Tom Rich: Mac Brunson, A.Davis, M. Driscoll-When Church Leaders “Gossip and Slander”

“False greatness is unsociable and remote: conscious of its own frailty, it hides, or at least averts its face, and reveals itself only enough to create an illusion and not be recognized as the meanness that it really is. True greatness is free, kind, familiar and popular; it lets itself be touched and handled, it loses nothing by being seen at close quarters; the better one knows it, the more one admires it.”   
Jean de la Bruyere 

The Areopagus as viewed from the Acropolis
The Areopagus as viewed from the Acropolis

 

Recently, Andy Davis wrote Pastorally Speaking: Andy Davis on “Gossip amd Slander: Poison in the Lifeblood of the Church on the Between The Times blog here.
Here is an excerpt:

“So, if you feel that someone has sinned and the sin needs addressing, follow Matthew 18 rather than the promptings of the flesh or the devil. Go to that person directly and with humility work it out. Galatians 6:1 speaks of doing it with humility and gentleness. Jesus said in Matthew 7 we are to take the plank out of our eye and then we can see clearly to remove the speck from our brother’s eye.”

Then, he adds a zinger:
“One final word. The issue of gossip and slander is especially poisonous when it is directed against the elders of a church.

I believe that Davis inadvertently showied us his true colors. In today’s churches, particularly in Calvinista circles, we see that church leadership appears to dividethe church into two groups: the “important” and must be protected crowd (pastors and leaders) and the rest of the congregation.

However, I might be able to make the case that Davis engaged in similar behavior himself. Do leaders get in trouble? TWW wrote an article on Davis and his church on 12/8/11 titled: Andy Davis is Biblical; I’m Not link.

You can read this posts directed at Davis who recounted his history “reforming” First Baptist Church, Durham. I happened to know one of the couples he discussed in this post and became incensed how those who disagreed with Davis were portrayed. Here is what he said about those who disagreed with him. 

“During this time, the ministry of the Word of God was having a powerful and divisive effect on the church. The genuine saints were being deeply challenged and were growing and flourishing, while the nominal, unregenerate church members were becoming openly hostile.” (Said couple had given years of service to that church, btw).

As readers can see, it appears that it is hunky dory for Davis to judge the state of the souls of the dissidents and call them names (hmm-gossip? and slander? because I, along with others, knew to whom he was referring?) but he implies that it is not alright for the dissidents to use language towards those who are pastors/elders. By the way, some of these folks had been in church leadership but I guess being a pastor trumps being a lowly leader. Then he gets to write an authoritative post on gossip and slander? Takes one to know one, I guess.

Why bring this up? I think this sort of attitude is helpful in understanding the state of leadership in today’s churches and how that may have affected the Tom Rich situation.

Pastors and elders can gossip and “slander” as much as the next guy.

Then they cry foul when the rest of the world joins in. Matt Chandler called a man a “narcissistic zero" in a public setting. Driscoll called British Christians “cowards” in a public setting. Davis called some people "unregenerate" (which I believe is a horrible epithet. I thought only God could judge a man’s soul) on a public blog. Mac Brunson called Tom Rich a sociopath in the local newspaper.

So why do they get a pass? Oh yeah, that’s right, sometimes they don’t thanks to bloggers like Tom Rich. Wade Burleson wrote a great post on ths matter here.

"Last Friday First Baptist Church, Jacksonville settled the defamation lawsuit that came as a result of Tom Rich being publicly identified as "a sociopath" by their pastor. Last Sunday, Rev. Brunson read a statement of apology to his churc):

"In April of 2009, I was quoted in a Times-Union article regarding an Internet blog which concerned this church. The article stated that I had labeled the author of the blog "obsessive compulsive" and a "sociopath." I did use those words and those conditions to describe Mr. Tom Rich, the author of the blog. These are serious and debilitating conditions. These statements have resulted in protracted litigation for myself and this church. Mr. Rich and his family were longtime members of this church. Mr. Rich is not obsessive compulsive and is not a sociopath. I regret making those statements. I want to apologize to Mr. Rich and his family. I also want to apologize to you and the church.

Sometimes the world makes stubborn pastors and elders do the right thing.

No church is above the law, no matter how much they quote Matthew 18.Wade pointed out that as recently as February 18, 2012, Brunson refused to apologize for his statements. Let me assure you, Tom Rich would have stopped the litigation a couple of years ago if only Brunson had apologized to him. Brunson refused to do so. Think of all the years wasted and all the money spent by Brunson (or the church-I don’t know) in pursuing this matter. What a waste!

The world is watching so don’t try to hide behind the church doors.

Christian are naïve if they think keeping an event “quiet” will help the cause of Christ. In fact, the watching world is more appalled when the church clumsily tries to hide a problem. Those outside the church want to see Christians handle our foibles honestly, not deep six them, like everybody else.

Why not go and sin boldly? Why not show the world that we are sinners and we want to do the right thing when we fail? Many people are quite forgiving when others admit their faults. Instead, we think we are oh so clever by hiding our faults. But, we don't. And we wonder why outsiders and insiders are rejecting the faith or running from the church.

For a perfect example, Mac Brunson was recently designated one of the scariest people in Jacksonville by a local newspaper  here. Does the church really think they are fooling anybody by donning facades of moral righteousness? They see through us, folks! I cannot stress this enough. We are positionally holy but are functionally still sinners. 

If a church or pastor uses the media to promote their agenda, then they better be prepared to be critiqued.

Today’s churches and pastors love to use the media to plug their churches and their books. They have all entered the public square by doing so. Think of it this way. They are all pretending to be Paul (on steroids) at Mars Hill, setting off fireworks to get the attention of people. If they want the world to look at them, they cannot complain when the world does so and doesn’t like what it sees.

Do these people actually think that people should buy their books and join their franchises and not say a word about the weirdness that surrounds some of these ministries? Do they really expect us to cough up the dough and keep our mouths shut? Do such leaders get a pass that the rest of the world is not entitled to, just because they are “pastors?”

Pastors and leaders need to apologize when they fail to live up to their stated standards.

What ever happened to “I’m sorry?” I mean, an honest-to-goodness apology. Wade Burleson, in the referenced post said,

“Thankfully, last Sunday, Rev. Mac Brunson apologized for his statement. Nobody knows the motive for why Rev. Brunson apologized after three years, but there are at least two possiblities:

(1). The Holy Spirit brought Rev. Brunson to repentance for his statement in less than eight weeks (February 2012 to April 2012) after He could not bring the gift of repentance to Rev. Brunson during the previous three years (February 2009 to February 2012). After all, the Holy Spirit is the One who enables us to display to others "what Christian life is all about," right? Or,

(2). Part of the settlement of the lawsuit, which included an undisclosed financial payment to the Rich family, included reading an apology to the church for the original statement by Rev. Brunson that Tom Rich is a "sociopath."

I hope the apology was real. If not, Brunson will have to answer to God. However, many people, looking on, will have a tendency to believe that this was a coerced apology. Think about how effective such an apology would have been if Brunson had called the local media, prior to the depositions, and sat down and talked about how wrong he was and how God forgives sinners. He then could have publicly apologized to Tom Rich. Such a step takes true humility. Sadly, that chance has been lost and this apology will forever be suspect.

Blogging is here to stay. Churches must learn to deal with it.

Churches should engage the blogging world like they purport to engage the non-Christian world. For all the yip yap about Paul and Mars Hill, many pastors hide out in their safe world inside a building somewhere. They need to get out into the world and start debating. Warning: They should not play the game of deleting critical comments on their blogs. Everyone knows when they are doing it. It is discussed  elsewhere and they end up looking like wusses who cannot stand the courage of their convictions.

Could some bloggers be modern day prophets?

Something struck me the other day. Did you know that some of the pastors criticize bloggers, saying that they are men in their bathrobes, living in their mother’s basements, eating Cheetos? (Digression: It obviously does not apply to your glam TWW bloggers.)

How was the prophet, John the Baptist, described? He came in from the desert wearing a camel hair shirt, eating locust and wild honey. In other words, he didn’t dress up in a Mickey Mouse t-shirt with a hoodie, looking very manly and cool. He looked a bit odd. Yet he was called by God. Could it be that these pastors are missing the point with their silly little putdowns? Would they have done the same to John?

Recently, Mark Driscoll wrote on the Mars Hill blog that the Scripture indicates that  there are the prophets, priests and kings in local churches. He identified some in his church by name. Although I do not agree with his “exegesis,” I will use his example. Driscoll, of course, gets to identify his prophets who, of course, would probably fall all over themselves agreeing with him

In the Bible, the prophets were called by God to confront unbiblical behavior. They were not always a part of the inner circle. They also really, really irritated the kings and leaders. And, if John is any example, they might even have looked a bit odd. My guess is that Mac Brunson and Mark Driscoll are not very good discovering the “prophets” in their lives.

I want to end this post with a final quote from Wade’s blog.

“Finally, just a word to my fellow pastors. If you are publicly criticized, censured, or condemned, it would be good to follow the advice of King David, who when verbally castigated by one of his subjects and asked by Abishai if he could "go cut that dead dog's head off," responded, "Let him alone. God hath bidden him to speak."

Could it be that some of these bloggers have been sovereignly placed here, for such a time as this, to keep church leadership honest? Could it be that God is using the Internet for His purposes? Come on, guys, you are the Calvinists who constantly assert that God is sovereign. 

I think Tom Rich is one of those prophets that FBC Jacksonville and Mac Brunson not only overlooked, but treated poorly. Maybe they should spend some time in self-reflection instead of planning the next “delightful” cruise for the well-to-do at FBC Jacksonville.

Lydia's Corner: Lamentations 4:1-5:22 Hebrews 2:1-18 Psalm 103:1-22 Proverbs 26:23

Comments

Tom Rich: Mac Brunson, A.Davis, M. Driscoll-When Church Leaders “Gossip and Slander” — 121 Comments

  1. Folks: I am off to Maundy Thursday service tonight. I will be late answering comments. Praise Jesus for His willingness to endure the Cross for all of us.

  2. Someone once told me that organizations (or institutions) are normally formed to serve a particular purpose. To fill a need. But, given enough time, growth, and prosperity, the purpose too frequently morphs into self-perpetuation. To protect the institution.

    I think it’s true, even to the neglect and/or mistreatment of its original purpose.

  3. Dee – I’m standing up waving my white hanky saying, “Amen, sistah!”

    Funny how some pastors forget that Matthew 18 thing. I found out I was in church discipline from someone publicly on the internet. Seems a few steps were missed.

  4. After reading the quotes from Andy Davis, it appears that he is saying that if you aren’t reformed you are unregenerate. I would bet that lots of members disagreed over the calvinistic doctrine of double predestination. So, in order to be a true follower, one growing in grace, you must assent to calvinistic doctrine. Hmmmm… What a dangerous path to go down.

  5. Robin
    You have no idea what some of those people went through. And they were dedicated Christians. I know one couple who are an example to me of their commitment. But he never thought someone who knew the other side might use blogs just like he does. He owes people an apology.But, being a Calvinista means never having to say you’re sorry cause you are the elect.

  6. I would love to see the psychological profiles of all of these men. I bet they all exhibit similar personality traits. I am convinced that the gospel is interpreted through the lens of their personalities.

  7. “Could it be that some of these blogger have been sovereignly placed here, for such a time as this, to keep church leadership honest? Could it be that God is using the Internet for His purposes? Come on, guys, you are the Calvinists who constantly assert that God is sovereign.”

    BAZINGA!!

  8. Did you know that some of the pastors criticize bloggers, saying that they are men in their bathrobes, living in their mother’s basements, eating Cheetos?

    I have heard exactly the same thing said about SF litfans, SF media fans, Star Wars fans, Trekkies, Gamers, Furries, and Bronies. Except with the addition of gossip and innuendo about sexual kink.

  9. “Finally, just a word to my fellow pastors. If you are publicly criticized, censured, or condemned, it would be good to follow the advice of King David, who when verbally castigated by one of his subjects and asked by Abishai if he could “go cut that dead dog’s head off,” responded, “Let him alone. God hath bidden him to speak.” — Wade Burleson

    Unfortunately, a lot of God’s Anointed (TM) are more likely to follow the urging of Abishai…

    Could it be that some of these blogger have been sovereignly placed here, for such a time as this, to keep church leadership honest? Could it be that God is using the Internet for His purposes? — Dee

    Dee, that sounds a lot like an alleged private revelation I heard about on another blog a year or two ago. Except instead of “church leadership”, it was the Christianese Fiction & Movie industry. Instead of bloggers, it was secular writers, publishers, and moviemakers.

    Since the Christian publishers & moviemakers had dropped the ball bad, God was transferring his mantle to the secular publishers, moviemakers, and artists to say what He wanted said. In the past year I have read quite a few My Little Pony fanfics (of all things) that seem to confirm it.

  10. In the Bible, the prophets were called by God to confront unbiblical behavior. They were not always a part of the inner circle. They also really, really irritated the kings and leaders. — Dee

    Never mind quotes from Deuteronomy & Leviticus; I have heard it said that the de facto sign of a false prophet is a false prophet tells the kings and leaders what they want to hear; a true prophet tells them what they NEED to hear.

  11. Dee,

    Did Andy Davis ever apologize, or rephrase things, concerning his statement?

    “During this time, the ministry of the Word of God was having a powerful and divisive effect on the church. The genuine saints were being deeply challenged and were growing and flourishing, while the nominal, unregenerate church members were becoming openly hostile.”

  12. They also at times documented how the priests and scribes perverted the scriptures themselves into lies.

  13. Or condemned other prophets by saying, “These prophets say ‘peace’ to anyone who fills their stomachs but curse those who do not feed them.”

  14. Bob Cleveland,

    “Someone once told me that organizations (or institutions) are normally formed to serve a particular purpose. To fill a need. But, given enough time, growth, and prosperity, the purpose too frequently morphs into self-perpetuation. To protect the institution.”

    Wow, is this ever true. I do like my church very much, the people there, and the leaders. But I can’t get away from this nagging feeling that the overriding point of it is “self-perpetuation”. More people coming. More people staying. More people becoming members. More money coming in.

    Preparing for Easter this Sunday has seemed like a regional sales meeting, drumming up the will to “reach out” to visitors with all manner of friendly welcome. I expect Easter Sunday to feel like walking through the scary bottom level of our local shopping mall which is lined with vendors hard selling their wares with very friendly faces.

  15. Anonymous
    I do not know, but if he had apologized to my friends I feel sure they would have told me. I see them every week and I will ask them on Sunday. They will probably laugh hysterically.

  16. In my opinion, the apology was probably part of the lawsuit. It was probably agreed upon as part of the settlement.

  17. Dee,

    Why does it seem that through divine providence you are always strategically in the middle of certain circumstances?

    BTW, I just watched Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and I have some questions…

  18. Deb
    It is rather bizarre, isn’t it? Wikipedia has a good summary of that movie. I, too, had questions. Actually, Tinker, Tailor Soldier, Spy has a T4G ring to it.

  19. I am new here, but have dealt with the Calvinist strain.

    Do you think the Calvinistas might get to the place to admit that even the bloggers could be predestined by God? Just a thought- I mean it is possible that this could be providence.

  20. Faith
    I believe the Internet came to us just as the Gutenberg press. And the Gutenberg Press was essential for the Reformation. It is funny – Martin Luther is cool, but he defied his “authority”. I think people like rebels so long as they are in the past.

  21. HUG, My Little Pony FANFIC? Seriously, horribly OOC (that’s Out Of Character, for the fanfic lingo challenged).

    Deb, Dee, I think that what makes Mac Brunson’s “fauxpology” (my own opinion, folks!) are these two lines:

    “I want to apologize to Mr. Rich and his family. I also want to apologize to you and the church.” (emphasis mine)

    Just because you “want” to do something doesn’t mean you’re actually doing it. If he really meant it, he’d simply say, “I apologize”.

    I think a further apology is due to Yvette for the unwarranted tresspass order. IMHO, there was no reason for it other than spite.

  22. Mac Brunson has no business in the ministry, even if he repented in dust and ashes and wore a hair shirt and slept on a bed of nails for 30 days.

  23. Where is the king of the local church referred to in Scripture? Isn’t that Jesus? It seems to me that God said that Israel was rejecting him when they preferred an Earthly king. Also, throughout most of history, having a king didn’t work out to well for them. Most of them were rotten tomatoes.

  24. Mac Brunson has no business in the ministry, even if he repented in dust and ashes and wore a hair shirt and slept on a bed of nails for 30 days. — Bob

    Looking at Mac’s Third World Dictator pay & perks, another word than “Lightning Rod” keeps coming to mind: “Embezzlement.”

    And I’d still like to know what happened (or what’s gonna happen) to that cop that served as Mac’s Enforcer against Tom Rich.

  25. Digression – Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is a pretty complex novel and I don’t see how a 2-hour movie could begin to do it justice.

    The BBC miniseries that was aired here back in the late 70s (or was it the early 80s?) was really good. I don’t know if it’s available on DVD, but it would be worth a look…

  26. Here’s a great quote. Guess who made it?

    “One final thought to add is this: I believe that it is appropriate to respond publicly to that which has been taught publicly. If someone has published something in a book or on a blog or preached it in a sermon (which has then been made available online), it is now subject to public critique. I certainly believe this is true with regard to my own teachings. Anything I have preached or published (and therefore made public) is consequently subject to public criticism. And I don’t consider my critics to necessarily be unloving just because they disagree with me. In fact, I welcome their feedback, because it is part of the sharpening process.”

    - John MacArthur in an interview by Tim Challies

    http://www.challies.com/interviews/5-more-questions-with-john-macarthur

  27. HUG,

    My “lightning rod” descriptor was not meant for Brunson. Dee knows what I meant by that. :-)

  28. “The issue of gossip and slander is especially poisonous when it is directed against the elders of a church.”

    Taken by itself, that statement is true. IMO, gossiping about and slandering people who are trying their best to lead a church IS poisonous.

    But I am speaking from the point of view of someone who’s in a reasonably healthy church now. I would be appalled by someone who would slander our elders and ministers. I also believe that the people who are in leadership at our church would welcome disagreement, as long as it is handled in an appropriate way.

    OTOH, what this blog entry is referring to is someone who, I suspect, may use the terms “gossip and slander” when they mean “someone who disagrees with me”. Those are people who want power and control, and when you mix power, control and religion, you wind up with a very dangerous brew.

    We all–including myself–need to be very careful about the issues of slander and gossip. People who are considered “in leadership” should be especially careful, for–according to the book of James–they will be judged more strictly. It is horrifying when people who do have legitimate criticisms are attacked by those in leadership or who are considered “more spiritual”. I’ve seen it happen.

  29. I was deterred for so long while at CLC by not wanting to gossip or slander. Meanwhile, I saw church members worship at C.J.’s altar and heard C.J. degrade and/or make fun of various types of people (e.g. Christian psychologists, anyone whose theology was different, men with comb-overs, etc). In my most recent church (not CLC), the pastor was the biggest gossip in the whole church. He would tell everyone’s business (including who was in drug rehab) and insinuate when people left the church that “they weren’t really Christians anyway”. The second I disagreed with him, he released me from leading a Bible study, and he also “released” me to visit other churches. And because I wanted to have a balance between outreach and ministry to the congregation, he said I was selfish and self-focused. Let’s just say that any conversation with your pastor that ends with you screaming at him is not a good one! Oh yes, he and his wife defriended me on facebook the very next day. I’m still recovering from the shock of his narcissism.

  30. I, myself, hate that this is happening, because I do not like that we have to expose pastors or leaders – it is not a fun thing to do. The issue of church abuse is a biggie – not only in the Calvinist/reformed churches. I have been on many blogs that have reported abuse in different denominations, such as, Calvary Chapels – same thing: embezzlement, spiritual abuse, and even worse, pedophilia. So this is widespread and this is where the internet has proved to be extremely useful in getting the word out – so thank the Lord, it is there.

  31. “Throw a rock into a pack of dogs; the one who yelps the loudest is the one who got hit.” Unknown

    Me thinks they doth protest too much…

  32. In most circumstances, the best way for a pastor or elders to deal with gossip about the pastor or elders is to NOT address it.

    The pastor and elders, if they are serving the congregation, should be loved by the congregation. They should have built up an incredible reserve of love and honor.

    If that is so, and the pastor’s and elders’ service includes directing the pulpit ministries, the education ministries and overseeing the deacon ministries to people’s practical needs, then the pastor and elders have a great influence on what is said and talked about at the church and on meeting the spirtual and care needs of the congregation.

    If they continue to do these things well, they will continue to garner the love and respect of the congregation, and the gossip will die a slow death.

    Now, if the gossip is about innocent church members, then the pastor and elders should rise up and defend the innocent church members in the most direct, but discreet, way.

    But it really is unseemly for pastors and elders to work on defending themselves.

    Plus, it just throws gas on the fire and consumes the life and attention of the church.

  33. I should add that when we have heard of criticism of the pastor and elders at our church, the church members have risen up, by nature, not by prompting, to defend the pastor and elders.

    Pastors and elders don’t need to defend themselves in the vast majority of cases.

  34. Dee and Deb,

    I am so happy for your friend Tom. I don’t know much about the story, but am giving thanks to God that justice prevailed.

    Steve Scott wrote:

    “Here’s a great quote. Guess who made it?

    “One final thought to add is this: I believe that it is appropriate to respond publicly to that which has been taught publicly. If someone has published something in a book or on a blog or preached it in a sermon (which has then been made available online), it is now subject to public critique. I certainly believe this is true with regard to my own teachings. Anything I have preached or published (and therefore made public) is consequently subject to public criticism. And I don’t consider my critics to necessarily be unloving just because they disagree with me. In fact, I welcome their feedback, because it is part of the sharpening process.”

    - John MacArthur in an interview by Tim Challies”

    That is good to hear. Last night I listened to something quite disheartening. Seems only people with “authority” have the right to comment on matters such as pastor’s actions and/or church discipline, according to Chandler (who I believe hails from Jackson, Mississippi). This individual mentioned he thought Driscoll owed no one an explanation regarding Mars Hill church discipline issues.

    Feel free to delete this comment Dee/Deb, since I am pretty sure I do not have the required authority to speak of these things. :-)
    I am not recommending the linked web site, only the interview.

    Mars Hill and Church Discipline:
    http://declarationnow.tumblr.com/

  35. Diane,

    Great comment! This is my favorite part:

    “Feel free to delete this comment Dee/Deb, since I am pretty sure I do not have the required authority to speak of these things.” :-)

  36. Steve Scott: Thank you!! You just prompted my new blog post. I wish my former pastor would have heeded his favorite pastor’s wise words.

    Diane: I recently ran into a similar situation where a high up pastor from a very large and popular church told me he would counsel his elders to tell me it is none of my business if I asked questions or concerns about the way elders were handling things.

    This self-appointed authority stuff drives me crazy.

  37. Free,

    Please keep us apprised of what is happening in your situation. You can communicate with us through e-mail if you prefer. I am keeping you in my prayers.

  38. Forgive me all,

    Am listening again to that interview and I think I made a mistake thinking it was Matt Chandler. He is just referred to as Chandler. I am thinking that is his first name. Please disregard, as I do not know for sure that is Matt Chandler. Thanks and my apologies for being too quick to assume. It sounded like him…but he just now said he lived in Jackson and I did not hear that the first time around.

  39. Reading your comment: “Could it be that some of these bloggers have been sovereignly placed here, for such a time as this, to keep church leadership honest? Could it be that God is using the Internet for His purposes? Come on, guys, you are the Calvinists who constantly assert that God is sovereign.” Yes!And amen! I’ve been thinking the same thing for quite some time now. It simply can’t be coincidence that suddenly, bloggers all over have been exposing the churches “best kept secret”, spiritual abuse, and it has hit the Internet with the force of an explosion.

  40. The name sounded the same but the voice was instantly recognizable as different for me. I got tipped off that it wasn’t the same Matt Chandler earlier this morning.

  41. Diane and WenatcheeTheHatchet,

    I listened to the introduction of the recording and verified that it was Chandler (first name) from Mississippi. I have corrected Diane’s original comment to reflect that. Let me know if anyone has questions on this matter.

  42. “…Digression – Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is a pretty complex novel and I don’t see how a 2-hour movie could begin to do it justice…”

    I agree numo. It’s hard to take something from le Carre and make it palatable to American tastes and attention spans. I’m glad too that Gary Oldman is finally getting the recognition he deserves after years of being type-cast and being passed over for those of lesser talents.

  43. Thank you, Deb. I will keep you and Dee posted on the case.

    I really do get encouragement from reading blogs and comments from others who share in this fight against spiritual abuse. It is a battle that is far reaching. Those who claim to be shepherds use their authority in ways that actually push people away from church make me very sad and angry. It is for those people that I will continue to speak out. My 25-yr old daughter has not stepped one foot in a church in 3-1/2 yrs since leaving the abusive environment. Who will stand up for those precious souls?

  44. Muff and Numo,

    I haven’t read the book or seen the mini-series :-(

    My younger daughter, who’s home for her Easter break, and I struggled to understand the movie last night. I think I got the gist of it. I do plan to watch the older series if I can find it because I am intrigued by the plot. It’s just a lot of info to cram into a movie. No wonder I got confused!

  45. It may be another “Chandler,” but he sounded so similar it almost had me fooled. Thankfully, it was not Matt Chandler, and I pray that Matt Chandler would not say the same things. The two guys on that program present themselves as immature Mark Driscoll wannabes and sycophants. What’s concerning is that there are so many out there that eat that stuff up.

  46. “The two guys on that program present themselves as immature Mark Driscoll wannabes and sycophants. What’s concerning is that there are so many out there that eat that stuff up.”

    You have this right! Now that there is a big brouhaha at Liberty with their board of trustees and inviting Mark Driscoll to speak at convocation and do a “marriage seminar’ with his book, students are commenting on blogs like crazy praising Driscoll and saying they see nothing wrong with his “I see things” video and saying you cannot prove sodomy in marriage is forbidden by the bible. They need to be told in the bible it is not a good thing to do to someone? It is really scary out there.

  47. Dee,
    I loved the tie in between: “Did you know that some of the pastors criticize bloggers, saying that they are men in their bathrobes, living in their mother’s basements, eating Cheetos?”

    And the connection with John the Baptist. That really tickled my funny bone. Yes, a fresh look at who might be ‘clothed in prophetic robes’ for the task at hand. :)

    BTW I often joke that I can go to work (at my computer) in my PJ’s!! Does that qualify me to be a prophet?? Anyway, just thinking out loud.

    Keep at it ladies. And Easter Blessings to All!!

  48. Bob, I concur with your statement quoted below. This potential exists for anything, even this blog:

    “Bob Cleveland on Thu, Apr 05 2012 at 05:01 pm
    Someone once told me that organizations (or institutions) are normally formed to serve a particular purpose. To fill a need. But, given enough time, growth, and prosperity, the purpose too frequently morphs into self-perpetuation. To protect the institution.

    I think it’s true, even to the neglect and/or mistreatment of its original purpose.”

  49. John D.

    Happy Easter to you, too!

    The Wartburg Watch just marked its 3rd anniversary, and we haven’t even begun to fulfill our purpose.

    May God give you eyes to see those around you who have been abused by those who are supposed to be protecting them.

  50. Yes, truly. I hope that I can see that, and I know that I’ve seen and interacted with many. Just the other day, I sat down across from a young man who was troubled significantly by hypocrisy that he saw in the church, and turned away by it. I too have seen such hypocrisy, and struggled with some of my own as I thought that my value was found in how I was perceived. This led me to do what I could to present an image of having it all together, but unfortunately, it took me many years before I could deal with my sin authentically. My only recourse now is to correct church leaders that I am in relationship with if I believe they handled something the wrong way, and otherwise preach the Gospel, to believers AND non-believers. There’s a reason Paul continued to preach the Gospel to believers. We all need it all the time. I hope that I can help lead those who have been hurt to healing through a realization that our worthiness, value, adoption and acceptance is found in Christ and Him alone, not in our own works or in the view that those who are supposed to be protecting us have of us. Rejoicing in the downfall of those who have sinned against us will not bring healing. The fullness of what God accomplished not his day nearly 2000 years ago does when we rejoice in it.

    Also, thank you Deb for being willing to accept my post for others to see. I appreciate your transparency.

  51. John D.

    Thanks for your comment. We do our best to let everyone here be heard. If you are new to TWW, as your recent comments seem to indicate, we do have a heart for those who have been hurt in some way. When Dee and I began this blog, our focus was going to be on news angles that involved the faith. Within a matter of weeks we began to hear from people who had been terribly abused – some by their pastors. It was in hearing from those distraught individuals that this ministry was defined. We do believe that we are making a difference for some of them.

    Blessings.

  52. “Heaven Rejoices Over One Sinner That Repents.”

    “Rejoicing in the downfall of those who have sinned against us will not bring healing.” -John D

    What?

    “Within a matter of weeks we began to hear from people who had been terribly abused – some by their pastors. It was in hearing from those distraught individuals that this ministry was defined. We do believe that we are making a difference for some of them.” -Deb

    John,

    Hey,

       No one here rejoices wether it be over evil or when someone stumbles or falls or karma or getz whatz com’in to um. Sick puppys do that. We here @TWW, try to follow God’s example: 

    Heaven rejoices over one sinner that repents. 

    But, that doesn’t mean, for example, we hav’ta live in their proverbial underarms or condone certain practices outlined in Mark Driscoll’s new tome. 

    We are not crazy. We are certainly no alone…
    By the grace of God, we shall be Leagon.

    Thanks for joining in the discussion,

    Sopy
    ___
    Lex Buckley – “Heaven Rejoice
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsIS1npMy6s&feature=youtube_gdata_player

  53. John
    You said “My only recourse now is to correct church leaders that I am in relationship with if I believe they handled something the wrong way.” What do you mean by “in relationship with.” My guess is that you are “in relationship with” just a few others. However, in todays mega-idol driven churches, the Reformed Big Dogs make a heckuva lot of public pronouncements that are intended for those who they are not in relationship with. in other words, they are now speaking to large audiences with even larger public impact.

    Do they get a pass since few are “in relationship with them?” On this very blog, we have readers who have been stung by John Piper’s “revelation” that a tornado came to punish the ELCA for ordaining homosexuals. Oh yes, he also said that women should endure abuse “for a season” which he defines as one night.Now, I don’t know about John, but I know that there are other people with all sorts of sins in the areas that the tornados hit. How did John “know?” I also know that Piper would probably call the cops if someone broke into his house and whopped him one time. I believe it is the duty, of those called, to say publicly that they disagree with Piper since he was the one who made it a public statement.

    The moment it is made a public affair-books, appearances, internet sites, etc., we have been invited to evaluate the words put before us. And that is what we do here.

  54. My apologies to all.

    It seems that I’ve stumbled upon an internet venue where our own sin or shortfalls are taboo. I obviously have a fundamental difference in opinion about where true healing is found. I agree that the issue of spiritual abuse in the church is a legitimate issue and must be challenged. However, I also believe that dealing with brokenness involves smashing our own idols, or removing the plank from our own eye with humility as we deal with the injustices that exist within (and without) the church. Without such humility, we fail to fully realize the fullness of what Christ has accomplished for us. We can easily fall into the trap of believing that we are righteous enough, and we forget the reality of our immeasurable need for a Savior.

    The greatest moments of worship in Scripture occur as God’s people respond to His holiness, and their own wretchedness (Isaiah 6:5, Rom 7, the entire book of Judges, and more). The record of such worship includes people who were Christians wrestling with their own sin, Paul setting the best example of a sinner rejoicing in the freedom that we have in Christ. Jesus praised the tax collector who openly confessed his own sin seeking God’s mercy. The tax collector didn’t ask for deliverance from the oppression of the Pharisee. The tax collector didn’t seek justice as his primary hope. He sought out God’s mercy, first and foremost. We must do the same, and as we do, we rest assured in His mercy that has been promised for those who are His. Then, no matter what this person or that person has said about me or what they’ve done to slight me and my views, I know that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:1), because while I may or may not be wrong in what I am saying, Jesus was perfectly RIGHT in all that He said and did so that I have redemption for every error I have made. Thus, my need to be right in the eyes of anyone is made complete by the work of Christ.

    Now, I may be out of line in comparing anyone on this website to a tax collector. I would readily compare myself because I realize that I have sin.

    We can sit here and pick apart all of the things that well known pastors have said wrong, and there is no doubt that the list is long and much of it should be challenged. If someone is well known and frequently heard, it is inevitable that they are going to “get caught” in some bad teaching.

    However, when our response to Dr. Brunson being forced to apologize is, “WHOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOO!”, we are not rejoicing in a sinner’s repentance, as Sopy attempted to characterize the rejoicing that we see here. The man was FORCED to apologize, which is not indicative of true repentance (See Wade Burleson’s post, http://www.wadeburleson.org/2012/04/let-him-alone-god-hath-bidden-him-to.html#links). Instead, we are rejoicing in the public humiliation of those we are opposed to, and the furthering of our cause to humiliate those who have humiliated us. We are revealing our true colors by the manner which we speak of such things. Suddenly, we’ve lost our original intent and have stepped over into self-righteousness that mirrors that of those that we are speaking out against. The only difference is the position of leadership that they are in.

    “Legalism can be descriptively defined as ‘the expectation you have for others to meet a specific standard of behavior, that when unmet, leads you to denigrate those people who fail to adequately perform.’” – Wade Burleson

    This definition does not exclusively apply to those in church leadership. This applies across the board.

    Wade went on to say, “Legalism pushes out love in Christian relationships, including an understanding of God’s love for us. With all our might, we ought to fight legalism. We should see it as THE enemy. We should recognize it as the stealthy, deadly spiritual ninja who sneaks up on us when we think we are safe. The legalists were the only people upon whom Christ used His whip and drove them from His Father’s house. There is no room for legalism among the people of God.”

    I agree wholeheartedly that this statement must be directed at ALL of us, because we ALL have the capacity to fall into a legalistic mindset. The very tone that I see here at TWW is one that seeks to denigrate, not reconcile.

    Realizing that my words may fall on deaf ears, I would encourage you all to defer to the example set by Wade Burleson. Here are several of his blog posts (some pertinent to the topic of FBC Jacksonville) in which he models Christ well in graciously, compassionately and humbly challenging injustice in the church.

    http://www.wadeburleson.org/2012/03/legalism-gives-birth-to-resentment-and.html

    http://www.wadeburleson.org/2011/05/christians-should-not-celebrate-death.html

    http://www.wadeburleson.org/2009/03/lessons-in-dealing-with-disgruntled.html

    In the end, God knows all of our hearts. If you have made it this far, and you have genuinely evaluated your own heart and see that there is no sin in how to deal with injustices, then no worries. No repentance necessary. But if you have heard this, evaluated your own heart, and realized the sin of pride or self-righteousness in your own heart, know that you stand justified by the work of Christ, and you have the freedom to openly deal with your own struggles that you might be complete in what He has accomplished for you.

    Grace and peace to you all

  55. John –

    I think you have stumbled upon people who will not be cowed by your rhetoric. Your style of manipulative “gospelling” to suppress others doesn’t work here.

    Besides – joy at the though of the powerful being brought low is biblical, don’t you think?

    Mary said,
    “With all my heart I glorify the Lord!
    47 In the depths of who I am I rejoice in God my savior.
    48 He has looked with favor on the low status of his servant.
    Look! From now on, everyone will consider me highly favored
    49 because the mighty one has done great things for me.
    Holy is his name.
    50 He shows mercy to everyone,
    from one generation to the next,
    who honors him as God.
    51 He has shown strength with his arm.
    He has scattered those with arrogant thoughts and proud inclinations.
    52 He has pulled the powerful down from their thrones
    and lifted up the lowly.
    53 He has filled the hungry with good things
    and sent the rich away empty-handed.
    54 He has come to the aid of his servant Israel,
    remembering his mercy,
    55 just as he promised to our ancestors,
    to Abraham and to Abraham’s descendants forever

    Mary acknowledges her low status before God, but rejoices at the thought of the powerful (abusive) leaders and rulers being pulled down.

    Mary is not alone.

  56. John,

    Your comment demonstrates a complete misunderstanding of what we are doing here at TWW. It is beyond belief that you would accuse us of not acknowledging our own sins. That one statement alone shows that you have spent very little time trying to understand our intent. We have stated countless times through blog posts and comments that EVERYONE (including us) is fallen. That’s why we love Jesus Christ so much – he suffered in our place and paid the price for our sins.

    Your attack on Dee’s adulation about Tom Rich demonstrates to me that you have no clue about what took place between Mac Brunson and Tom Rich. A travesty occurred in Jacksonville, as evidenced by the verdict in favor of our friend Tom. I hope pastors are paying attention!

    I got a chuckle out of your references to Wade Burleson. Since you are so new to our blog, you must have missed our posts where we discussed traveling to Oklahoma to meet Wade and his wife back in December. Wade has become a very dear friend, and he endorses what we are doing here at TWW. That’s why he allows us to feature his sermons every week. We are in constant communication with him and plan to co-write a book.

    You concluded with these words:

    “In the end, God knows all of our hearts. If you have made it this far, and you have genuinely evaluated your own heart and see that there is no sin in how to deal with injustices, then no worries. No repentance necessary. But if you have heard this, evaluated your own heart, and realized the sin of pride or self-righteousness in your own heart, know that you stand justified by the work of Christ, and you have the freedom to openly deal with your own struggles that you might be complete in what He has accomplished for you.”

    Yes, God knows my heart. It is He who compels me to spend countless hours pursuing His truth and exposing those who bring dishonor to His name.

  57. Maybe we’re just all so passionate about what God has revealed to us that we are failing to understand each other by talking past each other. In any case, may your peace be found in the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessings.

  58. John D.

    When spiritual abuse ceases to exist, so will this blog. Until then, we will stand up for those who have been silenced and maligned by those who are supposed to be caring for them.

  59. John D

    Folks, I have put up with John in some emails. He has insulted many of our readers in this correspondence with me. He is “into sin”, well, at least our sin. He and the rest of the pastors have carefully documented their own sin, and now they must go for the rest of us. My response is to his comment multiplied by 10.

    John, you are blind to your own wretchedness. You say you know your sin. These very comments show how trapped you are. In fact, because you are a pastor, you are pastor focused. My whooo hoooo was for my dear friend Tom Rich, you know, the other guy, the unimportant side of the equation, the lowly congregation member who took on the giant.Tom has been my friend for nigh onto three years and I rejoice that his pain in this matter is done. Are you so pastor focused that you can’t see the other side? I rejoice for my friend, Tom. You can sit around and don sackcloth for Mac. You seem to be very good at it.

    You must think everyone here is an idiot and only you have investigated your own wretchedness in a proper manner.You sign your comment “grace and peace” but you leave nothing but turmoil and insults. In fact, it is grace to which I appeal. And you show snobbishness in your wretchedness.But, we are free. You are not. You spend hours navel gazing. I have some good news for you. You are free in Christ. You could spend the rest of your life plumbing the depths of your soul and still not get there. You can’t. And God does not love you more because you spend your days listing your shortcomings.

    No matter how much time you spend focusing on your sin, you will NEVER fully get there. That is the sadness of many in the Calvinista movement. You are stuck in sin. On this blog, we focus on the grace of Jesus.Just about everyone here has a clear perspective of why they need Jesus. In fact, many of them have sat under pastors who browbeat them so that they sat empty and depressed, fearful of a God that was more interested in their sin than in His love for them. You are stuck at the Cross. Many here have added the Resurrection.

    As for Wade, we hardly need you to refer to his site. We are involved in a joint book project and are friends. You can be sure he is not too thrilled about some of your idols either. And don’t play games-you worship at the altar of the Calvinista crowd and you keep those under you caught in their own wretchedness. And then you get to play the game “Who is the worst sinner in the world.”

    You see one side to Wade’s statement. “Legalism can be descriptively defined as ‘the expectation you have for others to meet a specific standard of behavior, that when unmet, leads you to denigrate those people who fail to adequately perform.” When a pastor, who is in charge of a church, preaches a gospel that elevates him (curiously because he claims to know the depths of his sin) and relegates everyone else to “wretched” status, you have pain in the pew. We see that here. Keep doing what you are doing and you will sadly cause our blog and the spiritual abuse sites to blossom. And this blog serves them. You can start a blog for the poor pastors who are abused by those outsiders who call them to account. It will make you very cool in certain circles.

    Once again, please, for the sake of those you serve, read the book The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse. Repeat-read the book.

  60. John D

    /“It seems that I’ve stumbled upon an internet venue where our own sin or shortfalls are taboo.”/
    /“We can easily fall into the trap of believing that we are righteous enough, and we forget the reality of our immeasurable need for a Savior.”/

    I don’t think any of us have forgotten our “immeasurable need of a Saviour”. Our perpetual, immeasurable need of Christ is a settled conviction. This doesn’t need to be proven to anyone so it doesn’t have to be articulated each time we comment.

    /“The tax collector didn’t seek justice as his primary hope. He sought out God’s mercy, first and foremost”/

    Yes, but that’s not all he did. Let’s imagine his life outside of a few words of scripture. Let’s see him as a man who sought and received mercy from God – he was justified by God. Having received mercy, he would also have received the Holy Spirit who would begin to transform him into Christ’s likeness – that would include him seeking justice and having a hatred of injustice.

    He wasn’t only a breast-beating penitent sinner. What about when he left the temple justified by God? Wouldn’t he have gone home shouting out the good news, laughing, crying and possibly dancing for joy because God had justified him – a sinner! The Pharisees might say that he was a totally depraved worm who should forever beat his breast in anguish of soul, but he knew God had heard his cries for mercy- he was God’s beloved child – eternally accepted, forgiven and deeply loved.

    The Holy Spirit would have given him a heightened sense of justice and mercy. Walking humbly in the fear of God he would confess his sins to God and also learn sound and righteous judgment. Heeding the call to judge those “inside the church” (1 Cor.5 vs 12) and hating what God hates, he would have seen very clearly how outrageously wicked it was for men to commit deeds of darkness in the name of the Lord, abusing precious ones who had come to put their trust in Christ. Showing Christ-like compassion and mercy to the abused and seeking justice, he too might have shouted WHOOOOOHOOOOO when an impenitent abuser was exposed in public and a measure of justice was seen to be done. 

  61. When a pastor, who is in charge of a church, preaches a gospel that elevates him (curiously because he claims to know the depths of his sin) and relegates everyone else to “wretched” status, you have pain in the pew. — Dee

    That’s called ONE-UPMANSHIP. One-Upmanship with a TULIP Ideological Purity coat of paint.

    And a lot of us in the pews have already been on the receiving end of One-Upmanship. Enough to last us a lifetime. Why would we volunteer for more?

  62. HUG,

    From my vantage point, it seems that the target market of these Calvinista pastors are the young, innocent, and overly trusting.

    Many haven’t experienced the one-upmanship you describe. We are doing our best to get the word out so hopefully they won’t go through the pain that has plagued so many who comment here.

    Wake up folks!

  63. Maybe we’re just all so passionate about what God has revealed to us … — John D

    My writing partner (the burned-out preacher-man) said that the scariest Christian Reconstructionist site he’s ever seen is titled “GOD HATH SAID”.

    …In any case, may your peace be found in the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessings. — John D

    And my family came out of the same culture my writing partner has to deal with, where passive-aggressiveness and plausible deniability is honed to a fine art, where every insult and goading is veiled in politeness, where every word has a carefully-chosen, completely-innocent fallback meaning, where an apparent complement can stab you in the back and often does. I have been beaten down and backstabbed with butter-wouldn’t-melt-in-the-mouth Concern and Compassion (TM). So your Calvinista “Blessings” seems a little bit empty.

  64. “True colors?”

    HowDee YaAll,

    John, 

    Hey, …”revealing our true colors” ? hmmm…

    (grin)  hahahahahahahaha

    Nonsense, Silly Boy…We are rejoicing because in the case you  were so kind in mentioning (Rev. Mac Brunson), justice was served, and another injustice remedy’d,  and another captive set free. Correct me if I am wrong, but didn’t this dear sweet pastor, with very questionable behavior, misuse a policeman and a judge to perpetrate an illegal, unscriptural, very public, injustice to a longstanding, upstanding and sincere member of his own flock?

    For what?

    Friend, we will always rejoice when justice triumphs, and the captive set free!

    Join us! We have plenty O’ party hatz!  Toot!

    *
    ♪ ♫ I’ve sent this letter hoping it will reach your hand
    And if it does I hope that you will understand
    Maybe we can mend the love that ended in this church…

    You’ll see the day another way
    And wake up with the sunshine
    pouring right down where you lay

    Did the  love in this church come to an end?
    Don’t waste the time you’ve got left, 
    …Learn to love again

    You’ll love again, when you find the face of Jesus…
    I don’t know when that will be, soon I hope…
    When you do, I know that you’ll be happy in the end.

    Heaven too!

    Sopy ㋡ 
    ___
    Inspirational: Emerson Lake and Palmer Song “Trilogy” by Jad&Den Quintet
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNxoIDPoURY&feature=youtube_gdata_player

  65. I have forgotten now. Are we looking to rejoice in a sinner’s repentance or in justice being done? I think one of you made it clear that God rejoices when sinners repent, as does Scripture. But then someone else was rejoicing over justice. We also know that God’s justice will be served regardless. I am familiar with the details between Tom and pastor Brunson, as is Wade who argued well that pastor Brunson’s apology is far from heartfelt repentance since it was ordered by the court. So can you clear up for me again, what are we rejoicing in? If it’s victory or justice, you could have put that to rest at the beginning since that is already secure. If it’s repentance, we need to keep praying for Dr. Brunson to see the depth of his sin so that he might more effectively be a minister for Jesus Christ.

  66. “And my family came out of the same culture my writing partner has to deal with, where passive-aggressiveness and plausible deniability is honed to a fine art, where every insult and goading is veiled in politeness, where every word has a carefully-chosen, completely-innocent fallback meaning, where an apparent complement can stab you in the back and often does. I have been beaten down and backstabbed with butter-wouldn’t-melt-in-the-mouth Concern and Compassion ”

    You just described how most of it works and why more people don’t see it until THEY are the ones who go against the system.

  67. Just so everyone knows… I am with you. I may not see things exactly the same way, and I may disagree with your tactics, but I am with you.

    I was beginning to take things personally, but I am being stretched to understand the depth of the hurt. The message of the gospel still applies, but I’ve got some growing to do in how I encourage those who have been hurt by abuses of church leadership.

    If you don’t mind, I wish to continue to engage all of you, praying with you for the hearts of those who have been spiritually abused, as well as praying for genuine repentance for those who have abused their positions of power in the church.

    I know many of you don’t know me, and you don’t know my heart, which is why it is understandable that I’ve been met with much resistance. I marched in here, thinking I could challenge what APPEARED to me as unredemptive rhetoric. Some of it may be. Some of it may not. Pain often results in harsh words spoken from self. When emotions get involved, we (including myself) want to lash out. So… I understand, and I hope to be able to grow in how I engage you all so that, when I am trying to relate to those who have been hurt by those in church leadership (or even by me), that I might better understand how to respond with humility.

    Is that fair? Or am I still way off?

  68. John D.

    I hope you will continue to follow our blog. About a year ago (?) we received an e-mail from someone who was part of the Calvinista crowd, and he explained that if he had seen our blog a year earlier he would have been extremely ANGRY! He was part of a highly touted church planting network which I will not identify, and he finally started to see some of the things we were exposing. Now he is a huge supporter.

    Yes, we can be abrasive and snarky at times, but that is on purpose. We are trying to wake up people by making them aware of destructive tactics that are being used to keep our brothers and sisters in Christ in bondage.

  69. Deb,

    I’m totally aware of the problem. I am totally against the destructive tactics used by ANY believers, whatever position you are in (leader or church member). That is how I have perceived your tactics (one man’s perception, no need to try to convince me otherwise or make your case), which is why I tried to engage you and Dee compassionately. I obviously failed miserably.

    I don’t know how you define calvinista. I may be one of them, but I won’t let that stop me from being a brother. For the sake of full disclosure, my theology is pretty conservative. Not quite a five point Calvinist, but with that comes a desire to remain true to the inspired scripture in truth and in deed. I do not claim to be perfect in this, but my confidence in the completed work of Christ enables me to deal honestly with my shortcomings as I seek to grow in the Lord. I am NOT a pastor, but I am a volunteer member of the ministry staff at an Acts 29 church. I do intend to go on further into ministry within the military as a chaplain, because it is a huge mission field that I believe God has called me to (I am currently deployed in Africa, btw). Just because I go to an A29 church does not mean I endorse or follow everything that Mark Driscoll has said. A29 is bigger than the man and his theology or teaching. The core values that tie A29 churches together is that they are Christian, Evangelical, Reformed and Missional. At least, that’s what we try to be. In my experience (not involving Mars Hill church at all), the A29 churches that I have been to have been redemptive in nature, accepting of believers and non-believers while seeking to speak the truth in love.

    When I first met my pastor, I was telling him of the things that I saw at the church that I really appreciated. He responded to me with gratitude, saying he was encouraged, but then he said something that has stuck with me ever since. He said, “I’ve gotta warn you, at some point in time, we’re going to let you down.” He didn’t mean it as a disclaimer to give himself a pass, but to challenge me not to place him on a pedestal in which I was looking to him to be my leader and perfect example. He was acknowledging his own weakness and capacity to sin, while pointing me to the only One who will never let me down. And I will tell you right now, there have been times where he and I have both let each other down. Sometimes being hard on each other and holding grudges. Other times, just not loving each other well enough. But the grace of God is what unites us. This is my heart.

    I don’t know how I can possibly contribute to stopping the injustices that take place in churches around the country, but I will pray with you all through them, and maybe sometimes differ on whether it is an injustice, or a theological disagreement. I hope this is bearable for you, but if at any point you feel that I am a stumbling block, feel free to email me privately so we can dialogue about where I’m failing.

    Is that okay?

  70. OH, I’ve got the Calvinista definition now. Let’s see. I am important and assured, but only by the completed work of Christ. I’m definitely not a knower of all things in the Bible, but it is the authority that must always have the last word. I aim to use Scripture in the intended context, if you think I’ve failed at that task, please let me know specifically how it is out of context and what the proper context is. I don’t spend a lot of time going to conferences. I went to one in 2011 (maybe it was 2010) (The Gospel Coalition), and I think that was the last one I went to. Regarding the role of women, I am complementarian, so I believe that men and women have separate roles but are of equal value. This is my view based upon what I have observed in Scripture, but has no bearing on the issue of how church leaders have abused power. Women are to be treated with respect; anything less is unacceptable. I do try to get together with other guys but for the sake of discipleship, nurture and accountability. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, b/c as iron sharpens iron, so does one man sharpen another. Those who spend more time speaking at conferences than pastoring their own churches definitely need to reconsider their priorities. I would agree that Mark Driscoll has extended himself beyond his own capacity, and that has directly influenced his ability to minister effectively (along with some other things of course). Pastors (and sometimes regular church members) give into this savior complex. In our flesh, we want to have an impact and like to feel important. Who doesn’t like to feel important? Unfortunately, that is idolatry of self, and it easily ensnares and diminishes our effectiveness for God’s purpose.

    So… I don’t think I’m a calvinista. I don’t know many people who would define themselves as such.

  71. John
    I feel like I am dealing with a schizophrenic. You made some pretty strong accusations, not only towards the two of us but also toward our readers whom you do not know. Then, suddenly you have become sweet and kind. I don’t know you, but I do know this – if you believe even half the things you have written to this point and live them out in your church, I would run so fast that I would knock you over with the back draft.

    In fact, I believe you have given our readers a perfect demonstration of what constitutes a Calvinista up to the point of this last comment, which deeply confuses me. Today, I saw a video that I will post on Thursday. It helped me define what I do not like about the Neo-Cal clan. You see sin, you live sin, you accuse everyone else of not seeing sin as well as you do. You have plumbed the depths of your own sin and are now taking the opportunity of informing us all how much more wonderful you are in finding your sin and are therefore somehow quite a bit better off than us who do not see our sin as much as you do.

    Mark Driscoll is not simply quarrelsome and overextended. Savior complex? He has said things and acted on issues that cause me to question his ability to be a pastor. On this blog we side with those who have been hurt. I have no fear that all of your pastor buddies will have thousands to defend them and act all huffy when we disagree with them. But rarely does the Calvinista crowd care for those on the receiving end of this nonsense. So, consider us one voice for the let-down. And our voice is getting stronger. I bet it irks some of those we oppose because we are women, and we don’t keep silent. Perhaps God wants women to have voice. How else would two nobodies who have lived a traditional life have their voices heard?

    As for conservative theology, up until the Calvinista stuff, most people would have considered me conservative.Now, conservative is defined as you define it-almost 5 points, strict complementarian, and women to keep silent in church. As for disagreement, perhaps you could learn from commenters like Brandon, Anonymous, and even doubtful who is agnostic. They model intelligent and thoughtful disagreement. They would be the last ones to accuse our readers of not reading Scripture properly (which means, of course, your way).

    I don’t know, John. You claim you are “totally aware of the problem.” If so, you wouldn’t have written some of the stuff you did write. You can keep posting. Unlike some of your Acts 29 big dogs, we allow all sorts of views on this blog and rarely delete comments, no matter haw grating they are to us. I’ll believe it when I see the compassion (did you know that Jesus really was into compassion)?

  72. “When emotions get involved, we (including myself) want to lash out. So… I understand, and I hope to be able to grow in how I engage you all so that, when I am trying to relate to those who have been hurt by those in church leadership (or even by me), that I might better understand how to respond with humility. ”

    John,

    I am never clear what people think are “emotions” and if and when they are bad. The most stoic cold calculating Nazi was operating on “emotions”. I have found that there are people who want to be arbiters of what emotions are good and which ones are bad. Driscoll is operating out of “emotions” when he does one of his monologues on redneck Jesus and Hillbillies in the OTT. Or when he wrote his book and blamed his wife. All of that is emotion based that many think is good. My suspicion is that it can also be used when talking to women on blogs by some men to set the stage. We all know what Acts 29, Mars Hill and Driscoll teach about women and them being easily deceived, emotion based, etc. We have all heard it in his sermons.

    I am also at a loss these days to discern what people think is sin or not. Even fruit tends to be redefined. I am getting the impression you disagree with blogging about spiritual abuse and think it is wrong…ergo sin? But the spiritual abuse is sin, too. But it is sin to discuss it when the abuser is a public figure? Some will say ‘you don’t have all the facts’ when the facts are glaringly obvious to anyone with basic biblical sense. This means we define sin differently.

    many public figures have gone to a lot of trouble to get their names out there as teachers of the Word and have made quite a career out of it. This makes them fair game to discuss, analyze, etc. They have a pulpit and media to get their side out. Those abused by them, do not, except for blogs. And they do a service to warn others.

    Since you are in an Acts 29 church, it only makes sense I would question your ability to discern. Driscoll modeled ACts 29 after himself and Mars Hill’s operating system and doctrine. And young men were trained in that system and doctrine at his boot camp. Obviously, they like Driscoll or they would not have chosen that venue to be a part of planting churches.

    I think it is normal some might question your discernment on any issues in Christendom due to being involved with such a group.

    I find it strange what your pastor told you about disappointing you. I would wonder why the need to say that? What does he know about my expectations unless we discuss them? And is he planning to be a disappointment? Sounds eerily like CJ Mahaney and what he says about himself for deflection purposes or at some point as an excuse…. because you were warned. As one reads around, you start picking up on some of the strange phraseology used in those circles.

  73. “God Is Pro-active With ‘His’ Church, So Are We…”

    HowDee Ya All,

    John,

    Hey,

    “We also know that God’s justice will be served regardless.” ?

    Isn’t this about proactive outcomes?

    hmmm…

    God is proactive with ‘His’ church…
    We are proactive with ‘His’ church…

    Some of dem kind gentle Church folk, are gett’in the proverbial stuff’in knocked outa theyz Winnies’…

    By dar own trusted, sanction, commissioned, anointed, sent forth… church authorities…dem dat say: “punch um in da nose”, kinda pastors?

    hmmm…

    If you abuse your authority given by God, given weight by your board of officials, be they elders or some other in the traditional sense, are you still in authority, seeing you have placed yourself outside of God’s authority, and just maybe, some other authoritative powers up the chain, as well?

    What?

    My guess is no cigar, fella. Abuse your God given authority, snooze you loose. Den da cops come…

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t C.J. Mahaney abuse his authority and his flock, as the documents and testimony demonstrate?  Didn’t Mark Driscoll abuse his authority, and his flock, as the documents and testimony demonstrate? Didn’t Rev. Mac Brunson abuse his authority and his flock, as the documents and testimony demonstrate?

    What’s wrong wit dis here picture?

    John, …Respectfully,  ya mightz wanna…sit on da bench for a little while, fella… The Apostle Paul sayz we have dis here race ta win, ya hear? We ain’t no turtles here @ TWW, ya know…

     (We ain’t da easterbunny, no none neither…)

    (grin)

    hahahahahahaha

    Sopy ㋡ 
    ___
    Pitit Fleur – “Everything I Do ”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zV-UqmiUhOk&feature=youtube_gdata_player

  74. Ok, went back and read some of John’s earlier comments. LIke this one:

    ” agree that the issue of spiritual abuse in the church is a legitimate issue and must be challenged. However, I also believe that dealing with brokenness involves smashing our own idols, or removing the plank from our own eye with humility as we deal with the injustices that exist within (and without) the church. Without such humility, we fail to fully realize the fullness of what Christ has accomplished for us. We can easily fall into the trap of believing that we are righteous enough, and we forget the reality of our immeasurable need for a Savior.”

    Sounds good. But basically, he is falling for the party line that only “some” who are real special are “humble or broken enough” to call others out. Who ARE these arbiters of what is humble or broken?

    If you think long and hard about what John wrote above….you would never be broken enough, humble enough or smashed all your idols to have the gravitas to question one of the celebrities.

    This is just more Calvinista double speak. If we went with his definition to it’s logical conclusion, we would not try to save children who are being raped. After all, this was the same type of teaching many in SGM were given who had sexually abused children.

    Here is the bottomline. God is a God of Justice, too. He hates injustice and if you read the OT, He rails against unjust priests…a lot. John is trying to say that you all don’t have the credentials to speak out against injustice (spiritual abuse). He wants to be the arbiter and say you have to be broken in a way he agrees with before you can speak out. (Which will be never, btw)

    It is exactly the opposite. You have no choice if you follow Christ. Spiritual abuse, false teaching, wolves….all of it is a mockery of the Cross. It is a mockery of claiming to be “Born Again”.

    John is not an arbiter. He is part of the problem.

  75. FWIW to all -

    Jesus was emotional.

    Read the gospels and note how Jesus responded.

    Go so far as to note how he responded to particular people and groups of people, and note who those people actually were.

    Just sayin . . . we are made in the image of God and emotions were included in the package.

    We shouldn’t consider emotions wrong since God ordained them and declared them “good.”

  76. “If it’s repentance, we need to keep praying for Dr. Brunson to see the depth of his sin so that he might more effectively be a minister for Jesus Christ”

    John, This only shows the depth of your blindness. Brunson is disqualified to be a teacher of the Word or one who models wisdom, spiritual maturity and brokeness as an elder. Let us pray for those who think he is such a model that their eyes will be opened.

  77. Sopy
    But isn’t that God for ya? Two women, not connected in the typical sense. No one in our families are known in theological circles- no pastors, no theologians, etc. We certainly are not Beth Moore types although we do take good care of our hair.Who would have thought that our thoughts could travel as they have? I certainly didn’t and old Deb there said she wasn’t sure we would have enough to write about. So, it goes to prove that if you have something to say and God prompts you to say it, strange things can happen. Plus we wouldn’t have met our good friend, Sopy, so it was worth it.

  78. HUG, Anon1:

    “And my family came out of the same culture my writing partner has to deal with, where passive-aggressiveness and plausible deniability is honed to a fine art, where every insult and goading is veiled in politeness, where every word has a carefully-chosen, completely-innocent fallback meaning, where an apparent complement can stab you in the back and often does. I have been beaten down and backstabbed with butter-wouldn’t-melt-in-the-mouth Concern and Compassion (TM). So your Calvinista “Blessings” seems a little bit empty.”

    This is really well put. Would you go so far as to say that this kind of behaviour is gaslighting? Or is that an overstatement?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaslighting

  79. Sopy, Dee:

    “But isn’t that God for ya? Two women, not connected in the typical sense.”

    God has a delicious sense of humour, does he not?

  80. Dee, LOVE your post from 5:14, a true work of art.

    You hit on one of the big themes that runs rampant in A29 “churches.” claim to see the incredible depth of your sin, but yet, somehow the more of your own sin you see, the LESS repulsed you are by it and the more comfortable you are in your own sin. It’s really the ancient heresy of antinomianism. Somehow all of the NT passages that deal with obedience, working out your salvation, fighting against your flesh, the entire book of James, etc. are pretty much thrown out. It’s really quite sad to observe. But beyond that, it’s also a tactic that the “leaders” use in their fight against the commoners. You see, when commoners get out of line, their sin is used against them. But when the “leaders” sin is pointed out, well then they just talk about how we’re all sinners under God’s grace, so the sin is excused and the “leaders” get a free pass.

  81. Alan
    Amen, brother. This is the legacy left by CJ Mahaney on Sovereign Grace Ministries- an oxymoron of a name if there was ever one. This sin thing is getting out of hand. I like the response of one of my pastors who said “If you ever feel you are getting convicted by people about how bad of a sinner you are, you should respond, Brother, you don’t know the half of it” and move on.That is the reason that Christ shed His precious blood. We can’t know the half of it. I could spend all day mulling on the intricacies of sin in my life and still not get there. I can’t. That is why I need Christ.

    These guys leave Christ on the Cross with us at the foot of the Cross still bemoaning our terrible sin. Christ rose again, nigh on 2000 years ago and we are forgiven. Many people do not realize the serious problems caused by this constant sin gazing. The Neo-Cals love to quote Jonathan Edwards.They overlook the fact that there was serious depression and even a suicide or two (including Edwards own uncle) because of his constant harping on depravity. It ended his revival. We are dearly beloved children of the King and He isn’t sitting around heaven miffed off at us. He has given us the ultimate gift and we are now reunited with Him.

  82. Alan, You have nailed it in your last comment at 7:17. Thank God others are seeing the tactics and misuse of scripture.

  83. Dee: “We are dearly beloved children of the King and He isn’t sitting around heaven miffed off at us. He has given us the ultimate gift and we are now reunited with Him.”

    “Dearly beloved, precious children of the King”, was it not the Lord our God who said: …Who provides for the raven his food? (when his young ones cry out ta God, wander’in about for lack of sustenance )

    yea, Lord…tiz you!

    Sopy ㋡ 
    ___
    Kari Jobe – “Cry Out”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8c_Hdvh-Q5Q&feature=youtube_gdata_player

  84. Alan -

    Not only are you less repulsed by it, you actually give it a pass and don’t press on – working out your salvation. There is much of the scripture that they don’t consider as they are looking at the cross and revisiting the Gospel. They are stuck there it seems? They don’t live out (do) the good works and produce the fruits of the spirit as those walking in their new creatureness would be. It is sad :(

  85. In response to the anon’s of the world. I noticed that people from this site were visiting DN, which is great, except you took one or two statements and then jumped to conclusions. The scary thing is that this is some type of Christian community and so many of you are so quick to name calling. We aren’t unabashed Driscoll supporters, we just came to the conclusion that church discipline is still relevant yet we don’t know exactly what it looks like in our modern culture. Faith, growth and reconciliation don’t come easily, that’s why when Jesus came he made most of the law harder to follow (comparing the sermon on the mount to the 10 commandments). We said Mars Hill doesn’t owe us an explanation because it was a private matter, but apparently Christians love their gossip. Be blessed.

  86. *sigh*

    Dee, if by schizophrenic, you mean I stopped going one direction, and turned and walked the other direction, then I am guilty as charged. The biblical term for this is repentance. In those areas where I clearly see that I am wrong, I have publicly acknowledged and sought reconciliation. I’m not the only one that has ever been schizophrenic in this sense. Isaiah, King David, Josiah, Peter, Paul… Paul described his struggle very well in Romans 7. I acknowledge it is confusing, because it doesn’t often happen on a dime, but why should I wait until I “feel” like it? More often than not, our own pride hinders our repentance.

    Furthermore, the book of Galatians is insightful in how we handle this. As the Apostle Paul concludes his remarks regarding the fruits of the Spirit and the deeds of the flesh, he writes, “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another. Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal 5:25-6:2).

    Most of the reception that I have received is a pale reflection (but a reflection nonetheless) of how many of you were probably treated within the church. Misunderstood, marginalized, and attacked. My desire to receive correction was not received with a spirit of gentleness. It is similar to the unwholesome talk that Paul writes of in Eph 4. This is what I thought I was seeing when I first came to this blog site and started reading the contents. All of us need restoration. Those who readily admitted their pride and confessed to the Lord were received. As we acknowledge more to the depth of our sin, we grow in our understanding of the fullness of the cross… further resulting in a passion to worship and serve Him more faithfully, with compassion for OTHER (this is self-inclusive) sinners. He who is forgiven much, loves much. Hate begets hate; offense is sometimes the best defense we know when we have been wronged.

    I understand that many of you have been deeply hurt by leaders within the church, and I so understand your distrust. I am just a saint who sins and has been sinned against, and I am interacting in this world with other saints who sin and have been sinned against. It is in the sin within this world that we are subjected to futility with the rest of creation so that we will rejoice all the more upon the completion of His work in us when He returns (Rom 3:23, Rom 8:23; Phil 1:16). The church would be perfect if it wasn’t made up of people. The church WILL be perfect in eternity, as our bodies are redeemed in Christ, and every fear and concern for self will be put away so that neither pastors nor church members feel the need to push others down to raise themselves up. I eagerly await that day, but for now, I just hope for it and seek to honor God as best as I can between now and then.

    Dee, if you were truly interested in stopping spiritual abuse (which I think you are), “preventative medicine” is a key element to informing pastors before they get there, not alienation. We don’t ignore potential problems until they are a problem. We are vaccinated, not with a violent assault of the virus in it’s entirety. Our immune systems are delicately built up to resist those viruses that have the potential to destroy us and those around us. Just something to think about.

    Deb, I can clearly see that your heart, though pained by many in the past, still has compassion for all people (pastors, church members, agnostics, etc.) and desires to see true repentance. I do believe that, even in my errors, I was received by you and I appreciate your transparency and authenticity.

    Thank you, both Dee and Deb, for being true to your own convictions (as stated in this very article) in that you allow me to speak freely.

  87. Brian wrote, “We said Mars Hill doesn’t owe us an explanation because it was a private matter, but apparently Christians love their gossip.”

    Sorry Brian, but you don’t get off the hook that easy.
    You were the one taking up the defense for Driscoll on your program. You and some guy named “Chandler” went on and on. Why didn’t you “keep it private”? But then it was Driscoll and his chosen executives that made everything public in the first place. They published slanderous accusations about their own elders and church members online. They posted their videos on youtube. They spoke to the press. They actually voted to shun members and publicized it to thousands. But when decent, God-fearing brothers and sisters cry out for justice for the abused, you smear them by accusing them of gossip. Instead of taking up the cause of the “least of these” by the side of the road, you kick them for good measure, and denigrate the good Samaritans.

  88. “We said Mars Hill doesn’t owe us an explanation because it was a private matter, but apparently Christians love their gossip. Be blessed.”

    Brian, I am not sure how old you are but you certainly do not know the definition of gossip. The Petry’s made their experience known. It is a first person account of their side of the situation complete with documents. And being a lawyer, I have serious doubts Petry would put anything up that come cause him to lose his ability to practice law.

    The other side to this was also publisized by Driscoll, himself.

    So, when both sides spoke publicly about it, to repeat and analyze their words and actions is now considered gossip? Just who is teaching you? Perhaps CJ Mahaney. His pastors college pastors were telling parents of sexually abused children calling the authorities or discussing the abuse of their children was “gossip”.

    Frankly, I am glad you guys make your position public. We know to warn folks to steer clear of you. It is false teaching.

    But we get it. It is embarassing. Your idols are falling. Call it gossip and try to make people ashamed to discuss what is public knowledge.

  89. “Dee, if you were truly interested in stopping spiritual abuse (which I think you are), “preventative medicine” is a key element to informing pastors before they get there, not alienation. We don’t ignore potential problems until they are a problem. We are vaccinated, not with a violent assault of the virus in it’s entirety. Our immune systems are delicately built up to resist those viruses that have the potential to destroy us and those around us. Just something to think about.”

    A form of “preventative medicine” would be not supporting an Acts 29 church by attending considering Driscoll’s wolfish DNA is all over them.

    You do not think alienating wolves is a good thing?

    That is what makes your entire comment so insincere and sounding like CJ Mahaney on steriods. It basically says nothing except “I am so humble and a sinner and I have been hurt but am not like you. I am deeper than you”.

    Well, stop glorying in your sin. Time for meat. You have the Holy Spirit now if you are saved. And the Holy Spirit would convict you of what is spiritual abuse.

  90. John, maybe your repentance would be better “received” if you, oh, maybe demonstrated your understanding of spiritual abuse by writing about it on your blog or Facebook page. Then people would be able to see what you’re thinking. As it is, your language and lecturing don’t indicate that you are getting it.

    In my experience, a sudden shift like you just made in this thread indicates that a person has not gotten the desired response and is changing tactics. I think you would agree that repentance is a changed heart, not changed tactics.

  91. “Brian wrote”

    “We aren’t unabashed Driscoll supporters, we just came to the conclusion that church discipline is still relevant yet we don’t know exactly what it looks like in our modern culture.”

    I got the impression you and your guest believe that Driscoll has enacted appropriate discipline in the case you were discussing, and is under no obligation to share his church discipline results with the community outside of Mars Hill.
    So you really do know by agreeing with what Driscoll has done what church discipline looks like since you see no wrong committed by Mars Hill elders. To say “we really don’t know” is not really true. Why, if elders really don’t know” what church discipline looks like, are they practicing what they really don’t know on members? Is this an experiment of sorts one gets to sign up for when one becomes a member? I should like to be excluded from that then…until “we know exactly what it looks like in our modern culture” as you point out.

    Also, you wrote, “Faith, growth and reconciliation don’t come easily, that’s why when Jesus came he made most of the law harder to follow (comparing the sermon on the mount to the 10 commandments).”

    Actually, Jesus revealed the love motivation behind the commandments and used a few as examples to reveal the Pharisee’s desire for only an outward expression of them. They did not murder, but could curse and hate their brother. They did not dishonor their parents by disrespectful speech, but would not support them financially (corban), etc. Jesus did not “make most of the law harder to follow” but only revealed what they did not see that had been always required. Heart motives.

  92. Brian
    When we first started blogging, we did so anonymously because our families were concerned about our safety. As time has gone on, we have come forward with our identities. We believe that there are many reasons for people to maintain their anonymity. For example, when someone dared critique Matt Chandler, Chandler responded that said person was a narcissistic zero. (Not the Chandler on your program, I know).Churches have gotten into “discipline” vendettas when people speak their minds. It is groups like yours that have fed the fear. So, you have our faces in front of you (there is a cute picture of me on the About Us page). Stare at that and know that I lend my face and my name to these brothers and sisters.And I support their anonymity because of jokers like those who run the discipline show at MH and other places.So when you insult those “anons” you insult me and you know who I am.

    You show your ignorance of our position on church discipline. We believe it is relevant in small dosages.I even wrote of an instance of church discipline at Bent Tree Bible Fellowship and how well it was handled unlike the ridiculous, showy, community wide internet posting of “shun the brother” along with the asinine sexual history discipline “contract” (let’s see, that’s in what book of the Bible?) that was played out at Mars Hill. Mars Hill and its pastors came out looking like pompous pastors who got beat up as kids and now they get to do it to others.

    When you read the NT you will see that it was not a treatise on slapping around the faithful. The one major instances had to do with a guy sleeping with his mother in law and flaunting his freedom to do so.This does not represent what happened at MH. And when you guys blab all over the Internet, (Can you believe what you can see on You Tube) the View and every conference about how missional you all are, well we get to disagree with you.

    I would highly recommend that you read The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse. I can tell by your comment that it would be of benefit to you. You see, gossip is one of those words that that the arrogant use to shut up legitimate questioning. I am hardly spending time wondering what kind of car Driscoll is driving. That, sir, is gossip. I am talking pornovision, The Petrys, The Myers and many, many others who were done wrong.

    So cut the nonsense of be blessed. You heap coals on your head with your sarcasm. And next time you visit this blog, be aware of our prime directive. Unless you show empathy to the numbers of people who have been hurt by your favorite boys, then all you are is a mouthpiece for those who would continue such horrendous practices.

  93. John D
    “Dee, if you were truly interested in stopping spiritual abuse (which I think you are), “preventative medicine” is a key element to informing pastors before they get there, not alienation.” I am a nurse. Let me tell you how to treat disease.Let’s take bubonic plague which is still around on the Navajo Reservation where I spent two years as a nurse. First, a case is reported (My husband called me into the hospital to see the X-rays of this disease. It looks like someone stuffed cotton balls into the patient’s lungs). That disease must be eradicated or the person will die. Thankfully, antibiotics can cure the disease along with hydration support, etc.

    Now, as that person is being treated, everyone in the community stops what they are doing and go out onto the reservation to find this person’s contacts to get them treated. Then, others must find the prairie dog community which carries the flea that carries the disease. These must also be eradicated. It takes the cooperation of everyone to deal with the problem.

    Prevention is one facet. Eradication of the existing problem is also necessary. I think you catch my drift. We do both over here.

    Also, I find it very difficult to believe a man who insults my readers by mind reading their approach to sin and Scripture suddenly changes his mind and is now truly repentant. Not impossible but truly rare. We have a busy blog here and have watched people switch tactics midstream when they realize that they are getting nowhere. It is not repentance but pragmatism and an attempt not to get thrown off the blog because they are getting to weird. Guess what? We are allowed to wonder and wait. I do not know you from Adam. Why should I “trust” you? In fact, that is one of the demands of abusive groups. They insist we must trust them because they are pastors, etc. I don’t. Trust and respect is earned. Also, your little *sigh* is a bit self serving, isn’t it?

    I believe that it is right to point out serious sins that affect the witness and the health of the body. Let’s put it this way. I am a nurse and am very concerned about issues such as obesity and how it contributes to disease. However, unless I am asked to be the nurse of an obese patient, I do not stick my nose into what fat people select to eat at the local Chinese buffet. They are hurting themselves and are certainly not running around telling people to get fat, just like them.

    However, when someone hurts a significant number of people by their behavior, then it is time to get involved. Of course we are all sinners. But, there are some sins that affect the body more than others. Your Acts 29 leaders have picked out the sin of “egalitarianism.” We, on the other hand, pick out the sin of spiritual abuse, sexual abuse, and domestic violence. Some of your Calvinista leaders have chosen to turn a blind eye to these issues. So how come they get to point out the sin they like, and we don’t get to point out sin that we think is far more damaging?

    So, for now, we intend to be an advocate for the Petrys, Sophia, The Myers, the people at SGM Survivors, etc. You can stick up for your leaders that have masses of admirers. We admire those who are let down by the church and still hang in there. We pick up a lot of the pieces that your fearless leaders have swept out of the church.

  94. “So, you have our faces in front of you (there is a cute picture of me on the About Us page). Stare at that and know that I lend my face and my name to these brothers and sisters.And I support their anonymity because of jokers like those who run the discipline show at MH and other places.So when you insult those “anons” you insult me and you know who I am.”

    Wow!!!! God bless you!!!

    I have often said that a TRUE pastor would offer to take the abuse of a woman being abused by her husband instead of sending her back in and telling her to submit and pray more. He would insist on taking the abuse for her.

  95. John and Brian -

    I have not been involved in this conversation, just a reader. My only comment to you both is please read the gospels, don’t read any suggested books for a year, don’t imitate other men, and just emulate Jesus :)

  96. Brian, LOL…deal in straw man arguments much? Nobody is saying that church discipline shouldn’t exist or shouldn’t happen. People here are opposed to church discipline that crosses over into the abuse of people.

    And…since you and I agree that church discipline should happen, how about some church discipline on CJ for what he’s done? Oh sorry, silly me, I always forget. Church discipline is only for the commoners in the seats who get out of line and stop drinking the kool-aide.

  97. Alan,

    I heard a rumor that the powers that be in T$G/T4G were going to review the Ambassadors of Reconciliation report just before the start of the conference to decide what their response would be. Do you know anything about that?

  98. Deb -

    That would be wrong!! Why T4G people seeing it before the folks in the SGM churches? I was under the understanding that CJ and his new board were going to review it at a retreat (before or after T4G) to see what their response will be (or spin machine set to run?). That was an announcement posted on the SGM blog a few weeks back. I’m not holding my breath that it will be seen at all by the commoners in part, much less in full.

  99. Bridget2,

    You’re probably right, but Mohler, Dever, and Mahaney are so close that I can’t see them (Mohler and Dever) not knowing about, especially if Mahaney and SGM relocate to Louisville. It is beyond belief that the report has still not been released.

  100. Dee & Deb,

    HowDee,

      Thank you for sharing that faith in Jesus Christ or belief in God are not required to comment here @TWW. Thank you also for helping your readers to understand that the following type tactics don’t work here @TWW:

    Shame
    Guilt
    Sin sniffing 
    Shunning
    Fear tactics
    Silencing tactics 

       I think you said that only a few things are required to join in the discussion here @ TWW: empathy, compassion and a general courtesy.

      Thank you also for the kindness & Christian love & the abundance of heart felt compassion demonstrated by you both here at TWW.

      At the link directly below out, you’ll find a refreshing rendering of the story of Jesus  …think of it as something like the conversations that might have been overheard, walking the streets of Jerusalem some two thousand years ago. (this is a synthesis of the four New Testament Gospels rendered in a simple paraphrase giving the reader a good idea who Jesus is and what his mission here on earth was.)  I have really enjoyed it!
    http://www.templetons.com/charles/jesus/prologue.html

    I like my fuzzy slipperz…

    (grin)

    hahahahahahaha

    Sopy ㋡
    ___
    Rachel Flowers – “Ambidextranata Mvt. 1 ”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_D4LCDRq-xc&feature=youtube_gdata_player

  101. What a thoughtful comment, Sopy!

    You have summed up our position very well.

    This is a fantastic list!

    Shame
    Guilt
    Sin sniffing
    Shunning
    Fear tactics
    Silencing tactics

    I hope those who are tempted to use these tactics are paying very close attention…

    What would happen if more Christians cut out these sinful practices?

  102. Sopy

    I know the difference between a person who primarily loves Christ and a person who primarily loves doctrine.The doctrine people never talk about the people who have been hurt. They talk about their “pastors” who are beyond cool. Not one word do they say about how their “cool” pastors have hurt people. They defend the pastors. On this blog, i want to hear about the ones who don’t headline T4G, The ones who get booted from church because of their bully pastors who are given bully pulpits at T4G. Jesus spoke about loving the least of these. Hmmm, the original four at T4G or the Andrews, Sophias, and Toms of the world. Give me the latter (along with Sopy of course). They are much more fun and interesting.

  103. Hi.

    My name is Chandler, and I am the “guilty party” along with Brian because of our “Declaration Now” podcast. I am a resident of Jackson, Mississippi, and am not Matt Chandler and have never met Matt Chandler, though I really like what I’ve seen and heard from him. Which is not to say he’s perfect, because no one is.

    I am not seeking to defend myself, I just want to clarify my comments. I do not think that Mark Driscoll, or the elders of his church, owes anyone outside of the church an explanation for church discipline. I do wholeheartedly believe that Driscoll and the elders owe the church and the parties involved an explanation for church discipline.

    I do not claim to know how the e-mail Driscoll (or whoever actually wrote it) sent got public, and I think that is wrong that it did. I tried to express that sentiment in the podcast, but I may have forgotten, and it may have not come out as clearly as I had hoped. I also do not like the multi-site megachurch model because it does create the rock star pastor deal and I do not think that’s what pastors are called to.

    I am sorry if I did not state my thoughts as clearly and as accurately as I needed to. Spiritual abuse in the church is absolutely not something that should ever be overlooked. My family has dealt with that kind of thing before, and my parents have read “The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse.”

    Again, my apologies if my words were not as clear as I wanted them to be.

    Grace and peace.

  104. Chandler
    Thank you for your explanation. It was most kind of you.

    Now I have a question for you. What if church discipline is actually a cover for spiritual abuse? And a church advertises itself, saying come and see how we do things. We look and we see opportunity for pain and suffering. Does the person who is so treated have the right to send a warning out to the Christian community? Or even ask for justice? What if said person does not believe that such can happen in a church like Mars Hill? Do you think it ics coincidental that Mars Hill sought reconciliation after the discipline or abuse became public?

  105. If church discipline is a cover for spiritual abuse, then yes, I believe it absolutely needs to be exposed. There is no place for that in the church. In fact, that’s what Paul was writing against in several of his letters, and it sincerely hurts my heart to see churches continuing to do these kinds of things. And, like I said, I think this is a major problem with the whole celebrity/rock star pastor craze that’s sweeping American Christianity. It’s not limited to that, but it’s certainly prevalent there.

    I think there’s a fine line between warning people and gossip (I know because I’m guilty of that kind of thing), but I think there is a graceful and loving way to do it. If I see one of my friends going to a church I’ve had a bad experience about, for example, I’d warn them about my experience for sure. It’s a part of being a loving friend, and I think it’s a part of being a faithful church member.

    I’ll just admit right now – I don’t know all the answers. People who have suffered these things need an outlet. Their voices need to be heard. But there’s another fine line there – how do we know legitimate abuse has taken place, or it’s just that someone got their feelings hurt and have engaged in the simple “he-said-she-said” gossip that seems to be prevalent (especially here in the south?) Again, the last thing in the world I want to do is trivialize legitimate issues. But I have seen issues firsthand where someone is called out on something legitimate and they just got mad and went to another church, and on top of that, started gossiping about the original church. Where’s the line there?

    So, like I said, I don’t want to trivialize anyone’s legitimate experience. And I think spiritual abuse is real, and it needs to be confronted and dealt with. And I think the blogosphere is good (I read and contribute to several, so I’d be a hypocrite to say otherwise) but I also think it’s prone to knee-jerk reactions and lacks accountability.

    I hope this answered your questions. To be quite honest, I am in a super busy season of my life and don’t have a ton of time to check back and respond very often. But I hope I have been able to explain my words a little better and have not rubbed anyone the wrong way.

    As always, Grace and Peace.

  106. Chandler said:

    “If I see one of my friends going to a church I’ve had a bad experience about, for example, I’d warn them about my experience for sure.”

    Has this actually happened to you? Have you had a bad church experience and spoken about it to friends who attend that church?

    If you have, how did you go about proving that what happened to you was indeed wrong. Did you find someone to “be accountable” to if you spoke about it in the blogosphere? How did you prove that you didn’t just get mad and go to another church?

    See, as you may know, the thing with spiritual abuse is that the perpetrators are usually the ones with power, status and perceived authority. When they say they were slandered, had a bad time, were lynched and the rope broke, etc., who is to doubt them? They get invited to speak to other churches about what a bad time they endured, without anyone trying to hear what the “other side” was.

    But the people who leave churches because of the spiritual abuse done to them are in a whole different world. They are separated from the former church “family”. They have almost no way to counter anything that is said about them in subsequent church meetings and sermons. They get labelled slanderers and gossips. Anything they say can and will be spun against them by the leaders who have face, jobs and reputation to save.

    “People who have suffered these things need an outlet. Their voices need to be heard.”

    It really is good to hear that be said. It is so true.

  107. Dee: “Do you think it is coincidental that Mars Hill sought reconciliation after the discipline or abuse became public?”

    You mean ONLY after the abuse became public.

    And did they really seek reconciliation, or just damage control? A PR maneuver?
    True reconciliation can only happen when there is repentance and an effort to make the person harmed whole. None of that has reportedly happened.

  108. Pingback: The Rebel Has Been Unmasked! | Semper Reformanda UNITED STATES