IMHO.

    I hope you will continue to comment because I really appreciate the perspective you have shared. Care to write a guest post?

  195. “If you “purify” the church (in the way that many radical followers of the Reformation did, by destroying stained-glass windows and art and by whitewashing the interiors of existing churches) you are obliterating a good deal of historic Christianity and the faith of those with whom you disagree – on secondary issues at that”

    Numo,

    the “radical reformers”, as they were called, in Europe did not have the kind of power. They were too busy running from the magistrates and hiding in caves. With the exception of the Munster group which I presume you are referring to, they were peaceloving people and simply disagreed with the sacraments as a means of grace and were persecuted for refusing to baptize their infants. There were hunted by the reformers and “rebaptized” with a 3rd baptism of drowning. The radical reformers were not monolithic but for the most part peaceloving and against a “state church” which required sacraments.

    Most history is written by the victors so we must be careful. One great book that was able to research previously closed archives after WW2 is Leonard Verduin’s Stepchildren of the Reformation.

    Today we think little of baptizing infants. But the REformers demanded it and church attendance, too.

    I found a great discussion with John Zens on this very topic not too long ago:

    http://jamaljivanjee.com/2011/06/whos-trying-to-kill-you-history-of-the-anabaptists-why-it-matters-to-you-important-msg-from-jon-zens/

  196. Numo

    Did you know that the majority of people running from fundagelicalism are running straight into the arms of liturgical churches? In fact, one of the swiftest growth areas is in the new Anglican churches. Also, many are joining Lutheran churches. A professor at Wheaton converted to Catholicism while my daughter was there. And there are some that are heading to the Orthodox churches as well.

    There is stability that has stood the test of time in these churches. In fact, my husband and I are considering a move into one of these churches in the future.

  197. Anon1 – You might want to see what happened during the English Civil War; also while Oliver Cromwell was head of state.

    And yes, there *was* what one could call iconoclasm in places like Geneva, though I suspect that in all cases the people who did destructive things were also looting churches for gold and precious stones, among other things.

    (P.S.: I am an art historian by training, and since Western art has a great deal to do with Christianity, one has to learn a lot about the history of religion and religious conflicts as well… all that to say that while I definitely need a brush-up on a lot of it – it’s been a few years since I was in school ;) – it’s also part of my stock in trade, so to speak. :))

  198. Dee, you wrote -

    There is stability that has stood the test of time in these churches. In fact, my husband and I are considering a move into one of these churches in the future.

    ‘Tis true (stability), though goodness knows, none are perfect! (Far from it.) But that stability – and the fact that adults are treated as such, not hectored and controlled as if they were a bunch of stupid kids who can’t make their own decisions – is one of the reasons I’ve a “revert.” (To be honest, I never really left… considered myself Lutheran even during my years in some of the odder charismatic churches on the block.)

  199. Anon1 – re. the Anabaptists, yes, what you’re saying is true. I grew up in an area that’s full of different anabaptist denoms and churches (primarily Mennonite and Church of the Brethren, though there are plenty of Amish people as well).

    In fact, Mennonite and C. of the B. theology has been a very real influence in my own life and faith.

  200. Numo, this is an aside but it’s so cool to know your background is in art history. I’m a painter by training, though art college seems like another lifetime ago.

    I enjoy and learn a lot from your comments here.

  201. Hey René – actually, I started out in studio art; then did art history in grad school. Truthfully, that was a real slog, because the curriculum was kept separate from the studio stuff and so ended up being *very* dry and lifeless. (imo, at least – if I ever taught, I’d do it differently, but I’d have to do it on my own.)

    So – very cool to know that you have that background, though (I’m guessing) you might not have much time to work these days – ? (I’ve drifted myself – into music – which is really my 1st love as far as the arts go, though I love them all.)

    Thanks so much for your kind words, though the learning goes both ways. I’ve really enjoyed your comments to date and hope you continue to post here!

  202. “Anon1 – You might want to see what happened during the English Civil War; also while Oliver Cromwell was head of state.”

    Numo, The term ‘radical reformers” was used for the European ana baptists. The English Reformation was a whole other animal from the European one where the Ana baptists were on the run seeking safety.

    “And yes, there *was* what one could call iconoclasm in places like Geneva, though I suspect that in all cases the people who did destructive things were also looting churches for gold and precious stones, among other things.”

    Suspect?

    I would be very careful even implying that the European Ana Baptists looted churches. It goes against everything they believed. The only violent group were the Munster group and they were rebuked by other “radical reformers”. The Munster group was only used to make it worse for the peaceful Radical Reformers in Europe.

    Unless your art history courses used first person sources after WW2, they could be very wrong. Archives vaulted by the state church and monarchies were not available for American researchers until then. These poor people were horribly hunted and persecuted by the Reformers. Let us not continue to revictimize them in history. It isn’t fair. If you have proof of European Ana Baptists looting and stealing precious stones, etc, outside the Munster rebellion, I would like to see it.

    Now, when the Presbys start extolling the virtues of John Knox, I have a problem with that, too. (wink)

  203. ooooh, art talk!

    (numo, renee, whoever else)

    my mom just dropped off a box full of things from my chidlhood (they’re cleaning out their garage). Amongst tons of things I remember and have no memory of (like old journals from jr. high and highschool — terrifying to read! had to throw them away in a flurry — it was definitely my handwriting, but like some alter ego from past life — weird– and way too painful)…

    …AMONGST things like these were some water colors and sketches from when I was 12 and 15, taking art classes in school. I was astonished at what I had been able to do with a little instruction. They were pretty good!

    I’m a very creative person who got sidetracked with the left brain corporate world and then having kids (wonderful, but all consuming), to the point that I’ve suspected my creativity has atrophied and is gone.

    But then i saw what I had done in the art classes — which was in a different league from anything else i had ever done — i was amazed at what a good instructor could bring out of someone.

    So I’m very excited at the thought of taking art classes at this point in time — to perhaps revive if not shoot for wholesale resurrection of creativity.

    Art is so pleasurable, the doing and the experiencing of it.

  204. elastigirl – go for it!

    I haven’t made anything (paintings, drawings) in a long time and need a re-education, I think.

    Besides – painting because it’s enjoyable is entirely different than making things for assignments that will be graded and publicly critiqued.

  205. elastigirl, numo:

    “the wholesale resurrection of creativity”.

    Those are good words.

    Jesus is risen. He will redeem all things. I hope you do find a way to make art again, soon.

  206. Sopy, thank you for reminding me to be like Jesus.

    Bless you Joe, wherever you are. Have a good Easter.

  207. True Words,

    “Solomon syndrome.” Have to remember that; and yes I get it. It’s too bad that a lot of those “suffering” from it fail to heed some of the wisdom of Solomon: “Chasing after wind, etc…” The simple truth is that God is greater than whatever “visions” we may think we have. If we’re not completely dependent on him, we’re doomed to fail. This is why I believe that “small is good.” Simple faith is preferable to “super-faith.” Francis Schaeffer’s book “The New Super Spirituality” comes to mind.

    Faith,

    While I appreciate your perspective, I’d have to disagree that we in America are for the most part being persecuted; although there are often incidents of Christian persecution here in America. There’s a lot of abuse in the leadership and teachings in churches, to be sure. Nothing is terribly different now than it has been throughout Christian history. A great book that I recommend; it’s a rather old book, but very in-depth, is Herold OJ Brown’s “Heresies: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church,” where he traces the predominant heretical movements in the early church. What’s quite stunning about this work is Brown’s recognition of belief systems, which continue to be manifested in modern churches; while he doesn’t necessarily go in depth in making that connection. But while reading that book several years ago, it struck me how there is truly nothing new under the sun. What is now proclaimed as a new method or a new perspective, has already been sometime in the 2,000 year history of Christianity. Evil finds a way of manifesting even in the Church, and in most cases, it’s a repeat of an ancient manifestation; but we don’t recognize it, because we don’t know history, and when we don’t know history, as the saying goes, “history repeats itself.”

    But I view church persecution as very specific and clear in the history of the church, and it comes from those outside the church, much more than from inside. We are not facing those conditions in the American church today; at least not in epidemic proportions. We are facing heresies, to be sure; which will eventually (and indeed has) cause(d) a reaction towards traditional Christianity among non-believers, leading to more and more persecution; but I don’t think we’re completely “there” yet. We still have the freedom to worship as we see fit. We are not told by government that we cannot be Christians; although the trend seems to be leading us in that direction.

    There are churches in other parts of the world that are definitely being persecuted, and when we have that perspective, the contrast with America is quite revealing; particularly in North Africa, China, Cuba, Indonesia and many many other countries around the world; where if you are openly Christian, you can and will be tortured or killed. We’re not there yet. And if we are in abusive churches, we do have the freedom to leave and go somewhere else. So I can’t exactly agree that we are persecuted. At least I wouldn’t use that term to describe the many real issues that you pointed out.

    But persecution, while not something to be welcomed, is something that tends to purify the church, by separating the true believers from those who are only Christians by name; and, in fact, it was just such persecution in the early church, which led not to the annihilation of Christianity around the world, but to it’s spread. If we are serious about our faith, no amount of persecution is going to make us believe otherwise; but those who aren’t fully committed will fall by the wayside and contribute to the persecution. That is clearly not happening right now in most Western democratic countries that allow freedom of speech and freedom of religion, but the trends are definitely there.

    Sallie,

    Thanks for the link. I’ve been on many online forums over many years. Trolls are common, but sometimes people who “troll” certain forums really do feel that they have an alternative perspective they need to share, and are not simply trying to destroy thoughtful discussion.

    I’ve been on an intelligent design forum Uncommondescent.com (started by William Dembski) for many years, and as you can imagine, there are many trolls. But there are also many thoughtful people who have an alternative perspective than that of the blog. Sometimes they have even been permitted to post their own threads for some quite interesting discussion. But ultimately, people who disagree and who will not admit that their arguments have been either defeated or at least adequately addressed; but who continue to press their already refuted points and agenda through careful researched and cited reference, have to be dealt with. The best thing to do in the long run after much tolerance and correction, is to ban them, ultimately. There’s no sense in going over and over points that have already been adequately addressed and allow a discussion to get distracted or even sidetracked by trivialities. People who hijack threads should be told what they are doing, and if they continue, they are no longer welcome. Simple as that. It’s also a good idea to have a FAQ of issues that have already been adequately addressed, so that you can simply cite the FAQ rather than going over already covered territory. That’s what UD does.

    But I find that one person’s “troll” is another persons “alternate perspective.” There is a fine line. That’s my perspective, which comes from much experience, believe me.

    Deb,

    OK, I see what you mean by cross-cultural. Perhaps I misread what you stated. I think I assumed you were attributing a cross-cultural perspective with Mark Driscoll, while I find just the opposite. His approach is hegemony – “might makes right,” which is definitely anti-Christian if you have any sort of Christian perspective at all.

    I’ve been heavily into the current GOP presidential primaries in online forums, and a common theme that I’ve noticed among very conservative republicans is a disdain for what is termed “multi-culturalism.” Many, if not most of these people identify themselves as Christians, and I understand the disdain. The multi-culturalist stance tends to be a non-judgmental, morally relative acceptance of cultural traditions that in our traditional Christian view are, to put it bluntly, evil. The radical leftist ideal is that non-judgmental tolerance towards those of different cultural manifestations of immorality is to be accepted and praised. It’s the Oprah Winfrey “new age” mentality of “your truth is as equally valid as his or her or my truth;” which ultimately leads to a watered down sort of acceptance of whatever assertion contains a certain “truthiness.” Many of these conservatives have rightfully pointed out the hypocrisy of for example, the radical feminists tolerating Saudi Arabian anti-woman culture, simply because we don’t judge other cultures.

    But (and this is a big but), multi-culturalism should not be confused with a cross-cultural perspective. Those who are involved in world missions could perhaps understand this best. The political right has a tendency to dismiss even cross-cultural perspectives as it pertains to reaching the lost for the gospel, and yet they still identify as Christians. But we must be careful to distinguish the difference.

    America is a great nation particularly because of what is termed “American exceptionalism.” That doesn’t mean that Americans are any greater or more “exceptional” than people of other nations; even though some view it that way. What it means is that America is the only democratic republic in the world, which establishes human rights, not as an endowment from the state (as in “might makes right”), but as self-evidently “endowed by our Creator.” In other words, the American democratic system is designed specifically to allow God to be above government; to allow God to be sovereign in our lives. Many conservatives forget this, and certainly the radical left does not even contain this in their vocabulary. But American exceptionalism can be recognized for the vast immigration to America of persecuted believers throughout the world, and it continues to do so.

    So if we translate this into a Christian perspective, the differing cultures who immigrate to America out of a desire for the freedoms we enjoy, do so because God has allowed it to be so. In our hearts then as Christians, we should recognize that the Lord has brought them here for a purpose. We might not know exactly what that purpose is; it might be to send them back as missionaries to their own culture; it might be to protect them from religious persecution in their own countries, or any number of other reasons. But we don’t hold that they are unwelcome because of the culture differences and traditions that could encroach on our own traditions. I think we need to have thicker skin than that, while at the same time, be very concerned with the encroachment of (for example) radical Islam; which has a well-documented history of social upheaval and the diminishing of human rights, or with the radical “new atheism;” which seeks to eradicate religious expression.

    Allow me to share an example of a cross-cultural perspective that works for believing Christians:

    My sister and her husband are quite “well-to-do.” He’s a private attorney, and she’s a retired county auditor. They are very politically and socially conservative. They are also heavily involved in their church (the EV Free church I mentioned in an earlier reply).

    They have always been heavily involved in world missions as supporters; although not directly involved on the mission field. They decided several years ago, after coming across very many foreign exchange students who visited their church, that they would start an outreach for foreign students; most of whom are not themselves Christians.

    The way the outreach works, is that they go to the admissions departments of local colleges offering services to incoming foreign students. The students, who might need either a ride from the airport on their arrival, or a place to stay while they attend college, are given phone numbers to call, and they subsequently contact the outreach. There’s nothing clandestine about this. They know full-well that it is a Christian organization. But because America is known as a predominantly Christian nation, most foreigners expect that, and welcome it; even though they are not themselves Christians. You’d also be surprised at how much more open and accepting towards Christianity many young people from abroad are. They haven’t faced the media bias towards Christianity that we encounter here; in many cases.

    So with these simple services, my sister and her husband are able to establish these relationships with foreign students. They are subsequently invited to their house for weekly social events with other foreign students, and since my sister and her husband have been Christians for several decades, and he with an MDiv, the pastoring begins. It’s not something that is done formally, but they simply use those situations as opportunities to share their lives with these young people; and their lives are truly excellent witnesses.

    I estimate that they have a greater impact on the lives of a few people than the impact that the mega-churches have on multitudes. And that’s because it’s personal, and there’s less confusion as to what the latest trend is that they must adhere to. It’s simple sharing of the love of Christ.

    I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many of these students; students from India, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Europe, South America, and I can tell you that this is something that works wonderfully. They give a lot of their time and money to do it, and a lot of Christians don’t have that amount of time or money; but the point is that you don’t have to envision grandiose movements in order to have an impact on peoples’ lives for Christ. I’ve seen several lives changed because of this simple ministry; and it’s just such small ministries that their mega-church encourages and supports. But they wouldn’t have had the resources to start such a ministry if their mega-church controlled all the potential ministry according to some set movement or master plan. Jesus is the master plan. As I stated earlier, the church encourages and equips them to be Christ-followers, so that they are equally equipped to start their own personal ministry to others. That’s why this church is growing with new believers. It has nothing to do with the pastor; although the pastor, Gary Inrig is quite good. It has nothing to do with some sort of newfangled method for reaching others that people collectively buy into at the prodding of some charismatic leader. It has everything to do with the simple pastoring and equipping of believers to be the Christlike salt of the earth that God has already planned in advance.

    And finally, since we’re discussing leadership, power, exploitation, heresy and the like, allow me to recommend a very excellent book by a former Jehovah’s Witness, Raymond Franz. His book “In Search of Christian Freedom,” is an autobiographical account of his and his wife’s shunning by the JW’s after some disagreements with church doctrine. This is a man who clearly understood scripture, even as a practicing JW, and he was very high up in the leadership of the church. In fact, his uncle was a past president of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, who has since been credited with “translating” the New World “Translation” of the scriptures (although the church desired those involved to remain anonymous, since they had no real credentials). I highly recommend this book. It’s a great read, and it gives some perspective on what it’s like to be in a highly controlling religious atmosphere, while recognizing that something ain’t quite right.

  208. numo,

    Very interesting perspectives there.

    I have to say up front that I was never involved fully with the charismatic movement, although some 30 years ago when I first became a Christian, it was a charismatic Christian who led me to the Lord. But since I don’t put much trust in personality (I’m autistic to a degree), it was not he who led me, but the Lord Himself who drew me. In fact, I found my first Christian acquaintance to be quite odd at first; while I was more attracted to the Christian gospel message. I met up with him a few years ago by coincidence (or maybe providence). He was gassing up his car in a convenience store nearby, and I hadn’t seen him in over 25 years when he approached me there. Interesting encounter. We then had nothing in common. His parents had since died, he was homeless, and he had pretty much lost his faith and was moving ever so swiftly into mental illness and breakdown; which at the time was my field of expertise. Needless to say, I did much prayer for him and his situation; but I found myself at a loss for being able to help him out; which is sad. He was literally living out of his car with his very sick dog; his only companion.

    Also, I lived in Pennsylvania from the mid 1980s to the late 1990s, so I encountered the Mennonites, Amish and many other groups out of the Anabaptists, and that was also not my primary influence. My influence has been primarily in mainstream protestant, as well as evangelical (non-denominational) churches. But I have to say that I have gained some great insight from those outside these groups; particularly Catholics and Anglicans.

    But my perspective is that while certain individuals of a particular Christian persuasion may be instrumental in leading us in the direction of faith; we must let go of those influences as we gain insight and discernment, trusting in God fully. Otherwise we are likely to be led astray. It depends on our personalities, for certain. There are strong believers in all of these groups, but depending on our personalities, we can be led more by the sinful trappings that are prevalent in all Christian groups, rather than by God’s Holy Spirit directly. I believe that God removed me swiftly from charismatic influences for that very reason. I have my weaknesses, and an inability to immediately discern what is of God and what is not, is one of them.

  209. When I survey the wondrous cross
    On which the Prince of glory died,
    My richest gain I count but loss,
    And pour contempt on all my pride.

    Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
    Save in the death of Christ my God!
    All the vain things that charm me most,
    I sacrifice them to His blood.

    See from His head, His hands, His feet,
    Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
    Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
    Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

    His dying crimson, like a robe,
    Spreads o’er His body on the tree;
    Then I am dead to all the globe,
    And all the globe is dead to me.

    Were the whole realm of nature mine,
    That were a present far too small;
    Love so amazing, so divine,
    Demands my soul, my life, my all.

    To Christ, who won for sinners grace
    By bitter grief and anguish sore,
    Be praise from all the ransomed race
    Forever and forevermore.

    He has Risen! Happy Easter everybody. Thanks for the great discussion.

  210. Sure I will clarify, thanks Deb: When we use icons and relics to be a vital part of experiencing God or to be worshiped, then we have missed the boat. Pictures of Christian things are not in itself a sin, it is when we have to have them to be able to worship Christ is where one could be in trouble. This is in the case of Roman Catholicism, where Mary and the saints; statues of Christ are revered. Everyday we have the Lord with us to worship and praise because of His Holy Spirit living within us, there is no need for relics or icons.
    Brandon, I do appreciate your insights and posts. I do disagree with your premise on persecution though. Even though many are going through more than I or you in other countries does not mean we do not have some light form of it here. Persecution can even be from Satan himself. Paul was tormented with a thorn that He himself could not get rid, nor would God take it away. Many in the churches today are being persecuted by their pastors and elders because they stood up to false teaching; they are being slandered, falsely accused, businesses ruined, families torn apart, pedophilia within the church- yes, Satan can persecute the church even within the church.

    Definition of PERSECUTE
    transitive verb
    1
    : to harass or punish in a manner designed to injure, grieve, or afflict; specifically : to cause to suffer because of belief
    2
    : to annoy with persistent or urgent approaches (as attacks, pleas, or importunities) : pester

    I will have to say though that such persecution (even if it is persecution lite) though does bring us closer to the Lord our Savior to lean on Him wholly.

  211. Faith,

    Good clarification. Yes, I can accept that that sort of persecution occurs, and as Christians we will face it, and we do face it. My emphasis, however is on situations where one is not free to practice Christian faith under any circumstance. Of course while we know that we are free to believe under any circumstance; the world around us tries to create a situation where we are not. The world never wins that battle, because in all it’s attempts it only succeeds in strengthening our faith. This is what the radical “new atheists” simply don’t get.

  212. I was in a persecution from Satan for about two years, but it was more in the form of accusing me in my mind (every day) that I was not one of Christ’s. I was in a Reformed/Calvinist church at the time. It was probably one of the worst things I had ever gone through. I was even wondering what was wrong with me and even if I was saved at all. Cried out to the Lord to get rid of the thoughts – did not happen. Kept studying the Word and having faith that I was His no matter what was going on in my mind. After we left the church we were attending, that is when my doubts subsided. So persecution can come in all forms and the Lord used it for good in my situation to get out of where I and my family were.
    The Lord Bless Brandon.

  213. Faith,

    Similar situation here, so I can definitely relate. Now (after more than 30 years as a believer) I have no doubt that I am the Lord’s.

    “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
    ‘For your sake we face death all day long;
    we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’

    No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35-39 NIV)

    Have a great Easter!!!

  214. Brandon: the Mennonites and Church of the Brethren folks that I’ve met have been wonderfully open and friendly toward folks of all sorts of backgrounds (from people who come from very different kinds of churches to people who’ve never set foot in one).

    They also seem to believe in actively helping other people in practical ways, which I like.

    And then there’s the non-violent aspect of their beliefs, which also appeals to me greatly.

    (Keep in mind that PA *is* the Quaker State, even though there aren’t many Quakers left – I think they were always a minority in PA, really.)

  215. Deb wrote:

    Something almost hypnotic happens when you are in an arena with that many people. The bright lights (often strobing) and blaring music almost puts people in a trance. Something psychological happens, and it makes the attendee more accepting of the message. I don’t know all the psychological terms, but I know from experience that this happens.

    Nuremberg Rally Syndrome. At least that’s my unofficial name for it. (And outside observers DID describe Nuremberg Rallies as “revival meetings”.)